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A bumbling mess….DC's panic to catch up shines the most here
9 July 2016
The very idea of this movie had me skeptical. I'll admit that I'm a bit tired of superhero movies, but when done right they still can be an absolute joy (i.e. Captain America: Winter Soldier). Once the 3-minute trailer was released, my skepticism was all but confirmed. The trailer revealed way too much and the panic was so glaring it was almost blinding.

After finally viewing the film (3-hour Ultimate Edition), I came away perplexed and disappointed that all my suspicions & concerns came to fruition and then some. Jesse Eisenberg was absolutely horrible as Lex Luthor. My friend watching with me said "he should've played the Riddler". Nail on the head! Whose idea was it to have Lex Luthor a snotty, schizophrenic, annoying brat? Ugh. It really was painful to watch. Lois Lane had WAY too much screen time; she may have had more than Batman. I don't get the love affair with the character; with Man of Steel and now BvS she seems to be forced into crucial parts of the storyline for no apparent reason. There's just no good reason why I'm seeing her as much as Batman in a Batman vs. Superman movie! I hated the idea of Ben Affleck as Batman when it was announced, but he was tolerable; actually he's one of the few bright spots in the movie. A few things were just flat-out corny, and the pacing was terrible for a Batman vs. Superman movie, as it took so long to get going. When things finally do get going, it's at max volume with epileptic seizure-inducing special effects that affect you in no way. The battle between Batman & Superman – when it finally happens – just left me underwhelmed; especially how it ended (again, corny). I reacted more to a Batman solo action sequence in a warehouse than the "showdown". To see a real showdown between Batman and Superman, go see the DC animated film 'The Dark Knight Returns', which was released a couple years ago.

Now for the story, or what they tried to present as a story. Man oh man. Talk about trying to do too much! There's just too much going on and its all disjointed. They put so much into this one film and failed miserably as trying to connect all the pieces together; there's no cohesiveness whatsoever. Batman's "The Dark Knight Returns" storyline, the "Death of Superman" storyline, Wonder Woman, Lois Lane "being the key to everything", the reveal of other Justice League characters – in the middle of the film no less - to no real effect, Doomsday, Lex Luthor, out of place dream sequences with no connection to the story, the weight of it all is too much and it just crushes the film.

Which leads me to this thought, which I had from the moment this movie was announced: DC is in full panic mode. With the success of the Marvel comic films, DC is playing catch-up and rushing their product to compete. The effort, care and methodical nature in which Marvel has treated their material has definitely paid off; however DC is REALLY late to the party and is making the huge mistake of trying to follow in Marvel's footsteps instead of treating their own material with the same care and planning. It shows in everything DC does, and it is truly hurting them. It really is a shame, because DC's catalog always had a more grounded, adult tone to it, which provided for some very rich material that was so juicy when you sunk your teeth into it. In the end, BvS can be perfectly summed up as wasted potential. How the idea of Batman vs. Superman can be messed up the way it was here is truly indicative of the lack of insight, care & talent in Hollywood (moreso behind the scenes than in them). It truly is a shame at how mismanaged this has all been handled.

In the end, BvS has a couple of cool scenes, but its an overly long mishmash of way too many story lines with no rhyme or reason to them, numerous cheesy moments, the Zack Snyder- standard of mindless CGI action mayhem and a grossly, horribly miscast villain; the movie simply fails.

** out of 10 stars.
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The Raid 2 (2014)
One of the absolute best sequels & action epics of all time....
13 April 2014
Just like the first Raid film, you leave Raid 2 speechless. The brutality presented on film is nothing short of breathtaking. That the makers were able to do what they did with the limited budget they had is just astonishing. I don't have enough praise to give to this film.

I was actually skeptical about the sequel, wondering if the pace and energy could be maintained in a more open environment. The sequel could be seen as the grown up version of the first film. The filmmakers more than held their own with the bigger scope. Set pieces, camera angles were quite creative and exciting. The car chase scene in particular was very well done.

The martial arts in this film is arguably one of the most brutal ever on film. Mr. Evans has a great knack for brutal, in your face action sequences; but also handled the bigger scope of the film very well with good pacing between pure action and entertaining dialogue. I felt that the writers allowed the plot to get away from them at times, but the action scenes with their rich characters more than make up for that minor gripe. After all, I paid a ticket to see some great ass-kicking, not August: Osage County! With an obvious sequel in the wings, I'm more than looking forward to what's next. Gareth Evans and his team are on fire and are showing Hollywood (with its lame, talentless directors/producers) how action movies are done.

The Raid: Redemption & The Raid 2: Berandal are two of the greatest action films EVER made. 2 for 2 for Evans, Uwais & Co. I'm quite thankful for their efforts, it's a shame that more people can't appreciate what they're doing. As long as there's people like them around who just come together to make quality films for fans to enjoy - no matter the genre - the movie industry will be just fine….whether you have a $200 million budget or a $5 million budget. But to all action fans, if you're not hip to the Raid films, your action fix could never truly be satisfied if you haven't treated yourself to some of the most pure action films in a loooong time.

The Raid 2 = 9/10 stars. Cant wait for Raid 3!
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The Butler (I) (2013)
A toothless, poorly made farce of a film....Absolutely AWFUL!
6 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The tag-line for this film reads, "one quiet voice can ignite a revolution".

Now. Here is the question I asked myself half way through this movie, and still ask now:

What revolution did this butler ignite?

In fact, the ONLY person who at least tried to ignite any sort of "revolution" was the butler's son. But, as with any typical Hollywood film that wants to flirt with the topics of civil rights and racism in a movie, The Butler takes advantage of any chance it gets to ridicule, downplay or straight-up laugh at the mere notion of black people standing up for themselves.

Shame on Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey & Forest Whitaker in particular for trying to pass this garbage off as a constructive work truly addressing civil rights and the plight & struggle of black people in America. It is nothing more than a Lifetime movie trying to puff up its chest - with the aforementioned agents as the main culprits on & off the screen - as being more important than it really is.

The editing was quite abrupt in key scenes where you're expecting something truly powerful. Scenes get started where it seems like the film is finally going to sink its teeth in the subject matter it is supposed to be addressing...... then its "Cut" and on to the next scene. Things happen in the film with absolutely no basis as to why they're happening. The whole thing is a mess....its nothing but mere bullet points in the life of a man who we're told is a hero but shows NOTHING as to why he should even have such a distinction. The main character, if I'm to take this film's word for it, was content with just keeping his head down and his mouth shut throughout his life; while at the same time practically disowning his oldest son who chose to take a different path. He served a lot of presidents in the white house as a butler. THIS is who I should look at and commend as a hero of civil rights? What a JOKE.

