camaratame's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Forget, for the moment, the discrepancies from the book. The first film was bad enough. The second was even worse. There was simply not enough left in the book for an entire third movie without some heavy extrapolation, so I knew this was going to be a problem going in.

Even more egregious to me, however, was that this movie was not even consistent with the first two. Unlike the other two films, the way much of this movie was lighted and shot felt more like I was watching a play than the so called "real" events of a movie. Again and again I felt like I was watching actors moving through staged decorations rather than anything "realistic." As a result, I kept finding myself drawn out of the movie and unable to lose myself in its wonders. This is expected, and you can disconnect yourself from these things, when go and see a play because it is expected. When the movie breaks those expectations set up in the first two films, however, it is just annoying and distracting.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

This film has finally led me to the conclusion that so called "cliffhanger endings," unlike television shows in which there is typically significantly less waiting time between episodes, just do not work in films. The story may continue, such as between the first film and the second or the second film and the third, but the film needs to feel like a complete story in and of its self. A case in point is "The Empire Strikes Back," which in my opinion was the best of the original Star Wars trilogy. Even though it was only the second film in the over-all story, the film felt like a complete story.

Not that there was anything significantly wrong with Mockingjay: Part 1. It reminds me of a story idea I had about 20 years ago, in which a person is sort of forced to become a symbolic leader for a cause. If it felt complete, I would say that it was worth seeing in the theater. Because it felt incomplete, however, I would recommend waiting to rent it on video just before the next one comes out just so that you do not have to wait so long for the next installment. (C+)

A Million Ways to Die in the West

This movie was extremely slow. Although I occasionally laughed, many of the laughable moments were already shown in advertisements. Even worse, many of the things I saw in the advertising were not even in the final release of the film. This is tantamount to false advertising and practically unforgivable.

Although there was one short scene which could have elevated the film to above average level, it was too short and too far into the film to make a real difference. Overall, I would have to say that there was not enough in this film to recommend paying the extra money to see it in the theater when it could be watched at home for much less.

Worth renting for full price. C+

Ender's Game
Ender's Game(2013)

Having read and enjoyed the book and some of its sequels, I did not go into this film expecting much. Perhaps this was the key. Perhaps it had been so long since I had read the book that it was not so fresh in my mind that I could readily see the changes and could therefore see it as a film. It was certainly not so fundamentally altered as to be nearly unidentifiable, such as one of my favorite films Starship Troopers. The film did not grip me as completely as the book, certainly. There was not as much emotion in myself, and for that reason it felt a little flat. Plus I knew the twist at the end and was therefore looking for it in the characters throughout. Still, I enjoyed it as a movie and it was certainly watchable. Worth seeing in the theater. B

The World's End

After Shawn of the Dead, I expected more. The logic of the film, even as a comedy, was flawed and unbelievable. The movie rehashes an old joke that was funny the first time but doesn't fit as well and consequently falls flat this time around. Technically the movie was adequate and the acting was okay. I just could not get behind the premise. This movie is worth renting at full price if you are bored. C-


The 1976 Brian DePalma version may be dated and the technology might not be as advanced, but the mind accepts its limitations and fills in the gaps. The new film was basically a remake of this film, which was based on the book. A good thing about the remake is that it might bring in a new audience. For those of us old enough to have seen the original there is little that is different here, which makes me wonder why they bothered remaking it. Unfortunately what was considered ground-breaking in 1976 is not ground-breaking today. If you have not seen the original, then it is worth seeing in the theater. If you have, then you might want to consider waiting till video. B-


Although he had many of the mannerisms and the body language of Steve Jobs down, I found it hard to think of the main actor as anyone but Ashton Kutcher. This led me to wonder if they would have been better off going with a lesser known actor. The movie was, for the most part, boring. Many times I found myself shifting restlessly in my seat and wondering when the movie was going to end. Whether the story is based on true life or not, it is up to the writer and film makers to find a personal story-line, an arc on which to hang the film. In this, the movie failed miserably. Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999), made when Steve Jobs was still alive, was a better film. Jobs is barely worth renting at full price. (C-)


I had never heard of this movie before I saw it, but it contained Jesse Eisenburg and Kristen Stewart, so I thought I would check it out. It is good movie about the angst of youth, but not the best movie ever written. I get tired of movies about poverty and crime and drug use, but it is not bad. This film is worth seeing in the theater, if you can find it there. For the rest of us, it will have to be rented or watched either online or on TV. B-

An American Werewolf in London

Although the delivery of dialog by the main actor can be a bit stilted at times and the special effects can seem a bit cheesy by today's standards, many consider the special effects of this film to be cutting edge for the time. Because of the acting, I can only say that this film is worth watching in the theater, however many horror fans will consider this to be a groundbreaking film worth buying. B

