Thomas Waterhouse's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

With fantastic leading performances from Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer to match an equally clever, irreverent, lightspeed dialogue script, 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' is an underrated gem of the genre. Writer/director Shane Black shows confidence and direction in this neo-noir feature that never takes itself very seriously, but never falls short of captivating the audience in an exciting, mysterious, and utterly hilarious romp that proved to be a great return to form for Downey Jr. and Kilmer alike.

Final Grade: A+

Idiocracy
Idiocracy(2006)
½

With an absurdist premise that only seems to become more prophetic as time goes on, writer/director Mike Judge's 'Idiocracy' is a criminally overlooked comedic satire. Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph both give worthy performances as Joe Bowers and Rita, two average people from 2005, left far from home in an anti-intellectual dystopian future. Mike Judge's incredibly dumb, intentionally banal script works perfectly, as viewers witness the frighteningly stupid and hypersexualized world, 500 years in the future.

Final Grade: A

Zack and Miri Make a Porno
½

In an attempt to vault himself back into mainstream success, writer/director Kevin Smith released 'Zack and Miri Make a Porno', a romantic-comedy that feels too often like a Judd Apatow film with a heavy injection of Smith's trademark raunchy comedic style. However, with a strong, easy chemistry between Rogen and Banks, a script full of jokes that just manage to hit more than miss, and a highly likeable cast of characters, 'Zack and Miri' overcomes its cliched and contrived storyline enough to make it worth the watch.

Final Grade: B-

Suicide Squad
½

Decidedly more light-hearted and fun than any of the other features in the DC extended universe, 'Suicide Squad' benefits from strong performances by Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Jay Hernandez, Viola Davis, and Kinnaman, strong visual effects, and an ability to never take itself too terribly seriously. Sadly, with such an expansive cast of characters, there is essentially no time to develop most of the squad, save for Will Smith's Deadshot and Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn. Undeniably fun and fast-paced, if not nearly devoid of any emotional resonance, or a solid conclusion to the story, 'Suicide Squad' looks to be little more than fodder for the growing DCEU.

Final Grade: C+

X-Men: Apocalypse

As strong as its performances, action sequences, and overall messages are, 'X-Men: Apocalypse' is still too lofty, bloated, and lacking in a compelling villain. Action junkies may find the film rewarding, but with a shattered continuity and a severely boring villain, 'Apocalypse' is nothing more than a mediocre and forgettable addition to the franchise.

Final Grade: C-

The Big Short

Somehow managing to derive acerbic humor from the United States housing bubble in the early 2000s, 'The Big Short' is impressively smart, self-aware, intricate, darkly humorous, and thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end. Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, and Ryan Gosling all shine in their roles as investors who are ahead of the curve, and aware of the imminent collapse of the volatile housing market. Though the conclusion is a foregone one, 'The Big Short' is never anything less than riveting right until the credits role.

Final Grade: A+

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Suffering from the same problems as 'Spider-Man 3', too many villains, a bloated run time, a surplus of melodrama, and far too many subplots to keep the viewers interest, 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' still offers entertainment in its excellently choreographed (albeit often nonsensical) action set-pieces. However, it still leaves much to be desired, with an overabundance of story-lines, strange editorial decisions, and a disjointed narrative.

Final Grade: D

Captain America: Civil War

In what is perhaps Marvel's most mature and well-balanced release to date, 'Captain America: Civil War' begins phase three of the MCU series with a much darker and mature tone, while still being a massive, exciting blockbuster. Featuring much more grounded and honest performances from its entire cast, as well as sophisticated and intricate writing from Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, 'Civil War' will hopefully be the torchbearer for this wave of the MCU franchise, with nine more films to come in this phase.

Final Grade: A+

Jurassic World

With 14 years elapsed since 'Jurassic Park 3', fans of the Jurassic Park series were waiting with bated breath for another film to traverse the terror and peril that Steven Spielberg's masterpiece brought to the screen so confidently. 'Jurassic World' doesn't disappoint in those aspects, with excellent 3D special effects, confident leading performances from both Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, and a script that helps the movie chug along, while still posing some moral questions to the viewer.

Final Grade: B

Avengers: Age of Ultron
½

Notably darker than its predecessor, and at times feeling slightly unnecessary, 'Age of Ultron' entertains with the patented Marvel universes' sense of humor, snappy and witty dialogue, and the ever-so-apparent visual flare. James Spader inevitably steals the show as the titular villain, who is as darkly humorous as he is intimidating. At certain points bloated and overlong, 'Ultron' still feels as if certain key scenes were cut to allow for a passable run time, leaving the viewer feeling slightly behind, but entertained the same.

Final Grade: B+

The Babadook
The Babadook(2014)

As emotionally resonant as it is entirely unsettling and frightening, 'The Babadook' is a bleak, horrifying, atmospheric art house film of the highest caliber. With utterly fantastic performances by Essie Davis and newcomer Noah Wiseman to match its equally impressive writing and direction by Jennifer Kent, You'd be hard-pressed to find a better made, more chilling horror movie than 'The Babadook'.

