Tuesday, November 30, 2010

John Adams

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

John Adams - 5 out of 5

Okay, seriously...How does HBO keep churning out great programming? Everything they pump out is always the best and this mini-series about one of our country's founding fathers is no exception.

Everything in this series is done to perfection. From the cast to the actual execution of every episode, each part of this series is delivered in ways you don't usually see on television. The attention to detail in the technical aspects like the costumes is second to none and even the fact that John Adams' teeth start to get bad as he ages is just great as minor things like that are often overlooked in period pieces. Think about it, how many times have you seen bleached white teeth in a movie that takes place in a time where there were no bleaching services?

Paul Giamatti knocks it out of the park as John Adams and to make this pot even sweeter, he is surrounded by some great talent. Laura Linney as Abagail Adams, Danny Huston as Samuel Adams, Tom Wilkinson as Benjamin Franklin and, one of the best casting decisions next to having Paul Giamatti play the title role, David Morse as George Washington. And to make the pot even SWEETER, one of my favorite character actors graces us on two episodes, the amazingly talented and versatile Zeljiko Ivanek. Seriously, there isn't a single actor in this series who can't deliver their part and watching them all in action is a thing of beauty.

History has always been a subject I've enjoyed and the building of a nation--any nation--with all the work, treachery (it's something that seems to be a necessary evil when it comes to building a nation and the U.S.A. is not free of this sin) and dedication it takes to do so has ALWAYS been fascinating to me and getting to see it committed to film and done in a way that it feels like you are watching it happen is nearly magical. If you haven't seen this mini-series, I highly recommend it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Sorcerer's Apprentice - 4 out of 5

I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie. The trailer sold me and I expected a fun popcorn movie but when I sat down to watch it, I was very surprised at how much I was digging the film. This movie is just pure fun!

Loosely based on the Fantasia short featuring Mickey Mouse, one of Merlin's apprentices; Balthazar, recruits a nerdy young man to help him stop his arch-nemesis; Maxim Horvath, who is trying to resurrect the evil and powerful Morgana. What follows is, and I shall apologize for the pun now, MAGIC! Great sorcerer battles ensue and fantastic humor is what follows thanks to director Jon Turteltaub (director of the National Treasure movies--another Nicolas Cage/Disney property I am a fan of).

Nicolas Cage plays Balthazar and does so very well. Cage gets a bad rap from a lot of people because he does some bad movies (Bangkok Dangerous) and does some TERRIBLE movies (Wicker Man). But he's done A LOT of movies I really enjoy him in. For example, I already said I was a fan of the National Treasure movies but Cage has also been in Adaptation, Kick-Ass and Lord of War--just to name a few. He does great movies and, I don't care what the haters say, I am a fan of Nicolas Cage. And to those who say he's a bad actor, let me ask you this...Do you think Sam Worthington is a good actor? At least Cage doesn't try to growl his lines or poorly cover up an Australian accent when acting. Plus, Cage has been in good movies--Worthington has yet to obtain that achievement.

Jay Baruchel plays the young nerd Balthazar recruits and, like Cage's performance, does so very well. If only he played the lead in She's Out of My League the way he plays the character of Dave in this movie, that lame romantic comedy could have deserved a score in my book higher than 2. Occasionally, he does get annoying as he is constantly yelling "NO" and the such during action scenes and the really great car chase but his character is charming enough that it's not enough to take me out of the movie. In fact, Baruchel plays the role so well that when the big reveal occurs that he is "the one" (something you know from the get go but it really wasn't suppose to be a surprise), I actually got goosebumps--silly, I know.

Playing the role of the evil sorcerer out to resurrect the terrible Morgana is Alfred Molina and, let's face it, the man is great in every role he plays and it was no surprise that he delivered quite well as the elegantly arrogant summoner, Maxim Horvath.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice is a summer popcorn movie. It delivers well on the fun and entertainment scales. It's a great movie to just sit back and have a good time with. The action is great, the humor isn't dumb and the story is terrific. And how can you not love the mop scene from the original Fantasia short being incorporated?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Modern Family Season 1

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Modern Family Season 1 - 5 out of 5

This show, is quite possibly, one of the funniest shows I have ever seen. Every episode is FILLED with sidesplitting laughter delivered by great characters. Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd (Great Scott, not THAT Christopher Lloyd) should be knighted for creating this show because it is one of those rare gems that isn't often seen on television. With the boob tube being filled with sitcom after sitcom filled with laugh tracks that are trying to make the viewer believe that the inane dialogue they just heard was actually a joke (CBS, I'm looking at you and all your sitcom comedies), it's refreshing to see a show that is genuinely funny and actually makes you laugh out loud...and laugh REALLY HARD.

Honestly, there is NOTHING that doesn't work on this show. It is, for the lack of a better word, perfect. The cast is filled with nothing but talented actors who all play well off each other. Combine that with all around great writing and great stories and you have a highly addicting show that made me burn through disc after disc on this first season and, like some kind of drug, nearly put me through withdraw when the season ended--I was craving more. In fact, I was digging the show so much, I watched all the extra features on the DVDs (a rare thing for me because most special features on TV show DVDs aren't that good but I can highly recommend watching the gag reel. Unlike most gag reels which feature actors having giggle fits and laughing at inside jokes, these outtakes will REALLY make you laugh). Even the child actors are incredibly talented and more than pull their own weight against the adults. And that is amazing when you see the quality of humor and timing coming from the likes of Ed O'Neill and Ty Burrell. Honestly, Ty's character of Phil has become my new hero. That man is comedy GOLD!

There is no end to the good things I can say about this show because it is just that damn good. I can't wait for Season 2 to finish up and come out on DVD.

Nosferatu the Vampyre

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Nosferatu the Vampyre - 4 out of 5

Remaking Bram Stoker's Dracula, Werner Herzog shows this classic story in a whole new light and refused to showcase the horror and fear that Dracula delivers but rather shows the despair and sadness a creature like the Count suffers from.

Everything you expect from the unique filmmaker (and one of my personal favorites) is here. Dreary landscapes and deep shadows inhabit this film as he takes you on a journey in the depression that culminates in being a servant of the undead. This isn't your old vampire story with a heavy emphasis on romance or horror and this was made LONG before vampires became creepy stalking and staring high school kids who sparkle in the sun. Even watching this movie during a time when the vampire genre has become an "eternal romance" cliche, this film is refreshing take on the Dracula story--and this movie was made in 1979. That fact alone is a testament to the one-of-a-kind filmmaking that Herzog made his career on.

Playing the role of infamous Count was the equally infamous Herzog go-to guy, Klaus Kinski. This amazing actor really shows his range as he takes this role to a whole other level that was made famous by Max Shreck nearly 60 years earlier in Nosferatu. Klaus' performance and Herzog's amazing work as a director and writer really made this a great movie to watch. This is, in my humble opinion, one of Herzog's best works.

The Game

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Game - 4 out of 5

It's been awhile since I've seen The Game. In fact, I thought about the film when I first saw the trailer to the sequel to another Michael Douglas movie, Wall Street. In the trailer, Douglas tells the stuttering buffoon named Shia Labeouf about how money is the name of the game and I commented, in my best Michael Douglas impression as I riffed the trailer, that The Game was a far superior movie than what this would turn out. It was at that point I realized I hadn't seen The Game in some time. So I took a trip to my local library and picked it up.

It's just as good as the first time I saw it.

A griping thriller from one of Hollywood's greatest directors; David Fincher, that showcases Michael Douglas in one of his best roles. On the surface, Douglas looks to be playing the same character he portrays in many of his movies: a successful businessman. However, as the story and terror of what the game is, Douglas really lets his acting flag fly as you are sucked into the movie as you watch his paranoia grows and you, the viewer, begin to question whether what is happening to him is real or not.

