Paul Levins's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

The Caller
The Caller(2011)
½

A fascinating twist on the "haunting" genre that is genuinely unnerving and doesn't fly off the rails in the third act like many of its contemporaries.

The Hole
The Hole(2012)

I enjoyed this for what it was: "The Gate" for a new generation. Unfortunately, I'm too old to get much more out of it. But I heartily recommend it to any pre-teen horror fans you might know.

Life of Pi
Life of Pi(2012)

Astonishingly beautiful! Ang Lee's perfect realization of this wonderful book is also one of the greatest 3D movie-going experiences I've had so far. See it.

Safety Not Guaranteed

This was also very enjoyable.

Skyfall
Skyfall(2012)

Even though the third act feels more like Bourne territory, this is a phenomenal addition to the Bond franchise, and it's easily the best-looking. Go for the cinematography. Go for Javier Bardem's incredible performance. Go for the killer action. Just Go!

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Yeah, it's good; the ending especially is perfect. But at the end of the day it's just another sweet-but-depressed-guy-meets-a-beautiful-manic-pixie-type-who-teaches-him-how-to-live-again story. It's well-made, but I got kinda bored just going through the motions again.

The Campaign
The Campaign(2012)

There were sections of this where I was bored, and there were sections where I laughed until I cried. I'd say it's worth seeing, but maybe have some friends around to talk to during the bits that don't really play.

Wreck-it Ralph

Yep, it's very good (and extra fun if you're an old-school gamer). Make sure not to miss the (unrelated) opening short film, which, if you're anything like me, will put just as big a smile on your face.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

A fantastic adaptation. Everyone involved brought their A-game.

White Noise
White Noise(2005)

This was soooooooooo BORING!

The Five-Year Engagement

This goes on the shortlist of good romantic comedies, very funny and genuinely felt.

The Dictator
The Dictator(2012)
½

I couldn't get through this one.

High School
High School(2012)
½

Pretty funny for a pot movie. If you're in the mood for such a thing, you could do a lot worse. Adrien Brody especially stands out.

Persona
Persona(1966)

This was enthralling, but I do not understand.

Rudy
Rudy(1993)

This was good. Unfortunately, it's difficult to have a genuine emotional response when the film is trying so hard to force one.

The Artist
The Artist(2011)
½

Undeniably enjoyable with charm oozing out of every corner. I do not, however, think it was better than "Midnight in Paris."

Jeff Who Lives at Home

Utterly fantastic character comedy, funny, touching, and relatable.

Absentia
Absentia(2012)
½

It's an interesting idea, but the movie is about as thrilling as a pot of soup.

Goon
Goon(2012)

Charming, violent, and fun. You can't go wrong with this one.

Batman: Year One

A fantastic animated Batman film based on the comic book miniseries of the same name, this is right up there with "Mask of the Phantasm" and "Under the Red Hood" in quality. If you're truly a Batman fan, you already know this story, and rest assured that they did a fine job adapting it. And the Catwoman short on the disc? It's pretty great, too.

Brave
Brave(2012)
½

While I did enjoy this quite a bit, it was somewhat less epic in scope than I was expecting and more of a rote Disney plot (spell broken by love, time-bound macguffin) than I've come to expect from Pixar. That being said, it is gorgeous to look at, and the basic story was refreshingly different in that it is, above all else, about the mother/daughter relationship. It also gets props for basing the film in Scotland and actually giving its characters thick Scottish accents. Also, bears are cool.

Project X
Project X(2012)

Interesting movie, this. The story has a lot of plausibility problems, but it's supposed to be fantasy cinema. So my suggestion is to not worry about the issues and just roll with it, much like the kid throwing the party has to learn to do. If you can manage that, it's actually a lot of fun. The only thing that consistently nagged at me was how much the main trio seemed to ape the main trio from Superbad; it's ridiculous how close they are.

In Time
In Time(2011)

While this is based on a cool idea, the script kind of sucks. It goes a little overboard constantly making winking references to the whole "time as currency" thing and not really following through on the textural details that would actually make that kind of world believable. Oddly enough, it is directed rather well by the same guy who wrote it. The biggest problem with the film, however, is the way it looks. This is a completely different world than the one we currently inhabit, one that is AT LEAST 200 years in the future, but everything looks about 20 years down the road. Even fashion hasn't really evolved. Sony had a seriously talented production designer in Alex McDowell, so I don't know quite what happened there. Overall, it wasn't terrible; it even has some truly interesting bits and one moment of total action movie brilliance. It is, however, thoroughly underwhelming.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
½

It's a good thing the studio hired an inventive directing pair for this, because the script had zero ideas. While I would say it's better than the first one (a more interesting style, some neato shots, and some great crazy Cage), it's ultimately not any more interesting.

Tower Heist
Tower Heist(2011)

Yeah, OK, that was pretty entertaining.

The Deer Hunter

A film in three acts about the devastating effects of the Vietnam war on a group of young American soldiers. Great performances abound, but be warned, it's kind of a kick in the teeth.

Chronicle
Chronicle(2012)
½

I liked that quite a bit.