Final Grade: A+

It Follows
It Follows(2015)

Having the feel of an '80s horror classic, a mounting sense of paranoia, and a subtle, yet brilliant level of self-awareness. rarely ever seen in the genre, 'It Follows' is a true spectacle to behold. Sure to tickle the fancy of film buffs and horror fan alike with its witty use of horror tropes and metaphor, 'It Follows' not only succeeds in creating a haunting atmosphere, but also manages to provide ample scares, all while avoiding the all too common overuse of jump scares. David Robert Mitchell dazzles from behind the camera, confidently directing and writing one of the smartest, most frightening films of the decade.

Final Grade: A+

Nebraska
Nebraska(2013)
½

Almost entirely adverse to sentimentality, 'Nebraska' finds great success in the steady directorial hands of Alexander Payne, as well as its beautiful black-and-white cinematography from Phedon Papamichael, and standout performances from Bruce Dern and Will Forte. A simple, yet provoking storyline, 'Nebraska' is a majestic look at the banality of life in the Midwestern United States, and the ensuing aimlessness to follow that level of stability.

Final Grade: A

Furious 7
Furious 7(2015)

Never being hampered by such menial forces such as logic, physics, or believability, 'Furious 7' is an excellent display of action set pieces that showcases the best of Hollywood's special effects capabilities. Shockingly unhindered by the death of star Paul Walker, director James Wan not only pays respectful tribute to Walker's life and work on the series, but also creates an exhilarating and adrenaline-fueled showcase that is at times, dizzying and confusing action sequences, sprawling across the globe that somehow raises the bar that had previously been elevated to a seemingly unsurpassable level.

Final Grade: B+

The Interview

While almost impossible to mention this film without making note of the controversy surrounding it, 'The Interview' represents the weakest of directors Rogen and Goldberg's work. Full of loose-weave and childish jokes that, while entertaining on a shallow, temporary level, leave the viewer questioning the level of controversy surrounding the release of this film. The Interview' never takes itself seriously, which is simultaneously detrimental to the entertainment value of the picture, but beneficial to the argument regarding the controversial nature of its subject matter.

Final Grade: D

Stretch
Stretch(2014)

An ending that leaves much to be desired, and a pompous attempt at some kind of philosophical agenda aside, 'Stretch' manages to entertain with well choreographed action sequences, and a very over-the-top performance from Chris Pine as an eccentric billionaire. Patrick Wilson's lead performance is confident enough to keep the viewer's interest, and Ed Helms not so subtle voice of reason is both humorous and poignant to the story.

Final Grade: B

Less Than Zero
½

As much as it may lack the satirical bite of its literary origins, 'Less Than Zero' is a poignant examination of a lifestyle of excess, drug use, and partying. Robert Downey, Jr.'s performance of the haggard, addiction addled Julian, is outstandingly harrowing. Equally effective is James Spader's performance as Rip, Julian's drug dealer, whose actions are both believable and justified, if not eventually a bit much. On the backs of Downey, Jr and Spader's strong performances, as well as a very timely soundtrack, 'Less Than Zero' maintains the viewers attention, even if it becomes a bit too skin deep a portrayal of the 1980s party scene.

Final Score: B-

Gone Girl
Gone Girl(2014)

Playing to all of director David Fincher's strengths, 'Gone Girl' features strong performances from its entire cast, with Affleck, Pike, Coon, and Perry shining brightest in their roles, a highly atmospheric score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, fantastically dark cinematography from Jeff Cronenweth, and a twisting, lurid script from 'Gone Girl' author Gillian Flynn. Fincher's eye for detail shines through almost every frame in this captivating story that will keep you guessing until the credits roll.

Final Grade: A+

Nightcrawler
Nightcrawler(2014)

Whip-smart writing and direction by director Dan Gilroy, a collection of excellent performances, captivating cinematography from Robert Elswit, and an utterly engrossing, dark performance from a gaunt looking Gyllenhaal, combine to make a story full of underhanded and genuinely dislikeable characters completely riveting to the end credits. Completely unhindered by the amoral actions of its characters, 'Nightcrawler' pulls the audience headlong into an equal parts smart and shocking thriller that's hard to look away from.

Final Grade: A+

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Far darker and violent than its predecessor, 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' succeeds in ways rarely seen in Marvel fare. With a striking story that keeps the viewer guessing, a compelling villain, and a smarter script that no one could have predicted from a comic book movie, this is most certainly an entry into the Marvel universe that will satisfy fans and outsiders alike.

Final Grade: A+

Ferris Bueller's Day Off
½

Self-indulgent to little fault, 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' is an above-average 80s teen comedy, full of irreverent humor, enjoyable characters, and a steady enough script to hold it together at the seams. One of John Hughes' crowning jewels of his career, 'Ferris Beuller' finds its greatest triumph in the hands of its younger cast, Matthew Broderick as Ferris, Alan Ruck as Ferris' jaded friend Cameron, Mia Sara as Ferris' girlfriend, Sloane, and Jennifer Grey as Jeanie, Ferris' envy-fueled sister.

Final Grade: A-

The Dark Knight Rises

Four years into the making, 2012 finally brought along the most deserving epic conclusion to 'The Dark Knight' trilogy. Featuring the caped crusader at his very best, though struggling, 'The Dark Knight Rises' is complete with dazzling special effects, excellent performances by Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, and the rest of the cast, and a superb storyline, 'The Dark Knight Rises' proves to be more than just big bang for your buck, but the epic conclusion the trilogy deserves.

