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Man of Steel (2013)
What a treat, It's about time!
Minor Spoilers contained within this review
This is the Superman that all of us die hard comic book fans have been hoping for since the beginning. That said, it's fun and enjoyable for everyone. I took my wife to see this and she can't wait to see it again, this coming from someone who normally wouldn't sit through a Superman film.
Spoiler #1 There is no Kryptonite in this film, there isn't even the mention of Kryptonite. This is a bitter sweet victory for those of us that know Superman from the comics as well as the movies. Those who've only ever seen the movies are under the very wrong impression that Superman is completely indestructible accept for the influence of the green radioactive fragments of his own home planet. Fans of the comics, Smallville and movies alike know differently. We know that there are actually a variety of things that hurt him or that have affects on him.
Spoiler # 2 No Lex Luthor. With the exception of Superman III, never have we seen a Superman film that didn't have Lex or a villain that is at least somewhat like him.
Spoiler #3 This is probably the most important detail, Superman gets his hands dirty. This isn't a surprise to comic fans either but it is for the casual movie-goer.
The origin story was fantastic. We get to see more of Krypton than ever before and it has a different look to it. Although I like Russell Crowe as an actor, I had my doubts about him being Jor-El but he quickly won me over. His portrayal is better than Marlon Brando's if you asked me. For once, we get to see him actually interact with his Son rather than just giving him fortune cookie advice. This time around, we really get a feel for just how evil General Zod is. We also get to see the type of interaction with Jor El and Zod that we only got to see previously in Kevin J. Anderson's "The Last Days of Krypton". In fact, I wouldn't at all be surprised if Zack Snyder either read that book or if someone on his staff did. That book told the story about Krypton's demise perfectly. It really illustrates how ceremonial Kryptonians were, the bureaucracy and their hesitancy to see their imminent demise. A front loaded origin story didn't choke this down the way I had thought it would.
The metropolis scenes were amazing, the casting choices were great. Everyone pulls their weight too. Henry Cavill really does a great job as Superman. He still personifies what we all know about Superman but showing us a newer and darker side that we've never seen before. We really get to see what lengths he goes to to protect Earth. Speaking of the darker side of Superman, it's plain to see that Christopher Nolan had a strong influence with the making of this installment. This was even better than The Dark Knight and it easily paves the way for sequels and for the JLA.
Amy Adams was a great pick for Lois lane. They even managed to touch on the Army brat side of her that previously we got to see on Smallville. Fans of Smallville will be happy to see that a number of actors from that show were in this movie as well. Lots of familiar faces and characters finally come to the big screen for the first time.
Michael Shannon portrayed General Zod perfectly. It's hard to fill Terrence Stamp's shoes but he did so magnificently. He wasn't the one dimensional megalomaniac bent on revenge that we had seen before. There was so much more depth to his character than what we'd seen before.
In conclusion, this was an amazing experience. It was great to finally see them branch out with Superman and show us the things we'd never seen but always hoped too. They didn't just give us more of the same old or recycle old scenarios with new actors. It had a very dark side to it but also stayed true to its roots. At the same time, there are still a few funny moments in there to break up the seriousness. They really went for realism and plausibility this time around too. If I elaborate more, I'll spoil too much. This is the one movie that you have to see on the big screen, it's well worth the ticket price!
The Avengers (2012)
Great Film, THE quintessential Superhero flick!
There are nothing but good things I can say about The Avengers. This has got to be the first superhero film that really gave audiences everything they wanted and more.
The character development was done prior to this film, so they don't need to waste time with that. They just get right to it and it works! Fortunately we already got to know Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America and (to a smaller extent) Agent Phil Colson, Black Widow, Hawk-Eye and of course Nick Fury.
The story is excellent, it moves forward at a very even pace, the characters play off of each other and even have a few chicken fights here and there but not so much as to drag the story down. There are enough funny parts to keep it from being too serious and it really gives each member of the team something to do. This is everything I've desperately wanted for the Justice League to be for years now. Admittedly I'm more of a DC man, and the JLA is always gonna be my favorite team. It's a real bummer to me that audiences who aren't familiar with the comics are seeing Hawk-Eye before The Green Arrow, who has been around for a few decades prior. Oh well, you can't win them all.
There are just so many great moments in the film to look forward to. If you are viewing it for the first time, watch it until the VERY END of the credits, you won't be disappointed.
I can't wait to buy this when it comes out on DVD.
Joss Whedon delivers the goods in every sense of the word!
Fun Show with Funny Situations
Well, most of the situations are funny anyway. Some of them range from sad to pathetic to what the heck??? Let me preface by saying two things though: 1) I have only seen the first 6 seasons yet and I do intend on seeing the rest eventually (still waiting on DVDs from Netflix) 2) I really do like the show, I have some nitpicks as well as shown below.
