Mitch Ham's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

The Master
The Master(2012)
½

Excellent display of acting with several great dramatic scenes. But overall it lacked a great story and was extremely slow at time. This film will springboard Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman into much deserved Oscar nominations. With Joaquin, who was amazing, most likely walking away with best actor.

Beasts of the Southern Wild
½

This film was a pleasant surprise. Dark, dirty and gritty. For me this is the unheralded surprise of the year. The setting -- spectacularly dingy, the script -- fantastic dialogue, deep, thoughtful, inspiring overall beautifully written. The acting was spot on, these two rookie actors never lost my attention. I can't say this too often, but I was absolutely lost inside the world of Beasts of the Southern Wild. The only thing I'm not sure about is the supernatural elements of this film. I feel I need to watch and a few more times in order to comprehend the full scope of this film. Highly, highly recommended.

Magnolia
Magnolia(1999)
½

I know it's 14 years post Magnolia's release, but I just recently netflixed it and enjoyed it so much I felt compelled to review it. This film was so captivating that I'm still thinking of it nearly a week later. Another tremendously solid film by Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood, Punch-Drunk Love, Boogie Nights, The Master, etc. etc. etc...) who deals with drama like no other. If you're not familiar with his filmography -- you certainly should go watch a few. This vignette's overriding theme was people with false exteriors coming to terms with acceptance and forgiveness. All the individual story lines tied together nicely. A great script brought to life through stellar performances and perfect direction. Magnolia's excessive length may turn you away, but give it a try and hang in there. A 188 minutes that you'll neither regret nor forget -- 9/10.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
½

I actually found this film to be very charming. I've always enjoyed Steve Carell in Indie dramas and his performance in this film lived up to my expectations. Keira Knightley was also equally solid. Well scripted with a ton of heart full of engaging believable performances, makes me wonder why critics and audiences failed to receive this film more favorably. I guess a great Indie with a melancholic feel is just to much for some. But... if you're like me and don't believe film imitating life needs to be all sunshine and rainbows, this powerful film might be right up your alley -- 8.5/10.

Gone Girl
Gone Girl(2014)

Ridiculous in every way imaginable; all of which are wrong.

End of Watch
End of Watch(2012)

Utterly amazing, so much so that I had to give it a perfect rating. "End of Watch" was thrilling, dramatic, suspenseful and funny, filled with quick, sarcastic and smart dialogue. The only draw back may be that it was shot with handhelds (POV), but I thought it made the movie even more enjoyable. Gyllenhaal and Pena's screen relationship was awesome. The movie was all about their relationship and more writers/directors/producers/etc. should take a page from this movie and learn how to create partnerships/relationships of this caliber.

Moonrise Kingdom
½

Absolutely brilliant. This great Indie film was awkwardly funny. Anderson's style was stunning, a real throwback in technique to an era I thought was lost and any of us rarely ever see. The performances were stellar and the storyline excellent. I really have nothing negative for you. I highly recommend checking this out.

Killer Joe
Killer Joe(2012)

What a display of gritty film-making! A spectacular combination of violence, blood, dark humor and drama. The true independence of this film shines. Led by stellar performances out of McConaughy and Hirsch, scenes in this film will make you uncomfortable, laugh and cringe. A roller-coaster of emotion makes for a terrific ride. Highly recommended.

The Imposter
The Imposter(2012)
½

A truly jaw-dropping documentary that tells a story that is almost impossible to believe or comprehend. "The Impostor" chronicles a family's loss of a child and his reported return nearly four years later. Just when you think that this documentary couldn't possibly have any more twists, you are knocked to your knees yet again. If it would've been for the annoying and almost unbearable cheesy reenactments, this would've been a nearly flawless account.

Lolita
Lolita(1962)
½

This is just another example of a classic film with a cold-open that pretty much gives away its finale. From Stanley Kubrick's stellar vault, "Lolita" unfortunately doesn't fire on all cylinders in quite the same way or as effectively as the rest of his legendary filmography. I was quite disappointed in the effort put forth in this film. The acting was uneven, the dialogue felt forced and the narrative was abrupt and sudden that left many scenes... puzzling. The performance of the film for me, was that delivered by Peter Sellers. Fast talking, quick-witted and completely full of shit, Sellers' character Clare Quilty, absolutely stole every scene he was in. Outside of that, this film was an overall disappointment.

Reincarnated
Reincarnated(2013)
½

A little bit of the mess as far as documentary storytelling goes, but overall interesting with enough insight to hold my attention. "Reincarnated" is the telling of Snoop Dogg's journey to Jamaica to learn Rastafarian culture and to cut a Reggae album. But what surprised me, was when the narrative turned and divulged deep into Snoop's life exposing some of his victories and losses in his 20 plus years in the rap game. Definitely a chronic induced project that I would recommend.

The Cure
The Cure(1995)

Starring the late Brad Renfro and the ascending Joseph Mazzello as child actors, "The Cure" was the story of two young boys, an outcast and one ravaged by the AIDS virus, who form an unlikely friendship and the journeys that they set forth upon. This film was extremely touching, humorous, heartwarming and I'm sure extremely transformational in the year of its release, 1995. Both actors were solid, which makes it so sad to see cinema's tragic loss of talent. Highly recommended.

The Playroom
The Playroom(2013)

What initially attracted me to this film was the fact that one of my favorite actors, John Hawkes, was in it. I was a little disappointed because he played a straight role, but ultimately he performed well which should not surprise anyone. "The Playroom" provides a brave depiction of the nuclear family and its fragile nature when threatened by alcoholism, infidelity and neglect. A little bit of take-it or leave-it, but overall a decent film that could've been much stronger.

That Guy... Who Was in That Thing
½

A very interesting documentary on the psyche and work ethic of the male character actor in Hollywood. This documentary's narrative is told through multiple interviews with the character actors themselves. An interesting untold story of Hollywood and the unappreciated and mostly unrecognized character actors they keep it thriving. I recommend giving this a look.

Jeff Who Lives at Home

This had all the wonderful qualities of a typical Duplass Brothers Production. "Jeff Who Lives at Home" was complex, short, deep, emotional and unexpected. When watching their films, they are never predictable, always rewarding with a surprising/unexpected finale. Jason Segel, Ed Helms and Susan Sarandon were not surprisingly solid in leading this film to true Indie gold. I would like to thank the Duplass Brothers for keeping the Indie drama genre alive and thriving. I highly recommend this and all of their other productions.

Eyes Wide Shut

Stanley Kubrick's swan song, "Eyes Wide Shut", was a slow-burn that ignited quickly in the second act, then faded to a rewarding flicker upon the finale. Originally I attempted to watch this film in 2000 when I was 17/18 and turned it off -- absolutely hated it. I guess with age came a greater perspective, more patience and an overall appreciation of the spectacular cinematic art that is "Eyes Wide Shut". The film was dramatic, suspenseful and provocative with stellar acting, cinematography, direction and writing. Tom Cruise was an absolute A+, but Nicole Kidman was a debatable B-. The first minute or so of her huge monologue in the beginning where she was "high" was... simply put -- awful. But thankfully that was her only misstep as the rest of her performance was solid. I was a little disappointed by the lackluster climax at the ending, but I do understand that this movie was about their relationship, so I get it. I will definitely watch this again and would highly recommend it.

The Rum Diary
½

This film was a little bit of a mess much like the inspiration Hunter S. Thompson was. But in this case, the mess actually worked for me. This film was much in the spirit of "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", albeit massively toned down. "The Rum Diary" was unique, strange and humorous combining to produce an overall enjoyable film. Johnny Depp was in stellar fashion while performing a role that's near and dear to his heart. What used to be one of my "must watch" actors, I hope Depp ventures back to edgy dramatic roles and steers clear of the likes of "The Pirates of the Caribbean XXIV" and a sequel to the critically panned "The Lone Ranger". Sorry, back to "The Rum Diary": I feel like this film could a used a bit more of a punch and a touch more humor, but overall I enjoyed it and would recommend it.

Down to the Bone
½

This low budget film from director/writer Debra Granik, who is also responsible for her latter "Winter's Bone", absolutely hit the mark. "Down to the Bone" is a vivid portrayal of drug abuse and family that boasts a stellar performance by Vera Farmiga. What sometimes appears slow and prodding, turns out to be calculated and striking. The film appeared to be shot using grainy handhelds; a most likely result of working with a shoestring budget. The visual appeal might not be there but hang in there, as the story and performances are topnotch.