Final Grade: A+

Drive
Drive(2011)

In the modern day of film making, film noir has become a relic of a time gone by. Few directors, such as Quentin Tarentino or Christopher Nolan, have brought to life several echoes of the past film making style such as Pulp Fiction or Memento, but no director really nailed down the directing style as well as Nicolas Winding Refn, Danish director of the profoundly dark and stylized movie 'Drive'.

'Drive' follows an unnamed protagonist played by Ryan Gosling who is a stunt driver for day, and a set of wheels for hire for getaways by night. He becomes interested in his neighbor, played by Carey Mulligan, and her toddler son, Benicio. His neighbor, Irene, is wed to Standard (Oscar Isaac), a man who owes money to the Albanian mob. Through a series of events, the driver volunteers to keep Standard and his family safe, and get the money he owes to the Albanian mobsters. To pay the mobsters, Standard has to rob a pawn shop owner and make it back to the mob boss in one piece, or the boss threatens to come after Irene and Benicio if he doesn't see his money.

What sets 'Drive' apart from most other modern day heist films is the darkness prevalent throughout all of the film. Although it might be stylized and contain some brilliant imagery, 'Drive' has an overtone of blackness throughout, and is tastefully violent, similar to that of 'Pulp Fiction'. Ryan Gosling gives a dazzling performance as the titular Driver, given few spoken lines, but showing his emotion through his actions, and how he leaves his attackers dead. The relationship between the driver and Benicio is heart-warming and the viewer begins to feel for both driver and the young boy before the credits roll. Carey Mulligan manages to avoid being nothing but a victim in the hapless role of an ex-mobster's wife, and manages to hold her own as her life begins to flash before her eyes.

Overall, 'Drive' packed both a visceral punch, and had a clever enough script that delivered laughs, thrills, and entertainment, all while never pulling any punches. Though it's not likely to win any acting awards, Gosling and Mulligan hold the film together competently, and 'Drive' stays on course. It works both as a crime thriller, and an action packed drama. If you have to see anything before the year expires, see 'Drive'.

The Social Network

The year of 2010 ushered in a series of excellent films. From Toy Story 3 to Black Swan, there was truly a gold mine of brilliant movies to choose from. But there was one film that stood out from all others, a film that truly engulfed you in the mind of a brilliant yet socially impaired Harvard undergraduate, as he works his way up to the top of the online social world. I speak, of course, of The Social Network.

David Fincher strikes gold with his latest entry, as he takes us into the world of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Although the combination of Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, Malice, A Few Good Men) may seem like a mismatch, it is anything but. Sorkin excels in snappy, fast-paced dialogue, which finds its place well in the film. Fincher's trademark dark directing style also suits the film, and although it isn't nearly as dark as some of his other films (Fight Club, Se7en, Zodiac), it is glaringly apparent that Fincher is the man behind the camera.

The casting is completely flawless, with Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, and Justin Timberlake starring in what could be the best film that any of them will be a part of. Eisenberg portrays a smart, lonely, and somewhat overly confident Mark Zuckerberg, as he is in the process of creating the Facebook, a massive social networking site that will help to link friends around the world. Garfield plays Zuckerberg's best friend and co-founder of Facebook, Eduardo Saverin. Saverin is a smart, good-hearted student who attempts to stick with Mark through all his endeavors. Armie Hammer portrays the Winklevoss twins (with the excellent use of split-camera shots and body doubles), Tyler and Cameron, who are also Harvard students interested in building a social networking site alongside Zuckerberg. Timberlake plays Napster founder Sean Parker, a secretly malevolent business partner to Zuckerberg, who works to cut Saverin out of the picture and bring Facebook to the forefront of the social networking scene.

Opening with a breakup between Zuckerberg and his then (fictional) girlfriend, Erica Albright, the viewer sees that Mark is a socially inept, albeit brilliant, student who constantly feels the need to remind the world that he is indeed a genius. From there, Zuckerberg works to make a name for himself, in order to make it into a Harvard Final Club, which Saverin had recently been inducted into, much to the resentment and jealousy of Zuckerberg. Through a series of unflattering actions taken by Mark, he partners up with the Winklevoss twins, and promises to help them design their Harvard-exclusive dating site. Unbeknownst to the twins, Mark begins to design the Facebook with his roommates and Saverin. Upon growing immensely popular, two events unfold that chance Facebook permanently: Mark is introduced to Sean Parker of Napster fame, and the Winklevoss twins sue Zuckerberg for intellectual property theft.

The interactions between characters is perfect, with Sorkin's writing truly shining throughout. Exchanges between Zuckerberg and any of the others in support of him are quick, witty, and contain a bitter undertone. Switching between two lawsuits against Mark, and the time of Facebook's inception. Done seamlessly, Fincher bridges each scene with confidence and aptitude. Eisenberg delivers a magnificent performance, and manages to achieve the seemingly impossible task of making the viewer sympathize for the seemingly cold and heartless Zuckerberg. Justin Timberlake's portrayal of Sean Parker is brilliant, as he takes advantage of Mark's tunnel vision to write Saverin out of the picture entirely. The score, written and performed by Trent Reznor (industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails) and Atticus Ross, adds a beautiful undertone to each scene, varying from slow-paced keyboard playing, to quick, upbeat techno-esque rhythms, all of which add to the emotion and feel of the film perfectly. There is no doubt that Sorkin, Ross, and Reznor earned their Academy Awards, as their contributions make the film truly shine.

