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Fifty Shades of Grey
22 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Anastasia Steele is a college student who substitutes for her roommate to interview famous billionaire, Christian Grey. From the minute they meet, they are attracted to each other and start an interesting relationship. Christian is a dominant who would like Anastasia to be his submissive. While she's open to ideas, she's curious as to why Christian is so obsessed with the contract he sets up for their relationship and why he wants to hurt her. Staring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson based on the world wide best seller by Twilight fan fiction author E.L. James, this controversial book and movie definitely crashed the internet with opinions on wither this was just a silly story or actually harmful to society.

The thing I actually do respect this movie with is that they do seem like they genuinely tried to make something at least decent. Dakota and Jamie do seem like they're doing their best with what they've been given. Dakota tries to give Anastasia some life and gives her a little bit of a human trait vs. from what I've heard her character is like in the book. Jamie falls shorter and takes Christian as someone who takes himself way too seriously. Because the story is bad, I think that's why I cut them some slack. How actors could say some of these lines with a straight face, I could only imagine the blooper reel. The film is actually put together very well. It's shot well, edited well and given a decent musical score. Sam Taylor-Johnson went with a smooth style, giving the film a modern sleek look. I particularly appreciated the negotiation scene in the office. It looked beautiful and the lines are actually darkly humorous giving the audience a chance to breathe.

The sad part is, it's just a bad story. Nothing is consistent, Christian goes back and forth saying he's not a "flowers and candy kind of guy" but will buy Anastasia a computer and a car. He says he does not get emotionally involved, but meets her family and takes her to meet his family. Anastasia is told from minute one that he's not looking for a relationship, but she is constantly trying to get love out of him. She asks him to show her the worst and when he does she gets angry with him but then will confess her love for him. This relationship makes as much sense as trying to read a bill for health care, it's confusing and exhausting trying to figure it out.

So, would I recommend this one? Honestly, I think people really over reacted to it. There have always been erotic movies, there have always been bad movies and there have been erotic bad movies. I personally enjoy this as an unintentional comedy and like to quote it. To me, I don't see how you couldn't find it as funny as The Room or Birdemic, it's just a little more sleek and trendy to hate on it. If you're not into "so bad it's good" this is definitely not the movie for you. I don't think this movie is harming society, it's just a fantasy story that women and some men would get into because of the idea of it. No one takes this as a guide to BDSM 101 or as to the idea of what a healthy relationship is. If they do, they need some serious help.
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Frozen (I) (2010)
Frozen
22 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Three college students go skiing for the weekend. They want to go for one last ride before the night has ended, but through bad communication with the ski resort's employees, the lift is closed while they are still on the ride. Thinking at first it's a power outage, they soon realize there's something terribly wrong and they are stuck. The situation grows worse when they remember that it's also Sunday and the resort will not be open again until that Friday. Becoming a survival film now, they must figure a way to get through this dangerous situation.

A movie that primarily takes place in one spot is very tricky to pull off. The first thing you must do is to have a strong cast and I think they did a pretty good job with that. You have Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore and Kevin Zegers. So there were no large names which shows the director wanted to focus on the story and make sure that the talent was strong. Emma plays the girlfriend, Parker, who is clearly the third wheel and invited herself for the weekend. It's a little sad as you can tell she genuinely cares for her boyfriend and is trying to be friends with his best friend. Shawn Ashmore plays the best friend, Joe, who is the typical college student who enjoys having a good time and has probably had a few relationships with no success. Kevin Zegers plays Dan, who is Parker's boyfriend and Joe's best friend, he's clearly torn in the middle. He and Parker have been together for almost a year, but he and Joe have been friends since they were children and has to play back and forth keeping the peace. Each actor is very good at reacting to how a young person with no real knowledge of survival, it's not easy and I've seen some comments from others who love to provide feedback on how they would survive. It's another when you are put into that situation and it is explained very well why certain methods wouldn't work. The script is actually pretty strong for a survival film and I followed it very well. Each character is fleshed out and aren't just meat for us to watch them die.

Adam Green is a very strong director when it comes to horror. All in all, this is a horror movie. It's a horrific situation and is a very tight film. At 93 minutes, it does not overstay it's welcome and keeps your interest. The dialog doesn't come off as corny but very natural and you really feel so bad for these young adults and hope that you would never find yourself in a similar situation. I read that this was not green screen, this was all on location and I really admire that they didn't take the safe route but were at mother nature's mercy. I think it added to the actor's reactions and even the story.

Honestly, there's nothing for me to really complain about. I think the only thing I found pointless, other than it was a little nod for the horror fans, was Kane Hodder's cameo. He plays a snow plow driver who drives under the lift, but he doesn't notice them and drives away. I assume that maybe it's just another moment to get frustrated with the three characters as they are trying everything they can to get down.

Overall, do I recommend this film? Absolutely. I want people to also give it a very fair chance and don't jump to the "well, I would do this..." conclusion. The cast and crew did work hard on this film and it shows. The film debuted at film festivals with rave reviews and audiences loving it, so it looked like it was going to get a wide release. But with no big names, I think it didn't get the strong wide release it deserved. It's becoming a bigger success with TV showings, DVD/Blu Ray sales and the digital media. Hopefully it will continue to grow and get the proper praise it deserves.
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Room (I) (2015)
10/10
Room
22 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
A young mother with a son, Jack, lives in Room. It is literally that, a room with a bed, TV, sink, miniature stove, table, bathtub and a closet. They are seemingly a very loving little family with no other figure in their lives except for one person. This leads to questions which leads to further discovery of what is really going on with Room. I will leave this plot synopsis at that as I discovered this film without knowing nothing about the plot and was extremely grateful to see this uncovering what Room was.

Room is a movie that really surprised the world. Brie Larson took home the academy award for best actress in a leading role and rightfully so. Her performance is utterly breathtaking and a risk taker as you find out the situation she is in and admire that she has created this magical world for her son while she's in a deep depression and put through the ringer almost every night. The major shock is that her co-star Jacob Tremblay was not nominated as well as this is one of the best child performances I had ever seen on film. The interaction between the two is absolutely memorizing, giving the clear message of how love can heal a tragic situation. Jacob does not come off as too cute or too annoying, but as a normal child. He gets happy, gets scared and hides in his mother's arms, he gets angry and yells, gets frustrated and denies problems like a child would. Joan Allen gives a great performance as well as Brie's mother, conveying the love, confusion and frustration of how to handle something wonderful coming back into your life but under tragic circumstances. It truly is an actor's film and the casting director couldn't have had more spot on.

The direction is also very good, Lenny Abrahamson has this film almost 100% perfect. One of the things I really appreciated about Room is that it reminded me of what being a child is like. The first time we discover things and how your parents are your world. As you discover how large the world is, it feels like the knowledge is endless and you want to consume more and more. The scene where Jack sees the sky I will never forget and I couldn't stop crying that I had to pause the movie. So many things that we take for granted we see it through the eyes of a child and that's the best way to view things at times. Also through Brie's eyes as she comes back into the world after being gone and not feeling part of it as well. It shows truly how great the story was written and followed with a solid script.

The one flaw I found with the film, which is a nitpick, I would have had William H. Macy in it a little more. He plays Brie's father and does a very good job and the scene at the dinner table where he cannot even look at Jack and Brie just breaks down begging him to accept her son. He leaves and it's heartbreaking but also human and you can understand why as frustrating as you want him to stay and be there for his daughter. A small spoiler, Brie ends up in the hospital again, but he's not even mentioned. He seems like a loving father who genuinely wants his daughter in his life, wouldn't he be a least a mention as to why he's not there? It's a small nitpick, but a legit question.

Other than that, this is a terrific film and is my favorite of 2015. I highly recommend watching it without knowing too much about the plot as more is revealed, you get the true emotion the writer and director had intended you to connect with. It is a very emotional movie as well, I cried at least 3 times, so have a box of tissues ready.
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2/10
Well, I guess I've learned a lot about the flying fish
22 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Funny to think, before Avatar, Titanic, True Lies, Terminator 2, Aliens, The Abyss, The Terminator, James Cameron was just trying to make it himself. After quitting being a truck driver, he was just the editor on Piranha 2 and somehow got shoved into the director's seat. I can see why he skims over this movie when in interviews people ask about what his life was like before The Terminator. It's fun to see what are the first works are of a huge Hollywood name. I did see this movie when I was a kid and even then I have to say that this was one of the silliest movies I had ever seen in my life. I mean, flying piranhas? I get it, they were trying to make the fish seem impossible to escape from at this point, under water or on land, you just couldn't get away from these monsters. But these monsters looked like something you could get at Spencer's Gifts for a Halloween party.

Off the coast of a Caribbean island, a young couple flee the hotel to have sex in the sea. But they swim into a sunken wreck which is also a piranha lair and they are both killed and eaten by the unseen piranha. The next day, a group of tourists are taking the diving courses provided by Anne Kimbrough, an employee of the Hotel Elysium. One of her divers swims into the wreck, which she has strictly forbidden to her divers. Leaving Tyler to take over and lead the others to the surface, she discovers almost immediately that her 'missing' student has swum into the wreck and been killed there when his badly chewed up body is found. With the help of her estranged husband, Steve, they must figure a way to stop these evil flying piranha.

