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Let Me In (2010)
Smart Person's Vampire Movie
This movie is a classic in every sense. I love the slow buildup...the very-well paced dramatic scenes, the cinematography was absolutely amazing (expecially the car-crash scene...one of the best I've ever seen, IMO rivaling the car attack in The Children Of Men). I also like the fact the movie-makers did not dumb this down with an overpowering score, or unnecessary or over-long plot explanations...the producer expects you to "get it". I got it...but apparently most of the American viewing public did not, due to the fact that this movie did not perform well during it's initial release, which shows that unfortunately the studio did a poor job marketing it (possibly because they didn't think it would perform well? Talk about self-fulfilling prophecy) and/or an American audience that expects action and plot and emotion be handed to them on a silver platter, and spoon-fed to them. Not only is this one of the best vampire movies I've ever seen, it was an enjoyable movie-going experience. It was everything Twilight should-have been and more...mature, disturbing, evocative, and thoughtful. I'd rather belong to Team Abbey any day!
Easy A (2010)
Easy A For Effort
Noble effort to make a movie with a questionably helpful message. I did enjoy the movie somewhat, but a few nagging things kept distracting me from really liking the movie. I will attempt to elaborate:
1) Aryan High. This did not look like a public school...more like a junior private college for jocks, models and cheer-leaders. I recommend the next time Hollywood makes a high-school movie with a contemporary setting, they actually GO IN one. The kids in this school did not look, OR ACT like kids in any contemporary public school I've ever seen. The plot may have been more successful in a 1950's setting. Promiscuity is not a major concern in today's public high-schools. And they weren't in the 80's, which is when I went. Either you were having sex or wanting to or thinking about it. No one was decried for having done it, or talking about it, or, for that matter bragging about it. Even girls. Granted, the girls were more discreet. On the contrary though, in today's schools you might just get more cred by claiming to be a virgin...especially if attractive like the main protagonist in this story.
2) Somewhat related to the last topic...if making a high-school movie...make it with kids that at least look like they're in high school. It's ironic and hypocritical that a minor plot-point in this movie is a student that's 21 years old and sleeps with a teacher, when ALL the students look like they're in their early 20's. It's about time the ticket-buying public make an issue out of this. I think it's humorous when watching noir movies today like "Grease" and the actors all look as old as the teachers. I guess today's movie-makers aren't worried about the future "snicker-factor" that might hinder a potential classic, otherwise they'd put more thought into it. I understand the pool of young acting talent is limited...but they are out there. Bust your butt and find 'em. It'll pay off in the long run...and you may just find the next hot star. Oh, and your movie budget might just be more palatable.
3) They hypocritical Christian. If you're going to portray a hypocritical Christian, why not go and meet one? Make the character realistic and believable. I know they're a caricature, but the girl in this movie was portrayed WAY over the top. Really. It kept me from rating this movie higher. I mean, if I was to make a movie with a German, I WOULDN'T give him a swastika arm band and a Hitler mustache...too cliché. Put a little effort into make your characters at least a little realistic.
I know, I know...this is an exceptionally harsh review. I did like the movie and felt bad I couldn't enjoy it more. I thought the message, being comfortable in your own skin, was positive...but done way better with movies like "Napoleon Dynamite". A little thought could've made this movie a much more enjoyable experience.
Definitely not a 9 out of 10, or a top 250 movie. I have an idea, let's fabricate a semi-comprehensible plot which is grounded so feebly in reality that it's meaning can be subject to anyone's interpretation. Therefore critics will refuse to pan it out of fear of being perceived as idiots, the public will refuse to criticize it out of fear of being perceived as shallow, and everyone else will wonder what they've missed. Oh, and to top the cupcake with a cherry, we'll deliver an ending which offers no resolution. It can't fail! The concept of reality vs. fantasy was definitely better delivered in The Matrix...and this movie is not its equal or even a strong competitor. The concept of dream invaders was dealt with much more enjoyably in Dreamscape (1984), and was much easier to comprehend. This movie was more of an enigma burrito wrapped in a layer of fantasy tortilla, topped with sour-cream special effects, and hyped by popular salsa. Get it? Only the most hippest and most intelligent can understand my allegorical comparison!
By Far The Funniest Internet Show!
Good sense of humor? 10 years old at heart? Tendency to reply "Your mom" whenever someone's getting the best of you? This show is for you! Even if you don't fall into any of categories I just mentioned, still give the show a try. I'm hooked, and would go so far as to say this show is probably the best way to determine someone's coolness factor. Don't know if that special person is hip or intelligent? Have 'em watch an episode and gauge their reaction. If they like it, they're a keeper! If they don't, you couldn't run away from 'em fast enough, 'cause they've got issues you'll find out about, sooner rather than later. Posted on YouTube 2-3 times a week, these quick 3-5 minute shows are some of the funniest clips and commentary I have ever seen! Give it a try! He's Ray William Johnson, and I think he'd approve this message. Give him a try and be sure to post your comments in his feedback section b-e-l-o-w (insiders will know what I'm talking about).
