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The 1-2-3 Killam
01-11-2012, 06:12 PM
Contagion(2011)- A very decent movie here as this feels more like your casual action film you see so much these days. The plot here is that due to some woman attracting the disease in Hong Kong (or Macau I can't remember) she brings to the U.S and from there on it spreads around the world. As expected there are many scenes with doctors, government officials, and world leaders addressing the epidemic as well as the reactions to it. To be honest and outbreak epidemic story really doesn't interest me at all, not to mention the movie is close to about 2 hours which is longer than it needs to be. There are subtle moments such as when this man's wife is passing away. Anyway it's really over the top at times and a passable movie in my opinion.

Alright broseph, I've got to say this...I respect anyone's right to see a movie and comment on it, especially in an open forum such as this. However, if you're going to include absolutely no specifics, blank out on half the actual facts, and generally sound like you were watching paint try instead of trying to enjoy a movie...why bother? I'll admit, Contagion wasn't that great of a movie, so that's a decent starting point we can both agree on. But you did start your review with "a very decent movie" and end with "passable". Two very different words with different meanings, and using them both blurs lines and makes your entire rating system worthless. No actors, no directors...not even sure of some of the places it took place in? Also, the standard for decent films is becoming two hours, and actually has been for quite some time. Contagion is only 1:40 with the credits. If you can't fill that much time with content, especially when you're dealing with an interesting topic like pandemic, you have some series issues as a writer/director. I disagree that it was "over the top" at any point. The whole planet was going to hell in hand-basket...mass hysteria is warranted.

White Dog(1982)- For an independent film this is actually quite good. :banghead:

Emma Stone also is great here and the black actresses especially Octavia Spencer are really interesting playing their characters. Not worth your time to look up more of their names? I'm not overly offended by racial generalizations, and considering this is a movie about "black culture" it's almost needed, but really? The "black actresses"?

There is so much more to say when bashing a film than when praising so I will cut this one off here. No, it's just difficult, and takes practice (and some natural talent). It takes more skill to praise a film. Much like in in wrestling, it's harder to be a face and do an amazing job than it is to get over as a heel. It's just something you have to work at, not throw away because it's too much work...

Like you said it's a pop-corn flick or a B-movie for short. However I'm not one to pull out an new system for ranking B-movies out of my ass. Maybe it's because I have seen non of the other mission impossible films, but still it's no masterpiece. Like I said before it's a B-movie, it's not supposed to a masterpiece, it's meant to be a fun film to watch, which is exactly what it is, ok I bump up the rating to 6/10. Wow. Way to stand by your convictions there slugger... :suspic: Are you sure you're not one to pull a ranking system out of your ass? You did just change a movie's rating because CC got all up-in-arms at you... You clearly have no concept of indie films or a grander aspect of the film industry, so I'm beginning to wonder if your "rating system" isn't just out of your ass. Not to brag, but it's taken me three years to tinker at my percentage system and get it to where I think it best reflects the score a movie should be given. A lot of work went into it, so it's a bit frustrating to see somebody just arbitrarily throwing out ratings...

Also, we need to clear something up right now.
B-Movie (noun): A low budget commercial motion picture that does not definitely an arthouse or pornographic film.
What part of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol's $145,000,000 budget screams b-movie to you? Was it the lead actor being Tom Cruise, one of the most recognizable action stars of all time? Was it director Brad Bird, who has helmed the Iron Giant, Incredibles, and Ratitouille, while working on the entire career of the Simpsons, Toy Story 3, and Up? Maybe it was Alias writers Andre Nemec and Josh Appelbaum...? It was also produced by JJ Abram's company Bad Robot... If Ghost Protocol was a B-Film, Inception was an indie flick... "Minimum Wage" Cage may have also posted a few lackluster reviews in the past, but his opinion I respect a whole lot more. And yes, I just pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming...

Paralyzer Z
01-11-2012, 06:35 PM
Green Ranger;3643710']Alright broseph, I've got to say this...I respect anyone's right to see a movie and comment on it, especially in an open forum such as this. However, if you're going to include absolutely no specifics, blank out on half the actual facts, and generally sound like you were watching paint try instead of trying to enjoy a movie...why bother? I'll admit, Contagion wasn't that great of a movie, so that's a decent starting point we can both agree on. But you did start your review with "a very decent movie" and end with "passable". Two very different words with different meanings, and using them both blurs lines and makes your entire rating system worthless. No actors, no directors...not even sure of some of the places it took place in? Also, the standard for decent films is becoming two hours, and actually has been for quite some time. Contagion is only 1:40 with the credits. If you can't fill that much time with content, especially when you're dealing with an interesting topic like pandemic, you have some series issues as a writer/director. I disagree that it was "over the top" at any point. The whole planet was going to hell in hand-basket...mass hysteria is warranted.

Films are an art, art is critiqued, it doesn't need all of the specifics.

I will say this once, and it also goes for mission impossible, I don't generally enjoy these kinds of movies, didn't feel very epic like it should have, and I feel asleep half-way through but tht could have been just how late I finished watching them,

:banghead:

Not worth your time to look up more of their names? I'm not overly offended by racial generalizations, and considering this is a movie about "black culture" it's almost needed, but really? The "black actresses"?

I did not even know the names of any of the actors, when the opening plays I look at the setting not the text.

No, it's just difficult, and takes practice (and some natural talent). It takes more skill to praise a film. Much like in in wrestling, it's harder to be a face and do an amazing job than it is to get over as a heel. It's just something you have to work at, not throw away because it's too much work...

... I don't like to overdue anything, even though I like you as a poster, you tend to overdue things. My memory isn't all that bright so I don't remember the specifics.

Wow. Way to stand by your convictions there slugger... :suspic: Are you sure you're not one to pull a ranking system out of your ass? You did just change a movie's rating because CC got all up-in-arms at you... You clearly have no concept of indie films or a grander aspect of the film industry, so I'm beginning to wonder if your "rating system" isn't just out of your ass. Not to brag, but it's taken me three years to tinker at my percentage system and get it to where I think it best reflects the score a movie should be given. A lot of work went into it, so it's a bit frustrating to see somebody just arbitrarily throwing out ratings...

I will admit I am not professional, in fact most of the film aspects I have learned were initially gained from the Nostalgia Critic. However when it comes down to it an opinion on a motion picture is basically is a # out of a whole, it is simply an opinion. I highly doubt that your post wasn't extraneous.

Also, we need to clear something up right now.

What part of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol's $145,000,000 budget screams b-movie to you? Was it the lead actor being Tom Cruise, one of the most recognizable action stars of all time? Was it director Brad Bird, who has helmed the Iron Giant, Incredibles, and Ratitouille, while working on the entire career of the Simpsons, Toy Story 3, and Up? Maybe it was Alias writers Andre Nemec and Josh Appelbaum...? It was also produced by JJ Abram's company Bad Robot... If Ghost Protocol was a B-Film, Inception was an indie flick... "Minimum Wage" Cage may have also posted a few lackluster reviews in the past, but his opinion I respect a whole lot more. And yes, I just pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming...

Wow, someone just blew a gasket, I can see the heelness has really dug in:). Sure it has a large budget but the content seems so, well something I have seen before. A better choice of words would be a popcorn flick, however my opinion remains the same, I don't like spy movies too much, I gave this a chance and aside form Cruise and the visuals it failed to impress me.

The 1-2-3 Killam
01-11-2012, 07:52 PM
I don't really care if you thought Contagion or MI:GP were GOOD movies - you can rate them and have whatever opinion on them you want. It's not for me to say what you have to enjoy... What I cared about is that you tried to review a movie, multiple movies actually, with no regard for the actors/directors/writers in question. Just skipping over them with "that actress" or "the one chick" just isn't good enough - how else am I supposed to know who the heck you're talking about.

I will concede that I can be a bit wordy and drawn-out at times. Ok...most times. And I also appreciate simplicity, and not breaking things down to the point of them losing their artistic integrity, but there is also a limit where reviews stop being reviews, and just end up being some guy babbling about a bunch of things we can't actually relate to. I'm not asking for super specific outlines of how the movie went down, or the history of an actor's entire career...just some people and places would be nice. :)

If you can't remember their names, jump on IMDB. Simple.

The 1-2-3 Killam
01-11-2012, 11:54 PM
The Three Musketeers (1993) - 53%
30: Minutes or Less - 64%
The Ides of March - 65%
Pirates IV - 72%
Mr. Popper's Penguins - 72%
Fast Five - 75%
Contagion - 76%
Ironclad - 77%
Tangled - 79%
Seven Pounds -79%
Eat, Pray, Love - 80%
50/50 - 81%
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 82%
Drive - 83%
Shutter Island - 85%
District 9 - 86%
Book of Eli - 87%
I am Legend - 87%
Super 8 - 88%
Zombieland - 89%
Moneyball - 92%
The Help - 96%

Fight Club
Directed by: David Fincher
Written by: Chuck Palahniuk (novel) & Jim Uhls (screenplay)
Starring: Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, & Helena Bonham Carter
Likely my all-time favorite movie (I have higher "rated" movies, but how I analyze a film and my personal opinion of it can sometimes be two different things) for so many reasons. Start with the directing: is there a better modern-day director than David Fincher? Many started following Fincher after his first hit "Se7en" and continue to praise him with recent films like Benjamin Button, Dragon Tattoo, and the Social Network. He's had a few hiccups along the way, mostly due to bad writing unions or lackluster casting, but I'd say he's swinging at about .800. He has this knack for making the viewer incredibly uncomfortable - for really jarring the audience - but at the same time you just can't look away!

I won't spend too much time dwelling on the writing, as Fight Club was adapted from the original Chuck Palahniuk novel, but I give major props to Jim Uhls for doing the classic some justice. Very few films outdo its original subject material, and I know there's a lot of people out there that will disagree, but I believe Fight Club's film takes the cake. The characters I developed in my own head as I was reading through the book years ago were great, but they paled in comparison to how Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, and HBC brought them to life on the big screen! This was my first big introduction to Carter, and we've definitely had a positive relationship since. There is no creepier, most disturbing woman in Hollywood today - likely ever. This was also the movie that put Norton on the map and took Brad Pitt from shirtless heart-throb to serious actor (something we can all be thankful for).

The directing, the acting, the writing...they were all wonderful. But what really captures your attention is the plot of this film. They start you out at the top of this skyscraper; a gotham-esk city staring back from down belong. As the scene comes into focus we find Edward Norton strapped to a chair, beaten to a pulp, with a gun shoved down his throat. Enter Brad Pitt, a clever exchange between the two, and we're off and running! I've always thought that showing the audience a glimpse of the ending at the very start was a brilliant idea. Hook people right away and give them something to look forward too - especially if the time in between is going to be filled with two hours of mind-blowing, distorted material. I don't know anyone who has picked up on the real theme of this movie during their first viewing. I have seen Fight Club over a dozen times and I'm still finding new lessons...

This is the kind of movie that doesn't happen in "real life", but the way it is presented makes you completely forget about "reality" and enter in to the character's perspective for a short time. You come out wondering why the world is the way it is, and regardless of how extremist the plot becomes, it all seems like a good idea at the time! When the final credits start rolling, I dare you to disagree with some of the pivotal questions being posed at consumerist America. Fight Club is one of the few movies I have seen that can almost turn you into a completely different person for a few hours during, and after the movie is over. It's like playing Grand Theft Auto for 10 hours straight, and then going for a quick drive in the car. Sometimes, no matter how rooted to real life you are, you still have that urge to run over a hooker. Rating: 94%

The 1-2-3 Killam
01-13-2012, 12:24 AM
The Three Musketeers (1993) - 53%
30: Minutes or Less - 64%
The Ides of March - 65%
Pirates IV - 72%
Mr. Popper's Penguins - 72%
Fast Five - 75%
Contagion - 76%
Ironclad - 77%
Tangled - 79%
Seven Pounds -79%
Eat, Pray, Love - 80%
50/50 - 81%
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 82%
Drive - 83%
Shutter Island - 85%
District 9 - 86%
Book of Eli - 87%
I am Legend - 87%
Super 8 - 88%
Zombieland - 89%
Moneyball - 92%
Fight Club - 94%
The Help - 96%

This weekend I'm going to see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, mainly because "Minimum Wage" Cage holds it so high a regard (as do some legitimate critics, might I add). While I wait, I thought I would go back through the series and review its three predecessors one by one. My first reaction, having not seen any of the films for many years, was one of shock: Tom Cruise isn't actually that bad of an actor. In fact, when it comes to spy-themed action movies he's one of the best I've seen. Maybe that's because the MI series defined how we look at modern day spy-flicks, as we've moved away from the Bond style, and into something with a few more explosions. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the reason Cruise gets so much of a bad name has very little to do with his movies, or the genre he seems fit to perform in, but because of his rather...unusual extra-curricular activities. You have to admit: the guy is nuts.

Mission: Impossible
Directed by: Brian De Palma
Written by: David Koepp
Starring: Tom Cruise & Jon Voight
The one that started it all. Obviously this movie did well enough and was held in a decent enough state of regard to merit three sequels. Personally, I wasn't as impressed. Cruise is excellent as a high-octane action star, but David Koepp isn't so excellent at writing them... The script was mediocre, and at times a bit too cheesy to be taken seriously. Then again, with some of the stunts the IMF (Impossible Mission Force...yes, seriously) has to pull, being taken "seriously" doesn't seem to be that big of a concern. What really threw me was how confusing the plot was - they utilized both true and false flashbacks at one point, adding chaos to an already convoluted story. Or, at least I think that's what they were doing... I'd like to take another crack at the movie to see if maybe I missed something huge, because I don't feel as though this type of action ride should have confused me the way it did. It all comes together in the end, but by that point you're kind of taping your toe impatiently for its arrival. Passable, but not as good as I was hoping for. Rating: 78%

Mission: Impossible II
Directed by: John Woo
Written by: Ronald Moore
Staring: Tom Cruise & Dougray Scott
The second MI film did a few things right. Near the end there's a ten minute sequence where they use almost complete silence to set the tone for what is going on. Motorcycles are exploding, guns are firing, people are dying...and yet every seems calm. That was the only point in MI2 that I actually felt the emotion the crew was trying to convey. For the rest of the near-two hour movie I was left in utter disappointment. The action scenes were impressive, but overdone - I think that's actually the theme of this series. Bits and pieces of the plot were clever, but altogether predictable. I enjoyed the simplicity of the ride as an almost relieving dichotomy against the first film, but my praise stops there. At least the original Mission: Impossible served to spawn an iconic series, put Tom Cruise on the map as an action hero, and get Grammy Award-winning composer Lalo Schifrin's theme song stuck in everyone's head for the next 16 years. The only thing MI2 did was set the stage for a sequel. Rating: 68%

Mission: Impossible III
Directed by: JJ Abrams
Written by: Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci
Starring: Tom Cruise, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, & Laurence Fishburne
MI3 is one of the most under-rated action films of our time. I have heard from many that the only Mission Impossible movie worth their time is the original, but this is simply not true. My favorite director JJ Abrams always seems to bring an artistic style with him wherever he goes. Because of this MI3 finally had that flair the other two films lacked (I'm sure the ten years of special effects and lighting evolution didn't hurt either). Tom Cruise portraits some real emotion in this one as he struggles with trying to balance his new family with his secret life as an undercover agent. Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays my favorite villain in the series thus far, and continues to be one of those great actors that flies under the radar from time to time. I liked Laurence Fishburne as the head of IMF, as he played the cold, calculating prick that he needed to, and did it extraordinarily well. In fact, I have almost no issues with the casting, acting, or even the script this time around! Clever dialogue and a plot that makes sense and keeps you on your toes make this a fun, fast-passed spy-flick, and I can't for the life of me figure out why the general public hates it so much. Good acting, lots of explosions, real drama, and a VERY pretty environment...what's not to love? Rating: 86%

I'll get back to ya'll Saturday after I see Ghost Protocol. I'm excited, and I hope it lives up to the hype!

The Shape
01-13-2012, 01:14 AM
War Horse (2011) 8/10- Steven Spielberg actually did it. He actually made me care about a horse. Joey (the main horse in this film) affected the lives of many characters throughout this film. He was a companion, a symbol of hope, and he brought happiness to people, who desperately needed it. The war caused chaos and depression, and Albert’s (Jeremy Irvine) family faced many hardships, but Joey could always be that one positive force in everyone’s life. At first, I didn’t want to have an open mind about a film that put so much focus on a horse, but Joey does help provide some very convincing touching moments here.

I did go into this film with a negative mindset, and I didn’t have high hopes for this one, but War Horse really did blow me away. This was a moving drama, and War Horse is filled with some genuine heartwarming moments. Also, the war scenes in this film did feel intense and shocking, and the entire cast really gave a great effort here, because the acting in this film is excellent. War Horse is a very emotional drama, the cinematography looked amazing, and this one should be remembered as one of the best films in 2011.

Spielberg really should receive an Oscar nomination in the Best Director category at the Academy Awards this year. Spielberg did a masterful job with this film, and his directing really did take everything to the next level. War Horse is filled with some breathtaking visuals, and this film does feature its fair share of mesmerizing scenes. And Spielberg was able to capture the intensity, violence, and devastation of war. Spielberg did provide that magical touch for this film, and he proved he can still be one of the best here.


The Naked Man (1998) 7/10- Dr. Edward Bliss, Jr. (Michael Rapaport) is a chiropractor/part-time professional wrestler. Bliss uses “The Naked Man” as a ring name, and Bliss has a strong passion for wrestling. But his wife urges him to leave the wrestling business behind, because she refuses to accept pro wrestling as a real career. Although, making a major career choice isn’t Bliss’ biggest problem. Bliss’ parents and his wife are murdered by a crazy quadriplegic with crutches (which actually turn out to be machine guns) and an Elvis Presley impersonator. Sticks Varona (the quadriplegic with machine gun crutches) and his body guard/personal muscle (the Elvis impersonator) are two gangsters, who are hell bent on controlling all the pharmacy stores in their sights. Bliss’ father (the owner of a small pharmacy store) didn’t want to give into the cruel gangsters, but his stubbornness would come back to bite him, because Varona refused to take no for an answer. Bliss completely snaps after the murders, and he actually begins to believe his pro wrestling persona. Bliss is hell bent on revenge, and no one is safe, as he destroys everything in his path, during a murderous rampage.

I have always been a HUGE fan of The Coen Brothers, and Ethan was one of the co-writers for the screenplay here, so this film became an instant must-see for me. The Naked Man is a very quirky comedy, and this film does feature its fair share of oddball and eccentric characters. It took a while, but as this film progressed, the humor began to grow on me, and this film is filled with some hilarious moments. Also, I absolutely loved the pro wrestling material in this film. This is a comedy film, so of course, everything isn’t supposed to be taken so seriously. I did laugh during the scenes that featured pro wrestling material, but this film didn’t try to poke fun at wrestling. Sure, the matches feel whacky most of the time (things get pretty serious, when Bliss finally loses his mind), but this is a comedy, so you have to expect this type of approach. You will see Michael Rapaport discuss his wrestling character in detail, you will see the wrestlers discuss details during the matches (calling moves, working out a strategy, etc.), and adding a promoter was a nice touch here. This film really doesn’t go into an in-depth explanation about pro wrestling, because there’s more to the story than wrestling here. And you won’t see a serious tone for pro wrestling, because this isn’t a black comedy, but for the most part, The Naked Man does represent pro wrestling in a tasteful way. Any true fan can enjoy the material used here, and The Naked Man can be a real treat for wrestling fans.

The Naked Man is a bizarre and quirky comedy, but I couldn’t stop laughing, once I adjusted to the humor. This film is well written, the acting is very solid, and Michael Rapaport does a fine job with the lead role. At times, it did feel like he was carrying this film, but the rest of the cast did provide some very believable performances. The Naked Man was one of the more unique comedies I’ve seen over the years, and I’m so happy I FINALLY found this film!

The Shape
01-14-2012, 01:29 AM
Atrocious (2011) 3/10- A family decides to spend the Easter holidays at their summer home. Cristian (Cristian Valencia) and July (Clara Moraleda) are brother and sister, but they don’t always get along. Although, they do share one common bond: both of them LOVE to investigate paranormal occurrences. They decide to film all of the activity on their vacation, and both of them are obsessed with ghost stories and paranormal activity. They take a chance on investigating a local urban legend, but their search for the truth becomes more and more dangerous, as time goes on, and the terrifying secret could cost them their lives.

Well, this was a found-footage film, so I had to force myself into a positive mindset for this one. Still, my attempt to have an open mind for this film didn’t work. This film did have a nice little mystery, and the plot did feel intriguing at first. But Atrocious moves at this sluggish pace, and the unbelievably slow pacing for this film drove me nuts. NOTHING really happens in this film for a long time, and the slow build to the conclusion can feel so tedious. Sure, they do show some signs of a violent and vengeful ghost. They show the brutal aftermath of the murdered family dog, and a broken glass could’ve been caused by a mysterious force.

They do throw some clues at you every now and then, but for the most part, Atrocious can be a very boring and dull film. Although, I will give this film some credit for the final moments. The final moments of this film can feel genuinely terrifying, the spook moments fly at you non stop, the surprise twist did feel shocking, and the tension is just great. Atrocious managed to pack a powerful punch at the end, and the ending did provide a nice jaw-dropping cliffhanger, but the satisfying late finish couldn’t save this film. The scares were great, but the horrifying moments at the end did have this strong “too little, too late” feeling. The final moments of this film did keep me on the edge of my seat, and I was glued to the screen, because I really wanted to see what would happen next. Still, Atrocious came up short for me, because the suspenseful final moments couldn’t make up for the over fifty minutes of painful boredom I had to sit through.

The acting in this film is decent enough, and July’s constant screaming didn’t annoy me too much. I really wanted to like this film, but Atrocious is just too damn boring most of the time. The production values actually looked pretty solid here (this shocked me, because when it comes to staying true to the “realism” factor, most found-footage films take everything too far), and the story did feel mysterious, but I can’t ignore the boredom here. I just can’t.

Usually, I trust Bloody Disgusting.com on all things horror related, but I can’t agree with their positive rating for this film. Atrocious was on the list Bloody Disgusting selects (a list of highly recommended horror films from BD), so I thought I would give it a try. Well, this was a poor choice, and BD won’t get my support on this one. Also, BD was one of the distributors for Atrocious, so Atrocious landing a spot on the “select” list doesn’t surprise me at all.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, Hollywood is planning a remake for Atrocious. That’s right. An American version (Atrocious 2011 was a Spanish language film) of this film will be made in the near future, and Hollywood will continue to ride the found-footage train even longer. Yeah, ANOTHER horror remake. I just couldn’t contain the levels of shock, when I first read this piece of news. :rolleyes:

The 1-2-3 Killam
01-14-2012, 05:02 PM
The Three Musketeers (1993) - 53%
30: Minutes or Less - 64%
The Ides of March - 65%
Mission: Impossible II - 68%
Pirates IV - 72%
Mr. Popper's Penguins - 72%
Fast Five - 75%
Contagion - 76%
Ironclad - 77%
Mission: Impossible - 78%
Tangled - 79%
Seven Pounds -79%
Eat, Pray, Love - 80%
50/50 - 81%
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 82%
Drive - 83%
Shutter Island - 85%
Mission: Impossible III - 86%
District 9 - 86%
Book of Eli - 87%
I am Legend - 87%
Super 8 - 88%
Zombieland - 89%
Moneyball - 92%
Fight Club - 94%
The Help - 96%


After I watched the entire Mission: Impossible trilogy in a day, I decided to continue with the trend and move on to the Jurassic Park trilogy. So here goes nothing...

Jurassic Park
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: Michael Crichton
Starring: Sam Neil, Richard Attenborough, & Jeff Goldblum
What a classic! A true testament to what Spielberg can accomplish with a lot of money and a good writer (emphasis on the good writer portion of that statement). Jurassic Park is intentionally larger-than-life, sporting some fantastic looking dinosaurs that would be decent for some producers today, let alone twenty years ago. But it's not just the big, expensive dino-scenes that make JP such an iconic film - it's also the more subtle gems. Sam Neil and Jeff Goldblum are perfect for their roles, and offer a whitty and necessary dichotomy, while secondary characters like Richard Attenborough, Wayne Knight, and a younger Samuel L. Jackson bring the casting full-circle. having the novel-writer craft your script is also a plus... John Williams returns to the big screen yet again, composing another beautiful work of art that is one of the contributing factors in the Jurassic Park series withstanding the test of time. Rating: 90%

The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: David Koepp
Staring: Jeff Goldblum & Julianne Moore
Handing over Crichton's novel to the likes of David Koepp should have been the first red flag - the absence of Sam Neil should have been the second. Koepp was involved in the scripting of the first film, but under the guidance and creative authority of the original novelist, making sure that the movie's content stayed true to the material it was representing. Without the safety net of a brilliant writer, Koepp crashed and burned. Indeed the unbelievably trite script is what threw me here - not the T-Rex running through Los Angeles or the fact the dinos actually managed to look WORSE than in 1993. Goldblum was good, and handled what he was given to the best of his 4-star ability, but without the Sam Niel dichotomy, Goldblum felt almost overused. Also, I know it's the 21st Century, and interracial couples are commonplace, but who decided that Jeff Goldblum's daughter needed to be black? This has nothing to do with race or discrimination, and everything to do with an unnecessary and uncertain distraction. Cue cheesy pun: this is a World that truly should have remained Lost. Rating: 73%

Jurassic Park III
Directed by: Joe Johnston
Written by: Michael Crichton, Peter Buchman, Alexander Payne, & Jim Taylor
Staring: Sam Neil, William H. Macy, & Tea Leoni
Here is what they did right with Jurassic Park III: Hiring a new director to helm the third installment was a fresh idea. He's lackluster in most of attempts, but he's not BAD. And really, who doesn't like the Pagemaster and Jumanji? Also, bringing back Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton to handle character development, while throwing the rest of the script at three young writers who had worked together in the past? Better than David Koepp. Indeed, the writing and script of this outing was better than the second installation. Also...bringing back Sam Neil - always a good choice.

Now, here's what they did wrong: Jurassic Park III. As we learned in The Lost World, Jeff Goldblum doesn't work without a counter-balance. Well, Sam Neil doesn't work on his own either. That dichotomy of over-series mixed with Goldblum's crazy, conspiratorial nature is gold, but without it I was left bored by most of Neil's dialogue. But bless his heart, he tried. But not even Sam Neil could save this one... I knew this one was over when the giant "whatever-a-saurus" (the one bigger than the T-Rex...which is bullshit by the way) ate a cellphone. This allowed the crew to know when the creature was close-by. Never mind that some telemarketer just HAPPENED to be calling a SATELLITE PHONE at the EXACT moment it came near humans, or that the phone somehow survived the digestive properties of a DINOSAUR, but when they pulled it out of a giant pile of dino-poop to use it...I mean, really? How about convincing a pack of raptors not to eat you, using your diplomacy skills? Add to all of that the annoying as hell mother character, that made you literally want to commit murder in every single one of her scenes. By the end of this one, I was honestly cheering for the raptors... Rating: 68%

SalvIsWin
01-14-2012, 07:08 PM
Tyrannosaur
http://img.poptower.com/pic-73726/tyrannosaur-movie.jpg?d=600

Movie Trailer (VERY MUCH recommended): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvyqXFmV-LI

I saw this movie two nights ago, and I decided this is a movie that other people should know about.

Plot

Tyrannosaur is essentially the story of a rage-full, unstable man who becomes acquainted with a Christian woman who is married to a verbally and physically abusive man. That's all there is to it, it's just the story of this man and this woman.

My immediate thought upon seeing the trailer and reading the plot was that this was going to be a story about a troubled man who meets and befriends a troubled woman, and their troubles, although different, would be what connects them and eventually will lead to a happy ending.

This is the most horrifically sad movie I've seen in a long while. I don't want to say the saddest movie I've ever seen, but it's definitely up there. The story is so much more complex than what I originally expected, and the story is just very, very deep. I don't want to give anything away, but nothing is what you would expect, and not because there are plot twists, but more because the story is just so tragically realistic and there is no attempt made to tell a story that will make the viewer feel better if it sacrifices even a shred of the realistic narrative.

Acting

The battered woman (played by Olivia Colman) does such a brilliant job at portraying her character that it is one of the best performances I have ever seen, and I like to think of myself as a film connoisseur - drama and romance are my favourite genres. The rageful man (played by Peter Mullan) also does a terrific job at portraying a borderline psychotic man who despite appearances is incredibly complex.

The bad

The movie isn't without its flaws. While the acting and plot are the films strong suits, the film is British made, which basically means that there are heavy accents. As you can see from the trailer, Peter Mullan can be difficult to understand if you're not accumstomed to the accent. A few times during the movie I didn't understand what was being said, but from the reaction and comments from other characters I was able to deduce it usually fairly quickly - but there are a couple times I rewinded just to try and figure out his words exactly.

Also, the film is horrifically tragic. If you're not in the mood, or you don't like those kinds of movies, this is not a film for you. This is not a feel good movie, and the film has such a dedication to being completely serious and sadly realistic that there are some moments where the sadness is almost overwhelming.

Lastly, there are a few questionable scenes where I am wondering why they are included. Films have a general flow, where there is a buildup to a peak in the movie where the main problem or plot device is addressed, and then the movie wraps up. During this wrap up period, there are a couple scenes that I feel disrupt this flow. It's not that I don't respect the scene, it just baffles me as to its placement. No big deal however.

Conclusion

Anyone with even a modest interest in a brilliant and most of all, unique, spin on what seems like a simple story should give this movie a watch. It's quickly become one of my favourite films, I'm glad I discovered it.

Score

9.5 / 10

The 1-2-3 Killam
01-15-2012, 01:52 AM
The Three Musketeers (1993) - 53%
30: Minutes or Less - 64%
The Ides of March - 65%
Mission: Impossible II - 68%
Jurassic Park III - 68%
Pirates IV - 72%
Mr. Popper's Penguins - 72%
The Lost World: Jurassic Park - 73%
Fast Five - 75%
Contagion - 76%
Ironclad - 77%
Mission: Impossible - 78%
Tangled - 79%
Seven Pounds -79%
Eat, Pray, Love - 80%
50/50 - 81%
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 82%
Drive - 83%
Shutter Island - 85%
Mission: Impossible III - 86%
District 9 - 86%
Book of Eli - 87%
I am Legend - 87%
Super 8 - 88%
Zombieland - 89%
Jurassic Park - 90%
Moneyball - 92%
Fight Club - 94%
The Help - 96%


So I did end up going to see Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol last night. While I didn't think it was ANYWHERE near as awful as Paralyzer would have us believe, I also didn't think it was near as brilliant as "Minimum Wage" Cage made it out to be. In fact, I feel pretty damn near the center of their two opinions...

The fourth installation in the Mission: Impossible series wasn't its best outing, but it certainly wasn't MI2 either. Tom Cruise was his usual self, Simon Pegg was clever as always, and surprisingly enough I did like Jeremy Renner's additon to the IMF team. And speaking of IMF, there actually is no organization, as the agency was entirely disavowed due to some down-played incident that I felt wasn't given proper attention. To me it just ended up feeling like a gimmick strapped onto it for an extra buck - "Oh, we've got to see this one! The IMF was shut down? However will Tom Cruise save the day!?" I enjoyed the comedy thrown into this sequel, making it a bit more lighthearted than the others.

Here's the problem with Ghost Protocol: it's incredibly pretty, the characters are charming (for the most part), and the story was simple enough...but there just wasn't a lot of substance. I just saw the movie not 24 hours ago, and if you asked me, gun-to-head what the name of the main villain was...I'd be a dead man. In fact, the entire opposition throughout the film was so ambiguous and unimportant that you almost wanted the film to end in total chaos as the nuke goes spiraling down towards some major U.S. city. I'm not sure, because again... entirely too ambiguous! I want to say L.A...? I also really disliked Paula Patton and her role in this - although I have to admit the main reason was because I thought she was a different actress (I can't figure out WHO though!!).

All in all, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol was a fun, pretty action flick that almost surpassed the original, destroyed the second, but ultimately didn't have me as enchanted as the third. Also, what in hell was up with the cheesy ending? There was literally a GLOW around Tom Cruise's face during that entire scene... Rating: 78%

The Shape
01-15-2012, 08:01 PM
We Bought A Zoo (2011) 7/10- Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) is struggling as a single father. He’s trying to cope with the recent passing of his wife, and he must raise his two children all alone. Benjamin’s young daughter, Rosie Mee (Maggie Elizabeth Jones) is innocent enough, and she doesn’t cause any problems, but Benjamin’s teenage son, Dylan Mee (Colin Ford) is a troubled kid, who’s seeking attention. Dylan is a young and talented artist, who does show some real skills, when it comes to drawing, but he can also be one of the more disruptive forces in Benjamin’s life. Benjamin wants a fresh start. He wants to move on, so he decides to buy a new house. Benjamin’s new home seems perfectly fine at first, but the large zoo in the backyard could cause some problems.

We Bought A Zoo is a highly predictable film. You can see everything coming, the attempted swerves didn’t fool me, and this film just goes through the motions the entire time. Still, We Bought A Zoo can be a very enjoyable film. This film is filled with some genuine heartwarming moments, this one offers plenty of laughs, and We Bought A Zoo features characters, who you can care about. The acting in this film is very solid, and the entire cast really did give a nice effort here. Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, and Colin Ford were able to stand out among the rest, and Angus MacFadyen was just hilarious throughout this film, but Matt Damon really did steal the show. Damon could be witty, charismatic, and humorous, but he could also showcase a serious side here. Damon had his moments of anger, and he was able to show some raw emotions in this film. The rest of the cast did a fine job with the acting, but Matt Damon’s performance was excellent, and he really did look like the star of the cast.

Yeah, We Bought A Zoo is VERY predictable, and this film does go through the motions, but you can still have a fun time with this one. We Bought A Zoo does feature a feel-good story, this film can provide plenty of laughs, and this one does have its moments as a touching drama. We Bought A Zoo does feature all the elements of your typical and formulaic Hollywood comedy/drama, but this film does feature a nice set of entertaining characters, the acting is good, this film does have a very pleasant and cheerful tone most of the time, and this one does feature some real moving moments. We Bought A Zoo is a well made family friendly film, that features some very likeable characters. Everyone can enjoy this, and I’m happy I took a chance on this one.

The Darkest Hour (2011) 2/10- Sean (Emile Hirsch) and Ben (Max Minghella) travel to Moscow for a business meeting. They’re trying to sell their social networking software to a group of Russian investors, but they quickly learn the cutthroat nature of the business world, because their software is stolen by the same group of people, who they originally wanted to sell to. Skyler (Joel Kinnaman) shows no remorse, when he steals the social networking software. Skyler doesn’t want to share the profits with the creators (Sean and Ben), and the trip to Russia seems like a complete waste of time. Sean and Ben are distraught, so they decide to go to a club to pick up their spirits. They meet two women, Natalie (Olivia Thirlby) and Anne (Rachel Taylor), and everything seems perfectly calm at first. Sean and Ben are enjoying the company of Natalie and Anne, but everything quickly takes a turn for the worst. An alien invasion begins to spread terror and destruction throughout Russia and the rest of the world, and the group of survivors (Sean, Ben, Natalie, Anne, and Skyler) must fight for their lives.

I really wanted to like this one, and I usually enjoy alien invasion flicks, but The Darkest Hour was one gigantic disappointment for me. This was supposed to be a sci-fi thriller, but The Darkest Hour can be so boring and dull most of the time. The action scenes really didn’t do anything for me, and character development is tossed out of the window in this film, because you really don’t get a chance to know any of the characters here. Sure, we do learn a few details about the friendship between Sean and Ben, but still, they really don’t give an in-depth explanation about the survivors here, and I just didn’t want to care about the shallow characters in this film. Also, the reveal of the aliens’ identity towards the end of the film felt so underwhelming. Throughout this film, the audience sees the alien attackers as these glowing orange force fields of light, but they FINALLY reveal the true physical form of the deadly attackers at the very end. I was expecting something terrifying, because these aliens reeked havoc throughout the entire film, and they destroyed everything in their path. But I just couldn’t stop laughing, when I finally saw the true physical form of the aliens here. They didn’t look intimidating or scary, and the awful and cheap CGI effects didn’t help anything.

The Darkest Hour could’ve worked as a mindless and fun popcorn flick, but they really dropped the ball here. Yeah, the acting is decent enough, the alien kills do look shocking and violent most of the time, and I did enjoy the atmosphere of the post-apocalyptic Russia, because you can really feel the devastation and danger, but the decent acting and images of a post-apocalyptic Russia couldn’t save this one. The Darkest Hour is a dull and lifeless film, that doesn’t feature any real thrills or action. This film just painfully goes through the motions, and they really didn’t put too much focus on character development here, because this film just features so many uninteresting personalities. The special effects looked cheap and atrocious, they were laughable most of the time, and for a film that relies so heavily on CGI, this can be a real problem. The Darkest Hour was a painful experience for me, and I was waiting for this one to be over. Emile Hirsch does have some potential for a bright career in Hollywood, but he needs a rebound film, and he needs one fast, because The Darkest Hour is a potential career killer.

The 1-2-3 Killam
01-17-2012, 02:51 AM
The Three Musketeers (1993) - 53%
30: Minutes or Less - 64%
The Ides of March - 65%
Mission: Impossible II - 68%
Jurassic Park III - 68%
Pirates IV - 72%
Mr. Popper's Penguins - 72%
The Lost World: Jurassic Park - 73%
Fast Five - 75%
Contagion - 76%
Ironclad - 77%
Mission: Impossible - 78%
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - 78%
Tangled - 79%
Seven Pounds -79%
Eat, Pray, Love - 80%
50/50 - 81%
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 82%
Drive - 83%
Shutter Island - 85%
Mission: Impossible III - 86%
District 9 - 86%
Book of Eli - 87%
I am Legend - 87%
Super 8 - 88%
Zombieland - 89%
Jurassic Park - 90%
Moneyball - 92%
Fight Club - 94%
The Help - 96%

The Tree of Life
Directed by: Terrence Malick
Written by: Terrence Malick
Starring: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, & Jessica Chastain
I almost don't want to review this movie - I feel like by touching it it's going to break into a million pieces, and I will somehow destroy its astonishing credibility with my ineloquent response. I don't want to gush all over The Tree of Life, because this is a film that not every viewer is going to "get". Some like their cinema straight and to-the-point. They don't want to sit through a 20-minute art montage, followed by ninety minutes of free-flowing storytelling (followed by another twenty-plus-minute artistic montage). Some don't like to think too hard about what they're being presented with, or be required to work for their entertainment. I get that - I really do. The Tree of Life is not a film churned out by the machine; rather it is a completely unique experience meant for the minds that understand and breath the industry.

The "plot" of this film follows Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, as they live a simple life in the 1950's. That's it. It's not any more or less complex than that. If you're looking for twists and turns, car chases, or at the very least a driving plot...turn back now. Or don't, and keep your mind open enough to be blown! Tree of Life isn't about the WHAT, but rather about the HOW. It's the journey, not just of the simplistic O'Brien family, but of life itself. That may sound incredibly pretentious, but the reality is that a movie has never before tried to capture a larger perspective than Terrence Malick has accomplished here.

When the story is rooted in the 1950's, dealing with the O'Brien family, you are wholly sucked in. Never have I seen such an excellent executed "period piece". Malick must have done hundreds of hours of research, and dug from his own past and experience. Not having lived through the 50's, my viewing of the movie is all the perspective I have. But other critics, such as Robert Ebert praise this movie for its flawless accuracy. Everything is as it should be, and even the time period chosen is done so for a reason. That reason: the 50's are "THE era" of envisioned American living. The model family, the model homes, and the mode lives. Children play in the woods and in the streets while fathers go to work and the women tend the home. Everyone attends church on Sundays, says their prayers before every meal, and brushes their teeth before climbing into bed. This is the basic, yet essential portable of the "American Dream". It's all done in a way that the setting is relatable no matter who you are, or where you come from.

The acting is outstanding! Brad Pitt plays his role flawlessly, delivering the main source of "drama" to the otherwise peaceful plot. Jessica Chastain is simply enchanting, and the children are the best kid-actors I have seen in cinema. As previously stated, this is a piece of art - not just a movie. As such the visuals are some of my favorite I've ever had the pleasure of viewing. Tree of LIfe takes you on a ride from the very beginning of the Universe to the existential afterlife that Malick portrays in a very curious way.

I'm afraid there's nothing more I can say to make this seem less ambiguous. The best summary I can give you is that Terrence Malick refused to settle for creating a "good movie", and instead set out to do something that had never been seen before. He didn't necessarily change the way things are done, or revolutionize the industry, but that's alright. For the very first time I believe a director and writer has brought us a visual tale that accurately puts all of existence into a relatable perspective, while simultaneously allowing you to take deep emotional attachment to the characters who are, in the end vastly unimportant. Nothing I say will ever do this masterpiece justice, and the only reason I am not giving it a perfect score is the value of accessibility. Not every is going to "get" this. Not everyone will have the time to analyze the meaning of the film, while many won't care to go past the surface of a movie. Some wont' have the intellectual stability to grasp what Malick is really trying to put out... That's ok. It's all part of the perspective so uniquely played out in The Tree of Life. Rating: 98%

The 1-2-3 Killam
01-19-2012, 04:17 AM
The Three Musketeers (1993) - 53%
30: Minutes or Less - 64%
The Ides of March - 65%
Mission: Impossible II - 68%
Jurassic Park III - 68%
Pirates IV - 72%
Mr. Popper's Penguins - 72%
The Lost World: Jurassic Park - 73%
Fast Five - 75%
Contagion - 76%
Ironclad - 77%
Mission: Impossible - 78%
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - 78%
Tangled - 79%
Seven Pounds -79%
Eat, Pray, Love - 80%
50/50 - 81%
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 82%
Drive - 83%
Shutter Island - 85%
Mission: Impossible III - 86%
District 9 - 86%
Book of Eli - 87%
I am Legend - 87%
Super 8 - 88%
Zombieland - 89%
Jurassic Park - 90%
Moneyball - 92%
Fight Club - 94%
The Help - 96%
The Tree of Lie - 98%

Star Wars: Episode I
Directed by: George Lucas
Written by: George Lucas
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, & Natalie Portman
After watching through the Mission: Impossible series, as well as the Jurassic Park series in recent weeks, I decided to go through the Star Wars series. As controversial as this may be, I decided to go in linear order, rather than chronological - the visual quality will suffer, by the story will progress more naturally, and more importantly I won't want to die by the end...

The Phantom Menace is one of the most hated movies by most hardcore science fiction fans. The Gungons (specially Jar-Jar), the terribly dialogue, whiny secondary characters, and the over-explanation of the Force concept are definitely present, even to a less hardcore, but long-time watcher such as myself. You don't have to be a Star Wars buff to realize that the writing here is absolutely catastrophic. Characters speak in one-liners, some over-act, while many show no passion whatsoever. Some of that is the actor's fault, but Natalie Portman and Liam Nesson have proven to deliver exceptional quality in (some) of their other endeavors. No, I think we can rest the blame of the script on the sole writer, producer, and director George Lucas. And I know what you're thinking... Lucas is the genius responsible for the original trilogy! How could he ruin it to this extent!? Here's the secret you've all been waiting for: Lawrence Kasdan.

If you can get past the fact that every major scene seems like it's beating you over the head with its condescention, the story being told is actually quite fun. It continues in the same vein as the rest of the Star Wars ensemble, delivering a gripping plot that features epic space battles, intense duals, and clever development. The score is absolutely brilliant, and I could listen to Dual of the Fates all day long... It's visually impressive, sonically impressive, and delivers a fun ride. So what's the big issue here? What makes Episode I so universally hated?

While all the things I listed make the movie watchable (at least once), all the cleverness of the original characters is gone. Nobody grips you and makes you want to invest in them! Where are my Han Solo's, my C-3P0's, and my Princess Leah's? Sure, the movie is fun, but with a script that makes me think he was intentionally trying to make a "bad movie" (ala Troll II), bland and annoying characters, and enough CGI to kill a horse (and beat it over and over again), I have to ask George Lucas: what in the hell where you thinking? You want my advice? Probably not, but here it is anyways: stick to storytelling, hire a real director, and get somebody who knows how to write to pen your films. Or just retire. Rating: 73%

Paralyzer Z
01-20-2012, 11:59 AM
Cashback(2006)- Sean Ellis directs one of my favorite films I have seen since Inception here, it stars Sean Biggerstaff, and Michelle Ryan. The plot is quite creative, an insomniac after the break up with his girlfriend learns to freeze time. The acting for most of the film is subtle and not over the top, with a few hilarious moments including the supermarket staff and their boss (Stuart Goodwin). Muck like Inception the originality of the plot and it's execution does it for me, you can call it "gently erotic". By that I mean that the story also revolves around the insomniac (Biggerstaff) and his obsession with the female body and how it lends itself to art. The nudity is a little overdone, but it's not something that exploits it in a flashy way, but in a gentle way. I love Biggersaff as the insomniac since he is never all that emotional he just plays it calm and believable.8/10

9(2009)- Wow, this is just amazing. A group of 9 ragdolls (Voiced by Christopher Plummer, Martin Landua, John Reily etc..) are left by a scientist to eventually destroy beasts that conquered humanity. On a side not this was directed by Shane Aucker the creator of the 2005 short which the film is based on. The first parts of the movie where there is no dialogue resembles the short and how the characters interact with the environment and each other without words. The rest of the film is very thrilling and adventurous as well. I think it's very well thought out and an exciting movie to watch with fantastic visuals. 8.5/10

Diary of a wimpy kid Rodrick Rules(2011)- Director: David Bowers, Starring: Zachary Gordon and Devon Bostick. Being an avid fan of the books this is based on I can honestly say that is better than the first film in the series. This is very much what you would expect here, Gordon and Bostick play Greg and Rodrick, 2 brothers with a dysfunctional relationship that find themselves in mischievous adventures. I will admit that I found this to be much more comedic than the first movie, the jokes are just naturally funny here. There are some disgusting moments but that is to be expected in a kid's film. I was surprised by how long this was,but that doesn't detract from anything. Most of it is physical comedy and loud characters which is enjoyable to watch at times, other times not. Like the books it doesn't follow around one problem it ventures off into several different conflicts but all revolve around the brother's relationships. Fun to watch, get a good laugh, but nothing much else than that. 6.5/10

Captain America :The first avenger(2011)- Director: Joe Johnston, Starring: Chris Evans, Hugo Weavings, and Samuel L. Jackson. This shocked me as to how enjoyable it was. I love the first half of the film as Evans does a great job playing the wimpy Steve Rogers that becomes Captain America. Now this is a marvel live action film so of course they try to make it as realistic a possible, and boy do they really accomplish that in the first half. Once he becomes Captain America it becomes much more fictional but that's to be expected especially with the Johann Schmidt suddenly changing into Red Skull with little to no explanation of it. Again I enjoyed the the first half much more than the second half which felt rushed, but it's a Superhero movie so you half to jump into the action quickly. I really like this movie and I await the Avengers(2012) eagerly. 8/10

The Shape
01-22-2012, 01:19 AM
The Iron Lady (2012) 5/10- Meryl Streep really was the driving force behind this film. As expected, Streep delivered another powerhouse performance here, and she probably will receive her seventeenth Oscar nomination for her work in this film. The make-up effects helped, but Streep was able to immerse herself in this character, and she really did become Margaret Thatcher in this film. Streep could be witty and humorous, but she could also showcase a serious side, and as always, Streep was able to show some raw emotion here. Most of the time, you could see a strong woman, who was willing to fight, but you could also see a lonely and troubled person, who suffered some serious mental problems. Thatcher grieves over the loss of her husband throughout this film. Streep was very convincing during these scenes, and I did want to feel for her.

The Iron Lady does feature some emotional moments, and this biopic didn’t try to portray Thatcher as this squeaky clean person. You’ll see Thatcher’s rise to prominence in this film, and she does struggle to earn respect as a woman in a man’s world. But Thatcher could also be a stubborn woman, who wouldn’t listen to reason, and at times, she wasn’t the nicest person. I enjoyed this approach, because showcasing the different sides of Thatcher’s personality made this film feel more realistic.

Also, the time-shifting style of story telling was done well. The Iron Lady shows Thatcher’s past as a shy and quiet young woman, and Thatcher’s tenure as Prime Minister is shown. During these scenes, you’ll see a courageous woman, who didn’t always make the popular choices, but she was determined to stand her ground. The present parts of the storyline can feel emotional and depressing, because you see a lonely and heartbroken old woman, who didn’t want to let go of the past. The time-shifting style of storytelling shows you the rise and fall of Margaret Thatcher. This style of story telling really worked, because you get to see the ups and downs in Thatcher’s life. Alexandra Roach plays the young version of Thatcher in the past parts of the storyline, and I didn’t have a problem with this at all. When it comes to Roach’s presence in this film, there have been a few identity crisis complaints from other critics, because Roach and Streep are portraying the same character. I didn’t have a problem with Roach portraying the younger version of Thatcher, because you have to remember something, Meryl Streep is a sixty-two year old woman. Transforming her into this young woman would’ve been a hard task. An age transformation of this magnitude would not have been believable at all, and you can only do so much with make-up effects.

The Iron Lady wasn’t a horrible film, but I was disappointed by this one. I’m going to have high expectations, when Meryl Streep has the leading role in any type of film. Streep holds up her end of the bargain here, and the rest of the cast was decent enough, but The Iron Lady can feel so dull and bland most of the time. The Iron Lady really does feel like a lifeless film at times, and Phyllida Lloyd’s directing didn’t help anything. Her plain style of directing really hurt this one, and Streep’s great performance is wasted here, because The Iron Lady is a very forgettable film. It’s a shame. The Iron Lady could’ve been one of the more memorable biopics, because anything is possible, when you have Meryl Streep.

Meryl Streep’s marvelous performance helped drive this rating up for me, and she really did carry this film on her back. Streep will probably receive an Oscar nomination in the Best Actress category. Streep receiving an Oscar nomination wouldn’t bother me too much, because she did save this film. The Iron Lady could’ve been much worse without Streep, and her performance does deserve recognition and praise.

Carnage (2011) 8/10- Two boys get into a fight at the very beginning of this film. One of the boys hits the other in the face with a stick. The son of Penelope (Jodie Foster) and Michael (John C. Reilly) Longstreet loses two teeth, so his parents decide to have a meeting with Alan (Christoph Waltz) and Nancy (Kate Winslet) Cowan (the parents of the son, who injured The Longstreet‘s kid). Penelope wants to discuss the aftermath of the fight in a civil manner. She thinks her son deserves an apology, and everything is calm at first, but frustrations slowly start to build, and the peaceful meeting takes a hectic turn for the worst.

There’s not much I can say about Carnage. This is a VERY short film, everything moves at a nice quick pace, and this film only features one true setting (The Longstreet’s apartment). Also, Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, and Christoph Waltz are the only characters you get a chance to know here. Sure, they do show the kids at the very beginning and end of the film, but as far as personality and character goes, you really don’t learn anything about them. The parents do reveal some details about the kids during the many arguments in this film, but the details revealed during the arguments just feel like opinions, because the kids really don’t receive any significant screen time, and they don‘t have any dialogue here.

Still, Carnage is one of the most entertaining black comedies I’ve ever seen. This entire film is loaded with some great humor, and this one does feature plenty of hilarious moments. Carnage does have a slow start, but you can feel the tension pick up along the way. This film really doesn’t feature too many dull scenes, and Carnage does provide an enjoyable and wild ride to the end. The acting is great here, and the cast was the highlight for this one. Winslet, Waltz, and Reilly were outstanding, but Jodie Foster really stole the show here. Foster did deliver a good amount of energy, she could be funny, and she was very believable as this woman, who could be one gigantic emotional train wreck. Jodie Foster might not be as popular as Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, or Sandra Bullock, and she doesn’t have the legendary reputation of a Meryl Streep, but Foster has been one of the more talented actresses in Hollywood for a long time, and when it’s all said and done for her, Foster should be remembered as one of the greatest ever.

Carnage does provide some good laughs, and the cast is just outstanding. The combination of Winslet, Foster, Waltz, and Reilly drew me to this film, and they didn’t disappoint at all. Roman Polanski did a solid enough job with the directing, and he deserves some credit for the screenplay, because this film was well written. Carnage was a real treat for me, and I’m happy I took a chance on this one.

The Shape
01-22-2012, 08:00 PM
Underworld: Awakening (2012) 7/10- Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and Michael Corvin are on the run from the humans, and they must find a way to escape. Story wise, It’s six months after the events of Underworld: Evolution, and the existence of Vampires and Lycans is no longer a secret. The humans have decided to cleanse the world of both species, and they are determined to exterminate and study the Lycans and Vampires. Selene and Michael almost manage an escape, but an underwater explosion separates them. Twelve years later, after “Subject #2” frees her from a cryogenic imprisonment, Selene awakes in a laboratory. She needs to find Michael, but the world has changed drastically. Fearing the human extermination mission, the Vampires and Lycans go into hiding, but a hybrid child named Eve (India Eisley) could change everything.

Yeah, I loved every second of this film. Most of the time, I was literally on the edge of my seat, because the action was just great. Awakening is filled with some nice thrills, and the battle scenes are very enjoyable. This film does feature some graphic and bloody gore, and the kills are pretty gruesome here. Also, Underworld: Awakening does feature some great visuals, and the 3D effects were superb. Finding an entertaining 3D film these days can be a hard task, because most 3D films don’t deliver at all, and everything feels like a giant rip-off. But Awakening is loaded with some very impressive 3D effects, the eye popping moments looked unreal, and you will see a good amount of blood, body parts, and gadgets fly towards you, if you decide to take a chance on the 3D.

Kate Beckinsale was in top form here. As always, she nailed the Selene character, and her return to the Underworld franchise did provide plenty of mark out moments for me. Beckinsale always seems like the perfect choice for this character, she’s smooth, and she did deliver another solid performance in this film. We’re introduced to some new characters in this Underworld film, but Eve receives most of the focus here. She’s the hybrid child, who could change everything, and the Lycans will stop at nothing to capture her. Eve is a very important person in this film, because she could change the outcome of the war, but the little secret involving her character was kind of obvious….

Eve is Selene’s daughter.

Umm, yeah, this didn’t surprise me too much. In fact, I had this figured out, when I saw the first full trailer months ago. She’s a HYBRID child, so who else could be her mother and father? Michael is a hybrid, and he’s in love with Selene, so I could always sense some kind of connection between these three characters. Still, this was supposed to one of the bigger “surprises” in this film, and it did feel disappointing, because I could see it coming. I’ve followed every film in the Underworld franchise. I know the story, so I really couldn’t feel the shock value of this secret.

The lack of character development can be an issue here, but fuck it, I still loved Underworld: Awakening. This film is filled with nonstop action and thrills, the visuals are pretty impressive, the 3D looked great, the acting was solid enough, and the final moments of this film are packed with some nice suspense. Underworld: Awakening is a fast paced action/horror film, and this one did provide one hell of an entertaining ride for me. This rating might be a little bit high, but I can’t deny how much I loved this film. I decided to bump this score up a little bit, because I really enjoyed the 3D. Also, I was very happy to see Kate Beckinsale return, as the fearless and ass kicking Death Dealer.

Rise Of The Lycans was decent enough, and Evolution was enjoyable, but when it comes to the best film in the entire series, Awakening gives the original some serious competition. Underworld (2003) will always be remembered as the film that set the bar for the entire series, but when it comes to action and suspense, Awakening just took everything to another level. The 2003 original was a very solid film, but Awakening deserves a good amount of recognition, because this was one of the more enjoyable films in the Underworld series.

The Shape
01-26-2012, 08:04 PM
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011) 9/10- George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is an intelligence officer for the Circus organization (a British intelligence agency). Smiley is forced out of retirement, and he must investigate the suspicions of a mole. Smiley’s search is filled with plenty of twists and turns, and his path to the truth becomes more and more dangerous, as time passes by.

First of all, Gary Oldman deserves a ton of credit here. The rest of the cast was very enjoyable, but Oldman delivered an excellent performance in this film, and he proved to be a superb choice for the lead role. Mark Strong and Tom Hardy did their parts as well, and both men were very impressive throughout this film. Strong and Hardy took their talents to another level here, but truth be told, the entire cast deserves credit, because the high quality acting was one of the many highlights in this one. Still, Gary Oldman really earned his Oscar nomination for his work in this film. Oldman has been preoccupied with some major Hollywood blockbusters (Harry Potter, Nolan’s Batman films, The Book Of Eli) over the past seven years, Red Riding Hood (2011) was a very forgettable, and he really hasn’t had a chance to shine as the star in a leading role, because he was a supporting character in all of those films. But Oldman still proves he can be one of the best in Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy, and he really does deserve his spot in the Best Actor category.

You’re going to be disappointed, if you’re expecting to see a barrage of flashy action scenes, and intense shootouts, that are filled with adrenaline, and you won’t see any high speed car chases, that involve gun fights, because Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy is NOT that kind of espionage thriller. Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy is a smart and sharp spy thriller. The calculated pacing in this film is wonderful, and the final moments do feature some nice suspense. Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy can be a thought provoking film, and the entire cast is just brilliant, because this film does feature some great acting.

Gary Oldman’s Oscar nomination is well deserved, but this one could’ve made its way into the Best Picture category. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a fantastic film, but Drive and The Ides Of March also received the snub treatment, so the lack of nominations didn’t surprise me too much.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007) 8/10- The Water Street Butcher is a sick and twisted killer, who likes to record the demise of his victims. The Water Street Butcher captures all of the murders and torture on camera. The shocking footage could help detectives capture the elusive and dangerous killer, but for some, the footage of the grisly murders is too much to handle.

Wow. The Poughkeepsie tapes is a found-footage film, and usually, I HATE this style of filmmaking, but my personal feelings couldn’t get in the way here. The Poughkeepsie Tapes is an outstanding found-footage horror film, and this is one of the best I’ve ever seen.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes gives you an in-depth look at the deranged mind of the killer. The Water Street Butcher is sick and sadistic, and his presence does provide plenty of chilling moments throughout this film. The Poughkeepsie Tapes provides a unique portrayal of the killer, and The Water Street Butcher is burned in memory, because I will remember him as one of the most evil characters I’ve ever seen in any type of film.

Also, The Poughkeepsie Tapes does feature a unique style of filmmaking. For the most part, you will see this film through the killer’s eyes, as he films his murderous rampage. The scenes that involve The Water Street Butcher can feel genuinely disturbing, because you really get to see how much of a sick freak this man is. But they also show some documentary style footage, that includes many interviews from police, FBI agents, people who invested time in the murder mystery, and families of the victims. They also show footage of a retired FBI agent, who teaches classes to future FBI hopefuls, and he uses the footage of the murders as a tool for teaching. The interviews, and the behind the scenes stuff (autopsies, teaching classes, etc.) was great, but one of the final interviews shown in this film really packed a powerful punch….

Cheryl Dempsey was one of The Water Street Butchers’ early victims. For years, he held her captive. The Water Street Butcher tortured Cheryl, and he forced her to kill. Although, The Water Street Butcher showed this particular victim some mercy. He developed a bond with Cheryl, and he actually let her live. But Cheryl was a broken woman after her release. She developed feelings for the killer, and she didn’t want to live without him. At the end of the film, the audience learns of Cheryl’s suicide, and this did provide a heartbreaking conclusion at the end.

The Poughkeepise Tapes allows you to see the film from the killer’s point of view, and the interviews during the documentary portions of this film do provide some insight for his motivations and desires. Also, I could really feel for the victims here. You can see them suffer in the murder scenes, and the heartbreaking interviews from the family members do provide the necessary emotional touch. They were able to provide a good mixture of the killer’s footage with the documentary portions of this film, and the blending of both styles of footage did make everything feel more realistic.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes can feel genuinely disturbing most of the time, and this film does feature a good amount of shocking violence and graphic gore. This film is loaded with some great tension, the acting is decent enough, and the murder scenes do provide plenty of cringing moments. Also, there’s a nice twist at the end, and The Water Street Butcher’s crafty tactics do provide one hell of a surprise.

Tha Wolfpac
01-27-2012, 04:07 AM
Underworld: Awakening (2012) 7/10- Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and Michael Corvin are on the run from the humans, and they must find a way to escape. Story wise, It’s six months after the events of Underworld: Evolution, and the existence of Vampires and Lycans is no longer a secret. The humans have decided to cleanse the world of both species, and they are determined to exterminate and study the Lycans and Vampires. Selene and Michael almost manage an escape, but an underwater explosion separates them. Twelve years later, after “Subject #2” frees her from a cryogenic imprisonment, Selene awakes in a laboratory. She needs to find Michael, but the world has changed drastically. Fearing the human extermination mission, the Vampires and Lycans go into hiding, but a hybrid child named Eve (India Eisley) could change everything.

Yeah, I loved every second of this film. Most of the time, I was literally on the edge of my seat, because the action was just great. Awakening is filled with some nice thrills, and the battle scenes are very enjoyable. This film does feature some graphic and bloody gore, and the kills are pretty gruesome here. Also, Underworld: Awakening does feature some great visuals, and the 3D effects were superb. Finding an entertaining 3D film these days can be a hard task, because most 3D films don’t deliver at all, and everything feels like a giant rip-off. But Awakening is loaded with some very impressive 3D effects, the eye popping moments looked unreal, and you will see a good amount of blood, body parts, and gadgets fly towards you, if you decide to take a chance on the 3D.

Kate Beckinsale was in top form here. As always, she nailed the Selene character, and her return to the Underworld franchise did provide plenty of mark out moments for me. Beckinsale always seems like the perfect choice for this character, she’s smooth, and she did deliver another solid performance in this film. We’re introduced to some new characters in this Underworld film, but Eve receives most of the focus here. She’s the hybrid child, who could change everything, and the Lycans will stop at nothing to capture her. Eve is a very important person in this film, because she could change the outcome of the war, but the little secret involving her character was kind of obvious….

Eve is Selene’s daughter.

Umm, yeah, this didn’t surprise me too much. In fact, I had this figured out, when I saw the first full trailer months ago. She’s a HYBRID child, so who else could be her mother and father? Michael is a hybrid, and he’s in love with Selene, so I could always sense some kind of connection between these three characters. Still, this was supposed to one of the bigger “surprises” in this film, and it did feel disappointing, because I could see it coming. I’ve followed every film in the Underworld franchise. I know the story, so I really couldn’t feel the shock value of this secret.

The lack of character development can be an issue here, but fuck it, I still loved Underworld: Awakening. This film is filled with nonstop action and thrills, the visuals are pretty impressive, the 3D looked great, the acting was solid enough, and the final moments of this film are packed with some nice suspense. Underworld: Awakening is a fast paced action/horror film, and this one did provide one hell of an entertaining ride for me. This rating might be a little bit high, but I can’t deny how much I loved this film. I decided to bump this score up a little bit, because I really enjoyed the 3D. Also, I was very happy to see Kate Beckinsale return, as the fearless and ass kicking Death Dealer.

Rise Of The Lycans was decent enough, and Evolution was enjoyable, but when it comes to the best film in the entire series, Awakening gives the original some serious competition. Underworld (2003) will always be remembered as the film that set the bar for the entire series, but when it comes to action and suspense, Awakening just took everything to another level. The 2003 original was a very solid film, but Awakening deserves a good amount of recognition, because this was one of the more enjoyable films in the Underworld series.

I agree almost entirely with your film review. I too admired the grit and awesome action sequences. But one problem i found with this movie, everything seemed too convenient and perfect. The pieces all fell into place and the movie carried on as expected, predictability was the film's major flaw. But other than that it's still a solid addition to the franchise which i enjoyed.

The Shape
01-30-2012, 08:00 PM
The Grey (2012) 8/10- During a plane ride home from Alaska, a hunter/sniper (Liam Neeson), who targets dangerous and threatening wolves and an oil drilling team (Todd Flannery, Talget, Diaz, Hendrick, Burke, Hernandez, Lewenden) encounter a fierce blizzard. Everything is shaky at first, but eventually, the passengers are forced to endure a fierce and violent ride, as the plane crashes to the ground. The survivors are stranded in a dangerous territory, and time isn’t on their side, because the bloodthirsty wolves, who inhabit the secluded area will kill any unwelcome intruders. The resources are VERY limited, and the freezing temperatures continue to drop. The survivors are in desperate need for shelter or a rescue, but can they survive the freezing temperatures and the attacks from the relentless wolves?

At first, I didn’t expect much from The Grey, but this film really did surprise me. The acting is very solid here, but Liam Neeson deserves a lot of credit, because he was fantastic as the lead man. Neeson was very convincing as the brave leader, who was willing to do anything to protect the other survivors, and find safety at any cost. Neeson was brave, and he could be believable as this fierce leader, who would take down any threatening wolves. John Ottway (Neeson) was a leader, and he was the voice of reason throughout this film, but Neeson could also showcase a sensitive side. You could see a heartbroken man, who missed his wife. Also, Neeson was fond of his father, and he had a strong bond with him during his childhood years. Neeson recites a poem created by his father a few times, these scenes did provide some heartwarming and touching moments, and Neeson’s character wasn’t afraid to admit his fears in this film. When the situation called for it, Neeson was more than willing to stand and fight, but he still wasn’t ashamed to profess his fears. Neeson’s character was a leader, who fought off dangerous wolves, but at the same time, he didn’t try to be this cocky alpha male bad ass. John Ottway KNEW he was stuck in a dangerous environment, and the chances for an escape were very slim. He knew his life could end at any moment. This particular thought scared him, and proudly admitting this fear was a very admirable personality trait.

The Grey is an emotional and heartbreaking tale of survival and death. This film is loaded with some nice action, the gore can be pretty gruesome, there are a few spook moments here, and this film does feature some characters, who can really care about. John Ottway and the oil rig team were men with families. The thoughts of returning to their loved ones helped keep hope alive, but for some, having to endure the freezing weather and the viscous wolves proved to be too much. Some decided to give up on life and the quest home, and these certain scenes did provide some very emotional moments. A lot of the characters weren’t afraid to admit their fears in this film. They knew they could die at any moment. They were scared, and they didn’t try to hide it. I thought this was a nice touch, because you really won’t see too many cocky characters, who make stupid mistakes in The Grey. They show their emotional side, and I really wanted to care about characters here. Also, the atmosphere in this film made the danger feel more realistic. I could really feel for the survivors, as they struggled to march through the deep snow, and the cold temperatures caused many difficulties for the main cast of characters in this film. The nighttime scenes felt eerie and chilling, and the glowing eyes of the hungry wolves in the dark helped add to the unbelievable tension throughout this film. The Grey is an outstanding thriller/drama, and I loved every second of this one.

The Descendants 9/10 (2011)- I went into this film with some pretty high expectations. The Descendants has received its fair share of tremendous praise, and there is a good amount of Oscar buzz surrounding this film. At first, I wasn’t too impressed, and I thought I would have to sit through another ordinary comedy/drama, that features a sappy story, but I was wrong. The Descendants does feature some nice humor every now and then, but this film does have its serious moments, and I could really feel the emotional scenes in this film.

Also, the acting is just superb. The Descendants features a nice set of characters, who you can actually care about, and the performances helped take everything to the next level. George Clooney was fantastic as the lead man. Matt King (Clooney) was the father with a tremendous burden. He had to abandon his role as the “back-up parent.” King must look after his two daughters, and his wife, Elizabeth, is stuck in a coma. Also, King must make a crucial decision about a land deal, that will involve lots of money. But will Clooney do the right the thing, or will he accept the guaranteed large paycheck? Matt King is put through hell here, you could really feel for this character, and George Clooney did provide a very convincing performance in this film. Shailene Woodley also deserves her fair share of credit. Alex (Woodley) was the rebellious and disrespectful teenager, and she could have a real nasty side most of the time. But you could also see a person, who was struggling with some real issues, and I wanted to feel for this character. Woodley could be humorous at times, but she also did a good job of showing some real raw emotions here.

To be honest, I really didn’t have a strong desire to watch this film. The high praises and the Oscar buzz surrounding this film drew me to this one, because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. It was a tough choice, but I decided to go with a favorable score for this film, because I did enjoy The Descendants. At times, The Descendants can provide some good laughs, and the humor in this film is very enjoyable. But The Descendants can feature some genuine emotional scenes, and this film does have its moments as a moving drama. The Descendants is able to balance the comedy and the drama. The drama doesn’t feel too sappy, and they didn’t over do the comedy here, because The Descendants never reaches the point where you might ask yourself the “Am I suppose to take this seriously or what?” question. They did do a nice job of shifting gears at the right moment, The Descendants still manages to pack a powerful punch, and the final moments of this film do provide some strong emotionally draining feelings.

2011 was a good year for George Clooney. The Ides Of March received its fair share of praise. Clooney received an Oscar nomination for his performance in The Descendants and I don’t have a problem with this at all. The rest of the acting in this film is very solid, but Clooney was the highlight of the entire cast, because he really did steal the show here.

The 1-2-3 Killam
02-05-2012, 04:09 AM
The Three Musketeers (1993) - 53%
30: Minutes or Less - 64%
The Ides of March - 65%
Mission: Impossible II - 68%
Jurassic Park III - 68%
Pirates IV - 72%
Mr. Popper's Penguins - 72%
Star Wars: Episode I - 73%
The Lost World: Jurassic Park - 73%
Fast Five - 75%
Contagion - 76%
Ironclad - 77%
Mission: Impossible - 78%
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - 78%
Tangled - 79%
Seven Pounds -79%
Eat, Pray, Love - 80%
50/50 - 81%
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 82%
Drive - 83%
Shutter Island - 85%
Mission: Impossible III - 86%
District 9 - 86%
Book of Eli - 87%
I am Legend - 87%
Super 8 - 88%
Zombieland - 89%
Jurassic Park - 90%
Moneyball - 92%
Fight Club - 94%
The Help - 96%
The Tree of Lie - 98%

Chronicle
Directed by: Josh Trank
Written by: Max Landis & Josh Trank
Staring: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, & Michael B. Jordan

Wow. I went into the theaters only knowing two things about this movie: First, that it had something to do with super powers, and that it was a "found footage" style film. For those of you not familiar with the genre, and haven't seen Cloverfield, it's one of those movies done to give the viewer the impression that you're seeing things through the eyes of the actors own personal camera. In most cases it means varying levels of quality, incredibly shaky screens, and lousy box office performance... In the case of Chronicle, it means redefining an entire genre of film-making and blowing the lid off a previously "indie" style.

I'm not sure why nobody else has though of this simple, yet surprisingly revolutionary idea, but this is the first time I've seen a film like this use multiple perspectives. As in...they solved the "we need more cameras, but how do we go about it?" problem by GIVING OTHER CHARACTERS MORE CAMERAS! Genius... At the end, it was almost like an outside source had found all these different cameras, which included the main characters film strips, security devises, cell phones, iPads, and even an innocent bystander that likely uploaded his clip to YouTube... It was extremely clever, and to put the icing on the cake they even changed quality depending on the device being used. As complicated as that sounds, it actually went down without a hitch, resulting in an incredibly seamless film.

The plot is basic enough: three teenage kids develop the power of telekinesis and struggle to make them a part of their every day, high schooler lives. What I love most is that they spent almost no time on the "origin story" of these mysterious abilities. In fact, I can piece this together for you in one sentence (WARNING: HUGE SPOILERS INCOMING!)... They went down in a hole, same something glowing, and had powers the next day. Does that sound incredibly boring? YES! But it's not, and that's the magic of Chronicle. Rather than spend 30 minutes explaining how these events came about, and another 20 at the end trying to wrap it all up with some un-needed alien invasion, they breezed past it and focussed on what was clearly important to the writers the entire time: these kids and their story.

So we've got an inexperienced director, an unknown writer, and three kids that have done some television time (Parenthood is great, by the way...). Usually that spells disaster, but they make it work here. The scenes within the school grounds feel incredibly realistic. You expect a video camera in the hands of a teenage boy to be annoying, and at times it is! They don't try to be overly serious, and for the most part the acting comes across as believable. Three angsty teenagers making their way through life with super powers - it doesn't seem that difficult a concept, but you'd be surprised to find out how many movies fail at making believable high school scenes work in their movies. I'm pleased to say that everyone did a great job, and I'll be closely following their careers in the future.

Perhaps the highlight of the film was the impending showdown at the end, putting their abilities (and the camera work) on full display for a huge, action-packed finale. While a lot of writers and directors find it hard to pull the trigger on deep, somewhat horrific plot points, Josh Trank and his crew proved that they had the cinematic "balls" to do what was necessary at the very end. When the whole thing was over I just sat in the theater and absorbed the movie on through to the end credits. And that...is always a very good sign. Great work to this extremely new cast and crew. Rating: 90%

The 1-2-3 Killam
02-05-2012, 05:53 AM
The Three Musketeers (1993) - 53%
30: Minutes or Less - 64%
The Ides of March - 65%
Mission: Impossible II - 68%
Jurassic Park III - 68%
Pirates IV - 72%
Mr. Popper's Penguins - 72%
Star Wars: Episode I - 73%
The Lost World: Jurassic Park - 73%
Fast Five - 75%
Contagion - 76%
Ironclad - 77%
Mission: Impossible - 78%
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - 78%
Tangled - 79%
Seven Pounds -79%
Eat, Pray, Love - 80%
50/50 - 81%
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 82%
Drive - 83%
Shutter Island - 85%
Mission: Impossible III - 86%
District 9 - 86%
Book of Eli - 87%
I am Legend - 87%
Super 8 - 88%
Zombieland - 89%
Jurassic Park - 90%
Chronicle - 90%
Moneyball - 92%
Fight Club - 94%
The Help - 96%
The Tree of Lie - 98%

Thor
Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Written by: Ashley Miller (screenplay), Zack Stentz (screenplay), J. Michael Straczynski (story), Mark Protesevich (story)
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, & Tom Hiddleston (w/ Anthony Hopkins)

I love super heroes, and I love super hero film adaptions ever more. That being said, I think Marvel has almost overdone it on the way to this year's big Avengers release. After the Hulk, two Ironman movies, Captain America, and now Thor... in a generation filled with Spidermans, Supermans, and Nolan's Batman empire there's really only so much room in my brain for big, expensive, over-powered fantasy dudes! And let's face it: Marvel hasn't done that great a job in branching outside their more cookie-cutter origin launches... Cap, Thor, Hulk, and Ironman may all look different, but if you break down their plot devices, it's incredibly shocking how little work they've had to do to bring us a half dozen blockbusters...

All that aside, Thor was probably nearer to the top than I expected. It's hard to mix an over-the-top fantasy universe, completely centered around Norse mythology in with "reality". But they didn't try to make "real life" more goofy, or Asgard less fantastic... They simply let the two be themselves, and managed to produce a really fun dichotomy in the process!

Chris Hemsworth was completely over-dramatic, but when you're playing a God of Thunder that's exactly what you want! He fit the role perfectly, and surprisingly enough, so did Natalie Portman! I'm not really sure what went wrong in the Star Wars trilogy for Portman (oh yes I do, and his name is George Lucas...), but she has been rocking it ever since! V for Vendetta? Classic. Black Swan? Weird, but excellent. Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium? Severely underrated family flick...IT'S GREAT! Thor isn't exactly an academy award winner, but the whole cast really bring it together...

For all my Marvel ranting at the beginning, I really do have to hand it to the team for a job well done here. It's probably competing against Ironman for the top spot right now, but we'll just have to wait and see on the Avengers. My only real complaints with the movie where the small moments of over-acting that DIDN'T quite fit the tone (mostly among the "frost warriors"), and the writers trying to fit a bit too much character background in too short a film. It's all very necessary, so I don't blame them (plus they had 5 writers and 3 comic originals to deal with...), but sometimes it did feel rushed unbalanced because of it. Nothing huge really, just some minor flaws that generally come with the territory when you deal with something like this. Overall, Thor...really really fun! Rating: 82%

The Shape
02-06-2012, 08:10 PM
Haywire (2012) 7/10- Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is a lethal and crafty agent, who works for a private American government firm, that carries out covert operation missions. Kenneth (Ewan McGregor) is Mallory’s boss and ex-boyfriend. He gives Mallory a simple enough mission: She must pose as the wife of a Bristish agent (Michael Fassbender) during a mission in Dublin. Everything feels calm at first, but Mallory quickly realizes Kenneth’s betrayal. The one man, who she thought was trustworthy set her up. Mallory’s life is in serious danger. Paul (Fassbender) tries to “finalize the divorce,” but Mallory is able to get the upper hand. She takes care of Paul, but Mallory isn’t in the clear just yet. Mallory has been framed for murder, and she has become a hunted fugitive. Mallory is able to make a quick escape, and she only has two goals set in her sights: Discover the truth behind her betrayal, and kill everyone involved.

Gina Carano has received a lot of heat from the critics. Her “atrocious” acting skills are one of the main reasons why a good amount of critics have torn this film apart and trashed it to no end. I really don’t know too much about Carano. I know she’s an MMA fighter, and I have seen a few of her fights over the years, but I don’t pay close attention, because I’m not a big fan of MMA. I also don’t know if she’s done other films before. Most of the critics HATED her performance in this film, but for the most part, I actually enjoyed Carano and her character. Acting wise, she was okay. Her acting skills weren’t anything to brag about, and there’s no denying that, but Carano was able to make-up for her shortcomings in the acting department during the action scenes. Mallory Kane was a fearless and crafty agent, who wouldn’t back down from a fight. Carano was very smooth during the fight scenes in this film, and she was very believable, as this woman who could knock your teeth down your throat, and in most cases, do a lot worse. The Mallory Kane character was more of a physical threat than anything. Carano was able to pull off this side of the character with ease, she did provide an intimidating presence, and she was very comfortable with her character throughout this film.

Carano is an attractive woman, and she could have a future in mainstream action films, but she needs to step things up on the acting side of her career, if she wants to become a real star one day. She’s not going to be surrounded by an experienced and well known cast in all of her films, and there’s going to come a time, where she’s going to have to carry one of her movies.

Anyway, Haywire is an intelligent and sharp action/thriller, and this film does feature some clever editing. The supporting cast is excellent, the acting is very solid, and the story is filled with a nice amount of twist and turns, that will keep you guessing until the very end. I really enjoyed the action in this film, but I guess I’m in a very small minority with these feelings. You’ll see Gina Carano do a lot of ass kicking and running in Haywire, but you won’t see too many adrenaline filled shoot outs, explosive car chases are pretty much non existent, and you won’t see a cheesy and predictable big showdown at the end. But Haywire does feature some highly entertaining fight scenes. These scenes did provide plenty of thrills and suspense for me, and these particular scenes did feel very brutal and intense. Haywire takes a different approach to the action genre, and everything did feel refreshing here.

Haywire is a fast-paced action flick, that hooked me in from beginning to end, and the Mallory Kane character is one of the most believable bad asses you’ll see on the big screen. I know it probably won’t happen, but I would love to see a sequel for this, because this film has become one of my early favorites this year.

Chronicle (2012) 7/10- One night, during a wild rave, three teens (Andrew, Steve, and Matt) decide to investigate a mysterious hole in the ground. At first, Andrew (Dane DeHaan) is reluctant to take the trip into the mysterious hole, but his cousin, Matt (Alex Russell) and their new found and popular friend, Steve (Micahel B. Jordan) convince him to explore the mystery. The teens have a strange and dangerous encounter with a large glowing object, that causes some severe nosebleeds, and everyone blacks out. The teens were able to survive their encounter with the mysterious glowing object, and all of them have received superpowers. Everything is joyous at first, and the group of teens manage to have fun with their powers, but Andrew’s problems at home begin to get worse as time passes by. Andrew is tired of being bullied, he can’t stand his abusive and alcoholic father, and he will abuse his powers in the worst way.

At first I wanted to give up on Chronicle. I just thought “Oh boy. This is going to be ANOTHER boring and bland found-footage film, with shaky camera affects. But shaky camera affects are cool, because they make everything feel more realistic!” Ugh. Well, my opinions of this film drastically changed as time passed by, and I slowly became a big fan of this film. The story can feel mysterious and intriguing, because I wanted to know where the superpowers came from. Will the teens try to become heroes and save the world? Or will they just continue to have fun, and act like wild college kids, who don’t have any sense of responsibility?

I was intrigued by the story, but Andrew’s descent into madness was unreal. Andrew is a kid with some serious problems. You can clearly see this early on, and I did want to feel for this character. Dane DeHaan did provide a very believable performance. The Andrew character has to deal with a lot of problems at home, but he couldn’t look past his tough life at home, and he couldn’t overcome the tragic situation in his broken family. Instead, Andrew chose to lash out with rage and vengeance, and he used his powers to destroy everything in his path. Andrew’s transformation was unreal, because he starts out as this shy kid, who eats shit from EVERYONE, but towards the end of the film, he becomes this raging and powerful psycho, who will stop at nothing to cause chaos.

The production values in this film were pretty good, and I really enjoyed this, because some found-footage films try so hard, when it comes to staying true to the realism factor. Shitty production values don’t do anything for me, but Chronicle really doesn’t have any real problems in this department. Chronicle features a nice set of likeable characters, who you can actually care about, and I really enjoyed this film. Michael Kelly is probably the only recognizable face in this entire film, and Chronicle does feature a cast of relatively unknown actors. But the main cast does deserve a ton of credit here. Dane Haan, Alex Russell, and Micahel B. Jordan all delivered some very solid and convincing performances, and the acting in this film is very enjoyable.

Chronicle does provide some nice humor, and they were able to mix in some believable and genuine drama here. Most of the drama revolves around the Andrew character, and this film did feature a shocking death, because I really didn’t see it coming. Also, the final moments of this film are packed with action, suspense, and thrills, and Chronicles exciting conclusion really did hook me in. At first, Chronicle might feel like an ordinary drama about teens, and the problems they face during their high school years, as they grow up. And this film does have its cheerful moments, but Chronicle eventually turns into one highly entertaining science-fiction film, and I couldn’t get enough of this one, once the story FINALLY gained some real momentum.

INDYjon22
02-06-2012, 10:48 PM
I have to agree with your rating of Chronicle. When I first learned about I thought it was just another poorly pushed film that would hit theaters and be shit, but in all honesty, it was pretty solid. While I don't think the acting was all that great, outside of Michael Jordan's performance, it was far from bad. The story was engaging and the action was more worth while. The evolution of Andrew's character was startling and the issue that faced Matt was pretty surreal. Definitely a worthwhile flick if you have nothing better to do. 7/10

The 1-2-3 Killam
02-07-2012, 11:57 PM
The Three Musketeers (1993) - 53%
30: Minutes or Less - 64%
The Ides of March - 65%
Mission: Impossible II - 68%
Jurassic Park III - 68%
Pirates IV - 72%
Mr. Popper's Penguins - 72%
Star Wars: Episode I - 73%
The Lost World: Jurassic Park - 73%
-------------------------This is the "entertaining enough to watch again" line---------------------------
Fast Five - 75%
Contagion - 76%
Ironclad - 77%
Mission: Impossible - 78%
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - 78%
Tangled - 79%
Seven Pounds -79%
Eat, Pray, Love - 80%
50/50 - 81%
Thor - 82%
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 82%
Drive - 83%
Shutter Island - 85%
Mission: Impossible III - 86%
District 9 - 86%
Book of Eli - 87%
I am Legend - 87%
Super 8 - 88%
Zombieland - 89%
Jurassic Park - 90%
Chronicle - 90%
Moneyball - 92%
Fight Club - 94%
The Help - 96%
The Tree of Lie - 98%

The Beaver
Directed by: Jodie Foster
Written by: Kyle Killen
Starring: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, & Anton Yelchin

When you start up a film knowing the central plot revolves around Mel Gibson talking through a stuffed beaver attached to his hand, you don't really expect to get your money's worth. In fact, the idea that I actually checked out this film at all makes me question my sanity a bit - bottom line: I'm really glad I did.

The Beaver is one of those movies that pleasantly surprises you, like Tim Allen's "Santa Claus" or the most recent A-Team endeavor. It wasn't an Academy performance by any stretch of the imagination, but it did manage to entertain from beginning to...about 15 minutes before the end. Indeed there is a point at which the film takes itself much too seriously, and attempts to break from its role as a "dramedy", and perform an unnecessary plunge into shock and awe. Normally I would applaud a writer/director for pulling the trigger on a gusty maneuver, but this time it just didn't work.

However, everything up to that point was completely watchable - enjoyable even! Mel Gibson delivered one of his better roles (that's not saying TOO much, but it was good), and the actual beaver was the star of the film. Yes, the movie really did focus on Mel Gibson - who played Walter Black - being controlled by a stuffed beaver affixed to his left arm. To be clear, they made this plot point a bit more believable by dropping a television on Mr. Black's head after a drunken night and an almost fatal act of depression. Somehow they turned something wildly stupid into something more like: "Alright...[long pause]...I guess this could work."

Meredith Black (Jodie Foster) was adequate, delivering her part with all the splendor and majesty of a typical Jodie Foster film (if you're not familiar with her work, and I use that term cautiously, there is a thick coat of warm, buttery sarcasm over that last statement)... It was actually Porter Black, their troubled teenage son, that made the secondary plot worth seeing. Porter was acted out by Anton Yelchin, who rocked Charlie Bartlett and soared in the new JJ Abrams' Star Trek reboot. Yelchin's frequent exchanges with Jennifer Lawrence (she played young Mystique in X-Men: First Class) were pleasant and well-acted.

Mostly "The Beaver" was just moderately entertaining, but it ranks so high because of how much I just DIDN'T hate it! Apart from the last fifteen to twenty minutes, they really did a fantastic job bringing this ridiculous subject matter to life. Great acting from the majority of the cast (an adequate job from "some"), fun secondary material inserted to make the main plot move more smoothly, and a really well-done script to allow the actors to truly shine. Thank you all for blowing me away... Turns out you can give Mel Gibson a stuffed beaver for a hand, turn it into a movie, and come out with something positive... Rating: 81%

The 1-2-3 Killam
02-08-2012, 06:01 AM
The Three Musketeers (1993) - 53%
30: Minutes or Less - 64%
The Ides of March - 65%
Mission: Impossible II - 68%
Jurassic Park III - 68%
Pirates IV - 72%
Mr. Popper's Penguins - 72%
Star Wars: Episode I - 73%
The Lost World: Jurassic Park - 73%
-------------------------This is the "entertaining enough to recommend" line---------------------------
Fast Five - 75%
Contagion - 76%
Ironclad - 77%
Mission: Impossible - 78%
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - 78%
Tangled - 79%
Seven Pounds -79%
Eat, Pray, Love - 80%
The Beaver - 81%
50/50 - 81%
Thor - 82%
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 82%
Drive - 83%
Shutter Island - 85%
Mission: Impossible III - 86%
District 9 - 86%
Book of Eli - 87%
I am Legend - 87%
Super 8 - 88%
Zombieland - 89%
Jurassic Park - 90%
Chronicle - 90%
Moneyball - 92%
The Sting - 93%
Fight Club - 94%
The Help - 96%
The Tree of Lie - 98%

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_hdDfz3pI2EQ/TJAK24tqBEI/AAAAAAAAAiQ/Yne250CFRZc/s1600/EHTheSting.jpg

The Sting (1973)
Directed by: George Roy Hill
Written by: David S. Ward
Starring: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, & Robert Shaw

This was THE movie in 1973. Winning 7 Oscars (and nominated for 3 more!), an award from the Director's Guild of America, a People's Choice Award, an award from the National Board of Review, entered into the National Film Registry, and honored by the Writers Guild of America... You really don't get much higher praise than all of that! Robert Redford and Paul Newman, perhaps the most iconic film pairing in history, act out a drama with so many intriguing twists and turns, it has yet to be bested or duplicated by anything in its genre to this very day - almost 40 years later.

Redford and Newman play Hooker and Gondorff (respectively), two high class con-artists attempting to pull off one of the biggest cons of their time, a gesture of revenge for their fallen friend. Think Oceans Eleven, but with a lot more twists, and a bit more class. Most younger people today don't catch this when watching it for the first time, because the movie itself was filmed in 1972, but the Sting was a period piece based out of the 1930's. As some may know, I'm a sucker for well done period pieces... Not only did the cast play it out perfectly, but there's a reason they won Academy Awards for costume design, art direction, and set decoration! Everything down to the little details was perfect, and they manage to consume you into this world for two hours.

The train scene, in which Hooker has to win a rigged game of high-stakes poker, is by far my favorite scene in the film. 1) I love poker and films that use it as a means to build drama, and 2) because it's so well done! They don't rush it, and if you're paying attention all is explained through side dialogue so you never quite feel lost - although if you lose focus for a few minutes you might have to go back and figure some things out... There's not a whole lot more I can say about The Sting, except that if you haven't seen it, do so immediately. It's an American classic that raised the bar for all of cinema in its day. Not many films in the 39 years to follow can say they even came close to producing a better quality product. The acting was phenomenal, the direction was flawless, the script was compelling and worked perfectly for those casted, and as I already mentioned the detail work in the costume/set department just put the icing on the cake.

Stop reading this review, stop talking about wrestling on the internet, and go watch The Sting. Rating: 93%

The 1-2-3 Killam
02-08-2012, 08:56 AM
Sorry for the triple post guys, but it takes more than 30 minutes to watch a movie I'm afraid...

The Three Musketeers (1993) - 53%
30: Minutes or Less - 64%
The Ides of March - 65%
Mission: Impossible II - 68%
Jurassic Park III - 68%
Pirates IV - 72%
Mr. Popper's Penguins - 72%
Star Wars: Episode I - 73%
The Lost World: Jurassic Park - 73%
-------------------------This is the "entertaining enough to recommend" line---------------------------
Fast Five - 75%
Contagion - 76%
Ironclad - 77%
Mission: Impossible - 78%
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - 78%
Tangled - 79%
Seven Pounds - 79%
A Little Romance - 79%
Eat, Pray, Love - 80%
The Beaver - 81%
50/50 - 81%
Thor - 82%
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 82%
Drive - 83%
Shutter Island - 85%
Mission: Impossible III - 86%
District 9 - 86%
Book of Eli - 87%
I am Legend - 87%
Super 8 - 88%
Zombieland - 89%
Jurassic Park - 90%
Chronicle - 90%
Moneyball - 92%
The Sting - 93%
Fight Club - 94%
The Help - 96%
The Tree of Lie - 98%

http://static.tvguide.com/MediaBin/Galleries/Imported/Movies/1/4804a.jpg

A Little Romance (1979)
Directed by: George Roy Hill
Written by: Allan Burns (screenplay)
Starring: Laurence Olivier, Diane Lane, & Thelonius Bernard

After just finishing up The Sting I decided to take a stroll through another of George Roy Hill's films, and landed on a fun looking romantic comedy called "A Little Romance". What separates this from all the moronic Adam Sandler and/or Jennifer Aniston movies (besides a decent director and a legend like Laurence Olivier), is the focus on romance between two young children. How often do we see either a forgettable date-night comedy for adults, or barely passable Disney channel movie for the kids? It's rare, if at all, that we see a kid-oriented romance actually MADE for adults!

I'm pretty hit-and-miss when it comes to child actors. I used to outright hate them, figuring there was a reason old English plays used men to portrait both the women and children in their productions. But over time greats like the recent "Tree of Life" warmed my heart of stone, and I've given the kids a fighting chance. Diane Lane has made a pretty good name for herself in the film industry, despite never truly being a top-teir talent, so if you're interested to see where she first got started check this out! The other child actor, Thelonius Bernard, only ever did one more film before walking away from the industry. I don't want to see that was for the best - he truly wasn't terrible - but without Diane Lane and Laurence Olivier to back him up this movie would have tanked. Lane was charming, and almost adorable at times in her young role as Lauren King. Mr. Olivier was fantastic as usual, although this time around his character fell prone to a few rather...creepy moments.

Time hasn't been overly nice to this 1979 classic. There's already a slight culture barrier, being that "A Little Romance" was filmed in France, featured French actors, and had a lot of French culture mixed in. But overall it had a very western feel and if you gave it a chance it wasn't hard to adapt. Certain cheesy moments that almost took me out of the moment still remain though, and I think I would have liked this one a bit more if there wasn't 33 years of time between me and this film. Thelonius' character was an avid Western film buff who had an obsession with Robert Redford, so I did love the nods to past classics, including a few clips from the aforementioned "The Sting" thrown in, likely as winkey-face to the director. Overall, a fun piece of work with a couple laughs and some heart-felt scenes between two young kids in love. The plot is a bit far-fetched, but what romantic comedy isn't? Rating: 79%

Aside: I love that no matter what era a film takes place, there are still elements of classic motifs. How many times have we seen a movie centered around kids where all the adults involved are practically failures at raising kids, doing their jobs, or having an upstanding code of ethics? You see it in pretty much every kids show on television since the year 2000. If there's one thing modern TV shows want to push, it's that adults are stupid and have no idea what they're doing... Good to see some things have always been the same!

At least 90's kids shows taught us how to respect our parents... Boy Meets World anybody?

Paralyzer Z
02-10-2012, 05:04 PM
Cry, the beloved country(1995)
Director: Darell Roodt
Starring: James Earl Jones, and Richard Harris

This premises is what you would come to expect from anti-apartheid, but that's not a bad thing. It revolves around A father(Jones) searching for various family members in 1946 Johannesburg South Africa. He finds that his son is being tried for killing a white man, whom's father is the secondary character of the story. I think that James Earl Jones is awesome here with his majestic voice (Like with Mufasa in the Lion King). Harris here plays the emotional discomfort of loosing he son here very well and believable. There isn't as much action per say as other anti-apartheid films which causes it too move at a rather slower pace but it tells the story slightly better that way. It's a great film to check out if you are in the mood for a touching drama. 8/10

Puss in Boots(2011)
Director: Chris Miller
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, and Zack Galifianakis

I went into this film with absolutely horrible expectations. When speaking about the Shrek films that this movie is a spin-off from I loved the first 2 and despised the last 2. Naturally speaking from experience I wasn't depending on Dreamworks to churn out something better. Shockingly I had a ton of fun watching this. It's really different from Shrek as not only is the animation fantastic but it's actually an interesting story. Puss is awesome, however every other character at one point I get annoyed by especially Humpty Dumpty. There are some hilarious laughs as expected from a Dreamworks animation film. I also like how they portray the setting Spain, in the dessert rather than in the urban areas. A very fun movie to watch with your kids so it gets: 7/10

A Time to Kill(1996)
Director: Joel Shumacher
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Bullock, and Matthew McConaughey

This movie is about a rape in Mississippi that is racially motivated by White psycho looking guys, on a black girl. The father (Jackson) proceeds to murder them prior to a fair trial getting himself arrested, jailed, and put up for trial at the same time. This has to be one of my favorite ever, everything comes together to create this epic courtroom style feeling. There is emotions all over the place from everyone. Jackson and Bullock are terrific as usual. McConaughey is very calm but always says something smart where you need it. The involvement of the Klu Klux Klan brings it over the top a bit but it's enjoyable to see them fail for most of the movie. This will keep you on the edge of your feet I bet. 9/10

The 1-2-3 Killam
02-12-2012, 09:17 AM
The Three Musketeers (1993) - 53%
30: Minutes or Less - 64%
The Ides of March - 65%
Mission: Impossible II - 68%
Jurassic Park III - 68%
Pirates IV - 72%
Mr. Popper's Penguins - 72%
Star Wars: Episode I - 73%
The Lost World: Jurassic Park - 73%
-------------------------This is the "entertaining enough to recommend" line---------------------------
Fast Five - 75%
Contagion - 76%
Ironclad - 77%
Mission: Impossible - 78%
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - 78%
Tangled - 79%
Seven Pounds - 79%
A Little Romance - 79%
Eat, Pray, Love - 80%
The Beaver - 81%
50/50 - 81%
Thor - 82%
The Change-Up - 82%
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - 82%
Drive - 83%
Shutter Island - 85%
Mission: Impossible III - 86%
District 9 - 86%
Book of Eli - 87%
I am Legend - 87%
Super 8 - 88%
Zombieland - 89%
Jurassic Park - 90%
Chronicle - 90%
Moneyball - 92%
The Sting - 93%
Fight Club - 94%
The Help - 96%
The Tree of Lie - 98%

The Change-Up
Directed by: David Dobkin
Written by: Jon Lucas & Scott Moore
Starring: Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Leslie Mann, & Olivia Wilde

Pleasantly surprised - moderately entertaining. Two phrases I think perfectly fit "The Change-Up", and those involved should be proud of what they've accomplished. They succeeded in putting together a fantastic crew of actors and actresses that played out their parts with excellent chemistry - much more than your average "dumb comedy" can say for itself. In fact it was the performances that brought this one about C-level for me ("see" what I did there?).

The plot is a basic one with a goofy twist thrown in to make it all come together: Mitch and Dave (Reynolds and Bateman, respectively) are two lifelong best friends on opposite ends of the life spectrum who, upon urinating in a "magic fountain" together after a night of heavy drinking, switch lives. The obvious "success/failure" dichotomy is ever-present here, and outside of the strange plot device the writers follow a pretty standard series of events. Mitch has to figure out how to be a big-shot lawyer a few days before the biggest deal in his firms' history goes down (of course...), while Dave finally gets the time to lay around, smoke some pot, and have sex with the girl of his dreams. Dave also has a wife, three children, and a slowly decaying marriage to bring to the table, adding in that family drama aspect that actually gives the story a bit more flavor than I had expected.

The secondary characters are all wonderful. Leslie Mann plays Dave's wife, and does a well-above-average job in the role. Olivia Wilde continues to impress me as she pays the secondary love interest (the aforementioned "girl of his dreams"), who also happens to work for Dave... Gregory Itzens's tertiary role as Dave's boss was just icing on the cake for me, as I happen to be a huge fan of his work in 24! I was also impressed that they were given time to get the story out there, as most "funnies" are rushed...or Adam Sandler runs out of recycled comedy devices and they have to call it short. The full 118 minutes allowed them to take their time, work a bit more on character development, and resulted in one of the better-produced comedies of our time.

The thing that almost tanked this film for me was that it seemed lost in its own genre. Normally with funny movies you end up with either a family comedy, an adult "dromedy", or a campy teenage train wreck. "The Change-Up" kind of dwells in each of these categories, sticking within the teenage-to-adult range for most of its time. At times it tries really hard to speak to the adult men with their families, full-time jobs, and kids. It speaks to those people who remember having a "fun" life at one point, but are now relegated to going to sleep early, changing diapers, and picking the kids up from soccer practice every evening. And when it does that...it's really good! Unfortunately, every few minutes it descends into that place where campy summer flicks like "American Pie" go to die... What we get is this incredibly well-done comedy with WAY too much vulgarity, an over-emphasis on sexuality, and a whole lot of big fake boobies. I want to say it's kind of a hybrid, but it turns out more like that creepy chimera from "Fullmetal Alchemist" instead... (+10 points to Gryffindor if you got that reference).

Rating: 82%

NOTE: The "Unrated" version of this movie contains a good amount of nudity. View at your own discretion, and please don't come complaining to me when your mom catches you going to town during Olivia Wilde's "side-boob" scene.

The Shape
02-12-2012, 08:16 PM
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2012) 4/10- Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) struggles to cope with the tragic death of his father, Thomas Schell (Tom Hanks). Oskar’s dad was killed in the September 11th attacks, and he refuses to give his mother (Linda Schell) a chance as a single parent. Linda’s (Sandra Bullock) relationship with Oskar just gets worse as time goes on, but Oskar decides to go on a journey, that might cheer him up, and he could find the answers for a missing part of his father’s life. Oskar finds a single key in an envelope one day, and he is determined to find the original owner, but Oskar’s search for answers is filled with some painful setbacks.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close did receive a nice amount of Oscar buzz, and I wanted to give this one a try. This was a very tough rating for me, because I really didn’t know how to feel about this film at first. This film does provide some emotional moments, but I just can’t go with a favorable score here.

Thomas Horn could have a bright future in Hollywood, and he could become a recognizable face in Hollywood’s group of talented child actors and actresses. I was always on the fence with the Oskar character, but Horn did provide a believable performance, and he did give a nice effort here. Oskar was a young child, who had lost his father and his best friend. Also, Oskar could be a strange and awkward child, who didn’t want to fit in. Oskar’s eccentric personality could feel unique at times, but there were times, when the Oskar character drove me nuts. He could be so annoying, and his dreadful humor didn’t bring any laughs out of me. Yes. I know. This was a child, who struggled through a tough situation, but Oskar just reminded me of some hyper kid, who ate way too much sugar in one day. The Oskar character might suffer from a social anxiety disorder, so this could be the reason for his bizarre behavior. But they never confirmed this in the film, so either way, you really can’t be too sure. Oskar could be an annoying and disrespectful brat, but this character was able to provide some emotional moments in this film. Most of the time, Oskar drove me absolutely nuts, but there were times, where I could feel sympathy for him, because this character has to deal with a lot of emotional trauma here.

