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Get Out (I) (2017)
8/10
Peele's debut is a homerun.
22 March 2019
Jordan Peele's Oscar winning original screenplay along with Daniel Kaluuya's powerful performance makes Get Out a true masterpiece of film. It speaks out as one of the best films of 2017 while it flew under the radar.

I never saw the trailers for the film and so I never heard about the movie till 2019. I finally had the chance to catch the movie and the film is well-written but beyond that it's one of the best acted films I've seen in a long, long time. Daniel impresses most of all but it's also the supporting cast of Marcus Henderson, Betty Gabriel, LaKeith Stanfield and especially Allison Williams that bring the film to life.

Chris Washington (Kaluuya) is the first black boyfriend for Rose Armitage (Williams) and she's bringing home to her parents to have them meet over the weekend. Rose forgets about a party that is held that weekend in honour of her grandfather and Chris feels uneasy as the party goes on and all the guests act strange.

It doesn't take long for the film to delve into the horror aspect. When Chris goes to have a cigarette we are greeted to hypnotism from Missy (Catherine Keener, another great performance). Rose's mother makes you feel uncomfortable during the entire scene and you really feel Daniel's performance in the scene as well.

Without giving anything away here, I'll say that the film itself impressed me very much as it was Jordan's first feature-length film and he's not known for the horror genre. I'll give a lot of credit to the film's success on the actors' performances but Peele I think is set for a future of success.
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7/10
Somewhere Between Revenge of the Sith and Empire Strikes Back
25 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
It is unfortunate that The Last Jedi isn't quite up to par with Empire Strikes Back. However, it's just as good as Revenge of the Sith, which in my opinion is the best of the prequels.

The Last Jedi features a lot of prime acting from Mark Hamill. He's doing his best work here, and it should be considering he has had more than 30 years to prepare his reprisal. I can certainly understand his frustrations on Luke's progression and why he would question the director's choices. Luke is not the same character from Return of the Jedi. His feeling of the Jedi to end is an odd one and feels completely out of character. 30 years ago, he was stone in the manipulation that Palpatine attempted to turn him but now suddenly Luke doesn't believe in the Jedi anymore.

The subplots of Rey turning evil and Kylo turning good and the backstory of Snoke all fall to the way side and the supposed epic encounter of Snoke and Rey was actually mild and predictable. It's a disappointment to build up Snoke for one and a half movies and throw him away (so easily despite showing his immense power) without telling anything about him. Where did he come from? How did he seduce Kylo? It feels like he had no purpose other than bringing Rey and Kylo close together.

Rey's reveal of her parents being nobodies was not what any Star Wars fan wanted. I think I speak for many in saying that we expected some kind of link to the previous films in relation to her story. Instead her backstory is uninteresting.

The ending of the film is an underwhelming, predictable mess. Luke creates a force hologram of himself and confronts Kylo and asks him to kill him. After Kylo successfully does so, it is revealed that Luke is still on the island alive for the moment. So the encounter was fake. Luke passes on with the force from exhaustion but it leaves a burning question of why Luke only ever performed this feat. Yoda could have hologram fought the Emperor in Revenge of the Sith and then if he failed, he could have attempted to do it for real. I feel like the hologram is such a cheat for the writers and feels very lazy as well.

I can still look forward to the next (final?) episode of Star Wars (in the Skywalker story saga) with the knowledge that this film along with The Force Awakens were both letdowns. Especially considering we waited 10 years after the prequels and nearly 40 after the original trilogy, this is subpar, to say the least.
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Jigsaw (I) (2017)
6/10
An interesting addition to the series but falls flat.
8 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
After a long wait for the inevitable sequel, hardcore Saw fans will find themselves disappointed with this one.

Tobin Bell and his cast all do a great job in their respective roles. I was very excited for a new film in the series and was hoping to not only get answers to the questions raised in the final minutes of Saw 3D, but was hoping to see some familiar faces.

All hope was dashed. Jigsaw follows a linear plot of who-done-it? mixed with a trap that feels present day. However, in the final minutes of the film, all of what we've seen involving the farm test has taken place ten years previously and Logan has been on a mission to seek vengeance on Detective Hollaran.

Although at first glance this film seems to be connected to the previously iterations, it really isn't. Logan has a connection to John Kramer after ten years previously mis-naming Kramer on an x-ray causing his cancer to go undiagnosed. The so-called plot twist has a hint of reveal showing Logan's scarred back earlier in the film, and when Hollaran is near-death the twist is revealed completely along with Logan's mission.

It doesn't feel like a Saw film. It comes off as more of spin-off. I think I would've preferred Jigsaw faking his death and actually being alive in this film. I would've preferred if Dr. Gordon or Hoffman made an appearance. If Costas or Cary were unavailable, the writers should have waited and included their stories in this film. If this is the last Saw film (box office worldwide has already claimed five times the production budget, so maybe not) then fans can feel cheated.