While the story has an ending that wasn't very surprising, the film is entertaining enough that the ending doesn't ruin the entire experience. The only real down point was a pointless romantic subplot that is tagged on at the very end. This is just awkward but doesn't hurt the film as it is tagged on in the last 2 minutes. Granted there is some build up between Douglas and Deborah Kara Unger (the love interest and a key character who is involved in the game) but with all the suspense the film builds up, this feels like a complete waste and is nearly pointless in the film.

This one complaint isn't enough to hurt the entertainment the film delivers nor is the few moments where the story drags slightly. The Game is just an all around great thriller that, despite a predictable ending, really keeps the viewer on edge as they watch the madness unfold before them.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World - 5 out of 5

When I saw this movie in the theater, my experience wasn't the best. I took a seat in the theater thinking I was going to be surrounded by my fellow geeks--the target audience for the film. Instead, my eyes were assaulted by a mass group of hipsters all wearing the stupid vintage fedoras. Sitting in a crowd of cultural vampires like hipsters kept me from fully enjoying the epicness that was Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Sitting back and popping this baby into my PS3 (that's right, watched it on Blu-Ray, baby!) and I was able to fully enjoy this movie...plus, the theater I saw it in sucked noodles and had terrible sound and picture, so watching it on Blu-Ray was preferable on all levels.

Based on the fantastic graphic novel series and following pretty close to the story, Scott Pilgrim is just two hours of pure fun that anyone who loves comics or video games will love (if you love the comic, we already know you loved the movie). The editing, visuals and sound are just a non-stop bombardment of awesome striking you directly in the brain to the point this movie is like a drug. Add the sweet visuals with a killer cast and you know you're in for a thrill.

Michael Cera (who is pretty viciously typed cast, even in this movie) is great as Scott Pilgrim. Although it's nothing we haven't seen Cera do before, he still does it well and he's just so damn entertaining as Pilgrim. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays the girl of Pilgrim's dreams and not only is she terrific, she is so damn hot in this movie! Other highlights include Chris Evans (Fantastic Four) and Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) playing a couple of evil exes out for Pilgrim's blood. Add in great acting by Kieran Culkin and some great cameos by Thomas Jane and Clifton Collins Jr. and this movie just keeps on rolling down awesome lane with no hint of stopping.

The only real low point that comes in this movie comes in the form of the typecast actors. Occasionally, like in Cera's case, it isn't a bad thing and it fits well but sometimes, it's just annoying. Granted it's not annoying enough to take you out of the movie but seeing Jason Schwartzman playing the same character in this movie that he's played in EVERY movie he's been in and seeing Aubrey Plaza playing the angst-filled angry youngster she's been playing since she burst on the scene can be a let down for this otherwise perfect movie.

But even this one complaint isn't enough to make this movie lose anything in the ratings department. The fact this movie is so funny and fun to watch keeps this film at a 5 out of 5.

On the Waterfront

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

On the Waterfront - 3 out of 5

This movie is a classic that I sadly have never seen until now. The story is great and the acting is terrific but because I am not a fan of stories of the mob, I really couldn't enjoy this movie very much. I like The Sopranos and movies like The Godfather and Goodfellas but stories about organized crime have never been my favorite. They're, to me, good to watch once but rare to revisit. That was how I felt about On the Waterfront. While the film is well put together, I can't see myself ever coming back and watching it again.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Eaten Alive (Mangiati Vivi!)

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Eaten Alive (Mangiati Vivi!) - 1 out of 5

If you've ever seen a movie about cannibals, you know that story is not the main focus. Instead, they are more concerned with the gore involved. If you've ever watched several cannibal movies, you know that they tend to blur together and it's hard to tell one from the other. And if you've ever seen an Italian cannibal movie, you know they suck. (Hopefully you know this...if you don't and like them, I apologize)

Italian filmmakers love making gory movies and zombies and cannibals are often the subject matter they used to get these items across the silver screen...oh, and sex--they love to put sex in their movies too. In fact, Eaten Alive (a movie that seemingly has gone by at least a dozen other titles throughout the world) seems to follow the Italian horror film formula as it has a poorly crafted story that only works to string together the scenes of nudity, rape, violence and gore. But surprisingly, this is one of the LEAST gory cannibal films to come from filmmaker Umberto Lenzi.

Honestly, this movie is terrible and offers little in the form of entertainment (even on an ironic level like making fun of the terrible acting and filmmaking). The actors are humorous to watch, especially the porn star Robert Kerman who takes the lead and, for some reason, spends a lot of the movie hitting women (and most of the time, it's completely random. Like, in one scene, he pointless shoves a woman to the ground). The story is also barely there as it focuses around a woman who goes to New Guinea to find her lost sister. There some business about a cult in the jungles who have a turf war with a group of cannibals but really, these elements are only there to give an excuse to showcase sex, rape and death scenes.

There is no redeeming qualities to this movie as even the gore is laughably bad and completely unrealistic. Riffing fans will have a hard time making fun of the movie as it's level of awkwardness is too high to even laugh at and horror fans will be equally put off with the lack of story and silly looking gore.

Best Worst Movie

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Best Worst Movie - 5 out of 5

Do you like really bad movies like I do? Ever see the movie Troll 2? If you answered yes to the first question but no to the second, see Troll 2--you won't regret it. If you answered yes to both questions, see Best Worst Movie. This movie is a documentary that focuses on the cult sensation the terrible film Troll 2 became.

This doc was filmed by none other than the star of "the worst film of all time;" Michael Stephenson. In the film, he reunites the cast and crew and goes to viewing parties all over the country, mingling with fans of this terrible horror film that has become a beloved icon by literally millions of people. The documentary mainly focuses on George Hardy, a dentist who took his first acting job on Troll 2 and played Stephenson's father. Honestly, Hardy alone is enough reason to watch the movie because he is such a charismatic and loveable guy that, by the time the movie was done, I wanted to hang out with him.

The documentary does a great job at showcasing the level of devotion fans have for this piece of work--everything from making costumes of the trolls in the movie to a man getting a tattoo of the original box art on the VHS release. We also get to see the director's impressions of the movie he made that went on to earn the title of "worst film ever made" by IMDb.com. His outlook of his work becomes an item of tension as fans and crew share their stories and thoughts on the film, definitely one of the highlights of the movie.

Seriously, if you love Troll 2, bad movies or really fun documentaries, this movie is the movie to check out.

She's Out of My League

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

She's Out of My League - 2 out of 5

Here's a movie cliche I'm getting tired of...Socially awkward geek gets the incredible hot, but seemingly down to earth, girl, teaching guys like me that there is still hope in this world. Sadly, this cliche has been so overdone and dudes like me ALL know that all hope is lost for us to have a story like this one. This movie is a by-the-books cliche where absolutely nothing in it is something we haven't already seen in spades.

But Ron, is there a scene where the couple are completely in love and we are treated to a montage of their dates set to terrible pop/rock?

Of course there is, text dialogue meant to be a person asking a question despite the fact I am alone in my place typing this out while I rock out to old school Aerosmith. There is even the scene where the guy can't deal with the fact he is dating a girl this hot and breaks things off with her and is miserable but his pals do something wild to get them back together. Yep, nothing about this movie is fresh and original and, for the most part, it was completely boring and devoid of any humor whatsoever. But I kinda expected that when one of the jokes put in the trailer was Lindsay Sloane's character asking a guy if he was a plane doctor. Really, writers? That was the best joke you could come up with?

The only redeeming quality of this film that stopped me from giving it a 1 out of 5 was T.J. Miller (Hud from Cloverfield). Every scene he had was genuinely funny and helped keep me from turning off this piece of crap and putting in something better. But as far as the cast goes, he was the only good thing. Lindsay Sloane was your typical attitude-filled best friend to the hot chick. Had this movie been made 10 years ago, Sarah Silverman would have played this one-dimensional, pointless character because those are the only characters Silverman plays.