The Social Network is director David Fincher's undoubted magnum opus. Take a witty, unrelentingly fast script, a handful of excellent performances, a dark, yet precise directing style, and a captivating score, and you have the grounds for a memorably brilliant film. The Social Network has all of said elements in abundance, and manages to never overstay its welcome. With a two hour run time, it keeps viewers completely riveted to see what will happen next. Whether or not The Social Network deserved the Best Picture Oscar for its year, it is undoubtedly a masterpiece that will not soon be forgotten.

POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
½

Shockingly mediocre on almost every front, this is most certainly Morgan Spurlock's least enlightening documentary to date.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The most difficult part of adapting a long-winded novel into a film is the inevitable exemption of events and characters which are present in the book. Several films have managed to adapt longer books and make their products passable, even thoroughly enjoyable. Several which come to mind would be 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy, 'The Devil Wears Prada' (while not exactly long, still quite a lot to adapt), 'The Watchman', and even the first three in the Potter series. It is most unfortunate to see this installment of Harry Potter suffers the worst of any book in the book-to-film process as far as faithfulness to the source material goes.

The best part of 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' is ironically the most glaring disappointment; it is incredibly well directed and a good movie on its own. Yet it is saddening to see such a well made film stray so far from the source material. There are huge portions of the book missing in the film adaptation, and yet the film is emotionally deep, smart, and profoundly well shot and directed. Mike Newell's skill behind the camera really shows through. But it is thoroughly disappointing to see the script he is working with, as it leaves out a good quarter of the book due to time constraints. Not only are entire plot pieces missing (such as Hermione's house elf equal rights movement and Hagrid's Care of Magical Creatures class), several important characters are exempt, including Ludo Bagman, Bertha Jorkins, and the house elves, Winky and Dobby. While many of these scenes and characters are left out due to their absence not being necessary to progress the story. Yet the absence of these parts makes the movie itself suffer, mainly because they added emotional depth to both the characters and the story, making the book as a whole seem more rich and full.

Aside from such a glaring weakness, there aren't many flaws to be found within the fourth installment of the Harry Potter franchise, save for a few incongruous attempts to misdirect the viewer from the villain. For a viewer who hadn't previously read the book, this would almost undoubtedly be a remarkably enjoyable film. Source material notwithstanding, 'The Goblet of Fire' is directed phenomenally well by Mike Newell. The cinematography is sublime, as the viewer watches the champions progress through their perilous and frighteningly real feeling tasks. And as seen through the previous three films, the characters evolve from children to young adults, particularly Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Brendan Gleeson adds an extremely good performance as Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody, the ex-auror and new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts.

With sublime direction, superb acting, and brilliant cinematography, one would think that 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' would be deeply enjoyable. Watching as a dedicated fan of the books, it is almost anything but, as the exemption of many plots and character makes the film feel like a collection of well-made pieces of a story that is never quite complete.

Slumdog Millionaire
½

Lacking the emotional resonance that is commonly lauded for, Slumdog Millionaire combines a Bollywood version of Who wants to be a Millionaire, scenes of torture (which feel very limited and simplistic), and flashbacks to Jamal's memories. With such an intriguing, if not predictable concept, the fact that this film feels forced makes the final outcome all the more disappointing. The only thing anchoring Slumdog Millionaire from sailing off into a sea of unforgivable film is the stellar acting used to portray Jamal (Dev Patel, Tanay Chheda). Some solid acting notwithstanding, Slumdog Millionaire aims to be a unique spectacle of cinema. Instead, it ends up coming across as horribly pretentious, visually boring, and easily forgettable.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

There are some films that are made with such a beautiful touch, with such grandiose, that they should never be remade. One film that fits this mold is the Gene Wilder classic 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'. Yes, author of the book, Roald Dahl publicly bashed the original film adaptation, claiming that it was "not the book I wrote". Sure, it certainly strays away from the source material in some scenes, but it has an overwhelming warmth to it, and Gene Wilder gives a dazzling performance as Willy Wonka. Tim Burton's adaptation, on the other hand, is more loyal to the text in the literal sense. But it completely misses in the atmosphere category, as the film feels like any other Tim Burton film; dark, creepy, basically a '90s goth teen's bedroom. Johnny Depp is treacherously miscast as Wonka. Instead of an ambiguously cynical mastermind with a good heart and a warm aura, Depp portrays Wonka as a cynical, mean-spirited candy tycoon with no real positive traits to admire. The children in both films (save for Charlie, of course) are wretched, unforgivable little brats who make the audience cringe in disgust at their antics. Burton's cast of children are indeed vile, but aren't as effective in persuading the audience that they are getting their just desserts. Both Charlies are played with warmth and compassion, but Peter Ostrum's performance in the original is far more believable and superior in every way. Sure, Burton may select to remain true to the book in most cases (although he does stray away in some instances), but he completely misses the warmth and undeniable likeability within the main cast. It turns into an awful misfire, as Burton adds his trademark touch to the film, and it is most certainly out of place.

