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aesgaard41

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418 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Uneven Mix of Humor and Action, 11 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There is one certain way to get me to want to see a movie and that is to get Reese Witherspoon to star in it. Reese plays another career girl with a vague job (Is she a sales person? A spokes model?) who is pursued as a love interest by Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, two buddies who both work as FBI operatives. That's actually the most interesting part of this romantic comedy; watching them using the full breadth of their resources to research Reese then sabotage each other's efforts with her. That's the only highlight of this movie, but instead of something more creative, the movie actually spirals into a predictable reveal after one of the characters in one of their cases busts their identities and kidnaps Reese and her best friend. Although action-packed, the humor is subtle and cerebral. "This Means War" might actually mean more to fans of its top three stars.

11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Fair Comedy With Heavy Religious Overtones, 11 September 2013
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Every once in a while, I think we all should break from routine and rent a movie that doesn't cater to our interests and preferences. That's how I picked up this movie. "Suing The Devil" stars an obscure actor named Bart Bronson playing Luke O'Brien, a struggling law student who launches a scheme to sue Satan, the Devil, the Prince of Darkness, for eight trillion dollars for the evils of the past in order to legally get the money to cover his debts and future. Never mind the shaky reality of this plot, but just as he gets close to pulling off this preposterous stunt, in walks Malcolm McDowell as Satan to defend himself in court. That's really where the movie tales off. McDowell relishes and irascibly enjoys himself playing the Prince of Lies, even over-acting at times, but there's no effort here to resolve the complex mythology of the character. The court scenes are nothing but a Biblical history and psychological study. The plot is light, but fun to watch. What this movie is a light comedy with a heavy fantasy element; the Devil hires the country's most corrupt lawyers and pulls an OJ by creating the most complex court case in all of judicial history. The fact that this movie even resolves itself after so little exposition is a miracle to itself. The movie also stars Corbin Bernsen from "LA Law" as Barry Polk, a TV law correspondent whose only purpose is to explain and narrate the proceedings. It's a nice movie with heavy-handed religious tones in it, but it's definitely worth a see.

Hulk Succeeds Over The First Hulk, 11 September 2013
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Despite the negative reviews of the first movie, I'm surprised that Hollywood gave the Hulk another chance; however, instead of picking up as a sequel, Hulk gets a reboot with a new back story retold in a flashback... or not. "Incredible Hulk" is meant to be a reboot, but it can be felt as a sequel. Banner's dream can be construed as revised imagery, and Ross's memories can be behind the scenes details of the first movie. There are no real contradictions that this movie is anything but a sequel; Betty is still a colleague, and Bruce is still in South America. The only problem I have is the cast. Edward Norton plays Banner much like Bana, and Liv Tyler and William Hurt replace Jennifer Connelly and Sam Elliot who I much preferred in the roles. Tim Roth, however, steals all his scenes as the power-hungry Emil Blonsky more obsessed with being like Banner than being a real soldier. That's kind of where it falls apart for me; you'd think Ross would hire more qualified men with less than shaky psyche evaluations. At some point, you'd think Blonsky would realize why Banner wants to get rid of this think. One of the highlights is Tim Blake Nelson as the puckish and affable scientist who will become the future Leader. Unfortunately, Ty Burrell gets limited scenes as Doc Samson and is pretty much only an observer to the life Tyler's Betty Ross and her complicated relationship with her father. The plot and script, however, are excellent, the action is impressive and the brief jokes and "Easter eggs" along the way to the "Avengers" movie are enjoyable. What the movie lacks from the strong cast of the first movie, it actually makes up for a much tighter and lighter story, even going as far as embracing the scenery and imagery of the TV Hulk series. At times, Norton even looks like Bill Bixby. What I like even more is that the CGI is a bit better that we get slow tertiary shots of the Hulk before being blasted with him in entirety, eventually exploding toward a full-on animated climactic battle between the Hulk and Roth's Abomination (now a bit more reptilian and orange) on the streets and rooftops of Harlem. An earlier showdown between the Hulk and the Army deploying high-tech weapons is one of the top scenes in the movie. The only thing that would have made this movie even better than it already is would have been including Dean Cain as Superman to scrap with the Hulk, because, let's face it, the next top thing for comic book movies should be an inter-company crossover.

