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Death Note (2017)
8/10
Don't expect it to be exactly the same!
25 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Too many reviewers on here are missing the point. If you want to watch the Death Note anime again, then go watch the Death Note anime again. This is an entire 40-something episode anime condensed into about an hour and a half live-action movie, so of course there are going to be a lot of changes. Light is not as smart as he was in the original, the setting is Seattle instead of Japan, and many other elements are changed or completely removed. There's no scenes where Light is held captive by the police to see if he's Kira. He never passes on the Death Note to lose his memory. L doesn't die, and neither does Light's father. L also seems much more energetic and emotional than in the anime. I could go on, there are many more changes that greatly affect the story.

Instead of watching this movie expecting it to be exactly the same in every way, try watching it on its own merit as a movie. Forget what you know about Death Note, since most things are changed.

This movie was well-made, and the acting is at least decent, even if it's not quite Hollywood blockbuster quality. Willem Defoe was fantastic as Ryuk, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who thought he would be great as Ryuk when watching the original anime before this casting was even announced. The actor who played L was very good as well. The score felt like a movie from the 1980's, full of synthesized beats that made the action scenes feel fast and frantic.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the live-action Death Note. I find it nearly impossible to compare it to the anime, since they're so completely different both in style and substance. But if you're a fan of the original and can watch it for its own merit rather than expecting more of the same, then you may be surprised.
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Deadpool (2016)
10/10
Brutal and hilarious... Or hilariously brutal?
30 April 2016
Let me start by saying that I've been a fan of Deadpool since I first picked up issue #1 of the newer series back in 2012, and I've been reading the comics ever since, including many of the older issues. I love Deadpool.

I went into this movie expecting it to be mediocre. After all, Deadpool is the kind of character that really needs to be done right, and I felt that if the movie changed anything about the story or the character, it would be awful. But at the same time, I had heard how passionate Ryan Reynolds is about Deadpool and that the writers really wanted to stick closely to the source material, so I was hopeful.

And then I saw it opening night, and I was absolutely blown away.

Deadpool as a movie is everything I ever hoped for and more. The visual effects are stunning, the acting is superb, and everything about it was absolutely, positively Deadpool. The movie is practically a comic book that came to life on the big screen, with everything perfectly tuned to feel just like a Deadpool comic.

Fortunately, the writers did a great job of making sure that this is not just for die-hard Deadpool fans. My wife went with me to see it opening night, and she liked it nearly as much as I did even though she's never read a single issue of the comics. This is a great entry point for anyone wanting a more brutal "superhero" (or "anti-hero," technically) but with a lot of humor that you won't find in other dark comic book movies, like Punisher or Blade for example.

This movie is rated R, and for good reason. This is definitely not the kind of movie you should show to your kids just because the main character wears spandex. There's nudity, gore and language that would make a sailor blush. You know in the comic books when the speech bubbles say "@$#^%!!!"? That doesn't translate to live action, so all those grawlixes (that's the comic book word for them) turn into real-life curse words, and all the comic book violence is exponentially stronger when brought to the big screen. So please, do not rent the DVD and put it on for your kids and leave the room just because "it's a superhero movie." This is an adult movie, based on an adult comic book.

Overall, I was blown away by how well Ryan Reynolds portrayed my favorite comic book character, and the entire movie was exactly as it should be. If you're a fan of Deadpool already and haven't seen the movie yet, do yourself a favor and grab it May 10 when it comes out on Blu-Ray. I've already reserved a copy. If you're not a Deadpool fan yet but you like comic books, superhero movies, and tons of immature humor, drop everything and go see Deadpool this instant. You won't regret it.
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5/10
Not the best, but worth a watch
29 January 2014
I watched this movie because I love Bo Burnham's comedy and this movie looked interesting. It started out strong, with a lot of witty banter and subtle humor. However, it really declined as the movie went on. After about an hour, I found myself asking "when will this movie be over?" It has a very "Napoleon Dynamite"-esque feel, with a lot of strange and random events involving the main character, his brother, a police officer, and some school chums. There isn't much comedy in the second half of the movie, and the plot was overly predictable. The actors themselves did well, and I especially liked Bo Burnham's performance as he stepped away from his normal irreverent comedy act into a more serious role. But the plot of the movie was convoluted. It's a decent movie that's worth watching once, but I definitely won't be buying it on DVD to watch over and over.
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10/10
Awesome show from an awesome artist
28 January 2014
Let me preface this review by saying that Bo Burnham is my favorite comedian. "Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous" is a hilarious show that makes me laugh every time I watch it. There is tons of humor, and a lot of heart as well. Every episode has a bit of drama as Zach Stone tries to find his place in the world. The humorous situations find meaning in Zach's quest to become famous, but it also has a great deal of depth in his interpersonal relations, especially with his family and his best friend/love interest Amy. Though Zach can be flippant and immature, he always comes to realize a greater message through his family's support, and his antics serve to show how his family and friends love him no matter what. It's a great show with a lot of heart, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a fun situational comedy, as well as fans of Bo Burnham such as myself. 10/10
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3/10
Disappointing
10 January 2014
The Mortal Instruments is a great book series about a seemingly ordinary girl named Clary who finds herself thrown into a world of demons and angels, warlocks and vampires.

The movie, however, was a mockery. I honestly can't believe I made myself sit through the entire thing, but I'm the sort of person that once I start a movie I have to finish it, no matter how bad it gets. And this one is bad.

Even if I hadn't read the books, the movie still would have been disappointing. Clary is portrayed as a weak helpless little girl who can't be left alone for five minutes without something terrible happening to her. There is no continuity to the plot, and very little explanation of the various supernatural things around her for those who have not read the books. Many important plot points were changed, all for the worse. Even the weapons used are drastically difference from the book. Alec is a tool, Jace is an emotionless robot, and Simon is much more good-looking than in the book, while Valentine looks like a hobo. The only thing similar between this movie and the books is the names of the characters. A large portion of the movie is so dark that you have to squint to even see a vague outline of what's going on, and the whole thing looks like someone's high school multimedia class project that would get a "C" grade.

