Sunday, February 27, 2011

How to Train Your Dragon

Starring the voice talents of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrara, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Jonah Hill, Craig Ferguson, and Kristen Wiig

Directed by: Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois

Release Date: March 26th, 2010

If Dreamworks continues to make movies like this, MegaMind, and Kung Fu Panda, they could one day surpass Pixar Animation Studios. Based on the 2003 childrens novel by Cressida Cowell, How to Train Your Dragon is a fun adventure film with alot of heart, humor, and creativity.

On the island of Berk, Vikings are constantly at war with dragons. The leader of the village, Stoick (Butler), is an example of pride and the warrior's strength, is a legendary dragon fighter. His son Hiccup (Baruchel), is seen as a failure and strange; a little boy who hasn't lived up to his father's example. While Stoick is off hunting for the dragons' lair, Hiccup is taken into dragon figthing school taught by Gobber (Ferguson), a Viking who teaches by throwing the young vikings in head first with a herd of dragons. Soon, Hiccup has found of dragon known as a Night Fury out in the woods and discovers that some of the lessons the adults teach about dragons are wrong. Perhaps, Hiccup believes, dragons can be taught...

No doubt about it: this film looks gorgeous. I have to applaud the animators for how unique and visually stunning they make all the characters, both dragon and viking alike. It was quite a good decision to make each character have their own style and a unique personality. Plus, the best part? The wonderfully breathtaking flying scenes. I loved how the dragons dived, swooped, and sped past each other in the air. These scenes are certainly one of the highlights of the film.

The voice casting is great, mostly with improvisational comedians. Jay Baruchel makes Hiccup into a complex and funny protagonist; he makes Hiccup into a great oddball character that the audience can relate to and makes his realtionship with Toothless warm and funny.

This is a great film for parents, families, and everyone else. I fully encourage everyone to check this movie out and I cannot wait for the sequel.
Rating: * * * * * of 5
Click here to buy
How to Train Your Dragon Book 1

How to Train Your Dragon (Single Disc Edition)

How to Train Your Dragon (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Dragon Double Pack) [Blu-ray]

How to Train Your Dragon (Double DVD Pack)

How to Train Your Dragon Blu Ray (Single Disc Blu-Ray 2010)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Piranha 3D

Starring Elizabeth Shue, Jerry O'Connell, Ving Rhames, Christopher Lloyd, and Richard Dreyfus

Directed by Alexandre Aja

Release Date: August 20th, 2010
Plot: Piranha attack college students on a lake. No, seriously, that's as complex as the story gets, folks.

However, that doesn't make the film any less fun. Sure, it's stupid; but it's supposed to be a stupid, fun ride. Would anyone really attack Piranha with shotguns and a tazer? No, but it definitely makes for a goofy fight between the piranha and the Lake Victoria police department. But, you may wonder, did I see the 3D version? No, I didn't see the 3D version. I believe that the technology is still its' infancy and needs to be improved; until then, I'll stick with 2d. Does that make the film any worse? No, not really. Unlike other 3D movies, I found that there were little instances of "Hey! This will look awesome in 3D" distracting moments in the film.

Piranha 3D isn't perfect, but it is a silly gory piece of turn off your brain entertainment.
Also, check out the review by the Cinema Snob.
Rating: * * * 1/2 of 5
Click Here to buy Piranha Piranha [Blu-ray 3D] Piranha [Blu-ray]

Friday, February 25, 2011


Starring Liam Neeson, January Jones, Bruno Ganz, Diane Kruger, and Frank Langella

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

Release Date: February 18th, 2011

Berlin 2011: Dr. Martin Harris (Neeson) and his wife Elizabeth (Jones) arrive for a bio-tech summit. Soon, Martin has awoken in the hospital, told he's been in a coma for four days after being in a taxi that crashed into a river. Unsure of why he got in, Martin goes back to the hotel hoping to console his wife. As he arrives, his wife doesn't recognize him due to being in the arms of Martin Harris?! Concerned that his identity was stolen for a reason, Martin weaves his way through Berlin, aware of spying eyes and strange memories....

