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Movie Ratings and Reviews

Spider-Man 3
Spider-Man 3(2007)
½

Spider-Man 3 is a science fiction superhero action film co-written and directed by Sam Raimi, co-written by Ivan Raimi and Alvin Sargent, produced by Avi Arad, executive produced by Stan Lee and Kevin Feige, and starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard, J.K. Simmons, Rosemary Harris, James Cromwell, Bill Nunn, Elizabeth Banks, Ted Raimi, Cliff Robertson, Michael Papajohn, Dylan Baker, Theresa Russell, and Perla Haney-Jardine.

Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) has finally managed to piece together the once-broken parts of his life, maintaining a balance between his relationship with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) and his responsibility as Spider-Man. But more challenges arise for our young hero. Peter's old friend Harry Osborn (James Franco) has set out for revenge against Peter, taking up the mantle of his late father Norman's persona as The New Goblin, and Peter must also capture Uncle Ben's real killer, Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), who has been transformed into his toughest foe yet, the Sandman.

All hope seems lost when suddenly, Peter's suit turns jet-black and greatly amplifies his powers. But it also begins to greatly amplify the much darker qualities of Peter's personality that he begins to lose himself to. Peter has to reach deep inside himself to free the compassionate hero he used to be if he is to ever conquer the darkness within and face not only his greatest enemies, but also himself.

Everybody else has said it before and I'm gonna say it again: Spider-Man 3 was a tremendous letdown of epic proportions. It's not horrible, but still, it's such a disappointment. Before I get to the actual review, I'm gonna bore you with a bunch of filler. After Spider-Man 2 was a big hit, Sony and Sam Raimi immediately began development on a sequel. Sam Raimi's brother Ivan wrote a treatment over two months, with Sam deciding to use the film to explore Peter learning that he is not a sinless vigilante, and that there also can be humanity in those he considers criminals.

Raimi also wanted Harry Osborn to be conflicted over fighting his best friend Peter and becoming a New Goblin. He'd be somewhere in the middle. For the villains, Raimi wanted to have the Sandman and the Vulture. Raimi found the former to be a visually interesting character and decided to have him be the true killer of Uncle Ben to increase Peter's guilt over Ben's death and challenge his simplistic perception of the event (this is the only Raimi contribution that truly did suck). For the Vulture, Ben Kingsley was all set to play him (which would've been pretty damn cool).

Then, Sony and Avi Arad decided to fuck with Raimi's vision. Arad forced Raimi to include Venom into the film because Venom was a fan favorite and Arad felt that Venom was the character we all wanted to see. Avi Arad, go fuck yourself. Speaking as a fan and for all the fans out there, we didn't want Venom. We wanted Venom done right (i.e. Spider-Man: The Animated Series). Not to mention, Venom didn't fit into the story Sam Raimi was trying to tell because Venom had no humanity.

Arad and the dumbasses at Sony also wanted Raimi to introduce Gwen Stacy and her police captain father out of nowhere because they felt that these were two characters we all wanted to see and they were also fan favorites. Again, Avi Arad and Sony, go fuck yourselves. We didn't want Gwen Stacy and Captain Stacy. We wanted them done right (i.e. The Amazing Spider-Man). Sony also forced Raimi to just have Harry be a villain and make him a New Goblin. Good God, do I hate this studio.

Soon, the script and all these new ideas and characters that had nothing to do with Sam Raimi's original vision were sent to screenwriter Alvin Sargent, who worked on the previous two Spider-Man films (and even on The Amazing Spider-Man). Sargent had to find a way to mesh all of this together, but had a hard time doing so. Hell, he even considered splitting it into two films. However, when Sargent's idea reached Sony, they said no because Sargent apparently couldn't give them a good-enough climax for the end. Soon, casting began, and thus, Spider-Man 3 was made... and it was crap.

Now, what did I like about this film? The action sequences and visual effects are top-notch (no surprise there), it's beautifully shot by director Sam Raimi and cinematographer Bill Pope, the score by Danny Elfman and Christopher Young is probably one of the best scores for any superhero film, and some of the acting (mainly James Franco, Topher Grace, Thomas Haden Church, Rosemary Harris, Dylan Baker, J.K. Simmons, and James Cromwell) is okay. However, there aren't enough good things in this film to warrant a positive rating.

Okay, so what happens in this film? Here's my answer: What doesn't happen in this film? They've got enough shit in here to fill in three other Spider-Man movies. Seriously, so much random shit happens in this movie that I could most likely turn this review into a huge mess. So, I'm gonna list the thirteen things in this film that pissed me off the most.

Problem #1: The lather, rinse, repeat formula. This is a formula that plagues films like The Matrix Revolutions, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, films that have way too much going on, and it occurs when filmmakers decide to jam-pack their films so full of crap that they have absolutely no idea what to do with half of it. So they'll show something, get it out of the movie until they hit a roadblock later on, and then bring it up again so they can pretend as if they know what they're doing. Lather, rinse, repeat: a formula that remains a true testament to poor filmmaking and screenwriting.

This is something that plagues Spider-Man 3 throughout its runtime (well, up until the climax where everything just turns into a clusterfuck). For example, we first focus on Peter and Mary Jane, then we focus on Flint Marko, then we focus on Harry as the Goblin, Harry gets amnesia so we can focus on Eddie Brock, then back to Peter and Mary Jane, then back to Harry, then back to Flint Marko who's now Sandman, then back to Eddie Brock, then onto Gwen Stacy, then back to Peter and Mary Jane, then back to Harry, then back to Sandman, then back to Eddie Brock, and fuck me, this is dumb.

It just keeps going and going in that same repetitive formula, thus seriously testing my patience. It never takes a break, it never stays focused, and never once is there anything resembling a cohesive narrative. Instead of saving all this random shit that can easily cover at least three other movies, they just jam-pack it all in here and expect us to not know that this was lazily written. Sony made Sam Raimi and Alvin Sargent cram all of this into the script, and believe me, it shows.

Now, throwing in many characters into a single film can work if you develop the story arc in a way that's coherent. For example, in Batman Returns, director Tim Burton and screenwriters Sam Hamm, Daniel Waters, and Wesley Strick develop the characters of Batman/Bruce Wayne, Catwoman, Max Schreck, and Penguin, but they didn't stuff any of them into a corner just to use them as needed. Their characters and storylines are all being developed simultaneously in one overarching tale, therefore having each character keep our attention, while still maintaining a coherent balance.

Spider-Man 3 doesn't do this. It doesn't develop its characters at all, really. It instead opts to throw characters away and focus on others just to bring those characters back around again. It's because of this jumbled mess of a structure that the film's message gets lost in translation. The film was trying to be about choosing forgiveness over revenge. This is a great message for a Spider-Man film, but this plot and lack of coherency doesn't do the message any sort of justice.

Problem #2: Mary Jane being a dumb, unlikeable bitch. Now, I liked what they were going for: having Mary Jane need support given to her instead of her giving support to others. However, it's hard for me to give her sympathy because she's such an insufferable cunt in this movie. It all begins when her Broadway performance is panned by critics (which is total bullshit given that there was applause when she was singing). Peter tries to support her and make her feel better, but all she does is bitch and whine.

"You were great. That's a critic. This is something you're gonna have to get used to. Believe me, I know. Spider-Man gets attacked all the time."
"This isn't about you. This is about me. This is about my career."
"I know, and I'm just saying, you can't let it bring you down. You just gotta believe in yourself. You gotta pull yourself together and get right back on the horse."
"Don't give me the horse thing. Try to understand how I feel."

HE DOES UNDERSTAND HOW YOU FEEL, YOU DUMB FUCK. Jesus Christ.

This mode of hers is kept throughout most of the movie, almost never wavering. As a matter of fact, there is only one scene where Mary Jane being a bitch is completely justified (more on this when we get to Problem #3). But the crowning achievement of sheer idiocy comes when Harry gets his memory back and threatens Mary Jane to break up with Peter or else he'll kill Peter. Good holy fuck, where do I even begin? Not only does this not make any sense whatsoever because Harry was planning to kill Peter anyway, but it makes even less sense when you take into account that MARY JANE KNOWS THAT PETER IS SPIDER-MAN.

She is aware that he deals with shit like this on a regular basis. It comes with the territory. Bitch, instead of following Harry's dumb-ass plan, how about going to Peter and telling him that Harry has his memory back, wants to kill him, threatened to kill you, and is right over there? What was stopping you? Compared to the Green Goblin and Doc Ock, I think Harry is much less of a threat than they were. GROW A FUCKING BRAIN. Mary Jane was always a productive, inactive character that only existed for Peter to save, and will prove to be the same in this film later on, but at least in the first two films, I could tolerate her. In this film, she was just nothing short of detestable. Fuck her.

Problem #3: Peter kissing Gwen Stacy. This is the one scene where Mary Jane being a bitch is completely justified. Not only is this contrived bullshit to make Mary Jane even more of a cunt than before, but this is completely out-of-character for Peter. Why would Peter kiss Gwen at the obvious risk of losing Mary Jane, the woman he fought tooth and nail to be with throughout this whole series? This makes no sense. It just makes Peter look like an asshole. You could argue that Peter maybe didn't know that she was looking, but here's an actual piece of dialogue from the film that proves you wrong:

"I'm gonna be swinging in from over there."
"Really?"
"So you know where to look."

Yes, folks. Apparently, he wanted her to see this. He wanted her to see him kissing another woman. My God, what a douchebag.

Problem #4: Gwen Stacy being railroaded into the plot for no reason. My favorite female character in the entire Spider-Man mythos is Gwen Stacy. She's smart, beautiful, interesting, proactive, and just an all-around great character. I always found her to be a better love interest than Mary Jane. I love Gwen Stacy. However, I don't love whoever the fuck this was supposed to be. Seriously, were they even trying?

Bryce Dallas Howard, although beautiful and really giving it her all, doesn't act the part, and the character is totally backwards. The reason Peter and Gwen had a relationship in the first place is because they share a unique intelligence and a love for science. It's what attracts Gwen to Peter and vice versa. Here, Gwen Stacy is portrayed as an airhead who, by her own admission, would be failing college without Peter's help.

Yeah, let's just slap her on screen with no understanding of what makes her a great character instead of doing this character right. Just make her a brainless model for Spider-Man to save, for Peter Parker to make Mary Jane jealous later on, and for Eddie Brock to feel tortured (because the story he had in the comics wasn't dark and traumatizing enough). In this film, Gwen is not a character. She is just a cheap plot device. She exists only to force more unnecessary crap into the plot, and in retrospect, was not needed. To see one of my favorite Spider-Man characters portrayed this way fucking disgusts me.

Problem #5: The crane scene. Although a visually spectacular sequence, this is a scene that I have to go note-by-note and do dash points with because there is too much wrong with it.

- The photographer complaining about the swinging bar being in his background before the swinging bar even appears in his background
- Gwen Stacy is a supermodel instead of an intelligent scientist (more of a personal nitpick, but fuck it, who cares)
- The swinging bar was moving at two miles per hour on the crane and yet was able to take out an entire level of the building
- Topher Grace is Eddie Brock (the textbook definition of miscast)
- Captain Stacy's reaction to his daughter hanging off the building and trying not to fall to her certain doom: "What's she doing up there?" (you know, a little compassion wouldn't kill you, IT'S YOUR DAUGHTER UP THERE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD)
- The crane going up the building makes no sense, because out of control or not, it was moving in a completely different direction earlier and was in a much higher location
- Spider-Man exiting the city even though he still has a crane to stop
- The people cheering even though there were people that got hit by the falling debris from the building (come on, even Man of Steel acknowledged that people were injured and killed because of the city destruction)

Problem #6: Sandman's transformation scene (more so the events leading up to it). Yet another scene I have to go point-by-point with. First of all, the scientists are doing an experiment on sand? What's the experiment for? It's never addressed. Apparently, the whole thing was set up to make sand move in a circular motion for no reason. Until Marko arrived, they didn't have anything in the reactor for the sand to react with, so I ask again, what was the experiment for? What, were they just begging something would jump in there at the most convenient time possible for them to do anything relevant? I'm not stupid.

Second, Marko just happens to climb over a fence and into the facility. Yeah, because it's not like a top-secret military experiment would be protected by guards and a thick wall to prevent people from trespassing. Third, instead of climbing over the fence like Marko was easily able to do with no problem, the cops after him try to find a way around the fence. Dumbasses. Fourth, when Marko falls into the reactor, the scientists have this reaction:

"There's a change in the silicon mass."
"It's probably a bird. It'll fly away when we fire it up."

Wow. Just wow. You know, I gotta tell ya, if an airplane pilot detected something by the turbines before takeoff, I really doubt that the pilot would assume that IT WAS A FUCKING BIRD. How about checking it out? Not to mention, you're supposed to be intelligent scientists, right? So, how in the flying fuck do you mistake the mass of a tall, burly convict with the mass of a bird? These are highly-funded government scientists? Sweet Jesus, no wonder our fucking economy's in the toilet.

Now, to be fair, when Flint becomes the Sandman, the effect is honestly rather chilling. Seeing him scream as he dissolves into sand for the first time is a really cool image. But even cooler is the image of him trying to regroup himself in the sand later on. I'll admit, I liked that scene and I was really digging the visual, up until they showed the locket. Yeah, evidently, Marko's clothes, belt buckle, and boots were dissolved into sand but not the locket for some fucking reason.

Problem #7: Sandman's daughter having no payoff. This was the only thing keeping me somewhat invested in this otherwise poorly-written character, and I say somewhat invested because even though I understand why he'd rob banks to get money for his daughter's... operation, I guess (I don't fucking know), he goes about it in such a dumb way. This guy needed money bad, and was eventually caught after robbing from the underground wrestling joint from the first film. Apparently, that's where the real money is and not banks.

We'll go back to this later. Let's just focus on the daughter. It's revealed in Marko's introduction scene that he has a sick daughter that he hasn't seen in years, and was sent to prison after stealing money (I'm still guessing operation, because the movie never addresses this). They never explain what she has or what her true condition is. They just say that she's his sick daughter. I will admit, I kinda liked the scene with Flint talking with his daughter.

You get the sense that he truly does care about her and that despite all the things he did, she still loves him. This is a very nice scene. So, it's so wonderful to know that this plot point is never resolved. They show this whole scene just to introduce this plot point and still, it has no payoff. They show us the locket to constantly remind us that he has a sick daughter, and still, there's no payoff.

He says at the end of the movie that the only thing that still matters to him is his daughter and still, no fucking payoff whatsoever. What was even the point of this? This isn't real sympathy, this is artificial sympathy. It's just there to give our villain some sort of motive and story arc that never resolves itself and ultimately just wastes our time. This is not a story, this is not a character. This is time filler.

Problem #8: Harry Osborn. Everything done with this character in this film is downright retarded. We first see him on the balcony overlooking Mary Jane's performance and giving both her and Peter an evil smile. Then, we get this:

"I need to talk to you. Explain things."
"Tell it to my father. Raise him from the dead."

I'm gonna assume that this takes place a year after the events of Spider-Man 2. How have you not talked about this yet? It's not just Harry, it's Peter too. Moron, he knows you're Spider-Man and thinks you killed his father, so talking to him about this should've been your first priority after the previous film, you fucking idiot. Oh, and Harry, if you know Peter is Spider-Man and you want your dad avenged, why don't you use your power and expose him? You know Jameson hates Spider-Man. He'd eat the story up in a heartbeat. But fuck it, who cares, right?

Also since Spider-Man 2, Harry has invented his own glider and because the original Goblin mask wasn't cheesy and lame enough, he now wears a paintball mask. Oh, so we went from a Power Rangers villain to an actual Power Ranger. Top-notch, guys. I also find it funny how Harry flunked out of so many schools and yet has the knowledge to invent these things. This is not only bizarre, but inconsistent.

Harry steps into the chamber and takes the same performance-enhancing formula his father took, and it doesn't make him batshit insane for some reason. Care to explain that one, movie? We know this shit makes people crazy. Why doesn't it make Harry crazy? Oh, you're not going to explain? Okay, fine, whatever. Harry attacks Peter, and to be fair, this is a great action sequence. Sam Raimi knows how to shoot action well.