The Butler is a total farce of a film with no teeth to it whatsoever. The fact that well-to-do blacks went out in full force cosigning this movie like it was the greatest, most important black film ever is wrong on so many levels. I, for one, was not duped by the bogus media campaign because, that's Hollywood. Throw a few 'Mantans' in there and get 'em to dance!

I'm just glad i approached this film the way I did...with extremely low expectations. This movie was easily worst than that. It's nothing but a Lifetime or TV movie of the week garbage that continues the Hollywood tradition: Maintain the image of blacks as being inferior and subservient to whites.


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42 (2013)
Another white-washed effort that was SUPPOSED to be about a African-American Legend….
27 July 2013
I expected disappointment with this film ever since I saw the trailer....I wasn't going to even bother with it because it was pretty easy to see the direction they were going in, and they didn't even try to mask it. It was plainly obvious that this was going to be more about the white people involved than the actual subject of the film, Jackie Robinson. He's essentially relegated to an extra in the movie. Hollywood couldn't even bring themselves to call the film 'The Jackie Robinson Story'. Actually, that may be a good thing?? because that would've been even MORE misleading.

One would be foolish to not realize that there had to be at least some whites who weren't so full of racist ideologies and bigotry to be willing to entertain the idea of a black man in major league baseball; the crime here is the notion that Jackie was merely a spectator throughout the whole experience. The filmmakers completely castrated the man whose story they're supposedly telling! They reduced him to a little (black) boy amongst (white) men. This movie's view is that Jackie Robinson had absolutely NOTHING to contribute to his legend and the game of baseball other than the color of his skin and "superhuman" ability. 'Superhuman'?? REALLY?? They really snuck that in there like people wouldn't realize!

I refuse to believe that Jackie Robinson was nothing more than a toothless, ever-willing black man with an anger problem who just happened to be picked by some quasi-sympathetic, money-hungry white man to make history. We see nothing of Jackie coming up, honing his skills…..we get no insight into the MAN. He plays second fiddle to Harrison Ford's character.....whose REAL motivation was only to get the "nigger-money". Jackie could do nothing himself, his hand was held and he was patted on the back by the few 'good white folk' who really 'cared' about him. When he was down and out from all the badgering by the racist whites, ol' Harrison Ford comes to the rescue, gives him a pep talk, hugs him, pats him on the back and all is well. GIVE ME A DAMN BREAK!! I truly am sick and tired of the same old racist, half-assed attempts by Hollywood when it comes to Black the end it's ALWAYS about white people! I rather they just don't even bother trying to tell a Black story at ALL....hell it's not like they tried here? But what else is new in white-controlled Hollywood?

Watching "42" only made me respect Spike Lee even more for what he accomplished with "Malcolm X" back in '92. He stood up and made a BLACK film about a BLACK hero from the BLACK perspective, regardless of the setbacks and drama he received from the studio....resulting in his best work and one of the greatest films of the 20th century. This is the worst kind of film, COMPLETELY misleading and white-washed to oblivion. One of the worst, most insulting films I've ever seen. I expected to get what I got, I just had no idea HOW bad and bold it could be.....bold in that the didn't even TRY. They put NO EFFORT into telling JACKIE ROBINSON'S story. This movie is nothing more than a slap in the face and another stark reminder to Black People that if we want our stories told, only WE can tell them if we want it told right....or in the case of "42", even told at all!

ZERO out of 10.
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They went too far out this time....a forced, bumbled letdown.
27 July 2013
I saw the trailer to this film and it immediately reminded me of 'Drive'; which I thoroughly of the best films I had seen in the last few years. I was hyped for this, and I ended up disappointed.

Only God Forgives ends up being a cluttered, perverse, bizarre-for-the-sake-of being-so letdown. I must say that the staring, minimalist theme that Ryan Gosling brings back (in reality, more so than in Drive) is tired & played out. It's time for him to come back to life. His dialogue here is equivalent to Arnold's in the first Terminator. He had, what, 20 lines of dialogue here? Enough already.

The only true positive thing I took from this film is the style & cinematography. Absolutely STUNNING. I enjoyed it in Drive and I enjoyed it just as much here. Extremely atmospheric and sets the mood perfectly. It's everything else that makes this film a mess. It's one thing to be artsy, but at least have a coherent story with characters that you can care about. The end of the film seemed like a cop-out as well. The level of ambiguity here is exhausting. This type of approach worked in 'Drive' because you were given just enough of character development to actually care about what was happening on screen....not to mention understand what was going on. It's amazing how much Hollywood has abandoned this fundamental aspect of film making! As for the bizarre elements of the film……disjointed and forced. Karaoke? Really? I gave this film a shot, obviously, because of the WONDERFUL first effort from Gosling and Refn. This film is a disappointment. It was fun while it lasted…. everyone involved should just retool and come back with a more coherent, less bizarre effort.
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What an embarrassment, a complete slap in the face!!
11 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I watch the trailer for Iron Man 3 months ago, I love it. I go to a friend of mine who's deep into comics. I ask him, "what's the deal with Mandarin?'. His reply? 'Mandarin is to Iron Man as Joker is to Batman'. WHOA! Hearing that after watching the trailer I was more than hyped to see this film; if for no other reason than enjoying Avengers and hoping they rebound from the horror that was Iron Man 2. Dare I say the third entry in this series is worse than the second one! The essence of superhero stories/movies is the villain. We don't get one here. From what I've heard, Mandarin is as big as they come in the Iron Man universe, the character was right there for the movie makers to translate to the big screen. But what does Shane Black & Co. do? They make an absolute joke out of Mandarin! He's there, but then he's....NOT there. That's the big twist?? The 'villain' in this film turns out to be someone who Tony Stark blows off one New Years Eve years ago who essentially comes back years later with unexplained powers and using a 'boogeyman' as a decoy. The 'boogeyman' aspect might be the only positive of the film, as it holds a mirror to the ways and actions of the US in the last decade or so.

