Stephen Castro's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Evil Dead
Evil Dead(2013)

Lacking all the elements that made the original entertaining, "Evil Dead" (2013) unfortunately becomes "Horror Cliches 101?, leaving little separating this from the thousands of no-name movies you see on Netflix and TV.

You have to be a fan to love it and appreciate the characters, the series of events, and the many nods to the original. But newcomers to the movie will find very little to love that they haven't already seen be executed millions of times before.

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A Good Day To Die Hard

"A Good Day To Die Hard" demotes John McClane from star to sidekick, trying very hard to get us to accept his son Jack as the potential new star of the series. But the poor, repetitive writing makes that attempt fall flat on its face.
The incomprehensible storyline, plus the addition of the unexplained character Jack McClane, make this the most disappointing film in the franchise, leaving us worried about its future.
We pay to see John McClane save the day, but instead he's written more like a parent chaperoning his sons secret mission. It might have been because he was just as confused as we were about what was actually even going on.
A good action movie, but a bad "Die Hard" sequel, if you haven't seen this movie yet, then it's a good day to try hard to stay away.

"A Good Day To Die Hard" gets 1.5/5 stars.

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Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas(2012)


"Cloud Atlas" is a huge movie. Despite being visually impressive, the story itself might not connect with everybody. Clocking in at almost 3 hours in length, it leaves you with little to remember, but a lot to think about. In no ways a failure, but equally, in no ways a complete success, "Atlas" is definitely a valiant effort in storytelling that deserves your patience.

3.5/5 stars.

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Silent Hill: Revelation


Recycling everything that made the previous film successful, "Revelations" brings nothing new to the table aside from a new sense of blandness to what is supposed to be a nightmare.
Matching the quality seen in a straight to dvd movie, from the script to the acting, to the production design... one thing is certain: Silent Hill doesn't feel dangerous with a budget cut.
If you liked the original, you'll do yourself a favor and forget this one exists.

"Silent Hill: Revelation" gets .5 (half) /5 stars.

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The lingering feeling that the filmmakers don't really know any more than you do about their own concepts isn't a very good thing, and makes it very difficult to take "V/H/S" seriously. The lack of direction or any real depth to any of the ideas, in addition to the very long build ups, makes roughly 30 minutes of this 2 hour film worth sitting through. And I use the term "worth" very loosely...
But, it's not all a complete failure: somewhere in the mess are a couple of really original ideas that I hope the filmmakers will pursue. This mess can result in a really solid piece of original work. But, "V/H/S" isn't it.

V/H/S gets 1.5 / 5 stars.

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Taken 2
Taken 2(2012)

"Taken 2" is in no way an improvement on the first film. It neglects to learn any lessons from the first incident, resulting in a movie that feels more like an insulting parody of the previous film than anything else. Dedicating the first half hour to showing how much the Mills family isn't shaken by being "taken", makes you put your hands up and say "hey, you should've seen it coming", the moment it happens again.
The unbearable action sequences are only the cherry on top of the whole plot, making this a fairly pointless experience. Wait for this one to go on Redbox.
I swear... if they go on a family vacation to a foreign country one more time without knowing kung fu...

Taken 2 gets 1/5 stars.

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"Dredd 3D" is a well crafted film that uses modern techniques to help keep the 'Action Hero' alive. Its subtlety and simplicity doesn't take you on any grand futuristic adventure, but does a good job at making you feel like a part of its world, resulting in an effortless and enjoyable experience.
As old and worn franchises come to an end, I hope that Dredd can find a place to keep the action genre alive and kicking. And I hope even more that the next film digs deeper into exploring the future that Dredd seems so adamant to protect.

I give "Dredd 3D" 2.5/ 5 stars.

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Beautiful execution of a concoction of different genres, "Looper" is a film that will take you through a story that will change what you expect from a time travel film. The human aspects shine in Levitt and Willis as they put on memorable performances, and by the films end we wonder what we'd do in their situation. Although not a perfect film, with its sometimes flawed pacing... it leaves little to complain about, and plenty to admire.
I think it's the kind of movie that I'll appreciate even more with a second viewing, and I highly recommend checking it out in theaters.

