Citizen Khan 's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Rango
Rango(2011)

This is in no way an animated for children. I was shocked at the amount of violence and sexual innuendo. Otherwise this movie was an entertaining venture in to the West. I was not expecting to love this movie the way that I did. One of the most clever animated film that is equally beautiful and Johnny Depp was fantastic as Rango, and I usually don't like him. I highly recommend this to any western fan and movie fan in general

Green Lantern
½

Being a big fan of the character, the movie was a major let down. The only saving grace of this movie is Ryan Reynolds, who I still don't think was the right choice for Hal Jordan. He brought the only entertainment for me in this film otherwise the character, action, set pieces, and special effect were poor. I had really wanted to enjoy this film because Green Lantern is my favorite superhero but the film suffered from a poorly written script, bad acting, and deviation from the source material that made me wish Warner Brothers should just reboot it. My recommendation is pass.

The Hangover Part II

Probably one of my most anticipated films of this year. The first one was so good I thought what could possible go wrong. In the beginning minutes of the film I knew it would be exactly the same movie but I was hoping that it could still be a funny movie. Boy was I wrong. The amount of stuff packed into this movie I thought I would have laughed more. It is probably one of the worst comedy I have seen. If you really want to see a funny movie go see Bridesmaids.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
½

Even though I thought it would breathe new life into the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise but ultimately failed. It did not live up to the first or second but in my opinion was a better film than the third one. There where some elements that I liked but it doesn't make up for all the bad things the film offered. Never did I expect to be bored in this movie as much as I was. The acting was terrible by everyone except Depp and McShane, the action was boring and did nothing to excite me, and the plot was boring and never reached the potential of the unique concept.

Fast Five
Fast Five(2011)
½

I found this movie to be the strongest in the series. I was shocked by the outcome.

Limitless
Limitless(2011)

Quite an interesting movie. Very well created and a great performance from Bradley Cooper. Highly recommended

Sucker Punch
Sucker Punch(2011)

When I saw the first trailer I knew that this movie would be more of an action film than a movie that had a cohesive story line. I have to say that I am not surprised about the rating. The story and acting are probably the weakest part of the movie. I really don't think that the plot was handled well. It seemed to jump around for me, which made it hard to follow some times. What really was the high point was the action scene in the fantasy world. They were elegant and really make this movie enjoyable. The real downside was how little screen time that the Jon Hamm got. His character had a few lines at the end, otherwise he was barely used to his full potential. I had a good time watching the action scene otherwise the film was a great disappointment

Unknown
Unknown(2011)
½

For me this movie felt like Taken mixed with the Edge of Darkness. I was really entertained though most of the movie up till the last 20 minutes. It felt as though the political twist near the end really was not what I was expecting. I found the ending to be a very boring and lackluster ending.

True Grit
True Grit(2010)

Hands down one of the best western, that I have seen, and one of the best of the year. The Coen Brothers once again make an award worthy film.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1
½

Probably the best Harry Potter book turns out to be the best movie, so far. Being a big fan of the books I was extremely excited to see it finish. It was an exciting movie that redefines the Harry Potter movies. I just can't wait for Part 2.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Completely different than I expected. I never saw myself enjoying this movie when I first saw the trailer and regret not giving this film a chance in theaters. I think it was a extremely enjoyable movie with outstanding action scenes and enjoyable performances by the cast. I highly recommend this movie.

Titanic
Titanic(1997)
½

Titanic is even overdue in praises for its actors. The most criticized of the bundle is DiCaprio, who actually pulls off quite a convincing performance. And who can forget the infamous nude scene by Kate Winslet? But it is the supporting cast that should drive many to this feature. Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Bill Paxton and one of Hollywood's classics, Gloria Stuart, top of the film's impressive credits.

Cameron's script is also quite unique. He manages to wrap a brief romance into the sinking of the Titanic, bringing to life a "music video" theory: Telling two stories is much more interesting than just one, and should not be overlooked. So he weaves in DiCaprio as a poor, train-jumping artist that wins his ticket on the "unsinkable" ship in a poker game. Eventually, his character encounters the beautiful and untouchable Rose (Winslet), who is guarded heavily by her fiancee and mother. After saving the her from an attempted suicide, Jack (DiCaprio) resorts to his low-class charm to win the beautiful lady over. But high society, a giant iceberg, a few selfish characters and foolish gunplay pose a huge challenge for the newly born couple. This isn't your average teen flirtation comedy.

Saw
Saw(2004)

I have to say that it is not all that scary but it is really gory. There is not all that much violent scene but when there are they are extremely gory. It has a good plot and some really good acting in it. I also like the director because he went to Full Sail, which is an film making college that is in Orlando Florida, and that is one of the place that I am applying to this year for college. Off topic it is an amazing low budget movie but I do not recommend it to anyone that gets sick watching those shows on TV where they cut into people to do surgery and cut them apart, I was not able to watch this movie with out almost puking because of the girl pulls the intestines out, I am a bit squeamish.


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Poltergeist
Poltergeist(1982)

Classic horror film that is better than most horror movies I have seen in recent years.

Daredevil
Daredevil(2003)
½

I always loved the Daredevil character a lot when I was younger but this is not what I was expecting out of the movie. There was so much that they could have improved in this film. The action was not the greatest, I am not a big fan of the director because he destroyed Ghost Rider for me, and the CG was not that great because when ever you saw Daredevil do stuff he would be CG. By the way the director's cut give a much more in depth story plot because the original there was not much of a story for the film. This shows Matt Murdock actually being a lawyer. The only part that should have stayed out is the playground scene, for anyone who has seen this movie it is the stupidest scene that I have seen in a film it was retard and should have stayed out of the final cut. For anyone that has not seen this film I recommend the Director's Cut over the original because it has more and much darker than the original version.


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I may be getting off topic but if they ever decide to reboot the series just like they did with Batman and The Incredible Hulk. I really think that they should choose different actors, screenwriters, and a new director.


[IMGhttp://www.onlocationvacations.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/kevin-smith.jpg

I think that Kevin Smith is the greatest choice for director for many different reasons. The first reason is he has actually had experience with writing a Daredevil comic for Marvel called Guardian Devil. Second he is one of the greatest director ever, he mad some of the greatest movies ever. Last is that he would bring life to one of the greatest Marvel characters ever.


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The reason I picked Jason Statham for the role as Daredevil is because he is my favorite actors ever. He has made some of my favorite film with more action that Daredevil had. The main reason is that all the stunts that are in his movie are all done by him. He has no stunt doubles. He is the one person I could picture pulling off this character right.


[IMGhttp://dietrichthrall.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/frank-miller.jpg

Frank Miller is my choose because he has written so many different comics and many of the Daredevil comic. He is the person who actually created Elektra for the comics. He would add a solid story plot and an incredible feel to the film by making a dark film like what they did with the Dark Knight.
This is how I could picture this film. Just give Jason Statham some hair add make him blind I think that he could pull it off.

2001: A Space Odyssey

I still have not found out why this is referred to as a classic. I found that the movie was way to long and couldn't quite understood what was going on. The segments of the movie felt like different movies with hardly anything connecting them. The final part was the weirdest and confusing part. The movie was so incredibly dull and boring that I left the room for 10 minutes and came back at the same part except he was just getting to the satellite. There was really only one thing that kept this from a rotten rating was the segment with HAL 9000 and the trip to Jupiter otherwise I advise caution renting this movie.

The Social Network

Probably the best movie I gave seen this year. Filled with excellent performances and incredible directing I am sure this is going to win a lot a Academy Awards

Planet of the Apes
½

Such a great movie but the only problem that I noticed was that the Apes upper lip never moved. With saying that I still love this movie the premise and acting are excellent though a bit dated. It is probably one of the best science fiction films to date.

Resident Evil: Afterlife
½

Down right my favorite Resident Evil. The story or the acting is nothing special but the action is entertaining. The fact that they made Alice feel human again really made her character more believable. Begin a big fan of the video games, I was happy to see some nice additions from the 5th resident evil game, the only problem is that they never really explained why they turned into the different type of zombie or the fact the they never explained what the executioner was doing in it or why. Wesker is a well known villain for the series, the actor never really felt never that much of a menacing villain in the movie. Chris Redfield was the only character I did not like, Wentworth Millar's acting felt a little stale. The 3-D was not all that great or exciting, like Avatar or Piranha, mostly just things flying out of the screen. What i liked was how they brought so much from the newest game and how they ended on screen. I also enjoyed Alice's journey in this film, instead of being unstoppable she feels more human and a better character than she was in the other films. What I didn't like was everything else. I recommend this to anyone who enjoyed or liked the other films in the series. My personal opinion is what for it to stores and rent it.

Devil
Devil(2010)
½

Yet another failure from M Night Shaymalan. This time he writes the story. Of course at the end the has to be a twist and of course it was stupid. I have lost faith with M Night, with the awful films he has directed in the last few, I was really expecting something entertaining but never really had any suspense. If you really want to sit in yet another boring film by M. Night.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

The plot itself is an entertaining premise but ultimately fails because it just seems Greek Mythology just doesn't mix well in the 21st century.

The Last Exorcism

Just didn't live up to the idea of a mockumentary horror film, like the Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity, they just can't find the right amount of horror. Nowhere close to horror movies like the Exorcist or Silence of the Lambs. It was a descent attempt for the first 2/3's of the movie but everything after that was just awful, don't get me started with the ending which destroyed the entire movie for me. You never are certain if Nell if truely possessed or is just has mental problems.

Anchorman - The Legend Of Ron Burgundy

This is one of the best movies by Will Ferrell that I actually enjoyed. This movie had very funny moments in it and that it was all out hilarious. I think that Will Ferrell did a very good and funny job in this movie.

Road to Perdition
½

A well crafted and entertaining way to view a relationship between father and son. For people who don't know the movie is based on a graphic novel and the first in the trilogy, which consists of Road to Perdition, Road to Purgatory, and Road to Paradise, all which are great. The acting in this movie is top notch and Paul Newman's las on screen performance is outstanding. The movie is put together very well and was disappointing that it did not get the nominated for Best Picture. I recommend this movie to anyone that wants to enjoy a great story and outstanding performances by Newman, Hanks, and Tyler Hoechlin.

Piranha 3-D
Piranha 3-D(2010)
½

Walking into the theatre I was expecting yet another boring and dumb horror movie. This was way different, even though I was never really terrified by it. It is a step above recent horror remakes, namely the Nightmare on Elm Street. The 3-D is good but nothing close to Avatar impressive use of 3-D. I can't recommend this to everyone because of the level of gore and nudity but for people who are just looking for a dumb but fun horror movie to watch it earns a recommendation.

King Kong
King Kong(2005)

The original is a terrific film that holds up better than I could have possibly expected. Seeing it a mere hours before the new film, Jackson's version already had a strike going against it. I knew of the three hour-plus running time beforehand, so I was more than a little curious to see exactly how (and why) Jackson had chosen to expand the film so much. Could he justify an epic-length monster movie? The answer is a resounding no. The first 20 minutes of the new King Kong are abysmal. Opening with an allegedly amusing montage of depression-era New York and inter-cutting scenes of Vaudeville, the intro almost makes you think a musical is ahead. It's total cheese. From there, we get a superfluous back story on the character of Anne Darrow, who desperately wants to just make people laugh on the vaudeville stages, but the theater where she performs is shut down. She even talks to a kindly old man who gives her some words of wisdom. None of this matters one bit in the final context of the story to come. The character of Carl Denham has also been fleshed out, this time performed with flair by a painfully miscast Jack Black.

Enough about the opening though. I can't say much more about it because, honestly, it was putting me to sleep. Finally, lo and behold, we get to the boat. This is where we are introduced to the Jack Driscoll character. Unlike the original, Driscoll is now a writer, but like the original, Darrow has a thing for Driscoll. The boat ride was relatively brief in the original film, but the new Kong spends a significant time period on the ship. Much like Lord of the Rings, Jackson introduces us to a slew of characters and tries his best to balance them out. Unlike LOTR, most of these extra characters aren't needed. You don't really care that much about what happens to them, especially when the alternative is spending time with the spectacular Kong, who is still not on screen 45 minutes into the movie. Finally, we get to the island where the pacing starts to pick up.

The key element is the relationship between Kong and Ann, which Jackson nails. Kong's story is a sad one and you feel for Kong by the end of the movie. But so much of the story doesn't need to be there. Adrien Brody is a fine actor and there is nothing at all wrong with his performance as Driscoll. It's just that his character doesn't need to be this big a part. Jackson seems to be aiming for some sort of a love triangle, but it's never realized. Brody and Watts never really click and this relationship only distracts from the central story of Kong and Ann.

King Kong is worth seeing, especially on the big screen. Quite simply, Jackson tries to do too much and goes off in too many directions. He goes in with the same instincts that served him so well in Lord of the Rings, but fails to realize that this isn't an epic storyline. It's still a monster movie, no matter how much he makes us care for Kong. There doesn't need to be a dozen characters. We don't need to know every bit of back story for every character. We want Kong. Technically, Jackson raises the bar once again. The action and visuals are stunning. Everything looks great and, when we finally get to the action, Jackson completely delivers. All in all, King Kong 2005 is a pretty decent film, but it could have been a very good film. Shave off a good 45 minutes and re-cast the Carl Denham part and Jackson may have even achieved greatness.

Boogie Nights

One of Mark Walhberg's best movies. Each of the actors performances are top notch as well as the story. The subject material may not be for everybody but it goes into great depth about the life of adult film stars. One of the best films for the 90's

The Other Guys

No matter what movie Will Ferrell is in he still is able to make me laugh no matter if the movie is terrible. I have to say that it is funniest movie since Anchorman. The only drawback for this movie is the actually plot, not all the funny parts, is nothing special but the two leading actors make this film and plot extremely well done. Th rest of the cast, including Dwayne Johnson, Sam Jackson, and Michael Keaton, also provide some hilarious moments including the opening sequence. This movie provides more laughs in the first 5 minutes than the entire movie of this years release of Cop Out, which tried to poke fun at the buddy cop genre but ultimately fails drastically.

The Others
The Others(2001)

At first it is very slow paced but as it gets into the movie it starts to pick up speed and by the end the movie really makes you think. Like the Sixth Sense the ending might be a shock but after many watches it starts to make sense. I recommend this movie to anyone who like horror and thriller movies

The Last Airbender

Quite possibly the worst movie that I have ever paid money to see. Not a thing in this movie I enjoyed. The cast just seemed like that they didn't care or tried to make any sort of connection to their character. M. Night Shymalan has yet again made a terrible movie. The script he wrote seems he just let his children write it. He managed to put the entire first season into one 1 hour and 40 minute long movie that felt compacted with stuff and never really made sense. The one redeeming thing was the special effects but even the bending was awful. It took to long for them to bend the elements. I was surprised that M. Night did not make an appearance, when I walked into the movie I was expecting him to play a main character to help his ego, I expected it to be the Fire Lord, the main antagonist. I believe the he should give up making movie because he just has and will not make another good movie.

Inception
Inception(2010)

Everything about this movie was great. Nolan has created another fantastic movie, this time about the subconscious. The acting was phenomenal, the concept amazing, the effects are groundbreaking, and the action scene are great. The anti-gravity scene was simply one of the best stunt scenes that I have seen. I hate to say this but this movie just topped The Dark Knight for my favorite Chris Nolan film.

Dead Space: Downfall
½

Having played several hours of the Dead Space game ? or simply having seen any number of greater sci-fi / horror films ? it's apparent from the start that Downfall, the title's animated prologue, suffers from a serious case of over-writing. Given that the secret to any great outer-space haunted house film is a lack of knowledge on the part of the terrified hero, it seldom helps toss more and more plot into a film that requires less. Knowing what's in the dark ? as well as why it's there and where it comes from ? has never served the genre well, and from the first frame of Downfall, we're given enough answers to decapitate any real sense of mystery. Dead Space the game tosses you into a situation with little explanation or available defense ? pushes you into the darkness to discover for yourself what Downfall so plainly tells you ? proves that this series understands how to blend story, pacing, atmosphere and violence to relatively meaningful effect. And while it's certainly not a bad film ? perfectly well animated with some imaginative kills -- Downfall doesn't seem to pick up on what makes its namesake work so effectively. If you could take out the dialogue and dullard performances, remove the unnecessary religious subplot and add an extra dash of suspense ? you'd have series of horrific action montages well worth watching. Leave all that in and what you've got is an animated movie that would exchange awkward, knowing glances with Event Horizon while waiting in line to see Alien.

Insomnia
Insomnia(2002)
½

Not knowing what this movie was about first. I thought it was well crafted and really great story. The casting was excellent Al Pacino's performance was great, Hilary Swank was great as the female lead. The only surprise was the casting of Robin Williams was unexpected but still very good performance. Still Christopher Nolan is able to create another great movie.

Jaws
Jaws(1975)

To be honest I have never seen Jaws all the way though until now. This first time I saw this was when I was a kid and saw the beginning portion and it scared me so much that I could not go swimming for days. Even though it looked dated it still is able to one of the most thrilling movie that I have seen. I love how Stephen Speilberg was able to make some creepy scenes in this movie with nothing but an animatronic shark fin and a creepy theme. I think that it is one of the best horror movies of all time.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

I hate to say this but Twilight Eclipse is a much better movie than the first two, but that is not saying much. I have found that Twilight has destroyed Werewolves and Vampires. Werewolves are actual wolves and not a cross between a human and a wolf. The Vampires are not able to die in sunlight instead they sparkle with what looks to be glitter. The main cast failed again in bringing any emotion to their character so the acting gets dry fast. The only saving grace is how the plot differs from the other two. The story is the only thing that I enjoyed about this movie. At least in the trailers you get to see the new Harry Potter trailer which in the two and half minutes kept me more interested in that than the entire Twilight Saga has.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Having never watched this movie before I decided to watch this movie. I was pleasantly surprised on how good it was. Even though it came out the same year as Star Wars the effect are great. The look a bit dated but it doesn't take away on how great the story, directing and acting are in this film. Before seeing this movie don't expect for an action packed science fiction movie, like Star Wars, but it takes a different look on how different you can pull off a science fiction masterpiece.

War of the Worlds

At first I didn't like it but when I recently seen some of the bad disaster movies recently I had to watch it again. It is defiantly one of the best disaster movies since Independence day. The visual effects are breath taking. The only down side is the acting is nothing to brag about, Dakota Fanning is as annoying as ever. Tom Cruise's performance was the only good one. It is defiantly not Speilberg's best but it is an entertaining great movie.

Shoot 'Em Up
Shoot 'Em Up(2007)

The most ridiculous action movie I have ever seen. The plot is not that great and I feel that it could have been long to go into more detail. The action sequence are the only thing that redeems this movie. Every other scene is an action scene, with over the top gun fights. Clive Owen did a good job in the role but just would not stop saying cheese one liner which got old very quickly. I wouldn't say it is a bad movie it just fun action packed movie that at least deserves a rental.

Superman II
Superman II(2006)
½

This is a much better movie than the original. The original had some unanswered question that I was always ask myself how it happened. The director's cut it a better put together film answering question like how Superman got his powers back and removing the most ridiculous scene, that I have seen in movies, the throwing of Superman's S on his shirt. I recommend this version over the original any day.

Toy Story 3
Toy Story 3(2010)

I have waited 11 years for this movie and it doesn't disappoint one bit. Probably one of the best films of the year and a grand finally for my favorite animated series. Like the first two the story is great and the voice acting is spot on. This makes Pixar 8 great movies and 2 descent ones. I recommend seeing this over this weekends other movie Jonah Hex. If you loved the first two you will love this just as much.

Jonah Hex
Jonah Hex(2010)

What a waste of time. In it short time frame there was not a single thing I enjoyed about this movie. The performance from Josh Brolin was awful, at time I didn't even understand him under the grumbling voice. Megan Fox, as usual, was terrible, they could have cut the character out of the movie and nobody would notice. There is no reason to see this movie or renting.

The Illusionist
½

Not nearly as entertaining as the Prestige, which it close resembles, it was not nearly as suspenseful or the mystery was not nearly as genius. Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti give excellent performance but the rest cast was not nearly as good as these two. In the end it is still entertaining

The A-Team
The A-Team(2010)

The A-Team may very well be summer 2010's most pleasant surprise. It's a balls-to the-walls action flick that owes more to 1980s action movies than it does to the '80s TV series that it's adapted from. The film captures the spirit of the show and the camaraderie among its titular quartet while jettisoning much of the campy humor and ramping up the action to almost absurd levels (a tank falls out of a plane for Pete's sake!). Indeed, there's an action set-piece seemingly every 15 minutes, and yet the movie isn't so breathlessly paced as to forget to pause to have some quieter moments (even if it's just banter). We don't know much about who these guys were before they met each other save for B.A., the only one with a bit of backstory (enough to explain where his mohawk came from). We know Hannibal was in Desert Storm and that he and Face have been brothers-in-arms longer than the rest of the team, but otherwise these guys seem to live in the moment moving from one mission to the next until their military careers (and their sense of identity) are stripped from them. Performance-wise, the four main actors for the most part do a fine job in paying homage to their small screen predecessors even as they attempt to make these beloved characters their own. The A-Team offers viewers a lot of bang for their buck, perhaps a bit too much so at times. The opening prologue that establishes the team goes on a bit long, and the climactic shootout outstays its welcome. But overall The A-Team is a hell of a lot of fun and a real throwback to summer action movies of years past. You gotta love it when a TV-to-film adaptation comes together.

Superman
Superman(1978)

He is probably THE American icon. Superman represents the American dream - an immigrant making good, corn-fed and right-living, tirelessly pursuing Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Everyone knows who he is, everyone knows his backstory, and everyone knows his powers. He's the guy who started it all - the first superhero as we know them, every tight-wearing yahoo traces their lineage directly back to Kal-El. And he stars in what is hands-down the BEST comic book movie ever. Right from the start, you know that this is good stuff - the movie opens with a kid reading the comic, then goes to black and white footage of the Daily Planet. Director Richard Donner is acknowledging what has gone before, and accepting his place in the progression of the telling of this myth. Then he kicks it up a notch with a title sequence that was stunning in 1978 and still a blast today. Where does the movie lose me? I've never been fully satisfied with Lex Luthor. He never seems a fully credible threat. Too busy half the time with some slapstick comedy, he never has the menace that the Kryptonian villains of Superman II exuded, and it's too bad. While the first hour of Superman: The Movie is naturalistic and real, with Luthor it gains a camp value it didn't need, which escalates to one of the goofiest sequences ever - Superman rotating the Earth backwards to reverse time. The scene is only saved by Christopher Reeve's entirely believable rage and frustration - he sells a scene that could have ruined the movie.

Get Him to the Greek
½

f the softer core story in Forgetting Sarah Marshall could be described as an inverted romantic comedy, Get Him to The Greek is much more a tale of redemption -- albeit dirty, hyperactive and sexed up to appeal to a 20-something audience fed on, frankly, Apatow's wider catalogue. There's certainly a tonal shift from the first film, which had a stronger emotional backbone that lent extra authenticity to the characters and situations that eventuated. Instead, Get Him to The Greek never quite makes the same connections with the audience -- mostly because the lead characters are both kind of schmucks; Hill might be the flawed male lead who ends up at a relationship impasse, but the way he handles himself smacks of "jerk" and it saps our sympathies pretty quickly. Likewise, Brand's Aldous Snow does chase family ties across the UK and America before having his inevitable epiphany -- but he spends most of the film playing up his rock-brat image. The need to imbue these characters with more depth is laudable, but it doesn't always play out.

As a vehicle for Brand's persona however, Get Him to The Greek displays his knack for timing and Brit-pop snark. He's clearly a sex symbol in reality (well, in some circles anyway), and given the chance to play an indulgent version of himself would not have been a stretch. In fact, his weakest moments are the on-stage performance sequences that work for about ten seconds before trailing off into tedium. Once he's back into the conversational comedy shtick, he loosens back up. Sean "P Diddy / Puff Daddy / Puffy /Sean Jean / Stay Puft" Combs is the surprise standout in a cast of easy-pleasing performances. P Diddy is the media mogul pulling strings behind the scenes for Aaron Green, ensuring the good ship Aldous Snow doesn't hit any icebergs. Watching family man Diddy juggle six kids while off-handedly telling his employee to 'shelve' a ball of heroin in his anus is genuinely hilarious. It's not sophisticated, but hardly the same kind of bottom-feeder gag reel so many audiences have been subjected to as of late. It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that his character gets his own spin-off, a la Aldous Snow, somewhere down the line.
Does this film say anything at all, though? Well, it doesn't take an Aerosmith roadie to tell you that rock and roll is heavily built around image. Some of the gags have been seen before, the tale treads on familiar paths and some of the lines fall flat -- but at the same time, like Apatow's own Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story -- sometimes classic set-ups make for the best punch lines.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Trying to "reinvent" the Robin Hood legend, the film opens with Robin of Locksley (Kevin Costner) as a prisoner in the Middle East. After escaping with a Moor named Azeem (Morgan Freeman) and the two make their way back to England. Upon arrival, Robin finds his father murdered and home destroyed so he begins his crusade to rob from the rich and give to the poor. You know the story. What Prince of Thieves did to try to set it apart from previous Robin Hood movies was create a realistic looking 13th Century England. There aren't any green tights here. And the film did an excellent job in that regard. The look, from the costumes to the sets, is fantastic. Sure Costner doesn't even attempt an English accent, but that can be looked past for the sheer fun the movie brings. It's filed with campy action and some one-liners, but the cast works well to create an entertaining medieval action movie. And Alan Rickman steals the movie with his deliciously evil take on the Sheriff of Nottingham, which also serves up most of the memorable laughs in the movie. Also, Michal Kamen crafted what is easily the best score he's ever done, and one of the more memorable adventure film scores of all time.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

The history of game-to-film adaptations has been littered with failures. Some have been minor mistakes; the likes of Resident Evil and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, watchable yet unremarkable misfires. Others have been blunders on a grand scale, with misguided moviemakers creating disasters out of Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Super Mario Bros. and countless other gaming properties. While the film fails to reach the dizzy heights of the first Pirates of the Caribbean -- mainly due to the lack of a deranged Johnny Depp and the fact that Persian Princes aren't as interesting as pirates -- it nevertheless trounces the Caribbean sequels, thanks to an acceptable run-time, some rip-roaring action, a straightforward story that avoids the unnecessarily complicated plotting of Pirates two and three, and winning performances from practically everyone involved. Jake Gyllenhaal certainly shines in his first attempt to carry a film of this magnitude. Gemma Arterton fares slightly less well as love interest Tamina, but that's as much down to the writing as it is her performance. Ben Kingsley also has fun as Uncle Nazim, all ambiguity (and heavy mascara) as you try to get a handle on his intentions. But the real star of the show is Alfred Molina, in imperious form as Sheikh Amar. He steals every scene in which he appears and brings some much-needed humor to the proceedings.

Taking their lead from the game -- wherein Dastan defies gravity with his acrobatic skills -- the filmmakers have used parkour to translate his physicality onscreen. And while this free-running form of action has been used to good effect in the likes of Casino Royale and Die Hard 4, the discipline is really taken to the next level in Prince of Persia, with Dastan and Co. performing a series of truly jaw-dropping physical feats. Sands of Time is as good a conversion as we have yet seen, but it's likely to leave the viewer entertained rather than amazed. The filmmakers will have to take a few chances with the next installment if they want to create a Persian franchise to match the ongoing success of the games.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
½

The lackluster marketing campaign led me to think this was yet another CG-animated kid's movie with a sappy story and potty humor that only children could enjoy. I hadn't read the book as a kid -- so far the only person I've met who has read it is Andy Samberg -- so I went in with zero expectations and was overwhelmed by this thoroughly enjoyable movie. Boasting smart, subversive humor and some of the most impressive 3-D yet seen in an animated feature, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is a surprisingly clever and highly entertaining comedy. The writing and direction of Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (best known for exec producing the sitcom How I Met Your Mother) is sharp and engaging, chock full of references to everything from first-person shooter games to Steven Spielberg movies and The Twilight Zone. The filmmakers aren't afraid to push the edge with either the humor or the animation. The movie features a number of splashy, colorful set-pieces, including an avalanche of food that threatens to destroy Swallow Falls and the heroes' climactic battle set against a backdrop of deadly peanut brittle stalactites. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is silly enough for kids to enjoy, while adults will appreciate the movie's charmingly oddball characters, sly wit and anarchistic streak. After suffering through a largely bland crop of summer movies, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs was exactly the kind of out-of-left field surprise gem you hoped that autumn would bring. Just be sure to catch it in 3-D.

Amadeus
Amadeus(1984)

Milos Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) handles the direction masterfully. I actually think Forman is overrated, but in Mozart he's on very steady ground. (Starting with an extremely sharp script from Peter Shaffer, who wrote the play on which the movie was based, probably didn't hurt.) The movie is simply luxurious: huge, ornate stage settings; bright, colorful circus like street scenes; gorgeous costumes. Forman had a tremendous cast to work with. Unfortunately after the film most of them didn't do much important work at all. Jeffrey Jones, hella funny as the Emperor, has had some funny splashes here and there, but for the most part the cast went back to the small roles from whence they came for the film. Hulce and Abraham fit into their roles very naturally and work off one another extremely well. Elizabeth Berridge, who replaced Meg Tilly as Mozart's wife just weeks before shooting started, is perfect as the tough chick from the gutter trying to pull together a marriage with an irresponsible genius. Why she didn't stay on top after Amadeus is beyond me. The supporting cast is full of familiar faces that give the film a very "completed," very finished feel.
A nice sampling of Mozart plays throughout the film. He's no Billy Joel, but it works.

Firefly - The Complete Series

I loved the film version Serenity, and after learning that it was a TV show I just had to watch it. I loved the series and like the movie it is one of my Joss Whedon film or TV series. The only bad part was that it was just a bit to western than I had expected but it didn't make not enjoy the series. It was interesting and fun show to watch.

MacGruber
MacGruber(2010)

On TV, the comedy traditionally revolved around Mac accidentally blowing s**t up, and the filmmakers have taken the 'if it ain't broke' approach to the movie, with Grubes doing much the same thing on the big-screen. Beyond the MacGuyver spoof, however, the film takes shots at pretty much every action movie of the 1980s -- from First Blood to Lethal Weapon to Die Hard -- and the result is a feature that does for that genre what Austin Powers did for 1960s spy flicks. When the action starts Mac is a changed man, hiding from his past -- Rambo-style -- in an Ecuadorian monastery. Duty calls, however, and when arch-nemesis -- and the man who killed his wife -- Dieter Von Cunth lays his hands on a nuclear warhead, MacGruber has little option but to come out of retirement to save the world. Having honed their characters on the TV show, Forte and Wiig deliver a comedy masterclass, with the pair seemingly prepared to do anything to raise a laugh. Highlights include cross-dressing, throat ripping, and a sex scene that has to be seen to be believed. It's also refreshing to see comedy this mean and nasty. MacGruber is sexist, racist and homophobic, and the film pulls no punches in playing as politically incorrect as possible. With this R-rated effort following hot-on-the heels of last summer's similarly outrageous The Hangover, it seems that American comedy is back in the gutter, which can only be a good thing. When the film is funny, it's very funny, however. The transition from show-to-screen has clearly been a smooth one, and if MacGruber hits as big as he deserves to, we could be seeing a lot more of his mullet on the big-screen in the future.

A Nightmare on Elm Street
½

Why remake a perfectly fine horror film.

Old Dogs
Old Dogs(2009)
½

It is sad that they have to use the same joke twice.

Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2(2010)

You should be happy to know Iron Man 2 more or less wins its battle with "sequelitis," managing to successfully squeeze a hodgepodge of storylines and characters into one two-hour adventure while still keeping the narrative focus sharply on Tony Stark (played once again with unbridled aplomb by Robert Downey, Jr.). Iron Man 2 doesn't always successfully balance all of these moving parts, but considering how wildly it could have gone off the rails (think Schumacher's Batman sequels), it's a significant and highly entertaining accomplishment on the part of Marvel Studios and director Jon Favreau. The filmmakers' loose style of making the Iron Man films may be too evident at times, especially during the aforementioned sequence. Steven Soderbergh may be able to wing it in the Ocean's films, but that's a dangerous method for a movie like Iron Man 2 to adopt. I understand wanting to maintain a similar breezy tone to the relatively happy-go-lucky original film, but in a story such as this -- with so many subplots and spin-off seeds to be sewn -- the filmmakers could have been a bit more vigilant and disciplined in their execution. As the saying goes, sometimes too much of anything isn't always a good thing. It can slow narrative momentum down or simply amount to clutter. The actors portraying the main characters -- Tony, Pepper, Vanko, and Hammer -- are all top-notch. As with Christopher Nolan's Batman films or J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot, this movie is blessed with an ensemble of fine actors to help you stay emotionally invested in the film amidst all the myriad characters and plotlines. Downey once again delivers a scenery-chewing turn as that lovable rascal Tony, managing to avoid the misstep Johnny Depp made when he tried to capture lightning in a bottle twice in the Pirates sequels (where he seemed like he was imitating his own performance from the first film rather than being in character). Paltrow gets more things of substance to do this time around, which hints at an interesting future for Pepper in the next installment. Rockwell is just as much of a scene-stealer as Downey; it's like watching the "Good Kirk, Bad Kirk" scenes whenever Tony and Hammer are on-screen together. But Rockwell's scenes with Rourke are equally effective, with Rockwell bringing the flash while the equally eccentric Rourke quietly simmers, the gears turning behind his eyes as Vanko observes his charlatan benefactor. But Vanko, as much as Rourke wisely underplays it, is a borderline ridiculous character: He's a Russian scientific genius-turned-brawling badass who can get rammed in the crotch by a sports car at 50+ mph and not need a pelvic cast and crutches in the next scene. He's thisclose to being Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV, but Rourke's just so damn odd and creepy here that you suspend your disbelief. If there's anyone besides Lundgren who could take a Mercedes to the nads and keep on going it's Mickey freakin' Rourke.

As for the smaller roles, Johansson suits up late in the game as Black Widow (although, like Whiplash, she's never referred to by her comic book handle) but quickly establishes herself as a physical force to be reckoned with. There's not much more to her than that, but it whets the appetite for what future films might do with the character. Sam Jackson is playing, well, Sam Jackson here, but he commands respect from Stark and exerts a physical authority that characters outside of the villains lack. It'll be interesting to see what Marvel does with Fury in future films, especially Avengers. Fury's line to Tony that he's "the realest person you'll ever meet" is of particular interest, given that S.H.I.E.L.D. is aware of just how many fantastical beings and forces exist in the (Marvel) universe. But Fury and Black Widow really are stars on loan from another film here, and it'll be interesting to see how general filmgoers with no understanding of The Avengers or the studio's future plans make of their inclusion. Despite its shortcomings, Iron Man 2 is one helluva good time. It may not have the most polished delivery in terms of story, but for the most part it attains its many narrative goals. It has fun action set-pieces, an intriguing central dilemma for its main protagonist, and a pair of compelling villains. The original film had a novelty to it that simply can't be replicated, but as far as comic book movie sequels go Iron Man 2 is a cut above most and one gloriously fun set-up for The Avengers. 2012 -- the end of the world aside -- can't come fast enough.

The Losers
The Losers(2010)
½

Those who have read the comic book series from writer Andy Diggle and artist Jock should rest assured that the film adaptation of The Losers is every bit as clever, fun and action-packed as the source material. And those who go in with no prior knowledge are in for an even bigger treat. This film has all the entertainment value of a summer blockbuster, but the studio shrewdly decided to stay out of the way of The A-Team. Thus, here we are in April getting a wit-infused thrill ride along the lines of old-school actioners such as Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, which is appropriate since, like those films, this comes from uber-producer Joel Silver. Jensen provides most of the comic relief in the film, in his interactions with the other team members and his clumsy attempts at picking up women. One of the best scenes in the film (lifted right out of the comic) has him breaking into an office building disguised as a messenger. After being cornered by a few security guards, he pulls off a bit of sly trickery with the help of Cougar and his trusty sniper rifle. Fans who have followed the recent news of Evans' next project will be amused by his account of being involved in a secret government project that gave him special abilities (obviously not intentional, but humorous now in retrospect). The Losers is full of thrilling set-pieces and amusing banter in-between (and during), but these elements alone don't make for a complete package. For that you also need compelling characters and a cast with crackling chemistry, both of which this film has. Morgan's charisma and physicality make him believable as a leader, a romantic hero and a genuine action star. And Saldana holds her own against her male co-stars, kicking lots of ass and showing off some too. As Max, Patric channels every idiosyncratic, over-the-top action-movie villain, combining cold pragmatism with unpredictable ruthlessness and a short fuse. When he finally shares screen time with the good guys, their encounter has been built up to such a degree that it becomes an epic turning point.
Director Sylvain White (whose biggest film before this was Stomp the Yard) has a fast-paced style that infuses the film with a kind of kinetic energy. It's a wild ride from beginning to end, and the actors seem to be having such a good time themselves, it's easy to step back and forget about those nagging little details that don't make sense if you examine them too closely. Like why does Aisha beat up Clay before she even makes her proposition to him? And yeah, some of the capers are a little far-fetched, but that's what makes them fun. And if the filmmakers don't take themselves too seriously, then why should we?

Kick-Ass
Kick-Ass(2010)

Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman's adaptation of Millar and John Romita Jr.'s comic crackles with intelligence and wit. When Dave is hanging out with his two best friends, the one-liners come thick and fast and yet they feel utterly natural; the kind of Superbad-style banter you'd hear between any group of teenage friends. Humorous nods to Superman, Spider-Man, Batman and the like are also expertly thrown into the mix, gently satirising the genre while at the same time paying tribute to what has gone before in the comic cannon. Combine that with some hilarious interplay between D'Amico and his gang of hoods, and you've got some of the most smart, sophisticated and downright hilarious dialogue yet written for a superhero flick. Aaron Johnson probably has the toughest job playing Dave/Kick-Ass, a character that could easily seem smug or self-satisfied if even slightly miss-handled. Johnson plays him with just the right amount of pathos, vulnerability and affable good humour that it's impossible not to empathise, and by the time he's genuinely kicking ass in the film's finale, this skinny, mop-topped teen has turned into a genuinely convincing superhero. Mark Strong also excels as the villain of the piece. Strong has masterfully played the bad guy in everything from Sunshine to Sherlock Holmes in recent years so it's hardly a stretch. But he plays D'Amico with a twinkle in his eye that suggests he's enjoying himself as much as we are. Christopher Mintz-Plasse also deserves credit for his work as Red Mist, son of Frank D'Amico and sometime crime-fighting partner of Kick-Ass. An actor still struggling to escape from the shadow of McLovin', his character goes on an unexpected journey over the course of the film, and Mintz-Plasse does a good job conveying the frustration and confusion of this troubled teen. However, the real stars of the show are Big Daddy and Hit-Girl. The former is a cop-turned-vigilante played to perfection by Nicolas Cage. An actor who has never knowingly delivered an understated performance, Cage's recent output has been patchy at best, but here he revels in the role of a man driven to the edge but D'Amico and his crew, deftly combining sadness and madness to cut a somewhat tragic figure. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll squeal in delight at the outrageous behaviour of a little girl in a purple cape. But most of all, you'll wish that all superhero movies were like this

Sunshine
Sunshine(2007)
½

Psychological science fiction has been done. It's been done successfully, too, which is probably the more crucial point. So what does 'Trainspotting' director Danny Boyle contribute to a worn genre? More than you might expect. Boyle's catalogue of work is impressive. He's covered family-friendly, moralistic tales, such as 'Millions' and more clear-cut genre work, like '28 Days Later'. 'Sunshine' takes common thematic elements from these works - ideas of God, the universe and mankind's place and responsibility in it - and places archetypal characters into a moderately predictable outer-space, road-trip scenario.Set in the near-future year of 2057, the Sun is dying for whatever pseudo-scientific justification, and the Earth is experiencing dusky, frozen days. After an unsuccessful attempt to reignite the Sun's gasses with a city-sized nuclear bomb seven years prior, a second team is sent to finish what the first team failed to do. Needless to say, things don't go according to plan for this team, either.Boyle's assembled cast do a good job of adding depth and appeal to essentially clichéd characters - Australian Rose Byrne, plays the doe-eyed-but-firm ship's pilot, Cillian Murphy is well-cast as the crew's physicist struggling with a moral dilemma, 'Fantastic Four's Chris Evans plays an engineer with a fiery temper, and the lovely Michelle Yeoh falls a little flat as a biologist. Stick-like Murphy is at his best when playing meek characters forced to toughen up. His eyes are piercing, and Boyle plays on this brilliantly. Shots taken from inside the helmet of the iconic golden spacesuits give a profile-view of Murphy's face, beaded in perspiration. The claustrophobic proximity, minimal lighting and muffled sound are incredibly evocative. The Sun is almost as much of a contributing character as any of the core actors. We're introduced to the Sun from the opening moments of the film - a windy, roaring sound in accompaniment. All-enveloping light and heat and flame; destructive and unrelenting, but also life-giving and beautiful; this duality weighs the crew down - how can something so deadly and literally unapproachable be negotiated? If the Sun is a neutral and remorseless foe, 'Sunshine' introduces true, focussed evil to the story halfway through the film. Without going into specifics, the tale draws significant inspiration from 'Alien'. There is suspense, but this antagonist's screen presence is undermined greatly by Boyle's decision to pursue shock-value over metered tension. In this way, Sunshine actually nestles up against horror-genre idea of 'pursuer and pursued' - kind of like the unrelenting Leatherface in 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'. The foe's inclusion is arguably a little happenstance, but we can forgive - it adds a separate layer of menace to the plot.In a sense, this is a post-apocalyptic flick. The 'frozen Earth' scenario isn't original, but it is timely for a society rapidly embracing the realities of climate change and environmental impact. As the film progresses, Boyle addresses this issue directly with Cillian Murphy's narrated ponderings. His voice echoes the uncertainties we're collectively feeling right now - is it right to tamper with nature? Is it better to save many at the expense of a few? Stick to the mission, or deviate and satisfy your curiosities?Boyle ultimately answers this question for us - which makes him accountable for the ending, which was inevitable and will divide audiences. On one hand, things are resolved completely - there is no ambiguity. On the other, it's an obvious end that you'll see coming from a distance. It's also a bit 'Hollywood' for all the sincerity that the film strives to earn along the way. That said, 'Sunshine' is a very good film in its own right. The crew have chemistry, something that Boyle worked hard to build through close-quarters living prior to filming. The technology on display is generally logical and practical, and the ship's design is well-considered. Long moments of silence, broken only by industrial noise or presumably the rush of solar winds, and accompanying long takes and close-ups occasionally come across as a little self-conscious. This is partially because Boyle obviously takes this subject matter very seriously, and this is reflected in how it was shot and cut. We certainly cannot criticise the production values - Boyle is a fine director. If anything, the issue lays with 'Sunshine's similarities to other, arguably deeper sci-fi movies. We've experienced talking AI, the stalking foreign presence, moralistic issues and doom-struck space journeys. Yes, it's a new take, but it doesn't shake things up as much as it should have. The script is compelling and thoughtful, though, and rarely does a line strike as cheesy or generic. The film is glorious to look at - golden hues, extreme over-saturation, wide-angles and lingering close-ups and reflective, distant silence. Yes, Kubrick might've blushed - it's not the next A Space Odyssey, but as a homage to the science fiction greats of yore, 'Sunshine' is eager to please and still very-much worth your time.

Clash of the Titans
½

The original Clash of the Titans is an example of a movie you liked as a child, but when revisited as an adult it's just not as good as you remembered. Indeed, it's quite hokey and boring, and the special effects -- as dated as they were even when it came out -- are really the biggest reason why it's still talked about. But for many people of a certain age, myself included, the original Clash was often one's first exposure to Greek mythology, and at least in this reviewer's case it helped trigger a lifelong interest in the subject. That said, the acting in the film was pretty bad, with Harry Hamlin as a rather drab and passive Perseus who just has things happen to him. While Worthington's Perseus may not have a terribly complicated or original arc, at least he actually drives the narrative forward, makes his own decisions, and has objectives he wants to achieve rather than simply reacting to the actions of others. While the remake's special effects may lack the old school appeal of the original's Ray Harryhausen stop-motion creatures, they are inarguably superior in quality, with some -- such as Pegasus and the Kraken -- achieving impressive levels of photo-realism. But whether modern filmgoers -- who are treated to CG spectacles on an almost weekly basis now -- will even vividly remember these beasts a week after watching the movie remains to be seen. At the very least, you'll believe a horse can fly. Personally, I preferred the old Calibos and Medusa, as cheesy as they were; these new incarnations are too generic and polished-looking. Overall, the special effects are cool, but in this technologically advanced age is there really any reason why they wouldn't be? The new Titans definitely emphasizes the "clash" more than its predecessor did, but it's also a lot of sound and fury, and we should all know what that signifies. Despite its technical superiority, I can't imagine this Clash of the Titans inspiring a fan base that will last three decades let alone a desire to remake it one day.
The only problem that I saw was the lack of interactions between Perseus and Andromada which was the reason he went on the journey in the original. I also thought that there could have been more interactions between the Gods other than Zeus and Hades.

Toy Story 2
Toy Story 2(1999)

Perhaps it's redundant at this late stage in the game, but Toy Story 2 is one of the greatest animated films of all time. It shares the unique distinction of being one of the very few sequels that actually surpasses its predecessor (company held only by Godfather Part II, The Empire Strikes Back and a handful of others). Ultimately, this is exactly what industry watchdogs are talking about when they champion entertainment that should truly be for kids and adults alike. Toy Story 2 is funny, compelling, emotionally enriching viewing, whether you're five or 50. It also happens to be the reason that Disney and Pixar, two other contentious bedfellows, are currently contemplating another sequel; without the success of this film, computer-animated movies would never have shown their emotional, much less commercial promise. There are folks who will insist that The Incredibles is the best movie Pixar has made, and other who sing the praises of Monsters, Inc. or Finding Nemo. But without Toy Story 2, we might never have seen them. This DVD is not only a long-overdue celebration of my personal favorite of Pixar's films, but a reminder that computer animation can truly create life, rather than just imitating it.

Toy Story
Toy Story(1995)

The film works because of the chemistry of this unlikely pair of opposites, who both have something to learn from each other. The supporting cast is also strong, with memorable turns by a group of army men (voiced by R. Lee Ermey) and cute three-eyed green aliens from a crane machine who worship "the claw." The humor is always right on target, but often laced with pathos, like the moment when Buzz finally comes to terms with the fact that he is only a toy. These characters are far more dimensional than some live-action protagonists. The skillful storytelling is accompanied by some pretty impressive visuals that hold up today as well as they did 15 years ago. Pixar understood that the real world isn't as pristine as the computer world, and purposefully dirtied up the surroundings to make it look more lived in. Some of the scenery looks almost photoreal, an amazing accomplishment for the state of the technology at this time. And the backgrounds, while not as intricate as the later films, are certainly filled in. There was no skimping out on the artistry here, and it shows. You'd be hard pressed to find a film from 1995 that holds up as well, both narratively and visually. For that matter, Toy Story is better than some recent computer-animated films. It's probably too early to call this one a classic, but even without the third film soon to be released, it's a sure bet that it will stick around long enough to eventually hold that distinction. Having seeing this in Bluray I have to say it looked amazing. After not seeing it in 12 years I have to say I really loved this film.

Ninja Assassin

The film opens with a bang, kicking off in a Yakuza nightclub where an envelope containing only black sand is delivered to the gangster in charge. After a long monologue by an old tattoo artist about the violence that erupted the last time he saw such an envelope, the ninja strikes, emerging from the shadows to slice and dice his way through an army of gun-shooting henchmen. There is, of course, much beheading and vivisecting and fake CGI blood, and at least in this opening sequence -- as over-acted as it all may be -- there's a fair amount of martial arts awesomeness, as well. It's only in the next sequence, when this over-long action set piece attempts to be an actual movie, that things go so horribly awry. Naomie Harris plays a Europol researcher named Mika who somehow manages to convince her boss over five minutes of exposition about events that we never actually get to witness that a clan of ninjas is secretly hiring themselves out as assassins to high-bidding clients. Suddenly, government agents from the FBI, CIA, MI6, etc. make their nefarious presence known to warn off Mika from the case. Why and how these agencies are connected to the ninja clan, we can't be sure, but it's suggested that the ninjas have relationships very high up the chain of command. Meanwhile, we're introduced to Raizo (played by musician and martial arts expert Rain) who flashes back on his training at the ninja academy, coming to understand that the abuse he suffered there, and the murder of a student who'd been his lover, are indications of a much deeper corruption. The student must fight back against his clan and stop their machinations, and to do so, he must save Mika, now the ninjas' primary target. This is as deep as the story ever gets, simply setting up a few chases and action set pieces to allow for maximum ninja action. But what's most upsetting is that the things we're told but never see actually speak to a potentially much smarter movie. All the international intrigue, the assassination of high-ranking government targets -- all of this suggests a kind of Bourne-style mash-up of international espionage and ninja ass-kicking that would no doubt have offered a much more engaging experience. Instead, we're left with a rogue ninja trying to protect an attractive stranger in the hopes that she'll draw out their leader and he can earn his revenge. Unfortunately, that, and only that, simply isn't enough. Thankfully, however, the fight choreography is fast, frenetic and, in a few choice moments, rather graceful in its execution. Knives, swords, fists and bladed chains tear through limbs and heads, leaving dozens of bodies in their wake. And for all the relentless blood-letting, as exciting as it is, the darkness in which the ninjas fight too often obscures the eloquence of the dance. Obviously, ninjas attack from the shadows, but if all the combat takes place there, the opportunity to really capture the quality of the movement threatens to be lost entirely. What we do admire about the film is that Raizo takes some serious damage. He's outnumbered and out-skilled, resulting in a rather brutal collection of gashes and scars across his body. We're never asked to buy that he's so talented that he can take on an entire clan single-handed, all of which lends some level of believable danger to the battle scenes. James McTeigue, who's last film, V for Vendetta, offered a wonderfully intelligent, well-performed and action-packed narrative, focuses purely on the action this time around. Intelligence and good acting is, quite frankly, nowhere to be seen in Ninja Assassin. But McTeigue's ability to frame a shot and make the visuals truly stand out is on clear display. If only he'd been as demanding with the overall quality instead of placing all his cards on the general bad-assery of the ninja, the film might have been a first-rate, well-rounded action flick. Sadly, however, it's simply something to check out should it come across cable TV, or a DVD worth purchasing to show off your HDTV and surround-sound system. But it's not quite worth a full-price ticket to the theater on a Saturday night, at least not for those in search of a real movie. Those willing to accept hacked limbs and well-staged ass-kicking without any real dramatic hook, however, will no doubt have a blast.

Lost - The Complete First Season
½

Lost Season 1 succeeds first and foremost in character development -- I can't stress this enough. Lost is about relationships and before we can understand the dynamic behind the various relationships that develop over the course of a season, we need to understand what motivates these characters. This shows approach of having an individual episode focus on a single character through flashback, while formulaic, is a brilliant decision. It kind of reminds me of the layers of a cake, and the backstory to each of these survivors is the foundation. If there is one storyline that I really could find fault in it would be Claire's short abduction. The initial abduction itself made for an exciting episode but the reactions for the next two to three episodes weren't indicative of the characters that I had grown to know. There was no real attempt made to search for Claire and besides a few scenes with reactions to what had happened most of the time everything felt as if it were back to normal. It really stands out that there isn't more panic amongst the group and more action taken by the leaders.

Battlestar Galactica - Season 1

This compellingly original recreation of the classic show sticks to the basics that captivated fans to begin with, but isn't afraid to make changes. The story centers on Caprica, just one of 12 human colonies at war with the machines man created. After the Cylons stage a surprise attack on the planets, nuking entire cities, the survivors of the human race are forced to take refuge in the depths of space. Battlestar Galactica is the name of a once-prominent war ship on the verge of being turned into a museum. When the enemy strikes, the vessel's Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos) leads a fleet of some 50,000 survivors away from their overrun home planet and on a search for a mythical world known as Earth. The Galactica is only able to survive the initial onslaught because its dated computer technology, which isn't even networked, isn't susceptible to the Cylon viruses that disable most of Caprica's other defenses. But even so, the crew has no idea that the Cylons are no longer just the polished silver robots of old; some of them look like living, breathing humans. Battlestar is not quite a perfect undertaking. The series is occasionally so heavy on ship and fleet politics and character relationships that it forgets about the action sequences. And we could do with a deemphasized placement on the relationship between Gaius and his potentially imagined, but possibly real Cylon girlfriend, Number Six (Tricia Helfer), although she is hot. But that aside, this re-imagining of the dated series remains one of the best shows on television. And without giving anything away, viewers will be in for a number of downright unexpected twists and turns as they sit captivated through this triumphant first season.

Up in the Air

Up in the Air is a film about a good man whose unique skillset traps him in a morally questionable profession. It's about being groundless, only loosely tethered to yourself, or to the Earth. And the movie only really missteps in the third act, ironically at the point where the film steps away from the hotels and airports into Bingham's personal life for a little Capra-esque redemption. While some degree of reconnection is inevitable for the character, this portion of the film feels the most forced, the least natural, but a rather surprising turn toward the end leaves the movie with an ambiguous, though satisfying, conclusion. Driven by Clooney's charismatic portrayal of a broken, disconnected man, Reitman's film is as moving as it is hilarious, filled with airport innuendo that travelers will no doubt recognize and brimming with human observations that make this a character piece to see.

