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The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
Much Better Than The First One
Justin here. I finally watched The Purge: Anarchy last night and I have to say I was impressed. I liked this one better than the first one because it actually used the concept a lot better, had better characters, was brutal, and had a good commentary on the rich vs. poor as well. Frank Grillo was awesome too. He reminded me of the Punisher in how he's mysterious at first, but you start to learn a little more about him throughout it. In addition, I liked how this one was more of ensemble since there were 3 main groups and you can buy them more in this kind of situation that would take place in a government-free setting that reminds me if you played Grand Theft Auto and there were no cops. The kills were brutal too. Yeah, some were obvious CGI, but I still liked how vicious these gangs with the masks were and how they intimidated the group. I also liked how the stakes got higher because this takes place in the streets instead of a house like in the first one. The only problems I had was some of the characters didn't get loose ends resolved after it all goes on and I kind of wished they could've focused more on them. Overall, I enjoyed this much more than the first one and I cant wait to see Election Year. 6.75/10.
The Purge (2013)
Justin here. When the first Purge came out in 2013, it really piqued my interest. I loved the concept of the government allowing only once a year for crime to be legal and it's in a futuristic setting. I'll be honest, I did not really like the first movie. It felt really wasted with its potential because it didn't seem like it had executed with the idea very well because 98% of it took place in a house and it became just a home invasion film. It had some creepy parts here and there like with the little remote control doll, the masks look creepy, and I liked the main leader of the group who was over the top. Needless to say, the characters including the son and daughter made some really stupid choices and the kills weren't really that creative. They just felt standard. It had a lot of padding issues and didn't really pick up until close to the last half. Ethan Hawke was okay, but his character was kind of incompetent. Lena Headey was good though. Overall, I wasn't too big of a fan. 5/10.
American Reunion (2012)
The Boys Are Back In Town!
Alright. So, it's been 13 years since the first American Pie movie and in this movie, we see the characters from the original trilogy coming back together and having their high school reunion. Now, let me start by saying that I loved the first 3 American Pie movies when they had came out and I was only about 7 years old when the first one came out. When I watched them, I got it's appeal with the gross-out humor and the funny situations the characters get themselves in. To me, my favorite characters out of all those movies were Steve Stifler, played by Sean William Scott, and Jim's dad Noah, played by Eugene Levy. Every single time I would see them on screen, I would laugh out loud hard and really be into what's going on. Now granted, the 3rd movie went a little too overboard with Stifler, but, I still liked it for what it was. It's really surprising how they've made all those Direct-To-DVD spin-offs of American Pie, but they couldn't even get the original cast besides Jim's Dad. Now, back to American Reunion. I really liked this movie. It had a lot of nostalgic value going for it, the gross-out humor had some really great laughs going on and I was just really glad to see the original cast come back together and have a good time. Though, they pretty much retain the same personalities they did in the other movies, it's just always a delight seeing the situation they get themselves into and there's a part where Stifler takes a dump inside these jocks' beer cooler for payback after they insulted him and the other guys at this beach and it was hilarious. And another thing I really enjoyed was seeing how Jim's dad gets drunk and proceeds to get high with Stifler's mom and there's a scene at the very end of the movie, and I wont spoil what happens, but, it made me crack up so much at the theater I almost rolled over the ground laughing so hard. Final thoughts: I really enjoyed this movie. It had a lot of great moments, the characters are still fleshed out pretty well, including Jim, Oz, Finch, Kevin, Stifler, Jim's Dad, Michelle, Vicki, and Heather, and seeing them coming back after 13 years really left a smile on face and when I heard the music they were playing at the reunion party, it made me kind of miss being in the 90s too. So, I'd recommend the movie. It's a hell of a lot better than those Direct to DVD spinoffs that I don't even think is in the same continuity as the other movies. So, yeah, if you're drunk or at a party or just want a good time, this is the movie for you. I liked it.
Martin Scorcese delivers a wonderful family film
Well, I finally had a chance to see Hugo in 3D. I have a lot of wonderful things to say about this movie. Back when I heard this movie was coming out when I saw the trailer of it, I just assumed that it would just be one of those average whimsical family movies that come out during the holidays and I was also really surprised that Martin Scorsese directed it as well, because I'm really used to watching his other movies that are about the mob or a character study of someone's life. But, much to my thoughts going into it, this movie really left a huge smile on my face from the beginning to end. The movie is about a boy named Hugo who is an orphan who lives in a train station in Paris, France and he starts to uncover a great big mystery about his father who was a very great inventor. During the course of the movie, the boy tries to build this machine that his father worked on called an automaton, which is basically a mechanical man that can write messages and decrypt hidden meanings. I really loved where this story was going with Hugo learning the secrets his father left behind for him. I wont spoil what happens, but, all I can say is that watching this movie really kept me invested the whole time with it's characters with a very perfectly cast of actors in these roles. You've got Ben Kingsley who plays Papa Georges who was once a very talented filmmaker during the height of the early movie making days. I love this back story they give him later on in the movie and it feels very meta in a way because there's a part where Hugo and George's goddaughter Isabelle are watching one of the first movies ever made on a projector that shows a train coming and she says, "When the audience watched it, they thought the train was really coming toward them". :). Gosh, I have so much to talk about with this movie. From the beautiful cinematography and atmosphere of the train station and outside of it, to the really spectacular 3D that I really did enjoy. It felt like I was really there inside this world and it reminded me of the way Avatar looked in 3D. It's very in depth and gorgeously crafted the way it's filmed. And in the movie when they talked about the way the early films were made really got me really intrigued on how much work was done for the kinds of movies that this character had made. As for the rest of the film, I really also enjoyed the performances of the main character of Hugo, played by a newcomer named Asa Butterfield and he really pulled this part off. He showed a lot of great emotion in his scenes and he's really smart on building things such as this mechanical mouse and finishing the automaton for his father played by Jude Law. And then there's other characters in the movie too that I enjoyed, but I thought could of been better developed such as Sacha Baron Cohen's quirky role as Inspector Gustav, who had some funny lines of dialog and he did a good job playing this smarmy train station inspector and as the movie goes on, he does actually become a 3 dimensional character. Overall, I really loved this movie for everything that Martin Scorsese did with it's coming of age story of a boy who did everything he could to make his father proud and learn more secrets about his life and I give props as well to the music. It's very orchestral and melodic and worked so well in tone with the film. At first I was little skeptical about Martin Scorsese making a children's film, but, much to my surprise, this movie felt more than that. This movie is in the same league as Super 8 with terrific performances, wonderful cinematography, a well put together story, and leaving a huge smile on my face from beginning to end. This movie has been one of the best films I've seen of 2011 and It's on my list of Top 12 of movies I've seen for 2011.
