Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Evil Dead Review

The Evil Dead is one of those movie that you will either love it or hate it, and I happen to love it. This movie made a B-movie superstar out of Bruce Campbell and a star out of Sam Raimi as a director. The thing that makes this movie great is the constant sense of dread that is apparent in almost every single scene of the movie. Dread in a movie really gets the audience on edge because they never know what is coming around the corner. There is also a fair amount of disturbing content in the movie which might catch some people off guard as there is at least one tree rape scene which is really out there in concept. This is still one of the best horror movies I have ever seen and easily ranks in the top 5 horror movies that I have ever seen. The performances are wonderful and the way the movie is shot and directed is terrific. The sound effects in the movie are also very good and really enhances the movie's effectiveness of the movie. I really don't want to spoil the main plot of the movie but it does involve demonic possession and a book called the Necronomicon. This is going to be a short review because I want to go watch this movie right now and I don't want to spoil the movie at all. Overall I would say to watch this movie because it is great and if you like horror movie then you will really appreciate it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thor Review

Let me start off by saying Thor is one of my favorite comic book characters of all time. In the beginning he is sent to Earth to be taught a lesson by his father Odin because he needs to learn how to become a great man. That is the original origin story, in the new Ultimate Universe he is sent to Earth to protect it but does not know it initially and is under the impression he is a psychiatric nurse who in turn has a nervous breakdown and realizes who he truly is. The movie origin is a combination of the two and it work to great effect in the movie. While I miss the "human" side of Thor, Donald Blake, the way they portray the character in the movie is great. On Earth, he is man of his element and he must adapt to his surroundings which he never really does successfully but he is willing to protect the people around him with his life. This is what is great about the character, he may be a selfish warrior but when it comes down to helping those around him there is no one more dependable and they uses this theme in the movie several times. He is also very strong willed and when he feels like something is right he will fight for it with all that he can and sometimes this backfires on him and is the main cause for why he is banished to Earth in the movie. Being a fan I wanted the creators of the movie to stay true to the original origins of the character but I understand why certain elements had to be changed in order to make the movie work.

The cast in the movie is also superbly cast and allows the viewer to focus on the character development just as much as the all-out action scenes in the movie. Chris Hemsworth truly embodies the character of Thor and if you've read the comics then you will see what I mean. He is more of the Ultimate Universe version of the character and he plays him to perfection. His interactions with the characters on Earth are both at times genuinely funny and heartfelt. He has to carry the movie most of the way and does so with ease, he commands the attention of the viewer every time he is on screen. That creates a viewer-connection with the character and you root for him to succeed in his mission to get back to Asgard and become a better man. The supporting cast is also top notch with Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard rounding out the cast. Tom Hiddleston plays Loki, Thor's brother, and he does a remarkable job with the character. Being a relative unknown to American audiences you really get to focus on him as the character and see how he evolves over the course of the movie. It is also great that he is going to be one of the main villains in the Avengers movie coming out next summer, because that means that we wil most likely get to see him battle the Avengers as a whole and hopefully not just antagonize Thor.

As you can tell, I really liked this movie. It was much better than Captain America and Iron Man 2. It was also a superior "comic" movie than X-Men:First Class. Thor is a fun adventure that does a great job of fleshing out its characters and it leaves you wanting to see more of these characters. Overall, I would recommend this movie to just about anyone who want to have fun while watching a movie that also happens to be great.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mimic Review

Mimic was one of the first Rated-R movies I had ever seen back 14 years ago. I saw it as soon as it came out on VHS/DVD and I couldn't really grasp what the movie was really about back then. Since that time I have seen the movie about 4 or 5 times and I like it more and more each time I see it. I just recently got the chance to see the Director's Cut on Blu-Ray and I felt that the plot of the movie was fleshed out more in that cut. Guillermo Del Toro is a cinematic genius and this being one of his first movies shows his style as it was just developing. The cinematography is very dark with muted color scheme and it really lends to the overall atmosphere of the movie. The sound is also excellent, Del Toro uses sound effects for the creatures that are used off screen to build paranoia on screen. Rustling noises, scratching on walls, and banging into objects make it seem like there are multiple creatures in every shot and the characters must be aware at all times. The plot is similar in tone to movies such as The Relic, The Thin, and other creature movies from the last 20 years. While not as high quality as The Thing, it definitely beats out most of its competition by a wide margin. Del Toro is the star of the show, he creates the world the movie is based in and he really amps up everything on screen so it is very easy for the viewer to get engrossed in the movie.

The cast is pretty solid overall and Del Toro really drew some great performances out of what were perceived as questionable actors. Mira Sorvino proved that she could carry a movie with her role in this one and would go on to star in a few other movies that I consider to be very good. Josh Brolin has a small role in the movie, and Jeremy Northam also co-stars. Northam after this movie would go on to play supporting roles in a few critically acclaimed foreign movies. The cast while solid is not the true star of the movie as I have stated earlier in the review. But the cast is classic Del Toro, relative unknowns (to an extent) and then he gets them to perform to the top of the capabilities. He gets the actors to become the characters that they are playing and this is what allows the viewer to become invested in the characters on screen and care what actually happens to them on screen. The effects are also somewhat dated but there is not much that you can do about that because this was made in 1997 and they didn't have the technology that we have today.

Overall, I would have to highly recommend this movie to anyonme who enjoys "monster" movies and is a fan of Del Toro. While this may not be on par with some of his other movies such as Pan's Labyrinth, it is better than the last Hellboy and is more polished than Cronos. This was one of the first movies that showcased what a great horror movie could be and it stuck with me. Watch it and you will see what a great director can do with a limited budget and a cast full of good actors.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Terra Nova Premiere Review

I am going to change it up a little tonight and review the premiere episode of the Steven Spielberg produced series Terra Nova. This is the new high budget production premiering on FOX and it was pretty fantastic. The first hour ha a lot of great elements, from the vision of the future to the explanation of the reason for going back in time to start over. The future in the show has the same feel as the unused opening scene from Avatar. If you own the extended copy of Avatar you will know what I mean. It could also be seen as a version of the Blade Runner mega cities and the effects used for the futuristic city in Terra Nova is fantastic. It has the same high quality effects as the highest quality video-game cinematics and that it a great thing.