We Bought a Zoo

Okay... there is no polite way to put this, so here it is; "We Bought a Zoo" failed miserably in almost all areas and the filmmakers most definitely produced an inferior product. Quite a disappointment from Cameron Crowe especially considering that... I normally enjoy his films. The acting was torturous to the eye, the dialogue was an ice pick to the eardrums and the message was numbing to the brain. The financiers had to be thinking, "We Bought a Bad Movie". Bad script + bad acting + blind direction = a big steamy pile. Stay far away.

The Family Stone
½

Gave this film a second look on the insistence of my girlfriend, C (her turn to pick), and I admit I liked it. "The Family Stone" is an ensemble family drama that has a great blend of humor, romance, heart, drama and tragedy. The talent laden cast performed extremely well and I must admit my favorite was the performance delivered by Craig T. Nelson, yes, the one and only "Coach". A close second was the performance by a Luke Wilson. The film had a few situations that appeared out of nowhere and felt far too sudden. It also possessed a few scenes where character action/dialogue felt inauthentic, forced and unrealistic. But kudos must go to the filmmakers for developing a solid and coherent story with depth that had so many speaking roles into a small time frame. Recommended.

Mama
Mama(2013)

This film puzzles me. The performances were solid, the writing clean, "Mama" was neither boring nor uneventful, but somehow it left me even keel... underwhelmed. More creepy and weird than scary, this film didn't live up to its genre in scares but far surpassed it in performances and writing. Jessica Chastain appears to have deliberately added another character to her bio, by portraying a self-centered rocker chick and doing so in convincing fashion. A decent watch, but don't look forward to being terrified. Generously -- not rotten.

Oslo, August 31st
½

This critically-acclaimed foreign film did nothing to disprove that the sterling critical response that this film received was nothing more than absolutely deserved. This Norwegian drama follows a day in the life of recovering drug addict, Anders. This film was a slow moving train wreck that was impossible to look away from. The sense of melancholy follows this film like the plague all the way from its inception to conclusion.
Anders Danielsen Lie delivers a riveting, believable and ultimately tremendous performance while carrying the film with seeming ease. If you don't mind subtitles and like the edgy content of foreign films, "Oslo, August 31st" is highly recommended.

Mystic River
Mystic River(2003)
½

After seeing this for the third time I felt a compelling desire to review it, so here it is -- "Mystic River" is an immensely dark and riveting drama that exposes the volatile nature of marriages and friendships. Knowing the story, I was able to sit back and focus on the extraordinary acting and the spectacular visuals. Every aspect of this film was firing on all cylinders: writing, acting, directing, cinematography, editing, sound and so on. For a drama, this is about as flawless as it comes. Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon lead this film in a truly fascinating direction and do so with supreme performances. As good as the latter two were, Sean Penn easily outpaces them in providing the performance that will absolutely make this film live on. If you haven't seen this, it's an absolute must watch. My objection to the last 10 minutes keeps it from perfection.

The Heat
The Heat(2013)
½

For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. "The Heat" was crude, vulgar and offensive and I'm a little shameful to say, it was right up my alley. Per usual, Melissa McCarthy was absolutely hilarious and her onscreen chemistry with Sandra Bullock's dry, rigid character was an absolute brilliant combination. This film provided several laughable moments and was mostly enjoyable throughout. Seeing how the third act was mostly predictable, lacked humor and a little drawn out, I think a relatively fair rating.

The East
The East(2013)

This small limited-released drama has been in my mind since the trailer caught my eye and piqued my interest. And this interest never waned throughout the entire narrative of the film. "The East" provides an account of the inner workings and infiltration of a modern day cult that revolts against socially unconscious big businesses. This film was full of tremendous performances most notably from: Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page and Brit Marling. The script was a little light on character development as most of the characters were very thinly sketched. I feel another 30 minutes would've helped this film tremendously. However limited the narrative was, what showed up on the screen was engaging and receives my recommendation.

Lars and the Real Girl

One of the more fabulous and uncomfortably awkward Indies I've seen in a long time. Ryan Gosling, of course, was amazing in his stunningly accurate portrayal of Lars; a kind and gentle Haphephobic (fear of being touched) recluse. Also giving an eye-opening performance was Paul Schneider, who played Lars' older brother Gus. Great writing, solid acting and a completely original and interesting storyline combine to deliver a film that's touching, heartfelt, emotional and extremely rewarding. "Lars and the Real Girl" is easily worth the 106 minute sacrifice and extremely recommended.

The Vicious Kind

This independent family drama was very abrasive, upfront and confrontational. "The Vicious Kind" displayed writing that at times was shoddy, uneven performances and emotional stakes that were desperately unconvincing. But with that said, I actually enjoyed the unique subject matter, the forward characters and the overall feel of the film. I feel like a monumental improvement could've been achieved with a few more takes, sharper editing and a more thoroughly refined script. These errors weren't fatal, but unfortunately left the film as just average.

The Rambler
The Rambler(2013)
½

Quite possibly the most absurd and disgusting/disturbing film I've ever seen that had absolutely no point or too many to count. I don't even know how to begin to comment on the performances of the casting crew, as it was just one big "hot ass mess" as my Girlfriend would say. However, this film did give me one take away or one question that left me perplexed, disturbed and I'll guiltily admit intrigued; how in the hell could a writer create this ridiculous string of scenes and then stack upon each other? My initial instinct is to say, don't watch. But if you're brave, give it a peak and you and I can revel in the disgusting, vial, awful and yet intriguing nature of this film together. I assure you, it will be like nothing you have ever seen. Uhhh... dammit. Uhhh... 5/10.

Monsters University
½

Saw this in 3-D this past weekend and I have to admit, I enjoyed this installment more than its predecessor. The storyline wasn't predictable, slow, boring or any other derogatory comments we think of. It was actually flawless in almost all areas. I did miss the character Boo, but surprisingly it wasn't until after the credits rolled that I realized she was missing. Disney/DreamWorks did it again in providing audiences with harmless fun for all ages. They had become experts at delivering films that are heartfelt, humorous, touching and supremely written and structured. Highly, highly recommended. A few things that could have made two scenes stronger, left it at -- 9/10.

Sympathy for Delicious
½

This little film directed by one of my favorite actors, Mark Ruffalo (who also starred in it), was somewhat disappointing. Although ridiculous, the storyline was actually an interesting concept in its infancy. But unfortunately, the longer it matured on the screen the more uneven in became until the storyline unraveled altogether. The acting and directing were solid and the visuals were there, which helped the film remain watchable all the way to its disappointing conclusion. I was sad to see a film with Ruffalo so poorly wasted. Do yourself a favor, stay away -- 4.5/10.

96 Minutes
96 Minutes(2012)
½

Unfortunately, 96 MINUTES is a another film that would've been told better without flashbacks, flash forwards, etc. The film, plot and through line were coherent and understandable but unfortunately, the usage of flashbacks did this film a huge injustice. Before we get fully introduced to all the characters we already know their intentions, actions and the circumstances. The spoilers led me to stop caring about two of the film's central characters. If this film would've been played in a straight line format, I believe audiences would've been more heavily invested in the film's characters. There's a film at the heart of this story, but tragically for audiences, this was the wrong one -- 4.5/10.

Blue State
Blue State(2007)

Since I didn't turn it off and watched it in its entirety, I'll take that as being a good sign. BLUE STATE was a little film that ended up being moderately entertaining. This was a unique story that flowed pretty well and ended with a satisfying conclusion. There's not much more to it than that. This film wasn't overly complex, interesting or compelling. But overall, it was a bit of harmless fun that came as quick as it left. I must warn you that if you're not into political movies or are right wing, this may not be the film for you. A very generous -- 6/10.

The Words
The Words(2012)

This is a film that tried to be a little too slick and complex for its own good. Polluted with annoying voice-over, THE WORDS actually was a film with tremendous promise and an interesting plot. Spliced an edited together haphazardly, is ultimately what knocked this film down several notches. A solid cast an interesting premise, were mostly wasted in a film that tried desperately to be unique and intricate, but failed pretty miserably in both areas. There's nothing here that really couldn't be fixed with a good edit and in the end, it sadly appeared convoluted and stale -- 5... 5.5... shit! 6/10.

