Reviews written by
Thomas Ward

8 reviews in total 
Index | Alphabetical | Chronological | Useful

7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
A step up from Skyline, but still didn't reach its potential., 13 March 2011
6/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Just got back from a showing of Battle: LA, which was mediocre at best.Typical Hollywood: bunch of computer geeks in a hot room, wipping up some nice VFX for a mainstream audience. No effort whatsoever on coming up with an original, satisfying plot, conflicting characters, or really anything that makes a movie great.

Honestly, I think most action camera men are stuck in this constant state of muscle spasms. Why can't we just watch some action without having the camera jerk back and forth? For those experienced chefs out there, camera jerk is the equivalent of salt. Used in controlled amounts, it contributes to a dish. Too much, and that meal is soiled. I'm out to enjoy a movie, not suffer from an epileptic seizure. And also, come on director, pull the shot out and let us see the battle, for God's sake. I don't want to see random closeups of a bunch of guns going off and people screaming, that gives me no idea whats happening. This isn't a Micheal Bay film, people.

I won't go into how much the film is 'influenced' by others, but note that this is essentially BLACK HAWK DOWN and INDEPENDENCE DAY having a baby, with the aliens feeling like those from DISTRICT 9 and even a couple SAVING PRIVATE RYAN shell-shock moments thrown in just for good measure.

Despite this review being dominated by the cons, there were a few pros. For the few moments that you could actually see the battle the action was rather exhilarating. And Aaron Eckhart does deliver, providing easily the best performance of the movie, which is saying something, as the acting was decent all around. I especially enjoyed the character of Hector, a young boy who *SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT* loses his father. *END SPOILER END SPOILER END SPOILER* The kid did a good job, and I can guarantee this isn't the last time we're going to see him.

Overall, whether or not you enjoy this movie will come down to your taste in movies. If you enjoyed TRANSFORMERS 2: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, then you will like this movie. If you thought TRANSFORMERS was a little lacking, then you will find this movie no different.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Nothing horrible... and yet, nothing fantastic., 27 December 2010
6/10

I'd like to start off by saying that I have yet to see the first Tron movie (It was before my time), so please realize you're not going to receive any pointers from a hardcore fan.

The selling point to this movie was quite obviously it's visuals. I was... disappointed when I strolled through the doors and wasn't handed a pair of 3D glasses. But I guess that's the consequence of seeing a movie at 2 in the afternoon. Anyway, 3D is usually down the list for me, but honestly, 3D and eye candy was all this movie had going for it. Seriously, it's like Avatar, only people aren't going as crazy for this as they were that. But I'll save my Avatar rant for another review. However, I was perfectly content. It was an experience to see such a beautiful world crafted with yellow, orange, a light green, and muted grays and black.

One thing that I just have to point out is that young Jeff Bridges looks... weird. The computer generated imagery (CGI) was quite noticeable. They should have simply hired a younger actor that looks like Bridges. That, or give him a haircut, slap on some makeup, and dye his hair. The computer tweaking just stood out like a sore thumb.

The story was typical Hollywood, all but thrown in the trash for visuals. It was pretty predictable, you knew which character was going to get killed off, who would turn good in the end, etc. There were few surprises, and it didn't keep my attention very well.

The acting was nothing special, Bridges didn't shine like he usually does. It wasn't profound, but it wasn't Anakin from Attack of the Clones bad.

I said before that I thought the world was beautiful. I do, but the action scenes just weren't that exhilarating. Creative? Sure. But they didn't seem as well choreographed as some earlier 2010 movies (Inception, Kick-Ass, etc). They definitely could have come out better than they did. But like the rest of the movie, they weren't bad either.

This wasn't from a Tron fan- this was just a review by a self-described movie buff.

6/10, neither good nor bad, here nor there.

Food, Inc. (2008)
A movie everyone should see., 8 December 2010
10/10

Food, inc. gives us all an unflattering, unrelenting, unsettling look into what we put into our bodies. It tells tales of the food industry dominated by a few huge companies, where food is not grown on small farms, where farmers rise at the crack of dawn to toil in their fields and provide us with fresh meat, but of giant slaughterhouses, where cows live in two feet of their own manure, corporate organizations slowly taking control of arguably the most important industry in our lives.

The movies are broken up into small chapters, easily digestible (heh- pun intended) that drive home a point in each one. It transitions nicely between the tale of a small boy, contracting E. Coli and died twelve days later- all because of a burger, and how we - the consumers - have the power to change how this business is run.