The casting is pretty spot on, Stephen Lang is the grizzled leader of the Terra Nova colony and Jason O'Mara as the former cop who escaped prison to come to Terra Nova with his family. The action in the first hour is sparse but it sets up the rest of the season and it establishes the motivation for the main set of characters. O'Mara's character is trying to get to know his family again after being in prison for 2 years and Lang's character is trying to hold the colony together and find out if his son is still alive. O'Mara steals the show in the premiere episode and that is due to him being believable on screen and having a commanding presence. He plays the cop type perfectly and the way the writers designed his character is great. He is a family man who does whatever he needs to in order to protect his family. This may sound cliched, it might be but it works really well for the show and only adds to the overall quality of the show. The inclusion of a splinter colony is a necessary addition because the colony cannot always be fighting dinosaurs, as it would put the show over budget.

This show has an amazing amount of promise and if producers such as Spielberg continue to throw their support behind the show then I am sure that it will succeed. It had a Lost type of vibe to it, early-Lost not the over hyped crap final season. If you want to see a show that has the potential to be great and has two great leads then watch this show.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Thing Review

The Thing is most likely the most perfect movie that I have ever has the pleasure of seeing. The combination of horror and sci-fi is unmatched by any movie except for Aliens and that is a great movie to stand side by side with. This was created by John Carpenter when he was firing on all cylinders and you can see this in the execution of the movie and all of its elements. The cinematography, sound, editing, and casting were all perfect. The cast in this movie does an amazing job with the star of the show being Kurt Russell and this movie made me a lifelong fan of him and I've liked almost every movie he has ever been in. Russell is undeniably believable in the role and you believe that he is this grizzled pilot on an Arctic base. Keith David Wilford Brimley also star in the movie and they are also excellent in the movie.

This movie has some of the most intense moments in movie history and some of the most terrifying scenes as well. The best scene in the movie in my opinion is when Russell's character is testing everyone's blood and then all hell breaks loose. You really have to see the movie to get a sense of how great it is and the effort that was put into every aspect of the movie by Carpenter and the crew. The effects team on this movie did the best job I have ever seen and it beats anything the has come out since that time. The effects scenes are incredibly done and they attention to detail is incredible along with the original designs that they cam up with. There are a few scenes that will shock people if they have not seen the movie before. There are so many things that are amazing in this movie. I will not get into the plot because these reviews are spoiler-free and I will not spoil the greatness of this movie. The theme of group paranoia is what drives this movie and it is shown masterfully on screen by Carpenter and the cast.

This is a movie comprised of a classic story, classic performances and genre defining scenes. In short, this is a perfect movie. This easily ranks in my top two movies alongside Shaun of the Dead. This is a movie that must be seen by all who can see it and is essential if you are a fan of science fiction or horror. All in all this is a must see movie. Do yourself a favor and buy it on DVD or Blu-Ray and enjoy.

Leviathan Review

Leviathan is basically "The Thing" set on an undersea mining platform. This just feels like the prototypical 80's creature movie and I loved it. The movie stars RoboCop and Winston from Ghostbusters (Peter Weller and Ernie Hudson). It also has Marv from Home Alone (Daniel Stern) and the main female character from Beverly Hills Cop. There is a lot of 80's star power in this movie and you can tell because most of the actors in this movie have not been in anything significant since the 80's. The effects in the movie are pretty similar to those of the Thing but not really the same quality overall. Whereas The Thing shows you every little detail of the creatures n the movie, Leviathan uses shadows and other effects to keep the budget to a minimum. The plot concerns itself with the Russians wanting to genetically alter some of the sailors to have fish-like qualities where they could breathe underwater but then something terrible goes wrong of course. The movie does an effective job of building tension and paranoia throughout the course of the movie. The creature in the movie also looks very good and the movie is just solid overall.

Super Review

This is probably the most demented "Superhero" movie I have ever see, it definitely beats out Kick-Ass because most of the characters in Super could be considered psychotic. Rainn Wilson, Ellen Paige, Liv Tyler, and Kevin Bacon play the main cast of the film and each does an extremely effective job in the roles they were cast in. Rainn Wilson is the true star of the movie and he carries almost every single scene that he is in. He does a great job of showing the emotions of his character and how rage and sadness fill his character's life. Paige's character is the sidekick in the movie and she does a great job of portraying a slacker in her early 20's who finally finds purpose in her life and just runs with the idea of being Wilson's sidekick. This movie is extremely brutal at points and it doesn't shy away from shocking acts of violence on the character of the movie. Kevin Bacon plays his character extremely over the top and it works for the character he is portraying.

The main theme of this movie is a man's journey of self discovery and Wilson does a great job of showing his character's evolution from a meek timid man to a man who stands up against crime and fights for the people he cares about. The journey starts when Wilson's character, Frank, starts to have visions of people being demons and being visited by God. At that point the movie starts to veer from mildly realistic to crazy which is awesome. Where as Kick-Ass had people trying to actually help people to simply help them, Super's characters initially are selfish in their goals. Then through their acts they eventually starts to actually help people.

