Friday, October 28, 2011

My Favorite Scary Movies

     In the spirit of this year's Halloween, I have decided to publish the post that I am sure most (if not all) movie junkies with a blog have posted by now: A list of my favorite scary movies. However, I have decided to give my list a bit of a twist: instead of randomly listing off my favorite horror flicks, I will list a sub-genre and then pick my favorite scary movie from that sub-genre. Now, some of these movies won't be the most original choice; however, these are the horror movie that I hold near and dear to my cold, beatless heart...

Haunted House Flick


I was just a young lad the first time I saw the original POLTERGEIST. Much like Carolanne, I was young and impressionable so, needless to say, I couldn't sleep for days and could not stay in the same room with a televsion that was left on while by myself. My favorite haunted house flick gets props for effectively making innocence look so creepy...

Possession Flick

The Exorcist

Now, there is a thin line seperating what exactly qualifies as a possession flick and what qualifies as a haunted house flick; sometimes they are indistinguishable. However, I decided that this is my blog and I am going to do what I want.

I had always heard how good THE EXORCIST was and how scary it was and before ever seeing it I had always thought that it was one of those movies that people remember being better than it actually is. So when I saw it I was blown away at both how good the movie is and how many times it freaked me out! If you're not scared out of your witts by the end, then you're probably the demon that inherited the little girl's body.

Docu-horror Flick

The Last Exorcism

One of the latest trends in horror movies today is the docu-horror flick, as made famous by THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY trilogy. Last year, THE LAST EXORCISM blended the latest trend with a classic horror movie fad- possession. The result? One of the scariest flippin' movies I have seen in theaters ever! Seriously, this movie is messed up and if the rumor of a prequel is true (which I am sure it is), I cannot wait to see it!

Slasher Flick


Now the category of slasher was the hardest for me to decide on because slashers are my favorite sub-genre of horror, but in the end I decided to go with the movie that brought slasher films main-stream success- John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN. This film gets its props for a few things: jump starting both director John Carpenter's, as well as Scream Queen: Jamie Lee Curtis', career, establishing music's role in the world of horror movies, and last but not least, for being frickin' scary!

Maybe this list gave you a few ideas for your Halloween movie marathon?

Happy Halloween, readers!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review: Paranormal Activity 3


 Let me be the first to say that I was never a big fan of the first 'Paranormal' movie. Like everybody else, the first time I had ever heard about it was during its original marketing campaign, which was pure genius. Shortly following, everybody and their brother was talking about this movie and how scary it was. It took two more years until I gave it a chance and saw it for myself. I was underwhelmed. I figured that if I really wanted to watch people sleep, I'd still be sharing a room with my siblings.

      However, Paranormal Activity 2 won me over with its prequel-sequel combonation and ever since then I have been looking forward to the third one. After hearing that it was going to be done by the guys who did Cat Fish, I got even more excited. However, like the first film, I was disappointed in the result.
     It starts out like any Paranormal Activity movie: a step-father/ husband figure gets a new camera which happens to be conveniently followed by strange happenings around the house. So what does he do? He sets up cameras around the house in attempts to document this paranormal activity. However, I feel that the burden has fallen upon me to report that, dispite the claims made in the trailer, we never discover the secret behind this activity.

     When the ending hit I cannot say that I was surprised (it ends like every other Paranormal Activity). However, I was still expecting a little more of an explanation outside the old: grandmother is a satanist shtick. Sure, much is left to the imagination, but when you get to the third movie in a trilogy, is that what we really want? The filmmakers could have done that with this franchise had each film been a stand-alone story, but when you try to build upon already established mythology and continue a story into a third film, the audience expects to learn a bit more about what's really going on. I mean, after all, that's what trilogies are all about, right? Going back to the beginning? Discovering something that wasn't true from the get-go? Besides, the stanic grandmother isn't anything we couldn't have picked up from the second film.

     This is a horror movie so some of the lack of story may have been forgiven had this movie actually been scary. Remember what I said about a lot of this movie being nothing but people sleeping? That wasn't an exaggeration. With the expection of a couple of jumpy scenes, this movie just drags along, leading nowhere except an to anunacceptable conclusion.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What the Smurf?

My initial reaction when I found out that there was actually going to be a live-action Smurfs movie set in New York City was: "Like that will ever work." And you know what? I wasn't wrong.

Now I will admit that, when I was a kid, I liked the Smurfs. They appeared as a rerun in my Saturday morning line-up (along with the original Transformers). However Hollywood does not seem to care that they are slowly, but surely, ruining my childhood. 

The ever-so-talented Neil Patrick Harris gives an Oscar-worthy performance as Patrick, an New Yorker advertising agent who is on the brink of a new promotion and fatherhood. As luck would have it, a small band of blue people find their way into Patrick's life after barely escaping with their own lives from an evil sorcerer known as Gargamel.

How would you like that? Everything in your life is finally going your way and then, all of a sudden, the Smurfs show up, bringing all kinds of magical mischief with them. That'd be pretty annoying wouldn't it? Well "annoying" is the perfect word to describe this joyless setback .

Why is it so annoying and joyless? Well for one thing the jokes throughout The Smurfs are so pointed and painfully obvious that the only time I laughed was from embarassment for the actors; Like when Smurette (Voiced by Katy Perry, mind you) says "I kissed a smurf and I liked it." On top of that we have to endure an onslaught of endless "blue" jokes and a barrage of "Smurf" innuendos.

Another thing that I found to be quite annoying was this film's excessive attempts to be hip and relevant- not just by bringing the Smurfs into real life New York, but by getting the biggest names to voice the smurfs, no matter how untalented or awkward the voices are for the bodies. Also by using awesome songs where they don't fit (like AC/DC's Back In Black) and even going as far as putting sunglasses on Papa Smurf on the cover of the soundtrack.

As for the live action characters, they are just as unreal as their CGI co-stars. The performances are boring and lackluster; it's even irritating how believable the characters are.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Review: Crazy, Stupid Love

If you've ever thought that love was crazy or stupid, don't worry you're not the only one.

At times Crazy, Stupid Love shows blips of indie drama greatness; however, it is never able to maintain the same level throughout.

The first half hour shows great promise as Emily (Julianne Moore) tells her husband Cal (Steve Carell) that she wants a divorce. Heartbroken and hopelessly lost, Cal tries to work the singles scene with help from a professional womanizer (Ryan Gosling).

There is obviously more here than meets the eye: Cal has to try to move on from the divorce while still trying to maintain a healthy relationship with his kids, namely his thirteen-year-old son (Jonah Bobo) who is struggling with his own matters of the heart in perhaps one of the creepiest subplots about a babysitter ever put to screen.

