Fail Flicks's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Oblivion
Oblivion(2013)

The plotline may have very well been created in a game of Mad Libs with a sci-fi buzzwords theme. That's not to say the execution of realizing Oblivion was done poorly on the cast or crew's part but it's not usually a good sign when I immediately know the movie has "peaked" because my wife woke up for that part.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
½

This movie is about as unpredictable as the days of the week but it's predictable in an enjoyable way. Nick Cage is a great actor and unlike the first one, they didn't forget that this time around.

Nick Cage eventually loses his powers and for the first time in the series, the action sequences involved something besides the Ghost Rider demonstrating that he had the biggest guns in town. There was a sense of peril and helplessness this time, room for character growth and although it was easy to miss the flimsy explanation that made it make any sense, the ancient story-telling tradition of the hero's death and rebirth made a brief appearance.

Oh yeah, and just because it was so bad the first time, I think the Ghost Rider's dialogue being reduced to a bare minimum is worthy of praise. Lots and lots of praise.

The Conjuring

Cheap ploys to rake in dumb audiences with promises of a true story, audience reactions in the trailers and a shameless, unverifiable claim of basis on a true story earned my undying disdain and of course raked in money from the very lowest common denominator of society. Naturally, my sister was ecstatic and dragged me to it.

The first 30-45 minutes are just as cliche and pandering as you'd expect. I even gave serious weight to the consideration that the horror-angle was simply a marketing ploy and I was actually watching a bad, independent film about a family moving into a new house and getting used to the sounds it makes and the broken clock. It wasn't. In fact, once the pace finally picks up, it's a very fun movie that gave some serious thought to the mechanisms that are behind the strange activities.

The only thing to note here is that at its heart, this is a posession/exorcism movie and much like its marketing, the movie is ultimately capitalizing on mainstream belief systems to make money so if you are objected to any of those things, I would not suggest spending money on this movie.

Dredd
Dredd(2012)

Ever wondered what it would be like if Die Hard happened in a futuristic dystopia and wasn't as good?

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

I hope your childhood was enriched enough that you can recall Goku shouting to Frieza "I don't get it! I'm trying to help you!" even as Frieza was actively trying to kill him. because that scene perfectly embodies the relationship between Michael Bay and critics everywhere.

That said, Bay decided to use my weakness of always wanting to finish a movie series against me to demonstrate how truly awful movies can be. Normally I'd try to cleverly work in the plot from the movie to make it sound like I have the same battle with the director as Optimus Prime or Shia LaBeouf has with the antagonist of that particular 20-40 minutes of the movie, however this plot is so convoluted and dialogue so forgetful that even if I can manage it, it's just not worth it.

Let's look at the last movie. For some reason, it was hailed by many melodramatic viewers as "the worst movie ever". It's not, even when it came out it couldn't hold a candle to "Dragonball: Evolution" or "Plan 9 from Outer Space". Fortunately those voices are unquestionably silenced by this film.

The most obvious change is that Meagan Fox came down with a case of vanishing girlfriend syndrome sometime after the last movie and has been replaced with a less exotic-looking blonde that will likely be easier to replace if she asks for too much money or worse, dignity. This wouldn't bother me if it weren't for the fact she's the worst love interest in fiction since Helen of Troy. The second anything dangerous happens and I mean ANYTHING her first response is to kind of break up and run away from Sam. I'm sure Bay wanted her to be French in the original script. Of course she comes around eventually, it only took the entire planet being raided so now she, oh wait she still doesn't do anything besides scream, cry and making other noises Bay doesn't fully understand due to them not being explosions.

While we're still on the subject of the characters in Sam's personal life, can we quit bringing in his parents?! We get it, they're supposed to be the dad from American Pie but it's just not funny. I think I speak for the majority of audiences when I say we're tired of seeing them, they fail to provide the comic relief they're trying to and it drags on scenes in a way that doesn't add anything of value. It just feels like listening to your own relative that will never shut up and you can't un-pause your movie until they finish.

Also, without giving away much, a nameless, almost irrelevant character commits suicide in a very visible fashion and when the execs of a company immediately encourage people to just ignore it and ensure them staring won't bring him back, how are we supposed to feel surprised when they turn out to be back-stabbers (sorry, but I don't feel the need to call spoiler alert if the movie doesn't)

Normally the action sequences can be praised in Bay films but I don't think that was the case this time because visually, it was just a mess. I had no idea who was an autobot or decepticon. There was one sequence where 4 decepticons were fighting and I couldn't figure out why until they clarified in the dialogue that 2 of them were, in fact autobots. There's some double-crossing involved as well and OH NO! He killed....um...the guy with the metal...and wheels...he was kind of grayish...Man, I had gotten so attached to that character. Of course the Leadership Matrix from the last movie is still around. Why they can't use it to revive him? Maybe it only works on the leaders, I really don't know.

Early in the movie the Autobots need to head to the moon, they do so but I don't know how as I only recall a select few Transformers could fly, most of them being Decepticons. Towards the end they need to leave Earth but for whatever reason they need a spaceship to assist in this voyage, not only a spaceship but one of their own design, which was about twice as large as the shuttle attached to its back....wait, what? Why didn't they need that earlier and how would it help anyways? Shuttles can't leave orbit, Bay should know that after the scientific backlash from Armageddon. My guess is somebody at NASA was the star of an episode of Hoarders that week so he just tacked that onto the Transformer ship to show he was no longer attached to the shuttle he kept in his garage.

What's worse, is for a few glorious moments before the climax I saw potential. A great potential, in fact, to make the movie about something more than fighting alien robots and shift the series into something far more sophisticated than it ever had been bef-and it's gone...

Still I can't give it a 0, there are a few redeeming qualities: Throughout the movie I couldn't get the Ben Franklin "Deserves neither" quote out of my head so if that was intentionally the movie's theme it did a decent job at getting it across and the Russian bar scene was actually intentionally funny but even if I scraped together all the enjoyability of this movie and put it into a shotglass, not only would that shotglass be far from full but it would be stretching it to say that justified a 60 minute runtime, much less 2.5 hours worth.

The Shrine
The Shrine(2010)

And then Darth Vader appeared in the nick of time to kill Voldermort so all of Middle Earth would be saved from Stephanie Meyer.

That's essentially the feeling here. The wrong people for the wrong reasons are doing the wrong things except that it's the right thing. If I were to add spoilers this wouldn't be all that confusing but that doesn't change the fact that protagonists and antagonists swap roles far too often for your brain to process and the result is instant apathy in the story.

Still, it is more good than bad. The first 30 minutes is well-done, perhaps even overdone and a little crispy. The premise is far from ground-breaking which gave the director a chance to focus on making the first few obligatory jump-scares really effective for the short time they can be fun only to throw them out like the overrated cinematic technique it is.

The production value never seemed to suffer from a low budget other than the make-up department which, when faced with the task of creating roughly a dozen fiendish monsters, resorted to rubber masks which I couldn't help but feeling bore a greater resemblance to marine life. Also, Batman Begins being the last movie I watched before starting this one didn't help them get their point across either as the monsters looked very similar to some of those created by the Scarecrow's gas.

Beyond Batman, (see what I did there?) familiar images abound in this film in a very plagiaristic way. See the cover on the page? Notice how it vaguely looks like the girl from the Exorcist could be under that mask? Well, that's basically who it is, right down to the green skin. The costume design and set-pieces should also feel very familiar to gamers, I'll delve into that soon.

The movie takes place in a small village in Poland and I hope you speak it as there's no subtitles. Anywhere. Ever. At first this works with the movie's suspense but mid-climax it just means we're taking the music's word that something serious is happening. They could just be talking about each other's cats and most of us would never know the difference until somebody kills somebody else. What's worse is that after the climax this continues, even with a character that only speaks English in the room.

Going against the grain for once, there is a cult whose involvement in the story is one of its more interesting aspects. However, if you've ever played Resident Evil 4 I don't need to describe them very much visually. They're almost identical to the guys in the purple robes and the buildings all look like they were copied directly after locations in the game to such an extent I found myself spotting the windows with nearby bookshelves to shove in front of them. If you haven't played the game then you're life isn't really worth living anyways and the rest of us shouldn't be asked to accomodate.

I feel it worth mentioning that amongst the three main characters, the "let's get out of here" character was the only male of the group, while the "I'm going to get my story" journalist kept overriding his pleads. Whether as guardian or just plain stupid, he went along with her clear up to the rising action. Make of that what you will.

The Amazing Spider-Man
½

Is Spider-Man gonna have to choke a bitch?

If you liked the first Sam Raimi movie, you'll probably have similar feelings towards this one as it follows a very similar formula to the point that Peter Parker even learns a very similar lesson about helping others leading to a very similar prod spurring him onto his crusade of vigilante justice. These are only deep, core elements and get handled very differently but the similarities are there for observant viewers nonetheless.

The only possible breaking point is if you mind that this movie is much darker than the previous trilogy or even any other medium of Spider-Man that preceded it and I don't just mean in terms of lighting. Without giving away too much, there is a scene where Spider-Man briefly and intentionally suffocates a guy and implies that he only let him survive because he wasn't the guy for whom he was searching. So as it would happen: No. No, Spider-Man is not gonna have to choke a bitch.

The web-shooter devices are back from the cartoon and comic book as well which should be cause for celeberation as it gives Spider-Man that literary weakness, which every well-written protagonist needs and if this incarnation of Spider-Man was anything, it was well-written. It gets back to the roots in many ways, returning the sarcastic, snarky personality of the cartoon right along with the original bookworm Parker from the original 1963 comic to create a new and unique Peter Parker that I find far more relatable than any incarnation before him and the added dimensions make him feel more authentic than most of them as well.

Although I didn't feel it necessary to mention, I spoke to somebody about it that wanted to know how long they dragged out the discovery-of-his-powers sequence and the answer is, almost no time at all. He's bitten, there's a fight scene, that basically it. A brief, comical montage shows him learning to control his new strength, during which the movie quickly went over the construction of the web-shooters but I did think the obligatory awkward hook-up scene between Peter and Gwen Stacey did a bit too good of a job at actually being an awkward scene but I guess the director didn't agree so he dragged it on for about 30 seconds longer than it needed to be after it had already achieved the status of "uncomfortable".

Stranger Than Fiction
½

Either inappropriately or brilliantly marketed as a comedy this may very well be Will Ferrel's deepest movie but it's not at all what the previews would have you suspect. It's actually a lot about maturing, seizing the day and accepting mortality. The supernatural elements cause some of the rhetoric of the characters' motivations to not make much sense at times but the underlying themes managed to get through if you can ignore that.

If at any point this movie drops the ball it's with its lackluster ending but the first 2 acts make it worth watching. If you liked The Number 23, it shouldn't be a dealbreaker.

Ice Queen
Ice Queen(2005)

Ice Queen is not just another bad horror movie. It is the laughing stock of the genre. The box looks great and has lured many horror movie fans in only to realize that the costume designer is the only person on the cast or crew with a career ahead of them in the biz. The only way I know to properly review something so bad is piece-by-piece.

