Tuesday, December 13, 2011

XMAS Postings

Hey Guys!

It's been a while. I've been busy, so reviews had to be put on the back burner. Therefore, since I've got time off from work, I'll have time for reviews starting with SHERLOCK HOLMES 2 this weekend. And, it might be a video review (that is if I can get my webcam set up).

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Walking Dead: What Lies Ahead

Directed by Ernest Dickerson and Gwyneth Horder-Payton

Written by Robert Kirkman and "Ardeth Bay" (a.k.a. Frank Darabont)

Season 2, Episode 1

Original Air date: October 16th, 2011

Picking up after Season 1's finale "TS-19", we see the remainder of Rick's group deciding to leave Atlanta behind for Fort Benning. Soon enough, there are new troubles for the group as they stumble across a church......

Some people I have noticed do not favor Rick using the walkie-talkie as a means for getting across exposition or vocalizing his inner thoughts, as this is awkward or monotonous to them: I have to disagree. I find that this means of relaying information to the audience is a good way to tie-back to Morgan and Duane (even if, as of this review, they have yet to reappear in their own separate plot lines), a way to make internal monologues work for the televised adaptation of The Walking Dead and to catch-up anyone who may have missed out on Season 1. That being said, let's take a look at the season opener.

* WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW*



For the most part, the episode has 3 major locations: an cluttered highway, a church, and a forest. Thankfully, the episode's directors  use the highway to his advantage, making it into a dangerous maze our group must dodge and overcome after being attacked by a pack of Zombies. There is a great deal of tension as the group hides under cars and in the motor homes rather than take a flashy and ill-fated battle against the zombies. That is what works about TDW as a comic: the group learns how to better avoid the zombies by using their minds rather than take a 'John Rambo' approach to the situation. Also, there is a great deal of discussion about the topic of faith in the episode, which I assume will be a major theme this season.


Rating: * * * * of 5 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Comic books

Hey everyone!

So, I have been told that there are some people out there who read my blog that made a request for me to review comic books, particularly Hellboy. However, I would like to know if I should review the more recent stories or start from the beginning. When I hear back from those interested, I will get on to that review. That being said, is there anything else out there that you'd like to request? If possible, I'd like to avoid being a copy-cat of LINKARA from TGWTG's Atop the Fourth Wall; I'll do good comics and some bad, but check what he's done first before you ask me.

Later!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Ides of March

Starring Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Paul Giamatti

Directed by George Clooney

Release Date: October 7th, 2011

 Beneath the handshaking and campaign day promises there is more betrayal and deception than most people know about political campaigns, particularly in America. Director George Clooney adapts the play Farragut North into a political thriller about a political strategist who has to struggle through moral grays and shady decisions.

Clooney does a masterful job of creating tension with how the characters deal with how they undermine each other, and how often such ideals as trust and dedication to one's political beliefs. In fact, I think this is the type of film that should be shown in a politics class for students to see that politics is not cut and dry, that people try to destroy each other simply because they can.

Ryan Gosling does an impressive job of making Stephen Myers into an idealistic and likeable protagonist, someone who understands the business of politics but has yet to be sullied by mudslinging or empty promises. George Clooney does a competent job of playing the candidate Mike Morris, a politican who's all smiles for the press, but has a darker side. Clooney definitely looks the part of a politician, but I feel that his part may have been better served as a character in the background, someone the audience sees from time to time while the focus is on Myers and the other campaign workers. Hoffman and Giamatti play senior advisers, both of them making powerful monologues and getting some fantastic performances opposite Gosling.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Moneyball

Starring Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, and Philip Seymour Hoffman

Directed by Bennett Miller

Release Date: September 23rd, 2011

Based on the book Moneyball: The art of winning an unfair game by Michael Lewis, the film stars Brad Pitt as GM Billy Beane and Jonah Hill as "Peter Brand", a fictional character created for the film. Beane worked against the budget given him and used a system known as "Moneyball", using player statistics rather than try to break the bank for the best players available. Soon, members of Beane's own team and A's fans begin to question his decisions and whether he should still be manager the following season.

I had heard that Moneyball would be The Social Network in 2011. Would I agree to that? Yes and no. Yes, in that both films take a relatively complex subject and summarize them for a general audience. No, in that Moneyball isn't as entertaining or well acted as The Social Network was. Brad Pitt is fine, but he really doesn't do anything memorable; it's just a very standard performance from him. Philip Seymour Hoffman, playing manager Art Howe, is just wasted in this regard. Hoffman is an award-winning actor, showcasing a wide range of talent in such films as Red Dragon, The Savages, and Charlie Wilson's War. Sadly, there's nothing for him to work with, as anyone could have played this part.

Rating: * * * * of 5 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Black Rain

Starring Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Ken Takakura, and Yusaku Matsuda

Directed by Ridley Scott

Release Date: September 22nd, 1989

NYPD detective Nick Conklin (Douglas) has been tasked with transporting Japanese criminal Sato (Matsuda) back to Osaka, Japan. Soon, Conklin and local detective Masahiro (Takakura) must uncover why Sato came to America and what are his plans back in Japan. Will Conklin face the dreaded Japanese mob, the Yakuza?

I'm a big fan of Ridley Scott; he directed several of my favorite movies and I'm always excited to see his name in a film's credits, be it as director or producer. Therefore, I found Black Rain to be another great Scott film using a "fish out of water" template for a cop/crime action movie. Director Scott shows many great panning shots of Osaka, making the city seem grand and foreign to newcomers, yet can also be seen as familiar to those who know those locations in Japan. Since the film is nearly entirely shot in Japan, there is a cavalcade of great Japanese actors, such as Ken Takakura and Yusako Matsuda. Matsuda played the villainous Sato, a great combination of crazy and intimidating, stuck in my mind as a great 1980's villain (sadly, Matsuda passed away weeks before the film's theatrical release).

If you're a Ridley Scott fan or a fan of Action/Crime/Cop movies, you'll certainly enjoy Black Rain.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blow Out

Starring John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, and Dennis Franz

Directed by Brian De Palma

Release Date: July 21st, 1981

Jack Terry (Travolta) is a sound effects technician on B-grade Horror movies. Out one night recording sounds to use on a new movie, he hears what may be a blown-out tire may have been a political assassination. Soon enough, Jack beginning to uncover a deep truth which may not only get Jack killed, but also the young woman he saved, Sally (Allen).


A psychological thriller that delves into the technical aspect of sound recording that delivers Jack Terry (Travolta) into a world of conspiracies and murder. Travolta and Allen have a good rapport with one another and make a believable relationship under their circumstances. Due to the fact that sound is so important to the film's plot, the use of diagetic sound is amazingly clear and sharp, making the sounds of sirens fill the audience with alarm and panic.

