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Movie Ratings and Reviews

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

A young man falls in love with a seemly unattainable girl and must defeat her 7 evil "Ex's" in a retro-video game style.

I'll have to admit that I wasn't sure what I was expecting from this film before I saw it, I hadnt read the published story that preceded it and still havent. But what I got was very enjoyable. I think it had a lot to do with my experiences growing up with the birth of game consoles. The look and feel of this movie really took me back to spending all those hours sitting way-to-close to the TV playing Contra, Zelda or Mortal Kombat.

Most likely those who have read the material that the movie is based will have more to be critical about, but for me this movie was refreshing. I enjoyed the way they combined the sounds and visuals of my old game favorites, from the "1up" when Scott and his band defeated the "evil" musicians to the "pee" bar that told us he was done using the toilet. This film is an all around good time and refuses to take itself seriously.

I will give "Scott Pilgrim vs The World" 4 out of 5 stars, Its worth the rent!

Jeremy

Epic Egos
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Megamind
Megamind(2010)

A unique good humored animated film about a super hero battling his arch nemesis.

I've seen quite a few super-hero movies in my day,and they all seem to have the same old formula. They all include cities terrorized by crime that seem to stem from one evil rival whom is consistently defeated by the "hero" character. Well "Megamind" pokes fun at this over-used story line and then takes another less often used trail that surprised me.

The characters are well developed and likable and the all star cast of voices does a superb job bringing them to life. Will Ferrell does what he does best voicing the lead "Megamind" the "evil" villain who is obviously trying very hard to be evil and is perfectly happy to lose every battle to fit in. The hero "Metroman" (Brad Pitt) is the ideal hero, kissing babies and keeping the streets crime free. Johna Hill also dials in his contibution by playing an over wieght geek, quite a stretch from most of his other roles :)

The film is peppered with jokes and references to super-hero movies. The beginning starts with a spoof of the very familiar origin of superman story where his parents shoot him in a shuttle to Earth. Another great reference was a scene when Megamind introduces his "Black Momba" mechanized suit of armor you hear the familiar "Back in Black" intro to reference the Iron man movie series.

The movie has some light-hearted messages about fitting in and peoples ability to change for the better or worse. This would be a good movie to see with your children on a Sunday afternoon, and a must for the family collection. I give Megamind 4 out of 5

Jeremy

Epic Egos
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The Kids Are All Right
½

So I watched "The Kids are All Right" staring Annette Bening, Julianne Moore & Mark Ruffalo. I'll have to admit my first thoughts before I watched this were that this was going to be about the trials and tribuations of a lesbian couple dealing with their children's interest in thier biological father. But I found it to be much more than that. This movie pays homage to all families and how they react to elements that aim to undermind them.

The relationship between Nic (Bening) and Jules (Moore) was a very familiar one. Nic was the smart and driven one as well as the provider and Jules was the "under appreciated" homemaker. One thing that became apparent quickly in thier relationship was Nics obsession to be in control, it was obvious she was the disciplinarian. Like most control fanatics she has the most difficult time dealing with Paul (Ruffalo) as it seems he has laid claim to the children and Jules.

One of the biggest surprises was Mia Wasikowska"s performance. She did such a terrific job as the eldest child dealing with her feelings about sex and relationships. The emotions that she was able to betray seemed very real and complex, I will keep an eye on her as her skill improves. Btw she also did a wonderful job in "Alice in wonderland (2010)" as Alice, if you havent seen it you should think twice.

Now to me the biggest draw to this film was Julianna Moore, she is so flexible as an actress and once again she does not disappoint. Her flawed character learns some big lessons about child-rearing, marriage and loyalty. I was afraid that this movie might rely on the lesbian alternative lifestyle to drive the story and plot, it does take advantage in designing a unique situation, although it feels natural and flows well with it instead of making a point to exploit it in every scene.

In summary, I would like to congratulate the makers of this movie for producing a film that takes a unique family unit and manages to tell a story that reflects how any family would/should handle an outside threat. I found myself very engaged while watching and not being able to guess how it would end.

I give "The Kids are All Right" a 3.5/5.0

Jeremy

Epic Egos
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The Informant!

Informant! is about an employee at a large firm, Mark Whitacre, who works with the FBI to take down his place of business for illegal activities. Many unexpected events occur as well as an interesting twist that changes the focus of the movie to Mark Whitacre himself.

I was unsure of how to feel about this movie before I saw it in the theatre, lately I have been disappointed in the way movies are protrayed in the trailers. The last few "comedies" I went to see (Funny People, Taking Woodstock) ended up not falling comfortably into the comedy genre to say the least. I also did not see the first take of this movie or knew much about the real life events on which it is based. So I was ready for anything.

I would have to say that I was solidly entertained by the film. Much of the humor, besides the silly choices and lies by the main character, came from "Scrubs-style" thought narratives. Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon), the main character, through out the movie has random thoughts that end up being funny by "coming out of left field" and have almost no relation to what is going on at that moment.

I thought it was terriffic that way the director made you respect Mark Whitacre as an honorable whistle blower, and then slowly lose that respect as the events unfold and the character becomes more seemly neurotic. In the beginning you suspect that there is something "not right" about Mark, but you give him the "benefit of the doubt" and can relate to him as an honorable character. You would have to be so selfless to be making an income of $350,000 with many benefits and at the same time be an insider for the FBI because your employer is doing something immoral. Later you learn that Mark is a very complex guy and far from honorable.

It was interesting that many well-known stand-up comedians made cameos as the dozens of lawyers, (Patton Oswalt & Paul F. Thompkins)

My notable dislikes were, at times the movie seemed to develop a bit slow and ending for the last hour of the film. The score gave you the feeling of a 1970's secret-spy feel, even though the movies time period of was 1992 - 1995ish, I imagine that this was a planned mechanism and part of the comedy-silliness.

