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About

Member Since
March 2004
 
Current Location
Chicago
 
Favorite Line From A Movie
The most expensive habit in the world is celluloid, not heroin, and I need a fix every two years- Steven Spielberg
 
Favorite Scene From A Movie
Not Fair, I have so many!
 
Favorite Movie
Saving Private Ryan
 
Favorite Actor
Jim Carrey
 
Favorite Director
Steven Spielberg
 
Favorite Genre
Any
 
Favorite Critic
Roger Ebert
 
Best Movie Seat
middle
 
Favorite Movie Watching Snack
Popcorn
 
Favorite Movie Watching Drink
Dos Equis Beer
 
When I'm not watching movies, I'm...
Working
 
Fresh or Rotten
fresh
 

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 (2013)
½

The summer blockbuster is finally upon us and the first movie that starts up this holiday tradition (to us film fans) is IRON MAN 3. It's safe to say that I was seriously let down by this movie, big time. Sure it has huge explosions and cool visual effects and some cool action sequences (most notably the last action sequence) but I wasn't impressed, I was expecting more. The plot is good with Stark getting post Avengers shocks and nightmares about what happened and the film makes some funny comments about Stark having those but it ultimately falls flat with one of the biggest characters in the movie: The Mandarin. Every hero needs a great villain right? The Mandarin, according to comic books, is Iron Man's arch nemesis and he is what Joker is to Batman. Oscar winner Ben Kinglsey does a good job in bringing Mandarin to life but I won't say what else happens where I was let down just in case some of you haven't seen it.

As the plot unravels and characters are being introduced, we discover that not only does Iron Man have one villain in this movie but he has 2 and the other one is Aldrich Killian played actively by Guy Pearce. He has this idea of a project that can display your brain via a 3D holographic image to read your mind and ultimately make you do things. The film has some cool action scenes I thought AVENGERS had better action scenes through out and was overall much more entertaining than this one and IRON MAN 2; with IRON MAN being the best one in the IRON MAN franchise.

Here's another issue I had with the film: it tried TOO hard to be funny, even in heroic and inspiring moments. Just don't. Those moments are meant to cause an inspiring reaction from the crowd not to make them laugh DURING that moment. Shane Black is a good director who know how to mix in comedy with action as he did when he directed LETHAL WEAPON and also has written many action/comedy films like LETHAL WEAPON 4 and THE LAST BOY SCOUT (a much superior movie than this one) but it feels forced in this one and it doesn't work in my opinion. We all know Tony is a cocky asshole at times but in this one he pushes his unlikability as displayed when he meets this kid and Tony is incredibly rude towards him. Tony isn't likable in this one. IRON MAN is in a whole other world and is the far better movie in the franchise, then IRON MAN 2 and then this one. Even though IRON MAN 3 opened up as the 2nd opening weekend gross of all time behind last year's AVENGERS, its been a stale start to the summer blockbuster season so far.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Every once in a while there comes a movie that captures your attention. Captures your imagination and most importantly captures the inner film fan in you. That happened to me while watching THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER. I knew its a film based on a popular book, so popular that I hadn't even heard of it until I saw the film. When I sat down I said "here's another one of these movies based on a teen book" I wasn't really thrilled, I thought it was a chick flick to tell you the truth but once I started watching and paying attention to the plot and the characters that's when I began noticing that this isn't JUST another one of those "movies from a book" It's actually a well made, very well acted film about a loner freshman with a secret named Charlie (played by the gifted Logan Lerman who played Christian Bale's son in the 3:10 TO YUMA remake) trying to fit in, trying to find meaning to his life and along the way trying to make some new friends. He does discover some new friends alright, some cool and hip friends named Sam (Emma Watson post HARRY POTTER role) and Patrick (the quirky Ezra Miller)

Both of these friends bring some happiness and meaning to Charlie's loner life and he loves every single minute of it. There are some rough little steps to their friendship, but it is quickly forgotten when Charlie helps Patrick in a tense situation at school. The movie brisks by at 1 hr and 45 minutes but it never bores and there's never a dull moment, you want to watch what happens to Charlie because he is brought to life with such passion and sadness by Logan Lerman that you forget he's an actor playing a character, he is just Charlie. He has these weird nervous looks to him sometimes, especially when he's talking to Sam it makes you feel sorry for the guy. This being a teen film (well, teen but the actors are in their 20s) it feels much more real than that and DOESN'T feel like a teen film at all. It's very well made and I really enjoyed the plot and the minor sub plots and the performances by all three main actors. When the secret that Charlie hides comes out, it's a "damn" moment for sure that you didn't see coming.

I was into the movie so much that everything good that happened to Charlie, i rooted for, I was like YEAH, that's good! Good that he found friends! There's a very cool scene where Charlie, Sam and Patrick just finished having a good night partying and they're riding in their car and they stumbled upon a cool rock song that they all like BUT don't know the name of. I knew the name of the song and who sang it but that doesn't matter. What matters is that Sam does something magical that makes Charlie realize that he belongs in the group and that they are infinite.

The Matrix Reloaded
½

THE MATRIX RELOADED falls in the category of "sequels being better than the originals" it joins ALIENS, TERMINATOR 2 and GODFATHER 2 as being better than the originals. This one has more action, more awesome special effects (even if they do look cartoony at times) I really enjoyed and was entertained by this one even more than the original; don't get me wrong I liked the first film too but this one's superior.

RELOADED has Neo still trying to discover what he's meant to do and goes looking to The Oracle (the late Gloria Foster, who was able to finish the film before she passed) for answers, she gives him some bad news which give him a better grasp of it since the first film and he starts seeing the big picture. He is perceived more as a God in this film, a savior amongst the last remaining human survivors of the human city Zion. Zion is a human city being operated by machines that provide them recycled water, lights, and heat, but there are other machines who want them dead; like the squid like sentinels. They are beginning to dig to reach Zion (Zion is located deep in the Earth's core where there's more heat) and the inhabitants are getting ready to battle these machines unless Neo saves them. Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) still believes that Neo is the One even though his superiors like Commander Lock (Harry J. Lennix) don't believe him.