Prometheus
Prometheus(2012)

While it has an occasionally clunky script with some woefully thin characterizations, the movie's big ideas and awe-inspiring production design as directed masterfully by a top-of-his-game Ridley Scott make the film's shortcomings easy enough to ignore. Just don't expect an Alien film, as this is a whole other animal. Like the man says, there's "connective tissue" there, but it's not really what the movie's all about. I saw this in 3D at the IMAX theater, and it was worth every (considerable) penny. While the full IMAX experience is probably not necessary for everyone, I highly recommend catching a 3D showing as it was actually shot in 3D (not a post-converted 2D picture), and it looks fantastic.

North by Northwest
½

Yep, that was pretty fantastic, and surprisingly funny for how suspenseful it was. Plus, Eva Marie Saint is one of the finest blondes in the long history of "Hitchock blondes."

The Raid: Redemption
½

Wow! This was an incredible 1.5-hour orgy of violence. Seriously, this may be the most relentlessly violent motion picture I have ever seen, and I loved every minute of it! It is subtitled, but it's by no means slow.

The Cabin in the Woods

Amazing! Funny, scary, creative, insightful, unexpected, and relentless. I could not have loved this more. Go see it; if possible see it without reading/watching anything beforehand.

The Hunger Games

It's very good, better than it probably needed to be. I will say that it's a bit long, and, having just read the book not too long ago, I felt it. Otherwise, no gripes.

American Reunion
½

Yeah, it's funny. If you enjoyed the previous three "American Pie" movies, I see no reason why you shouldn't like this one too. It hits all the same beats, but the whole endeavor is a nostalgia trip anyway, so it works just fine. I laughed, and the rest of the theater did too.

The Three Musketeers

I knew this would be bad (hence the "Bad Movie Friday" viewing), but good God! This is a massive turd of a movie, utterly worthless, so bad it's not even fun after a while, one of those movies where you get the feeling that the people involved think you're stupid. It gets half a star for one cool action scene, but not a full star because most of the other set pieces steal directly from The Matrix.

Shut Up Little Man!
½

This is a very funny and creatively built documentary. And it's as much about the guys doing the recording as it is about the men being recorded. Here's the trailer (http://youtu.be/SEDC8AluXVE)

Cast a Deadly Spell

Fred Ward plays a private detective in an alternate-universe 1948 in which everybody but him ("for personal reasons") uses magic. It's a very tongue-in-cheek but well-put-together string of noir tropes and Lovecraft in-jokes. The whole thing is immensely silly, but it's also fun provided you're willing to accept its ham-fisted tone. Sort of a supernatural Dick Tracy.

50/50
50/50(2011)

An occasionally funny but anxiety-inducingly honest film based on a true story and written by the man who lived it. Very highly recommended.

Contagion
Contagion(2011)
½

Yeah, it was good. Maybe one or two storylines too many, but still engaging. Of course it's pretty unnerving that I watched this last night, and then today everybody on here is suddenly sick!

The Help
The Help(2011)

While the film does play a bit of softball with the issue at hand, it isn't as dishonest as I expected it to be (though it comes close), it's more emotionally affecting than I expected, and everybody in it is acting their asses off. So yeah, it's worth the praise it's gotten.

Wanderlust
Wanderlust(2012)

Writer/Director David Wain and writing partner Ken Marino have made 4 movies so far, and they are all very, very funny. This one strikes a somewhat uneven balance between 2008's studio affair "Role Models" and the bizarro comedy of their earlier films, "The Ten" and "Wet Hot American Summer." This tonal imbalance gets in the way of the narrative from time to time, but the discomfort that it engenders actually works well for Wain's left-of-center comic sensibility. I can't guarantee that you'll be totally satisfied with it, but if your sense of humor is anything like mine, you will laugh, hard and often.

Sherlock Jr.
Sherlock Jr.(1924)

A stone cold classic! If you're at all a fan of Buster Keaton's silent work or physical comedy in general, well here's one of the best from one of the true masters. And if you're unfamiliar with the era, this would be a good place to start as it's only 45 minutes long.

Le Procès (The Trial)

Orson Welles directs this adaptation of an existential Franz Kafka novel in which a young man named Joseph K. (Anthony Perkins) is placed under arrest for a crime but is never told the charge. Unsurprisingly, it's a trip. The whole thing plays like a dream (or more appropriately a nightmare), and the message, only communicated obliquely, is a heavy one.

Four Lions
Four Lions(2010)
½

Very funny UK comedy about the dumbest group of jihadists you'll ever see.

Let Me In
Let Me In(2010)

It's a great movie, only slightly not as good as the Swedish original. There simply aren't enough GOOD vampire movies like this one.

Pina
Pina(2011)
½

My alternative to the Super Bowl? Go see a German documentary about a dead choreographer...in 3D! I think it was an excellent choice.

Middle Men
Middle Men(2010)
½

This is a really enjoyable telling of the story of the pioneers of internet porn featuring the always fantastic Giovanni Ribisi. Shit gets waaaaay out of control.

Limitless
Limitless(2011)
½

This was a great concept, and there are some interesting film techniques here to illustrate the way the drug changes your perception. I would have like it a lot more had the main character been less of a douchebag. Also, for a pill that lets you use 100% of your brainpower, it sure allowed for a lot of obviously stupid decisions.