Erik the Viking

If you like comedy, especially British comedy, then you will enjoy this film. A group of Norsemen (one of them christian) set out by boat on a quest to find the halls of Asgard, wake the gods and bring about the end to the age of Ragnarok. Written and Directed by Terry Jones (Monty Python's Flying Circus), this movie contains most of the cast members of Monty Python.Not hilarious, but amusing nonetheless. Erik the Viking is worth watching in the theater if you can find it there. B-

This Is the End

It was painfully obvious that the writers either did not read, did not pay attention to, or simply chose to ignore, Revelations. Putting aside these large inconsistencies with the Bible, the movie was, for the most part, boring. Most of the movie was spent in a house with the main characters sitting around and doing very little. The only time I laughed was at the performance of Michael Cera supposedly as himself. Save your money on this one. This is The End of is only worth watching at a discount or through a service that you are already paying for.

Star Trek Into Darkness

I was impressed with the first movie by J. J. Abrams, despite the annoying fact that it almost completely negated everything that we have been watching about this world for generations. This sequel is better!

I did not expect much from this movie both as a sequel and from the commercials, but without giving anything away, this movie blew the first one away. The biggest problem with rating this film is that I can say practically nothing about it without spoilers, so I will just say watch It!

Phantasm: Lord of the Dead

Ice Cream Man Reggie is joined by Mike (A. Michael Baldwin), as a victim of The Ball, as they try to hunt down The Tall Man with friends, including the trademark beautiful women and a pint size hero. This film is worth watching on a discount service. (D+) As a series, it may be worth buying.

Phantasm: OblIVion

Mike, Reggie and company continue to hunt down The Tall Man. This film offers more, including the origin of The Tall Man and a glimps into his world. Phantasm IV is worth renting for full price. (C-)

Phantasm II
Phantasm II(2000)

The only film in the Series so far not to star A. Michael Baldwin as Mike, this film has been widely panned by lovers of the original and has been often disassociated with the other films. In truth it is not a bad film. In many ways, Phantasm II is your standard horror movie. Yet it furthers the story of both Mike and The Tall Man. For that reason alone, it is worth watching. Phantasm II is worth watching on a discount service. (D+)

The Hunger Games

A faithful adaptation of the book. There are some minor differences, largely the result of time constraints and the difficulties of adapting the story from one media type to another. Although I saw the film first, it would have been prudent to read the book first as they skimmed explanations, leaving me confused at times. There were also certain things in the book which stood out in this film and bothered my sensibilities, although I will not go into them here as the risk of creating spoilers is too great.

Evil Dead
Evil Dead(2013)

There are some remakes within the Horror genre that were not only a joy to watch, but were better than the original: The Hills Have Eyes and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre come to mind. Unfortunately Evil Dead was not one of them. As a remake, I understand the need to change things around to keep things fresh. This story line was weaker, however. Try as I might, I could not get into the characters enough to care what happened to them. Nor did things hold together logically as well as in the first two films. As a movie, Evil Dead is worth renting at full price (C+), but I would not bother to see it in a theater.

Army of Darkness

This sequel to the Evil Dead films goes too far, featuring slap-stick, over the top, humor rather than the subtler, more wry sense of humor that made Evil Dead 2 so great. Actor Bruce Campbell revises his role as Ash, where he is transported back in time and where we learn about the so called beginnings of the Evil Dead films. As a film, Army of Darkness is only worth seeing for reduced price, or on a service which will not cost you more to watch it. (D) As a part of a series, it is worth buying just to have.

Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn

I saw this one as a second feature in a drive-through theater, and it blew me away! Actor Bruce Campbell revises his role as college student Ash in this re-make of the original Evil Dead film, but this time with a solid budget and a wry sense of humor that led this film to become a cult classic, as well as the best by far of the original Evil Dead films. Evil Dead will later be re-made for release in 2013. Evil Dead 2 is definitely worth buying if you are into this sort of film. (A-)

The Evil Dead

Having seen Evil Dead II, which was a re-make of Evil Dead, first, I expected this film to have a greater sense of humor. It did not! Evil Dead was a straight foreword horror film, featuring one of the most disturbing "rape" scenes I have ever seen captured on film. Evil Dead features some of the in-camera special effects that then young director Sam Raimi would later become known for. This film also features the first major on screen appearance of actor Bruce Campbell in a major motion picture. Despite the low budget and lower quality acting, especially after Stephen King got his hands into the funding, this did not stop this film from becoming a cult classic which would spawn sequels, including the re-make of Evil Dead released in 2013. Evil Dead is worth renting at full price (C-), and worth buying as a series.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2

What part I lacks, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn II makes up for in spades! The twist, which I dare not mention here on fear of death, is a risky move that could have gone horribly awry. It does not! Nor does this film fail to please those whom have watched from the beginning. The grand scope of the film is best viewed on the big screen. (B-)

