Brian Moreland's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
½

Everything you could ask for in a new Star Wars movie. A burst of youthful energy, the perfect amount of nostalgic throwbacks, and plenty of humor and action to spare. This is the new generation of Star Wars, and I'm absolutely pumped.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence
½

A flawed but astonishing film. You will never forget it.

Crimson Peak
Crimson Peak(2015)
½

Horror with some depth. There is still a great deal of "Why would you do that?" moments, but if you can forgive that, it's quite a visually stunning and immersive experience. Yes, at it's core it is a pretty formulaic good girl meets bad guy story, but the style and setting help elevate it all a bit.

Dope
Dope(2015)

A smart, energetic twist on the raised-in-a-rough-neighborhood formula. It oozes with style and confidence and has enough heartfelt substance to make it a memorable coming-of-age film.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
½

Really fun movie. Tons of action, drama, and some humor. The acting is solid, there is immense spectacle and scope-- just not enough character development and chemistry. I can't fathom how this movie was done on a budget of just $61 million. I can't wait for the third film.

Straight Outta Compton
½

Straight Outta Compton is almost essential viewing. It does lose itself at times due to conventional storytelling, but the cast is so great and they deliver so well that it hardly matters what cliches abound. This is important subject matter.

Ted 2
Ted 2(2015)
½

I laughed fairly hard 3 times. Otherwise, it was all mere chuckling and a lot of groaning at the oddly long, overplayed dramatic lulls. I definitely don't ever need to see this movie again.

Jurassic World
½

While the characters aren't the most likable, the acting is undeniably solid. The dialogue is often overdramatic and heavy-handed, but has its moments. The saving grace is that Jurassic World has a lot of thrills that will excite you-- so long as you turn off your brain in the process.

Mad Max: Fury Road

A breathless action masterpiece. An unforgettable movie-going experience. A visually stunning wasteland dervish. The list goes on and on.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
½

This movie is very close to standing as the quintessential coming-of-age film.

Furious 7
Furious 7(2015)
½

The mayhem is so over-the-top and preposterous that I started missing the old street racing days of the first three Fast and Furious movies. Now, each successive FF flick is just going to try and out-do the past ones, which is not a good thing at all. I honestly thought I was watching a super-hero movie at one point (it involves a hulk smash moment by Vin Diesel). I would've given this movie 2 stars if it wasn't for the film's treatment of Paul Walker. The one thing that the movie does absolutely right is provide a touching and emotional tribute to Paul Walker. He's the reason you should endure the 2 hours of numbing, physics-defying action scenes.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

All spectacle, with none of the substance and powerful evocation that made the LOTR trilogy so great.

3:10 to Yuma
3:10 to Yuma(2007)
½

The two leads craft this film into an original, gripping Western hit.

Foxcatcher
Foxcatcher(2014)

Steve Carell steals the show, and that's no small feat in a film where two other actors absolutely shine. This understated performance along with the minimalistic dialogue, concise direction, and chilling tone make for an unsettling, psychological drama that is unforgettable. It's also chock full of underlying themes of family, desolation, America, and competition. It's not the most riveting, entertaining drama, but it makes for one heck of a single viewing.

John Wick
John Wick(2014)
½

Good action. No memorable action set pieces, but Keanu fits the character extraordinarily well, and the movie knows what it is.

Skyfall
Skyfall(2012)
½

The best of the Daniel Craig bond yet. And the past two were both great.

The Equalizer

Good style. Fairly engaging. Brainless script, excessive violence, and questionable plot areas hold it down.

The Maze Runner

Plenty of thrills, action, and human drama to outweigh the occasional detour into derivative dystopian territory. The acting is very solid, and the premise is very intriguing. I can't wait for the sequel!

The Great Gatsby
½

I liked this movie a lot. The cast is perfect, the visuals are wonderful, and it stays faithful to a lot of the source material. But Luhrmann under-utilizes the cast and focuses too much on the glamour.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Excessive, non-stop action, CGI, and poor acting is not what I call a good time. Not to mention it's an hour too long.

X-Men: Days of Future Past
½

Suspenseful, dense with emotion, visually impressive, and loaded with action, this is the best X-Men film yet. And the cast-- need I say more?

X-Men: First Class

Finally, an X-Men movie that revitalizes the series. McAvoy is brilliant as Professor X, but Fassbender masterfully portrays Magneto and all his struggles early on. This is a much needed prequel that definitely delivers.

300
300(2007)
½

Gerard Butler shines and gives life to this bloody war film. It's plot won't earn much praise, but the style of every scene is awesome.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
½

This is an immaculate Wes Anderson film that successfully combines his signature visuals with a touching, and sometimes hilarious, story.

The Fighter
The Fighter(2010)

A rock solid behind-the-scenes boxing drama that pays closer attention to family as opposed to the punches.

Pain & Gain
Pain & Gain(2013)

Unlike most of Bay's other works, this one has some reasonably strong social commentary, but it's all very uneven and over-the-top to a confusing extent. And I've never been a fan of his commercial-like style: there is no sense in it. The sleekness of his camerawork isn't a bad choice for this type of film, but we all know that it wasn't a conscious decision because all of his films have looked that way.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Much better than the first. There's more action, more thrills, and the presence of a certain dragon that really defines this sequel.

Her
Her(2013)

Spike Jonze's "Her" truly reaffirms his immensely unique, infectiously odd take on reality. Set decades in the future (I think), people wear pants nearly to their chests, and it's common to see someone talking via wireless phone-- not to say that we don't already have that, with bluetooth, but in the future it's more abundantly used. Phoenix's character Theordore is wrought with pain over a break-up, and he acquires a new operating system that is highly evolved as it grows by the second, learning all the time. What Phoenix does so well is portray all that goes on under the surface during his sometimes intensely awkward conversations with OS Samantha. Things do get pretty weird, and though I was thrown off and bothered by the couple of people that walked out of the theater, I also came upon a realization that technology can isolate people and take away from us true human interaction, which is why so much of the relationship between Theodore and Samantha was alarmingly bizarre. I also think Spike successfully relayed how we can learn to make our own happiness as long as we remain true and honest to ourselves and others. And even if that path of honesty can crumble at times, there will always be shoulders to lean on in the end. Anyway, fantastic screenplay, fantastic cast, particularly Phoenix and a wonderful voice-performance from Scarlett Johansson. This movie has a soul and an engagingly writhing atmosphere. It's honestly one of the best films I've ever seen.

Argo
Argo(2012)
½

People might be asking, what more could you ask for in a thriller like this? The answer is: a lot actually.

The Place Beyond The Pines
½

Officially one of my favorite movies of all time.

Elysium
Elysium(2013)
½

Elysium is a heavy action epic that never slows down. It's breathless and very engaging, but lacks depth. While the movie is a mere 97 minutes, so much happens on screen in this allotted time that it's actually overwhelming. There is no break for the characters to interact as much as they should, to make a connection to the audience. Instead, there's action sequence after action sequence, and thankfully they're awesome to watch thanks to the vicious presence of Sharlto Copley, and the typically impressive Blomkamp visuals.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
½

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has been heavily criticized for its intentionally slow pace and that fact that the actual adventure takes near an hour to take off. Well if patience were a virtue, I'd be shocked. The pace of the film was hardly problematic. Some scenes, particularly in Rivendell, dragged a bit but never enough to truly hinder the movie's entertainment value. The biggest qualms derived from Jackson's curiously streamlined take on the film-- much of the complexities I expected having read the book were hidden or nonexistent. The pale orc spoke cheesily, and I wish he wasn't all CGI because, leading into another issue, the realism was damaged in the overload of special effects. Then again, this is Middle Earth, and that fading realism isn't problematic to the more important aspects, the mystic and fantastical elements of Tolkienn's story. The visuals radiate with distinct colors, and despite their minor detaching effect, present the movie beneficially. I'm also impressed with how similar to the source material, the novel, some scenes were, especially the beginning scenes in the Baggins' home, which to my facepalming discontent, has been bashed for its length. That's a "problem" not to be overlooked nor forgiven, but understood. At times, Jackson nearly betrayed Tolkienn's work for dramatic effect, but never strayed too far long or out to really irritate book fans like myself. And lastly, I'd like to mention how well The Hobbit stands on its own feet, with an incredibly impressive lineup and portrayal of the dozen plus dwarves, especially the leader in Thorin who brings qualities of hardness and grit. Mckellen and Freeman also perform expectedly admirably. It's inevitable people will compare this to the triumphant trilogy of LOTR, and I can say that's entirely unfair because they're not apart of the same specific saga, but I can gladly affirm that The Hobbit is an ample prequel film that -- for the most part -- effectively sets the stage for two more heroic journeys that can truly compel and inspire.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
½

This is a powerful sequel reminiscent of the followup to Batman Begins, The Dark Knight. In other words, this is an improvement over its predecessor in several regards. Lawrence really shines in this one, whereas in the The Hunger Games, she was often passive and straight-faced, which made sense given the context. However, her version of Katniss in Catching Fire is highly-affected, emotionally unstable, and even slightly over-dramatized for better reason. I think it's the way Katniss should be portrayed. And the rest of the cast is perfect-- spot on and given more screen-time as well. Now, the real hook is the story. This is the spark to the series-- the breaking point where the uprising can be felt on the horizon. I love that feeling, because you can sense it coming with the opening segments of the movie, where districts begin revolting peacefully through their support for the powerful Mockingjay symbol. I'm a huge fan of this world Collins has made, as it is rich with social commentary on divisions in class and government retribution. The story, combined with Lawrence's assured art direction and a top-notch class, makes this film one of the year's best.

Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3(2013)
½

Iron Man 3 is an entertaining, albeit imperfect and somewhat messy, Marvel movie. Robert Downey Jr. expectedly delivers as Tony Stark (the man he was pretty much born to play). Though some of his jokes misfired, I think the script was to blame for lacking polish. Much of the dialogue was snappy, irrelevant, or oddly worded, or all of the above. And Shane Black's experience with action movies didn't really help with his direction. The action often had little to no build up, and some plot elements often struck me as weird or unnecessary. Fortunately, Black does give Iron Man 3 a heavy dose of spectacular action set pieces-- this is where majority of the entertainment value comes from. And for most Marvel movie fans, what more could they ask for?

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight is the masterpiece batman has always deserved. It's the best comic book film of all time.

The Adjustment Bureau

Nolfi's debut film is actually quite an impressive thriller. The chemistry between the two leads is certainly alive. Odd plot twists, however, tend to hinder some of the more dramatic scenes. And the ending is somewhat disappointing given the interesting premise and potential behind the concepts, which are also underdeveloped. However, Matt Damon and Emily Blunt offer their acting prowess to guide this wandering film into moderate success. It's a stronger debut than most as The Adjustment Bureau does manage to find its own unique style and perfect score for the moods.

The Last Airbender

The movie stays true to the source's plot, but the acting is atrocious, and so is the pace of the entire movie. It's like a rushed summary of the first season of the show that's difficult to comprehend. Some special effects yell "budget cut." Overall, the film stays true to the series for the most part, but fails to deliver cinema mastery.

Marvel's The Avengers

The Avengers is a relentlessly thrilling, and tremendous in scope. It's a mighty superhero movie with infinite entertainment value, and I can't wait to see what comes next from Marvel.

World War Z
World War Z(2013)

World War Z is an action-packed zombie epic. It's not the ultimate zombie apocalypse movie due to its jarring tonal shift towards the end, and a few loose ends here and there, but it's solid entertainment, well worth admission.

Blame It on Fidel (La Faute a Fidel)

Blame It on Fidel is a sweet film that provides social commentary while never straying far from a lightheartedness. Kervel is truly stunning in her performance as the ever-curious Anna, and by her fearsome gaze, I can see a bright, bright future for her.

Winnie the Pooh
½

Who can hate the Pooh?

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Boasting incredible animation and fight sequences, FFVII - Advent Children is a fairly good action film, aside from some squandering moments in dialogue and a convoluted plot.

Hero
Hero(2004)
½

With a story of intrigue and complexity, and fight scenes that are visually lush and stunning, Hero is one of the greatest Martial Arts movies of all time. It is poetic, meaningful-- an experience unlike any other, and this level of uniqueness is uncommon with the derivative nature of the genre. To put in plain and simple, this is an incredible feat of a movie, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

The Dark Knight Rises
½

The Dark Knight Rises has the impossible job of out-doing its masterful predecessor. Well, it doesn't. The Dark Knight is still, in my book, the greatest comic book movie ever made. BUT, this is till an awesome movie. Let me put it this way: Batman Begins is a 4 star movie, The Dark Knight is 5 stars, and this is 4 and a half. Whereas The Dark Knight contains a mentally daunting adversary in the form of the criminal we all know, The Dark Knight Rises pits batman against a terrorist-like foe who boasts brute force rather than intellectual weapons-- Bane, the villain, embodies the movie quite well. It's an action packed epic, shorter on all the complex crime drama from the last entry. I'm actually glad Nolan made this departure because if he tried digging deeper into the hole, this could have been an overly dark and grim film. Instead he opted for batman's ascension, hence the "Rises" in the title. And this is truly batman transcendent as the story revolves largely around his embraced duty to protect without reward, to let one's fear become one's armor, etc., bringing these philosophies to light in ways the other two movies could not. And most importantly, The Dark Knight Rises ends in an unforgettable way, ending the legacy, and this awesome trilogy, with a conclusion that is hopeful, saddening, and utterly compelling.

Batman Begins

Easily the best Batman movie to date, Nolan's vision gives viewers a taste of who the comic book hero really is. Christian Bale plays a perfect lead man and the two villains provide excellent vile. However, it devolves in the final act when it succumbs to dumbed explosions and action that seems uncharacteristic for a hero like batman to engage in.

Never Back Down
½

It's thrilling at times, but it's so derivative of other films of this genre that I couldn't connect with the characters and the story.

2 Guns
2 Guns(2013)

The two leads are the only reason this movie is somewhat entertaining. The rest of the action, story, and characters are sub-par.

Pacific Rim
Pacific Rim(2013)

Pacific Rim has everything I expected. It's full of incredibly thrilling and visually gorgeous battle scenes on a grander than grand scale. The presence of the Kaiju and Jaegers on screen is enough to leave an unsettling feeling in Michael Bay's stomach alone. Besides that, there is a heart underneath all the rock-em sock-emness. The idea of a "drift" between the minds of the two pilots, a clever ploy for character development, is unique and interesting-- we see into the minds of the heroes, understand them more and therefore feel more attached to them. By no means are we left in tears, the idea isn't developed enough to provoke that intense an emotion, but it's far better than most would expect. There's also plenty of goofiness largely thanks to Day and Gorman's high strung interactions. While these characters are fleshed out well, I feel del Toro really missed an opportunity to makes even bigger waves had he given some of the relationships more screen time. But overall, this movie is two thousand tons of fun, and it's a real shame that this movie will underperform in the box office due to the talented competition of Adam Sandler and friends.

The To Do List

All too often it gives in to convention with cliched dialogue and characters that are so familiar. There are moments of surprising creativity-- a few jokes had me wondering if I had heard or seen anything like it. Aubrey Plaza's straight-faced, deadpan demeanor works well for her main role, I only wish she had more to work with.

Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump(1994)

Forrest Gump is excessively sentimental and repetitive, but if you can see through some of the fogginess, it's a lovely character portrait, an ode to a highly influential time period, and a compelling adventure.

The Pianist
The Pianist(2002)

The Pianist is a moving, somber portrait that prides itself in depicting the nuances of struggles and humanity in the holocaust. Brody delivers the performance of his career as the pianist, surviving amidst despair and destruction. It is so realistic, I could almost tell someone that watching this movie is to watch history as it unfolded. It's the harrowing truth-- dark, compelling, and most significantly, haunting.

This Is the End

Downright hilarious. I saw an early screening of this in April, and I was stoked to see this huge cast refer to each other by their actual names-- I wasn't disappointed. They often parodied themselves, made awesome pokes at past work like The Pineapple Express, and indulged in some heavy vulgar (which I was fine with). The special effects are inconsistent, and some cameos aren't utilized well, but there are so many cameos, so much star power used so assuredly that I'm convinced this is the best comedy of 2013, and we're only halfway through the year.

Fast & Furious 6
½

An action packed thrill-ride, I got what I expected, nothing less. Though it's not as much fun as Fast Five, it has plenty of twists, jokes, and grand set pieces to keep the formula interesting. And the ending is exciting for the future of the franchise.

Real Steel
Real Steel(2011)

With a stellar lead in Hugh Jackman, Real Steel hits with heavy blows, delivering thrilling fights and some heartfelt drama. Along with a promising young boy on the rise and some hilarious scenes, this film struggles with a decent script, only occasionally disappointing. Overall, I'm pretty impressed.

Star Trek Into Darkness
½

This is a stellar sequel that solidifies its entry in the Star Trek canon with brilliant performances (particularly from Cumberpatch), spectacular action sequences accompanied by jaw-dropping visuals, and enough references to satisfy dedicated Star Trek fans. This is the best movie of 2013 thus far.

2012
2012(2009)
½

An utterly predictable, CGI-loaded robot with little emotional capacity and a programmed heart. The script is full of unnecessary lines, most of which aggravated me, and only Cusack shined as a decent actor.

Collateral
Collateral(2004)
½

I really enjoyed the interaction between the two leads; they stole the scenes with their fulfillment of the nervous driver and the cold-blooded, disturbingly wise killer. The subtleties in the evolution of their relationship, which edged friendship near the end but collapsed upon a certain revelation which I will not entail, thoroughly impressed and engaged me. But with that ending, I felt the movie devolved into a frenetic thriller instead of opting for something that would've changed the game for the genre, which the first half truly set up for. Yet the symbolism, chemistry among the leads, and surging thrills sanction Collateral a lucid, impressive crime drama.

