26 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Frozen (I) (2010)
Could have been much better
9 October 2010
Frozen actually has a pretty decent concept for a film but it is let down by acting that is sub par and not enough variety.

I thought Frozen was watchable but not much more than that. While the acting isn't horrible, it isn't that great either. This problem is magnified by the fact that 95% of the movie only has three actors in it. This leads to the second problem. With only three people involved you lose the typical disposable characters you want to see removed from the equation first. You get little variety in the horror dept when you are immediately limited to three people. If there was some great depth to the characters with something interesting to find out about them then it wouldn't be as big of a deal but there is not much here to work with. Add another car or two of people while keeping the main focus on the group presented here and I think it would have helped a lot.

The tension is certainly there in Frozen but I think most will find that it falls well short of what it could have been. In fact I think most will be bored and ready to hit the fast forward before the film is done.
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Happy Town (2010)
Confusing, bad camera work and too many plots
7 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Happy Town has got to be one of the most confusing shows I can remember. There is only one pace in this series and that is "all out". People want to compare it to Twin Peaks but it isn't even close because at least in Twin Peaks they knew how to pace and build the characters. The plots shifted but not ever 5 minutes. Also, Twin Peaks didn't have camera shots that look like someone handed a 5 year old the camera for action sequences. It is frustrating when a fight scene is done and you have to pause to gain your composure before you toss your cookies.

On a positive note, the characters are fairly believable and the acting is good. There's also plenty of scares in Happy Town and the show comes off as genuinely creepy. The best thing about Happy Town has to be Sam Neil. His character suits him perfectly and you can't help but want to see what he is going to do next.

Sometimes I have to go against the masses and this is one of them. There are many possibilities in Happy Town but things come at you too fast. I felt like I got a season's worth of twists and turns in 2 episodes. If this is the supposed to be ABC's makeup project for Twin Peaks then they have dropped the ball.
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Possibly the worst school film of all time
28 September 2009
Lower Lesson had potential to at least be above horrible. The acting isn't actually that bad compared to your typical school films but it is the depth of the crudeness that sinks this film to the bottom. I could handle the principal's tasteless style because you have Biggs and Eva's characters to counter. The real problem is Monica Potter's character. I have to wonder if she fired her agent after this film. She is the worst teacher in film history unless you get into horror films where they are killing the little rascals. It is painful as ever. It is obvious that they shot her character without any actual kids in the room as you will not see any near her in most shots. After you see her and hear what she has to say you will know why. She rants at the kids with "F U" comments and every vile thing that could come from a person. It would be bad enough if these were high school kids but elementary? You have got to be kidding. I was really surprised considering Potter typically plays a good character. Anyway, the film has little going for it to counter the entire negative. You know it is bad when a supposed comedy weighs you down with guilt. Avoid this film at all cost.
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Surrogates (2009)
Average for a Bruce Willis Film
28 September 2009
The trailer of this film looked sweet and I'm a Bruce Willis fan so it was a no brainer to check it out.

The movie is a mixed bag. The acting is good from Willis on down the list. The subject matter is interesting and the relationship Willis' character has with his wife makes you want to know more. It is truly the best part of the film.

The real problem for me is that I found Surrogates to have the feel of a thriller rather than an action flick. This is fine but there were no real plot twists and not near enough character development. Basically, you know the entire plot from beginning to end just by watching the trailer. The only question you have to ask is whether Willis is going to manage to let 99% of the population die? It doesn't take a genius to assume correct on this question. Other than this one question I found very little substance. If you have no more substance than this to occupy your brain then you need more action. That's not to say there isn't any action in Surrogates because there is quite a bit. It just needs more if you are going to know the story from beginning to end before the movie starts.

Give me one of two things, more action to enjoy the ride or more depth to make me think. Surrogates is just good enough in each of these but not great in either. I believe I would have liked it a lot better if I hadn't seen the trailers but it would still fall a bit flat of my expectations of a Bruce Willis movie. It is by no means bad but it had potential to be far better.

6.5 / 10
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Zombieland (2009)
Brilliantly crafted with laughs from beginning to end
21 September 2009
I caught a sneak preview of Zombieland with a friend and was impressed to say the least.

Zombieland has to have one of the flashiest openings in memory. There is no subtle build up. You are dropped right into Zombieland as Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) begins listing the rules to survival. Of course each rule gives you a hysterical example of why the rule is in place. Anything that has been taboo for horror films at one time is met head on. I won't list each as not to spoil the movie but Zombieland has a unique ability to make almost anything seem comical. This includes the fact that for some reason it seems that every zombie in Zombieland has a blood belching problem. Literally every zombie has blood spewing from their mouth. This is captured best in the intro as you almost feel like you are supposed to have the 3D glasses in place.