Epic Level: I applaud this movie for being funny and cleaver. Matt Damon did a fine job and I enjoyed the casting, It seemed a bit long but I still give it a solid 3 out of 5.

Jeremy,
www.epicegos.com

Sorority Row
Sorority Row(2009)

If you love horror films (80?s slasher movies specifically) you need to see Sorority Row. I must admit I?ve never seen the original so I can?t compare the two but from what I?ve read this seems to be the better of the two which is rare for a remake.

This movie follows all the horror clichés to a "T" but they seem to work pretty well in this case. The nerd, drunk, slut, bitch and good girl horror stereotypes are all on display amongst the Theta Pi sisters and in the film they actually work with all the girls giving believable performances that never feel unnatural. The pacing of the movie is spot on with the setup prank happening in the first 5-10 minutes and then the killing starting shortly after. Fortunately we are given just enough time for some character development to the point that we root for the characters we?re supposed to root for and we root against the others to die terrible deaths. The kill sequences set this movie above a lot of other recent horror movie remakes. The kills are all good bloody fun with quite a bit of creativity thrown in that will make any slasher fan happy. There?s plenty of blood and violence (as the movie definitely earns its R rating) but there?s never any excessive brutality that plagued a lot of the kills in the recently released Halloween 2. Every time a character is offed I couldn?t help but smile and wish more modern horror movies were like this. The body count is reasonable with every kill essentially serving a purpose and not just a bunch of random deaths to pad the body count. Now with any good slasher film there are many red herrings thrown in to try and throw you off to who the killer is and then in the end you?re expected to be shocked by the big reveal. I feel that this was really the only part of the film that misses its mark, as the reveal, at least for me, wasn?t truly shocking even though it was the last person I expected, although their motives were good.

Overall, Sorority Row is a fun, fast paced slasher film, with creative kills, that will make any horror fan feel at home.

Epic Level: Go see this movie so we can get more major studio releases like this. I had a great time watching this movie and give it 4 out of 5.


Pat, Epic Ego Sorority Sister and contributor
www.epicegos.com

Extract
Extract(2009)
½

Extract is a light-hearted comedy and a good way to spend an afternoon.

Extract is about a socially conservative factory owner who is sexually depressed due to an unresponsive wife. Many choices regarding conspiracy,drug use & sex lead our main character down a path he never thought he would travel.

I was really curious before entering the theatre about how this movie would be. Personally I am a big fan of "Office Space" and the long running animated series "King of the Hill" in which director Mike judge is part of. The "King of the Hill" series is about a socially conservative main character "Hank Hill" where much of the humor is about challenging Hank with things in which he is uptight about or uncomfortable with. This seems to be the overall way that this film works as a comedy.

One of the good things about this movie is how you feel about the main character, Joel. I think everyone can relate to the feeling of a bad day or a bad week when nothing seems to go right and the world seems to have went bananas. The way the Joel deals with it, by going to visit a friend at the bar and having a drink or two is common practice. Joel tries his best to ward off the bad influences and rise above them, but eventually succumbs to peer pressures that forces him to imbibe in some drug use in which some bad choices are made and very bad consequences ensue.

I wish I could make this review longer, but truth be told, I really don't have much more to talk about. This was a funny movie, its humor worked for me. The characters are developed just enough for you to care about them and the situational humor hit the spot. The one criticism that I did have would be that the movie maybe a bit predictable, but I think that point is rather mute considering it still makes you laugh.

Epic Level: I give this film a very good 3.5 out of 5, if you have a bit of time and like comedies its a good way to spend 2 hours.

Jeremy,

Epic Egos Contributor

H2: Halloween II

Going into this movie I was very excited to see what Rob Zombie could pull off with the Halloween series now that he was free from the shackles of making a remake. I felt his first two films House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil?s Rejects showed a lot of potential and were in their own right very good movies. Rob?s remake of Halloween, which initially set out to be a new take on the series, was his attempt to flesh out Michael?s formative years to try and explain why Michael Meyers became what he is. He essentially ended up dropping that about halfway through and ended up remaking the original in the last half of the movie (shot for shot in some cases). Now with the remake out of the way Rob was free to take the series in any direction he wanted, and as much as I applaud the fact that he tried to make it his own, it ultimately falls flat on its face.

The movie starts off with a bang with a pretty intense hospital sequence (according to Rob it?s not an homage to Halloween 2 but you be the judge) but the movie quickly snowballs from there into a big mess and unfortunately, this is the only suspense you will experience in the movie. This movie does not really feel like a sequel to his remake. The locations look nothing like the locations in the remake and the whole atmosphere is different, although this time there is actually the feeling that the movie is taking place during Halloween, something that was lacking in the first. All the returning characters have changed drastically in the way they act since the last time we?ve seen them. Now we should expect some change in these characters after going through such a tragic event in the first film but the performances we get from the actors are not believable and so over the top they are almost comedic. Some of this can be attributed to the dialogue which has never been one of Zombie?s strong points in his scripts. It feels like he?s trying so hard to be shocking that he misses the mark. Other areas of the movie, for me, that really missed the mark are the kill scenes. Don?t get me wrong, they look great and are bloody and gory as hell but most of them seem to go on for a few minutes to long. I?m all for brutality in horror but how long can you watch someone keep stomping on someone?s head before it just gets boring. A lot of the kills in the film just seem unnecessary and are only in the movie to pad the body count and the running time, which wouldn?t be so bad if any of them had any creativity or inventiveness, like some of the kills from the original films. One thing I should mention, which seems to be the most polarizing aspect of the film, are the scenes with Sherri Moon Zombie. Now, as anyone who?s seen the remake knows, her character commits suicide, but in the sequel she appears as a sort of a ghostly apparition to Michael and is the impetus for him to go out and kill. These scenes really took me out of the movie as they are filled with a lot of strange imagery that really seems out of place with the rest of the film.

