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Rating History

The Last Song
The Last Song (2010)
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

We are used to seeing the film adaptations of Nicholas Sparks novels being super manipulative and wanting to make us cry, that however, has resulted in one terrific film, that one being The Notebook, and a couple of quite bearable ones, those being A Walk to Remember and Dear John, this one, however, is a total crapfest.

The Last Song is a film based on a novel Sparks wrote specifically to be made into a film with Miley Cyrus, and it also marks the first time he's adapted one of his own novels, though with an helping hand from Mr. Jeff Van Wie, though how helping he was I do not know. Not to blame, however, is Ms. Cyrus, of whom I'm actually no fan at all, but who at least seems to have been trying very hard, I don't think she's good at acting, not even close, but I do think that someday she could be.

She plays Ronnie, a 16 year-old who wins the heart of a beach volleyball champion and who starts fixing her relationship with her dad, who's a composer and a restorer of stained windows. And Hannah Montana actually does an okay job at making Ronnie likable, I still don't love her and she's not a good actress, but this film, as bad as it was, still gave me a glimmer of hope because I could see myself someday seeing a good film with her as a lead, I'm not saying it's extremely likely, I just said that it's a possibility now.

Ronnie is taken by her mother, played by Kelly Preston, along with her brother to spend the summer with their dad. Ronnie starts out being super whiny about the whole thing because she thought it was because of her dad that her parents had divorced but you know how that relationship will evolve by the time the movie's done. A little thing you might catch, the song'She Will be Loved' by Maroon 5 is one time played on the radio in the film, and if you like the band you'll know Kelly Preston was in the video for that song, just sayin'.

This is a film, essentially, made to have teen girls crying and fangirling over Miley Cyrus and adopting Hemsworth as the next Robert Pattinson, seriously, I cannot see this film as anything else, the acting, even though Cyrus tries and Kinnear is actually quite okay, is completely uninspired because of a totally stale script and a seriously horrid direction. As a film made for Miley Cyrus fans this will probably work wonders, but as anything else then it falls devilishly short.

Grade: D+

Vampires Suck
Vampires Suck (2010)
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Vampires Suck does indeed suck, I'm not giving it my lowest grade because it at least wasn't a film that tried to be good, these genre-spoof films never attempt to be good movies, they just attempt to be stupid and make some cash out of it, and this one succeeds at that, it has already earned more money than it cost to make and it will keep on making a bit of cash, so yeah, it's not a blockbuster but it earns some nice money, and that's all it aimed to do. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I respect how bad it is, if anything because it at least didn't try to pretend otherwise.

Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer have never been great at this game, their films are always horrible, and I doubt they'll get better anytime soon. This one, if anything, I guess is a bit better than some of the rest they have made, but these guys just know that some people will go see these films to see if they can laugh at the genres they are spoofing. However, I thin that the audiences are now starting to realize that's not really gonna happen and that the laughs in these films are pretty much nowhere to be found.

Even though Vampires Suck, as I said, has already made more than it cost to make, its not gonna make as much bank as some of the other films from the Friedberg-Seltzer duo. 2006′sDate Movie made around $85 million on a $20 million budget, same goes for 2007′s Epic Movie and 2008′s Meet the Spartans (though that one had a $30 million budget), but the last one they made, Disaster Movie, made about $35 million, and this one right here is en route to make something like that, by this I mean that people seem to be getting a bit tired of this, so hopefully we won't be getting these films five years from now.

And I won't go long about this film at all, it's really not worth it, if you're gonna go to a theatre to see this film you already know what to expect and you don't need a review to tell you that. The thing about Vampires Suck is that the vampire genre is one that knows its own weaknesses very well and that doesn't shy away from them at all, they just roll with the punches, not to mention that the target demographic with these sort of films is the very same demographic that devour the Twilight films, and that's to say that its a very passionate demographic that most likely won't be paying to see a film that trashes their beloved Cullen's, which I guess is part of the reason this one isn't doing terrific business.

And this is my cue to end the review, I really don't recommend this one at all, not even if you like spoofs that Friedberg and Seltzer have made in the past (and I doubt there are many who seriously do), this one just offers no laughs and relies on daft genitalia-infused gags that feel too old for us to really care about them anymore. So yes, even if you think that vampires suck, you're gonna find that this films sucks even more.

Grade: D

The Bounty Hunter
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

We knew from the trailer and everything else we knew about The Bounty Hunter, that it was a film fabricated by a corporation and that it would most likely follow an already exhausted formula, so by that I mean we knew it wasn't going to be good, but even by those low standards this one falls short, and that's tough to say considering it has Jennifer Aniston as one if its leads, and I love me some Ms. Aniston.