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Resident Evil: Retribution

Resident Evil Retribution is the latest installment of the presumingly long dead franchise of silly action films. Starting in the last film they've been priding themselves in using the same IMAX 3D technology used in Avatar. Unfortunately for them, using the same technology didn't make the last film any easier to sit through.
"Retribution" though is a different type of movie. It picks up immediately where the last one left off. Alice and her friends are surrounded by helicopters, guns blazing, people getting destroyed...
And the rest of the movie doesn't let up pace. It plays out with the pulse of an action packed videogame. And, what makes a videogame so fun? The missions, how impossible they are, and how big the bosses are. The more impossible it is, the more fun it is to play. In this case the mission is that Alice has to escape a supposedly inescapable Umbrella Corporation fortress. It's thousands of feet under the ice, and in the middle of a frozen waste land. To make things more difficult is the Red Queen from the first film who controls the entire facility, and she does everything in her power to make sure they do not escape. She sees their every move, hears their every word, and stays 10 steps ahead of them as they make their way through monstrous simulation rooms. One nightmare after the other. One simulating the outbreak in China, another in New York, another in Moscow, and even one in Raccoon City.
And it's awesome to watch.
While this is going on, there's a rescue team of 4 men on their way down from the surface to bring her back up. Only they've planted a bomb that will destroy the facility in 2 hours. So, on top of everything else, they also have 2 hour to escape.

Alice is led by Albert Wesker, who supposedly died in the last film, and whose survival is unexplained.
It does offer a little more insight into the roots of the virus though. Giving you a look into how the outbreak came to be. How it got into the hands of different countries, and a peek at how it must have been when it hit those countries.
We also see the warehouse where Alice and the other 'test subjects' are created and stored, adding to the origins of Alice herself.
Think "Willy Wonkas Factory", if it were made to create the worlds deadliest virus.

If you're into action movies with over the top stunts, unnecessary slow motion, and hooky villains, then "Retribution" will feed all of your needs. It's a movie that's all about the body count, and about who can kill the bigger bad guy.
For me, it was more satisfying of a film than the unexpectedly watchable "Expendables 2".
Another one of "Retribution's" strengths was not making the most common mistake that most of these types of movies tend to make, which is over-cutting the action scenes. It takes its time to let you soak in the fights, letting you get lost in the suspense of a giant hammer being swung centimeters from their face. Even if it does look completely fake, it's still acceptable. Because it's what you expect from this kind of movie.

If you're a fan of the game, expect to see an appearance from a couple of key characters and a classic location, making this probably the only film of the franchise that feels like a movie based on the actual videogame. Rather than one that piggy backs on the name.

The IMAX screen and the 3D is used wisely to make the gargantuan facility look especially daunting. The hallways look endless, the ceilings make you feel helpless, and the relentless waves of zombies make me positive that I'd have no chance to survive a zombie attack. Despite the films cheesy dialogue, expected "bullets flying at the screen" gags, and being a predictable aims to be nothing less than a good time, and it succeeds.
Resident Evil Retribution gets 3/5 stars.

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Total Recall
Total Recall(2012)

Trades in imagination and "out of this world" adventure, for gadgets and robots. It kicks off to a good start, the opening chase being pretty intense. But, after that it seems as if it's trying to shove the gadgets into our faces, becoming somewhat of a design reel of sorts. From the flying cars, to the built in hand cell phones and magnetic seems cluttered with ideas that it feels more adamant to show us rather than actually focusing on a worth while story.

It goes from one chase scene to another, all accompanied by what appears to be lens flares from an unknown source, even indoors. Collin Farrell whispers his lines as he tries to connect all the dots. And when the movies over, the performances are immediately forgettable.

Chances are, if you see the movie for the sake of wanting to see a sub par action flick, then you'll love it.
If you see it to re-live the flare and entertainment of the original, then you will be disappointed.
If you see it in hopes of experiencing a top notch sci fi thriller, then you will be disappointed.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

My little brothers love the books, and so I've taken them to see all the movies. Long story short: not even they saw a point to this movie.
From the acting, to the fact that the important supporting characters seemed just a step above cameos this time around...this film seems overall random. I enjoyed the first movie of the series very much, but they're getting progressively more tiresome.

It had a few really big laughs in it from me and the audience. But that was about it. This movie even goes as far as to have a dog chase in it...the whole "gotta catch the dog in the house" thing, which never fails to be cheesy.

A good moral story for the family.
Not too entertaining.
Overall pointless.
Wait till it's on red box.