Nancy, a recently widowed yuppie who lives in an upscale suburban neighborhood no longer has her husband's income and decides to do what? Sell Marijuana of course! That's the first thing I'd do if my wife died...OK no I wouldn't.
It works great for this show though. Selling a plant that has a street value high enough to afford her not only her basic necessities but several luxuries too...maybe.
You definitely have to take the good with the bad. My personal favorite characters are basically losers but the funny thing is that they are all losers. There really aren't too many good guy vs. bad guy situations in this series. It's really more like bad guys vs. worse guys.
The pilot serves to make you feel sorry for Nancy due to the loss of her husband. In my opinion (spoiler alert) this is the one and only episode in the series where she TRULY shows that she misses her husband. From that moment forward, she is a S-L-U-T!!! She has sex with almost every man on the show that she interacts with. This (to me anyway) seems like the opposite of mourning over the loss of a husband. Man, I hope that doesn't happen if I die off before my wife...and at a young age too. Not that I think she should sit in a corner weeping every episode either but that is really just a tiny fraction of my nitpick with this show. The other thing is that to me, Nancy zigs where she should zag with each and every choice in her life. I keep waiting for her to make a smart decision but it just...doesn't...happen. Oh well, like I was saying, you gotta take the good with the bad. The only other gripe about Nancy is that she is NOT a good mother. She makes so many mistakes with her kids it's enough to make your head spin. (Spoilers again) there just appears to be no limit to what she and her kids do that are immoral, unlawful, unjust and just messed up. They steal, deface property, destroy property, commit arson, murder etc. I could go on forever.
I understand that drug dealers are not the most pleasant people in the world and that their lives are not full of sunshine and rainbows but there are certain people in this series that are completely devoid of any redeemable qualities, some of them being main characters.
One thing I did really like that they touched upon (spoilers again) is that (with regard to the episodes dealing with the Mexican drug cartels) is that they didn't just smuggle drugs...they smuggled people too, young girls to be exact. The intention was to traffic them for sex. Innocent people got caught in the crossfire as well. This is 100% representative of what is happening in reality as we speak. I give them an A+ for that one.
Andy is a fun character as are Doug and Dean. Kevin Nealon's portrayal of Doug is excellent. He does the dumbest things imaginable but at the end of the day, you still like the guy.
Another minor nitpick is the (at least in some of the seasons I've watched) is a very heavy layer of political crap that gets shoved right down your throat. I get so sick of that in movies and T.V. shows. If I want to know how to feel about a certain person or issue, I will do my own research and come to my own conclusions. I DO NOT need someone standing on their soapbox trying to tell me how I should feel about something just because they are famous and therefore can afford a bigger, fancier soapbox than I can. I don't tell them how to live their lives and how to think, I'd appreciate the same courtesy extended to me. That gripe is over now.
That reminds me of another character that sadly you only get to see for a short while and that is Andy's Dad played perfectly by none other than Albert Brooks. I've always liked him, the constant banter between he and Nancy and Andy is hilarious! There is definitely lots of eye-candy for sure. Nancy isn't hard on the eyes for sure and despite her misguided nature I kind of root for her but the woman walks right into every single mouse trap that life has to offer and she doesn't even get the cheese!
The show presents amusing tales about tough times and how some people choose to deal with them. One thing it does serve to do is to show the very real dangers of prescription drug abuse, cocaine, peyote and a truckload of other things as well. The one single most annoying thing about this show is the theme song. It grates on my nerves like none other. I literally mute it each and every time and then turn the volume back up. I loved the season (4...5???) where for an entire season, you don't have to endure it but instead there is a new and creative beginning to each episode. Some of them are a little Napoleon Dynamite-like...Gosh!
This was a round about way of saying so but it's a fun show, definitely worth watching. Now I'm going to go and kiss my wife!
Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)
Pure John Carpenter Gold!
There are not enough good things I can say about this film. I've long been a fan of John Carpenter though. Halloween, The Thing, They Live. Perhaps he is well known for what can be construed as "cult classics" but he does very good work. Not surprisingly at all is that as usual, John gives us a magnificent musical score that fits the film like a glove.
I don't think this film works for people that cannot imagine a time without the internet and cell phones. If you don't have memories of a time before those two things, no offense intended here but...you're just not gonna get it! That is first and foremost important for someone viewing this for the first time. That is also the reason that this movie works as it does.