The Mask
The Mask(1994)
½

Based upon the Dark Horse comic book series, 'The Mask' is a screwball comedy through and through and is a great vessel of Jim Carrey's versatility which helped him make a name for himself early in his career. Chock full of in-jokes, slapstick comedy, and non-stop laughs, 'The Mask' is a fun action comedy that keeps the laughs rolling and never takes itself too seriously.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2
½

Between the posts all over the internet to the packed local theaters, it seemed like everyone in the world was waiting with bated breath for the epic conclusion to the ever so successful Harry Potter film franchise. Words cannot express the hype surrounding this movie, because not even Twilight has a fan base as dedicated as Harry Potter. But the question on everyone's mind: Will the new movie be good enough to wear the Harry Potter title?

In many ways, the film is a major success and does the final book justice. It is filled with brilliant performances, especially from the leading three actors, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. Also contributing excellent performances are Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore, Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, and Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort. Alan Rickman gives a particularly riveting performance, as we see Snape evolve throughout the final half of the film. The cinematography is also superb, as every shot of Hogwarts is lighted to enhance each and every tiny detail, making the set feel truly alive. The action sequences are tightly shot, coming out better in this installment than any other film.

The most glaring weakness in not only this film, but every Harry Potter film is the translation from book to big screen. Many loyal Harry Potter fans will be upset to see many scenes from the book omitted from the film. This is more apparent now in the finale, because the filmmakers had two movies to work with, giving them ample time and room to include every detail from the book. Even still, many scenes are either removed or cut down in the movie, which takes away from the otherwise epic feel of the picture. I won't go into explicit details with this, as it is impossible to do without spoiling the film. Another problem is the quality of the score. Often times, the music backing an epic sequence is just poorly done, feeling clunky and misplaced.

As the most profitable film series comes to a close, many Harry Potter fans will find themselves disappointed by the lack of complete loyalty to the books. But this is by no means a 'bad' movie. It certainly fails to recapitulate the essence and feel that the first three films had in abundance. Nevertheless, this is a worthy ending to what has proven to be an epic series.

8 Mile
8 Mile(2002)

More often than not, films made about certain cultural movements are forgotten. After their fifteen minutes on the top shelf expires, they're swept under the rug and rarely seen again. '8 Mile' most definitely does not fit this mold, and will be remembered for its profound story (albeit somewhat autobiographical of rapper Eminem's life story), stalwart performances from its leads, and richly effective delivery through both direction and cinematography.

'8 Mile' follows the life of Jimmy "B-Rabbit) Smith Jr, as he rises to fame and glory during the inner-city rap movement of the 1990s. Rabbit lives at home in a trailer park with his alcoholic mother, younger sistery Lily, and his mother's abusive boyfriend, Greg. Rabbit fails to launch his musical career, and chokes during a rap battle. For a majority of the first third of the film, Rabbit does nothing but pity himself for his situation, and blame others for it. As the story progresses, he realizes that he must take control of his life, and subsequently gets a job in a factory in order to support his mother and sister. Jimmy eventually makes the decision to delve back into the musical scene, and this is where the movie truly takes off.

Where '8 Mile' succeeds is where most other biographical films fail. It delivers with a competent cast, with each actor bringing their A-games with convincing performances and emotional connectivity. Eminem wisely chooses to take up the role of himself, as opposed to letting some hip, trendy actor perform the task. This adds an emotional layer to the film, making it all the more believable and heart wrenching. Kim Basinger and Brittany Murphy both deliver in their roles as Jimmy's drunken mother and adulterous girlfriend, Alex, respectively. The cinematography is top-notch, with a majority of the filming done in Eminem's hometown of Detroit.

'8 Mile ' is not without its flaws, though. There is a large amount of drag throughout, specifically surrounding Rabbit's steadfast effort to provide for support for his family. The story is also more than familiar, and is, as such, overly predictable. But what biographical film isn't, in all fairness. Several supporting actors, especially those close to Rabbit, are deeply dislikalbe, specifically Cheddar Bob, who is obnoxious, stupid, and feels like an unneeded comic relief to bring some laughs.

While it is somewhat riddled with imperfections, '8 Mile' is not only an enjoyable story, but also a well-crafted entry into the film world. Marshall "Eminem" Mathers proves to the audience that he is not only a top-class rapper, but a more-than-competent actor, able to convey emotion almost effortlessly. While the story of a down-on-his-luck schmo may feel recycled to most, Jimmy's ascent to success is still without a doubt enjoyable, and emotionally gratifying in the end.

The Hangover Part II

What would you have if you replaced a baby with a monkey, a groom with the brother of the bride, and the Vegas Strip with Bangkok? You would have 'The Hangover II'. Unoriginal, uninspired, and audaciously derivative, the sequel to the 2009 summer hit lacks in every major area that its predecessor succeeds.

'The Hangover Part II' follows Phil, Stu, and Alan once again, this time with Stu playing the groom. Stu is set to marry his fiancee Lauren. While Stu wishes to avoid any further mishaps caused by out of control bachelor parties, the audience already knows what its in for. Waking up in the morning, Phil, Stu, and Alan are aghast to find themselves in a cheap hotel in Bangkok, with Lauren's teenage brother Teddy missing. The only trace of Teddy left behind is a severed finger, with his Stanford class ring attached to it.