That's another thing that caught my eye about this documentary: it provided a solution. Too often have I seen a documentary that moans and complains about a certain thing, that, admitted, should be fixed- but it offers no solutions, no method of fixing it. It's these that I forget, these that hold the least power over me. But Food, inc. doesn't do that. You have genuine farmers, as in red barns, large herds of cattle grazing in fields, pudgy pigs and clucking chickens galore, talking about how this industry needs to change, telling us HOW.

That's not to say it doesn't tap into human sympathies to great effect: there are pigs on conveyor belts, before they slide down into darkness, where we can't see them; but that doesn't stop the squeals. You have live cows hanging upside down, whizzing through a large factory, mooing with fear.

Whether or not it makes you vegetarian is besides the point- that is not the nature of this film. It is to teach, not change us from our omnivoric ways. The film's goal is to tell us that we have the power, that we are in charge of our health, and that if we refuse to by a product, that product will not continue being sold. It is a call to action against corporations that are controlling our farmers, abusing nature and animals in equal measure.

It is a film that will change you. Highly recommended.

74 out of 131 people found the following review useful:
The epitome of awfulness. Disney channel has reached a new low., 22 November 2010
1/10

Shake It Up, Disney channel's newest failure, is yet another example of how children's shows are getting progressively worse. The fact of the matter is, the target audience will probably find this to be hilarious; I don't know about anyone else, but I torturers have found a new rack or waterboard.

The characters are despicable, unrelateable, and just down right annoying. The two main characters (who I didn't even bother to learn the names of) are poorly constructed, with bad acting, and terrible lines. You end up hating them by the end of the pilot, which is the exact opposite of what the writers wanted. They're cocky, giddy, and frustrating.

Let me, before I finish my rant, give you a general summary of the pilot. Two girls are poor. Well, not poor, just an obnoxious teenager's idea of poor. They don't have cell phones (Oh the horror), and they resort to dancing on the subway for spare change. Not only are they stupid enough to think this may be a logical source of income, they complain and moan in their self-centered way when all they're days reward is a dollar. Yeah, cause when I'm on my way to work, I'm totally going to give my pocket change, which, let's be honest, is useful in a pinch, to a pair of adolescent girls who I don't even know that just shake their hips for 30 seconds to a simple beat. Don't get me wrong, I love a good subway performer; but not those who dance (and believe me - the girls are not good dancers) and then moan when a person gives money out of the goodness of their heart, but it's not enough to meet their standards.

Just to let you know, this all happened in the first 2 minutes of the pilot. It continued on for another 28 minutes.

Just another short little rant: they DID include that age-old foreign person cliché! But they mixed it up! There are TWO of them! GASP! And the writers expect the audience to laugh at some American kid acting as a foreign person with a funny accent and no concept of American culture. It made me want to shoot my T.V.

Final review: 1/10, a 1 only because this website won't let me rate any lower.

Team Fortress 2 (2007) (VG)
26 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
A brilliant title that embraces the competitive side while remaining light hearted and fun., 28 September 2010
10/10

Team Fortress 2 is my favorite multiplayer game of all time. The graphics are unique while at the same time beautiful, the gameplay is fast paced but still tactical, and with a company like Valve backing it up, TF2 still remains a Tour de Force in the PC gaming community.

Plot/Story: There is no single player campaign, but if you look closely you begin to see patterns. An ongoing comic strip on Valve's website reveals that the two sides, Blu and Red, are in actuality super companies dominating the 1940s. The lovable cast of characters is in actuality a group of mercenaries hired by the two rival companies.

Special effects/Graphics: This game is absolutely stunning. It has a very cartoony feel, but at the same time can result in amazing amounts of gore. There is an undercurrent of fun to the animations, with several hilarious taunts to go with each character.

Characters: Brilliant. There are nine playable characters: The Scout, a stereotypical American small town boy in love with baseball, The Soldier, a xenophrenic psychopath running around with a rocket launcher, The Pyro, no explanation needed, the Demoman, a drunk Scotsman who loves explosions, the Heavy, a minigun toting Russian with a Sandvich, the Engineer, who builds sentry guns and teleporters, the Sniper, again no explanation needed, the Medic, who can "Ubercharge" a teammate, making them temporarily immortal, and The Spy, a professional Frenchman who is more for cleaner ways of killing.

Each of the aforementioned characeters has their own range of lines and taunts, each hilarious. I was not at all surprised when IMDb put comedy as one of this game's tags.

Closing thoughts: Everything about TF2 is perfect. Also, Valve puts out almost daily updates, constantly addressing concerns and complaints from the community. Also, unlockable, upgradable weapons are available. It becomes so that no one's loadout is exactly the same, and more and more weapons are constantly added to the mix.

There are also hats, which are the ultimate status symbol in the game.

10/10.