Having to wait half-a-dozen years for a one-off story barely connected to the saga of Jigsaw doesn't really seem worth it. It was stated by the directors that this one isn't as vicious and it certainly does play to that. The trap(s) are more of what was seen in Saw V and the gore is toned down till the bitter end where the real Saw-esque stuff shows up briefly. One positive I can say about the film, it's immensely better than Saw V, and the structure is much more polished than previous iterations in the series. Taking the time to put crucial details into the script paid off in one sense, but all the other issues with the film completely overlook the great effort on the screenplay.

My hope is that if Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures bring a ninth film on, I hope it ties back to Saw 3D stories and bring back the characters that have been left unfinished (Hoffman, Gordon, etc.).
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13 Reasons Why (2017– )
10/10
A Masterpiece of Television
4 May 2017
I heard about the show through my fiancée as she heard about it through the powerful talk on social media. We binge-watched the entire first season and I loved every second it.

Before going any further, I want to say that this show does not glamorize suicide in any way and the show doesn't show anything disturbing to trigger anyone. It is not an easy show to watch. It's disturbing, and it is graphic, and it is intense. But, if you're a parent, there needs to be a discussion before it's watched and after each episode.

I do believe completely that the cast is excellent in every aspect. Dylan was perfect as Clay Jensen. Katherine was gold in her role as Hannah. All the acting is top-notch and the characters come to life.

The show in its first viewing (being that I never read the book first) is very mysterious and the twists and turns that come are very meticulously written. The show is written very well and it's unique in the way the show is done. There's no other show out there like 13 Reasons Why. Each episode builds on the previous and the flashbacks are greatly done as well.

Upon revisiting the show, the episodes are still great but the suspense is gone. But that doesn't negate the praise it should receive. It's still one of the best shows based on the level of acting, writing, and the strong message given.

This show is telling us that suicide is not the answer. There is always something more we can do for someone. This show states in a very critical sense that bullying is a serious problem and it needs to stop in order for adolescent people to have a wonderful, happy life. The show is special in every aspect and if it gets renewed for a second season for all the cliffhangers left open, I absolutely look forward to it.
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8/10
An all-time Christmas classic!
15 December 2016
For a majority of my childhood A Christmas Story was the pinnacle of my Christmas films to watch. Every Christmas morning we woke up to the film and when Ralphie and Randy opened gifts it was our turn. Such memories for over a decade.

Jean Sheperd penned a great script, and it's brilliantly executed by Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin. Narration done by Jean Sheperd is also top-notch.

This film is still incredible and nostalgic even at my age of 28 years old. Classic moments of Randy at the dinner table, the "fragile" lamp scene, the getting ready for school, Flick's tongue on a pole scene, and many more that make the film unforgettable.

As a kid, I always cherished watching the film because I idolized Ralphie, as well as wishing that my own father loved me like the Old Man loved Ralphie.

As a Christmas movie, the film feels so much like it's dead set in Christmas season. You just get wrapped up in the holiday feeling. I have nothing negative to say about the film itself. It's just one amazing Christmas movie.
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Shining Force II (1993 Video Game)
9/10
This was my Final Fantasy before I knew of it.
27 June 2016
I loved both the first game and the sequel. In the mid-90s, I was playing Sega Genesis and logging 60-80 hour playthroughs of Shining Force II.

The story follows Bowie, a youngling, who is charged with fighting the monster that is in the tower of the castle, and then when the King falls ill, it is Bowie who goes off on adventures as the savior of the town.

You gain characters to add to your team, and in the battles it's a turn- based strategy game. You move players like chess (depending on their movement attribute) and then attack or heal others. It's in-depth and immensely fun and submersive. It's great to experiment on several playthroughs to check out other characters since you're limited to a specific number of players on the battlefield.

It combines adventure, RPG and TB-Strategy elements into one game that makes for a story as long as Final Fantasy. To this day, I still play it and now for greater ease of access the game is available on Steam for $4 or less (which is wonderful since the game is $90 in cartridge form). In either case, the game is well worth the money since it's one of the best games ever created.
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Deadpool (2016)
7/10
Reynolds Plays It Well
26 June 2016
Ryan Reynolds finally plays a comic book character that we was meant for. After the disaster of Green Lantern, years ago, Ryan got his chance to play a role he was destined for.

As an R-rated film, and highly discussed by many about how "this is not a kid's movie" the film is kind of tame in its uses of adult subject matter.

It's a good story, about the vigilante / anti-hero Deadpool. It has strong comedy elements, it plays out realistically, and it really works well as a romance too. It hardly even feels like a comic book movie. I'm hoping the atmosphere of Deadpool 2 is similar.

Morena Baccarin was wonderful in the role and fits really well with Ryan. Supporting characters of Colossus and Negasonic seemed forced, however, due to limited budget of licensing for more X-Men characters.

Most of the action sequences are fun but some people may not be able to handle them very well due to the gore. Humor is very active in the action scenes and the film's R-rated content keeps light hearted. Aside from some of the kills in the film, the laidback feeling makes me feel that the film is suitable for some kids (depending on age).