However, it's what the scene leads to that kills it for me: Harry getting amnesia. Because the movie needs to shove him away in the closet so we can focus on other shit. Nah, we can't just have Harry be the main villain in this film and save Venom and the symbiote for a sequel. Oh, hell no. Let's just give Harry amnesia for now, because it's not like this is the most overused soap opera copout in existence.

Fuck this shit. It's not even that he gets amnesia. He conveniently remembers nothing past his father dying. But wait! It gets better! He doesn't remember that he blames Spider-Man for the death of his father. Oh, what are the odds? Now, if they were doing this for a purpose, it could've worked. If they had Harry faking the amnesia in order to get close to Peter and take him out when he least expected it, that would've been awesome and diabolical. But no, we don't get that. We just get Harry pushed to the side for most of the film until the movie runs out of ideas and needs him again.

But wait! It gets even better! When the movie finally does need him again, and the amnesia wears off, he threatens Mary Jane to break up with Peter. Because, you know, it's not like he could just go to Peter's apartment and kill him when he's in the shower or something, or maybe reveal that Peter is Spider-Man to the public like a smart person would do. So when Mary Jane follows this plan and says to Peter that she's in love with someone else, Peter goes to Harry for comfort and Harry reveals that he's the other guy.

What idiot would buy this? It's bad enough Mary Jane went along with this stupid plan, but couldn't she just call Peter later, and probably say, "I didn't mean what I said earlier. Harry has his memory back. He tried to kill me and wants to kill you." I know I'm reiterating what I said when I was discussing Problem #2, but my God, it/s that stupid and nonsensical. So Peter buys into this for a bit until he confronts Harry in his mansion and throws a Pumpkin Bomb at him. This doesn't kill Harry, but it does get him out of the movie again. You know, so the film focus on other shit it doesn't need to, again.

So when the plot needs him again, Harry ends up teaming up with Peter for contrived reasons that I'll mention later, and ends up getting killed by Venom. Now technically, Harry dying could've worked, mainly because of how he dies. In the first film, Norman Osborn died being impaled by his own glider while trying to kill Spider-Man. Harry died being impaled by his own glider while saving Spider-Man's life. It was a way to bring the Goblin legacy full circle and have Harry redeem not just himself, but his father as well.

The reason this doesn't work is because there was no lead-up to it at all. If they had gone with Sam Raimi's original concept of having Harry be in the middle, conflicted with avenging his father and hurting his best friend, this would've been the perfect ending to Harry's story. But, I'm sorry, you can't have it both ways here. You can either make Harry an actual character with conflict or make him time filler. You made him time filler, you didn't lead up to this, and you didn't allude to this. You don't get to do this. Fuck you, movie.

Problem #9: That scene with Harry and Mary Jane dancing in the kitchen. What the fuck was that? Why was this in a Spider-Man movie? This was not developing the characters, this is not moving the story along, and this isn't even the least bit funny or charming. This is just time filler. There's nothing else for me to say. It's just these two dancing like jackasses and wasting our fucking time.

Problem #10: The butler scene. Now, Bernard (John Paxton) is Harry's butler. At the end of this film, when Peter comes to Harry for help, he says no, until:

"The night your father died, I cleaned his wound. The blade that pierced his body came from his glider. I know you're trying to defend your father's honor, but there's no question that he died by his own hand."

My God, what an asshole. You knew this the whole time and didn't say anything? Are you fucking kidding me? You could've saved people time, resources, and their lives just by telling Harry the truth from the get-go. Hell, you went of our way to say this to Harry in the previous film:

"Your father only obsessed over his work."

Yeah! You know he obsessed he was over killing Spider-Man. All you fucking had to do was open your mouth. Now, there was originally a reason for this that was cut out of the film at the last minute, but ultimately could've redeemed this and made it something meaningful. The original idea for Bernard was that he was a figment of Harry's imagination. Bernard was originally intended to be the part of Harry's mind that wouldn't let him realize that his father killed himself.

It would make sense for Harry to be the one that cleaned his father's wound since he was the one that found the body. That's an ingenious idea. Not only is it original, but it's also very thought-provoking, and would've instilled Harry with the concept of denial, not being able to accept who his father was or what his father did, and that Spider-Man was indeed innocent. I would've loved to see that and the movie would've been all the better for it. But no, they didn't do that. Bernard is a real person, which is made evident when he shakes Peter's hand in an earlier scene, who could've just opened his mouth and made this whole thing go away.

Problem #11: Sandman being Uncle Ben's killer. This was the only contribution by Sam Raimi that, I will admit, truly sucked. It was his idea to challenge the simplicity of Ben's death by having Flint Marko be the true killer. But there's a problem with that. In the first film, the police knew it was a carjacking, which obviously means that they saw it happen. They saw the shooting and the guy getting away in the car, and yet, none of them saw the big, burly motherfucker walking away with the murder weapon? Sorry. Not buying it.

And by the way, does ballistics exist in the universe this film franchise takes place in? Because if it did, they could've easily matched up the carjacker's gun to the bullet that killed Uncle Ben. They should've known from the get-go if this guy was the real killer or not. Do cops do their fucking jobs in this universe? Well, evidently not, because even though they managed to tie Flint Marko to the Ben Parker homicide months ago, they waited until he escaped from prison to tell Peter and Aunt May.

Good fucking God, no wonder the city needs Spider-Man. Apparently, every cop and scientist there is a feeble-minded idiot. Oh, but it gets better! At the end, Sandman reveals that it was all an accident and that he didn't mean to shoot Uncle Ben. Now, you'd think Spider-Man would try to have him answer for his crimes, like a good hero would do, but no, he forgives him and lets him rob more banks and shit. Yeah, it's all Spider-Man's fault. Give this moron a fucking round of applause.

Look, I know this goes back to the concept of forgiveness over revenge, but there is a serious limit. You don't just assume right away that the guy who killed your uncle is telling you the truth and let him go without so much as batting an eyelash. That's bullshit. There's a difference between being forgiving and being stupid, and Peter is clearly stupid. This is just a cheap excuse to tie this villain to our hero. It was lazy, asinine, and beyond forced.

Problem #12: Eddie Brock and Venom. Don't act so surprised, y'all knew this was coming. Before we get into this, I want to give you a little background on Eddie Brock's character. I have a point to make. In the comics, Eddie Brock was someone who ran into a stream of bad luck. He was far from perfect, but he wasn't a lying dick either. Eddie Brock has one of the most depressing backstories in comic book history.

His bad luck begins when a man claiming to be the Sin Eater contacts him. However, when Brock writes an exposé on this guy, it doesn't take long for Spider-Man to capture the real Sin Eater, resulting in Brock being fired in disgrace. He didn't lie. He wasn't dishonest. He was just given bad information and suffered for it. He was a victim of circumstance. Soon after, Eddie's wife divorced him, his father cut all ties with him, and he had to work for tabloid magazines in shame.

He blames Spider-Man for capturing the real Sin Eater, but his blaming on Spider-Man was merely a way to help him cope with his severe depression, and when he started to feel good about himself, when he started weightlifting and getting in shape, when he starts to take back his life, he found out he had cancer. Good God. Believe it or not, there's more. Eddie was contemplating suicide at this point (I don't blame him), but this led to him going to a church and ultimately begging God for forgiveness.

But of course, this was the same time that Spider-Man was removing the symbiote and it didn't take long for the alien lifeform to find its way to Eddie. Feeling rejected, the symbiote sought revenge on Spider-Man through Eddie Brock, and Brock's coping mechanism of blaming Spider-Man became something very literal. The symbiote was a way for Eddie to take back his life after everything he went through.

There was meaning behind Venom. There was meaning behind the bond Eddie shared with the symbiote. It turned someone powerless and on the verge of suicide into a strong warrior, and he called himself Venom because that was what he was forced to spew out to the public at the time. That is Venom. How does the film handle this character?

He fakes a picture of Spider-Man robbing a bank and gets fired for it. He blames Peter not only for that, but for stealing a woman who wasn't even his. He talks about her as if he wants to marry her but isn't even in a relationship with her. Then, he goes to the church just like he did in the comics, and he asks God, I'm dead serious, to kill Peter.

Movie, go fuck yourself. This is not a character with a depressing backstory anymore. This is a not a villain I can sympathize for. This is just a slimy, creepy, dishonest jackass putting the blame on everybody but himself. Where's the emotional connection? There is none. He just gets the suit and vows revenge. There's no talk of his addiction to the suit, there's no talk of what the suit does to him, and you can't even argue that the suit makes him a bad person who does bad things. He was a bad person who did bad things before he got the suit. I can't believe how badly they botched this character.

Now, I don't blame Topher Grace for this. He's a good actor. In this film, he doesn't do a bad job acting-wise. He was fine. My problem was that he was seriously miscast and the way they had him play Eddie Brock was irritating and obnoxious. I couldn't care less that he was too scrawny and short to play Venom. I care that he acts nothing like Eddie Brock.

If they had gotten the character right personality-wise, I could've easily gotten over the actor's size. Wolverine is 5'3'' in the comics and 6'5'' Hugh Jackman does a great job playing him. Fuck, Eddie doesn't even call himself Venom or speak like Venom. Venom always speaks as two people because it's two separate personalities sharing the same thoughts, the personality of Eddie Brock and the personality of the symbiote. But in this film, it's just Topher Grace acting like a dick. There is nothing resembling Eddie Brock or Venom in this. Oh, and here's Venom's plan:

"I want to kill the Spider. You want to kill the Spider. Together, we have a chance. Interested?"

WHEN DID THEY IMPLY OR ESTABLISH THAT SANDMAN WANTED TO KILL SPIDER-MAN? This plan from the get-go makes no fucking sense! But of course, the plot needs Sandman to want Spider-Man dead, so his plan goes along just A-OK, hunky-dory. Why didn't Venom seek the aid of someone who does want Spider-Man dead, you know, like say, HARRY FUCKING OSBORN?

Now onto their next phase: kidnapping Mary Jane. Yeah, because I haven't seen that done to death yet. Let's just do that. Fucking wonderful. It's not like he should kidnap someone who he truly resents by now, someone he feels rejected by, you know, like say, Gwen Stacy? FUCKING DUH! But here's the most insulting thing: the fans finally see Venom (or at least, the most dumbed-down version of him imaginable) on the big screen for the first time. But instead of seeing Venom, 90% of the time, he has his face peeled back to reveal Topher Grace. What a fucking joke.

Now, here's the thing: Sam Raimi is not to blame for this entirely. He was forced to include the character in the film even though he didn't want to. The reason he didn't want to is because he doesn't like Venom. He doesn't like the character. Raimi grew up on Silver Age Spider-Man villains, so those were the villains he wanted to use. It's more than obvious watching this character that he's being represented by someone who doesn't like him.

It's a spit in the face to the fans, but as much as I should hold Raimi's feet to the fire here, I'd rather blame the real enemies here: producer Avi Arad and the fuckwits at Sony. What's strange is that they railroaded Gwen Stacy into the plot to give Eddie a "better" backstory, when they could've just done what was in the comics and had something that was actually meaningful.

In fact, when you factor in that Raimi wanted Peter to see the humanity in the villains he faces, Eddie Brock's original backstory would've worked just fine for that, but not with Sandman and New Goblin crowding the movie as well. If they got rid of Sandman entirely, they may have had something here, or if they wanted to keep Sandman in, this should've been two movies, as Alvin Sargent had originally planned.

Problem #13 (this is the big one): Peter Parker and the symbiote. First of all, the symbiote coming from a meteorite that just happened to land close to Peter and Mary Jane? Bullshit. I can understand not wanting to go through the hassle of adapting Secret Wars, as that would take three movies to do it any sort of justice. But why not do what Spider-Man: The Animated Series did? In that version, Jameson's son brought the symbiote back with him from space. When Spider-Man saved him from the shuttle crash, the symbiote bonded with him.

J. Jonah Jameson, Jr. was set up in Spider-Man 2. How about actually using him for something? That's actually why I figured he was in Spider-Man 2. I thought they were gonna be setting up Venom. But no, in a cheap and lazy screenwriting copout, the symbiote just lands on a meteorite. Wow, what are the fucking odds? So about an hour into the film, we finally see the symbiote bond with Peter, or at least to his clothes, and this just turns him into a goofy, compulsive, comic-relief shithead.

For those of you who don't know, it may shock and amaze you to discover that the symbiote is not evil. It's animalistic and driven by pure instinct. It has no basis of right and wrong. Its instinct is to survive and it needs a host to do so. Now, if the person it bonds with is evil, it will enhance the evil nature of that person, which is why Carnage is so evil. Now, the symbiote enhances aggression in its hosts as a survival mechanism, which you could say does happen in Spider-Man 3, but it doesn't turn you into a total dick. It just makes you more aggressive.

What the movie also fails to mention is why Peter enjoys being bonded with the symbiote. It enhances his strength, his agility, and his endurance. It becomes the equivalent of crack to him. It's an addiction. It's like a drug. This is why he has so much trouble taking it off and getting rid of it. They never address that in the film, not even once. Because they never address the addiction, we never see the personal struggle within Peter's mind as the symbiote slowly starts impairing his judgment.

By the way, Alvin Sargent, that's your midpoint. That's your climax for your first film. The dream sequence should've been the climax of this film, leading to a fourth Spider-Man with Venom as the main villain. For fuck's sake, the film's tagline is "The Greatest Battle Lies From Within". Show us the battle lying from within. The dream sequence is one of the darkest and most memorable moments in the entire mythology of Spider-Man.

Instead of wasting our time with Harry having amnesia, Eddie Brock being a worthless asshole, and Sandman being a plot device, build up Eddie Brock the right way, make New Goblin the main villain, have Peter bond with the suit, and have Peter beat Harry within an inch of his life. Make that the moment where Peter realizes the symbiote is making him worse, forcing him to try and take it off.

Then, have the dream sequence, show him purging the suit from his body, and end your movie on Eddie becoming Venom. If you ended this film on that, we would have this film make a billion dollars worldwide and we would've been the first online to see the next one. But no, we got everything spoon-fed, forced, and simplified to an enraging and insulting degree instead of something that could've been truly great and special. Also, the symbiote bonding in this movie is incredibly inconsistent (he peels it off like a band-aid at first, yet has trouble taking it off when at the church).

The most insulting thing is this line from Peter:

"I've done terrible things too."

NO, YOU HAVEN'T, YOU FUCKING IDIOT. You haven't done anything bad in this entire movie. Hitting Harry with a Pumpkin Bomb is justified because Harry was trying to kill you twice in that scene. It's called self-defense. Turning Brock in and having him get fired is justified because he lied and used one of your photos to make a fake one. He was dishonest. You would've turned him in for this, Black Suit or not. Yeah, you hit Mary Jane, but it was just an accident. You swung around and she just happened to be in the way. It's not like you sucker-punched him when she was singing on stage.

The only bad things you did were dancing like a moronic jackass down Fifth Avenue (one of the worst scenes in any film ever made) and doing that fucking stupid dance in the nightclub. Okay, you kissed Gwen Stacy, but you didn't have the Black Suit yet, so that doesn't even count. You haven't done bad things in this movie. Go fuck yourself.

You know what? I'll go a step further! According to this dung heap of a film's logic, the guy he let go in the first movie didn't even kill Uncle Ben, so I guess you didn't do anything bad there either. So now, the whole point, the entire basis for you being Spider-Man, due to your own responsibility and guilt, is completely null and void. FUCK. THIS. MOVIE.

FINAL SCORE: 3/10

So after all of that ranting, do I loathe this movie? No. I don't think it's the worst film ever. Do I hate it? Yes. It's without a shadow of a doubt the worst Spider-Man film. However, I did like the action, I did enjoy the visuals, I did like the music, and I didn't even mind some of the acting. But I still hate this film. Not only is it a poor adaptation, but just a mess of a film in general.

This is honestly one of the worst-structured films I have ever seen, period. And words cannot describe how baffled I am that this got a 63% on Rotten Tomatoes. Yes, most critics enjoyed this film. I really don't get it. If you like this movie, that's fine, more power to you (no matter how sad I think that is). But I just can't understand why. It juggles random characters that have no purpose and simplifies its source material to a despicable degree. The message is supposed to be about forgiveness, and even that is half-assed. This film is a clusterfucked disaster.

By the way, the next time someone tells you that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is worse than this, do yourself a favor and slap them across the face with a copy of this movie. Good night, folks.