Acting: Jennifer Hill, the eye candy of the movie, seems to have perfected the art of distracting you from what the story's supposed to be about, unless when the movie actually is about her nipples but otherwise she serves as a distraction from what's important or even from her own scenes, for example: in one scene she starts screaming but all you can think about is what an ugly face she's making which forces you to wonder what she tasted that was so bad. Chemistry between actors also tends to be off with a few characters or, just as likely in some scenes, the actors appear to have been ordered to wait for the camera to center in on them causing long pauses in what should be fluently flowing dialogue.

Special effects: Scale models are used for an avalanche scene which would have been find if it weren't for the fact that the cars were flipped over, revealing car parts that a child could identify as plastic. Fog and smoke appeared as unscaled effects, possibly something directly from Windows or Mac movie maker effects and this was not helped by the fact that a few scenes had both fog and the green screen which was choppy around the edges. The avalanche scene really takes the cake for bad special effects but the nail in the coffin is that the avalanche during most of this time is represented by footage of an actual avalanche recorded on a camera with slightly different quality and the sound and speed of the avalanche mixed with the main character's nervous glances backwards requires us to believe that there is snow falling at 20 mph, a few feet behind him but somehow much louder that small distance away (all he had to do was look higher up and this wouldn't have been such a problem).

Characters/motivation: The opening scene is never explained, as it involves a guy I could never figure out the name of, blowing up an armored caravan but only finding out a few minutes later that the cargo inside was incredibly valuable but this character is killed far too quickly for any questions to be answered.

The Ice Queen herself seems to have dancing around at the top of her priority list, often giving the majority of people she kills ample time to run away and the scientist remains obsessed with the creature no matter what she does.

Continuity: The first few minutes of the movie make it unclear as to whether the scientists want to keep the "Ice Queen" warm or cold but it doesn't really mater since her killing spree is somehow triggered by the machine keeping her body temperature normal or critical breaking but a more important question is why were museums offering money for a live specimen? This is perplexing but not nearly as big of a continuity error as the fact that a character gets killed in the latter half of the movie but returns after everything is resolved. (I would've made this 0% if the server would have let me post it that way)

Shibuya kaidan 2 (The Locker 2)
½

Mission: Entertain Audience
Status: Utter failure

Mission: Confuse Audience
Status: Critical hit.
It's super-effective.

Ever wonder why American cinema didn't just collapse under the weight of Friedman and Seltzer's short-lived over-saturation of the industry? Because this was plan B. This movie can't decide whether it wants to be a Grudge or Pulse knockoff but don't worry, it's combined the worst elements of both to make what many people refer to as "boredom".

The movie quickly reaches its premise: "Unborn fetuses..." and it pretty much stops there but it's pretty clear, aborted fetus, don't you even think of forgetting it.

A ghost (of an aborted fetus, what a shock) is haunting six college students (all of whom are just as cliche as the six college students in every unoriginal horror film). It seemed like a neat idea at first but at some point the director decided the best way to emulate the hand of a baby girl was to use that of a 20-30 year old male. It's explained later as "SHE USED TO BE SMALLER!!" The question is when? When the script was written?

The premise forced me to wonder about the writers feelings towards abortion but when the baby is actually revealed, it turns out to be far less gory or frightening than even the posters that pro-lifers typically hold up during a rally but don't worry, this one teleports by climbing out of her own hair--the same EXACT hair found all over the place in The Grudge--and the creature climbs into the light to fully expose its flat, uncreative and ineffective make-up job (she's just painted green, pretty much).

The special effects are nonetheless pretty good (although by no means excellent), which I found shocking because with the number of rookie mistakes in editing and camera work I had assumed that I was watching an indy film. For example, at one point in the movie the editor switches to such a drastically different angle than the instant beforehand, it was a full 10 seconds before I realized that I was looking at a different angle and not an entirely different scene. Near the climax, a stage hand can be seen walking across the set, in what's supposed to be an abandoned parking garage (in a hospital, in the middle of the day, with no cars), as the female lead is delivering quite possibly her first interesting monologue of the movie.

As for the camera work (or perhaps I should point the blame to the location scout and lighting department in this case), the mistakes were far fewer but in one scene, much more obvious than anything done by the editor: while the movie was still going for the feel of Pulse and the remaining surviving characters were talking about their dead/missing friends, the location chosen had windows EVERYWHERE, causing the sun's light to rush in, overexposing the white walls and making the screen bright to the point that looking at it was a strain to the eyes.

I'm not going to deny that I've seen far worse but the good doesn't even come close to justifying the bad. While trying to capitalize on the J-horror market during its peak, emphasizing its abortion premise with no real point to make, amateurish film-making (despite generous funding) and completely ineffective jump-scares, this script and movie should've been aborted in all three trimesters (twice).

Pocket Ninjas (Triple Dragon)

WTF just happened. I swear, I did everything in the routine of watching a movie so why is it afterwards I was more confused than if I got into a car wreck.

If the menu didn't actually have the word "menu" on it, I would've never figured out to press play but even that doesn't work in and of itself, the cursor starts out with the next page button selected, so if you've lost your DVD remote then odds are you'll have to watch it on the computer or not at all but how can you pass up the chance to watch the worstest, baddest, failest-flickest movie in the world?

The music has an original track by somebody I forget the first name of but I recall they were a Boll, that whole family just has a gift for sensing great movies in the works, don't they? But the music isn't that bad, and clearly the director agreed as I recall counting a total of 8 or 9 montages throughout the movie, depending on how loosely you define a montage and the quality of my memory. Not even different montages, certain settings with certain people would get their own music and when the camera's went back to them later for their 3rd, 4th, who knows how many montages, it'd be the same music AND a lot of the same scenes spliced in from earlier montages.

The irony of this reliance on music is that the audio levels are HORRIBLE. I've never had my TV speakers up to 50% before, with Pocket Ninjas I was struggling to hear at 100.

So the story is this (I think, despite watching 3 times trying to clarify), a gang of thugs called "The Stingers," that "control all sorts of illegal activity" are going around committing atrocious crimes--in packs of 10-20 for some reason--like beating up a cripple that never provoked them and car-jacking a couple in an abandoned lot only to be beaten up by 3 pre-teen "ninjas" with no acting ability while they were on skates.

Later they go on to actually make money by dumping toxic waste into sewers....which somehow makes money....oddly enough, the leader of the Stingers, Cubby Kahn first reprimands the guy who offered to hand him over the business because it "could hurt the environment"--yes he actually says that--before taking it with no explanation of the change of heart.

Netflix lists this movie as a Children's film but I really don't see how you could show a child a movie that implies that it's funny to stab people and that silencers magically turn bullets into darts or that good and evil is determined by a virtual reality video game (I so wish I made up that last part as it's supposed to be the climax) Any kid dumb enough to like this movie would be bored out of their mind in the first few minutes and any kid intelligent enough to appreciate the message they're trying to get across would be bored in the first few minutes....wait...

To conclude, let me try to make this review shorter by making a list of all the dumb scenes in the movie I haven't had time to go over:

-Character pretends to play a GameBoy (the old, gray, indestructible GameBoy) with the empty cartridge slot pointed straight at the camera

-Mother of character previously mentioned has her arms chained to the wall, when she's freed you can clearly see that there was nothing on the ends of the chains to begin with

-The White Dragon (protagonist) and Kobra Kahn (antagonist) stop in the middle of a fight to play a game similar to patty cake that is slowly sped up until they begin to create motion blurs

-A 9 year old kid takes a portable T.V. into his treehouse, with his comic books, so he can watch....the news, of course! Not to mention he is just captivated by the story about an oil spill or something of the like

-While reading a comic book in the treehouse, one of the three characters' shirt changes from having green stripes to blue stripes, this isn't an isolated incident either.

-There's a fight director, that's not a scene, but it sure is sad

-The three (adolescent or child) main characters have unexplained knowledge of the exact location of the Stingers at nearly all times

-The garbage can scene. I only have about 20,000 characters left, not nearly enough to describe how dumb this one scene is but you'll know what I'm talking about when you see it.

-The rest of them

Knowing
Knowing(2009)
½

Despite a few unintentionally funny moments, this movie really does go strong for a long time but over-reaches with its 2-hour run time and an ending that somehow manages to involve aliens while simultaneously being so heavy-handed with its overt Christian message that the only way they could have spelled it out more clearly for audiences is to make the ending scene a sort of homage to the cover of "The Purpose Driven Life"...Oh wait, it is.

Well anyways, what have I learned from this movie? One, aliens are actually angels that think the vampire look is a good way to blend into Earth crowds (can't blame them really). Two, angel-aliens use commonplace, black rocks as calling cards for no apparent reason other than to announce their arrival. Three, Nick Cage has earned enough respect to do WHATEVER the hell he wants and finally, if you're going to make a movie that deals with time warps or seeing into the future in any way, NEVER set the future in stone (Compare "Premonition" or "Terminator 3" to "Back to the Future" or "Terminator 2" to see what I mean).

Additionally, there were a lot of times where I couldn't help but think 'that looks like a green screen' even though nothing particularly special was happening in the background and a lot of the special effects seemed just barely sub-par but maybe that's because of movies like "2012", "Transformers" "Avatar" and maybe even the upcoming "Alice in Wonderland" changing the way special effects are viewed so drastically so quickly.

One thing I've heard mentioned to the movie's credit is that it's the only movie that you'll ever see a flaming moose and that may be true for now but if they ever decide to make a "Rocky and Bullwinkle" movie...

Event Horizon
½

This is everything you could ask for in a Paul Anderson movie. Great music and...the acting was....well the special effects....well anyways, yeah I saw this movie.

There is a certain level of suspense to this film but its kind of like waiting for a coin to flip, you don't really care what the outcome is and a great deal of that is due to the fact that the acting is so bad. It's hard not to wonder what the director was doing, are these actors really THAT bad at what they do and the director unable to see it or did he just demand take after take after take until he finally thought, 'Oh, there's no way we can get any worse than this, that's what I want in the final cut'?

As far as sci-fi goes, this is about as far from the point as you can get. Naming the ship and movie "Event Horizon" was a pretty cool reference and plays well into the plot later on with the whole "you can never leave this ship" thing but the realism is null and void, there's literally a scene of a guy using the air in his space suit to shoot himself from clear out of Neptune's orbit (also, Neptune has no gravity now apparently)back down to a ship that has simply been hovering over its gaseous surface for 7 years now and with that one shot from 100's of miles away, A PERFECT LANDING!! Yes, it's a spoiler but you can't really like this movie for its story or acting, it has a certain campy appeal to it though.

The effects are decent if not astounding for the time it was made until you get to the giant explosion sequence which I honestly believe was a hand drawn animation.

The story can't really be described because one of the few interesting aspects is watching it unfold piece by piece, but anybody who's familiar with the "Doom" video-game franchise will see the twists coming a mile away but the true irony here is that this movie is a better adaptation of the Doom games than the movie "Doom" with roughly the same quality but no really cool FPS scene.

But for the cherry on top, when this movie was translated over to a DVD from VHS, the MASTER COPY that they used to transfer the movie over has a 3-5 minute section where the film goes grainy so not only are you seeing thin white lines going across the screen while watching a DVD (don't worry, you're not hallucinating about cocaine)but the lines are going over the blacked out parts to make it wide-screen.