This movie felt very rushed and not well put together. I?ve read that the original cut of this was 4 hours so I?m curious to see what was cut out, as there are a few scenes in the film that don?t go anywhere, and have no relevance to anything in the movie whatsoever. Overall I can?t really say I can recommend this movie at all and that?s coming from a big Halloween and Rob Zombie fan. The movies a mess, the performances are terrible, and the kills really don?t have much going for them. There is no suspense, save for the beginning. Hopefully Rob Zombie can get back on track with some of his original material as I will still continue to look forward to what he puts out.

Epic Level: I give it a 2 out of 5

Patrick, Epic Egos Contributor
www.epicegos.com

Taking Woodstock

"You will get more entertainment from a Woodstock documentary"

The movie parallels the events that lead up to the massive rock festival of the late 1960's that we call "Woodstock." A young conservative man named Elliot, tries to save his parents struggling motel from going bankrupt. The opportunity presented of course is for his small podunk town to host the rock concert of the century. Thinking that the show wont be nearly as big as it was, Elliot who is "White Lakes" chamber of commerce president, easily grants himself the proper permits. The many community elements like the townspeople, hippies and corporate business interests create quite a mix of drama as the event plays out.

Here I am again, the guy that apparently dislikes all the movies he sees. Unfortunatley, I have to deliver to you another negative film review. If you did get a chance to catch the previews of "Taking Woodstock" you may get the impression that this movie, staring comedian Demetri Martin ("Important Things", Comedy Central), is a light-hearted comedy with a Woodstock theme. This movie was not a comedy, you could barely categorize it as a light drama. But lets not get to wrapped up in labels and continue on.

Taking Woodstock failed to meet one of the most fundamental requirements of a comedy, it wasn't funny. At best it was a quirky replica of a Woodstock documentary. I spent the first half of the movie waiting for it to make me laugh and the rest of the time waiting for it to end. There several tangents in the movie that failed to further the plot, but the audience was forced to sit through. They choose to spend quite a bit of time meticulously exploring Elliot's first time with LSD, if it were a comedy many funny things would have ensued, but because it wasn't we sit through about 10-15 mins of him assimilating into the drug culture and having a hard time as some hippies hold him down. The movie ends without tying up some sub-plot lines like adding some closer between Elliot and his mother, Elliot and his love interest as well as how the townspeople felt after the event had passed. These things made it feel like the film ended abruptly.

Not having a long acting career, I thought that Demetri Martin showed us that he can be very flexible. Demetri normally has a quirky "Boy-next-door" humor that lands with his audiences, he did a fine job breaking out of humorous material.

Epic Level: I give this movie a 2 out of 5 and feel it is misrepresented as a comedy, I think you would get similar entertainment or more so from a Woodstock documentary.

Jeremy, Epic Egos Contributor
www.epicegos.com

The Final Destination

I enter the Theatre. I look for a place to sit down. There are maybe 5 people in the theatre. I choose my usual middle-of-the-theatre seat. Right in front of some twenty something couple. Probably cursing me because I chose to sit right in front of them when literally there is no one else here. I smile politely as I sit down. Everything has a feeling of déjà vu. Have I been here before watching the same movie? I look down at my hand holding 3-D Glasses. This is definitely different! This could be great even! But then I have a vision or a premonition. I see various objects thrown at me in 3-D but they make no sense. A rock? A sharp pole? Another sharp pole? I also see a cast of twenty something's getting murdered by "freak" accidents. Have I seen all this before? I snap out of my vision or dream and put on my 3-D glasses. The giant screen just told me that it was ok?

I have always feared NASCAR races. The fast cars. The continuous left turns. The yuppies in the crowd. The racist redneck up front. The people at the race play like a stereotyped checklist. Wait. The yuppies (there are 4 of them) keep talking. One of the two guys is less aggravating. He must be the hero. His girlfriend is too nice. He will probably have to save her towards the end. Oil pour on the raceway. A car slips on the oil?wait what? No one notices?Our yuppie main character seems jittery. He is looking at a broken bench. A creaked cement support. His too nice girlfriend tell him not to worry. Oh my god some mechanic left a tool in the back of some car. Looks like it might fall! It did and it caused a giant crash! Cars are flying towards the stand and crushing people. A tire is thrown my way! People getting impaled!..by a sharp pole? Dang it! I have seen this before. Someone getting crushed by an engine? Wait?where is the rest of the car? After everyone dies a horrible death. The main yuppie wakes up and we are taking back to the beginning of this scene?sigh this is exactly like the previous installments. I wait patiently for the set up. The hero for no explanation whatsoever has visions. Those visions now it seems are excuse to throw 3-d objects at me for no reason.

See I liked the Final destination movies. I can even accept the total lack of character development. I don't want to care too much about them because you know the fun is seeing how they get killed. The second installment was my favorite because of the way all the death were constructed. They were inventive and much more fun to watch. But here it doesn't seem like they are trying at all. It seems like as long as they show something in 3-D its enough. The last 3-D horror movie "my bloody valentine" at least tried a lot harder by going way over the top with its gory kills(flying lower mandible?). This movie fails because of its lack of imagination not its execution.