Morpheus believes even more that Neo can save them because this time around Neo can fight up to 3 or more Agents at a time, whereas in the first film they advised him that the only thing to do if he saw an agent was to...run; AND he flies now while CONNECTED to the Matrix. While he's busy in trying to save Zion he has to deal with Agent Smith who know can travel anywhere he wants in the Matrix AND out of the Matrix (the first big fighting scene involves Neo and Agent Smith)

RELOADED is a big, loud, action packed film filled with 3 HUGE and epically directed action scenes that will leave you breathless. It left me wanting more and the Wachowski brothers know how to pull off these awesome martial arts fighting sequences along with monumental action set pieces.
***1/2

The Matrix
The Matrix (1999)

THE MATRIX is a fun, action packed, dazzling and innovative film. I recently bought the ULTIMATE MATRIX COLLECTION on Blu Ray and the films look better than ever. It begins with a cool opening involving Trinity (Carrie Anne Moss) running from some bad ass dudes with black suits and dark sunglasses (in night time) we later find that these guys are called Agents and they are a force to be reckoned with once your inside THE MATRIX program.

The Matrix is a computer dream world program that people can 'connect' to via a neck connection, and once you're in there you can do anything from kung fu training, running combat simulations, choosing any weapons you want, pretty much anything. We are as confused about The Matrix as Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) who works behind an office cubicle for a respected software company by day and by night is a known hacker who goes by the name of Neo. Through this hacking medium he is found by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) who is like a prophet, a God amongst the other Matrix followers. He guides Neo and explains to him what The Matrix truly is and teaches him the difference between reality and the real world while also telling him that there is a war between humans and machines, Morpheus and his crew live in a hovering craft known as the Nebuchadnezzer and they fear the Sentinels, these robotic squid like flying machines that shoot out laser from their tiny mouths.

Once you get to see the film for a second time, you understand more about what The Matrix is really about. Morpheus believes that Neo is THE ONE, the person who can end the war between humans and machine. It's an interesting story that's filled with original ideas and an awesome action packed climax involving Neo, Morpheus and Trinity.
***1/2

Mystic River
Mystic River (2003)

MYSTIC RIVER is a masterpiece of a film directed by Clint Eastwood and it features an ensemble cast of talented actors led by Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, who both won the Best Actor Oscar and Best Supporting Oscar respectively. I absolutely LOVE this film and everything about it, the acting especially, the directing, the lighting effects (notice the great lighting in Dave's son's room when he's reading him a bed time story) the flow of the film, the story; EVERYTHING. Penn plays Jimmy Markum a tough, old school dude who's had a rough past life but now has a wife (Laura Linney) and three daughters, the oldest one being Katie (Emmy Rossum) Jimmy has two childhood friends: Sean who now is a cop (played by Kevin Bacon who never ceases to impress me with his acting) and the disturbed and troubled Dave (Tim Robbins) who now only just say 'hello' every time they see each other. They end up being drawn back to each other after Jimmy's oldest daughter, Katie, is killed and then that's when the story really begins to unravel as to who killed Katie.

Everything that unfolds towards the discovery of Katie's killer from getting clues, interviewing suspects and witnesses alike, and putting everything together is masterfully directed by Eastwood and expertly written by Brian Helgeland. These clues and interviews are being conducted by Sean and Whitey (Laurence Fishburne in a very interesting role) you would think that the film drags while the plot unravels but not at all, it keeps you sucked in all the way to the surprising ending.

But the thing that keeps me coming to the film is not only the plot and directing, but the acting. Laura Linney plays Annabeth, Jimmy's wife, she brings calm to Jimmy's life and Marcia Gay Harden plays Celeste, Dave's wife who at times is confused about her husband's demeanor. Both Penn and Robbins deserved their Oscars that year because that scene where Penn runs towards the crime scene to see if its his daughter is powerful "Is that my daughter in there?" And the scene where Jimmy admits to Dave that its pissing him off because he can't cry for his daughter AND THEN finally does cry is emotional; its acting at its finest. The film is set in Boston and it seems like filmmakers like filming there because we're seeing more and more films set there like GONE BABY GONE and THE TOWN most notably, its a great setting for a film. Overall if you want to see a powerfully acted, masterfully directed and well written film (which there are a few nowadays) you can't go wrong with this one.
****

The Dark Knight Rises

These Nolan Batman movies have been some of the best comic book films ever made, if not THE best because of what Nolan was able to do, its been truly impressive and remarkable. Turning the world of Batman and making it real, raw and gritty. You wouldn't want to be a citizen of Gotham City with all these super villains and thugs running around.

THE DARK KNIGHT rises, alas, is the last chapter in the Nolan Batman trilogy; and it goes out with a thunderous boom. After seeing it for the 2nd time, I got a better view and a better understanding on the film than the first time I saw it. Ever since THE DARK KNIGHT was released the plots on that film and this one became a little more complicated to follow, filled with little sub plots and waning from one direction to the other; but overall they were made with masterful expertise and vision by Christopher Nolan.

This time around Batman has to face the immensely strong and bald villain Bane (Tom Hardy in a bad ass role) who intensely pushes Batman physically. Even though he pushes Batman, I still think Joker planned a more elaborate and chaotic scheme to push Batman to his limits, more mentally whereas Bane managed to push him more physically. Tom Hardy's depth as an actor is awesome (if you haven't seen BRONSON or WARRIOR you must see them) Bane has a whole terror plot of blowing up Gotham City using an atomic bomb and he blows up a football stadium and the stock exchange to name a few. Batman has a little help in Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) an inspiring and courageous officer named Blake (Joseph Gordon Levitt) and the funny and inquisitive Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) Alfred (Michael Caine) assumes the more fatherly role this time around in wanting Bruce to leave the Batman and move on. All the actors in every film have been superb and this last film is no exception.