If you know anything at all about the Cholo, you know right away why the cops are scared of them. If you have ever lived in the southwest of the united states anywhere from the 70's to the 90's, you most likely have heard of them. That alone adds an element of nastiness and utter despair. They are well organized, smart, calculated and they have superior fire power. They don't care how many of their brothers get killed, they will keep fighting no matter what it costs them.
The situation is perfectly presented, you have a police station that is shut down, working on a skeleton crew and with no supplies and minimal arms. The power has gone out, it's night time and they are in the middle of nowhere. The phone lines are dead and there is a virtually limitless force of the worst gang that LA can dish out. They have plenty of bullets and expendable members for the fight. The obvious solution to this complicated problem is that the two criminals that are at the station need to take up arms with the police in order to survive the night. You can see somewhat how he used some of the basic ideas for this film in "The Thing" some years later.
If you are a Carpenter fan or even if you're not, take the time to watch this, it's well worth it.
Gran Torino (2008)
Great Movie, not enough good things I can say about it
Warning: there will be multiple spoilers contained herein and I will give ample warning in advanced.
Walt is a bitter, old bigot whose views on life in general have been galvanized by war, family issues and his ever-changing neighborhood. He also is mourning the loss of his wife. His constant racist remarks are actually funny in spite of themselves. I have learned an entire vocabulary of nasty sayings because of this film.
The more you get to know Walt, the more you start to see why he is the way he is and you feel bad for the guy. He doesn't have the best relationship with his son, something that he feels bad about. He's basically alone until some new neighbors move in next door.
Thao, one of his new next door neighbors is a troubled Hmong youth whose (Spoiler) gang initiation is to steal Walt's prized muscle car, a 1972 Gran Torino that he made off of the line when he was working for Ford.
Spoilers: At the funeral of his wife near the beginning, there is a scene where you see the grand daughter at her grandmother's funeral, dressed like a slut, exposing a belly button ring and a lip ring and she text messages on her phone during the funeral. At this point the film tries to do two things; one is that you can see the irritation on Walt's face at how times had changed and not necessarily for the better. Then you get it from the point of view of the kid and you see how the parents don't care. Yes, times have changed but it's a funeral! The grand daughter then goes on to ask dear old grandad (that she doesn't give a damn about) for a couch.
He doesn't like Thao right from the beginning and for obvious reasons but later you find that his relationship with Thao and with his sister Sue are the best relationships he has. The interactions throughout the movie with Walt and the Priest are awesome! The confession scene is pretty hilarious too.
(More Spoilers) Toward the halfway mark in the film things start getting more serious, there is gang violence, rape and ultimately death. The movie takes you on one hell of a ride but it's something that doesn't leave you feeling horrible despite the sad nature of the ending. It actually serves to give closure to Walt and to all around him. For me, a great moment was at the end when you see that his Son and Grand Daughter are both equally disappointed that neither of them inherited his prized Gran Torino. Despite Walt's grumpy and unpleasant nature, you really come to like the guy. He's a good person, he stands up for what is right and he does the most just and noble thing at the end in the name of saving the only people that truly cared about him.
This is a must see film!
Fat Head (2009)
My New Favorite Documentary
This film is everything that a Documentary should be...accurate, educational, entertaining; even funny in parts (i.e. some of the animated scenes). You know, everything that most modern documentaries aren't. So many documentaries today are really more docu-ganda films than documentaries. Often times we get only half of the facts or the facts are conveniently re-arranged to suit the needs of the person behind the camera so that they can spew it out at us and have us just simply follow them like the lemmings that they treat us like.
Obviously Tom Naughton isn't a doctor or a scientist, he is a comedian. As a comedian, he puts a funny spin on the facts that he presents. He backs those facts up by calling in actual experts. I like also how he quickly deflates the common denominator myths on the streets of major cities. He interviews random people from all different walks of life and asks them the basic questions. Each and every one of them overwhelmingly knew the dangers of eating bad things in excess. I would wager a guess that not each and every one of them just happened to be wealthy so the "poor people are dumb" argument very quickly falls apart.
He openly admits a number of things in the making of this film. He goes into how we are all classified as certain things on the BMI scale. He is technically classified as obese even though he certainly doesn't look like it to me. He is also active, he works out regularly.
The idea is very simple, he eats McDonald's three times a day, every day for 28 days but he continues to do a lot of walking. The end result is that he has lost weight, his HDL/LDL Triglycerides are all well within the normal range as was his cholesterol. He also goes on to point out that Morgan Spurlock would've had a hard time eating all of the calories that he said he did based on the (by the way very openly available) dietary information provided by McDonald's. No one pressured Tom into ordering more food; I believe that one McDonald's asked him if he wanted a large something and he said no, it was over, that's it! Morgan pointed out that he was asked numerous times in Supersize Me if he wanted to have his meal Supersized and he goes on to say that the bulk of those times was in Texas. I don't live in Texas but I visit there once a year. In all the times I've gone (back when they had a supersize) I was never once asked if I wanted a meal supersized. There is another fast food chain where I live that constantly asks however.