They did manage to have one decent actual character. The security guard played Mykelti Williamson manages to bring one of the most interesting characters in this franchise so far but that is not saying much. All the characters eventually die in a certain order. At one point during all those deaths there is a 3-d effect. That is pretty much the movie. In 82 minutes. So after the disappointing finale. I take off my glasses. I get up. I hear a few people clapping. They seemed to enjoy the movie. Good for them. I didn't hate it. I just left the theatre with a feeling of déjà vu. Like this has been done before. But just better. And more fun. And it didn't have to be in 3-D.

Epic Level: 1 out of 5 Definitely the worst installment in the franchise. Minus a star for poor use of 3-D.

Etienne, Epic Ego Flying Shrapnel
www.epicegos.com

Ponyo
Ponyo(2009)
½

Ponyo is a beautiful animated tale although it does not surpass Studio Ghibili best works.


"Ponyo" is about a 5 year old boy named Sosuke who befriends a goldfish princess(?) and names her Ponyo. As he befriends her Sosuke and Ponyo are left alone as a tsunami hits the Oceanside village they embark on a journey to find Sosuke's mother.


I wish I could go into more detail about the plot but honestly this movie doesn't follow too many conventions like plots. But that is also part of it charm. The director Hayao Miyazaki says he wrote this story like he was a 5 year old and I believe it. The film is wildly imaginative and beautiful and hardly makes any sense but when I was 5 years nothing made much sense to me either. The movie is filled with great character like Sosuke mother who acts just like a real mom here and not a caricature of mothers like we see in so many movies. The most uninteresting character is unfortunately Ponyo herself. She is full of life and brash but that is the most character development that we get. Sosuke befriends Ponyo and the character shows a lot of innocence and maturity as their journey continues. He also always shows a lot of kindness to everyone around him. This being a Japanese animated film there are a lot of cultural blind spots for me but I still overall enjoyed it very much.


I have to add that this movie is one of the most beautiful animated movies I have seen. This movie was entirely hand drawn with no CGI used and every frame looks beautiful. The art style is simple but very elegant. This literally is an animated tale from a child. When we were kids we all have those animated movies we remember seeing that we loved but don't make much sense once we grow up. I can only hope that (if had them!) my children would be more interested in seeing this than GI. Joe or "G-Force". This movie is definitely not for everyone but will reward those who go see it with an open mind.


Epic Level: I give this movie 3.5 out of 5 stars but feel free to add a few extra stars if you are a child at heart!

Etienne, Epic Ego contributor and Lord of the Sea.

Inglourious Basterds

Tarantino?s films always have a certain anachronistic quality to them: they take place during a particular time period, yet none of the characters seem to portray the qualities or mannerisms of people during that period and, thus, seem strangely out of place. However, this method has proved to be successful in the past due to Tarantino?s uncanny ability to completely ignore the conventionality of the real world and, instead, bring life to a new and exciting alternative world where characters speak poetically, improbability becomes the new likelihood, and Mexican standoffs are commonplace. With his latest endeavor, ?Inglourious Basterds,? Tarantino?s distinctive ability shines through once again with perhaps his most ambitious film to date.
?Inglourious Basterds? is a World War II movie like none you?ve ever seen. Most of the time, you?ll completely forget the fact that you?re even watching a War movie, as, deep down, this isn?t really a War movie at all; rather, what we?re given is an eclectic mixture of genres (action, comedy, drama) blended with Tarantino?s typical fan-boyish references to the nostalgic films and sub-genres of his past. Both the spaghetti western and the grind house film movements demonstrate their presence throughout the film and help to develop the quirky and eccentric characters we?ve become accustomed to seeing in Tarantino?s previous films. Lt. Aldo Raine, played by Brad Pitt, is one such character. Raine is the all-American southerner who just happens to also be Jewish. This unique dichotomy of traits necessitates a hatred of Germans (and, more specifically, Nazis) and thus motivates Raine to lead an exclusive group of Nazi haters called the ?Inglourious Basterds? whose sole business is ?killin? Nazis.?

Oddly enough, I found that the most captivating scenes didn?t include Pitt or any of the other primary members of the ?Basterds? at all; instead, the majority of the film?s memorable sequences feature Col. Hans Landa, played by Christopher Waltz, a ?Jew hunting? Nazi detective whose ability to methodologically turn seemingly casual discourses into rigorous interrogations is truly remarkable. In essentially every scene Waltz is in, you have a strange feeling that at any moment something bad is going to happen, which manifests a constant feeling of anxiety, creating an almost omnipresent edge-of-your-seat type of experience throughout most of the film.

?Inglourious Basterds,? unfortunately, is not without its faults. While the film starts off and ends with spectacularly well-directed and suspenseful scenes, the slightly overly long running time, featuring a few unnecessary extended scenes (mostly in the second chapter), tends to disrupt the otherwise smooth flow and thus makes the pace seem marginally inconsistent at times. As mentioned before, the film features several astonishing sequences (and some of Tarantino?s best), some of the more notable ones include: the opening chapter, the rendezvous bar scene, and the ending Theater scene. However, the weakest points in the film are the scenes interconnecting these aforementioned sequences, which at times feel like they?re there for the single purpose of moving the characters from one place to another, or solely for Tarantino to indulge in his signature masturbatory character obsessions.

?Basterds? is not for everyone. It is violent, unrelenting, and its completely inaccurate portrayal and glamorization of events may put off or offend some viewers unfamiliar with Tarantino?s style. That being said, most viewers should have a lot of fun watching the film. It is smart, daring, and contains mostly all of the previous elements that Tarantino so admirably captured in his previous films. It features strong performances (including perhaps the best performance in any Tarantino film to date by Christopher Waltz), sharp writing, and unparalleled suspense. Though not perfect, it is one of the better films to come out this year.

Epic Level 4 out of 5 Stars.

Derek, Epic Ego Film Correspondent

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard
½

The Goods is the worst of what "Shock Comedy" has to offer.