P.S. Get this game for PC. While the 360 version is still a good game, it is completely blown out of the water by the PC version.

Inception (2010)
2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
A great movie., 17 July 2010
9/10

Inception definitely was on my list of movies I had to see, just because it was directed by Nolan, who produced the masterpiece that is The Dark Knight, and it had Leonardo DiCaprio in it. I'm not a teenage girl, I was not one of the many that fell in love with him when he fell in love on a big boat in the second highest grossing film ever, Titanic. However, I have liked a few of his works from the past, (especially The Departed) and I was interested in the premise of this film.

*Summary* Inception takes place in an unclear time period, where technology exists to access someone's subconscious. As it explains in the movie, when you are asleep all your mental protections are lowered, leaving you vulnerable to thefts like Cobb, Leo's role. Cobb uses this to his advantage, stealing ideas from wealthy business men, giving the idea to whoever was employing him for that job, and getting his share of the profit. It was all going peachy, until the wealthiest and most powerful employer to approach him asks something a little different: Inception. Instead of stealing an idea, the business man asks Cobb to plant one.

*Acting* The acting was great, as is expected from any Nolan film. While it is probably impossible to top Heath Ledger's Joker, Leo and crew do a good job of keeping the director's standards up. There were some sarcastic and memorable characters (namely Eames), there were by the book characters (Cobb's sidekick, Arthur), and so on and so forth. The characters were well varied and added a good spice to the movie.

*Plot* Possibly my favorite part of any flick is the plot. Maybe that is why I merely said "Meh," when all others where high of the hype of Avatar. The plot of Inception is rich and full of multiple layers (no pun intended to whoever has seen the movie). It is complex and fresh and it completes this movie.

*Effects* Great. Not 3D, so no need for extra charge or the uncomfortable glasses. This is just simple explosions, instead of getting into the more expensive and, quite frankly, unnecessary stuff. I am by no means saying Inceptions effects were bad, just that it was nice to get away from the 3D craze and realize that effects are really only the icing, not the actual cake.

All in all, the only thing keeping this movie from 10/10 was the length. It was a a little too long for my tastes. It feels like it spent a long time explaining all about the idea of extraction (the term for stealing ideas) and inception before it got to the actual action and climax. It is a small gripe, however, and it barely takes away from the whole film.

All in all:

9/10 stars

Definite nominee for Best Picture and numerous other awards based on current films of the year and future releases.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Fun, but not without flaws, mainly in multiplayer., 8 July 2010
6/10

Modern Warfare 2. Easily the most anticipated title of 2009, possibly of the decade. Fresh off the craze of Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward was set on expanding their market and making even more cash.

The campaign was certainly a lot of fun. It had brilliant action sequences and a lot of cool new settings and features. We definitely didn't see ice climbing or space sequences in the first title. However, the campaign is rather short, and I was able to breeze through it in around 5 hours. This sounds like much, but in actuality it is very short compared to other shooters like Bad Company and, ironically, Modern Warfare.

I think the producers at Infinity Ward has never heard the saying 'Less is more.' If they did, they ignored it. The multiplayer is full of failed ideas and flaws. To name a few, there is a "perk" called One Man Army. It allows you to switch to any other class whenever you want, skipping the 'wait to respawn' period. When coupled with grenade launchers, or 'Noob Tubes', as most players call them, it creates a very frustrating combination. The player is given virtually infinite grenades.

That is only one frustrating feature, albeit probably the most prominent. Bottom line is, I recommend the game if you can live with paying 60 bucks. If that's a stretch, than go for the first, Modern Warfare. It is very fun and a lot less frustrating than its sequel.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Pixar delivers yet again!, 25 June 2010
10/10

Pixar has consistently achieved something few animation studios can honestly say: crafting a children's movie that adults find entertaining and brilliant at the same time. Most movies fall short in this respect (yes, I'm thinking of you, Planet 51).

Toy Story 3 is in no way different. In fact, this movie in particular stands out. Maybe it's because it was so anticipated during the 11 years in which Pixar took a break from the series. Maybe it's because you see familiar, lovable characters, while at the same time smoothly introducing new ones. No matter what the reason, Toy Story 3 is one of the best movies Pixar has crafted, Up and Toy Story 2 giving it a hard time.

There is nothing I hate more than spoilers, so I won't give away too many details about this movie. But I can do my best to convince all parents out there to take any children to see this movie. If it's their first, good. It will expose them to what a good movie is. And try and drag along that reluctant teenager. I'll bet he'll enjoy it too.

But again, Toy Story 3 stands out in the respect that adults love it too. So even if you don't happen to have any children, or just want to get away from them, I highly recommend Toy Story 3.