Rating; * * * * of 5

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Drive

Starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman, Christina Hendricks, and Albert Brooks

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

Release Date: September 16th, 2011

Stunt Driver by day, Getaway driver at night. A young mechanic (Gosling) makes a living working with cars and keeping to himself, until a budding romance with Irene (Mulligan), has him involved with the robbery of a pawn shop. Soon enough, events get darker and more violent as the masterminds of the caper are local gangsters Bernie Rose (Brooks) and Nino (Perlman). The stakes are high, and the road is all he needs to settle the score....

Adapted from the novel by James Sallis, Drive is a character study on the lives of criminals in Los Angeles, such as the nameless Driver or his boss, Shannon played by Bryan Cranston. Unlike big budget action movies, Drive is more focused on the monotony of crime, such as setting up meetings or waiting for the "customers". Also, Drive is a visually stunning film, with little dialogue spoken, especially from the unnamed protagonist. Many will be reminded of "THE MAN WITH NO NAME" trilogy in this regard, using the facial expressions of the characters and the body language on screen to get across what the characters are thinking, rather than use redundant dialogue.

Drive also has a stellar cast, especially with such stellar actors as Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman and Bryan Cranston. Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman get a lot of great scenes, such as Brooks giving a menacing monologue about meeting Cranston's character for the first time. Many know Brooks as a comedic actor, in such works as Finding Nemo and TV's The Simpsons; I think Brooks walks a good line between menace and charm, making Rose into a believable criminal rather than a cartoonish villain.

Rating: * * * * * of 5 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Murder by Death

Starring Peter Faulk, Truman Capote,Alec Guiness,  Peter Sellers, James Coco, and James Cromwell

Directed by Roger Moore

Release Date: June 23rd, 1976

Five world famous detectives (each based on literary characters in real life) are summoned to an eccentric millionaire's home for a rousing weekend: solve "the perfect murder" and collect $1 Million or be killed by the murderer! Who will win the game, and who will be next on the chopping block?

 Written by Neil Simon and directed by Roger Moore (who previously collaborated with Guiness and Sellers on The Ladykillers), Murder by Death spins the mystery genre on its head and has a few chuckles with such cliches as the previously unheard of motive or the last minute character by the third act. Also, I will note that the film is very similar to Clue, down to the fact that both films have eccentric hosts and stuffy butlers (however, MbD does have Alec Guiness give a hilarious performance as Bensonmum). If you're in the mood for witty word play and hilarious performances from great actors like Faulk and Sellers, you'll certainly get a kick out of Murder by Death.

Rating: * * * * 1/2 of 5


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Babe: Pig in the City

Starring Magda Szubanski and James Cromwell 


Directed by George Miller 


Release Date: November 25th, 1998


After the thunderous approval of Babe, co-writer and Director George Miller brought the sheep-pig back to the silver screen.  This time, Farmer Hoggett (Cromwell) has injured himself on the farm so it's up to Mrs. Hogett and Babe to save the farm! 


B:Pitc is a surreal and surprisingly dark family comedy. At times, the dilemmas that both Mrs. Hoggett and Babe may be frightening for young children. However, I applaud the filmmakers for trying something new with the sequel rather than retool another sheep-herding contest. Also, the look of the city: it's a sight to behold and makes for a unique setting. The CITY, as it is called, is an amalgam of Australian, European and America Cities, with water walkways and 1950-1960s automobiles. It may feel strange, but there's a charming timelessness to the film's atmosphere. Babe: Pig in the City is in the same category as Rango: both films are a tad darker than expected for younger children, but are certain to entertain the 8-12 year old crowd. 


Rating: * * * * of 5 



Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Party

Starring Peter Sellers and Claudine Longet

Directed by Blake Edwards

Release Date: April 4th, 1968


A very silly slapstick comedy starring Peter Sellers. While the film has a very minimal plot, it has a ton of sight gags, physical comedy, and visual stunts that makes it into a goofy spectacle. There's not much dialogue, as it has been stated that the film was produced to accomodate Seller's use of physical comedy. Take for example a scene where his character, Hrundi V. Bakshi, is admiring a parrot in an enormous cage: he inspects the wiring in awe, then begins to gradually toss more and more birdseed into the cage while disrupting the other guests. Or, when Hrundi needs to use "the facilities", his body language gets more and more exaggerated and frantic. He acts less like a fool and more of a little boy in a man's body, not sure what the best action is and still wants to be polite to the beautiful singing Michele Monet, as played by Longet. Sellers sells the character, making into a likable bumbler who's just accident prone but kind at heart. 

If you're a fan of THE NAKED GUN trilogy, The Hangover, or Superbad, you'll certainly enjoy The Party.

Rating: * * * * of 5

The Help

Starring Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia Spencer, and Jessica Chastain

Written for the screen and directed by Tate Taylor

Based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett

Release Date: August 10th, 2011

In 1960s Mississippi, the maids working for Jackson wives deal with persecution and bigotry while on the job and underpaid. Maids like Minny and Aibileen care for their children and make their food as these same women call them names and demean them at the weekly bridge club. Soon, Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan (Stone) is looking to make  her mark as a writer and stumbles upon a startling discovery: write a tell-all book about life as an African-American maid for white families in the South. It will take a lot of courage and strength to stand up for what's right, and it may take everything to stand up to people like Miss Hilly Holbrook (Howard)...

Adapted from the novel by Kathryn Stockett, The Help is a deep and profound look back into race relations in  the 1960s. Tate Taylor does a commanding job of making such a stellar best-seller into one of the best films of 2011. He does a great job of balancing several stories at once, making them flow into each other easily and tie into the main plot of Skeeter publishing her book. Speaking of, the cast is full of great performances from the mainly female cast, with the main standouts being Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. As Emma Stone's character begins  the events of the story, Davis and Spencer are largely the focus of all important events. Davis is certainly a powerhouse actress, seen in such films as State of Play and Doubt, certainly deserves to be nominated for an Academy Award this year, as her performance as Abilene is a strong women who carries a sense of compassion within her despite a sea of hatred around her. Octavia Spencer, as Minnie, gives a hilarious performance with a lot of snappy dialogue when Minny goes to work Celia Foote, as played by Jessica Chastian.

While the film is unsettling in its depiction of race relations, it is certainly a recommended drama that fans of the novel will certainly enjoy.

Rating: * * * * * of 5 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Moonstruck

Starring Cher, Nicolas Cage, Vincent Gardenia, Danny Aiello, and John Mahoney

Directed by Norman Jewison

Release Date: December 17th, 1987

Loretta (Cher) just wants to get rid of her bad luck from her previous marriage to her new fiance, Johnny (Aiello). She will go to any lengths, uphold every tradition just to have a happy life. While Johnny is in Siciliy to attend to his ailing mother, he asks Loretta to patch things up with his younger brother Sonny (Cage). What could happen on a full moon night?

