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Bad Boys II (2003)
Bad Boys II is an all-out brutal assault on the senses. If you can handle that, then you are in for quite a ride.
Bad Boys II rages across the screen for two and a half hours. By the halfway point I was pretty drained, but this worked to my advantage. Michael Bay movies tap a different part of the human brain. Bad Boys II brings the viewer to the darkest parts of the mind, but Bay filters it through a sense of child-like immaturity. This tactic allows the viewer to submit to the images put forth on screen. Instead of being disturbed or repulsed by the extremely dark nature of the humor present, a submissive viewer will go along with this and laugh out loud. A lot of laughter will come from the disbelief of what you are seeing.
The stars of the movie, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return as detectives Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett. These two are quite possibly the most hateful, immature, sadistic, and despicable movie cops ever. Bay doesn't shy away from portraying shallow and (subjectively) unlikable characters (Pain & Gain, Transformers 2 & 3, Pearl Harbor) but he can ground them in such a way to make them somewhat sympathetic. In this case Mike and Marcus are the rudest most annoying teenage boys you've have ever seen, but dammit aren't they funny? The villain is Cuban drug lord Johnny Tapia played by Diego from 2001's "Blow". This is the character in the movie that is most modeled after Bay himself. He's rich (like Michael Bay), selling a product that stimulates the senses(like Michael Bay movies), and he's got babes everywhere (this is a Michael Bay movie).
But as always the main star of a Bay picture is the chaos, and boy does he deliver and over-over-deliver. It's hard for me to decide which Bay sequel is truly "Bay Unleashed", Bad Boys II or Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. In terms of overall scale and sensory overload, Transformers 2 is the winner. But by default it goes to Bad Boys II if only for one reason, the "R" rating, Bay doesn't hold back whatsoever. This movie kicks your ass relentlessly for 148 minutes, if you are feeling any sense of morality while watching this and feel the need to complain, please shut it off immediately. If you can submit yourself to the chaotic realm that is Bad Boys II then you are in for quite a ride.
Pain & Gain (2013)
Pain & Gain is Michael Bay's most well-rounded feature to date
Bay's most recent film is his most thematically satisfying and well- rounded feature to date. It's interesting to see Bay channel the Coen Bros. (Fargo), Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), Scorsese (Goodfellas), a little Oliver Stone (Natural Born Killers: Bay blows that movie away, Stone wishes his movie was as good as this), and the "Florida Backdrop with a True Crime story" reminded me of 2001's 'Bully'. I must also mention 'American Psycho', and how that film's (and book's) protagonist, Patrick Bateman views life in a similar vein to how Wahlberg's Daniel Lugo sees his American Dream. Now imagine all those films on roids' and filtered through the lens of Michael Bay.
'Pain & Gain' is bizarre, funny, immature, exciting, repulsive, fast, touching, shocking, stupid, disturbing, and very true (I was surprised at how faithful it is to the real story, although creative liberties have been taken).
The film is new, it will divide people, but I have a feeling its meaning will deepen and the film will only improve with repeat viewings. This is Bay at his creative and impulsive best. And he has created one of the most brilliant movies ever made about Dumbassery.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The Dark Knight Rises is a Pulp Masterpiece
Nolan has created a Pulp Masterpiece. With Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Nolan set out to get Batman back to his gritty roots. With Rises, Nolan slowly backs out of the grittiness and enters a pulpier realm. A Bondian realm that begins with a mid-air high-jacking. Has a villain that wears a mask 99% of the film. Batman and Catwoman fighting side by side only to be stopped by gunfire from henchmen so incompetent they can only hit their own comrades rather than hitting their intended targets. And of course a nuclear bomb countdown. Nolan clearly has a love for James Bond films (as he also showed with Inception). As a fellow Bond aficionado, I really appreciate this, and it only adds to my overall enjoyment of the film. Superhero movies generally follow a particular formula. I could predict the plot beats of most of the recent Marvel films (this is not a complaint of Marvel's Cinematic Universe, just an observation). The point is that this film (as its predecessor did) threw me more surprises than most films of this genre typically do. And my expectations were blown away. TDKR has a very intricate structure, and for being 165 minutes long, the movie flies by at a nice pace.
Nolan's film has the feeling of a Coppola-sized epic from the 1970s, with its plot complexity, large cast of characters, intricate dialogue scenes with equal helpings of pain and tragedy. Many scenes in the film are shot in an orange/sepia tone that reminds me of The Godfather Part II. Tom Hardy's Bane is a mythical, Kurtz-like antagonist. The film has subtext and some political satire, one can interpret that how they will.
"The Dark Knight Rises" could very well be the most polarizing film of Nolan's career thus far, hopefully the debate will continue.
Less Than Zero (1987)
Less Than Zero: An Underrated Piece of 80's cinema
Before watching "Less Than Zero", I had read the book and was aware of the criticism this movie gets for not being anything like Bret Easton Ellis' first book. After watching it, I would definitely agree that it is nothing like the book, but I did like it for what it was.
Clay (McCarthy) is coming back to Los Angeles for the Holidays. He meets up with his old Girlfriend, Blair (Gertz) and Best Friend, Julian (Downey). Clay last caught them in bed together during a Thanksgiving visit. It seems that for the past few months, Julian has developed a serious cocaine addiction that has put him $50,000 in debt with his vicious Coke Dealer, Rip (Spader).
So what can I say? The film looks terrific. The Cinematography by Edward Lachman is amazing, and it is also highlighted by Thomas Newman's haunting score. The performances are great, particularly Robert Downey Jr as Julian (Who I think plays the part pretty accurately as his counterpart from the book), and although Andrew McCarthy and Jami Gertz get a lot of bashing for their performances, I think they're both quite effective. And Also worth noting is James Spader as Rip, who seems almost like an even slimier version of "Stef" from "Pretty in Pink".
