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About

Hometown:
Pittsburgh, PA (Currently Chicago)
 
Favorite Movies:
Anchorman - The Legend Of Ron Burgundy, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Wayne's World, Pulp Fiction, 500 Days of Summer, Inception, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Drive, Grindhouse, Away We Go, Pineapple Express, Superbad, Garden State
 
Favorite Actors:
Robert Downey Jr., Sam Rockwell, Justin Long, Ben Stiller, Jon Favreau, Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Jim Carrey, Jack Black, James Franco, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Christopher Nolan, Mark Wahlberg
 
Celebrity Crush:
Emma Stone
 
Actor Who Would Play You:
Nick Offerman
 
Bio:
I love movies and love reviewing them. I love talking with others that have the same interest even more. @jawsmartin on Twitter!
 

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Chef
Chef (2014)

So, so good. I recommend.

Review Points:

- I can't believe Favreau wrote, directed, and starred in this. What a talented man.
- Amazing cast. So nice seeing John Leguizamo is a larger, supporting role. He's so wonderful.
- Vergara, Platt, Johansson, Hoffman, and Downey Jr. are pleasant surprises in their small roles
- The child actor, Emjay Anthony, as Percy is great. Holds his own and is likable
- Chef is very, very predictable. You pretty much know exactly how the movie will unfold. You just got to enjoy the journey.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Seriously get better after each viewing. A very worthy sequel to one of the best comedies of all time. An absolutely astonishing feat.

Knocked Up
Knocked Up (2007)
½

A great film. This came out back when I was in HS and 40yr Old Virgin and SuperBad had just came out; I was completely in love with Judd's work. The magic has kinda worn off since then. I mean, I love it, just not as much. The movie is pretty long. I get bored half way through every time I watch it. Seth's character takes forever to like and Heigl takes just as long if not longer. Apatow always has a superb cast: Hill, Rudd, Mann, Segel, and Baruchel are highlights.

The Dark Knight Rises
½

In the very, very, very minority, but I think this movie, despite it's flaws, is better than the Dark Knight (2008.)

Review Points:

- Tom Hardy is amazing. What a quality follow-up to Ledger's Joker.

- To that point, Bane' deserved a better send off; he was an unstoppable, intimidating, dark presence the entire film...and then is destroyed in minutes. Not only was his last fight with Batman weak, but the love-driven backstory lessened his scariness and was unnecessary. I also hated that a single rocket from Catwoman, of all people, put the nail in his coffin. I would have loved to see have seen him get back up, and keep fighting until his "spirit or his body" broke.

- The countdown sequence at the end of the movie was lame. Just like in Batman Begins, and Dark Knight, the ending is just Batman trying to beat the clock. Yawn.

- The misdirection in the beginning of the film was a carbon copy of the Bank/clown misdirection of Dark Knight.

- Anne Hathaway, despite the fan backlash for the year-and-a-half before the film, knocked it out of the park. Wonderfully dark, complex character. I like how she can completely switch personas.

- BY FAR the most interesting movie with Batman/Bruce Wayne. My biggest gripe with Nolan's trilogy/Bale is that he is boring. He simply takes up screen time that is supposed to go to the villain. I genuinely liked seeing Batman/Bruce this time around. I was rooting for him the whole time.

- The movie's tone is dark and suffocating. You spend the entire film wondering if Batman will overcome. You don't think there is light until the very end. Loved it.

Zombieland
Zombieland (2009)
½

Overrated film is overrated. I've tried to like this film as much as everybody else, but just can't.

Review Points:

- Emma Stone is a babe. Always a babe.

- Woody Harrelson's character is just too silly for me. Can't take him seriously in his "BA" persona.

- Jesse Eisenberg is one of the most annoying actors there is. I fell bad saying that, because he's obviously talented, and probably a nice guy, but he's the same damn mousy character in every film. He looks scared and timid in every scene.

- Bill Murray's cameo is amazing.

- I liked the rules (somewhat) for surviving in Zombieland. I namely liked how the typography interacted with elements within the movie.

Gremlins
Gremlins (1984)

Review Points"

- The movie starts hot and then half-way though, drags big time. I love the introduction to Gizmo and his "rules", once the to evil Gremlins pop up, the movie just becomes us watching them do silly, pop-culture referencing things. I felt it was pretty boring.

- Gizmo is adorable. I've read that there was a giant marketing push behind this movie when it came out and it makes total sense. Every time I watch Gremlins, I hop on ebay and see if I can buy one.

- Wonderful 80's tinge to the movie.

- Phoebe Cates? Yes, please. Her character, Kate, outside of being a love interest, is extremely questionable, though. She has a strange background story and doesn't really add to the story,

- While the lead, Billy, is certainly likable, he's pretty boring.

- Absolutely loved the Mom turning the table on the evil Gremlins and killing them one by one in the kitchen. By far, my favorite scene. (though, watching Mrs. Deagle fly out the window is a close second)

- I really liked the darker elements in the beginning of the movie, like the killing of the the science professor. It created a very unique horror/comedy vibe. You don't see anymore of it for the rest of the movie, though.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit
½

Superb animation, a neo-noir detective story, and dark, adult humor create one of the most iconic movies of all time.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
½

One of my favorite movies. Val Kilmer is amazing.

Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3 (2013)

Good film, not great, but better than IM2. Main criticisms: Downey Jr. was never really Iron Man in IM3. Tony Stark and Iron Man were practically separate entities the entire film: the suit was either being controlled by Stark safely from a distance, or the suit simply fought by itself (controlled by Jarvis?) The suit constantly came in to save the day . I'd write more...but Rotten Tomatoes keeps deleting my reviews halfway through. I'm done re-typing it for now.

Horrible Bosses
½

Review Points:

A dark comedy that isn't quite dark enough. The premise of killing your boss isn't executed as well as you'd hope. It's funny to see them fumbling through the process, "Burn After Reading" style, but I wished it had a little more darkness to it like the later accomplished. A little bit of Hot Fuzz-type kills would have been great, too.

Doesn't have the funniest dialogue. Just a lot of banter.

Jennifer Aniston (!!!), Spacey, and Farrell (in his small role) steal the show. Dark and twisted in their own way. I like that you hate all of them for different reasons.

Wraps up way too neatly. Again, I nice injection of dark comedy and a messy ending would have been great.

Loved seeing Charlie Day in a feature film. The guy is hilarious and deserves way more gigs.

Rapture-Palooza

I've never heard of Rapture-Palooza until now...and I know why. What a strange, disappointing film. I'd imagine neither Kendrick nor Robinson would want people to know they had any part in this. You would think a movie with them at the helm, surround by a strong cast of comedians would have worked. Rapture Palooza plays out like a movie that should only watched on comedy central at 3am, after a night of drinking.

Review Points:

- The name, first. "Rapture-Palooza" Really?

- Anna Kendrick looked like she was ready to fall asleep the entire movie. I get that they were trying to make her (and Daley's character, Ben) look relaxed, and nonchalant about everything going on, but it came across annoying. Every once in awhile Ben freaks out and drops a couple 'holy sh*ts' and holy 'f*cks' but that's about the extent of the emotional range for them. Anna doesn't really show anything but being bored the whole time.

- Craig Robinson pretty much improvises all of his lines. Most of his dialogue is just sexually explicit cracks at Kendricks character, fired off continuously (ba-duh-tshh) While the improv isn't terrible (he talks and acts like a genuine d-bag) the jokes extremely hit or miss.

- I didn't get the zombie neighbor character. Thomas Lennon is a hilarious actor and he was wasted on him.

- Rob Corddry plays his typical 'd*ck' character (like Hot Tub Time Machine, Harold and Kumar) but instead of him having funny moments, he's just mean-spirited and unlikable. Generally, a lot of the comedy of RP is mean-spirited.

- Funny cameo by Ken Jeong as god.

- Paul Scheer was hilarious as the security wraith

- Really weak climax.

- They tried to circle the movie around, Hangover style (show end of movie first, then work up to it) but they never acknowledged that fact in the narration the second time around which bugged me.

- On that point, the narration was annoying and felt lazy. You can really tell that the problem with the movie is the script. There are great leads, a great supporting cast, a great premise...but they don't really have anywhere to go. They just kind of float along. Rapture-Palooza was just executed poorly.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

It's unfortunate that I saw so many negative reviews for TMNT before I saw it. I undoubtedly had lowered expectations and found myself trying to find all the faults the critics mentioned.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the movie wasn't nearly as bad as they made it. The 19% Critics RT is way off. I'd give it a 50-59% rating, much closer to the 63% Audience RT rating.

Review Points:

- Like many others who had the fortune of watching the old, Jim Henson made, movies of the 90's, I cannot get over the look of the turtles. THat's not to say they its all bad: I am completely onboard with their attire. They all have unique clothing that matches their personality (Donny is awesome)

The turtles' face are by far the hardest thing to get over. The noses and teeth are alien-esque and monster-like, not friendly like they have always been. I would not be surprised if the ratings of this film were 25+% if they had their original, big nosed faces from the tv show and old movies.

- There is no "Ninja" aspect to this film. The turtles are enormous monsters who simply pummel/overpower people.

- I liked the new Splinter. I've only ever seen him as a lowly old rat, not the exciting, fighting one seen here.

- The origin story of the turtles has always been silly, I did like the experimentation aspect, even though their reasoning for experimentation was hard to grasp.

- I really disliked the made-up storyline that the turtles (and Splinter) were pets of April O'Neil. I don't know why they thought this was a good idea connecting them.

- Speaking of O'Neil, I don't think Fox was terrible. Her acting has always leaved much to be desired, but it was serviceable. I would have loved to see a more veteran actress, though, like a Portman or Hathaway. I'm admittedly, a little disappointed I will have to see Fox in future installments.

- They completely mishandled Shredder (and the Foot Clan) here, opting for a sort of Transformers meets Terrorist organization, instead of an underground Ninja organization led by an old-school Samurai warrior. Something similar to Batman Begin's League of Shadows would have been perfect.

- I do not understand the necessity for Fichtner's Eric Sacks character in this at all. So much screen time was given to him, instead of Shredder. Shredder, more or less, is just muscle in this movie and given absolutely no time for character development or background story.

- On that note, the new super shredder looked neat, but was too Transformers for my taste.

- They did so much grounding for the Foot Clan (as terrorists) that I'm not sure how they will handle the franchise moving forward. How will they introduce characters like Krang and Bebop/Rocksteady? I wish they handled TMMT like Sony handled the new Amazing Spiderman franchise, in that it was a bit silly and over-the-top, and played more as a comic book/cartoon, than a real-life interpretation.

- Some bad Michael Bay dialogue. The Michaelangelo/O'Neil comments were uncomfortable ("she's making my shell tight")

Bridesmaids
Bridesmaids (2011)

Hilarious. What a surprising film. I didn't have expectations going in and was genuinely surprised. I think I've seen it 4-5 times and it gets better each time.

Great story, great acting. Nothing negative to say.

Bridesmaids has some of the funniest dialogue of any comedy I've ever seen, which is unique for a female-driven film. Usually comedies centered around a female lead are either not made to appeal to any audience besides other women or if they do, fail considerably. Easily one of the best comedies of the last 5 years.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Definitely a disappointment after the first film (which was amazing).

19% RT rating isn't a good reflection of the quality of the film. I believe the 58% audience rating is far more appropriate.

Review Points:

- Michael Bay has earned the reputation for loud, obnoxious, relatively dumb films, which I think started to pick up steam with Transformers:RotF.While I'm not anywhere near as mean-spirited in my critique of Bay, as most are, I did notice a lot of the points they were making: the language is juvenile, the story is lacking, characters nonexistent, and special effects over the top. That being said, I still don't think any of it was significant enough to warrant the backlash. The film is far from great, but does its job of being a blockbuster film. It looks great and feels like summer.

- Megan Fox continues to be oversexualized/exploited in every scene. As a 17/19yr old male at the time of release, I had no problem with the eye candy, but agreed with most that its eyerolling and unneeded.

- Shia LaBeouf became one of my favorite actors after Transformers 1 and Disturbia... and I continue to like him in this film. He's a fun protagonist

- The Transformers were handled very questionably in this film: they have dialogue like "Damn, I'm good" and "Punk-Ass Decepticon" and at one point "Who's your Autobot?" (while humping Megan Fox's leg). Other questionable points include a Transformer sporting a Phallic missile launcher, one dangling robot balls, and one farting fire from his tailpipe. There's also the much talked about Twin Transformers who seemingly portray racially-insensitive stereotypical black characters.

The Karate Kid
½

Cheesy in all the best ways.

Gravity
Gravity (2013)
½

Review Points:

- At some point the luck of main character, Stone (Bullock) is so bad, it becomes a joke. I found myself saying, "what could possibly go wrong next." in every scene...Will an alien come onboard? Will she lose a body part? Will a sharknado appear...everything that can possibly go wrong, goes wrong.

- Really great score. So eerie.

- Has a Quentin Tarantino-esque amount of banter and plot-unrelated dialogue that fleshes out the characters.

- I watched this on my ipad so could really appreciate the "visually stunning" aspect of the film. It looked good, but probably would have been100x better in a theater or big screen.

World War Z
World War Z (2013)

Finally got around to rewatching this. The first time I put it on, I got bored 15min in and turn it off. This, time, forced myself to watch it and as a whole, not much better than the next 100min, but passable. If you like the TV show, Walking Dead and the movie I am Legend (Will Smith, 2007) you'll like WWZ. It does seem to be inspired by 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead (2004), too.

Review Points

- BY FAR my favorite aspect of the movie is the score. Marco Beltrami did such a great job for setting the dark, depressing, zombie-apocalypse vibe of WWZ. The music stands out so much. It reminded me a lot of the 28 Days Later in that regard.

- Probably the most disappointing aspect of the film, is probably it's biggest draw, Brad Pitt. He just doesn't work. I don't know how else to describe him. He doesn't feel believable in his role as the "Dad who saves the world." He looks like a fashion model that should be advertising sunglasses. I joke, obviously, but, it's hard to get past. They tried to put him as a family guy with lots of kids, when it would have been more appropriate to cast him as just another guy that comes to the world's rescue (a la the amazing 28 Days Later) I understand they needed the family aspect to increase the drama and create a Walking Dead (which will bring in the masses) but in all honesty, I hated the Walking Dead and would have loved to see the angle axed.

- Another disappointing part of WWZ is the lack of exposition. I know they wanted to throw the audience straight into the action (a la, for the 4th time mentioning, 28 Days Later), but it missed a giant opportunity to flesh out the characters and get us, the viewers, attached before they are thrown into the mayhem. Lane's (Pitt) backstory as a government hero was half-assed as a result.

The LEGO Movie
½

Review Points:

- Really great voicework/cast. Will Arnett as Batman, Morgan Freeman Vitruvius, Will Farrell as President Business...

- Beautiful animation. The stop motion building mixed with the CGI is pretty cool.

SPOILER: I wasn't particularly fond of the movie until the final chapter. The introduction of the real characters controlling the Lego universe was one of the coolest twists I've ever seen.

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy

Really great documentary that covers the entire series. They give so much insight into each movie. Its extremely satisfying. My favorite aspect is that Never Sleep Again showcases the genuine love the actors, directors, workers had for their entries in the franchise. They spoke so glowingly about their roles some 20+ years after the fact.

- I absolutely loved the stop-motion animation used to introduce the documentary. They were carried out throughout, but were most impressive in the opening sequence.

- I can't believe how thorough they were in bringing back past cast members. It's unbelievable. I do wish Johnny Depp (N1) and Patricia Arquette (N3) would have had an appearance, though. But, outside of those two, everyone else is there.

- I liked the setup and pacing of documentary. Just the right amount of time is given to each film. I like that they introduce the cast and directors first, one-by-one (with their various backstories) then show how the film was made (almost scene-by-scene) then wrap it up with the box-office, post-film results. It just feels thorough. I didn't expect them to have that amount of detail for each. I thought they'd do the first film that way, but not the next 6 films. But, they gave each film their due.

- This is the first time I realized how truly important the director is. From Wes Craven, and the other 5 directors, you really see how their personality and vision shaped the films. You really see how each film differs from one another because of these people.

- Heather Langenkamp narrates which is nostalgic. By far my favorite character in the films...and what a babe, still.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 - The Dream Master
½

I don't know how much I was influenced by reviews of Dream Master prior to watching it, but I fear it was enough that I went in with a somewhat negative attitude, ready to jump onboard with the other haters. Instead of just going in and enjoying the ride, I felt myself prone to look for its faults and criticize quite a bit. That being said, N4 wasn't very good, and a disappointment after Dream Warriors.

Review Points

- I made a point in my Dream Warriors review to say how I'm officially on the "sigh...Freddy's back... again" bandwagon. It's eye-rolling now. Craven crafted great stories to effectively kill Krueger off in N1 and N3, but movie studios be damned, and we see him come right on back. Not a big fan. Now, you may be asking yourself "Then why the hell are you watching N4 then if you know he's not going to die, dumbass?" Well, I love the franchise thus far and feel like I can be swayed into believing he can be brought back in a way that makes sense for the story. However, they definitely didn't bring Freddy back in such a way. I mean...you're telling me that the only thing keeping Freddy dead is if he continues to be buried under a few inches of dirt? That if a dog digs up his bones up and pisses on him... that he can come back? That's all that needs done? OK then.

SPOILER: We all know that Freddy survives in N4 to make a N5 and N6. That being said, I find it harder and harder to stay engaged while watching N4 knowing that everyone will die and nothing they do will work. Unlike Halloween and Scream, we never have any character last. It's hard to get behind the protagonist(s) if you know they are simply fodder for Freddy. We just create this endless cycle of introducing new teens and retelling the Freddy Krueger origin story over and over.

- SPOILER: N4 introduces yet another way to kill Freddy (we are up to 4) which is that he dies...if he sees his reflection? I'm truly lost for words. Well, "Love" killed him in N2, so I guess anything is possible at this point.