The Loft
The Loft(2015)
½

The Loft is a 2015 psychological mystery thriller film directed by Erik Van Looy, written and executive produced by Wesley Strick, and starring Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Rachael Taylor, Rhona Mitra, Isabel Lucas, Margarita Levieva, Valerie Cruz, Elaine Cassidy, and Kali Rocha. The film is a remake of the 2008 Dutch-language Belgian film Loft, written by Bart De Pauw and also directed by Van Looy.

Vincent Stevens (Karl Urban), Chris Vanowen (James Marsden), Luke Seacord (Wentworth Miller), Marty Landry (Eric Stonestreet), and Filip Williams (Matthias Schoenaerts) are five guys who share ownership of an upmarket loft, the right place to do wrong. They use the loft to discreetly meet their respective mistresses. When the body of a murdered woman is found in that loft, the men begin to suspect each other of having committed the gruesome crime, as they are the only ones with keys to the premises.

You know, it's actually not much of a surprise that The Loft will be a huge box office failure despite its talented cast. The film was actually shot in the summer of 2011, originally set to be distributed by Warner Bros. with Joel Silver producing through his production company Dark Castle Entertainment. It was originally slated for release in theaters in 2013. However, the film was delayed because of a change in distributor.

Universal was then set to release the film in the summer of 2014, but it was delayed yet again because Universal pulled the film out of the schedule in favor of As Above, So Below. At that point, Joel Silver took his name off of the project. Open Road Films then took over distribution duties and released the film in the last Friday of the January dumping grounds. The Loft is a convoluted, dreary, and boring thriller with a sloppy narrative and terrible characters.

Now, what did I like about The Loft? Well, for starters, it's a very well-shot film. Erik Van Looy directs the film competently, with Nicolas Karakatsanis' lush cinematography giving the picture a slick, efficient look. Another thing I really liked was John Frizzell's effective musical score. The score for this film is genuinely great. It's insultingly good. It's really quite sad that such high-quality, first-class music has to accompany such a lame film.

The Loft is also well-acted, for the most part anyway. Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, and Matthias Schoenaerts are all good in their respective roles. Rachael Taylor and Rhona Mitra in two of the supporting roles also do a decent job with the material given (even if all Mitra does is look miserable... probably because she was appalled by the fact that she's co-starring in such a dismally-written load of ass). However, Isabel Lucas is pretty bad. I don't think she's a good actress... like, at all. Not to mention, Taylor's romance with Marsden is painfully unconvincing.

Now, we move onto the bad shit. The narrative is sloppily written and is cringe-worthy in its convolutedness. Did the director even bother having screenwriter Wesley Strick re-write the script, or maybe have the writer of his original Belgian film perform script polish re-writes? Seriously, Strick's screenplay for this film is incredibly piss-poor. The characters are terrible, the story is awful, and the dialogue is amazingly insipid.

Our five leads are just cheating scumbags who throughout the film make stupid and asinine choices. Why am I supposed to root for any of them? I don't like these people, so why should I care about them? When the killer is finally revealed, my level of shit-giving was at zero because I stopped caring by that point and I just wanted this boring, cynical, and stupid film to end. The men are pictured as cheaters and the women are pictured as props. Wow, such great character writing right there.

FINAL SCORE: 3/10

Just like The Boy Next Door, The Loft is competently made with sleek cinematography and a good score. However, it's also a thriller with no thrills whatsoever, or brains for that matter. The Loft is a poorly paced, terribly written, and overall dumb excuse for a thriller. It's amazing how sloppy it is. The Loft is genuinely well-acted for the most part, but the depressingly asinine script clearly doesn't appreciate their talents. Please stay away from this dim, miserable mess of a film that is mistaken by the writer, director, and producers for quality entertainment.

The Boy Next Door
½

The Boy Next Door is a 2015 erotic horror thriller drama film directed by Rob Cohen, produced by Jason Blum and Jennifer Lopez, written by Barbara Curry, and starring Lopez, Ryan Guzman, John Corbett, Kristin Chenoweth, Ian Nelson, Adam Hicks, Hill Harper, Lexi Atkins, Bailey Chase, and Travis Schuldt.

High school literature teacher Claire Peterson (Jennifer Lopez), divorced from her cheating husband Garrett (John Corbett), tries to start a new life in the suburbs with her teenage son Kevin (Ian Nelson). 19-year-old Noah Sandborn (Ryan Guzman) moves in next door to Claire, claiming that his parents died in an accident and that he's helping take care of his uncle. Noah and Claire have a one night stand, but when Claire tries to cut their relationship short, Noah becomes obsessed with her. Noah tries anything and everything to be with her, refusing to let her go.

The Boy Next Door is the latest thriller from Jason Blum's production company Blumhouse. Blum was also responsible for producing The Purge, Insidious, Paranormal Activity, and Sinister, among other low-budget, "high-concept" films. The Boy Next Door is also the latest film from Rob Cohen, the director of films such as The Fast and the Furious, xXx, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, and Alex Cross.

Given that the latter was a huge flop, Cohen was desperate for another hit, so he decided to direct this film, which has a budget of $4 million. It's no surprise it'll be a box office hit, given the lead actress and the box office successes of the other films Jason Blum produced. Bad news, though: The Boy Next Door is a poor attempt to resurrect the erotic thriller sub-genre that began with Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct.

To be fair, The Boy Next Door isn't reprehensibly bad. It's a nice-looking film. Despite working off of a relatively low budget, Cohen and cinematographer David McFarland manage to give the film a sleek look. McFarland lenses the film very well, making the film appear as if it has a larger budget. Collaborating on the musical score are Randy Edelman and Nathan Barr, and they both do a decent job on the score.

Onto the acting. Jennifer Lopez doesn't do a bad job as Claire. She's not exactly great, but she's not terrible either. However, Ryan Guzman is terrible as Noah, who develops a deadly obsession with Claire. His transformation from hunky next-door neighbor to obsessed psycho comes unbelievably fast, and I really don't buy him as a maniac infatuated with her. Also, I find it hard to believe he's playing a teenager when he looks like he should be thirty years old. Ian Nelson, Kristin Chenoweth, and John Corbett are just there. Like Lopez, they're not bad, but they're not great either.

Another thing that doesn't work is criminal lawyer-turned-screenwriter Barbara Curry's poorly-penned script. Instead of trying to craft something that's unpredictable or perhaps trying something new with this formula, Curry instead opts to stick to the basics. It's a predictable, clichéd affair. The characters are brutally boring and underdeveloped, the dialogue is lame, the story is nothing you haven't seen before, and not to mention, for a film with a ninety-minute runtime, it's paced rather poorly.

Also, the blatant tonal shifts bother me. It starts off as a drama you'd usually see on the Lifetime channel, then it transforms into an erotic thriller (like I said before, just like Fatal Attraction or Basic Instinct), and when the climax shows up, it decides to transform into a full-on horror film, with characters tied up and tortured, eye-stabbing and gouging, cheap and incredibly non-frightening jump scares, and being set in a barn.

Also, for those of you who want to watch Jennifer Lopez get naked and show off her tits and ass, you'll be disappointed to know that you don't see them. You instead see her breasts being grabbed by Guzman as well as his ass. There's also a car chase that Curry and Cohen decided to insert into the film. I guess Cohen wants another shot at the Fast & Furious franchise?

FINAL SCORE: 3/10

The Boy Next Door is not as bad as most horror and thriller films released in the month of January. However, that's not really saying much. It's badly written, it's boring, it's predictable, it's dumb, and the actors don't even look like they want to be there. Despite an alright musical score and good cinematography, as well as a decent performance by Jennifer Lopez, The Boy Next Door isn't worth your time nor is it worth your money. It's just pitilessly dull. Avoid this mess.

Fever Pitch
Fever Pitch(2005)

Fever Pitch is a 2005 romantic comedy drama sports film produced and directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly, written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, based on the novel by Nick Hornby, produced by and starring Drew Barrymore, and co-starring Jimmy Fallon, Kadee Strickland, Jobeth Williams, James B. Sikking, Ione Skye, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Evan Helmuth, Miranda Black, Andrew Wilson, Jack Kehler, Lenny Clarke, Willie Garson, Johnny Sneed, Scott Severance, Jessamy Finet, and Maureen Keiller.

Ben Wrightman (Jimmy Fallon) is a huge fan of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, which is still under the Curse of the Bambino, having not won a World Series since 1916. Ben's love for the sport and the team borders on addiction. He lives in an apartment that looks more like a Red Sox gift shop. One day, Ben scores a new girlfriend in the form of businesswoman Lindsey Meeks (Drew Barrymore), who's reaching 30 and is tired of dating sharp, competitive guys. And thus begins a love triangle between Ben, Lindsey, and the Red Sox, where Ben must choose between the girl he loves and the team he's worshipped since he was a child.

Well, would you look at that? A romantic comedy that's well-acted, well-written, and is both funny and sweet. Very rarely do we see a good rom-com these days. If you're looking a genuinely good rom-com, then this movie fits your bill. Fever Pitch is based on an autobiographical novel by High Fidelity author Nick Hornby. The novel was also adapted into a 1997 film of the same name written by Hornby and starring Colin Firth and Mark Strong. I haven't read the novel. I think I saw the 1997 film, but I don't remember it quite well. This is the American remake of the 1997 film, and I really liked it.

I have to praise the performances from Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore. They were both great in this film, as were the supporting actors. Not only are Fallon's and Barrymore's characters well-developed, likeable, and believable, but the two have fantastic romantic chemistry. When I look at them, I don't see two actors portraying people who fall in love. I actually see two real people in a romantic relationship. They don't just kiss all the time. They actually talk about things real couples talk about, and in a way real couples should.

Fever Pitch manages to be the Farrelly brothers' most mature and serious film while still maintaining some of their trademark humor. As a matter of fact, there's only one gross-out gag in the whole film. On their first date, Ben finds Lindsey sick from food poisoning, and we hear her throwing up in her bathroom. Not only that, but it's implied through a line of dialogue that Lindsey's dog actually ate some of her puke. Yeah, I know, pretty disgusting shit. However, this scene isn't really played for laughs as much as it really shows how kind and thoughtful Ben is (well, before his die-hard Red Sox fanboyism kicks in).

Ben also takes care of her when she's sick. For example, he undresses her and then helps her put on pajamas, helps her to bed, places a hamper near her in case she needs to vomit again, cleans up her bathroom, offers her Gatorade (gotta replenish those electrolytes somehow), brushes her dog's teeth, and even sleeps on her couch. Okay, I'll admit, this is a tad bit excessive, and some people actually found this to be creepy. That's understandable, but considering that she seemed really out of it and Ben proves himself to be a likeable character, I found it to be rather good-natured and considerate than creepy.

The screenplay, penned by the legendary comedy writing duo of Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, is well-written with unfailingly funny humor, believable dialogue, and good characters. Seriously, the humor in this film is incredibly hilarious. One of my favorite bits is when one of Lindsey's friends calls their bike instructor a Nazi spin bitch. I also really liked one bit where Ben's in the shower and he's asking his doctor friend why he's shaving his testicles. Trust me, it's funnier than how I'm describing it.

Craig Armstrong delivers a really good musical score. It's a shame this score hasn't gotten a CD release, even nearly ten years after this film came out. However, the soundtrack is awesome. There are lots of quality songs on that soundtrack. The cinematography by the Farrellys' current go-to cinematographer Matthew F. Leonetti is pretty solid. We get some really nice shots of Fenway Park and of the city of Boston. Also, if you're expecting some T&A, don't worry, you'll get it (watch the bike/cycle gym scene that takes place eight and a half minutes into the movie in case you don't believe me).

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

Some things could get a little too sappy and clichéd, but overall, Fever Pitch manages to hit a home run, benefitting from an intelligently-written script, incredibly funny humor, and wonderful chemistry between Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon. Fever Pitch is a sweet, hilarious, and genuine film, one of the better romantic comedies to come out, and one of my top five favorite films from the Farrelly brothers. I really enjoyed this film and I recommend it.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
½

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a 2003 horror thriller slasher film directed by Marcus Nispel, produced by Michael Bay, written by Scott Kosar, and starring Jessica Biel, R. Lee Ermey, Andrew Bryniarski, Marietta Marich, Eric Balfour, Jonathan Tucker, Mike Vogel, Erica Leerhsen, Terrence Evans, Kathy Lamkin, Heather Kafka, David Dorfman, Lauren German, and John Larroquette. The film is a remake of the 1974 horror classic of the same name.

Driving through the backwoods of Texas, five young adults pick up a traumatized hitchhiker (Lauren German), who shoots herself in their van. Shaken by the suicide, the group seeks help from the locals, but their situation becomes even more surreal when they knock on the door of a remote homestead. It's quickly apparent that the residents are a family of inbred psychopaths, and the unlucky youths suddenly find themselves running for their lives. In hot pursuit is a disfigured, chainsaw-wielding cannibal known as Leatherface (Andrew Bryniarski).

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the first remake to be produced by Michael Bay through his production company Platinum Dunes. Platinum Dunes has been known for resurrecting various beloved horror franchises throughout the years, such as Friday the 13th, The Hitcher, The Amityville Horror, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Their remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre isn't good, but honestly, it isn't that bad either.

I'm gonna get all the bad stuff out of the way first before I get to the good stuff. The characters are bland, generic, and clichéd, and the Hewitt family is underdeveloped. The story is predictable. Teenagers go on a road trip, end up at a weird and creepy place, come across Leatherface, all get killed one by one, only one of them survives, the works. Also, while there are some rather intense moments, the film isn't really scary. Finally, the big one: we actually see Leatherface's real face, which is deformed. Why did we need to see this? Showing his real face doesn't make Leatherface scary.

Thankfully, there are enough things to praise to make this film watchable compared to other horrendous horror remakes. Daniel C. Pearl, the cinematographer of the original film, returns for this remake and he once again does an amazing job. Both the original and the remake are beautifully shot. Unlike his other horror film scores, Steve Jablonsky's score for this film is actually not that bad.

Once again, while it's not really a scary film, director Marcus Nispel does build genuine tension throughout some scenes, and there are a couple of chilling and intense moments scattered here and there. Also, Leatherface looked awesome. Andrew Bryniarski does a great job as the character. I also enjoyed the film's dark, effective atmosphere. The gore and make-up effects are done practically and look convincing.

The acting isn't bad. Jessica Biel, Eric Balfour, and Jonathan Tucker are decent as Erin (our lead), Kemper, and Morgan, respectively. However, Mike Vogel and Erica Leerhsen are painfully bland and boring as Andy and Pepper. Once again, Andrew Bryniarski is great as Leatherface. However, the real standout is R. Lee Ermey as Charlie Hewitt, who disguised himself as the local sheriff. The scenes with him are great. R. Lee Ermey is like Morgan Freeman. He's great in anything. However, at times, it seems as if Leatherface is playing second fiddle to him.

FINAL SCORE: 5/10

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is an inferior, unnecessary remake, but it's not as bad as one might think. The cinematography is slick, the setting is atmospheric, the gore is created convincingly, the acting is passable, and there are some decent tension-filled moments, but the characters are bland, it's not really a scary film, the story is predictable, Leatherface's real face being shown made me facepalm, and it just wasn't needed at all. Overall, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is an entertaining but clearly mediocre remake.

Deliver Us from Evil

Deliver Us from Evil is a 2014 supernatural crime thriller horror film co-written and directed by Scott Derrickson, co-written and executive produced by Paul Harris Boardman, co-written by David Ayer, Bryan Bertino, and Bruce C. McKenna (all three of which are uncredited), produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, based on the novel Beware the Night by Ralph Sarchie and Lisa Collier Cool, and starring Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn, Sean Harris, Joel McHale, Lulu Wilson, Chris Coy, and Dorian Missick.

New York police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana), struggling with his own personal issues, begins investigating a series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes. He joins forces with unconventional Spanish priest Mendoza (Edgar Ramirez), schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the frightening and demonic possessions that are terrorizing their city.

I wanted to check out Deliver Us from Evil for quite some time now. I liked the premise, I'm a fan of writer/director Scott Derrickson (with the exceptions of Urban Legends: Final Cut and the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still), and I liked the trailers. However, my hopes for the film ran out the window when I saw the film's negative critical reception.

