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Rating History

Avatar (2009)
8 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Three years and a budget close to $300 million dollars, thats how long and how much it took James Cameron to direct his latest masterpiece Avatar.

Avatar just isn?t something that Mr. Cameron came up with overnight. No he has had this story idea and script since 1994. However, he felt that the technology back then didn?t meet the needs of what he wanted to do and I honestly think that was the best decision he ever made. As you sit through this movie you just try and think of how it would have looked if it were to have been filmed in the 90?s.

Now before I go on talking about the way this movie looked I want to talk about the story and script. For those of you who don?t know what this movie is about let me give a brief no spoiler summery. Basically Earth/ The US has found a valuable metal on Pandora. The natives of this planet, the Na?vi, aren?t too keen on aliens destroying their planet and have been attacking mining crews. Marines have been deployed to protect the miners and our protagonist, Jack Sully, has been brought there to take his brothers place in the Avatar project. The Avatar project is basically our ability to grow Na?vi and let humans control them thus allowing us to learn, teach, and try to reason with them. However, as you can imagine, both sides have different objectives and war breaks out.

With that out of the way it?s time to talk about the story. Looking back now, there is great potential within the story behind Avatar. You can tell that Cameron knew where he wanted this to go and you can tell that he has sequels planned. However, that thought right there pulled a lot of potential out of this movie. There were parts in this film that could have gone into greater detail about the history of Pandora and how humans came to find out about this planet. Of course, there is the whole ?I have seen this story before? and yeah you have, but has James Cameron done it before? Answer to that would be no, he hasn?t.

Even with such a well-crafted story, the dialog within Avatar is probably the only real flaw. The entire movie is composed of pretty basic avatar-movie-picture-4dialog, but I could really care less about that. I did not pay $8 dollars to hear 7-foot tall cat like humans talk about their feelings and play patty cake. No, I saw this movie for its story and how visually stimulating it is.

As I stated before, try imagining what this film would have looked like if James Cameron filmed it back in ?94. If that were to have happened it probably would have ruined his career and left him directing commercials. But being the perfectionist he is, James Cameron put it on the shelf until the technology he needed was developed. In this case, created specifically for the filming of this movie. That?s right, James Cameron made companies develop the technology needed to bring his idea to life.

Visually this film is breath-taking. The world of Pandora is like nothing you have ever seen (in a movie). This world is GIGANTIC for looking like a moon to another bigger planet. You will be captivated with the plant life of Pandora and how it has a special connection to the Na?vi. I honestly want to know what James Cameron was on when he created this world in his head and why wasn?t it offered when I bought my ticket.

From there, we go into the mixture of real life and CGI, which at certain points in this film are hard to differ from one another. This was the biggest thing talked about and hyped for this film. Everything was filmed as if you were watching the final product just about. Actors playing the Na?vi wore motion-capturing suits that allowed them to be seen as their ?Avatar? on the monitors while filming. This allowed James Cameron to better direct them with their expressions and motions. He also used this ability to use multiple cameras to bring you a 360-degree view of what was happening on screen instead of just planned out shots.

As I sit here and try to explain what I witnessed this afternoon the words cannot really explain what I saw on that screen. My mind is still trying to process the world that I was introduced to for 3 hours and wants to go back for more. This is honestly something you have to experience for yourself to gain the full perspective of what I am trying to explain. Now some of you might still be iffy about paying your hard earned money for this and I can understand that, but in my honest opinion it is worth it. You are going to witness the next big step in film-making and see something so beautiful that, like me, you will not want to leave Pandora.

To apply the old Pandora?s Box saying. James Cameron opened Pandora?s box with Avatar and you will not believe what has come from it.

4 out of 5 stars.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon
8 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Towards the end of 2008, Stephanie Meyers? Twilight was transformed into a box office smash. Since there?s a total of four novels, the assumption was, there would be three more films. Sure enough, here we are one year later, and the second installment in the series has just been released. Later next year, the saga continues with Eclipse, releasing June 30, 2010.

Interesting enough, instead of using Catherine Hardwicke coming back to direct this one, Chris Weitz was called up. His last attempt at being a director fell flat on its face with The Golden Compass, so there was some doubt if he could deliver.