- Patricia Arquette didn't reprise her role from Dream Warriors as protagonist, Kristen? Why? They did an OK job finding someone who looks like her (Tuesday Knight), but it was kind of disappointing to not see the correct actor there. Also, while Arquette wasn't necessarily a great actor (in N3), she is leaps and bounds better than Knight. Knight (and Alice/Wilcox) combine to form by far the worst leads I've ever seen. Eye-rolling acting.

- On that point. ALL acting in N4 is pretty awful. Just an absurdly untalented group of actors. What the hell happened?

- I love that the Nightmare franchise continues to follow the same storyline from the previous films by keeping survivors of N3, Kristen, Kincaid, and Joey, around. However, how did they leave the Mental Hospital from N3 and get put back into the school setting? I guess we are supposed to assume that they got released after Freddy died, but I wish they would have mentioned it to help with story continuation.

- On that point, 99% of the movie takes place in said school. Feels super claustrophobic. You rarely see the character leave (except to go to a funeral)

- SPOILER: It's super lame how fast they killed off Kincaid and Joey. They are killed within the first 15min and were killed off without spectacle. I mean, in N3, they introduced a new, creative Freddy that used twisted humor to kill the teens off. Instead, Freddy just stabs and kills. (I did appreciate the one-liner: "How's this for a wet dream" in Joey's death. If these characters were strong enough/important enough to survive N3, why get rid of them so quickly and in a boring fashion?

- In general, They killed off everybody in a super fast, abrupt fashion. New characters in N3 aren't given much time to develop before they are killed off. It really feels like a cliche modern slasher flick. They simply die one after another.

- There is a HUGE drop off in production value in N4 compared to N3. HUGE. The kills aren't spectacular, the sets aren't creative or polished. N4, all-around, feels like a TV Special (kind of like Goosebumps/Tales of the Crypt) Visually, there's just little-to-nothing, which is the complete opposite of N3. Just a crazy drop off in quality. I mean, look at that invisible Karate fight. C'mon.

- Really bad pop/80's music throughout. Feels super out of place.

- We see a lot of Freddy in N4 and when we do, he's not scary in the slightest. He's just a cartoon. A cartoon that can't stop smiling and making one-liners. There's very little to actually be frightened off and there's absolutely no suspense.

SPOILER: I liked Debbie's cockroach death. Super creepy (don't know how you fall asleep bench pressing, though) The "sucked the life out of her" effect used to kill Sheila was gruesome.

- I really dug the scene where Alice gets sucked into the movie screen and how, once in, can see back into the audience. Really creative.

SPOILER: Huge plot hole in this part of the movie where Alice and Danny are driving to rescue Debbie (we are given clear evidence Debbie is awake and lifting weights) before she falls asleep and gets attacked by Freddy (pretty funny deja vu segment, by the way) and they realize they are dreaming. However, how did they fall asleep? How did they fall asleep together? On their way to rescue Debbie they crash into Freddy...in a dream...how did Dan get injured in real life as if the accident happened in real life (there was a real paramedic, they put him under, etc.) How did they make such a huge mistake here?

- On that point of no suspense: the entire movie follows the same formula: kid gets separated, nods off, then dies. While this is certainly not different than the previous 3 movies, its super apparent this time around. There's almost nothing happening between the deaths. One...after another...after another.

- So much of N4 happens in the Dream world, which 9/10 is looks just like the real world (see previous point of production quality)

- N4, like N3 introduces a new fantasy-like plot element: Alice collects bits of the personality/strength of every one of her friends that dies. (In N3, the idea of shared dreams was introduced) It's unique, but strays so far from what made the franchise scary, which was a story grounded in the real world with some nightmares. It really doesn't feel like a horror movie as much as it does a fantasy, sci-fi film.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 - Dream Warriors

What an iconic film. So many scenes from Dream Warriors have gone on to be some of the most memorable of the franchise. Next to the original, it is definitely the best in series. I was so glad to see it pick itself off the ground after the lackluster Nightmare 2.

Review Points:

- This is the start of "Funny Freddy" with many more one-liners and dark humor than the previous two films. His character really balances out the evilness with the new personality without going too overboard like he does in future installments. While I enjoy this new Freddy, he is noticeably less scary than in the first two films. In Nightmare one, particularly, Freddy is damn near the scariest thing you'll ever see. In N3, he is more playful and it sort of takes the edge off (pun) as a viewer.

- Really fleshed out characters. Great cast of kids who you really get attached to. You genuinely root for them and are sad when they get killed off

- Nightmare 2 introduces way more creativity in how Freddy interacts and kills this time around, taking the shape of objects, people, monsters. It's not just him coming behind someone and slashing them. Freddy mixes this twisted sense of humor in each one.

- SPOILER: The Marionette kill for Phillip was incredible. Just absolutely iconic.

- Love the new Mental Hospital backdrop as opposed to the usual suburbia. Really opens up the Elm Street universe.

- The storyline involving Freddy's mom and such was pretty lame. I not going to say the rest of the movie doesn't have its fair share of cheese, when it definitely does, but this storyline just felt so, so unneeded. We get the just of his character already. We don't need to humanize him anymore to make him feel more real. The hallowed burial grounds, holy water, and skeletons just felt out of place.

- It was extremely nice to see Heather Langenkamp as Nancy, her character now some 6yrs removed from the original movie. However, she doesn't bring back the heroine-like figure she had in the original. She seems wafer-like in her new role, never really taking on the persona she created for herself at the end of Nightmare 1.

- SPOILER: Speaking of Nancy, by far the lamest way to end her character. What was the point of killing her off? Nothing was gained from it, other than saying she won't be in the sequels. She deserved a stronger sendoff. Being stabbed in the stomach and tossed aside so abruptly just didn't feel right. She easily could have been the Laurie meets Dr. Loomis (of the Halloween franchise) of the Nightmare franchise. A strong heroine that works in the background throughout the series that knows Freddy better than anyone else. They really threw her away for no substantial gain.

- I liked the pacing of the film up until the last act. The movie starts off with bang and keeps the tension high, while slowly developing the character and creating a real sense of dread and sadness in each one, but then..just lets it go at the end. Just a very anti-climatic finish. Its like they got to 80min and rushed to wrap it all up. The movie would have benefited greatly by adding another 20min in the final act.

- SPOILER: On that note of wrapping up so quickly. I think Taryn and especially Will had super abrupt endings. Freddy killed both of them, back-to-back, in less than 5min. While Taryn had a really iconic death (whoa!), it still felt their confrontation was too short. Will's even more so. I was also surprised Kincaid survived. It's like they completely forgot to kill him. In rushing the last chapter, they really wasted an opportunity to play with the Kids' superpowers when they each met Freddy. You barely see any of them. They introduce the idea of these individual dream superpowers, then half-heartedly show them off.

- SPOILER: Continuing on that note of confronting Freddy, how did every kid end up separating from one another when they all entered the Dream World? They came in together with the gameplan of fighting Freddy as a group...then they all appear in separate worlds all of a sudden. Maybe I'm not playing along enough with the Dream atmosphere they are all in, but that kind of bugged me.

- SPOILER: At the end of N3 was the first time I felt tired of Freddy and said "Why the hell are you still alive?" As a viewer, we are taken down two roads regarding how to Kill Freddy: Road #1. Don't believe in him. You aren't scared of him, he doesn't have power (see Nightmare 1 and 2) Road #2 (introduced in N3): Bury his remains on hallowed ground to put his soul at rest. Well, they did both of these damn things and he's still alive at the end. It's exhausting as a viewer. Why have us give into the plot if you are just going to say, "nevermind" at the end? It's like everything we just followed was for nothing. You get the first taste of New Line Cinema milking the franchise like Halloween, Friday the 13th, etc. I know that Craven cam back onboard for Dream Warriors because he wanted to end the franchise (he didn't even want a franchise to begin with) and you felt that what was going on when they introduced the his mother into the plot. But as with most greedy film companies, they said hell with Craven, and added a half-assed wink "freddy's still alive" at the end

Neighbors
Neighbors (2014)

Not as good as I hoped. They really did a great job marketing this film: it really has me thinking it was going to be amazing. Unfortunately, they showed all the funny parts in the trailer(s) I felt the movie was pretty boring.

X-Men Origins - Wolverine

What a terrible movie. I saw this in theaters and left literally saying how awful it was. The story makes no sense. Terrible everything.

I did geek out quite a bit seeing Gambit, though....in his less than 5min of screen time. He was just as bad as the rest of movie, but it was nostalgic

Ryan Reynolds is PERFECTLY cast as Deadpool. I can not think of a more appropriate actor to play him. That being said, they absolutely ruin him. He's garbage. Thank god they are rebooting him in a separate film soon. It would make me quite happy to see Reynolds back in it.

Just Friends
Just Friends (2005)
½

What a funny film. It's harmless Comedy Central at 2am sort of movie. I've seen it a dozen times. Was one of my favorites in Junior High/High School.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence
½

I saw this in theaters as a kid and was so emotionally stirred by it, that I asked If I could leave. Something about Haley Joel Osment's portrayl of David resonated with me and made me genuinely sad. I haven't watched it since, but would like to in order to figure out exactly why it had such an effect on me.

V/H/S/2
V/H/S/2 (2013)

VHS2, overall is better than the first film, but doesn't have individual films that are better than the first (Amateur Night and10/31/98 in VHS1 are the strongest in the series so far) The set up for VHS2 is set up very similar to the original with framing element of robbers finding tapes and watching them one-by-one. I still think this is an insanely clever way to introduce the movie and allows it to be a franchise that could release new films every year.

There is 4 films in VHS2, as compared to 5 in the first:

Review Points:

Tape:1 (Eyeball)
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- Pretty unique idea for the camera with mechanical eye.
- Gratuitous sex scene.
- Uses the same tricks from movies like Insidious and Paranormal Activity. All the scares are from the main character hearing a noise, turning his back, then then suddenly seeing a ghost/demon/monster when he turns back around. You know exactly what's going to happen. Don't get me wrong, the sharp cuts and such are always make you jump, but they feel cheap.
- Strange protagonist. He plays a every-guy "dude" living in a mansion? He reminds me a lot of the husband from Paranormal Activity 1: he's half-joking and half-scared at what's going on. I laughed when he locked himself in the bathroom (with the monster/ghost/demon on the other side) and said "Hey. Um. I'm good. You can go now. Alright?"

Tape: 2 (Zombies)
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- Probably the best of the film. You

Tape: 3 (Cult)
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- This

Tape: 4 (Aliens)
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- I hated the dialogue. So much unneeded, improvised cussing to make up for no script. It's gross and makes you dislike every character from the get-go.
- I don't know why they thought attaching the camera to the dog's head was a good idea. It's so fake, it's distracting.
- SO MUCH camera shaking, flashes, video distortions, and loud booms. It's the first time I've ever watched a found-footage movie and felt nauseated.(Cloverfield is a close second) I

X-Men: Days of Future Past

I was pretty excited to finally se X-Men:DoFP and went in with pretty high expectations. It's predecessor, X-Men:First Class was easily the best of the now 7-film franchise and one of best in the entire superhero genre. It didn't help my expectations that the reviews for it stand at a staggering 92%/95%.

Unfortunately, I found X-Men:DoFP pretty disappointing. It's not a bad film by any stretch. It's a good film, just not what I consider great and definitely not at the level of the first.

I would give the film a 77% 82% after my first viewing

Review Points:
- One of the the biggest weaknesses comes from trying to tie together so many storylines from the previous films. It just felt like too much for one film. There was so many characters and so many storylines to keep up with that it felt sloppy. I know they want to weave the previous movies together to create a more cohesive universe moving forward, but it didn't create an engaging movie. It felt like they took all the holes and ending of previous movies and filled in the cracks; a lot of loose end were tied here in connecting the first trilogy with the current one.

- On that point, unless you are familiar with the first 4 films of the franchise (excluding the Wolverine standalones) you will fell very, very lost watching this movie. It is not enough to watch First Class; you need the background of the entire first trilogy.

- As a watcher of the first trilogy, I did love seeing the familiar faces. It made me giddy to see Toad, Storm, Cyclops, Gene Gray, Rogue, Iceman, Pyro, and Kitty again. Not to mention the original Magneto and Professior Xavier, played by Ian McKellen and Patrick Steward, respectively.

- This was the first time that I can remember that I actually saw superheroes just flat-out killed by villains. There is a level of darkness and dread in watching them die in front of your eyes (and off camera) This increased the stakes of the movie tremendously. You really felt like this was a war.

- There is a lot of similarities between this movie and the Matrix movies. The past and future mechanism of X-Men:DoFP plays out very similar to the Matrix and the real world mechanism. There is a races for one side to finish their journey before the other side gets wiped out.

- I did not expect the movie to feature Jennifer Lawrence so dominantly. She's like the main character here. I'm curious how much Lawrence's current dominance in the film industry swayed this movies direction to showcase her more.

- Continuing with Lawrence, her character, Mystique/Raven is

MacGruber
MacGruber (2010)
½

This movie was super surprising; it was a lot funnier than I thought it was going to be.

Insidious: Chapter 2

I wasn't particularly fond of the first installment, but felt in genre of film where there is so little quality, Insidious is much better than most. It sets a very unsettling tone with it's imagery and score that makes you feel much more engaged that you would normally be.

For Chapter 2, the exact same formula is used which is not surprising as the original was so warmly received: a "why fix what not broken" approach pretty much sums the movie up. Even if you liked the original, I'm sure you will find Ch.2 disappointing, however. Everything just feels watered-down.

Review Points:

- The violin/piano music is carried over from the original and continues to be quite effective in creating a sense of dread. It's pretty frightening.

- Very weak dialogue throughout. Much of the story's plot is given in cliche monologues.

- I liked that they kept the same cast in Ch.2. The continuation is nice.

- Just like the original, 99% of the scares come from quick cuts. It's a pretty cheap way to get jumps. You more or less know when they're coming this time around, though.

- SPOILER: The movie lacks a strong antagonist. In the original, we were given the red demon as the main villain. He turned out to be but a henchmen/false antagonist for the Lady in the Black Dress. In Ch.2, we are given another henchmen doing the bidding for the Lady. However, we don't ever see him. He takes the form of Josh the entire movie.

- On that point, the antagonist, Parker Craine possessing/trying to possess Josh was very similar to Jack Nicholson's character from the Shining. What even stranger is the how exactly the same both Patrick Wilson and Jack Nicholson were in failing to successfully show the transformation over the course of the film: Patrick Wilson as Josh is completely blank-faced the entire movie. He shows no emotion, no warmth, nothing. You never get attached to him in any way that you sense when he is no longer himself (but the ghost/demon) Jack Nicholson had the same problem. Both actors gave off a creepy, something's up vibe from the time the movie started.

- The spirits of the dream sequences continue to be creepy, but feel much less so this time around.

- On that point of dream sequences, they are probably my favorite part of the movies (besides the score). These slow-motion, blurry, setups genuinely feel like a nightmare. You really feel like you're in a dream. It's very similar to the original Nightmare on Elm Street.

- So much cheesy supernatural story elements. In the original, it was equally so, but it felt more so like a classic ghost story. It's pretty eyerolling this time around. They use a lot of this to fill in the plot holes of the movie. Many times throughout Ch.2, you'll be like "I don't understand what is going on or what does this all mean?" only to have an old lady/old man reveal some old, unknown secret some 5min later that magically explains it all. Hyperbole to give example:

"Why is that jar floating?"
- "Well, long ago, there was a demon who hated jars. Everyday he comes back to take revenge on those who use jars."

These type of long, detailed backstories are given to explain so much of what is going on in the movie. You can't just figure it out on your own. It's impossible. You have to wait for them to make sense of it for you.

- Tucker and Specs as the bumbling ghostbusters are funny, but really don't belong in this movie (or the original) They are comic relief in a movie that shouldn't have comic relief. They come in and completely ruin the atmosphere.

- I did not understand the whole Parker Craine as a boy dressed as a daughter killing for his mother plot. It was very strange. It was like Psycho meets Friday the 13th. What happened to the red demon from the first film and Lady in the Black Dress? Where, how, and why did we get Parker Craine as the antagonist when Insidious 1 clearly ended with the Lady in the Black Dress and the Red Demon still alive and well?

- I completely glossed over the time-traveling in the Further part. I didn't get it at all.

- I didn't like how they dedicated so much of the movie to exploring the mythos of the Lady in the Black Dress. By humanizing her, she felt much less scary.

The Other Guys
½

A great film combining the talents of two of the best actors in the game. Wahlberg shines in his comedic role and hods his own next to Ferrell. They have major comedic chemistry.The Other Guys is a parody of cop-buddy movies similar to Jump Street (Hill, Tatum)

Review Points:

- Michael Keaton as the TLC-quoting captain and Eva Mendez as the under-appreciated house wife were hilarious. In all, The Other Guys has a crazy-talented supporting cast.

- Loved the false protagonists of Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson in the beginning. So funny!

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

What a great movie. The chemistry between Pitt and Jolie is indescribable. The dialogue of a married couple against the backdrop of world-class assassins is hilarious. The second chapter of the movie where they find out about each other's true identities is my favorite part. Honestly, the first 3 chapters of the movie are perfect and them alone deserve a high, 3.5-5 star rating. But, unfortunately, this movie takes all the momentum created in the first hour of the film and kills it...with silencer to the back of the head.

What in the absolute hell was that ending? There's like 30min of movie left out. At a thin 92min, I was left in the dark. My ipad restarted the movie and I was sure there was an error with the file. One minute they are fighting for lives...and the next, they are in the marriage councilor's office and the movie is done. Seriously? In my 4 or so years of seriously reviewing films, I have never seen a movie ended so abruptly. Ever.

We were taken on this extremely great ride, where they successfully showcase their failed marriage, the confrontation, the mending/reformation of their relationship, and the coming together to fight the "antagonist." But, then nothing. One gun fight in a merchandise store is the ending of the movie. No resolution to their situation. Nothing.

Super disappointing. If they would have fixed the end of the movie: 30-45min more of fighting together, developing the antagonist(s), and resolving their situation, this movie would have been amazing. The fact that I rated it as high as I did (3 stars) is a nod to how perfect the first hour was.

