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ARTaylor

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Thor (2011)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Excellent Introduction to the Expansive Marvel Lore, 9 May 2011
10/10

I have to say that Thor is my current favorite of Marvel's movies, though tied with Iron Man at the moment. I absolutely loved every single moment of it.

While I love Thor, I have to admit I don't really know too much about him. Like Iron Man before, I knew of him and some basics about the character but not enough to know much going into the movie. I watched the Hulk vs Thor animated video and his few appearances on animated series. While I am learning and reading more about him, I certainly didn't know him like I do Spider-Man, the X-Men, or Batman. Like Iron Man, this movie really makes me want to learn more about his history and read his comics. Perhaps my inexperience with him made me more open to the movie.

I loved how it was a superhero origin story that wasn't just like every other single origin story. It isn't the usual "man discovers powers, man learns powers, man uses powers to become hero." Thor's already the hero with powers. He has to learn to use them wisely. Thor's whole story arc was terrific. I especially love the moment when Mjolnir returns to Thor. It was especially powerful and people were even cheering at that.

The cast was perfect from top to bottom. Not a single miscast actor or badly delivered line. These characters could easily come off cheesy, especially if they started spouting out too many thee's, thou's and verily's. Instead they're seriously done interpretations of how they would interact in the modern world.

The characterizations were wonderful. I loved Thor in every scene. From his arrogance in Asgard to his fish-out-of- water on Earth. Loki was the best and most dynamic villain since X-Men's Magneto. It's hard to tell whether the God of Mischief is sincere or just plotting his plans. Even the smaller parts were wonderful.

Of anything, Kenneth Branagh and Thor were made for each other. His sensibilities derived from his Shakespeare works combined perfectly with the style that Jon Favreau started with the universe. He had an excellent combination of action and humor without any one element overwhelming the others.

I thought the 3D was very effective. It was spectacular in the Asgard and Jotunheim sequences. Though I also thought it looked good in the Earth scenes. 3D can easily get gimmicky with things popping out into the audience, or it can be completely unnecessary and a distraction. Thor does neither. It really helps to project the majesty of Asgard, the dark looming of Jotunheim, and the expansiveness of New Mexico.

The music was one of the best I have heard in quite some time. I went purchased the soundtrack as soon as I could find it. It perfectly blends the epicness of the battle sequences with the more subtle moments between two characters

I have only two things I don't like about the film. First, was that Hawkeye was basically a waste and completely unnecessary. It seemed to be in there just to have an obligatory cameo than anything else. Two, that they didn't expand on the Thor and Sif love story like they should have. She's supposed to be Thor's love interest since childhood. I read one comic where she was very jealous of Amora and Brunnhilde. But there's not one shot or mention of her reacting to Jane and Thor's relationship.

Like Iron Man, the movie was so much fun and enjoyable that I easily overlooked any flaws. It helped to set up The Avengers without focusing too much on it, like what happened to Iron Man 2. I certainly look forward to more.

My rating: 10/10

8 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Shows Too Much of its Comic Book Origins, 23 March 2011
6/10

All-Star Superman is the latest animated feature from DC Comics, based off the comic book series of the same name by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. It is the seventh featuring Superman, that's including the Superman/Batman and Justice League movies. Eighth if you count the short film with Shazam. The comic, not part of the regular continuity, features Lex Luthor overdosing Superman with solar radiation so that the Man of Steel will die. Superman then goes on a quest to leave the world in a better place than when he left it.

Though I have not actually read the series this video is based off, I love Superman. I've read the comics, watched the series, bought the movies, and even listened to a few of the old radio programs.

The movie is a different version of the Superman character, much like the comics. The movie starts off with him realizing that he's dying and that Lex Luthor killed him. This is the first time since Superman: Doomsday that he's had to face the idea of his own mortality. Much of the movie focuses on the drama of the characters dealing with his impending demise. Though there are plenty of action sequences thrown in just to keep you entertained.

The voice cast does a good job. The voices of Superman, Lois Lane, and Lex Luthor are all terrific. Though I'll always hear the voices of Tim Daley, Dana Delany, and Clancy Brown when I read the comics.

The animation is great. One of my complaints about these animated features has always been that the animation was too close to Bruce Timm's Justice League. So it's nice to see that they're moving on in that aspect.