This isn't your typical Batmanesque film with Batman taking up all the screen time and the film kind of dragged in the beginning with dialogue, but it does have enough comic book/action moments to make up for it, plus it leads up to an epic climax which will have Batman and film fans alike cheering this last chapter of the Dark Knight legend. I know I was cheering.
***1/2

Silver Linings Playbook
½

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK struck me as a movie that was headed toward the same movie clichà (C) that other movies do, "guy with a disorder of some sort finds relevance and hope in a new person and everything is great" Sure, the guy is partially mentally sick and sure he finds hope and relevance in a new person; but its very well directed and told by director David O. Russell (THE FIGHTER)

Along with how good Mr. Russell made the film it is HEAVILY backed up strong performances from its main and supporting stars that include Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert Deniro. Cooper and Lawrence are nominated for both Golden Globes and SAG awards in Best Actor in a comedy or musical and best actress in a musical or comedy, respectively while DeNiro is nominated for a Best Supporting Actor SAG award. Bradley plays Pat a bipolar diordered guy who is in shambles after losing his wife, he isnt very passive aggressive when his wife is mentioned, he gets angry and still thinks there may be a chance to get back with his wife.

Amidst this emotional and aggressive turmoil lies Pat's dad (DeNiro) who is a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan and is always saying how DeSean Jackson is a dumb ass for not finishing his touchdowns. Pat Sr. has always been there for the oldest son (Shea Whigham) but is trying to reconnect with the troubled Pat Jr.
Along the way in reconnecting with his wife he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) who will try to be the glue to Pat's emotional and aggressive issues. Tiffany is an interesting character theres something about her that conveys tragedy, hope, beauty, sadness and happiness all in one and Lawrence's performance should be recognized as a fine piece of acting. Ever since she debuted in THE WINTERS BONE and then followed it with X MEN FIRST CLASS and then HUNGER GAMES, she has a vast portrayal of characters.

As for Bradley Cooper, this is his best acting from any of his films, and the great DeNiro shows us that he still has enough great acting left in the tank, theres this memorable short scene that takes place in the attic with him and Cooper, and it just got to me. It's a small but heartfelt scene. Hell, there's even a Chris Tucker sighting, he plays Pat's friend Danny and Pat's psychologist Dr. Cliff Patel (Anupam Kher) was hilarious in that Eagles parking lot scene.
Overall this is a very good film worth watching. I enjoyed it very much, will Pat reconnect with his wife? Answers will be revealed, albeit predictable results but nonetheless great.
***1/2

Django Unchained

I love love seeing Tarantino films because as soon as you start watching them, you're instantly hooked, you can't keep your eyes off of the screen. You're sucked in and intrigued at the awesome dialogue that's being spoken. Tarantino truly has a gift for writing intriguing, witty, cool, and SMART dialogue. He makes his actors talk like they're in a different world: Tarantino's world.

DJANGO UNCHAINED is a film starring Jamie Foxx who plays a slave turned bounty hunter who is looking for his wife Broomhilda (the beautiful Kerry Washington in another good performance) in the 1860s two years before the Civil War. He is trained by Dr. King Schultz (another calm and great performance by Christoph Waltz) he has lots of great screen time and his performance as Django's trainer is impeccable. I really admire Waltz' acting.

They find that Django's wife is being held by Calvin Candie (great performance by Leo Dicaprio as well) Tarantino also has a knack for bringing out the best in his actors ala Steven Spielberg. I won't spoil the rest of the film, but what happens later is to die for. Tarantino mixes in action, drama, comedy and old time spaghetti western sound effects and camera shots. There are a lot of Tarantino regulars in the film too like Don Johnson, Michael Parks and Tom Savini who all contribute. Let's not forget about Samuel L. Jackson who plays Stephen Candie's right hand man is superb as well. The film has been nominated for 5 Golden Globes: Best movie Drama category, 2 Best Supporting actor nods for Christoph Waltz and Leo Dicaprio, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

Tarantino's script flows smoothly and even the plot flows well for a 2 hr and 46 min film. Overall, this is classic Tarantino at his best mixing in all sorts of film genres to create his own; I LOVED and thoroughly enjoyed myself seeing this movie. It's a wild ride and I'll never forget what Tarantino said in an interview, he said "when people go see one of my movies I want them to say NOW THATS A FUCKING MOVIE"
That's what I say every time I see a a Tarantino film.
****

Drive
Drive (2011)
½

DRIVE is a mesmerizing, artsy, bold, creative, epic, stylish, crafty and HIGHLY entertaining film, it reminded me why I LOVE cinema. The film gripped me from the incredibly tense and VERY well shot opening scene till the end credits and it NEVER lets down. Ryan Gosling gives a calm but powerful performance as Driver, a guy who does stunt work for the movies and at night drives getaway cars for small heists for extra money. His movie manager is Shannon (Bryan Cranston) who tells him when the next gig will be. It was pretty cool to see a glimpse of the inside work of a stuntman. Gosling is so good in delivering this role because the script called for a character who is a private and loner type of guy in general until he meets and falls in love with his neighbor Irene (the beautiful Carey Mulligan) Sure he might be calm and might utter just one liners when Irene asks him something but when the plot requires him to deal out moments with force and intensity, he delivers. There is a cool scene where he threatens this girl in bed and Gosling delivers it with such a calm intensity that you say to yourself "I didn't know this skinny kid from REMEMBER THE TITANS had this in him" Trust me. He does.