I mean, sweet Jesus, this film has a slightly lower Rotten Tomatoes rating than Annabelle, for God's sake. Yesterday (Christmas day, by the way), I got Deliver Us from Evil on DVD as a present from my mom. I watched it a few hours later, and I really enjoyed it. Someone please tell me, how did this underrated gem make less money than Annabelle and that unholy abomination that goes by the name of Ouija?

One of the high points of the film is the soundtrack, which includes songs from The Doors. Compared to my online friends and other people who disliked this film, I didn't mind the way those songs were used. The musical score by Christopher Young is very effective and oozes with atmosphere. My favorite part of the soundtrack is a piece of music by Moby entitled When it's Cold, I'd Like to Die. This was a beautiful piece of music and I thought it was used in the film wonderfully.

When it comes to suspense and scares, Deliver Us from Evil doesn't fail in this department. Scott Derrickson's direction gives the film a very nice, creepy and effective atmosphere. Genuine tension is built throughout the film. Scott Kevan's gorgeous cinematography gives the film an incredibly eerie look. Hell, even the film's jump scares are done very well. These are not false, cheap, effortless jump scares. Not in the slightest.

Deliver Us from Evil also delivers on the gore as well. Scott Derrickson relied mainly on practical effects and make-up and they look amazing. The gore effects are very convincing. The whole visual look of the film is nothing short of fantastic. So now that we've established that the film is actually very creepy, tense, and wonderfully atmospheric, how is it in terms of writing and acting? Surprisingly good.

Eric Bana and Edgar Ramirez are both superb in their roles, especially Bana, who plays a very likeable and relatable character in Ralph Sarchie. Ramirez as Mendoza was also really good. Sean Harris is creepy and often intimidating as the antagonist, Olivia Munn is surprisingly good as Ralph's wife Jen (another likeable character), and Joel McHale as Ralph's tough-guy partner Butler is a blast to sit through. He was such a fun and likeable character.

The pacing is also very smooth. This film is about two hours long and trust me when I say that the time flies by fast. I also really liked how well Scott Derrickson & Paul Harris Boardman's screenplay mixed the gritty crime drama and supernatural horror sub-genres. I thought it was done perfectly. Are there problems with the film? Absolutely. Could the dialogue have been better? Yeah. Could the story have been better? Yes. But overall, this is the most underrated horror film of the year.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

Deliver Us from Evil is a tense and chilling horror film with good characters, great performances, and wonderfully creepy scares. The atmosphere is very effective, the gore and make-up look fantastic, the soundtrack is great, the pacing is smooth and quick, and the cinematography and visuals are incredibly slick. I recommend y'all give this film a look.

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is a 2009 martial arts action thriller film directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak, written by Justin Marks, and starring Kristin Kreuk, Neal McDonough, Michael Clarke Duncan, Chris Klein, Moon Bloodgood, Robin Shou, Taboo, Josie Ho, and Elizaveta Kiryukhina. The film is based on Capcom's Street Fighter video games and is a reboot of the 1994 film Street Fighter.

When she was younger, Chun-Li (Kristin Kreuk) witnesses the kidnapping of her father Xiang by the wealthy Irish crime lord M. Bison (Neal McDonough), the CEO of Shadaloo Headquarters. Years later, she goes into a quest for vengeance and becomes the famous crimefighter of the Street Fighter universe.

I was introduced to the Street Fighter universe when I bought Street Fighter IV for the Xbox 360 a few years earlier, and I loved it. A wide variety of characters, fun gameplay, inventive fighting styles and powers... it was pure awesomeness. I also bought the updated version of the game, Super Street Fighter IV, and I loved that even more.

In the summer of 2013, I rented the 1994 live-action Street Fighter film from Family Video. The Steven E. de Souza-written and directed film starred Jean-Claude Van Damme as Guile (tremendous miscast), Ming-Na Wen as Chun-Li, and Raul Julia as M. Bison (best part of the film). While very different from the games, I gotta admit, I had a bit of fun with this film. It's bad, yes, but I'd consider it a guilty pleasure. However, that film is Oscar-worthy cinema compared to this abomination.

If you thought the 1994 film was a terrible adaptation of the games, take a look at this shitstorm. This film rapes pretty much everything people loved about this franchise up the ass. Director Andrzej Bartkowiak (whose previous films I did enjoy) and screenwriter Justin Marks make absolutely no attempt to try to follow the games and that pisses me off.

The performances are awful, with the three exceptions being Neal McDonough, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Robin Shou. Despite his truly horrendous Irish accent, McDonough was trying very hard to make this generic, non-threatening bad guy work, and Shou was mildly entertaining as Gen. Sadly, Marks' dismally-penned script and Bartkowiak's tenuous, amazingly effortless direction prevent McDonough and Shou from being allowed to truly shine.

Michael Clarke Duncan as Balrog is admittedly a delight. You can tell he's having a blast playing this guy. Not to mention, Balrog is the only character who bears any resemblance to his video game counterpart. Kristin Kreuk is atrocious as Chun-Li, which is a real shame, given that I loved her as Lana Lang on Smallville. Her line delivery is just abysmal and she shows hardly any genuine emotion.

Moon Bloodgood is bland (although sexy) as Maya Sunee, who becomes Crimson Viper in the video games. Taboo as Vega is a tremendous miscast, one of the biggest in film history. However, the worst performance comes from Chris Klein as Charlie Nash (Blanka from the games). Klein looks beyond bored to be in this film and he sounds as if he's a petulant five-year-old doing a bad Christian Slater impersonation. Phenomenally awful.

If you watch this film expecting some bad-ass fight scenes, you'll be disappointed. The action scenes in this movie are pitiful. Andrzej Bartkowiak directs the action and fight scenes with no skill, effort, passion, or energy, and not to mention, they're very poorly edited by Derek G. Brechin and Niven Howie, and the choreography is nothing short of a joke. They even use Chun-Li's signature Spinning Bird Kick with truly deplorable results. However, the cinematography by Geoff Boyle is occasionally crisp, so there's that.

The whole affair is just a tired, generic mess all around. Stephen Endelman's musical score is insipid and flavorless beyond definition, there are countless martial arts and action film clichés, and there's not even a lick of originality and creativity to be found. The visual effects are spectacularly horrible. There's one bit five minutes into the movie where Chun-Li's father attacks a guy by using a bottle of wine as a water pistol, with the wine being as clear as water. The CGI for the wine is just... blecch. I mean, dear God.

Justin Marks' screenplay is reprehensible. Hardly any character development, really god-awful dialogue, and a story so redundant, outrageously ridiculous, and nonsensical you'll want to pull your hair out. Not to mention, the tone is completely wrong. It takes itself so goddamn seriously. What dumb-ass wanted a dark, gritty, more realistic version of Street Fighter? What the fuck.

FINAL SCORE: 1/10

Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is bar none one of the worst video game movies ever made. Holy mother of God was this terrible. Bad writing, bad acting, bad action, bad story, bad characters, bad adaptation, bad reboot, bad movie. The 1994 film may not have been good, but hey, at least it was fun. This, however, is not enjoyable in the slightest. Fuck this movie and never, ever watch it.

Daredevil
Daredevil(2003)
½

Daredevil is a 2003 martial arts superhero crime thriller action film written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson, based on Marvel Comics characters created by Bill Everett, Frank Miller, and executive producer Stan Lee, and starring Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Michael Clarke Duncan, Colin Farrell, Jon Favreau, Joe Pantoliano, David Keith, Ellen Pompeo, Leland Orser, Scott Terra, Coolio, Erick Avari, Kevin Smith, Lennie Loftin, Derrick O'Connor, Paul Ben-Victor, and Jude Ciccolella.

I know I'm gonna get flak for this, but I'm gonna say it anyway: I love Daredevil. In my opinion, it's better than Blade, X-Men, and Spider-Man. I liked those movies, but I absolutely loved Daredevil. I'm still baffled to this day as to why Daredevil is hated by many. People claim it features bad acting, a bad story, bad characters, and bad action. I don't get it. How in the holy hell is this one of the worst comic book films ever made? I've been a fan of Daredevil ever since I first saw it when was a kid and I still love it today.

Before I get into Daredevil as a superhero, I just wanna talk about Ben Affleck. Ben Affleck is one of my all-time favorite actors, and I thought he was fantastic as Matt Murdock and as Daredevil. Affleck not only looked the part, but played a character as complex as Murdock with a lot of skill and effort. However, every bad review this movie received criticized Affleck's performance, believing him to be unfit to play a superhero.

Jesus Christ, where the fuck do I even begin? Guys, Affleck wasn't that bad. This is like Michael Keaton being cast as Batman. Fanboys were outraged and petitioned to have Bruce Wayne/Batman recasted. But that never happened. Keaton played Batman and he fucking owned, for the same reason Affleck owned as Daredevil: they're the ones you'd least expect to pull off such memorable and great characters.

Also, because of Daredevil and a lot of other Ben Affleck films like Paycheck, Surviving Christmas, Pearl Harbor, Phantoms, and Gigli, people viewed Affleck as a bad actor. So you're telling me that the pasty-faced, no-talent mannequin from Pleasantville as Spider-Man is A-OK, but an Oscar-winning writer, director, and actor as Daredevil is a big no-no? What? Just because Affleck made some low-quality films doesn't mean he's a bad actor.

Let's focus on the several films he made that I thought were good: Hollywoodland, The Town, Argo, State of Play, Smokin' Aces, The Company Men, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Good Will Hunting, Paycheck, Armageddon, and let's not forget that he was the bomb in Phantoms, yo! I mean, yeah, Forces of Nature and Surviving Christmas weren't good, but Affleck was good in them. He sucked in Pearl Harbor and Gigli, but he was good in the rest of the films he starred in.

Let's just say for argument's sake that Ben Affleck did indeed suck as Daredevil. Where the fuck were all of you people when Tobey Maguire was playing Spider-Man and Kirsten Dunst was playing Mary Jane Watson? I'm pretty sure Affleck and Jennifer Garner gave better performances and had more convincing romantic chemistry in Daredevil than Maguire and Dunst did and had in Spider-Man. Maguire and Dunst's performances were blander than bread and their dialogue together was just nauseating.

Now, Maguire and Dunst were a lot better in Spider-Man 2 thanks to a much stronger and better-written script, but seriously, what the fuck. In what sick, twisted, bull-cockamamie world is Dopey Maguire a better actor than Ben Affleck? I'm aware that Peter Parker is supposed to be a nerd, and like Murdock, should be played by an actor you'd least expect? But if you do this, you have to make sure that the person you get for the role can actually act.

I like the Spider-Man movie. I really do. But just because I like it doesn't mean I'm required to like everything about it nor does it mean that everything about the film is objectively good. I would've let all my thoughts on Tobey Maguire go if the critics who called him good gave Affleck the respect and recognition he deserved. He was a hell of a lot better than Tobey Maguire.

Okay, now onto Daredevil. Matt Murdock is the son of washed-up boxer Jack "The Devil" Murdock (David Keith). One day, he witnesses his father doing something bad and runs off, not paying attention to where he's going. Matt runs in front of a lift. When the driver tries to swerve, the lift cuts open a barrel of toxic chemicals that soak into Matt's eyes, blinding him.

Matt and Jack make a promise to never give up, and Jack begins boxing again. One night, Jack's former boss, Fallon, wants him to throw another fight, but Jack refuses. This leads to Jack getting killed by Fallon's right-hand man, Wilson Fisk (Michael Clarke Duncan), who would later become Daredevil's arch-nemesis, the Kingpin.

On that night, a scared Matt makes a promise to seek justice and to protect the citizens of Hell's Kitchen. When Matt lost his sight, he gained powerful gifts in return. The radioactive waste that soaked into his eyes enhanced his other four senses. Matt's given strength, balance, a keen sense of smell, and the ability to hear a whisper from only a block away. Much like a bat, Matt's sense of sound gave off a radar sense, making it possible for him to see.

Years later, Matt uses these powers to become Daredevil. Blind lawyer by day, justice-seeking vigilante by night. He meets and falls in love with one of his most prominent love interests from the comics, Elektra (Jennifer Garner), whose father Nicholas Natchios (Erick Avari) is killed by Bullseye (Colin Farrell). The problem is that Bullseye used one of Daredevil's weapons for the murder, so Elektra is convinced that Daredevil killed her father and she seeks vengeance.

Now, Daredevil has to clear his name and bring both Bullseye and the Kingpin to justice. The origin story from the comics is slightly different than the one in the movie. In fact, this origin was exactly the same as the one from Spider-Man: The Animated Series. The death of Jack Murdock is taken directly from the comics. He refuses to throw a fight because Matt's in the audience and he gets killed for it. It's simple, but very effective.

Ben Affleck plays Daredevil with the same attitude the character had in the comics. Daredevil has the same powers and vulnerabilities that he had in the comics. The same substance from the comics, radioactive waste, gives Daredevil his powers in the film. The only thing I wish they could've included in the film was Daredevil's mentor, Stick. In Frank Miller's run on Daredevil (sorry, Stan Lee, but Frank's version was a lot better than yours), Matt Murdock was taken in after the death of his father by a fellow blind man named Stick, who trains him to focus his remaining four senses so that he'll never become a victim.

Stick is an extremely important part of the origins of Daredevil. However, his absence in the film is not an excuse to bash the film entirely. The original cut of all the footage from Matt's childhood, him getting his powers, his father dying, and so forth, was about thirty minutes long, and the original cut of the film in general was two hours and twenty-five minutes long. Putting Stick into the film, if they were to do him right, would've increased the runtime by a half-hour at minimum. I highly doubt people would pay to see a three-hour-long Daredevil film. Daredevil paces itself wisely, knowing not to rush things for the sake of a fangasm.

If Stick was in the film, it would've turned into a bit of a giant clusterfuck and the film would've worn out its welcome. But because fanboys were so butthurt over the film and Stick's absence, we got the rather crappy Elektra spin-off in 2005 with Stick (Terrence Stamp) railroaded into the plot for absolutely no reason whatsoever. You bastards just couldn't be patient, could you?

Okay, back to Daredevil. Not only does Ben Affleck act exactly like the character, he even looks like the character. As far as I'm concerned, Ben Affleck is Matt Murdock. He is Daredevil. In Batman Begins, Batman doesn't kill Ra's al Ghul, but he doesn't save him either. In Spider-Man, Peter Parker doesn't kill the guy who killed his Uncle Ben (that is, until Spider-Man 3 fucked this up), but he doesn't save him either. Daredevil does exactly this. Daredevil didn't kill Jose Quesada in the subway train sequence. He just didn't save him.

Quesada held a gun, pointing it at Daredevil's left temple. Daredevil made a move on Quesada, who lands on the C Train track with his back broken in the process. You can speculate that Daredevil would've killed him anyway had he not been distracted by the C Train. But it still doesn't matter because regardless of whether the intent was there or not, he didn't technically kill anyone, and even if he had, Daredevil, much like Judge Dredd, is judge, jury, and executioner.

Not to mention, Daredevil struggles with this throughout the film, questioning not only his morals, but his faith and religion as well. There's a scene in the film where he beats a thug to a pulp, and true to his comic book form, tells the thug to stay out of Hell's Kitchen. When he's done with the thug, Daredevil finds a scared little kid crying, telling him not to hurt him.

Daredevil says to the kid, "I'm not the bad guy." But to the kid, Daredevil is just that. This was a very well-done scene, establishing another emotional conflict for our hero, and unlike Peter Parker at the end of Spider-Man, by this film's end, Daredevil actually learns something about himself as a hero.

Now onto Jennifer Garner as Elektra. Her origin is actually very different from the one in the comics. In Frank Miller's take on Daredevil, Elektra was Matt Murdock's college roommate as well as a serious troublemaker. Years later, she's an assassin. She's hired by the Kingpin to kill Matt's business partner Foggy Nelson. However, when Foggy recognizes her, she decides not to go through with it. Both Elektra and Bullseye are hired to kill Daredevil, but Bullseye kills her. She's then resurrected by The Hand and sets off to kill Daredevil, only to find out that he's Matt Murdock, the love of her life.

In the film, Matt Murdock and Elektra meet at a coffee shop and end up having a martial arts fight at a playground, and all of this after Elektra is an assassin and Matt is both a lawyer and Daredevil. They don't meet up the same way as they did in the comics, nor do they meet in the same timeframe, but Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner have really good chemistry, and the way they play off each other as these characters is spot-on to how they acted in the comics.