No matter how much I list here as being problematic, it all goes back to Raspberry-contending performances by probably half the actors, including one by who is arguably the lead role, the skipper. "Don't open the door, Jason. Don't do it Jason. Jasoooooooooooooooooooooo-" *cut to Jason staring blankly at the camera*.

Jacob's Ladder
½

'A homeless guy with a tail? A car sitting in the middle of the road burnt to a crisp? Random, rogue vehicles that chase random people down cramped alleyways? I think I'll talk to my wife about the furniture when I get home (and ignore the fact I'm fairly sure she's a demon).' That's the train of thought people follow when they live in New York for a few months is what I think a lot of what this movie was trying to say.

As comical as this may seem when put in writing, it's far less annoying than the constant and predictable bickering onscreen between characters in a typical horror movie ("Stop it! You're gonna anger the spirit of cliches-ton-ville" "You mean this" *does thing he shouldn't do and removes all doubt that he may not be the first one to die*) but this isn't only not a "typical" horror movie, it's trans-genre (not to be confused with trans-gender you sick bastard. All movies are female that I make sweet, sweet love to).

It actually begins looking like a war movie, then a horror, then something else, etc. In fact, it hits so many genres that no matter who watches it, it's almost guaranteed they'll find at least one section they don't like as well as one they do but because of the focus on demons and government conspiracies (the two most likely causes of what's going on) it's most widely labeled as a "supernatural thriller" and perhaps rightfully so because the closest thing I can relate the feel of the movie to is "The Twilight Zone" (although there are justified rumors that it's the inspiration for the "Silent Hill" games) but even that's not quite right.

There really is nothing I can think of like this movie and it's definitely worth checking out but it will almost certainly find a greater appreciation amongst those who like horror movies and the critics consistently complain of confusing narration caused by the movie trying (and succeeding) to portray a drug trip as well as time jumps but if one is to pay attention and actually think over the images clearly out of place, it's more than self-explanatory so if you're gonna watch this, don't blink or demons will slowly tear away everything that gave your life meaning and continuously try to kill you.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
½

Dreary, gory, surreal and in perfect balance with itself. While the narration to this movie is difficult to comprehend as so much is done in song, it knows exactly what to keep as a mystery to the audience, exactly how to set up its characters and, if you were to watch it and keep tabs of what each character was guilty of, you'd see that everything worked full circle and nobody escaped their punishment-although there were a few innocent bystanders as casualties along the way.

I've seen the movie multiple times as I make an effort to see all Tim Burton films while they're in theaters (I made an exception for "9") and felt this one, as usual, was worth buying. I didn't like the music at first but with each subsequent viewing, as their lyrics and melodies became more familiar, I grew to like them more and more.

Some people were offset by the juxtaposition of murder and music in the same breath but I've never found them to be related in the slightest and was just glad to see a murderer portrayed as the protagonist and an ending that can't be described as unquestionably "happy." I know this isn't the first movie to do so but such occurrences are so far and few between, it's hard for me not to like the ones that do have this kind of ending.

Alien
Alien(1979)
½

I have to confess to being willfully ignorant of this movie despite being aware of its status as a classic until very recently but in my defense it was released in the '70's, before I was born and I kind of fetused my way through the '80's but now I've finally both watched and understood this movie (I saw it once when I was 8 or 7 or something).

The movie hasn't aged well as science fiction almost certainly never does nor ever will but this needs to be recognized as what it is at its core, rather than by its genre, a monster movie.

While Godzilla and B-list movies pop into mind when you hear this label the monster concept can be seen in Terminator, Predator, Cloverfield (well, that actually is a monster) or any creature/enemy that is incredibly difficult to kill and a key component in every one of these movies is suspense. This movie has no problem understanding that although the difficult part with suspense is to avoid it from entering the realm of boredom which even now, over 10 years later, I find many parts difficult to sit through because I find them boring.

Fortunately those sections aren't very long and much more bearable once the alien was alive and there actually was something to speculate about.

Possibly the longest example of these "dry" sections would be from the end of the stylish opening sequence that reveals the movie's name slowly (See? Even the opening sequence can be used to get my point across) to when the astronauts find the peculiar landscape on the alien planet. Perhaps if it were still 1979 or I had seen it in theaters I would ponder the meaning of the flashing lights and inanimate space helmet but that wasn't the case so staying focused was difficult

Having heard so many people working in the film industry refer to the minimalist approach of movie-making referring to it as the "Alien Less is More Technique" I was actually kind of disappointed to see the alien in its entirety and with so much screen time so early. It seemed to me like the suspense didn't actually have enough time to build but then I realized I only had myself to blame as I was actually in a rush to be waiting and ruined the whole thing for myself really.

While suspense certainly is a key component in the rising action of monster movies that alone would miss the point, you also need a monster after all and the more formidable it is, the better. I don't want to give anything away trying to describe how this movie hit or missed this point but I'll say this much, it came close to losing me at one point.

Now, being an old movie has actually also made it a better movie, the most noteworthy example of this would of course be the alien itself. There was no CG for effects artists to take the easy way out. The actors saw the same thing you did, not a green screen and even the AVP series seems to feel that the design there needs no dressing up, after all, it still looks great. There's another great effect with a disembodied head but I can't go into that without a spoiler.

Even though this is considered a horror movie, don't expect to be especially frightened. It's scare tactics have been copied so extensively that the movie may seem predictable but as a thriller, suspense or sci-fi (in an alternate universe with no interstellar communication apparently) it can still hold its ground.

While Terminator 2 or maybe even 1 can be considered far superior "monster movies"-sticking to my own definition of course-they came later and were more like the result of a long process of refining a sub-genre, this was made too early to hope for such a thing but can be considered a more important landmark in film-making history (Who's a good cultural phenomenon? Who's a good phenomenon? You are! Yes, you are!) which is why despite its many flaws I won't bother bringing it down any lower than a 90.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

This movie is perfect on every level...I don't believe it...I've been defeated, NNNNOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

*Gets sucked back into the 5th dimension*

.?ı?oɯ ?ɹı?u? sıɥ? u?ɥ? s????sıɯ ?ɹoɯ ???ɥ ?uo1? s??ı??ɹd ?ɥ? ??ɥ? 11?? u?? ı 's???ɯ?ɹ ?ɥ? u??s ɹ??? buı??ɥ u??? ?noɥ?ı? ??ɥ? sı ?uıod ?ɥ? ?nq 11? pu? ??ı1??ɹ ?o ?u?1d ?u?ɹ???ıp ? uo buı?q 'uı ?uo sıɥ? ?uoɥd ss?1 ɹo ?ɹoɯ o? ???ɥ ?uuob '11??

.uoı???ɹıp pu? buı???/sɹ????ɹ?ɥ? '?dıɹ?s :?uoq???q s,?ı?oɯ ?ɥ? uo ?1?ɹı?u? p?sn?o? pu? ɯ?ɥ? uo ?1?ɹ ?,upıp ?ı '?ɹ?d ?soɯ ?ɥ? ɹo? buı?sıx? s?????? 1?ı??ds ?noɥ?ı?

.u??ɹ?s ?ɥ? ɥbnoɹɥ? pu?ɥ ɹno? ??b no? ?ɯı? ?ɯ?s ?ɥ? ?noq? ɹ??dd?sıp ??ɥ? ?sn???q ?ɹo??ı? ?o11oɥ ? ?o ?ɹos s,?ı pu? ??ı?ıɹ???1? pu? ss?1b ?ɥ? ?o ?sn???q p?q ?11??ɹ ?ɹnɥ '.?.? ɹno? ???ɹq 11,?ı ?nq pɹ?ɥ ?11??ɹ u??ɹ?s ?ɥ? p?ɥ?und no? ?ı ɯ?ɥ? q?ɹb os1? p1no? no? 'u??ɹ?s ?ɥ? ɥbnoɹɥ? ss?ɹ?sıp ɹı?ɥ? 1??? p1no? no? buı?uı?uo? os ?ɹ?? sɹo??? ?ɥ? '??ıɥ? pu? ???1q uı ?ɹn??ıd ?ɥ? ɥ?ı? u??? pu? ?q o? p?soddns s?? ?ı?oɯ ?ɥ? ?o ?uo? ?ɥ? ??ɥ? o? s? uoısn?uo? ?u? ɹ???u s?? ?ɹ?ɥ?

.?1q?ɹ?dɯo? ?1????ɹ?d ?1pɹ?ɥ ?ɹ? sɯ1ı? ?ɥ? ?soddns ı ɥbnoɥ?1? '??o p?so1? u??ɹb ?u?1?os ?oɥ ?o ?ɯ p?puıɯ?ɹ ?o puı? ?ı pu? sɹ???ɯ ɯ1ı? ?ɹn?n? ɹo? ??u?ɹ???ɹ ?o ?uıod ? s? p?sn ?q o? p??ɹ?s?p ?1uı??ɹ?? ?ı 'ɯɹou ?ɥ? ?ı ?p?ɯ ?ı?oɯ sıɥ? ?q??ɯ ɹo ?ɯı? ?ɥ? ɹo? ɯɹou ?ɥ? ?1q?qoɹd s?? buıpu? ?dd?ɥ-ıɯ?s ?o ?ɹos sıɥ? ??ɥ? buızı1??ɹ pu? buı?uıɥ? p??ɹ??s ı u?ɥ? ?nq buı???dx? s?? ı buıɥ? ?s?1 ?ɥ? ?11??ɹ s?? ?ı .??o ?ɯ ɥbnoɹɥ? ?o puı? 'ɹ????oɥ buıpu? ?ɥ?

Plan 9 from Outer Space

"This film is in black and white, people can't tell if it's day or night."

"Well if you say so, hey should I just swing my gun around and scratch my chin with the barrel, Ed?"

"Sure, why not? While your at it, be sure to knock down a few props and don't worry about bumping into the trees. They won't-CUT!!"

"...Wait, we were filming?"

Yeah, that's as good a theory as any as to how this movie was made.

I'm giving it a zero but this zero is for making the perfect bad movie, a sort of honor. It's quite an achievement to gain 100%, meaning I can't think of anything noteworthy to complain about (which I hate btw, it's as if the movie won) but to score a perfect 0, not earn my loathing and-on top of that-be the highlight of my day? Only Plan 9 can pull that off.

Ed Wood's status is unique and well deserved. He got it by accident and through struggling passionately to keep his career alive and I'm just glad that no matter how hard they try, Friedman and Seltzer will always be too lazy and too unfunny to earn the unique kind of respect he has.

Soylent Green

"Forgive me, Father for I have sinned. It's been 6 months since my last confession.." I won't ruin the rest of that scene but anybody who's seen this movie knows why I didn't stop laughing until the next act. Had that been the only scene in the movie, it would've ranked at a perfect 100.

Set in an overpopulated New York (New York with too many people, what an imagination the author of the novel must have had), Soylent Green is basically just one of those "what-if" movies, undoubtedly triggered by the baby boom and feels like it contains a very overt political message but, not having lived in 1973, I haven't the slightest idea as to what that is. It's kind of like when you first find the growth on your leg and have yet to realize that you're not a woman...maybe that was just me.

Unfortunately, I must mark off for a glaring flaw in which a cord magically jumped from one place to another as scenes were spliced together to give the illusion of a flashing sign (apparently light switches didn't exist in the early '70's).