The movie is very low budget and it really helps the movie because the director had to focus more on the characters than on action sequences and special effects. This is one of those independent movies that wasn't highly regarded when it first debuted but years down the line it will be considered a cult hit and people will be watching it for many years. Overall this is a fantastic movie and I would recommend it to anyone who liked Kick-Ass, Defendor or Special.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Killer Elite Review

The best way to describe this movie would be The Transporter with 2 big name co-stars. This is a rehash of almost every other Jason Statham movie that has ever been filmed. The only credible performance in the entire movie is De Niro, and that is really by default because he is much more talented than the rest of the actors in the movie. The action in the movie is pretty good but the story bogs the movie down. There are really abrupt changes in the narrative that break up the flow of the movie and it damages the quality of the movie. The director did a so-so job of filming the action sequences but there is nothing that truly separates this movie from any other generic action movie to come out in the last 25 years. It is great to see De Niro in an action movie but he should have been utilized to a greater effect because I think he is truly the main draw of the movie. Anyone who has seen a Jason Statham movie before knows how this movie will play out from the beginning, I'm not saying that's a bad thing but this guy really needs to start picking different roles. At this point the credits could read Jason Statham as Jason Statham because he essentially plays himself in every movie. He needs to get back to doing movies like Snatch or Revolver to get his career back on track. This is kind of a shorter review because there is nothing really to write about. If you like action movies and don't mind mediocre ones, you'll probably see this. If you want to see a great movie then find a theater playing Drive and go see that.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stake Land Review

The best way to describe Stake Land would be, The Walking Dead with Vampires instead of zombies. This is a great strength of the movie and this definitely could have been turned into a compelling television show. The cast is great because they are mostly unknowns with the exception of Danielle Harris, who has been in a lot of genre movies such as Halloween and several others. By having almost exclusively unknown actors in the movie, the viewer will see these actors as being the character they are play not "acting" as the character. The main characters in the movie, Mister and Martin, are great character to build the movie around. Mister is like vampire playing ninja, and Martin is just a regular kid trying to adjust to a world consumed by vampires.

There is no hope in the movie that the vampires will be eradicated , and the characters don't really even mention it in the movie at all. Mister and Martin are trying to get to Canada, referred in the movies as New Eden, where the vampires have not spread. This movie is not all action packed as the director and writers try to also show the struggle of the characters to just simply survive. Going from shantytown to shantytown scavenging for ammunition, food, and clothing. Also seeing them pass by houses with signs such as "one alive inside" are constant reminders to the characters of the "new world" they are living in. I loved that there were no flashy and over the top sequences in the movie, everything is filmed with realism. Colors are muted and fight sequences are up-close and personal with most of the action being hand to hand combat. If a network was smart they would try and develop this movie into a series, hopefully a cable network because the series would be brutal.

If you like "real" vampire movies and are a fan of apocalyptic movies then you will enjoy this movie. This movie had all of the things I look for in a movie like this, good story, great action, and believable acting performances. I really how that this movie leads to a resurgence of high quality low budget horror movies.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Source Code Review

I'll start this review off by saying that Duncan Jones is a genius. He has crafted two classic science fiction movies in his first two attempts at making feature movies. Moon and Source Code are two classics, and that is a testament to Jones' ability as a director and the actors he chooses to cast to fill out his movies. In Moon there was Sam Rockwell and in Source Code there is Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, and Jeffrey Wright. The casting is spot on for each of their parts and it shows in how the characters interact with each other and how well the movies flow. Rockwell was the anchor of Moon and Gyllenhaal is definitely the anchor of Source Code. He truly embodies the character he is playing and it lends a hint of reality to a movie that has a very "out-there" concept.

The story is great in this movie, I am not going to spoil it at all as I try to keep my movie reviews spoiler-free. The idea of trying to foil a terrorist attack with a version of time travel is definitely a movie concept I have not seen explored with some depth in a long time. The visual effects are also top notch in the movie, most of the time you can't even tell that there is an effects shot on screen. Most of the time when there is an exterior shot of the train, it is an effects shot and that includes close ups and wide shots. The amount of detail in the effects is spectacular, and this is shown throughout the movie. Had to force myself not to spoil the plot in that last sentence. There is also the theme of "how far will you go in order to protect your country?" within the movie that Jones' does a great job of portraying in the movie. You get to see how each character answers this question so to speak as the movie progresses.

Overall, I have to highly recommend this movie. The cast is spectacular, the story is great, and the effects are top notch. That is the movie trifecta for me and that also means that you need to go and watch this movie. If you like sci-fi then you will love this movie and by the way this is one of the only movie that I can watch with Gyllenhaal in, the other being Brothers and Love and Other Drugs. He is becoming a great actor and Michelle Monaghan is always great to look at on screen. Watch it, you'll thank me later.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bridesmaids Review

This is what a great comedy should be, smart, funny, dirty, and has a lot of heat. Kind of like my ideal woman. Kristen Wiig is fantastic in this movie and it also worth noting that she actually wrote the movie as well. Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Ellie Kemper, Wendi McLendon, Melissa McCarthy and Chris O'Dowd round out the cast. Jon Hamm also shows up in a role that could only be described as Don Draper having been born 40 years later. This movie is incredibly funny and that is the most important thing to get this movie going in the right direction. There is also a lot of characterization in the movie in regards to the main characters in the movie, and you really get to learn what motivates them over the course of the movie.

There is a good amount of raunchy comedy in this movie and it truly earns its R-rating but it is never too over the top where it takes away from the "fun" of the movie. Melissa McCarthy is truly the star of the show so to speak in this movie. Every scene she is in she simply owns them, when her character is on screen the viewer will probably be focusing solely on her. She says all of the things you wish you could say out loud to people you don't know. Her character is one of those special supporting characters that is as engaging or more engaging than the "main" characters. Wiig's love interest in the movie also turns out to be a great character and Chris O'Dowd does a wonderful job with the limited material he was given. The laid back cop is a perfect compliment to Wiig's slightly uptight character and the two's interactions are sweet and believable which adds to the believability of the situations that they are put into.