Batman Returns
½

There is so much to love about Batman Returns.The tone, the music, the characters, the costumes, the acting.

Michelle Pfeiffer is the biggest highlight for me. She made the character all her own and steals every scene she's in... just...goddamn.

I also think Keaton is the best actor to ever wear the batsuit. You care about his character and feel like he can save the day.

The only negative in my eyes is Danny Devito as the Penguin. I think he plays a memorable character, but he isn't very magnetic/likable , often dragging down the movie whenever it focuses on him. He's just a gross, unpleasant character...and at no point, feels like a threat to Batman. You're never like, "Oh no...it's the...Penguin." I think his intelligence should have been stressed more than his animalistic-ness. While I think Walken was amazing, his character more or less made Penguin a puppet. You never got a sense he could successfully do anything himself. In addition, some of the penguin's quirks are very Joker-esque: his jokes, his goofiness, his circus-like goons... I would have liked to see the Penguin interpreted more as the sophisticated, gentleman villain (like in the cartoons), but that's just me.

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
½

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has grand, grand ambition. You can really feel that its trying to be great, life-provoking journey. It has its moments for sure, but overall, it feels pretty hollow. Like, it was on the cusp of something great, but just never left you feeling satisfied. It never had a moment where you really got lost in it.

Long story short: we follow a boring, unexciting man who isn't living his life to the fullest and watch him completely transform himself over the course of the movie. The premise is familiar, mixing bits and pieces of other movies like Stranger Than Fiction, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Yes Man.

While the movie is far from perfect, it's definitely not a dud as it's 51% Critic RT rating would indicate. I think that it does enough things right and has just enough memorable, creative scenes to justify a much higher rating. I'd put it around 65%-70% (the Audience RT rating of 73% is pretty appropriate)

Review Points:

- tSLoWS has some really creative scenes, most (if not all) take place in Smitty's daydreams. This daydreaming mechanism was used frequently and felt pretty cliche. They spent a great deal of time having other characters wake him up from these which got tiring after awhile. I think the audience is smart enough to know what is going on that you don't need to explicitly tell them its not all real.

- On that note, these daydreaming sequences are the showpieces for the film. They show Smitty acting out his fantasies in funny, surreal, out-there ways. I liked that as the movie progresses, he daydreams less as his real life becomes more exciting. This reversal was pretty neat.

- The X-Ray TSA fight scene was probably my favorite part of the entire movie. What a creative, funny scene.

- Sean Penn was a scene stealer. They didn't show him for 99% of the movie (finding him was the whole plot) but when we finally find him, he somehow lives up to the hype (sort of, haha)

- Super suprised/impressed by Kristen Wiig's performance. I have never seen her in a serious role before, only in strange, goofball ones. She plays an extremely down-to-earth, normal love interest. While her character wasn't exactly memorable (they definitely could have introduced a little more personality into her) she was a nice casting choice.

Marvel's The Avengers
½

There is no real competition for the Avengers. Loki is forgettable and his army of aliens are merely floor-mats. No excitement in the villains at all. The plot is jumbled mess of people fighting for this cube of unlimited energy for vague reasons. The movie is basically the Avengers fighting each other, Loki running around harmlessly, and the Avengers save the day. This movie was made for 13yr olds and Marvel buffs. That is it. How this movie got such a positive response baffles me to degrees I can't even articulate.

The acting in the movie is highlighted by Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, and Chris Evans. I applaud this movie in reviving the Hulk and making Captain American very likable. I do wish Thor had more screen time; he's a great character played very well by Hemsworth that didn't get a real opportunity to be admired. Renner, Johansson, and Sam Jackson were laughably awful. Just. So, so bad. In part to their acting, their dialogue, and especially their storylines. Who the hell cares about Hawkeye or his relationship with "Black Widow?" You can't take Hawkeye and make him a villain in the beginning of the movie before we even develop a relationship with his character. They could have killed his character I wouldn't have cared. They tried their best to compensate this by giving him extended screen time towards the end. And while he was certainly doing cool things, I really didn't care. Did I mention Henner is a terrible actor in this? Don't get me started on how useless his interactions with Black Widow were. You can't create an entire backstory between two characters in two dialogues where they reminisce about the old times. I want to remind you how terrible Johansson and Jackson are in this movie one more time.

Something that still sticks with me:
Anybody else laugh out loud at how awful the beginning of the movie is? Loki, a god, is in a car chase. I've watched this movie 5 times now, trying to like it. I've rated it lower each time. You assemble the best superheroes in the world to fight Loki who is locked up for 3/4 of the movie and a bunch of aliens. Yawn. Been better if Loki enlisted Bane or any other real, threatening villain.

I also hate how quickly this movie wrapped itself up nicely in a bow. You spend 2hours telling me that this Invasion could quite possibly end life as we know it and assembling the greatest heroes in the world is the only way to stop it. Well, the heroes kill everything, with extreme ease, in less than 20min. At no point was the world in danger. The heroes should have tried fighting this invasion/Loki earlier in the movie and got their asses kicked. The movie should have been these great heroes slowly rising up to take back civilization. But, instead we get 2hrs of them bickering with one another and trying to fix a damn flying fortress. I would have loved to see this movie end on a somber note where it doesn't look like it's going to get better and start Avengers 2 in the thick of the battle ( a la Harry Potter did so masterfully at the end of its franchise.)

Looper
Looper (2012)
½

disappointing. plot holes. starts hot, then nothing.

From Dusk Till Dawn
½

It's been several hours since I finished this movie and I still don't fully comprehend what I saw. I say that half joking. The movie is pretty much two extremely different movies just sewed together. Saying that could almost be taken literally as the plot of the movie seems to change right in the middle of the movie, out of nowhere. I had to really absorb what I was seeing. I was under the impression Dusk til Dawn was a straight crime/hostage movie then out of nowhere, vampires appear. It wasn't a smooth transition with context clues or forsehadowing...there wasn't the littlest hint that something was on the horizon (pun intended.) It was shocking how fast everything (the tone, characters, dialogue) changed. The movie is the literal definition of uneven. On the positive note, the movie has style(s.) There were lots of cool, interesting parts that continue to define Rodriguez as a director. You can definitely tell he was inspired by the Evil dead movies. Other may absolutely love these sorts of movies, but I have yet to develop a taste for them. Maybe in time, I will.

Hocus Pocus
Hocus Pocus (1993)

Super cheesy, but a Halloween classic. I've watched it probably every year since I was little. It's pretty much a tradition for me and probably most of my 90's generation peers. Bette Midler's Winifred Sanderson is iconic.

Stephen King's It

BY FAR the most terrifying movie I have ever seen in my life. I somehow managed to watch this a kid and couldn't sleep for weeks/months after. It's absolutely absurd how terrified I was after seeing 'It.' To this day, some 15yrs after the fact, I have still refused to rewatch it.

From what I remember, the first half (with the children) was the scary part. I don't recall the 2nd half being anywhere near as frightening (mostly because I barely remember anything from it)

I do remember the ending to the first half was kind of lame: a giant CGI spider. Not sure why they thought that would be a more intimidating/scary monster than a goddamn killer clown.

Deep Blue Sea

Cheesy in every way. I remember this film scaring me a great deal as a kid.

The Lost World - Jurassic Park
½

Lost World was a pretty strong sequel to the original, Jurassic Park. I'm no sure why it was so coldly received by critics and audience. Lost world currently sits at a very low 52%/51% RT rating which is quite low. I'd put it up around 65%-70%. While it's certainly not as magical/fantastical as the original, it was still an exciting movie.

Review Points:

- I will reiterate my point from my review of the original: Lost World is pretty much a horror movie, but with dinosaurs. All the elements of traditional slashers movie are there:

1. A diverse group of people are brought together (all of which severely underestimate/refuse to believe what is going on)
2. We get a brief introduction to each character (and some foreshadowing)
3. They all die one-by-one in a gruesome, spectacular fashion (usually alone, when they separate from the group)
4. Their remains are found (showcased) for all to see.

Like a horror movie, their is lots of suspense and jumps. It all doesn't feel as fresh as it did in the first, but that's usually what happens in horror/slasher sequels

- If i am to pinpoint the largest fault of the movie, it will be that it doesn't have a cast as likable/talented as the original. Outside of Goldblum, Vaughn, and child actor, Lee Cheser, the cast is forgettable, wooden stock characters. Goldblum carries the movie on his shoulders. I really love his sarcastic, jaded character, Ian, and think without him, the movie would have most definitely tanked.

- Lots of screen time for the dinosaurs, specifically the T-Rex. While it wasn't terrible, some of the suspense of not seeing them was lost.

- The last act (30min) felt tacked on. I'm not sure why it was needed to return the T-Rex back to the States and show him escaping and wrecking havoc. They could have easily saved that for the intro to a 3rd film. It wasn't needed at all.

Jurassic Park

An iconic film. I never realized how terrifying Jurassic Parks was. For as much wonder and fantasy there is, there and equal, if not more overwhelming feeling suspense and horror. JP really becomes a horror movie, replacing slashers with Dinosaurs.

Review Points:

- Great acting, great cast. All the way down to the child actors.

- Wonderful special effects/animatronic that still look good 20yrs later.

- Suspense, suspense, suspense. JP is relentless in getting the heartbeat up scene after scene. It kept me at the edge of the seat with my eyes glued to the screen. There's moments of comic relief sprinkled throughout to suggest bringing your guard down and then it comes right back. It's a funny back-and-forth.

Your Highness
½

I'll admit that the movie, overall, is disappointing, especially with the cast (McBride, Portman, Franco, Deschanel) being directed by David Gordon Green (who directed Pineapple Express, one of my all-time favorite movies). Unfortunately, it doesn't quite live up to my (or most people's) expectations. There are undoubtedly moments where it clicks, but its overshadowed by many that just don't work.

While it's disappointing, I don't think its an awful movie. I do not agree with its current 27%/34% RT rating. I'd place it around 50-55%

Review Points:

- It's absolutely worth seeing if you loved Eastbound and Down. It really hits the level of outlandishness from EB&D: The jokes are extremely crude, hit or miss, and the low brow. A lot of "Did they really just say/do that?"

- Green tries to duplicate the bromance between Franco and Rogen from Pineapple Express with Franco and McBride. There's an evident attempt to put an emotional core at the center of Your Highness, but it just never pans out. Unlike Rogen, McBride is largely unlikable. While he turns the corner later in the movie, you can't really get behind him for most of the movie. What we are left with is a very sweet, loving Franco...and that it. Franco plays the lovable goofball well; it makes me miss Saul from PE.

- The villain(s) is(are) pretty lame. The wizard has some funny lines and I laughed when he crushed a pixie and snorted it. (That in itself will pretty much determine whether or not you'll enjoy this movie, actually. Pretty much sums up the style of humor, haha)

- Pretty weak special effects.

- Natalie Portman is a steel thong was extremely nice.

- Speaking of Portman, she plays a funny heroine. Her character is given a few chances to show being a BA, but most of her screen time is just bad, cliche dialogue. Watching her character and Deschanel's really put a spotlight on how weak the script was. Both actresses don't have much to work with.

- Speaking of Deschanel, she gets in 10x worse, playing a dimwitted princess. The movie could have benefited from her usual sarcasm. Instead we are given a dumbed down version of her character from her TV show, New Girl.

- Great title sequence in the beginning of the movie. Loved the animation, scribbles, and funny dialogue.

This Is the End

Hahaha. That was pretty funny. I'm a huge fan of the cast after being introduced to most of them from Superbad and Pineapple Express (both in my top 10 of favorite movies all-time) I love the humor and the unscripted dialogue.

To be honest, though, I was disappointed with it. I was fully prepared to give this 4+ stars and name it one of the best movies of the year, but it's most certainly not.

The movie is claustrophobic, never leaving the house and made up of so, so much unneeded (albeit, funny) banter dialogue that the movie doesn't move along until 80+ min in. I wish they would have explored this post apocalyptic world and actually banded together in some way to face it, instead of wining and fighting with one another. I'll use Pineapple Express as a perfect example of getting this particular dynamic.

I will reiterate that the cast is awesome (which is the movies obvious selling point) and each actor plays really finny versions of their real selves. (Michael Cera has the best cameo...ever) I love that they poke fun of themselves. I just wish they didn't do it for most of the movie. I loved the first act where they did it (the Pineapple 2 scene was great) but got tired of it after they just....kept...going.

Best part of the movie: Seth Rogen being brought into heaven to Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You"

Not a bad movie by ANY STRETCH, but just disappointing cause it didn't live up to my lofty expectations (especially since it was received so warmly by critics)

Fright Night
Fright Night (2011)

What a slick movie. I've seen it a handful of times now and I finally bought it. I've never seen the original (I know I need to) so I had no expectations.

I've always been hesitant about the Vampire genre ever sense I've seen Underworld and Twilight flood theaters the last decade. Neither film really captivated me like it's cousin genre, zombies (which, sadly is going downhill fast.) But, seeing Yelchin, Tennant, and Farrell leading, I gave it a go. Man, was I surprised.

The movie is stylish Thriller/Horror/Comedy is polished to the nth-degree. Great effects, great soundtrack, great camera-work, etc. Fright Night carries a very cool, dark, moody tone from start to finish.

Strongly recommend. It's kind of Disturbia (w/ Shia LaBeouf) + Vampires.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
½

After watching its RT rating drop below 55%, as well as seeing multiple negative reviews from other website, I had little to no expectations for the movie. I had all but said I was going to wait until I could find a torrent of it and that would be that. But, it's SPIDERMAN. You can't just skip that. Right? So, I bought a ticket and braced for the worst. I mean, there's no way it will be THAT bad.

I'm am so extremely glad I went and saw it. The critics were wrong...extremely wrong. I have absolutely no idea what they watched. The movie is far from perfect, but it deserves only a fraction of the hate directed towards it. tAS2 is easily a 79%-84% film.

What a great experience! It's an accomplishment in itself that I went in expecting the worse, and slowly found myself loving it more and more as it went on. It is 100x better than its predecessor (which was rated significantly higher by critics...I hated it) The movie did an entire 180 on my view of the franchise. What a surprise! I'm genuinely excited to see the sequel(s) now.

Review Points

- The best graphics I've seen in a movie since Avatar. They kind of throw it at you the whole movie, but man, is it something. The electricity, the slow-motion, the close-ups, the explosions...everything is huge. At one point in the movie, I was sitting there just in awe. It really felt like a blockbuster movie

- tASpiderman 2 is a 70% drama, 30% Action. The movie is all about Peter Parker and his various relationships with Gwen Stacey , his family, and Harry Osborne. While most may say that this felt like an inappropriate way to handle a Superhero blockbuster, I thought it made the movie stand out 10x. I like the harsh contrast between the action segments and the drama. I was not unnerved or jolted going back and fourth (like critics have said.) Webb was really playing to his strengths this time around. You can tell he brought in his experience from his work directing 500 Days of Summer.

- On that point, I do think the movie is not sure who it's directed audience is. Like other Superhero films, this movie is mostly aimed at children. I highly doubt they will understand a great deal of the dramatic elements in making the movie revolve around the relationships. Again, I liked it, but it does seem like it could be confusing for others.

- There is a fair amount of cheese in Spiderman, just like in previous installments (Raimi's trilogy) The villains are brought about in eye-rolling, Batman Forever-type ways (Max Dillon becomes Electro after falling in a vat of electric eels) I think Webb and Co. knew they were working with some out-there fantasy elements and decided to run with it. You don't get the extreme sense seriousness that is found in other Marvel movies in that regard. You don't feel like they are trying to ground the plot in the real world as much which I really like. It let me enjoy the movie for what it was, which was a trip down memory lane. tA Spiderman 2 feels like watching a comic book brought to life.

- On that note, not a lot of time is given to creating characters. Jamie Foxx plays a seemingly sweet (yet unstable) cliche nerd character similar Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman in Batman Returns. However, he doesn't feel like he's going to go villain. He sort of gets angry out of nowhere. I mean, his character snaps, but there was no signs of foreshadowing before hand to suggest that. He gets picked on, but he never shows "anger" about it. They easily could have shown one scene of him mumbling under his breath to show he was getting sick of their crap and was going to eventually blow them up.

- I really liked Dane DeHaan's portrayal of Harry Osborne. He was dark and creepy and played the role of a rich, young mogul well. It's funny just how different he is than of James Franco's portrayal in Raimi's trilogy. They are complete opposites.

- Continuing with Harry Osborne, I agree with critics, to a degree, that there may have been one too many plot points and Harry's transformation to the Green Goblin seemed, to me, to be the tipping point towards clutter. I don't think they should have introduced Harry and transformed him all in one movie. The pacing is just to quick, especially when we are still digesting 1. Peter and Dad plot 2. Peter and Gwen plot 3. Electro Plot. I have no problem with them introducing him, but having us watch him turn completely evil was too much.

SPOILER: On that point. I think turning Harry to the Green Goblin would have been best saved for the 3rd film (same as in Raimi's trilogy) Not only would have it been great for cleaning up tA2's many plots, it would have kept Emma Stone's Gewn Stacy character around a little longer. Stone has an undeniable sense of charisma in her role and is completely magnetic. She and Garfield have big time chemistry. It's kind of sad to see her go so quickly. I would have preferred to have her character for one more film. That's not to say I am not upset they killed her off. Her death was extremely powerful and added a whole new level of emotion to the story and Peter Parker's character. The scene was noticeably more impactful that Uncle Ben's death in tAS1. I am very curious to see how Peter Parker responds in the 3rd film.

- Continuing on that point. I did not think they wrapped up her death as well as they could have. It went so quickly. I liked that they used her monologue from HS graduation speech from the beginning of the movie, though. It was a nice circle to her character. Garfield was absolutely breathtaking in the dramatic scene holding the lifeless Stacey but doesn't seem nearly as sad after. I understand they needed to bridge towards getting spiderman back in action, but it felt too quick.

- I loved the exciting ending with Aleksei Sytsevich (Rhino) that leads into the 3rd movie. It was exciting and leaves you wanting more.