Sadly, this video left very much to be desired. Not that it was outright bad. It just should have been better.

The main problem with the movie is that it's too episodic. Watching it I felt I could tell where one comic book ended and another began. I understand that it is based off a specific comic book series, but then again so were Superman: Doomsday, Justice League: The New Frontier, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, and Batman: Under the Red Hood and those all seemed to work fine as a straightforward movie.

A resulting problem is that many of these episodes don't help the main story at all. I've read that the comics feature a lot more episodes and the producers cut them down. Honestly, they should have cut it down more. Take for instance the episode with Parasite. On it's own the scene was quite entertaining, especially seeing Clark try to save people without revealing his identity. However, afterward I found myself asking why they bothered with this segment. It added virtually nothing to the story of Superman dying. The scenes with Atlas and Samson are similarly unneeded.

There was only one thing about the movie that I hated. In one early episode Superman is able to grant Lois his powers for one day. For once she can do all the things he can. So what do they do? They fly to Metropolis where she watches him save the day, without doing anything just like she's always shown doing. I kept waiting for her to shoot heat beams, use freeze breath, or beat up some bad guy. Sadly this moment is wasted as they set up something later in the movie.

Just as a general complaint about these animated movies, I'm getting a little tired of always seeing Superman and Batman. As I said, it's the eighth movie with Superman while Batman has eleven with a twelfth on the way. While I do like Superman, I would like to see some other characters too. I loved Wonder Woman and Green Lantern: First Flight, but neither are getting sequels (GL: Emerald Knights is sort of a sequel but not really). I know they've had trouble getting another live action Superman movie off the ground, but must they flood the animated market with him? It's kind of like Marvel Animations obsession with putting the Hulk in everything. While I enjoy Superman, Batman, and Hulk, the animated film medium is the perfect venue to explore lesser known characters that don't have several live action movies.

Overall, the film simply does not flow as a cohesive whole. Fans of the All-Star comics may enjoy that it was adapted, or complain about what wasn't adapted. Superman fans will probably enjoy the different take on the character that the movie explores. But from a film audience point of view, it is too disconnected from itself to be truly enjoyable.

District 9 (2009)
2 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Excellent First Movie for a Terrific Director, 23 March 2011
10/10

Walking out of the theater I felt like I had watched The Terminator or Jaws for the first time in my life. It is a movie that will be loved for decades from now. People will look back at Neill Blomkamp's career and still remember this fondly. I felt very lucky in the theaters for the start of this director's what will be wonderful career.

While the story is none too subtle it is quite entertaining. It was a great story of social commentary that works even if you know nothing about the history of South Africa outside of Lethal Weapon 2.

The effects are spectacular. Excellent use of CGI. Not overdone but enough to create the world around them.

What really strikes me is that this is Blomkamp's first turn as a director. Most director's first movies are, while entertaining, still flawed in some way. Even the greatest of directors have some flaws in their early movies, usually that are overlooked by the quality of the rest. District 9 appears like it was made by a veteran director of forty movies.

In the coming years people will look at Blomkamp's career and think about how wonderfully he has made his movies. And it all started with a little movie called District 9.

Ghostbusters (2009) (VG)
13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Ready to be a Ghostbuster?, 14 July 2009
8/10

Note: I played the XBox 360 version. I don't know if there are any differences with the PC or PS3 version. I read that the Wii, PS2, DS, and PSP versions are a completely different experience so read another review to learn about those.

In the last year there were two franchise games that I feel really capture the feeling of being the character. The first is Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. The other is Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Although it's a third person "shooter" it doesn't feel like any other shooter. This feels like Ghostbusters. Whether you're blasting ghosts with the proton pack, sliming possessed people, searching for spirits with the PKE, or just running around you feel like a Ghostbuster.

The gameplay is entertaining in itself. None of the controls are complicated. The enemies are varied enough that you're never getting bored or repetitive. There are several problem-solving puzzles so the whole game isn't always point and shoot. It has its difficult parts without ever feeling impossible. And nothing's quite as fun as slam dunking a ghost into the trap.

The graphics are pretty good looking. The character models look real enough. The ghosts look like the movies where they're almost like a muppet. The environments are well done, it's worth several walks around the firehouse to notice all the details. The graphics aren't boundary pushing but they're still pretty good, just take a look at the Stay Puft level.