Shanghai Knights

Shanghai Knights isn't a fantastic movie, but it is very good thanks to the dynamic duo of Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson. They draw in some big laughs with their easy and simple chemistry, and I thoroughly enjoy the amount of references in the movie. Many of them are clever, witty, and a ton of fun, and only some occasionally misfire. Aside from the goodhearted humor, the action is awesome as expected with the presence of Chan, and he performs in some brilliant set pieces. Overall, I love Shanghai Knights for the pure, often clever fun of it; there's plenty to be entertained by, and a very likable cast at the forefront.

Quantum of Solace

The action is more frequent this time around, but Bond's brooding and vengeful motives drive this film into success. Revenge, as the protagonist's motivation, is common in all forms of storytelling, yet with Bond it's a formula that matches more correctly with his persona. He's always been a relatively distant man in terms of emotion, so the scheme of seeking vengeance for a lost loved one raises interesting questions about the cool and skilled spy we all love. So Quantum of Solace manages to serve as a follow-up to the events of Casino Royale, and a possible preliminary to the next round, which could then close the distance between us and Bond, thanks to the story alone. There are areas lacking in patience and therefore polish or consideration: the running time, for example, is short due to the condensed and furiously quick action scenes, which make out the movie to be an action flick. James Bond movies shouldn't been this short, in my opinion-- 2 hours should be the minimum. Overall, though, it's a fine Bond episode.

The Fifth Element
½

Rarely can I tolerate watching the same movie on a weekly basis; I can confidently say that I could watch The Fifth Element over and over and still be entertained by the 50th session. Besson's poppy, energetic, and colorful sci-fi adventure crafts a genuinely interesting future sprawling with the talent of Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman, Ian Holm, and even Chris Tucker. Many scenes progress like montages that are smoothly transitioned thanks to a silly, yet smart script. There's plenty of humor, much of it from comic relief Tucker or Holm, a good dose of action consisting of Willis kicking alien ass, a decent depth of drama, and even some romance. To summarize, the entertainment value of this movie is off the charts, and the cast and creative direction of the movie's world all supply it with a uniquely inspired, but by no means game-changing, take on science fiction. I for one love the hyper style and cyber-punk influence. The Fifth Element is one of my all time favorites.

Oz the Great and Powerful
½

Oz the Great and Powerful is not a great movie, but it is pretty good. The dialogue is questionable, at times, for its quality and necessity, specifically in scenes that attempt to be humorous; there are several "funny" moments that just completely misfired. The small ounce of comedy was fairly inconsistent as well, using slapstick, dark, and other varieties for an odd blend. And there's not much action-- this may not be bad, but if you're expecting an epic, roaring battle of a film, look elsewhere. Lastly (spoiler alert), Mila Kunis's casting as the wicked witch felt completely wrong. Her voice, while shrieking her filth, was underwhelming. It's not her fault though; whoever cast her really goofed. On the bright side, the visuals are, expectantly, gorgeous. Some of the CGI can be overwhelming or too cartoony, but overall the technical aspect of the movie really carries it through much of the way. And the rest of the cast, despite some uninspired acting, perform pleasantly. Franco seems fit for the role, and the story, though highly familiar in its turnouts, sets up for a cool finale. So, Oz is not great, despite his efforts-- he'll have to settle for good.

Stardust
Stardust(2007)
½

It doesn't reinvigorate the fantasy genre by any means, but it's an entertaining journey.

21 And Over
21 And Over(2013)

Raunchy, rude, and downright hilarious at its finest moments, 21 and Over delivers on fast-riding teenage angst and thrills far more than Project X while retaining a reliably funny formula. Let me clear this out, however: there are many, many conventions and cliches in this movie. Practically every scene feels reminiscent, sometimes overly so. In other words, this is recycled material; fortunately for us, the three leading men are talented and quite hysterical together. They don't deliver star-making performances, but they nicely complement the fresher takes on the film's conventions and the heartfelt moments. Good comedy watch overall, but not on grounds with more original gut-busters.

High School Musical
½

Not half bad. It's harmless fun, extremely cheesy but alluring with its charming, enthusiastic cast and radiant, original tunes.

Warm Bodies
Warm Bodies(2013)

Warm Bodies is one of the most heartfelt and thoughtful take on comedy-romance. It has the guts (sorry, I couldn't resist) to distort a cold, dark genre by layering it with subtle wit and an undying sweetness that overall defines the film. Sweet is a term that shouldn't be associated with a zombie movie, but thanks to Levine's storytelling prowess, Hoult's impressive ability to convey emotions with his eyes and single word lines, and Palmer's very human acting, this zombie rom-com overcomes its predictability -- for the most part -- with a warm heart.

21 Jump Street
½

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill make for a likeable duo. Also, the cool cameos and cool blend of action and humor make 21 Jump Street quite a fun ride.

Anchorman - The Legend Of Ron Burgundy

It's no wonder Anchorman has garnered a cult of dedicated followers. The news parody is jammed with effective jokes that do stupid right. Legendary!

Treasure Planet

Treasure Planet is a beautiful vision of a fantastical dream set in the future. Among space pirates, treasure, and stargazers, this is a tremendous thrill ride worthy of the classical Disney animation canon even if the gap is somewhat profound.

Mulan
Mulan(1998)
½

Mulan has a lovable group of characters, specifically Mushu, and promotes honorable messages with a distinct flavor for slightly maturer themes. Not all the songs are tremendously fun, but by the standards of Disney classics that's what we've come to expect. So, it's not the best Disney has to offer, but it's among the top tier.

Aladdin
Aladdin(1992)

A timeless Arabic adventure that dazzles with Disney's signature enthusiasm and silliness, while also laying out a lineup of memorable characters who people can adore or despise.

Fast Five
Fast Five(2011)

Finally departing from over seriousness, Fast Five takes the series into a welcome direction that does what the series has done best: it dishes out the exciting thrills of unabashed speed racing in cool cars while packing in some fun on the side. The Rock is used perfectly as Diesel's foe, especially considering their fight scene. The cast also act cartoonishly well amongst the unleashed element of this movie, providing big laughs and more entertainment than the series has ever seen. Fast Five is a ton of fun, and though some segments remind of of the dreadfully wooden predecessors, I was highly thrilled by this blazing addition to the long-running racing series.

Changeling
Changeling(2008)

A moving tale from the eyes of a struggling woman, Changeling is a well-rounded movie with the drama and suspense of a top-notch docudrama and the heart of a seasoned Eastwood for sound enough direction.

Star Trek
Star Trek(2009)
½

This blazing reboot breathes fresh air into the grand universe of Star Trek with a film that kicks off what looks to be the most potent saga in the franchise's history. The cast performs at high caliber under Abram's sturdy wing, whose lens glares, galore, actually accent the spatial scenes quite well. And all the characters were given room to showcase their personality, allowing viewers to invest more into this movie. Seeing these characters-- who grown on us progressively-- dive into terrifying obstacles from circumstance (which add on to the grand scope) is alarmingly terrifying for us as viewers as well, and just as exhilarating. In fact, there wasn't a minute I wasn't engrossed, enthralled, or enveloped by the universe. Plus, the visuals are some of the best I've ever seen, on par with Avatar. Fantastic movie all around.

Gangster Squad

Laden with some ultra corny dialogue and over-the-top violence, Gangster Squad managed to reach just beyond convention with its alluring cast and their performances, and the sheer strength of some of the scenes despite the lack of cohesion between them all. Gosling is as charming as ever, and my guy friends will agree with me in saying that "Gosling....he is so hot right now." Alongside the dreamy crimson bombshell in Stone, they delivered some flavor for the viewers to savor. Their characters were given just enough room to develop, but I feel the rest of the squad, including leader Brolin who was curiously blank much of the time, didn't get the back story or spotlight they deserved. Even Sean Penn's baddie character could've done with some more taunting and explosively cruel dialogue because I did enjoy what little vile spewing I saw from him. The comical humor was a welcome element for the entertainment value, and the violence was overbearing at times but usually enthralled more. And the finale finished this mixed bag with quite a bang. So would I recommend it, yes, but just barely.

Jack Reacher
Jack Reacher(2012)
½

Jack Reacher managed to impress and piss me off at the same time. The title character, though sometimes funny with his cleverness and cool demeanor, never really blew me away-- he lacked consistency with his motives and behavior, and often resorted to cheesy one-liners, indicative of the movies' cliches and therefore lack of creativity that would've propelled this crime drama to greater heights. The chase scene, in all its cheesy and overlong glory, sealed the deal on my judgment. There was some fun to be had, though uncommon: Robert Duvall brought an expected drought of old-fashioned wit, while one scene, with a hat, pulled in big laughs due to the level of preposterous it found. Forgetful entertainment at its finest.