In The Goods, a used car lot owner who is in financial trouble calls a "mercenary" group of car sales people to save his lot from being foreclosed. Staring Jeremy Piven, Ed Helms & Jordana Spiro.

Before I saw the movie, I had some expectations. I set the bar low and thought it would be a "Billy Madison", a silly comedy with a ridicules premise that overcomes its lack of realism with laugh-out-loud humor. What I received for my $30 (my wife attended & we had popcorn and drinks) was a semi-automatic shooting wildly all over the place missing jokes and one-liners and eventually running out of ammo.

The Goods was the worst of what the genre of "shock comedy" movies have to offer. Most of the comedy is situational and "Oh she didn't just say that?" and "That's ridicules because it has nothing to do with the previous statement" kind of stuff. After awhile you get tired of the same old shtick and the shallow shock comedy becomes incredibly lame and shameless. This genre I must admit is a guilty pleasure, I do enjoy a large variety because sometimes I just need a couple of hours to laugh without having to think. This movie was way to over-the-top, the main "romance" feels forced as well as some of the other relationships in the film. The big secret in the film, Jeremy Pivens characters past, is consistently referred to as "Kirkie" short for the events that happened in Albuquerque prior to the current situation. They say "Kirkie" so much that it made me want to stick a cork screw in my ears and twist.

I expected this movie to be absurd, but it ended up miss firing so much that it wasn't very entertaining.

Epic Level: This movie deserves no more that 1.5 out of 5 and only if you weigh it against other "shock comedies"

Jeremy,
www.epicegos.com

District 9
District 9(2009)

District 9 is a good "Sci-Fi Thriller", but doesnt deserve all the hype.

In "District 9" a large alien ship is trapped above South Africa and a multi-national force penetrates the ship and finds a large population of starving aliens who need help. Humanity puts these aliens in a large "shanty-like" town, likened to the poor neighborhoods outside Indian metro areas, called "District 9" Our hero, Wikus, is in charge of moving the alien population to a new camp called District 10. During the move there are some complications where Wikus begins getting sick and grows an alien hand capable of using the sought after alien weaponry.

I entered the theatre to see District 9 really excited, I wanted to like the movie. It was suppose to be my kind of movie, Sci-Fi, action-packed with a unique imaginative premise. Honestly I believed I was about to watch a ground-breaking film Peter Jackson was attaching his name to. Unfortunately I was kind of let down.

The first problem I ran into was some confusion in the beginning. I was confused because the "aliens" aren't portrayed like a race that could obtain the technology needed to create the awesome spaceship and weapons they supposedly built. They seemed weak and helpless, when they speak to one another their dialog is simple and they don't seem to have any sense of community or leadership. I kept thinking if the situation was reversed and human beings were trapped on a alien planet the first thing we would do is organize and create a community, no matter how impoverished it was.

I had difficulty at first understanding if humans could even understand the aliens, but found out that the humans (our main characters) were "ignoring" them to show you how little they felt about them. To me the movie seemed to start really slow, I think the "documentary" style at the start left me disengaged.

Through the whole film I really had a hard time liking the main character, by the end I kind of felt he deserved the situation he was in. I don't know if that was what the director was going for but I was unimpressed.

Some behavior didn't make sense to me and didn't seem to flow naturally. I wish I could get into the specifics and I know it will lower the overall benefits of my review, but I would not want to break the number one rule of a movie review and spoil it for the readers who have not seen it. I would like to invite those who would like to hear a discussion of those specifics to listen to our podcast "EpicEgosEpisode 5" scheduled to be released 8/24.

Overall, I think the movie was good for its genre of a "Sci-Fi Thriller". The idea of an alien movie who are trapped and are forced to live among us, is unique and bold. The theme of how humanity treats each other and those who are different is clear. I guess the bar was set pretty high by reading other reviews from websites like RottenTomatoes and it being a film which Peter Jackson was involved in. Unfortunately that bar was not met.

Epic Level: I will have to give this film 3 out of 5, a great genre film, but I think it could have been better.

Jeremy
www.epicegos.com

Julie & Julia

Two women searching for their identities find themselves through food?

Julie & Julia tells the real-life stories of two women struggling at a crossroads in their lives: Julia Child and Julie Powell. Child, a government agent during World War II, moves to Paris with her husband after the war where he works as a diplomat. Bored, she attempts several traditional hobbies before challenging the status quo and attending an all-male, professionals-only cooking class. Powell is a late twenty-something who settled into a government job after failing as an author. Her friends are shallow and self-absorbed. To challenge herself and distract her from her job/friends she decides to write a blog about her attempts to cook every recipe in Julie Child?s cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The film cuts back and forth between Child?s and Powell?s lives as Child first struggles to write and then publish her cookbook and Powell attempts to cook every recipe in it then write about it.

There probably couldn?t have been two better choices for the leading ladies in this film. Meryl Streep as Julia Child continues to impress?she nails the voice and mannerisms perfectly. I honestly don?t think there?s any role she can?t perform. Amy Adams will suffer many film critics? wrath by constantly being compared to Streep, but she pulls off Julie Powell?s triumphs and insecurities brilliantly. Both women give flawless, genuinely sweet, believable performances. Together they put the Megan Foxes and Lindsay Lohans of the world to shame.

Nora Ephron (of Sleepless and Seattle and Sleepless and Seattle 2?otherwise known as You?ve Got Mail fame) outdid herself with this film as it is not a typical cookie-cutter chick flick. This is the kind of chick flick you can take not only your mom or grandma to, but also your husband or boyfriend without making them squirm or fall asleep ten minutes in. The common theme the women share of overcoming adversity is relatable but doesn?t come off as over-the-top or cliché, and the film concludes without any unrealistic flourish of conflict resolution and sappy music. The male leads in the film (Stanley Tucci as Paul Child, Chris Messina as Eric Powell) are romantic but realistic; neither of them is chauvinistic or oafish or any other one-dimensional stereotype that typifies male characters in today?s romantic comedy. The characters remind us that the best marriages/relationships accentuate the best in each other and that the couple is better than the individual alone.

