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22 Jump Street (2014)
On par with the first one!
It's pretty easy to review this one. If you liked the first one, you're in for a treat. It holds up to the expectations and plays cleverly with 'being aware' of making basically the same movie again. The good thing about this flick is, that it doesn't take itself too seriously while at the same time delivering a good and fast paced story with quite some surprises and good action. I basically laughed from the first minute up to the (awesome!) end credits! If you like that type of comedy, this one is for you, as it delivers on point and, without a doubt, is the funniest flick this year so far! Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum have a great chemistry and you can see and feel, how they enjoyed doing this movie. Like the first one, 22 Jump Street does a great job observing the different aspects of college life, students and teachers (or professors for that matter). Everyone who's been to college can relate to those stereotypes (e.g. the pseudo intellectuals, the sport jocks, the art students etc.) and directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller ("The Lego Movie") do a great job spoofing those clichés while at same time debunk the downsides and shallowness of those groups or college life in general.
Verdict: Go see it, if you liked the first one. I can't say if it's better, but it certainly holds up. And I liked the first one pretty much. So there you go...
The Human Race (2013)
Ratings must be rigged - don't waste your time
I'm just writing this review to counter some of the other obviously faked reviews written here. I was tricked to watch this movie too, because it had a rating of 7.3 with over a 1000 ratings. So I thought this could be a solid piece of horror/splatter. But it's not. I assure you, it's not. You will be disappointed after watching it, because it's painfully bad. And I don't mean bad as in "The Tourist" bad, it's just cheap filmmaking by people who don't know what they're doing. This can't be the work of professionals. Bad acting, bad dialog, bad lightning, bad camera, bad cinematography, bad special effect... complete senseless directing, conclusion, story(telling).... It's just a piece of trash. Yes it's that bad. And I'm writing this only to save you from losing over 1hour of your life. And to restore justice to the rating/review system of IMDb. You're welcome.
From a guy's perspective
I am a straight (if that matters...) 30-something guy and I just watched the first five episodes of HBO's "GIRLS". So in a nutshell:
I really dig this show. I think it has an extremely unique vibe to it, that kinda reminds me of "How to make it in America" (with a pinch of Woody Allen). It's nothing like "Sex and the City"... well it's about a group of Girlfriends, that happen to live in New York City and well... yes Sex is an issue. But still, it's nothing like "SATC". It's much more down-to-earth, realistic and... different. I like all the girls and their facets. The casting is great. Though they work with some (New York) clichés in the show, I really have the feeling that I know people like that from my own life and experiences. The early 20s, an age where you're on your own for the first time of your life, grown up but still clueless about life and what to expect from it. It's kind of an adventure to figure out who you are, what you want and where to go. I really feel that "GIRLS" makes a great job capturing that feeling. Lena Dunham, creator, director and protagonist of this show is crazy talented. People will hear (even more) from her in the future. Mark my words.
Hopefully HBO won't axe this show as they did with "How to make it...". It's a great show and I really enjoy watching it.
TRON: Legacy (2010)
Tron what have you become?
Actually the headline of this review is an actual quote from TRON LEGACY, it's the only time I had to laugh in the movie, because it was exactly the same question I was asking myself.
After watching the movie I can at least answer this question: A heartless and confusing movie that lacks a good script and tries to compensate with state of the art special effects.
I can't complain about the visual effects. They're right on. But everything else isn't. And I'm not even a die hard Tron-Fan to begin with. It's not your usual "boohoo what have they done with one of my favorite movies" reviews. Although I expect Tron-Fans to be disappointed, as there is nothing of the old spirit left in this one.