Based on the traditions and karma that many people balance their actions with, Moonstruck takes these decisions into a broad, comedic set that also delves into the Italian-American community, such as in the locations of the movie, the use of Italian phrases, and customs. Though much of the plot is focused on Loretta, there are two amusing subplots with Loretta's parents, as played by Gardenia and Olympia Dukakis. Gardenia, for example, is seeing another woman while claiming how strong his marriage is. Finally, there's an especially fascinating performance by Nicolas Cage as Sonny, the one-handed baker with a heart for opera.

If you're a fan of romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally, you'll certainly enjoy Moonstruck.

Rating: * * * * 1/2 of 5 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Purple Rose of Cairo

Starring Mia Farrow, Jeff Daniels, Danny Aiello, and Dianne Wiest

Directed by Woody Allen

Release Date: March 1st, 1985

A madcap comedy that explores the blending of reality and fiction.

It's the 1930's New Jersey. Cecilia (Farrow) is a waitress whose only happiness comes from going to the movies each week. One day, at a screening of The Purple Rose of Cairo, Tom Baxter (Daniels) walks out of the screen and begins talking to our lonely maiden. Soon, Hollywood is in a panic due to rumors that there's a movie that's not playing as it's meant to and a double of Gil Shepherd (also Daniels) walking around and causing the studio a major headache. If all that's not enough, both Baxter and Shepherd are head over heels in love with Cecilia!

Woody Allen does a masterful job blending a screwball comedy with romance. I really adore the way Allen works in several styles of comedy and storytelling that was commonly seen in the films during the 1930s, such as the dialogue the characters in the fictional film speak or the heavy "drinking" done by several of the characters.  In addition, I really must applaud the acting of Jeff Daniels as both Baxter and Shepherd, making each character into a different person. Finally, there's a ton of great jokes toward metafiction, such as talking about Baxter as only a fictional character or that he believes the only "higher power" are the screenwriters for his film.

Click here to buy The Purple Rose of Cairo

Rating: * * * * 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dog Soldiers

Starring Sean Pertwee, Kevin Mckidd, and Emma Cleasby

Written and directed by Neil Marshall

Release Date: November 5th, 2002

A group of soldiers are attacked during a routine training mission in the Scottish Highlands. Soon, it becomes a fight to survive the night against an enemy that is beyond belief...

If you were to mix Predator, Night of the Living Dead, and The Wolf Man  into a blender, you'd come up with Dog Soldiers. Writer/Director Neil Marshall pits a group of soldiers against werewolves...that's right werewolves, in this British horror action movie. While the film doesn't give enough character development to every soldier, we do get a sense of comraderie between many of the soldiers and a burgeoning friendship between Cooper (McKidd) and Megan (Cleasby). In addition, Marshall does a fantastic job of making the mood tense and foreboding when the soldiers are hiding from the werewolves. For example, there's a fantastic scene where Cooper scouts the house initially and you get a sense that something isn't right, that it's too quiet and empty for a house to have no one there. Also, the were wolf effects are quite good: the creatures are used by prosthetics and stunt men rather than shoddy CGI which is sadly becoming the norm with horror movies these days.

Click here to buy Dog Soldiers Dog Soldiers [Blu-ray]

Rating: * * * * of 5


Monday, August 29, 2011

Dragonheart

Starring Dennis Quaid, Pete Postelthwaite, David Thewlis, and the voice of Sean Connery as Draco

Directed by Rob Cohen

Release Date: May 31st, 1996

Nowhere near as bad as 2000's Dungeons and Dragons, but certainly not as memorable as Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

For years I had heard this was an unappreciated gem, a tale of a knight in need of redemption and the last dragon. Sadly, I found that Dragonheart is a mis-mash of ideas, cliches and errors in logic. First of all, the tone is all over the place; one minute it's a heart pounding action movie, the next it's a wacky comedy, and then it's trying (desperately) to add in some pathos and drama to little avail. I understand the need to lighten the mood, but there are several times where Bowen (Quaid)'s arrogance and smug attitude felt like left over dialogue from Army of Darkness. Second, David Thewlis's Einon is a terrible villain. In the years since Dragonheart, Thewlis has gone on to show great performances in the Harry Potter series and in Kingdom of Heaven. Here, he's playing a 20-ish spoiled brat who takes over his father's throne and chews scenery like nobody's business. We're told that there was once good in him and that he was corrupted. Obviously, the film shows us that he was always bad; what the screenwriters should have done is show Einon as a kind-hearted child and then gradually show more and more of his cruelty. Instead, they show him immediately twirling his mustache as soon as the crown was his.

On the positive side, the supporting cast give great performances, especially Pete Postlethwaite as Brother Gilbert.

Dragonheart could have been a great movie, but has some flaws.

Click here to buy Dragonheart - Collector's Edition Dragonheart

Rating: * * * of  5 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Senna

Starring Ayrton Senna (Archival Footage), Alain Prost,  Richard Williams, Ron Dennis, and Frank Williams

Directed by Asif Kapadia

Release Date: August 12th, 2011

Ayrton Senna (1960-1994) was a true champion of Formula 1 racing. He was one of the fastest racers of his generation, a three time World winner, and a dedicated brother and son to his family. Sadly, he was fatally injured April 1994 in a race. This documentary captures Senna's decade long career as a Formula 1 driver.

Produced by ESPN, Universal Pictures, Studio Canal, and Working Title Films, Senna offers an exciting and informative look into the race track during Senna's career. Director Asif Kapadia masterfully utilizes interviews (archival and new) on Senna and his Formula 1 races. One of the best parts is how the footage pulled from the races is often from Senna's own cockpit, showing how fast he could drive and how close he hugged the asphalt. In addition, the documentary goes into Senna's rivalry with fellow driver Alain Prost or his devotion to his home country Brazil.

Senna is an exhilarating, emotional and heartfelt look into a driver with a lot of passion and devotion to Formula 1.

Senna is in English, Portuguese, French, and Japanese with English subtitles. 

Click here to buy Senna - Special Edition (2DVD) Senna Ayrton Senna-An Official TributeBRAZIL AYRTON SENNA GLORY YEARS F1 FORMULA 1 SEALED DVD 

Rating: * * * * of 5


Monday, August 22, 2011

Paranoia

Starring Brad Jones, Sarah Lewis, Brian Lewis, and Brian Irving

Release Date: June 7, 2011

Directed by Ryan Mitchelle

First of all, I love the tagline: Do you know the night? It works so well with the tone and atmosphere of Paranoia, the latest thriller written by Brad “Cinema Snob” Jones.

Mark Bishop (Jones) is having a hard night: his wife is leaving him, he’s got a massive headache, and there’s a dead intruder in his walkway. Soon enough, Mark is wandering across town trying to shake his growing paranoia and the strange feeling that not everything is alright. Is Mark just imagining things? Soon, Mark questions his very sanity and may soon enough become another victim of the night.

