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Matt_Layden

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637 reviews in total 
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WolfCop (2014)
46 out of 62 people found the following review useful:
The best film of all-time...about a wolfcop., 17 June 2014
7/10

An alcoholic cop wakes up one morning feeling a little different. His senses are stronger, dogs like him and when the full moon hits, he turns into a killer werewolf. A killer werewolf with a sense of duty to uphold. He becomes the WolfCop.

A low budget Canadian horror comedy flick in the style of Hobo With A Shotgun. While Hobo was decent, I felt a little underwhelmed with it. It was a little too serious for a low budget grindhouse flick that was suppose to emulate the 70's and 80's of cheesy horror. WolfCop seems like the type of film that would fill those needs and for the most part it does. With a modest budget of a million dollars, Lowell Dean manages to make the film look and feel like it belongs with those 70's and 80's flicks you'd find at the bottom of a dollar bin at Wal-Mart. If the film was too crisp and smooth, it wouldn't fit the atmosphere.

Dean tries his best to blend horror and comedy, a lot of the jokes fall flat, but there is just enough in there to make it entertaining. The execution was never going to be able to match the concept. I wanted more of the WolfCop on duty, foiling one robbery and crashing one drug op wasn't enough for me.

The monster effects are decent and there is a bit of comical gore to be had. I couldn't help but laugh at the faceless screaming man. For those wondering if a WolfCop can have sex with a human...he sure can. In a late night Baby Blue 2 on CityTV kind of way.

The theatre wasn't packed, but the audience who was in attendance seemed to enjoy themselves. This film does not take itself seriously, which is a good thing. I hope the film manages to find a cult following and if the ending of the film holds true, we will see a sequel sometime soon. Until then, enjoy the "it's so bad, it's good" nature of WolfCop.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
One Of The Series Best, 1 June 2014
8/10

With Singer back in the fold, many people felt like the series was back in good hands. He comes back after the failed attempt at reviving the Superman franchise and a battle of a fairy tale, Jack The Giant Killer. Those two projects seemed to fail with critics and audiences alike, so Singer is back to the films that made him a household name. I would personally like to see another small scale film like Apt Pupil or The Usual Suspects, but the guy has a visual eye that blends well with the big budget scaled films, so I'll take him here. Singer opens with a well choreographed fight between mutants and their new enemy, the Sentinels. Some neat powers are introduced, such as portals used by a new mutant Blink, which aid in the fight against these mutant killing machines. Once we get passed the explosive opening, we are given the set up, Logan must travel back in time and change the future. Some expository dialogue from Xavier and we are on our way back to the 70's.

Now, for people wanting to know where we are in the X-Men timeline. The past sequences are after the events of First Class, so the rift between Erik and Charles is present, but it is before the events of X-Men Origins, so before Logan has his adamantium. He's stuck with his bone claws here and in a surprising turn of events, we hardly get to see him use them. While a lot of the other films were "Wolverine" heavy, DOFP seems to be more of an ensemble piece, giving equal time to much deserving characters. A new addition, Peter AKA Quicksilver, has the most memorable sequence in the film and his scenes again, show the visual excitement that Singer brings back to the franchise.

In the past, Logan has to convince Xavier to help him, but he has lost the use of his powers due to an experimental drug he uses developed by Hank McCoy (Beast) that gives him the ability to walk again. Xavier is stuck in a depressed isolated place, he's lost his friend Erik, Raven has abandoned him, the school is shut down. He's not in a good place. Logan has to do for him what Xavier did for Logan back in the original films. Help him find his way. McAvoy isn't afraid to let the character, who is almost always calm, cool, collected and smart...with more of an edge. He's lost, he's refusing to acknowledge his power exists. Magneto on the other hand is in prison. People claim he is responsible for the assassination of JFK and they need to bust him out. They still don't see eye to eye and Fassbender brings the angry hostility that a young man with a lot of power would have. He wants to be the superior species whether he is or not. His plan in't the same as Logans/Xavier's and the conflict arises.