From the trailer, many of us assumed that Unknown was simpy the unofficial sequel to "Taken", another European action movie starring Liam Neeson. Soon enough, it becomes clear that Unknown has more in common with Hitchcockian mysteries and The Bourne Series of films. Neeson is once again in top form, making Martin into a striking character whose fears are our fears, and that the unease and confusion become easy for the audience to identify with. One of the best tricks the director uses is tilting the camera and employing a yellowish filter over Martin's "memories", making it ambiguous whether we are to believe Martin or the growing number of naysayers against him. There's a quote Martin says about his condition I find appropriate: "Have you ever felt what it's like to be insane? One half of you wants to believe what everyone says about you, and the other half wants to believe what you know". I'll admit, Unknown isn't without a few problems. For one, the film's pace may be a tad too slow for people expecting a pulse-pounding action adventure. But for those who are fascinated by a good supsenseful mystery, they will fully enjoy Unknown.
Rating: * * * * of 5
Click Here to buy Out of My Head: A Novel (The Novel on which the film is based)

The Love Letter

Starring Kate Capshaw, Ellen DeGeneres, Tom Everett Scott, Tom Selleck, Julianne Nicholson, and Blythe Danner

Directed by Peter Ho-Sun Chan

Release Date: May 21st, 1999

A very charming romantic comedy. However, the trailer makes it look as if the letter would be spread through more hands than just helen (Capshaw) and Janet (DeGeneres). It's a very charming tale, about a mysterious letter that changes the lives of people in the small town of Loblolly by the sea, including a college student, a fireman, and a librarian. Plus, I love the soft, enchanting musical score for the movie, setting the tone perfectly.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click here to buy The Love Letter: A Novel, The Love Letter

Friday, February 18, 2011

Summer Wars

Summer Wars

Original title: Samā Wōzu

Directed by Mamoru Hosoda

Release Dates:

August 1st, 2009 Japan

December 3rd, 2010 U.S.

What do you get when you mix Facebook, Tron, and familiar elements of a rom-com? You get Summer Wars, the award winning anime from Madhouse Animation and the director of The Girl who Leapt through time.

In the near future, social networks have evolved into a system known as “OZ”, where everyone is online and everything is done through “OZ”; the system is so popular that users are known through their cartoonish avatars rather than by name. An “OZ” systems operator, Kenji Kioso, is a brilliant mathematician but would rather spent all his time through his online avatar. Kenji’s plans soon change as Natsuki Shinohara makes him a proposal to come with him to her great-grandmother’s 90th birthday in Nagano, Japan. What turns out to be a simple request spirals into a mess as it turns out Natsuki has claimed Kenji as her fiancé. At the same time, a mysterious AI program known as Love Machine is wreaking havoc on OZ and it may be up to Kenji and Natsuki’s eccentric family to save the online world!

Summer Wars is a fun, engaging comedy with some great moments peppered through that speak about the importance of family and finding one’s inner strength. I have to applaud the animation team for making each Jinnouchi clan member visually different from one another and to make all the aunts, uncles, and cousins vibrant and unique characters that the audience can fully enjoy. On to the story: it’s not for everyone, but it definitely applies to the current popular culture devoted to how much convenience and ease technology has on our lives. For example, the film cuts between moments in the real world and OZ with relative ease, as if both worlds coexist without much deliberation. Some may find the film’s frantic pace between a comedy of misunderstandings and a technological adventure strange, but I found the story to be very rewarding and that the balance between OZ and the real world adventures to be entertaining and rewarding to anime fans. Speaking of Oz, I genuinely must commend the animation staff for their innovative, mystifying design of the computer world. The cartoonish, exaggerated world of OZ is so beautiful to look at, it’s no wonder the whole world loves to log on.

Rating: * * * * ½ of 5

Click here to buy
Summer Wars

Summer Wars [Blu-ray]

Coming Soon... March 2011

Reviews for March 2011:

-Kill Bill: Volume 1 and 2
-Evangelion 2.0 Blu-ray
-Walking Dead Season 1 Review, Blu-ray
-Das Boot
-Michael Clayton
-Pulp Fiction
-Inglorious Basterds
-Reservior Dogs
-District 9
-Army of Darkness

If anyone has a request, let me know!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Afro Samurai: Resurrection

Starring the voice talents of Samuel L. Jackson, Lucy Liu, Mark Hamill and Yuri Lowenthal

Directed by : Fuminori Kizaki and Takashi Okazaki

Release Date: January 25th, 2009

The sequel to the 5 episode anime, Afro Samurai: Resurrection is a tale of honor, vengeance, and betrayal.

