1,149 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Dark Shadows (2012)
Almost Never Saw This
15 October 2012
I saw the trailers for this film, and sadly did not see it in the theater. I couldn't imagine WHAT Tim Burton was doing, but this was most certainly NOT "my" Dark Shadows. The trailer made the film seem trivial and preposterous; a complete farce. Whomever was in charge of that trailer needs to be disposed of in a most visceral way.

The actual FILM is quite fetching. Depp is a star in this role as in most. His recreation of Frid's original character is startling, while maintaining a continuity between the two renditions.

The problem with the original soap opera is that it took itself WAY too seriously. It tried to scare us green, and it really DID entertain...while accidentally making us laugh from time to time. This film is fun and really took me a good way. The comedy is campy and intended, where the original series had no intention ever of making one laugh, though it often did. The character development is sufficient without boring the audience into a long nap, and plot execution goes off seemingly without a hitch.

Continuity has a few holes, but this was done for fun and in who cares about continuity? I didn't. I was entertained. That's what film-making is all about. And, if it makes money, that's a bonus. LOL

On a more personal note, I genuinely hope they make another. I know the plates of all the principals are full, but would still very much like to see a run of these. A plethora, if you will.

Dark Shadows ala Tim Burton rates an 8.4/10 from...

.: the Fiend :.
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Trollhunter (2010)
17 October 2011
Documentary-stylized hand-held camera action is featured prominently herein. Remember Blair Witch, anyone? Well, that's about where the comparison stops. This is a well told story with some surprising elements. I won't spoil this for you by naming which elements, but suffice it to say this was a real treat. The Americanized remake of this one will appear in 2014. If it is as trashy as the Juon remake, I won't be surprised. Disappointed, but not surprised. This endeavor holds a certain innocence about it, which will most likely be lost in the translation. Usually what happens is that the producers give the story or the innovative flow over to big kaBOOMy effects, and supplant the enjoyment with a slick production style. Here's hoping, because this original version is inspired.
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Green Lantern (2011)
We Like It!
16 October 2011
For those who are desensitized to any and all great effects, decent stories, and spectacular production values, this will be a so-so movie, but if you still have the ability to carry some form of wonder in your heart, this was pretty darned good. I had no problem with the principal actors, their performance, or the execution of their characters. I enjoyed the repartee between Hal and his love interest.

I thought the intro was pretty spot on with the earlier editions of the comic, and I think the remainder of the film is a great introduction to the franchise. But I do say "introduction." Honestly, without a follow-up or two, this intro will fall flat. It sets the audience up for something more; something bigger. So without it, this doesn't work. As a stand alone movie, it IS so-so, but if we are given a sequel or two, the grandeur of this film will pay off.

My biggest disappointment is in the Blu-Ray release. The "digital copy" is NOT a digital copy. It's an ultraviolet copy from flixter and you have to put it on your android phone, iPad, or computer to watch it. My iPod is how I watch movies on the go, so this didn't work for me. I'll be looking out for that Ultraviolet Digital Copy warning next time. I want my $5 back for the upgrade that wasn't.
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It tries, bless its heart.
16 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This attempt utterly fails to capture either the charisma or the electrified atmosphere of the original work. This also fails to update the franchise in any way desirable. The graphic images are awesome and very well done, but the story itself is very mundane. It lacks all sense of truth.

Furthermore, it also fails to possess the charisma generated by the Robert Englund version of this villain. I'm not anti Haley by any sense of the term, but I was not drawn to his characterization of Freddy as I was with the prior incarnation. He sounds like he's attempting a Christian Bale thing with his voice, and it just doesn't work in any way proactive to generating the necessary ambiance or atmosphere this particular franchise needs to succeed.

It also lacks one key ingredient to any horror film. This is a more psychological look into the back-story of Kruger than the original, which means by the definition of "horror," alone, it is inferior to a more visceral version. Yeah, the remake here just doesn't scare you. It makes you want to feed the poor guy some Zoloft and just knock those kids OUT! Sorry guys, but this one is a sleeper, and I don't mean sleeper hit.

It rates a 4.8/10 from...

the Fiend :.
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Gutsy and Sweet
27 December 2010
An owl-ized King Arthur tale, with several spins. I have not read the books upon which this is supposed to be based, so from that perspective, I cannot comment. But as one who viewed this movie straight with no preconceptions, it was rather entertaining, showed a lot of heart, and wove a nice (if not wholly unfamiliar) story.

The lesson here is clearly to listen to your heart instead of your head, but considering today's impetuous youth, I sincerely doubt that lesson could be driven home any deeper. It seems that the brain has been given a permanent vacation. But I digress.

Voice parts are done with gusto, as is the animation. While some of the owls do resemble animated carpets, for the most part, it was done well and with love. Just try not to be too disappointed in the close ups, and concentrate mainly on the story, and you will enjoy it much more.