This was definitely the first must-see of 2016. Deadpool is a great film all around and should be seen by everyone, even if you're not a comic book person.
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Trainwreck (2015)
5/10
Accurate Title
26 June 2016
Like many films, the preview is the best part. It was better as an idea spoken about in the trailers, rather than watching the actual film.

Amy is a "trainwreck" after told by her father at a young age that monogamy isn't realistic. So she becomes promiscuous, while her sister is a polar opposite. She is charged with writing a piece on a sports doctor, played by Bill Hader.

The film's couple seems like a strange combination, but they do have a few good moments in the film. Amy's reactions to most things in the film and sarcastic, dead-pan humor works pretty well. But most of the plot falls flat.

This is just a mess of a film overall and the purpose of the film seems lost. Bill Hader just doesn't have the ability to be a lead love interest. He doesn't seem like a highly successful sports doctor.

Best part of the movie comes from non-actor LeBron James and his scene- stealing time in the film. Beyond that, this film is definitely a wash. It has no replay value. It doesn't have enough class or intimacy to be a film that is watchable more than once. Even watching it once is kind of unnecessary.
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Tomorrowland (2015)
5/10
Time Travel Done Awkwardly
24 June 2016
I'd prefer to give this a 5 and 1/2 but can't give half points. This film is nothing more than a standard popcorn flick. But it doesn't achieve this very well.

Britt Robertson is becoming a household name, and plays well opposite of George Clooney. This film, though, never really gathers steam or gives purpose. It is strange that the film progresses along and hints that the Casey character has a pre-destiny, but really the film is just a basic puzzle plot and the future isn't anything spectacular.

Visually the film does nothing special with the use of effects. A large majority of the film feels like they were making it up as they went. It doesn't feel like a time travel movie such as Back to the Future. Instead it lazily uses "what ifs" through a pin, and then uses exposition through a character that explains the future.

Hugh Laurie's appearance in the film sticks out like a sore thumb, since he doesn't really add much to the film. He definitely seems like a miscast. Acting was average by everyone and honestly Clooney phoned in his performance.

This film is just a mediocre one that could be watched to pass the time if you have no other options on Saturday night. If you never watch it, you're not missing out.
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7/10
Rude Awakening
24 June 2016
I am not by any stretch trying to bash Star Wars, here, since it is a beloved franchise of mine. However, it falls very short of expectations and I'm not alone in that regard.

I'm not saying this was a terrible addition to the saga. But this feels very familiar. It seems like I'm watching A New Hope told in a different way and with new characters.

Finn, Rey and BB-8 are great new characters and the inclusion of Han Solo really helped the pacing of the film and pass the torch to the younger generation.

Plot-wise, this movie is nearly a carbon copy of A New Hope and The Phantom Menace. It feels as though Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt couldn't come up with an original idea. I'm hoping that the next film isn't a copy of Empire Strikes Back and/or Attack of the Clones.

Acting was average but because I felt like I already saw the movie, it doesn't really engage me in any character, to be honest.

Adam Driver was good as Kylo Ren, but the exposition of him was done much too quickly. Mystery behind a character, not seeing their face or not knowing their background makes the villain that much more intimidating. The writers exposed it all too soon in the film. It takes away from the development of the character during the film.

All in all, it was an alright film. It doesn't feel like it was a must-see after you see it. I didn't leave the theater immediately wanting to return. Most viewers won't want to go back and see it right after. It doesn't leave a lasting impact where you continue to discuss the film, unless it's ways they could have made it better.

I still look forward to episode VIII but I still dread that they will use plot elements from Empire or Attack.
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Argo (2012)
9/10
Another Affleck Masterpiece...
11 November 2012
It's not a surprise to once again see Ben shine through his directing, acting and in his producing give his audience such attention to detail. Ben gives a performance of a lifetime in Argo, and he definitely is the best actor to see in the film.

Ben's attention to detail and his casting director have made this film incredibly accurate. Despite the fact that portions of the film are dramatized for entertainment purposes, I find the film not only informative but brutally full of suspense. I say brutally because some points I was holding my girlfriend's hand very tight and I had white knuckles out of fear for what might happen to these characters.

The film plays out a story about six American diplomats trapped in Tehran, and in hiding for 444 days. The U.S. comes up with plans to get them out, but Tony (Ben Affleck) doesn't have good feelings about any of them. Finally, he's inspired to pretend to make a Canadian movie in Tehran to get them out under the guise of them being film crew.

I understand that there some inaccuracies and it's to be expected but I still stand by saying that it's a highly accurate film. Many films out there based on or inspired by true stories take liberty and dramatize things for entertainment purposes.

I enjoyed the acting from everyone in the movie, not just Ben. But all of the American diplomats had great development and some scenes with them seemed genuine and not even as if they were acting. I really enjoyed both Goodman and Arkin, and they give a lot of star power with their acting. I wasn't surprised that Bryan Cranston had involvement but I was wondering why he wasn't offered a bigger role since he can definitely handle himself.