Columbus is funny enough with his phobias and geek lifestyle that proves to be what keeps him alive but it isn't until he meets Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), that things really kick into gear. Harrelson seems to have been born for this role. He has more one liners than any character in recent memory. Each line is typically vulgar but even if offensive it is near impossible not to laugh. Let's face it, if you are completely offended by language or blood then you aren't likely to be sitting with a crowd watching Zombieland in the first place.

A little romance is thrown into the mix when Columbus and Tallahassee come up on Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). For a zombie comedy I thought Eisenberg and Stone actually had decent chemistry. Not that much time is dedicated to romance but what is there comes across as sincere and lets us watch as Columbus transitions from geek to hero. Even without the romance the girls are an important part of the chemistry of Zombieland. They help to even out the brawn and the brains between the four characters.

Zombieland has a simple story. The guys are loners. Columbus with the simple mission to stay alive and Tallahassee with a never ending search for any and all of the remaining golden Twinkies left on the planet. The girls are sisters who are trying to get to an amusement park in CA where they believe, or at least want to believe it is zombie free. A small part of the film feels like the movie Vacation with zombies. The comical trip with a destination which you can just feel isn't going to be what the characters hope for. Like Vacation it shows that the journey is far more important than the destination.

The biggest moment of the film has to be the mystery cameo. I'm glad I didn't know who it was and I won't spoil it for anyone else. I will say that it was brilliantly written into the script. PERFECT! It really goes to show how much they focused on getting Zombieland to be a top notch flick that should go down as a horror-comedy classic to remember. It will certainly fit alongside Shaun of the Dead in my movie collection.
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District 9 (2009)
I Agree with the majority
1 September 2009
I haven't seen a movie twice in the theater in a LONG time but this was one that had me back for a second round. I found that I caught a lot more subtle things the second time around. With this shot as a documentary that is full of live news footage there is a lot to read on the screen as well as paying attention to the actors on screen. The depth of the film also left me wanting to see it a second time.

One of the best compliments I can give District 9 is that there no individual areas of the film that stand out enough to make break the feeling of you seeing something on your TV set at home. To be clear, I mean that the action is awesome but it isn't overdone to where you go home saying, "What an awesome action flick." The special FX are great but you don't go home wanting to rave about them either. Everything is done with a subtle touch to compliment the story and not stand out on its own. The space craft is meticulously detailed yet they didn't make it in a way that would have you fixated on it. The aliens are very real looking (if that can be said of an alien) but again, they don't make it to where that is what you go home talking about. In the end the story is the power of the film which is carefully handled and everything else simply supports it.

The other thing about the film is that the alien situation is handled so carefully that you originally have a chuckle when you see what it happening to them, which is tragic, but after only a few short minutes you feel sorrow for what you are seeing. This is not an easy task to accomplish but District 9 does it perfectly.

The only problem I had with this film is how to describe it to friends so they will go to see it. You can't just say, "Go see this alien film. It's great!" After all, most people think aliens killing humans and us hunting them down from a description like that. You can't say it is just a drama with aliens because it has a fair amount of action. There is hardly a description for this film that will fit right for others to understand the depth of the movie. It must be seen by someone so they can make their own judgment as to what the film is to them. Whatever you want to call it, it is great. You can't help but to get sucked into the story and see so many social issues that we are dealing with today which are displayed so vibrantly in District 9. The lead actor was perfect for the role and the entire cast was awesome. This is one of those rare times when I am thankful that the movie didn't have a top name actor to sell it. A big name would only distract from a movie like this. District 9 goes down as the movie of the year for me with ease.
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Fighting (2009)
The Fighting is the Worst Part
26 August 2009
I expected this to be on the same level as Never Back Down. After it was done I could have only dreamed that this was so. Not one person out of five in my household wanted to finish this film but I watched it anyway. The acting is horrible but it is the actual fighting that truly does this film in. From the first money fight you are amazed at how badly the main character, Shawn is at fighting yet somehow manages to win. From here you EXPECT the typical Karate Kid element of the fighter working hard as ever to raise his skills. This film regrettably doesn't bother. It leads the viewer to think that the fight you just saw which basically left Shawn winning out of luck was actually skill or brute force along with raw will. This leap in logic only gets worse and worse as he continues to climb the fighting food chain to better and better fighters. There are no great fight moves by Shawn and there is no wisdom passed from Howard's character, Harvey to Shawn. The whole plot is that he will magically keep winning from beginning to end with absolutely zero effort other than looking tough before each fight. This is the premise that the movie follows. This one bad decision ruins the film even IF the acting wasn't horrible along with every other part of the film.