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

I am willing to agree that I am not the main demographic for the Twilight films. What this means is that I may not like them as much as the main, targeted, demographic. What this Does not mean is that you can create an inferior film. What The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn I lacked for myself was a drive to push the story foreword in a way which keeps my interest. I have already admitted that I don't care much for the characters, one way or the other, and what happens to them. What this film lacked for myself was mainly the action which kept me interested in earlier films. It seemed to plod along at an excruciating pace, focused more on the characters that I already don't care about. For this reason, I would say that you should not see this film in a Theater. The main reason for seeing this film at all is to keep up with the storyline of the series. (D+)

Oz the Great and Powerful

This is one of those movies that you will actually want to see in 3D. Usually, 3D is just a cheap gimmick to get viewers to pay more, but this film, despite some in-your-face moments, actually works in 3D.

Mila Kunis' acting is over-the-top, bringing me out of the film and at times painful to watch, but the film is otherwise pleasantly surprising. Considering that it has to stand up against a classic film, Oz the Great and Powerful exceeded my expectations. This is a film worth watching in a theatre, especially for the 3D effects, and may be for some worth purchasing. (B+)

Resident Evil: Retribution

Deeply disappointing. Resident Evil: Retribution is the worst of the films so far. Nearly the entire show takes place in an underground mock-up, making the threat seem less real. Resident Evil: Retribution feels more like a set up for the next film which could have been explained briefly and not had an entire film made about it. On the up-side, the opening scene was impressive.

Resident Evil: Retribution is worth watching on a service that you are not spending extra money on, if only to keep up with the series, but definitely not worth paying to see in a theatre. (D)

Resident Evil

When the computer system of a secret underground laboratory known as "The Hive," which is run by The Umbrella Corporation, shuts down The Hive and kills everyone inside, a small military-style group goes in to reset the computer and find out what happened. Unknown to them, the system had acted to contain the release of a virus called the T Virus. The T Virus animates the bodies of the dead, creating Zombies who spread the virus to new victims through biting them. When the system is shut down and its security program is removed, it reboots and opens the interior hive doors, releasing a flood of Zombies as well as a few other nasty creations that The Umbrella Corporation has been working on. Now the team must fight its way out before the exterior doors to The Hive reseal themselves.

Based on a popular video game, I did not expect much from this film. In fact, I avoided it for several years after it came out. Boy was I surprised when I saw it! The film was actually well made, although the memory loss of Alice was admittedly a bit of a contrivance. Having never played the game, I can not comment on that aspect of the film - although I would say that it does have a somewhat similar feel to a video game (except, of course, that you are not controlling the action).

If you like action and horror films, I would say that this film by its self is worth seeing in the theatre. (B)

As a part of the series, it is worth buying.


Although there does appear to be a new version of Dune coming out in 2012, the movie trailer associated with this listing on flixster (at least at the time of this writing) is for "Frank Herbert's Dune," produced as a miniseries on the Sci-Fi Channel in 2000. I just watched this version once again, and as there appears to be no listing for it on flixter (again, at least at the time of this writing), I will go ahead and review it here:

The theatrical stage effects, such as dropping the lighting and turning on a spot light, do create a startling contrast to the other CGI effects in the film, shocking you out of the story and reminding you that you are watching a performance. The acting by Ian McNeice as the Baron Herkonnen is a bit over the top at times, and his use of rhyme is a bit of an annoyance. Despite all of this, however, I absolutely loved this film. To be sure, perhaps because it's length allows it to develop the story and the characters much more fully, it completely blows David Lynch's version of Dune out of the water - and I am a David Lynch fan. This is one of those novels that I keep meaning to read, but have not yet managed to get around to. But if this film is only half as good as the novel, I definitely need to read it. All in all, this film is definitely worth buying (preferably in the "director's cut" version). (A)

Alice in Wonderland

I was a fan of Tim Burton's back in the days of Edward Scissorhands, Beetle Juice, Batman Returns and A Nightmare Before Christmas, but I have been disappointed in pretty much everything he has done more recently, and Alice in Wonderland is no exception. The film simply falls flat, and I simply do not care about the characters or what happens to them. And it is definitely pointless to watch this in 3D.

If you are looking for a more interesting take on the Alice in Wonderland stories, try "Alice," the 2009 mini-series put out by the Sci-Fi channel. Although its limited budget leads to a few cheesy effects, and it has a few flaws (such as the fact that a drug could never be used as a currency as it is a consumable product), it is by far the superior of these two films.

The Sci-Fi version of "Alice" is worth Renting at full price. (C+)

The Tim Burton Version of Alice in Wonderland is barely worth renting at discount or through a monthly rental service. (D-)

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Living on a budget means choosing which films are worth spending your hard earned money on: what films are worth buying, what films are worth renting and what films are simply worth giving a miss.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice contains a standard good vs. evil plot line - including a love interest and a main character who must overcome his own doubts to become the hero. You know how the film is going to end, but it is strong enough to still draw you into the story (for the most part) and enjoy the ride. As a warning, heavy-handed product placement does distract you and interfere with the enjoyment of the film at times.