The mood of this film is amazingly tense, growing more and more suspenseful until the third act finale. What works really well is how the film starts off slow and accustoms the audience to Mark and his predicament.  Director Mitchelle makes the atmosphere for “Paranoia” work well due to his past work with Jones and his style of nourish thrillers and suspense films, such as “Midnight Heat” or “The Hooker with a Heart of Gold”.

Speaking of, Jones and his cast of actors give great performances. Jones makes everyman Mark into an amazing character, one who can be sympathetic one minute and aggressively hostile the next. Mark may be one of Jones’ best characters, someone whose sense of reality flip flops back and forth during this turbulent night. During one scene, Jones gives a great monologue about how he tries to be a writer and how ironic it is how his nightly events would make a great story. In secondary parts is Jones’ wife Jillian as Claire the Waitress or Brian Lewis as Randy, but Brian Irving gives a chilling performance as Carl, the intruder who initiates Mark’s night of insanity.

If you enjoy After Hours , Taxi Driver or Memento, you’ll certainly enjoy Paranoia.

Click here to buy Paranoia

Rating: * * * * * of 5 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Minority Report

Starring Tom Cruise, Colin Ferrell, Samantha Morton, Tim Blake Nelson, and Max von Sydow

Directed by Stephen Spielberg

Release Date: June 21st, 2002

In a world where psychic humans known as "Precogs" can determine the events of a murder before they occur, how can Tom Anderton be guilty of killing a man he doesn't know?

Adapted from a short story by Philip K. Dick, Director Stephen Spielberg crafts a world based on the belief of fate and predetermination rather than free will. The entire world seems to have given into a system of structure and order just to make the world a safer place.  Everything is done by machines: all transportation is achieved through cars that can move up buildings, doors are opened by eye scanners, and the "Precogs" keep Washington DC free of murder.

However, the film does have a few plot holes regarding technology and there were a few too many product placements (good to know Tom Cruise shops at the GAP, I guess). But, the film has a great balance of suspense, sorrow, action, and drama. If you're a fan of Dick or Spielberg, you'll enjoy Minority Report.

Click Here to buy Minority Report (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition) Minority Report [Blu-ray] The Minority Report and Other Classic Stories

Rating; * * * * of 5 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

30 Minutes or less

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson, and Danny McBride

Directed by Ruben Fleischer

Release Date: August 12th, 2011

 Ripped from the Headlines,  30 Minutes or Less is a loose adaptation of this odd crime story. The screenwriters claimed that they only took the inital premise as a spring board, but I find there are too many similarities for it to be a coincidence; that being said, the movie is still very funny and I highly recommend it.

Both sets of actors have great chemistry together, Eisenberg and Ansari as the unwitting victims or Swardson and McBride as the criminals. Ansari himself gets a lot of great one-liners while Eisenberg makes a convincing dupe for McBride to blackmail into robbing a bank. Speaking of McBride, he is an understated comedian that can deadpan his way into hilarious dialogues about tanning salons or how explosives work. If McBride ever decides to quit comedy for a while, I think he's got a great future playing cinematic villains.

Rating: * * * * 1/2 of 5

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Slammin' Salmon

Starring Broken Lizard, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Cobie Smulders

Directed by Kevin Heffernan

Release Date: December 11th, 2009

For fans of Broken Lizard, they'll certainly enjoy this bizarre story set in a restaurant. Sure, a lot of the jokes are standard and aren't particulary memorable, but the pacing is really good and does a great job of showing how wait-staff deal with customers (ceratinly a lot less disgusting than "Waitng")


Rating: * * * 1/2 of 5

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger

Starring Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Haley Atwell, and Hugo Weaving

Directed by Joe Johnston

Release Date: July 22nd, 2011

Before we get the team assembled for THE AVENGERS movie, there's one hero left to include in the pantheon of silver screen stars: CAPTAIN AMERICA. Sure, there were 2 television movies starring Reb Brown and a direct to video adaptation starring Matt Salinger, but those three stories were either too goofy or unfaithful to the source material. Therefore, it's very encouraging to see such an inspiring adaptation of the WWII icon.

Boy is this movie a lot of fun! After we left the theater, some friends and I were discussing how entertaining and exciting the exploits of Cap (Evans)  fighting the Red Skull (Weaving) in the European Theater were! Speaking of, the main leads of Evans and Weaving each get some great moments with their characters. For example, Evans really understands the need for Steve Rogers to be a man dedicated to protecting the people, rather than wanting power for power sake. Weaving , on the other hand, gets to glower and grit his teeth as the villainous Red Skull. Finally, there's a lot of care and attention to detail such as using the Comic accurate costume, or answering where Cap really got his shield.

Rating: * * * * * of 5 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Defendor

Starring Woody Harrelson, Elias Koteas, Kat Dennings, and Sandra Oh

Directed by Peter Stebbings

Release Date: February 19th, 2010 (Canada)

Let's get this out of the way: yes this did remind me of Kick-Ass. However, the two films are completely different and my review of Kick-Ass can be seen here. Where as that film is more of a cartoon-ish violent comedy, Defendor is a more realistic, drama of a real person who wants to be a superhero.

I have to applaud the actors, as each one of them gets to play around with a stereotypical comic-book character role, such as the stalwart hero or the plucky young sidekick. Particularly, I enjoyed the relationship between Arthur (Harrelson) and Kat (Dennings), as both actors are clearly having fun and work well together on screen. Speaking of Arthur, the character is a wonderfully diverse role for Harrelson, allowing him to play two diverse characters: Arthur, the timid nobody, and Defendor, the deep voiced, "bullet-proof" hero. Let it be said, the movie is definitely a lot darker than Kick-Ass; where the main hero in that movie gets to win a few fights, Defendor is constantly getting beat up and laughed at by the thugs he fights against.

Defendor is definitely worth seeing, particularly if you enjoyed Kick-Ass. 


Click here to buy Defendor Defendor [Blu-ray]

Rating: * * * * of 5 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Legend

Starring Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, and Tim Curry

Directed by Ridley Scott

Release Date: April 18th, 1985

(Note: I am reviewing the US Theatrical Cut of Legend. There is a director's cut available, which I may review at a later date).

In a land far away,  a creature called DARKNESS (Curry) aspires to take over the world by eliminating the most rare creatures in the woods: Unicorns. Their protector, Jack o'the green (Cruise) is a reclusive young man in love with Princess Lili (Sara). Will the forces of good stop the cloven footed monster and save the unicorns?