It didn't seem that they tried very hard to reflect advancements in technology but I'm more appreciative of the fact that they DIDN'T try too hard to predict the future and wind up with something along the lines of the environment, clothing and technology in Minority Report which seems to neglect both aesthetics and political intervention. Although, the right to privacy has clearly been removed in this world and it seems as if the men are free to smack around the women if they find it convenient (or maybe that's just the '70's again)

There was also some really bad acting by a factory worker in a fight scene. He was meant to fall off a ledge onto a conveyor belt but it looked more like he climbed off and took a dive while he was having a seizure.

Other than those 3 faults, everything in this movie is incredible. The concept was new at the time, the acting is incredible, each set is made to consistently reflect the massive overpopulation and the lead role, while I get the feeling he would've done just as great a job as Indiana Jones as the legendary, unforgettable actor what's-his-face, this guy can also cry on cue, and convincingly so.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
½

Megan Fox's bra was made to support two things and a movie with a bad script wasn't one of them.

I find it ironic and don't think I'm alone in feeling like the quality of the first and second movies matched the quality of their counterpart's trailer. This wasn't half as good as the first movie.

Most people will start with the inconsistencies in the story or realism because they couldn't believe that a sophisticated, intellectual director like Michael Bay could drop the ball so far (sounds pretty stupid aloud, doesn't it?) but my grievance is actually the part that he's known for getting right, the action sequences.

Optimus was red and blue, Bumble Bee was yellow and black, the "twin robots" (also sounds stupid aloud) were colorful, but never in a serious fight and beyond that, pretty much everything else was gray. It was like watching a steel factory fight with itself, except more confusing. As if the color weren't bad enough (save for Optimus and Bumble Bee) in the middle of the final and most important battle of the movie, they forget that pillars shouldn't be right in front of the camera.

The turning point is just the biggest cop-out in either movie but I still won't spoil it. Some Terminator knockoff shows up early on but soon disappears with no explanation as to how that kind of technology was created and why she wasn't used more often.

The movie does have some redeeming qualities, mostly the fact there's a lot of dialogue that actually is funny but not so much later on when they begin to rely far too much on some techies "wussy-ness," which results in one scene of the camera zoomed in on his face for a good 30 secs. as he appears to be trying not to cry. The writers must of thought it was funny but it just made me feel like he was in MY face the whole time.

However, funny dialogue doesn't really warrant a 50%. In fact, I wanted to rate it 20 or 30 but a cameo by Dwight from The Office instantly shoots this one up for me as high as it can go without switching to a fresh rating.

Drag Me to Hell

I have only myself to blame. I walked up to a complete stranger and asked for "Drag Me To Hell," I didn't know they were going to take the order literally.

I recalled the INCREDIBLE reviews for this movie when I got it and really wanted to (and tried for the first 40 minutes) like it, in fact I wanted to love it while trying to keep my expectations low enough that the film wouldn't be ruined by being held to an impossible standard--after all, I succeeded in doing so while watching District 9--but at a certain point it was just Balls of Fury all over again, meaning I was just enduring the movie in its entirety because I had gone too far to NOT write a bad review for it.

The plot is no secret to anybody who's seen the trailers but what people may overlook is that there are other things going on. The main character is also competing for a promotion at the bank she works at and she needs to appease her boyfriend's rich, judgmental mom, very difficult things to do when a demon is haunting you but thanks to the awful and I mean AWFUL performance by the main character the only thing worthwhile are the first few demon scenes and the fight scenes.

The fight scenes are hard to explain because they often involve an invisible spirit striking a person and the strikes look real, way better than most the special effects throughout the movie, particularly a terribly rendered CGI moment after an anvil is dropped on the gypsy's head.

There was another fight between the main character and the gypsy that cursed her (I'm not going to pretend you haven't seen the previews) that was also really fun to watch but since the only person I could identify as a likable character was a supporting actor (the fortune teller) the fights can never be exciting since the audience doesn't really care who wins.

Based on the previews you may think that this movie takes the Alien or Jaws "less is more" approach and if you believe that then don't worry, so does the movie. The truth is they tried to simultaneously perform jump-scares and build nuance; what you wind up is the horror genre's trademark long, dramatic silence followed by blaring speakers as leaves blow at the camera....Frightening.

Essentially she was just being chased by shadows and wind which may have been interesting, if not for the fact that the spirit really doesn't have a physical form meaning the next 20 or so surprise visits weren't much different and are, in fact, often less threatening than the earlier hauntings. It's like the spirit is more worried about ruining her social life than harming her as time goes on (small spoiler alert: the demon doesn't even strike her a second time as he did on his first visit to her house).

On top of the demon's manifestations the movie was also punctuated with hallucination sequences which are often obvious to the audience and even by the end of the first hallucination too much is thrown onto the screen at once, so rather than noticing one little thing you know is impossible and wondering what it means there's one thing out of place here, blood gushing there, vomit pouring from one person's mouth into another's over there (something they seriously overdid somehow). The scenes aren't really scary, sudden or thought provoking, it's more like a little kid trying to gross the audience out is directing and he's not really doing a good job either.

I can go on all day about the flaws but most of them can be overlooked, however, the one flaw I absolutely will not overlook is the casting. I've already addressed how the main character can't act, she can look scared but it's always the wrong kind of scared (trembling when she should be holding her breath, crying when it should be "deers in a headlight" look but that's just one of the subtler examples), she doesn't come close to making a convincing girlfriend with what's-his-name and on top of it all she's incredibly weak, physically, mentally and emotionally (there is literally of a scene of her "fighting" an inanimate corpse and not doing too well either considering her opponent is kind of, you know, dead). As long as I'm on the topic of the fight scene with the corpse, I'd like to let Sam Raimi know that neither marble, solid metal of any kind nor a skull go "ding" when you hit any combination of the three together.

The boyfriend probably just as annoying takes away from the realism because he's not a guy the actress--if you can call her that--would be attracted to. His character's a rich, spoiled mama's boy and every scene with the two of them together forces you to think back to the scene where he was introduced, otherwise you would think that he was caught in the "friend zone" as she played him on for his money. Fortunately, he doesn't have many scenes and in the final scene we find he's a much better actor than her (one tear, good enough for me).

Whether it be the direction, the acting or the script, it seemed that every scene presented at least one new plothole so I'll close this off by summarizing the most obvious one and that bothered me the most:

In the fight scene in the car, as seen in the trailer, the gypsy spends a good five minutes attacking the main character; strangling her, biting her, puking in her mouth (I told ya) and just doing anything to harm a woman clearly younger and stronger than herself but by the end of the scene it turns out all she needed was a button from her jacket. So why not just steal the button rather than getting your face stapled, arrest warrant signed and into two accidents in a parking garage (And yes, it was a cool fight scene, I'm fine with admitting that).

Avatar
Avatar(2009)
½

It almost saddens me that after Ronald Emmerich announces his last disaster movie, 2012, Cameron comes up right behind him to steal the only Oscar he had a shot at, best special effects. Fortunately, I soon recalled I don't care.

I was very excited to hear that James Cameron was coming out of retirement after 12 years and was going to give the world another chance to study his art. Not only is he directing again but this time it's his own script but unlike the throngs of movie-goers happy to see somebody with talent back in Hollywood, I was only excited about the return of Cameron and rather indifferent to the movie. That being said, the movie was incredible nonetheless as I had expected it to be but still fails to overtake the quality and perfection of T2's storytelling, although the special effects were probably equally innovative for their respective times.

The chief complaints I heard about this movie before seeing it was the dialogue and the unoriginal storyline. The dialogue fails to have the impact to match its accompanying score (which was also quite impressive and appropriately themed to rainforest music), mainly during climactic speeches when you would think it would be the most important for it to do so but that didn't take anything away from it for me because it didn't really kill the mood of the movie, it just didn't add to it as you knew it was meant to.

As you've probably heard, the story is similar to Dances With Wolves. I didn't care because I didn't think I had seen it before but the movie reminded me I had and simply forgot the movie's title but no, it's not Dances With Wolves with giant, blue people. The story of the main characters interaction with the natives and how he gains their trust is but that's only 1 of the many sub-plots going on and once he's accepted into their clan, the similarities pretty much end.

However, although I can overlook the two most common complaints, I have four of my own and I'll start with my own grievance with the dialogue. The main character constantly narrated what was going on, this was fine except for the fact that he would often tell the audience something they would find out later in the movie, commonly things that had been revealed in trailers and descriptions of the movie on top of that, making the statements even more excessive. My point is that there was unnecessary and repetitive narration which may not annoy audiences but I find minimalistic narration in movies seems to be the most effective, if you're uncertain of what I mean, watch T2 and T3 back to back and compare the dialogue of the bad terminators in those movies.

My 2nd problem is with a few short parts of the movie (combined less than 10 secs long) where photographs are given their own 3d effects, a little cool but reminds the audience too much that they're watching the movie and the other part was in the middle of the final battle where, for some reason I'm uncertain of entirely, it becomes incredibly obvious you're staring at a green screen, I guess they didn't get the depth exactly right. Again, it also takes the audience out of the experience and reminds them it's a movie but thanks to being in such a high energy scene, it was easy to get back into it.

Third issue was what I believe was either a mistake left in the film or something they couldn't figure out how to edit out (which would also make it a mistake) during what I consider the 2nd climactic speech of the movie in which the camera cuts to a different angle but zooms in very suddenly before returning to the slow panning motion that had been the hallmark of the movie, mostly just to show off the special effects but to avoid sounding like a broken record, I won't say why I have a problem with this beyond asking how Cameron could do something so amateurish.

My final and most easily related to grievance is the sheer running time. I don't recall exactly how long it goes but I believe it was less than 3 hours, however, due to so many stories going on at once, two major battles and perspective from both "character worlds" as the humans and the navi, it FELT like three hours.

Now, I realize I've written a lot complaining but it's not that these really added up to a bad experience, I'm just explaining why I'm not giving 100 because the movie really is so good, I think a lot of people will go to the theater and not even realize that it's not perfect. The special effects alone were enough for me in 2012 because I wasn't expecting much else, I got a lot more than I expected from a disaster movie there but it wasn't great, this blew 2012 out of the water in every conceivable fashion. It was an hour into the movie before I even began wondering if the avatars were make-up or CG and failed to come to a conclusion because it was too realistic to be either. It wasn't until that haphazard green screen scene that I realized how much green they would need to do that kind of distance and it was the first time I ever heard an audience in a movie theater applaud at the end of a film. I think it's safe to validate Cameron's claims that he's innovating SFX yet again as he did with T2 and Titanic and if you're thinking about seeing this movie in theaters, if it's not I-Max 3D, you're just not getting anywhere near the full effect this movie has to offer.

Balls of Fury

The good: This is a far better movie than most give it credit

The bad: The first 22 minutes

The ugly: I watched this movie to the end, only so I'd be entitled to complain about its opening scenes.

From the beginning of this movie until the beginning of the battle against "The Dragon," the movie tries to both take ping-pong so seriously that it's funny while at the same time, expect the audience to take the plot seriously at just the right times and manages to fail being either funny or emotionally charged in any way, which is sad because it had a very likable cast, all of whom were only cable T.V. stars but a star-studded cast nonetheless.