Most of the time period stuff seems on par, and all the history seems to be top notch. I really enjoyed the flakes of comedy that showed here and there throughout the film such as the one-line catch phrase said by Ben, Alan and John.

Met with so much drama, inspiration to many, and topping it off with strong suspense, Argo is a film that is a memorable one to be viewed for a long time because it's an instant classic. Argo depicts many people of different nationalities as saviors, and heroic. That's something everyone can enjoy while watching this movie.

Argo is one of those films from 2012 that should be on everyone's "do not miss it in theaters" list. It's truly one of the top movies of the year and certainly one of the best in that last few years. I'd go as far to say that objectively, this is Ben's best work acting and directing wise.
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Super 8 (2011)
8/10
Super 8 is super!
17 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
It took me a year to see this and I'm glad that I waited till the hype died down and didn't have to listen to others' opinions of it and hear spoilers. But, when the train crash happens in the film, I already felt like I'd seen this before.

But, that's not written how I mean it to sound. This is a great film on multiple levels. J.J Abrams is becoming predictable, but unlike Michael Bay's level of absurdity, Abrams makes his films work with the ridiculousness.

Overall this is just another alien invasion film and has a similar feeling to it as Cloverfield. But, instead of an adult subplot that nearly dominated that film, this film has a surprising ensemble cast of kids. It has a feel of The Goonies mixed with Cloverfield.

Joel Courtney and Riley Griffiths proved that no experience doesn't mean that you can't be captivated by an unknown actor in this debut performance. My one gripe for them is Riley's overused "mint" line during the film.

However, perhaps the most amazing accomplishment is the acting performance of Elle Fanning. I'd seen her sister, Dakota, in many films before and thought she was decent, but I was blown away by Elle. Not just her acting, but her elegant beauty similar to Bonnie Wright and her innocence because of her age gives off this great next door girl vibe and makes the film much more spectacular.

Combined with the astonishing acting by everyone involved -- including Noah Emmerich -- the special effects and sound effects make this movie complete gold cinema in my eyes. It's just got the feel of a instant classic and due to the homages to '70s films, it feels like an old '70s Super 8 film.

I can't say anything bad about the film because quite honestly, I didn't see anything bad in the film. Steven Spielberg helped J.J Abrams craft a truly remarkable alien invasion movie that can't be forgotten in a couple years. Years -- perhaps decades -- to come, this movie will be a cult classic.
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Best Zombie Movie!
30 August 2011
Night of the Living Dead might be a remake, but this is the definitely the best and my all-time favourite zombie movie ever made. It ages so well and still in 2011 feels like it came out last year.

Zombie make-up effects are top-notch even for 2011. It doesn't feel like the zombie effects have lost their scare-tactic. In the beginning of the film it is plainly obvious that the large zombie is a doll/dummy. But even that doesn't take much away from the movie.

George's screenplay is the main reason of making this film so good. He's the zombie expert and the way he secludes the film to an unknown location makes the viewer feel just as claustrophobic, especially if you watch this at night in the dark.

Patricia's acting is decent and although she's the main character, I truly believe this film belongs to Tony Todd. He's great in all his scenes. He's truly the zombie killer to have on your team. He is able to be strategic and be physically useful by overpowering or out-maneuver the zombies in many instances.

Once the zombies get into the numbers of two dozen, the movie becomes very eerie. But, in the climax of the film is my favourite part, without giving anything away. I like the twists and turns the movie (George) throws at you.

It's untouched by any modern movie that has come out, even Resident Evil because this gives you the vibe that it's just Barbara, Ben and a couple others. It's not a SWAT team fighting hordes of zombies. It's a few people surviving like normal people. That's what makes it such a great film.
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Better Than the First!
29 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I hate the Twilight series. But, I'm not a hater simply because it's the cool thing to do. I don't hate the series because I'm outside of the demographic region being a 22-year old male. No, I hate it because the series is appalling. Yes, the premise of a female human and a male vampire (both adolescent) is a superb idea. But, the way that Meyer executed her idea was atrocious. Rosenberg stepped it up a notch for New Moon and it's probably a lot of credit to throw at the male director for making it better too.

New Moon doesn't quite fail as much as its predecessor. In fact, it's a major improvement. Now, I'm not saying the special effects are better, which is sad because the movie got an approximate 140% budget increase. But actually what is better is the acting! Thankfully, Stewart's portrayal went from blinky, unemotional, boring girl to a girl with emotion in her lines and she conveyed love in her eyes. She became a bit interesting. Unfortunately, Robert's acting was still stiff as a bone, though.

Jacob is probably my most hated character, however. I mean, yes Robert's acting is horrible and Taylor's is not bad...but Jacob is a usurper as Bella clearly belongs to Edward. In Edward's absence, Jacob takes to bonding with Bella and attempts too hard to hold her hand or kiss her. For some odd reason, Bella falls in love with him. I never saw anything between them emotional. I think Taylor's muscle has something to do with Bella's growing hormones and she just wants to jump his bones.