There's just so many gripes I have with this film, but it's honestly not worth the extra time it'll take to type here, as I'm sure there's enough reviews on here describing just what is so wrong with this film. The sheer FAILURE of this film may just be a sign that it's time to slow down on the whole comic book craze in Hollywood. If they are just going to disregard the source material while at the same time taking a big sh!t on the wishes of comic book fans (and I'm not even one, per se), it would be best to just stay away from the comic book world altogether.

Again, I write this review as a movie fan. Iron Man 3 is just a bad movie. There is NOTHING out of the ordinary in this movie. Corny one-liners, idiotic plot holes and twists just pushes this mess of a movie to the depths of hell. I can't believe this script got OK'd by Marvel, Stan Lee & Co. How did they let this pass? If they were able to do Thor and the universe(s) featured in that story, why the hell couldn't they do that here with Mandarin and the 10 rings?!?! If you're going to put Mandarin in the film, PUT HIM IN THE FILM! I'm just appalled at the approach taken here. As loyal as comic fans are, it's understandable that you can't satisfy them all. It is when you show a complete disregard and disrespect for the source material that makes movies like this even more disturbing.

I can only offer condolences to all the fans (comic book fans in particular) that came to this expecting at least SOMETHING along the lines of what Nolan did with The Dark Knight. One cannot blame ANYONE for those expectations. Watching the trailer (which ends up being one of the biggest okie-dokes EVER put on movie fans), this film had the look of an epic with a darker tone, a la Nolan's Batman series. What we get is an inexcusable embarrassment; with the total castration of the hero's archenemy and the same old, same old with regards to effects, story, etc. Iron Man 3 is one of the worst films of the year.... actually, it's one of the worst movies ever made.
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The best trilogy of all time. Thank You, Mr. Nolan.
28 July 2012
After finally watching what was my most anticipated movie ever, I'm full of mixed emotions. I'm sad that the journey is over, but also overjoyed by what I saw. Although a small step below the sheer excitement and astonishment that I felt walking out of The Dark Knight, I feel completely fulfilled. And for that, I am EXTREMELY thankful. I feel absolutely privileged to have witnessed Nolan's vision of Batman. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would see my favorite comic character realized with such thought, care and maturity. I feel forever indebted to Christopher Nolan for doing Batman ultimate justice. This film and the trilogy overall was masterfully done. With Dark Knight Rises, everything comes together wonderfully. With a host of new characters added, it never felt overwhelming. The core themes are fully fleshed out and the villain this time around is simply terrifying. A couple things seemed a bit rushed; I would've liked to have seen more of Bane (back story, more explanation of his mask), as well as more stuff regarding Bruce Wayne and his love interest. The length of the film didn't bother me one bit, but the pacing in the first 45 minutes could've been slightly better. Thankfully these minor issues do not take away from the overall experience.

Now to the performances. Tom Hardy as Bane was absolutely amazing! Nolan took quite a risk having the main villain wear a mask throughout the film, but it really did add to the mystery and menacing nature of Bane. Aside from missing a couple of words, I absolutely LOVED his voice and delivery. Tom Hardy really gave a wonderful performance. His movements, his mannerisms, his EYES....he is just mesmerizing as the brutal Bane. By reflex, everyone will compare him to Heath Ledger's Joker, but I never bothered with that going in. By default he will never compare, and I never wanted or expected him to. With that said, he was as effective as Bane as Ledger was as Joker in TDK. For that, he and deserves ultimate respect because Bane is a hell of a villain. Anne Hathaway was excellent as Catwoman. I had doubts, but she really killed her role, surpassing Michelle Pfeiffer simply because she was as engaging and sexy without the extra histrionics. She was such a joy to watch, her brilliance here was just effortless. Christian Bale really carried this film acting-wise. His performance here is no doubt the best in the trilogy. The amount of emotion he was able to convey was heart-wrenching. Never have I seen a (super)hero tortured more; it really was painful to watch, but made the film SO effective when he finally 'rises'. Not only did Bruce Wayne/Batman come full circle, but Bale did as well portraying this character. His Batman voice was annoying at times, but better here than in Dark Knight. Speaking of emotion, Michael Caine as Alfred was outstanding...his best and most touching performance in the trilogy. Levitt was wonderful in his role also, he really has cemented his status as a true player in Hollywood.

This is without a doubt Nolan's biggest film, and it shows. His brilliance is in the way he could have the great action set pieces coupled with great acting and engaging, complex stories. The 'wow' moments are plentiful....and the IMAX format made it even more entertaining. When it comes to the story, for an almost 3 hour movie I was a bit surprised by how much more I wished was in the film. I could have sat there for another hour at least.

On its own, Dark Knight Rises is a VERY good film. As the close to this amazing trilogy, it's an outright classic. Nolan is a genius, a true visionary who could still do NO wrong in my eyes. The way he has treated this material is and always will be the stuff of legend, and I have never been more satisfied by a character's journey the way I was here. I had no idea what to expect going in, and I'm so excited because this may be the most fitting end to a trilogy as I've ever seen. Everything comes full circle, the core themes introduced in Batman Begins resurface here and puts the film and trilogy on yet another level. There was actually a tear in my eye as it was ending....that is how gripping this film was emotionally; which is a quite a rare feat considering it's a Batman movie. I'm sure I will go see it at least one more time before it makes its way to home video....its that good.

In the end, Dark Knight Rises is a very well done, fitting, and extremely satisfying end to the Dark Knight Trilogy. Bravo to Mr. Nolan.
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Rampart (2011)
Terrible. Just terrible. Got duped by the good reviews....
21 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I give this a 2 for the acting, because overall it was pretty good. I wouldn't rate Harrelson's performance as great as critic reviews I read said it was. He was good, not great. They billed this movie as the greatest dirty cop performance ever. This movie just goes NOWHERE and it doesn't even have an ending. What an insult to the viewer! Even if you give a bad ending, at least HAVE an ending! I started watching this a month ago and got bored; but I'm one of those people who doesn't like to leave things un-ended...unlike the director of this mess of a movie. Saw it on Netflix and decided to watch the last hour. This is nothing but another run-of-the-mill, go through the motions, pretentious 'art' film that just plain SUCKS. The whole film is this cop walking the streets smoking, drinking, having sex with random females and beating up/killing random 'bad people', and then wondering why people are after him. LOL. This is NOTHING like Denzel's bad cop turn in Training Day; at least that movie had a good story that engaged the viewer. This is just garbage...full of nothing; no story, no focus, nothing enjoyable about it at all. One of the WORST movies I've seen this year.
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Along with the first film, maybe the best of the series
24 December 2011
MI4 is right up there with the first Mission Impossible film. The MI series has turned out to be one of the better action film series in the last decade or so. What's missing in MI4 is the lack of the one, main villain; but it doesn't detract too much. Known for big, elaborate set pieces, this one delivers a couple of the more memorable ones. Decent acting all around, the addition of Jeremy Renner is a welcome one, maybe they will stick with his character going forward, the way they did with Ving Rhames. Enjoyable; I'd be eager for the next one.