Back in the future, Patrick Stewart, Ian Mckellen, Halle Berry, Ellen Page and others are given nothing to do but basically wait. Time is running out for them as Sentinels close in. They try their best to fend them off, but their screen time is a little too short for us to fully invest. Singer relies heavily on previous films for us to care. Most of the conflict is in the 70's. Which look like a far out time to live in. Lava lamps, Vietnam, Nixon, etc. The world Singer creates feels real enough and he follows in the footsteps of First Class director Matthew Vaughn in having mutants be responsible are involved in our real human history. This is a nice touch that pulls the audience in, gives us something more to chew on.

As dark as the film is, Singer has just the right amount of light comedy to remind us that we are watching a comic book film. A wink and a nod here and there are welcomed, especially those who are fans of the comics and know certain character relations. DOFP is exciting, thrilling and one hell of a ride. I'd place this entry up there with X-2. It tries to mend the broken bones that was left behind from Ratner and his Last Stand, which was a poorly written, visual disaster. Yet DOFP falters in some areas, mostly in the continuity round.

First Class screwed up a lot in the continuity department with the other films. Certain character relationships, history, plot, etc. Last Stand screwed things up with unemotional character deaths and juggling of two awesome stand alone story lines into one big mess. DOFP doesn't feel like it has to answer some important questions. Like, how does Wolverine has adamantium claws in the future, who know from the events of The Wolverine he doesn't. How does Xavier still have his body? he transferred consciousness in the end of Last Stand. Who built cerebro? Two conflicting answers. Why does Logan have white hair when he "doesn't age" but everyone else looks the exact same age. Some interesting things I thought to myself was when Logan goes back in time, Xavier is depressed...he hasn't changed the past yet, so what was it that originally brought him out of his funk to form the x-men? Why is his relationship with Mystique so important now, but never mentioned in the other films? Chalk this up to oversight when the originals were made, but it would still be nice to see them correct this mess in the film.

It seems they wanted to hit a big RESET button, which they did, but I still have my questions, questions I feel will never be answered, but that's just the film student comic geek in me talking. DOFP is THE summer blockbuster of this year and one helluva good time.

Godzilla (2014)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Now With 100% Less Matthew Broderick, 18 May 2014
7/10

A nuclear meltdown 15 years ago bears striking resemblance to some current issues with the area now. What secrets are the government hiding away in the quarantined zone? When a freak of nature breaks lose from the cocoon it was encased in, another comes in to restore balance to the nature of things, while we try to get in his way....he is Godzilla.

There's a lot going on in Godzilla, so I'll give it credit for trying to bring something to the table that the original Americanized version did not. The size and scope of this entry is bigger and better. Gareth Edwards, the guy behind the independent special effects heavy flick Monsters, has been given a monster size of a budget to direct this decades old creature and possible restart a franchise. His delivery of Godzilla is a mess, but it beautiful mess.

The film is gorgeous to look at. Seeing the destruction of the world while these massive beasts tango is a marvellous achievement. Edwards teases the audience a lot here. Just when we are about to see the showdown, he cuts away and we only get glimpses of it on the television. A neat way to build up our anticipation for the destruction that is sure to ensue in the climax. He does this one too many times though and the teases become irritating. Show us what we want: Destruction, Mayhem, GODZILLA.

The special effects are astounding, that's a given. Edwards fully develops these creatures in a life like environment and the destruction they cause feels real. The size and scope of these creatures are leaps and bounds over what Emmerich gave us in the late 90's. The fighting between the monsters is a little rough, Del Toro has more of a craft to it with Pacific Rim. Here it feels more like a brawl, rightfully so.

Godzilla does the cardinal sin of false advertising. I can't really fault the film for this, but I do feel that it was a mistake creatively to kill off certain characters early in the film. There is no emotional catalyst for our lead hero here. It feels forced to try and make those connections it desperately wants the viewer to see and brings the film to sometimes boring sections. The human characters fill out their clichéd roles fine enough. Cranston is dynamite as the guy who is right about ominous things, but nobody believes him. Johnson is our lead, a good guy with father issues, trying to make it back home to his family and be the dad he never had. David Strathairn does his Jason Bourn military shtick and finally we have two actors who do absolutely nothing in the film. First is Ken Watanabe with very few lines, but serious looks here and there. He's our "let's explain everything" guy. The other is Elizabeth Olsen, who has done excellent work, as the wife of our lead. Her job is....I'm still confused here because she isn't even the damsel in distress. She is screen filler. Then last, but not least we have Godzilla, who is barely in the film.