As per usual with Ridley Scott films, Legend  is a gorgeous sight for the eyes, as if he were bringing a storybook fable to life. Everything from the set designs to the make-up and prosthetics are highly detailed and add a rich lushness to the visual style. Unfortunately, while the visuals are absolutely wonderful, I feel that the story and characters fall a tad flat. The story is fine, a standard fantasy concept of find the girl and save the day, but there's no real deviation or development beyond that. Sure, there's a text prologue, but I would have loved to see some back story on the main characters. For this review, I saw the 90 minute U.S. cut but would love to review the Director's cut at a later time.

Click here to buy Legend (Ultimate Edition) Legend (Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray]

Rating: * * * 1/2 of 5 

Game Boys

Starring Brad Jones, Bianca Queen, Alex Shryock, and Jake Norvell

Written and Directed by Brad Jones

Released on THE CINEMA SNOB: September 9th, 2010

NOTE: THIS MOVIE IS UNRATED. IT CONTAINS EXCESSIVE LANGUAGE AND SEXUAL REFERENCES. 

Well, here we are again with another STONED GREMLINS Production. Instead of Jones usual genres of horror or exaggerated drama, we have a light-hearted romantic comedy.

I really like this movie, if for nothing else than the appreciation of nerds with particular tastes and interests. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a predilection for movies, cartoons, anime, and comic books. When I go to the latest X-Men or Spider-Man movie, I'm naming off obscure comic-books that pertain to the movie, or just go into great detail about other movies I was reminded of. Therefore, I really connected with Jones' story of old-school gamers with a panache for the obscure title and the embrace of Atari graphics rather than the latest title on XBOX 360.

As usual with his films, Jones employs his closest friends to play his cast of characters, such as his wife Jillian playing a minor character or Midnight Heat's Alex Shryock playing main character Ray. Like Jake Norvell in Midnight Heat (who plays Steve), Shryock makes Ray into an energetic and hilarious character, the overly aggressive gamer with a strange obsession with horrible Superman games. Sure, the game goes heavy into video-game references, some which may fly over the heads of many, but that's the language these guys speak and you either study up or get left behind.

Click here to watch GAME BOYS in its entirety on The Cinema Snob.

Rating: * * * * 1/2 of 5

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Dark Knight Rises: Teaser Trailer Reaction

So, opening weekend of Harry Potter DH Part 2 and the premiere trailer for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is attached with an assortment of bad trailers (Arthur Christmas and Happy Feet 2 immediately come to mind). Then, it happens: we get a few brief clips from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight before the new footage kicks in.

My response: I am so ready for TDK Rises. Sure, I'd love to say 'No! Keep the franchise going', but in all honesty I'm glad that Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale are wrapping up with Batman before they get sick of the franchise. Sure, the teaser goes by too fast and I'd rather get a clear audio track for the scene we get to see, but maybe this scene will make sense in the finished film. I love the villains they're using (Bane and Selina Kyle, so far), and perhaps Nolan will deliver a few unexpected twists and turns for this finale come Summer 2012.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Finnes, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Bonnie Wright, John Hurt, Timothy Spall, Tom Felton, Jim Broadbent, and Jason Issacs

Directed by David Yates

Release Date: July 15th, 2011

(NOTE:  I did not see the 3D version. I do not support 3D at this time and rarely review movies in 3D)

It has come down to this: Ten years in the making, seven previous films for one epic event.

Continuing directly where Part One ended, this is the ground breaking, heart-stopping action upon action scenes where not every character survives to the finale. There's not a lot of character development in this movie, as that was covered more in Part One. In all seriousness, most of Part two is running upon running with characters fighting one another and very few moments to catch your breath. There are many impressive stunt sequences, such as the trio fighting a dragon or Neville Longbottom taking out hundreds of dark wizards with an exploding bridge. I really must compliment the stunt people and Special effects team for working so hard in this installment to make these incredible sequences feel chilling and so great to look at.

That being said, the movie does have a few problems, but they're minor quibbles. First, there's a slight weirdness during a conversation with Harry Potter (Radcliffe) and Dumbledore (Gambon); it's nothing about the conversation they have, the performances the actors give, it's just I find the situation in which the characters speak is just odd. Second, I did' find the story's epilogue to be weak, which I've heard is also criticized by fans of the novels. If you're a diehard Potter fan, stick around for the epilogue. If you're satisfied with the film's finale, skip the epilogue.

Now that the Series is over, I am sad to see the adventure end. Still, it was a fun ride and am glad to have seen such a grand tale.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Friday, July 15, 2011

Midnight Heat

Starring Jake Norvell, Bianca Queen, and Brad Jones

Written and Directed by Brad Jones

Released on The Cinema Snob: 2011

WARNING: The following review is for a film that was unrated, but contains adult language and drug use.


Brad Jones is a collaborator on THAT GUY WITH THE GLASSES, a website that offers such talents as The NOSTALGIA CRITIC, LINKARA, and TODD IN THE SHADOWS. Brad is usually known as "The Cinema Snob", an elitist film critic who ends up reviewing D-Grade Horror and Exploitation movies. Aside from that, he makes his own movies which brings us to Midnight Heat. 

As stated in the intro video, Brad made Midnight Heat as an homage to the 1980s action movies he grew up on. If that is the case, I must say that Brad does a great job capturing the feel of movies made during that decade. Midnight Heat is a gritty and intriguing film, one that draws you in with memorable characters and snappy dialogue. One of the film's best qualities is how well the characters are written, each having their own idiosyncrasies and quirks. I also have to applaud how well writer/director Jones balances his scenes with the non-diegetic music used for the soundtrack. The actors are very talented in their roles, particularly Jake Norvell and Jones. Norvell makes the hero of the story, Det. Rick Wilson, into a broken and flawed protagonist with a charisma and personality that makes him memorable. Jones, on the other hand, plays the mentally unstable Martin with such a manic energy that it makes one think back to a young Jack Nicholson. 

"Midnight Heat" can be seen in its entirety on THE CINEMA SNOB or That Guy with the Glasses

Rating: * * * * of 5 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

(500) Days of Summer

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Clark Gregg, and Chloe Moretz

Directed by Mark Webb

Release Date: July 17th, 2009


A quirky look into a relationship between Tom (Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Deschanel). I like how the film jumps back and forth during their time together, giving the audience a look at happy times and sad ones. Sure, the film does hit heavy with the struggle and heart-break, but I feel that works better than a formulaic rom-com.

The performances are wonderful from the cast, from the main leads to the supporting cast. Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt have wonderful chemistry together and have great presence on screen. Then, there's the scene stealing moments of Chloe Moretz as Tom's sister, who may be wise beyond her years.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click here to buy (500) Days of Summer (500) Days of Summer [Blu-ray] with Digital Copy

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Horrible Bosses

Starring Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudekis, with Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, and Kevin Spacey

Directed by Seth Gordon

Release Date: July 8th, 2011

 Much better than "Bad Teacher", the lesser of the Summer 2011 Black Comedies.