Then there's the hot chick played by Alice Eve. It would have been nice to have a woman who was convincing in her role to play this part but I guess one can't be hot and talented at the same time. Even more unbearable than Eve's acting was giving the lead role to Jay Baruchel (who, mysteriously, kept saying he was out of shape but the man was rail thin. I wish I was THAT KIND of out of shape). Baruchel is not a bad actor--in fact, he can be quite good in supporting roles (or doing the main voice in How To Train Your Dragon) but this movie showed that he is not a leading man in a live action role. It was a mystery to me why the director allowed Baruchel to play the part the way he did because rather than come off like a awkward nice guy, he actually came off as an asshole in most of his scenes, leaving me, the viewer, to not want to see him and the hot chick end up together. His character was often rude to the hot chick when she seemed to genuinely try to be nice to him and even show interest.

So, overall, She's Out of My League will give you a few chuckles with T.J. Miller but, for the most part, it just annoyed and bored me.

The Passion of Greg the Bunny: Best of the Film Parodies Vol. 2

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Passion of Greg the Bunny: Best of the Film Parodies Vol. 2 - 3 out of 5

I enjoyed the short lived Greg the Bunny series on Fox but these film parodies on the Independent Film Channel don't deliver the laughs in the way the series did. Sure the puppets get to swear and get away with more but it still doesn't change the fact that the material they are working with isn't that funny.

Okay, some of the film parodies are smart, witty and made me laugh but too many of them would boil down to scenes of Greg and the camera crew arguing (A HUGE problem that plagued the first collection). Seriously, this happened in nearly every parody. Sadly, most of the satire delivered on the films is completely forgettable even though the shorts would have a nice guest appearance by some great names (for example, Jon Favreau and Seth Green). The only parody that really stood out and was memorable was the one about Dogville.

While not great parodies, there are some laughs to this collection. Basically, it's worth a once over and the chances of you picking it up again are slim to none. If you like the character of Warren the Ape, Count Blah and Greg the Bunny, rent this one from Blockbuster or Netflix. The lack of replay value makes this collection a rental, not a buy. If you want to own some Greg the Bunny, get the complete series that aired on Fox.

It's Always Sunny in Philadephia Season 5

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 5 - 5 out of 5

What can I say? I love this show.

While the writing has dipped a little when compared to other seasons, this show is still funny to me and the dip wasn't enough to justify a drop in its score. The gang is still getting into ridiculous situations and the humor is offensive as ever. Plus, this is the season where Charlie tells a woman that he's a "full-on rapist" on a date. That only is worth 5 out of 5.

A Christmas Carol

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

A Christmas Carol - 5 out of 5

In case you're wondering what A Christmas Carol I'm reviewing, it's the newest one from Disney starring Jim Carrey, not one of the other million versions of this classic story that's been done.

Alright, where do I start? First off, is there anything Jim Carrey can't do? Not only does he portray Ebenezer Scrooge, he also plays all the ghosts that visit Scrooge. I can hear a meme with Xzibit's face on it now, "Yo Dawg, I heard you like Jim Carrey, so we had Jim Carrey visit himself as a ghost so you can have Jim Carrey visiting Jim Carrey."

The man portrays every character wonderfully and is able to delivery them each uniquely that you are quick to forget that there are two Jim Carreys sharing the screen at any time. In fact, this movie works its elements so well, that you are quickly submerged into the world that is being created before you that you will also forget you are watching an animated movie because the mo-cap (motion capture) animation is so good, it looks real. In fact, it's amazing how far mo-cap has come in the short years it has been utilized (mostly by Robert Zemeckis). Another great element that works well in pulling you into the movie is the sound...WOW, is all I have to say to the sound. When you watch it, pay close attention to it and the level of detail they put into it is unlike many animated films.

The overall presentation of this movie is just jaw dropping. This was actually the first 3-D film I've seen in a theater and it still holds as one of the best. The use of motion capture technology and the heavy use of light and shadow to create ambiance as Ebenezer is put through the whirlwind of events by the spirits puts a fresh spin on an old classic.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Seed of Chucky

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Seed of Chucky - 3 out of 5

The quality of horror and comedy coming together that was seen in Bride of Chucky is seen in this follow up as the two serial killing dolls of Chucky and Tiffany produce an offspring confused about its gender.

Just as fun as the last movie, the filmmakers kick up the comedy a notch and make a very off-the-wall dark comedy. Jennifer Tilly not only provides the voice of Tiffany but is playing herself as Chucky's bride decides she will be the perfect body to inhabit. Hats off to Tilly for openly making fun of herself the way she does in this movie. My comedy is very self-deprecating and I appreciate others who make fun of themselves.

Once again Brad Dourif delivers like nobody's business as the killer doll and Billy Boyd (Pippin from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) does a great job providing the voice of the gender ambiguous Glen/Glenda (Get it?). Another nice appearance is by the filmmaker John Waters, playing a paparazzi character. While I'm not the biggest fan of the man's movies, I like the guy and what he does for free speech...plus, he's really funny in this movie. The only real lowpoint of the cast would be the inclusion of rapper Redman. While his acting isn't terrible (but it's not good either), I just don't like it when a rapper tries to act. Only a few of them can do it justice. However, he was playing himself and since he didn't have many scenes, it doesn't take away from the film. Besides, it could have been worse, we could have had Busta Rhymes in it.

Keeping with the fun elements of the last movie, Seed of Chucky showed that there is still life in this franchise.

Bride of Chucky

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Bride of Chucky - 3 out of 5

This is the movie where the franchise actually got enjoyable.

The first three movies were only entertaining because they were so bad and the character of Chucky was funny and enjoyable to watch but this one, the filmmakers stopped trying to make a horror film and focused on what made the other films watchable: the humor. Switching the series over to a dark comedy was a vast improvement as I didn't watch this one on an ironic level like the other three but on a pure enjoyment level.

The filmmakers, thankfully, rid the story of any presence of Andy and focuses the story entirely around Chucky as the serial killer who inhabits the doll; Charles Lee Ray, has a girlfriend (Tiffany) who is hankering for his return (played by Jennifer Tilly). One thing leads to another (as they often do in these movies) and Tiffany becomes a doll too and they both venture out to get new bodies as they leave a trail of blood and laughs behind them.

Once again, the master returns to lend his voice to Chucky and Brad Dourif seems to outdo himself in the voice acting department. Jennifer Tilly also delivers amazingly as Tiffany and plays quite well off of Dourif. This movie also sees John Ritter (Rest in Peace, sir. You are missed.) in a minor role but although his scenes are short and few, they are very funny. Even more impressive is how well the animatronics of the dolls has become--especially when you look at how they were in the first film.

Sure the story is simple and the writing isn't very deep but the movie is just plain fun. It balances the horror with the comedy perfectly and marks the first time I didn't have to look at bad acting and bad special effects to find enjoyment in a Chucky movie.

Lost Season 6

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Lost Season 6 - 1 out of 5

My relationship with Lost is a complicated one, to say the least. In fact, I've often given the analogy that the show is like a real-life, romantic relationship. The first season was the honeymoon period. The relationship was new and exciting and we were very much in love. The second season brought on a change--nothing drastic but we were now in the part of the relationship were we were getting familiar with each other and the mystery and excitement we saw before, dwindled slightly--not a lot, but a little but the relationship was still strong. However, the third season was when the emotional abuse started. Lost didn't hit me but it treated me badly with its lack of development in the progression of the mythology and the addition of pointless new characters insulted my intelligence. The third season showed me that Lost was no longer interested in me. Then the fourth and fifth season hit and so did the physical abuse. The traveling into sci-fi cliches like time travel felt like I was struck in the face by someone who once told me they loved me. And then the final season hit and the abuse stopped...but the love was no longer there. Our relationship didn't end on the best note but there is no way we'll ever see each other again.