I don't get why people have a problem with the subplot revolving around Elektra's father Nicholas. In the comics, Elektra has no reason to go after Daredevil other than the fact that she was hired to do it. By having her believe that Daredevil took out her father, you're giving her a legitimate reason to kill him. Using revenge as a motivation was actually a really good idea. This also gave Bullseye a good reason for killing Elektra, being that in this film, the Kingpin won't just have you killed, but your whole family killed as well.

Jennifer Garner plays Elektra perfectly, displaying the same cunning, no-nonsense attitude she had in the comics. Now onto the side characters who help out our heroes. Foggy Nelson is the comic relief just like he is in the comics, and Iron Man director Jon Favreau does a great job portraying him. He was a perfect casting choice. Ben Urich is the investigative reporter trying to find out the true identities of Daredevil and the Kingpin. Joe Pantoliano does a great job playing this role. He and Foggy have bigger parts in the director's cut of Daredevil, but we'll cross that bridge later on.

However, a side character fans found unforgivable in this film was Ellen Pompeo as Karen Page, who only has one scene in the theatrical cut and two scenes in the director's cut. Karen Page was a huge love interest for Daredevil in the comics and fans were pissed that she was put to the side to focus more on Elektra. This movie took one love interest and went with it. That is not a problem. Plus, if you're adapting Frank Miller's version of Daredevil, you need to have Elektra.

Finally, we have Matt's father Jack, played very well by David Keith. I do consider Jack to be a hero in himself. He is Matt's hero. The last thing Matt saw before going blind was his father being a thug. His father was the reason why Matt ran off and became blind. Jack immediately gave up working for Fallon and concentrated on helping his son and being the hero Matt always knew he was. He taught Matt how to stick up for the longshots like them. Matt wouldn't be Daredevil without his father nor would he have his name.

The villains in Daredevil were the high points of the film. Colin Farrell plays Bullseye. Whereas Elektra is one of Marvel's sexiest assassins, Bullseye is probably Marvel's deadliest assassin. In the comics, Bullseye is hired just to kill Daredevil. In the film, he's hired to kill Elektra and Nicholas Natchios, and even volunteers to kill Daredevil for free because Daredevil is the only to make him miss a shot. Just like Elektra, Bullseye has a legitimate reason for wanting to kill him.

Bullseye has probably one of the coolest openings for any comic book villain. He kills a guy with a paper clip. Not a gun, not a knife, not even a basketball. Just a paper clip. Right from this opening scene, I immediately saw Bullseye as a threat, and he maintains that threat until he's defeated in the end. What intrigues me about Bullseye is that you're never safe from him and you never know what he'll use to kill you.

I mean, come on, this guy literally kills Frank Miller with a pencil. Sorry, Dark Knight, but Daredevil did this first. Hell, Bullseye even kills someone with peanuts. How could you not love that? Bullseye is a master marksman and assassin who never misses a target until he meets Daredevil. He is the Achilles' heel of any superhero. Now, people complained that Bullseye didn't sport the same attire he had in the comics.

The idea to have Bullseye wear a trenchcoat and have a bull's-eye indented into his forehead actually came from Frank Miller, who felt that Bullseye's costume would've looked cartoony on the silver screen. Given that in the comics, Bullseye looked like The Phantom with a bull's-eye on the forehead section and the color being gray instead of purple, I'm inclined to agree.

Now onto the Kingpin. In the comics, he's a large, bulky white guy, whereas in the film, he's a large, bulky black guy. How is making the Kingpin black a problem? Michael Clarke Duncan was absolutely spectacular as Kingpin. This is a villain who can have anyone killed at the word, "Go!" and for only one reason: business. It's all it ever is, is business. Like Bullseye, throughout the film, I immediately saw the Kingpin as a threat.

Bullseye is a ruthless killer who'll attack you anytime, anywhere. For fuck's sake, church won't even save you from this guy. Kingpin just has a presence that demands you to step back if you were being strangled to death. Another thing I loved about this film is that it goes out with four bad-ass fight scenes as well as an awesome montage scene with Elektra slashing the shit out of sandbags. I also dug the soundtrack, which includes the only bearable song from Nickelback.

After Elektra's montage, she confronts Daredevil on a rooftop. She stabs him through the shoulder and takes off his mask to discover that Daredevil is, in fact, Matt Murdock. He reveals to her that he didn't kill her father and was only trying to protect her from Bullseye. The fight scene between Bullseye and Elektra is choreographed the same way as it was in the comics. After Elektra is killed by Bullseye, we get an epic fight between Daredevil and Bullseye in a church, with Daredevil fighting for his life and Bullseye fighting for his pride.

This results in Bullseye's hands being taken away from him by a sharpshooter and Daredevil throwing him out the church window. Finally, we get the final showdown between Daredevil and Kingpin. The Kingpin's pretty much had enough. Instead of guarding himself, the Kingpin decides to face Daredevil head-on. Like Bullseye, Kingpin is fighting for his pride, but not merely for his pride, but out of respect.

Although Daredevil is his enemy, the Kingpin respects him and wants to test his strength. This, for all intents and purposes, has become the equivalent of a street fight. Daredevil shows up and wastes no time attacking the Kingpin. They fight until Kingpin is able to get the best of Daredevil, throwing him into a wall and unmasking him. I loved Kingpin's reaction to Daredevil's true identity. It was perfect.

Just when it looks like all hope is lost for our hero, Kingpin's talking allows Matt to see the valves of water around the walls of the room. A scene took place earlier in the film with Matt and Elektra on the rooftop. Matt tells her that the rain gives off vibrations allowing him to see her face, and when it rains, he does. This was a beautifully-done scene and remains one of my favorite parts of the film.

When Matt sees the valves of water around the walls, he remembers Elektra on the rooftop and throws his rod at the valves, causing water to burst all over the room. Elektra was the one who injured him before this fight, but despite it all, in the end, his love for her saved his life and gave him the means to take down the Kingpin by breaking out his kneecaps.

Daredevil has fought countless thugs and assassins, and when he has chance to take out the man who killed his father, he has an epiphany. He's not the bad guy. He has learned after all this time that killing the real villains isn't true justice. He learns that justice is indeed blind, and with the Kingpin behind bars, justice is truly served. You can argue that Peter Parker did learn in Spider-Man that with great power comes great responsibility. This is indeed a great moral, but Peter doesn't learn this by himself nor does he learn it as a hero.

He's given this moral on a silver platter by his uncle Ben before Ben gets killed. Handing the audience the moral of the film at the beginning of the film doesn't enrich the experience. It merely cheapens it. Another problem I have with the moral is that it's shoved down our throats repeatedly throughout the Spider-Man trilogy. The audience should be made to learn the moral, not have it handed to them. This is something Daredevil got right that Spider-Man got wrong. In the end, the Kingpin's in prison, Bullseye's in a body cast, Ben Urich decides not to publish his Daredevil article, and the final shot shows us Daredevil prowling the rooftops. Great ending to a great movie.

I absolutely loved how the action sequences were filmed. While admittedly, there are bits of dodgy, rubberish CGI here and there, most of the action is done with stunt and wire work. I felt like I was watching real people actually fight. The film was shot beautifully by writer and director Mark Steven Johnson and cinematographer Ericson Core, especially the action scenes. Johnson directs the film with a lot of energy and with a real passion for the character of Daredevil. His screenplay remains faithful to the source material despite some changes. I also really loved the musical score by Graeme Revell, who's one of the most underrated composers working today.

Now onto the director's cut, which is rated R compared to the theatrical cut's PG-13 rating. The director's cut contains about thirty minutes of deleted, alternate, and extended footage inserted directly into the film. As much as I do enjoy the theatrical cut, the director's cut is perfect, blowing the theatrical cut way out of the water. The director's cut even has an additional subplot that has things in the film make a lot more sense.

For example, Matt tells Wilson Fisk that the word is out on the Kingpin at the end. In the theatrical cut, we're left to wonder how. The subplot of the director's cut goes like this: Matt is defending a drug dealer, played by Coolio, who is framed for the murder of Ben Urich's assistant. She got too close to exposing the Kingpin and was, in fact, killed by Wilson Fisk's assistant Wesley Owen Welch (Leland Orser). Urich and the police get Wesley to squeal on Fisk for a plea bargain. Now the concept of the word being out on the Kingpin makes more sense.

The director's cut also excludes the sex scene between Matt and Elektra, which was included in the theatrical cut by producer Gary Foster and the executives at 20th Century Fox because... reasons. The sex scene wasn't really needed. It was hastily cut into the film at the last minute. This wasn't in Mark Steven Johnson's screenplay.

If the director's cut was shown in theaters instead of the theatrical cut, the film's critical and fan reception would've been much more positive. Most of their issues with the theatrical cut are explained and done better in the director's cut. Ben Urich has a larger role, trying to figure out who killed his informant, Foggy Nelson has a larger role helping Ben and Matt with their investigation, and even Karen Page, who only has two scenes in this cut, figures out that Wesley Owen Welch was the one who killed Ben's assistant. There's also a scene with Matt terrorizing a corrupt cop by blindly driving and crashing his car over and over again.

I'd give the theatrical cut a solid 8 while I'd give the director's cut a perfect 10.

FINAL SCORE: 9/10

Daredevil is a criminally underrated and underappreciated gem that deserves a lot more respect and recognition. Are there problems? Yeah, kinda. Mark Steven Johnson's dialogue is average at best and the story is really nothing new. But despite all that, I will defend this movie to my dying breath. The performances are great, the direction is energetic, the action sequences are very entertaining to sit through, it's incredibly well-shot, it's well-paced, and for the most part, it's very faithful to the source material. Overall, I love Daredevil and I couldn't care less if people disagree with my opinion.

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (AVP 2)
½

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem is a 2007 science fiction horror thriller action slasher film directed by Colin and Greg Strause, written by Shane Salerno, produced by John Davis, David Giler, and Walter Hill, and starring Reiko Aylesworth, Steven Pasquale, Ian Whyte, Tom Woodruff Jr., John Ortiz, Johnny Lewis, Sam Trammell, Liam James, Ariel Gade, Kurt Max Runte, Kristen Hager, David Paetkau, Robert Joy, and Francoise Yip. The film is, of course, the sequel to the 2004 film Alien vs. Predator, as well as an interquel to the Alien and Predator films.

In Gunnison County, Colorado, a spacecraft crashes in the woods bringing a powerful hybrid Alien hosted inside the pilot Predator. Two of the locals are hunting in the forest and witness the crash, but they are chased and killed by Facehuggers and Chestbursters. Meanwhile, another Predator lands on the spot seeking out the Alien and destroys evidence of their presence on Earth. The townspeople find themselves in the middle of a battlefield between the two deadly extraterrestrial creatures, and they must band together for any chances of survival.

Ah, the Alien and Predator franchises. They both started off so strong. The first two Alien films are two of my all-time favorite films. They're two movies that build suspense, have great characters, and are incredibly well-directed. The first two Predator films are more action-oriented, and while the characterizations are simple, they're strong nonetheless and they were both great as well.

Ever since the failures of Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection, the Alien franchise was going downfall painfully fast, so 20th Century Fox thought that the best idea to save the franchise and to give us a third Predator film would be to make a crossover between the two franchises, Alien vs. Predator. Unfortunately, Fox went the stupid route by hiring Paul W.S. Anderson to write and direct. Alien vs. Predator was just garbage. Need I say more? The sequel, Requiem, is an improvement upon the first film, but that's not saying shit, really.

AVP: Requiem is much better paced than its predecessor. While the first film wasn't really boring per se, it has some serious pacing issues. Thankfully, Requiem is only an hour and a half long, so things go by at a steady pace. Also, the unapologetically over-the-top graphic violence, blood, and gore will satisfy the gorehounds. The first film wasn't able to show a lot of gory visuals and images thanks to its PG-13 rating.

Requiem is definitely a hard-R film. Hell, we see a Chestburster emerge out of a little kid, and a bunch of aliens burst out of a pregnant woman's stomach. Also, the Alien and Predator suits and designs are a lot better than they were in the first AVP film. Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr. once again provide the creature effects and they do a fantastic job. I especially dug the Alien/Predator hybrid, the Predalien.

So those are the only things that made this film better than the first film. Everything else? Just as bad. This film throws in as many Alien and Predator references as it possibly can, but with rather poor results. For example, two of the main characters are a mother and daughter, the mother being tough and sexy, and able to use heavy military and weapons equipment. Get it? Because they're like Ripley and Newt, except they're not actually Ripley and Newt?

Another one of the main characters is actually named Dallas. Get it? It's paying homage to Tom Skerritt's character Dallas from the first Alien film? This Dallas actually has a line where he says to someone, "Get to the chopper!" as an homage to that scene from the first Predator film? To screenwriter Shane Salerno: How fucking lazy can you get? Also, how come the Xenomorphs coming to the town and fighting the Predators is never referenced in the Alien films? Having trouble with continuity, Mr. Salerno?

Salerno's writing is incredibly poor. The basic storyline is plagued with flaws, the characters are one-dimensional cardboard cutouts with little to no development whatsoever, and the dialogue is nothing short of generic and clichéd. Seriously, I felt like I was watching a cheesy slasher film from the 80's, like one of the Friday the 13th films, and not a grand-scale crossover between two of the best sci-fi/action/horror franchises of all time.

Also, of all the environments you could've picked for the Aliens and Predators to fight in, you picked suburbia? Fucking suburbia? Why not the Predator homeworld, or the homeworld of the Xenomorphs? Hell, the Amazon rainforest would be a decent environment. Why the generic, suburban, small town we've seen in countless other horror, action, and sci-fi movies?

Speaking of the Aliens and Predators fighting, the action and horror set pieces are jumpily edited by Dan Zimmerman and most of them are shot in the dark, so you can't see what's going on. I blame this on the film's cinematographer, the usually great Daniel C. Pearl. I give the guy credit for opting to avoid using bludgeoning shaky-cam, but still, he could've improved upon the lighting immensely.

The acting is bland and rather forgettable, just like the actors in the first film. The only two who are trying to act are Steven Pasquale as Dallas and Reiko Aylesworth as our Ripley clone, Kelly. Aylesworth is incredibly gorgeous and does manage to provide some decent eye candy here and there. The other actors are pretty bad, especially Johnny Lewis as the local pizza delivery boy Ricky.

Brian Tyler composes the musical score for the film, taking over for Harald Kloser from the first film. Tyler's score is pretty damn good. I really liked how often Tyler paid tribute to Alan Silvestri's work on Predator and the scores for Alien and Aliens by Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner, respectively, while contributing his own pieces of music. Have I heard better from Tyler? Well, yeah, but his AVP-R score was still really good for the most part.

FINAL SCORE: 3/10

Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, while an entertaining sci-fi B-horror flick, is still a lame sequel. Is it better than the first film? Yes. It's certainly very gory, the creature effects and musical score are great, and it's well-paced, but the acting and characters are boring and forgettable, the plot and story are plagued with flaws, the lighting is aggravatingly dim, and the writing is pretty terrible. It could've been worse, but it's still not good.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation
½

G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a 2013 military science fiction action techno-thriller film directed by Jon M. Chu, executive produced by Stephen Sommers, written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, based on Hasbro's G.I. Joe characters, and starring Dwayne Johnson, D.J. Cotrona, Adrianne Palicki, Byung-Hun Lee, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce, Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum, Elodie Yung, RZA, Luke Bracey, Robert Baker, Arnold Vosloo, Matt Gerald, Walton Goggins, Joseph Mazzello, and DeRay Davis. The film is, supposedly, a sequel to the 2009 film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra as well as a reboot of the franchise.