As a movie, I'd give this 4 stars, since it has decent special effects and the actress who plays Clary is beautiful. As a book adaptation, I'd give this 1 star, simply because I can't give it zero. Save yourself the wasted time of watching this. If you want to know the story, read the books, as they are much better.
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3/10
Very disappointing, especially for fans of the original
10 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
For people who have not read the book: 6 stars (OK, not great) For those who have read the book: 1 star (awful)

This movie was, to put it bluntly, meh.

First of all, I'm a die-hard Tolkien fan. I've read the Lord of the Rings series several times, and the Hobbit several more. I've read the Silmarillion, and even some of Tolkien's non-canonical works that were published posthumously by his son. To me, the Lord of the Rings movie series were almost perfect. Although they deviated from the plot in (mostly) minor ways, they portrayed the spirit of the books exceedingly well, and had amazing special effects and great actors/actresses.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was very good as well. It annoyed me a bit that they added the white orc and some other (seemingly) minor details, but it's Hollywood and they have the right to take certain liberties.

However, the Desolation of Smaug was ridiculous. It's pretty good as a movie, and I'm sure people who haven't read the books will enjoy it. However, if you know anything at all about the original story, you'll know that this is not it. The vast majority of the movie had absolutely nothing to do with the book. At the very beginning, the company arrives at Beorn's house. Beorn was one of my favorite characters in the book, but I couldn't help hating him in the movie. Later, the company escapes from the elves in barrels. There was no fight in the book, but the movie takes a solid ten minutes or more as we watch Bombur bounce along the shore, killing orcs every time he lands, while Legolas, a female elf (I forget her name) and the rest of the dwarfs fight against orcs sent to kill the dwarfs. Arriving in Lake Town, the dwarfs are once again attacked by orcs who invade the city while Kili almost dies from a poisoned arrow wound. Eventually Thorin and company leave for the mountain, leaving four of the dwarfs behind in Lake Town. After Bilbo sneaks into the mountain, the dwarfs actually fight Smaug.

None of these things happened in the book, though they are a large majority of the movie. Many of the fights seem completely over the top and unrealistic, even for a fantasy movie. There is a strange romance going on with Kili and the elf lady, which seems to be just thrown in, in hopes of attracting more of the sentimental audience. The fight with Smaug never happened, and even the scene with the spiders was completely different from the book. They also left out several important parts from the book, and very little of the original plot remains.

All in all, it seemed like the movie was just haphazardly thrown together with no thought for the story or for any sort of continuity. It's as if the producers just thought "yes, we're making a movie about the Hobbit, but Tolkien didn't know what he was doing, we can write something SOOO much BETTER!!!" and then failed miserably. It would have been a ten-star movie if they had simply stuck to the plot of the book. It also appears as if they really just wanted to show off their fantastic special effects in whatever way possible, so they added a ton of random unnecessary fights, including a massive battle between Smaug and the dwarfs. Or rather, between Smaug and 9 of the dwarfs, since they left four behind. This is completely out of character, and it makes Thorin out to be a much more selfish and uncaring person than he is. The only redeeming factor in this movie is Bilbo. Martin Freeman does an excellent job portraying this little Hobbit who is slowly finding his courage.

The only explanation I can think of is that the directors and producers wanted to make this movie a prequel to The Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit is not a prequel, it is an almost completely unrelated story. But I'm sure they thought they could make more money from a prequel for fans who haven't read the books and wouldn't know any better.

Do yourself a favor: read the book. This movie is OK if you don't compare it to the book, but it's not great. And when compared to Tolkien's work, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug looks like a mockery. I hope they do better on the next one, but I am quickly losing my faith in this trilogy. As an avid Tolkien fan, I was severely disappointed.
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World War Z (2013)
7/10
Pretty Good
18 December 2013
Let me start off by saying I haven't read the book yet, so I have no idea how they compare. However, this was a pretty good movie overall. Many zombie movies are merely mindless gore and violence disguised within some fragile thing that doesn't even deserve to be called a plot. However, World War Z has a much better plot than most other zombie movies. One thing I noticed right away is that this movie actually made me jump in surprise several times. It's very suspenseful, and truly worthy of being called a "zombie horror movie," as opposed to the plethora of predictable, unsuspenseful zombie movies that have come out of Hollywood. Brad Pitt does a great job in his role, although I felt his character lacked definition in many ways. It would be nice if they had "fleshed out" the characters a bit more.

Overall, this movie is definitely worth the watch if you have a couple hours to spare. Not the best movie ever made, but a pretty good one.
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10/10
Lots of fun!
16 December 2013
"Dick Figures: The Movie" is a hilarious epic story about two friends named Red and Blue and their quest to recover the legendary Sword of Destiny.

If you're looking for a great comedy, this is it. This movie has action, drama, and of course a hefty dose of raunchy humor. This is definitely not a kids' movie, as you might infer from the title. There is a lot of profanity, sexual references, violence, and more. Think "South Park" without the annoying voices.

I recommend this for anyone who likes movies such as "Pineapple Express", "Ted", "Dumb and Dumber", "Shaun of the Dead", or others like that. It has some stoner humor like Pineapple Express, a cute talking animal like Ted, a hilarious epic road trip like Dumb and Dumber, and tons of action and one-liners like Shaun of the Dead. Some of the humor is related to the original web-series, so you'll get more out of it if you watch some Dick Figures episodes first. They are all free on YouTube.

Bottom line: if you haven't seen it, check it out!
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