In the finale of the film, Edward has a pointless fight with Volturi which is where a bunch of special effects come into play. It was very irritating to watch because of how pointless the fight was. I would have much preferred the fight between Edward and Jacob to happen. But the 'perfect' Bella has to get in between and tell them that it will hurt her. I would say that the werewolf effects are cool, but it's just simply not as good as the potential that it had. Jacob turns to a werewolf a little to quickly and it should hurt, in my opinion, when he does transform. But it looks like there is no downside at all to him being a werewolf, so what's the reason for keeping it a secret? I'm not saying that New Moon is good. I'm not saying I like it. But I will say, I don't hate it. It's not the worst movie ever made, but it's not good either. It's down at the bottom of the barrel but I just can't decide where.
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Twilight (I) (2008)
I Don't Wanna Be Lumped As A General Hater...
26 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Sometimes you can't help but give a 1 rating because the movie is just simply that bad. I don't want to be lumped as a person who hates Twilight for simply being cool or as a general hater. I have reason for hating this thing...

First, let's start with the acting. How on Earth can anyone take this acting seriously? Stewart's constant blinking sets off an all-caps-rage with me and she's not even the worst part of this movie, which says a lot, folks. Robert plays the worst vampire ever created. He looks like a pedophile in a few scenes and consider he's probably over 80, he technically is a pedophile. He acts like he's afraid to speak, when it should be Bella who's afraid to speak. Near the end of the film, the 'bad' vampires crouch in front of the Cullens (who also crouch) showing that they are hungry for Bella's blood. It's so laughably ridiculous that it's shameful to think anyone would find this as the most dramatic moment in the movie or call it the climax of the film.

That being said, the plot never shows up. I never felt like there's a reason to watch this. I watched it so I could give a valid review having seen it, finally. But, I kept waiting for a reason for all this to be happening. It never came. It was just, "stay away, I'm dangerous" and then nothing even happens to Bella.

How about the 'visual effects'? For a movie with a substantial budget of nearly $40M, you'd expect better special and visual effects. Plus, I expected the vampire make-up effects to be better. I was very tamed and unimpressed about all three effects department. But, I guess it's not completely their fault since they had to build these concepts for the film off of poorly written material. Really...? A vampire sparkles in the daylight? That's their golden special effect? I feel sorry for

Melissa Rosenberg, because most of the time (I know her as a writer for The O.C.) she is talented. Maybe it was the fact that she was not doing a teleplay but an actual screenplay. Maybe it was the fact that she had to stay true to Meyer's horrible story in the books and couldn't change anything. Whatever the reason, the script is filled with cringe worthy dialogue that makes anyone with half a brain roll their eyes in utter bewilderment. "You're my own personal brand of heroine," is such a romantic pick-up line, isn't it? It worked on the slut Bella, since Edward is like, so, totally the dreamiest of men in the world. Ahem, erm, uh, vampire, I mean. Seriously the dialogue is so cheesy and stolen from other movies, it's super-difficult to resist mocking it.

In a 2-hour movie, (why??) the establishment to the audience that the Cullens are vampires takes too long (45 minutes invested movie time). For people who don't read the books, maybe it would have been better to come into the story later on or perhaps tone down the outside-of-school time. Maybe tone down the entire thing... oh wait...there's 4 more films of this trash.

After years of refusing to watch this because of all the people I know who have intelligence and taste, I can safely say this is the worst movie ever made and I'd watch any other terrible movie (ie. Meet the Spartans, Blair Witch, Date Movie, Butterfly Effect 2, etc.) again and again before I ever gave this a second viewing.

Stephanie Meyer's finger should have never clicked a mouse to view wikipedia nor touched a computer keyboard to type her ridiculous story. You want a real vampire movie? Check out Interview with a Vampire, or Blade, or even 30 Days of Night was better than this.
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One of the best of 2011
23 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Well, I finally saw The Adjustment Bureau and I'm very happy to say it went above and beyond my high expectations. I was hoping it'd be really good, and it was better than great! Matt Damon stars as David Norris and is immediately a likable character simply because he has faults and flaws that he doesn't let ruin him. He picks himself back up and is honest and open to everyone. This is easily my favorite character and role of his.

Emily Blunt is the love interest, and she makes for a very quirky, fun character that has great chemistry with Damon. I know the movie is written that way, but it's still great chemistry between Damon and Blunt that you almost forget that they're acting.

Terence Stamp plays Thompson, a brief character, but is easily almost the star of the movie. Stamp is known to me for his Jor-El portrayal on Smallville. He is so good in his scenes with Damon, that you can dismiss his dialogue as being villainous and just being truthful.

This film isn't great because of the acting, although it helps. However, the real golden piece of this film comes from the opening slingshot that is pulled back so hard the viewer is forced to leap into the story and not even care to understand everything going on. Instead, you just follow along and just wait for the next unexpected thing to happen.