Alice in Wonderland

Tim Burton has often favored production design and embraced his inner illustrator over the necessities of story and character. Sadly, the disappointing and uninspired Alice is no exception. Nothing in this movie feels real, either physically or emotionally. Even in fantasy films there needs to be a sense of reality, even if that reality is of the trippy, mind-bending kind. But Alice feels exactly like what its production was: a green screen exercise with actors hamming it up for nonexistent cartoon characters who will be added later. You seldom believe that Alice or the other "human" characters (the Hatter, Red Queen, White Queen, the Knave of Hearts) are truly interacting with the fully CG-animated inhabitants of Wonderland. It's like a trip to Toon Town, but without any of the charm or fun; the interactions between the cartoon characters and the real people in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? felt more tactile than anything in Alice. The CG animation here just isn't all that impressive, and neither is the film's much hyped but ineffective use of 3D; Avatar this is not. (Note to consumers: there's no reason why you can't see Alice in 2D to get the same experience at less cost.) Alice might have worked better had it been either entirely CG-animated, or if more of the characters had been, like the Mad Hatter or the Red Queen, real actors augmented by makeup and some digital manipulation. You only ever connect with the movie when the human characters are on-screen -- actually, let me be more specific: when Depp or Bonham Carter are on-screen, because their arrival brings a much needed injection of energy into what had been a long, plodding affair. Mia Wasikowska is simply miscast in the title role. She's bland, bored and has a flat delivery; casting a quirkier actress, someone who could suggest an inner life for the character or who had a spark in their eyes, could have made Alice more interesting and dynamic, even if the script's interpretation of Alice is far removed from Lewis Carroll's conception of her. Burton often defended his casting of Michael Keaton in Batman by saying he could envision reviews of the film where critics hailed the supporting cast but slammed the wooden unknown playing the title role; if only he'd thought of the same thing here, too. Bonham Carter steals the show, upstaging even Depp and getting the film's biggest laughs. Kids will love her. Depp starts off OK, but quickly loses the thread of what he was going for and falls back on a bag of tricks he's used in past Burton films and in the Pirates series. His accent wavers between lispy English and the angry Scottish burr of William Wallace; maybe that can be chalked up to the Mad Hatter likely having multiple personalities, but it's noticeably inconsistent. Even at his worst here, though, Depp's still Depp and he manages to keep you interested in what he might do next. Crispin Glover is fine as the Knave of Hearts, essentially playing his henchman role from Charlie's Angels but with a look that's a cross between Edward Scissorhands and Sir Guy of Gisbourne in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. As he did with his Batman films, Burton lets the supporting cast and villains overshadow the protagonist. It's interesting to wonder, though, (no pun intended) if his Alice would have been a more interesting and daring film -- definitely a darker and less kid-friendly one -- had it been made by the Burton of '89 or '92 rather than his current self. Sure, it might have had some Prince songs in it back then, but probably not a scene of Depp quasi-breakdancing like we get here. That bit could've only been more jarring, bad and blatantly pandering to kids had Depp let out a long, loud fart or belch afterward. Since you never feel like the actors are in a real environment or dealing with real creatures, there's never any sense that they're in any true jeopardy or that there's anything really at stake for Alice in this realm -- which is a killer since the story is all about Alice accepting that she's the savior of Wonderland who must lead an insurrection against the Red Queen. The filmmakers address the notorious passivity of the literary Alice by giving her a "chosen one" storyline that culls elements from The Sword in the Stone, Joan of Arc and St. George the Dragon Slayer. They've turned Alice in Wonderland into Braveheart with talking rabbits; plus, the film also rips off the look of Lord of the Rings in its depiction of gloomy Underland and the White Queen's luminescent, ethereal domain. (I half-expected to see Elrond standing next to Hathaway.) The script also has Alice believing for the longest time that she's just dreaming, as she must have been when she first visited Wonderland as a child. It's a weird (and bad) choice since we all know she's really in Wonderland, so the story simply wastes time building up to her big "realization" when it could have been better spent instead getting Alice more engaged in her plight and that of her old friends.

Alice in Wonderland isn't a horrible movie; its target audience of kids and families will likely enjoy it, even if they're not really getting a true portrayal of the Alice and Wonderland we're familiar with. (Die-hard fans of the original stories may dislike this movie, just as many Sherlock Holmes purists hated that recent lit-to-film reimagining.) No, this Wonderland is just listless, bland and derivative -- a mere technical undertaking from a disinterested filmmaker. Tim Burton recycles much of the same watered down, consumer-friendly Goth guff that he's peddled for over a decade now, giving us a joyless Wonderland bereft of anything fantastical or whimsical enough to suggest why Lewis Carroll's stories have enchanted people for the past 145 years.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Benjamin Button begins life as an old man and ends life as a child. Whoever said that we enter the world weeping and weak and bald and in diapers, and leave it the very same way, spoke to one of the underlining truths of Benjamin Button, a philosophy heightened by the love story at the film's center. Born as a shriveled infant -- eyes blind, joints swollen -- Benjamin (Brad Pitt) is abandoned by his father, Thomas Button, on the doorstep of an old-folks home and taken in by Queenie, an African-American nurse. Slowly, Benjamin takes on the frame of a man well into his '80s. In a departure from F. Scott Fitzgerald's original story, Benjamin has only the mental faculties of a child, growing into a kind of mental adulthood as his body knits itself back into boyhood.This is in large part attributable to the absolute triumph of director David Fincher, whose visual mastery and unsentimental approach never spoon-feeds the audience or over-sweetens the narrative. As with any life, there's equal parts suffering and celebration, and Fincher treats this inevitability fairly and with respect. One never feels forced into a particular emotion, which, given the premise, might easily have been the case with a lesser director. Rather, he applies his painterly eye for framing and his expert understanding of visual effects to tell a story which allows the audience to take from it whatever they will, offering much yet giving nothing. And that neither Fincher nor writer Eric Roth wink too heavily or acknowledge too overtly the magic realism of the premise allows for the audience to do the same. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a magical, heartfelt, joyful and melancholy film, beautiful to look at and filled with wonder. One would be hard-pressed to walk away from the film and not be, somehow, deeply affected by it.

Shutter Island
½

I started reading Lehane's novel a few months ago, but stopped about a quarter of the way through for two reasons. First, I guess I didn't really want to spoil the movie for myself after all, and, secondly, I had a hunch that I'd figured out where the story was going and what its big twist was going to be. After watching the movie -- and then reading the end of the novel -- it turns out my hunch was right on target. It's tough to find a thriller truly suspenseful when you've figured out its big twist within the first act (or from just watching the trailers). Anyone who has seen enough psychological thrillers, or for that matter almost any given episode of The Twilight Zone, will be able to figure out Shutter Island just as easily. But that doesn't mean you still won't be entertained. Rather than being able to enjoy Shutter Island as a psychodrama as it was meant to be, I instead appreciated its style, atmosphere, production values, direction and the lead performance by Leonardo DiCaprio. It's a B-movie made by A-listers, with Scorsese fashioning his most Hollywood movie since Cape Fear (and maybe even more so than that film). Shutter Island is a great filmmaking exercise for Scorsese to make the type of pulpy, overwrought genre B-movies he grew up watching. It plays like an old Hammer horror film (Vincent Price could have played either the Kingsley or von Sydow roles back in the day), and at other times like the German Expressionist classics (such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) that reportedly influenced Scorsese in making this film. It's also an homage to Shock Corridor, a film made by one of his idols, Sam Fuller. While it's fun to see Scorsese having fun, it's also a lot of effort spent on a shell game where you know which shell the nut is hidden under the entire time.

Shutter Island is a well-acted, handsomely made, old-fashioned haunted house movie that's nevertheless marred by the same elements -- plot holes, red herrings, familiar genre tropes and an overall reliance on heavy-handed trickery -- that have undone so many other thrillers from lesser filmmakers. Scorsese's virtuoso craftsmanship here may be both the best and ironically the worst thing about Shutter Island, but he has unquestionably made it a far more intriguing incarceration than it otherwise could have been. A mixed bag from Martin Scorsese is still better than most other filmmakers' best efforts.

Edge of Darkness
½

Mel Gibson hasn't been seen on-screen as a leading man since 2002's Signs, but you'd never know he hadn't acted in front of a camera for the better part of a decade while watching Edge of Darkness. Gibson delivers one of his most restrained and potent performances here, channeling the righteous, vengeful fury we've come to expect from "Mad Mel" while also conveying a world-weariness befitting the role of an aging single dad mourning the loss of his only child. Gibson's subtle performance helps elevate the film from being just another revenge movie or political thriller. (And, as a native Bostonian, I can attest that Gibson does a fine job with the accent, nailing the inflections and attitude.) The rest of the cast is solid. Winstone is both gruffly sophisticated and subtly sinister as the enigmatic Jedburgh, whose loyalties and agenda are almost as murky as his past. Winstone damn near the steals the show from Gibson. Danny Huston plays his latest villain with a sense of entitlement and white collar aloofness that epitomizes the old line about the banality of evil. Ditto Denis O'Hare as a government stooge and Damian Young as a soulless senator. Jay O. Sanders delivers in his few scenes as a cop colleague of Craven's. Novakovic isn't in the movie quite enough to really make too much of a lasting impression, while Shawn Roberts, who is a dead ringer for young David Keith, is a bit forced as Emma's paranoid boyfriend-colleague. With Edge of Darkness, director Martin Campbell, the screenwriters and Mel Gibson have delivered a thriller that is, oddly enough, as energetic as it is melancholy, a film that's rife with political intrigue, populated with captivating characters and punctuated by sporadic bursts of startling violence.

True Romance
True Romance(1993)

Clarence (Christian Slater) is an Elvis freak who works in a comic-book store and has so little going on in his life that he goes to a Kung Fu triple-feature on his birthday. In walks Alabama (Patricia Arquette), a hooker hired by Clarence's boss as a birthday present. Before you can say "brief engagement," the two are married and Clarence goes to Alabama's pimp for her stuff. The place turns into a bullet festival and Clarence ends up accidentally taking off with a suitcase full of the Mob's cocaine. And that's just the first 15 minutes... Tarantino's script and excellent performances from a stellar supporting cast including Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, Brad Pitt, Bronson Pinchot, Michael Rapaport, Gary Oldman, Val Kilmer, Samuel L. Jackson (don't blink, or you'll miss him), Chris Penn, Tom Sizemore, and James Gandolfini (from The Sopranos) keep this thing in high gear all the way through. An Oscar winner it ain't, but it is a top-shelf popcorn movie.

The Hurt Locker
½

This tautly wound thriller, directed by Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break, Near Dark) and scripted by journalist-screenwriter Mark Boal (In the Valley of Elah), takes an episodic, "you are there" approach to the material, embedding the viewer with this bomb disposal squad so that you feel every moment of panic and rush of adrenaline they feel. Hell, you can almost feel the beads of sweat forming on their brows. Bigelow and Boal treat war as a drug that James will never kick, and Renner offers one of the more subtly powerful performances seen this year. He finds the humor and right level of energy for his character with the same precision as James uncovers the right wires to cut. James' adrenaline addiction is not unlike that of the literary James Bond, who'd rather die in action than be bored to death leading an average life. Unfortunately, there is a point where the film goes from being "you are there" to "you are in a movie." In what was likely an attempt to give James more of a character arc, the story has him break away from his squad mates for a spell to satisfy a personal mission. This passage doesn't ring as true as all the sequences that preceded it and it breaks the film's narrative rhythm, a misstep that the movie never quite recovers from. It's a shame because up until that point the film had damn near been a perfect thriller.

Bram Stoker's Dracula

There have been countless versions of the Dracula story, and while purists may love the original 1931 classic with Bela Lugosi, my favorite will always be Francis Ford Coppola's excellent 1992 retelling of the classic novel, which will probably go down in history as the most accurate translation of the original text. The makeup and costumes were completely deserving of their accolade with Dracula's many forms being very impressive. While many may love the wolf form, Dracula's bat form is one of the coolest character designs seen in film in quite some time. It didn't hurt that Oldman played an amazing Count. One that can be suave at one moment and immediately change to an terrifying demon at another. With the help of screenwriter James V. Hart, the best parts of the original book are here, on screen in a way that has never been seen before. The many letters from the book that are used here in the film to carry forward the story with perfection, which is a great little detail that could have been overlooked by other filmmakers.

Heroes - Season 3
½

This was a tough season to sit through and enjoy. For all the fun superhero actions and ideas, there were five or more "Why is this happening?" moments. "Villains" rewrote the history of the series while reusing plot devices, while "Fugitives" started well, sank fast, but was rejuvenated with the return of a favorite Season 1 writer. Having officially been renewed by NBC, Heroes is in a position to truly redeem itself with Volume Five, aptly titled "Redemption." Let's hope it happens. And if you didn't become annoyed with the constant redirection of character motivation, you could find fault in the lazy storytelling. Besides the fact that things were sped up to a fault, the same repetitive plot devices were used again and again and again. It didn't take long for visions of the world's future destruction to come into play. You know, like they did in both seasons prior. And since Isaac was no longer around to paint the future, we were introduced to a new character that could do the same. And when that character died, the same power was given to Parkman. Because, apparently, the Heroes writers don't know how to tell a story that doesn't involve some glimpse into the future. The writers also seemed happy to ignore the established mythology of the series as it spent several episodes trying to convince us the solar eclipse had something to do with these powers, even though we know certain characters had powers before the Season 1 eclipse that kicked off the series.

The Book of Eli

The Book of Eli is really one movie disguised as another, presenting a lyrically filmed story about the importance of religious faith wrapped in the guise of a post-apocalyptic, quasi-western action film. There is a sense as Eli progresses that beyond the awesomely constructed wasteland, the sharply choreographed action sequences and the dynamic performances by Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman, there's something far deeper and more dramatic passing itself off as popcorn genre entertainment. It's the very opposite of heavy-handed, subtly layered to be about something, and that's a rare quality in a film that could deliver just as well on the merits of its action and visuals. Make no mistake, however, The Book of Eli is a film about religion. Or at the very least, faith. One gets the sense from various cultural references scattered throughout the movie that the filmmakers hope that viewers of any belief system might be able to make the mental switch from the Bible, to the Koran, to the Torah? That Eli isn't carrying the Bible so much as he's carrying a representation of the very notion of faith itself. But the fact that the set-up demands that the story choose one particular book will no doubt make the film feel very Christian to many audiences. While one gets the impression that other Eli's may exist within this world, carrying the sacred texts of any number of religions, it's never communicated quite so clearly as to satisfy those who are likely, perhaps fairly, to inquire, "Why is it only the Christian God who speaks to the post-apocalyptic world?"

Pandorum
Pandorum(2009)
½

Pandorum, a bleak, dark, claustrophobic journey through a derelict ship filled with terrible, weapon-wielding, flesh-eating creatures that may or may not be vaguely related to humans. Imagine a future in which over-population has lead to a complete lack of resources and massive, world-wide war for whatever's left. A space mission is launched on a 123-year voyage to the nearest Earth-like planet to jumpstart a civilization there and eventually transfer much of Earth's population along later. This is mid-budget sci-fi, so don't go in expecting anything of incredible visual worth. That said, the mood is dark, there are a number of jump scares, the limited effects are passable and the creatures are fierce and equally vicious. The performances are relatively strong, though despite the revolving door of survivors that pass through the film, this is really a two or three-person show. Foster manages to imbibe an otherwise flat character with some degree of life and personality, while Quaid barks orders like an actor who's done all this before.

The film runs a bit too long in the final third and the entire mystery of the movie is revealed in a massive chunk of exposition. Cam Gigandet appears about midway through to seed a twist that audiences should be able to see coming a mile away, but which we're not entirely sure actually adds anything of value to the film. Otherwise, the action is well-handled and the thrills are cheap. Thankfully, the film opens up a bit in the final moments and concludes with a welcome feeling of scope and scale.

Heroes Season 2

As poorly as season two began, the series finished strong. The major characters remained intriguing throughout and there were enough interesting story arcs, especially near the end, to keep viewers involved. Was this shortened season what we were hoping for after the hit-making first year? The answer is no. Instead of expanding on what they established, the Heroes writers played it safe and kept things familiar. Hopefully, with creator Tim Kring conscious of the fans' complaints, and with many, many months to prepare for season three, the Heroes universe will improve on the bad of its second season and build gloriously on the good.

Heroes Season 1

Starting with the pilot episode, Heroes presented a plethora of characters and storylines, in locations spanning the globe. There were the bickering Petrelli brothers in New York City. The cubicle drones Hiro Nakamura and Ando Masahashi in Japan. The high school cheerleader Claire Bennet in Texas. The troubled scientist Mohinder Suresh in India. The struggling police officer Matt Parkman in Los Angeles. The single-mother stripper Niki Sanders in Las Vegas. To say the cast was large would be an obvious understatement. Early on, having all these characters to get to know was thrilling. Each week, as we discovered more about their backstories, the extents of their superhuman powers were slowly revealed. This was a major strength of the series and one of the biggest reasons the show garnered such incredible buzz.

Total Recall
Total Recall(1990)

Total Recall is a sci-fi action flick that manages to hit upon almost every convention and cliché in the book. You've got your quasi-futuristic looking cars, sterile looking environments, Mars colonies, mutants, the whole nine yards. And who could forget the midget standing on the counter with the machine gun. Truly a moment that will live on forever in the annals of cinematic history. Even though it's a bit derivative in some aspects, all it does is serve as a vehicle for what this movie truly is: an Arnold Schwarzenegger blast fest.

Seriously, this isn't a movie that you watch for its intricate and thought-provoking plot. No, this movie isn't much deeper than your usual action movie. I do have to give it points though, because I find the premise of the movie absolutely fascinating. I think it could have been better executed as a suspense or thriller movie. I mean, do you honestly think that a construction worker will suddenly find himself possessed of all these mad counter intelligence skills? In typical Arnold fashion, he lays waste to small armies without getting so much as slightly roughed up. Still, I suppose it is somehow gratifying on a visceral level.

The acting isn't particularly amazing, but that's kind of become the trademark of action movies, don't you think? Sharon Stone provides some very nice eye candy, Arnold kicks serious ass like he's supposed to, and Michael Ironside is pretty good, but the rest I could do without. Some of the lines are delivered with such unbelievable cheesiness, I can't help but wonder just what the director was thinking allowing it in the film. But then I think "What if that was the best take?" Scary things to be pondering.

Jennifer's Body
½

Cody's script for Jennifer's Body is chock full of sharp zingers spoken by wise beyond their years teenagers. But whereas Juno was populated with real characters (even if they didn't always speak like "real people"), Jennifer's Body doesn't have characters. It has mouthpieces who are there to utter Cody's arch, self-consciously quirky dialogue that emphasizes style over substance, smarm over smart. It's as if a Diablo Cody wannabe wrote the script and not the Oscar winner herself, much as how the late '90s were marred by a run of Tarantino rip-offs featuring glib low-life criminals spouting pop culture references that all paled in comparison to the real thing. There's a false confidence in the writing, with lines that strive to be clever and hip but more often than not are forced and shallow. The movie never capitalizes on the ideas and themes it hints at, ultimately going for the gag (verbal and visual) and is, like Jennifer herself, only skin deep. Many plot elements are left unexplored: Needy's psychic bond with Jennifer only seems to exist in order to provide her with exposition about her BFF's crimes (knowledge which she then does precious little with), and law enforcement is either too inept or just non-existent to collect any DNA evidence from the blood-splattered crime scenes to identify Jennifer as the town's serial killer (not that the movie bothers to create any sense of mystery or dread). She doesn't seem to know whether she's making a comedy with horror in it or a horror film with humor in it. The movie zips along at a fine pace, but to what end? Jennifer's Body would have been more enjoyable had it been a terrible movie you could at least laugh at, but instead it's just a painfully average genre flick noteworthy only for its few good zingers and the innate sex appeal of its leading ladies. The MySpace teen set will likely enjoy the movie for its nasty wit, and horny boys will be satisfied just to watch Megan Fox, but true horror fans will find that Jennifer's Body puts the suck in succubus.

Sherlock Holmes

Guy Ritchie has made the most exciting, eccentric and accessible film version yet of the world's greatest detective (sorry, fellow Bat-fans, but Arthur Conan Doyle's sleuth held that title long before the Dark Knight). Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes is a breathless action-adventure that hits the ground running. While it often borders on the absurd (if not downright over-the-top), Ritchie manages to keep things on an even keel, just avoiding the cartoonishness that sank that other Victorian literary superhero romp, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. He mixes the brawling and grittiness of Snatch with the cheekiness and briskness of a Mummy or Indy movie. It really shouldn't work, but for the most part it does. Ritchie's new school take on an old school icon is respectful without being overly reverential, loud and fun without becoming dumb and hollow, talky but never slow. Despite its shortcomings, Sherlock Holmes is nevertheless damn entertaining, and bodes well as another ongoing franchise for Iron Man's Downey.

The Nightmare Before Christmas
½

Looking back at the film now, it's a small miracle that The Nightmare Before Christmas ever got made: featuring a paper-thin skeleton protagonist and a horde of Halloween minions who dismantle the Christmas holiday, Burton's idea seems too odd and dark to have ever seemed commercially viable. But combining palpable and moreover sympathetic characterizations with emphatic, colorful and expertly fluid stop-motion animation, fans quickly flocked to its substance as much as they did its style. Additionally, composer Danny Elfman's songs were both appropriately theatrical and imminently listenable, creating a generation of viewers who soon knew every verbal inflection and lyrical somersault.

Avatar
Avatar(2009)

My apprehension about Avatar dissipated after the first 10 minutes, by which point I knew that I was in great hands. Cameron displays such confidence here that you'd never know it's been almost 13 years since he's released a feature film. He has done a Toklien-esque job of creating the world of Pandora, exploring its ecology and zoology and offering an almost anthropological study of the Na'vi. (I know that all sounds very pretentious and maybe even a bit boring to some, but Cameron manages to make it all an organic part of the story as everything on Pandora is connected; the balance of nature there is such that when one part of the environment is damaged or destroyed, everything else is affected by it.) Perhaps even more so than Dances With Wolves, Avatar reminded me of what Malick was attempting to do with The New World -- an exploration of nature and a native culture couched in a culture clash/love story where the white hero falls for the chief's daughter -- but done far more effectively and excitingly. (Yes, Avatar is essentially a sci-fi version of the Pocahontas story.) To say that I was pleasantly surprised by Avatar is an understatement. My advice to you is to forget all that you think you know or believe about Avatar. Just go and experience the world of Pandora and revel in the fact that one of the most entertaining filmmakers of our time is back in action.

Donnie Brasco
½

Donnie Brasco is remarkable first and foremost for its outstanding acting and specific attention to character. Al Pacino is an actor who in the estimation of many can do no wrong, but more impressive is the tour de force performance of Johnny Depp as the conflicted double agent. Interviews with the actual Joseph Pistone demonstrate Depp's mastery of his real life counterpart's every mannerism and pattern of speech, but neither mimicry nor Depp's natural charisma is what makes him so much fun to watch. Even through dark sunglasses and a necessarily stoic expression, he's comfortable enough in his persona to reveal his character's thought process to his audience. The slightest brow furrow or sideways glance at the right moment, and Donnie's fear of being found out is relayed without being overplayed. Newell does occasionally make artistic choices that are a bit too film school, like the use of an overcoat to denote the rank of boss and an unnecessary scene juxtaposition technique used late in the film as a reminder of the scope of Donnie's betrayal and effect it might have on his criminal mentor. These are relatively minor complaints though and would likely only be truly distracting after multiple viewings.

Desperado
Desperado(1995)

This isn't much of a plot, but if you want depth of story, try Merchant/Ivory. Banderas has never had a role this cool since, and Hayek has only topped herself here once, in From Dusk Till Dawn. Too bad it took so long to get these two back together again, but at least we have Once Upon a Time in Mexico coming out. de Almeida seems a little too suave and elegant to be a drug lord, but his increasing paranoia and frustration is fun to watch.

Is it ludicrous in places? Sure. How can a six-foot-plus man walk along a bar and not get hit by a single bullet? Plus, his fall from one building to another late in the movie violates several laws of physics and gravity. But who cares when there's plenty of stylish ass-kicking and Salma Hayek's flesh on display? Robert Rodriguez got a $50 million movie out of his $7 million budget.

Far Cry
Far Cry(2008)

For whatever reason, videogame developers keep selling the rights to their properties to Uwe Boll, who inevitably goes on to make epically awful films based on them. The reason likely has nothing to do with Boll's questionable talent as a director, but his skills as a businessman and professional fundraiser. He always manages to secure the financing for each project, minimizing meager domestic returns with international sales and either turning a profit or suffering very little loss on the investment. Unfortunately, this also amounts to cluttering the cultural landscape with unwatchable game adaptations like Alone in the Dark, Postal, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale and BloodRayne. Boll's latest fiasco is Far Cry, based on the bestselling first-person shooter from Ubisoft and Crytek.

Waterworld
Waterworld(1995)
½

The movie is not as awful as most press lead people to believe at the time of its release. If anything, the movie benefits from being viewed through hindsight, as Kevin Reynold's $300 million epic is free from more modern, more "manufactured" filmmaking techniques, such as extensive CG. The ocean is real, as are the boats and atolls that pock mark it in the story of a hollow-souled Mariner (played by a one-speed Kevin Costner) who spends his days filitering his own urine into drinking water, in between exploring the seas of a world covered by water, thanks to the melting of the polar ice caps. Bars serve H2O instead of beer, and dirt is as valuable as gold, something the Mariner discovers when he visits a trading post only to incur the wrath of its locals. For the Mariner is a mutant - he has gills and webbed-feet - which apparently is grounds for death in a world populated by post-apocalyptic folks sporting fishnets and weathered shoulder pads. His execution is stayed when Dennis Hopper leads his band of Smokers (Road Warrior rejects) to seize the atoll and one of its most valuable citizens: A young girl (an annoying Tina Majorino) who sports a tattoo of a map that could take them all to dry land. Waterworld's biggest problem is that it tasks us with caring about a Han Solo of the seas who lacks both the charm and the charisma of the Star Wars hero. There is no one really to root for here, and Costner's limited range makes it that much more obvious. Therefore, we are left with more than 2 hours of running time going on a journey with people we don't want to be with, to a place built up to be mythic, to be salvation, but instead feels like an island that looks a lot like Hawaii. Waterworld isn't a great film, or a terrible one. It simply settles for being a mild diversion hiding behind a solid premise that blockbusters would crave nowadays. It's too bad Hollywood doesn't make movies of this scale anymore, or else maybe remake fever would settle in and elevate the movie's story to match its scope.

Jerry Maguire

Tom Cruise is Jerry Maguire, a professional sports agent who one night realizes that something is wrong in his life and crafts a huge mission statement detailing his new philosophy. He quickly copies it and sends it to every employee, but it only ends up getting him fired.

So he strikes out on his own along with a single mother (Renee Zellweger) and a lone athlete (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and tries to keep things going in the light of harsh competition from his former job.

The movie went on to become Crowe's most successful probably because the deeply honest nature of its story and the excellent performances all around created a very entertaining movie, despite its 139 minute running time.

Angels & Demons

Angels and Demons ? originally published before Brown's much-discussed The Da Vinci Code ? tells the story of the rise of an ancient group of intellectuals once purged by the Catholic Church, the Illuminati, returned after centuries in hiding to enact their revenge against the Vatican. With the previous Pope deceased and the cardinals from around the world gathered for Conclave ? the process by which a new Pope is chosen ? the Illuminati strike, kidnapping four beloved cardinals, each frontrunners for the Papal seat, threatening to kill one every hour leading up to a cataclysmic even at midnight. The event? The collision of matter and anti-matter, stolen from a nearby lab ? the meeting of which could cause a massive, five-kiloton explosion, destroying the heart of the church and all its members. The Pope's right-hand, the Camerlengo (played here by Ewan McGregor) calls in Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) who must decode the ancient clues of the Illuminati in order to discover the centuries-buried Path of Illumination, along which the bishops will be killed and the location of the bomb will be revealed.

Except that, here's the problem ? Suspense stories generally work best under two conditions ? when the villain is smarter than the hero, or the hero considerably smarter than the villain ? but are seldom successful when everybody is smarter than the audience. The result in that instance is a two-hour history lesson in which the film is constantly asking the audience not to put together a complex string of clues ? which can often make viewers feel active in the experience ? but instead to open their books to "Chapter Whatever" for a quick 101 on European history. This doesn't make us feel dumb ? in fact, much of the history in this film is rather fascinating ? so much as it deprives the characters of the opportunity to speak and behave and interact like actual characters.

Overall, however, the performances work and the script conveys a truckload of information clearly, though at the expense of that which would make the film feel considerably more substantial. If only for its atmosphere, scope and scale, it's a marginally better attempt than The Da Vinci Code, but all told, at its very best, Angels & Demons is competent ? too thoughtful for a cinematic beach-read, yet too insubstantial for the filmic equivalent of a good, hefty novel.

The Nines
The Nines(2007)

The Nines can be too enamored with its own cleverness, sometimes being a mind-job just for the sake of it. While its non-linear narrative isn't especially difficult to follow, the movie will surely lose some filmgoers when it makes the leap from "inside showbiz" schtick to the metaphysical.

The film is certainly daring and different, qualities which deserve acclaim, but it can also be a chore to sit through, which is surprising given its mere 99 minute running time. Reality Television is perhaps the strongest chapter, with The Prisoner bearing the burden of having to establish both the tone of the overall film and set-up all the twists that will play out for the rest of the film.

The performances are all solid, especially from Reynolds. He seamlessly transitions from playing Gary the junkie "tough TV cop" to Gavin the gay, overwhelmed writer-producer to family man Gabriel, with Gavin being perhaps his best turn in the film. Reynolds is utterly believable in each incarnation; when is this guy going to become a major star already?! McCarthy is an affable and charming screen presence who also deserves more notice than she's received.

The Nines is imaginative and intriguing, but not enough so to keep from alienating some viewers who will be bewildered by the film's existential overtones.

Up
Up(2009)

Carl, voiced by Ed Asner. Having lost his bubbly Mary Tyler Moore, the pushing-80 Carl has nothing left in life to keep his spirits up, as they say. And yet while this geriatric animated character has taken an emotional licking, he keeps on ticking, working through his daily routine of getting out of bed, cleaning the house, dressing, and heading out to... sit on the porch, talking to his dear departed Ellie, who in his mind has come to be represented by the home the pair shared all those years.

But when a big-city real-estate developer manages to get Carl evicted from his house and sent to an old-age home, our elderly hero takes action. Former balloon salesman that he is, Carl turns the house into a flying contraption, lifted into the air by hundreds and hundreds of inflatables which enable the old man to float above his problems, if only for the moment. The initial shots of Carl's flight are breathtaking and beautifully rendered as the character charts a course with his house-balloon for South America, site of his and Ellie's childhood dreams of adventure.

Speaking of which, Carl soon finds that he's got a stowaway onboard, a neighborhood kid named Russell (Jordan Nagai) who is all go-go-go, but who we slowly piece together is facing abandonment issues of his own. The not-quite-curmudgeonly (but not-quite-nice either) Carl has to take the boy under his grey wing once they arrive in South America, where the adventure the old guy had dreamed of his whole life immediately takes to interfering with his day-to-day. These exploits include encountering a pack of talking dogs (not talking in the traditional cartoon sense, but talking via electronic thingamabobs strapped to their collars), adopting a rare species of bird, and stumbling upon a Lindbergh-esque childhood hero of his who is amazingly still alive and looks a heckuva lot like Kirk Douglas (but is voiced by Christopher Plummer).

The design of these events is stunning throughout, with the climactic action scenes onboard the ersatz Douglas' dirigible at least matched by the less flashy down-to-Earth shots of Carl dragging his slowly deflating house-balloon through the jungle. Oh-so-slightly deflated as well is one's enthusiasm for the material late in the film, which becomes slightly more generic good-guy-vs.-bad-guy stuff when compared to the inspired opening sequences of the movie. And yet, in the end Up turns out to not be an action movie or a comedy or a kid's film, or even necessarily a mere animated movie, but rather a beyond-the-grave love story between Carl and his lost bride. And if a tear or two is shed in the audience due to this heartfelt plotline, well, at least you'll have your 3-D glasses to hide behind.

The Blind Side

he quality of The Blind Side is 100 percent in the little things. Bullock offers a pitch-perfect performance as the typical Southern mother and despite navigating her most well-written role to date, she's aided considerably my McGraw. Having played the abusive, emotionally distant football father in Friday Night Lights, McGraw plays Bullock's charmingly supportive husband with an understated charisma and utterly infectious charm. The pair feel like a genuine couple, a relationship that is cemented by the high quality of the kid's performances. But Quinton Aaron as Michael Oher is where the film ultimately lives or dies. This massive gentle-giant turns in a performance that'd be star-making were it not so specific. Oher is a character of limited intellect, but limitless compassion, and Aaron is able to convey a world of emotion through his thoughtful gaze and simple glances. There's no excess of dialogue here, and yet the audience is left completely engrossed in Michael's future and always connected to what he's thinking and feeling. Also impressive is that Oher, as a character, has no real love of football when the movie begins. He's aimless, without an idea in the world of what his place should be, and it's only through the encouragement of the Toughy's that Michael eventually discovers his budding passion for something real. Overall, The Blind Side is an excellent movie that manages to be about football without ever being a "football movie." The performances are truthful and you're left fully invested not only in Michael, but in the Toughy's in general. It really does overcome all it could have been to be a subtler, smarter film than one might expect.

Heat
Heat(1995)

Frequently replicated but rarely rivaled, Heat is the quintessential cat-and-mouse crime epic whose influence has extended from films to videogames, most recently Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Al Pacino is Vincent Hanna, a Lieutenant in the Los Angeles Police Department, and Robert De Niro is Neil McCauley, the leader of a gang of proficient thieves, which includes the likes of Chris Shiherlis, played by Val Kilmer.

The story follows this cast of characters as the two heavyweights, De Niro and Pacino, go head-to-head. For nearly three hours, the film follows Hanna as he tries to piece together and trap McCauley, who is constantly trying to stay one step ahead. Shiherlis, on the other hand, is McCauley's right hand man, but finds his work creating tension in his marriage to Charlene, played by Ashley Judd. The supporting cast is wide and varied, including the talents of several notable names, such as Jon Voight, Natalie Portman, Tom Sizemore, and Ted Levine. While the film is filled to the brim with memorable moments, the standout scene that leaves a lasting impression on the viewer is the shootout between Hanna and the LAPD with McCauley and his crew in downtown Los Angeles. The scene goes on for close to 10 minutes, but manages to keep you on the edge of your seat. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the entire 170 minutes of the film. Heat is an engrossing and exciting endeavor which leaves a lasting impression on the viewer, but its length can be a bit daunting. Still, its a must-see for fans of the genre, and of course, for fans of Mann's directorial style.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon
½

The film suffers a bit from middle-child syndrome, often a problem with the second part of multiple-film franchises. Bella and Edward are already together when we enter the story, so there isn't that initial rush of watching the characters fall in love. The plot is also burdened with exposition and laying the groundwork of the next installment, most of which is done in the climactic final act, set in the Italian city of Volterra. Until we get there, the pace tends to drag, and it often feels as though the story is just treading water. he performances don't really help matters much. With Edward out of the picture, Jacob becomes the male romantic lead for much of the film, and Lautner is up to the challenge. He's done a lot of work to bulk himself up for the role, and takes every possible opportunity to show it, even when it's not relevant to the story. Pattinson's job doesn't require much more of him than looking pretty and tortured, and he does both with equal proficiency. Stewart is the weak link here, however. She rushes through much of her dialogue, as if she is fully aware of how cheesy it is and just wants to get through it as quickly as possible. Her delivery isn't as flat and wooden as it was in Twilight, but she's still fairly subdued and joyless throughout much of the film. Which is a problem when you're the central character with whom audiences are supposed to identify. The most improved aspect here, in comparison with the last film, is the action scenes. Director Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass) is clearly much more comfortable with the scope of a project like this, and he's a lot better at handling action than Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke. This isn't an action film by any stretch, but the conflict between the vampires and werewolves heats up in this installment, and we get a few cool action and chase sequences. The CG is also well designed and rendered. The werewolves in particular are expressive, and the transitions from human to creature are swift and seamless.
At its heart, though, New Moon is an unabashedly melodramatic tale of tortured romance. Fueled by a melancholy indie soundtrack featuring the likes of Death Cab for Cutie, Thom Yorke, Bon Iver and The Killers, this film knows its audience well. It delivers what is expected of it, but not much more. New Moon will undoubtedly appeal to the legions of Twilight fans out there, but it'll be a harder sell for the rest of the movie-going public. As a standalone film judged on its own merits, this vampire/werewolf movie doesn't have much bite.

Monsters, Inc.

Monsters, Inc. introduces us to a world parallel to our own (parallel universes seem to be a theme for new releases this weekend), in which vibrantly colored, freakishly designed "monsters" function in a society not unlike our own (store fronts, restaurants, television sets, vehicles, etc.) This monster world can only be fueled by the energy released from supercharged human emotion (extreme laughter, or...in this instance...a scream of terror). A corporation called Monsters, Inc. is charged with the daunting task of keeping monster society juiced-up. They regularly deploy "scarers" ? highly-respected teams of well-trained monsters ? to traverse a dimensional "doorway" to our world, then scare the piss out of unsuspecting children. The energy released from this effort is then bottled-up and brought back to monster land, where it is put to use in the same way we use energy. But, however "scary" they may be, the monsters are extremely (almost fascistly) isolationist ? any item brought back from our reality is deemed a contaminate of the highest order (there are even well-equipped Haz Mat commandos to deal with such heinous breaches). So, imagine what happens when a human child finds its way into monster land through the same dimensional doorway used by the beasties, and quickly makes herself at home. Monsters, Inc. is fun enough and, chances are, you will find payoff if you take your kids to see this movie. But it could have been so much more, so easily. Such a waste when the filmmakers clearly had the talent on hand ? and so many ideas to draw on ? to realize something better.

Smokin' Aces
Smokin' Aces(2007)

Smokin' Aces isn't the most original endeavor, but it has enough wit, action and dramatic weight to carve out its own rightful place of honor in the crime film genre. There are enough subplots and cool ideas in Smokin' Aces to have sustained four films let alone one: the "are they in love or aren't they?" bond between Georgia and Sharice; the backstory about a long-dead undercover FBI agent; the disintegrating friendship between Buddy and his right-hand man, Sir Ivy (rapper Common, making a solid film acting debut); and Messner's gradual disillusionment with the agency. It is this heart and soul that raises Smokin' Aces above its brethren in the guns, guts and great one-liners sub-genre. While Aces may seem to be too close to Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie's turf for some, Carnahan's story ultimately offers more than superficial coolness or blackly comic tough guy posturing. The moments between Georgia and Sharice (and later Sir Ivy), or any of Buddy's breakdown moments, are just as involving as any of the thrilling guns-blazing set-pieces.

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
½

Corpse Bride is a well-made family film. It's got some fun moments but, at under 90 minutes, it drags here and there. The music just doesn't do the visual work justice and is often used to pad a story that doesn't support a feature film. Tim Burton, along with co-director Mike Johnson, does a noble job with the direction of the film. The problems, instead, lie in John August's script, which lacks the, shall we say, oomph, to match the overwhelming visuals. Let's hope Corpse can age like Nightmare, but it's likely that Jack Skellington will remain the cultural pop du jour for Halloweens to come.

2012
2012(2009)
½

If director Roland Emmerich and the ancient Mayan calendar are to be believed, we'll all be dead in three years. In 2012, Emmerich's latest disaster epic, earth crust displacement and a unique solar alignment bring about the end of the world as we know it. (Mayans scholars, it should be noted, claim they've been misunderstood, and that their prophecies really refer to a rebirth for humanity in 2012 rather than our utter and complete annihilation. We'll see.) 2012 is every bit as cheesy, melodramatic and full of jaw-dropping spectacle as the Allen-produced star-studded disaster epics that inspired it -- and, dare I say, almost as much dopey fun as them. As in those '70s classics, respectable actors are cast in essentially soap opera-level roles where they get a few perfunctory scenes to establish what's at stake for their characters beyond just mere survival. When that's out of the way, they can get down to their real duty which is to shout, run and look scared. Audiences looking for nothing more than eye candy, dumb fun and sheer spectacle will definitely get their money's worth from 2012. Indeed, you'll get about five disaster movies in one here; most blockbusters would be content to simply destroy California, but to Emmerich that's just Act One. Short of remaking When Worlds Collide, it's tough to imagine how he could ever top 2012 in either concept or execution. 2012 may be a giant, campy, silly mishmash of disaster movie cliches, but it's also done with such conviction and visceral power that the viewer won't feel cheated for lack of showmanship.

Full Metal Jacket
½

Many people have noted that Full Metal Jacket feels like two movies, the first half devoted to Marine draftees in Paris Island undergoing brutal basic training and the second half showing one of them caught up in the Tet Offensive. But there is a common thread, and that is what dehumanization can do to a man. Part one opens with the hilarious montage of draftees getting their heads shaved with great expedience by a military barber, who ends up ankle deep in human hair. It's a lot less funny when Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (Lee Ermey) is introduced. Ermey is a one-liner machine, spewing soundbites that can't be reprinted here but are nonetheless hilarious and the makings of movie history, like "What is your major malfunction, numb nuts?" Most fans prefer the first half to the second, and why not? Ermey is priceless. I've heard he was brought in to train the actors, and as soon as he lit up as a Marine DI and Kubrick saw the reactions of the actors, he signed Ermey to play the role, rather than just train someone to do it. But that's not to diminish D'Onofrio, whose character also evokes conflicting emotions. On the one hand, your first reaction is he shouldn't be there, he should be washed out and sent home. On the other hand, there is a notion that some people need to be pushed to find out what they have inside them, to bring out their best. Well, Sgt. Hartman found out what was inside Private Pyle, all right. This isn't Kubrick's best movie, but it sure is his most quotable.

The Orphanage
½

The Orphanage exercises more than a few horror movie conventions in its pursuit of suspense, including parental separation from their children, otherworldly spirits and physical manifestations of emotional traumas. But like the best of these gothic films -- including those mentioned above -- this story never seems content to simply rehash the same tired details, even if they serve the immediate purpose of a good scare or shocking sequence. That said, director Bayona does such a wonderful job reimagining these familiar ideas that they almost invariably seem fresh; even the film's "don't go in the basement/dark place" moments are treated with a sincerity and style that renders them compelling and scary. Because elegant, gothic and yes art-house horror films aren't so much like nonalcoholic beer, or otherwise robbed of the simple and graphic thrills that we associate with the genre. Rather, The Orphanage and films like it are more akin to a fine wine: They eventually accomplish the same purpose as their plebeian counterparts -- namely, to shock and scare audiences -- but savoring the experience is more often the point than the end result. I didn't like all of the notes that were in this film, but I liked enough of them to be left buzzing when I exited the theater.

The Exorcist
The Exorcist(1973)

he Exorcist is the story of a 12-year-old girl who is possessed by a demon, and the efforts of her mother, a psychiatrist/priest, and finally an "exorcist" to purge the demon from her body. It is such a startling, thought-provoking film, and subject to so many different interpretations, that it was a sensation when released and is even banned in the U.K. to this day. All of the performances are very good, but 12-year-old Linda Blair is amazing as Regan, the possessed child. Her facial contortions and body movements are so chillingly evil and beyond the concievable experience of any 12-year-old you really believe that she has become a puppet for another intelligence.

Armageddon
Armageddon(1998)

This movie is crammed with action and special effects, along with a star-studded cast. Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, and Billy Bob Thornton all lend their hands to help save the Earth in its greatest time of need. When it's discovered that a meteorite the size of Texas is headed for Earth, NASA decides that their best hope lies in landing a deep core drilling team on the rock, to plant a nuclear warhead in the center. While the movie seems to drag in parts, and has a few scenes that seems completely unbelievable (Jumping across the canyon? Give me a break!), it's still fun to watch. It has the same feel as Michael Bay's other films (The Rock, Bad Boys), so you pretty much know what you're getting into from the beginning. I think it would have been much better if it were about half an hour shorter (Is it me, or did it seem like forever before they actually got into space?), but all in all, it's a solid movie.

Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer
½

It is a relief no one involved with the production took it seriously. Sure, there was money on the line and careers could have been ruined, but there was no illusion Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer was going to compete for an Oscar, let alone be an important film. No, the idea was to create a homage to the splatter flicks of the 1980s. On that account, the film is a wild success. That success is attributed to three factors: Trevor Matthews (as Brooks), Englund and the monster design by David Scott.

Without Matthews as the titular slayer, the film would loose a certain amount of warmth and compassion. Brooks turns out to be a reluctant hero who uses his negative trait (temper) as an asset. Cinema is littered with characters like this, though none can quite compare. Why? Simply because he's an everyman, someone who walks in late to class, inadvertently messes up a job and doesn't think of himself as a hero. We're with him at every step, learning the rules of this new world. Characters along these lines have always been the most appealing to audiences.

Then there's Freddy Krueger himself, Robert Englund, who single-handedly steals the show. It isn't enough to see him sans burn makeup; the bumbling, cartoonish Crowley brightens the screen and makes the audience long for him when he's absent. This isn't a straight-up scare movie ? the commentary makes fun of people who may jump at it ? rather, with Englund, it is a near comedy. Each of his mannerisms while possessed feels straight out of a Three Stooges film. At the same time he plays the scientist stereotype to a T in a lecture about salt. It's impossible not to expect him to take a pie in the face at some point (he doesn't).

Paul Blart: Mall Cop

Paul Blart: Mall Cop is a sloppily made, hit-and-miss and ultimately inconsequential comedy that's worth watching if you're stuck on a long flight somewhere. Kevin James is an affable screen presence, but he'll need stronger material if he's going to make the leap from TV star to a film star who can carry a movie without needing a bigger name co-star (as he did in Hitch and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry).

Carrie
Carrie(1976)
½

Carrie may have one of the most disturbing opening scenes in horror - DePalma is so able to convey Carrie's confusion and terror at getting her first period, and the derision and hatred of the girls in the locker room that it's downright chilling, and underscores what the horror of this movie is really about. It isn't a telekinesis revenge story (well, it is) but really an allegory for growing up. The cast in Carrie is just fantastic. Young actors on the cusp of their careers (some good, some not as much), they bring a realness to the roles that seems to get lost in so many other high school horror films. Sissy Spacek is heartbreaking as Carrie, Piper Laurie brings madness and sympathy to the mother, Amy Irving is golden, and John Travolta has the role he was born for - goofy moron. Obviously, the movie is set in the 70s, so it looks dated, but I don't think in a terrible way. The one scene that I think hasn't aged so well though is the prom sequence. Everything leading up to the infamous rampage works - there's just something anticlimactic about the actual destruction, caused in part by low production values and in part by the audience being used to seeing all kinds of super stunts. In the end, though, the real climax works terriffically, and while the payoff of the prom isn't what you hoped for, the buildup is masterful.

Heavy Metal
Heavy Metal(1981)

Heavy Metal is a series of testosterone-imbued animated shorts based on the comic magazine of the same name. The 90-minute feature is the combined work of several animation studios around the world. The sequences are loosely linked together around a mysterious green glowing globe-- the Loc-Nar-- which represents the pure embodiment of evil. This movie may be animated, but it's not for the kids. Expect graphic novel standards, only animated-- fantastic stories, cursing, drug-snorting aliens, gory deaths, oversexed robots, and well-endowed women abound in Heavy Metal. But what would an animated movie about evil, rebellion, and rock 'n' roll be without a few double-D sized breasts, anyway? While the segments are poorly-joined, most of the stories hold up well on their own, making Heavy Metal an interesting and entertaining mix of comedy, drama, fantasy, and science fiction. The movie also exhibits some really incredible animation techniques, especially considering the age of the film, and is worth seeing just for experiencing a project of this magnitude from the early '80s.

Brazil
Brazil(1985)
½

Terry Gilliam, late of the Monty Python movies and his own Time Bandits and Jabberwocky, here creates a bizarre, quirky, and altogether dark vision of our future, should technology and bureaucracy continue on their present rate of growth. The protagonist for this strange journey is Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), a mid-level clerk in the Ministry of Information's Department of Records. When a clerical error results in the apprehension, interrogation, and execution of the wrong man-- and the man's family is overcharged for the government's trouble in doing so-- Lowry goes to deliver a refund check to the man's family, and finds the woman of his dreams. Literally of his dreams-- though Sam is mired in this drab, gray, oppressive world, every night he dreams he is a winged superhero, rescuing a beautiful woman from the clutches of evil. And he finds her-- minus the long blond hair. That's the basic plot, but there's a hell of a lot more than that going on in this movie. Robert De Niro has a bit part as a renegade Air Conditioning repairman, who's wanted by the government for fixing people's ducts without going through the proper channels of Central Services. Katherine Helmond appears as Sam's well-connected, plastic surgery-obsessed Mother. And Gilliam's old Python buddy Michael Palin stars as Sam's old friend, family man (and agent of torture and interrogation in the government's "Information Retrieval" department) Jack Lint. This movie is just about perfect, and I recommend it highly.

The Boondock Saints
½

The Boondock Saints is precisely the kind of underworld jaunt that will polarize film fans: action junkies will enjoy its violent twists and imaginative turns, while cinephiles will despise its derivative, Tarantinoesque half-cleverness and sometimes absurd stylization. As for me? I guess I'm somewhere in the middle. In truth, there are a lot of things wrong with Boondock Saints, starting with the virtual absence of a main character (much less two) who is sympathetic or memorable. As two religious brothers who believe they are ridding the world of evil, Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus are essentially instruments of the director, not God, so while we can identify with their outrage, there's precious little direct emotional identification - particularly since the moral dilemma of precisely what distinguishes 'good' from 'evil' is never directly addressed by either of them. At the same time, I quite liked the structure of the film, even if its elliptical time-jumping definitely recalls another filmmaker whose oevure prominently features tough-talking hoods and headhunters. With Boondock, Duffy if nothing else shows promise - that most elusive of qualities - even if he doesn't yet have the discipline to execute his ideas with the kind of expertise and dexterity that would justify his self-aggrandizement. By the time Willem Dafoe is literally in the midst of a firefight he's only describing, there's a kind of bravura on display that suggests good if not great things to come; whether Duffy can ultimately deliver remains to be seen, but there are enough ideas here to sustain the fledgling filmmaker when and if he's lucky enough to continue his chosen career path.

The Fifth Element

The Fifth Element is a pretty basic story of good versus evil. What makes it so appealing is that this basic premise is handily wrapped in a retina-searing, stylized futuristic world. Luc Besson (Who directed and wrote this film) certainly has an original taste for what the future will be like. From the heavily armored cops, to the flying Thai restaurant that looks like a boat, to the strange blue plastic skullcaps that the villain's henchmen wear, it's a very strange world. A Blade Runner rip-off this is not. For the most part, this look is largely successful, but there are some costumes that are just downright goofy looking (I just can't make myself like Milla Jovovich's carrot-orange hair, and I happen to LIKE redheads), and some of the sets seem a bit out there in left field. For instance, what's with the black lights in the cloning lab? They serve no other purpose than to make things look odd. The acting is a mixed bag. The main players in the movie are fine and dandy. Good even. But about halfway though the movie, the extras take a turn for the crappy. Maybe there were budget cuts or something, but they are REAL bad at their jobs. They have no emotion whatsoever, and the fact that what they're saying is so banal doesn't help things either ("The flight attendants are turning on the sleep regulators, which will regulate your sleep." Ugh.). Makes you wonder if Besson owed these people favors or something.

Land of the Lost
½

There isn't much in the way of a plot in Land of the Lost -- it really does feel like a string of TV show sketches cobbled together -- but it nevertheless makes the cut in the dumb but fun department. Ferrell offers the latest iteration of his arrogant man-child persona, but he does so with enough abandon that we forgive him for taking another trip back to that oft-visited well. Ferrell, as he often has in past films, receives solid support from his fellow comic co-stars who keep things funny even when his character runs out of gas. With scenes of boob-groping and drug-induced hazes, Land of the Lost is definitely an edgier comedy than many filmgoers might expect. This is a borderline "R" film (it's funny how PG-13 doesn't really mean PG-13 anymore in these post-Dark Knight days). Parents hoping to bring their children to a Jumanji-style fantasy or a Night at the Museum-like romp will be dismayed by the raciness of the material, although kids should enjoy some of the film's sillier gross-out gags. Teens and couples, however, will likely appreciate the film's subversive, raunchy moments. Fans of the old show might be bummed to see that it's been turned into a comedy, but a dramatic version of that story has already been told. If you substitute genetic engineering for time portals you'll find that Jurassic Park has the same basic premise: a stodgy scientist and two kids find themselves trapped in a dangerous, primordial world. For those general filmgoers not familiar with or fanatical about the TV series, Land of the Lost offers enough laughs and eye candy to warrant a look-see, but you might find that only a few moments from the movie will stay with you once the lights come up.

Unforgiven
Unforgiven(1992)

It's a movie that just so happens to take place in the old west while showing the evil that exists in mankind while hammering home the message that nothing good ever comes out of violence. At the same time, you'll never find another western that's this realistic. Instead of the town featuring busy streets that are packed with people, it's predicted as an eerily quiet small community. Eastwood doesn't turn it into a "Hollywood" western, but instead tries to show how isolated and quiet the old west really was. And he succeeds in that attempt with flying colors. Unforgiven is completely deserving as its status as one of the greatest westerns ever filmed. It's a true modern classic and a movie that should be in any Eastwood or western fan's collection.

Carlito's Way
½

Carlito's Way demonstrates that mainstream filmmaking needn't be either completely conventional or fiercely independent; at its best moments, De Palma exploits formula to serve his own creative ends, and satisfies both himself and his audience simultaneously. In the pantheon of gangster movies, this film ranks only slightly below the absolute best of the genre's classics - consider this the Casino to Scarface's Goodfellas - but even as a second-tier success, De Palma's reunion with Pacino remains a modern mobster masterpiece.

Zombieland
Zombieland(2009)

While Shaun of the Dead will probably always rank as the greatest zombie comedy of all time, Zombieland certainly deserves a spot high up on that not very long list. Equal parts action, horror and comedy, Zombieland is one helluva funny (and fun) movie that suggests big things are ahead for director Ruben Fleischer (who never directed a film of this scope before). The movie finds just the right balance of thrills, scares, and laughs, and no element feels shoe-horned in at the expense of the other. Unlike Jennifer's Body -- which didn't know whether it was a comedy with horror in it or a horror movie with comedy -- Zombieland is definitely a comedy with horror in it. The zombies aren't necessarily played for laughs; there are some genuine (albeit sometimes stock) shocks that convince you these characters are in grave danger. The humor stems from the heroes' behavior during these dire moments: Columbus' cowardice and OCD, Tallahassee's fearlessness and tactlessness, Wichita and Little Rock's guile. While the script wisely gives each of them enough background to generate some pathos, they are ultimately more types than fully formed characters and are likable more because of the actors playing them than because of the depth of the script. Harrelson's Tallahassee is not only reminiscent of his character Mickey Knox from Natural Born Killers, but also Evil Dead's Ash Williams. There are even times where he seems like a redneck Crocodile Dundee. He has the showiest role in the movie, and Harrelson clearly relishes it. Eisenberg shines as a sort of classic Woody Allen nebbish (a very Michael Cera-esque role, but he has far more range than Cera). Stone is fine as the straight man to the more outlandish antics of the male leads, and Breslin's work indicates she should survive the adolescent career phase that does in so many other child actors. She's a mature kid here, but thankfully not too precocious.