Over-all, The Sorcerer's Apprentice is worth renting at full price, but just barely misses being worth seeing in the theatre at a matinee price. (C+)

Koyaanisqatsi - Life Out of Balance

Although Koyaanisqatsi may not be everyone's cup of tea, it is a film that everyone should experience at least once. You will note that I said "experience," and not "see," because Koyaanisqatsi is definitely an experience: An almost hypnotizing blend of images (largely timelapsed) and music, Koyaanisqatsi is a contrast of nature verses technology.

The trailer for Koyaanisqatsi states that "Until now, you've never really seen the world you live in." I would add that after viewing this film, you will never get the name of it out of your head.

Koyaanisqatsi is definitely worth buying. (A+)

Clash of the Titans

If this remake was an original film, I would probably say that it was just as good as the film that it was remade from. As a remake, however, I expect more. I expect the film to be enough of a better film that it is worth being remade. As an example of a remake that is a better film is The Hills Have Eyes.

Better special effects do not necessarily make a better film. I would therefore say that the remake of Clash of the Titans is only worth renting at a reduced price or through a monthly service. (D-)

Repo Men
Repo Men(2010)

Nothing infuriates me more than sitting through a movie only to have them tell me at the end that what I had been watching was not really true. Yes, my friends, this is one of those films, and it makes me sick!

The film could have been worth renting at full price, and might have managed to sneak by into worth seeing in a theatre at Matinee price, but because of one idiotic and unnecessary decision, I have to say that Repo Men is only barely worth seeing at a discount rental price. (D-)


Although perhaps more complex in plot due to it's length, Greenberg reminds me of a Raymond Carver, slice of life, style of storytelling. You learn of the characters by their reactions to their situations. Although Greenberg does not have the strength to be worth buying, or seeing in the theatre, it is worth renting at full price. (C)

Resident Evil: Afterlife


Resident Evil: Afterlife is an extreme disappointment. It violates the laws of the previous films without even an attempt at explanation and offers standard Zombie fare with nothing new to add. A step backwards for the RE franchise, RE: Afterlife is worth renting for full price, but not worth seeing in the Theatre. (C)


Extremely disappointing.

When you create a film sequel, you have the responsibility to remain true to the original rules of that world's reality and an even greater responsibility to explain any inconsistency which violates those rules. Resident Evil: Afterlife is riddled with inconsistencies which it fails to explain. More on that later. . .

First of all, let's address this recent resurgence of 3D: In Resident Evil: Afterlife, as with all other 3D films, the 3D is unnecessary for the enjoyment of the film. Even in Avatar, by far the best 3D movie ever made, the 3D is really not necessary for the story. It can be just as easily enjoyed in the standard 2D format. For this reason, I do not understand this push to keep making 3D films. Should you watch Resident Evil: Afterlife in 3D? In my opinion, no. There is one scene in which you are looking across this field in Alaska before a plane comes flying in which is actually quite beautiful to look at in 3D. But other than that, the 3D does not offer anything spectacular. It is definitely not worth spending the extra money on.

Second, Resident Evil: Afterlife, unlike the previous RE films, offers little more than the standard Zombie fare of other Zombie films. In fact, there are whole scenes with massing zombies which could have been lifted right out of the Living Dead films.

Third, one of the things I disliked in the first RE film was the use of memory loss to prevent information from being revealed too soon. This felt very contrived to me. In RE: Afterlife, they return to this contrivance once again to prevent information from being revealed too soon. Annoying.

What I did appreciate in Resident Evil: Afterlife was the fact that they followed through with the ending of RE: Extinction.


I try my best to avoid spoilers, and will treat them here with care so as not to give away too much, but for the sake of this discussion, some spoiling is necessary. Proceed with caution:

Back to the inconsistencies.

1. In the previous RE films, the Zombies are slow and mindless, with the exception of a few Super Zombies in Extinction which were explained in that film as having been specifically engineered (and were all killed off). In RE: Afterlife, all the Zombies are faster (keeping up and even gaining on Alice as she races across a rooftop) and have enough intelligence to actually figure out how to build tunnels. - No explanation given for this change.

2. In the previous RE films, the zombies were zombies and the mutants were mutants created by the Umbrella Corporation. In RE: Afterlife, all the Zombies can split their faces open into tentacular (No, that's gotta be a word!) flaps which they affix on their victims to consume them. - No explanation given for this change.

3. In the previous RE films, mutants were creations of the Umbrella corporation. In RE: Afterlife there is this thing known as the Executioner which is obviously not a standard zombie (even of the new variety in this film), but no explanation is given as to what it is or where it came from. It just shows up and starts causing trouble.