The Munster's Return But Forget To Be Funny, 11 September 2013
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm a big fan of Classic TV. The majority of modern television shows is nothing compared to the timeless quality of Classic Television like "Bewitched," "Gilligan's Island," "Hogan's Heroes" or "The Munsters," so when I was a kid and first watched "The Munster's Revenge," one of the first of several television reunion movies from the Eighties, I was more than overjoyed and exceptionally impressed, but just a bit upset that neither Butch Patrick or Pat Priest (or even Beverly Owen – the original hotter more exemplary Marilyn) would be allowed to return. Childhood tends to mask quite a bit, and with adulthood, I can see the stuff my teenage past self failed to recognize. For one, the plot is horrible. The writers obviously have never seen the series. What made "The Munsters" so remarkable wasn't that it was a family of monsters; it was the fact that it was a family of monsters living like a regular family and dealing with ordinary problems like paying the bills, problems in school and the local crime rate. What affected the Munsters in their later movies was that they started having strange and bizarre adventures, and that's just what the movie suffers from. The plot about robotic wax figures terrorizing town is a very weak concept, and what makes it that much more weak is that the characters are weak shadows of themselves. Fred Gwynne, Al Lewis and Yvonne DeCarlo can wear the costumes again, but the spirit is gone. They just don't have the energy they used to in the original series plus their characters are a bit askew. Since when did Grandpa yodel to turn into a bat, and since when did the police much less the public accept the Munsters existence? One of the biggest recurring gags in the series was that everyone, police and gangster alike, winced or freaked out at the sight of Herman, but here, not so much. Even more odd, Eddie has aged a few years and looks nothing like he once did, and the actress playing Marilyn, as attractive as she is, looks as if she has gotten younger! Even worse, "Uncle Phantom Of The Opera" (played by Bob Hastings – the same actor who joined Mel Blanc in voicing the Raven) definitely belongs in the category of the Lazy Hollywood Writers Category; even the Wolfman and the Creature from the Black Lagoon were named Cousin Lester and Uncle Gilbert in the series! Over all, the movie is a nice look back, but the movie has too few laughs, and the best scenes (Howard Morris AKA Ernest T. Bass as Igor back in Transylvania is a cast coup!) are too few and far apart. The movie really drags on the scenes involving the police and Sid Caesar's criminal plot away from the house. The best thing that should have been done would have been taking several of the original scripts and putting them together as a movie. Simply put, "The Munster's Revenge" is proof you can't go home again.