Set after the events of the series, Afro has tried to live a life of peace, solitude and redemption: yet his past sins fail to die as a new foe comes to make him pay for his crimes. This deadly and seductive villainess Sio (voiced by Lucy Liu) has taken the number one head band and stolen the remain's of Afro's father. She taunts him into finding the number two head band so he can challenge her and reclaim his father's body.

For fans of the series, this is a great addition to enjoy; for new comers, it's a very violent anime dealing with charater driven drama about a man who tries to forgo the path of blood but cannot seem to shake his violent ways. Visually the film is energetic and stunnning; the blending of Feudal Japan and Futuristic technology works well together so as to give the setting a "timeless" appearance so that a samurai protagonist who fights cyborgs and rocket launchers makes sense to the audience. Also, the music by RZA gives the soundtrack a fresh mood that works with the movie instead of distracting the audience with its presence.

Rating: For fans of Afro Samurai, * * * * * of 5/ For everyone else, * * * 1/2 of 5

Click here to buy

Afro Samurai: The Complete Murder Sessions [Blu-ray]
Afro Samurai: Resurrection - Director's Cut

Monday, February 14, 2011

Nowhere Boy

Starring Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Josh Bolt and Anne-Marie Duff

Directed by Sam Taylor-Wood

Release Dates:

December 26th, 2009 U.K.

October 8th, 2010 U.S.

An emotionally gripping biography on a rock-and-roll legend.
By now, everyone in the world is familiar with The Beatles: Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and John Lennon. But how many of us knew about his childhood, his home life?
Nowhere Boy covers John Lennon from 1955 to 1960, from his years as a young man living with his Aunt Mimi (Scott Thomas). John (Johnson) is a rebellious youth, always getting in trouble at school and making a ruckus with his friends out and about. Soon, John's friend Pete (Bolt) has discovered that John's mother Julia (Marie-Duff) lives nearby and John has finally got to meet the mother he's never seen for years. Julia becomes John's inspiration, his drive toward the siren song of rock-and-roll. Then, as they say, the rest is history.
The one criticism I have? Nowhere Boy is a tad too self-aware. Sure, we the audience know that John Lennon will soon go on to biggger and better things, but did everyone in his life? At times, it feels like the screenwriter (or the director) just wanted to fit in another Beatles reference just in case the audience forgets whom the movie is about. Other than that, the film boasts a great rock-and-roll soundtrack and stellar performances from the cast. Big kudos to Johnson (Kick-Ass); his portrayal of John Lennon was humorous, charming, and emotional.
If you're a Beatles fan, you'll love Nowhere Boy.
Rating: * * * * of 5
Click here to buy  
Nowhere Boy
Nowhere Boy [Blu-ray]
Nowhere Boy (2009) [ Blu-Ray, Reg.A/B/C Import - United Kingdom ]

The Ghost Writer

Starring Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, and Kim Catrall

Directed by Roman Polanski

Release Date: February 19th, 2010

A suspenseful thriller. A tad slow at times, but the mood is tense and creepy, and the actors are amazing. Finally, the ending is a great ambiguous final image. If you're a fan of Hitchcockian psychological thrillers, you'll fully enjoy The Ghost Writer.

Click here to buy The Ghost Writer The Ghost Writer (Single-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Rating: * * * * of 5

Spider-Man Reboot gets a title!

The title for the Spider-Man reboot.....THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN!

I love this title, as it was the original title for Spider-Man 2 and is also the title for Spider-Man's monthly comic series that started all the way back in the 1960's.

Also, I have seen more pictures of the Spider-Man costume used in the reboot: it's starting to grow on me. Hopefully, we'll hear more news about the villain in the movie; my hopes are on Electro or Mysterio!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bicycle Thieves

Original Title: Ladri di biciclette

Starring Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, and  Lianella Carell

Directed by Vittorio De Sica

Release Dates:

November 24th, 1948 (Italy)

December 13th, 1949 (USA)

One of the finest examples of Italian Neo-Realism.

Antonio Ricci (Maggiorani) is one of many without a job in Post-WWII Italy. Soon, he's obtained a job putting up posters for the Department of Employment. The only catch? he must obtain a bicycle, and the only way for him to that is to sell his family's bedsheets. Now, Antonio has a greaat job to support his wife Maria (Carell) and son Bruno (Staiola). Only, on the first day of work, his bicycle is stolen....