Scream 4 (2011)
Scream 4 Review *NO SPOILERS*
Okay, let me give you a little history about the Scream series. Going back to 1996 was the year that director Wes Craven (the director of the first Nightmare On Elm Street and the original Hills Have Eyes) had given us a new generation of scary movies where in this case, the characters in the movie are self-aware and know the outcome on how to survive a horror movie, as quoted by Randy from the first movie. This idea was a very great concept on adding humor to the Scream franchise and basically satirizing all the clichés in slasher films. To me, that was really great because at the time Scream came out, all the slasher movies in the past including the Friday The 13th and Halloween series were using the standard horror movie clichés including hiding in the shadows, high body count, ignorant characters, and teenagers always having sex and drinking and then getting killed by a killer. Each Scream movie had a recurring theme present on what it was doing with it's satirical horror. The first film was about knowing how to survive in a horror movie establishing rules for the characters and getting out of tight situations. Scream 2 was about trying to survive in sequels. And Scream 3 was about surviving in a trilogy as the final chapter, (which at the time Scream 3 came out, Wes Craven originally ended the franchise with the door closed). And now with Scream 4, 11 years after the 3rd one, it's at this point where the audience knows the outcome of the situation going on with the characters. Anyway, the movie Scream 4 has actually done a lot of improvements to its predecessors. As the tagline suggests, there are new rules present in this one for a new generation of characters. The most notable being that this movie's theme is trying to survive in a horror remake. Because the referential humor present in the film establishes that there have been a number of sequels to the film-within-film called Stab over the past ten years and it's becoming stale with it's audience within the movie who know the predictable outcomes of the killer's presence. What I like the most about the referential jokes that are in this one is that it really does try to be clever with the characters who come across the Ghost-Face Killer (who still has a pretty bad-ass voice by Roger L. Jackson who's played him in every movie as the voice). Once again there's a killer in a ghost-face costume who goes around killing people that are connected to Sydney Prescott, the main survivor from all 4 movies. And this time, Sydney has moved back to her old town Woodsboro and she's written a book about her life. Now, I've always been a really great fan of Neve Campbell, ever since she starred in that movie Wild Things, and here she's back with David Arquette and Courtney Cox again after 10 years and they've still got their characters right. And it's kind of ironic cause David and Courtney got married in real life after Scream 2 and in Scream 4, their characters are married. And in the movie, David's character Dewey is the sheriff now and he's married to Courtney's character Gail. Anyway, back to Scream 4. Now, I can imagine that there's people out there that are divided with the whole scream franchise, whether they don't like the self-reference jokes or they just don't find it scary enough, me, I've always seen them as great fun slasher films that try to be original (and I use that term very loosely) with its premise present and the idea of keeping the killer's identity a secret. I really enjoyed this film. I felt that it was just as good as the original Scream and I think it's up there with Scream 2, better than 3. Now, there are some flaws present with the movie though. I'm not going to spoil anything because I hate when people always tell who the killer is, so, all I'm gonna say is that I kind of wish this one had some more original deaths. Don't get me wrong, it's always cool seeing different ways the killer uses a knife, I just thought that the killer would do something that wasn't seen before. But other than that, I liked the principal cast including David Arquette, Courtney, and Neve are charming as ever. And I even liked Marley Shelton who plays David's deputy in the movie. And I'm also really glad Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson teamed back up again after Scream 2 cause the last one didn't have Williamson's script. Craven still has the talent in the horror genre. I didn't like his last movie My Soul To Take, but I must say he still has it in there with his movies though. I mean, the opening scene is really clever and I'm glad they still had some suspense for the franchise cause you wouldn't ever guess who the killer is. According to Craven, the cast weren't allowed to read past page 70 in the script because Wes didn't want them to know how the killer is. So, in my opinion, this one really holds up a lot. I had a really fun time watching it in a large crowded theater and the people that were there they laughed at a lot of stuff happening and I did too. So, I really recommend this movie and say check it out.