World War Z
World War Z(2013)
½

I've been excited for this opening since last summer. And unfortunately, my high expectations were met with a film that left me feeling even keel and slightly deprived. WORLD WAR Z was entertaining, engaging and overall a relatively enjoyable ride. A solid performance by Brad Pitt, who carried the film (and produced), gave the zombie apocalypse genre an amount of depth it's normally not used to. But with that said, I don't know how it remained lost on me that this film was rated PG-13. A suit is the opening credits rolled exposing PG-13, I was like, "damn... really?" And much to my chagrin, the film did absolutely nothing to extinguish that feeling. A zombie apocalypse movie without blood or zombies doing what they do best, eating people, should have never been made. Future filmmakers of this genre repeat after me, "Thou shall not make a zombie apocalypse film that's rated PG-13!" Good, now I feel better. Ultimately, this film will be remembered for a truly interesting story with a brutally unrealistic feel and a complete lack of horror. Temper you're expectations and watch it on Blu-ray -- 6.5/10.

How to Survive a Plague
½

A devastating, yet interesting documentary about the early spread of AIDS that ravaged a helpless community. This documentary took us to the ground floor and allowed us to witness a group's fight for accessible and suitable medication in order to treat their debilitating symptoms of AIDS. This documentary spans a vast time period moving from early onset of the HIV virus all the way to the mid 90's. A truly fascinating an enlightening documentary that exposes the brutal nature of the AIDS virus. The limited scope and singular point of view of this documentary leaves it at -- 7.5/10.

Burning Man
Burning Man(2012)

An extremely interesting film that deals subject matter that is emotional and sensitive and did so with a beautiful touch. The plot was pretty straightforward, but the film was intertwined and woven together in a very complex manner. 30 minutes into the film I can honestly say, I did know what the hell was going on. But I'm sure glad I hung in there because by the end it all came together nicely. Matthew Goode was fantastic and played quite a different role from the film "Stoker" (which if you haven't seen go watch it, seriously... now). I'm not sure how great of a film this was because something is telling me it was a little style over substance, but it's still an enjoyable movie that increasingly grew on me. Definitely check out the mind-boggling drama that's more than worthy of a solid rating -- 8/10.

Crazy Heart
Crazy Heart(2009)

Watched this for a second time last night and was completely blown away all over again. Give this film a peek and you'll no longer have to question why he won an Oscar for this role. Undoubtedly one of the best performances you'll ever see. This was spectacular storytelling. Our hero, Bad Blake, is incredibly selfish and self destructive. Yet, something about him draws us in, makes us love him and root for him. I haven't read the book, so either the author or adapting screenwriter did a fantastic job creating a character that was extremely fallible but shockingly equally lovable, quite a feat. If you haven't seen this film, do yourself a favor and watch it immediately. An absolute must see -- 10/10.

Safe Haven
Safe Haven(2013)
½

I'm gonna start off by saying, I didn't absolutely hate this like I thought I would. Yes, it was a Nicholas Sparks movie and yes, it had some of the cheesy "Sparks Magic", but it detracted enough from the formula to form an original and interesting story. Although I didn't hate the film overall, I despised most of the effort put forth by Julianne Hough. She really needs to take more lessons before starring in another movie (ex. "Rock of Ages"). Being hot and able to dance is not a good enough reason to take up space on the screen. Josh Duhamel, who is normally watchable, even had his moments where he stooped to Hough's level. This leads me to believe the direction and improv sessions flamed up and burned out miserably. If you're down for sappy, mindless Sparks comfort food, check it out. Not awful, but far from perfect -- 5.5/10.

Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door

In a film "loosely" based on actual events with absolutely disgusting imagery of torture and abuse, fails to provide anything more than an exhibition evil. To me, this film walks the line in using a tragedy in order to generate profit. The script was pathetic, the acting was horrible and the film failed to develop any motive or in with a satisfying conclusion. The sensitive nature of this story is better off in the hands of someone who knows how to tell a story. The utterly disgusting imagery, awful acting and poor storytelling combined to make in unwatchable movie. Steer very clear -- 4/10.

An American Crime

Overall this film did a decent job in telling the true story of a horrific crime of abuse and torture. Several moments throughout this film were difficult to watch and even more impossible to imagine that people are capable of such evil. Torture and evil rose to the top and unfortunately, character dimension, motives and understanding sank rapidly. In a film loaded with tremendous actors, the script and direction did little to capitalize on the wealth of talent. "An American Crime" is not an enjoyable film primarily based on its nature, but I would venture to say this to film is not even solid enough to voluntary witness the horror. Definitely heavy and not for the faint of heart -- 6/10.

Inhale
Inhale(2010)
½

An interesting and quick thriller that attempts to expose the black market of organ transplants. Dermot Mulroney, although not spectacular, put forth a watchable performance while almost carrying this film single-handedly. In a film that does a good job showing the moral dilemmas a father faces and the great lengths one will go, it somehow feels incredibly thin and lackluster. In may have something to do with the incredibly limited runtime. A great ending leaves it at -- 7/10.

Red State
Red State(2011)
½

Stay far, far away from this film; it has absolutely nothing to offer you. "Red State" was bad in so many ways that I don't know where to start or finish. So I'll stop here... pathetic! 2.5/10 (only because I was victim to watching it the entire way through)

The Outsiders

I understand, fashionably late to the party. Even with that said, I don't think I could ever understand how this movie could be considered good in any era. This film possessed the trifecta: sloppy storytelling, uneven performances and overall just plain boring. If you haven't been tortured by this film yet, steer clear before placing it on your screen -- 4/10.

The Devil's Double
½

A remarkable and interesting tale about the body double of Saddam Hussein's most evil son. It was engaging, captivating and a remarkable depiction of the lowest of the low, Uday Hussein. His disgusting and despicable actions were prevalent throughout the film and saw through the eyes of the polite, mild-mannered Latif, Uday's body double. Forced into this profession, Latif had no choice but to stand by and watch. Dominic Cooper, who played both Latif and Uday, was pretty solid. His portrayal appeared a little sensationalized, but I think that's what the filmmakers were going for. In the end, this film concentrated too much on despicable actions and terror, which sacrificed character development and a cohesive through line. Proceed with caution as its overall just... pretty decent -- 6.5/10.

The Way
The Way(2011)

I thoroughly enjoyed the story of "The Way". The film provided a heartwarming tale of a man's journey for retribution, acceptance, honor (for his son) and openness. This film was gifted with a fascinating backdrop that gave the story more personality than any cast or crew member. Quite a dramatic heft carried with seemingly ease by Martin Sheen. His performance was captivating as it really delivered on all levels. A little slow and monotone at times leaves it at a respectable -- 7.5/10.

White Irish Drinkers
½

There's a decent script and a good movie at the heart of this film, but unfortunate for audiences neither were achieved or capitalized upon. We've all seen this story play out before, a kid from a rough neighborhood with a hidden talent that tries to get out but, his family and neighborhood keep pulling him down. This film boasted some decent performances by its ancillary characters, but was ultimately doomed by the stale, robotic and unconvincing effort put forth by its lead. Its overly familiar plot and poor lead were far too much for this Indie film to overcome -- 4.5/10.

Winter's Bone
½

I saw this film shortly after its initial release in 2010 and after giving it a second look, I felt extreme desire to review it. So here it is -- This film provides an excellent depiction of a poverty stricken family's fight for survival in Southern Missouri. The family is led by 17 year old Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) who is desperately trying to keep a roof, not only over her head, but the head of her two younger siblings. This film was extremely dark and visceral. This feat was partially accomplished through outstanding local casting. The cast is heavily populated with natives from the area that give the film and unparalleled authentic feel. This film is probably in my top five films from the last five years. Two reasons to watch this: 1. This is Jennifer Lawrence's breakout role that led her to the level we see her now. And 2. John Hawkes. The dude is a fantastic actor, truly one of the best in the business. If you haven't seen many of his films I highly suggest checking them out. Start with this one, move to "The Sessions", then to "Martha Marcy May Marlene" and just for shits and giggles watch his straight role in the HBO Series "Eastbound and Down". Needless to say, I highly, highly recommend "Winter's Bone" -- 9.5/10.