This film’s controversial subject matter has brought a lot of anger out of some critics. You really can’t ignore the 9/11 stuff here, because they reference the attacks throughout the entire film. You will see a CGI replica of the burning Twin Towers in this film, they do show real life news footage of 9/11 (the chaos in New York City, the collapse of the Towers, etc.), and September 11th is mentioned in every other scene. Also, the Oskar character constantly refers to 9/11 as “that bad day.” Sure, he doesn’t directly come out and say “the September 11th attacks” or “9/11,” but you still know what he’s talking about. A lot of people have mixed feelings on this, but I think Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close used 9/11 to pull some shock value reactions out of the audience. They tried to use the attacks to provide some emotional moments, and for me, this was the main distasteful flaw in this film. Slight references towards the tragedy is one thing, but I just got this “Hey don’t forget. This film is about 9/11” feeling throughout this one. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close consonantly reminds you of 9/11, and this did become very annoying after a while. It felt like they were trying to force a bunch of tears out of the audience, and I didn’t like this approach one bit.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close tries to be this moving and emotional drama, but I just couldn’t get into this most of the time. There are some emotional moments in this film (mainly the scenes, where Bullock‘s character tries to bond with Oskar), but most of the time, everything just feels so forced. As I said before, it felt like they were trying to force tears from the audience, while everyone in the theater shared one giant group hug. Most of the sentimental stuff in this film felt so fake and unconvincing, and a lot of the drama really didn’t do anything for me. Also, the plot can feel confusing at times. Is Oskar trying to complete an extravagant and impossible scavenger hunt? Or is this film supposed to be about the troubles of two people (Linda and Oskar), as they struggle to move on in the aftermath of a tragedy? These two questions always popped in mind throughout this film, and I couldn’t find a clear answer to both of them. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close can feel so dull most of the time, and this film did not take me on an inspiring and emotional journey. I really can’t understand the favorable praises for this film, and I wish I would’ve skipped this one.

Sandra Bullock deserves a lot of credit, because she was fantastic here. She did provide a very convincing performance, and Max Von Sydow was excellent. Sydow portrayed Oskar’s silent companion, who wanted to help him during his search for the owner of the mysterious key. I could feel sympathy for this character, Sydow did a good job of showing some real emotions, he was very believable, and I don’t have a problem with his Oscar nomination. I wish I could’ve seen more of Tom Hanks (his character is only shown in flashbacks), but the majority of the cast was very enjoyable. Viola Davis’ role is pretty limited here, but she still delivered a solid performance.

Good acting prevented me from giving this one a lower score, but still, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a mediocre film at best, and I really can’t understand the Best Picture nomination for this. The Academy always makes some questionable decisions every year, but they snubbed 50/50, The Ides Of March, and Drive for this? Really??? I guess a lot of people were touched by the “strong and emotional journey” this film tried to offer, but I wasn’t one of them.

The Woman In Black (2012) 5/10- Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) is a young lawyer, who is forced into a tough situation. His wife, Stella (Sophie Stuckey) died shortly after giving birth to their young son, Joesph (Misha Handley). Although, Kipps doesn’t have to raise Joesph alone, because he does receive some help from the nanny. But the overdue bills start piling up fast, Kipp’s job is in danger, and he needs to make more money. Arthur must leave Joesph behind for a short time, as he travels to another town to handle the estate of Alice Drablow. Arthur isn’t welcomed by the townspeople. They want him to leave, but Arthur decides to stay, because he NEEDS to keep his job. But Arthur might regret his decision soon enough, because Alice’s ghost begins to reek havoc. Arthur freaks out, as the old house begins to show signs of a haunting, and Kipps slowly learns about the mysterious legend of The Woman In Black. Alice’s (The Woman In Black) “son” died in a tragic accident years ago, and her ghost terrorizes the other kids in town. This is her way of seeking vengeance. The young children begin to die in a series of gruesome suicides, and the ghost of Alice could be the cause of the tragic deaths, that continue to plague the quiet little town. Arthur is running out of time. His son Joesph is traveling to meet him, but Arthur tries to stop his son’s arrival, because Joesph could be the next target of The Woman In Black.

I really tried to get into this, but for the most part, I just couldn’t. The scare tactics did become tiresome very quickly, and after a while, the spook moments really didn’t do anything for me. “Hey! Let’s just have The Woman In Black randomly appear out of nowhere, because it’ll be SCARY!” Well, this formula could’ve worked, but they really went overboard with the “surprise” appearances from the main ghost in this film. The first couple of appearances from The Woman In Black can provide a few jump scares, but the pattern of having her randomly appear, while screaming does become very predictable as time goes on. The Woman In Black quickly loses her shock value in this film, because you can clearly see her “unexpected” appearances coming from a mile away. “The Woman In Black should pop up out of nowhere. It’s going to happen any minute now…again.” This is the feeling I had halfway through the film, and the constant pop up appearances from The Woman In Black do become very annoying after a while. You’ll also see a bunch of dead children/ghosts, who appear out of nowhere, and these moments did bring a few facepalms out of me. The having “dead people stand around with emotionless looks on their faces” routine didn’t provide any scares for me. In fact, this routine just becomes boring after a while. Again, this sort of scare tactic loses its shock value QUICKLY, when you overdo it, and they did run this particular routine into the ground. For fuck’s sake, a group of flying pigeons provided a better and more unpredictable jump scare than the dead people/ghosts in this film, and that can’t be looked at as a good sign.

As this film progressed, The Woman In Black really couldn’t provide anymore scares for me, but this wasn’t a horrible film. The acting is pretty solid, and this film did feature some good tension at times. Also, Eel Marsh (the haunted house of The Woman In Black) did provide a creepy and chilling atmosphere. Eel Marsh did have this genuine spooky feeling, and the scenes that featured the haunted house could provide some nail biting moments. The Woman In Black isn’t anything to brag about, but this was a decent enough horror flick. They do show a little blood here, and you will see a few dead bodies, but overall, the gory stuff in this film is very tamed. Although, this was a PG-13 film, so you can’t expect a gruesome and bloody horror flick. This is not a memorable film by any means, and this one does have its dull moments, but you might enjoy this, if you lower expectation levels for anything good or great.

The Woman In Black does have a strong average feeling, but Daniel Radcliffe wasn’t bad as the lead man. His post Harry Potter career is in full swing, and this was an okay start for him. Radcliffe did give a good effort here, and he did provide a solid enough performance. Radcliffe is still very young, so he has plenty of time left. Most people will always think of the heroic young wizard, when they look at Radcliffe, and he could suffer an identity crisis for some time. But Radcliffe did receive a lot of exposure from the Potter films, and he is still young, so he does have plenty of time to emerge from Harry Potter’s shadow.

LilacFray
02-15-2012, 11:22 AM
I'm liking the whole thing with putting a picture before the title pattern. ;) Excuse me for going with the flow.

http://i.imgur.com/3J5VK.jpg

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Oh this story tore at my heart. I had read the book years ago but I decided to watch the movie with my Sister since I've heard a lot about it being good and all. It made me cry like a baby. At first I wondered how they'd show things from Bruno's point of view as good as it was done in the book, but I was impressed. I soon found myself deeply attached with the characters. The story made me (rarely) smile at his innocence through my lame tears. I am quite the sentimental person but I know that it wasn't just me who was moved by the movie. Little details throughout the movie are accurate and it's actually a good movie to show to students learning about Nazi Germany in my opinion. It takes place during World War II and is about an eight year old boy named Bruno, the son of a commandant of a concentration camp, who develops a forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy of his age who's imprisoned in the camp. The movie itself began with a wonderful quote -

“Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.” -John Betjemen.

Rating: 9.5/10

The Shape
02-15-2012, 08:02 PM
Joyful Noise (2012) 2/10- During the performance of a church choir from a small town, the choir director, Bernard Sparrow (Kris Kristofferson) suffers a sudden heart attack. Bernard dies shortly after the performance. Pastor Dale (Courtney B. Vance) chooses Vi Rose Hill (Queen Latifah) as the new choir director, and this doesn’t sit well with Bernard’s widow, G.G. Sparrow (Dolly Parton). G.G. desperately wants the honor of becoming choir director, but Pastor Dale doesn’t approve of her hip and cool style. G.G. and Vi don’t get along at all, but they’ll have to put their differences aside. The “Joyful Noise” gospel choir competition is in full swing., and another loss could cause a lot of trouble for the town choir. The future of the choir is in serious jeopardy, and Pastor Dale will pull the plug, if the choir suffers another loss in the big competition. Entering the competition costs money, and the small town choir has built up a noticeable losing streak. Pastor Dale has lost faith in them, and constantly spending money on a losing effort is starting to hurt the church. G.G. and Vi must work together and put aside their differences, if they want to win the competition and save the choir‘s chances to compete in the future.

I couldn’t get into this at all. I really tried, but I quickly began to lose interest in this film. Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah did share some good chemistry, and their bitter rivalry throughout this film was very believable. Also, the musical performances are enjoyable, especially towards the end, but I just can’t give this film a positive score.

Keke Palmer (Olivia Hill) has always showed some promise as one of Hollywood’s young actresses, but she was very disappointing in this film. Her performance felt so contrived, and she just went through the motions the entire time. I’ll give Queen Latifah the credit she deserves here, because she did deliver a very dedicated and convincing performance in this film. Latifah was very believable as the strict and overbearing mother, and most of the time, she carried this film on her back. Dolly Parton was okay at best, but her rivalry with Latifah helped make her presence tolerable, because her acting didn’t help elevate this film in any way.

Queen Latifah and the musical performances are the only few highlights of this film, unfortunately. Overall, the acting is VERY mediocre, and the story is so dull. Joyful Noise is a very bland and predictable film, and this one painfully goes through the motions the entire time. The emotional moments do feel overwhelmingly cheesy. The sentimental and touching moments feel so forced, and I couldn’t buy into any of the “heartwarming” scenes in this film. Joyful Noise could’ve worked as a respectable feel-good family friendly film, but they really dropped the ball with this one.

Joyful Noise should’ve debuted on the Lifetime or Hallmark channel, VH1, or ABC Family (yeah, it’s not even worthy of the main network), because this film didn’t deserve a run in theaters at all.

Also, Dolly Parton needs to lay off the plastic surgery. I know this might sound mean and cruel, but most of the time, I couldn’t stand to look at her. I’m sorry, but this woman’s face is just hideous in every way. Parton’s character actually tries to poke fun at her real life cosmetic surgeries. "Who cares if I've had a few nips and tucks? God didn't make plastic surgeons so they could starve!." She actually said this during an argument with the Vi Rose character, and I couldn’t laugh. Parton’s attempt to make fun of her plastic surgeries just brought this “Wow. You can’t be serious.” reaction out of me. Parton looks like a mangled wax figure. Her tits didn’t help take the focus off of her face, and they couldn’t cause the much needed distraction for me. Please lay off the surgeries, Dolly, because the constant procedures really aren’t helping anymore.

Breakdown (1997) 7/10- Jeff Taylor (Kurt Russell) and his wife Amy (Kathleen Quinlan) are taking a trip to San Diego. Everything is calm at first, as they drive across a deserted highway, but a near collision with the angry driver of a pickup truck changes everything. After a brief stop and a nasty encounter with the driver of the pickup truck, Jeff and Amy decide to get back on the road, but their car quickly shuts off. Jeff and Amy are seemingly stranded in the middle of nowhere, but a truck driver offers some help. Red Barr (J.T. Walsh) gives Jeff’s wife a ride to a local diner, and at first, Red seems like a nice and harmless guy, who wanted to lend a helping hand. Amy leaves with Red to call for help, but shortly after his wife’s departure, Jeff makes a startling discovery: someone intentionally rigged his car. Jeff fixes the problem quickly, but his troubles are far from over. Amy has gone missing, and for Jeff, finding a helping hand won’t be so easy.

I have always LOVED this film, and I can still remember seeing this one in theaters for the first time as a kid. Breakdown has always been one of my favorite thrillers, I’m a big Kurt Russell fan, and I can always watch this one over and over again.

Jeff and Amy are two characters, who you can really care about. At first, they’re just two innocent travelers, who stumble into a life threatening situation, and Jeff has to fight impossible odds, if he wants to stay alive and rescue his wife from danger. I always root for these characters to survive, when I watch this film, and Kurt Russell does a fine job with the lead role. He did deliver a very believable performance in this film, and the Jeff character does have his moments as a bad ass. Jeff is forced to rise to the challenge of fighting the kidnappers, his manhood is tested throughout this film, and Russell really did bring life to his character. Also, the antagonists in this film do provide some believable feelings of anger. The kidnappers are these lowlife and cold-hearted scumbags, who will stop at nothing to put Kurt Russell through hell. The performances from J.T. Walsh, M.C. Gainey, Jack Noseworthy, and Ritch Brinkley helped take everything to the next level, and you can truly despise the bad guys in this film.

Breakdown might feature a familiar story, and the plot might feel kind of ordinary and predictable, but this can still be a very enjoyable suspense/thriller. This film features some good acting, and the constant twist and turns will keep you guessing until the very end. Breakdown is a crafty thriller, that features some excellent tension, and the final moments are packed with suspense and action. This film has always been one of my favorites. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen this one, but Breakdown can always entertain me.

LilacFray
02-17-2012, 10:58 AM
http://i.imgur.com/u4A6x.jpg

The Pianist

Superb biographical movie of Władysław Szpilman, a Polish Jewish Pianist who struggled to survive in and out of the Warsaw Ghetto of the Second World War. According to IMDb, the film has won 3 Oscars, another 47 wins and 43 nominations and totally deserved it. It's honestly worth the watch. The only issue I faced was that the German conversations that went back and forth throughout the movie had no subtitles and got me a little lost. But it wasn't that hard to understand what was going on. Honourable mentions go to those good looking Nazi soldiers. :p

Rating: 9.5/10

The Shape
02-20-2012, 08:13 PM
Man On A Ledge (2012) 3/10- Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) is an ex-policeman, who is looking for justice, and he will do anything to clear his name. Nick was framed for a crime he didn’t commit. David Englander (Ed Harris) is the wealthy and ruthless businessman, who set him up. Financially, Englander had fallen on hard times, he wanted more money, and he didn’t want to lose his powerful and respected image. Englander hatched a plan to steal his own $40 million diamond, because Englander could easily return to prominence, once he collected the insurance money. Unfortunately, Nick was chosen as the fall guy. Nick’s career and reputation were ruined. He became the disgraced cop, who nobody wanted to trust. But one day, Nick managed to escape police custody during his father’s “funeral.” Nick has become a fugitive on the run, and Nick only has a select few allies that are trustworthy.

Nick didn’t have any luck in courts, so he comes up with a plan of his own. Nick decides to create a massive diversion, as he teases a suicide jump, while standing on the ledge of a hotel. Meanwhile, his brother, Joey (Jamie Bell) and his girlfriend, Angie (Génesis Rodríguez) break into Englander’s jewelry vault across the street. Angie and Joey try to steal the “stolen” diamond, but finding it won’t be easy, because Englander went through extraordinary measures to conceal his prized possession. While on the ledge, Nick desperately tries to gain the trust of Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks). Lydia is a troubled negotiator, but she could be Nick’s only hope. Angie and Joey must steal the $40 million diamond, if they want to clear Nick’s name, and falirue is not an option, because this is Nick’s last shot at freedom.

I wanted to get into this, but Man On Ledge really did disappointment me. I wasn’t expecting anything great here, but I thought Man On Ledge could be a solid suspense/thriller. Well, I was wrong.

Suspension of disbelief is something you must have before you prepare to watch certain films. “Well, this IS a movie, so I guess anything could happen.” This is the mentality most of us have, when we see something ridiculously over the top on-screen (wild car chases, presumed dead characters, who come back to life, flashy final showdowns between the main characters, etc.) Well, I tried to have this mentality with Man On A Ledge, but they pushed everything way past the limit.

I actually laughed out loud a few times, as Angie and Joey tried to steal the precious 40$ diamond. Engladner is supposed to have this state of the art security system, and nobody should have a realistic shot of breaking into his concealed jewelery vault. Yeah, I get it. Angie and Joey are supposed to be these highly skilled and crafty thieves, they’ve studied Englander’s vault, and they know how to work around the advanced and elaborate security systems. Still, I couldn’t feel the tension during the robbery scenes at the jewelry vault, because I couldn’t buy into the elaborate heist. At one point in the film, Joey actually covers himself in a white sheet, while gliding across a skateboard. Joey needed to sneak past the cameras without being seen, and this was his best plan. I wanted to facepalm during this scene, but the ridiculous and unbelievable material didn’t stop here. Joey and Angie needed to sneak past a bunch of heat sensors, so they decide to spray them with a fire extinguisher. Joey sprays the heat sensors, and the happy couple runs past the last set of hurdles before they reach the grand prize (Engladner’s jewelry room).

I’m sorry, but the scenes that involved Angie and Joey just felt so far fetched and unrealistic, and I couldn’t loose myself in this particular fantasy world. Englander’s vault is supposed to have one of THE most high tech security systems around, and Angie and Joey are able to break through it with a few strokes of luck? Please. Also, I can’t forget about Sam Worthington’s “leap of faith.”

Towards the end of the film, Nick has ran out of options, and Englader has regained his precious diamond. Nick needs to retrieve the diamond, if he wants to regain his freedom, so he decides to leap off of the hotel building. Nick actually runs across a different ledge on the hotel, and he miraculously lands on an air mattress, that was set up by police earlier in the film. Nick fights his way through a large crowd of people and police, but the cops eventually catch up to him. Engladner begins to taunt Nick, but Nick’s chances of freedom are still alive, because he receives help from a crazy homeless man? That’s right, a crazy homeless man, who is shown throughout the film helps Nick, and Nick eventually grabs the diamond from Englander. Nick clears his name, and he becomes a free man again.

Yeah, I wish I could’ve made that whole story up, but this actually happens in the film. Worthington’s character takes this impossible leap off of the hotel building, and he PERFECTLY lands on the air mattress. The jump on to the air mattress was bad enough, but they took everything to another level, when they decided to give Nick an assist from the unknown and crazy homeless man.

Having suspension of disbelief is one thing, but everything will start to feel ridiculous and silly, when you decide to push the envelope too far, and Man On A Ledge really didn’t have any limits, when it came to unrealistic and far fetched plotlines.

Solid acting saved this one from a lower score, because the majority of the cast did deliver some very solid performances here. I’m not a fan of Sam Worthington, but he was believable, as the man, who desperately wanted one last chance, and I really wanted to feel for his character. And Ed Harris was just excellent as the main antagonist in this film. Englander was the cold and ruthless businessman, who was willing to do anything to stay on top, and Harris did provide the necessary convincing performance. Elizabeth Banks and Jamie Bell also deserve a good amount of credit for the solid acting in this film. Anthony Mackie was another nice addition to the cast, and he was able to provide a decent performance. As far as Génesis Rodríguez goes, It’s hard for me to say anything positive about her. Rodríguez was able to shed a few tears here, but overall her acting really didn’t help elevate this film at all, and she was just eye candy for the most part. Hopefully, she’ll do better in Casa de Mi Padre.

I thought Eagle Eye was the most far fetched suspense/thriller I’ve seen over the past couple of years, but I was wrong. Man On A Ledge is a preposterous suspense/thriller, and I just couldn’t take this film seriously most of the time. This film painfully goes through the motions the entire time, and I always believed Worthington’s character would get the last laugh here. The lame swerves didn’t fool me at all, and the laughable conclusion for this film was just awful. “Hey let’s see how many ticks we can pull out of are asses! The audience probably won’t care or notice, because after all, this is a movie!” This had to be the mentality of the writers, directors, and producers for this film. As I said before, they really took advantage of the “this is suppose to be a fantasy world” stuff. The very solid acting really is the only real highlight of this film, but I was expecting more excitement from this one. This was supposed to be a suspense/thriller, but Man On A Ledge can feel very boring most of the time.

Sam Worthington should desperately cling to his one hit wonder fame from Avatar, because he isn’t the type of guy, who can carry a film on his back, as the lead man. He just doesn’t have that attraction as a true lead star in Hollywood. He couldn’t stand out in Clash Of Titans, he had a lot of help from Christian Bale in Terminator: Salvation, and he couldn’t carry Man On A Ledge as the leading actor, because he did have a good amount of help (Elizabeth Banks, Ed Harris, Jamie Bell, Titus Welliver, Edward Burns) in this film.

Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance (2012) 3/10- Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) is still trying to fight the dangerous curse of the Ghost Rider. Blaze is constantly moving from one place to the next, and for him, living a normal life isn’t an option. But a mysterious man named Moreau (Idris Elba) could have the answers to his problem. Moreau can help lift the curse, but Blaze must use his powers to help him, if he wants his freedom. Danny (Fergus Riordan) is the Devil’s son, and Roarke/The Devil (Ciarán Hinds) needs him to complete a ritual. This ritual will enhance Roarke’s powers, and if this ritual is completed, The Devil could become unstoppable. Danny has been kidnapped, and his mother, Nadya (Violante Placido) needs help, if she wants to retrieve her son. Blaze has one shot at lifting the curse. He must save Danny from Roarke, and return him to his mother, or the curse of The Rider will stay with him forever.

Ghost Rider (2007) was horrendous. It was an awful film, and I was expecting something better from the sequel. Well, Spirit Of Vengeance is better, but still, it’s nothing to brag about.

The horrible CGI effects really bothered me in the first film. The CGI effects in the 2007 version were atrocious, and the Ghost Rider was just laughable most of the time. He didn’t inspire fear, and he didn’t provide an intimidating presence. Seriously, I shouldn’t laugh at a man with a flaming skull and superpowers, but the Ghost Rider from the 2007 version provided way too many unintentionally funny moments for me. Also, his cheesy sinister laugh and his weird voice made everything much worse. But they did make some improvements in the CGI department for this film. The Ghost Rider did look like a dangerous and unstoppable force, and for the most part, Cage could look pretty intimidating, during his scenes as The Rider.

The Ghost Rider is supposed to be a bad ass, and I’m sure everyone in the audience can see this. After all, The Rider has a skull, that’s always on fire, and he’s pretty much invincible. The Rider is a destructive and frightening force, but The Rider just dominates his opponents throughout this film, and the constant beatdowns did feel tiresome after a while. The Rider rarely faces any true challenges in this film, and you have to watch Nicolas Cage constantly tear through the bad guys, with chains wrapped in flames, possessed vehicles, and his fire breathing barrage of bullets. You might enjoy Cage’s path of destruction in this film, but the constant beatdowns just started to bore me after a while.

And I can’t forget about Nicolas Cage’s performance. Look, I know Blaze is supposed to lose his mind here. After all, he does have powerful and angry force inside of him, and The Rider can pop out at any moment. It’s a tremendous burden to live with, obviously. But Cage could’ve toned down the “psycho guy, who could snap at any moment” persona. Most of the time, Cage’s performance was so over the top. He wasn’t funny, and he wasn’t intimidating. Cage just looked like a guy, who needed some serious psychiatric help and medication. “The Rider could come out any minute! So don’t mess with me, because bad things will happen!” This was the thought process of Cage’s character throughout the film. His wild tirades do become annoying VERY fast, and I was just waiting for Cage’s transformations to happen, because once he became The Rider, he wouldn’t have to talk so much. Cage’s crazy guy act was painful to watch in this film, and he almost killed the Ghost Rider character for me.

Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance features a better supporting cast, and there is a noticeable upgrade in the acting department. The CGI effects improved a lot, and unlike most people, there were times, when I actually enjoyed the directing in this film. Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor did provide a thrilling and fast paced experience during the action scenes, but they’re directing couldn’t save this one. Spirit Of Vengeance features some very cheesy dialogue, the numerous attempts at providing humor didn’t make me laugh at all, and the comedy in this film is just dreadful. Also, Spirit Of Vengeance does feature a few entertaining action scenes, but most of the time, this film can feel so boring and bland. I’ve picked a few bad movies this year, and I've made some horrible choices, but Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance is near the top of my “mistakes” list for 2012.

I was prepared to go with a zero, but the 3D effects did deliver, and I really enjoyed the supporting cast. Also, Neveldine and Taylor did give a good effort on the directing side of things, and some of the action scenes are enjoyable. Still, Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance is a pretty bad film. Although, this one was doomed from the start. Ghost Rider (2007) was such a massive piece of trash, the chances for some redemption were almost impossible, and the embarrassing box office numbers for this film’s opening weekend prove this. A lot of people haven’t forgotten about the awful 2007 version, and who could blame them? It really was a bad film, and Spirit Of Vengeance didn’t have any realistic chances for a successful run at the box office. Spirit Of Vengeance could’ve been the perfect action/fantasy film, and moviegoers would still avoid this one. The original film has ruined any chances for a successful Ghost Rider film series, and this should be the end of the Ghost Rider franchise. But anything can happen in Hollywood, unfortunately.

Bad News BK
02-20-2012, 08:14 PM
First review on here so thought I'd go with the film I last watched. And ohhhhh dear that was an error...

The Green Lantern (2011)

Upon it's release I held very little confidence in this film from what I'd read about it. It seemed there was very little positive about it to look forward to. And thats a shame, as Lantern is a character I've always been intrigued in. It also had a bit of a tall order coming out, as it was being released into a period dominated by Marvel (and Marvel-related) titles; X-Men First Class, Thor and Captain America. Tall order.

Plot: Basic plot; An imprisoned Alien, Parallax, escapes and tracks down Abin Sur, the Lantern that imprisoned him. Upon being fatally wounded, Sur sends his power ring to find a successor, leading to Hal Jordan becoming the first human Green Lantern, and becomes the only person that can stop Parallax from destroying the Earth. The Lanterns are a space-police-of-sorts.
The basic premise of the film isn't bad. In fact, it's fairly safe and quite good. Excpet for one main thing. Hal Jordan is meant to be fearless. Not very brave, but actually fearless. That's the quality that sets him apart from other humans and makes him the choice of the Ring (Any Lantern experts feel free to correct me; I'm not an expert on this). For most of his tenure as Lantern, he admits how afraid he is and is mocked by the other Lanterns. And by just being brave, he suddenly has the power to overcome what other, more experienced Lanterns (in multiple numbers) couldn't. Seriously, John Cena hasn't got shit on this guy.
Also, the inclusion of the Yellow ring of fear...why? I get that it ties in with Parallax, and I get that the Lanterns need a weapon before Hal saves the day, and I understand that it's in the comics somewhere but it serves no purpose other than the mid-credits scene (I'll get to that soon). It just seems to be there for no reason, and doesn't really do much for the film.
Rating: A generous 5/10

Performance: Ryan Reynolds. I like him. He's funny. He is/would be PERFECT as Deadpool if the ever get round to making it. But as Hal Jordan? Everytime he was on screen, I forgot the main characters name and referred to him as Ryan. To me, that is a huge problem in a film, and a failure in characterization. Reynolds never grabbed my attention as the leading hero, not once. He did the best he could, of that I'm sure, but the lacklustre script did him no favours whatsoever. Mark Strong did an okay job as Sinestro, but again, all he could do was the best with what he had. And what he had wasn't any good. Peter Sarsgaard is the other bad guy, Hector Hammond, and I can't find anything positive to say about his performance. Every time I saw him on screen it felt dull and monotenous, and drained all life out of whatever little energy there was. Other than these three, the rest of the cast is forgettable at best, and doesn't support Reynolds anywhere nearly enough, and he can't hold this film together on his own.
Rating: 5/10 (mostly for Reynolds)

The Script: Clunky and unengaging dialogue, a piss-poor final fight with the bad guy, and a mid credit scene (yeah, fuck you Marvel) that made ZERO sense in context of the film. Not only is it a blatant rip-off of what Marvel have done with their films, but it makes no sense as to what happens in the film, other than to a. accomodate an equally all-but-useless plot point, and 2. to set up a sequel that could easily never happen.
Then there are some of the ideas that just make me want to break my laptop. Now, I get that Lanterns use their imagination and willpower to fight, but...HE BUILDS A FUCKING RACETRACK. I can live with a sword, I can live with a gattling gun, I can even tolerate the planes (edit: no I can't) but...a racetrack??? Well, at least it's creative...But seriously, whoever wrote that in deserves to be shot. Stupidest idea ever. (apologies for the rant.)
The first half an hour of the film, before Jordan gets the ring, isn't bad. I can't say it's good, but it's bearable, with a dash of humour. But after that, other than the small in-joke at Nolan's Batman's ability to maintain his identity via a mask and a growly voice, it just falls flat and lets the film down BIGSTYLE.
Rating: 4/10

Visually: The primary visual aspect of this film was, of course, the Special Effects. My main concern was that they were using CGI for the suit, but, actually, I came around to it as I was watching it. It's far from perfect but seeing as the suit is manifested from the ring, it makes sense that it doesn't look entirely real. To be perfectly honest, the look of the film is probably the best thing about it; it did look pretty, though a lot of the other Lanterns (far too many, in fact) looked like crosses between fish and birds. I'm willing to look past this. But even here, the SFX weren't anything special, which is a real shame considering they played a prominent role in so much.
Rating: 5/10

Conclusion: I don't hate this film because it's a bad film. I don't hate it because it let me down. I don't even really hate it as a film; it's what it does that I hold disdain for. The problem is, I don't care about it. Take a universally recognised terrible film, like Batman and Robin from the 90's. I know it's terrible, but it's so bad, it's a guilty pleasure, and I can enjoy it, and subsequently care about it. Green Lantern is not a terrible film like that. It's bad, but it's plainly average, and very forgettable in all areas. And because of that, it fails to make me invest emotionally into it, and for a film, that is one of the worst crimes of all.

Final Rating: 19/40

The Shape
02-22-2012, 08:02 PM
Big Miracle (2012) 6/10- This story takes place in 1988. Adam Carlson (John Krasinski) is a struggling TV news reporter from a small town in Alaska, and he’s looking for a big story to jump start his career. Adam reluctantly agrees to help a young friend one day, and he accidentally finds the big story he’s been looking for. Three California grey whales are trapped underneath the ice of the Arctic Circle. Adam’s big break quickly gains international attention, and dozens of news stations flock to the small town to cover the story. Rachel Kramer (Drew Barrymore) is a fearless and passionate environmental activist, who helps lead the rescue mission for the whales. She’s also Adam’s ex-girlfriend, and there’s still some bad blood between these two. Adam‘s news career slowly starts to take off, and he quickly joins forces with a more successful news reporter. Jill Jerard (Kristen Bell) does have a nice amount of popularity, Adam has a huge crush on her, so he’s more than willing to form a team with Jerard. Rescuing the whales should be the main priority, but Rachel is the only one, who remains focused and determined, and she will do anything for the safety of the whales. But the massive amount of publicity brings a lot of unwanted attention from politicians, who have their own personal agendas, a shady oil executive, and Jill will stop at nothing to further her own career. Everyone wants to capitalize off of the whales, but time is running it out, as the ice continues to harden and freeze over, and the massive thick wall of ice, that blocks their path to freedom must be cleared. The rescue efforts from the US National Guard fail, but will the US accept some last minute help from Russia?

Big Miracle is very predictable, and this film just goes through the motions the entire time, but still, I enjoyed this one. Big Miracle does feature some genuine heartwarming moments, and the entire cast did provide some very believable performances. Also, Big Miracle didn’t go too over the top with the sappy stuff, and I really did enjoy this approach. They didn’t try to force the drama in this film, and I never got the “This is just wayyyy too cheesy” feeling.

Big Miracle might have a strong simplistic feel to it, but this can still be a very satisfying, feel-good family friendly film. The acting is solid, Big Miracle features some very likeable characters, who you can root for, and Drew Barrymore did deliver a dedicated performance. She did put a good amount effort into her character, you can really see it, and she was very convincing here. Also, this film does feature some good humor. Rob Riggle and Michael Gaston were hilarious, and Big Miracle did provide plenty of laughs for me. Big Miracle doesn’t set the bar for family friendly dramas, but this wasn’t a bad film at all, and I really did enjoy this one.

One For The Money (2012) 1/10- Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl) has fallen on hard times. She can’t find a job, she’s almost out of money, and her fancy sports car has been repossessed. Stephanie doesn’t want to be forced into a situation, where she might have to move back in with her parents, so she needs to find a job, and she needs to find one fast.

With no other available options to choose from, Stephanie turns to her cousin Vinnie (Patrick Fischler). Vinnie is the boss/owner of a bail bonds operation, but he doesn’t want to hire Stephanie at first. Vinnie only wants tough bounty hunters, who can hold their own in the most dangerous situations. Stephanie isn’t too bright, and she really isn’t qualified for the position at all. But Stephanie eventually blackmails her way into a job, and she has her eyes on the big prize. Joe Morelli (Jason O’Mara) is an ex-cop, and Stephanie could earn a $50,000 paycheck, if she brings him in. Stephanie doesn’t have any experience in bounty hunting, but she does receive some help from Ranger (Daniel Sunjata), the only true expert bounty hunter in this film. Stephanie needs the money, and she is more than determined to capture Morelli, because she still has some bitter feelings towards her ex-boyfriend. During her high school years, Morelli seduced Stephanie, took her virginity, and quickly dumped her afterwards. Stephanie is still pissed, and she won’t let anyone get in her way, as she tries to capture her ticket for a new life.

Well, Katherine Heigl was the star of this film, so I guess I couldn’t expect anything good or decent. Heigl was awful as usual, but One For The Money is just a bad film overall.

First of all, One For The Money is supposed to be a COMEDY, but I couldn’t laugh at all. The humor in this film is just dreadful, and the barrage of corny jokes almost gave me a headache. I really did try, but I just couldn’t laugh at anything in this film. The humor felt so forced, and the highly annoying characters didn’t help anything.

And then there’s Katherine Heigl. I’m not a fan of this woman at all, and this is no secret. She is a terrible actress, and she always portrays the same type of character in all of her films (the annoying, pompous, stuck up, self-centered, pretentious bitch). Heigl has starred in some very bad romantic comedies over the years, but she still receives a good amount of work every year. She’s been the leading lady in a handful of mainstream films, but for some asinine reason, Hollywood refuses to pull the plug on her. Heigl CAN’T ACT, she’s not funny, and she has to have one of the most annoying on-screen personas I’ve seen in years.

The Stephanie Plum character does have the backstory of someone, who you would want to feel for. She lost her job, she’s facing some hard times, and she seems like an innocent person, who wanted a chance. But I lost any sort of sympathy for Stephanie pretty quickly. Stephanie is a real klutz throughout this film. She constantly puts other peoples lives in danger, and she is somewhat responsible for one man’s death. They wanted Stephanie to be the loveable screw-up, who you could root for, but for the most part, I despised this character. Of course, Heigl just made everything worse. She delivers the same type of persona, that you will see in her terrible romantic comedies, and Heigl‘s brown hair is the only real change you‘ll see in this film. Heigl really doesn’t have any range at all, she’s not funny, and her performance really drags this film down a lot.

They tried to throw in a shocking surprise at the very end, but I had already given up on One For The Money at this point……

Jimmy Alpha (John Leguizamo) is the real murderer, but Joe Morelli was suppose to take the fall. Alpha is the owner of an MMA/boxing gym, and he’s about to kill the only two people, who could connect him to the murder (Stephanie and Joe). But Stephanie manages to kill Alpha with a series of gunshots, and Morelli becomes a free man. Still, Stephanie needs the money, so she decides to capture Morelli. She turns him into the police, and Stephanie collects her $50,000 payday.

Umm, yeah, this might’ve worked for some people, but One For The Money had already pissed me off enough, and I didn’t care about the attempted jaw-dropping surprise. I just wanted this to be over, and for me, nothing could save this film. Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Jack Nicholson could’ve all made surprise cameos at the same time, and I still would’ve hated this film. Leguizamo did do a good job with his character, and this surprise did feel unexpected, but this particular shocking effort at the end did have this strong “too little, too late” feeling.

One For The Money should be an early contender for one of the worst films in 2012, because this was a complete train wreck. One For The Money couldn’t provide any laughs for me, and there are way too many annoying characters in this film. The majority of the characters in this film did bring legit feelings of anger out of me, and I felt like punching a hole through something most of the time.

Katherine Heigl will probably receive more starring roles in the future, but one day, I’m hoping the powers that be in Hollywood will realize this woman truly has no talent at all. One For The Money has been a box office flop so far, so Heigl’s reign of terror might come to an end soon enough.

The Shape
02-26-2012, 11:32 AM
The Artist (2011) 9/10- George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a popular star in the silent film era. George is on top of the world, and he takes some time to help a persistent and determined up-and-comer. Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) begins to rise as an actress, but George’s career takes a turn for the worst. Sound has come into play, but George still clings on to the past, and he refuses to give into the new era in Hollywood. Peppy slowly gains a nice amount of fame, but George won’t give into films that feature sound. The silent film era slowly fades away, and George’s life is caught in a downward spiral, as he begins to lose everything.

I had some high hopes for The Artist, but could this film live up to the hype? This was the big question on my mind, because this film has received tons of praise, and The Artist did rack up a nice amount of Oscar nominations. Well, this one did surprise me, and I really enjoyed The Artist.

The Artist does a wonderful job of paying tribute to the silent film era, because everything felt so authentic here. The actors and actresses don’t say anything for the majority of the film, and for the most part, you won’t hear any dialogue, but they still managed to tell a compelling story without words. The entire cast was just excellent, but Jean Dujardin and Bejo stood out among the rest. Dujardin was excellent, but Bejo was able to deliver a very enjoyable performance, and she did provide a charming presence for her character.

The Artist does feature some nice humor, and I could believe in the drama. I wanted to feel for Dujardin’s character, when he finally hit rock bottom, but Peppy‘s rise to the top does provide some joyous moments. The Artist features an emotional rise and fall experience, Bejo and Dujardin were very believable, and I wanted to care about their characters. The Artist does feature some impressive visuals, the acting is just superb, and Michael Hazanavicius was able to provide the magical touch with his directing, because he really did capture the essence of the silent film era. The Artist can feel so refreshing, and this film did give me a break from the usual Hollywood production. I didn’t have to worry about a formulaic and predictable screenplay, flashy and unnecessary special effects, and 3D wasn’t shoved down my throat. The Artist is an old school treat, that can please anyone, who loves movies, and this film did provide a memorable experience for me.

I wasn’t sure about The Artist’s nomination for Best Picture at first, but I wouldn’t have a big problem, if this film won the big prize at the Academy Awards. The Artist is a well made film, and I really can’t think of any true flaws for this one. The Artist wouldn’t be a bad choice for Best Picture, and it would be a real travesty, if Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close won. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close doesn’t deserve a Best Picture nomination at all. It’s a mediocre film at best, but this one has become a sentimental favorite for some critics. The Artist wouldn’t upset me as the Best Picture winner, but I really hope this award won’t go to Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Please, anything but that.

Contraband (2012) 5/10- Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) was a crafty smuggler, but Chris eventually left the “life” behind him. He decided to become a family man, who installs security alarms. He married Kate (Kate Beckinsale), and they have two children together. Chris enjoys his quiet and calm life, but Kate’s brother, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) changes everything. Andy tries to smuggle drugs for Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi). Briggs is a dangerous gangster, and Andy is supposed to deliver the drugs without any problems. But Andy runs into some trouble (a surprise inspection by US customs) during the drug run. Andy doesn’t want to go to jail, so he decides to dump the drugs in the water. Briggs gives Andy a deadline, and Andy is forced to pay up, because Briggs will kill him, if he doesn’t receive the payment. Chris must do one more job as a smuggler to save Andy, but his wife and his two sons quickly become targets, and Briggs won’t hesitate to pull the trigger, if he doesn’t receive his money on time.

Ugh, I am so tired of the “I have to do one last job” storyline. It’s been done to death, I’ve seen it in so many other Hollywood crime/action thrillers, and the story ALWAYS goes through the same motions: The main character must do one last job to save someone else, something ALWAYS goes wrong during the “job,” the main character is forced back into his illegal and risky lifestyle, the main character must clean up the mess, and eventually, they return to their normal life. I usually despise action/thrillers, that feature this storyline. The entire movie will feel incredibly tiresome, because as I said before, this same type of storyline has been done to death. Well, Contraband does follow this pattern, and the lame swerves in the “I have to do one last job” story didn’t fool me at all, but still, Contraband wasn't a horrible film.

Yeah, this film features a formulaic story, this one just goes through the motions the entire time, and everything feels so predictable, but Contraband is a decent enough action/thriller. The action scenes are very enjoyable, and the story does move at a nice pace. The acting is solid, and the overall cast did give a good effort, but Mark Wahlberg and Giovanni Ribisi were the stand out stars here. Wahlberg and Ribisi did provide the two most enjoyable performances, and they were very convincing throughout this film. Contraband isn’t anything to remember. I could see the “happy ending” coming from a mile away, and this one will land on a long list of forgettable films this year, but Contraband does provide some entertainment every now and then. This isn’t the best Mark Wahlberg film. Hell, it doesn’t deserve a spot in his top ten, but Contraband does deliver as the standard Hollywood action thriller. Although, don’t expect anything epic or mind-blowing, because you will be very disappointed.

The Shape
03-03-2012, 12:42 AM
A Dangerous Method (2011) 8/10- Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender), a Swiss psychiatrist and the founder of analytical psychology, wants to cure a troubled patient. Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) could be Carl’s greatest challenge, but during their therapy sessions, Carl begins to develop feelings for Sabina. Meanwhile, Carl forms a relationship with Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen). Freud and Jung eventually form a bond, but Carl is a married man. His affair with Sabina breaks too many moral and ethical barriers. His friendship with Freud begins to crumble, and the affair could destroy his marriage.

The subject matter for this film might be too dry for some people, and the lengthy conversations about philosophy might bore you to tears, but I loved A Dangerous Method. I enjoyed the philosophical duels between Mortensen, Fassbender, and Knightley, and most of the time, this could be a very thought provoking film. Also, this film does features some high quality acting. The performances from Knightley, Mortensen, and Fassbender were just excellent, and the rest of the supporting cast was very solid. A Dangerous Method is an engaging drama, that features an emotional and heartbreaking love story. A Dangerous Method is a very intriguing historical fiction film, and this one is high up on my list of underrated films in 2011.

The acting in this film was great, but Keira Knightley really did steal the show here. Knightley’s passionate and dedicated performance can provide some genuine uncomfortable feelings, and Knightley was very believable, as this disturbed and mentally ill person, who needed some serious help. But Knightley’s character did change after the numerous therapy sessions with Freud and Jung, and Knightley was able to pull off the civil and cured side of her character with ease. For me, Knightley’s performance was the major highlight of this film, but you probably won’t have any sort of middle ground, when it comes to judging Knightley’s performance, if you decide to watch this film. You might enjoy Knightley’s passion and intensity, and her incredible transformation was something to admire, or Knightley’s performance could give you that “Whoa! This lady is trying wayyy too hard!” feeling. A lot of the critics have pulled the “too over the top” card for Knightley’s performance in this film, but I loved every second of her presence in A Dangerous Method. Knightley deserved an Oscar nomination for her performance in this film, and the Academy should’ve made some room for her this year. Meryl Streep is a legend, but The Iron Lady wasn’t something to remember.

On a side note, if you’re a fan of Vincent Cassel, don’t expect anything great from him in this film. Cassel does a fine job with the acting, but his character really doesn’t receive too much screen time, and he’s regulated to cameo appearance status here. Although, the story does revolve around Knightley, Mortensen, and Fassbender. Their characters receive 90% of the spotlight in this film, so Cassel’s character really didn’t have the necessary amount of time to fit into the story and have a meaningful part.

This Means War (2012) 3/10- FDR Foster (Chris Pine) and Tuck Henson (Tom Hardy) are best friends, and both men work together, as highly skilled and dangerous CIA agents. Henson and FDR are sent to Hong Kong on a mission, because they must stop a powerful and feared international criminal. Heinrich (Til Schweiger) wants to acquire a deadly weapon of mass destruction, and after a secret meeting at a party, he almost walks away with the powerful weapon. But Henson and Foster spring into action, and Heinrich loses his deadly weapon. Henson and Foster derail Heinrich’s sinister plans, the weapon of mass destruction won’t cause any damage, but during the chaos, Heinrich’s brother, Jonas dies. Heinrich blames the death of his brother on Henson and Foster. He wants revenge in the worst way, and Heinrich will stop at nothing to kill Henson and Foster.

Foster and Henson eventually return to the US, but Heinrich isn’t their main focus anymore. Both men are infatuated with Lauren Scott (Reese Witherspoon), but Lauren begins to date both men at the same time, and this causes some obvious problems. Lauren is a perky product testing executive, who wants to give up on dating, but Tuck and FDR change everything. Neither man is willing to back down, and both agents are willing to fight for Lauren, as they engage in a deadly “Who’s the better man?” battle.

Ugh, I really wanted to like this film, but I can’t give This Means War a positive score. Hardy and Pine do form a very likeable duo, and Reese Witherspoon does provide an enjoyable performance, but This Means War fails miserably as a romantic action comedy film.

This Means War tries to be one of those awfully good movies, that are fun to watch, but there’s one huge problem: This Means War IS awful, but for the most part, this film is not fun to watch. This Means War is a very preposterous film. Tuck and FDR constantly abuse their powers, as they try to gather more information about Lauren’s life, and both men will do anything to sabotage each other’s dates with Lauren. Tuck and FDR constantly use CIA technology (wiretaps, surveillance cameras, etc.) to track Lauren, and somehow their boss, Collins (Angela Bassett) NEVER notices any of this. This Means War is loaded with a good amount of far fetched scenarios, that caused a few facepalms for me, but everything just gets worse towards the end.

Towards the end of the film, Lauren is stuck in a tricky situation. She’s having lunch with Tuck, but FDR shows up, because Heinrich was recently spotted in the US. Tuck and FDR know their dating the same woman, but Lauren isn’t aware of their friendship. Lauren starts to panic, but she goes to the bathroom to calm down, and she tries to figure out an exit strategy. Meanwhile, Tuck and FDR start throwing insults at each other, and eventually, they get into a fight. Tuck and FDR completely destroy the restaurant during their fight, and they actually cause a fire. Lauren walks in after the fight, and she accidentally learns the truth about Tuck and FDR’s relationship. Lauren now knows both men are friends, and for some asinine reason, this upsets her, as she leaves the restaurant? Ummm, YOU are dating two guys at the same time, but that’s okay? The Lauren character has no right to pull the morality card, and she really can’t point the finger at anyone, because she’s just as bad as Tuck and FDR. Oh, and Lauren’s character is completely oblivious to her surroundings in this scene. The restaurant is in ruins, there’s a small fire behind her, but she doesn’t seem to notice any of this, because she’s still upset about the whole “two friends dating her at the same time” stuff. :rolleyes:

The restaurant scene is bad enough, but things get worse during the final showdown with Heinrich.

Heinrich has taken Lauren and her friend, Trish (Chelsea Handler) hostage. During a car chase, FDR manages to free Trish, as he shoots one of the tires on her car, and Trish’s car miraculously lands in a lake afterwards. Trish is safe, Tuck and FDR quickly rescue Lauren, but Heinrich still wants revenge for his brother’s death. Tuck, FDR, and Lauren are stuck at the end of an unfinished highway. They’re out of road, there’s nowhere to run, and Heinrich is speeding towards them with his car. Death seems inevitable, but the very knowledgeable product testing executive has one solution: shoot out the headlights? Lauren recognizes the model of the car, and damaged headlights will trigger the airbags. Tuck and FDR shoot out the headlights, the airbags deploy, Heinrich’s car flies off of the highway, and he dies in a fiery explosion.

This Means War features way too many over the top moments, but the final showdown was just ridiculous. The bad guy is about to get his revenge, but headlights cause Heinrich’s downfall? Are you serious? The big battle at the end was incredibly lame and silly, and I just couldn’t get into it.

Having suspension of disbelief is one thing, but This Means War doesn’t know when to let up. They pushed everything too far, and the far fetched and over the top moments just get worse, as this film progresses.

Also, the plot for this film can feel confusing. Are Tuck and FDR actually trying to locate and capture Heinrich? Or is this film supposed to be about a whacky and wild love triangle? They really don’t put any focus on the “we need to stop Heinrich” storyline, and Schweiger’s character just becomes an afterthought, as the story progresses. Heinrich is supposed to be this cold-blooded and dangerous criminal, and he is trying to kill Tuck and FDR, but they put so much focus on the Lauren situation, and I actually forgot about this character at one point. Heinrich is supposed to be an important piece of the puzzle here, and he was the main antagonist in this film, but this character didn’t receive enough screen time. The Heinrich character is mentioned every now and then, but still, the love triangle gets an overwhelming majority of focus here, and this storyline really did overshadow Heinrich. Were they actually trying to make the audience forget about Heinrich? I couldn’t escape this feeling, and the story for this film is a complete mess.

This Means War wanted to be that fun and mindless romantic action comedy, but this film didn’t provide any fun for me. This Means War is a ridiculous mess, and the over the top action scenes almost gave me a headache. Hardy, Pine, and Witherspoon did deliver some very solid performances, and they did bring some laughs out of me, but they couldn’t save this film. It’s a shame, because their performances did provide the majority of the highlights in this film. And Chelsea Handler deserves her fair share of credit, because she was hilarious, as Lauren’s pushy and obnoxious best friend. As far as Til Schweiger goes, he wasn’t bad, but Heinrich is just your typical foreign villain with a heavy accent.

I thought This Means War could be something unique. Well, I was wrong. Very wrong.

Paralyzer Z
03-03-2012, 06:45 PM
Randomly I had the urge to watch films with plots that include the overcoming of racial prejudice and the struggles of immigration. What resulted where the some of the best films I have ever seen (sorry Inception).

Heavens fall(2007):
Director: Terry Green.
Starring: Timothy Hutton, Bill Sage.

This was certainly an explosive start to my enjoyment of 4 consecutive movies based on the fight to overcome prejudice and discrimination based on race and ethnicity. The plot revolves around the trial of the Scottsboro Boys who were a group of nine black teenagers arrested on the charges of rape in Alabama in 1931. The acting here is superb on all parts especially from Hutton who plays a northern lawyer determined to get a fair trial for the boys. There is a bunch of twists and turns which often come from courtroom dramas here, which is always a good thing. There is some funny dialogue involving the silly theory that northerners were communist (seriously it was hilarious). That aside the overall tone is very serious and moving considering we don't get the brightest conclusion. I'd say check it out, it's definitely worth it. 8.5/10

Blood Done sign my name(2010):
Director: Jeb Stuart
Starring: Ricky Schroder, Oman Benson Miller, and Micheal Rooker

Well I'd say this was on par with Heavens Fall.The story is based on the murder of an African American veteran in the pre-civil rights south. Unlike the last films you get to see plenty of violence from the Black side including some fantastic dialogue ridiculing and mocking Jim Crow's laws. Once again like any other film based on a trial including a Black man's oppression in the south the outcome is not favorable story wise. The acting is great, maybe not as much as the previous film, but the plot makes up for it. If there is one thing done in superb fashion is the villains ability to make you loathe him. He's a heartless racist old man that brutally murders the veteran with the help of his cocky son and his friend. You also get to see the kids that are taught to hate which really gets to you after awhile. There is also a sub-plot where a priest crusades for civil rights but it isn't as wildly captivating as the main plot. The only problem I say it has is that it moves a bit too slow at times.I say this is worth a viewing. 8.7/10

Mississippi Burning(1988):
Director: Alan Parker
Starring: Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe

This is just completely entertaining and fun to watch. It has much more action scenes and over the top emotions than either the above 2 making it all the more engrossing. It is based on the real life deaths of 3 civil rights workers by the Klu Klux Klan (you knew they where coming sooner or later) and the FBI investigation following it. At times this film feels much less serious than the other 2, and yet much more emotional at other times. It has sort of a bigger feel than the others, anyway onto the components which make it so good. The acting is fantastic, bit off toned down seriousness that is replaced by more jokes and more realistic emotions. There is also a love story in here which normally gets on my nerves but it serve well to work with the plot. Another thing to mention is that this quite a long films at 128 minutes (2 hours and 8 minutes. It also has a better visual aspects budget wise seeing more burning and explosions. Definitely far more fun to watch which is a refreshing contrast from most civil rights movies. 8.9/10

My Name is Khan(2010)
Director: Karan Johar
Starring: Shahrukh Khan, and Kajol Devgan

Damn, sweet Jesus what this epic. Moving on from civil rights this is more about immigration and overcoming both Aspergers and being a post 9/11 Muslim in the United States. The plot is huge, an Indian (or Pakistani) Muslim born with Aspergers must deal with being different from most kids in his home country. He is mentored by a genius who teaches him to think critically which turns to be a massive success. Once his Amini/ guardian dies he is forced to follow his brother to the Untied States. There after adapting to city life in San Francisco he meets a girl, settles down, and supports her and her son. 9/11 happens, the father of his now step-son's best friend is killed in Iraq, which results in Khan's step-son being murdered by a hate crime for having a Muslim step-father. Enraged, his Hindi mother tells Khan to go find the president and tell him that he is not a terrorist. Khan being strange and having mental disabilities follows her orders and embarks on a journey.

Massive plot aside, everything just feels..epic. The journey, the situation, the build to it, the relationships, the dialogue, the music and the emotions just gives it a larger than life feeling. The acting here especially from Khan is phenomenal and extremely believable. Whilst all of the films I've reviewed on this log are moving, this one is more uplifting, it pulls you into the main character because of everything he's been through. It portrays post 9/11 issues perfectly and has you sympathize both sides. The ending with "the newly elected president" is sort of corny but then is made up by Khan finally winning over the American public despite being a Muslim. I truly am contemplating whether this has replaced Inception as my favorite film but for know I say it's just slightly below it. 9.8/10

Scofield
03-03-2012, 10:00 PM
HUGO

Was not a bad movie all around. Jude Law's role was minimal but still relevant enough, I enjoy Jude Law aswell as Sacha Cohen who plays Borat..whom I felt had a good role in the movie. I have never really been too big on the kid themed movies but I thoroughly enjoyed it, would have been actually cool to see it in 3D.

I am giving it the same rating as IMDB- 8/10

The Shape
03-06-2012, 08:02 PM
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011) 8/10- Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his “source,” Bogdan (Miraj Grbic) are freed from a prison in Moscow. The IMF team (Benji Dunn and Jane Carter) successfully extracts Hunt and Bogdan from the prison, but Hunt must lead a mission with Dunn (Simon Pegg) and Carter (Paula Patton) at the Moscow Kremlin. The IMF team must locate files about Cobalt. This should’ve been an easy task, but the IMF team is sabotaged during their mission. The files on Cobalt are missing, and security quickly becomes aware of their presence. Hunt and Dunn escape before security can catch up with them, but a large explosion destroys the Kremlin, and the IMF agents become instant suspects for the bombing. The IMF team takes the fall, as the president activates Ghost Protocol. Ghost Protocol is a contingency that disavows the entire IMF, and the team must find Cobalt, if they want to clear their names. Cobalt or Kurt Hendricks (Micahel Nyqvist) is responsible for the bombing. Hendricks is a nuclear strategist, and he plans to start a deadly nuclear war. Derailing Hendricks’ plans will save the world, and the IMF team must succeed, because this is their last shot at freedom.

As usual, Tom Cruise delivered a very solid performance as Ethan Hunt, and Cruise really has fallen into a comfort zone with this character over the years. The Mission Impossible films always feature a strong supporting cast, and nothing changes here. Benji Dunn was the anxious new guy, who wanted to prove himself. Simon Pegg delivered some enjoyable comic relief in this film, and he really was able to provide some good humor throughout this film. Paula Patton was able to bring some sex appeal, but her character wasn’t limited to just eye candy. Jane Carter was fearless, and she was ready to fight, when the situation called for it. William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) was willing to do anything to help the IMF team, but he was protecting a secret. You could tell this character was hiding something for the majority of the film, and this big mystery always surrounded Brandt. All of these characters had a nice amount of depth, and their personalities were unique in their own way.

Kurt Hendricks does seem very similar to other MI villains. He’s cold-blooded, crafty, intelligent, and he can throw a handful of surprises at you, as he executes his master plan. Still, I enjoyed Nyqvist’s performance, and he was believable here.

Ghost Protocol is a stylish and fast paced action/espionage film. Visually impressive, non-stop thrills, great tension, and tons of exctiement. Ghost Protocol has it all, and this one does pack one powerful punch. Ghost Protocol is a highly entertaing big money blockbuster, and this film really does rise above the standard Hollywood popcorn flick production. MI: 2 is my favorite Mission Impossible film, but Ghost Protocol deserves some serious consideration as the best film in the entire series.

Oh, and Ving Rhames’ cameo did provide the mark out moment of this film for me. Luther Stickell is one of my favorite characters from Mission Impossible film series, and Rhames could always deliver an enjoyable performance.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows (2011) 8/10- Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey, Jr.) reunites with Dr. John Watson (Jude Law), and with the help of Madame Simza Heron (Noomi Rapace), they try to stop Professor James Moriarty’s (Jarred Harris) numerous assassination attempts and terrorist attacks. Madame Simza is a Gypsy fortune-teller, and her brother might be the assassin for Moriarty’s next big target. Holmes, Watson, and Simza try to derail Moriarty’s plans, but the crafty Professor is always one step ahead of them.

For some odd reason, I could never get into the 2009 film. The acting was good, and I always LOVE Guy Ritchie’s style of directing, especially in that film. It really wasn’t a bad film at all, but I just couldn’t get into it. Well, Game Of Shadows was real treat for me, because I thoroughly enjoyed every second of this film.

A Game Of Shadows provides an excellent mix of action and humor, and this film does feature a good amount of twists and turns every now and then. And Guy Ritchie really did deliver with directing in this film. Ritchie’s stylish directing did provide plenty of thrills and excitement, and the mesmerizing action scenes were very enjoyable. The abuse of witty dialogue did annoy me a little bit, but I still loved this film. A Game Shadows is filled with laughs, and this can be a very fun action/comedy.

Jarred Harris was superb as Professor James Moriarty. Moriarty is a devious and intelligent villain, and he’s always one step ahead of Holmes throughout this film. Moriarty is a crafty villain, and Harris was very convincing here.

Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law still have some excellent chemistry together, but I really missed Rachel McAdams here. McAdams does reprise her role as Irene Adler, but as far as on-screen time goes, she’s just regulated to cameo appearance status in this film. Her character doesn’t last long, and I wish I could’ve seen more of her in this film. McAdams’ character always played both sides in the Sherlock Holmes’ films. She was a crafty thief, and she did work for Moriarty, but McAdams could still bring a charming presence to this character. Noomi Rapace replaced McAdams as the prominent female in this one. Madame Simza did have more of an edge. She was tough, willing to fight, and Rapace did a fine job with the acting. Rapace was a suitable replacement for McAdams, but the absence of the Irene Adler character did leave a noticeable void in this film. Adler did have a strong connection with Sherlock Holmes. These two did have feelings for each other, and Adler could always be Sherlock Holmes’ Achilles heel.

A Game Of Shadows did receive mixed reviews from critics. Some of them really enjoyed this film, but a lot of critics have decided to bash this one, because it doesn’t “live up to the original.” A Game Of Shadows has fallen on the long list of disappointing sequels for some people, but I really enjoyed this film. A Game Of Shadows was a nice box office success, and Warner Bros. really does have something special with the Sherlock Holmes franchise. Robert Downey, Jr. is the perfect choice for Sherlock Holmes. He always nails this character, and he really has fallen into a comfort zone, as Holmes over the years. Constantly producing high quality films shouldn’t be a problem. They just need to keep Robert Downey, Jr, Jude Law, and Guy Ritchie together. The Sherlock Holmes franchise will be fine, if they can keep these three together, and I’m really looking forward to the third film.

Dutchboy241
03-10-2012, 04:46 PM
Haywire (three and a half out of four stars)

This is how I want each year to start! A slick, cool, sexy, dazzling and kick-ass film to come out in the bowels that is January to rock the big screen. It may be one of the earliest films to be released this year but I'm sure it will remain on my personal top ten list for quite a bit.

Steven Soderbergh has an ease to filmmaking. The guy knows what he's doing behind the camera. Over the past few years he's decided to use two woman in leading roles who have little acting skills. Sasha Grey starred in his The Girlfriend Experience and she won me over to her hopeful acting future. Now Soderbergh recruits (in every sense of the word) MMA fighter Gina Carano to star in his spy like thriller. She plays Mallory, a black ops contract worker. She works for Kenneth (Ewan Mcgregor) who out of the blue decides to frame her and send an assassin to kill her. Mallory isn't just going to lay down and die.

Soderbergh brings his smooth style to Haywire and has a lot of fun too it. It's the tight film making people look for when going to the movies. Something interesting and ultimately cinema gold. The film has a jazzy flow to it (The Ocean series had it too). Gina Carano has some tough and brutal fights in this movie. It feels and looks genuine and is a breath of fresh air in action movies. Of course the plot is too familiar for it's own good but Soderbergh brings the best out of it. Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Michael Angarano, Bill Paxton, and Michael Douglas make this supporting cast something to marvel at. Haywire is worth the trip to the movies in this cold time of the year.

Contraband (two and a half out of four stars)

I can give some credit when it's due for Contraband was better than I thought. That doesn't it make something great. It's however some fun while it lasts. Mark Wahlberg plays a retired smuggler. He's called back into the business to protect his wife's (Kate Beckinsale) little brother. The film offers just the moderate amount of suspense and action called upon when making a Marky Mark action movie. Too bad it's been done to death before. Haywire it managed to add something new with tight filming but Contraband feels too familiar. Giovanni Ribisi, J.K Simmons, Lukas Haas, and Ben Foster offer some more fun each bringing something special to the plate. It's actually quite decent, but nothing worthy to remember a little ways down the road.


Man on a Ledge (two out of four stars)

Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) is framed for a crime he didn't commit. He can't get an appeal and prison just isn't for him. So he and his brother Joey (Jaime Bell) come up with a plan. I wrote that word "plan" with some hesitation. If there was ever a more ludicrous heist/prove I'm innocent plan out there please tell me. I'd be really interested in watching that. The plan requires Nick escaping from armed guards when released to attend his father's funeral. Then he checks himself into a hotel room that has a ledge 52 stories up. Nick will stand on this ledge and provide a distraction for Joey who will sneak into the building across the street. That building has a safe that supposedly holds the diamond Nick supposedly stole. The diamond never left real estate tycoon David Englander's (Ed Harris) hand.

I have a problem with the plan amongst other things. Why stand on a ledge? He wants negotiator Lydia (Elizabeth Banks) specifically to talk him down but her role in the actual plot seems minimal. What if Nick falls? Well he keeps saying he's ready to die, but that doesn't include falling prematurely before the heist is finished. It's a good possibility considering his situation. Also may I say when called upon, Nick can run like he's straight out of Mirrors Edge across this ledge. It just does't seem possible (not as bad as jumping perniciously on a safety ballon and immediately get up to chase a guy). The next thing I would like to address is Joey's story. He and his girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) break into a state of the art vault with a plan that seems thrown together on a whim (not like a year which Joey says). The two take time to lovingly banter. The audience I saw it with quite liked the humor in the film. It doesn't match the tone at all. The jokes have no place here. Some of the most useless dialogue I've ever seen. Genesis Rodriguez runs around in a push up bra and of course strips down to her underwear at one point in order to switch gear. My god is she pretty but the scene is childish. Michael Bay called and wants his mindless and random sex appeal back. We all know this is going to end on a happy note. So what suspense can there be. No way will Nick fall abundantly and Joey fail early because the film still has so many minutes left. When the audience knows more or less how a story will end, we need intrigue to see how it happens. We want to see how the characters get to this conclusion. I didn't care enough to hope the bad guys would win. No personal involvement is a dreadful thing.

Sam Worthington what happened? You starred in Avatar, the highest grossing film of all time, you showed great talent in Somersault and now we have this. I had high hopes for Wrath of the Titans but I'm not so sure. Jaime Bell and Ed Harris you two are better than than this as well. The rest of the cast are fine actors as well but let's be honest, anytime they star in feature films isn't a bad thing. This is an easy movie to watch, with actors I enjoy (not so much here) to replace for interesting characters. It could be worse. Actually I'm not to sure about that. You won't hate but you'll find it very dumb. Films should engage the audience intellectually to a degree, not have you leaving stupider if you gave your self to it.

The Grey (three out of four stars)

The Grey I'm sure will have the same effect that Jaws had on some people. Just instead of fearing sharks and water, we'll fear snowy wildernesses and wolves now. I had a dream the night after seeing this film. I awoke to a shock having a dream that the alpha wolf from the film was in room. Lurking in the shadows, eyes colored in crimson red, teeth bared for me to fear. I couldn't move and he let out a roar that woke me in a fright. The fact it had such a positive affect on me shows how special this film truly was.

Liam Neeson stars as Ottway in this harrowing film. A man employed at an oil rig to shoot threatening wild life. On his way to Anchorage his plane goes down and only six riggers (Dermot Mulroney, James Badge Dale and Joe Anderson among other fine actors) and Ottway are left alive. Not only is the environment (freezing cold, daunting cliffs etc) a extreme danger. Enter a deadly pack of wolves. They're large, dangerous and know exactly how to hunt. The audience tenses up anytime somebody falls behind, a howl is heard in the distance or odd shape appears in the darkness. Besides the chills from the wolves there is some heart here. Ottway sees these men as scum, drifters, convicts (who else decides to work on oil rig). These are just men who all have had problems and like Ottway are trying to escape the pain. There is a scene involving some wallets near the end that really touched me. I didn't expect that in a movie I called "Wolf Puncher" before going in. Please more surprises like this in films. Liam Neeson gives a tremendous performance here. He throws his all into the movie. He's fierce, threatening, inspiring and above all else real. Liam Neeson over the past few years has not only established him as one of the greatest action stars working today, but of all time. He brings weight to any role and makes films electric. Imagine Taken with somebody else. I don't even want to attempt it. Liam Neeson shows us once again that when given the tools (sometime even without them) can make any movie something to be reckoned with.

Safe House (two and half out of four stars)

For some reason it feels like every other action movie since The Bourne Ultimatum has been trying to be like it in some way. It's the crazy editing, brutal fights, C.I.A monitoring that we see far too often. Safe House is another one of those films and while it's not great, it isn't too bad either.

Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is a C.I.A operative that sits in a "safe house" all day long. Twelve months and no visitors until the day Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is brought in. Tobin is a rouge agent that has worse enemies than the county he betrayed. Those villains attack and Matt must bring Tobin to the next Safe House, of course it won't be that easy.

The film is a mix of good and bad. There are two thrilling action scenes and about three confusing ones (the editing makes it unclear what's happening). Like Matt, the audience is not sure whether to trust Tobin, it's fun for a while but in the long run it isn't great. The villains follow a predictable formula (I called the ending after ten minutes). There's nothing truly wrong with this film, but nothing to make memorable. One day later and I feel unaffected by viewing it. Props to Denzel for actually getting water boarded in the film.

Chronicle (three out of four stars)

I fooled myself into thinking that the shaky/personal camera angle was both dumb and done. I was wrong. It took the rather fantastic film Chronicle to show me the errors of my way. It takes that concept but instead of relying on it as a selling point, the film uses it just as tool for a bigger picture. Other pieces that almost finish this puzzle is its thrilling story, funny jokes and best of all; characters you can actually stand behind.

Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan) is a outsider in high school with a drunk and abusive father. The basic tough upbringing we've al seen in movies before, so let's spice things up. But before talking about that, let's finish out the cast. Matt (Alex Russell) is Andrew's cousin, their friends but not very close. Matt is kind and popular but also pseudo intellectual. Those pricks that learn solely to impressive others. In real life you hate these people but in film they make interesting characters. Then there is Steve (Michael B. Jordan) the live wire popular kid running for class president. Andrew has decided to film everything (a barrier between life and himself) so hence the shaky camera angle is introduced. The three boys at a party find a hole in the field and climb in to discover something. With out going into too much detail (better to see for yourself), they gain the power of telekinesis.

For the first hour they discover the limits of their powers and have fun. This part of the film is so delightful I never wanted it to end. It felt like the audience too had the power and was experiencing all this joy with our trio. It won't be all fun and games in the end. I'd imagine if you gave the average person telekinesis they would abuse the power for their own gain (lots of stealing). I actually looked forward to the eventual change I thought was sure to come. One of the leads does turn (I'm sure you already know but I won't say) to darker sides but in a shallower way. Instead of going crazy I'd have like to see a character that even when doing something wrong still seems so right. That fact (among other things) makes the final act a tad outlandish. A shame because I had loved everything up until this point. There are some minor flaws in logic outside of the ending, but the finished product is still too strong. Chronicle is one not to miss. It is far to much cinema fun.

The Secret World of Arrietty (three and a half out of four stars)

A problem many face when watching films these days is immersion. Often it becomes very apparent one is watching a film just to pass time. Everyone does it so there's no shame in it. However think of the times when you were so entranced with the story and images on screen it felt like your standing right by the characters in their struggle. The Secret World of Arrietty is one of those rare films that simply being in its presence is a treat.

Arrietty (Bridgit Mendler) is a borrower along with her parents. Borrowers are little people (about the size of a finger) that live under the floor and in the walls of homes. They borrow small things, items people won't miss (a cube of sugar, a tissue etc). They live in the crawl space of a country house in a darling miniature home. Arrietty's parents are Pod (Will Arnett) and Homily (Amy Poehler), Pod goes into the house to borrow the supplies they need and Homily stays at home and worries about him getting squished. A young kind boy arrives at the house to rest before a heart sugary. The boy is Shawn (David Hernie) and one night he sees Arrietty in the house. The borrowers worry that when a human sees them that their curiosity will consume them to destroying these tiny people's lives.

Studio Ghibli films are always spectacular (with the exception of Tales from Earthsea). They contain a wondrous imagination with youthful tales to entertain children. However adults too can take the sophisticated stories and beautiful colors/music to heart. The Sercret World of Arrietty is blessed with a lovely soundtrack, majestic colors and interesting characters. There are never true villains in films Hayao Miyazaki films (He wrote this film but decided to let a friend Hiromasa Yonebayashi to take the helm in directing it). Just characters that have conflicting interests. Here is another example in how human these characters seem. This is an engrossing film for all ages. It's only February but I feel that this will be one of the highlight films of the year. I hope you'll see it and think so too.

Wanderlust (two and a half out of four stars)

Paul Rudd's charm is almost a curse. He's so damn likable that any movie he's in increases it's enjoyability tenfold. However even a movie that isn't particularly moving, good, or memorable gains elements of those qualities simply by having Paul Rudd grace the film with his presence. Normally I'd say I'm exaggerating the actor greatly (for example I believe any film with Peter Sarsgaard can't be that bad) but even the general public who views Paul Rudd movies seems to think this way. Paul Rudd makes Wanderlust worth your time but not something to run out and see immediately.

George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) are typical classy New Yorkers but after some bad financial problems are forced to leave their beloved city. After plans with working for George's brother (Ken Marino) fall through they end up deciding to give a welcoming commune a try. It's like a cult but instead is just friendly and carefree hippies. Wanderlust has some laughs (one giant continuos one involving Paul Rudd and dirty talk) and never gets too serious for it's own good. It's fun for awhile but need does it feel enriching watching the film. Here's your standard Paul Rudd comedy of the year and it's actually not half bad.

PS: Bonus points for a big screen "Stella" reunion

Act of Valor (one and a half out of stars)

I feel it's obligatory to start this review with saying that Navy Seals are heroes. That's a genuine idea I have and really the entire general public too. It's however not a nice way to honor them with such a terrible film.
The film stars active duty Navy Seals who are just as uncomfortable in front of the camera as an actor would be in a firefight. These soldiers must stop a ploy by a terrorist organization that plans to work with a drug cartel to smuggle suicide bombers across the border. Maybe I'm being a cynic but that plot just just screams stupidity. It's like they took everything the government fears and threw it together in a crude movie. That silly plot actually eats up about an hour and fifteen minutes of the film. For a movie that is about Navy Seals in combat, they sure did include as many cliche plot points as possible. Act of Valor is not so much a film as it is a very long infomercial. It's just as tedious of a film as that idea sounds.

John Carter (two and a half out of four stars)

"A Princess of Mars" was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs nearly 100 years ago. The book inspired sci-fi and fantasy franchises from Star Wars to Avatar to Flash Gordon. In some ways it was the birthplace of elements both genres would later immortalized as classic story telling. It is a interesting tale, but making the film now might have been a mistake. We've seen it before and just because this story was first, doesn't erase our memories.

John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) fought for Virginia in the Civil War and is quite the leading character. It's lucky they got Taylor Kitsch for the role, his eyes seem to speak for his soul. Carter has had a hard life and it gets harder on Mars. Describing how he got there isn't the point but what he does there. Carter's body isn't use to Mars's gravity and allows for him to jump unimaginable distances and pack a powerful punch. Carter gets involved in a war between the city states of Helium and Zodanga (yes the names only et more confusing) as well as a tribe of twelve foot tall green martians. John Carter involves some fun action scenes, impressive visuals and interesting characters. However it's lack of emotion and too much familiarity brings the film back down. Waiting for the visual effects to be this glorious wasn't abad thing, too bad people have been taking from the story so as to leave John Carter as a run of the mill blockbuster when it could have been more.

Silent House (three out of four stars)

Horror films need something special to work now a days. Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project worked for so many (personally not me) because it used a technique (hand held camera) to create a sense of realism. Recent films such as Insidious and Don't Be Afraid of The Dark used imagination to draw in audiences to their tales of woe. So why not try a bit of both? In comes english remake Silent House a film that succeeds in a bold attempt at filmmaking.

Silent House takes place in real time for 88 minutes. What's even better is that the film is done in one single shot. So the film in a sense is a startling play. No quick cuts nor any jumping to other perspectives. The camera is a fly on the wall in this grueling tale. Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) is helping her father and uncle fix up a run down lake house. However when Sarah says she hears somebody walking around up stairs, shit hits the figurative fan. Elizabeth Olsen is a blessing for this film. Only two films I've seen with her in them and both times she tears the walls down. Here she creates the right amount of hysteria without it ever seeming fake. Great stuff there. The ending I'm sure will divide some but don't let that stop you from trying something new. In terms of scares I wouldn't say it is phenomenal but one particular scene I personally heard the loudest gasps/screams in a theater to date. Silent House does something fresh and success tremendously.

The Shape
03-12-2012, 09:17 AM
Gone (2012) 0/10- Jill (Amanda Seyfried) is still trying to recover from the traumatic experience that changed her life. One night, while sleeping, Jill was snatched out of her bed. She was kidnapped by an unknown serial killer, who eventually threw her down a dark hole in the forest. Jill managed to escape, but the kidnapping would continue to haunt her thoughts.

One year later, Jill has found a steady job as a waitress, and she lives with her sister, Molly (Emily Wickersham), who happens to be a recovering alcoholic. Everything is calm in Jill’s new life at first, but a big tip from a regular customer begins to raise some suspicions. Jill questions the generosity of the unknown customer, but she’ll have to deal with bigger problems soon enough. Molly is missing, and Jill begins to panic. Jill suspects the unknown serial killer, who abducted her one year ago, but the police don’t want to believe or help Jill. The police couldn’t find any evidence from Jill’s kidnapping one year ago, and Jill did spend time in a psychiatric institution. The police don’t believe her wild story, but Jill is armed with a gun, and she will have to do everything she can on her own, if she wants to save Molly, because the serial killer will stop at nothing to get his revenge.

Ugh, I always want to have some hope for Amanda Seyfried’s career, but she has a bad habit of starring in some really awful films, and Gone doesn’t break her streak of stinkers, unfortunately.

This was supposed to be a suspense/thriller, but Gone just bored me to death the entire time. This film slowly goes through the motions, and the painful boredom almost put me to sleep. Gone was building towards a shocking surprise at the end, but the BIG twist was so disappointing….

Jim McCoy is the mysterious customer, and he is the abductor, who kidnapped Jill one year ago. McCoy is the man, who kidnapped Molly, obviously, but where is she? Where is he hiding her? Is she still alive? This was the big mystery, that kept you guessing throughout the film. It felt like they were building towards a shocking surprise at the end, but Molly’s whereabouts just brought a facepalm out of me.

Well, Jill wasn’t as crazy as everyone thought, because her sister was abducted. Jill’s search and rescue mission was a failure, and the police couldn’t find Molly, because all of them didn’t look in one special place….. Jill and Molly’s house. That’s right. McCoy broke into Jill’s home, abducted Molly, and then he had the bright idea of hiding her under the house? Really? McCoy is supposed to be this elusive and smart serial killer, and he hides Molly under the house? Also, Jill and the police never thought to look around the outside area of the house? Are you serious?

Yeah, I know, I get the whole idea of the “Molly was at home the entire time” twist. They were going for a clever and shocking twist, and predicting Molly’s location or status (dead or alive) was a pretty tricky task. Molly was underneath the house the entire time, and nobody could’ve seen this coming, because why in the hell would McCoy hide the victim at their own house? It’s the last place you would think of, but still, this shocking twist didn’t do anything for me. “I just had to sit through this piece of shit for over an hour, and she was at the house the entire time. Wow.” This is how I felt towards the end of the film, and for me, the big shocking surprise was incredibly lame. Having to sit through this boring and lifeless thriller was bad enough, but the “she was at home the entire time” stuff just made everything worse.

Discovering Molly’s location was disappointing enough, but Jill’s final showdown with the killer was just laughable…..


So we’re in the final moments of the film, and Jill knows McCoy’s identity. Through a series of preposterous circumstances, Molly acquires McCoy’s phone number. McCoy is still bitter about Jill’s escape one year ago, and he wants to punish “the one, who got away.” Jill talks McCoy into giving her Molly’s location….but only under one condition: Molly must meet him face to face first. Jill agrees, and this might sound stupid, but you have to remember, this was a woman, who wanted to save her sister’s life, and she was willing to do anything for her safety, so I can understand the sense of urgency here.

Now keep in my mind, Jill still DOESN’T know Molly is safe at home during the phone conversation with McCoy. She still believes Molly’s life is in danger, and McCoy could kill her at any minute. Anyway, while following McCoy’s instructions, Jill drives through the same forest she escaped from one year ago, and the deep, dark hole that was her prison just happens to be the final stop. Well, this whole set up was a trap. McCoy suddenly pops out of his hiding spot, and he throws Jill into the hole. McCoy tries to finish what he started one year ago, but Jill takes out her gun, and shoots him in the chest. Jill climbs out of the hole, and McCoy reveals Molly’s location, as he begs for his life. But Jill isn’t so sympathetic, and she hasn’t forgotten the abduction, so she decides to burn McCoy to death.

…Wait. So Molly’s abduction was just one giant diversion? It was just a distraction, so McCoy could have another shot at killing Jill? This was his big plan? Really?!?!? Ummm, If McCoy was able to sneak into Jill’s house so easily, why would he waste time taking Jill’s sister? He could’ve easily grabbed Jill again, and Molly’s abduction was very unnecessary, when you stop and think about it.

Okay, so McCoy is dead, and Molly is safe. Jill should do the right thing and tell the truth, right? After all, she has nothing to hide. McCoy is dead, and she’s the only one, who knows the location of the body. Well, Jill should’ve told the truth, but after her reunion with Molly, she simply agrees with police’s earlier assumptions about the “whole thing being in her head.” Apparently, McCoy was just apart of her imagination, and the kidnappings never happened in the first place. :shrug:

But wait, it gets better!

An anonymous tipster (gee, I wonder who this could be) sends pictures of McCoy’s victims to the police station, and of course, these pictures include a shot of Jill. The incompetent Lieutenant decides to re-open the case, and Gone FINALLY ends.

I had already given up on Gone at this point, but the ending was so ridiculous. Jill knows, who the killer is, she has the proof, that could help the police, knows the location of the body, but she decides to hide everything from the cops? And to top it off, she submits the proof, as an anonymous tipster? That doesn’t make any sense at all. Jill had no reason to hide ANYTHING, and Seyfried’s character could’ve easily helped the police. The anonymous tipster stuff was a poor attempt at trying to be too crafty, but just like Molly’s location, this final twist fell flat. It wasn’t smart or crafty, and I couldn’t feel the shock value at all.

So in the end, Molly was under the house the entire time, McCoy really isn’t this smart and clever serial killer, because if he was, he would’ve just taken Jill in the first place, and the Lieutenant re-opens the case for a dead guy. Great. Just great.

Story wise, this film was atrocious, and Gone almost gave me a headache. The police don’t want to help Jill find her sister, but when she turns into the lone woman on a mission with a gun, they try to arrest her. But still, they don’t make the slightest effort to find her sister? And Jill’s path to McCoy’s identity was completely ridiculous. Seyfried’s character constantly tells these wild lies (which include a thief stealing her grandmother’s bicycle) and preposterous stories, as she tries to gather information about Jill’s whereabouts and the serial killer’s identity. You can only push the suspension of disbelief stuff so far. Bottom line, Jill’s path to McCoy wasn’t believable at all. “Nobody can be THIS stupid. It’s impossible.” This is how I felt, as Jill lied her way to the truth, and watching other characters buy into Jill’s obvious lies did bring a good amount of laughs out of me.

As usual, Amanda Seyfried tried her best, and she did give a good effort here, but she couldn’t save this one. Gone is a bland and dull suspense/thriller. This film features way too many unintentionally funny moments, and at times, Gone did feel like this bizarre comedy. I couldn’t take this film seriously, and the overload of preposterous material (mainly the scenes that involve Jill’s wild lies) didn’t help anything. Overall, the acting is mediocre at best, and the twists at the end didn’t provide that satisfying payoff I was looking for. Gone does feel like straight-to-video material, and this one really didn’t deserve a theatrical release.

Amamnda Seyfried might have that one memorable film in the future, but her career has already taken a turn for the worst. She has starred in a handful of bad films over the years, and Gone could be that one potential career killer on her resumé.

Project X (2012) 0/10- Thomas (Thomas Mann) is a shy and quiet teenager, but he’s about to turn seventeen, and his friends, Costa (Oliver Cooper) and J.B. (Johnathan Daniel Brown) are planning a wild birthday party. Thomas’ parents are taking a little vacation for their anniversary, so Thomas will have the house all to himself. Costa tries to bring Thomas out of his shell, and he doesn’t hold back anything, as he prepares for Thomas’ big birthday bash. Drugs, alcohol, women, and inflatable castles. Costa’s madness doesn’t have any boundaries, as he plans Thomas’ party. Costa wants to throw the birthday bash of a lifetime, but Thomas’ wild birthday party quickly spirals out of control.

** Deep Sigh**

For a little while, Chronicle did give me some hope for the found-footage era in Hollywood, but Project X has ruined everything for me. This film has no structure, no plot, and a coherent story is pretty much non-existent in this film. Project X features all of the major problems I have with the “realistic” style of filmmaking, and films like Project X give me a reason to despise the found-footage craze in Hollywood.

Project X wants to be this raunchy and shocking found-footage film, that gives you an inside look at the wild birthday party for a seventeen year old kid. Well, you will see plenty of tits in Project X, and the dialogue does feature a good amount of graphic sexual content. Also, you’ll see lots of drug and alcohol abuse here, as everyone goes crazy during Thomas’ epic birthday party. And it felt like they were going after the world record for a film that most frequently uses the word “pussy.” But I really couldn’t feel the shocking moments in this one. Here’s a list of the jaw-dropping moments in Project X.

A high school girl takes a piss outside on the driveway.

Ummm, yeah. A woman peeing outside on a driveway. That’s shocking. :rolleyes: This scene didn’t make me laugh, and it didn’t leave me speechless. It was just there.

Dogs have sex.

Again, nothing shocking about this. This might’ve pulled some laughs out of other people in the audience, but this scene didn’t do anything for me at all.

A dwarf gets thrown in an oven, and a group of bullies/wannabe tough guys lock him inside. When the dwarf escapes, he decides to blow off some steam, as he punches random people (including a woman) in the crotch area.

The dwarf is still pissed off. The random crotch shots weren’t enough, and he wants revenge for being bullied earlier in the night, so he decides to take the Mercedes (this car belongs to Thomas’ dad by the way), and he drives it into the pool.

Yeah, they constantly showed this scene in the trailers, and watching the Mercedes plunge into the pool loses its shock value once you’ve seen it so many times. Of course, you didn’t know who drove the car into the pool, but they constantly showed this scene over and over again in the trailers, and this particular scene just bored me, when I finally saw it in the film.

And for the grand finale, T-Rick(Rick Shapiro) torches Thomas’ house and the entire block with a flamethrower.

T-Rick is a drug dealer, and earlier in the film, Costa bought some pot from him, and at the same time, he stole a lawn gnome. Well, this particular lawn gnome is filled with ecstasy. During the party, the lawn gnome is broken open with a baseball bat, and the kids at the party decide to get high for free, and of course, this doesn’t sit well with T-Rick.

I’ll admit, I did chuckle a few times during this scene. Rick Shapiro really did look like a guy, who completely lost his mind, and T-Rick’s violent rampage was kind of funny, but T-Rick and his flamethrower couldn’t save this film for me.

I also could’ve done without the “boner” scene in the locker room (you’ll know what I’m talking about, if you decide to watch this film).

Project X wants you to enjoy the mayhem, but I couldn’t, because the shocking moments in this film were very lame. Also, Project X wants you to lose yourself in a world of wild partying and half naked high school girls, but Project X didn’t give me any kind of adrenaline rush, and the party scenes just started to bore me after a while.

The acting from the majority of the cast was mediocre at best, and Costa has to be one of the most annoying characters I’ve ever seen in any type of film. Costa is one of those delusional losers, who tries way too hard to be cool. Costa was supposed to be the cool and hip livewire in this film, but I just felt like punching this character in the face most of the time. Oliver Cooper didn’t provide any enjoyable comedy. He was VERY annoying, but he couldn’t pull any laughs out of me. I could tolerate the rest of the cast, but Cooper’s obnoxious performance did help drag this rating down to a zero for me.

Project X is utter shit. This film will only appeal to the average horny male teenager, who fantasizes about throwing wild and epic house parties, that are filled with pot, alcohol, other drugs, and orgies with the hot and popular girls, he never had a chance with in the first place.

Also, the thought of seeing a bunch of half naked and attractive young women might lure you to this film. I’m telling you right now, don’t let yourself get suckered into Project X because of this. The constant showcase of “BOOBIES!” really isn’t worth it at all, and you’ll probably find more enjoyment and thrills from internet porn, or a Playboy magazine.

The mean spirited nature (the popular and cool bully flexing his muscles, making fun of and picking on a dwarf, because of his size, fat jokes, referring to the average high school girls as “ugly bitches,” etc.) of Project X didn’t bother me too much, because I’ve seen and heard a lot worse in other films. Still, Project X is a pile of trash. The movie poster for Project X promises to show you “THE PARTY YOU‘VE ONLY DREAMED ABOUT,” but Project X didn’t take me into this exciting and crazy fantasy world, and I didn’t dream about the party of a lifetime after I watched this film.

At first, The Devil Inside was my pick for the worst found-footage film in 2012, but Project X does give this film some strong competition., and Project X also deserves some recognition as one of the worst films in 2012.

There might be a sequel for Project X in the future, unfortunately. This really doesn’t surprise me, because like all the other found-footage films, Project X was a low budget production, and Project X is currently enjoying a profitable run at the box office. Warner Bros. wants to milk this one for all it’s worth, and moviegoers will take a chance on the second film, if it happens, because the found-footage genre does have its fair share of supporters.

hockeydude29
03-13-2012, 07:54 PM
I'd give Women in Black a 8.5/10, not very scary but I really liked the story, I'm hoping for a part 2

¡Roján!
03-14-2012, 04:14 PM
Romeo + Juliet - 1996.

Rohan's Rapid Recap: If you don't know the premise of Romeo and Juliet then you really don't deserve the luxury of having a computer to even read this on. Seriously.

Anyway, on to the movie. I really didn't enjoy this one. Having recently read the play after deeming myself mature enough to understand it without screaming ''what is dis long wird in this complex langwich'' everytime I saw the word thou. I actually enjoyed the play and felt the urge to watch the movie just to see how Baz Luhrmann would interpretate a few scenes that I couldn't imagine myself. Needless to say, I'm still shocked. Three little letters have never served better in my opinion; WTF.

I really dig the concept of Romeo + Juliet. At the time, it made sense to produce a modernized, light-hearted version of Romeo + Juliet (which the director and in particular, the editor captured the essence of, perfectly), but the execution was all wrong. Shakespearian being spoken in gun-wielding shoot-out in gas stations with explosions is beyond comprehension, and that is the main problem with Romeo + Juliet.

Everything else about it is fantastic. It's so cleverly done, that some of the scenes are extremely powerful and well thought-out to an extent where they become memorable. The shot with Mercutio yammering on about dreams during a firework show is perfect in everyway. The casting was excellent with Leo DiCaprio (Romeo), Claire Danes (Juliet) and Mr. Ekko (Mercutio) knocking their roles out of the park. Paul Rudd as Parris was a little off, though, I must admit. And like I mentioned before, the director did a fantastic job of visualizing a modern update but, I just wish someone (yo', mistah screenplay) would have done the same with the script.

I just can't grasp why they'd do it. Did they want to stay true to the original somehow, by changing everything else but Shakespeare's actual work?! I mean, if they were worried about staying true to Shakespeare's loyalists then they totally ruined that when they completely changed the ending of it! I just don't get it. A near perfect adaptation ruined. I was luck that I had just read the play a few days before or else I wouldn't have had the foggiest of what they were on about. I can't imagine that many paying customers did understand the dialogue, seeing as it's hard to understand on paper but, when you mix it in with accents and quickness in certain scenes, you have as much compression as a shark does at seeing tinned cat food.

All in all, Romeo + Juilet could have been a classic, talked abotu for years but, the screenplay really let them down. Fine acting, great editing, directing and producing and most of all great imagination. If I were to give numbered ratings, it'd be lucky to get a 6/10, really.

Paralyzer Z
03-14-2012, 07:48 PM
The beauty of Netflix. Giving me movies that they'd think I'd enjoy as soon as I log on. Moving on....


Pharaoh's Army19995
Director: Robby Henson
Starring: Chris Cooper, Patrica Clarkson and Kris Kristofferson

I can safely say that this is the first Civil War film I've watched that sympathizes with the South. Regardless of that I found this to be mildly enjoyable but it does loose my attention at time, that however is mostly due to the setting.

The plot is centered around a northern Tennessee poor family who's patriarch has gone off to fight for the Confederacy in the civil war. Union soldiers (called "Yankees" for the majority of the film) show up on orders that she has to led them search her home for supplies. During this search one of the clumsy Yanks injures himself and keeps the group stranded with family until he recovers. Of course the soldiers and the family (consisting of mother and son) have problems to start with until the leader of the group of men starts to get closer to the mother(Clarkson). The surrounding community does not approve of federal soldiers staying there and towards the end they take action.

What really bothers me about this is the middle of story. This is set on a bland farm where it's mostly gray and lifeless. While the beginning and end are filled with many important events to progress the story, the middle is very slow paced. It's hard to enjoy endlessly watching a man plow land again and again. The acting is pretty enjoyable from most of the cast, nothing mind blowing but not bad. The ending is where it gets good and we see the conflicts come to a climax but it doesn't make up for the tiring middle portion. I like how it shows that in war both sides can be evil regardless of the common misconception that if you are on the other side, you are evil no matter what. I wouldn't say this a great or even very good movie, it's decent and check it out when bored. 6/10



Lifted(2010)
Director: Lexi Alexander
Starring: Uriah Shelton, Thad Mickler, and Rubben Studdard

Good god was this good. This is one of the most heartwarming and emotional movies I have ever been privileged to watch. It ranks up there with Inception for me and that is saying quite a lot.

The plot is one big "I miss you" story embezzled with hope. dreams, and talent. A child Henry Matthews(Shelton) and his father are quite into pop and R&B music despite living in the rather rural south. The living father (Mickler) is called up to Afghanistan for service, leaving behind a scared child, and a struggling former drug addict wife. They have their house evicted and the boy befriends a pastor(Studdard) who informs him of the "Alabama Teen Star Quest". They eventually move in with her father who has to be one of the cruelest, heartless, son of bitch villain I have ever seen. Part of what makes him so hate-able is his racist attitude towards Henry's taste in music calling it "Damn N*gger" music and constantly reminding you of an old confederate. He beats Henry for playing hip hop and Henry decides to run away and go for the Teen star prize. His father returns from Afghanistan and helps him with a set of incredible music performances and fantastic scenes during the contest. A twist that I don't want to give away turns things around and that old grandfather almost gets Henry kicked out of the competition. Of course we get a comeback (a genius one at that) and the emotional roller coaster continues to the satisfying conclusion.

The acting by everyone is just fantastic. While I am not a fan of usual sob stories or even dramas, this moved like most others have failed to do. I have to say that even the relationship between father and son, and the old grandfather;s ability to make you want to hit him is outdone by the musical numbers. This kid has a ton of talent is and is gorgeously exploited throughout the course of climax and the rising action. Everything comes so close together to make an extremely satisfying film that I can't recommend enough. 9/10

The Shape
03-21-2012, 09:26 AM
A Thousand Words (2012) 2/10- Jack McCall (Eddie Murphy) likes to lie his way through life. McCall works as a successful literary agent, and Jack is a master of his craft. He’s cocky, confident, and a great talker, but McCall’s meeting with a potential client could change his life. Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis) is a New Age guru, he’s the flavor of the month, and McCall wants to sign him to a deal, that will publish his new book. Jack is able to persuade Dr. Sinja, and a handshake officially closes the deal.

Although, Jack’s glorious moment doesn’t last too long, and his brief interaction with a magical Bodhi tree could be deadly. Jack suffers a lethal curse, when his blood stains the tree, and after his meeting with Dr. Sinja, this same tree appears in his backyard. The Bodhi tree contains 1,000 leaves, and the leaves share a bond with Jack’s most valuable weapon: his words. The tree will lose a leaf for every word Jack speaks, and when the tree runs out of leaves, Jack dies. Jack will have to choose his words carefully. He needs to communicate with his wife and the mother of his child. Caroline (Kerry Washington) is frustrated with Jack’s ego and behavior, and Jack’s voice is an essential tool for his job. Jack must work with Dr. Sinja, if he wants to save his life, because the magical tree continues to lose leaves at a quick pace, and Jack is running out of words.

NO! NO! NO! NO!

Look, I understand the business side of Hollywood. Tower Heist was a nice box office success, and a lot of people (myself included) were excited about the return of the old school Eddie Murphy. Murphy’s comeback was in full swing after Tower Heist. Sure, the controversy with the Oscars and Brett Ratner did cause a little bump in the road, but Tower Heist still gave Murphy a nice amount of momentum. And then A Thousand Words had to come along and ruin everything.

For those of you who are unaware (and I didn’t know this until I researched it), A Thousand Words was actually filmed in 2008. This film was suppose to have a 2009 release date, but the release date for A Thousand Words was repeatedly delayed over the years. A Thousand Words was lost in the shuffle, as DreamWorks Pictures separated from Paramount and Viacom. The future of this film was uncertain for years, but Paramount eventually gave A Thousand Words a January 2012 release date…..but Murphy was chosen to host the Oscars around this time. Paramount announced ANOTHER release date, and A Thousand Words should’ve hit theaters on March 23, 2012. Eddie stepped down as Oscars host, and after Murphy removed himself from the Oscars, Paramount announced another release date for April 20, 2012, but of course, this release date changed. A Thousand Words suffered another setback, but this film finally hit theaters on March 9.

The studios wanted to capitalize off of Murphy’s success in Tower Heist, and they saw an opportunity with A Thousand Words. Well, their little get-rich-quick scheme failed miserably, because A Thousand Words has been an embarrassing box office flop so far.

Ugh, I wanted to believe in a comeback run for Eddie Murphy, and Tower Heist did give me some hope, but this film might derail any successful future plans for Murphy‘s film career, because A Thousand Words just reminded me of Murphy’s LONG streak of awful films (the vast majority of his work over the past eighteen years). “THIS is why I try to avoid anything with Eddie Murphy now a days.” This is how I felt during this film, and A Thousand Words will only bring back some painful memories for any Eddie Murphy fan.

As I said before, this film was shot in 2008, so you have to expect some dated material, when it comes to the jokes. For the most part, the 2008 material didn’t annoy me too much, but the “Lollipop” ringtone drove me nuts. Jack’s cell phone is a crucial tool for his job, and he uses Lil Wayne’s Lollipop as a ringtone (Tha Carter III was released in 2008). Yeah, I get it. McCall is supposed to be this cooperate businessman, but he uses a rapper’s song as a ringtone. They tried to force some laughs out of the audience with the Lollipop ringtone, but this wasn’t funny, and I couldn’t laugh. Using this ringtone ONE time for some cheap laughs might’ve worked, but they really ran the Lollipop ringtone gag into the ground here.

Also, DO NOT BELIEVE THE TRAILERS FOR THIS FILM. Dr. Sinja is the man, who cursed Jack McCall with the magical tree. This is what the trailers want you to believe, but this doesn’t happen in the film.

McCall touches the magical tree, while visiting Dr. Sinja. Jack accidentally cuts himself on the tree, and his bloodstain fuels the curse. The magical tree mysteriously appears in Jack’s backyard, and he immediately accuses Dr. Sinja….but Sinja didn’t send the tree to McCall’s house? That’s right. Sinja didn’t send the tree to Jack’s house, and he didn’t place the curse on him. Sinja is innocent. Still, he does offer his help, and Sinja promises to find some answers.

You know something, Sinja sending the tree to Jack’s house would’ve made a lot more sense. After all, McCall is a habitual liar, who needs to be taught a lesson, and Sinja is a spiritual guru. They could’ve made a “Sonja cursed McCall” storyline work, and this would’ve been more believable than what actually happened in the film. A nice sized tree just randomly appears in Jack’s backyard with no real explanation? Are you serious? The magical tree’s journey to Jack’s backyard felt so incredibly far fetched and silly, and the Bodhi tree’s sudden appearance in Jack’s backyard did bring a laugh out of me, but not for good reasons, though.

The trailers for A Thousand Words are VERY misleading, and you really shouldn’t buy into the “Dr. Sinja cursed Jack McCall” stuff.

Eddie Murphy’s voice IS his greatest asset, and Eddie Murphy can be funny, if you give him a chance to talk, but the screenplay for A Thousand Words takes Murphy‘s best weapon away from him. You have to watch Murphy’s character play a very long and tiresome game of charades in this film, and his silent act just drove me nuts. After he learns about the serious nature of the curse, Murphy’s character does speak a few words here and there, but for the most part, Murphy doesn’t have any major dialogue after the curse begins take its effects. The Jack McCall character had some real potential, as the fast-talking and cocky literary agent, and Murphy was the PERFECT choice for this character. He could’ve easily pulled off another enjoyable and hilarious performance in this one, but A Thousand Words really dropped the ball with the “HE’LL DIE, IF HE TALKS TOO MUCH!“ stuff.

The acting in this film really isn’t bad at all, but still, A Thousand Words is a pretty awful film. A Thousand Words features a very formulaic story, and this film painfully goes through the motions the entire time. Murphy’s character needed closure. He had to let go of the past, he needed to reconnect with his family, and he eventually realizes what’s most important in life. But did Jack McCall really need a magical tree to figure all of this out? This is the big question I asked myself at the end of the film, because I couldn’t ignore A Thousand Words’ silly screenplay. This film is unfunny, predictable, and the REAL premise is incredibly stupid.

Also, Kerry Washington can be a very solid actress most of the time, but her talents are wasted in this film. Washington portrays the typical whiny housewife, who wants change, and her character can be annoying at times. I also like Clark Duke. He can be a funny guy sometimes, but he tried way too hard in this one. For some asinine reason, Clark’s character decides to develop this cocky hip hop persona during a business meeting. Aaron Wisenberger (Duke) has to fill in for McCall during this meeting, he wants to make an impression, and the hip hop persona was his best idea? Clark’s transformation in this scene might’ve worked for some people, but the “cool hip hop guy” couldn’t pull any laughs out of me.

And I really don’t want to see another Eddie Murphy/Brian Robbins collaboration. Robbins was the director for this film, and he also directed Norbit and Meet Dave. Both of these films also starred Murphy, and these two really don’t go well together. They’ve produced three atrocious films as a duo, and I hope they never feel the urge to work together again, because the final product will be something horrendous.

A Thousand Words wastes talent in the worst way, and this film is a waste of time. Tower Heist almost gave Eddie Murphy’s career a much needed boost, but A Thousand Words will just throw him right back into that deep hole of shit, he’s been in for years.


Thin Ice (2012) 7/10- Mickey Prohaska (Greg Kinnear) has hit rock bottom. Mickey is one of those sneaky con-man/insurance salesman, who makes a living off of unsuspecting and gullible clients. But Mickey’s life has taken a turn for the worst. Jo Ann (Mickey’s wife) is tired of Mickey’s lies, so she kicks him out of the house. Mickey is having a hard time finding clients, past due bills continue to pile up, and Mickey desperately needs money. Mickey is struggling, but Gorvy Hauer (Alan Arkin) could be his ticket to freedom.

Gorvy is Mickey’s new client. He’s an innocent old man, and Mickey eventually suckers him into buying some insurance for his TV. But closing the deal isn’t Mickey’s main priority. Gorvy is the owner of a valuable violin, and Mickey plans to steal it. Mickey really needs the money, and pawning the violin could solve all of his problems. Mickey can be a real scumbag, but he eventually earns Gorvy’s trust. Mickey waits for the perfect opportunity, and he gets some help from the man, who installed Gorvy’s alarm system. Randy (Billy Crudup) installed the alarm. He knows the code, and Randy can disarm the system, and Mickey decides to blackmail him for some help. Mickey almost escapes with the valuable violin, but Gorvy’s friendly neighbor shows up. He instantly suspects something fishy. The friendly neighbor immediately picks up a phone, but as he tries to call the police, Randy freaks out, and he bashes his head in with a hammer.

The friendly neighbor is dead, and Mickey must help Randy dispose of the body. Randy is an ex-con, he doesn’t want to go back to jail, but if he does, he promises to take Mickey with him. Mickey tries to fix his relationship with Jo Ann (Lea Thompson), but at the same time, he must work with Randy to cover up the murder, and the stolen violin doesn’t help his messy and complicated situation.

I was ready to give up on this film at first. I HATED the first twenty minutes of this one, and Thin Ice felt so incredibly boring. Thin Ice starts out very slow, but everything really picked up, as the story progressed, and the constant twists and turns did hook me in.