This is film that is not for the faint of heart. De Sica goes on location in Rome, Italy to show the downtrodden and desperate Italians out of work and starving on the streets. The film is a true masterpiece of showcasing the helplessness and grief that comes with having little opportunities and a streak of bad luck. Lamerto Maggiorani adn Enzo Staiola make a stunning relationship as father and son, sharing the pain and struggle of trodding the streets of Rome to find a bicycle. Enzo Staiola gives a fantastic performance as Bruno, a little boy looking up to his father adn trying to make the best of this terrible situation.

Make time to see Bicycle Thieves, it's a momument of wonderful filmmaking and a striking commentary on grief, struggle, and what is takes to survive an unkind world.
Rating: * * * * * of 5
Click here to buy Bicycle Thieves (The Criterion Collection)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

She's out of my league

Starring Jay Baruchel and Alice Eve

Directed by Jim Field Smith

Release Date: March 10th, 2010

This is another one of those films where the trailers make the tone more crass, less true to what the filmmakers were going for. When I saw the trailer to this film, it definitely didn't interest me.

Kirk (Baruchel) is lonely: he's still missing his ex-girlfriend who's not only moved on, but is living with his family. At his job, he's an airport screener who's only help are his life-long friends who want him to date again, but constantly remind him he's only a "5". Then he meets Molly (Eve), a beautiful "10" who's interested in Kirk...

We've all had that fear of "I'm not good enough" when in a relationship; that our self-doubts keep us from being happy. Therefore, some people may find Jay Baruchel's stammering and nervous behavior irriating; personally, I found his performance as Kirk to be charming and funny. The film is definitely enjoyable, striking a good balance of realtionship humor and more crass comedy, such as how to prepare for a date or Kirk and his friends getting into an fight at a bowling alley. I also enjoyed the awkardness of Kirk having to deal with his ex-girlfriend living with his parents; you'd hear about the ex hanging around, but this girl takes it to the next level!

She's out of my league is a good comedy; perfect for a first date movie.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click here to buy She's Out of My League

Click here to buy She's Out of My League [Blu-ray]

Act like Tommy Wiseau Day

OOOH HIII Blog.....

Just in case you didn't know, Monday is "Act like Johnny from the Room" Day! It's the bizarre day where you get to walk up to random animals and say "hi doggee" or play football in a tuxedo! The Room is one of those so-bad-it's hilarious movies like Rocky Horror Picture Show or Manos: The Hands of Fate.

Hope you all have fun Monday!

Click Here to buy The Room

and by the way....YOU'RE TEARING ME APART, LEEESA!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest

Original Title: Luftslottet som sprängdes

Starring Noomi Rapace and Mikael Nyqvist

Directed by Daniel Alfredson

Release Date:

November 27th, 2009 (Denmark)

October 29, 2010 (US)

The Last part of the trilogy. Spoilers Ahead for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl who played with fire. But, as Henchman 21 said in The Venture Brothers, "Who comes in to the last part of the trilogy without having seen the first two?"

Picking up moments after TGWPWF, Listbeth clings to life after her father Alexander Zalachenko shot her. Recuperating in a hospital, Lisbeth is soon brought up on charges of trying to murder her father and is at risk of going back into psychiatric care under the watchful eye of Dr. Peter Teleborian. As Salander's friend Mikael Bloomkvist works to aid her, a shadowy organization deep within the Swedish government moves to 'take care' of Lisbeth once and for all....

It's sad to see the story of Lisbeth Salander end; author Steig Larsson died of a heart attack on November 9th, 2009, leaving behind the Millenium trilogy . Larsson never got to see his three novels shoot to the top of the Best Sellers list across the world, while the wolrd became fascinated by the social outcast and dedicated journalist. If you've never read these novels, read them.