The atmosphere is really what makes it feel like Ghostbusters. There are times when it's laugh out loud hilarious. Others when it's edge of your seat scary. For example, in the library level Ray is great to listen to as he desperately hunts down the Library Ghost from the first movie. But there's one part where you approach a table in the corner and turn around to find yourself surrounded by book stacks. It creeps you out but Ray chimes in with some quip, you laugh, and move on. It captured that great Ghostbuster dark humor feeling.

The best part of the game is how authentic the game feels. First, all the actors return to voice their characters again. No Lorenzo Music or cheap sound alikes. This is the real deal. Everyone's back in perfect form, plus some great appearances by Alyssa Milano, Brian Doyle-Murray, and even Max von Sydow. It's a shame that Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis didn't return but the story works well without them. It really sounds like a movie. The environments are detailed enough. The firehouse is exactly like the films as are the hotel and the library.

The story is grand enough to be its own movie. It follows the usual film plot device of a powerful ghost trying to take over the world. However, it's not like Ghostbusters II where it's just the same plot over again. This time they added a mystery aspect. There's a question about just who the villain is and what he is doing, and in every mission you find clues to help solve it. The story itself builds off the first movie with respect towards the second.

My one and only problem with the game is that it is too short. It seems like once the story really got me hooked I was finishing it. It's not that the levels are too short or the story is lacking in any way, though it could have been expanded a bit. I finished the campaign in just three days. But maybe it was so entertaining I couldn't put it down until I was finished, and like the movies I enjoyed it so much I just wanted more. It is entertaining enough to warrant more than one play through.

This is a must for Ghostbusters fan. Whether you've watched everything Ghostbusters a hundred times over, love the first and refuse to acknowledge the second, or simply grew up on the cartoon show(s). It has everything you could want from another Ghostbusters film. Even non-Ghostbusters fans who are gamers of any level should check it out. It may not be the must-have game like Halo, Grand Theft Auto, or Call of Duty but is definitely worth a rent at the very least. Simply put: every gamer should play this game.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A Popcorn Film, 25 June 2009
8/10

What I mean by popcorn isn't the stuff you take in the theater with you, but that like popcorn the film has little nutritional value. That's what Michael Bay does. He doesn't make wholesome stuff like Dark Knight or Wall-E. He isn't trying to. Why? Because we eat it up anyways. Should we expect better? Yes. Should we eat better? Yes. Are we going to stop? No. There will always be a place for popcorn and the Michael Bay film.

Michael Bay. You either tolerate him or you hate him. He is who he is and he doesn't try to be anyone else. I don't care for him but don't hate him. If you've seen his other films you know what you're getting. They are all basically the same loud explosions and hot women. His films should be better, and would be if they were handled by someone else, but if you take them for what they are they're usually enjoyable.

This film is more of the same. If you saw T1 you know what to expect. If you loved the first you'll probably enjoy this one. If you didn't care for T1 your opinion won't change. Some stuff is better, some is worse, and some is exactly the same.

What's better?

Now that we know the story the movie dives right into good old robot action. Now instead of five minutes of people being told what's going on they can just do things. They don't have to explain who Optimus is, he can just transform, roll out, and kick butt.

Bay figured out how to show the bots fighting in the film. Last time the camera was five feet away and you couldn't tell who's foot or arm that was and what was going on. This time Bay pulled the camera back so we could see the robots in their full glory. A vast improvement.

Speaking of robot action, Optimus kicks serious butt. In the first he had two fights, one was too short and the other he was mostly losing. This time he's taking on three at once and he's fighting enemies twice his size. Optimus fans won't be disappointed.

The Decepticons actually get their own scenes and get to do more than just spout a line or two and randomly destroy things. Megatron and Starscream get more bickering. It's not quite like their original series appearance but they do more than in T1.

In T1 the Autobot's dialog, especially in their intro, were too campy. This time it's much more real. They're not talking like an 80s cartoon anymore but like someone from today. There's no Optimus saying "My bad."

What's the same?

Plenty of big, fun, loud action sequences. If you don't like those things, why are you going to see a Michael Bay film? It's what he does and he does it well. The explosions and CGI look top notch.