4. BIG SPOILER: In the previous films, only Alice is immune to the T-Virus, all others fall victim to the virus unless immediately infused with the anti-virus, or in the case of the scientist's daughter continually has to get injections of the anti-virus. In RE: Afterlife, the Umbrella Corporation's Honcho somehow manages to "fight" against the infection and keep himself from turning long after others would have turned. - No explanation given. And while we're on this subject (MORE SPOILER), the concept of eating Alice's flesh being able to somehow change his DNA to be able to bond with the T-virus is absolutely ridiculous.


A step backwards for the RE franchise, RE: Afterlife is worth renting for full price, but not worth seeing in the Theatre. (C)


Inception was a film with a fascinating premise that was, for the most part, executed well. The end, however, failed in its intention - marring what could have otherwise been a strong film. I can only assume by the way that they handled the ending that they wanted to leave it up to the audience members to decide for themselves between two possible conclusions. For one very simple reason, however, (which I will not mention here - so as not to spoil the film) only one of the two possible conclusions could actually be the case.

A good film of this style leads you to believe one thing, then switches it to another. My first impression of what was going on with Mal (right down to the inception), which was very shortly after the film began, turned out to be the right one. To give them some credit, there was another possibility that they did touch on briefly near the end (but I had thought of much earlier). But they dismissed it as soon as it was said, not giving it a chance to take root in the minds of any audience members who may have not previously considered it.

The main goal of the characters, to produce an inception, was an immoral one that I could not get behind. I therefore could not root for the characters or care if they succeeded in their goal. The events, and how they handled them, however, kept my interest through this part of the film despite the fact that I did not care about the outcome.

Inception is not worth buying, simply because after the disappointment I had in the ending, I do not have any interest of seeing it again - which is why you buy a film. And, although worth watching once, once you know the outcome for certain there is no reason to sit through it again.

Because of the weaknesses of the film that I mentioned above, I can not recommend that you watch it in the Theatre at full price. It is, however, worth watching in the Theatre at a matinee or discount price. (B-)

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

When The Umbrella Corporation re-opens a secret facility located beneath the unfortunately named Raccoon City (blame the video game for this name), zombies, created by their T virus, escape and take over the city above. The corporation seals off the city to prevent the spread of infection and releases the Nemesis, one of their new creations, to test its abilities. Our heroes must fight off the zombies, and ultimately the Nemesis, and find a way out before the city is obliterated to destroy the virus which has created the zombies.

After the success of the first Resident Evil film, Resident Evil: Apocalypse has a larger budget and larger stage (an entire city) to play around in. With the larger scope, the film has its characters moving around the city, which weakens the story slightly as you try to follow them. One character, although introduced early on, pretty much disappears from our scope until much later in the film to become a major character - who later goes on to re-appear in Resident Evil: Extinction.

The Nemesis is a disappointment not only to the Umbrella Corporation, but to the audience as well as it is too easily defeated (or, more accurately, subverted).

What this film does do well is further the story of the Umbrella Corporation. While mainly a background player in the first Resident Evil film, The Umbrella Corporation becomes a major character, revealing its true sinister nature, in this film.

Although slightly weaker than the first film, Resident Evil: Apocalypse is still worth seeing in the theatre. (B)

As a part of the series, Resident Evil: Apocalypse is worth buying.

Resident Evil: Extinction

The Best of the Resident Evil films yet!

After being experimented upon by Scientists from The Umbrella Corporation (see the end of Resident Evil: Apocalypse) Alice has become stronger, more dexterous, and has developed mental powers.

The T virus has spread and mutated to now somehow devastate vegetation all over the earth. The world has become a wasteland over-run by Zombies.

Shortly after Alice meets up with a group of traveling survivors in the Nevada desert, she is located by the Umbrella Corporation, which attempts to re-capture her so that they can use her blood for experimentation and a cure for the T virus.

The strongest of the Resident Evil films so far, Resident Evil: Extinction does not suffer from a straining to make the story work that the previous films had. It feels more natural and therefore is not only more believable, but also easier to lose yourself in and forget that you are watching a movie.

The one down side is the hokey looking tentacles that shoot from the mutated scientist's fingers. Apparently this creature is based upon one in the video games, but the tentacles just did not work for me.

As a film, Resident Evil: Extinction is definitely worth watching in the theatre. (B+)

In a case of the sum being greater than the parts, although I have not rated any of the films so far as being worth buying by themselves, they are strangely compelling and worth buying as a series.

I can't wait for Resident Evil: Afterlife, coming to theatres September 10th, 2010. I only hope that they do not go overboard on the 3-D and make it gimmicky.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Living on a budget means choosing which films are worth spending your hard earned money on: what films are worth buying, what films are worth renting and what films are simply worth giving a miss.