The Kings of Summer

This small Indie film is a coming-of-age drama/comedy that paid off big in both genres. "The Kings of Summer" was the story of three friends in their early teens striking out on their own to live in the forest. They lived by their own rules, built their own shelter and attempted to hunt for their own food. In a film that was full of laughs and both extremely charming and quirky, the message in the film will ring true in most of us and take us back to our adolescents. The unheralded cast performed extremely well and the cinematography capitalized on several visuals that led to breathtaking moments. On a final note, I really wish more small films like this could push through and break into mainstream. Memorable, rewarding, hilarious, awkward -- 8/10.

Mud
Mud(2013)

I've been eagerly awaiting this film for a very long time. The amazing writer/director Jeff Nichols came back to the drawing board and produced another fantastic drama. His films are among my very favorite (Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter) and now Mud. This film reaches to great depths and portrays southern culture seamlessly. Like Nichols, I too am an Arkansan and it's beautiful to see a film that so accurately depicts where we are from. Matthew McConaughey was beyond stellar and it's only a matter of time before he wins an Oscar. The child actors were good and surprisingly so was the hometown cast. This film has a most unexpected finale that you'll never see coming. Heart... depth... visuals... character and storytelling at its absolute finest... bravo! Highly, highly recommended -- 8.5/10.

Compliance
Compliance(2012)

Having heard this story on the news years ago, I was instantly interested. The film was indescribably hard to watch, as it provided several moments of discomfort. A truly disgusting real life story that subjected teens to unmerciful torture. Dreama Walker was spectacular in her role as an unsuspected, innocent and naive teen. I don't believe I'll ever have the stomach to watch this movie for a second time, but I believe it's definitely an important story to tell. Rating this film was extremely challenging due to its sensitive nature. So... if you've got thick skin... I'll suggested it -- 8/10.

House at the End of the Street
½

Unfortunately, another disappointing film gifted to us by the horror genre. But surprisingly in what most horror films lack; solid acting, convincing dialogue, visual splendor, HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET actually had. The spectacularly pathetic title was almost as bad as the unconvincing plot twists and the overall lackluster narrative. Upon second glance, it's actually not a horror film. It's a psychological thriller for a three year old. Unless you have a thing for Jennifer Lawrence, who was solid as usual, don't waste your time -- 5/10.

The Hole
The Hole(2012)
½

This film had a concept, albeit different, that was made from very familiar parts of the horror genre lore. The concept was different enough to be entertaining and the writing was relatively solid, but unfortunately it also possessed stale emotionless acting that was unconvincing and just overall visually unappeasing. Watch at your own risk and definitely proceed with caution -- 4.5/10.

Casablanca
Casablanca(1942)

My girl finally sat me down to watch this and I was actually pleasantly surprised. And that's a ringing endorsement from me, considering I have a very hard time getting into classics that I've never seen before. This film was romantic, beautifully acted and possessed a engaging and entertaining story. The performances were spot on and the storied never lingered or died. I'm sure most of you all have seeing this, but if not, I highly recommend seeing the film that was partially responsible for starting a solid foundation on spectacular storytelling. 8.5/10.

Safety Not Guaranteed
½

Okay, let's get this out of the way. First and foremost, I loved this damn movie! The Duplass brothers are back at it again, delivering a great Indie. This film did what most great Indies do; provide a smart, quirky, heartfelt, character-driven story without opting for style over substance. Aubrey Plaza was fantastic, leading this tremendous film in a truly fascinating direction. I had no idea if Duplass' character was real or imagined, but by the end everything is tied up into a satisfying conclusion. The only thing I wish is... that this movie would have been longer, because I definitely needed more screen-time with these fascinating characters. Highly, highly recommended -- 9/10.

I Will Follow
½

A nice and short indie drama that spectacularly portrayed love and loss. This film possessed surprisingly powerful performances from a relatively unknown cast. I WILL FOLLOW was most assuredly shot on a shoestring budget, but had none of the usual limitations: like sacrificing visuals or working with substandard source material. This film was an excellent examination on the sacrifices someone makes when they ultimately make the right decision and choose to be selfless. This small Indie about self-examination is definitely worth a look -- 7/10.

The Grey
The Grey(2012)

A captivating journey about man's desire and fight to survive. In my opinion, this was one of Liam Neeson's finer performances. Full of grit and adventure, this film never felt tired, boring or became predictable. The Grey's visual splendor and arduous journey make for an amazing back drop on a film that exposes weaknesses and delves deep into a person's every fiber. The film has a familiar plot and circumstance but digs deeper into character and has more heart than most. Highly recommended -- 8/10.

Machine Gun Preacher

There was a truly fascinating man at the heart of this story, but unfortunately the film was thinly scripted full of awful fo-southern dialogue. The story sped like a runaway train -- never fully developing any character or relationship. A narrative of this scope has mini-series written all over it. A broader canvas is definitely what was needed, instead of trying to jam-pack a massive story in two a 120 minute window. But with all that said, I actually thought the film was entertaining, engaging and ultimately captivating. But unfortunately it just needed more. I would still suggest watching this film, if it's only to see how great of a man Sam Childers is. His story needs to be known -- 6/10.

I Love You Phillip Morris

Absolutely hands down one of Jim Carrey's finest performances. This true story of Steven Russell, an ultra slick con man, took one unbelievable turn after another. Just when the film had me convinced, the story twisted -- pulling the rug from directly under my feet. I never knew where this narrative was leading me or where it would eventually finish. When the credits rolled, I couldn't believe the journey I was just on and this story that unfolded before me. Truly fascinating, but slow and awkward at times leaves it at -- 7.5/10.

The Way Way Back
½

l was fortunate enough to see an early screening of this film yesterday and came away a little disappointed. The Way Way Back is a coming-of-age comedy/drama centered around broken and soon to be dysfunctional family. After seeing that Steve Carell, who I love in indie dramas, and Sam Rockwell were in this film my expectations were lofty. Through the first 20 minutes and this film the writers/directors unnecessarily beat us over the head with how awkward the lead character Duncan, played by Liam James, was. Just as the film was about to lose me in rolled Sam Rockwell, who was spectacular. His character and performance breathed life into this film and actually made the overall experience enjoyable. Steve Carell was solid in plain a straight laced antagonist/villian. It was actually interesting to see him play a character that was not awkward, funny or even likable. The film also tried way too hard to be funny which never really paid off for me. With all that said, I actually found this film to be touching and redeeming with a great story and a rewarding finale. Based on the stale open and a lack of humor leaves this film at -- 6.5/10.

Ciudad de Acero
½

This film has been sitting in my Netflix top 10 suggestions for a very long time until I finally watched it... and holy shit it was awesome! This film was extremely dark and an emotional roller coaster. This indie drama centered around a poverty stricken family and Pennsylvania. "Steel City" is one more spectacularly written and shot indie films I've seen in a very long time. The film was very understated, but so spectacularly written, acted and directed that you always knew what the actors were feeling, what they meant and that there was mutual understanding. And to think, the lead in this film was Tom Guiry. Yes, Smalls from "The Sandlot" and no, he wasn't killing me. It was a truly remarkable piece of cinema and I highly suggest it -- 9/10.

Puncture
Puncture(2011)
½

Streamed this film the other day based upon the recommendation of a friend and I came away rather impressed. I was surprised at the depth and accuracy that Chris Evans put into his character. The writing was somewhat uneven and the narrative a little slow, but what this film did do a good job in portraying was; addiction, despair, power, greed and the ultimate struggle to succeed. The story kind of dangled for awhile, but overall it was an entertaining and tragic real life story. Definitely check it out -- 7/10.

Sinister
Sinister(2012)

I was excited when I saw that a decent actor, Ethan Hawke, was going to be in a horror film. The prospects of a good actor in a genre dying for good acting and screenwriting, was very enticing. And I must say, "Sinister" delivered in all aspects; the acting was engaging, the script was solid, the story was original, suspenseful and somewhat horrifying. It's a relief to finally see a film out of this genre that had the ability to blend horror with actual professional storytelling and the screen not be convoluted with poor performances. Needless to say, I highly recommend this film. For true fans of cinema, this may be the horror film for you -- 8/10.