It opens up with Randy Datona as a child prodigy of table tennis, entering the olympics or some sort of competition made to look like it. Of course, as a sort of spin-off of Dodgeball, they had to push the German stereotype as far as it could go, eventually I came to like the character of the German competitor but it was a long and slow process.

Soon the movie jumps to 19 years later (I think) where we hear a man and parrot singing such a horrible version of Two Tickets to Paradise, that I was hoping he would die on one of those tickets blackout dates. It's followed by an impressive but likely CG performance of Randy doing all sorts of ping-pong tricks and long story short, an FBI agent tells him they need his "special abilities" so the FBI would have an informant in an international ping pong tournament held by some crime boss (even though CIA would be handling an international case). He apparently has been authorized to offer all of the government's resources for his help but is breaking down a few minutes later over how none of the other agents would accept "operation ping pong."

Soon afterwords, Daytona is introduced to the "greatest ping pong instructor to ever live," an old, blind, Chinese man who refuses to teach non-Chinese students, this is never resolved, he just decides to do it anyways after a few seconds of yelling how he wouldn't. Soon after that, we see his niece playing ping-pong against about 6 other guys while barely moving to hit the balls. It's about as dumb as it sounds.

Having come close already to shutting off the DVD player twice, the absolutely pointless fight scene came in and watching the movie began to actually, physically cause me pain just to watch such a a stupid, ungodly script unfold. Fortunately, this was the worst the movie ever got, I kept watching, wondering if the half-naked girl in the fight was meant to make this scene more bearable or just make everything seem even faker than it already obviously was.

This is followed by an actually, rather decent parody of pretty much all the "Karate Kid" movies or movies like it but I guess I just needed time to recover from the horrible delivery of the script's previous, mediocre humor before I could find anything funny.

As I've already stated, the movie becomes decent somewhere during the match against "The Dragon" although it never presents anything so great that it can justify its weak (to put it lightly) opening and every time I heard the letters "FBI" after they head into South America, it was like nails on a chalkboard to me, knowing they were clearly in the jurisdiction of the CIA and had ample opportunity to switch out agents.

Oedipus Rex
Oedipus Rex(1957)

While I don't think I can bare to give this a "rotten" rating for the writing behind it, and the ambition of the filmmakers for going all out on performing the movie in the fashion the ancient Greeks did from wearing masks to having a chorus narrate, I don't think I can give it a high mark for that alone.

This movie would have been very difficult to follow, had I not already known the story. The chorus actually made it more difficult to hear as they weren't quite in perfect unison and the audio was sub-par for movie quality but I'll let it go since it was made in the '50's and they did at least do it in color.

Having seen many live plays, I've seen a lot of "strange" acting but I still think I would've had trouble not laughing at this, if I weren't watching alone, due to the far over-the-top acting. Even though this acting was sometimes necessary due to the actors faces being covered by masks, there was no reason for Oedipus to be talking in the high-pitched, almost moronic voice that he did, the mask didn't affect his voice as the masks were modified to not cover the mouths and the actors jaws were often painted to blend in as part of the mask.

Greek masks, however, had very large mouths to amplify voices. This would've appeared strange to modern audiences but what I'm getting at is that if they weren't going to follow the tradition exactly for the sake of quality, adding some music would've improved the quality greatly.

The point is that, while I like what the filmmakers were trying to do, I don't like the movie as much as I had hoped I would and feel this is primarily due to the pacing. It was slow and boring. While I may have been ecstatic to see something like this live, as anybody who's been to the live theatre can tell you, something just doesn't survive in film, that something is usually recreated through a soundtrack but never perfectly duplicated in a movie.

Autopsy
Autopsy(2009)

Great job, After Dark Horror Fest! For the third time in a row you manage to prove to me that you have absolutely no sense of nuance or intention of providing original or entertaining horror movies, favoring gore and jump-scares over the far more effective and disturbing psychological horror elements.

Within the first thirty seconds of beginning this movie I was thinking "oh god, another 'look how much fun we're having at this party' opening, this must be an MTV show, time to change the channel." Meaning the opening sequence seemed like it was created by such a Hollywood hack that in 30 seconds I not only forgot I was watching a movie, I suddenly thought I had gotten cable television reconnected, something I have no intention of wasting money on anytime soon.

I know I shouldn't have given them a third chance but I decided that this time I would give them the benefit of the doubt and consider the possibility that I may find one of their movies entertaining if I chose one based on my phobias, so the hospital setting seemed perfect but to them it wasn't the large, quiet and often abandoned hallways that often serve as reminders of how many people don't leave hospitals alive or the patients who scarcely talk and give off the aura that they are closer to the world of the dead than the living or even the trapped feeling an enclosed exam room emits with cabinets filled to the brim of mysterious, potentially dangerous, and often painful equipment that they chose to focus on in the movie, it was considerably boring fights between the doctors and patients and their special effects department's ability to create realistic disembodied organs.

While I don't mind gory or fight scenes, neither is a substitute for writing nonetheless and if the writing is going to be not only weak but filled with cliches, then it would be nice if everything else in the movie would have been done well. For instance, towards the end, there's a scene filled with cuts to three different locations, building up to an explosion about to occur. Towards the end of these jump-cuts however, if you pay attention, you'll see the female lead character standing in front of a wall at one moment and running down a different hall the next. No cuts in between these two scenes, just good old fashioned, forgot to edit it out.

There was one more scene that may be the result of bad editing but it didn't seem accidental, so I have to call it bad writing which was a far worse problem than anything else as it raised far more questions than it answered and by leaving the questions unanswered, constantly reminds the audience they're watching a movie, something no movie should do with the exception of comedies.

*spoilers in this paragraph*
The twist near the end was OK and did call for the excessive special effects (a person's organs were trailing out of their torso and hanging separately above them) but since the rest of the movie relied so heavily on special effects already, fixing the camera on each organ for so long was no longer appropriate. Their was a second twist as well that made absolutely no sense however which involved somebody coming back to life after being killed beyond a shadow of a doubt.

As one final complaint or inquiry about the After Dark Horror Fest, I would really like to know why they get the most tasteless movies possible for their "8 Films" collections which almost invariably contain a smoking hot female lead and yet refuse to get any that contain nudity as if they're worried their 3 (as of now) collections of R-Rated, mindless, gore-mongering movies are meant to make horror movies more acceptable as "family fun"?

Pan's Labyrinth
½

This is the first movie I've ever watched by Guillermo Del Toro and from now on, if I see his name on a DVD cover, I'll gladly watch it.

Pan's Labyrinth has a long story to be sure, as it consists of a girl (Ofeilia) collecting objects from bizarre locations, often guarded by even more bizarre creatures. The reason for the length though is that between these scavenger hunts is another plot in the "real world," or the real world to everybody else anyways, where the Spanish Civil War is being fought, Ofeilia's mother is preparing for her next child's birth, one of the servants is assisting her brother (making her guilty of treason in the eyes of the man who employs her that is also a high ranking military officer) and Ofeilia's new father is obsessively protective of his unborn child but dismissive, detached and even nearly hostile to the "bastard child" of his new wife. The script's ability to carry out so many plots simultaneously while linking them together so seamlessly is possibly the most invaluable ability a writer can posses, after all, this is what (to me) made Harry Potter, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe (the book, not movie), the original Star Wars and the third Lord of the Rings movie so great.

The computer effects were nothing short of amazing, but the movie had almost no reliance on them and probably would've been fine without them, something many will agree is something filmmakers should strive for.

Having not seen this movie in quite some time, I'm afraid to go into details of why I liked it out of fear I'll misrepresent the movie through confabulation but I remember quite clearly what I don't like, as critics always do, which was quite simply the ending. In the end, the movie reveals the afterlife of one of the characters. It's not quite the paradise most religions imagine, but enough to qualify the movie as having a "happy ending".

The first reason I don't like this ending and the reason most people will be able to relate to, is that it's not very creative and just leaves this one spot in a highly creative and original film where it just seems like Del Toro is trying to use just enough original elements that the viewer can't quite say that they're looking at any religion's afterlife but that's exactly what he begins depicting once enough of the setting is original.

The other reason is simply that a far better ending, which is what I thought was happening the first time I watched it, was possible and I have no doubt the writer(s) have at least considered the possibility while writing the script. After the movie shows the dead person in their scene in the afterlife, it's closely followed by showing the face of their mortal body falling to the ground. I thought this was to mean that the whole afterlife thing was just a fantasy, it may have been but by the third time I had watched it I was almost entirely certain that this wasn't the case.

I really have very little else to say but since people seem to judge the tone of a review by the last point made about it, I'm going to reiterate that this is one of my favorite movies, one of three movies I've actually watched three times (the other two being Sweeney Todd and Bender's Big Score) and I even feel that I owe Del Toro a lot for introducing me to the world of Spanish cinema, but feel he stands at a status far above most directors in any language....especially Steven Spielberg.

The Orphanage
½

Having grown up loving horror films but having grown up nonetheless, I find many of the installments I once loved as rather stale or immature but nonetheless crave more horror films, just with more psychologically thrilling plots. The Orphanage hit the nail on the head before I even knew where it was.

This movie doesn't rely on jump-scares as most horror films nor special effects, something that really helps set foreign horror films (such as Rec) head and shoulders above Hollywood's versions of them (such as Quarantine, a far worse adaptation of Rec despite following the original quite closely during the ten minutes I could bare to watch).

The opening credits consist of wallpaper being torn off by the arms of children you never see the body of to reveal the names and their parts in the movie. Probably one of the creepiest openings to a movie and disturbing to the very end, unlike a jump-scare which can only be disturbing for a split-second.

The scenes were very short but so effective at getting their point across that the movie seems to go on longer than it actually does but in a good way, the only way I know this is because I had paused the movie, thinking I was about 40 minutes in and saw that the DVD player clocked in just under 10. Despite this, the anticipation is built up quite effectively, the acting can only be described as Oscar-worthy and the overall quality of the movie breaks the nearly impenetrable language barrier that we have created here in the States.

Much like Pan's Labyrinth, i can't say I liked the ending to this movie, it seems like del Toro forced an after thought into both movies to make up an afterlife that just barely made the endings to both movies acceptable. While I don't know what a better ending to this movie would have been, I certainly have one for Pan's Labyrinth but that's not the movie I'm here to discuss.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
½

I first saw this movie around the time it came out on DVD and didn't remember much more than despising it partly for its pointlessness, "we just blew up your world, here's another one" but also because of that idiotic scene with the "View Gun" (a gun that causes the person shot by it to instantly see things through the perspective of the shooter), with every shot the person shot would suddenly begin stating a very obvious argument for the other person but still very rhetorically weak and even while watching it I could think of rebuttals for each one but the cream of the crop from this scene was when Zaphod (the guy who was being shot by the gun over and over, he also literally had half a brain at this point so I really don't see how the writers thought they would justify the anger against him, oh yeah they didn't) snatched the View Gun, pointed it at Trillian and he decides against even trying the gun when she says "It's not going to work, I'm already a woman," if another actress had said this, I may have not cared or even thought it funny as I'm guessing I was supposed to do but at this point, whoever was playing Trillian had already earned my despise and she did it in her first few lines of the movie. She was meant to play the smart, attractive girl in the movie but somehow she came off as seeming like a really dumb actress trying to remember the long words from the script so the techno babble would make her sound smart and that's probably what she is.