Let's be honest. No one went to see (or rented) Fighting to hold it to a high standard but simply with the hope of getting some popcorn entertainment. There are no hopes of a deep plot but merely one that will pit fighters against each other for some good solid fight scenes. When the movie can't even deliver on this simple task then you know it is below bad. There is an attempt at a love story but it fails miserably. There's also an attempt at a twist but it is so easy to read that it comes off as more of a joke. Then they sum it all up with an ending that leaves the characters to make a choice that is ludicrous even for the level of stupidity of the characters in this film. When you have a film with a quality actor as good as Terrence Howard in it then you at least expect minimally bad. Sadly, he was thrown into Fighting as the selling point. I have to wonder if he read the script before he signed up for this.
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Great Surprise of a Horror Film
6 August 2009
I'll admit that I haven't seen one of these haunted house films in a little while because, to be quite frank, I got so tired of retread after retread since The Ring and others hit big in the US. Yes I have seen others but I just haven't been thrilled by what seemed to be the same old story. This complaint is what surprises me about many of the reviews here.

I found The Haunting In Connecticut to be surprisingly refreshing. No, you don't have a groundbreaking new story but the story you do have is good, well supported by the actors and very well supported by a good writer. The dialogue actually sounds like words that people might say. What an amazing concept! :) It has been a rare case that I actually even care about the characters and what's the deal with the majority always having to revolve around water? After a while a puddle with hair is a puddle with hair but you don't have that here. You actually have a pretty good bit of drama that is setup here. The way the ghost/s are introduced and used throughout is creepy as ever and the soundtrack is top notch. Others may say this is just another haunted house story but I haven't liked something this good since BEFORE The Ring. It reminds me of Amityville in ways but better.

I like all types of horror. Give me slashers, zombies, haunted houses, clowns, mutants or dolls. The thing is that there are getting to be far fewer come out with this much care put into them. I still don't mind the B movie experience but this is Grade A all the way.
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Better than the first in almost every way
28 June 2009
Reviews of movies like this do not need to be long. TF2 delivered bigger and badder action than the first. It was awe inspiring to say the least. The explosions were bigger, transformations cooler and the Transformers had much more personality.

Key things that make TF2 awesome- + As already stated, the action is even better than the first and that is saying a TON. + They realized just how captivating Megan Fox was and maximized her screen time. + Some of the robots are hilarious compared to the original where non of them had much of a personality. + The acting was good all the way around

The negatives were few but they are certainly there. - They should have realized from the first film that the movie would be at least 20 minutes shorter. Even with full tilt action it starts seeming to be a little much after two hours. You need a deep plot and character development if you are going to go as long as these two films did. - This film is FAR LESS family friendly. I have yet to talk to a friend who has seen TF2 and didn't agree that the cursing and sexual references are at least 10 times that of the original. If you are an adult then the jokes and references are quite comical but they aren't something I particularly wanted my kids to watch. I'm sure some will disagree but this is just on father's opinion.

That about covers my thoughts on TF2. My rating of 9/10 is for adults. For kids it would have been a couple of notches lower.
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Surprised at what some expected. Great 3D 80s style horror!
21 January 2009
I won't go deep into the plot because it isn't important. This movie doesn't pretend to be a smart thriller that keeps you guessing and working your mind to figure out who is doing what. It is a raw, unoriginal but awesome 80s style slasher flick that is very well done in most areas. The acting isn't Oscar worthy but it certainly wasn't bad. In fact I thought it was great by horror standards. Next, the gore is here and it is done well. The digital fx are combined nicely with traditional horror makeup fx. This is rare as I find myself bombarded by tons of crappy digital fx horror movies by the dozen over the last 5 or more years. OK, so why the high score? The movie is well paced and by that I mean fast. It starts strong and it doesn't let up. Next, I found myself impressed by the movie score. The soundtrack actually had me noticing it as far better than average and wishing I had someone next to me to ask if it was just me or did this soundtrack fit perfectly. Lastly, this movie does 3D like no movie I can remember seeing. The locations are perfect for 3D. The whole mine shaft works well and looked multi layered for a long way when you first see it. There are a couple of scenes where the camera is doing a very high shot of the mining area or the city and you can almost feel motion sickness set in as if you are on a ride and your seat is moving because you focus on a big crane or bridge and as the camera pans you feel like you are floating around it. Very cool stuff. Another notable scene, without spoiling anything is the first gore scene. It is not for the faint. You might find yourself pulling back as if you are going to get blood on your clothes. :)

If you are open to a straight forward horror flick that doesn't bother slowing the pace for a deep story but would rather give the audience an abundance of gore with a slick 3D coat of paint then this will be a movie you will love.
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