I don't want to refer too much to the plot because it is a great movie and the whole story should be left unpoiled if you want to see the movie. McCarthy and Wiig make the movie worth watching alone and the other supporting actors and actresses just lend to the greatness of the movie. Watch this movie if you like The Hangover, Old School, or any other great R-rated comedy made in the last 25 years. Believe me, you will not be disappointed.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Review

First off I want to say that this is much better than Episode I, but that is not saying much. George Lucas did it again and made a semi-good movie with unbelievable special effects that had unlimited potential. This movie does everything better than the previous installment in terms of special effects, story, and characterization. The only thing it does not do better is the acting and that is a real shame. Ewan McGregor and Christopher Lee are solid as always but Hayden Christensen is actually a downgrade from the little boy in the last installment. So much of the movie depends on Christensen playing this conflicted character who is dealing with his feelings for a woman he has loved for years and his responsibility to protecting the universe, and none of this is conveyed in his acting. In many scenes there is an awkward silence where it seems as though he is looking for Lucas to say cut so he can walk off of the set. McGregor again is underutilized in his role as he is somehow knock out of each fight within 15-20 seconds, and Lucas should have developed this character to a greater extent because he is interesting to the viewer and McGregor is such a likable actor that people love to watch him on screen. The story put on the screen is nothing to write home about but at least it is not a complete train wreck. The idea of the Clone Army that would eventually become the Stormtroopers is also an interesting concept that was shown and tied nicely to the older movies. Count Dooku is also a solid addition to the cast of characters because he symbolizes the fallen Jedi and what can go wrong when a person with tremendous power becomes disillusioned.

The special F/X in this movie are also truly incredible and easily beat out 9 out of 10 movies that are produced today. The effects for the character of Yoda crush any of the motion capture character that were used in movies such as Polar Express and to a certain extent Avatar. Yoda actually expresses emotion and as soon as he comes on screen in a battle scene, all of the opposing characters automatically become cautious of him and it shows how formidable he is. He also happens to show a greater range of emotion on screen than the character of Anakin and that is a testament to how bad of an actor Hayden Christensen is.

Overall, I would have to recommend this movie because it actually lends important events tot the Star Wars Universe and it has some of the best special effects that I have ever seen. This is the movie that made me believe that Yoda could destroy any other character on screen and made Obi Wan my favorite character in the series besides Han Solo. See this movie for the special effects or just so you can get a better understanding of the Star Wars Universe, whatever the reason just see it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Once upon a time there was a great movie trilogy that was beloved by all and then the creator decided to make an over-hyped prequel trilogy. This movie would have been great if there was better dialogue, a more cohesive story, and three dimensional characters. Small things, don't mind the heavy dose of sarcasm. With the exception of Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson the cast as a whole is laughable. Natalie Portman is flat out terrible in this movie, I don't care if she went on to become one of the best actresses of her generation, it still doesn't make up for the fact she sleepwalked through this movie. McGregor and Neeson are the two best actors in the movie and to a point their skills are underutilized as they are main relegated to action scenes or terribly written dialogue. I am not a screen writer but I would have tried to make this trilogy a sequel trilogy because there was nothing in the movie that truly added to the Star Wars mythology. Did I ever want to see Darth Vader as a child, the answer is no. I could care less where the character cam from, the only thing that this movie added to the mythology was that I now know that Darth Vader was once a whiny child ad that his baby mama has the emotional range of cardboard. These are all negative statements and I don't want to spend the entire review bashing this movie.

There are also many things to be commended in the movie itself. First of all this movie is beautiful, I can talk badly about Lucas' writing skills all I want but I will never dispute the fact that the man knows how to shoot a movie. He a genius when it comes to developing visual scenes and technology. That is who most movies use THX audio or visual effects engines developed by LucasFilm. When this movie was released in 1999 it set the benchmark for visual F/X and it holds up amazingly well compared to movie studios that use more advanced technology today. The costumes are great and the sets used are pretty exceptional and the computer generated character look pretty lifelike. Everyone can bash Jar Jar all they want he seemed to be just a comedic distraction that didn't take away from the movie at all and he also shows just how advanced Lucas' F/X tech was for the time when it debuted.

Overall, I would have to recommend this movie because it sets the stage for a much better trilogy, you just have to trudge through this mediocre creation in order to get there. Great F/X, superior costume and set design come with the terrible acting and mediocre story. You take the good with the bad when it comes to Star Wars. No matter how bad I say this movie is, most of you have already seen it or will watch it anyway. Just watch it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Drive was a movie that had been a critical darling way before it even hit the theaters. I checked this out opening weekend of its wide release and it was filled with middle aged couples who had absolutely no idea of what they were walking into. This movie is a love story wrapped in a significant amount of ultra-violence. Seriously, if you have a weak stomach, some of the sequences will more than likely get you sick.

This is really the movie that will get everyone to be a fan of Ryan Gosling, both men and women. His performance in this movie is great. The direction is fantastic and the supporting cast could rival that of any movie I have seen in a long time. The main character in this movie is a very intimidating individual, he barely speaks and when he does it really means something. He seems to constantly be listening and evaluating the given situation that he is in and that is one of his biggest assets. He seems to be ready for anything that can be thrown his way and when something does go wrong he has the ability to get out of it. I am not going to spoil anything about the plot at all because that would not be fair.

I will say that I love Christina Hendricks and if you see this movie you'll know why (she is smoking hot). I love that they cast actors that you wouldn't think would be in this type of movie such as Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston, Carey Mulligan, and Christina Hendricks. They are all as close to perfect as you can get in each of their roles. Brooks is the revelation of the group because he plays a character so far out of what everyone expects him to play and he plays his character perfectly. To tell you the truth when I first saw his character in the trailers for this movie, I thought it was a different actor because I never considered that he would be in a serious movie.