P.S. Props to Brad Bird; there was now way I could imagine the director of 'The Incredibles' being able to handle this kind of material; it says a lot about his talent. Lets hope they get another worthy director for the next film; he did a very good job.

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In Time (2011)
Great premise, failed to deliver...
24 December 2011
From the first time I saw the trailer I was intrigued. Seemed like a new twist on things; GREAT premise. That was until I saw Justin Timberlake as the lead actor. Immediate doubt. The end result was the letdown I expected; maybe a bit more. Timberlake is tolerable in this, just not the best choice in my opinion. Quite frankly, the makers of this movie somehow failed to capitalize on a wonderful opportunity.

As an example, I felt it was a much more harrowing experience witnessing the powers that be ridding society of emotion in the movie 'Equilibrium' than the dilemma of having enough time in 'In Time'. I felt nothing for anyone in this film. They just skimmed over the very real and supposedly horrible fact that everyday people were dying simply because they didn't have the means (wealth) to afford more of much so that I couldn't feel anything for anyone. Even the scene with the mother and the bus, which was supposed to be a heart-wrenching scene, had little effect.

I'm more amazed at the failure to really nail this concept home than anything else. The makers really had a chance to do something special. In the end, 'In Time' was just another sci-fi flick that implied its desire to separate itself from the pack, but in the end made no effort to do so. Could've been so much more....

3/10 - for the concept alone
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Antichrist (2009)
Totally point to any of it. Im worse off as a person as a result...
16 October 2009
It seems from reading the reviews that the director of this film has a reputation of his works either being loved or hated. I figured I'd check this movie out. What a mistake that was! It left such an impression on me that i just had to write a comment. With it finally ending about 10 minutes ago, as i type this i am literally cleansing myself of the filth & grime that watching this movie produces. I cant believe what i just saw. Now, there will always be people that will profess a other-worldly taste or mental fortitude as a reason why they can "appreciate" or, in this case, stomach a film like this. I don't buy it, never have. Sometimes it has to be called what it is...and this is trash. About an hour into the movie, waiting and praying for it to end, i was scheming of a way to spread the word to everyone i care about advising them to RUN from this garbage like the swine flu. My only saving grace is that its not a widespread release that the everyday person would hear about. What was the point of this film? For one to have to work so hard to make sense of any and everything put on screen is downright sinful. The evil of women.....sure i got it. Correction: I've HAD it. As have everyone else at some point in their lives. Man on a whole are and can be evil. Did that well-known and already accepted fact had to be told yet this?? In the most vile, distasteful possible way? Full of, lets face it, torture porn? I am honestly worse off as a person for having sat through this. Hopefully after a couple more hours of self-cleansing my mind would successfully rid itself of the assault and attempted rape of it. Of all that is good and holy, please STAY AWAY from this!
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Good film. Another success for Mann; Depp is an amazing actor…
11 July 2009
Just saw this today; as I was pretty eager to see it. Michael Mann directing, and Johnny Depp, one of the great actors of today, in the leading role. The length didn't bother me, as I was engrossed in the film throughout. The acting all around I thought was very good, and there isn't enough I could say about Michael Mann's direction. Ever since Heat and The Insider, I've become a big fan of his; and he doesn't disappoint here. The HD shots are pretty amazing, and he wows us again with his mastery of shootout scenes.

Johnny Depp…..boy has he grown on me the last few years. What a great talent he is; I can say with great confidence that he is one of the finest actors of our time. When I saw how much of a fan I was of his performance in the first Pirates of the Caribbean, (and that's saying a helluva lot), that made me realize just how talented he is; and boy does he give a great performance here. I couldn't see anyone else play this role with the same subtlety, confidence and sheer excellence as Depp. After seeing the poster for this film; with his sly grin holding the Tommy Gun, I just knew I was gonna be in for a treat seeing him in action, and he definitely didn't disappoint. He was just perfect in the role. Christian Bale was very good as well; more voice manipulation from him. He was very convincing and a good balance for Depp. Another great talent. The leading lady was very good as well; she has a innocent sexiness about her, and it worked very well. The film took a little while to really get going, but once it did, it was relentless. Another point on the shootout scenes; there's something about the way Mann does them that's just incredible. The lack of music, and the sheer deadliness of the sounds of the weapons make it seem so real….Mann executed them perfectly yet again.

The few reviews I read for Public Enemies before watching it for myself complained that they (the critics) didn't learn who John Dillinger really was. Well, I can live with that. This wasn't exactly painted as a biopic like, for example, Ali or Ray. Seeing Michael Mann's name attached to this made it obvious to me that it was gonna be a crime saga picture, a la Heat & Collateral. The sugar on top was that its the story of John Dillinger's last days as the infamous hardened criminal. For what the film WAS, I can appreciate it and enjoyed it. Its a snapshot in time of a person's life. Simple. It seems like the critics wanted more preaching, or to do deep into Dillinger's psyche and motives. My question is: because you DIDN'T get that makes Public Enemies a bad film? I totally disagree. Michael Mann is one of the best directors out there today, and has achieved success yet again with his latest offering. The fact that he didn't delve more into Dillinger's life, what made him who he was and what made him tick has not (and should not) have any negative impact on the work of art that he's given us. And that's exactly what it is….a work of art.
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Just as good...maybe better than the first
16 February 2009
I can't quite remember how I came about watching 'The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe' (especially since I had never heard of the book), but I loved it. I'm not usually into fantasy films, but I thought it was very well done. When I saw the poster for 'Prince Caspian' when it first came out in theaters, I was actually psyched...especially because of the darker tone that was suggested by it, and was really looking forward to it. I was not disappointed. Reminiscent of Lord of the Rings (but MUCH more tolerable), this was straight entertainment from start to finish. The darker tone, although expected, was still a bit of a shock, because of how this tone was maintained throughout the film. The special effects were marvelous, the story was more than adequate and it all made for a sequel right up to par with the first. The 'Prince Caspian' character was a welcomed sight; all the actors played their roles pretty well...especially the smallest one, she's excellent. I would've loved to see more of Aslan, because he really made the first film for me, but that's just my personal opinion. Those people looking for blood every time a sword was used could get more than enough watching 'The Devil's Rejects', besides I do see Disney's name attached to's really not that serious, and it took nothing away from the film. As I understand it, there are even more stories contained in the book; and I could honestly say that if more installments are to be made, I will definitely look forward to seeing them. So far, they're 2 for 2. With regard to the accuracy of the film as compared to the book, I can't speak to that, having never read the book; and maybe that has something to do with my opinion of 'Prince Caspian'. Nevertheless, for what it's worth, I really enjoyed what I saw.