Cardboard characters are to be expected in a monster flick....but aren't monsters expected to be in monster flicks? The guy's name is on the poster and Godzilla has the least amount of screen time here. The other creatures are cool looking as well and I really got into the "history" of when they first showed up and stuff, I just wish they explored that a tad bit more. The film is insanely serious. No real moments of brevity.

I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel, in the hopes that they take this in some kind of direction and not chug out Godzilla VS whatever creature the fans want now....I have my hopes.

Bad Words (2013)
3 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Offensively Funny., 16 April 2014
7/10

What happens when a 40 year old foul mouthed man attempts to beat little kids at a spelling bee competition? Jason Bateman tries to answer that question as he berates little kids, their parents and anyone else who questions why he has decided to do such a shamelessly embarrassing thing.

We meet Guy (Bateman) at a competition when another adult mistakes him for a parent of a child in the competition. Guy immediately lets this man know that his small talk, is not welcomed and he needs to back off. This is our first indication that Guy is a jerk. He doesn't have time for anything else, except to win. Which is exactly what he tells the guy before he walks onto the stage and confuses the crowd. When the judges running the competition try to kick him out, he pulls out this loop hole, which states that in order for you to qualify, you must not have passed the 8th grade before a certain date. Guy actually qualifies and uses this to his advantage as his foul mouth runs off the letter of the words required to proceed in the competition.

The reporter who pays for his hotel, flight and car rental accommodations to these events, is only doing so in order to get the scoop on the big question that people seem to have...WHY? Why has a grown man decided to enter these competitions? Each competition Guy wins gets her closer and closer to these answers. Along the way he manages to befriend a small child who will end up being his competition. Guy shows him how to have fun, by drinking, swearing and exposing him to his first set of breasts, by a prostitute no less.

So what makes the film funny? Is it Bateman's rapid fire cursing at anyone who bothers to talk to him, man, woman or child? The joyfulness that the film takes in its R rating? Or is it the extreme lengths that Guy will go in order to win, which would include making a young girl believe she had her period for the first time minutes before she was to go on stage. Well, it's all of these and more. Bateman, who also finds himself behind the camera, shows no fear in basking in the R rated-ness of the subject matter. Telling a young child to F-off is something that this film loves to do.

Bad Words is a dark comedy, in the style of Bobcat Goldthwait's directorial efforts. The subject matter seems to suit Bateman to a T. Being both in front of the camera and behind it gives Bateman the freedom to reign down the obscenities in the style that suits him best. As a director, Bateman serves the story well enough. There is nothing interesting visually here, save for one gag that has the televised event cut to "technical difficulties". As funny as Bad Words is, it definitely won't be 'remembered' down the road from now. As it stands, it's a funny film to pass the time on a Friday night. Of course, you'll have to be able to laugh at racist and misogynistic humour.

I sure did.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A Must See - Hilariously Entertaining., 25 February 2014
8/10

Emmet is a nobody. He is so normal and boring that even people he thinks are his friends don't remember him. He lives his life by the instructions, but one day he goes off the beaten path and finds himself deemed "the special one" by a rebel group hellbent on bringing an end to evil dominance in the land.

I had heard of good things from the film, I just didn't expect to cry from laughter. The Lego Movie is my kind of humour, fast paced, sometimes stupid, completely random and chaotic. The Lego Movie is all this wrapped in a beautifully created lego world that will have you smiling at all the little pieces that make up the brilliance of the animation. A must see film that is consistently funny and entertaining from start to finish. Bring the whole family.