5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Dirty (Incoherent) Movie, 11 September 2013
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You know how there are movies that seem to be good ideas on paper but turn out lousy, and those movies you wonder how in God's Green Earth became green-lit to get made, this movie is both. Based along the lines of "Kentucky Fired Movie," "Dirty Movie" is nothing but a string of obscene and demented characters acting out the dirty jokes your acid-baked dumb-ass former friends used to tell in school. Basically "The Benny Hill Show" on acid, except without the humor, clever one-liners or the witty repartee, the movie is a string of obscene material and tasteless dialogue interspersed with scenes of an extremely low-budget film company trying to make a movie with nothing but jokes which get worse and even more controversial as it continues. It doesn't push the envelope; it ignores it completely. The movie fails to realize the difference between dirty jokes and offensive jokes; dirty jokes are basically humor directed at misunderstandings of human vices and stigmas, such as drinking and sex. Offensive jokes are purposely based on ignorance and intolerance and directly aimed at religious, cultural and ethnic groups. The vignettes of the filmmaking crew are the only partially interesting thing about the film; especially as the creators debate between art and sensationalism. Christopher Meloni of "Law & Order" plays a typical despicable director, a man completely without morals, humanity or any redeeming human qualities, joined by Robert Klein as the equally emotionally-deficient producer and Cyndi Lauper as a mom in a few sketches. The only thing interesting about the fake sketches is that as they go on, it starts becoming noticeable that even they seem to share a loose storyline of characters with a male bartender playing straight man, a cute female bartender delivering lines to drunks, a psychotic young boy (Cyndi's boy), a demented and unprofessional physician, some stoned redneck farmers and a mad priest among others. The nudity is confined to more than a few bare breast shots; a few of the women are actually attractive (one particularly homely one turns out in the commentary to be a pseudo-famous female impersonator), but the movie is so focused on indecency and immorality that they're reduced to set dressing than plot points. Like I said, the only interesting parts of the movie are the internal debates on what constitutes obscene material and just what it is willing to do or not do, but most of the time, the movie just drags its feet across the line for no purpose at all but to be shocking. Ignore trying to be funny, the film wants to appall and disgust. (Worse yet, there are adolescent kids in some of the scenes.) Bottom line: the only people who might appreciate this film are stoners, drunks and immature college students.

Wonderful Character Piece for Jessica Alba, 11 September 2013
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

You mention an actress like Jessica Alba and the first thing you think of is one of Maxim's top hundred most beautiful women in the world. Geeks possibly remember her more for "Dark Angel" or "Fantastic Four" so it is often obvious to forget that she really is a very talented and gifted actress, and that revelation is very well proved in "An Invisible Sign." Jessica plays Mona Gray, a withdrawn socially awkward math prodigy whose heart belongs to her father, played by the masterful John Shea (Lex Luther from "Lois & Clark"). It isn't revealed in the movie, but her father seems stricken with Alzheimers, and her mother (Sonia Braga of "Kiss of The Spider Woman") kicks her out of the house because he requires too much attention. Literally living in the front yard, Alba soon has a job as a math teacher at her old school where the real world soon starts realizing that she too is sort of special. Quirky, eccentric and withdrawn, Alba really shines as she tries teaching her love for math and numbers to children, and at the same time, learning what the real world is about. One of the people to help pull her out of her shell is Ben Smith (Chris Messina of "Argo"), the physical education teacher, and a cute blonde girl desperately in search of a parent figure to bond to, and the person she bonds with is Alba, much to her consternation and disbelief. The movie is even more heightened by JK Simmons (J. Jonah Jameson from the "Spiderman" movies), playing her former math teacher and next-door neighbor, and Bailee Madison (Female Max from "Wizards Of Waverly Place") as her younger counterpart. The movie is completely charming and mystically-endearing, a welcome departure from Alba's bikini-clad roles or strong female characters trying to save the world, heightened by Alba's wonderful quirky and eccentric performance.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Breaking The Boundaries Of Good Taste, 11 September 2013
1/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I truly believe video stores need a shelf set out of the way for movies that claim to be comedies that really aren't. This shelf would hold movies like "Meet The Spartans," "Epic Movie," "Disaster Movie," "Stan Helsing," "Scary Movie 5," "Loaded Weapon," "Vampires Suck," "Superhero Movie" and most recently, "Breaking Wind." There are two major problems with "Breaking Wind" as a so-called parody. One, not all movies can be turned into parodies, and two, the film doesn't have one real joke in it. While it's not as inundated with the movie references as some of these movies, "Breaking Wind" suffers the indignity of being unable to go more than five minutes without making a crass or obscene sexual reference or even an hour trying to coerce humor from a plot-line that seems to be making itself up as it goes along, but then, this is what we get from a society that thinks "Family Guy" is funny. A bit more relevant to the "Twilight" movies than "Vampire Suck," the movie has no plot and no jokes, just a weak retread of the "Twilight" movies with bad material, scenes with absolutely no point at all and actors hindered by the extremely bad taste of the material they are working with. There are only two scenes with any potential for humor. One is when Jacob's father talks about will power then immediately contradicts himself and drinks the blood in a pan left from treating Bela's wounds, and the other is when the vampire encroaches on Bela's father then at the last second leans in and snaps a picture with him. (Why he does this since vampires traditionally don't appear in photos isn't explained.) What makes these moments funny is that they're based on actual human behavior, and the truth is that human beings often do strange and irrational things when we resort to the young child in all of us. However, instead of getting the joke and moving on, the movie makes the mistake of hovering too long on these moments and trying to milk the joke for too long, often to the point where it just isn't funny anymore. ("Family Guy" is guilty of doing this a bit too often as well.) A decent comedy should not be about taking human characters into strange and bizarre moments of human depravity and anti-social behavior, and yet, that is exactly where "Breaking Wind" and the movies listed above always go. When you take the jokes out of "Airplane" or the "Naked Gun" movies, you are actually left with films showing strong dramatic performances, but when you try taking what the script passes as the jokes and humor out of "Breaking Wind," "Meet The Spartans" or "Superhero Movie," all you're left with is scenery. There is not a single rational or undisturbed person in "Breaking Wind" or any of the other so-called comedies above; almost everyone is actually an imbecile, morally deranged or just plain out disturbed. These movies don't have anything to do with comedy, but everything to do with what is considered the social and moral decline of humanity. Possibly the worst part of the movie is that the actors who starred in this movie are stuck with this film listed in their resumes for the rest of their film careers.