Megan Fox continues to be the best looking character in the film. Bay isn't afraid to show he is a man. He clearly loves making hot women look sexy. More than he likes making robots look cool.

Bay can't figure out what to cut from the film. There's still too many scenes that distract from the plot and go on far too long. There was Sam looking for the glasses in the first, and there's Judy getting high in this one. Bay may love that character and think those scenes are the best but they could have been cut down and the movie would flow so much better. I just wanted those scenes to get over with and move on. There's a dozen scenes that simply go on too long that could have been cut down and gotten the same effect. A half hour could have easily have been cut.

What's worse?

The Twins will go down as Bay's Jar Jar Binks. Like Jar Jar you can't help but notice the racial undertones. Bay's reasoning that he wants more personality in the bots is a poor excuse for useless racism. Like Jar Jar they pull attention away from other useful bots. They serve no purpose in the story other than to be funny. Like Jar Jar their humor is poor and pulls attention from the successful humor of Bumblebee. Bumblebee was a great comedic relief because it didn't come off as stupid, but this time he has few funny moments.

There's about 40 bots in the film but only 8 or 9 are explored in any way. It's nice that they included more fan favorites but not when you rarely see them let alone hear them speak. I would have much preferred that Arcee taken the Twin's places in the story. She might have given Mikaela someone to talk to rather than complaining. While Starscream and Megatron have more time all the other returning bots have less.

This movie is all over the place in terms of plot. The first was simple: find the Allspark and protect it. This film they're trying to defeat the Decepticons, protect Sam, find a couple of different objects, destroy some machine, and defeat the Fallen. Problem is there's so little plot to begin with that dividing it up makes it worse.

The first one blew me away because it was so much better than I thought it would be. This one is about what I expect from Bay. I enjoyed it but not quite like the first one. The first one I wished that there were a few things better. This one I wish there were a lot of things better.

8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Fun but Unsatisfying, 13 June 2009
6/10

I, for one, enjoyed the movie. But this is not about the movie, that's a separate page. I rented the game because my birthday was coming up and I wanted to know whether to put it on my list or not. I'm glad I did.

I enjoyed the game. What I played was lots of fun. The cover system is useful, the enemies are challenging enough, and the voice acting is good enough. It might have done better with Christian Bale reprising his role but Gideon Emery does a good enough job. He isn't like Steve Blum in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance where he fits perfectly but nor is he like Mike Vaughn of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows where he's so annoying you just want to turn off the voices. The vehicle missions are particularly entertaining, especially the last one.

But there are several problems with it.

For one, it's kind of a Gears of War rip-off. The look of the terrain is very GoW inspired. Both are third-person shooters. Both use the cover system. Both have that constant ally that the second player plays as. Except it doesn't have that fun factor Epic gave GoW. The game is virtually the same in body but not in spirit.

The game is too short. It's only nine chapters long and I finished it in two sittings without much difficulty. I read that it takes about four hours. And there's little replay value. I guess I could go through in co-op or on a higher difficulty level, but that would just the same exact thing.

The story itself does not have all that much to it. You spend the entire game searching for one group of survivors. There's no real suspense. The whole game is getting from Point A to Point B defeating a few robots along the way. There's no real emotion to it. If you haven't seen the movie you don't know who everyone besides John is. Finishing the level Angie isn't nearly as emotional as it was supposed to be since we never really got to know the woman. And it doesn't really add anything to the Terminator mythos besides showing how John, Blair, and Barnes got together.

There's no multiplayer, besides co-op, which would have greatly added to the game. It is quite disappointing that in this day of XBox Live and other online multiplayer venues that they would not have Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, or even Capture the Flag.

There is little variety to the weapons. You have the standard machine gun, bigger magazine machine gun, shotgun, RPG, and grenade launcher. You'll pretty much stick to the standard machine gun the whole way through since you get unlimited ammo with it. Otherwise you use the shotgun for the fliers, RPG or grenade launchers for the T-600s and spiders. You pretty much fall into the two weapon combinations, either machine gun and shotgun or machine gun and high explosive.