Now one of the great things about this film I have to say is the first scene. This couple goes underwater to have sex, that is something I have to say I have never seen on the wackiness level for un-needed nudity. Other than that, I don't think there was anything that good about the film even on a camp level. But given the credit where it's due, you could really see talent behind James. As an editor, he did the best he could with what he had. It's like handing over a broken stick house and saying to fix it, he did the best he could, but just couldn't really save the film. But Lance Henriksen is the only actor in the film who actually puts a little effort into this movie and I could see why he made it above the other actors in this movie.

I don't know if I could recommend this film, it just depends on the mood you're in. If you're looking to see all of James Cameron's work or Lance Henrikson, I would say to go for it. But just a warning in advance, this is an over the top silly movie. Some moments work and some don't, there are some laughable scenes, but most of the film is oddly boring for a film about flying fish. Now I would watch a documentary about these flying fish if James made one today, either that or he should've added the flying piranha to his blockbuster film Titanic. I think he would've gotten the full 11 out of 11 Oscar wins if he added those. Anyways, just don't expect anything special out of this movie, just remember, there was a time before his submarine missions deep below the seas being one of the most powerful men in Hollywood he slept on a friend's couch just trying to make a name for himself.

2/10
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8/10
How Batman got his groove back
22 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Eight years later after Dent's death and Batman's retirement, Gotham City is in a state of peace. Under powers granted by the Dent Act, Commissioner Gordon has nearly eradicated violent and organized crime. However, he still feels guilty about the cover-up of Harvey Dent's crimes. He plans to admit to the conspiracy, but decides that the city is not ready to hear the truth, but his speech is stolen by terrorist leader Bane. Gordon is shot in the process, and he promotes patrol officer John Blake to detective, allowing Blake to report directly to him. As Batman has disappeared from Gotham City, so too has Bruce Wayne, locking himself inside Wayne Manor. Both Gordon and Blake implore Bruce to return as Batman. Bruce decides the time is right, but realizes that Bane may be his match and breaks Batman. Bruce needs to retrain and save Gotham from Bane who is planning on going out with a bang. With the help of a Robin Hood like friend, Selena Kyle, Bruce will show that justice can prevail.

The conclusion to the epic trilogy is complete now with The Dark Knight Rises. I don't think anyone could've expected anyone to save the Batman series the way Christopher Nolan did. Taking a darker and deeper look into the best super hero of all time, he created this whole world where it actually seemed possible for all this to happen. That there are people who could dress like bats to stop the bad guys and villains who dress up and almost destroy the world. Batman Begins was a very good movie, The Dark Knight is a masterpiece, but The Dark Knight Rises falls just a notch short of what I was expecting. The Dark Knight delivers in terrific performances, a great story and excellent cinematography. We have a great villain done right with Bane. Unfortunately with the nightmare that was Batman & Robin, Bane was made into a weird deaf mute which had nothing to do with the comics. Nolan didn't just write Bane well, but he made him very terrifying adding a cold demeanor with the slick intelligence of Hannibal Lector. But the one who steals the show is Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle(who is never mentioned as Catwoman), but her character is written so well and Anne pulls in a great performance, one of her best. I wanted to see more of her on the screen. Also Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is becoming one of my favorite actors, pulls in a great performance and in a twist that I kept screaming with his character was pulled in very well in the end. I liked having this Howard Hughes affect with Bruce Wayne in the beginning, having a good continue from the end of the Dark Knight where he takes a nasty fall with Dent and was limping. It was good to be put back into place where we forget that Bruce is human, he will hurt. In this film, he's broke: financially, mentally and physically and this is all about how he comes back into his own groove as Batman completing his story.

While the film is very good, it falls short of being great. While I liked the subtext of what's going on with Wall Street and how Selina is like Robin Hood, stealing from the rich to help herself and others, it didn't really fit that well with the story with the stock market effect. Tom Hardy pulls in a terrific performance as Bane, but for some reason he's actually not that memorable. I think he lacks that pinch of charisma that Heath had to make the Joker one of the best movie villains of all time. Plus, I wasn't a big fan of his voice, about 40% of his dialog I couldn't understand because it was a bit muffled. Also I wasn't a fan of his voice in general, it didn't fit well with the power he had. Maybe it was because his face was covered, he couldn't get the performance that could've been Oscar worthy. Also the film does feel a bit dragged out, the first 2/3's of the film feels like more talk vs. action and not much Batman. I wish also that there was a feeling of fun, because the story is almost too dark at times. Batman could've had some more juicy dialog that was more replaced by Selina. I also didn't like that they had to make her a love interest in the end, Selina's character on her own was perfect and it feels like a last minute cliché that just gets thrown in for an applause. There are a few inconsistencies with the story that I don't want to give away, but the ending leaves a lot of questions.

But please, don't take the negative comments I have wrong, this is a very good film and worth seeing in the theater at the full ticket price. The effects are terrific and all the performances are magnificent and the world is just awesome to look at as Bane is just playing with it like his own sand box. The ending is one of the best I've seen and a great climax to a wonderful trilogy. That fight with Bane and Batman was too awesome and seeing Gotham fight back for their city was great. It's sad to see Nolan's era of Batman end, but good to know that there was a man who actually was able to bring it back to life.

8/10
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Piranha (1978)
7/10
As if great whites were not enough to keep us out of the water, now we got Piranhas!
22 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Back in the 70's, we had a series of great horror films: a little real life terror with Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a little bit of Hellish terror with The Exorcist and a little underwater terror with the first blockbuster called Jaws. Jaws was so huge that it spawned merchandise, several sequels and actually scarred people out of the water. I'm sure the one's who knew what sharks are really like were just rolling their eyes at the reaction Jaws got and I think that's where Roger Corman(a God amongst Hollywood with the protégés he brought up) got the idea for Piranha. Despite not being a direct spoof of Jaws, you can tell that he was just having fun with the new genre of undersea monsters. Having some goofy lead characters with what is actually one of the most harmless most scary looking fish in the sea, you got Piranha.

Two teenagers exploring at night come upon an apparently abandoned military installation. They take advantage of what appears to be a swimming pool to skinny dip. The teenagers are attacked by an unseen force and disappear under the water. A light activates in the main building and a silhouetted figure investigates the screams, but is too late to help. A determined but somewhat absent-minded insurance investigator, Maggie is dispatched to find the missing teenagers near Lost River Lake. She hires surly backwoods drunkard Paul Grogan to serve as her guide. They come upon the abandoned compound, which functioned as a fish hatchery prior to being militarized. They discover bizarre specimens in jars and indications of an occupant. Maggie locates the drainage switch for the outside pool and decides to empty it to search the bottom. The two find a skeleton in the filtration trap of the empty pool, and learn it was filled with salt water. They realize that the piranhas are heading for the town and they must stop the evil fish.

The film has this often campy and fun feeling to it. Having the silly characters, clichés, gore and nudity is honestly just a lot of fun. This is an over looked horror film I think, it's just a good time. I remember this movie as a kid, my parents were skimming around the channels on Christmas and for some reason this movie was playing. We always joked that it was our new Christmas movie. I think I'll keep that tradition alive, after all, what isn't more about Christmas than killer piranhas? The attack scene at the lake is very gruesome and cool to watch with plenty of prop arms, legs and heads being chewed up with that creepy piranha chomping sound. I have to admit, for a fish that doesn't really attack humans, this made me a little creeped out by piranhas.

Piranha is a good horror/comedy that works and should be given a chance. I'm not sure why it's over looked, but it's a fun movie. I do warn, it's campy and the effects are not that special. The acting isn't anything to brag about either. But this is a horror movie that calls out all the silly clichés. Maybe it was the people who were afraid of Jaws that took this film too much to heart that they were being goofed on with their reactions. Though I think it would be funny if they were actually terrified of this movie and had a new fish to fear. Anyways, Piranha is a fun horror movie and my new Christmas tradition in light of my family.

7/10
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6/10
Ironically, I think the actual ice age was shorter than this franchise
22 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
There is a reason I'm not in the stock market, I'm not sure why some movies continue to get sequels, I never figured they would try to turn Ice Age into a franchise of some sort. The first Ice Age was very cute, nothing special, but enjoyable to watch. The sequels are pretty decent over all, but I never found myself watching them twice. But I guess they were popular enough to spawn another sequel called Continental Drift. So in our quest for a movie weekend, my fiancé and I decided to give this movie a fair chance on it's opening weekend. Over all, it was pretty cute and had it's share of laughs. I do think this was a pick up from the last sequel, but again, it was a movie worthy of a straight to DVD release. The story is predictable and some of the actor's voices just don't work with the characters. However with some new additional characters that were actually pretty funny, I don't find myself unsatisfied with Continental Drift.

Scrat's hunt for acorns triggers the break-up of the Pangaea landmass into the continents as we know them today. In the meantime, Manny and his wife Ellie deal with their teenage daughter Peaches. Sid's family, appear to have been looking for him, but it is revealed that they only want to leave Sid's annoying Granny with him and leave him again. When Manny catches Peaches hanging with friends after he told her not to, Manny and Peaches have a falling out. Soon after, the breakup of the continent separates Manny from his family. Manny gets stuck on a floating ice raft with Sid, Diego and Granny. A large moving landmass drives Ellie, Peaches, and a herd of other animals towards a land bridge, where Manny had told them to go. Manny promises to come back to them, but may have some trouble getting back.