Observe and Report

I had high hope before renting this movie, the trailer made me laugh a lot. This was not nearly as funny as the trailer made the movie seem. I did not have a dedicated plot, and went on to many different story lines before the end of the movie. One moment it is about a pervert running around the mall, than about the a thief stealing stuff after the mall closed, than it mainly focused on Ronnie trying to become a cop. By the end of this movie I have to say that I was very depressed on renting a terrible movie. The whole end 3 minute chase scene of the flasher was totally unnecessary and was just terrible to even put in the film. By the end of eighty minutes of pure torture I had to ask myself why the hell did I rent this.

Friday Night Lights

The most interesting aspect of Friday Night Lights is the part that was actually the center of the controversy over Bissinger's book, the fact that these people place all their hopes and dreams on this minute moment of high school life; that life afterwards is an afterthought. In truth, this is not really a scenario unique to Odessa, Texas or even unique to football, it happens in sports across the nation and probably the world, where winning in sports is the most important aspect of lives. There have been countless stories of brawling parents at their children's sporting events and of overseas fan riots over rugby and soccer matches. As the young football athletes of Odessa prepare for their season, the townspeople ask the same question over and over: "Are you going to win state this year?" McGraw, as the abusive father attempting to live vicariously through his son, puts it on an even more basic level which is probably all too true, telling his son to enjoy these times, because these are the best moments he will have in life.

The Color of Money
½

I have not seen the original but I still thought it was an excellent movie with terrific performances. I have to say, seeing most of Scorsese's films, this is probably one of my least favorites. It took way to long for me to get interested in the story line, but half way though I started to enjoy it more. By the end of the movie I felt that it did not up to any of Scorsese's previous films. I could still watch this many more time but I feel that it could have been better.

Hellraiser
Hellraiser(1987)
½

For what is essentially - at its rawest roots - a haunted house film, there's a philosophy to Hellraiser uncommon in lesser horror films. It aspires to be more than a man in a mask and a few screaming teenagers. It is a film about pleasures and how obsessively we seek them - - about how the price tag for what we want - openly or secretly -- too often says simply, "Hell." And perhaps it is over-thinking to wonder if the film continues to increase in resonance as we evolve into a culture of outstretched hands who believe that what we can have, we should have. Maybe it's over-thinking to wonder if the violence and viscera isn't employed to remind us that the only thing we truly possess - and the only thing that can truly be taken away -- is our own skin. Maybe that's over-thinking, but then again, maybe it's not.

Fighting
Fighting(2009)

Fighting is an old-fashioned boxing melodrama reminiscent of the pugilist pictures of the '40s and '50s with a story is as formulaic as it gets: young fighter is discovered, young fighter brawls his way to recognition, finds love, and ultimately faces a seemingly unbeatable foe. There's even the old "throw the fight or die" chestnut tossed in for good measure. The characters and their relationships are also contrived and hokey -- simple-minded but lovable palooka, streetwise mentor-manager, working class girlfriend, shady promoters, and cocky rivals -- but they are rendered by the cast with enough sincerity and heart to make you largely overlook those shortcomings. When it comes to the bareknuckle boxing scenes, though, Fighting largely delivers. The fights, like the smaller character moments, play "real" in all their sloppiness and grittiness. However, Shawn comes across as more lucky than skilled and he never really seemed in any true danger of losing or being hurt. The audience I saw it with loved the fight scenes and appeared to enjoy the movie overall, but they struck me as the same people who might egg on someone beating the snot out of some poor bastard on a train station platform or outside a club. So if you like to scream "Fight! Fight! Fight!" when the opportunity presents itself then Fighting is a match for you.

Gamer
Gamer(2009)
½

Gamer is a frustrating film for having elements that are very much worth liking ? or, at the very least, worth exploring further ? but the execution simply doesn't do service to the material. Granted, there are moments when the duo's anarchic style creates a smile-inducing visual ? like blood stains in a club spattering neon against the blacklight ? but those moments simply aren't enough to make the movie as a whole into something worth paying anything to see. If you liked the Crank films, we'd say put this one on your Netflix queue if you're curious. Otherwise, find something else at the theatre this weekend. The musical "puppet" sequence toward the end, the rave sequence, the over-the-top lunacy of "Society" ? these are all interesting, dynamic, thoroughly enjoyable moments, but they're sadly sandwiched between long stretches of senseless dialogue, shoddy, too-fast editing and an over-arching, over-bearing sense of style. The performances are solid ? so long as you can separate performance from character ? and Michael C. Hall makes an eccentric, though oddly effective, turn as the mustache-twirling villain.

State of Play
½

For all its big important ideas, State of Play ultimately works because it's a tale about human failings and character flaws. That's what keeps us glued to the screen and eager to find out what happens next. The talking points and boogeyman private military subplot are all just nice window dressing for a much more exciting thriller about betrayal -- the betrayal of a relationship, professional principles, or one's own conscience.

The Ninth Gate
½

To be honest I had no Idea what I was going to expect this movie to be good or not. When I read the box it really interested me but after finishing it I wonder to myself, was this suppose to be creepy. By the end of the film I had absolutely no idea what went on or what was going on. The ending had to be one of the most confusing movie endings I have ever seen, it kinda left you hanging and wondering what the hell just happened. It is a very creative concept that just could not pick up I was waiting for something interesting to happen. Johnny Depp was good in his part and the rest of the cast tried there best.

The Final Destination

I feel much the same way about The Final Destination. It's not really a movie, or rather, it's not a real movie, but it's a hugely entertaining carnival ride of elaborate, three-dimensional bloodletting. It's difficult to say whether the filmmakers took the 3-D format as permission to eschew things like story and performance, but beyond the non-existent narrative and uninspired acting, the kills are perfectly orchestrated to provide some gut-wrenching, laugh-inducing gore, all of which spatters back on the audience via the 3-D eyewear. Where the first two movies, and to some degree the third, tried to expand upon the initial concept, adding layers of mythology and upping the cinematic ante, this film is content to give viewers more of the same, though in a way they've yet to experience. Whether this is enough for you depends entirely on your tastes, and while this critic would have liked to see the series explore a few of the bigger questions or attempt something different with the set-up, there's certainly enough popcorn entertainment here to warrant the price of admission.

Dark City
Dark City(1998)
½

I'm a big fan of Alex Proyas' work, although this is really only his second movie (his first being The Crow). His work is truly visionary, and he has an impressive sense of style that permeates the entire movie, from the painstakingly crafted sets to the crafty editing of shots to communicate the tone of the scene. A very '40s film noir look dominates this film, with pools of light and dark competing for space on the screen, all with a feeling of gloom draped across the entire scene. The architecture is also noteworthy. It's as though someone took the Gotham City of Batman: The Animated Series and actually built it. It's claustrophobic, it's gritty, it's confusing, it's soul numbing, and it's great imagery.

Now all the visuals in the world don't make a good movie (*cough cough Lost World cough cough*). Fortunately, the acting is more than up to par. Rufus Sewell does a great job playing the wild-eyed and often bewildered protagonist. He is truly someone the audience can associate with as they try to work through the events together. Kiefer Sutherland is also terrific as the quirky Dr. Schrieber, who seems to be the only person who knows what's going on. Jennifer Connelly and William Hurt round out the cast by playing Murdoch's wife and a police detective respectively. They seem a bit listless at first, but there's an explanation for that. Unfortunately I can't tell you why without giving too much away.

Speaking of the plot, it's not perfect. It does tend to be kind of jumpy in its exposition, going quick in some places, and drawing it out slowly elsewhere. It's got a few holes in it too, but it's nothing major, and it's easily overlooked. The biggest problem I have with it is that the studio made them append a narration at the introduction of the movie that for the most part does away with a great deal of the mystery in the movie. I would have preferred it if they had just revealed it slowly throughout the movie instead of laying out most of the cards right there at the beginning.

Candyman
Candyman(1992)
½

I tried my best to enjoy this movie but just could not get into it. One of the weirdest horror movies that I have seen. I can't say that I enjoyed this movie all that much. Other than the character of Candyman it had very little interesting characters in the film. By the end I could not figure out what exactly was going on.

Aliens
Aliens(1986)

For all my needling of King James, he knows how to make a movie. He was smart enough not to try and remake the first film. Instead, he simply made a war movie, and it's a hell of a war. For almost an hour it's a non-stop assault on the viewer. Cameron made the movie for $18 million and he got five times as much for his money. I have to say, these are some really lousy Marines. Talk about undisciplined. Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein) defies the commanding officer's orders to turn over her ammo, when the aliens attack the unit falls apart, the drop ship leaves the door wide open for an alien to get in and Bill Paxton's character has to be the biggest puss of a Marine I've ever seen. His whining was so bad I was cheering for the aliens. Still, there's more than enough action to make up for it, and as good as Weaver is (she got an Oscar nomination for this film, which is unheard of for science fiction movies), Carrie Henn was tremendous. This was her first role and she never acted again, which is our loss. The additional footage telling of Ripley's daughter makes the Ripley/Newt relationship much more understandable.

H2: Halloween II

Rob Zombie doesn't like you. In fact, if there's anything that Zombie respects less than his audience, it's the movies themselves. In recent interviews, Zombie has played down his previous animosity toward the idea of making a sequel to his Halloween remake, a distain revoked after a year and a half of stalled projects and no easy green-lights. He's openly denied, and in fact laughed at, speculation that the opening 15 minutes of Halloween II, in which Michael Myers stalks an injured Laurie through an abandoned hospital, is in no way a homage, rip-off or reference to the original sequel, set entirely in Haddonfield Memorial. He's also stated on numerous occasions how much he respects John Carpenter, his classic thriller and the iconic character he created. The only problem is that given his behavior and the films as evidence, none of these things appear remotely true. With that in mind, either Zombie is little more than a self-interested liar hiding behind his rockstar, anti-establishment facade?or he's an inept filmmaker incapable of building upon what might otherwise have been an interesting idea. For those concerned about the kill quotient, fans of senseless murder need not fret. And when we say "senseless" murder, we don't mean it in that hippy-dippy way of saying that all killing in all horror movies is somehow inherently senseless. We mean that for a man with the single-minded task of killing only one, specific person, Myers stops at several places along the way ? like the strip club where his mother used to dance ? to kill people for absolutely no reason whatsoever. That said, some of the kills are relatively brutal ? like when Myers repeatedly stomps on a man's face until it's little more than hamburger ? but the overall terrible treatment of the character, and the horrible move in which he's portrayed, makes the small handful of high-quality kills far too little, far too late.

Final Destination 3
½

he film makes generous use of high school tropes, including the arrogant jock, airheaded popular girls, and edgy, Misfit-begarbed goth types. It does a good job of keeping the likeables around the longest. In fact, it seems to be making an 80's-era statement about acceptable behavior in the way it plots out the course of its victims. The kid who objectifies women bites it in the harshest way possible, and the other victims seem to be punished in a manner befitting their choices in life. Friday the 13th started the have-sex-and-you're-gonna-die element to horror films, and it's nice to see that idea is still going strong in the new millennium. Of course, if the movie didn't move at such a steady clip, the audience might care more that the characters aren't as realized as they could be. As is, it is a like a meat grinder on overdrive: pausing only to load in another cut. Director James Wong, who wrote and directed the original Final Destination, has learned a bunch since that outing, and the result is a well-paced and menacing movie not for the faint of heart.

Inglourious Basterds

I am a big fan of Quentin Tarantino's work and I have been waiting for this movie for a while. I have to say that Quentin Tarantino is able to bring a entertaining and completely fiction take on World War 2. Don?t go in expecting a balls-out action movie, because this isn?t it. While there are action set pieces in the film, it?s mostly about the dialog. There are a lot of characters in the film, some of which seem like they could have been cut without doing the film much harm. And for Brad Pitt fans - know that while he has quite a few scenes in the film, he?s not in it as much as you might hope. It, along with District 9 and Star Trek, is one of the best and most entertaining movie of the year. Just for everyone to know the ending something you will not see coming.

The Aviator
The Aviator(2004)
½

Since I am a big fan of Martin Scorsese work. I knew I would enjoy this movie no matter what. I really have no idea who Howard Hughes was before this movie but it made me understand a little bit about him. The one thing that bothered me was the length. I think it could have been a little shorter but that really makes no different to me. The incredible story of Howard Hughes' life is not an easy one to get a grasp on, much less to condense into a single film. He was a filmmaker and an incredibly innovative force in aviation. He was also an incredibly eccentric millionaire and, later in his life, a very sick man who lost control of his life and reality in general. The best performance from DiCaprio The I have seen so far. Though it is not his best movie it is still one of my favorites of all time.

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
½

I had no idea what I was going to expect from this movie. After many of my friends had suggested it to me I thought about giving it a try. It is not your typical slasher film this introduces you to a man who wants to be like the Slasher legends (Jason, Mike Myers, and Freddy Kruger). It also give you a lot of detail about how they are able to keep up with people who are running and return from the dead. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, which is indeed a very postmodern film. It's a movie that really only exists if one goes in with prior knowledge of films like Halloween and Friday the 13th, and the way in which they work.

Final Destination 2

After enjoying the first one and really wanting to see the new one, I decided to watch the other two films. I have to say this one was not nearly suspenseful as the first one. You pretty much knew who it was going to turn out. Final Destination 2 seems to have set out to do only one thing ? deliver bloody deaths on the most impressive scale ? and within that rather limited ambition, it succeeds as a sadistic piece of amusement.

South Park - The Complete Fourth Season

The fourth season of South Park, which ran from April to December 2000, is one of its strongest, even for having one of the dumbest episodes ever. What other show could take on a group as vile as NAMBLA and have you in utter hysterics at the end? We also saw just how fast Matt Stone and Trey Parker can produce an episode. The season started in April, and just a few weeks earlier they lost out for an Oscar in the Best Song category for "Blame Canada" to Phil Collins. So the duo got their revenge, twice, in the episodes Cartman's Silly Hate Crime and Timmy. Also. the episode Quintuplets aired only a week after government officials stormed the Miami house of Elian Gonzalez's family and grabbed the kid. As usual, Matt and Trey took no prisoners, ridiculing both the government and American arrogance at the same time.

South Park - The Complete Third Season

Since its debut in 1997, South Park has been a downpour of acid rain on the parade of political correctness, unafraid to offend anyone, especially people who take the cartoon too seriously. God help you if you wound up in Matt and Trey's gun sights. After one of Phil Collins's banal Disney soundtracks beat "Blame Canada" for an Oscar, he was mercilessly skewered for two episodes. One week after Elian Gonzalez was yanked from his uncle's home by the INS, they had an episode on the air ridiculing Attorney General Janet Reno, who was voiced by a man. Season three was done while they were working on the movie, Bigger, Longer and Uncut (I can't believe the MPAA let that one through), and a few episodes show it. Most of them are brilliant, hilarious and unbelievably offensive, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

South Park - The Complete Second Season
½

The writing in the second season still tests the bounds of good taste, which is exactly what you want out of South Park. This is the season where we learned who Cartman's dad, uh, mom, uh...let's just skip it -- it's a little confusing. In my opinion, some of the best episodes from the entire series can be found in this collection. Chickenlover, Chef's Salty Chocolate Balls and Gnomes are some of my favorites, and although some aren't as good as others, there are really no complete slackers in this collection.

South Park - The Complete First Season
½

Any hardcore South Park fan will probably know most of those episodes forwards and backwards, as there are some true gems in there. Volcano remains my favorite South Park episode off all time as Jimbo and Ned take the boys on a hunting trip and we get some great one-liners from Cartman and his adventures in 'Nam. Weight Gain 4000 is a great episode where Mr. Garrison attempts to kill Kathy Lee Gifford, but fails (too bad) while Cartman bulks up for his TV appearance.

The Guardian
The Guardian(2006)

It's as if they makers were so aware that we've seen this all before, they didn't even bother to try and go through the motions of pretending to care about creating proper characters. Other than Brian Geraghty as the Cadet Who Has Washed Out Twice Before And This Is His Last Chance To Make It, to whom Jake becomes a mentor, the only other cadets who rise above extra status (i.e. are given a couple of lines) are Dul Hill and Shelby Fenner as the Black Cadet and the Girl Cadet. I'm not even sure if they had names and they lack any distinguishing characteristics beyond their appearance. Neal McDonough (Minority Report) plays the Lead Instructor Who Ben Replaced Who Bullies The Cadets and Clancy Brown (Carnivale) and John Heard (Prison Break) are Ben's Kindly Commanding Officers.

Twelve Monkeys (12 Monkeys)
½

12 Monkeys is based on/expanded upon the short film La Jette, and they did a bang-up job in keeping the visual style intact. The way they portray the future, with weird pipes and tubes in almost everything, and everyone wearing plastic clothing, is just dead on with the way it looked in La Jette. Terry Gilliam does just an incredible job with this film in all aspects. The future is weird and utterly strange and otherworldly, and the present has a very bleak and bizarre tinge to it too. Take the scenes in the insane asylum for instance, with its unconventional camera angles and extreme close ups and sterile, monochromatic color schemes. The whole shebang is just one brilliant looking thrill ride, albeit it can get a little confusing sometimes. Gilliam was truly at the top of his game with this one. While some people might not appreciate or understand this movie, it is really an incredible piece of work in every aspect. The acting, the direction, the production value, it's all top-notch stuff, and I love every little bit of it (Especially when you consider they only had 29 million dollars to make it). This is, without doubt, one of my favorite movies of all time.

District 9
District 9(2009)

The best pieces of genre filmmaking ? be they horror or sci-fi or fantasy ? begin with an idea, some human and universal notion that audiences can take with them throughout the journey, either consciously or unconsciously. Sadly, this is so often lacking in most modern-day fare, and District 9 is almost wholly unique this year in combining fantastic action with thoughtful, narrative filmmaking. In the mainstream, there's no reason this film should exist. Set in South Africa, no big stars, sub-titled alien dialogue, unlikely heroes, an unpolished documentary approach? And yet, the film works so well because of not in spite of all of that.

This Is Spinal Tap

Without question, I would say this is one of the three funniest movies I have ever seen. The total absurdity of the world of rock and roll is very fertile comic ground, and the three comedians (in long wigs and ridiculous British accents) reap it for all it's worth. I'm tempted to sit here and try to convey some of the humor by describing situations or quoting some of the quotes, but that would be a waste of time-- it wouldn't be as funny. Not even close. So rather than ruining it, let me just say that if you haven't seen this movie, don't wait until you find it on DVD-- get your hands on it in any form you can. VHS, beta, reel-to-reel, whatever it takes.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

You may have heard it stated that this is the perfect movie for eight year olds? or, at the very least, the eight year old that you once were. And while the former is true, the latter is somewhat misleading. G.I. Joe doesn't require that you awaken your inner-child and dismiss any sense of your adulthood to enjoy it. You just have to take it in the spirit in which it is intended. In fact, there is something rather admirable in Sommers' attempt to neither pander to his audience nor unnecessarily class-up the source material. The good guys are good guys; the bad guys are bad. The schemes are ridiculous and the characters are broad. But nothing here is ever too much of anything. This is an adult's interpretation of a childhood phenomenon, and if you're willing to give it a shot and not expect a work of cinematic art, one suspects that you'll find yourself entertained enough to give your best, "Yo, Joe!"

Fast & Furious
½

Fast & Furious is the most dramatically solid entry in the franchise, although it's not insulting to say that no one goes to see a Fast and the Furious film expecting high brow drama or Oscar-worthy performances. The fact that this sequel is set almost a decade after the first film, and reunites its two main stars, lends Fast & Furious a bit more maturity than the series has been known for. The actors are that little bit older, seasoned, and world-weary, all of which makes the bitterness between Brian and Dom (as well as between Brian and Mia) that much more interesting and dynamic. Overall, Fast & Furious is dumb fun that should make for a good night out for 16 year-old boys and the 36 year-old men who still want to behave like adolescents. It's arguably the best installment in the Fast and the Furious franchise, but that also means it might be the right time to finally park this series in long-term storage.

Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny

The Pick of Destiny stands as yet another accomplishment for the pop culture phenomenon known as Tenacious D. It provides an imaginary back-story for their legions of fans ? something The D has in common with legendary rock bands like KISS ? and an excuse to release a new album and tour. While it might not compare to its brothers in comedy, seeing JB and KG up on the big screen is enough to make a person forget the film's similarities with A Night at the Roxbury ilk.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life

Where the film falls apart is its lack of any pacing or danger. It opens with action and you can almost set your watch by the action sequences, as they come every three minutes. There's no build-up, no tension. Just one scene of mayhem after another. The first movie was somewhat slow in its action sequences, but this film goes too far in the other direction. What makes it weaker is that there's no danger. Lara faces as much risk as the girls in Charlie's Angels Full Throttle. She runs through bullets without a scratch. In one of the movie's most ludicrous scenes, she punches a shark and then rushes to the surface on its back without suffering the bends. Not only does she jump off a building and parachute safely onto the deck of a ship, she later parachutes right into a moving jeep in the Africa desert. 'll say this, it's a beautiful film, shot in some very exotic locations, and that richness lends itself well to DVD. But the CG was not good, not good at all. There were some terribly obvious scenes, such as Lara supposedly riding her motorcycle along the Great Wall of China or the stealth ship she and Sheridan use to sneak into China.

Funny People
Funny People(2009)
½

When I saw this film I was hoping for a movie like the 40 Year Old Virgin but this movie ended up to have even more emotional depth than his previous film Knocked Up. It was an extremely funny movie that also provide a lot of drama. It was probably one of Adam Sandler's best performance that I have seen. Funny People works best as a behind-the-scenes look at the world of stand-up comics in L.A. Although the insecurities, jealousies, and inner workings of stand-up comedians has been explored on film before (most notably in 1988's Punchline), Apatow and his cast (as well as the comedians he hired to punch up the stand-up bits) bring an authenticity and immediacy to it like no other film has. These moments give the movie what little energy and momentum it has; the story simply grinds to a halt when things become housebound and romantic in the last hour.

Lara Croft - Tomb Raider

Probably the thing that hurts Tomb Raider the most is its laughable story. Sure, the movie is based on a video game, but then again when all you need to do is copy Indiana Jones they could have at least come up with a slightly more interesting story than this. Lara finds a clock that was left for her by her dead father (Jon Voight) that is a key to a larger puzzle. You see, there are two pieces of a triangle and once both pieces are put together and the planets are aligned, the one who controls the triangle will be able to control time itself.

Ms. Croft isn't the only one after this power, as the Illuminati is after it as well along with their own crew of Tomb Raiders led by Lara's polar opposite, Powell (Iain Glen). So you have one Tomb Raider racing against a larger group of rejects from Congo to find the two pieces of the triangle and control time itself. The problem here is that there really isn't a big looming threat as there was in the Indiana Jones films. I mean; no one wanted to see the Nazis get the Lost Ark or the Holy Grail so you were rooting for Dr. Jones to save the day. Here, you never are really told of how dangerous the threat truly is. We learn what the Illuminati is, but you just don't get the feeling of dread that you did when Indiana explained how powerful the Ark was and why Hitler shouldn't be allowed to find it. There are also numerous scenes in the movie that are just as laughable as the plot. The final shot in the film is one of these, but another comes much earlier where Lara is on the edge of a waterfall and looks over her back to her pursuer. I almost expected her to yell out "I didn't kill my wife!" just looking at the way the shot was staged.

Miss March
Miss March(2009)

Yes, Miss March is a teen sex comedy. But it's one with very little sex in it, for one thing. And yes, it is bodacious in that there are diarrhea jokes and close-ups of comedically mutated genitalia and the such. But still, this is no Porky's or American Pie or Revenge of the Nerds. Not even close. Other such amusing gags pop up once in awhile as Eugene and Tucker head cross-country to track down Cindi, who has moved to Hollywood, USA, and become a Playboy playmate -- the Miss March of the title. Eugene is vexed by this -- how could his sweet little girlfriend change so while he was away? And that, together with a subplot involving the commitment-averse Tucker and his crazy girlfriend (Molly Stanton) who is in hot pursuit of him (literally), are what form the crux of the movie's story and character arcs. It's not much, really, which wouldn't be so bad if we had more genuine teen sex and comedy to hang on this would-be teen sex comedy. But we don't. Audiences don't go to movies like Miss March for the soliloquies and fine acting and mature storytelling. So when only a spattering of jokes are found (including a splatter here or there) and the sex and nudity are barely present, then what's left? The tired, pro forma Hugh Hefner cameo? To quote Booger from Revenge of the Nerds: "This is bulls*&t! Pan down!"

American Beauty
½

I find it unlikely that any of you have failed to see this movie, but just in case, here's the deal: Lester Burnham, an average middle-American dude (Kevin Spacey) finds his job in jeopardy at just about the same time he develops a crush on his daughter's friend (Mena Suvari) and the new neighbors' kid (Wes Bentley) reintroduces him to smoking pot. All this adds up to a reevaluation of what he's done with his life, his relationship with his wife (Annette Bening) and daughter (Thora Birch), and his job, and before long he makes some changes, which unfortunately lead to his untimely death. It was a great movie that will be remembered for a long time

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Why is it that inexpensive old horror movies look creepy and atmospheric while inexpensive new horror movies just look cheap? Just about every spine-chiller we now consider a 'classic' was once a struggling production on the verge of imminent disaster - including Night of the Living Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween and many others. Now, for some reason, the credit-card-maxers look like they were constructed out of the discarded plastic; but back in the day filmmakers could turn a few dimes into some dynamite entertainment. A Nightmare on Elm Street is by any definition a movie masterpiece, a work of art that transcends convention, genre, and even time. Craven may or may not return to such artistic heights ever again - indeed, some of his most recent work is more than enough to get him thrown out of Hollywood permanently - but personally speaking, I prefer the days when he had less cash and more creativity. That is, when I am actually able to get through the end result and still sleep at night.

Orphan
Orphan(2009)
½

I can't really think this as a horror movie, just a crazy little girl killing people. It is not nearly the best horror movie this year but also not the worst. The reason she was insane was just not what I expected until about the end. Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), the 9-year-old orphan adopted by the Colemans (Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard), who are out to put their tragic memories of a stillborn baby behind them. Pigtailed and freckled, Esther dresses like a frumpy Victorian doll, and she's got a thousand-yard stare that could freeze rain. Worse than that, she was born in Russia Esther loses no time smashing animals, then people, with rocks and hammers, and even then she's just getting started. She's so extreme, in fact, that Orphan isn't scary ? it's garish and plodding. Farmiga, as the recovering-alcoholic mother, brings the movie a dash of neurotic tension, but the only moments of audience catharsis emerge out of unintended hilarity, such as the creepily incongruous scene in which Esther tarts herself up into an evil baby-beauty-pageant Lolita.

Godzilla
Godzilla(1998)
½

Though it has amazing special effects it lacks in story and any real character development. Honestly, there is no pleasing some people. Does it have a big, nasty, radioactive lizard that pulverizes New York and munches tanks without impunity? Oooo yeah. However, the drawback of this film was undoubtedly the humans. The humans in this film were awful. They spent way too much time on the whole reporter side of it, and relationship nonsense about these characters we don't feel anything for; people just wanted to see some down-home building crushin'. That and the constant dreary rain and dark atmosphere. This is Godzilla, not Blade Runner! Two big highlights, though were the creature chase scenes on land and sea, and Jean Reno. Let's face it: Jean Reno makes everything he touches much cooler.

The Incredibles

The Incredibles is a good effort from Pixar. It falls a hair short of the high standards they've set for themselves, but hey, even a bad Pixar film would probably be light-years beyond most everything else out there, particularly the overload of drivel that is usual panned off to the indiscriminating younger audiences. Bird brings a nice sense of nostalgia to the film, as he did with Iron Giant. In the end, the very truth of the matter is that this film is going to be a runaway success and make a pile of cash regardless of what I say. It's not their best, but still a lot of fun.

Trick 'r Treat
½

After making the rounds on the festival circuit for years, and proving to be a crowd pleaser wherever it plays, the Halloween-themed horror film Trick 'r Treat will make its debut exclusively on DVD in October. But Comic-Con attendees got a sneak peek at a screening on Thursday night, along with a panel featuring director Michael Dougherty and stars Brian Cox and Lauren Lee Smith. Fans lined up as early as an hour before and nearly filled the 4,000-seat ballroom where it was shown and gave the film a thundering round of applause after it was finished. And that recognition was well deserved. Trick 'r Treat is a thoroughly enjoyable ride from beginning to end. Let's be honest, usually the description "direct-to-DVD" generates pretty low expectations in terms of a film's quality. But even the highest of expectations will be met or succeeded here. Whatever the reason for the lack of a theatrical release ? some have suggested that the violence against children in the film could have sparked protests and made it box-office poison ? Trick 'r Treat is fun, scary and worthy of more attention. Perhaps it was always destined to become a cult hit. If so, it couldn't happen to a more deserving film.

The Ring
The Ring(2002)

So far one of the only movies that have actually creeped me out. Have no gore they use freak images and disturbing moments to produce scares. In this case the urban legend is from the imagination of Japenese novelist Koji Suzuki, whose original book provided the basis for a staggeringly successful series of Ring movies in the Asian market. I'm a little ashamed to admit that I've never seen the original Japanese version, so I can't compare it to Gore Verbinski's big-budget Hollywood remake, other than to say that this version feels like faithful to the original ? in other words, it's not a dumb, by-committee horror flick, but rather an ambitious and deeply disturbing tale of terror that never relies on buckets of gore or cheap scares.

Rush Hour 3
Rush Hour 3(2007)

Ultimately, this trequel suffers most from its wealth of contributing talent: Tucker, Chan, and Ratner all no doubt made "suggestions" about what the characters should do, where they should go, and what should happen. In Tucker's case, he wanted to look tough, so Carter took martial arts lessons; in Chan's, he wanted to stay true to his family-friendly fan base, so he elected not to kill his onscreen brother even though he double-crosses Lee some 50 times in the span of three scenes. And Ratner, well, he wanted a hot girl to be important to the plot, and... uh... to have Roman Polanski in the film as a strip-searching French policeman. All that said, I am telling you: On behalf of your potential enjoyment of this film, DO NOT THINK ABOUT THE PLOT OR CHARACTERS FOR ONE SECOND. If you can follow this simple rule, you might not only survive Rush Hour 3 but actually enjoy it. If not, the problem that won't be unsatisfactorily solved will have nothing to do with wardrobe changes or parsed-out pieces of information, but how the hell you're going to get your money back after suffering through 90 minutes of moronic entertainment.

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
½

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a wonderful, thought-provoking film. It is so rare to see a film that shows real people and their relationships in an unflinching, honest way. Most relationship-oriented movies portray the perfect couple locking eyes and falling in love forever. Sure, they may have problems, but they work through them, winding up with a soul mate and eternal happiness. Call me cynical, but that's just not reality. Every relationship has flaws and it's incredibly refreshing to see a film about a flawed relationship that does go through difficult periods. That's life. Despite these problems, and through enormous adversity, Joel and Clementine realize that what they have is worth fighting for. As I whimsically begin my early list for the top films of 2004, Eternal Sunshine is at the top.

Rush Hour 2
Rush Hour 2(2001)
½

After saving the day in the US, Detective Lee returns to Hong Kong with Carter in tow. This time, the roles have been reversed. Where Lee was a fish out of water in the US, imagine the hilarity that will ensue when the over-the-top Carter gets unleashed in Hong Kong. Instead of setting up the story right from the onset, you get bits and pieces of it here and there. There is a bomber going around blowing people up in Hong Kong, and eventually both Lee and Carter get involved in the case, which involves the Triads and Lee's father. Their adventure will take them from the streets of Hong Kong all the way back to the US in an action film that builds on the formula that worked in the original. The flick follows the sequel blueprint by giving you more of what you'd expect and also adds on some tasty eye candy in the form of Roselyn Sanchez and Zhang Ziyi. You get bigger stunts, bigger fights, and even some better laughs. However as an overall experience, the film is about on the same level of the original and that isn't so bad. If you loved the first Rush Hour, you'll probably get a kick out of this one as well.

Rush Hour
Rush Hour(1998)

Filled with hilarious comedy, explosive action sequences, and a decent plot, Rush Hour never has a dull moment. Chris Tucker of course steals the show, but Jackie Chan holds his own in the comedy department. They have good chemistry together. The plot is actually pretty good, surprisingly. It's a real challenge to create a new angle in a sub-genre as played out as the buddy cop picture. The action is well done, with plenty of big time explosions. The fight scenes are good in the usual Jackie Chan fashion and of course his stunt work is absolutely unbelievable. It's amazing this guy is still alive this far into his career. But, in the end, it¿s really the interaction between Chan and Tucker that makes this movie so good.

The Silence of the Lambs

One of the greatest films that I have seen. Not only is it brilliant mind game between Starling and Lecter, but a careful and captivating examination of one young woman determined not to be a victim in a world dominated by men. By his own admission, Demme cast tall, which means that in almost every scene Foster is literally overshadowed by her male counterparts; the subtle details of her diminutive frame negotiating its way through a world of imposing figures - both physical and intellectual - highlights her comparative vulnerability, particularly once she becomes ensconced in a relationship both with Lecter and with Bill. As much press was given to Hopkins' career-making turn as Lecter, Foster's is the performance that cements this tale together: her incremental adjustments as Clarice discovers the depths of Lecter's insanity, much less her own inner strength, create the intense and lasting emotional bond that audiences share with these characters, no matter how many mediocre sequels are subsequently made.

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

Probably one of the funniest movies of all time. Mostly people who enjoyed the TV series would love this movie but for the people who don't watch it probably will not think this is funny at all. I don't think anyone expected the smartest movie of 1999 to come from Trey Parker, of all people, but it did. Who is to blame for our kids' behavior? Their favorite form of entertainment? Their parents? The kids themselves? Bigger, Longer, and Uncut is smart enough not to attempt to answer this question, instead raising more questions and pointing out hypocrisies. Another unexpected facet of the movie is the fact that it's, of all things, a musical. Disney maestro assisted Parker in writing the music and lyrics, so it's spot-on as a parody of the familiar Disney form.

Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman go to see a movie starring their favorite purveyors of bathroom humor, Canadian comedy duo Terrance and Phillip. The movie is full of dirty words that are new to the delighted little boys, who emerge from the theater spewing obscenities. When their parents and teachers hear the boys' expanded vocabularies, they immediately decide Canada is to blame, and before war is declared.

Dark Water
Dark Water(2005)
½

After watching this movie I kept on wondering what was with the water it never truly explained why it was the way it is. A few times during the course of the film, Salles succumbs to the unfortunate temptation of cheap scares. You know them well: the music builds, something comes up behind our heroine and she jumps, but oh, it's just some well-meaning fellow she already knows. There are a few of these moments, but fortunately Salles doesn't rely on them too heavily. The majority of the scares are legit. With the aforementioned work by Connelly and the mounting tension, Salles doesn't have to work terribly hard to create terror as the story moves towards its climax. Unlike the Nakata version, Salles makes the intelligent choice to never show too much of the ghostly presence that is causing all this trouble.

The Fog
The Fog(2005)

Personally I have not been impressed with the latest remakes of classic horror movies, with the exception of Dawn of the Dead. I think this has to be the worst of them all. I have not seen the original so I can't say if it closely relates to it or not but it was a missed opportunity at making a good remake. Ultimately, The Fog is the kind of modern horror movie where something mysterious or scary lurks around every corner, summarily reducing the sum total of suspense or terror to a level on par with Saturday the 14th, or maybe Leprechaun in the Hood. So bad in fact is this movie that the fact I was watching a full-screen transfer did not matter one bit; quite frankly, I was seeing about as much of the frame as I possibly could stand, and in retrospect, I'm thankful I didn't have to see any more than I did.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End

Have liked the first two movies I was extremely disappointed in how this movie turned out. Like the second it is way to long and could've had been cut down to make it a much more enjoyable movie to watch. The plus side the effects and the actions sequence, though few for such a long run time, were excellent. The most entertaining part was Davy Jones and Jack Sparrow fighting it out on a mast. The ending was ridiculous, Orlando Bloom becoming the new Davy Jones was just stupid. The acting was the one high points of the boring and overly long story plot.

12 Rounds
12 Rounds(2009)
½

Having seen the Marine, I have to say that this is an improvement for John Cena. 12 Rounds is nothing like The Marine. It is not bogged down with action making the movies plot hard to understand. John Cena has improved his acting a bit, but like all Wrestlers, he is just not cut out for acting. 12 Rounds might have been a cool movie back in 1994, but today it just plays like a rehash of every action movie from that era. Take one part Blown Away, one part Speed, a whole lot of Die Hard with a Vengeance and -- presto! -- you have a patchwork of every '90s action movie formulaic plot element in one film. Smooth-talking Eurotrash villain? Check. Runaway public transportation? Check. Cat-and-mouse game? Check. Kidnapped love interest? Check. Hero hanging off of a flying vehicle? Check. 12 Rounds is competently made, but it's so formulaic and such a hodgepodge of bygone action films that it's tough to fully enjoy it despite the few fun action set-pieces that come along. It might be worth renting one night to watch with your buddies, but there are better movies playing out there right now that you could go see instead.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
½

The sixth film in the franchise, Half-Blood Prince finds Harry thrust into a world that has finally, and stubbornly, accepted the return of Voldemort, a world in which Voldemort himself has doubled the efforts of his minions to rid Hogwarts of his many enemies there. The danger, as it does from book to book and film to film, has increased exponentially, and the secret to defeating this constant threat may just exist in a forgotten memory. Tasked by Dumbledore, Harry must befriend the newest addition to the Hogwarts staff, Professor Slughorn, and retrieve this long-lost recollection about a pivotal moment shared with a young Tom Riddle, then a student at the school.

If Half-Blood Prince is really about anything, it's about that singular turning point into adulthood. It's about the year in which Harry, Ron and Hermione discover romance as something to be embraced rather than embarrassed by?It's the year in which each character finally seems to come into their own, and after two films heavy in plot and effects-laden action, we're offered a portion of the story devoted to the development of the characters we've truly grown to love. It's a testament to the brilliant balance of tones struck by director David Yates that the movie is able to shift between dark, somber moments in which characters must ultimately decide their loyalties and lighthearted, carefree exchanges between boys who are, much to their own chagrin, desperately in love with girls. Yates is aided substantially by a set of actors whose performances continue to get better with each film, as well as a script that brings some of the more supporting characters to the forefront for a refreshing change of dynamics. The re-emergence of Draco and Ginny Weasley underscores both sides of the Harry Potter coin, forwarding the plot while demanding that Harry develop further as a character, never growing stagnant, both confronting enemies and admitting his growing affections. Ron's interplay with Hermione in the film is also quite moving, allowing for equal instances of comedy and drama. And lastly, Jim Broadbent's turn as the absent-minded, socialite Professor Slughorn is perhaps the best of the cameos we've seen to date ? creating an immensely likeable and sympathetic character out of material that might easily have been more disagreeable in less capable hands.

The film's only real weakness is one inherent to the series itself ? that in trying to fill a school-year's worth of time, most of what occurs in the movie simply feels like filler for the final few minutes. The "Thing That Happens at the End" ? an event which we surely won't spoil for you here ? is, in a real sense, the only thing that actually happens, at least in as much as it relates to the continuing story of Harry's battle against Voldemort. The events of Order of the Phoenix feel almost inconsequential here ? just as the tournament in Goblet of Fire felt like something to puff up the page-count before Voldemort could re-appear in the final sequence. Thankfully, the character work is so finely developed in this outing that each of those concerns is quite easily forgiven amidst all the first-rate performances and overall impressive filmmaking. Readers should note, however, that the film cuts down substantially on the Voldemort flashbacks and never does explain the significance of the "Half-Blood Prince" -- an odd omission, considering the title -- but this is never to the detriment of the film itself. That said, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a refreshing change of pace from the dynamic set pieces and wizarding intrigue of the last two films, offering up a heartfelt and surprisingly character-driven chapter in the epic saga of Harry vs. Voldemort. It is without a doubt among the very best in the cinematic series thusfar, second perhaps only to Azkaban, which to this critic offered the most skillful and well-executed balance of narrative and character, of momentum and pause, with never a beat of action too far from some honest and human exchange. Half-Blood Prince is a shockingly intimate film, propelled forward by its engaging characters into a few scattered moments of magical mayhem, yet never bores and never slows despite its insistence on following our heroes into their rapidly-approaching adulthood. It is, in a sense, the breath before the battle, setting up viewers for the epic confrontation to come ? a battle so dark and so expansive that it'll take two films to tell the entire story ? and if the finale is conjured with all the drama and heart of this chapter,

Hannibal Rising

For the sake of this review, let's set aside the implicit mystery that drove Hannibal Lecter as a character, the implied absence of motive or reasoning behind his serial killer ways, the inscrutability of the sophisticated doctor with the cannibalistic leanings. Lecter, who through the course of three films beginning with 1991's The Silence of the Lambs (plus the not as well remembered side trip in 1986 Manhunter) has become one of the greatest screen villains of all time, has thrived on his impenetrability, his superiority, his evil-for-evil's-sake actions. Yes, we need to put that all aside when discussing Hannibal Rising because the new film by its very nature must work against the previous ambiguity of Hannibal's motives. Therein lays one of the more fascinating aspects of Hannibal Rising. The character has always been portrayed as a coldhearted killer, and yet we as a collective audience have nonetheless always had a soft spot for him in our hearts. That's now taken even further: We don't just admire Hannibal from afar for his undeniable (if dastardly) talents; we're actually conditioned to root for him as he travels on the road to inevitable serial killer. Hannibal Rising was never going to compare to The Silence of the Lambs, or even the sequels that followed and gave Anthony Hopkins' take on Lecter more room to shine. It is a film that must be taken at face value: a tale of vengeance, an origin story, and ultimately a cash-grab on the part of those who own the character. And that's O.K. -- anyone who thinks that the many other sequels and prequels and reboots out there aren't done first and foremost for money needs to have their head examined (preferably not by Dr. Lecter). Taken on its own merits, Hannibal Rising does work fairly well as a thriller where the audience is in the odd position of cheering on the bad guy. Never for a moment does the viewer care about the men who Hannibal hunts down, so transparently evil are they. Boringly evil, in fact, with none of the nuance or character that makes for a great villain -- like Hopkin's Hannibal, for example. So as Ulliel's Lecter marches sadly, inevitably to his fate, we can applaud the actor's performance (a tough job taking over this character from Hopkins) and we can root for the character as he bites off cheeks and the such. But we can't do much more than that, because try as we might to set aside Silence of the Lambs and the rest, there's no getting around the fact that we've already filled ourselves with that main course. And Hannibal Rising isn't much more than appetizer.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
½

The first film took a little time grabbing hold of audiences. It built slowly towards the reveal of Sparrow, and those moments in which he was absent for long periods of time tended to drag a bit. The film was a lot of fun, but overly long and, at times, a little unsure of its focus. Dead Man's Chest has no such issues. Sparrow is the center of the story, and Swann and Turner are the straight men. They're part of the adventure but always overshadowed by the Sparrow -- not necessarily a bad thing. The film's opening portion takes place on an island where Sparrow has been thought a god and will soon become a meal if he isn't rescued soon. His entrance is nearly as priceless as his intro in the first movie, but we'll sidestep the moment so as not to give it away. Suffice to say, audiences will be pleased and amused. This island portion of the film is largely inconsequential to the whole. Once the rest has been viewed, it's hard not to wonder what the point of the first 45 or so minutes really was in the context of the entire story. Still, these early moments are lighthearted and fun, a bit of comic relief before delving into the full epic storyline. Once the real plotline develops, adding Davy Jones, Bootstrap Bill and returning favorites such as Pintel (Lee Arenberg), Ragetti (Mackenzie Crook) and of course that key-bearing mongrel, Dead Man's Chest really takes off.

The look of Davy Jones has been debated among fans since early previews. Half-man, half-octopus could be a tough sell, but when audiences see the full version in the film, they should be won over. Full CG faces tend to make fanboys afraid of another Jar-Jar Binks, but Jones' look is great. The movement is fluid and undeniably creepy. He's supposed to be mysterious and intimidating, and all of that comes across in his disturbing face. Added to that is Bill Nighy's strong performance, no small accomplishment considering he had skin-tight blue spandex and dots all over his face as opposed to cast-mates adorned in true pirate garb to help them better get into the spirit. What can be said about Depp as Sparrow that hasn't been said a 100 times before? If you loved Sparrow before, you will love him now. There's more of him to enjoy, and Depp has created such an entertaining character that it really doesn't matter what he's doing on screen, audiences are going to love watching him. He takes hold of the bigger-than-life stature of the character (post-box office blockbuster, post-Oscar nomination) and hits it out of the park.

Bloom and Knightley have their parts nipped a bit this time around, somewhat underdeveloped to make room for the bigger story, bigger sets and Sparrow-sized sequels. They fit well-enough, though at times their personal storyline seems a bit less interesting when matched again the great colorful characters like Davy Jones, Bootstrap Bill, Tia Dalma and so on. Action-wise, Verbinski and crew have truly outdone themselves. There are three major action set pieces and a lot of smaller supporting ones to keep things lively. There's a great sequence in which our heroes are trapped in large bone cages... To escape, they must carry the cages up the side of a cliff and then, well, you'll see. The scene is amusing and a lot of fun. The second is a three-way sword fight on a large wheel. This could have easily been a quick bit of fun, but Verbinski carries this set piece to the utmost degree and gives us an action sequence that ranks among the greatest ever seen on screen. Finally, we have the film's big monster, the Krakken. This shall not be discussed in great detail because of spoilers, but it's gigantic -- it works nicely due to some excellent CG work from the creative team, providing some of the film's most intense moments.

Dead Man's Chest does have some of the same flaws has the first film. It's entirely too long, coming in at 149 minutes, six minutes longer than the too-long original. There's a ton of story, some of which is a bit unnecessary. Unfortunately, Verbinski and writers Elliot and Rossio tend to forget that these pirate movies are popcorn flicks at heart. They are easily among the best of the genre, but succinct storytelling is always preferable. Certain scenes drag, and at the final length, it's hard to figure why some elements aren't better-developed, such as the Will Turner pirate angle that was promised in the first film or the back story of Jack Sparrow - although I've heard we'll get more of both in part three.

The Rock
The Rock(1996)
½

Stanley Goodspeed (Cage) is a nerd. A GREAT nerd. The kind that knows everything about the chemistry of a biological weapon and its effect on the populace, what vinyl to get by the Beatles, and how to build Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions in his office. What he doesn't know how to do is settle down with his sexy lady (Vanessa Marcil) or deal with a handful of soldiers who take Alcatraz by force and threaten to fire chemical weapons at San Francisco if their demands aren't met. Then again, who would? Our government, that's who. When the "terrorist" group (actually a crew of disgruntled soldiers led by Ed Harris and featuring character actors like Tony Todd, David Morse, Raymond Cruz, and John C. McGinley) states their intent, the Feds and Intelligence officers (character actors John Spencer, Stuart Wilson, and William Forsythe included) decide to send a Navy SEAL team (led by perennial SEAL Michael Biehn) onto "The Rock" with Goodspeed and one other man. John Patrick Mason (Connery), a former British agent and a man who successfully "beat" the island prison. A dangerous man. What ensues is a nonstop collection of tense wordplay, car chases, gunplay, the threat of missile launch, betrayal, and a great bit of interplay between the stars.

This was Cage's first big event film, and his laid back, silly approach provides a perfect contract to Connery and the result is an enormously entertaining film. Also, with a who's who of great character actors, there's no shortage of acting chops to fear. It looks like pure gold, and manages to rise above the implausabilities. Plus, it has villains who are heroes. For the most part, these stoic soldiers are fighting for a GOOD cause, they're just doing it the WRONG WAY. Connery goes from wooly and feral to clean-cut and debonair like few others and even though the man's well into his 70's, he's absolutely convincing as a man who'll kill you with a pencil if he had the chance. Nobody has more deliveries and usages of the word "O.K." than Nicolas Cage, and he peppers this film with all of them and they are a riot. Plus, as he goes from bookish desk jockey to action hero, he's never not human and that's a credit to the producers casting an ACTOR in the role. While they were making this film, his talent was accepted by the Academy with his "Leaving Las Vegas" win. While he may have sold out a little afterwards, The Rock is Nicolas Cage in top form.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
½

I'm a sucker for costumed epics, especially those of the swashbuckling nature. You know, the films that manage to mix opulent production design with just the right mixture of action, debonair flair, and tongue-in-cheek humor. Films like The Three Musketeers (Richard Lester's campy excursions from the '70s, mind you), The Princess Bride, and pretty much anything starring the late Oliver Reed. It's a tough genre to master, to be sure. Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl manages to come close, though never quite reaching the pinnacle that would qualify it as an epic. Nevertheless, it presents itself as an entertaining summer diversion with a keen sense of style, a few wonderful turns by selected cast members, and some genuinely eye boggling special effects.The story is a fairly simple one revolving around the conceits of love, lust, betrayal, honor, and duty. Oh yeah, there's a curse thrown in for good measure, as well as the requisite quest for self-awareness/self-fulfillment on behalf of the hero(es). Our tale unfolds as a royal ship bearing Governor Weatherby Swann (Jonathan Pryce) and his very young daughter Elizabeth (Lucinda Dryzek) makes its way to the town of Port Royal. Along the way they encounter the wreckage of a ship and rescue a lone survivor: Will Turner (Dylan Smith).Flash forward several years and young Will (now realized by Orlando Bloom) has become an ace blacksmith and swordsman. He's also in love with Swann's daughter (now portrayed the beguiling Keira Knightley, who bears more than a striking resemblance to an older Natalie Portman with blonde hair). Naturally, this being a pirate movie and all, the action shifts dramatically with the entrance of the eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), pirate of the high seas and a mischievous instigator if ever there was one. Soon after Sparrow's arrival young Turner finds himself not only battling the arrogant Commodore Norrington (Jack Davenport) for Elizabeth's affections, but also engaged in dire combat with a cadre of bloodthirsty pirates led by the vile Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). Oh yeah, there's the curse of Cortez' Aztec gold to be dealt with.In terms of the acting, Depp easily steals the show, delivering a quirky performance that has him teetering around like a flamboyant dandy with cerebral palsy ? his mannerisms are a combination of limp-wristed gestures, wobbly, almost drunken posturing, and a continual smirk that borders on lecherous extravagance. This all combines to raise the bar considerably in terms of Depp's trademark weirdness found in his past roles. Yet what's so prescient about his performance is the fact that he could easily have breached the top and gone way overboard. Instead Depp lingers just this side of the edge, literally teetering on it precariously. The result is an inspired turn that is equal parts eloquent camp and disarming aloofness. Truly inspired. As for Orlando Bloom, he could very easily have been burdened, dare I say succumbed, by the chore of playing the straight man to Depp's eccentric pirate. Yet the young actor rises to the challenge, playing off of his co-star's quirks with sophisticated charm. Oh yeah, he ain't a half bad swordsman, either. Rush is equally hypnotic as the deviant Barbossa, utilizing a suitably smarmy glint in his eyes to wondrous effect (plus the monkey on his back helps quite a bit, too).

The rest of the cast is solid, though somewhat clichéd ? Jonathan Pryce is a stodgy, almost prissy official, and Davenport's take on a British nautical commander is by the book, yet also instilled with a sense of humanity and humility, which is rare, especially for this type of stock character. As for the pirates, the two main ones are portrayed by Mackenzie Crook and Lee Arenberg, who do their best, bumbling Laurel & Hardy/Abbott & Costello routine (yep, one is tall and lanky, the other short and squat). The rest of the scourge of the seven seas are a mixed bag of blokes with bad teeth prosthetics crammed into their mouths.Without revealing one of the major surprises of the film too much, one of the highlights comes in the form of the cutting edge skeleton effects crafted by the folks at ILM. Yes, there are skeletons in the film (as you no doubt have gathered from the trailers saturating both television and the cineplex preview reels). The realism of these walking bags of bones is beyond amazing, elevating the effects pioneered by Ray Harryhausen in the Sinbad movies to another level of intensity altogether. There are several sequences involving the ILM-generated skeletons that are simply mind boggling not only in their execution, but in terms of how real they appear (in fact they come off so real that at first you shrug them off as being routine, then your brain begins to grasp the time and energy that went into making the skeletons move with such realistic human fluidity that your jaw drops a few notches). These are easily some of the coolest SFX to hit the big screen this summer and the fact that they are delivered with such a nonchalant sense of flair makes them even cooler.Despite solid thespianism and some wondrous eye candy, the film is not without its faults. Where the film falters most is in the execution of some of the fight sequences. More often than not they are shot up close, causing a claustrophobic aura to wash over the swashbuckling and make the action come off cluttered and messy ? an initial spar between Turner and Sparrow is a prime example of this flurried technique that literally removes all flair from the fight. Additionally, some of the scenes, specifically the bombardment of Port Royal, rely too heavily on over exaggerated explosions and flying bodies (there are so many generic shots of cannonballs exploding and people flying that it almost seemed as if they were reusing the same footage over and over again).

There are also some minor editing flaws in terms of several scene cuts throughout the film. These erratic shifts come off rather choppy and fail to create the sense of smooth transition from scene to scene. As a result there are a few rough and sometimes confusing scene shifts, especially when the thrust changes from action to drama or when the locale moves from land to sea. Yet in spite of these sloppy moments, the film still has enough of an engaging look about it to keep your eyes fixated on the screen.Director Gore Verbinski along with screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio haven't really brought anything new or surprising to the table, in fact both the direction and the story are pretty routine. But thanks to the wonderful weirdness of Depp, balanced out by Bloom's classicism, Rush's reigned in malevolence, and some eye catching effects, the end result is a fairly entertaining pirate yarn. Plus, when you stop to think about the fact that it's all based on an ancient Disneyland ride, well that's a feat in and of itself.