*** 1/2 out of **** stars
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Pretty enjoyable, just as the first one...
16 February 2009
Surprisingly, I enjoyed 'Madagascar' and was looking forward to the sequel. All in all, it's more of the same; about as much as you can expect from animated films, but its still enjoyable nonetheless. The penguins are an absolute riot, and were my favorite characters hands down, along with Julian. Solid 'storylines' with the four main characters but, again, its nothing really different. It was nice touch to see them finally come in touch with their 'roots', as Chris Rock's character hilariously put it. There was also pretty good humor throughout, just as there was in the original. Everything is executed well and makes for another enjoyable adventure. Not sure if a sequel is needed; if there are indeed serious talks about making one...because everything has been pretty much resolved with this one.

*** out of **** stars.
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Maybe the worst film ever made....
15 February 2009
I don't know why I even bother continuing watching Rob Zombie films. After "Halloween" and this drivel, this will be the last one. I was only drawn to the former because I'm a fan of Michael Myers. A terrible waste of time this movie is. The fact that Zombie is allowed to make movies and actually have them see the light of day says a lot about Hollywood. Completely tasteless, "Natural Born Killers"-wannabe that serves absolutely no purpose to anything. Violent for the sake of being violent isn't thrilling or scary...its sick. William Forsythe must've really needed the money. Two hours of my life I will never get back; I'm actually worse off as a person for sitting through this trash. Mind you, its still playing as I write this...which goes to show you just how entertained I am with this sorry excuse for a movie. Pure mindless, pointless garbage.

1/2* out of **** stars
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Cloverfield (2008)
A good concept that ultimately fails…..a letdown
12 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
As like most people, I was intrigued to see 'Cloverfield', mainly because I wanted to see what was causing all the havoc in the preview. After finally watching the movie, unfortunately, I still can't tell you. What does that tell you? This is one of those movies where you just happen to drop in on an event of some kind and then decide to leave at some point. Things just happen, and then it's over. There's no explanation whatsoever as to what the monster is, where it came from, how it 'works' and what exactly happened in the end. We barely see it, which is inexcusable considering we've actually WATCHED (what we COULD watch anyway) the movie at this point. I could only guess that the military bombed the city but there's no indication as to whether or not the monster was actually killed. The shaky POV camera is a cool concept; it's creative….I could really appreciate the approach they were attempting. However, at some point it must be remembered that the audience is attempting to WATCH a movie, and it was damn near impossible to do so. There was just TOO MUCH movement with the camera that most of the time you couldn't tell what was going on….and after a while the whole shakiness of it all got pretty annoying. Again, I see where they were trying to go with this, but the audience has to make some sort of sense of what's going on, or else what's the point? I don't know if Marlena suffered from 'Alien fate' and a baby monster ripped through her, or if the soldiers actually put her out of her misery after realizing she was bitten….with only one viewing I thought it was the latter, but who knows? Speaking of the characters, they were all pretty annoying; especially the 'cameraman', Hud. His job, along with cameraman, was to provide comic relief throughout; but he's not funny at all and is just a stupid idiot. We're forced to listen to him say the most asinine things and repeat them 20 times…. After a while I said to myself, 'enough already, shut up and run!' I really wasn't sorry for him in the end. We get a pretty cool close-up of the monster before he does away with one of the characters, but again, we're still left in the dark as to what it is exactly. Throughout the movie we get bits and pieces of it, never getting a definitive shot of it.

Another thing, how in the hell did that camera make it through the film? It should have been destroyed either by being dropped as many times as it was or, and this is much more likely, the battery dying….HELLOOOO!!!! There is no way that camera would've lasted through all of these occurrences. Also, maybe I'm behind the times, but….since when did video cameras have night vision? Anyway, the audience is left with as many questions as it had when it first saw the teaser trailer with explosions and the head of the Statue of Liberty (poor woman) flying through the air; with no movie title or nothing. HUGE letdown if you ask me. I'll admit, it all came off as pretty realistic due to the shaky camera technique, but that only led to the huge downside of the audience essentially not being able to watch the movie. I was really into it….but I was waiting for some answers and didn't get any. 'Cloverfield' had GREAT potential, but fails in the end.

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Good follow up, better than AVP
10 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Most of the reviews I've read for AVP-R are bad ones; people looking for a "film" in AVP-R are deluding themselves. The joke that AVP turned out to be was a disgrace to the franchise. The Predator character was terribly short-changed, and the PG-13 rating hurt the movie beyond repair. With AVP-R we get a return to form of sorts, the Predator character is revived and is the highlight of the movie. This movie is just RAW; straight to the point, no sugar coating; you have the Aliens, you have the Predator, and they go at it. The body count is high, and the encounter between the two 'monsters' is satisfying.

Sure there are many plot holes in this movie, and the human actors aren't very good; but I didn't come into this to see them....I came to see the Aliens and the Predator battle, and I got what I wanted. The Predator was true to form with some new tricks up its sleeve, and it was enjoyable.

Everything just sort of happens here, and then the credits roll. Some parts were silly; for instance it was asinine to see a Predator use his shoulder cannon in their own ship the way it did....they come off smarter than that. The human actors were your basic run-of-the-mill characters, just about what I expected. It was painfully obvious that they were only there as game for when the 'monsters' arrived. A child was even subject to the fate of the aliens, which I thought was a cool change of pace. I wanted to see more of the 'Pred-Alien' and its abilities, but he was still pretty cool; the hospital scene was intense. AVP-R also pays homage to the past films in a few of the scenes; from quotes to the actions of the creatures; that brought a smile to my face, as I'm a big fan of Predator. At the end of the day, the Predator is king, to say it simply....he was the sh*t!!