This was a crazed celebrity fest of voices: Nick Frost, Queen Latifah, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Wanda Sykes, Simon Pegg, Jennifer Lopez, Ray Romano, Seann William Scott, the list goes on. Makes you really wonder where the budgets for these films go when you got big names. A little advice to Hollywood when it comes to animated films: use the money budget towards the script and animation, not the voices. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. I didn't respond too well to hearing Wanda's screeching voice for 80% of the film. Did it really make a difference to have Jennifer Lopez's voice in the movie? But given credit where it's due, I did like the new character/villain, Captain Gutt and his pirates. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost do add a lot of comedy to the movie, because of their natural chemistry, it just works. The animation is very nice, especially during the storm scenes.

Over all, I did like the movie, it wasn't a waste of time and I got a few laughs out of it. I think the heart of the film goes to Scrat, no matter how many times I see him chasing after those acorns, I don't think I could ever get sick of it. I also liked how the film took a little clever twist with telling the story of the Odyssey so the kids would not only have a good time, but to learn a great story of adventure. But it's still only worth the rental, at most a matinée. I think the kids will definitely get a kick out of it, but that's about it. I don't know if this will be the last Ice Age, but as long as Hollywood wants it's money and this movie makes number one at the box office, I think we'll probably have another one.

6/10
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1/10
I could write 5 novels on the things wrong with this movie!
8 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
My God, I cannot believe I live in a world where these movies were created. Where do I start? So most of the users on IMDb know of this movie if you've seen Titanic: The Legend Goes On. It turns out that it was a sequel to this horrible movie! The ironic part is, you think nothing could top off the rapping dog on the Titanic, no this movie is much much worse. What could be worse than a rapping dog or Mexican mice? Let's just flat out deny that Titanic was a tragic disaster that killed hundreds of people. No, let's not just do that, in fact, let's make it that the ice berg wasn't just there that crashed into the ship. Let's make it about a couple of evil whalers who can somehow communicate with a gang of evil sharks, dressed like inmates in a prison no less, that peer pressure a puppy dog octopus into an iceberg throwing contest and makes him throw it at the Titanic so the evil whaler's plans will never be revealed….yeah, just as hard as it is reading that, I'm having a hard time typing that. This is for real everyone, this is just sad.

In modern-day New York City an old mouse named Conners tells his grandchildren the supposedly "true" story of the Titanic. In April 1912, Conners was a young sailor mouse on the Titanic's maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York. He is in charge of taking account for the many immigrant mice who are making the trip. Meanwhile, a rich aristocratic woman named Elizabeth and her family board the Titanic. Her father is a famous Duke and is very prominent in the whaling business. He and Elizabeth's stepmother have arranged for Elizabeth to marry Mr. Evarard Maltravers, a rich whaler. Unknown to the Duke, the marriage is actually a scheme concocted by his own stepwife and Maltravers to get certain whaling rights for themselves. Elizabeth is unhappy about the marriage. Elizabeth sees several gypsies dancing at the dock and happily watches them. A gypsy man named Don Juan is dancing with his dog Smiley. He notices Elizabeth and sends Smiley to see her. When Elizabeth takes off one of her gloves to pet Smiley, Smiley snatches it and takes it back to Juan. Juan looks at Elizabeth and the two instantly fall in love. The Titanic then sets off to sea from Southampton on her first, and only, voyage.

Yeah, so I don't know how else to even explain it's badness. The girl Elizabeth, who has one of the lowest plunging neck lines for 1912, goes crying on the deck of the ship and her tears get swept up in a magic moon beam that can help her communicate with all animals?! This is where it gets even weirder, now the dolphins don't just jump up and down to warn her of the evil plans of her fiancé, no they can fly. Also she has mice who are on her side as well. Her fiancé who is the evil whaler has a friggin' eye patch and mustache! Why not give him a cat to stroke to top it off?! So in the beginning of the film, Elizabeth tells her father angrily "I would rather die than marry that old disgusting man!" and he just plays it off with how she has to marry him for stature. Then cut to a scene later on after the mice and dolphins talk to her that they're on her side, she says "I have no intention of marrying that man", her father has a sudden change of heart and says "I want you happy", what the heck did she do differently!? Now history knows that there were not enough life boats and only women and children were allowed on, no, this one, there's room for everyone! Now let's not give the captain any dignity while sinking with this ship, no, let the octopus, who for some reason takes a deep breath before going under water, save the captain! Yeah, this was a whole big cover up and everyone on the Titanic survived and it sank only because of some "greedy evil men". Oh, man, who the heck made this?! Who the heck green lighted this?! I don't know, but what I do know is that I'm going to continue to cry for a few more hours.

1/10
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8/10
Spidey's back!
8 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
10 years ago, I remember seeing the opening of the biggest film that year, Spider-Man. I'm not kidding, I remember everything about that opening. It was the first time I ever saw teenagers bring comic books to the movie doing comparison notes. I remember it being so crowded and crazy. But I also remember loving the movie and I still watch it today. So when I heard that they were rebooting the franchise, I was kind of curious why they were rebooting so soon. But after seeing the trailers, I still wanted to see the movie. I'm not a crazy comic book fan or anything, I just like super-hero movies. So this review is from the movie-goer, not the comic book advocate. I really did like The Amazing Spider-Man, this was a great pick up from Spider-Man 3. It was trying to touch the territory of being like Batman Begins, taking the character and story a little more seriously without the overage of cheesy one-liners and costumes. What worked well for this movie was the cast and story.

Young Peter Parker's dad, Richard, gathers up hidden documents, and Peter's parents take him to the home of his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, then mysteriously disappear. Years later, a teenage Peter attends high school, where he has caught the eye of Gwen Stacy. At home, Peter finds Richard's papers, and learns his father worked with fellow scientist Dr. Curt Connors at Oscorp. Faking his way into Oscorp as one of a group of high-school interns, Peter sneaks into a lab where a "biocable" is being created from genetically modified spiders, one of which bites him. On the subway ride home, he is shocked to find strange spider-like abilities manifesting. After studying Richard's papers, he visits the one-armed Connors at home, reveals he is Richard Parker's son, and gives Connors his father's "decay rate algorithm", the missing piece in Connors' experiments on regenerating limbs based on lizard DNA. Connors is being pressured by his superior, Dr. Ratha, to devise a cure for the dying, unseen head of Oscorp, Norman Osborn. He one night does the experiment forcing to him to become a giant lizard and wants to seek revenge on those who wronged him, but Peter with his new powers will try to stop him and save the city.

Did I need to see why Peter becomes Spider-Man again? Not really. Also for "nerds", our two leads Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are extremely good looking people. But I'll buy into it and just have fun. I liked the explanation given a little better than the first on why Peter feels the need to be Spider-Man. Also, does Dennis Leary always have to be the downer in almost all his movies? I mean his last lines in the film*Spoiler Alert!!*, he's dying in Peter's arms and tells Peter to leave Gwen alone, that's the finest girl he's ever going to get and he's going to listen to that?! I was telling my fiancé, if I were Peter, I would've hit Dennis before he died and said "oh, how sad you're dying, just go in peace" and play it off like it's sad or just screamed after he tells Peter not to see Gwen any more "Why won't you die?!". Poor Peter, go get yourself a hottie, Dennis's character was a jerk anyways. I digress; the only thing I have to say that was missing from this one compared to the first Spider-Man, it doesn't quite have Raimi's heart. There are a few flaws with the movie, but all the movies are flawed in one way or another. I think this was a fine addition to the franchise and highly recommend The Amazing Spider-Man, it was a lot of fun.

8/10
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Jack and Jill (I) (2011)
1/10
God, Adam Sandler is so in love with himself! Why not just call the film Adam Sandler, Adam Sandler, Adam Sandler and Adam Sandler dresses and acts like an obnoxious troll?
8 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Think back to the 90's with Adam Sandler, he was a writer/performer on SNL and had several hit movies. Back in the day, his baby sounds and squished faces were not only cute but hilarious. Now, like all humans, he gets older, but mentally is stuck in the 90's where people found his movies very funny. Now, the strange thing is, Adam Sandler has proved a couple of times that he could be a good dramatic actor. I'm not sure why he hasn't moved on… probably because his best friends are desperate for money and he's got to keep his dumb movie company "Happy Madison" going, so naturally he writes a bad story with predictable jokes and for some reason he thinks he's so funny, so naturally the movie somehow gets green lighted and that leads us to Jack and Jill. I was warned several times that this movie was awful, but one of my friends wanted to see this movie and rented it. She begged me to watch it with her and told me that I should keep an open mind…fair enough, right? I was thinking I was too close minded and I should let go and just have a good laugh. So during the movie, my expression did not change, I just couldn't laugh at anything…I look over and my friend is laughing hysterically. Why am I not having the same reaction? I don't know, but I guess I'm one of the rare people that are seeing the down fall of society with Sandler's movies.