To prove I'm not enraged solely by the movie's deviance from the original story, I'll begin with the beginning that followed the book nearly verbatim albeit for a few details but I've never seen a director so masterfully sabotage a film. Rather than play out the entire opening, the scene in the bar was replaced with a flashback of how Arthur met Ford Prefect, skipping the part of Ford convincing the bar that he's serious about the world ending (they just take every apocalypse theory at face value apparently), him getting everybody at the pub mad at him by constantly smiling in a very creepy manner and even before the pub, and before any of that, a great foreshadowing scene with the bulldozer (yes, it was there but it was reduced to the bare minimum). Apparently the movie would be too long if they added in those three pages of dialogue and came close to actual character development because they needed to throw in visits two other planets that never occurred in the book because the movie had magically become too short.

When the Vogons arrive to destroy Earth the movie still seems to be staying true to the book but again, just a few details taken out ruin the whole thing. The Vogons speak into a microphone and are heard throughout the Earth but they skip the chance to add a potentially really cool scene to show how everything from record players to trash cans to everything you can think of that can generate sound become speakers for the Vogons. A few seconds after their announcement, it's implied that somebody uses a ham radio to plead with the Vogons to spare Earth, but in the movie they not only don't have a voice-over of such a plead of desperation but the Vogon about to destroy Earth instantly begins his (or her, who knows) rebuttal far too quickly for the theater to even think somebody may have made contact, so in theaters it simply seems like a poorly acted script.

In the Vogon ship, several scenes are omitted from entry into the movie (again, probably to make room for the two extra planets that are absolutely necessary because the movie would otherwise be too short) such as Ford explaining how and why they were picked up by the Vogons who hated hitchhikers, Ford constantly telling Arthur to quit whining about his planet (Ford's was blown up around the time of his birth and he was the last of his species but this is not only not mentioned in the movie but it would be difficult to convince an audience that it's true based on Ford's far too cheerful character alone) and Arthur's breakdown over The Hitchhiker's Guide's lacking entry of Earth believing that once he's thrown out into space all that will be remembered of his planet, country, life or anything would be a description of "mostly harmless."

Once Ford and Arthur are picked up by The Heart of Gold ship the very entry into the ship is a perfect example of how the movie begins to move away from the book and even fails to incorporate my favorite line from the book ("Ford, you're turning into a penguin. Stop it!"). The trips to the planet with the five-armed aliens and the Vogon home world don't exist in the book (the five-armed aliens aren't even mentioned in fact) nor are Zaphod's heads ever separated, is the View Gun mentioned or do the Vogons ever make another appearance after Earth which would've made the ending far better if they had stuck to the methane breathing aliens that were threatening to shoot Zaphod (oh yeah, the presidential kidnap thing was Hollywood's idea as well, he was in pursuit for stealing the ship) but my point is that the differences just became greater and greater as the movie went on and while I thought the eyeless, legless politician was an interesting character, he introduced a very unnecessary twist that winds up never being resolved in the end of the movie and even if a sequel were to be released (as they have for the books) this unnecessary twist does some serious damage to the rest of the story and sorry, but I must yet again contrast the movie and book.

Soon after picking up Ford and Arthur, Zaphod says "after seeing this is when I realized I had to do what I did to my brain," naturally referring to slicing it in half and putting one half in each head according to the script but to the book which not only had the two heads as natural and fully functional (probably, they were never separated in the book) but a certain part of each one was wired to only communicate with the closed off part of the other brain. The book went into much more detail about how he got the surgery past the government tests required to become president and even how he figured it out himself but the books had a sense of anticipation, which is one reason why I wouldn't give them the harsh review I'm giving this movie.

In the long run, this movie doesn't even feel like an adaptation. It feels like a normal movie that is so laden with references to the book that it borders on completely unoriginal and ironically, a completely unoriginal, true-to-the-book adaptation (not every detail, just the main points) would have been far, far better than this, from the scene with the mice trying to take Arthur's brain to the fights over whether or not Magrathea is real to the final shoot-out, it's as if the director chose the worst scenes to cut at every possible junction.

Disaster Movie

My expectations were as low as they had ever been and Friedman and Seltzer still missed the mark by miles.

Imagine what you felt the first time you saw your favorite movie. For the first time ever, I felt the very opposite and think I actually un-laughed at some parts. I wanted to be bored or turn it off but it was like a train wreck I couldn't look away from. No matter how long the film dragged on (even though it was only a little over an hour) it got worse and worse with each scene and the few funny elements in the movie were completely ruined by the lack of contrast. So much in the movie was meant to be a joke that the 2 moments I recall that could've been (the Batman and Justin Timberlake bits) were suddenly unfunny in this world.

For the first time ever, I actually condone piracy of a movie and even if you do download the movie illegally, in this case, you should be entitled to a refund nonetheless. Yes, the other three F&S movies sucked but at least a few people were trying, there were some decent impersonators and the previews made it look like something MIGHT be funny in the movie. This one couldn't even get any decent material to fill out the thirty seconds to make a commercial, which would explain why it looked like the movie consisted of raining cows (and one scene did, no I don't care if I spoil this movie).

I truly believe that Ed Wood has finally been dethroned as the worst filmmaker of all time but with Ed Wood, the movies were serious scripts, making the flaws funny and leading to his somewhat legendary status today. With the F&S crew, it's just plain boring; only as a blight on the film industry can I imagine them going down in cinematic history.

Just to further add insult to injury (financial injury, this movie flopped thankfully), I'd just like to make it known for those who haven't seen this movie that the impersonators were crap. Alvin and the Chipmunks were replaced with roughly 18-inch tall animatronic (I think that's how it's spelled) chipmunks, far too large to be actual chipmunks. Without the ability to obtain the rights to ANYTHING, the script constantly conflicted the set-up. U-Pay and FaceNook were both displayed on computer screens for a few seconds in hopes that audiences wouldn't notice (an unlikely attempt, they both caught my attention the moment they appeared) but the script referred to them as FaceBook and eBay.

The actors who impersonated the stars from SuperBad and No Country for Old Men (neither of which should have even been attempted to be parodied or even referenced by such unworthy filmmakers) did look convincing but appeared briefly and for no reason other than to be referenced, around the same time Carmen Electra appeared so they would have a chance to reference Wanted (yes, all three references occurred in the same thirty seconds and not a single one had a punchline except for Wanted but it was predictable and far from funny).

As the movie stills and the previews try to sell, there is a girl fight for no reason (around the same time as those three rushed references, oh and Junee or Juno's replacement shows up at this time too) and despite the scantily-clad women wrestling, the cameraman is incapable of capturing a single sexy moment from this scene, meaning that Disaster Movie manages to screw up the easiest and most generic selling point a movie can contain.

Perhaps even more infuriating than the world's worst pair of directors (they're also listed as writers, but obviously commercials wrote the script for them) is the pair of them having the audacity to declare anybody "annoying," especially Junee, the least annoying character in the movie and using it as an excuse not to save her from the rabid chipmunks, which leads to a surprisingly gory scene that I think was supposed to be funny but what difference does it make in this movie?

Cube Zero
Cube Zero(2004)
½

A nice rebound from the stale entry of Cube 2, finally providing us with a different perspective of the Cube series.

Roughly 5 or 6 years younger than Cube depending on what source you use, the makers of the franchise seem to have learned their lesson about abusing CG and give possibly the goriest opening sequence in the series.

this movie, rather than taking us into the Cube and leaving us as clueless as the characters from beginning to end, begins by following the guys who monitor its activities but are ultimately just drones of the faceless execs who are calling all the shots. This is a nice touch because it more or less obligates the writers to explain WHY people have been being thrown into the Cube (after 2 movies with no answers). Unfortunately the answer is a weak one at best and the extraordinary amount of deception (which makes it a very entertaining film to be fair) makes that already weak answer blurry.

About halfway through, the audience FINALLY gets to see the exit procedure which makes it seem like the Cube series is ultimately a speculation (although I'm sure the writer will acknowledge it's complete fantasy) of government control of dissent. Unfortunately, this scene, like much of the movie, raises more questions than it answers. For instance, why do they change the coordinates from letters to numbers, what was the difference between the periods (European: stops) and the commas and why do they label their soldiers with tattoos when they'd be so much more dangerous if they could blend into a crowd?

So the movie is full of plotholes but I don't want to give it a "rotten" rating, partly because the original is one of the few beacons of hope that the horror industry may be able to garner some respect from the critics once again but mostly because the movie had some very real tension in it on both sides of the cube and the "bad guy" (I forget his name but you'll know him if you watch the movie) did such a great job at his role. He was powerful, hate-able, and gave off just enough of that cliched bad guy feel to make himself seem familiar but somehow not cliched.

However, I feel the need to warn anybody wanting to watch this movie that the ending WILL NOT make sense without watching the first Cube.

To be perfectly honest, I wanted to be mad about the ending because I could see it was coming, based solely on the movie's length however, when it did end I found myself surprised that I wasn't disappointed. It's a great twist that I didn't see coming and hope nobody else will after reading this review.

Cube 2 - Hypercube

What can I say about this movie that hasn't already been said? It wasn't good as the other two, simply because there was no explanation at the end of how escaping worked but at the same time, this was the most mind-bending movie of the trilogy and to me, that's worth quite a bit.

This is my favorite of the three movies because of its creativity and it's my least favorite because of a lack of creativity. What I mean is that this movie doesn't offer much of anything so far as plot, character story or explanation of the "Cube's" existence that doesn't already exist in the first, on top of that, it was done better in the first. We learned more about each character, instead of just two or three depending on how deep you want to go with it. It took longer to identify the bad guy in the first and when you knew who he was, he was far less likable. In this one, it just seemed like a guy trying to survive, not completely unlikable, but still and maybe the controversy makes the movie better depending on the viewer.

As for the creativity that the movie introduced, it was mostly all in the traps (traps in a movie by Lions Gate? Where have I heard this before?). The rooms in this one bent reality, they shifted gravity, defied space and time and were a little more reliant on computer generated special effects than the first or third movie, to the movie's detriment I might add. The most important point about these new, sci-fi based traps is that it allowed the movie to contain the creepiest and therefore my favorite, scene of any horror movie. Anybody who's watched this movie and recalls the aftermath of the sex scene knows exactly what I'm talking about (everybody else will just have to watch it to find out).

Despite how far this movie falls short of meeting the expectations that Cube 1 left, there is one more redeeming quality making this unique installment of the trilogy capable of justifying its own existence.

As an amateur filmmaker (although I was still stuck on Movie Maker when I watched this movie), the editing in the beginning was enough to make me fantasize over the first few minutes days after the fact. Black bars ran across the scenes creating borders where three, four maybe more video clips could slide, fade or dissolve into, illustrating the characters narrations so seamlessly and allowing the exposition to occur without slowing down the story at all and in fact, speeding it up a little but not so much that they couldn't return to wandering around aimlessly for over half an hour (something that wouldn't have been a big deal if it weren't for the fact that this was already done for most of the first movie).

Cube
Cube(1998)

A great foreshadowing movie by Lions Gate to lead up to the Saw franchise and yet, despite far less commercial success, a far better series by quality-per-installment.