Thin Ice can feel so ordinary most of the time. The story takes place in a small and simple Wisconsin town, the characters are just struggling Average Joes, who are trying to make a living, and the wintertime atmosphere of Wisconsin always feels so calm and peaceful. But the excellent screenplay and the very solid performances from the entire cast did bring life to Thin Ice. These elements really did enhance Thin Ice’s simplistic setting, and the Sprecher sisters (Jill andand Karen) deserve a lot of credit for the writing, because the screenplay is just superb.

The acting in this film is very solid, and as usual, the Back To The Future fan inside of me marked out for any appearance from Lea Thompson, but Greg Kinnear was fantastic as the lead man. The Mickey Prohaska character is a scumbag. There’s no doubt about it. Mickey is a sneaky con-man, and he targets weak-minded people, because he sees them as easy targets. But at times, I could feel for Mickey. He was just a desperate guy, who wanted a second chance, and he was stuck in an impossible situation with no escape. Mickey was drowning in debt, and his wife hated him. Mickey’s troubles were caused by his own foolish mistakes, and he really did burn the bridge with his wife, but I still wanted to feel sympathy for this poor sap sometimes, and Kinnear was very convicting.

And I can’t forget about Billy Crudup. Crudup was hilarious, and his energetic performance did provide the majority of laughs here. Randy was this angry ex-con, who could snap at any moment, and he was a nervous wreck throughout this film. As far as the acting goes, the rest of the cast really did pull their weight, but Crudup’s performance was the highlight of this film.

Thin Ice starts out slow, but I was hooked in, once the story began to evolve. This film is filled with some very solid acting, the humor is enjoyable, and the incredible jaw-dropping twist towards the end is just great. The big twist for this film did feel genuinely shocking, because I really didn’t see it coming, and the big surprise did help raise this score for me.

Thin Ice is a low budget film, and besides Kinnear, this film really doesn’t have any recognizable mainstream actors or actresses. Thin Ice will fly underneath the radar this year, but I really did enjoy this film, and I’m happy I took a chance on this one.

CH David
03-21-2012, 01:04 PM
Hobo With A Shotgun (2011) 7/10- Extreme and disturbing. These are the two words I would use to describe this film. Hobo With A Shot Gun is filled with some very graphic and gruesome gore, and the violence in this film is unreal. This film does have nice fast pace, because the story does progress pretty quickly, and this film doesn’t have too many dull moments. The majority of the acting in this film is kind of bad, but Rutger Hauer (The Hobo) does a great job with the lead role here. He carries this film on his back, and he really nailed The Hobo character. Hauer is very believable as the righteous and wise old man, who wants to clean up the violence and crime in Scum Town (the setting of the story). This film does feature tons of gruesome violence and pervasive language, but underneath all of the chaos, there is a touching story. Abby (Molly Dunsworth) is a young prostitute, who doesn’t believe in herself. She thinks she is worthless, but Abby begins to change her outlook on life after The Hobo saves her from a deadly situation. The Hobo inspires Abby to believe in herself, and these two forge a friendly bond as the film progresses. This was a nice little storyline, and I really did enjoy it. Hobo With A Shotgun packs a powerful punch, and this was a very fun action exploitation film. Also, the characters in this film are very over the top, especially the villains. Brian Downey (The Drake) gives a solid performance as the main villain in this film. The Drake is a very evil and twisted person. He was psychotic, and Downey did deliver with this character. Hobo With A Shotgun can be an entertaining film, but I will warn you, if you’re not into violent and over the top exploitation flicks, you should stay away from this film, because you will HATE this. This film is extremely violent and gruesome, and these type of films won’t appeal to everyone, because Hobo With A Shotgun is targeted at a very small fan base.

The bolded part I basically put on facebook when I watched it this past Sunday. It's so awesomely gore-y/graphic that you either love it or it makes you cringe. I'll agree with a 7/10 rating. It took me a little bit to really get into the movie, and because you are just waiting for the hobo to get the shotgun, the beginning is kind of just a tidy over. The stuff with the Drake and his boys was solid enough, but the other scenes were kinda meh for me. I will say though, Slick (Gregory Smith) certainly stood out to me in the movie. He was the more careful but seemingly sadistic of the brothers. Ivan (Nick Bateman) was more in your face kind of crazy, not the careful kind like Slick.It certainly picks up after he gets the shotgun, as you can imagine, and in my head I was thinking "Shit got real!". Talking about it with coworkers made my left arm hurt though, you know why.

The Shape
03-22-2012, 07:56 AM
The bolded part I basically put on facebook when I watched it this past Sunday. It's so awesomely gore-y/graphic that you either love it or it makes you cringe. I'll agree with a 7/10 rating. It took me a little bit to really get into the movie, and because you are just waiting for the hobo to get the shotgun, the beginning is kind of just a tidy over. The stuff with the Drake and his boys was solid enough, but the other scenes were kinda meh for me. I will say though, Slick (Gregory Smith) certainly stood out to me in the movie. He was the more careful but seemingly sadistic of the brothers. Ivan (Nick Bateman) was more in your face kind of crazy, not the careful kind like Slick.It certainly picks up after he gets the shotgun, as you can imagine, and in my head I was thinking "Shit got real!". Talking about it with coworkers made my left arm hurt though, you know why.

Ah, I guess you're talking about the scene that involves Abby, The Drake, and the lawnmower towards the very end, right? If so, I know what you mean. Hobo With A Shotgun is LOADED with scenes that feature sickening gore and brutal violence, that will make you cringe. But this particular scene really did stand out among the rest, definitely one of the more shocking and graphic "HOLY SHIT!" moments I've ever seen in any type of film.

Funny thing about Hobo With A Shotgun is I didn't fall in love with this film the first time around. I really enjoyed it, and I couldn't enough of Rutger Hauer's performance, but I didn't fully embrace it. Maybe I was just too tired, or maybe I wasn't paying close attention, but Hobo With A Shotgun has become one of my all-time favorites. I've probably seen this film about twenty times or more, I NEVER get tired of it, and I actually bought the two disc special edition DVD a few months ago. The Plague's killing spree at the hospital, The Hobo's first bloody rampage with the shotgun, and Abby's heroic rescue mission for The Hobo at the end. All of these moments are burned in my memory. Although, the extended footage for the ending was a bit of let down for me. It doesn't last long, but the extended ending does provide a nice little cliffhanger.

Hobo With A Shotgun is an outstanding exploitation/thriller, this film has an authentic old school feel to it, and they really did a great job of paying homage to the 70's/early 80's action exploitation films, that featured vigilante justice.

Optimus Dave
03-24-2012, 02:25 PM
21 Jump Street

21 Jump Street is exactly what you think it will be. A heart, laugh-a-minute flick with no real grasp on reality.

That said, I found it to be a very good movie. It's sad to think that Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum will probably not get the recognition they deserve for this film for different reasons. Primarily because the money will never be an Oscar-winning movie. Additionally, Channing Tatum is always seen as a Rom-Com orientated actor and Jonah Hill will forever be seen as the fat guy from Superbad et al.

However, I found this movie to be very unique. It took an old premise and made it funny again. How many of us wouldn't like to go back to High School and really learn from our mistakes? But then, what if that experience had completely turned on it's head and left you feeling confused and left behind? That's really what this movie is all about. It challenges some of the stereotypes that we have all come to know about the High School movie genre and really turns it on it's head. I particularly enjoyed this movie and found it to be, not only funny, but interesting too.

It was never going to be a movie that would have critics falling over themselves to heap praise on it. But, for what it is, it is an exceptionally good movie. There is many laughs and many twists and turns that will have you reeling. If comedy is your thing, then I definitely recommend checking this film out.

***

The Hunger Games

I hated this movie.

My girlfriend was really excited about this movie and, hesitantly, I trudged along with her on he day of the UK release. But fuck me, was it ever boring!

Now, don't get me wrong, I've sat through my share of her choices. We seen Crazy, Stupid Love and The Vow not too long ago and I always found something to latch onto and at least want to see the resolution. This film just stinks of pre-teen enthusiasm. It has every single cliché in the book and I, for one, hated every single moment of it.

However, I can see that it is going to make it's money. It is going to ride the same pre-teen, hopeless romantic horse that Twilight did and will continue to do for many a year. It's going to be one of those films that our girlfriends are always going to want to see and one of those films that we're always going to have to see... For their sake.

So, for whatever failings this movie has, you just better get used to pretending to like it. It's either that or a damaged relationship. Take your pick.

*

The Shape
03-25-2012, 11:33 AM
Take Shelter (2011) 10/10- Curtis LaForche (Michael Shannon) can’t escape the haunting visions of an approaching apocalyptic storm. During his dreams, Curtis is threatened and attacked by people, who are close to him, and Curtis’ strange behavior in real life begins to raise some serious questions. Fearing the worst, Curtis frantically begins to work on a storm shelter in his backyard. Curtis wants to protect his family, but his wife, Samantha (Jessica Chastain) doesn’t like the idea of “wasting money on a stupid tornado shelter.” Curtis seeks psychiatric help, but at the same time, he continues to gather supplies (canned foods, gas masks, lanterns, etc.), because in Curtis’ mind, the threat of the devastating storm is still a realistic possibility. Ensuring the safety of his wife and their young, deaf daughter, Hannah (Tova Stewart) is Curtis’ main priority. Curtis will risk everything for their protection, but first, he must convince Samantha to believe the serious nature of his dreams.

I had some high expectations for this film, and Take Shelter did deliver. Taker Shelter provides an excellent mixture of terror and drama, and you can really feel the impending doom throughout this film. This film delivers a powerful emotional punch, the awe-inspiring visuals are breathtaking, and Take Shelter is easily one of the best films in 2011.

The acting in this film is superb, and Michael Shannon was fantastic as the lead man. I first noticed Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road, and I’ve been a big fan of his work ever since. Michael Shannon is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood, and his outstanding performance really was the driving force behind this film. Curtis LaForche is a disturbed man, who’s losing his mind. Curtis was alone. Nobody wanted to believe his warnings of the dangerous storm. Curtis was afraid of what might happen, if the storm actually hit. He was afraid of himself, and his fears destroyed the relationships with those closest to him. Curtis endures a serious downward spiral, and I really wanted to feel for this character, because he didn’t have any control over his terrifying dreams and hallucinations. Curtis might have lost his grip on reality, but you could also see a caring father, who wanted to protect his daughter, and Curtis didn’t want to lose Samantha. And Shannon was able to bring intensity to this character, and he was able to show some real rage during his temper tantrum towards the end of this film. Curtis’ internal struggle was the focal point of Take Shelter, and Shannon was very convincing here.

Also, I can’t forget about Jessica Chastain. Chastain delivered another very solid performance in this film, and this woman should’ve won some sort of award for the best breakout star in 2011. Chastain received an Oscar nomination for her work in The Help, and Chastain did deliver a handful of impressive performances last year. Chastain continues to surprise me, because she seemingly came out of nowhere. Chastain has become a recognizable face, she’s one of Hollywood’s more talented young actresses, and she does have a very bright future.


The cast did a fine job with the acting, and Jeff Nichols directing was just great. Nichols also wrote the screenplay for Take Shelter, and he was able to provide the perfect unsettling atmosphere for this film. Nichols was able to enhance the dread and terror, and his precise directing did provide some excellent tension and intensity for this film. I’ll admit, I’m not familiar with Jeff Nichols, and this is the first film I’ve seen from him. But I loved every second of Take Shelter, and I will follow this man’s work from now on.

Also, and I don’t usually do this, but David Wingo deserves his fair share of recognition for Take Shelter’s soundtrack. Wingo did create some outstanding scores for this film, but the main score used throughout this film is just amazing. The main score for Take Shelter can bring out feelings of wonder, and this score did make every other scene feel more captivating. The “Take Shelter” score is frequently used throughout this film, but it never annoyed me. The moods constantly change, but the “Take Shelter” score always fits within the context of the different scenes in this film. Wingo did create a memorable score for Take Shelter, and this score has been stuck in my head for days:

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The Academy gave Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close a Best Picture nomination, but they snubbed this? Really??? Take Shelter was more than worthy for a spot in the Best Picture category, and Nichols wouldn’t have been a bad choice for the Best Director category. And no Best Actor nominations for Michael Shannon? As I said before, Shannon is one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood, and he did deliver a great performance in this film. I won’t complain about a Jessica Chastain snub, because she did receive recognition at the Oscars for her work in The Help. She nailed the Celia Foote character, and she did deliver the better performance in this film, so there’s nothing to complain about. Still, Take Shelter deserved a few Oscar nominations. I might have been able to understand a few snubs here and there, but Take Shelter didn’t receive ANY Oscar nominations. Not one. It’s asinine, and Take Shelter deserved better. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close was not an Oscar worthy film, but this melodramatic piece of trash became a sentimental favorite for a lot of critics. Take Shelter could’ve been a legit Best Picture contender, and Michael Shannon could’ve provided some serious competition in the Best Actor category. I have a short list of films that didn’t deserve the snub treatment at the Oscars this year, and Take Shelter is one of them.

Australia's Finest
03-26-2012, 09:49 AM
The Hunger Games:

Wow what a crap movie. Two and a half hours of boredom really.

Now I haven't read the book and i don't think i will now but i think the story is stupid. The only feeling i got during the movie besides boredom was shock because it's not every day you see a what 18 year old guy kill 12 year old boys and girls.

I give it 1/5.

Thrash
03-26-2012, 09:55 AM
The Hunger Games:

Wow what a crap movie. Two and a half hours of boredom really.

Now I haven't read the book and i don't think i will now but i think the story is stupid. The only feeling i got during the movie besides boredom was shock because it's not every day you see a what 18 year old guy kill 12 year old boys and girls.

I give it 1/5.

You're totally wrong. Obviously you've never either seen Battle Royale, which has a very similar plotline.

I saw this film yesterday, it was brilliant. Not amazing, but it was really good. The story is smart and different, I know very few films that are like this and if you read the short text at the start of the film, then you'll understand it.

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson & Woody Harrelson all play their parts perfectly and even Lenny Kravitz makes an appearance as the fashion guru. The "Hunger Games" themselves are brilliant, it's brutal, but not to the point that would turn people away.

I'm keeping this short, might come back and be more detailed, but I wanted to just tell you wrong.

Out of 10, I'd give it 8.

Australia's Finest
03-26-2012, 10:26 AM
You're totally wrong. Obviously you've never either seen Battle Royale, which has a very similar plotline.

Hey man that's just my opinion, i mean to me it was just like watching the Condemned or Death Race. Three movies about people killing eachother to entertain millions of people.

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson & Woody Harrelson all play their parts perfectly and even Lenny Kravitz makes an appearance as the fashion guru.

I thought Woody Harrelson was great in it, he entertained me the most.

Bad News BK
03-26-2012, 11:58 AM
Iron Man 2 (2010)

Currently rewatching all of the Marvel films before The Avengers comes out, so figured I'd give the most recent one I rewatched a review.

Plot: After revealing his superhero identity to the world, Tony Stark is balancing the life of both millionare playboy in charge of a weapons technology company with that of a superhero, whilst fighting off the US military's requests that he hand over the suit for the benefit of the country. Tony is also struggling to find a replacement for the arc reactor core in his chest that is keeping him alive, as slowly but surely, it is poisoning him. Not only that, a man with an identical arc reactor that supposedly cannot be replicated, Ivan Vanko, attacks him at in Monaco on a mission of personal vengeance. On top of this, he also has to deal with Justin Hammer, a rival weapons manufacturer, who is looking for any way possible to embarrass Stark, and ultimately bury him.

Something I was surprised by in the first film was the revelation of Stark being Iron Man at the very end. I thought this would have been something to be revealed at the end of a second, possibly leading into a third. But it opened up a lot of interesting doors for the plot; the pressure from the government for Stark to hand the suit over coupled with the friction this causes between Stark and Rhodie being the main one. It's interesting to see a superhero have to deal with the public knowledge of his alter-ego.

Also, this film gave us a new hero; one that was teased in the first film...WAR MACHINE! The souped-up, gattling gun wielding, armed-to-the-teeth mark II Iron man suit piloted by Colonel James Rhodes, modified by Stark Industries rivals HAMMER tech, brings a whole new dimension to the final fight with Vanko.

I liked the merging of two of Iron mans villains too; Crimson Dynamo and Whiplash. Putting them together made an interesting character, and the backstory behind Ivan Vanko made this a very personal attack on Stark; one neither man could afford to lose. Anton Vanko and Howard Stark worked together for SHIELD, until Howard had Anton deported for trying to sell te technology they were developing. His fathers death is the kick that drives Ivan to go after Stark, not least with his own technology.

In short, a solid plot. Not many surprises, but it didn't need there to be.

Rating: 8/10


Performance: Robert. Fucking. Downey. Jr. I love this man. He is perfect as the Tony Stark that doesn't take himself too seriously. I also love when he does get serious; he retains the wit, but his voice carries so much drive behind it; he may be joking with his words, but underneath you can tell he's not going to stop till he's achieved what he wants to. It's also great to see a superhero that, rather than worry about the pressure of being a superhero, isn't afraid to stand up for the fact that he fucking loves being Iron Man.

Miickey Rourke was someone I wasn't sure about, but he was an inspired peice of casting. He plays the polar opposite to Stark well; he's as smart as he is, but the complete opposite end of the class level. We get the impression that Vanko is having fun, messing with Stark, with his first attack on Stark nothing more than to prove that he can 'make God bleed.'

I wasn't overly bothered when Terrence Howard was repaced with Don Cheadle. Cheadle's performance isn't spectacular , but he keeps up with Downey Jr, and he looks all levels of awesome in War Machine's colours. No better or worse than Howard, to be perfectly honest.

Justin Hammer's reinvention as a young, bad-guy Tony Stark was inspired, and Sam Rockwell played it to perfection. A refeshing character who you just wanted to slap in the face for being so cocky.

Pepper Potts, as in the first film, is fairly forgettable, but good enough to not be bad. Some of the humour between Gweneth Paltrow and Downey Jr, while it flourished in the first film, felt a bit forced, and didn't quite capture the spark of number 1.

The rest of the cast does a solid enough job without being overly memorable. Scarlettt Johansson as Black Widow not only looks great pulling off flips and even a huracanrana, but is solid in her role. Samuel L. Jackson is...well, he's Samuel L. motherfuckin' Jackson playing a role written for him, what do you expect? Clarke Gregg as Agent Coulson has a much smaller role in this film, but it's a nice, familiar face, and one we've come to recognise as representing SHIELD. Again, not mermorable, but not intended to be, so it's okay.

It's a good cast, but at times it felt like too much was on Downey Jr's shoulders. Other than his, not many memorable performances here.

Rating: 7/10


Script:Not as strong as the first film, but not terrible by any standards. It had action, it had humor, it had a serious side, and yet...I dunno. It didn't make me connect in any way. The dialogue wasn't bad in any way but...it wasn't really good either. We're meant to emote with Stark and somehow the script doesn't quite have it right. A lot of the humour seems forced, and that was one of the first films huge plus points. It's odd but, it just doesn't click anywhere on the same level as the first one. Also...I understand that this is building towards the Avengers, but...why so much SHIELD? They were a minor role previously, and that could have worked well here too, but here they felt far too prominent, and it just bugged me, and made this feel a bit too much like an Avengers set-up movie.

One thing I hated was Jon Faverau's role of Happy Hogan, the assistant to Tony Stark/Pepper Potts. He had a very limited role in the first film, and that was fine. In this , he got his own fight scene. Why? Why does he need that? Alongside Scarletts fight scene, it isn't needed. Just one of those little things that bugged me, and could have been done without.

Vanko's role in the film...ehh. It could have been better. I got the feeling that they were holding it back, playing it safe. Rourke was great in this role and deserved more. I could have stood for a bit more of him smashing shit up, as opposed to him getting his ass kicked by Iron Man in Monaco.

Actually, thats my biggest complaint...this film lacked Iron Man. Why didn't we see any of his 'heroics'? Surely the point of being a superhero film is seeing the superhero do what he does best? Everytime in this film we see him don the armour, it's for personal reasons first. Monaco? Someone's attacking him. Party? He's fucked out of his head and thinks it's funny. The end? Vanko's taunting him into coming out so he can attack him. Why couldn't we just see Iron Man doing some proper heroics? Saving a town from terrorists in another, far away land, helping a millitary patrol out when they're pinned down somewhere in the middle east...I dunno, just SOMETHING!

Rating: 6/10

Visual: Iron Man and War Machine fucking an army of robots up. That one scene sold me on this film. Iron Man looks fucking awesome, War Machine looks better. The effects for Rourke's first fight with him look sweet, and you do get the sense that if he hits you with one of those whips, you are fucked. Vanko's armour at the end, which just looks like a beefed up Iron Man, was a bit dull and disappointing, but that entire end scene was that way, too.

One thing I've never liked from a design aspect is that in all other incarnations, Iron Man has more gold in his armour. It sounds silly, but personal preferance, it needs more gold in there. The chestplate looks fucking huge, and the gold would break it up a little bit more. That said, I loved the suitcase armour. Modelled on the Silver Centurion armour, little nods like that to the original comics are awesome, and it looks sweet. We get that it's a stripped down, very basic armour that can only do so much, but it serves it's purpose well.

Not the best SFX ever, but they still look sweet. Hell, what isn't to like about robots fighting guys in robotic suits with huge guns? It looks pretty in all areas, looks realistic enough for us to not roll our eyes, and is made to make it look almost real enough to believe.

Rating: 8/10

Overall: After loving the first film when it came out, this disappointed me a little. A guy in a modified Iron Man suit as a bad guy again, not enough Iron Man beating up bad guys, more humour that, mostly, felt a little out of place and forced. But, that said, the plot was solid, the performances were enjoyable, and we got a two new heroes in Black Widow and War Machine. Downey Jr was once again the main attraction, and I felt that this film relied a bit too much on him. It just needed a bit more substance. The story was there, the characters were there, but the script just felt a little lacking in making me care about the film. And whilst there was plenty of action, the flying through the air near the end felt far too long, and some of that time could have been given to some more Iron Man kicking bad guys asses all around the world, being the 'nuclear deterrant' he claims to be.

Very enjoyable, but probably the weakest Marvel film, definitely not a patch on the first film.

Overall Rating: 29/40

The Shape
03-29-2012, 07:57 PM
The Vow (2012) 4/10- Paige (Rachel McAdams) and Leo Collins (Channing Tatum) survive a brutal car accident. Leo walks away with a few scrapes and bruises after the crash, but Paige isn’t so lucky. Paige eventually awakes from her coma, but she doesn’t remember the marriage, and she doesn’t recognize her husband Leo. Paige’s sudden and severe memory loss could destroy their marriage, but Leo is determined to help Paige remember their relationship. Leo struggles to help Paige retrace the lost steps in her life, but Paige slowly begins to accept the life she had before her marriage to Leo, and Paige’s feelings for her ex-boyfriend, Jeremy (Scott Speedman) return.

I’ve never been a fan of Channing Tatum. His films are usually awful, and he can’t act. But Tatum has the Hollywood look, and his films usually attract some good crowds at movie theaters. Tatum can appeal to teenage and adult males with his action films (G.I. Joe, Fighting), and the first two Step Up films (Tatum was regulated to a cameo appearance in Step Up 2) and The Vow will appeal to his female followers. Although, Tatum will always receive support from his female fanbase regardless, and the genre of his films won’t matter, because the possibility of seeing Tatum without a shirt is enough for them.

Tatum is on my list of the worst actors in Hollywood….but he wasn’t that bad here. Tatum didn’t deliver a career defining performance in The Vow, but he was convincing at times. Tatum gave a nice effort here, and unlike his other films, Tatum’s performance didn’t drag The Vow down.

Tatum’s decent performance surprised me, and Rachel McAdams delivered as always, but I can’t give The Vow a positive score. The source material for this film should’ve inspired a unique and special romance/drama film, but The Vow quickly turns into you’re typical and predictable Hollywood production. The Vow feels like something different at first, but this film just slowly goes through the motions as the story progresses, and you can see everything coming from a mile away. The Vow had a great opportunity to stand out, and this film could’ve been something to remember, but this one just left me with that “same old, same old” feeling. The Vow is inspired by a touching and heartfelt real life story, but the screenplay turns this film into your ordinary Hollywood romance/drama. They really did take the easy way out here, and I couldn’t escape this feeling.

And the picture of the real life couple that inspired this film did bother me a little bit. The real life story of Kim and Krickitt Caprenter inspired this film, and you will see a picture with them together once the credits start rolling. They’re with their kids, and the Caprenters just look like two average people. Mr. Kim doesn’t have the Abercrombie & Fitch look of a Channing Tatum, and Mrs. Krickitt doesn’t have Rachel McAdams’ gorgeous beauty. The Carpenters are just two normal people, but McAdams and Tatum don’t fit the profile of the ordinary couple. Channing Tatum is eye candy for his female fans, and Rachel McAdams is a well known actress, so you can expect these two to draw a good amount of moviegoers to theaters, and The Vow was a nice box office success. Also, this was a Valentine’s Day movie, so couples were more than willing to take a chance on this one, because The Vow is a “date movie.” Anyway, I wish they could’ve found a more unknown actress and actor for the lead roles. An actor and actress, who didn’t have the Hollywood look would’ve added a more believable realism factor to this film. But Spyglass Entertainment and Screen Gems wanted to make a lot of money, so that’s why they went with McAdams and Tatum.

The acting in this film is solid, and Rachel McAdams is the true star of this cast, because she did deliver the best performance in this film, but when it comes to romance/dramas, The Vow really doesn’t bring anything different to the table. “Ugh, I’ve seen this before.” This is feeling you will have, if you decide to watch this film, and The Vow just feels like your standard Hollywood romance/drama, that hits theaters during Valentine’s Day season every year. You might enjoy this as a “date movie,” and The Vow might entertain you, if you’re in a relationship with someone, because this film does feature some sweet and sentimental moments every now and then. But I couldn’t get into this, and The Vow was a real disappointment for me.

Wanderlust (2012) 6/10- George (Paul Rudd) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston) purchase the micro-loft of their dreams, and the happy married couple enjoy their expensive new home at first, but George and Linda’s successful lifestyle quickly takes a turn for the worst. George loses his new job on the first day of work, and Linda’s documentary about penguins is rejected by HBO executives. George and Linda are out of money, and they lose the loft. The distraught married couple hits the road, but along the way, George and Linda accidentally stumble into a hotel bed and breakfast named Elysium. Elysium is actually a hippie commune. George and Linda enjoy their brief stay, and the peaceful, carefree lifestyle relaxes them. But George and Linda decide to return to the real world after a while, because they need a stable lifestyle and they‘re dead broke. With nowhere to go, George turns to his obnoxious brother, Rick (Ken Marino). Rick is a real jerk, and George doesn’t want to put up with his constant teasing, so George and Linda decide to return to Elysium, but can they handle the hippie lifestyle?

For the most part, Wanderlust does provide some good laughs, but the bizarre hippie material in this film did annoy me at times. Yeah, I get it. Elysium is filled with a bunch of eccentric hippies, who enjoy living a free and peaceful lifestyle. They’re not going to join modern civilization, and Elysium is their sanctuary. But the humor in Wanderlust can feel so forced sometimes. For example, Wayne (Joe Lo Truglio) is the resident nudist at Elysium, and they really did try to push the “HEY! That guy is naked!“ stuff, but the shock value of seeing a naked man in awkward situations does fade pretty quickly. Wayne’s FIRST appearance could provide a funny moment…..but I couldn’t laugh after seeing Wayne for the first time, because this “Oh look. There’s the naked guy, and they‘re showing brief glimpses of his penis….again.” feeling started to set in.

Wanderlust’s zany and eccentric vibe can’t be ignored. “Look how weird and whacky we can be! And you haven’t seen anything yet, just wait until the next scene!” I couldn’t escape this feeling throughout the film. I wish they could’ve toned it down a bit, because as the story progressed, the overload of hippie freedom humor did start to feel tiresome and redundant.

And I couldn’t stand the Rick character in this film. Yes. I know. He’s supposed to be a dick. That’s obvious enough, but this character is so over the top, and Rick wasn’t some loveable jerk. He was just an obnoxious tool. Rick loved to gloat and brag about his success. This was his way of putting George down, as he crushed his spirit. Rick wasn’t pure evil, but still, this character didn’t provide any entertainment for me, and Rick‘s “I’M COCKY, AND I’M GOING TO RUB MY SUCCESS IN YOUR FACE, AND THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT, BECAUSE I’M A DICK! YEAH!!!!” persona couldn’t pull any laughs out of me.

Wanderlust wasn’t perfect, but I still enjoyed this film. Wanderlust can provide some good laughs, and Jennifer Anniston and Paul Rudd did share some nice chemistry. Rudd and Anniston were the perfect choices for the married couple, who wanted to chase big dreams. But George and Linda had to pull through some tough times, and I could feel sympathy for them, as they struggled to find a new life. I wanted George and Linda to find true happiness. I wanted them to achieve success. George and Linda are two likeable characters, and I wanted to root for them. Also, Alan Alda was hilarious as the senior member of Elysium, and Carvin (Alda) was one of the more enjoyable characters in this film. The majority of the cast was enjoyable, and Wanderlust does feature some very solid acting.

The Shape
04-07-2012, 01:32 AM
Silent House (2012) 7/10- Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) is trapped inside her family’s secluded lakeside house in the country. Her father is left unconscious after a brutal attack, and Sarah must find help quickly, because someone doesn’t want her to escape.

Why are the intruders stalking Sarah and her family? Why do they want to cause her harm? What are they after? This was the big mystery throughout the film. Silent House tried to deliver a shocking surprise at the very end, but the big twist really didn’t do anything for me. The big surprise wasn’t awful, but the “it’s all in her head ” twist did feel a bit underwhelming. I was expecting a jaw-dropping shocker at the end. Chris Kentis (the director for this film) did such a wonderful job of building the suspense, and I did have big expectations for the grand finale, but Silent House just left me with that “Really? That’s it?” feeling.

The big twist was a let down for me, but Elizabeth Olsen was just fantastic here. The rest of the acting in Silent House is pretty mediocre, but Olsen really did carry this film on her back. Her character receives the bulk of the focus and screen time, and Olsen is the driving force behind Silent House. I NEED to find a copy of Martha Marcy May Marlene, because seeing more of Elizabeth Olsen has become a priority for me.

You’ll see some blood in Silent House, but this film really doesn’t feature any graphic scenes of gore. I actually enjoyed this approach, because Silent House is filled with some excellent tension, and the jump scares were just great. Silent House is a thought provoking horror film, that will keep you guessing until the very end, and Elizabeth Olsen’s superb performance is very enjoyable.

Silent House has received some harsh treatment from critics and moviegoers. The mass majority continues to bash this film, and the bulk of the hate is directed towards the big twist at the very end. As I said before, the big twist did disappoint me a little bit, but the grand finale didn’t ruin this film for me, and Silent House has made my list of favorites for 2012.

The Woman (2011) 7/10- Chris Cleek (Sean Bridgers) finds a feral woman in the woods, while hunting one day. Eventually, Chris captures The Woman , and he decides to hold her captive in his cellar. Chris wants to civilize The Woman (Pollyanna McIntosh), and with the help of his family, they try to transform her into a normal person.

At first, the Cleeks seem like your traditional American family. Chris is the strict father and husband of the household, and everyone fears the consequences of questioning his authority. Belle (Angela Bettis) is the obedient and silent housewife, and the children seem normal enough. Peggy (Lauren Ashley Carter) is the oldest daughter in the family. She’s quiet, and doesn’t cause any trouble. Brian (Zach Rand) looks up to his father, and he wants to follow in his footsteps. And Darlin’ (Shyla Molhusen) is the youngest child in the family. She’s innocent, and Darlin’ just wants to enjoy life as a normal kid.

But you begin to see the serious problems within the Cleek family, as the story unfolds. Peggy is hiding a serious secret, and she refuses the help from her caring teacher, Ms. Raton (Carlee Baker), because she fears the backlash from her father. Belle is a complacent housewife, but she decides to take a stand against Chris’ violent and cruel behavior, and eventually, Belle snaps. Brian admires his father. He’s a role model for him, but Mr. Cleek isn’t someone, who you should look up to, and Chris’ cruel treatment of the woman begins to influence Brian’s feelings towards women.

And then there’s Mr. Cleek. Chris takes his job as “man of the house” seriously, and he keeps a close eye on his entire family. Chris just seems like a normal family man, who’s passionate about protecting his loved ones, but you get to see the dark side of Mr. Cleek’s character, as the story progresses. Mr. Cleek is a sick and twisted man, who hates women. There’s no conflict within this character, and his sinister actions don’t phase him at all. I will remember Mr. Cleek as one of the most evil characters I’ve seen in any type of horror film, and Sean Bridgers’ performance was very convincing. Is he trying to do the right thing by “civilizing” The Woman? Or is Mr. Cleek trying to vent his hateful feelings towards women by torturing his prisoner? These are two questions that popped in my mind during this film, because Mr. Cleek ALWAYS believes he’s doing the right the thing.

And Pollyanna McIntosh was just fantastic as The Woman. The make-up effects provided The Woman’s savage look, but McIntosh is the one, who brought life to this character. Her rage was just excellent, and her cold, emotionless stare could feel frightening. McIntosh was a very believable intimidating threat, and she could destroy anyone in her path. But I could also feel sympathy for this character. The Woman was held prisoner by Mr. Cleek. She was tortured, raped, and beaten. The Woman is forced to suffer, but I always knew she would strike back at some point. Revenge was inevitable, and for the most part, The Woman’s brutal triumph towards the end did feel glorious.

The Woman is a character driven horror film. Peggy and Belle are the innocent members of the family. They’re just looking for a way out, but they fear the wrath of Mr. Cleek. Brian and Chris are the monsters of the family, and both characters are genuinely evil, especially Mr. Cleek. The imprisonment of The Woman causes an emotional split amongst the Cleek family, and the conflict eventually leads to an intense argument between Belle and Chris. The turmoil within the Cleek family reaches a dangerous boiling point towards the end, and I really cared about the main cast of characters here. Sean Bridgers was the true star of this cast, and this film does feature some pretty good acting.

The Woman is loaded with some very graphic scenes of gore, and the violence can feel shocking. If you can’t handle repulsive gore and violence, then you should stay away from this one, because The Woman can be a very disturbing film, and most people won’t be able to tolerate this bizarre story of a dysfunctional family.

LSN80
04-09-2012, 07:55 PM
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy(2011): 8/10 If you head into this movie expecting the usual espionage film filled with with car chases, shootouts, and choreographed fight scenes, you'll be sorely disappointed. However, what the film does offer is a finely written script that merges anxiety, paranoia, and espionage, yielding a tale that delves into both the lonliness and desperation of the life, one in which the characters can never be fully honest, not even with themselves. Best of all, the movie treats the audience with intelligence, which so many movies fail to do.

John Hurt plays Control, the leader of an unknown sector of the British Intelligence service. After a secret intelligence gathering mission is compromised, leading to agent Jim Prideaux being shot in the back, Control and his second in command, George "Beggerman" Smiley (Gary Oldman), are ousted from their positions with British Intelligence. Control was under the impression that there was a mole among the top ranking members of the service, which was referred to as the Circus, due to their location being in Cambridge Circus. Control, who was already ill, passes on, but Smiley is brought out of retirement to find the culprit following Control's passing. With the assistance of young Intelligence officer Peter Guillam (Benedict Cumberbatch), Smiley focuses his investigation on the four remaining members of the circus, determined that one of them is the mole. The secret, fading out yet still powerful group consists of Bill "Tailor" Haydon, played by Colin Firth, Percy "Tinker" Alleline, played by Toby Jones, Roy "Soldier" Bland, played by Ciaran Hinds, and Toby "Poorman" Esterhase, played by David Dencik.

Without the gratuitous car chases and combat scenes, the film instead focuses on leading the viewer into a journey of discovery, and a feeling that they are investigating right along with Smiley. Every scene contains a piece of information or clue which draws the viewer further into the mystery. There was a time apiece during the movie where I was sure "Tinker". "Tailor", "Soldier" and "Beggerman" was the spy, which is the beauty of this movie.

The movie relies heavily on flashbacks, and Smiley's process as he attempts to discover which of the men is the traitor. The real genius of the movie is that the movie not only draws you into Smiley's process, but it leads you subtly to picking up the pieces of what Smiley is doing, and you wind up thinking like him, culminating in a scene where Smiley discovers who he believes to be the mole, goes into a long monologue, providing an "Aha" moment for the viewer as well.

If I had any complaints, it's in the true revelation of the mole, and how he's dealt with. After spending the movie learning the characters of "Tinker" "Taylor" "Soldier" and "Beggerman", Smiley simply captures the mole at the safehouse where the men meet in the movie's apex scene. "Soldier" had been having an affair with "Smiley's wife, unabashadly, but all to divert suspicion from himself. Following his capture, Smiley plans to turn over Haydon, or"Tailor" to the Russians for trial, but Prideaux instead kills him after finding out that it was "Soldier" who was responsible for him being shot. After a slightly meticulous yet acceptable for the context pace of the movie, the film briskly moves through this scene, heading straight to a short aftermath of Smiley being restored to his old position. The end made sense, but it felt slightly rushed after the movie built so well.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy isn't going to get your pulse racing or draw you in with shootouts or high speed chases. That's not to say that the film is boring, it's anything but. It relies heavily on character development, especially Gary Oldman's Smiley, The movie is the definition of a slow burn, and moves at what to some may seem like a snail's pace. But without the pacing, one would miss out on the genius of the film, which is Smiley's process, one in which it's almost imposible not to be drawn into. The movie is layered, deep, and complicated at times, a thinking man's spy thriller, if you will. But with all it's layers and intricacies, it never presents itself as being over the audiences head. This is truly a movie that had me on the edge of my seat, where I was for about a half hour before I even realized it. Standout performances by Gary Oldman as Smiley, John Hurt as Control, and Colin Forth as Tailor really make this film greater then it might have been, as it was expertly casted.

If you're looking for car crashes, high speed chases, shootouts, and fast moving dialogue with a faster plot and a crazy twist, TTSS isn't for you. This movie isn't really about the final revelation of who the mole is, which is admittedly a letdown. Fortunately, the movie is about the journey along the way to get there, which is expertly crafted and impeccably acted. Highly recommended.

Bad News BK
04-09-2012, 08:49 PM
Thor 2011

Another Marvel/Avengers film here, and part of the huge superhero period of last year that included Captain America, X-Men and Green Lantern.

The Plot: Building on the old Norse God myth, Asgardians are actually Aliens from another world, replacing the magic of the source-text with advanced technology. Thor Odinson is the heir to the Asgard throne; a brash, cocky, bloodthirsty young warrior with the mighty hammer Mjolnir to control the power of thunder. Yet when he breaks an age-old truce against the frost giants of Jotunheim, his father strips him of his powers, and banishes him to Earth to teach him a lesson, and the mysterious Loki, Thor's brother and the god of mischief, looks on, sensing a chance to capitalise on his dominant brothers' absence. Meanwhile on Earth, astrophysicist Jane Foster is researching unusual electrical storms in New Mexico, and gets an unexpected eurprise when a man, Thor, falls out of it. However, she is not the only person taking notice of thse storms, as SHIELD come along when a second object falls out of the sky not too far away.

The film manages to cover a lot of backstory with Asgard in the opening ten minues, and in doing so also makes the idea of Norse gods much easier to digest by turning them into aliens worshipped as gods in Norse myth. Not only that, but it takes magic out of the equation, simply dubbing it as science we don't fully understand yet, negating the need to actually explain it.

One key thing throughout is Thors evolution. This isn't an origin story, this is a story of maturing into a man. We get a brief scene of no more than three minutes to explain Odin as the king, and Thor and Loki as his sons and potential heirs. We know very early on that Thor is brash, rude and arrogant, but we also get that he cares about his loved ones. By the end of the film (as a result of his time on Earth), Thor is more...well, human. Rather than previously, where he would take the fight and leave his friends to fend for themselves, he chooses to try and sacrifice himself to save them. And then, has a choice to either leave himself with a great personal sacrifice, or let Jotunheim, the world he earlier attempted to destroy himself, be destroyed. And he chooses to spare Jotunheim, cementing his evolution from the arrogant young prince to the mature, future king of Asgard.

A fantastic blend of myth, magic and science, bonded together in a compelling story. It doesn it's job, and then some.

Rating: 9/10


The Performance: Chris Hemsworth is, in a word, perfect as Thor. King of Shakespeare Kenneth Brannagh could have easily gone ye olde with Thor, as he is often depicted in some incarnations, and yet he had Hemsworth play Thor with a distinctive Englis accent; well spoken, and somewhat old-fashioned, but not to the extreme that has been portrayed in comics and cartoons. And Hemmsworth nails it. He is larger than life, he's a smash-mouth ass-kicker, and when he needs to he is subtle, caring, and almost gentile, without losing the core elements of the character; his pride and his honour. And he looks FUCKING awesome in a cape.

As Jane, Natalie Portman is a solid love interest, and is believable as her character. Nothing more or less, but that's okay. She connects believably with Thor immediately, and though she initially follows him for answers, Portman effortlessly connects with Hemsworth's Thor to make the transition into love seamless. a solid, if not a little understated performance that does its job very well indeed.

Now, if there was ever a man born to be Odin...Anthony Hopkins is that man. He's ridiculously believable as the ruler of a kingdom, and more-so as the dissapointed father. The exchange between Thor and Odin before Thor's banishment is of a father crushed by his sons childishness, and by the end of the film, Hopkins portrays an Odin full of pride for his son, as he has finally become an man worth to be king.

Loki is an important character, and needs someone similar, yet vastly different to Hemsworth to be able to compete with him. Tom Hiddleston pulls an intriguing shift as the god of mischief, as we learn with him that he is in fact a Frostgiant. His performance in finding out is superb, as it's obvious that he wishes to break out from his brothers shadow, and this is the final push to send him over the edge. Several scenes later, lying to his brother about their father being dead, we fully see the metamorphasis of Loki in to the evil mastermind, who wishes to crush the brother that, for all his life, has been the superior one. Hiddleston brings an understated, almost humerous, yet incredibly bitter and maniachal performance to contrast Hemsworth's loud and brash offering, and the two complement each-other superbly.

We see Clarke Gregg put in a longer than usual shift as Coulson, Idris Elba as the thoroughly badass gatekeeper Heimdall, and a small yet awesome cameo from Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton, amongst the rest of the cast, all pulling their weight in a fantastic ensemble of talent. I'd go as far as to say there isn't a single bad peformance here. Good stuff.

Rating: 8/10


The Script: Yet another area where this film comes good. As much as Hemsworth is to do with Thor being such a good character, the script lays the groundwork, and the words from Thors mouth are more than fitting for a brash prince. The scenes between him and Odin, and early scenes between he and Loki, is pure Shakespeare in the best possible way. The scenes are powerful and grab your attention, and are written to be striking, as indeed they are. What's also striking is the fight scene in Jotunheim, where we first see Thors mighty array of powers; a clever piece of writing to allow uninterrupted story telling to follow.

As well, Thor's relationship with Lady Siph and the Warriors three is well-portrayed and often hilarious. Little lines like "Yeah, we've got Xena, Jackie Chan and Robin Hood" (from a SHIELD agent reporting their walking through New Mexico) and when they bang on the window of where Thor is shouting "FOUND YOU!" bring in superb humor. Even Agent Coulson has a couple of cracking lines; when the armoured guard from the weapons vault lands and he is asked if it's one of Starks (an alusion to Coulsoins role in the Iron Man films) he relpies "I dunno. That guy never tells me anything." Simplistic writing, yet with the right delivery, superb.

It was interesting to see SHIELD in somewhat of an antagonistic role, but it was good to see them get a bigger presence in this film. It's purpose was relatively simple; to introduce SHIELD to Thor for the Avengers, but in this instance it's done pretty damn perfectly.

A small gem, too, was the first appearance of Clint Barton (otherwise known as Hawkeye) in the Marvel film franchise. Just by picking up a bow instead of a sniper rifle, anyone with basic knowledge of the Avengers had to smile at that.

One thing I wasn't sold on was the love story in this film, though. Portman and Hemsworth did well with it, but it felt like a bit of an afterthought, and was rather rushed through. It isn't a huge problem, and can be easily forgiven, but it felt like more could have been made of it, seeing as it's one of the factors in Thor's maturity. But meh, I can forgive this one small flaw.

Rating: 8/10


Visual: With Asgard, they had to get it right. One wrong design feature and the look of it was ruined. It somehow needed to look ancient yet modern, and beautiful. And my god did they get it right. Asgard looks stunning, and they even managed to make the rainbow road; the path to the bifrost that transports them to other worlds, not look cheesy and look somewhat impressive. The fight with Thor, Loki and the Warriors Three in Jotunheim looks gorgeous, and the power display from Thor is very, very impressively made. His armour, along with every other Asgardian characters, is impressively perfect on each character, and Mjolnir looks deadly, and yet so simple.

Rating: 9/10


Overall: This, hands down, is my favorite Marvel Avengers film. Iron Man is up there, but this shades it. It beats it for storytelling, and has less flaws. It also manages to avoid being an origin story, so most of the film can be spent on the main plot. It looks pretty, its not overly complex, it gives us some humor, and has a number of good to strong performances in it. Not only that, but it gives us an Avenger, and the main villain the the Avengers, too.

Final Rating: 34/40

Bad News BK
04-13-2012, 09:10 PM
The Hunger Games (2012)

Onto a film I didn't think I'd want to watch. But after reading the book (and the rest of the trilogy) I had to give it a go to see how it stacks up.

*note: As I normally do four sections out of 10, for this they will be out of eight, with a fifth section for adaptation

Plot: Katniss Everdeen is a sixteen year old living in District 12 of Panem (formerly the Rockies in the US). A small mining district, she and her family get by with the illegal hunting she and her friend Gale carry out. Every year, each district surrenders a random boy and girl between the ages of 12 and 18 (dubbed 'tributes') to the Capitol to participate in the Hunger Games; a huge deathmatch where the last remaining tribute alive is declared the winner. When her 12 year old sisters' name is picked out, Katniss takes her place, putting her life in the hands of the survival skills she has picked up over the years.

We have an interesting plot here, with all of the action coming in the final act of the film, with the rest of it building up. One thing I love is how in district 12, everything is very old-fashioned, to the point where you cannot possibly tell when this is supposed to be set. As the film goes on, and we're shown the full glory of the Capitol, we see that this district, as with many others, are neglested, and in such a state of disrepair that they do not show accurately the time period.

As with the book, the focus of this story is entirely on Katniss. And as it should be, this is her story of her time in the games. And we learn early on how important a person she is; she is the sole provider of her family, and main carer for her little sister Prim. The impact this has when she volunteers isn't immediate, as we understand she is doing so to protect her sister, but when her mother and Prim are allowed to visit her, we get the full sense of how important a part of the family she is, and how difficult their lives will be should she not make it back.

As well as the overall plot of the games, the subplot (which, to be honest, is more of a co-plot) is that of the past relationship with Peeta Mellark; the son of 12's baker and the male tribute for 12. We slowly learn through short flashbacks that Peeta once helped Katniss by providing her some bread; a debt she has never forgotten. The most interesting thing about their relationship is the way their feelings grow; Peeta unashamedly loves Katniss from day one, where as Katniss has no such feelings, and only plays on them during the build-up to the games (popular tributes earn sponsors, who can provide supplies once they have begun). By the end though, he realises this, but by this point her feelings have actually grown, and she herself is confused by what she feels.

Rating: 6/8


Performance: Jennifer Lawrence is, in a word, perfect as Katniss. She plays the hard-skinned hunter, who repels most warmth from others unless its from her sister well, but she also plays the vulnerable side superbly too. When another tribute that helped her dies during the games, she mourns her, and it becomes difficult to watch the outpour of emotion. There are moments in the book where Suzanne Collins writes Kaniss as being on the edge of tears, but using all of her will to stay strong; this is something Lawrence does magnificently. Multiple moments have her on the edge of breaking down, and she holds on, by a thread. But she holds on because she has to.

Josh Hutcherson grew on me as Peeta as the film progressed, and turned out to be a solid choice. He's a likeable guy who's in love, and has no expectation of coming out alive. Yet at no point does he ever seem desperate, and he is willing to die for Katniss. His performance is good, but overshadowed by Lawrence in every department.

Gale Hawthorne is nowhere near as important in the film as he is in the book, but that is mostly due to the first-person perspective of the book being able to do things the film cannot. But Liam Hemsworth gets the character spot on in the scenes he has, and comes across as a male Katniss, which, in many ways, he is. You get the true sense of friendship between he and Lawrence when they're on screen together, and you also see just how important they are to eachother; more like brother and sister that lovers.

Haymitch, the drunken former winner of the Hunger Games, appointed to train both Katniss and Peeta, is portrayed brilliantly by Woody Harrelson. You get the bitter saide of his character, though is can perhaps be mistaken for him not caring. The opposite couldn't be more true in fact, but you see how he takes pride in Katniss firing an arrow towards the Gamemakers (whilst they are eating food during her assessment session and not paying attention). Harrelson conveys all of the emotions underneath the complex skin of Haymitch, and the layers he possesses will be an interesting focal point of the coming films.

The rest of the cast is a good ensemble, but is there to be nothing more than just that. This is a story about Katniss and the people she is close to during these events.

Rating: 6/8


Adaptation: This film does a fantastic job at bringing the book to life. Everything I imagined in the books, such as the look of the Capitol, to the look of the Districts, even to the look of the Games arena itself, looked as it should. The characters are spot on, and they even manage to cut a few corners without losing much; the way Katniss gets her Mockingjay pin is different, yet it doesn't matter; it's dealt with well. The minor cuts it makes are neccessary; even witht hem, the film is running at nearly two and a half hours. That said, the film has a distinct flow to it, and it never dulls, meaning that you don't notice the time it takes to the point of disrupting the film. As faithful adaptations go, this is a prime example of a very good one.

They way in which they incorperate some plot-points is clever as well; the book is all first-person, so Katniss describes everything to you in detail. In the film, we don't have that, but the way they present them differently works equally as well; an example being the racker-acker nest; in the book, the explanation is all in Katniss' head, where as in the film, it is in a studio (scenes that do not exist at all in the book) that the properties of tracker-jackers (a genetically engineered wasp) is given.

This is a double edged sword, however; no explanation is given to how Mockingjays (a cross between a Mockingbird and a fictional, genetically engineered bird) come about, and even to the large, dog-like creatures at the end. The book goes into this with a lot more detail, with some horrifying revelations, too. Not a huge issue, as you get the idea about these with the genetically altered Tracker-Jackers, but still, the impact loses something.

Another thing is the differences between the violence. Obviously, both the film and book are about teenagers killing eachother, but the book is very visual and gory. The film attempts to get around this (for the sake of a 12a rating) by using clever camerawork. The idea is pretty smart, but it just doesn't work. It becomes jarring and a little annoying, and you can't help but wonder what would have happened had they the balls to go with a 15 rating.

Rating: 6/8


Script: As the script was written by Collins herself, it's hard to criticise it too much, as she is the creator of this world. She does, however, capture the essence of her book, and transfers it superbly on-screen. It's humerous where it needs to be, its full of drama and excitement, and it handles the love story in a non-stereotypical, diverse way.

It's interesting to watch as Katniss develops through the story, and how she and Peeta manage to stay the same two people by the end of the games. It hasn't changed them, rather, it's focused them more on the horrors that happen in their workd, horrors that they are repulsed by.

Another interesting feature is how the story of Peeta and the bread is shown through flashbacks throughout the first two thirds of the film. It builds it up, and we eventually understand the importance that this scene has on both Katniss and Peeta, and the film does a great job to show us this element of backstory.

The highlight, without a doubt, was the scenes surrounding Rue's death. A tribute that katniss becomes attatched to; this is one of Katniss' most important moments, as she can either wallow in self-pity, or carry on in Rue's honour. And the scenes surrounding this moment are nothing short of beautiful, and come across so well, even in comparison to the book.

Something I love, mainly because it could have gone a different way, is the emphasis on survival in the Games. It could have easily just been turned into a bloodbath, but Collins was smart enough to turn it around, and make it into a desperate, intense battle of attrition, that in my opinion was incredibly well written.

Rating: 6/8


Visual: Two important things fall into here; the look of the Capitol and the Arena. The Arena looks inch perfect compared to its description; the dense forest with hidden traps, coupled with the Cornucopia (a large shell-like structure) in the centre, looks perfect to its description.

The Capitol, and conversely its people, look exactly like how they are described...a little too well. I get that the idea is to make the difference between normal district-born people and people from the Capitol alarming and vast, but the ridiculous facial hair, the wierd shaped faces...it all is just a bit too much, and makes it a bit silly.

As mentioned before, the camera-work, while a clever tool to avoid showing copious amounts of gore, is a little too much, and distracts rather than adds to the look of the film, and to be completely honest, by the end of the film, pissed me off.

Rating: 5/8


Verdict: I went to see this film with a friend who didn't really fancy it, who had never read the book, and had previously seen Battle Royale. And while he didnt think it was the best film ever, he really enjoyed it. He cited many flaws I did, plus a few I disagreed with, but he praised its focus on survival, and its overall story. And I can't help but agree with this.

It's a well told story, no doubt, but it does have a few problems, but nonetheless is incredibly faithful to the book. For how it sticks so close, it deserves praise. And what it does cut is only to stop it from running over three hours, and is well worked around for the most part.

If you're going into it conviced that Battle Royale is better, you're missing the point completely. It may use very similar tools, but as a film, this is very different world, a different story, and deserves to be set apart. Worth watching to garner an opinion, and my opinion is that this is one adaptation that is worth seeing.

Final Rating: 29/40

Paralyzer Z
04-14-2012, 05:02 PM
The Hunger Games (2012):
Director: Gary Ross
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, and Josh Hutcherson

Just to clarify, this is coming from someone that has never read the original Suzanne Collins novel, so I will be impartial with comparisons (if there are any).

Essentially most people already know the back-story to the plot, 12 districts one female on male chosen to fight in the Hunger Games, there is one winner and the rest is history. Jennifer Lawrence plays a girl from district 12 who volunteers after her younger sister is chosen to participate form the district. Her fellow comrade (well not exactly a friend) from the same district is played by Josh Hutcherson, a scared guy who is willing to win at all cost (at least at first) they are taken to the oh so rich in technology capital where Katniss (Lawrence) soon becomes a favorite to win by many due to gaining many sponsors before hand due to an alleged love story between her and Peeta (Hutcherson). The games begin, early to late teenagers are killed, a bunch of action goes down, and the spoilers end here.

I think it's actually a pretty good film. It's got a great story (as is to be expected from a book from that stature of popularity), a good cast of actors and a big budget. To me the story is sort of complicated in the opening sequences but once you narrow it down to the simple fact that the Hunger games is taking place, it becomes more enjoyable. I don't really have to explain why in terms of appearance the movie looks grand, again look at the following the novel had. The acting is pretty good as well, I didn't see to many unbelievable and ridiculous moments here from any of the actors (besides one over dramatized scene when she finds him camouflaged as a tree). I will admit that the people of capitol look absolutley absurd, I get that there is supposed to be a major income/class difference between them, but do they really have to look like they just came from a Doctor Seuss book. With the exception of a few that run the games, most of them look a bit too colorful and silly. The capitol on the other hand itself looks fantastic and is really appealing to the eyes after looking at a poor rural district for the first part of the movie. The ending leaves you satisfied that's all I ca really say bout that. Overall I this is enjoyable and action packed, it will probalby satisfy people that either haven't read the book more that it will die hard fans with incessant comparisons, I give it a 7.5/10

The Shape
04-16-2012, 04:17 PM
The Raid: Redemption (2012) 10/10- Everyone fears the wrath of Tama (Ray Sahetapy). Tama's empire continues to grow during his reign, as the dangerous and powerful drug lord, and the Jakarta (a city in Indonesia) slums have become his personal playground. He uses a rundown apartment building as his stronghold. Tama provides housing for drug addicts, murderers, and gang members, and any form of law enforcement fears the fatal consequences of intruding on Tama’s property. But a twenty man SWAT will risk everything, as they attempt a bold raid on Tama‘s apartment building. Sergeant Jaka (Joe Taslim) leads the twenty man SWAT team, and Lieutenant Wahyu (Pierre Gruno) provides the necessary guidance. Rama (Iko Uwais) is the star rookie of the SWAT team. He’s brave, fearless, and a highly skilled martial artist, but he wants to see the birth of his first child, so returning to his pregnant wife becomes Rama’s main goal.

Tama won’t go down without a fight, and the SWAT team must overcome the revelation of an unexpected betrayal, if they want to survive. The raid on Tama’s apartment building quickly turns into a bloody and brutal battle, and the survivors of the SWAT team will have to fight their way out. Escaping the deadly clutches of Tama’s army seems like an impossible challenge. Rama, Sergeant Jaka, and other survivors from the SWAT team are willing to fight through the line of defense that blocks their exit, but will Jaka’s determination and Rama’s impressive skills be enough? Or will Tama have the last laugh?

The Raid: Redemption features some of the most thrilling and brutal action sequences I’ve ever seen. You won’t see any high speed car chases in this film, and they aren’t too many spectacular explosions here, but The Raid: Redemption can wow audiences with stylish and fast-paced fight scenes. The Raid: Redemption is loaded with plenty of hard hitting fight scenes, the creative and gruesome deaths can feel shocking, and The Raid manages to maintain a high level of energy, while providing jaw-dropping moments at the same time.

Tama’s rundown apartment building did provide the PERFECT setting for this film. The apartment building is filled with Tama’s bloodthirsty army, and the SWAT team begins to lose men fast, as Tama’s army gains the upper hand. The apartment building helped enhance the claustrophobia and fear, and I could feel this strong sense of danger for the SWAT team, because eventually, escape becomes their only option for survival.

The Raid: Redemption can blow you away with exciting action, but during the calmer moments in this film, you’ll get a brief glimpse into the lives of certain characters here. Rama can be the most deadly weapon on the SWAT team. His kicks and punches are lethal weapons, but this is a man, who wants to be a father. He wants to see the birth of his first child, and he wants to become a family man. Andi (Donny Alamsyah) is Tama’s right hand man. He’s a trusted and loyal servant, but Andi is tempted by the possibility of returning to a normal life. He could take the chance of reconnecting with his loved ones, and the unexpected reunion with a family member could change everything.

Tama is the evil and cold blooded antagonist. Tama’s presence can inspire intimidation and fear, and they really did a nice job of building up Tama’s reputation as this powerful drug lord, who couldn’t be stopped. You will get a glimpse of Tama’s psychotic behavior early on, as he dishes out a series of nasty and graphic executions, and he doesn’t let the lack of bullets ruin his violent rampage. Mad Dog (Yayan Ruhian) likes to take care of the dirty work, and he is Tama’s skilled hitman. Mad Dog can be a viscous murderer, but this character does display some admirable traits. Mad Dog doesn’t like to use guns to finish off his victims, because guns take all the “fun” out of everything. And Mad Dog will always give his victims a fighting chance. Mad Dog is a ruthless killer, but he did have a sense of honor, and this character didn’t take pride in any cheap kills.

The Raid: Redemption features a nice set of characters, that have a good amount of depth. The constant barrage of bullets, fists, and kicks will keep you entertained, but I could invest my emotions in the story, because I wanted to care about the characters here.

I know it’s kind of early, but The Raid: Redemption deserves some serious consideration as the best action film in 2012. The Raid: Redemption provides a thrilling adrenaline rush, that will hook you in from beginning to end. Redemption takes violence and brutality to another level, and the tension throughout this film is just superb. And the pacing is just excellent. The Raid: Redemption can make your eyes bulge with some great action scenes, but Gareth Evans (the director for this film) knew when to slow down. Evans did give the audience a chance to catch their breath, and you really get to know the characters during these peaceful moments. Also, the gritty and raw cinemotragphy was a nice touch here. The Raid has a great look, and the cinemotragphy was a perfect match for the bleak atmosphere throughout this film.

It’s only April, so The Raid: Redemption will fade away soon enough, and eventually, this film will be buried underneath the pile of big summer blockbusters. But I won’t forget The Raid: Redemption, because this hardcore action adventure has earned a spot on my must-see list for 2012.

The Shape
04-22-2012, 08:06 PM
Lockout (2012) 6/10- Lockout was originally titled MS One: Maximum Security, but the studio decided to change the name a while back. I never changed the title in the Coming Attractions thread, and I just forgot about it after a while. So just remember, if you stumble across MS One: Maximum Security in that thread, you’re watching the trailer for Lockout.

Well, that little piece of information is out of the way, and it‘s time for the review!

Set in the year 2079, Lockout follows the story of Snow (Guy Pearce), a cocky government agent, who’s about to do time for a crime he didn’t commit. Snow is blamed for the murder of a high profiled Colonel, and rescuing the President’s daughter from a hostile prison takeover could be his only shot at freedom. Emilie Warnock’s (Maggie Grace) goodwill mission at MS: One (the floating maximum security prison in outer space) was suppose to be a simple task, but when Hydell (one of the more psychotic prisoners on MS: One) gets his hands a gun, things take a drastic turn for the worst. The prisoners are now in control of MS: One, Emilie is being used as hostage bait, and Snow must save the President’s daughter, if he wants to avoid a thirty year prison sentence.

Guy Pearce is the major highlight of this film. The most entertaining scenes involve his character, and everything does feel pretty bland and ordinary, when he’s not around. Pearce had the perfect look for an action hero, and he was very comfortable with his character throughout this film. Snow was an asshole, but he could still be a very likable character. Snow was smooth. He could fight, when the situation called for it, but Snow also had a sense of humor, and he does provide the bulk of the laughs here. Pearce brought so much charisma to this character, and his performance was just excellent.

I want to like Maggie Grace. I really do, but she hasn’t shown me anything special, since Lost ended. I’ll always see Shannon, when I look at her, because her performances in the movie world haven’t done anything for me. Grace just seems like an average actress, but she will continue to receive roles in Hollywood. She is a gorgeous woman, and she can always play the piece of eye candy, who may have some depth in her character. As far as Lockout goes, she was okay here. As usual, Grace didn’t blow me away with her performance, but she was decent enough. Grace barely did enough to convince me, but she was believable, as the innocent woman, who was trying to do the right thing, but eventually finds herself stuck in a deadly situation, with no possible escape.

Also, the Hydell character was kind of annoying. Yeah, I get it. He’s supposed to be a bloodthirsty lunatic, who can’t control his urges for killing, but Joseph Gilgun’s performance was so over the top. This character’s disfigured look didn’t feel intimidating, because Gilgun delivered too many unintentional funny moments. It felt like he was trying too hard, but Alex (Hydell’s brother) was a lot more tolerable. Alex (Vincent Regan) was the leader of the prison revolt, and he could control his temper. Alex was a smart antagonist. He wanted to come up with a strategy for the takeover, and Regan was convincing, because he really did look like the leader for the gang of prisoners. I just wish I could’ve seen more of Regan, and less of Gilgun.

Lockout could’ve been so much better, but unfortunately, they just settled for your typical Hollywood style sci-fi/thriller. The special effects look great, Stephen St. Leger and James Mather did a fine job with directing, and they were able to provide some excitement for Lockout. But the screenplay feels so formulaic and predictable. You can see everything coming from a mile away, and the obvious twists and turns were very disappointing. Still, Lockout can be an entertaining film. It’s an enjoyable sci-fi/thriller, the action sequences are fun to watch, and Lockout is loaded with some very impressive visuals. And Guy Pearce’s performance is worth the price of admission. He really steals the show here, and this film does feature one of his better performances.

Paralyzer Z
04-28-2012, 01:17 PM
Audition(1999)
Director: Takashi Miike
Starring: Ryo Ishibashi Eihi Shiina

This is.... unsettling.

I went into this film expecting a bunch of sexual torture scenes, what I got instead was something much more brutal. The plot is about a man and his son who have lost the matriarch of the family years prior to the begging of the story. Shigeharu Aoyama (Ishibashi) the widower, seeks to use his job in the film making industry to make him happy by getting him in a relationship. His friend Yasuhisa Yoshikawa convinces him to hold an audition for the film, in which he would have to pick one of the female try-outs. Even prior to that he sees a file of one of them and becomes interested. When this seemingly harmless and beautiful girl Asami Yamazakin(Shiina) decides auditions he is captivated and falls in love. After some very disturbing back story revelations of the child abuse she suffered as a child she informs him that he is to love no one else but her. Foolishly he agrees not knowing that would include not loving a single soul (including anyone in his family) in the world but her. This later leads to him being stalked by her to and a brief journey to discover her past. After encountering the male figure that burned her legs as a child, he returns to his home to find himself in a trance. That of which includes the discovery of a sack in Yamazaki's house containing a body, and a scene were a work assistant preforms fellatio on him. Yamazaki seeking vengeance for Shigeharu's love for his son breaking his promise breaks into his house and from here on out it's more brutal torture and a heroic ending.

Wow, I read that many people upon the premier were disgusted by the content of the torture scenes (specifically a the man in in the sack gladly consuming Yamazaki's vomit that she purged into a dog bowl). The story is not as exciting as it looks on paper. The majority of the movie is very slow and takes it's time building up to the torture fest. For the most this is very boring and at some points makes you wonder if the last portion of the film is worth it. It is, the fast paced and disturbing scenes are worth sitting through the passive start and middle. I like the acting, the supporting characters are not that great but the two lovers and stars are great in their roles. Especially Shiina who plays a seemingly shy, but secretly deranged beauty. Of course the special are not at all exhibited until the final portion of the film. As for the story overall, I say it's interesting enough to make you want to watch and sit through the initially bad execution, until it gets great later on.

Good film, not for the weak-hearted or squeamish but entertaining nonetheless: 7/10

1911(2011)
Director: Jackie Chan, Zhang Li
Starring: Jackie Chan, and Winston Chao

Any film featuring Jackie Chan is bound to be action packed, and this is no different.

The movie is about the Xinhai Revolution, a pivotal era in Chinese history. Chan plays Huang Xing a revolutionay intent of freeing China form the Qing Dynasty. Along with Sun Yat-sen (Chao) and Xu Zonghan (Bingbing) they take action in the failed Guangzhou Uprising and proceed to further the stakes with a full blown revolution. After taking trips to the Untied States to advertise the cause Chao and the others take military action. From here on out for the most we saw battles and encounters with Qing soldiers that ends in of course victory. The last part of the film centers on the new government and how in China will be run.

There is really not too much to say here. It's an action film that focuses more on a big atmosphere than having much of a story. It aviods the more sensitive topics that lead to the revolution and focuses more on the portion of the film where Chao trying to get people to support the cause of the revolution. The acting is pretty decent but the emotion is all over the place. As with any war film there are moments of violent screams, then those of quiet thinking places. The special effects are very uplifting compared to the mostly grim tone of the movie. Again there is not much to say here it's take it or leave it: 6/10

Bad News BK
04-30-2012, 05:37 PM
The Avengers/Avengers Assemble (2012)

This film is the culmination of four years work, starting with Iron Man and resulting in the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America. This film will change Marvel films' outlook on their film franchise one way or another. On a personal note, I have been buzzing about this film and waiting for so long to see it, and I went in with ridiculously high expectations, and was prepared to be disappointed. Bear that in mind in my conclusion.


The Plot

Loki (baddie from Thor) returns to Earth looking for the Tesseract (HYDRA's power source from Captain America, and Asgardian artifact) and threatens the planet with an army of aliens. Nick Fury is tasked with recruiting Tony Stark, Steve Rodgers, Bruce Banner and Loki's brother Thor, in order to quell the threat.

Surprisingly, the plot to this couldn't be simpler; bad guy comes to Earth, Earth needs defending. And there is nothing at all wrong with that. If anything, it focuses the film more, and allows for more character development along with the story. Loki as the mastermind baddie is majestic, and individually he stacks up against each Avenger well, playing on the idea of them having to unite together.

The plot allows for each Avenger to have his own central plot-point; Rodgers is still adjusting to life in the future, and is automatically thrust into combat, Banner is struggling with his life as a walking timebomb, Iron Man has just created a pioneering Arc Reactor to power his new tower in New York, and Thor is at conflict with his brothers misdemeanours. But the true gem in this is the two 'regular' people; Black Widow and Hawkeye. Their relationship in this film is a wonderful thing to behold, and the plot covers a lot of groud with them without having to do much, or dedicate a lot of time to it. But by the end, they are just as important as the rest of the team.

Rating: 9/10


The Performance

Holy mother of God where do I start? First off, there wasn't a single bad or mediocre performance in this. Every actor involved brought his/her A-game into this.
Chris Evans continued to impress me as Cap; he really embodies the image of the American war hero in a time that isn't his own perfectly.
Chris Hemsworth's Thor is much matured since his film, and he brings a brutish intensity along with an absorbing charm in his delivery.
Robert Downey Jr. brings his A-game, and brings out his best performance as ol' shellhead yet, with incredible delivery, hilarious mannerisms and an almost schoolboy-ish cheekyness.
This was an interesting film to debut a new actor for Hulk (not that they had a choice) with the job Edward Norton did in the 2008 film. But Mark Ruffalo doesn't just deliver, he goes over and beyond that and makes the Hulk his own. He brings a new level to Banner; a social recluseness that wasn't seen in Nortons Hulk, which fits brilliantly, and is superbly acted.
Samuel L. (Motherfuckin') Jackson does his bit as the kick-ass director of SHIELD. He's the man who gives these incredible people the shove they need to work together and kick ass. What helps is that Jackson was the inspiration behind the Ultimate version of Nick Fury, so this part is pretty much tailor made for him. And he sure doesn't disappoint.
Scarlett Johansson nearly steals the show for me as Black Widow, bringing a well-hidden vulnerability into the hard-as-nails shell, and is a believable secret agent/assassin. Her biggest strength is her chemistry with Romanov's best friend Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner). Renner is the hero with the least amount of screen-time leading up to this point, but the film does a great job of selling his abilities as a master archer, cementing him on equal footing with the others, and making us care about him. And Renner's performance makes you connect with the character, and what he goes through. The relationship between these two is one born out of one important choice, one moment in both of their lives, and from it spawns this bond, and it's this that in any other film would steal the show.

The performance that does steal the show however, is that of Tom Hiddleston (Loki). His performance is beyond any other in the film, and if everything else in the film was to be average, his role would be the blinding light of awesomeness in the middle. Loki has matured a lot since Thor, and he has become somewhat of a sadistic monster, with a twisted ideology of freedom under his rule. His motivation is simple; he wants to be King of Earth, but his route to getting there shows off Hiddleston as the fantastic actor he is.

Rating: 10/10


The Script

JOSS. FUCKING. WHEDON.

I've only recently become a Whedon fan, but he understands a number of things about plots in television and movies. Critically; how to pace a story, how to structure a story, and how to balance a film. As mentioned before; EVERY main character has their time. And they do it without the film ever becoming solely about them. In a film this size, with so many factors that could direct a film being about one particular character, this is a REMARKABLE feat.

The script is beautiful. Crisp, snappy, incredibly witty, it burns through the plot in 2 hours 23 minutes, but when you consider that it includes four individual heroes, two newer ones, their boss AND a supervillain, along with all of their own personal stories involved, that is incredible. It does feel like 2 and a bit hours, but it feels like 2 and a bit hours very well spent.

The dialogue is one of the strongest parts of this. Whedon just gets it. He knows how to make something funny, but not so much that it dominates the intensity. Some of the lines (watch the small clips on Youtube and the trailer) are laugh-out-loud hilarious, and some fo the scenes are eye-meltingly good. In one scene, Black Widow is called in during the middle of an interrogation, and the way it is written makes you laugh, and be completely unable to take your eyes off the ass-kickery that happens.

The writing of the huge action set-pieces is also top-notch; every opportunity is taken to make everything look as amazing and, oddly, as realistic as it possibly can.

The true delight with the script though is how lean and tight this film is. Whedon has written (and directed) an incredibly tight film that surprises when it needs to, makes you laugh without making that the main focus, blows your head off with amazing action, and makes you genuinely care about a group of vastly different characters.

Rating: 10/10


The Visual

Well, just...wow. Iron Man looked amazing, as usual, but his new armour (Mark XXVIII or something) is a huge step up. Thor's lightning looked pretty, and was something that oddly was lacking in his own film. To see him use lightning more here was a good thing, and it looked awesome.

The alien race looked alright, nothing flashy, but they were pawns to be used by Loki. they didn't need to be anything than different and imposing; all of which they fit. But the New York fight sequence was breath-taking, and was a complete and utter joy to watch.

The real joy here though, was Hulk. Ruffalo did the motion capture work himself, meaning he is the first and only person ever to play both Banner and Hulk. Hulk looks absolutely brilliant, the transformation looks brutal, and seeing him fly through the air smashing shit up (including one of the finest moments ever, which made the cinema I was in stand up and applaud in unison) is a joy to watch.

Rating: 9/10


The Verdict

Holy sweet mother of god. I don't think I've ever enjoyed a film as much. As I said earlier, I hyped this film up so much, I was convinced it wouldn't live up to my expectations. It more than surpassed it, and that is saying something. Joss Whedon's touch on this film is the primary reason for this; he brings a beautiful amount of fun that is severely lacking in The Dark Knight, yet still brings the drama in bucketloads, and marvellous set pieces that blow your mind, even on the second time of watching. Every character is treated like a superstar, and everything is wound so tight that you can sense just how much everyone involved with this film enjoyed it. It'd be impossible not to. Believable heroes you grow to care about played by one of the best casts I've ever seen, kick-ass action, and a genius writer/director in Whedon. this is film-making at its absolute finest.

In my mind, this is easily the greatest comic book film ever made (yeah, fuck you Dark Knight). I'm tempted to go a stretch further in fact; this is quite possibly one of the best films released this year, if not for a very long time. Don't believe me? Go watch it, I emplore you.

Overall Rating: 38/40

Triple Naitch
05-01-2012, 09:37 AM
21 Jump Street

Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum

OMG, this has to be one of the funniest films I have seen in a long time! It has been ages since I laughed so much at a film, and I laughed just as hard when I went back to see it at the cinema a second time.

Jenko (Tatum) and Schimdt (Hill) are rookie cops, who hated each other in school (Jenko was a popular jock and Schmidt was a loser nerd), who end up becoming friends at the Police Academy. They are sent to work at a department on 21 Jump Street with a crazy black Police Chief (Ice Cube, who is HILARIOUS!) and their assignment is to go undercover as High School students to bring down the suppliers of a new "party drug" that has become popular.

I am not going to go too far into details to spoil it for anyone, but there are SO many funny scenes, I couldn't even try to tell you about all of them. Just wait for the scene when Jenko and Schmidt take the drug themselves, I was crying with laughter!

I wasn't expecting too much from this film, but it really really surprised me. Jonah Hill is back on his Superbad form, after quite a few poor movies, and I didn't think Channing Tatum would be as funny as he was- he was brilliant and impressed me alot!

Plus, there is a cameo at the end of the movie that will suprise you!

Rating: A must see comedy for anyone who loved things like Role Models, Superbad etc.

9/10

The Shape
05-06-2012, 08:00 PM
Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) 9/10- After escaping a cult, Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) searches for help, and a normal life with her sister, Lucy (Sarah Paulson). Fitting in proves to be a difficult task for Martha, and the memories of her cult family continue to haunt her.

Elizabeth Olsen continues to impress me as an actress. She carried Silent House on her back, and Olsen delivered another high quality performance in Martha Marcy May Marlene. She really did put her heart and soul into the Martha character, and you can clearly see her unbelievable dedication here. Martha is this troubled woman, who can’t adjust to the real world. Martha tries to recover from the strict and abusive cult, but Martha is torn between two very different lifestyles. On one hand, Martha misses her cult family, and the severe brainwashing does have some lasting effects. Lucy wants to civilize Martha, but Martha continues to fight anyone, who tries to offer their help. I could feel sympathy for this character, and Olsen’s amazing performance is the true highlight of this film.

Martha Marcy May Marlene is a disturbing psychological thriller. MMMM gives you a nice mixture of emotional drama and terror, and the acting in this film is just superb. Also, I really enjoyed the clever editing here. You’ll see flashbacks of Martha’s life with her cult family, and then, the storyline shifts to the present. During the present day parts of the storyline, Martha endures a painful downward spiral, as she tries to become a normal person, and the flashbacks of the cult lifestyle do give you a better understanding of Martha’s struggles in the real world. Martha accepted the cult as her real family, and her mind was corrupted by the cult leader, Patrick (John Hawkes).

And where did Sean Durkin come from? Martha Marcy May Marlene features Durkin’s directorial debut, and Durkin also wrote the screenplay for this film. The writing is just excellent, but Durkin really took everything to the next level on the directing side of things. Durkin provided the essential haunting atmosphere, and Durkin’s precise directing enhanced the feelings of paranoia and fear.

Martha Marcy May Marlene is an outstanding psychological thriller, and Elizabeth Olsen’s career is off to a nice start. I wish I could’ve seen more of John Hawkes, but I really don’t have any legit complaints about this film, and MMMM is more than capable of providing a memorable experience for anyone.

nve316
05-13-2012, 02:58 AM
The Avengers - One of the best superhero movies of all time. All of the main 4 superheroes really shined. 9.8/10

Drive - Ryan Gossling stole the show in this. Really blown away by his performance and this movie. 9.7/10

The Shape
05-15-2012, 10:01 PM
The Crossing Guard (1995) 5/10- Freddy Gale (Jack Nicholson) has become a bitter and heartbroken man. It’s been five years since the tragic death of his young daughter, Emily and Freddy can’t escape his overwhelming grief and lust for revenge. He lost his wife, Mary (Anjelica Huston) to another man, and his two sons were taken away from him. Freddy continues to sulk through life as an angry alcoholic, but one main goal gives Freddy a reason to stay alive. John Booth (David Morse) is the drunk driver, who killed Freddy’s daughter, and he just received his release from prison. At first, Freddy is anxious to kill Booth. This is the man, who ruined Freddy’s life, and he wants revenge in the worst way, but during an awkward encounter, Freddy and Booth strike a deal: John will have three days to enjoy his time as a free man, and after that, Freddy will take his revenge, and kill Booth. Will Freddy fulfill his desires for revenge? Or will he give Booth a second chance?

Jack Nicholson is a miracle worker. You’ll see a pair of solid performances from Angelica Huston and David Morse, but Nicholson really steals the show here. He did such a wonderful job of portraying this broken man, who couldn’t let go of the past. Freddy Gale is a miserable man. He sleeps with prostitutes, he’s an angry drunk most of the time, and Gale’s selfishness destroys every relationship in his life. Freddy Gale can be a hateful and cruel man, and you really get a chance to see the dark side of his character in this clip:

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After a frightening nightmare, Freddy seeks the comfort of his ex-wife. But when Mary shows “pity” for Freddy, the peaceful reunion takes a turn for the worst. Freddy’s vulnerability quickly fades away, and he shows the ugly side of his personality. At times, I could feel sympathy for this character, but Freddy Gale did have a nasty side, and Nicholson’s phenomenal performance was very convincing.

Nicholson is superb, and his performance does save this film, because The Crossing Guard could’ve been a lot worse without him. The Crossing Guard features a tragic story, but I couldn’t feel a strong emotional impact during this film, and Sean Penn didn’t help anything. Penn is the director for this film, and he also wrote the screenplay. His bland style of directing just sucks the life out of this film, the dreary atmosphere for The Crossing Guard can feel so depressing, and Penn’s use of slow motion almost gave me a headache.

Also, the direction of the story was very unclear most of the time. Freddy Gale wants revenge, and Booth tries to cherish his last days on Earth. But along the way, Booth falls in love with JoJo (Booth first meets JoJo at a friend’s welcome home party), and we get an in-depth look at Freddy’s “love life.” Freddy builds relationships with one too many prostitutes. A prostitute closer to Freddy’s age tries to build a real relationship with him, but Freddy shuts her out. And Freddy doesn’t respond to the advances from a younger prostitute. John Booth only has three days to live, but his relationship with JoJo (Robin Wright) received too much time. It takes the focus off of John’s storyline with Freddy, and Freddy’s addiction to prostitutes begins to dominate his life. Revenge for his daughter’s death should be Freddy’s main priority, but the storyline for this character goes in a different direction, because Freddy can’t control his urges for hookers. The story loses a lot of focus throughout this film, and I almost forgot about Freddy’s quest for revenge at times.

The Crossing Guard should’ve worked, as an emotional story of revenge, but I didn’t care about the story. The story loses its direction too many times, and The Crossing Guard just turns into a bland and lifeless drama, that should’ve premiered on TV. This film features a story about a young girl, who was killed by a drunk driver. As far as emotions go, I should’ve been able to feel something, but I couldn’t. Jack Nicholson saves this from a lower score, because without him, my rating would’ve been much, much lower.

This isn’t my first time watching The Crossing Guard. Nicholson is my favorite actor of all time, and I’ve always had this strange obsession with The Crossing Guard. I always hold out hope for a better film, but I’m disappointed every time. Maybe I was too tired the first time around? Maybe I didn’t have the right mindset for this type of film? I come up with so many excuses, but The Crossing Guard is just a mediocre film at best. This is the cold, hard truth, and Jack Nicholson really carries this one. And when you think about the 90’s and Jack Nicholson, The Crossing Guard isn’t going to be the first film that pops in your mind. You’re going to think about A Few Good Men and As Good As It Gets. Both of these films feature two Oscar worthy performances (Nicholson actually won the Best Actor award for his performance in As Good As It Gets) from a great actor. Nicholson's career is loaded with some outstanding performances. After watching some of his other higher quality films, you’ll forget about The Crossing Guard. Why? Because Jack Nicholson is just that damn good.

The Shape
05-17-2012, 08:25 AM
Dark Shadows (2012) 5/10- It’s 1760, and Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) is happily in love with Josette du Pres (Bella Heathcote). Barnabas enjoys life in Collinsport, as the wealthy bachelor, and he continues to live a luxurious lifestyle, with the help of his parent’s money of course. Barnabas wants to spend the rest of his life with Jossette, but Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green) has other plans. Angelique is obsessed with Baranabas, but Collins isn’t in love with her. Well, Angelique is an evil and jealous witch, who practices black magic. She can’t handle the rejection, and Barnabas will have to suffer some serious consequences for Angelique’s broken heart. After destroying Baranabas’ life, she decides to turn him into a vampire. Angleique furthers her quest for vengeance by wrapping Barnabas in chains, and with the help of the townspeople, she locks him inside a coffin.

After two centuries, Barnabas is accidentally freed from his coffin prison, and after a brutal feeding frenzy, he returns to Collinsport. Barnabas was once a powerful and rich playboy. His parents were the owners of a very lucrative fishing port, and Barnabas was a respected member of the community, but times have changed.

Things are different in 1972, and Collinwood Manor has become an old, dusty, rundown mansion, and the Collins name has lost the great amount of respect it once had. Angel Bay Fishery is the #1 fishing port in town, and Angelique is the owner, who proudly destroyed the Collins’ family business. Barnabas wants to restore glory and pride to the Collins name, so he makes a deal with the matriarch of the modern day Collins family: Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) agrees to keep Barnabas’ vampire identity a secret, and in return, Barnabas will use his secret fortune of jewelry to help the fishing port, and provide a much needed renovation for the mansion. But Angelique is still holding a grudge. She will do anything to posses Barnabas, and Angelique won’t take no for an answer.

Well, you’ll probably hate this film, if you’re a fan of the Dark Shadows gothic horror soap opera that ran from 1966 to 1971, because Tim Burton doesn’t make a real effort to pay homage to the TV series that inspired this film. Over the past few months, I’ve had the chance to watch a handful of episodes from the old Dark Shadows TV series, and I really enjoyed every episode. It’s a nice spooky horror show, that featured some good acting and writing, and most episodes did feature some shocking plot twists. I also caught a marathon of the 1991 revival of Dark Shadows on the Chiller channel. Not as good as the original series, but still enjoyable.

Dark Shadows is supposed to be a horror comedy, but this film isn’t scary at all. As far as the comedy goes, getting through any scene that didn’t involve Eva Green or Johnny Depp did feel like a real chore at times. Green and Depp provide the bulk of enjoyable humor in this film, but Dark Shadows couldn’t provide consistent laughs.

Dark Shadows couldn’t satisfy me as a horror film, and this film was mildly entertaining as a comedy. Yeah, my score for this film is probably a little high, because Dark Shadows deserves worse. But I can’t deny how much I enjoyed the cast here. Johnny Depp’s routine as the awkward vampire, who couldn’t adjust to the modern world was just hilarious. Depp could provide laughs, but he could also showcase as a serious side, as a cold and viscous vampire killer. Angelique is a sultry witch, but Green could also bring out the nasty bitch inside of Angelique. She was able to bring some sex appeal to this character, and Green’s performance was just fantastic. Michelle Pfeiffer really nailed the matriarch character, and Chloë Grace Moretz was very believable, as the disgruntled and rebellious teenage girl with issues. Jonny Lee Miller (Roger) really did look like the sleazy thief, who would do anything for money. And Helena Bonham Carter provided another enjoyable performance as Dr. Julia Hoffman.

The cast is superb, and Dark Shadows does feature some great acting, but Tim Burton really dropped the ball here. Am I watching a horror film? Is this supposed to be a full blown comedy? Or is Tim Burton trying to turn this into a gothic soap opera? These questions continued to pop into my mind throughout the film, and Dark Shadows really doesn’t have a true identity. Burton’s eccentric imagination runs wild here, and his bizarre vision did feel confusing most of the time.

Burton’s wackiness was bad enough, and the story was a complete mess. In the early stages of this film, the audience learns about the troubles of the youngest member of the family, David Collins (Gulliver McGrath). Nobody believes David’s sightings of a ghost, and Elizabeth hires a mysterious drifter to help him. Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote) becomes David’s governess, and she tries to help David….but as the story progresses, David and his sightings of ghosts become an afterthought. The focus shifts towards the rivalry between Barnabas and Angelique, and David’s storyline slowly fades away. Also, there’s a mystery surrounding Victoria, and she eventually becomes Barnabas’ love interest, so you have to add Victoria to the overload of storylines in this film.

They tried to cram so many storylines into this film, and Dark Shadows couldn’t maintain any sort of continuity. Am I really supposed to forget about a 10 year old kid, who sees ghost? But wait! That’s not important anymore, because we have to develop another storyline with Barnabas and Victoria! Ugh.

Luckily, Dark Shadows features another strong performance from Johnny Depp, and the entire supporting cast was fantastic. Also, Dark Shadows features some impressive visuals, and the CGI effects were excellent. This was a big disappointment for me, because Dark Shadows could’ve been so much better. They had some great source material to work with, but Tim Burton directing really hurt this one, and he couldn’t produce a coherent film. Dark Shadows ranks very low on my list of Burton/Depp collaborations. For years, Corpse Bride has been my pick for the worst Depp/Burton collaboration, but Dark Shadows does provide some serious competition.

The Shape
05-20-2012, 08:05 PM
Dark Tide (2012) 2/10- Kate Mathieson (Halle Berry) enjoys her life, as a highly skilled marine biologist and diver. Kate earned a well respected reputation as the “shark whisperer” during her swimming adventures with Great White Sharks, but during a routine dive, Kate makes a fatal mistake. Her incorrect command causes the death of a friend and fellow diver, and Kate can’t escape the guilt of this tragic accident.

One year later, Kate is trying to move on, and pick up the broken pieces in her life. Kate is the owner of boat tour service in Cape Town, South Africa, but Kate can’t handle the thought of dealing with sharks anymore. Instead, she gives tours for the more friendly sea creatures (seals, whales, dolphins, etc.), but past due bills are becoming a serious problem. Kate is desperate, broke, and down on her luck, but her husband/business partner could provide some much needed help. Jeff Mathieson (Oliver Martinez) has found a rich and cocky client, who is willing to spend a lot of money for a sea tour….but Brady Ross (Ralph Brown) wants to see sharks, and Kate‘s expert guidance is required. Brady is more than willing to take the risk, but Kate isn’t ready to deal with sharks again. She can’t escape the memories of the attack, and she continues to hold a grudge against Jeff, but Kate needs the money, so she agrees to do the tour. But the simple tour eventually takes a turn for the worst, and Kate will have to face her fears of sharks, because returning to the water becomes an inescapable life or death decision.

Boring. This is the one word I would use to describe Dark Tide. This was supposed to be a suspense/thriller, but trying to stay awake during this film was a real test. I almost fell asleep three of four times, because Dark Tide couldn’t provide any real suspense or thrills for me. John Stockwell’s horribly bland style of directing really hurt this film, and Dark Tide just goes through the motions the entire time. You can see everything coming from a mile away, and for me, Dark Tide didn’t provide an enjoyable ride to the end. Dark Tide has a runtime of one hour and fifty-four minutes, and you will feel every second of it, because this film just drags along, and the painful boredom caused too many facepalms for me. “OH GOD, WHEN WILL THIS END!?!?!” This is the one question I kept asking myself throughout this film, because the story for Dark Tide doesn’t feature a lot of depth. Nearly two hours was too much to handle, and they really didn’t need this much time to explain the shallow and thin story for Dark Tide.

For the most part, the acting is solid enough. Halle Berry, Oliver Martinez, and Ralph Brown provided the bulk of enjoyable performances. Berry wasn’t bad as the leading lady here, but she wasn’t the true star of this film. That honor goes to Ralph Brown. Brady was the rich, narcissistic, asshole, who loved to throw his weight around, and Brown’s performance was just excellent. Again, Berry wasn’t bad in the lead role, but she was upstaged by Ralph Brown here. There’s no doubt about it.

Also, I couldn’t buy into Kate’s struggle here. Kate was supposed to be this traumatized woman, who couldn’t let go of the past, and she couldn’t overcome her fear of sharks, but I couldn’t sense any sort of conflict in this character. Berry doesn’t show any strong emotions until the very end of the film. Considering the circumstances surrounding her character, I should’ve been able to feel strong feelings of sympathy towards Kate, but I couldn’t. Berry managed to deliver a solid performance, but at times, I couldn’t escape this “she’s just mailing it in” feeling.

And Kate’s unbelievably stupid decision towards the end did provide a jaw-dropping moment for me, but not for good reasons, though……

Okay, so Kate is terrified of sharks, and she can’t escape the guilt of causing someone else’s death. Well, we’re in the final moments of the film, and Brady has become a real jerk. He can’t smoke a cigarette to calm his nerves (Kate doesn’t allow smoking on her boat, but she doesn’t have a problem, when Jeff lights up a cigarette? Okay then.), and Kate won’t allow him to swim with the sharks. If Brady goes in the water, he MUST stay in a cage. This is Kate’s #1 rule. But Brady wants to be a rebel, and he continues to push Kate’s buttons. After Brady’s taunting and an intense argument with Jeff, Kate decides to take the crew (which includes Brady’s son, Luke) to a different location. The new location is FILLED with sharks, Kate has been pushed over the edge, and she wants to prove herself to Brady and Jeff.

Kate tries to showcase her new found courage, but the boat runs into a series of rough waves. Kate’s boat eventually flips over, and the hungry sharks begin to close in. Kate’s goofy and trusted friend (apparently, he’s in charge of safety on Kate’s boat, and no, I don‘t care to know his name.) loses his life during a shark attack. Brady tries to avoid one of the shark attacks, but he suffers one of the more gruesome deaths here. In the end, Kate, Jeff, and Luke (Luke Tyler) survive, and they’re able to find safe shelter inside a liferaft, as they await a much needed rescue mission.

So let me get this straight. At the beginning of the film, Kate is responsible for the death of a teammate. Then, towards the end of the film, she causes TWO more deaths? Really??? Yeah, I get it. Brady and Jeff pushed her over the edge, and she had to prove herself. But why would you lead an innocent group of people towards shark infested waters? You’re a marine biologist, who specializes in sharks. You know what could happen, and you know the incredible risk involved. Plus, you already survived an incident, that involved a death caused by a shark attack, and you STILL take everyone towards the sharks regardless? Unbelievable.

In the end, the Kate character didn’t learn anything, and she didn’t find any redemption. And how could she overcome her fears of sharks? After all, she did cause the deaths of two more people, and her stupid decision was the main the reason for their demise. The boredom was bad enough, and Dark Tide’s nonsensical screenplay just made everything worse.

Dark Tide is a dull and boring suspense thriller, that features too many long-drawn-out conversations/arguments, and I really didn’t care about any of the characters in this film. I couldn’t get into the story, and the ending really doesn’t make any sense at all. A few brutal and bloody shark attacks/kills towards the end did help this rating a little bit, and they did throw in somemoments of suspense at the end, but I can’t forget about the rest of the film. Dark Tide is just terrible, and this film deserves all of its harsh treatment. It’s a shame, because Dark Tide has a simple enough premise for an enjoyable suspense/thriller, but the screenplay and John Stockwell’s style of directing ruined this film.

Halle Berry is the same woman, who won the Oscar for Best Actress ten years ago, right? For years Berry relied on her sex appeal, but her good looks didn’t win the Oscar for Monster’s Ball. No. It was raw talent, and Berry did give an outstanding effort in Monster’s Ball. But when I take a look at Berry’s body of work, I‘m going to think of someone, who fits the profile of a “one hit wonder.” Her work in the 90’s is VERY forgettable, she has to be remembered as the most uninteresting Bond girl (Die Another Day), and she can’t take any credit for the first two X-Men films. After winning the Oscar for Monster’s Ball, Berry’s career sunk to embarrassing lows. She’s been caught in an awful downward spiral for years. This is an indisputable fact. Perfect Stranger and Catwoman were horrendous (especially Catwoman), and Things We Lost In The Fire was an unbearable piece of melodramatic trash. Also, having a part in New Year’s Eve didn’t help anything. Unlike the overwhelming majority of the critics, I actually enjoyed Gothika. It was an enjoyable horror flick, that featured an incredible and shocking twist, but one film isn’t enough.

Berry isn’t an awful actress. She’s solid enough, and she does look pretty good for a forty-five year old woman, but the vast majority of her career isn’t impressive at all. She’s starred in so many bad films (can’t forget about B.A.P.S), and Catwoman is a potential career killer. Hell, Berry actually showed up to accept her Razzie Award for the Worst Actress in person. Actresses and actors accepting their Razzie Award in person is a very rare occurrence (for obvious reasons), and Berry willingy showing up to accpet this award should tell you something about Catwoman. Catwoman was atrocious, and it’s hard to argue against Berry’s win for Worst Actress, but Dark Tide almost out ranks Catwoman for the #1 spot of worst films on Berry’s resume. Yeah, it’s that bad.

The Shape
05-27-2012, 08:05 PM
A Lonely Place To Die (2011) 7/10- During a routine hiking trip, a group of friends/mountaineers accidentally stumble across a wooden chamber in the ground. Inside, they find a young Seriban girl buried alive, and the group of mountaineers instantly suspect a kidnapping. Naturally, the young Serbian girl is terrified, and she doesn’t trust the strangers, who are trying to help her. The group of mountaineers still offer their help regardless, but when the kidnappers return to claim their ransom, the amateur rescue mission quickly takes a turn for the worst. The kidnappers will kill anyone, who interferes with their chances of a cash prize, and Alison (Melissa George) will have to risk her life to save the Serbian girl.

The Scottish Highlands provided the perfect setting for A Lonely Place To Die. The steep, dangerous mountain ranges, the eerie silence of a vast region, and the seemingly endless wilderness provides a strong sense of fear, as the kidnappers hunt their prey. The main characters are cut off from civilization, and as time passes by, finding help from other people becomes an impossible task. The atmosphere of the Scottish Highlands enhances the panic and heartbreak throughout this film, and these feelings become stronger, during agonizing and emotional death scenes.

A Lonely Place To Die is a very solid thriller, that features some great suspense and tension, especially during the final moments. They did throw in some gore every now and then, but the bloody stuff never reaches extreme gross-out levels. This was a smart approach, because the violence didn’t overshadow the important plot points of the storyline. Julian Gilbey (the director for this film) delivered a strong life threatening survival story, and his solid directing was a nice touch here. Overall, the acting is decent enough, and Melissa George provided a convincing performance with the leading role. A Lonely Place To Die will give you an emotional, gut-wrenching thrill ride from beginning to end, and I couldn’t pull my self away from the TV screen, as the survivors struggled to find safety and help. I really enjoyed this film, and A Lonely Place To Die has earned a spot on my list of 2011 favorites.

The Shape
05-31-2012, 08:49 PM
Chernobyl Diaries (2012) 3/10- Chris (Jesse McCartney) travels to Kiev, Ukraine for a brief visit with his brother, Paul (Johnathan Sadowski). Amanda (Devin Kelley) and Chris’ girlfriend, Natalie (Olivia Taylor Dudley) accompany him on the trip, and the small group of friends try to enjoy a peaceful vacation. Chris has plans of proposing marriage to Natalie in Moscow, Russia, but Paul changes everything with one bright idea.

Paul decides to take the group on an extreme tour to the ruined town of Pripyat. The abandoned town of Pripyat suffered severe damage after the tragic explosion of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, but Paul wants to give his brother an unforgettable adventure. Michael (Nathan Phillips) and Zoe (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) are two curious backpackers, who eventually join the tour, and Uri ( Dimitri Diatchenko) is the trusted tour guide. Uri runs into a little trouble at first, but he finds a way to sneak his group of customers into the town of Pripyat by using a backdoor entrance.

Uri’s tour lives up to the hype at first, but along the way, Uri begins to display signs of suspicious behavior. After an unpleasant surprise, Uri decides to end the tour early, but the group returns to a startling discovery, when they find Uri’s van. The wires have been destroyed, and the group is stranded in the abandoned town of Pripyat. But the lack of transportation isn’t their biggest problem. Dangerous stray dogs and bloodthristy mutants stalk the tourists, and the group must avoid the deadly levels of radiation, if they want to escape Pripyat alive.

Chernobyl Diaries should’ve been the perfect horror film, right? The true backstory of the Chernobyl disaster provides a strong sense of realism, the acting is pretty solid, and this film does feature some good scares every now and then, so where did they go wrong? Well, Chernobyl Diaries isn’t a complete train wreck, but this film does feature a good amount of noticeable problems. First of all, the overwhelming amount of stupidity can become very annoying after a while. Let’s review the series of dumb choices throughout Chernobyl Diaries:

1. Hiring Uri as a tour guide- There’s something fishy about this guy. Uri promises the group of tourists a clear and unobstructed path to Pripyat…..but when they finally reach the town, the tour group runs into a security checkpoint with military guards? Uri tries to talk one of the guards into giving him a free pass, and as he argues with one guard, another guard circles the van. The armed guard gives the tour group this mean “what the fuck are you doing here?” look, but none of them see this as a sign of serious trouble? Uri gets back in the van, and apparently the guards are having problems with his clearance on this particular day? Anyway, Uri sneaks the group through some rundown backdoor entrance to Pripyat, and the tour begins.

Clearly, Uri is lying. He isn’t welcome, and the guards don’t know him, so why would you continue to trust this man? Oh, and during the tour, Uri goes out of his way to hide signs of radiation poison. This guy is just a sleazy con artist, and he will do anything for some quick cash. Some of the tourists (mainly Chris) begin to suspect something, but they STILL trust this guy with their lives. Unbelievable

2. I don’t have a gun, but I’m still going to follow you!- The survivors are trapped inside the van at night. It’s pitch dark, but the group hears weird noises in the distance. Uri pulls out a flashlight and a gun, and he decides to investigate the strange sounds. Uri rushes to find the source of the noises…and Chris follows him? Okay, Uri has a GUN, and Chris doesn’t have anything to protect himself, but he follows Uri into the dark regardless? Really??? Uri fires a series of wild shots, but he can’t survive a deadly attack. Uri disappears, and Paul rushes to rescue his brother. Chris returns with a gruesome injury, and Uri disappears without a trace.

3. It’s nighttime, cannibals/mutants are stalking us, so let’s stay in the car with one gun-After an attack from mutants and stray dogs, Chris suffers a severe injury. He must endure the excruciating pain of a mutilated leg. Uri is gone (finally), and the group needs to find help fast. The team of survivors quickly organize a group, and this group will search for help. Chris wants to go…but the pain of his injured leg is just too much. He can’t put any weight on it, and he doesn’t want to drag the team down, so he decides to stay in the van? Oh, and his loyal girlfriend, Natalie decides to stay with him. And to top it off, Paul gives Natalie the only gun for protection. Of course, as Paul and the other survivors search for help, Chris and Natalie are abducted by mutants (gee, what a surprise). Paul and the rest of the group return to the van. The van is now officially damaged beyond repair, Chris and Natalie are gone, and naturally, Paul freaks out, and starts to blame himself.

Wow… just wow. Okay, Chris is injured. I get that, but you’re going to have to carry him at some point. You’re stranded in an abandoned town with mutants, who are literally trying to eat you. You don’t have time to leave people behind. Natalie and Chris were sitting ducks in the middle of nowhere. One gun with an injured guy, and a terrified girlfriend VS a pack of hungry mutants? Yeah, it’s not hard to predict the winner of this particular fight. There’s always strength in numbers, and the group of survivors would’ve had a better chance of protecting Chris, if they stuck together. Also, Paul and the search group could’ve avoided a lot of trouble from the attacking stray dogs, but they left the only weapon that could do some real damage with the injured brother and a petrified Natalie. Ugh.

The gun, plus greater numbers gives you a better fighting chance, but no. They just had to pull the typical “let’s split up!” bullshit.

I’m sorry, but I can’t feel any sympathy for stupid characters, and Chernobyl Diaries takes stupidity to a whole new level. “Are they trying to die?” I constantly asked myself this question throughout the film, and the answer was a resounding “YES!” every time. You’re stuck in a life threatening situation. I’m supposed to be rooting for your survival, but I couldn’t wait for the certain deaths of the main characters in this one. Next to the mutants, the main cast of characters were their own worst enemy. Paul is an idiot and a douchebag, and every other character lacks common sense.