30 Minutes or Less
½

so much funnier than I expected it to be

Friends With Benefits

A script with very little personality + Two leads with personality to spare = A thoroughly middle of the road rom-com

Colombiana
Colombiana(2011)

There are a few logic leaps, and it's not too far from what we've seen before, but yeah, it was an entertaining couple of hours. The major set pieces, at least, had some cool stuff.

Quarantine
Quarantine(2008)

Hey, what do you know? It's an american remake that doesn't pale in comparison to the original!

Maniac Cop
Maniac Cop(1988)

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Moneyball
Moneyball(2011)
½

It was very good. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I gave a rat's ass about baseball.

Melancholia
Melancholia(2011)

Aaaah, another indie film, another wedding full of unlikable characters. Luckily, this one comes from a fantastically artistic director (Lars von Trier) who, thankfully, isn't trying to horrify us this time. It's a character piece about Kirsten Dunst's severely depressed would-be bride and her diplomacy-challenged family, but it's also a science-fiction piece about the end of the world. Sound interesting? It is, but it does take patience.

Shame
Shame(2011)

This is one of those movies you see for a performance. Director Steve McQueen (the spellbinding "Hunger") does a perfectly fine job with the film, and Carrey Mulligan is predictably wonderful in her supporting role, but it's Michael Fassbender's fearless (no joke) portrayal of the central character that makes the film truly worth checking out. There is, of course, a lot of sex in this one, but it's not particularly alluring sex, just FYI.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Fantastic! I hope the studio goes ahead with the other two and that they keep Fincher behind the lens. Also, the opening to this film looks like the opening to a James Bond picture, which is pretty funny considering the star.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
½

Terrific performances from everyone involved, but mostly I was just bored.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Much like the second entry in another R D Jr. led franchise, this one is not quite as good as its predecessor. Still, if you enjoyed the first film, there's no reason you shouldn't enjoy this one as well. It's a perfectly solid sequel.

The Adventures of Tintin
½

While the character of Tintin was too relentlessly chipper for my taste and The bumbling Thompson Twins were gratingly stupid, this was nevertheless a fun ride of a movie. It's kind of a "young, British Indiana Jones as a cartoon" sort of story, so of course Spielberg is the perfect choice to pull it off. The chase scenes are amazing, and there's a totally bad-ass pirate ship battle right in the middle. It doesn't carry much emotional weight, but it's worth checking out if you enjoy big 3-D escapism. And Andy Serkis turns in yet another fantastic Mo-Cap performance, making his Captain Haddock the most entertaining character in the movie.

Old Joy
Old Joy(2006)
½

This is the earthy, Portland-dwelling cousin of "My Dinner With Andre."

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol
½

So Frickin' COOL! It's heart-pounding, palm-sweating intense. If you've ever wondered if the director of The Incredibles could direct live action as well as animation, well, he can.

Fright Night
Fright Night(2011)
½

Just like the original, it's a lot of fun. There's some seriously freaky stuff, it's funny when it wants to be, and Colin Farrell absolutely nails it as Jerry, the monster next door. It's not perfect, but it's way better than it has any right to be.

The Trip
The Trip(2011)

Low key but enjoyable, this is a mostly improvised comedy in which two friends who kind of hate each other take a trip across rural England reviewing fine dining establishments.

Nights of Cabiria (Le Notti di Cabiria)

It took me a while to get into this, but it had me big time by the end.

My Dinner with André

It's just two lapsed friends having a conversation over dinner for nearly two hours, and it's utterly fantastic.

Superman III
Superman III(1983)

Wow, this was horrible!

Hugo
Hugo(2011)

Pure joy! I can't think of a single thing about the film that I didn't love. And 3D is definitely the way to go for this one; it adds so much.

Society
Society(1989)
½

STRANGE! It's starts off kind of like Disturbing Behavior, but then it goes completely off the rails, plummeting into inescapable pit of WTF-ery. Part B-level horror, part ham-fisted satire, this film is totally bonkers. Perfect "Bad Horror Friday" viewing.

The Muppets
The Muppets(2011)
½

I think Renn Brown from Chud.com said it best: "Youâ(TM)d pretty much have to be a giant asshole to not have a great time with this movie." Go. Go now.

The Tree of Life

It took me a few days to collect my thoughts after being absolutely bludgeoned by this film. Less a narrative film than a meditation on "life, the universe, and everything," it is unapologetic in it's self indulgence and obfuscation, yet achingly beautiful at times. Terrence Malick's films have always moved at a deliberate pace, but the lack of formal structure here makes for an especially challenging viewing experience. It is, however, made easier with the benefit of a contemplative mood, a large hid-def presentation (the better to marvel at the cinematography), and a booming sound system (Both to catch the subtleties in quieter scenes and to accentuate the more grandiose ones; the film actually begins with a recommendation to "play it loud"). I'm not going to lie; I found my mind wandering on several occasions, but there was always something astounding around the corner to draw me back in.