It has simply stunning visual and special effects that I was in utter awe. When the Bureau open doors to baseball stadiums, museums, downtown New York and more but when normal people do it, it's nothing extraordinary. It's quite a spectacle to see.

Tack on some witty humor that hits your face so quickly with a splash, this movie has a profound lasting appeal. It will be with me for a long time and I can tell you that the wait was well-worth it. This movie rocks! It is one of the best of 2011.
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Dogma (1999)
7/10
Regret missing this 12 years ago...
22 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
You know back in 1999, I had seen a lot of movies. I was barely 11 years old, but I'd seen The Matrix, Big Daddy, The Green Mile, American Pie, The Phantom Menace, The Sixth Sense, Cruel Intentions, Toy Story 2, The Mummy, Sleepy Hallow and Austin Powers II, to name a few. But, I unfortunately didn't see Dogma. Maybe it was because I was so young and I didn't get to pick movies to buy or rent. Maybe it was because my parents didn't want to have me watch a controversial religion movie that pokes fun at Catholics and Christians and such. Whatever the reason, I regret not seeing it 12 years ago...

Dogma follows the story of Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartelby (Ben Affleck), two angels cast down from Heaven and trying to find a loophole in order to get back in. Chris Rock, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith and Linda Fiorentino are charged with the mission of stopping them, while Jason Lee plays the angel who wants to help them get back to Heaven.

I never expected to laugh as much as I did. But a majority of the jokes aimed at religion are quite an interesting take as well as a hilarious one. Kevin Smith is a brilliant writer and one of my all-time favourites. It's simply to understand this because well he knows how to make you laugh. He actually gives some sense of perspective even though he's making fun of some of these religious claims. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I understood that it's a work of fiction...but clearly Kevin did a lot of research beforehand.

It doesn't have any miraculous special effects, although the horns on Jason Lee are wicked along with the awesome wings on Ben Affleck. It's great to see Ben be such a bad-ass. I mean, he really hones his acting in this one, and I know there are a lot of Ben haters out there, but he's actually a talented fellow, I think. I especially love the scene where Damon and Affleck are spouting out all the nasty deeds the people in the office of Mooby's have done in their lives. It was such great memorization on their parts and even better delivery and timing. It's wonderful to see them be hilarious, nefarious and downright brilliant all the same time.

All that being said, people will never agree on this movie being great or awful for the simple fact of it's subject matter being too controversial and too personal. It hits home with too many people and thus it makes it beyond difficult to judge the movie with an objective view because it's so... sensitive. Perhaps, my bias of liking Smith's films (especially the View Askew universe) I am being generous in my rating. But, so be it, I will be on the minority, I guess, for liking this film. It's not supposed to be a work of insults. It's just a funny fantasy movie and it's just a good film to entertain you for two hours.
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Despicable Me (2010)
9/10
Misleading Title...
22 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
It has a slow start to get to the premise of why you're watching this. But after awhile, the cuteness kicks in along with the hilarity.

I cannot understand the title for the life of me. I mean, really Gru reminds me of an Addams Family (Fester, anyone?) character but he's got such a warm heart and sweet wit about him that makes me question the writers for the odd title.

So, basically Gru is a villain and he is outdone by another villain when the Egyptian pyramid is stolen and replaced with a balloon look-a-like. It brings Gru (Steve Carell) to the conclusion of him needing to steal the moon to give him back is nefarious reputation.

Jason Segel (from How I Met Your Mother fame) co-stars as the true villain of the movie Vector. He assumes control of the shrink-ray that Gru needs early on to shrink the moon in order to steal it. Gru gets the clever idea to use the girls Edith, Margo and Agnes to sell Vector robotic-cookies in order to steal the shrink-ray back.

This movie is full of touching moments as Gru grows as an adoptive father of the girls who eventually grow attached to him. This causes not only the adorable moments, but the laugh-out-loud moments that had my gut turning. I was incapable of suppressing my laughter for a majority of the movie.

It's not just a kids movie, but a movie for adults too. I'm twenty-two years of age and living proof that I can still have a chuckle at some kid-targeted jokes, some flat-out slapstick humour, and great one-liners.

Despicable Me has a misleading title, but that shouldn't stop you from watching this delightful little comedy that has its moments of adoration. It's a fun movie for all ages, and I definitely think anyone can laugh their butt off at this movie. It's a win-win.
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Scream 4 (2011)
7/10
What we've been missing...
15 April 2011
This is the first time I've seen the Scream franchise on the big screen. I'm happy to say that this is the second best of the entire franchise.

You know that movie everyone talks about when you go to a party? This is it. You and your friends can be happy talking about 'who killed who' in Scream 4. It can be your own theory. It can be plausible and it can be fun to discuss the possibilities of how and when.

Scream 4 follows the plot of Sidney returning home to Woodsboro just when the ghostface killer comes back to the surface again. Neve Campbell and company return with a bunch of new faces to add to the table. Along with some funny puns, good old insults at the current remakes and reboots happening and the long-over-the-top Saw sequels, Scream is a horror delight. It follows suit with the original trilogy by being suspenseful, and full of memorable quotes. It doesn't do the horror clichés of needing to show nudity/sex to get the audience's attention or give a reason for a character to die.