At first, I did have high hopes for Chernobyl Diaries. The early stages of this film featured some great tension, the jump scares felt surprising, and the abandoned town of Pripyat provided the perfect chilling atmosphere. But then I started to notice the stupidity of the main characters. Chernobyl Diaries delivered some great scares early on, but as time progressed, painful boredom killed all of the momentum for this film. Chernobyl Diaries will give you some spooky moments, but the terror eventually fades away and unfortunately, any hopes for a good horror film are flushed down the toilet. You’ll have to suffer through a series of uninteresting and tiresome chase scenes, as the main characters continuously run from the mutants. “Oh, look. They’re running from the mutants…..again.” The constant barrage of chase scenes quickly turn into dull snoozefests, and I really forced myself to stay awake during the final moments of this film.

Oren Peli and the Van Dyke brothers (Shane and Carey) wrote the screenplay for this one, and they really dropped the ball here. Bradley Parker didn’t do a bad job on the directing side of things, but the screenplay is just atrocious. It’s a real shame, because Peli and the Van Dyke brothers did have some great source material to work with.

I could sense a great amount of potential at first, but Chernobyl Diaries eventually devolves into your typical below average mainstream horror film, filled with predictable horror clichés, and moronic characters. Foolishly, I clinged to a shred of hope during this film. “It has to get better. It can’t be this bad. Chernobyl Diaries is going to pick up again at some point.” My feelings of hope were crushed, and I struggled to find some positive highlights, because the bad really outweighs the good here. Too much stupidity, painful boredom, a handful of unanswered questions, and the lame ending didn’t help anything. I guess they were going for a terrifying cliffhanger, but Chernobyl Diaries already lost my attention by that point, and I just didn’t give a shit anymore.

Chernobyl Diaries could’ve been that one delightful treat for horror fans in 2012, but I’m going to think of an awful and boring disappointment, when I remember this film.

The Shape
06-09-2012, 07:35 PM
Men In Black 3 (2012) 5/10- After escaping the LunarMax prison on Earth’s moon, Boris The Animal (Jemaine Clement) targets Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). Boris is a feared and dangerous intergalactic criminal, and he plans on using time travel for revenge against K. In 1969, Boris plans to hunt down and kill the young and unsuspecting version of Agent K (Josh Brolin), but Agent J (Will Smith) also travels to the year 1969. Agent J must save his partner, but stopping Boris proves to be a difficult task. J must convince the younger and more suspicious version of his partner, because if he succeeds in his mission, Boris’ sinister plans will have deadly ramifications for Earth’s future.

Honestly, I didn’t expect anything great from this, and unfortunately, Men In Black 3 lived up to my low expectation levels. As usual, Barry Sonnenfeld proved to be a solid choice for the director of another Men In Black film. And I did laugh a few times, but for the most part, Men In Black 3 couldn’t entertain me. The humor did become stale pretty fast, and most of the corny jokes didn’t do anything for me. Etan Cohen, David Koepp, Jeff Nathanson, and Michael Soccio (the writers for this film) delivered your usual quirky and eccentric Men In Black script, but the screenplay falls flat after a while. The unfunny jokes and dull humor couldn’t produce consistent laughs for me, and the lame attempts at providing some entertaining comedy just bored me.

Although, MIB 3 does deserve some credit for the acting. Will Smith delivered a solid performance, Tommy Lee Jones doesn’t receive too much screen time, but he was enjoyable during his limited role here, and Josh Brolin was excellent. Brolin was the perfect clone for a younger Agent K, and he did a great job of capturing Jones’ mannerisms. Brolin nailed Agent K’s serious and emotionless persona, and as far as acting goes, Brolin was the true star of this film.

As far as Men In Black villains go, Boris The Animal reminded me of Edgar The Bug (the main villian from the first film). Boris was a strange, oddball villain, but Jemaine Clement could showcase the evil and dangerous side of Boris’ personality. Still, Boris really annoyed me. Clement was a decent enough villain, but he tried wayyyy too hard most of the time, and I couldn’t escape this feeling throughout the film.

I wanted to give Men In Black 3 a lower score, but Josh Brolin and the touching, sentimental moment towards the end (you’ll know what I’m talking about, if you decide to take a chance on this) changed my mind. Men In Black 3 is an improvement over MIB 2, but still, the third installment of this franchise just feels like a mediocre film. A ten year wait is a long time for any film, and Men In Black 3 couldn’t provide a satisfying payoff for me. I didn't experience any memorable moments, and this one will earn a spot on my list of disappointing films for 2012, because MIB 3 could‘ve been a lot better.

So Will Smith returns to acting after a four year hiatus, and this was supposed to be his big comeback film? Really??? I’m sorry, but MIB 3 isn’t going to erase Seven Pounds from my memory (Smith’s last film before his four year hiatus), and Smith’s upcoming sci-fi/thriller doesn’t sound too promising. After Earth co-stars his son, Jaden (gee, I wonder how he landed that role), and M. Night fucking Shyamalan is the director for this film, and he’s also one of the writers for the screenplay. Shyamalan is a terrible writer, and he’s produced so many stinkers over the years. I guess Smith finally gave up on his quest for an Oscar, but teaming up with M. Night Shyamalan could provide the direct cause of career suicide for Hollywood’s biggest box office draw. Smith is a talented actor, but the quality of his films continues to decline, and I’m starting to lose hope for one of my favorites.

Sabinesaba
06-11-2012, 11:34 PM
Ohhhhhhh what a movie , full comedy movie . I just wan't to see this movie again and again . The character played an excellent role that' why the movie looks beautiful.

It is an actual stream grabber, so no encoding of the display. Works like a charm on a non-standard site I visited, that has a video that was deployed through a custom flash front-end

http://wpc.556e.edgecastcdn.net/80556E/img.teasers.posters/FImXvobwOKg2pt_1_d.jpg

The Shape
06-17-2012, 10:25 PM
Prometheus (2012) 9/10- During an expedition in the year 2089, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) discovers a star map. Shaw is an archeologist. Her boyfriend, Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) shares the same profession, and he expresses genuine excitement during Elziabeth’s discovery. The star map showcases several ancient cultures, and in her mind, Elizabeth has found a welcoming “invitation.” Elizabeth and Charlie see an opportunity to find humanity’s “Engineers“, and with the help of an elderly and wealthy CEO, Charlie and Elizabeth’s dream adventure becomes a reality. Peter Weyland’s (Guy Pearce) vast fortune fuels the creation of the scientific spaceship Prometheus, and this ship will travel to moon LV-223. Here, Shaw, Holloway, and other explorers will search for the truth behind the cryptic star map. Fast forward to 2093, and Prometheus prepares to make its long awaited landing on moon LV-223. Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) quickly declares herself the leader of the exploration, and tensions begin to rise amongst certain explorers, as an android named David (Michael Fassbender) monitors the situation with a close and unsuspecting eye. Eventually, the adventure takes a dark turn for the worst, and the explorers must battle a dangerous and elusive enemy for survival.

Welcome back Ridley Scott!

In 1979, Scott delivered a timeless sci-fi classic with Alien, and he delivered a marvelous sci-fi action/thriller with Blade Runner in 1982. But Scott’s career has been pretty shaky over the years. Gladiator was his last true hit…but that was in 2000. Since then, Scott has delivered a handful of disappointments. When it comes to Kingdom Of Heaven and Body Of Lies, I will defend Scott, because I thoroughly enjoyed both films, and they’re really not as bad as the critics make them out to be. Although, Scott did direct that massive piece of shit Robin Hood, Hannibal was mediocre at best, and American Gangster was just painfully boring. But Prometheus provides Scott’s much needed triumphant return to the science fiction genre.

Prometheus is loaded with plenty of awe-inspiring visuals, and Scott did a wonderful job of providing a haunting, bleak atmosphere, filled with terror, tension, and wonder. At times, Scott could slow everything down, and give the audience a chance to catch their breath, as the mystery of LV-223 unraveled, but he could also pack a powerful punch with some pulse-pounding suspense and action. Ridley Scott can still deliver the goods, and Scott really shows his true talents behind the camera with Prometheus.

Usually, I avoid 3D films like the plague, but when it comes to Prometheus, I don’t have any regrets. The 3D effects did provide a few “oooh and ahhh” moments, but Prometheus didn’t suffer from unnecessary 3D abuse. The 3D didn’t overshadow important plot points in the storyline, and the 3D effects never reach the level of an overused flashy gimmick. Ridley Scott knew when and how to use 3D (which is surprising, because Prometheus is Scott’s first and only 3D film), and a barrage of typical 3D tricks didn’t overshadow anything here. The 3D effects for Prometheus provided an enjoyable bonus attraction, and I actually enjoyed the limited approach here.

I expected top notch acting from this one, and Prometheus’ excellent cast didn’t disappoint. The casting for this film was just great, and everyone delivered a high quality performance. Noomi Rapace was fearless, strong, intelligent, and she really nailed the Elizabeth Shaw character. Michael Fassbender was the perfect choice for David. Fassbender provided this proper and meticulous persona for the only non-human member of the crew, and Fassbender played the part of a machine to perfection, as he portrayed the emotionless and obedient android. Meredith Vickers was a nasty control freak, who refused to take a backseat to anyone, and Charlize Theron delivered the essential personality of a mean, cold-hearted bitch. Janek is the captain of Prometheus, and Idris Elba did provide a very convincing performance. Janek was a smart character, who questioned dangerous decisions, but this character did have a sense of humor. Elba and Sean Harris (Fifield) provide most of the comic relief, and both men were able to bring a few laughs to Prometheus. Guy Pearce had some help from make-up effects, but he brought life to the Peter Weyland character. This character‘s screen time is VERY limited, but Pearce was believable, as this old, stubborn man with a massive ego. Also, Logan-Marshall Green provided another solid performance as Charlie Holloway.

Finding the perfect cast can be a tricky task, but Prometheus didn’t feature any cracks in the acting department. Nobody seemed out of place here, and everyone hit a nice comfort zone with their characters, especially Micahel Fassbender.

Prometheus is a thrilling and suspenseful sci-fi adventure. The action towards the end is just great, and this film features some good tension. The 3D doesn’t suffer from unnecessary abuse, and Prometheus is loaded with some very impressive visuals. And Noomi Rapace’s gut-wrenching (no pun intended) C-section scene did provide the highlight of this film for me. It was a disgusting, bloody, and graphic moment. This cringing scene has earned a spot on my list of memorable movie moments, and Rapace’s acting made everything feel more excruciating and unbearable.

You will see Ridley Scott return to top form on the directing side of things here, and Scott proves he can still be one of the best with this film. I’m still waiting for The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises (also, I haven’t seen The Avengers yet), but Prometheus really lived up to my high expectations. The lukewarm reception from critics doesn’t bother me, because I loved Prometheus, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel.

Prometheus continues to receive a good amount of complaints from moviegoers and critics. Prometheus’ unanswered questions bothered a lot of people, because the vast majority expected a true prequel for Alien. Well, you will see some similarities to Alien here. The creatures, their acidic blood, strong female characters (Elizabeth Shaw and Meredith Vickers), and there’s a nice surprise for Alien fans at the very end. Still, Prometheus doesn’t follow the path of a traditional prequel. Again, this film features some similarities to the Alien universe, but most of the time, Prometheus feels like a stand-alone film. Although, Prometheus will give you some new material, and they were able to throw in some recognizable clues from Alien, so Prometheus actually works as a unique prequel and stand-alone film at the same time. Fans of the franchise should enjoy the tiny bits of Alien material. Newcomers won’t miss any major details, and at the same time, Prometheus could introduce them to the entire Alien film series, because this film could raise the curiosity levels of people, who are unfamiliar with the other Alien films.

The Shape
06-24-2012, 10:20 PM
The Dictator (2012) 7/10- The North African Republic of Wadiya could be the next target of a military invasion, and their refusal to remove nuclear weapons might start a disastrous war. Admiral General Hafez Aladeen (Sacha Baron Cohen) is the stubborn dictator, who refuses to obey the demands from the United Nations Security Council. Eventually, Aladeen arrives in New York City, and he will give a speech at UN headquarters. Aladeen agrees to address the situation, but he has no intentions of changing his mind. But Aladeen’s sudden kidnapping disrupts his initial plans. Aladeen loses his trademark beard, and he must thwart a plot to destroy his image. Aladeen will have to live life as a normal American citizen, and he must earn the trust of an environmentalist/activist named Zoey (Anna Faris) to regain his identity and leadership of Wadiya, or Aladeen will just become another normal guy in the states.

Sacha Baron Cohen’s impressive character transformations are fun to watch. Cohen has the ability to immerse himself in any type of character, and I can always believe him as the person I see on-screen. In Borat, I didn’t see Sacha Baron Cohen, I saw a rude and insensitive reporter from Kazakstani. In Brüno, I didn’t see Cohen, I saw a flamboyant Austrian fashion reporter and a proud gay man. And when it comes to The Dictator, I saw a selfish and immature dictator, who whined like a petulant child, when he didn’t get his way. Baron Cohen takes all of his movie personas VERY seriously, and he rarely breaks character in the real world. Baron Cohen’s incident involving Ryan Seacrest during the red carpet show for the Oscars this year is a prime example of his dedication, and when the situation became serious, Cohen STAYED in character, acting as if he did nothing wrong.

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He’s like a wrestler from the old school, who refuses to break kayfabe outside of the ring; it’s really something to admire, when you stop and think about it.

The mockumentary style of filmmaking has become a trademark for Baron Cohen’s films, that feature him in a starring role. Well, The Dictator sticks to this particular style of filmmaking at first, but as time progresses, The Dictator begins to develop an actual storyline: Aladeen must uncover the mystery of his disappearance, and with the help of Zoey and his hand picked nuclear weapons specialist from Wadiya, Aladeen will fight to regain his identity. I enjoyed the transition from a documentary style film to an actual comedy with a plot, because it made everything feel different. I love Sacha Baron Cohen, but the “realistic” style of filmmaking featured in his movies can feel tiresome after a while, and the slight change feels refreshing.

The Dictator features a good amount of raunchy and vulgar humor, and you have to expect this from a Baron Cohen film. The Dictator is a hilarious comedy, that features consistent laughs, and the acting is pretty damn good. Baron Cohen delivered another enjoyable performance, and Anna Faris was very solid here. Faris was this cheery hippie, but she could also showcase the passionate activist side of the Zoey character. Ben Kingsley was a fine choice for the Tamir character, but the lack of John C. Reilly did bother me a little bit. You might feel the irony during Baron Cohen’s speech towards the very end, as he explains the differences between a dictatorship and a democracy, but The Dictator deserves a place amongst high quality comedies in 2012 regardless. Oh, and the cameos from Megan Fox and Edward Norton were just great, especially Norton’s surprise appearance.

TheNewAgeOutlaw
06-30-2012, 03:29 PM
I would like to write about my fav movie of all time: THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION.

This movie is pure excellence in storytelling, drama, intensity and contains some great comedy moments. Throw in the one and only Morgan Freeman and the ability of Tim Robbins and the fact the movie is not like today with all the speacial effects, car crashes, explosions etc... It is just two guys in a prison that is all, and i couldn't ask for any more


10/10

The Shape
07-01-2012, 10:13 PM
Snow White & The Huntsman (2012) 4/10- After using a faux army to trick King Magnus (Noah Huntley), Ravenna (Charlize Theron) kills the King, crowns herself Queen, and seizes control of Tabor. Queen Ravenna uses her black magic to destroy and oppress everything around her, and with the help of a strong army and her brother, Finn (Sam Spruell), Queen Ravenna dominantly controls the land of Tabor without any challenges. But King Magnus’ daughter, Snow White (Kristen Stewart) could end the horrible, devastating reign of Queen Ravenna. She is Ravenna’s Achilles heel, but Snow White will need the help of a Huntsman named Eric (Chris Hemsworth) to survive the deadly Dark Forest. Snow White will have to earn the trust of the Huntsman, the support of Tabor, and defeat Ravenna once and for all.

I wanted to give this film a lower score, but Charlize Theron changed my mind. She was a perfect choice for the evil Queen/seductress Ravenna. Theron provided the essential menacing and cold-hearted personality for Queen Ravenna. Also, Charlize Theron is a smoking hot woman in real life, and her gorgeous looks added a strong sense of believability to Ravenna’s mystique as the beautiful Queen. Theorn could be evil and heartless throughout this film, but when her eternal beauty suffers a serious threat, you get to see the fragile side of her personality. Queen Ravenna was a strong character, but Theron could showcase some vulnerability, when the situation called for it.

Theron was fantastic, but what’s wrong with Kristen Stewart? I ask this question, because I’m starting to notice a trend after watching a good amount of her films. She routinely displays this emotionless personality, and Stewart might remind you of someone, who has serious depression issues. Stewart never brings anything special to her characters, and nothing changes in Snow White & The Huntsman. I wanted to root for Snow White. After all, this was a young girl, who lost her mother and father. She was all alone in the world, and a lot of people were counting on her to be the savior, who ended Queen Ravenna’s reign. But Stewart’s dull and lifeless performance couldn’t convince me. I’ll tell you one thing, Stewart should milk the Twilight fame for all it’s worth, because she won’t be able to lean on that crutch anymore, when the franchise ends this year.

Someone in here (and I can’t remember who at the moment) made a thread about Snow White & The Huntsman. If I remember correctly, the thread labels Snow White & The Huntsman as a poor Lord Of The Rings rip-off. Which brings me to my next question……Is Rupert Sanders a fan of Lord Of The Rings? Sanders is the director for this film, and he must be an admirer of Peter Jackson, because Sanders tried to produce a LOTR clone here. I couldn’t escape this feeling throughout the film, but Sanders attempt to create a LOTR masterpiece failed. Snow White & The Huntsman couldn’t match LOTR’s breathtaking visuals, masterful storytelling, and thrilling battle scenes. Snow White & The Huntsman featured a few mildly entertaining fight scenes, but the overwhelming majority of action in this film didn’t excite me at all. In fact, Snow White & The Huntsman can be a very boring film most of the time, and Sanders couldn’t maintain any kind of consistent momentum.

Snow White & The Huntsman can feel refreshing at times. This film does provide a dark take on the famous fairytale, and you won’t see any cheery or colorful moments here. But the inconsistent rhythm and slow pacing really hurt this one.”WOW! This is finally going somewhere, and the story is starting to pick up some speed!” These were my feelings after certain fight scenes, but Snow White & The Huntsman couldn’t hold my attention. “Oh, look. They’re talking again. Nothing is happening, and they’re just sitting around, while telling random stories.” This is how I felt when the story slowed down again, and this pattern constantly repeats itself throughout the entire film. Snow White & The Huntsman has a run time of two hours and seven minutes, and you will feel every second of it. The story unfolds at this snail like pace, and everything just drags for so long.

This film features characters with depth, but the vast majority of mediocre acting couldn’t convince me. Charlize Theron delivered the highlight performance here, Stewart annoyed me, and Chris Hemsworth was…well, he was just there. He didn’t stand out, he wasn’t horrible, and he didn’t bring anything special to this film with his performance. Hemsworth was an angry and cocky alcoholic, who loved to fight. Hemsowrth is a big, strong guy. He has the look of someone, who could kick your ass, and he did provide the necessary tools for his role as The Huntsman.

The bulk of thrills come from the scenes that feature Snow White and The Huntsman’s dangerous journey to escape the Dark Forest, but the anticlimactic final battle destroyed any hopes of a satisfying conclusion for me. In the end, this film could’ve been something special, but I’ll remember Snow White & The Huntsman as one of the bigger summer disappointments in 2012.

The Shape
07-06-2012, 10:48 PM
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) 6/10- One night, a young Abraham Lincoln witnesses the sudden death of his mother. At first, poison is ruled as the direct cause of Nancy’s (Abe’s mother) death, but Abraham knows the real truth: His mother was murdered by a sneaky vampire named Jack Barts (Marton Csokas). Now a full grown man, Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) is consumed by vengeance. He wants to track down and kill Jack Barts, but the vampire epidemic isn’t limited to just one man. With an axe, and the help of Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), Lincoln vows to dedicate his life to vampire hunting.

Lincoln dedicates his life to the extermination of all vampires, but as time passes, Mr. Lincoln begins to show interest in politics and government. Abraham Linclon will have to balance his duties as the President, and manage the viscous Civil War. Also, Lincoln must look after his wife, Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and his son, William Wallace (Cameron M. Brown). But Lincoln can’t escape his past as a vampire hunter. Vampires have joined the Confederate army, and the South quickly gains a strong and unstoppable upper hand. Lincoln holds the outcome of the war and the fate of the country in his hands, and with the help of some trusted friends, Lincoln will have to stop the vampire uprising.

First of all, you shouldn’t take this film too seriously. If you do, you will hate Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter with a burning passion. This movie is about a former President, who lives a secret life as a vampire hunter. You shouldn’t expect some sort of accurate biopic, and you won’t learn any new facts about Abraham Lincoln here.

Tim Burton’s presence as a producer automatically drew me to this one, but I also enjoy Timur Bekmambetov’s work (Bekmambetov is the director for this film). He is the same man, who directed Wanted. Also, he co-wrote the screenplays for Night Watch and Day Watch, and Bekmambetov directed both films. Night Watch and Day Watch are two unique vampire films, that provide a fantastic mix of horror, action, and fantasy; Easily two of my favorite vampire flicks. The story for both films can feel like a mess at times, but Night Watch and Day Watch will give you one hell of a ride. Anyway, I usually enjoy Bekmambetov’s stylish directing, and he didn’t disappoint me here.

Bekmambetov provided the essential gloomy, haunting atmosphere for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, while capturing the essence of the 1800’s. The action sequences were slick and smooth, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is loaded with some impressive visuals.

Bekmambetov has received a lot of harsh treatment from a good amount of critics, but for me, his directing was the major highlight of this film.

I enjoyed Bekmambetov’s directing, but I can’t ignore the confusing storyline, especially towards the end…..

Okay, so we’re in the final stages (or third act) of the film, and Abraham Lincoln has become an older man. He’s trying to focus on his duties as President, the war, and vampires. Lincoln is the President, and his friends become members of his cabinet? William Johnson (Anthony Mackie) is Lincoln’s childhood friend, and Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson) is a shopkeeper, who gave Lincoln a home during some rough times in his life. I can understand the friendship connection, but how did William and Joshua become members of his cabinet? Do they have official job titles? The story NEVER explains any of this, and I couldn’t overlook these crucial details.

Also, when did Abe become President? The story makes this abrupt transition from Lincoln’s vampire hunting days to his time as President, and they never provide any important details, as Lincoln rose to the top. One day, Lincoln gives a few speeches about government and change to random crowds, and then BAM! He just becomes President out of nowhere? I felt lost and confused towards the end, and the obvious plot holes can be a real problem.

The plot holes create some noticeable weaknesses here, and one VERY important detail did bother me……

HOW CAN VAMPIRES SURVIVE IN SUNLIGHT???

Unless I’m missing some details in vampire mythology, the blood-suckers shouldn’t be able to survive in sunlight, right? Well, the vampires in ALVH can survive in sunlight, but how is that possible? Do you know the answers? Because ALVH didn’t give me an explanation for vampires survival in the sun. Lincoln hints at vampires learning to adapt in sunlight, but still, he didn’t give a true explanation with any details. Along with stakes to the heart, sunlight is a vampires worst enemy. I’m sorry, but if you’re going to have vampires survive in sunlight, then you need to give some sort of detailed explanation.

ALVH can feel confusing at times, and this film leaves the audience with some big unanswered questions…..but I still enjoyed this one for the most part. Yeah, ALVH does have some problems, but I loved the action scenes here. Walker is believable as a skilled and fearless vampire hunter. Hell, the best scenes in this film showcase his vampire hunting skills, as Abe Lincoln dismembers and slices vampires with an axe. The stylish action and gore provided some excellent thrills, and the gruesome beheadings (which look unreal in 3D by the way) were just amazing. Benjamin Walker was a solid leading man, Mary Elizabeth Winstead was a nice addition to the cast, and this film featured a good set of enjoyable performances. The 3D effects impressed me, and the final showdown provided some great excitement.

ALVH could’ve been better, and this film won’t set the bar for vampire flicks, but you can have a good time with this one. Just remember, try to have fun, and please, don’t take this too seriously, or you will be disappointed.

Samual_Dude
07-09-2012, 12:46 AM
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Well this will be my first review on here and to say I have been excited for this film is a understatement. I had been looking forward to this movie ever since it was first announced so let's get to it.

The story was very good, The way that Marc Webb told the origin of Spider-Man in a way that felt new yet familiar at the same time which was a great touch. The addition of his parents to the story was unique as this is really one of the few times that a Spider-Man movie or show has really explored the mystery of his parents.

The entire cast put on good performances all around, Martin Sheen was fantastic at portraying Uncle Ben, while Emma Stone also delivered as Gwen Stacy in another stellar performance from her. Andrew Garfield can simply be said as Spider-Man. His performance was just amazing, He is Peter Parker. Rhys Ifans was very good as Curt Connors/Lizard but the surprise of the film for me was Sally Field as Aunt May. I had only seen her as Mrs Gump and the way she portrayed Aunt May was just simply put as wow.

The score was fantastic, It was completely different to the score created by Danny Elfman in the Raimi Films which wasn't a bad thing, For me it was a good thing in establishing that the film is completely different entity. The fight scenes were all very good, They really showcased Spider-Man's agility in this film when in the previous films he was more of a brawler. I did not expect it to be topped but the Train Battle from Spider-Man 2 remains as the best fight scene in a Spider-Man movie but they come damn close with the battle at the School.

All in all, this movie was great. Don't let the critics fool you, It is a fantastic reboot. It really has a feel of a conspiracy lurking and a higher power that is responsible for the events which really makes me excited for the next film. I give The Amazing Spider-Man a 9/10.

JWGunslinger
07-11-2012, 12:19 AM
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Machine Gun Preacher(2011) 8/10
First off I have to say that although it did not receive the fanfare I expected in Hollywood this was by far one of Gerard Butler's strongest performances as an actor and what I believe to be the start of great things for him.

Machine Gun Preacher is based on a true story about a man named Sam Childers(Butler) is a biker/junkie all around bad seed who gets out of jail to find that his wife(Michelle Monaghan) has gone from a stripper to a changed woman and a devout christian to save herself and her daughter. He eventually comes around and leaves his life of crime to follow gods word and ultimately become a better person. Childers hears about children in need of help in Africa and goes over to build a few homes to help but when he sees the terror of what's happening to the children he puts everything into saving these kids from rebel armies.

The cast isn't one full of big names but Butler carries this movie very well on his own, the most impressive thing about it is his ability to convey the passion and fire of his character. The ups and downs he has throughout the movie and the frustration with others not willing to do their part and help in order to save the lives of children without homes or a family to care for them drives him to incredible lengths.

I only had one real problem with this movie and that was that I went into it expecting something like Blood Diamond, basically I thought I would see more action. There is a decent amount and the other content more than makes up for it, but don't go into it expecting gun battles every minute.

What I can say for Machine Gun Preacher is that it will move you, it will make you care about the theme and you'll be left wanting to do something. One of the best movies I've seen in a long time and I think everyone should see this film at some point, massive credit to Gerard Butler who continues to impress me.

KoE9edjEDCI

In Bruges(2008) 9/10
I happened to stumble upon a clip from this movie on Youtube the other day, well I'm goddamn happy I did because that lead me to what is now one of my top ten movies of all time, and that's saying something.

In Bruges follows two hitmen Ray(Colin Farrel) and Ken(Brendan Gleeson) who have been sent by their boss Harry(Ralph Fiennes) to Bruges, Belgium to wait for further instructions after Ray accidentally kills a little boy in a botched hit. In the meantime the two spend several days as tourists in the city and Ray's disdain for the city makes it all the more strenuous for the duo.

This movie caught me by surprise as one of the most clever and funny dark comedies I've ever seen, my best description of it for anyone who has seen The Departed is that this movie is alot like that but with an english humor twist and funnier. Really what makes it is the unorthodox style of comedy from Ray and some help from Ken as the two of them together are like bickering siblings that fight but really care about each other. On top of that the fact that Ken loves playing tourist and Ray cant stand it makes for alot of pouting from our main charecter.

It's easily Farrel's best performance and one I've never seen him in, I really wish he'd play this kind of character more because it's brilliant. I loved Brendan Gleeson, I've been a fan since Braveheart and Harry Potter so seeing him have a more main vocal character was great. Ofcourse Ralph Fiennes was brilliant and I really enjoyed Clemence Poesy's addition to the cast, plus the fact that Gleeson, Fiennes and Poesy were all in Harry Potter was nice for me as a fan of that franchise.

Basically if you want to laugh and feel like you just saw a smart, yet crazy and erratic film then you need to see this movie. If it makes it on my favorite ten movies of all time list then it's worth seeing because I'm a picky SOB when it comes to my movies.

The Shape
07-13-2012, 02:59 PM
Moonrise Kingdom (2012) 10/10- It’s 1965, and young Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) is looking for an adventure. Sam wants to experience something different, and he quickly loses interest in the lifestyle of a Khaki Scout, so he escapes the Scout summer camp. Suzy Bishop (Kara Hayward) is another disgruntled child, who decides to join Sam on his adventure, and together the two runaways explore the wilderness. But Sam and Suzy’s dream vacation might suffer a drastic setback. Scout Master Randy Ward (Edward Norton) leads a search party of ambitious Khaki Scouts, and Suzy’s parents eventually join the group. Walt (Bill Murray) and Laura (Frances McDormand) Bishop are determined to find their daughter, and with the help of a local police Captain named Sharp (Bruce Willis), the adults will do their best to prevent Sam's plans of an escape.

Wes Anderson is a master of his craft. His subtlety and eccentric style of directing transformed Moonrise Kingdom into an exceptional comedy. Anderson captured the innocence and care-free nature of a playful childhood, and his strange and quirky style of storytelling brought life to the summer adventure of the two main characters (Sam and Suzy).

Wes Anderson doesn’t make movies for just anybody. He has a niche style that won’t appeal to the masses, but Anderson is one of my favorite filmmakers and writers. When it comes to quality, Anderson’s consistency is something to admire, because I can’t remember watching a bad Wes Anderson film. Oh, and when it comes to choosing music for his films, Wes Anderson is on his way to joining the ranks of Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese. Moonrise Kingdom features an excellent soundtrack. Each song really fits within the context of every other scene, and Anderson has a great taste in music.

Anderson’s directing was marvelous, and this film features a great cast. The veteran actors delivered a nice set of enjoyable performances. Bill Murray is hilarious, and I loved Harvey Keitel‘s brief appearance. It was a pleasant surprise, but I was hoping to see more of him. Keitel is more than capable of delivering a show-stealing performance, and the teasing of limited screen time for his character drove me nuts. Bruce Willis was able to step out of his comfort zone as a tough guy. Captain Sharp was a vulnerable, normal guy, who was willing to lend a helping hand, and Willis really nailed this character. Outside of the Die Hard films, Bruce Willis is a pretty mediocre actor, but he really brought his A game to Moonrise Kingdom. I also wanted to see more of Tilda Swinton here. Swinton’s proper and precise performance as a social worker was a real treat to watch, and Swinton is one of the more talented actresses in Hollywood.

Willis’ character change felt refreshing, and the kids deserve a lot of credit. Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward were very solid here, and they hit a nice comfort zone with their characters. Sam was a fearless oddball, who took chances, and the dangerous risks of the adventure didn’t phase him one bit. And Suzy was a silent and rebellious young girl, with some serious anger issues. Gilman and Hayward showcased true talent, and they were able to stand out amongst a cast of well known veteran actors and actresses; Truly an impressive accomplishment, when you stop and think about it.

Moonrise Kingdom features high quality acting, and a group of characters you can care about. The characters in Moonrise Kingdom are ordinary people, but their quirky and eccentric personalities provide an intriguing spark of life. The normal backstories couldn’t damage the characters in this film, and nobody reaches the level of an excruciating bore here.

Moonrise Kingdom is a superb, whimsical comedy, that showcases a joyous childhood adventure. The love story between Suzy and Sam provides a few tender and heartfelt moments, and the screenplay features a good amount of depth. You can really sense the importance of Sam and Suzy’s desperate attempt to cling to their childhoods, while savoring every moment.

Great acting, great directing, fantastic writing, and an excellent soundtrack. Moonrise Kingdom is one of 2012’s best films, and I loved every second of this one!

The Shape
07-18-2012, 03:31 PM
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) 8/10- Without giving an explanation, a young Peter Parker is abandoned by his mother and father. Peter is raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field), but he can‘t escape the memory of a mysterious departure from his parents. Now a teenager, Parker (Andrew Garfield) is still looking for closure, and he finds an important clue, while searching through his father‘s old paperwork. Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) could be the missing link that connects Peter to his parent’s vague past. Connors might have the answers, but a trip to Oscorp changes everything. Parker suffers a bite from a genetically enhanced spider, and Peter accidentally inherits superpowers. Eventually, Peter adopts a crime fighting alter ego. Spider-Man is dedicated to stopping all criminals, but Curt Connors will provide his toughest challenge. The Lizard threatens to use a chemical weapon, that will transform all humans into lizard creatures. Can Peter Parker balance his life as a normal high school student, fight crime, and stop The Lizard’s diabolical plans?

At first, I didn’t have a lot of faith in Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He just seemed like an odd choice to me, but Garfield delivered a fine performance in The Social Network, so I did have some hope for him here. I was skeptical about Garfield as Spider-Man, but he really impressed me in this film. Garfield is full of charisma, and he was able to bring some believable cockiness and enjoyable humor to the Spider-Man character. As Peter Parker, Garfield showcased some real emotions (especially during one final and intense argument with Uncle Ben), and he really nailed the nerdy, shy teenager persona. Garfield proved to be an excellent choice for Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and he has the potential to outshine Tobey Maguire as the true star of the Spider-Man franchise.

Garfield delivered the goods, and the rest of the cast was enjoyable. Emma Stone was very solid as Gwen Stacy. Stone was a nice choice for Peter Parker‘s love interest, and she shared some excellent chemistry with Andrew Garfield throughout this film. Chris Zylka (Flash Thompson) had the perfect look of a high school jock, who bullied and picked on the weaker kids. Zylka was able to adapt to a more friendly personality during Flash’s character change for the second half of this film, and he provided a believable performance as the jerk, who loved to pick on and torture Peter Parker. Martin Sheen and Sally Field brought their experience as reliable veterans to the Ben and May Parker characters. Field and Sheen were convincing as Peter’s mentors/guardians, and their performances flowed so well. And Denis Leary brought a stern, strict attitude to Captain George Stacy, but Leary never reaches the level of an unlikable character. Yeah, he’s an overprotective father, and he has his moments as a hard ass police Captain, but Leary is one of the good guys. Captain Stacy is more than willing to make the necessary sacrifices, and Leary did bring a strong sense of realism to the normal, hard working, family man side of this character.

Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina did set the bar pretty high for Spider-Man villains, but Rhys Ifans deserves a spot amongst the more entertaining antagonists in Spider-Man films. Of course, Ifans received a lot of help from CGI during his scenes as The Lizard creature, but as Curt Connors, Ifans could deliver the essential personality of a devious, mad scientist. Ifans is very convincing as an intelligent villain, and he did provide one of the more enjoyable performances here.

Marc Webb won’t top the praises for Sam Raimi’s directing of the original Spider-Man trilogy with one film, but he’s on the right track so far. His style might feel kind of basic and ordinary at times, but Webb’s thrilling action sequences are so fun to watch. Webb didn’t abuse the CGI, and he didn‘t throw a barrage of unnecessary and flashy special effects at the audience. I usually enjoy the limited and conscious approach, because SO many big time Hollywood blockbusters feature an abuse of special effects, and some mainstream directors can‘t control their urges for overusing CGI and unnecessary explosions, especially Michael Bay.

The Amazing Spider-Man has a sleek, sharp look, and the visuals are impressive here. Marc Webb was a fine choice for the director of this film. His vision for the new Spider-Man film felt refreshing, and Webb should be the #1 option as director for the planned sequels.

I took a chance on the 3D, and the extra cash didn’t bother me one bit. You can clearly see a few 3D tricks throughout the film, but The Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t go overboard with Hollywood’s most popular gimmick. Webb knew when and how to use 3D effects, and I never got that “this is so unnecessary” feeling. 3D isn’t used as a diversion tactic, that tries to distract the audience from a shitty and nonsensical storyline (I.e. Resident Evil: Afterlife). Instead, the 3D provided a nice bonus attraction, while maintaining high quality effects at the same time.

The Amazing Spider-Man features great thrills, and the final showdown between Spider-Man and The Lizard is loaded with some fantastic action, that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The Amazing Spider-Man has a run time of two hours and seventeen minutes, but I didn’t feel it. The lengthy run time flies by, and Webb’s steady pacing was a nice touch. A good cast, highly entertaining, stylish action scenes, and Marc Webb showed some real promise as director here. This reboot/remake should give Spider-Man fans and other moviegoers a lot of hope for the new series of films, and I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but bring on the sequels!

The Shape
08-04-2012, 12:22 AM
Marvel’s The Avengers (2012) 9/10- Two weeks ago, my local cinema only had two showings left for this film. I didn't want the regret of waiting for the DVD release, so I finally took the time to watch The Avengers.

I’m going to skip the plot synopsis/intro this time around, and just jump right into it.

Joss Whedon’s directing is just fantastic. The Avengers clocks in at two hours and twenty-two minutes, but the lengthy run time flies by, and you can thank Whedon’s smooth style of directing for that. This film has a nice flow to it, and Whedon packed a powerful, action filled punch. The Avengers is loaded with some great eye candy, and the special effects really provided the icing on the cake. Whedon is in a real comfort zone as director throughout this film. You can really sense it, and Whedon did provide a fun ride for me.

I loved Whedon’s directing, and his screenplay is really something to admire. First of all, I hardly know anything about comic books. The tiny bits of clues featured in the mainstream Marvel films (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, etc.) are my only sources for any sort of information. I’ve never picked up an Avengers’ comic book, but Whedon’s script is SO easy to follow. It’s a real treat for outsiders like myself, and having the knowledge of a big comic book fan isn’t a requirement for this film. Whedon’s script provides an easy-to-understand guide for The Avengers, and it’s okay if you’re not familiar with the comic books. I never felt lost, and Whedon’s simplicity will appeal to the masses.

Blending so many extraordinary personalities together can be a tricky task, but Whedon pulled it off with ease. The tremendous ego of Tony Stark, Thor’s god-like powers and his personal agenda, and you can’t forget about the raging, unstoppable monster within Dr. Bruce Banner. Iron Man loves to show off his flashy gadgets, Banner is afraid of The Hulk’s inevitable emergence, and Thor wants to handle the threat on his own. Of course, Captain America wants everyone to work as a team, and eventually, he steps into the role of a leader. Black Widow/ Natasha Romanoff is a team player, and Hawkeye might be a loner, but his deadly skills as an archer are enough to earn a spot on the team. As a team, The Avengers hit a few bumps in the road. Egos and mistrust almost tear them apart, but eventually, they learned to work together and coexist. In these moments, you really get to see the human side of the main characters, as The Avengers put aside their own personal agendas to defeat a seemingly unstoppable evil power.

When I first saw Thor, I didn’t care for Tom Hiddleston as Loki. I didn’t hate his performance, and he didn’t do a bad job in that film. He was just there. But I thoroughly enjoyed Hiddleston as Loki here. Loki is more confident this time around, and Hiddleston did bring a strong sense of believable arrogance to this character. Hiddleston was an entertaining antagonist, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a Loki return in the next film.

The Avengers features a good set of enjoyable performances, and when it comes to the acting department, I don’t have any complaints. Robert Downey, Jr. and Mark Ruffalo delivered high quality performances. Also, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsowrth, Jeremy Renner, and Samuel L. Jackson really pulled everything together with a good effort. Everyone understood their characters, and the entire cast delivered very convincing performances.

Picking a true star from this cast is kind of tough, but Mark Ruffalo is my #1 choice. Eric Bana was okay as Banner, Edward Norton was fantastic in The Incredible Hulk, but Mark Ruffalo surpasses Norton’s performance in the last Hulk film. Ruffalo was this nervous and soft-spoken man, who feared the devastating wrath of The Hulk. Ruffalo brought this calm sense of confidence to the Bruce Banner character. Ruffalo’s Banner has a “secret” for taming the monster inside him, and Ruffalo’s poise during one final transformation towards the end is just great.

And speaking of The Hulk….he was THE MAN in this film. Ruffalo delivered a superb performance for the Bruce Banner character, and The Hulk was just amazing. He’s an unstoppable ass-kicker/wrecking machine, and The Hulk did provide some genuine laughs for me (especially during Loki’s SMASH! Scene). Robert Downey, Jr. might be a popular choice for the true star of this cast, but The Hulk easily steals the show here.

Is this film predictable? Yep. It sure is. Can you see everything coming from a mile away? You should be able to, if you pay close attention. Sure, The Avengers might feel predictable at times, but who cares! This film will take you on an unforgettable ride to the very end, and the spectacular final battle provides some great fun and excitement. The Avengers is a thrilling and extravagant action superhero film. The Avengers lives up to the tremendous hype, but I still haven‘t seen The Dark Knight Rises yet, so I‘ll hold off on my praises for the best superhero film of 2012 for now.

The Shape
08-04-2012, 11:24 PM
Savages (2012) 7/10-Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and Ben (Aaron Johnson) are two carefree marijuana growers/experts. They’re enjoying their lives as best friends and drug dealers, and both men share Ophelia or “O” (Blake Lively) as their girlfriend. The pot business is booming, but Ben and Chon run into trouble, when they receive some intense pressure from a persistent cartel leader. Elena Sánchez (Salma Hayek) wants Chon and Ben to join her organization as business partners, and she won’t take no for an answer.

Feeling the heat, Ben and Chon plan a quick getaway before giving Elena their answer, but Elena senses something fishy, so she decides to kidnap O. Elena will use O as collateral, while Ben and Chon provide their services. O is at the mercy of Elena and her ruthless bodyguard/enforcer, Lado (Benicio del Toro), but Ben and Chon come up with an elaborate plan to save their girlfriend. Ben and Chon will need the help of a shady DEA agent named Dennis (John Travolta) to rescue O, and permanently break any ties with Elena.

Well, they really stayed true to the cohesive love triangle story here. Ben and Chon are both in love with O, she’s their best friend, and O feels the same way about her boyfriends. Ben, Chon, and O all get along well, and as far as the relationship between all three of them goes, you never see any signs of mistrust or betrayal. Ben and Chon confide in O, both of them treat her like a real girlfriend, and when it comes to the physical side of the relationship, both guys are more than willing to share O. No jealously, no bitter feelings, and a lack of trust never becomes a problem. The three-way relationship between O, Ben, and Chon can feel awkward at times, but it didn’t bother me too much. I guess you have to respect two guys, who are willing to share and have sex with one woman, AND risk their lives to save the same woman, right?

You might have mixed feelings for the three-way relationship, but you have to admire the acting in this film. Salma Hayek is just fantastic, and I can’t remember the last time she delivered such an outstanding performance. Naturally, Hayek is a very attractive woman, and she did bring a strong sense of believable sex appeal to this character. But the Elena character never reaches that “Oh well, she’s just eye candy” stage, and Hayek‘s good looks provided a positive attribute for the leader side of her character. Hayek was able to provide the cold-hearted and commanding presence of a feared cartel leader. Elena is a strong and confident character, and Hayek’s very convincing performance was the highlight of this film for me.

Benicio del Toro almost surpasses Hayek as an antagonist here, because he really nailed the Lado character. Del Toro is menacing, intimidating, and he did bring a genuinely evil presence to this character. Lado struggles with his loyalty to Elena, while trying to fulfill his own personal agenda, and I could sense the conflict within this character. Del Toro might choose a handful of bad films every now and then, but he is more than capable of delivering memorable performances.

John Travolta brought a humorous side to the Dennis character. Yeah, Dennis is a sleazy and crooked DEA agent, who will do anything for more money, but Dennis doesn’t take himself too seriously, and you can laugh at him. Technically, Dennis is one of the bad guys, but Travolta’s performance never reaches the level of a loathsome and annoying persona you can’t stand, and I actually enjoyed this approach.

Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Johnson were solid enough, and I didn’t have a problem with Blake Lively here. O lives a carefree lifestyle. She has the look of a laid-back and promiscuous surfer chick, and Lively is believable here. It’s funny, because Lively is more comfortable with slutty personas. She transforms into a better actress, and if you don’t believe me, you should watch Lively’s performance in The Town.

And I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but Oliver Stone deserves a lot of credit for the directing here. He’s not as good as Platoon Oliver Stone, but more importantly, he’s not as bad as Alexander Oliver Stone. He’s somewhere in the middle, and you will see a darker side of Stone here. Stone’s raw and gritty style is just fantastic, and I have some restored feelings of faith for Stone’s career.

The acting is almost perfect, and Stone shows he can still deliver the goods as a director…. but the story almost ruined this film. The screenplay is the most obvious weakness here, and I can’t ignore Savages’ convoluted story. At first, the story showed some real promise, but eventually, Savages devolves into an incoherent mess, and it’s a real shame. Savages could’ve been 2012’s #1 crime drama, but the screenplay destroys any chances of supremacy.

The messy story did annoy me, but I still LOVED Savages. Savages is a brutal and violent crime drama. The action sequences are pretty intense, this film features a good amount of gruesome and bloody gore, and Savages delivers a few enjoyable thrills. The twist ending feels like a giant clusterfuck, but Savages provided plenty of entertainment for me. It could’ve been better, but Savages is still one of my 2012 favorites.

The Shape
08-08-2012, 08:39 PM
The Watch (2012) 5/10- Evan Trautwig (Ben Stiller) is a dedicated Costco manager, and Evan enjoys his life, as a passionate and generous resident of Glenview (a small, quiet town in Ohio). Glenview is a positive community, but a sudden tragedy disrupts Evan’s perfect life. One night, a Costco security guard (who is also one of Evan’s friends by the way) is brutally murdered. The lackadaisical police force isn’t willing to put forth a real effort, and no suspects emerge, so Evan decides to form a neighborhood watch team. With the help of Bob Finnerty (Vince Vaughn), Franklin (Jonah Hill), and Jamarcus (Richard Ayoade), Evan plans to track down the murder. But the neighborhood watch team discovers a devastating secret: an alien invasion will destroy Earth, and Glenview’s Costco is the home base for the deadly alien attackers. The neighborhood watch team must use their limited resources to stop the invasion, but Evan’s control freak habits might ruin everyone’s chances for survival.

The well-chosen cast is the major attraction for this film. Jonah Hill is just hilarious. Franklin still lives with his mother, and his employment application was rejected by the local police force. Franklin has some serious emotional issues. He’s a head case for the most part, but Hill never forgets the comical side of this character. Vince Vaughn could be annoying and over the top at times, but his performance as the down-to-earth manly man did pull some laughs out of me. I’m really not familiar with Ricahrd Ayoade’s work, but I enjoyed his performance as Jamarcus. As far as laughs go, Ayoade couldn’t match his fellow cast members, but he was funny at times. Ben Stiller is kind of goofy and obnoxious, but Stiller was very believable, as the uptight and squeaky clean Costco manager. And you really get to see the normal side of the Evan character, as he faces some marital problems with his wife, Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt). Also, Will Forte and R. Lee Ermey were great additions to the cast. And Billy Crudup provided his fair share of funny moments, as the creepy new neighbor. The cast for The Watch features a nice set of entertaining, oddball characters, and everyone delivered an enjoyable performance here.


The Watch isn’t a horrible film, but I do have a few complaints. At first, The Watch feels like something different. You’ll see a few twists and turns, and hell, the story actually feels mysterious at times. But The Watch quickly devolves into your typical foul-mouthed, R-rated mainstream comedy, and it’s a real disappointment. They just had to throw in some random orgy scene. I guess this was an excuse for showing a few quick glimpses of sex and tits, but this particular scene didn’t do anything for me. The Watch squanders a unique and intriguing premise for the sake of being your usual Hollywood R-rated comedy. Although, the vulgar stuff didn’t surprise me too much, because Seth Rogen is one of the writers for this film. Still, The Watch could’ve been something special, but in the end, they just settled for an average R-rated comedy.

When it comes to Akiva Schaffer’s directing, I have no complaints. His vision wasn’t anything special, but Schaffer’s work behind the camera didn’t hurt this film.

The Watch is more than capable of providing some good laughs. The humor is fairly consistent, and the entire cast is fantastic. But I couldn’t understand the tamed approach towards the gore and violence here. After all, this is an R-rated film, so why not go all the way? The Watch won’t set the bar for sci-fi comedies, and this is one of the more forgettable films in 2012, but you can still have a good time with this one. But The Watch probably isn’t worth the price of a theater ticket, because you really aren’t missing anything special, if you decide to pass on the big screen showings.

The Shape
08-10-2012, 05:37 PM
Battleship (2012) 6/10-Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is a screw-up. He’s broke, sleeps on his brother’s couch, and of course, Alex doesn‘t have a job. But Stone (Alex’s brother) is sick of Alex’s laziness, and after a stern demand from his older brother, Alex joins the Navy. As a Commander, Stone (Alexander Skarsgård) keeps a close eye on his younger brother.

Eventually, Alex rises to the rank of a Lieutenant, but his relationship with Samantha Shane (Brooklyn Decker) might cause some problems. Samantha is the daughter of Admiral Terrance Shane (Liam Neeson). The Admiral is a strict man, and he won’t tolerate reckless behavior. Alex wants to marry Samantha, but first, he must ask for the Admiral’s permission. A brief scuffle with a fellow shipmate might jeopardize Alex’s job in the Navy, and his chances with Samantha, but Alex will have to face bigger challenges. An alien invasion threatens Earth, and after a series of tragic deaths, Alex becomes the Commanding Officer of the USS John Paul Jones. Alex must rise to the rank of a leader, learn responsibility, and he must find a way to defeat the alien attackers.

Peter Berg loves flashy special effects. Berg is the director for this film, and you will see his obsession for CGI and explosions here. Storytelling takes a backseat, because Berg tries to mesmerize the audience with a bunch of unnecessary and over the top effects. Berg’s Michael Bay approach did surprise me here. I’ve seen a good amount of his films (Very Bad Things, Hancock, The Rundown, and The Kingdom), but I never noticed an uncontrollable urge to abuse special effects. I didn‘t expect this approach from Berg, and his style for Battleship did surprise me.

Taylor Kitsch is a competent leading man. Samantha has some brains, but Brooklyn Decker is just eye candy for the most part. As expected, Liam Neeson delivers the best performance in this film, and Alexander Skarsgård is decent enough. Rihanna was okay at best. She plays this bad-ass tomboy, but I couldn’t take this character seriously most of the time. Overall, the acting is pretty solid. Liam Neeson provides a strong presence as a recognizable veteran, and this cast actually features a few likeable characters.

Battleship is your typical Hollywood summer blockbuster. An overload of unnecessary special effects, noisy battle scenes, a barrage of clichés, and you can see the predictable “good guys triumph” ending coming from a mile away. Battleship is garbage, but more importantly, it’s enjoyable garbage. Battleship is a fun popcorn flick, filled with mindless entertainment. If you go into this film expecting some sort of action/sci-fi masterpiece, you will be very disappointed, it’s that simple. Battleship has received a lot of hate from critics and moviegoers this year, but I’m in the minority of supporters, because Battleship is my guilty pleasure for 2012.

The Shape
08-14-2012, 12:38 AM
The Devil’s Rock (2011) 5/10- In 1944, two New Zealand commandos receive a mission: travel to the Channel Islands, sabotage a German gun machine, and quietly kill any Nazi soliders, who might interfere. It’s the eve of D-Day, trouble is looming, but Captain Ben Grogan (Craig Hill) and Sergeant Joe Tane (Karlos Drinkwater) stumble across a horrible secret plot. The Nazis plan to use a powerful demon to win World War II. Grogan is at the mercy of a ruthless Nazi Colonel. Colonel Klaus Meyer (Matthew Sunderland) tortures Grogan for answers, but both men will have to work together, if they want to leave the island alive. The chained demon can break free at any moment, but the situation becomes more complicated, when the demon takes the form of Ben’s dead wife, Helena (Gina Varela). Will Ben trust the Nazi Colonel, who tortured him? Or will Ben succumb to the temptation of starting a new relationship with his demonized wife?

The Devil’s Rock doesn’t feature any true scares, but I still enjoyed Paul Campion’s directing. Campion created a very believable bleak atmosphere, and the eerie silence throughout the bunker (the main setting for this film) really pulled everything together. Plus, the gruesome sight of dismembered dead bodies provides a genuine haunting feeling for the isolated deathtrap. The Devil’s Rock features some good tension every now and then, and Campion’s directing is one the major highlights for this film.

You won‘t see any genuine jump scares, or spooky moments here, but I enjoyed the verbal dueling between Grogan and Meyer. It’s Grogan’s morals and ethics VS Meyer’s loyalty to his country, but at the same time, you can sense the conflict in Meyer. Meyer has to make a choice: he can unleash the deadly demon, and Germany will win the war, or he can put a stop to the demon’s viscous wrath, because Meyer is the only one, who possesses the necessary knowledge, that could destroy the creature once and for all. Meyer and Grogan play a deadly game of cat and mouse, and this film will throw a surprising twist at you towards the end.

The Devil’s Rock is an independent film, and the majority of low-budget effects are noticeably bad. The demon looks like a character from a cartoon show, and this is a MAJOR problem, because 90% of the story revolves around the demon. The demon is suppose to inspire fear, intimidation, and terror, but the sight of the demon almost brought a few laughs out of me. Don’t believe me? Here take a look:

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This was a tough rating for me, but I decided to go a with a positive score. Yeah, the cartoonish demon is a problem, but I still enjoyed The Devil’s Rock. This film provides a nice mix of war history and horror, and the unique premise feels refreshing. Plus, Craig Hill and Matthew Sunderland delivered a pair of strong performances, Gina Varela was believable, and you will see some good acting in this film. Also, if you can’t handle bloody stuff, you should avoid this one, because The Devil’s Rock is loaded with graphic gore and gruesome violence.

The Devil’s Rock has its problems (mainly in the make-up/special effects department), but I appreciate the effort to give horror fans something different. The Devil’s Rock brings a thought-provoking approach to the horror genre, and this film should please the bloodthirsty horror fans, who crave graphic violence.

The Shape
08-15-2012, 11:46 PM
Piranha 3DD (2012) 6/10- One year has passed since the viscous piranha attacks at Lake Victoria. The small town of Arizona is a desolate wasteland, but the piranhas aren’t done yet.

One night, Clayton (Gary Busey) and Mo (Clu Gulager) find the body of a dead cow. Clayton and Mo try to remove the cow from a small lake, but this lake is close to Lake Victoria. And both men accidentally unleash a new swarm, as Piranha eggs inside the cow’s body begin to hatch.

At a nearby waterpark, Maddy (Danielle Panabaker) must fight her step-father for control. Maddy is co-owner of the waterpark, but Chet (David Koechner) is the majority owner, so he gets to make all the big deicsions. Chet will provide a hardcore section of the waterpark for adult guests. This section will feature strippers and nude women. Maddy is disgusted by Chet’s vision for the “Big Wet” (the new name of the waterpark), but Maddy will have to worry about bigger problems. Chet is illegally pumping water from an underground river. This particular flow of water runs straight into the park, and the new swarm of piranhas will have easy access for more carnage. Maddy urges Chet to close the park, but money is Chet’s #1 priority, so he refuses. Barry (Matt Bush) tries do the right thing as a friend. He lends a helping hand, but Maddy will need more than one person. A massacre is looming at the Big Wet, and the evolving piranhas eagerly await another feeding frenzy.

As far as directors go, John Gulager was the right choice for this type of film. Gulager provides a wild and brutal self-parody style of filmmaking here. You aren’t suppose to take this film seriously, and Gulager’s directing will constantly remind of you this. Gulager will never win any Academy Awards in the future, but when it comes to Piranha 3DD, the satire approach DID work.

I don’t have any major complaints about the acting. Danielle Panabaker is a decent enough leading lady, but David Koechner is the true star of the cast. Chet is a sleazy douchebag, and Koechner really nailed this character. As usual, Katrina Bowden is just eye candy, but the rest of the cast provided a nice set of believable performances. Plus, the celebrity cameos were very enjoyable. Busey doesn’t last long, but David Hasselhoff , Christopher Lloyd, and Ving Rhames are hilarious, especially Hasselhoff.

The bloody grand finale is underwhelming, but I still enjoyed Piranha 3DD. It’s a ridiculous and over the top horror comedy, and the graphic gore is still very gruesome and extreme. I can’t comment on the 3D, because I didn’t watch the 3D version. Also, don’t get your hopes up for the “double d‘s” stuff. It’s just a marketing tool to lure the nude hounds, nothing more, nothing less. If you enjoyed Piranha 3D, 3DD should provide a fun experience for you. No, Piranha 3DD doesn‘t measure up to the remake, but you can still have a good time with this one.

Oh, and for all the people, who are trashing this film...... this is a horror comedy about piranhas attacking people at a freakin’ waterpark. Did you really expect some kind of sensible story? Piranha 3DD promised more gratuitous nudity and extreme violence, and for the most part, Piranha 3DD delivered (with the exception of the “DD’s” of course). Piranha 3DD was promoted as a silly and over the top horror comedy, so if you walked away from this film with disappointed feelings, you can only point the finger at yourself.

JWGunslinger
08-16-2012, 11:13 PM
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God Bless America(2011) 8/10

If there were one word I could use to describe this movie it would be Unorthodox. God Bless America centers around Frank(Joel Murray) who can't stand what our country has become, from reality shows about bitchy teenage girls to talk show hosts who treat people like crap for a living, he's tired of our society rewarding those who are shallow and immoral just because they're famous. He then finds out that he has a tumor that will kill him within a month or so and decides to act on his displeasure for modern society's idols and becomes a serial killer with the agenda of killing....bad people.

It's really a refreshing piece, obviously killing people for these reasons is crazy but the main message behind it is very powerful and one that I agree with. It's depressing what this country has turned into and how the kinds of people we look up to are not always/usually not great people, nobody can go five minutes without using some sort of social media and it's sad that morals and civility are not as important as they used to be. I definitely recommend that anyone interested sees this, it's not an expensive big time Hollywood flick but it's got a great message and is very entertaining.

Noticeably F.A.T.
08-18-2012, 04:21 AM
I watched a couple of movies today. Yeah, I know.

Moneyball was good, but I thought the ending was unsatisfying. It's like if they did a movie about the Miami Dolphins incorporating the Wildcat offense. Yeah, but you still lost. 3/5

The Hunger Games held my attention pretty well and I rather enjoyed it. The only real gripe I had with it was the shitty camera work during the fight scenes. The story was decent though. 4.5/5

The 1-2-3 Killam
08-18-2012, 07:23 AM
I watched a couple of movies today. Yeah, I know.

Moneyball was good, but I thought the ending was unsatisfying. It's like if they did a movie about the Miami Dolphins incorporating the Wildcat offense. Yeah, but you still lost. 3/5

The Hunger Games held my attention pretty well and I rather enjoyed it. The only real gripe I had with it was the shitty camera work during the fight scenes. The story was decent though. 4.5/5

Did you just rate Hunger Games higher than Moneyball? Now, to be fair, I haven't seen Hunger Games. I haven't read it either; although it's sitting on my iPad collecting virtual dust right now. Obviously I can't REALLY be too ticked off, but there just seems to be something inherently wrong with that situation.

ParaNorman - 8.5/10

Sam Fell (Flushed Away, the Tale of Despereaux) and Chris Butler (directorial debut) enter the world of stop-motion with ParaNorman, a clever late-Summer family flick that ended up being so much more than I expected.

Norman Babcock is a lonely young boy with a curious ability: he can see, and speak with the dead! While he finds comfort in his ghostly friends, this also issolates Norman from his own family - who struggle to deal with their strange child - and eventually turns an entire town against him! Butler, who also wrote the film, did an excellent job pushing Norman's isolation from beginning to end. Nobody believes him, and it's sad to see that he's accepted that fate. We've seen the lonely-boy-who-finds-a-friend bit a hundred times in kid's movies, but even "best friend" Neil plays a surprisingly small role in the film. There is such a great and believable sense of being alone that unlike many other movies that use the same, tired concept, "Norman" has a payoff that worth investing in by the end.

What I love about "ParaNorman" is that we don't get the traditonal "make friends; save the day" story here. He does eventually win over some of his peers, and of course the town is saved from zombies, evil witches and all maners of evil, but the story goes so much deeper than that. It's not about the fullfillment of Norman by the end, it's about a change in perspective. Like "District 9" the film turns the unknown back on us, and asks the audience if maybe, when we truly stop to think about, we are the monsters that the innocent fear.

Early on I was dissapointed by some of the dialogue. Jeff Garlin lends his iconic voice-over work here as Norman's father Perry Babcock. While he did a fantastic job - and maybe this is more the writer's doing - convincing us that Norman has a horrible home life, sometimes it came across as forced. His parents (mother voiced by Leslie Mann) may not have been truly abusive, but the level of obvious disdain Perry shows for his son may as well be just as bad. Unfortunately, while there was a "way to go Norman" scene at the end, I never felt like it reconciled their actions throughout the film. His sister Courtney, voiced by the lovely Anna Kendrick, played a typical teenage girl (maybe a bit too typical for my taste), and was the only member of his (living) family you end up liking by the end credits.

And maybe that's all a part of Chris Butler and Sam Fell's vision for the movie. That the adults, even the ones who repented their wrong doings, had the hardest time accepting anything outside of their shallow world-views. I might be reading too much into what is essentially a kid's movie, but maybe forgiveness for the characters at fault doesn't come from their actions in the film, but from an introspective look at our own views of the misunderstood.

That a stop-motion piece even provoked analysis that deep should be an indication that "ParaNorman" is very good. Or that my love affair with quality animation has gotten the best of me...

Despite my small issues with parts of the cast, most characters were fun and played their parts well. Disney Channel's Tucker Albrizzi played Norman's new best friend Neil, who I'm convinced was made to emulate the young actor. Seriously, look at some side-by-sides. Casey Affleck lent his voice to Mitch, a complete meat-head that draws the affection of the aforementioned Courtney Babcock. And the always "on" Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick-Ass, Superbad) voices Alvin, the local bully that you just can't help but love by the end.

"ParaNorman" was well-casted, and certainly well-written. The stop-motion is some of the best work I've seen out of the genre, surpassing even "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and reminding us why we loved such cult classics as "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and "James and the Giant Peach".

This was a fine addition to what will likely be one of the best years for animation in the history of film. With so many great choices (Brave, Arrietty, Pirates and a slew of un-released films) it's going to be a tricky decision, but I would be shocked if we didn't see "ParaNorman" among the Academy Awards' list in 2013.

The Shape
08-18-2012, 11:34 PM
Clue (1985) 9/10- In 1954, an ordinary butler named Wadsworth (Tim Curry) invites six strangers to a spooky, old gothic style mansion. Wadsworth receives assistance from the maid, Yvette (Colleen Camp), and The Cook (Kellye Nakahara), and together, they provide the proper setting for their guests. The strangers must use aliases to protect their identities. Eventually, Wadsworth will reveal their dirty secrets, and the guest list features a group of sneaky characters:

-Colonel Mustard (Martin Mull)

-Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn)

-Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Brennan)

-Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd)

-Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren)

-Mr. Green (Micahel McKean)

The six strangers are tied to the government in many different ways, and all of them have one thing in common: they are being blackmailed by Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving). Wadsowrth’s original plan was simple enough: invite the strangers to the mansion, confront Mr. Boddy for his crimes, and turn him over to the police. But Mr. Boddy disrupts Wadsowrth’s plans with a tempting offer. Promising to humiliate his victims in court, Mr. Boddy gives the six strangers two options:

Option A- Turning Mr. Boddy over to the police will save the strangers a lot of money, and they can put a stop to the blackmailing. But if Mr. Boddy testifies in court, the six strangers will have to endure embarrassing scandals.

Option B- Mr. Boddy provides the strangers with six weapons: a revolver, a lead pipe, a rope with a noose, a dagger, a wrench, and a candlestick. The strangers can destroy the evidence, use the weapons to kill Wadsowrth, and to protect the identity of the murderer, Mr. Boddy will turn off the lights, when he signals the kill.

Fearing the fallout of an embarrassing scandal, one stranger chooses option b. The gun goes off in the dark, but when the lights come back on, Mr. Boddy is laying motionless on the floor. Mr. Boddy only suffered a grazed bullet wound on his ear, so the strangers try to solve the mystery of his death. After discovering the dead body of The Cook, the strangers return to the study, but Mr. Boddy has disappeared.

The strangers, Yvette, and Wadsworth will have to solve the murder mystery before the police arrive, but unexpected visits from a motorist, a cop, and a singing telegram girl complicate the sticky situation.

Clue features an outstanding cast, and each character has their own unique sense of humor. Colonel Mustard is an ass. Miss Scarlet is a sultry and arrogant madam. Mrs. Peacock is a stuck-up snob. Professor Plum fits the profile of shady shrink, and he’s a pervert. Mrs. White is a dark, disturbed woman, who hates men. And Mr. Green is a nervous and hyper, accident-prone wimp. For the most part, Yvette is just eye candy, but her character is so hilariously over the top, and the exaggerated French accent provides the icing on the cake. Wadsworth is proper. He’s a sympathetic character, but Wadsowrth is hiding some serious secrets. And Mr. Boddy provides the necessary presence of a slimy antagonist.

Clue is loaded with colorful characters, and the acting is just superb. It’s hard to pick a true star from this cast, but I’m going with Madeline Khan. Her performance as the psychotic and quiet widow is fantastic. Khan provides a strong sense of subtlety, but Mrs. White can snap at any moment, and Khan’s performance is so fun to watch. I love Khan in this film, but Tim Curry deserves an honorable mention, and Lee Ving could’ve easily taken the spot for the best performance here, but his character doesn‘t last long.

Technically, every character in the mansion is a real scumbag, but you aren’t suppose to take them seriously. The lighthearted approach is wonderful, and the entire cast is more than capable of providing some great laughs.

The acting is top notch, and Johnathan Lynn’s directing really pulls everything together. Lynn provides the gloomy atmosphere of a haunted house style horror film, but at the same time, Lynn adds a comical touch. Lynn’s goofy style of storytelling and the atmosphere of the creepy old mansion are a perfect match for a superb black comedy.

This story will throw a good amount of twists and turns at you, but confusion is never a problem, because Wadsworth’s lengthy and hectic explanation of “Who killed who?” will tie up any loose ends. For those of you who are unaware, Clue features three separate endings:

1. The Miss Scarlet ending

2. The Mrs. Peacock ending

3. The REAL Mr. Boddy ending


Each ending provides a nice surprise, but the Miss Scarlet and Mrs. Peacock endings are a little bit too far-fetched for my taste. If I had to pick a favorite, I would easily go with the real Mr. Boddy ending.

In this ending, Wadsowrth reveals himself as the real Mr. Boddy, and five of the six guests are responsible for the murders. Expect for Mr. Green, who is actually an undercover FBI agent, and Green’s homosexuality was apart of his cover. Mr. Green kills Mr. Boddy with one shot, and Tim Curry’s facial expressions during Mr. Boddy’s death are just priceless. Also, Green actually takes a little jab at himself with the “I’m going to go home and sleep with my wife” zinger.

The real Mr. Boddy ending makes a lot more sense, because all of the killers had believable motives. Plus, Wadsworth revealing himself as the real Mr. Boddy provided a great shock, because nobody would’ve suspected the ordinary butler. The real Mr. Boddy ending really is the best one, but you have to see it to believe it!

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Clue is a phenomenal black comedy, and this film provides a hilarious spoof of the mystery film genre. Clue is loaded with some fantastic comedic performances, and I never get tired of watching this one. It’s ironic, because I love the movie, but I HATE the board game. I can always watch Clue over and over again, and I enjoy it each time, but the board game always bored me to death. I tried over and over again, but I could never get into it.

Of course, Universal Studios is planning a remake of this film. It’s supposed to hit theaters in 2013 (no specific date just yet), and I hope they don’t botch this one. Clue is one of my all-time favorites. Please, Hollywood, I’m begging you, don’t fuck it up!

Captain Morgan Freeman
08-19-2012, 02:41 PM
American Pshycho 9/10

I watched this the other day after my brother mentioned it was Christian Bale's best performance yet and i have to say i agree with him.. An absolutely fantastic movie coupled with a great soundtrack. Random thought: have any of Jared Leto's characters gone a whole film with being beaten or killed? That guys got terrible luck. I think my favorite scene has to be the one with Patrick Bateman and his assistant in his apartment getting ready to go on a date. The film got a great ending and one that really makes you think, the second last scene is a bit too over the top in my opinion. I would certainly call this a must watch, even if i didn't get all the hype over the business card scene.


Cowboys and Aliens 5/10

They don't make westerns like they used to. Instead of the magnificent seven, Rooster Cogburn and the man with no name we get James Bond, Han Solo and fucking aliens. Daniel Craig is alright in the main role and he does a good job with his character by really selling the mystique surrounding his character at the start of the film but Harisson Ford is fairly average and spends most of the film just grumbling at people. Keith Carradine was seriously underused here and the story's got a few plotholes. There's much better films out there to spend your time on.


The Godfather 10/10
The Godfather part II 10/10

Ive been meaning to watch these two for a long time. If you haven't seen these two yet then book a day off work(your going to need a whole day both are over 3 hours long) and enjoy two of the best films ever made. Brilliant performances all round and the two story arc's in part II work really well. The ending shot of Michael Corleone on part II might be one of my favorite movie scenes ever given the context. I think part II is slightly superior but both are classics in their own right. I haven't gotten round to seeing part III yet and ive been told not to bother.


3:10 to Yuma 7/10

Now this is a return to form for westerns. Christian Bale and Russel Crowe are both in fine form here. Kevin Durand also does a fine job of being the unlikeable dick of the film. There's always a degree of tension throughout the film as Ben Wade's gang is always on the tail of Dan Evans(Christian Bale). I really enjoyed the character of Dan Evans and how when all is said and done he just want's to be a man his kids can look up to. I found the ending a little farfetched however and it's because of that i only gave it a seven. It was a more then a little hard to understand the actions of Russel Crowe's character in the last scene and it kind of spoiled the film in a way. Despite that it's still a good film especially if you're a fan of westerns.

The Shape
08-21-2012, 11:44 PM
To Rome With Love (2012) 3/10- To Rome With Love features four, unrelated storylines, so I’m going to break the intro/plot synopsis into four separate parts this time around.

Leopoldo Becomes A Celebrity

Leopoldo (Roberto Benigni) is just an average Joe. He works a normal job, but one day, Leopoldo is forced into the lavish lifestyle of a famous and popular celebrity. Leopoldo has it all , but will he accept his new-found fame? Or will Leopoldo crack under the hectic lifestyle of a celebrity, as he avoids relentless chases from the paparazzi?

Monica

Jack (Jesse Eisenberg) is in love with Sally (Greta Gerwig), but Sally’s best friend, Monica (Ellen Page) is too tempting to resist. John (Alec Baldwin) tries to offer some advice as a mentor, but Jack is mesmerized by Monica’s “intellectual“, down-to-earth charm.

Antonio & Milly

Antonio (Alessandro Tiberi) wants to impress some big names in the business world, but his wife, Milly (Alessandra Mastronardi) doesn’t show up for an important career changing meeting. Milly’s sudden disappearance sends Antonio into a panic, but he has one solution for his problems: Antonio will use a prostitute named Anna (Penélope Cruz) as a stand-in wife. Antonio tries to fool his potential employers, but Anna’s sexually provocative look and behavior might cause some trouble.

Jerry's Big Vision

Jerry (Woody Allen) and Phyllis (Judy Davis) take a trip to Rome. But a simple vacation/visit to see their daughter, Hayley (Alison Pill) and her soon-to-be husband, Michelangelo (Flavio Parenti) takes a sudden and bizarre turn. Apparently, Michelangelo’s father, Giancarlo (Fabio Armiliato) has a real talent for singing….but he can only showcase this talent in the shower. Michelangelo and his mother are against a full-time singing career, but Jack has other ideas. He wants to promote and manage the career of the shower singer, but can Jerry transform an ordinary funeral home director into a true star?

I know this is going to sound corny, but where’s the love? Rome is supposed to be this magical city of love, that inspires feelings of wonder, and Rome will provide a joyous experience for any happy couple. This is what the story wants you to believe, but the characters aren’t interested in true love, or remaining faithful to their partners. Jack has the hots for Monica, and he can’t control his urges to sleep with her. Antonio is nervous and shy, but he eventually succumbs to an “offer” from Anna. And Milly is obsessed with a famous Italian actor, and for some bizarre reason, Milly desires a one-night stand with a random thief. At times, I felt confused, because the vast majority of characters in this film can’t control their urges to sleep with other people, and in most cases, infidelity triumphs over true love.

Oh, and as far as Monica goes……I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t buy into the “she’s SO irresistible!” stuff. The story wants you to believe Monica as this desirable, and intellectual hot woman, who has the ability to drive any man crazy. Ellen Page is an attractive woman, but I don’t put her on the same level as other attractive Hollywood actresses. Jessica Alba, Amber Heard, Mila Kunis, and Rachel McAdams would’ve been more believable in this role, because Ellen Page really can’t match their drop-dead gorgeous looks.

Woody Allen provides a hilarious performance, and I enjoyed his directing. Allen captured the natural, awe-inspiring beauty of Rome, and Allen’s special touch provided the necessary feelings of a lighthearted, romantic setting. Woody Allen probably won’t earn any Oscar nominations this time around, but his directing is one of the very few highlights for this film.

The misguided screenplay did bother me, and two storylines really felt out of place here. Leopoldo’s fantasy from rags to riches story really didn’t fit with the “love” theme for this film, and the story of the shower singing funeral home director didn‘t provide any romantic feelings. Both storylines felt so random, and neither story fits within the context of this film.

I don’t have any complaints about the acting, but To Rome With Love is a dull film, that features uninteresting and disjointed storylines. Allen tries to throw in a mix of fantasy with the Leopoldo storyline and Alec Baldwin’s character, but the fiction side of this film really didn’t do anything for me, because everything felt so confusing most of the time. Also, To Rome With Love is horribly boring. The lack of continuity is a real problem here, and each storyline moves at an unbearable sluggish pace. To Rome With Love is a big disappointment. Although, Midnight In Paris set the bar pretty high, so Allen did have some big shoes to fill.

The Shape
08-25-2012, 03:22 PM
Ted (2012) 7/10- John (Mark Wahlberg) is an immature, thirty-five year old man. As a young child, John wished his teddy bear to life, because he wanted a best friend. As an adult, Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) is a slacker. He doesn’t have a job, and in many ways, Ted is John’s Achilles heel. Lori (John‘s girlfriend) is tired of John’s lack of motivation in life. John needs to grow up and become a man, but who will he choose? Lori (Mila Kunis) or Ted?

Ted is a talking teddy bear, and his long-term bond with John is the focal point of the story. At first, Ted was a little bit too silly for my taste, but as time passed, this film started to grow on me. Yeah, the story of a grown man, who struggles to let go of a friendship with his talking teddy bear sounds foolish, but Ted is filled with some great humor and plenty of likeable characters. The talking teddy bear stuff worried me at first, but the friendship between Ted and John was believable. John is a loser, who is struggling to grow up, and Ted is John’s foul-mouthed buddy. Ted actually had a surprising amount of depth, so audiences could form some kind of connection with this character.

Seth MacFarlane provided the voice for Ted, and this film features MacFarlane’s full-length directorial debut. I haven’t followed Family Guy in a LONG time, but I could notice some of MacFarlane’s very familiar trends throughout this film. Cutaway gags, 80’s pop culture references (mainly the Flash Gordon stuff), and while voicing Ted, MacFarlane actually makes a joke about the similarities between his voice and Peter Griffin‘s voice. I rolled my eyes during this scene, but MacFarlane’s Family Guy tricks didn’t annoy me too much. For the most part, I actually enjoyed his directing. His style is pretty basic, but MacFarlane’s directing didn’t hurt this film, so I don’t have any real complaints.

Ted is one of the better comedies in 2012. Ted offers consistent laughs, the raunchy and vulgar humor is enjoyable, the acting is very solid, and I seriously can’t think of one unlikeable character in the entire cast. The chubby kid comes close, but Robert (Aedin Mincks) never reaches the level of someone you want to punch in the face, and they really took a more lighthearted approach towards this character in the final moments. Giovanni Ribisi is supposed to be the main antagonist here. Donny (Ribisi) is weird and quirky, but this character couldn’t pull any negative feelings out of me, because Ribisi’s hilarious performance is so entertaining.

Honestly, I didn’t expect much from this film, but Ted really surprised me. The story might feel kind of generic and predictable at times, but I couldn’t stop laughing. Ted isn‘t epic or groundbreaking, but this film did provide plenty of laughs for me.

The Shape
08-28-2012, 11:32 PM
Machine Gun Preacher (2011) 7/10- After his release from jail, Sam Childers (Gerard Butler) quickly returns to his life, as a ruthless gang biker and drug addict. Although, Sam’s wife, Lynn (Michelle Monaghan) has changed. Wanting to start a new life, Lynn quits her job as a stripper, and becomes a Christian. This decision enrages Sam, because he believes Lynn passed up a golden opportunity to make easy money. Sam’s best friend, Donnie (Michael Shannon) joins him in a life of crime, and together, they rob a drug dealer for his money and merchandise.

But after nearly killing a hitchhiker, Sam decides to turn his life around. Sam becomes a devoted Christian, builds a church, and eventually, Sam travels to Uganda. In Uganda, Sam dedicates his life to helping the children of South Sudan. But Sam’s efforts to build an orphanage are challenged by the viscous LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army). Desperately needing help, Sam joins forces with the SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army), but he is slowly consumed by his efforts to help the children.

Sam Childers is a complex man. At first, you’ll see an angry junkie/gangster, who is hell-bent on destroying his life. After his baptism, Childers becomes a more caring family man, who will do anything to protect his wife, and his daughter, Paige (Madeline Carroll). But Sam’s dedication to the crisis in South Sudan drives him to madness. Sam alienates his family, his friends, and he becomes a deranged man, who will do anything to save the children. The Sam Childers character has to face a lot of tough challenges throughout this film, and he endures serious changes. Gerard Butler’s very convincing performance brought a strong sense of believability to the conflict within Sam, as he struggled with his responsibilities as a father and husband, and his commitments to the children in South Sudan.

Butler delivers the best performance in this film, and Machine Gun Preacher features some very solid acting. Michelle Monaghan and Michael Shannon are the highlights from the supporting cast, and for what it’s worth, seeing Shannon portray a vulnerable character felt kind of weird. Shannon always seems more comfortable portraying the angry guy or the jerk (8 Mile), and he has delivered some memorable tirades (Take Shelter and Revolutionary Road are a few examples), but Donnie is a nervous and soft-spoken junkie. Still, Shannon really nailed this character, and he has to be the most underrated actor in Hollywood.

Marc Foster’s style is pretty bland, and his directing doesn’t add any positiveattributes to this film. Machine Gun Preacher is an emotional and gut-wrenching film, but the cast brings brings the story to life, not Foster’s directing. Truth be told, I’ve never been a big fan of Foster’s work behind the camera. Monster’s Ball was highly overrated, and Quantum Of Solace was mediocre at best. I enjoyed Stranger Than Fiction and Stay, but Foster doesn’t deserve too much credit, because both films featured good acting and clever screenplays.

Machine Gun Preacher is a violent and emotional drama. This film tells the story of one man’s mission to make a change, and at the same time, Machine Gun Preacher provides a brutal inside look at the crisis in South Sudan. Machine Gun Preacher features some genuine hard-to-watch moments, and the graphic violence is pretty intense.

Gerard Butler really delivered an outstanding performance here, but Machine Gun Preacher was panned by the critics. You’ll have to search hard for some positive feedback, and it’s a real shame. When you compare this film to Butler’s recent bombs (The Ugly Truth, The Bounty Hunter, Law Abiding Citizen), Machine Gun Preacher feels like a classic. But Coriolanus received overwhelming amounts of praise, and Butler has a few new films coming up very soon. There’s still some hope for Gerard’s career. He just needs to stay away from anything that involves Katherine Heigl in the future, give the romantic comedies a rest for a while, and he should be fine.

The Shape
08-30-2012, 10:56 PM
The Innkeepers (2011) 7/10- The Yankee Pedlar Inn is going out of business. Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are best friends, they’re the only employees left, and they kill time as ghost hunters. Luke is trying to promote an amateur paranormal website, and Claire supports him. Luke’s website is a failure, but Claire stumbles across a much needed breakthrough. During a routine experiment, Claire encounters a piano playing by itself. Eventually, Claire’s curiosity sparks an obsession for the ghost of Madeline O’ Malley. In the 1800’s, Madeline committed suicide after her husband abandoned her on their honeymoon, and Madeline’s body was buried in the basement of the hotel. Leanne Rease-Jones (Kelly McGillis) is a retired actress, and a hotel guest. As a medium, Leanne unravels the mystery of the haunting. Will Claire and Luke escape the wrath of Madeline’s ghost before it’s too late?

Ti West is one of my favorite directors. I LOVED The House Of The Devil and The Roost, and I’m one of the very few people, who actually liked Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever. West provides an essential chilling and eerie atmosphere, and he does a great job of building tension throughout this film. West kept the gore to a minimum here, and the limited approach actually works. The one scene of bloody gore is more than capable of providing a sickening and disgusted reaction, so anything on top of that would’ve been overkill.

Sara Paxton is the true star of this cast. Claire is a hyper geek with a good sense of humor. Paxton brings a strong sense of innocence to the Claire character, and she provides good laughs along the way. Luke might remind you of some loser, who stills lives with his parents, while working a dead end job. But along with Paxton, Healy provides the majority of comedy in this film, and Pat Healy really nailed the Luke character. Paxton and Healy form a very likeable duo, and the supporting cast provides a nice set of believable performances.

The Innkeepers features some funny moments, but as the story progresses, the tone for this film becomes a lot more serious. You can feel a strong sense of danger, as Madeline O’ Malley’s ghost terrorizes the remaining survivors. Ti West’s screenplay provides a nice balance of humor and horror, but this film never reaches a “too silly” point, where you can’t take the story seriously.

The Innkeepers doesn’t bring anything new to the horror genre, but I still enjoyed this film. The Innkeepers provides a spooky ghost story, and the tension slowly builds to an intense and frightening finale. Ti West gives horror fans some hope, as a writer and director, and I’m looking forward to his future projects.

The Shape
09-04-2012, 12:21 AM
The Divide (2012) 2/10- As New York City suffers a devastating nuclear attack, eight residents of an apartment building desperately seek shelter. Mickey (Michael Biehn) is the superintendent, and his bomb shelter gives the residents their only chance for survival. Before he closes the door for good, Eva (Lauren German), Sam (Ivan Gonzalez), Devlin (Courtney B. Vance), Josh (Milo Ventimiglia), Bobby (Micahel Eklund), Adrien (Ashton Holmes), Marilyn (Rosanna Arquette), and her daughter, Wendi (Abbey Thickson) fight their way inside. New York City is in ruins, and the threat of radition sickness becomes more serious as time passes.

A surprise invasion from an unknown group of soldiers in radiation suits causes a panic amongst the survivors. After kidnapping Marilyn’s daughter, the soldiers weld the shelter door shut, and eventually, the group is torn apart by mistrust, frustration, and fear.

Director Xavier Gens provides the necessary bleak atmosphere for this film. The survivors are stuck in a deadly post-apocalyptic world with no hope, and Gens’ dark style did enhance feelings of desperation.

I don’t have any real complaints about the acting, but Michael Bien, Ashton Holmes, Abbey Thickson, and Lauren German portray the only likeable characters in this film. The Divide features some solid acting, but the other half of the cast portrays annoying characters. Sam is a whiny wimp, Devlin is just a jerk, Marilyn becomes a distraught sex slave, and when they take control, Bobby and Josh form this awkward bromance bond.

Eight people are trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, but the story devolves into a twisted calamity. The barrage of atrocities include torture, murder, rape, a teased rape scene (which is beyond creepy by the way), and locking a starved man in a room with feces. I hate to sound so nit-picky, but it would’ve been nice to see the survivors try and work together, and actually find a way out of the bomb shelter. Instead, they tried to pull a bunch of “OH MY GOD!” reactions out of the audience, but the atrocities quickly lose their shock value, especially after the torture scene.

And what about the major plot holes? The Divide leaves a lot of unanswered questions, and I can’t ignore them. First of all, and most importantly, who’s responsible for the nuclear attack? They NEVER provide any answers for this crucial question. Mickey is your typical angry, red-blooded American, and he throws out a bunch of wild accusations, but still, they never reveal the identity of the attackers.

Who are the soldiers in radiation suits? Why did they kidnap Marilyn’s daughter? And why are the soldiers experimenting on children? The soldiers have a major impact on the survivor’s future. They reek havoc inside the bomb shelter, and eventually, they trap the survivors inside by sealing the door. But we don’t know who they are, or where they came from.

The story is loaded with a few gaping plot holes, and the missing details do hurt this film.

I wanted to like The Divide, but once the survivors descend into madness, this film just goes downhill. The story is too fucking depressing, and The Divide features one too many unlikeable and loathsome characters. The Divide tries to be a shocking and emotionally powerful post-apocalyptic horror film, but the end result is an ugly mess. My fanyboyism for Michael Biehn drew me to this film, but I’ll remember The Divide as one of Biehn’s stinkers.

If you can’t handle any sort of extreme content, you should stay away from this one. The Divide is a dark and disturbing film, that features graphic gore, brutal violence, rape, and the dialogue is very vulgar and explicit. This film will pull a strong reaction out of you, and hate it or love it, one thing’s for sure, you will remember The Divide.

Dowds
09-05-2012, 05:18 PM
Rec 3: Genesis (2012)

I am a huge fan of the first 2 Rec films. The zombie sub-genre is absolutely stacked and it takes some great films to garner attention and stand head(shots) and shoulders above their counterparts. The first is a claustrophobic and nerve wrought assault on the senses for 80 minutes, with the second marginally overlapping into the same time-span. The ending of the second was incredibly brutal and gave me high hopes for the 3rd entry.

Alas, the 3rd is just about perfect. Perfect, that is, as an example of a HUGE opportunity missed by the writers and director. They set up some potentially great moments and then bailed on each and every one of them.
After 20 minutes, they do away with the POV gimmick from the preceding films - which the second one continued brilliantly with the helmet cam idea I should add - and revert to a standard cinematic set-up instead. But hey, that's how Romero filmed his original groundlaying trilogy so thats not really a big concern... except when the series is named after the recording function of an on-site camera.

To tie in with it being the 3rd entry, I will limit myself to 3 of the worst wasted opportunities;

1 - A Suit of Armour. Think about this, how many zombie films have had the stones and ability to don their hero in a suit of armour? Yes he'll be slow-moving and clumsy, but he'll be all but immune from their bites and if one does try to bite, you have a money shot of a special effects trick to portray teeth breaking out of the zombies face and falling uselessly to the floor.
So what does Rec 3 do? The groom dresses up in the armour then does his best to avoid zombies. A fucking waste.

2 - Sponge John. A recurring joke in the film is an entertainer at the wedding reception dressed up to resemble Sponge Bob but as he can't get clearance to use the name he keeps telling people that he's Sponge John. It's ridiculous but amusing. He provides a jolt to a couple of characters in human form but doesn't appear again as a zombie. A zombie Sponge John!? Why NOT do something with that!?

3 - Actually killing some fucking zombies. Call me a gore-hound, but a zombie film's entertainment (or at least some of it) comes from inventive ways of cutting down zed heads and seeing characters start to let loose on their unapologetic killing sprees; think the blonde army character in Dawn of the Dead.
There is one inventive death and a couple somewhat cool ones, but if this is the zombie film with the lowest zombie death count then it wouldn't at all surprise me.

All in all it was alright and had a few good moments, but the longer the film goes on the more the frustration builds at how flippantly characters die without much retribution from the survivors. The ending is pretty terrible too.

3/10

The Shape
09-08-2012, 12:07 AM
Secret Window (2004) 8/10- Mort Rainey (Johnny Depp) is a reclusive writer. After catching his wife, Amy (Maria Bello) with another man, Mort suffers a severe nervous breakdown. Mort secludes himself inside a cabin in the woods, and he refuses to sign the divorce papers during his retreat. Mort receives some intense pressure from Amy, and her new boyfriend, Ted (Timothy Hutton), but Mort isn’t ready to move on with his life.

Meanwhile, a mysterious stranger accuses Mort of plagiarism. John Shooter (John Turturro) is a dairy farmer from Mississippi, and he demands proof to refute his claims. Mort dismisses Shooter as a head-case, but Shooter continues to stalk the troubled writer. Fearing the worst, Mort hires his best friend/private investigator, Ken Karsch (Charles S. Dutton) for help. But two sudden murders drastically complicate Mort’s troubles with Shooter. Eventually, Shooter threatens Mort into changing the ending to “Sowing Season.” Will Mort fix the story? Or will Mort find the proof to clear his name before it’s too late?

The supporting cast is pretty solid, but Johnny Depp and John Turturro steal the show here. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen this film, and I never get tired of Depp’s performance. Depp’s quirkiness is spot on, and he really nailed the oddball side of the Mort Rainey character. Plus, Depp showcases a dark side during the revealing of John Shooter’s true identity. Depp was able to provide some laughs along the way, but you can also feel sympathy for Mort Rainey, because he’s lonely and heartbroken. Mort Rainey is a complex man, and Depp really nailed this character.

John Turturro is just fantastic. Turturro isn’t a big muscular guy, but he still provided an intimidating presence as John Shooter. Turturro’s sharp Southern accent and his cold and calculating demeanor transformed Shooter into a believable threat. Turturro is in top form here, and you will see one of his memorable performances in this film.

As a director, David Koepp’s style is pretty solid. Koepp provides a few spooky nighttime scenes, but as a writer, he did provide an enjoyable story for this film. Adapting a Stephen King story is a tricky task. We’ve seen some good films over the years (Pet Sematary, Misery, Carrie), but you can’t forget about the bad films (Bag Of Bones, Thinner, The Dark Half). It’s not easy. King’s novels are filled with rich characters and complex storylines, but Koepp provided one of the better adapted screenplays for a King novella. Secret Window, Secret Garden (the name of the novella this film is based on) is a good read, that features some wonderful storytelling from King. The movie gives us more violence, and Koepp changes the ending. But Koepp deserves credit for some excellent dialogue, and Koepp’s screenplay outshines his work behind the camera here.

Secret Window is a fantastic psychological thriller. The story is filled with enough twists and turns, that will keep you guessing until the very end. The curveballs will hook you into the story, and the shocking conclusion delivers a great surprise. It’s not as good as The Mist’s ending, but the final minutes of Secret Window provide some good jaw-dropping moments.

The Shape
09-11-2012, 01:08 PM
The Five-Year Engagement (2012) 6/10- After one year of dating, Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) decide to get married. Living in San Francisco, Tom is a highly skilled sous chef. Violet is a psychology graduate, and she receives an acceptance letter for a psychology program….but the program is at the University Of Michigan. Being the faithful and understanding boyfriend, Tom gives his two week notice, turns down a job offer as a head chef at a new restaurant, and he agrees to move to Michigan with Violet. But the happy couple endures some serious setbacks during a lengthy five-year engagement.

The Five Year Engagement’s run time caused a good amount of complaints. The complaints are somewhat exaggerated, because The Five Year Engagement clocks in at two hours and four minutes. The run time didn’t bother me at all, and boredom wasn’t a problem. In fact, The Five Year Engagement’s lengthy run time actually helped the story. This story isn’t complex at all. It’s quite formulaic, but still, the screenplay features a good amount of depth. The lengthy run time gives the story more breathing room, and with more time, the ups and downs in Tom and Violet’s relationship are clearly illustrated, as the story progresses.

Jason Segel and Emily Blunt are the true stars of this cast. Chris Pratt is hilarious, but Blunt and Segel shared some very believable chemistry. The supporting cast delivers a good amount of laughs, and acting is the major highlight for this film.

No real complaints about the directing. Nicholas Stoller’s style is pretty basic, but his directing doesn’t hurt this film at all.

The Five-Year Engagement can’t rise above your standard mainstream romantic comedy. This film could’ve been something special, but the ending is SO predictable. The happy ending is kind of corny, and of course, Tom and Violet deliver their “this is why I love you” speeches.

Still, The Five-Year Engagement is enjoyable. This film provides consistent laughs, Blunt and Segel share some excellent chemistry, and the entire supporting cast is fantastic. It’s a shame, because The Five-Year Engagement could’ve been so much better, but as far as romantic comedies go, this film isn‘t good enough to stand out amongst the pack.

Dowds
09-12-2012, 03:52 PM
Good Bye Lenin! (2003)

Back in 2004 I stumbled upon a German film called The Edukators which starred Daniel Bruhl, and since then I've kept an eye out for him appearing in other films. One of my friends had seen this film a couple of years ago and had spoken highly of it, so a month or so ago when I saw it as part of a 3 for £5 deal in a charity shop I took a chance on it.

The gist of the story is that Alex's (Bruhl) mother is a staunch supporter of the DDR in East Berlin and is incredibly active with the socialist ideology. As Alex grows up, he begins to yearn for the ideals of the West and one day he joins a rally that soon turns violent as the stasi (police-force) break up the demonstrators. As he is being put into the back of a police van, his mother catches sight of him and subsequently faints. Despite his pleas for the stasi to help her, she is not treated quickly and ends up in a coma where she is not given the best odds. While Alex visits her every day, he also begins to start a relationship with the nurse looking after his mother (Whom he also met at the fateful rally) until one day his mother wakes up.

During her 8 month coma, Berlin has been unified due to the tearing down of the Wall and the process of Westernisation has begun. Her doctor warns Alex that she must not suffer any excitement due to fears that it could lead to another heart attack. Alex is warned against taking her home, but due to medical staff beginning to move West, Alex decides that an environment where he can control what happens will be the best solution and so takes her home.

The film's emotional anchor is the relationship between Alex and his mother and the extreme lengths he goes to so that the vision she had of the world is upheld. This leads to some extremely testing moments that Alex overcomes due to his friendships and infectious spirit to preserve the 'old world order' to his mother.

The ending contains a heck of an emotional gutpunch, but is still a very satisfying conclusion to the story and Bruhl is excellent from start to finish. If you're a fan of modern German cinema then it is well worth a watch.

7.5/10

The Shape
09-18-2012, 04:26 PM
Jeff, Who Lives At Home (2012) 8/10- Jobless and broke, Jeff (Jason Segel) is a thirty year old man, who lives in his mother’s basement. Jeff kills time by smoking pot all day, and he develops a strange obsession for M. Night Shyamalan's Signs. Signs motivates Jeff to find his destiny, and through a series of random events, Jeff searches for the answers to his father’s death.

Jeff’s mother, Sharon (Susan Sarandon) sends Jeff on a simple errand to buy wood glue at Home Depot, but Jeff is sidetracked by a new mission: he must learn the significance of the name “Kevin.” While searching for the importance of Kevin, Jeff accidentally runs into his brother, Pat (Ed Helms). In a foolish attempt to show off, Pat crashes his new Porsche into a tree. While Pat writes a check for the owner of the tree, Jeff spots Pat’s wife, Linda (Judy Greer) with another man. Suspecting an affair, Pat decides to follow Linda and Steve (Steve Zissis), and with Jeff’s help, Pat tries to expose Linda as a cheating wife.

Yes, Jeff is a loser. He’s a quirky and soft-spoken man, who lives with his mother, but you can feel sympathy for this character. Deep down inside, Jeff is a nice guy with a big heart. As expected, Segel delivers plenty of laughs, but he also provided a very believable serious side for the Jeff character, and you will see one of Segel’s better performances in this film.

Pat is a dick. He doesn’t respect Jeff at all, and his marriage is falling apart. Helms is an asshole for the majority of this film, but after an intense argument with his wife, you’ll see a softer and more caring version of Pat. Pat’s unexpected bonding experience with Jeff provides some great funny moments, and Helms delivers a very enjoyable performance here.

Linda is the neglected and heartbroken wife, and Judy Greer really nailed this character. And Susan Sarandon was the perfect choice for the widowed mother, who wants to escape from her mundane lifestyle. Jeff, Who Lives At Home features some really good acting, and I honestly can’t think of one bad performance from this cast.

The Duplass Brothers (Jay and Mark) work behind the camera is decent enough, but the story is outstanding. Jay and Mark are the directors for this film, and they also wrote the screenplay. Jeff, Pat, Sharon, and Judy have a good amount of depth, and Pat comes close, but nobody reaches the level of an annoying, unlikable character. Everyone is looking for comfort and a peace of mind, and The Duplass Brothers did a wonderful job of creating some feel-good experiences for each character.

The script provides a good balance of comedy and drama. The Duplass Brothers weren’t too silly on the comedy side of things, and when it comes to the drama, the story never becomes too sappy. Jeff, Who Lives At Home is more than capable of providing good laughs, but the story is loaded with great emotion.

Jeff, Who Lives At Home is filled with emotional stories of self-discovery. It's a hilarious comedy, but this film also features some genuine moving moments.

This might be the best Jason Segel film since Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Yeah, it’s that good. Jeff, Who Lives At Home is fantastic, and if you’re a Segel fan, you have to see this movie.

CH David
09-21-2012, 08:01 PM
The FP (2012)

Where to start? This movie is essentially gangland territory with battles duked out on Beat Beat Revolution (DDR). JTRO wins the first battle, then the master champ BTRO dies in battle against L Dubba E. I don't fucking know how, but he does. JTRO goes into hiding after vowing to never battle again. Fast forward a year and the FP is just messed up. L Dubba E runs it, and only sells alcohol to who he wants. So the bums can't get drunk and do their duty of feeding the ducks. This is the basic premise, to save the ducks!!!

There is some racial language. Hence the use of spoiler tags. View at your own discretion.

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The film is basically how JTRO tries to redeem himself and bring the FP back to it's former glory? Or just bring it back from the pile of shit L Dubba E brought it down to, as well as winning the heart of Stacey, his one time flame. I don't want to spoil the whole thing.

The cast is from a small town in Northern Cali, perhaps some of our California posters know where Frazier Park is. They try really hard throughout the movie to actually make it seem believable. Just watch it for the pure hilarity that it is. It's either the greatest or worst thing you will ever watch depending on how you choose to view it. Watch with subtitles though, it will make the dialogue easier to follow.

It's probably a 2-10 or worse, but I thought it was hilarious throughout and I'll give it an 6-10 for that simple reason.

The Shape
09-22-2012, 04:56 PM
Hit & Run (2012) 5/10- Yul Perrkins (Dax Shepard) is trying to start a new life. Living in a witness protection program, Yul uses Charlie Bronson as an alias, and he shares a quiet and peaceful life with his girlfriend, Annie Bean (Kristen Bell). Annie receives an interview for a better job in Los Angeles, but Yul is taking a life-or-death risk, if he leaves the witness protection program. Fearing an inevitable break-up, Yul decides to drive Annie to the job interview. Yul wants to escape his past as a getaway driver for a notorious group of bank robbers, but Annie’s jealous ex-boyfriend, Gil (Michael Rosenbaum) changes everything. Determined to sabotage their relationship, Gil gives away Yul’s location via Facebook.

Alex Dimitri (Bradley Cooper) is a bitter man from Yul’s former gang, and once he receives Gil’s Facebook message, Alex decides to hunt down Yul. Yul’s testimony put Alex in jail, so of course, he’s still looking for revenge. Alex brings Neve Tatum (Joy Bryant), Yul’s ex-girlfriend/former planner for the bank robberies, and with the help of Allen (Ryan Hansen), the gang captures Yul and Annie as hostages. Yul is the only one, who knows the location for a large amount of buried cash. Randy Anderson (Tom Arnold) is the US Marshal assigned to protect Yul, and he will have to stop Alex's gang before they reach the money.

As far as acting goes, Tom Arnold is my only real complaint. Randy is a bumbling and hyper klutz, but Arnold WASN’T funny. His character is beyond annoying, and I’m surprised Arnold didn’t work another shameless pitch for True Lies 2 into the story.

Dax Shepard and Bradley Cooper provide the majority of laughs here, and Kristen Bell delivers a solid performance. David Koechner’s appearance is limited to a cameo, but his brief role as the random stranger is hilarious.

Dax Shepard wrote the screenplay for Hit & Run, and he‘s also a co-director for this film. David Palmer is the other director, and both men form a solid team here. The action sequences provide some good thrills, the car chases are filled with adrenaline, and this film delivers surprising amounts of excitement.

The jokes are hit-and-miss, and the humor side of this film is stale at times, but I still enjoyed Hit & Run. It’s a fun action comedy. This film has some problems, but Hit & Run provides a few laughs and some sporadic thrills. Dax Shepard’s career hit a rough spot after Let’s Go To Prison. It was an AWFUL comedy, and a potential career killer. Shepard hasn’t dug himself out of that deep hole yet, but Hit & Run is a step in the right direction.

The Shape
09-23-2012, 05:49 PM
Lawless (2012) 6/10- During prohibition, The Bondurant Brothers run a successful bootleg operation. The moonshine business is booming, and The Bondurant Brothers use their bar/restaurant as a front. Forrest (Tom Hardy) is the brains of the operation and Howard (Jason Clarke) is the muscle. But the youngest brother, Jack (Shia LaBeouf) wants a more hands-on role in the business. He wants to prove himself as a man, so with the help of his friend Cricket (Dane DeHaan), Jack decides to sell a batch of moonshine. But Jack and Cricket run into some real trouble, when they cross paths with Floyd Banner (Gary Oldman).