Seriously Having A Hard Time Trying To Remember A More Unpleasant Cinematic Experience
On our way out of the theater, we were all trying to recall a movie that might have been worse. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon? The first Hulk movie? Sex And The City? Bring It On - In It To Win It? Jaws 3 In 3D? I would watch them all again before wasting any more time on this true pile of waste. Right now I am resisting the urge to suppress my violated recollection of this movie so I can warn the viewing public...and I can honestly say you would be better off getting a ticket for ANY OTHER random movie than this one. I do not make that statement lightly. I have been a Sarah Polley fan since "Go", an Adrien Brody fan since "The Pianist", AND a Vincenzo Natali fan since "Cube", but stock in all their future cinematic endeavors will now be called into question because this movie was SO distasteful. "Why?" you ask? There are so many reason, I really don't know where to begin. First of all, I'm extremely disappointed because the movie touts itself as a Sci-Fi thriller. There is very little science-fiction, and the movie was hardly scary. All nine people seated in the movie theater (which should have been my first hint this movie sucked) winced more as a matter of the unpleasant sexual activities on the screen than any cinematic suspense. Seriously. Imagine Jurassic Park where the zoo-keepers have sex with the dinosaurs, and you have an idea of the major plot elements of this movie. And that's just the beginning, but I really have to end my testimony there because the movie was just that unpleasant. Save your money and go see anything...or see nothing. Either one is a better choice than wasting your time and money on this movie.
Madea Goes to Jail (2009)
Why Rated So Low?
OK...check it out people. I've seen the movie. It's not a dog. In fact, it was a quite enjoyable FAMILY movie with heart and humor. Why, as of this review, is it rated a 2.8, while predigested, thoughtless, poop like Friday the 13th PART 12 is rated 6.3? I think I've found the culprit and it is us. I don't know whether or not to chalk it up to ignorance or racism or both, but had I relied on the IMDb viewer's average rating for this movie, my family and I would have missed out on a good movie! Wake up! I've read the comments...why is this movie rated so low? I can tell you why I gave it 7/10 stars... it was funny, it had heart, it was entertaining, and oh by the way, had a message. What did you not like? The message? Forgiveness begins with ourselves? I really don't get it. Don't get me wrong...far from Oscar worthy (although I thought the acting was VERY solid, especially from Keshia Knight Pulliam (Rudy from The Cosby Show) and Derek Luke (the assistant DA). I'm really baffled why the typical reviewer here has failed to see the true value of this entertaining, heartwarming gem of a movie. It's further evidence to me that the average American moviegoer is borderline moronic. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the fact that this movie is not being recognized for the entertaining, positive movie it is, demonstrates to me that American values and what it considers enjoyable and entertaining, are very twisted. I prescribe really trying to watch the movie next time around instead of diddling your girlfriend or stuffing your face with popcorn...give it another chance. You might not like it...but 2.8? Come on!
The Andromeda Strain (2008)
What Happens When Making Movies Is "Just A Job"
I don't know what to call this piece of s***, absolutely devoid of any passion at all...nothing but boxed up, feely angst that someone in the TV movie-making industry thought would make a buck. With that for motivation, they should've opted to make this a musical (be sure to credit "Armageddon: The Musical" to me, if greedy bastards decide to try and cash in on the idea). I have to wonder if the folks who spread their legs to push out this abortion even tried to read Crichton's book, a novel I believe one of the best ever made. I didn't get 10 minutes into the movie, gleefully recorded on my DVR so I could give this my undivided attention. Two teenagers making out in a pickup truck? Watching a flaming "meteor" dramatically rip over their heads and slam into the earth like and yet remain intact? The first few pages of Crichton's novel are blood-curdling: a military officer in an operations control center monitoring the increasingly panicked audio transmissions of a small reconnaissance team sent into a small town to retrieve the wayward satellite. The scene is much more dramatic and realistic than the way the events are portrayed in the 2008 remake. One of the reasons I love the book was it's realism...this remake feels like 180 degrees from what could be construed as real...the situations are unrealistic...the characters are unrealistic ("Mr. Stone, we have a wildfire." "Oh really? The world's about to end? Wait a minute while I tell my wife and kids to get their lives together") What? Why did they stray from the solid Crichton script? Did anyone consult Crichton to update his story? This was just a blatant, sub-standard rip-off, indicative of most TV shows, movies, and music sliding through the Hollywood hemorrhoid. Just one of the many reasons I find myself watching and listening more and more to entertainment products constructed far away from the US entertainment mainstream. I can't relate to their crap anymore.
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Generally OK, But Flawed And Over-Hyped
OK, I get it. Greed, especially for demonized oil will ruin your soul. But there were pretty big plot holes that didn't make this movie the top 250 gem for me that a lot of you other voters made it. The movie depicted the main character's slide into insanity without really explaining it. Was it his adopted son's handicap? Was it truly his greed and ambition? Was it his success? Was it his tortured past? These are questions left unanswered for me and honestly one's I will not spend too much time trying to figure out. I could understand the turmoil the son experienced after his injury, but just couldn't relate to it's effect on the father. I did enjoy the starkness with which the movie was depicted, no overbearing soundtrack trying to tug on my heart strings, just an increasingly crazy character that increasingly left me puzzled.