And in trying to move on, Call sleeps with a number of different women including his thirteen-year-old son's eigth grade English teacher (Marisa Tomei), who could easily be diagnosed as clinically insane. As you can imagine this doesn't go over well with the ex-wife when she finds out during parent-teacher conference.

Emily, however, was already having an affair herself with one David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon). For reasons unbenounced to us it wasn't, or isn't, working (that part is never really cleared up by Emily). The movie obviously doesn't want you to like the guy because he split up Cal and Emily's marriage, but why then does he appear to be the nicest and most sincere guy in the movie?

Remember the professional womanizer I told you about? Well his name is Jacob and he is used to surveying the same bar and going home with a different girl every night. So we're supposed to believe that this bar has an endless supply of horny babes just waiting to score, who never seem to come back looking for Jacob?

Anyway, during a sad, routine... You know what? I can't get over it. This movie has horrible views on women; making them appear skanky, dimwitted, and ready to go home with the next cute guy they meet in a bar. I digress...

During a sad, routine round about the bar, Jacob meets Hannah (Emma Stone). Now Hannah has problems with her own relationship and just to spite her boyfriend (Josh Groban), goes home with Jacob and tries to have sex with him.

It turns out he's a pretty nice guy (who'd a guessed?) and they talk about everything under the sun, with the exception of a couple of key elements that are left out just so that the film can have its big surprise towards the end.

Writer Dan Fogelman's (Fred Claus, Cars, Bolt, and Tangled) script is lazy in its explanations or just doesn't explain things at all. e.g. "You miss a lot of work?". "I have a lot of sick days, okay?".

However, through all its problems, I cannot deny how much I laughed and cried at this movie. There is so much likeable talent on screen that it is hard to not be pulled into the story by the performances.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

My 2011 favs so far

Here we are more than half way through the year so I'm going to take a look back at some of my favorite movies so far.

Source Code

Duncan Jones' follow up to his 2009 hit Moon is just as enthralling and every bit as exciting. D. Jones knows how to tell a story and he tells it very well in this sci-fi thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, who gives an outstanding performance in a cast of talented actors.


Without a doubt one of my favorite movies this year and probably of all time. Director James Wan (Saw) knows how to set a mood and with the help of a well balanced screenplay from Leigh Whannell, Insidious is the scariest, smartest horror film since the original Scream.


I hold a special place in my heart for whacky, arthouse films and since April Hanna has joined that place along side one of my 2010 favorites, Black Swan. Period piece fanatic Joe Wright directs this wonderfully bizzare thriller about a super soldier who happens to be 16-year-old girl. Pitch-perfect casting is the key to success for this modern work of filmmaking art.

Horrible Bosses

Following the premise of everybody's favorite Danny DeVito-Alfred Hitchcock movie, three men decide to try and boost the moral at the workplace by offing each other's bosses. The result? A comedy that rivals that of the 'Hangover' sequel's comic. Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis work well off each other and with the star-studded supporting cast to bring out the laughs.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

There have been a lot of 'Harry Potter' films but there is just something... magical about this last enstallment. It could be the fact that it's the last one and we will all miss them, or it could be the Oscar-worthy performances, the smooth storytelling from Director David Yates, the breathtaking visual effects, including some first rate 3D usage, or some combination of these things.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: Cowboys & Aliens

For any hardcore sci-fi nerd, cowboys and aliens sounds like a match made in heaven and it may even be while in the form of a graphic novel. As a feature-length film? Not so much.

For the first twenty minutes Cowboys & Aliens is promising. Daniel Craig wakes up in the middle of a desert and doesn't remember a thing, with only a small picture and a shiny new wristband as clues to what happened.

Intriguing, yes?

Anyway, it isn't long before our oblivious hero wanders into a small town where he discovers he may or may not be wanted.

Do I still have your attention?

Well from there it plays out just like any self-respecting Western would: The new stranger in town kicks up some dirt, so to speak, and when push comes to shove, he knows how to kick ass. Sure, he can't even remember his own name but he can take out small armies of ruthless cowboys.

By the title you know it's only a matter of time until we see those lights on the horizon and once we do, it's just down hill from there...

Alien spacecrafts start bombing the small town and snatching up residents. However Daniel Craig shows those alien punks why you don't mess with even nineteenth century America when he shoots down one of the crafts (after which the entire seige on the town suddenly stops because those aliens flew all that way just to get scared).

Apparently the alien escapes the craft without anybody seeing because the next thing you know, it's already inside a building, mauling some poor man to death! The next day Craig and the rest of the survivors are tracking the alien down by his footprints (that's right, they can fly thousands of lightyears with limitless technology but they can't cover up their footprints).

Now I am not going to go through the entire movie with you, but it is full of obvious plot holes and weak explanations. Now I would be fine with no story and just seeing cowboys and aliens do battle, but since these filmmakers attempted a story, I cannot let it go.

Why are the aliens invading Earth? Oh, our resources? Thanks, Olivia Wilde! Too bad she doesn't really explain that either and I just pulled that together from little bits and pieces of her "big reveal". And What the f@&* is up with the gold?

Even the design of the aliens lacks any real originality. In fact, I could sware that these aliens come from the same planet as the one from Super 8 and at least the same sector as the one from Cloverfield.

I like Jon Favreau and I think he is an undeniably talented filmmaker and storyteller; however, not even he seems to make much sense of what's going on as the talented cast wanders from setpiece to setpiece, seemingly waiting for the "Ah ha!" moment where everything comes together... And waiting... And waiting...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. II

It's been a decade since since unknown child actor Daniel Radcliffe made his debut as Harry Potter in 'Sorcerer's Stone'. Here we are now in 2011 and Harry is all grown up and ready to take on the evils of the world... In a literal sense.

Hogwarts is under attack by Death Eaters and their leader, Lord Voldemort, looks to finish what he started so many years ago by ending the life of Harry Potter and assuming power over the known world. Unfortunately for you-know-who Harry and company are hunting down and destroying horcruxes. You know, those things that contain bits and pieces of Voldemort's soul?

As you may or may not recall, I actually did not care for 'Part 1'. I thought there was too much focus on setting everything up that it didn't work as a stand-alone film and ended up just being a lot of running around on beautiful set pieces with little to no explanation. I am glad to report that 'Part 2' is a masterful upgrade that surpasses all others in the franchise and even most films this year.

