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Movie reviews: 'The Nun' is all soulless hype

Movie reviews: 'The Nun' is all soulless hype

THE NUN: 1 ½ STARS

"The Nun," the fifth instalment of the never-say-die horror series "The Conjuring," is rated R for terror, violence and disturbing/bloody images and YouTube recently deemed movie's teaser trailer too shocking for their website. And remember, YouTube specializes in weird ‘Dancing-Men-Wearing-Horse-Mask' videos. But don't believe the hype. "The Nun" is all soulless hype.

Set in In 1952 Romania, "The Nun" begins with a death at a cloistered abbey. "This place is…" says a local, "what's the opposite of a miracle?" To investigate the suicide by hanging of the young nun at the Carța Monastery the Vatican dispatches Catholic priest, Father Burke (Demian Bichir) and novitiate Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga). "I have orders from the Vatican to determine if the grounds are stil l holy," he says.

Burke routinely examines "unusual matters" for the church but is troubled by an exorcism gone wrong while Irene, as a child, was plagued by visions of a mysterious nun. To uncover the abbey's secret the holy rollers will have to risk not only their physical beings but metaphysical ones as well.

"The Nun" starts off slow and atmospheric. It begins to get less interesting about half-an-hour in when the jump scares start. From then on it is a pastiche of the kind of stuff you might expect from a place where Gregorian Chants echo down the hallways. The low budget, low wattage scares include a nightmarish scenario of open graves, folks burping up serpents, ghostly shadows, rolling rosary beads and, of course, the obligatory portal to hell.

Sound eerie? It isn't.

Director Corin Hardy must have saved money on the lighting because everything is under lit by swinging oil lamps or shrouded in mist. It doe sn't matter much because there's nothing interesting to look at anyway. The creep factor does get dialled up in the last half hour but it's mainly a series of jump scares and surreal images, many of which look like outtakes from a Floria Sigismondi video. Add in a few intentional laughs and some not-so-intentional giggles and you have a film destined for the Midnight Madness circuit.

Here's the thing. If there's a door in your abbey that reads ‘God Ends Here' it's best to leave it closed. Burke and Co. could have done everyone, especially the audience, a favour by leaving well enough alone.

PEPPERMINT: 2 ½ STARS

"Peppermint" begins with America's sweetheart Jennifer Garner offering a guy, up close and personal. "You don't remember me do you?" she asks before ventilating his body.

Five years previous she was a mom with a young daughter (Cailey Fleming) and husband (Jeff Hephner). Just days before Christmas on her daughter‘s birthday hubby makes a decision that puts him in the way of some very bad people. "Make an example out of him," the bad guy (Juan Pablo Raba) says, "a loud one." A hail of bullets puts an end to her family life, and when police hit a dead end in the caseâ€""We know everything but can't prove anything."â€"her switch is flipped from adoring soccer mom to avenging angel of death. On the fifth anniversary of the murder of her husband and daughter she returns to unleash holy hell against the cartel drug dealer who ordered the hit. "You don't deserve justice," she says to one of her victims, "but I do."

"Peppermint" is not a sweet as the title might suggest. Garner got her start as an action hero on television's "Alias" before straying into kinder and gentler roles. In "Peppermint" she finds her way back. She bloody knuckles her way through those who done her wrong with efficiency but the action scenes don't feel quite frenetic enough.

Director Pierre Morel doesn't infuse the film with the same forward momentum as other recent one-person crime waves are like "John Wick" or "Atomic Blonde." Still, as mom revenge movies go, there is a fair amount of action and even a few laughs. And make no mistake, Garner, even while she is blowing away the baddies is in full-on mom mode. For instance, after she steals a car to chase down some bad guys the first thing she does is do up the seat belt. Safety first!

"Peppermint" isn't quite a refrigerator movie. That's where you think about the movie later, as you stand in front of the fridge looking for a snack, and your mind wanders back to the movie. As you reach for the leftovers it dawns on you that the film didn't make any sense. That's a refrigerator movie. "Peppermint" is diffe rent. You know it doesn't make sense even as you watch it. I was willing to forgive some of its leaps of logic right up until the end. John Ortiz caps off the action with one of the silliest speeches in action movie history. And that bar is pretty high.

Source: Google News Movie

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