I've recently finished watching all three Cube movies (in order, they are Cube, Cube 2: HyperCube, and Cube 0) so my memory may not be perfect but what I recall is that Cube introduces us to the concept of several strangers being trapped inside a giant series of cube with some of the cubes being trapped and some being safe, but finding a safe way out begins to play out as a bit of a gigantic rubik's cube. In this Cube, the rooms are marked with three three-digit numbers. The characters eventually figure out their significance as both indications for safe rooms and coordinates on an x, y, z coordinate but dehydration and friction between the characters proves to be a much more imminent threat and this is what separates this movie from so many of Lions Gate's soulless additions to their collection.

The characters use what they did for a living to identify everybody's strength and proving to be a brilliant strategy game in which they would have to use their limited but intentionally provided resources and each others' strengths nearly perfectly to escape alive.

The cast of questionable characters and some well executed dramatic tension gives the movie the feel of a whodoneit when you're trying to decipher who's going to be the good and bad guys and it has a great payoff when it finally becomes clear, quite fortunate too because the world of "The Cube" was becoming a little repetitive at this point when this new character development provides excitement clear up until the end of the movie which I also loved, even more so now that I've seen Cube Zero.

2012
2012(2009)
½

The funnest, dumbest thing I've seen since the monkey barrel factory accidentally shipped out a million barrels of blonde hookers (most of us simply know this as the birth of Jessica Simpson).

Ronald Emmerich manages to make a world in which the ridiculous is believable, giving him an opportunity to show off a HUGE special effects budget. Unfortunately, most of the best CG shots were already in the trailers and there were a few moments where the effects simply weren't up to par with the rest of the movie (anybody paying close attention to the cars in their action shots may be able to testify to this).

Sadly, despite the movie's ability to keep a colossal amount of momentum for a very long time, it feels like two similar movies are sewn together (one as the American continent is being destroyed and another as the Asian continent suffers a similar fate, good thing the world ends in order from the richest to poorest countries, who knows, maybe Africa wasn't even effected). The two movies follow similar patterns as well and even many similar scenes. It was a lot of fun to watch but the climax of the disasters were kind of let-downs

*SPOILERS IN THIS PARAGRAPH*

For whatever reason, Emmerich thought it'd be a good idea to pull the long, drawn-out, "did the main character die?" scene twice. The first one had such a great set-up, with the Earth opened wide under his feet as the RV he was standing in was swallowed whole. Then you just see the flat ground. I was ready to concede that this was a great action movie if this one scene was executed right (I don't hold action movies to a high standard, sorry), but instead we simply see Cusack's hand emerge from the ground as he pulled himself out of the abyss with no explanation as to how he survived. The second attempt was a water-based one, which had a good set up as well but I've seen rooms filled with water before in movies, so there were no special effects to be in awe of. This was after the climax of the movie and Jackson Curtis's (John Cusack) son was simply waiting to see if his dad would re-emerge. He had somehow lost track of him in the final few seconds. About 30 seconds later, the obvious happens but no explanation is given as to why he took so much longer.

All I can say about 2012 is this, it's EXACTLY what you expect from the trailers (except its incredible length which came at a surprise) and that's all I really want from a movie. If you haven't seen the trailer or overly analyzed it, then the point I'm getting at is that, it's long, poorly-written (not too poorly acted), riddled with cliches, relies heavily on special effects and I loved every minute of it to the detriment of my own credibility.

Decoys
Decoys(2004)

Decoys is appropriately named as it caught my attention while another fifty plus, sub-par but better nonetheless, horror movies escaped the fate of having me rent them that night.

The plot is simple and sounds like a horror fan's delight. Aliens disguise themselves as beautiful women and seduce men at a college in order to kill them or at least that's how it's described. The women look gorgeous from a few feet away but on close-ups it becomes beyond obvious that they are middle-aged women under a thin layer of make-up, pretending to be college-aged.

The R rating is strictly for sexuality and nudity, the nudity was a single 20 second scene and only revealed how unconvincing the disguises were, holes in the middle of their chests and bodies lacking navels, any implied sexuality was quickly ruined by tentacles coming out of these holes which were created entirely out of bad (and I mean BAD) CG effects so I'm forced to wonder how anybody could include "sexuality" as a reason for upping the rating of this movie? By my standards, this ranks below the Discovery Channel seeing as these creatures are at least fictional.

It doesn't take long for the acting to reach a level of such mediocrity that the acting itself creates plot-holes. The main guy is too drunk to stand one second and running across the hall the next. A girl is screaming to be let into a bathroom for a good 2 or 3 minutes and when she comes in, we find that she's about to throw up and clearly can't open her mouth to scream that she needs in and even with her mouth covered (for those who understand what this means) her eyes alone were overacting.

Each of the main male leads has at least one scene where they take the opportunity to show off how bad they can act (I can't remember for all the females whether or not they do) although as the movie progresses the acting either improves or I simply grew accustomed to it so the story is just barely comprehensible.

The "Decoys" as I suppose they're called, had left their planet and are now killing men on Earth "one dick at a time" as it has been described. In an attempt to not spoil what little this movie has to offer. They are made stronger by the cold and have a weakness against fire but kill their victims by freezing them from the inside out, which makes absolutely no sense b/c as anybody who's ever taken a Physics class can tell you, the only way to freeze something rapidly is to suck the heat out of it, meaning the aliens are preying on men for heat and yet need to occasionally spray their tentacles with liquid nitrogen to keep themselves cold enough.

(SPOILER IN NEXT PARAGRAPH)

Later, one of the "victims" (who actually volunteers to much protest of the alien who was going to do it, yeah I know it's dumb) manages to survive the mating process without freezing but is impregnated with the alien larvae which crawls painfully out of his esophagus in the best show of special effects the movie has, although it's still very mediocre. After the bugs crawl out of his mouth they burst into icicles or seeds or something, the movie's not very clear. He's rushed to the hospital but dies before arriving. This should be a very emotional scene seeing as he's the main character's brother and the director realizes this except the sad music queue is pulled a few seconds before the character actually dies so it's like the producer cut in with a voice over of his own and said "don't worry, he's about to die"

Although the movie abused it's horrible CG renderings, messed up music timing and refused to get the "college-aged women" the dialogue swore you were looking at, the acting is my chief complaint in this movie from beginning to end. The cliche "world's worst detective" who suspected the main character no matter what (completely ignoring the medical mystery that a body was somehow frozen from the inside out), the girl who could magically scream without opening her mouth and even the main character felt the need to yell out some stupid thing ("The launcher says HELLO!!!") every time he was about to attack one of the Decoys at the end. It's not believable, sexy or even logical but gets a 20% for the final scene alone, which although it made an obvious set-up for a sequel (NNNNOOOOO!!!!!!) was hilarious nonetheless.

Dark Floors
Dark Floors(2008)

THIS MOVIE IS A TRAP!!!! With an interesting and straight-to-the-point opening, Dark Floors looks very promising for quite a long time and due to its strong opening I was willing to sit through the horrible performances and parts that didn't really add up hoping there would be a really good ending as well to make up for it. On the "how wrong was I?" scale, I scored "Iraq has W.M.D.'s."

The movie's about a girl who can only mutter the words "I want the red crayon" before her dad, a nurse, herself and three other people that probably didn't really need to be in the movie were placed on an elevator that opens on the 5th (or 6th I can't remember) floor to a building that looks just like the current hospital but with no people and slowly becomes more abandoned looking (like in Silent Hill). Other than the child and her dad, the other characters did little else to move the story besides occasionally die off and add more scenes to make the movie seem like even more of a waste of time than it is.

The character development is minimal, sometimes incomplete. The narration which is done mostly by the child and homeless man in ways that are indistinguishable from schizophrenic muttering is as confusing and ineffective as it sounds. The suspense is pretty good at some points and the only reason I'm not giving this a 10% but they elect to skip the chances they have at genuinely scaring the audience and rather wait until you're completely desensitized to the imagery before completing their "jack-in-the-box moments."

The two big enemies in the movie are the most cliched ghost you've ever seen named the "Scream Queen" and some sand like creature that Ghost House seems to have no interest in attempting to make appear differently from "The Mummy." There is one more enemy at the end who looks rather original but causes black, vine-like things that look like some of the special effects from "The Grudge" to appear out of arbitrary places.

(Spoiler alert in this paragraph)
The most developed character in the movie is the homeless man, however his death is treated as something that just sort of happened with no concern from either the characters or the audience whereas the nurse who played no part in the story rather than putting the child on a habit-forming drug that spends the entirety of the movie putting the child closer and closer to a coma (though time isn't actually moving) gets sad music and at least a stare of horror and mourning from the child's father when she's finally killed (who would have thought that it would be a bad idea to run into the morgue to get away from the undead?).

The movie ends with an indecipherable symbolic message, has no explanation as to what happened and demands to have a new word created to describe its pointlessness.

Death Note (Desu nto)
½

Despite a rough opening with poorly translated dialogue, special effects not being up to par and a few badly cast voice actors for some of the extras (they're extras what more do you want) this movie has the one thing I'm really looking for in a film, almost in vain considering all the remakes today, a good and preferably original story.

The handful of problems at the start fade away relatively quickly, fortunately to never return in the film, giving all the remaining screen time to good actors and for whatever reason the special effects look incredibly more realistic in daylight and the dialogue, while still a little rough at times, was only mildly awkward and did, after all, have no real effect on the movie.

After a long opening sequence the movie basically begins with a story about how the main character, Light, hacks into the police station's server and sees some of the world's worst criminals being set free due to inconclusive evidence and tracking down some of these freed criminals to see for himself and sure enough he manages to eavesdrop on one bragging about how he got off the hook.

A little later he finds the Death Note and decides to kill criminals off the second they are suspected of wrong doing (he goes under the pen name of "Kira" in the movie and people even go as far as to call him their savior). The police begin hopelessly investigating the Kira case until a mysterious detective of legendary status known simply as "L" jumps in and manages to find the general location of Kira by using live bait which then soon turns into a sort of human chess game between two geniuses and one of the few movies released recently that can be called both "entertaining" and "cerebral."

In a way, this movie has two climaxes which makes it seem a little long but it also had an open yet exciting ending which simply proves that a movie can (and should) be able to tell its own story whether or not it has a sequel scheduled to come out.

The Broken
The Broken(2008)
½

Leave it to Lions Gate to find a way to make a 90 minute movie with no story to speak of but I believe the most important and yet insulting thing I can do to this movie is explain the plot:

As one of the 8 (technically 24 at this point seeing as this is the third installment of 8) films to die for it contains, as expected, a preview for the other 7 and even one for itself. It's marketed as the one that is made to appeal to autophobia or fear of yourself already making it look like the dumbest movie on the list. The story consists of people looking into mirrors, the mirrors breaking and duplicates of the last person to look into that mirror breaking into the real world. That's really about all there is to it.

The main characters assume the duplicates to be evil or threatening despite the fact that the only implication that they weren't just in the characters head were reports from third parties that they were somewhere that they weren't. This technique may have built suspense the first time for somebody with the constitution to get into this film but it tires by the second it occurs in the movie though the background music makes it clear that the filmmakers didn't understand this.

