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Act of Valor (2012)
Our Troops Deserve A Better Movie
The main thing Act of Valor has going for it is the fact that the film stars real life U.S Navy SEALs. This also happens to be one of the films many flaws. I understand that these people are not actors, but i'm not going to let the film off the hook for such awful acting just because these people aren't actors. It's just a gimmick that was used to sell the film. The acting in the film really is terrible and some of the lines are delivered so poorly that you can't even understand what they are saying. The plot for the film is incredibly thin and is only there to set up the action scenes to show these SEALs doing what they do in the line of duty. These sequences are at first mildly amusing to watch, but they quickly just become generic shootout scenes that overuse the first person view point way too much and it becomes annoying very fast. It felt like I was just watching someone play Call of Duty. Speaking of Call of Duty, it almost seems that every action scene in this film was ripped off from a level of Call of Duty. Another problem with this film is that for a film that's selling point is trying to show us the lives of these men who are in active duty, yet the film never at any time attempts to develop these characters. They are as lifeless as they come and this becomes even more of a flaw in the moments where the movie tries to have emotional moments that come off more as forced and cliché that emotional. What really disappointed me was the fact that the film never touches on what war is like for these guys and there feelings about it, or why the feel the need to fight for their country. This film is also very boring since there is almost no plot and the action sequences are so run of the mill. At times, it felt like I was just watching a recruitment ad for the army. Save your money and time and just play Call of Duty.
Magic Mike (2012)
Not What You'd Expect, And That's A Good Thing
At first glance, Magic Mike seems like a film that doesn't have much to offer besides men stripping and a generic romantic comedy plot. However, the film is a lot better than you'd think it be and it has a lot more to offer than just male stripping.
The trailer for the film is VERY misleading and makes it appear to be a romantic comedy when the film is much more of a comedy-drama centered the life of Channing Tatum's character and Alex Pettyfer. The film has a good mix of comedy and drama and also has a surprisingly dark 2nd half to it which I really enjoyed. This has really been a good year for Channing Tatum. I used to think he was a terrible actor but with this and 21 Jump Street, he has proved me otherwise. He is terrific here and even better than he was in 21 Jump Street since he is also dealing with drama here and not only comedy. The rest of cast did a good job and Matthew McConaughey stole every scene that he was in. The only person who didn't do a good job was the Tatum's love interest Cody Horn who gave a very stale performance. Despite a lot of man ass, the dance scenes in the film are a ton of fun to watch, even if you are a guy. Soderbergh did an excellent job directing and I really loved the cinematography and style that was used for the film. However, Magic Mike has some problems with it that keep it from being the great movie it could've been. My biggest problem with it is that the whole film felt very disjointed and that really bugged me. The film didn't feel like it had a good flow to it and scenes would just happen one after another in random order. I got used to this after a bit into the film, but it still bugged me quite a bit. The film could've also done without the romantic subplot which served no purpose to the film what so ever and really just dragged it out longer than it needed to be. I also didn't care for the way the film ended either. There's a scene that takes place 5 minutes before the final scene of the film that I actually felt would've fit the film much better and left more of an impact than the final scene of the film did.
Overall, Magic Mike isn't as good as it could've been, but it's also a lot better than you'd expect it to be. It's not a movie that is strictly for female's and is one that male's can also enjoy. Women might actually be disappointed that there isn't as much stripping in the film as you would expect and may not like some of the darker parts of it. Don't blow this movie off because of the subject matter. Give it a shot, and I can guarantee you that you'll be surprised by how much you will enjoy Magic Mike.
Not Great, Not Bad. Just Alright
While there really isn't anything wrong with Ted, there isn't anything that great about it either. For his first film, Seth MacFarlane did a good job, but he's still got a lot to learn as a director. The film feels very much like his material and some scenes felt exactly like a live action episode of Family Guy. Mark Wahlberg did a good job in his role and MacFarlane and I really enjoyed the character of Ted. He really carries the movie and the scenes without him on screen really seemed to go by a bit slow. As for the comedy in the film, there are plenty of funny scenes, but most of them deliver on a level of chuckles instead of big laughs. That's not to say the film doesn't deliver some laughs at points, but not as many as it should. The one thing that did kinda bug me about this film was it's constant references to the 80's. Some of them such as the references to Flash Gordon were funny, but the film relied way too heavily on them and some of them felt forced. I also felt the film was a bit too long and could've easily been 15 minutes shorter. Overall, Ted isn't as good as it could've been, but there really isn't anything wrong with it that will keep you from enjoying it either. It's much better than the new episodes of Family Guy, but there's much funnier films that have come out this year such as 21 Jump Street.
Hey Arnold! The Movie (2002)
Enjoyable, But Not As Good As It Could've Been
I've been a fan of Hey Arnold ever since I watched it growing up as a kid and it still remains one of my favorite nicktoons till this day. I remember seeing the movie when it came out in theaters and finally got around to revisiting it. I have to say while it's enjoyable, it really does feel more like the t.v special it was intended to be and not a movie. The plot is pretty weak and the length of the movie feels forced at even it's short 70 min runtime. The animation also isn't that great for a theatrical film (some of the later episodes of the show actually had better animation). But, it's flaws don't keep it from being enjoyable. The film still sticks to the shows humor and characters well and keeps itself going at a good pace which makes it so the film never really slows down. Still, I feel like it really didn't a movie and it probably should've just stayed a t.v special. If you're a die hard fan of the show, you'll most likely be disappointed but still enjoy it.