The Internship

If I wouldn't have been offered an early screening, I definitely would've waited until this film hit blu-ray. My faith in comedy has severely diminished over the past several years, but "The Internship" boosted it. Even though this film wasn't overly hilarious, several laugh-out-loud moments were delivered through the script by the casts' solid performances. Being a Vince Vaughn fan, I was not disappointed. Vince's script definitely delivered comedy and surprisingly had a solid, unique and interesting story accompanying it. Wish there would have been a few more moments of hilarity, but I still would recommend this film -- 7.5/10.

Super 8
Super 8(2011)

I've been wanting to see this film for a very long time and I finally got the opportunity. This film was both entertaining and engaging. J.J. delivered a script that was full of heart and had tremendous depth. The child actors really carried this film throughout and did so with seemingly ease. It never really lacked in drama or suspense and kept me entirely engrossed from start to finish. The only negative I have is Kyle Chandler, who I feel plays the same character in every movie. It wasn't distracting, just unoriginal. If you like Sci-Fi with a dramatic plot and excellent character development this may be the film for you -- 8/10.

Wreck-it Ralph

Another excellent anime put forward by the powerhouse team of Pixar and Disney. Typical with all their films, Wreck-it Ralph was an excellent story full of heart, humor and lessons that was told spectacularly well. This film is definitely for all ages as it took me back to the many hours and hundreds of dollars spent at the arcade. The writing was excellent in the animation was brilliant... really don't have any complaints for you. I highly recommend this film -- 8/10.

Rampart
Rampart(2012)
½

First I will say, fans be crazy... how could you not enjoy this film? Difficult to watch? Yes. This film portrayed self-destruction, denial and disillusionment at its finest, which was all made possible through the stellar performance delivered by Woody Harrelson. Every time I watch one of his films, I come out blown away... damn this dude is an actor! His performance was mesmerizing... brutally hard to watch his selfdestruction, but impossible to divert your eyes from the screen. The storyline could've been more dynamic, engaging and complex. Also, there's definitely more room for action -- especially considering he was a cop. This film receives a five for the storyline and a ten for Woody's riveting performance... which averages out to a -- 7.5/10.

This is 40
This is 40(2012)
½

Initially I didn't expect much from this film -- seeing how fans and critics work equally unimpressed. Plus, its 134 minute run time seemed entirely too long for a film of this genre. After the first 10 minutes, I assumed I would be watching a 2 hour jokes session. But thankfully that was not the case, as Judd Apatow again delivered a film that was funny, charming and soulful with great depth. Most of the performances were fine except for the one delivered by Leslie Mann. I really wish Judd would've casted someone other than his wife because her performance was uneven, childish and some what annoying -- but trust me I get it. Overall a good comedy with a well developed plot that I would recommend -- 7/10.

The Cabin in the Woods

This film put a great twist on an old and sometimes boring/played-out genre. The premise seemed the same upfront, but the more you delve into the film the further it breaks away from the traditional formula. I enjoyed how the film was fun, interesting, complex and original. The main ingredient I felt it lacked was humor and unfortunately it wasn't for a lack of effort. The film attempted to be funny, but fell short in most areas. I'm not the biggest fan of this genre, but overall I actually enjoyed this movie. Due to the failed attempts at humor this film falls to -- 6.5/10.

The Host
The Host(2013)

This film definitely had an interesting concept, but unfortunately it also possessed a second and third act that stayed on screen for 90 minutes and just laid over on the side of the road and died. The story lacked conflict and led the audience on a path to nowhere full of disappointment. Ultimately this film will be remembered for spoiling a fine performance by William Hurt. Umm... a generous -- 4.5/10.

The Great Gatsby
½

Saw this this past weekend in 3-D and overall I enjoyed it. Most of the performances were solid, but Leonardo Dicaprio's portrayal of Gatsby was fantastic. The main thing I disliked was Tobey Maguire as Nick, who came off dry, uninteresting and wimpy. I'm not sure if this was intentional or just poor acting, directing, writing or casting. Several times the film delved into style over substance, but held together well enough to keep me interested. The visual splendor and fine performance delivered by Leo force me to recommend it and highly suggest seeing it in 3-D. 7/10.

Pitch Perfect
½

I feel like I've seen this film 100 times over. But even with that said... I gave it a chance and it blew up in my face. Just because you throw a whole bunch of great musical numbers in a film (eg. Pitch Perfect, Rock of Ages, every High School Musical, etc.) doesn't mean the writer can get sloppy with dialogue, story and character development. In a film full of cliched two dimensional characters, a who cares through-line and soggy performances, please... save your time. I think the critics got duped, because Anna Kendrick's performance and solid music never came close to saving this film -- 3/10.

Bernie
Bernie(2012)
½

First of all, wow... what a surprising performance by Jack Black. This dude truly is an actor. This film was a dark comedy that dealt was subject matter that was... let's say unique. A true story and murder-mystery that was more humorous and sweet than mysterious. I enjoyed the film, but wasn't really sure how to feel about making a movie about someone getting murdered a comedy... where the hero is the killer and town hero . But other than that, I really enjoyed it and would suggest giving it a view -- if it's only to see the brilliant performance delivered by Jack Black. 7.5/10

The Paperboy
The Paperboy(2012)

After seeing that this film was critically panned and not popular with audiences I had very little hope. In fact, I accidentally received it from Netflix after I forgot to update my queue. So with all that said, I watched this movie really wanting to hate it, but... I must admit I loved it. The critics said it was trashy, campy and melodramatic, but I actually couldn't disagree more. I found the characters to be authentic, original, visceral and entertaining. Being raised in the south, several of these characters are unfortunately very familiar. Maybe some aspects exaggerated... but hell we are watching a movie. Who wants to see 106 minutes of normal people? Not me. If I do I'll just go to the park. Each chapter of this film kept me on my toes by continually surprising me all the way to its conclusion. This film yields a powerful cast who delivered stellar performances. Shocking to me was the quality of Zac Efron's portrayal of Jack Johnson, a scarred coming-of-age 20 year old. This and his performance in "Liberal Arts" have really pointed his career trajectory skyward. I highly recommend this dark... dirty... dingy... disgusting Indie Drama, but warn it's not for the faint of heart. A few issues with the script leave it at -- 8/10.

Total Recall
Total Recall(2012)
½

After a relatively strong first act (30 minutes), the next 90 minutes of this film turned into one big set piece/action sequence. The acting wasn't terrible, but unfortunately this script was. The story was thin an underdeveloped. Every relationship and opportunity to make a character three dimensional took a backseat to what ultimately was one giant green screen. Instead of rebooting the franchise they should've took a page from Jurassic Park, enhance the far superior original and re-release it in 3-D. Ultimately this will go down as a film that never should've been made. A VERY generous -- 4.5/10.

42
42(2013)
½

Overall a pretty good film with a tremendous performance by Harrison Ford. Most of the movie was very familiar to me, based on the many documentaries I've seen. The film seemed pretty accurate, but was far too broad for a 2 hour time slot. The film lightly touched on several serious race issues, but never fully examined any of them and also failed to develop most of the relationships. This film would've been far more superior if the time frame had been shrank down to the first two weeks of Jackie's entrance. I'm just worried that a lot of people who see this will believe it as so. If that's the case, I feel the filmmakers failed in their responsibility to show the serious and torturous nature of the racial issues that Robinson was dealing with. But with all that said, it was still an enjoyable movie that I would suggest watching. Just don't believe that the public's change/acceptance and punishment endured by Robinson was that easy and mild. It was much, much worse -- 7/10.

Liberal Arts
Liberal Arts(2012)

Watched this small indie film last night with my girl and overall was extremely impressed. Assured not to get lost, was the refreshing performance delivered by Elizabeth Olsen who continues to stack solid performances. Writer/director/star Radnor delivered a charming and humorous higher concept drama that will most assuredly be overlooked. Which is unfortunate, because this film is definitely worth your time. I just find it sad that this genre doesn't find a larger audience, because this is definitely the type of film that needs to dawn more theater screens. The only negative was the unfortunate final monologue that left it at -- 7.5/10.

American Son
American Son(2008)

A pretty good film with a surprisingly solid performance by Cannon. This film tells the story of a Marines final 96 hours before being shipped off to Iraq. This is a very important story of American soldiers that is told told in a respectful, candid and entertaining nature. 6.5/10.

Blue Valentine
½

Watch this for the second time on Saturday and... just felt compelled to review it. A terrific, dark indie drama that rips your heart out and steps on it. This film was brought to life by Cianfrance's undeniable brilliance and the stellar performances by Gosling and Williams. You don't see the actors who play these two characters. Instead, you see a couple's relationship speeding like a runaway train and veering off the track. And I must say... it's an absolutely fabulous train wreck -- 9/10.