All in all? Great for the young and the young at heart, but only good on Friday or Saturday if unless you are part of that selective audience. Me? I like it!

It rates a 7.4/10 from...

the Fiend :.
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Death Race 2 (2010 Video)
Unrated Edition is a whole different movie.
26 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I have to begin by saying I was not impressed by this prequel. The observer is given nothing in the way of the "Frankenstein" character about which this was to be based. There is no mask, no charisma, and no Natalie Martinez as Case. Instead, Tanit Phoenix is pretty good as Katrina Banks and she rides with Luke. Luke you ask? Yes, Luke. Not Frank. There is no Case and further, there is no Frank. So unless the Powers That Be are making a second prequel, there are continuity holes large enough to drive a herd of woolly mammoths through.

If they ARE making another prequel, however, this installment will need a completely different review.

While there seems to be a LOT missing between this chapter and that of the original Statham remake, if this is intended to be the starter film of a trilogy, I would have to say this is pretty good. One can only guess that the main player Luke will become Frankenstein. Along that vein, this runs pretty smoothly, setting up for an advantageous bridge attempt.

I hope such is the case, and I hope they are successful in the proposed attempt.

NOTE: The "Unrated Version" (just released) eliminates the issues. The whole story is there. The theatrical version is watered down and pretty rotten, in comparison.

Unrated version rates an 8.2/10 from...

the Fiend :.
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Due Date (2010)
Clunky and Jarring
26 December 2010
The comparisons have been made between Laurel and Hardy; Planes, Trains, and Automobiles; and several other comedic teams, and this film. And yes, there are some elements which call for these comparisons. Overall, I found Cheech and Chong a more apt comparison than the aforementioned ones, but what do I know? LOL

Downey plays the straight guy fairly well. He also plays the delightfully eccentric ego-maniacal popinjay relatively well. I honestly cannot say I have ever DISliked a performance of his, even going back to the 1980's. That not withstanding, I found this pretty mediocre at best.

Both principal actors do a good job, but there is no chemistry between them. There has to be a chemistry, even if it is a negative one, for these vehicles to work, so this runs like of like a train with square wheels...clunky and jarring.

I don't hate it, but it won't be in my collection.

It rates a 4.5/10 from...

the Fiend :.
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Tangled (2010)
26 December 2010
I liked this work more than I did Disney's previous princess movie The Princess and the Frog, but only just. Tangled does not have what it takes to be an "instant classic," nor does it have enough quality content to become an eventual one. There are too many pop culture references, herein. It breaks the spell woven by the medieval setting and trappings, and leaves its viewer feeling unsettled and (if they are an older Disney fan) rather melancholy for the older pre-computerized hand-drawn animations like Snow White and Bambi. Ah, the details in THOSE films! But not in this one. Now I'm no elitist. I love Cars, and Finding Nemo, so I am not anti-CG. I am anti-lazy artists who pay no attention to detail, backgrounds, props, and settings. I am anti-lazy animators who really believe that four lines make a face, six lines make a horse, and shading and shadows are unnecessary evils.

It was unremarkable, but not bad. It was mediocre for its lack of anything resembling heart.

It rates a 5.7/10 from...

the Fiend :.
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The Tourist (2010)
Adventurous, Coy, and Charming
19 December 2010
This isn't typical Depp fare, but it IS pretty typical for Jolie. She acts coy, adorable, and smarter than those around her, because she is. LOL Depp isn't exactly hapless (which is a nice change) but he's no match for Jolie's Mata Hari-type character.

This is a nice diversion from the latest Pirates movies, and it is nice to see Jolie out of victim mode, even though she ... well, I won't spoil the movie for anyone.

All in all? Don't listen to the nay-sayers. The Tourist is nowhere near the dreck they claim it is, and we found it entertaining and fun from beginning to end. I'm betting what this movie fails to generate as box office revenue, it more than makes up for in Blu-Ray sales. ;) It rates a 7.7/10 from ...

the Fiend :.
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Megamind (2010)
Has Heart and Entertains
19 December 2010
While this may not be as cute as "Despicable Me" in my opinion, it contributes more to the entertainment of the masses than "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs." "Megamind" is one of those "superhero" films with every necessary element to insure its eventual place in the "classic" category. This one has a rich story, a few twists, and a nice (although unexpected) resolution. The voice cast is most excellent, and I found the story to be compelling.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Megamind. I particularly like the level of character development, which was nominal but enough to endear the characters, leaving more time for story and less time for wasted film. That's always a plus, in my book. As I said, the story is rich, well written, and smartly executed.

I'll probably own this as no Will Ferrell collection could possibly be complete without it. ;) All in all, this is a good flick for the kids with a good overall morality. It's fun for adults, too, but probably not for Friday or Saturday night viewing unless you're into the new cartoon revolution (which I seem to be LOL).

It rates a 7.8/10 from ...

the Fiend :.
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