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National Treasure: Fool's Gold
I liked the first installment. It was a friendly and warm Indiana Jones like movie. The ending pretty much showed that a sequel is really not the plan. It ended, everyone was happy, the end......? Too bad it wasn't.
Along comes "Book of Secrets" with the original cast, a new quest and none of the charm and fun and excitement of the predecessor.
Here's a quick rundown of the sequel: More of the same, without the charm.
That is it. Okay, here's more: Seriously, this felt like a complete rehash of it's predecessor. Ed Harris is the threatening bad guy, like Sean Bean, but without the collective intelligence and presence. The thrills were a very close duplication like the balance test was much like the elevator scene in the first.
The comedy was like a sitcom. Uh, this was bad.
Green Zone (2010)
The Bourne Conspiracy
Green Zone is nothing you would not expect. Judging by the previews alone, those previews pretty much give you a telling of what this is about.
Matt Damon is a soldier and this takes place in the past, supposedly true, (basically false) a conspiracy unravels and the hunt is on to find out the "truth". This is the typical conspiracy theory flick done in by usual clichés, like the committed hero, the a-hole bad-ass, the corrupt politician, and the many army guys with the many curse words.
Matt Damon to me was like Jason Bourne in the desert. He is definitely action star material, but I kept thinking he was playing the same character rather than a U.S. soldier. This is not a stretch.
This is what I expected Green Zone to be. A no good conspiracy flick by someone who can't stop watching MSNBC.
Swing and a miss from Matt Damon.
Machete Deserves Better
Who knew that a simple fake trailer from the "Grindhouse" movie would actually become a feature film? The trailer was fun and was awesome. Fast forward three years later and Machete is born.
Danny Trejo is Machete, a former federal agent who is a rough vigilante, and really does not like the bad guys. Really. You don't mess with him, he will let you live, mess with Machete, and you die. Painfully.
Storywise, don't be blown away. The plot is quite predicable and can be seen coming from a mile away. Though, this movie isn't looking for an award for best screenplay, so that is just a minor setback. The real treat here is, what else? Machete kills! Upon watching this, I could not help but admire Robert Rodriguez' craft. He has a awesome vision for a good bloody action packed smack down. Some scenes have you gasp, others have you jump, and overall have you roar at the stylish brutality. When it comes to R rated movies, Rodriguez is truly unique.
Don't forget about a big cast of characters. Danny Trejo of course, who is nearly 70 years old, is a perfect choice of the title character. Lately, age does not mean jack. If you got the chops, then show us the strength of your bite. Also, Jessica Alba, Don Johnson, Robert De Niro, Jeff Fahey, all do just fine here. Cheech Marin is also awesome and really delivers the laughs. Michelle Rodriguez is in my opinion, is one of the hottest ladies out there and is used well here. And yeah, Lindsay Lohan. It is really obvious how she got this role. Let's just say it isn't a stretch for her. Last, Steven Seagal. Different seeing him as a bad guy, and he really has lost his action chops. Weird considering Danny Trejo is a lot older.
The MAJOR flaw here is the politics. Whether or not I agree with them is not the question,(I don't) When I go see a movie, I want to escape from the world, not be swallowed in it. The politics are not everywhere, but it was told strongly and I just quite frankly do not want to hear from either side. I just want a good movie to let myself go in. Lay off the politics and stick with the action.
With all is said and done, Machete is a good, bloody slice of brutal action topped with all the fixings and then some. This had the drive in style violence, but suffered huge to racist bullshit politics.
Red Is Not My Favorite Color
Thank goodness for sneak previews. You'll know why.
RED is from a D.C. comics graphic novel about a group of former operatives that are now retired and taking it easy. I have been very fickle about graphic novel adaptations with Sin City being the only standout, as Sin City that also had Bruce Willis, really worked.
Can't say the same thing for RED.
RED is pretty much your redundant run-of-the-mill action flick that has a unoriginal plot, slick action, and hot and cold comedy. Bruce Willis is the lead man Frank Moses who is suddenly is a target for unknown reasons and is ridiculously unstoppable. Makes me wonder why he even retired despite age.
He goes on a mission to find out why he is a target and you could almost recite the rest of this movie as it has action movie clichés:
Conspiracy, check. The sharp weirdo, check. A pointless character,(or two) check. The one committed to his job, check. Cliché villains, check. Lack of time-frame, or sleep, check.
The only saving grace here is John Malkovich, who steals every scene and is really quite funny. Willis is, well Willis, not a stretch. Helen Mirren, who looks excellent for her age, is fine here for a change of role, Freeman is really criminally underused, and Karl Urban is quite talented and is becoming very versatile.