We have all grown up with Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson and seen them grow into talented, young actors. As a general statement: everybody gives great performances here, but a few noteables consist of Ralph Fiennes as the terrifying, and sometimes darkly funny, Lord Voldemort and Alan Rickman as the ever-complicated Severus Snape.

With these last four installments, Director David Yates has shown us that he is capable of some truly emotionally enriching feats, including 'Deathly Hallows 2'. The story is told through some brilliant cinematography combined with astonishing visual effects, some effective 3D, drawing acting, and a quality script that keeps you emotionally and intellectually engaged like few movies this year have.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II is a masterful work of art and a beautiful finale to the most successful franchise in history.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Greatest American Heroes

In honor of our great nation's birthday, I wanted to bring to your attention and celebrate a select group of heroes who make it possible for us to live the free lives we lead here in America.

Duke Nukem

Babes, explosions, and untamed narcissism. Sounds like something straight out of a Michael Bay movie I know, but Duke represents America's testosterone drive as well as its ignorance towards the changing world. Admittedly, "Ignorance" is America in one word, correct?

Captain America

How can your name be Captain America and you don't make the list of top greatest American heroes? Once a scrawny hopeful, now an American icon. From Hitler to Osama, this captain isn't afraid to take the fight to the baddies in order to insure our freedoms. 

John McClane

Just an ordinary cop put through extraordinary circumstances; not once, not twice, not even thrice, but FOUR times he's protected our freedom from terrorists, and counting. A fitting spot for a Fourth of July countdown. Watch any 'Die Hard' movie and you'll see what I'm talking about. Yippee-ki-yay!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Review: Bad Teacher

It's been eight years since the release of Bad Santa and now Cameron Diaz picks up Billy Bob Thorton's role for Bad Teacher.   

Diaz has shown us that she has a sense of humor before, like in comedic gems such as There's Something About Mary. Now this movie isn't exactly a "comedic gem", but there are enough laughs to make Bad Teacher a good comedy.

Diaz plays Elizabeth Halsey, a rude, self-centered, foul-mouthed junior high school teacher who took the job after being dumped by her sugar daddy and now finds herself in need of a serious boob job in order to woo a fellow teacher for his money.

Diaz's real-life ex, Justin Timberlake, just happens to be that fellow teacher. Mr. Scott Delacorte is a shallow loser who unintentionally (or intentionally) ends up in the middle of a feud between Diaz's Halsey and Lucy Punch's Amy Squirrel. Loser aside, Timberlake feels a little self-aware of his goofiness but still puts on a good performance.

The chemistry between Diaz and the hilarious supporting cast, made up of funny people like John Michael Higgins; The Office's Phyllis Smith; and Thomas Lennon, is undeniable and even adds a level of charm come the third act. Perhaps the best part about Bad Teacher is Jason Segel's performance as a gym teacher who actually enjoys life.

I have to admit that at times I found it difficult to root for a character who is so self-centered and even after the cliche third act "change of heart", I still didn't buy into the ending. However, I cannot deny how much I laughed at this movie and how much I like enjoyed the supporting cast.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

There really isn't more than meets the eye

Michael Bay hasn't worked on other projects lately because he's been so hard at work putting out the (hopefully) last installment of his 'Transformers' trilogy. I think it's time to move on.

As a huge fan of the Transformers, it pains me to see what Michael Bay has done to the franchise. Transformers could work as a high octane action-packed sci-fi thriller, but Bay's feeble attempt to make the trilogy about something more than just robots fighting sucks all the energy (and fun) out of it. I mean after all, that's really all Transformers has been- giant robots fighting. 

As we've learned from past experience, Michael Bay doesn't DO story. This is very evident in 'Dark of the Moon' when characters go missing for no reason at all for forty minutes at a time, only to reappear, out of all the chaos, at the precise moment to save somebody's life. There is so much going on here that even Bay has a hard time keeping track of what's going on and who's where and as a result, even major plot points are never explained.

Shia LaBeouf became a big name in Hollywood after Bay's first installment playing Sam Witwicky, the unlikely teenage hero who happened across a gorgeous Camero and from there found himself caught in the middle of a war waged between two robot-like factions from another planet. Now he's back to save Earth from the Decepticons a third time and yes, he is just as annoying as ever. By now Sam is supposed to be all grown up, living on his own with a brand new girlfriend, yet he pouts and whines like a little kid because he can't find a job. During the second film all he wanted to do was get away from the Transformers now he is crying because he can't be with them; just one of many writing inconsistencies throughout.

Speaking of writing, the script is horrible! Most of what everybody says in this movie makes no sense. I caught myself asking "Did he/she really just say that?" many times during this movie and the lines that you can tell are supposed to be funny aren't. To make things worse, "Dark of the Moon" is full of cheesy one-liners that totally miss their mark. In one scene in particular, Iron Hide tears a Decepticon apart and finishes him with, "Class dismissed". There was never a reference to any class being in session.

As I mentioned earlier, I am a fan of Transformers: the cartoons, the action figures, even the first movie; so I always get a kick out of Optimus Prime tearing through other robots like they're nothing. Too bad it only happens for a total of about ten minutes out of the two-and-a-half hour run-time.

I think Mr. Witwicky sums it up the best when he says "... a bad sci-fi movie". 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Super 8 is "Good"

"What?!" "Is he crazy!?" "How could he possibly think that?!" Were those a few of your thoughts as your read my title? Apparently I am the only person I know who doesn't think that J.Jaybrams' new film is amazing.

I do not want to spoil anything for anybody but by this point I am sure that most of you have heard about what Super 8 is all about. A group of hopeful 12-year-old filmmakers set out to make the prize-winning film for an international film festival when a train crash starts a string of mysterious events around town: dogs go missing, car engines disappear over night, people vanish left and right, the airforce even comes to town, and nobody can seem to piece together exactly what's going on.

The premise alone is reason to see this film an it does keep you guessing throughout. Sadly, absolutely nothing is revealed until the last act. Why is that not a good thing? Because as I sat in my chair and we passed the one hour mark, I hoped and prayed that the answer wouldn't be as obvious as it actually comes out to be. The last twenty minutes or so of this film is a let down and even feels a bit lazy. 

As for the group of hopeful 12-year-old filmmakers, they are what make this movie. Riley Griffiths is constantly funny as the wannabe director obssessing over his film. Elle Fanning is superb as Alice and Joel Courtney does a nice job holding it all together as the story's centerfold. These kids feel genuine in their roles and are likeable as the glue that ties everything together. We also get a handful of side characters, some who add the the emotional depth of the story and others who just make us laugh.

