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Grave Encounters 2 (2012)
Nice to see that they're letting 6 year olds write scripts nowadays
I would say that this is comparable to something you would catch on the Sci-Fi channel at 3:30am, but that would be giving it a compliment. In most general cases with scripts, people tend to take a step back, review what they have written and say "Now how can we make this better". Where as in this case, they took a step back and said "Let's see how BAD we can make the following sequence" This is seriously one of the WORST films i've ever seen. Oh wait, strike that, they didn't use film. So let me say that this is the WORST piece of digital i've ever seen. Youtube videos have better depth than this tripe. I gave this thing 2 stars because at least it gave some people work in L.A.
21 Jump Street (2012)
Finds a nice ground between entertaining and hysterical
On the surface, this movie looks like it would be somewhat mediocre. But it's actually pretty damn good. When you're not laughing your pants off (and believe me, you will be), you'll have no problem being just plain entertained by it's ability to just have fun. It does a great job of not only avoiding giant cliché's, but making fun of them in the process. Jonah Hill will have you laughing, and Channing Tatum actually did a good job in this movie.......not surprising seeing that the role called for him to be a douche bag. Which once again, is something to chuckle about. Towards the end, the movie does tend to drag on, but has no problem pulling you right back into it's fun. As far as comedies go, this is a pretty good way to start off 2012
Real Steel (2011)
Transformers.......eat your heart out.
Hmmmmm.......the last time Spielberg produced a movie involving robots, was 'Transformers'. And by god, do i hate 'Transformers'. The last thing i need is another Michael Bay wanna-be action flick. Hopefully this is anything but.
The summer of 2011 was missing a lot of fun with their action. Only on maybe 2 occasions did i walk away from a movie feeling like i had a great ass time. I only wish this came out during the summer time, because it would certainly have made up for the giant gap of fun.
Words cannot begin to explain how much fun i had watching this film. It was one of those action movies that made you WANT to be a kid again. Some might call it predictable or cliché'. But it's acting and it's story and it's action tie in so well together that you don't even care. You cannot help but just sit back and enjoy this ride.
The story does start off somewhat slow......well, that's what i gathered at least from the people around me. But for me, i saw nothing but character development. A washed up boxer who doesn't have the ability to make a right decision. I mean hell, the guy abandoned his only child, and when the kid finally comes back, he STILL doesn't want anything to do with him. You never see that in a big budget Hollywood flick......especially one with Spielberg's name attached to it.
Now here's where a bit of the cliché's fall into place. They find a robot in a pile of garbage, pretty much symbolizing Hugh Jackman's character. He's beat up, and nobody wants anything to do with him. Obviously you know where the story is going to go from here........but like i said before........i didn't care ONE BIT.
They did a great job of establishing a certain amount of depth within each of the central characters, sure they did it a cliché' sense. But the acting and direction combined with another amazing score by Danny Elfman really made it shine. I kid you not, i almost cried at the end.........really.......a movie about fighting robots ALMOST made me cry. So to pretty much sum it up......it's a cliché' done right.
However, the majority of this movie REALLY had to rely on the fighting. I mean, if it wasn't intense, then all that character depth is just wasted. But rest assured, you easily get your money's worth with the fights. A lot of the elements they used are somewhat stolen from the 'Rocky' series. But then again, so is Mike Tyson's Punch-Out, and i don't see anyone complaining about that game. If you're a big 'Rocky' fan, you'll easily see some of the similarities. But watching robots act them out......it's hard NOT to like. It's intense, it's fun, and it's easily AND obviously the best part of the movie. And trust me, you get TONS of it too.
Bottom Line........Like i said before, it's one of those action movies that makes you feel like a kid again. You see, this is what 'Transformers' should've been. Well put together, action packed, heart felt, and just plain fun. This is easily one of THE best movies i've seen all year. It's not artistic with it's action like 'Drive'. It's doesn't have the intelligent depth like 'Planet of the Apes'. It's just plain fun. I only wish it came out during the summer time, because it would've fit in perfectly.
An art-house action flick at it's finest
I think we all remember hearing about Ryan Gosling right after 'The Notebook' came out. Most men, including myself, neglected the man on his acting ability. It's not a good reason to not really appreciate an actor. But when it comes to romantic flicks like that, i'm not really keen on the subject, or it's actors for that matter. But film by film, this man is starting to impress the hell out of me. Now it's about time to see what kind of chops this man has when it comes to an action film.
Believe me when i say this.......it is the coolest damn action flick i've seen in quiet some time. It's not your basic shoot em' picture. It has this slight 'noire' edge to it that makes it shine much brighter than the rest.