- Speaking of Rhino, what fun was it to seem him! I've been waiting to see his character on the big screen since I was a kid. It was unusual for a superhero film to turn such a huge franchise villain into nothing more than a side character, though. Rhino was only used as a simple robbery character in the beginning of the film. With Paul Giamatti portraying, I highly doubt that will be the case much longer. I'm sure he will become more prominent in following films. I am definitely eager to see more of the character. I'm also equally glad they didn't make him more prominent in tAS2. Glad they used discipline by excluding him. They avoided the Sandman, triple villain problem from Spiderman 3.

Heathers
Heathers (1988)
½

I get it. I understand the comedy. That being said, I just couldn't get into Heathers, even in my second viewing. It feels like Mean Girls set in the 80's.

Review Points

- Christian Slater plays a character extremely similar to his Clarence character from True Romance, replacing romantic with evilness. Seeing that Heathers came out 3 yrs prior, you can tell he really developed the character here.

- Ryder plays a really likable Veronica and her sarcasm is great

Freddy's Dead - The Final Nightmare

It's finally over. Thank god. This franchise just fell apart and was becoming increasingly more difficult to watch as it went on. Freddy's Dead (N6) is probably the worst of the franchise with Dream Child (N5) and Dream Master (N4) right behind. (it's actually strange seeing that they actually get worse as you go, with the exception of Dream Warriors (N3). I'm of couse not counting Wes Craven's New Nightmare in all of this.

Review Points.

- They finally threw story continuation out the window. The one thing we had as viewer/fans, was knowing the whole story, all the way down to N1. Characters/plot lines more-or-less carried over in some way or form between movies...but not N6. All the characters from N5, like the FREAKING PROTAGONIST, ALICE (of N4 and N6) are gone. They aren't even mentioned in the story.

- Following the same tradition as previous movies, we are given a whole new crop of teens that don't stick around long enough to be developed. They are simply there to be killed.

- On that note, F6's only redeeming quality (if there is any) is that Freddy continues to kill in funny, creative ways. The Nails on the Chalkboard kill, the Wile E. Coyote-esque parachute kill, and the video game kills are memorable. They aren't as good as past death scenes, but are still pretty good.

- The plot is really far out there. The franchise has been delving into fantasy territory for awhile now, but they finally went all in. The movie takes place in a world without kids because Freddy killed them all? What? Nightmare is at it's best when there's a sense of realism. N6 is far from that.

- Roseanne cameo? Why?

- Production quality is just abysmal. It looks like it's a TV movie. I can't believe it was actually released in theaters. If you watch the franchise in order (like I did in a random aNoES marathon) it's sad to see just how much they just stop caring. The level of attention to details goes downhill dramatically. I watched N6 and really missed N1 and N3 (the best in the franchise, minus WCNN)

- Terrible acting all around. They didn't even try to bring in talent.

- Amazing cameo by Johnny Depp. I can't believe he agreed to that.

- Freddy Krueger is a full cartoon. Not at all scary at all. Not much of a horror aspect in N6. This and N4 are Freddy's at his most cartoonish.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5 - The Dream Child

Man, this franchise went downhill fast. I went in knowing that there was going to be a drop off in quality after the original, but I didn't think it was going to be that bad. However, Dream Child is terrible and the worst so far (a crown it takes from the previous Dream Master) I really had to force myself to finish this as I wanted to turn if off less than an hour in. N5 was so bad, it made Dream Master look good.

Review Points

- Whole new batch of teenagers I don't care about. Just like the previous films, N5 brings aboard survivors of the last film (Danny and heroine, Alice) alongside new cliche teens (black girl, nerd, beauty) We have to sit through yet another origin backstory and nonbelievers. It's terrible, especially since you know it doesn't matter and they'll all be dead by the end of the movie.

- I liked this cast, minus the incredibly bitchy Yvonne. Mark and Greta are likable. But, in typical Nightmare fashion, they aren't around long enough to be enjoyed.

- So.much.freddy. So much screentime is given to Freddy. I know at this point, he is more-or-less the driving force for fans. People just want to see make puns and kill, which I think, diminishes him as a character. It's too saturated with him. I miss the suspense of him hiding and actually scaring you. You really appreciate the first 3 films after watching N5 (and N4)

- Wilcox's Alice has really grown up since Dream Master. She continues to be the confident, badass heroine she became at the end of that film. I liked that they actually kept her character around for another movie (gasp!), though, instead of killing her off. The movie benefits 100000% by having continuity there, just like N3 was great because of Nancy...even if the character wasn't perfect. A lot of eye-rolling in Wilcox's acting.

- Also, where the hell did her fantasy superpower of collecting powers go? That was the biggest plot device in N3...and they never even mentioned it in N4. The hell?

- SPOILER: Really cool motorcycle death-effect for Danny.

- The movie continues upon the Amanda Krueger storyline introduced in N3 (Dream Warriors) in establishing Krueger as some sort of fantasy monster. I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's just not needed. We do not need a deeper origin story. They should have stopped with him justing being a child killer. This "song of 100 maniacs is just plain dumb)

- This baby (Jacob or whatever) storyline is absolutely ridiculous (which sounds ridiculous to say 5 Nightmare movies in) It's just inconceivably dumb.

- That baby Krueger from the beginning of the film was...no words. Just...no words.

- How the hell did Freddy come back again? I don't even think the director/writers care at this point in providing reasoning. He just comes back.

- The line between Dreams and Reality is all but gone. The inconsistencies between Freddy's power in and out of nightmares is too much to follow. It doesn't really matter if you're asleep or not this time around.

- SPOILER: The comic book fight scene between Mark and Freddy was eye catching. Had a whole "Take on Me" music video effect. Probably the best scene in the movie.

Freddy vs. Jason

Undeniably cheesy, full of horror movie cliches, terrible acting, and equally terrible dialogue.

However...the movie is fun. Really fresh direction by director, Yu, turning a slasher flick into a pseudo action film supported by a rock soundtrack. It's uneven for sure, having to balance the teen protagonists/victims and the super villain showdown. The movie shines when the teens are off screen and Freddy and Jason go toe-toe.

The acting/dialogue are god awful and are bothersome speed-bumps you have to deal with, unfortunately. You will laugh and roll your eyes, guaranteed.

But, I will always support innovation: Yu took FvJ is a fun direction and added some cool twists to some of the cliches. (I liked the slow-mo kills)

The movie carries a slick, summer-blockbuster tone/vibe that is very infectious. As many negatives as the movie has, I still find it enjoyable 10yrs later. (Even if it's just to see Freddy fight Jason in the closing act)

True Romance
True Romance (1993)
½

I wonder how different this movie would have been had Tarantino directed it as well. Good movie with fun characters. The movie is definitely defined by how unique & odd they are; each character is developed (even minor ones) very well. The plot isn't anything to write home about, in terms of complexity. There are no chapters, there's no multiple story-lines that run parallel to one another and interweave to form a perfect bow in the end...It's pretty straightforward: Guy falls in love with Call Girl, kills her pimp, takes his cocaine, and tries to sell it in Hollywood. But, it's the offbeat, Tarantino humor mixed with great dialogue that make this movie. Slater and Arquette as the leading couple are extremely likable and you hope the whole movie that they would get the fairytale ending they deserved. Other notable performances I liked were seeing Brad Pitt as a stoner and Christoper Walken as a Sicilian henchmen (the scene between him and Clarence's dad is one of my favorites.)

Due Date
Due Date (2010)

Despite the low reviews, I thought I'd give it a try, especially because the leading men. I mean, those two alone should make for a funny movie, not even mentioning that Todd Phillips, (of Hangover) was directing. In all, I enjoyed it. The acting is superb and RDJ really holds down every scene he is in and let ZG be as crazy as he wanted. WHile the plot is formulaic, I had no problems with it. I definitely recommend it; you'll laugh a lot.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

What a step up from the first Captain movie. This time around, we weren't dragged through a long, boring backstory for 2hrs and rewarded with little action. Winter Soldier went entirely in the opposite direction this time around with some of the best action sequences in of any Marvel movie.

I will do a full review shortly, but I definitely want to highlight points:

- Way, way too many one-liners. It was a bit eye-rolling after awhile. Marvel always puts a great deal of comic relief in their movies, and like most of it, sans Iron Man, is usually distracting.

- Sam Wilson as Falcon felt really rushed: one minute he's a retired officer with a generic military background...and BOOM. Superhero. I like to think of myself as more familiar with Marvel than most, but still felt like some sort of explanation was needed to get people onboard. Great acting, though.

- Chris Evans is really coming into his own as Captain America and has developed a strong presence as the superhero, much like RDJ did with Iron Man (Still have my reservations about Thor) That being said, he did have to compete for screen time with several other story lines. Falcon, Fury, and Romanoff, and many other story lines were weaved around him. If this was the same uninspiring Captain America from the first, these many story lines would have done the trick in making a strong movie, but I think they were distracting this time around with a better attention given to Evans. You genuinely get excited seeing him in action.

- Super cheesy countdown finale. Like almost every other superhero movie, the finale is a race-to-beat-the-clock scenario. Pretty lame.

- Along with that ending, not a strong send off for the Winter Soldier. Like Falcon, his story line felt rushed and not completely fleshed out. We were kind of just handed this character. He lost a great deal of coolness/evilness as a villain once they introduced his backstory (similar to Bane in Dark Knight Rises) I really wished they hadn't because he weakened him as a character during the whole second half of the movie. While I'm not entirely sure how faithful it was to the comics, I think his relationship with Captain wasn't really needed.

- No love interest i a superhero movie? Sweet. I like how they poked fun of it all movie.

- Scarlett Johansson is smoking hot. Smoking. Her acting leaves a bit to be desired at times, though. Most of her dialogue is comedic one-liners and introspective monologues. Not sure if that's on her- they need to give her character more room to breathe, instead of being eye-candy and short action segments.

- Some cheesy villain monologues to fill in the blanks of the movie's plot.

- There was a lot of staring, and cheesy, soap opera-like scenes where characters walk towards the door, and look back and say something deep and monumental and then walk away. It's almost comedic after awhile.

- Wonderful soundtrack.

American Hustle
½

A movie that lived up to the hype! It's hard to find anything that hasn't already been applauded: great cast, great characters, great acting... American Hustle is great film. There is, however, a few things that stop me from adding it to my favorites:

The plot is hard to follow. I'm one for complexity in films: I love plot twists, elaborate storylines, and layered characters. But, I found myself lost quite a few time of what was going on, what the characters' intentions were, and why they were doing some of things they were doing. It wasn't until the end when they summed it all up (Ocean's 11 style) that I got it.

The movie is long at 2hrs, but feels like a 3hr film. The relationships, double-crossing (or not double crossing) or lying (or not lying) was hard to keep up with. If this was the intention of the director, I don't know.

The movie is built around a good guy doing bad things for reasons he believes in and a bad guy doing good things for reasons he believes in. We slowly watch them mirror each other until you don't know who you should be rooting for. I loved this dynamic very much.

The Wolf of Wall Street
½

Not quite what I was expecting when I first heard Scorsese was teaming up with DiCaprio again. Wolf is a comedy. A very raunchy comedy at that. I felt pretty gross watching it to be honest. Drugs, Sex, Drugs, Sex. Women for the most part were treated/portrayed very poorly throughout which made me feel pretty uneasy. I would have never thought I would have seen Leonardo DiCaprio, one of the best actors...ever, doing half of the things he did in this movie. Throw in Scorsese, one of the best directors...ever, and I left Wolf of Wall Street very confused. The movie just feels beneath them. I understand the necessity to push the envelope in today's world to get reactions out of people who have seen and heard it all already. But, I'm not really a fan.

That being said, it's very difficult to say that DiCaprio isn't on his A-game. The man is insanely talented and magnetic. Having him at the helm is the only reason I found it bearable. Throw in any other actor, and I would have turned it off 30min in. His supporting cast isn't anything to write home about, save for Jonah Hill (awesome) and brief appearances by McConaughey and Reiner (who shine)

The movie is extremely long at 3hrs. Extremely long. I found myself looking at the running time just an hour in. The plot is pretty simple: Man is a crooked broker who makes it rich and has tons of fun. That's it...for 3 hours. It's quite numbing seeing the same thing over and over. All you see is naked girls, people having sex, and people doing doing drugs (There was so, so much time devoted to just watching characters get high). There is nothing past that. I cant say there is character development or plot twists, or layers. Very flat. I absolutely hated pacing of the movie: short exposition, then the transition from normal guy to asshole is missed almost entirely.
The last chapter is one of the worst ones I've ever seen. How can you take the best part of the movie: likable DiCaprio as a villain we're silently rooting for to get away with it all...to 100% heel. And that "try-to-be-ironic" ending with the seminar...miss.

I will restate how much I hated how they portrayed women. None of them had strong roles until the very end (which came out of nowhere) and it resulted in her getting slapped and punched in the gut.

...I find myself resenting the movie the more I write. (went from 2.5 stars, to 2, to now 1.5)

I did like the fast-talking dialogue and found myself chuckling a few times, but overall, was quite, quite disappointed.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II - The Secret of the Ooze
½

They took away the dark themes from the original and replaced it with more slapstick humor. I think it very polished and more fun, but doesn't quite feel as cool. Still a nostalgic movie.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie

I love how dark and murky it is. While many critics complain that this creates confusion when mixed with the general silliness/family-oriented aim of the movie, I enjoyed it. The movie captures the tone of the early 90's and feels as cool as I imagined the characters being in my head (especially when I watched it a 6yr old kid.) I appreciate the direction even more as a 23yr old. This film and the 1995 adaption of Mortal Kombat did an amazing job of turning my biggest childhood memories into long-lasting, enjoyable journies back down memory lane.

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
½

Very funny. Looking back, it's hard to deny the cultural phenomenon this movie and its predecessor had on pop culture. This movie really feels like the late 90's.

I like the addition of Graham as the new lead. She's very likable. Fat Bastard and Mini Me, were obviously 'big' additions as well. Looking back, both characters, like most, are quite stupid, but fit the the franchise. You can tell with "tSpwSM" that this was the turning point for even raunchier, more low brow humor. (as seen in the sequel, Goldmember) While I don't think that that is necessarily a terrible thing, I think that the absurdity was at just the right level in the original. There was some heart to it, too that is lost in 2 and 3.

Austin Powers in Goldmember
½

This is by far the weakest in the trilogy, but it's still pretty funny. While the the franchise is built on gags, slapstick, and generally the lowest of low brow comedy, I found Goldmember sometimes unbearable, especially looking back at it as an adult. As a kid, though, I remember quoting this movie for almost all of 7th grade and as such, find it hard to not be nostalgic when watching it.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
½

Iconic. One of the very first movies I sneaked around my mom to watch. I remember going to Blockbuster and seeing the cardboard cutouts, begging her to let me watch it.

Safety Not Guaranteed
½

Did not expect that. Holy shit. I need to calm down before I write a review.

Okay. In my second viewing, I can definitely say its one of my favorites. There's so much to like, from the story to the chemistry of the Plaza and Duplass.

The only thing keeping me from giving it a perfect rating is the subplot(s) between the Jake Johnson's character Jeff, his old flame, Bridget, (Mary Lynn Rajskub) and Karan Soni's character, Arnau. I'm not quite sure what their stories meant or how they related in anyway to the main plot. They were quite confusing. While the acting was sweet and the characters likable, I'm not sure what they were trying to accomplish in juxtaposition to Plaza's Darius and Duplass's Kenneth. Why were they even in this movie?

Outside of those questionable storylines, the movie is perfect.

The Mask
The Mask (1994)
½

A classic and one of the first movies that I remember watching as a kid; it. The Mask has tons of heart in it's characters sans "the mask" with Carrey and Diaz playing incredibly likable leads. But, it's when Carrey puts on the mask that the magic happens. Definitely one of the most iconic characters I've ever seen in a movie. I loved seeing the cartoony, bugs bunny-esque effects in the live action setting.

Diaz is "ssssssssmokin'"

Charlie's Angels
½

I shouldn't like this, but I do.

I recommend if you like good-looking ladies, satire, fun characters, great supporting cast (including Bill Murray, Sam Rockwell, Luke Wilson, Tim Curry), some really cool action scenes, and a slick soundtrack.

Blast from the Past

A sweet, harmless comedy. Nothing spectacular, nothing that will make you roll over in laughter. But, I found myself smiling a lot. Very likable characters.

Bedazzled
Bedazzled (2000)

A silly, mindless movie in the same vein as Adam Sandler movies. I enjoyed it and found it harmless. Not hilarious, not amazing, but it made me chuckle and few times.

Elizabeth Hurley alone is reason enough to watch it, though. Holy hell.

A Goofy Movie
½

Not a cinematic masterpiece by any stretch, but is too nostalgic for me to call out its faults. I watched this so many times as a little kid. Loved the songs.

HEY YO STACY! TALK TO ME, TALK TO ME, BABY!

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

One of the funniest, sweetest movies I've ever seen. Amazing cast, amazing characters, amazing script... a romantic comedy I'm not ashamed to like.

My favorite part is the climax where all the stories finally come together. Hilarious.

Batman & Robin

I can't even like this movie ironically. I tried to put it on and get behind the goofiness, but I couldn't make it past 30min. So bad. So, so bad.

Little Nicky
Little Nicky (2000)

One of the stranger Sandler movies out there. Feels nothing like any of his other comedies. Hard to describe.

Really nice rock soundtrack. I loved Reese Witherspoon's cameo as an Angel.

Lawless
Lawless (2012)

I, unlike many, really like Shia LaBeouf was super excited to see him alongside the amazing Tom Hardy. However, Lawless wasn't quite as good as I hoped.

I loved the tone and violence, but overall felt the characters, outside of Pierce's and Goldman's, weren't great. They did a great job creating the 3 Sides of this feud, but individually, not so much. Hardy's character is intimidating, yes, but is given no real opportunity to display is acting chops. He mostly wanders around, scowling, and mumbling to himself. His character epitomizes monotone in his dialogue and actions; there's no range. Same can be said for LaBeouf. I understand he's supposed to be Hardy's foil, but it's almost too much. He's supposed to be the guy we get behind, but he's too mousy and scared for you to root for him as the protagonist. He's given the subplot with a love interest to flesh his character out (and show his young, rebelliousness) but it doesn't hit. I found myself just getting annoyed with him.