A few scenes allow the viewer to see just how evil the duplicates really are long after I became convinced that the writers were trying to trick me into cheering on the bad guys and endorsing their prejudice (they also try to trick you several times earlier in the music that a "jack in the box" scene is about to come up but fail miserably every time).

The main character (I couldn't even pay attention long enough to get her name so I'll call her Thing 1) appears to be a radiologist and is unquestionably a doctor which forces you to wonder why surgeons felt the need to explain to her what tests they were performing despite the fact that her body was identified before being taken into the hospital.

The whole movie is about Thing 1 attempting to find refuge with somebody who hadn't looked into a mirror that broke until a very difficult to understand but very (for me anyways) predictable ending.

The special effects aren't bad but are far too gory to be considered scary, the scenes are repetitive and as said before the ending incredibly predictable but I mean no disrespect for the actors who did their job effectively despite a level of incompetence I don't even want to imagine coming from the higher-ups.

Dragonball Evolution

This movie is, by far, Hollywood's most condescending adaptation that doesn't contain the words Uwe Bolle. It resembles nothing of the original Dragon Ball except the idea of the 7 dragon balls, a dragon that can grant a wish and character names. Even as a kids' movie this would be terrible which is what it appeared to be but James Wong doesn't seem to understand that movies should not look like sugar coated versions of the TV series, it should be the other way around.

Fortunately, the previews were so horrible this movie bombed in the box offices, which will hopefully cause Fox to seriously rethink who will be directing and writing the remaining two movies they are allegedly, contractually obliged to make or preferably, pull the plug on the whole operation seeing as in a little bonus after the credits they already stray from the story of Dragon Ball Z before they even begin (though it's only a minor difference about how Piccolo becomes allies with Goku). That subtle announcement of a sequel alone should put this in the genre of horror movies.

The characters didn't even come close to looking like what they should have, even the dragon. Goku was some sort of emo kid in high school, Piccolo was commanding Ozaru (or however it's spelled), another sign they're going to screw up the sayan saga, Roshi had virtually no libido and Krillin's appearance is TBA.

Even if you weren't a fan of the original series there is no reason to watch this. I'm willing to be there is at least one major flaw in each scene whether it's awkward acting, bad directing or horrible writing. As so many others I have to sympathize with Chow Yun Fat for getting caught up in this train wreck of a movie. He has possibly the only scene that looks like it's not going to suck when he's telling the story of how the Earth was almost destroyed over two millenia ago until the special effects come in to show what doesn't even look remotely like Goku actually jumping, more like he just floats up as gravity forgets it needs to catch him.

What more can I say about this movie? There are countless videos on the internet describing how terrible this is (including one of my own) and I only wrote this review to give it one more bad rating to go on the tomato-meter.

Watchmen
Watchmen(2009)

I was not overwhelmed with what a great movie this was but I did find it enjoyable. The visual effects were stunning, using slow motion at the exact right time to allow you to admire the graphics and effectively turning the movie into a work of art that possibly would have been good enough to stand without an original storyline (like "300" did) so the fact that it had one was a huge upside. This movie is also packed with the other kind of eye candy (as well as a sex scene that is neither tasteless nor censored to the point of counter-productivity) which is fine since it was originally a graphic novel, has tons of explosions and doesn't seem too interested in pleasing anybody besides their predominantly male fan base. As a Resident Evil fan, I feel nothing but envy towards their audience.

This movie seems to polarize viewers between loving it and hating it, having already explained what I liked about this movie, I'm going to attempt to explain what I believe are the reasons so many people don't like this movie so strongly:

The music was far from ideal. Valkyrie has lost all effect that it ever had but was used as the dramatic music in one scene, making it difficult to distinguish from a comedic scene. Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence" was also played as the background music for a funeral, which may have been appropriate considering the song's message but once the lyrics began it shifted from being what set the tone to what was receiving the most attention in the scene.

The ending of the movie was quite arguably the worst (I should probably say 'the only bad') part of the movie. Throughout the film, only a few characters are likable and the one who happened to be my favorite was killed at the end for trying to dissent from the Watchmen's deceptive plan to end the cold war. Technically, only one Watchman created this plan but when discovered, the final battle begins but rather than ending with somebody getting killed, he simply persuades the only Watchmen (Watchman? That doesn't look quite right) with a real power not to kill him. A huge disappointment for anybody wanting to see a real fight.

I hear fans of the comic complain that some character didn't actually see another character die in the book but if you really think that's something to complain about then refer to the last sentence of the first paragraph of this review before wondering why I don't care.

After watching this movie I had to think a long time to figure out if I liked it which I suppose may or may not be the whole reason behind it ending in such a bizarre fashion, but I guess I came up with the answer of 'yes,' however the ending was anything but my reason for thinking so. The message seems to be, whether or not unintentional, something along the lines of 'peace by any means necessary' or maybe even 'it's OK for the government to hide things from us.' It just leaves you uncertain of your own opinion, a bad taste in your mouth if you're like me. That's the only thing I hold against it.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

This movie has the feel of a project slapped together a little too quickly and largely amended by deleting scenes. Even having never read the book, this movie feels like more than a few details got lost in translation. I suppose my main complaint is that this movie is in theaters, rather than bundled with "The Deathly Hallows 1 & 2." It can essentially be described as a very long, $10 prologue to the next two films (though I can't honestly call it boring).

This is one of the movies that makes me feel like a minority for my chronic dislike for the "Fellowship of the Ring"'s trademark 'where's the ending' feeling ("Bridge to Terrabithia" also falls under this category).

This movie seems like a bit of a mystery, much like its superior predecessors but tries to flow as if you just finished watching Order of the Phoenix, by far the worst installment in the series as I see it. Luna (I think her name is) appears in this movie without introduction but if I remember correctly, her appearance which was scheduled in the "Goblet of Fire" was omitted from the film so a casual movie-goer may have no idea who she is resulting in that little kid that is in every movie theater, who knows what's going on and feels the need to explain to his parents to start talking. Somehow, this kid always winds up in the row behind me despite the fact I went to a 3 o'clock to avoid him.

The amount of love interests in this movie approaches that of a soft core porn, however Cho Chang, Harry's crush from the books, remains absent ("Order of the Phoenix" was the last book I read so I don't know if the books provide an explanation to this or not). The first hour can be described as a largely unengaging back story. Focusing on the special effects in a way that was no longer justified after the first movie and comedy that was bad by Disney's standards for kids' movies.

For some reason the special effects, while quite good, seemed like they could have done better seeing as they were done by Lucas Films LTD and the fire didn't look any more high quality than it did years ago in "Star Wars: Episode III." The wands projectiles were represented what by what appeared to be an advanced version of the bullets from early '90's shoot em up games regardless of what the attack was but this probably does help maintain continuity when the movies are finally sold as a 7-DVD box set the way they should be, so I can let this one go.

The director didn't do a horrible job but a few moments really took away from the tone or the movie in and of itself. Towards the beginning, the new potions teacher shows a love potion and rather than using the tried and true method of zooming in on the face of everybody intrigued by the potion, the girls simply walked towards it side-by-side adding a kids' movie like feel to what is supposed to be the darkest Harry Potter movie yet. A few scenes also continue on for just a little too long, for example, was it really that important for me to watch Hermione wipe foam off her lip? Despite this, some go with the transition that is in the older films (change sounds then scenes). Normally this would be a good thing but it only seemed to draw my attention to the lack of continuity in this case.

Stage direction also seems to be inconsistent, causing you to occasionally wonder 'how did they get over there?' by pointing the camera at an object, continue running the voice and revealing that the characters have covered a huge amount of distance in a few seconds. A particular death eater also does this, which first caused me to think that there was the death eater disguised as somebody and the actual person but it was, after all, the same person. Two alternate and completely incompatible scenes were left in the most intense moment of the movie and leaving a huge plot hole in the climax: why didn't Harry try to stop the Death Eaters at the end if the person stopping him ran, or walked seeing as they can apparently walk as fast as they want when off camera, to another room.

Fortunately, the middle and arguably most important part was rather entertaining despite these flaws. This time the mystery is "what did Tom Riddle inquire of his potions teacher?" The answer takes quite some time to uncover and plenty of dinner party scenes seemed to be scattered through this part of the movie causing me to wonder if J.K. Rowling has become a complete glutton in the past few years as even those scenes not at parties seemed to have trays of snacks in somebody's hands. When Harry finally gets the answer of what magic Riddle was after, he has to head to a river undoubtedly inspired by Styx (and possibly just added as an extra insult to the series' Christian boycotters) and destroy some object, though the movie implies the existence of seven of these objects.

In the climax, which only has the feel of a further rising action as you don't witness the work put in by either side to lead to this (like in "Fellowship of the Ring"), a predominant character is killed (like in "Fellowship of the Ring"), further fighting between the two sides is prevented (like in "Fellowship of the Ring") and the movie's ending comes as a surprise (like in "Fellowship of the Ring").

Coraline
Coraline(2009)

I feel the need to admit my bias in the favor of Tim Burton to help you understand the kind of movies I like and Coraline, despite its PG rating was no exception.

This movie is a dark turn from the stop motion we've become accustomed to and as one of the first attempts that I'm aware of to make a horror movie appropriate for children this exceeds all expectations. The opening would be considered slow under normal circumstances but every time I watch this (I've seen it twice thus far) I find myself curiously looking at the scenery as if the movie was made for the sheer purpose of creating visual art, like "300" and the energy seems to pick up in a pattern that causes my interest in the story to replace my lost interest in the scenery at exactly the right rate and even if it hadn't, it's only a few minutes of low energy to begin with.

The story has a few parallels to Beetle Juice though the story still seems to be original nonetheless.

Though I feel obliged, it's difficult to find something to complain about in this movie. The 3-D effects were a little weak but made little to no difference as the movie is still great in 2-D.

In all honesty I can't think of a single "real" complaint about this movie nor see any way to justify giving it less than 100%.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Keanu Reeves fails to deliver his most powerful performance yet! This movie would have been better if nothing other than the special effects were shown which were impressive but hardly comparable to what CAN be done today.

This movie starts strong and progressively degrades into nothing more than an insult to the movie it was inspired by. Reeves seems to be incapable of distinguishing analytical from emotionless and even compared to his past performances this one was horrible. Most of my reasoning for saying this, is that the turning point involves Klaaktu being swayed by the tears of a child but ultimately it's just a pathetic scene in which an overrated actor gets upstaged by a child. Complementing that child's performance with Reeves's effectively ruined everything the child single-handedly built up to and almost makes you feel disgust towards the director for ruining all his work.

The script would lead one to believe this is another "the government's too stubborn" movie but when it's far too late to make a difference the authorities seem to finally realize they're more than outmatched-this also comes to the audience's surprise but the acting is at least suited for the occasion-though the president who never shows in the movie is apparently the only one remaining in the world that thinks the military stands a chance and his opinion seems to be the only one that matters.

Not the worst character motivation for the president since he never shows up and therefore there's no character development to judge him based on but it would have been nice to hear a better reason than "because I told you to." I know this is pretty standard in movies but that doesn't change the fact it takes away from the story by forcing you to think "how is that a realistic response in this situation?" Only to come up with the solution "because it's a movie."