Django Unchained

Django Unchained is truly about Django being unchained-- I applaud Tarantino for offering audiences the truest depiction of a title I've ever seen. And his style is very evident here: tall font texts, gushing blood and gore, brutal memories/flashbacks, and unwavering diction. This is nearly all Tarantino, and though that's mostly good, I noticed what pure Tarantino can cost for his movies. For one, the overuse of his word "n***er" disgusted me. I don't care if it's just a movie and that the word was used purely for the purpose of the story-- that's an obscene and extremely offensive word. I'm sure he had the full intention, not to offend obviously, to use the word to convey the ignorance of the people during the time period the movie is set in, and how freely the people, both black and white, threw the word around. His intention, however, isn't the best when I see others in the movie theater shaking their heads in anger, some even leaving. That's unacceptable to me. But aside from my problem with that specific word, I also observed Tarantino's almost unwillingness to expand on his style by operating further into his skillsets. He's a darkly comic director, and the elements I listed before support that label. So why not be more dark and comical (and that doesn't mean using more profane language)? I was hoping for a more darkly hilarious end to Candie's life, and more wit from Schultz who was borderline his character from Inglorious Basterds in the way that he conversed. Tarantino didn't break his own chain in creating Django Unchained, but he did succeed in bringing to life an entertaining Spaghetti western (call it a parody) movie.

This is 40
This is 40(2012)

Apatow gears himself with they heavy obstacle being life itself. With This is 40, he establishes himself as a consistently thoughtful comedy filmmaker with a strong penchant for subtleties and relatable elements. It is one heck of a mess-- sometimes wandering, other times linearly bent towards one goal: This is 40 is definitely not the director's best nor is it the funniest film of the year. What this movie is speaks for itself through its self-awareness in its leads and their ability to act so casually, we the audience feel almost in their shoes, almost. So for a mixed package that tries to effectively depict the ups and qualms, and more importantly the lives of middle-aged people-- not to mention people in general-- This is 40 offers decent fare.

Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2(2010)
½

Jon Favreu, at times, had a little too much fun with his direction of Iron Man 2. Some action scenes verged on silly, making me worried about the loathing idea of the Iron Man series devolving into Transformers, idiotic robots and all. Thankfully, Downey Jr., Cheadle, and Rourke held the film steady. The movie's story itself lacked punch, especially with the final fight scene given a a disappointing two minute length. And though some of the action was just goofy, primarily due to Happy Hogan, most of it rocked. While it's no Dark Knight, it's not half bad.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

A few moments of pointless banter can't ruin the fun action after action sequence. Harris nicely complements the wise-cracking Downey Jr. in a decent sequel.

Les MisÚrables
½

Les Miserables, though inflated and sometimes manipulative, faithfully adapts what has been deemed a classic story about poverty, revolution, redemption, etc. I've never seen any other adaptations nor read the source material of Les Miserables, but I was enthralled and mesmerized by the movie's story and fantastic performances. Jackman played lost soul Valjean with precision while Hathaway gave her all, body and heart, to play the desperate mother Fantine. The rest of the cast, and I struggled to find one actor who didn't act at an enormous level, performed with absolute brilliance. The main characters were given room to shine in their own spotlights, which allowed for depth in character development. I was therefore much more invested in the compelling stories of the individuals, and felt a powerful gratification. I know Hooper's direction has been criticized for its lack of focus and conciseness, but I was thoroughly impressed by his vision and felt his guidance propelled the film to immaculate heights. The two things he did struggle to balance were the length, which was more faithful to the source but slightly suffered as big screen treatment, and the false sentiment provoked by the glazing eyes and tears of some of the confession-ridden monologues lacking in sufficient build-up, but this was occasional-- so, I have little to complain about on both of my qualms. Overall, Les Miserables is a beautiful, sweeping marvel of a film that succeeds largely on the strength of its alluring cast and devastatingly enlightening story. It's not only far and away the best musical of 2012. but the best musical I've ever seen.

The Innkeepers

This is recycled, reused, and uninspired work that simply follows the conventions of suspense/horror films and lets the audience determine whether they're content with the usual genre movie, or if they're disappointed by the lack of originality and uniqueness. I was among the disappointed, the majority. Surely Ti West is a potent director, but The Innkeepers is nowhere near a great horror movie.

Jingle All the Way
½

While better than most Christmas family flicks, Jingle All the Way struggles to find its way through the cliches and conventional humors of the genre. It's rather charming and energetic at times, though, which is why it's bearable yet far from good.

The King's Speech

Highly predictable because it actually happened, for the most part. The unsung tale of two very different men comes to life through the brilliant performances of Firth and Rush, who delivered more than just fine acting. I was convinced they were the men they played, and in the process, I was captivated by the daunting realness and accurate portrayals, to the point where all the other stuff turned to cherries on the sundae. The other impressive stuff consisted of camerawork, which was executed in immensely creative fashion, and a patient pace thanks to Hooper. The lovely score accompanied well the humorous, brisk scenes between the two leads. Splendid movie in nearly every regard, and one that deserves its praise.

Safe House
Safe House(2012)

When Denzel Washington is cast to portray a badass antagonist, the director has to make sure not to spoil the talent- in this case, it seemed easy to do just that. Well, somehow Daniel Espinosa managed to develop an underwhelming display from two should-be great leads. Ryan Reynolds was somewhat impressive, playing to his natural strengths, a victimized man caught in a tough place. Denzel, on the other hand, gave his standard, high-caliber of acting but wasn't given much to begin with, and it's quite shameful because Safe House had so much potential, but ended up merely a passable action flick with nothing memorable or extraordinary.

In conclusion, Safe House could've been so much more-- perhaps a deep and thoughtful thriller consisting of a dutiful man finding purpose versus a twisted mastermind criminal whose brutality knows no bounds-- but settles with providing only momentary thrills.

Moneyball
Moneyball(2011)
½

Succeeding where other baseball movies have failed, Moneyball ascends through the lack-of-depth barrier with smoothness and prime direction. Brad Pitt brings his A game, and Miller provides patience and a slow build-up with masterful ease. This is coming from someone who has never been a fan of baseball, which leaves me thoroughly impressed with the greatness of this movie and its ability to patiently weave a story together without resorting to problematic provokings of cheap sentiment.

Life of Pi
Life of Pi(2012)

Life of Pi receives a beautifully filmed adaptation that surpasses expectations in regards mostly pertaining to visuals. Dozens of moments are awe-inspiring and utterly dazzling. The animations are fluid and extremely life-like, and the acting is up to par with the technical mastery of this movie. And though the movie does tend to manipulate the viewer at times by assuming they've fallen for the film's demanding message and ideal, Ang Lee has succeeded in taming an impossibly hard story.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Filled with awesome drift races and beautiful women. This movie is a hit with teens, especially the guys. It's wildly entertaining fun, still lacking a brain however and the acting is often wooding and uninspired.

Blood Diamond

There is, at times, an overwhelming abundance of melodramatic violence and almost exploited depiction of genocide in Africa. Fortunately, the three main performances are compelling enough to push the story along, and it builds up to a satisfyingly moving finale.

Wreck-it Ralph

It's energetic fun with plenty of chuckles, some big laughs, and a consistently thrilling script supplied with handsomely polished visuals. There are many clever pokes at video games and inevitable references which is a nice, welcome touch. The characters, particularly Ralph, are likable and guide the sometimes uneven plot to a sweetly predictable ending. Overall, Wreck-it Ralph isn't a wreck at all.

The Amazing Spider-Man

This blazing reboot nearly reinvigorates the Spiderman franchise which last ended on a bit of a sour note with the mess of Spiderman 3. Garfield, Stone, and the rest of the cast is brilliant, and Webb made sure to provide ample room for character development. The action is astounding and the visuals are colorful and bright, but the film is quite messy at times and several scenes seem to have been cut through very roughly, lacking consistent flow and smoothness. And the villain, despite the good chunk of time focused on his transformation, never really captured the same level of despair as the Green Goblin and Doc Ock. Nonetheless, The Amazing Spiderman is a solid reboot, though it wasn't really necessary.

Titanic
Titanic(1997)
½

Grand scale and glowing chemistry triumphs in Cameron's epic. DiCaprio debuts with an older Winslet with charisma and attention to detail, while his counterpart portrays the anti-damsel in distress with admirable grace. And despite the sometimes uneasy blend of melodramatic romance and special-effect heavy disaster scenes, Titanic succeeds as the classic it sought to be.

The Mist
The Mist(2007)
½

The slow, intense pace of the film, aside from the scary action scenes, create an eerie sense of horrow and suspense.

A Knight's Tale
½

A Knight's Tale has high spirits and an enjoyable cast at the mantle. And the thrills aren't limited to the jousting scenes, as there are some very funny moments and love interests at work. It's absolutely predictable and formulaic in several regards, but the stylish take on a knight's story is very fun.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End
½

It can be confusing at times, but the stellar battle scenes and multiple plot twists give viewers another thrilling adventure.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
½

The fourth pirate installment isn't a total failure as it pumps and delivers the usual swashbuckling action and usual Depp reminiscent of the previous titles. However, the simplified plot removes any sense of discovery or secrecy from the formula. Marshall provides uninspired direction, seemingly satisfied with meandering the scenes along at the pace of the scripts with hardly any standout style or humor. This film also suffers from the lack of two characters played by Ms. Knightley and Mr. Bloom. Penelope Cruz tries her best, and so does Ian McShane (who probably fares the best of them all); but, despite their efforts, "Stranger Tides" turns out to be mediocre.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

The sequel has fantasy mixed in now, but remains faithful to pirate lore while blending in darker humor and more intense action. While others shake their heads at the sci-fi qualities being implemented, I nod in approval at the boldness of the direction into new seas. A slight improvement over its predecessor.