Nicholas Winding Refn did an amazing job with the direction of this movie, he knows how to build tension masterfully and then have scenes that blow that tension up with a spectacular display of ultra-violence or an awesome chase scene. If you ever get the time, watch his two other critically acclaimed movies Bronson and Valhalla Rising. Bronson introduced audiences to Tom Hardy and Valhalla Rising was just an incredible movie (at least in my eyes). He has essentially started a new genre that could only be described as "Art House Action" and it works wonderfully. For people thinking that this movie is all action, I apologize because there is a lot of setup in this movie and there are only 4 or 5 true action set pieces. So be warned, take the slow with the fast because if you actually take the time and absorb this movie I guarantee you will love it.

 The soundtrack also really fits the movie and every scene seems to be narrated by the song playing and it really helps the narrative and the action flow smoothly. It has a synth-80s feel to it that is great and anyone who likes pop music from the 80s will instantly love the soundtrack. I have the soundtrack on my phone and it is played at a pretty decent clip and that is the sign of a good soundtrack, play ability even though the movie is over.

This movie sits in my Top 10 movies of All-Time and it doesn't seem like it is going to fall from that spot anytime soon. If you want to see a movie that is suspenseful, has great acting, and some great action then go see this movie. If not, then I feel sorry for you.

Straw Dogs Review

This is a review of the original movie, not the remake that was recently released in theaters. Just to let everyone know this is a very dated movie. It takes place in the early 1970s in fictional village in Cornwall England. Everything about the movie seemingly dated, the wardrobe, cars, the verbiage the characters use, and the hair. Most of the movie deals with Dustin Hoffman's character being bullied by the people around him whether it may be his wife or the villagers he is not familiar with. An American mathematician in a small backwoods village in southern England is not really the most ideal setting for his character.

Hoffman's performance carries the entire movie by itself, as you see the evolution of a man from this meek timid man to a strong alpha male. His wife after coming being back to her hometown just continually berates he husband for not being "strong" because he sees all of the men in her town who do manual labor for a living and are very strong men. Meanwhile she married a mathematician who would never be considered a strong man, I feel like the character of the wife is very illogical in the movie. She constantly gets angry because her husband doesn't want to confront a group of about 5 men who already do not like him and would gladly take a shot at him the first chance they get. There is also a very graphic "rape" scene in the movie that is creepy on multiple level not just because it is a rape scene but because of the way the characters within the scene are reacting. Hoffman's wife is the character who is being raped by her former boyfriend and about halfway through the scene she seem to be into it and enjoying it, then after that is finished another character rapes her (the ex-boyfriend's friend) and that is when the real sense of dread and terror is presented onscreen. She starts having flashbacks of the event when Hoffman's character (who had nothing to do with the rape) tries to get intimate. Hoffman's character never finds out about the rape and this make for some interesting interactions between the characters. The final siege of Hoffman's house by the group of five men from earlier in the film is the only action set piece in the movie and it is pretty damn good. That is where I will stop because this a movie that should be experienced to get a real idea of what I am talking about.

Overall, I cannot say that I really enjoyed this movie. Hoffman's performance in this movie is astounding and is the only thing that really kept me watching, the other characters often came off as being caricatures and stereotypical. This movie was controversial when it was made and it is easy to see why, ultra-violence and rape weren't two things that were readily in movie in the early 1970s. If you want to see a truly exceptional performance by a great actor then watch this movie, but if you are not a Dustin Hoffman fan then don't put yourself through having to sit through this movie. This movie also happens to have one of the greatest movie poster of all time. Also if you decide to watch this movie I will leave you with one word, nipples. If you watch the movie you'll know what I mean.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hesher Review

This is a movie that can best be described as good but not great. It is like the Patriots 16-0 regular season and then they lose in the Super Bowl. There are so many good things about this movie but there are several things that hold this movie back from being truly unforgettable. Everyone in the movie gives pretty amazing performances, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Natalie Portman, Rainn Wilson, and the young Devin Brochu are to credit for that. JGL gives one of the funniest performances I have ever seen, when he is standing in the kids house near the beginning of the movie and ask him, "Have you ever been skull fucked", I almost lost it. This movie is a full blown drama but that line almost brought me tears of laughter. This is a movie about a mourning family and a man who injects himself into their life and turns their lives upside down. JGL infuses this character with even parts crazy, smart, and wise to make this character who seems to care about nothing in the world but deep down he cares a lot but has no idea how to show it. The one thing that held this movie down was the inclusion of Portman, her character served only a small role and her character could have been completely eliminated and the story would not have changed much at all. I also have to mention Rainn Wilson, his performance is wonderful as a widower who is trying to keep it together for his son and you get to see his transformation through the movie and how he eventually regains his ability to be a good father. I would recommend this if you like dramedies because this movie is really not for everyone.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Paul Review

Going to be a short one tonight. This movie definitely took me by surprise. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have not lost any of the chemistry that they build while filming Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz. These guys are best friends in real life and it certainly shows up on screen. Seth Rogen also kills it in the movie as the alien Paul. Kristen Wiig plays a religious nut who tags along with the guys on their road trip and plays Pegg's love interest. Pegg, Frost, and Rogen work so well together and each one of their comedic scenes work to perfection. You have the dry British humor of the two human characters and the biting sarcasm of the laid back alien. The CG for the character of Paul was also pretty impressive overall. I'm not going to spoil anything about the plot because a minor thing can blow up the plot surprises. I will say that this movie is worth seeing if you liked any of the duos previous films and if you are very up to date on pop culture. Overall this movie is highly recommended.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Top Gun Review

Top Gun, oh how I love you. This is one of my top 10 favorite movies to watch, and I have seen it about a dozen times. Top Gun is one of the only movies that I don't feel Tom Cruise is playing himself in the movie. From the first time I saw this movie I bought into the fact that he could be this hotshot pilot and that really adds to the enjoyment. Having characters you can connect with is essential in getting the viewer invested in the movie.