Basically what I'm saying is I was a big fan of the show when it started but once season 3 happened, the nose dive it took was faster than the Oceanic flight crashing onto the island. The characters started as dynamic mysteries that I was excited to see unfold before me but, in an effort to stretch the show out and because the writers were making it up as they went along, they all became one-dimensional cliches that would change from episode to episode in order to fit whatever background they put them in at the time. For example, the character of Kate changed nearly every episode and the writers would over-use flashbacks in order to explain why in one episode she is a independent strong criminal and in the next, she's viciously co-dependent and weak.

The characters became so annoying that it was hard to care for any of them anymore. I wanted to punch Sawyer in the face because I was tired of his generic character throwing around lame, wannabe-badass lingo and pet names and Hugo saying "dude" after every sentence stopped being endearing in season 2. In fact, the only characters I wanted to see more of at this point was Ben, Alpert and Desmond. Even in this finale season, their characters were still well written, captivating and well acted. However, I will say that Sun and Jin and their love was quite enjoyable to watch this season as well.

And on the topic of cliches, this show became one giant cliche even after the fact it showed promise of becoming something unique and original. Overused science fiction templates like time travel, spirits unable to cross over so they show themselves to certain people, alternate timelines, people with shady pasts out for redemption and heavy religious themes plagued this show after the writers seemingly stopped trying in season 3. Honestly, once time travel came into being, I threw up my hands and said, "there's no way they can come back from mediocrity now." However, ICP fans must love all the attention magnets and magnetism has in the show. For them, Lost is a miracle! (If you don't understand that joke, consider yourself lucky that you've never heard the cancer-inducing song the Insane Clown Posse created called "Miracles").

But not only does the show overuse the sci-fi cliches, the show ITSELF has become one large self-made cliche. Minor plot twists are accentuated with violin screeching and french horn crescendos in order to fool the viewer that they've actually seen something important, however, retcon be thy name in Lost as many of these things that were actually important either work out to be meaningless or resolved in a very lack luster fashion in this last season. For example, the numbers...if they weren't entered in every so many minutes, the world was going to end, remember that? Remember how it ultimately meant nothing? Or how about the Dharma Initiative? They seemed like they were going to be a big deal when it came to what the island was but turned out was basically nothing. (I'm not even going to get into the idea that the character of Jacob is the one who decides who comes on and off the island and it seemed the Dharma Initiative just showed up and left without permission.) In this season, it was no different. For example, did you know that Sayid became evil or possessed or something. What impact did it have on the overall story? Pretty much none. He was bad in one episode for 2 minutes and it seemed the writers forgot about it as he went back to normal. And let's not forget Lost's biggest cliche...the fact the show is 90% staring and panting and 10% story--and only 1% of that story is interesting after season 3.

Then there's the quick resolution to many of the elements brought into the show early in its run that the writers seemed to forget about. For example, the Adam & Eve skeletons at the cave. Their origin (which gets explained this season) feels tacked on as it seems the writers are saying, "Oh yeah, we forgot about this...we'll it's there because" and they tell you and move on.

Never have I seen a show deliver its finale season so weakly. In fact, this season was so boring, the writers would add pointless action and suspense in order to break up the dragging narrative and boring story. Another trick (also seen in other seasons) is the pointless elements added seemingly randomly to the island. These additions often come with no real clarity or reason, giving the show a random and clumsy feel at its end. For example, the "light of the island." Why didn't the characters find this before? This is even a bigger mystery after the fact Jacob tells Jack it was near where he woke up after the crash. They found a buried hatch but didn't notice the glowing cave on the island?

The final episode was able to win me back slightly after the torture the show put me through as it gives us glimpses and a near return to the quality we saw in the first season--a return to happier times in our relationship. It was nice to see the final shot of the show mirroring the opening shot but this return came too little too late as the damage to the show and its story telling was already delivered and made this finale season a terrible mediocre end to a show that started phenomenally.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Da Vinci's Inquest Season 2

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Da Vinci's Inquest Season 2 - 4 out of 5

Since television became the dominant form of entertainment in the world, we've been bombarded with cop dramas that usually fall into one of a couple of categories. One of them is centered entirely around the drama. In this category, we see the typical stories revolving around the alcoholic cop, the crooked cop, the by-the-books cop and the cop struggling to keep a balance between his work and his family. Then there's the gritty cop shows that focus on the reality of crime and punishment like showcased in The Wire. There's also the flashy cop shows the centers around over-the-top crimes, witty one-liners leading into a rocking theme by The Who and photo editing software that has yet to exist. Da Vinci's Inquest falls more into the gritty category with a dose of drama...and that recipe makes for one tantalizing show when you spice it up with great characters played by fantastic actors.

A friend of mine from Canada recently told me about this show and, since I'll give any movie or show a shot, I watched it and found myself hooked in the first season as I watched the story of a Vancouver coroner working to uncover the truth unfold. The show centers around the coroner Dominic Da Vinci but he is surrounded by rich supporting characters--in fact, to call them supporting characters is an injustice as the show is very much an ensemble cast that all blend perfectly together. Add in the fact this show has some of the most realistic dialogue and exchanges I've ever scene in a show and you are quick to forget you are watching a work of fiction and you are pulled into the story almost completely. And this season, the stories were off the chart on the entertainment scale. Right off the bat, the season starts with local prostitutes disappearing and the season ends with a gripping conclusion to this story. Then, in-between, we are blessed with stories that made me say, on more than one occasion, "okay, I'll just watch one more episode" as it grew late into the night.

Nicholas Campbell plays the coroner Dominic Da Vinci and does so amazingly. The character is smart and dedicated but doesn't cross the line into the pure, egotistical asshole that we see so often in television now. Donnelly Rhodes (who would later play Dr. Cottle on Battlestar Galactica) really delivers this season as Det. Leo Shannon--better than he was in the first season. Another improvement was seen by Ian Tracey, who plays Det. Mick Leary. In the first season, I didn't really care for his character because it felt like he didn't bring much to the table but with side stories that focused on his crumbling marriage, we see Tracey really bring this character to life. This season also saw fantastic guest spots as Callum Keith Rennie (the man who would later become Cylon Leoben on Battlestar Galactica--one of my favorite shows EVER!) takes on a reoccurring role as Det. Bob Marlowe and we see one of my favorite character actors becoming the main focus on the major storyline of the season; Matt Frewer (who we should all lovingly remember as Max Headroom).

Overall, Da Vinci's Inquest is a fantastic crime drama that delivers realism without ever having to resort to the flash of shows like C.S.I. (don't get me wrong, I like C.S.I.). Can't wait to start Season 3!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mr. Saturday Night

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Mr. Saturday Night - 4 out of 5

I'm a stand up comedian, myself and this movie has ALWAYS had a special place in heart after the first time I saw it.

The story is very entertaining as we watch the rise, fall and eventual rise again of Buddy Young, Jr. Even though I come from a different era of stand up comedy, many of the things that Buddy sees (and is disgusted by as he journeys through life) I myself have noticed in the world of entertainment. Add in the fact that I've worked with many comics who reminded me of Buddy and there is no wonder why I enjoy this film.

Many critics have criticized Billy Crystal (who plays Buddy as well as wrote and directed the film). They say it was hard to believe that the lovable Crystal could portray the bitter, jaded character of Buddy. However, I felt that it was the fact that Crystal WAS Buddy that made the character very convincing and was quite impressed that he was able to play the character so well. Never during the movie do I think that this is Crystal playing an angry, aging comic, instead I see only Buddy on screen. And then when you add David Paymer playing Buddy's brother, you have a recipe for gold as Paymer and Crystal play off each other like they are real life siblings.

Funny, heartwarming and all around brilliant are the words I use for this movie but this is mostly due to the parallels I see in my own life as an entertainer. But that's what makes movies truly special...when we, the viewer, are able to see our own personal experiences with what we are seeing on screen and allow the movie to become more than just entertainment.