On a side note: it should go without saying that there is a lot of food in this film?rich, delicious, fancy food. It may not be a good idea to go hungry, and the snacks at the theater will pale in comparison and make you sad you wasted your money on them.

Epic Level: 4 out of 5. As chick flicks go, this is one of the best, and will hopefully inspire a few people to take chances and try something new in their lives. Please go see this movie instead of The Ugly Truth or The Time Traveler?s Wife, as they are only worth going to see for the excuse to eat popcorn.

Bethany,
Senior Female Correspondant
www.epicegos.com

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was as stereotypical and plastic as the toy line itself.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is about two military hot-shots whom discover the secret G.I. Joe special operations and want to join. Soon after the two are recruited, they are charged with the mission to save the world from an underground terrorist group called "Cobra" whom is trying to use a terrifying new weapon to take control of the world.

Right from the start we see things being destroyed, blown apart or disintegrated. This was expected for its genre of an "Action-Thriller", what was unexpected was how awful the dialog and format was. All the character exposition was delivered through cut scenes, which is a great way to do such, but there are so many it gets annoying. Were watching a movie, not an episode of Family Guy or Scrubs. The three concurrent story lines are too much for this movie to rely on cut scenes alone.

The dialog was as disgustingly immature and childish as its target audience. Nothing takes you back to the 5th grade like the line uttered at the end of the movie, "You and what army?" To make sure you understand that this movie isn't taken seriously, the director chose to give you a joke at every turn through Marlon Wayne's character "Ripcord." In full "In living color" style you'll see Ripcord fall on his behind, stereotypically push the wrong button and make idiotic high school style passes at the busty "Scarlett." Everything about this movie was stereotypical and you could get better entertainment from watching Saturday morning cartoons.

This film epitomizes everything I dislike about movies based on cartoons, games or in this case a Hasbro toy line. They had a huge bloated budget for great explosions, CGI effects and even star power, but they didn't have enough to make a decent script or story. They even decided not to have this movie pre-screened by critics before its release, most likely they knew what they had on their hands and couldn't afford the bad reviews deterring movie-goers by having awful reviews early.

Epic Rating: I give this movie 1 out of 5, I wish I had my 2 hours back but at least Ive done my "duty" and saved others from the same fate, "Knowing is half the battle."

Jeremy
www.epicegos.com

Moon
Moon(2009)

Moon rolls back to the hay day of Sci-fi movies

Moon is set in the near future and is about a man named Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) whom has a three year contract to work on a moon base for a company harvesting H3 a futuristic power source. Sam Rockwell does essentially a one man show where at one point were dealing with three versions of the same character. Sam is nearing the end of his contract and starts to hallucinate and begins to talk regularly with himself. As the movie plays on Sam finds a body that looks just like him and we spend the rest of the movie discovering the nature of the other person and his origin.

I enjoyed the breath-taking views and setting on the moon. The set made you feel the isolation and you can imagine going absolutely crazy being all alone for three-years. It depicted what you would expect on the surface of the moon, gray dark and desolate. Sam would go through his day like a robot, you could see how his life must be routine followed by more routine.

The comedy relief was sparse, but when Sam defeats himself at ping pong it sent the theatre laughing. I really enjoyed Sam (1) talking to himself after a fight with the other Sam, responding "Tess (his wife) was right, I do have to work on my temper", After a unique look at his own behavior. Kevin Spacey did a great job lending his voice to Sam's sole friend "Gerty" which sci-fi fans would recognize as a deviation of "Hal 9000" using emoticons instead of the famous red-light. There are some funny moments based on what "face" Gerty has on its screen.

Personally I really enjoyed this movie, it seem to push against the grain of new-age sci-fi with their special effects and lazer-cannons. It has more of a older sci-fi feel where the enjoyment of the film is more character driven. Duncan does a great job keeping the audience "in the dark" about the mystery of whats "really" going on, is he crazy or is there something more going on here. I left the movie discussing ethical issues with the other viewers, we had to drive about 2 hours to the theatre because of the limited release so we had plenty of time to chat about how we felt about the movie.

Epic Level: I give the movie 4 out 5, I think that this movie will be referred to often as Duncan Jones first great film.

Jeremy,
www.EpicEgos.com Contributor

The Hurt Locker
½

Go see the Hurt locker. I don't care how but go see it if you can! This movie is the most compelling action movie I have seen this year! It is also one of the most realistic movies that happens to deal with the Iraq war and truly gives one of the best homages to the soldiers.

The Hurt Locker is about SSgt James and the two specialist that are with him assigned to the Emergency Ordinance Disposal squad or EOD for short. We follow Sgt James, played by Jeremy Renner, as he and his squad get called on various assignments. Throughout we learn that James is quite the reckless Bomb disposal expert. He goes in with his suit, later taking it off saying "If I am going to die I am going to die comfortably."


Jeremy Renner's performance in this is amazing. It's impossible for you to watch this and not become a fan of his. He plays an adrenaline junkie but in such a subdued way that we see he does it only for the thrill and not the glory. Kathryn Bigelow directed this movie and I have been a great fan of hers ever since "Point Break" and "Near dark". She has done anything for a while but she has obviously only gotten better with age. There are many action set pieces here and she always give us a great view of the surrounding area and she smartly only gives angles from the soldiers point of view giving the pictures a real sense of location and dread.