Although it has its critics and it isn't an adaptation of the book, I personally love this movie and think that it deserves more credit than it gets.
Back to the Future (1985)
25 years, and it hasn't aged a day...
I just got back from a 25th Anniversary Screening of "Back to the Future" at The Puente Hills Mall. Which is the same Mall that was used for the film. It's like stepping into a time machine and going Back to the Past.
As a child I used to watch The BTTF Trilogy all the time on video. My favorite ride at Universal Studios was the BTTF ride. And I got really excited when the Trilogy was released to DVD.
Now as a teenager, I got extremely excited when I read that there was going to be a Re-Release. The showing was awesome, there were so many other fans, there was clapping during just about every scene.
Now for the film. The film follows a really simple plot (which is rare for most time travel adventures). The jokes seem new every time I watch the film. They're always hilarious. And I have to credit the Amazing Cast and Writers for that.
For a Comedy, the movie packs a lot of suspense, the climax is beautifully put together with its race against time situation.
And what else can I say that hasn't already been said? The movie is one that every person in the world should see. It's really one of the Best Movies of All-Time 10*** out of 10***
Shutter Island (2010)
Martin Scorsese has created a Thrilling Epic...
As a fan of Martin Scorsese, I was became quite sad when I found out that his newest film would be delayed till the following February.
Well it is now February and I must say that this is one great motion picture.
Nothing on Earth would destroy my expectations for this film.
Scorsese uses the same thrilling formula that made 1991's "Cape Fear" work so well. He puts you on the edge of your seat and puts in on a human level.
Never have I experienced a film like "Shutter Island". It is a film that never gives up on its audience. It always keeps you guessing and always changes your perspective. It always has you choosing what you believe in.
DiCaprio turns in one of his best performances as Teddy. Martin Scorsese's direction is pure dynamite. The cinematography by Robert Richardson is breathtaking. And the music is on the spot.
This movie is a Masterpiece of Thrillers
10*** out of 10***
Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
20 years of an American Masterpiece...
As of today "Born" is 20 years old, and I thought it would be appropriate to review and look back on it.
The first time I saw "Born", I was an 8 year old boy laying in his hotel room in Las Vegas. I couldn't stop watching it. I was absorbed by it. I didn't see all of it then, but I watched it on DVD many years later and I have realized it is an American Masterpiece.
Tom Cruise is absolutely extraordinary as Kovic.
There's a lot to say about the technical aspects of "Born". From it's Amazing Direction(Stone won the Oscar that year and deserved his win) to the Beautiful Musical Score by John Williams. It also deserves props for its Cinematography and Editing.
But I can't understand why this film didn't get either a Best Picture or Best Actor win. And I don't understand it's somewhat low 7.1 rating on this website. This film is a Masterpiece and deserves more credit.
To close this I must say this is the Best of Stone's films, even "Platoon".
10*** out of 10***
The Villain (1979)
Starts out well, but is immediately overdone.
The Villain starts with some solid laughs, but only becomes an overdone film that you just want to end!
My friend told me about this movie. We both have never seen it before and it had a good concept so we decided to watch it!
The first act is great! The laughs are solid, and, well it was fun. Then it was all downhill from there!
Bottom Line: If you want to watch this, than watch the first 30 minutes and watch the scenes where Douglas tries to stop Arnold and Ann-Margaret!
P.S. Arnold's outfit is one of the best things in the Movie!
Raptor Island (2004)
The Funniest Comedy I've ever seen...And the sad thing is it's not a Comedy.
Raptor Island is a Sci-Fi Channel movie. It's very funny because it has a dumb story,bad acting,bad visual effects,bad direction,and enough plot holes to make a small cemetery.
It starts out with a fake looking Chinese Aircraft getting struck by lightning. The movie is about A Group OF Navy Seals that are on a mission to rescue an agent from terrorists led by Steven Bauer who was in Scarface with PACINO. They follow the terrorists to an island with Raptors. That's where the bad visual effects come in.
This movie is hilarious in its awfulness. Oh and the Plot Holes "I don"t think he'll make it through the night. In the next scene that man is up running around. Why was a Chinese Aircraft holding American chemicals Was the above comment useful to you?
Final Verdict 1* out of 10*
I thought this would be better than the first movie. Boy was I Wrong.
This is got to be one of the Worst Movies I have ever seen! The Acting,The Dialogue,The Direction and even The Lighting (The Lighting Killed this already Dead Movie). You couldn't see what was going on throughout the movie because of it's awful lighting!
What a shame this movie was! This movie couldn't get a decent script, actors, or directors!
The First two "Alien" movies,(Alien & Aliens) are great Masterpieces of Science Fiction! The first "Predator" is an All-Out Fun Movie!
Those two Franchises had the Talents of Big-named Stars such as, Sigourney Weaver,Arnold Schwarzenegger,Tom Skerrit,Ian Holm,Bill Paxton,Michael Biehn, Winona Ryder,Yaphett Koto,John Hurt,Danny Glover and the list goes on and on!
Those two Franchises Had the Direction Talents of Ridley Scott, James Cameron,David Fincher, and John McTiernan of Die Hard fame.
Why oh Why could they not get decent actors or filmmakers? I am not Criticizing the fact that there were some unknown actors, Some films with unknown actors have been very well acted,(See Cloverfield). But my question is why couldn't they get actors that can act? Well, I don't think I will ever get that answer!
So my Final Verdict: 1* out of 10*
1/2 of a star out of 4
This is my pick for the Worst Movie of 2007.