Pearl Jam Twenty

Absolutely phenomenal documentary by Cameron Crowe about Pearl Jam's 20-year career. MUCH of this is compiled from old footage, and Crowe did a fantastic job of assembling it all to tell a truly engaging story. Fans of Pearl Jam and/or documentary film-making need to check this out. For the rest of y'all, I'm not saying this will make you a fan, but it might. Either way, it's time well-spent.

Punching the Clown
½

Partly a musical comedy performance film, partly an endearing little fish/big pond narrative comedy, partly a Hollywood cautionary tale mockumentary, 100% satisfying.

The Switch
The Switch(2010)
½

I heard Bateman was great in this, so I gave it a shot and found the rumors to be true. It's not even a bad movie, really, but it's also not funny.

Going the Distance

Predictably, the first half is a lot funnier than the second, but the characters earn enough good will early on that it feels worth it to stick through all the drama to watch everything play out. For romantic comedies, you could do a lot worse.

How Do You Know
½

This one, not so much. ZZZZZZZZzzzzzz.......

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Yeah, it's pretty great. It's rare that you see a romantic comedy where the characters seem like real people and they don't always make the stupidest possible decision. Highly recommended.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

What a boring-ass movie! There's a giant, bombastic action scene every ten minutes, but I couldn't give a hoot about anything that was going on. It's the shortest movie in the series (at 2hrs17mins!), but it feels just as long as the other bloated sequels.

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas

It's not aggressively bad, it's just not very good. I laughed a few times, mostly when NPH or Tom Lennon were on screen, but no, it's not much better than the second one. For those curious about the 3D, yes, it's utilized often; all kinds of shit will be thrown at you. It doesn't make the movie any funnier, though.

Captain America: The First Avenger

This, on the other hand was fantastic! They wisely focused on Steve Roger's character, and the film had that classic Hollywood adventure feel to it, with the sound design and art direction sometimes directly referencing it's forebears like Indiana Jones and Star Wars. Some dodgy SFX, an unfortunately short-changed supporting cast of characters, and the occasionally jarring transition from film to video during the action sequences keep it from that fifth star, but make no mistake, this is a "don't miss" for comic book movie fans.

Season of the Witch

This sucked HARD! Nicolas Cage sleepwalks his way through this completely boring and unimaginative suckfest stuffed to the gills with bad ideas and terrible, unnecessary CGI. Getting attacked in the wilderness by a pack of bloodthirsty wolves is scary enough; you don't need to morph their faces to look like monsters!

The Rum Diary
½

Thoroughly enjoyable, beautiful to look at, with a feeling of real vitality. Also, Giovanni Ribisi steals every scene he's in.

Vampire's Kiss

LOL OMG! This is Nicholas Cage at his absolute nuttiest (battiest?), and it is hysterical. I'm not even sure this was originally conceived as a comedy, as almost all of the laughs come from what Nic brings to the character. Either way, if you're looking for something on the lighter side of horror this Halloween, you could do a lot worse.

[Rec] 2
[Rec] 2(2010)
½

I applaud the filmmakers for trying to do something different with the increasingly tired rage/zombie genre, but their explanation is, frankly, idiotic. Fortunately, the rest of the movie is pretty damn good! It's intense, creepy, and while the basis for the outbreak doesn't make a bit of sense, it does make for some great scenes. If you haven't seen the first REC, upon which the actually quite good American remake Quarantine was based, check that out first.

Red State
Red State(2011)

You know what? This is one of Kevin Smith's best films. And it's unlike anything he's ever done before. The script is (not surprisingly) whip-smart, and the actors all really go for it. John Goodman especially nails the dialog he's been given. In case you don't know, this is a character-driven horror film based loosely on the despicable bigots of the Westboro Baptist church.

Paranormal Activity 2
½

If you enjoyed the first one (like I did), you should like this one too. Of course, you're going to spend a lot of time watching nothing happen, but when shit does start going down, look out!

The Green Hornet

It's got its moments. Much of it drags, but Christof Waltz' storyline was pretty great, the "Kato vision" sequences were very cool, and the cars are droo-inducing. Beyond that, there's not much here to be excited about. Basically, I'm happy to have seen it, but I'm glad I didn't pay to see it in the theater.

The Wild Hunt

You think this is going to be goofy fun, and it is for a bit before taking a hard left turn into seriously disturbing territory. "When you punish a person for dreaming his dream, don't expect him to thank or forgive you."

Hanna
Hanna(2011)

Great stuff. It's reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, but Alice never kicked this much ass. It's also very stylized, and The Chemical Brothers' score is a perfect match.

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop

I don't know what to say about this film other than if you think you might enjoy it, you will.

Punisher: War Zone
½

Surprisingly beautiful cinematography, insane villainous scenery-chewing, and hysterically over-the-top violence turn this schlocky B-movie into something that that approaches incredible. A really fun time.

Wake Wood
Wake Wood(2009)
½

Well, that was upsetting.

Fast Five
Fast Five(2011)

A disclaimer: If you're watching this alone, it's more of a two-star movie. Watch with people. While I will say that this one is more entertaining that the last one, it's still an eye-roller. Our "heroes" are reprehensible, physics have taken the day off, and for (ostensibly) a "car movie," there's VERY little actual footage of auto-driven badassery. At one point, they head out to the local underground racing circuit, make a big deal about taking on a big-shot head to head, then it just cuts to them returning to their hideout victorious. We don't even get to see the race! So no, it's not good, but if you have a couple of buddies willing to join you in mocking it non-stop, it can be a lot of fun.