This movie can only be described as being comprised of mixture of pure testosterone and adrenaline. It is a thrill ride of a movie, slightly lacking in story but that is made up by the amount of action scenes that are in this movie. Anthony Edwards, who plays "Goose" is also a vital part of the movie because he has a hand in both the major comedic scenes and the hugely dramatic scenes. He is fantastic as Cruise's navigator and best friend, even Meg Ryan pops up in the movie as his wife. This is the only movie that I can watch Meg Ryan in without turning my TV off, she has become or maybe she always was one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood. Val Kilmer plays Cruise's rival who also happens to be another cocky alpha male and they but heads until later in the movie. Kilmer plays the same character in almost every movie I have ever seen him in but this is his best movie so I really can't complain.

Tony Scott actually knocks it out of the park with this movie. His movies are usually 50/50 if they are going to be exceptional or utterly unwatchable. Watch Man On Fire and then watch Domino if you want to see him go from career best to pile of dog crap within a year. This was one of the first movies to use what has been called "MTV" editing where there are a lot of quick cuts and other aspects that arose from that generation. He did a fantastic job with what was at the time an extremely young cast and manages to make the most basic of plots feel engaging. I also have to mention Michael Ironside as Jester, because he is awesome in just about every movie he has ever been in. Definitely one of those actors who is exceptional almost every movie he is in and is usually considered a scene stealer. Michael Ironside and Bruce Campbell(another completely underrated actor) should get bigger parts because they are so immensely talented.

Overall I would recommend this movie to just about anyone, kids can watch it, teenagers, and adults. They will all like it for different reasons but they will still all like it and be entertained which is what really matters. Action, drama, slight and sometimes unintentional comedy come together to make a truly memorable and special film.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Shaun of the Dead Review

Just to let everyone reading this know, this is absolutely my favorite movie I have ever seen. I find this movie to be cinematic perfection, because it combines everything I love about movies into an hour and a half of pure enjoyment. Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost making a movie together is probably the best combination of director and actors I have ever seen. There is a difference between a director/actor working well together and the director/actors being best friends and creating something that they are all passionate about.

The television show Spaced and the movies Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are some of the best examples of pure entertainment ever in my mind. They work on so many different levels and I feel that Shaun of the Dead is the best out of the three. The layers of comedy, drama, and action in this movie make it just incredible, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost comprise one of the greatest on screen duos of my time. They play off each other so effortlessly and the viewer can see that they are enjoying every moment they are on screen together. The scenes where Pegg and Frost are having dramatic moments together are infused with humor and it makes the scenes even more heartbreaking. In these reviews I tend not to get into the plot and I will never spoil anything for you. I will tell you that this movie is not to be missed and I guarantee that you will like at least some aspects of this movie if you don't absolutely love this movie as a whole.

X-Men First Class Review

This was the first superhero that after seeing it, I said to myself that it was a great movie not just a great "comic" movie. This movie has everything that people love in movies, action, drama, humor, and amazing special effects. It also doesn't hurt when you have an amazingly talented cast and the direction of Matthew Vaughn, who happens to be one of the best directors in the business. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy carry the movie for the most part because it was designed and written to be that way. This is the story of how Xavier and Magneto came to know each other and how their relationship eventually soured. I have read most of the X-Men comics and I was never once distracted by the changing of characters' abilities or origins, they all fit the movie and everything was integrated naturally to make the movie play out smoothly.

I am not going to spoil the movie for anyone by mentioning the plot in anyway but let me say that everything works to perfection in this movie with the exception of January Jones' acting. She is just terrible, I understand Emma Frost is supposed to be a cold evil woman but you would generally need someone with acting ability to pull that off. She ruined many scenes in the television show Mad Men and she ruined her character for me in this movie as well. Just see this movie, you will not be disappointed and if you are disappointed then your favorite movie is probably Step Up and that is a sign that you should no longer be allowed to watch movies.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

United 93 Review

United 93 is definitely one of the most gut wrenching and realistic movies I have ever seen. This movie was extremely hard to watch due to the nature of the content of the movie, and it was even harder to watch due tot the fact that I (as most people of my generation) experienced these events firsthand. As the events unfolded on screen I was wishing that nothing would happen even though I know the events that occurred. Paul Greengrass, the director of this movie has truly made a film that should be seen by everyone. Not because it is a movie everyone will like but for the fact that it depicts the day that forever changed our country and a day that robbed a generation of its innocence.

I found myself reliving these events just as I had on 9/11 and it almost brought me to tears. Seeing the reactions of the air traffic controllers in New York as they see the second plane hits the South Tower was truly heartbreaking, the expression are they faces could only be described as pure bewilderment. No one knew what was going on and they were purely on reaction and gut instinct. I also bears mentioning that the actions portrayed on screen on United 93 are from accounts of relatives that were called from the plane and radio transmissions. But when you see them on screen for the first time you feel as these events are completely true. There is no action hero in this scenario, no Willis, no Stallone, and no Arnold. The heroes on this flight were real people, fighting for their individual survival and the survival of the people around them. I feel if I make this an extended review I will end up saying things that will upset people. The passengers of United 93 are true heroes, I hope that children will be able to one day look up to people like this, normal people put in extraordinary situations that band together to help people. Kids should look up to cops, firefighters and anyone who risks their lives on a daily basis to keep us safe and living our lives. I know it might sound like I'm jumping from point to point but I'm writing what I'm thinking on a second to second basis while thinking about this movie.

This is what a movie strives to be, telling a compelling involving story based around people put in an extraordinary situation. Even though the viewer only has a limited time with the people on Flight 93 you can clearly see their individual evolutions within that short time. I've seen TV show that run for multiple seasons that don't do half the job that the director of this movie does with characterization. This movie also did not do the Muslim community any favors with the depiction of their fanatical action on screen. And just to clarify, I know that all Muslims are not terrorists but these are the actions that the world sees and thus it becomes a reality. One small consolation is that through their heinous actions our country became stronger, maybe not at first but over time we recovered. This led us to go on the offensive and go after them instead of the other way around. I also dare you to find a more powerful closing scene to a movie or any form of media, if there is I haven't seen it yet. This is one of the first times that I will admit that a movie actually made me cry.

