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I also review films for imdb.com. After reading all this, I'm sure you are saying, "This guy really needs to get a girlfriend." Sad thing is, the girls I date are into these things.
A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
Good is all I can say
I was so looking forward to this movie ever since I heard the press release that it was being made. I liked some of the action scenes and I am a huge Bruce Willis fan.... and that's about it.
Where to begin? Well, for starters, the story is rather bland. For a Die Hard film, I would rather see the terrorists planning some kind of heist. It makes the story a little bit more interesting. Instead, they are after some file that we don't even know what it is until the third act (apparently its on the bad guy of the film). It reminded me of Home Alone 3 when the bad guys were looking for a computer chip in a toy car. Not only that, but it just looks like they were making it up as they were going along.
The villains were also forgettable. These are the worst villains in the franchise. At least in the previous Die Hard films, they were somewhat dangerous. Hans Gruber was terrifying and made his mark when he shot Tokagi, and that bad guy from the second one crashed planes full of innocent people, and Simon seemingly planted a bomb in a school, and the villain in the fourth film pretty much took control of the world! So what made these villains stand out? Ummmm.... well.... they beat the crap of the McClanes. That's all I can really say. I guess having nukes is bad. Really, they just sucked.
Now this one pains me the worst: John McClane. I know he's this wisecracking hero but he comes off as annoying. For the first half of the movie he just sounded like a spoiled child. He also was the blame why the whole mess happened in the first place. Stopping his son from getting away from the terrorists and then whining the whole way through didn't help much either. To top it off, he really just felt like he was more in the background. I know they wanted to have this father/son story akin to Indiana Jones but like Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, it just cheapens out lead character who we've been following for four films now.
I really hope they make a Die Hard 6 and give John McClane the film that he deserves. Knowing Hollywood, John will probably be at home barking orders while his kids go out and does all the work. Seriously, I hope the sixth Die Hard is the bow out of the franchise that we need, otherwise I would feel pretty bad for John McClane.
The actions scenes weren't bad, though.
A Christmas Story 2 (2012)
Christmas Story 2 Doesn't Exist
There's never been a sequel to The Christmas Story. You may have seen a movie you THOUGHT was Christmas Story 2, but there never was a Christmas Story 2. Daniel Stern never tried to replace Darren McGavin. There's never been a Christmas Story sequel that shovels every memorable moment into the sequel just because. There's never been a Jean Shepard soundalike that would fit right at home with a video game version of the film.
I know the filmmakers were trying hard but let's be honest, was this film really necessary? I mean, I'm sure there was a love and devotion to the film because they were huge fans of the original but if that's the case, everyone should just make their own spin on Christmas Story 2. That's what it seems like anyway.
The film takes place with Ralphie in his teen years. I will say one good thing that they did pick a decent Ralphie. Heck, I even liked Flick and Schwartz in this. Ralphie wants a car for Christmas as opposed to the Red Rider BB Gun. There's a miss opportunity here where instead of "You'll shoot your eye out" it could be something like, "You can't drive, kid" or something to that effect. Then Ralphie ends up damaging the car and the car owner wants him to pay for it so he and his friends go get demeaning jobs.
The problem with this movie is that it's not nearly as fun as Christmas Story. It tries hard, but it doesn't succeed. Ralphie even has these imagination sequences that seem too juvenile for someone at his age. They refer to Christmas Story like it was last year when it's supposed to be years later. Wouldn't they be talking about a different Christmas by now? It's just not very good. Oh, and Daniel Stern (as good as an actor he is) just comes off as annoying and I can't see The Old Man anywhere in him.
I'll end this review on a good note though. The love interest is insanely hot. I see Ralphie has good tastes. Unfortunately how he talks to her at the end is shoehorned in and-- OK I'm trying to end on a good note here. The girl is gorgeous. That is all.
Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)
Rather Watch The Remakes
I have a confession: I liked the two remakes by Platinum Dunes. I thought they were entertaining, dumb horror films and dare I say it, actually kinda scary. They weren't masterpieces or anything but I enjoyed them for the most part so when I found out yet another Texas Chainsaw movie was coming out, and even though I wasn't impressed with the trailer, I decided to go see it.
What was I thinking?
I think you are forced to see it in 3D because, well, it says 3D on it but most of the time you forgot you are even watching it in 3D. It adds nothing to this movie. The movie starts off showing clips of the very original Texas Chainsaw Massacre which confused me because it totally obliterates the remakes. Actually it ignores the sequels too as the story picks off from there. It starts off with these hicks burning down the home of Leatherface and his family and one of the hicks takes a baby and kills the mother. Flash-forward to.... how many years later? Is it supposed to be 2012 because the baby should around forty, not in her early twenties as she clearly looks like. Anyway, she finds out she inherited this house and her and her cookie-cutter friends and some hitchhiker who appears nice only turns out to be a thief all go there. Then Leatherface turns out to be in the basement and all hell breaks loose.