I just got so caught up with the film that the 1 hour and 40 minutes of running time went by so fast, that's when you know a movie is great. You don't even remember to check what time it is because of how good the film is. Albert Brooks plays Bernie Rose the bad guy of the film along with Ron Pearlman who plays Nino, Brooks got nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the sinister Bernie but not an Oscar nomination. Driver gets in trouble involving Bernie through wanting to help Irene and her cute son Benicio (Kaden Lios)from Benicio's father Standard (Oscar Isaac)and that's where it gets even MORE interesting. I've always been a fan of Brooks ever since I saw him in THE SCOUT (1994) he's one of those actors that can play any role his agent finds him.

Another aspect of the film that makes it work so well is the fact that it is very well directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. The chase scenes are shot differently and they include lots of intense closeups of Gosling to keep the tension in the scene alive and they work very well also because the chase scenes don't include background music so it keeps the focus on the action in the scene as well as what's happening inside the car with the characters. There is one incredible stunt move in the second big chase scene that I'm still thinking about this very moment and in fact would make me go and pop in the Blu Ray disc again just to see it. It's that good.

Many things have to come together for a film to work obviously like the editing the cinematography the music and the acting. The acting and directing in this movie are superb but what I also love about the film was the movie's soundtrack. Wow, every song fit perfectly with what was happening on screen, it's kinda like a technoish popish sound that sounded like something that came out of the 70s but it fit in so good, just like every song that Quentin Tarantino adds to his films because they fit in to what's happening on screen and even when its not a song that's being sung; the score is great as well. I just can't stop taking about this film, I REALLY enjoyed it and the only thing that stopped me from giving it 4 stars was the ending, it is not the worst ending of all time, mind you but I felt it could've been better, its one of those endings that leaves it to the audience's imagination as to what happened next. The movie kind of reminded of THE TRANSPORTER but better directed with more finesse.

Like I mentioned before I enjoyed the film very much from beginning to end but there was this one beautiful scene that felt retro in a way based on how it was shot. It was the elevator scene with Driver, Irene and this bad guy. Driver goes in for a kiss to Irene knowing the danger that's about to happen and as he swoops in for the kiss the lighting in the elevator dims beautifully to only reveal Driver and Irene kiss before delving into a brutally bloody moment. Awesome. Beautiful. Thought provoking. And most important of all...different.
3 and a half out of 4 stars.

The Descendants

THE DESCENDANTS is one of this year's best picture nominees and it deservedly so belongs in that list. I knew little about the film going in, I now try not to watch the trailers for a movie I'm going to see so I can just be captivated for 2 hours or more. It's a better movie experience if you do this. I knew it starred George Clooney and the beautiful Shailene Woodley (who is amazing as Clooney's daughter Alexandra) but I didn't know that Mathew Lillard also had a small role in the film. I also knew that it was directed by Alexander Payne whose SIDEWAYS is still my favorite film of his.

THE DESCENDANTS is about a father (George Clooney) trying to cope with his dying wife and the unnerving relationship that he has with his daughters (Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller) and having to weave both of those complicated yet and emotional things together therein lies the plot of the film. He tries to get his daughters together and re examine his future as well as deciding on selling or not selling the family land that was handed down to them from Hawaiian royalty. Films like these sometimes don't even get to see much success at the box office because of their limited releases even with big movie stars but this one did quite well at the box office when it was released. And I'm sure more people will get to see it because of Oscar weekend.

In closing the film is a well directed piece by Alexander Payne who manages to move along the plot while adding a subplot about his wife's loyalty. It is well acted although I thought Clooney could've done a much better job in the emotional scenes, I'm not saying he did poorly and he didn't deserve his Oscar nomination but it was a good performance. I really liked Woodley's performance and even the annoying but funny Sid (Nick Krause) who was there to bring peace and calmness to Alexandra at the beginning and throughout the film and hell, we even got a Beau Bridges sighting. Sometimes people tend to forget about their loved ones because of their busy and chaotic lives that they don't stop to realize that their loved ones need to be reminded that they love having them in their lives, and at the end of the movie we know how important the love of a family is; no matter how hard, sad and tragic circumstances may be.
3 and a half out of 4.

This Means War
½

I knew coming in to this movie that it was going to to be bad. I think I knew that the only actress that would keep me entertained would be Chelsea Handler (and I was right) she steals the movie with her hilarious lines, while the rest of the movie tanked. I don't think any of these actors actually needed the money desperately enough to make it but they ended up doing it and we are asking WHY? Even the action is dull, boring and falls flat for a McG film, who always tends to make energetic and frenetic paced action scenes; not this time.

The movie is about 2 good buddy spies who fall for the same hot girl (Reese Witherspoon looking very beautiful) so they embark on trying to win her over while they have other fellow spies follow her and try to find out everything little information they can about her so they can use that information to woo her. Thus leading to totally not funny moments, the comedy often feels forced and rushed and the editing feels like a music video at times. The director is MCG a former music video director as a matter of fact but I still think that his best movie was TERMINATOR SALVATION.

Chris Pine's career is sky rocketing but he took a wrong turn while starring in this movie while Tom Hardy is a very gifted actor who can play almost but he doesn't belong in the comedy genre. He's an actor who was born to play tough, bad ass English dudes with tattoos, not a gooey buddy spy chasing a girl. I can't wait to see his portrayal of Bane in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. In closing these actors could have done better in another movie, this is the first worst movie of the year.
1 and a half out of 4

Moneyball
Moneyball (2011)
½

MONEYBALL is a very worthy sports movie to be mentioned among movies like HOOSIERS, RUDY, ROCKY and A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN to name a few. It tells the story of how Oakland A's manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and his young Yale associate (Jonah Hill in a very different role he's used to playing) change the way baseball teams are created, managed and built with a small team budget, in depth computer stats and sports science.