If anyone has reservation about this movie, put them to the side. I don't care what your politics or personal feelings are. This movie doesn't concern itself with those issues either. It just tells the story of what happened that day and shows one of the most powerful examples of a basic human instinct, survival. You should force yourself to watch this movie, for years I put it to the side because I felt I could not handle watching it because I know so many people affected by the events that unfolded that day. But in the end I am proud to have even gotten a glimpse of what might have actually happened on Flight 93 because it reminded me that normal everyday people can be heroes too.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Final Destination 2 Review

This is going to be another short one tonight. Just to let you all know, I love the first two Final Destination movies and the first one ranks in my top 20 movies of all time. The second one however is not quite up to the standard that the first movie set. The most amazing sequence in this movie is the opening car crash scene in the beginning of the movie. The attention to each gory detail really brings the scene to life and creates this truly horrific sequence. The movie itself plays out very closely to the original and this is not a bad thing at all, and the acting while not as good as the first one is passable. This movie is worth watching just for the death sequences alone and in truth that is why most people are watching these type of movies anyway.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Everything Must Go Review

This one is going to be pretty short. This movie is all about the performance of Will Ferrell and he is more in the mode of Stranger than Fiction as opposed to Old School. When Ferrell wants to act he gives great performances and can carry a movie single handed. He has the amazing ability to create a character that you can care for on a deep level because you can relate to his character as a real person. His character is dealing with deep depression and alcoholism but he seems to always be very likable. He does give a truly amazing performance in this movie even though the rest of the movie isn't that great.


This movie was flat out entertaining from beginning to end. I really can't say that about a lot of movies that have come out in the last few years. Movies can be shot well, have good stories, and great characters but if they don't fit together correctly the movie is rubbish overall. In this movie everything works perfectly together. Stellar performances, unbelievable soundtrack, great cinematography, perfect editing and an amazing story allow this movie to be almost perfect in every way. I'm pretty amazed that the producers and director of this movie were able to secure such a talented cast for what could be considered an art house spy thriller. Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Olivia Williams, Tom Hollander, and Jason Flemyng round out the cast that does an amazing job in bringing the characters and story to life.

The movie at first seems to be a very generic spy movie. The plot starts with Eric Bana's character training Hanna in the wilderness. We see her in the harshest of conditions and how she is trained for every situation in order to give her a chance to survive in any situation. They are training to go after Eric's former handler who betrayed him and Hanna's mother. This is where the movie turns into a type of revenge movie, because Hanna goes after this woman with the full force of all of the skills that were given to her in her training. Throughout the movie we see how Hanna evolves through the different experiences that she has and the different people she meets. The family she encounters shows her what love and friendship are and the German man that is friends with Eric shows her music and trust. These are lesson that Eric did not show her because he was so focused on training her for combat and survival. This is a tale of spiritual growth and revenge. These are both showcased to perfection and deserves you as a viewer.

The character of Hanna is obviously the focal point of the entire movie and Saoirse Ronan's performance does not disappoint. The innocence of the character is put on display in many of the film's scenes, be it her first real interaction with a boy or her first interaction with a family. Almost everything she experiences in the movie is a first and at times you can see it physically overwhelms her. Things like this let the viewer know that she is not an unstoppable killing machine but a young woman experiencing the world from a somewhat distorted and mutated perspective. For most of her life she was trained and taught only how to kill and survive at all costs, and all the time we see her in the movie all she wants to do is experience the world with her own eyes. Ultimately this is what truly brings the film to life and gives the story its weight.

There is also a fairy tale like feel to the movie because you see Hanna go through all of these trial and tribulations, and all she wants to do is be a "real" girl. What I mean by that is that she just wants to be a normal teenager and have friends but all she know is combat and survival skills. Through the course of the movie she is shown by the people around her what a real life can be and she has to fight in order to obtain it. It is a sort of twisted fairy tale but that is how I interpreted the story and that may differ from your opinion but that is why it is my opinion.

The soundtrack for this movie is also worth mentioning, because it is easily on of the best soundtrack I have ever heard. The Chemical Brothers truly did something special when they crafted the score for this movie. It definitely rivals Daft Punk's score from Tron Legacy in every way. Each track is expertly crafted for the scene it was written and composed for and each track adds a different mood to each scene. The opening and closing tracks are very soft electronic tracks while most of the middle tracks are very heavy and lend to the tension and overall tone of Hanna's mission and the story as a whole. One of the main henchmen in the movie even whistles one of the tracks every time he is on screen and it adds a certain "creepy" factor to the character.


One of the best movies that I have ever seen. 

Even though this movie is definitely not for everyone, if you happen to like revenge/spy movies I really feel like you owe it to yourself to watch this movie. It is truly one of the only movies that I feel executed everything that it set out to and that is truly a great accomplishment for everyone involved.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Trainspotting Review

This has to be one of the finest movies I have ever seen. Everything about this movie is top notch from the acting, directing and overall story. Danny Boyle crafted a movie that is almost perfect in every way and this quality is evident in almost every movie he has made since. In my opinion this is the greatest anti-drug commercial ever made. The set pieces in this movie will make you absolutely never want to do heroin. The scene where Ewan McGregor is getting clean cold turkey is one of the most disturbing scenes I have ever seen. His character has to relive all of the worst evens in his life and the lives he has destroyed and it is a truly amazing scene, one that has to be seen to truly get the full force of it.