Invincible

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Invincible - 3 out of 5

First off, this is NOT the Marky Mark film. Instead this is a Werner Herzog movie about the real life figure of Zishe Breitbart.

I'm not going to lie, I am a big fan of Werner Herzog. His films are unique and, often, depressing but there's an element of realism that he brings and his one-of-a-kind camera work makes him a director that stands out amongst the crowd. However, this movie was not one of his best works he's created but fault does not lie with him.

The movie is a ficticious story based on some loose facts about Zishe Breitbart, a Polish-born Jewish circus strongman who died in 1925. Herzog takes this historical figure and places him in Germany as Hitler is coming to power (this of course happens years after the real Breitbart dies). Breitbart ends up becoming a sensation in Berlin as he works in the Ministry of the Occult and a hypnotist there named Herschel Steinschneider (played by Tim Roth). Breitbart sees the destruction that will come to his people and he quickly returns to Poland to tell his comrades that they must all become strong like him in order to survive. Although billed as a true story, none of the events in the film actually occurred but this movie was more about the metaphor that Breitbart became and the idea of being strong, both physically and mentally. This metaphor was the strongest part of the movie and it is REALLY inspirational. In fact, the only real bad part of the movie was some of the acting.

Tim Roth is excellent in his role but many of the supporting characters fail to deliver in any real convincing way. This is especially noticeable by Jouko Ahola, who plays Breitbart. In fact, most of the supporting cast is so bad--delivering lines flatly or overacting in very unconvincing manners--that it hurts the movie. Everything else is great--the story, Herzog's camera work and Roth's acting. But filling the rest of the cast with bad actors kept this movie from being anything but a 3.

The Crying Game

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Crying Game - 3 out of 5

We all know the infamous plot twist this film offers but, even with this knowledge, I've never actually seen the movie.

The story is good despite it draggin in certain areas and the acting is very good. Stephen Rea (V for Vendetta) is amazing as Fergus and he plays well as he shares the screen with Jaye Davidson, who plays the famous Dil. While all these elements come together well to create a really well made film, the movie is so story heavy that there is little chance I will come back and watch this one again.

But putting that aside, there was one thing that bothered me...the character of Dil. Throughout the beginning of the film, characters keep saying she is so beautiful but, as the viewer, I couldn't buy it. Even if the big reveal didn't occur, I would still say she was a very unattractive female and it really took me out of the film as all these character kept pushing the point that she was hot. It happens so often that it almost feels like the filmmakers were trying to convince THEMSELVES that they made the right casting decision.

Overall, The Crying Game is a well made film with an interesting story that will definitely keep you glued to the screen as the story unravels but doesn't offer much in the repeat viewing department.

Predators

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Predators - 3 out of 5

After seeing this initially in the theaters, I was far from impressed. But after coming around and seeing it a second time, I realized it wasn't that bad. Especially when I put it into perspective that it could have been much MUCH worse.

When this movie was first announced and the rumor mill churned out the idea that Robert Rodriguez was going to write and direct this film, I immediately slapped my palm to my face because without Quentin Tarantino holding Rodriguez's hand, his movie usually suck (Desperado, of course, being the exception). However, it turned out that Rodriguez was only going to help in writing and end up as a producer. And, as it turned out for me, was the best thing for this movie.

While not superior to the original film with Schwarzenegger, the movie is better than the sequel and the two Alien vs Predator films. But the film still lacks the certain magic that can transform it from a generic sci-fi action film into a classic in the way the original movie became. The story is simple and nothing really special but it works for the genre. There was an element that, I felt, should have been expanded on and that was the idea that the Predators take more than humans to hunt. While we see one different alien species, their part is abrupt and almost pointless as it does little for the plot. This really should have been expanded on and better incorporated into the story because, as all the other films have shown us, the Predators don't have that many problems hunting humans (with a couple of exceptions). So, the question has to be asked, why do they continue to hunt a species they are clearly superior than? Me thinks, that in the grand universe we exist in, the Predators are not as good as we think they are and they are basically the bullies of the universe, picking on smaller and weaker species while all other life is tougher than they are.

Acting wise, this movie is pretty decent. Laurence Fishburne really stands out with his interesting character and, believe it or not, Topher Grace was also a stand out character in this movie. However, there are some lowpoints in the acting department as our lead actor is Adrien Brody--a man, who we all know can act but has taken some questionable roles lately (Splice comes to mind). While the character Brody is playing is interesting and a nice detour from the usual action hero, Brody comes dangerously close to Dark Knight territory with his cheesy, brooding growl he uses to utter every line. This movie also proves that Danny Trejo has become such an icon that he can be in a movie playing himself and not a character. Honestly, his part was worthless and it felt like the usual Rodriguez pandering when he was put in the film.

This film offers some decent action and delivers on some mild entertainment but overloading the screen with one-dimensional cannon-fodder characters who are only in the film to pump up the dead bodies and a passable story keep this movie in the category of films you will forget about and will not join it's predecessor (Predator) in the instant classic department. Even Brody shouting Arnold's classic lines aren't enough to make this movie anything more than a watch-once, popcorn film.

Now, with that being said, "GET TO THE CHOPPAH!"

The French Connection

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The French Connection - 4 out of 5

Let's keep this review short and sweet...

It's been awhile since I've seen this gem and it is just as good as the first time I saw it. Gritty police drama with fantastic acting (Gene Hackman just kills it as Doyle) and some awesome action mixed in with an addicting story that includes one of the coolest car chase scenes that belongs in the category as the car chase in Bullit.

Even after 30 plus years, this movie still holds up.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Children of the Corn

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Children of the Corn - 2 out of 5

It's been a long time since I've seen this movie and, recently, I've decided to visit the entire series from beginning to end.

I forgot how bad the first film was.

First off, the story is just silly but Stephen King wrote it and, as I've expressed in other reviews, I don't find King to be a very convincing horror writer because most of his stories tend to get a little off the wall towards the end--and this was no exception. Secondly, the acting is just terrible. John Franklin as Issac and Courtney Gains as Malachai are the exception but the seemingly bored with the film performances of Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton are quick to pull the viewer out of the movie--however, this is a source of humor if you feel like making fun of the film and, believe me, this movie is easy to make fun of.

This film really offers nothing in the scare department but the terrible filmmaking, story telling and acting is enough to get a minor amount of entertainment from. If you feel like watching this movie, it's best to do so with friends and having a good old fashion riff-fest otherwise you risk the very real danger of being bored to death. That's about as scary as it gets.

The Prisoner (2009)

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Prisoner (2009) - 3 out of 5

This re-imagining of the classic series starring Patrick McGoohan is a difficult challenge to review. On one hand, it's a remake and that automatically hurts the mini-series but on the other hand, there were some good things going on. The bad and good constantly work against each other, butting heads and ultimately bringing this mini-series to the half-way point of a 3 out of 5. This series wasn't the best but it wasn't completely terrible either.

Other than being a remake, the show offers little in the form of its story. The payoff at the end of the series was completely weak and makes the viewer wonder why they sat through the six episodes to begin with. And that's another complaint--the fact it was only 6 episodes long meant that the writers crammed a lot in the show but the cramming only seemed to arrive in the final half of the series. Had the mini-series went a few episodes longer, we could have seen more development of the characters and the story.

That brings me to the next conflict this show had: The actors and characters.

James Caviezel was greatly disappointing as 6 and wasn't anywhere near to filling the shows of the amazing Patrick McGoohan (you will be missed, sir. Be seeing you). His delivery is flat and the show offers us little reason to really care for the plight he is in. In the original series, McGoohan was so charming and captivating as 6, the viewer was glued to the set to see him escape The Village and, although we knew he wouldn't from episode to episode, we still grew disappointed when he failed to get away. Caviezel lacks these qualities that made McGoohan's portrayal of 6 a standard too high for normal men to reach. In the final half of the series, Caviezel's acting gets a little better but by that time, it's already too late. However, Ian McKellen's performance as the sinister 2 is so good, it makes Caviezel's phoned in performance null and void.