More tolerable than the first film, The Twilight Saga: New Moon introduces the Volturi, providing an aditional interest and larger, global, stakes that the first film lacked. This film also introduced the werewolves, which are made much better use of in the third film. Where The Twilight Saga: New Moon suffers the most is from the over-long period of characters pining for each other. I kept wanting to scream out "I understand! Enough! Get on with the story already!" Again, as in the first film, I felt little compassion for the main characters, and so cared little for what actually happened to them. Better than the first film, The Twilight Saga: New Moon is barely worth renting at regular price from a local vendor. (C-)

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Living on a budget means choosing which films are worth spending your hard earned money on: what films are worth buying, what films are worth renting and what films are simply worth giving a miss.

The best of the films so far, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse at last enguages the audience. Unlike the first two films, I actually, and for the first time, had a reaction to some of the main characters. Although Bella remained as uninteresting as ever, I actually found myself disliking the Character of Jacob and starting to appreciate the character of Edward - a far cry from not caring one way or the other. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse also begins to show a morality that the previous films lacked. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is worth seeing in the theatre, provided that you go to a matinee, or receive a similar discount of equal or greater value. (B-)

Despicable Me

I am one of those people who do not mind slower paced films. Stalker, one of my favorite films of all time, is one of the slowest paced films, if not the slowest paced film, ever made. Not that it is fair to compare the two films, as they are two totally different monsters. Yet Stalker is so fascinating that it manages to keep me engaged the entire time despite its slow pace. Despicable Me does not. I found myself literally squirming restlessly in my seat. And yet the ending of Despicable Me, although you basically know how it is going to end, manages to evoke a very real and very powerful emotional response that makes it worth seeing.

Because of the restless squirming, I have to say that Despicable Me is worth renting at full price but just misses being worth seeing in the theatre at a matinee price. (C+)


Living on a budget means choosing which films are worth spending your hard earned money on: what films are worth buying, what films are worth renting and what films are simply worth giving a miss.

Having grown up in Washington State, where the main story of Twilight is set, I was hoping for more from this mediocre film. Twilight has a cookie cutter story line with no surprises. I could not relate to the main characters to care about them in any way - good or bad. The only character of interest was that of Alice. Her quirky presence helped liven up what was an otherwise dead film. Is Twilight worth seeing? Yes, for it's relation to the later films. If you must see Twilight, rent it at a discount or through a monthly pay service. I have not read the book, but can only hope that the Book is better. (D+)

Phantasm: Remastered

Thinly disguised as a Horror film, Don Coscarelli's original 1979 Cult Horror film "Phantasm" is the tale of a young boy trying to come to grips with the loss of his family.

Phantasm's slightly disjointed, dreamlike quality, which would be a major annoyance in most films, actually works to the benefit of the film in the context of this story. As put in the trailer of the second Phantasm film, this movie deals with "the delusion of a disordered mind."

Over-all, I have to give this classic a 5 out of 5 Spheres.

Phantasm is worth owning simply because it is one of those films that sticks in your mind and you will get that itch to go back to watch again and again over the years. In the end, it will cost you far less to own than to rent over and over again. (A-)


Stalker is Russian film maker Andrei Tarkovsky's take on the Russian Science Fiction novel Roadside Picnic by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky. In the film, Stalker leads a group of men into a forbidden area of land known as The Zone in search of a room in which you can receive your deepest desires.

While the slower pacing of this film may turn off some viewers who are more used to today's faced paced action and quick cut style of film making, it is a rewarding experience to sit through. Stalker is both Mesmerizing and eerily Beautiful.

Stalker remains one of my favorite films of all time.

This film is definately worth owning. (A++)

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Prince Caspian is not nearly as strong a film as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but then neither was the book - but the differences between the two films is much larger than the differences between the two books. Prince Caspian takes many more liberties from the book than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe did, and suffers as a result. Still, it is an excellent film.

As an individual film, I would say it worth seeing in theatre at full price, but not quite worth buying on its own. (B+)

As a part of the series, it will probably be worth buying. It depends upon how the other films fair.

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

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe remains faithful to the heart of the story and stays close enough to the book to satisfy most Narnia fans. My biggest complaint is that the book describes Lucy as "golden-haired" and in the film Lucy is a Brunette. This may seem minor to some, but I had so completely, and for so long, envisioned Lucy as a Blonde that this was a distraction for me that kept drawing me out of the story.

Over-all, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is an excellent film and well worth buying to add to your library. (A+)


In the cult classic film Wizards (1977) Ralph Bakshi, creator of such memorable animated films as The Lord of the Rings and my personal favorite, American Pop, creates a post apocalyptic world of the future where an evil wizard discovers past technologies and uses them in an attempt to take over the world.

Wizards was on it's way to becoming one of the top films of the year when another movie called Star Wars: A New Hope suddenly arrived in theatres at the same time and knocked it out of the lime light..