Gangs of New York
½

Martin Scorsese's latest foray into the world of gang warfare is quite a departure from the usual cadre of Scorsese epics. Instead of showing us a slice of criminal life in the 20th century, Gangs of New York warps us back to the corruption and ethnic conflict of the early 1860s, telling the story of a young Irish immigrant, Amsterdam Vallon, seeking revenge on the man who killed his father when he was just a wee lad. In the hands of a lesser director, Gangs of New York could have been a disaster. But Scorsese, with the help of production designer Dante Ferretti, costume designer Sandy Powell, and a seasoned cast and crew transforms Jay Cocks' story into a visual masterpiece. The film is quite a sight to behold. From the violent mass street battles of lower Manhattan's Five Points slums to the overstated costumes and wonderfully lit interiors, the movie beckons for a large screen (or widescreen set, for home viewing) to be truly appreciated. Scorsese peppers the largely fictional story with historical characters like the infamous William "Boss" Tweed, and grounds it with the context of the 1863 Draft Riots. The outcome is an impressive motion picture that is able to capture the viewer's attention despite its long running time of 167 minutes. The cast does a fine job, with both Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz turning in respectable performances, and Liam Neeson and Jim Broadbent reliably fleshing out the supporting roles. But it's once again the villain who steals the picture. Daniel Day-Lewis's supercharged portrayal of Nativist leader Bill "the Butcher" Cutting makes everyone else look bland by comparison. Just like Leone's choice of "good guy" Henry Fonda as the chilling, blue-eyed baddie Frank in Once Upon a Time in the West, Day-Lewis is the magic element that makes the movie work. And it's in the relationship between Cutting and Vallon that Scorsese manages to give his two lead characters the necessary depth to actually make us care about them. But when it all comes to an end amidst bloody battles and cannon fire, the forced inclusion of U2's The Hands That Built America (yes, we get it, they're Irish) may just bring you back down to Earth and see Gangs of New York for what it really is: a visually impressive big-budget presentation of a fascinatingly ugly side of American history, with an overused revenge plot used as the throw-away anchor.

Danny the Dog

Jet Li's last movie was Hero, and it's hard to imagine a film that any actor could less suitably follow-up (with anything) than Zhang Yimou's martial arts masterpiece. That said, however, Li makes an admirable attempt with Unleashed, a picture that exploits his limited English and slightly less limited acting ability to terrific effect in the service of some of the year's best action. Li plays Danny, a pugilist kept under literal lock and key until time comes for him to deliver devastating smackdowns to anyone within range; what this means is that he basically goes nuts on any and everyone in the room, and beats them to death with any and every part of his body. What that means for the audience, however, is a brilliantly-wrought brawl of a film, and one that ranks as Li's best yet American adventure. Luc Besson, who has evidently sworn off actually making movies himself (when I asked him late last year when his next movie would come out, he said, 'When I feel like it'), wrote the story for Unleashed, and the story feels like a not-too-distant relative of his seminal 1994 action classic The Professional (or Leon, if like me you're one of its devoted followers). Danny is only a rudimentary human; that is, he eats, sleeps and kills, and enjoys no other interests, save for his children's book (much like Leon had his pet plant). When he is confronted with levels of humanity ? that is to say, his own ? that went untapped for years, it's both a frightening and fascinating experience; subsequently, it's that growing connection to others that ultimately inhibits his ability to do his 'job.'

Li, clearly affected by his work on Yimou's kung fu character study, seems to have found his A-game acting, and lends depth to a performance that could easily have been purely one-dimensional. That of course isn't to say that he's threatening to steal Academy Awards from some of Hollywood's top thespians, but that he functions with singular effectiveness in the role; I can think of no other actor who could bring out both Danny's initial, primitive physicality and his emergent complexity. But for folks who care little about character development, the action is about as good as audiences are likely too see on American shores this side of the Matrix movies. For lack of a better way to describe it, Li kicks some righteous ass, and fight choreographer Yuen Wo Ping (Matrix, Kill Bill) assembles the sequences at a crossroads between bare-knuckle street brawling and the balletic displays of his previous work. Despite these superlatives, the film is far from perfect, and in fact shares some of its Star Wars competitor's shortcomings: Li and Freeman are top-notch as student and mentor-cum-father and son, but Bob Hoskins occasionally overplays his role as Bart, growling at the camera with a little too much ferocity to maintain believability, and one actor in particular ? Kerry Condon as Sam's adopted daughter Victoria ? almost wrecks the film outright. Condon's previous credits include Angela's Ashes and Ned Kelly, but she overacts monstrously as Victoria, lending a performance that feels like a 28-year-old playing a 18-year-old as if she were only eight, and frequently upsets the dramatic flow that the rest of the cast generates from the familial conflicts.

Then again, writer-producer Besson has never been a stranger to over-acting ? masterful as they are, Gary Oldman and Chris Tucker are almost out of place in Leon and The Fifth Element's quasi-serious worlds ? so this liability proves to be little more than a temporary distraction. Unleashed, after all, may not be the year's best dramatic film, but it is a great piece of popcorn entertainment. Of course, it arrives in theaters mere days before George Lucas' juggernaut wipes out all competition laying in its path, leaving little hope for the longevity Li's picture deserves; but in a perfect world, much like would be the case if Lucas and Li paired off for a sparring session or two, this would be the mainstream movie to beat during the month of May

Bruno
Bruno(2009)
½

A full frontal (pun intended) assault on celebrity and homophobia, Bruno follows the eponymous gay Austrian TV host (Sacha Baron Cohen) as he sets out to become "the biggest Austrian superstar since Hitler." The exiled fashionista embarks on a global quest to become a celebrity, aping the headline-grabbing antics of stars such as Angelina Jolie and Madonna, in his single-minded pursuit for fame, but he finds more homophobia than lucky breaks during his globe-trotting journey. It's tough to find Bruno that outrageous -- or to even be truly outraged, if that's your inclination -- when the movie may not be quite the "gotcha!" it would have you believe. Bruno is far more manipulative and manufactured than Borat, with Cohen's hands on the puppet strings feeling ever-present. It also doesn't help that the movie rehashes the same basic plot as Borat: a ridiculous foreign TV personality and his devoted sidekick leave their homeland, exposing the prejudices of the (unsuspecting) people they encounter along the way. Bruno, however, is a less endearing, general audience-friendly and quotable character than Borat; where Borat's dopey good nature smoothed over his shocking ignorance and prejudice, Bruno is merely self-absorbed, shallow and campy and thus less fun and appealing. For all its flaws, Bruno nevertheless works as a raunchy, no-holds-barred comedy. There are plenty of unforgettable, hilarious sequences, with the most noteworthy involving "regular" people rather than the famous (although Bruno's interviews with a Presidential candidate and a terrorist leader show just how perilously far Cohen is willing to go for a joke). You'll never think of pantomime quite the same way again after you witness Bruno communing with the spirit of a dead entertainer, or forget the absurdity of "gay cure" counseling. It's the film's primary focus on attacking, exposing and exploiting people's homophobia that generates the most laughs, gasps, and concern that it's trying to have its cake and eat it, too, when it comes to homophobia. Have no doubt, Bruno is hilarious. It will make you tear up from laughing and will make even the most open-minded viewer cringe at its raunchiest moments (almost all of which involve gay sex or full frontal male nudity). There are times when it's perhaps too much, too over-the-top and forced, but it's nevertheless funny as hell. It just would have been better and even funnier had it not seemed so staged. It'll be interesting to see where Sacha Baron Cohen goes from here since Bruno indicates that even a screen comic as brilliant and cunning as he is can't capture lightning in a bottle twice.

Men in Black II
½

In the movie's first few minutes we're offered a microcosmic summation of the storyline through the intentionally low budget inelegance of a TV program entitled "Mysteries in History," hosted by Peter Graves. The deal is, 25 years ago Agent Kay mediated an earthly rendezvous between a peace-loving race of aliens and the evil Serleena. At the center of the negotiations is an item called "the light" which the aliens effectively kept hidden from Serleena. And now, in July of 2002, Serleena returns to earth, assuming the form of a lingerie model (cue Lara Flynn Boyle). And with the help of a brainless two-headed liaison (Johnny Knoxville), she begins her quest for the light; the possession of said item will ultimately result in earth's destruction. Consequently, Earth's existence rests on what Agent Kay knows. But the glitch is: Agent Kay is no longer an Agent. He's been neuralized and reassigned; and now spends his days as the postmaster of Turro, Massachusetts. That being the case, in order to ferret out Seleena, it's up to Agent Jay (who has had a tough time finding a consistent partner in the four-year interim) to recruit and re-acclimate Agent K back into MIB. Overall, the storyline comes across as rather bland; a flimsy scenario to, again, save the world from the scum of the universe. The result is a movie with hardly any tension. Lara Flynn Boyle as Serleena is cooly seductive and even has a glint of humor as she goes about her evil quest, however the character is one-note with more bark than bite; she's just mildly antagonistic. From Serleena and her cohorts there's little that will to grab you and hold you on the edge of your seat. As for the protagonists, it's also a letdown. Amusing as it may be to have an ignorant Agent Kay toiling in an ironically uneventful job, the base effect deadens what is inherently interesting about Agent Kay. For what it's worth, Agent Kay in the original Men in Black was interesting because of what he knew about the MIB organization, and because he was, in his straightforward manner, efficient in coaching Agent Jay in the unnerving but earth-saving practices of alien policing. In general, Men in Black 2 presents Agent Kay at half-speed. It's as if he's lost his mojo, and when he gets back into the alien-busting groove, it's too little too late.

The picture is a showpiece for quirky special effects, some of which are wonderful, but there's a consistent lack of visual acceptability with many if the effects. It's all too evident that we're seeing actors in front of a blue screen or green screen or whatever. For example, some of the angles showing Agent Jay riding the subway worm look like one image placed on top of another. The same can be said for almost everything outside the window of the MIB patrol car. Additionally, many CGI elements in the film seem to lack a certain opacity, which is particularly evident when the effect shares the screen with the vivacity of real-world counterparts. There's the imagery with Serleena exhibiting her organic vine-like form, the MIB patrol car's pilot as it's sucked into the steering wheel, and Johnny Knoxville's CGI-appendage head. The effects look dulled and animated. And the Worm Guys (the twiggy coffee-making aliens from the first film) register as just what they are: puppets affixed to the set. Sure, we know these are CGI effects and puppets, but a lot of them, although interesting to look at, are fairly chintzy. Maybe that was the effect director Barry Sonnenfeld going for. However, there isn't much to stand on when the movie offers a tongue-in-cheek jest to effects in Spielberg's films. The spark in this movie is Will Smith. With Smith there is no contrivance in performing Agent Jay, no deviation into the melodramatic; it's primarily Smith's genuine brashness and humor. And it's his reactions that make for most of the funny moments in the movie. In querying Rita (played with poise by Rosario Dawson) about the bizarre crime she witnessed, his delivering a simple line like "You need pie" scored huge laughs with the preview audience.

There's Something About Mary
½

Things were already going pretty well for the Farrelly Brothers, but they weren't household names. Their first movie, Dumb and Dumber, was a hit but it was percieved as "a Jim Carrey movie"; its follow-up, Kingpin, was definitely a funny movie, but didn't exactly set the world on fire. But then in 1998 the Brothers gave the world a third dot to connect, and "Farrelly Brothers" became synonymous with "outrageous gross-out comedy where nothing is out of bounds." Like you really need to be told what this movie's about: Ted (Ben Stiller) manages to get asked to the prom by Mary (Cameron Diaz) by sticking up for her retarded brother, but a zipper accident at Mary's house results in Ted's hiding in the bathroom and getting sent to the hospital, so he never makes it to the prom and never sees her again. Thirteen years pass, and Ted is still pining away for Mary, so his friend Dom (Chris Elliott) persuades him to send a detective named Pat Healy (Matt Dillon) to find her. Except when Healy finds Mary, he decides he wants her for himself. Like the other Farrelly Brothers' movies, nothing is out of bounds here, and there are a lot of things that, after laughing, you wonder if you should have laughed. But you laugh just the same. A near-perfect script, crack comic editing, and some really great performances synergize here to make one of the great comedies of the 90s (along with the other two Farrelly flicks). Ben Stiller plays every scene straight, and his dumbfounded, speechless reactions to all these weirdos around him are priceless. Cameron Diaz succeeds in playing "the perfect woman"-- drop-dead gorgeous, great sense of humor, nice to a fault, and a sports freak. Oh yeah, and she's a doctor. And Matt Dillon takes the Farrellys' obligatory over-the-top role as Pat Healy, and supplies what I found to be the movie's biggest laughs with lines like this:

Healy: "I work with retards."
Mary: "Uh, isn't that a little politically incorrect?"
Healy: "Maybe, but I'm not going to let anybody tell me who I can and can't work with."

Overall, a really, really funny movie.

Knowing
Knowing(2009)

Knowing opens in 1959, on an elementary school playground - all the kids are running around and having fun except for one little girl, standing off on her own very still. Her name is Lucinda Embry (Lara Robinson) and she?s obviously the ?weird kid? in the class. Anyway, students were supposed to come up with a way to commemmorate something having to do with the school, and she was the one who came up with the winning idea: a time capsule. The teacher asked everyone to draw a picture of what they thought the future would be like 50 years from then, but instead Lucinda filled two sides of a sheet of paper with densely packed, apparantly random numbers.The teacher comes around to collect papers and feels pity for little Lucinda, who just seems out of sorts - and the teacher takes the paper from her, apparently (to me) before she was done. Cut to present day and we have astrophysicist and MIT professor John Koestler (Nicolas Cage) and his son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury), living together in a nice home in a heavily wooded area. John?s wife has died not too long ago, and both he and Caleb are struggling to learn to live without her. John is drowning his sorrows in whiskey while trying to teach college class, work as a scientist and raise his son. Of course we are now at the 50th anniversary of the burial of the time capsule, and Caleb ends up with the list of numbers penned by Lucinda. Even though Koestler has been drinking, one night he becomes curious about the numbers and manages to find the date of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 - not only that, but it seems that the number of people killed that day are also on the paper. He starts scouring the sheet for other significant dates and finds tons of them - everything from natural disasters to accidents involving airplanes, fires, etc. This freaks him out, and not just for the obvious reasons, but because after the death of his wife he?s come to believe that everything is a result of random chance. This shows quite the opposite. As a matter of fact he sees that 81 people are supposed to die the very next day, and right about here is where an intriguing premise and beginning of a movie starts to go off the rails. On that next day, he?s watching the news, desperately looking for a disaster that matches up with the prophecy. He finally falls asleep, but has to go pick up his son at school. And what happens? Within yards of where he?s standing during a traffic jam a small airplane crashes into the ground.

Don?t get me wrong? it was actually one of the cooler scenes in the movie, and the most intense (I don?t know when showing people on fire coming out of the wreckage of a burning plane became PG-13 material), but the fact that it happened at the exact location where he was strained credulity. Being a scientist kind of guy, he tries to learn more about this mystery and tracks down Lucinda?s daughter Diana Wayland (Rose Byrne). Of course at first she thinks he?s a nutjob, but eventually comes around. She has a little girl and both she and Caleb start hearing the same ?whispers? in their heads that Lucinda heard. There are also these pale, blond goth looking guys in long black coats who pop up mysteriously from time to time, who are obviously connected to the paper and to what?s happening. From here John tries to stop the events that are predicted on the paper, and ominously, it seems like the final event which is only days away indicates the end of the world.

OK, a movie like this really hinges on what, precisely, the ?secret? is and the ending - that can make or break the movie. The film started out actually quite cool, creepy and VERY intense but as it goes on you start to figure out that these guys that are appearing are one of three things: Angels, demons or aliens. The film throws in some biblical references (and Cage?s character is estranged from his father, a Pastor) and when it comes to the rather fantastic (and I don?t necessarily mean that in a good way) ending, I suppose depending on your point of view you may call it ambiguous or you?ll say it was actually one thing or another (I?m trying not to give anything away). I think that if you?re a sci-fi fan the end will be satisfying, if you?re a New Age person you?ll get something different from the ending - and if you?re a Christian it may very well annoy the heck out of you (it did, me). So in the end, is Knowing worth checking out? It depends - how much can you suspend your disbelief? It?s a cool premise but honestly, it?s got a lot of plot holes that were hard for me to get past by the end of the film. If you don?t think about it too hard you might enjoy it - or you might even find it funny despite its uber-serious intentions. I?m kind of bummed about it because I?m a huge fan of director Alex Proyas? Dark City, but this film certainly doesn?t measure up to that.

Men in Black
Men in Black(1997)
½

Give it up my friends, you know you liked this movie. Sure, the other Will Smith summer blockbusters may have been forgettable (thankfully!), but if evil bodily-fluid-tainting Communists came into your house, tied you to a chair and forced you to watch a Will Smith blockbuster, this would be the one you'd choose. Of course, I'm going well over the top to protect my indie credibility. Truth be known, this is a wildly enjoyable film. The chemistry and timing between Will and Tommy Lee Jones is electric, the dialogue fairly sharp, and the pacing perfect for summer entertainment. Barry Sonnenfeld loves to entertain your eyes. And there is more eye candy in this film than the top shelf of the magazine rack at 7/11. Most of the architecture of the MIB offices have a very funky retro 60s thing going on (remember the eggshell chairs from the interviews?), with lots of exotic locations (Guggenheim museum, World's Fair), and plenty of dandy effects (Edgar the Alien). He succeeded in turning The Addams Family into an entertaining package, a film that had such dud potential, and he's used the same formula of smart dialogue and great visuals to create the Ghostbusters of the 90s. No wonder people flocked to this film like a Moscow McDonald's. Aliens are everywhere I tell you, but it's OK. Sure, the next guy who you might order a drink from could well be from Betelgeuse, but don't worry about it: the dude who catches fugitives and the fresh prince are keeping them in check. I mean do I really have to waste time telling you the plot? Never mind the fact that there are only 14 people left breathing on the planet who haven't yet seen this movie, the fact is, it doesn't really run on plot. Sure, there's one there (stop the Edgar bug), but mostly the fun is just watching Jones/Smith covering the straight man/wacky man, doing a cool job they love with more style than Arthur Fonzarelli. More of a ride than a story, the visuals, dialogue, and action keep you hopping from the very cool flying bug opening credits to the even cooler Blob-Alien marble game closing credits.

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (AVP 2)
½

There are really so many different ways to review Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem that perhaps the best approach is the least likely one -- namely, to say that it's actually a pretty entertaining movie. Essentially a cinematic mix tape of favorite moments from the two film series, there is little in the erstwhile sequel-cum-reboot of the crossover franchise that will likely attract new viewers, but it's certain to appeal to anyone who knows either the Aliens or Predator films; in short, this is exactly the movie for which fans have been waiting. At the same time, it's a fairly crass and clumsy way to rejuvenate the auteur-driven artistry of the former series, or even the broad, muscular appeal of the latter, but all in all there's precious little to criticize in a film that manages to be quite so ridiculously entertaining, in the process surpassing its predecessor by a wide margin. The film opens with a montage of sights and sounds from both franchises, heralding a return to the form (if not content) that fans have loved for decades: the deep, resonating brass of James Horner's Aliens score, the tribal percussion of his Predator theme, and the font of both series' credit sequences. From there, AVP-R picks up where the original film left off, following a group of Predators as they return to their homeworld. Because one of the survivors was impregnated with an alien embryo, the resulting creature possesses characteristics of both species, forming a "predalien;" the ensuing struggle to defeat the monster results in the ship crash-landing back on earth. After a human hunter and his young son discover the vessel, they are impregnated by facehuggers and left to gestate normal aliens. But when a scout from the Predator homeworld discovers that the ship crashed, he departs for earth to track down the creatures and rescue the survivors. What soon ensues is a violent battle for supremacy writ large against the backdrop of a small midwestern town. Soon, a small band of survivors race to evade death and dismemberment at the hands of either race, and escape the town before the incoming military provides its own solution -- namely, to destroy any and all who have come into contact with the alien races. There's a reason I barely mentioned any of the human characters in the film: They aren't important. Screenwriter Shane Salerno (Armageddon) seems to be fully aware that we care little or nothing about who these people are or what they want, so he provides each of the main characters with only the most threadbare of back stories and then releases them to fend off their infinitely better-equipped, extraterrestrial adversaries. There's a guy named Dallas (Steven Pasquale) who was recently released from prison and who is trying to save his younger brother Ricky (Johnny Lewis) from a similar fate; a soldier named Kelly (Reiko Aylesworth) trying to reconnect with her daughter Molly (Ariel Gade) after returning home from Iraq; and a doofus sheriff named Morales (John Ortiz) who is trying to manage this catastrophe as it escalates out of his control. Predictably, most viewers will assign these characters numbers rather than names because it's an easier way to keep track of how many of them get killed and how often. But thankfully, directors Colin and Greg Strause keep the story (such as it is) moving at a quick enough pace that deficiencies in character development or general logic mostly go unnoticed. Additionally, they employ a preponderance of practical effects (that is, dudes in rubber suits) to give the creatures tangible dimensions. The growing use of computer-generated effects to shortcut the filmmaking process has in recent years produced the unfortunate but perhaps expected side effect of decreased believability, but the brothers Strause construct enough realistic situations -- and then populate them with actual monsters -- to make sure that the audience feels and reacts as if they exist. At the same time, this film shares with its predecessor the problem that neither the aliens nor the predators, but the humans are its focus. Admittedly, Salerno and Co. surpass the first AvP by reducing the humans' emotional significance and emphasizing the main predator's one-man battle against the alien hordes, and then later, the predalien -- a wet dream of a final villain for some future videogame spinoff. But the film's unwillingness to simply relegate the humans as collateral damage in this interstellar grudge match shows that somebody somewhere thought at some point we would actually be invested in anything other than the action. Meanwhile, I'm more interested in precisely why the predator is hunting these creatures. Mind you, I'm not questioning motivation in any serious or critical way, but throughout the movie I was far more curious about the predator's "quest" (it isn't coming of age as were the predators in the first film) than the efforts of a few puny humans to escape being brained or otherwise dismembered.

AVP - Alien Vs. Predator
½

Alien Vs. Predator is directed and written by Paul W.S. Anderson, the pseudo king of mildly entertaining sci-fi actions thrillers such as Mortal Kombat, Soldier and the terrible Event Horizon. Anderson is arguably best known for his work on 2002's hit Resident Evil. Anderson also wrote the upcoming sequel to that film. Like most of Anderson's work, Alien Vs. Predator loses focus quickly. The basic premise of a monster battle movie really need not be terribly complicated. It would seem that, so long as you can find a competent way to set up their fight, and you do the fighting right, you're all set. AVP succeeds only partially. The initial set-up is nothing especially interesting, but it works enough to move the story along. It takes a little longer than necessary to get to the good stuff, but this can all be overlooked as a way of building up the anticipation. That's all fine. When we do get to the Predators and Aliens, the film starts to look pretty promising. The Aliens look great, the Predators look great and, at first, their battles are fun to watch. Unfortunately, over-stylized herky jerky camerawork makes the action very hard to follow. It gives one the feeling of watching a fight with a crowd of large people in front of you. It's like you're always trying to jump up to see over someone's head or look around someone, but you keep missing the action. Still, the battles are exciting and, when the beasts stalk the puny humans, there are some nice chills here and there. The humans are picked off one by one as the extraterrestrials rotate between battling each other and offing humans. At this point, I really don't see any reason for the humans to be a part of the movie at all. Fine, they needed the humans as a device to get to this situation. Alright, dandy, we got there, now off with their heads! But we all know Hollywood a little too well for that. While I won't be the one to spoil the plot point, let's just say that there is a turn for the worse at this point that is so hokey, it's hard to believe that AVP actually went through as many drafts as it did and this is the best they came up with in the end. I suppose going into this film, everyone has their favorites. For me, the Alien world has always been a very rich and exciting one. The Predator character is pretty cool, but I mean, really, the first Predator was good, but what do we really know about these dreadlocked ugly mothers? Well, I suppose Paul Anderson either disagreed with me or simply decided this was his chance to expand the Predator world, but the Aliens get the serious shaft here. We learn nothing about the Aliens in this film and, for the most part, they are made out to be little more than highly powerful but mindless monsters. Haven't they already established in the four prior Alien films that these creatures are not only fierce, but also highly intelligent? I'm not going to get into the argument of who should win in a battle between Alien and Predators, but I'd like to think most agree that it seems like a pretty fair fight, right? Instead, the Predators are clearly favored here and they become the focus of the film. The Aliens do all their trademark moves, but they seem to lack the reasoning ability prior established in the Alien franchise. AVP has some majorly cool effects and some of the fight sequences are a lot of fun to watch, when you can see them. There are some clever moments, mostly at the hands of the Predators, who possess some pretty cool weaponry. There are also a fleet of missed opportunities. Did Paul Anderson simply skim through the six films on which AVP was based? I would imagine that directing a movie pitting these two beasts against one another would require a close and very careful examination of the world and character attributes set up in those six films, but that's just my opinion. AVP is actually far better than it could have been. For weeks I've been hearing terrible buzz about the film. It is actually better than all that. It's fun to watch and, even when the plot gets really hokey, it's easy enough to laugh it off and prepare for the next epic monster battle. More than anything, I just found AVP frustrating to watch. I can't understand some of the directions the film takes and I wish that the sides would have been better balanced. Paul Anderson is a competent director and he makes competent films, though they never really rise above anything before them or tread any new ground. It's almost as if, instead of watching the previous Alien and Predator films, Anderson just watched the current movie trends and went for a megamix of what he thinks audiences are after.

Ocean's Eleven
½

Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Ted Griffin crafted an extremely tight and entertaining heist flick different enough from the Rat Pack original to stand on its own as well as being an overall great movie. George Clooney is Danny Ocean; a crook that gets out of prison and immediately puts together a gang of eleven to knock over three major Las Vegas casinos in one night. Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Bernie Mac, an uncredited Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, the great Carl Reiner, and more make up an excellent cast, but that's not what makes the movie work so well it's only a small part of it. Through a combination of a great script, expert direction, and tight editing the film creates a highly entertaining heist flick that will even surprise you at the end. While you see the eleven crooks preparing for the job, specific details are left out. That way, when the heist is successfully pulled you still don't know exactly how they did it until all is revealed in the end. Pacing here is perfect. There isn't one slow minute in the entire movie. Not one moment where you'll want to check your watch. Julia Roberts isn't even that annoying here. The film is a tight, stylistic, modern heist flick that's a fun and entertaining two-hour movie. What more could you ask for?

Braveheart
Braveheart(1995)

Costume drama, historical epic, large-scale action flick, and romance all rolled into one big, green, wet, plaid package-- that's Braveheart, the story of Scottish legend William Wallace, the man who fought off the English to regain Scotland's independence in the 13th century. Yes, young William (Mel Gibson, who also directed) has seen England's tyranny close-up-- he walked into a barn full of locals hanged by the English, the day before his dad and brother were also killed by the English. (The English are bad.) So William travels the world for a while before returning as a grown-up to marry his childhood sweetheart (sweet hottie Catherine McCormack). But in an effort to purge Scotland of its Scots, King Edward of Longshanks has granted his noblemen "first night" privileges, meaning sexual rights to any woman who gets married on her wedding night. When William marries the hottie and an English lord tries to cash his boom-boom check, William gets all "nuh-uh" and kills all the English in the village, but not before they kill his new bride. This is definitely a good flick. My girlfriend, who watched it with me, commented that the early scenes with the wife are like a guy's version of a Harlequin romance-- I wouldn't go that far, but it is a little drippy at the beginning. But then the fights get going and there's no way you can call THAT no romance! The fight scenes are simply awesome. After movie after movie where all the battles are fought with guns, it's pretty intense to check out some 13th century warfare-- that is, spears, arrows, clubs, and rocks. The blows are brutal and graphic, and everything is choreographed and edited so well that it moves real fast without getting confusing. As for the performances, well, Gibson gets that Scottish brogue off better than you might expect, and he plays fierce and pissed off pretty well. The supporting cast is pretty good-- Patrick McGoohan as the King is suitably despicable, and Sophie Marceau plays his hand-picked (so he can knock her up himself, as his actual heir is gay) daughter-in-law who, in a development I can only imagine was fictionalized, beds down with Wallace eventually. If there's one complaint I had with this movie, and you know there had to be one, is the score. Not that the score is bad, because it's not-- it's just so, so, so similar to the score of Titanic. I know, this movie came out first, so if that's to be a bad thing it should be counted against Titanic and not Braveheart, but the main theme is so similar to the main theme of Titanic (and was composed by the same person, James Horner) that I kept expecting Kate Winslet to walk onto the muddy battlefield in her corset. It's really not a big deal, but when you watch this movie again on DVD, you'll notice what I'm talking about.

Public Enemies

Though I am not a fan of Michael Mann's work, but what makes him such a fascinating filmmaker -- his encyclopedic knowledge of his subjects and his slavish attention to the most minute of details -- also makes him frustrating even to his fans. He famously trains and educates his cast in their characters' background and professions, but much of that fascinating information related to backstory and procedure is never related to the audience. I suspect Mann believes that it is, but this speaks to another shortcoming of his: he tries to engage viewers cerebrally rather than emotionally, and that keeps us at arm's length. We often don't get to know or truly care about his characters (Miami Vice being the most recent example, and Heat and The Insider the biggest exceptions). With Public Enemies, it's thanks more to the charisma of Johnny Depp, his chemistry with Marion Cotillard, and the sheer intensity of Christian Bale rather than Mann's storytelling that the viewer is even remotely interested in the people this story is about. As someone who has read about that era and its most notable criminals, I caught myself filling in the blanks on more than a few occasions. Mann has said that it was the Robin Hood aspect of John Dillinger that fascinated him, but there is precious little of that in the film. There are two small moments -- one involving a patron during a bank robbery who offers up what change he has on him, and a female teller who is taken hostage -- but for the most part we never understand why so many folks fell for him. Yes, it's the Great Depression and people are poor, but all we really see is Dillinger robbing and killing and not what he did for the common man. Depp brings his usual roguish, swashbuckler charm to the role, but the story doesn't offer his character any means to truly capitalize on it. We admire and laugh at Dillinger's gall, such as when he brazenly walks through a police station, but it would have been even better had we'd seen him interact with more everyday people. The film is far more concerned with the relationship between Dillinger and Billie than in the bond between predator and prey. Purvis is definitely a major player, but it's just not his story. The tragedy of that character is never explored; to paraphrase Pacino in Heat, all Purvis is here is what he's going after. The bond between Purvis and his squad, and his ultimately destructive relationship with Hoover, are glanced over. Ditto the bond between Dillinger and his crew, all of whom are not much more than thumbnail sketches. Dillinger only seems to have any real connection with 'Red' Hamilton and the briefly seen Walter Dietrich (James Russo). As always, Mann is able to land notable actors to appear in what amounts to little more than glorified cameos; e.g., Wenham (300, Lord of the Rings), who plays Dillinger's mentor Pierpont, has hardly any dialog. G.I. Joe's Channing Tatum has a blink and you'll miss him turn as Pretty Boy Floyd, while Leelee Sobieski isn't utilized much as Polly Hamilton. Faring better in the supporting roles are Crudup as young Hoover, Giovanni Ribisi as kidnapper-robber Alvin Karpis, and the scene-stealing Graham as Baby Face Nelson.

Because the heart of the film is the relationship between Dillinger and Billie, Public Enemies is arguably Mann's most romantic film since Last of the Mohicans. Their relationship has all the earmarks of the doomed gangland romance -- their time is short, love on the run, the inevitable separation -- but Depp and Cotillard make for such an appealing screen couple that their relationship is able to transcend those cliches. The characters seem well aware that they're trying to live a fantasy romance, which is made all the more poignant during Dillinger's climactic viewing of Manhattan Melodrama where Cotillard's resemblance to Myrna Loy is made strikingly clear. In terms of action, Mann once again stages some memorable and thrilling set-pieces. The bank robberies here are gripping, not as much as they were in Heat but they are still expertly rendered. Even more exciting are the prison break sequences, which literally start the film with a bang. The Little Bohemia Lodge shootout is the best battle in the film, and the killing of Dillinger -- while a foregone conclusion -- nevertheless makes for a suspenseful and moving sequence. Thematically, Public Enemies is an obvious metaphor for current events, what with the Feds' use of wiretapping, torture, and getting Public Enemy No. 1 by any means necessary. The film's release during the current economic climate only adds to its relevancy.

Flags of Our Fathers

Looking at its impeccable pedigree, it's almost impossible to think less than great things about Flags of Our Fathers: It's based on a true story. Adapted by Oscar-winner Paul Haggis. Directed by another Oscar winner, Clint Eastwood. Produced by a third Oscar winner, Steven Spielberg, who has already mined this territory to great effect. And starring a hand-picked ensemble of talented young actors, including Ryan Philippe, Jesse Bradford and Adam Beach among others. The film is practically engineered for both audience and award recognition as 2006 begins to wind down. So why, then, am I so ambivalent about it? Perhaps because the whole project seems so... calculated. Mind you, there are hundreds of war stories that probably deserve documentation more than those that have already been told. In fact, this one seems particularly ripe for exploration, especially given our current involvement in the Iraq conflict and the increasingly blurred lines between true heroism and heralding political agendas. But having seen Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line, and even classics like The Bridge On the River Kwai, there are far too many elements of this story that feel familiar. And even with Eastwood's expert hand at the helm, I cannot avoid feeling like this is the director's stopgap for the film that he really wants to make -- namely, the exploration of the Japanese experience in World War II that will soon be chronicled in Letters From Iwo Jima. In and of itself, this film has a fairly irresistible hook: What is the true story behind one of the most famous photographs in American history? The photo, as the marketing campaign reveals, is that of the raising of the American flag at Iwo Jima. The story, as Haggis' screenplay reveals, is far more complicated than just the stuff of a random press picture casually snapped from the front lines. Ryan Philippe (Crash) plays John "Doc" Bradley, a naval medic who becomes an overnight hero when he helps raise the flag on the third day of the Iwo Jima invasion. Aided by Rene Gagnon (Jesse Bradford) and Ira Hayes (Adam Beach), Bradley is relieved of duty and assigned a different responsibility by the military -- to help sell war bonds to American civilians.

Championed as heroes and paraded across the country for a public eager to support their troops, the three men begin to question how much they actually did while on the battlefield. But as the pressure continues to weigh more heavily on their consciences, and a flood of memories remind them of their fallen comrades, they start to wonder: What does it truly mean to be a hero, and what if despite all of the parades and press and publicity, one cannot live up to that? The nearest visual predecessor for Flags is Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, with which it shares the same mournful tone and an expert, but unshowy, directorial style. Unfortunately, the story itself does not possess the same streamlined intensity, forgoing Spielberg's comparatively straightforward flashback framework for a more complicated, and ultimately, confusing narrative that leaps back and forth through time while adding emotional dimension to the characters' travails. Screenwriter Haggis, almost all of whose film work thus far features voiceover accompaniment and some sort of labored structure, fails to justify the movie's convoluted mix of present-day moments, memories and recollections, creating an atmosphere of ambiguity that eventually extends to the emotional core of the main characters.

Sleepy Hollow

Heads are leaving torsos at an alarming rate in the small upstate New York hamlet of Sleepy Hollow, so the powers that be (including horror God Christopher Lee) send Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) to solve the case-- mostly because his eccentric methods are a distraction to his superiors and they want to get rid of him. He goes happily into the fray, eager to apply his innovative detective skills to the case. Of course, anyone who knows anything is aware that it isn¿t your average killer roaming the woods but a HEADLESS HORSEMAN bent on destruction with no weaknesses to exploit. After dealing with the town elders (which include famed character actors Michael Gough, Jeffrey Jones, Michael Gambon, and Ian McDiarmid among others) Ichabod begins to piece together the evidence using his bizarre toolkit and his forward thinking ways. This is a time of old you see, so his idea of performing an autopsy is foreign to these folks. He finds a kindred spirit in the form of Christina Ricci, and the two unravel the legend of Sleepy Hollow. Along the way, evil trees, spooky windmills, eye-popping crones, and town conspiracy only represents part of the chills and thrills. Depp plays a flawed and sometimes wimpy character to great effect. He has more fun with his roles than most in his age group and is really vying with Edward Norton for the "best actor of his generation" mantle. He really does some of his best work here and keeps the film on its rails during the slow scenes in the film. Plot is always secondary in Burton films, with music and mood doing most of the work. That¿s not to say it¿s a bad thing; he is a true Hollywood visionary coloring outside the lines. When he, his preferred star (Depp) and composer (Danny Elfman) team up, the results are always interesting. While they try to spin an intriguing tale, the reason people see this film can be summed up in one word: DECAPITATION. If the Academy chose to create an Oscar for best head severings, this film would take the cake every year. No other film has achieved such, um, HEAD TURNING results by using the most realistic combination of practical makeup FX and CGI around. The R rating gives them all sorts of freedom to really have fun with the gore and they do not disappoint. Add to that some terrific stunt work by Ray Park (Darth Maul to you) as the villain, and you have a true carnival ride. By filling the film with impeccable talent (Miranda Richardson, Christopher Walken, Martin Landau, Richard Griffiths in addition to the leads), Burton has planted the seeds for a film that may very well become a Halloween traditon. Probably the shortest role that I have seen Christopher Walken play since Pulp Fiction.

Mutant Chronicles
½

The story is sloppy, the dialogue is horrible (although the cast does their best to deliver their lines with conviction), characters aren't well developed, and the backstory/mythology is set-up in a hurried, slapdash manner. Imagine there are no countries, John Lennon sang, but he likely never imagined them being replaced by a small number of mega-corporations. That idea no longer seems so far-fetched these days, does it? I would have liked the movie to go further with developing that world, but it's ultimately just an excuse to make things look grimy, bleak and "futuristic". Ironically, the thing that kills interest in Mutant Chronicles the quickest are the mutants. There's not much to differentiate the mutants in this film from the creatures in any number of other post-apocalyptic movies. They move fast, snarl a lot, are relatively mindless and pretty damn tough to kill. They're also not very scary, with some of the kills being downright silly. Director Simon Hunter makes a few odd choices in the action scenes, such as point-of-view shots during hand-to-hand fights that might provoke unintentional laughter rather than an adrenaline rush. B-movie vets Jane and Perlman seem to be the only cast members aware of what a cheese fest they're in. Perlman has mastered being able to deliver a bad line with a straight face and still make you think he's cool, while Jane appears to knowingly play Mitch as a caricature of the hard-ass action hero. Every line is delivered with a grizzled, whiskey-soaked rasp that makes Batman sound like Truman Capote. But it's two-time Oscar nominee John Malkovich who deserves mention not for delivering a great performance but rather one of the laziest, most disinterested ones in recent memory. It's as if Malkovich simply showed up to work without preparation, read his lines off a cue card with zero inflection save for intermittent indigestion.

Overall, Mutant Chronicles is passably entertaining, a mindless monster mash chock full of corny dialogue, hammy acting, and over-the-top action scenes. Those who enjoy silly genre movies could do worse than to check this out, but consider yourself warned.

Final Destination
½

Have you ever felt that you could see the future, if only a little? Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) has, and it ain't pretty. When he causes a ruckus on the plane on which his class is about to depart for Paris, he and a few others are forced off the plane. Since this film isn't four minutes long, it's obvious the plane explodes and fulfills Alex's premonition. Having cheated death (for the time being), the survivors have a lot more than grief to recover from. As we all know, Death hates being cheated. So much in fact that the survivors are all targeted for immediate dispatch by the unseen evil. What follows is a pretty solid little amalgam of teen drama and horror film. A good effort is made to provide sufficient thrills and inventive death scenes. Also, the characters (though heavyhandedly named after famous horror film creators) are pretty well realized. I attribute a lot of that to Morgan and Wong (the aforementioned X-Files creators, handling writing and directing chores, respectively). On paper, the story's interesting, but it's obvious that their participation elevated the film to what it ended up being: A cut above the rest. No overuse of humor, no fear of a little gore, and attention to detail. There is a little bit of corny dialogue and sometimes the lack of a physical villain makes the film more gimmicky than one where we have a personification of evil to hate-- or in some cases,root for. In this case, where the villain isn't "real", we have to work a little too hard with our imaginations. Also, some of the FX are terrific and a few are less than stellar. Primarily the plane crash. While the interior shots of the plane being ripped apart are cool, there's a shot of it exploding in the air that looks awfully cheap (though the windows shattering is a neat effect.

Overall, it's a fine time killer with a few GREAT shock kills. For a psycho horror fanatic like me, it's not as effective as popping in a Carpenter or Romero film, but for folks looking for a fun flick, this'll do.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

One of the biggest complaints about the simply told first Transformers was that many of the battle scenes were damn near incomprehensible. Its sequel has the opposite problem: The battle scenes are comprehensible, but the story isn't. If plot isn't important in films of this type -- as its most ardent defenders will inevitably claim -- then why did director Michael Bay and screenwriters Ehren Kruger & Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman spend two and a half hours telling it? Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is more epic, bombastic and overwhelming than the 2007 original, but it's also charmless, dumber and cruder by comparison. Since the characters, human and otherwise, are seldom engaging, the film only works when things go boom. As he was in the first film, LaBeouf is all manic energy from start to finish, but his wit and likability aren't enough to make you really care about Sam or what he must accomplish this time. Fox, whose beauty was so breathtaking the first time around, is overdone in every way here (from her now Jolie-esque lips to her porn star poses and skanky outfits). She seems bored throughout so we quickly become bored with Mikaela as a result. Likewise, Duhamel and Gibson are even more of a pair of ciphers than they were in the first film, their humorous banter now replaced by gruff, macho posturing. Turturro is less annoying than he was in the previous installment, with Simmons now an ally rather than an adversary, but he's still the campiest (human) character in the films. Kevin Dunn and Julie White once again steal the show as Sam's parents, although they have one comedic bit at Sam's campus that goes on for far too long. Rodriguez is initially endearing, but Leo quickly outstays his welcome (and purpose) much as the comic relief techie played by Anthony Anderson did in the previous film. The lineup of new 'bots proves to be a mixed bag. Devastator is amazing to behold on an IMAX screen (indeed, that is the best way for one to watch this film). Wheelie, sort of the Danny DeVito/Joe Pesci of the Decepticons, starts off annoying but slowly grows on the viewer before his inexplicable disappearance during the third act. The inclusion of a Pretender Decepticon will likely prove confusing for the legions of viewers unfamiliar with Transformers lore; if Decepticons can now assume human form, why bother turning into vehicles anymore? Arcee, the film's only female Autobot, is wasted; she barely speaks, has no function, and no personality. Jetfire has his moments, but his grumpy old man schtick (seriously, he uses a cane?!) gets tired fast. But all of these complaints are quibbles when compared to Mudflap and Skids, the Amos 'n' Andy of the Autobots and two of the most offensive characters in recent cinematic history. What were the filmmakers thinking? The "it's just a movie" defense doesn't fly on this one, folks; whereas George Lucas had wiggle room to defend himself with Jar Jar Binks, there is none here for Bay and company to fall back on. It's just too blatant to be deemed anything but obvious and in poor taste. Mudflap and Skids will pull anyone with a half a brain right out of the movie, and they taint the overall viewing experience and prove to be an embarrassment for all involved.

The Mummy Returns

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but who the hell cares? It's still kinda fun (from the accounts of many audience members, it's also way too long), even though it's never as good as it should have been. The Mummy Returns is clearly from the same family as its predecessor, but in many ways this film is very different. Magic and edge aren't as evident this time around (despite the film centering on the kidnapping of an adventurous young boy ? very nicely played by Freddie Boath) ? the first movie's horror and mystery having been replaced here by exhausting velocity and gargantuan spectacle. The Mummy is a Merchant-Ivory film compared to TMR. This rambunctious, ADD-stricken sequel can't (and won't) stay still for a moment, bouncing from setting to setting, scenario to scenario, set piece to set piece, idea to idea like a racquetball made of Flubber. It makes a few (brief) pit stops (probably intended as "bathroom breaks" by writer/director Steven Sommers), but then it quickly reverts into a celluloid Tasmanian Devil, and spins away wildly. Is this a good thing? Depends on your perspective. Some may find The Mummy Returns occasionally smart "dumb fun", but action fans wanting a more meat in their diet will likely grow weary of TMR in very short order. The Mummy Returns suffers from what I call "Total Recall Syndrome" ? i.e. there's a lot of great material in the film, but it's very easy for audiences to become anesthetized by (thus insensitive to) too many action scenes of the same ilk (in this case, countless variants of running gunfights, slam-bang swordplay, and acrobatic/kamikaze undead). This doesn't mean the action is bad. It just means we can only see so much shooting and hacking before the shooting and hacking stops being¿well¿special or interesting. It can get old really quickly, which is often the case in this movie.

Exorcist: The Beginning

Exorcist: The Beginning has had an all-too-real curse all its own, something that should have been a warning to the filmmakers. The film was originally directed by Paul Schrader, who reportedly turned in a suspense film that didn't have the sort of slam-bang horror elements that the studio wanted to see. So enter Renny Harlin (The Long Kiss Goodnight), well known for his action pieces, to re-shoot the film. Not interested in just doing some re-shoots to try and "save" someone else's film, Harlin was determined to make the film his own. The studio agreed, allowing Harlin to not only re-shoot but re-cast the film. The result is what is bound to be one of the most interesting film experiments in the history of Hollywood when the DVD release shows up ? two directors who worked from the same script to deliver two distinctly different movies. Since Harlin's version is the one that Warners is releasing to theaters this weekend, it will be this version that will be regarded as the "official" release. Both shoots, much like the shoots for the films in the '70s, were plagued with problems, not the least of which involved Harlin being hit by a car soon after taking the job, shattering his leg. While I'm sure the pain in Harlin's leg was excruciating, the pain the audience feels while Exorcist: The Beginning unspools for nearly two hours is more like a dull, throbbing toothache, the kind that just won't go away no matter what you do. The film has a look reminiscent of the Indiana Jones films. Set in post-World War II Africa, former Catholic priest Lankester Merrin (Stellan Skarsgard, King Arthur) is working as an archeologist, drifting from place to place. Merrin saw more than his share of horrors at the hands of the Nazis which has caused him to question the nature of good, evil and even God. When a mysterious man (Ben Cross, The Order ? he just can't seem to get away from religious thrillers, apparently) offers him a large sum of money to investigate a dig that has turned up an ancient Catholic church in an area of Africa that shouldn't have an ancient Catholic church, Merrin is hesitant but intrigued. Merrin is joined by a young priest from Rome (James D'Arcy, Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World) who may be withholding information from Merrin but is excited to be working with the man who literally wrote the book on many of the Catholic rituals. There's a lot of potential for genuine suspense and mood here but Harlin chooses instead to use repeated scenes of children being tortured, victimized and brutalized in an attempt to instill a feeling of horror in the audience. Harlin overuses these sequences to the point that they lose all effect. The film's pace is slow and deliberate, probably in an attempt to try to build mood and suspense but all it manages to build is excruciating boredom. When the film finally cranks it up and gets to the exorcism after a plot twist that we might give a darn about if the audience hadn't lost interest about half an hour before it happened, it's way too little, far too late. The final climax brings in elements from the original Exorcist, including some makeup design and bits of dialogue, in an attempt to create a connection with that far superior film.

Predator 2
Predator 2(1990)

Predator 2 doesn't really have much to do with the original flick, aside from the alien. This time a new Predator (remember, Arnie beat the crap out of the other one until it nuked itself) has come to L.A. and decides to hunt some humans during the hottest summer in the city's history. The movie is set in the "future" of LA, 1997, where rival drug gangs run rampant and the city is basically a war zone. Enter Danny Glover as a cop in the middle of the rival gang wars, and when drug lords start to turn up dead and skinned (on both sides of the war), they know something is up. There really isn't any meat (pun not intended) to this sequel. It's bigger, louder, hipper, and more "mass-market". It's a shallow excuse to bring back the alien, but at the same time doesn't capture the same cheesy thrill that the original had. Sure, main characters are picked off one by one by the Predator here, but the deaths are spread out much further than in the original movie or even Aliens. Predator 2 does do a bit more to expand the "franchise" by showing more of the alien's cool gadgets, a U.S. military splinter cell that is hunting the beast, and even the Predator's ship. Of course, that one scene inside the ship spawned a whole new franchise as an Alien skull can be seen in the trophy case.

Predator
Predator(1987)

I like Predator. I like it a lot. It's probably my favorite Schwarzenegger flick, next to Terminator 2. I like the non-scifi setup, and I like how the members of Dutch's little team are all interesting characters, even though they are a little shallow and short-lived. But most of all, I like seeing stuff getting blown up. I guess I'm just shallow that way. It's far from a perfect movie, however. Sometimes the acting seems to be a little bad. Most of the time Arnold is the best of the lot, so what does that tell you about everyone else, hm? Oh well, at the very least watching Jesse Ventura is pretty amusing. Even though the movie is more than a dozen years old, the effects are still pretty decent- looking. Sure, the "Predator's-Eye View" is a little dated looking (You'd think that such an advanced alien species would have something a little better than just plain infared), but the invisibility effects are still neat looking, and the Predator himself is one of the coolest movie monsters to ever grace the screen. Of course all the explosions look great and all, but that's been a staple of the action movie since I don't even know when. My only complaint with the movie is a rather drastic continuity error at the end. During the climax, it's the middle of the night, and then in the very next instant it's broad daylight. Then there's also the issue of Dutch surviving a nuclear blast with no ill effects, but for some reason that doesn't bother me as much. But hey, the rest of the movie is a fun ride, so what does it matter?

Arnold Schwarzenegger is Dutch, leader of a crack team of commandos that specialize in rescue operations. Apparently a lot of rescues that they do call for an ass-load of weapons and mini-guns. Anyway, when a helicopter carrying a Cabinet member vital to U.S. operations in Colombia goes down on the wrong side of the border, it's up to Dutch and crew to go and bring them back alive. Things get interesting when they find out that there's already a CIA team in the area that seems to be on the same mission. Things get even more interesting when they find out that the people on that helicopter weren't exactly who they were told they were, and that their mission isn't exactly what they think it is.
But all that goes out the window when an invisible alien drops in on them and starts hunting them for sport.

Equilibrium
Equilibrium(2002)

Equilibrium is my favorite movie of 2002. It feels uncomfortable even typing those words, as they sound like the typical soundbite blurb-speak that passes for so much of film criticism these days. But it's true: This medium-budgeted, futuristic action tale that arrives on screens with precious little fanfare is, to my mind, the best film I've seen all year. It's a movie that thrilled and moved and deeply affected me when I got the chance to see it at a very early advance screening last July, and hasn't been out of my mind in the months since. I've been heaping praise on it for so many months ? to friends, colleagues, family...pretty much anyone who'd listen ? that it almost feels like I've written this review already.

A terrifying future, to be sure, though not one without hope ? especially when Clerick John Preston (Christian Bale, a much more impressive action hero here than he was fighting dragons in Reign of Fire) accidentally misses his drug dose and begins to feel for the first time. I hesitate to reveal much more about the plot of Equilibrium, jammed as it is with surprise and invention ? suffice to say, this is an intellectual rollercoaster ride, as cerebral as it is visceral; both a bleak glimpse into a possible future and a stirring tribute to the indomitable human spirit.

Though the film gets immeasurable mileage out of its cinematography, stunning futuristic production design, and music (an awesome neo-Wagnerian choral score by Klaus Badelt, a frequent collaborator of Hans Zimmer), it's (not surprisingly) the performers who give the proceedings so much gravity. Bale has never been better, combining the sleek coldness that served him so well as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho with a heartbreaking portrayal of a man rediscovering his lost humanity (and paying for the recovery of that humanity: Wimmer cleverly has the violence become more intense and wrenching as Preston learns to feel again). Bale is strongly supported by Emily Watson (one of the most soulful actresses working today, here perfectly cast as a beautiful sense offender who spurs Preston's rebellion against the system), Taye Diggs (having a wicked good time as Preston's suspicious partner), and Angus MacFadyen (sinister and oddly mournful as the head Clerick). This is a cast who seem to be giving their all in the service of a brilliant script, and guided all the way by a superb director.

I Am Legend
I Am Legend(2007)

I can't quite figure out why such a great concept for a film leads to a very boring movie. The special effect a questionable at best and the creature I can't figure out what they are. A zombie infected by a virus or a vampire that can't be in the sun and hunt for blood. The man cast does get boring with Will Smith talking to a bunch of manicans. There are really two major problems with I Am Legend -- lackluster special effects and Lawrence's direction. Regardless of the opportunities currently available to filmmakers in terms of creating humanlike creatures, why didn't the filmmakers just get real people to play the Dark Seekers, even for just a few of the key characters? Was it really impossible to find an actress who could suitably pant like a dog on an operating table, or an actor who could stare malevolently at Smith? The fact that the rules are never defined for the creatures -- such as their strength, speed, or most importantly, their hunger for what, blood? Human flesh? -- further undermines the credibility of their existence, and makes them devices for a series of fake scares rather than convincing adversaries for Neville. In fact, its worst offense may be to pretend as if it's not a "wow" movie, disallowing viewers the enjoyment of being astonished by empty New York streets or the thrilling spectacle of Smith destroying a phalanx of Dark Seekers. Ultimately, there are passing thrills and breathtaking visuals to behold in I Am Legend, but even in the pantheon of films with which it presumes to share company, Lawrence's film will likely be a short-lived legend indeed.

Smith plays Robert Neville, a scientist who is evidently the last human on Earth. As we learn in a prologue, humans have discovered a cure for cancer; but flash forward several years and it turns out that the supposed "cure" has either killed those to whom it was administered or turned them into light-fearing, superhuman monsters called Dark Seekers. Spending his days searching for a cure and hunting in the abandoned streets of New York City, Robert is slowly becoming consumed by his isolation. But after he apprehends one of the Dark Seekers, he discovers that he has become part of a dangerous cat and mouse game with the monsters' alpha male (Dash Mihok). As the Dark Seekers close in on him, Robert races to find a cure while trying to regain the humanity he ironically lost in the lonely process of trying to save humankind.

Waiting
Waiting(2005)
½

It is one of the comedy is more gross than it is funny. It did have it's funny moments occasionally but it is not nearly the funniest movie that I have seen. As a concept, Waiting... is stretching it. Office Space managed to do a great job of mocking this sort of restaurant work place scenario in just a few scenes with Jennifer Aniston's character. And the film often seems to be trying too hard to attain the sort of cult status that the films that clearly influenced it have achieved. Also, as much as I believe comedy should have few boundaries, Waiting... sometimes veers way too close to coming off as pretty homophobic. Even with a scene in which the waitresses call the guys on their behavior, the constant paranoia about men looking at other guys genitals and constantly calling each other "fag" gets a bit old, and there's also a subplot about a waiter (a funny Robert Patrick Benedict) who fears men are watching him while he goes to the bathroom. Of course the only actual gay character in the film is a really hot lesbian bartender. But this is a movie aimed pretty squarely at the frat boy crowd, and they'll probably be pretty happy with it.