I, however, am not going to ignore the obvious plothole in this film. WHY ISN'T THE GUY DEAD? That's all I am going to ask.

When talking about this movie, you might hear the word "mint" thrown round a lot. Abrams' new sci-fi flick is good summer entertainment, and may even bring back memories of the good, ole days, but "mint" isn't the right word.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Review: Kung Fu Panda 2 (The Kaboom of Doom?)

Rarely do sequels come close to being as good as, or even surpass, the original. Now, I wouldn't go so far as to say that Kung Fu Panda 2 is better than the first; regardless, it is still a good movie.

The Dragon Warrior is back in action in Dreamworks' follow-up to their 2008 smash hit. This time Po finds himself struggling with once faded memories about his painful seperation with his biological parents while, at the same time, trying to save China from the world's first WMDs.

I know you've probably heard it from many other critics, but the voice acting in this film is terrific. Jack Black leads a talented voice cast made up of big names like Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Jackie Chan, and Gary Oldman, who plays Lord Shen, a power hungry peacock bent on reclaiming the throne his father once promised him.

It is up to Po and the rest of the Furious Five to stop Shen and destroy his multitude of powerful cannons in order to save China and the Kung Fu lifestyle. They go about doing this through beautiful animation and one nicely stylized fight sequence after another. I have yet to see it in 3D so I cannot comment on that just yet.

Aside from the large amount of talent and , this movie is flat out enjoyable because it is easy to become emotionally connected with these characters; either I was laughing at the jokes, with the characters, or I was feeling their pain. At all times I felt invested in what was going on and it made the hour-and-a-half runtime fly by.

This movie owes its success to its large heart and its ability to take already lovable characters, mix in some great new ones, and blend it all into one great, heart-tugging animated flick.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: The Hangover Part II

zRemember The Hangover? The sick gags and hilarious jokes? Well picture that same exact thing... Only in Thailand.


I have been reading (and watching) reviews of this movie and the biggest complaint, by far, is that 'Part II' is the same, exact thing as 'Part I'. Okay, so that part isn't far off...

Remember when Doug was getting married and the boys got hammered at his bachelor party, only to wake up the next morning and remember nothing? Well, this time it's Ed Helms' Stu who is getting married and yes, the do get hammered at his bachelor party only to wake up the next morning and find they remember nothing. However, there are slight variations: Instead of missing a tooth, Ed Helms is sporting a Tysonsce tattoo; instead of a tiger in the room, it's a drug dealing monkey; instead of a missing Doug, Stu's future brother-in-law is MIA. See, not the exact same thing.

But since when have moviegoers cared about originality? Have they not been paying attention to most of what Hollywood has been putting out lately or what they plan on? A fourth Pirates of the Caribbean? A fifth Fast and Furious? Scream 4? Another 'Madea' movie? The Smurfs, among many others? Originality isn't exactly a valuable commodity these days. In fact, I cannot decide whether or not this movie is incredibly lazy for just rehashing the same formula as the original or if it's genius for proving that you can top the box office with the same, old song and dance.

Anywho, none of that really matters because this movie is frickin' hilarious. Ed Helms keeps on his roll as the nice guy with a bad boy side, Bradley Cooper is just as crude as ever, and Zach Galifianakis has the best lines in the movie and nails all of them with impeccable delivery.

My only complaint with this movie is that it starts off slow, but once it gets going, it will keep you entertained all the way through the end credits and isn't that what movies are supposed to do?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

What do you do when your name is Disney and you hit the jackpot with a insanely popular, billion-dollar movie franchise? Well, you make more! But that doesn't necessarily mean you should...

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides brings everybody's favorite swashbuckler back to the big screen for his fourth crack at eternal life. This time around, Captain Jack Sparrow is hellbent on finding the Fountain of Youth.

After the previous two installments in the series, I must say that I feel some personal satisfaction to see Disney ditch Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley. Their bickering, on-again-off-again relationship eventually overshadowed Johnny Depp and, along with some serious story issues, sucked all of the fun out of the last couple films. Now I'm not saying that On Stranger Tides is flawless, but it sure is nice to see Captain Jack take back the franchise that made him so popular.  

With that, Disney has not totally ditched the idea of a more love interests. In this sequel, we get a romance between a missionary and a mermaid to mirror that of Will and Elizabeth's; even Captain Jack gets a few raised eyebrows as an ex-lover of his is brought back into the picture. At times, these romances feel a little out of place under the circumstances: we've never met most of these characters but suddenly we're supposed to feel for them just because their in love; but they never overshadow the plot, which is much easier to follow than some of the other films.

Having seen this movie in both dimensions, I can say that the 3D  does not enhance the overall viewing and if it does at some point, the screen was too dark to make a difference.

Yes the plot is a bit silly, there are two awkward romances going at the same time, the 3D was a fail, and most of the scenes are dragged out for far too long, but you know what? I was consistantly entertained.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Review: Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Dylan Dog came out on April 29th and already it has dropped off the radar. I am here to tell you that there is a good reason for that.

Continuing the trend of boring vampire/ werewolf films, Dylan Dog adds a new element to the mix- film noir. At least it tires to... Based on a series of Italian comic books, this film follows the story of the title character, a detective of the undead, who is is brought back into the life he thought he left behind after an alleged werewolf attack kills a mere mortal after years of peace.

Now if you saw the trailer for this a few times and then heard nothing about it after it was released, it's because this movie is pretty horrible.

To start, the dialogue in this film is boring and uncreative. It is full of cheesy one-liners that fail to pack a punch or even make the audience laugh. Admitedly, I laughed at a couple lines in this film but they were all delivered from the comic relief fellow who seemed to be trying just a little too hard and, in all honesty, I had to laugh to keep myself awake. Even the voiceover lacked any umph.

About halfway into the film, the action sequences started becoming a bit too tedious for me. Dlan Dog would pull out his gun, get the gun knocked away from him, and then he would have to kick butt in hand-to-hand combat. It was the same formula almost every time and each action sequence started off with the exact same scare tactic. Eventually I just knew when somebody was going to jump out and that a fight would follow.

I am not going to waste your time (or mine) anymore by going into anymore details about why this movie almost put me to sleep. There was so much potential for this movie and nothing got taken advantage of.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Review: Water for Elephants

With Remember Me, Robert Pattinson didn't have too much luck with his first break from the Twilight franchise. So is second time the charm for this young actor?

Well, that is kind of a tough question to answer. Robert Pattinson cannot play a large range of characters, as he is limited by his lack of talent. In Water for Elephants he plays Jacob, a 1930s Cornell U student studying to be a veterinarian; however, doesn't graduate after the death of his parents leaves him with no home and no money. Jacob becomes depressed as he must walk away from everything he has known in order to rebuild his life.