The story also has a hard to follow love interest between Hardy and Chastain that did nothing for the development of Hardy's character or the giving reason for having Chastain's character in the story at all.

The climax of the movie felt rushed, too. While it perfectly embodied the chaos/messiness of the movie, it seemed ill conceived: just a simple, 5min shootout, full of missed gunshots and people falling to there knees looking into the camera. Kind of lame. Same goes for the resolution of the movie. I'm not a huge fan of narration, especially when used to wrap up a movie. Felt like a cop out. It was also pretty cheesy.

Negatives aside, I will reiterate that I loved the tone and violence. The movie felt gritty, dark, and messy. It really felt like a backyard brawl between the Bondurant brothers and the Law.

The Number 23
½

I don't recall The Number 23 for being as bad as the critical reviews, but I do remember being extremely unengaged in the second viewing because I already knew the twist/mystery. It's definitely a one-watch film.

I liked the dark tone of the movie and I genuinely felt engaged in the plot...until a certain point. It eventually becomes a little hard to follow and feels flimsy, with strange story lines and plot twists that take stretching to make sense.

The Silence of the Lambs

I can see how Se7en and Insomnia were influenced by this.

My favorite parts:
1. Hannibal Lecter face swap
2. Buffalo Bill's night vision goggle POV shot

Great performances from Foster and Hopkins. I love the pacing of the movie and the misdirections. Wonderful ending.

It's a shame the sequels were so poor. This had the potential to become a very good franchise.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
½

What a great film. I genuinely laughed out loud frequently and couldn't stop smiling for most of it.

What a story, super powerful ending

Amazing performance by Nicholson.

9
9 (2009)

One of the most creative, stylistic movies I've ever seen.

It takes some time to get started, and can be a little campy at times. The dialogue leaves much to desired as well. 9 started out as a 10 or so min short for director, Shane Acker's college thesis. This movie adaption of this short feels like the content was simply stretched out from 10 to 80min which nothing substantial to fill in the cracks. Doesn't feel as compact or focused. A lot of attention was given to the environment, atmosphere, and character designs and little to developing the now longer story. The result was a lackluster plot filled with abstract characters. I found the lead especially uninteresting.

The ending was quite short and not particularly satisfying.

Overall, there are quite a few negatives, but the design of this movie is hard to ignore. It's spectacular. As an artist, I admire the story in which a man (Acker) has a story he made up for school, get noticed by Tim Burton and become a feature film. It's like a fairy tale for people like me who grew up creating his characters with their own stories.

Don Jon
Don Jon (2013)

I'd like to first say how much of a fan I am of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He's an amazing talent that is finding success on and off screen (Can't think of many movies of his I don't like)

As for his directorial debut, he created a great tone for the Don Jon. It feels polished and sleek. He used some unique camera angles - sometimes it feels like its a reality show with how the camera jerks around to capture the action. I also liked the time lapse effect where he's sitting on his bed and the sheets slowly move around and off the bed as watches porn. What's even more of a triumph for this movie is he's acting in it (as the lead) as well. That's just craziness. He does play a very likable lead, despite is machismo persona. I think much of the supporting cast, while not amazing, doesn't really hinder the movie either.

That being said, I think Don Jon is a wonderful debut for him, but overall not a great film.

The movie's plot is as simple and as predictable as it comes. We know from the trailers that the main character, Don, likes porn. We know he will be having some sort of romantic lead with Scarlett Johansson. We know that the porn habit will come back to bite him. We know he will kick the habit and become a better person....we know all of this going into the movie...and unfortunately, that's exactly how it plays out. No surprises. No twists. Nothing really memorable, other than it's unique subject matter.

If I'm going to rate this movie strictly off of watching these character interact and the journey they us on take, while a valid way of judging a film, is still a let down. While sometimes humorous, the characters feel fake and caricature-like. I think it's not only the accents but the roles they play as Jersey Shore supporting characters. I just couldn't get into it.

I very much disliked Julianne Moore's character as the saving grace for Don's character. Felt unnatural. She wasn't developed very well outside of a strange crying scene where she casually brings up her past. I understand her inclusion in the plot, but it wasn't done right.

Other things: The priest scenes were abstract and it was hard to understand their impact, some of the banter dialogue that was used to develop the family aspect of Don's life was flat and not effective, his best friend entourage didn't really add anything to the story, yet were used quite frequently, and while Porn is the obvious subject matter of the movie, I felt some of the porn scene "flashes" were excessive. We all knew what was going on, I don't think it was necessary to show it like camera flashes so much. As a viewer, it made me feel stupid.

I also did not like how neat the ending was. The movie ends so perfectly and peacefully...like a soft breeze out of nowhere. By far one of the quickest, most abrupt endings out there. The movie sits at a clean 90min, but feels like there is 20min of story left. I'm curious why Levitt didn't make the confrontation with Johnasson's character at the end more powerful. Generally, the entire 3 chapter is hollow and lacks a significant struggle, climax (giggle), and resolution.

Anger Management
½

One of Sandler's last funny movies (in my opinion, with 50 First dates, 2004 being the last.) This is a standard guilty pleasure Sandler movie. Slapstick humor with a simple plot, grounded by great acting from Nicholson- he's absolutely crazy. The cameo from Harrelson was my favorite part.

Mr. Deeds
Mr. Deeds (2002)
½

A Sandler classic. Not like anything of the crap films he's made the last 10 years. This along with Anger Management, Big Daddy, Waterboy, Billy Madison, and Happy Gilmore are guilty pleasure, Sandler films; they aren't cinematic gold mines, but they're funny. I always leave Mr. Deeds on if I pass if while channel surfing.

Big Daddy
Big Daddy (1999)
½

A nostalgic flick. I remember watching this on VHS at my grandpa's house when I was like 9. I feel like the movie does a great job mixing the dramatic elements with crude humor, despite what the critical reviews say.

Happy Gilmore

Another classic film. Not a masterpiece by any stretch, but most definitely not forgettable. I can probably watch this and Billy Madison back to back and not get bored.

Billy Madison
½

Classic. I still quote the angry bus driver to this day. "NO YELLING ON THE BUS."

I Love You, Man

Such a funny movie. I identify with Rudd's character on a disturbing number of things so I immediately gravitated to him and wanted him to succeed.

I want to be friends with Segel's character so bad.

Amazing supporting cast.

Batman
Batman (1989)

This is the best Batman movie ever created. It's dark and has two advantages over Nolan's modern adaptions: 1. Michael Keaton is a better Batman. He's more likeable and more interesting. Christian Bale is simply a supporting character in his movies to the villains (minus the weakest of the trilogy, Batman Begins) In this Batman, Keaton is just as magnetic (or close to) the Joker. 2. Jack Nicholson. I think Heath Ledger did an amazing job as the Joker, but there is something dark and funny about Nicholson's that feels more true to the character. Ledger's is definitely cool and dark, but never crosses the truly "goofy" line that is seen in this movie. It's hard to describe, but I love it.

Batman Begins
½

I've tried to force myself to like this movie more than I really do since seeing its sequels, but it's clearly nowhere near their level.

The origin story, while on the surface appears necessary for the reboot of the franchise, is long, tedious and boring. I find it quite difficult to rewatch Batman Begins because of the 1hr backstory we must sit though until he actually becomes the vigilante we know and love.

I also think, compared to most Superhero movies, the antagonist(s) in this movie are yawn-worthy. Scarecrow, Falcone, and Ra's al Ghul just don't feel threatening. Scarecrow started hot and menacing, but fizzled out quick. Its almost a rule that superhero movies revolve around the villain and it's not worth it here.

I also maintain that Bale, while a fine actor, is an awful Batman. He's boring and hard to identify with in any way; he's just not likable. You never feel connected to him throughout his journey to become/ and as Batman. His portrayal feels hollow and wooden. Throw in the now iconic voice he adds to the character, and you have an almost unidentifiable person behind the mask. He's uninteresting in and out of the bat suit. I feel this is the same in all 3 of his movies, but are overshadowed by the amazing villains. Bale is left in the spotlight in Batman Begins and as such, is the weakest in the trilogy, and is my second least favorite of the Batman live-action franchise (ahead of Batman and Robin)

Negatives being said, the movie isn't horrible. I applaud it for successfully rebooting the franchise with it's broody, blockbuster tone. Nolan knows what he's doing and really set up a strong franchise with BB. It's just hampered by the necessity to make the general public familiar with Batman's origin and a lack of a strong, magnetic character to build around.

Zoolander
Zoolander (2001)

One of the best comedies I've ever seen. Extremely quotable. Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller, and Will Farrell are hilarious.

Meet the Parents

Stiller and DeNiro are hilarious when they are on screen trying to outsmart each other. Solid film (can't say the same with its sequels)

Swingers
Swingers (1996)

I have no clue why I have never seen this movie before because it was amazing. I think Vince Vaughn as the lead scared me away. In the past 8 years (after the success of Wedding Crashers) Vaughn has made dud after dud after dud to the point any trailer I see with him has me rolling my eyes (see Adam Sandler) That being said, he's awesome in Swingers.

The amazing Jon Favreau is the real focus point of the movie and is super likable and identifiable with any lonesome, self-esteem-deficient guys out there. His phone scene with one of the ladies he met earlier in the night was hilarious.

I love the tone of the movie and think it was directed with lots of attention to detail, from the music to the amazing character development. The latter is probably what I think is the best part of Swingers. Every character, even supporting ones, has scenes in which they are brought to life and given a chance to connect with the audience.

There's Something About Mary

Man, I put this movie off for quite sometime. I've never been a fan of Cameron Diaz and another 90's rom-com wasn't really on my list of movies I needed to see. But, just recently came across it and gave it a try after seeing surprisingly good reviews and that the Farrelly Brothers directed.

TSAM is good, raunchy comedy with an amazing amount of heart in its cast. Usually movies with the sort of jokes are straight-to-dvd type movies, but (the underrated) Stiller and Diaz are quite likable and hold the movie down throughout all the juvenile jokes. Dillon and Elliot are really funny in their respective roles of antagonist and best friend.

Doesn't hurt Diaz looks realllllly good throughout, either.

The dog fight scene has me laughing so hard.

Wayne's World 2

Looking back, it's pretty obvious Wayne's World 2 isn't as good as Wayne's World (1). I think the fact that I hold the original so dear to my heart makes me overlook most of WW2's faults like: it hard-to-follow Wayne Stock plot, recycled jokes, excessive pop culture references, and cameos. WW2 feels unfocused, shallow, and wacky compared to WW1 and lacks the heart that made WW1 so beloved.

While this reviews makes it sound like the movie is bad, it's not meant to. I still consider it one of my favorites, but feel it's necessary to clearly separate it from its predecessor.

Favorite scenes include Village people dance scene and Chris Farley's cameo.

Sucker Punch
Sucker Punch (2011)

I have no idea what the hell is going on in this movie. Looks stunning, has great music, and drop-dead gorgeous girls...that's about all I got. I can't find the plot in all this eye candy and "acting." Couldn't watch it. Turned it off halfway through.

Baby Mama
Baby Mama (2008)

I will start by saying that I absolutely love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. They are extremely talented and funny (and gorgeous.) They are two of the best comedians out there and have been super, super successful in everything they do (30 Rock, Parks and Recreation) That being said...

This movie isn't good. It's not funny in any way. I laughed once, during a drunk dance sequence, half-way through, and that's it. Add the fact the the story is predictable, and the supporting cast is forgettable, and you have a movie I won't ever watch again or recommend to anyone else to see. That sounds harsh, and I know there is a million movies worse, but it's honestly a waste of nearly 2hrs. Tina plays her typical straight-laced business woman to Poehler's 'zany' foil. It's not exciting and it genuinely feels like they are simply going through the motions. I really expected something outrageous and smart with both of them on the screen together, but there's nothing. Because of Fey's and Poehler's track record, I'm putting the blame on the script and the director.

Transformers
Transformers (2007)
½

It's a shame that the sequels were so bad that you forget how good this movie was. I know, for the most part, Michael Bay makes pretty awful movies: They have over-the-top, mind-numbing effects, lack character development, have laughable acting, bloated, incoherent plots, eye-rolling dialogue, product-placement up the wazoo, embarrassing pop culture references...and I can't say that Transformers is any different. BUT, for the first time, I can say it doesn't matter. Like most Bay movies, this is a blockbuster film. It genuinely captures the feeling of summer. It's exciting, fun, polished, and exhilarating.

Unlike most, I really like Shia LaBeouf and think he makes a really fun lead. Megan Fox provides nothing much, but is the sweetest of eye candies. I really liked the supporting cast as well. Sam's parents and the US military soldiers are nice breathers from the action.

The movie has some of the best effects I have ever seen in a movie. This holds true some 6 years later.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

I remember when I saw a trailer for this movie and rolled my eyes. Cera, after Superbad, was rolling out cookie cutter indie comedies what felt like every other month. I was genuinely tired of it. I ended up watching the DVD at a get together with friends a few months later and was blown away. Scott Pilgrim is unlike any of Cera's films or any other film for that matter.

Amazing cast, plot, music...everything. The movie, directed by the amazing Edgar Wright is one of the best movies I have ever seen. It's fun, smart, and memorable. I've rewatched at least 15 times since. Strongly recommend.

You, Me and Dupree

Extremely predictable, and not very exciting, but Owen Wilson is genuine and likable. You can't help but smile at all his hijinks.

Very weak cast outside of Wilson (and Hudson) and again, very predictable.

The Cabin in the Woods

One of the best horror-comedies ever made and one of my favorites all-time. It gets better every time I re-watch it (I've seen it 10 or so times) I absolutely love meta movies and Cabin is very aware of the subject matter they are satire-ing and paying homage to.

Just a fun movie.

Silver Linings Playbook

Amazing movie. Heartfelt performances all around. SLP makes you really care about the characters; I found myself emotionally invested in Pat and Tiffany and hoped that in the end, they would not necessarily fall for one another, but find peace with their respective personal problems. Great performace by De Niro as well (wish he was my dad!) As cheesy as it sounds, I gave this movie a higher rating than all movies I've seen this last year with the exception of Cabin in the Woods (which I rated an equal 5) This and Perks of Being a Wallflower really surprised me. I strongly recommend.

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
½

Really polished with a surprising amount of effects. While it's definitely raunchy as it's predecessors, it feels more "hollywood" and mainstream. HK 1 and HK2 both felt like straight-to-dvd films. HK3 really felt like it was made for theaters.

That being said, I did like it, but felt the previous entries were funnier. All of the movie in the series have an underlying sweet side (between the leads and their ladies) and that's definitely one of my favorite aspects. I also love that Harold and to a lesser extent, Kumar are growing as the series progresses. We aren't just getting the same characters in a different predicament.

Amazing (as always) cameo from NPH.

Negatives: The amount of screen time given to the minor characters, Harold and Kumar's respective "best friends". Neither character really adds anything to the story, yet have large sections given to them.

I also didn't like Kumar's subplot in the movie where he reverts all the way back to his character in HK1, completely ignoring all of the personal growth he achieved in HK2. I understand he's supposed to be Harold's opposite and be the root of the raunchiness, but it felt shallow. It made no sense that his character changed so much (negatively) since the strong loven-driven ending of HK2.

Elf
Elf (2003)

I haven't seen this movie since Winter 2004, and decided to watch it to celebrate Christmas almost 10yrs later. It's way better than I remembered. I know most celebrate it as a modern Christmas movie classic, but as a jaded, no-so-christmas-spirited guy, I haven't really given it a re-watch.

I'm really glad I did. Elf captures everything that is wonderful about this time of year and makes me genuinely feel happy and a part of the celebration. Ferrell is extremely charming in his role and is surrounded by a great cast. Jon Favreau created a very streamlined (90min) classic. I really have nothing bad to say about this movie.

Inception
Inception (2010)

Easily one of the best movies I have ever seen. I think this film, rather than the Batmans, made me a fan of Nolan. I absolutely love movies with complex/thought-provoking twists and turns. Incredible, incredible cast.

The Cable Guy

Man. What an underrated film. I watched this movie when I was really young and I know I it help mold my sense of humor. Jim Carrey is amazing.

It's dark and I love it.

Super surprised by the team that made it (Stiller + Apatow.) I think it was both of their first professional works.

Moonrise Kingdom

This movie finally put me on the Wes Anderson bandwagon. There's so much detail and love in this movie. You can tell that every color palette, camera angle, piece of dialogue was meticulously chosen. You really appreciate it in multiple viewings.

Semi-Pro
Semi-Pro (2008)

Pretty disappointing. Ferrell plays his normal goofy, over-the-top alpha male character, but set against a promising, 1970's basketball background. All the elements are there, including the one-liners, outbursts, and catchphrases, but none of it sticks. It feels very weak, and very forgettable. The movie looks and feels like it was made in a few days and was made just for the sake of being made.

I think the movie has a very weak supporting cast, not the normal, star-studded cast full of Farrell's friends.

The movie was very uneven, showing unnecessary nudity and swearing, alongside some awkward, serious parts (Harrelson's storyline). The movie should have been silly and over-the-top in every regard, similar to Blades of Glory.

Batman: Under the Red Hood

Eh. I thought I'd give an animated Batman movie a try, and it wasn't for me. It's definitely nostalgic to relive the saturday morning cartoon experience, but overall, it wasn't really that great. I wasn't a fan of the animation, or the dialogue, or the story.

I will say, however, that I was taken back by the amount of violence in this movie: there is killings, blood, etc. I appreciated the PG-13 take, as opposed to aiming the movie squarely at children. This aspect did get my attention early on.

The Campaign
The Campaign (2012)

Not the best Will Farrell movie, but it does have it's moments. Really felt like a weaker, meaner Taladega Nights. I think, generally, the supporting cast wasn't very strong and Zach Galifianakis's character was more annoying than funny.

In all the movie is short (80min), but felt extremely long, due to the movie really never going anywhere. I know the movie is all about the "campaign," but it drags. Every scene is just them trying to sabotage each other, which got old after the first 20min.