The G.I. Joe team is framed for crimes against the country by Zartan (Arnold Vosloo), disguised as the President (Jonathan Pryce), and Cobra Commander (Luke Bracey and Robert Baker) has all the world leaders under his influence, with their advanced warheads headed towards innocent populaces around the world. Outnumbered and outgunned, the surviving team members form a plan with their original leader, General Joe Colton (Bruce Willis), to rescue the President and face off Cobra Commander, his accomplices, and the world leaders.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation received marginally worse reviews than the first film, earning a 28% on Rotten Tomatoes compared to Rise of Cobra's 35%. However, the nations of fanboys and YouTubers all claimed this to be superior to the first film, arguing that it felt more like the source material. I saw this in theaters on March 30, 2013. I haven't seen Rise of Cobra in a while, and I enjoyed Retaliation as a dumb fun action film. Over the summer, I bought the Extended Action Cut Blu-ray at Best Buy. It cost about $35. I still enjoyed it. Then, I decided to rewatch the cartoon, read the comics again, and rewatch Rise of Cobra. Then, I watched Retaliation another time, and I said afterwards, "Wait a minute, I actually enjoyed this?"

Now for this review, I'm gonna judge Retaliation as a movie on its own first before I judge it as an adaptation of G.I. Joe. Yes, it's a dumb fun, entertaining action film. Jon M. Chu's direction is surprisingly competent, which is shocking considering he also made two of the Step Up sequels and two Justin "the Antichrist" Bieber documentaries. Chu directs his action scenes with energy and stylish visual flair, and he does a pretty decent job.

The performances are also pretty solid. Dwayne Johnson plays Roadblock and you can tell he is having a blast. Johnson has a lot of charisma as an actor and he was very entertaining in this movie. D.J. Cotrona and Adrianne Palicki give it their all as Flint and Lady Jaye, respectively, and for the most part, they're decent. Unfortunately, Cotrona and Palicki have little to no chemistry with one another, which is a shame because the two characters had a relationship in the comics and in the cartoon, yet in here, we never see that relationship evolve.

Ray Stevenson was also a blast to sit through as Firefly. Stevenson also manages to have a couple bad-ass fight scenes with himself and Dwayne Johnson. Unfortunately, Firefly is criminally underused, and that was a major letdown. As Zartan and the President, Jonathan Pryce does a great job. He even manages to be legitimately intimidating at times. The rest of the cast did fine. However, Channing Tatum as Duke, like Ray Stevenson, was insultingly underused.

The action sequences are incredibly well-shot and were very fun, especially that action scene on the snowy, icy mountains with Snake Eyes and Jinx facing off against the red ninjas. That scene was taken straight from the comics. I loved that scene. The special effects are a big improvement upon the VFX in Rise of Cobra. The VFX in Retaliation were done by Industrial Light & Magic and they did an excellent job on the visuals, especially the London destruction scene and the mountain action scene.

Henry Jackman's musical score is pretty damn good. I specifically like the pieces entitled Making Things Go Boom, Friendly Fire, and Exile. Those were excellent pieces of music. Jackman's score, to be perfectly honest, is better than Alan Silvestri's music for Rise of Cobra. I also need to praise Stephen F. Windon for his lush cinematography. This is a beautifully-shot movie and all the action set pieces are coherently filmed.

Now, onto the two glues that hold everything together: the story and the characters. Unfortunately, this is where the film fails the most. I know this is just a dumb, entertaining, mindless action film, but holy shit is the story dumb, even for action movie standards. Here's Zartan's plan: He terminates the Joes in order to hold a meeting with the world's leaders so that they can get rid of all their nuclear weapons by launching them and exploding them in the sky, so that he can use the Zeus cannon to fire at their countries and destroy them.

This makes absolutely no sense. What makes it worse is that Zartan doesn't carry over Destro's diabolical plan from Rise of Cobra. Exactly how does he get the world leaders to launch their nuclear missiles into space? Well, through his "cleverness," Zartan holds a meeting with them to convince them to get rid of their nuclear weapons and when they refuse, he launches all the U.S. nukes towards their countries, so they pull out several briefcases, each containing their own nukes that they can launch towards America. What the fuck is this?

Now, onto judging this movie as an adaptation. Retaliation fucking sucks as an adaptation of the source. The characters in this film are poorly written. There's little to no character development. All we know about Roadblock was that he was once a street fighter and all we know about Lady Jaye was that she has daddy issues. Jaye's daddy issues is turned into a pointless story arc that concludes when Bruce Willis' character says to her, "I served with your father. He would've been very proud of you," and then Lady Jaye is no longer sad. What was the point of this?

Speaking of Bruce Willis, he barely does a damn thing in the movie, except in the end where he kills off a few random bad guys. Flint is just a forgettable, bland, cardboard cutout. Plus, Bruce Willis' jokes and one-liners fucking suck. So he has a running gag where he calls Lady Jaye "Brenda" and then she says to him, "My name's not Brenda." I have a question: where the fuck is the joke? How in the holy hell is this funny?

While I do appreciate that Jon M. Chu and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick tried to make the tone more similar to the more edgy, gritty tone of the comics, it's still radically different from the tone of the first film, and apparently, that's what they were going for. Okay, filmmakers: why the fuck would you make a sequel different from the first film? Why didn't you just make a reboot instead? As a sequel, this movie sucks harder. There are continuity errors everywhere.

For example, hardly any characters from Rise of Cobra return for Retaliation. Where the hell are Scarlett, Ripcord, Heavy Duty, Breaker, or Heavy Duty? Where the fuck is Ana...you know, the Baroness? Instead, they give us wooden cardboard cutouts the filmmakers just expect you to know about. I don't buy Duke's relationship with Roadblock. It comes across as forced since we never saw Roadblock in the first movie. They never explain why most of the characters from Rise of Cobra don't return here and that pisses me off.

Also, the President has a line that goes like, "The G.I. Joes were terminated with extreme prejudice" while being taped for a news report. This also makes no sense whatsoever. In the first film, the G.I. Joe unit is covert and secretive. Technically, G.I. Joe doesn't exist. So in this film, how the fuck are people supposed to know who the G.I. Joes are? To quote what Spoony from That Guy with the Glasses said in his review of Highlander II: The Quickening, "See, this is what happens when you write a sequel without having seen the first one."

Also, they got rid of the Pit. Are you fucking kidding me? Instead, the G.I. Joes' base is in the middle of the desert. Yeah, because to hell with hiding out in a well-protected base that allows you access to several weapons and machines that can help me and my team out. Fuck that shit. We're just gonna stand around in the middle of the desert like a bunch of sitting ducks where we can easily be spotted by Cobra. Kill me.

Also, they kill off Duke. What the fuck, movie. Say what you will about Channing Tatum's acting, but killing him off was a truly terrible idea. They also turned Lady Jaye into eye candy. Yes, Adrianne Palicki's extremely beautiful and is great to look at, but Lady Jaye's supposed to be the tomboy of the Joes. If this isn't a disservice to such a wonderful character, I don't fucking know what is.

Cobra Commander looks exactly like he does in the cartoon, which is cool, but all he does is stand around and act boring while everyone else at Cobra does all the work. So what the hell's the point of including him in the movie? Also, Destro, one of the best and most primary villains in the G.I. Joe universe, gets killed as well. There's a line by Cobra Commander that goes, "Destro, you're out of the band." If he didn't need Destro at all, then why the fuck did he save him at the end of The Rise of Cobra?

There's also a big twist where it was revealed that the Hard Master, who trained Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, wasn't killed by Storm Shadow. Their master was, in fact, killed by Zartan, who took Storm Shadow in as his pupil and trained him to become a ruthless master assassin and to become a member of Cobra. Okay, let's ignore the fact that they don't explain how the fuck Storm Shadow is still alive in this movie even though we clearly saw him get killed by Snake Eyes in Rise of Cobra. This is a retarded plot twist.

In Rise of Cobra, we clearly saw that Storm Shadow was the one who killed his master. Fuck, this is what caused his rivalry with Snake Eyes to begin with. Storm Shadow hated working with Zartan and had morals that were completely different from his. This twist is bullshit. I'm not buying it. It's also because of this that Storm Shadow is now working alongside the Joes. Now, this isn't anything new. Storm Shadow would team up with G.I. Joe when he felt it was absolutely necessary. If you wanna do that, fine, go ahead, but for God's sakes, do it in a way that actually makes sense.

FINAL SCORE: 5/10

As a standalone, dumb, mindless, entertaining sci-fi/action film, I'd probably give it an 8/10 at best. However, as a sequel to Rise of Cobra and as an adaptation of the source, it's easily a 2/10. It makes perfect sense to give it a 5. Eight minus two equals six. Six divided by two equals three. Two plus three equals five, while eight minus three also equals five. Five is also half of ten. G.I. Joe: Retaliation is well-acted and features incredible visual effects and unfailingly enjoyable action scenes. Unfortunately, they're unable to make up for amazingly stupid storytelling and bland characters.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a 2009 military science fiction action film co-written, executive produced, and directed by Stephen Sommers, co-written by Michael B. Gordon, Stuart Beattie, David Elliot, Paul Lovett, Skip Woods, John Lee Hancock, David Levien, and Brian Koppelman (the latter four uncredited because...reasons) and starring Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Rachel Nichols, Sienna Miller, Dennis Quaid, Ray Park, Byung-Hun Lee, Christopher Eccleston, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Adewale Akkinuoye-Agbaje, Said Taghmaoui, Jonathan Pryce, Arnold Vosloo, Kevin J. O'Connor, Brendan Fraser, Karolina Kurkova, David Murray, Gerald Okamura, and Gregory Fitoussi. The film is, of course, based on Hasbro's G.I. Joe characters.

Captain Conrad S. "Duke" Hauser (Channing Tatum) and Wallace "Ripcord" Weems (Marlon Wayans), two soldiers stationed in Kyrgyzstan, are ordered to transport special warheads created by James "Destro" McCullen (Christopher Eccleston) of MARS Industries. When they are attacked by thieves led by Duke's ex-girlfriend Ana Lewis/Anastasia DeCobray a.k.a. the Baroness (Sienna Miller), they're saved by a top-secret, international Special Forces unit known as G.I. Joe, led by General Clayton "Hawk" Abernathy (Dennis Quaid), who's on the trail of the thieves: an evil organization known as Cobra.

While Duke and Ripcord train to join the Joes, McCullen is secretly working for Cobra and plotting to recapture his metal-eating Nanomite warheads. Duke and Ripcord must prove that they're Real American Heroes, with the help of Shana M. "Scarlett" O'Hara (Rachel Nichols), Snake Eyes (Ray Park), Hershel "Heavy Duty" Dalton (Adewale Akkinuoye-Agbaje), Abel "Breaker" Shaz (Said Taghmaoui), and the rest of the Joes, by stopping the launch of the warheads before Cobra uses them to take over the world.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. One of many adaptations fanboys tore to shreds when it first came out. YouTubers everywhere condemned this movie for butchering their childhoods. Film critics weren't very pleased, giving the film a mostly negative critical reception. And yet, I enjoy this movie to this very day. It's cheesy, over-the-top, and chooses to stay in the realm of the fantastic and unrealistic, but goddammit, it's a hell of a lot of fun. I'm a big fan of the source material and Rise of Cobra was a good film. I know many of you are gonna ask me, "Are you fucking kidding me? This movie was shit!" Well, I'm gonna explain why I enjoy this film.

First, I'm gonna judge this film as an adaptation of the source material, mainly the comics and the cartoon. I liked how the G.I. Joes' base, the Pit, was used. While the location was ever-changing, the Pit was always a well-protected base that was hard to infiltrate and gives you access to several weapons and machines that can help you and your team out. Even when Cobra infiltrates the Pit, they still have difficulty escaping due to the protection provided by each and every Joe. The Pit is a hidden, underground base because technically, G.I. Joe doesn't exist. Their unit is covert and secretive.

Now, contrary to what you may believe, The Rise of Cobra has this thing Retaliation lacked called character development. All major characters in this film are given a good amount of development. Duke is an army soldier with a troubled past who wants to redeem himself when his past comes back to haunt him. Despite his personal demons and his weaknesses, he will always see each mission through to the best of his abilities regardless. Ripcord is Duke's best friend who always looks out for him and has his back. He develops a relationship with Scarlett and wants to be an Air Force jet pilot, qualifying when he's on leave. By the end of the movie, he gets his wish.

Scarlett is an intelligent fighter who hates losing, and when she does lose to a fight with the Baroness, she feels as if she doesn't deserve sympathy. This, in fact, leads to a very well-acted, well-written scene with her and Ripcord. When she loses her fight with the Baroness, she feels like a failure because she was brought up from birth to be a fighter and to win, and it takes that fight for her to realize that she can't win all the time no matter how hard she tries. This helps make her identifiable as a character.

Snake Eyes is a dignified assassin who took a vow of silence and swore to avenge the death of his master at the hands of Storm Shadow. Stephen Sommers and the screenwriters actually made Snake Eyes a very complex character, which isn't an easy task considering Snake Eyes is a mute. Other characters like Heavy Duty, Breaker, and General Hawk don't have a lot of development, but they do serve a purpose to the story.

General Hawk serves a purpose by recruiting Duke and Ripcord, looking out for his team, and providing them with any cover and backup they may need, as well as saying the infamous G.I. Joe catchphrase: "Knowing is half the battle." Breaker is the team's technological genius who figures out who the true villain is, gets information that the Joes couldn't otherwise retrieve, and manages to find out exactly where Cobra's base is at the end of the movie. Heavy Duty is the team's ordnance specialist who helps train Duke and Ripcord with Sgt. Stone (Brendan Fraser), issues the weapons, provides cover for the Joes, and leads the assault on the Cobra base at the end, as well as once yelling out the infamous G.I. Joe battle cry: "Yo, Joe!"

Storm Shadow is given a lot of depth and backstory. He regrets killing his master, is incredibly envious of Snake Eyes, and wants to prove that he is the superior. In one scene, he has a flashback and feels genuine remorse for killing his master. During his epic fight with Snake Eyes at the end of the movie, he even mocks the fact that he killed his master just to get a negative reaction out of Snake Eyes. He's a ruthless master assassin and even though his relationship with Snake Eyes changed, it still made for good drama along the way.

James McCullen, who we come to know as Destro by the end of the movie, has the plan to hijack his own weapons from NATO and launch them at key points throughout the world, so that when the world is in peril, they'll turn to the one with the most power. The one with the most power is first thought to be McCullen, but at the end, it turns out it was the U.S. President, whom he and Cobra Commander replaced with Zartan, a master of disguise. This is a very well-thought out, incredibly diabolical plan. Even if Destro lost, he'd still have the failsafe of Zartan being the President. I even loved what they did with Cobra Commander by fully fleshing him out and giving him a purpose and an identity.

I didn't particularly care for how they portrayed the Baroness. They got her character right for the most part, but one nitpick I have is her lacking a European accent, which made her much more sexy in the cartoon. Making her Duke's former girlfriend, although giving the story some more depth and conflict, just came off as a tired cliché. These flaws aside, the Baroness wasn't a bad villain, and Sienna Miller did a pretty good job with her performance (not to mention, she looks beyond beautiful in this movie).

The action sequences are more creative than the ones in Retaliation and utilize several locations, such as Paris, Kyrgyzstan, and the Antarctic. The action also incorporates several styles of fighting, including hand-to-hand combat, swordfighting, and gunplay. The action sequence in Kyrgyzstan serves a purpose by introducing the G.I. Joes and bringing them down a notch. The G.I. Joes are the alpha dogs of fighting. Having their base broken into, as well as failing to prevent the Nanomite warheads from being stolen, makes them all step up their A-game.

The bad-ass chase scene through Paris has Cobra launch a warhead at the Eiffel Tower, destroying and eating it up, as an homage to the first episode of the cartoon, which features Cobra shooting a laser at the Eiffel Tower, causing it to magically disappear. Finally, we get a giant climax where the Joes lead a full-on assault on Cobra's base in the Antarctic. The action is nothing groundbreaking, but it's still entertaining and incredibly well-shot. My favorite fight scene would have to be Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow's climactic fight at the end. That scene was a fanboy orgasm of epic proportions.

G.I. Joe fans claim that Rise of Cobra feels nothing like the source, whereas Retaliation feels more like the source. Let's ignore the fact that I facepalm epically every time I hear something like this. How exactly does Rise of Cobra not feel like G.I. Joe? The Eiffel Tower being destroyed, as I pointed out before, was an homage to that scene from the first episode of the show. The Nanomites came from an early issue of the comics. Destro's company MARS (Military Arms Research Syndicate; a reference to the Roman god Mars) is also taken from the comics. The underwater assault on Cobra was in the show and in the comics.