The show lacks the depth to the surreal surroundings and actions we saw in the original series but Rover is still here. Caviezel's acting is terrible but McKellen's is amazing. The story is lackluster as it changes greatly from the original but the visuals are beautiful. The good and the bad elements of this mini-series constantly clash to create an extremely mediocre product that never should have been produced to begin with.

Ink

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Ink - 4 out of 5

If you ever needed proof that pirating films has a positive impact on the industry, Ink is that proof. A low budget fantasy film about beings who influence our dreams ultimately seemed to be destined for obscurity when it became one of the top downloaded torrents on the internet and the DVD sales skyrocketed. The filmmakers even openly thanked the pirates for making the film a success. But after watching the film, it's a shame that it took pirating to put this film in the spotlight because it was a very unique movie that has a story devoid of the typical Hollywood cliches that stink up the theaters week after week. The film is low budget but other than the quality of the film used, you would never realize that this wasn't a big budget studio production.

Sadly, the acting isn't the best I've witnessed but never is it so bad that it actually distracts you from the movie. In fact, to call the acting 'bad' is an insult because the acting was more 'passable' than 'bad.' It was a lot better than sitting through anything Sam Worthington has ever done, I can say that. Not to mention it was better than the stutter-encrusted ramblings of Shia LaBeouf, the 101 smiles of Tom Cruise or the man who confuses the ability to dance with acting; John Travolta. In fact, when I put it like that--when I look at all the shitty actors that clutter our movie screens, the acting in this movie was leaps and bounds beyond the crap these four men do. In fact, one actor was so good, I have to point him out as Jeremy Make really made (no pun) the film with his portrayal of the blind Pathfinder; Jacob.

But what makes this movie pure magic is the story and the visuals this film delivers. Both these aspects were so good and when you realize that no studios wanted to distribute this movie makes me angry to the point I may turn into The Hulk. Every week, Hollywood releases remake after remake, sequel after sequel and movies that just blatantly rip off other films (I'm looking at you, Avatar) and this--a unique film that, despite the lack of budget it has when compared to your typical Hollywood release--was well made and VERY entertaining but can't land a distribution deal. For shame, Hollywood...for shame.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Turtles Forever

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Turtles Forever - 5 out of 5

Here's the concept: 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles exist in their own dimension and the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles exist in a different dimension. A fight in the 1987 dimension causes the turtles to end up in the 2003 series and 1987 Shredder discovers the Utrom Ch'rell and frees him from the frozen prison the 2003 turtles put him in. Ch'rell reclaims the mantle of Shredder and enslaves 1987 Shredder, Bebop and Rocksteady, as well as Krang and takes control of the Technodrome. Ch'rell decides to finish the turtles once and for all after he discovers the multiverse and that turtles exist in every dimension. He decides to locate "turtles prime" and destroy them to set off a chain reaction that would destroy turtles in every dimension. Who are turtles prime? The original incarnation, of course--the 1984 comic book version.

Stop drilling movie, you've struck oil!

Honestly, I loved the concept of this animated movie and it was just pure fun that any TMNT fan can enjoy. The movie takes a lot of pot shots at the 1987 series as the 2003 turtles often call them "dumb and fat" but the pot shots come at all the turtles when the 1984 versions call 1987 and 2003 "sell outs"--a sentiment that many turtles fan called the 1987 series. The movie also makes a lot of jokes about how the 1987 turtles often broke the fourth wall and spoke to the audience and how the 1984 version of Leonardo would narrate the battles. This type of tongue-in-cheek attitude was one of the aspects that made this movie so entertaining to watch.

From a technical stand point, this film was very interesting as the animators successfully recreated the feel of each version of the turtles. The comic was recreated very well and looked like the pages came to life. The music and look of the turtles from 1987 were perfectly recreated and all the elements came together with the 2003 version that it was borderline perfection.

The only real sad note to the film was the lack of original voice actors from the original series. It would have been nice to hear James Avery (Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air--yeah, did you know he was the original voice of Shredder?) return as Shredder but the replacement actors did an amazing job of making it sound like the original actors came back. But like I said, this is a minor complaint and completely forgettable when you find out that the creators of the turtles, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, provide an uncredited cameo as themselves at the very end. Not only is this a nerdgasm experience for the diehard fans but it's even more special when you realize that Eastman and Laird don't really speak anymore and haven't had a working relationship in years.

All in all, if you are a big fan of the Ninja Turtles--whether it's from the original comic series, the 1987 series or the 2003 series, or even the movies (or all of it, like me)--you will love this movie and I highly recommend that you check it out!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Back to the Sewers (Season 7)

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Back to the Sewers (Season 7) - 4 out of 5

After a slightly disappointing season 6 (only slightly) where the turtles are blasted 100 years into the future, the four ninja brothers are back in their time ready to face another incarnation of the Shredder. Sadly, this season isn't actually available on DVD but, with some persistence, I was able to locate them all to watch on Al Gore's wonderful invention; the internet.

This season kept many of the lighthearted changes that occurred in season 6 and didn't see much of a return to the darker, maturer themes that seasons 1-5 had (and I cherished). The character designs of the turtles, Casey Jones, April and Splinter were altered slightly to better fit the character designs of the animated film, TMNT (if you've never seen it, I HIGHLY recommend it). Besides these minor changes, the rest of the formula stays the same and remain at their high quality.

The story for this finale season of the 2003 animated series deals with the turtles return to their time. However, while traveling, Master Splinter is attacked by the villain Viral (from the Fast Forward season) and the turtles' father is broken down into information bytes and scattered all over the internet. The four ninjas are forced to invade cyberspace and then track down and reassemble their sensei. However, after Viral evaded the turtles, she accidentally awakens a digital version of the Utrom Shredder who becomes the newest incarnation of the turtles' arch-nemesis, the Cyber Shredder.

While on the surface, a Cyber Shredder may seem like a silly idea but his design was very cool and he was a legitimate badass. Some great action sequences took place because of this and, like during the final episode of season 5, all hell broke loose as Cyber Shredder escapes his prison of the internet and he unleashes war on the turtles and their allies as they gathered for the wedding of Casey and April. Did I mention Casey and April's relationship takes the next step? I think I just did.

There was a lot going on in this season and, sadly, not enough episodes to cram it all into. The season was only 13 episodes long (along with an episode called Mayhem on Mutant Island that was broken up into one minute long mini-episodes that wasn't that good and rather pointless) and with the amount of story going on--both the rebuilding of Splinter and Casey and April's relationship--this season should have gone longer because it felt rushed.

While this wasn't the best season to end on, it was still great. It was a return to their roots (hence the title Back to the Sewers) and gone was the cheesy futuristic setting. This season also provided something that the animated programs haven't offered since the original 1987 series: a kick ass theme song!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jonah Hex

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Jonah Hex - 3 out of 5

I was never a fan of the character of Jonah Hex or the comic books he had. The writing always felt sloppy and his stories often contradicted each other. But after seeing the movie, I am wondering if the filmmakers were trying to recreate that feel.

While not entirely bad, this movie is far from good. The story feels quite rushed and moves really fast and spends more time retelling Hex's origin (at least three times it's told--at least that's what I remember) and not on the details of the superweapon that is stolen by the bad guy and is the central point of the story. They don't even explain how the damn thing works.