We get to see how the game of baseball works on the business and statistical side of things and screenwriters Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin do a good job of making the subject interesting and entertaining without involving too many number crunching formulas. I really enjoyed the film because I'm a huge sports fan but even if you are not a sports fan, you will enjoy this movie led by good performances from Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill and heartwarming Kerris Dorsey. Pitt and Hill were both nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively.

Usually every sports film I see entertains and delights me and this one is no exception. Some sports movies follow the same formulas of a team playing bad at the beginning and then later on the team starts winning all of a sudden and they eventually win a championship, but this story actually happened in 2002 and that's why it works and at the end of the film you're left feeling good and joyful that you saw such a great and pleasant film. I personally don't think that Pitt or Hill will win any Oscar or will the film win Best movie but I highly recommend this film even if you are not a huge sports fan or not into sports at all, It's carried by a very good narrative story, good direction and good performances by the main stars. Even though Billy Beane didn't win the World Series that year, he did change the way baseball teams are built.
***1/2 out of 4

Step Brothers

I don't understand why critics hated this movie, this movie is hilarious and had me laughing out loud. I've never been a big Will Ferrell fan in the first place but this movie will help me round out my top three Ferrell movies (one being ANCHORMAN, two being STRANGER THAN FICTION and this being third) the stupidity and immaturity is what makes this movie funny. That's what its about and that's what the actors and the filmmakers were aiming for and they nailed it.

I think everything Judd Apatow touches turns into comic gold either with him producing or directing because we also know that he will bring his usual suspects of fellow cast members like Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, etc. And in this film Rogen makes a cameo. But back to the movie. The movie is about Brennan (Ferrell) trying to cope with Dale (Chicago native John C. Reilly) and try to live in peace together after their single parents fall in love with one another, who are played by the impeccable Richard Jenkins and Mary Steenburgen. Adam McKay who directed TALLADEGA NIGHTS co wrote this script with Ferrell and Reilly to come up with a hilarious movie filled with funny one liners, hilarious and repeatable lines, immature BUT funny jokes and lots of improv by the two main actors.

Richard Jenkins is hilarious in this film as well and I didn't know he had it in him to do comedy after seeing him in drama films, although he did do a good job as a detective in ME MYSELF AND IRENE. The other supporting cast also do a great job like Adam Scott who plays Brennan's younger brother Derek and Kathryn Hahn (I have a crush on this woman) who plays Alice, Derek's wife but she has hilarious and steamy scenes with Reilly. Rob Riggle plays one of Derek's rich friends and is also very funny in the film. Like I said the movie contains lots of hilarious scenes but the two most ones were the Catalina wine mixer final scene and the comedy gold classic scene where Derek and his family are riding in their Range Rover and are harmonizing Guns N Roses' Sweet Child O' Mine. Very. Funny.
3 and a half out of 4 stars

Wanted
Wanted (2008)

WANTED is an over the top, action packed,violent and fun comic book film about professional killers who can curve bullets and have uncanny adrenaline that make them do things other normal people can't do and it stars Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman. When I first saw the trailer for the film I never knew it was based on graphic comic books by Mark Millar, I was about to jump out of my seat and call this movie preposterous and stupid and so many other things when I saw Mr. X (David O' Hara) jump from across a Chicago skyscraper to the edge of the roof of another building; but then realized its an action/comic book movie so it's all good. I think it may have said at the beginning of the film "based on a comic book by" but I must have missed it.

James McAvoy plays Wesley a loser who has a boring office job and is bothered by his fat and obnoxious boss. He is encountered one day by a very skinny but still good looking Angelina Jolie who takes Wesley on a very well directed action sequence involving a red Corvette and guns (I saw that busted red Corvette one day while I was driving by LaSalle street in the summer of 07 while they were still filming the movie here in Chicago and it was pretty cool) I've always been a fan of James McAvoy's work and even though he's Scottish he does a good job of talking like an American in this film.

Wesley learns that he may have what it takes to become a super assassin who can curve bullets and along the way is taught by Morgan Freeman who plays a modern day Yoda in this film with no green ears or walking sticks. R&B singer Common also teaches Wesley a thing or two. Overall, I liked the over the topness of the film, the action scenes were well directed, the pacing of the story was crisp and the visual effects were good. Oh and it was also filmed in picturesque Chicago, when a film is shot here I like seeing places in the film that I've been to or streets that I've passed by or driven by.
3 out 4 stars

End of Days
End of Days (1999)
½

END OF DAYS is a good thriller involving Satan, disturbing moments leading up to the battle with Satan and Arnold's funny moments when he says a quotable line based on how his Austrian dialect says it. (You're a choirboy compared to me!) Among others. But back to the movie.

Gabriel Byrne (who has been in better films like POINT OF NO RETURN and THE USUAL SUSPECTS) plays the Antichrist in this film who is looking for a woman to have his child and thus bring forward the end of days at exactly midnight on New Year's Eve 1999. The woman that may be the Prince of Darkness' child carrier is played by Robin Tunney (THE CRAFT) who does the better part of the acting job than Schwarzenegger and Byrnes and that's saying a lot.

The movie has some good action scenes and some good visual effects but that's it. The ending is the best part. I think it could have been better in the hands of another director, say, Alex Proyas but Peter Hyams did an OK job for the most part in directing this OK movie.

PS Oh and I never understood why Kevin Pollak's name in the movie is Bobby but in the rottentomatoes cast sheet they have him as Chicago. They never call him Chicago in the film.