2 Days in New York

Unlike the previous "2 Days In Paris", "new york" seems tired and strung out. It struggles to find inspiration in a more familiar territory (to most of us).
I think what made "2 Days In Paris" work so well is that Adam Goldbergs character didn't understand the language, so was uncomfortable the entire movie, trying to have to figure it out himself. And move on.
In this movie it's all set at what most of us call home: America. So, there's no confusion this time around, only frustration. Chris Rock is good as the progressively frustrated new boyfriend, but it seems they've attempted to make everybody else obnoxious rather than interesting.
Nothing really works like the first, and it just seems too clean...tired...and wanting to end. The only one who really carried over her character well is Julie Delpy. Everyone else seems different and rewritten for what they think the American audience would laugh at...

An overall underwhelming film that left me missing Adam Goldberg and the foreign exploration of a place far from home.


The science fiction aspects of this film were great; it had a lot of very interesting theories and questions about the origins of life, and an intriguing take on mans search for their creator.
Some of the cast was great as well. The special effects were ok too, despite the "engineers" looking like something out of Star Trek.

The actual storytelling aspects of the film is where the issues came into play...not making the most of its time and putting too many characters on screen who have no purpose or lines.
Between the 1.5 hours of walking around with flashlights...and the overly intelligent android who opens alien doors without a problem...the film builds itself up as if it has a huge bubble of suspense to burst.
Yet, when that bubble finally does's nothing but the wick of the candles on top of the cake, and nothing even close to the frosting. Ultimately this film will leave you unsatisfied, wondering why it even exists...and why they didn't spend more time explaining and less time exploring.

The film felt like it was going in circles many times. Revisiting the same locations. Focusing on overproduced scenes full of cgi for a ridiculous amount of time, then moving on to the next scene....they could've easily made this film an hour shorter--in which case I would have enjoyed it more and would consider watching it again. But, that's not the case. It's a rather boring my opinion.
Not to mention Charlieze Theron has a disposable role that could have been either played by anybody else, or just scrapped all together. And I would have enjoyed it more. Despite the fact that I think she's a fantastic actress....her role in this movie was useless.

It's easy to understand that Ridley Scott is attempting to lure your interest for the next film...but there's a fine line between getting us curious, and just making us feel like we just wasted our time.

I felt like I wasted my time.
A well done sequel could easily change my mind though, shedding light on things not seen in this film. But, without that second film I cannot appreciate Prometheus for what it is by itself.

I have "Cloverfield" syndrome right now.
Those films that kick off a story then end right when you're about to get interested. You wait for the sequel, to get an explanation for what you just watched, and nothing comes...
It's like telling someone "Guess what?"
They say "What?"
You pause....and say "Hold that thought, I'll be right back."
And you drive off.

Did you get their interest? Yes.
Are they curious about what you had to say? Yes.
But did they ultimately feel like you wasted their time? Yes.
This is my opinion.
If you see the movie, I hope you like it.

Safe House
Safe House(2012)

Safe House isn't necessarily the best at what it sets out to do, but that doesn't mean it's not worth watching, either. Denzel gives a good performance, as expected. As does Ryan Reynolds.

Director Daniel Espinosa does a good job at keeping the intensity in many scenes, most notably the first Safe House scene. And when Reynolds takes a handcuffed Denzel to a soccer stadium to retrieve a bag and things to terribly's just great to watch.
The movies basic premise is simple: Escort the package from point A to point B safely.
The trouble comes when the one doing the escorting is Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds), the house keeper of the Safe House. In the years he's been there he's had no action, no visitors, no calls. And this is the chance he's been waiting for to prove himself for a promotion. It just so happens that this once in a lifetime chance comes in the form of a mass conspiracy, and Tobin Frost-- the man most wanted by the CIA.
He must get this criminal mastermind to another Safe House across town. And this is no easy task. As he's being chased by trained assassins, having to deal with a suspected mole in the CIA, and having to go in broad daylight with a man who can snap his neck in five seconds. It makes for a very entertaining movie. Nobody can be trusted, and no place is safe. And you feel it.

The first thing I noticed was the ugly look of the movie. It was really noisy, gritty, over contrasted, and just overall an ugly looking movie.
The plot is extremely predictable, and from the opening shots you already know who the mole / bad guy is. So, when they finally reveal it, it's really zero surprise.
Close to the end of the movie, you start feeling the minutes tick by and wonder when it will end. Then, when it finally decides to, it's disappointing. I didn't mind the ending, but I wasn't happy at all with how they had Tobin and Matt part ways.
It would have earned itself a second viewing on DVD had that been different. But had to end the way it did.
And for that it became a one time movie.

Entertaining. Good performances. Many "really?" moments, but they're dismissible.
See it.