Oh, and Hollywood LOVES to portray the crazy Christian preacher with his ignorant followers, but they STILL don't understand that the most twisted church leaders have enticing charisma, not creepy personalities and sermons. The character portrayed in this movie reminded me more of Malachi from Children of the Corn, definitely an overplayed character...not believable at all. Don't get me wrong, there are preachers out there like that, but NOT with followings that comprise a whole town. Large followings are led astray by likable, relatable personalities, not creepy ones. Creepy characters just creep those around them out...they don't get them to dance in church and drink poisoned kool-aid by the dozens.
Daniel Plainview is being compared with Hannibal Lecter...by the mentally handicapped. Don't get me wrong...Mr. Plainview is plainly crazy. But evil? No way. My vote for the most recent, willy-inducing character goes to Anton Chigurh of No Country For Old Men. And may everyone that dared place him on the level of this true baddie be tracked down and eliminated with his bolt pistol like the mindless herd they are.
Yeah, this movie has everything an Oscar voter will love...a crazy Christian over-acting preacher, soul-devouring oil, and commercial hype ... basically everything that the road to hell should consist of. This movie is being compared to true Hollywood classics such as The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre. There are far better movies to see this Oscar season...personally, my vote goes to Juno. For those considering checking this movie out for the morality play aspect, do yourself a favor and stick with the classics like The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre. You'll be better off for it.
I have to say...this movie is good on many levels. First of all, the plot is fascinating. Having borrowed a page from the best video games, the monster and the havoc it wrecks on New York City is "edge-of-your-seat" captivating. Fans of Half-Life II might relate. This screen gem brings back the thrill of the MONSTER MOVIE. As a kid, I LOVED the old Godzilla & Gamera movies, but as an adult, those movies became corny and outdated. This movie brings back that thrill in a fresh, contemporary setting with all the anticipation and chills I experienced with those classics as a child. I couldn't really enjoy the Godzilla remake because that's all it was...a remake.
Godzilla represented the fears of Atomic war, but I think this monster does a great job representing the next generational challenge: terrorism. Faceless, a humongous threat that can knock down buildings and ruin cities, but also affect everyone on a more personal level. I don't think it was mere coincidence the monster in this movie and it's assault on New York City was portrayed similar in nature to the fear, horror and devastation experienced during 911.
The next piece of praise I have for this movie are the special effects. Absolutely amazing is all I have to say. And as spectacular as the visual effects are, the SOUND effects must receive special mention. To it's benefit, this movie does not have a soundtrack that tells you how to feel...rather you feel this movie through the numbing bass tones you would expect to experience in an earth moving event such as an earthquake. The monster's earth shattering footsteps and distinct roar brought back the fear experienced in the unique, terrifying sensation heard with the death ray of the original "War Of The Worlds". It's easy to overlook the challenge movie makers undertake to recreate a memorable audible experience, until you consider less-successful attempts. For example, Steven Spielberg's attempt to recreate the terrifying sound of the Martian machines in his remake fell far short of the original, but in this movie, the sounds that originate from the monster are haunting to say the least, both in it's roar and in it's attack on the city.
I reserve my greatest praise for last. J.J. Abrams & Co. have cracked the code. In my opinion, the most entertaining experiences in the past 10-15 years have come from the video game world, especially first-person shooters (ie Doom & Half-Life). But Hollywood has had a less-than stellar track record in trying to reproduce those experiences on the big screen. Their solution to that problem was so simple and yet so ingenious, I'm surprised no one had previously thought of it...depict the movie from the point of view of a character stuck with holding the camera through the whole experience. Now don't get me wrong...the first-person portrayal has been done...most infamously with The Blair Witch Project. I did enjoy The Blair Witch, but that movie was supernatural and small in scope, whereas Cloverfield is large and earth-threatening...a truly grandiose cinematic experience. I took my family of five and two friends of my children...and paid a pretty penny...but felt it was worth it.
Just a word of advice. Because of the unique perspective the story is told through, one or two sequences are dizzying. If you grab a seat toward the back of the theater, you'll minimize the potential for "motion-sickness".
To summarize, if you are up for a unique cinematic experience, a thought-provoking, captivating plot, with earth-shattering visual and audio effects that go a long way toward effectively portraying the story from a first-person shooter perspective...you'll enjoy this movie. If you like movies that tell you how to think and feel, if you enjoy brainless mind-pap, reserve your copy of "House Of The Dead" today, and leave enough seats in the theater for me and my family.
Bring It On: In It to Win It (2007)
Turn It OFF!
Analysts determine that catastrophes are the result of a chain of errors that through stupidity and misfortune fall together into one regrettable moment. I can only disdainfully shake my head when I contemplate the motivations and decisions of the circus of fools responsible for birthing this cinematic abomination, and subject us unsuspecting audiences to its suckiness. Only thing going for it was the T&A, and even that wasn't enough to save it. I really don't know how the IMDb users who liked this movie were smart enough to be able to use a computer and vote for it. They MUST have had help. Bad acting, bad plot ... Hey! If you think you just might like watching a porn movie without all that objectionable skin and sex, give this steaming pile a try!