The action is rather slick and is none too loud enough or too low as well. If you like explosions, this is for you. Seriously, some action scenes here were quite good, other scenes were like watching a video game.
All in all, don't expect anything original, or good. It's not terrible, just below average.
Because of the sneak preview, at least this was free.
Preposterous, Inane. An Action Movie For Idiots
Review:Jason Statham. How you try to wow us, try to impress us and try to become a star. Statham is like a roller coaster, it goes up and goes down. Up with Cellular, down with the Transporter. Shame that most of this coaster is spiraling down and really down with this slab of garbage known as "Crank", a blatant and pathetic ripoff of Speed. How original. Allow me to elaborate:
Crank starts off with our hero watching a tape of a group of bad guys near our unconscious hero. They inject him and now he is going to die if his heart rate is below a certain rate. Why the bad guys just did not finish him off there is beyond me as that would be a lot more simple than slow death, but that's what happens when I apply logic to idiocy.
Anyway, Chaz has got to keep himself pumped till he gets the bad guys and will do whatever to do so. Many of these said things are lame and boring such as raiding a store for energy drinks or trying to head-bang to crappy music. Needless to say, the screenplay is terrible and this was a disaster from the start.
I am unsure of why Amy Adams is here, buts she is and clearly did not enjoy herself in a drab and forgettable performance and the same goes for Statham. He can be a good actor, just most of the time it's rinse and repeat for Statham as the predicable tough guy. The action is cluttered and boring, the editing is atrocious, the bad guys are one dimensional and the ending is truly insulting to your intelligence.
Crank is first grade trash. Do not even bother with this and find something else to do with your time. Really, anything. How can anyone with a brain like this? I am trying to root for Statham to be the next big thing, but I am running out of patience.
Star Trek (2009)
Breathing New Life Into The Universe
Star Trek (2009)
Ah, Star Trek. While a short lived t.v. series from the 60's has spawned a legion of fans throughout the years. Perhaps it was the concept, maybe the characters, or maybe leaves people wondering what will the crew encounter next? Anyway you look at it, Star Trek has hit the cinema more than ten times. It's time for another brave voyage.
We have seen a lot of origins lately and now it is Star Trek to shine and finally understand the origins of the original Star Trek crew. This is an excellent character study of the history of the originals. From the beginning, we get already a huge understanding and knowledge of two of our main stars in the first thirty minutes than the entire hour and half of Wolverine, and I still do not know everything about Wolvie.
However, there is more, we learn about Dr. McCoy and how he got the nickname "Bones" and I must say that Karl Urban does have a rather strong resemblance to the original "Bones" McCoy that I swear they are related. There is Sulu, who is more slick than first thought and get to see Sulu in a different light, not in a bad way mind you.
As if the casting was not enough, what is better is the fact of pure attention to detail. Not everybody is perfect and can make a mistake. There are some genuine moments of good humor here and it is mostly in the delivery of well said one-liners, although the humor is great between some fine interaction between Kirk and Bones early on. Pine and Urban have such fine chemistry. I really can't complain about the acting at all, everyone was in top form, especially Zachary Quinto as Spock.
The screenplay is a success. Everything is explained in intricate detail. We got a true villain and a prime motive to explain his actions. There is a fine level of true emotion felt as I really cared for the crew of the Starship: Enterprise and even though this is a origin story, there are some good moments of suspense too as well as some moments of genuine fear. The level of action is quite awesome. It's slick, stylish, and gave Star trek that extra edge it needed.
This is truly a strong take and a bold one for Star Trek, but it's a solid one. Solidly directed by J.J. Abrams, this is a excellent summer movie. This will appeal to the old trekkies and has the edge and style to attract new fans as well. I know I am now one of them.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Dull Blades and Plot Holes
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) This is the origins of the most popular mutant. Every one has a past. nobody can figure out Logan. Well, here we get answers, well.............some of em anyway.