Batman Forever

Such a cheesy, campy film, especially looking back after Nolan's trilogy. But, there's something fun and different that I like about Batman Forever. It feels like a saturday morning batman cartoon brought to life. All the characters are over the top and colorful. I especially loved the hapless police guard in the beginning and the masked grunts/goons throughout.

Personally, I think Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones knocked it out of the park in their roles as the Riddler and Two-Face. They are charismatic and magnetic.

The films music score and bright colors feels reminiscent of the old Batman series from the 60's twisted for the 90's. It's really unique. Joel Schumacher also used interesting camera angles throughout the film that stood out, sometimes taking the camera and panning in/and out dramatically, diagonally.

Negatives include: terrible dialogue outside of the purposely cheesy Riddler and Two-Face, Kilmer is wooden and pretty awful, O'Donnell (Robin) is equally as bad and very unnecessary, and there are some very awkward sexual innuendos throughout (like the closeup of Batman's butt)

A very large part of me wished they chose not to go mainstream with the franchise and kept Burton as director. Batman (1989) and Batman Returns are cinematic masterpieces. I absolutely love their dark brooding tone. I would have also loved to see Keaton back in the batsuit. My imagination can only think of how amazing he movie would have been.

Another part of me is very glad this version of Batman came to be. I do not think Carrey's portrayal of the Riddler would have fit in Burton's world. Schumacher created a live-action cartoon superhero film that hasn't and probably won't ever be seen again because, today, grounded, realistic superhero stories are stressed.

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

I really don't understand the critic's hate for this movie (the franchise as a whole.) The movie doesn't boast great acting and the story isn't complex, but the movie is quite unique and enjoyable. Many compare it to Tarantino's work, and it's obvious it was inspired by it, but I think The Boondock Saints carved something all its own.

The Boondock Saints II has a lot of good going for it: the brothers are likable and have chemistry together, there is lots of funny (though uneven) dialogue, a great soundtrack, and stylish action sequences.

Duffy did a great job of duplicating what what successful in The Boondock Saints, yet didn't stick to it religiously (this isn't a Hangover/Hangover 2 situation) There is obvious mirroring going on with the inclusion of a sidekick, the overly-dramatic special agent, etc. but it wasn't overly distracting.

I think the introduction of a secondary plot involving Poppa M's backstory was pretty cool. Again, the acting and plot is isn't very strong, but it's passable. I really think Duffy improved his directing int this. Benz, rather than Dafoe, is the main reason this movie isn't as good as the original. Benz character is VERY annoying.

I love that it makes several references to the original, even bring back Rocco in a dream sequence. I also really liked Romeo. It will be fun to see if they carry out the formula they have established so far in the franchise and added another sidekick in the sequel.

In all, I definitely recommend, especially if you (unlike the critics) enjoyed the original. It's not as good, but close, and is a worthy sequel.

The Amazing Spider-Man

First thing's first, this is not anywhere near as magical as Raimi's 2002 adaption. Nowhere close. Garfield is a cooler Spiderman though; his version is exciting, stylish, and funny. He really makes Tobey McGuire look like a dork, whether or not that's the real Peter Parker, that's up to you. Other than 'coolness', Garfield's acting is really bad and eyeroll-inducing. McGuire outshines him by miles. You would have thought his acting in the Social Network would translate well, but it doesn't. If there ever was a reason for me to not watch the sequel to The Amazing Spiderman, it would be Garfield.

In general, the entire movie is pretty cheesy and not the charmy cheesy that was in Raimi's. It definitely feels like a blockbuster film, though. The soundtrack, lighting, costume work, cinematography... is top-notch.

I hate that they tried to appeal to the younger crowd with the shy, skateboarding, misunderstood version of Parker. Parker doesn't give the least hint of being the Nerd/genius he's supposed to be. They really should have taken a page from the Iron Man franchise in making the main character undeniably smart.

I really dislike the transition to Spiderman, masked-vigilante. Didn't feel fluid or natural. One minute he's skateboarding, the next he's a crime fighter. The motivation of his Uncle's death to fuel this transition isn't felt at all. There's never this moment where it clicks (like in Batman Begins, for example) when he knows this is what he's destined to do.

Emma Stone and Sheen are great in their small roles. Ifans is a solid as well, but is lost completely in his Lizard-Villain state.

The movie becomes quite forgettable/boring about half-way through. The allure of Dr. Lizard fades quick. The slick moves of Garfield jumping, swinging, and webbing bad guys is the only real thing I'll remember.

Goon
Goon (2012)
½

What a surprising film. In my second viewing, I can definitely say this movie is a must-see. William Scott plays one of the most likable characters I've ever seen. I'm not one for sports films, because most are pretty cliche and formulaic, but Goon, despite it's appearance, doesn't fall neatly into the category. The movie has heart and good characters and is genuinely funny.

I'd also like to say that Director, Dowse does a great job of making the game feel genuinely hard-hitting. The sounds, the blood, the camera angles, the closeups, the slow-motion...everything feels real and extremely painful.

Great soundtrack as well.

A Knight's Tale

Such a great, great movie. I love the small overlaps of modern dialogue and music with the 14th century story. Heath Ledger shows why we all miss him so much. Great supporting cast. My 12yr old self's crush on Sossamon still lingers to this day.

The Dark Knight

This movie is considered one of the best ever created. I'm not about to spend an hour restating all the positives. We all know how good it is. But, what I will review (shortly) is the negatives and why it's no longer a top 10 movie for me.

5 years later, I can finally say my love for this film has dwindled. I consider my favorite movies (great movies in general) to have an unrelenting replay factor. I think the best movies are movies you watch repeatedly and never tire of them. You know the plot, you know the script word for word. Dark Knight has the latter, but replay value...no.

Dark Knight is very long. That's not to say that's a bad thing for a good movie....but, this movie drags on. It takes a very long time to set up and my excitement to watch it barely extends past the Joker's second scene with the Mobsters. Dark Knight has the biggest draw in movie history in Heath Ledger as the Joker. However, that draw is also the movie's biggest weakness in my eyes (or at least contributes to the biggest weakness) : nothing else is as good as the Joker. You spend the whole movie just waiting for scenes he's in. Everything in-between is tiring. Two-Face, Rachel, and even Batman become boring. I simply do not care enough for anything but the Joker. It's to the point that when I want to rewatch Dark Knight, it's because I remember all the amazing Joker scenes: the Bank robbery, The pencil trick, The pool stick scene, Crashing the Party, the Hospital explosion, and the list goes on....

See, having character as strong/magnetic as the Joker isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I don't think Nolan's attempt at balancing him with other strong/magnetic characters was effective. Personally, I'm not a fan of Two Face or Rachel in this movie and think they may be the reason why the rest of the movie (sans Joker) wasn't intriguing. Rachel is necessary for motivating Bruce to break his "rules" to take out Joker along with Dent's transformation to heel, but she is so annoying that I found her death more relieving than sad. Dent, while indeed become a villain, isn't intimidating or strong, at least in comparison to the Joker. Eckhart just didn't go as crazy as you would hope. He appeared almost too sane. I think if Rachel would have died earlier and Harvey turned earlier and became more pissed and uncontrollable with vengeance, it would have done the trick.

I want to go into what I stated with more detail, along with some other points to plead my argument, but it will take some time. I'll edit this eventually. Til then.

The Hangover
The Hangover (2009)

It's a shame how much the sequels to this movie ruined its legacy. The Hangover is one of the best comedies I have ever seen. I remember loving it so much about it that I took anybody who hadn't seen it yet to go see it the summer it came out. I may have saw it 4-5 times in theaters. I strongly recommend. Just don't watch the sequels. Ever.

Away We Go
Away We Go (2009)

I love John and Maya and think they play their roles beautifully. Highly recommend.

The World's End
½

When I have time, I'll write a adequate review, but for now, 3 or so minutes after the watch tWE, can say I was extremely disappointed. I have no clue how this movie was received so warmly by critics. Definitely the weakest of the trilogy, and probably my least favorite film by Edgar Wright.

Update: I just watched tWE for the 2nd time and like it much better than my first view. I guess I had really high expectations going in the first time; I had much lower ones this go around. Simon Pegg's character isn't likable and much of the plot is driven through long chunks of narrative. Nick Frost's character is the best part of the movie, by far. Much of the supporting cast outside of Frost is forgettable.

Other negatives:

- Completely unnecessary female character and storyline. Adds nothing.
- Crazy weak ending. Wright obviously wanted to tie up all the character's storylines, but it wasn't good, in my opinion. Just like much of the rest of the movie, it relied on a long narrative, which was really annoying.

There's definitely some really funny parts, but they are few in far between, unlike Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead.

Street Fighter

This is a really bad movie. It's not even fun to watch ironically. The only thing that keeps it from a 1/2 star rating is nostolgia. I grew up playing Street Fighter on my SNES and watched this movie when I was little. Some of the cheesy one-liners and actually seeing the characters brought to life is pretty neat (no matter how off they look from the video game characters) Raul Julia is the best part.

Spider-Man
Spider-Man (2002)

This movie came out when I was 11 and was absolutely huge for me. I grew up, like most people of my generation, watching saturday morning cartoons like Spiderman, X-Men, Batman, etc. I know the story and I love it. I think what strikes me most about Raimi's adaption is that it feels familiar. It feels like the cartoons I watched when I was little were magically brought into the real world. It does this all while being one of the biggest blockbuster movies I have ever seen. We all know that this movie set the standard for superhero movies more than a decade later.

As for the movie itself, McGuire is, and forever will be, Spiderman. He looks, sounds, and acts like how I imagine Peter Parker looks, sounds, and acts. He's very likable as the lead. One of the few superhero movies where you genuinely care more about the superhero than the villain. (Unlike Batman, for example)

Amazing supporting cast. Dafoe as Norman Osborne is so good; He's so evil. Franco and Dunst (holy kissing scene spiderman) play Harry and Mary Jane perfectly.

The movie has a good amount of cheesiness which I find charming. Unlike the most recent reboot of Spiderman (with Garfield) I love that this movie feels authentic to the source material and isn't being shopped at a particular demographic for monetary reasons. Peter Parker isn't cool. He's a nerd/photographer that is trying to be a superhero: he's agile, but clumsy. I like seeing him learn to be Spiderman as the movie progresses.

Got nothing but love for this movie.

V/H/S
V/H/S (2012)
½

Sadly, I think I'm finally had my full of the 'found-footage' movies. After sitting through Paranormal Activity the last couple years, I'm pretty keen to what's going on and don't really find it necessarily satisfying anymore. It's obvious you're going to jump when something shifts out of focus or moves in the background. You know the camera is going to sway just a little to give you a glimpse of something behind the camera holder. You also know the first half of the movie has nothing to do with the plot: you just see normal, everyday people having fun and doing normal, everyday things (obviously to make you connect with them and instill a sense of realism) until shit gets crazy...then you have another 30 min of people doubting or not believing what's really happening... It's a formula. The only thing that kept me interested in V/H/S and overlooking what now is a pretty cliche gimmick, was the anthology aspect. Trick r' Treat and the A, B, C's of Death are the only other movies I've seen that did this (I'm on the hunt for more.) I liked that each story is condensed and intense. I also liked how unique each story was. None of the 4 are like any horror movie I've seen (minus the camera.)

A lot of it is hit or miss as the RT review states. A few times you are genuinely engaged and scared, other times the premise or story is hard to grasp and you spend the 20min wondering what's going on (completely missing why it's supposed to be scary.) This is the case for the main story (burglars), and the 2nd (honeymoon), 3rd (woods), and 4th (aliens) tapes. I actually had to Wiki these stories to know what they were about.

It's weird cause the momentum from tape 1 (succubus) is halted in the middle of V/H/S and you start to lose interest, but it brings you right back in with the 5th (haunted house.) It leaves me thinking much more positively of the movie cause I just forget about the middle.

I can absolutely see this a being a yearly movie franchise like past Saws and Paranormal Activity. If random people find VHS collections and sit down and watch these random recorded horror films, there's a lot of room for innovation (they would be handicapped by the found-footage set-up , though) 5 different directors, 5 different stories is pretty cool. It's seems inevitable 1-3 of the 5 won't be great, but I can live with that. I mean, I'm about to go watch V/H/S 2.

Dead Man
Dead Man (1995)

Saw a midnight showing of this at the Music Box in Chicago presented by Nick Offerman. He hyped it up a lot beforehand. Wasn't blown away. Very trippy. Reminded me of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (another Depp film)

Only God Forgives

I have no freaking clue what the hell is going on in this movie. I have never been more lost watching a movie in my life. After the amazingness that was Refn's Drive, I was crazy excited for Only God Forgives. Even the trailer looked epic: stylish, bright neon pink colors, awesome music...

The movie wasn't anything like I was expecting. Outside of the score and the colors, there's nothing. Gosling, for the 3rd movie in a row (Drive, Place Beyond the Pines, Only God Forgives) says only a handful of lines the entire film. I count maybe 5-8 lines the entire film? Less than 50 words. It's pretty laughable, actually. What was unique in Drive is slowly becoming cliche and comical.

As I said before, this movie had me extremely lost. If it wasn't for the fact I read the plot summary (Man gets revenge on people who killed brother,) I would be even more lost (not sure if possible) The movie is full of these slow, drawn out kill scenes that were meant to be artistic/stylish, but ended up being boring and eye-rolling.

There is no fighting in this movie (save a lame ass kicking Gosling receives in the 'showdown') which was super disappointing. In a movie where I couldn't follow the plot, I thought I could surely take solace in the violence (Drive had tons of cool scenes with Gosling hurting others in creative ways) delivered by Gosling, but there was none. The most he did was pull out a gun and shoot a few people. Really lame.

Odds and Ends: Terrible antagonist: not terrifying or memorable in the least. Crazy little dialogue the entire movie. 90% of that tiny amount of dialogue is in subtitles. No climax Unsatisfying conclusion. Little dialogue made for little to no character development. Super short at 90min.

I honestly cannot believe how bad this was. For a Drive fan, I am super disappointed and strongly recommend passing.

Fright Night
Fright Night (1985)

I saw the remake before I saw this and I can saw pretty confidently it was better. I no doubt in my mind that this movie was a game changer for the time it was released, mixing humor and horror, but it just feels outdated and outstyled by its 2011 counterpart.

I really liked the 80's touch and appreciated the good deal of cheesiness. However, the actors leave a lot to be desired. Ed, Amy, and Charlie all are wooden and generally unlikeable. Same goes for the feeble Peter Vincent.

The Lost Boys

What a slick movie. I really liked Corey Haim's funny kid character set in this world of cool vampires. Loved the tone and music score. Has a good deal of cheesy 80's flair which was fun.

You're Next
You're Next (2013)

A lot of reviews for the film called it 'meta' and smart which made me pretty excited, especially after the incredible 'The Cabin in the Woods.' It was even dubbed a Black Comedy like 'Cabin.' The reviews combined with my interpretation of the tagline "...an unlikely guest proves to be the most talented killer of them all" had me with a general expectation of what the film had in store: Killers would invade the house and the inhabitants would fight back, creating an ironic turn of events for the typical horror/slasher film. But, unfortunately You're Next didn't quite live up to my expectations as I was hoping. The movie's plot was exactly like the tagline. There was no twists. There was not crazy subplot and motive. The whole movie was realizing that one 'guest' was a BA and that's it. The motive behind the attack was pretty lame, too. As soon as we discovered it was a hired move by the family for inheritance (yawn) the magic of the film was gone. The movie is very similar to the 2008 "The Strangers" (and most masked slashers) in that the main source of the viewer's suspense and horror is not knowing who's behind the mask and their intentions. In that way "The Strangers" (a pretty bad film) was more successful that "You're Next" cause they don't reveal themselves or their intentions.

When we discover these attackers are simply hired doofuses, it's over. Add in the fact that its all orchestrated by hapless brothers? Shit. They threw away such a good premise for a great horror film. Also, that ending? Made no sense in a movie where everything was supposed to make sense. The movie made it explicitly clear that they wanted no loose ends for interpretation, giving well-articulated explanations to everything going on. That ending seemed fit for a movie with no real plot, a movie that simply wanted to entertain. At a short 94min, it almost felt like a copout of trying to give the movie the appropriate conclusion. It's like they weren't quite sure how the Aussy-protagonist could leave the massacre she just survived, so the just said lets just do something quick and show the audience it's all been a fun ride. Lame. Here's the ending it should have had (there's a lot more I would have changed, but this is just to fix the ending) She survives, discovers her boyfriend's motives, smiles, hugs/kisses him, laugh about their new money-enriched life, and they leave the house to go to the cops. She says "wait honey. I got to grab my phone/something" Walks back into the house alone, picks up her phone/something. See the butcher knife and fox mask. Put's the mask on, and the knife in her backpocket. She leaves the house and shuts the door. Movie fades to black. We her Crispian say "Take that mask off. They're going to think you enjoyed killing all of them."

Fun ending aside...

It would have been absolutely amazing if there was no plot other than: "attackers try to kill family, family turns tables and kills them." (Similar to Tarantino's Deathproof) Wingard/Barrett dropped the ball when they thought the movie needed more beneath the surface. A Deathproof meets Cabin in the Woods would have been crazy.

Main criticisms aside, the movie has some cool stuff going for it: namely that one BA "guest" who turns the tables and starts fighting back (her origin story was silly and unnecessary, btw) Her badassery combined with great visuals and a great score had me entertained. Best scenes were: The sister taking a long, dramatic run towards the door, only to be clothes-lined and killed by the thin wire, the flashing camera basement kill, and the blender kill for Felix. The movie showed signs that it knew how to be cool and funny, but in all, it definitely was a miss.

Halloween
Halloween (2007)

Mean-Spirited, ugly, and unnecessary. The dialogue alone is enough to make me cringe. There's no suspense, no horror. Just scenes of boring, senseless violence.

Pass, pass, pass. Jesus.