Wizards is worth buying. (A-)

The City of Lost Children (La CitÚ des Enfants Perdus)

Difficult to describe but wonderful to watch, The City of Lost Children, by Belgian filmmakers Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, stars Ron Pearlman as a circus strong man searching for his little brother, who has been stolen. Along the way he meets a young girl who is part of a gang of children theives being run by Siamese twins, Clones, Cyborgs, a brain in a fish tank and so much more.

Both humorous and stunningly beautiful, The City of Lost Children is well worth buying. (A)

Nothing but Trouble

Written and Directed by Dan Aykroyd, Nothing but Trouble is one of the strangest films that I have ever seen - and that's saying something!

Chevy Chase and Demi Moore take a wrong turnpike exit and find themselves trapped in the hands of "hanging judge" Dan Aykroyd and "constable" John Candy in a bizarre New Jersey burg.

Definately worth seeing once, although you may never want to see it again, Nothing but Trouble is worth renting at full price. (C)

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

With hints of the theatricality found in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is not the strongest of Terry Gilliam films, but neither is it a Brother's Grimm. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is definitely entertaining to watch. If you are a Terry Gilliam fan (and I do consider myself one), it may be worth buying. For most others, the film is worth renting at full price. (C)

The Joneses
The Joneses(2010)

Frighteningly plausible, perhaps this film should be re-categorized as a horror film. While legal issues would keep this precise example (a made up family) from being possible, I'm sure similar forms of stealth advertizing have already been attempted. The film's slower pace may have done it some damage in the box office, but it is a solid film. The Joneses is worth renting at full price (C-)

The Last House on the Left

Although better than the original, I was not impressed with either the original or the remake of this film. While I have no problem with Horror film violence, watching a young girl getting raped is not my idea of entertainment. And while most "Horror" films contain a moralistic heart, this one had none.

Last House On The Left is only barely worth renting at a discount rate (D-)


In my opinion, this film is much better than the American version of Solaris directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring George Clooney.

If you can find an art house or foreign film house showing it, Andrei Tarkovsky's Solaris is definately worth seeing in the theatre at full price. (B+)


I happened across this film on Network Television, and was pleasantly surprised. While certainly created for the adolescent teen girl audience, I actually enjoyed it. Sleepover is worth renting at a reduced price or through a monthly subscription service. (D+)

The Simpsons Movie

A glorified Simpson's episode. If you are a fan, it is worth watching. As a film, it is worth renting at a discount. (D)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

In an interesting inversion from the original films, Rise of the Planet of the Apes will actually have you rooting for the Apes (and consequently the near demise of mankind) - then wonder what the heck you were thinking. Lightly peppered throughout are references to the original film series, including two connected references that cleverly tie the films together.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes tells the story of how the apes overcame mankind to rule the earth. In the original movie series, the apes are domesticated as pets after a plague leads to the death of cats and dogs. Learning from their masters, the apes eventually overcome mankind. In this version of the story, tests performed upon the apes in an attempt to cure Alzheimer's lead to a heightened intelligence which allows the apes to overcome mankind. As long as you are able to accept this change to the story, you are in for a tremendous treat.

Okay, so the science behind the drug to cure Alzheimer's does not exactly make sense - they say it is a virus but then say it is genetically passed on. I am not a scientist, but I do not think a virus can be genetically passed on - although it can certainly be passed through the blood from mother to son. Also, the evidence which we are given in the film does not guarantee that it was genetically passed on. The drugs were, after all, administered to Caesar's mother while she was pregnant with Caesar. But it was such a good movie that, despite this flaw in reasoning, I actually want to go to the theatre to see it again - and that very rarely happens.

What was so amazing was the character of Caesar the ape, who was created using the same image-capture technology as Gollum in the LOTR movies. Despite it being an ape, it was a fully rounded and developed character. The emotion Ceasar portrayed was truly remarkable. You both feel for it and fear it as you watch the character's transformation take place throughout the film.

All in all, I give Rise of the Planet of the Apes an A -. Well Done!

Tron Legacy
Tron Legacy(2010)

Mixed emotions.

The film started out great, except for an annoying motion capture rendering of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), but once the movie got into the computer world I could not help but feel that I had seen it all before (in the original Tron). The characters follow nearly identical trails, starting with getting set in the game grid, escaping and ultimately riding a ship down a beam of energy to get to the end game of the story.

Michael Sheen's Portrayal of Zuse was over-the top camp which did not fit with the style of the rest of the film.

Motion capture is fine when the whole film is generated in this fashion. I could even accept the computer version of Kevin Flynn, known as Clu, as a motion capture version of Bridges to differentiate between the two realities (although all of the programs would then need be portrayed as motion capture renderings also in order to maintain symmetry). But using a motion capture version of Bridges to portray the real (younger) Kevin Flynn both inside and outside the computer world did not fly with me and will not do so until the graphics can reach a point where the face can actually move like a normal face when talking. In the mean time it is just an annoying feature which pulls me out of the film.