It does give a few annoyances, but I won't give away any of the details, to keep this spoiler-free. It does a good job of keeping in theme of Scream franchise, and I have a feeling we'll be seeing Scream 5 and 6 coming along soon enough. This is the thing we horror fans have been missing. Scream returns to form with this new addition and gives a little more hope to us movie-goers telling us that Hollywood has something else in their arsenal besides a remake, a reboot, or a sequel that is just made for money. They can punch out a quality movie and give the hardcore fans just as much entertainment as the newcomers. Don't miss Scream 4.
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Insidious (I) (2010)
9/10
One of the scariest movies of all time!
12 April 2011
Insidious comes from two of my all-time favourite filmmakers: James Wan and Leigh Whannell. Nevermind the fact that this film is on a $1 million budget and the cast is filled with no big names. This movie will blow your mind.

Keep this all in mind as you watch this horror masterpiece. It takes you on an intense ride that will have you squirming in your seat. It is probably going to be the best horror film of 2011, and one of the top ten of the year, as well. It's just so damn good.

It starts off showing a family unpacking boxes in their new home, when strange things start happening making me think of The Haunting in the Connecticut. It quickly dives into depression as the son Dalton falls into what the doctors deem as a coma...but not really. But the strange things don't stop but instead grow more intense. Even when the family changes environments by moving to another house, the family is plagued with the spirits in the house.

It doesn't follow the same set-up-pay-off format as Paranormal Activity, and nor does it follow the disturbing nature of Dead Silence. Instead, it combines these two elements to give us the psychological aspect, but while also giving us jump scenes.

I lept from my seat at one point because this movie is scary. It doesn't have any bloody scenes but it is not necessary here. It doesn't have any of those scenes like Paranormal Activity, but instead makes it's own scare scenes using lighting and effects. It is truly a freaky film by most of what happens in the the second half of the movie.

Perhaps the creepiest thing in the movie is the song that is sung by Tiny Tim. It occurs briefly twice in the movie, but both times send some serious shivers down your spine. It chills me and although this movie freaked me out more than any movie has, I would love to see it again. Seriously, folks, if you haven't yet seen Insidious and want a good scare and want a good film to see for the early 2011, go see it.
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Home Alone (1990)
8/10
Better than Ebert thinks...
7 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Home Alone is a nostalgic film for me, having watched it religiously when I was a young kid growing up. Roger Ebert gave this film a 2.5 out of 4. He calls the film unrealistic and says that it goes in another direction from the original premise.

Home Alone plays on the scary scenario every kid fears at some point in their life. Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is forgotten at home in Chicago when his family rushes off to the airport for their trip to Paris. Soon after, Kevin is visited by home invaders Marv (Daniel Stern) and Harry (Joe Pesci) and it's up to him to stop them.

Ebert complains that this film deviates from the main premise and simply brings in stunt doubles and fills the film with wacky traps that would otherwise cost the McCallister's tens of thousands of dollars to accomplish what Kevin does. While this is not far from the true, you're supposed to suspend some disbelief when watching this.

I enjoy Home Alone because an 8-year old handles two grown up burglars. I don't enjoy watching people getting hurt, but I think in this case, there is an exception. The moral of the story is that even when you're young, you can still be responsible and handle your home from being invaded. It shows that it's wrong to rob people and that even children can be heroes.

However, I find that the sequel is much better than this and it's due to the far superior story setup. Kevin being left home alone was a great initial start and opening up to the opportunity of a follow up story.

To review this film without the mention of Macaulay's acting is a crime. Macaulay portrays Kevin with amazing talent and it's great for the simple fact that the 90s weren't really big for their child actors as far as I can remember. Macaulay is able to hit all ends of the acting spectrum showing being scared, showing emotion, and showing confidence and hilarious comedic relief, too. He was a great actor and I was sad to only see a few of his films before he retired.

Another great point about Home Alone being a cult classic is the musical score provided by legendary John Williams. He gives the film the final emotional touch that allows us to forever remember Home Alone as being a classic film and never forget Macaulay's performance. Somewhere in My Memory has always been a favourite track of mine by Williams and it's just a great piece of music on top of a great film.

This film is a classic for me, and I would never say that this isn't a wonderful film, despite being a tad bit unrealistic. But, the fact is, most films exaggerate and force you to suspend disbelief. Don't allow for this film not to be a favourite because you don't think this sort of thing could happen.
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Source Code (2011)
8/10
Not the best of the year...so far...
6 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
As my first film of 2011, Source Code ended up being as good as expected. It is not supposed to be a time-travel film. But, it plays like it at first. However, the difference between this movie and Back to the Future is that this movie has rules to explain whereas Back to the Future doesn't really.

It opens already into the story which seems placed in present time, where Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) is on a train to Chicago as passenger Sean Fentress. He soon after dies after a bomb on the train kills everyone on board, and wakes up in a capsule looking at a screen of Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga). She tells him what is supposed to do during his time using the program Source Code which is to find the bomber before the next destructive plan goes through.