For starters, let's talk about the pace of the film. Most may call it slow, whereas i call it hypnotic. The lead played by Gosling, is a cold and quiet fellow who barely even speaks, blinks, or give any reference to his emotions. The film is littered with these somewhat awkward pauses by his character........i personally wouldn't call them awkward, because the way the film is presented, it makes them look beautiful. Case in point......in the movie "Heat", you know how Dinero, Kilmer, Sizemore, Trejo barely speak to one another. But the overall feeling is just so entertaining to watch? That's the exact same feeling you get when you watch this picture.
But as the film rolls on, Gosling's character becomes a bit more vibrant. And by that, i mean more gory. It's not the kind of gore you would expect. Not like Tarantino gore, but more like a David Cronenberg gore. (History of Violence, Eastern Promises). You know, the settle, yet explosive gore that you really weren't expecting......which i love. And then the movie does nothing but climb higher and higher with it's level of intensity. It took this stone cold character, and molded him into one cool ass superhero.
But what really sold me on this film was it's overall FEEL. The best example i can give is this........it's a cool mix between "Heat" and "Taxi Driver", with a very artistic edge. I already said that the movie is hypnotic, and i cannot stress that enough. Once the picture starts, your eyes are literally glued to the screen. The cinematography is fantastic, the musical score is hip and awesome, and the acting is top notch. All these elements were executed to perfection.
Bottom Line.......i may go and see this movie again. I rarely ever do that......THAT'S how awesome this was. It's an art-house action flick at it's finest. Both men and women will drool over this movie. If you get the chance, go and see this movie......you will never regret it.
Apollo 18 (2011)
To many damn assumptions....
Most people seem to hate the whole 'hand-held' horror movie. "Blair Witch", "Paranormal Activity". The majority of the people i encounter say they hate em'. I however, love the hell out of em'. They're new and original. They offer something fresh to the horror market, because let's face it, i'm tired of seeing the same damn thing over and over again. I mean for Christ sakes, they have 7 'Saw' movies, and 5 'Final Destinations'. And is that wasn't enough, they're remaking all the classics. No matter how many people hate on the concept, i will STILL go and see every single one.
Unlike the other 'hand held' horror movies i mentioned before, this movie takes a much more different approach with it's style of filming. Since this is 'so-called' recovered footage from 1974, it's very grainy, it's frame rate is very slow, and it's slightly damaged. From a third party perspective, that might sound intriguing, and in a way it is. But there were some portions of the movie that got kind of annoying with their jump cuts and white-out techniques. But once you pass the 30 minute mark of the movie, you start to get use to the style they're using and you don't notice it as much.
But the biggest problem i had with the movie was the story. You see, in 'Blair Witch', they at least gave you a bit of back-story to what was going on. This one is all assumption......which i HATE. You can get by with this technique if you were covering something else like ghost, or evil spirits. Even though we know nothing of the subject, we get an idea of what the main characters are dealing with. But when you're in an unfamiliar place like the moon, and you're dealing with alien creatures, you need to explain a little more, otherwise your audience is left scratching their heads. And in this case, i was scratching pretty damn hard. Mainly because i had no idea why they were there, what they were dealing with, and what the governments intentions were. Like i said, it was nothing but assumptions.
And speaking of assumptions, you're going to have to assume what these creatures actually look like, because you never get that FULL establishing shot of what they actually look like. You either get a quick 1/2 second glance, or the film is so damaged that you can't make out what's on screen.
Not only that, you never get the idea of how these creatures operate. What are their intentions? How do they live? What are they capable of? WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ME SOME DAMN ANSWERS FOR THIS MOVIE!!! However, amidst all the confusion, there is one thing i did like, and that was the level of intensity. There were certain sequences that really had me going. Throughout the entire movie, they did nothing build up more and more. So of course, i was expecting this super grand horror finale'. But it ended in a pretty dull and abrupt fashion. And once again, left me with more assumptions.
Bottom Line......i appreciate the movie for it's different style of filmaking. But the overall plot had more holes than the moon has craters. I think if they explained more and brushed up on some of the annoying editing techniques, then this movie would have been something to marvel at. It was alright, i didn't hate it, but it's not the type of movie i'd go raving to my friends about.
Fright Night (2011)
Damn good vampire fun.....
Can a horror remake actually be a good for a change? I mean, how many classic horror flicks does Hollywood have to crap on until they finally give up? "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "Amityville Horror", "Nightmare on Elm St.", "Friday the 13th", "House of Wax".......all of these films are examples of why i sometimes HATE Hollywood.