While most of the comedic material here is horribly familiar, what little amounts of original content is grossly over-the-top, which will more than likely leave more than one person in the audience a fair bit nauseated. Director Todd Phillips also makes the mistake of making none of the lead characters likeable, leaving the audience feeling bored and disconnected. Alan, played by Zach Galifianakis, suffers the worst character shift from the first film, becoming unlikable, unfunny, and all-in-all irritating.

With the success of the first 'Hangover', it was glaringly obvious that a sequel was soon to follow. While there isn't a definitive way to stray from the tracks left by the first 'Hangover' film, Phillips beats into the ground everything that worked in the original, adding graphic nudity and an abundance of gross-out moments for cheap laughter. While the films is basically guaranteed to be a splash at the box office, many fans of the original (myself included) will be overwhelmingly disappointed at this disjointed carbon copy of its precursor.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

In 1984, on a shoestring budget of 6.5 million dollars, James Cameron was able to envelop us in a world of his own in 'The Terminator'. His creation combines raw human emotion with breathtaking action sequences to create what is commonly referred to as a science fiction masterpiece. Seven years later, on a budget exceeding the previous film's by nearly 20 times, Cameron hits gold with with 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day'.

The action picks up thirteen years later in 1997. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton both reprise their roles as the T-800 and Sarah Connor, respectively. But the T-800 has been reprogrammed to protect 13 year old John Connor, played by Edward Furlong, from a new enemy, a state-of-the-art terminator, the T-1000, played by Robert Patrick. The T-1000 is an especially fascinating villain, as it is made of liquid metal, and is able to repair itself following damage, and can copy any non-mechanical being it comes in contact with. Sarah has been confined to a mental institution due to her troublesomely explicit knowledge of the future.

'Judgment Day' could have taken a turn towards the action-filled, heartless science fiction films that commonly make hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office, but are generally poorly made and leave the viewer without any emotional payoff. Instead, T2 takes a radically different turn for the better, as we see every character evolve through their interactions with each other. The Terminator is ordered by John not to kill anyone, which he is specifically programmed for. In turn, The Terminator plays a father figure to John, as he has never had a true father following the death of Kyle Reese, his biological father and protector of Sarah Connor in 1984. Sarah is initially apprehensive of the Terminator, due to the fact that he was originally sent back in time to kill her in the first film. Overcoming her fear and predisposition of him, Sarah places her trust and her son's life in his hands.

'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' stands alone as possibly the best film sequel of all time. Cameron balances character development with tightly shot action sequences in a perfect manner. What the first film possesses in heartfelt sentiment and action, 'Terminator 2' has it in larger amounts, and it works flawlessly. Every character's emotion is completely plausible, and the viewer will find themselves immersed in a realistic world crafted masterfully by Cameron. With four Academy Awards under its belt, Judgment Day easily seals itself in history as one of, if not THE best science fiction/action film of the 1990s, if not ever, a true masterpiece.

Requiem for a Dream

Director Darren Aronofsky presents a horrifyingly realistic look into the world of addictions, and pushes the envelope in every sense of the way. The film delves into the lives of mother-and-son, Sara and Harry Goldfarb, Harry's best friend, Tyrone, and Harry's girlfriend, Marion, as all four struggle with corrosive addictions. While Harry, Marion, and Tyrone struggle with their heroin addiction, Sara suffers from an equally harrowing addiction to weight loss pills, in an attempt to fit into the red dress she had worn at Harry's graduation, the proudest moment in her memory.

Aronofsky brilliantly adds his own personal touch to the film, with the frequent use of split-screen, tight close-ups, and montages of short clips, with genius symbolism throughout. Leto, Burstyn, Wayans, and Connelly deliver perfectly, as each eventually meets their own fate alone.

This film is by no means a morality check, nor is it about scum getting away with murder. Aronofsky delivers a brilliant contrast of both, as the story, characters, and emotions all feel genuine. All of this is capped off by a truly breathtaking soundtrack by Clint Mansell, whose musical expertise more than shines throughout.

In no way is this a film for the weak stomached. It is graphic, it is disturbing, and it is brutally honest. All of that aside, it is an absolute masterpiece of its time, Requiem for a Dream will make your stomach churn, and simultaneously pull at your heartstrings in a perfect balance.

The Handmaid's Tale

After reading the book in my senior English class, I didn't think the story could get much worse. I was wrong. Very wrong. Not only does the movie come across as even more preachy and boring than the book, which is no easy feat, it also fails to deliver on any cinematic level.

Alice in Wonderland

There is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING, that I hate more than when a director adapts an already well established concept poorly and drives it into the dirt. Guess what? Tim Burton did just that with 'Alice in Wonderland'. I don't care if it's supposed to be a sequel, this movie works in almost no way, shape, or form. Johnny Depp is cast as the Mad Hatter, and he further proves that Tim Burton has no creativity when character development is concerned. The expertly done makeup and costumes can't save this film from itself or Tim Burton, who creates a disillusioning universe where there was once a lush, lovable, and entrancing one within the original film. Anne Hathaway serves merely as a cast buffer, as she is practically useless in the film as the White Queen, who has little screen time. Helena Bonham Carter portrays the Red Queen, an annoying, big-headed ruler who you constantly hope to see beheaded before the end of the film. Burton's own mindset while creating film is becoming more and more exhausted, and becomes more farcical film. Let Johnny Depp take the passenger's seat at least once, Tim, and let the story develop around him, not through him.