The Place Beyond The Pines

Derek Cianfrance is at it again with a riveting follow-up to Blue Valentine. The limited-released, dark Indie ventures far from the path blazed by his earlier work and had two major jaw-dropping moments. Cianfrance brought these dingy, dark and supremely flawed characters to life in a spectacular fashion in which only he's able. If it's possible, the 140 minute run-time felt too short in portraying a tale of this magnitude. My advice -- hang in there through the uneasy change of pace and feel after the first mind explosion. Because if you do, I think this may be a film like no other that you've seen. Definitely run and see The Place Beyond The Pines if it's in a theater near you -- 8.5/10.

Olympus Has Fallen

Overall a pretty good action movie that exceeded my expectations. The film boasted solid performances by Butler and Freeman. If it had not been for some scenes with cliche dialogue and forced, unrealistic action (e.g. Secret Service running from the White House in the open to get slaughtered) it would have been more highly rated.

Margin Call
Margin Call(2011)
½

This film may be out of the grasp of some, but this financial thriller honestly delivered on almost all counts for me. An amazing script and beautiful direction by rookie writer/director J.C. Chandor, led this star studded cast to and instant classic. I know I may sound a little dramatic but... this film was everything that Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps wasn't. If you have the patience and desire to get an insider's look at the 2008 financial crisis -- I highly suggest this film. 9/10.

Jurassic Park

Was fortunate to enjoy an early screening of this most recent classic rebooted in 3D and finally they got it right. After the many disappointments of previous films that were rebooted in 3D, this one lived up to the expectations -- delivering beautiful visuals that appeared meant for 3D, which truly enhanced the viewing experience. An 8/10 and movie but a 10/10 3D experience.

Stoker
Stoker(2013)
½

This film had a very Hitchcock-esk feel that presented you beautifully dark material with an all-time creepy cast. The plot twists and turns really kept me on my toes, which never made me feel like I was being led through the dark with someone holding my hand. This film was beautifully shot and spectacularly directed... true art in motion. One terrific frame after another that left me yearning for more screen time with the disturbed cast. And to think, all of this written by Prison Break star Wentworth Miller... bravo! 8.5/10.

Tyrannosaur
Tyrannosaur(2011)

Gritty filmmaking at its finest. This foreign indie film is dark, dark, dark... If you're a fan of dark indie films I highly suggest this one. Brilliant performances out of the leads and 90 minutes that escapes -- leaving you wanting more. This fantastic film shows the extreme depth of one man's pain and does so seamlessly with ease. Stick with a hero through the first 20 minutes and I assure you you will not be disappointed. 8.5/10.

Celeste and Jesse Forever
½

This film... was just okay. Solid performances by Jones and Samberg were ultimately overshadowed by film that could decide whether it wanted to be funny, which it tried so desperately to be, or dramatic. The endless teenage humor on the book titles, song titles, band names etc., was extremely distracting and annoying. Another distraction was a script that was full of ancillary characters that were stale, generic and all sounded the same. But based on the solid performances by the leads and a plot that kept you on your toes rises it to a mediocre rating -- 5/10.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
½

An interesting movie that deals with an extremely sensitive subject remarkably well. Although occasionally on the slow side and a understandably somewhat uneven performance by a rookie child actor -- Thomas Horn, it's a sentimental story worth telling. Recommended -- 7/10.

The Tree of Life

The more I think about this film... the more I love it. It had a very 2001: A Space Odyssey feel. Malick's film was a direct descendant of the genre created by Stanley Kubrick. This type of film comes all down to taste... you'll either absolutely love it or absolutely hate it. I'm with a former, but would absolutely understand if this movie's not for you. It's very quiet, understated and visual. Most viewers will look for a deeper meaning, but to me this film is ultimately about acceptance and forgiveness. I would stand on the table to recommend this film -- 10/10.

50/50
50/50(2011)
½

I know I waited a while to see this, until... it was free on HBO, but I absolutely loved it. Along with this smart script and Gordon-Levitt and Rogan's brilliant performances I found it both funny and touching. I really have nothing negative to say other than I wish it could have been longer. Ultimately, I highly, highly, highly recommend this film -- 9/10.

Shotgun Stories
½

Nichols' debut was dark and dingy. This visceral film was overall enjoyable. The lead, spectacularly portrayed by Michael Shannon, was both dark and compassionate. The film was packed with such tension that I couldn't wait to see where it led -- but unfortunately it ended on a very even keel. With that said, I would still recommend this film, but highly suggest watching Nichols' much superior follow-up -- "Take Shelter". This film still receives a solid rating -- 7.5/10.

Seven Psychopaths

This film carried so much promise with its spectacular cast and a genre that's my personal favorite -- dark comedy. But my initial excitement was met with a complex yet uninteresting storyline, uneven/stale performances and a complete lack of humor -- causing my lofty expectations to violently crash back to earth. 4/10

Fish Tank
Fish Tank(2010)

A decent indie foreign film that boasted solid performances by the leads and possessed an interesting, provocative and taboo storyline. Unfortunately, the film was slow and prodding far too often. But, Michael Fassbender and Katie Jarvis' performances carried the day and kept this indie film from a rotten rating -- 6.5/10.

Think Like a Man

Overall a pretty decent romantic comedy. The ensemble performed well and their story lines were both interesting and solidly intertwined. This film was refreshing and a pleasant surprise from a genre that I feel often should be drug behind the barn and put out of its misery -- 6.5/10.

Your Sister's Sister
½

There is a movie dying to come out of this film, but sadly it never does. A little to heavy on the improve and extremely to light on the script. Your Sister's Sister teaches you three things; the "high art" of an 90 minutes of chit-chat, that sex always results in babies and Blunt's character really loves her sister... excessively over emphasized. When deciding if to watch this -- take a nap. It's much more refreshing.

Wanderlust
Wanderlust(2012)
½

Very nice visually and expertly shot. Charming performance by Rudd and a few of the ancillary characters, but unfortunately it was neither funny or interesting. Proceed with caution.

Premium Rush
Premium Rush(2012)

Juvenile, uneven and poorly written. Annoying cinematography and graphics. Premium Rush delivers -- a film full of unrealistic characters, forced dialogue and an uninteresting storyline. Who cares? Not I and neither should you.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits
½

Average... mediocre... pedestrian

ParaNorman
ParaNorman(2012)

A surprisingly great story and with spectacular animation. The stop-motion was both highly technical and beautifully presented. The storyline was engaging, the characters were three dimensional and the comedy was very well scripted, providing several moments of laughter. If I had a Oscar vote this would get it, mostly due to the stop-motion aspect and a terrific script. Highly recommended.

Dog Soldiers
Dog Soldiers(2002)

I had to turn it off... woeful.

5 Broken Cameras
½

What a great documentary about a culture's struggle an unwillingness to yield. This is a fabulously sad portrayal of a group of people's strength and willingness to sacrifice their life for what they believe in. A prime example of how retaliating by means of nonviolent protest is absolutely violent. It's a must watch.

Warm Bodies
Warm Bodies(2013)

What a great interesting twist on an old boring genre -- romantic comedy. This was a story about a budding romance set in a zombie apocalypse. This film was surprisingly touching, heartfelt and pretty much hilarious. The two leads were unknown by me, but never failed in driving the action/comedy or became distracting. Overall good performances. So, if you like dark comedies with an element of romance , this is definitely the film for you. Highly recommended.

The Invisible War
½

A gut wrenching, hard to stomach documentary that exposes the military's worse kept secret yet again. Definitely watch this and increase your social consciousness, especially if this is the first you're hearing about the high prevalence of rape and sexual misconduct of women amongst the American military.

Brave
Brave(2012)

I'm a Pixar fan and this film certainly did not disappoint. With Brave, Pixar once again brought to the table a funny, deep, well thought out animated film for all ages. This movie should resonate with audiences, leaving lasting images and moral lessons long after the film's finale. The only critique I could see would be based on the Scottish accents, but I actually thought it gave the film a more authentic feel and a greater depth of comedy. Definitely recommended.