The Joes' base, the Pit, was in the comics. "Knowing is half the battle" and "Yo, Joe!" were in the show and in the comics. The injections given by Cobra Commander to the Neo-Vipers leaves behind a scar in the shape of the old-school Cobra logo that was in the show and in the comics. Most of the characters we loved in the show and the comics are here in this movie. The scar on Duke's face was a reference to the original G.I. Joe doll.

Now, the accelerator suits used by Duke and Ripcord during the Paris chase scene were just stupid. They weren't needed and were only there to sell toys, although marketing to a new generation of G.I. Joe fans isn't really a bad thing. I wish General Hawk could've been used more. How Destro got his mask at the end of the movie was also pretty stupid and unnecessary. So, yeah, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was faithful to the source, so how is it as a movie on its own? Surprisingly pretty good.

The acting is good for the most part. Channing Tatum does a solid job as Duke and has a decent amount of charisma. Plus, we have the obligatory shirtless Channing Tatum moment for teenage girls to wet their panties over, so there's that. Marlon Wayans as Ripcord surprisingly did not make me cringe. Many people criticized him as being an annoying comic relief. How is he an annoying comic relief? He only has like two or three one-liners, and this is a two-hour-long movie. Wayans found a good balance between witty and bad-ass.

The gorgeous Rachel Nichols was also pretty solid as Scarlett. Nichols has legitimate acting quality to back up her good looks. Sienna Miller, like I said before, was also decent as the Baroness. Dennis Quaid was entertaining as General Hawk, Christopher Eccleston hams it up marvelously as Destro, JGL was solid as Cobra Commander, and the other actors were also good in their respective roles.

Stephen Sommers' direction was all right. He frames and sets up his shots competently and knows how to get good performances out of his actors. While the dialogue is average at best, the story is actually pretty comprehensible. Alan Silvestri does an excellent job with his great musical score. Mitchell Amundsen does an impressive job with his cinematography. He incorporates shaky-cam here and there in the action scenes, but it's never bludgeoning. The action is largely coherent and you're able to understand what's going on. The special effects are a mixed bag. Sometimes, it looked pretty damn good. Other times, it looked really, really cheesy. Was Industrial Light & Magic not available, guys?

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a fun, over-the-top, big-in-scope action film and a very faithful adaptation of the comics and the cartoon. The action sequences are entertaining, the acting was pretty solid, the cinematography was nice, the characters are very well-developed, the musical score is good, and it's well-directed. It's by no means perfect. This is certainly a flawed film, but nevertheless, I will defend this movie until the day I die.

Mockingbird
Mockingbird(2014)

Mockingbird is a 2014 found footage horror thriller film co-written, produced, and directed by Bryan Bertino, co-written by Sam Esmail, produced by Jason Blum, and starring Audrey Marie Anderson, Todd Stashwick, Natalie Alyn Lind, Emily Alyn Lind, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Benjamin Stockham, Lee Garlington, Spencer List, Alexandra Lydon, Isabella Murad, Barak Hardley, Colby French, and Kai Caster.

Upon finding a video camera on his doorstep, father and husband Tom (Todd Stashwick) begins filming his family, under the impression that the camera is part of an entry to a competition his wife signed up for. A lonely college girl (Alexandra Lydon) has also found a similar camera, giving her something to do other than having late night conversations with her mother on the phone. The third and final camera is in the hands of a social misfit (Barak Hardley) who lives with his mother, and is convinced he'll win ten thousand dollars from the competition. They must keep recording or else people will die.

And thus we reach the final chapter of my Thanksgiving weekend quintet of reviews. In case y'all haven't been checking up on this, the four films I previously reviewed were Mercy, Stretch, The Town that Dreaded Sundown, and Not Safe for Work, all four of which I enjoyed. Unfortunately, with Mockingbird, the quintet ends on a rather unsatisfying note.

Now, the film's concept is actually very good. Keep the cameras rolling or someone dies. What I like about this idea is that it actually gives a reason why the characters don't put the camera down and stop recording. It's very interesting idea for a found footage horror film. Also, there are a few creepy and suspenseful moments here and there. Sadly, the execution of the concept is rather weak. I blame writer/director Bryan Bertino, who had impressed me before with The Strangers. Mockingbird, unfortunately, was his long-awaited follow-up, and sad to say, it was disappointing.

The characters are horrendously typical and quite boring, and for an 82-minute-long film, it goes by at a slow pace. Universal did very little to promote this film, and there's a good reason why. While there are some decent moments of creepy suspense, Bryan Bertino's poorly-penned screenplay unfortunately relies on several found footage tropes. In a way, this feels like a deleted sketch from one of the V/H/S movies, except low in quality, and beyond bloated.

Mockingbird starts off promisingly, and even the ending shocked the shit out of me (it's actually pretty ungodly fucking stupid, but hey, it did shock me, so there's that), but most of what happens in-between is nothing more, nothing less than boring filler, the one exception being Barak Hardley's character, an overzealous misfit who lives with his mom and wears clown make-up. This character was actually interesting, unlike the others.

FINAL SCORE: 4/10

Honestly, I can't really say any more because Mockingbird was just so forgettable and boring. The characters are dull, the ending is stupid (although shocking), the pacing is slow, the writing is below-average, and the story is nonsense, plus it poorly executed such a great concept. Barak Hardley's character was very intriguing, and there are some decent moments of creepy suspense, but overall, I don?t recommend Mockingbird. I hope Bryan Bertino's upcoming There Are Monsters makes up for this mess.

Not Safe For Work
½

Not Safe for Work is a 2014 thriller film directed by Joe Johnston, produced by Jason Blum, written by Simon Boyes and Adam Mason, and starring Max Minghella, J.J. Feild, Eloise Mumford, Christian Clemenson, Tom Gallop, Brandon Keener, Marina Black, Eme Ikwuakor, Michael Gladis, Alejandro Patino, Molly Hagan, and Tim Griffin.

Tom Miller (Max Minghella) is an ambitious legal assistant who works at the Rosen, Byres, and Emmerich Attorneys at Law and is dating Anna Newton (Eloise Mumford). His company has two major cases: Hartcourt vs. Denning Pharmaceutical, against a powerful corporation, and the Gambizzi case, against a mafia family. On the eve of the judgment of the Hartcourt case, Alan Z. Emmerich (Christian Clemenson) releases all employees early in the afternoon and also fires Tom for snooping around the Gambizzi case.

When Tom is leaving the building with Anna, he sees a man leaving a suitcase on the floor and another man wearing a suit (J.J. Feild) taking the suitcase and going to the thirty-fourth floor. Tom decides to follow him and soon he discovers that the man is actually a hitman. Soon, Tom is trapped on the floor with the killer since his access card is deactivated, and he tries to find out who hired the killer.

Not Safe for Work marks the fourth installment in my Thanksgiving weekend quintet of reviews. The quintet started off strong with Mercy and continued even more strong than ever with Stretch and The Town that Dreaded Sundown. Not Safe for Work, while not great, is still effective and acted well enough to entertain despite noticeable flaws.

Firstly, I have to praise Joe Johnston for his taut direction. With Not Safe for Work, he shows that he's as capable of directing low-budget, tense thrillers as much as he's capable of directing big-budget action films. I particularly loved how Johnston crafted genuine suspense and how he handles the script's claustrophobic nature. I also liked how he chooses not to make the death scenes graphic and gory, rather choosing to focus more on suspense and tension.

The acting is quite believable as well. Max Minghella starts off rather bland and boring as our protagonist, but as the film progresses, he gets a lot better. His portrayal of a desperate guy trying to get out of a bad situation was very convincing. The lovely Eloise Mumford as Tom's girlfriend Anna is also pretty good as well. But the real standout is J.J. Feild as the killer. Feild actually managed to terrify me at points. Right from the get-go, this guy is a cold-blooded, strictly-by-the-numbers killer, and Feild pulls it off amazingly.

The screenplay by Adam Mason and Simon Boyes is surprisingly crisply written for a film released straight to video. You can tell the two tried very hard to allow Johnson to weave an engaging narrative with their script, and for the most part, it works. Jonathan Taylor's slick cinematography is unfailingly fluent and smooth. Tyler Bates also deserves props for his effective and eerie musical score.

Now, what exactly about this movie didn't work? Well, with the exceptions of Tom, Anna, and the hitman/killer, I didn't care about anyone else, so I never really felt bad if they lived or died. This is pretty much the same problem I had with the new Town that Dreaded Sundown film. Secondly, I could see some of the plot twists coming less than a half hour into the movie. That's not good for a suspense thriller. Now, the big twist at the end was very surprising, but the other twists I saw coming from a mile away and I was disappointed when I was right.

FINAL SCORE: 7/10

Despite lacking in development for supporting characters as well as plot twists that aren't predictable, Not Safe for Work manages to be an entertaining and effective building invasion thriller, a bit more smart and well-executed than most of its caliber. Featuring believable performances, slick cinematography, genuine suspense built throughout the film's fast runtime (seventy-four minutes to be exact), taut direction, and a truly menacing villain, Not Safe for Work was a fun watch.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown

The Town that Dreaded Sundown is a 2014 meta-horror thriller slasher film directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, produced by Jason Blum and Ryan Murphy, and starring Addison Timlin, Spencer Treat Clark, Veronica Cartwright, Gary Cole, Edward Herrmann, Joshua Leonard, Anthony Anderson, Ed Lauter, Denis O'Hare, and Travis Tope. The film is a remake/sequel to the 1976 cult classic of the same name.

Sixty-six years after the masked psychopath known as the Phantom Killer terrorized the small town of Texarkana, the Moonlight Murders begin again. It's unknown if it's either a copycat or something much more sinister. Lonely high school girl Jami Lerner (Addison Timlin), who has dark secrets of her own, may be the key to catching him.

The Town that Dreaded Sundown marks the third installment of my Thanksgiving weekend quintet of reviews. The quintet began with Mercy and Stretch, and will continue with this, Not Safe for Work, and Mockingbird. I liked the original 1976 cult classic, but surprisingly enough, this new version manages to be superior to the original as well as a genuinely effective standalone horror film.

Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's taut direction is nothing short of fantastic. With the help of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's above-average script, Gomez-Rejon makes a smart move by making this film a meta-sequel that also serves as a re-working of the original film rather than a straight-up remake. Gomez-Rejon and Aguirre-Sacasa play batshit wicked games with the ideas of remakes and sequels, examining the connection between real-life violence and movie violence. In a way, this is like the long-lost cousin of Wes Craven's New Nightmare and Scream, except it's darker and less tongue-in-cheek.

Michael Goi's slick cinematography looks incredibly gorgeous. Goi's usage of color and framing is stylish all across the board. Goi's work on American Horror Story was fantastic and he outdoes himself here. The score by Ludwig Goransson is really eerie and the production designs by Hannah Beachler are very impressive.

Going back to the film's meta concept, I liked the contrast between what the adults think the 1976 film really is and what the teens think the 1976 film really is. The adults see the film as a disturbing capitalization on their grief, with the religious folk believing it is a sin to be watching such trash, whereas the teens just think of the film as an entertaining slasher picture rather than a horrific account of what happened in Texarkana back in the 1940's.

By the way, if you're looking for blood, guts, and gore, The Town that Dreaded Sundown delivers. Not only is genuine tension built, but the death scenes are indeed grisly and brutal yet entertaining to watch. This film definitely deserved its R rating. Hell, the Phantom Killer in this film copies the death scenes from the original film down to a tee, even going as far as to recreate the infamous trombone death scene.

The performances are also pretty solid. Veronica Cartwright, Edward Herrmann, Gary Cole, Joshua Leonard, Anthony Anderson, and Spencer Treat Clark are all pretty damn good in their supporting roles, but the real standout, to me, was the luminous Addison Timlin as Jami. Timlin was absolutely fantastic in the role. Really, you need to see it to believe it. I was so impressed by Timlin's performance.

Now, onto the flaws. Firstly, with the exception of a few of the main characters, hardly any of the supporting characters are given a lot of development, so I never exactly cared whether they lived or died. Secondly, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's screenplay focuses a little too much on its cleverness, so much so that at times, it lacked personality.

Hell, there's a character in the film played by Denis O'Hare named Charles B. Pierce, Jr. Get it? Because he's the son of the director of the original film? And of course, we have the classic slasher genre tropes. So this film focuses on a killer who comes out murdering people when night falls, and what do people do? They continue going out at night. Um, guys, this killer goes out slaughtering people at nighttime. Wouldn't you think of hiding and keeping yourselves safe? Fuck, the movie is called The Town that Dreaded Sundown.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

Problems aside, The Town that Dreaded Sundown is one of the most entertaining and clever slasher films to come along in quite some time. The screenplay is smart and clever despite issues here and there, the direction is amazingly competent, it's very well-acted, the death scenes are a blast to sit through, the cinematography is beautiful, and the meta plot device works really well (for the most part, anyway). If you're a fan of the original film, you might enjoy this version a lot more.

Stretch
Stretch(2014)

Stretch is a 2014 action comedy thriller film co-written, produced, and directed by Joe Carnahan, co-written and executive produced by Jerry Corley and Rob Rose, produced by Jason Blum, and starring Patrick Wilson, Chris Pine, Brooklyn Decker, Jessica Alba, Ed Helms, James Badge Dale, Ray Liotta, David Hasselhoff, Norman Reedus, Randy Couture, and Shaun Toub.

Hard luck limo driver Stretch (Patrick Wilson) is struggling to go straight and pay off a debt to his bookie when he picks up a crazed passenger, eccentric playboy millionaire Roger Karos (Chris Pine), whose sought-after ledger implicates some seriously dangerous criminals.

Welcome, folks, to the second installment of my Thanksgiving weekend quintet of reviews. The quintet had begun with Mercy, based on the Stephen King short story Gramma, and will continue with this film, the meta-remake/sequel to The Town that Dreaded Sundown, Not Safe for Work (directed by Joe Johnston), and Mockingbird (written and directed by Bryan Bertino). We had a solid start to the quintet with Mercy, and it continues gloriously with Stretch, writer/director Joe Carnahan's follow-up to his 2012 hit The Grey.

As the title character, Patrick Wilson does a great job. Stretch is cynical and sarcastic yet likeable and bumbling, with a certain edge. Wilson shows excellent comic strengths in the role. As Stretch's client Roger Karos, Chris Pine (who?s uncredited because...reasons) steals the show. Pine always got a laugh out of me and his banter with Wilson never fails to be witty. Ed Helms plays Karl, a figment of Stretch?s imagination, and Helms was laugh-out-loud hilarious, which shouldn't come across as a shock.

Surprisingly enough, Brooklyn Decker and Jessica Alba weren't bad in this film. I shit you not, their performances were legitimately decent. Decker's character Candace is Stretch's ex-girlfriend who dumps him after a year-long relationship. Decker provides great eye candy like she does in her other roles, but unlike in those movies, the script for Stretch doesn't suck, and it's because of this that Decker is allowed to actually...well, act, and she's not bad. Alba's character Charlie is a very sweet dispatch agent and you can think of her as Stretch's best buddy of sorts. Alba actually does a good job with the material. It truly shocked me.

In a way, you can think of this movie as the three-way lovechild of Collateral, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and After Hours. It really does feel like a whacky, neon-lit, balls-to-the-wall, hardcore version of Collateral. Speaking of neon-lit, I have to give props to Yasu Tanida's gorgeous cinematography. Tanida's lighting and camera movements are consistently slick and engagingly glossy.

Joe Carnahan's superb writing and direction also deserve a lot of praise. I've always liked Carnahan as a filmmaker. The man gave us gems like Narc, Smokin' Aces, The A-Team, and The Grey, and Stretch is quite possibly my second favorite film of his. Like I did in my review of Mercy, I have to ask the people at Universal: Why the fuck did you release this straight to video and not in theaters? Carnahan's direction is tight and his writing is unfailingly sharp. I also gotta give props to the energetic musical score by Ludwig Goransson.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

Overall, I had a fucking ball with Stretch. Were there a few issues here and there? Well, yeah. There's no doubting that, but this film was a blast from beginning to end. The main characters were fun, it was very funny, the cinematography is fantastic, the acting was damn good, and it always has a great amount of energy going for it. I highly recommend Stretch. I guarantee you'll be vastly entertained by this movie.