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

It's terribly vulgar, it's over-the-top in terms of gross factor, and above all else, it's a witty social commentary on censorship and the importance of not shifting the blame from where it deserves to fall. 'South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut' stands out as the first full-length animated feature to challenge our societal views on the most taboo of subjects, including vulgar language, crude humor, sexuality, and violence. Trey Parker and Matt Stone deliver with what they do best, poking fun at the masses and bringing to a point the importance of free speech, placing blame where blame deserves to be, and of course, making the rest of the population's jaws drop. The film follows the lives of Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny, four boys from South Park, a quaint town in Colorado. The boys sneak into an R-rated movie, starring their favorite foul-mouthed Canadians, Terrence and Phillip. The four are immediately blurting out obscenities after leaving the movie theater, spreading their vulgar dialect to their friends at the elementary school. Parents and school faculty are disturbed by the language of the children, and a movement against Terrence and Phillip soon ensues. The boys are forced to work together in order to save the comedic duo from the vengeful parents, to avoid war with Canada, and the rise of Satan and Saddam Hussein, who had been previously trampled to death by a pack of wild boars. 'South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut' delivers where the show is unable to, with harsh language and graphic animated violence that will make you double over and hold your sides from the laughter that inevitably will follow. The film not only works as a musical number, but as a backhanded social commentary, as well. It's a witty, satirical entry into the film world by Parker and Stone, who prove above all else, the importance of free speech isn't easily diluted down by over-the-top humor and jokes, but merely empowered by it.

The Dark Knight

A complete masterpiece of the generation, The Dark Knight is everything you've come to expect it to be and more. It's action-packed, thrilling, and loaded with compelling characters and dialogue. Heath Ledger's performance of 'The Joker' steals the show in every way possible. Ledger lives up to every accolade he had been given in his masterful portrayal of a twisted, masochistic killer who wants nothing more than to turn Gotham upside down and corrupt the heroes of the city. This is not to say by any stretch of the imagination that any other cast members didn't deliver, because all of them most certainly did. Christian Bale and Aaron Eckhart both knock the ball out of the park with their portrayals of Batman and Harvey "Two Face" Dent respectively. Maggie Gyllenhaal replaces Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes, a love interest of both Bruce Wayne and Dent. Rounding out the main core of the cast are Michael Caine as Bruce's seemingly omniscient butler, Alfred, and Gary Oldman as Officer-turned-Commissioner Gordon. With Bale, Caine, and Oldman reprising their already well established characters of 'Batman Begins', the plot becomes thick with rich detail, drama, thrills, and all the action a summer movie of this caliber is expected to carry. 'The Dark Knight' is undoubtedly one of, if not, the best superhero film ever made. Christopher Nolan brings life back to a hero who was considered a joke above all others following a string of poorly made movies, but I won't get into that. To sum it all up as best as I can, it is a beautifully made work of art that will shatter any negative preconceived notions you may have had about super hero movies, and of Christopher Nolan's writing and directing talent.

Disturbia
Disturbia(2007)
½

Surprisingly suspenseful and very well delivered by Shia LaBeouf, Disturbia is a great summer thriller that will satisfy teens and parents alike.

The Joneses
The Joneses(2010)

With stellar performances by Duchovny and Moore, 'The Joneses' isn't a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination. I would have been more satisfied personally if director Derrick Borte hadn't ended the film on such a cliche, Disney note. Let the harsh reality of the consumerist world wash over us, not drown us with pointless happy endings.

Cannibal Holocaust

Controversial doesn't begin to describe the media swarm that overtook Cannibal Holocaust. Disturbing, vile, over the top, and grotesque, Cannibal Holocaust details the fake documentation surrounding a cannibalistic tribe in South America. There is little more I can say about the film, aside from the fact that it is actually very well made. The characters one by one meeting their eventual brutal disfigurement was quite satisfying, as the gore is quite realistic, even for a film of its time. Some of the scenes do tend to drag on, and you often find yourself dissociated from the plot and characters, but overall it isn't a bad movie. Recommended only for the true horror fan and one without a weak stomach.

Satan's Little Helper
½

Filled with campy scenery, subpar acting, low-budget effects, and a poorly developed script, Satan's Little Helper inevitably falls into the "So-bad-it's-good" category. The hilarity ensues when a masked man befriends young Dougie. The masked man bears a striking resemblance to the main character in Dougie's video game, Satan's Little Helper. The two then proceed to dive headlong into murderous crime, unbeknownst to Dougie. The plot runs thin quickly, and the poorly acted characters are very difficult to sympathize with. Satan's Little Helper is laughable, and Alex Brickel's portrayal of Dougie is very difficult to invest any emotion in, as he goes back and forth from likable to irritating and immature. I can only recommend viewers to watch this film with a very tongue-in-cheek attitude, and enjoy it, as much as humanly possible, as a comedy, not a horror or thriller.