Jack, a successful advertising executive in Los Angeles with a beautiful wife and two kids, Sofie and Gary. Jack is incredibly irritated about the Thanksgiving visit of his "identical" twin sister Jill. Following a series of problems from the airport to the house, Jack's patience is soon stretched increasingly thin. Jill's neediness and passive-aggressiveness is maddening to Jack, turning his normally tranquil life upside down. Jill says she has a list of things she wants to do before she leaves; she wants to be on a game show, go horseback riding, and do a studio tour. Meanwhile, Jack's client wants him to get Al Pacino to appear in a Dunkin Donuts commercial. Jill tries online dating, but doesn't get much of a response until Jack alters her profile, leading her to get over 100 responses. Jack feels bad so he takes her to the Lakers game where Al Pacino is supposed to be. He is there and he develops a crush on Jill as he gives her his phone number. Now the commercial is dependent on her taking a liking to Al Pacino.

One thing that I wonder: what the heck did Adam Sandler do to these celebrities who make a cameo in the film? Johnny Depp, one of the greatest actors of our generation makes a cameo. Shaq…well, I withdraw my question on that one. But Al Pacino, did Adam Sandler take a picture of the guy luring children into his gingerbread house or something? But given credit where it's due, Al seems to be the only one putting any effort into this movie. Adam Sandler's character of Jill is very close in the running for most obnoxious characters in cinema history. What I don't get is how in this universe that anyone can stand her? She's loud, racist, crude, ugly and just plain annoying, yet somehow people defend her and somehow 2 guys get a crush on her?! Plus I love how in every Sandler movie now that he writes, his character is: successful, "good-looking", has a gorgeous wife, smart, witty and everyone just admires him of course. This movie in itself is a big joke and I really tried to enjoy myself, but just have to go with the negative reviews on this film, it really is that bad. As for people like other users and my friend who found it funny, try watching other movies. I promise, there's a whole world of comedy out there that is much better than this.

1/10
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Ted (2012)
7/10
Family Guy: I love Boston
8 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
If there is something I discovered opening day of Ted: do not underestimate Family Guy and American Dad fans. Seth MacFarlane has a bigger fan base than I thought, not to say I didn't know that he wasn't famous, just didn't realize how big he was. When I saw the trailer for Ted, I knew my fiancé would love this movie, he always tells me about what I missed on the new episode of Family Guy or American Dad or The Cleveland Show. I'm the average watcher of Family Guy, I'll watch a couple episodes that re-run on TBS at night, and of the three, I'll find one bad, one OK and one absolutely hilarious. In Ted, the jokes just keep coming at you, for every one that misses, the next one is a hit. This was made directly for the fans of MacFarlane's humor. After all, the poster does say "from the creator of Family Guy" and the cast is mostly a typical work day for MacFarlane. But over all, Ted does work as a comedy that I'm sure you could get a kick out of.

In 1985, in Boston, John Bennett is a lonely child who dearly wished for his new Christmas gift, a large teddy bear named Ted, to come to life to be his friend. That wish coincided with a falling star and Ted is brought to life. After John's parents got over the shock, word of the miracle spread and Ted was briefly a celebrity. Twenty-seven years later, John and Ted are still lazy but loving companions enjoying life even while John is pursuing a years-long relationship with a level-headed office worker, Lori. As their fourth anniversary of their relationship approaches, Lori hopes to marry John, but she feels he can't move ahead with his life with Ted around, who has become a vulgar, obnoxious wastrel. John is resistant to making his lifelong companion leave, but he is finally persuaded that night to act when the couple discover Ted at home with four prostitutes. Ted is fine at first on his own, but still wants John to still party with him causing problems in his relationship once again.

Like the shows, there are some jokes that seem to go too far. I don't mind 9/11 jokes every once in a while, but MacFarlane just throws a few out there and some are a little too much. His relationship with Mark Wahlberg in the film is similar to the relationship between Peter and Brian on Family Guy. And sort of in the spirit of Kevin Smith, who is an obvious fan of Star Wars, MacFarlane is a fan of the 80's and is trying to bring a B-Movie back, Flash Gordon. However, I can't deny that I seriously did laugh quite a few times with this movie. We have a good comedic cast that works and one of the things I really appreciate on MacFarlane's part as a writer is that he didn't make Mila Kunis' character a one-note jerk girlfriend who everyone hates. You understand her character and even Mark Wahlberg's. Heck, he even makes Ted, a bear, very believable as a friend who is still stuck in the party mode in life and takes his best friend down with him. There are two villains in here, one is a large child and his dad who will DO ANYTHING to make him happy, almost like Silence of the Lambs style, this dad is just plain creepy. The effects for Ted were great and the story, despite being predictable, was still very decent. I got a few good laughs from it and would say that it is very much worth the watch. If you're the average viewer of the shows of MacFarlane, I think you'll like it too. If you're a die hard fan, there's no question that you're going to love Ted.

7/10
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7/10
Four Score and several vamp-outs ago...
8 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
When you think of funny movie titles, they're really very clever. One of the main pitches to see a movie is the title, sort of like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. When I first heard of this movie, I got a good chuckle out of that title. My fiancé and I started talking about the sequels: JFK: Zombie Killer, FDR: Witch Slayer, Thomas Jefferson: Werewolf Killer, etc. But I couldn't resist, I had to see what this movie. I'm not sure what inspired this story, I guess Lincoln just didn't make as big a splash as most presidents. I mean he only freed the slaves, is on our American five dollar bill, made it through the civil war and was assassinated, nothing that big. So we had to add another occupation to his resume and what better occupation than what's the hottest trend right now: vampire hunter! You get what you ask for when you see this movie and that's why I'm happy.

In 1818, Abraham Lincoln lives in Indiana with his parents, who works at a plantation owned by Jack Barts. There, Lincoln befriends a young African American boy, William Johnson, and intervenes when he sees Johnson being beaten by a slaver. Because of his son's actions, Thomas is fired. That night, Lincoln sees Barts break into his house and attack Nancy. She falls ill the following day, and dies shortly afterwards. Nine years later, Lincoln decides to get revenge against Barts. He attacks Barts at the docks, but Barts, who is actually a vampire, overpowers him. However, before Barts can kill him, Lincoln is rescued by Henry Sturgess. Sturgess explains that vampires exist, and offers to teach Lincoln to be a vampire hunter. Lincoln accepts and, after a decade of training, travels to Springfield, Illinois. Determined for revenge, he realizes that he may have discovered more than he would want to know while the country goes into civil war and that the vampires have deeper motives rather than just slavery.

I love history very much, my head is like a sponge that just loves to take information in and I love to study everything about history. So I've seen pictures of Lincoln and his wife Mary, both very good people, but not exactly the lookers of the day. Benjamin Walker, who plays Lincoln and people are calling the young Liam Neeson, does a great job of playing the part but doesn't really look like Lincoln, though he is the closest ironically. But the performance is what makes him memorable. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Mary, his wife, she's thin, gorgeous and complete opposite of who Mary was, but still does very well. Now this film is by no means for historical context, I just thought it was funny in the looks department that they pick models to play the average looking people. The action is great and a lot of scenes are very intense and scary. The make up effects for the vampires were great and very intimidating. Everything about this film is really silly when you think in the historical context, but if you just let go, it's honestly fun. Plus, in some sick way, I think this would've been cool if Lincoln was really this bad-ass. He's the original Blade and can really hold himself well against the evil gang of vampire slave owners. You get what you expect and I don't know what else to say for those who are complaining that this movie is too stupid or not historically accurate, it's just a movie. The title explains all, the story is good and the actors had great chemistry and made it work. I'm looking forward to seeing it again, it was a fun horror movie with a good historical twist.

7/10
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Brave (2012)
7/10
Pixar's good movie
8 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
One movie company I've had faith in these past few years to pull out the great films: Pixar. Wall-E, Up, Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., they've just kept them coming and some of these films are extremely ground breaking. Not just for animation but the story and love that they put behind it. This year they bring us Brave, a tale of a princess who wants to change her fate and follow her own path. Yeah, the Disney story that has been done to death, but this is Pixar, they're bound to do something different with it. So after watching the trailers, I wasn't sure what to make of the film but like I said, it's Pixar, I couldn't skip out on it. One thing I have to warn you is that if you've seen the trailer, this is complete opposite of what you would expect.

Princess Merida, a free-spirited and adventurous teenager is informed by her mother that she is to be betrothed to one of her father's allied clans: Dingwall, Macintosh, or MacGuffin. Despite her mother's attempts to explain the necessity of the marriage her by telling her a legend of a power-hungry prince who broke off from his duty and caused the ruin of a kingdom, Merida is dissatisfied with the arranged marriage. The clans arrive with their first-born sons to compete in the Highland Games for Merida's hand, and the princess chooses archery as the main event. Entering the competition, Merida says that as the first-born of Clan DunBroch she is eligible to compete for her own hand, and later has a falling-out with Elinor. When Merida destroys a tapestry depicting her family and Elinor burns her bow, Merida flees to the forest. While there, the "Will O' The Wisps" lead her to the hut of an elderly witch who insists she is a wood carver. After some bargaining, the witch agrees to give Merida a spell, in the form of a cake, to change her mother.