This movie is so stupid I don't know where to begin. Well, the actions of the characters are just stupid. Before I get into that, though, there is one good scene in the film when Leatherface is chasing them but it all goes downhill from there. The movie offers up these turn of events that make no sense whatsoever. A cop goes back to the house alone and there is no backup anywhere in sight for one lone cop in a house with a crazed psycho with a chainsaw. Then characters turn bad for stupid reasons and one of them that played an intricate part of the storyline just disappears somewhere, never to be heard from again. Then by the end of the film, I don't even know who to root for the main heroine turns completely idiotic. Oh, and the ending just plain sucked.
This film is bad in so many levels. I kept thinking, "Who wrote this crap?" in so many parts of the movie. There wasn't many people at the theater either and I saw it at a night showing. If that's an indication, there might not be another Texas Chainsaw movie. Oh well.
Django Unchained (2012)
Hands down! Best of 2012!
Prior to seeing this movie, I did hear some good buzz. I was tired and really wasn't in the mood to see it but I didn't want to let down my lady friend so I went. I am so glad I did! When a movie draws you in from frame 1 to the very end, that's great storytelling. This film proves that you don't need any gimmicks Hollywood shovels at you to immerse you into a film when good storytelling fares better than any gimmick you can throw out there.
I don't even know where to start. I guess I can start with the performances. Let's just say the performances were so good, that I got lost in the characters. Jamie Fox, who is a very talented actor, actually got me worried because at first I thought that any actor could play that role. But as time went on, I can't imagine any other actor who can pull that performance off as well as he can. Christoph Waltz proves that you can never say that actors these days are bad. He is incredible, as always! The biggest surprise to me, however, is with Leonard Dicaprio who plays a very mean businessman, and he played it so well that I even forgot that he was Leonardo Dicaprio. I believed his character. And wait until you see Samuel L. Jackson. He was hilarious!
The story was riveting. It follows two bounty hunters (Waltz and Fox) on a mission to rescue Fox's wife from a corrupt businessman. The journey there is pure filmmaking genius as this is what a film is supposed to be. It conveys all kinds of emotions and when its funny, its laugh-out-loud funny, and when its suspenseful, you are at the edge of your seat. Honestly, this is what films should be and definitely a testament to what a great film-going experience is supposed to be.
I honestly can't believe it took me this long to see this movie and glad I got to experience it at the theater. Next time, when I hear good buzz like that, I should listen. I was actually thinking this film was going to be boring. I was so wrong this time and I'm the type of guy who would never admit it. Best film of 2012 and most likely at the top 10 of all time for me!
Rare Exports (2010)
What did I just watch?
This was a very weird film. I don't know what else to say other than its weird. Its about a group of people, one being a kid, in the middle of a snowy desert who capture Santa Claus who has strange eyes, acts really weird, and possibly eats children I don't know. It's weird. This Santa Claus can snap in a minute. Watch out.
Then they take the strange Santa Claus to bargain with one of the elves but then the elf gets offed and a bunch of elves come after them and it turns out they captured an elf who looks like Santa Claus and Santa is encased in some icy home which needs to be destroyed.... you see what I mean? This film is weird! The ending was decent enough but it was still very weird and bizarre and.... yeah definitely an acid trip.
So smoke some weed and watch Rare Exports. I think that was what this film was made for!
Jack Reacher (2012)
I came into this movie for one thing and one thing only: entertain me. The movie did just that and I'm happy. Tom Cruise has an impressive resume. I'm not the biggest fan of his or anything but I cannot deny his incredible list of movies. Jack Reacher is one of those movies.
First, let me start out by saying that, in the near future when this movie reaches cable or TV and someone hasn't heard of Jack Reacher. Well, they will think this movie has no title because the title "Jack Reacher" is in the same lettering and font as the cast. With that being said, the movie starts off well. In fact, it was riveting because we see future son of John McClane (Jai Courtney) shooting down people with a sniper rifle. What makes it riveting is that we are seeing from the eye of a sniper and what exactly we are seeing from their eyes. Its really well done. Of course he shoots people and the police catch the wrong guy.
Enter Jack Reacher. We are given exposition that he is ghost and that you only find him when he finds you, that type of thing. Pretty soon Jack is investigating the framed sniper, and all sorts of people come out to get a piece of him but luckily Jack is one of those people with a "particular set of skills" and goes all Jason Bourne on them. The action scenes are awesome! I particularly love the car chase scene, you know, the one you saw in the commercial all the time when he's just blending in with the onlookers and the cops never think to check the people in the crowd. What disturbs me on that scene was the cops automatically finger point him for a crime. I just didn't get why they were chasing him in the first place. Did I miss something here or was this just an excuse for a cool action sequence?
While I'm on the negatives here, I just felt like Tom Cruise and that other lead girl he was with (the name escapes me) just felt like characters written on a page. True, I like some of the dialogue Cruise gives out, but I just can't help but seeing them as Hollywood stereotypes.
With that being said, the movie was awesome and I was never bored. It's the last movie I'm seeing this year. So looking forward to what they have in store for 2013!
"A hobbit? I never heard of a hobbit before? Sounds like orc mischief to me!"
I couldn't wait for this movie. I took my beautiful date Terra and my beautiful friend Gina and it would be a glorious night. But dang, is this movie long! I think it covered more than half the book!