The story involves in the old tale of an ordinary guy mistaken for some kind of hero, then he learns to trust in himself and finds the courage to become the hero the people thought he originally was. Nothing really new in terms of storytelling, but the presentation, the uniqueness of the art and the witty humour make for one tremendous ride from start to finish. The film feels like it never stops from the get go. Constantly on hyper speed, the pace never drags and the kids will never be bored.

Filled to the brim with voice acting, Chris Pratt leads the film with Elizabeth Banks playing the romantic interest. Supporting roles include Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, Charlie Day, Allison Brie, Nick Offerman, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson and dozens of others in smaller cameo roles all fit the bill nicely.

The imaginative landscape is truly inspiring here. Thrust into different lego worlds we'll be in the Wild West at one point, then stuck on a Pirate Ship the next. Despite the film being entirely CGI, you'll swear to yourself that half the film must have been done with actual legos. The attention to detail is awe inspiring.

The Lego Movie is indeed hilarious and a must see. It's early in the new year, but I expect this to be the best animated film this year. Can't wait for the sequel.

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Mildly funny and needed more "horror", 22 February 2014
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Todd brings his girlfriend up to the family cottage with the intention of proposing to her. Problems arise when his loser of a brother, Salinger shows up with his on/off girlfriend and ruins everything. Things go from bad to worse when the two brothers get into a pushing match, which ends with Salinger dead. Now Todd must keep it together before other people find out.

Cottage Country takes awhile before it finds the groove it wants to be in. This happens once the brother is killed. Everything leading up to that is really hit and miss comedy and set up. Labine doesn't seem comfortable, Akerman doesn't have much to do and Punch is incredibly annoying. Once the conflict arises, meaning the dead brother, the film finally gets into the right balance of comedy and horror...even though it goes lite on the horror.

Labine plays Todd, and everyman that people tend to walk over, be it his boss, brother and even wife. There is a bit of Tucker & Dale vs Evil intention here, with the character and overall theme in the film, but Cottage Country fails to deliver the laughs and gore. Instead we get chuckles here and there, mainly from the cast and the situation they are in. Akerman surprised me here. She held her own as the marriage obsessed wife. I forgot she could do comedy well.

The film tries this balancing act, but never quiet finds the footing. There are oddly placed scenes in which Todd sees his dead brother talking to him, but this adds nothing to the story and doesn't happen enough. There are only two scenes we get to see this interaction and decay of his psychological state. There were some tense and funny moments when the couple were trying their best to keep the murders under wraps, but not one memorable scene that stands out as really funny. The film had a decent premise (although it was a bit of a stretch) and it didn't really seem to take any chances. I would have appreciated it more if it had.

Cottage Country is a decent Canadian comedy horror that is lite on both. If you can get past the awful choice of having Lucy Punch do an odd accent for cheap laughs, and you can appreciate the ludicrous aspect of the premise and these horrible characters, then give Cottage Country a look. Just don't expect much, you'll leave a little bit surprised.

Nurse 3D (2013)
4 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Needed More Humour., 12 February 2014
4/10

Abigail is a well respected nurse who takes on a young up and coming nurse as her protégé. When the sun sets though, she turns her skills to maiming and killing those who deems "untrustworthy men".

Nurse 3D had some pretty big hype surrounding it with much of that due to the release of some NSFW marketing material. A naked Paz de la Huerta (what else is new?) on the poster, covered in blood, was risqué enough to attract the internet's attention. Throw into the mix a very beautiful Katrina Bowden and her nude scenes and you have yourself an 80's exploitation flick about women who murder cheating husbands!!!! Am I right? Wrong. This film could have been so much better, it had to potential, but it fails to make any lasting impression.

First, the film is in 3D. So we get the in your face death scenes, which I believe amounts to two or three. There are only a handful of scenes that jump out at the audience. Very cheap stuff that doesn't even begin to warrant the extra "effort" put into it. Second, we have a very confused and meddling plot. We have our lead character, the clearly insane Abigail, played by Paz de la Huerta who ups the sex appeal to 150%. She has this hatred for men who cheat on their wives, hmm, I wonder if we'll ever see a flashback telling us why. So we get two...count em....two scenes that detail her taking care of these men. A third scene involves a pervert who has sex with his employees, being tortured SAW style.