I won't give away what is the big fate changer, but it is something not incredibly original. Though give where credit is due, as usual the animation is very lovely and they captured the beautiful land of Scotland very well. The characters were just a little too typical, the only one that I really enjoyed was Fergus played by Billy Connolly and I really wished to see more of him in the film, he was funny, charming and seemed like a real father that a lot of kids have. Even Elinor played by Emma Thompson, the mother who is almost dubbed the bad guy for making her daughter go through all the customs of being a princess, but those were the times and how ladies were "supposed to act". I wanted to find out more of her character and I think they could've added more sympathy if they explained that she had to go through something similar growing up. The three little brothers are the typical comedic relief and do the job well. As for our main character, Merida, there's nothing too special about her honestly. She seems to be a brat most of the time not giving anything a chance or taking responsibility for anything, a typical teenager. How are we supposed to look up to her if she behaves this way? There are some plot points that are never explained well, like how to reverse the spell that Merida places on her mother. At first the witch says to recite these lines, but Merida never does that and it seems like she doesn't care about her mother's fate. Then there's apparently another way they could reverse the spell all with the power of love. Also the ending seemed to be kind of a cop out and too predictable. However, I would say that the kids for sure are going to enjoy this movie. For the adults, it's nothing special, worth the watch, but just don't expect Pixar greatness.

7/10
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Rock of Ages (2012)
6/10
Rock you like a hurricane!
8 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was to listen to music. I was born in 1985, so from a young age, my parents liked to listen to all the 80's rock. To this day, I still have Scorpion, Bon Jovi, Journey, Montley Crue, Def Leopard, Van Halen and AC/DC in my car among others. I don't know what it is about rock/heavy metal music, but it just gets in your blood and makes you want to party like no one ever has. I'm not the only one that feels this way obviously, this genre of music still has an extremely loyal fan base and you see all the time on VH1 a show dedicated to the rock music of the 80's. It seems like the past 10 years have been a "what a great time we had in the 80's" flashback, from the fashion to the music to the movies to the colors, we notice certain trends coming back. Of course the music that everyone still loves so much was eventually made into a musical called Rock of Ages. I've been dying to see it, but keep putting it off, so naturally when I heard that they were making the movie, I was already excited to see it. Well, I've found out why the musical hasn't hit Broadway just yet.

In 1987, Sherrie Christian travels to Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a famous singer while barback Drew Boley prepares for another night of work at "The Bourbon Room," a popular nightclub on the Sunset Strip. As Sherrie approaches The Bourbon, her suitcase, containing her favorite records, is stolen. Seeing the incident, Drew comforts Sherrie and, upon learning of her situation, he gets her a job at the Bourbon Room as a waitress. The club's owner, Dennis Dupree, and his right-hand man, Lonny Barnett, are trying to find a way to deal with unpaid taxes that are threatening the club, wishing their love of rock 'n' roll could keep it alive. They finally decide to book Stacee Jaxx, a famous rock star who has recently announced that he will be resigning from his band, Arsenal, to perform at the Bourbon in hopes of raising enough money to clear up their debt. Upon hearing of Jaxx's upcoming concert, Patricia Whitmore, the religious conservative wife of Mayor Mike Whitmore, organizes her church to protest in front of the Bourbon Room, planning to shut them down in an attempt to rid L.A. of its "sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll" image.

The good in this film mainly comes from Tom Cruise's performance who looks like he just had the best time making this movie. Bringing in a mixture of Axl Rose and Keith Richards, constantly being late, making no sense, new girl every 10 minutes, but still somehow has this insanely great talent that could sell records no matter what reputation he has, Tom was just great and very funny. Alec Baldwin is always great to watch and I even like Russell Brand, but there's this strange "joke/revelation" between them that I won't give away that just didn't work very well. The two leads Diego Boneta and Julianne Hough were cute, but a little too after school Disney show romance for me. But they did perform very well. Catherine Zeta Jones and Paul Giamatti play the one note bad guys with no real motivation other than reputation and money, that's it. It's just been done to death a million times with this story that I wish they would've done something a little more creative with these songs. I do over all like the movie and it's energy, but it could have been so much more, otherwise it just sounds like I've gone to the bar with a bunch of drunks singing karaoke butchering Don't Stop Believin'.

6/10
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9/10
Great fun!
8 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
When Madagascar was first released, I was one of the people who was against the weird looking animation and really didn't want to give it a chance. But I had rented it anyways and decided to give it a fair chance, I actually loved the side characters the best vs. our main characters. I don't know, the main characters always seemed kind of bland to me. The penguins and King Julien are just hilarious and are a great balance between serious and wacky humor. But the second film really picked up and even the main characters became a little more interesting. I honestly didn't realize how popular these movies were to spawn another sequel. But I couldn't resist the penguins, they're just too hilarious. So naturally I saw this opening weekend and was left with a surprise that this actually topped the second film in story and jokes.

Still in Africa, Alex suggests to Marty, Melman, and Gloria that they should go to Monte Carlo to get the penguins to fly them back to New York City, which they agree to. In Monte Carlo, the penguins and the two chimpanzees keep winning in gambling until Alex's gang's attempt to reach them blunders and sparks chaos in the Hotel De Paris. Hotel security calls Monaco Animal Control officer Captain Chantel DuBois to deal with the animals. But rather than capture them live, DuBois desires them, mainly Alex, dead as trophies. During a high-speed chase between the relentless DuBois and the animals in a truck driven by the penguins to reach their aircraft, the animals barely manage to elude her. They escape but the airplane fails once again and they land in France. Getting on a train with a circus group, who is in a competition to win a trip to New York, Alex takes the opportunity to lead the group and get back to America once and for all.

I have two major grips in this film and it's two songs: Afro Circus and Firework by Katie Perry. Now with Afro Circus, for some reason they are trying so hard to push this song down our throats during the trailer, it gets annoying very fast. Firework I've heard way too many times to the point where I want to strangle it! I know this is nitpicking, but that's how bad I hate these songs. But if it wasn't for these two songs, honestly, it would have been a perfect animated movie. The animation is bright and colorful and you can tell the love that was put into this film. I didn't see the 3D version and did regret that because I think the 3D would have been worth it. The penguins are still great of course and always provide a great laugh. They're basically like Patton, they take themselves way too seriously but still get the job done. King Julien has a fling with a circus bear that is just too hilarious and will have you in stitches. I loved how they kept the face of the bear very life like, almost looking like it's just a blank expression as Julien is professing his love to her. I really did enjoy Madagascar 3, it's definitely the best of the series and worth the watch.

9/10
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Prometheus (I) (2012)
8/10
Sick Curiosity
1 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Alien is one of the classic horror sci-fi films of all time. Giving so many different themes and conversations to talk about: betrayal, isolation, darkness and claustrophobia. The film was so popular that it spawned 3 sequels and a whole truck load of spoofs and tributes. But the question on everyone's mind is: Where did the alien come from? Also if the alien is like us since in the last sequel we find out that Riley's DNA is mixed with the alien's. So director Ridley Scott comes back to answer those questions with Prometheus, a prequel that was supposed to answer these questions. With some excellent visual effects and a great story, this is bring sci-fi back to a whole new level.

In 2089, archaeologist couple Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway discover a star map among several unconnected ancient cultures. They interpret this as an invitation from humanity's forerunners, the "Engineers". Peter Weyland, the elderly CEO of Weyland Corporation, funds the creation of the scientific vessel Prometheus to follow the map to the distant moon. The ship's crew travels while the android David monitors their voyage. Arriving in 2093, they are informed of their mission to find the Engineers. The Prometheus lands near a large artificial structure, which a team explores. Inside they find numerous stone cylinders, a monolithic statue of a humanoid head, and the corpse of a large alien, thought to be an Engineer. But what they find later on may lead to more questions that they may not want the answers too. After all, curiosity did kill the cat.

Over all, I think that Prometheus was a great film with very promising story lines. But I was disappointed that in some way were are left with more questions than answers. I wasn't so sure about the main character, Shaw(I'm assuming you've seen the movie since I do warn about spoilers in the beginning of my comment), they say that she can't get pregnant. She has sex with her boyfriend the night before, they go to the sight where these alien creatures attack them and she's pregnant. They say however that she's 3 months along and my curiosity is that since her boyfriend was infected, was it the boyfriend who impregnated her or was the attack? Feel free to send me a message if you have a better answer, please. Also I do wish some of the characters had better development like Charlize Theron's Meredith Vickers and the two men who are first attacked were just like bait to get the movie going and it was somewhat insulting as this is a more intelligent thriller.

However what stands out in this film other than the effects was Michael Fassbender as David, the android. He does a phenomenal job as the android who is not only just there to do his job, but almost curious upon why the humans act a certain way. Why are humans so curious? It's a good look on society where some answers are just not good enough. Shaw finds the oldest drawings known to man, but wants to know more. She finds a ship where we may have found the answer to how we were created. But who created our creator? It keeps going deeper and deeper and ends up really destroying the mission. Our curiosity as humans is what can really kill us. Prometheus has it's flaws, but without a doubt is one of the best movies of the year. I'm curious to see if they will continue the story as we are left with some questions still on where these aliens came from and how they survived and would breed. But I highly recommend the movie for sure and it's good to see Scott back with creating a great picture.