I really enjoyed how we are told in Supersize me that 25% of adults are obese. We see Tom on the city streets filming and it took him days to find all of these obese people. It seems logical to me that if there were that many overweight adults, he would have seen them a lot sooner.
He also comes up with an interesting question, challenging the number of calories that Spurlock actually consumed. When he attempted to get a food log from him, his people said they'd get it to him but they never did. I think it would've been interesting to see what was in it. Fat Head is pretty informative and a whole lot of fun. Take the time to watch it and it will amuse you at the very least. I like that it tries to make people accountable for their own health and well-being. It isn't the job of the U.S. Government or society in general to police what your children eat
it is your job!
One of the most overrated movies out there
Why do people keep praising this movie? I don't get it. I remember being in high school and yes there were Junos in my school, there were Bleekers too.
This suffers from the same problem as "Superbad". The two main characters are really not that likable. Ironically, Mr Bleeker was one of the two unlikable main characters from "Superbad". That's two for two! Sorry but he just really isn't. By the end of the movie I found myself not caring about him. If he got hit by a bus, that would have been a nicer plot twist.
That's another thing, there was no plot twist. This movie is so linear that it's not funny. It's like a bad video game, the kind you borrow once from your buddy, beat it the first time you play it and then never play it again.
The soundtrack was terrible! That was probably the one thing that REALLY grated on my nerves. Where did they find these musicians? I've seen drunks at karaoke that perform better. I swear if anyone ever brings the soundtrack to this movie to my house, I will microwave it!
There's one final thing that annoyed me, that was the girl outside of the abortion clinic. They didn't have to portray her the way they did. She represents one opinion. Clearly, the writer and/or director has a wildly different one. There's no need to overstate, to cram it down the viewers throats the way they did. This just further fuels a fire, that's all it does. I don't want to watch a movie so that someone can preach to me about how they feel about these type of issues, I watch movies for entertainment. Imagine that!
I give this one a 5 out of 10 for exactly two reasons:
J.K. Simmons & Jason Bateman
They carried this movie.
Great adaptation of the original cartoon series
I was a big fan of the original in the 80s, I was that age group that the toys/cartoons targeted. When at first I heard about this, I rolled my eyes and though of how bad it could be.
I was very wrong. This is a good film. The story is there, the graphics are great and the lineage of the Transformers is nice. There are a handful of funny moments too. It's nice to see that this isn't one of those films where all of the good parts are represented in the theatrical trailer. That seems to be the case so often now a days.
For me, watching the Autobots transform from the cars/trucks etc into the characters we grew up with in the 80's was a great part of the film. You look up at them and go whoa! I remember that from when I was a kid! Good Job Michael Bay!
Funny flick but...
I saw this one on on-demand after a friend's recommendation. I wouldn't say I loved it but I wouldn't say it disappointed entirely either. This definitely had it's share of funny moments.
I hate to jump on this bandwagon but I've got to admit that some of Seth's lines toward the girls ("you scratch my back etc.") were a little unnecessary. Admittedly it's been a number of years since I was in High School but I don't think that most girls would put up with someone like Seth.
The one likable character in this film is Fogel (a.k.a McLovin) he's a riot! The thing about him is that he's almost accidentally funny. The situations he manages to get himself into are absolutely hilarious.
It pains me to say this about a movie like this but the two main characters are just not that likable. At the end of the film, they just kind of leave you cold. I just didn't care what happened to them by the end of the film. McLovin is the man!
Great piece of film, teaches a lot of great life lessons
Pixar has done it again! I love their films, I can sit and watch any of their films with the kids and I enjoy them just as much as they do. My favorite one is still "Monsters Inc".
Wall-E teaches us some great life lessons though. Some of it's obvious, with regards to trash for example. It's definitely a good idea to recycle and try not to trash the whole world (or space too in the case of this movie) but there's some great advice in their besides that.
Wall-E takes us to a world where technology has made us all extremely lazy to the point where nobody does anything for themselves anymore. Not only that but it has made people anti-social toward other people. The very technology that people are so fascinated with could lead to our own undoing. By immersing ourselves in video games and online chatting all day long, we forget what it's like to just get out and talk to people...imagine that! The film isn't preachy though. It gives out advice and shows that this is one particular path we could all be headed in if we're not careful. It's great fun for the kids too. It's amazing how you start to feel genuine empathy for two robots and a cockroach.
Fun for the whole family, I recommend it very highly