Side Effects
Side Effects(2013)
½

In a film full of great performances, the one that surprisingly overshadowed the rest was that of Rooney Mara. She played a conflicted, dark and seemingly depressed character and did so with stunning accuracy. The compelling performances and the film's strong start were let down by a long and strung out third act that had a predictable finale. Overall good, but not theater worthy.

A Better Life

An absolute mesmerizing performance by Demian Bichir make for a fantastic film about a illegal alien father doing his best to provide for his native born adolescent son and connect with him on the streets of L.A. Great settings, visuals and cinematography, accompanied with a compelling script and precise direction make for an enjoyable escape. I adamantly recommend this.

Chronicle
Chronicle(2012)

Pretty decent, true essence POV film. The second act was pretty funny which gave the film a nice ebb and flow of funny to serious. Solid performances by the cast, engaging storyline and unique presentation make this a good film with a quick satisfying conclusion.

Take Shelter
Take Shelter(2011)
½

Interesting, dark and quietly suspenseful. Brilliantly written and directed by Nichols, this psychological thrill ride led by Michael Shannon who was spectacular in this dark mind-bending film. If you've never seen him or are just in the mood for a good Indie film check this one out.

Contraband
Contraband(2012)

I had a lot of trouble getting into it at first. It seems like the writer/director/etc. couldn't decide whether Mark Wahlberg's character was supposed to be funny, which he was not, or a badass. The first 30 minutes was filled with bad jokes and bad timing. After the steaks got raised the film got increasingly better.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2

Easily the best Twilight. This version was more entertaining, had more heart and the cast delivered better performances. Even with that said, Stewart and Pattinson were still somewhat uneven and unconvincing. Overall decent.

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Interesting concept with a good script and quality acting. John Hawkes was outstanding as usual and Elizabeth Olsen surprisingly held her own. Possibly a star in the making. The movie was quiet, dark and emotional with an ending that leaves you wanting more.

Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages(2012)

Outside of the great music and funny moments with Tom Cruise, Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin the movie was filled with forced drama and bad acting. I know the movie was supposed to be sensationalized but it was overall just bad. I would rate the movie a 5 solely based on the great music and humor.

Amour
Amour(2012)
½

This film was the bookend on my girlfriend and I's completion of all the Oscar nominated films. And wow, I'm not big on subtitles, but this film truly surprised me. I thoroughly enjoyed this heartwarming tale of an elderly couple taking care of each other in their final days. This film was romantic, inspiring, tragic and shocking. The great ending leaves you wondering, but never questioning these two characters love for each other. Brilliant performances by the leads and a script full of heart and depth make this film a must watch.

Searching for Sugar Man
½

Excellent documentary that told a very fascinating story. The personality, humbleness and modesty of Sixto Rodriguez made this film heartwarming and inspirational. A real lost and painful voice that Americans never had the opportunity to embrace and enjoy. A true underdog story. The only thing keeping this from a perfect rating was that the film never followed up on what actually happened to all his royalties. Definitely a must watch.

Affliction
Affliction(1997)

A great performance by Nolte saves this rather boring film from being rotten.

Warrior
Warrior(2011)

This film was an excellent and thrilling joyride. The film displayed a tremendous amount of heart, depth, drama and brutality. It was beautifully acted with star performances out of Hardy and Nolte. The film never dragged, slowed or became boring. The ending didn't go the way I was rooting for, but that in no way affected my perception of the movie. When watching this, I definitely saw why Nick Nolte was nominated last year. Enjoyable movie that I highly recommend.

Les Misérables

I'll preface this by saying I'm not a huge musical fan, but this was pretty good. The singing was just okay, but surprising to me was the performance by Russell Crowe, who I thought had a decent singing voice. Where this film failed was in the storyline, and I know it's a classic. But the love at first sight and I love you because my daughter does just seemed too forced, unrealistic and corny. But overall, not awful.

Gangster Squad

Although it's not the worst movie in the world, the more I thought about it the more cheesy it became. My main problem was with Josh Brolin's character, which was unconvincingly acted and even more poorly written. A total disaster in casting the lead, just for future reference if you're looking for a badass lead and Josh Brolin is the best you can come up with please just burn the script and do us all a favor. For 110 minutes, his character spouted one cheesy line after another. Even though the other actors delivered solid performances it was just too much to overcome a shoddy script and a poorly cast lead. A fine performance by Sean Penn, will ultimately be lost by this popcorn movie with WAY too much butter.

Magic Mike
Magic Mike(2012)

McConaughey's fine effort is overshadowed by a utter and thorough disaster of a script and blind direction. Quite possibly the worst film I saw in 2012.

Silver Linings Playbook
½

Wow! This film, using dark humor, was hilarious and compelling. To me, it was more of a drama with funny characters than it was a comedy, which I was glad for. David O. Russell did a fantastic job directing and with the script. Especially with the dialogue, which was smart, quick, funny and easily understood. With Russell's direction, the cast excelled. Easily the best performance by a cast and my favorite "Nominated" film of the year. My few issues with the ending keep it from a perfect score.

The Sessions
The Sessions(2012)

A sweet and touching true life story told well and performed even better. Hunt and Macy were spectacular, but Hawkes, which is always good, delivered the performance to remember. This film dealt with disability, religion, sex and virginity. However uncomfortable some of the scenes were, they were handled with humor, respect and awkwardly funny dialogue. This is a nice film you should all watch.

Flight
Flight(2012)
½

Denzel was spectacular as usual but the film seemed a little slow and prodding. John Goodman was hilarious and brightened every scene he was in. Too bad he was only in the film for maybe a total of 10 minutes. More of Goodman = more entertainment. His role should've definitely been expanded. Overall enjoyable, but my ratings mostly based on the performances by Washington and Goodman as the story lacked a little pop.

Django Unchained
½

I'll start this by saying I'm not the biggest Tarantino fan. I enjoyed Dusk Till Dawn and Inglorious Bastards, outside of a ridiculous 20 minute rant about a drinking game. Other than the extreme length, this film delivered in all aspects. Acting, directing, writing, drama, violence and humor. Fox and Dicaprio were stellar, but Christopher Waltz stole every scene that he was in. Bravo!

The Impossible

Gut wrenching, emotional, shocking, this film evoked more emotions than I thought I had. A touching story acted spectacularly by two great actors, Watts and McGregor . I don't know if I could watch it again solely based on the graphic and emotional nature of the film. If I had a vote Watts would get mine for best actress. I heard all the naysayers say how this film did an injustice to the native people. I couldn't disagree more. It showed them as helpful and caring. But in the end this film is not about the tsunami, it's about a family dealing with and overcoming tragedy. I highly recommend it.

Arbitrage
Arbitrage(2012)
½

This suspenseful film was just decent. The suspense was real and felt, but the story was lacking. The film never gave me a reason to root for Robert Miller. We have enough real life examples of slimy criminals on Wall Street getting away with everything under the sun. That I don't think it's necessary to spend 2 hours watching a film on one. Richard Gere's performance was typical right out of the "Unfaithful" playbook and in my opinion, not nomination worthy. The ending fell flat and then just stopped. This film was very forgettable other than the performance by Nate Parker.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
½

I rather enjoyed this film. The second act was a little slow in places, but overall it was heartfelt, touching and mostly satisfying. The cast boasted a powerhouse of older European actors who delivered terrific performances.

The Deer Hunter

I can honestly say, that this may be the worst movie I've set through the entirety of. Boring, disjointed an entirely too long. With a run time of 183 minutes, The Deer Hunter tested my limits of how long I can watch an awful movie. The only reason I'm writing a review for this is to save someone else immense pain.

Project X
Project X(2012)
½

Even though it wasn't overly hillarious, I'm actually guilty of enjoying it. The mass destruction was pretty epic and visually appeasing. Although not spectacular, the acting wasn't the least bit annoying.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Nice romantic drama with solid performances by Blunt and McGregor. The romance was ofter overtaken by a lacking premise. Which was some rich guy, Amr Waked who did well with the character, with way too much money who wanted to selfishly start Salmon fishing in Yemen zzzzzzzz... I'm sure you've all stopped reading by now, but I'll continue. Had there been a more interesting plot this film may have been noteworthy, but it's mostly irrelevant. Solid performances narrowly save it from rotten status.