School of Rock

Jack Black's enthusiasm carries this film through its predictable moments and he provides plenty of silliness for good laughs.

Hulk
Hulk(2003)
½

In one scene, the Hulk fights three giant, mutated dogs. One of them is a poodle. Not to undermine the ideas, but aside from odd plot elements, the amount of talking exceeding the amount of superhero action was perplexing.

Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas(2012)

Cloud Atlas squanders much of its sleek storytelling and polished visuals with abrupt transitions, obvious lack of depth, and absent cohesion. But through its sheer spectacle, brilliantly versatile cast and entrancing messages, it emerges in artistry. The coinciding stories are told through a novel-writers tongue, bearing no regard to people of underdeveloped English-- this is an admirable trait, as the diction and dialogue provided the stories ample stylish measure. Ambitious is too little a word for this sprawling epic of a film; by no means is it a masterpiece, but by no means is it not a beautifully made movie.

Austin Powers in Goldmember
½

It prides itself in parodying itself, despite it being a parody of other stuff.

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

The laughs are greater this time around, but a lot of the jokes drag on.

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Austin Powers' goofball humor and hilarious cast propel this comedy beyond most others.

Daredevil
Daredevil(2003)
½

Daredevil suffers from serious underdevelopment for characters and is an overall underwhelming experience. The actors fit their roles well, but the direction isn't focused. It's almost like a Spiderman wannabe flick that couldn't find its own unique way of portraying a rather intriguing comic book hero.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
½

The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows the story of Charlie, a troubled individual who enters high school hoping to start afresh and make no enemies while attempting to forget about a traumatic experience in his past. Chbosky, who takes his story, and it's direction, under his wing to give it the most justifiable translation to the big screen-- and, not only does he succeed in channeling the coming of age journey, but he manages to provoke feelings of pure nostalgia, not exposed through cheesiness and cheap sentiment, as well as sincerely relatable aspects. The mixture of oddball humor, teenage blunders, and sadly realistic transpirations delivers a sense of "infinite" emotions. Not to mention the cast is perfectly fit for their roles and provides the film with variety, eccentricity, and liveliness beyond that of most. Days later I feel this movie affecting my mind with its lingering, lasting messages on the sensitivity and unavoidable issues of youth, but most importantly, of us as growing people.

Looper
Looper(2012)

Looper is a visually brilliant experience that off visceral appeals and straightforward, brutal action. Joseph Gordon-Levitt conquered his role with a casual grace, proving that he is a virtuoso of variety who can excel beyond the tropes of comedy and nonviolent drama. His elder counterpart Bruce Willis provides his character with the necessary grit and seasoned wit to perfectly capture his shattered portrayal of a victimized, broken man. Under Johnson's focused creative direction, this film thrives through embracingly abrupt montages of cascading sequences that build up to, or lead back to, a powerful finale.

Alice in Wonderland
½

A messy, somewhat detached film that has vibrant colors and animations, but peculiar mishaps that raise questions of its direction and ambiguous message.

Iron Man
Iron Man(2008)
½

Downey Jr. plays Iron Man in a dazzling way.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
½

With incredible CGI and some unique storytelling components, Wyatt's Apes film rises to far greater heights than its' predecessors. Franco acts at his usual sublime, and Pinto throws in some charm- but, Andy Serkis is simply brilliant. Also, there is on point in the film that will send shivers done your spine. Overall, I am highly impressed with this intelligently developed film and am now eagerly anticipating Wyatt's take on the sequel.

End of Watch
End of Watch(2012)
½

End of Watch is cop thriller at its absolute finest. It is packed with little jokes and one-liners that'll make you spit your drink from laughter. The main men, an audacious young duo, perform enormously and with sheer grace in ease. Without them, this film honestly wouldn't have been nearly as good-- their smooth chemistry, friendly punches, and realism are superbly enacted in a well directed, but heavily character-driven story. I wasn't only entertained by the well-matched companions but enthralled by the tense situations; hardly believable, they still managed to intricately develop character and allow the viewer to be swept into the heavy world surrounding these cops. So, overall I'm very pleased that this film has exceeded my expectations through fantastic acting, intense and gut-wrenching action sequences, and some hilarious dialogue; End of Watch is undoubtedly one of my favorite watches this year.

The Raid: Redemption
½

This has some of the best action sequences in any form of entertainment I've ever seen. It could very well be the best in terms of action: the choreography was unbelievably good, and the acting fine as well. My few problems came from inconsistency in transitions, which were often rough or simply unsuitable for the prior/upcoming scene. My next concern came from the slightly underdeveloped exposition, or back story. There could have been much more depth to the intriguing villain and his plot, but his reign, physically, ended rather swiftly and with a kick to the wind. I would have liked to see a more malicious underlying story but whatever-- the action delivered pure thrills, shivers, and claps.

Remember the Titans

Though cliche-ridden and predictable, Remember the Titans proves inspirational and thrilling. Denzel Washington plays the role of a steadfast, headstrong coach with ease and near perfection, while the attitudes of the other cast members pitch together well for great enthusiasm. The social messages are spread evenly and conveyed with focus and morality rather than cloying sentimentality. With an awesome ensemble, appropriate soundtrack, and riveting drama, this is a football movie that will always be remembered.

Tower Heist
Tower Heist(2011)
½

Nothing particularly unique or surprising, but Tower Heist is a signature Ratner film, filled with decently fun scenes, supported by a nice cast. Some good laughs. But despite the efforts of the embracingly formulaic direction, Tower Heist isn't quite as, well, fun as it should be.

The Hunger Games
½

The Hunger Games emerges victorious by its grand spectacle alone. The cast delivers nearly flawless acting, particularly from Lawrence who impressed me with her adaption of the lead. The future society is beautifully rendered. Having not read the books, I was on the edge of my seat for much of the film. This is heart-pounding action and drama at its rawest capacity. There is nothing stopping this girl, and nothing stopping me from watching the eagerly anticipated sequel.

The Dictator
The Dictator(2012)
½

Crude, disgusting, and vulgar- just the way I like it. Cohen returns in top form to deliver a hilarious mock film on the typical, modern dictator....well, sort of. Yes, there is plenty of recycled material and signs of wear from the crazy Sacha; regardless, this is a ton of fun but not for the faint of heart.

Project X
Project X(2012)
½

Don't get me wrong, the party spotlit in this movie would be kick-ass to participate in, but as the central theme for a movie, it just doesn't work at all, especially with largely inconsistent jokes and just plain dumb direction.

A Cool Dry Place
½

Overly melodramatic at times, but much more believable than more of the loved melodramas of our time. Vince Vaughn performed brilliantly as a fully-fleshed out father. As a human drama, I found myself more impressed than disappointed.

John Carter
John Carter(2012)
½

Highly underrated, John Carter, the legend to influence all others, offers a sprawling journey through a brilliantly rendered Mars. The visuals alone are nearly enough to carry the film. And though the story line bodes over-familiarity, the world around the plot has me satisfied and ready for a sequel.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
½

I asked for my money back....even though I got in for free.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

It's not surprising this sequel made less money than it's superior predecessor, which wasn't the greatest film either. However, the amount of action helps this movie edge towards the better side of the rating scale.

Hot Rod
Hot Rod(2007)
½

The silly, crude, and obnoxious humor, unsurprisingly, left the audience in an almost perfect split-- one side was laughing uncontrollably during one of the many funny moments, and the other was sitting in utter confusion or impatience with the immaturity of the whole thing. This is really a film for younger people who can laugh at stupid stuff, because there's a lot if it in this movie. Those who can't tolerate that kind of humor shouldn't have even seen a movie called "Hot Rod" in the first place.

Super 8
Super 8(2011)
½

The bright, young cast, guided by the brilliant J.J. Abrams, give the story a strong sense of innocence and nostalgia, reminiscent of the E.T days. Unlike M. Night Shyamalan, Abrams takes a range of new actors and propels them to great heights for a spectacular debut (look at "The Last Airbender"). Aside from incredible acting, the film offers plenty of unexpected laughs, thrilling action sequences, and human drama- a much needed component in an alien Sci-Fi flick. Mint!

In Time
In Time(2011)

Squandered potential at its very best, In Time begins with promise and slowly treads downhill. What could have been a unique story with an intriguing message devolves into mild chase maneuvers and unpleasing action. The cast is great, but they are not allowed to shine through a dull script and utter misuse of a cool concept.

Remember the Daze

There's really no clear direction or significant points sounded, it's just like remembering something out of a dream from back in the day. It's actually believable in many regards, and that's power for me. So, despite the aimless plot, which seems suspiciously deliberate, Remember the Daze is something of a modern-day high school dream.