Every acting performance is great in this movie and that is what really allows this movie to shine. Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Johnny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, and Kelly Macdonald make each of their characters seem very believable, None of the characters are particularly "likable" because most of the characters are kind of terrible human beings. McGregor's character Renton is the main character and when you really look at his action he is the hero and the villain of the movie. All of his misfortune is by his own accord. He destroys his life at every turn and contributes to the destruction of the lives of the people around him. He indirectly kills one of his friends, gives a hit of heroin to a mother who just found her child dead, and relapses 3 times within the time frame of the movie. Not exactly the behavior of a model citizen or even a normal person. In the end he tries to justify his last terrible act by saying that will allow him to be more like us "the viewers". He even admits to being a horrible person in the movie, I personally see him as a tamer version of Alex from A Clockwork Orange. Ewan McGregor truly makes this movie worthwhile, without his performance the movie would fall apart. All of the other actors play off of his performance and he brings a certain likability to his rotten character that makes people root for him.

Of all of the movies I have reviewed so far this is definitely the best one by far. I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes movie that aren't terrible. Everything about this movie is high quality and although not everyone will like the subject matter of this movie, it is worth it just to see what a great movie looks like.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hudson Hawk Review

Where should I begin with Bruce Willis' Hudson Hawk? I'm not going to lie to you this is a pretty terrible movie overall, the acting is hammy and the story isn't really cohesive. This movie was made in the early-90's and it was when Bruce Willis was being just coming into super-stardom and this was not one of his best movies. The movie has no idea what it wants to be, a slapstick spoof movie or an action adventure movie.

This movie is way to silly at times, they have Danny Aiello and Bruce Willis repelling from building to building using a dividing rope from a pool. This is a ridiculous scene because Aiello has to be the most non-athletic actor to ever be in a movie. Another scene has a character responding to the question, "What is going on in there?", with "Should I rape them?". The dialogue in this movie is truly terrible but it is ridiculous enough to make you enjoy the movie to some extent. The villains in this movie are truly terrible, they are way too over the top and silly. Bruce Willis is the only actor in the movie who acts rationally in the movie. His character is mostly confused by what the hell is going on in the movie just like the viewer watching the movie. Neither has an idea of what is going on in their respective situations.

The plot is what really sends it into the realm of B-movies, discovering DaVinci's secret alchemy formula to destroy the world's economy, What the fuck is that going to accomplish. Villains in most movies like this have pointless goals like destroying the world, why would you want to destroy the world so you can be the last asshole on it. As much as I ripped on this movie for being silly and terribly acted, I never once had a bad time watching it. This movie was so terrible it was actually really enjoyable. Also seeing Andie MacDowell impersonate a dolphin may be the most embarrassing scene in movie history

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Chaos Theory Review

Right off the bat I can say that I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. Ryan Reynolds truly carries this movie and proves that he can deliver a great performance in a good movie. I hope he starts doing more movies like this as opposed to cinematic filth such as Green Lantern or The Proposal.

The movie itself is pretty solid as a whole. The set up for the story is fairly basic (guy leads a structured life and then an event throws off his structured path), but the execution is much different than most "dramedies". The movie revolves around the main character having his life torn apart and it has the viewer feeling every ounce of pain he is experiencing throughout the entire movie. The fact that the performances in the movie get the viewer to care about the characters is a great strength that the movie has going for it. Without the great performances from Ryan Reynolds, Emily Mortimer, and Stuart Townsend this movie would have probably been awful but they elevate the movie to being a very good one.

Overall there is nothing particularly negative to say about the movie other than some people may feel as though it is a very standard "dramedy". Overall I can say that I recommend this movie if you like dramas and great performances.

Sorry for the short review, there just wasn't that much to review with this particular movie.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Apollo 18 Review

Just to let you know up front, this will not be a politically correct review and I will be brutally honest. I have a no sugar coating policy when it comes to telling people about movies. Apollo 18 is not a movie I would recommend to anyone. There are a variety of factors that go into that decision for me.

The pacing of this movie is what ultimately destroys any potential that this movie could have had. The pacing is so unbelievably uneven that it actually distracts you during the movie. For the first 40 minutes there is almost no action or movement whatsoever and then there is a five minute "action sequence" and then there is 10 minutes of "action at the end". For a movie that is only 86 minutes with the credits, 40 minutes of stet up might not be the greatest strategy. This happened to be only the second movie I have ever fallen asleep during, the other one being the last Indiana Jones movie. The entire movie using alternating shots from the astronauts' personal cameras, cameras on board the space capsule and the motion cameras that they brought with them to place on the surface of the moon. This can get frustrating because the shots switch so frequently, and the viewer never has a clear idea of what is happening on screen. I feel the director wasted the movie's potential by using this style. Paranormal Activity succeeded because it set up it sequences so well and there were scenes molded around each camera type they used in the movie. Apollo 18 ultimately fails because the entire movie feels disjointed and unevenly paced.

The only thing that this movie has going for it is the performances by the leads. While the acting isn't going to blow you away, it does get the job done and is fairly convincing. If you are actually reading this review and wondering where my comments on the horror aspects of the movie are, it would have been nice if there were any type of effective horror sequences in the movie. Each "scare" is telegraphed so poorly that you know exactly what is going to happen before the scene is completely set up. I left the theater trying to convince myself that I "liked" this movie, and it only took me 5 minutes to realize that this movie was a heaping pile of worthless shit. Take my advice and stay away from this piece of shit and go see a good movie such as Rise of the Planet of the Apes or wait until Warrior comes to theaters.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

30 for 30 Movie Club

I am going to attempt to watch and then post movie reviews for 30 movies over the course of the month of September. If anyone would like to join me feel free to. I will be posting a list of weekly viewing schedules on my Facebook fan page. Please post movie suggestions on the wall of the page or in a response to this post. Don't be vagina about it and only post award winning movies, that isn't fun. I want to see some bargain bin dog shit movies. Do not suggest FearDotCom, if you do I will never talk to you again, and you may think I am joking but I'm not. Try to keep the movies easy for me to access (Netflix or if you think I may own the movie on Blu Ray or DVD).