2 out 4 stars

50/50
50/50 (2011)
½

50/50 is a great piece of film dealing with a universal topic known as cancer. It's based on screenwriter Will Reiser's own personal experience with cancer. Joseph Gordon Levitt (one of my favorite actors) plays Adam, he lives a good decent life working at at a Seattle public radio station and has a mundane girlfriend named Racheal (played by the beautiful Bryce Dallas Howard) But Adam's decent life comes tumbling down when he learns he has spine cancer. And that's where the movie's plot begins to unravel and we see how Adam deals with the people in his life and how he handles himself, he also spends time with his best friend Kyle (played by stoner buddy king Seth Rogen)

The true subject of this film is love and friendship and how those two things can help a person heal and understand one self to get over whatever the person is dealing with and it will take all that to help Adam cope with what he has. I have always admired Gordon Levitt's work and every time I see one of his movies they always reminds me that he's an amazing actor. He can almost play any role and has played some cool and interesting characters in his career (BRICK, MANIC, MYSTERIOUS SKIN and THE LOOKOUT come to mind) and starred in some great films.

His roles are diverse and you can add this film to his great filmography. Look out for the car scene with Gordon Levitt and Rogen because it's a good and powerful scene. I liked this film because it's a touching movie filled with good performances by the whole cast (even a small role for Angelica Huston as Adam's mom and we cannot overlook Anna Kendrick as Adam's psychiatrist)that uses humor, the power of friendship and love to thwart out the sadness of a loved one with cancer. I'm going to add this film to the list of movies that have made me teary eyed (Yes I admit it, damn it) I loved the ending of the film.
3 and half out of 4 stars

PS
I forgot to mention the fact that the film contains one of the ugliest dogs in movie history, if not THE ugliest dog in movie history. That is all.

The Grey
The Grey (2012)
½

THE GREY is a thrilling, heart pounding, depressing and terrifying movie about survival. It stars Liam Neeson (in one of his best roles)as John Ottway who survives a plane crash along with other survivors, the movie folds the plot along as they have to survive the brutal Alaskan cold and wind and...hungry ravaging wolves.

We know that wolves in real life are savage predators who hunt and eat their prey but in THE GREY they are portrayed as terrifying monsters with no sense of humanity whatsoever, they just kill when they are hungry. The wolf scenes are well directed by Joe Carnahan who delivers the scenes with terror, suspense and then some. I actually jumped during 2 moments in the movie as If I was watching an horror indie film. Even though there have been some other well made survival films (ALIVE, CAST AWAY and RESCUE DAWN come to mind) THE GREY holds its own and can be listed among those great survival films.

This movie also works because it does a good job in developing the fellow survivor characters and you actually feel sorry for them when things happen to them. I also would like to mention that Dallas Roberts (WALK THE LINE) does a good job as Hendrick ( I saw him in WALK THE LINE and thought he did a good job even though he was just in some scenes. But let's go back to NEESON's character Ottway. This character is so depressive and sad because of his past BUT even after all that he manages to show leadership at a time when his fellow survivors need it against all brutal odds. ***1/2 out of 4

PS
Stay after the credits for an interesting shot

Live Free or Die Hard
½

It had been 12 years since the last Die Hard movie graced us with its presence. And now the latest installment of the Die Hard Franchise is upon us and better than ever. Bruce Willis reprises his role as Lt. John McClane (the wisecracking bad ass detective) this time he's dealing with Internet terrorists and the head boss is Timothy Olyphant (who now is Hitman) he does a good job as the villain of the movie.

The flick is filled with awesome action sequences that director Len Wiseman said that they were doing live action sequences and not using CGI. And then Justin Long is introduced as the buddy sidekick for McClane and also succeeds in progressing the movie along, I think Justin Long excels in those type of roles. Bruce Willis is at the top of his game in this movie and still has the acting chops to show us that John McClane is here to stay. The best one of the Die Hard movies. 4 out 4 stars.

I Am Legend
I Am Legend (2007)
½

The trailers for I AM LEGEND showed a promising movie filled with special effects and great acting by Will Smith, and oh yeah did I mention...some sort of creatures? The movie did deliver all those things and then some. I AM LEGEND is the final blockbuster of the year before 2008 blockbuster movies are released and ask for our money, and Will Smith's performance alone is great enough to just go and see the movie, obviously people are going to see the film because of the creatures and the promising action they saw in the trailers; but do it because of Will Smith as well.

He has come a long way and he is mesmerizing in this film and will remain one of the top 10 actors of our time. Before I AM LEGEND he starred in THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS another great performance role, which he was nominated for an Oscar. The movie is about a virus that wiped out the entire planet and left one survivor: Robert Neville (Smith) and his adorable and cute German Shepherd dog which show them how they manage to survive trying to look for a cure to stop all those people aka creatures that were infected with the deadly virus. The movie has awesome special effects and a cool opening showing Smith in a bad ass Shelby GT500 hunting a deer, and then some intense and nerve wrecking creature scenes, all in all this movie delivers and as soon as I saw the trailer for the movie I knew this was going to be a great film, and it is. Watch at the end how Robert Neville manages to become a legend.
4 out of 4 stars



*Note*
Get to the theater fast, get your popcorn, drinks and whatnot, because you do not want to miss the first ever 2 minute trailer of the new Batman movie: The Dark Knight. Trust me, that alone is worth the price of admission.

*2nd Note*
This is an old review :)

The Kingdom
The Kingdom (2007)
½

This is one of those movies that when you see the trailer you know it's going to be filled with intense action (and it is) but see what they failed to mention is that the action would take place at almost the middle ending part of the movie. Don't get me wrong this movie was good, I like Peter Berg as a director and actor (he has a brief cameo as one of the FBI agents in the room with Jamie Foxx in the beginning of the film) and I love Berg's directing style. Closeups, intense action scenes, fast editing (almost like Michael Mann in a way) he did the same thing with "Friday Night Lights" and I think he is one of the best to use the montage with strumming slow rock guitars (see the ending and "Friday Night Lights")

It's funny I should mention Michael Mann because Peter Berg was one of the supporting actors in Mann's film "Collateral". But yeah I have no problem with the plot or the intense action, it works well, the acting was ok, I especially liked Chris Cooper's character but the person who takes the cake of good actor for the film is Ashraf Barhom (Foxx's Arabian Sgt friend) I think the casting directors have found something with this guy. Next time, when a trailer shows up make sure that Don LaFontaine (the movie trailer guy) says "oh yeah the action will be at the end" ha. 3 out of 4 stars.