We've all had bad bosses, our superiors whom we put up with. Sadly, Nick (Bateman), Kurt (Sudekis), and Dale (Day) may have the worst bosses in the history of job employment. Nick's Boss (Spacey) is a manipulative jerk who loves kicking him around and insulting his employees. Kurt's Boss (Farrell) is a greedy drug addict who would rather cut corners than take care of his deceased father's company. Then there's Dale's Boss (Aniston) who sexually harasses  and blackmails him. Soon, the trio are discussing their woes over beers and decide: Our bosses are horrible people, why not just kill them?

Horrible Bosses is a manic, dark comedy that makes those daydreams at the office a reality thanks to our white-collar Three Stooges. Bateman, Sudekis, and Day all have great chemistry together and fire off so many great jokes, you may have to re-watch the movie to catch that one line you missed due to the leads talking over each other. Also, each of the actors playing the villianous bosses, Aniston, Ferrell, and Spacey, bring their characters to life with great interplay with the leads and Kevin Spacey stealing the show as a controlling arrogant jerk with a slight obsession with his cat. Finally,  there's a great scene-stealing character played by Jamie Foxx.

Rating: * * * * 1/2 of 5

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Splice

Starring Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, and Delphine Chaneac

Directed by

Release Date: June 4th, 2010


A twisted science fiction story, but a tad too slow at parts with a finale that was...icky.

Director Vincenzo Natali most certainly knows how to make a tense, psychologically driven thriller. Splice is a crazy tale of science gone wrong, where two scientists (Brody and Polley) decide to play God by mixing the DNA of humans and several animals to create a creature that could modernize modern medicine. The movie most certainly builds the tension not only of the evolution of the creature known as "Dren" but also of the crumbling relationship between Clive and Elsa.

However, the one complaint I have against the movie is that the third act has a few moments that don't feel like authentic actions from the characters.

Rating: * * * 1/2 of 5 

Click here to buy: Splice Splice [Blu-ray]

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2

Starring the Voice Talents of Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Gary Oldman, Lucy Liu, David Cross, and Dustin Hoffman

Directed by Jennifer Yuh

Release Date: May 26th, 2011


As charming and energetic as the first movie.

Set after the events of the first movie, Po (Black) and the Furious Five learn of a new weapon that is poised to take over China, but powerful enough to defeat KUNG FU! The villainous peacock Shen (Oldman) is building Iron Weapons using powerful fireworks to take out Kung Fu warriors. Will the Dragon Warrior be able to stop them?

So Dreamworks may not be as layered and developed as Pixar, but that doesn't mean they're laying down on the job. If their animation studio continues to make films like How to Train Your Dragon or the Kung Fu Panda films, they may find themselves more praise from the critics than with continuous Shrek sequels and ineffectual star-driven projects. Like the first movie, Kung Fu panda 2 makes great use of the kung fu genre with quick, entertaining and quite humorous fight scenes. Many times during the film, I was stunned and then laughing in the same breath.

If I had to criticize the film for anything, it would have to be a quick visual reference to Pac-Man. Don't get me wrong, it's a funny gag, but the first film did without any modern pop culture jokes and was still a great movie. I'm just wondering why they felt the need to make a video game reference for a film set in feudal China.

Rating: * * * * 1/2 of 5

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Brothers Bloom

Starring Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo,  Rachel Weisz and Robbie Coltrane

Directed by Rian Johnson

Release Date: May 15th, 2009


The movie tries too hard to be quirky and "indie", but feels forced and artificial. Also, the pacing is off balance, being a light-hearted comedy one minute and a heavy-handed drama the next.  Still, I have to commend the actors for great performances and wonderful cinematography that captures the whimsy and oddities of this strange world. 


The Brothers Bloom is flawed, but worth seeing if you're a fan of Wes Anderson's work or con-artist movies such as Ocean's Eleven or The Grifters.


Rating: * * * of 5 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Legion

Starring Paul Bettany, Charles S. Dutton, and Lucas Black

Directed by Scott Stewart

Release Date: January 22nd, 2010



Terminator. Terminator Terminator. Terminator. Rip-Off.  Oh man, this was a boring movie. The CGI sucks, the pacing of the movie is bad, and the characters are barely two-dimensional.  Plus, why angels? It's just silly when you discover that this movie is just a zombie movie with quasi-religious overtones.

If you want a better movie with the same premise, watch THE TERMINATOR...or Ghostbusters II.

Rating: * 1/2 of 5

Time to End: Charlie Sheen

Dear Charlie Sheen,

Do I really need to say anything? You sir, are a tornado of destruction to yourself and your family. Please get the mental health you desperately need. In addition, your constant tirades again Chuck Lorre and CBS are childish, sir; as a father and an adult, you need to grow up. I am tired of hearing about you and your "truth tour" or whatever you call it. We've all stop caring about your tiger-blood fueled exploits months ago.

Please, find help, as this joke is no longer funny.

Sincerely,

Critical View

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bad Teacher

Starring Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Lucy Punch, and Jason Segel

Directed by Jake Kasdan

Release Date: June 24th, 2011


A dark, edgy comedy that definitely could have used some improvements.

Elizabeth Halsey (Diaz) is a horrible teacher: She drinks, shows movies in class, and is more concerned finding a sugar daddy than providing her students with an education. Soon, she sets her sights on nerdy substitute teacher Scott (Timberlake) and will go to any lengths to get his attention. Lie, Cheat, Steal? All in Elizabeth's lesson plan....

Bad Teacher is certainly a dark and warped perspective on teachers. As such, audiences will see Elizabeth blackmail parents, steal from a local car wash, and demean her students at the drop of a hat. In short, Cameron Diaz is having a ball with the character and it shows. Lucy Punch, as antagonist Amy Squirrel, is delightfully manic as an over enthusiastic teacher who's out to prove Elizabeth's not what she seems. However, not all of the cast get to liven their characters. Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake, get to play the minor parts of male teachers that occasionally get some funny jokes, but are just there to support the female leads. In terms of humor, Bad Teacher gets in a lot of sex gags and pot shots at teaching, but nothing ground breaking or memorable.

Bad Teacher is certainly a funny dark comedy, but I wish the writers had tried harder to make the jokes better.

Rating; * * * 1/2 of 5

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Midnight in Paris

Starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Corey Stoll, Adrien Brody, Marion Cotillard, and Michael Sheen

Directed by Woody Allen

Release Dates:

May 11, 2011 (Cannes) 
May 20, 2011 (US limited) 
June 10, 2011




A quirky and giddy romp through the streets of Paris on the longings for the past and the dangers of nostalgia. 