Ted
Ted(2012)
½

Smart-ass references, crude remarks, and a silly yet promising premise make Ted feel like a long, live-action episode of Family Guy, and that's just fine. Heck, there were even many voice actors from the show who starred in this movie, Mila Kunis and Patrick Warburton included. It's good fun overall, but I felt sorry for the woman who brought in her kids for this movie thinking it was a children's movie.....but then again, Ted has a beer in his hands in every movie poster so she should've known better.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

The brilliant cast helps outshine the sketchy aspects of one of the best romantic comedies in recent years.

Hotel Rwanda
Hotel Rwanda(2004)
½

Hotel Rwanda takes advantage of it's important, powerful subject matter by displaying the mere truth of it. There is no major emphasis on style or creative camerawork, just conventional technicalities for a vital story that should be upheld with more praise. When a story thrives, so does the movie. Don Cheadle performs brilliantly as the constantly struggling owner of a once shining hotel turn refugee camp where he is forced to dig deep into the depths of himself as a man, father, and leader. The result of his work, along with Terry George's more realistic approach, has left me riveted.

Children of Men

Children of Men is the most realistic depiction of the future I've ever seen. Cuaron doesn't squander the setting he intelligently created and manages to take political intrigue, societal philosophies, riveting action and genuine drama and blend them all together into a perfectly sized, lasting story. Visions like this are difficult to come by; only in special men can you find traces of true filmmaking mastery. Alfonso Cuaron has me convinced that he's one of, if not the, best in the business, period. The high caliber of storytelling is seemingly automatic with him, and I mean that in the most gracious way. And the significance of hope, a commonly used v. Children of Men, Cuaron's ultimate fusion of puzzlingly powerful set-pieces, admonishing visions, and believable characters has me thoroughly invigorated and relieved that someone in Hollywood is still capable of producing quality stories.

Prometheus
Prometheus(2012)

Though it provided less shocks than expected, the thrilling intensity more than compensated. The movie, as a whole, is an ambitious spectacle that many should marvel at. Ridley successfully delivers the engaging prequel he promised.

The Five-Year Engagement
½

Segel, unsurprisingly, brought his easy charm to bode well with a graceful Blunt in a sweet, musing comedy with plenty of romance for the ladies.

Howl's Moving Castle

Storytelling mastery, by none other than Miyazaki.

Contagion
Contagion(2011)

Contagion is a realistic, fairly intelligent film that doesn't really break the standards of epidemic movies, especially with the common scenes of boredom, but doesn't fail to deliver a scary depiction of what could be.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

It still has too many silly characters and unnecessary jokes, but the acting has reached its peak, and so have the incredible action scenes that have defined the Transformers series.

Horrible Bosses

A consistently funny film with a few too many nasty jokes, but not enough to spoil memorable performances from a talented cast. The whole crazed adventure idea with three male leads is similar to The Hangover, though the premise is quite different.

The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers tries to deliver a stylized update with a modernized sense, only to fail miserably. The uninspired script and non-stop cliches, as well as some outright randomness scattered throughout the film, made me laugh quite hard. The imagination and inventiveness is there, but the execution is completely off.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
½

I find it humorous when people compare this film to Harry Potter, because, in terms of quality, the HP films are far superior.

Clash of the Titans

It should be an engaging journey of epic proportions, but instead, the Clash of the Titans remake is cliched, simple-minded, and full of uninspired dialogue. Sure, some very cool ideas are implemented, but the execution couldn't be any worse. Anything that could go wrong with this movie, goes wrong.

We Bought a Zoo

Though it's not as uplifting as it should be, We Brought a Zoo should produce many smiles. Matt Damon gives a heartfelt performance, and along with Scar Jo's sweetness, Crowe is able to freely express himself through them. Not the feel-good movie of the century, but not the weakest contender.

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol
½

Filled with edge-of-your-seat action and mind-blowing set pieces, M:! Ghost Protocol is the best of the series. Brad Bird successfully translates his unrealistic yet stylish and invigorating demeanor which hits an all-time high of ridiculousness and awesomeness. The cast is extremely loveable, and Renner nicely complements a fearless Cruise. Overall, this is an impress live-action debut for one of the most promising directors in Hollywood.

The Sitter
The Sitter(2011)
½

The plot is familiar and predictable. Jokes are forgettable, for the most part. Jonah Hill is the only reason anyone should see this- he brings his usual awkward, smart-mouth charm that delivers so decent humor.

Terminator Salvation
½

Extremely underrated, in my opinion. Sure, the characters are under-developed and lack a genuine connection to the audience; this is a movie about robots! There's plenty of heavy action and suspense, and the human drama isn't gone at all despite some unfocused direction. This is everything a fan of the series could ask for- a bold, new introduction to a world post-judgement day.

Catch Me If You Can
½

Catch Me if You Can is a fun adventure with an emotionally resonant premise underneath. Leo and Tom Hanks are brilliant in their roles, and Spielberg's characteristic story flow is eminent. I thoroughly enjoyed this complex telling of a cat-and-mouse chase.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Yet another one of the finer installments. The human drama is gripping at times, and the storyline is impressively told with the use of incredible special effects and thrilling sequences. The final scenes are incredible. This could be my most favorite HP film yet...

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The most interesting story so far, and yet it's so simple. The excitement of a wizardry tournament, with some polished acting and neat special effects, give viewers what they want. It's the opening to a darker door.

Hugo
Hugo(2011)
½

Hugo is a pure spectacle, settling and unspoiled. Scorsese has outdone himself as a visionary, capturing the magic of cinema in terms of story and the technicalities of the film itself. This timely statement comes from the heart; his sense of wonder, personally, goes on display in fantastic form.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
½

The familiar Indiana Jones, adventurous theme is evident by all means, but the thrill rides are plagued with downright odd scenes. However, these questionable elements cannot deny the pure power of thrill in Indy's return to the big screen.

Immortals
Immortals(2011)

Storytelling is the limiting factor in Immortals, which boasts dazzling effects and fine set pieces, but little to drive all of these things. The predictable formula simply cannot outweigh what the movie gets right, and so it is merely a visual spectacle.

Rain Man
Rain Man(1988)

Superb performance by Dustin Hoffman.

Kick-Ass
Kick-Ass(2010)

A gruelingly splendid treat, if not somewhat overwhelming at times.

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas

I thoroughly enjoyed this film with my friends. The crude humor is as crude and consistent as ever, and some imaginative ideas help the comedy roll smoothly. However, this is NOT a movie children should see.

I Love You Beth Cooper
½

Aside from a few chuckles and frantically fun scenes, this movie is a mess.

Drive
Drive(2011)
½

A movie has never affected me so deeply with such few words. Drive is a patient drama/action ride that has human touch and finely tuned performances, particularly from Ryan Gosling and even Carey Mulligan. An engrossing film, and easily one of the year's best.

Gangs of New York
½

The sauntering tale takes a bold approach in the direction of brutality and vengeance, only to ascend not without a few wounds along the way.

James and the Giant Peach
½

A heartwarming adventure that will please children and adults, as long as they still dream.

Surf's Up
Surf's Up(2007)

Surf's Up is great fun.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole

The adventurous themes and visually striking scenes should more than mildly appealing for fantasy-lovers and general audiences. Great for kids and passable for even adults.

Get Smart
Get Smart(2008)
½

A charmingly funny film with a loveable duo at the lead. There are mostly giggles, but some scenes are just hilarious.

Soldier
Soldier(1998)
½

The quiet lead and simplistic action can't hide the significance underneath.

Next
Next(2007)
½

This movie could've been good- no, it could've been great. Nicolas Cage's lack of passion and Jessica Biel's lack of interest create a sense of detachment between the viewers and their characters. With this lost connection comes the questions of "what should be" rather than "what could be."

Knowing
Knowing(2009)

Knowing is burdened by mediocre acting, lackluster climactic scenes, and odd, unnecessary moments. However, the special effects are above average and some scenes are of great cinematography.

50/50
50/50(2011)
½

Filled with giggles and even some hard laughs, 50/50 manages to turn a serious topic film into a spirited journey through the ups and many downs of cancer, and even life itself.

Cast Away
Cast Away(2000)
½

When Tom Hanks and Robert Zemeckis work together, their product is gold. Cast Away is the best of them.

The Polar Express

An exceptional holiday film that remains faithful to its' source material by maintaining a simple plot mixed in with some unique forms of dazzling entertainment. The Polar Express is a wondrous adventure for the fantasizing child.

The A-Team
The A-Team(2010)
½

An incredibly fun action film that doesn't spoil the potential of its' great case.

Four Brothers
½

It feels like a msh-mash of subplots, but overall Four Brothers delivers on the thrills.

Alpha Dog
Alpha Dog(2007)

A gripping journey through the rough lives of reckless teenagers looking out for themselves.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
½

Unworthy of the Final Fantasy title, this film offers simple-minded, uninteresting ideas that aren't nearly as captivating as the stories and characters portrayed in the games.

Captain America: The First Avenger

Chris Evans, despite his dull past as the Human Torch, plays Captain America with heart and humility. He bodes well with the constant action scenes and has great chemistry with Hayley Atwell. Overall, The First Avenger is another impressive superhero movie from Marvel with few predicaments that never seem to cloud the greatness.

X2: X-Men United

A dazzling comic book film sequel which polishes up on already gifted material to deliver some pounding thrills and incredible set pieces.