The Simpsons Movie
½

I'm probably going to get a lot of people bashing me but who cares when I say that I've only seen like 3 episodes of The Simpsons and am not a big fan of the show; I prefer Family Guy. Why am I reviewing this film then, you ask? Well because its a comedy and I just happen to like comedy and good animation and "The Simpsons Movie" has both. So there you go :) I know The Simpsons might be the best TV show ever and I know how popular the show is (I'm not THAT stupid) but what I didn't know was how good the movie was going to be I expected it to be funny: which it was. I expected it to be super funny: it wasn't from a scale of 1 to 10 on being funny I would say its an 8, its still good. The scene when Bart skates to Krusty Burger naked is funny as hell. Homer has to decide to be with his family or just himself really, because sometimes, or all the time, he is too stupid to real[ize how much he loves his family and how much they love him back. The movie has some surprises but I will let you discover them by yourself, overall, a movie that people couldn't wait to see...delivered. 3 and half out of 4 stars.

Blade Runner
Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner" is the best Ridley Scott film, it might rival "Gladiator" and "Alien" BUT to me, this one takes the price. Everyone talks about the great effects and Scott's vision of Los Angeles circa 2019, but I look at Harrison Ford's character of Rick Deckard; and to me that's one of the best movie characters of all time. Because Ford I mean, he's the perfect Deckard I can't imagine any other actor playing him, (like Matt Damon was born to play Jason Bourne and Malcolm McDowell was born to play Alex DeLarge) I also think that Daryl Hannah (Pris) Rutger Hauer (Roy Batty) and Sean Young (Racheal) did good jobs as well in the acting department. When you think about it Ford had some great movies that he appeared in the late 70s and early 80s. The "Star Wars" films, the "Indiana Jones" films and "Blade Runner". Back to the film, hall125 of California said it best "It is a film that will not age; it is timeless and on that note, it is important to acknowledge that this film will never be forgotten" And he is right, this vision that Scott managed to portray on film is masterful and the plot is good and everything but this movie focuses more on the eye candy than its plot. I especially loved the little photo machine that Deckard has in his room to close up or zoom on pictures. Again, I loved this movie and it is a masterpiece, every sense of the word. 4 out of 4 stars.

Cloverfield
Cloverfield (2008)

Was Cloverfield worth the wait? Yes. Was Cloverfield good? Yes. But most important of all did Cloverfield deliver? Yes it did. The idea of shooting a movie through the handheld camera perspective was genius and it apparently worked, yes you've probably heard everyone say that its the Blair Witch meets Godzilla, and it basically is. You have the shaky camera from Blair Witch and you have the monster attacking the city so its perfect. The movie is just an hour and 25 minutes but it delivers with good scared and scenes of intense suspense and people running from smoke and whatnot, the acting of the movie was good, but I thought it could've been better. Overall it was good. As for the famous monster that everyone was talking about ever since the teaser trailer hit the internet, the monster is cool and you don't get to see this type of monster in other films, so its safe to say without spoiling anything that this monster is brand new and it has not been seen before. But there is another twist to this monster that I'm going to let you see for yourself, even though this movie is good and everything you have to hand it to the marketing people of this movie, it was one of the best marketing I have ever seen for a movie and that alone is going to help this movie be successful. Don't be surprised if this movie makes like 90 million or more on its opening weekend. Good movie it was worth the wait and one more note there is a warning about people getting motion sickness because of the way the movie is filmed. People who get motion sickness easily should take note, also wait at the end of the movie for something...
3 out 4 stars.

Rambo (Rambo IV)
½

We've seen Sylvester Stallone's character age before us in his films, he came back to do Rocky when people said he was too old to fight, now he comes back to do Rambo and people were still saying that he was too old. But you know what? I liked this movie, its action packed and that's what matters, audiences don't care if he's too old and can't do a movie anymore, once you're in the seat and the lights go out, you leave that all behind and enjoy the film. Which is what I did and always do once I see every film. You may have heard that this film might be the most violent film of all time, maybe not all time, but IT IS VERY violent, which is awesome for me; but maybe not for other people. They show kids being killed, which, may be too disturbing for some audience members. For me, I ENJOY violence very much in movies, the more the better (I don't enjoy when they show kids being killed on film though, and in a gruesome manner no less) I might not like it but that's how it really is in those countries filled with genocide and guys raping women and not caring about kids.

And that's how the "bad guys" are in this movie. And John Rambo is there to finish the job and let me tell you, Stallone's still a bad ass when it comes to his iconic John Rambo character, I was freaking cheering when he destroyed bad guys left and right in a bad ass way man! The movie does have a plot and obviously its very cliche and the pacing is uneven BUT WHO cares? Some doctors and assistants want to go help as many of the refugees as possible, aiding them with medicine and vaccines and giving them food and such, and you know what Rambo has to do; as long as it is done right then it doesn't matter. Along the way Rambo is joined by some very well cast mercenaries. The film is well edited too, in conclusion this movie was good and I thoroughly enjoyed it, it has a lot of action and a lot of bodies flying everywhere but its well made...and that matters, oh yeah and did I mention a lot of well filmed action? 3 out of 4 stars