Iron Man 3 (2013)
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Iron Man Soars And Fails On Different Levels -, 11 September 2013
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I think it was in "Last Action Hero" that the kid sidekick told Arnold Schwarzeneggar's movie character that by the third movie, everything is supposed to get harder, and that's very much obvious in "Iron Man 3" because Robert Downey Jr.'s character of Tony Stark spends more time out of his suit than he did in it in both the first two movies. Once more dipping into the franchise of Marvel Comics, a terrorist named the Mandarin played by Ben Kingsley is threatening the world, and it is again up to Tony to stand up to defending the planet, only he is not going to be helped by his teammates from "The Avengers." Tony is assisted by Don Cheadle as War Machine aka Iron Patriot and the rest of his iron brigade that by this movie he has developed to operate by voice control. Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts actually gets more to do than just scream and be a victim; she actually gets to wear the suit and become the Iron Princess. The movie and plot are rungs above the first two films with a lot more going on. Experiencing a bit of post-traumatic stress after the aliens in "Avengers," Tony proves he doesn't need the suit as he deals with a number of genetically enhanced assassins led by Guy Pearce who can actually burn through the suit via a genetic quirk that amped his healing factor. (Does Wolverine know this chowder-head stole his gimmick?) Watching the movie, I can't help but wonder if Tony has ever seen a zombie flick; why doesn't he just shoot these people in the head? There is no way they can regenerate brain cells. Once those things are lost, there is no coming back. Beyond that, "Iron Man 3" is beyond exemplary, setting new standards for all superhero flicks coming up or in production and establishing that it really doesn't matter who's in the suit, just what you do with it. There are a few more deaths than usual, and several jaw-dropping moments, and Downey's quips and the fact the movie itself doesn't take itself serious make it more than appealing. My only fault with it is that Tony was going to come to Tennessee, he could have stopped by and said hello. My advice: leave the genetically enhanced assassins in California.