Source Code
Source Code(2011)

This is fantastic science fiction, Groundhog Day re-imagined as a thriller driven by theoretical technology. And I'm happy to say that there's more to it than the "I can save her! No you can't!" conflict that took up most of the trailer.

Drive
Drive(2011)

This movie is like a coiled snake; It's not in your face until it really, really is. It's beautifully shot, stylish in an under-stated way, and deliberately paced. But then there are these moments of gut-churning violence that just hit you like a shotgun blast to the head. It's actually pretty great; just don't expect non-stop action. Oh, and the opening scene is one of the most intense things I've seen all year.

Take Me Home Tonight
½

It's not a bad movie; it's just not a very memorable one.

Hesher
Hesher(2011)

It's an engaging film with a fun performance from JGL, but it's certainly not a comedy, and it doesn't leave much of a lasting impression.

Super
Super(2011)
½

This is a charmingly bizarre and ULTRA dark comedy in the "normal joe becomes a costumed crimefighter" genre. The tone is uneven, but the scale on just HOW uneven it will feel depends on your willingness to accept the film's sense of humor. Basically, much of the comedy's success relies on your not being instantly horrified by the graphic violence on display here. I'll be straight with you; this is a bloody film (one scene of gore in particular has actually stuck with me) but it's not without self-awareness. There's also a lot more pathos here than most films of its ilk (think Kick-Ass), so it hits a bit harder

Attack the Block

It seems like this one has been out forever, but it just made it to Portland last week. An R-rated comedic British alien invasion film, this one had a pedigree that just speaks to me. I'm happy to say that it's cool as all hell, and original to boot. If you can find it playing anywhere near you and a movie about " a gang of tough inner-city kids who try to defend their turf against an invasion of savage alien creatures" sounds like a good time to you, go now. You won't be disappointed.

Bridesmaids
Bridesmaids(2011)

A bit overstuffed at 2+ hours, this often feels like one of those "extended, unrated" cuts that studios are so fond of releasing on DVD these days. The scenes just linger a little longer than feels necessary. Luckily, nearly all of those scenes are very, very funny. If you haven't given this one a chance yet, go ahead and check it out. You will laugh. It actually hits DVD on Tuesday!

Your Highness

This is at turns clever and juvenile, slick and cheap-looking. I did laugh, just not as much as the trailer made me think I would. Basically, I had fun watching it, but I'm glad I didn't spend eight dollars to see it in the theater.

Chopping Mall (Killbots)

"I'm sorry. It's not you, Ferdy. I guess I'm just not used to running around a shopping mall in the middle of the night being chased by killer robots." 'Nuff said.

Dolls
Dolls(1987)

This is the PERFECT Friday night bad horror movie. It's lousy, but not abysmally awful, a little funny, a little creepy, and it moves at a brisk pace.

Exam
Exam(2008)

If you like stuff like Cube, you might enjoy this. I did.

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

I really wish there were more horror films like this one. It builds the mood terrifically, but we also get a payoff! It's beautifully shot with appropriately shadowy lighting. And most importantly, while the horror does get some explanation, it also retains some of its otherworldly mystery. That, to me, is the biggest failure of the American horror film, the incessant need to explain away every bit of terror thrown our way. Also, while you do eventually get to see the creatures tormenting the little girl, they are left in shadow for much of its running time and, once revealed, are still horrifying. In case you were wondering, there's no reason this should be rated R. While the opening is somewhat gruesome, it's not over-done, there's no sexual content, and no harsh language. What the movie does contain are some of the scariest moments in recent memory. I highly recommend this, and if you've got a kid who is 10+, take them with you. They'll love it.

Átame! (Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!)

Nope. Sorry Almadovar, but I don't buy it.

Harry Brown
Harry Brown(2010)
½

Holy crap was this good! Deliberately paced but continuously thrilling, this revenge movie is a punch in the gut. And a special nod goes out to Sean Harris, who is absolutely horrifying in his small role.

The Killer Inside Me
½

Pages of mumbled dialogue, reels of kinky sex, and at least one graphic, brutal beating later, and I still don't know what's going on. Maybe it's the fact that I couldn't hear big chunks of what people were saying, but I could never quite resolve the motivation for anything. There were some good performances in this, and I'll be damned if it didn't feel like I'd stepped right into west Texas (damn it!), but as a whole, this just didn't work for me. The book has been on my to-read list for a while; has anybody else read it?

Fright Night
Fright Night(1985)
½

I can't speak for the new one because they won't show it to me in less than 3 dimensions, but I just watched this one and found it to be a lot of fun. While Chris Sarandon makes for a pretty un-threatening threat, some great make-up effects compensate splendidly. It's spooky, fun, and recommended, especially if the horror genre is something you hold dear.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
½

While it's existence effectively ruins one of the greatest shock endings of all time, I've got to say, it earns it's right to be. I saw the trailer for this months ago, disregarded it (Who needs this?), and didn't give it a second thought. Then I kept hearing from everyone how great it was, so I gave it a shot. And you know what? It's fantastic! I cared; I really did.