Now, on to the film itself. Taking out certain sub-plots does wonders to move the plot along without slowing down the excitement; besides, the screenwriter keeps the reactions/aftermath of certain moments from the novel in the film without losing sight of the main plot: Lisbeth Salander Vs. The Section. Once again, the acting is top notch from Rapace and Nyqvist as Salander and Bloomkvist. It will be quite interesting to see the difference in David Fincher's 2011 remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Rating:  * * * * 1/2 of 5

Click Here to buy The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Novel)

Click Here to buy The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest [Blu-ray]

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Bill Hader, Martin Starr, and Ryan Reynolds

Directed by Greg Mottola

Release Date: April 3rd, 2009

A coming of age story that has heart to it, despite not being the gut-buster people expected from the director of Superbad.
James (Eisenberg) has big plans for life after graduation: a trip across Europe, and Columbia Gradate school in the fall. Unfortunately, life has a funny way of tossing curve balls at us when we least expect them, and soon James's plan of Europe are over and now he needs a job to afford graduate school. So, now he's off to work as a "games guy" with Joel (Starr) and Em (Stewart).

We've all had those lofty dreams that unfortunately never happen, "I'm gonna be a rock star" sometimes never happens. So some of us can relate to James apprehension and sadness in having to chose "Plan B" when "Plan A" was so awesome. The cast does a first rate job, despite seeing Kristen Stewart as the love interest. In fact, Stewart does a great job of making Em into a complex, diverse character that would usually seem forced from another actress.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click Here to buy Adventureland

Click Here to buy Adventureland [Blu-ray]

Critical View: 2011 Oscar Picks

These are my picks for the 2011 Academy Awards:

Best Picture

The Social Network

There were a lot of great ones this year, but I'm going with the movie that surpassed my expectations.

Best Actor

Colin Furth, The King's Speech

Runner- up would be James Franco for his intense and energetic performance in 127 Hours.

Best Actress

Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Chilling performance. No one did better than her this year

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Fighter

Bale stole that movie, and gave one of his best performances.

Best Supporting Actress

Melissa Leo, The Fighter

I really liked Halie Steinfeld, but Leo was amazing.

Best Animated Film

Toy Story 3

Best Art Direction


Best Cinemateography

Black Swan

Best Directing

Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan

.....why wasn't Christopher Nolan nominated for Inception? Regardless, my second choice (and the only one on the ballot), would have to be for Aronofsky's work on Black Swan

Best Editing

The Social Network

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network

Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

Christopher Nolan, Inception

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Nostalgia Critic....

Three years ago, I stumbled onto a website called, and became a fan: NC, Linkara, Spoony, Cinema Snob...I discovered alot of cool people on that site. I'm a big fan of Doug Walker, he's a funny dude. Now, I don't mean to be disrespectful, but his latest "Top 11 Review" has me a bit perplexed. First and Foremost, I'm not trashing Walker, TGWTG, or his credentials; I'm just pointing out what I saw.

In his latest video "Top 11 Dumbest SPIDERMAN Moments", I had a few things to say:

  1.  Spider-Man, Not Spiderman. There's a hyphen
  2.  Emo-Peter was a terrible decision
  3.  Venom should have been given his own movie
  4. There was never a "Lizardman", just "The Lizard"
  5. Doc Ock is meant to be insane, and obsessed with his work over his wife; it's how he was portrayed in the comics (minus the wife). Maybe Linkara should have gone over a few errors with Walker before putting it on the web
  6. John jameson was meant to be seen, not heard. He's Peter's rival, not his friend. Although Walker's idea about Jameson becoming Venom was better than Topher Grace
  7. Sandman being Uncle Ben's killer.... did nothing for Walker? I was pretty mad. But again, Walker admits he's unfamiliar with the comics. Again, maybe a counterpoint reviewer would have benefitted Walker's review.
Let it not be said I don't have a sense of humor, but I'm a Spider-Man fan, and I needed to address my concerns.


P.S. I'm still on the fence about the new Spider-man costume by the way.

Grown Ups

Starring Adam Sandler, David Spade, Kevin James, Chris Rock, and Rob Schneider

Directed by Dennis Dugan

Release Date: June 25th, 2010

...okay, so after Funny People, Adam Sandler had nowhere to go but up. Thankfully, Grown-Ups is a return to Sandler's younger days, of wacky comedy and stupid physcial humor. Only now, he gets to share the screen with fellow comedians, such as Spade, Rock, and Schneider, whom Sandler is friends with off screen and also starred with on Saturday Night Live. James, who is filling in the shoes of Chris Farrely, but is still performing admirably with the other comedians. The plot works well: a group of friends get together to mourn the loss of their childhood basketball coach, but also come together to catch up and learn about one another's families. I also liked how the movie touched on how different each family raises their children, and how we all envy the other family and don't see how great our own spouses and family are.