To their credit, the entire very talented cast, which includes standup comedian Dane Cook as a pierced and pissed off cook, does a commendable job of making Waiting... an often likable film, even in the lesser sequences. Everyone seems to know exactly what kind of movie they were making and to be having a fun time. Guzman especially is wonderful to watch, as his hard to define persona as lovable scummy guy fits in perfectly here. MTV star Milonakis is just so-so in a role we've seen way too many times now (we get it... it's funny when white kids act black), but this is made up for when he and Kasch perform an extremely enjoyable rap written by Milonakis during the closing credits. Freaks & Geeks alum Daley's role is meant to be mostly silent and reactive, but it leads to a great payoff in which Mitch makes an announcement that is quite the tour de force for the young actor. Waiting... is a silly, awkward, but sometimes very funny movie. And if you're in a silly, awkward but sometimes very funny mood, it should fit the bill.

Dean's day is off to a bad start; His mom has told him that a former classmate of his has just begun a high paying career, causing him to give pause over what he's doing with his life. Meanwhile, Dean's friend and coworker, life of the party Monty (Ryan Reynolds), is showing new employee Mitch (John Francis Daley) the ropes of working at ShenaniganZ, and introducing him to the suitably eccentric staff members. Among them are the head cook Raddimus (Luis Guzman) and his sexpot bartender girlfriend Danielle (Jordan Ladd), the wannabe rapper/stoner busboys (Andy Milonakis and Max Kasch), the dishwasher with constant words of wisdom (Chi McBride), the constantly cursing waitress who has been doing the job way too long (Alanna Ubach) and the desperate to seem cool manager (David Koechner).

Underworld: Evolution
½

For those who are down with all things either furry, bleeding, or covered in skintight leather, this is the film for you; a worthy sequel to its predecessor, and a much better ride on several levels. Where the original spent a good deal of time setting up the reasons for the battle between vampires and werewolves (or Lycans, as they're called here), this one does a decent job of letting the battle simply play out. There are lagging sections of exposition, but nowhere near as many as the first film, and many of them are told in flashback, giving the audience a first-hand glimpse at the proceedings.
Director Len Wiseman is very comfortable mixing genres, and the result is something that feels a lot like the successful albeit campy Blade trilogy. While much of the original seemed like cookie-cutter scenes culled from The Matrix and the aforementioned Blade films, Evolution gets more creative, carving out its own identity in the action/gore sequences.
Where the film falls down is in trying to strike an emotional chord. We feel something for Selene, and to some degree her Lycan hybrid lover Michael, but there is not enough to get too emotionally involved in the proceedings. Part of this is due to the fact that all of the characters are so "other." In many ways, it's like watching superheroes fight without finding out what they're like when they aren't saving the world.
A further barrier is that the main characters in this fantastical realm are essentially monsters, and instead of exploring what it is to truly be one of them, the film gets bogged down in explaining how the two strains of beings came to be. When the movie stops to explain vampire/Lycan politics (which it does more than it should) or attempts a poignant moment, it is not nearly as interesting as when the teeth are flashing and blood is spraying. Ultimately, at 106 minutes, the movie is about 15 minutes too long. This is mash-up of many genres, but its main driving force is action, so when it isn't occurring, the film lags.
In the end, Evolution follows all sequel rules?more action, more nudity, more villains?but manages to be better than the original by keeping the action coming. Sure, there is some tightening that could have made the exposition flow faster, but overall this is a solid genre picture with killer action and plenty of satisfying death-dealing.

The Kingdom
The Kingdom(2007)

While it is not the best movie ever it still will entertain the people who are not harmed by the whole terrorist stuff. The Kingdom succeeds as both a shoot 'em-up popcorn flick and a thoughtful study of culture clash. While director Peter Berg definitely keeps the emphasis on action and thrills, the script by Matthew Michael Carnahan offers a largely balanced and multi-dimensional view of the realm the American protagonists find themselves in. The story's point that there is more that unites these two opposing cultures than divides them is explored through the nicely drawn relationship between Fleury and Al-Ghazi.

Foxx is in Jarhead and Miami Vice mode here as the veteran Fed, playing Fleury as a loving dad and a no-nonsense lawman who is not above bullying or bluffing powerful people in order to get things done. The standout of the film, however, is Ashraf Barhom. Al-Ghazi is not some token "good Arab" character; he's as capable of saving a colleague from a vicious beating as he is of vowing to execute killers without hesitation. Al-Ghazi is a common man caught between a number of hostile factions, including homegrown terrorists, impatient and often intolerant Americans, and his own ethically dubious police department. Barhom finds the vulnerability and humanity in his character.

The rest of the cast is solid, with Bateman serving as both comic relief and damsel in distress. Cooper is all world-weary wisdom dressed up like a good ol' boy on a bass fishing trip. Garner is serviceable, but it strained credulity that the Bureau would send a female agent -- a potential catalyst for conflict -- into an already volatile culture clash situation. The story acknowledges these issues, but it still felt a wee bit too Hollywood to be totally believable. The only weak link in the cast is Jeremy Piven as a smarmy U.S. diplomat; he plays him as Ari Gold with a bad wig and glasses and it pulls you out of the movie. Be on the lookout for Danny Huston, Richard Jenkins and Kyle Chandler in small but memorable supporting roles.

The Kingdom follows an elite FBI squad (Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman and Chris Cooper) that is sent on a secret five-day mission to investigate a terrorist bombing at a U.S. housing compound in Riyadh. Facing resistance from his own government as well as the Saudis, FBI Special Agent Ronald Fleury (Foxx) finds an unlikely ally in the man who should be his greatest obstacle.

Colonel Al-Ghazi (Ashraf Barhom) is supposed to be the FBI team's minder, the official who informs them of the rules and of what they can and cannot do. But these two cops soon find they are more like-minded than not, forging a union to hunt down the terrorist cell behind the bombings. An FBI team in a hostile territory is too tempting a target for the terrorists to resist, triggering a life-or-death struggle for our heroes to not only bring the bombers to justice but to also get home alive.

Year One
Year One(2009)

I was really expecting this movie to be funny and that I would be laughing a lot in this film. To be honest it was actually more painful to watch than any thing. Jack Black and Michael Cera do what they can to keep the viewer interested, but their respective schtick -- the bug-eyed, over-exuberant fat guy and the mumbling, deadpan dork -- has grown old. It's the same stuff from them in every movie now; along with Will Ferrell in Land of the Lost (a flop that I nevertheless enjoyed much more than this), this summer's comedies should force their leading men to reexamine their acts and broaden their range. The supporting players fare a bit better here than the leads. Hank Azaria is pretty hilarious in almost anything he does, turning Abraham into a nut hellbent on circumcising every man in sight. David Cross milks the concept of Cain for about all its worth, but the character eventually wears out his welcome. Oliver Platt hams it up as the very fey High Priest, but his character epitomizes the abundance of stock gay jokes the script relies on. (Indeed, the bulk of the gags in the last two acts seem to be either gay innuendos or circumcision references.)

Zed (Jack Black) and Oh (Michael Cera), a hapless pair of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers who embark on the world's first road trip. Zed deems himself "Chosen" by God after he eats the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Banished from their primitive tribe, the two embark on a journey to find out what life is all about, encountering several Old Testament figures along the way.

They first meet Cain (David Cross), who slays his brother Abel (Paul Rudd) over a simple disagreement that Zed and Oh inadvertently start. Fearing Cain's wrath, they reluctantly follow him back to his home to meet his parents Adam (Harold Ramis) and Eve (Rhoda Griffis) and siblings Lilith and Seth. Zed and Oh later cross paths with Abraham (Hank Azaria) as he is about to slay his son Isaac (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).

Zed and Oh eventually find themselves in the notorious city of Sodom, where they clash with the King (Xander Berkeley), the High Priest (Oliver Platt), and the head of the palace guard (Vinnie Jones). Once there, they must prove themselves by rescuing the respective objects of their affections Maya (June Diane Raphael) and Eema (Juno Temple) from slavery.

Snakes on a Plane
½

I was never so sure that this film would be any good when I say the trailer, think that it would be just another stupid horror movie that is not scary. It is not scary what so ever. There is more humor and fun associated with the production that comes through in the final product. It's apparent that the creators were having a good time making this movie, and it seems like New Line and director David R. Ellis were tickled to include fan suggestions. The light-heartedness is what will make the movie a success. Snakes on a Plane doesn't take itself too seriously, and moviegoers shouldn't, either. Ultimately, though, it's not about the effects. It's about Samuel Jackson and a ragtag bunch of passengers going toe-to-belly with one of the most ancient genus of animals on the planet. Jackson does not disappoint, and he raises the intensity level throughout the film with a solid performance. When he finally delivers the signature line from the film, expect applause.

The story is fairly simple. After witnessing a brutal murder in Hawaii, Sean Jones (played by accentless Wolf Creek alum Nathan Phillips) is taken into federal custody by FBI agent Neville Flynn, played by Samuel L. Jackson. The feds commandeer the first class section of the plane, forcing the annoyed passengers back to coach to mix with the commoners. Unbeknownst to the travelers, the murderer, a ruthless drug boss known as Eddie Kim, has filled the cargo hold with hundreds of deadly, venomous snakes. By nature, snakes are fairly docile, so to get them riled up enough to take the plane down, he's made sure the plane is filled with pheromones, which is apparently the snake equivalent of PCP. At 30,000 feet, the snakes are released, and the literal title is played out onscreen.

Dumb and Dumber

It is one of Jim Carrey's funniest films but it was just to stupid. Sure, I laughed a lot but some of the things that they did was just retarded. It is a movie not unlike Jaws, or Easy Rider, or even Godard's Breathless. Dubious though its crass charms may be, it remains an unlikely progenitor not only for an entire subgenre of successful comedies, but a transforming influence on the way we perceive ourselves and the way we as audiences look at movies. Mind you, I'm not necessarily saying it stands up qualitatively against the other benchmark movies referenced above, but in a number of very real ways comedy, and the movies themselves, would never be the same again after Harry and Lloyd completed their cross-country trek.

Lloyd Christmas is a simple-minded limousine driver in Providence, Rhode Island, who becomes infatuated with his passenger, Mary Swanson, as he drives her to the airport. Mary is heading home to her family in Aspen, Colorado. She drops off a briefcase with a large sum of cash at the airport terminal, as ransom money for her kidnapped husband, unbeknown to Lloyd. Lloyd witnesses the drop-off, and, thinking Mary has left the briefcase by mistake, intercepts the package before the kidnapper's accomplices pick up their pay, dashing ahead of them to snag the briefcase. Lloyd is unable to catch Mary in time, and is left on the tarmac of the airport with briefcase in hand (after having run off the end of an empty jet bridge).

Harry Dunne, Lloyd's roommate, is in the pet grooming business, and has recently spent his life savings converting his van (a 1984 Ford Econoline) into a sheepdog. Both Lloyd and Harry quickly lose their jobs due to preventable accidents, and the two are distraught over their situation. Thinking Lloyd is a "professional" hired by the Swansons, or perhaps an FBI agent, the kidnappers exact revenge on Harry and Lloyd. Shortly after returning home, Lloyd and Harry are alarmed by the kidnappers at their door, one of them being armed. Believing them to be debt collectors, the two escape through their back window with the briefcase. While the pair are out looking for new jobs, the kidnappers behead Harry's pet parakeet. After they return home, Lloyd, who had just been robbed of beer and other goods by "a sweet old lady on a motorized cart," convinces Harry they should leave their messed-up lives in Providence behind and head for Aspen to return the briefcase to Mary, unaware the locked briefcase contains enough money to support them both. The kidnappers learn of their intentions and pursue the two Aspen-bound men.

Casino
Casino(1995)

Scorsese fans occasionally dissociate this film from the ranks of the director's best because it came so quickly after Goodfellas, and sometimes feels as if it covers the same ground; but the film's true focus- the implosion of a mob-controlled Las Vegas- works most effectively when it's juxtaposed with the personal peccadilloes of the three main characters, who if nothing else know expertly well how to screw up a good situation. As such, it still maintains the same potency it did back in 1995, and remains one of the great portraits of cinematic excess. He takes a different path by doing the gaming industry instead of just the mob. The characters are extremely dark and gritty. You have a hard time deciding whether or not you like them. The was one thing that really made me angry in this film was Sharon Stone. She was the worst person in this movie, always trying to screw over De Niro's character in any way she could. How she got nominated for an academy award I don't know.

Casino is the story of Sam "Ace" Rothstein (Robert De Niro), a talented sports handicapper who, in 1973, is recruited by Midwest mob bosses to manage the new Tangiers casino in Las Vegas. The bosses have set up the casino to "skim" profits (stealing a portion of the cash collected from gamers before the income is reported to the authorities), and want someone in charge who they can trust and who would make them the greatest amount of money.

Sam is so good at his job that he doubles the amount of money sent back home to his bosses. As he builds the Tangiers into one of the biggest casinos in Vegas, Sam meets and falls in love with Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone), one of the most successful and respected hustlers in town, whose only missions in life are money and taking care of her old boyfriend, a small-time pimp and golf hustler named Lester Diamond (James Woods).
Because of Sam's success, the bosses send Nicholas "Nicky" Santoro (Joe Pesci), a mob enforcer and Sam's boyhood friend, to Vegas to protect Sam and the casino from rival gangsters. Sam is skeptical of the plan, especially since Nicky, who is well-known for his violent temper, makes it clear to Sam that he wants to set up his own money-making schemes independent of the bosses? control. Nicky sets up his own criminal operations in Vegas, including loan sharking, shaking down other criminals, and using his Vegas crew to cheat at casino card tables using hand signals.

The Punisher
The Punisher(2004)
½

The Punisher is a shame, an example of a good story turned to crap. I'll admit that a few of the action sequences are exciting and work on their own. I'll also admit that I liked the first third of the movie. But as Castle gets more touchy feely and Travolta gets cheesier and cheesier, the story and any interest in Castle's plight is lost. Dolph Lundgren's 1988 version of The Punisher has been relentlessly mocked over the years, a mark on Marvel's recently stellar record with comic book screen adaptations. I barely remember that film, but I really can't imagine it was any better or less loyal to The Punisher and his classic tale of revenge.

The story is one of revenge. Frank Castle is a celebrated former soldier who has recently retired from undercover police work to spend some quality time with his wife and son. On his last assignment, Castle makes enemies with the wrong man, Howard Saint (John Travolta). A drug bust goes awry and Saint's son winds up dead. A short time later Castle and his entire family come under attack at a family reunion. Castle is the lone survivor of the tragedy. Everything Castle had has now been lost. Thought to be dead as well, Castle now rebuilds himself and becomes a lone crime vigilante known as The Punisher. His soul purpose in life now is to avenge his family's death and bring the same misery he has felt to Howard Saint and his family.

John Travolta is cartoonishly awful as Howard Saint. Travolta is such a one-dimensional bad guy that it really doesn't make sense why the decision was made to cast such a high-profile actor as the villain anyway. Anyone could have played this part and probably made for a more menacing threat. Travolta constantly spouts the kind of cheeseball lines reminiscent of Eighties action films. While the filmmakers may explain this away as intentional, a wink at the camera, if you will, it doesn't work in any sense. I'm getting sick and tired of this self-referential crap anyway. It's silly, but we wanted it to be silly. Sounds like a simple excuse to explain away garbage.

In the beginning of The Punisher, writer/director Jonathan Hensleigh sticks true to the dark feel of the comic. As things move along, he moves further and further away from this. Things get downright cheesy as Castle befriends some neighbors in the ghetto apartment building he moves into, slumming it as he prepares his plan for revenge. Rebecca Romijn-Stamos is Joan, a troubled girl with a troubled past of bad relationships, and comedian John Pinette and Eddie Jemison play two goofballs fascinated by tough guy Castle. The group forces Castle to make friends with them, showing his human side.

Sahara
Sahara(2005)
½

Not nearly as fun and other treasure hunting films like Indiana Jones. This movie strays on way to many plots and gets confusing after awhile. Here's a movie where everybody's got each other's back. I'll save you. You save me. We all save each other. There's a whole lot of saving going on. But what it's really all about is a power grab, quite literally. A maniacal entrepreneur played by Lambert Wilson has set up a solar power factory in the middle of the desert which somehow will be able to reap millions in revenue at the expense of the villagers. This is a rather huge diversion from Pitts ultimate goal: to find the Iorn Clad, but it does provide the filmmakers the opportunity to offer up some neat digital effects. However, you might find yourself asking, in what kind of reality are they able to hide an expansive, solar farm corporate enterprise in the middle of the desert? Especially one with a skyscraping tower that should be viewable by anyone in the vicinity of, say, Central Africa. yond the implausible, the personalities of McConaughey, Zahn and Cruz make the movie a bearably fun experience. McConaughey has a way of making one think that whatever he's doing and whatever he's saying, it's of ultimate importance. Zahn is really just this likeable guy. Sure, he's in the goofy side-kick role, and he does that well. He's the one who says, "Let's get out of here," and it's funny. Cruz, as a scientist determined to find out what happened to the villagers, is of course on her own single-minded quest for answers. She's a one note character. But what character in Sahara isn't? In a lame old comic book kind of way, Sahara is good fun. Just nothing groundbreaking here, so don't be surprised if you find yourself asking your friends, "What was that treasure movie we saw?"

Marine engineers, explorers and former officers and SEALs in the US Navy, LT Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) and LTJG Al Giordino (Steve Zahn) travel to Mali, to search for what the locals call "The Ship of Death", the lost Civil War ironclad warship CSS Texas that has a mysterious cargo. Pitt manages to thwart the assassination of Doctor Eva Rojas (Penélope Cruz), a doctor with the United Nations World Health Organization, who is investigating the source of a disease that is wreaking havoc in the area. The cause is a vast amount of industrial waste that is threatening to cause an environmental disaster. It is up to Pitt and his associates at the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA) to locate the source of the pollution and shut it down, and explore the connection between the deaths and the missing ironclad.

Hot Rod
Hot Rod(2007)

Backhanded compliment though it may seem, Hot Rod is Andy Samberg's Billy Madison: a movie too amateurishly executed to "actually" be good, but effective enough to hint at the potential charm and talent of its star. No doubt born of a thousand brainstorm sessions between skits on SNL where Samberg and Co. imagined their off-camera riffs writ large on the silver screen, the film has an unforced, but decidedly unprofessional air, as if four buddies decided that their own cache of in-jokes were brilliant enough to be shared with the world. But even without the comedic focus or technical polish of movies by his SNL elder statesmen, Samberg's first leading-man role shows enough promise to render Hot Rod a semi-successful execution of that most dangerous of stunts -- namely, to move from TV to movies.

Samberg plays Rod Kimble, an amateur daredevil who dreams of following in his deceased stuntman father's footsteps, and eventually, beating the crap out of his stepfather Frank (Ian McShane). Frank offers plenty of psychological abuse to go along with the physical, but when he falls ill Rod pledges to earn enough money for a life-saving operation; he wants to deliver Frank's death blow himself. Along with stepbrother Kevin (Jorma Taccone), erstwhile girlfriend Denise (Isla Fisher) and pals Dave (Bill Hader) and Rico (Danny R. McBride), Rod comes up with a plan to jump 15 school buses, and begins to train for what might be his ultimate stunt -- by which we mean his last. (Because he will be dead.)

Ultimately, however, the film's self-awareness of said formulas only works in fits and starts, not the least of which because the references and parodies only target other movies instead of more universal ideas. This primarily is what distinguishes young ensembles like Samberg's (not to mention many up-and coming comedians) from more experienced talents like Sandler and Ferrell: they're so busy sending up the self-seriousness of the films they love (and love to make fun of) that they forget to offer anything more meaningful than a well-placed punch line. Comparatively, Anchorman and Talladega Nights both explore larger cultural and emotional themes, whereas Hot Rod borrows from its cinematic predecessors and believes the laugh is accomplishment enough, not recognition of deeper human truth.

Splinter
Splinter(2008)

The horror genre is getting way too bogged down by shock horror pictures (aka torture porn) and inept remakes of classic slashers (the recent remake of Friday the 13th for example). Then there are the Japanese ghost-story imports, remakes and knock-offs. Some are effective, but now this subgenre has moved on to haunted cell phones and evil electricity. Zombies, that subgenre feels a little tired, too. Even Romero's latest effort felt a little stale (hopefully his next Of the Dead chapter will fare better). Even vampires are getting the runaround, being painfully dragged into sappy melodrama and romance with movies like Twilight ? though that genre saw a breath of fresh air last year with Let the Right One In. There just enough good horror movies anymore, except that one good one that comes out every year. I did not expect to much out of this film since I had never heard of it before, just watched it on Netflixs to pass the time. For being a low budget film that seem like it should have been more recognized be critics.

It certainly helps, too, that the film boasts several fully realized characters who don't just play as carbon cutouts of human beings like many other horror films. The performers also lend their unique gifts to each of the roles, giving the characters distinct traits and quirks rarely seen in the horror genre. These are flawed people trying to work out what is clearly a terrible situation. Sharply (no pun intended) directed by Toby Wilkins, based on a script from Ian Shorr and Kai Barry, Splinter is a revitalization of the horror genre. It plays on so many levels, working into so many different subgenres, that it never runs out of steam. There are a few dumb genre trappings that surface from time-to-time, but the film packs a serious punch, delivering solid chills, loads of gore and tension that tightly builds throughout.

The film starts out pretty typically. Seth (Paulo Constanzo) and Polly (Jill Wagner) are heading for an idyllic weekend camping trip. Seth is a little apprehensive about the trip, but Polly promises to make it worth his while. But things get sidetracked when the young couple ends up being hijacked by a criminal named Dennis (Shea Whigham) and his girlfriend Lacey (Rachel Kerbs), both of whom are running from the law ? Dennis for being party to a brutal homicide and Lacey for being an accomplice. Things get sidetracked even further, however, when the young couple stumbles upon a prickly porcupine-like substance that makes cute chirping sounds a little like a Tribble from Star Trek. It's stuck to the road, and their car, and appears more than a little contagious when you touch it.
What follows is an intense thrill ride as our band of unlikely heroes barricade themselves in a nearby gas station while the prickly monster outside consumes anyone who comes to pass, mashing the people together to form a rather formidable monster

The Day After Tomorrow

In terms of the aforementioned human drama, all the actors involved play their parts with considerable tact. Nobody is overacting, nobody is earnest beyond earnest, and nobody is over-the-top. Instead, everybody is just right, from Ian Holm to Quaid, and the entirety of the supporting cast (although Glenn Plummer as a homeless man is severely underused). The characters who are supposed to be heroic are indeed appropriately heroic. The ones that are supposed to be slimy and vile are indeed appropriately slimy and vile. Yet no one is beyond redemption. If there is one flaw to the cast it would be young Jake G., who is twentysomething in real life, portraying a naive, yet intelligent, high school student. It smacks of shades of BH 90210 casting, but what the hell. Now don't get me wrong here, while TDAT is entertaining, it's also manipulative, clichéd, and corny, but then so was Emmerich's last "great" film, Independence Day. In many ways this film echoes that one, adhering to the same basic blueprint: lay out some stock characters, lay out a catastrophic event, then open up the floodgates. Thankfully, Emmerich and company have assembled a solid cast and they keep the action flowing so quickly that you never really have time to think about the absurdity of the whole situation. And that's what a great disaster flick is supposed to do.

The premise of TDAT is environmentally based, focusing on the ever-increasing problem of global warming and the film commences with a trio of scientists ? Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid), Frank Harris (Jay O. Sanders), Jason Evans (Dash Mihok) ? drilling for ice cores in the Antarctic. When a massive shift in the ice causes a bottomless chasm, the three head for the UN and deliver an emergency meeting to the assembled nations. Hall calls for immediate recourse to be taken to slow global warming, stating that the Earth is headed for a new Ice Age in anywhere from 100 to 1000 years. Naturally his pleas fall on deaf ears. Well, almost. Dr. Rapson (Ian Holm) a fellow scientist based in England buys into Hall's theories and the two begin collaborating on data together. Things go terribly awry, however, when drastic temperature changes (13 degrees, if you can believe that) occur in the North Sea current thus causing rapid desalination, resulting in the world's weather system going to hell in a broken hand basket lickety-split like.

This is where the story really begins as Hall and Rapson join forces and desperately try to warn the world's officials of the ensuing chaos. Of course there's more to the story than that, since elemental destruction wouldn't be much fun without a human element attached to it. Said human element comes in the form of Sam Hall (Jake Gyllenhaal), Jack's estranged son, who finds himself in New York with a group of school friends as the big storm starts to hit. Naturally Jack has to rescue his son and together with his partners Jason and Frank, the trio head out from Philly to the Big Apple, hoping to beat the freezing temperature and save whoever is left alive. Toss in the presence of a separated wife (Sela Ward) and a sniveling Vice President (Kenneth Welsh) who ignores all the scientific data, dismissing it as science fiction, and you've got all the emotional friction and human drama you need.

Miami Vice
Miami Vice(2006)
½

Fans of writer-director Michael Mann, as well as those who love their cop movies dark and gritty, will respond favorably to the movie, which is nothing short of a di-Vice-ive affair. You will either love it or loathe it. There seems to be no middle ground in the responses to the film so far, which suggests that Mann did something right to have provoked such strong reactions. Although one might not be too far off in suspecting that some negative critical reaction has more to do with a growing, palpable disdain for stars Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell, and even for Mann, than it does with the movie. One wonders what the reactions might have been had Vice come out a year ago instead. More has been made of the film's apparent departures from the series, which Mann exec produced but did not create, than is really the case. The film's plot culls many narrative elements from several first and second season episodes. The big-screen Vice is essentially a feature film version of the first season episode "Smuggler's Blues." The movie has the same basic plot as that episode.

If you like MIchael Mann you will love it, me not to much of a fan. I found this a painful movie to sit though and a little to long. It was very lit on action and had way to much drama elements instead of action. Colin Farrell and Jamie Fox did great jobs with their parts but they could not save this movie from a bad script. The cinematography was great but it was way to hard to follow what was going on the entire movie.

While working an undercover prostitute sting operation Miami-Dade Police detectives James "Sonny" Crockett and Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs receive a frantic phone call from their former informant Alonzo Stevens. Stevens reveals that his wife Leonetta is in immediate danger, asks Rico to check on her, and he plans to blow town. Crockett learns that Stevens was working as an informant for the FBI but has been made. He and Tubbs quickly contact the FBI SAC (Special Agent in Charge) John Fujima and warn him that whatever the Bureau's investigation that Stevens was involved with, is now compromised. Tracking down the informant through a vehicle transponder and aerial surveillance Crockett and Tubbs stop him along I-95 and learn that a Colombian cartel knew that Russian undercovers were working with the FBI from the start and had threatened Stevens that unless he confessed Leonetta would be murdered via a C-4 necklace bomb. Rico tells Alonzo that he doesn't have to go home. Learning her fate Stevens, in a state of grief, commits suicide by walking into freeway traffic. He is killed by a semi-trailer.

En route to the murder scene Sonny and Rico are phoned by Lt. Castillo and are instructed to stay away. He tells them to meet him downtown and there they are introduced to John Fujima, head of the Florida Joint Inter-Agency Task Force between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the FBI. An angry Crockett and Tubbs berate Fujima for the errors committed and inquire as to why the MPD weren't involved. Fujima reveals that the Colombian group is highly sophisticated and run by Jose Yero, initially thought to be the cartel's leader. Fujima enlists Crockett and Tubbs, making them Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force deputies, to help and they continue the investigation by looking into "go-fast boats" coming from the Caribbean, delivering loads of narcotics from the Colombians. They then use their Miami informant contacts to set up a meet and greet with the cartel.

The Last House on the Left
½

Horror icon Wes Craven serves as a producer on this remake of his directing debut, The Last House on the Left. Updated and toned down from his disturbing 1972 cult classic. The most remarkable thing about this new Last House on the Left is that it's generating such a heated response from viewers and critics. Many valid cases could be made that the film's most controversial and gut-wrenching sequence -- the attack on Mari and Paige -- is too long and disturbing for its own good, and asks the audience to be horrified by such brutal reality before switching gears to become a cathartic "kill 'em all" popcorn flick. Basically, that it's a jarring and morally confusing leap the film asks the audience to take because Last House begins as a film but ends as a movie. That's a good argument, but one that I find puzzling because many of these same critics enjoyed the mindless, high body count violence in Friday the 13th, Punisher: War Zone, or even in some Tarantino movies, pictures that are intentionally designed to treat violence glibly and where killing becomes a source of malicious glee. Last House doesn't stage violence strictly for the sake of titillation, with the big exception of a coda that was needlessly ruined by the trailer. So is Last House wrong for making the audience unsure of how it should feel when they leave the theater? Maybe Last House is a good thriller precisely because it does confound the viewer and makes them question their feelings. That's a hell of a lot more than most horror films manage to accomplish. Judged strictly as a "monster in the house" thriller, Last House is a gripping experience, one made all the more engrossing by the strong performances of its three main leads (Dillahunt, Goldwyn and Potter). It obviously goes without saying that The Last House on the Left is not an easy film to sit through -- particularly its most talked about sequence -- but it deserves a better critical shake than it's getting for provoking its audience into questioning how they feel about the violence they've witnessed.

After settling their affairs, Emma (Monica Potter), John (Tony Goldwyn), and Mari Collingwood (Sara Paxton) head out on vacation to their lake house. Shortly after arriving, Mari borrows the family car and drives into town to spend time with her friend Paige (Martha MacIsaac). While Paige works the cash register at a local store, she and Mari meet Justin (Spencer Treat Clark), a teenager passing through the town who invites them both back to his hotel room to smoke some weed. While the three are hanging out in the hotel room, Krug (Garret Dillahunt), Justin?s father, Francis (Aaron Paul), Justin?s uncle, and Sadie (Riki Lindhome), Krug?s girlfriend, arrive.

Krug shows Justin a local newspaper that has Krug?s and Sadie?s pictures on the front page, and which explains how Sadie and Francis broke Krug out of police custody and killed the two officers that were transporting him. Believing it too risky to let Paige and Mari go, Krug kidnaps them and uses their vehicle to leave town. While Krug searches for the highway, Mari convinces him to take a road that leads him to her parent?s lake house; Mari then attempts to jump out of the vehicle, but the ensuing fight amongst all the passengers causes Krug to crash into a tree. Frustrated by Mari?s attempts to escape, Sadie and Francis proceed to beat Mari as she crawls away from the wreckage. Krug attempts to teach his son to "be a man" by forcing him to fondle Mari?s breasts. When Justin refuses Krug decides to rape Mari. Paige begins insulting him to get him to stop, which causes Krug to pause momentarily only to stab Paige in the stomach twice. As Mari watches Paige bleed to death she is raped by Krug. Afterward, Mari musters enough strength to escape the group and make it to the lake so that she can swim to safety. Before she can swim far enough Krug shoots her in the back, leaving her to bleed out in the lake.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

This is my favorite Indiana Jones movie in the franchise. It had a lot of action and a much better story than Temple of Doom. The female actress, don't know her name, was not as annoying as Kate Capsaw. It has a lot of good action sequences that kept me entertained. Like the scene with the tank. Rewatching these films makes one mindful of how modern adventures rooted in historical mythology ? such as National Treasure or Sahara ? are themselves rooted in films such as Indiana Jones. Tapping our collective curiosity not simply about our own past, but about its connection to the mysterious and unexplained ? the mystical and the otherworldly ? the Indy franchise has succeeded in providing not only a collection of truly thrilling adventures, but a whimsical "what if" version of our own history. Add to that a rough-and-tumble character full of grit, humor and immense charm ? an everyman who exists in both our world and the pastiche of pulp adventure stories ? and you've created a piece not just of natural history, but of film history.

The prologue depicts a young Indiana Jones in 1912 as a Boy Scout in Utah, battling grave robbers for the Cross of Coronado, an ornamental cross belonging to Francisco Vázquez de Coronado. As the foiled grave robbers give chase, Indiana hides in a circus train, in the process using a whip, scarring his chin, and gaining a fear of snakes. Although he rescues the cross, the robbers tell the Sheriff that Indiana was the thief, and he is forced to return it, while his oblivious father, Henry, is working on his research into the Holy Grail, keeping meticulous notes in a diary. The leader of the hired robbers, dressed very similarly to the future Indiana and impressed by the young man's tenacity, gives him his fedora and some encouraging words. In 1938, Indiana recovers the cross from the robbers' ship in the Atlantic Ocean, and donates it to Marcus Brody's museum.

Indiana is introduced to the wealthy Walter Donovan, who informs him that Indy's father has vanished while searching for the Holy Grail, using an incomplete stone tablet as his guide. Indy receives a package which turns out to be his father's Grail diary, containing all his life's research on the Grail. Understanding that his father would not have sent the diary unless he was in trouble, Indiana and Marcus travel to Venice, where they meet Henry's colleague Dr. Elsa Schneider. Indiana and Elsa discover catacombs beneath the library where Henry was last seen, and discover the tomb of Sir Richard, a knight of the First Crusade, with a complete version of the stone tablet that Henry used. They flee when the catacombs are set aflame by The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword, and they capture the cult's leader, Kazim. After Indiana convinces him of their intentions, Kazim explains The Brotherhood are protecting the Grail, and that Henry was abducted to a castle on the Austrian-German border.

Rambo (Rambo IV)
½

After so many bad movie lately I finally found one by Sylvester Stallone that I actually enjoyed. The beginning is slow moving but gets more fast pasted when he started to kill people. Stallone not only starred in this movie he also directed it. He does know how to create great action sequences. First Blood had more of an interesting story-line than the other but just could not provide enough action. This does combine the best and worst of the franchise, great story telling and gory action sequences. The ending is ironic because it is basically how the first one began.

Stallone of course returns as Rambo, who now lives in Northern Thailand as a snake trapper and monosyllabic utterer. When a group of missionaries approaches him to lead them up river to help refugees from the Burmese military, Rambo initially declines, citing the deadly conditions of the territory; but after Sarah (Julie Benz) makes an emotional plea to preserve the victims' humanity, if not his own as well, he agrees. Unfortunately, the missionaries are intercepted by the military soon after Rambo drops them off in the Burmese jungle. Feeling responsible, Rambo agrees to help a ragtag bunch of mercenaries hired to rescue them, in the process being confronted by a lifetime of killing - unfortunately by having to do a whole lot more of it.

Army of Darkness
½

For the uninitiated, Army of Darkness it's the third movie in the Evil Dead series, the brainchild of Sam Raimi. The first two Evil Dead movies are horror classics, but this is more of a comedy. It's no less entertaining, and fit's into the series rather nicely. Full of crazy camera angles, blatant inc one's it'stencies, good action, bad blue screening, and abundant gore, it's cheesy cinema at it's best. Ash is having a crappy weekend. A trip to the woods with his girlfriend has resulted in a pile of dead bodies, him chopping off his own hand, and getting sucked into the middle ages. Not a good weekend at all.

After a brief flashback to Evil Dead II, which explains the Necronomicon and how Ash got to where he is, Ash lands in Medieval England, where he is almost immediately captured by Lord Arthur's men, who suspect him to be an agent for Duke Henry, with whom Arthur is at war. He is enslaved along with the captured Henry, his gun and chainsaw confiscated, and is taken to a castle. Ash is thrown in a pit where he fights off a Deadite and regains his weapons from Arthur's wise man. After demanding Henry and his men be set free, Ash is celebrated as a hero, and also grows attracted to the sister of one of Arthur's fallen knights, Sheila.

According to the wise man, the only way Ash can return to his time is to retrieve the Necronomicon. After bidding goodbye to Sheila, Ash starts his search for the Necronomicon. Entering a haunted forest, an unseen force pursues Ash through the woods. Fleeing, Ash ducks into a windmill where he crashes into a mirror. The small reflections of Ash climb out from the shattered mirror and torture him. One of the reflections dives down Ash's throat and uses his body to become a life-sized copy of Ash, after which Ash kills him and buries him.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

I can't believe how much different this was than Raiders but for some reason I still enjoyed even though Kate Capsaw never stopped screaming. The plot was much darker than the first one. This includes people getting there hearts torn out and people burning. The story was a much darker tone that just didn't seem to work out that well. I defiantly think this was better plot than George Lucas had in mind. He planned to set the film in China, with a hidden valley inhabited by dinosaurs. Despite the criticism I find this the least entertaining of the trilogy.

In 1935 (notably a year before the events of Raiders of the Lost Ark), Indiana Jones narrowly escapes the clutches of a crime boss in Shanghai. With nightclub singer Willie Scott and his ten-year-old Chinese sidekick Short Round in tow, Indiana flees Shanghai on a plane that, unbeknownst to them, is piloted by the crime boss's affiliates. The pilots leave the plane to crash over the Himalayas, though the trio manage to escape on an inflatable boat and ride down the slopes into a raging river. The trio come to a desolate village in India, where the poor villagers believe them to have been sent by the Hindu god Shiva and enlist their help to retrieve a sacred Sivalinga stone stolen from their shrine, as well as the community's kidnapped children from evil forces in the nearby Pankot Palace. During the journey to Pankot, Indiana hypothesizes that the stone may be one of the five fabled Sankara stones, which promise fortune and glory.

The trio receive a warm welcome from the residents of Pankot Palace, who rebuff Indiana's questions about the villagers' claims and his theory that the ancient Thuggee cult is responsible for their troubles. Later that night, however, Indiana is attacked by a would-be assassin, leading him, Willie and Short Round to an underground temple where the Thuggee worship the Hindu goddess Kali with human sacrifice. The trio discover that the Thuggee, lead by their evil high priest Mola Ram, are in possession of three of the five Sankara stones, and have enslaved the children to mine for the final two stones, which they hope will allow them to rule the world. As Indiana tries to retrieve the stones, he, Willie and Short Round are captured and separated. Indiana is forced to drink a potion called the "Blood of Kali," which places him in a trance-like state called the "Black Sleep of Kali Ma," and begins to mindlessly serve Mola Ram. Willie, meanwhile, is kept as a human sacrifice, while Short Round is put in the mines to labor alongside the enslaved children. Short Round breaks free and escapes back into the temple where Willie is about to be lowered into a pit of lava. He burns Indiana with a torch, shocking him out of the Black Sleep. While Mola Ram escapes, Indiana and Short Round manage to save Willie, retrieve the three Sankara stones and free the village children.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

One of the greatest movie of all times. This and Star Wars were my favorite films when I was younger. The only movie by Stephen Speilberg that I actually enjoy. Rewatching these films makes one mindful of how modern adventures rooted in historical mythology ? such as National Treasure or Sahara ? are themselves rooted in films such as Indiana Jones. Tapping our collective curiosity not simply about our own past, but about its connection to the mysterious and unexplained ? the mystical and the otherworldly.

In South America, 1936, treasure hunter/archaeologist Indiana Jones braves an ancient temple filled with booby traps in the Peruvian jungle to retrieve a Golden Idol. Upon escaping the temple, Indiana is confronted by rival archaeologist René Belloq and the indigenous Hovitos people. Surrounded and outnumbered, Indiana is forced to surrender the idol to Belloq, and flees from a jungle chase onboard a waiting seaplane.
Shortly after returning to America to the college where he teaches archeology, Indiana is informed by two Army intelligence agents that the Nazis, in their quest for occult power, are searching for his old mentor, Abner Ravenwood. Ravenwood is in possession of the headpiece of an artifact called the Staff of Ra and is the leading expert on the ancient Egyptian city of Tanis. Indiana deduces that the Nazis are searching for the Ark of the Covenant, the biblical chest built by the Israelites to contain the fragments of the Ten Commandments, and is said to grant the power of God to whoever holds it. The Staff of Ra, meanwhile, is the key to finding the Well of Souls in Tanis, which is where the Ark is buried. The agents subsequently authorize Indiana to recover the Ark with the promise of displaying it in a museum. Indiana travels to Ravenwood's tavern in Nepal for the headpiece, only to find that he had died and that the headpiece is in the possession of his daughter and Indiana's embittered former lover, Marion. The tavern is suddenly raided by a group of thugs commanded by Nazi agent Major Toht. The tavern is burned down in the ensuing fight, during which Toht burns his hand on the searing hot headpiece as he tries to grab it. Indiana and Marion escape with the headpiece, with Marion declaring she will accompany Indiana in his search for the Ark so he can repay his debt.

Indiana and Marion travel to Cairo where they learn from Sallah, Indiana's friend and a skilled digger, that the Nazis are currently digging for the Well of Souls with the aid of Belloq and a replica of the headpiece modeled after the scar on Toht's hand. In a bazaar, Nazi operatives kidnap Marion and fake her death in front of Indiana, who strengthens his resolve to find the Ark. That evening, while deciphering the markings on the headpiece, Indiana and Sallah realize that the Nazis have miscalculated where to dig for the Well of Souls. Using this to their advantage, Indiana and Sallah infiltrate the Nazi dig and use the Staff of Ra to correctly determine the location of the Well of Souls. Shortly afterward, Indiana discovers that Marion is captured but alive, but does not free her out of fear that it will draw the Nazis' attention to him. Indiana gathers a small group of diggers and uncovers the Well of Souls, which is filled with venomous snakes (of which Indiana is deathly afraid). Upon obtaining the Ark, Belloq and the Nazis arrive to take it for themselves. They proceed to toss Marion, who had refused to reveal any information to the Nazis despite Indiana's perceived betrayal, down into the well with Indiana and seal them both in. However, Indiana and Marion manage to navigate the underground temple and escape. After blowing up a flying wing ready for shipping the treasure to Germany and chasing down a convoy of trucks holding the Ark, Indiana manages to take it back before it can be shipped to Berlin.

Judge Dredd
Judge Dredd(1995)
½

Has to be one of the worst movies that I have seen. Such an awesome concepts gets destroyed by director Danny Cannon. Let alone they bring in Rob Schinder for the comic relief. The film itself could not have gotten worse. The characters were stupid and Stallone is not the action hero he use to be.

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
½

It is not nearly as good as the first two but it still a cinematic masterpiece. The one main problem I had with this movie was the walking and talking teddy bears, not nearly as bad as the fish creatures in Episode 1. I thought that the first half hour was very creative and interesting. I have to say that it is a great way to end the series. In comparison to Empire and especially Star Wars, Return may not feature as many changes - its special effects were remarkably sophisticated in comparison to its predecessors - but those changes are far more noticeable. In particular, the decision to feature a big-time musical number at Jabba's palace entitled "Jedi Rocks" is the most offensive of the additions, especially since it's significantly worse than "Lapti Nek," the original tune used during this sequence, which did not feature a camera-addressing muppet. Additionally, the original version featured a different (and arguably worse) finale scored by music from the Ewok village, as well as a final shot that featured Sebastian Shaw, the adult actor who played Anakin Skywalker, instead of Hayden Christiansen. Mind you, I actually accept the fact that the filmmakers changed that shot because it showed Anakin at the time when he was truly good, but it obscures the work done by Shaw.

Luke Skywalker, having fashioned himself as a Jedi Knight, initiates a plan to rescue the frozen Han Solo from the vile crime lord Jabba the Hutt with the help of Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2. Leia infiltrates Jabba's palace on Tatooine disguised as a bounty hunter and releases Han from his carbonite prison, but is caught and forced to serve as Jabba's slave girl. Luke arrives the next morning and allows himself to be captured. Jabba sentences Luke and Han to be fed to the monstrous Sarlacc. As he is about to be put to death, Luke breaks free and a large battle erupts; in the ensuing chaos, Leia strangles Jabba to death with her slave chains, Han inadvertently knocks Boba Fett, the bounty hunter who captured him, into the gaping maw of the Sarlacc, and Luke, escaping with his allies, destroys Jabba's sail barge. As Han and Leia rendezvous with the other Rebels, Luke returns to Dagobah where he finds that Yoda is dying. With his last breaths, Yoda confirms that the evil Darth Vader is Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker, and that Luke must confront him again to become a true Jedi Knight. He and the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi also reveal that Luke has a twin sister, whom Luke deduces to be Leia.

The Rebel Alliance learn that the Empire has been constructing a new Death Star, larger and more powerful than the first. In a plan to destroy the new weapon, Han is elected to lead a strike team to destroy the battle station's shield generator on the forest moon of Endor, allowing a squadron of starfighters to enter the incomplete infrastructure and destroy the station from within. Returning from Dagobah, Luke joins the strike team along with Leia and the others, but soon fears that, sensing Darth Vader's presence, he may be endangering the mission. On Endor, Luke and his companions encounter a primitive yet intelligent tribe of Ewoks and form an alliance with them. Later, Luke confesses to Leia everything he knows about his relationship to Vader and to her, and that he is leaving to confront Vader one more time, believing that there is still good in him.

Charlie's Angels - Full Throttle

I did not think this film was worth watching. From the beginning it sucked. The action sequences were pathetic and I couldn't even follow the plot. But when returning to this surreal, fluffy world where babes kickbox via inexplicable time distortion, and possess (for no apparent reason) super-human mastery over the most primary forces of physics, the filmmakers fell into every trap The Sequel Demons put before them. Most stunningly, perhaps, is that returning director McG and his cohorts now demonstrate very little comprehension of what made the first film such a sassy, jubilant movie-going experience to begin with. For all of its over-the-top bombast, the original installment was reasonably well-considered. This movie is scattershot, ADD-impaired, and irresponsibly impetuous by comparison. Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle is the date that tries way too hard. It's too nervous, too desperate to please. The playful, simple charm of the first film is replaced here by an almost pathetic desire to be noticed. Like an aggressive New Yorker, Full Throttle gets in our face, speaks loudly, and never backs down. It is in no way engaging, and it's unapologetically obnoxious.

The Angels are hired to locate a set of titanium rings stolen from the Department of Justice that, when put together in a special machine, will display a list of all individuals in the witness protection program. Having discovered that one person on the list has been killed, the Angels investigate the scene and discover evidence suggesting that the killer is a surfer with a scar on one leg. Having tracked the killer to his next victim - who is subsequently sent to Bosley's house for protection - it is revealed that angel Dylan was once named Helen Zaas and is in the program herself for sending her former boyfriend - a member of the O'Grady mafia family - to jail.

Although they recover the rings, Dylan leaves the Angels because she doesn't want to endanger them with her ex's vendetta, but former Angel Kelly Garrett - in a visit that may have been spiritual- reminds her that every Angel is unique, and her flawed past shouldn't define her present. Returning to the team, Dylan and the others deduce that former angel Madison Lee is the perpetrator of the crimes due to her being the only individual possessing the necessary contacts to carry out such a scheme. Madison, having concluded "Why be an Angel, when [she] can be God", having shot the Angels after reacquiring the rings, although they are saved by their specially-designed kevlar vests - returns to the agency to "confront" Charlie, rejecting his attempts to remind her that the Angels are a family and shooting his speaker off the desk, coldly sneering that she was always the best.

Swordfish
Swordfish(2001)

I actually enjoyed this movie. The thing that really got me was the end, I did not understand it all that much. The film was entertaining and had a great beginning. Not a bad way to start a movie ? not a bad way at all. And the rest of Swordfish? The film is loaded with contradictions and paradoxes: it's enormously handsome, yet disquietingly grungy & edgy. It's an unexpectedly smart film, which is either too weak (or self-assured enough?) to readily embrace a whole slew of cheese-ball, lame-o action conceits. It is totally illogical and improbable (I dare you to get a bearing on Cheadle's character), yet imminently involving and compelling. On close inspection, it probably doesn't make sense on any level whatsoever. Direction by Dominic Sena (last year's Gone in Sixty Seconds remake) is crisp, and keeps the story flowing nicely, as does Paul Cameron's photography ? which manages to be distinctive and stylish without calling too much attention to itself. An enormous and elegant score by Christopher Young (Hellraiser, The Gift) and Paul Oakenfold (TV's Big Brother reality/lock-in series) lends a sincere and imminent quality to sequences which could easily have played as dumb and shallow without full orchestral support of this nature.

Stanley Jobson (Jackman) is an elite hacker who infected the FBI's Carnivore program with a potent computer virus, delaying its deployment by several years. For this, he was arrested by Agent Roberts (Cheadle), convicted of computer crimes and spent two years in Leavenworth. A condition of his parole is that he is forbidden from touching, much less using, a computer. His ex-wife, Melissa, has sole custody over their daughter Holly and some form of restraining order against Stanley from seeing Holly. While Stanley is at home in rural Texas practicing his golf swing, a woman named Ginger Knowles (Berry) shows up to solicit his hacking skills for her boss Gabriel Shear (John Travolta). For an initial $100,000 he agrees to meet with Gabriel. He and Ginger fly to Los Angeles, California and meet Gabriel in a night club. Gabriel pressures Stanley right then and there to hack a government system in 60 seconds while simultaneously being held at gun point and having fellatio performed on him by a young woman. Although it was just a test (the gun was not loaded) Stanley succeeded in hacking the system, a feat that Gabriel had not anticipated.

At Gabriel's house he convinces Stanley to write a worm for $10 million that steals money from a secret government slush fund on the order of $9.5 billion. Gabriel reveals to Stanley that he works for an organization called the Black Cell that was started by J. Edgar Hoover in the 1950s, which is responsible for retaliatory attacks against terrorists who have attacked Americans. It is currently headed by Senator Reisman (Sam Shepard). Reisman discovers that the FBI has caught onto Gabriel and attempts to pull the plug. After Gabriel refuses to terminate plans Reisman attempts to have Gabriel killed, which fails. Gabriel tracks the Senator down while he is fly fishing in Bend, Oregon and kills Reisman.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

I have to say that this is the best Star Wars movie hands down. It is an awesome sequel for one of my favorite movies of all time. It's a classic filmmaking technique to give the audience what they want, but not when they want it. This applies to characters making emotional connections, finding financial or professional success, and yes, sometimes, releasing a certain edition of a certain hot property at a certain time. In this final capacity, George Lucas is either the best or worst at employing the cinematic tenet. Empire is my favorite of the three films, partially because it's the darkest of the three but mostly because it has the most compelling emotional core: Luke discovers the truth about himself and his family, Leia and Han fall gingerly in love, and Yoda bunds the universe together with his combination of benevolent philosophy, cheeky humor and homespun wisdom. The most happy change (or restoration) here is the reinstatement of the original exchange between Vader and the Emperor, which originally did not telegraph the fact that Vader and Luke are related. Then of course there's the matter of the asteroid field chase, which is not only one of the better sequences in all three of the films.

Despite their victory over the Galactic Empire with the destruction of the Death Star, the Rebel Alliance was driven out of their base and forced to establish a new base on the remote ice planet Hoth. Darth Vader, having become obsessed with finding Luke Skywalker, now a commanding officer within the Rebellion, has multiple probe droids dispatched throughout the galaxy, one of which lands on Hoth. While patrolling near the base, Luke is attacked and knocked unconscious by an indigenous predator, called a Wampa. Back at the base, Han Solo announces his intentions to leave the Rebellion to pay off a debt to Jabba the Hutt (much to Princess Leia's displeasure), but stalls to search for Luke when he doesn't return. Escaping from the creature's lair, Luke nearly succumbs to the cold and has a vision of his late mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, who instructs him to go to the planet Dagobah to train under Jedi Master Yoda.

Han finds Luke and provides shelter before they are rescued the following morning. Meanwhile, the Imperial probe droid locates the Rebel base on Hoth, and Vader orders an attack while the Rebels prepare to evacuate and disperse. The Imperial forces eventually overpower the Rebels and capture the base. Han and Leia escape on the Millennium Falcon with C-3PO and Chewbacca, but are unable to enter hyperspace due to technical difficulties and evade pursuit in an asteroid field, where Han and Leia begin to grow closer to each other. Vader turns to several notorious bounty hunters, including Boba Fett, to assist in locating the Falcon. Meanwhile, Luke escapes from Hoth with R2-D2 and crash lands on Dagobah, where he meets a wizened little green creature who reveals himself to be Yoda. While undergoing intensive training, Luke has a premonition of Han and Leia in danger and, against Yoda's wishes, leaves to save his friends, promising to return to complete his training.

The Hangover
The Hangover(2009)
½

As far as comedies this year I have to say that this is by far the funniest. It was funny from beginning to the end. The characters in the were funny and ridiculous. Alan, played by Zach Galifianakis, was the funniest character. He did some retarded stuff and was just stupid. The others were funny as well, equally do stupid stuff. There are great bits throughout the entire film, and while it does bog down for a bit about 3/4 of the way through, but it regains its footing soon enough to wrap up with a really great ending. However I loved how they handled the backtracking to figure out just what happened the night before - they didn?t resort to flashbacks or fancy back and forward time-jumps? we just hung with the guys real-time and discovered the pieces to the puzzle along with them. So not only do we have great comedy, as a bonus we get a mystery to unravel as well. In the end I was surprised at how well the director of Old School did on this movie.

Doug is about to be married, so his friends?Stu, a dentist planning on proposing to his girlfriend of three years, Phil, a schoolteacher bored of the married life, and Doug's soon to be brother-in-law Alan, who is smart yet socially-inept?take him to Las Vegas for a bachelor party. Stu's girlfriend is very controlling, thereby forcing Stu to lie to her about their destination. The guys get a suite at their hotel, then sneak on to the roof of the hotel and toast to the night ahead. Skipping forward to the next morning, the three groomsmen awake with no memory of the previous night. They find Doug missing, Stu missing a tooth, a tiger in the bathroom, and a baby in the closet. Initially they believe Doug to have gone out for breakfast, but soon worry when his cellphone has been left behind. They collect what memories they have to figure what happened to Doug, with Alan finding Stu's tooth in his pocket. The valet brings them a police car, which they had dropped off the night before.

Because Phil is wearing a hospital bracelet, the guys head to the hospital. The doctor identifies roofies in their blood, and tells them that they had just come from a wedding. At the chapel, they learn that Stu had married a girl named Jade. In the parking lot of the chapel they are attacked by two Chinese thugs. They escape and find her, where she reveals she is a stripper and the baby is hers. Cops then burst into her apartment to arrest the three men for stealing their car. However, not wanting to face the embarrassment of losing their car, the officers work out a deal in which the men volunteer to demonstrate how tasers are used. Afterwards, the three friends pick up their car, though a Chinese man named Mr. Chow, is locked in the trunk naked and attacks them upon his release. Alan admits to having drugged their drinks the night before, hoping they would have a better time, but had been sold roofies by accident thinking it was ecstasy.

Probably one of the funniest movies that I have seen.