Tangled
Tangled(2010)

This was absolutely hysterical! That horse, especially, cracked my ass up. As for the Disney pedigree, well, it's a mixed bag. On the one hand, this is the first time for me that a CG Disney cartoon NOT made by Pixar has captured that specific, lush visual quality that the best Disney animated films displays (Think Beauty and the Beast). Most of the time with these, I'm just wishing it was hand-drawn animation instead, not so here! On the other hand, the narrative follows the exact same beats that every other Disney fairy tale hits (something Pixar has managed to, if not avoid completely, at least make not so obvious), and the songs (aside from one great number from Mother Gothel toward the beginning) range from tolerable to not. All in all, though, this was surprisingly good. I heartily recommend it, if only for the horse :)

Hobo With a Shotgun

Watching this, I couldn't help thinking that this is what it would look like if Rob Zombie and John Carpenter got together to remake "Taxi Driver." I know that sounds terrible, but the result is actually tremendously entertaining. It's incredibly graphic, but it's so over-the-top that it would have to skydive back down to reality. Watch with friends.

The Perfect Host
½

I don't want to say too much about this, so I'll just say that it's a highly entertaining dark comedy, and that it's especially fun to see David Hyde Pierce play against type.

Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster
½

This one was fantastic too! If you enjoy kung-fu even occasionally, do yourself a favor and check these out.

Cedar Rapids
Cedar Rapids(2011)

Very, very funny, Ed Helms is the man!

Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

I would have liked this a lot more if the fight scenes weren't edited to sh!t.

The Possession of David O'Reilly
½

Here's another personal haunting film in the vein of "Insidious" that tops that one in almost every way. It's got an even smaller budget, but don't let that deter you. Also, don't let RT's summary fool you, as it's not a "-umentary" of any kind. If you like discovering unsung, creepy flicks (think Session 9), check this one out. It's available on Netflix Instant.

Insidious
Insidious(2011)
½

OK, here's the thing: Insidious is not a bad movie; it's just not a particularly scary one. Director James Wan does a fine job of building tension, the sound design is actually pretty great (silence when appropriate, nice use of surround elements), and it's fairly creative in it's ideas. But all that tension and mood built up in the first half gets real silly real fast in the second half. Also, for some reason Patrick Wilson really bugged me in this, and he doesn't usually.

The Paper
The Paper(1994)

I thoroughly enjoyed this "grown-up" comedy with a hell of a cast. This is one of those really fun, unhinged Michael Keaton performances of which we need more.

The Front Page

My favorite version of this is still 1940's "His Girl Friday," but this one was great, too. In this version, Hildy Johnson is played by a man (Jack Lemmon), with Walter Burns (Walter Matthau) as simply an old friend instead of an old lover. I'll admit, it's a good thing they were allowed to swear in this one because it's always fun to hear those two go full profanity.

Drive Angry
Drive Angry(2011)

Bonkers and fun. Watch with friends and beer. Oh, and Amber Heard is feckin' awesome.

Red
Red(2010)

Yeah, it's fun, but it's frustratingly middle of the road. To completely steal @Bret Tarkington's review, " It's funny but not hilarious, action-packed but not extreme, stylish but not innovative, clever but not crackerjack. Stretched a little in at least one of those directions and it would have been a classic." Basically, you could do a lot worse, but temper your expectations.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2
½

It's so relentlessly dark that it almost doesn't feel like the same series. However, it gets almost everything right and packs an emotional wallop.

Horrible Bosses
½

The whole cast does a terrific job of elevating a middle-of-the-road script into something that kept me laughing throughout its entire run-time. And the three leads have a great, hysterical chemistry together.

Thor
Thor(2011)

This was actually pretty good for 2 hours of Thor foolishness.

Stone
Stone(2010)
½

This was totally different from what I expected after watching the trailer. It's actually much more thoughtful.

Doghouse
Doghouse(2009)

This is a very funny horror-themed British comedy featuring Tommy from "Snatch" and Moff from "Human Traffic." It gets prety gory, but it's monumentally silly.

Peacock
Peacock(2010)
½

Cillian Murphy plays a dual role in this (well, sort of, he plays a man playing a dual role), and nails it. If you haven't seen much of him, Murphy does a marvelous job of playing cracked individuals. It's like a non-violent "Psycho," very interesting.

Enter the Void (Soudain le vide)
½

This film is nothing short of a cinematic mushroom trip. And, just like other hallucinogens, you only get your money's worth if you give yourself over to it completely. I went into this knowing that it would be long, challenging, and graphic, but what I ended up with was absolutely the most traumatic movie-watching experience of my life. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it's shadow hung heavy over my whole weekend. There are three things you should know before attempting to watch this: #1: The entirety of the film is shot in the first person. #2: It is not rated, but if it were, it would easily be an X. #3: If you are prone to seizures, stay away. If you're still interested, and you have a strong constitution/history of drug use, I can guarantee you a film experience unlike any you've ever had.