Schmaltzy yes, but at least it's enjoyable.

Rating: * * * 1/2 of 5

Click Here to buy Grown Ups on DVD
Click Here to buy Grown Ups [Blu-ray]

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Highschool of the Dead, Season 1

Original Title - 学園黙示録 Gakuen Mokushiroku?, "Academy Apocalypse"
Produced by MadHouse Animation

Original Airdates: July 5th- September 20th, 2010
(Involves heavy amounts of violence, gore, sensuality, and partial nudity)

…in other words, Not for those under 17 yrs of age

Since I’m a fan of anime and zombies, High School of the Dead seemed like a perfect fit for me. However, there are a few problems to address later on.

In modern Japan, zombies have begun to attack a high school. Takashi Komoro takes action and decides to save childhood sweetheart Rei Miyamoto from the hoards of living dead and escape from the madness. Soon enough, Takashi and Rei meet other survivors: Saeko Busujima, a kendo master; Saya Takagi, a self-proclaimed genius and resident loud-mouth; Kohta Hirano, skilled marksman and gun fanatic, and Shizuka Marikawa, the school nurse and the group’s only proficient driver. Will this rag-tag group of survivors make it to find their families, or to survive to the next day? Will the undead be their worst enemies, or the other people that survive this apocalypse?

The Walking Dead, Dead Rising, Dead Space, 28 Days Later…. The list goes on and on for how much Zombies have infected the imaginations and interest of audiences these days (the less said about the CW “drama” with zombies, the better). HOTD certainly wears its inspirations on its sleeve, from musical cues from 28 Days Later to the title brining up memories of George A. Romero movies (Night, Dawn, Day, Land, Diary, and Survival of the Dead). Since this is a show about Zombies, it would be apropos to have zombie gore, and plenty of it; there’s tons of great action sequences, and I applaud MadHouse Animation for their fantastic fluidity and style in bringing the manga to its’ animated form. One of the first season’s best episodes, The Sword and the Dead, features Saeko Busujima facing off against zombies with a katana.

Now on to the only reason HOTD gets a 4 out of 5 stars…

There is WAY too much fan service going on in this show. Now, I’m no prude, but seriously it gets really annoying when you’re trying to enjoy an anime about zombies, and you’re being blocked by fan service. I'm not unfamiliar with the practice, as seen in other anime like Code Geass, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Hellsing, but unlike those anime, HOTD pushed the fan service until you go crazy.   (If you don’t know what fan service is, look it up). I watched the first six episodes with my buddies, and we were all exasperated by how much gratuitous sexism and ogling of the female characters there were in the FIRST episode.

If you cannot wait until October 2011 for The Walking Dead Season 2, give HOTD a chance if you also enjoy anime.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click Here  to buy First Manga Volume of Highschool of the Dead, Vol. 1

The Kids are all right

Starring Annette Benning, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, and Mia Wasikowska

Directed by Lisa Cholodenko

Release Date: July 30th, 2010

Jules (Moore) and Nic (Bening) are your typical couple turned parents: their kids are complex, moody, and curious who their biological father is. Soon, daughter Joni (Wasikowska) has tracked down sperm donor Paul (Ruffalo) and wants to get to know him before she takes of for college. Life may never be the same for the Allgood family.......

Director/Co-writer Lisa Cholodenko crafted a slice-of-life dramedy about a family who has to deal with the unforseen and the struggles of marriage and family. Bening and Moore have fantastic chemistry together, and make a believable couple that seem to truly care for each other. The best thing I can say about the film is how much I appreciated the realism of the famlly's life: they argue, they get hurt, they make bad decisions. The emotional beats of the story felt honest and I really understood and felt the struggle of this family. The only criticism I can give is that the film does struggle due to lagging pace from time to time. But if you can past that, the film is an emotionally connecting story.