Frankenweenie
½

I could not, for the life of me, get into this movie. The general consensus is this movie is great (87% RT rating) but I wasn't swayed. Very boring. I feel like this movie is just a giant copy and paste of random characters from other Burton films.

I thought it had a neat style (black and white) but that's about where my positives go. I felt the stop motion was pretty dull as compared to previous ones such as Corpse Bride, Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, etc. I hated how blank the characters's faces were. They rarely matched the energy of the voice work.

Kick-Ass 2
Kick-Ass 2 (2013)
½

As a fan of KA1, I was really looking forward to KA2 and seeing how super harsh critics were with KA2 didn't really affect me. However, those reviews are quite justified. The movie is pretty bad. It wasn't the worse thing I've ever seen, but It's up there as one of the most disappointing movies of the year.

Negatives:
1. The acting of Moretez in scenes that she wasn't in a superhero outfit. It was pretty painful to see her try to pull off a sad High Schooler. Honestly, her whole storyline as a superhero trying to fit in at highschool (with the Mean Girls cast) was awful.
2. Generally, almost all characters in KA2 aren't developed well. It's really bad. While Faison, Leguizamo, and most especially Carrey were billed as bill roles, none had more than a handful of scenes.
3. I'll go back to Carrey. Man, what a great character...in the trailer. Man, they hyped him up and he came and went in a blink of an eye. Disappointing.
4. KA2 is more mean-spirited than it is black comedy (like KA1). Some of the death really weren't needed for the story.
5. Plasse shrunk big time in this more prominent role. He plays a spoiled brat well, but not as a vengeful villain.
6. The movie's plot as a whole is very cheesy and very predicable. No surprises at all.
7. This is may be a personal opinion, but I absolutely hate Taylor Johnson. His character in both Kick-Ass movies is annoying. I could care less about him or his eye-rolling plot involving his father.

Positives:
1. Moretz is amazing as Hit Girl. Nothing is better than seeing her start cussing and taking out bad guys.
2. Motherfucker putting together a evil team was pretty funny. It was pretty cool seeing all the town's superheroes go against them.
3. Faison and Carrey were really funny in their minimal roles. Wish I saw more of them.

The Great Gatsby

What a miss. Man, was this a disappointing film. Leonardo DiCaprio plays what feel like a poor, watered down version of his Southern Charmer character from Django Unchained. His character isn't the least bit engaging, which is strange because the very character is supposed to surrounded in mystery and intrigue. I feel like it's the script to blame. It's like they said, "we liked what you did in Django. Do something like that, but say Old Sport a lot."

I also hate, very hate, the Maguire narration. Feels like such a cheap way of moving the plot along. Honestly, without the narration to fill in the gaps, you wouldn't have a clue how all these seemingly random scenes join together to make a story.

The movie shows glimpses of grandeur: music sequences (of modern rap) hit just perfectly at times and slow-motion scenes of bright colors successfully bring you into their universe. But, it all feels sporadic.

Drillbit Taylor

This was the first and only movie I've ever walked out of theater on. An absolutely terrible movie trying to imitate what made the 2007 film, Superbad, successful.

Beetlejuice
Beetlejuice (1988)

Great, great Movie. Extremely short, though. Not enough Keaton.

Mars Attacks!
½

Haven't seen this movie since I was a little kid and remembered very little except the aliens scared me. Some 15 or so years later, I decided to rewatch it. I had no idea Tim Burton directed, nor did I know how Jack Nicholson was in it. Really surprised I've never seen it before because of those two reasons alone.

Anyways, the movie is super stylish. Very unique. It's a satire/spoof of cheesy B sci fi movies with really dark humor. I'll admit that I didn't find most it funny, but I think it will appeal greatly to those that love dark humor. It's like Evil Dead meets Bugs Bunny.

The funniest parts are the aliens when they humorously kill off the humans. Outside of that, no much is funny. The human characters are moronic, largely unlikable, and die sporadically throughout. There's no strong protagonist, just a bunch of characters, with little character development that come and go until they get lasered down.

Pain & Gain
Pain & Gain (2013)

I was...I was not expecting that at all. Commercials and Trailers made this movie out to be a blockbuster comedy. It was not.

Pain and Gain is a black comedy with laughs few and far between. I understand the style of humor and like it a lot. It takes some warming up to, and a while until you catch all the quirks, but in this movie, it was not executed well. There are scenes and dialogue that are genuinely funny, but are outnumbered significantly by unfunny, mean-spirited ones. ( a lot like Hangover 3)

I became uninterested an hour in (when Lugo and his team started carrying out their plot and torturing Kershaw) I turned the movie off and finished it the next day.

The movie is broken into 4 chapters:

1. Backstory and exposition of the main characters narrated by the characters, themselves through flashbacks. (funny, extremely confusing)

2. Kidnap and torture Kershaw (most dragged on, annoying part of movie)

3. Team succeed in heist, spend their money in their funny, unique ways. (best part of movie, yet only 10 or so minutes long)

4. Cliche detective brought in and heist starts to unravel as characters revert to their bad habits. ( I said "what the hell is going on" a lot)

The story is a confusing mess of a heist gone wrong. I understand the implied satire in this by having a bunch of meatheads try to pull off an Ocean's 11-type stunt, but it wasn't done right. So much unnecessary scenes that dragged on and on and on. So much unnecessary violence...Honestly, while writing this, I'm liking the movie less. I'm going to stop. I am finally understanding why people dislike Michael Bay so much

Don't get me wrong, there are some funny bits, like Rebel Wilson as the the "Penis Doctor, but for the most part, this movie was bad and I have no interest in watching it again to convince myself otherwise.

Rock Star
Rock Star (2001)

Formulaic and full of cliches, yet still very enjoyable. Like Almost Famous, Rock Star comes on VH1 late at night at least a once or twice a month and I stop channel-surfing to see it every time.

Almost Famous
½

I've seen this movie so many times late at night on VH1 and watch the whole thing everytime. So good.

Digimon - The Movie
½

Beautiful Animation. Reminds me of my childhood. Enjoyable some 12yrs later because of the great story and surprisingly mature dialogue. This isn't Pokemon, nor is it a Saturday morning cartoon. Feels like a legitimate animated movie. Great english voice-work and a really fun soundtrack. The only negative about the movie is it's appeal and story will only make sense to those with a background with Digimon. The movie doesn't develop the characters very well. New viewers to the series will not know or care about the characters (or Digimon) and will most likely be lost in the story and the back-to-back-to-back action scenes. I will admit there is some cheesiness, namely in the lengthy "digi-volutions" sequences.

Also very short at 80min. It feels especially rushed because the movie is divided into 2 main acts (the backstory and the present-day) The first act is far superior to the 2nd. I almost wish they carried the dark tone and dialogue from the first for the whole movie and pushed the 2nd into a separate film. It would have drastically improved character development as well, seeing that characters from the first act aren't even in the second. Kari and and Willis are the only carryovers, and as a result, are the strongest characters in the film.

Joe Dirt
Joe Dirt (2001)
½

One of my biggest guilty pleasures. I really don't understand all the hate for it. Reminds me of Half-Baked: not very clever, low-brow, etc. But, JD comes on Comedy Central quite frequently and I've seen it more times than I can count and still enjoy it. I'm a Spader fan and I think he's hilarious in this role. I like his character and think he really brought this cartoon-like character to life.

Accepted
Accepted (2006)

Probably one of my favorite movies. Justin Long is so incredibly likable and the supporting cast is hilarious.

I think I'm going to go watch it now, actually...

Kill Bill: Volume 2
½

RT wrote the perfect synopsis: there is far less action than KB1 and a stonger emphasis on story. The latter was necessary to satisfyingly conclude the two-part film. While I don't in any way say this is a fault, it omitted the crazy action sequences that highlighted KB1. There were no super memorable scenes in KB2: the dialogue and character development was back-to-back-to-back for the most part. Amazing acting all around, but after setting the bar high in KB1, my expectations weren't met, unfortunately. One amazing fight sequence would have really put this movie over-the-top: The ending confrontation between the Bride and Bill would have been so, so, so great with a real samurai-esque showdown.

Speaking of the ending, that was probably the most disappointing aspect of KB2 for me. The ending was unusual, being calm and showcasing the emotional connection between the two characters. I was fully expecting this revenge-driven, blood-soaked massacre of a two-part movie to end with a bang, but it didn't. The movie just kind of walked into the sunset. It just wasn't satisfying for me. It was appropriate for the characters and their relationship, but I still feel let down.

Kill Bill: Volume 1

KB1 has 100x more action than KB2. This film really set the tone of the soon-to-be trilogy and is in my opinion, the most stylistic so far. The action sequences are fast, brutal, and executed beautifully. The highlights are the black and white fight between the Bride and the Crazy 88's and the animated sequence for the backstory for O-Ren Ishii.

KB1 is a great film that is obviously one-half of a whole story, yet Tarantino did a great job of creating a film with a story strong enough to hold its own; it leads perfectly into KB2. The movie didn't leave you with a Matrix 2 or Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows: Pt 1 why-the-hell-did-they-end-it-like-this-noooooooo feeling. It was very tastefully done.

Tarantino is my (and probably millions of others) favorite director and as such, love everything he does. That being said and fan-boy charisma aside, strongly recommend this movie. It's stylistic and full of action (like of of QT's work) and is unlike any other movie out there.

American Beauty

I really glad I finally got around to seeing this. Definitely worth watching. Spacey is amazing.

Pitch Perfect
½

Ana Kendrick is drop-dead gorgeous. She's a great actress; I loved her in Up in the Air and 50/50. That being said, her acting in this movie is horrid. I don't know if it is the cheesy script that is the culprit or her trying to fit into a role that that is cheesy. Her character is some moody, independent, aspiring music producer with great vocals. I can't take her seriously at any moment. She does not fit the role...at all. It's laughable.

As harsh as I am on Kendrick's acting/character, I'll be fair in saying she's not the only one. Generally, all characters in PP are cheesy caricatures of those from teen movies... And it doesn't even feel intended to be satire. It genuinely feels like they tried.You will roll your eyes at every one of them. Guaranteed.

Rebel Wilson steals the spotlight of any scene she's in, probably my favorite part of the movie. The musical numbers are catchy, don't get me wrong. It's just the laughable characters/acting and formulaic plot. I lost interest at 1hr, 3min. I had to force myself to watch the rest. Again, I will reiterate. Ana Kendrick is smoking. If you must watch it, watch it for her. I recommend muting the movie as well.

21 Jump Street

Great movie. I love the fact that they made this move Rated R and didn't pull any comedy punches to appeal to a wider audience. It would have been so easy to slap a PG-13 rating on this and have it aimed at 14-16yr olds and rake in a bunch of dough off of dumb, gross-out/slapstick, pop-culture-excessive jokes. I also love that the movie is self-aware, knowing that everything they are doing is satire. At know point does it feel too dumb or too smart.

Tatum and Hill have amazing chemistry. I became a big fan of Tatum after 21 Jump Street. He and Hill play really likable characters.

Great supporting cast as well. Dave Franco is hilarious.

Super 8
Super 8 (2011)
½

Much better in my 2nd viewing. Great film. However, they hid the 'monster' of the film for so long, that it became frustrating; I lost interest in it by the film's conclusion. The tact was used similarly to 2008's Cloverfield.

Great story anchored by surprising performances from the young cast; they really became their characters and make you very attached to them all.

The movie has a summer-blockbuster vibe and made me a big J.J. Abrams fan.

The Love Guru

I cannot watch more than 2minutes of this movie at a time. However, I've seen many chunks of it over the course of the last few year on TV, and feel confident enough to call this one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. I cannot believe Mike Myers chose to do this.

X-Men: First Class

One of the best movies of the Superhero genre and easily the best in the X-Men franchise. Brilliant cast and brilliant acting carry this movie and somehow find a way to be as entertaining as the action sequences.

A stylish, summer blockbuster.

Evil Dead
Evil Dead (2013)

Not a bad movie at all. God knows 95% of theater-released horror movies last 20 years are trash. They all follow the same predictable storyline, have bad acting, and over-the-top kill after over-the-top kill. Evil Dead follows most of these cliches. The story is as vanilla as possible: teenagers at a cabin in the woods that die one by one in gruesome ways. However, because Evil Dead is a remake/re envisioning of the original, I understand not wanting to deviate from the original subject matter.

The movie is stylish and polished, it's evident they got a good team to make and market the movie. They successfully rebranded the movie to set it apart from the original. The gore and such from the movie looked great (sounds so morbid to say)

The overall acting in the movie isn't horrible, but the main mail actor, Hernandez as David was. It was bad. Really bad. He was hollow and emotionless for most of the movie. I fully-believe that a stronger lead would have dramatically improved the movie. No charisma...at all.

Black humor is what made the original so unique and propelled it into cult status. While, the movie has a few scenes where the Demon takes over and says "fuck this, fuck that, etc." which was humorous, it wasn't an underlining theme which was a bit sad to see. I mean, where's Bruce Campbell when you need him?

The violence/gore of the movie was good as I mentioned, but not, in my opinion, very amazing. I never cringed up watching this movie. I never felt sick to my stomach like a good horror movie should do. I wasn't really impressed with Evil Dead, but I applaud it for being much, much better than most of its genre.

Avatar
Avatar (2009)

Great movie. Probably one of the most polished, over-the-top blockbusters I've ever seen. I know that the production cost of this movie was insane, but I do wish more studios backed large projects like this. I mean, it's so rare to see a movie that lives up to the hype in such a grand way. I honestly felt like I was taken to another world for almost 3 hours.

My rating for this movie is more for the experience than the story itself. The plot of the movie is very simple, and very predictable (it's Pocahontas with Blue Aliens) and there is little difficulty in following. Vanilla storyline aside, the acting is great.

I'm hardpressed to think their is a movie with better special effects. This is one-of-a-kind.

Daddy Day Care
½

I remember really liking this movie when I was younger. I just realized I was 13 then. I rewatched it some 10 years later and I still remember a lot of the funniest parts. Murphy and Garlin are absolutely hilarious (Zahn is too in his smaller role)

The movie is formulaic and extremely predictable. No surprises, no deep story. If it wasn't for the leading actors, you'd think this was a straight-to-DVD movie, not one that was actually released in theaters.

There is quite a few scenes that make me smile and think back to watching it when I was real young, but in reality, the movie isn't very good. Not horrible (it's entertaining) but it's probably not a film I'll watch again for another 10 years.

Mystery Men
Mystery Men (1999)

A movie that reminds me of my childhood. Not a masterpiece, but full of nostalgia.

The movie a spoof of the Superhero genre and is nice to see a decade after the genre has engulfed cinema. The cast is great (my favorite Reubens as the fart-sniping Spleen) and story is silly. Definitely a fun movie.

Star Trek Into Darkness
½

My favorite movie this summer (so far.) As I said when watching the first JJ Abrams Star Trek film, I've never been a Sci-Fi guy: I have no interest in Star Wars or Star Trek and thus have no knowledge of the subject matter. But, I'm a fan of these movies.

Abrams directing is superb and he is slowly becoming one of my favorites. He assembled a great cast and they shined in the original and in this sequel. They are the best part of this franchise. Pine and Quinto are extremely likable. Star Trek: ITD does a phenomenal job of developing every character and getting them just the right amount of screen time to make me feel attached to them.

Perfect cast (and acting) aside (a merit that very, very few movies earn), the story and action are top notch. I especially loved the antagonist Khan. His role as villain went back and forth between enemy and ally. His motivation was always in question which made the movie fun and unpredictable. In general, ST: ITD is great because, as a viewer, it was very difficult to know how to make decisions when trying to place yourself in the characters' shoes: Is Kirk doing the right thing? Is Spock right? Who is the real threat? What plan of action do I take that is good for the crew? The answers to these questions are never black and white (until they are resolved) This uncertainty is fresh. A seasoned movie watcher knows most films don't put that much effort is constantly throwing out misdirections to the audience (no initiative, weak story, or general lack of faith in the intelligence of the audience usually the reasons)

I have no real negative criticisms of the film at this time. A second viewing will most likely shed light on the film's shortcomings, but for now I don't have any. My rating for this film, while seems low for a movie with no strong evident flaws, is appropriate for myself. I'm not generally enthusiastic about this genre of films and don't categorize it as one of my favorites. No knock on the film whatsoever. Go watch it. Will go down as one of the top 20 films of 2013 (which it deserves)

The Green Hornet
½

You keep hoping the movie turns the corner and gets good, but it doesn't. Rogen's character isn't likable; it was hard to really get attached to him. While the plot makes sense, there isn't a real sense of 'evil.' The bad guys the Hornet has to face are not intimidating or threatening; there wasn't any gigantic climatic fight to get excited about. Waltz is a great actor, but a terrible villain. If he was the cold, calculated Jew Hunter from Inglorious Basterds, the movie would have been 100x better.

Monsters University

Solid film, but not amazing. The original is far superior. Honestly, Pixar's last 3 films have been subpar...and by subpar, I mean subpar to Pixar standards. This isn't Toy Story, or Up, or Wall E.

Monsters University is a colorful film made for children and doesn't have enough charm to resonate with older audiences (13yrs >) I can't put my finger on it specifically, but I didn't feel attached to the characters like I should. In my opinion, most of the supporting characters were forgettable. I couldn't tell you one from the other, nor do I have interest in trying to figure it out. As an artist, I feel most characters in MU were not given enough development. It's like they had a goofy idea for a older monster with a mustache and just went with it. That's it. There were SO many funny, unique characters in the original besides Sully and Mike.

Besides weak characters, the story wasn't exciting and extremely predicable. You'd expect for the latter, but it was especially hollow. Really, really wanted the heartwarming experience of a traditional Pixar movie...maybe next time.

Negative criticisms aside, beautiful animation and a lot of slapstick. I laughed quite a few times (just not as much as I hoped.)

Man of Steel
Man of Steel (2013)

Occasionally, Rotten Tomatoes gets it wrong. This is one of those times. WAY better than I thought it was going to be. I honestly couldn't care less about Superman. Has never interested me. But, with Snyder and most importantly Nolan at the helm, I had to give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised by how engaged I felt. Lots of style, good acting, lots of action, good score. Man of Steel did a lot of things right. A negative I keep reading is that the movie lacked romance and humor: GOOD. No forced love angle and no one-liners that pop up in most Superhero movies that ruin the serious tone. (the only movie that gets away with it is Iron Man. That's it. The rest annoy me more than anything.)