On the up side, I was pleased that Bruce Boxleitner returned for the sequel. And his motion capture version, Tron, was kept in dimness and in the background where it was not nearly as obvious and annoying as Bridges' motion capture Flynn/Clu.

Tron: Legacy was still good enough to be mildly entertaining. I'd say it is barely worth renting at full price. (C-)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader


As a child my second favorite Narnia story, after The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe of course, was The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader. So I was waiting impatiently for this installment of the film series. Unfortunately, all did not go well.

A certain amount of change is expected and acceptable in the translation of a story to film, but this movie went overboard. Although it contains similar events to the story, they were altered and rearranged to the point that it only bears a passing resemblance to C. S. Lewis' vision. I simply could not get into the film because I was constantly being struck by these differences.

As each film gets further and further away from their source, I am afraid that the The Chronicles of Narnia film series is ultimately doomed to failure.

If you feel you must see this film, I would say that as a film it is worth renting at full price - but for Narnia Story fans, I would recommend giving this one a miss. (C)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2

A satisfactory conclusion to the Harry Potter film series.

What Part I lacked in action (a problem inherited from that part of the book), Part II more than makes up for. More importantly, it does so without sacrificing too much of the story (although it would be impossible to fit all of the information from the book into the film, of course).

Most notable is the development of the characters, especially that of Hermione Granger. Outspoken and opinionated to the point of almost forcing the other characters to take action according to her will in previous films, Hermione stakes a step way back in this film. In fact, there were moments where I actually overlooked her presence in a scene. This much needed growth in her own character's development also allowed the characters of Ron and Harry to step forward and take charge of their own actions and decisions, driving their own characters' growths into adulthood.

Star Trek
Star Trek(2009)

You may not be able to break the laws of physics, but if you are going to change history then you may as well go all out. In one film J. J. Abrams manages to undo, by association to the events in this film, pretty much everything that we have previously experienced in the Star Trek Universe. Normally, this would drive me into a fit of rage. But this was such a good film that I did not mind. In fact, in doing so Abrams has managed to create an entire new reality for the new old crew of the U. S. S. Enterprise to explore and have all new adventures in.

The familiar characters were brilliantly portrayed by the new cast and crew. The humor was almost, but not quite, over the line. All in all, Star Trek XI is worth adding to your video library. (A-)

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Greed comes in many forms, not just that of money. Whenever we let our passions take over and make our decisions for us, we cross that line into the territory of greed. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps will make you stop and think about what you hold most important in your life and how your decisions are affecting that. Hopefully, it will also make us take a closer look at the decisions being made in the world of high finance and how it affects our country. Although I would have liked to see more about the decisions and motivations that directly led up to the necessary government bail out of our financial institutions, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is a solid film that is worth seeing in the Theatre. (B)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Filled with a sense of awe and wonder, enhanced by a magical score, the first of the Harry potter films immediately engages the audience and draws them into the wizarding world created by J. K. Rowling. In one of those very rare occurrences, this film actually outshines the book upon which it was based. There is one brief moment in the Hogwart's library that may be too frightening for young children, and the idea of a live chess game has been tried and failed in films of the past, and continues to do so here. It is just one of those things which does not translate well into film. Over-all, however, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is a wonderful film well worth buying to add your collection. (A)


Terry Gilliam at his best!

Quirky and entertaining.

Brazil depicts a dystopian future world in which advertising has become so prevalent that the highways are lined from one end to the other with a constant billboard on each side and bureaucracy rules supreme.

When Sam Lowry, a clerical worker, discovers the woman of his dreams, his world is turned upside down as he finds himself drawn into a world of terrorism and interrogation.

Hard to describe, but simply wonderful to watch, Brazil is definitely worth buying. (A)

Starship Troopers

One of my favorite Science fiction films! Star Ship Troopers follows the lives of several characters from high school into their military careers as they seek to destroy intelligent bugs from outer space. Ok, so that sounds a bit hokey. But it is actually well made. Each character grows and develops in his or her own unique way as a result of his or her experiences in the war. And the internet-style transitions are particularly amusing to watch. Star Ship Troopers is well worth owning. (A)

Get Him to the Greek

I have never been so utterly disappointed and saddened by the misuse of film and can not believe that someone actually paid to have this film made. For the first time, I am recommending that a film is not worth watching, even for free. Get Him to the Greek offers little in the way of actual humor. It is just two pathetic characters with little to no redeeming value. The choices they made in their lives disgusted me to watch. (F)

Hamlet 2
Hamlet 2(2008)

I did not expect much from this film, and was pleasantly surprised. Hamlet 2 is the story of a teacher reaching into the lives of his students to reach them and make a difference. Even the religious elements of the play in which they perform were handled well enough that I did not find them offensive. Although not worth renting at full price, Hamlet 2 is worth renting at a discount or through a monthly rental service. (D+)