Super 8
Super 8(2011)
½

Watching Super 8, it's hard not to notice the heavy influence producer Steven Spielberg throws over the proceedings. It feels very much like "Stand by Me" meets "Cloverfield," but is, in execution, less than the sum of its parts. It has some great character moments, some scenes of real intensity, and spare but effective comedy. It all gels marvelously and ends up being a great time at the movies. The only thing holding it back, really, is the predictability that comes with treading well-worn territory. That won't amount to much for the kids in the audience, but for the rest of us, the mystery was all in the trailer.

Midnight in Paris
½

If you're a fan of Woody Allen's filmography, then you'll know what I mean when I say this film's closest relative in the canon is "The Purple Rose of Cairo." If that excites you, go check this out immediately. Just look at this cast of characters and the people playing them! (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1605783/fullcredits#cast)

The Living Wake
½

Pt. 2 in the "proactive funeral" double feature. This could not be more different from "Get Low." This is one of those movies that you throw on cautiously optimistic and end up blown away. It's not that it's an incredible film or anything; it's just so fecking bizarre and unpredictable. If you are a fan of absurdist, outsider comedy or strange character pieces, I highly recommend this to you. It is really something else.

Get Low
Get Low(2010)

I watched this a few weeks back as a "proactive funeral" double feature. It was fantastic, an elegant, beautiful film. It's pretty serious most of the time, but there are these moments of comedy that caught me completely off guard, most of them stemming from interplay between Duvall and Murray. Check it out.

I Love You Phillip Morris
½

Heartfelt and very, very funny.

X-Men: First Class

Yes! Now this is more like it. Fassbender is a total badass, McAvoy earns back some of the goodwill he destroyed in Wanted, and we're given the 2nd best X-Men movie yet (after X2, of course).

Rabbit Hole
Rabbit Hole(2010)
½

Another day, another understated drama, this time about a couple's journey through grief after the accidental death of their young son. This one was fantastic also, never descending into unearned melodrama and ending at the perfect moment. For all the acclaim Nicole Kidman got for her perfomance, Aaron Eckhart was just as arresting. Seriously, if you enjoy watching skilled actors portray complicated emotions, this is your movie. It should be noted, too, that the film was absolutely gorgeous to look at.

Everything Must Go

Understated, melancholy, and hopeful, this is a wonderful little movie. I've never seen Will Ferrell dialed this far down. Oh, and apparently the kid in the movie is Biggie Smalls' son!

Cyrus
Cyrus(2010)
½

I liked it! If you're a fan of the so-real-it-hurts "comedy" of the Duplass Brothers (The Puffy Chair, Humpday, etc.) and their ilk, you should enjoy this too.

Love and Other Drugs

About halfway through this, it switches from romantic comedy to deathly serious drama, and it takes a while to get back to anything even remotely amusing. That being said, it was engaging the whole way through and genuinely felt. With weaker leads, I don't think it would have been nearly as successful, but as it stands it's an uneven but ultimately enjoyable romance.

Lara Croft - Tomb Raider
½

I remember really liking this when it was new. Jolie was perfectly cast, the action was a lot of fun, and Lara's sense of humor kept everything from getting to melodramatic. It was exactly what I was expecting from a Tomb Raider movie, a slightly dumber Indiana Jones clone with a strong female lead. The sequel was stewed shit, but that's neither here nor there. The reason I'm bringing this up is the writing duo behind Children of Men and Iron Man have just been hired to pen an origin-story reboot. I feel this is good news; what do you guys think? Who do you see in the title role?

Salt
Salt(2010)

I wanted to like this film, but I couldn't. I was supposed to be intrigued, but they didn't give me the chance. I was supposed to be thrilled, but I just wasn't. And, let's face it, that's a flat-out terrible title.

Southland Tales

Wow, what a disaster. This movie provoked a baffled "what?" from me so many times that I think it's safe to say that at no point did i fully understand what the hell was going on.

The Other Guys
½

I think Brandon said it best: "What a weird fucking movie. It's pretty funny, though." Not everything in this works (In fact, I'm still not sure what the case they were working actually was.), but when it does, it gets big laughs. Farrell and Wahlberg are both very funny, and it's even got (the always welcome) Michael Keaton playing the chief!

Scream 4
Scream 4(2011)

As someone whose (mostly) enjoyed this brand, I'd place it directly between the 2nd and 3rd one in terms of quality, worse than 2, better than 3. It's certainly the goriest of the 4........so there's that.

Deadfall
Deadfall(1993)

I have no idea what this terrible movie is about, but Nicolas Cage is hilarious for every single moment of his screen-time. His gonzo performance is a perfect distraction from what is truly incompetent film-making.

Clean and Sober
½

Michael Keaton is fantastic in this, but that's really all the praise I can give it. The structure is painfully lopsided, plot threads are introduced and then dropped, the story is predictable, and the portrayals of narcotic addiction and the struggle of recovery are surprisingly tame.

Accidents Happen
½

This was OK. It doesn't bring anything new or special to the genre really, but it's watchable and it's nice to see Geena Davis again.

Cropsey
Cropsey(2010)
½

A sort of documentary thriller.