No the movie seems like a commercial for the video game. You don't connect to the characters, you don't really understand or care about the story. It has in no way that oppressive feeling, that you felt with the original. Instead it's just a bunch of random action sequences following each other, lots of cgi and slow-motion (seriously, it's almost 2011, how many more slow-mo-projectile-evasion do we need? if scary movie made fun of it, don't do it in your movie and still expect it to be somewhat cool). there are like dozens of scenes that will remind you of other flicks, like "the fifth element", "matrix" or "star wars". but while copying styles and plots of other movies, TRON LEGACY fails to deliver something own, something unique. And that's basically the exact opposite of what TRON once was. Tron what have you become? Considering the costs of this movie you have to wonder: Tron what could you have become, if someone would have been able to pen a good script and give this flick it's missing soul?!
had potential but kinda blew it
I have to write this one, though a lot people already made those points. however I want to balance the reviews a little, because there a too many that seem to be biased and thus kinda hard to believe.
first let me say that this isn't a 1/10 movie. it's not utter crap or terrible or something like that. even if all the neative things I read about this flick, how unlikely this and that is, are valid, the basic idea of FROZEN is still pretty good. it's just not a very good flick. the movie offers "some" cruel and intense moments. what's so disappointing about this movie is however, that director/writer Adam Green couldn't decide whether he wanted a psychological, claustrophobic realistic thriller or a rather blunt horror-stereotype. there are a lot scenes in the flick that felt so constructed and unlikely that it killed the tension and changed to unintentional humor instead.
i give you an example of what i mean: when the first guy jumped down and broke his legs, i thought that's very intense and shocking. good! but when he got eaten by wolves(!) i couldn't help myself and thought "okay, what's next an avalanche? and then a tree will fall on his head!". it would have been way more realistic and thrilling if he would have just laid there and slowly bled to death or had to witness the failings of the other ones unable to help.
speaking of the wolves: everything about the wolves is wrong in this movie. and i'm not even talking about the very unlike possibility that there are that many wolves in a popular ski-area like that. the problem with the wolves is, that they changed what this flick is all about, or at least what it claims to be (and should be). they made the movie about surviving wild animals and not about getting down from the lift.
none of the guys actually died because they froze or broke their necks or anything. the prime danger in this movie are the wolves. and pretty picky ones too. they just don't eat everything, do they? this makes everything just random and pointless. who survives and who don't is basically depending on the wolf packs mood...
there is other stuff that bothered me too. like those lame and cheesy dialogs between the shock scenes. i just can't imagine to watch my best friend jumping down a lift, breaking both his legs in the worst possible way, slowly freezing and bleeding to death and then be eaten alive by a wolf pack in front of my and his girlfriends eyes. and a couple of hours later I'm chatting about how i grew up and life in general, you know with the occasional laughter.
the overall behavior of the protagonists drove me crazy. just some examples: they didn't use their hoodies from their jackets. they didn't even bother to scoot over and warm each other. I mean... come on! I understand you still have to make a movie, but it's like I said, you have to decide if you want it to be realistic or simple, you can't have it both ways. the chick didn't even care to put her bare hand in the pocket, this is something that 99% of all mankind would to as a reflex when it's that cold. I'm not asking for a documentary here, but as someone already said, all those points add up and seem to me like a rather lazy effort.
I still dig the whole setting and idea, but someone should have looked this over and polished this flick, because the way it is now, it totally blew its potential. i still give a 5 for effort but i'm left disappointed.
The Walking Dead (2010)
Boy oh boy. I can't believe it took Hollywood like 50 years or whatever to finally come up with a good Zombie TV series. The first episode was dead on. Sigh. This is so good, I don't even know where to begin with. It's smart, brutal, dark, authentic (in it's own universe), tense, thrilling... It's everything I ever wanted from a Zombie series or even a movie. "The Walking Dead" has a lot of elements that you've seen before. You have a little of Snyders "Dawn"-remake, some "I am Legend" you have some "28 Days/Weeks" Later stuff in this, a shot of "Left for Dead" and "Dead Rising" an so on... but it's the mixture that makes this work so well.
You can tell from the pilot, that they take time to develop characters, the action is never over the top, but still there is enough of it to keep you on the edge. It's smart, because we see this zombie apocalyptic world through the eyes of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and experience and explore it with him. I could write more, but why? If you're a Zombie person, you will effin love this show. Chapeau to the people behind this, honestly. You made me very happy with this! Keep the episodes coming, because I'm planning to watch this for a long time from now on!