In case you don't know, the movie starts with an old Bilbo narrating as that dragon Smaug attacks the dwarfs and steals their gold. Gandalf enlists young Bilbo (played brilliantly by Martin Freeman) invades his home with the dwarfs and the adventure begins. A lot of amazing things happen along the way (I especially like the scene with the trolls and the fight in the Ewok village later in the movie) but I hate to say it, but man I sure miss Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli from Lord of the Rings. I really didn't care for either of the dwarfs. I loved Bilbo and Gandalf, but these dwarfs. Ugh. Especially, Troin, or whatever his name was, he just seems so bitter and one-dimensional. He hates the elves and finds an awful place to sleep. I swear, every time he finds a place to sleep, trouble happens. He always seem to endanger them when he finds shelter. I also don't know much about the other dwarfs other than they act like children and get mad when someone is trying to help them, especially the elves. Then every single time they are in danger, you know Gandalf will be there to save them. It happens every time. Gandalf should be on this quest by himself! Just to get one more negative out of the way, some scenes drag on a little longer than they should and I almost think this could have been made into one movie.
With that being said, I absolutely loved Bilbo. I enjoyed every scene he was in. Martin Freeman's performance really captured what I think of when I think of a hobbit. Also his scenes with Gollum are simply fantastic. The game of riddles was handled so wonderfully, that I almost wished that was the entire film. Ian McKelland's Gandalf was also excellent, as always, and really the two characters of Bilbo and Gandalf are the core of this film.
If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, definitely see this movie. Despite some of my criticisms, I still think it was a really good movie. I'm looking forward to the next one in 2013.
A Historic Achievement
I finally saw this with my mom and my sister and I'm glad I did. To me, it's a real treat to see a new Steven Spielberg film. It's like a theatrical Christmas present. With that being said, I enjoyed Lincoln: a movie that could have been very boring but carried by strong, outstanding performances.
Daniel Day Lewis obviously invoked the character of Abraham Lincoln, and brings so much warmth and personality to his role that you really feel like you are watching the real Abe Lincoln. It's his story about freeing the slaves, probably the event he's most known for, and every scene is handled beautifully. You can see the passion Spielberg had in this film, and everyone in the cast, including the writers, brought in their A-game.
I can honestly see this film viewed in classrooms in the future. It's a great historic piece. If this film doesn't win a lot of awards come Oscar time, it's been robbed!
Life of Pi (2012)
Life of Pi is Fun
Life of Pi is one of those films that you would think about leaving the theater and would stick with you for a long while. It has a lasting appeal, and a great ending that is not often seen in films these days as most film endings suck.
It didn't start out strong though as we follow an older Pi telling his story to a journalist. He covers the younger years of his life, and if anyone has ever seen The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, you will know that his earlier years is fairly boring. We discover why his name is Pi, and its from a swimming pool. Okay. It isn't until he gets older where we finally see him on that boat and that big tidal wave hits, and the imagery is astounding. Pi is thrust into a lifeboat and this is really where our movie begins. Pi is trapped on a boat with animals: a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena, and a fierce tiger. In fact, most of the movie is spent with Pi surviving hunger and not being eaten by this tiger in the middle of the ocean. What a great concept! It's also narrated by Pi, and its fantastic!
If there is one complaint that I think most people would agree on is the use of very heavy CG. You can almost say there is too much CG and what is some beautiful cinematography. The tiger especially as it looks very good, but at times you can tell it was CG. You would notice this on a scene on a beach where the tiger is walking. The movement seems a little off and it ruins some of the realism on what could have been a very emotional scene.
I can't recommend Life of Pi enough though. There's so many things I could say about it and it is a fantastic journey that if I saw it as a kid, it would be one of those movies I look back on and love even just for nostalgia sake. I'm seeing it again with my mom. This is one journey I think everyone should experience!
A Good Flight
My mom really wanted to see this and I'm a big fan of Robert Zemeckis so it was a win-win situation here. By the end of the film, my mom was in tears so I know we seen a good movie.
The film follows Whip (Denzel Washington), a pilot who we first see in bed with a hot chick, drinking beer, and snorting cocaine. That's our lead, ladies and gentlemen. What's scarier is that he's about to fly a plane full of passengers. However, he just passes out and the plane malfunctions all on its own. His co-pilot just freaks out but Whip keeps it cool, leveling the plane... and then inverts it. Weird. But what's cool is that we get to see from a cockpit perspective. Honestly, never before have I seen a film that really captures the whole flying thing. I never flown before so this was a close experience.
Sure enough, he lands the plane but it crashes. Luckily, most everyone survived except six people. Still, people want blood and because Whip has an alcohol and drug problem, they want to put him away. So instead of, oh I don't know, staying off the booze, he keeps drinking. Everyone who is trying to help him tells him to stop, but he keeps drinking. So throughout the film, he copes with that but he just can't stop and pushing away everyone around him.
The performances were excellent in this movie. Some of the conversations felt very real, and I sense Oscar nods coming their way. It helps when the writing is superb. The only thing about this movie that it doesn't really have the charm as some of the other Zemeckis films. I don't see repeat viewings or anything. Also, product placement galore!