Scream Has What Modern Horror Movies Lack

Most horror movies these days are either remakes, sequels or movies made solely to cash in on the Halloween-Scary-Movie craze every year. Scream is an original story with a vibe of excitement and reverence for the history of the horror genre and it’s hard not to start feeding off of that vibe.

Scream is directed by the legend Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson, whose love for the classics surfaces in the references to Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and more in the dialogue. While most movies these days, and even 17 years ago, were making the killer some unstoppable force, Williamson made the source of murder in Scream memorable with the way they behaved. He made them creepy, clever and someone you may find yourself liking by the end.

While I won’t give away who is responsible for the blood and mayhem of Scream I will say that they’re probably my favorite of any slasher film killer I’ve seen. Their phone calls, especially to their first victim, are just classic. They love terrorizing their victims emotionally just as much as they do physically. They’re much more interesting to watch than a quiet, superhuman Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers. Their reveal at the end is just a perfectly executed moment.

While Neve Campbell plays a great protagonist in Sidney Prescott, her supporting cast gets more of my praise, especially Jamie Kennedy as Randy Meeks. When he discusses who the killer may be in the video-rental store while using past horror movies as reasoning, I am hooked the entire time. Kennedy’s acting in this scene is so entertaining and is topped off with his yelling, “Everyone is a suspect!” in the middle of the store.

I demand that you watch this movie for Halloween.

Gatsby, The Great

The Great Gatsby was definitely one of the movies that lived up to its name.  It was a great movie that lived up to the expectations and hype it had created.

The Great Gatsby was one of the classic books I had to read for a summer reading project in high school.  I loved the book, so when I heard that they were making a movie about it I was really excited.  Movie reenactments of books are not always great; sometimes they are less than good.  But The Great Gatsby was one of the exceptions.  Leonardo Dicaprio and Tobey Maquire, characterized as Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway respectively, did the book justice and had a flawless performance in this movie.

As a side note, I know other critics have made this comment, but even the soundtrack was perfect for this movie.  The mix up between the 1920’s lifestyle portrayed in this movie and the modern day era music soundtrack created contrast and made the movie that much better and exciting.

The plot was great and did not stray from the book as well as, the acting was executed perfectly for this movie.  If you have ever read the book, or even if you haven’t I would highly recommend spending a couple hours watching this movie because you will not be disappointed.


The Place Beyond the Pines

Luke Glanton and Avery Cross (played by Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper respectively) live on opposite sides of the law in this well written drama centered around love, loss, and lineage.

The Place Beyond the Pines is one of the better movies I have seen in the past year. I’m not going to give away any main plot points in my review because this movie is a solid original screenplay about two men whose paths cross in an incredibly shocking way and the ripple effect it has on those around them. This movie draws you in and keeps you guessing throughout.

When Luke Glanton, a motorcycle stunt rider in a traveling carnival, finds out he has a son, he decides it’s his responsibility to take care of him. Glanton leaves his life as a stunt rider and gets a job at an auto shop. Shortly after, he goes on a spree of bank robberies with his boss throughout the town of Schenectady, New York, in which he uses his motorcycle as his getaway vehicle.

Avery Cross is a first year Schenectady police officer with a law degree and plans to rise fast through the ranks of the department. Cross is out on patrol when he sees Glanton, now dubbed “The Moto-Bandit,” fleeing the scene of his most recent bank robbery. When the two meet, it changes both of their lives along with the lives of those closest to them, for the worse.

the Place Beyond the Pines is a great example of a movie that they just got right. It appeals to most audiences because it has a little bit of everything: guns, drama, high-speed chases, drugs, love, revenge and corruption. . If you have 2 hours and 20 minutes to spare, I highly recommend this one.

This is the End.

Well, where do I start with this movie?  I guess I get to be the first one to write a negative review on this blog. Let me put it plain and simple for you, do not waste your time with the movie This is the End.  This was supposed to be a comedy but it was far from that.  It was probably one of the most stupid movies I have ever watched and there was no real point to anything.  

High Hopes were led astray.

This is the end was a movie that I was genuinely looking forward to.  The previews made it look like a great comedy.  It seemed like it would be one that my college friends and I would enjoy.  So that is what I did.  My roommates and some friends of mine rented it from Redbox and sat down on a Friday night together to watch it.  I mean, surely you cannot go wrong with as many big name stars in this movie as there were right?  The cast had an obnoxious amount of big named stars such as:

  • Jonah Hill
  • James Franco
  • Seth Rogen
  • Michael Cera
  • Rihanna
  • Paul Rudd
  • Channing Tatum
  • and the list could go on forever.

But the big named cast did not do much for me.  Sure, there were some good one-liners that were funny, but not many.  It just seemed like the movie had no real point to it, and was just a stupid comedy that I did not enjoy at all.  Thus, leading to me writing this blog saying that if you are looking for a good, funny movie to watch with your friends, This is the End, is not the one.

End of Watch

When you’re pulled over for a speeding ticket, all you feel toward a cop is some form of anxiety. It’s hard to take your focus away from getting a ticket and realize that this cop is just another human being doing their job. That’s one of the great things about End of Watch. It brings you a newfound respect for the life of a cop.

The story is presented in a partially “found footage” style filmed by Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, Brian Taylor, and his partner, Mike Zavala, played by Michael Pena. These guys are why you should watch the movie. Gyllenhaal and Pena have such a chemistry together that I wouldn’t be surprised if some of their conversations were improvised.