The Expendables (2010)
Not as good as expected
I cut right to the chase: You expect the that THE EXPENDABLES will be an 80s style action flick. Lots of action, stupid plot, explosions and macho one-liners. While you get a hunch of all that, THE EXPENDABLES fails by presenting to many characters who don't have anything interesting to do at all. Also the action scenes, or basically THE action scene, since the whole second part consists of the grand finale whereas the first half is utterly boring,okay so the action isn't choreographed or filmed in the 80s fashion. You have fast cuts, shaky cam, confusing camera angels and lot's of CGI blood. Some fights are just wack. The fight between Jet Li and Dolph Lundgren is one of the worst Jet Li fights of all times. Basically all the hand to hand actions sucks a lot. Another thing that I really didn't like are the many bad one-liners, and I don't mean bad in a good 80s trash-way bad, I mean bad as in "not funny, you try too hard"-way. The infamous Schwarzenegger, Stallone and Willis Scene was painful and awkward. This has got to be one of the worst cameos I've ever seen and just proves what's wrong with this movie. If you can't come up with a more funny or clever way to bring up those three action giants on one screen (even if it's only for a couple of minutes) then you lack some talent or are just lazy. The whole movie feels like they knew exactly, that everybody will be amazed about the cast that they didn't have to put their heart in this. The unused potential of this flick is ridiculous.
Of course though the movie is entertaining and I can't hate too much on a movie, that blows up so much stuff and shows people getting ripped apart. But the fact remains, that this ain't in no way as good as it wanted to be, the same way as Rambo IV was in no way as good as it's predecessors.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
It's solid entertainment, but lacks the class of it's predecessor
Saw the movie in a press screening here are my humble thoughts:
Before I start with my short review of Iron Man 2, I have to say two words about Iron Man 1. I really dug the first one despite of being a little disappointed by the grand finale. Robert Downey Jr. kills it, action, humor, pacing... loved it. I'm not a big comic geek, and not that familiar with the original Iron Man comics, so please excuse if some of the stuff I thought was weird, was actually accurate adapted.
So while the opening credits where rolling and I saw all the big names of actors that I happen to love, I really thought that it might be hard to give all of them a fair amount of stuff to do in the movie. And as it happened to turn out, I was right. I was especially disappointed by Mickey Rourke's part as Whiplash. Don't get me wrong, Rourke was great. He looks mean as usual and I loved every scene he's in. Unfortunately Favreau really pulled a Darth Maul on him. After the last fight I honestly sat in my chair and was like "that's it? you can't be serious?!". Rourke's Character had almost the same potential (at least from his talent as an actor and his looks in the movie) as Heath Ledger's Joker in Dark Knight. But he never lived up to that expectation due to the lack of screen time and, well... a purpose.
But the main problem I had with Iron Man 2 was the lack of a meaningful story and motivation for almost all of the characters. We are introduced to Scarlett Johansson's "Black Widow", and blame it on my lack of knowledge of the graphic novels, but I had no Idea what her purpose in the movie was. The first part of the movie she's just the hot secretary with almost no lines. Eventually she puts on a tight super hero costume and tries to find Whiplash. There is a brief action-sequence, where she kicks some ass, but truth be told, Hit-Girl would wipe the floor with Black Widow. What I really liked though, was Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer. He totally killed it and you can tell he enjoyed his part as the sleazy scumbag pulling the strings in the background.
I also liked Don Cheadle as James Rhodes (he was on par with Terrence Howard on this one), but I felt his character suffered from the lack of time for character development. There is this scene, where Tony Stark is seriously messed up, partying at his home in his Iron Man suit and randomly shooting stuff. Rhodes is tired of the situation and grabs himself another one of the Iron Man suits, battles Stark and than leaves. With the suit. I don't know if that's the way it was done in the comics, but I didn't like it at all. In the first movie we witness how Stark becomes Iron Man, how he needs to learn to use the suit and become one with it, how he builds it and we can understand, that he is the only one, who could use it that way. Apparently we're wrong, because all you need, is the suit. It's like anyone could be Batman, if he just could get a hold of his cape. There is no explanation as to why Rhodes can fly this suit like he owns it, there isn't anything told about the relationship between Stark and Rhodes. I just felt this part was incredible weak.