Straw Dogs
Straw Dogs(2011)
½

Straw Dogs may be confused with its own theme and morals, but the thrill-ride towards the end is enough to carry this film, boasting powerful action and satisfying brutality.

The Beach
The Beach(2000)
½

Takes three casual travelers and turns them into adventurers, lovers, and heroes. The visions in this film, of a nearly perfect getaway and unique passions, make for some beautiful scenes. And despite a straying plot, I thoroughly enjoyed this idea of paradise.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2
½

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 2 is a powerfully told story that concludes the generation-long saga brilliantly. The actors put their heart and soul into every scene, contributing to the amount of emotion pouring from the film, and the vibrant action never fails to entertain. It's the dramatic and moving finale that everyone has been hoping for. It deserves recognition as the best Harry Potter film and the best film of 2011 so far.

1408
1408(2007)

Vaguely creepy with only a few on-the-edge-of-your-seat moments, 1408 is lavishly dull, but heralds a willing Cusack.

Buried
Buried(2010)

Reynolds shines in the dark with his usual enthusiasm. Some will find the ending somewhat disappointing, but that can't hide the drama of this tight thriller.

Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star
½

Only causes a few chuckles which don't nearly make up for some of the atrocious acting, cliches, and weirdness of this huge misfire.

Tangled
Tangled(2010)
½

After a decade of Pixar domination, I can gladly say this film revitalizes the lost brilliance of Disney's animation prowess. The plot is familiar yet stylishly told, and many other aspects bring about a refreshingly fun storytelling experience full of whimsy set pieces and entertaining songs.

The Descent
The Descent(2006)

Unbelievably scary. It's like a terrible nightmare induced by your worst fears. The scares are heart-pounding.

The Kids Are All Right

A realistic depiction of how certain events could lead to a great big group hug at the end.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Hellboy 2)

Brilliant visuals with Del Toros' signature style, and a more interesting storyline this time around.

Hellboy
Hellboy(2004)

Unique, vibrant, and cast perfectly.

Zombieland
Zombieland(2009)

Zombies aren't really my thing but the characters are interesting and so many scenes are just funny as hell.

Troy
Troy(2004)

A massive movie that ends in dramatic fashion, despite some questionable aspects.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
½

The darkest entry yet (seriously, the whole movie seems to be shaded over or something), Harry's story this time around is brooding, and yet sprinkled with some fun laughs and teenage drama. Acting is polished even more-so, and despite the lack in action scenes, the film thrives on dramatic depth and tremdously affecting plot twists.

Rango
Rango(2011)
½

Rango contains more suggestive material than it probably should, but the strangeness and originality of the story, often humorous, outshines the flaws. However, I wouldn't watch it more than twice.

Disturbia
Disturbia(2007)

The most tense moments don't even involve direct contact; this film brings out the potent danger in witnessing something. Expect to see a lot of great build up in suspense, but don't expect an ending that will blow your mind.

Cowboys & Aliens

It's exactly what the title says. Nothing in particular amazed me, so overall Cowboys & Aliens is pretty fun, but the scenes don't have a pleasant flow at times. I think Harrison Ford had too little to say.

Minority Report
½

This vision of the future is innovative and extremely thrilling.

Friends With Benefits

Despite an overwhelmingly fast pace and some unbelievable scenes and conversations, Friends with Benefits thrives simply from the magical chemistry between Timberlake and Kunis. This is easily the best romantic-comedy of the year.

Slumdog Millionaire
½

Nearly achieves cinematic perfection with Boyle's usual knack for unique and invigorating cinematography and effects, and a cast that's almost too elite for its' own good. Deserving of the Oscar.

Just Go with It
½

Another typical Sandler film that lacks the charm of better titles (50 First Dates). Jokes that create laughter are sparse, and many times will only attract laughter from children, which is strange considering the amount of adult material in the film. However, Aniston and Kidman play their roles very well, and the acting debut of model Brooklyn Decker is welcome too.

The Happening

One of the worst films I've ever seen. Wahlberg and Deschanel have no chemistry or charm, and Shyamalan seems to have lost his way in terms of cinematography, character/plot development, and just about every other prominent asset in a good film.

The Mothman Prophecies

Unbelievably creepy and, sometimes, too scary. The Mothman Prophecies is not for the faint of heart.

Gladiator
Gladiator(2000)
½

A moving film that rarely strays.

Inception
Inception(2010)
½

Nolan isn't your average film director. He's taken a complex idea, and planted it in our minds despite the fact many people will fail to comprehend its' logic. Pounding action scenes are accompanied by beautiful and bold tracks, while the fine set of actors shine dashingly, especially Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tom Hardy. Easily one of the best films of 2010.

Shaun of the Dead

Bloody good British humor. It's all about the wit and stupidity.

Titan A.E.
Titan A.E.(2000)

A familiar yet vibrant animated film with a knack for offering special elements of pure sci-fi entertainment.

Saving Private Ryan

An engaging, realistic look into the warzone through the eyes of a Captain and his squad of brave soldiers. The valor of the heroes is made more believable with gripping action scenes and compelling performances. Saving Private Ryan is the greatest war movie to date.

500 Days of Summer

This story about love offers a fresh take on the complexities of relationships and the expression of human emotion. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel have this unique and very fun connection that breathes beauty and life into an already thriving film. I've never seen a better romance/comedy movie.

The Social Network

Nearly flawless, The Social Network heralds a young, brilliant cast and riveting dramatic sequences. It's a defining film of the decade.

Arthur
Arthur(2011)
½

Russell Brand isn't the greatest lead, but the charming premise and sporadically funny scenes are enough to make this movie somewhat enjoyable.

The Other Guys

The unlikely duo is awkward and often hilarious. Ridiculously stupid scenes are still common, like in every other Ferrell film; but, the laughs are more common, and louder, than ever.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1
½

Part 1 definitely feels like the "setting of the stage" for the final entry. It also feels like one of the strongest films of the year, as the acting has evolved into its finest form, and the action, though limited, has superb coordination with the matured cast.

The Notebook
The Notebook(2004)

I'm not going to lie....the ending is pretty damn sad.

Cold Mountain

A truly cold movie with some fine performances and gripping scenes of suspense and romance.

The Golden Compass
½

Beautiful visuals can't hide the lack in depth and emotion which was highly resonant in the book. Despite being passive at times, The Golden Compass is dazzling.

The Princess Bride

Highly overrated, yet still enjoyable.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Some fantasy stories simply aren't as compelling as others, though Narnia does have a few cool scenes.

Holes
Holes(2003)

It's a lot of family fun with its own sense of originality and tradition.

District 9
District 9(2009)
½

A very imaginative take on science fiction. District 9 has emotional resonance to comply with the technical achievements that make this film so dramatic and action-packed.

Spy Kids 3-D - Game Over
½

This is the beginning of the end as a new era of vomit-inducing 3D takes action, causing rifts in the storyline adapted specifically for the third dimension. The acting is still wooden, though minor improvements should be noted. Once again, it's STRICTLY for children, but this time and even younger age group.

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams

Even worse than the first, this is strictly a movie for kids, and many of them probably won't even like how strange this movie is.

Spy Kids
Spy Kids(2001)

It's very original and doesn't lack in thrills and fun; however, the acting at most times is atrocious and there really isn't anything impressive other than the a few of the ideas at work.

Starsky & Hutch

Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson were great together in Zoolander, and they're even better in this film.This is a great remake that has a more silly duo at the head of the game.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Ferrell plays a great stupid racer in this hilarious, and profoundly idiotic film which never fails to entertain.

Blades of Glory
½

The two leads give life to what woud be a mediocre comedy film without them. The funny, yet powerfully passionate ice skaters could never be easier to laugh at.

Ping Pong Playa
½

It's a silly, gleeful story of a wannabe Yao Ming turn ping pong champion. There are so very funny parts, none of which ae really crude in any way. Good for all audiences.

Casino Royale
½

It's like a well-written run-on sentence that would typically outlast its stay; but, this isn't your typical film. The entrance of Daniel Craig is a welcome one, as he plays Bond in masterful form. One thing that makes this one different from the others is the disarmed, emotional essence of Bond as he is given the soul of a human, finally.

Metropolis
Metropolis(2002)
½

An engaging tale with little to complain about.

Virgin Territory
½

The audience is very limited, but the charm of multiple characters and the steamier scenes make this an entertaining film.

The Rules of Attraction

It's frustrating to watch scene after scene of outrageous teenage behaviors unfolding. However, the unique vibe of the drama and dark comedy give this film something to watch for.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

A witty and adventurous take on pirates. Expect thrills, romance, and tons of fun.

The Incredibles

Sleek, stylish, and inventive in the superhero genre. The voice actors are splendid, and the animation is spectacular. There's a lot of fun to be had with this nearly flawless film.

Cars
Cars(2006)

There are too many uninteresting scenes that source from a rather dull plot, but the animation is standard Pixar perfection and the voice actors give their best.

Ratatouille
Ratatouille(2007)

An instant classic with any flaws outshined by its gorgeous animation and lovable characters.