Metal: A Headbanger's Journey

Let's face facts here, documentaries are typically slow-paced, boring, and dull. Metal: A Headbanger's Journey never comes close to a cookie-cutter documentary, but quite the opposite. The film follows anthropologist Sam Dunn, as he studies the culture of heavy metal around the world, specifically, the dismissal, stereotyping, and lampooning of it. Filled to the brim with captivating interviews, and of course, heavy metal music to the extreme, A Headbanger's Journey is an excellently made documentary. Although it will most likely not convert your hipster friends into massive metalheads, it will certainly enlighten any outsiders to understand the culture surrounding the music, and imbue the older fans with a sense of pride. If you're a metal fan and you haven't seen this film, I highly recommend taking 90 minutes out of your day to see it. Even as a non-metal head, I would still recommend you see it, as it is very entertaining as a film and quite educational, as well.

The Matrix Revolutions
½

The Wachowski brothers conclude what had previously been a masterfully made pair of films with a final act which is rather lacking what the first two films had in abundance. The movie picks up with Neo and Morpheus fighting to save Zion from infiltrators of mechanical nature, sentinels from the ruins of the world above, and Agent Smith, who has taken the form of Bane, one of the men killed in the matrix. The script lacks depth and conviction, the action scenes are repetitive, and the finale is quite depressing, and leaves the viewer wanting more. Without seeing the first two films, I couldn't recommend this film to a movie viewer, because there are many more films that deliver the same message of hope with better delivery and more convincing acting. Having seen the preceding two films, a Matrix fan such as myself feels obligated to see the conclusion, although lackluster, but a conclusion no less. See it if you feel the desire to witness the ending of the trilogy, not an A+ Wachowski brothers' film.

Clerks II
Clerks II(2006)

What was expected to be another lackluster Kevin Smith film following his release of 'Jersey Girl' in 2004, 'Clerks II' delivers on almost every level the first Clerks hit upon. Following Dante Hicks and Randall Graves yet again, the clerks have relocated to Moobie's, following the accidental destruction of the Quick Stop at the hands of Randall's forgetfulness. Dante is on the cusp of marriage and moving away to Florida with his fiancee, leaving Randall behind. Smith and Jason Mewes also reprise their roles as Jay and Silent Bob, who have also relocated to Moobie's, following their time in rehab. Clerks II is filled with your expected Kevin Smith-esque dialogue, chock-full with gratuitous gross-out, off-color, and beyond the line of racist jokes, anything you could expect from such a film. Although it lacks the fire and some of the chemistry contained in the original, Clerks II still delivers on every level you would expect it to. As a Smith fan, quite obviously a must-see. As any other movie fan, still a must-see, although the film contains many in-jokes from within the series, it is still a very well made, uniquely heart-filled comedy that won't disappoint.

Avatar
Avatar(2009)
½

With a movie that had been 14 years in the making, most had very high hopes for 'Avatar'. In 2009, those hopes and wishes paid off in what will be forever remembered as the breakthrough film for 3D effects. James Cameron delivers a masterfully made epic film which pushes the boundaries of imagination and film making to a new level. 'Avatar' focuses on Jake Sully, a paraplegic ex-marine, whose twin brother was killed off-screen prior to an "Avatar Mission". The film takes off from there, as Sully regains his ability to walk within his 'Avatar', a hybrid clone of the Na'vi, a race indigenous to the planet Pandora, that the humans are able to control through mental link. Avatar is as beautiful a story as any, and the storyline, albeit very overused in cinematic history, works quite well here. The world that James Cameron has made should most definitely be seen in 3D; it is beautiful, realistic, and quite easy to become immersed in. The film does run rather long, approximately 160 minutes, but this shouldn't deter you from seeing it, because the time quite literally flies by as you become sucked into this masterfully crafted epic film. With the storyline being slightly trite, and the run time being rather steep, I can't give Avatar a perfect 5 stars. But don't let that stop you from taking a step into what is possibly one of the most amazing display of special effects and well-acted character films of our generation.

Fight Club
Fight Club(1999)

Amongst the successful year of 1999 in film involving deeper human meaning, American Beauty is typically the most well remembered, winning the Academy Award for Best Picture. But it would be foolish to overlook Fight Club, the astoundingly well-written adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's novel starring Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, and Helena Bonham-Carter. Although only grossing 37 million dollars in the US during its theatrical run, Fight Club remains a staple in the film scene of 1999 movie making involving the re-examination of society, daily life, and deeper human thought. This dystopian based story centers around an unnamed narrator and Tyler Durden, as they venture together to change the world as Tyler sees fit. Superbly directed and cast, David Fincher created an unforgettable cult classic film . Although it is quite violent, and the cursing is profuse, Fight Club is masterfully made and a must-see.

A Clockwork Orange

A masterpiece of its time, A Clockwork orange stars Malcolm McDowell as a witty, violent, and very immature teenager who spends his nights with his droogs, committing acts of violence and rape to satisfy himself. Kubrick does a masterful job adapting this sickly dark story, and Beethoven's music adds a brilliant juxtapose to the film, often played at seemingly inappropriate times. Without a doubt, Kubrick nailed the story, and created a movie that was way ahead of its time. Highly recommended, albeit not for the faint of heart.

Clerks
Clerks(1994)

An instant classic in the comedy genre. Brilliant scripting paired with real chemistry between actors and a somewhat avant garde look about it make this film irresistable for any comedy fan with a taste for well written dialogue.