8/10
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6/10
Men in Black: Time Travel Defenders
5 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I remember back in 1997 when Men in Black came out, it was such a huge hit and Will Smith was on top of the world that year. It was a good movie and a big hit that naturally they wanted to crank out a sequel. The sequel wasn't exactly that good though, so you'd think the series ended with that. After a 4 year hiatus from acting on Will Smith's part, who has gone from fresh prince to box office success to a critical love child, you wondered what would be his comeback. I guess he wanted to go back to his old roots with trying to give life back into Men In Black. When I saw the trailer, I have to admit that in some way I was kind of excited to see this one. To see some good old nostalgia and see the awesome chemistry between Smith and Jones again. But time travel is a tricky plot that needs to be handled with delicacy and Men in Black does stumble quite a bit but is saved by Brolin's excellent performance as the young Agent K.

The intergalactic criminal Boris the Animal has escaped from the LunarMax prison on Earth's moon. He is intent on going back in time and killing Agent K, who shot off his arm and captured him. K regrets not killing Boris and returns to his apartment, where all traces of him disappear. Agent J still remembers K, though no one else at Men in Black headquarters does. Aided by electronic-shop owner, who created the time-travel device, J time-jumps off the Chrysler Building to reach time-travel velocity. With only 24 hours to stop Boris, J arrives a day before Boris kills K. Thus bringing him back to life in the future, but along the way finds out secrets of the universe that were meant to be kept for a reason.

Seriously, you would think that Josh Brolin is Tommy Lee Jones' long lost son, his performance is fantastic. The look, the mannerisms, everything he had down so perfect, it's actually award worthy. He also makes for Agent K to be very likable again and gives him a certain life that was missing from the second film. Will Smith, he does a good job, but he tries too hard at times. He's older now, we know that, but for some reason he's still using the same slang from his fresh prince days. It doesn't even fit in the 1960's era. But still I have to admit that he's got that same charm that makes you laugh and just love him. Jemaine Clement plays a great Boris the Animal, very threatening and scary and his make up is excellent. Though it was weird, my fiancé and I really thought it was Tim Currey because of his voice, he could be the next Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

It's the performances that really make this movie because the rest of it needed some major work. The special effects are actually pretty lousy compared to the first film, like the green screen effects. You could totally tell when it was a green screen behind the actors and it's not hidden very well. Also there are a few plot holes with the whole time traveling issue as most movies that handle this subject have. It's a tricky subject of "if someone I know now bumps into me in the past, will it affect the future?". Also, how can you stop something from happening without getting the notice, etc. I did predict the ending with Will Smith's "first time meeting K" which my fiancé looked at me and asked if I wrote the script. It's just if you've seen these type of movies, you know where they're going with certain subjects. However, despite the problems with the film, I really did enjoy it. It's not the first Men in Black, but it was a better follow up than what we were left with in the second film. I would recommend it for a rental, at most a matinée just for fun. One more thing I would've changed was: can we stop using "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z for New York set movies? I mean, I love the song, but for this instead when Will Smith comes back to 2012, they should've cued the always catchy "Men in Black" song, I would've been more hyped for that ending, since it would be kind of weird for 44-year-old Smith to be rapping like Snoop.

6/10
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5/10
Mirror Mirror on the wall, who has the most under and over acted performances of all?
3 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This is Snow White's year, I'm not sure why, but we've had two theatrical movies released about the classic tale: Mirror Mirror(which was considered a bomb) and Snow White and the Huntsman. Snow White and the Huntsman obviously got the better advertisement, looking much darker and having a more popular cast. I didn't see Mirror Mirror, but I have to admit that when I saw the trailer for Snow White, I really did want to see it. Charlize Theron is a wonderful actress and pulled in one of cinema's best performances of all time playing serial killer Aileen Wuornos. When I saw her in this movie, I was taken back, she looks breath taking gorgeous still and who the heck would ever be considered "more fair" than Charlize Theron…Kristen Stewart? Now I think it's silly the way people are reacting to her staring role because of their hate for Twilight, I by no means hate Kristen, I'm not a fan of the Twilight series, but these people are still actors who have potential and are not given the best material to work with. I want to give Kristen a chance because she seems like she wants to spread her wings and really enjoys acting, but alas, the girl needs to find a different job or talent. Snow White wasn't exactly what it could've been, it could've been a great retelling of the classic fairy tale.

Snow White is the daughter of King Magnus. After his wife's death, King Magnus falls in love with beautiful Ravenna after rescuing her from the Dark Army. The two are married but Ravenna - who is in fact a powerful sorceress and the Dark Army's master - kills Magnus on their wedding night. As Ravenna seizes control of the kingdom, Magnus' most trusted knight attempts to help Snow White escape the Castle but fails when she is captured by Ravenna's brother. Snow White is then locked away in the dungeons while Ravenna uses her Magic Mirror, who promises to help her become "the fairest of them all". Fifteen years later, Ravenna learns from the Mirror that a now-grown up Snow White is destined to surpass her and that she must consume the young girl's heart in order to become immortal. She orders Finn to bring her Snow White but the princess escapes. Now with the help of a huntsman, Snow White meets some friends along the way to help restore the kingdom to what it once was and destroy the evil queen.

The thing about Snow White that I think a lot of people were thinking as well was that Charlize was going to be the one to steal the movie, but instead while she has a chilling presence about her, she must have taken an acting tip from John Travolta in Battlefield Earth on how to act because her performance was so over the top. When she gets crazy and starts screaming, most people in the audience were giggling and I found myself smiling too just because it was too over the top and if I were a character next to her, I would ask "umm, do you need some Midol and a nap?", her screaming just couldn't be taken seriously. Then we are given some attempt at a great back story for her as the evil queen, how she came across the spell because of her family…that's it, they leave the story at that. Well, how did she become evil? How did she take over other kingdoms? Was she stalking Snow White's family to take over their kingdom? Nothing is ever answered. Kristen Stewart's performance is very under acted and again, why can't this girl close her mouth?! Her expressions are the same in every scene and you can't take her seriously when she shouts her inspirational speech to her people and keeps stuttering.

Stories are presented and never explained or brought up again: the love story between Snow White and the Huntsman is brought up but never expanded to more than one kiss when Snow White dies. Prince William, why wasn't he the one Snow White was destined for? Then I feel awful for dwarf actors, we have average size actors shrunk down. Not to say I don't love Bob Hoskins or Nick Frost, but Warwick Davis owns an agency dedicated to short actors, why not just hire real dwarfs? The CGI and cinematography are very beautiful but the CGI is used way too much and seems like someone just wanted to be like "look what I can do with a computer!". The plot holes: why can't the queen shut up and kill Snow White when she has 15 opportunities instead of talking about it? If she's so powerful, why can't she make herself appear in front of Snow White and kill her? Why couldn't she go to Snow White's chamber herself and kill her? I guess we wouldn't have a movie then. I just would recommend this as a rental, it wasn't anything special and over all very disappointing because of our lead actresses. It could've been better, but I'll stick to my animated Disney version for now.

5/10
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Martyrs (2008)
10/10
One of the best horror movies a fan could ask for, Martyrs is a true masterpiece that I can't get out of my head
2 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I've seen a lot of horror movies, one's that are real, one's that are supernatural. Old, new, gory, intelligent, but usually you can't get that mix in a horror film and have it come out as a masterpiece. Martyrs broke the mold and took all my doubts away. No film since The Exorcist and Jaws has had such intelligence, style, great script, relatable characters and shock value that had all that and worked. We've had a few that come close but nothing as to what I just witnessed with Martyrs. I heard a little bit about this film in 2010 and read about it in an article. The plot seemed kind of confusing from the way the author wrote about it, so I decided to wait on seeing it. I have never been so disappointed with myself when it came to deciding to wait on a film. I saw this film 4 days ago and still, I'm shaking and can't get it out of my head. Not to say that everyone will have this experience, but Martyrs is a masterpiece of horror cinema that I've been waiting for.

A young girl, Lucie, escapes from a factory where she has been imprisoned and physically abused for a lengthy period of time. Lucie is placed in an orphanage, where she is befriended by a young girl named Anna. Anna soon discovers that Lucie believes that she is constantly being terrorized by a ghoulish creature; a horrible, disfigured, emaciated woman. Fifteen years later, Lucie bursts into a seemingly normal family's home and kills them all with a shotgun. Lucie calls Anna to tell her that she has finally found and killed the people responsible for her childhood abuse. Upon arriving, Anna is horrified at the carnage, and worries that Lucie may have murdered the wrong people. But after a vicious attack on Lucie from her "ghost", who turns out was a victim who she left before she escaped the factory when she was a child, Anna finds out that maybe Lucie wasn't wrong and things take a turn from worse to the ultimate Hell.

When the films Saw and Hostel were released, they were dubbed as "too hard to handle" and given the new genre of "torture porn", I hate that term by way. Those films are a walk in the park compared to a lot of movies that I've seen to be honest. A lot of people are categorizing Martyrs in the torture porn genre and it's ticking me off. Saw and Hostel use the gore and violence as the plot devices, Martyrs doesn't use the violence as a way to just make the audience squirm, but instead you're taken into this dark world that you don't want to ever be apart of. The performances are just magnificent, especially to Mylène Jampanoï who plays Lucie. Morjana Alaoui plays Anna and pulls in a heart wrenching performance. The direction, the lighting, the sets, the script, I couldn't find any flaws that are not nitpicking.