This is a film that is useless, I mean seriously, this is a film that has Jennifer Aniston for fuck's sake, she's an unbelievable comic talent that is not only not used in this one, but is forced to withstand every single cliché in the action-romantic-comedy playbook, and I seriously mean EVERY SINGLE FUCKIN' ONE. She's the ex-wife of this bounty hunter who now has to track her down because she skipped bail, yeahyeahwhatever.

I want to end the review right here right now, I just want to ask one question first: if you could afford to have Gerard Butler, who's actually not a bad actor in this type of movie, and Jennifer Aniston, who's a terrific comedienne, then why the hell couldn't you hire who was more gifted than Ms. Thorp at writing, it's not as though one would have had to look that far.

Grade: D

The Social Network
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

And finally I got to see it, nearly a month after its initial release I got my hands on The Social Network, easily one of the most highly anticipated films of the year. Before kicking off my review lets talk a bit about that anticipation. When it was first announced that a movie about Facebook was being made people, and I include myself in this group, were rather baffled. A movie about a social networking website that, yes, is a huge phenomenon and is incredibly relevant to our society, but is an invention that has been around for only four years, and surely there can't be movie-worth material in the story of its founding.

That's our first mistake, because the story told in The Social Network is more than movie-worthy, but that's to be discussed further on. Anyways, people were still confused, and then the key players started aligning themselves, and you had to start believing there was something here. The producers of the film included Michael De Luca (who has served as producers in such masterful films like Boogie Nights, American History X and Magnolia), Scott Rudin (who has produced, among many others, The Royal Tenenbaums, There Will Be Bloodand No Country for Old Men, for which he won an Oscar) and actor Kevin Spacey, who's a very smart man and definitely knows how to pick his projects.

So yes, the producers behind it were pretty incredible. But that may sometimes amount to nothing, but then we got word of the director and the writer who signed on for this one, and we knew that if we added this pairing to the mix the result would have to be amazing. The writer was Aaron Sorkin, a guy who created and wrote for two seriously amazing TV series, The West Wing and Sports Night, and that, in the movie front, has done A Few Good Men, The American President and Charlie Wilson's War. So yes, that's a pretty remarkable resumé, and for those of us who are familiar with his work we knew that his style, of tightly-written rapid and witty dialogue, would suit this story tremendously.

As for the director, the man needs no introduction, he is David Fincher, one of the very few directors that, in my opinion, has done not a single bad film in all of his career, and not only that, but has crafted a couple of masterpieces as well. His resumé speaks for itself: Se7en,Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. As I said, the guy needs no introduction, and he's a very picky director, and knowing the quality of his past films, one had to know that if he chose this to be his next film it was because there was more than something to it.

So yes, I guess you could say we were in good hands. The cast then quickly started shaping up and one had to love it. Jesse Eisenberg, a personal of mine, signed on to play the lead role of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Andrew Garfield,who's having an amazing year thanks to this and Never Let Me Go and is poised to have an even better decade when he leads theSpider-Man reboot in 2012, signed on to play Eduardo Saverin, one of the co-founders. Justin Timberlake was set to play Napster founder Sean Parker, and Mr. Timberlake is a guy who's underrated as an actor, and his performance in this one is just amazing, but more on that later. Rooney Mara, who much like Mr. Garfield has an amazing career in front of her, not to mention that she clearly made a great impression on Mr. Fincher, who cast her as the lead in the highly-anticipated american film adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was cast as Erica, Zuckerberg's one-time girlfriend. The rest of the cast was rounded out by Rashida Jones, who you have to be stupid not to love, and Armie Hammer, who also delivers his own star-making performance.

So yeah, it shaped up to be pretty amazing. Then came the poster, which was seriously cool, and then the teaser and that full trailer, set to a hauntingly beautiful version of Radiohead's Creep done by Scala, and once you saw that there could be no doubt in your mind that this one wasn't going to rock the socks out of everyone.

But this has all been way too much information from me on the reasons as to why the movie seemed to be one we should all end up loving, now let's get to the reasons we actually did end up loving it, and why it's, so far, the best movie to come out all year. The direction is what you would expect from Mr. Fincher, amazing through and through, super straightforward and very tight, the script could definitely contend for Oscar gold, and there are about six all-around amazing performances, anchored by a pretty much perfect one from Mr. Eisenberg, some of which could also find themselves in the thick of the Oscar race. But all that aside, The Social Network is just, simply put, a thoroughly entertaining film.