Origins has the exploits of Logan from the early childhood to his supposed immortal life. No answers. We see montages of his later days. No answers. He and his brother, Victor throughout the years. Still no answers. Then Logan and Victor, join an elite squad of soldiers on top secret missions. By the way, not much answers here either. Notice a pattern? Origins is all about the clawed mutant and his past that we got curious about in the first two X-Men movies. Here, it is somewhat explained, but not really. He is with a group of soldiers, then they disband, no answers. We have a huge group of mutants, just forget about character development as there hardly ever looked upon, and shockingly not as much on Logan and hardly on his brother Victor, who by the way is "Sabretooth" who in the first X-Men movie did not even mention that Logan is his brother at all. There is even an appearance by a somewhat known mutant that was given as much screen time as Kurt Russel in "Death Proof". And character development? Forget it. Did I mention that I caught some plot holes that the filmmakers did not. It was easy as you probably did too. There are also some scenes here that can go from plain bad to unbelievably cheesy. I found myself rolling my eyes at some, and found myself laughing when I was not supposed to, and not laughing when I was supposed to. Ouch.
Hugh Jackman has lost the passion and spark of Wolverine. He just does not have it in him anymore as was evident in the last X-Men movie. I noticed that Ryan Reynolds is here and gives a really bored performance as well. As a matter of fact, nobody here seemed to enjoy themselves. The action movie chiches' are far too much and this is not what we wanted.
Origins is supposed to give us answers, not leave us with questions. There are far too many questions to come across. This does not give as much of a deep insight into the clawed mutant that I originally thought. This is not like the first two X-Men movies, which were fun and exciting, this is like the awful third, uneven, unfocused, and unnecessary.
Jesus Camp (2006)
Drunk With Power
This is a terrifying movie. I still cannot believe what happened at this place. This documentary scans a camp where a bunch of kids are sent to during one summer and see exactly what these kids are being taught.
Jesus Camp needs to be seen to believe. We get to witness the kids become soulless and judge-mental. As the camera scans the campers, some of the kids even mention that they are not allowed to watch Harry Potter movies for a truly ridiculous reason. We get to see some of the adults running the place and what they do to scare the kids into believing and the manipulation could have not been done better. It's utterly despicable.
These kids are taught one thing: that this is the only religion. No messages of love or respect. These kids get involved in politics, dragged into protest rallies, and the worst, never question their own beliefs. It would be amazing if any of these poor souls will ever live a decent life.
These kids parents must be ashamed of themselves. The only time the parents show any emotion is when they see their young take the bait. What got me the most is when the kids meet Pastor Ted Haggard, who is apparently 100% heterosexual despite having a three year meth-laced affair with a gay hooker.
This is a truly disturbing documentary that breaks the boundaries and may cause great anger among many. In our world, it's full of colors, in their world, it's truly black and white. This did send chills up my spine. Everyone needs to see this. A remarkable piece.
No Country for Old Men (2007)
Sadistic and Gripping
No Country for Old Men (2007)
Review: The Coens are back. This is not your kooky movie or silly humor or silly accents. This is a truly sadistic tale. Time to get serious.
No Country for Old Men is a good movie. The plot is that an ordinary man winds up finding a gruesome scene of possibly an aftermath of a drug deal gone wrong. Along with the deceased and many weapons, there is a briefcase filled with tons of cash. From here, his life is forever changed. For the better, or worse? This movie works in so many ways. First is the scenery is terrific. If you like the southern Texas desert, then this is for you. Just breathtaking. Second is The wonderful casting From Josh Brolin(who has been making some great decisions lately), Tommy Lee Jones and the psychopath, Javier Barden who gives a truly chilling performance as a fiendish air gun wielding maniac. And lastly the movie has no background soundtrack. NONE. All you will hear is either the footsteps, the guns, the telephone, the wind, or vehicles nearby. This gives the viewer the feeling like you are there at the same time! It adds the suspense by a huge margin than the usual "shock" value that does nothing for me.
The suspense....this movie has a death grip on suspense. You cannot deny how gripping this truly is. Many scenes had me on the edge of my seat...really! Just get ready to hold on when we get a excellent scene in the city streets.
The Last Word: Solid. As for the ending....I did not get angry or anything. Don't hate this because of that. You cannot deny the level of suspense that this movie carries. We have not seen suspense like this in years. Kudos, gentlemen, kudos.
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Huge Hype, No Payoff
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Review: With Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard, the hype is huge. Once again, hype is still my worst enemy. Will it ever deliver?
The Da Vinci Code is a dreary, ugly, boring and lousy movie all in one. Yeah, i'm all too familiar with the Hanks' hairdo, but this movie is worse. The story is not compelling in the least. I'm not at all a religious guy at all, but this is just flat out boring. In a another way: It did not get my attention.
With the talent pool at an all time high, even they could not save this. Another downfall is the fact that filming this across the sea, Ron Howard did not take advantage of the many scenic locations over there. The scenery because of that was awful.
The Last Word: Don't Bother. This is too long with no payoff. Booo, hiss.