While Gyllenhaal is consistently great in his performances, Pena is the one you should take note of. He’s not in the limelight like Gyllenhaal, but he should be. He shows that it doesn’t take explosive emotional scenes for an actor to make you remember them.

As you progress through the story, you come to really care about these two characters and their loved ones. Knowing what Taylor and Zavala are exposed to every day, you can’t help but start to predict that the good in their lives can’t last. Even when they aren’t trying to find trouble on the job, they are discovering more blood and more emotional trauma to add to their lives. The attachment you have with Taylor and Zavala is much more apparent at the end of the movie when you find yourself feeling the way their wives may be feeling.

The only problem I had with the movie is the confusion I got when they used the “found footage” style filming with characters other than Taylor.

Be prepared to get emotional watching this.


Clerks is for all the people out there who spend a good portion of their days working at a job where they’re barely appreciated. You guys will easily relate to the life of Dante, the main character. You understand to the frustration of dealing with difficult customers, getting called in to work on your days off and those especially bad days where nothing seems to go right. For anyone else who hasn’t enjoyed a career in fast food or convenience stores, this movie gives you a better understanding of the other side of the counter.

This is one of the very first movies made by Kevin Smith and, at times, it shows that he is still developing his skills. At times, the camera is made to behave like the eyes of someone who’s there watching as the current situation goes down, but the back and forth movements of the camera between characters becomes distracting. This choice works in one scene where Dante is arguing with his girlfriend near the end of the movie as the movement was frantic and made the scene feel funnier than it would without the movement.

This movie was also filmed on a low budget which was also easy to guess. That comes with the territory when you’re early on in your career, though, and Smith definitely got his money’s worth. For the most part, the acting was great, but the dialogue was perfect. You find yourself so in to the sometimes disgusting things they’re talking about that you almost find yourself replying to the characters.

Clerks shows you that there is a non-romantic part of the world where people are imperfect, weird and normal.

Why I Am Here

Have you ever wondered if a movie was worth your time?

What about your money?  With your busy schedule and complicated life, how do you know what you should or shouldn’t be watching for entertainment?  This is a problem we have all run into, especially us college students.  College students are among some of the busies individuals I can think of.  They have all sorts of things they are trying to juggle.  Just think about it

  • Classes
  • Work
  • Sports teams
  • Friends
  • Homework
  • Family Life
  • Financial Obligations
  • Clubs
  • A Social Life

Oh, and did I mention trying to keep up a good GPA?  We all know we need to take some time to ourselves to relax, decompress, and enjoy some entertainment.  But with everything you are trying to juggle in life, how do you know what is worth your time and energy so that your entertainment time is not a complete waste?

Well, that is where I come in!

My name is John Roberts and I am going to be writing for this blog, trying to help you decide on which movies are worth watching.  I am a senior Advertising and Public Relations major at Abilene Christian University and I love to watch movies.  Sometimes though, I am seriously disappointed that I wasted my time on watching something that just flat out was not a good movie.  So that’s why I am here.  I want to help you in this process.  I want to write for this blog and give you my personal recommendation on movies that you will enjoy and are worthwhile for you to watch.

Movies Are Meant to be Enjoyed

These days, too many people are finding every flaw they can in the movies they watch. They pick apart the logic and they steal away our enjoyment of the movie.

What happened to suspension of disbelief? What happened to reverting to your childhood-caliber imagination when you are told a story?

I think a lot of people have forgotten what the point of movies is. The point is not to accurately imitate life to the detail, it’s to take you away from your everyday life and introduce you to something new. The creative minds behind a movie are allowing you to indirectly become intimate with them. They’re letting you enter their minds for a brief two hours so they can share with you something they are so proud of that it’s being shared with millions.

Sure, if the movie wasn’t very enjoyable, that’s one thing. No one’s going to like every movie they watch, but actively searching for holes in logic or plot is pointless and depressing.

I want to make it clear right now that no one automatically becomes an expert on film by nitpicking a movie.

I do not claim to be an expert myself, but I know that a large number of people like me who just want to kick back, relax, and be distracted from everyday life for at least a couple of hours every once in a while. Here at Reviews from an Undergrad, we plan on providing you with as many opportunities to do that as possible.

Personally, I also like to voice my feelings on a movie with other people and I am eager to hear feedback from readers over the movies we review and just bounce opinions off each other in the comments. Movie suggestions are also encouraged.

Here we go

Close your eyes and imagine this for a second. You’re done with classes for the day, you don’t have any homework, you don’t have a date tonight, you have absolutely nothing to do. Well, maybe not absolutely nothing to do.

If you have a Netflix account you have literally thousands of hours of entertainment at your fingers. “But there’s nothing good on Netflix,” you say. “I can’t ever find anything to watch!” My name is Brock Niederhofer, and I’m here here to tell you that there are, in fact, tons of great movies on Netflix.

I’m a fifth-year-senior at Abilene Christian University, and I love my Netflix account. I’m actually watching The Office on my Netflix account while I’m writing this post. Whenever I can’t find anything to do, I fire up my PS3 and search through my Instant Queue and find something to watch. My goal for this blog is to keep your Instant Queue full, and your nights in entertaining.

In this blog, we’ll cover movies from all kinds of genres, documentaries, and possibly some TV series, but probably not many chick flicks (sorry ladies). We’ll be discussing movie content, story, effects, cinematography, and pure entertainment value.

Is there a movie you haven’t seen that you want to know more about? Suggest it in the comments section and we’ll watch it and let you know how it was! Just remember, you never have to be bored. There’s always something good to watch, and luckily, I’m here to find it for you.