The deaths are completely unimaginative and lame. The climax has her change her motive and kill aimlessly anyone who gets in her way. She ends up covered in blood from head to toe. This climax sequences is laughable at best. How many times are characters going to look in the opposite direction for a split second, only to find Abigail suddenly gone, disappeared and on the loose again? Completely redundant.

We never get any closure from Bowden's character, or Corbin Bleu, who plays her boyfriend. We are literally left hanging in the dark as to their fate because the film conveniently forgets about them in the last ten minutes. Abigail becomes obsessed with Danni (Bowden) to the point where she will kill anyone, just to be with her. This of course makes Danni feels uncomfortable and sparks more rage and bloodlust from Abigail. A little Fatal Attraction in there.

There is a lot of nudity from De la Huerta, she walks around in skimpy nurse outfits (which fits the exploitation genre and in other scenes she has nothing on at all. Bowden has two quick shower scenes, that will leave the viewer wanting more. And with all this...the film doesn't feel sexy at all. It feels excessive. The film desperately wants to be an Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS, but never takes the risks to go there.

Nurse 3D is a pass for horror fans and even those who just want to see some naked women should stick with Paz in her other work, like Boardwalk Empire. Nurse 3D is a hot mess and these nurses have no cure for crap.

1 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
A Survivor's Tale, 14 January 2014
8/10

Operation Red Wings is a botched attempt at trying to capture/kill the Taliban leader. After letting a group of goat herders go free, the four men on the mission find themselves between a rock and dozens upon dozens of Taliban.

Lone Survivor right off the bat tells you one thing if you are not familiar with the story. Only one of these men survive. I'm putting my money on Marky Mark.

Peter Berg, who helmed the disastrous Battleship, somewhat redeems himself here with a realistic take on a poorly planned Navy Seals operation. Berg uses restraint in some much needed areas, which builds tension. Little to know music, dead silence is used to escalate the fear and it works to great effect. Then he goes an kind of ruins it with some melodramatic music cues at other areas, but for the most part, this is an excellently directed film.

I point to the sequence in which the characters literally throw themselves off a cliff in order to get away from the gunfire. The stunt coordination for them tumbling down the cliff side is some of the most brutal things put to film. How many times have you seem people jump off a cliff side and tumble down the side in a nice choreographed sequence that has them "hurting" a bit once they hit the ground. These guys are thrown around, break bones, cut skin, bleed, cough blood and worse. Watching them being thrown like rag dolls heightens the realism that was needed in Lone Survivor.

The film begins and ends with real footage of the men in the Navy Seals. Berg's nod to patriotism for the film. The dramatic parts are too concerned telling the story of these four fellas fight for survival to be bothered with the American flag waving propaganda. The film is small, intimate and personal.

All four men give great performances. They all have genuine chemistry with each other, which is what is needed for you to root for their survival. You'd think because they're American and the enemy is the Taliban that it would be automatic, but you'd be surprised. Eric Bana has a small role, anyone could have honestly played that part.

The film takes its time to build up to the action sequences, once it hits that note, it never lets up. These men are in the fight for their lives, a fight most of them lose.

Her (2013)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Her - Expression of the Soul, 7 January 2014
8/10

A man struggling with connecting to woman as a result of a recent divorce decides to get an Operating System that manages to be self aware, intuitive and lovely. He falls in love with Samantha, as she calls herself. But can a human have a real relationship with an operating system?

I loved being in this world. Jonze creates an incredible world in which he depicts a future that seems not too far away. Bright colours and fashion from our history, such as high waist pants, blends awkwardly well with the advancement of technology showcased here. Not once did I ever think that in our near, or distant future, that we would not achieve what Jonze envisions here.

All of Jonze's films are high concept, Being John Malkovich, Where The Wild Thing Are, etc...you'll see a lot of melancholy. Her fits well with his resume, but comes off as a more mature and held back piece. I was invested in the characters, more so than any other film this year. Hell, Her depicts the most honest and real relationship this year and one of them is nothing but ones and zeros. Both characters here are yearning for something more, Theodore, played by Phoenix yearns for connection. He needs to be with someone, but can't emotionally because he still wants to be with his wife. Samantha, voiced by Scar-Jo, yearns to be more than an operating system. She wants to feel, learn, be alive. This film mirrors what these characters go through, which is self discovery.