As long as you go into AVP-R knowing what you're going to get, and if you're a fan of the Predator franchise especially; I think you'll enjoy this. I did.

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Grossly overrated…..unbelievably bland
31 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers

Naturally I watched this due to all of the hype and praises surrounding it. I just don't get it. Although, seeing the Coen Brothers' name attached to this film, I should have known better. The first film I saw by them was Miller's Crossing….hated it. Finally rented Fargo from Netflix a month ago, watched it, wasn't impressed at all…in fact I was annoyed by it. Third time's a charm, maybe? Not by a long shot.

The Coens always have a high level of quirkiness to their films. Everything from the characters to the plot is a little off-kilter. This does NOT always translate into a great, intelligent film. Tarantino also possess this quality with his films and, a lot more so than not, it works. Not the case with the Coens, as their attempts always come off as forced. Stripped of any fluff, 'No Country For Old Men' is a film full of killing and rambling. First there's the hit-man, (Javier Bardem) who barely talks (and when he does, talks about coin tosses and other mundane things), walks around with a oxygen tank and a shotgun with a silencer (didn't know it was possible, but I must admit its kinda cool), blowing locks off doors and killing cops and honest citizens wherever he deems fit with no consequence to his actions from authorities, etc. There's the aging sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) who's becoming more detached from the world every day, due to its increasing insanity. Supposedly the movie is titled around this character, but he's only in about a third of the film, if that. Last but not least, there's the 'good-bad guy' (Josh Brolin), the silhouette you see in the movie's poster with the bag of money & rifle. He's another wanderer who happens to stumble on $2 million and a truckload of drugs, swipes the money and spends the rest of his time AROUND TOWN eluding the aforementioned hit-man who is after him. This is a guy who, while swiping the money, blows off the only remaining survivor's request for water; only to get up out of bed hours later in the middle of the night, fill a container of water and go BACK there with hopes of seeing that same survivor still clinging on to dear life. Needless to say, his hopes were squashed, and his problems multiplied tenfold when the people whose money/drugs were unaccounted for show up. We get an elongated cameo from another character (Woody Harrelson) who has a decent amount of screen time but whose character serves ABSOLUTELY NO PURPOSE to the story. As soon as we're introduced to him, he's done away with. The audience is forced to identify with Brolin's character because we follow him throughout his quest to make out with the money. Only problem is, he meets his fate in the most uninspiring, anti-climatic way possible. We see him alive, *cut*, we hear sirens, *cut*, we see him dead. We can only assume the hit-man got him.

You'll also hear a lot about the ending to this film, if anyone can call it such. In a nutshell, hit-man gets to Brolin's wife, rambles on again about a coin toss (which she fails to participate in), cut to hit-man in a car leaving the scene when a horrible accident occurs…he gives a kid $100 for his shirt and he walks away limping and bloody with a bone sticking out his arm. Cut to the aging sheriff again, who is now retired, talking to his wife about a dream he had about his father, black screen, the end. What a bunch of wannabe artsy NONSENSE! If you're going to tell a story, TELL IT! Enough of the spaced-out dialog and characters who do nothing to further the telling of the story. There must be something I'm not getting; 'Fargo' reeked of these attempts at this kind of humor and failed miserably; between beyond-annoying accents and a ho-hum approach to everything by everyone made it one of the most overrated films of the past 10 years. 'NCFOM' suffers from the same affliction. They go above and beyond to make things as 'weirdly fascinating', only covering up the lack of a coherent script and plot. I can suspend my disbelief to a point, depending on what type of film it is. But please, DON'T pass yourself off as a "serious, intelligent crime drama"….only to have all these occurrences in your movie that makes absolutely no sense! You mean to tell me NO one gets wind of the hit-man walking around town as obvious as can be….even after he kills a policeman at the police station? I'm not even going to mention how he gets out of the handcuffs. You bring in Woody Harrelson's character whose led out to be some sort of bad ass who's eliminated ever so easily…he minus well have played the idiot cop who turned his back on a prisoner and was strangled with handcuffs. Brolin waking up and going BACK to the crime scene that HE stole drug money from, taking water with him hoping the Mexican (or whatever he was) is still alive? HOURS later?? Beyond silly, over-pretentious crap, this movie is. I was seriously considering watching it again to see what I missed….but what's the point? The movie is flat-out garbage. How the Coens continue to get over on critics is beyond me.

This will probably win a bunch at the Oscars, and it'll be yet another slap in the face to anyone who goes about life with sense. Then again, the Oscars really don't mean much of anything nowadays….Cuba Gooding Jr. now does Hanes commercials screaming about wearing other guys' underwear, 'Shawshank Redemption' to this day is better than 'Forrest Gump', and no one's heard from Roberto Benigni since 'Life Is Beautiful'. Want to see one of the truly great films of 2007 snubbed by the Academy? Watch 'Gone Baby Gone'. Stay away from this trash by all means.

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Rambo (2008)
Stallone does it again! Wonderful! Rambo comes full circle
29 January 2008
I've always been a huge fan of Rambo; although the intriguingly complex character has since become a cliché of sorts; jokingly referred to in the tail end of jokes. The series began to falter a little with 'Rambo 3', and the character fell into obscurity. Now I'll be the first to admit that I laughed at the idea of Stallone revisiting the Rambo character, as well as Rocky. I was proved wrong with 'Rocky Balboa', as that was a VERY good film. And I'm proud to say that Sly is "2 for 2" with 'Rambo'.

We find Rambo completely removed from the world, living how he wants to live, content with being away from everything. Similar in premise to Rambo 3, while trying to avoid fighting he is inevitably pulled back into it. But its how he comes to fight that is different from all times past. In 'First Blood' he has no other choice. Not expecting a war at home (and not looking for one), war is declared on him for all the wrong reasons; and his switch is turned on immediately. In 'First Blood Part 2', he's asked to go back to the hell called Vietnam to rescue forgotten POWs, and is betrayed once again. In 'Rambo 3', his mentor and 'the only man he trusts', Trautman, is captured behind enemy lines; and he's the only one willing and able to go in and save him.