One of the better aspect of this movie is that the enemies are faceless. There is no overarching mustache twirling villain. They literally do not know who wants to kill them over there and that is conveyed in many shot of the populace looking and staring at the situation with uncomfortable glances. When there are explosion, Bigelow shoots them in a way that really resonate with the environment. Every pebble rides the waves of the destructive impact. She hold that slow motion shot a little longer than she should just to emphasize it. I do not know why this movie didn't get a wide release because it definitely has wide market appeal. I hope it gets a wider release soon but if not this is definitely a must catch on DVD or blu-ray whenever it released.


I obviously liked this movie a lot. I never served in the military but this movies seems to really convey the type of sacrifice and commitment it requires in meaningful way. Even without the political baggage this is still a great movie and definitely worth the viewing.

Epic Level: 5 out of 5 This movie may not be remembered or achieve Transformers 2 like Blockbuster status but I this movie is much more deserving of that status than Bayhem flick will ever be.

Etienne, Epic Egos Contributor

500 Days of Summer

An uncommon telling of a common tale?

This film isn?t a typical bubble-gum romantic comedy. The narrator warns the audience early on that the main characters? story does not have a happy ending. It follows the 500 day span of Tom?s relationship with Summer through non-synchronous storyline, fantasy sequences, narration, and split screens. It captures the interest, elation, disappointment, despair and recovery that go with falling in love, having a relationship end, and having to pick yourself back up again.

Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the optimistic yet jaded hipster. He settles for a job writing greeting cards after failing to secure a job as an architect. He?s neurotic; he over-analyzes every moment of his interactions with Summer and relies on his friends and younger sister to help him sort out what he should do or say next. He believes in destiny, fate, and true love. Everyone knows a Tom, or has been a Tom and managed to move on (if you don?t know a Tom, you ARE Tom and your friends are tired of dealing with you?knock it off!). Zooey Deschanel plays Summer, an over-the-top free-spirit that seems a little too similar to her role in Yes Man. The narrator tells us that Summer is special: while physically average she has some unascertainable quality that makes her irresistible to men. She listens to indie punk rock; her favorite Beatle is Ringo Starr only because he?s least likely to be anyone else?s favorite Beatle, and she opts for vintage clothes and jewelry rather than average accouterment. She doesn?t believe in true love, but that relationships come and go and they end because life gets in the way. No one knows someone who is completely a Summer. She?s impulsive and aloof and if she weren?t so sweet she?s come off as some self-absorbed poseur.

500 Days is primarily a character study of conflicting ideologies. While Summer tells Tom she isn?t interested in?and doesn?t believe in?love he still believes he can sway her to his point of view. Director Marc Webb brilliantly weaves his sad story/roller-coaster of emotions primarily through non-synchronous storyline. A sad day late in the relationship cuts to happier times earlier on as Tom loves, then hates, then begrudgingly accepts Summer for who she is. The defining moment of the movie comes when Summer acknowledges that Tom was right about destiny and true love, just not about her.

The film is sprinkled with hard-truths about life that contradict other romantic comedies, such as, ?just because two people like the same things doesn?t mean they are destined to be together?, and that ?most days go by without a memorable moment.? In most ways this is the most honest and realistic film dealing with relationships that will ever make it to a multi-plex as the sad and/or suicidal black-and-white types never make it out of the indie theaters. The only drawback from the film is the younger sister?while the acting is great I?m tired of children playing the voice of reason in films?since when are kids so much smarter than everybody else? Couldn?t Tom have had some other wise and clever friend?

Epic level:4 out of 5. While we may not be talking about this movie in 50 years it?s undoubtedly already in some film-school lesson plan for next semester.

Bethany
www.EpicEgos.com
Senior Female Correspondant

Funny People
Funny People(2009)
½

Funny People is a heartfelt drama wrapped in glossy comedic wrapper

In Funny people an established comedic star, George (Adam Sandler), discovers he has a rare disease and will most likely die soon. Facing his own mortality the emotionally estranged comic hires an aspiring stand-up comedian Ira (Seth Rogan) as his assistant.

After a long list of light and situational films, Judd Apatow has come forth and hidden an emotionally stirring drama guised as a silly comedy packed with dick and fart jokes. I expected this Judd Apatow's film like "40 year old virgin" and "knocked-up" to take on a serious issue only if it gave way to shallow puns and one-liners that are Apatow's current signature traits. What I received for my $9 was something a bit different.

When given the fatal diagnoses from his doctor, George beings to analyze his life and finds that he is emotionally alone and has no one to comfort him. During a routine stand-up gig George finds a struggling comic Ira and hires him to be his personal assistant. Ira's character ends up keeping George grounded and takes the role of a trusted advisor. During a soul searching session George calls an ex-girlfriend Laura, played by Leslie Mann, whom is married with children. The climax of the movie plays out when George and Leslie begin having an affair.

Funny People became quite a great vehicle for Sandler, Rogan and Hill to do what they do best. You see Sandler break out his guitar and play improvised silly songs, Rogan consistently acting unsure & awkward and Hill with his quick comebacks. On top of that you get a huge dose of stand-up style jokes and one-liners. If you are a fan of stand-up I think you will enjoy the inside look at the effort that is needed to succeed as a comedian, as well as the difference between the "established" and the "up-and-coming" comedian.

I was personally satisfied with the film, Apatow, normally is good for a laugh but nothing more. This time he takes a turn for a more heartfelt drama and it mixed well with the much needed comedy relief. There seems to be many themes in the movie which include "You can't resurrect the past" & "Its never to late to change."

I was a bit dissappointed personally with Seth Rogan, it seems he is so one dimensional. Every role he plays seems to boil down to the average socially awkward ex-stoner, its possible that he hasnt the flexibility to do much else.