This type of character is, in ways, similar to that of Edward Cullen, the role that made Mr. Pattinson so famous with preteenage girls all over the world. In that respect, he does an exceptable job for the first twenty minutes of the introduction. However, it is when Jacob stows away aboard a circus train and meets the love of his life, along with her psychopathic husband, that Pattinson becomes upstaged by much greater talent than his own.

Academy Award Winner Reese Witherspoon plays Marlena, the circus' star attraction and wife of the circus' owner. The romance scenes between Pattinson and Witherspoon feel lopsided, aslmost as if an Oscar-winning actress is rehersing her lines with a stand-in, who can only murmur his lines, because her opposite got sick and couldn't show up.

Things only get worse for Pattinson after yet another Academy Award Winner rears his face. Christoph Waltz plays August, the circus' corrupt owner who suspects Jacob and his wife of having an affair. Waltz is one of the greatest villain actors of our day and he doesn't hold anything back for this film. His performance quickly becomes the film's main attraction and made me feel as if though my time was well spent.

Outside of the two Oscar winners, however, the rest of the supporting cast does not give a very performance and some of the lines felt dry and lacked any type of originality.

By the end of the film, I felt like this movie barely reached its goal of being a moving, romantic drama. Had it not been for the two  talented supporting actors, this film would have been completely boring. Maybe you should just rent it.

My favorite ending in a film since Jurassic Park.

Monday, April 25, 2011

100th: Review: Scream 4

It's been 10 years since the original Scream trilogy ended and after years of speculation of whether or not another one would happen, Scream 4 doesn't totally disappoint.

Following the release of her new self-help book, Sidney Prescott returns to her hometown of Woodsboro, California to end a very successful book tour. Before she can even reunite with old friends, a brand new string of murders slowly starts to decrease the population of Woodsboro. This time around, the murders seem to follow the pattern of the original killings as the new Ghost Face seems hellbent on bringing the same terror to a new generation.

With the exception of the third one, Scream has always been a satirical slasher. The smart, self-referencial wit that writer Kevin Williamson brought to the first two films is back again. This time around, Williamson addresses the total landscape shift in the horror genre since the original trilogy ended.

Williamson pokes fun at "torture porn" franchises like Saw or Hostel by overdoing the death scenes. He also makes fun of horror remakes through popculture savvy characters and addresses how cliche their attempts to outdo the originals have become, while at the same time, making Scream 4 kind of a remake; therein lies its iconic, self-referencial humor.

And there is a lot of it. Like I said earlier: Scream has always been a satirical slasher, but it's always been a slasher. Scream 4 is so jampacked with self-referential humor and witty puns that it feels more like a parody of the slasher genre instead of a pastiche. Had this movie taken itself a little more serious and had it actually been scarry, I would have been able to take it more seriously.

Even though we've seen this exact formula over and over again, even from this franchise, Scream 4 is a breath of fresh air for the horror genre. It has a lot to say and it says it with such fluent diction that I cannot help but be impressed.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Original "Scary Movie" Part. III

Scream 3

The Story:

You'll probably be surprised to learn that Sidney Prescott, the survivor of two previous strands of horrific murders, is, once again, trying to move along with her life. In order to do so she has changed her name and even bought a secluded house in the middle of the woods. Now Sidney makes a living as a self-help telephone counselor. At the same time, Stab 3, the third entry in the film franchise chronicling the murders, has been OKed for production and, coincidentally, the calls start back up and yet another Ghost Face killer goes on another killing spree. This time around, things get more personal.

My Thoughts:

The third time's the charm, right? Eh, not really. Creator, and writer of the first two Scream movies, Kevin Williamson originally invisioned Scream as a trilogy, but found himself too busy with other projects to finish it up. Although the two new writers did a fair job at maintaining each character's personal charm, they did nothing to improve the already interesting story. There was almost no witty satire or self-referential humor and thus Scream 3 became just another slasher film. Had it not been for Wes continuing to direct and the cast continuing to play their loveable characters, this film would have definitely lost me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Orginal "Scary Movie" Part II

Scream 2

The Story:

Put out only a year later, Scream 2 jumps ahead two years in the life of Sidney Prescott. She is now a freshman in college and has moved away from her hometown of Woodsboro, California. However, he past would once again come back to haunt her as a new string of mysterious murders starts up on campus. Once again Sidney finds herself fighting for her life and as more friends drop dead, she discovers that a new psychopath has donned the "Ghost Face" mask.

My Thoughts:

It's a common assessment that sequels are almost never as good as the original. I'd argue that for Scream 2. What made the original great, aside from the wonderful cast and a terrific script beautifully handled by self-proclaimed "Master of Suspense" Wes Craven, was its capacity to make fun of horror movie cliches while being able to scare audiences. With this follow-up, Kevin Williamson and Wes were able to maintain the suspense and wit as they now poked fun at horror sequel formulas. At the same time, these filmmakers brought us closer to the main characters while still keeping things fresh with some new twists. This is just as good as the original.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Original "Scary Movie"

Scream 4 is hitting theatres this Friday and to celebrate the fourthcoming entry in this ground-breaking franchise, I am taking some time to look back at the last three installments.


The Story:

It's hard to believe that it's been fifteen years since Scream was originally released. Sidney Prescott was still a young high school student trying to coap with the mysterious death of her mother, Maureen Prescott, a retired horror movie actress. As her mother's death approches its one-year anniversary, a string of gruesome murders stirs up panic in the peaceful community of Woodsboro, California. Eventually Sidney is targeted by the serial killer, but as she turns to her friends for help, she discovers that these killings are somehow intertwined with her mother's death and that she can trust nobody.

My Thoughts:

When it first hit theaters back in 1996, Scream blew up. Today it is credited for not only bringing horror back from the brink of extinction, but for turing the entire genre upside down. Personally, I believe it deserves this recognition. Kevin Williamson's brilliant script poked fun at horror movie cliches and played around with slef-referential humor without ever totally crossing into parody domain. At the same time, Williamson made it suspenseful and intense. Another achievement for the franchise is casting. In no other horror saga will you find more loveable characters and this is due to the pitch-perfect casting and wonderful performances. Definitely one of my all-time favorite films.

If poking fun at horror movie cliches sounds familiar, that's because Scream was originally titled "Scary Movie."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Review: Hanna

Do you remember what it was like growing up? Being a teenage has never been easy. Now imagine that you've been kept away from society your entire life and now that you finally get a chance to get out and see the world, CIA agents are trying to kill you. This is Hanna's life.