Zero Dark Thirty

Overall, it was just okay. Until the last 30 minutes, the film was prodding, uninteresting, and entirely too long. There also seemed to be a lack of direction. For most of the movie I just didn't care if Jessica Chastain's character Maya got what she so desperately needed. I also never fully understood her motivations. If the film dove deeper into her character maybe I would've cared more. Overall pretty disappointing, but due to the fact that it was beautifully filmed, well acted and a great final 30 minutes, I must give it a fresh rating.

American Reunion
½

What I expected. I liked it, but let's face it: Anything with Stiffler... I'm in!

Killing Them Softly

This movie was very Quentin Tarantino-esk, but in the end fell a little short. This dark comedy was enjoyable. The idiotic villains were hilarious, it definitely should have had more scenes with them. The sawed off shotgun scene had me laughing to the point of tears. The storyline was lacking, the dialogue was clever but led nowhere and it was overall a little disappointing. Brad Pitt shined and the movie was too well acted for me to give it a rotten rating.

Life of Pi
Life of Pi(2012)

I really enjoyed this film, it had sort of a Cast Away vibe. Saw with my girl last night in RPX 3D and it was beautiful. Life of Pi was well acted, spectacularly filmed and overall just a really nice story. The emotional journey of Pi was engaging, easy to root for and extremely satisfying. 3D isn't a must but I would highly suggest seeing it in the theater and in IMAX if possible.

Win Win
Win Win(2011)

This was an excellent indie film. I'm a huge fan of Paul Giamatti and in this movie he certainly did not disappoint. For being a low budget film, the cast was rather star studded. The surprising performance for me was that of Bobby Cannavale. His portrayal of Terry was absolutely hillarious. This film dealt with interesting subject matter, displayed a lot of heart and had a overall good message. I would highly recommend checking out this surprising indie film.

The Descendants
½

Overall a pretty good movie. It was humorous, heartfelt and not as sad as I had heard. This film was a great depiction of a family in crisis and how someone (Clooney, who was stellar) overcomes a ridiculous set of circumstances. The only negatives for me were the annoying voice over in the first act and some dramatic shortcuts in the third. With that said I still recommend it.

Moneyball
Moneyball(2011)
½

This was a pretty good film. It had a terrific cast and was really well acted. The drawbacks are that it was a little slow at times and it was rather anticlimactic. I would advise watching this purely based on the performances of Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.

Let Me In
Let Me In(2010)
½

Wow! This film was a huge surprise. It generated so many emotional responses that I was in constant awe. It was disturbing, disgusting, tragic and ironically romantic. The child actors in this movie delivered excellent performances. This is easily one of the best horror films I've seen in a very long time. It's a must watch.

Lincoln
Lincoln(2012)
½

Excellent. It started a little slow, but once it picked up it was a very enjoyable ride. Daniel Day-Lewis's portrayal of Lincoln was polarizing and absolutely fantastic. I stated earlier that Joaquin Phoenix was the early favorite for best actor but he just got steam rolled by Day-Lewis.

Argo
Argo(2012)

The dual threat Ben Affleck is up to his old tricks again with a brilliant follow-up to The Town. This riveting real life portrayal was captivating, suspenseful and stunningly accurate. Affleck is really beginning to string together great performances, Company Men, The Town and now Argo. I can't wait to see what's next and would highly suggest seeing this film.

Drive
Drive(2011)
½

I watched this last night on blue-ray with my girl and I was thoroughly entertained. The first half and second half of the film were like two different movies. It was a great indie film with an interesting and amazing combination of drama and violence. I would definitely recommend this film and in my personal opinion this was one of Ryan Gosling's finest performances, right up there with Blue Valentine.

Looper
Looper(2012)
½

Overall I found this to be a pretty good movie. I thought it was well acted, cleverly written and a very interesting concept. However, I think I may have waited too long to see it. Because once I did I thought to myself what was all the hype about? I found it a little slow and boring in act II (the middle). I also would like to seen more time travel and I thought the ending was kind of a cheesy cop out.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
½

Overall pretty ridiculous, but the amazing writing combined with great acting makes this action packed dark comedy a must watch.

The Change-Up
½

A few really funny moments but not enough to carry the lackluster and repetitive story line that we've all seen too many times.

In America
In America(2003)
½

This was a great film that I'm surprised I had never seen. This was a great drama with a lot of heart. I can definitely see why the cast got nominated. Djimon Hounsou stole the film with his portrayal of Moteo, a frustrated artist dying of AIDS. But that shouldn't surprise me because he is an amazing actor. So if you're down to see an amazing drama with a diverse cast I would highly recommend this film.

Tower Heist
Tower Heist(2011)

Decent. I wouldn't say it was hilarious, even though it had its funny moments, but overall it was good to just okay.

Our Idiot Brother
½

I loved this movie. It was definitely funny with a few hilarious moments, but it was actually a way better movie than I expected with a great story. Ned, played by Paul Rudd, is an outsider b/c of his honesty and kindness. His family takes advantage of his genuine nature and then blames him for exposing their lives full of fraud. It's basically a story about how honesty and true kindness aren't accepted in society. I definitely recommend watching it.

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas

A nice continuation of the franchise. However, this one failed to live up to the comedy presented in the first two installments. Overall, it was just o.k. Watch it, but just don't expect to much.

Shame
Shame(2011)
½

Very well acted. Slow at times and hard to watch during others. The cast really sold their roles which made for a very believable story. Overall, a really good well acted movie that I would recommend.

Source Code
Source Code(2011)

If you haven't seen this yet you should definitely check it out. Great movie with an interesting and extremely unique concept. J.G. was solid, this film was all about his character and he carried the movie seamlessly.

Lawless
Lawless(2012)

Overall I really enjoyed it. I always enjoy watching a good depression/prohibition era film, they are so few and far between. The cast was brilliant, some of the best acting out of a cast I've seen all year. The stars were Tom Hardy, who played Forrest a quiet, understated, ruthless bad ass who runs his family's bootleggin' business and Guy Peirce who played Charley Rakes a germaphobe, cocky, crooked, new big city deputy who tries to teach the country bootleggers how to play ball. I would definitely recommend watching it.

Roger Dodger
Roger Dodger(2002)

Overall I enjoyed this movie. It had a great script with intriguing characters, especially in the case Campbell Scott who played Roger a fast talking, quick-witted, pompous womanizer. I could barely wait to hear what offensive phrase would come out of his mouth next. The great script, characters and cast were overshadowed by terrible lighting and dreadful cinematography that almost made the movie unwatchable. At times it looked like a 3-year old was shooting a home video.

Midnight in Paris
½

I haven't seen many W.A. films, but I rather enjoyed this one even though it seemed that the entire storyline was not flushed out. A nice, enjoyable, light hearted multi-period piece of Paris. Owen Wilson was surprisingly good in a more serious role as was the rest of the cast.

The Hunger Games

Overall pretty good. However, I did think the ending was a cheap cop-out.

In Time
In Time(2011)

A futuristic Bonnie and Clyde meet Robin Hood, except time is currency. The acting was mediocre but not noticeably annoying. The storyline was unique and interesting and held my attention. When watching don't expect greatness. Check your expectations and accept it for what it is; an enjoyable, interesting movie that you'll probably only watch once.

Equilibrium
Equilibrium(2002)

Led by Christian Bale this film really delivered. A futuristic film that has similarities to Nazi-Germany and The Matrix. It was action packed, drama filled and oozing with suspense, I'm not really sure how I never heard of this movie, but after DVR'ing it off of showtime I thoroughly enjoyed it. While I'm not really sure why the critics panned this, I would highly recommend it. As you can see the critics don't always agree with the fans.

Savages
Savages(2012)
½

Through the first 2 hours it was one of the best movies I've seen all year. Solid acting/directing, good drama, gut wrenching violence, great storyline and then you an ending that makes you think did Oliver Stone let one of his grand kids write an alternate ending and direct it themselves?

Fright Night
Fright Night(2011)
½

Started strong, but faded quickly down the stretch with an ending that was disappointingly predictable. Although I typically like Anton Yelchin his acting became increasingly annoying as the movie progressed. Colin Farrell was solid and sold the role well.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
½

Good drama with surprisingly a lot of heart. Franco was stellar as usual. I have no complaints. I was thoroughly entertained and will watch it again. I would definitely recommend this film.

The Ides of March
½

Stellar acting/directing, slow at times but not boring. Seems like there is and should be more to the story. Has an ending that leaves you wondering.