At the same time, The Bondurant Brothers receive some intense pressure from a ruthless Special Detective named Charley Rakes (Guy Pearce). Maggie (Jessica Chastain) is a newly hired waitress, but she becomes a liability. Forrest refuses to back down, but the decision to defy Charley Rakes will have serious repercussions.

Lawless features a handful of fantastic performances, but Tom Hardy is the true star of this cast. Forrest is a hard-ass, and Hardy provides the presence of a strong and tough leader. Hardy brings a believable intimidation factor to this character, but Forrest is vulnerable at times (mainly during his scenes with Chastain). Hardy takes control of the Forrest character, and his confident performance is just excellent. LaBeouf was able to show some believable anger and raw emotions, but I still give the edge to Hardy.

John Hillcoat’s directing is marvelous. His style is intense, but Hillcoat also captures the beauty of an old-fashioned countryside. This style is somewhat reminiscent of Hillcoat’s work for The Proposition (probably his best film as a director), without the Western setting of course.

I want give Lawless a higher score, but I can’t. Hillcoat’s directing is just wonderful, and all of the performances are spot on, but Lawless feels so ordinary most of the time. The story is VERY predictable, and this entire film just goes through the motions. Plus, the final showdown between The Bondurant Brothers and Charley Rakes is too far-fetched and over the top.

Lawless is a bloody and violent crime drama. It’s a brutal film, and Lawless is emotional at times, but in the grand scheme of things, Lawless isn’t good enough to stand out amongst other crime dramas. It’s disappointing, because Hillcoat is the right director and the cast is just perfect. It could’ve been something special, but Lawless isn’t epic or memorable, unfortunately.

Loveless
09-24-2012, 02:15 PM
Jeff, Who Lives At Home (2012) 8/10

Watched it last night, not what I expected at all. A genuinely beautiful little film about destiny and people waking up from their dull existence.

The Shape
09-29-2012, 03:22 PM
Total Recall (2012) 7/10- The 21st Century is coming to a close, and Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) is looking for an escape. Quaid lives with his lovely wife, Lori (Kate Beckinsale), but Quaid is an ordinary factory worker, who wants more out of life. Plus, Quaid is haunted by a series of bizarre nightmares. One night, Quaid decides to take a trip to Rekall, a company that provides fake memories and fantasies. But a seemingly simple and harmless attempt to escape reality takes a drastic turn for the worst. Rekall’s mandatory diagnosis exposes Quaid as a spy, and Quaid is the main target for a SWAT team’s raid. Quaid takes out the entire SWAT team by himself, and he quickly returns home. Bewildered and frightened, Quaid looks for comfort from his wife, but Lori tries to kill him. Lori reveals herself as an undercover agent. She tries to kill Quaid again, but after numerous attempts, Quaid finally escapes.

Quaid’s real name is Carl Hauser, and Hauser was an important person in the resistance movement against Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston). Apparently, Hauser is the key to stopping Cohaagen’s most recent diabolical plan, but Hauser can’t remember a crucial code. Hauser receives help from a mysterious woman named Melina (Jessica Biel), and together, Hauser and Melina try to stop Cohaagen’s planned invasion. But they will have to fight off Lori (Cohaagen’s #1 crony), and fierce attacks from Cohaagen’s robotic army.

Director Len Wiseman’s high-octane style provides plenty of thrills. The action sequences are swift and hard-hitting, and Wiseman delivers endless amounts of excitement behind the camera. The flashy CGI provides some great eye candy, and Wiseman’s guidance as director really pulls everything together. I usually enjoy Wiseman’s work. He is the same guy, who directed the first two Underworld films, and Die Hard 4 (Live Free Or Die Hard). Wiseman has a good taste for stylish and explosive action, and Total Recall is probably his best film as director.

Collin Farrell can’t fill Arnold’s shoes, but he’s a competent leading man throughout this film. The supporting cast is strong. Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, and Bryan Cranston deliver very solid performances, and I really enjoyed the acting in this one.

Total Recall (1990) was a unique sci-fi/action film, that featured eccentric humor and characters, but the 2012 remake is a big money summer blockbuster. It’s a popcorn flick for the most part, the plot twists are identical, and the lack of strange humor didn’t bother me too much. Also, you won’t see Mars in the remake, and this story puts more focus on government, politics, and the corrupt leader (Cohaagen).

As far as the acting goes, I don’t have any major complaints. Kate Beckinsale takes on the role of Lori, but unlike Sharon Stone, Beckinsale plays the role of Quaid’s fake wife, and she’s Cohaagen’s top crony. So when Lori finally turns on Quaid, Beckinsale takes on Michael Ironside’s Richter character in the original. Beckinsale really nailed the backstabbing, cold-hearted bitch side of the Lori character, and Beckinsale’s Lori is more fearless and physical than Ironside‘s Richter. Lori doesn’t have a right-hand man (the Helm‘s character from the original), and other henchmen for back-up. Instead, Lori has the support of Cohaagen’s robotic army. Oh, and for what it’s worth, Beckinsale is more attractive than Stone.

Rachel Ticotin’s Melina is more rugged, but Jessica Biel brings a lot of emotion to the 2012 Melina. Ronny Cox’s Cohaagen is more of a weasel. Cox’s Cohaagen fit’s the profile of a slimy politician, but Cranston’s Cohaagen is a stronger character. He’s bold, more devious, and when the situation calls for it, Cranston’s Cohaagen can fight.

Bill Nighy portrays Matthias, the leader of the resistance movement against Cohaagen. But you can’t draw comparisons between George/Kuato (the resistance leader in the original) and Matthias. Matthias is a normal human being, but Kuato possessed supernatural powers, and he’s a deformed mutant attached to George’s body.

They reintroduced the space prostitute with three tits from the 1990 original. Unfortunately, there’s no Thumbelina here, but Total Recall 2012 is still an entertaining film. Of course, it’s different. The changes are noticeable, but compared to other lame remakes, Total Recall 2012 is a refreshing surprise.

All in all, Total Recall 2012 is an enjoyable popcorn flick. Total Recall is thrilling, and this film is loaded with impressive visuals. It was trashed by the majority of critics, and the lukewarm reception from moviegoers didn’t help anything. Still, Total Recall isn‘t horrible, so don‘t let the “it‘s not as good as the original” stuff scare you away from this one.

Bad News BK
09-30-2012, 06:37 PM
Looper (2012)

Went to see this today. Had high expectations, but mainly went to see this due to my new found love for Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

The Plot

The year is 2044. Time travel hasn't been invented yet, but thirty years in the future it not only exists, but has been outlawed, and is used by companies to carry out assassinations. Joe (JGL) is a Looper, an assassin who shoots his target the second they're sent back, without ever seeing their face. That is, however, until an unmasked target is sent back, and Joe sees an older yet familiar face. Himself; a man who's lost everything, and Joe now must face the task of stopping his future self from targeting a child who, in the future, has a big role to play in his life.

The plot is an intricately woven thread that doesn't let up at any point. It's intelligent, but it doesn't try to be too intelligent for it's own good. It presents itself in fantastic detail, but doesn't go too far to the point of losing interest. And it finds a balance of being hard hitting and violent, with moments of subtlety to balance everything in a fine mix. It's brutal, but not to the point of being overpowering and off-putting.

Rating: 9/10


Performance

JGL is, in a word, fucking awesome in this film. The conflict he suffers whilst dealing with his future self; a man who effectively knows his every move is portrayed to aplomb here.

But the best part of his performance is his interplay with Willis. Bruce Willis brings his A game here; you can't help but feel sorry for his character, especially when you discover how his life has played out. His quest in the film; to change his life so his past self doesn't have to experience the pain he did, is heart wrenching.

And that wrenching is brought about not only by Willis' performance, but by how believable both Willis and Levitt are in their roles. To play the same person from two different time periods is a ridiculous task, but both not only pull it off; they hit it out of the park. I wouldn't have jumped to these men for these roles, but damn do they do it well.

Emily Blunt's role as a mother of a child seems to be nothing more than filler, but once the film opens up, her role becomes an important emotional figure in proceedings, and she becomes part of a key event that could literally change the future. Blunt has a lot of work to do, but she gets it spot on.

The rest of the cast really get this right, too. At times they can be a bit forgettable, but with JGL, Willis and Blunt heading the show, there's no issue here. Jeff Daniels as Abe, the Mafia boss Joe works for, is an entertaining authority figure for Joe, and Noah Segan, as one of Abe's foot soldiers, brings a bit of comic relief, and is easy to despise.

This film is well acted. Most action films have good acting, but they rely more on flashy set pieces and visual moments. Here, the characters who are meant to stand out do, and the background characters do not intrude. And the main three nail their roles spectacularly.

Rating: 9/10


The Script

Rian Johnson doesn't miss a beat here. The script is engaging, it has sprinkles of humor. (not overbearing humor either, it's subtle and it works here) The scenes are crisp, the action is compact, and importantly, the film doesn't feel bogged down, either by too much action to get a cognitive story or too much talking and sitting to be an action film. The key here is balance, and he gets it spot on. The dialogue between the Joe's is fantastically done, and helps both actors nail their characters.

The only thing I could say negative is that it may be a bit predictable in places, but the ending smashes predictability in the face with a sledgehammer. I cannot praise Johnson enough here. Utterly brilliant.

Rating: 10/10


Visual

The first thing here is Gordon-Levitt. He looks different here, to make he and Willis look plausibly like the same person. What amazes me here is that ALL of it was make-up. No CGI. All of it is physically real, old-school make-up, and it looks amazing.

The CGI used here is very pretty; flying motorcycles, futurized cities, stuff like that, all looks damn good, and doesn't stand out at any point as being out of place.

A moment in the film shows what happens when someone from the future enters the present, and watches the effect as his present self is tortured. And he watches as his limbs slowly fade away. A finger here, then another, then another, then his nose, and so-on. A very difficult scene to watch, but a fantastically devised one that really hits home the dangers of time travel.

One thing that stood out for me was the effects of being shot in this film. Joe and other Loopers use shotgun-type weapons, and the effects for them look brutal. literally, as if they tear a chunk out of the person being shot. Things like that help to give films a little detail, and they really help the feel of the film.

Rating: 10/10


Overall

A key word here that I've used a few times is balance. This film could be overly vulgar, overly violent, and overly talky if any of it's elements go either way. But they don't, and Johnson deserves a lot of credit there. Something to think about here; this is Rian Johnson's third film. THIRD. And in my opinion, his third ever film is one of the best films of 2012, if not THE best film. I've stated my previous love for the Avengers, and this film is right up there. I may prefer Avengers, but this film is such a stunning masterpiece that it continues to blow my mind thinking about it.

A friend of mine said recently that there aren't many original ideas in films these days. Some have original moments, but they have noticeable similarities with different films. Not here. Here, this film feels incredibly unique, and while, if given time, I probably could find a film to compare it to, at the moment it isn't happening. It hits the right buttons on so many levels that it's hard to not overstate just how amazing this film is.

FINAL RATING: 38/40

The Shape
10-02-2012, 06:25 PM
Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012)

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Working through a divorce, Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) remain best friends, and they spend an unusual amount of time together. Celeste is a successful and bossy trend analyzer, and Jesse is an unemployed and unmotivated slacker. After an awkward one night stand, Celeste and Jesse’s relationship hits a rough spot. And things become more complicated, when Jesse runs into a woman from his past. Veronica (Rebecca Dayan) only had one date with him, but her unexpected pregnancy forces Jesse to make a difficult decision.

Rashida Jones helped with the screenplay, and Will McCormak is the other co-writer. A lot of the humor feels forced, and most of the time, I couldn’t get into the comedy side of this one. For example, there’s a running gag, where Celeste and Jesse simulate masturbation on tiny objects (lip balm, baby corn, etc.). I couldn’t laugh, and this particular gag was incredibly lame. But the main characters have a good amount of depth, and the story features some genuine emotional moments. Plus, McCormak and Jones didn’t suffocate the screenplay with a bunch of tired romantic comedy clichés.

Director Lee Toland Krieger’s style is pretty simplistic, but his work behind the camera doesn’t drag this film down, so I don’t have any real complaints.

Celeste & Jesse Forever features a very solid cast, but Rashida Jones easily delivers the best performance here. Celeste can have a good sense of humor, but she’s a pushy and successful woman, with a snobbish superiority complex. When it comes to education and job status, Celeste judges other people, who are beneath her in these areas. But once Celeste realizes her crucial mistakes with Jesse, you’ll see a more vulnerable and emotional side of this character. Jones really put her heart and soul into Celeste, and her performance is just excellent.

The comedy side of this film feels dull at times, and most of the raunchy humor really didn’t do anything for me. Still, Celeste & Jesse Forever is better than your formulaic Hollywood romantic comedy, with a predictable ending. Celeste & Jesse Forever doesn’t set the bar for romantic comedies. But the story features some good depth and emotion, and for the most part, they avoided the typical and routine cheesy moments (i.e. the big “I LOVE YOU!” speeches, followed by the “we’re going to get back together” stuff). In the end, Celeste & Jesse Forever is a sincere film about heartbreak, and moving on after a tough separation. It’s a satisfying and refreshing romantic comedy, and Jones is impressive. Rashida Jones proved herself as a leading actress here, and I’m looking forward to more starring roles in the future.

Rating: 8/10

The Shape
10-03-2012, 11:23 PM
The Possession (2012)

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Clyde Brenek (Jeffery Dean Morgan) is a divorced father, and he’s trying to mend a broken relationship with his daughters. Emily (Natasha Calis) is closer to Clyde, but Hannah (Madison Davenport) is a spoiled brat. Stephanie (Kyra Sedgwick) is the mother, and Clyde tries to maintain a civil relationship with her, but Stephanie’s new boyfriend, Brett (Grant Show) becomes a problem.

One day, Clyde takes Hannah and Emily (or "Em") to a yard sale, and a rustic box engraved with Hebrew inscriptions catches Emily’s attention. Clyde buys the box for Emily, but Emily slowly develops an erratic personality. Emily’s odd behavior raises serious questions, and a series of bizarre incidents (including a random moth infestation, and an unknown intruder stealing food from the refrigerator) sparks a panic within the family. Emily’s obsession with the box drives her to madness, and Clyde tries to find answers. After a thorough investigation, Clyde learns the devastating truth: Emily is possessed by an evil demon named Abizu. An exorcism is Emily’s only hope, or Abizu will take full possession of her body and soul.

Director Ole Bornedal’s calculated and subtle style creates an eerie and chilling atmosphere for The Possession. The grand finale is intense and suspenseful, and Bornedal provides a few good jump scares along the way.

Jeffery Dean Morgan is solid in the leading role, Natasha Calis is genuinely creepy as Emily, Madison Davenport is an entertaining problem child, and Kyra Sedgwick delivers a noteworthy performance. The entire cast is efficient, and I honestly can‘t think of any bad or mediocre performances.

I almost went with a higher score, but The Possession is loaded with predictable horror clichés, and I can’t ignore the unintentionally funny moments. Still, The Possession provides some good scares, and the gross-out scenes are unreal (the hand crawling up the back of Emily’s throat, and the “teeth scene”). The Possession isn’t memorable, but it’s better than most modern-day exorcism horror flicks.

Rating: 6/10

The Shape
10-06-2012, 09:03 PM
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

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The Dark Knight trilogy features some of the best acting you’ll see in any superhero franchise. Liam Neeson as Ra’s al Ghul, Cillian Murphy as Dr. Crane/Scarecrow, and Heath Ledger’s Joker. Plus, you can’t forget about the regulars. Christian Bale is reliable as usual, delivering another fine performance. And as expected, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman all bring their A game.

The consistency of top notch acting continues in The Dark Knight Rises, as Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, and Tom Hardy join the cast. Cotillard and Gordon-Levitt deliver a pair of very solid performances, but Hathaway and Hardy are the strongest newcomers in The Dark Knight Rises. Hathaway’s Catwoman/Selina Kyle is smooth, sexy, and dangerous. Tom Hardy brings the essential intimidating physical presence for Bane. Hardy’s Bane is intelligent and well-spoken, and his amazing performance is memorable.

He received praise as a director before Batman, but Christopher Nolan’s work for The Caped Crusader provided a tremendous boost for his legacy. As expected, Nolan’s work behind the camera is steady and precise, and the action sequences are crafty and intense.

The acting is something to admire in Nolan’s Batman films, but one reoccurring trend really annoys me….

Sorry, but the bait-and-switch swerve for the main antagonists drives me nuts. In Batman Begins, Dr. Crane/Scarecrow is supposed to be the main villain, but Ra’s al Gaul is revealed as the true mastermind towards the end. Batman battled The Joker throughout The Dark Knight, but his final face-off (no pun intended) is against Two-Face/Harvey Dent. And in The Dark Knight Rises, Bane is built up as the unstoppable adversary, but Miranda Tate/Talia is the real leader and mastermind behind the League Of Shadows. So in the end, Bane just looks like another hired goon.

I know I sound too nitpicky, but the “SURPRISE! I’m not the real villain!” stuff really irritates me.


This was a tricky rating, but I didn’t go with a perfect score here. I was expecting a more complete finale, but the ending for The Dark Knight Rises is so ambiguous. The ending could easily open the door for another set of sequels, and for me, The Dark Knight Rises was just the third film in Nolan’s Batman series.

The Avengers deserves to be remembered as the best superhero film in 2012, but still, The Dark Knight Rises is another satisfying entry in Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The Dark Knight Rises features entertaining action sequences, a strong cast, and a fair amount of suspense. The lengthy runtime (2hr. 45min.) feels a bit tedious, but I enjoyed the sporadic “edge of your seat” thrills.

Rating: 7/10

The Shape
10-09-2012, 11:24 PM
Bikini Girls On Ice (2009)

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Jenna (Cindel Chartrand), Sam (Danielle Doetsch), and other college girls take a trip to a bikini car wash fundraiser. Using a school bus for transportation, the girls are accompanied by Blake (Tarek Gader), the man, who came up with the idea for a bikini car wash, and his friend Tommy (Ivan Peric) is the driver. Most of the girls are looking for a fun time at the car wash, but Lena (Christina Sciortino) has other plans.

Eventually, the bus breaks down at an abandoned gas station, and Tommy searches for tools to repair the bus. Blake panics, and he decides to start the car wash immediately. The eerie silence throughout the gas station causes some concerns, but Jenna and Sam ignore an ominous warning from Hank (Sandy Grieg), a creepy and reclusive local. As nightfall approaches, the girls slowly disappear one by one. Confused and frightened, Jenna, Sam, and other survivors try to escape the vicious wrath of Moe (William Jarand), a blood thirsty killer, with a strange obsession for ice.

Jenna shows some intelligence, but other female characters fit the profile of an annoying, airheaded bimbo. Lena is supposed to be the nasty bitch, who uses her good looks to gain the upper hand in life, but Sciortino is a terrible actress.

And Moe is such a boring antagonist. He’s a deranged and retarded backwoods hillbilly, and this character doesn’t have any spoken dialogue, just a lot of heavy breathing and growling. Moe isn’t scary or intimidating, and Jarand’s performance provides too many unintentional laughs.

Bikini Girls On Ice tries to the follow the blueprint for 80’s slashers. Stupid characters, a sadistic killer, hot women in revealing clothing, nudity, sex, and the victims are stuck in an isolated deathtrap. I can appreciate the attempt to provide an old school style slasher film, but Bikini Girls On Ice has too many problems. Poor execution, shitty directing, bad acting, and weak dialogue kill any chances for a solid or decent movie. Bikini Girls On Ice isn’t laughably bad, it’s just bad. This poor attempt to pay homage to mindless 80’s slashers is beyond pitiful, and lowering your expectation levels won’t help anything, because Bikini Girls On Ice is an atrocious film.

Oh, and as far as nudity and sex goes, don’t expect anything extreme from Bikini Girls on Ice. It’s just one disappointing scene of sex and nudity, that’s all.

If you’re looking for an enjoyable modern-day slasher with attractive women and brutal kills, the Friday The 13th remake would be a good choice. Better production values, better acting, better directing, and Jason is still a bad-ass.

Rating: 0/10

The Shape
10-11-2012, 02:59 PM
Premium Rush (2012)

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Living in New York City, Wilee (Joesph Gordon-Levitt) is a reckless bicycle messenger, who enjoys the thrills and excitement from his job. Wilee is trying to win back Vanessa (Dania Ramirez), his ex-girlfriend and co-worker, but Wilee runs into some trouble, when he crosses paths with an NYPD officer. Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon) is a dirty cop, who can’t control his urges for gambling, and Monday owes money to the wrong people. Wilee holds the envelope, that will solve all of his problems, and avoiding Monday becomes a life-or-death struggle.

Director David Koepp’s hectic and fast-paced style provides some good thrills, and Premium Rush delivers plenty of excitement. Although, Koepp’s style of storytelling is repetitive. Wilee’s “sixth sense” is a prime example of redundancy. While delivering packages, Wilee uses his sixth sense to plan out possible routes and avoid dangerous mistakes. Wilee’s sixth sense is a cool trick….. when you see it for the first time, but eventually, this trick reaches the point of overkill, and Wilee’s sixth sense loses its wow factor, as the story progresses.

Wilee is a wisecracking smart-ass, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt really nailed this character, but Michael Shannon delivers the best performance here. Monday is a psychopathic asshole, who will do anything to get his hands on Wilee’s envelope. Michael Shannon’s angry and unhinged performance is amazing, and Shannon outshines Gordon-Levitt here.

Premium Rush is filled with adrenaline, and the face-off between Monday and Wilee provides an engaging rivalry. It’s the corrupt cop versus a hard working average man, who’s trying to do the right thing. It sounds simple and clichéd, but the high quality performances from Shannon and Gordon provide an extra boost for this plain concept.

Rating: 7/10

The Shape
10-14-2012, 03:21 PM
The Expendables 2 (2012)

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After the sudden death of a teammate, Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and the rest of The Expendables embark on a mission to track down and kill Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme), an international criminal and arms dealer. Driven by revenge, The Expendables plan to take down Vilain and his army, and stop Vilain‘s attempted transactions for large amounts of plutonium. Maggie Chan (Yu Nan) joins the team, and Barney receives help from Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Mr. Church (Bruce Willis).

Con-Air is still my favorite Simon West film, but West’s explosive and action-packed style is a perfect fit for The Expendables 2. As director, Simon West provides a thrilling opening action sequence, and the brutal grand finale is just great. Hopefully, Simon West will return for The Expendables 3, because he proved himself as the perfect choice to direct any future installments.

As usual, the old-timers provide some good nostalgia. Chuck Norris’ role is limited, but his brief appearances are enjoyable. Arnold and Willis receive more screen time this around, which is a good thing. Watching Arnold, Stallone, Norris, and Willis fight side-by-side during the final battle should provide an unforgettable moment for any die-hard action fan.

Sylvester Stallone brings the strong presence of a leader for the starring role. The supporting cast is solid as usual, and Dolph Lundgren provides some great comic relief. I hardly know anything about Yu Nan, but she’s believable, as the lone female member of the group, who is more than capable of holding her own.

Also, I really enjoyed Jean-Claude Van Damme as the main antagonist. He plays the typical foreign bad guy, but Van Damme is entertaining, and he can still deliver the goods. Plus, it’s refreshing to see Van Damme return to a high profiled role, especially after all of those shitty Universal Soldier films and other forgettable straight-to-video releases.

The Expendables 2 is a dream come true for action junkies. It’s a hard-hitting and brutal popcorn flick, that features the most popular action icons of all-time. The Expendables 2 fully embraces its status as a mindless action blockbuster, and I loved every minute of this film. Brutal violence, cheesy one-liners from Arnold, and a physical final showdown between Van Damme and Stallone. What else could you ask for? The Expendables 2 packs a powerful punch, and The Expendables continues to gain momentum as one of the more popular modern-day film series.

Rating: 7/10

The Shape
10-18-2012, 08:19 PM
God Bless America (2012)

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Frank Murdoch (Joel Murray) wants to make a change. Divorced, jobless, and suffering from a potentially fatal brain tumor, Frank decides to go on a nationwide killing spree. And with the help of his teenage accomplice Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), Frank plans to cleanse the filth in America’s society.

Director Bobcat Goldthwait delivers endless amounts of bloody brutality, and Goldthwait’s provides the essential lighthearted approach for the comical violence in this film.

Joel Murray is a solid leading man, and Tara Lynne Barr provides an enjoyable performance. The relationship between Roxy and Frank provides some laughs, but their Bonnie & Clyde partnership feels inappropriate at times. Roxy is obviously attracted to Frank. But storyline wise, she’s a young teenage girl, so Roxy and Frank‘s bonding experience causes some genuine awkward moments.

All in all, God Bless America features a nice set of comedic performances, and the entire cast provides some good laughs.

I don’t have any complaints about Goldthwait’s directing, but his screenplay sends out too many mixed messages. Frank is obviously disgusted by the current state of America’s society. Reality shows are just a poor excuse to poke fun at inept contestants, no-name reality show personalities become celebrities, religious protestors, who persecute homosexuals are raging assholes, and mean talk show hosts receive praise as antiheros.

You’ll see some parodies for popular American shows throughout this film. American Superstarz is an obvious parody of American Idol. And Steven Clark, a horrible singer/contestant, who continues to receive a spot on the show, because people enjoy mocking his awfulness, is an American version of William Hung. Also, the Michael Fuller character clearly spoofs Bill O’ Reilly and The O’Reilly factor, and the similarities are very obvious.

Plus, you can’t forget about the pesky and inconsiderate American citizens, who take up more than one parking space, and noisy jackasses, who feel the need to talk out-loud during a movie at the theater.

Frank and Roxy are tired of cruelty and the outbreak of min-numbing stupidity in America, so they decide to kill all of the “bad people.” The Frank character (and occasionally Roxy) provide a lot of valid points throughout this film, but still, you can’t just wake up and decide to kill random “mean people.”

If I follow God Bless America’s rationale, then after some random driver cuts me off, it’s okay for me to pull over, grab a shotgun from my trunk, and blow their fucking head off. If someone cuts in line at the grocery store, then it’s okay for me to pull out a knife, and slit their throat. It’s okay if I decide to blow-up the Fox News studio. And in an attempt to stamp out stupidity, I should exterminate the Kardashians.

If you literally take God Bless America’s message to heart, then the solution for America’s social problems are simple: just kill the troublemakers. Mass murder won’t solve anything, it’ll just create more outrage and controversy.

It’s a tough call, but I decided to go with a reluctant positive rating here. The social commentary is suffocated by an asinine message (kill the bad people!), but the laughs are consistent, and love it or hate it, you have to give God Bless America credit for being an ambitious dark comedy. The clichéd and predictable shoot-out ending is kind of corny, but God Bless America earned a spot on my list of unforgettable 2012 films, for good and bad reasons.

Rating: 6/10

The Shape
10-19-2012, 11:21 AM
Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)

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After the conclusion of Resident Evil Afterlife, Alice (Milla Jovoich) barely survives a raid from the Umbrella Corporation. Led by Alice’s former friend and ally, Jill Valentine (Sieanna Guillory) and Umbrella soldiers exterminate any living survivors aboard Arcadia, a freighter/prison for survivors of the T-Virus outbreak. Jill and the Umbrella soldiers eventually capture Alice after a shootout, and Alice is taken to an underground Umbrella Base.

At the same underground Umbrella base, a cloned version of Alice is married to Todd (Oded Fehr), and with her deaf daughter, Becky (Aryana Engineer), Alice lives a normal life in an alternate reality. But a sudden zombie attack disrupts her calm and quiet suburban lifestyle.

Eventually, the real Alice awakens in an Umbrella holding cell. Here, Alice is tortured and questioned by a brainwashed Jill…until Ada Wong (Li Bingbing) rescues her. Ada Wong is Albert Wesker’s (Shawn Roberts) trusted associate, so naturally, Alice is hesitant to accept her help. Confused and angry, Alice demands answers, so Ada explains the dire situation: the computer program known as the Red Queen is controlling the Umbrella Corporation, and the Red Queen corrupted Jill’s mind. Alice is torn between an alternate reality and real life. Alice develops feelings for her cloned daughter, but Alice will have to trust Ada, fight familiar faces from her past, and escape Umbrella’s underground base alive.

Director Paul W. S. Anderson provides some of the best 3D effects you’ll ever see. The 3D for Resident Evil: Retribution is mesmerizing, but Anderson’s usage of 3D never reaches the point of overkill. It’s a nice bonus attraction, and Anderson is one of the few directors, who knows how to use 3D properly.

The 3D is wonderful, but the praises for Anderson’s directing stop here. Throughout Retribution, I constantly asked myself two questions: “How is it possible? How can one movie feature so many extravagant and breathtaking set pieces, and still be so fucking boring?” Anderson tries to deliver stylish and slick action sequences, but the action side of this film lacks excitement and thrills. Anderson tries to produce crafty action, but the final result is an endless barrage of lifeless battles and chases. Seriously, it’s mind-boggling. Retribution features some great eye candy, the backdrops are just perfect, but the action is incredibly dull, and the repeated usage of slow motion didn’t help anything.

Anderson also wrote the screenplay for this film, and the story is beyond confusing. The constant shifts between the alternate reality and the real world are bad enough, and Anderson constantly blurs the line between Alice’s real life and her cloned life as the suburban housewife.

The introduction of the clones almost gave me headache. With the exception of Jill Valentine, characters from previous films return as clones, but there‘s a catch. Unable to realize the differences between both Alices, Good Rain (Michelle Rodriguez) becomes one of Alice’s (the real Alice) trusted allies in the fight against Umbrella, and Good Carlos (Oded Fehr) is cloned Alice’s husband. But Umbrella also produces evil versions of the clones? That’s right, and under orders from Umbrella, Evil Carlos and Evil Rain carry out a hunt and kill mission for the real Alice. Why the fuck would Umbrella produce two sets of clones? Umbrella controls most of the post-apocalyptic world, so why would they create two sets of clones for two Alices?

During the intro, Anderson provides a short highlight reel and summary for the entire Resident Evil franchise. Well, this could’ve been a nice reminder, but Retribution’s confusing story really defeats the purpose of the flashback intro.

Plus, Anderson blatantly copies the mother-daughter dynamic between Ellen Ripley and Newt from Aliens. I’m not the only, who noticed this, right? It’s the ass-kicking female heroin risking her life to save a strange little girl she just met, and if you watch Retribution, you will sense some strong similarities to the relationship between Ripley and Newt. Yeah, I know, storylines are reused and recycled all the time. Well, if the movie is entertaining, I usually look the other way, but Retribution wasn’t a good movie.

The story is a mess, but the ending is unbelievable….

So the real Alice escapes ANOTHER Umbrella assassination attempt. Alice takes a trip to the White House, the base for the remaining survivors, and the sight of the last stand for non-infected humans. And guess who’s in the Oval Office? Albert Wesker! That’s right, if Alice wants to defeat Umbrella once and for all, she’ll have to join forces with US soldiers, other resistance fighters, and her arch-nemesis. But wait it gets better! Wesker needs all the help he can get, so he injects Alice with the T-Virus? So Alice regains her superpowers from the same man, who took them away in the previous film? Okay then. Oh, and according to Wesker, the fight against Umbrella is far from over. Right, that’s why we’ve been hearing the “it’s far from over” stuff since Resident Extinction (2007) :rolleyes:.

Overall, the acting is decent. Jovoich is still sharp as Alice, Li Bingbing was believable, as Alice’s lethal partner, and Michelle Rodriguez provides enjoyable performances, as Good and Evil Rain. But the rest of the cast didn’t bring anything special to the table, and Sieanna Guillory is just awful. She’s fucking terrible, and Guillory’s atrocious performance destroys the quality of this cast.

It’s the same shit all over again. Umbrella is STILL trying to take over the world, Umbrella is trying to kill Alice, and Alice has to battle the evil corporation…..AGAIN. Resident Evil: Retribution is an incoherent and convoluted mess, that features dull and boring action sequences. Yes, the 3D is superb, but top notch 3D effects can’t save this film. The 3D version will pull some “oooh and ahhhh” reactions out of you, but the extra cash isn’t worth it. Save your money to buy a better a movie, or use the cash to pig out at McDonlad’s. A sixth Resident Evil film is coming. The ending just gives it away, but I hope it’ll be the last Resident Evil film, because this franchise needs to die, and Milla Jovoich needs to move on to something else.

Rating: 2/10

The Shape
10-31-2012, 06:48 PM
House At The End Of The Street (2012)

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Divorced and trying to start a new life, Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) and her daughter, Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) move to a small and quiet town. The snobbish behavior and cynicism from their new neighbors disgusts Elissa and Sarah, so they decide to keep to themselves, but Elissa shows some interest in Ryan Jacobson (Max Thieriot). Struggling to move on after his parent’s tragic death and Carrie Anne’s (Ryan’s younger sister) mysterious disappearance, Ryan lives in his childhood home alone, but as the new and understanding neighbor, Elissa befriends him. Evenutally, Elissa develops feelings for Ryan, but the bizarre discovery of a wild and vicious girl changes everything.

Sorry, but ONE true jump scare isn’t enough, and director Mark Tonderai’s style is very bland. I enjoyed the suspenseful finale, but overall, House At The End Of The Street is horribly boring.

Jennifer Lawerence and Elisabeth Shue deliver a pair of solid perfromances, but the rest of the cast is mediocre at best, and the weak dialogue didn’t help anything.

For the most part, House At The End Of The Street features a very predictable and straightforward story, but there’s a nice twist at the end.

Okay, so we’re in the final moments, and Elissa protects Ryan from a group of angry bullies, who tried to burn down his house. Suspecting something fishy, Elissa searches through the garbage for clues. Elissa immediately panics after discovering a box of contact lenses, but Ryan captures her, and Elissa becomes a hostage. Frightened and tied up in the basement, Elissa finally learns the dark secret: Ryan’s parents weren’t murdered years go. Instead, his younger sister, Carrie Anne, died during an accident on a swing set. Ryan’s abusive parents forced him to look and act like Carrie Anne for the duration of his childhood life, becoming more strict during Carrie Anne’s “birthday parties.” Trying to fill the void of his dead sister, Ryan continued to kidnap Carrie Anne look-a-likes, while holding them hostage in his basement. And if they didn’t fit the exact profile, Ryan would use anything (i.e. the contact lenses) to transform his victims into the perfect Carrie Anne imitation.

You know something, I’ll give House At The End Of The Street credit for this twist. Yes, it was genuinely shocking, and the “Ryan is the real psycho twist” added a much needed spark of intrigue for the lame story. Still, the final twist did have a strong too little, too late feeling. This twist wasn’t enough, because House At The End Of The Street had already bored me to death, and for me, nothing could save this film.

House At The End Of The Street is a boring and generic horror film. The story develops at an unbearable slow pace, and the lone jump scare isn’t something to remember. Jennifer Lawrence and Elisabeth Shue tried to save this one, but they couldn’t overcome a generic story, bland directing, and bad dialogue.

Rating: 1/10

The Shape
11-03-2012, 07:59 PM
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (2012)

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Nervous and scared, Charlie (Logan Lerman) prepares to start his first day of high school. As a reclusive outcast, Charlie is relentlessly bullied and picked-on, and Charlie can’t escape flashbacks of his aunt’s tragic death. Charlie receives some encouragement from his English teacher, Mr. Anderson (Paul Rudd), and when two seniors befriend him, Charlie slowly breaks out of his shell. Sam (Emma Watson) and her wild step-brother, Patrick (Ezra Miller) invite Charlie into their circle of friends, but a series of bizarre setbacks and changes sends Charlie into a downward spiral.

Stephen Chbosky is the author for The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, he wrote the adapted screenplay, and he‘s the director for this film. As a director, Stephen Chbosky’s style is pretty basic. Chbosky‘s directing is nothing special, but The Perks Of Being A Wallflower deserves credit for impressive visuals, because the gloomy cinemotragphy is simply mesmerizing.

Logan Lerman is a solid leading man. Charlie is a troubled and lonely outcast searching for acceptance, and Lerman provides a believable performance for this character. Erza Miller is hilarious as Patrick. Patrick is easily the most confident character in this film, but at times, Patrick is vulnerable, and Miller adapted to Patrick’s emotional side. Emma Watson showed signs of talent here. Watching a non-Hermione Granger performance from Watson feels weird, but Watson is convincing as Sam.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is a sincere film about high school life. Wallflower highlights the ups and downs of the teenage years, while providing emotional stories of self-discovery. It’s a heartfelt drama, and the young cast delivers a nice set of strong performances (especially Miller and Lerman). Plus, Wallflower is more than capable of providing some nostalgia, as you reminisce about the good old days in high school.

Rating: 8/10

Ming
11-03-2012, 10:52 PM
It's about time I post a review in this thread. I watch films often enough, and I enjoy most of them. Well, mainly because if I hear a film's shit from most people, I'll not watch it but still. I like films, and I like criticising them if they're shit. Call me cynical, but to quote the great Karl Pilkington; "a good moan keeps you alive" or something along those lines. And that's right, I just called Karl Pilkington great, sue me. Oh yeah, there'll be spoilers, probably. Now then, time for my first review:

Jarhead

I won't comment on plots in my reviews, because you can just look that shit up. Ignore that you can just look up actual critic's reviews though because... well, you're here now and you've read this much. So, onwards. Now then.

Jarhead isn't a bad film, despite my friends insisting it is, it isn't. Now, the question is, just how good it is and the answer is quite good. Not great, but good. And worth watching. My one big criticism of this film, and it's not really a criticism, just an observation. Is that I couldn't help but feel this was a modern-day Full Metal Jacket. Maybe it's because of the short time span between my viewing of the films and that they both stand out for being war films not based so much on combat. But, I'm confident enough to say that others that have seen both films will agree with me to an extent, at least. The two films are similar. Now, saying that, Jarhead isn't as good as Full Metal Jacket. Full Metal Jacket is the second best war film I've seen, while Jarhead isn't involved in my top three. I admire Jarhead's alternate approach to the average war film, it's about the lack of action in war whereas most war films tend to be opposite this. It's a risky move, making a film like this, at least I think. Most people that watch war films would expect some action. Jarhead's amount of action is minimal. For me, this alternate approach came off successfully. Jamie Foxx and Jake Gyllenhaal's performances were good. Jamie Foxx's character's attitude showed as did the impatience and jar-headedness of Jake Gyllenhaal's (people who've watched Jarhead will understand just what I mean by "jar-headedness"... I think), actually most of the cast were good. That squishy-faced retard had me believing he had problems and Fergus had me believing he was a bit of a shitbag. By shitbag, I mean scaredy-pants. You'll have to pardon my non-existent use of the actor's names as I do not know them, and care not enough to look them up right now. Anyway; Jarhead is a good film that has an interesting take on wartime and just how it affects those that take part. Even if they don't actually do anything of significance. The direction/editing was fine, the acting was solid and the story, while it may irk the average action/war film-viewer, is consistent, unique and a little bit thought-provoking. So here's a rating;

6/10

So there you go, that was thrilling, wasn't it? Actually don't answer that. I know it was. :shrug: I'll probably type up another soon.

The Shape
11-11-2012, 05:14 PM
The Paperboy (2012)

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In the 1960’s, Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey) and Yardley Acheman (David Oyelowo) travel to Moat County, Florida. Ward is an investigative reporter and Yardley is his trusted colleague. Together, both men try to solve the case of Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack), a death row inmate accused of murdering a prestigious local sheriff.

Ward’s younger brother, Jack (Zac Efron) is a paperboy. Jack tags along for the investigation, and Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman) lends a helping hand. After sharing a strange and trusted pen pal relationship, Charlotte developed an obsession for Hillary, but Charlotte’s presence could ruin the investaigtion. Meanwhile, Jack seeks advice from his maid and best friend, Anita (Macy Gray), as he struggles to control feelings of anger for his dad’s new girlfriend, and constant urges for Charlotte.

I have mixed feelings for director Lee Daniels’ work. I enjoyed Precious. It’s an emotional drama, and Daniels’ dark and gritty style provided the perfect touch. But Shadowboxer was an enormous clusterfuck (story wise and directing style). Unfortunately, you won’t see Precious Lee Daniels here. Instead, you’ll see Shadowboxer Lee Daniels. Daniels is unfocused, and his work behind the camera doesn’t help this film at all.

Cusack and Kidman deliver the best performances. Cusack is spot on, as the deranged scumbag, and Kidman really nails the trashy side of Charlotte’s character. But towards the end, Kidman showcases some believable vulnerability. McConaughey is solid as Ward, and Zac Efron is OKAY as Jack. I’ll give Efron credit for a strong effort, but as far as the quality of his performance goes, he couldn’t measure up to his fellow cast members. Plus, Efron’s efforts are overshadowed by a series of random and unnecessary shots of Jack in his underwear, and Efron’s most memorable scene involves Kidman peeing on Jack in an attempt to cure jellyfish wounds.

The Paperboy showed signs of promise at first, but the overload of sub-plots created too much confusion. Is this supposed to be a murder mystery? A love story? A film about racism? The story quickly devolves into a jumbled mess. Here’s a quick rundown of The Paperboy’s messy story:


-Ward and Yardley are trying to solve a murder mystery

-Jack is in love with Charlotte. Although, Charlotte’s a grown woman with serious issues, and Jack is a teenager, so the relationship can’t work for obvious reasons. But Jack continues to pursue the love of his life anyway.

-Ward has been living a secret lifestyle as a homosexual, and Jack tries to comprehend this shocking revelation.

-During a fight, Jack calls Yardley a “nigger,” and Jack’s racist outburst puts a strain on his relationship with Anita.

-Charlotte wants a sexual relationship with Hillary, but she changes her mind, when Hillary shows his aggressive/psychotic side. Charlotte tries to leave Hillary, but Hillary murders her.

-Jack can’t get over Charlotte, and with Ward’s help, they try to rescue Charlotte. Eventually, the brothers discover Charlotte’s murder. Jack is devastated, and when he tries to protect his brother, Ward is murdered by Hillary.

-Oh, and they never reveal the culprit, who killed the local sheriff.

Trying to understand the true nature of this film almost gave me a headache, and The Paperboy’s erratic story is beyond irritating.

The cast deserves praise, and this film features some genuinely disturbing moments (the brutal aftermath of a rape, murder, etc.), but I can’t give The Paperboy a positive score. The Paperboy was too melodramatic for my taste, and the convoluted screenplay causes too many annoying shifts between the excessive storylines.


Rating: 3/10

The Shape
11-13-2012, 11:20 PM
Fun Size (2012)

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On Halloween night, Wren (Victoria Justice) and her friend, April (Jane Levy) are invited to a costume party. The party is hosted by Aaron Riley (Thomas McDonell). Aaron is the most popular guy at school, he’s targeting Wren for his next girlfriend, and April sees an easy opportunity to cement her legacy as a popular high school queen. But before Wren and April join Aaron’s party, Wren must take her younger brother, Albert (Jackson Nicoll) trick-or-treating. Albert is a whacky problem child, and he ditches Wren and April during a trip through a haunted house.

Wren struggles to find Albert before her mother, Joy (Chelsea Handler) returns home. April is more concerned with her social status at school, but she reluctantly joins Wren on her search mission, and with the help of two nerds/outcasts named Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) and Peng (Osric Chau), Wren tries to find Albert and avoid a long-term punishment.

Director Josh Schwartz’s style is simplistic, but his directing doesn’t hurt this film at all, so I don’t have any complaints.

The cast if full of stereotypes. Wren is the typical good girl, who’s conflicted between doing the right thing, and becoming the most popular girl in school. April is the narcissistic airhead. Roosevelt and Peng are the shy nerds, who try to lend a helping hand. And of course, they just had to throw in the VERY predictable confrontation with two high school jocks/bullies, where a shot from a musket destroys a piece of fried chicken, as Roosevelt and Peng stand up for themselves and find their courage.

In the grand scheme of things, Albert is the only unique character. He’s a bizarre and out of control problem child, and Nicoll provides a few good laughs. Plus, you can always count on Chelsea Handler. She’s a perfect fit for Joy, and Handler delivers an entertaining performance, as the widowed mother, who’s stuck in a mid-life crisis phase.

Johnny Knoxville’s character is different, but he’s beyond annoying. Jürgen (Knoxville) is supposed to be the main antagonist. Basically, he’s a douchebag loser, who dresses up as Dog The Bounty Hunter for Halloween, but Knoxville couldn’t pull any laughs out of me.

The opening scene sets the tone for this film. Wren is taking a shower, and Albert sneaks into the bathroom to take a dump. “Oh, it’s going to be one of those comedies.” It’s the first thought that went through my head, and Fun Size’s wackiness doesn’t end here. This style of humor is juvenile, some of the gags are kind of corny (i.e. a burning bag of dogshit mixed with firecrackers), and Fun Size sends too many mixed messages. It’s a PG-13 film, but the story constantly strays into PG territory. They threw in the word “bitch” one time, and there’s a scene, where April forces Peng to grab one of her breasts after a dare. Also, April and Peng wake up together on the same couch after Aaron’s party, implying they had sex the night before. The validation for the PG-13 side of this film felt SO forced. Were they trying to maintain the atmosphere of a PG kiddy film? Or were they trying to create an edgy PG-13 teen comedy?

You can see the tender, feel-good ending coming from a mile away, and the story is formulaic. But despite all my complaints, I didn’t hate this film. Fun Size has its moments, and I laughed a few times. Oh, and don’t expect any spooky or frightening scares. Fun Size isn’t a horror film. Halloween is just a backdrop for the story, that’s it.

Rating: 5/10

The Shape
11-18-2012, 07:52 PM
End Of Watch (2012)

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Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena) are two police officers working for the Los Angeles Police Department. Patrolling the streets of South Central LA is a risky job, but Brian tries to lighten the mood by filming daily activities for a project. Brian and Mike are trusted partners and best friends, and both men are looking forward to enjoying the new experiences in their lives. Mike and his wife, Gabby (Natalie Martinez) are expecting their first child, and Brian prepares to marry his new girlfriend, Janet (Anna Kendrick). But Brian and Mike run into some trouble, when they cross paths with a deadly Mexican drug cartel.

Director David Ayer’s rough documentary style provides strong feelings of realism for this film. Ayer’s style is natural, intense, and Endo Of Watch features some exciting action sequences.

Jake Gyllenhal and Micahel Pena share some excellent chemistry throughout this film, and both men delivered very good performances. Natalie Martinez is believable as the supportive wife, and Anna Kendrick provides an enjoyable performance. And for what it’s worth, seeing America Ferrera portray a hard ass, no-nonsense cop felt kind of weird (sorry, can’t stop thinking about Ugly Betty). Plus, David Harbour is hilarious as the disgruntled veteran.

End Of Watch is an exciting and brutal action drama. The violence is pretty graphic and bloody, and End Of Watch packs a powerful punch with a suspenseful and pulse-pounding finale. It’s definitely one of the better mainstream cop dramas I’ve seen over the years. A strong cast combined with David Ayer’s directing and writing help End Of Watch standout, and the shocking surprise at the end was a nice touch, because the “tragic deaths” stuff would’ve been too melodramatic and corny.

Rating: 9/10

Sinister (2012)

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Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) is a struggling and desperate true-crime novelist. He’s searching for some much needed inspiration, so he moves his family to a small and quiet town. The new house has a disturbing history: the previous tenants were brutally murdered by an unknown suspect. Ellison ignores a warning from the local sheriff, and his wife, Tracey (Juliet Rylance) isn’t aware of the crucial details surrounding the murders.

During a routine trip to the attic, Ellison finds a box with a film projector and various reels of Super 8 footage. Each reel contains footage of brutal and horrifying murders. The murders are carefully planed out, and Ellison is clearly terrified after watching each reel. Ellison has found the big break he was looking for, and with the help of Deputy So-And-So (James Ransone), Ellison digs deeper into the series of suspiciously related murders.

Ellison continues his research, but a series of bizarre incidents disrupt the early drafts for his new book. After a few strange nights of the film projector playing by itself, showing the one murder that happened in the new home, Ellison seeks the help of Professor Jonas (Vincent D’Onofrio). When it comes to demons and the occult, Jonas is an expert, and he explains the history of the reoccurring figure in the Super 8 reels. Bughuul (or Mr. Boogie) is an evil pagan deity, who can possess children, and force them to murder their families. And Bughuul uses films (or photos) as a gateway to the real world.

Ellisson’s son, Trevor (Michael Hall D’Addario) suffers from a severe case of night terrors, and his daughter, Ashley (Clare Foley) has a bad habit of painting on the walls. Ashley and Trevor show signs of odd behavoir after Bughuul’s first appereance, which leads Ellison to one disturbing question: Are his children Buguul’s next victims?

Scott Derrickson is the same man, who directed The Day The Earth Stood Still remake, but I’m a fan of his work on horror films. Derrickson is the only man, who directed a respectable straight-to-video Hellraiser film (Inferno), and his work for The Last Exorcism Of Emily Rose is something to admire. Sinister is loaded with some great tension, and Derrickson provides some good jump scares every now and then.

With the exception of the bloody finale, Derrickson takes a restrained approach to the gory stuff here. The restrained approach creates more terror and shock, because instead of seeing endless piles of blood and guts, Derrickson gives the audience the idea of gruesomeness, and he pulls the plug at the right moment. For example, Ellison watches a murder that involves a lawnmower. The killer quietly pushes the lawnmower across the yard, and then BAM! He or she ploughs the lawnmower across a helpless victim’s face. But Derrickson just shows the initial contact, not the bloody aftermath. This approach leaves you with that “holy shit that must’ve been brutal!” feeling.

Ethan Hawke is a convincing leading man, and the supporting cast is decent enough. I was hoping for more scenes with Vincent D’ Onofrio. You’ll only see him in a few online chat sessions with Hawke, but D’ Onofrio showed some potential, as the knowledgeable professor, who’s willing to lend a helping hand.

I can’t ignore the horror clichés (you have to expect this from mainstream horror flicks), but Sinister kicks into a frightening and chilling high gear, as the story develops. Plus, the final twists deliver some great shocking surprises. Oh, and speaking of shocking surprises, try to ignore the poster for this film, because Sinister’s feature movie poster gives away a major spoiler.

Rating: 8/10

The Shape
11-20-2012, 07:11 PM
Silent Hill Revelation 3D (2012)

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Plagued by a series of violent nightmares, Sharon (Adelaide Clemens) struggles to escape the memories of Silent Hill, an alternate reality covered in darkness and ashes. In an attempt to protect their identities from the evil forces of Silent Hill, Sharon uses Heather as an alias, and her father, Christopher (Sean Bean) changes his name to Harry.

After her first day of school, Sharon barley survives attacks from Silent Hill creatures. Sharon receives an ominous warning from a private investigator, and when her father no-shows an important meeting at the mall, Sharon begins to panic. Sharon rushes home, and Vincent (Kit Harrington), a classmate from school, who shows an unusual amount of interest in Sharon, insists on playing the role of a bodyguard.

Once Sharon returns home, her father is gone, and a bloody message is written on the wall: “Come to Silent Hill.” Christopher was the victim of a kidnapping, and Sharon quickly takes possession of a mysterious amulet, that was hidden for protection by her father. With Vincent’s help, Sharon must return to Silent Hill with the amulet to save her father, and stop Alessa (Erin Pitt) and Claudia Wolf (Carrie-Anne Moss), two evil forces with different agendas and motivations.

Director Michael J. Bassett brings a dark and eerie style to Silent Hill: Revelation 3D. Bassett creates the essential desolate and haunting atmosphere, the gory violence is pretty gruesome and brutal, and Bassett provides some incredible 3D effects. The 3D pulled a few awe-inspired, but Revelation is very boring. I struggled to stay awake during this film, because you won‘t see any true jump scares here and Bassett fails to deliver any real tension or suspense.

Overall, the acting is mediocre. Sean Bean had the potential to deliver a high quality performance, but his character doesn’t receive enough screen time here. Adelaide Clemens is a decent leading lady. Carrie-Ann Moss is a dull antagonist, Kit Harrington’s inept performance doesn’t help the Vincent character, and Malcolm McDowell’s (Leonard Wolf) over the top and ridiculous cameo is painful to watch.

Apparently, Revelation is based on Silent Hill 3 the video game. Truth be told, I haven’t been much of a gamer over the years, and I’ve only played one Silent Hill game in the past. It was for the PSP (I can’t remember the title), and this game just bored the ever loving shit out of me. After two weeks of trying, I finally gave up, and traded it in for some store credit at Gamestop.

If I had the knowledge of the game, I might have had a better chance at understanding the story. But I never played the game, so when it comes to the story, I was completely lost throughout this film. Who’s supposed to be the primary antagonist? Claudia Wolf? Alessa? Or is it the big creepy guy with the pyramid shaped head?

Also, at the beginning, Sharon receives a warning from Alessa during a dream sequence: “Don’t come to Silent Hill, you can’t defeat me.” This is paraphrased, because I can’t remember Alessa’s exact warning word for word. Anyway, Sharon is warned by her father and Alessa to stay away from Silent Hill no matter what……and then Sharon goes to Silent Hill. This might sound like a nitpicky complaint, but after receiving three life-or-death warnings (the PI also warns Sharon about Silent Hill), Sharon’s determination to go to Silent Hill becomes another obvious and routine stupid character mistake in horror films.

I didn’t think it was possible. But as far as 2012 video game movies go, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D somehow manages to be worse than Resident Evil: Retribution. The blood craving and violence obsessed horror fan inside of me wants to give this film a positive score, but I can’t. Silent Hill: Revelation 3D is loaded with bloody violence, and I couldn’t understand the logic behind the final battle, but the fight between the pyramid head guy and Claudia Wolf was fun to watch. Still, I can’t ignore the shallow characters and rigid dialogue. Plus, I‘m really not familiar with the Silent Hill video game franchise, so for me, the story was hard to follow, and undecipherable most of the time, especially towards the end. Fans of the video game will probably love this, but when it comes to Silent Hill games, I’m an outsider, and I just saw another shitty mainstream film based on a video game.

Rating: 1/10

Ming
11-21-2012, 08:22 PM
Is there a better way for me to get over the very recent sacking of the legendary Roberto Di Matteo than writing a tediously long review on something completely irrelevant to football? I don't think there is too. Now then, it's time for my second ever film review in this thread, strap yourselves in, it's going to be even crazier than the last time I wrote one. Now, after reading some of the other reviews in this thread (I'm looking at you Mitch) I think in order to compete I'll need to make a drastic change to my rather plain-looking first review. You guessed correctly, a poster is required. Or an image of some sort.


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Boom. There you have it. You know, I was going to do a title too, but I like that the way it is. Now, enough of making things sexy, it's time to give this film my review. Oh, and there'll be spoilers but no description of the plot. I know right? I'm one lazy cunt. Now, it's actually time to give this film my big fat review.

Skyfall is fucking excellent. No wait, I don't think I put quite enough emphasis on that; Skyfall is fucking excellent. I've never been taken aback by a Bond film like I was when I watched this, this film was almost absolutely perfect. Now I say almost because the big twist (here's one of the spoilers I was talking about, no I won't be using spoiler tags) was, ironically, spoiled for me. That undoubtedly took something away from Skyfall as a spoiler would to any film. That spoiler being, even though I'm sure anyone who's watched this great film knows what I'm talking about, M's death. That's right, Javier Bardem or Silva, as his character's known, kills her. That moves me on to my next point, Javier Bardem rocks the shit out of things in this film. Seriously, a brilliant performance that stole the show. Silva & M's dysfunctional relationship being the reason he wanted her dead more so than Bond, which I'll assume is unusual in a Bond film (I've not seen too many). It also being the reason he offers Bond the chance to turn against her and the MI6. The chance being offered right after that eloquently delivered opening monologue that was also ever-so appropriate from Silva. Silva's actions after this summarises his character perfectly. From toying with Bond, to killing someone effortlessly, to discussing his use of a cyonide capsule showing just how scarred he was both physically and mentally from what M did to him. Or didn't do for him rather. Now I could talk all day & night about Javier Bardem's character, Silva, but I won't, I'll move on. This film makes plenty of cool references to past films, the vintage ones to be precise. That's right, I'm going to call them vintage. The Sean Connery, Roger Moore etc. etc. ones of course, not Pierce Brosnan onwards. What's great about this is that, Raimi did it seriously. It didn't come across as cheesy or camp or inappropriate or forced or out of place or anything. It fit perfectly. I don't think there's a better way to celebrate the fiftieth year anniversary of James Bond. As you'd expect from a Bond film, most of the cast was cool. Fiennes as Moneypenny was badass, experienced and bluntly honest. Dench was the same old M. Bitter, somewhat banterous and cynical. That guy (yeah, don't know the actor's name) as Q was sharp, youthful and witty. Bardem as Silva was articulate, damaged and very intelligent. Craig as Bond being what he's always been; careless, stylish, distracted and cold. Colder than Bond usually is which was another very interesting development in this film for me. The action in this film is both efficient and stylishly done, which, of course, is perfect. A great scene (not an action one just to let you know) off the top of my head was near the ending where M, Bond, and Bond's old housekeeper await Silva in Bond's childhood house, and Silva arrives in an attack helicopter of course. 'Twas beautiful, the landscape of the Scottish land (no, not a city or town, land), the image of a lonely building of the past about to be preyed upon by this flying black predator of the present. Some of the scenery in this film is magnificient. Time to summarise.

Raimi did a terrific job here. Funny enough, he also directed Jarhead, which was what I did my first review in this thread on. That's a coincidence by the way, I don't stalk the man or anything. The cast was fine, Craig and Bardem standing out of course, the editing and direction was pretty much perfect. Nice, sharp scripting and dialogoue. Skyfall is just excellently done, it's the best James Bond film I've ever viewed. Then again, I've only watched the Daniel Craig ones. Casino Royale being top class and Quantum Of Solace being meh. For me Skyfall is better than what was meant to be film of the year, The Dark Knight Rises. And I liked the Dark Knight Rises. Sorry if that offends anyone. Just my opinion. Just fact. Only joking. Shit. The word "fact" has got me thinking of Rafa Benitez which defeated the main fucking purpose of this review. Almost forgot, here's a rating.

Rating - 9/10

i'm a cm punk girl
11-22-2012, 07:14 PM
Horrible Bosses (2011)

It is a really funny film. Silly, but very funny. 'Ah, Toyota...' 'I don't make a lot...' The cocaine scene was hilarious, my mom and brother was cracking with laughter which does not happen very often.
Fortunately, Jennifer Aniston playes just a small role, so she could not spoil the film. If you want a good laugh, go for this one

Cena's Little Helper
11-24-2012, 08:06 PM
End Of Watch (2012)

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Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena) are two police officers working for the Los Angeles Police Department. Patrolling the streets of South Central LA is a risky job, but Brian tries to lighten the mood by filming daily activities for a project. Brian and Mike are trusted partners and best friends, and both men are looking forward to enjoying the new experiences in their lives. Mike and his wife, Gabby (Natalie Martinez) are expecting their first child, and Brian prepares to marry his new girlfriend, Janet (Anna Kendrick). But Brian and Mike run into some trouble, when they cross paths with a deadly Mexican drug cartel.

Director David Ayer’s rough documentary style provides strong feelings of realism for this film. Ayer’s style is natural, intense, and Endo Of Watch features some exciting action sequences.

Jake Gyllenhal and Micahel Pena share some excellent chemistry throughout this film, and both men delivered very good performances. Natalie Martinez is believable as the supportive wife, and Anna Kendrick provides an enjoyable performance. And for what it’s worth, seeing America Ferrera portray a hard ass, no-nonsense cop felt kind of weird (sorry, can’t stop thinking about Ugly Betty). Plus, David Harbour is hilarious as the disgruntled veteran.

End Of Watch is an exciting and brutal action drama. The violence is pretty graphic and bloody, and End Of Watch packs a powerful punch with a suspenseful and pulse-pounding finale. It’s definitely one of the better mainstream cop dramas I’ve seen over the years. A strong cast combined with David Ayer’s directing and writing help End Of Watch standout, and the shocking surprise at the end was a nice touch, because the “tragic deaths” stuff would’ve been too melodramatic and corny.

Rating: 9/10

Sinister (2012)

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Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) is a struggling and desperate true-crime novelist. He’s searching for some much needed inspiration, so he moves his family to a small and quiet town. The new house has a disturbing history: the previous tenants were brutally murdered by an unknown suspect. Ellison ignores a warning from the local sheriff, and his wife, Tracey (Juliet Rylance) isn’t aware of the crucial details surrounding the murders.

During a routine trip to the attic, Ellison finds a box with a film projector and various reels of Super 8 footage. Each reel contains footage of brutal and horrifying murders. The murders are carefully planed out, and Ellison is clearly terrified after watching each reel. Ellison has found the big break he was looking for, and with the help of Deputy So-And-So (James Ransone), Ellison digs deeper into the series of suspiciously related murders.

Ellison continues his research, but a series of bizarre incidents disrupt the early drafts for his new book. After a few strange nights of the film projector playing by itself, showing the one murder that happened in the new home, Ellison seeks the help of Professor Jonas (Vincent D’Onofrio). When it comes to demons and the occult, Jonas is an expert, and he explains the history of the reoccurring figure in the Super 8 reels. Bughuul (or Mr. Boogie) is an evil pagan deity, who can possess children, and force them to murder their families. And Bughuul uses films (or photos) as a gateway to the real world.

Ellisson’s son, Trevor (Michael Hall D’Addario) suffers from a severe case of night terrors, and his daughter, Ashley (Clare Foley) has a bad habit of painting on the walls. Ashley and Trevor show signs of odd behavoir after Bughuul’s first appereance, which leads Ellison to one disturbing question: Are his children Buguul’s next victims?

Scott Derrickson is the same man, who directed The Day The Earth Stood Still remake, but I’m a fan of his work on horror films. Derrickson is the only man, who directed a respectable straight-to-video Hellraiser film (Inferno), and his work for The Last Exorcism Of Emily Rose is something to admire. Sinister is loaded with some great tension, and Derrickson provides some good jump scares every now and then.

With the exception of the bloody finale, Derrickson takes a restrained approach to the gory stuff here. The restrained approach creates more terror and shock, because instead of seeing endless piles of blood and guts, Derrickson gives the audience the idea of gruesomeness, and he pulls the plug at the right moment. For example, Ellison watches a murder that involves a lawnmower. The killer quietly pushes the lawnmower across the yard, and then BAM! He or she ploughs the lawnmower across a helpless victim’s face. But Derrickson just shows the initial contact, not the bloody aftermath. This approach leaves you with that “holy shit that must’ve been brutal!” feeling.

Ethan Hawke is a convincing leading man, and the supporting cast is decent enough. I was hoping for more scenes with Vincent D’ Onofrio. You’ll only see him in a few online chat sessions with Hawke, but D’ Onofrio showed some potential, as the knowledgeable professor, who’s willing to lend a helping hand.

I can’t ignore the horror clichés (you have to expect this from mainstream horror flicks), but Sinister kicks into a frightening and chilling high gear, as the story develops. Plus, the final twists deliver some great shocking surprises. Oh, and speaking of shocking surprises, try to ignore the poster for this film, because Sinister’s feature movie poster gives away a major spoiler.

Rating: 8/10

Dude, I was about to post mini-reviews for these two movies as they're last two I've been able to see!

I wasn't as impressed with End Of Watch as you were. Structurally speaking, what was Ayer thinking by adding ghost shots to a film that was clearly meant to be found-footage? Furthermore, the Gyllenhaal/Kendrick sidestory was pointless and there were too many instances of ineptitude on the cops' behalf. That being said, I loved Pena's performance and all of the footage taken in the streets of South Central. I'd give it a 6/10.

I couldn't agree more with you about Sinister. This was an excellent horror film with a modest yet effective amount of violence and perfectly fleshed-out characters whose actions, given their motivations and desires, were completely understandable. It dragged on a bit towards the end, but this is just a minor gripe I have with the film. I give it a 9/10.

The Shape
11-25-2012, 02:07 PM
Dude, I was about to post mini-reviews for these two movies as they're last two I've been able to see!

I wasn't as impressed with End Of Watch as you were. Structurally speaking, what was Ayer thinking by adding ghost shots to a film that was clearly meant to be found-footage? Furthermore, the Gyllenhaal/Kendrick sidestory was pointless and there were too many instances of ineptitude on the cops' behalf. That being said, I loved Pena's performance and all of the footage taken in the streets of South Central. I'd give it a 6/10.

I couldn't agree more with you about Sinister. This was an excellent horror film with a modest yet effective amount of violence and perfectly fleshed-out characters whose actions, given their motivations and desires, were completely understandable. It dragged on a bit towards the end, but this is just a minor gripe I have with the film. I give it a 9/10.

What's this? A Tdigle sighting? I don't believe it!

I understand where you're coming from with the ghost shots, but I still loved Ayer's style. It felt like I was watching an uncensored and high octane episode of Cops, and the intensity really picks up at the end.

The Kendrick/Gyllenhaal relationship did kill momentum of the story at times, but you have to admit, the scene where Pena's wife gives Kendrick sex advice at the wedding party was hilarious.

As far as the ineptitude of the cops goes, I'll use the scene where David Harbour and his rookie partner get their asses handed to them by some random gang member as an example. I mean come on, you're going to throw a rookie, who's inexperienced and clearly frightened into a deadly situation?

But what really drove the rating up for me was the final moments. As I said before, the tragic deaths stuff would've been too corny, and I'm glad they decided to go with one sole survivor. The final funeral scene delivers a hard emotional gut punch and a surprise, because I seriously believed cops died in the bloody shootout at the end.

As far as Sinister goes, yeah, it was fucking incredible. I honestly didn't expect much from it, but Sinister blew me away. It's nice to see other mainstream horror films receive some much deserved praise this year. I lost all hope after the enormous shit fests known as The Devil Inside and Chernobyl Diaries, but Sinister was a nice surprise, and A Cabin In The Woods was a total mind-fuck from beginning to end. But more importantly, Paranormal Craptivity was trashed by the majority of critics this year. Hell, die hard fans of the series openly admitted Paranormal Activity 4 was the worst film in the entire franchise. Still waiting on The Collection this Friday, but the previews haven't done anything for me, and the first film was average at best.

i'm a cm punk girl
11-28-2012, 06:18 AM
it's kind of a funny story (2010)

This movie does a tremendous job of taking reality and comedy and mixing them together perfectly. It was easy to identify with the main characters in a very real way, but there was enough laughter that it wasn't emotionally exhausting.

The Shape
11-29-2012, 10:57 PM
Hick (2012)

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While hitchhiking to Las Vegas, a runaway teenager runs into some serious trouble. Trying to escape Nick (Anson Mount), her alcoholic father and her inept mother, Luli (Chole Grace Moretz) forms a partnership with an unstable grifter named Glenda (Blake Lively).

Armed with a handgun (which happens to be a birthday present) and looking for adventure, Luli begins to enjoy her new life….until she runs into Lloyd (Ray McKinnon) and Eddie (Eddie Redmayne). Luli cherishes the student/mentor relationship with Glenda, but Llyod wants some time alone with Glenda, and Luli becomes a victim of Eddie’s violent and erratic behavior.

With the exception of some beautiful countryside shots, Director Derick Martini’s style is pretty dull.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, for some strange reason, Blake Lively becomes a better actress, when she portrays a trashy woman. Glenda is an unstable coke-head, who befriends a runaway teenage girl, and Lively provides one of the better performances in this film. Moretz is solid in the leading role, but her character sends out too many mixed and uncomfortable signals (more on that later). Eddie Redmayne is a convincing lowlife. McKinnon, Alec Baldwin, Anson Mount, and Juliette Lewis (she plays Moretz’s mother) aren’t worth mentioning, because they don’t receive a significant amount of screen time.

Acting isn’t the problem here. The cast is strong, but the story is an undecipherable mess. Why is Luli running away? Is she seeking revenge against her neglectful parents? Is she trying to grow up too fast? Is she looking for a relationship with an older man? Or is Luli trying to become a professional grifter? Luli’s motivations are unclear throughout this film, and the story is just one big confusing mess.

I’m not sure of her actual age, but in real life, Chole Grace Moretz is a young teenage girl. In this movie, Moretz’s character wears skimpy and revealing clothing, and she constantly flirts with older men. Martini tries to turn Moretz into a piece of eye candy, but she’s too young to portray this sort of character, and Luli’s flirty mannerisms cause some genuine awkward moments.

Hick tries to be a cautionary tale about kids running away from home. And you know what, Hick showed some early signs of potential. The cast provides a nice set of good performances, but the story quickly devolves into a mess, and I can’t ignore the creepy pedophilic undertones. Hick is based on a novel, but after watching the movie, I will avoid the book at all costs.

Rating: 0/10

The Shape
11-30-2012, 07:19 PM
Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World (2012)

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A deadly asteroid named Matilda will destroy Earth in three weeks, and Dodge’s (Steve Carell) wife, Linda (Nancy Carell) suddenly abandons him without giving an explanation. Dodge tries to find some peace at a friend’s party, but after a few failed and forced attempts for a one-night stand, Dodge decides to spend his final days on Earth alone.

One night, Dodge tries to commit suicide by drinking cough syrup and window cleaner, but Dodge is still alive the next morning, and he becomes the owner of a stranger’s dog. Disappointed and looking for an escape, Dodge teams up with his neighbor, Penny (Keria Knightley). Dodge agrees to help Penny fly to England, so she can see her family one last time, and Penny will help Dodge find Olivia (an ex-girlfriend). Will Penny and Dodge find closure before Matilda destroys Earth?

Steve Carell delivers another enjoyable performance as the quirky and up-tight nerd, and Keria Knightley is solid as the free spirit, who will do anything to see her parents one last time. Martin Sheen has a brief appearance towards the end. He plays Dodge’s father, but as far as Sheen’s performance goes, there’s nothing worth mentioning, because his screen time is regulated to cameo status.

Lorene Scafaria wrote the screenplay, and she makes her directorial debut here. Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World starts out as a whacky comedy about two people, who are looking for closure before Earth is destroyed by an asteroid. But everything slowly evolves into an emotional love story between Penny and Dodge.

A lot of critics and movie fans complained about the tonal shifts. I didn’t have a problem with the tonal shifts, because you have to remember, the world is coming to an end. Witnessing the sadness and dread from the main cast of characters didn’t irritate me, because earlier on, they enjoyed their final moments of life. But as time ran out, they realized it was all over.

All in all, the main cast of characters didn’t waste any time. They partied, had fun, and they the cherished their precious time with loved ones. But as Matilda drew closer, they finally realized the devastation of their inevitable doom. There was no escape, so the transition from a lighthearted comedy to an emotional finale makes perfect sense.

Also, the “disappointing ending” caused a lot of complaints.


Dodge puts Penny on a plane with his father, so she can see her family one last time. But Dodge puts Penny on the plane, while she’s asleep, so Penny won’t have a chance to refuse the offer. At this pont of the story, Penny and Dodge have already fallen in love after decdeing to finally let go of their pasts. Anyway, Dodge returns to his apartment complex to die alone, but guess, who shows up? Penny! It was kind of predictable, but Penny shows up, because she deicdes to spend her final minutes on Earth with Dodge.

So they’re laying in bed together, and Matilda finally hits Earth. You can hear loud explosions in the background, and Penny starts to cry, as she begs Dodge to keep her awake (apparently, Penny has narcolepsy). Penny continues to cry, Evan keeps talking, the world is starting to crumble…… and then the screen fades to white to end the movie.

This might sound like a disappointing ending, but I just have one question for all the people, who complained: what else were you expecting? Fiery Michael Bay style explosions? Or did you want to see an ending, where Dodge and Penny kiss each other one last time, as melting corpses with a dramatic score in the background, and more explosions? Dodge and Penny had a chance to say their good-byes to each other, and then it’s over. I didn’t need to see a series of fiery explosions, and Penny screaming in the ruins of Earth. No, Scafaria pulls the plug at the right moment, providing a gentle and heartbreaking conclusion.

Carell and Knightley share some excellent chemistry, as two very likeable main characters, and I enjoyed most of the humor in this film. It’s not perfect, but Seeking A friend For The End Of The World is one of the better apocalyptic films I’ve seen this year.

Rating: 8/10

TLC
12-01-2012, 08:53 AM
Premium Rush

Premium rush is an adrenaline filled chase movie about bike messengers who cause havoc in NYC with their reckless cycling. The film centers around Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character, Wilee. A young bike messenger who enjoys the excitement of cycling around the city so much, that he has no brake on his bike and his only gear is go. Wilee accidentally crosses path with Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon) when picking up an envelope. After acquiring the envelope, it leads Wilee into a series of events where he's not only running from NYPD officer Bobby Monday, but seemingly the entire police force; the only way out, seems to be by delivering the envelope.

The film is directed David Koepp, who is usually known for his writing, delivers a highly entertaining film which offers some sweet chsee scenes and genuine thrills. Though nothing is too original, other than maybe Wilee's sixth sense for danger, it doesn't need to as the film does exactly what it was designed to do; entertain. The script, (also written by Koepp) is nothing to write home about but is adequate and offers some very funny moments, especially with the bike cop chasing Wilee too.

The two main characters, Levitt and Shannon give some fantastic performance, especially Michael Shannon. Levitt played the young, cocky kid really well and adds another great performance to his increasing resume. Michael Shannon is the star in this film though. His performance as the crazy Bobby Monday is really quite something, as someone who doesn't exactly look threatening, he becomes especially terrifying throughout the movie. The rest of the cast were pretty good and nobody gave bad performances, though nobody was really given enough screen time other than Dania Ramirez who plays Wilee's girlfriend.

Premium Rush offers some high energy and great imagination. The film doesn't give the characters much depth but thankfully the film moves fast enough that it didn't need to. If you're looking for something meaningful or something emotional, this isn't the film for you, but if you want to watch high octane chases through some very unusual environments and lots of action, then this is a must watch.

TLC's rating: ****

The Shape
12-01-2012, 11:38 PM
The Man With The Iron Fists (2012)

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Planning to sabotage a shipment of gold, Silver Lion (Byron Mann) kills Gold Lion, the Lion Clan leader. Angry and driven by revenge, Zen-Yi (Rick Yune), the son of Gold Lion, plans to track down and kill Silver Lion.

Caught in the middle of a deadly conflict, The Blacksmith (RZA) is forced to forge weapons for the Lion Clan. The new leader, Silver Lion and his trusted partner, Bronze Lion (Cung Le) have taken control of the Lion Clan, but they need the Blacksmith’s weapons to complete their conquest. The Blacksmith is just trying to make enough money to provide a better life for his girlfriend/prostitute, Lady Silk (Jamie Chung), but his decision to do the right thing will have dire consequences.

After defying strict orders from Silver Lion, Brass Body (Batista, yes THAT Batista) chops off both of The Blacksmith’s arms with a white-hot sword. Decapitated and demoralized, The Blacksmith loses all hope, until he runs into a British soldier. Jack Knife (Russell Crowe) provides aid and shelter for The Blacksmith, and when he finally regains his courage, The Blacksmith forges a new weapon for himself: two cast iron arms. With the help of Jack Knife, Zen-Yi, and Lady Blossom (Lucy Liu) The Blacksmith will launch a desperate attack to stop Silver Lion, Bronze Lion, and Brass Body from destroying his village.

Oh boy, where do I start with RZA’s directing. His style is very convoluted and the choppy editing doesn’t help anything. I’ll give him credit for a few entertaining fight scenes, but overall, I couldn’t get into the action side of The Man With Iron Fists. The overload of clustrefuck style fight scenes might give you a seizure, and the final battle between Brass Body and The Blacksmith is laughably bad. Plus, RZA’s narrating is beyond annoying.

As I expected, Lucy Liu EASILY deleivers the best performance as Lady Blossom. Liu is fantastic as the sultry and lethal madam, and Russell Crowe is enjoyable as Jack Knife. RZA isn’t convicing as the leading man. I just couldn’t buy into him, and RZA’s mediocre perfromance doesn’t help his character. Jamie Chung is just eye candy, and Batista’s dull performance as Brass Body is painful to watch. He showed more energy and enthusiasm during his 2009-2010 heel run. Rick Yune, Byron Mann, and Cung Le all fall under the category of “unstoppable and bad-ass killing machines,” and their performances are very one-dimensional.

Usually, I’m a sucker for brutal and bloody violence, and The Man With Iron Fists is loaded with gory fight scenes. The kills from Jack Knife’s signature knife/gun weapon are sickening, but I can’t give this film a positive score. The CGI looks cheap and tacky, the editing is atrocious, and the story is a mess.

Obviously, RZA is a fan of the Kung-Fu genre. RZA was trying to pay homage to the old school Kung Fu films, but still, The Man With The Iron Fists is an abomination. I didn’t think it was possible, but the red band trailers for The Man With The Iron Fist were more entertaining than the actual movie. But I won’t go with a zero, because Lucy Liu was spot on as Lady Blossom and Russell Crowe delivered an entertaining performance as Jack Knife.

Rating: 2/10

The Shape
12-02-2012, 03:59 PM
The Odd Life Of Timothy Green (2012)

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Cindy (Jennifer Garner) and Jim (Joel Edgerton) Green are fighting to keep their dreams of having a child alive. Distraught and unable to conceive as a couple, Jim comes up with a unique idea to give his wife some hope. Cindy and Jim write out lists of acheivments and attributes for their dream child, Jim places the lists in a box, and Jim buries the box in the backyard garden.

One night, during a sudden and unexpected rainstorn, a child named Timothy (CJ Adams) pops up out of the garden, and he sneaks into the Green’s house. Bewildered and delighted, Cindy and Jim embrace and accpet Timothy as their own child. But The Green’s delightful surprise has a bizarre physical condition. Cindy discovers leaves growing on Timothy ‘s legs, and soon enough, The Greens will have to introduce Timothy into the real world. Can Timothy gain the acceptance and trust from Tom and Cindy’s familes, and fit in as a regualr kid at school?

Director Peter Hedges provides some beautiful daytime shots during autumn season, but his style is simplistic.

CJ Adams is likeable as Timothy Green. Odeya Rush portrays Joni, Timothy’s only friend at school. Rush sheds a few tears towards the end, and she showed signs of real talent every now and then. Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton are believable sympathetic characters, Ron Livingston is spot on as Jim’s douchebag boss, and David Morse provides a solid performance, as the tough and old school father (Morse portrays Jim’s dad).

Peter Hedges also wrote the screenplay for this film, and as a writer, Hedges tries to provide a genuinely moving and emotional story. But I had trouble buying into the fantasy side of this film. It’s easy to feel sympathy for Jim and Cindy. They’re caring people, who want the experience of being parents, but Timothy’s origins raised too many mind-boggling questions.

Once Timothy’s leaves start to fall off and turn brown, his fate becomes painfully obvious. When Timothy starts to lose his leaves, the story turns into a predictable and boring snooze fest. “Yep. Just waiting for him to die now.” I couldn’t escape this feeling, and for me, The Odd Life Of Timothy Green’s home stretch was a chore to sit through.

The flimsy premise was too shaky for my taste, but The Odd Life Of Timothy Green features a strong cast and a nice set of likeable characters. Timothy’s life story is far fetched, but The Odd Life Of Timothy Green has a good heart. And more importantly, this film never reaches a too sappy point, because there’s a good balance of humor and drama.

Rating: 5/10

The Shape
12-03-2012, 12:31 PM
The Moth Diaries (2012)

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Struggling to move on after her father’s gruesome suicide, Rebecca (Sarah Bolger) joins a prestigious private school for girls. With the support of her mother and new friends at school, Rebecca begins to enjoy her life again…until Ernessa (Lily Cole) comes into the picture. Ernessa quickly emerges as the popular new girl in school. She throws parties, shares her drugs, and Ernessa slowly manipulates Rebecca’s friends one by one.

Angry and frustrated, Rebecca decides to spy on Ernessa. After a few brutal murders and a series of bizarre events, Rebecca comes to one conclusion: Ernessa is a vampire. Rebecca confides in Mr. Davies (Scott Speedman), one of her teachers, but Ernessa continues to stalk Rebecca’s close friends. Can Rebecca convince the right people to believe in her vampire conspiracy before it’s too late?

So I’m scrolling through my TV guide menu on Saturday afternoon, and I come across The Moth Diaries…..on the Chiller Channel. My hopes for this film immediately went down the drain. The Chiller Channel is dedicated to all things horror 24/7. It’s my favorite channel, but the play a lot of shitty horror films. The Chiller Channel is a graveyard for horrible independent horror films (mostly American), and you’ll usually see two types of horror films on Chiller: awfully good horror movies, that are fun to laugh at and mock, or unbearable abominations. They might throw you a bone every now and then, and you’ll see some old school classics (Evil Dead, Night Of The Living Dead, Chucky, etc.). Anyway, The Moth Diaries falls under the unbearable abominations category, unfortunately.

Overall, the acting is decent at best. Bolger is okay in the leading role, and Lily Cole is believable, as the mysterious and sometimes creepy new girl with a secret. But the rest cast doesn’t bring anything special to the table, and Scott Speedman’s performance as Mr. Davies is forgettable.

Director Mary Harron’s style is pretty dull, and Harron fails to provide any jump scares, tension, or real suspense.

The Moth Diaries is loaded with idiotic characters. As the story progresses, it’s painfully obvious Ernessa is a vampire. I mean, for fuck’s sake, she’s walking through windows, drinking blood from another girl’s neck, and she can fly. But Rebecca’s friends are very stupid and naïve. Ernessa tries to poison them with cocaine or weed (I’m not sure which one), and Rebecca is the ONLY one, who suspects something fishy, when Ernessa walks through a fucking window, while sleepwalking on a ledge outside of the school. Oh, and one of Rebecca’s friend’s conveniently dies a slow and painful death, when she teams up with Ernessa.

The evidence continues to pile up (including the dead body of a P.E. teacher, and of course, Ernessa is the only one, who had a real motive to kill her), but for some asinine reason, NOBODY believes Ernessa could be a vampire. “you’re just jealous!” or “you need to see a shrink!.” This is what happens, when Rebecca accuses Ernessa of anything, and the stupidity from the supporting cast of characters in this film is unbelievable.

Also, the tonal shifts create too much confusion. Is the supposed to be a love story or a horror movie? Both? I couldn’t come up with a clear answer for these questions, because The Moth Diaries never maintains a consistent tone. Plus, Rebecca’s narrating almost gave me a headache.

I knew it. As soon as I saw The Moth Diaries pop up under the Chiller Channel, I knew this film would be a giant piece of shit. The Moth Diaries is a boring and dull vampire film with a messy story. Although, I won’t go with a zero rating, because the bloody gross-out scenes are genuinely sickening ( the aftermath of a suicide, and Rebecca’s bloody shower dream sequence with Ernessa). But yeah, it’s still a terrible, terrible film.

Rating: 1/10

i'm a cm punk girl
12-03-2012, 05:45 PM
our idiot brother (2011)

Over-all, if you have a few extra bucks and are in the mood to waste 90 minutes, then this may be the movie for you. I may give it a 2nd watch but no more than that and I am glad I rented instead of blind buying, which I almost did, mainly due to the cast.

The Shape
12-07-2012, 01:39 PM
V/H/S (2012)

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Well at first I tried to include each storyline in one long explanation, but the end result was a massive clusterfuck, so I started over. V/H/S features five separate storylines, and “Tape 56” is the main story arc.

Tape 56

A group of thieves are given a simple task by an unknown client: break into an old man’s house, and steal one VHS tape. When the thieves arrive, a TV is set up with a VCR and a VHS tape, and the old man is dead. The leader of the thieves dismisses the old man’s death as a minor problem, and he orders his crew to find the one tape. One member of the team begins viewing the tape in the VCR. Meanwhile, the leader and his crew go to the basement. Here, they find more tapes, but the frustrated leader still can‘t find Tape 56.

But when the thieves return to the television, the old man’s body is gone, and the original viewer for the first tape has disappeared. The leader and a few of his men try to find the missing team member, while one stays behind to watch the series of tapes. Each tape contains footage of shocking and bizarre murders, and one thing is clear, the thieves are not alone.

So as I said before, V/H/S is broken into five separate storylines. Instead of giving a long and jumbled explanation of each tape, I’m going to write the synopses, and give my thoughts after each one.

#1 Amateur Night

Shane (Mike Donlan), Patrick (Joe Sykes), and Clint (Drew Sawyer) are trying to pick up women. Shane and Patrick are the cocky alpha males, and Clint is the shy nerd. Shane and Patrick come up with the bright idea of making a sex tape, so they force Clint to wear glasses with a hidden camera. After a series of failed attempts, the guys finally pick up two women: Lily (Hannah Fierman) and Lisa (Jas Sams).

At the hotel room, Lisa passes out from too much alcohol, so Patrick and Shane focus on Lily. But Lily’s odd behavior starts to worry Clint. Determined to complete their conquest, Shane and Patrick move in on Lily, but Lily suddenly bites Patrick’s hand, and during intercourse, Lily kills Shane. Lily slowly transforms into a deadly demon or monster (it’s hard to tell). Patrick and Clint will have to fight their way out of the hotel room, and escape Lily’s deadly attacks.

My Thoughts: This storyline provides a lot of brutal gore and bloody kills. I enjoyed the terror and suspense after Lily’s transformation, but the stupid characters annoyed me. First of all, something is obviously wrong with Lily. She looks like an anorexic junkie, and her behavior is noticeably awkward. Lily constantly whispers “I like you” to Clint, and he senses something strange, but Clint never speaks up until it‘s too late. Shane and Patrick notice the odd behavior, but they ignore Lily’s mannerisms, because hormones triumph over brains here. Seriously, Lily isn’t normal. She’s an oddball, and the guys STILL had a chance to get rid of Lily after she bit Patrick’s hand. I understand the “WE WANT TO GET LAID!” stuff, but come on, you have to draw the line somewhere.

#2 Second Honeymoon

Sam (Joe Swanberg) and Stephanie (Sophie Takal) need a spark for their marriage, so they decide to go on a second honeymoon. A quiet and peaceful trip to a canyon range could jump start the marriage, but Sam and Stephanie receive an ominous warning from a fortune telling machine. One night, a stranger knocks on Sam and Stephanie’s door at the hotel. A strange woman asks for a favor, but Sam refuses. Later that night, a stranger sneaks into their hotel room, while Sam and Stephanie are sleeping. The stranger teases Stephanie with a switchblade, and he or she steals money from Sam’s wallet. Who is this stranger? And why do they want to harm Stephanie and Sam?

My thoughts: Boring. That is the one word I would use to describe this storyline. And it pains me to say this, because Ti West, one of my favorite directors from any genre, directed this storyline. There’s a nice surprise at the end, but everything before that almost put me to sleep.

#3 Wendy & The Killer In The Woods

Wendy (Norma C. Quinones) invites three friends for a visit to her hometown. Joey (Drew Moerlein), Spider (Jason Yachanin), and Samantha (Jeannine Yoder) join Wendy on a simple camp out trip to a local forest. Here, Wendy tells the story of an urban legend. A killer, who hid within forest brutally murdered a group of teens. The teens were Wendy’s friends, but Wendy escaped the slaughter. When Wendy explained the killer’s supernatural powers to other people, nobody believed her. One by one, Wendy’s friends begin to disappear, and fear leads the remaining survivors to one question: has the killer returned to finish what he started?

My thoughts: Ugh, I wanted to like this, but Wendy’s storyline slowly develops into this strange slasher version of The Blair Witch Project. Every time the killer shows up, the video camera suddenly malfunctions, and the killer appears through a series of glitches. Yeah, the malfunctioning/glitch trick is annoying, and to top it off, you can barely see the killer. Also, the twist is really fucking stupid.

Okay, so we’re nearing the end, and Wendy and Joey are the only remaining survivors. Joey is terrified, but Wendy explains her plan, as she records Joey’s final moments: Wendy planed to lure her friends into the forest, use them as bait, set up a series of traps to finally catch the killer, and Wendy could finally erase her reputation as the “crazy girl” in town.

Eh, so what if nobody believes you? You saw what happened, you actually escaped the killer’s wrath the first time around, and after all of that, you WILLINGLY return to the forest? Also, Wendy’s plan was beyond idiotic. You’re trying to catch the killer, and obviously you’re a scumbag, because you’re willing to risk your friend’s lives. I get that. But why did Wendy put herself in harm’s way? It doesn’t make any sense. You know what this guy can do, you know he’s unstoppable, so why would you throw yourself into the meat grinder? Oh, and of course, the killer brutally murders Wendy at the end. :rolleyes:

I wanted to like this stroyline, but Wendy’s trip home is loaded with predictable slasher clichés and stupid characters.

#4 Emily & James’ Late Night Video Chats

Emily (Helen Rogers) believes her apartment is haunted. Emily shares a series of late night web chat sessions with her boyfriend, James (Daniel Kaufman). He doesn‘t believe in Emily‘s haunting stories at first, but James changes his mind after Emily’s paranormal encounters with dead children, and the sudden growth of a nasty infection on Emily’s arm.

My Thoughts: Emily’s storyline feels like a cheap rip-off of Paranormal Activity, but I still enjoyed it. A few good jump scares, a frightening conclusion, and there’s a nice diabolical twist at the end.

#5 The Halloween Party

It’s 1998, and on Halloween night, four friends prepare for a stranger’s (bold) Halloween party. Chad (Chad Villella), Matt (Matt Bettinelli-Oplin), Tyler (Tyler Gillett), and Paul (Paul Natonek) are looking forward to the party. But when they finally arrive at the house, the friends can’t find anyone. After searching the seemingly deserted house, the friends accidentally stumble across an exorcism. Unable to fully understand the situation, the friends fight off the people helping with the exorcism, and they “rescue” a victimized girl. Interrupting the exorcism proves to be a deadly mistake, because the evil demon will stop at nothing to repossess his victim.

My Thoughts: Well I’ll just get the first set of stupid mistakes out of the way first.

1. Why would you go to a stranger’s Halloween party?

2. The house is empty at first, and you don’t see any signs of a party. Just leave.

3. At first, the friends thought the exorcism was a Halloween prank. Okay, that’s fine, but once you realize the exorcism is for real, GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE. You’re going to fight off a room full of creepy guys and a demon? Seriously?

With all that said, The Halloween Party storyline is still entertaining. It’s intense and suspenseful, and the ending will leave you speechless.

Overall Thoughts

I compare V/H/S to Applebee’s or T.G.I Fridays. You’ll start out with some delicious mozzarella sticks or buffalo wings, but the main course probably won’t live up to expectations. Your piece of grilled chicken or fish will be dry and bland, you might get a burnt hamburger, and a flat glass of beer to top it off. But a dessert could make up for all of that. You know, one of those hot brownies with chocolate fudge, and a scoop of ice cream.

Inconsistency is the problem here. The storylines for V/H/S are hit and miss. Amateur Night raised my hopes, and it was a solid opener for this film. But The Honeymoon just bored the shit of me, and Wendy’s storyline turns into a poor attempt at making a short slasher movie. Things picked up again, when Emily’s storyline rolled around, and The Halloween Party was the perfect conclusion.

V/H/S gives any horror fan everything they could possibly ask for. Lots of blood, gruesome kills, a few good jump scares, and nudity. Overall, the acting is solid, and Hannah Fierman easily gives the best performance as Lily. I appreciate the effort to put a spin on the found-footage genre. The anthology style of storytelling provides a refreshing experience, but the stinkers (Wendy and The Honeymoon) destroy the momentum for V/H/S.

Rating: 5/10

i'm a cm punk girl
12-07-2012, 04:33 PM
red riding hood (2011)

It's a decent movie, and I don't feel like I wasted my time/money, but I probably will never watch this again unless there's a version containing more gruesome deaths or a Seyfried deleted nude scene.

The Shape
12-07-2012, 07:01 PM
Decent? Come on, KKG you're being too generous. And this is coming from a HUGE Amanda Seyfried fan.

Seyfried and Gary Oldman (I still can't believe he took a part in that film) tried their best, but they couldn't save Red Riding Hood. It's a very boring and dull horror film with one of the most cliched stories I've ever seen. And I don't know about you, but the love triangle garbage drove me nuts.

The Shape
12-09-2012, 01:53 PM
ATM (2012)

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Before she leaves for another job, David (Brian Geraghty) takes one final shot at Emily (Alice Eve), his co-worker and long-time crush. David prepares to give Emily a ride home after an office party, but his friend, Corey (Josh Peck) complicates the situation. Corey is a moocher, and he needs a ride home. David is a good friend, so he allows Corey to join in on the ride with Emily. Along the way, Corey complains about being hungry. He needs money for an all-night pizza place, so David stops at an ATM. Corey has some “trouble” with his card, so David uses his own card to take money out of the ATM. Emily doesn’t want to stay in the car by herself, so she joins David and Corey inside in the ATM.

David has the money, he prepares to leave with Corey and Emily, but a creepy stranger wearing a hooded coat suddenly appears out of nowhere. Fearing the worst, David, Corey, and Emily stay inside the ATM for safety, and the stranger’s intentions quickly become clear, as he murders a man walking his dog……

The obscene amount of gaping plot holes are a major problem, and ATM features one too many unlikeable characters. David is a nice guy, but Corey is obviously taking advantage of him. Corey continues to shit on him, and David just takes it. And speaking of Corey, he’s the most annoying character in this film, easily. He’s a prime example of a shitty friend, who’ll mooch off of anybody, and he’s such a tool. Alice Eve is a gorgeous woman, but Emily isn’t too bright.

Stupidity is another problem. First of all, IT’S JUST ONE GUY WITHOUT A GUN. Double team him, and kick his ass. Why am I mentioning this? Because as the story progresses, a man wearing clothing similar to the killer’s hooded attire walks into the ATM. Out of fear, David and Corey jump him, and guess what? They beat the stranger to death. But for some asinine reason, David, Corey, and Emily stay inside the ATM after the beat down, because they’re afraid of the killer?

When then they arrive at the ATM, in an attempt to punish Corey for his childish behavior, David parks the car at least twenty feet from the ATM. This was a brainless choice, because the parking lot was completely empty, and you just killed your chances of having a safe path to the car. Oh, and of course, David, Corey, and Emily leave their cell phones inside the car.

And the killer is a dumbass. During the intro and the ridiculous finale, ATM tries to sell the killer as this devious genius, but I couldn’t buy into this persona. The killer spends the majority of the movie trying to break in through the back door of the ATM. This doesn’t work, and towards the end, before the survivors FINALLY figure out a way to call for help, the killer comes up with one bright idea: flood the ATM with a water hose! Wait, so you spent the vast majority of the film trying to break in through the back door, and all of the sudden, you realize flooding the ATM would’ve been the best option? The killer could’ve easily flooded the ATM in the beginning, but he wasted thirty to forty minutes trying to break in through the back door? Unbelievable.

I can ignore one or two plot holes, maybe three. Also, when I sit down to watch a movie, I try to stay in suspension of disbelief mode, but ATM pushes everything too far. During the horrible ending, the cops arrest the wrong person. They just pull up, assume the one guy standing in the parking lot is the killer (without knowing anything about the situation), and they arrest him without asking any questions or having any evidence to pin on him? The killer is clever, because he knew how to out-smart one camera? There’s only one camera at a 24/7 ATM??? Yeah, it’s late at night. I understand that. But the ATM is in the middle of a metropolitan city. It’s on a main street, and after four or five hours, the survivors only see ONE car (a security guard) on the road? Please.

ATM is shit. No scares, no suspense, no real tension, and bland directing. I honestly can’t understand how someone could pull the “guilty pleasure” card (I’ve seen this in other places), because ATM isn’t laughably bad…… it’s just bad. The acting is okay, but ATM is loaded with stupid and annoying characters, obvious plot holes, and this film features one of the worst endings I’ve ever seen. Avoid ATM at all costs, or you’ll be sorry.

Rating: 0/10

The Shape
12-09-2012, 10:39 PM
I forget I wrote this a while ago......

Dredd 3D (2012)

http://horrornews.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/DreddOneSheet.jpg




In the future, Judges police Mega-City One, a violent and unruly metropolis, containing eight-hundred million people. Having the power of judge, jury, and executioner, the Judges try to control the endless outbreaks of carnage. One day, in an attempt to bring down the vicious drug lord known as Ma-Ma (Lena Headey), Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) infiltrates a slum apartment building with the help of a rookie Judge. Judge Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) is a mutant, who possesses psychic powers, but her lack of experience as a Judge becomes a problem.

Dredd and Anderson try to secure one of Ma-Ma’s more important gang members. Kay (Wood Harris) is one of Ma-Ma’s trusted clansman. Dredd and Anderson prepare to leave with Kay, but they run into some unexpected trouble. Ma-Ma locks the Judges inside the apartment building, and she instantly orders a hit. Ma-Ma controls the distribution of Slo-Mo, an addictive drug that provides a powerful slow motion experience for the user, and Kay’s testimony could destroy her empire. Ma-Ma will do anything to kill Dredd and Anderson, so the two Judges will have to fight their way through the apartment building, and survive relentless attacks from Ma-Ma‘s henchmen and other residents.

I couldn’t stand Vantage Point, but Pete Travis’ directing for Dredd is outstanding. His style is raw and gritty, and Travis creates the perfect desolate atmosphere for this film. And the 3D effects are simply amazing. The effects from the Slo-Mo drug are breathtaking in 3D, and Dredd is loaded with impressive visuals.

Karl Urban’s serious and straightforward performance as Dredd is enjoyable. Plus, leaving the helmet on for the entire film was a nice touch, because the helmet adds more mystique to the Dredd character. Olivia Thirlbly and Wood Harris provide a pair of solid performances, but I have mixed feelings for Lena Headey’s Ma-Ma. Headey’s physical appearance (the scars, the scruffy hairdo, the tattoos, her dirty teeth) is more intimidating than her actual performance. I LOVE Headey, but she’s kind of dull as the primary antagonist.

Dredd is an action-packed thrill ride. Dredd is brutal, violent, gruesome, and the 3D effects are incredible. Dredd 3D is an exciting action/sci-fi film, and yes, it‘s better than Judge Dredd 1995.

Initially, Dredd received overwhelming amounts of praise. But when Dredd hit the US, the high rating on Rotten Tomatoes (I think it was 95%) took a huge hit, and Dredd 3D was a massive box office flop. Dredd is outstanding, and some people (mainly internet movie geeks like myself) can’t understand the disappointing box office numbers. Well, Dredd’s failure at the box office is easy to understand for a few reasons.

1. 3D. Attaching 3D to the title off this film wasn't a good idea, especially when you put so much emphasis on the 3D effects. A lot of moviegoers won't spend the extra cash, and you can't ignore the declining profits for 3D films.

2. Stallone’s Judge Dredd is an infamous turkey. The casual moviegoer isn’t going to search the internet for the truth: Dredd is an unrelated adaptation to Stallone’s Dredd. “A remake of that awful Sylvester Stallone movie? I’m not going to spend my money on that piece of trash.” After watching the trailer, this had to be the first thought in any causal moviegoer’s mind.

3. The marketing campaign was shit. Lionsgate pushed the trailers and TV spots, but why should everyone else care about Dredd? Flooding the internet with trailers, and pushing the TV spots sounds like a good idea, but everything just felt so vague. Was Lionsgate seriously expecting to coast off of a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and favorable reviews from the Toronto and San Diego Comic-Con International Film Festivals?

4. This ties in with part three, but Dredd doesn’t have mass appeal. A female antagonist isn’t enough, and most women aren’t going to watch a bloody and violent action film. Plus, Dredd 3D isn’t kid-friendly at all.

Rating: 8/10

The Shape
12-11-2012, 05:41 PM
The Tall Man (2012)

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**SPOILERS**

In a small and oppressed mining town, a mysterious figure known as The Tall Man abducts children. The children are disappearing, the police don’t have any leads to follow, and families continue to suffer the wrath of the elusive child abductor.

Julia (Jessica Biel) is the town nurse, and she lives alone with her son, David. Julia enjoys a quiet and normal life….. until David is taken by The Tall Man. Without any help or protection, Julia immediately pursues The Tall Man. The distraught single mother must save her son, and uncover the identity of The Tall Man, but an unexpected car crash changes everything.

If you’re expecting a horror film, then you need to stay away from The Tall Man. Don’t believe the trailers, because The Tall Man is a mystery/drama film.

After the first abduction, the story takes a bizarre turn. Julia tries to catch up to The Tall Man by herself, so she can save her son. During the pursuit, Julia is taken by The Tall Man. Along with her son David, Julia becomes a hostage, but on their way to The Tall Man’s hideout, Julia is able to cause a distraction, and The Tall Man loses control of his van. But when Julia recovers from the crash, The Tall Man and David are gone.

With the help of the police force, Julia is taken to the local diner for food and clean clothes. Here, the townspeople keep an unusual close eye on Julia. When Julia goes to the bathroom to change clothes, the townspeople try to make a citizen's arrest, but Julia quickly escapes the diner, and before the townspeople have a chance to catch up with her, Julia runs into the woods.

Why are the townspeople trying to capture Julia? She just lost her son to The Tall Man, so why are they trying to harm her? And here comes the first twist! The person, who kidnapped Julia’s son isn’t The Tall Man. The kidnapper is David’s biological mother. Oddly enough, David’s real mother wears clothing similar to The Tall Man’s known description. David’s biological mother is a poor woman, who lives alone, and Julia was the assigned mother, who provided a better life for David.

The first twist caught me off guard, but second twist is just mind-blowing: Julia is the mastermind/leader of a secret operation that takes children away from neglectful and abusive parents, who can’t afford a normal lifestyle for their children. The Tall Man is Julia’s husband, originally pronounced dead at the beginning of the film (Julia spread the lie to protect her husband's identity). Julia’s husband abducts underprivileged children, and he places them in homes, where foster parents promise to provide better lives for them. Plus, Julia’s husband provides the foster parents with new documents (new name, birth certificate, social security card, etc.).

