“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” (Action/Fantasy: 2 hours, 10 minutes)
Starring: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Lena Headey
Director: Harald Zwart
Rated: R (Violence, gore, sexual innuendo and thematic elements)
Movie Review: For some movies, the preview trailers are all one needs as an indication of a film’s worth. This is the case with “The Mortal Instruments,” an adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s novel. This screenplay by Jessica Postigo, her debut, contains weak character associations, terrible acting and pitiable time continuity.
Clary Fray (Collins) discovers her missing mother is one of many warriors protecting our world from demons. Fray and a group of demon slayers fight evil forces in an alternate world known as Downworld. The quest to find Clary’s mother, Jocelyn (Headey), leads to many places, involving sorcerers, vampires, werewolves and monstrous demons.
Zwart directed “The Karate Kid” in 2010, starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. It was a worthwhile venture. “The Mortal Instruments” is just the opposite.
It contains elements from several fantasy concepts thrown like garbage in a trash bin. It is a messy, hodgepodge of oddities that clash. Even more, the acting is substandard, making the story weak and not compelling from the start.
This is lackluster entertainment for diehard fans of the book. However, all should stay clear of this story. It jumps around from scene to scene haphazardly without making useful connections between characters and plot concepts. With every story shift, the wait for an ending appears elusive, making this tedious, torturous entertainment.
Grade: D- (A boneheaded film.)
“You’re Next” (Thriller: 1 hour, 34 minutes)
Starring: Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg and AJ Bowen
Director: Adam Wingard
Rated: R (Sexuality, strong violence, profanity, gore and thematic elements)
Movie Review: The Davison family, with three friends, meet to celebrate the 35th wedding anniversary of their parents. Several assailants attack the family during an energetic dinner. The mysterious killers begin a bloody spree, but they soon find one of the Davidsons’ guests, Erin (Vinson), is not a passive victim.
This film is real for about 20 minutes. Afterwards, it turns into a stereotypical slasher movie. Multiple gruesome murders happen. Many are overly graphic violence.
The worst thing a screenplay can do is make its cast dumb to accelerate a simple plot. Most players in this film are asinine; thus, this plot is dim-witted material. In addition, no need exists to care about characters because they are only there to die.
The play out is energetic and full of surprises, but about 54 minutes into the runtime, all becomes weirder. No one should care by this point. It is a snuff film. It displays an overuse of violence.
Once “You’re Next” ends, one might just have some murderous thoughts, too. ... A bloody mess.
Grade: D (Your money ... wasted.)
“The World’s End” (Action/Comedy/Science Fiction: 1 hour, 49 minutes)
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Eddie Marsan
Director: Edgar Wright
Rated: R (Profanity and sexual innuendo)