Chronicle was an entertaining movie about a troubled teenager, Andrew, who falls into an unexpected situation. Him, his cousin, and the most popular kid in school- steve - all get super powers one night by touching a large crystal, and become best friends.
Running in at 1 hour and 23 minutes...1 hour of this movie is them learning to use their powers, which is humorous in itself.
The last 23 minutes is the writers trying a last minute attempt at adding spice to the film by spontaneously making Andrew turn bad. Him and his cousin bounce around the city, fighting, as the film makers go overboard with the "found footage" concept.
In past films where police officers typically arrive this film, at the end, they arrive immediately wherever the fighting duo lands. No matter how far away from the crime scene it is.
The main character tears apart the city, throws buses full of people hundreds of feet into the air. Attacks officers, and nobody fires a shot. expected...there is always a camera there to catch every second of the fight. No matter where it goes. I'm sure if they were to have taken the fight into the ocean, or into space...they'd find a way to have a camera there to catch it.

The only camera for the first hour belongs to the main character, Andrew. So, we only see what he sees. But, every now and then the writers want to show what his cousin Matt is doing, too. So they add in a pointless 'love' interest to the movie (who has about 10 lines throughout the whole movie) who just so happens to be a Video Blogger and walks around with a camera, recording everything/everyone who comes into contact with she conveniently gets Matts side of things for some of the movie.

Overall, by the time the film was over I felt like my time was wasted. It felt pointless by all means. I thought of the prospects of a sequel to add purpose to this movie, and couldn't think how it could do so. At least in Cloverfield they did the same thing, only with hints of the stories origins. And hints of purpose. So by the time it was over you felt a sequel could help....but wasn't completely necessary.

Chronicle wont find help in a sequel or a prequel. That's the sad thing about it. It stands alone, and is what it is.
It is about kids learning to use powers. By the films end, only one is left standing--and it just so happens to be the guy who didn't even use them that much throughout the movie. So, it sorta cancels itself out.

The acting was great.
Conceptually, this movie was well done.
The special effects were cheaply made, and nothing was groundbreaking...
it is what it is, which is entertaining.
I wouldn't watch it again. I wouldn't buy it or rent it for was a one time movie that disappointed. If you watch it I hope you like it and feel some sort of satisfaction through it.
Obviously, based on the overall Rotten Tomatoes rating...the majority seemed to love it. So you should be safe spending money to see it in the theater if you really want to.


Goon was unexpectedly entertaining. Almost as if that video game NHL Hitz was a's centered around the guy on the team whose only role is to get into fights. And boy do they fight.
The only problem I had with the movie is how they seemed to be confused about Seann William Scotts' character. Sometimes he was normal, other times he was completely stupid. I'm not sure if they were implying that he had a mental problem, but he hardly speaks throughout the whole movie. And when he does it's in Hulk-like-fragments. Like, "that's a nice cat", or "we should get coffee".
So, his character was a bit awkward, but the rest of the movie kept the pace up where he couldn't, and was overall satisfying. I'd watch it again for fun.

The Hunger Games

You'd think a movie about The Hunger Games (the name of the tournament in which only one person survives), would focus mainly on that which it's named after. Instead, it should be called "Panem", the name of the main character that it decides instead to focus completely on.
Is this a bad thing?
Not necessarily.
Does it sort of create an unexpected movie? Yes. Unexpected in the sense that you see little of the Hunger Game, and more of Panem's back story. Her struggle to adapt to this lifestyle, and her struggle to deal with having to possibly never see her family again.
What we don't get to see is a deeper explanation of the games themselves, their purpose, their effect on the world outside of Panem and her district, and their place in it. And it's because of this, that when the games finally roll around, they come off as lackluster, and not as suspenseful as you may have hoped.
You see the swipe of a sword, then it shows someone faced down on the ground. Then moves on to the next scene.
Or you hear a scream off in the distance.
It's in this way that this movie remains very one dimensional, and leaves you wanting more. Thankfully there are two more "books" in the series, which hopefully result in two more, more in depth, films, that offer more explanation.
The acting was good, the story was executed well, even if it did a less exciting direction, and overall it's worth one view at the least.

Take Shelter
Take Shelter(2011)

An unforgettable, haunting, film. Brilliantly acted and executed. It's a modern days Noah's Ark story about a man whose life gets shaken when he begins dreaming of a storm. His dreams worsen and he begins falling deep into madness.
Slowly his friends, family, and eventually the whole town, begins to turn on him. And the question arises: Is he mad? Or is this something else?

One of the rare gems of 2011 and in recent years. See it.