Okay, so at this point, I’m really sucked into the story. Julia is in jail, because she’s the only known suspect the police can find. The babysitter, who helped take care of David was one of Julia’s trusted accomplices, but when the police stormed Julia’s house, she committed suicide by hanging herself. In an attempt to force Julia to reveal more details, David’s biological mother has a talk with Julia in prison. Julia takes the blame for The Tall Man’s crimes, and then she drops the bombshell on David’s mom: the children aren’t missing, they’re dead. Devastated, David’s mother leaves the prison with no hope, Julia becomes the most hated person in America, and she might receive the death penalty.

But another twist changes the direction of the story again. The children aren’t dead. It was a lie. Julia had to protect The Tall Man operation. She had to keep the cops and other law enforcement agencies off the trail. Someone had to take the fall, and Julia wanted to be that person, because she wanted to keep her dream alive. All of the children, including David (earlier in the film, Julia eventually took him away from his biological mother again) are safe with their new families. Jenny, a mute child and a friend of Julia’s is the most recent child to be taken away by The Tall Man. Throughout the film, Jenny begged Julia to let The Tall Man take her away, because she wanted to escape her mother and alcoholic boyfriend.

Jessica Biel is strong in the leading role, and The Tall Man features a solid supporting cast. Your enjoyment of this film is going to depend on your reaction to the series of plot twists. Personally, I don’t think there’s any middle ground. When it comes to the plot twists, you’re either going to love them or hate them, it’s that simple. I LOVED the constant twists and turns, and I’m glad they didn’t turn this into another predictable horror film. An ordinary horror story about some mysterious boogeyman kidnapping children would’ve been lame, but The Tall Man goes the extra mile. It’s a thought-provoking mystery/drama film, and The Tall Man delivers some fantastic shockers along the way.

Rating: 7/10

The Shape
12-14-2012, 07:30 PM
Jumanji (1995)

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In 1969, a young Alan Parrish finds a board game named Jumanji. After taking a beating from a group of bullies, and hiding in his father’s shoe factory, Alan takes the board game home. Alan plans to run away from home after an argument with his father, but things change when Sarah, the girlfriend of the ring leader for the bullies, shows up to return his stolen bike. Alan convinces Sarah to play Jumanji with him, but after a roll of the dice, Alan is sucked into the board game, and Sarah is scared off by a swarm of bats.

Twenty-six years later, two young children named Judy (Kirsten Dunce) and Peter (Bradley Pierce) move into Alan’s childhood home after their parent’s sudden and tragic deaths. Aunt Nora (Bebe Neuwrith) is the guardian, and Nora will have her hands full with a disrespectful niece and a strange nephew. Plus, Jumanji will only complicate Nora’s problems. One day, while snooping around in the attic, Judy and Peter find the Jumanji board game. Unaware of its evil powers, Judy and Peter decide to play Jumanji. After a few rolls of the dice, Judy and Peter free Alan from the board game. Now twenty-six years older, Alan (Robin Williams) will have to find Sarah, and with Peter and Judy’s help, the group will have to finish one game of Jumanji. Finshing the game will restore Alan’s normal life as a child, send the wild jungle animals back to their homes, and stop Jumanji’s magical path of destruction.

Well, I’m burnt out on 2012 stuff right now, so I decided to watch Jumanji. As a kid, I LOVED this movie. Hell, I begged my mother to buy me the board game for my birthday.

It took me a while to realize it, but the kid, who plays Judy is a young Kirsten Dunce. Robin Williams is predictably whacky as usual, and the rest of the cast is solid. Although, David Alan Grier is annoying at times. I used to enjoy his work on Living Color, but with the exception of a flashback at the beginning, his character is so obnoxious and over the top.

Jumanji was a fun experience as a child, but I’m older now, and this film didn’t do anything for me. The CGI monkeys look so fake, the special effects are horribly outdated, and it’s hard to ignore. The humor is pretty lame, and Johnathan Hyde is a problem here. I’m not complaining about his performances, but Hyde portrays two characters in this film: Alan’s father and Van Pelt, a hunter, who emerges from Jumanji. Even with the beard as Van Pelt, it’s so easy to see the same guy as two characters. There’s no illusion, and Hyde’s double duty just kills any interest in both characters.

I can watch the live action Ninja Turtles films (the first two, because I still despise the third one and the time travel bullshit) and Home Alone 2 now a days, and I’ll still experience those great feelings of nostalgia. I can’t say the same thing about Jumanji. I chuckled a few times, and I enjoyed some of the adventurous action sequences (mainly the flood and man-eating vine attacks in the house towards the end), but overall, Jumanji was too dull for me.

Rating: 4/10

i'm a cm punk girl
12-14-2012, 09:44 PM
Decent? Come on, KKG you're being too generous. And this is coming from a HUGE Amanda Seyfried fan.

Seyfried and Gary Oldman (I still can't believe he took a part in that film) tried their best, but they couldn't save Red Riding Hood. It's a very boring and dull horror film with one of the most cliched stories I've ever seen. And I don't know about you, but the love triangle garbage drove me nuts.
thing is i was high when i watched and therfore may have to re-watch it and see if you right.

The Shape
12-17-2012, 02:41 PM
thing is i was high when i watched and therfore may have to re-watch it and see if you right.

:lmao: That explains a lot. Try watching it with a clear head next time, and I'll be shocked if you can sit through the entire movie.

Halloween Resurrection (2002)

http://lairofhorror.tripod.com/myerslair/halloween8pics/halloween8poster4.jpg


Three years after the events of Halloween H20: 20 Years later, Michael Myers is still on the loose, and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) was committed to an insane asylum after murdering a helpless paramedic. Without taking off the mask first, Laurie used an axe to behead the paramedic. Unbeknownst to Laurie, Michael attacked and crushed the paramedic’s larynx at the private school. He switched clothes with the paramedic, forced his mask on him, and Michael quietly walked away from the crime scene.

In 2001, Laurie lives a lonely life of silence at the asylum, and she avoids taking her medication. Laurie dreads Michael’s inevitable arrival, and after catching a brief glimpse of him through her window on Halloween night, Laurie immediately panics. After murdering two security guards, Michael sets his sights on Laurie. But when Michael enters Laurie’s room, she gains the upper hand by attacking him from behind, and Laurie escapes to the roof of the asylum. Laurie captures Michael with a trap, but Michael seizes the opportunity to eliminate his #1 target after a careless mistake. Dangling from the roof with his sister, Michael uses his kitchen knife to stab Laurie in the back. Laurie kisses Michael, and before she falls to her death, Laurie promises a reunion in “hell.“

One year later, Freddie Harris (Busta Rhymes) and Nora Winston (Tyra Banks) plan a Halloween reality show special/scavenger hunt at Michael Myers’ abandoned childhood home. Freddie and Nora produce and direct shows for DangerTainment, a reality web show series. In an attempt to unravel the mystery behind his murderous rage, the participants must search for clues from Michael’s past. Six college students are selected for the show: Sara Moyer (Bianca Kajlich), Jim Morgan (Luke Kirby), Donna Chang (Daisy McCrackin), Bill Woodlake (Thomas Ian Nicholas), Rudy Grimes (Sean Patrick Thomas), and Jen Danzig (Katee Sackhoff).

Initially, Sara expresses her doubts and suspicions, but she decides to join the group after one night of thinking it over. Deckard (Ryan Merriman) is Sara’s nerdy computer friend, he decides to watch the web show at a Halloween party, and Nora monitors everything on a series of televisions. The suspicions of a hoax are confirmed, when Freddie shows up in a Michael Myers costume. Making money is Freddie’s only concern, but the appearance of the real Michael Myers changes everything……

I think I posted an old mini-review of Halloween Resurrection in here a while ago. It was during my annual “watch all the Halloween movies during October” marathon. But I usually skip over Resurrection, because it’s so fucking awful. I’m sure that post is buried in here somewhere. Oh well, time for an updated version!

I don’t know why, but for some strange reason, I foolishly cling to the hopes of Resurrection instantly transforming into a better film. Maybe I was just tired that day, or I could’ve been in a bad mood. Just a few examples of the excuses I come up with sometimes, but like most Halloween fans (surprisingly, some Halloween fans actually enjoy this turd), you just have to face facts: Halloween Resurrection is the worst movie in the entire franchise.

Remember the final moments of H20?

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So as I said before, Laurie killed the wrong guy, and as always, Michael survived another close call. Michael finally fulfills his destiny by killing his sister in this film, and eventually SOMEONE had to die. Laurie and Michael are the two most important characters in this franchise, but eventually, one of them has to die. The constant narrow escapes reached the point of overkill, and since Michael is irreplaceable as the main antagonist (they tried to create another villain in Season Of The Witch, Halloween 5 and 6, and it didn’t work out), Laurie had to die.

I don’t have a problem with Laurie’s death in this film. I have a problem with the timing of it. For fuck’s sake, they killed off Laurie in the beginning! With the exception of Halloween 3, 4, 5, and 6, the Halloween film series revolved around Michael trying to kill Laurie. Laurie’s death is the major event, so everything after her demise is just pointless. Imagine Luke decapitating Vader and watching the Emperor’s demise in the first ten minutes of Return Of The Jedi. Or Nolan making the decision to open The Dark Knight Rises with the Batman/Bane fight in front of Gotham’s City Hall. Think about the reaction from wrestling fans, if Rock VS Cena was the opening match at Wrestlemania 28. Michael kills Laurie first, and then they force the audience into watching some shitty paranormal web show storyline (more on that later). Laurie’s death deserved special treatment, Laurie needed the spotlight, and she should’ve received a grand send-off. But no, they just had to kill her character in the beginning. Unbelievable.

Michael is still intimidating and scary, but the rest of the cast is atrocious in this film. Jamie Lee Curtis could’ve helped on the acting side of things, but she doesn’t last long here. The college kids are annoying and stupid characters, and Busta Rhymes really drags this cast into the shitter. He can’t act, and his fight scenes with Michael always leave me speechless, but not for good reasons, though.

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Michael’s living in secret tunnels beneath his old house? Well, if “secret tunnels” exist beneath Michael’s old house, then why didn’t he use them as a hiding spot in the previous films? The underground tunnels just pop up out of nowhere in Resurrection, and it’s just another prime example of the writers making shit up along the way.

In H20, ignoring the satanic cult bullshit with Dr.Wynn/The Man In Black in Halloween 6 didn’t bother me too much, because the thought of some outside force having control over Michael just kills the mystique for his character. But what happened to Laurie’s son? Remember Josh Hartnett in H20? He portrayed John Tate (or John Strode), Laurie’s teenage son. Michael hunts and kills family members that are apart of his bloodline, and John survived in H20. We’re supposed to forget about Laurie’s son? The primary protagonist’s second child? The continuity problems for the Halloween franchise started with Season Of The Witch in 1982, and the trend of ignoring important details and broken storylines is a major problem for this film series.

Watching Decker guide and protect Sara towards the end is the nail in the coffin for me. Decker is watching the web show on a computer, and Decker sends Sara text message warnings of Michael’s position in the house. The text messages KILL the shock factor for the scares in this film. You can’t expect a surprised reaction, when you constantly post “HE’S AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS. RUN!” or “HE’S BEHIND YOU!” (paraphrased examples) as text messages on the screen.

So let’s see. Annoying characters, bad acting, lame deaths (sorry, the beheadings didn’t do anything for me), and they kill off the primary protagonist in the first fourteen minutes of the movie? Yep, Halloween Resurrection is a steaming pile of shit, and it’s the worst film in the Halloween franchise, easily. Yes, Season Of The Witch and Halloween 6/The Curse Of Michael Myers are better, and that’s saying something. The Halloween franchise would receive a reboot five years after the release of this film, and if you’ve ever seen Resurrection, then you’ll understand the need for a fresh start.

Rating: 1/10

i'm a cm punk girl
12-18-2012, 07:50 AM
:lmao: That explains a lot. Try watching it with a clear head next time, and I'll be shocked if you can sit through the entire movie.
what do you think of the django unchained trailer?

The Shape
12-18-2012, 02:20 PM
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

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After witnessing his wife, Nikki (Bree Bee) in the shower with another man, Pat (Bradley Cooper) snaps, and he nearly beats Nikki’s lover to death. Diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, Pat serves an eight month court ordered sentence in a mental hospital. Pat develops a friendship with another patient named Danny (Chris Tucker), but Nikki has a restraining order against Pat, and Pat will have to readjust to the real world soon enough. When she arrives to take him home, Pat’s mother, Dolores (Jacki Weaver) has her doubts, but Pat promises change. Pat’s father, Pat, Sr. (Robert De Niro) is a devoted and passionate Eagles’ fan, and he tries to make up for some lost time with Pat.

Delusional and determined to reinvent himself, Pat tries to straighten out his life, but an unhinged widow disrupts Pat’s mission to win back his ex-wife. Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) agrees to deliver Pat’s apology letter to Nikki, but only under two conditions: Pat must train with Tiffany, and become her partner for a dance contest.

I didn’t think he had it in him, but Bradley Cooper delivers a fantastic performance here. Pat is a trainwreck, but you can still root for him. Cooper is usually more successful with full blown comedy characters, and Pat has a quirky sense of humor, but Cooper really nails the emotional and heartbroken side of Pat‘s character. Jennifer Lawrence is spot on as Tiffany. Tiffany is a free spirit, but she’ll fly off the handle in an instant, if someone pushes her too far. De Niro and Weaver are solid in their supporting roles, but Chris Tucker really didn’t add anything to this film, and his character is pretty useless.

Silver Linings Playbook isn’t bad, but I honestly can’t understand the raging hard-ons critics have for this film. Yes, Silver Linings Playbook provides a nice balance of drama and humor. Plus, the delicate and sensitive approach towards the subject of mental illnesses is something to admire. But let’s not kid ourselves here. Silver Linings Playbook isn’t some groundbreaking achievement for the romantic comedy genre. No, it’s barley above average, and you can see every “twist” and “turn” coming from a mile away. Seriously, just watch the trailer, and take a wild guess at happens between Pat and Tiffany at the very end.

Maybe I’m just a grouch, or I’m still waiting for the holiday spirit to hit me, but Silver Linings Playbook didn’t blow me away. Cooper or Lawrence might receive an Oscar nomination, but in a few weeks, I’ll forget about this film, and Silver Linings Playbook won’t have any lasting effects on me.

Rating: 6/10

The Shape
12-19-2012, 05:13 PM
Trouble With The Curve (2012)

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Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood) is a legendary baseball scout, who works for the Atlanta Braves. But Gus’ vision problems and old school mentality might cost him his job. Tom Silver (Matthew Lillard) is the slimy kiss-ass, and he works on the same scout team with Gus. Tom sees an easy opportunity to get rid of Gus, and move up the corporate ladder, but Gus’ long time friend and superior, Pete (John Goodman) comes up with a plan to save Gus’ job.

In an attempt to provide some much needed company and assist him in his scouting duties, Pete urges Gus’ busy daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams) to join him on a scouting trip to North Carolina. Reluctant at first, Mickey eventually agrees to join Gus on the scouting trip, but some old emotional wounds from a troubled childhood could ruin a happy bonding experience. Along the way, Gus and Mickey run into Johnny (Justin Timberlake), a pitcher, who was forced into a scout job for the Red Sox after a career-ending injury. Gus and Johnny share a trusted friendship, and Johnny slowly develops feelings for Mickey.

The rocky relationship between Mickey and Gus becomes more of a problem as the days go by. Plus, Gus’ opinion could have an influence over Johnny, as both men scout a potential number one draft pick (Braves have the #2 pick, Red Sox have #1) named Bo Gentry, a young powerhouse slugger.

Clint Eastwood delivers another entertaining perfromance as the angry codger, and Amy Adams provides the strongest performance from the supporting cast. Although, next to Clint Eastwood, Adams receives the most screen time, and the increased exposure gives her a boost here. Lillard and Goodman could’ve gained the upper hand for the better performances in this film, but Lillard’s character doesn’t receive a significant amount of screen time until the very end, and you’ll only see Goodman every now and then.

But Justin Timberlake doesn’t deserve any credit for the acting. Timberlake can’t act, and as usual, a more talented cast carries him throughout this film. I’ve seen it in other Timberlake films (Amanda Seyfried from In Time, Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher, Jesse Eisneberg and Andrew Garfield in The Social Network, etc.), and I still can’t believe he’s coasting off of his fame for being a singer and the popular guy in N Sync.

Trouble With The Curve will give sports fans an inside-look at the inner workings of an MLB team, but the fantastic chemistry between Amy Adams and Clint Eastwood is the driving force behind this film. The inside info stuff for MLB isn’t that special, because I’ve seen in it other sports films, and if you want to know more, you can always turn on MLB network or ESPN. And more importantly, other sports films (i.e. Moneyball) provided a more thorough and in-depth inside-look for the business side of pro sports.

Trouble With The Curve is an average and formulaic Hollywood sports drama. This film is full of predictable mushy moments, but I really enjoyed the duo of Adams and Eastwood, and without them, Trouble With The Curve could’ve been a lot worse.

Rating: 5/10

The Shape
12-20-2012, 03:28 PM
Silent Night (2012)

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It’s Christmas Eve, and a murderous Santa Claus is determined to punish everyone on his naughty list. A small town’s annual Christmas Eve parade is a joyous and peaceful tradition, but two local cops must stop Santa’s bloody rampage. Sheriff James Cooper (Malcolm McDowell) and his nervous Deputy, Aubrey (Jamie King) are the last line of defense. Will they be able to save what’s left of Christmas? Or will Santa eliminate each target on his hit list?

Jamie King. She easily delivers the best performance in this film. On the acting side of things, King really carries this film on her back, because Malcolm McDowell’s performance is just atrocious. And yes, McDowell’s performance is a problem, because he receives a significant amount of screen time. McDowell just phones it in here, and to make things worse, his character is an annoying asshole.

Now let’s talk about Santa. He’s a raging lunatic, and more importantly, Santa has an intimidating presence in the remake. Robert Brian Wilson (the Santa in the original) wasn’t intimidating or scary. In fact, he was kind of goofy at times. But 2012 Santa is a cold-blooded killer, and the dark eyes on the mask really pull everything together.

Plus, Santa has a larger arsenal of weapons thins time around. You can see the flamethrower on the box cover, and Santa also uses a stun gun and a poker. And of course, for the sake of nostalgia, Santa will break out the axe every now and then.

The Silent Night remake is more serious than the original. The 1984 original was very campy and cheesy, but Silent Night 2012 is darker. But the fan base for Silent Night, Deadly Night constantly over hypes that film. Let’s be honest, Silent Night, Deadly Night isn’t remembered for being a quality film. The controversy surrounding the 1984 release caused the uproar. Remember, watching Santa murder people crossed too many lines in 1984, and Silent Night, Deadly Night was pulled from theaters. Angry mothers protested, and the critics went out of their way to condemn it. So in the end, the original is remembered for creating unreal amounts of controversy, because quality wise, it’s an average film at best. Hell, take away the Christmas theme, and it’s just another cheesy and over the top slasher from the 80’s.

All in all, Silent Night is a respectable remake, but it’s not good enough to stand out amongst other modern-day slasher flicks, that feature tons of blood and nudity. I enjoyed this film, but horror remakes based on campy 80’s originals share this annoying trend. For some strange reason, the filmmakers try so hard to make a more serious movie. If we distance ourselves from the campy stuff in the original, we’ll make a better film. This seems to be the thought process. But if you’re going to fall into the bin with so many other predictable and ordinary modern-day slashers, then what’s the point of changing?

So yeah, if you’re into Christmas horror, and a psychopathic Santa Claus murderer, then Silent Night is worth watching. There’s a nice cliffhanger at the end, and the cliffhanger sets up a sequel. I would give another set of Silent Night films a chance, but nothing is guaranteed so far. But if it does happen, Jamie King NEEDS to come back. Fuck Malcolm McDowell.

Rating: 6/10

TLC
12-20-2012, 07:36 PM
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit, Peter Jackson’s newest epic fantasy adventure and also the first of the trilogy. A trilogy that also doesn’t need to happen, but I digress. The film centres around a young, lonely hobbit named Bilbo Baggins, played my Martin Freeman. Bilbo is tidy, neat and seems to be compulsive over cleanliness. This is until one day the great wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian Mckellen) comes knocking on his tiny door. Before he knows it, his hole is filled with 13 dwarves; no it isn’t a porno. Not soon after, Bilbo is whisked away to god knows where by the dwarves and their leader Thorin (Richard Armitage). Away they go on their ponies to start the greatest adventure in the young hobbit’s life.

Peter Jackson does a very good job with the film. Though, he is overrated, I feel he does a very good job with Tolkien novels. He makes the film big, beautiful, audacious and at times a little too real. The film was shot in 48 FPS (frames per second), the first of its kind; which in itself is an achievement. It makes everything looks crisper and more defined and well I guess prettier. It takes a little to get used to but throughout latter parts of the film, it definitely works. I also forked out an extra pound for 3D and for once I wasn’t bitter about it. Jackson uses the 3D well, but not too much that is becomes obnoxious. There is still the scenery shots which you come to expect from a Peter Jackson movie but it doesn’t take anything away from the film.

The cast for this is actually quite solid with Martin Freeman putting on the performance of his life and better than I ever expected him to be. Ian Mckellen and Andy Serkis are both fantastic which I guess is expected. None of the dwarves bar Richard Armitage’s Thorin get much screen time but everyone plays their parts well.

With a run time of about 170 minutes or something like that (who gives a fuck about specifics), one would think the film gets boring. For the most part I guess it doesn’t, the first hour or so didn’t really captivate me but I was never once bored. Once it’s past the middle part, the film seemingly switches to a higher gear and is highly entertaining. The film offers a more humorous, lighter film compared to its successors, yet somehow still manages to feel like a prequel which is unfair unfortunately. The LOTR cameos and added scenes don’t help to shrug off this feeling either. I won't go in too much details as I'll probably end up spoiling some parts.

If I’m honest, I liked this film more than I expected; this may be due the fact that people hadn’t overrated it like they have the LOTR trilogy. It’s not a perfect by any means but I did enjoy it and I’m looking forward to the sequels which I guess is the point. They should have just made two and got it done with but damn Hollywood for wanting to make money. If you like the LOTR films then you’ll probably like this movie, and if you didn’t then there’s still a high chance that you’ll enjoy this. Oh, and yes, there are lots and lots of walking.

TLC's rating: ***1/2

The Shape
12-21-2012, 03:05 PM
The Collection (2012)

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Elena Peters (Emma Fitzpatrick) is trying to enjoy a quiet night at home, but Elena’s friends are going to a secret rave. After thinking it over, Elena leaves her father alone, and she decides to go to the rave with her friends. Elena starts to loosen up and have a good time….until she runs into her cheating boyfriend. Out of anger, Elena punches her boyfriend in the face, but Elena’s plans to leave the party early are put on hold, when she accidentally finds Arkin (Josh Stewart). The Collector appears, and unleashes a series of diabolical traps to kill everyone at the rave. Arkin (the sole survivor from the previous film) narrowly escapes, but The Collector is able to kidnap Elena.

While in the hospital, Arkin receives an offer from Lucello (Lee Tergesen), a trusted associate for Elena’s wealthy father. Arkin must lead Lucello and his team of mercenaries to The Collector's hideout, so they can rescue Elena, and if the mission is a success, Elena’s father will pull some strings to clear up Arkin’s dirty rap sheet. But when Lucello and the mercenaries arrive at The Collector’s hideout, Lucello forces Arkin inside, and he instantly changes the deal: Arkin must fight with the mercenaries, as they try to rescue Elena.

Stewart and Fitzpatrick deliver the best performances, and Erin Way is a nice edition to the cast. Abby (Way) is The Collector’s unstable prisoner, and Way’s loopy performance is enjoyable. The Collector is still creepy and vicious, and they still didn’t show his face, but The Collector actually speaks in this film.

The Collection is an upgrade over The Collector. The Collection actually provides some intense action sequences, the traps are more complex and brutal, and we learn more about The Collector’s past here. There’s a good cliffhanger at the end, and I enjoyed this film, but The Collector series might fall into the Saw trap. After the first film, Saw sacrificed storytelling, sensible plots, and character development for more sickening gross-out moments and bloody gore. I expected a downfall after Saw III (unfortunately, I was right), and those same feelings resurfaced after watching The Collection. The Collector will probably devolve into a shit-fest of undecipherable storylines, or an obscene barrage of torture porn calamities, as the filmmakers play a one-upsmanship game of “let’s outdo everyone else,” but I’m hoping for something different. The Collector has some potential, but the similarities to the Saw franchise scare me.

Oh, and If you can’t handle sadistic torture scenes, graphic gore, and lots of blood, you should stay away from The Collection.

Rating: 6/10

The Shape
12-24-2012, 02:13 PM
Catch .44 (2011)

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In Louisiana, three women prepare for a drug heist. Tes (Malin Akerman), Dawn (Deborah Ann Woll), and Kara (Nikki Reed) work for Mel (Bruce Willis), a ruthless and powerful druglord. After botching a previous assignment, Mel gives his trusted associates one more chance: go to a diner out in the middle of nowhere, wait for the driver of a rival cartel, who’s carrying a large shipment of cocaine, hijack the truck, and bring the cocaine back to Mel.

Tes is the leader of the group, and she shares a trusted bond with Mel, Dawn just follows the blueprint for the plan without asking any questions, but Kara suspects something fishy. Dawn is able to play the role of a peacemaker after a heated argument between Tes and Kara, but the driver doesn’t show up, as Tes, Dawn, and Kara wait inside the diner.

Anxious and eager for answers, Tes decides to uncover the truth by drawing guns on the diner employees. During the standoff, Kara and Dawn are shot to death by a diner employee and a “truck driver,” but Tes emerges as the only survivor from Mel‘s group. Confused and devastated, Tes pressures Billy (Shea Whigham), the remaining diner employee, into telling her the truth, but Ronny‘s (Mel’s right hand man) unexpected appearance complicates Tes’ life-or-death dilemma. Ronny (Forest Whitaker) tries to convince Tes and Billy to drop their guns, but they refuse. Ronny pulls out his gun, and he urges Tes to kill Billy. Tes hesitates, as Billy explains the trap Mel set up, but Tes will have to make up her mind before it’s too late. Who will she choose? Billy or Ronny?

Bruce Willis is believable, as the cold-hearted drug lord. Tes is the strongest female character in this film, and Malin Akerman’s performance is spot on. I couldn’t comprehend the reason behind his Spanish accent, but Forest Whitaker is entertaining as Ronny.

Acting isn’t the problem here, because the cast is rock solid. But the nonlinear storyline is very, very, very, VERY annoying. The storytelling for Catch .44 isn’t cool or stylistic, it’s just fucking irritating. For example, they replay the standoff scene at the diner over and over and over again. Yes, I get the whole “we want to show you everything from different points of view” ideology, but come on, I don’t need to see the same fucking scene four or fives times.

Of course, if you make a crime drama with a nonlinear storyline now a days, you’re going to draw comparisons to Tarantino and Pulp Fiction (or Reservoir Dogs), it’s unavoidable. Was Aaron Harvey (the writer and director for this film) trying to mimic Tarantino’s style? Probably, because you can’t ignore the similarities, but if Harvey was trying to create a Tarantino-esque film, he failed. It’s that simple, and I can’t sugar coat it.

Also, the sidebar conversations and jokes in this film are TERRIBLE. The sidebar conversations aren’t funny, thought-provoking, or insightful, and they didn’t add anything to the story. Harvey opens Catch .44 with a pointless and unfunny conversation between Tes, Dawn, and Kara about leaving the toilet seat up and the rules of sex. Later on, Dawn tells this horribly corny joke about a priest, nuns, and the consequences for touching a man’s genitals. Maybe I just have a bad sense of humor, but I tired, and I still couldn’t laugh at this joke.

It’s a damn shame, because Catch .44 had the right cast, and a decent enough premise, but the ass-backwards style of storytelling is too frustrating. Catch .44 features a few scenes of graphic bloody violence, and during the beginning, the “who done it?” mystery is intriguing, but overall, Harvey’s attempt at creating a clever crime drama falls flat.

Rating: 2/10

The Shape
12-25-2012, 03:02 PM
Hitchcock (2012)

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Facing intense pressure from his superiors, Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins) prepares to make another film. Hitchcock tries to balance a rocky relationship with his neglected wife, Alma (Helen Mirren), while pursuing a risky project. Hitchcock decides to adapt the suspense novel Psycho, but Paramount is scared off by the controversy, so they refuse to provide funding for the film. Hitchcock is determined to bring Psycho to the big screen, so he makes a deal with Paramount: Hitchcock will personally finance Psycho, and Paramount will distribute the film.

Paramount agrees, but Hitchcock runs into a series of problems during filming. In the cast, some uncomfortable feelings with Vera Miles (Jessica Biel) resurface, and Hitchcock pushes Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) to her limits. Hitchcock will have to fight censorship, health problems, work through problems in his failing marriage, and uphold his reputation as The Master Of Suspense.

Anthony Hopkins provides the perfect Alfred Hitchcock impersonation, and as expected, Helen Mirren delivers a strong performance. Besides having the “spitting image look” for Vera Miles and Janet Leigh, Jessica Biel and Scarlett Johansson really didn’t bring anything special to their characters on the acting side of things. Well, I guess Johansson deserves some credit for mimicking Leigh’s hysterical screaming during the famous shower scene.

Hitchcock isn’t a biopic. This film just focuses on the ups and downs during the making of Psycho. But you know what, I didn’t have a problem with this approach. He’s known for making many great films, but when you think about or mention Hitchcock, 99.9% of the time, Psycho is the first film that comes to mind. Think about it, unless you’re a real die hard fan, would you watch a James Cameron docudrama, that revolved around True Lies? A Spielberg docudrama about the War Of The Worlds remake? Psycho is often credited as the one film that created and validated modern horror, so it only makes sense for Psycho to be the one Hitchcock film, that receives so much attention.

I enjoyed Hitchcock, but the tonal shifts between horror and drama are kind of annoying. Throughout the film, Hitchcock has nightmares about Norman Bates committing and planing murders. The nightmare sequences about Bates feel spooky and eerie, but when the story returns to the struggles in Alfred’s marriage, and his troubles with Psycho, Hitchcock shifts back into drama mode.

Director Sacha Gervasi style isn’t something to brag about, but he deserves some praise for paying homage to Alfred Hitchcock by imitating the intro and outro for Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Helen Mirren might receive on Oscar nomination, because…..well, she’s Helen Mirren. Although, I would be surprised to see an Oscar nomination for Hopkins. He’s spot on as Hitchcock, but Hitch’s comical side in this film might hurt Hopkins’ chances for a nomination.

Rating: 7/10

The Shape
12-26-2012, 12:31 PM
247°F (2011)

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Three years after losing her boyfriend in a tragic car accident, Jenna (Scout Taylor-Compton) agrees to go on a vacation with her best friend Renee (Christina Ulloa). Jenna joins Renee, her boyfriend Michael (Michael Copon), and Michael’s friend Ian (Travis Van Winkle) at a lakeside cabin. Ian’s uncle, Wade (Tyler Mane) owns the cabin, and his custom-built sauna is the main attraction.

After swimming in the cold lake, Ian urges everyone to enjoy the sauna. Although, Michael’s obnoxious drunk behavior upsets Renee, so Michael leaves the sauna. Frustrated and tired of the heat, Renee tries to leave, but something from the outside is blocking the door to the sauna. Jenna is without her anti-depressant medication, Ian tries to reassure his friends, but Renee panics, and things only get worse, when the sauna’s temperature controls malfunction after a careless mistake. Wade is producing a local fireworks show, and Michael is trying to sleep off his hangover. Breaking the window on the Sauna door provides some temporary relief, but the survivors are running out of water and time.

Seeing Scout Taylor-Compton and Tyler Mane on the same screen together again provided a great geek-out moment for me. Scout Taylor-Compton was the new Laurie Strode in Rob Zombie's Halloween films, and Tyler Mane played Michael Myers. Man, seeing Mane without the mask felt so weird.

Anyway, Scout Taylor-Compton delivers the best performance. Compton is convincing, and she really nailed Jenna’s fragile personality. Travis Van Winkle is OKAY at best, and his over the top “I’M GOING CRAZY!” tirade at the end couldn’t elevate his performance. With the exception of a nervous breakdown at the end, Michael Copon’s lifeless performance is painful to watch. Christina Ulloa is decent enough, but her character is very annoying. And Wade is a terrible person (an uncle, who gives homemade alcohol and weed to teens, and he’s related to one of them? Seriously?), but it’s not fair to judge Tyler Mane’s performance or lack there of. Wade only has a handful of brief appearances in this film, and his screen time is limited.

Looking for a jaw-dropping and diabolical twist explaining the blocked door in 247°F? Don’t hold your breath, because this is what happened: During his drunken stumbling outside, Michael unknowingly blocks the sauna door with Wade’s ladder, trapping his friends inside.

Yeah, I know, it sounds very lame, but 247°F is based on real life events. I didn’t listen to the DVD commentary, but I’m guessing the filmmakers took the respectful approach to the reasons behind the blocked door. It’s a deflating revelation, but revealing the truth behind the blocked door didn‘t bother me at all. For me, 247°F reached the dead in the water point of no return at the fifty-two minute mark, and I just didn‘t care anymore.

The suspense and thrills from the plight of a steamy and claustrophobic prison doesn’t last long, because 247°F quickly devolves into a barrage of annoying complaints from the Renee character, and “this is your fault!” shouting matches. And more importantly, 247°F is VERY boring. 247°F loses a lot of steam (no pun intended) after Renee, Jenna, and Ian realize their inescapable and life-threatening dilemma, and Renee’s constant whining is just unbearable.

Rating: 1/10

The Shape
12-29-2012, 07:21 PM
The Caller (2011)

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**SPOILERS**

Trying to escape her abusive ex-husband, Mary (Rachelle Lefevre) moves into a new apartment. Mary develops a strange obsession with an antique phone in the apartment, and soon enough, Mary receives calls from a woman named Rose (Lorna Raver). At first, Mary enjoys Rose’s company, but Rose’s friendly calls quickly turn into a series of vicious threats.

Mary seeks help from her new neighbors John (Stephen Moyer) and George (Luis Guzmán), but when Mary accuses Rose of time travel, her story becomes more difficult to believe. Steven’s (Mary’s ex-husband) defiance against the restraining takes a backseat to Mary’s major problem, when Rose starts killing off the people closest to Mary in the past. After pressuring George into giving her some answers, Mary learns the devastating truth about her apartment’s history: years ago, Rose lived in Mary’s apartment, and as the jealous and controlling wife, Rose suddenly murdered her husband one night. Mary is running out of solutions for her bizarre problem, and the situation takes a drastic turn for the worst, when Rose finds Mary as a child in the past…..

Nobody gives an outstanding or terrible performance worthy of individual recognition here, but The Caller features a capable cast overall.

You might enjoy The Caller…..if you can buy into the story, and believe me, that’s easier said than done. First of all, I had a problem with Rose locating Mary’s friends/lovers in the past. How is it possible? Except for first names, Mary didn’t reveal any crucial details (last names, address numbers, etc.). And how did Rose find Mary as a child in the past? I can understand if Mary lived in Rose’s apartment complex as a child, but she didn’t. In the past, Rose uses hot cooking oil to burn Mary as a child, and of course, the wounds appear on adult Mary’s body. Mary’s burns could’ve been the “OH MY GOD THAT WAS SICK!” gross-out moment of the film, but I couldn’t look past the plot holes for Rose finding Mary as a child.

But wait, it gets better! Towards the very end of the film, Rose is fed up with Mary’s games and lies (earlier in the film, Mary tries to trick Rose into a fatal accident during a phone conversation), so she decides to travel to the present to kill Mary, and she shows up at Mary‘s front door? Um, okay, how is this possible??? Did Mary use some kind of secret time machine? Because the story NEVER explains how Rose was able to travel through time, come to the present, and try to kill Mary. And more importantly, if Rose was capable of traveling through time from the start, then why didn’t she use time travel to kill Mary in the first place? Instead, she wastes time threatening Mary via phone calls, giving Mary a chance to come up with a strategy to kill her? That doesn’t make sense at all.

And speaking of the ending, it was kind of ridiculous. So Rose shows up to Mary’s apartment in the future. She’s trying to break through the front door, and finish Mary off once and for all. Out of panic and desperation, Mary picks up the antique phone, and she calls herself as a child in the past. In the past, Rose kidnaps Mary as a child, but the child version of Mary is the only hope for Mary in the future. Yeah, I know it’s more confusing and off the wall than it sounds. Anyway, after gaining the trust of Mary in the past, future Mary convinces child Mary to pick up a piece of broken glass, and kill Rose in the past? So now there’s two adult Roses, and somehow they’re capable of being in two time periods at once? Okay then. Child Mary eventually finds Rose in the past, and she kills her with the broken piece of glass. Rose in the future suddenly disappears, and future Mary orders child Mary to go home.

The Caller features a VERY shaky story, and if you can’t buy into it, you’ll probably hate this film, it’s just that simple. It’s annoying and baffling, but you know what, I’m not going with a negative score here. The Caller is a trainwreck from beginning to end, but I couldn’t pull myself away from this trainwreck. The Caller is a nonsensical mess, but this film was able to hold my attention, and I wanted to know what happened next. I was hooked into every dumbfounding twist and turn, and she’s not too bright, but I rooted for Mary’s survival. It’s not a unique or sophisticated suspense thriller, but I’m giving The Caller a “guilty pleasure” pass.

Rating: 5/10

The Shape
12-31-2012, 05:14 PM
Before I move on, I have to point out an error in The Caller review. Watched it again this morning, and John is Mary's teacher at a night school class, he's not a neighbor. I guess I forgot to pay attention to his backstroy, because I was so wrapped up in trying to understand the story the first time around.

The Loved Ones

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Heartbroken over his father’s death, Brent (Xaiver Samuel) hides his pain by cutting himself in the torso, and smoking marijuana. Brent’s overprotective mother, Carla (Suzi Dougherty) tries to provide comfort, but Brent fights his mother’s ongoing mission to shield him from the real world.

Distant and anti-social, Brent finds solace in his girlfriend, Holly (Victoria Thaine), as they prepare to go to the senior prom together. One day, Brent receives a random and unexpected request for a date to the prom. A shy and nervous Lola (Robin McLeavy) asks Brent to the prom, but Brent politely refuses.

In an attempt to clear his head before the prom, Brent spends some time alone at a secret hideaway. But Lola’s father attacks him from behind, and he kidnaps Brent. Brent awakes tied to a chair in Lola’s house. Lola’s father or “Daddy” (John Brumpton) has set up a prom-like atmosphere. Lola is the Princess, and whether he likes it or not, Brent is the King. Brent has to play along with Lola’s prom, or he will suffer a slow and agonizing death.

The entire cast is spot on. McLeavy is the perfect psycho, Brumpton is believable, as the deranged and loyal father, and Samuel nails the Brent character. He’s a broken high school student, who can’t let go of the past, and for me, Samuel was the highlight of this cast. And she doesn’t speak a word in this film, but you can’t ignore Anne Scott-Pendlebury’s (Bright Eyes/Lola’s mother) unsettling presence.

Director Sean Byrne spares no expense for gory violence. Lola literally drills a hole in Brent’s head, Brent’s feet are nailed to the floor, and Daddy threatens to nail Brent’s penis to the chair, when Brent refuses to pee inside a glass. If you’re looking for lots of blood and guts, The Loved Ones won’t disappoint you at all.

I don’t have any major complaints about Byrne’s directing, but his screenplay? That’s another issue. Why, and I mean WHY in the name of all things holy did Lola and Daddy torture Brent? Lola is a fragile young girl, that’s obvious, but fuck, you have to really hate someone to kidnap and torture them. Sorry, but the “you won’t go with me to the prom!” stuff is not good enough, and I couldn’t buy into Lola’s motivations for torturing Brent.

Plus, the story takes a wild turn towards the end. After labeling Brent a “frog,” Lola decides her father is the true love of her life? That’s right, so after torturing this poor kid, she suddenly DECIDES she’s in love with her father. And Byrne cuts away from it at after a distraction from Brent, but Lola was clearly about to kiss her father on the lips during the King and Queen dance.

And to add another bizarre layer to this story, Lola and her father apparently have a habit of kidnapping and torturing young guys/potential prom dates. Beneath the floor in her house, Lola has a secret pit that houses mutilated teenage guys (or “frogs“). Also, after suffering through the torture from Lola and Daddy, the mutilated teens become bloodthirsty cannibals? Again, WHY? Can anyone else think of a legit reason to hold cannibals in Lola’s house? I tried to think of an answer, but I couldn’t come up with one.

Plus, Byrne adds this fucking stupid and pointless storyline with two other high school kids. The guy is a shy and uptight pothead, and his date is a depressed and creepy goth chick. Byrne WASTED so much time with both characters, because they don’t serve a purpose for the main story arc.

The Loved Ones is loaded with sickening bloody gore and sadistic torture scenes, and the bloody stuff is more than capable of bringing a few squirms out of you, but the story is an unfocused mess. An illogical kidnapping and torture storyline devolves into a brief and creepy incest love story between Lola and Daddy. And it didn’t work for me, but Byrne tries to compensate for the shabby story with an endless amount of gross-out moments.

I honestly can’t understand the praise for this film. The Loved Ones has a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the vast majority of horror fans worship this piece of shit. Don’t buy into the hype, because The Loved Ones is not a modern day horror classic at all.

Rating: 1/10

The Shape
01-01-2013, 04:01 PM
Retreat (2011)

http://kinkycyborg.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/retreat-blu-ray-dvd-cover-art.jpg

**SPOILERS**

Martin (Cillian Murphy) and Kate (Thandie Newton) Kennedy are visiting a remote island for their annual holiday retreat. Doug (Jimmy Yuill) is a close friend, and he owns a cottage on the island, which happens to be the only dwelling. Doug’s ferry provides the only reliable form of transportation to and from the island, but Martin and Kate are targeting a much needed vacation with no visits to the mainland.

Kate’s miscarriage has put a strain on the marriage, and Kate and Martin receive an unexpected surprise one day. Bloody and beaten, a stranger wearing military fatigues collapses in front of the cottage. Martin and Kate take the unconscious soldier inside, giving him a chance to rest, and eventually get back on his feet.

But as he sleeps off his injuries, Kate notices a gun on the soldier’s waist. Martin carefully removes the gun, but when he finally wakes up, the soldier reveals a devastating pandemic. Pvt. Jack Coleman (Jamie Bell) is a survivor from the outbreak of a deadly airborne disease called the Argromoto Flu. According to Coleman’s story, anyone who leaves the cottage or the island is in danger of catching the Argromoto Flu, which causes a painful, bloody death. Jack convinces Martin to board up the house, and stay put until the threat of the disease passes, but Kate isn’t buying into Jack’s story. Tensions rise, and as time passes, one thing becomes clear, Jack will not let Martin and Kate leave the cottage under any circumstances.

A good debut for director Carl Tibbetts. Tibbetts creates the perfect tense and eerie atmosphere, and there’s a strong sense of looming danger and fear throughout Retreat. It’s an impressive feat for a film that primarily revolves around three characters.

No real complaints from the cast. Thandie Newton and Cillian Murphy are believable, as the distraught and terrified married couple, and Jamie Bell’s “I’M NOT CRAZY!” act is entertaining. Doug isn’t worth mentioning, because you see him at the beginning, and then that’s it.

Was Jack telling the truth about the Argromoto Flu? Or is Jack just a nutcase, who’s taking out his frustrations on innocent people? Well, Jack wasn’t lying about the airborne disease. The Argromoto Flu is real, but the disease hasn’t reached the stage of a global outbreak yet, because Jack is the only carrier for the Argomonto Flu. Serving punishment for his crimes, Jack was experimented on at a military compound. After the experimentations, Jack contracted the Argromoto Flu.

Martin and Kate unknowingly housed a sick man, and out of panic, Jack decided to barricade himself, Martin, and Kate inside the cottage. Jack was trying to contain the flu, but towards the end, Martin catches Jack’s disease, and as a result of the Argomonto Flu, Jack dies a slow and painful death. Furious, Kate refuses to listen to Jack’s last desperate plea: the military is lying about a cure for the flu via radio broadcast, and they will kill anyone, who tries to leave the island. Upset over her husband’s death, Kate decides to shoot and kill Jack.

But it’s not over yet! Kate prepares to leave the island. She loads her husband’s body into a life raft, and as she prepares to cast-off, a sniper from a helicopter shoots her in the forehead. Kate’s body falls next to Martin’s body, and the military helicopter flies away.

So Jack told a bunch of lies, giving Kate a legit reason not to trust him. But he tells one major truth at the end, Kate kills him, and moments later, Kate is executed by the military! Ugh, such a shocking and gut-wrenching ending.

Retreat is a solid thriller. I enjoyed the “can we trust him?” game of cat-and-mouse between Martin, Kate, and Jack, and the shocking twists at the end were just great. Others will probably see an irritating thriller, that features a lunatic screaming about the end of the world, while torturing an instant married couple. Either way, I don’t think you’ll have any middle ground, when you decide to grade the quality of Retreat.

Rating: 7/10

The Shape
01-03-2013, 04:34 PM
Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings (2011)

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It’s 1974, Glensville Sanatorium houses a select bunch of dangerous patients, and all hell breaks lose during an ordinary visit from a psychiatrist. The visiting psychiatrist, the head doctor, and his staff suffer brutal deaths at the hands of three escaped inbred cannibals/patients. Three-Finger (Sean Skene), One-Eye (Daniel Skene), and Saw-Tooth (Scott Johnson) carry out the murders. Glensville Sanatorium becomes a mess of blood and body parts, while Three-Finger, One-Eye, and Saw-Tooth disappear without a trace.

Twenty-nine years later, a group of friends decide to go snowmobiling during winter. Afterwards, they plan on visiting a friend’s cabin in the mountains. Sara (Tenika Davis) and her girlfriend, Bridget (Kaitlyn Wong), Kenia (Jenny Pudavick), Claire (Samantha Kendrick), her boyfriend Kyle (Victor Zinck, Jr.), Jenna (Terra Vnsea), her boyfriend Vincent (Sean Skene), Lauren (Ali Tataryn) and her boyfriend Daniel (Dean Armstrong) are headed for a vacation at their friend Porter’s cabin in the mountains.

During a rough snowstorm, the group of friends find refuge in the abandoned Glensville Sanatorium. But after some puzzling disappearances and the sight of Porter’s dismembered body, the friends realize they’re not alone. The friends don’t have a reliable form of transportation anymore, because Three-Finger, One-Eye, and Saw-Tooth sabotaged their snowmobiles, and the friends quickly run out of options, as the snowstorm becomes worse.

With the slight exception of Jenny Pudavick, the entire cast is just awful. Too many unconvincing and lazy performances, and there’s no need to mention the cannibals, because they don’t receive any spoken dialogue, just a lot of growling, grunting, heavy breathing, and moaning.

Well, if you’re looking for lots of blood, violence, nudity, and sex, Bloody Beginnings won’t disappoint you, because you’ll see all of this stuff within the first twelve minutes of the movie. But gore and naked women couldn’t save this film for me. Too many stupid characters, bad writing, and atrocious dialogue. The Vincent character is wondering around the sanatorium one night, and he suddenly shouts “Better not be playin’ with me dude! I’ll beat the shit out of you!” I just shook my head, and I seriously thought about turning the movie off before reaching the forty minute mark.

And the sneaky tactics from the cannibals raised too many question marks for me. So let me get this straight, they can’t talk or form a coherent sentence, they can’t read or write, and the cannibals don’t possess any knowledge of the modern outside world. BUT somehow Three-Finger, One-Eye, and Saw Tooth are capable of understanding the circuitry in snowmobiles, so they can sabotage them, and towards the end use the snowmobiles as vehicles for hunting the survivors. Plus, they’re capable of setting up complex traps (i.e. the barbed wire trap at the very end), and operating a tow truck? Bullshit.

NOW I remember why I stopped paying attention to the Wrong Turn films. After the original, this series really took a dive, releasing one shitty straight-to-video sequel after another. Wrong Turn 4 is a prequel for the original, and IF you care to know, Wrong Turn 4 establishes a vague backstory for the cannibals in the original. But it’s not much, because after the intro, Wrong Turn 4 doesn’t bother to continue the explanation for the origins of Three-Finger, One-Eye, and Saw Tooth.

Truth be told, the Wrong Turn franchise hit the “for fans only” stage after the original, because I can’t imagine any outsiders going out of their way to take a chance on these films. Bloody Beginnings is a cheap and lazy straight-to-video horror film. If you’re looking for an endless amount of gross-out deaths, Wrong Turn 4 will give you everything you ask for and more. But I can’t ignore the bad directing, the incompetent cast, shallow characters, and one of the most generic screenplays ever.

Rating: 1/10

i'm a cm punk girl
01-04-2013, 11:57 AM
torque(2004)
http://img.movieberry.com/static/photos/1417/poster.jpg

I don't rate movies like most people due. If you would like to see cool bikes doing wild stunts, (yes, I know no human can in real life jump a steet bike off a train), a fun yet stupid plot, some hot chicks and guys (I'm into both lol), and just would like to escape from reality, watch it, it's a fun movie. I feel sorry for people who can't enjoy just having a good time and not wanting some deep meaning.

TLC
01-04-2013, 12:13 PM
Midnight In Paris

I don't have time for a full review but I thought I'd share my thoughts.

The film is about a nostalgic screenwriter/ wannabe author on holiday in Paris, who at midnight finds himself going back to the 1920's. I was skeptical about watching it at first as I'm not really a fan of Woody Allen but I absolutely loved the film. The idea itself is pretty original and I had a good time watching it. The film stars Owen Wilson as 'Gil' who is married to 'Inez' played my Rachel McAdams; the films also has a wide array of talented cast members such as Marion Cotillard, Michael Sheen, Adrien Brody and Tom Hiddleston. The film has some good acting, an admirable script, commendable direction and it had a certain charm to it which had me paying attention throughout.

TLC's Rating - ****

The 1-2-3 Killam
01-05-2013, 06:22 AM
Just a few things I saw in the last week I wanted to throw up on here with a quick review, just in case anybody is interested. Nothing major.

Django Unchained

Currently in contention for best film of 2012, along with Cabin in the Woods, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and Moonrise Kingdom. Quentin Tarrantino is a master of storytelling, and directs a surprisingly straight-forward quest; an aside from his usual body of slightly over-ambitious work. This review really deserves pages and pages of praise, but for now suffice it to say that everything was done to perfection, save for Quentin's self-indulgent cameo. Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel Jackson give the break-out performances, which is to be expected. Beautiful movie. Screw anybody - particularly Spike Lee - who thinks its racist and in poor taste.

Rating: A+

Skyfall

I'm a little late to the party, but I finally got around to seeing Skyfall. The James Bond films have always had a way of bringing class and sophistication to the secret agent, action/chase genre of storytelling. Daniel Craig continues to be the perfect Bond, while Sam Mendes gets to add another masterful note to his already stunning collection. Major props to the writers, for knowing when to pull the trigger - sometimes quite literally - on major angles that needed to happen for the sake of story progression in the next few films. Skyfall was bold and quite daring for a movie that would have sold itself no matter what, and should be placed among the all-time greatest Bond films; if not among the elite in its genre.

Rating: A

People Like Us

This film is getting a lot of mixed reviews from critics, but I have to say I quite enjoyed it. Chris Pine is one of the better upcoming actors, and it was great to see him branching out from the action thing, showing that he can do drama just as well. Elizabeth Banks was fantastic, as always, and I've been a huge fan of hers since her rather frustrating role in Scrubs (it should have been her, dammit!). Olivia Wilde was a nice addition, when she was actually involved, but her role was fairly limited. Michelle Pfeiffer is great, although at times she doesn't look old enough to be Chris Pine's mother; she is in reality, but it's crazy what make-up artists can do. It's also nice to see a drama that doesn't center around a love affair, however the romantic overtones that are present are done quite well. The other frustrating thing about People Like Us resides in its plot, in that there's a huge secret exposed at the very end, that the audience is privy to from the start. The secret being kept is what the film hinges on, but when you really think about, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for Pine's character to have kept it.

Rating: B

Darkshot77
01-05-2013, 10:50 AM
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Les Misérables (2012)

This is the first movie I saw in 2013, and honestly it has gotten my year off to a great start.

The Good:

Where do I begin. First there is the great cast. For a musical movie this film had the perfect balance of Big name Holly Wood stars, and accomplished Broadway Actors and Actresses. Every person cast in the film fit their rolls perfectly, even the lesser characters. For example, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter are play their rolls of the crooked and evil Thénardier and his equally crooked and evil wife, it seems as if they were meant for this roll. It felt less like watching Jackman play Jean Valjean, and more like watching Jean Valjean.

With the great cast comes the equally great singing. All the singing was done live during the shooting, and no lip-synching was done. This made for a very real, and musical like performance. I was blown away by the talent of Hugh Jackman and even Russell Crowe, who was considered one of the weaker singers, gave an outstanding performance.

The directors, writers, and composers all stuck as close to the musical as I have ever seen, sure some bits were cut here and there, a song added, and some lyrics changed, but it all worked and the message of Les Mis came across as intended. Everything worked together phenomenally and made for one of the best movies I have ever seen. Period.

The Bad:

The Camera. This took a while to get used to. During the normal parts of the movie the camera moved around fine, it was during the major musical numbers that things got crazy. In the ensemble numbers (most apparent in "One Day More") in a musical, you can see the entire cast singing on the stage, at the same time, even though they are in different places. In the movie the camera cut to a different location and person every few seconds to the viewer could see who was singing. This got crazy at times, but it would be ok if it was consistent. During the solo numbers there were almost no cut-aways. Now I can see where they were coming from. They kept the camera on the soloist so we could see their emotion. At the start of "I Dreamed a Dream" I was expecting a cut away but the camera remained static (not that it mattered I was so enthralled by the song I barely noticed, but I will get into that later). In short, was the cinematography a little weird at times, yes, but once I got used to the camera, it did not detract from my enjoying the movie.

The Amazing:

Anne Hathaway. If you need a reason to watch this move, watch it for her. Never before have a watched an actor, or actress' performance and thought, "Oscar worthy" But after watching her perform "I Dreamed a Dream" I was blown away. The song charted on Billboard for goodness sakes. There was so much emotion and feeling in the song that it could not be ignored. Her solo was easily the best part of the movie, and that is saying something. Whether critics loved, hated, or were indifferent to the film, all praised Hathaway many already awarding her the Oscar. It was unforgettable, simply amazing.

In closing: Musical Buff or otherwise, Les Misérables is not to be missed.

My Rating 10/10 But I love musicals especially Les Mis.

Rating for everyone else 8/10

The Shape
01-07-2013, 12:14 PM
Upside Down

http://i1133.photobucket.com/albums/m591/whistler5/UpsideDownposteroxe7com_zpsa7276506.jpg



In an alternate universe, Adam lives on a planet that shares dual gravity with another planet above. After losing his biological parents in a devastating explosion caused by an oil refinery from the upper world, Adam spends time at an orphanage before living with his aunt.

Adam’s bottom planet houses the poor and starved half of the population, but the rich and healthy half of the population lives on the upper planet. TransWorld, a corporation that employs citizens from both planets, is the only connection between both worlds. TransWorld controls the economy between both worlds, and selling unaffordable electricity to the bottom planet is an important factor for maintaining the separation between both planets.

Contact or intrusion between both worlds is strictly forbidden, and the Natural Law Police show no mercy towards defiance. Although, the citizens from the bottom planet CAN intrude into the upper world with the help of forbidden weights, or an illegal anti-gravity material, but this material has a short lifespan, and it burns quickly.

One day, a young Adam meets Eden at a boundary point on two mountains between both worlds. Adam builds a secret relationship with Eden, who lives in the upper world. As teenagers, Adam (Jim Sturgess) and Eden (Kirsten Dunst) continue their forbidden friendship, but an attack from a group of border patrolmen ends a routine meeting between the two. Adam tries to use a rope to return Eden to her world, but a border patrolmen shoots him in the arm, causing him to drop Eden. Eden crashes into the ground above, and she suffers a nasty head injury. Devastated, Adam returns home to see his aunt arrested by the Natural Law Police.

Ten years later, Adam is trying to finish a project that could change everything, a matter with pink bee pollen. Working through the kinks, Adam believes his new matter can withstand the gravitational pull from both worlds. But Adam needs more money and resources, so he decides to get a job at TransWorld. Although, Adam runs into an unexpected dilemma, when he spots Eden on a game show for the upper world. As a cover-up, Adam perfects his new matter into a beauty cream for TransWorld, but he can’t fight his desires to reunite with Eden. Adam is willing to risk everything to convince an amnesic Eden, while trying to outsmart his ruthless employers.

I don’t have any real complaints about the acting. Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunce provide two very solid performances, and Timothy Spall is decent enough as Bob (Adam‘s buddy at work). The cast is just fine, but the story….that’s a different problem.

Upside Down features grandiose set pieces, and extravagant, breathtaking scenery, but I can’t ignore Juan Diego Solanas’ shallow and predictable love story. You can see every twist and turn coming during Adam’s journey to recapture Eden’s heart. The love story slowly goes through the motions, and Eden’s sudden remembrance of her relatinoship with Adam raises too many “how is that possible?” questions. Seriously, Eden’s just laying around in her apartment, she has a random dream about her childhood with Adam, and then BAM! She instantly falls in love with him again? Initially, Solanas took his time building the reconnection between Adam and Eden, and establishing the two main characters as adults. But the ending was rushed and underdeveloped, and I just couldn’t buy into Eden’s miraculous recollection of the past.

Juan Diego Solanas’ weak screenplay is very disappointing, but I enjoyed his directing. Take a good look at the movie poster I posted above, because that’s what you’ll see for 90% of this film. Adjusting to Upside Down’s topsy-turvy landscape takes some time. In fact, you might experience feelings of nausea during the first fifteen or twenty minutes, but Solanas’ steady guidance really pulls everything together. Behind the camera, Solanas stays true to the story’s gravitational rules. When Jim sneaks into the upper world for the first time, he pees on the ceiling of a bathroom, as his anti-gravity material burns. And you’ll see a few inverted scenes, as Solanas shows both points of view from both worlds.

Upside Down is a frustrating film. A unique premise is squandered, because stunning visuals, and awe-inspiring backdrops can’t cover up the “been there, done that” storyline between Adam and Eden. Also, the obvious plot holes (mainly the big ones towards the end) constantly straggle into a giant mess, as the story progresses. It’s so irritating, because Upside Down could’ve been a great movie, but an average love story destroys any chances for supremacy.

Upside Down was released in 2012 for Russian and Canadian audiences. Upside Down should receive a US theatrical release date in March, and if I can find any showings near me, I might watch Upside Down on the big screen. The big screen won’t help the quality of this film, but I’m expecting a more extravagant experience from a theater showing. The big screen should enhance Upside Down’s visual wonderland, and it won’t happen, but Upside Down would be an ideal candidate for an IMAX release.

Rating: 3/10

The Shape
01-09-2013, 11:23 PM
Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)

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**SPOILERS**

In 1974, a mob in Newt, Texas corners the Sawyer family at their house. Led by Mayor Burt Hartman (Paul Rae), a mob of townspeople demand blood for the crimes of Jed Sawyer (or “Leatherface“). Sheriff Hooper (Thom Berry) tries to make a deal with the Sawyer family, that would secure Jed’s peaceful surrender. But Burt orders his mob to burn down the Sawyer house, killing most of the Sawyer family. Jed’s chainsaw is found in the charred rubble, but the mob can’t find Jed’s body.

The mob takes Jed’s chainsaw as a trophy prize to hang in the local tavern, but Gavin Miller (one of the townspeople) finds two members of the Sawyer family scared and by themselves. Loretta Sawyer (Dodie Brown) cradles her infant daughter, Edith, but Gavin murders Loretta, and he takes the baby for his infertile wife, Arlene. Edith’s name is changed to Heather, and the Miller’s raise her as their child.

Years later, Heather (Alexandra Daddario) is a grown woman, and she receives a letter about her gradnmother’s passing. In her will, Verna Carson (Heather’s grandmother) gives Heather a luxurious mansion in Newt, Texas, and Heather learns the truth about her “adoption” from the Millers. Heather decides to visit the mansion with her boyfriend, Ryan (Trey Songz), her best friend Nikki (Tania Raymonds), her boyfriend, Kenny (Keram Malicki-Sanchez), and in an exchange for a dropped lawsuit, the friends pick up a hitchhiker named Darryl (Shaun Sipos).

Upon arrival in Newt, Texas, Heather receives Verna’s final letter and the keys to the mansion from the Sawyer family’s lawyer, Farnsworth (Richard Riehle). Heather tries to grasp the sight the Sawyer family cemetery in the front yard, but she’ll have to deal with a bigger problem. Behind a secret door, Jed Sawyer (Dan Yeager) is living in the dank cellars beneath the mansion. Sheriff Hooper tries to derail the sinister plans of a bitter Mayor Hartman, as Jed embarks on another killing spree.

First of all, Texas Chainsaw 3D IS a remake. It’s not the only and first direct sequel to Tob Hooper’s 1974 classic. Tob Hooper directed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and here’s a DVD cover to prove it.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HJ1869MML.jpg

Sorry, but I just had to mention this. Texas Chainsaw 3D tries to ignore its predecessor with the “direct sequel” stuff, but you can’t just omit the existence of a film like it never happened. I have the same feelings about The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo 2011. They marketed the 2011 film as a direct adaptation of the novel, ignoring the 2009 Swedish film.

Anyway, Alexandra Daddario delivers the best performance in this film, easily. Raymonds is just eye candy, and director John Luessenhop is obsessed with constant close-up shots of her ass. Trey Songz is just there, and Malicki-Sanchez doesn’t last long. Rae is a believable loud-mouthed and rambunctious redneck, and Thom Berry is decent enough as Sheriff Hooper.

Now on to Leatherface. Jed has his moments as an intimidating chainsaw wielding maniac. His cross-dressing habit is bizarre (for obvious reasons), but Jed is still a ruthless and cold-hearted killer looking for revenge. Thomas Hewitt (Leatherface in the 2003 remake and The Beginning) is still my pick for the most intimidating Leatherface. Andrew Bryniarski (Hewitt) embodied the presence of an unstoppable killing machine, but Dan Yeager provides some hope for future installments in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. Plus, Yeager probably did some research (i.e. watching other Massacre films) for his character, because he really nailed Leatherface’s clunky style of running.

The 3D effects were impressive, Texas Chainsaw 3D is loaded with bloody and gruesome gore, and I enjoyed John Luessenhop’s usage of footage from the 1974 original. Luessenhop shows actual footage from the 1974 original during the intro, and then he makes the transition to the present setting of Texas Chainsaw 3D. Clever trick, and I appreciated the extra effort.

With all that said, don’t get your hopes up for anything special in this film. With the exception of Heather’s decision at the end (more on that later), Texas Chainsaw 3D is a just a mindless slasher film, nothing less, nothing more. They pulled out every horror cliché imaginable for this film. As she runs from Leatherface’s attack, Heather trips and falls down twice. As the friends try to escape Leatherface, Ryan runs into some trouble, when the hippie van won’t start.

And they just had to throw in this stupid “search the house” scene towards the end. One of Sheriff Hooper’s deputies is searching the Sawyer mansion. He’s armed with one gun, a flashlight, and he uses his cell phone as live look-in camera for Sheriff Hooper and Mayor Hartman. The deputy is walking though the mansion ALONE, and he follows a long trail of blood to Leatherface’s cellar. He discovers Leatherface’s den of body parts and blood, BUT he never takes the numerous chances to safely leave the mansion, and of course Leatherface murders him in cold-blood, and he decides to use his face as a new mask. Ugh.

The slasher blueprint for Texas Chainsaw 3D is very predictable, but Heather’s SHOCKING decision at the end is a different story. So after narrowly escaping Leatherface’s attack at the town carnival, Heather is sitting in the Newt police station for protection, and Sheriff Hooper leaves a box of evidence from the Sawyer family murders on the table. Heather learns the truth about the Sawyer massacre, and the townspeople’s assault on her family. Oh, and Leatherface is her cousin.

Heather sneaks out of the police station, but she’s picked up by Deputy Carl. Throughout the film, Heather forms a friendly relationship with Carl…..until Carl reveals himself as Burt’s son. Carl isn’t trying to help Heather. He’s kidnapping her, and Carl is taking Heather to the local slaughterhouse. In an attempt to destroy the Sawyer bloodline once and for all, Burt plans on torturing and murdering Heather, and when he shows up, Burt will finish off Leatherface. Heather is tied-up and helpless, but Jed uses his chainsaw to free Heather. And as Sheriff Hooper gives the green light, Jed murders Burt.

Heather finally reads her grandmother’s last letter, and she learns about the strings attached to her new mansion: Heather must take care of Leatherface, and keep him hidden from the outside world.

Of course, a handful of horror aficionados are creaming themselves over Leatherface’s anti-hero status in this film. I’ll give Texas Chainsaw 3D some credit for this bold move. It was an unexpected twist, and I laughed myself into tears, when Heather shouted “do your thing cuz!” as she gave him the chainsaw in the slaughterhouse. But where are they’re going to go now? The Heather character fully embraced her Sawyer heritage towards the end, and she agreed to take care of her cousin Jed, but can Heather really trust Jed? What’s going to stop him from losing his cool, and slicing Heather in half with his chainsaw? Plus, Heather keeping Leatherface a secret is easier said than done. The people of Newt are aware of his presence, and there’s only ONE place, where he could hide from the world. Is Heather capable of fighting off an entire town to protect her cousin? I doubt it.

Storyline wise, the anti-hero twist could be a disastrous hurdle for the future, but after thinking it over, I’ve settled into the “let’s see where it goes” mind set.

Texas Chainsaw 3D is trash, but it’s fun trash. You’ll see plenty of “don’t go in there!” or “don’t do that!” moments in this film, and the cheesy one-liners (“WELCOME TO TEXAS MOTHERFUCKER!”) might bring a few cheap laughs out of you. Horror fans, who love gruesome gore and sickening deaths should enjoy this, and Texas Chainsaw 3D is my first guilty pleasure of 2013. Also, Gunner Hansen (the original Leatherface) has a cameo in this film, but I didn’t notice him.

Rating: 5/10

The Shape
01-11-2013, 05:15 PM
The Faculty (1998)

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As aliens take over their high school, a group of teens form an unlikely alliance. Casey (Elijah Wood), Stokely (Clea DuVall), Stan (Shawn Hatosy), Marybeth (Laura Harris), Delilah (Jordana Brewster), and Zeke (Josh Hartnett) team up to stop the alien invasion and save the world. Zeke’s Scat, a diuretic/hallucinogenic drug is the only surefire weapon capable of killing the amphibious aliens. But the teens run into some trouble, as they struggle to find the leader (or queen) of the alien invasion, and they’re forced to fight off the crafty alien football coach, Joe Willis (Robert Patrick) and the rest of the possessed staff at school.

The cast is full of high school sterotypes. Casey is the shy and soft-spoken nerd, Stokely is the gothic outcast, and Zeke is the bad boy. And you can’t forget about Delilah, the narcissistic bitch, Stan, the popular high school quarterback, and Marybeth, the cheery and friendly “new kid.” Although, to be fair, the Stan character wanted to erase his reputation as the glorified high school quarterback during the early stages of this film. But after the final battle with the aliens, the main characters realize their mistakes in life, and they change their personalities for the better, starting a new path.

Everyone provides the perfect parody performance for their characters. I’d give the edge to Hartnett and Wood for the stand-out stars in this cast, and Robert Patrick is hilarious as the hard-ass football coach. Plus, Famke Janssen (Miss Elizabeth) is spot on, as Zeke’s insecure and nervous punching bag, and they don’t last long, but Jon Stewart and Salma Hayek have a few funny moments. My only complaint from this cast is a young Usher Raymond. He’s just terrible, and his atrocious pretty boy act is painful to watch.

Desperado was my first Robert Rodriguez film, and From Dusk Till Dawn will always be my favorite Rodriguez film, but The Faculty still holds a special place in my heart as a childhood favorite. The special effects are kind of tacky, but Rodriguez provides a handful of genuine gross-out moments. The gore isn’t too tamed, and it’s not too gruesome, it’s just right. The gross-out moments are guaranteed to pull a reaction out of you, and of course, Rodriguez takes a more extreme approach to blood and gore (i.e. Sin City, Planet Terror) in his films now a days.

The Faculty has a nice balance of humor and disgusting violence (or nauseating alien transformations), and each scene provides a good example of both:

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The Faculty is a fun sci-fi/horror film, and I can’t believe it took me this long to buy it on DVD. Yes, the clichéd “group of unlikely allies banding together to destroy a great evil power” storyline isn’t something new, and the popular kids vs the outcasts is a recycled feud in many different forms of media. But The Faculty never strives for perfection, or the status of a groundbreaking entry in the sci-fi/horror genre. It’s a romp of stylish violence and cheesy comedy, and the cast (minus Usher) is just excellent.

Plus, I always enjoy the references to older sci-fi films ( The Thing, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, etc.), and The Faculty does a fantastic job of paying homage to the old school classics. Kevin Williamson’s (the writer for this film) screenplay has its moments as a “remember that?” wink to sci-fi/horror fans, and for me, The Faculty has an endless amount of rewatch value.

Rating: 8/10

The Shape
01-19-2013, 12:43 AM
Case 39 (2010)

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Social worker Emily Jenkins (Renee Zellweger) receives an assignment that will change her life forever. Emily is assigned to the case of ten year-old Liliahna Sullivan (Jodelle Micah Ferland). Liliahna’s (or “Lillith”) bad grades and awkward behavior raise some suspicious questions, and after the first visit with Liliahna’s parents, Emily suspects child abuse. Liliahna’s mother refuses to cooperate, and Liliahna’s father won’t speak to Emily directly. Instead, his wife relays his whispered messages to Emily. Determined to help Liliahna, Emily keeps a close eye on her case, and after receiving a frightened phone call from Liliahna one night, Emily rushes to Liliahna’s house. With the help of her friend and detective Mike Barron (Ian McShane), Emily breaks into the Sullivan’s house after hearing Liliahna’s screams. Mike and Emily rescue Liliahna from a torturous death, because Liliahna’s parents planned to cook her alive by trapping their only child in an oven.

Liliahna’s parents are sent to separate mental hospitals, and Emily risks her reputation and job security by adopting Liliahna. But Emily questions Liliahna’s motives after two bizarre and mysterious deaths. Douglas J. Ames (Bradley Cooper) is a psychiatrist and he’s Emily‘s close friend, and after Liliahna’s routine evaluation, Douglas is visibly shaken by Liliahna’s peculiar questions. Liliahna’s devious behavior frightens Emily, so she decides to visit her father at the mental hospital for more answers. Here, Liliahna’s father reveals Liliahna’s shocking secret: Liliahna is a demon, who preys on vulnerable people, and if she doesn’t get her way, she will kill her victims.

I never understood the hype behind Renee Zellweger, but she delivers a good performance in this film. Zellweger really shines towards the end, as the Emily character realizes she made a mistake adopting Liliahna, and Zelleweger’s nervous breakdown act is just fantastic. Cooper is believable in the “caring friend” role, and McShane was the perfect choice for the hard-ass detective persona. And I can’t forget about Jodelle Micah Ferland. Ferland’s innocence as the helpless child is spot on, and she really nailed the devious and delightfully evil side of Liliahna’s personality.

I know I’m in the minority, but I LOVED Case 39. At first, it’s a heartwrenching story of a young girl, who suffers abuse from her parents. But Case 39 slowly develops into a spooky demonic thriller, as Emily struggles to come up with a plan to get rid of Liliahna. Plus, Case 39 provides a few squirming gross-out scenes and deaths. Bradley Cooper’s hornet infestation scene in the bathroom was unreal, and it’s an easy pick for my favorite sickening moment in this film.

With all that said, I can see why a lot of critics and movie fans trashed this film. The story is kind of generic, BUT at the same time, I think the generic criticisms are somewhat overexaggerated. Case 39 features some good twists and turns, and you’re a lying sack of shit, if you “predicted” the ending (I’ve seen this in other places). There’s NO WAY anyone could’ve predicted Emily’s decision at the end step by step. It’s just impossible. If you’re just burnt out on the “creepy demonic child reeking havoc” stuff, then I can understand that. But when you pull the “I could see everything coming” card, you just sound like one of those pretentious “it’s insulting to my intelligence” douchebags.

Case 39 delivers a few good jump scares, and I was hooked into the suspenseful turmoil of Liliahna’s diabolical attacks. I admired Christian Alvart’s stylish and precise directing, and his crafty guidance enhances Case 39's tense and eerie atmosphere. Renee Zellweger and Jodelle Micah Ferland provide strong performances, and the supporting cast is solid. Case 39 isn’t perfect, but on the flipside, it’s not an abomination of epic proportions.

Rating: 7/10

The Shape
01-21-2013, 12:40 AM
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

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On Christmas Eve in 1971, a young Billy Chapman visits his demented grandfather in a mental hospital. After the doctor insists on having a word in private with Billy’s parents, his mother, father, and infant brother Ricky leave him alone. Suddenly, Grandpa Chapman (Will Hare) delivers an ominous warning about Santa Claus’ methods of punishment for naughty children.

Frightened, Billy leaves with his family, but the Chapman’s receive an unexpected surprise during the nighttime ride home. A man dressed in a Santa Claus’ suit is standing in front of a red car with the hood up, as he signals the Chapman’s for help. But “Santa” is carrying a gun, and as Billy’s father tries to drive away, Santa shoots him in the head, killing him. Billy’s mother tries to escape, but Santa catches her. After an attempted rape, Santa slits Mrs. Chapman’s throat, killing her. Billy hides in the nearby woods, as his baby brother continues to scream and cry.

In 1974, Billy and Ricky are still trying to adjust to life at St. Mary’s Orphanage. But Billy is haunted by flashbacks of his parent’s death, and he slowly develops a deep, seething hatred for Christmas and Santa Claus. Sister Margaret (Gilmer McCormik) tries to provide comfort for Billy, but the strict and domineering Mother Superior (Lilyan Chauvin) won’t tolerate any disobedience or unruly behavior. Billy is constantly beaten and tormented by Mother Superior, and after attacking the orphanage's Santa Claus on Christmas Day, Billy receives another savage beating from Mother Superior.

As an eighteen year-old man in 1984, Billy (Robert Brian Wilson) receives a stocking job at Ira’s Toys (a local toy store) with help of Mother Superior and Sister Margaret. Ricky is still under the care of the other nuns and Mother Superior at the orphanage, and with the exception of his pushy superior Andy, Billy doesn’t encounter any major problems.

But when the store Santa Claus is forced to call in sick, Billy steps into the role of Jolly Old St. Nick. Billy experiences more flashbacks of his parent’s murders, and things get out of control during the store’s annual Christmas party. Drunk, angry, and confused, Billy accidentally witnesses his only crush and co-worker, Pamela with Andy in the stockroom. With Billy’s help, Pamela narrowly escapes Andy’s attack, but witnessing another attempted rape triggers Billy’s flashbacks. Billy kills Andy and Pamela, murders the store manager, and as she tries to call 911, Billy murders the assistant store manager.

Armed with an axe, and a bloody taste for revenge, Billy (or Santa) sets out on a killing spree to punish the naughty people on Christmas Eve, and his mission isn‘t over until he achieves one final goal on Christmas Day: Billy is determined to return to the orphanage, and murder Mother Superior.

The two kids, who portray Billy as a kid are solid, but I'd give the edge to Danny Wagner (8 year-old Billy) for the better performance. Robert Brian Wilson’s hammy performance as the murderous Santa is entertaining. Wilson is over the top during his killing spree, and his evil grin is just perfect. You’ll only see him in the beginning, but Will Hare’s kooky “Santa’s gonna get you!“ act is good for a few cheap laughs. Lilyan Chauvin really nails the ice-cold bitch persona, and McCormik is believable as the caring and understanding nun. And for the most part, the women in this film are just eye candy.

And speaking of eye candy, the lovely scream queen of the 80’s, Linnea Quigley takes the cake here. For me, Quigley is an easy pick for the front and center spot for Silent Night, Deadly Night’s most grisly image. She’s the half naked woman, who suffers the brutal death of being shoved through the antlers of a deer head mount. And speaking of Quigley, the Denise (Quigley) character’s nonsensical actions in this film really irritate me. First, for some asinine reason, Denise feels the need to let the family cat inside the house in the middle of the night. She has the wherewithal to put on jean shorts, but at the same time, she goes outside into the freezing cold night topless? Then, after the cat runs inside the house, she leaves the door open, Billy shows up, and murders her? Sorry, but for YEARS this has been my one big pet peeve for Silent Night, Deadly Night, and everything surrounding Denise’s death just annoys the shit out of me.

Too much controversy surrounded this film in 1984, and after all the protests, and condemning reviews from critics, Silent Night, Deadly Night was pulled from theaters. It outdrew the original Nightmare On Elm Street film at the box office during the opening weekend, but Santa killing people on Christmas crossed too many lines in 1984, and Silent Night, Deadly Night wouldn’t see theaters again until a few years later, after the uproar settled down of course. The new distributor (Aquarius Films) wanted to capitalize on the controversy, but they re-released a watered-down and heavily edited version of the film to fans of the original.

The uncut DVD version (not sure if they have a Blu-Ray or not) features more blood and gore. But the re-editing causes poor picture quality for some scenes. It’s not a big problem, but it’s noticeable. Anyway, the unrated versions (one released as a singles DVD years ago, one released with the second film as a two-pack, and to help push the remake, the two-pack with the unrated original and the second film was re-released in December under Anchor Bay, I think). Anyway, you can see the differences between the edited versions and the unrated version, but PLEASE don’t buy into the promise of “gratuitous nudity and sex” on the box covers. Trust me, it’s nothing outrageous or shocking. Hell, if anything, the sex and nudity in the unrated version is pretty tamed.

Silent Night, Deadly Night is a cheesy and over the top 80’s slasher. It’s mindless fun, and it’s one of my favorite Christmas horror films. Although, WITHOUT the Christmas theme, Silent Night, Deadly Night would just be another ordinary 80’s slasher. And more importantly, Silent Night, Deadly Night is remembered for sparking controversy, because the special effects are sub-par, the directing is okay at best, and this film is good for some cheap laughs, but at the same time, the writing is very pedestrian and corny. Silent Night, Deadly Night is a good guilty pleasure, but a good amount of Silent Night fans praise this film as a horror masterpiece, and it’s kind of annoying.

Rating: 6/10

The Shape
01-26-2013, 12:27 AM
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)

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**SPOILERS**


Following the events of Silent Night, Deadly Night, Billy Chapman is dead after taking a series of gunshots to the back at St. Mary‘s Orphanage. But the sight of his dead brother’s body was too much handle, so as a child, Ricky issued a deadly warning to Mother Superior by placing her on his “naughty” list.

Billy failed in his mission to kill Mother Superior, but Billy’s attack forced the closure of St. Mary’s Orphanage. Bound to a wheelchair, Mother Superior (Jean Miller) is retired and recovering from a stroke, and with the help of Sister Mary (Nadya Wynd), Ricky found a foster family. The Rosenbergs embraced Ricky as their own child, but Ricky still experienced flashbacks from his traumatic childhood.

Heartbroken over his stepfather’s death as a teenager, Ricky tries to fight through the depression, but after witnessing an attempted rape, Ricky embarks on a brutal killing spree. But Ricky runs out of luck after murdering his girlfriend Jennifer (Elizabeth Kaitan), her ex-boyfriend Chip (Ken Weichert), and other innocent bystanders. During the standoff with the police, Ricky tries to commit suicide, but he runs out of bullets.

As an eighteen year-old man, Ricky’s (Eric Freeman) last name is changed to Caldwell, and he’s a patient at a mental hospital. One day, Ricky receives a tape recorded evaluation from Dr. Henry Bloom (James L. Newman). Ricky already angered other psychiatrists, so after failing numerous evaluations, Dr. Bloom becomes Ricky’s last chance to avoid a trip to the electric chair. But as Ricky recalls his troubled childhood and murders as a teenager, Dr. Bloom slowly shows signs of fear after each story. Ricky takes advantage of Dr. Bloom’s fear, murders him, and Ricky escapes the hospital.

Ricky finds a Salvation Army-like Santa Claus, murders him, steals his suit, and Ricky plans to follow in his brother’s footsteps. Picking up where Billy left off, Ricky plans to take his axe to the retired Mother Superior’s home, and finish his brother’s mission.

Eric Freeman’s Ricky is more devious than Robert Brian Wilson’s Billy. Billy was someone, who snapped, AND he showed remorse during his final moments. Billy’s innocence was believable, because his character was victimized and tormented, but Ricky’s a different story. Mother Superior was nice to Ricky. Ricky had a girlfriend, who cared about him, and The Rosenburgs loved him as a child and a teenager. But Ricky chose his path as a sadistic asshole. He enjoyed killing people, and he embraced the murdering psycho inside of him. With all that said, I enjoyed Eric Freeman’s Ricky more than Wilson’s Billy. Yes, Freeman is hammy, but his dark side is more creepy, in a comical way of course.

Also, they added another layer to the Chapman Brother’s traumatic triggers here. In Part I, Billy’s flashbacks from St. Mary’s Orphanage and his parent’s murders trigger his killing sprees. In Part II, Ricky’s rage is triggered by flashbacks from the same events, but the color red and nuns also play an important factor in causing his tirades.

Unfortunately, my praises for this film stop with Freeman. Kaitan is just eye candy, and Newman is solid enough, but the constant flashbacks (more on that later) kill any chances of momentum for his character. Sister Mary is a caring character, but she can’t measure up to Gilmer McComrik’s Sister Margaret.

And they changed the actress, who portrayed Mother Superior! Miller’s crabby and feeble old lady act is painful to watch. Yes, I understand Mother Superior had a stroke, but Lilyan Chauvin was irreplaceable, because she MADE the Mother Superior character. They tried to use the stroke, and awful, distracting deformed skin make-up to justify Mother Superior’s new personality, but fuck, if they couldn’t get Chauvin to reprise her role, then they should’ve just killed off the Mother Superior character altogether. Superior is the main target for Billy and Ricky. She’s the reason why they went on the killing sprees in the first place. You can’t use an underwhelming replacement for such an important character, and try to pass her off as the same person in the original. Superior ‘87 is a major problem, and I usually cringe or face palm before her first appearance, because Superior’s presence just KILLS the final climax in this film.

Flashbacks are okay, if you just use a few CLIPS here and there, but Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 literally replays entire scenes from the original. As Ricky retells his story to Dr. Bloom, the story shifts back to Part I, showing select scenes in their entirety (Santa murdering Billy & Ricky’s parents, Billy’s tirades, Billy’s abuse at the orphanage, the ending, etc.). This style of storytelling is just lazy, and it kills all of the momentum for the present story. Yeah, they play flashback footage from the present storyline, but you won’t see it until the forty minute mark. And everything feels so rushed and underdeveloped, when they finally make the transition to Ricky’s escape at the very end. It feels like you’re watching two movies in one, and the constant back and forth shifts to present and past straggle into a giant clustered mess.

I try to stay in suspension of disbelief mode for movies, but Silent Night Part 2 pushes everything too far. SOMEHOW Ricky has vivid memories of his parent’s deaths? Really? How? He was a baby when it all happened. Plus, Ricky was strapped to seat in the car as a baby, and the Santa murdered his mother outside, so he couldn’t see anything. Ricky explains how Billy told him the story of his parent’s murders, but still, I have a hard time buying into an eighteen year-old vividly remembering a tragedy as an infant. They tried to recreate the “flashbacks trigger a tirade” effect with Ricky, but Ricky recalling the tragedies from his childhood was just too far fetched for my taste.

Also, before he reaches the age of eighteen, Ricky is strolling through the woods one day, and he accidentally witnesses a couple having a picnic. The boyfriend tries to rape his girlfriend, but Ricky jumps inside his red jeep, and he runs him over, killing the boyfriend. Umm, why was this necessary? Did they really have to stretch things so far to include a random attempted rape scene to maintain continuity from the first film?

So Ricky EASILY kills Dr. Bloom, and escapes the mental hospital? Umm, if killing psychiatrists and strolling out of the mental hospital is SO easy, then why didn’t Ricky kill one of the psychiatrists before Bloom? I’m suppose to believe Ricky just decided to kill the last psychiatrist out of the blue? No. Just no.

Ruining the big climax/final showdown with a replacement Mother Superior was bad enough, and Superior’s decapitation just made everything worse. Ricky chops off her head with an axe, but when the cops and Sister Mary arrive at her house, Superior’s body is still in the wheelchair……until Sister Mary’s slight touch causes her head to fall off. AND when the head falls off, you can clearly see signs of a prosthetic dummy head. Ugh, I always roll my eyes at this moment. Unbelievable, just unfuckingbelievable.

Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 is mostly remembered for Ricky’s famous “GARBAGE DAY!” outburst during the wild killing spree towards the end. It’s become a popular and well-known meme over the years, and here’s a pic:

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But Part 2 is still a terrible film. Freeman’s nutty raging lunatic act is hilarious, but in good conscience, I can’t give this film a positive score. I just can’t.

Rating: 2/10

dukes07
01-26-2013, 12:49 AM
Thanks Sheriff! I forgot about the Faculty, I saw it in the theaters years ago. I need to check it out. I am on a horror kick as I explained in another thread, living in my in-laws basement due to flooding....great atmosphere for it. I am watching newer ones as I have seen most of the older ones:

I have seen:

Sinister, PA4, the Bay, Descent and Insidious....Sinister really stood out. Watching American Horror Story now.

Keep up the reviews and if you have any good ideas for horror please post.

The Shape
01-26-2013, 06:04 PM
Thanks Sheriff! I forgot about the Faculty, I saw it in the theaters years ago. I need to check it out. I am on a horror kick as I explained in another thread, living in my in-laws basement due to flooding....great atmosphere for it. I am watching newer ones as I have seen most of the older ones:

I have seen:

Sinister, PA4, the Bay, Descent and Insidious....Sinister really stood out. Watching American Horror Story now.

Keep up the reviews and if you have any good ideas for horror please post.

As far as horror goes, besides Texas Chainsaw 3D, I haven't seen any other 2013 horror films. 28 Weeks Later is phenomenal, Piranha 3D is mindless fun, Silent House 2012 (still haven't seen the Spanish original), The Cabin In The Woods is a must-see, and the first few Saw films are pretty good, but the series dives into a mess of shit after the third film.

I'm watching Livide or Livid now (a French horror flick), and if you're into vampire flicks, you should give it a try. I also plan on watching The Bay pretty soon. It looks good, but I usually hate found-footage films.

Also which American Horror Story? Season 1 or Asylum season 2? I enjoyed the first season more than the first. For me, season 2 was on a roll until they decided to kill off two characters:

Dr. Arden and Sister Mary Eunice

After that, the show just became a massive clusterfuck of plot twists and SHOCKING SURPRISES. Thankfully, Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson made it all the way to the end, and Kit Walker is one of the most uninteresting characters ever.

The Shape
01-27-2013, 12:26 AM
Livid/Livide (2011)

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**SPOILERS**

Lucie (Chloe Coulloud) is starting her first day of training for a house nurse job. Mrs. Wilson (Catherine Jacob) trains Lucie, and after giving a simple shot, Lucie starts to gain some confidence. But things change, when Mrs. Wilson makes the final stop on Lucie’s first day tour. In a rustic mansion, Deborah Jessel (Marie-Claude Pietragalla) is still in a coma. Forced to rely on a respirator machine, Deborah is an elderly woman, who’s alone, and she’s a former ballet teacher. According to Mrs. Wilson, Deborah’s daughter, Anna (Chloe Marcq) died at a young age, and Mrs. Wilson’s folktale of Deborah’s rumored buried treasure catches Lucie’s attention.

Lucie tells her boyfriend, Will (Felix Moati) about Deborah Jessel’s buried treasure, and Will comes up with a plan to steal it. Lucie refuses to participate in Will’s planned heist at first, but Lucie’s father continues to show no remorse for her mother’s death, and her father’s infatuation with a new girlfriend sickens Lucie. Stealing the treasure could provide a better life for Lucie and Will, and the treasure would give Lucie the ticket of freedom from her father, so she agrees to lead Will’s heist.

On Halloween night, Lucie, Will, and their friend, Ben (Jeremy Kapone) team up to steal the treasure from Deborah’s mansion. But when they finally break-in, a series of strange events complicates the planned heist. Deborah disappears, and the friends learn a shocking secret after they find Anna’s preserved corpse: the Jessel’s are vampires, and instead of finding treasure, Lucie, Will, and Ben unknowingly stumbled into a deadly trap.

Kapone and Moati deliver a pair of decent performances, but the women steal the show here. Coulloud is a solid leading lady, and Jacob adds a spark to her deceitful character. Pietragalla is a very convincing cold-hearted and ruthless bitch in Deborah’s flashbacks as a ballet instructor and mother. Plus, she’s more menacing and evil during the present storyline, and the creepy make-up really pulls the withered vampire look together. And she doesn’t speak one word in this film, but Chloe Marcq did a wonderful job of using body language and robotic-like movements (her dance scene on the life-sized ballerina music box is unreal) to express her emotions.

So Lucie, Will, and Ben are trying to find treasure. Well, they found a treasure, but it’s not the type of treasure they hoped for, because Jessel’s mummified daughter is her greatest treasure. That’s right, a giant key around Deborah’s neck activates Anna’s life-sized music box, and of course, Anna awakes from her deep sleep after one turn of the key. Yeah, it might sound like a corny twist to most people, but I really enjoyed it. After discovering Anna’s music box, the devastated “what the fuck are we going to do now???” reaction from Will was just priceless.

They were so sure about the key. It was going to unlock the treasure, and once they found the treasure, Lucie, Will, and Ben wouldn’t have to worry about money for the rest of their lives. But they didn’t find money, gold bars, or jewels. It’s a genuinely surprising twist, and you can feel the panic and devastation from Lucie, Will, and Ben.

I enjoyed Livid, but this film has a few annoying question marks. During a flashback, Anna attacks and kills one her of mother’s ballet students by drinking her blood. She runs outside during the daytime heat, and of course, vampires and sunlight don’t mix. Anna is burned by the sun, but Deborah doesn’t suffer any damage, when she goes out to drag her daughter inside the mansion?

During the heist at Deborah’s mansion, Ben is teleported into a secluded room. Here, Ben suffers a brutal and fatal beating from three zombie-like bridesmaids or ballerinas (I‘m not sure), who suddenly appear out of nowhere? Where did the women come from? Who are they working for? Are they zombies or vampires? I know this sounds like a nitpicky complaint, but Ben’s beating is one of the many “huh?” moments in this film.

At the very end, Lucie kills Deborah with Anna’s help. Anna and Lucie walk out into the morning, and the sunlight doesn’t burn Anna? Okay, earlier in the film, Anna suffers some nasty burns from the sunlight, but at the end, she walks out into the sunlight, and NOTHING happens? But it’s not over yet. Lucie and Anna walk to the edge of a cliff, while holding hands. Anna lets go of Lucie’s hand in an attempt to commit suicide, but instead, Anna literally flies towards the sun? And the sun HEALS her burn wounds! I already reached the point of questioning Livid’s logic at the halfway mark, but this was just ridiculous.

Also, during the ending, they show an outside shot of the mansion during the night. And Deborah's mansion apparently jumps into some alternate universe at night? Seriously? What’s the point here? I’m guessing the alternate reality stuff is suppose tie up the loose ends for Lucie, Will, and Ben not being able to escape the house at night. BUT, if that’s the explanation, then breaking in should’ve been impossible, right?

But with all that said, Livid was an enjoyable horror film for me. Some people will just see a pretentious art house bore, but Livid provides a nice mix of fantasy and horror. The nighttime scenes at the mansion are loaded with some excellent tension, and Livid features a good amount of bloody and disgusting gore.

Yeah, the ending is romanticized, over the top, and kind of silly. Plus, Lucie, Will, and Ben’s reasoning behind stealing the treasure is cliched. Lucie is broke, and still living at home with her father. Will hates his life as a poor fisherman, and his overbearing father/boss won‘t tolerate any slacking. Ben is a waiter for Will’s mom (she owns a bar/restaurant), and the “we want a better life” from rags to riches story has been done to death. But Livid still packs a powerful punch. It starts out slow, and you’ll have to follow the subtitles (Livid is a French language film), but once Livid kicked into high gear, I couldn’t pull myself away from the screen.

And I can’t forget about Livid’s Halloween nod! Before they make the trip to Deborah’s house, Will spots a group of trick-or-treaters wearing Halloween masks, and Will said “happy, happy, Halloween, Silver Shamrock!” This one line pays homage to Halloween III: Season Of The Witch. Silver Shamrock is the name of Conal Cochran’s (the main villain) evil mask company in Halloween 3, and Will’s line of dialogue is used in the Silver Shamrock Halloween commercials. It’s a great geek-out moment for any Halloween fan, and I loved it.

Rating: 7/10

i'm a cm punk girl
01-28-2013, 02:00 PM
Looper- good movie, I liked how the story made me go back and forth between the two main characters, which Joe is the bad guy? who's right and who's wrong? things like that. It is a good thing the movie came out before the CT shootings, considering what one of the films plot details include.

Taken 2- okay but nowhere as good as the first

Total Recall- decent, i haven't seen the original in years so i'm not gonna compare the two but I liked this remake

Killer Joe- didn't like it, other than some nice nudity from Juno temple this movie sucked

The House at the End of the Street- the title of this movie should have been Look at Jennifer Lawrence's awesome tits because thats the only thing that was the least bit interesting in this movie.

D-Man
01-28-2013, 02:13 PM
End of Watch

http://www.impawards.com/2012/posters/end_of_watch_ver3.jpg

I'm not one to write mile-long reviews so I'll try to keep it short and sweet.

This movie is basically about two beat cops in Los Angeles doing their daily duties and making routine busts while trying to exceed their call of duty and become the best cops on the beat.

Jake Gyllenhaal's character is a cop who constantly carries around a handheld, digital video camera and likes to document his daily duties. Michael Pena is Gyllenhaal's partner. His relationship with Jake is that of best friends and partners until the end. Pena'a character is a father-to-be who married his high school sweetheart.

Both he and Gyllenhaal spend the majority of the movie on various busts. The majority of the film is from the vantage point of Gyllenhaal's handheld camera and, as we all learned from movies such as Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project, this can make for some suspenseful moments during a movie. The vantage points and suspenseful storyline really makes this the type of movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The thing I didn't like about the movie was its ending. It was completely unexpected but left me very cold and sad. Not many movies have done this to me in the past and I'm not sure how I feel about it. But it's definitely a movie I will not soon forget.

I would recommend seeing this movie. But prepare yourselves.

The Shape
02-06-2013, 12:34 AM
Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! (1989)

http://www.jeffco.ca/chrspecials/wp-content/gallery/covers/silent-night-deadly-night-3.jpg

**SPOILERS**

Six years after the events of Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2, Ricky Caldwell (Bill Moseley) is still in a coma. Ricky was presumed dead after the gunshot wounds, but Dr. Newbury (Richard Beymer) surgically reconstructed Ricky’s deformed brain. Dr. Newbury and his assistant revived basic functions with a machine attached to Ricky’s head, but Newbury wanted more.

Dr. Newbury developed an obsession for Ricky, so in an attempt to bring him back to the real world, Dr. Newbury began conducting a series of experiments with a psychic. With the help of some persistent goading from Dr. Newbury, Laura Anderson (Samantha Scully), a blind clairvoyant, reluctantly uses her powers to form a connection with the comatose Ricky. Laura is frightened by Ricky’s childhood memories, and after a series of lifelike nightmares, where Ricky hunts Laura as his primary victim, Laura contemplates leaving Dr. Newbury’s mission to study Ricky.

On Christmas Eve, Laura, her brother Chris (Eric Da Re), and his new girlfriend, Jerri (Laura Harring) take the annual trip to their grandmother’s house for Christmas Day. Meanwhile, Ricky is taunted by the hospital’s sleazy Santa Claus. Santa triggers a reaction from Ricky, and once Ricky awakes from his coma, he brutally murders the Santa Claus. In the lobby, Ricky notices the receptionist’s red flower pin, steals her letter opener, and Ricky uses the letter opener to murder the receptionist. Eventually, Ricky hitchhikes a ride, but the driver shows Ricky his hand knitted red Christmas sweater. After murdering the driver and stealing his clothes, Ricky decides to pay a visit to Laura’s grandmother.

Laura is still haunted by Ricky’s childhood memories, and during Dr. Newbury’s experiments, Laura unknowingly developed a telekinetic connection with Ricky. Dr. Newbury teams up with Lt. Connely (Robert Culp) to stop Ricky, but Newbury will do everything in his power to take Ricky alive. Laura, Chris, and Jerri arrive at Granny Anderson’s (Elizabeth Hoffman) house, but Granny’s unusual disappearance creates an unsettling Christmas Eve atmosphere. Ricky is waiting for the right moment, and things take a turn for the worst, when Chris’ red jeep disappears……..

Technically, Ricky is the main character in this film, but the story revolves around Laura, and I give the nod to Scully for the best performance in this film. Scully showcases her eardrum, shattering shrieking skills throughout this film, and she’s believable as the sympathetic victim. Moseley is mostly known for his role in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and more recently, Texas Chainsaw 3D. Also, Moseley worked with Rob Zombie in the past (House Of 1,000 Corpses & The Devil’s Rejects). The replacement Mother Superior in Part 2 annoys me, but Ricky is brain-dead in this film, so you can’t expect any familiar characteristics from Billy’s brother here. Moseley’s dialogue is mostly limited to slow whispers of “Laura,” and it might work for some people, but I can’t buy into Moseley’s silent and zombified deadly killer act. It’s not his fault, though. I blame that fucking ridiculous contraption on the top of his head. Ricky’s brain machine is so cartoonish, and it looks like something out of a bad sci-fi movie. Here take a look:

http://liberaldead.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/SNDN3-Moseley.jpg

You won’t see much of her, but Elizabeth Hoffman is spot on as Granny Anderson, and Laura Harring is okay as Jerri. Eric Da Re is just there, and I guess they wanted someone, who embodied the look of an 80’s rock star. Dr. Newbury is a douchebag. A creepy douchebag, but he’s still a douchebag. Plus, Beymer’s pompous “I’m studying Ricky for the good of mankind!” shtick brings too many unintentional laughs out of me. And Robert Culp’s lighthearted approach towards the hard ass cop persona is enjoyable.

Better Watch Out! is the first serious film in the Silent Night, Deadly Night franchise. No corny one-liners, or over the top characters, and the hammy 80’s slasher routine is toned down. Also, Better Watch Out! is the first Silent Night film to drop the killer Santa Claus theme.

I appreciate the effort for change here. The telekinetic connection storyline with Laura and Ricky is something different, BUT the execution in this film is just horrible. During the trip to Granny’s house, Connely and Dr. Newbury go back and forth during a series of annoying arguments about morals and science. I can’t comprehend the point of the “Ricky’s future” duel between Newbury and Connely. Connely obviously won’t respect Newbury’s opinions, and Newbury is too smug and eccentric, so it’s hard to take him seriously.

Laura has psychic powers. I get that, but Part 3 dropped the ball, because Laura NEVER uses her psychic powers to thwart Ricky’s attacks, or defeat him. In fact, Laura unknowingly gave away Granny’s location, as Ricky listened to Laura’s directions to the house. And during the final confrontation with Ricky, Laura has visions of Granny urging her to use the psychic powers to defeat Ricky. Instead, Laura spends time listening to Ricky’s movements, and destroying the only light bulb in the basement to “even” the odds? And as Ricky is trying to choke Jerri to death, Laura just stands there, and accepts the inevitable?

I understand the dynamic of Ricky searching for Laura, because during his coma, Laura was the only person from the outside, who tried to bond with him. Although, you won’t see the long awaited one on one confrontation between Laura and Ricky until the very end. And everything leading up to the final showdown might put you to sleep. After Laura’s first interaction with Ricky in a nightmare, Better Watch Out! slowly goes through the motions. It’s an unbearable bore-fest, and the underwhelming climax doesn’t help anything.

When Laura, Chris, and Jerri arrive at Granny’s place, the house is empty, and Granny is missing. Laura shows concern, but instead of launching an immediate search party, Chris decides to spend time with Jerri instead. Apparently, making out with and taking a bath with Jerri is more important than your grandmother’s safety? Okay then. Chris is a clueless doofus, and of course, when he finally decides to do something about Granny’s mysterious disappearance, it’s too late. Ugh, I always dread watching the fiasco at Granny’s house, easily the most mind-numbingly stupid series of events in this film.

Why is Ricky indestructible in this film? All of the sudden Ricky is capable of walking through windows and doors? How? While Ricky chokes Jerri, Chris stabs him with a knife. The knife goes through his arm, Ricky just pulls it out, and continues his pursuit of Laura like nothing happened? Seriously?

The violence and gore in this film is laughable. The splatters of blood in the opening nightmare sequence resemble cheap red paint, and I have the same feelings for Laura’s vision of the receptionist’s death. And I always laugh at Dr. Newbury’s “tragic” death scene…….that shouldn’t happen.