The special effects, while not terrible, are not the best either by today's standards and much of the acting is just downright awful. First and foremost, the casting of Megan Fox was just a terrible choice as she REALLY hurts this movie. Her delivery is exactly the same as it was in Transformers--lazy to the point you wonder if someone slipped something in her drink--an act like that would mystify me because I don't understand why ANYONE would find that woman attractive with her spray-on tan orange skin (that always looks greasy) and her cocktease/whorish ways (she won't do nude scenes but she will gladly use her sex appeal to keep her acting career going--because it's not her ability TO act keeping her career moving--hence the cocktease/whorish ways) makes me worry I could get an STD just looking at her. The cast gets even worse as John Malkovich phones in his role (again! Something he's been doing for the last few years despite the fact he is talented) and Will Arnett is, mysteriously, in this film. Why exactly was he in it is completely unknown to me as his character brings nothing to the table.

What hurts this movie even more is the changes made to the character of Hex. In the comics, he was a badass antihero who was great with a gun. In the movie, he is still great with a gun but now he has supernatural powers and can bring the dead back to life. Although this change does showcase some decent special effects (all the special effects money must have been spent on this part because the rest isn't that great) it does, however, make me wonder why this was done in the first place as a story about a great bounty hunter out for revenge (a normal gunslinger with no powers) would have been just fine by me.

With all the bad working against this movie, there are some good things going on, too (hence, balancing out this movie at a 3 and not higher or lower). The action scenes are entertaining and the music (done by Mastodon frontman Brent Hinds) is fantastic...provided you done focus on the fact that heavy metal guitars are used during an era where they weren't even invented yet but the soundtrack was still really rocking and really helped legitimize the action unfolding on screen. Finally, Josh Brolin does a great job bringing the character to life (supernatural changes and all). He delivers some great one-liners while battling his foes but starts to skirt the edge near Dark Knight territory as his voice almost becomes as bad as Christian Bale's...he gets close to that edge but, thankfully, doesn't go over it and try to sound like a Bale's brooding Richard Nixon impression he does under the cowl.

Jonah Hex is NOT DC's best property and I don't know why it was chosen to make a film adaptation but, even though there is some bad effects, some bad actors and a terribly rushed story, the movie delivers on some decent action sequences that makes it a mediocre popcorn movie that is worth a single viewing but nothing more.

Grown Ups

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Grown Ups - 1 out of 5

Supposedly this film was a comedy but I got no laughs from it--none! Instead, what I found was Adam Sandler and his friends performing one inside joke after another that, in theory, should only be funny to them, but even the actors sounded like all their laughs are forced and fake. Nearly every scene of this film is filled with 5 guys (Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider and David Spade) insulting each other (which is what a lot of guys do) but each line they throw out falls wayyyyyy too short on the funny spectrum but they are all laughing hysterically like they just created the new "Who's on First" bit. This formula is then mirrored by the characters wives (played by Selma Hayek, Maria Bello, the whitest black woman to ever exist; Maya Rudolph and Joyce Van Patten). If it's not funny with the men folk, it certainly wasn't funny with the ladies. To make matters worse, a token black grandma is introduced into the mix that would make Tyler Perry consider a lawsuit. It's actually insulting to one's intelligence as this grandma is only used for fart jokes.

Now there actually was some good things going on in the cast here (Sandler and the boys have proven in the past to be good but their combination in this film just didn't work). Steve Buscemi has a small part and, like everything else he plays, he does it well but what really surprised me was seeing Colin Quinn, a funny man I NEVER see in movies. He played his part well but it was just a shame that he had to play it in this unfortunate movie.

Grown Ups is one of those comedies that shows all the funny parts in the trailer to fool you into seeing the phoned in writing that ultimately plagues the movie. Then, after months and months of being advertised, the funny scenes that lured you in are no longer funny and you are then forced to sit through an hour and forty minutes of awkward acting and even more awkward jokes. It was a miracle I didn't slit my wrists while watching it because this movie can drive a person to suicide as we, the viewers, are carelessly thrown from scene to scene. The film, in the end, felt more like a bunch of half-funny skits precariously edited together to create one unfunny movie.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 2

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 2 - 5 out of 5

A terrific continuation of the quality we saw in the first season of this animated Star Wars series on Cartoon Network. The awesome computer animation is still here along with all the great characters and their fantastic voice actors performing the hell out of their parts. It's also sad, however, that the animated version of Anakin Skywalker is a better actor than the real life Hayden Christensen.

Like the last season, we get to see great stories of the events taking place during the infamous Clone Wars. In my opinion, the stories told were even better as the season kicks off with a 3-part episode arc that follows mercenary Cad Bane as he is commissioned by the Separatists to steal information from the Jedi Council. Honestly, the fact that this show has given us the awesome character of Cad Bane is enough reason, for me at least, to give this show a 5 out of 5. But the show gets even better as more several episode spanning story arcs take place and ultimately ending with Boba Fett attempting to get revenge on the Jedi who killed his father. Can it get any better than that?

One thing that, even in the last season, surprised me was the fact this cartoon does not shy away from dark themes. Despite being on the Cartoon Network (and not on the Adult Swim portion) this animated series is not afraid to show death and the horrors of war. A character even killed himself during this season. I was quite impressed that the show had a suicide in it...never thought I would see that on CN.

From beginning to end, this show just reinforces my love of Star Wars. Even if it was mediocre (like all the Star Wars video games), I would have purchased it anyway because I am that obsessed with Star Wars but, instead, this animated series brings quality entertainment that I can watch over and over again like the films.

Everything is Illuminated

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Everything is Illuminated - 4 out of 5

A wonderful little film that starts off kind of quirky and fun but evolves to a point where it actually becomes quite emotional. But that was NOT a bad thing as the progression is very natural and organic.

Big kudos to Liev Schreiber (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as he got behind the camera and took the helm as director. He had a terrific eye and delivered this story about a young Jew (Elijah Wood) who goes out seeking the woman who saved his grandfather during the 2nd great war. Schreiber also helped write the film but his talent for directing was quite remarkable--so much so, that I am shocked he hasn't directed another film since this one came out in 2005.

When you combine Schreiber's seemingly natural talent behind the camera with a fantastic cast and a deep story, you find yourself immersed in a very engaging, philosophical film that showcases both the light and darkness of human beings and the world we live in. I really enjoyed this film because it was one of those rare cases where you, the viewer, actually feel something while watching the movie rather than just react to what you are seeing. If you have the opportunity to witness this one, I highly recommend it.

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial: Original Theatrical Version

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial: Original Theatrical Version - 5 out of 5

This is what the movie was and should not have been messed with for the sake of being PC. I know this makes me sound like a hypocrite considering I like the changes done to Star Wars but the changes made there were done for story purposes (excluding Han shooting first, I will not forgive that change) and the changes made to E.T. were done because that sell-out Steven Spielberg was worried that people didn't like the idea of Federal Agents having shotguns drawn on children. As I said in the review of the 20th Anniversary Version, no one cared about the shotguns, Steven. All we cared about was the lovely story about a boy befriending a lost alien.

Now, let me get off my soapbox and review this hallmark in the history of film.

Believe it or not, I actually had a difficult time tracking down the original cut of the film. My library didn't have it. Netflix didn't have it. The only version they carried was the digital disgrace. However, with some persistence, I finally tracked down this gem from my childhood and within moments, as the opening credits rolled, I was immediately transported back to my youth. From beginning to end, a smile plastered on my face as I watch young Elliot help the wayward being get back to his people. Overtime, I nearly forgot how fantastic this movie was.

Even with its limitations, the original practical effects of a puppet and a suit version of E.T. still holds up (which is another reason why I questioned the need for a CG E.T.) and the story will always be universal (no pun intended). I'm a firm believer that life exists elsewhere in this vast universe and there is no doubt in my mind that if they were to visit, it would only be children that treat them with respect.