Never Let Me Go

This is an understated, nuanced film that, like the experience of its protagonists, seemed to pass much too quickly. It's wonderful; I have a feeling the book is even better.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

Absolutely hysterical horror/comedy starring (among others) Alan Tudyk (Firefly's Wash) and Katrina Bowden (30 Rock's Cerie). Good luck finding this one outside of bit torrent, though, as it's currently without a distributor.

Rango
Rango(2011)

Incredible character designs, an edgy sense of humor, and and above-average vocabulary made this one better than I expected. Recommended.

Battle: Los Angeles

It's War of the Worlds via Black Hawk Down. If that sounds good to you, you won't be disappointed. I sure wasn't, as it was balls to the wall intense the whole way through. And Michelle Rodriguez appears in something like her 20th bad-ass role. She is always welcome.

Catfish
Catfish(2010)

I went into this knowing next to nothing about it (although Britta almost ruined that), and it's a tactic I recommend.

The Last Exorcism

It kept me guessing. I liked it.

Dark Floors
Dark Floors(2008)
½

This was some really well-directed foolishness. Seriously, it's dumb as hell, but it looks fantastic. Also, the would-be survivors in this flick were great at fighting back. They were kicking some major demon ass!

Predators
Predators(2010)

Well, that was stupid. Who at Fox OK'd Adrien Brody as an action hero?

Monsters
Monsters(2010)

fantastic, understated monster movie

Primal
Primal(2010)

Oh man, this was great! It starts off just like so many horror movies you've seen: a bunch of stupid youths crammed in an SUV go camping in the woods, but then some really weird shit starts happening. By the time you get to the end, it has gone completely off the rails. It also has some surprisingly good acting for a film of this kind, so yeah, if you're into gross pseudo-monster movies, definitely check this one out.

John and Mary
½

Kind of like and un-funny Annie Hall that takes place (mostly) over a 24-hour period.

All About Eve

This, however, was fantastic. And there was this moment toward the middle where this "holy sh*t" hot woman walks in, and then I realized, of course, it's Marilyn Monroe. It was one of her first real roles, and it's no wonder she became a huge star because damn!

Platoon
Platoon(1986)
½

This bears all the marks of forced editing, and it really gets in the way of the movie. It's got a ton of characters, but you don't get to know almost any of them; there's random hackneyed voice-over, Charlie Sheen's character arc is half-baked and unbelievable, and it clips along so quickly that none of the scenes have any time to breathe. I really wanted to like this, but I can't shake the feeling that it's a three-hour movie crammed into a two-hour running time.

The Freebie
The Freebie(2010)
½

Painfully honest and not terribly funny. Good though. Alternate titles....The Freebie: A Cautionary Tale.....The Freebie: Some Restrictions May Apply

Catch-22
Catch-22(1970)

The cast in this is insane!

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

This is a gut-wrenchingly painful film to sit through. I have not cried this hard during and after a movie in my entire life. Moreover, I haven't experienced grief like this in years, and for people I've never met, no less. It's fantastic, but it's ruined my day.

The Red Balloon (Le Ballon Rouge)

I finally got around to watching this, and you know what? It was a delight.

Animal Kingdom
½

Didn't really do it for me. It's just...staid, and not in a elegantly restrained way, more of a "this is boring" way. There's some good acting (major props to Jacki Weaver), but there's not much in the way of surprises (I knew where this was going the whole time), and the main character doesn't have much of a visible personality.

The Resurrected

This wasn't a great movie, in fact at times it's pretty bad. However, it gets so gosh-darn crazy towards the end that it retained my interest all the way through. It's also based on a Lovecraft story, and manages to retain the feel of his writing, to the film's benefit (creepy, mysterious tone) and its detriment (a lot of flashbacks and second-hand accounts).

Barry Munday
Barry Munday(2010)

Occasionally funny, very sweet.

Assassination of a High School President
½

A clever little comedy that puts Chinatown in high school. It's like a fast-food version of "Brick"

Centurion
Centurion(2010)
½

This was like the polar opposite of Valhalla Rising (same genre, different time period): It was loaded with action but had zero artistry. Result = slightly more entertaining. It does suffer from a disjointed and meandering narrative and some pointless, irritating voice-over, but it's pretty violent and it has its moments.

Yojimbo
Yojimbo(1961)

This is the first Kurosawa film I've seen. I liked it a lot.

The Sting
The Sting(1973)
½

Damn, that was good!

When You're Strange
½

This was alright. It's not a lot of new information if you're already a Doors fan, much of it ended up being more about the 60s than the band, and there were these weird little interstitial sections with a Morrison look-alike driving down the highway that didn't really add anything to the film. Otherwise, it's a decent Doors doc for the uninitiated.

Du Levande (You, The Living)

"Inspired by Goethe's poetry series The Roman Elegies, this absurdist tragicomedy from filmmaker Roy Andersson comprises a series of 50 interconnected shorts that explore the dark side of existence and the complexity of the human condition." If this sounds interesting to you, check it out. Not only did I find it thoroughly engrossing, Andersson's shot composition is gorgeous.

Easy Virtue
Easy Virtue(2009)

This was OK, sort of a cousin to The Holiday. It doesn't quite succeed like that film though, due in large part to Jessica Biel's weak performance. You're supposed to like this girl, and I just never really did.