While the enemies are fun, again there's little variety to them and they all act the same way. All you fight are fliers, T-600s, Skinjobs, Spiders, the occasional HK, and one level has the moto-terminators. Early on you see a harvester but simply flee from it. I would have loved to have had to destroy the thing at some point. And they all act the same. Every enemy simply walks back and forth in the same ten foot area attacking until you destroy it. Fliers are the weak peons that are easily shot down. T-600s and Skinjobs need explosives. You have to flank spiders. And HKs just need to be shot with three RPGs. This is what you spend the entire game doing. Nothing more, nothing less.

The health system is irritating. You don't regain health until after the current battle is over. You don't need health packs such as Doom or Quake, but you can't heal mid-battle like Call of Duty or Halo. You have to defeat every enemy before you get any health back. This gets annoying in later battles where you're constantly battle wave after wave of T-600s. I might have an RPG but would have so little health I wouldn't want to peak out from behind cover to use it.

What the game has is for the most part fun and entertaining. But it seems like the producers didn't follow through with it. It has thirty seconds of fun played over and over until you don't care anymore. After two secessions I have nothing left to do with it. Maybe if they had a few more months to develop some ideas this would have been a huge, spectacular game. Instead it settles for being a mediocre movie-based game. It could have, and should have, been so much more.

Wonder Woman (2009) (V)
31 out of 38 people found the following review useful:
A Great Movie With Something For Everyone, 27 February 2009
9/10

I was lucky enough to attend the early screening of Wonder Woman at Wondercon '09. Perhaps I was swept up in the excitement of so many fans around me, but I found this to be quite enjoyable. Perhaps the best of any of DC's animated features so far.

It's part action-adventure film and part romantic-comedy. And both parts are done wonderfully that makes this accessible to men, women, geek, and non-geek.

It's not based on any one story, but rather it goes through the typical Wonder Woman origins mixed with a supervillain story. Diana's on the island. A pilot crashes there. She takes him back. Bad guy does bad things. Diana and pilot must stop him. Not entirely original but no complaints here.

When it comes to action there is plenty of it. And violent too though not bloody. In fact I recall only three, maybe four instances of blood actually appearing. Bruce Timm said they did have more in it but it got an R rating and they had to tone it down. This is not necessarily one you would want to show to young kids. There are impalements, decapitations, crotch kicking, neck snapping; and that's all in the prologue not to mention the larger final battle. This isn't television, people die in this. The action itself is done well. It's plenty fun to watch. It's not all that suspenseful so you're not really on the edge of your seats hoping that they get out if it, but it's enjoyable nonetheless.

This movie had the theater busting their guts with laughter. From comical moments in fight scenes to the well delivered jokes. But again this isn't necessarily for kids. There's a lot of stuff like that which parents should watch out for. Jokes about sex, Wonder Woman's outfit, just stuff like that. There's different kinds of jokes but generally it's not geared towards kids.

The voice acting is top notch. Everyone does well in their roles. Not a single role is miscast or not done well. My only quibble is the dialog of Zeus, Hera, and Hades. For Greek gods they talk quite modern, even in the prologue. It's distracting since the Amazons talk more formally, like you would expect someone of ancient times to talk. The actors do fine work but I think their few lines should have been rewritten first.

The animation is great except it's just like Justice League. It's not really all that different. It's not exactly the same design but it's very close. So watching this felt like I was watching the series. It's not like Batman: Gotham Knight where it looks completely different than Batman: The Animated Series. It doesn't really feel like Timm is moving forward in the animation.

One guy had a problem with the gender roles in the movie. He didn't like how masculine some of the Amazons were or how feminine one male character was. But the panel was quick to ask why. Cause, that's the real point of the movie. Preconceptions regarding gender roles. Everything in the movie deals with gender roles. How everyone has them and how everyone's views changes by the end. Some of it's subtle, most of it's not. But it never seems like it's hitting you over the head with it.

The movie doesn't shy away from the fact that comic books tend to exaggerate women and it certainly doesn't shy away from the fact that these women, especially Diana, are very beautiful. All the Amazons are called "armored supermodels." Steve the pilot thinks he's died and gone to heaven when he first sees the Amazons (not spoiling anything but that scene truly is a man's fantasy). When Diana first puts on the Wonder Woman costume there's a close up of her large chest. It's certainly in no way animated porn but sensitive parents will want to watch out.