Gil (Wilson) is a screenwriter lost in the beauty of the streets of Paris, wishing he was living in the 1920s rather than in the 21st century. His fiance Inez (McAdams) cannot understand his longing and would rather listen to the misinformation from a pseduo-intellectual and shop for expensive furniture with her mother. Soon, Gil has found himself sharing a bottle of wine with Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald in 1920s Paris, with no explanation how or why he got there. However, Gil has decided to make the most out of his new adventure and discover more about his life, his career as a writer, and his relationships with Inez and a stunning French woman named Adrianne (Cotillard). 


Midnight in Paris is a delightfully whimsical tale of beauty, love, and the true meaning of how to appreciate the present rather than dwell on the past. Director Woody Allen does a commendable job making the tone of the film into a breezy character study, making the exploration of Gil's adventures into a light and humorous farce on time travel without dwelling on explaining how Gil traveled 90 years into the past. Speaking of, Owen Wilson displays a lot of grace and charm as Allen's latest surrogate protagonist, rattling off Allen's usual grasp of quick-witted neuroses and literary references that are both funny and thoughtful. 


Rating: * * * * * of 5

Friday, July 1, 2011

Time to End: Tracy Morgan

Dear Tracy Morgan,

Just stop. Stop doing stand-up, stop apologizing, stop appearing in public. Every time you're in front of an audience, you say something offensive and it gets you in trouble. I have never found you funny, but now I'm just ashamed to hear your name in the news because you offended another organization or group of people. Just resign from 30 Rock, slink off to your giant mansion and go away.

Sincerely,

Critical View 

Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon

Starring Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Patrick Dempsey, and the voice talents of Peter Cullen and Leonard Nimoy

Directed by Michael Bay

Release Date: June 29th, 2011

So on Wednesday, I posted an announcement about possibly seeing Transformers 3.  Was it as bad as all the reviews claim? Let's take a look.

 The last Transformers movie, "Revenge of the Fallen", was certainly a hodgepodge of racist characters, clich├ęd dialogue, and plot-holes the size of Cybertron. Therefore, Director Michael Bay claimed that the third movie in the franchise, Dark of the Moon, would eliminate all the failings of the last movie and make the tone darker than the two previous films.

Dark of the Moon is most certainly a step up from "Revenge of the Fallen". While this installment suffers the same staples of Bay's previous work, it makes up for it with great voice-over work from Peter Cullen and Leonard Nimoy, and some incredible action sequences in Downtown Chicago.

First, the bad: the same awful, awful comedy that no one seems to enjoy but Michael Bay. For example, the uncomfortable humor of Sam's parents return, such as mocking him for getting dumped by his latest girlfriend. Speaking of, Megan Fox has been replaced by newcomer Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as Sam's new girlfriend Carly. Considering that Megan Fox has one style of acting (namely staring off into the distance) at least Whiteley makes Carly into a more interesting character who gets an awesome line near the finale. Next, there's a lot of what I call "Necessary Stupidity", where characters makes actions that only make sense to move the plot along, if nothing else. Finally, the Decepticons are still numerous and nameless. Is it too much to give us more named Decpeticons other than Megatron, StarScream, and Shockwave?

That being said, the movie's got some impressive CGI for the Transformers, the plot about Sentinel Prime and the Moon landings was interesting, and the third act battle was pretty cool.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Maybe I'll go, Maaaaybe: Transformers 3

I've heard reviews from Spill.com, "Spoony", and Brad "The Cinema Snob" Jones regarding Transformers 3. So far, it's been bad review after bad review of Michael Bay's latest exploration into "Will this explode on screen?". This week, I'll be reviewing "Midnight in Paris" for sure, but I might do Transformers 3 if I've got time. If not, I'll put up something else. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop

Starring Conan O'Brien

Directed by Rodman Flender

Release Date: June 24th, 2011


An energetic and hilarious backstage look into the "Legally Prohibited from TV" Tour Conan O'Brien made when NBC took back The Tonight Show from him. Directed by O'Brien's college friend Flender, this documentary shows us the brainstorming sessions, the doubt, and the struggles of a grueling 44 date tour for O'Brien and his crew. One of the best compliments I can give is that it you're a fan of O'Brien's brand of eccentric, manic humor, there's tons of his strange comedy. In addition to O'Brien, there are cameos from noted celebrities such as Tenacious D, Jim Carrey, Jon Hamm, and Stephen Colbert.

A great documentary that shows the struggle, pain, and exhaustion of being Conan O'Brien.

Rating; * * * * 1/2 of 5

Monday, June 20, 2011

You don't mess with the Zohan

Starring Adam Sandler and John Turturro

Directed by Dennis Dugan

Release Date: June 6th, 2008


 A boring, predictable, and extremely offensive movie toward Israelis. Only watch this movie if you're a die hard Adam Sandler fan. I get that he wants to be edgy, that he can do anything. But this movie is just too bland for its' own good. For a movie about an Israeli counter-terrorist agent turned hairdresser, I was bored for most of the movie. I didn't find the jokes that funny as they're extremely obvious or just gross; did audiences really need to see Adam Sandler's exaggerated groin? Or how about Henry Winkler vomiting? Just skip this movie, as it's just a waste of your time.


Rating: 1/2 of 5 


click here to buy You Don't Mess With the Zohan (Unrated Extended Single-Disc Edition)You Don't Mess With the Zohan (Unrated + BD Live) [Blu-ray]

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Super 8

Starring Kyle Chandler,  Elle Fanning, and Noah Emmerich

Directed by J.J. Abrams

Release Date: June 10th, 2011


An entertaining collaboration between J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg. Super 8 definitely feels like a similar movie Spielberg had made during the 1970s, such as "Duel" or "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". The movie certainly makes great use of the child actors, making the conversations feel authentic and the character development that much more important in relation to the plot. Although the movie does have Abrams overuse of lens flare, Super 8 is certainly a suspenseful and entertaining movie about learning to accept the difficulties of loss and appreciating what you have now.


Rating: * * * * * of  5 


Click here to buy previous works by both Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams: 

Duel (Collector's Edition)Close Encounters of the Third Kind (30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray]E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (Widescreen Edition)Jaws (30th Anniversary Edition) Star Trek (Three-Disc Edition) [Blu-ray] Star Trek (Single-Disc Edition) Lost: The Complete Collection


Friday, June 17, 2011

Green Lantern


Starring Ryan Reynolds, Mark Strong, Peter Sarsgaard, Blake Lively, and the voice talents of Geoffrey Rush and Michael Clarke Duncan

Directed by Martin Campbell

Release Date:

June 17th, 2011

So far,as of June 17th 2011,  www. rottentomatoes.com has accumulated an average score of 24% favorable reviews for Green Lantern, starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, and the voice talents of Geoffrey Rush and Michael Clarke Duncan. A lot of the reviews have claimed that the movie is a bore, that nothing is accomplished and that the "wow" factor just isn't there. We'll take a look at both the good and bad of this DC Comics adaptation.