I literally feel like I've been strangled with this film, it actually made me cry. It was so much deeper than what I was expecting. I'm about to give away the ending, so please don't read on because no one should know what is going to happen if they haven't seen this film yet. First off when Anna is tortured, it's unbearable to watch her go through this for days, she's force fed some weird unknown food that looks like gruel. Then some giant man comes in and just beats her nearly to death. When she's "reached the final stage", which is surprising to the people who are doing this to her, they skin her alive. She "lets go" and comes back and you find out that the people who did this to her and the others do this because they want to know what happens after death. So Anna dies, but comes back and tells the leader, Mademoiselle what she saw, but in a whisper so the audience can't hear. The society comes to the house excited to hear what is beyond death and when asked by a member outside Mademoiselle's locked door she simply replies "keep doubting" and shoots herself. Couldn't have been a more perfect ending, because what happens after death should remain a mystery as everyone has their own interpretation. Martyrs is much deeper than I expected, I underestimated this film and now it's one of the best horror movies I have ever seen in my life. As to the remake that is now supposedly in the green light now, please see this movie first, because I give a lot of remakes a chance, but this one already is looking really bad since it was bought by the producers of Twilight. Martyrs should be respected and is a true masterpiece.

10/10
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Inside (2007)
9/10
Inside delivers!...No pun intended
2 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I give much credit to the French, I think they're taking over Japan when it comes to fishing out the horror films now. Inside kind of started this new trend of the "extreme" films that are a bit much to handle and test your endurance. I had heard a little bit about this film a couple years ago and always wanted to see it, but I'm so slow, I didn't buy it until this year and watched it a few nights ago and I love this movie! What is the horror genre when you really think about it? You have two different kind of horror: real and fantasy…honestly, both do scare me, but to each their own and this was the "real" horror. A couple of years ago, my fiancé and I were talking about having kids and I told him that it makes me kind of nervous. I'm one of the rare females that doesn't look at pregnancy as a beautiful thing, but as a scary movie. He then did this sick joke of showing me a birth on youtube and I'm not kidding, I ran to the bathroom and threw up and sobbed. He freaked out and said I can watch a ton of horror movies but that this got to me. Pregnancy is a very scary thing and Inside takes your worst fears of it and lifts it times a million.

Expectant mother Sarah has been in a car accident, and her husband has been killed. Months later on Christmas Eve, Sarah is making final preparations for her delivery the following day. Still reeling from her husband's death, Sarah is now moody and depressed. That evening, a mysterious woman arrives at Sarah's door asking to use the telephone to call for help. Sarah lies that her husband is sleeping and she does not want to be disturbed, but the woman tells her that she knows that he is dead. When the visitor persists on coming in, Sarah, calls the police. When they arrive, the woman has already vanished. As Sarah goes to bed, the woman arrives in the bedroom, awakening Sarah with scissors. Sarah fights the visitor off and locks herself in the bathroom, where the woman tries to gain entry. The woman makes clear that her intentions are to take Sarah's child.

This film is very rough, definitely not for everyone. When I get asked how I can watch an extreme film like this one, I tell people it's like a roller coaster, people are always looking for the tallest or scariest, you want to test yourself to see how much you can take. Is it that bad? You have to see for yourself. Now as for the film, the performances are really what make this film. What could've been a typical gore movie made just for the squirms, instead we have two powerful performances by our lead actresses. Pregnancy is in itself scary, even if you are excited to have children, there's always this deep dark thought that something will go wrong. Inside takes it much deeper, besides the fear of having to raise a child yourself, what if something goes wrong during the birth? Now let's add someone who wants your baby and has a grudge against you and you have no idea why. Then on top of it, this poor woman, Sarah, accidentally kills her mother thinking that she's that attacker and your heart just shatters for her. Everything is just not working for this girl and we always want the good guy to win. But like in real life, no matter how good a person you are, bad things do happen. There are three main colors in this film: red, black and white. I liked how the attacker was wearing black, like she's the grim reaper, as opposed to Sarah who's wearing a white nightgown like an angel. The downstairs is nothing but red like blood and Hell. This is an all out horror movie and you find yourself just hiding behind your blanket hoping that Sarah will get a break, but even then, after everything she's been through, is it worth it? Inside is a terrific horror movie with little to no flaws. The only thing I would say is that the gore is a bit much at times, but it doesn't bother me that much, but it could bother someone else. This movie isn't meant for anyone but adults who are looking for a good scare and Inside certainly gives you that.

9/10
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Tinker Bell (2008 Video)
5/10
Tinker Bell must have gone to a lot of anger management classes to get this tame
2 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
One of my favorite childhood films is Peter Pan, the Walt Disney version. Say what you want about it, it may be flawed, but I still love watching it today. It also introduced us to one of Disney's ultimate bad girls, Tinker Bell. She was sexy, she was bad and she didn't hide it whatsoever. Modeled after Marilyn Monroe, she's one of Disney's true little beauties who fought for her true love and despite everything that she did to hide it, she really does have a good heart. I think that's what makes her so appealing to a lot of girls, we could relate to her. How many of us are "friends" with a guy that we are in love with, but he doesn't notice back and falls for another girl? Same with guys, we've all been in that situation. So Tink really is really true to the song "Stand By Your Man". Well, Disney saw her popularity and naturally made a spin off making her the star. I wasn't sure how it would work but decided to give it a shot.

Tinker Bell is born from the first laugh of a baby, and is brought by the winds to Pixie Hollow. She learns that her talent is to be one of the tinkers, the fairies who make and fix things. Two other tinker fairies, Bobble and Clank, teach her their craft, and tell her about the fairies who visit the mainland to bring each season. Tinker Bell is thrilled and cannot wait to go to the mainland for spring. After meeting other nice fairies, she notices Vidia, a fast-flying fairy who immediately dislikes her because of her unusually strong talent. Vidia challenges her to prove she will be able to go to the mainland, and Tinker Bell creates several inventions, which she shows to the Minister of Spring. But Tinker Bell soon learns from Queen Clarion that only nature-talent fairies visit the mainland. Tinker Bell still wants to go to the mainland and asks Vidia for help in becoming a garden fairy. Vidia craftily tells her that capturing the sprinting thistles would prove her worth. However, once she sees Tinker Bell making progress, she lets the captured thistles loose, and in attempting to recapture them, Tinker Bell destroys all the preparations for spring. So can she get the land back to it's magical way and find her true talent? You'll have to see.

Honestly, I should've known what I was getting into because I really didn't like this film. It was directly made for little kids, girls to be more specific, which I'm a woman, but the dialog and animation is just for a certain age group. The story is very predictable and Tinker Bell is completely different than what I grew up with. She's so cute and kind and like America's Sweetheart in this one. There's nothing about her that is like her original story, so if that's what you're looking for, don't bother seeing this film. Not to completely demolish it, the animation isn't the best but is very pretty to look at. I'd also say this movie would entertain your kids very much, it's got the good morals going on and a nice story. What kid doesn't want to believe in fairies after all? As a child, magic is wonderful and mysterious and fairies just make you feel good inside. Tinker Bell is still a little beauty that could melt your heart. So I would just recommend this one for the kids, it's not much that the adults could get into.

5/10
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Near Dark (1987)
7/10
Finger licking good!
2 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
It's no secret, I love vampire movies, you can tell from my comments, I've seen a lot of them. From the 1920's to now, it doesn't matter, I love the myth, the horror and characters. In the 1980's, we had a few vampire movies, the most famous being The Lost Boys which is named as one of the all time favorites with fans when it comes to vampire movies. But it just so happened that the same year, another movie was made, a little independent film that kind of got the shaft in the advertising department compared to The Lost Boys and wasn't as much of a success, it's called Near Dark. I had always seen the cover whenever I went to the video store when I was a kid, but I have to admit that the VHS cover wasn't that appealing, so I feel bad that I gave the film a pass until now. I saw a lot of buzz on the internet when people talk about vampire films, this one came up quite a bit. I bought it on the spot and watched it a few weeks ago, I can see why this one made the top list a few times.

One night, Caleb, a young man, meets a young drifter named Mae. Just before sunrise, she bites him on the neck then runs off. The rising sun causes Caleb's flesh to begin to burn. Mae comes with a group of roaming vampires and takes him away. The most unsociable of all the vampires, wanting to kill Caleb, but Mae reveals she has turned him into a vampire. Their charismatic leader, Jesse, reluctantly agrees to allow Caleb to remain with them for a week to see if he can learn to hunt and become a trusted member of their group. Caleb is unwilling to kill to feed, which alienates him from the others. To protect him, Mae kills for him then has him drink from her wrist. They are running short on their tempers to keep him in the group. Meanwhile, his family is looking for him and the gang of vampires may have found a new way of initiation for Caleb.