Does it satisfy your ego? This movie did well with adding comedy to deal with the towering issue of mortality. I think this movie has mass appeal and would recommend it to those who love comedies and dramas

Is this movie Epic? Although I feel it is Apatow's best work thus far, I think it slightly shy of an "Epic" rating

Jeremy
Epic Egos Contributor

Green Lantern: First Flight

A fun animated action/adventure feature that manages to fit in some interesting ideas

This is the story of the Green Lantern's first mission in Space as part of the Green lantern corps.

So I will be the first to admit to not being the most fervent Green Lantern fan. Some army pilot guy, named Hal Jordan, gets a green ring from an alien cop that crash landed and dying on our planet? Sounds like a cheesy space movie like "Flash Gordon". All in all, they get the origin story out of the way very quickly and they get to the more interesting arena of "being an outer space cop" rather quickly. After we are introduced to the Green Lantern corps he gets paired up with Sinestro (Voiced by the great Viktor Garber of "Alias" fame) as his mentor and then we have the real idea behind the movie, Its like "Training day" but in Space. As Sinestro abuses his power and tries to abuse his authority, Hal plays the competent moral rookie and interferes with Sinestro's plan to forge a new weapon (A yellow power ring?).

The movie's pace is quite fast and has a lot of great action that literally moves the stars. The animation is a good quality as well for this direct-to-DVD release and it definitely follows the tradition of high quality WB animation like Superman Doomsday, Wonder Woman and Justice League. Some lines are quite ridiculous coming mostly from the aliens but some are quite provoking. For instance, when Sinestro goes to pick up his new weapon from a race of aliens called the weaponer their exchange goes something like this:

"The weapon is a mighty force,? the spider-like arms manufacturers explain to Sinestro, ?the most powerful and absolute in your universe. With one exception, one slight imperfection.?

?What,? asks Sinestro.

?The imperfection every weapon has,? the weaponer answers. ?Its user.?

Didn't really expect to have a reflective moment while watching an animated movie about a dude with a green power ring. And that is a good surprise for any feature, I can only hope we get this kind of quality in the upcoming movie version slated in 2011.

Will it satisfy your Ego? If you like this kind of superhero animated fare (Which I do!) than most definitely but I think many people will pass on this or never even hear about it.

Is it Epic? Wasted potential here. I can only imagine if this feature had a bigger budget what it could of accomplished but as it stands its one of the better Green Lantern tales I have seen so far.

For more reviews visit www.epicegos.com

Etienne,
Epic Egos Contributor

Orphan
Orphan(2009)

Orphan was an average horror/suspense movie with a unsuspected twist.

In Orphan an unsuspecting family adopts a young girl named Ester whom ends up causing mischief and murder.

To be honest I am usually left unentertained by horror movie types, and unfortunately this one is no different. I was not impressed by the "close the medicine cabinet" jump out of your seat moments, that litter the film. I know the director (Jaume Collet-Serra) has a very unimpressive resume, but thats know excuse to rely on ancient over-used cleche' tactics. In general the story was rather mundane but was propped up by a twist at the end which I will not reveal.

One surprise, and to me the films saving-grace was the character development which sets it apart from others in its genre. The movie really gives you ample exposition about the mother (Vera Farmiga) and father (Peter Sarsgaard) where you end up relating or at the very least understanding their motivations. You really do understand the point of views of the main characters and become frustrated on why they cant or wont trust each other. There are so many movies in this genre where you have trouble understanding why a character runs back into the scary building with a phycho on the loose. This move does a great job balancing exposition with the genres' signature elements, gratuitous sex and violence.

Overall I think if you enjoy the horror/suspense genre and you need to kill an afternoon this movie may do the trick, otherwise save your money and rent it.

Epic Egos

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
½

I thought Harry Potter and the half-blood prince was entertaining even though I found some annoyances.

In Harry Potter and the half-blood prince, Harry, Hermione and Ron deal with some disturbing times at Hogwarts. Voldamort's evil minions try and breech the school grounds in an attempt to carry-out their nefarious secret mission.

First I'd like to say is that if you are a fan of the Harry Potter series, this is a must see film. From the beginning you'll feast upon a terrific looking film, from the ominous sky to the breath-taking landscapes the cinematography is top notch. The "potteresque" death eater skull is revealed in the sky right in the begging setting a dark evil tone for the movie. Many important scenes in this film are shrouded in the shadows as Harry and team sneak around trying to discover the mysterious evil plot of the death-eaters.

Even though I was thoroughly engaged and entertained by this movie, I did have some disappointments. At the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth in the series, they developed some characters that I began to like that fail to even get mentioned in the movie. For instance, we all remember Harry Potters first kiss by the young character Cho, and the silly banter Hermine and Ron have as they discussed it with Harry by the fireplace. We all wondered at that moment if Cho could overcome her conflicted feelings and develop a relationship with Harry. Not only do we not get that questioned answered, we get no mention of her at all. I was under the impression that we would continue these story lines or at least address their endings, even Neville, a staple in the potter series had about 5 scenes and had about two lines.

Another smaller issue that I found annoying was some parallels with the fantasy juggernaut, The Lord of the Rings. One particular scene was a lake deep within a cavern, where I got this flash back of Gollum holding the one-ring and looking back toward the camera. The look and feel was very Tolkien-esque already and when Harry touched the water you saw hundreds of creatures that looked just like Gollum. It was that seen coupled with the fact there was a ring with the protagonists soul trapped in it, and that the "chosen one" needed to quell the situation, that made me feel it was taking elements from one of my favorite series.

All and all I like the film, although I think that it is far from the best in the series.

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