Rating: * * * * of 5

Click Here to buy The Kids Are All Right

Click Here to buy The Kids Are All Right [Blu-ray]

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Coming Soon

Reviews to be up this week:
  1. Grown-Ups
  2. High School Of the Dead
  3. The Kids are all right
  4. The Back-Up Plan
  5. My Oscar Predictions

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Mechanic

Starring Jason Statham, Ben Foster, and Donald Sutherland

Directed by Simon West

Release Date: January 28th, 2011

When you want something done efficiently, you hire a mechanic. When you want the best, hire Arthur Bishop (Statham). Arthur is the one person in the world who can take any assignment, and neutralize the target quietly and without detection. To Henry (Sutherland), his one and only friend, Arthur is more machine than man. Soon, Arthur's company is hiring him out to eliminate Henry due to his ineptitude and betrayal over a previous assignment. After Henry's passing, his son Steven (Foster) is looking for Bishop to teach him how to be a Mechanic....

Based on the original 1972 film starring Charles Bronsen, the remake does a competent job as an action movie, however not a memorable one. As of yet, I have not seen the original; I can say that the remake does have good action sequences, especially a car stunt near the finale. The acting is fairly routine, with Foster being better than Statham as Statham plays the same character in nearly all his films.

If you're an action fan, or a Statham fan, you'll enjoy The Mechanic.

Rating: * * * 1/2 of 5

Click Here to buy The Mechanic (1972)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Starring Russell Crowe, Sophie Traub , and Jon Foster

Directed by John Polson

Release Date:

January 15, 2009 (Israel)

December 11th, 2009 (U.S.)

What a confusing and mediocre movie. I thought this might be an interesting movie: an ex-con trying to fly right, a young girl infatuated with him, and an ex-cop dedicated to making sure he doesn't relapse. Did you like my quick introduction? Because all this interesting character moments happens during 90 minutes of NOTHING....just a lot of pseudophilosophical garbage that goes on and on. Come on, where's all the interesting moments? Where are the "interesting insights into the mind of a killer"? Please. I'll go back to my DVD seasons of Dexter, now that I've been bored to tears with Eric (Foster). Not once did I ever feel threatened by Eric, nor did I ever feel that Lori (Traub)'s life was in immediate danger. No, it's because Lori's motivations are completely asinine and insanely self-destructive.
Folks, if you want a good psychological thriller, check these titles out:
-Dexter (Seasons 1-4)
-Psycho (Hitchcock version)
-Hard Candy
Rating: * * 1/2 of 5

Click Here to buy Tenderness (Novel)

Click Here to buy Tenderness DVD

Click Here to buy Dexter: The First Season Dexter: The Second Season Dexter: The Third Season         Dexter: The Fourth Season

Click Here to buy Psycho (50th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]

Click Here to buy Hard Candy [Blu-ray]

Click Here to buy Seven [Blu-ray Book]

Groundhog Day

Starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliot, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Harold Ramis

Directed by Harold Ramis

Release Date: February 12th, 1993

Grumpy Weatherman Phil Connors (Murray) is stuck in Puxatawney, Pennsylvania. Strangely, he feels like he's repeating the same day over and over again. When there's no tomorrow, what would you do?

I'm a big Bill Murray fan, with "Groundhog Day" being one of his best films. The film definitely has fun with the concept of the time loop, the experience of re-living the same day. For example, Phil casually clocks the day-by-day conversations of two people so well that he can walk past the two of them and rob an armored car. Murray is most certainly having fun with the role, playing up the zany behavior of his circumstances.

Rating: * * * * * of 5

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, and Tim Holt

Directed by John Huston

Release Date: January 7th, 1948

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: A tale of greed, desperation, and murder.
Two down on their luck men, Dobbs (Bogart) and Curtin (Holt), are desperate to make ends meet in Mexico. Neither man seems to be where they want to be and want to strike it rich by any means necessary. Soon, the two encounter Howard (W. Huston), an old prospector who tries to entice anyone to journey with him to search for gold out in the Mexican outback. Due to a rare moment of luck, the trio is off to excavate for riches beyond their wildest dreams.

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a fantastic film, from the directorial efforts of John Huston and the efforts of the cast. Playing against type, Bogart is phenomenal as the greedy, angry F.C. Dobbs. Bogart brings his usual blue-collar charm to the character, but also does a great job of playing up the avarice and paranoia of the character. Walter Huston, Director John Huston’s father, gives an Academy-Award winning performance as Howard, the eccentric prospector playing chief and peace maker of the three gold diggers. My favorite scene with Howard was his prospector jig when laughing at Dobbs and Curtin getting excited over finding Fool’s Gold.

If you’re a Bogart fan, or a fan of non-traditional Westerns, you’ll enjoy The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

Rating: * * * * * of 5

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