In this final installment (as of right now), an older, colder John Rambo has given up on the world (and for good reason) and just wants to live out the rest of his life in whatever kind of peace he can achieve. This time its Christian humanitarians who seek his help getting into Burma to provide medical relief. Learning that they're traveling without weapons in the war-torn country, he essentially laughs at their cause, telling them that they're in no position to 'change anything' and doesn't want to be a part of it. He's later convinced to help them by the only female in the group, who reaches the only human part of his soul left. He does help them, only to learn that they've been captured by the Burmese. He's pulled into war once again....only this time he finally comes to the understanding that he can no longer fight what he truly is….a killer. A warrior, who wasn't just trained as such by the Green Berets, but who he always was from the beginning. One line really struck, and also surprised me: "you didn't kill for your country, you killed for yourself." I found this very interesting; as I never did get this from the Rambo character. He was bred as a killing machine, and always wanted to turn it off but never could. What Rambo learns is that he was always a killer, and he did what he did for himself, not his country….that he went to Vietnam to kill, to Afghanistan to kill…..for HIMSELF. This is VERY telling that Rambo is truly a cursed soul.

What follows is one of the most gruesome, brutal action/war films ever made. Straight to the point, in-your-face action, holding NOTHING back….the images and happenings are as cold, stern and bold as Rambo's aged face….and it all works WONDERFULLY. People tend to forget just how talented Stallone is, and it's so pleasing to see that at age 62 he still has it; not only physically but mentally…. still with great knowledge of how to do an action film. He is indeed a master…my hats off to him. While everyone laughed at Sly when they learned there was going to be another Rocky movie, and another Rambo movie….he proved everyone wrong (myself included). And I couldn't be happier. Whether or not there's another Rambo movie after this wouldn't matter to me. John Rambo finally came full circle, with himself as well as his character's realization for his fans. Any doubt that action movies are dead? Look no further, Stallone still got it. 'Rambo' is one of the year's best.

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The Invisible (2007)
Not very plausible.....not very good.
28 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Not having much of an idea as to what this film was about, I was still curious. The end result is a film that's just not very good, because it doesn't know what it is. For a rebel teenage girl (weighing 100lbs the most) to be wreaking havoc on any and everyone who comes her way (e.g. other guys in school bigger than her, her boyfriend, police, etc) is just ridiculous. It was so obvious as to who to investigate; that the 'mystery' wasn't solved much earlier is just asinine. Other points to consider:

  • What was the reasoning for Nick's best friend to 'rat him out'? They're best friends, for one. Two, Nick tries to help him out of a jam with the 'gangster white chick bully' of the school; when it didn't seem anyone else gave a damn...or just wasn't that courageous for that matter. For him to then lie on him to 'save his own ass'?? Are you kidding me? What's the reason? Three, what could he have POSSIBLY told Annie that would have her logically think that it was Nick who sold her out, even after he let her off the hook with the principal??? Four, what reasoning was there for Nick's BF's father to be so uncooperative with cops???

  • How stupid were the police? The suspects were sticking out like a sore thumb; was it really that hard to find out who did it?

  • Okay, you move Nick's body from one place to another. From a sewer (in a forest?) where it's completely a dam laid out on some rocks perfectly visible to anyone who happens to look down there. You CANT be serious!

  • Annie, after being shot and near-death, and being the one who inflicted the near-death blow to Nick,somehow convinces Nick's mother to 'talk' to Nick whose on his death bed because she can 'bring him back'. And just how did she do that? I was really waiting for her to administer the 'Kiss Of Life' as she laid there....but it wasn't needed.

  • What happened to Nick's best friend after he tried to kill himself? Or Marcus after he was shot? Twice?? Or the rest of Annie's cronies?

There was just so much wrong with the plot of this movie. It just didn't know if it was an all-out supernatural film (a la Ghost) or just a mystery story with a twist. The characters and their lack of back-story, as well as implausibilities all around just makes 'The Invisible' a big mess.

5/10 (i was somewhat entertained for about 30 minutes)
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Hard Candy (2005)
Terrible all around! I was actually rooting for the bad guy!
23 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Just finished watching this....TERRIBLE! A 14 year old girl doing all of this and getting away with it? I don't know who was dumber, Haylie or Jeff. She goes through all the 'torture', near deaths, and fake castration just to let him hang himself off the roof of his house? And he was actually DUMB enough to do it? After his neighbor saw her there and looked as if she really didn't believe the bullsh!t story Haylie gave her (and with good reason), with evidence all over his house...he still jumps! Once I realized that I still had my family jewels I was waiting there until I caught up with her, killed her off and buried her in my back yard! For him as a grown man to let a 14 year old do this to you?? You can't be serious! I was seriously waiting for him to throw Haylie off that roof in the end. Just as she herself said, group meetings and a little time in prison IF everything stuck (and that's a big IF), throwing yourself off a roof was NOT the only way...but he was stupid enough to do it. You know the movie is bad when you actually root for the pedophile in this situation! They made Haylie so obnoxious that you found it impossible to side with her. Who was actually worse here? I don't think I've ever seen 2 characters as annoying, obnoxious and plain STUPID as these two. The point (a valid one, no doubt) is completely lost here with over-the-top and unnecessary plot twists and blockheaded characters. They tried WAAAY too hard with this one. Unbelievably bad.

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Not terrible, but definitely could've been better
20 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I'm a big fan of vigilante films, so naturally I was drawn to 'Death Sentence'. Kevin Bacon is a hit or miss actor, although he's been on a tear as of late; particularly in The Woodsman and Mystic River. His performance in 'Death Sentence' is one of the bright points of the film, but lack of a cohesive plot keeps it from truly being special.

Bacon plays his character pretty well, balancing the fine line between "I was born to do this" and "what the hell am I thinking?" dilemma and showcasing it very well. I felt that he really hit home with his performance. The plot, however, leaves you scratching your head in some areas. The most glaring one to me was this: after Nick Hume (Bacon) starts on his vigilante crusade, killing the person who murdered his son; it was as if his character thought that everything was going to magically disappear and everyone would forget everything, bad guys especially. Of course, it doesn't, and the gang responsible goes after him (it took NOTHING for them to figure out who killed their member), and tries to kill him in broad daylight. Hume escapes this attempt, killing ANOTHER member of the gang. Yet, he goes home that night and reports to work the next morning like nothing happened! It only makes PERFECT sense at this point to get what family you have left and take them someplace. There's no, 'honey get the kid and stay at your mothers' here. I found that to be total trash; for the lead character to be so illogical it was unbelievable. There are a lot more plot holes throughout the film, which is pretty typical of Wan.