New Moon begins with Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) having nightmares about becoming old. She sees herself and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) standing in front of a mirror. He is still young and full of life, while she has aged, looking similar to her own grandmother. Bella awakes to realize it was all a dream, and that it is her birthday. Her father, Charlie (Billy Burke), gives her a gift, even though she asked him not to. Shortly after this day, Edward reveals his family is moving away, and he can never see Bella again. At that time, she sinks into a stoic state, finding a renewed relationship in her childhood friend, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner).

If you?ve continued reading this far, you must really want to know how New Moon turned out. Before I get into the actual review, I think it?s very important to take time to address a majority of the people that ?rage? towards Twilight.

Let me try to express this is in two ways. One, Twilight is apart of the current generation. No matter how piss-poor people think the series is, it will continue to make money. Years down the road, kids will sit around in ?nostalgia sessions?, recalling this and shows like Hannah Montana. Chances are that a lot of people reading this grew up on the Power Rangers. When it was big, and had movies coming out, people bashed it to no end. But, you continued to enjoy it. Why? It was apart of your generation. You?ve probably searched eBay looking for the action figures. Just as Power Rangers still has an influence, so will Twilight.

Second, this is to the people who ?hate? this series. The reality is 75%, maybe even more, of those people haven?t even seen the movie. How can you judge something that you have no business in doing so? If you haven?t taken the time to see it, then your opinion towards it is invalid. It?s like your high school. You can make fun of the one you went to, but not the ones you didn?t. You never experience another besides the one you attended.

Got all that? Good. Now, New Moon has it strengths and weaknesses. The run-time for this movie clocks in at about 130 minutes. From the opening scene, to about the one hour mark, the film is extremely dull. It picks up right when Jacob helps Bella repair two dirt bikes she found at the junkyard.

As for the acting, Michael Sheen, Dakota Fanning, and Ashley Greene give the best performances. What?s funny is, Michael Sheen plays a very powerful vampire in this film, unlike his role in Underworld as the leader of the Werewolves; which his character despises. Fanning gets a screen time for all of ten minutes, in possibly the best scene of the movie. Don?t worry though, she?ll be in the future films with her death stare.

Even if you?ve seen the first one, you?ll need to watch it before going in. For roughly 60 minutes, Bella emails someone she only refers to as ?Alice?. Of course, it?s Edwards? sister, but the average viewer can be left completely confused, perhaps even saying, ?Who the hell is Alice!?? Most of the family still don?t have any definition to them from the first to this one.

In Twilight, they used a brilliant soundtrack and score. I don?t exactly know what to think of this one. Fortunately, some songs work perfect for scenes (i.e. A chase scene in the woods, and a panning around Bella?s head).

The score just doesn?t cut it. Compare the original to New Moon?s, and you?ll hear the difference. Instead of that bone-chilling feel, you get a generic love scene atmosphere. I understand they are trying to show that these are two separate films, but the only way to put this is: the score was poorly done.

New Moon isn?t the best, but it?s better than its predecessor. Most scenes could of been thrown out, only to be put back in for the DVD, which fans would pick up regardless. You find this being more watchable than entertaining. Some dialogue can sound like it was said intentionally, in attempts to create some sort of meme, which you?ll find yourself raising an eyebrow at. My opinion is you should at least see this before you form a view on it. But, doesn?t look like you can reason with the narrow minded.

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day
8 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Ten years ago a film was released that become on of the biggest cult phenomenons of the 2000s. When I stumbled upon it due to word of mouth I couldn?t help, but to be memorized by it. We all knew that a sequel was going to happen. What we didn?t know was that it would take ten years and A LOT of drama later. So was Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day worth the wait?

Honestly it is a mix of yes and no. Yes, because it is the Boondock Saints. Troy Duffy knows where he wants this story to go and has a perfect way of telling it. Just like the first movie you are captivated by the story of the MacManus twins (Connor & Murphy) and their father Noah.

We are lead to believe that not much has happened since the events that took place in that courtroom in Boston ten years ago. The world has moved on and has some what forgotten the saints. Well everyone except Papa Joe?s son Concezio Yakavetta (Judd Nelson) who wants revenge on the saints for what they did to his father. Concezio with the help of ?The Roman? has built the Italian mob back up in Boston, however it seems like Concezion and ?The Roman? have different plans for the boys and their father.

One of the biggest changes from the first film is that FBI Special Agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) has passed on and now his protege Special Agent Eunice Bloom (Julie Benz) is in charge of his ?special? case. With the help of Detectives Dolly (David Ferry), Duffy (Brian Mahoney), and Greenly (Bob Marley) Special Agent Bloom try to figure out who the ?boys? are after and why.

