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What could be worse than yet another Final Destination movie? How about an even lazier Final Destination knockoff? Wish Upon is what happens when you want to make another Final Destination movie but get told “No” so you try to find a way to make it happen anyway.

Now to be fair, going in, you probably already knew this movie wasn’t going to be good. Trailers for this film looked like the boilerplate, half-thought out teen horror film that we’ve seen before. But it didn’t have to be. Wish Upon could have bucked the norms but instead it just doubles down on the problems teen horror films always seem to have. Characters that the audience has no connection to are killed but their deaths are supposed to have impact. The film breaks its own rules halfway through about who dies. But most egregious of all the problems, the lead character is not only stupid but completely unlikable. Joey King plays Clare Shannon who quickly goes from a character you have some sympathy for, to a character you absolutely despise for how selfish and stupid she is.

The plot goes like this, after her mother’s suicide (which comes back later in the most obvious “twist” ever put to film), Clare is raised by her father Jonathan (Ryan Phillippe). Her father gives her a “wish box” not knowing what it is. Clare’s first two wishes are accidents that she thinks are just coincidences along with the deaths of two “people” (people is in quotes for a reason) close her. But by the third wish, Clare knows the box is real. By the 4th or 5th wish, she learns what the price of a wish is (the death of someone close to her….kinda). But she keeps making wishes. Not only does she keep making wishes but…her wishes are stupid, even for a young teenage outcast girl. And that’s why this film is just so terrible. It uses stereotypical tropes about teens and how they interact with each other (as friends and in relationships) that is just eye rolling bad. At one point she wishes that her dad would be less embarrassing. Yes. That is the wish she makes that costs someone their life. To have a less embarrassing parent.

The film feels like it was written and directed by the same baby boomers who write articles about how millennials are destroying the very fabric of reality. You have to start wondering if they've ever spent any significant time with anyone under the age of 30. 

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Direct download: Wish_Upon_Review_1.m4a
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 5:59am EDT

We’ll be blunt: You’re not going to like A Ghost Story. Don’t waste your time or money for this film. It’s not made for you. David Lowery’s film falls into the same category as It Comes At Night. It’s not made for audiences to go and be entertained. Rather its made to give pretentious critics the opportunity to use a lot of words to heap praise and a ridiculous and boring movie.

A Ghost Story reminds me of those jokes about pretentious people in an art gallery looking at a stain on a wall and trying to one-up each other with what the “stain” really means. Then in walks a janitor with a rag and wipes away the stain saying “its not a piece of art, it was just throw up from a kid who walked by earlier”.

There’s nothing wrong with directors and cinematographers making movies that highlight certain artistic forms or allow them to “get weird” without feeling pressure to appeal to a broad base. But those experiments really don’t belong in the theater. Films like this are like tech demos video game studios make to show off cool new graphics. They have a specific technical purpose but everyone knows they lack the meat and potatoes to be actual games. That’s what A Ghost Story is. As a film, there can be some artistic quality to this that can spark conversations among film makers over techniques. But as a film for audience consumption, it’s insulting. Despite what some critics will have you think, there's nothing intriguing, thoughtful, intense about watching Rooney Mara eat an entire pie on the floor for 5 minutes while a man in a  sheet watches. It’s a child’s boogers smeared on the wall of an art gallery that people are trying to convince themselves is art.

The overall concept of this film is better suited for a short 10 minute film, not 92 minutes of mostly silence where you're stuck watching scenes where absolutely nothing happens. Yes, the film is about the enormity of time and how we conceptualize that. Yes, its an interesting concept to think about life/death/time from the perspective of a ghost/spirit and what that means. But execution matters here. Too many times film makers get caught up in their high level concepts or the technical accomplishments and forget about the simple purpose of: Will anyone want to actually watch this?

And for A Ghost Story? The answer is simple: No.

Stream/download the full review.

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Direct download: A_Ghost_Story_Review_1.m4a
Category:TV & Film -- posted at: 5:58am EDT

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