Finally......a horror remake that's WORTH seeing. I must admit, i had some pretty low expectations walking into this, and it did way more than prove me wrong. Initially i thought they were going to make this a straight 'B' movie by incorporating tons of humor with their gore, which would have been fine with me, seeing that i love the genre'. But this movie was more fun than funny. Don't get me wrong, there are some sequences that are funny, but it had more of that 'drive-in' appeal to it's horror. And i loved every bit of it.
It's story is pretty basic, and somewhat cliché'. I mean come on, a vampire living next door. But the weird thing is, it didn't come off as cliché'. And i think the biggest contribution to that was the pace of the film. Once you get past the first 10 to 15 minutes of the film, which are kind of dull, the movie quickly begins to morph into a fast paced gore fest. And now looking back on it......if it were not rated R, then this movie would have been stupid, and it would've fit in with every other crummy horror remake.
But the aspect that i appreciated the most was the writing. For once, they didn't alter any rules to make their film different. They stuck with what already works, and left it up to the actors to make these vampire rules entertaining. And Collin Farrell did just that.
Bottom Line.....Of all the horror movies that come out this year, this will probably be the one you will have the most fun at. It's funny, it's somewhat scary, but most of all, it's pretty damn entertaining. It's one of those movies i would've loved to of seen at the drive-in. If your tired of all this 'Twilight' crap, which they happen to mention in the movie itself, then this is really a breathe of fresh air to all the TRUE vampire fans.
Hands down, the best summer movie of 2011
Of all the movies that can possibly be re-booted......why reboot another movie that's already been re-booted? And of all the projects that the Weta team can possibly tackle, why this one? Well it must be the script, because everyone that's come across it has wanted to be somewhat involved. Hopefully it lives up to the expectations that are already in place, because i don't think i could handle another stink bomb like Burton's version.
Finally......a summer movie that's actually WORTH your summer dollar. Almost every element of this film is pitch perfect. Just what makes this 'oh so' great? Allow me to explain....
Judging from the preview, i thought the movie to be a little too relative to the concept from "Deep Blue Sea". But this movie takes a much more different route with their Alzheimer's approach. Needless to say, they did a much better job than that movie.....obviously.
I know most people may be scratching their heads to this comment, but in my opinion, this is easily the most well written script of the year thus far. It's intelligent, thought provoking, emotional, and damn well entertaining. What makes this so good is the progression of the main ape 'Ceaser' (heh, ironic name), and his journey from a curious and smart ape, into an upset ape that realizes the harsh realities of being treated like an animal. It's now easy to see just why everyone jumped on board when they read this. I kid you not, i actually got goosebumps from this movie, and that rarely happens.
And once again, the Weta team did a phenomenal job with their brilliant special effects. Andy Serkis who has already done work like this before in 'Lord of Rings' and 'King Kong', out preformed most actors in Hollywood without barely saying a word. Is it wrong to say that a man in a blue suit with dots all over him, imitating an ape is so far the best actor i've seen this year? Uh.....not at all. Trust me, see the movie, and you'll understand why.
Bottom Line.......not only is this easily the best movie of the summer, i will go as far as saying it's the best movie i have seen so far this year. Yes, it is THAT good. Like i said earlier, almost every element of this movie is pitch perfect. The writing, the acting, the special effects.....all done to near perfection. It some people's eyes, this is called a reboot. However, it feels more like a prequel. But judging from what i just saw, i hope to god that they make more of these, because it literally just blew my mind.
Friends with Benefits (2011)
First half, funny......second half, giant chick flick cliché' trap.
After seeing that pile of garbage that is "No Strings Attached", why on god's green earth would i see a movie that harbors the same concept. Well, ideas can be crapped on. Case in point, "Batman and Robin". Just because Joel Schumaker took a dump on my childhood doesn't mean the idea of Batman is still in the toilet. But can an idea as simple as this be somehow salvaged? I must admit, the movie did start off quiet entertaining. Both characters are likable, the dialog is witty and at times very funny, and the cameos are great. Needless to say, the direction this movie was taking was VERY different from "No Buttholes Attached". They made the sex portion of the film both hilarious and very sexy. The guys will love watching Mila Kunis strut around in next to nothing, and the girls will love the constant shots of Timberlake's ass. Combine that with the quirky awkward situations that we all encounter with sex, and you got a pretty humorous concept.
However, around the half way point of this film, it took a turn that i was hoping would never come. And that's what happens with the majority of these chick flick traps, they trick you with their humor, and they turn all emotional. And that's exactly what happened with this movie.