I will say that Clifton Collins, Jr. steals the show as Romeo. A few months ago I had a discussion with Jeremy Kirk of We Are Movie Geeks about Clifton Collins, Jr. role in Extract. Just like in Extract Clifton Collins, Jr. steals every scene he is in. Hopefully studios will start to cast him in more feature roles.

Now the reason I said no with this movie being worth the wait is for two reasons. First any studio that didn?t pick this film up and get it developed right way is stupid. The following the first film had and with all the cast willing and eager to return to the franchise is more then enough to get it done. Hopefully we won?t have to wait another ten years for the third part (yes, we are left with the possibility for a third movie). The second reason is that it feels just a little to long. Some of Il Duce/Noah MacManus back story gets a little boring. However, it isn?t enough to ruin or make you hate the movie.

Overall, Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day is everything I thought it would be and more. Troy Duffy has crafted himself another masterpiece with this film. Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus re-praised their roles as the MacManus twins with great passion and they honestly looked like they enjoyed every second of it. Clifton Collins, Jr. again is a great additon to the team and I look forward to the third installment.

Trick 'r Treat
8 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Every once and awhile you stumble across a movie that is absolutely amazing. From story telling, visuals, and acting it keeps you entertained and interested in whats happening. Trick ?r Treat is nothing short of those and we here at The Nerdiest-Kids are glad that it has finally been released.

Trick ?r Treat brings us four different stories that are all intertwined in some way. Within the small town where the story takes place, Halloween is a big thing. It seems like all of the towns people celebrate and have their own Halloween traditions and beliefs. However, breaking or even disrespecting those traditions can result in some deadly consequences.

The four stories within this movie are so very interesting that each one could probably carry its own movie. Michael Dougherty (Writer & Director) did an amazing job at keeping them long enough that your get the point, but also conveying the affects of the actions for the people involved.

Each story (?The Principal,? ?The School Bus Massacre Revisited,? ?Surprise Party,? and ?Meet Sam?) carries its own twist. From murder, toying with the special needs and dead, and breaking a simple Halloween tradition all carry consequences and they will eventually come back to haunt you.

It is honestly hard to try and pick a favorite out of the four because each one is different. They all express different aspects of Halloween that everyone has been told or even experienced once.

I will say that Dylan Baker?s character of Principal Wilkins was one of my favorites. Also, Anna Paquin and Brian Cox?s carried their characters and stories. O and I can not forget about Sam and after watching this film you won?t forget him either.

Trick ?r Treat is a great way to get into the spirit of Halloween and maybe have you stick to tradition because you don?t want that little footed pajama sack head wearing kid showing up on your door. It will also make you second guess the candy you get from Trick ?r Treating (see what I did there) and if you run into a cute stranger that night.

Paranormal Activity
8 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

We all know that some relationships carry baggage. From old habits, exs, and things you did in your past that you wish to forget. However, there are somethings that stick with you and unlike those other types of baggage they never really go away.

Paranormal Activity tells the story of Micah and his girlfriend Katie as they try to figure out what has been haunting them recently. With the video camera (that I am jealous of) that Micah just purchased they plan on recording themselves sleeping to gain a better understanding of who or what is the problem. As the story progresses the phenomenon get gradually worse to someone getting possessed, the house shaking, and even an unknown presence getting into bed with them. The problem get so bad that Micah and Katie enlist the help of a psychic and even the internet to try and help them.

You wouldn?t expect Paranormal Activity was made with only a budget of only $15,000 dollars. Yes, it is shot all on a hand held camera ala Cloverfield style, but it just brings you that much more into the story. You aren?t just sitting there watching these two people be haunted. No you become the person holding the camera and experiencing what they are. Except when the camera is on the tri-pod at night. Then you become someone watching and waiting to see what will happen.

The story takes a subject that has been done to death and presents it in a new and exciting light. I don?t know if it was how the characters presented their relationship or just the build up to the ending, which in fact made me jump.

Overall, Paranormal Activity is a great way to gear you up for the Halloween season. The suspense within it will make you want to know what happens to Micah and Katie and what who ever or whatever is haunting them will do. Plus, if you are looking to have that girl you like jump and grab onto your arm this is the movie to take them to. I am also glad to see that all the hype built around this movie especially coming out of Fantasticfest wasn?t mislead information and is going beyond what people said about it.