Live Free or Die Hard

To be honest I was not impressed with the 2nd and 3rd Die Hards. This is actually a little better than those attempts. The plot is just amazing. It is more of cyber terrorism instead of highjacking a plane or a building. The performance were good. Justin Long was an interesting pick for his character but he was still able to pull it off. Bruce Willis is as good as normal. The villain was interesting but not seeming to be as good as Hans Gruber from the first.
Thomas Gabriel (Olyphant), an extremely talented computer hacker and ex-NSA agent, along with his girlfriend Mai Linh (Q) have contacted several hackers across the United States, paying them handsomely to write segments of code. However, after each hacker has delivered the promised code, they are killed by a team of assassins sent by Mai. When Gabriel's efforts are detected by a hack on the FBI computers, a nationwide roundup of all known top hackers is started. New York City police officer John McClane (Willis), out late to check up on his daughter Lucy Gennaro (Winstead), is assigned to bring in Matthew Farrell (Long) from Camden, New Jersey, who was writing code for Gabriel. As McClane collects Farrell, the two are attacked by Mai's assassins, but McClane is able to extract Farrell and kill most of their attackers. McClane drives Farrell down to the FBI Headquarters in Washington D.C., where Farrell is questioned. As the transportation grid and stock market are brought down by Gabriel, Farrell believes that Gabriel is trying to run a "fire sale", to demonstrate the over reliance of the country on computer-controlled systems, creating an "everything must go" situation by shutting down vital systems one by one.
It is an awesome movie that is better than the 2nd and 3rd but not nearly as good as the first.

Revenge of the Nerds
½

Even though it came out in the 80's it still had me laughing though the entire movie. I thought the whole concept was much different than other teen comedies were the nerds got picked on a lot. In this the nerds get revenge by messing with all the jocks. But as one of the few '80s comedies that actually maintains a degree of longevity, there is something about the film that not only seems entertaining or intelligent, but (daresay) artistically credible.Ok, ok - we aren't going to try to read into its compilation of character types and sex-comedy clichés some deep or profound examination of the human condition; that would be just plain silly. But it's clear from rewatching the movie that most of the folks involved did take it more seriously than one might expect - or maybe than its premise deserved.

Keith Carradine and Anthony Edwards play Lewis and Gilbert, two freshmen at Adams College who find that their days as poster boys as jock punching bags are far from over: after being unceremoniously ejected from their dorm after the jock-populated Alpha Beta fraternity burns down, the pair take up with a collection of misfits and take up residence in the school gymnasium. Determined to take revenge on their tormentors, Lewis and Gilbert establish their own fraternity - the Tri-Lambs - and attempt to win control of the Greek Council. Armed with their intellects (not to mention years of resentment), the Tri-Lambs begin an unsurprisingly clever campaign to take back their dignity and restore the balance of power between the haves and have-pocket-protectors.

It is not the funniest movie that I have seen but one of the better 80s sex comedies that I have seen.

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope

The new Star Wars films are a extreme disappointment to the great original trilogy. The special effect were amazing for the time frame and were a landmark for the CG industry. I always liked this film since I was five years old and still like how well George Lucas did in creating the original movie. I saw the new limited edition one with all new special effect for the movie and I really liked the way they updated it. I also have to say that the actors and actress gave great performances and had a lot of comedy to there role. Star Wars is the first movie I ever saw, and my favorite for many, many years. The new 'old' version restores all of the things that I loved, or at least preserves them: the magical if technically rudimentary special effect that made Luke's land speeder fly; the operatic if unhurried attack by miniature X-wings on the Death Star; and of course Han shooting first. The lightsabers' hums are less sharp and their glow less bright, the shiny surfaces of 3PO's body are less vivid, and the punctuative sound of John Williams' leitmotifs are less emphatic - but it's the way the movie was originally designed, for better or worse, and technology is always a poor substitute for creativity.

[IMG]http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-images/Film/Pix/pictures/2007/05/14/starwars460.jpg[/IMG]

The galaxy is in a state of civil war. Spies for the Rebel Alliance have stolen plans to the Galactic Empire's Death Star: a space station capable of annihilating a planet. Rebel leader Princess Leia is in possession of the plans, but her ship is captured by Imperial forces under the command of Darth Vader. Before she is captured, Leia hides the plans in a droid named R2-D2, along with a holographic recording. The small droid escapes to the surface of the desert planet Tatooine with fellow droid C-3PO. The two droids are quickly captured by Jawa traders, who sell the pair to moisture farmer Owen Lars and his nephew, Luke Skywalker. While Luke is cleaning R2-D2, he accidentally triggers part of Leia's holographic message, in which she requests help from Obi-Wan Kenobi. The only "Kenobi" Luke knows of is an old hermit named Ben Kenobi who lives in the nearby hills; Owen, however, dismisses any connection, suggesting that Obi-Wan is dead.

[IMG]http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2008-02/35589572.jpg[/IMG]

During dinner, R2-D2 escapes to seek Obi-Wan. Luke and C-3PO go out after him and are met by Ben Kenobi, who reveals himself to be Obi-Wan and takes Luke and the droids back to his hut. He tells Luke of his days as a Jedi Knight and explains to Luke about a mysterious energy field called the Force. He also tells Luke about his association with Luke's father, also a Jedi, whom he claims to have been betrayed and murdered by Darth Vader, Obi-Wan's former pupil who turned to evil. Obi-Wan then views Leia's message, in which she begs him to take R2-D2 and the Death Star plans to her home planet of Alderaan, where her father will be able to retrieve and analyze them. Obi-Wan asks Luke to accompany him to Alderaan and to learn the ways of the Force. After initially refusing, Luke discovers that his home has been destroyed and his aunt and uncle killed by Imperial stormtroopers in search of the droids. Luke agrees to go with Obi-Wan to Alderaan, and the two hire smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca to transport them on their ship, the Millennium Falcon.

[IMG]http://moviesmedia.ign.com/movies/image/article/752/752241/star-wars-episode-iv-a-new-hope-20061222111307977.jpg[/IMG]

The very first film that ever enjoy a lot. It is still one of my all time favorites

[IMG]http://agoldenworld.files.wordpress.com/2006/09/star-wars-episode-iv-a-new-hope.jpg[/IMG]

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

I don't know why I bothered to even watch this movie, I didn't like the first one all that much. This was not much better. Once again the actors gave mediocre performances, the story was ridiculous, and the only good part were the special effect and that is saying something. While still essentially a lightweight kid's movie marred by occasionally choppy pacing and hit-or-miss humor, this film works where it counts and is a much better comic book movie than the sitcom-like original. So how exactly is this sequel better than the original? In nearly every way. This is a far more ambitious, epic and comic booky endeavor than the first Fantastic Four, which gives it an emotional and visceral heft the original desperately lacked. The characters are still thin, but the actors appear far more comfortable in both their roles and superhero antics than they were last time around. There is also far more action packed into the film, including a climactic sequence involving the Fantasticar. The main problem was afterwards what happened to the holes in the earth and the destruction that the Silver Surfer created.

[IMG]http://cdn-images.hollywood.com/cms/300x375/3709722.jpg[/IMG]

Set two years after the first film, Reed Richards and Sue Storm are preparing for their wedding. A silver object enters Earth's atmosphere, radiating cosmic energy that creates massive molecular fluctuations and causes deep craters at locations across the Earth. The government approaches Reed to build a sensor to track the movements of the object. As the wedding begins (humorously, Stan Lee is seen attempting to enter the wedding), Reed's systems detect the phenomenon approaching New York City, causing a massive power blackout. The object destroys the sensors while the Fantastic Four protect the crowd. The Human Torch pursues the object, discovering that it is a humanoid, a "Silver Surfer." He confronts the Surfer, who drags Johnny into the upper atmosphere where the lack of oxygen and low air pressure snuffs his flame out, then drops him back toward Earth. Johnny manages to reactivate his powers and survives the fall. Later, when Sue tries to comfort Johnny, she touches his shoulders and their powers switch - he becomes invisible, and she is set on fire; when they touch again their powers revert back. Reed's examination of Johnny reveals that exposure to the Surfer has set Johnny's molecular structure in flux, allowing him to switch powers with his teammates through physical contact. Tracing the cosmic energy of the Surfer, Reed discovers that a series of planets the alien had visited before Earth have all been destroyed.

[IMG]http://www.cgfocus.com/images/moviereviews/F4_RSS/image_01.jpg[/IMG]

The Surfer has been creating a number of deep artificial craters around the globe. Reed determines that the next crater will appear in London, and the team travel there. They are just in time to avert the destruction of the London Eye by the effects of the Surfer's passing, and save its passengers, although the rescue is jeopardized when Johnny accidentally touches Reed and switches powers with him. The Surfer departs, and the Thames drains into the crater. The Surfer's movements around the globe bring him past Latveria, where the cosmic energy affects Victor Von Doom, freeing him from two years as a metal statue. Doom, able to move again but scarred, traces the Surfer to the Arctic and makes him an offer to join forces. When the Surfer rebuffs him, Doom attacks. The Surfer returns fire, blasting Doom through the ice. The cosmic energy of the Surfer's blast heals Doom's body, reversing the changes seen in the first film.

[IMG]http://moviesmedia.ign.com/movies/image/article/790/790644/fantastic-four-rise-of-the-silver-surfer-20070522020358289.jpg[/IMG]

I believe that it was better than the first but not by much. The plot was extremely weak and the acting could have been improved on but the best part was the special effects that were enhanced over the first.

[IMG]http://www.slashfilm.com/wp/wp-content/images/silversurferposterbig.jpg[/IMG]

Fantastic Four

When I was young I was never really a fan of this comic book, I just thought that it was completely stupid. The film is not far from my thoughts of the comics. I thought that the entire cast was a terrible decision on the producers call. Jessica Alba has had one good movie, Sin City, it was good she only had 20 minutes of screen time in it. Ioan Grufford, if that is how you spell his name, the only other film I know him in is the Clive Owen King Arthur and that was not that great a movie. Chris Evens was just a bad pick for the Human Torch he had no likeness to comic character. Michael Chiklis was a terrible actor in this movie, he can not act for his life. The guy who played Dr. Doom was alright but you never really saw him in the comics so I can't say if he was a good choice for the character. The plot was boring, it was not exciting until the end when you actually see Doom in his armor. All those action scene were completely goofy and stupid, the fight scene was like the one in Twilight very stupid and very boring. To be honest there really is not many thing good to say about this movie except goofy.

[IMG]http://www.channel4.com/film/media/images/Channel4/film/F/fantastic_four_xl_03--film-B.jpg[/IMG]

Dr. Reed Richards (Ioan Gruffudd), a brilliant but timid and bankrupt physicist, is convinced that evolution is triggered by clouds of cosmic energy in space, and has calculated that one of these clouds is soon going to pass near Earth. Together with his friend, the gruff yet gentle astronaut Ben Grimm (Michael Chiklis), Reed convinces his equally brilliant but conceited MIT classmate Dr. Victor von Doom (Julian McMahon), now CEO of Von Doom Industries, to allow him access to his privately-owned space station. Von Doom agrees, in exchange for control over the experiment and a majority of the profits from whatever benefits it brings. He brings aboard his chief genetics researcher (and Reed's ex-girlfriend) Susan Storm (Jessica Alba), and her hot-headed brother Johnny Storm (Chris Evans), his private astronaut, who was Ben's subordinate at NASA but is his superior on the mission, much to Ben's disgust. The quintet travels to space to observe the cosmic energy clouds, but Reed has miscalculated and the clouds materialize well ahead of schedule.

[IMG]http://www.aceshowbiz.com/images/news/00013676.jpg[/IMG]

Victor refuses Reed's plea to abort the mission, knowing he must produce results to justify his expenditure, no matter the human cost involved. Knowing Ben is space-walking to set up equipment, Reed, Susan and Johnny leave the shielded inner area of the station to rescue him, and Victor closes the shield behind them. Whilst Victor is seemingly safe, the others are exposed to the cloud. Ben receives full exposure out in space, while the others receive a more limited dose within the station. The astronauts make it home intact; however, before long they begin to mutate, developing strange powers. Reed is able to stretch like rubber; Susan can become invisible (by bending light around objects) and create force fields, especially when angered; Johnny can engulf himself in fire at up to supernova-like temperatures, and is able to fly; and Ben is transformed into "The Thing", a large, rock-like creature with superhuman strength.

[IMG]http://bestweekever.blogs.com/photos/uncategorized/fantastic_four.jpg[/IMG]

Of all the Marvel movie I have to say that this is probably one of the worst. The plot was stupid the special effects were terrible. The whole thing was a mess.

[IMG]http://www.comicbookmovie.com/images/news/fantastic-four/fan4intfinal.jpg[/IMG]

Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn

I do not think this is nearly as good as the first one. The first was original, this just put new characters in it but is basically the same as the first one. "The Evil Dead" was a straightforward horror film. Aggressive, abrasive, and original in every way. So original that Stephen King championed it and opened it up to a much wider audience. Sam Raimi and gang returned dead set on avoiding the sophomore slump by throwing the horror of the first, a bigger budget, and Three Stooges inspired physical comedy.

[IMG]http://www.best-horror-movies.com/images/evil-dead-2-ash-the-killer.jpg[/IMG]

The film opens with a very rough re-play of the important events of the first film. Ash Williams and his girlfriend Linda take a romantic vacation to a seemingly abandoned cabin in the woods. While in the cabin, Ash plays a tape of an archeology professor (the cabin's previous inhabitant), reciting passages from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (or "Book of the Dead"), which had been discovered during an archaeological dig. The recorded incantation unleashes an evil force which soon takes possession of Linda. Ash is forced to kill and bury her. Something remains and continues to terrorize Ash. It is here that the film picks up where its predecessor left off. The unseen evil spirit lifts Ash off the ground and tosses him into a tree where he is possessed by a demon. However, morning soon approaches and Ash reverts back to his normal self. Ash then tries to escape the woods in his car, but finds the entrance bridge to the area has been destroyed. Suddenly, night falls and Ash senses that a demon is after him, so he gets back into his car and drives back to the cabin where he crashes and flies through the front window. Ash is then chased throughout the cabin, portrayed on-screen from the point of view of the demon. Eventually, Ash manages to hide from the demon.

[IMG]http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e315/tomthedog2/tn_Horror--EvilDead2.jpg[/IMG]

Meanwhile, two archeologists, Annie and Ed, come back with newly discovered pages from the Book of the Dead, but find that the bridge is out, so they enlist the help of Jake and Bobby Joe.
Ash notices Linda's dead body coming back to life in a twisted dance, but Linda abandons her gyrations and attacks Ash soon after reviving. Ash seemingly awakens believing he had been dreaming, but then Linda's head falls into his lap and bites his hand. After using a chainsaw to finally eliminate Linda, Ash turns the chainsaw upon himself, severing his possessed hand when it begins to attack him. However, the detached, possessed hand takes on a life of its own, and Ash tries to destroy it with a shotgun. Ash then shoots through the door and nearly hits Bobby Joe. Annie, Ed, Jake, and Bobby Joe begin to think that Ash killed Annie's parents, so they throw Ash into the cellar. The new group begin to play the rest of Professor Knowby's tape recordings and accidentally unleash Henrietta in the cellar. Luckily they manage to save Ash and lock the cellar, but Ed gets injured and later turns into a deadite. Ash eventually kills Ed. The disembodied spirit of the Professor appears before Ash and the others, telling them that the pages Annie and Ed had are the key to dispelling the evil dead. Bobby Jo then discovers Ash's possessed hand holding hers, and runs, screaming, into the forest. She is attacked by the trees. Jake goes hysterical, while Annie and Ash see a drawing in the book of a hero said to have dispelled the evil, appearing as a figure with a chainsaw-like hand and a "boomstick".

[IMG]http://hrudu.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/988120768_87c5ce1538.jpg[/IMG]

Not even close to the greatness of the first. It is a horror movie that tries to hard and it is not even close to being as frightening as the first.

[IMG]http://www.movieposter.com/posters/archive/main/4/A70-2170[/IMG]

The Evil Dead

If I saw this when I was seven or eight I would have been freaked out of my mind and how graphic it was, I probably would sleep that night. Right now all that goes though my mind is how corny this movie looks. It was graphic for the time frame and still one of the most graphic horror movies that I have seen in a while. I believe that Sam Raimi did great on making a good and creep low budget horror film. The plot was interesting but I did not get why the trees could move. In my opinion it is an original movie, the plot is rarely used in any other film that I have seen. It's a movie that just continues to get better and better with age, thus providing us with an undying experience that no other horror film can equal. It has produced legions of die-hard fans. It has become the quintessential horror classic. It's The Evil Dead.

[IMG]http://i260.photobucket.com/albums/ii6/magix_man/Evil_Dead.jpg[/IMG]

Five Michigan State University students venture into the hills and mountains of Tennessee to spend a weekend in an isolated cabin. There they find the Book of the Dead (a Babylonian and Sumerian text, unrelated to the Egyptian Book of the Dead), otherwise known as the Naturon Demonto (renamed the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis in the sequels). While searching the basement of the cabin, the students find and play a tape recording of demonic incantations from the book, unwittingly resurrecting the slumbering demons that thirst for revenge. The characters are then possessed one by one, beginning with Cheryl (Sandweiss) after she is lured into the forest by the Evil Force at night. Alone and far from the safety of the cabin, the woods come alive in a snake-like fashion and rape her. Cheryl makes it home to the cabin but nobody believes her. Her brother, Ash, then decides to drive her into town where she can stay the night. They discover that the only bridge is completely destroyed and the supports are bent into the shape of a hand. Soon thereafter, Cheryl becomes a demon and stabs Linda in the ankle with a pencil. They lock her in the fruit-cellar, but afterward Shelly becomes possessed and attacks Scotty, who dismembers her with an axe. They wrap the dismembered body-parts in a blanket and bury them, after which Scotty leaves to find a trail out of the woods.

[IMG]http://www.geektyrant.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/evil-dead-2.jpg[/IMG]

Ash goes to check on Linda, but finds that she too has become possessed. Scotty returns, but has suffered massive injuries inflicted by the trees. Before losing consciousness he tells Ash there is a trail in the woods. After Linda tricks Ash by (seemingly) returning to normal, Ash drags her outside. He goes back to check on Scotty, but finds that he died from his injuries. Linda later returns and tries to stab Ash, but she is stabbed through the chest by a dagger. Ash drags her outside to cut her up with a chainsaw, but finds that he cannot bring himself to do it, and simply buries her instead. She rises from the grave and, after a violent struggle, Ash beheads her with a shovel. He returns to find the cellar door flown open. He hears a noise from Shelly and Scott's bedroom. With the shotgun, he goes in to investigate and suspects Cheryl may be in the closet. Cheryl jumps at the window of which a demon had earlier broken through to possess Shelly and tries to take the shotgun from Ash, grabbing at it wildly. Ash shoots her in the chest, but it seems to have no effect. Ash then proceeds to barricade both the front and back doors. He runs back into the cellar to find a box of shotgun shells and experiences a strange series of events including the cellar filling with blood and hearing voices. Cheryl tries to attack Ash through the door, but he shoots her and then barricades the door.

[IMG]http://static.gamesradar.com/images/mb/GamesRadar/us/Other/Features/2008/DVDstruction/2008-03-11%20Weapons/Bulk%20Viewers/evildead2_02--article_image.jpg[/IMG]

For a low budget horror movie it is good and gory for such an old film. The plot was good.

[IMG]http://img110.imageshack.us/img110/1197/00000268pl7.jpg[/IMG]

Children of Men
½

I have to say that I liked this much more than Clive Owens last movie I saw, The International, I just found this movie more interesting and had a much better plot. Featuring solid performances across the board and a moving story, Children of Men powerfully conjures a vision of tomorrow that is only a slightly exaggerated version of today. There are no flying cars or laser guns; people don't wear silver spacesuits or live under a giant glass dome. People still dress the same, collect art, visit cafes and go to their humdrum jobs -- and still hate and kill each other. Terrorism, bigotry, fascism, fear and hopelessness are more evident than ever. The film is heavily steeped in Biblical symbolism, with Theo (as in theologian?) serving more like Moses than as a Christ figure. He is there to lead his people to the Promised Land that is the Human Project. Kee is indeed the "key" to the human race's survival, but she is no Virgin Mary; she isn't even sure who the baby's father is as she's had so many sexual partners. Jasper, in a way, is like John the Baptist, a voice crying out in the wilderness. Film scholars will surely be mining Children of Men for years to come.

[IMG]http://www.crazymonk.org/images/children_of_men.jpg[/IMG]

The film is set in the year 2027. Due to an unexplained infertility pandemic, no human children have been born in any part of the world for more than eighteen years. The world has descended into chaos with most governments in the world collapsing, leaving the United Kingdom as one of the sole organised societies. At the beginning, it is said that Seattle is under a siege for its 1,000th day, and that there may have been a nuclear attack on New York. Consequently, millions of refugees (referred to as "fugees") have flooded into the United Kingdom seeking asylum. As a result of the influx, Britain has become a militarised police state. The British Army occupies the streets and forcefully detains all 'illegal immigrants' and suspected sympathisers. The film opens with Theo (Owen), an activist turned apathetic bureaucrat, buying coffee in a crowded coffee shop. There, he learns that the world's youngest human, an eighteen-year-old known as "Baby Diego", has been stabbed to death in Buenos Aires for refusing to sign an autograph. As Theo leaves the café on Fleet Street, a bomb explodes, destroying the coffee shop and killing numerous passers-by. The government attributes the attack to the Fishes, an underground resistance group advocating the rights of "every immigrant in Britain". Shaken, Theo visits his friend, Jasper Palmer (Caine), a former editorial cartoonist and aging hippie. Jasper lives in a secluded hideaway in the countryside and spends his time growing cannabis and caring for his catatonic wife, a former photojournalist tortured by the government.

[IMG]http://www.aolcdn.com/aolmovies/children-of-men-clive-owen-535[/IMG]

Upon his return to London, Theo is kidnapped by the Fishes, who are led by his estranged wife Julian Taylor (Moore). Theo is surprised and happy to see her as they broke up shortly after Dylan, their young son, died during a flu pandemic in 2008. Julian offers Theo ₤5,000 in exchange for his help in obtaining a travel permit for a young fugee girl named Kee (Ashitey). Initially ambivalent, Theo decides to obtain the permits from his cousin Nigel (Huston), a government minister and curator of a repository for rescued art. Nigel arranges for the papers which carry a stipulation that Theo must accompany Kee. Theo decides to escort Kee in exchange for more money. The trip begins, and Luke (Ejiofor), a member of the Fishes, drives Theo, Kee, Julian, and Miriam (Ferris), a midwife, toward the first security checkpoint. They are ambushed by a group of renegades before they arrive, and Julian is fatally shot in the neck. They retreat, but are soon spotted by a police convoy on its way to suppress the rebels. As the group flee, they are stopped by a police car: however, Luke distracts the officers and then kills them. The group quickly bury Julian in the forest, then escapes to a safe house. With Julian dead, Luke is appointed the new leader of the Fishes.

[IMG]http://img2.timeinc.net/ew/dynamic/imgs/070503/scifigallery/children_l.jpg[/IMG]

I liked this movie a lot. It was a lot better than Clive Owens recent movie. The perfomances and story were phenomenal.

[IMG]http://www.iwatchstuff.com/2006/08/25/children-of-men-poster.jpg[/IMG]

Drag Me to Hell

Not quite what I had expected, it turned out much better. I thought that it would be something along the lines of all those crappy horror films like the Grudge and the Uninvited. Sam Raimi did a great job, redeeming himself from the very bad Spiderman 3 film. After 20 years since his last horror film he was able to make you scared and have you laugh at the same-time. The performance were great and the story was very interesting. The bad part is that if you are not a fan of his previous works or not familiar with them you wouldn't understand the kinda terror the he uses. It was actually hard to find a good seat in theater, I had to sit behind a seat that some baby vomited on earlier. It was worth that awful smell.

[IMG]http://www.slashfilm.com/wp/wp-content/images/dragmetohell1-440x293.jpg[/IMG]

he movie opens with the parents of a young Spanish boy rushing to the presence of channeler Shaun San Dena. Their son had stolen jewelery from a band of gypsies in town, and since then he had been complaining of seeing and hearing things not of this earth. Shaun San Dena tries to help the boy in a sense but she is beaten by an unseen force, as are the young boy's parents. The force throws the boy from the second floor down to the first. The boy survives the fall, but as his parents rush down the stairs to tend to him, he is physically dragged to Hell through the floor by demonic hands.
Many years pass... Enter Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), a loan officer with a promising future. An assistant manager position at the bank has come up and both her and her co-worker Stu are up for the promotion. Christine's boss, Mr. Jacks (David Paymer), advises her that she needs to demonstrate that she can make tough decisions and hard calls when she needs to. That same day, Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver), an elderly Gypsy woman, asks for a third extension on her mortgage. Christine, against her better instincts, denies her in an attempt to prove herself. In desperation, Ganush prostrates herself before Christine, begging and kissing the hem of her skirt. As a crowd of customers and employees gathers, Christine panics and shoves the woman away, shaming her in public. Her boss compliments how she handled the situation, tells her the job is almost hers, but asks her to take care of a large loan in the works for a client before he can promote her.

[IMG]http://www.blogcdn.com/www.cinematical.com/media/2009/03/drag-me-to-hell.jpg[/IMG]

That night, in a parking garage, Ganush, enraged and humiliated, exacts revenge by attacking Christine. She throws a cinder block through her window, then pulls her out of her car and tears off one of the buttons on the sleeve of her jacket. Ganush places a curse upon the owner of the button. Shaken by this confrontation, but sure that no further harm will come of it, Christine tries to forget what has happened and move on with her life. But when she arrives home, a mysterious force that only she can see begins to haunt and torment her. She confides in her boyfriend, Clay Dalton (Justin Long) about the events. On the way home she asks to stop at a fortune teller and when there the fortune teller says he is too disturbed by visions of a demon haunting her and he ends the session. He also tells her that he knows of the button before she leaves. Clay then drops her off at home. Christine decides to visit Ganush's granddaughter, in an attempt to find Ganush to undo whatever it is that she has done. When there, the granddaughter is hesitant to let her in the house, but finally allows her access when she says she is there to make things right. Christine notices a gathering of gypsies and realizes it is a wake, for Ganush, who has died. Christine accidentally causes a scene when she knocks Ganush's corpse over, and her granddaughter tells Christine that she deserves what is coming to her.

[IMG]http://z.about.com/d/movies/1/0/x/g/S/dragmetohellpic2.jpg[/IMG]

I have been waiting for Sam Raimi return to horror. This movie combines scares with comedy to give a much better time enjoying this movie.

[IMG]http://www.iwatchstuff.com/2009/03/31/drag-me-to-hell-poster.jpg[/IMG]

Crank 2: High Voltage
½

I really like Jason Statham's movies. This one is much more intense than the first one and much more ridiculous. I have to say that I enjoyed this movie because it kept me entertained though most of the film. The weirdest part of the film is when there are fighting in the giant Godzilla like forms, it was a little stupid to me but it was an interesting scene. "He's Popeye the sailor man!" But it comes to mind when discussing the highly entertaining Crank High Voltage not only because of the film's overtly cartoonish approach, but also for its main character's constant reliance on an external energy source in order to get the job done. Of course, whereas our favorite cockeyed sailor only needed a can of green vegetables in order to pummel Bluto, High Voltage's Chev Chelios requires something a bit more modern -- namely electricity, and lots of it. That's somehow appropriate given the videogame and pop-culture influences of the Crank series. The first film also starred Jason Statham as Chelios, a hitman looking to retire who has the craziest day of his life when he's poisoned by a rival and must keep his adrenaline flowing in order to stay alive long enough to find his "killers." Or at least, that was his craziest day before this sequel kicked in, which picks up at the exact moment of the first film's final moments when Chelios plummeted from a helicopter and crashed to the street below -- and seemingly survived.

[IMG]http://www.filmofilia.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/crank2_m.jpg[/IMG]

The film opens with a sequence designed to look like a classic video game, depicting Chev Chelios' (Jason Statham) fall from a helicopter during the final moments of the original Crank. Immediately after his fall, he is scooped off the street via snow shovel by group of Chinese medics and removed from the scene. He wakes up in a makeshift hospital and sees doctors removing his heart while Johnny Vang (Art Hsu) watches. The doctors place Chev's heart in a red cooler with a padlock, and place a clear plastic artificial heart in his chest. Chev passes out. He wakes up, and escapes. He notices a yellow battery pack is attached to him. After a gunfight and the interrogation of a thug, Chev learns the location of Johnny Vang - the Cypress Social Club.

[IMG]http://www.getthebigpicture.net/storage/trailers/crank2_01.jpg[/IMG]

Chev calls Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam), who tells him that he has been fitted with an AbioCor Artificial heart. Once the external battery pack runs out, the internal battery will kick in and he will have 60 minutes before it stops working. He crashes his car right after the conversation, destroying his external battery pack. In order to keep going, Chev has the driver use his jumper cables on himself, and runs to the Club. Outside, he is met by a group of police, who begin beating him down. He is weakened, but one of them inadvertently charges Chev by using a taser on him. Another stripper tells Chev that he should look at the Hollywood horse racetrack for Johnny Vang.

[IMG]http://www.beyondhollywood.com/stillsx/2007/10/amy-smart-crank-2.jpg[/IMG]

I really did not like the first one all that much, I believe that this is an improvement but still a bit ridiculous.

[IMG]http://www.thinkhero.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/crank2poster2-440x677.jpg[/IMG]

Terminator Salvation
½

I was kinda skeptical about this film due to all the bad review that it had received even though it looked awesome. When I was finished watching this movie I started to think Christian Bale really needs to stop doing the Batman voice it starts to get annoying after a while. Other than that I thought that he was a great John Conner and was the perfect casting. Sam Worthington did and excellent job as Marcus Wright and probably the only character in this movie that had any kinda of grip to the audience. The main problem with this movie is that it lacked any kind of interesting or gripping plot. The special effect were incredible and the action was consistent throughout the entire film that it keeps you entertained until the very end. The coolest thing that Arnold had an appearance, even though it was not him, it still shows how all the movies connect together.

[IMG]http://www.filmofilia.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/terminator-salvation.jpg[/IMG]

In 2003, a death row inmate named Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) at the Longview Correctional Facility meets with Dr Serena Kogan (Helena Bonham Carter), a representative of Cyberdyne Systems to donate his organs and tissue for what he believes will be a good cause. He wakes up 15 years after his execution, in 2018, to find a desolated downtown Los Angeles and a desert wilderness that was once the San Fernando valley. At the same time, John Connor (Christian Bale) has just left a nearby Skynet base, the sole survivor of an assault on the base. He discovers plans to develop the T-800, as well as a Skynet transport carrying captured humans, which is moving to Skynet's main base of North American operations in San Francisco.

[IMG]http://filmonic.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/terminator_salvation_bale_worthington.jpg[/IMG]

Connor returns to the Resistance headquarters (a nuclear submarine) and tells Resistance leader General Ashdown (Michael Ironside) of his discovery. Ashdown informs Connor that, even though it will result in the deaths of most of the prisoners, an offensive against the Skynet base in San Francisco is planned to take place in four days. When Connor asks why it will be in four days, it is revealed that the Resistance intercepted a transmission from Skynet, listing people that they plan to kill in four days: first on the list is Kyle Reese, second is Connor, and the rest are the command staff of the Resistance. However, the Resistance has also discovered a frequency that could possibly be used to force Skynet machines to shut down. After leaving the submarine, Connor speaks with his right-hand man, Barnes (Common), and breaks the news to him that his brother was killed in the attack on the Skynet base. He also meets with his wife, Kate (Bryce Dallas Howard), before listening to tapes from his mother (Linda Hamilton) and sending broadcasts to Resistance members across the world. After stealing clothes from a dead Resistance fighter, Marcus makes his way through the city to discover that the only human survivors there are a teenage Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) and his young, silent, child companion named Star (Jadagrace Berry). After rescuing Marcus from the onslaught of a T-600, Kyle explains how Judgment Day happened as he knows it, and that he is working to become a full-fledged Resistance member. So far though, Kyle and Star haven't had much luck finding others to join their branch. Marcus, determined to help, fixes an old shortwave radio which, by chance, picks up a broadcast from John Connor, whose daily broadcasts are secretly focused on finding Kyle, his future father.

Have been a fan of the original series I believe that this was an amazing action movie that has many ties to the original movies. It was defiantly better than the third one.

[IMG]http://filmgordon.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/terminator-salvation-20090319000343249.jpg[/IMG]

Eastern Promises
½

Not quite what I had expected from the generally from the good reviews. I had expected something more on the lines of the Godfather or Goodfellas. It was not all that great. Viggo Mortensen did an excellent job as the main character. The plot was a little challenging to follow around because I was not quite sure what it was about. It is good to see a movie that focuses on the Russian mob instead of the Italian mob. The ending was a surprise to me I had no idea that was even coming. The main issue is the fight scene in the showers. I believe it was an extremely unnecessary scene. It show way to much male nudity in it. I really did not want to see Viggo naked at all.

[IMG]http://thevoidmovies.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/eastern-promises.jpg[/IMG]

The movie opens with a murder in a barber shop. Later, Anna Khitrova (Naomi Watts), a midwife at a London hospital, finds a Russian-language diary on the body of Tatiana, a fourteen-year-old girl who dies in childbirth. She also finds a card for the Trans-Siberian restaurant, which is owned by Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl), a boss in the Russian Mafia or vory v zakone ("thieves in law"). Anna sets out to track down the girl's family so that she can find a home for the dead mother's baby girl. Anna?s mother Helen (Sinéad Cusack) does not discourage her, but Anna?s Kiev-born uncle Stepan (Jerzy Skolimowski), whom Anna asks for help with translation of the diary, urges caution. Through Semyon and her uncle, Anna comes to learn that Semyon and his bumbling and unstable son, Kirill (Vincent Cassel), had abused Tatiana and forced her into prostitution, and that Semyon had raped the girl.

[IMG]http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2007/09/14/eastern_promises_1_412x300.jpg[/IMG]

Kirill's driver is the Russian-born Nikolai Luzhin (Viggo Mortensen), who also serves as the family's "undertaker", dumping dead bodies in the River Thames. Nikolai's star rises within the vory, due in part to Nikolai's protection of Kirill, who had authorized a hit on a rival Chechen vory leader (who had been making suggestions about Kirill's possible homosexuality, which is also suggested by other scenes and incidents in the film). The hit was not approved by Semyon and was ill-advised, with the Chechen's brothers coming to England to seek vengeance. Semyon, afraid for his son's safety, hatches a plan. Semyon arranges to give "Kirill" up to the Chechens, which involves making Nikolai a Lieutenant in the vory, the same rank as Kirill, so he gets the same distinctive tattoos (stars over the left and right side of his chest). A meeting is arranged at Finsbury steam baths, and the Chechens are told that the tattooed Nikolai is actually Kirill. The Chechens attack Nikolai with knives, but Nikolai is able to kill them both. Nikolai is seriously wounded and is admitted to the hospital where Anna works.

[IMG]http://blog.dvdideas.com/images/eastern_promises.jpg[/IMG]

Not quite what I was expecting from the director of A History of Violence but it is not the worst mob movie that I have seen.

[IMG]http://www.firstshowing.net/img/eastern-promises-poster.jpg[/IMG]

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
½

This turned out much different than the first few movies. This is a much better movie. The plot was good and the acting and dialogue was much better as well. Having said that I was surprised on how well George Lucas was able to change the way the trilogy was heading, shit movies. The beginning was amazing, the special effects were amazing. They look awesome when they are flying and having a space battle. The relationship between Anakin and Padme was not as big as it was in the last one which made the movie not drag. There was much more action and lightsaber fights than in the first and second combined. In the end it all just started to tie in to the original series and started to explain how it all happens in the original as well.

[IMG]http://images.killermovies.com/s/starwarsepisodeiii/gallery/starwars3_02.jpg[/IMG]

The Galactic Republic is on the verge of collapse as a result of the Clone Wars, which have been waged between the Republic and the Separatists for three years. In a surprise move, General Grievous, commander of the Separatist Droid Army, kidnaps Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and attempts to escape. During a battle over the planet Coruscant, Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker lead a mission to rescue the Chancellor, who is being held captive on Grievous's flagship. There they confront Count Dooku in a lightsaber duel; at the end of the duel, Anakin hesitantly kills Dooku at Palpatine's urging. The Jedi free the Chancellor and attempt to escape the battle-torn flagship, but Grievous traps them inside and escapes. Anakin pilots the collapsing flagship to safety on Coruscant. There, Anakin reunites with his wife, Padmé Amidala, who reveals that she is pregnant. Anakin is overjoyed with this news until he begins having recurring nightmares of Padmé dying in childbirth, similar to the visions he had of his mother before she died. Anakin resolves to prevent these visions from coming true.

[IMG]http://commentarytrack.files.wordpress.com/2007/03/star-wars-010707.jpg[/IMG]

Palpatine, concerned about the Jedi's motives, places Anakin on the Jedi Council to be his eyes and ears. Meanwhile, the Jedi Council has begun to suspect Palpatine of corruption and orders Anakin to spy on him, while also denying the young Jedi the rank of Master. Under Palpatine's influence, Anakin begins to grow distrustful of his fellow Jedi, and is intrigued when Palpatine mentions the power to prevent death, an ability only gained through the dark side of the Force. Obi-Wan is sent to the planet Utapau where he engages and kills General Grievous. Back on Coruscant, Palpatine reveals himself to Anakin as the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, who has been controlling both sides of the war. Anakin reports Palpatine's treachery to Jedi Master Mace Windu, who engages and subdues the Sith Lord in a lightsaber duel. Believing that Sidious is his only hope to save Padmé, Anakin intervenes and literally disarms Windu before he can execute Sidious, allowing the Sith Lord to kill the Jedi Master. Anakin is distraught by what he has just done, and Palpatine takes advantage of Anakin's emotionally drained mind to submit him to the dark side and becomes Sidious's new apprentice, Darth Vader.

[IMG]http://www.lazydork.com/movies/starwars3.jpg[/IMG]

After the way the previous films turned out I was expecting a terrible movie but that was a mistake. They were able to make a film the exceeds the first two in every way possible. This movie gave me back the hope that not all Star Wars movies are shit.

[IMG]http://z.about.com/d/movies/1/0/T/L/6/starwars3poster.jpg[/IMG]

Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
½

Once again I am very disappointed with the Star Wars prequel films. This one is not nearly as bad as the first but it still has pretty bad acting and a story that is still hard to follow. The story is a little more developed than the first one, actually making sense but not what you quite expect from this movie. This movie has brief scenes of action throughout but not enough for the time frame of 2 hours and 20 something minutes. It is mostly the relationship of Anakin and the Naboo senator Padme. The scenes with them together were dreadful because it is a relationship that doesn't need to be until the final couple minutes of the film so it can happen during the period between the second and third films. If they removed some of the scene from the first one and the second ones they could have had a better film and then just get rid of the entire first film and the terrible character of Jar Jar Binks entirely. Then the best action scene were at the very end of the movie , it took to long to get to those scenes.

[IMG]http://img2.timeinc.net/ew/dynamic/imgs/020516/175456__starbop_l.jpg[/IMG]

Ten years have passed since the invasion of Naboo, and the Galactic Republic is experiencing a crisis. Former Jedi Master Count Dooku has organized a Separatist movement against the Republic, making it difficult for the Jedi to maintain the peace. The Republic contemplates creating an army to assist the Jedi, prompting Senator Padmé Amidala, former Queen of Naboo, to return to Coruscant to vote on the matter. Upon her arrival, she narrowly escapes an assassination attempt. Shaken by the close call, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine assigns Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker to protect her. That night, another attempt on the Senator's life is made, though Obi-Wan and Anakin foil the plot and subdue the assassin, who is permanently silenced by her mysterious employer when the Jedi force her to reveal vital information. Returning to the Jedi Temple, Obi-Wan is assigned to investigate the identity of the assassin's killer, while Anakin is assigned to escort and accompany Senator Amidala to her homeplanet of Naboo. Anakin, who has grown infatuated with Padmé, relishes the opportunity to spend time with her, though Padmé resists her feelings toward him, as that would go against the moral codes of their careers as a Jedi and a senator, respectively.

[IMG]http://www.mtv.com/movies/photos/c/couples_we_hate_071207/2.jpg[/IMG]

Obi-Wan's investigation leads him to the remote planet of Kamino, where he discovers that an army of clones is being secretly produced for the Republic. Obi-Wan deduces the clones' template, a bounty hunter named Jango Fett, is the killer he's looking for. After unsuccessfully trying to capture him, Obi-Wan tracks him down to the planet Geonosis. Anakin, meanwhile, has grown troubled with recurring nightmares about his mother, whom he had left behind on Tatooine when he set off to become a Jedi, in grave danger. In defiance of his orders to remain on Naboo, Anakin convinces Padmé to accompany him to Tatooine to save his mother. There he finds her abducted and beaten by Tusken Raiders, and she dies in his arms. Anakin succumbs to his grief and rage, slaughtering the entire Tusken community.

[IMG]http://images-cdn01.associatedcontent.com/image/A1342/134250/300_134250.jpg[/IMG]

I have to say that it was better than its predecessor but to be honest that is not saying much. I have not really enjoyed the prequel films at all.

[IMG]http://theknightsofthedamned.co.uk/images/starwarsep2.jpg[/IMG]

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
½

I have always been a fan of the original Star Wars trilogy and was really looking forward to seeing this film when it came out 10 years ago. Watching it know I really do not like this movie and it is a complete waste of what was the best Sci Fi movies that I have ever watched. The story was terrible it kept leaping every where and you really can not keep up with the plot at all. At the beginning the are to a star ship to negotiation something, never really described what they are negotiating in the first place. Then they go to the planet Naboo and meet this annoying fish creature, of course they have to bring him along the entire film which makes things worse. I really don't know where it was supposed to go with it but it made no sense for the first half hour. Then we meet Anakin Skywalker, who we all know to be Darth Vader, he had to be one of the worst actors in this movie, not a good pick. Really who gives a shit what happens to Anakin before he becomes Darth Vader any way. I would actually like to know what happens after the six movie not what happens before them because we already know what is going to happen.

[IMG]http://www.legalmoviesdownloads.com/still-frames-movie-pictures/star-wars-episode-i-the-phantom-menace/star-wars-episode-i-the-phantom-menace-3-ewan-mcgregor-obi-wan-kenobi-.jpg[/IMG]

The Galactic Republic is in a period of decline, with its bureaucracy bloated and corrupt and its economy deteriorating. In response to a taxation on trade routes, the greedy Trade Federation organizes a blockade of battleships around the small planet of Naboo. Hoping to resolve the matter, the Supreme Chancellor dispatches two Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, to negotiate with Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray. Unbeknownst to them, the Trade Federation is in league with the evil Sith Lord Darth Sidious, who orders them to invade Naboo with an army of battle droids and kill the Jedi. Narrowly evading death, the two Jedi stow aboard landing crafts and escape to Naboo. There Qui-Gon saves local Gungan outcast Jar Jar Binks from being trampled by a Federation tank. Indebted to the Jedi, Jar Jar leads them to the underwater Gungan city of Otoh Gunga, where the Jedi unsuccessfully attempt to persuade the Gungans to help the people of Naboo, though they are able to obtain a transport to reach the city of Theed on the surface. That is just the first fifteen minutes of the movie.

[IMG]http://www.legalmoviesdownloads.com/movie_screenshots/Star_Wars_Episode_I_-_The_Phantom_Menace/Star_Wars_Episode_I_-_The_Phantom_Menace_3.jpg[/IMG]

Queen Amidala of the Naboo is captured by the Federation army, but is rescued by the Jedi. The Queen escapes Naboo with the Jedi on her personal starship, which is damaged on its way through the blockade surrounding the planet, forcing them to land on the nearby desert planet Tatooine for repairs. Qui-Gon ventures into the settlement of Mos Espa with Padmé, one of the Queen's handmaidens, to a junk shop to purchase a new hyperdrive generator. There they meet a young slave child named Anakin Skywalker, who takes an immediate liking to Padmé. After spending time with Anakin and his mother, Qui-Gon senses a strong presence of the Force within him, and suspects he may be the Chosen One who will bring balance to the Force. Qui-Gon makes a bet with Anakin's owner to enter him in a Podrace, and that if Anakin wins, he will be freed. With Qui-Gon's guidance, Anakin manages to win the race and joins the group to be trained as a Jedi, but he is forced to leave his mother, who Qui-Gon was unable to release, behind. Before they leave, they are attacked by Darth Sidious' apprentice, Darth Maul, who was dispatched to capture the Queen. After a brief fight, they manage to escape.

[IMG]http://images.techtree.com/ttimages/story/80822_starwars.jpg[/IMG]

Personally I was disappoint with this movie and the only thing that was good in this movie was the fight at the end. The character were terrible and I would like to have been able to see what happens after the sixth film.

[IMG]http://www.unthinkability.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/image.png[/IMG]

Serenity
Serenity(2005)
½

I did not know what this movie was even about or even the TV series before it but I actually found the story very easy to follow and the characters were not all that complex. At first I had no idea what to expect or how it will play out in the end but after the first half hour it start to describe what was going on. I liked most of the character that appeared on the the starship. The special effect were not all that bad but they were not the best that I have seen. The main thing Whedon has going for him is a cadre of rich and memorable characters. Much like the old Star Trek, which is an obvious influence, Whedon overcomes the lack of eye-popping special effects by creating genuine tension and emotion via the time honored tradition of actually scripting interesting, intriguing, and real characters, characters you not only identify with, but end up caring a great deal for. For those new to the fold, these characters include Mal (Nathan Fillion), who is very much cut from the same cloth as the more nihilistic western heroes James Stewart portrayed (think The Man from Laramie and you're pretty damn dead on) as well as a bit of roguish Han Solo tossed in for good measure, the leader of a band of merry renegades that includes Zoe (Gina Torres), Wash (Alan Tudyk), Inara (Morena Baccarin), Jayne (Adam Baldwin), Kaylee (Jewel Staite), Simon (Sean Maher), River (Summer Glau), and Shepherd Book (Ron Glass). Yes, Whedon does succumb to cliché when creating his dysfunctional family: there's the father figure (Mal), the mother figure (a cross between Zoe and Inara), the deceptively innocent daughter figure (Kaylee), the bad son who really has a heart of gold figure (Jayne), and so on. Then of course there's the obligatory unresolved sexual tension issues (Inara and Mal/Kaylee and Simon), which have become the standard of soap operas and sitcoms since the days of Shakespeare. Thing of it is, Whedon takes these familiar elements and actually does something with them; turns them from lifeless, standard, everyday clichés into living, breathing characters who think, feel, and act like real individuals.

[IMG]http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2005/09/28/serenity2_wideweb__430x287.jpg[/IMG]

Five hundred years in the future, mankind has overpopulated Earth and emigrated to a neighboring star system. In the place of national governments, the interplanetary Alliance wields tight political power over inhabitants of the wealthy "central planets", while life on the partially colonized "Outer Rim" planets resembles the lawlessness and desolation of the American Old West.
In the depths of an Alliance facility, Simon Tam rescues his sister River Tam from her scientist captors, who experiment on her with hopes of harnessing her psychic abilities as a weapon. In hiding from the Alliance, the siblings eventually find safe harbor on the spacecraft Serenity, filled with a ragtag crew that makes a living by taking jobs of varying legality in the Outer Rim.
After a bank heist on an Outer Rim planet is disrupted by a horde of feral, spacefaring cannibals known as Reavers, the crew narrowly escapes back to Serenity. Simon accosts the ship's captain, Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds, protesting River's involvement in the raid and her exposure to danger, and declares that he and River will leave Serenity at the next spaceport.
The crew disembarks at a trading post and enters a bar to meet with Fanty and Mingo, the men who hired Serenity for the robbery. River wanders into the bar and observes a television advertisement in which the Alliance has embedded a subliminal message especially for River. It causes her to immediately and brutally attack the other patrons until Simon arrives and utters a code phrase, which renders River unconscious.

[IMG]http://hoofnhealz.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/serenity.jpg[/IMG]

Thoroughly confused, Mal takes River and Simon back to Serenity, where Simon reveals that River was conditioned to be an Alliance assassin. Mal contacts Mr. Universe, a reclusive techno-geek who analyzes the bar security camera footage and discovers that a subliminal message in the advertisement triggered River's attack. Unknown to the crew, the message was placed by the Operative, a self-described monster with no name or rank, assigned by the Alliance to retrieve River at all costs. Mal receives a call from Inara Serra, a former passenger, asking for help with local unrest. Recognizing that he is entering a trap, Mal visits Inara and finally meets the Operative, who offers to release Mal if he surrenders River. Mal refuses and, following a vicious struggle with the Operative, escapes with Inara to Serenity. Aboard the ship, River reveals the existence of "Miranda", an Outer Rim planet deemed uninhabitable by the Alliance and located on the far side of a Reaver fleet. The crew discovers that the Operative has attacked all of Serenity's ports of refuge, killing their former shipmate Shepherd Book in the process. Stricken with guilt and vengeance, Mal overrides his crew's protests and disguises Serenity as a Reaver vessel, allowing them to sneak through the Reaver fleet unmolested and land on Miranda, a planet that contains only corpse-filled cities despite being fully habitable.

[IMG]http://bostonist.com/attachments/boston_caroline/060307_serenity.jpg[/IMG]

Based on a TV series that I have never heard of. It was actually better than I thought and was excellently done.

[IMG]http://353review.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/serenity1.jpg[/IMG]

Taken
Taken(2009)

When I saw trailers for this film a couple of months ago I did not have any hope with this movie, it just looked like all the other revenge films. It was different, Liam Neeson was great as the action hero, I haven't seen him in a movie since Batman Begins. The plot was actually interesting that kept me wondering what Liam Neeson was going to do next and what creative way he did them. The action was good for a PG-13 action movie. Though no blood a lot of people got shot and killed constantly in this film, there was one scene were this one guy got hit by a truck. The bad part it was to predictable, we all knew he would find his daughter and save her.

[IMG]http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/files/2009/02/taken_xl_02-film-a.jpg[/IMG]

Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is a retired CIA operative, called a "preventer", from their elite Special Activities Division. He has retired to spend more time with his 17-year-old daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), who now lives with his ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) and her new wealthy husband Stuart (Xander Berkeley). When pop diva Sheerah (Holly Valance) comes to town, friends and former co-workers of Mills, who now run a security outfit, offer him a job for the night. After the show, Sheerah is attacked, but Bryan disables the assailant and gets her safely out of danger. Thankful, Sheerah expresses some interest in Mills' daughter after learning that Kim wants to be a singer herself. Sheerah passes along contact information for her vocal coach and talent agent.

[IMG]http://www.channel4.com/film/media/images/Channel4/film/T/taken_xl_01--film-A.jpg[/IMG]

The next day, Mills discovers that Kim wants to take a holiday trip to Paris, with her friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy). Despite his initial concerns about the trip, Mills allows her to go, later discovering that their actual plan is to travel around Europe following the band U2. Arriving at the Paris airport, Kim and Amanda meet a Frenchman named Peter (Nicolas Giraud), who offers to share a taxi with them to their apartment. When they arrive, Amanda reveals to Peter that she and Kim are unsupervised, because her family is in Spain. Peter invites the two girls to a party; Kim is reluctant, but Amanda, who is sexually attracted to Peter, hastily agrees. Peter, who now knows their address and that the two girls are unsupervised, reports his findings to an unseen associate. In the house, Kim receives a phone call from her father, which she answers in the bathroom. From the bathroom window, she sees men entering the main room and abducting Amanda. Mills is able to gain critical information about the kidnappers in the final moments after Kim is kidnapped by telling her to shout out everything about them that she notices. Briefly, Mills talks to one of the kidnappers, warning him that unless Kim is released, he will pursue him and kill him, to which the kidnapper replies "good luck" before smashing her phone.

[IMG]http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/taken.jpg[/IMG]

It was an great movie that had some great action scene but fails with predictability.

[IMG]http://www.joblo.com/images_arrownews/taken-poster-new.jpg[/IMG]

Underworld: The Rise of the Lycans
½

Having no knowledge of anything that happened in the previous films I was lucky that this was a prequel to them because I would not know what was going on. This helped me a little bit of what the films are like and what happens in them. That said it was okay. I enjoyed the movie even with all the flaws that were in it. First the special effect were terrible, you could tell when it was CG and when it was not. The action sequences were cool but did not look realistic. The cast was okay. I liked Michael Sheen as the main Lycan but none of the other actors were all that good.

[IMG]http://www.aceshowbiz.com/images/news/00017580.jpg[/IMG]

The film tells the story of the origins of Lucian (Michael Sheen), who was the first werewolf able to take human form - to be called Lycans. Viktor (Bill Nighy), the ruthless elder of the vampires, took him home after killing his werewolf mother. Viktor envisions a race of werewolf slaves for his vampire clan that, conceivably, could keep guard during the daytime hours and toil for the vampires. As Lucian grows up at Viktor's home, his young daughter, Sonja (Rhona Mitra), develops an attraction to the young Lycan, and Lucian becomes fond of Sonja as well.

[IMG]http://z.about.com/d/movies/1/0/w/f/S/underworld3pic5.jpg[/IMG]

It is revealed that Viktor has a relationship with the human population of the area, whereupon he agreed to protect them from the wild werewolves that roam the countryside in exchange for a tithe. As a collection of human nobles come to meet with the vampire council for protection from the werewolves in exchange for this aforementioned tithe, Sonja goes out to guard them. Lucian hears the werewolves near Sonja and steals a horse and sword from a nearby Death Dealer. Wild werewolves proceed to attack and kill the nobles, causing Lucian to engage in a battle with them. When Lucian takes off his collar and changes into a Lycan in order to protect himself, the wild werewolves back down to his howl and leave before Lucian is shot down by Viktor's men. Viktor, despite grudgingly acknowledging that Lucian saved his daughter, notes that Lucian still transgressed the laws of the coven by taking off the collar that kept him in check (by preventing him from changing into a Lycan) and feels betrayed by what he thinks of as his favorite pet. Subsequently, he locks Lucian away after having him whipped thirty times with a three pronged chain-bladed whip.

[IMG]http://www.dreadcentral.com/files/images/underworld3pic1big.jpg[/IMG]

Despite it's many flaws and bad special effect. It was an easy film to enjoy.

[IMG]http://www.7trailers.com/thumbnails/Underworld%20Rise%20of%20the%20Lycans.jpg[/IMG]

The Da Vinci Code

I am not much for religion but this movie makes some sense. All of it could be possible. Jesus could have been married and had a child. I can see why some of it is controversial because it all point out that the catholic lied about Jesus and not saying that it was possible he has relatives. I think that the movie started out pretty good but than got progressively worse along the way until the end that made me think it all could have been explained earlier on in the film and not have been so long. I really don't think that Tom Hanks was the right choice for the role of Robert Langdon but now I can't think of anyone else that could play him as he did.