This film was made when Spielberg made quality entertainment, long before he eventually gave up and started riding his name and made pieces of crap like Minority Report, War of the Worlds (both starring Tom Cruise, coincidence that they both sucked? No.) and the extremely lame; Artificial Intelligence: AI. In fact, looking at his filmography on IMDb.com, it seems he stopped trying right after Saving Private Ryan. I guess that movie took it all out of him. But despite the shadow of his former self Spielberg has become, we can still look back at his illustrious career and remember that he gave us great films like this one.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning - 1 out of 5

Supposedly, this film was the origin story of the murderous Hewitt family but it felt more like a remake of the remake that came out three years prior to this one. Nearly every element of the story is exactly the same except for a few quick answers as to why the family became cannibals, how Leatherface got his mask, why he prefers a chainsaw and how R. Lee Ermey's character became a Sheriff despite being apart of a criminal, cannibalistic family. Other than these few elements (and they come quick) the movie is just a rehash of what we've already seen. The film tries to be shocking with some disturbing images but it's clear, after watching this, that the scenes of torture and shock were there merely to cover up the weak story.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Galaxy of Terror

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Galaxy of Terror - 3 out of 5

Have you ever seen a movie where a worm rapes a woman to death? In this movie you can!

Cheesy B-Movie action and silly story and you have yourself a Roger Corman classic! And the worm rape scene is just the icing on the cake that transformed this movie from a horrible piece of shit into a hilarious piece of shit!

This movie is in NO WAY a good movie but with a lame story, hilarious sound effects and mediocre acting make this a really fun movie to sit and make fun of. The title alone is enough to laugh at because it's a little grandiose for the film. But then again, the title A Specific Building within a Designated Planet within a Galaxy that could or could not be the Galaxy of Terror is too long.

The movie follows a group of space travelers who find themselves in an installation on a planet that brings a person's fears to life. In typical fashion of a sci-fi/horror movie, the majority of the characters are killed off one by one in ridiculous fashion (all of them bloody) before the hero and villain face off in the end. That's about it. Nothing special...except a raping worm. The reason I keep mentioning this worm rape sequence is because it was what actually made the movie get noticed. The film had little to no fan fare when it was released in 1981 but this scene caused a little commotion with those folks at the MPAA and turned an otherwise forgettable, direct to video film, into something worth taking notice. Not that I'm saying this movie is worth watching for this scene or that the scene is in any way provocative or entertaining, rather it was just an obvious trick to make people take notice to a movie that would otherwise go ignored. But the quality you would expect from a worm raping a woman is the quality you get in this film...pure hilarity.

H2: Halloween II

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

H2: Halloween II - 1 out of 5

If Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween was a bigger black eye on the franchise than all of the sequels combined (including H2O and Resurrection), than this sequel to the remake is a disemboweling.

I thought the first one was as bad as it got as Rob Zombie filled the film with completely unlikeable characters played by piss-poor actors and boiled down one of horror's greatest icons into a generic serial killer but this film, filled with even worse acting, a bare-bones story and a sloppy plot that seems like its randomly stringing together random scenes together randomly (by the way, that was a joke--using the word 'random' three times).

In the last decade, horror flicks have decided that the viewer no longer needs to cheer on the protagonist to victory as they are filled with completely annoying and unlikable characters that we now cheer on their demise just to rid the screen of them. Rob Zombie did this in the last film with the casting of Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie. Remember in the original Halloween when Laurie was played by Jamie Lee Curtis and we loved her and wanted her to survive because she was pure and, above all, a great actor. We don't get that with Taylor-Compton. Instead, we get this annoying actor who has an attitude in her voice in every single line she utters. I should NOT be cheering for Michael Myers to kill her. The irritating cast only gets worse when the usually talented Malcolm McDowell plays the laughably bad Dr. Loomis. Zombie changed this character from the obsessive type he was in the original to a money grubbing and (surprise, surprise) and selfish character that you hate. WHY?!? Why must I hate every character in this movie?

However, there are some good things going on in the cast. Tyler Mane (who I had the privileged of meeting and he's a wonderfully nice man) returns as Michael Myers and he, without a doubt, has a great screen presence and does a good job of filling the shoes of the serial killer. Also returning is the awesome Brad Dourif as Sheriff Leigh Brackett. There are also a couple of small roles that are filled terrifically by the likes of Dayton Callie (Sons of Anarchy), Bill Fagerbakke (Coach and the voice of Patrick in SpongeBob SquarePants) and Mark Boone Junior (30 Days of Night and Sons of Anarchy) but this all becomes nil and void as Zombie once again puts his wife in the mix. I am very sorry to say this, Mr. Zombie but your wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, is NOT a good actress. It's sweet that you care about her and want her in your projects but she does more harm than good. Sure she's attractive and nice to look at but her lack of acting really harms every role you give her. And in this movie, it was very painfully obvious that you HAD to give her a role as she is playing the ghost of the character she portrayed in the first film--a film, by the way, she died in. Come on, Rob! Is she using the threat of taking away sex in order to get herself in these movies?

I'm not trying to be mean to Rob Zombie because, believe it or not with the amount of shit I give him, I like the guy. I was a big fan of White Zombie and his first solo album and had such high hopes for his movie career because he has such a creative eye but I've learned that his strength is NOT with writing. Like his other films, the editing is done really well, his choice of music for scenes is fantastic and his directing style is unique and awesome! But when he writes a film, he falls into the pit of horror film cliches. If a talented horror writer wrote the story, let Rob direct it and he kept his wife out of it and put in talented actors, you have the potential for an awesome film to be made.

City of the Living Dead

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

City of the Living Dead - 1 out of 5

Lucio Fulci has become an cult icon when it comes to the zombie genre. His films contain a lot of gore and have been quite controversial but, like all things that attain cult status, it doesn't make it necessarily good. Fulci films are filled with flat characters, bad acting and weak stories that are only put in place in order to get an excuse to cut to the next gore scene.

And City of the Living Dead is no different.

In my opinion, this film is the perfect representation of what a zombie film SHOULDN'T be. The focus is on gore and not the survivors. Read the comic The Walking Dead (or watch it because it is now a series on AMC, and it rocks, by the way), the story focuses around the survivors and each character is complex and develops are the peril they're in builds and changes them. The violence, gore and sex incorporated into the story is the icing on the cake--something sweet upon the foundation of great story telling. You won't see this in a Fulci film. Instead, it's just a weak story that takes us to the next gore scene. For example, this movie was about a priest who kills himself causing the gates of hell to open. Zombies are unleashed on an unassuming neighborhood and, literally, all hell breaks loose. There some nonsense about a psychic in there as well but the story is so forgettable, who really cares?

But that isn't the only thing that is forgettable...

For the life of me, I can't recall a single character's name in this movie because every single one of them is a flat, one-dimensional and are extremely poorly executed. Actors tend to either lifelessly deliver their lines or overact like their lives depended on it. But when your character is basically a cardboard cutout, you can't really blame the actors. The best scene that illustrates the problems that arose from the films writing has to be when a woman is killed and her body is found by another woman who, understandably, freaks out. Her husband (at least I think it is her husband, like I said, these characters are forgettable) tells her to calm down but a ruckus from the now reanimated woman causes her to freak out again. What makes this scene really funny is how the husband doesn't react at all to the sound of the disturbance and, instead, sits his wife down in a chair and tells her that he will figure out what is going on. I can tell you what's going on! There's something in the house, you flippin' idiot!

The story becomes even sillier as you find out that the zombies not only have super-strength, they also have mental powers to make a person vomit out their guts and the ability to teleport. Yep, this is the quality of horror film we are working with. It honestly felt like everything was being made up as the film progressed.

I read a review on Rotten Tomatoes on this movie (by the way, it only gets a 50% there) where one man suggested that if you don't drink, you'll be bored by this movie and if you do, you'll vomit because it's gross. Going against that review, I would highly suggest that you consume some sort of mind-altering substance before watching this movie and getting together with a bunch of friends and riffing it from beginning to end. Doing so is the only way one can walk away with any entertainment from this otherwise boring film.