My only real complaint deals with the final battle, which I shall endeavor to not spoil any details. To me it doesn't feel like they built it up enough, like it was rushed into. Another problem is that the bad guy does this one nasty trick which is emotionally powerful, but it's over too quick. My last is one hero goes off to fight, disappears for five minutes while we watch everyone else, it comes back to the hero, they finishes their part, and disappears for the rest of the battle. It just feels like clunky editing.

So to wrap this up: this movie has wonderful humor, exciting action, great acting, and is well made in pretty much every way. It's not for children but it's not meant to be. But when you look at the recent trend in comics and comic book movies you can see that it is being geared less towards children and more towards a mature audience.

Fans of Wonder Woman will love this movie. Fans of Bruce Timm's DC Animated Universe will love this movie. Fans of comic book movies will love this. This is certainly one of the best ventures into animated comic book movies.

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
The Best of the Friday the 13th Series, 14 February 2009
7/10

To any naysayers I say this: The Friday the 13th series were never all that great to begin with. The first was a rip-off of Halloween (the DVD material states that several times), and it just went downhill from there. They may have helped define the genre but none of them could be considered cinematic classics.

I was actually quite surprised that I found this movie so entertaining. I'm a classic horror guy. I practically worship Carpenter's Halloween. I love the original Friday and Nightmare on Elm Street. I'm also pretty particular when it comes to horror. I have little love for sequels and remakes, and the only slasher flicks I've enjoyed since 1990 is Halloween H20 and New Nightmare. Like those, this is an excellent throwback to the slashers of the 80s.

This movie did what Halloween H20 and New Nightmare did for those series, it brought it back to basics. Friday was getting too wild, too much crap building up. Jason's dying and coming back every single movie, battling psychics, going to Toronto, and facing off against Freddy. A far cry from that brutal, almost realistic original movie. The movie strips away all the fantastic elements. Now it's back to how it started off, a small group of young kids fighting a brutal killer.

It's tense. It's scary. It's suspenseful. It's gory without being disgusting. It's really everything you could want from a slasher film. I remember sitting outside the theater waiting for the previous show to end and all at once like five people ran, running not walking, out of the theater and straight to the bathroom. It wasn't even over yet and they couldn't handle it anymore. At that point I knew I had to see the movie.

The movie doesn't necessarily take itself seriously. Sure it's somewhat realistic but it acknowledges some of the slasher clichés. Like how the people who go off alone, drink, do drugs, and/or have sex die first. Or how the black guy complains about stereotypes just to fit them.

I love all the references to the older movies. The prologue from the climax of the original (even taking place the same day as that movie), making this more of a remake of Part II. The bag mask from Part II. The barn from Part III. The siege of the house from Part IV. A form of the sleeping bag kill from Part VII.

This is the best Jason. He's got that mysteriousness from the early movies but the strength and brutality from the later movies. Best of all he's intelligent. In the original series he mostly just appears, kills, and goes on to the next kill. Here, he tricks people, sets trap, uses victims to trap more victims. He's got an almost Michael Myers level intelligence.

My only real complaint is the lack of interesting characters, a common problem throughout the series. Clay, Jenna, and Whitney are the only ones resembling dynamic characters. There's the guy who's a jerk for no reason other than to be a jerk. The girl whose only purpose in life is to have sex and die. You know, those typical horror stereotypes that have been done hundreds of times before.

Fans of the series, see the movie. Fans of slashers, see the movie. Fans of horror, see the movie. It's fun, frightening, exciting. A great horror film. It doesn't reinvent the genre but like the Scream trilogy it makes slashers enjoyable again.

Valkyrie (2008)
11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
A Great Cast Drives This Excellent Thriller, 12 January 2009
8/10

This is an enjoyable movie. It isn't quite as different as The Usual Suspects but it's still an intriguing film. The German channel ZDF summed it up well: Valkyrie is "neither scandalously bad nor the event of the century...Neither is it the action thriller we feared, but it is a well-made and serious film."

The story is suspenseful, filled with tension to keep you glued to it. It isn't bogged down with pointless side stories to add needless drama. "Will he do it for the world or will he chicken out to be with his family?" There's already enough going on with just trying to get it all planned out and get everyone on board. The movie's like the characters, know what needs to be done and just goes for it. And I liked that they didn't delve into every character's back story and reason for trying to kill Hitler. It's 2008/09. We know there's plenty of reasons for people to kill the man. Besides, that would have just added twenty to thirty minutes of dialog and exposition just to say that Hitler is bad.