The film has sex, questionable ethics, amazing boardroom confrontations and it works as a pretty damn effective thriller. It literally has everything you could expect from it, and it's all adorned with some really sharp dialogue that makes this one move crazy fast, and you keep up with it, loving every goddam frame of it.

Some of you may already know the story. Mark Zuckerberg was a very ambitious Harvard student, who always wanted to come out on top, and nowadays is a billionaire while still in his twenties. I don't know how accurate the portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg is, the real Mr. Zuckerberg famously said that the only truly accurate thing in the film was his clothing, but I don't think so, I think there's a lot of him in how Jesse Eisenberg portrays him, as someone terrifically smart, someone cold, someone who lacked some social skills, someone who knew what he wanted and decided he was going to get it.

And Mr. Eisenberg's portrayal is fantastic, and it is him, with all of the above listed qualities, that guides the film through its stages. It's a testament to Mr. Fincher and Mr. Sorkin how well this works, they made "the movie about Facebook" into the best film of the year so far, they told a story that would seem boring, and translated it into pure entertainment. Sure, some facts may be off, Mr. Sorkin tells us he combined three versions of the story and told all three perspectives meshed with one another, and I don't care if it's not that historically accurate, because it's still real, it still resonates, and it's still quite perfect.

Mr. Eisenberg is known for how well he plays the socially awkward, you only have to seeAdventureland to be able to attest to this, and he goes into that bag of tricks again in this one, but he also trades one of his tricks here, because instead of playing his usual clueless characters here he plays ambitions and decisive. That social awkwardness was needed because Mr. Zuckerberg had to have this sort of bad interpersonal relationship skills, and that's, basically, why he created Facebook. He goes on a date with Erica, played by the poised-for-greatness Rooney Mara, and he completely jabbers on about everything and nothing, aggressively so at times, and she ends up calling him an asshole and just leaves.

Erica is actually one of fictional parts of The Social Network, but she proves a point, and there probably was an Erica in real life, or even more than one, the girl(s) who told the Mr. Zuckerberg to sod off and left him wondering how these social interactions could be made easier. He goes to his dorm after that date and creates a site, by using the head shots of every girl at Harvard, in which users can rate the girls depending on their level of hotness. He created this as some sort of personal vendetta, but being the visionary the man is, he saw beyond that, he saw what it could potentially become, and he went with it.

That's Zuckerberg's part of the story, the one we all know. Then come the other sides of it that the movie shows, and that's what makes this film so damn amazing. We get the Winkelvoss twins, played in a double duty by Armie Hammer, who think the idea for Facebook was stolen from a site they had developed for Harvard students. Armie Hammer's performance is terrific, he played one twin on the set, while a body double was the other one, and later went on to shoot just his head as the other twin, and the end result is amazing.

We also meet the founder of Napster, Sean Parker, in that wonderful performance by Justin Timberlake, who, out of these three supporting characters, gave the best performance of the bunch, and that's saying something, and, were it up to me, he'd be nominated for an Academy Award for it.

And, last but not surely not least, we get to meet the only real friend the movie tells us Mr. Zuckerberg had, Eduardo Saverin, his roommate at Harvard and the guy who was the first investor in Facebook, and who had a subsequent fallout with Zuckerberg which led to a lawsuit. His performance is another one to be reckoned with, and, combine this one with the one he gave in Never Let Me Go, and we can rest assured that our web-slinging friendly neighbor's franchise is in good hands.

It's great to see how Mr. Fincher tells this story, this after all still feels entirely like a David Fincher film, there's no Brad Pitt involved but it's still a very Fincher film, the lighting, the colors, how it's shot, this is his masterful work through and through, and I like it that he, alongside Mr. Sorkin, decided to pay attention to the claims by Mr. Zuckerberg as well as the ones made by the Winkelvoss twins and Mr. Saverin. I liked it because it showed all the sides, it wasn't biased, it made them all pay, and they didn't forcefully fill in the blanks and gaps, they left that up to us, to decide on our own who's the good guy and who's the bad guy.

This is a perfect film, the dialogue, the direction, the performances, they all combine sublimely to give us this, a film that's always exciting, sometimes quite funny, and just plain great, whether it's been over-fictionalized or not. And about that, I usually care about the real stories when they're portrayed in film, I get mad when those films go too much out of the road, but inThe Social Network, though obviously a very glossed up version of the true events, I didn't really mind about just how much was true, how much was blown out of proportion and how much just plain didn't happen, because this is a film sold not as a biopic, but as an effective drama, a different sort of thriller, a modern masterpiece.

Grade: A+