I want to reiterate the great acting. I think Cavill was perfect as Superman and had a wonderful supporting cast. Amy Adams was a great Lois Lane and I think the unforced Love angle helped let her be a stronger, more respectable character.

The only real criticism I have of the movie is in the beginning. I felt like Clark Kent's family's acceptance of his alien-origins was eerily un-confrontational. Hell, the whole world barely batted an eye when they found out that their world was actually inhabited by an alien. They were like: "Ok. we got an alien. Looka that." Very little panic or sense of fear in my opinion. I really felt like the World was wayyyy more ready to accept aliens than they were made out to be. Usually Superheroes have a long road before they are accepted by the world. Clark Kent accepted that he was savior of the world pretty fast, too. No signs of internal struggle over his new, HUGE responsibility. He just kind of became Superman in a matter of minutes.

Despicable Me

I just watched the sequel and thought I'd come in here and make sure my ratings for each film were appropriate. Solid film. Very funny and it's sequel's poor story makes this one look even better (this movie has a great story, in addition to the gags.)

Despicable Me 2

It's an adorable movie hands down. However, to pretend this movie is anything else, you're lying to yourself. The plot is in there somewhere; a good story was clearly not the goal of this film. Amazing visuals and laughs were. They capitalized/overused the minions big time (I didn't mind.) I really wish they had a stronger antagonist. El Macho was very weak. I say that not only as threat to Gru and such, but even in the humor department. His character was washed out from start to finish.

Spring Breakers
½

Man. That is a lot to take in. What a unique film. I liked it for sure, but am currently having a difficult time critiquing it. Another viewing is definitely in order. The vibe/tone of this movie is as intoxicating as the subject matter.

The Place Beyond The Pines
½

The first chapter of this story that revolved around Gosling's character, Luke, would not have been a problem if it wasn't for the fact that the character (and story) was almost identical to the character Gosling portrayed in Drive: Replace car with motorcycle, scorpion jacket for tattoos, Mulligan for Mendez. Gosling even had the cold demeanor and minimal "one-liner" dialogue from Drive. There's more similarities , but I'm stopping there. While, the character (and his storyline) aren't horrible by any stretch, I couldn't take my mind off of how unoriginal it was. If Beyond the Pines came out in 2010, then I would no doubt have no problem here.

Anyways, moving past the first thorn this movie put in my side, the second is the way they ended it. I'm all for beautiful endings, but the way they set up the movie made the ending hollow and, to me, a letdown.

The movie's foundation is Gosling's and Cooper's families affecting one another's. Their interaction causes pain and suffering that trickles down all the way to the kids. The movie set us up for a revenge story similar to that of The Departed. The kids grow up on opposite sides, not knowing that they are actually linked to one another, until they find out and drama ensues.

They build it up just like that and have the climax in the palm of their hand (that sounded dirty) and they just let it go. Why did they give us that ending? The reason the Departed was so good was it gave us the ending the story deserved, not the happy one we wanted where Leonardo DiCaprio buys a motorcycle and drives into the sunset.

Those two main criticisms aside, the movie was solid. I loved the dark, gritty tone of the film. But, the film desperately needed a better soundtrack to capitalize on that. The plot had promise but was uneven, and unraveled at the end. The acting is great, minus Eva Mendes (don't know what happened there. Should just brought Mulligan in.)

The Hangover Part III

Wow. That was bad. That effectively ended one the most disappointing franchises I have ever seen. Hangover [1] was amazing. I saw it 5 times the summer it came out. I still regard it as one all-time favorite movies.

That being said, Todd Phillips has completely wiped any of the magic that with H1 with it with it's sequels.

H3 isn't even funny. I recorded the moment I laughed for the first time: 42 min in. I recorded every time I laughed thereafter: 3. The movie isn't a comedy as much as it is a angry, dark film (RT got it right in it's synopsis.) There isn't much happiness in this film. Just a lot of panic, explicative-filled screams by the characters and people dying/getting hurt.

One of the many additional problems of the film (I'm not even going to open them all) is the weakest plot in the existence of plots: Chow owes money to 'druglord'. Doug is kept hostage until they retrieve Chow for said 'druglord.' The "Alan is acting up and we need to get him help" plot was equally as bad. The entire Alan storyline for the film was garbage.

Characters are EXTREMELY unlikeable in this film. The whole cast. Somehow, they took Allan and Chow, the two funniest characters and made them god-awful. Ruined them. I think Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms had, at most, 4 lines of dialogue, not including their excessive screaming reactions to things going on around them (yes that's an exaggeration, but they are as invisible as you can ever imagine)

Huge disappointment.

Thor
Thor (2011)
½

I think Thor is a great start to the franchise and should be just as successful as the Iron Man franchise. As far as criticisms, I only really have one: his romantic relationship with Jane Foster. It seemed forced and unnecessary. I understand that it was included in order to create a character change in Thor from selfish god to selfless hero, but I felt it was distracting.

Another aspect that was disappointing was the lack of action. I really, really loved the initial fight between Thor and his team against the horde of frost giants. But, you don't see Thor do anything cool like that for the rest of movie (I'm ignoring that lame Tornado move he did against the destroyer) Even his final fight with Loki wasn't even really a fight. Just arguing and shoving basically.

The positives far outweigh the negative, though

Fast & Furious 6

I loved Fast Five; it was amazing. As such, I had high expectations going into F6. I was let down, unfortunately. The franchise as a whole isn't very good, but F5 seemed like the beginning of a new direction, a revamp/reboot from Street Racing to an Action Heist hybrid. Kind of like a Fast and Furious meets Ocean's 11. But, F6 seemed to lose the latter element, focusing more on action sequence after action sequence after action sequence. It's extremely numbing. F5 did a great job of developing every character and creating funny dialogue and solid plot...all while keeping the action elements. However, F6 through that out the window as well. The dialogue is week and 95% of the cast is forgotten, left to appear every once in a while for a few one-liners. Ludacris, Tyrese, Sung, Jordana are rarely seen. The movie focuses on Diesel and Rodriguez mostly. Speaking of Rodriguez, her character, Letty, was the biggest disappointment. I thought her return to the franchise would introduce a deep, complex storyline of backstabbing and hidden motives between her and Dom...no. She got amnesia and doesn't remember a thing. Lame.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day
½

I rated this the same as T1, but I liked T1 better. I think it's because of my dislike for the female lead, Linda Hamilton as the female lead. That woman is crazy as hell. From the moment they introduced her new "BA" personality in T2, obviously the result of her experience in T1, I couldn't take her seriously. At all. The acting, even for the time, is way off in my book. It's laughable how much they try to make her an action heroine a la Sigourney Weaver in the Alien franchise. It's super distracting.

But, that aside the movie is great. Strong performance from the child actor, Edward Furlong. His character represents everything that is a 1991 kid, and his dialogue is nostalgic. I liked the humanizing of Schwarzenegger's character: a complete 180 from the cybernetic killer from T1.

Personally, I think the movie dragged on a bit. I found myself getting anxious to do something else about 2 hrs in. But, T2 put an emphasis on character development which pushed the climax with the antagonist further down the plot. If I'm going to get picky, I would also add that the antagonist of T2, while iconic and scary as all hell, was MIA for large chunks of the movie, as opposed to in T1, where Schwarzenegger was nipping at your heels around ever corner. I think the antagonist's impact was lessened a good deal because of it. I found myself thinking towards the end: "Oh yeah. I forgot about that guy."

The Raid: Redemption
½

First off, great soundtrack. The music was as engaging as the action sequences. This movie was recommended by several friends and it RT rating backs up their strong reviews of it. However, at least in my first viewing, wasn't blown away. I loved the action and the various camera effects, such as slow motion bullets, were great. The action scenes can't be applauded more, but I found myself numb to the excitement by about 60-70min in. Eventually it became, action sequence + action sequence + story + action sequence. The story wasn't engaging enough for me to create a breather between the fighting. I could wrap myself into the story outside of "Get to the boss at the top of the building and fight all the tenants on the way up." The brothers storyline and the lieutenant as a dirty cop were "eh." But, for the excitement and uniqueness of the movie, and my intense intrigue in the first 30min were worth it. It's not anything the really disappointed me, but I really wish they would have used a different actor for the main "bad-ass fighter antagonist" (his name escapes me) He was the really short guy with the long hair that snapped peoples necks. Either way, I kept smiling when I saw this 5'1" guy beating the shit out of everybody. You think they'd have a more intimidating actor play such an important antagonist. Favorite scene is when the main protagonist takes on a group on early on the movie and slams a guy's head against a tile wall like 5 times and grabs another guy by the head and pulls it down on to the shards of a broken wooden door. Fun stuff.

Killing Them Softly
½

Movie tried extremely hard to create a Tarantino-esque character development through long strings of plot-irrelevant dialogue, and it annoyed THE HELL out of me. Useless. Somehow, Tarantino gets away with it because, well, he's Quentin Tarantino; he developed that style, and mastered it. Killing Them Softly is a shallow film composed of useless dialogues, quick, unnecessary scenes of violence, extremely hit or miss humor, meaningless political undertones, and a star actor only used for his name. I had high hopes for the film: I love the film noir genre and Brad Pitt is one of a handful of actors that rarely takes part in bad films. I was let down for sure.

Brave
Brave (2012)
½

Forgettable. Uneven. Predictable. Climax is weak. Beautiful animation, however.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

I guess I went into it with high expectations. I mean, Steve Carrell AND Jim Carrey? This has to be hilarious. But, sadly, it wasn't. I maybe laughed twice? As the RT reviews says, the movie was very predictable.

Celeste and Jesse Forever
½

The movie isn't horrible as my rating would indicate, but it just did nothing for me; I feel unsatisfied with it. It's obviously trying to be a real-life take on the relationship of two people: no sugarcoating, just an honest view into the heartache that occurs during a breakup. It's just...I've seen it before. I feel like Celeste and Jesse Forever is just another entry into the genre. (My disappointment in this film is matched by my disappointment in the 5 Year Engagement with Jason Segel that came out last year) I feel the movie tried very hard to be unique and set it's self apart from the genre, but got lost. Honestly, the funniest moments were the best part; they are sprinkled throughout in a 1:6 ratio of comedy to drama. Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg are extremely likable when they are goofballs, but not for the other 70min when they are acting depressed. ALSO, at no time in the movie did I feel bad for Jones's character. Samberg's character felt like the victim from beginning to end. The movie didn't do a great job of supporting Jones's character for initiating the divorce. Samberg never felt like a lazy, unemployed, man-child they labeled him. Speaking of Samberg, I don't know if it's his acting, but his character goes from goofy (and awesome) in the first 20min completely dead-faced and seemingly emotionless for the rest of the movie. At least Jones's character was funny and showed spirit during the divorce. The director kind of just made the movie about Celeste and her emotional turmoil and threw in a sad, puppy dog-eyed Samberg every now and then.

Star Trek
Star Trek (2009)

I waited several years to watch this because I have no interest in Star Trek or Star Wars, or Sci-Fi as a genre for that matter. But, recently I watched Super 8 and loved it. So, naturally, I looked for more off director JJ Abrams's work. Put on the HIGHLY-rated Star Trek and was blown away. The movie is slick. Going into the movie with no knowledge of the franchise, I was worried I wouldn't catch onto the story and the characters. But, the movie did a wonderful job of introducing each character, and developed each one until I felt connected to each one. That may be the best part of the movie: each character got enough screen time and dialogue that none felt unnecessary; each character had a distinct role. The visuals, score, and story for the movie were outstanding. After my first view, I see no faults, and I eagerly await the sequel due out later this year.

Fast Five
Fast Five (2011)

I have watched this movie more times than I can count. There's just something about it that never gets old. It's slick, funny, and full of action, all of which blend together well. This movie just feels like summer. I watch it whenever I want to feel energized. It's so weird that I found myself loving it as much as I do. Usually cult classics and deep, often dramatic movies or ones with complex plots occupy my top favorites. Somehow Justin Lin crafted a movie that connected with me. I hope that the sequels live up to it.

Prometheus
Prometheus (2012)

Felt very similar to the original Alien, but not nearly as effective. I say that in regard to the direction both films took: a thriller where the relationships between the characters took precedence over the perceived antagonist of the film, the Alien. In both films, the characters fight with each other as they slowly realize what they are up against; they die one by one in indirect ways from the Alien encounter (I.e. Instead of being hunted down and killed graphically by the killer Alien a la a traditional slasher horror movie, they die from infection, elements, etc.) That being said, I don't think Prometheus did nearly as well in developing the characters' relationships. There were weak attempts throughout that left no lasting effect on me. The only character that was developed well, was the Android, David. When his character (SPOILER) had his head ripped off, I was shocked. At no point did I care that any other character died (or survived.) Don't get me started on the most confusing character in the film, Charlize Theron's character, Vickers. I don't know what direction they were taking with her...at all. With the negatives aside, Michael Fassbender was great, stealing any scene he was part of. The tone the film had, created from the amazing visuals and score, is the biggest positive of the movie, and what I will ultimately describe as the movie's biggest selling point for watching.

Step Brothers

I first watched this movie Christmas Day of 2011. I cannot even keep track of how many times I've watched it since then. Absolutely hilarious, and one of the most quote-able movies since Anchorman.

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

A long, dramatic film that perfectly embodies the highs and lows of a relationship and the emotional/mental breakdowns that come with it. One of the most unique, artistic films I've ever seen.

Garden State
Garden State (2004)

The soundtrack makes this movie. Definitely an uplifting film.

Fight Club
Fight Club (1999)

The "re-watch" factor on this movie is insane: I NEVER get sick of watching it.

Wayne's World

My all-time favorite movie (it's funny how many times film buffs slap all-time onto movies, but this is true in my case.) I don't know what needs to be said: if you've seen this movie and didn't like it, you have no soul and chances are you and I are never going to be close.

The Emperor's New Groove

A top 5 favorite for me. I'm not especially interested in animated films nowadays, beyond Pixar, yet I can still put on EnG and laugh my ass off. That is a credit to the comedy EnG is: sarcastic and deadpan mixed with just enough slapstick and one-liners. This movie came out when I was 10yrs old, as is responsible (along with Wayne's World and Austin Powers) for shaping my sense of humor today.

The Hangover Part II

This sequel was so disappointing, that it actually ruined the 1st one for me. Hangover (1) is one of my all-time favorites, but after seeing this, I haven't had the urge to watch it in since H2 came out. The movie is an exact replica of H1, down the musical score. Las Vegas= Bangkok, Baby= Monkey, Doug= Teddy, etc. If you have seen H1 as much as I have, you'll notice WAYYYYY more similarities beyond those. It's insulting how little Phillips actually added to the Hangover franchise, yet still made so much in the box office. Beyond the most disappointing aspect of the film, the cast is still the same and as such, is very likable. The "Three Best Friends that anybody could have" have great chemistry and squeeze whatever laughs they can out of the tired script. Zach Galifianakis and Ken Jeong are best things the movie has going for it. Jeong steals EVERY scene he's in and I loved it.

The ABCs of Death

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful idea. But, most, if not al segments, have themes WAY over my head. I appreciate the level of creativity in the films: with only $5000 a piece, directors found ways to use claymation, animation, special effects, etc to create visually interesting mini-films/short stories. However, 98% of the time, I found myself scratching my head at the end of each segment. I said "WTF?!" out loud SEVERAL times. I don't think i'd ever watch it again, but if you are a avid film lover, this is a unique flick worth checking out. Don't watch if you can't handle sick, gross-out visuals. There are many disturbing scenes.

Texas Chainsaw

Deserves no stars. Awful. One of the worst movies I've ever seen.

Django Unchained

Just saw the movie. I am, like most people after seeing Tarantino films, in awe. I love his movies. And just like others, was poised to give this an extravagant 10/10 review. But, on the whole drive back, something didn't feel right. There was something about it that didn't feel like it was a masterpiece on level of some of his previous work. The film had missteps. The intense scene with King and Candie's death (and the shootout the occurred afterwards) seemed to be the ending, and every scene thereafter felt tacked on. The way Tarantino wrapped up that shootout (which wasn't the direction I was hoping for: Waltz's performance as King deserved a better ending, as did Leonardo's Candie) felt like it was over. It seemed farfetched (feels funny to type that in a Tarantino review) that Foxx's Django finds such a simple way to escape and end the movie in such a fashion (the 'cheesey' ending was similar to Planet Terror and Deathproof of Grindhouse) I felt Tarantino was trying extremely hard to be fresh and leave people's jaws on the floor, but the movie was so uneven as a whole, not even mentioning the ending. The Mandingo fight and the scene where the dogs tear apart the slave were so, so gruesome and didn't fit with the comedic undertone Tarantino tried to carry throughout. I loved the way the movie started and I loved every scene Leonardo Dicaprio was in (he stole the show from the amazing Waltz: they had chemistry.) The movie was not terrible, just not as amazing as it could have been.

Donnie Darko
Donnie Darko (2001)
½

I kept waiting for some crazy , mind-boggling twist to make the long, confusing story worth the trouble of trying to keep up with it. While I enjoyed the mood the movie carried throughout- dark and creepy ( I love when movies make me feel uneasy) I was sort of disappointed. It's worth watching, of course, but, I honestly don't think it is as great as people hype it to be.

The Hunger Games
½

I've never read the book, so I didn't have huge expectations going in. I was surprised how good it turned out to be. The story is easy to follow, and you easily develop relationships with the characters. It starts slow, though, trying to build the characters. I wasn't really feeling the emotional bond of the sisters as the motivation for Everdeen's character; I think it was the acting, (Lawrence is hit or miss all movie. Actually, acting as a whole is hit or miss) But, the movie really gains steam once the actual game starts. Ross, the director, did an amazing job manipulating camera shots and sound when showing the gruesome, violent scenes; you never feel overwhelmed by it.