This proved to be a great role for Tom Cruise. For once he doesn't just break out in a run for some random reason trying to be an action star. Here he goes back to what he's good at, like his older roles in A Few Good Men or Rain Man. He's a good actor but not when he's running around. Maybe we can finally forget about him on the couch and think of his acting.

The rest of the cast works perfectly. Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, and the ever lovable Terence Stamp are all in top form. There doesn't seem to be a single person who could be replaced with someone better.

The production values are great, certainly nothing is done half-hearted. Everything looks amazing and is well done, the kind of touch Bryan Singer brings. I like all of Singer's movies. Usual Suspects, X-Men 1 & 2, and even Superman Returns. He's no Christopher Nolan or Steven Spielberg but he's still a fine director.

My only real problem with the movie is I wish there was some extra punch to it. This is a real historical account. Therefore we already know how it ends. Anyone who would see this movie should have enough education from grade school to know that this plot didn't kill Hitler. This is the problem that faced the Star Wars prequel trilogy. How to make it engaging when the audience knows the ending. He did a good job but I feel he could have gone further. Maybe Singer should have taken a page from Nolan's book and made it non-linear. Perhaps played up the suspense of Hitler trying to communicate before the plotters succeeded. Or something a little more that would have pushed it from a good movie to great one.

It's an exciting thriller that I recommend to everyone. It showcases not only an important event but one of the best parts of humanity. The plotters weren't saints but normal, average human beings trying to be good. They stood up in the midst of insurmountable odds to do what is right. And the fact that it was all true made it all the more touching.

And in the end it did what all movies should aspire to do: I left wanting to see it again.

Yes Man (2008)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Carrey's Simply Too Old For These Kind Of Movies, 11 January 2009
6/10

Jim Carrey is not the man he was. He can't do the Ace Ventura, Dumb and Dumber, or Liar Liar anymore. You can see it in his wrinkled face. He's a great actor, funny and charismatic (and the one and only good point of Batman Forever). But he can't do the same movies forever. Even Tom Hanks moved on from these kind of goofy comedies.

Carrey does not fit in with this cast. Everyone seems to be in their late 20s early 30s, and most of the actors are. Carrey looks, and is, past middle age. Yet he's trying to fit in with these people. They say he's been working at the bank for five years, but what has he been doing the rest of his forty years? The whole thing reminded me of that episode of Friends where Bruce Willis dated Rachel, but at least they they acknowledged the age discrepancy played on the idea that Willis was older. This movie keeps trying to pretend that Carrey is a thirty-something again. He's not. He's almost fifty. He should be moving on to more mature characters, something like Truman Show.

Zooey Deschanel and Carrey simply don't click. There's no on-screen connection between the two. Maybe it's because Carrey is exactly eighteen years older than her (both born on January 17 but Jim in '62 and Zooey in '80). But it's probably because director Peyton Reed doesn't have the experience for that kind of thing.

Maybe they should have gotten a younger actor for Carl. Maybe they should have gotten older actors for everyone else and made it a City Slicker-esquire mid-life crisis movie.

Carrey's age is not the only problem. It seems a bit random, like they just threw in a bunch of gags together and tied it with this "just say yes" gag. Some of the "yes" gags don't pay off. At some points it seems like they created a situation that didn't fit the story at all but would pay off some gag. It doesn't seem very thought out. The side characters are underdeveloped and rather one dimensional. There's no side stories so the movie relies entirely on the one seemingly unplanned plot line.

Not that it was a bad movie. It was funny, with plenty of laugh out loud moments. Zooey is cute in every role she plays. I've never seen Terence Stamp do anything less than a superb job. His part is short but sweet. Although Carrey should not be doing these roles, he does have fun with it. Giving it the full nine yards as he always does.

In the end it's just a poor man's Liar Liar. It has Carrey. It has a very similar plot. It has most of the gags. It just didn't have the wit. Carrey fans will probably find something to enjoy being reminded of his older, better films. But I can't really recommend it for many others.


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