FINALLY they dropped the “attempted rapes trigger a tirade” bullshit in this film, and they used clips from Part I again, but they didn’t show any scenes in their entirety, which is a good thing. They also maintained continuity for Ricky’s character, because red and Santa Claus trigger Ricky’s killer instincts. Still, Part 3 is a pretty lousy film. Every time I decide to watch Part 3, it takes me at least a week or more to finish the entire thing, because I can’t sit through this tedious mess in one viewing. The sub-plot featuring the friction between Laura and Jerri is good for a few laughs, and Laura’s insults are hilarious. But overall, Better Watch Out! fails to meet the very low standards of straight-to-video horror. Better Watch Out! tries to be a “smart” slasher flick, but the end result is a pretentious bore with a convoluted and senseless story.

Rating: 2/10

The Shape
02-09-2013, 12:35 AM
The Haunting In Connecticut 2: Ghosts Of Georgia (2013)

http://content8.flixster.com/rtmovie/97/55/97554_gal.jpg



In 1993, the Wyrick family prepares to move into their new home, and Lisa Wyrick (Abigail Spencer) continues to fight a series of supernatural visions. The new home is in the backwoods of Georgia, and Lisa’s sister, Joyce (Katee Sackhoff) moves into the rundown trailer home in the front yard.

The Wyrick’s and Joyce don’t encounter any major problems at first, but when Lisa’s daughter, Heidi (Emily Alyn Lind) experiences her mother’s supernatural visions, the Wyricks and Joyce fear the worst. The situation becomes more complicated, when Heidi forms a bond with an imaginary friend named Mr. Gordy. After a visit from the local pastor, the Wyricks and Joyce learn the truth about the troubled past for their new house: the land surrounding the Wyrick’s home housed runaway slaves in an Underground Railroad station. Mr. Gordy was a real person, and a relative of Mr. Gordy was the Stationmaster. Mr. Gordy’s relative was an obsessive taxidermist, and he was murdered for protecting the runaway slaves.

Heidi’s father, Andy (Chad Michael Murray) is trying to keep the family together, and Joyce urges Heidi to embrace the family gift. Heidi’s visions are becoming more intense, and Lisa struggles to fight her addiction to anti-depressant pills. Through a series of dreams and visions, Heidi, Lisa, and Joyce slowly unravel the mystery of Mr. Gordy, the taxidermist, and the history of the Underground Railroad station. The women uncover shocking secrets on their path to the truth, leading them to two questions: Was Mr. Gordy’s relative really a hero? Or was he hiding something unholy beneath the Underground Railroad station?

Very solid cast overall, and Abigail Spencer delivers the strongest performance here. Sackhoff is enjoyable as the eccentric freeloader, and Cicely Tyson’s brief cameo as the blind visitor is genuinely creepy.

I have no complaints about the acting, but the directing is a mess. Director Tom Elkins convulsive style turns Ghosts Of Georgia into a massive clusterfuck. And Elkins constant usage of random flashbacks are really annoying. Throughout this film, flashbacks constantly pop into present settings at a hectic pace, and the overwhelming barrage of footage from the past almost gave me a headache. Plus, Lisa, Joyce, and Heidi’s sporadic sightings of dead people cause too many unintentional laughs.

I guess Elkins wanted to add more intensity to this film, but his unfocused style is too distracting. A prime example of Elkins’ style hurting Ghosts Of Georgia is the calamity of flashback footage and quick cutaways during a ridiculous and over the top exorcism scene.

Overkill is another problem here. When Heidi vomits maggots, worms, roaches, other insects, and some sort of sawdust-like material, it’s a repulsive and cringing sight…….after the first time. But Ghosts Of Georgia runs the uncontrollable vomiting stuff into the ground with Joyce, Heidi, and Lisa. The “dead people, who pop out of nowhere with an emotionless demeanor ” trick is good for a few jump scares at first, but this trick loses its shock factor after thirty minutes or so.

Apparently, Ghosts Of Georgia is loosely based on real life events, and you’ll see a photo of the real Wyrick family at the very end. Basing Ghosts Of Georgia on real life events probably provided strong feelings of realism for others, but it didn’t work for me. Sorry, but the wild and over the top conclusion was too far-fetched, and Elkins directing didn’t help anything.

It’s a shame, because Ghosts Of Georgia has a very thought-provoking premise, and Elkins style is annoying, but I’ll give him credit for a few jump scares. And Joyce’s stitch and needles scene is really gruesome and sickening. Still, Ghosts Of Georgia is a very boring film, the runtime really drags, and one hour and forty minutes feels like an eternity.

I won’t go on a rant about the senseless Georgia part of the title, but apparently, The Haunting In Connecticut is going to devolve into another shitty straight-to-video horror series. I’m pretty sure Ghosts Of Georgia doesn’t share any ties with the original film, because I honestly didn’t notice any key details from The Haunting In Connecticut. So I guess they’re taking the stand-alone route for the next set of films, and Gold Circle (the studio) already revealed the title for the new film: The Haunting In New York. I would give another Haunting film a chance, but I’m not happy about the choice for the new screenwriter. It’s Sean Hood, and for those of you, who don’t know, Hood is the same guy, who co-wrote the epic turd known as Halloween: Resurrection. Oh, and please don’t add Connecticut to the title again, because The Haunting In Connecticut 3: Ghosts Of New York just sounds silly.

Rating: 3/10

dukes07
02-09-2013, 01:18 AM
Sheriff, not sure if you have seen it but the Pact is a pretty decent "B" horror movie (IFC I think, so it might be on TV a lot).

Some more cheesy ones that you may or may not have seen: Splinter(s), the Bay, Monsters and Stakeland. Some are more sci-fi with horror elements.

The Shape
02-09-2013, 10:37 AM
I plan on watching The pact and The Bay, and I watched Stakeland a while ago, outstanding vampire flick. I didn't care for Monsters, though. A very boring and pretentious found-footage sci-fi/horror movie. The two lead cast members didn't have any chemistry at all, and the political and war allegories are kind of annoying.

dukes07
02-11-2013, 09:32 PM
I plan on watching The pact and The Bay, and I watched Stakeland a while ago, outstanding vampire flick. I didn't care for Monsters, though. A very boring and pretentious found-footage sci-fi/horror movie. The two lead cast members didn't have any chemistry at all, and the political and war allegories are kind of annoying.
I forgot about the end of Monsters. I have a movie/beer night once a week and I think I was pretty lit up when I watched. The ending was fairly awful. The Bay is okay. It is a message film too, but at the same time it was actually fairly credible.

A movie that surprised me was the new Thing. It was not spectacular but it certainly had its moments; it was decently acted and well made. A tad similar to the 82 version and not even close to being as good but in this era of remakes and sequels etc, it was not half bad.

The Shape
02-12-2013, 02:29 PM
I hated The Thing remake/prequel. At first, I thought it was just a knee-jerk reaction after watching it in theaters. If I have problems going to sleep, I'll watch The Thing on HBO (or Cinemax) late at night. It's a good way to pass the time, and I have more chances to analyze the movie (probably three or four more views). And I still couldn't stand it each time. The Thing 2011 being an unbearable bore is one of my main complaints, and the glossy CGI is infuriating. Joel Edgerton, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (ESPECIALLY Winstead) tried their best, but they couldn't save the remake/prequel.

The Shape
02-13-2013, 03:23 PM
Twixt

http://i.imgur.com/3Int3.jpg



Hall Baltimore (Val Kilmer) is an alcoholic and struggling horror novelist, who’s stuck in a deep depression after his young daughter’s untimely death. The latest entry in his witch hunting series is a failure, and Hall’s overzealous wife, Denise (Joanne Whalley) is trying to figure out a solution for the stacks of overdue bills.

Desperate, Hall agrees to host a book signing in a small town’s hardware store. Eventually, Hall teams up with the local sheriff to write a new horror novel on vampires. But during a series of dreams, Hall uncovers unsolved murder mysteries and the evil intentions of a local gothic cult.

In his dreams, Hall forms a bond with Edgar Allan Poe (Ben Chaplin), and a vampiric girl named V (Elle Fanning). With Poe and V’s help, Hall learns more secrets, and Hall uses his dreams as an inspiration for the new vampire novel. Ignoring all warnings, Hall digs deeper into the mystery during his dreams, while enduring some intense pressure from his antsy publisher. Will Hall succumb to the pressure of producing a new hit? Or is solving the local murder mystery more important?

Some critics peg Godfather III as the beginning of a downfall for Francis Ford Coppola’s career. But those complaints are over exaggerated, because it’s hard (or damn near impossible) to follow in the footsteps of Godfather and Godfather II. No, Jack (that shitty comedy with Robin Williams and Jennifer Lopez) is the low point in Coppola’s career. Unfortunately, you won’t see Godfather III Coppola here. Instead, you’ll see Jack Coppola.

Coppola had great success in the horror genre with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but Coppola’s directing forTwixt isn’t something to brag about. The CGI is very cheap and tacky, the split screen web cam point of view reaches the point of overkill during the early stages of the movie, and the blending of vibrant colors in a black and white setting didn’t do anything for me. During Hall’s dream sequences, you’ll see bright yellow lemons, red splatters of blood, and Edgar Allan Poe’s glowing lantern. Meanwhile, the backdrop of each scene is black and white. This technique didn’t help Twixt‘s frightless atmosphere. The blending of colors just made everything feel more cartoonish.

Coppola will always be remembered as a great director, and rightfully so. But his style for Twixt is VERY bland and dull, and I honestly can’t think of one good jump scare from this film. I think it‘s safe to say we‘ll never see Godfather or Apocalypse Now Coppola again, and Tetro (in 2008 or 2009, I think) was his last watchable film.

I didn’t care about, or like any of the characters here. You can feel for Hall, as the grieving father and struggling writer. But as the story develops, Hall turns into this sleazy douchebag, who’ll do anything to find inspiration for his new book. Elle Fanning’s V is too shallow, and her character receives some of the worst dialogue in this entire movie. The sheriff and his deputy are gullible hillbillies, and the sheriff constantly succumbs to his awestruck feelings for the big-time writer from the city. Denise is the typical nagging and overbearing wife, Hall’s publisher is the pushy boss, and Chaplin’s Poe is a lifeless imitation of the famous poet. The cast deserves a lot of credit for effort, but the characters were poorly written, and I saw one too many stereotypes throughout this film.

Coppola also wrote the screenplay, and Twixt’s muddled story is really frustrating. Twixt is supposed to be a murder mystery with supernatural elements, but it’s hard to stay in suspension of disbelief mode. The story takes so many wild and silly turns, and after a while, I couldn’t take this film seriously anymore. The dialogue veers into campy territory too often, causing some really awkward and unintentional funny moments, and the grand finale is so contrived and underwhelming.

In the end, Twixt is a boring and bland horror film with horrendous special effects, and no real jump scares, suspense, or tension. Jack is still my pick for Coppola’s worst film as director, but Twixt is a close second, and that’s saying something.

Rating: 1/10

i'm a cm punk girl
02-14-2013, 11:30 PM
cellular- This was my first time seeing Chris Evans in anything (except not another teen movie). his sexiness, acting ability, and sense of humor were all five stars.

enjoyable movie 8/10

Danger Burger
02-15-2013, 07:28 AM
DIE HARD 4.0


As we all know yesterday was valentines day, so I sat myself and the lady down to DIE HARD 4.0 (also known as Live Free of Die Hard). Here are my thought:

Firstly, going in, I was pretty worried this was going to be a horribly self-aware movie, much like the abomination that was Expendables 2. Its part of the reason I hadn't tried to see it till now. I was pleasantly surprised. Die Hard usually grows each film, from a building to an airport, to a city and in this we get to save the home of the brave and the land of the free in its entirety. Right now I wish I had spell-check. I can only assume the new movie will save the planet.

Willis has this character down to a tee, doing a much finer Detective Joe Leland than Frank Sinatra. Scruffy and sharp-tongued, nothing much has changed since the first film, beyond the hairline. John McLain is impossible to dislike, so you can throw him in any situation and he'll be fine.

The action is supoibe. Plenty of gunfighting and explosions, but I never felt, as I expected, that any sharks were jumped. Even when killing a helicopter with a car, or fighting a jet with a truck. Honestly, it seemed perfectly reasonable, and I put that down to Bruce Willis perfectly playing up the unsure if this will work but i'll hive it a try anyway method. Theres also an entire scene of him beating up a woman. I laughed.

Justin Long did a great job as the unfortunate hacker getting dragged along through all the nonsense, and his character has a pretty cool arc from Zero to Hero. I guess I've always been a fan of the guy, but he still did a cool job. No critisisms here. Olyphant is decent as the bad guy, but I dont particularly remember anything blowing me away, and the same goes for McClains daughter.

The story was good, interesting, and better than a simple bunch of bombs kind of problem. Pretty good that it was a problem that McClain couldnt have solved by himself so we get a new character and dynamic. Just remembered, I had thought the side-kick was Le Boeuf from the trailer, but I was wrong!

TL;DR:

Pros: Bruce, BANG!, plot.

Cons: Maybe a little over the top, but after 20 minutes, you know youre watching Die Hard and you stop giving a damn.

The perfect valentines day movie. 7/10, it's good, really enjoyable and nothing too heavy in it. 'splosions by the hand full and a good amount of one liners to shake loose the tension. Good acting, good story. Do it.

Afterword: Watched this on Valentines Day with my lady. Its our anniversary today... So were going to check out the new one. Romance, yo. I'll probably review that in a few days too!

The Shape
02-17-2013, 12:35 AM
Movie 43 (2013)

http://content9.flixster.com/rtmovie/94/24/94243_gal.jpg


**SPOILERS**

Charlie Wessler (Dennis Quaid) is down on his luck. Charlie tries to pitch a unique idea for a movie to Griffin Schraeder (Greg Kinnear), a film executive. Charlie proposes an idea that would involve various comedy shorts featuring notable Hollywood stars. Charlie’s edginess and vulgarity is too much for Griffin, but Charlie forces Griffin into a meeting to discuss the film at gunpoint. Griffin must convince his boss, Bob (Common) to buy the movie, and he must interrupt a very important meeting with Seth MacFarlane to do so. Charlie needs the money and fame to resurrect his career, and “The Pitch” could give him one more shot at stardom.

Movie 43 is not funny. I might as well get that out of the way now, because I’ll probably go on another long rant. Movie 43 tries WAY too hard. Being outrageous and vulgar is one thing, but when you constantly shove gross-out gags and profane comedy down the audience’s throat, the jokes just lose their shock factor after a while. Movie 43 is a prime example for one of the worst cases of overkill I’ve ever seen in any type of movie. And here come the examples (in no specific order, just picking out the worst ones)!

#1- Beth (Kate Winslet) is looking for the right guy, so she goes on a blind date with Davis (Hugh Jackman), a wealthy and successful businessman. Beth is overwhelmed with joy…..until Davis removes his scarf to reveal a scrotum attached to his chin.

My Thoughts: Eh, the shock factor of seeing Hugh Jackman with a scrotum attached to his chin wore off pretty quickly for me. It wasn’t funny, and the over the top antics didn’t help anything. And for some strange reason Beth is the ONLY person, who notices, and has a problem with Davis’ unusual condition? Okay then. I’ll give Kate Winslet and Jackman credit for effort, but Jackman’s freak show carny character wasn‘t funny. In fact, the bearded lady would’ve been a better choice.

#2- Jason (Chris Pratt) and Vanessa (Anna Faris) have plans to take their relationship to the next level. During a picnic, Jason prepares to propose to Vanessa, but before he can pop the big question, Vanessa reveals her fantasy: she wants Jason to defecate on her. Jason is the loyal husband, so he decides to honor Vanessa’s request by loading up on Mexican food and a liquid laxative. But Jason and Vanessa run into some problems on the big night.

My Thoughts:What…the fuck? Truth be told, I knew the big secret behind this short, because I watched the red band trailers. STILL, this. Was. Not. Funny! The shitty conclusion (no pun intended) involves Jason running out into the street to catch Vanessa after an argument. And as he’s chasing his girlfriend, Jason is hit by a car in the rear, and Jason has an accident on impact. Pratt and Faris are married in real life, so I guess they felt comfortable doing this bizarre short with each other. But I couldn’t get into this. I just couldn’t. There’s a scene, where Jason discusses the strategy for the big night with his friends during a barbecue, while Vanessa decorates a cake with poo colored frosting. Yeah.

3#- Emily (Halle Berry) and Donald (Stephen Merchant) are on a blind date at a Mexican restaurant. Emily and Donald met each other through an online dating service, but Emily is bored during the date, so she decides to spice things up with a risky game of truth or dare.

My Thoughts: Overkill is a reoccurring problem for Movie 43, and this short is a prime example of the second biggest problem here. The game of truth or dare between Emily and Donald wasn’t bad at first. Emily dares Donald to grab a guy’s butt, and Donald dares Emily to blow out the candles on a blind kid’s birthday cake. But they ran the dare gimmick into the ground. Halle Berry fills up a turkey baster with hot sauce, and she sticks it in her……well, just use your imagination. And somehow they managed to top the awfulness of that dare with dueling plastic surgery dares between Emily and Donald. Halley Berry’s prosthetic, floppy, and large breasts brought a facepalm out of me, and during another dare, Berry dips her breasts in guacamole sauce.

4#- Robert (Liev Schreiber) and Samantha (Naomi Watts) are home schooling their son, Kevin (Jeremy Allen White). But Robert and Samantha’s odd methods raise some serious questions for two visiting neighbors.

My Thoughts: Well, Robert and Samantha are home schooling Kevin, but they decide to bully him at the same time. That’s right. And the methods of bullying include, but are not limited to, tying Kevin to a flagpole in the front yard, using feces to write obscenities on his chest, locking him outside of the house during a party, and teasing incest. Again, I tried to laugh, but I just couldn’t.

Movie 43 is a giant shit-fest. The novelty of popular celebrities humiliating themselves didn’t last long for me. In fact, this novelty wore off in the first fifteen minutes. I was HOPING for Movie 43 to get better as time passed, but it didn’t. Also, Snooki has a cameo in this film.

The superhero skit was incredibly lame, because it revolved around Batman being a dick, and a lame running joke about Kristen Bell’s private parts. Chloe Grace Moretz and Christopher Mintz-Plasse’s short was an abomination. Moretz’s character experiences her first period, and for some asinine reason everyone panics? And the solution is to use one of those micro fiber mops as a cork to stop Moretz’s “problem.” The Leprechaun short with Johnny Knoxville, Sean William Scott, and Gerard Butler was hideous, and they ran every penis joke imaginable into the ground. The iBabe garbage was beyond stupid. In short, it’s a storyline about life sized iPods with naked women. Kate Bosworth and Richard Gere are executives of the company for the iBabe. Bosworth is trying to shut down production, because teenage males are injuring themselves by playing with the bottom half of the iBabe.

And the commercials within the movie just felt like a big waste of time. The iBabe commercials showed another naked woman, and the black and white commercial with office workers spitting on underprivileged children, who operate copying machines couldn‘t pull the intended shock value laugh out of me. Also, they just had to throw in the predictable and lame post-credits blooper/gag reel featuring the entire cast.

But stick around after the credits, because Movie 43 has one more trick up its sleeve! Elizabeth Banks’ character is in a committed and loving relationship with Josh Duhamel’s character. But there’s one problem…… Anson’s (Duhamel) homosexual cat named Beezel is attracted to his owner, and Beezel hates Amy (Banks) for coming between them. Oh, and the cat is animated (I’m not kidding). Beezel is shown in some pretty graphic sexual situations for an animated cat. Beezel uses a hairbrush to cope with (use your imagination) the thought of losing Anson, and Beezel’s actions left me speechless, but not for good reasons, though. The final scene involves Amy walking into a trap set up by Beezel, leading to a fight between the two, and Amy is beaten to death by a group of children at a birthday party? Seriously? And the children use party favors to murder Amy.

I honestly can’t imagine someone having any middle ground for Movie 43. You’re going to hate it, or you’re going to love it. It’s that simple. And I hated it, easily the biggest turkey of 2013 so far. Ugh, I can’t believe I wasted time watching this.

Rating: 0/10

Danger Burger
02-19-2013, 08:42 PM
A Good Day To Die Hard
Spoilers Coming

Well, here we are, a few days later and a few quid shorter. And what did we learn? Well, all my fears for the fourth movie were quickly addressed in this one.

Bruce Willis returns as the failed father of (insert number of sequels to come here). He wants to reconnect with his long lost son. How better than to travel to Russia and join a CIA mission. NYPD cops can do that.

Now in my previous review of Die Hard 4.0, I told that I was expecting the Die Hard film that knew it was a Die hard film. That was my worst fear. Turns out I had the whole thing backwards. Die Hard one is a work of art, and Die hard 2 and 3 are of no major concern to the film buffs acquired tastes. We get a problem, we get a nice cook as Bruce hardballs his way through impossible situations that he didnt expect to encounter while he cracks wise at the bad guy. Yipey Ky Aye mother fucker. Even 4.0 got it right, nothing happened too fast, a little over the top, sure, but it let you get sucked in.

The problem with the new Die Hard isn't that its too self aware, more so that it has no fucking clue what its trying to be. If John Mclain wasn't played by Bruce Willis, there wouldn't be anything to connect him to the guy in the other movies. Sharp tongue? Replaced by the phrase "I'M ON VACATION". I always hated when a TV show took the cast on holiday for an episode. Its only worked once. Worse again, the plot was bullshit. Bruce Willis reconnects with his son through overheard introspection and killing militia. The bad guys all kill each other off. THEY ALL KILL EACH OTHER OFF.

The script and story suck, there's plot holes all over the place. Dont go see it unless you lose a bet. Especially not on your anniversary with your girlfriends. For those who care, a good night was still had regardless.

Maybe its fun. Maybe. But if I wanted to have fun, i'd have watched Mean Girls again. This movie is no Mean Girls. 3/10. You're damn right I'm sassy.

dukes07
02-22-2013, 02:00 AM
Every Saturday I drink beer and watch movies. Best part, I go to sleep late (sometimes the wife watches a flick with me) and when I get up in the morning, the wife has bacon and eggs waiting for me! I used to over analyze films. Always bitching when shit was unrealistic in an action film. Now that I am older and not wiser I just enjoy the ride. Fuck it. I don't want to think and breaking down why Gladiator or parts of Schindler's List are not historically accurate is too time consuming and a waste of time. I mean in high school I once spent hours trying to figure out the purpose of Luke's plan to rescue Han Solo was. I had it figured out once. Then I forgot it. Sure it makes no sense for the most part and it was an excuse to trot out the heroes one at a time, but whatever, we get to see Billy Dee and the Rancor. Good shit. So as a heads up, my reviews are lenient. I am just relaxing and not thinking, which is not difficult for me to do.

I thought about writing long reviews but fuck that. I am drinking beer and just want to enjoy the damn movie. Lately here is what I have seen:

Silent Hill: Started decently then just dragged on forever. 5.5/10

Expendables 2: Not much to say here. Explosions and a lot of them. 8/10.

Rollerball (75) It is on YouTube. I LOVE dystopian films. This one did not disappoint: 9/10

Oldboy: I had been planning on watching it for quite some time. Finally just sat down to watch it. Incredible. The ending threw me for a loop and I had to stop and think about it for a bit. 9/10.

Premium Rush: I thought I would not like this movie. It was short, sweet and to the point. Non-stop for less than 90 minutes. Oh it was cheesy and the part with all the bikers in their little bar was pretty damn bad....but for some reason I really liked it. 7/10.

Fear (96): I am in a big 90s kick with movies, music, wrestling and pop culture in general. I had not seen this so my wife and I got it at Blockbuster (It is pretty sweet that we have one in town). Marky Mark did a decent job. Reese was hot. The step mom a bitch. All in all pretty predictable but not that bad. 6/10.

Good Day to Die Hard: Saw this last night. My mom took me to the movie and bought me dinner. Yeah, I am in my 30s, not sure if that is awesome or sad. Oh well! Anyway, I stopped thinking about the fairly nonsensical plot, like....

maybe minor spoilers....


What the fuck was Jack McClane going to do stuck in the cage? He had to get the Russian guy out but....how?

End Spoilers:





Anyway, I liked it. Shit blew up for 90 minutes. I am easily amused. I wanted to rank it a bit lower but fuck it. 8/10.

The Shape
02-23-2013, 12:24 AM
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)

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As children, Hansel and Gretel are rushed into the forest by their father one night. Hansel and Gretel are forced into an underground hiding space, and their father leaves them alone in an effort to protect his wife, but he never returns.

Eventually, Hansel and Gretel are lured into a house made of candy. But an evil witch is lurking inside, and she captures and plans to cook Hansel and Gretel alive. Gretel escapes, rescues her brother, and a magical spell prevents the witch from killing Gretel. Hansel and Gretel turn the tables on the evil witch, tossing her inside the oven for a slow and painful death. After the deaths of their mother and father, Hansel and Gretel are forced to live on their own.

Many years later, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) are popular and deadly witch hunters motivated by revenge and a hatred for witches. Hansel and Gretel’s services are needed in a small town with an alarming missing children’s problem. Witches are the prime suspects, and Hansel saves a local townswoman named Mina (Pihla Viitala) from an execution. Mina is the prime suspect at first, but things change, when Muriel (Famke Janssen) comes into the picture. Hansel and Gretel will have to fight off the local sheriff and his men, and uncover the mystery behind Muriel’s diabolical plans before it’s too late. As an obsessed fan, Ben (Thomas Mann) lends a helping hand, but Muriel’s powers and loyal minions will give Hansel and Gretel their toughest challenge yet.

First of all, I loved, loved, LOVED Famke Janssen here. Her performance just flowed so naturally, and Janssen’s delightfully wicked portrayal of Muriel is fun to watch. Renner was okay as the typical bad ass hunter with a mean streak, and Arterton was just eye candy for the most part. She had a few moments as the “woman, who can defend herself, and not take shit from anybody“, but overall, Arterton’s good looks triumphed over her acting skills for the Gretel character. Thomas Mann is entertaining as the goofy fanboy, but Janssen is the true star of this cast.

I enjoyed Witch Hunters cheesy comedy, and this film brought a few good laughs out of me. Yeah, the jokes are corny, but Hansel & Gretel is a parody film, so you have to expect the constant barrage of over the top silliness. Also, I took a chance on the 3D, and I’m glad I did. Witch Hunters features some cool 3D effects, and you’ll see a good amount of body parts and splatters of blood flying at you here.

BUT I will admit, Witch Hunters takes an awkward turn, when Muriel transforms into a full-blown witch for the first time. As full-blown witches, Muriel and her minions are supposed to inspire fear, but the witch form of Muriel didn’t disgust me. And on the flip-side of that, the witch forms for Muriel and her followers didn’t cross the “too goofy” line for me. In fact, I thought Janssen and her minions were kind of attractive as witches, but that’s just me.

A part of me wants to give this film a ten, but I can’t, because I know it’s not that good, not by a long shot. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters puts a spin on the famous fairy tale with gruesome and bloody violence, and I love mindless fun horror comedies, so Witch Hunters was a great guilty pleasure for me.

Rating: 6/10

The Shape
02-24-2013, 12:21 AM
Dark Skies (2013)

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**SPOILERS**

Struggling with past due mortgage notices and the plight of unsteady jobs, Lacy Barrett (Keri Russell) and Daniel Barrett (Josh Hamilton) are trying to hold everything together. Their oldest teenage son, Jesse (Dakota Goyo) is stuck in a stubborn rebellious phase, and their youngest son, Sam (Kadan Rockett) continues to dream about mysterious visits from “The Sandman.”

As Daniel fights to secure a higher paying job, the Barrett’s become the victims of nightly intrusions. Sam blames The Sandman, but Lacy investigates to find the reasons behind the odd break-ins. Lacy’s sleuthing leads her to the conclusion of an alien invasion and planned abduction, but Daniel is hesitant to believe his wife at first. But after a meeting with Edwin Pollard (J.K. Simmons), a UFO expert, Daniel prepares to protect his family from a potential abduction. And the situation becomes more serious, when Lacy and Daniel discover the main target for The Grey's (another name for the species of aliens targeting The Barretts) looming abduction: Sam.

Keri Russell easily delivers the best performance in the leading role, and the rest of the cast is decent enough. But Goyo is kind of annoying as the rebellious teenage punk. J.K. Simmons’ screen time is limited to cameo status. It’s a shame, because the Edwin character had some real promise as the eccentric and obsessed alien expert.

Before I move on, I have to point out a bizarre connection to Signs. Towards the end, Daniel FINALLY believes Lacy’s suspicions of an alien invasion. Lacy buys a dog, Daniel picks up a shotgun at the local gun store, and Daniel boards up the house to keep The Greys at bay for a while. On the night of the big invasion/abduction, Daniel, Lacy, and the kids are sitting around the table eating dinner, or their “last meal.” Daniel reminisces about the births of his two sons, and he retells stories from Sam and Jesse’s childhoods. The aliens start to break through the boards, the dog starts barking like crazy, and Lacy rushes the kids upstairs, while Daniel fires the shotgun every five seconds. Eventually, the entire family hides in one room, and Daniel prepares for the last stand against the aliens.

In Signs, Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix barricade the house with wooden boards on the night of an invasion, preparing for the last stand against the aliens. Merrill (Phoenix) and the kids had to convince Graham (Gibson) to believe in the possibility of an alien invasion. During the family’s last meal, and the alien’s intrusion, Graham reminisces about the births of his kids, and he retells childhood memories. As the aliens approach the house, the dog starts barking, but the aliens murder the dog (guessing, because they don’t actually show the aliens harming the dog in Signs). Graham, Merrill, and the kids hide in the basement, and they prepare for the last stand.

PLEASE, tell me I’m not the only one, who noticed the similarities? Both scenarios are SO similar. The guy doesn’t want to believe in the possibility of aliens, so someone close had to convince him. The man of the house has to find his courage to protect the family in a last stand, while recalling precious memories one last time. The aliens target a kid in BOTH films, and the family in Dark Skies has a dog! Again, I’m probably jumping to wild conclusions. I’m not accusing Scott Stewart (the writer and director for Dark Skies) of plagiarism, but as the grand finale unfolded, I started connecting the dots to Signs, and the similarities just blew me away.

And speaking of the grand finale, there’s a nice twist at the end. So the story wants you to believe the aliens are coming after Sam, they won‘t take no for an answer, and the foreshadowing is VERY obvious. Well, when they aliens finally show up in a big group at the end, they are determined to take one kid from Lacy and Daniel…..but Jesse is the victim, not Sam. Through a series of flashbacks, Dark Skies pieces together the puzzle for the reasons behind Jesse’s abduction, and this twist was genuinely shocking for me, because I didn’t see it coming.

The trailers kind of worried me a few months ago, but when you actually see the footage in the movie, everything is different. The scene where Kerri Russell bangs her head against the glass door is really creepy and unsettling. The scene with the flock of birds crashing into the house is short, but at the same time, it’s intense, and Russell’s panicked reaction pulled everything together.

Is Dark Skies a great movie? No. No, it’s not. In fact, if you plan on watching this film, you should wait for the DVD, Blu-Ray, Netflix, or wait for the release on various internet VOD services. BUT Dark Skies surprised the hell out of me. Truth be told, I went into this film with very low expectations, but Dark Skies is an enjoyable sci-fi thriller. Stewart provides the perfect chilling and eerie atmosphere throughout this film, and Dark Skies features a few decent jump scares every now and then. Although, the overexposure and the annoying “THIS IS WHAT THE ALIENS ARE PLANNING. WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING!!!” foreshadowing really irritated me at times. Still, Dark Skies held my attention for one hour and thirty-five minutes, and I was on the edge of my seat during the pulse-pounding finale.

Rating: 7/10

The Shape
03-02-2013, 12:34 AM
The Last Exorcism Part II (2013)

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**SPOILERS**



Following the events of The Last Exorcism Part I, Nell (Ashley Bell) is still trying to escape the wrath of the evil demon known as Abalam. Nell’s father and brother are still missing, so Nell is forced to live in a foster home for troubled teenage girls.

Nell tries to adjust to a new life, and a friend named Chris (Spencer Treat Clark) wants Nell as a girlfriend, but Nell is still hesitant to trust another man. Nell’s daily routine of working as a cleaning lady for a motel is disrupted, when signs of Abalam’s return surface. Abalam will do anything to reclaim his victim, and an exorcism is Nell’s only hope to survive and finally defeat Abalam.

You know something, I actually enjoyed The Last Exorcism Part I. It was a nice surprise, but Part II is pure trash. With the exception of flashback footage from the first film, Part II completely drops the found-footage style of filmmaking. I’m not a big fan of found-footage flicks, but I didn’t feel any realism in this film, and the shaky cam tricks could’ve added a much needed spark of life to the sequel.

Part II is very, VERY boring. I almost fell asleep at least three times, and staying awake during this film was a real test. The back-breaking and contorted seizure bullshit loses its shock factor after the first twenty-five minutes, and showing Abalam torturing Nell in the flashbacks didn’t help anything. Director Ed Gass-Donnelly randomly (and constantly) inserts flashback footage of Nell’s exorcism and torture scenes from Part I throughout the film. Donnelly wanted to stir up some jump scares with this technique, but the “HOLY SHIT DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED TO NELL???” flashbacks didn’t do anything for me.

The plot holes are mind-boggling. First, one of the girls in the house has a violent seizure. They call 911, and after that, we never get an update for the girl‘s status. Was Abalam behind the seizure? They never explained anything. Nell’s father pops up out of nowhere halfway through the movie, and he tries to murder Nell, so he can get rid of Abalam once and for all. Eh, where did Nell’s dad come from? How did he find her? Nell’s dad was tied up during that creepy satanic ritual at the end of Part I, so how did he escape? And one of the girls in the house is obviously a servant for Abalam (it‘s the blonde chick in the trailer with the big black, creepy eyes). She murders Nell’s father, and promises Abalam will return to reclaim his number one target…..and her character just fades away after that.

So there’s only one way to stop Abalam: an exorcism! Well, no shit. How else are you suppose to stop the demon? Part II slowly treads through its dull story, and the grand conclusion is a fucking exorcism? Seriously? “We have to stop Abalam! But how?” This was the thought process from every protagonist throughout the movie. It felt like they were trying to build towards something different, but the writers just settled for another exorcism finale. And to top it off, the big exorcism at the end is really lame. They tried an exorcism in Part I, and it DID NOT work, so why would you try it again?

The story barley progresses. We all know Nell is possessed, we all know Abalam is still stalking her (and apparently a part of him is still inside Nell), and anyone, who knows enough about horror movies knows you can’t just outrun a demon. The story hits the standstill wall, and Part II is a prime example of a money-grabbing “let’s just get them into the theater, and then we’ll go from there” boring filler film.

Nell’s sexual antics are kind of awkward. Apparently, Abalam wants Nell as a lover, and Ashley Bell has a handful of weird scenes, where a possessed Nell shows “excitement” for the impending return of Abalam. One scene includes Nell dropping her cleaning duties, so she can listen to another couple having sex in the opposite room. And in another scene, Nell licks one of the girls at the foster home on the side of her face, while she’s sleeping. Yeah.

“It can’t get any worse. It just can’t.” I kept trying to convince myself, but Part II continued to push the limits for a shitty horror movie. Nell is trying to figure out a solution for Abalam’s return, so she asks some voodoo lady for advice. She explains how Abalam is in love with Nell? Oy vey, the demon is in “love” with Nell? Yikes, that just kills the evil mystique for Abalam, but Abalam’s intentions were announced towards the end, and I already gave up on any chances for a decent film.

The Last Exorcism Part II is a tedious and boring chore to sit through, and Part II features one too many unintentionally funny moments. Plus, the CGI is horrendous, and the sporadic bursts of flames at the end sink to low levels of tackiness. Ashley bell deserves a lot of credit, because she gave it her all in the leading role, but Bell couldn’t save this film. Congratulations Part II. You can now join the long list of other shitty horror sequels. Ugh, I actually regret paying the $7.50 matinee price. Hopefully, Part II tanks at the box office, so they won’t feel the need to make a Part III.

Rating: 1/10

The Shape
03-03-2013, 12:25 AM
The ABCs Of Death (2013)

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**SPOILERS**

Yeah, I know I said I wouldn't watch it, but I changed my mind, as always.

Twenty-six directors and twenty-six chapters of carnage, The ABCs Of Death will take you on a gory and bloody ride through the alphabet by showing you an assortment of bizarre scenarios for death with each letter. From possessed toilets to deadly farts, The ABCs Of Death spares no expense for brutality, violence, and mayhem.

Oh boy. This was something I’ll never forget, for good and bad reasons. First and foremost, each director/writer for The ABCs Of Death received 100% creative control for their individual letters. Giving creative freedom to the directors and writers was a good thing and a bad thing. On one hand, The ABCs Of Death featured some awesome and shocking shorts (I’ll list my picks for best and worst later on). But on the other hand, some of the shorts were just horrendous, and unbearable most of the time.

It’s a double-edged sword, because the creative freedom really enhanced some of the eccentric uniqueness here. BUT on the flip-side, other directors and writers were trying WAY too hard to be disgusting, shocking, and artistic. Imagine a five year old kid eating a big bag of candy, give him or her a box of crayons or some finger-paint, and then ask them to draw a masterpiece. The end result will be disastrous, and that’s what happens with the bad side of The ABCs Of Death.

And as with most horror anthologies, inconsistency is a MAJOR problem here. Recently, I watched V/H/S, another horror anthology film. The inconsistency didn’t bother me too much, because if I’m not mistaken, V/H/S only had five or six shorts. But The ABCs Of Death throws twenty-six shorts at you. That’s a lot to sit through, and you won’t have too much wiggle room for bad shorts. A is for Apocalypse was a great opener, B is for Bigfoot was a nice follow-up, and C is for Cycle was really eerie, but things start to go downhill at D is for Dogfight.

The ABCs of Death’s seesaw problem is really annoying. Yeah, when The ABCs Of Death kicked into high gear every now and then, I was glued to the screen, because I couldn’t wait for the next letter. But when everything plummets into a downward spiral again, you’re just stuck there waiting for something good to happen. And with The ABCs Of Death, the long waits feels torturous, because chances are you’re sitting in front of an abomination like F is for Farting.

And here are my picks for some of the best and worst shorts in The ABCs Of Death!

The Best

A is for Apocalypse

A woman is caring for her sick husband, but when he doesn’t kick the bucket on her schedule, the wife decides to speed things up with a butcher knife.

My Thoughts: A is bloody, gory, and shocking. This short sets the tone for The ABCs Of Death, and you know you’re about see a film with some sick and twisted stuff after watching A.

Plus, I enjoyed the twist at the end. At first, you’re wondering why this woman is so determined to murder her husband. After throwing a bowl of scorching soup in his face, she continues to attack him with the butcher knife, and after successfully stabbing him in the throat, the husband demands some answers for his wife’s motivations. The woman reveals a year long plot of poisoning her husband into a slow and painless death. The wife believed in the predictions of an apocalypse, so she didn’t want her husband to suffer an agonizing death. But time ran out, so she decided to try and finish him off before the world came to an end. As the world crumbles, the woman lays next to her husband, and they die together.

S is for Speed

So two women, who live together are hardcore heroin addicts. One of them has a dream about being chased by the Devil or Grim Reaper (I couldn‘t tell the difference), because he’s coming to take someone with him, and he’s determined to leave with at least one person. The woman having the dream is holding her friend hostage. The kidnapped friend is supposed to be collateral for the time being, because the other woman “isn’t ready yet,” but Death wants the woman, who’s trying to fight the inevitable.

My thoughts: Incredible. This short starts out with a real bang, and there’s a nice little high speed chase at the end. The ending is gut-wrenching, because once death touches the woman he came for, she wakes up into the real world. She ODs from too much junk, and her friend steals the last bag of heroin from her corpse. S is easily my favorite short in this film. Action, emotion, suspense, and the dirty apartment in the real world was an ideal setting for the final minutes of this one.

T is for Toilet

A young kid is afraid to use the toilet for the first time. His parents toss his potty-training toilet in the trash, but the kid has a terrifying nightmare about the family toilet coming to life as a monster, and devouring the whole family………

My Thoughts: The claymation gives this short a cartoonish feeling, and that’s a good thing. The zany stuff in this short is a breath of fresh air, because it gives you a break from the more serious stuff with blood and guts. Yeah, the ending is REALLY messed up, but as I said before, the claymation provides a lighthearted atmosphere, so it’s not so bad.

M is for Miscarriage

A woman rushes downstairs to grab a plunger, and when she returns to the toilet…..

My Thoughts: Well, Ti West directed this short, so of course I liked it. M is probably the shortest feature in this film, but the final image packs a powerful punch. M’s subtlety during the final shot brought a stunned reaction out of me, and I enjoyed Ti West’s “less is more” strategy.

Honorable mentions: O is for Orgasm, R is Removed, N is for Nuptials

The Worst

F is for Farting

So the outbreak of a deadly gas is destroying Japan. A young woman, who for some asinine reason is afraid to fart in public, takes refuge with her teacher. The young woman has a crush on her teacher, and her final wish is to die by smelling her fart.

My Thoughts: This….was so bad. It’s so over the top and corny, and most importantly, F wasn’t funny. The CGI for the farts is laughably horrendous, and the ending was beyond ridiculous: somehow, the fart from the teacher transports the student into her rectum.

H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion

A soldier (who’s actually a full grown British bulldog) visit’s a strip joint during World War II. The stripper is a full grown fox, but as she goes through her routine, the fox eventually reveals herself as a Nazi spy.

My Thoughts: For some odd reason, The ABCs Of Death felt the need to run the evil Nazi storylines into the ground. And what’s more amazing than that, is H is not the worst Nazi themed short. The fox’s cheesy diabolical laugh, the tacky special effects, and the stupid conclusion. Everything was a real chore to sit through, and using mascot-like costumes for the main characters was the nail in the coffin for me. This short is just horrible, and I can’t think of any redeeming qualities for H.

W is for WTF!

So the director/writer is trying to come up with something good for the letter W. He’s struggling to find the right concept, but things take a bizarre turn for the worst, when monsters and psychotic zombie clowns take over the world.

My Thoughts: The “breaking the fourth wall” approach is something different of course (it’s not special, because Q is for Quack did the same thing). But WTF! features the same list of reoccurring problems throughout The ABCs Of Death: bad special effects, over the top and unfunny ridiculousness, and a disappointing conclusion.

D is for Dogfight

Desperate and down on his luck, a man decides to fight a dog for money.

My Thoughts: Ugh, this short had so much potential. There’s a nice twist at the end, because as the dog prepares to rip out the man’s throat, the man shouts the name “Buddy,” and the dog freezes. Apparently, the fighter is the owner of the lost dog, and the current owner of the dog stole him away. The real owner gives a command to Buddy, and Buddy mauls the thief to death. D is for Dogfight could’ve been amazing, but the excessive and annoying use of slow motion killed this short.

Honorable mentions: Z is for Zetsumetsu, G is for Gravity, and K is for Klutz.

Showing the word behind the letter after each short was a nice touch. Using the “revealing after-the-fact” technique helped maintain the mystery and element of surprise behind each letter, so you don’t go into each short knowing what’s going to happen.

Still, Twenty-six shorts is just too much. It’s kind of hard to experience feelings of shock and disgust once you get past R, because the previous letters do more than enough to bring out these feelings. For example, X is for XXL is about an overweight woman, who’s tormented by a cruel society. She decides to go home, gorge out on food, and vomit afterwards. Then, she uses various cutting tools to remove the fat from her body, so she can fit into a sexy bikini. That sounds nasty, right? Well, after sitting through other bloody murders, torture shorts, and violent mayhem, I couldn’t experience the intended gross-out reaction for a woman mutilating herself. As the stories progressed, I couldn’t overcome the feeling of being burnt-out, and Z was an awful finale.

The bad outweighs the good in The ABCs of Death. Don’t get me wrong, this film features some great shorts, borderline brilliant in some cases. It’s a unique concept, and combining the alphabet with the storytelling style of a horror anthology film should’ve been a match made in heaven. But the bad shorts are really, REALLY bad, and for me, The ABCs Of Death’s garbage destroyed any chances for a good film.

Also, if you’re the squeamish type, you should avoid The ABCs Of Death. This film features pedophilia, disgusting and gory violence, brutality, tons of blood, and you’ll see plenty of “hard to watch” moments here. The ABCs Of Death is an extreme, repulsive, and vulgar horror movie, and it’s not for the weak at heart.

Rating: 3/10

The Shape
03-06-2013, 12:17 AM
Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)

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**SPOILERS**

Following the conclusion of Paranormal Activity 2, Hunter’s mother, Kristi is dead after an attack from her sister, Katie (Katie Featherston). After an adoption and Katie’s disappearance, Hunter’s named is changed to Wyatt (Aiden Lovekamp). The Nelson’s embrace Wyatt, and his big sister, Alex Nelson (Kathyrn Newton) is determined to protect Wyatt from any danger.

The Nelson’s quiet suburban lifestyle takes a turn for the worst, when Katie’s son, Robbie (Brady Allen) enters the picture. Mrs. Nelson decides to invite Robbie to live with the family during his mother’s absence. But Robbie’s strange mannerisms and unnatural infatuation with an invisible friend (it’s Toby, the invisible demon from the previous films) concerns Alex. During a series of late night web cam sessions, Alex and her boyfriend, Ben (Matt Shively) slowly unravel a paranormal conspiracy surrounding Robbie. Alex tries to explain the bizarre situation to her parents, but they refuse to listen, but Alex will have to come up with a solution soon. When Katie returns, she takes Robbie, but Katie and Toby are targeting Wyatt as their next victim, and Katie won’t stop until her nephew rejoins the family.

Well, as usual the acting is mediocre. Brady Allen has a few moments as the creepy and quiet demon child, but he couldn’t save this cast. Alex and Ben are the most annoying characters in the entire Paranormal Activity franchise, easily. Newton is the typical airheaded teenage blonde, and Shively is the douchebag boyfriend, who tries way too hard to be cool.

And Paranormal Activity sticks to the same formula AGAIN: an opening that’ll hook you into the story, 45-50 minutes of boring web cam/security camera footage bullshit, the last ten of fifteen minutes are full of suspense, and of course, they end the movie with a “demon attack” cliffhanger. It’s the same old shit all over again, and it was a huge letdown for me, because you know what they’re going for, once you catch on to the routine.

Looking for a SHOCKING return in PA 4? Don’t hold your breath, because instead of introducing another new character with some real significance, they decide to bring back Katie instead. Seriously? Out of all the people to bring back, you pick fucking Katie??? We already know enough major details about Katie, and let’s be honest, she’s not the most interesting or engaging character in the franchise.

Paranormal Activity continues to milk a very thin and weak premise. The story is at a standstill after the FOURTH film. Sorry, but this is just unacceptable. I didn’t love the movie, but Part 3 worked as a prequel, because we learned about Katie and Kristi’s grandmother, and their lives as children. This was a BIG step, because apparently, Katie and Kristi’s grandmother is the mastermind behind the whole witch cult/demonic conspiracy. Part 4 is a prequel to Part 2, but we already know 90% of the details in this film, because previous films explained and revealed the “secrets.” Again, we’re in the fourth film for the PA franchise, and the writers are STILL giving us the runaround bullshit.

Also, the ending is suspenseful, BUT am I the only one, who noticed the similarities between this ending and the ending in PA 3? At the end of PA 3, Toby, the grandmother, and her witch followers attacked and killed the people, who posed a threat to the master plan. Well, at the end of PA 4, Toby attacks Alex’s father, Toby kills her mother, and as she tries to rescue Wyatt, Alex is cornered by a group of possessed women, and a demonized Katie eventually attacks her to end the movie. Just watch both endings from both films, and you’ll see what I’m talking about, because it’s almost impossible to ignore the connections.

Yeah, as usual, I’ll give this Paranormal film credit for the suspenseful finale, but that doesn’t make up for the 40+ minutes of boredom before the ending. Paranormal Activity 4 is easily the weakest film in this franchise, and the writing is beyond lazy here. For the most part, it’s a very boring and tedious film to sit through, and Katie’s return was very underwhelming and disappointing. Plus, maybe it did something for other PA fans, but I couldn’t stand the glow in the dark X Box Kinect garbage. The directors developed a raging hard-on for the glow in the dark X Box Kinect scenes, and the wow-factor fades away after the first time, because they really ran this gimmick into the ground. This is my first (and probably won’t be the last) PA viewing experience from home, and I’m glad I didn’t waste the time or money to watch this piece of shit in a theater.

Rating: 1/10

The Shape
03-08-2013, 12:31 AM
Side Effects (2013)

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**SPOILERS**

Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) is awaiting her husband’s return from jail. After receiving a four year sentence for insider trading, Martin Taylor (Channing Tatum) returns to his wife with the hopes of starting a new life, and slowly piecing everything back together. But Emily has trouble adjusting to Martin’s presence in her life, and Emily quickly sinks into a deep depression. Emily tries to commit suicide by driving her car into a wall, but she survives the crash.

As Emily’s assigned psychiatrist, Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) contemplates sending Emily to a mental hospital, but Emily pushes for a series of one on one sessions with Dr. Banks instead, and he agrees. With the help of various medications, Emily slowly recovers from her depression, and the relationship with Martin improves. Emily enjoys her newfound happiness, and Martin is looking for a way to “get back in the game.”

But Emily’s erratic behavior worries Dr. Banks and Martin. As she prepares for dinner one night, Emily murders Martin with a butcher knife during a sleepwalking phase (a side effect from Emily’s most recent prescription drug). Emily’s former psychiatrist, Dr. Victoria Siebert (Catherine Zeta-Jones) lends a helping hand by revealing crucial information about her former patient that could save Emily from a lifelong imprisonment.

As Emily goes through her trial, Dr. Banks’ reputation is destroyed, and answering the three most important questions surrounding Emily’s fate could clear his name, or ruin his life forever: Is Emily just a cold-blooded killer? Is Emily the victim of a bad reaction to the medication? Or did Emily knowingly murder her husband for her own selfish reasons?

I love Rooney Mara, and that’s no secret, so I’ll start by praising her. At first, Emily is a sympathetic character. Mara really nailed the broken and helpless victim persona during Emily's breakdown, but as the story develops, Mara shows us a more diabolical and devious personality. Mara’s transformation is smooth, and her ability to bounce back and forth between Evil Emily and Innocent Emily towards the end is remarkable.

Catherine Zeta-Jones is solid as Dr. Siberet, but she’s more entertaining as the treacherous bitch, who’ll do anything to destroy Dr. Banks. Jude Law is a good leading man, and for the second time, Law forms a cohesive team with director Steven Soderbergh. If Soderbergh sticks around longer (more on that later), Soderbergh/Law could reach the levels of Sam Jackson and Quentin Tarantino, or John Goodman and The Coen Brothers for successful director/actor teams. They won’t reach the levels of Scorsese/De Niro, but both men could have a bright future together. As far as Channing Tatum goes, I don’t think it’s fair to grade his performance here. His screen time is limited, Tatum doesn’t make it to the end, and his character doesn’t have any spoken dialogue in flashbacks.

I’m indifferent to director Steven Soderbergh’s work. I’ll admit, I haven’t seen all of his films (I will never watch Magic Mike), but I really enjoyed Haywire and Contagion. Soderbergh returns to the big screen with precision, and a sleek style for Side Effects. Soderbergh has a formula behind the camera, and he sticks to it. You’ll always notice the crisp cinematography, deliberate pacing, and Soderbergh’s work has a unique and stylish look. It’s weird, because Soderbergh has voiced his desires to retire or “take a break” recently. Contagion, Magic Mike, and Side Effects received positive feedback for the most part, and you could say Soderbergh is peaking at the right time, so why walk away? Unless I forgot some crucial details (family problems, stress, etc.) about Soderbergh’s statements regarding the decision to walk away for a while, I’m honestly baffled by this decision. Filmmaking isn’t like pro sports, or some other profession that requires a physical effort. You don’t have to worry about the shelf life problem in the world of movies, and I hope Soderbergh will return to directing soon enough.

Side Effects is a real mind-fuck. Side Effects starts out as a cautionary tale about the side effects of anti-depressant medications, and a conspiracy about psychiatrists, who use their patients as guinea pigs for testing new medications. Eventually, the story evolves into an intricate murder mystery, as Dr. Banks struggles to clear his name. Side Effects is a crafty and smart thriller with shocking and thought-provoking twists, and a well-executed suspenseful finale. I know it’s early, but I loved every second of Side Effects, and I was glued to the screen during the last twenty minutes.

Rating: 10/10

Danger Burger
03-09-2013, 11:46 PM
Safety Not Guaranteed

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Sometime you just know when a movie is for you. Something in the title or the presentation speaks to you long before you even try to illegally download the film. This movie did that for me. From the second I saw the newspaper clipping I was in.

http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mdmai0DG3H1qdwy2t.jpg

Maybe it reminded me of one of my favourite book series (The Dresden Files) but it rang through. Either way, that's irrelevant for a review unless it has the same effect on you, so let me get back on point.

Theres no hard sell to this one. Its from the makers of Little Miss Sunshine, people like that movie right? Its in a similar vein, the aura is there. Whatever made that film likeable is floating around here somewhere. The cast are a group of people who play characters like "steve" in Perfect Dark Zero (thats our ad poster, Kenneth.) and the ever interesting, never interested, Audrey Plaza. Again, not a great load to pull you in. You will never find acting more mild than here. It goes above and beyond pefectly fine. The characters are pretty annoying too. Theres just something there. I guess its a "redeeming quality", though it only needs one to get you to watch it.

So whats the deal? Guy takes out an ad in a newspaper (see above), a shitty journalist and two interns (affectionately introduced in one of my favourite lines in the film as the lesbian and the Indian) head off to write a funny piece on the guy. Easy as pie.

From the get-go, the film goes from better to better. Its got such good pace, and that can often be the most important thing... Okay, maybe not often, but you know when its off. The cast do better than expected and the plot is surprisingly juicy. Its sweet, its funny and a little bit touching, though just a little. Most importantly, its fresh. It doesnt reek of the "seen it 100 times befores" and it never feels like its trying too hard. Maybe I dont have uch to say about it. The beauty is in the delivery.

TL;DR Sometimes a movie just works. This movie works. Its so well done and balanced. It doesnt get bogged down in trying to achieve anything, which is partially what makes it stand out. It just does what it needs to.

Pros: The story told, great pace, wonderful build and delivery.
Cons: I got nuthin!

Much better than "A Good Day to Die Hard". Give it a try, watch it with a lady. Two thumbs up. Do It.

8/10.

The Shape
03-12-2013, 12:18 AM
Girls Against Boys (2013)

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**SPOILERS**

Shae (Danielle Panabaker) is a college student and a part-time bartender, who’s having some bad luck with men. After making the decision to return to his wife and a young daughter, Shae’s boyfriend unceremoniously dumps her. And a one night stand takes a horrible turn for the worst, when Shae is raped by Simon (Michael Stahl-David). Shae fights off another attempted rape, and after an unsuccessful trip to the police station, Shae decides to team up with her new friend/co-worker.

LuLu or “Lu” (Nicole LaLiberte) has a deep hatred for men, and Lu influences Shae to go on a killing spree of revenge. Shae develops a taste for blood, but Shae refuses to kill one of her targets, so Lu pulls the trigger instead. Lu is still determined to punish men, but Shae is looking for a way out of her new life. Will Lu allow Shae to walk away?

Danielle Panabaker is still one of my favorite young actresses, but she’s upstaged by Nicole LaLiberte here. LaLiberte’s devilish and joyful portrayal of LuLu is just fantastic, and she is the true star of this film. Panabaker couldn’t make the transition to the dark side during LuLu’s diabolical reign of terror. Shae is suppose to change, when she agrees to murder other men, but once the killing spree started, I just saw the same person at the beginning of the movie. Shae embraces LuLu as a friend, and she’s proud of her new lifestyle. But Panabaker needed to show some more nastiness during the transformation, and I just didn’t see it. Panabaker isn’t awful here. In fact, she’s pretty solid. Still, Panabaker couldn’t take the Shae character to the next level.

Director Austin Chick shows a good amount of gore and blood. The one torture scene is a prime example of Chick‘s impending barrage of violence. LuLu and Shae tie-up Simon in his work garage. Shae smacks Simon across the face with a wrench, Shae uses a power tool to knock out all of Simon’s front teeth, LuLu cuts off his feet with a saw, and Shae ends it all with a gunshot to the head. You’ll see lots of blood, and brutal violence, but Chick takes a tasteful approach to the one rape scene here.

Girls Against Boys could’ve been something special, but it’s just another ordinary revenge flick, that tries to follow in the footsteps of I Spit On your Grave (the original and the remake). Hell, the movie poster is clearly paying homage to the original. I’ve always labeled the original I Spit On your Grave as a horribly overrated film, and I still believe the 2010 remake is the better movie. I will never understand the horror community’s obsession for the original (and in some cases the remake), and the I Spit On Your Grave original inspired a handful of terrible straight-to-video, low-budget, and independent rape revenge films.

Anyway, as I said before, Girls Against Boys could’ve been something to remember. LuLu was the PERFECT character, and LaLiberte was the right woman for the job. But Girls Against Boys slowly goes through the motions, and you can see everything coming from a mile away.

And the ending is very disappointing. LuLu senses Shae’s hesitation to continue the extreme Thelma and Louise lifestyle, and the relationship becomes more complicated, when Shae forms a friendship with a guy from one of her classes. Shae neglects LuLu, so LuLu follows Shae to a Halloween party. Shae’s new friend is the DJ at the Halloween party, and while Shae’s in the bathroom, LuLu uses a sword to murder Shae’s new friend. Shae returns home devastated, but LuLu explains the reasons behind the murder: she did it for Shae’s protection, and she wanted to remind Shae you can’t trust any man under any circumstances. Well, Shae didn’t buy into this explanation, so she uses the bloody sword to murder LuLu.

I GUESS I can understand the reasons behind Shae murdering LuLu. LuLu was out of control, and someone had to stop her. Shae was LuLu’s only true friend in the world, so I guess she wanted to be the one, who finished her off. Yeah, I get that. Still, it’s a very anticlimactic and underwhelming finale. It’s also kind of stupid. Shae finds the sword on table, when she walks through the door of her apartment. LuLu comes out of the shower. And as LuLu tries to explain her side of the story, Shae picks up the sword, turns around, and she slices a good cut across LuLu’s abdomen.

Eh, Shae is OBVIOUSLY upset over the murder of her potential boyfriend. LuLu’s actions infuriated her, so WHY would LuLu leave the freakin’ sword on the table??? And to top it off, LuLu’s taking a shower, while the sword is sitting out in the open, giving Shae PLENTY of time to prepare and think of a plan. Did LuLu really expect to sit down with Shae and just talk about it? Ugh, the ending annoyed me so much, because LuLu is this crafty and cold-blooded killer throughout the movie, but a careless and stupid (and random) choice is her undoing at the end? Unbelievable.

It’s a predictable movie with a dumb ending, but I didn’t hate Girls Against Boys. As usual, when it comes to rape revenge flicks, it’s easy to have feelings of anger for the male antagonists, and nothing changes here. Danielle Panabaker had the perfect opportunity to deliver that one true breakout performance, but she’s still young, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed for something better in the future. Girls Against Boys is a bloody and violent revenge film with a dark sense of humor (mainly from the LuLu character). Unfortunately, Girls Against Boys is average at best, but I’ll give this one an extra bump, because Nicole LaLiberte is simply amazing.

Rating: 6/10

DaveB
03-12-2013, 01:25 AM
Saw "A Good Day to Die Hard" recently & I fucking loved it. I was happy that it decided to go back to it's "R" rated origins instead of being PG-13 like the installment. Lots of explosions, people getting shot, crazy stunts, & funny dialog. This "Die Hard" went back to it's roots of old. For any huge fans of the franchise, I highly recommend it.

Rating: 7.5/10

LSN80
03-12-2013, 11:26 AM
Side Effects (2013)

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**SPOILERS**


[QUOTE]Side Effects is a real mind-fuck. Side Effects starts out as a cautionary tale about the side effects of anti-depressant medications, and a conspiracy about psychiatrists, who use their patients as guinea pigs for testing new medications. Eventually, the story evolves into an intricate murder mystery, as Dr. Banks struggles to clear his name. Side Effects is a crafty and smart thriller with shocking and thought-provoking twists, and a well-executed suspenseful finale. I know it’s early, but I loved every second of Side Effects, and I was glued to the screen during the last twenty minutes.
Rating: 10/10

While I liked Side-Effects, and thought Rooney Mara was brilliant, I felt it played out somewhat predictably. The motive was plausible but included some unnecessary plot elements, I thought, just for the sake of sexuality, such as the lesbian affair. I felt the way Jude Law's character played both of the "villians" against one another was well done in most aspects, but for as careful as they had been for most of the movie, they became awfully sloppy towards the end. And Catherine Zeta-Jones, whether by design or not, came across as boring and flat.

That's not to say I didn't greatly enjoy Side Effects, as those are just minor complaints. As you pointed out, the movie seems to be heading towards a precautionary tale against prescription psychiatric medications, but intersects masterfully into a murder mystery/conspiracy. Jude Law does a fantastic job as Dr. Banks in his obsession with clearing his name, and the way he essentially beat the women at their own game was brilliantly executed. The last twist at the end in the confrontation between Dr. Banks and Emily was sharp and smart, and how the movie ended was poetic justice. For me, however, it's one where multiple viewings could enhance the viewing experience even more, possibly connecting dots missed upon the first viewing. It's the best film Ive seen in 2013 thus far, but it's not perfect. 8/10

i'm a cm punk girl
03-13-2013, 10:53 PM
tower heist - This is a funny movie and kept me laughing for a good bit of it. my favorite Eddie movie in awhile.

Safehouse - it was an a really enjoyable movie, lots of twists and turns and nice backstabbing, along with a fair share of fight scenes, gunfights, and car chases. Definately worth a watch

The Shape
03-15-2013, 12:22 AM
Identity Thief (2013)

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Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) travels to Winter Park, Florida to confront and apprehend the woman, who stole his identity. Diana (Melissa McCarthy) is a professional con-artist, and she won’t go down without a fight. Eventually, Sandy is a able to convince Diana to return to his job in Colorado, and give a statement to his boss, that will undoubtedly clear Sandy’s name.

But along the away, Sandy and Diana must outrun two gangsters, who are ordered to kill Diana on sight. Marisol (Genesis Rodriguez) and Julian (Tip Harris or T.I.) are determined to carry out the orders from their boss Paolo, and kill Sandy, if he gets in the way. And a vindictive bounty hunter named Skiptracer (Robert Patrick) is tracking Diana. So Diana and Sandy must work together for survival, and Sandy has to keep his plan to expose Diana to the cops a secret.

Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy share some good chemistry together, as polar opposites. As usual, Bateman is the uptight nerd, who plays by the rules, and McCarthy is the obnoxious and loud-mouthed thief, who will do anything, and stoop to every low level imaginable to steal more money from the next victim. Robert Patrick is okay as the typical redneck bounty hunter, and T.I. brought a few chuckles out of me, as the goofball hitman. Genesis Rodriguez was supposed to be a delightful psycho, but as usual, Rodriguez’s good looks triumphed over her acting skills, or lack there of.

Bateman and McCarthy are good for a handful of funny moments, but Identity Thief really didn’t do anything for me overall. The laughs are inconsistent, and the mushy moments were damn near unbearable for me. Diana is picked on for being an outcast throughout this film, so of course you’ll see a bunch of tear jerking “be proud of, who you are” scenes. Yeah, I understand the point behind the self-acceptance messages, but Identity Thief takes everything too far.

Identity Thief could’ve been a better comedy film, but it’s barely average. Melissa McCarthy has found a niche, as the rambunctious fat woman. Her routine works well, when she’s paired with a nerdy and uptight character (Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids, Bateman in Identity Thief, and from looking at the trailers, Sandra Bullock in The Heat), and McCarthy’s shtick is hot now, there’s no denying it.

Rating: 5/10

The Shape
03-16-2013, 12:25 AM
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)

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**SPOILERS**

Harassed and bullied as a child, Burt uses Rance Holloway’s (Alan Arkin) magic kit to escape reality. Burt idolizes Rance for being the most famous magician of his time, and Burt forms a team with his best friend, Anton.

As adults, Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) are the hottest magic act in Las Vegas. Performing on a weekly basis at the luxurious Bally’s Hotel, Burt and Anton continue to fill seats in their exclusive theater until a new act threatens their business. Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) stars in and hosts a reality magic TV show named Brain Rapist. Steve performs exciting and extreme acts of magic, but on the flip-side, Burt and Anton’s routine act is becoming stale.

Doug Munny (James Gandolfini) is the owner of the Bally’s Hotel, and Doug is looking for a modern act to take over Burt and Anton’s spot for his new hotel. Doug wants Steve Gray, and Burt’s stubbornness could ruin the team’s chances of landing a new contract. The new assistant, Jane (Olivia Wilde) tries to join Burt and Anton’s team, as Steve Gray continues to impress Doug, slowly securing his spot for the one and only contract worth millions.

I tried and I TRIED, but I could not laugh at Jim Carrey’s Steve Gray. It was a case of trying too hard, and overkill for me. It’s not enough for Steve Gray to have a show named Brain Rapist, drill holes in his head, and sleep on hot coals. On top of that, he paints his fingernails, has a series of wild tattoos, and performs a stunt, where he forces himself to hold all of his urine for days. I’m a Jim Carrey fan, but Steve Gray couldn’t pull any laughs out of me.

It’s refreshing to see Steve Carell take a different route character wise. As a kid, yeah, Carell’s character is the wimpy geek, but as an adult, he’s an egotistical asshole. Carell was enjoyable as the asshole, but the inevitable “jerk realizes all of his mistakes, and decides to turn his life around” character transformation is so disappointing (more on that later). Carell was an entertaining egomaniac, but the predictable story kills this character.

James Gandolfini was spot on as Doug Munny. Then again, Gandolfini has a lot of experience, when it comes to playing a pushy and obsessive boss. Steve Buscemi has a few moments as the nerdy sidekick, Olivia Wilde never rises above the status of eye candy, and Alan Arkin was the perfect fit for the old and grouchy veteran.

I laughed every now and then, but The Incredible Burt Wonderstone could’ve been, and more importantly, SHOULD’VE been better. The cast is top notch, and more often than not, Steve Carell is reliable as a “comedy guy” in the lead role. BUT I don’t blame the cast. The story is formulaic and predictable, and you’ll see everything coming from a mile away. The step-by-step process for Burt’s eventual realizations for all of his mistakes, and a need to do the right thing is torturous.

Burt and Anton reaching down into the bottom of their bag to pull out that one grand trick towards the very end was supposed to be the feel-good moment, but the “disappearing act” didn’t do anything for me. Jane and Burt as a couple brought a facepalm out of me, because The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’s obvious foreshadowing gave away the “the tool turns into a nice guy, and captures the heart of his dream girl” storyline.

Sorry, but I’m going to have high expectations for a comedy that features Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Alan Arkin, and James Gandolfini. The breaking the fourth wall technique for showing the secrets behind the magic tricks added a cool behind the scenes layer to this film, but still, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is an underwhelming comedy. Dry jokes, inconsistent, goofy humor, monotonous predictability, and truth be told, this movie is kind of boring at times. I had high hopes for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, but instead, I have an early pick for my list of major disappointments in 2013.

Rating: 3/10

TLC
03-18-2013, 11:06 AM
Gangster Squad

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The plot revolves around Sergeant John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) as he hopes to bring down famed mob boss, Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). Being impeded by red tape and incompetence from the police force, Chief Parker (Nick Nolte) assigns O’Mara the job of taking out Cohen’s criminal organization through vigilante means with a gang of police officers. Their mission is to target and destroy Cohen’s businesses to bring the crime lord to his knees. O'Mara enlists the help of Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), Coleman Harris (Anthony Mackie), Conwell Keeler (Giovanni Ribisi), Navidad Ramirez(Michael Pena) and Max Kennard (Robert Patrick). The film also features the angelic Emma Stone as Grace Faraday.

With a cast list this impressive, one would think this film would be the best of the year, the best gangster film of recent memory; Unfortunately this isn't that film. Ruben Fleischer, director of Zombieland attempts to tackle this one and seems to be a bit out of his element with it. This was his third film with his two previous being comedies, so it must have been a challenge to direct this. He does a reasonable job with it but nothing too impressive; he seems to have a slight obsession with slow motion scenes which get a tad annoying at times.

No complaints with the acting here, everyone does a fine job with Sean Penn being the star of the cast and Robert Patrick also putting in a really good performance. Nothing will blow you away here, but Penn is a fantastic bad guy and someone you really want to see get their comeuppance. Gosling is his usual charismatic self and Emma Stone provides some very good eye candy.

The action scenes were also very nice, with the car chase being the highlight of the film; for this viewer at least.

Overall, the film is pretty good. I wasn't disappointed as most seem to be due to not expecting much rather than a fun action flick which this is. If you were expecting something much more serious then you will be very dissatisfied. It could have been great with a better director and more importantly a better script.

TLC's rating: ***

LSN80
03-19-2013, 04:03 PM
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)

http://content9.flixster.com/rtmovie/97/39/97395_gal.jpg



Harassed and bullied as a child, Burt uses Rance Holloway’s (Alan Arkin) magic kit to escape reality. Burt idolizes Rance for being the most famous magician of his time, and Burt forms a team with his best friend, Anton.

As adults, Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) are the hottest magic act in Las Vegas. Performing on a weekly basis at the luxurious Bally’s Hotel, Burt and Anton continue to fill seats in their exclusive theater until a new act threatens their business. Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) stars in and hosts a reality magic TV show named Brain Rapist. Steve performs exciting and extreme acts of magic, but on the flip-side, Burt and Anton’s routine act is becoming stale.

Doug Munny (James Gandolfini) is the owner of the Bally’s Hotel, and Doug is looking for a modern act to take over Burt and Anton’s spot for his new hotel. Doug wants Steve Gray, and Burt’s stubbornness could ruin the team’s chances of landing a new contract. The new assistant, Jane (Olivia Wilde) tries to join Burt and Anton’s team, as Steve Gray continues to impress Doug, slowly securing his spot for the one and only contract worth millions.

I tried and I TRIED, but I could not laugh at Jim Carrey’s Steve Gray. It was a case of trying too hard, and overkill for me. It’s not enough for Steve Gray to have a show named Brain Rapist, drill holes in his head, and sleep on hot coals. On top of that, he paints his fingernails, has a series of wild tattoos, and performs a stunt, where he forces himself to hold all of his urine for days. I’m a Jim Carrey fan, but Steve Gray couldn’t pull any laughs out of me.

It’s refreshing to see Steve Carell take a different route character wise. As a kid, yeah, Carell’s character is the wimpy geek, but as an adult, he’s an egotistical asshole. Carell was enjoyable as the asshole, but the inevitable “jerk realizes all of his mistakes, and decides to turn his life around” character transformation is so disappointing (more on that later). Carell was an entertaining egomaniac, but the predictable story kills this character.

James Gandolfini was spot on as Doug Munny. Then again, Gandolfini has a lot of experience, when it comes to playing a pushy and obsessive boss. Steve Buscemi has a few moments as the nerdy sidekick, Olivia Wilde never rises above the status of eye candy, and Alan Arkin was the perfect fit for the old and grouchy veteran.

I laughed every now and then, but The Incredible Burt Wonderstone could’ve been, and more importantly, SHOULD’VE been better. The cast is top notch, and more often than not, Steve Carell is reliable as a “comedy guy” in the lead role. BUT I don’t blame the cast. The story is formulaic and predictable, and you’ll see everything coming from a mile away. The step-by-step process for Burt’s eventual realizations for all of his mistakes, and a need to do the right thing is torturous.

Burt and Anton reaching down into the bottom of their bag to pull out that one grand trick towards the very end was supposed to be the feel-good moment, but the “disappearing act” didn’t do anything for me. Jane and Burt as a couple brought a facepalm out of me, because The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’s obvious foreshadowing gave away the “the tool turns into a nice guy, and captures the heart of his dream girl” storyline.

Sorry, but I’m going to have high expectations for a comedy that features Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Alan Arkin, and James Gandolfini. The breaking the fourth wall technique for showing the secrets behind the magic tricks added a cool behind the scenes layer to this film, but still, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is an underwhelming comedy. Dry jokes, inconsistent, goofy humor, monotonous predictability, and truth be told, this movie is kind of boring at times. I had high hopes for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, but instead, I have an early pick for my list of major disappointments in 2013.

Rating: 3/10

Damn you Mitch for beating me to reviewing every movie I see. ;)

I'll spare the details, as Mitch did a fantastic job of running down the synopsis. I'll just give my own thoughts on the movie myself.

Take Steve Carell's Michael Scott from the Office, magnify his arrogance, cluelessness and delusions of grandeur by 10, make him a magician, and you have Burt Wonderstone. I really enjoyed Carell here, as he had a different look to him, and was convincing both as a magician and a playboy. Steve Buscemi was extremely weak and pushed to the side in a bit part as Burt's partner, exemplified most when he and Burt reunite after parting ways after a failed magic trick trying to one-up Jim Carrey's Steve Gray character. They decide to include the incredible Olivia Wilde as their partner,Jane, but Buscemi's Anton is pushed aside seconds after reuniting so Carell and Wilde can have sex.

This is spoken with incredible bias, as Olivia Wilde is the hottest woman on the planet. Thus, any movie with her in tight outfits, even for just part of the movie, gets a pass. Jim Carrey's Steve Gray was a total miss for me, as him as a "Jesus like" street magician with a dangerous act(with little magic and mostly idiocy) just didn't work.

While Carrey and Buscemi didn't work, James Gandolfini and Alan Arkin did. Gandolfini is hilarious as a casino mogul obsessed with money and power at the expense of not even knowing his son's age at his birthday party, and then using said party as a prop to push his new casino. Arkin is good as elderly former magician Rance Hollaway, who Burt comes into contact with after he's lost everything and has to be the entertainment at a nursing home.

While I agree with Mitch that the movie was somewhat predictable andformulaic, I liked that while Carrell realized what an ass he was, he didn't change so extensively that he lost his arrogance or delusions of grandeur. The movie fails with Carrell in terms of explaining how he got his sidekick Buscemi to return after being responsible for breaking his ankles, and also how he can continue to take expensive rides and wear nice clothes despite having only 248 dollars to his name. Still, Burt Wonderstone was an entertaining character, and Carrell himself was spot on.

This movie fell right into the middle with me. There were several good running jokes in the movie, but just as many fell flat. There were several plot details that jumped the shark in terms of explanation, and they really wasted Buscemi and Carrey's character was just awful. However, Carrell, Arkin and Gandolfini are excellent. Wilde's a decent actress and her hotness allow me to give this a somewhat generous grade.

6/10

The Shape
03-19-2013, 06:40 PM
Damn you Mitch for beating me to reviewing every movie I see. ;)


I'm starting to develop a habit of going on opening day (mainly because my second choice theater is nearly deserted on Friday afternoons), so I'm always going to be the first one to beat you to the punch, deal with it. :p

Buscemi was overshadowed by the vast majority of the cast. Then again, I guess you could say that's the whole point of his character. Buscemi was the weakling and Burt's punching bag, who's constantly tossed aside, and pushed into the background throughout the movie.

The Shape
03-22-2013, 12:29 AM
Lovely Molly (2012)

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**SPOILERS**

After their wedding, Molly (Gretchen Lodge) and Tim (Johnny Lewis) move into the childhood home of Molly’s deceased parents. Molly is a recovering heroin addict, and Tim is a busy truck driver, so Molly is forced to spend a lot of time alone in the house. One night, Molly and Tim suspect the break-in of an unknown intruder, but the responding police officer is unable to find any signs of forced entry.

Molly slowly succumbs to boredom and anxiety during Tim’s lengthy stints on the road. And on the night of her birthday, Molly smokes a joint from her sister Hannah (Alexandra Holden). One taste of marijuana triggers Molly’s cravings for heroin, and soon enough, Molly dips into her secret stash of heroin concealed inside a teddy bear. During Tim’s absence, Molly experiences a series of bizarre paranormal intrusions, but nobody believes Molly’s far-fetched stories.

Molly recalls painful memories from her childhood, and she slowly sinks into a deeper hole, while developing an unusual obsession for the neighbors next door. Tim suggests committing Molly to the local mental hospital again, but Hannah begs for more time. To Tim, Molly is just a delusional heroin addict, but Molly is willing to do anything to convince Tim, Hannah, and anyone else, who doubts her beliefs of a ghostly presence.

Gretchen Lodge delivers the best performance here. At first, Molly is a boring character, but Lodge shows off her true talents, as Molly descends into madness. Molly devolves into a broken woman, and an angry drug addict. Lodge really nailed the devious side of Molly’s personality, and Lodge continues to excel throughout this film, as Molly transforms into a darker character. The rest of the cast is solid, but Hannah is a terrible person (you give your sister, who’s a recovering heroin addict marijuana? Seriously???)

Remember Eduardo Sanchez? He’s one of the guys, who co-directed The Blair Witch Project. To be honest, I haven’t followed his post-Blair Witch career, because I hated The Blair Witch Project. Sanchez directed a few straight-to-video horror flicks. Supposedly, he’s returning for The Blair Witch Project 3, and he’s one of the directors for S-V/H/S (the sequel to V/H/S). Honestly, after browsing his resume, nothing jumped out at me, and I really don’t have the urge to watch any of his films.

Anyway, Lovely Molly IS Eduardo Sanchez’s film. He’s the director, Sanchez came up with the story, he co-wrote the screenplay, and he edited this film. I’ll start with the directing. Sanchez delivers one good jump scare at the beginning, but that’s not enough. Lovely Molly is horribly boring most of the time, and Sanchez’s 50/50 style of real-time camerawork, and POV found-footage drove me nuts. As Molly investigates the strange noises at night, she uses a handheld video camera to record everything. Yeah, Molly’s POV is just the typical shaky cam found-footage bullshit style. Molly’s “HE’S HERE! HE’S HERE!” routine wasn’t spooky, and I couldn’t feel the tension or suspense. Sorry, but the mundane “things that go bump in the night” approach and tired shaky came effects aren’t enough, if you’re trying to stir up some real jump scares.

The story really, really, really pissed me off. So Molly is experiencing some supernatural disturbances at home. BUT at the same time, she’s a hardcore heroin addict, so there’s a good chance Molly is just hallucinating, and/or losing her mind. Well, as the story develops, it’s clear Molly is telling the truth. Okay, now what? Should we focus on the paranormal intrusions? Nah, let’s sidetrack and confuse the audience with a bunch of sub-plots. Molly’s having intense sexual cravings, but wait, we can’t forget about her problems with heroin. Then, let’s throw in dueling infidelity storylines: one involving Tim and the woman next door, and Molly seducing a priest. And we can’t forget about Molly’s traumatic childhood, and Hannah’s decision to murder someone in the family as a child. Oh, and for some reason, Molly needs to take a dead dear from the woods, keep it in the basement, and repeatedly stab the carcass on a daily basis to let out aggression? Okay then.

Usually, I’m not one to complain about nudity, and Gretchen Lodge is an attractive woman, but most of the nudity and sexual situations were so unnecessary. For starters, Sanchez constantly shows this one shot of Molly sitting in a room completely nude. With the exception of one time, Sanchez doesn’t show anything, but still, why is Molly naked in this one room all the time? There’s an unusual and awkward scene, where Molly is raped by an unknown entity at work. Molly’s boss shows her the footage from the security cameras. Molly is devastated at first, but then she laughs, and throws a tirade against her boss (Molly’s “I need help… NO. LEAVE ME ALONE. I HATE YOU!” tirades are a reoccurring trend throughout this film)?

Molly wants revenge for Tim‘s infidelity, and she sees an easy target in the priest. One night, Molly comes out to the front porch, while it’s raining, and of course she’s naked. The priest walks up to her with this mesmerized look on his face, and….well, you can probably guess what happens next. Towards the very end, Molly is naked, and she walks up to this unknown (and presumably evil) figure at night for a hug? Again, is there a reason why she’s naked in the freezing cold at night?

Others might’ve enjoyed the slow burn technique, but Sanchez’s steady and methodical pacing just irritated me. If you’re going the route of a slow build, while carefully revealing crucial plot points along the way, you need to give the audience a satisfying payoff at the end, or in this case, payoffs. I HONESTLY don’t understand the reasons behind Molly murdering the priest, and the cliffhanger with Hannah brought a facepalm out of me. Sorry, but if I’m investing one hour and thirty-nine minutes into this film, I need to see an ending with a real bang, or a genuine shock. Random murders (I still can’t get over the priest. His death made no sense at all.), and Molly walking out into the night naked doesn’t cut it for me, not at all.

I wanted to like Lovely Molly, but it’s a very boring film. Was Sanchez trying to cover-up a muddled and shitty story with an overload of nudity and sex (more nudity than sex)? The story is an undecipherable mess, and I guess Sanchez tried to compensate with a plethora of nude shots featuring Lodge. It’s a real shame, because the cast gives a strong effort here (especially Gretchen Lodge). Lovely Molly had a lot of potential, but the slow grind to the end is torturous, and every revelation is a MAJOR disappointment.

Rating: 2/10

The Shape
03-23-2013, 04:46 PM
Jack The Giant Slayer (2013)

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**SPOILERS**

Sent on a simple mission from his uncle, Jack (Nicholas Hoult) is supposed to sell his horse for money to help his uncle’s farm. But when Jack finally reaches his destination, he’s persuaded by a peculiar offer from a strange monk. The monk agrees to exchange the horse for a rare set of magical beans. But Jack must promise to guard the magical beans, and keep them a secret. As Jack holds the bag of beans, the monk rides away on the horse in an attempt to escape the guards of Cloister.

Meanwhile, Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) dreads her pre-arranged marriage to Lord Roderick (Stanley Tucci). The king of Cloister, King Brahmwell (Ian McShane) trusts Lord Roderick, but unbeknownst to the king, Lord Roderick is planning a takeover of the Kingdom.

During one stormy night, Isabelle seeks refuge inside Jack’s house, while his uncle is away. Jack tries to control his nerves in the Princess’ presence, but he’ll have bigger problems to worry about. One bean slips through the cracks in the floor, and after a slight dab of water, the bean explodes into a giant beanstalk. Jack’s house is catapulted into the sky. Jack falls to the ground, but Isabelle is still stuck inside the house, as the beanstalk pushes her through the clouds.

Jack awakes to an angry King Brahmwell in the morning, and with a determination to save Isabelle, Jack joins the team of knights, who are sent to find the King’s daughter. Led by Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and his second in command, Crawe (Eddie Marsan), the search party climbs the beanstalk into a world of merciless giants.

Lord Roderick and his sniveling sidekick, Wicke (Ewen Bremner) decide to tag along, and with the help of a magical crown, Lord Roderick waits for the right moment to fulfill his diabolical conquest. Isabelle is at the mercy of Fallon (voiced by Bill Nighy & John Kassir- Nighy is the bigger head, and Kassir is the smaller head, or to be more clear, Nighy is the smart head, and Kassir is the dumb head), the two-headed leader of the giants. Time is running out, as Jack fights to rescue Isabelle, thwart Lord Roderick’s evil plans, and save the Kingdom Of Cloister from destruction.

Ian McShane delivers a strong, and for my money, the second most entertaining performance here, because the number one spot belongs to Ewan McGregor. McGregor really nails the cocky and charismatic knight persona. Nicholas Hoult is kind of dull in the leading role, though. Yes, I get the point of his character. He’s supposed to be the unlikely hero/common man, who must rise to the occasion, and find his courage. Still, Hoult’s performance just falls flat, and he’s carried by McGregor and CGI giants throughout the movie. Tomlinson is an attractive woman, but she’s horribly dull as Princess Isabelle. And Tucci is enjoyable, as the slimy traitor, who’ll do anything to gain control over Cloister.

Brian Singer delivers awe-inspiring visuals and wonder behind the camera, and an action-packed finale. I took a chance on the 3D version, and Singer was able to find the right balance for the 3D effects. Not too much, and the 3D never reaches the “well, this is pointless, they just did a 3D release for more money” not enough point. Cool 3D effects throughout the movie, and I don’t regret paying the extra cash.

For the most part, I enjoyed Jack The Giant Slayer, but the inconsistent tones for this film annoyed the shit of me. Is this supposed to be for kids? Or, are they trying to cater to a wider audience (kids, teenagers, adults)? Fallon’s throne is made of human bones, and the giants are portrayed as fearless monsters, who love to eat humans. And during the sporadic giant attacks throughout the movie, you’ll see brief glimpses of the CGI giants attacking, and in some cases, distant shots of giants trying to, and eating humans.

But Fallon’s smaller head behaves like a goofy child with mental problems. The giant chef, who tries to cook Elmont alive picks his nose and eats his boogers during the prep. And a sleeping giant, who’s guarding the entrance/exit to the giant’s world farts during his slumber. Jack The Giant Slayer strays into kiddy territory every now and then, and the tonal shifts are really annoying.

A lot of people blame Jack The Giant Slayer’s formulaic and predictable story, but the weak overall cast is the true Achilles heel. McShane, McGregor, and Tucci couldn’t overshadow Hoult’s dullness in the leading role, and yes, it’s problem, because Hoult’s character receives the bulk of the focus and screen time here. Isabelle is suppose to be a sympathetic character, but Tomlinson’s performance is unconvincing. Sorry, but when CGI giants (i.e. Fallon) are more entertaining and convincing than members of your human cast, you’ve got some serious problems.

Jack The Giant Slayer is adventurous and fun, and the final battle is loaded with thrills and good action. Yeah, it’s predictable, but what else can you expect from a film based on fairy tales? Good guys fight, bad guys fight harder, and crush the hopes of the good guys. But as always, the good guys band together in the end, and find a way to triumph over evil. Jack The Giant Slayer isn’t a ground-breaking film, but it’s a fun ride with a few good laughs here and there.

Rating: 5/10

Fire Marshall Bill
03-24-2013, 08:12 AM
I watched Olympus Has Fallen yesterday.

Overall I enjoyed it. I didn't think it was amazing or anything, but definitely entertaining. Gerard Butler does a good job mixing action with being a smart ass throughout. I do think they were missing something tying the opening situation in with the rest of the movie. I also feel they could've written how everything played out a little more climactically. Other than that, if you enjoy a good "one man against an army of terrorists," ala Die Hard, you should enjoy this movie.

*Spoiler*

My biggest gripe with the writing was how they got the child to safety so early in the movie. They really could've added more suspense into the story if he became a tool to be used against The President.

Jam
03-24-2013, 09:30 AM
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The Croods
Release Date: March 22, 2013
Runtime: 98 Minutes

I’m a big fan of animated films so this one caught my attention right away. Plus, it was released on my birthday so I went to go see it the day after. I went with my girlfriend and to no surprise the theater was filled with families and couples too. You can tell everyone was enjoying the movie because of the laughter heard from both the children and adults, it definitely added to the atmosphere in the theater.

The casting is impressive with Cage, Reynolds, and Stone leading the way playing the three most important roles in the movie. While I thought Reynolds was a tough pick to play the role of Guy, he surprised me and did well. Going into this, I thought Emma Stone would be the main character but as the movie progressed, it was more of Cage and Stone’s characters that really shined through.

Oh yeah, seeing it in 3D was great as well. The kids most especially were excited as their “ooohs” and “ahhhhs” were heard. The picture was great and while it didn’t present much color, there were scenes that were just amazing such as the starry night or when the family found a new place other than their caves, was quite a nice picture to see. The world that the Croods lived in was inhabited by such unique animals which I enjoyed personally. Although the movie started out a little slow, it definitely picked up after just a few minutes. The humor was there and delivered even if they were predictable, it still got a good laugh out of me and my girlfriend.

We all know that these types of movies come with an emotional side and it was seen in this movie. An overprotective father doing things the old way for the betterment of his family before a new way was found. Classic father/daughter tale as well. Good story, good action, good payoff.

The Croods isn’t as groundbreaking as movies produced before it such as Up, Shrek, Wall-E, and so on. It sends out a good message and that’s all we can really ask for. With the cast being quite diverse and star power-heavy, a lot of expectations can be sought for. Star for me had to be the characters of Cage and Stone, despite them being unusual voiceovers. Great movie to enjoy with the entire family. The kids will love the picture, colors, jokes, and the fact that it’s in 3D while the adults will have laugh as well and have fun seeing the smiles of their kids or loved ones.

Rating: 7/10

The Shape
03-29-2013, 12:17 AM
Spring Breakers (2013)

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**SPOILERS**

As spring break approaches, four teenage friends prepare to take a break from the college life with a trip to Florida. Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Cotty (Rachel Korine), Faith (Selena Gomez), and Brit (Ashley Benson) have plans to wreak havoc in Florida, but things change, when Faith doesn’t have enough money to help cover the expenses. Candy, Brit, and Cotty decide to rob a restaurant, but Faith is a good, churchgoing person, so she doesn’t help with the robbery.

After picking up the cash, Candy, Brit, Cotty, and Faith finally make it to Florida. But after the cops raid a party filled with marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol, the friends are arrested and sent to jail. Two trusted twin associates give their boss the green light, so a local rapper named Alien (James Franco) posts the bail to free the girls. Alien (or “Al”) invites the girls into his world of crime, but Faith can’t adjust to the “gangster” lifestyle. And things become more complicated, when Al engages in a deadly feud with his former mentor turned rival, Archie (Gucci Mane).

Vanessa Hudgens and James Franco deliver the best performances here. Franco was just hilarious as Al, and you could tell he had a lot of fun with the character. Hudgens is the best gleeful and cocky bad girl (“get on yo’ muthafuckin knees!”) in the bunch, and Benson would be a good number two choice. Gomez was the ideal choice for the sweet and innocent teen, who wanted to do the right thing, and she really nailed the Faith character. I was tempted to put Gomez over Franco and Hudgens, but Gomez kind of disappears after Faith makes the decision to go back home. Gucci Mane is……well Gucci Mane. Just listen to his shitty music, and BAM! That’s his “character” in Spring Breakers.

And Jeff Jarrett has a cameo in this film. He plays the overzealous priest at Faith’s church, and it was an incredible mark out moment for me. Then again, I was probably the only person in the entire theater (not an exaggeration), who could identify Jarrett. I was in a theater with a lot of teenagers, so yeah.

If you’re not familiar (well, as most of you know, I didn’t even know, who the guy was until tdigle brought me up to speed about a month ago) with Harmony Korine’s work, and are easily offended , then you should stay away from Spring Breakers. I haven’t seen all of his films yet, but I’ve seen enough to know that Korine doesn’t sugar-coat, or hold anything back. You’ll see a lot, and I do mean A LOT of nudity in this film, sporadic sex scenes, drug use (smoking weed, snorting cocaine, etc.), and Korine spares no expense for explicit and vulgar dialogue.

Korine gives you an uncensored look at the chaotic and hardcore world of partying during spring break, and at the same time, Korine blends in his own form of raw social commentary. Candy, Cotty, and Brit represent the pack of today’s teens, who are influenced by the hip-hop culture. They want to be “hard” and rebellious, and break away from their mundane suburban lifestyles. But as the story develops, Faith and Cotty realize their mistakes. Faith and Cotty bit off more than they could chew so to speak, and they hopped on the first bus home, so they could go back to school.

And one question continued to pop in my mind throughout the movie: HOW IN THE FUCK DID THEY MANAGE AN R RATING FOR THIS???? Personally, I’ve seen worse, but Spring Breakers borders on NC-17 territory most of the time, and I’m pretty sure they’ll release the DVD/Blu-Ray as unrated or something along the lines of an “extreme edition.”

Spring Breakers is another of those “hate it or love it” films. I honestly can’t imagine too many people having a middle ground with this film, but I loved Spring Breakers. Plenty of laughs, bloody violence, and Korine’s hypnotic style behind the camera is simply mesmerizing (especially during the big shootout at the end). The rock solid cast pulls everything together, and Spring Breakers features my third favorite James Franco performance (#1 127 Hours, #2 Spider-Man 2).

Rating: 8/10

Jam
04-01-2013, 01:15 AM
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G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Release Date: March 28, 2013
Runtime: 110 Minutes
***MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS***

The hype surrounding this movie was big as it can be considered the first movie at the early stages of summer. And with good reason too. The cast was pretty solid with Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson but they added in Bruce Willis in as well. Going into it, you just had to know that the storylines were going to be predictable and that it'll be much like the first film. And well...it was.

Duke (Channing Tatum) was in the movie for about ten minutes before his role was killed off in an explosion, leaving 3 Joes left in Roadblock, Flint, and Lady Jaye. The whole storyline was very predictable and was painful to watch at times because of knowing what would happen next. So in short, the storyline was weak and pretty much the same as the first movie with them trying to destory nuclear warheads.

The cast seemed to be competent but in actuality, Dwayne Johnson probably delivered the best performance of the entire cast, and that's really saying something. Haven't seen much of Palicki and there were probably better choices than her to play Lady Jaye but she was decent. Seeing her in a red dress made my mouth drop. Tatum and Johnson had some good chemistry together which is why I was disappointed that Tatum died very early in the movie. Even with the addition of Bruce Willis, he didn't add too much to the movie. He had limited time in the entire movie, which is expected especially in some of his recent movies where he isn't the star. Felt like he was just there for a longer cameo than usual.

Watching it in 3D was a good experience and the movie didn't suffer from it. The action scenes were decent but not really ground-breaking. The only thing to take note of was the ninja fight, that was pretty awesome. The fight Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow was probably my favorite part so you can look forward to that. Other than that, the explosions, interaction with the enemy, everything of the sort were decent at best.

If you enjoyed the first film, you'll enjoy the second one. While both aren't that great, they still have some good moments. The best part again was probably the fight between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, that scene really stole the movie. If you don't expect much from this movie, then you'll really like it. Judging by the events of the movie, there will be a third movie which I'm not too fussed about but will check it out when it eventually comes out.

Rating: 5/10

The Shape
04-01-2013, 05:39 PM
G.I. Joe Retaliation was better than the first film, easily. A fun popcorn flick with lots of high octane action sequences, and the 3D effects were impressive, but as a whole, the movie didn't blow me away. Rock was solid, but yeah, I actually wanted to see more of Bruce Willis. Willis was the ideal pick for the grizzled veteran, but Adrianne Palicki was just eye candy as usual. Willis, Rock, and Ray Stevenson helped elevate the cast. I didn't miss Tatum, and thankfully, I didn't have to see Marlon Wayans this time around.

No surprise they're giving the green light for another G.I. Joe film, but I'll probably wait for the DVD this time around.

5/10

The Shape
04-03-2013, 12:58 PM
I watched Olympus Has Fallen yesterday.

Overall I enjoyed it. I didn't think it was amazing or anything, but definitely entertaining. Gerard Butler does a good job mixing action with being a smart ass throughout. I do think they were missing something tying the opening situation in with the rest of the movie. I also feel they could've written how everything played out a little more climactically. Other than that, if you enjoy a good "one man against an army of terrorists," ala Die Hard, you should enjoy this movie.

*Spoiler*

My biggest gripe with the writing was how they got the child to safety so early in the movie. They really could've added more suspense into the story if he became a tool to be used against The President.

Saw this last night, and I loved it. I agree Gerard was Bruce Willis/Die Hard-esque in this film: aka a cocky tough guy with a smart-ass sense of humor. If you EVER needed anymore proof Butler should stick to action, just watch this film. It's his bread and butter, there's no denying it. Gerard got his man card back with this one film. Now please Gerard, for the love of God stay away from the shitty romantic comedies.

But yeah, Olympus was full of exhilarating and brutal, bloody action. Good stuff, if you're looking a fun and mindless action flick to watch. As far as the spoiler goes, yeah it was kind of a bummer.

The President's son, Connor (or code name "spark plug") was supposed to be the major form of leverage for the lead terrorist. Once he captured the President's son, he would be forced to give up the final code for control over the US's nukes. His plan (the lead terrorist) was to torture the president's son, forcing the president to give up the final code. But Gerard rescues the kid halfway through the film, and the lead terrorist finds a way to control the nukes anyway? Yeah, the "twist" just reeked of a massive gap in logic for the story. Then again, Olympus Has Fallen wasn't trying to be different, so I guess you have to expect that.

6/10

Cena's Little Helper
04-05-2013, 10:45 PM
Evil Dead (2013)

Synopsis: In order to cleanse herself of a debilitating heroin addiction, Mia, along with her friends Eric and Olivia, her brother David, and David's girlfriend Natalie, retreat to Mia's family's cabin. Upon arriving, they discover that the cabin has been broken into and that there's an extremely nasty smell emanating from the cellar. If you've seen the original The Evil Dead, you know what object they find down there. If you haven't seen the original film, then go into this one knowing as little as possible.

Analysis: Although suffering from some minor flaws, Evil Dead is the best horror remake/reboot to come out since 2006's The Hills Have Eyes. This feat is even more impressive when you consider that this is Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez's first feature-length film. As of right now, I don't want to get into the details of my two problems with this film, but I'll say that they could have been easily overcome with a little bit of CGI and a little bit more creativity in regards to the screenplay (I'll gladly discuss these points further once one or two other people on here have commented on the film).

Evil Dead pulls absolutely no punches and it is not, I repeat NOT, for the squeamish. It begins with a terrifying and gory prologue and the terror and gore remain dormant for only about 10-15 minutes while the audience is introduced to the film's main characters. Evil Dead knows what its purpose is, it gets right to the heart of the matter, and it's the type of reboot that horror fans dream of. If you've been waiting for this film, you will not be disappointed; the payoff is immensely rewarding.

Score: 8/10

The Shape
04-06-2013, 12:10 AM
The best horror remake/reboot since The Hills Have Eyes? 8/10? Now you really have me foaming at the mouth to see this tomorrow! For some strange reason, the barrage of negative reviews worried me today, but then again, most mainstream critics despise horror films, especially a nasty and violent film like this.

Not as exciting and fresh as Tdigs and the Evil Dead 2013, but.....

That's My Boy (2012)

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**SPOILERS**

As a thirteen year old, Donny Berger (Justin Weaver) pursues a crush, which happens to be his teacher Mary McGarricle (Eva Amuri Martino). To his surprise, Ms. McGarricle pulls Donny into a private room during detention to have sex with him. After a few dates, Donny impregnates Ms. McGarricle. Ms. McGarricle is sent off to jail for a thirty year sentence, and Donny’s father is forced to care for the unborn child until Donny turns eighteen. Donny names his son Han Solo Berger, and Donny becomes a pop icon during the 80’s and early to mid 90’s. But once Han Solo turned eighteen, he abandoned his father, determined to never see him again.

In 2012, Donny (Adam Sandler) is a washed-up bum with no money, who’s stuck in deep debt with just about everyone. Donny’s lawyer, Jim (Rex Ryan) gives him the deadline for a payment of forty-three thousand dollars in back-taxes to the IRS. Donny must find a way to come up with the money, or he’s going to face some serious jail time. With no one else to turn to, Donny accidentally spots his long-lost son on a magazine cover for prestigious upcoming weddings. Donny secretly hatches a plan to trick Han Solo into a reality show meeting with his mother in jail. A sleazy and shameless TV show host named Randall Morgan (Dan Patrick) agrees to pay Donny fifty thousand dollars, if Donny can bring Han Solo and his mother face to face in prison. Now an older woman and cutoff from the outside world, Mary (Susan Sarandon) is unaware of Donny’s plan, as she awaits his upcoming visit.

But Han Solo isn’t quick to welcome his father with open arms. To hide the shame and embarrassment, Han Solo came up with a story about his parents dying in an explosion, and he changed his name. Now a successful businessman, Todd Peterson (Andy Samberg) is about to marry his fiancée, Jamie (Leighton Meester). But the peaceful wedding planning takes a turn for the worst, when Donny suddenly shows up to crash the ceremonies. The wedding is days away, and in an attempt to save face and keep his secret, Todd introduces Donny as an old friend to Jamie’s family. Donny tries to trick Todd into visiting his mother for the reality show, but Todd is still bitter about his miserable and damaged childhood. Donny gets some help from his friend Vanilla Ice, but he’ll have to outsmart a suspicious Jamie, Todd, and Jamie’s crazy Marine brother, Chad (Milo Ventimiglia). And Donny has to close the deal quickly, or he will lose everything.

Character wise, Adam Sandler is someone, who you can usually root for. In Billy Madison, I wanted him to graduate, get the diploma, and taker over his father’s company, because Bradley Whitford’s character was such a slimy asshole. I wanted him to succeed in Happy Gilmore. In the Waterboy, you could get behind Bobby, because he was bullied, and I wanted him to kick some ass and fight back. In Big Daddy, I rooted for Sandler to become a man, and take care of his responsibilities. And this breaks the trend I’m on right now, but in Anger Management, Sandler was a wimp, who couldn’t stand up for himself, so of course, I rooted for him to find his courage. Bottom line, Sandler is usually an immature douchebag in most of his movies…..but he’s a likeable immature douchebag. I can’t say the same thing about Donny. He’s such an unlikable, and more importantly, unfunny douche.

Like Sandler, Andy Samberg tries way too hard in this film, and he’s just not funny. Susan Sarandon is pretty good, and for some reason, her character is wearing an 80’s style Hulk Hogan shirt in prison. Unfortunately, old Mary only has the one prison scene. Dan Patrick brought a few chuckles out of me, as the narcissistic TV personality. Vanilla Ice is just horrendous. He tries to poke fun at himself throughout the movie, and it’s just painful to watch. Leighton Meester is just eye candy. Although, she has a few moments as the psychotic and obsessive, controlling bitch. And Sandler’s buddies fill up the majority of the supporting cast. If you’ve seen most of Sandler’s films, you should know, who I’m talking about. Of course, Nick Swardson is here. He plays Sandler’s weird and perverted loser friend, who stalks around the local strip club. And no, he’s not funny at all.