A man revealed to be Jacques Saunière is pursued by a mysterious hooded character known as Silas through the Grand Gallery in the Louvre. Silas demands the location of the Priory's clef de voûte or "keystone." Under threat of death, Saunière finally confesses the keystone is kept in the sacristy of Church of Saint-Sulpice, "beneath the Rose." Silas thanks him, and then shoots him in the stomach.
Meanwhile, American symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), who is in Paris as an AUP guest lecturer on Symbols and the sacred feminine, is contacted by the French police, and summoned to the Louvre to view the crime scene. He discovers the dying Saunière had created an intricate display using black light ink and his own body and blood. Captain Bezu Fache (Jean Reno) asks him for his interpretation of the puzzling scene.

[IMG]http://www.egrc.net/images/Newsletter_Images/May2006/DaVinciCodeHanks_special.jpg[/IMG]

Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), a cryptologist with the French police, enters the Louvre as well and slips Langdon a message which leads him to go to the men's room. There, Sophie meets him and tells him that he is being tracked, a GPS tracking dot has been (unknown by him) slipped into his jacket and that he is a primary suspect in the murder case because of a line of text found by the corpse (P.S. find Robert Langdon). Sophie however, believes that Saunière, who is revealed to be her grandfather, wanted to pass a hidden message on to her, and that he had wanted to bring Langdon into the equation so that he could help her crack the code. Having bought some time by removing the tracking device, the pair begin exploring the Louvre, finding more anagram messages that Saunière had left behind. Many of these relate to Leonardo Da Vinci's art, and the pair find a key with a Fleur-de-lis behind Madonna of the Rocks.

[IMG]http://z.about.com/d/movies/1/0/C/Q/8/davinci02140604.jpg[/IMG]

Pursued by the French Police and cut off from the United States Embassy, the pair escape to the Bois de Boulogne where Langdon closely inspects the key. He notices an inscription on the side -- an address. The address directs them to the Depository Bank of Zurich where the key is used for a safety deposit box. In the bank, they find Saunière's deposit box and open it using the 10 digit Fibonacci numbers in order (1123581321). Inside the box, they find a rosewood container, which contains a cryptex: a cylindrical container with five alphabetical dials which must be arranged in the correct sequence to spell out a 5-letter code word, in order to open and access the parchment message inside. Using force to open the cryptex would break a vial of vinegar inside, which would dissolve the parchment and destroy the message.

I never really understood what the film was about until I watched it a couple of time. It is not the best film by Ron Howard but it is entertaining and a very interesting movie but I suggest that you read the book instead.

[IMG]http://www.oceanru.com/magdalene/Da_Vinci_Code.jpg[/IMG]

Star Trek
Star Trek(2009)

I have never been a Star Trek fan, alway been more for Star Wars, but the star wars films lately have been very disappointing and not as good as the original trilogy. I was surprised when I walked out of the theater, I liked this movie a lot. It was the first movie that I absolutely loved so far this year. The story was not at all that hard to follow, it was easy to follow what was going on during the film and got easier when you found out more about the plot. The casting was amazing for this film. I was not disappointed with a single cast member, just like Iron Man and the Dark Knight. The action sequence were much better than any that I have seen in any of the Star Wars film. The special effect amazed me. The were outstanding and looked realistic. Off topic, with the same budget as last weeks Wolverine the were able to accomplish more with the visuals, not making them unrealistic. So far in seeing half of the original movie I have to say that this is the best Star Trek movie and the best movie so far this year.

The film opens in the year 2233 with a Starfleet vessel, the USS Kelvin, a forerunner of the USS Enterprise on a rescue mission after receiving a distress signal close to a "lightning cloud" in space. It turns out that this is a trap and they are attacked by a large space ship with powerful weapons. The captain is lured to the attacking ship and is killed by the Romulan captain Nero (Eric Bana). George Kirk, the First Officer who took command in place of the killed captain, sacrifices himself and the ship in order to allow the rest of the crew to escape. During the escape, Kirk's wife gives birth to a son, who is named James Tiberius Kirk.

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About 22 years later, Jim Kirk (Chris Pine) turns out to be an intelligent, but reckless adolescent. After a meeting with Starfleet?s Captain Pike Kirk enrolls in Star Fleet, Three years later, in 2255, during his education on Earth, he is suspended and put on trial for cheating on an un-winnable test (the Kobayashi Maru) designed by a Vulcan named Spock. Before his trial can end Startfleet receives a distress call from Vulcan and all cadets and crews are sent into action. Kirk manages to enter the USS Enterprise as it is sent on its maiden voyage to investigate this distress signal which is close to a "lightning cloud" near the planet Vulcan. Kirk realizes that the situation is highly similar to the one 25 years ago when his father died and he manages to convince Captain Pike of the Enterprise that this is a trap, which turns out to be correct.

Having never been a fan of the original series or even movies this movie surprised me on how awesome this could be with the help of special effects. It will amaze any one that goes and sees it.

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Disturbia
Disturbia(2007)
½

Not nearly as good as I expected it to be but I was satisfied with the movie. It was better than The Uninvited, even though those two movies aren't even related but it was the last horror movie, so I decided to compare them. Horror movie stupidity is second only to poor fight choreography in my all-time movie pet peeves. Having watched a number of martial arts and horror films recently, I have sadly been exposed to both, albeit in the (perhaps) excusable context of old school grindhouse flicks, so by the time yours truly arrived at a screening for the new Rear Window ripoff -- excuse me, homage -- Disturbia I'd all but completely lost patience for either telegraphed punches or teenagers with too much time and too little sense.Unfortunately, Disturbia stars a teenager -- Shia LeBeouf -- who seems to have no shortage whatsoever of good sense, so the only mystery that remains in this catalogue of fright-film clich?s is why he accepted the role. The other thing that was stupid was how late they got into the story about the killer and the events that made me want to see this film. It just was ridiculous to watch the first hour because nothing interesting was happening in that time frame. Then it just started to get interesting when I was already bored with the movie.

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Kale Brecht (Shia LaBeouf) and his father Daniel (Matt Craven), are involved in a horrific car accident while returning from a fishing trip, resulting in Daniel dying.
A year later Kale, who has been doing dismally in school since his father's death, is reprimanded by his Spanish teacher, Señor Gutierrez (Rene Rivera). When asked what his father would think if he could see him now, Kale snaps and punches his teacher in the face. For this assault, he is sentenced to three months house arrest with an ankle monitor bracelet which prohibits him from roaming beyond the boundaries of his lawn. When it is installed, he learns that the police officer monitoring him is his teacher's cousin (Jose Pablo Cantillo). He triggers the ankle monitor one day chasing some kids and officer Gutierrez delights in humiliating Kale (to avenge his cousin for the assault).

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Bored, Kale begins to spy on the surrounding neighborhood with his binoculars. One night Kale becomes suspicious of his neighbor, Robert Turner (David Morse). Turner returns home in a 1960's era Ford Mustang with a dented fender, the car matching the description given on a news report detailing a brutal serial killer from Austin, Texas. Then Kale and his best friend Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) spy on his new attractive teenage neighbor, Ashley Carlson (Sarah Roemer), swimming in a string-bikini. She catches them, then subsequently decides to join them in their stakeout. While Ronnie and Ashley are originally skeptical about Kale's suspicions, they become more involved when a woman picked up by Turner is seen running through the house and is apparently killed.

Despite it's best attempts to update Alfred Hitchcock film Rear Window, it utterly fails. It bores you for the first hour an just can't seem to attract your attention for the rest of the film.

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X-Men Origins - Wolverine
½

I have been a fan of X-men since I saw the first film, I enjoyed this film just as much as any of the other films. I can admit that it could have been a whole lot better but this is the best we got. Hugh Jackman's performance was incredible, as he returns as the hero Wolverine. Liev Schreiber played Sabertooth a lot better than Tyler Mane in the first film. Danny Houston did not play Striker like Brian Cox in the second, I believe that Brian Cox did a lot better. The other performance were okay but not spectacular. The other characters on the team did not get enough screen time to justify whether they acted good or not. My favorite character Deadpool, Wade Wilson was pretty cool until the end were the just destroyed the character, I really hope that was not him because that is just disappointing. Gambit, my all time favorite X-men character, had good actor playing him but just enough time to develop the character so that you know who he was. I also wish that they would include a little bit more of Emma Frost, you really did not know who she was at all in this movie and barely made an appearance. I like how the movie created a interesting story the describe how Wolverine came the mutant that he was in the X-men trilogy. It went into great depth and an interesting concept of how he was in every war since the Civil War.

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In 1845 James Howlett (Troye Sivan) sees his father (Peter O'Brien) killed by Victor Creed's father, Thomas Logan (Aaron Jeffery). In an act of vengeance, James kills the elder Logan using bone claws which protrude from his hands. With his dying breath, Logan tells James that he is also his son. James and Victor (Michael-James Olsen) then run away. In the following years, adult brothers James (Hugh Jackman) and Victor (Liev Schreiber) are seen fighting together throughout the American Civil War, World War I, World War II, and eventually the Vietnam War. In Vietnam, Victor attacks a superior officer after being stopped from raping a girl, and James and Victor are sentenced to death by firing squad, though their unique regenerative abilities keep them alive.

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William Stryker (Danny Huston) approaches the two mutants and offers them membership in his elite group of mutants. The team consists of mutants Fred Dukes (Kevin Durand), John Wraith (will.i.am), Chris Bradley (Dominic Monaghan), as well as expert marksman Agent Zero (Daniel Henney) and martial artist Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds). The brothers join the group, and Stryker sends it to search for the source of adamantium. After an incident in Nigeria where Stryker orders the team to kill innocent civilians, however, James refuses and walks into the wild. Six years afterward, James is a logger living with his girlfriend Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins). Meanwhile, Victor hunts down and murders Bradley. Stryker locates James, and claims that someone is out to kill members of the now-disbanded team. Stryker asks Wolverine for help, but is refused, then Silverfox is murdered by Victor. Wolverine hunts down his half-brother and is easily defeated. Stryker asks James for help again, and he agrees. Stryker has Wolverine's skeletal system reinforced with the adamantium having found the source. After the procedure, Stryker orders his mind to be erased. Wolverine hears this and flees, and Stryker orders Zero to capture him.

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Despite it's flaws it is a very enjoyable and interesting movie that will kick off the summer season.

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Star Trek V - The Final Frontier

When it came in Netflix I was already skeptical about. I was extremely disappoint with the fourth one that I expected it to be worse. Finally a movie that exceeds my expectations. It just wasn't bad it was terrible. I really don't think a actor like William Shatner should direct a movie that he stars in. The plot was terrible and the acting sucked. There was not a single good thing about this movie. The ending was confusing as all get out. I don't know why they included God or what ever the floating blue energy guy was but that was just ridiculous. The Star Trek movies have been going down hill ever since Leonard Nimoy began directing. I just hope that the new Star Trek film does not disappoint me like this movie did.

Following the events of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the crew of the USS Enterprise-A is enjoying some well deserved shore leave. The newly christened starship's shakedown cruise goes poorly and it is in Earth Spacedock for repairs. In Yosemite, Captain James T. Kirk faces two challenges: climbing El Capitan, and teaching camp fire songs to Captain Spock. Unfortunately, their rest is interrupted when the crew is sent on an urgent mission to rescue hostages on the desolate planet of Nimbus III.

Upon their arrival at Nimbus III, the Enterprise crew discovers that a renegade Vulcan named Sybok, the emotionally driven half-brother of Spock, has taken Klingon, Romulan, and Federation representatives hostage. Sybok reveals that he used the hostage situation as a ruse in order to obtain a starship, being sure the government of one of the hostages (Federation, Klingon, and Romulan) would mount a rescue mission.

Sybok then seizes control of the Enterprise, so he can reach a mythical planet named Sha Ka Ree, where a mysterious, presumably God-like entity awaits. Sybok claims to have had visions from the entity of its existence, and feels compelled to follow those visions in order to experience the entity's possible wisdom and power first-hand. However, the planet is somewhere behind The Great Barrier, a mysterious region of space that has been walled-off from exploration since time immemorial and that has never been breached (this is the "final frontier" of the title).
Sybok uses his unique ability to share with and help conquer a person's greatest emotional trauma to gain the trust of most of the crew. McCoy accepts the experience, reliving his father's death (he euthanized his father to end his pain, but learned afterwards that a cure had been developed a short time later). Spock also accepts the experience, reliving his birth (being born of a union between a Vulcan and Human, he was never fully accepted by his father). However, Kirk denies Sybok, telling him that the pain experience is what makes them Human.

Under agreement and cooperation (as long as he plays it by the book), Sybok relinquishes the helm back to Kirk, and the Enterprise successfully crosses the Great Barrier, finding a planet in this uncharted region of space. Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Sybok explore the planet, which seems completely barren until a strange outcropping of rocks rises from the ground in front of them and an entity appears to them. Masquerading as God, the entity asks the explorers how they got there. When told about the Enterprise, it demands to join with the starship in order to leave both the planet and the Great Barrier and to spread his knowledge to the rest of the Universe. When the skeptical Kirk questions the entity's motivation ("What does God need with a starship?"), it turns malevolent, harming Kirk. McCoy and Spock rush to his rescue, and even Spock has to ask for an answer to the question. Sybok then realizes that the alien entity is not actually God, but something sinister, seeking to escape the Great Barrier.

Realizing his mistake, Sybok sacrifices himself to delay the evil being long enough for Enterprise to launch a photon torpedo. However, while Sybok is killed, the entity isn't, and the Enterprise has only enough power to beam up two people. Kirk tells Scotty to take Spock and McCoy, leaving himself on the surface of the planet with the entity. Spock is able to convince the Klingon ambassador to order Klaa (who followed the Enterprise into the Barrier and to the planet) to rescue Kirk rather than kill him. Klaa's Bird of Prey suddenly de-cloaks and destroys the alien with a disruptor blast. Kirk is beamed aboard, where the Klingon ambassador insists upon an apology from Klaa himself, who begrudgingly does so, and admits that his attack on the Enterprise was not authorized by the Klingon government. The gunner who shot the entity was none other than Spock. The crews of both vessels and Sybok's captives enjoy a peaceful celebration of their newfound détente. The film ends with Kirk, McCoy, and Spock resuming their vacation in Yosemite National Park.

I know that I spoiled the movie a little bit but it is much better reading it than going a spending 1 hour and 45 minutes though the shitty movie.

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The Uninvited

Well what could I have expected from this movie, that it would be scary, no not even close. I thought maybe it would give me the chills but it was a completely non-frightening movie that really was not worth the watch. Like all movie it had its good and bad parts. Mostly bad, the acting was terrible and the plot was very flimsy. I thought that the random images that kept on popping up when she was alone were stupid it never really explained why. The plot had so many holes in it, it was to the point you really did not know what was going on. The ending was good but I knew it was coming because my brothers saw it before me and had to spoil it for me. Otherwise it would have been a big twist to people who will not see it coming.

The movie begins with a young girl, Anna (Emily Browning), making out with her boyfriend Matt on the beach at a party. After he tells Anna he loves her and has "a condom", she gets up to leave. As she goes, her sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel) asks if everything is all right. On her way through the woods to her house, Anna encounters three white garbage bags. When she goes to open them, the cadaver of a redheaded girl falls out. As Anna recoils, the girl's head snaps around and speaks. Screaming and afraid, Anna runs home. She then hears a bell that her terminally ill mother rings when she needs something. Anna is concerned because her mother is not supposed to be alone. However, after she leaves the boathouse her mother is in, it explodes into flames and a piece of debris comes flying towards her, burning her. It is then revealed that this is a dream Anna is having.

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She has been in a mental hospital since the death of her mother ten months earlier, but her psychiatrist believes she is ready to leave. He tells her to "finish what she started". As Anna packs, another patient comes in, asking Anna who she will tell her stories to now that Anna is leaving. Anna's father takes her home, where she is joyfully reunited with her sister, Alex, who is angry, asks why Anna never responded to the mail she sent her. Anna then tells her that she never received any letters; Alex yells at their father for not sending them. He ignores her. Anna also sees Rachel (Elizabeth Banks), her mother's former nurse who is now dating Anna's father. Later that night, Anna overhears Rachel and her father having sex, so she turns up her music to a louder volume. She also has nightmares about a dead body trying to grab hold of her, but when she wakes up, it is merely Alex standing over her.

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Later that day, she researches the children of the family. The suspected killer was a woman named Mildred Kemp, who was the nanny of the three children after their mother had died in a car accident a year before. The killer had heavily sedated the children before stabbing them repeatedly. In a picture, Anna sees the mother wearing a pearl necklace just like Rachel's. The two sisters begin to think that Rachel and Mildred are one and the same. The rest is for you to find out I don't want to spoil the rest.

I did not expect to enjoy this film. I am not a big fan of it but it had it's good moments.

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Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home

I was really hoping for a movie like the second and third films but I did not get that lucky. It was such a terrible story. I really feel sorry for the cast for participating in this movie. It started off as a good film but then the big ship came to earth making whale noises. Which lead to James Kirk to go to the past to recover two whales so that the ship would go away. It had no feeling to any of the previous films. Not many space battles or even that much space flight in general. The movie then turns into a total fish out of water story with the crew of the Enterprise walking along modern day San Francisco looking for a pair of whales as well as trying to fix their Bird of Prey so that they could actually get home and save their future.

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The film begins three months after the events of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock as a large cylindrical object moves through space heading towards Earth, sending out an indecipherable signal and disabling the power of any vessel or station that it passes. As it takes up orbit around Earth, it continues signaling and disrupting the global power system, and then starts causing extreme weather patterns to develop over the planet while evaporating the oceans. Starfleet Command, on the last of its power reserves, sends out a subspace signal warning of the danger.

On Vulcan, the former officers of the USS Enterprise living in exile decide to return to Earth to face the punishment for the willful destruction of the ship; Spock, still recovering from being reborn on the Genesis planet, goes with them. The Enterprise officers use the seized Klingon Bird of Prey, renamed the HMS Bounty, to return to Earth. As they enter the solar system, they hear Starfleet's warning and the alien signal; Spock is able to determine that it matches the song of humpback whales, long since extinct on Earth, and that the object will continue to wreak havoc on the planet until it can be answered. The crew devise a plan to slingshot around the Sun to time travel back to the late 20th century and return with a whale.

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I was extremely disappointed with the way this movie turned out to be. It was completely ridicules.

The Shawshank Redemption

To my surprise this was based off a Stephen King short story. It is good to see that he doesn't always write horror or story about supernatural things. I thought the movie was well made. It had a dedicated director and the perfect casting of Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins. The story was interesting and something you would rarely see from the mind of Stephen King. The ending was absolutely a surprise, but when I heard he wanted a rope I thought he would kill himself but it turned out better than I ever expected. It's strange that a movie set in a prison, with a murderer as its narrator and based on a novella by a horror novelist would become one of the most loved films of the latter 20th century. But that's exactly the case with The Shawshank Redemption, which ranks number two in public votes on the Internet Movie Database, second only to The Godfather.

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In 1947, a banker named Andrew "Andy" Dufresne[1] is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover based on strong circumstantial evidence and is sentenced to two consecutive life sentences at Shawshank State Penitentiary in Maine. At the prison, inmate Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding is rejected for parole after having served twenty years of his life sentence shortly before Andy's arrival. Andy gradually becomes acquainted with Red's circle of friends, and Red himself, who is known for cleverly smuggling in contraband. After a month of adjusting to his new life, Andy approaches Red and asks him to get a rock hammer, intending to pursue a hobby of rock collecting. Red supplies the hammer for ten dollars, and later fulfils Andy's request for a poster of Rita Hayworth.
One day in 1949, while tarring the roof of Shawshank's license plate factory, Andy overhears the captain of the prison guards, Captain Hadley, bitterly complaining about the taxes he will have to pay on a forthcoming inheritance. Andy approaches Hadley with a solution that will allow him to keep the entire inheritance tax-free; though Hadley nearly throws Andy off the roof initially, Andy's willingness to set up the transaction for the cost of beer for the tarring crew wins Hadley's respect. Prior to this, Andy had frequently been beaten and sexually assaulted by a gang called "The Sisters", led by inmates Bogs and Rooster. After a particularly vicious beating at the hands of the Sisters lands Andy in the infirmary, Bogs returns to his cell from a week in solitary confinement to find Captain Hadley there. Hadley inflicts a brutal nightstick beating on Bogs, which leaves him paralyzed. Bogs is sent away to a state hospital, and the message to the Sisters is clear; Andy is never bothered again.

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As other guards begin to come to him for financial help, Andy is given a makeshift office in the prison library to provide tax and financial services. His "clientele" grows to include the entire prison staff, guards from other prisons, and even Warden Norton himself. To keep Andy happy, the Warden provides him with a single cell and allows him to keep an unusual amount of contraband in his cell. Conspicuous amongst the contraband are Andy's posters of "fantasy girlies" - first Rita Hayworth, followed over time by Marilyn Monroe and then Raquel Welch. The Warden also permits Andy's letter-writing campaign on behalf of the prison library; through Andy's budgeting and purchasing activities, the library is expanded and remodeled into the "best prison library in New England". The Warden capitalizes on Andy's skills and devises a program to put prison inmates to work for local construction projects, exploiting the prisoners' free labor for his own personal profit, with Andy acting behind the scenes as a money launderer. Andy uses his knowledge of "the system" to create the false identity of Randall Stephens, which he uses as a straw man to hide the Warden's involvement.

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This has to be one of the best films ever made and a different turn for novelist Stephen King.

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Star Trek III - The Search for Spock
½

I have to agree that the second is the best, but this follows close second. It was confusing at first to understand what was going on but after a while you begin to understand how Spook came back. The cast is the same so the performance are as good as the first two. I believe that Leonard Nimoy did an excellent job at directing this film. One of the problems that makes the movie not quite accessible to the general movie-goer is that the movie relies so much on the loyalties and relationships between the main characters. Hell, the entire effect of the final scene completely depends on the viewer's knowledge of the relationships between the crew. "Jim. Your name is Jim." gets a huge smile from Star Trek fans, where a non-fan wouldn't quite fully understand what that moment means. The Search for Spock also features one of the best Klingons ever in the form of Christopher Lloyd, as well as the introduction of many things that would live on in forthcoming Star Trek films and TV series.

The USS Enterprise limps back to Earth, heavily damaged after the battle with Khan (see Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan). Many were lost in the costly fight, including Admiral James T. Kirk's Vulcan friend, Captain Spock; Spock's casket was shot into orbit around the newly-formed Genesis Planet, created by a torpedo designed to create life from lifelessness. On docking, the Enterprise' crew learns that the ship is due to be decommissioned. Dr. McCoy is confined by security after he begins to exhibit strange behavior. David Marcus and Lieutenant Saavik return to Genesis aboard the Oberth-class research vessel USS Grissom; discovering an unidentified lifeform. Marcus and Saavik beam down to the planet and discover that Spock has been resurrected by the Genesis Device's effects, although his mind is no longer present and he operates on a purely child-like level. Marcus, pressed by Saavik, admits that he used unstable "Proto-matter" in building the Genesis device to solve "certain problems". Without it, he claims that the Genesis Project could have been delayed by years or would have never been completed at all. The unstable matter puts the planet in a state of accelerated evolution that will conclude with its premature destruction within a few hours.

Unknown to them, a Klingon commander named Kruge has intercepted information about Genesis and becomes interested in it (for much of the same reasons as Khan: as a weapon) from a spy named Valkris. He travels to the Genesis Planet to learn its secrets after stealing additional information related to it. Spock's father, Sarek travels to Earth and confronts Kirk about abandoning Spock's body on the Genesis planet. Sarek discovers, with Kirk's help, that McCoy possesses Spock's "katra" (soul), which explains his strange behavior. Both his katra and body are needed to properly lay him to rest on his homeworld Vulcan; without swift intervention, Spock's consciousness will overwhelm McCoy, and he will also die. Disobeying direct orders prohibiting anyone from visiting the Genesis Planet, Kirk reunites with his bridge officers and goes through a series of highly unorthodox events such as Uhura charming the watch officer (locking him in a closet), Kirk and Sulu springing McCoy from the Starfleet jail, and Scotty overriding the Starbase security system to open the Starbase doors so the Enterprise can escape, and secondly disabling the pursuing USS Excelsior's "transwarp drive", by removing several circuits.

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The Day the Earth Stood Still
½

Never seeing the first film, I already know that this was not a necessary remake at all. It is not what I expect it to be. To be honest the acting was terrible, other than the Matrix I don't know a great film with Keanu Reeves in it. The special effect were terrible, you could easily tell that most of the stuff was CG. It was a little enjoyable but extremely boring. The kid in it really pissed me off, he was so annoying. The ending mad me angry because the alien was supposed to let the planet get destroyed not save it.

Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly), a Princeton professor, and other scientists are hastily assembled by the government in order to formulate a survival plan when it is feared that a large unknown object with a speed of 3x107m/s is due to impact Manhattan in approximately 78 minutes. Nothing can be done about it because a vital military satellite has been disabled. The object is a large spherical biological spaceship, which slows down and lands gently in Central Park. A being (taking on the appearance of the man from the opening scene of the film) named Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) emerges from the sphere while accompanied by a large robot. Klaatu, a representative of a group of alien races, has come to assess whether humanity can reverse the environmental damage it has inflicted on planet Earth.

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In the ensuing confusion, Klaatu is shot, but survives. The large robot activates and proceeds to disrupt all electrical systems in the city of New York, including many of the defense systems that the military has mustered in a perimeter around the spaceship. Before it can do any further damage, Klaatu orders it to shut down. While recovering from his injuries, Klaatu is detained by Regina Jackson (Kathy Bates), the United States Secretary of Defense, and is barred from speaking to the United Nations. Klaatu manages to escape with the help of Helen, and he soon finds himself eluding the authorities throughout Newark, New Jersey, and the forested Highlands, with Helen and her stepson Jacob (Jaden Smith).

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Meanwhile, the presence of the sphere has caused a worldwide panic and the military manages to capture the robot after it thwarts their attempts to destroy the sphere using unmanned aerial vehicles and sidewinder missiles. Klaatu meets with Mr. Wu, another alien who had been assigned to live with the humans for years, and upon learning of humanity's destructive tendencies, he decides that humans shall be exterminated to ensure that the planet?with its rare ability to sustain complex life?can survive. Mr. Wu, however, decides to stay on Earth having seen another side to humanity that he is unable to put into words to explain to Klaatu. Klaatu orders smaller spheres previously hidden on Earth to begin taking animal species off the planet, and Jackson, reminded of Noah's Ark, fears that a cataclysm is imminent.

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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
½

Not being much of a big fan of the first film it was hard for me to watch the second, I was fearing that it might be a disappointment as well. I thought that it was entertaining but not as satisfying as the Empire Strikes Back as a sequel. It had much more action sequences and a more interesting plot than the first and a much better villain. Khan was the most interesting character in this movie because he was such a interesting villain. The acting was actually not to bad but the cast could have done a lot better. There could have been more action in the beginning half an hour but it still good even with out to much action.

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The USS Reliant is on a mission to search for a lifeless planet for testing of the Genesis Device, a torpedo that reorganizes molecular matter to create hospitable worlds for colonization. Reliant officers Commander Pavel Chekov and Captain Clark Terrell transport down to the surface of a possible candidate planet, Ceti Alpha VI, where they are captured by Khan Noonien Singh. Khan and his fellow genetically-advanced supermen were once rulers on Earth in the late 20th century, but after their defeat they were exiled to space in a sleeper ship. The Enterprise discovered Khan's ship adrift in space fifteen years previously; James Kirk exiled Khan and his followers to Ceti Alpha V after the supermen nearly captured the Enterprise. Khan reveals that after they were marooned, Ceti Alpha VI exploded, destroying Ceti Alpha V's ecosystem and shifting its orbit; Chekov and Terrell have unwittingly landed on Ceti Alpha V. Khan blames Kirk for the deaths of his wife and followers, and plans to avenge them. He implants Chekov and Terrell with indigenous, mind-controlling eels that enter the ears of their victims, and uses the officers to gain control of the Reliant.

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The Enterprise embarks on a training voyage under the command of Spock. Kirk, conducting an inspection of the Enterprise, receives a garbled message from Space Station Regula I, a remote science laboratory where Kirk's former lover, Dr. Carol Marcus, and their son, Dr. David Marcus, have been developing the Genesis Device. The Enterprise is ordered to investigate and Kirk assumes command of the vessel. En route, the Enterprise is ambushed by the Reliant, which is now captained by Khan. The attack cripples the Enterprise and many of its trainees are killed. A transmission between the two ships reveals Khan knows of the Genesis Device and wants all materials related to the project sent to him.

[IMG]http://www.drexel.net/beta/images/Stills/khan.jpg[/IMG]

It is much better than the first one but still doesn't entertain me as much as the second Star Wars film.

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Star Trek: The Motion Picture

I was never a fan of Star Trek when I was younger, never watch a single episode in the series. So the movie was confusing because I did not know what happened before the movie. Why Kirk was not captain any more, or why Spock was not part of the crew for the first half of the movie. Now saying that I actually enjoyed watching the film. It is interesting and a great story that make this movie even better even when you don't know what happened before hand. I did not have as much action as I thought it would, that is why I kinda prefer Star Wars over this series so far. For a 1980 film it has decent special effect, not as good as any of the Star Wars film but it still looked good.

[IMG]http://www.startrek.com/imageuploads/200307/news-121708-1/320x240.jpg[/IMG]

A Starfleet monitoring station detects an alien force hidden in a massive cloud of energy moving through space. The cloud destroys three alien Klingon warships and the Starfleet station en route to Earth. The Starship Enterprise is undergoing a major refit while its former commander, James T. Kirk, has been promoted to Admiral and works in San Francisco. Starfleet decides to dispatch the Enterprise to investigate the cloud entity as it is the only ship in intercept range, requiring its new systems to be tested in transit.

[IMG] http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3209/2506293768_c543f96a32.jpg[/IMG]

As part of the mission, Kirk takes command of the ship, angering Captain Willard Decker, who had been overseeing the refit as its new commanding officer. Testing of Enterprise's new systems goes poorly; the science officer is killed by a malfunctioning transporter, and the ship's improperly calibrated engines create an artificial wormhole. The tension between Kirk and Decker increases when Kirk's unfamiliarity with the Enterprise's redesigned weapons nearly destroys the vessel. The Vulcan Spock arrives as replacement science officer, explaining that while undergoing a ritual to purge all emotion on Vulcan, he felt a consciousness that he believes emanates from the cloud.

[IMG]http://media.entertainment.sky.com/image/unscaled/2008/12/8/star-trek-I-the-motion-picture-11.jpg[/IMG]

I believe if you have not seen the first series beforehand you would be confused with what is going on but it was still an entertaining movie.

[IMG] http://greg.org/archive/Star_Trek_Motion_picture.jpg[/IMG]

The Spirit
The Spirit(2008)

Last year was a good year for comic book movie even Punisher wasn't half bad, the Spirit on the other hand was not so great. I enjoyed the movie a little bit but with the terrible acting and the crappy dialogue I just can't say that it is the best comic book movie ever, I had high hopes with it before because it looked like Sin City but was not even close to that awesome. The fighting was very brief, there was a little bit of violence that made it feel like an R-rated movie not PG-13. Samuel Jackson's character, The Octopus, never wore the same cloths. At the beginning he looked kinda like a cowboy, than he wears some doctor outfit, than he goes to being a Nazi general, and finally to some kinda of parka or something. I have to say that Frank Miller should never direct a movie again, it just seem like he can not handle it. Past that I thought that it was not that terrible. The CG effect looked amazing and the way that the Spirit looked was just cool. But that does not justify all of it's flaws.

[IMG] http://blog.wired.com/underwire/images/2008/12/19/spiritmacht660.jpg[/IMG]

The film, based on the classic comic book created by Will Eisner, revolves around slain cop Denny Colt (Gabriel Macht), who is reborn as the enigmatic masked avenger known as The Spirit. He fights crime in Central City, a corrupt metropolis somewhere in time between the Depression and today, a place where men have both fedoras and cell phones. Central City's public enemy number one is a kingpin dubbed The Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson), a character seen only as a set of gloved hands in the comics but re-imagined here as a gaudy cross between Superfly and Grace Jones. The Octopus' right hand woman is the icy Silken Floss (Scarlett Johansson).

[IMG] http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Film/Pix/pictures/2008/11/04/spirit460.jpg[/IMG]

Caught up between the crusade of The Spirit and the machinations of the Octopus is the sultry jewel thief Sand Saref (Eva Mendes), who shares a past with Denny Colt. The Spirit is currently involved with Dr. Ellen Dolan (Sarah Paulson), daughter of the gruff Commissioner Dolan (Dan Lauria). Other hotties in The Spirit's life include earnest cop Morgenstern (Stana Katic), knife-wielding belly dancer Plaster of Paris (Paz Vega), and the underwater entity Lorelei (Jaime King, seen almost entirely in silhouette).

[IMG] http://images.ctv.ca/gallery/photo/fall_movies_20080828/image18.jpg[/IMG]

The Spirit and the Octopus are both in pursuit of Sand Saref, who holds the key to the immortality that the two adversaries share. Although the Spirit doesn't believe Sand is the cold-blooded murderer the law says she is, he can't let her supply the Octopus with the mysterious treasure that she stole lest his nemesis become too powerful to stop.

Despite it's flaws I did find a bit of enjoyment out of this movie.

[IMG]http://www.shallownation.com/images/the_spirit_movie_poster_2.jpg[/IMG][IMG]http://www.iwatchstuff.com/2008/09/19/spirit-poster-jackson.jpg[/IMG]

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Not the funniest movie that I have seen but it provide a lot of laugh that me and my friends couldn't stop laughing. It was a weird concept for a movie that I am still wondering why somebody would even think of making a movie like this. But how is it possible that given this zenlike sense of acceptance over his shortcomings, Smith doesn't realize that his strengths as a storyteller have nothing to do with his strengths as a filmmaker? It of course helps that Smith employs as his leads Rogen and Banks, two up-and-comers with loads of charm and charisma. While the characters are clearly patterned after the hyper-articulate motormouths of his previous efforts, the actors find a sincere and distinctive way to play their roles that doesn't sound like they're merely aping their director. And the burgeoning romantic relationship between them achieves a genuine poignancy even when the two of them are forced to stumble through the rote measures of a breakup-makeup climax that felt hackneyed a hundred romantic comedies ago.

The film stars Seth Rogen as Zack, a do-nothing barista who lives with his high school buddy Miri (Elizabeth Banks) in an apartment whose power and water they can barely afford to keep running. While preparing for their 10-year reunion, a coffeehouse patron captures cell phone footage of Miri in a pair of enormous underpants which subsequently becomes a minor sensation as a Youtube-style clip. When even their former classmates turn out to be familiar with "Granny Panties," as the clip is called, the pair decides to try and shoot an actual film, this time to earn enough money that they can pay their bills and stay in their apartment. Enlisting Zack's coworker Delaney (Craig Robinson), Zack and Miri hire an ensemble of local actors to shoot a porno movie; but as they get fired up about the prospect of f*cking on camera, the roommates begin to realize that they may have feelings that run deeper than mere friendship.

I thought that it was funny but also a little strange. The cast makes the film better and really bring feeling to the characters.

[IMG]http://lobstervaws.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/zack-and-miri-walmart.jpg[/IMG]

Yes Man
Yes Man(2008)

My 300th Review.

I really don't know why this got a bad rating. I thought that it was entertaining but very similar to Liar Liar. I haven't seen Jim Carrey in a comedy since Fun With Dick and Jane. I didn't really like the Number 23 but it was a try at a different role. It was funnier than I expected it to be when I saw the trailer along time ago. There's much to love amidst the messy plot, and thanks to Peyton Reed's loose direction and Craig Alpert's looser editing, there's much fun to be had even when the film clogs itself up with mundane cliches. Yes Man is not a great film, by any stretch, but it does offer up a healthy dose of mindless, but effective, comedy and heart-warming romance proving to be a fine diversion worthy of our time.

[IMG]http://assets.nydailynews.com/img/2008/12/19/alg_yes_man.jpg[/IMG]

Even Zooey Deschanel, who plays Carl's sweet, free-spirited girlfriend, is allowed to be funny (not always the case with romantic comedies), stealing the show quite often with her ridiculous, but oddly awesome, futuristic pop band "Munchausen by Proxy." Frankly, I would have gladly sat through a faux biopic about this band.

[IMG]http://cutprintreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2008_yes_man_0101.jpg[/IMG]

The picture is a loose adaptation of Wallace's book in which gruff, near-shut-in banker, Carl Allen (Carrey), is forced to say "yes" to every proposition he's given. At first, he does simple things like drive a homeless guy around and order risky items off the internet. But soon he finds himself doing crazier things like getting into drunken fist fights, bungee jumping, giving out risky bank loans at his job (an ironic, and funny, choice given our current financial crisis), learning to fly and falling in love.

It was a funny movie that will make a lot of people laugh. One of the better Jim Carrey movies that I have seen.

[IMG]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_FkQ2m1arnB0/SUT4e8XgYEI/AAAAAAAAABM/z2kQmQ7dbLI/s400/yesman-movie.png[/IMG]

Christine
Christine(1983)

Even though it is John Carpenter it is not nearly as good as the source material. They changed some minor things but that really doesn't matter to me. The guy who play Arnie was way to dorky for the role, even though the character was a dork in the book. It is basically the exact same story as well. I thought that the characters did not have that much time to develop, you really did not know who the character was before he got the car. They didn't explain why the way he was or that Denise was his friend for a long time. I liked it, it was entertaining to watch but I would rather read the book. I believe it could have been a little long so that the characters can develop correctly.

Geeky student Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon) falls for Christine, a rusty 1958 Plymouth Fury, and becomes obsessed with restoring the classic automobile to her former glory. As the car changes, so does Arnie, whose newfound confidence turns to arrogance behind the wheel of his exotic beauty. Arnie's girlfriend Leigh and best friend Dennis reach out to him, only to be met by a Fury like no other. Based on Stephen King's chilling novel.


[IMG]http://www.impawards.com/1983/posters/christine.jpg[/IMG]

Slumdog Millionaire

Now that 2008 is over it is safe to say that this is one of the best of last year, along with the Dark Knight and The Wrestler. It definitely deserves the Academy Award for Best Picture over the other contestants. The performance were great from all the cast that played the main characters old and young. Danny Boyle delivers yet another movie that entertains the crowd. The ending was great, even though you already knew how it was going to end from the beginning.

After coming within one question of winning 20 million rupees on the Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" 18-year-old Mumbai "slumdog" Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) is arrested on suspicion of cheating. While in custody, Jamal regales a jaded police inspector (Irfan Khan) with remarkable tales of his life on the streets, as well as the story of Latika (Freida Pinto), the woman he loved and lost. Danny Boyle's film won a Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Picture.

It is one of the best films of 2008 that is entertaining and sad at the same time.

[IMG]http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/%7Esuperb/images/stories/slumdog-millionaire-poster-full-1.jpg[/IMG]

Twilight
Twilight(2008)

There is still one major question that I am asking myself since I finished this movie. Why the hell did I just waste 2 hours of my life that I am never getting back on this movie. The beginning of the film was not half bad until they started making them go out. The thing the frustrated me the most was how bad the acting was. The guy who played Edward can not act to save his life. Even worse was when he walked into the sunlight, I thought that vampires were suppose to die if they went in to sunlight, I guess not he just turned GLITTERY. It makes me angry that they would change a major weakness of a vampire. I also thought that the effects were utterly terrible. The parts were he was running looked like he was flying, the part were the play baseball is the just fake. I hate when you can tell were the CG is. I have no idea why I watched this movie it has to be one of the worst movies that I have seen and the worst vampires movie that I have seen. But knowing me I will see the rest of the movies just to see how the rest play out

Based on Stephenie Meyer's best-selling novel, Twilight follows the saga of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), who moves to a small town to live with her father. At school, she meets Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a mysterious classmate who reveals himself to be a 108-year-old vampire. Despite his cautions, Bella falls in love with Edward, which endangers her life when a coven of bloodsuckers arrives to challenge Edward and his family.

It will please the fans of the books gladly I am not one of them, I will never read the books ever, even if there is a FIRE!!! This movie made never want to read any of the others.

[IMG] http://moviesblog.mtv.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/poster_exclusive.jpg[/IMG]

Adventureland
½

Today was a FUN day. I had to take my ACT's this morning so in a deal made dad would take me to the movie either this or Fast and the Furious. I decide to see this. I actually enjoyed watching this movie a lot. It had some pretty funny stuff in it, typical teen comedy though. I liked the main cast. Jesse Esinberg portrayed his character well. Kristen Stewart was really hot in this and he performance was outstanding. I like the director a lot. He has made hilarious movie starting with Superbad and then to Adventureland. I thought that it was funny that there was an older couple in the theater. I really don't think they understood what was going on in the entire film. Than as I was leaving there was a mother bring her 4 year old children it to it think that it would be kid appropriate, she was wrong.

It's the summer of 1987, and James Brennan (Eisenberg) has just graduated from Oberlin College. James is all set to embark on his dream tour of Europe when his parents (Wendie Malick and Jack Gilpin) suddenly announce that they won't be able to subsidize the trip. Forced to take a job at Adventureland, a local amusement park, after being turned down everywhere else, now the only things James has to look forward to are sugar-fueled children, belligerent dads, and an endless parade of giant stuffed animals. When James strikes up a relationship with captivating co-worker Em (Stewart), however, he finally starts to loosen up. Suddenly, the worst summer ever doesn't seem quite as bad.

I thought that it was one of the funniest films this year and anyone one who liked Superbad would enjoy this film. I really recommend it to anyone who likes raunchy comedies like me.

[IMG]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/bb/Adventurelandposter.jpg[/IMG]

Bolt
Bolt(2008)
½

I really have not been enjoying to many disney movies lately, other than Pixar. This one is different. I thought that it was an original movie that they have not had since The Incredibles or Wall-E. I thought that the story was pretty cool. A dog thinking he is a super hero but actually works on a TV series is an interesting concept. Not to much on the performances because of it being a cartoon but I think that the over all cast did great on making this film work.

Featuring the voices of John Travolta and Miley Cyrus, this animated adventure (nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar and Golden Globe) centers on a dashing German shepherd named Bolt, a canine actor forced into making an action-filled cross-country trek when he's accidentally shipped from Hollywood to New York. Believing that he and his fictional character are one and the same, Bolt gets a glimpse of what it takes to be a hero in the real world.

I loved this movie and I think that no matter the age every one will love this movie.

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Soul Men
Soul Men(2008)
½

It was not as funny as I had hoped it would be. I really enjoyed the music numbers by Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson. The performances were pretty good for a comedy but not the best they could have done. For Bernie Mac's last film, I actually enjoyed by the way, he really gave it his best to bad he is not alive anymore. I got a really good laugh at some of the things that happened.

Two decades ago, Louis (Samuel L. Jackson) and Floyd (Bernie Mac) went their separate ways when their band broke up. When their group's former front man dies, the two feuding singers agree to put aside their differences for a tribute concert at the Apollo. The show promises to be a big hit ? if Louis and Floyd don't kill each other on the trip there. Jennifer Coolidge and Sean Hayes co-star in director Malcolm D. Lee's uproarious road comedy.

It had it's funny parts but it did not seem to make me laugh throughout the entire film even with good performances from the main cast.


[IMG]http://www.impawards.com/2008/posters/soul_men_ver2.jpg[/IMG]

Taxi Driver
Taxi Driver(1976)

I was finally able to watch this movie. I was a little different than I expected, I thought he was extremely crazy guy not a guy who was trying to save a girl from making the wrong decisions. Robert De Niro was able to portray his character excellently, and the rest of the cast made this movie even better. I am still not much of a Jodie Foster fan even when she is only twelve or maybe fourteen years old but she played the part of young girls making the wrong decisions by being a prostitute.

Mentally unstable Vietnam vet Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) drives a nocturnal cab through the sleaziest streets of pregentrified New York City and befriends a child hooker (Jodie Foster). Along the way, the morally righteous Bickle slowly loses his mind, turning into a well-armed, homicidal vigilante. De Niro, director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader create a violently prophetic, gripping vision of urban decay and insanity.

It is an amazing movie that has good performances and amazing directing by Martin Scorsese.

[IMG] http://www.impawards.com/1976/posters/taxi_driver_ver1.jpg[/IMG]

Blade: Trinity
½

I really enjoyed the character of Blade. This was just disappointing attempt at a great film. We had the director of the Unborn, who wrote the screenplay for the first two, try to direct a film. He failed just like he did with the Unborn. I still like Blade he was portrayed well by Wesley Snipes. I am still wondering why the hell was Blade always wearing a red shirt in it, it just did not go with his outfit. Other than Blade there was only two other characters that I thought were awesome, Hannibal King (Ryan Renolyds) and Abigail Whistler (Jessica Beil). Jessica Beil was just hot as all get out, and Ryan Rennolyds brought some comic relief to a character without a sense of humor. The villains pissed me off just a bit. I really did not like the guy who played Dracula, or the girl who was constantly annoying. The best part of the film where the action sequences but not nearly as awesome as in the second film.

The vampires succeed in framing Blade (Wesley Snipes) for the killing of a Familiar (a familiar being used as bait when posing as a vampire). Blade, now in the public's eye and wanted by the FBI, is forced into hiding with his mentor, Abraham Whistler. A few days later, the FBI attack the hideout. During the siege, Whistler destroys the hideout after being mortally wounded, killing him in the ensuing explosion. The loss of his mentor allows Blade to be captured easily. As the police prepare to hand Blade over to a group of vampires, Blade is rescued by Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds) and Abigail (Jessica Biel), Whistler's daughter. The two head a group of vampire hunters called the Nightstalkers, formed by Blade's mentor to assist him. Blade reluctantly joins the group after learning King was once a vampire. King and Abigail reveal that Danica Talos (Parker Posey), who was the vampire who bit King, has located and resurrected the ancient first vampire, Dracula (Dominic Purcell) (who is referred to as Drake throughout the film). Talos hopes that by resurrecting Dracula, he (Drake) will help save the vampire race and eliminate Blade.

I really enjoyed this film but it got aggravating after a while and the action sequences where the only thing that kept me interested.

[IMG]http://www.michalak.org/fh/blade/Blade3_banner3.jpg[/IMG]

American Wedding

I enjoyed this film the same as the first two. The jokes in this one are funny sometimes but the just don't always make you laugh. The performances are the same from the first two, but they eliminated many unimportant characters. There is not much that I can say about this film. The film begins with Jim Levenstein and Michelle Flaherty having dinner, celebrating their college graduation. Jim intends to propose to Michelle, but receives a phone call from his dad, who says he forgot to give Jim the engagement ring and was on his way. As Jim tries to stall, Michelle gets the impression that he wants a public sex act, by performing oral sex on him under the table. When Mr Levenstein (Eugene Levy) arrives, Jim tries to hide the fact that he's being fellated. Not knowing Michelle was under the table, Jim's dad expresses his excitement at the proposal. Then, after Michelle bumps her head under the table in shock at hearing about the proposal, all chaos ensues as Jim ends up exposed and has to hike his pants up quickly. Saving face, he swallows what's left of his pride and asks Michelle to marry him. She readily says yes.
I enjoyed this movie a lot but it just does provided as many laughs as the first one did.

[IMG]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/8d/American_Wedding_movie.jpg[/IMG]

Kill Bill: Volume 2

It has been an extremely long time since I review the first one. I just completely forget entirely of this movie. I like the first one better. There was much more ass kicking in it. More action as well. I still enjoyed this. It got more in depth of how The Bride learned how to break wood from a close distance. I thought both Uma Thurman and David Carradine both performed well together. The plot is a little more in depth than the first because they did not have a 20 something fight sequence between The Bride and a lot of ninjas or body guard from the first one.

It take place not to long after the first. The Bride arrives at Budd's trailer that night seeking revenge. Anticipating her entry, Budd shoots her in the chest with rock salt the moment she opens his door, then injects her with a sedative. Budd then gives the Bride a "Texas funeral", burying her alive with a flashlight in someone else's grave. As she lies in her grave, The Bride remembers her early training in China, when Bill took her to the temple of legendary martial arts master Pai Mei (Gordon Liu), an elderly martial arts master who could perform a fatal attack called the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique which is so secret that he has not even taught it to Bill. The Bride calls on Pai Mei's training to break out of the coffin and claw her way up to freedom. The Bride arrives back at Budd's trailer to see Elle Driver arriving. Elle hands Budd a suitcase containing his money for the sword; the suitcase also contains a hidden black mamba, the deadly snake that shares the Bride's code name. The snake bites Budd in the face, and while he lies paralyzed and dying. As Elle is about to leave, Beatrix attacks her with a flying kick. Elle uses Beatrix's own sword against her, but Beatrix finds Budd's Hattori Hanzō sword in his golf bag, which Budd had told Bill he had pawned. As they stand off against each for their final combat, Elle reveals that Pai Mei (who also taught her) snatched out her eye for calling him a "miserable old fool" and that she later poisoned him. The two charge each other, clash, and Beatrix plucks out Elle's remaining eye.
Now all that is left is for The Bride to finish her job and Kill Bill.

I thought that this film was extremely entertain but it got boring in some parts of it. It has to one of Quentin Tarantino's best films that I have seen so far.

[IMG]http://www.geekwear.biz/kill_bill_vol_two_2.jpg[/IMG]

Raging Bull
Raging Bull(1980)

There is not much to say about how great this movie is. It is not the traditional sports movie, this one is a little bit more mature than the others that I have seen I really enjoyed this film. The performances were great and Robert De Niro deserved the oscar that he won for his portrayal of Jake LaMotta. Martin Scorsese has once again made a great film. Lets focus on what makes it different. It is not just a boxing film where the fight the entire film. It is more about the life Jake LaMotta and his difficulty controlling his anger, trying to make his life work, even-though he constantly messing up.

Beginning in 1964, where an older and fatter Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro) practices his stand-up comic routine, a flashback shifts to his boxing career in 1941 against his opponent, Jimmy Reeves, in the infamous Cleveland bout. Losing the fight by a fixed result causes a fight to break out at the end of the match. His brother Joey LaMotta (Joe Pesci) is not only a sparring partner to him but also responsible for organizing his fights. Joey discusses a potential shot for the title with one of his mob connections, Salvy Batts (Frank Vincent), on the way to his brother's house in their neighborhood in the Bronx. When they are finally settled in the house, Jake admits that he does not have much faith in his own abilities.[1] Accompanied by his brother to the local open-air swimming pool, a restless Jake spots a 15-year-old girl named Vickie at the edge of the pool (Cathy Moriarty). Although he has to be reminded by his brother he is already married, the opportunity to invite her out for the day very soon comes true when Joey gives in.

The film is an amazing film and succeeds as both a sports film and a drama.

[IMG]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/5f/Raging_Bull_poster.jpg[/IMG]

Jackie Brown
Jackie Brown(1997)

I really expected it to be a little better. I thought that maybe it would have the same amount of humor as Pulp Fiction did. The story is easy to follow because it is the same thing throughout the film, never getting off course with something different happening. Not Quentin Tarantino's worst work but is not even close to his best. The performances from Pam Grier and Sam Jackson where outstanding. Bridget Fonda's character was extremely annoying. De Niro never seems to disappoint.

Set in Los Angeles in 1995, Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is a flight attendant for a small Mexican airline, the latest step down for her career in the airline industry. Despite the low pay, the job enables her to smuggle money from Mexico into the United States for Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson), a gun runner under the close watch of the ATF. Ordell learns that another of his workers, Beaumont Livingston (Chris Tucker), has been arrested and, fearing that he will talk to authorities in order to avoid jail time, Ordell arranges for Beaumont's bail and murders him. Acting on information Beaumont had indeed shared, ATF agent Ray Nicolette (Michael Keaton) and LAPD Detective Mark Dargus (Michael Bowen) catch Jackie as she arrives in the US with Ordell's cash and some cocaine that Brown was unaware was stashed along with the cash. Ordell, sensing Jackie may be just as likely to inform as Beaumont had been, arranges to bail her out. He returns to Max Cherry (Robert Forster), the same bail bondsman he used to arrange Beaumont's release, to bail out Brown. Cherry arranges for Jackie's bail and, only partly masking his physical attraction, offers to help her determine her legal options. Later that night, Ordell shows up at Jackie's house, presumably to eliminate her, but using a gun she stole from Cherry, she cuts a deal whereby she will pretend to help the authorities while still managing to smuggle $500,000 of Ordell's money, enough to allow him to retire.

I really enjoyed watching this film but I did think that it would be as good as Tarantino's previous films.

[IMG]http://artfiles.art.com/images/-/Jackie-Brown-Poster-C13019462.jpeg[/IMG]

I Love You, Man
½

I thought that this movie was hilarious. My dad, brother, and I laugh throughout the entire film. One of the funniest movies that I have seen so far. I enjoyed the humor in this film, from stupid words the main character makes to some of the funny things that Jason Segal said. The performance where great. Peter has just gotten engaged to Zooey, and everything is going well for him. That is until he slowly realizes that he does not have any friends that could serve as his best man. Peter seeks the advice of his brother on how to meet new people to become his potential best man. After several bizarre man-dates, Peter gives up completely and focuses his efforts on trying to sell a house that belongs to Lou Ferrigno. Determined to sell the house, Peter holds an open house for prospective buyers. There he meets Sydney Fife, a very honest, laid back, investor who takes a liking to Peter. After several wild sessions of getting drunk and playing very amateur versions of Rush music in Sydney's party garage, Peter knows that he wants this new friend to be his best man. I think it is great romantic comedy that will keep you laughing till the end.

[IMG]http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa306/charlielyne/ilym1.jpg[/IMG]

Quarantine
Quarantine(2008)

I have been waiting for this movie since it was released on DVD. I finally was able to see it tonight. It was a little hard to follow because of the camera movement but I still was entertained with the camera moving. This movie literally scared the shit out of me. I was scared when they were in the apartment at the end, when the baby came out of no where. I thought it was interesting that it was some kind of altered rabies disease.
A medical emergency at an apartment complex is reported and the night shift is sent in. Yuri (Rade Serbedzija), the Russian American building manager, explains that a woman has been screaming, but is now silent. Danny rounds everyone up in the textile shop and states that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agents are coming in to give blood tests. The residents are also told that anyone who is not infected will be released. Lawrence points out that the only way to test for rabies is through a brain sample, not a blood test, but Danny insists on following procedure. The CDC agents arrive and examine the infected victims, taking a brain sample from Fletcher. Fletcher breaks his restraints and attacks one of the agents. Danny, Jake, and the other agent escape, leaving Lawrence locked in the room with the infected. Lawrence gets infected, the textile shop is locked and the surviving CDC agent is forced to explain the situation: Briana's dog was brought to a vet with an unknown illness and infected all the animals there.
I thought that it was one of the better horror movies of 2008 but just can't seem to compete with Cloverfield or the Blair Witch Project.