First, the good: the movie certainly has a lot of fun. For all my own speculation and criticism, Ryan Reynolds certainly captured the cockiness and attitude that bring out the courage and heroism in Hal Jordan. Reynolds certainly brings a certain swagger and charm to Hal, and a need to be vulnerable when needed. Then there's all the CGI: 90% of it is good (the other 10....we'll talk about later). From the GL uniforms to their green constructed objects, the sights in this movie are certainly full of life and energy. One aspect I enjoyed was how the uniforms showed off a wave of energy constantly moving, a nice touch that shows that the "uniforms" are more a second skin than a latex suit.

Second, the bad: the CGI on Hal's mask, the cheesy dialogue, and a few plot holes or events that needed more explanation. Hal's mask....the movie makes a good explanation, but it still looks awful and putting the green CGI on the bridge of his nose was a bad idea. Some of the dialogue involving the characters drawing attention that they're in a comic-book movie is a little ridiculous, but I only mention it as this type of pros could have been eliminated in the revision stage of the screenplay and have made better dialogue. Then there's some plot holes; I won't mention what occurs, but you'll think about what happens and say "How did he know where _____ was?".

Still, for all its' faults, Green Lantern is an enjoyable comic-book film. Not as good as X-Men: First Class or Thor, but still entertaining.

Rating: * * * 1/2 of 5

Saturday, June 4, 2011

X-Men: First Class

Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, January Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, and Kevin Bacon

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

Release Date: June 3rd, 2011


Superb performances, staggering action sequences, and clever references to previous “X-Men” films abound in this prequel to the X-Men Series. Matthew Vaughn has most certainly invigorated new blood into the X-Men Franchise and I await with baited breath when (and if) we get to venture forward into this new continuity. 

In addition, I felt that McAvoy and Fassbender give commendable performances as Charles "Professor X" Xavier and Erik "Magneto" Lehnsherr. Both actors believably connect their performances of these characters during the 1960s and make it believable that they will one day grow into the older interpretations seen in Producer Bryan Singers' 2000 X-Men. If you're a fan of the X-men or merely curious about a film that explores topics such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War, bigotry, self-hatred, Nazi Germany, and shape-changers, go see one of the best comic book adaptations from the summer of 2011.



Click here to buy X-Men: First Class (+Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] X-Men: First Class

Rating: * * * * * of 5 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Doctor Who: The Infinite Quest

Starring the voice talents of David Tennant, Freema Agyeman, and Anthony Head

Directed by Gary Russell

Release Date: June 30th, 2007

A fun, short adventure with the 10th Doctor (Tennant) and Martha Jones (Agyeman). I liked how by having an animated adventure, it allowed the creators to do more crazy locations and creatures for Doctor Who, such as the robotic parrot Squak, or having an Ice planet with a gigantic prison underneath the surface. The only real complaint is that for an animated adventure, I wished there had been a tad more action scenes. The writing for The Infinite Quest is up to standard with Doctor Who standards, but at times I wished there had been a thrilling chase in hte Ice prison or a sword battle with the Oil Pirates.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click here to buy Doctor Who: The Infinite Quest




Comic Relief: Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death

Starring Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Grant, Jim Broadbent, Richard E. Grant, Jonathan Pryce, Julia Sawahal and Joanna Lumley

Written by Stephen Moffet

Directed by John Henderson

Release Date: March 12th, 1999

Not exactly cannon beteen the events between the 8th Doctor and the 9th, but it's a fun little homage/spoof to the orginal 1963-1989 series of Doctor Who. Plus, there are a couple of interesting bits such as actors once considered to play THE DOCTOR, such as Atkinson or Grant, getting to play him in this Comic Relief video. If you're a big Doctor Who fan, you'll love The Curse of Fatal Death.

Rating: * * * * 1/2 of 5 (for Whovian fans)

Click Here to buy Doctor Who - The Curse of Fatal Death [VHS]

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool's Day

Starring Thomas F. Wilson and Jay Baker

Directed by Fred Walton

Release Date: March 27, 1986

In the 1980's, it seemed as if all the major holidays had become titles for Horror films (though I'm still looking for that Easter Bunny Massacre bootleg on the internet), this film acknowledges the prankster's favorite holiday with morbid glee. This is a film that KNOWS it won't be as well remembered as Halloween or Friday the 13th, but is willing to go along and have a few 30 year old actors pretending to be college students stumble around an island mansion and get killed fo 90 minutes. If you don't mind a little campy fun in your horror movie, you'll enjoy April Fool's Day.

Rating: * * * of 5

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wonder Woman TV costume modified

Thank Goodness!

While it's been reported all over the internet, I thought I'd share my opinion of the Adrianne Palicki Wonder Woman costume.

When I saw the original costume, I thought it was the worst costume the producers picked up at a Walgreens Drug Store from last October. Sure, the corset was a good dark red that complimented the leap from comics to film, the pants...oh my. Those light blue pants....those light blue pants looked so cheesy, like the spandex they were made from would melt on the set under the lights.

Thankfully, the costume has been redesigned and looks more like a costume from Wondy's days during WWII.

Let's hope the next images/videos we get from David E. Kelly's Wonder Woman is more faithful to what the fans want...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sucker Punch

Starring Emily Browning, Oscar Issac, Carla Gugino, and Jon Hamm

Directed by Zack Snyder

Release Date: March 25th, 2011

Despite what you've read from other critics, Sucker Punch is not the complete mess others have claimed. However, there are a few minor details to discuss. Now, onto the plot!
Plot: A girl known as Baby Doll (Browning) is forced against her will into an insane asylum and has only five days before a doctor (Hamm) gives her a lobotomy. Therefore, it's up to Baby Doll to find a world within her mind and come up with a battle plan to leave the nightmare behind....
First of all, this is nowhere near as well written as INCEPTION. The major problem is that Snyder, as co-writer, has no ear for dialogue. Half the conversations in the film, and some of the more clunky philosophical bits, are poorly executed and just come off as cheesy. Also, the casting of Oscar Issac as Blue the manager/nurse was a bad decision on the part of the casting director. Blue is meant to be an imposing character, a man the girls fear as he has the key to their freedom and is a ruthless and menacing monster. Unfortunately, Issac does not possess the presence nor the style to pull off a fearsome or meancing antagonist. Near the third act, he describes himself as a little boy playing in the sandbox and that perfectly describes the affect his portrayal had on me, the audience: a little boy playing big boy.


That being said, the movie is a ton of fun. The dream sequences, from snowy Samurai battles to a futuristic chase on a train with robots, are a sight to behold and I fully praise the art direction and CGI team for the film. As people are well aware, Zack Snyder is a visual oriented director and you can certain feel his love and care for how beautifully stunning the film is. If nothing else, Snyder can be proud of how wonderful the movie plays its' action sequences.


Rating: * * * 1/2 of 5