The whole movie felt like a setup for another movie. Characters are introduced, stuff happens, but nothing really matters, at best it hints, that there COULD be happening something in the future.
Another big problem I had though, was the lack of 'magic moments' and thrilling action, like in the first flick (I still get goosebumps, thinking about how Tony Stark flew in his suit for the first time). Everything just runs too smooth, there is almost no tension, you never think anything could harm Tony Stark, you never feel something bad is about to happen. If I compare this with the incredible Dark Knight, it feels like a kids movie, something like the ranks of Sky High. Plus, there was just to little Iron Man in Iron Man, to little I care about. Iron Man 2 was made to prepare us for The Avengers and Thor, but by being that, it kinda forgot to be something in it's own. That's the biggest difference to the first flick, who was original, fresh and smart.
Sounds pretty much like a bash, but all that being said, I was fairly entertained. The performances of the main characters each were pretty good. The cast was perfect. Of course all the special effects are amazing, with a lot attention to detail. I loved all the 'augmented reality" stuff going on in Starks garage. The movie is funny (actually it felt more like a comedy than an action flick) and when the action happens, it's looking great. The biggest let down is the potential this movie and most and for all the characters had, which wasn't used. However this is only the review of someone who's fairly unfamiliar with the graphic novel.
How to Make It in America (2010)
It's NOT Entourage - But it IS a great show!
Yes, Mark Wahlberg is executive producer on this show and yes, the show runs on HBO. Yes it's about 30-something guys that happen to like to party and try to make a living. Still this show is not like Entourage. It's as different as NYC and L.A. are. Entourage is about glamour, money and Hollywood. HMIA is about the big city life, it's about the Big Apple, about young people trying to achieve something. It's more "down to earth" than Entourage and not as spectacular at first. The pacing is much slower and you have less sex, models and rock'n roll. But you DO have a great cast, authentic people in the most realistic capture of young adults living in Manhattan. It's a love letter to the city and the people who live there. It's a great show with likable characters, great dialogue, great cinematography and good and witty humor. This is like Sex and the City for guys. But less superficial. I really dig this show. Let's hope HBO does too!
The revival of the big screen
I don't write a lot of comments. Actually this is my second or third one, and I'm a IMDb member for over six years now. I do however rate a lot of movies and I think I gave two or three movies the best score of 10. Avatar is one of those films. I won't bother telling you about the story or how long Cameron worked on Avatar. You probably all know that.
What I am telling you instead is, how amazing my Avatar experience was. I saw the movie in 3D, so I can't say that it will have the same impact, if you watch it in a regular theater, but I can assure you this movie is not the textbook"style over substance" kind, it's not a movie that only works becauseof it's special effects or the amazing 3D quality. The movie as it is, the storytelling, the characters, the pacing, the way the story unfolds, the balance between action, dialog and character development...everything from the beginning to the credits is TOP NOTCH. It can't get no better than this. Cameron made every other big blockbuster look bad with this one. George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay, even Peter Jackson have to bow down for the "King of the World of Cinema". I'm 31 now, and I can't recall a single movie-going-experience that blew me away like this. And I'm more the cynical guy, I don't enjoy a lot of things, but this one? Holy shizzl. I came out of the theater with a big grin on my face, totally enchanted by the world I have just lost myself in. The movie is about 160 minutes long and I enjoyed every second of it, I could've done another 160 easily. As the main character witnesses the world of Pandora for the first time, the audience joins him and immerges completely in Camerons world.
When the movie was over and the people took of their 3D glasses, they applauded the screen. I usually hate it when people does that, but I couldn't help it and applauded too. I applaud Jim Cameron for this Picture and I'm glad, that there are filmmakers like him out there, that take their time to create something big, something that gives you back that old feeling of magic, that I started to believe I have lost by becoming older. Yesterday, after I saw Avatar I felt like a little boy again, that witnesses something special. Haven't felt that for a long time. Avatar is a masterpiece and one of the best movies ever made. It's the reason why people go into theaters, it's the reason why I love movies so much.