The Darkest Hour (2011)
And Just When You Thought Things Couldn't Get Worse After Battle LA...
The Darkest Hour is one of the stupidest and worst movies i've seen in a while. The quality of this is something that belongs on the SyFy channel. The whole film consist of nothing but the characters coming up with really stupid excuses to travel from one location to another just to advanced the plot. The acting is really bad and the characters are not developed at all so we are giving no reason to care about them. Emile Hirsch has given some fantastic performances but it's as if he isn't even trying here. The dialogue is laughable and their are plot elements that are so dumb it seems as if a 13 year old wrote the script. The visuals are also very cheap looking. The end even sets it up for a sequel which I doubt anyone would want to see after sitting through this crap. The Darkest Hour is just awful and is on about the same level of the terrible alien invasion movies Battle LA and Skyline. Don't waste your time with this awful awful film.
Underworld Awakening (2012)
Another Lame Sequel
I should probably start off this review saying that i'm not really that big of a fan of the Underworld franchise. I thought the first two films were OK and I thought the third one was awful. When I saw the trailer for Awakening, it looked like it would finally be what I had wanted from this series all along. A fast paced over-the-top action movie with the addition of some great 3D effects.
Unfortunately, Underworld Awakening is exactly what I feared it would be and that is a poorly done sequel that should've gone straight to DVD.
Despite some good action sequences, this is just another lackluster installment in a franchise that was never that good to begin with. I probably wouldn't have hated it so much if the story haden't been so horrible and stupid.
It's not as bad as the third film, but it's still not worth watching.
Get the Gringo (2012)
Not Gibson's Best, But It's Worth A Watch
Not one of Gibson's more memorable or best films, but still very entertaining. Mel is back at doing what he does best, being a bad-ass and at times very funny. The films strengths are his performance and sharp written dialogue. While there wasn't as much action as I wanted there to be, there's some great violent action scenes in here including one of the best shootouts i've in a film in a long time. The film probably would've worked better for me if there had been a stronger story and more going on in the first act. Otherwise, it's not a great Gibson movie, but it's satisfying. It's nice to see Mel back in action and hopefully he will continue to do some more films of this type.
Never Lives Up To It's Full Potential
Wanderlust has a few good moments, but it is just not that good or funny of a movie. Most of the movies problems seem to be from the product of a weak script. The film has a few very funny moments, but a lot of other moments come off as not very funny or are dragged out way too long and just become awkward or annoying. The movie also suffers from another problem that i've noticed in comedies lately which is awkward cuts right after a joke hits a punchline, which is an issue that is present a lot in the first half of the film. By the end of the film, I couldn't help but think why did this movie even need to be made because it doesn't seem like anyone behind it had any interest or passion in really making it. Overall, Wanderlust isn't terrible, but you could never see it your whole life and you wouldn't miss out on anything. If you really feel like you need to see it then rent it. Otherwise, i'd just save your time and skip it.
You Don't Have To Be A Shakespeare Fan To Enjoy This Film
Going into the film, I really didn't know anything about it. Which is why i'm glad to say I was pleasantly surprised by this film.For a first time director Ralph Fiennes really did a great job making a modern adaptation of one of the lesser known Shakespeare works. I'm not a huge Shakespeare fan, but I have to say that the use of the his dialogue here actually worked in the context in the film even with the modern setting. Fiennes and Butler both do an amazing job and really carry the film as does the rest of the cast. The action sequences are also shot very well and realistically. I hope Fiennes continues to direct because he shows a lot of talent here. Don't let Shakespeare's name drive you away from this film! You don't have to be a fan of his work to enjoy it!
A Fun Action Flick That Delivers On Exactly What It Promises
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is exactly what you would expect from the title. A ridiculous, over-the-top, and fun action-horror flick. The serious tone and silly premise may turn off some people, but the serious tone actually works to the films advantage and actually made the movie more fun. I actually think a goofy and comedic tone could've hurt the films in some ways by being a bit too tongue and cheek. The action scenes were well done and incredibly entertaining to watch. The final action scene was actually worth the price of admission alone. I also enjoyed how they included actual parts of Lincoln's history into the film. Benjamin Walker also surprisingly did a good job as Lincoln. The dialogue is corny but I actual think that played as a strength to a film rather than a weakness. The 3D effects are also used very well in the film and delivers a good mix of depth and gimmicky moments and really enhanced the action sequences. I would highly recommend seeing the film in 3D if you have the option. If I had any complaints it would be that I did feel like the film dragged a bit in the middle.
Overall, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a fun flick that delivers on exactly what it promises. Abraham Lincoln kicking vampire ass! If you don't go in holding the films premise against it, than you'll have a blast with it!