The film doesn't look at the technology as our saviour, nor does it look at it as our curse. It's simply part of our lives and the use of this allows us to examine relationships in a slightly new way. We are disconnected from people due to our devices, but we feel more connected with people because of them. The film manages to make the viewer wrestle with the question, what makes us human? Especially with an AI character and having so many people in the film walk around, in a zombie state, connected to their highly advanced devices. All the people Theodore sees in one way or another mirror him. They all have their ear pieces in, connecting with technology.

Phoenix is marvellous here. I'm not a huge fan of him, but I simply loved his performance here. I believed everything he did here and I think it had to do with his eyes. He invokes such sympathy with just his eyes, that Phoenix the actor disappears and Theodore the awkwardly emotionally detached AI lover emerges. He tries to fill his void of loneliness with the technology, as do most of the characters depicted in the film.

Amy Adams shows up as a neighbour to Phoenix and best friend. She's here to showcase to us that he is able to talk to and connect with a human being, he's not necessarily this recluse. This is a nice counter to the technology aspect. There is a brother-sister relationship here, which was crucial for the film. This helps us to see the technology as more of a tool for the characters, than simply a good or bad aspect of our future.

Her is heartfelt, funny and depressing. If your asking yourself, can a human and an OS have sex? Her answers this question, in a unique way that lets us focus on the sound and not the visuals. Her is without a doubt extremely inventive in the way it approached and handled the typical generic genre about romance and relationships. Her is one of the best films of the year and I highly recommend it.

Oldboy (2013)
2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Spike Lee Tackles Revenge., 1 December 2013
6/10

Can an American remake of a Korean film that deals with some pretty intense and disturbing stuff be more sick and twisted? The answer is yes, but that doesn't make this Spike Lee directed remake any better.

Joe Doucett is a drunk, a terrible husband and father, he can't even close a deal without being slapped in the face for his behaviour. All this stops once he is abducted and thrown into a hotel make shift prison, where he spends the next 20 years locked away. Randomly, he is released, now he must find out who released him and why.

Why mess with something that isn't broken? That's something that runs through my mind. Why remake a film only a few year later, as was the case with Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, just to get American audiences who are too lazy to read see a movie? Whatever the case may be, we have OldBoy. Now the question remains, does the film live up to the original and does it stand on its own ground? The answer is no on both counts.

Brolin is the lead and does a pretty admirable job as a man who must fight personal demons in order to overcome his troubles. He is thrown into a modern world, not knowing how to use the internet or the newest apple product. He does have a new set of skills though, 20 year locked away gave him a purpose and now he is no longer the fat drunk he once was. He's a lean, mean fighting machine and we have a carbon copy of the infamous hallway one take to prove that. Granted this addition seems out of place and simply there to be a nod to the original, it was nice to see an effort put in, even if it does fail in comparison.

The young lady who aids in his quest to find the man who has imprisoned him is Elizabeth Olsen. She continues to impress with each film and brings some humanity to this film, which seems devoid of any. This remake fails to make me believe their relationship at any point though. That's one thing this film fails at miserably. I never bought character relationships and I didn't feel like he was on a journey to discover his captor.

The man who has imprisoned him is Sharlto Copley. He has a very disturbing a troubled past and the man who is left is damaged beyond belief. Samuel L. Jackson has a small role as the man who runs the hotel. He plays his usual swearing self, complete with mohawk.

This isn't a Spike Lee Joint, instead it is a Spike Lee film. Does this mean he has matured? Who knows. His version of OldBoy lacks flair, emotion and for those who have seen the original any genuine shock. Lee does manage to make the film more disturbing with some flashbacks, but that doesn't make the film. I can say that the film WAS indeed, better than I had anticipated. It's not lazy and it tries, it just doesn't hit any of the notes it needs to.


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