[IMG]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/bd/Quarantineposter.jpg[/IMG]

The Big Lebowski

This is absolutely the funniest movie that I have seen so far. It is much better than the newest film Burn After Reading. It was much different than I expected but thankfully did not disappoint me one bit. Jeff Bridges does well as the stoner slacker Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski. I also liked John Goodman as The Dudes friend Walter. The other characters weren't in it all that much but they still made the movie funny. The plot is a little like the rest of there movie up till the end were it all ties together to make an interesting and enjoyable experience. After returning to his apartment in Venice, California, two thugs break in and rough up The Dude. They are attempting to collect a debt Lebowski's supposed wife owes to a man named Jackie Treehorn. After realizing they were looking for a different person with the same name, they leave, but only after one of the thugs urinates on the Dude's rug. The next day, the titular "Big" Lebowski, a wheelchair-bound millionaire, gruffly refuses the Dude's request. After craftily stealing one of the Big Lebowski's rugs, the Dude meets Bunny Lebowski, the Big Lebowski's nymphomaniacal trophy wife on his way off the property. Days later, the Big Lebowski contacts the Dude, revealing that Bunny has been kidnapped. He asks him to act as a courier for the million-dollar ransom because the Dude will be able to confirm or deny their suspicion that the kidnappers are the rug-soiling thugs. It is kinda reminds me of a mystery movie where they kidnap somebody and the rest turns out to follow the kidnapping. I believe it has to be one of the funniest movies that I have seen that entertains you till the end.

[IMG]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/35/Biglebowskiposter.jpg[/IMG]

GoodFellas
GoodFellas(1990)

To be honest it is not better than Godfather or Part 2 but it is still one of the greatest crime films that I have seen. With Martin Scorcese directing I knew it would be an amazing. I thought that the plot was extremely good with narration that made you understand the film much easier. The performances were incredible by the main cast even the minor characters were good. It is mostly about Henry Hill's 25 years in the gangster business. I have to say that it is one of the best crime and one of the best movies that I have seen.

[IMG]http://soe.ucdavis.edu/ms0708/180Sec2/ElizarrarazA/web%20folder/goodfellas.jpg[/IMG]

Scarface
Scarface(1983)

It was not my idea to watch this movie, my friend recommended it to me. I decided to watch it. I don't think it was as good as people say it was. Al Pacino's performance was amazing, with a pretty decent accent that made me believe he was Cuban. Otherwise the performance were mediocre by the rest of the cast. It was also not nearly as violent I had believed it would be. It is defiantly a classic movie that is pretty good but not the best one. It is one of the movies that have extreme amounts of cussing in it, I would have to put it up there with Pulp Fiction and Tropic Thunder. He cussed in almost ever sentence that he said in the 2 hours and 50 minutes of the movie. In the end it just shows that if you are a drug kingpin, like he was, there is never a happy ending, thing turn out the way you wanted. I enjoyed but I don't think it was as good as my friends said it was.


[IMG]http://afrostoshelltoes.com/word/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/scarface.jpg[/IMG]

Transporter 3

They always say that third's the charm. not always. In my opinion the third film are usually the worst of all. This one was one of those films. I was depressed when I was finished this movie. I like Jason Statham but some of his movies suck. I was lost on the plot, I had no idea why the kidnapped the daughter in the first place. The acting was mediocre, the girl in this was such a terrible actress it was actually quite funny. She was also extremely ugly. The only thing that makes this movie worth watching is the fight scenes, they where incredible, the way he kicked some of the guys ass was really great.
At night, Frank fell asleep while watching a fishing documentary on TV at his home. When he woke up, he heard distant tires screeching nearby. Suddenly, a car crashes into his house. The driver was Malcolm, and he is severly injured from the crash impact and a bullet wound. Just as Frank recognizes him, a flashback occurs to a few weeks ago, when he was approached for a job. Frank declined, and instead gave the man Malcolm's contact number. The man however was adamant that Frank took the job. However when Frank tried to leave, he became surrounded by henchmen. We all know what happened there. Frank inspected the car and then sees Valentina (Natalya Rudakova) in the backseat asleep. After waking her, he tries to get her to get out of the car so that he can help her, but she shows him that she is too wearing the same metal device as Malcolm. Frank realizes that something is wrong and chased after the ambulance. However after a certain distance, the ambulance exploded killing everyone inside. Feeling sore, he goes back into his house but is unexpectedly knocked out by someone. When Frank woke up, he found himself alone in a room wearing nothing but his underwear and a metal device smiliar to Malcom's around his wrist. He finds a suit in the closet and puts it on. Johnson walks in and says that he would like to hire him for a job, since Malcolm was incapable of completing it. Frank mentioned that he is currently unavailable. After becoming annoyed with a henchman, Johnson shoots him in the forehead and then points the gun at Frank. He tells him that he has three seconds to either accept the job or he will be shot dead. Frank reluctantly agree to take the job but under the condition that he drives his own car. Johnson had a feeling that he would want his car, and so he leads Frank to a garage. Johnson has had his men take out all the weapons from the car,installed his own GPS and gave the car a tune up. He also gives him a wad of cash for gas, food. In addition to that, Frank also received a cellphone that could only call Johnson. He also mentions that the metal device around his wrist is a bomb, and if he gets more than 75 feet away from the car, it will instantly explode.
It was a decent film with mediocre acting and impossible stunt like the second film, the only redeeming things are the fight sequences.

[IMG]http://www.wildaboutmovies.com/images_6/transporter3_325.jpg[/IMG]

A History of Violence
½

Before Lord of the Rings, I never heard of Viggo Mortason, now he is everywhere. I thought that he did a great job as the dad who is some other guy. I found it rather confusing at the beginning because I had not clue what was going on with the Joey crap. Along the way you started to understand who Joey was. Ed Harris and Viggo Mortason were great as the rivals and great as allies in Appaloosa. Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is a local restaurant owner in the small town of Millbrook, Indiana who lives peacefully with his lawyer wife Edie (Maria Bello), his teenage son Jack (Ashton Holmes) and younger daughter Sarah (Heidi Hayes).
One night two robbers come into Millbrook and stop at Tom's restaurant as he is closing it. The robbers attempt to rob the restaurant, but Tom defends himself and his restaurant by killing both robbers. Overnight, Tom Stall becomes a nationwide celebrity.
Tom is soon visited by a scarred gangster named Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris), who alleges that Tom's real name is not Tom Stall, and that he is not even from Indiana. Fogarty claims Tom is actually a gangster named Joey Cusack, from Philadelphia.
I also did not know that it was a graphic novel before. It was an entertaining movie that has great cast combined with an interesting story.

[IMG]http://thefaust.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/history_of_violence.jpg[/IMG]

American Pie 2

It has been along time since I reviewed the first American Pie film. I really thought that the first one was hilarious with stupid jokes that made it funny. This is the second installment and it was not nearly as funny as the original. I agree that it has it's funny moments but not as many. The casts performance is the original, they are just as good as they are in first. The plot takes place during the summer after the first year of college. When they return home and Stifler throws a party that the cops have to crash. They end up moving to the nearby lake so they can have more parties that aren't wrecked by the cops. IT is an enjoyable film but not nearly as much as the original.

[IMG]http://flickscribbles.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/american_pie_2.jpg[/IMG]

The Fast and the Furious
½

Never been much of a fan of racing movie. It has a very boring plot that gets interesting at the very last minutes of the movie. The acting was all together terrible. Michelle Rodrigez constantly looks angry no matter what. I hate Vin Diesel, to me one of the worst actors of all time. The story was stupid, A group of Honda Civics are hijacking a Semi-truck and taking their contents. Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) is working undercover under the name, Brian Earl Spilner, trying to find out who is responsible for these semi-truck hijackings. He tries to get in with a group of people led by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). During Race Wars, Toretto's friend Jesse races his Jetta against Johnny Tran's S2000 for pink slips and loses. In a state of panic, he drives away from the race. During the night, Toretto and the rest of the clan drive out. Toretto pulls out the Honda Civics to make one last truck jacking. When Jesse comes back, Johnny Tran and his cousin show up to pull off a drive-by, killing Jesse in the process. Brian and Dominic drive out to go after them. As a train approaches, both cars manage to speed up and pass the tracks as the train barrels down on them. Dominic is then sideswiped by an unexpected truck and his car flips over. Brian then goes to check on Dominic. Suddenly, they notice that the cops are coming. Knowing Dominic will be arrested when they arrive, Brian gives his keys to Dominic, saying, "I owe you a ten-second car." Brian then allows Dominic to escape. I did not include everything because it would take up to much space.To me the plot is a little flimsy. The races themselves are actually not to bad. To me this is one of Vin Diesels only good movies that I have seen.

[IMG]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/54/Fast_and_the_furious_poster.jpg[/IMG]

American Gangster
½

Well not what I thought it would be. I probably would never have seen this movie if my friend didn't recommend it to me. I agree with what he said it is a movie with some violence but mostly more about drugs. I really thought the performances were amazing. Both Denzel and Russell did excellent in their roles. It was an interesting how fast they can get heroin and cocaine out in the world. In a matter of months they were able to get it from NYC to Buffalo. Finally a good Ridley Scott movie in recent years. It was an interesting movie from one of my favorite directors.

[IMG]http://www.stfrancis.edu/historyinthemovies/images/american%20gangster/American_Gangster_poster.jpg[/IMG]

Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic

It is not as good as the feature film but still entertaining. It is the entire graphic novel animated, absolutely everything is present in this. The one big problem that I had with it is that they only have one person doing the voices, so it sounds weird when a guy is playing a girls voice it is just strange. It is entertaining but it was better in live action than animated.

Watchmen
Watchmen(2009)

There's no need in wasting time recapping the plot to the long-awaited screen adaptation of the graphic novel classic Watchmen, suffice to say that it's set in an alternate history (from the 1940s to 1985) where costumed crime-fighters really existed. As the world inches closer to nuclear Armageddon, masked vigilante Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) investigates the murder of his former teammate Edward Blake, a.k.a. The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and uncovers a plot by a mysterious enemy to kill off other former costumed heroes. Rorschach warns his former colleagues Nite Owl II (Patrick Wilson), Silk Spectre II (Malin Akerman), Ozymandias (Matthew Goode), and the godlike Doctor Manhattan (Billy Crudup), before realizing that their common enemy may be among them.

That's ultimately my biggest problem with Watchmen; I didn't care about what happened, who it happened to and, as a result, what it all meant. Reading a comic is a different experience; you read it at your own pace, taking your time to digest the information you receive. The story, especially one published monthly over the course of a year, allows you the opportunity to savor and mull over what you just experienced. When the story of Watchmen is distilled down, faithfully or not, into a two and half-hour film, you're just holding on for the ride and hoping you "get" what it's all about. While Watchmen gets more right than it does wrong in adapting the book, it's definitely a film where the parts are greater than the picture as a whole. Snyder's film is cool, yes, but it's also cold; it culminates with tragedy of a global scale, yet you feel next to nothing during or after it happens. Characters talk about the horror of what's happened, but the sheer scale of the crime is lost and the attack on New York is simply a rather unimpressive special effects sequence. The destruction of the White House and other landmarks in Independence Day have more emotional impact than this sequence, which looks no different than anything seen in the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still. This is the movie's greatest sin: it's two hours of build-up for a pay-off that fails to generate any real impact. The movie's R rating would have been better used in making the finale more harrowing in depicting the breathtaking human toll of Veidt's plot (as the comic does) rather than on the inclusion of so many shots of the Doctor's lower Manhattan.

Dropping the squid isn't the problem; it's that the logic of the new finale that Snyder and the writers came up with doesn't hold up under the least bit of scrutiny. On the surface level, making Doctor Manhattan the scapegoat sounds like a great alternative... until you realize that there is simply no way the countries of the world are going to set aside their differences and join hands in peace after America's ultimate super-weapon -- which he has been touted as for the whole film -- is to blame for the deaths of millions. The U.S. and U.S.S.R. are at the very brink of war, remember. Complete and total nuclear annihilation is at hand, with the rest of the world wondering if America might use the blue-skinned ace it has up its sleeve (as it did to win in Vietnam). So given that state of anxiety, if Doctor Manhattan took out the world's major cities, why would any foreign nation now want to work with America for a better future? If there was ever a time when they'd want to wipe us off the map, it'd be after such an attack. As silly as the squid was, it worked because it was an external threat that united these disparate human factions in a common cause against a more powerful outside force. Imagine if the world knew that the squid was an American creation, there would have been no Utopian outcome. Also, by losing the squid and Veidt's experiments in genetic engineering that created it, the inclusion of Bubastis in the film makes absolutely no sense. It's completely random: "And now, for no apparent reason, a blue tiger with antlers." So the story's outcome doesn't work, but at least the journey to get there does, right? You know, the murder mystery that was the core of the comic's narrative? Unfortunately, not when you can see who the Comedian's killer is from the opening scene. Even if you hadn't read the comic, you'd be able to figure out that Ozymandias was the killer because of his body type, height and his not entirely obscured face. (In the comics, there are only a few panels showing Blake's murder: the movie has a long, dragged out donnybrook that's almost as over-the-top as the brawls in The Spirit.) This isn't helped by the fact that western audiences are conditioned from decades of WWII and Cold War movies to know that once you see the urbane, blond-haired, blue-eyed guy with the vaguely Eastern European accent, he's the villain. (I call it "The Rutger Hauer Factor.") Matthew Goode's nearly mustache-twirling performance makes the heroes look dumb for not figuring out the whole "mystery" sooner. Goode is simply miscast. The role needed someone less obvious, a more heroic, stalwart and self-righteous figure who you'd be heartbroken to find out was the mastermind. Imagine a young Charlton Heston, who played larger than life and noble characters, and you can see where I'm going.

Goode's isn't the only performance that doesn't work. Malin Akerman is the cast's weakest link, delivering a wooden performance and failing to nail Laurie's biggest scene, her climactic plea to Doctor Manhattan to save the world. What should have been moving and impassioned comes across as shrill and nagging. No wonder he went to another planet to get away from her! Carla Gugino is serviceable as Laurie's mom Sally, a.k.a. Silk Spectre I, but the idea of the character as sort of the Betty Grable of super-heroines is more interesting than her besotted, post-glory days depiction. Bad wigs and makeup are evident throughout the film, from Goode and Gugino to Robert Wisden's Nixon, who is in the film far too much for its own good. His makeup is so distractingly bad and obvious that it's a wonder Snyder, who appears to be such a perfectionist with so many other visual details in the frame, allowed it to be used. As a story, Watchmen lumbers along from one expository chapter to another. This worked in the comic when the reader got some backstory each month, but as a film it simply grinds the plot to a halt while a flashback fills us in on exposition that doesn't necessarily advance the story. The story lurches from one obvious, jarring pop music cue to another, so much so that Watchmen feels like Forrest Gump with superheroes. Some of the song selections work -- everyone has likely heard by now about the marvelous opening credits sequence set to Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" -- and some grow on you, such as the Comedian's riot busting set to "I'm Your Boogie Man," while many simply pull you right out of the movie (a love scene is laughably set to Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," "99 Luftballoons" is like a shot out of the blue, and even the obligatory use of Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower" feels oddly placed in the story). I kept waiting for Rorschach to start running across the desert to "Against the Wind."

Jackie Earle Haley IS Rorschach. It's not just a career-defining performance, it's one of the best this genre has seen other than Heath Ledger's Joker. He owns the screen whenever he's on it (which is amazing seeing as how his face is obscured for most of the film), and his scenes as Walter Kovacks in prison are among the most gripping and entertaining in the film. Arguably, his very best moment is his climactic stand against Doctor Manhattan. With this film, Haley has earned a career comeback no less amazing than Mickey Rourke's in The Wrestler. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a revelation as The Comedian. It was a brilliant move to cast someone most fanboys don't know from Adam in this role as Blake -- a man whose life is almost as mysterious as his death. Morgan captures the character's darkness while also making him captivating; he does monstrous things, but you understand why some of his teammates may have a begrudging secret admiration for him. Once Morgan/The Comedian is no longer in the movie, it begins to fall apart and become tedious. It took two viewings for me to fully appreciate the work done here by Patrick Wilson and Billy Crudup. Wilson has the cast's most unenviable task: He manages to make blandness interesting. Rather than being the chubby schlub of the comic, Wilson's Dan Dreiberg is a mild-mannered, bookish everyman, a nerd who is only cool and masculine when he's in costume. Crudup, who also does voice-overs for many popular commercials, is robbed of one of the best tools an actor has -- their eyes -- and must largely rely on a subtle vocal performance to convey his character's almost imperceptible humanity. The CG work on his character is hit and miss, realistically recreating the gravity and swing of Doctor Manhattan's junk but making his mouth and movements too animated at times. Thankfully, Crudup's brief scenes as Jon Osterman help establish a level of sympathy for this increasingly cold and detached character.

As a fan of the comic, it was thrilling to finally see it come to life. It's an almost literal adaptation of the book, in ways both good and bad. Visually, Watchmen is sumptuous. But you sense that Snyder simply doesn't comprehend the thematic and intellectual complexities of the original text. He wants to make a film and a movie at the same time, and I'm not convinced he knew which one he wanted to make more. Whenever Rorschach or the Comedian are on-screen, Watchmen is a darkly entertaining movie; whenever Doctor Manhattan or Ozymandias appear, it turns into a slow-moving, ponderous opus that wrestles with issues global and even cosmic in nature, until it ultimately collapses under its own considerable weight during the last act. A more seasoned filmmaker -- sorry, but three films does not a "visionary director" make -- would have been less susceptible in going for what looks cool and in appeasing the fanboys, and more concerned with what is best for the film as its own distinct entity and in advancing the story.

I truly wanted to love Watchmen, but I never warmed up to it and ended up only liking it in parts. There are moments where it rouses to life and I was reminded of what I've appreciated about the graphic novel for close to a quarter of a century now. But every time the movie pulled me in, it almost immediately did something else -- such as a cheesy, almost campy image or music cue -- that pulled me right out. Snyder's film failed at accomplishing two fundamental tasks -- the "whodunit" aspect of the story, and making you feel and understand the magnitude of what Ozymandias did -- and because of that Watchmen is a noble failure. It's praiseworthy to see a film strive to be deeper and more serious than many other comic book movies, but a hit-and-miss effort doesn't help the genre no matter how lofty its intentions.

Miracle at St. Anna
½

When I saw the trailer months ago I had high hopes for this movie. It was a little disappointing. It starts out bad, with terrible acting by some of the soldiers. But as the progressed it started to get a little better. There was not as much action as I thought there would be but it did not need it all that much because it was fine with out it. The ending helped you out in the beginning when he kills the guy. You learn that he was a traitor that betrayed his squad in WWII. I do not agree with the cover over the dvd saying that it is the best War movie since Saving Private Ryan, that is wrong Black Hawk Down was a lot better. I don't know if I could recommend it to any. It was an okay movie with a bad start that gets better farther on in the film.

[IMG]http://www.impawards.com/2008/posters/miracle_at_st_anna.jpg[/IMG]

Sex Drive
Sex Drive(2008)

Not nearly the funniest teen comedy ever but it is any enjoyable movie to watch. The performances are okay and the story is like any other teen comedy. Boy tries to loss virginity by taking a journey to the find the person he is looking for. This happened to be a road trip to Tennessee to meet somebody he meet on the internet. It takes him the entire movie to do so but in the end he admits that he loves his best friend (it is a girl) and decides she is the one. There were many moments that I laughed a lot but not nearly as much as I wanted to.

[IMG]http://www.collider.com/uploads/imageGallery/Sex_Drive/sex_drive_movie_poster.jpg[/IMG]

Friday the 13th

Fear not, however, as this "reboot" solidifies once and for all just who Jason is: a motivated killer with speed, strength, vision and a revenge streak that runs blackheart-deep. By firming up the details of his origin, establishing some supernatural elements (Hint: Jason is always really, really hard to kill.), and lending purpose to his body-mangling rampages, the film establishes firm ground for the character's mythos and makes him much scarier as a result. The team of producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller and director Marcus Nispel, who combined to make the excellent Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, know what it takes to modernize and distill an iconic series down to its key elements. Here, they hone the character but keep the dark, playful spirit of the originals. Fans will instantly recognize and settle into the tone -- a wild, horrific ride that's meant to entertain

The "Killer Cut" runs about nine minutes longer than the theatrical version. First and foremost, hard-core horror fans will be happy to see most of the kills punched up, with more gore added. This definitely helps some of the later kills in the film, which seemed rather mundane for a Friday movie, but here get more of that over-the-top Jason feel. A sex scene late in the film (if you've seen the movie, you'll recall this was the "stupendous" scene) is also clearly prolonged, for those enjoying the T-and-A factor. Plotwise, the one main addition is a sequence involving a prisoner of Jason whose brief attempts to escape turn out to be much more detailed than what we saw in theaters. Also put back in is a moment glimpsed in some commercials, in which Jason sharpens his machete, while remembering what happened to his dear mother, Mrs. Voorhees. In short, the brunt of these additions offer more sex and violence, and let's face it, that will please most Friday fans. When it comes to delivering "the goods" when it comes to a film like this, the Killer Cut is an improvement.

Changeling
Changeling(2008)
½

I really thought that Clint Eastwood did an amazing job on this movie just like Gran Torino. The performance from Angelina Jolie was great, but it was just he asking "Where's my son" or "Did you kill my son?". I still enjoyed the movie in a whole, feeling sorry for what Christy Collins had to go though when she was alive. It came to me as a shock when you actually learned what happened to her son, it was terrible. With great performance from the cast along with directing, it was a good movie but, it was way too long, I felt it could be over half way though it. It got old with her just trying to find her son the entire movie, I thought that there would be more plot in the film.

[IMG]http://kalafudra.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/changeling-poster-fullsize.jpg[/IMG]

Superman Returns
½

I have to say that I have never liked Superman what so ever, but this is a step up from the comics. I am not saying this movie is even remotely good at all. It was entertaining but just too long and had very little action to support a highly bogus plot. The main problems with the film is the cast. It was the wrong pick for Lois, she was such a bad actresses she destroyed her part. Then there was the actor for Superman, he was a rather 2D character showing no emphasis towards his character, it was really hard to watch this guy act. The only good actor in this film was Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, he was the only one that was good in their role. Then there was the score for the film. It was so annoying listening to the duh duh duh, okay that was not that good at describing it but you get what I mean. His costume was the main concern. When the fuck are the going to update this guys costume, I mean it has been the same since the 1970's, at least Batman updated his costume, but his had nipples, I don't know which is worse. Superman did even throw a punch, serious not a single one. That was the best I could do at stating my opinion on this film. It is entertaining but very boring at the same time. Maybe in the next film he could actually have a villain that he can physically fight. :confused:

[IMG]http://www.dvdexchange-online.co.uk/DVD_Film_News/2006/Superman_Returns/Superman_Returns.jpg[/IMG]

The Girl Next Door

There is not much I can say. It is kinda funny and the story was a little different from other teen comedies that I have seen. A girl moves next door to a high school student named Matthew. They hang out. His friend then shows him a video of the Danielle, happens to be porn. I don't think that happens all that much. He runs into her porn producers named Kelly, it is a guy by the way, he gets extremely pissed for trying to get her out of the porn business. By the end of the film they are at the prom, go figure, basically that is how they all end at prom.He gets a lot of money for making a new revised version of the sex education video that becomes a big hit. It is not the funniest teen comedy but it is one of the most original that I have seen.

[IMG]http://rarbg.com/posters2/d/d1e7a1938c193549df7f6125120160b4b04d03cc.jpg[/IMG]

Mr. & Mrs. Smith
½

It is a rather stupid concept for and action movie. Two spy happen to meet together without even knowing it. The have been married for 5 to 6 years without finding out what so ever. Then they run into each other in the desert and try to kill each other. Then they shoot their house up without any consideration on how much it will cost them to fix it when they are finishing trying to kill one another. Then of course a lot of people come and try to kill them by putting a bomb in the basement and Brad Pitt has to kick over to the fuel thing and destroys their house even more damage. Then it goes on to a car chase in a mini van. Further on it finish up with a shoot out in a department store. To me it just wasn't very entertaining. If I wanted to see adults fight I would stay home and listen to my parents. IT was not he most entertaining film ever but it was a little interesting how they put it together.

[IMG]http://images.allmoviephoto.com/2005_Mr._and_Mrs._Smith/2005_mr_and_mrs_smith_wallpaper_009.jpg[/IMG]

The International
½

I was going to see Friday the 13th tonight but it happen to be sold out, so I choice to go see my alternative The International. It had quite and interesting plot that kept me guess for a lot of the film. I thought that Clive Owens performance is probably one of his best to date. It is not what I thought it would be, it is more political and not just a bank that hires assassins to kill people. At first when I left the theater I was wondering about a lot of stuff about this film. It took someone to describe exactly what it was about and then it made much more sense. It is a highly entertaining film with a great performance by the leading cast.

[IMG]http://www.iwatchstuff.com/2008/10/29/international-poster-owen.jpg[/IMG]

Stephen King's 'Desperation'

I really was never a fan of the book all that much but this is nothing even close to what the book was. This movie was rather ridiculous because it reminds me of an early 80's movie . The type of violence it had in it where the guy getting shot didn't really look the realistic. Even with Ron Pearlman and his acting ability he was not that good in this film. I happen to notice something, when they are in the movie theater they all seemed to have guns, where did the get them. It was not a good movie and would never have made it to the big screen thank God that it was a cheesy TV movie instead.

Transformers
Transformers(2007)
½

Being a fan of the action figures and the television show when I was a lot young I was excited to see this film. It lives up to my expectation, with the action and the amazing special effects. I think that the original story was pretty good. The problems that I had with the movie is that they did not show the transformers as much as I wanted, it had to much of Shia LeBuff and Megan Fox, the only other problems where the battle sequences, they were way to sloppy, you could hardly see what was going half the time. It may just be special effect robots against each other but it is still one of the most entertaining movies that I have seen in a while.

[IMG]http://www.collider.com/uploads/imageGallery/Transformers_/transformers_movie_poster_new.jpg[/IMG]

Halloween
Halloween(2007)

It is not the worst remake that I have sat though and watch but it is in the top ten so far. The plot is basically the same as the original but not as good. It was mostly violence with really stupid cast. IT is not the worst but not the best remake that I have seen. I really do not know how they are going to make a sequel but I heard that Rob Zombie is going to make it a distribute it in August. I pretty sure that his sister blew his brains out at the very end, I really don't know if you could survive something like that. Well he did survive from at least half a dozen gun shot wounds with out dying and a knife to the throat. It just doesn't make sense to me.

[IMG]http://hardrockhideout.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/halloween1_large.jpg

My Bloody Valentine 3-D

I have to say that it was much better than I had expected before I watched this movie. I thought that it would be just a terrible remake of the first one. It had a general plot for a slasher film were the is a murdering maniac roaming around killing people. It is rather gruesome with strange ways for the people to die. I thought that the 3-D really made the movie stand out from the rest of the horror film because you usually don't see them that often. I kinda liked it but it was just the same as the rest of the slasher films except the original did not make any shitty sequels.

[IMG]http://www.dreadcentral.com/img/news/jul08/sdcc/mybloodybig.jpg

Pride and Glory

This movie is total shit. It was boring from beginning to the end. I really thought that it would be better due to the cast that was involved but even they couldn't save this movie. I thought that Ed Norton and Colin Farrell where great but they just could make this movie good. The plot was just awful and a very pathetic attempt to make a outstanding police movie. I have noticed that there is not a single great cop movie of this year. Last year there was at least Hot Fuzz and Die Hard 4. In the end it is the normal boring cop movie that has to much to live up to in this genre.

[IMG]http://blogs.timesunion.com/movies/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/new-pride-and-glory-poster1.jpg

The Wrestler
The Wrestler(2008)

This is the best movie that I have seen this year, don't comment about that because it is only my second movie that I have seen in the theater so far. It is an amazing performance by Mickey Rourke and the rest of the cast. The story is not what I thought, I just thought that it was many about wrestling not about the bad things that happen to Randy "The Ram". It is such an amazing movie. It is about how Randy was at the top of his game in the 80's but has gone to performing for people in a gym. After he has a heart attack they say that he is not aloud to wrestle anymore. In the end he gets back in the ring against his arch rival in a rematch. That is not all. He has a very troubling relationship with his daughter and try to make up for what he has done in the past. I would really hate to have a daughter like that telling me never to see her again. This is probably one of my favorite movies ever and it is one that makes you feel bad for Randy in having a life where you a try to make things better.

[IMG]http://thecia.com.au/reviews/w/images/wrestler-poster-0.jpg

RocknRolla
RocknRolla(2008)

I thought that this would be great but it is not nearly as good as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or even Snatch. It was a very entertaining and good acting by the main cast. The plot was just as good as the other two movies the Guy Ritche movies but he involved a little to many characters into the movie. There was not as much violence as I had expected when I saw the trailer but when there was it was good. It is basically the same concept as Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels where the end up stealing stuff from people that end up being connected to the person that wanted them to steal it in the first place. I thought that it was an entertaining concept and movie but not as good as I had expected.

[IMG]http://img354.imageshack.us/img354/3512/rocknrolla2yq2.jpg

Die Hard
Die Hard(1988)
½

This is defiantly the best action movie of the late 80's. There is a great plot with extraordinary action sequences that make this movie so great. This is one of the greatest cop movies that I have seen. This is one of the only action movies that the characters are actually care about. I don't know why but the performance where amazing even though it was just a action not much character interactions. Still the character still amaze me. When I was watching this movie I was thinking why could this not be what Max Payne should have been. It has a lot of action that would have worked well with a good plot. It is the most stunning and action packed film from the late 80's that I will watch over and over again.

[IMG]http://pointlessbanter.net/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/die_hard_01.jpg[/IMG]

Meet Bill
Meet Bill(2008)
½

I am still debating if this movie is supposed to be a comedy or a drama film. I fit was a comedy, I would have to say that I did not laugh all that much. To me it is more in the lines of a drama because it is about a man that has an extreme melt down after he finds out that his wife is cheating on him. The cast was not the best choose for this movie. I was not really amazed with Aaron Eckhart's performance, or the girl from Zack and Miri Make a Porno, she was a rather boring character. And of course Jessica Alba. See is a really hot actress but can not act to save her life. All together the cast got boring after the first few minutes. There is not to much to this film and it is one of the most boring films that I have watched.

[IMG]http://www.impawards.com/2008/posters/meet_bill.jpg

Repo! The Genetic Opera

It is not the greatest musical movie that I have seen but it is fairly decent film. It is something that you don't expect to see made as a musical because of the amount of gore that the film has in it. The plot is just a little weird but the actors and actress were actually not that bad at singing at all. Except the three children of the main villain. One of them include Paris Hilton. I believe that they could have just kept her out of the film. The plot is just about a company that distributes body parts that people need so that they can survive. Than if someone doesn't make all the payments they need they send out the Repo Man, who retrieves the organ that GeneCo has given them even if it means kills the person the organ comes from. In an easier way to put it he will repossess the organs if you fail to make a payment. It is a decent film with some great singing in it.

[IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v334/phantomgoddess/Repo%20The%20Genetic%20Opera/REPO_POSTER_C.jpg

The Green Mile

This is Stephen King's best movie based off one of his books, that is not horror of course. It has an interesting plot that keeps you entertained the entire 3 hours of the film. I think that this is also the best best drama movie that I have seen, do not say anything about it if I say it to another film because I do not watch drama all that much. The acting is excellent with an outstanding performance by Michael Clark Duncan. The plot is fairly simple, it starts out with them bring in a giant inmate that committed murder, ever thing after that has to deal with the month he spends on death row. I actually noticed that the bad guard in this is one of the villains in Punisher War Zone. I think that he did better in this movie than in Punisher. He is a lot better in this movie because he doesn't have any corny dialogue. I thought that it was an outstanding movie and that the end is a little sad where the have to put him in the electric chair.

[IMG]http://home.scarlet.be/~bliek/the%20green%20mile-ok.jpg[/IMG]

In Bruges
In Bruges(2008)

This was much different than I had expected when I bought this movie yesterday. It is one of the funniest movies of the year, I am not going to compare it to Tropic Thunder because they are different kinds of comedy. Colin Farrell was actually really good in this film, along with Brandon Gleeson. It was all out hilarious film that had me laughing though the entire film. The ending was a little disappointing because you never find out what happen to Colin Farrell. It makes me mad that you do not find out what happens. Cliffhanger endings just suck. I really believe that Colin Farrell deserves the Golden Globe that he won. It was one of the most funniest movie of this year that has great performances by the main cast and a great story that makes the film amazing.

[IMG]http://www.impawards.com/2008/posters/in_bruges_ver2.jpg

Righteous Kill

I defiantly thought that it would be pretty good because Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro are both really good actors but in this film they just couldn't pull it off. It was not nearly as good as any other cop movie that I have seen, like The Departed, etc.. I thought that the plot was rather dull in parts and was terrible. At the beginning of the movie it has Robert DeNiro talking in a camera saying a lot a stuff that made me start hating this movie. I thought to myself, you never reveal the killer in the first 5 minutes into a film it just ruins it. I was a little surprised with the ending but not all that much. I guess it is not Al Pacino's year, with this and 88 Minutes. It was not what I thought it was.

[IMG]http://moviesblog.mtv.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/righteous_kill_poster.jpg

Appaloosa
Appaloosa(2008)
½

It is a very good Western film but not nearly as entertaining as 3:10 To Yuma (in my opinion). It has a very strong cast and very good directing. I have to say that it did not live up to expectations. I thought that there would have been more gun fights in it and a little more action. I thought that there was a lot that was missing from this film. The character interaction were good. there was one really big problem in this film. RENEE ZELLWIGER. They couldn't have picked somebody that was hotter. I mean she has to be the ugliest woman in all of Hollywood and they had to pick her for this movie. The two men would compliment her for being pretty and I really don't see her as pretty. She was extremely annoying with her weird sounding voice that just irritated me. I thought that it was a really entertaining movie but had some minor down points in it.

[IMG]http://www.traileraddict.com/content/new-line-cinema/appaloosa.jpg

The Number 23

This, alongside Turistas, has to be one of the worst horror movie that I have seen. I have to say that if anyone thought that this movie was going to be scary you are absolutely wrong on so many levels. It has one of the most confusing plots in a movie that I have seen. I really do not think that Jim Carrey was the best pick for this movie because he is better at being a comedian than a crazy person. It was just about this guy who picks up a book that he wrote years ago. He starts to believe that the book is based on his life, he does not know that he wrote the book do to amnesia. It keeps on going to his really life then to what is happening in the book. I was not a big fan of the movie, it is ore of a physiological thriller than a horror film. For anyone that wants to see it don't it is a terrible movie.

[IMG]http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a395/al_finete/The%20Number%2023/Poster001.jpg

Gran Torino
Gran Torino(2009)
½

This is defiantly one of the better films by Clint Eastwood. I thought that the movie was excellent with the acting and directing of Clint Eastwood. The story was different than I thought that it would be. I thought that he was going to bet the gangsters up. It was more about teaching his next door neighbor's son to stand up for himself against his cousin. I thought that his family were rather mean to him and did not even try to get along with him. I actually thought that it was funnier than aything else. Clint brought some really good humor to the movie. At the end I did not expect him to die the way he did. It has to be one of the most entertaining drama film that I have seen in along time.

[IMG]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c6/Gran_Torino_poster.jpg

Turistas (Paradise Lost)

This has to be one of the most terrible movies that I have ever seen. The plot is so boring it is not even enjoyable, the acting is also one of the worst things about this movie, and it was a 20th Century Fox production. 20th Century Fox's movie have been terrible in the last couple of years. The plot is about college people go off to Brazil and they get captured about an hour into the film by this crazed doctor. They cut one of the people open so they can use there organs for something. It only got interesting with 15 minutes left in the movie. This was the saddest excuse for a horror movie that I have seen.

[IMG]http://www.impawards.com/2006/posters/turistas_ver3.jpg

Pineapple Express

To be honest it is not the funniest comedy of the year but I thought that there were a lot of funny moments throughout the the film. It has a very simple plot with a cast that succeeds with making it as funny as it was. Personally I thought that James Franco's character was the funniest person in the film. The first half hour of the film was the funniest but after he sees the guy shot the other guy it becomes them just running away the rest of the film. I thought that it was one of the funnier films of the year but not the best.

[IMG]http://blog.ugo.com/images/uploads/PineappleExpress.jpg

Beowulf
Beowulf(2007)

When I was finished watching this movie I thought "How did this movie get a PG-13 rating?". I was extremely graphic and showed a animated nude Angelina Jolie. Other than that I enjoyed this movie. The animation for this movie was outstanding, the first time I saw the trailer for this film I actually believed that it was live-action. I thought that the cast did an outstanding job playing their parts. I think that it is an excellent movie, that is a graphic movie. I still wonder if Wiglaf, the guy at the end, if he goes to Grendals mother or if he just walks away.

[IMG]http://i87.photobucket.com/albums/k150/HotTunaFish/BEOWULF/poster_beowulf-n2-1.jpg

Creepshow 2
Creepshow 2(1987)
½

This film does not even remotely close to the original film. It is not nearly as creepy and it had some bad acting. The were hardly any scary parts to the movie. I found this film extremely boring. The Creep was a little stupid because I thought that it was supposed to be a skeleton like on the cover of the DVD. I recommend you do not see this movie if you liked the first because it is an extreme disappointment.

[IMG]http://www.hi-rezdesigns.com/posters/creepshow_2.jpg[/IMG]

Tears of the Sun

This is the most boring war movie that I have ever seen. The plot is rather stupid, which makes the movie even hard to sit though and watch. Bruce Willis did good as the mercenary commander but the rest of the cast did not do as good. The woman in this Monica Bellusie I think, is not even a good actress, she was really annoying. The part that got me is when they get out of the helicopter to save the people, my question is why they just didn't go drop the woman off and come back for the rest. I just thought that it was not entertaining enough to watch again.

[IMG]http://www.impawards.com/2003/posters/tears_of_the_sun.jpg

Valkyrie
Valkyrie(2008)
½

Personally I was slightly disappoint with this film. First I did not want to see it but I went with my mom, grandfather, and brothers to see it. The one thing that got me though this film is that none of the actors had german accents or even spoke in german. If you make a movie about Nazi and not have them speak german is not right. The movie didn't have has much action as I had expected. The plot was rather simple, assassinate Hitler, but after the attempt it got rather boring, the mostly just sat on the phone talking, and people were arrested but that was it. I was not a big fan of the movie but don't base your opinion off this review.

[IMG]http://www.movieposterdb.com/posters/07_07/2008/985699/l_985699_f36f5f3b.jpg

Bad Boys II
Bad Boys II(2003)

I really don't think that it is better than the first, but I enjoyed it a lot because it was basically none stop action and explosions. To me I didn't think that it had much of a plot but if it did I most not have been able to catch what it was. To me it was just shooting, blowing stuff up, cussing, and ending kissing in a mine field. There was one part where they were having a gun fight and the camera kept on spinning and it started to really get annoying. I also thought that it was a little to long. It is a very action packed movie that provides a lot of action but not much of a plot.

[IMG]http://www.filminlandempire.com/images/bad_boys_two.jpg

Creepshow
Creepshow(1982)
½

It is a very interesting way to film a movie, just having five mini stories all combined in the same film. The stories, I think, were rather interesting not all that scary. The only one that was a little creepy was the one named "The Crate" with the animal that attacked all the people. The second story was interesting with the weeds growing all of this guy and his house. I found this out during the credits that the guy getting taken over by the plants was actually Stephen King. I also noticed that Leslie Neilson was in it. This is the first movie that I have seen that has him not in a comedy setting. I thought that it was an interesting way to film a movie that kept in my seat watching the movie the entire time.

[IMG]http://www.roverdramawerks.com/10_News/07_10_14_MonsterMovieMadness/creepshow_ver1.jpg[/IMG]

Shaft
Shaft(2000)

I have to say when I first saw the cover of the DVD I thought that it was going to a very hardcore film but it is not what I thought it would be. Sam Jackson does play Shaft really well and is a pretty badass cop. Christian Bale played the rich guy that is set on trial for killing a African American man in cold blood. The movie is very entertaining movie, that has a fair bit of action in it and has a good plot to it.

[IMGhttp://www.impawards.com/2000/posters/shaft.jpg

Stephen King's 'Silver Bullet'

This is one of those movies that you see as a child and that scares the shit out of you, but when you watch it years later it is actually kinda corny. It wasn't a terrible movie just that the effects are a bit corny and not nearly as good as the film that are being released today. For its time the werewolf costume would have scared so many people but not as much today. The one thing that got me was the priest ended up being the werewolf in the end. I thought that the plot was decent, as long with the acting. It is not the scariest movie ever but I thought it was creepy when I was eight.

[IMG]http://www.impawards.com/1985/posters/silver_bullet.jpg[/IMG]

The Godfather, Part III

This is is a good movie but it does suffer the third movie badness. It is not nearly as good as any of the other film but it is entertaining enough to watch a couple of times. As always Al Pacino did good in his role in this film. I do not think that this was remotely as good as the second, this had something to do with the pope or something, it just did not feel like any film in this series. It was one of the better third movie so far but it just isn't as good as the first two.

[IMG]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/55/GodfatherIII2.jpg

Burn After Reading

Personally I think that this is the funniest movie of the year, even better than Tropic Thunder. I thought that the plot was really good, and that the characters where enjoyable to watch. Brad Pitt was a pretty funny character but I think that John Malkovick is much funnier in this film than Brad Pitt or George Clooney. John Malkovick kept on cussing at people in the film. Brad Pitt was just so stupid that he is actually funny that way. Some scenes surprised me, especially when Brad Pitt was in the closet but then George Clooney is in the same room, don't want to spoil it for anyone so I will not go on. All in all it is the funniest comedy of the year and it is very enjoyable to watch.

[IMG]http://www.collider.com/uploads/imageGallery/Burn_After_Reading/burn_after_reading_movie_poster_onesheet_coen_brothers.jpg

The Godfather, Part II

Along with the Dark Knight this is one of the best sequels that I have seen. It follow the path of the first one where they are long and very interesting. Al Pacino reprise his role as Michael Corleone. He does an excellent job just like he did in the first one. Robert De Niro does an extrodoary job playing the young Don Vito. To my surprise he sound almost exactly like Marlon Brando in the first one. I thought it was an entertaining film that is even better than the original.


[IMG]http://www.traileraddict.com/content/paramount-pictures/godfather2.jpg[/IMG]

Bad Boys
Bad Boys(1995)
½

I have to say that it is not the best cop movie out there but it is a fairly decent movie. It does not have the greatest plot but Will Smith plays the part of a cop well. I have to say that I do not like Martin Lawrence all that much because he is not the greatest actor alive or the funniest but I have to say that this is one of his better movies. It is action packed with a lot of gun fights and explosions that makes this movie good.

[IMG]http://www.wallpaperbase.com/wallpapers/movie/badboys/bad_boys_4.jpg

V for Vendetta
½

This is one of the greatest comic book movie that was released in the past couple of years. It is entertaining, the plot is very interesting, there are a lot of explosions that don't mess up the movie at all, and at the end they blow Parliament up. The only problem I have with it is that it is set in the wrong time period. In the comics it took place in the 1980's but this movie takes places at least 20 maybe 30 years in the future. The acting was good, and same with the directing but I think they should have left it in the 80's not 2020's.

[IMG]http://www.impawards.com/2006/posters/v_for_vendetta_ver3.jpg

Blade - The Complete Series

For the first few episodes I watched were entertaining but not nearly as good as the movies. After awhile the series started to get boring and by the end I thought to my self that this was almost one of the biggest waste of time so far. The serie did not have the feel of the movie . The guy who played Blade was terrible choose. It was a very disappointing series in my belief.

[IMGhttp://www.tvsa.co.za/images/shows/b/blade_the_series_logo.jpg

Hamlet 2
Hamlet 2(2008)

I really thought that this would be hilarious but it is not nearly as funny as expected. This has to be one of the most retard comedies that I have seen. It is just a bunch of wacky things that lead up to a play that everybody likes. Steve Coogan, the director from Tropic Thunder, played his part very well and I thought that he was the funniest person in the film. It is kinda funny but not the funniest movie ever made.

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b237/kghavim/hr_Hamlet_2_poster.jpg

Max Payne
Max Payne(2008)
½

I have to say that this was a little better than I had expected before watching it. I have heard bad things about it not being close to the game at all and I would have to agree. It was lacking many elements that made the game cool, like when bullet time. It should have been shoot them up like the new Punisher and Face Off. I really enjoyed this movie and I would have to say that it was a lot better than the Happening. Mark Walberg did okay as the cop looking for his family's murderers. At the end the plot changed from having that weird guy with the huge knife being the killer to some else. This is a decent movie but I don't think the die hard fans would like this movie.

[IMG]http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/images/max-payne-poster3-580x859.jpg

Sin City
Sin City(2005)

I really like this movie a lot. It has a great cast with so many different story lines, it is basically four movie in one. I like how it is black and white, unlike any other movies that you watch. It is based off Frank Miller's comic series that is dark and gritty. It does remind me of the new movie The Spirit because Frank Miller is directing the movie. I thought that this movie is a must see but it has a lot of cussing and violence. It is also interesting how they combined the feel of the comic same with the visuals.


[IMG]http://posterwire.com/wp-content/images/sin_city_nancy.jpg

Pet Sematary
Pet Sematary(1989)

I thought that this was an interesting movie that was good for its time but it is rather good for an 80's horror film. I have to say that it is better than Cujo because the main characters where not stuck in a car for half of the movie. It started out a little dry and boring but got progressively better over the course of the film.I thought that Louis was very stupid at the end for bringing back his died wife because we all knew what was going to happen in the end. The last 20 minutes scared the shit out of me. The little boy is terrifying. If I saw this when I was a kid I probably wouldn't sleep for a week. He reminded me of Chucky but this kid also reminded me of my died cousin. Would want him to come after me like the little boy in this movie. This is not all that scary until the end which is so creepy you will enjoy the film.


[IMG]http://filmclub.files.wordpress.com/2006/10/pet_sematary.jpg[/IMG]

Excalibur
Excalibur(1981)

I have to say that this was my first R-rated movie ( I saw it when I was eight). It is kinda boring and corny compared to movies like 300 and Troy. It is a little better than King Arthur but not by much. It has a general plot of King Arthur but nothing new or anything that we have not seen before. The plot is the same though all King Arthur film. The violence is at its best for the time period but the war parties attacking the castle is not as many men as there would be in a newer medieval war film. The movie was alright with a good story line and it is a very entertaining 80's film.


[IMG]http://www.impawards.com/1981/posters/excalibur_ver2.jpg[/IMG]

Punisher: War Zone

It is not as bad as the critics say that it is. It is entertaining and has a lot of good action sequences. But there is only one major flaw at that is the piss poor dialogue. Almost everybody in this film has terrible dialogue that makes the scene with just talking very boring and unexciting. The villain had one of the worst accent, what ever kind it was, that I have ever heard. He sounded like a Sopranos reject. Than there was this one character that was African American with a very goofy Irish/British accent. There were only a few people in this movie that seemed to take the movie seriously. That was the actor who played the Punisher and the woman in the film. The most annoying character in this film was Loony Bin Jim, he had the worst dialogue of the entire film, he also I think was a cannibal because he bit the Punisher and ate some dudes kidneys. This movie had very good action sequences, a lot of gore and blood and blowing peoples faces off, and than the problem of having shitty dialogue. Over-all it was a fairly entertaining film and I will defiantly pick this up when it comes out on DVD.

[IMG]http://www.traileraddict.com/content/lionsgate/punisher_warzone-6.jpg[/IMG]

Glory
Glory(1989)
½

This was not what I thought that it would be but it was a decent film. I had to watch this film for history class this week. I really enjoyed watching this film but I am not such a big fan of Civil War movies or any kinda history movie. The acting was good from both Matthew Brodrick and Morgan Freeman but it was not nearly as satisfying a history movie like the Patriot.


[IMG]http://www.impawards.com/1989/posters/glory_ver1.jpg[/IMG]

Hell Ride
Hell Ride(2008)

Thank god for Netflixs because this would have been a serious waste of money. This movie bored me so much that I fell asleep watching it. I do not think that it is as good as Easy Rider or any of the other biker movies. The plot was very boring and the cast was very bad. I thought more would have come out of it from Quentin Tarantino producing the film but I guess that I was wrong to judge a movie before I see it.


[IMGhttp://www.impawards.com/2008/posters/hell_ride.jpg

Kingdom of Heaven

Even with all the action and Ridley Scott directing the movie, I found it rather boring and very stupid, even with the forty-five minutes he added to the film. Leading the cast is Orlando Bloom, who has to be one of the worst actors ever, sure he was good in the Lord of the Rings trilogy but otherwise he has not had a good movie since. The leading actress Eva Green is not nearly as hot as she was in Casino Royale. I have to say that I thought that this would have been a decent film about war. This film lacks serious war sequences and is mostly talking though out the film. For me I don't recommend this film to anyone because it is a three hour suck fest.


[IMGhttp://www.orlandocentral.net/pics/film/kingdom/kohposter01.jpg

Role Models
Role Models(2008)
½

This movie is so much funnier than I had expected before seeing. It has so many laughs that made Dad was on the verge of tears. This is the first movie that I have seen Paul Rudd was the main character not a supporting character. I also notices that McLovin played the nerd that does medival wars on the weekends. There seemed to be a lot of actors and actress that where in the 40 Year Old Virgin. I thought that this had to be one of the funniest movies that I have seen this year, not including Tropic Thunder of course. This had a lot funnier jokes and gags than Step Brothers. Like I said earlier this is one of the best comedies this year and that I really enjoyed and anyone who liked the 40 Year Old Virgins would love it.


[IMG]http://z.about.com/d/movies/1/0/e/5/S/rolemodelsposter.jpg[/IMG]

Night at the Museum

This movie is pretty funny and very entertaining movie but it is lacking a lot to make it an excellent movie. Ben Stiller is as funny as usual with a good supporting cast that helps the movie out a bit. The plot is the general kid movie that is a bit and is a fantasy movie. It started off very good but after a while it got boring and with the old people being so flexible was silly. Both Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan (who is the actor who played the director in Tropic Thunder) where good as the little figures always fighting. All in all it is a decent family film but has a very weak plot to it.


[IMGhttp://www.beconfused.com/images/2006/12/Night-at-the-Museum.jpg

Saving Private Ryan

It is a perfect representation of World War 2 and Normandy. The action was incredible and so was the acting. I thought that going into Germany to rescue just one man was totally insane but I understand why they did so. It was a rather long movie with very long battle sequences but that does nothing to how awesome the movie itself was. I have to say that it is another great movie by Stephen Speliberg. All in all it is a good movie and reminds me a little bit of Medal of Honor and Call of Duty series.


[IMG]http://www.takehollywood.com/core/medias/dynamicLibrary/MyOffice/mod_filmography/picture/filmography_163.jpg[/IMG]]

Land of the Dead
½

Not as good as Dawn of the Dead but it is still a bit creepy in some ways. I don't know if this is a sequel to Dawn of the Dead or if it is it's own movie. This takes place after the infection where a guy buys a building and walls it off to zombies. Not letting anyone in his building with out money most people are living on the streets. It turns bad when the zombies get in and the people have nowhere to run to. There is only one thing wrong with this film, it is that the zombies start using the guns it just takes the point of them being cannibals and eating people alive. I really thought that this was an entertaining film.


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Dawn of the Dead

This is an very intense zombie movie. It has many scene that are extremely violent and gory. It has a good plot and great characters. This is a solid remake of George A. Romano's movie from the seventies. The plot takes place entirely in a mall in Wisconsin. They stay in the mall for the entire film but it still is good movie. This was the first film by director Zach Synder, who directed 300. I think that he did really good on this remake.


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X-Men: The Last Stand

Not nearly as good as the first or second but it is very entertaining film. The plot of this film lags a bit with way to much crammed in to the plot in such a short period of time. The finally introduced my favorite villain the Juggernaut, who was played by Vinnie Jones who was able to play the Juggernaut perfectly. Otherwise trying to fit the Cure and the Phoenix into the same movie was terrible to do because how important the two are. The end fight scene was good and entertaining but it was stupid lets have six people able to defeat more than 80 people it just doesn't make to much sense. I also noticed that Nightcrawler just wasn't in the movie, I mean he just didn't disappear or did they not want him in another film. I also thought that killing off Scott was a stupid idea so early in the film it just not cool. It was not as good as the other but that is what I expected from director Brett Ratner.


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X2: X-Men United
½

Like I was told earlier that this is the best of them all, I have to agree with that because it is more action packed than the first one and has a better plot than the third one. They finally introduced Nightcrawler, who is my favorite X-Men, in the awesome action packed beginning of the film. It also show a little more of the origin of Wolverine and brings in the guy who gave him the claws. It has the most action and has the best plot in the series. Like I said the second movies of the trilogy are always the best.


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X-Men
X-Men(2000)

This is defiantly one of the better Marvel movies that I have seen. It has the greatest cast for the characters, I couldn't see anyone else playing Wolverine. It is a great movie but some of the things they do in it is kinda stupid. I think that Hallie Berry is a very hot Storm. The plot is okay, I think that could do better, but they still were able to pull it off.


[IMGhttp://www.impawards.com/2000/posters/xmen_ver2.jpg

Quantum of Solace

It is kinda of what I expected out of this movie. It is not better than Casino Royale but it is my second favorite Bond film so far. It delivers the right amount of action and had some awesome fight scene. The new Bond girl Olga Kurlasomething is the hottest and best bond girl in my opinion. At first I didn't understand the plot that much but after my parents explained it to me I understand. The car chase was pretty amazing and entertaining for the beginning of the film. I don't care what the critics say about this movie it is still awesome.


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Stand (MINI-SERIES)

For a TV miniseries from the early 90's it isn't half bad. Based on the longest book that I have and also the longest movie, 6 hour and 6 minutes long. It really took me a week to watch the film because of school and homework but I finished it. It had a very great supporting cast and a terrifying plot. My favorite episode is the first because it is the most graphic one of them all. The other episodes were kinda dull but still made the film good. It is about a disease that kills about 99% of the worlds population. The survivors decide to