I liked the film's somewhat repetitive style that reminds me of Vantage Point, and although I've never seen Quantum Leap, I have a feeling this film was using a similar storyline from another film. It's a fresh thriller and I liked the way the story gradually plays out. It's not very hard to guess the predictable culprit in the small cast.

My one problem with the film is how they establish rules and tell the audience (and Colter Stevens) that it's a program that uses memory and doesn't have the ability to alter reality nor time-travel, but then Colter Stevens figures out how to do exactly that in the end. It annoys me to know end if you establish rules for your movie, and then break them. It doesn't necessarily ruin the movie, but it makes it lose credibility.

It won't be the best film of the year, but it might be one of the top ten for me when the year is over.
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Fair Game (I) (2010)
7/10
Not bad...
3 April 2011
Naomi Watts and Sean Penn star in this drama thriller about a CIA agent's cover being blown when her husband's New York Times article accuses President's intelligence about weapons of mass destruction.

It seems like a highly dramatized and exaggerated film, but it's thrilling and entertaining, regardless. However, I have a feeling some of this movie is truthful or based on some truth at least.

It's acted very well. Sean Penn, specifically, immensely shows off his talent once again. He just seems to embody some of the characters he plays instead of acting. In comparison to his best role to date, I Am Sam, he is just as golden playing a U.S. Ambassador. I believe this might be his second best performance of his career, thus far.

Naomi Watts does a good job as the good-doing wife of Sean Penn in the film. However, I kept seeing Nicole Kidman's face, and no surprise Kidman was considered for the part.

The film itself drags on a couple times throughout, and I felt some scenes were irrelevant. I felt the bickering between Watts and Penn was overdone after about 40 seconds. But it elapsed to an accumulative of three minutes.

Aside from that, the cast is less than exciting or interesting and the movie plays out like a regular political movie. I am unsure if most people have seen politic movies, but they aren't all together exciting or thrilling. This one is no exception. It's labeled as a thriller, but it's really just a bunch of dialogue and people yelling insults at each other. It's really just a movie about who has the best comeback insult.

I wouldn't recommend it to many people to be honest, unless you're a big fan of politics. I figured this would be a film like Mr. & Mrs. Smith with a CIA agent on the run. It's not. It's a stationary film and it's only interesting to see Sean Penn really. It's not one of the best on the year of 2010.
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8/10
Russel Crowe's best?
3 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Elizabeth Banks and Russel Crowe lead the cast in this film where a man will stop at nothing to get his wife back. It's an inspirational film, even with the obvious tragedies that occur in it.

Russel Crowe plays John Brennan, whose wife is accused of murdering her boss. After three years spent in prison, John devises a plan with the help of Damon Pennington (Liam Neeson) to break her out and have his son's mother back.

It's not an incredibly action packed movie, but it's does do its fair share of thrilling with just cleverness, edged drama and psychological aspects. In the final thirty minutes, it's where all the action hides. It doesn't have beautiful cinematography, but it's decent enough. The characters are realistic and the story is believable enough to allow for the audience to remain on their heels throughout the ordeal.

It's a drama, most of all, to me. I felt that a majority of the film relies on Russel's dialogue or thoughts which are obvious to the viewer. He plans and plans for half the movie on how to break her out and we see a couple failed attempts and close calls along the way.

Overall, this is a good movie and I really thought it was a good remake (even though I've not seen the original) and I hope more people give it a chance. I think the only thing that I didn't like very much was the fact that the previews allow you to assume that Elizabeth Banks' character is at risk of being hit by a truck by hanging out of the passenger side of the car. Well, it's a but of misdirection because she is never actually at risk. It's a good way to get the audience to watch the movie with that kind of extreme shot. I'd recommend this film to anyone who likes chase movies.
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Megamind (2010)
9/10
'You're fun.' - Hilarious movie!
3 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Megamind is probably the best animated movie of 2010.

Will Farrell plays the villain, Megamind and tells the story from near the ending and flashes back to how the story begins. I was surprised at this movie because of the amount of comedy that genuinely made me laugh out loud a lot. This movie went beyond my expectations, which was also surprising since I had a feeling it would be like Due Date and be a letdown.

I won't say it's predictable, because for the most part it's not. Jonah Hill is basically the opposite of Farrell for the most of the movie. Tina Fey does a great job allowing for romance and comedy to be put on the screen while Farrell brings out a lot of comedy. Minion (played by David Cross) is quite a funny character too. I immediately realized it was David Cross after a couple lines.

It's a cute movie for all the romance and it's great for kids too. It's great for adults as well. I like the reference of Superman and Batman and I liked the premise of Megamind being Lex Luthor.

It's got a lot of great animation and comedic timing. I really liked the way they animated Jonah Hill to look dangerous and scary at certain points of the film. I liked the movie a lot and I would rate it as being one of the best of the year.
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