Toy Story 2
Toy Story 2(1999)

It's difficult to say the sequel is better than the first; but, it's at leas on the same level, making it one of the best, if not the best, sequels of all time.

Toy Story
Toy Story(1995)

A revolutionary film of pure delight. The greatest animated film of all time.

No Country for Old Men
½

The slow, tense pace is very suspenseful for the plots' unraveling. Javier Bardem makes one hell-of-a murderer and Tommy Lee Jones plays a disillusioned sheriff to great success by applying his experience. There are a few questions left unanswered and a few scenes that seemed to be missing, but overall No Country for Old Men deserves recognition as a great movie.

Fast & Furious

Exactly what a senseless action movie needs- fast cars and tense thrill rides. Some cheesy romances and wooden acting hinder and otherwise OK flick.

Pan's Labyrinth
½

A captivating tale told through nightmarish visions with small rays of hope. There is little content for children here, despite the lead being a little girl. Del Toro gives his all in this creative success.

Knight & Day
Knight & Day(2010)
½

It's a lot of fun and offers some great thrills. Cruise and Diaz make a strange pairing, but somehow click as two crazy lovers who don't mind a few bullet wounds in their relationship.

The Last Samurai
½

Beautifully shot in distant Japanese lands. The culture is brought to life through the eyes of a tortured Tom Cruise, suffering from his past as a soldier who wrongfully killed Indians under orders. His time with the samurai enlightens his view on life through their patient, humble ways. Honor, respect, and redemption- a few of the morals alive in the film, so powerfully.

Bad News Bears

Funny as hell, but not without its' setbacks.

To Kill A Mockingbird
½

A classic film portraying the story of difficult realities, lost innocence, and slivers of hope.

Avatar
Avatar(2009)
½

Sure, it's predictable and cliched. Avatar is also stylishly told, and by that I mean it reaches an entire new level of technical achievement. This is pure and solid entertainment.

Shrek the Third
½

Disappointing, to say the least. Shrek the Third is mainstream mania, with pokes at modern subsidies and gag jokes left and right, at the cost of the heart and spirit that made the previous films thoroughly enjoyable.

Shrek
Shrek(2001)
½

Shrek is funny, charming, and adventurous. The fairy tale feel is present and fresh. Mike Myers displays his brilliance as a voice actor, as does Cameron Diaz.

Shrek 2
Shrek 2(2004)
½

It improves upon the first by adding in a new player (Banderas) and a more interesting and fun storyline that twists and turns for great entertainment.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

It's fun and enjoyable, but lacks a brain and depth in all areas.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
½

There are some very funny scenes and incredible action, but the plot is unorganized and seems to confuse itself. And, there isn't much heart put into this film, something that at least shined a little in the last movie.

Transformers
Transformers(2007)

The drama is built up very well to the arrival of the Transformers, which are made real by awesome special effects. What a promising entry to a new series.

Speed Racer
Speed Racer(2008)

Speed Racer has a great spirit and visual dazzle. And the new style reinvents the classic icon in a creative way. Despite a predictable ending, the final climactic scenes are just amazing.

Zodiac
Zodiac(2007)
½

The intensity is heated through the words rather than actions. And when there is action, pure terror is displayed. Words cannot fathom the horribly realistic feel to this film, so real that it seems to harm the viewer by watching.

War of the Worlds

Gripping and thrilling, the survival adventure story is told well through the eyes of a master filmmaker.

Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider(2007)

It's a dull thrill ride with hardly a scene to marvel at, pun intended. And speaking of puns, Ghost Rider uses them as the only source of laughter, which is not effective at all. Nicolas Cage doesn't help either.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
½

Magic! This third installment shines much brighter than the previous two. Harry and his friends have grown, and can finally act now. And the story is finely woven with edge-of-your-seat moments and emotional depth. Also, the action scenes are told frighteningly well.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
½

The darker, more mature feel is appreciated; however, the acting remains unimproved and the "thrilling" scenes- lackluster. I expected more dazzle from a film of magic, but at least the young cast is still on the edge of promising here, and plot twists keep the mind somewhat active.

Sky High
Sky High(2005)
½

Extremely predictable, yet, family fun isn't really supposed to pack surprises and plot twists. It delivers the way it's supposed to, with some charming creativity and the inclusion of some memorable cast members, Kurt Russell in particular.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
½

It's, indeed, very faithful to the book. However, many of the actors, the young cast in particular, need to retake acting classes. Radcliffe, inparticular, wasn't really on pitch. Aside from some other few problems, the film offers some splendid scenes of affecting magic and emotional embrace.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day
½

Not one single aspect, other than special effects, is masterful or extraordinarily great; but, it's well rounded in every way at least somewhat.

The Bourne Ultimatum
½

It's a thrilling conclusion to a finely tuned trilogy.

Spider-Man
Spider-Man(2002)

Maguire provides an incredible amount of heart and energy to give this superhero movie an extra kick.

Spider-Man 3
Spider-Man 3(2007)
½

The music is horrendous at most times (the obnoxiously loud trumpet is not effectively dramatizing the scene). That blonde chick's character seems hardly necessary, like the amount of times James Franco gets hit in the head, also obnoxiously. The acting doesn't really shine either. The worst of the trilogy, easily.

127 Hours
127 Hours(2010)
½

Danny Boyle's beautiful art direction sends Franco to even greater heights as an actor. The climactic scenes were hard to watch, but make the closing scenes all the more inspirational and satisfying.

Gran Torino
Gran Torino(2009)

The younger cast doesn't really offer any inspiring acting strength, but Eastwood alone makes this film a hit. It's slowly paced, yet offers plenty of lessons and morals.

Kung Fu Panda 2
½

Consistently funny and surprisingly action-packed, this film nearly finds animated mastery. The deeper, more heartfelt story is also a winning aspect.

True Grit
True Grit(2010)

Fun and adventurous, yet lacking some true dramatic depth in the climatic scenes.

Little Shop of Horrors

I can't believe this is so highly approved. It sucks.

King Kong
King Kong(2005)
½

Another lengthy masterpiece to add to Peter Jacksons' masterful collection of films. King Kong is epic.

Bridesmaids
Bridesmaids(2011)
½

Better than I expected, this is a hit with the ladies, seeing as how it's like the Hangover for girls.

Digimon - The Movie
½

Parents won't like it, but his film is intended for kids and fans of the show. There are plenty of intense sequences that outshine the predictability of the plot.

Kiki's Delivery Service

It's incredible how well this movie can entertain all age groups while maintaining a flow of innocence. The initiation of adulthood is clearly portrayed, and the sense of wonder and fantasy is marvelous.

Chicago
Chicago(2002)

Musical perfection.

RV
RV(2006)

Please, don't watch it. Please.

The Hurt Locker
½

The duty of a bomb squad is vital and incredibly intense. The Hurt Locker looks through the eyes of one of these squads to give people a taste of blood, bullets, and, of course, explosions. It's finely shot and the ending is well timed.

The Hangover
The Hangover(2009)

Gotta love Vegas, especially when Mike Tyson, his tiger, a random baby, and roofies are involved.

The Incredible Hulk

Edward Norton's fragile nature nicely complements his brute transformation. There's a lot of sulking and woe, but the closing scenes make up for it.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
½

It's full of comic-oriented themes, unique eye-popping visuals, and ultra fast action scenes and dialogue; these elements blend together to make one hellofa movie.

Thor
Thor(2011)

Chris Hemsworth plays a formidable role as he nails his big debut, and Natalie Portman acts at her usual greatness. Their solid performances go along well with the interesting story and the magnificent special effects. A Marvel flick has never looked more beautiful.

Tron Legacy
Tron Legacy(2010)
½

The plot resonates with the familiar "son finds lost dad" idea. But with the familiarity comes the challenge: how can the movie differ from the others like this? Tron Legacy is stylishly told with awesome visuals and some very fun scenes. You'll enter a new world with this one, but don't expect grade A acting or mind-boggling plot twists (go see the newest Star Trek for that).

The Way Back
The Way Back(2011)

There's not one point where the scriptwriters filled the story with fluff to create more drama or emotion; the realistic, slow pace of the actors generates a bond between them and the viewers, unlike many other films of similar genre.

Source Code
Source Code(2011)
½

This will likely be the best sci-fi movie of the year. Why? 1. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire film 2. Jake Gyllenhaal brings an unexpected amount of heart into the thorough logic and science of the story 3. The ending is perfect.

Megamind
Megamind(2010)
½

The cast fits perfect and there is plenty of innovation in this charming flick.

Due Date
Due Date(2010)
½

It's preposterous and unorganized, and the two main men don't really click. Still, the random jokes contend well in the comedy class.

The Karate Kid

This remake seems to have polished on some of the older versions' weak points, among them: acting of the protagonist (though only slightly), dramatic depth, and raw intensity.

Live Free or Die Hard
½

Bruce Willis doing what he does best- kicking everyone's ass.

No Strings Attached

Natalie Portman knows how to play the female lead of a rom-com. Too bad this movie is not without cliches, like the "I called that" ending.

The Green Hornet
½

This is my autobiography.