The Artist (2011/I)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Brilliant Salute And Homage to the Silent Movie Era, 11 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After "The Artist" won five Academy Awards, there was kind of a joke going around on Twitter that it was one of the most praised movies that no one ever bothered to go see, so, I just had to rectify that by renting the DVD at my local movie place, and I am glad to say that the people making those jokes really don't know what they're missing. No, people don't go see Silent Movies anymore, and that's a crying shame because among the movie-going public, there are those among us who actually miss the Golden Years of Hollywood before we were inundated with sequels, computer-generated effects, bathroom humor, movies based on television shows and endless god-awful references to drugs, alcohol and pornography. There's a reason it's called the Golden Age of Hollywood, and Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo demonstrate that so eloquently in this movie by creating characters that we both love and reach out to without uttering a single line. What they have created is not just a modern Silent Film, but also a profile of a fictional Silent Film star and an analysis of the era in general. Contrary to the movie, several Silent Film stars actually went on to bigger success under sound once they embraced the technology, but a few, like Dujardin's character, faded into obscurity and later became icons of a lost age now finally appreciated by film students and aficionados of the old classic movie. "The Artist" shares moments of great humor and sincere drama with levels of extreme pathos, all without a single character saying a word. If this movie was taken back in time to pre-1925 Hollywood, I think it would have fit in very well with the works of Douglas Fairbanks. Errol Flynn, Harold Lloyd and Buster Crabbe. If you haven't seen "The Artist" yet, what's keeping you?

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
New Sequel, Same Jokes, Same Mistakes, 11 September 2013
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I went into this movie locked and loaded. I'm well aware how extremely distasteful these movies tend to be and how much steam and potential is lost within the first five to ten minutes, but I stand by my credo that the last halfway decent movie parody ever seen was "Dracula: Dead and Loving It." "A Haunted House" came close, but like "Scary Movie 5," what we get isn't a very polished script nor is it anything close to a decent comedy. What it actually is just a string of bad sketches and non-sequential scenes strung together in a lazy haphazard plot. What this movie needs is a decent writer with an understanding of story structure and character development. I'm a writer, and I could have tightened and improved this movie twice over. "Scary Movie 5" is basically an imperfect spoof of the movie "Mama" with a little "Paranormal Activity" added to it and way too much "Black Swan" and "Planet Of The Apes." The "Apes" material should have been exorcised entirely; did we not learn from our mistakes with merging science fiction and horror in "Scary Movie 3" and "Scary Movie 4?" The "Black Swan" material is almost amusing, but it takes up too much time from the main plot with Simon Rex and Ashley Tisdale as a couple trying to raise kids, which by itself has huge potential for slapstick, but is instead dragged down by the weak ghost storyline and further weakened by the incessant references to "Swan" and "Apes." As usual, Simon is great at the slapstick and physical comedy as he goes through several injuries just short of getting dismembered (which instead happens to other characters in the movie), but Ashley looks uncomfortable with the sophomoric humor and R-rated material; her range in the movie is mostly limited to facial expressions and being gratuitously under-used except where someone needs to be embarrassed. They're joined by a roster of both TV and movie stars, such as Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Snoop Dawg, Heather Locklear, Jasmine Guy, James Van Der Beek, JP Manoux, Jerry O'Connell and Morgan Freeman as the narrator. Charlie and Lindsay's opening simulated sex tirade isn't amusing nor is it funny, but it does set the style of humor for the movie. More should have been done with Lindsay's possessed scene, which ends way too fast before breaking into the graphics reminding us this is another sequel to a string of movies that didn't need sequels. Overall, the movie isn't over-stuffed with movie references, like say "Epic Movie" or "Meet The Spartans," but it still has too many when it should have confined itself to just being a haunted house comedy. Several so-called jokes are stretched too long (Charlie and Lindsay's fake sex scene to the theme of "The Benny Hill Show"), are extremely over-used (excessive use of accelerated video), just don't work (Ashley's lesbian encounter) or just go nowhere (the pool cleaners in the neighborhood have a pool party). The best jokes belong to the kids who barely get any screen time. This movie is only going to appeal to bored teenagers with limited intelligence, stoners with too much time on their hands, alcoholics scared of going home and fans of parodies hoping beyond hope that something close to "Young Frankenstein" or "Airplane" might like lightening hit twice, but at this point, all we're getting is a little shock.


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