Raised in a small cabin out in the middle of the woods, Hanna was cut off from civilization and forced to live off the land. Her father, a rouge CIA agent, spent each day training her, putting her through extreme self-defense exercises and home schooling her with nothing more than an encyclopedia and a Brothers Grimm fairytale book. Unbenounced to Hanna, everything was leading up to her highly-anticipated return to society.

I'd like to start off my review by saying that Hanna is not for everybody. Like Black Swan, Hanna is an art house flick, meaning that you have to have an acquired taste to thoroughly enjoy it. However, unlike Black Swan, there aren't any strong obscenities that would completely turn somebody off from this film. I would also like to come right out and say that I kind of love this movie.

Director Joe Wright takes a break from his routine period pieces (Pride & Prejudice, Atonment) to give us this delightfully over-the-top action thriller. And it's exactly that. As Hanna goes about fighting for her life, she takes out an astonishing amount of henchmen and makes it look easy every time. Joe Wright doesn't splice together a ton of random cuts during the fight sequences so they're easy to follow and the Chemical Brothers help to intensify them with some kick-ass fighting music.

The Chem. Bros' music does more for this movie than just intensify the action. When Hanna is not fighting her way through legions of sexually questionable baddies to reach the Grimm House, where she will meet her father, she is busy being a normal teenager: meeting new people and discovering herself. It was Freud who once said that the teenage years are a "search for identity" and that definitely comes through in this film while the lingering soundtrack adapts to fit the mood.  

If you ask me, the atmosphere this film puts out is the most alluring thing about it. As common with most art house films, not everybody will dig the vibe they pick up on, but I relished it in Hanna. Set by some terrific performances from Eric Bana as Hanna's father, Cate Blanchett as the creepy CIA villainess, and Saoirse Ronan, who steals the show as Hanna, and some subtle fairytale symbolism, this movie feels almost irresistable.

I say "almost" because the explanation that comes later in the film feels a little generic and could have used a bit more thought; I didn't buy it. However, the filmmakers don't dwell on it and it never affects the overall story.

Hanna is a grade A action thriller that is guaranteed to be some of the most fun you have at the movies all year.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review: Source Code

For those of you who don't know, I am a huge fan of sci-fi thrillers and after Moon back in 2009, I became a fan of Duncan Jones. However, in order to establish yourself as a credible filmmaker, your follow-up has to be as good or even better. Source Code is that follow-up.

After waking up in the body of another man, Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) discovers that he is apart of "Source Code", a government-sanctioned experiment meant to identify criminals, specifically the bomber of a Chicago commuter train, by means of re-living the last eight minutes of a particular victim's life over and over again.

At one point Captain Colter Stevens is even advised to use "whatever force necessary" in order to extract as much information from the passengers as possible, but it's okay because they're already dead and the government told him he could do it. But I digress...

Personally, I have two strong thoughts on this movie: 1.) The acting is perhaps the highlight of this film and 2.) Things were too predictable, but I'll get to that later.

Since City Slickers back in 1991, Jake Gyllenhaal has come a long way as an actor, starring in roles from  a schizophrenic teenager with homicidal tendancies to the Prince of Persia to a cowboy with homosexual tendancies; never disappointing us (except for maybe Prince of Persia). In Source Code, Jake gives my favorite performance of his as the always on, slightly off Captain Stevens.

Michelle Monaghan is likeable as always as the Captain's innocent love interest and the rest of the supporting cast does an equally impressive job making those little moments in Source Code, where everybody's character comes out just a bit, count.

Now we get to my biggest problem with this film: it's too predictable. Sure it starts off right in the middle of everything and starts asking questions right off the bat, but not anything you can't piece together from the trailer alone. Secondly, Duncan Jones needs to work on his foreshadowing; I knew who the perp was about fifteen minutes into the film and that's no exaggeration.

What's probably more interesting than piecing together the "whodunnit" on the train is figuring out who Captain Stevens is, what  the "Source Code" is, and why he's in it. These were the questions that interested me the most but sadly, they were pretty much answered all at once about halfway into the film.

I had this same problem with Moon. So why do I like Duncan Jones so much? Because no matter how predictable I find his films to be, I still enjoy them, very much.

Like Moon, Source Code is paced so well that even after all my questions had been answered, things kept truckin' right along and I was so emotionally invested in these characters, mostly due in part to the wonderful acting, that I wanted to see how everything turned out.

Though I saw it coming and the ending was a little conventional for me, I couldn't help but crack a smile by the end credits.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Review: Insidious

It's been a while since I have gone to the theater and seen a good scary movie. Let's review, shall we? Within the last seven months I have seen The Last Exorcism, Devil, The Roommate, Season of the Witch, and Red Riding Hood. With only one of those movies being any good (I'll let you decide which one that is), I am glad we have Insidious.

You would probably know Director James Wan and Writer Leigh Whannell better as the guys who brought us the original 'Saw'. Well, the two have paired back up to tell the story of the Lambert family and their recently comotosed son, Dalton, whose spirit has been lost to a realm called The Further. Racing against time, the Lamberts must return their son's spirit to his unconscious body before something much more sinister takes his place.

When you first hear about it you may think that this is just another run-of-the-mill possession flick. In many ways, you'd be right. As the Lamberts go about trying to return their son's spirit, it's hard not to remember the classics. The cinematography and overall presentation feels like The Grudge, the overall story resembles a strange hybrid between Poltergeist and The Exorcist, a lot of the scares feel familiar, and there are a few allusions to Saw, even a hit at an eigth one.

But no matter how cliche things seem, this movie adds its own little twists that up the creep factor and overall appeal of the film. For instance, during the seance scene the clarivoyant wears a ridiculously large gas mask that sent shivers down my spine and made me laugh at the same time. This film is definitely aware of its silliness, but doesn't allow it to overshadow the darker elements; it would have its fun and then snap right back to being creepy, which it does well.

Unlike the 'Saw' franchise, this movie doesn't get its kicks from dismemberment. Instead, Wan sets up a somewhat familiar string of "gotcha" moments, some are false while others are the real deal. Sure this isn't exactly a new frontier for horror films, but when it's done right, you don't need anything else and Wan does it right. 

Yes Insidious has its flaws: the acting isn't all that great and everything, for the most part, has been done, but I am willing to forgive those things because it takes what it's given and turns it into an irresistible house of horrors.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Review: Prom Night (1980) (DVD)

If you don't already know, I am a huge fan of horror films. I guess you could say that they're my favorite genre, and after seeing the remake of Prom Night, I though I should go back and watch all the originals of these classic horror franchises. Along the way I hit a speed bump every now and again. This would be one of them.