That’s My Boy pulls out all the stops: incest, gross-out gags, masturbation gags, raunchy sex jokes, and vulgar, over the top douchebaggery. Oh, and they actually used the “wazzzzuuuuup!” from the old Budweiser commercials as a running gag throughout this film. Overkill is a big problem in That’s My Boy. After the first fifteen minutes, the jokes lose a lot of steam. It’s kind of hard to produce more shocked reactions, when you start off the movie with an inappropriate teacher/student relationship, and constantly piling on a bunch of immature frat boy style gags every five minutes doesn’t help anything.

Don’t be fooled by Sandler’s trip into raunchy R rated territory. He’s not doing something different. It’s the same old tired and boring shtick you’ve seen for years. He’s just more vulgar and nasty in this movie, that’s it. I tried really hard to laugh at That’s My Boy, but I couldn’t 90% of the time. It’s just an awful film, and Sandler continues to sink lower with each passing year. Ugh, this is what happens, when I stay up late, and watch some random movie on Starz.

Rating: 1/10

The Shape
04-06-2013, 08:29 PM
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Jane Levy is an easy pick for the best performance here. Mia is innocent and fragile at first, but once the possession kicks in, Levy transforms into a diabolical and dangerous hellcat. Rest of the cast was solid enough, but Fernandez’s character annoyed the shit of me.

And what a debut for director Fede Alvarez. Think of all the pressure for making the first Evil Dead film in years. Alvarez didn’t just live up to the hype, he knocked it out of the park with a grand slam here. If I’m not mistaken, the girl burning alive is the only true CGI moment here. Alvarez didn’t flood this film with a barrage of flashy and glossy CGI effects, and that’s a good thing. The gruesome and bloody gore has a stronger sense of realism, and I’m overjoyed Alvarez didn’t take The Thing 2011 approach for special effects. Oh, and Alvarez brought back the demon POV of maneuvering through the woods before an attack. Good stuff.

The Evil Dead 2013 is more serious than the original films, especially Evil Dead 2 and Army Of Darkness. No hokey humor, and the overall tone of the film is darker. And Tdigle isn't joking about the seriousness for the violence and bloody brutality in this film. The Evil Dead 2013 is loaded with tons of gruesome gore, sadistic violence and torture, lots of, and I do mean LOTS OF blood, and you’ll see plenty of “hard to watch” moments throughout this film. The Evil Dead remake is not for the weak at heart, and you really should avoid this one, if you’re the squeamish type.

The Evil Dead 2013 is the best horror film I’ve seen so far this year, and it’s not even close. A damn good remake/reboot, that should satisfy fans of the originals, and horror fans, who love nasty and bloody gore. I love this film, and I can’t wait for the DVD!

Rating: 8/10

The Shape
04-06-2013, 10:20 PM
Well, after doing more research, apparently the new Evil Dead is a SEQUEL:

Director Fede Alvarez dropped a bomb on WonderCon audiences during an Evil Dead panel this Sunday in the Anaheim convention center n California.

Back when the red band trailer had been released, We had pointed out some interesting imagery that suggested that maybe the new Evil Dead, in theaters April 5, was actually a sequel. Alvarez confirmed this to the WonderCon crowd, while also adding something major.

He told audiences that an Evil Dead 2 (followed by a planned Evil Dead 3), and the recently announced Army of Darkness 2, will eventually crossover for the ultimate cult horror movie Evil Dead 7, reports Movieweb. So, after two sequels to the current remake – the remake universe will collide with the old “Ash” universe in a film that will amount to be the 4th installment in both franchises.

At this time, Sam Raimi and his brother Ivan Raimi are working on the screenplay for Army of Darkness 2, which will continue the story of Ash as seen in the original The Evil Dead from 1981. While Fede Alvarez might have been joking, suggests the site, who was on hand for the panel, he seemed serious when he said he plans to join both his new franchise together with Sam Raimi’s old franchise.

AWESOME! Alvarez needs to return as director, but it's going to be hard to top this film. They definitely set the bar high, IMO, but I'll hope for the best either way.

The Shape
04-10-2013, 12:10 AM
Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation (1990)

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**SPOILERS**

One night during the Christmas season, a woman falls from a rooftop after a struggle with an unknown attacker. The woman bursts into flames before crashing to the ground, and an eccentric vagrant named Ricky (Clint Howard) inspects the burning corpse, but he’s scared off by the police.

Kim (Neith Hunter) is an ambitious and frustrated journalist, who’s tired of being held down by the men at her job. Kim insists on doing the story for the burning woman’s death, but instead, her boss, Eli (Reggie Bannister) gives the assignment to her boyfriend/co-worker, Hank (Tommy Hinkley). Driven by anger and a determination to prove all of her male superiors wrong, Kim decides to do the story with some secret sleuthing.

At a local bookstore, Kim meets the owner, Fima (Maud Adams), who directs her to a book on spontaneous combustion. After a hostile interaction with Ricky, Fima urges Kim to study the occult, but she refuses. Soon enough, Fima invites Kim to join her and friends at a picnic in the park, and Kim agrees. Kim’s erratic behavior creates problems at work, but Kim receives support from her co-worker, neighbor, and one trustworthy friend, Janice (Allyce Beasley). At the picnic, Kim meets Katherine (Jeanne Bates) and Jane (Marjean Holden). During the picnic, Kim unknowingly drinks drugged wine.

After the picnic in the park, a series of bizarre incidents and bug infestations disrupt Kim’s life. Kim’s relationship with Hank deteriorates after a dinner with his father, Gus (Ben Slack) his mother, Ann (Laurel Lockhart), and young brother, Lonnie (Conan Yuzna). But a strained first meeting with Hank’s parents is the least of Kim’s worries. After piecing together the clues, and developing a strong hatred for all men, Kim learns a series of shocking secrets: Fima, Katherine, and Jane are actually witches, who are determined to live a life free of men. Janice is a witch, and she’s apart of Fima’s clan, and Janice helped with the planning for Kim’s initiation into Fima’s group of witches.

Ricky is a loyal servant to Fima, and Ricky is sent to help Kim in the final stage of her initiation. During a struggle, Ricky kills Hank, who was just trying to protect Kim. Distraught, and with no other options for an escape, Fima gives Kim one last order to complete the process: Kim must sneak into Lonnie’s house, kidnap him, and murder Lonnie during a ritual sacrifice on Christmas night. Kim must complete the task, or she will burn to death like Fima’s daughter, who was too “weak” to complete her mission.

Hunter is decent enough in the leading role, but her character is so stupid (more on that later). Maud Adams’ cold “you’ll be sorry, if you don’t obey me” stares are spot on, but Adams’ performance suffers, when she opens her mouth. Ben Slack is good for a few laughs, as the sexist and racist old codger, but his screen time is limited. And Clint Howard delivers the best performance. Howard is genuinely creepy and strange, and the filthy homeless guy look really pulls everything together. The rest of the supporting cast ranges from mediocre to awful with Allyce Beasley giving the most noteworthy performance in the bunch.

Initiation is the most disgusting, violent, and obscene film in the Silent Night, Deadly Night franchise, easily. The bugs, the hanging body on meat hooks in a meat locker, burning corpses, and the nastiness coming from Kim’s transformations. This is a repulsive horror flick, that features a good amount of violence, gore, and a rape scene. Part four isn’t a brainless and cheesy slasher, and I know I say this a lot, but you should avoid this one, if you‘re the squeamish type.

Every time I decide to watch Initiation, the obvious twist and turns don’t bother me too much, but Kim’s stupidity? That’s another problem. Kim is so gullible and foolish. “Fima’s giving me a slimy bug to eat? Hmmm. I don’t know what it is, and it could kill me, but I’ll eat it anyway!” “The bug is making me sick, and Fima clearly poisoned my cup of tea right in front of me, but to hell with it, I’m going to drink it anyway!” Ugh. Fima’s “plans” are so easy to telegraph, but Kim constantly falls for her schemes every time. And of course, Kim realizes she made a mistake AFTER Ricky murders Hank, and Fima pressures her to kill Lonnie. Yeah, because clearly the woman, who drugs you, forces you to eat insects, and locks you inside a meat locker isn’t planning something diabolical. :rolleyes:

Initiation is the Season Of The Witch for the Silent Night franchise. With the exception of a brief clip on TV from Better Watch Out! before Hank’s murder, Initiation comeplelty ignores the storylines in Part I, II, and III. And they comeplelty drop the killer Santa Claus theme here. No Ricky, no Billy, and no other maniacs running around in Santa suits. It’s a refreshing change, because truth be told, the killer Santa stuff ran its course in the second film, and the well dried up in Part 3 by keeping Ricky alive. As far as ignoring the other storylines goes, meh. Never bothered me, when I watched this film for the first time years ago, and it still doesn’t bother me today. As I said before, the Ricky and Billy stuff ran its course in Part 3. They milked each storyline beyond a salvageable point, and it was time for something new.

The cast isn’t special, Initiation is the second straight-to-video film in the franchise, and the giant ladybug in Kim’s apartment looks like a cheap toy (gotta see it to believe it). But I still enjoy Initiation. It’s darker and more creepy than the original films, and some scenes are guaranteed to make your skin crawl. The Silent Night franchise tried to give the fans something different, and I actually appreciate the bold changes.

Rating: 5/10

i'm a cm punk girl
04-10-2013, 02:24 AM
i just watched The Incredible Burt Wonderstone online.

it is a fun family oriented film. Jim Carrey is doin' his THING that only he can pull off :) And BTW, Olivia is smokin' hot as usual!

fu** the critics!

The Shape
04-18-2013, 12:44 AM
Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker (1991)

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**SPOILERS**

During the month of December, a young Derek Quinn (William Thorne) anxiously awaits Christmas Day. One night, Derek picks up a gift wrapped package from a mysterious stranger. Derek’s father, Tom (Van Quattro) takes the package from Derek, while lecturing him about the dangers of opening the door for strangers. Derek hides on the staircase, while Tom unwraps the package. Inside, Tom finds a Santa Claus ornament. But it’s not an ordinary ornament. The head spins around to reveal the face of a more sinister Santa Claus with fangs. Sparks fly, and the ornament uses its rubber tentacles to strangle Tom. During the struggle with the ornament, Tom falls into a fireplace poker, and is killed on impact. Derek’s mother, Sarah (Jane Higginson) rushes downstairs to find the body of her dead husband, while Derek sits on the steps in a stunned silence.

Two weeks later, Derek is stuck in a mute phase, and his erratic behavior continues to get worse. In attempt to cheer him up, Sarah takes Derek to the local toy store to buy him a gift. Petto’s Toys is run by the owner, Joe Petto (Mickey Rooney), who occasionally receives help from his awkward teenage son, Pino (Brian Bemer). Pino has an obsession for making masks, and Joe is a depressed and angry alcoholic. Joe is consumed by the recent failures in profits for his store, and Joe takes all of his frustrations out on Pino. After witnessing the death of his father, Derek develops a fear of all toys and Santa Claus, so he refuses to accept any gifts from Petto’s Toys.

Meanwhile, Derek and Sarah are unknowingly stalked by a man named Noah (Tracy Fraim). Noah recently left the Army, but he’s struggling to pay his bills, and Noah is forced to take a job as a shopping mall Santa. One day, Noah tries to learn some more information from Derek during an unexpected visit at the mall. But Sarah snatches Derek from Noah’s lap, as Noah becomes more aggressive and persistent. Sarah seeks advice and help from her neighbor and best friend, Kim (Neith Hunter), but Kim’s rebellious and rowdy son, Lonnie (Conan Yuzna) doesn’t help the situation.

The night before Christmas Eve, Sarah takes one final shot at cheering up a silent Derek by allowing him to open an early Christmas present from Petto’s. The present was another gift from the mysterious stranger, but Sarah never suspected any foul play, because she was convinced Kim left the present for Derek. Derek is still tormented by the death of his father, so he throws the present of roller-skates in the trash. Lonnie sees an easy opportunity, and he steals the skates from the trashcan. But the roller-skates are actually rocket powered. And during a harmless test run, the skates malfunction, and Lonnie is hit by a car.

Eventually, Noah corners Sarah in a long awaited face to face meeting on Christmas Eve. Noah tells Sarah the story of how Joe Petto became a bitter and hateful man after losing his wife and unborn son in a tragic car accident. Petto created a series of toys equipped with lethal weapons, because if he couldn’t have a happy, normal family, then nobody else would either. Unbeknownst to Derek, Noah is his real father, but Sarah wanted a real man, who could provide a secure future for Derek and herself, so she married Tom. Noah went to the Army to become a man, and now he wants to be a father for Derek.

While Noah reconnects with Sarah, Derek is alone with the babysitter, Meredith (Amy L. Taylor) and her boyfriend, Buck (Eric Welch). Meredith and Buck are trying to have sex, but they’re attacked by an army of Petto’s toys, and Derek is kidnapped by Joe Petto in a Santa suit, who uses a red bag to abduct Derek. Eventually, Sarah and Noah arrive at Sarah’s house. As Noah tries to comfort a bloody and hysterical Meredith, Sarah rushes to Petto’s Toys to save her only son. Noah eventually makes it to the toy store, but he’s forced to fight off Petto’s lethal toys. Sarah sneaks into the basement to find the real Joe Petto’s dead body, and here, she learns the truth from Pino: Pino is actually a robot built by Joe. Joe couldn’t handle the heartbreak of losing his wife and son, so he created a robot imitation of his dream child. But during his drunken rages, Joe would break Pino, because Pino wasn‘t a “real son.” After the latest incident, Pino murdered Joe. He made a mask to resemble his father’s face, and after that, he broke into Sarah’s house to kidnap Derek. But Pino’s work isn’t finished. Desperately seeking a mother’s love, Pino plans to kill Derek, and become Sarah’s one and only real son.

Of course, Mickey Rooney is the only recognizable name from this cast. Petto is an innocent old man in front of Sarah and his customers, but he’s an angry, drunken asshole to his son. As the raging drunk, Rooney’s performance is cheesy and over the top, and Rooney throws in this horrible sinister laugh during a fight with Pino towards the end. Rooney isn’t terrible, but his loony codger act is painful to watch at times. Although, Mickey Rooney taking a part in this film is kind of odd and ironic. Rooney was one of the many people, who publicly condemned the original Silent Night film, writing a letter to producers expressing his disgust and disappointment.

Jane Higginson is decent enough. Technically, Derek is the main character. But William Throne only speaks at the very beginning, and towards the end of the film. Throne’s performance is limited to scrunching facial expressions of fear and distress. And while Derek is trying to communicate, Sarah takes center stage as the primary protagonist. Anyway, Tracy Fraim’s Noah is dull and forced. Brian Bemer is spot on, as the creepy and eccentric loyal son, especially during the final showdown, when Pino reveals his true robot form. Neith Hunter is okay, but to be fair, her character is shoved into the background this time around. She’s the one woman support system for Sarah, and Conan Yuzna’s Lonnie is a rebellious troublemaker here. Oh, and Clint Howard (Ricky, the homeless servant from Initiation) has a brief cameo, as one of Noah’s Santa co-workers at the mall.

Well, the Toy Maker is the second stand alone film in the Silent Night franchise. After Ricky murdered Gus and Ann, Kim becomes Lonnie’s legal guardian, and they’re next door neighbors to Sarah and Derek. But The Toy Maker doesn’t make an effort to connect anything to Initiation. Ricky’s out of left field cameo doesn‘t fit within the current story. Kim and Lonnie’s characters actually have an impact on the current story, and Kim actually alludes to her bizarre encounter with Fima’s witch clan in part four, but she doesn’t go into details. So unless you actually watched Initiation, you wouldn‘t have the knowledge for the origins of Kim, Ricky, and Lonnie, because The Toy Maker doesn’t make an effort to provide a backstory for each character. Kim, Lonnie, and Ricky’s appearances in this film are more of a “remember them!” wink for die hard Silent Night fans, and it’s as simple as that.

The Toy Maker tries to return to the cheesy and over the top roots of the first two films. The dialogue, the violence, the music, the antagonists (Joe and Pino), and the story. They tried to resurrect the campy 80’s charm in The Toy Maker, but the efforts are too hit-and-miss for my taste. A prime example of the worst case for misses is when Buck insults Lonnie during a verbal duel one night. Lonnie does his best to get under Buck’s skin, and Buck responds with this: “I eat kids like you for breakfast! That’s why my shit smells so bad!” And trust me, this isn’t the only cringeworthy attempt at humor throughout this film. But on the flip-side of that, The Toy Maker is capable of providing a few cheap laughs. Towards the very end, Pino removes his Santa suit, and praises Joe’s work: “My father could make anything.” Pino looks down to see no male genitalia: “Well, almost anything.”

Too many tonal shifts are a real problem for The Toy Maker. I mean, lethal toys (rubber snake, mechanical hand, tanks, small soldiers, mini airplanes, etc.) are attacking people, so of course you’re not suppose to take this film too seriously. But you’ll see a good amount of blood here (mainly during the big toy assault on Meredith and Buck, and Meredith running out of the house as a bloody mess), and there’s a creepy attempted rape scene during the final minutes of this one. Pino is trying to rape Sarah, and he can’t (for obvious reasons), but still, he won’t give up. And Pino constantly shouts “I love you mommy,” while trying to rape Sarah. It’s not funny, and I’m 90% sure it wasn’t supposed to be a serious attempted rape. It’s just an awkward and weird moment to sit through, and this scene really doesn’t fit within The Toy Maker’s goofy lighthearted atmosphere. Then again, just a few moments before the Pino and Sarah scene, Pino (still wearing the Joe mask) attacks Noah with a small, plastic toy gun, loaded with some kind of corrosive material.

They had an opportunity to make something out of Pino’s struggle to understand and feel human emotions, but it was a case of too little, too late. They spent SO much time trying to unravel the mystery of the mysterious stranger, who delivers lethal toys, and revealing Noah’s backstory. They tried to cram in the machines connecting to the real world dynamic, but we don’t hear Pino’s speech until the end. The mystery of “is Noah a good guy or bad guy?” eats up too much time, because Noah’s true intentions are revealed during The Toy Maker’s home stretch. You would think Noah giving his landlord a toy for his son in exchange for a delayed rent payment was the first sign of Noah possibly trying to help, or working for Joe. As Noah hands his landlord the toy, that eventually kills him, Noah says “it’s to die for.” Noah KNEW something was wrong with the toy, but towards the end he’s fighting to save Sarah, Derek, and take down Pino for good? That’s a HUGE black hole for logic.

Sub-par cast, below average production values, and a predictable “through the motions” story. Yeah, The Toy Maker can’t rise above the normal straight-to-video horror standards. And The Toy Maker wasn’t the resurrection film for this franchise, because Better Watch Out! buried the Silent Night film series into a deep hole. Initiation disrupted the continuity, and truth be told, Part 2 was a shitty film.

But I enjoy The Toy Maker as a guilty pleasure. The gaps in logic irritate me every time, and you can’t ignore a few noticeable plot holes, but as I said before, The Toy Maker isn’t trying to be a smart horror film (unlike one of its predecessors, Better Watch Out! Which failed miserably on almost every level). Toys are attacking people, and Mickey Rooney’s kooky parody style performance is a shining example of The Toy Maker’s silliness. All in all, The Toy Maker is dumb fun, and another guilty pleasure in the Silent Night franchise. It’s not a great, or good finale, though. And of course, this was the end of the line for the Silent Night franchise, until the remake hit during Christmas time last year.

Rating: 5/10

i'm a cm punk girl
04-21-2013, 05:23 AM
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This movie is a Cool combination of the original Wizard of Oz and Tom & Jerry's Hijinks. I love the Funny Things Tom and Jerry go through to keep Dorothy safe in Kansas.

dukes07
04-21-2013, 10:18 PM
It's been awhile but I have seen a bunch of movies lately:

Mummy-8/10. Great movie
Mummy Returns-7.5/10
Mummy 3-7/10

Raiders of the Lost Ark-9/10
Temple of Doom-8/10
Last Crusade-9/10
Crystal Skull-8/10

Star Trek: Search for Spock 7.5/10

GI Joe Retaliation-6/10. Shitty first half but the second half was much better.

The Shape
04-24-2013, 07:59 PM
The Lords Of Salem (2013)

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**SPOILERS**

In Salem, Massachusetts, Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie) works as a DJ at the local radio station. With her trusted friends, Herman “Whitey” Salvador (Jeff Daniel Phillips) and Herman “Munster” Jackson (Ken Foree), Heidi is apart of Salem’s hottest gothic rock radio team. Heidi is a recovering drug addict, who’s trying to turn her life around, but the delivery of a mysterious record from a band named “The Lords” changes everything. Heidi and other women slip into a zombified trance, when The Lords’ record is played across the airwaves, and Heidi can’t shake the lasting effects from the strange tunes.

Back at her apartment complex, Heidi encounters a series of strange disturbances from an unknown tenant in apartment five. Heidi’s landlord doesn’t find any signs of foul play, but Heidi slowly descends into madness, as the evil presence from The Lords’ record consumes her. Francis Matthias (Bruce Davison), an author and expert on the Salem witch trials, is a guest on Heidi’s radio show one day. And after examining The Lords’ record, Francis decides to investigate The Lords, and do more research on Heidi‘s past.

As Heidi relapses into drug abuse, Francis studies Heidi’s family tree. Heidi’s real last name is Hawthorne, and Heidi is a descendant of Reverend Johnathan Hawthorne (Andrew Prine). Jonathan Hawthorne played a crucial role in destroying an entire coven of witches during the Salem witch trials, but he was cursed by the leader of the clan. The curse would fall on a descendant of Hawthorne, who would lead the modern-day clan of Salem witches…….and Heidi is the descendant. Heidi’s landlord and her two friends share bloodline ties to Salem witches of the past. Heidi’s landlord and her friends carefully and secretly plotted to initiate Heidi into their clan, but Francis and Herman Whitey suspect something fishy, as Heidi continues to sink into a deeper hole. Heidi will have to face the horrors in apartment five, and the possibility of leading the modern-day Salem Witches.

Sheri Moon Zombie isn’t a horrendous actress. She gets a lot of flak for constantly appearing in her husband’s films, and a lot of the hate is unnecessary. Is she a great actress? No. Is she the type of actress, who can elevate a film with her performance? No, no she’s not. But Sheri is capable of delivering decent and solid performances. It’s one thing if you’re tired of seeing Sheri in Rob’s movies, but she’s not an unbearable abomination of an actress, who couldn‘t “act her way out of a paper bag“ so to speak. Also, Rob Zombie isn’t blind, and he doesn’t live under a rock. He has to know about the criticisms surrounding his decisions to constantly re-cast Sheri in all of his movies. But Sheri keeps popping up regardless. Honestly, I’ve seen enough interviews with Zombie, and he doesn’t strike me as the type of person, who would care about the complaints.

Anyway, in The Lords Of Salem, Sheri is kind of dull as Heidi at first, but she shows more personality during Heidi’s downward spiral. Sheri’s Heidi isn’t an Oscar worthy performance, but she’s believable, and I could feel sympathy for her character. Daniel Phillips is just there, you won’t see too much of Ken Foree, and the group of women, who portrayed the modern-day witches trying to seduce Heidi brought too many unintentional laughs (more on that later) out of me.

Rob Zombie is and always will be one of my favorite filmmakers. I admire and respect his passion and enthusiasm for the horror genre. As usual, Zombie spares no expense for blood and brutality. The Lords Of Salem is guaranteed to make you squirm, and you’ll know you’re in for a sick and twisted ride after the opening satanic ritual. Zombie delivers a few jump scares every now and then (the first in Heidi’s apartment with the witch corpse hanging in the far corner of the kitchen is the best one), and he creates the perfect spooky atmosphere (mainly during flashbacks to old Salem). I don’t own any of his albums, but Zombie’s selected soundtrack is a good fit for The Lords Of Salem. It’s not too distracting, but at the same time, the music helps set the right mood for each scene. Also, Zombie’s retro style intro for Heidi and The Herman’s radio show was pretty cool, because the intro looked and felt like an authentic throwback to the 70’s.

The Lords Of Salem uses the slow burn technique to unravel its story, and you have to figure out a lot of major plot points, because Lords doesn’t provide any clear cut answers for the motivations of the main characters. I actually enjoyed the methodical pacing. Heidi’s downfall feels more devastating, because you see each step leading up to the ending. I was hooked into the mystery surrounding Heidi and the Salem witches…..until the ending. The ending feels rushed, and Zombie’s clusterfuck cramming of images during the finale almost gave me a headache. I anxiously anticipated the grand finale, but the third act was a disappointing and clustered mess.

Also, Heidi’s landlord and her friends are supposed to be kooky crones. I get that, but man they almost ruined this move for me. In the early stages of the movie, one of the witches is so hysterical and over the top during a palm reading for Heidi. This lunatic act wasn’t funny or creepy, it was just too much. And towards the end, as Heidi’s landlord and her friends plan to kill Francis before he warns Heidi, Heidi’s landlord and her friends start taunting Francis. The insults towards Francis veer into campy territory too often, and this scene just brought a deep, disappointed sigh out of me.

Plus, Zombie’s “it was just a dream!” trick loses its shock factor towards the end. Throughout the movie, Heidi has dreams of attacks from dark forces. The dark forces also attack her friends, and Heidi believes everything is real, but then she wakes up. Zombie uses this trick more than once, and towards the end, Heidi’s dream sequences lose the intended shock factor.

You’ll see a lot of female nudity throughout this film, but don’t start drooling now, because you shouldn’t get your hopes up too high. A VERY select few (Sheri and another, couldn’t find her name) are supposed to be attractive and naked. The others? Eh, not so much, because the other nude scenes occur during the satanic ritual stuff. So yeah, use your imagination.

The Lords Of Salem is a bizarre and trippy horror film loaded with grisly images, and sadistic brutality. The cast isn’t great, and the third act is a big mess, but I’m still going with a positive score for this one. For good and bad reasons, you will not forget The Lords Of Salem. Salem is shocking, and Zombie’s unrestrained approach is guaranteed to bring a reaction out of you. It’s not my favorite Zombie film (Halloween 2007 is still #1, and no, I don‘t have a problem with Zombie explaining the origins of Michael Myers), but The Lords Of Salem earned a spot on my list of memorable moviegoing experiences this year.

Rating: 6/10

The Shape
04-27-2013, 09:04 PM
Pain & Gain (2013)

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**SPOILERS**

In 1990’s South Florida, Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) is a bodybuilder, who’s tired of being a nobody. Broke, and working a dead end job as a fitness trainer at the Sun Gym, Daniel convinces his steroid junkie friend, Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) to pull off a kidnapping that will solve all of their problems. Daniel is motivated by Johnny Wu’s (Ken Jeong) seminar, and Wu’s pep talk as a motivational speaker gives Daniel the extra push he was looking for. After recruiting Paul Doyle (The Rock), a born-again Christian, who’s fresh out of jail, Daniel puts together the perfect plan. Daniel, Paul, and Adrian kidnap Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub), a “self-made” millionaire and one of Paul’s clients at the Sun Gym.

After days of torture and beatings, Victor finally signs over all of his assets to Daniel and his gang. And Daniel receives some help from his boss, John (Rob Corddry), who has the license to notarize all the paperwork. Daniel moves into Victor’s house. Adrian marries Ramona (Rebel Wilson), the one woman, who stood by him during his erectile dysfunction problems, and Adrian uses his share of the money to buy a new house. Paul is consumed by the fast life with his stripper girlfriend, Sorina (Bar Paly), while developing an addiction to cocaine.

As the Sun Gym Gang burns through their money, Daniel is influenced by Paul to pull off another heist. Meanwhile, Victor survives a botched murder by the gang, and hires a private investigator named Ed Du Bois (Ed Harris) to bring down Daniel and his crew. Paul and Adrian are running low on money, so Daniel plans another job to clean out a wealthy porn director/producer. But Ed is ready to point the police in the right direction, and Paul’s failed robbery of an armored car brings more heat to the gang.

Well, the main cast of characters are supposed to be meatheads, but The Rock delivers the most entertaining performance for my money. Paul is really the only guy, who steps out of the “tough guy” zone, and Johnson shows a goofy, sensitive side. During the cocaine addiction, Rock turns into a paranoid emotional trainwreck, and he brought a few laughs out of me, as the religious loony. Wahlberg is believable as an obsessive jock, but Anthony Mackie’s character annoyed me. Not because of his performance, but a lame running gag about ED is attached to Mackie’s character, and it’s not funny after the first three or four penis jokes. Shalhoub oozes sleaziness, Ed Harris is always a perfect fit for the old veteran, and Bar Paly is just eye candy. I mean, technically Paly has a character, as the ditzy airhead, but she can’t act. Rebel Wilson has found a niche, as a subtle and shrewd chunky woman, and next to Rock, she gets my pick for the second most entertaining performance. Also, I’m pretty sure I spotted Kurt Angle during a prison fight in one of Paul’s flashbacks.

Michael Bay’s high octane and clumsy directing style might give you a seizure or a really bad headache after you’re done with one of his movies. I guess you can give Bay some credit for toning it down on the explosions (unless I’m missing something, I only counted one), but as usual, there’s nothing truly memorable about Bay’s work behind the camera here. More violence and blood than your usual Bay flick, but it’s nothing too extreme. It’s nothing that’ll make you squirm, or say “wow! Bay is trying to do something different!” No. And Bay’s constant use of slow motion is kind of annoying.

Pain & Gain wants to be an in-your-face black comedy, and a colorful from rags to riches story, but I was ready to leave after twenty minutes. The humor loses steam fast, and the through the motions story is too predictable and mundane. Maybe, just MAYBE if they took a more serious approach, Pain & Gain could’ve been a respectable docudrama……with a better director of course. But I was burnt out on the goofiness and macho “I HAVE BIG MUSCLES!” routine before Pain & Gain reached the third act. Lots of T&A throughout Pain & Gain, and I chuckled a few times, but the movie as a whole is just a massive failure, and the two hours and nine minutes runtime felt like an eternity.

Rating: 2/10

The Shape
04-30-2013, 12:06 AM
ChromeSkull: Laid To Rest 2 (2011)

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**SPOILERS**

Following the events of Laid To Rest, Tommy (Thomas Dekker) and The Girl With No Name, or “Princess” (Bobbi Sue Luther) narrowly escape the wrath of the ruthless killer, ChromeSkull (Nick Principe). After unknowingly pouring booby-trapped glue into his chrome mask, ChromeSkull’s face was destroyed by a corrosive substance. Tommy and Princess were the only living suriviors after ChromeSkull’s recent rampage, and after the final showdown in a convenience store, Tommy and Princess escaped before the police arrived.

As investigators and local police arrived at the convenience store to examine ChromeSkull’s seemingly lifeless body, ChromeSkull’s special team, led by his top assistant, Preston (Brian Austin Green) infiltrated the crime scene. Preston and ChromeSkull’s team killed everyone on the scene, and they escaped with ChromeSkull’s body before backup arrived to help out. Eventually, ChromeSkull was taken to one of his hideouts for surgery by a secret team of surgeons. The surgeons reconstructed ChormeSkull’s mangled face, and ChromeSkull was given time to rest and recover.

Meanwhile, Preston tracks Tommy and Princess to a hotel. Tommy agreed to look after Princess for a while, but the hotel was the end of the line. But when Tommy goes out to get food, Preston sneaks in the hotel room, and murders Princess. Tommy returns to find Princess’ dismembered body, and Tommy is rushed to the local police station for questioning and protection.

Three months later, ChromeSkull is fitted with a new chrome skull mask, and he’s looking for his revenge against Tommy. Tommy is the one that got away, and ChromeSkull doesn’t miss his targets. And ChromeSkull isn’t alone, because he receives help from his underground network of associates. While Preston tries to locate Tommy, ChromeSkull targets a new victim. Jess (Mimi Michaels) and her friend are home alone one night, when ChromeSkull sneaks in. He murders Jess’ friend, and takes Jess to his hideout as a hostage.

Detective King (Owain Yeoman) and his trusted co-worker, Max (Christopher Nelson) work together to find Jess, while keeping Tommy safe at the station. Meanwhile, a series of problems within ChromeSkull’s organization could spark a catastrophic implosion. Preston is tired of living in the shadows, and his role as the clean up guy. Preston wants to be the new ChromeSkull, but ChromeSkull isn’t ready to retire anytime soon. And ChromeSkull is still bitter towards Preston for killing Princess, because he likes to kill and “catch his own fish.” On top of all that, ChromeSkull’s more loyal and trusted assistant, Spann (Danielle Harris) plots to turn ChromeSkull against Preston (Spann‘s #1 rival within the organization).

One night, Preston slips inside the station, and kidnaps Tommy. Tommy and Jess are prisoners of ChromeSkull at his hideout. Detective King launches a last second mission to save Tommy and Jess, and put an end to ChromeSkull’s murderous rampages.

Ugh, why, oh WHY did they have to kill off Lena Headey in Laid To Rest! Thomas Dekker, Brian Austin Green, and Lena Headey in the same cast could’ve provided the perfect Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles reunion. Yes, I know. I’m probably one of the very few people, who actually wanted to see this, but a TSCC reunion in Laid To Rest 2 would’ve been a great nostalgia kick for die hard fans of the show.

Anyway, the cast is solid enough. Nick Principe is still intimidating and creepy as ChromeSkull. Brian Austin Green is OKAY, but he tries way too hard most of the time. Thomas Dekker is given more screen time in part two, and he delivers the best performance, as the broken and traumatized victim. Yeoman and Nelson are decent enough, but Mimi Michaels’ is kind of annoying at times (the character, not her performance).

You won’t see too much of Danielle Harris here. Her character’s screen time is limited to here and there appearances, and Laid To Rest really overplays Harris’ star power (or lack there of). During the opening credits, Laid To Rest tags Danielle Harris’ presence as a “special appearance.” Special appearance? Give me a break. It would shock me if any non-die hard horror fans recognized Danielle Harris (she was little Jamie in Halloween 4 and 5, and she was the sheriff’s daughter in Rob Zombie’s Halloween films), because Harris has been stuck in straight-to-video/small and independent, low-budget horror film hell for years. And she can’t stand out amongst the pack of other scream queens from the past.

Robert Hall (the writer and director for both Laid To Rest films. Well, he co-wrote the screenplay for part two, because he had some help from Kevin Bocarde, but still) picks up where he left off in Laid To Rest 2. And he provides more details to fill in some of the giant plot holes in the first film. How is ChromeSkull pulling all of this off by himself? It’s the one question that constantly popped in my mind during Laid To Rest, and Hall answers those questions here. Well, ChromeSkull was working with an old man at a funeral home (the old man kept an eye out for police, and would hide dead and alive victims in the funeral home, because ChromeSkull used the funeral home as a storage space for his victims), but still, one old man helping the mass murderer wasn’t enough. It was too far-fetched, but adding a network of assistants tied up the remaining loose ends.

Hall also downplayed ChromeSkull’s camera on the shoulder POV stuff here. ChromeSkull likes to record his murders as they happen, so he wears a camera on his shoulder. They really abused this POV in Laid To Rest, but Hall toned it down for the sequel.

Killing off Bobbi Sue Luther’s character during the intro was a good call, because Laid To Rest 2 is loaded with a bunch of sub-plots: Preston being jealous of ChromeSkull, and wanting to become the new ChromeSkull. Spann plotting against Preston, and seemingly developing a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship with ChromeSkull. Jess struggling to fight for her life, and Tommy trying to survive another attack from ChromeSkull. The survival of Princess would’ve cluttered the story into a bigger mess, so I’m happy they pulled the trigger early. Also, I’ve seen some interviews with her, and she’s on the video commentary for Night Of The Demon’s ’09. Bobbi Sue Luther seems like a nice and humble person in real life, and as far as looks go, she’s a ten in my book, but she’s a terrible actress. Her character was beyond annoying in Laid To Rest, and it’s a problem, because Princess is the primary protagonist.

Laid To Rest 2 provides more inventive and brutal deaths, as ChromeSkull hacks his way through another slaughter fest. Problem is, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. The VAST majority of kills in this film don’t have that sickening shock factor, because they really pulled out all the stops in Laid To Rest. A lot of nasty and bloody stuff in this film, but for me, the deaths couldn’t reach any squirming levels of disgustingness, because they gave away all of the good stuff in part one.

Hall is building towards a part three, he planted a lot of seeds for another sequel, and there’s a cliffhanger at the end. But instead of going with another sequel, the third entry in Laid To Rest is going to be a prequel, explaining the origins of ChromeSkull, and “how it all began.” I wasn’t too crazy about part two, but the story progressed, and now you’re going to backtrack into a prequel? I dunno. It just feels kind of weird to me.

Anyway, ChromeSkull: Laid To Rest 2 isn’t something to brag about. Laid To Rest 2 is a dud with a very messy and convoluted story. You still won’t see ChromeSkull’s face, and he still doesn’t speak a word in the sequel, so his character maintained the silent and deadly monster mystique. Still, Laid To Rest 2 is just another mediocre and forgettable slasher.

Rating: 3/10

Fire Marshall Bill
05-06-2013, 12:21 PM
So I watched Iron Man 3 this weekend. I really don't have a whole lot to say about it. I didn't think it was that good. I don't mean it was a bad movie, but it was just underwhelming. It's gotten to a point with his technology in this movie that it would make you wonder how he hasn't invented cold fusion yet. Oh and one huge spoiler (so don't read unless you want it ruined) that's really bothering me about this:

Ben Kingsley, who plays Mandarin, isn't actually Mandarin. He's an actor hired to play a terrorist so the real terrorist stays behind the scenes. It actually lets a lot of air out of the movie. It's like the payoff can't happen. I mean the scene itself when they find out is hilarious, because Kingsley does such a great job at being a funny character, but it's sort of like one of those moments where you go "Ohhh..."

Anyways, I'm holding off on an actual #/10 rating until I see it again, because I'm not entirely sure what to think yet. I'll say this though, it wasn't good enough that I'm going to see it in the theaters again.

The Shape
05-07-2013, 08:58 PM
P2 (2007)

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51837mNQ8WL.jpg

**SPOILERS**

On Christmas Eve, Angela Bridges (Rachel Nichols) works late into the night for her law firm in an attempt to tie up some loose ends before the holidays. The first through the door, and the last to leave, Angela is a dedicated worker, but Angela makes a promise to her family: Angela must spend the holidays with her mother, sister, and niece without any interruptions from work. Angela reluctantly agrees, and she decides to surprise her niece with a Santa suit.

In the empty office building after hours, Angela hauls all of her gifts and the Santa suit to her car. But when Angela reaches parking level two, her car won’t start. Angela searches for help, and she eventually finds the security guard, Thomas (Wes Bentley) and his Rottweiler, Rocky. After a failed jump, Angela calls for a cab, but when the cab arrives, Angela can’t make it outside, because Thomas locked every exit in the building. Eventually, the cab leaves, and Angela is stranded inside. Thomas shuts off the lights in the parking garage, and as Angela tries to call for help in the darkness, Thomas sneaks up from behind, and suffocates Angela with a rag dampened in chloroform.

Angela eventually awakens in Thomas’ office, chained to a chair, with her clothes gone, and a new white dress courtsey of Thomas. Thomas prepared a Christmas Eve dinner, and he won’t eat it alone. Angela begs Thomas for her release, but instead, Thomas takes Angela into the parking garage to teach her co-worker, Jim (Simon Reynolds) a lesson. Jim is tied to a chair, and Thomas urges Angela to take his flashlight so she can teach Jim a lesson, after a drunken Jim tried to force himself on Angela in the elevator. Angela refuses, angering Thomas, and Angela is forced to witness the first glimpse of Thomas’ dark side, as he brutally murders Jim. With no help or connections to the outside world, Angela must escape Thomas and Rocky before it’s too late.

I’m not a big Rachel Nichols fan, but she’s believable as the damsel in distress. Wes Bentley delivers the best performance in this film. He’s genuinely creepy, as the obsessive lunatic, who will do anything to impress Angela. But when Angela finally gains the upper hand at the end, Bentley turns into this sniveling and pathetic man during his final moments. He’s such an asshole throughout the movie, but I almost wanted to feel sorry him before Angela delivered the final blow.

Acting wise, you’ll see a few glimpses of some other people, but Angela and Thomas receive 95% of the screen time, and Jim is the only character, who makes an appearance twice (well, there’s another security guard, but he’s dead during his second and third appearances). P2 revolves around the deadly game of cat-and-mouse between Angela and Thomas, as Angela fights to get help, and find a way out of the office building. I really enjoyed the duel and mind games between Angela and Thomas, and Bentley’s performance as the sadistic creep is the driving force behind Angela and Thomas’ ongoing feud. Thomas is such a dick, I rooted for Angela’s survival, and I wanted her to make it to the end alive.

P2 features some nasty gore, but it’s not too much. Two scenes stand out amongst the rest: Thomas killing Jim, and Angela killing Rocky. First, Thomas drives his car into Jim, smashing him against a wall, while Jim is still tied to the chair. After crushing him a few times, you can clearly see Jim’s guts hanging out, and on the final push, Jim explodes into a gush of blood and chunks of flesh. Angela uses a tire iron to kill Rocky after Rocky corners her in a car. It’s pretty gruesome, because Angela keeps whacking and twisting the tire iron into and over Rocky’s head until he dies.

I actually had a good time with P2, but I was annoyed every now and then. The story is SO predictable, and you can see the ending coming from a mile away. And Thomas’ death is kind of corny. After Angela takes out one of his eyes, and handcuffs him to the door of a car, Thomas pleads for mercy, as Angela walks away. Angry and frustrated, Thomas calls Angela a “cunt.” She stops, and uses a taser to ignite a trail of leaking gasoline leading to Thomas. Thomas catches fire, and the car explodes shortly after, killing him.

Yeah, I get it. Thomas is supposed to suffer for kidnapping and torturing Angela, and his gruesome demise is supposed to be the feel good triumphant moment of vengeance for Angela. But using a vulgar slur to insult the female protagonist before a moment of triumph is too ordinary and counter-productive. I’ve seen this happen in other horror and non-horror films, and to use a more similar comparison off the top of my head, Angela’s decision to brutally murder Thomas reminds me of the ending in Hostel II. One of the torturers calls the remaining female survivor (can’t remember the names, because I haven’t watched Hostel II in a few years) a cunt. She responds by cutting off his genitals, and she feeds them to a dog.

Anyway, P2 is a solid horror flick. Yes, the story is formulaic, and you’ll see the ending coming from a mile away. But P2 features a nice set of spooky and eerie atmospherics, and sporadic scenes of nail biting suspense, as Angela fights to escape. It’s nothing great, but P2 surprised the hell out of me, because I had very low expectations for this one.

Rating: 6/10

AndThat'sTheBottomLine
05-09-2013, 01:25 PM
I watched Iron Man 3 today and I was a little disappointed. It wasn't a bad movie at all. It was actually pretty good and I liked how they tossed in an Avengers mention or two. I was a little pissed at the Mandarin let down. I mean we're talking about Iron Man's archenemy and he's an actor? I didn't like how they built him up the entire movie as this big badass only to reveal that he was a mere pawn getting his strings tugged by an even bigger puppet master. Overall it was a good movie though and Robert Downy Jr. has set the bar pretty high for Tony Stark if they ever try to revamp this series in the future. The ending was a little cheesy and why in the fuck didn't he just get the shards removed in the first place? If getting them out was so simple a task as surgery, then why didn't they do it to begin with? And they never explained how they fixed Pepper. You fixed her? How!? They never mention an antidote to the substance throughout the whole film yet all of a sudden she's just cured? And what was the point of infecting her with it in the first place? So they could have an easy way of explaining her survival? All in all, it wasn't as good as the second one but it was on level with the first one. You definitely knew that this was the last Iron Man movie but you know he'll be in the next Avengers. I did enjoy it despite the holes and I wouldn't mind watching it again.

6/10

The Shape
05-13-2013, 10:55 PM
Jeepers Creepers (2001)

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**SPOILERS**

As boredom sets in, Trish Jenner (Gina Philips) and Darry Jenner (Justin Long) come up with word games to add some excitement to their countryside road trip to visit their mother. As Darry drives Trish’s unreliable car, the siblings manage to pull a few laughs out of each other, but the fun stops, when a rusty old truck tries to run them off the road. As the driver of the rusty truck stops at an abandoned church a few miles up the road, Trish and Darry witness the mysterious figure dump two dead bodies wrapped in white sheets down a pipe leading into the ground. The figure spots Darry and Trish, and immediately pursues them in his truck. After a more aggressive attempt at trying to run Trish and Darry off the road, Darry drives through an open field for a quick escape.

Out of curiosity, and a foolish belief to do the right thing, Darry convinces Trish to return to the abandoned church, and inspect the contents beneath the pipe. Upon their arrival, Trish is scared by rats, and she accidentally drops Darry through the pipe after holding him up for a better view. In the caverns beneath the church, Darry finds one of the two victims. Darry discovers stitched wounds on the victim, and he dies shortly after Darry’s discovery. Darry finds an assortment of preserved dead bodies, stitched and hung up across the walls of the cavern. Horrified, Darry and Trish stop at a local diner to call the police for help.

After the diner, Trish and Darry are escorted by two cops in one car at night. The mysterious figure returns to murder the cops, but Trish and Darry escape to a reclusive old lady’s house. When the figure arrives, the old lady is more concerned with protecting her cats than helping Trish and Darry, or calling the police. During a struggle with a shotgun, the figure kills the old woman. Trish and Darry escape to the open road, where they learn the true identity of the figure: The Creeper (Jonathan Breck) is a winged demon, who survives by eating body parts from humans. Once The Creeper gets a likeable scent from fear, the creature will pursue his targets at all costs, with a determination to eat the desired body parts. At the diner, The Creeper was able to lock on to Darry’s scent by sniffing his dirty laundry. Angry and frustrated, Trish uses her car to run over The Creeper multiple times, seemingly killing the creature.

Trish and Darry await the arrival of their mother at a local police station in the next town, but the situation takes a bizarre turn, when Jezelle (Patricia Belcher), a local psychic, arrives to warn Trish and Darry. At the diner, Jezelle warned Darry with a phone call about the “Jeepers Creepers” song playing on the radio, because this song is a warning sign for The Creeper’s impending attack. According to Jezelle, the Jeepers Creepers song is currently playing on an old radio station. As Jezelle urges Trish and Darry to leave the police station for safety, the lights go out. Beaten, slightly deformed, and crippled, The Creeper has returned to eat the body parts from one victim. But who will The Creeper choose: Trish or Darry?

Gina Philips and Justin Long are believable in their roles, but Trish and Darry are two very stupid characters (more on that later). Patricia Belcher doesn’t show up until the very end, and she’s kind of annoying as the hysterical and panicked psychic. And Eileen Brennan is “The Cat Lady” Trish and Darry visit in the middle of the night for a chance to make a phone call. The character reminds me of The Crazy Cat Lady from The Simpsons, but you can’t properly critique Brennan’s performance, because her character is killed off a few minutes after her first and only appearance.

You won’t see The Creeper’s true identity until the very end. Jeepers Creepers takes the slow burn technique to revealing The Creeper’s true demon form, so throughout the movie you’re constantly guessing, and trying to figure out the mystery behind the unknown attacker. Is he a serial killer? A creepy stalker? An Alien? It’s hard to tell, because The Creeper’s wings don’t come out until Trish runs him over with the car towards the end. And The Creeper wears thick clothing with a long coat and a hat, so you can’t see anything. Well, you can see the grey hair sticking out the back of the hat, but that’s about it.

The finale has its flaws (more on that later), but I enjoy the sporadic moments of suspense. Most of the spooky stuff (i.e. The Creeper taunting Trish and Darry on a seemingly deserted open road at night, and The Creeper ominously standing in The Cat Lady’s yard at night, waiting to attack).

Jeepers Creepers features a few disgusting scenes of gore, and brutal violence. The Creeper using his teeth to rip the tongue out of a severed head is one example, and I can’t forget about The Creeper gnawing into a helpless prisoner, and tearing off a limb or two in the process.

BUT Trish and Darry are two very moronic characters. Here’s a list of their stupid mistakes in the movie, in chronological order (well, sort of):

-So Trish and Darry are going to visit their mother. They could’ve jumped on the freeway to save more time, and if something happened, they could’ve had a better chance to find help. But NO. Let’s take the deserted back roads through the country instead! It’ll take more time, and we’ll have to stop at a hole in the wall diner for help, while a murderer stalks us, but who cares! We get to look at a bunch of open fields with no livestock! Ugh.

-Darry’s more reliable car was an option, but instead, Trish and Darry agreed to take Trish’s piece of shit car? And yes, it’s a problem, because you’ll see a few “THE CAR WON’T START!” scenes, and the gears stick.

-Darry brings a cell phone, but the battery is dead. Seriously?

-The Creeper almost ran the siblings off the road TWICE, and the creature gave them a “don’t fuck with me” look, as Darry and Trish passed by the abandoned church. But Darry has to do the right thing, and he convinces Trish to return to the church to inspect the pipe? And on top of that, Darry has to stick himself in the pipe, and of course, Trish drops him into the underground hideout with mummified bodies.

-At night, Trish and Darry finally escape The Creeper. He’s miles away from them, and they have a good head start to the police station in the next county….but they decide to stop at The Cat Lady’s house. And guess what happens next? The Creeper catches up with them during the pit stop.

-At the church, instead of trying to help her brother out of the hole in the ground, Darry urges Trish to stand on the side of the road, and wait for help. Again, giving The Creeper more time track Darry and Trish.

-During the finale at the police station, Trish and Darry listen to and follow Jezelle without really knowing her. Jezelle leads them into a dangerous situation more than once, and Jezelle openly admits she’s not 100% confident in her predictions. :rolleyes:

Jeepers Creepers is loaded with predictable horror clichés with the car not starting being the most annoying one. Plus, the warning signal for The Creeper’s arrival is beyond ridiculous. This movie gets its name from the actual song that’s titled “Jeepers Creepers.” The song is featured in the movie, and when it plays on any radio station, it means The Creeper is about to attack, or the creature is close by waiting for an attack. Yeah, it’s as stupid as it sounds.

Jeepers Creepers is one those frustrating and stupid horror films that will bring a lot of facepalms out of you, while screaming “don’t do that!” or “don’t go in there!” But with all that said, I still love this movie. It’s dumb fun for me, and I always get a kick out of laughing at Darry and Trish’s stupid choices throughout the movie. For me, Jeepers Creepers is a guilty pleasure, but if you wanted to give this film a 0/10, one star, or an F for a rating, I wouldn’t fuss too much, or put up a big fight.

Rating: 5/10

Fire Marshall Bill
05-20-2013, 04:09 PM
I saw Star Trek: Into Darkness this weekend.

It was really good. It's sort of a coming of age tale, except not for teenagers like usual. But this time for a Star fleet captain and his Executive Officer. The whole movie really goes full circle regarding their relationship. As for the bad guy, Benedict Cumberbatch did a really good job. I don't recall them saying in the previews who the character he plays is. They only elude that he's Star fleet officer turned traitor. So, at least for me, it was a real surprise when you find out what his real story is. I also didn't spoil it by looking up character names (as I just realized it would have when I looked on imdb to get the name of the actor playing him). Would definitely recommend this movie to anyone.

The Shape
05-23-2013, 10:34 PM
Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)

http://content6.flixster.com/rtmovie/23/56/23568_gal.jpg

**SPOILERS**

Following the events of Jeepers Creepers, Darry is dead, and presumably, Trish is still trying to comprehend the bizarre series of events in one night that changed her life forever.

One hot day, Jack Taggart, Sr. (Ray Wise) pushes his two sons, Jack, Jr. (Luke Edwards) and his youngest son, Billy (Shaun Fleming) to finish the day’s work on their farm. Jack struggles to fix the family truck, while Billy sets up a series of scarecrows. But when Billy notices one of the scarecrows moving in the cornfield, a routine day of work takes a turn for the worst. Posing as a scarecrow, The Creeper (Jonathan Beck) jumps off of his post, and chases Billy. With one swoop, The Creeper snatches Billy, drags him through the cornfield, and The Creeper flies away with Billy, as a helpless Jack Sr. and Jack Jr. watch in horror.

Meanwhile, a high school basketball team is driving down the countryside, when The Creeper Attacks. Using his sharp weapons made of teeth and bone, The Creeper targets the bus’ tires. The bus driver, Betty (Diane Delano) suspects something fishy during nightfall, but as she sets up the road flares, The Creeper quietly snatches her away. One by one, The Creeper kills every adult and authority figure on the bus (driver, coaches, etc.) until the kids are left by themselves, using the broken down bus for protection from The Creeper. Using his nose, The Creeper sniffs out his top choices by smelling the fear from the basketball players and cheerleaders. The Creeper quickly disposes of two locals, who offered a helping hand, killing them in their truck before they could reach the police station.

And to make matters worse, Scotty (Eric Nenninger) is still bitter about taking a backseat on the bench, while his team rival, Deaundre (Garikayi Mutambirwa) receives more minutes, and a bigger role on the team. Instead of working together to fight and survive The Creeper’s attacks, Scotty schemes to eliminate Deaundre and anyone, who gets in his way.

During The Creeper’s attacks, a cheerleader named Minxie (Nicki Aycox) has visions of The Creeper’s plans, and through a series of premonitions with a deceased Darry and Billy, Minxie learns the truth about The Creeper’s lifespan: every twenty-three years during springtime, The Creeper gets to eat for twenty-three days. On the twenty-third day, The Creeper will will automatically go into hibernation for another twenty-three years, preparing for another feast.

Upon hearing a distress call from the team’s equipment manager, Bucky (Billy Aaron Brown) on his illegal radio, Jack Sr. grabs Jack Jr., and together, they take a trip to the bus to help the teens, and get revenge for Billy’s death. Believing he’s finally found a way to kill The Creeper, Jack Sr. takes his homemade harpoon (using one of The Creeper’s handmade daggers as a spearhead) to the stranded bus.

But time is running out on both sides. It’s day twenty-three for the winged demon, so The Creeper only has a few hours before he goes into hibernation for twenty-three years, and in the meantime, The Creeper unleashes a relentless attack for his last meal before his cycle begins. Jack Sr. and Jack Jr. race to help the teens, before The Creepr can devour everyone.

Well, it’s not fair to critique the performances for the adults on the school bus, because they’re killed off in the early stages of the movie. Although, Diane Delano always brings a few chuckles out of me as the disgruntled and miserable bus driver, who’s stuck in a dead end job, and doesn’t give a shit about anything. Nicki Aycox is decent enough as Minxie, but the remaining cast of high schoolers are mediocre at best. Beck is still nasty, intimidating, and repulsive as The Creeper, and Ray Wise delivers the best performance, as the angry and fearless father with a score to settle.

You can call Jeepers Creepers a stupid horror film, and I wouldn’t bat an eye, but Jeepers Creepers DID have some spooky moments. Jeepers Creepers 2? Eh, not so much. The main thing that pisses me off about Jeepers Creepers 2 is, it felt like they were trying to turn the sequel into an action film. A lot of brutal deaths, gory kills, and chase scenes, but there’s no terror or suspense, and the creepy eeriness surrounding The Creeper just disappears in this film.

Plus, Jeepers Creepers 2 is very, very, very boring. The VAST majority of the movie is spent inside or around the school bus, and the entire cast of high school kids are constantly whining and bitching at each other the whole time. The jocks constantly tease and bully this one kid, who might be a homosexual, and a race feud erupts between the black kids and the white kids. Scotty’s hatred for Deaundre starts the feud, and the situation gets real heated, when Scotty tries to exile Deaundre and his friends from the bus. Things sort of pick up, when Jack Sr. and Jack Jr. show up, but it’s a case of too little, too late.

The Creeper can fly. We get it. In Jeepers Creepers, The Creeper barely used his wings, and we didn’t actually see him fly until the very end of the movie. But in Jeepers Creepers 2, they just abused the novelty of The Creeper’s wings. “OH MY GOD HE CAN FLY!” Yeah, they really tried to tack on a “wow factor” to The Creeper’s aerial abilities with constant and never ending shots of The Creature hovering in the air, swopping around, shadows of The Creeper hovering over his victims, and awestruck reactions from the cast, as The Creeper is flying. Problem is, once you see The Creeper constantly use his wings throughout the movie, watching him fly isn’t something to marvel at anymore. It just becomes a normal routine.

Darry and Trish were dumb asses, but they were entertaining dumb asses (and better actors). The high school kids are just annoying as shit in this movie, and the obvious stereotypes of your typical high school crew in a horror movie just made everything worse. Of course, you have the jocks, homophobic jocks, the nerd (Bucky), and hot cheerleaders. Bucky is constantly picked on and bullied in part two, and the hazing stuff surrounding his character is so damn tedious.

For some asinine reason, they resurrected the “psychic, who’s unsure and not 100% confident in her premonitions” dynamic. Minxie is warned about The Creeper through visions of a dead Billy and Darry, and she tries to use her knowledge to help everyone on the bus……but wait. Minxie doesn’t want you to trust her, because she isn’t sure about her dreams. But wait a minute, on second thought, Minxie wants you to trust her, because she knows everything there is to know about The Creeper. No scratch that, Minxie is just having bizarre dreams, and you shouldn’t listen to her advice for life threatening situations. They constantly bounce back and forth in SO many directions with the Minxie character. In Jeepers Creepers, Jezelle was tolerable, because you don’t actually see her until the very end, but you have to suffer through Minxie’s indecisive melodrama bullshit for over an hour. It’s too much.

Too many sub-plots are another big problem for Jeepers Creepers 2. Here’s the list:

-Taunting and teasing the temmate, who might or might not be gay.

-Scotty hates Deaundre for stealing his spotlight, and not producing.

-Scotty has a problem with his presumably gay teammate.

-Scotty turns into a racist, and tries to systematically elmiante all the black people.

-Jack Sr. and Jack Jr. are trying to get revenge for Billy’s death.

-Jack Sr. and Jack Jr. are trying to save the kids.

And they just had to throw in the very predictable “I’m going to be the bigger man” moment, when Deaundre tries to save Scotty from The Creeper.

The Creeper uses more weapons this time around, and it’s cool to see a cameo from Justin Long. The gore is more brutal and disgusting here, and you get to see what happens, when The Creeper needs to eat a head, but still. Jeepers Creepers 2 is a frightless and tedious bore with no real jump scares or tension. It’s a damn shame, because Jeepers Creepers 2 has an excellent and promising intro that’ll get your hopes up for a good sequel, but everything goes downhill after the beginning, EVERYTHING.

Rating: 1/10

The Shape
05-24-2013, 10:13 PM
The Iceman (2013)

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**SPOILERS**

When mafia boss Roy DeMeo (Ray Liotta) shuts down his porn dubbing business, Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon) loses his only job. But Roy decides to give Richard another chance with one test: Richard must murder a helpless homeless man in broad daylight. Richard uses Roy’s gun to prove himself, and shortly after the murder, Roy gives Richard a job as his personal hitman.

During his ruthless killing sprees, Kuklinski makes more than enough money to provide a comfortable life for his wife, Deborah (Winona Ryder) and his two daughters. But when Josh Rosenthal (David Schwimmer), one of Roy’s idiotic friends, double crosses two Cuban drug dealers by killing them, keeping the money, and stealing the cocaine, Roy orders Richard to lay low until the heat dies down. And Richard allowing a young girl, who witnessed one of his murders to go free (Kuklinski refuses to kill women and children) puts a strain and Richard’s business relationship with Roy. With pressure from Deborah, and a lack of money, Richard teams up with another hitman, who uses his job as an ice cream man for cover. Robert Pronge or “Mr. Freezy” (Chris Evans) puts Richard back in the game as free agent for different mafia families, going against Roy’s orders. Also, Mr. Freezy teaches Kuklinski the technique of freezing dead bodies to throw off the cops and detectives.

One of Mr. Freezy’s jobs involves murdering one of Roy’s trusted men at a night club, with plans to eventually kill Roy in the future. The lure of a big payday from mob boss Leo Marks (Robert Davi) convinces Richard to take the job, using a spray filled with cyanide to kill Roy’s associate by covering it up with a harmless sneeze. But Richard is spotted by an acquaintance at the club, and shortly after the hit, Richard is tied to the murder. Furious, Leo calls off the hit on Roy, and he refuses to pay Richard for the job, so Richard snaps, and kills Leo.

Richard receives a stern warning from Roy with Roy promising to go after Richard’s family if necessary, and Mr. Freezy urges Richard to lay low, but Richard kills him instead after he suspects Mr. Freezy gave away his home location to Roy and his enemies. Richard tries to do one last job to make enough money, and move his family away from the crossfire, but unbeknownst to Richard, the FBI is setting up a sting operation to put him behind bars for life.

Solid supporting cast all around with Ray Liotta, Winona Ryder, Robert Davi, and Chris Evans providing the most noteworthy performances. And James Franco has a cameo here as a sleazy and despicable pornographer. Franco only has one scene, because Kuklinski takes him out after his first and only appearance.

But make no mistake about it, Michael Shannon is the star here. Shannon’s ruthlessness, his rage, and cold-hearted demeanor embodied the sadistic reputation of Richard Kuklinski. Although, Shannon could also showcase a more vulnerable and caring side, as a devoted husband and loving father. His performance is Oscar worthy, and he really carries this film on his back most of the time.

All in all, The Iceman is a bloody and brutal docudrama/crime drama. It feels too ordinary at times, and considering the source material, you would expect something more extraordinary or masterful. And I can guarantee you, even if you’re not familiar with Richard Kuklinski, you’ll be able to see the “botched one last job before I get out of the life, followed by a dramatic arrest from a large group of cops, and court appearance before I receive a life sentence” ending coming from a mile away. Plus, Ariel Vromen’s bland style of directing didn’t help anything. Still, with most of (if not all of) the credit going to Michael Shannon, The Iceman is a very good movie. Not great, but very good.

Rating: 8/10

The Shape
05-25-2013, 10:10 PM
The Last Stand (2013)

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**SPOILERS**

After an elaborate escape from FBI custody, international drug lord Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) makes a run for the small town of Sommerton Junction, Arizona with FBI agent Ellen Richards (Genesis Rodriguez) as his hostage. With the help of his lead henchman, Thomas (Peter Stormare) and his team of mercenaries, Cortez plans to use land space in Sommerton to build a secret bridge leading into Mexico.

After suspecting something fishy from Thomas and another one of Cortez’s men at the local diner, the town Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) orders his deputies to run a search on Thomas’ license plates. Deputy Jerry Bailey (Zach Gilford ) and Deputy Sarah Torrance (Jaimie Alexander) investigate the farm of a cranky old local, which also happens to be the building site for Cortez’s bridge, and the deputies find the dead body of the old man with a nasty gunshot wound to the head. Jerry is fatally wounded during a firefight with Thomas and his men, and Sheriff Owens vows to avenge Jerry’s death.

Refusing the orders of FBI agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker), Sheriff Owens assembles his own team of deputies to take down Cortez, and foil Cortez’s attempted escape. With the help of Sarah and Deputy Mike Figuerola (Luis Guzman), Sheriff Owens deputizes the local gun nut, Lewis Dinkum (Johnny Knoxville), and Sarah’s jailed ex-boyfriend and Jerry’s best friend, Frank Martinez (Rodrigo Santoro). Out-numbered and out-classed in weaponry, Sheriff Owens will lead his team in the fight of their lives to stop Cortez, and honor Jerry’s memory.

I think it’s safe to say Arnold’s mystique as the “Action God” is gone. He’s not the same guy, who covered himself in mud, and fought the Predator. He’s not the same guy, who terrorized Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese, and he’s not the same guy, who challenged Benedict in Last Action Hero. Yeah, I thought The Last Stand did a good job of presenting Arnold as the aging and scrappy veteran, who won’t go down without a fight. Arnold really embraced the role, he was good for a few laughs, and the usual cheesy one-liners fit him like a glove (“I’m the Sheriff!” or “you fucked up my day off‘). But Arnold is not a believable bad ass anymore. Hell, I don’t even think it’s realistic to expect Terminator 3 Arnold now a days.

Unfortunately, Noriega’s character and perfromance fits into the mold of the usual “foreign bad guy with a thick accent" character (you can say the same thing about Peter Stormare), and Rodriguez is just eye candy as usual. A trio of decent performances from Forest Whitaker, Jaimie Alexander, Rodrigo Santoro, and you can give the credit for some great comic relief to Johnny Knoxville and Luis Guzman.

The Last Stand is good mindless fun for action junkies. Lots of impressive, jaw-dropping stunts, Arnold’s cheesy one-liners, bloody hardcore action, and the final one on one showdown between Owens and Cortez is predictable, but it’s still enjoyable. In more ways than one, Arnold isn’t the indestructible action machine anymore (and the box office flop for this movie proves that), but adjusting to the “old warhorse with something to prove” character isn‘t a big problem for me, and his cameos in The Expendables still bring out some good feelings of nostalgia.

Rating: 6/10

i'm a cm punk girl
05-29-2013, 02:37 AM
Identity Thief

This was really good. Much better than I expected. Melissa McCarthy deserves all the praise People give her and Jason Bateman was Funny also. They were great together.

Fast 6

Very impressed w/ the movie(just as good as fast 5)! loved it from start to finish.. ending made me very happy!

Gangster Squad

Guns, Love, and azz kicking always a good combo for a action flick. passed it up a few times glad i finally checked it out great cast( Especially Gosling).

LOL

Pretty good. Not great, but not terrible either so...2.5/5

LSN80
05-29-2013, 01:31 PM
Pain & Gain (2013)

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Mitch already did a nice job of summarizing the plot, so I'll stick with analysis.

Well, the main cast of characters are supposed to be meatheads, but The Rock delivers the most entertaining performance for my money. Paul is really the only guy, who steps out of the “tough guy” zone, and Johnson shows a goofy, sensitive side. During the cocaine addiction, Rock turns into a paranoid emotional trainwreck, and he brought a few laughs out of me, as the religious loony. Wahlberg is believable as an obsessive jock, but Anthony Mackie’s character annoyed me. Not because of his performance, but a lame running gag about ED is attached to Mackie’s character, and it’s not funny after the first three or four penis jokes. Shalhoub oozes sleaziness, Ed Harris is always a perfect fit for the old veteran, and Bar Paly is just eye candy. I mean, technically Paly has a character, as the ditzy airhead, but she can’t act. Rebel Wilson has found a niche, as a subtle and shrewd chunky woman, and next to Rock, she gets my pick for the second most entertaining performance. Also, I’m pretty sure I spotted Kurt Angle during a prison fight in one of Paul’s flashbacks.

The bold is where I find the biggest problem with the movie. Who are we supposed to like here? Outside of The Rock's character, who showed not only remorse but was humorous as heck, no one else came across as likeable. The "victim", played by Tony Shaloub, is a scumbag who's incredibly unlikeable. Wahlberg's Lugo, drifts into that territory 30 minutes in when he tortures then orders the killing of Shaloub's character, all in order to gain access to Shaloub's money, and his house. Mackie's character isn't much better, as his motivation and justification for not only robbing and eventually killing others is to buy a house for he and Rebel Wilson, but for expensive ED treatments as well.

Michael Bay’s high octane and clumsy directing style might give you a seizure or a really bad headache after you’re done with one of his movies. I guess you can give Bay some credit for toning it down on the explosions (unless I’m missing something, I only counted one), but as usual, there’s nothing truly memorable about Bay’s work behind the camera here. More violence and blood than your usual Bay flick, but it’s nothing too extreme. It’s nothing that’ll make you squirm, or say “wow! Bay is trying to do something different!” No. And Bay’s constant use of slow motion is kind of annoying.

I'm not sure Bay himself knew what kind of movie he was trying to make here. Based on a true story, there's honestly little funny about what happened here. Both Wahlberg and Mackie's characters are currently on death row, yet he consistently went back to tired jokes in order to try and make the movie funny. Although it was likely the best performance of The Rock's acting career, there was nothing humorous about him running over Shaloub's face, failing to kill him, yet that's what they went for here.

Speaking of the Rock, he truly nailed the character here. More then not, I'm not a fan of his acting, yet I'll give him his due: He was utterly believable as the reformed Christian that wanted to do the right thing, but his addiction to cocaine reared its ugly head after the pastor at the church he was working at tried to 'take advantage' of him sexually. But other then he, who was the protagonist of the film? Not Shaloub, who was a criminal, and not Mackie or Wahlberg, both of who were willing to throw away all semblance of values or morals in search of a payday. Perhaps if they weren't completely narcissistic, rather, opportunistic, but they were driven by a lust for power and money. They justified it that they were stealing from a criminal, and as big of a prick as Shaloub was, they were far worse.

Pain & Gain wants to be an in-your-face black comedy, and a colorful from rags to riches story, but I was ready to leave after twenty minutes.

Well,, I don't know about this. If it wants to be a from rags to riches story, why not alter it and make it so they got away? It could be based loosely on a true story, still, with the typical Hollywood embellishments. I did find the movie to be entertaining, even knowing how the story played out, and a big part of that was the Rock. He was superb as a cokehead with a soul here. The problem with the movie, I found, is that it wanted to portray Lugo, Mackie, and Rock(which he kind of was) as protagonists, but they did vile things, far worse then the criminals they stole from and ultimately killed.

I did find the movie humorous, mainly in Wahlberg's stupidity, such as moving into the house of the man he stole it from, Rock's cocaine tripping, and Shaloub's utter arrogance that turned everyone off, including the police. Ultimately, the movie fails for me because it neglects to truly identify a sympathetic protagonist. Ed Harris isn't bad here, but he stays firmly on the periphery, not enough to establish himself as vital.

At the end, despite the serious nature of the film, there were enough laughs to make this a popcorn flick. It's a one-time viewing, so I won't be purchasing it, but it's not an utter failure here. 4/10

The Shape
05-29-2013, 07:24 PM
Well,, I don't know about this. If it wants to be a from rags to riches story, why not alter it and make it so they got away?

Another conundrum created by the black comedy approach. Wahlberg, Mackie, and Rock achieved the pinnacle of success (or you can say they achieved the illustrious American Dream) by ripping off, torturing, and eventually killing other people. They had to answer for their crimes at some point. Once Rock's character started grilling hands outside, you knew the hammer was coming down, and it was coming down soon.

Technically, you were suppose to root for three average Joes, who just wanted to make it. Pain & Gain constantly slides on this slippery slope, because it's kind of hard to draw the line between rooting for the protagonists, when you know you the details of the real life story, and showing the mugshots of the "real people" during the credits didn't help anything. As you said, they were despicable human beings with Rock being the only one, who showed remorse for his crimes.

The Shape
05-30-2013, 07:56 PM
Insidious (2011)

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**SPOILERS**

When her oldest son, Dalton (Ty Simpkins) slips into a mysterious coma for three months, Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne) urges her husband, Josh (Patrick Wilson) to seek help outside of the medicinal circle. After experiencing a series of bizarre paranormal events at home, Renai pushes Josh to move out of their new house. But the evil presence follows the Lamberts, and Josh’s mother, Lorraine (Barbara Hershey) suspects the malevolent entities are targeting Dalton’s unconscious body.

With help from a family friend and experienced paranormal investigator named Elise (Lin Shaye), the Lamberts learn the truth about Dalton’s coma: unknowingly, Dalton used his ability of astral projection to wander into a dimension called The Further during his dreams. But Dalton wandered too far, and his spirit is being held captive by an evil demon in The Further. So it’s not the house (or houses) that’s haunted, Dalton is attracting the evil spirits and the one demon.

Dalton inherited his astral projection abilities from his father, and Elise helping the Lamberts is no coincidence. Lorraine (Barbara Hershey) explains Josh’s troubled childhood visions of a ghostly old woman in a wedding dress, who popped up in photos with Josh, inching closer to him after each picture. Lorraine went to Elise for help, so she could save Josh’s spirit.

As the evil demon prepares to take full control of Dalton’s body, Elise comes up with one final solution to save Dalton before it’s too late: Josh must use his astral projection abilities to travel to The Further to rescue Dalton from the demon, and any other spirits, who will try to possess his body.

Saw is a popular choice, but Insidious is my favorite horror film directed by James Wan. The well-placed and ear-splitting scores help, but Wan creates the perfect eerie and spooky atmosphere for Insidious. The jump scares are genuinely surprising, and unlike most mainstream PG-13 horror films, you won’t see them coming from a mile away, and they’re not easy to telegraph.

I love Insidious, but the third act still bothers me. Insidious does a great job of building the suspense to the finale…..and then you actually see the finale. I’m sorry, but the other-worldly garbage in this film just pisses me off. Insidious turns into to some sort of kooky and bizarre ghost film (reminds me of that AWFUL remake for The Fog) during Josh’s rescue mission, and the demon’s borderline cartoonish lair didn’t help anything. The third act feels out of place, it kills all the momentum, and truth be told, the third act almost ruins the movie for me.

Still, for the most part, Insidious is a spine-tingling horror film with a chilling haunting story, excellent tension, and a very solid cast. I still despise the third act, but when Josh returns to the real world, Insidious leaves you wanting more with a great cliffhanger. Usually, I’m skeptical about horror sequels, but James Wan is returning to direct Insidious Chapter II, so I have hopes for the next Insidious film.

Rating: 9/10

Slice
05-31-2013, 11:34 AM
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

I saw this movie like three years ago, but was reminded about it by this thread. It was pretty good; the premise is that a film crew is making a documentary about a serial killer. It sounds weird but they work it out pretty well; for the first few minutes you're trying to figure out wtf is going on and if it's supposed to be real or not.

Obviously it's just a movie, but they act decently and the premise goes pretty far. It's humor combined with action and horror, the first half leaning heavily on the comedy and the horror slowly seeping in.

I recommend this if you're looking for something interesting to watch, and approach it with a sense of "oh this should be fun".

7.5/10

The Shape
05-31-2013, 11:13 PM
Maximum Overdrive (1986)

http://www.movieposter.com/posters/archive/main/9/A70-4914

**SPOILERS**

Earth is caught in the tail end of rogue comet Rhea-M, and machines suddenly come to life, and turn on their owners and makers by killing them. In Wilmington, North Carolina, those lucky enough to survive the attacks, barricade themselves inside the Dixie Boy truck stop.

Bubba Hendershot (Pat Hingle) is the ruthless and slimy boss at the Dixie Boy, who forces his newest employee and cook, Bill (Emilio Estevez), a recent parolee, to work hours off the clock to save money. And if Bill doesn’t comply with Hendershot’s secret policy for all parolees, Hendershot will do everything in his power to make Bill’s life a living hell. Deke (Holter Graham) arrives late at night for safety inside the Dixie Boy, but upon arrival, he learns about the death of his father, Duncan (J. C. Quinn), a Dixie Stop employee, who was killed earlier in the day by a speeding truck.

With help from his feisty new girlfriend and hitchhiker, Brett (Laura Harrington), Deke, the newlywed Curtis (John Short), a few of the truck drivers, customers, and Dixie Stop employees, Bill plans to fight the machines, and find a safe escape route for the remaining survivors. But temper tantrums from the lone waitress, Wanda (Ellen McElduff) cause some trouble. Connie (Yeardley Smith), Curtis’ new wife, doesn’t like the idea of her husband risking his life to fight the machines, and Bill will have to find a way to seize control of the weapons in Hendershot’s secret and illegal underground armory.

The big rigs form a continuous circle around the entrance to the Dixie Boy, blocking the survivors inside with the promise to run over anything that steps foot outside. The sleazy and perverted Bible salesmen, who gave Brett a ride is stuck in a muddy ditch after one of the trucks backed into him. Loman (Christopher Murney) screams for help in the ditch, until Curtis and Bill attempt a rescue mission. To further complicate the sticky situation, with a bulldozer for protection, a military vehicle armed with an M60 machine gun arrives one morning to make demands for the machines using morse code. Exhausted and beaten, Bill and the other survivors must help refuel the long line of vehicles outside the Dixie Boy.

Taking one last chance at an escape, Bill and the other survivors sneak out through a drainage pipe beneath the Dixie Boy one night, and head to the local marina to find a boat, and sail away from the chaos. But on their way to the marina, the survivors are followed by Handy’s (Frankie Faison) persistent truck with glowing red eyes in the middle of a custom-made Green Goblin face mounted on the grill.

Emilio Estevez was nominated for a Worst Actor Razzie, but I still enjoy his performance. Using the satire approach, Estevez plays the cocky rebel with a thick southern accent, and Laura Harrington’s Brett is a perfect match for the Bill character. Harrington is sassy and fearless, and the switchblade is a nice touch for her character. Hendershot might remind you of a slimy used car salesman, and Hingle is hilarious, when Hendershot decides to pick up the rocket launcher, and blow up anything in his path. And Joey (portrayed by Patrick Miller) is a nice fit for Hendershot’s most loyal employee and bumbling lackey, who lights Hendershot’s cigars with a simple demand.

I don’t think you’ll have any middle ground with Connie and Wanda. They’ll either annoy the shit out of you, or make you laugh throughout the whole movie, but I enjoy Yeardley Smith (“Curtis, don’t make me a widow on my wedding day!”) and Ellen McDuffie (“WE MADE YOU!”). Oh, and for those of you, who don’t know, Yeardley Smith is the voice of Lisa Simpson. Although, it’s kind of hard to pick up on any similarities to Lisa, because Smith has a thick southern accent here.

Stephen King is the director, he came up with the short story (Trucks) this film is based on, and he has a brief cameo at the beginning (he’s the guy at the ATM, who almost throws a fit, when the ATM calls him an “asshole,” and the machine refuses to dispense cash). King’s directing style is a big target for a lot of the hateful criticisms directed towards Maximum Overdrive, and along with Emilio Estevez, King received a Razzie nomination for Worst Director. Well, truth be told, King has admitted he was “coked out of his mind” while directing Maximum Overdrive. But I don’t have a big problem with King’s directing. His style is bland and basic, but I wouldn’t call King’s work behind the camera clumsy or unfocused. Bottom line, the complaints are overexaggerated, and I’ve never been able to understand the big outrage behind King’s directing for this film.

The AC/DC soundtrack is a perfect match for Maximum Overdrive. Every song just works, and more importantly, AC/DC’s music fits within the context of the entire movie. A great “fight or die” soundtrack for survivors going up against a seemingly unstoppable enemy during an apocalyptic calamity. Good stuff.

Maximum Overdrive is a cheesy, over the top, and VERY campy horror comedy with the right amount of blood and gore. Not too extreme or nasty, just right. It’s mindless fun, and if you try and take this one too seriously, chances are you’ll hate Maximum Overdrive with a burning passion. Soda cans from a vending machine are used as projectiles to kill a baseball coach, trucks, that drive themselves are lethal weapons, and a drive-through menu tries to warn the other machines, as the survivors from the Dixie Boy hide for safety. Maximum Overdrive is suppose to be silly and over the top with a cast full of colorful comedy characters.

It’s not in my top ten of Stephen King film adaptations, but Maximum Overdrive ranks high on my list of favorite horror comedies, easily. It’s one of the few horror comedies I can watch over and over again without getting tired of it, and since I bought the DVD a while ago, I watch it at least once a month.

Rating: 6/10

The Shape
06-05-2013, 08:49 PM
Cloverfield (2008)

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**SPOILERS**

In New York City, Rob (Michael Stahl-David) is preparing to take a new job in Japan, so his brother, Jason (Mike Vogel) and Jason’s girlfriend, Lily (Jessica Lucas) decide to throw him a surprise going-away party. Rob’s best friend, Hud (T.J. Miller) is the camera man, who films everything, including good-bye speeches from all of Rob’s friends.

But the party takes an awkward turn, when Rob’s longtime friend, Beth (Odette Yustman) shows up with another guy named Travis (Ben Feldman). In the hallway outside of his apartment, Rob and Beth exchange some harsh words in a heated argument. Recently, Rob and Beth had a one-night stand, and to Rob’s disappointment, Beth didn’t have any plans to take their relationship to the next level afterwards. Furious, Rob wishes Travis “good luck,” as he leaves the party with an angry and embarrassed Beth.

After Rob’s blowup with Beth, a series of random explosions and thunderous roars end the party. Rob, Jason, Lily, Hud, and a mutual friend named Marlena (Lizzy Caplan) run outside to join the crowd of panicked New Yorkers. Suddenly, the head from the Statue Of Liberty rolls down the street, and eventually, Rob, Jason, Lily, Hud, and Marlena learn the shocking truth: a giant monster is wreaking havoc in New York City, destroying everything in its path.

As they try to escape on the Brooklyn Bridge, the monster attacks, destroying the bridge, and killing Jason in the process. Rob receives a voice mail from Beth, pleading with him to come to her apartment, and rescue her before the monster returns. Using guilt and the possibility of one last chance to tell Beth how he truly feels as motivation, Rob leads, Lily, Hud, and Marlena through New York and the monster’s path of destruction to find and save Beth before it’s too late.

T.J. Miller provides some much needed comic relief in Cloverfield. Hud is responsible for 90% of the humor in Cloverfield (you could give the other ten to Lizzy Caplan. Marlena’s argument with Hud in the subway about Superman and Garfield is hilarious), and Miller gives you a break from the constant “OH MY GOD!” or “WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT THE MONSTER!” hysteria from the rest of the cast. No real complaints about performance quality from this cast, because I can’t think of anyone, who was noticeably bad, or someone that “dropped the ball” so to speak.

Most found-footage films abuse the shaky cam crap, and unfortunately, Cloverfield is no different. The nauseating and convulsive shaky cam style is annoying, BUT Matt Reeves (the director) deserves some credit for not showing too much in Cloverfield. Yeah, you’ll see a full view of the mini monsters (the big monster releases little monsters from its body to help destroy New York City) before the end, but you don’t actually see full close-ups of the big monster until the very end. The conserved approach keeps you guessing throughout the whole movie. What is this thing? What does it look like? How big is it? Depending on what scares you and what doesn’t scare you, the final close-up reveals for the monster might shock, or disappoint you. Either way, you’ll want to stick around until the end, because with all the teasing, you’ll reach a point where you have to see what the monster looks like.

One of the main reasons why I still have a strange obsession with Cloverfield is, because ’til this day, I can still vividly remember the marketing campaign. It was so mysterious and vague, but I couldn’t fight the urge. I HAD to see this movie. The trailers and TV spots barley showed anything, but the little they did show was enough to hook me in (explosions, firefights with the military, the head from the Statue Of Liberty rolling down the street, etc.). And like a week before the movie hit, they started a countdown with the TV spots, and they added the words “we fight back” on the release date for the movie. You were lead to believe you were going to see an action packed and epic found-footage film, that showed mankind’s last stand against some evil and unstoppable force. To add to all of this, in the preliminary stages, they marketed Cloverfield as 1-18-08 (the release date). It felt like a big event, and you knew you just had to be in a theater to watch Cloverfield on this date.

Although, when it comes to Cloverfield’s marketing campaign, it’s kind of a double-edged sword. They did a wonderful job of hyping up the movie and the mystery behind Cloverfield to the point, where you had to see it no matter what. But the trailers and TV spots were VERY misleading. Yeah, the military fights, and drops bombs on the monster with “Operation Hammer Down” at the end, but that’s the problem. The leading cast isn’t fighting the monster, the military is. And on top of that, the “fighting the monster to save New York and the world” storyline is just used as a backdrop for the main story: Rob, Lily, Hud, and Marlena are risking their lives to rescue Beth, and save her before the monster returns. Don’t be fooled. Rob going after Beth, and falling in love with her again towards the end is the main story. Fighting the monster takes a backseat as a sub-plot. The camera constantly malfunctioning throughout the movie, and showing flashbacks of Rob and Beth together is a prime example of this.

And speaking of Rob, character wise, he’s a real bitch. He risks the lives of his friends to save Beth, and of course, Marlena is attacked and bitten by one of the mini monsters in the subway. When they finally make it to a military checkpoint, Marlena succumbs to the venom from the monster, and to avoid an outbreak of the infection, the soldiers have to kill her on the spot. AND when Lily, Hud, and Rob go outside, Hud starts crying over Marlena’s death. Long story short, Hud had a crush on Marlena, and they actually started to develop a bond before and after the bite. Anyway, like a dick, Rob rushes Lily and Hud, as Hud continues to sob, refusing to give Hud a brief moment to grieve, because you know, “WE HAVE TO SAVE BETH AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT!” So Rob, Lily, Hud, and a wounded Beth make it to the last set of helicopters leaving New York. Lily gets into one, and flies off. Rob, Hud, and Beth get into another helicopter, but the monster swats it to the ground. And guess what? The monster kills Hud on the ground.

None of this would’ve happened, if Rob didn’t decide to risk the lives of his friends to save Beth, and for me, Rob is easily the most unlikeable character in this movie. Yeah, I know. For those of you that watched Cloverfield, Rob gave his friends a choice to go with the military, so Rob could rescue Beth by himself, or come with him to rescue Beth, but come on now. Rob already knew the answers before he asked the questions. Lily is your brother’s girlfriend, Marlena is a real friend, and Hud is your best friend. Real friends wouldn’t let one of their own walk through a ravaged city with a monster running around alone.

Some of the deaths are unreal in Cloverfield. When the soldiers kill Marlena, they drag her into this room with a curtain. Behind the curtain, they show the silhouette of Marlena being put into position by soldiers and doctors, and then, in the blink of an eye, a splatter of blood splashes against the curtain, as Hud cuts away with the camera. The other is Jason’s death on the Brooklyn Bridge. He’s standing over the crowd trying to get Rob’s attention from the other side. The monster attacks, and out of nowhere, a huge hunk of the bridge falls, and crushes him instantly. A handful of jaw-dropping moments in Cloverfield, but those two stand out amongst everything else.

So with all my complaining and nitpicking, I still enjoy Cloverfield. It’s an intense and shocking found-footage monster movie with a few crafty action sequences. It doesn’t matter how many times I watch it, the beginning to Cloverfield hooks me in, and after that, I have to stick around until the end.

Oh, and a little extra tidbit. Pay close attention to the final home movie with Rob and Beth on the Ferris wheel at the end. Look in the background at the ocean, and you can see the monster falling from the sky, and dropping into the water. It happens quick, and it’s kind of small (because the view of the background is out of focus), but if you look real close, you can see how the monster came to Earth, and eventually New York City. I’ve probably seen this movie six times or more, and I just caught it on my most recent viewing.

Rating: 7/10

The Shape
06-06-2013, 11:29 PM
The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2010)

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**SPOILERS**

In Germany, the sadistic and obsessive Dr. Josef Heiter (Dieter Laser) plans to make a human centipede using three kidnapped victims. Dr. Heiter is a retired and famous surgeon known for specializing in the separation of Siamese twins, but Dr. Heiter wants to take another shot at putting a centipede together.

After a failed experiment using three dogs, Dr. Heiter turns to humans. Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie) are two American tourists, looking for a nightclub named Bunker, but a flat tire strands them in a desolate forest near Dr. Heiter’s secluded house. Noticing the lights in Dr. Heiter’s house, Lindsay and Jenny decide to come in with hopes of making a phone call. But Dr. Heiter poisons their water, and in a matter of moments, Jenny is out cold, and Dr. Heiter uses more sedatives in a syringe to knock out Lindsay, who refused to drink all of her water.

Dr. Heiter murders a kidnapped truck driver the next morning, because he wasn’t a good match for the centipede. Katsuro (Akihiro Kitamura), a Japanese tourist, is the truck driver’s replacement. After a gruesome surgery, Dr. Heiter completes his centipede with Jenny’s mouth sewed into Lindsay’s anus, and Katsuro in the lead position, with Lindsay‘s mouth sewed into his anus. Dr. Heiter basks in the glory of fulfilling his dream, but a surprise visit from Detective Kranz (Andreas Leupold) and Detective Voller (Peter Blankenstein) will force the doctor to change his upcoming plans for replacing a sick Jenny.

Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie are believable as the airheaded American tourists, who are looking for a wild party. Well, character wise, Lindsay is a little bit smarter than Jenny, because Lindsay was smart enough to not drink the full glass of water from the creepy recluse in the woods. Anyway, once they’re sewn together, Williams and Yennie’s performances are limited to muffled screams and crying. Kitamura is the angry and vocal mouthpiece in the centipede, because…..well he’s the only one, who can actually speak. Kitamura hurls insults, and he bites Dr. Heiter in defiance, but Katsuro has a moment of clarity (more on that later) at the end.

But Dieter Laser easily delivers the best performance here. Laser is genuinely evil with a cold and vicious demeanor. He plays the mad doctor role to perfection, and he really nailed the “hateful recluse with a disdain for mankind” side of Dr. Heiter’s personality. During the beginning, Dr. Heiter is asked why he lives alone, and isn’t married. His response? “I hate human beings.” Laser was so serious, and the emotionless look on his face was spot on. That’s a convincing performance, because I SERIOUSLY believed him, when he said this.

Tom Six (the writer and director for this film) spares no expense for disgusting gore and bloody violence. The surgery for the centipede is graphic, bloody, and the aftermath for the fully functioning centipede is more repulsive and disgusting. I say this a lot, but if you’re not into nasty horror, you should stay away from this film.

But with all his nastiness and vile attempts to make you puke, Tom Six delivers a surprisingly suspenseful finale. Once the detectives come into the picture at the end, and threaten to return with a search warrant, The Human Centipede kicks into high gear. Everything comes at you so fast. Katsuro grabbing the surgical knife to use as a weapon against Dr. Heiter, Katsuro pushing Jenny and Lindsay to crawl to an escape, and the bloody shootout between Dr. Heiter and the detectives. And out of nowhere, Katsuro has this revelation about his current predicament. Katsuro remembers how poorly he treated his mother and father, and he abandoned his only child. After his recollection, and truly believing he deserves his punishment, Katsuro uses a piece of glass to slit his own throat.

Six throws so many surprises at you towards the end, and I was on the edge of my seat, because I had no idea who would die and who would survive. Well, I guess Jenny is an exception for surprises, because after the infection, she was the first and only obvious choice for a countdown to death.

The Human Centipede is a gruesome and grotesque surgical horror film with plenty of gross-out and hard-to-watch moments, and a suspenseful third act. But yeah, if you’re not into gross horror flicks, don’t waste your time with this one, because chances are you’ll hate The Human Centipede (First Sequence).

Rating: 8/10

Cena's Little Helper
06-07-2013, 03:08 PM
V/H/S 2 (2013)
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As all horror fans on here should know, V/H/S 2 is the follow-up to the found-footage horror anthology released last year. Strangely enough, while V/H/S 2 features the franchise's two best horror segments, it also features the two worst, thus making V/H/S 2 an all-around weaker entry. I will now comment on and rate each segment:

Tape 49 (wrap-around segment): This was a solid wrap-around story to the segments shown. Unlike the first V/H/S where yeoman thugs were hired to steal a tape from a creepy house, a private investigator and his partner/lover are hired by a woman to film her philandering husband and to find out what happened to her missing son. After catching the husband red-handed, the sleazy duo head over to the missing son's apartment where they find a setup we should all be familiar with.
Segment Rating: 5/10

Clinical Trials (first segment): A fucking pitiful excuse of a segment. After partial sight loss due to a car accident, a guy gets a bionic eye that intermittently picks up the images of dead spirits/ghosts/whatever you want to call them. Minimal tension, terrible build-up, and a so-so pair of tits that was obviously only meant to salvage this piece of shit. No matter how hard you try, you can't polish a turd.
Segment Rating: 0/10

A Ride in the Park (second segment): V/H/S 2 totally redeems itself with this one. A man with a helmet-cam skips out on breakfast with his significant other to enjoy a day of biking in the local park. Unfortunately for him, he soon stumbles across the beginning of a zombie epidemic that he succumbs to. What makes A Ride in the Park so good is that the majority of it takes place after the biker becomes a zombie, thus giving viewers a bird's eye view of what it's like to be one of the undead. Original, creative, funny, gory, and terrifying, A Ride in the Park is the kind of segment us horror fiends dream of.
Segment Rating: 10/10

Safe Haven (third segment): Things only get better with this one, where a team of investigative journalists try to expose the practices of an Indonesian cult. I don't want to give you any information on this one because of how fucking good it is. I have no clue who the fuck Gareth Evans and Timo Tjahjanto are, but these dudes can direct. I am so looking forward to everything they put out from this point on.
Segment Rating: 10/10

Slumber Party Alien Abduction (fourth segment): It's just like it sounds, and, from its name, it's just as terrible as you're now imagining it to be. A trite, repetitive snoozefest that ends with an unnecessary scene of animal cruelty. After looking up the director (Jason Eisener) and finding out he made the abominable Hobo With A Shotgun, I now know why this segment sucked so much ass.
Segment Rating: 0/10

I can't say I'm disappointed in V/H/S 2 because of the two great segments it provided. However, I hope they don't rush out the third entry lest they want another film with some entries that should only be shown as shorts on the horror convention circuit. If you like the first V/H/S, you won't be disappointed with its sequel...at least half of the time anyway.

Final Rating: 5/10

Slice
06-07-2013, 09:56 PM
Oh, and a little extra tidbit. Pay close attention to the final home movie with Rob and Beth on the Ferris wheel at the end. Look in the background at the ocean, and you can see the monster falling from the sky, and dropping into the water. It happens quick, and it’s kind of small (because the view of the background is out of focus), but if you look real close, you can see how the monster came to Earth, and eventually New York City. I’ve probably seen this movie six times or more, and I just caught it on my most recent viewing.



I just wanted to say, that I'm not sure 'cause it's been a while since I saw Cloverfield but if memory serves I think what falls into the water is actually a satellite, and it either is a part of what awakens the monster that's been asleep down there, or has some other connection to the film, I can't remember.

That whole thing tied into the marketing campaign and it was mentioned somewhere about Tagruato's Satellite malfunctions or something like that. I loved how the movie kind of used more than just the movie like that; if you want more info you can scour the internet and find lots of official little pieces that seem uneventful but if you think about it you can make the connections (Donnie Darko! SNAP)

But yeah. The company apparently had a lot to do with drilling in the seabed for stuff, even using some seabed nectar or something to make SLUSHO! The best frozen beverage around! Or something. And all that has something to do with the monster.

... Sorry, just wanted to clarify, but apparently I didn't xD Let me at least toss my score in then; 9/10 for Cloverfield, if only for being creative, and using more than just the movie to tell a story which made it much more interactive and fun in my opinion :D

i'm a cm punk girl
06-07-2013, 10:55 PM
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I saw it I was utterly surprised !! It's a really good movie with a good storyline and the effects are really good ! It kept me engaged the whole time.

The Shape
06-07-2013, 11:19 PM
I just wanted to say, that I'm not sure 'cause it's been a while since I saw Cloverfield but if memory serves I think what falls into the water is actually a satellite, and it either is a part of what awakens the monster that's been asleep down there, or has some other connection to the film, I can't remember.

That whole thing tied into the marketing campaign and it was mentioned somewhere about Tagruato's Satellite malfunctions or something like that. I loved how the movie kind of used more than just the movie like that; if you want more info you can scour the internet and find lots of official little pieces that seem uneventful but if you think about it you can make the connections (Donnie Darko! SNAP)

But yeah. The company apparently had a lot to do with drilling in the seabed for stuff, even using some seabed nectar or something to make SLUSHO! The best frozen beverage around! Or something. And all that has something to do with the monster.

... Sorry, just wanted to clarify, but apparently I didn't xD Let me at least toss my score in then; 9/10 for Cloverfield, if only for being creative, and using more than just the movie to tell a story which made it much more interactive and fun in my opinion :D

Didn't think about that, but it's definitely a possibility. As I said in the review, it's REALLY hard to tell, because the image in the background is out of focus, and so tiny. It's just the first thing that came to mind, when I finally saw it for the first time. Something else to add to it, kind of odd how something (satellite, monster, whatever) falls from the sky, and into the water at a beach, and NOBODY on the beach notices it. I mean, that's what you have to assume, because you don't hear any screams, or see a commotion from everyone else.

Mighty NorCal
06-07-2013, 11:49 PM
I loved Cloverfield, if anything for how unique it was.

Anyway,

Iron Man 3

Ill be honest, I didnt get what the big deal was. Everyone's reaction led me to believe it was excellent, and I wasn't very impressed.

If you are going to repeatedly mention this is part of the same continuity as the Avengers, then were the fuck is Captain America when this terrorist is killing people and threatening the president?

Gwenyth Paltrow whipping ass in the iron man suit? Really? Were did she get her fighting training, Billy Blanks?

Why destroy all of them? Perhaps, just don't obsess on working on them anymore? Weren't you having anxiety about Aliens kiling the whole world for the entire damn movie? Think those suits might come in handy someday?


Meh.

7/10

The Shape
06-08-2013, 02:45 PM
I still believe the original Iron Man is the best film in the trilogy. Iron Man 3 was an upgrade over Iron Man 2 in my book. Second was mediocre at best, but it also had the task of following the success of the first film. Ridiculously high expectations for part 2, and for Rourke as the villain, especially after The Wrestler.

The Shape
06-08-2013, 10:27 PM
The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) (2011)

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**SPOILERS**

After developing an obsession for Tom Six’s The Human Centipede (First Sequence), Martin Lomax (Laurence R. Harvey) decides to build his own human centipede. Still living at home with his mother in London, overweight, suffering from asthma, and working as a security guard in a parking garage, Martin is a disturbed man, who suppresses a past of sexual abuse by his jailed father.

With a centipede as his pet, Martin decides to make his dream a reality by acquiring a warehouse (after he kills the seller), and kidnapping victims in the parking garage and his apartment complex to construct his own human centipede with twelve people. Martin shows no mercy, as he kidnaps a pregnant woman, a couple with a baby, and a rowdy neighbor. Feeding his never ending obsession for the First Sequence, Martin plots to kidnap Ashlynn Yennie, and use her as the lead piece for his centipede. Through careful planning and timing, Martin convinces Yennie’s talent agency to lure her into his clutches with the promise of an audition for a Quentin Tarantino movie.

With no medical training, Martin pieces together his crude twelve person human centipede, but Martin runs into unexpected problems after he puts the finishing touches on his gruesome final product……

You’ll probably hate or love The Human Centipede 2, but one thing’s for sure, you won’t forget Martin. Harvey’s physical appearance is enough to make your skin crawl, and the character is one sick freak. He lives alone with a mother, who hates him, and she blames her husband’s imprisonment on him. Martin literally defecates in his own bed, he never speaks one word throughout the movie (just a lot of squealing, grunting, and yelling). Well, he sort of speaks, when he whispers something into someone else’s ear, but you don’t actually hear the dialogue. Martin abuses his genitals with random objects (using sandpaper, barbed wire, etc.), and he constantly tortures the victims in his centipede. Just to give you an example of how bad it is, Martin actually injects each victim in his centipede with a laxative, so he can watch them……well you know what happens next.

I mean, you would think Martin is someone you can feel sympathy for, because of his past, the verbal abuse from his mother, and his psychiatrist, Dr. Sebring (Bill Hutchens) constantly touches him inappropriately to try and lure Martin into a sexual relationship. But Martin is a cold-blooded murder, and he enjoys torturing the victims in his centipede, so any feelings of sympathy fly out of the window pretty quickly.

The rest of the cast is decent enough, but Six puts a lot of focus on Martin, and everyone around Martin is either killed off, put into the centipede, or they don’t receive a significant amount of dialogue.

The Human Centipede 2 is in all black and white 100% of the time, and Tom Six takes a darker approach to the sequel. Dr. Heiter was an evil mad doctor, but Martin is a sick and perverted freak, who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal, while following in the footsteps of his idol (Dr. Heiter the character). Martin is more disgusting, and he acts like a playful child, who walked into a toy store with a ticket for a shopping spree. The gore is more graphic, repulsive, and really, REALLY gruesome. You’ll see a lot of blood, and plenty of gross-out moments in Part 2, so if you have plans to watch this, don’t eat anything during the movie. Yeah, it’s that bad.

Tom Six goes out of his way to be more graphic and vulgar the second time around. The violence, the centipede, the dialogue, and the story. Everything is cranked up to maximum levels here. Six also “breaks the fourth wall” so to speak. Martin is inspired by The Human Centipede (First Sequence), and Ashlynn Yennie isn’t Jenny in the Full Sequence, she’s portrays herself, Ashlynn Yennie the actress. Tom Six’s wink to the fans of the first film provide some good “I remember that” moments, and Ashlynn recalling her experiences on the set of The Human Centipede to Martin during the drive to the “studio” was a cool behind the scenes moment. All in all, it’s a big contrast with The Human Centipede (First Sequence) using the tagline “100% medically accurate,” while the Full Sequence uses “100% medically inaccurate” as its tagline.

But you know what, the nasty and revolting gore overshadows and overwhelms everything in this film. The attempted social commentary, Martin’s backstory, character development, EVERYTHING. Yeah, I understand, Tom Six wanted to go out of his way to be more disgusting, and try his hardest to actually make you puke, but he sacrifices storytelling and a coherent sense of direction for the chances of you possibly picking up a barf bag, or running to the toilet.

The First Sequence had a suspenseful finale, but I can’t say the same thing about the Full Sequence. Towards the end, the victims find a way to tear themselves off of each other, because Martin actually uses duct tape, and regular staples to complete the mouth to anus attachments. Anyway, Martin flips out and starts shooting the victims, killing them. And when he runs out of bullets, he uses a knife to slit the remaining survivor’s throats. The pregnant woman is going into labor, as she runs away, and she actually gives birth while trying to drive a car. And on top of all that, Ashlynn uses a funnel to guide Martin’s pet centipede into his rectum.

Eh, okay. That’s all very gross, but it’s not suspenseful, or interesting to look at it. Problem is, Tom Six tries too hard to gross-out the audience throughout the movie, so by the time you reach the end, everything just feels kind of “meh.” A bad case of overkill, and the sloppy finale was a chore to sit through.

I usually toss out this warning every now and