No Country for Old Men

Joel and Ethan Coen have a thing for making movies in places that America doesn't usually see. And the setting for "No Country" is moody and haunting. Javier Bardem's performance is one to talk about and top notch also Josh Brolin's performance as Llewelyn (funny name) and Tommy Lee Jones as well although he doesn't get as much screen time as Bardem and Brolin. All the performances in the movie are good and I've said it before and I'll say it again I love movies with great acting and good ensemble pieces and this one doesn't disappoint. Even though this movie is good and all the ending sucked. Pure and simple, maybe I didn't get it or something but I saw it a 2nd time and still was puzzled, everyone I've talked to tells me the movie is great BUT that ending. What do you guys think? Plot wise the movie is good and the cinematography is breathtaking, the shot where Brolin goes back to give the dude water and then looks back to see if his truck is still there is awesome, with the moon light only visible and illuminating his truck is cool. Also is Bardem real? Or is he just a ghost because Richard Roeper yesterday mentioned that "he might be a ghost", so all in all this movie was good and it did deserve the Best Movie award. 4 out 4 stars.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Just saw the film today and I was pleased with the way it was made. I mean I heard great reviews for the film from fellow movie reviewers and Richard Roeper loved it. What did I think about it? Well it delivered. It was funny and it delivered, there are some movies out there that say they're funny but are really not, but this one's in a world if it's own. Judd Apatow and his fellow regulars like Paul Rudd, Bill Hader and Jonah Hill make appearances in this movie but fellow pal Seth Rogan does not, I don't know why. The movie is basically about a guy named Peter (Jason Segel, who is great here) getting dumped by his hot girlfriend (Kirsten Bell) and trying to get over it, but along the way he meets very interesting characters that make the movie very worthwhile. He goes on a trip to Hawaii to forget about it and meets another hot chick in Rachel Jansen (Mila Kunis) who might make Peter forget about his ex. The movie has very funny moments that had me laughing out loud, also the people that I saw it with were laughing loud as well, when a movie has more than 20 moments of bursting out laughter scenes, then it's officially funny haha.

Like I've mentioned in other Judd Apatow related movies, everything he touches is funny, if he directs something or produces something then you know it'll be funny. He has a comedy knack that other comedy people in the industry lack, and that separates him from the rest of the funny people. All in all this movie is very fun and delivers, so take some friends with you and have a blast with Peter's very funny friends like Bill Hader's character haha. 3 and half out of 4 stars.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
½

Indy's back. With full force. The movie's plot is about this secret alien crystal skull that was discovered and Indy must take it back to it's original spot so someone or some "thing" can go back to where they came from. The movie is filled with the usual foreign villains (this time Russians) to try and spoil Indy in getting the skull back to it's spot and the boss of the baddies is none other than hot Australian actress: Cate Blanchett. Seriously is there a movie this woman CAN'T do? She's almost in every movie nowadays, she's like Jude Law when he was in his prime from 2000 to 2007 appearing in almost every film. She does a good job here as the Russian boss Irina Spalko (and did I mention that she's hot as a Russian villainess?)

Harrison Ford reprises his role as the famous Indiana Jones and does all of his stunts, I read. And that's good because I don't think he's that old and looks great. He even told a magazine that that this is the best he's felt in 10 years. Along the way we meet Mutt Wiliams (played by Shia LaBeouf) who may or may not be Indy's son and also Marion Ravenwood (played by Karen Allen who also appeared in Raiders) She makes a good addition to the movie returning as Marion to help out Indy and to add the romance back to the film. Ray Winstone plays Indy's "sidekick" you can say, this guy made a career doing TV voices and ever since we saw him as Mr. French in The Departed, casting agents saw talent in him and now he's here and I think has a career as being that 3rd ord 4th actor (which is good as well)

The movie is very entertaining and adventurous as well as adventure movies should be. There is an awesome 15 minute jungle chase that's sure to leave you on the edge of your seat and it doesn't end when the car chase is over. It has action and has humor that Indy fans have come to know and love (I know I do). Forget about CGI in the movie, (even though the magnificent Spielberg has a tool that many other directors sometimes can't get for their movie and that is: ILM, being friends with George Lucas has it's merits) But still, forget about all that and go to the movies, release the adventurous kid inside you and grin like a kid at the good ole' movies; because this movie makes you feel like you're watching one of those great adventure movies that only Spielberg, Lucas, and Ford can bring you.

Even though this is still no RAIDERS (the best of the whole Indy movies) it still delivers big time. And I enjoyed every minute of it. A nice addition to the Indiana Jones franchise. 3 and a half out of 4 stars.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Coming into this I had read some reviews here on rotten tomatoes and they were all bad and I was like "oh ok here we go with the bad reviews". The film is bad BUT I'm starting to notice this trend in horror films were the films themselves are well directed and the acting is a top notch higher. I don't know if some other people have mentioned this but that's what I'm getting with some horror films. I liked Jackie Earle Hailey's version of Freddy Krueger although no actor alive is ever going to top Robert Englund's Freddy. Some of the kill scenes are top notch and basically that's why horror fans come to see movies like these, for the kills, I know I do and see some new comers; although some of the young actors here aren't that new. I was very surprised with the pacing, I wasn't bored at all, Freddy almost appeared in every time and that was good because people came to see Freddy. Overall I thought it lacked thrills and better dialogue BUT I did like how they tried to make Freddy scary again and not childish like in parts 4 and 5. The best NIGHTMARE films in my opinion A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984) A NEW NIGHTMARE (1994) and this new film. 2 and half stars out of 4.

Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 (2010)

The first movie was better. But still this one is a worthy summer blockbuster sequel nonetheless. It's not as action packed as some fans have called it but it's still filled with enough action to keep you watching; I believe the film is fueled by Downey Jr's acting. We usually don't mention the acting in comic book films (unless it's DARK KNIGHT) but I though the all star cast from Downey Jr to Jon Favreau were great. Especially that of Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer and Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko and we get sexiness from Scarlett Johanssen (wow, she's beautiful). I also thought that Don Cheadle did a good job as Col. James Rhodes, I don't think no one's going to mention anything about bringing back Terrence Howard. Overall I thought it was a good movie the beginning was kinda dragging but then it picked up after Stark saw his Dad's message and like I said it has some cool action scenes. 3 stars out of 4.