Originally, I didn't know that Jamie Lee Curtis, the Scream Queen, had starred in it and when I found out, I was like, "Alright! This is going to be good!" Boy, was I wrong. This movie is horrible.

Prom Night is originally about a grop of teenagers who accidently kill one of their friends as little children and vow never to tell anybody. Well, that doesn't exactly work out because on the night of their high school prom, a stalker calls each one of them, claims to have witnessed this murder, and threatens to claim revenge.

When I read this synopsis, I was like, "Sounds  a lot like I Know What You Did Last Summer." I wasn't too far off, so already I was feeling like I've been here and done this which made this movie even more boring than it is.

What makes this movie boring? I'm glad you asked . Well, for starters, it isn't even remotely scary. At no point was I on the edge of my seat, gripping the side of my chair intensley while I waited to see who was going to get axed next; it just kind of happens.

Next, the acting is terrible. With the exception of Leslie Nielsen, this movie is nothing but a bunch of uninspired one-liners delivered at the level of a junior high play. Even Jamie Lee seems kind of bored with the material.

Well this movie is called "Prom Night", I guess we should show some people dancing. Oh! And here's an idea: lets show nothing but people dancing for about fifteen straight minutes! Yes, fifteen straight minutes of the worst slam dancing I'd ever seen. I wanted to take out my DVD; however, I was too lazy to get up so I actually  considered tearing my eyes out.

While Hollywood is into remakes right now, the horror genre seems to be a huge target and honestly, I perfer the remake over this piece of garbage.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review: Sucker Punch

Zack Snyder has become known in Hollywood for his over-the-top, stylized action flicks like the Dawn of the Dead remake, Watchmen, and, of course, 300. But has cinema's once-proclaimed "action of the future" become old hat?

Over the years, Zack Snyder has proven himself to be a keen visionary with visually impressive, high-octane action films; however, there is a reason why his highest rated films on Rotten Tomatoes are the ones he didn't write. With Sucker Punch, Snyder tries to combine his iconic, stylistic action with a slightly more intelligent plot, which doesn't exactly work.

Emily Browning plays Babydoll, a young twenty-something who is institutionalized at the Lennox House, a not-so-fun-house for the criminally insane. While there, she learns that the only way to escape her harsh reality is to fight through hoards of undead Nazis, dragons, and other era-styled baddies, aided by her leather clad, schoolgirl, stripper friends.

Yeah, it sounds pretty awesome and the action, for the most part, is, especially during the first fight scene with the three giant, stone samurai warriors warriors. However, Sucker Punch still feels a little top heavy. There is a lot of action left unsupported, due in part to a weak story.

In an attempt to keep you more engaged in the plot, Snyder leaves things out and expects the audience to put everything together. This is an interesting concept that doesn't exactly follow through. In Snyder's attempt to hold back some things, not everything comes through in the end and left me with more questions than answers, and not in the good way.

Aside from the poor writing, the action becomes a bit too tedious at times. Snyder likes to slow down and then speed up his action sequences and he does it a lot in this movie, which made the action tiresome and even boring during some scenes. Also, a lot of the action sequences play out like a video game you can't control, which can be aggravating.

However, by the end of Sucker Punch, I can't say that I was either totally thrilled or totally disappointed. It puts out the action I wanted to see and the story I pretty much expected from Zack Snyder.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Today The Silver Screen Addiction turns one-year old! Man, what a year it's been! For my blog's birthday I have decided to give it a more simplistic look as well as renew my vows.

Hence forth I shall...

Write to share my passion.
Write to develope my writing skills.
Write to express my cinematic opinions.
Write to have fun.
I am aiming to make this blog more personal and hopefully this gives me a new basis on which to write, not only my reviews, but all of my posts.


My review of Zac Snyder's Sucker Punch
A special birthday video

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Review: Paul

The last time I went to see an alien flick in theaters was back in December when I went to see the Brother Strauses' Skyline. Needless to say I enjoyed Paul way more.

Now I don't mean to compare these two movies; they obviously abide by two seperate mediums: Skyline is more of a hardcore, sci-fi action flick while Paul is, of course, a comedy. I just couldn't help but think about it (along with every other alien film within the past thirty years) during this movie.

Review starts here:

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are arguably two of the funniest leading men in movies today. With Paul they picked up the pen and tried their hand at screenwriting, with some pretty promising results. Pegg and Frost play two comic-geeks who decide to follow up a visit to Comic-Con. with a cross-country roadtrip of America's most famous UFO hotspots, but everything changes when they have their own close encounter outside Area 51; pretty much ever sci-fi nerd's wet dream.

Yeah, it isn't the most original plot, but I don't think Pegg and Frost were trying to break any ground here; they were only trying to be funny and, for the most part, they succeeded. With 50% of the jokes referencing different parts of the human anatomy and another 40% referencing every alien movie within the last 40 years, a lot of the jokes get old and even fall flat, but you have to hand it to these guys for knowing what makes Americans laugh today; especially typecasting Seth Rogen as the gross, rude, yet likeable Paul.

Continuing on the topic of casting: a big reason why this movie is as enjoyable as it is has to do with the supporting cast. With familiar faces ranging from Jane Lynch of recent Glee fame, to Jason Bateman and Jeffery Tambor from Arrested Development, SNL's Bill Hader, and even Steven Spielberg as himself, everybody here has experience in comedy which adds to the appeal and overall silliness of the film.

Of course this movie does have its pitfalls. As I mentioned earlier, most of the film's humor thrives off of a few too many crude, genetalia references and often sucumbs to other gross, Rogenesce innuendos about weed and Ewok sex. I must admit that I enjoyed most of the allusions to other famous, sci-fi films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T, and even Indiana Jones; however, I was disgusted with the shameless plugs to other great classics like The Blues Brothers and Back to the Future.

I am not ashamed, however, to admit that I did enjoy this movie and so did many of my fellow viewers who were just looking for a good laugh. The parts that are funny are almost laugh out loud hilarious which made for a enjoyable experience, at least for the first time around.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Review: The Adjustment Bureau

I would like to clear up a common misconception about this film: This is not, repeat not, an action flick. Universal is trying to market it as such when, truthfully, it plays out much more like Marc Foster's Stranger Than Fiction.