I mean come on, how can a film that's really witty and funny turn all serious in a blink of an eye? I mean, one second i'm laughing, and the next, i'm not forced to deal with the sad situation with Timberlake's father having Alzheimer's. Then it trickles down even more when Kunis overhears Timberlake's feelings about her, and of course, the movie gets all emotional and turned into "No Poop Bombs Attached".
By this point of the movie, i gave up all hope. I already knew what was coming. I was bored, and i actually took a phone call in the theater, which is something i never, and i do mean NEVER do.
Bottom Line.....like i already said before, the first half was funny, witty and clever. And the second half is a giant chick flick cliché' trap. I didn't hear one laugh or chuckle in the theater for the remaining hour of the film. But the ladies will probably love it.
Kind of empty if you ask me.....
With all the chips finally falling into place, there's only one left to go. But can the Capt. fit in with the rest of the already awesome group? Ever since "Batman Begins", studios came to realization that an origins story can have an unreal amount of depth and be extremely entertaining at the same time. They have since applied this method to "IronMan" "X-Men: First Class" and so on. However, other movies have failed to miss this mark. And in it's own little way, to me, 'Captain America' kind of missed it as well. Allow me to explain...
For starters, the villain 'Red Skull' played the fantastic Hugo Weaving, was probably the biggest disappointment of the film. No, not by his acting, but by his level of depth, or lack thereof. In my opinion, he is the dullest villain on screen. I guess the writers and director thought that by him being a Nazi, the audience would already buy the fact that he is an evil person, so they just went ahead and explained of his back story, which is summed up in a 15 second flashback sequence. Hmmmm, really......i kind of need more than that.
In fact, Captain America's back story was kind of weak as well. Don't get me wrong, there is a great character within, however, they didn't really shoot the moon on this one, which is kind of upsetting, because you could really sense the potential.
But once Steve Rodgers gains his super human powers, it's just one action sequence after another, with Red Skull occasionally making an appearance. I guess this was an attempt to remind the audience who the villain was, because he's barely on screen for more than 5 minutes.
Don't get me wrong, the movie is slightly entertaining. It was just missing that WOW factor. Marvel tends to do this a lot. They really focus on the 'love' aspect, and they don't pay attention to the battle within both the good and evil characters. You kind of sensed that in "Thor", but they obviously made up for it in the long run.
Bottom Line.....yes, you get your dollar's worth, but i kind of wanted something more. With the whole team coming together next summer, i have to say that the Capt. is probably my least favorite of the bunch.
A very memorable finale'.
Two years ago, i finally sat down and watched all the Potter films. I will admit, they were well put together and pretty entertaining. However, i didn't see why people hold it up like it's the greatest story of all time. So i took their advice and read all the books. Is there a difference? Not really. Sure the movies miss some minor details and leave out a few characters. But the overall essence of the story is captured very well in the movies. But still, i didn't feel this overwhelming sense of joy that everyone else seems to be experiencing. Never the less, they are pretty entertaining to watch.
Even though i thought Part 1 of this was a complete bore fest, i knew what was later to come in this entry. And the movie does exactly what i expected it to do.......hit the ground running. Most of these Potter films give constant build up towards a giant climactic battle of sorts. Whereas this one constantly moves forward with it's action and never let's up.
The special effects and 3D display are absolutely amazing. Everyone already knows that the 'Battle of Hogwarts' is what everyone was waiting for, and let me tell you, it looked pretty damn impressive. But here in lies my only problem with the film. The 'Battle for Hogwarts' was kind of weak.......allow me to explain.
After reading the books and watching all the movies, one would expect that this would be an end all be all battle. In a way, it is.......however, they constantly direct your attention away from this, and focus more on Harry finding these horcruxes. In fact, they focus on that more than the actual battle. Yes, i understand that this IS important......but, i want to see this ultimate good vs evil fight take place, minus the constant cut to's.
I would go into one more thing i didn't like, but for those of you who know nothing of the story, i wouldn't want to ruin it for you. But other than that, the film is pretty damn entertaining.
Bottom Line, would i say that it's my favorite Potter film? No, but it does give an amazing sense of closure to the series. I wasn't emotional.....to tell you the truth, i don't see how i could be since the story didn't really MOVE me. But the entire theater was blubbering throughout the entire third act. So i guess it really hit home with the die-hards. Never the less, WB did an amazing job with this series. They didn't slip up like most, and they gave the audience exactly what they wanted. Job well done.