Its a decent movie that will entertain you for 1.25 hours or so. If one can look pass the glaring plot holes (VERY hard feat to do) I have no doubt that you'll find it entertaining and fun-loving.


P.S. I'm curious as to how Foster's film deals with the vigilante issue. Charles Bronoson's 'Death Wish' is still King at number one.
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Planet Terror (2007)
Absurdly entertaining, very well executed.
18 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
No need for a long, drawn-out review. Planet Terror is plain ol' B-movie fun! Everyone does their job well here. Acting, directing and overall execution was first class. It was nice to see Freddy Rodriguez play the ultimate bad ass...he was very good. Rose McGowan was good as well. Jeff Fahey was great, nice to see Michael Biehn again and Josh Brolin was as creepy as ever. An absurd, hilarious, over-the-top zombie movie thats so bad, its good....just like the good ol' days. Rodriguez has done it again.

I can fully appreciate Rodriguez paying homage to the B-movie, exploitation films of the 60s and 70s. Didn't mind the buckets of blood splattered out with every gunshot wound. The 'missing reel' was a WONDERFUL touch, absolutely hilarious. The fake 'Machete' trailer is an absolute classic....can't wait for the finished product due out next year. The grainy film was great. I don't care to know just how Cherry was able to fire the machine gun invention made for her by El Wray, don't even care to know why the scientist was so obsessed with walking around with men's balls. Planet Terror is the model case of a movie that knows just what it is; therefore it doesn't take itself seriously and grabs a hold of you and takes you on a wild ride with no intention of letting go. If you go into Planet Terror accepting it for what it is and what its trying to accomplish, you can't help but enjoy it. And I, for one, loved it.

Kudos to Rodriguez, his Grindhouse effort is MILES ahead of Tarantino's mess (Death Proof); Planet Terror is the better film hands-down in every aspect: execution, entertainment, and flat out good movie-making. Thankfully they split the two films, if you had to choose one, this is the obvious choice. Highly recommended.

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Death Proof (2007)
An 'L' for purpose here, not good at all......
18 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I didn't have the opportunity to watch Grindhouse; and with that said I think it's safe to also say that in Grindhouse, 'Death Proof' was a more concise film. Whereas 'Planet Terror' knew what it was, and got to the point of that and ran with it, 'Death Proof' knows what it is but then wanders everywhere possible.

I'm a big fan of Tarantino, his quirky visual eye and usually engaging dialogue. They do tend to be long-winded at times, but in every other case I've seen the dialogue help move characters and plot along. Sure, in about every case, it has NOTHING to do with anything and is just a random conversation that we as the audience just happens to drop in on; and that's the beauty of QT's technique. There's a certain genius in that, it helps you identify with the characters more. To this day I remember the 'tipping waitresses' debate from Reservoir Dogs, and the 'listen vs. wait to talk' banter in Pulp Fiction.... in the past QT had these conversations in there seem totally random, but they were a very creative and ingenious way (I feel) of moving things along. This is NOT the case in Death Proof.

Nothing, I repeat......NOTHING happens for the first hour of the film. All we get is endless rambling from the women about a host of meaningless things....two of these instances spliced by only 10 minutes of actual interaction with the character in which the film is based on. In Stuntman Mike's first 'cameo', he's as menacing as anything and puts his mark on the movie; leaving you hyped up for what's to come in the last half of the film. But Stuntman Mike pulls a disappearing act until the last 10 minutes of the film, when the menacing, evil bad guy is reduced to a whiny little b!tch when he faces a little resistance. The little hope I was holding onto in regards to the film being redeemed was drained at that point.

I wasn't looking for an explanation for why Stuntman Mike was doing what he was doing. Didn't really care when the second group of females left their friend with a total stranger to test drive a vintage muscle car. Wasn't at all mad at the abrupt 'The End' at the that just fine. The gratuitous gore in what little action actually took place was expected. Loved the grainy film, and error-abundant continuity and edits. It's a homage to B-movies, I got all of that. The LEAST QT could have done was make this an actual MOVIE instead of 2 hours of the audience being a "fly on the wall" to pointless dialogue! Throw a LITTLE plot and action in there to get things going! This is the first time I'm saying this about a Tarantino film, but the overlooooong dialogue was complete torture. The central crash scene was great; the "four POV technique" was classic. But where this film could've REALLY taken off it, rather it LAYS down for another 50 minutes and merely stirs for the last 10.

'Death Proof' was a HUGE disappointment, and the first real 'L' for Tarantino since 'Dusk Till Dawn' IMO. In the end its a pointless film that I had to see, as it was one half of the Grindhouse feature. Rodriguez' 'Planet Terror' is FAR superior to this mess.

3/10 (1 for Rose McGowan's death, 1 for the music/lapdance, and 1 for the 4 angle car crash)
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P2 (2007)
Didn't expect even less.......
15 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I'll admit that the premise of P2, 'horror-thriller' set in a parking garage had me interested. Good way of changing things up a little. I knew what I was going into, so I wasn't expecting very much. What I got out of it was even less.

The setting for the film was the only thing intriguing. The acting wasn't very good; the 'psycho' in this is beyond annoying...and a lot of what he says just doesn't make sense. Yes, he's supposed to be crazy but come on! The heroine was decent in her performance, attractive I must say. But the story was just downright silly; the movie could've been done in a half hour. And if that's the case, its obvious that the script needs to be tightened up. This is indeed the case; as I couldn't help but think that the makers were just adding a lot of filler so the film would last at least 90 minutes. The heroine could've gotten out of her predicament a few times (the first time almost immediately as she's FREED from a chain around her leg), but she's too much of a wuss to really do anything about it. There's the obligatory gore here, most of it out of taste. I wasn't disgusted, but more disappointed that they stooped to that level of cartoonish violence. The fingernail scene was just ridiculous, they had to think that would've been "cool" and just threw that in there.

P2 is your typical run-of-the-mill horror/thriller that's just not a very good film at all. Don't waste your money on this one.

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