Based off the short story "The Adjustment Team" by Philip K. Dick, Matt Damon is David Norris, a popular politician with a dark past, which keeps coming back to haunt him. During the night of his defeat for the New York senate seat, he meets Elise, a strange yet fascinating ballerina whom he immediately falls in love with. Sadly, there's a problem: according to "the plan" written by the big guy upstairs, they're not meant to be together and the Adjustment Bureau will stop at nothing to make sure that the plan sticks.

The performances here are wonderful. Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, and Terrace Stamp stand out as members of the Adjustment Bureau, adding a much needed flare; however, it is the two leads who steal the show. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt work well together and have a nice chemistry that made it easy for me to pull for them; I truly wanted them to be together.

The performances alone, however, are not enough to elevate The Adjustment Bureau to the level it thinks it's at. I definitely felt the strain from Writer/Director George Nolfi's attempt to stretch a short story into a feature-length film as much of the story gets bogged down in an excessive amount of romance and uninspired dialogue which, at times, threatened to lul me to sleep and the action got old after about the third chase sequence.

Thomas Newman's fantastic score does add a dark, soaring, romantic feel and this film does have an interesting story to tell with a delicate and profound moral; however, it isn't enough to raise The Adjustment Bureau to the status of classic sci-fi romance.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Review: Red Riding Hood

Apparently, over-the-top, stylized adaptations of classic fairytales have become the latest vogue. 

On the edge of a dark forest lies a small town. Nobody knows this town by name, they only hear about the horrible things that happen there... Yes, this is acutally a narrative line from the movie. Catherine Hardwicke, who brought us the first Twilight film, directs this unintentionally hilarious, glamorized, horror flick. Amanda Syfried plays Valerie, a young girl who gets caught up in a triangle of forbidden love. Sound familiar?

Max Irons and Shiloh Fernandez play the two love interests who must put their differences aside in order to save Valerie from the big, bad wolf. Julie Christie plays the creepiest grandmother in cinema history who only wants the best for her granddaughter and the only slightly redeeming factor of this movie is Gary Oldman's performance as Solomon, a soulless werewolf hunter who is called in to save the town.

What feels like Twilight meets The Village, Red Riding Hood plays around with an unforgivably cliche script and predictable plot. At one point one chracter says "If you really love her, you'll let her go" and "I'll wait for you". Those are the kinds of lines that take away from the seriousness of the film and, I am not kidding, this movie is filled with them.

Another thing, everybody seems as if they've stepped right out of a Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue; they've all got nice skin and hair and their oufits are surprisingly fashionable for living in a midieval village terrorized by a werewolf.

The relentless, soaring camera shots did nothing but give me a headache and help support my thesis that Catherine Hardwicke has a thing for treetops.

Hardwicke must have taken a few classes at the Michael Bay School of Film because she likes to sacrifice talent in the name of aesthetics and dress her movies up in hopes that we don't see just how horrible her films really are.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

U can't touch this

Instead of giving you the list of movies that everybody says shouldn't be remade, (The Godfather, Jaws, Goodfellas, The Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, every Stanley Kubrick film ever, ect.) here are some that are close to my heart.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Dammit, Janet! It's a cult classic! It's worked hard to get to where it is, don't ruin it now.

Back to the Future
If there's any remake of this in our future, I'm gonna need a time traveling delorean.
The Evil Dead
I'd rather see another Evil Dead movie made by Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell than a remake by anybody else.
The Exorcist
I never knew how awesome this movie was until I saw it for myself and now that I've seen it, I don't wanna be seeing another one.
Pulp Fiction
To say this movie is a masterpiece would probably be an insult to Quentin Tarantino's genius. So I'll say it like this: Mmm-mmmm. That is a tasty burger.
This list has been brought to you in no particular order and does not reflect favoritism of one film over another.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Review: Drive Angry 3D

There's only one guarantee when Nicholas Cage gets behind the wheel- it's going to be one hell of a ride. Unfortunately, it isn't always guaranteed to be smooth.

If you couldn't tell from the trailer, Drive Angry is a throwback to the old grindhouse films: lots of sex, explosions, and loud music. There's plenty of all of this as Milton (Cage) breaks out of Hell to hunt down the cult that murdered his daughter and kidknapped his grandchild. Amber Heard is Piper, a waitress who decides to join Milton because... Well, it's never really explained. William Fichtner is the scene-stealing "Accountant", a hellish bounty hunter who's after Milton because... Well, it's never really explained.

Drive Angry tries too hard to achieve classic B-status and not hard enough on anything else. There are more guns in this movie than in Scarface, enough explosions to rival that of Apocalypse Now, and enough nudity to make John Waters jealous. That's all fine and dandy, but this film never goes anywhere with it. Instead it sits on all of it, tries being funny with it, and then expects the audience to love it simply because it's outrageous.

But who cares about any of that as long as stuff is blowing up in your face in 3D, right? Not really. The 3D in this film is terrible. With the expection of maybe the first minute, the 3D is just made up of cheap CGI that never feels in your face and definitely never adds any depth. If you're looking for a comparison, Jaws 3D would be appropriate.

I don't want to say that Drive Angry is void of any entertainment because then I'd be lying. It certaintly does have its moments, it's just those moments don't happen often enough.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Review: Rango

Johnny Depp, Bill Nighy, and Director Gore Verbinski team back up for Nickelodeon's animated, family wester Rango. Who thought this would be a good idea?

Rango follows the story of a pet chameleon on a search for identity- literally, he doesn't have a name at the beginning of the film. He, the unnamed reptile, ventures into the Mojave Desert after his owners almost get involved in a car accident that sends him flying out into the street. There, he meets a lady lizzard who shows him into the dying town of Dirt where he unexpectedly is named Sheriff.

To be fair, I only have a couple of problems with this film. One of these problems is that all the characters are crude; everybody is mean to everybody else and if there is a kind soul who lives in this town, I never saw him.

Rango himself pushes over the same old lady twice and robs her or her water jug to fit in with the rest of the town and calls two children ugly. To add to that, Rango falls in love but the only time he makes a move on her is when she is unconscious; one time he puts his arm around her and the other time he kisses her. The fact that he can't do any of these things when she is conscious makes him seem like a creep and made it hard for me to like the hero, even though it's meant to be funny.

The other problem I had with this film is that all the humor is either too vulgur or too awkward to be funny. In one scene, Rango and a few other are sitting around a fire, arguing about who has coughed up the largest object. One guy adds in: "I once found a human spinal column in my fecal matter". Another character walks around with an arrow through his eye and there are many references to shooting off other critters' "giblets" and "unmentionables".

Sure the animation is amazing and the premise is promising enough; however, Rango is too busy being crude and awkward to take advantage of its full potential.