So the good with this film: the vampires. One of the things I did like a lot that we don't get to see in some vampire films is that we get to know them not as monsters, but that they were once human. Also the frustration you feel for Homer, the little vampire, he's an old man trapped in a boy's body, something that was way before Interview with the Vampire with the character Claudia. Now it's not as detailed but it's still sad to see his struggles as he has a man's needs, but it looks wrong when you have a "young boy" hitting on an older woman. He's also smarter than the leader but can't do as much since it's an adult's world. Then we have Severon, played by Bill Paxton, and you can tell he had a lot of fun with this role. He looks and acts tough, he's the vampire you don't want to mess with, add in the dark humor and he's just vicious. Jesse, played Lance Henriksen, has charisma and you can tell off the bat, he's the "dad" of the family. Diamondback, played by Jenette Goldstein, is beautiful but deadly and like a mom to Homer. The love story between Caleb and Mae is sweet, but I don't think that was the true heart of the story as you find yourself more involved with the other vampires.

The costumes, make up and sets are very cool. You have a great set of a western with a mix of biker, which can be contradicting at times, it does over all work. But there are some flaws with the movie. The ending is a huge cop out, which a lot of people seem to be in agreement with. I like the whole myth that if you haven't fed, if there is a transfusion of human blood put back into your body after being bit, you can return to normal. But then they do this with Mae, who was a full vampire and it felt like a cop out with unanswered questions. Did she want to be human? She didn't complain that much about being a vampire. Also when she bit Caleb, she barely bites him and he's turning into a vampire 5 minutes after? That's like saying when I get bit by a mosquito, I'll turn into one. The ending wasn't very well thought out and this film had so much more potential than they give. Maybe with a better budget I think this could've beaten a lot of vampire movies out of the water. But it's still a good one that I would recommend and would gladly watch again.

7/10
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African Cats (2011)
9/10
The Real Lion King
20 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
It seems that Disney Nature has taken a break from the documentaries focusing on the whole world of animals and decided to take a closer more in depth look at more specific creatures. One of Disney's most popular films of all time is The Lion King, my personal favorite, and I'm sure that a lot of kids want to see what the real pride lands look like. Before The Lion King was re-released in the theaters in 3-D, Disney gave us a look at the real lions, cheetahs and hyenas and their home land. Of course lions may not sing about the excitement of being king and may not have a huge ceremony where a monkey raises a cub above all the other animals while crowning him as king, but it's still a wonderful animal to learn about and their family are a fascinating pack to look at as we see them survive in life.

Focusing on a young lion cub named Mara being raised by her mother, Layla, a mother cheetah named Sita who is raising five newborns, and Fang, the leader of Mara & her mother's pride defending his family from a banished lion. With so many species competing for space and food in the Savannah, the animals must figure out the best way to survive. Although cheetahs are solitary by nature, Sita now has her cubs to take care of, and teach before they each go their own way. Then we see Mara, a six month-old lion cub with her mother Layla, who both belong to the River pride. In the North of the Masai Mara, where Sita is caring for her cubs, another pride of lions is led by Kali, who wants to expand his pride by taking over Fang's southern pride. However, they cannot reach the southern pride as they are divided by a crocodile infested river, but are determined.

Taking place in Africa, the lands are bright with the sun almost always in view. To see the prides learning how to become independent adults and how to hunt and be safe was wonderful. We know that there are harsh realities when it comes to the Prides, how the parents sometimes eat their young or the cubs must be banished in order to gain their strength and then come back becoming a parent. It's a sad lesson, but I think this film is a fine way to show the kids how the circle of life works, no pun intended.

The movie also focuses on a family of cheetahs. To see the cheetahs running in slow motion is just amazing, they are the fastest animals on the planet and in slow motion you really see how this is possible. They are such amazing animals and so beautiful. This was a great way to get up close and personal with the beautiful cats. It's also wonderful to see how the parents protect their baby cubs and finding how they have tricks up their sleeves to make sure their families are protected. We also find out how a lion becomes king and what they go through to earn the crown. Though I'm curious how Fang is doing and if he was ever able to come back to the pride, though I doubt it. Sounds silly, but moments where you wish you could understand the animals because the hanging tooth on Fang, the stories he must have had if he could speak English. But African Cats is a wonderful documentary and a great way to see these terrific animals up close and to find out about their lives. Perfect for the family, African Cats is not to be missed.

9/10
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9/10
Very wonderful
20 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I'm one of the rare people in the world where as a child, I didn't really grow up with Winnie the Pooh. It seemed like when I was a kid every other kid in my school loved Winnie the Pooh or had him and his friends on their folders or back packs. As I got older, I started watching the cartoons having a better opportunity. It definitely was meant for kids, but I enjoyed the cartoons still because of the innocence they had and the light hearted humor. Winnie the Pooh's appeal is charming and his friends going through different adventures was always fun. So Disney made another Winnie the Pooh film last year, it was a nice break from the typical CGI fest that we get with all animated films today. Why it wasn't a smash hit at the box office, I'm not sure, but I watched it yesterday and was absolutely charmed by Winnie the Pooh.

Pooh wakes up one day to find that he is out of honey. While out searching for more, Pooh discovers that Eeyore has lost his tail. Pooh, Tigger, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga, and Roo come to the rescue, and Christopher Robin decides to hold a contest to see who can find a replacement for Eeyore's tail. The prize for the winner is a fresh pot of honey. The next day, Pooh goes to visit Christopher Robin and he finds a note that says "Gon Out Bizy Back Soon". Because Pooh is unable to read the note, he asks for Owl's help. Owl's poor reading skills lead Pooh and his friends to believe that Christopher Robin has been abducted by a ruthless and mischievous monster they call the "Backson". Pooh and his friends plan to trap the Backson in a pit and save Christopher Robin.

Yeah, I know that this was a kid's film, but I enjoyed it very much. I thought the humor was a nice blend of obvious and playful jokes. The characters are still as wonderful as ever, though I'm not sure why everyone seems to go out of their way trying to cheer up Eeyore. He's always so depressed and they try so hard to cheer him up, but the poor guy just needs a giant Prozac martini. My only nitpick of the film is that it is really short, it's under an hour. Not a bad thing when you're at home, but if you saw this in the theater, I would've been disappointed in spending that amount of money for a short film. But for home, I think this is a perfect kid's film. Even for the adults that like the light hearted stories will enjoy it. The animation is lovely, the story is charming and the characters are wonderful. Who wouldn't enjoy Winnie the Pooh? You can't go wrong with a majority of the kid population.

Now one thing I have to bring up for sure is that Winnie the Pooh is a crazed honey addict. My boyfriend and I were just laughing at how much he was like a crack addict with having the honey. He jumps in a giant pot of honey and just goes crazy, is this a good example for the kids? Yeah, I'm kidding, as long as they're jumping in a pot of honey.

9/10
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9/10
One of the best versions I've seen
20 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Who doesn't like Christmas? Or at least parts of it? One of my favorite things about Christmas are the movies and stories that come with it. One of the most classic stories is Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol, the ending always gets in me in tears and reminds me why Christmas can be so special. I love every rendition of the story: A Muppets Carol, Scrooged, the classic Christmas Carol from the 80's and so on, even the cheesy TV specials. Honestly, when I first heard about this movie, I had my doubts. The CGI fest really freaks me out, it's like we are being replaced with animation and like we won't need real actors in the future. But someone lent me the movie and I decided to give it a fair chance since I love this story and I'm glad I did because I was pleasantly surprised with A Christmas Carol.

Ebenezer Scrooge, a bitter old moneylender at a counting house hates everything that embodies the joys and spirit of Christmas. He refuses to visit his cheerful nephew Fred at his Christmas dinner party with his family, and forcing his underpaid employee Bob Cratchit to beg to take the day off for his own family. That night, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley who had died seven years prior on Christmas Eve and is now forced to spend his afterlife carrying heavy chains that were forged from his own greedy ways. Marley warns Scrooge that he will suffer an even worse fate if he does not repent and foretells that he will be haunted by three spirits that will help guide him: The Ghost of Christmas Past, The Ghost of Christmas Present and The Ghost of Christmas Future. They take him on a journey in what was, is and can be if he doesn't change soon.

Though the animation still bothers me as I don't think you can convey real human emotion through the CGI people, but I really did like this movie a lot. I thought the whole atmosphere was just gorgeous and really captured the colors of Christmas. All the voice actors did an incredible job, though one complaint is what the heck was with Jim Carrey's accent? He's trying to be British but sounds like Borat trying to do an English Accent. I loved the animation on the ghosts, they were just breath taking. I'm also relieved that they didn't water down the horror of the ghosts, they were genuinely frightening and a lot of the imagery was very haunting. A lot of people forget that the novel despite having a wonderful ending is very scary at the same time. It took being frightened out of his wits that Scrooge changes.

I really did like this version of A Christmas Carol and I think some people are being a bit too harsh. I'm not saying that it's not without flaws, but it tells the story beautifully and doesn't insult the children's intelligence. It's beautifully set and wonderfully acted, I think Charles Dickens would be proud of this presentation. It's a timeless story that can be told in many different ways, but sometimes you can't go wrong with the simple classic style. A Christmas Carol is sure to become a classic in years to come, it deserves another chance.

9/10
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