Mercy
Mercy(2014)
½

Mercy is a 2014 supernatural horror thriller film directed by Peter Cornwell, based on the short story Gramma by Stephen King, written and executive produced by Matt Greenberg, produced by Jason Blum and McG, and starring Chandler Riggs, Shirley Knight, Frances O'Connor, Joel Courtney, Dylan McDermott, Mark Duplass, Hana Hayes, Pepper Binkley, and Amanda Walsh.

After his grandmother Mercy (Shirley Knight) falls ill, George (Chandler Riggs), his brother Buddy (Joel Courtney), and their mother Rebecca (Frances O'Connor) move into her home to care for her. They quickly learn, however, that something's wrong with Mercy. After George and Buddy discover a mysterious book thought to include black magic, they uncover a series of family secrets.

I'm doing a Thanksgiving weekend quintet of reviews of films made by Blumhouse, a production company created by Jason Blum that's best known for producing independent, micro-budget films, such as Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and Sinister among others. The five films I'll be reviewing include Mockingbird, Stretch, The Town that Dreaded Sundown, Not Safe for Work, and today's subject, Mercy, a film adaptation of the Stephen King short story Gramma. With Mercy, the quintet is off to a promising start.

Mercy is surprisingly good for a horror film released straight to video instead of theaters. Unlike most of today's teeny-bopper, jump-scare-filled horror crapfests, Mercy actually takes its time to build genuine suspense and conjure up actual frights and chills. This is arguably the film's greatest strength. It's a creepy little horror film and it's a shame this wasn't given a theatrical release.

The performances are pretty solid. Shirley Knight damn near terrified me as the titular character, truly one of the most frightening and demonic grandmothers in horror film history. Chandler Riggs, best known for playing Carl in The Walking Dead, makes for a good lead as George, who makes for a likeable and well-developed main protagonist. Joel Courtney and the lovely Frances O?Connor are decent as George's brother Buddy and mom Rebecca respectively, Mark Duplass is charismatic and witty as George's uncle Lanning, and Dylan McDermott has a very good supporting role as photographer Jim Swann, who has to fight his own personal demons.

Peter Cornwell's direction is tight, smooth, and careful. While The Haunting in Connecticut was lackluster and boring, Cornwell's direction was surprisingly competent. Mercy marks a major step up in Cornwell's career. The atmospheric and eerie musical score by Reza Safinia complements the film's dramatic scenes and scare sequences perfectly. The lavish cinematography by Byron Shah gives Mercy a glistening, lustrous look. This is an incredibly well-shot film.

The special effects are also very impressive for a direct-to-DVD horror film. While there are moments of dodgy CGI, the film mostly relies on practical effects and make-up, and they look very convincing. I also liked the film's Stephen King-esque vibe. It feels like you're actually in a classic King story and it made the viewing experience a lot more enjoyable for me. This is most likely because the script was penned by Matt Greenberg, who wrote another Stephen King film, 1408. Greenberg doesn't do a bad job with the writing. While the dialogue is average at best, the story is very interesting and the plot moves at a steady pace.

FINAL SCORE: 7/10

Why Universal decided to release this straight to home video instead of theaters is beyond me. Mercy is a genuinely chilling and atmospheric horror film with good characters, great moments of frightening suspense, an intriguing story, nice special effects, top-notch performances, and an eerie musical score. If you're a Stephen King fan, or just a horror fan in general, I recommend you give Mercy a look.

Jessabelle
Jessabelle(2014)

Jessabelle is a 2014 supernatural horror thriller film directed and edited by Kevin Greutert, written and executive produced by Robert Ben Garant, produced by Jason Blum, and starring Sarah Snook, Mark Webber, David Andrews, Joelle Carter, Ana de la Reguera, Amber Stevens, Chris Ellis, Larisa Oleynik, Brian Hallisay, Lucius Baston, Elizabeth Rowin, Vaughn Wilson, Fran Bennett, and Paul Garrett.

Returning to her childhood home in Louisiana to reunite with her father Leon (David Andrews) and to recuperate from a horrific car accident that crippled her and killed her fiancé and unborn child, Jessie (Sarah Snook) comes face to face with a long-tormented, furious spirit known as Jessabelle (Amber Stevens) that has been seeking her return and has no intention of letting her escape.

Jessabelle is yet another independent, micro-budget, quote-unquote "high-concept" horror film from Jason Blum's production company Blumhouse. I have a feeling Blum knew this would turn out awful and decided to hire untalented hacks to bring this film to life. Penning the script is former comedy writer Robert Ben Garant, who isn't a stranger to horror thanks to him writing and directing the horror comedy Hell Baby and currently penning the script for another Blumhouse film, The Veil.

Sitting in the director's chair is Kevin Greutert, who was responsible for editing The Strangers, The Collection, and the second, third, fourth, and fifth Saw films. Greutert previously directed Saw VI and Saw 3D. Greutert showed some potential as a director with Saw VI, which wasn't that good a movie, but competently-made. Saw 3D was on the contrary, with Greutert's direction coming across as piss-poor and annoyingly lazy. Jessabelle showcases the worst of Greutert, Garant, and what Blumhouse has to offer to both the horror genre and its fans.

First of all, the acting is absolutely atrocious. Australian newcomer Sarah Snook may be incredibly nice to look at (you get to see her cleavage several times), but she's blander than bread in this movie. Her Louisiana accent is atrocious and she looks incredibly bored throughout most of the movie, like she doesn't even want to be there. Maybe in future indie Aussie productions, Snook might be able to impress, but in here, she's terrible.

Mark Webber as Jessie's childhood best friend Preston is also terrible, which is a shame because I like Mark Webber as an actor. He was one of the best parts of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Like Snook, Webber's Louisiana accent is horrendous, and he's also bland and unconvincing. The two have little to no chemistry with one another, and it's just sad to see a talent like Webber give such an insipid performance. I don't blame him. I blame the truly awful screenplay he's being forced to work off of.

David Andrews is a drunken, unlikeable asshole as Jessie's father Leon. If you thought Pa Kent in Man of Steel was a terrible parent, wait till you see this motherfucker. So Jessie's watching tapes of her supposed mother (Joelle Carter) and Leon discovers this, rather angry, and what does he do?

He destroys the tape, which is perfectly reasonable given what happens later in the movie, and then he actually throws his daughter's wheelchair into the bayou. Just for snooping around with this one tape? Leon later dies from an accidental fire, but why am I supposed to feel bad? He's not a good parent. He's not understanding, he's not sympathetic, and he's not caring.

Joelle Carter as Leon's wife Kate (oh, the irony), who turns out to be the mother of Jessabelle and not Jessie (spoilers...not that anyone gives two shits and a fuck), is actually not that bad. I like Carter as an actress. She was really good in Justified, but once again, the script she's working off of here in this movie is reprehensible, and she does her best to make it work, so I will give her a little credit for that.

Kevin Greutert's direction is incredibly lazy, as are his editing skills. This movie is fucking boring, even for a film that's only an hour and a half long. I know it wants to be slow-burn horror like the films of Ti West and Alfred Hitchcock, but whereas Hitchcock and West clearly understand horror and suspense, Greutert is just lost and confused. Kevin, I think it's best if you retire.

Robert Ben Garant is a terrible comedic writer, but as a serious horror writer, he's somehow even worse. The big twist in this movie is...I shit you not...black people are evil, white people are innocent...or something along those lines. That's uncomfortably and aggravatingly tasteless, especially for an annoyingly clichéd, ungodly generic horror flick. The characters are underdeveloped and unengaging, the storyline is lazy all across the board, and the plot moves at a goddamn snail's pace. Robert, you should retire as well.

Anton Sanko's musical score, like the storyline, is beyond generic. It's just routine, stock horror film music, only with additional southern twangs. Cinematographer Michael Fimognari, who showed promise with his excellent work on Oculus, disappointingly gives Jessabelle a direct-to-DVD look with unbelievably dull color schemes and a TV show-style 1.85:1 format ratio. This movie honestly feels like it should've aired on TV or be released straight-to-video. What the hell was Lionsgate thinking giving this crap a theatrical release?

FINAL SCORE: 1/10

With the exceptions of Joelle Carter's performance and Sarah Snook's cleavage, there is absolutely nothing to enjoy in Jessabelle. It's terribly acted, terribly written, terribly plotted, terribly directed...just plain terrible. Also, for a supposedly scary movie, it sure as fuck is lacking in the scare department. Jessabelle is the worst, the dumbest, and the most boring horror film I've seen this year, and I've seen Ouija. Avoid this crap like the plague.

See No Evil 2
½

See No Evil 2 is a 2014 horror thriller slasher film directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska, written by Nathan Brookes and Bobby Lee Darby, and starring Glenn "Kane" Jacobs, Danielle Harris, Katharine Isabelle, Kaj-Erik Eriksen, Chelan Simmons, Greyson Holt, Lee Majdoub, and Michael Eklund. The film is, of course, the sequel to the 2006 film See No Evil.

A group of friends pays a late night visit to the city morgue to surprise Amy (Danielle Harris) on her birthday. But the surprise is on them when the one-eyed corpse of brutal psychopath Jacob Goodnight (Glenn "Kane" Jacobs) unexpectedly rises from a cold sub-basement slab. Their wild party quickly turns into a terrifying slayfest as the sadistic mass murderer resumes his savage rampage complete with hooks, surgical knives, and power saws.

I never watched WWE that much, but when I did, it always had Kane. Kane was one bad motherfucker. In 2006, Kane made his acting debut with the first film produced by WWE, a slasher film titled See No Evil, helmed by former porn director Gregory Dark. I really hated See No Evil. The characters were hateful and unsympathetic, the writing was incredibly clichéd, the cinematography was oversaturated and grimy, and the acting was terrible. The one good thing in See No Evil was Kane.

Last year, a sequel was announced, and horror fans everywhere screamed out loud, "Fucking really? Why?" I should know. I was one of them. I mean, seriously, did See No Evil really need a sequel (a direct-to-DVD one no less)? Jacob Goodnight, Kane's character, died at the end of the first film, so resurrecting him in a sequel would make no sense. Then again, maggots were living in his brain in the first film, so I guess anything is possible. See No Evil 2 may not be good, but it's by far a vast improvement upon its predecessor.

First up, the direction. Whereas Gregory Dark's direction in the first film was incredibly lazy, the Soskas' directorial style actually gives the sequel more energy and class. The Soskas have impressed me before with American Mary and I'm certainly looking forward to their film adaptation of Painkiller Jane. The Soskas clearly understood how preposterous the script is and decided to have a little bit of fun with it, and it pays off to a certain extent.

Next up, the acting. In the first film, the acting from all the teens and young adults was damn near horrid, and the actors who played the cop and Jacob's mother, respectively, seemed like they were phoning it in. In the sequel, it actually has a little star power with Katharine Isabelle and scream queen Danielle Harris onboard. The acting from Harris, Isabelle, and Kane is pretty good. The other actors are very forgettable and quite bland, but they're still better than the untalented dipshits from the first film.

Now onto the characters. In the first film, director Gregory Dark and screenwriter Dan Madigan make no attempt to make the characters likeable. They came across as obnoxious, immature douchebags, so you never feel bad for them when they get axed off by Kane. In the sequel, the Soskas and screenwriters Nathan Brookes and Bobby Lee Darby actually try to make the characters easy to root for. I particularly liked the characters Amy, Tamara, and Seth. The others are forgettable, and pretty badly-drawn, but at least they're not hateful.

The cinematography is also much better in this film than in its predecessor. Ben Nott's cinematography in the first film was absolutely terrible. The first ten minutes has an oversaturated Michael Bay-like quality, and when we're in the hotel, it's given this dingy, ugly, greenish-brown color palette, and the annoying speed ramping got on my nerves. Mahlon Todd Williams' work on the sequel is very slick and he gives the film a neat, glossy look. I also liked the lighting choices he and the Soskas made. The colors of red, yellow, green, and blue were used for different phases of the film, and they heighten the mood quite well.

See No Evil 2 also has a lot of entertaining death scenes. The first few are just standard slasher kills, but later on, they get more creative and inventive. The musical score by the Newton Brothers, topping Tyler Bates' music from the first film, complements the death scenes perfectly. I'll admit, the death scenes in the first film weren't bad, but aside from the cell-phone-shoved-in-throat death, they never really tried anything creative or new.

With all this praise I'm giving the film, you're probably thinking I like See No Evil 2. But that's where y'all are wrong. I didn't hate See No Evil 2, but I don't think it's objectively good either. The writing is really quite poor, though not as bad as the first film, and at the end of the day, it's just the same slasher film we've seen thousands of times before. Granted this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but with the talent behind and in front of the camera, it honestly feels like wasted potential.

Also, one thing that aggravated me in this film were the constant flashbacks to the first film so viewers who haven't seen it is aware of the background of the villain. We didn't need these flashbacks, because A) The first film was a horrendous piece of trash, and B) Jacob Goodnight's motivation for being a psychopathic serial killer isn't really interesting. Plus, the script gives us a lot of unnecessary plot lines that never impact the story one bit.

FINAL SCORE: 5/10

See No Evil 2 is reasonably fun slasher entertainment. The acting was decent, it's well-shot, the death scenes were a blast to sit through, the main protagonist is likeable, and the direction was smooth and energetic, but the other characters are bland, the writing is mediocre, the flashbacks were unnecessary, the plot lines weren't needed, and it just feels like another routine slasher flick. Overall, See No Evil 2 is a vast improvement upon the first film, but that's not saying much.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a 2013 supernatural science fiction martial arts fantasy horror action adventure mystery thriller romance film directed by Harald Zwart, written by Jessica Postigo Paquette and I. Marlene King (the latter uncredited because...reasons), based on the novel by Cassandra Clare, and starring Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Zegers, Jemima West, Lena Headey, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jared Harris, Aidan Turner, C.C.H. Pounder, Kevin Durand, Godfrey Gao, and Robert Maillet.

Set in contemporary New York City, seemingly ordinary teenager Clary Fray (Lily Collins) discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-mortal, half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother Jocelyn (Lena Headey), Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters, who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves, and other deadly creatures.

Guys, I'm not even gonna beat around the bush. I absolutely despised this wretched piece of shit. Not only is The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones the worst film of last year, but also one of the worst films I've ever had the displeasure of suffering through. This movie does nothing new, nothing good, and nothing right. Everything is wrong with this abomination. This is just as bad as Twilight, if not worse. I'm not even kidding. It really is that bad.

First off, the acting is atrocious, thanks to the absolutely horrendously terrible screenplay. Lily Collins is good when given the right material, but in this film, she was insufferable. Collins is never convincing or believable in any scene she's in. Yes, she's hot and is nice to look at, but that can't compensate for her laughably horrible acting in this movie. Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace is just boring. Bower, like Collins, is also not convincing, and he just acts and looks stiff and dull throughout the entire movie. This was a chore to sit through. He was dull as fuck in this movie.

Kevin Zegers is irritating as hell as Alec, who turns out to be a homosexual and is in love with Jace, and is jealous of Clary. Also, Zegers' British-esque accent is awful to the point of committing hara-kiri. Even actors who are usually great like Lena Headey, Jared Harris, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Kevin Durand, and C.C.H. Pounder are all wasted here and are all really, really bad, which is just shocking to the point of disbelief. Jemima West, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Turner, and Godfrey Gao are all incredibly bland, and that's pretty much all I have to say about the acting.

Second of all, the characters...oh, my God, the fucking idiotic and clichéd characters. There is zero character development throughout this 130-minute-long atrocity. The character I despise the most in this movie is Clary. This woman has to be the worst female protagonist in any film I've ever seen, and I mean that. Clary is an obnoxious retard who makes Bella Swan look smart and deep. For example, when Clary is attacked by vampires, a werewolf comes to save her. Scared of the werewolf, Clary grabs a knife and stabs the werewolf. Are you fucking kidding me? This werewolf just saved your ass, you shit-eating bimbo.

Third of all, the storytelling is reprehensible. Not even a good screenwriter like Joss Whedon would be able to make this story work. There are plot holes, contrivances, and deus ex machinas all over the place in this goddamn movie. It's quite frankly astonishing, to put it lightly. Why is City of Bones the movie's subtitle when it is the location the two main characters spend the least time at? It adds nothing to the story, lack thereof one. And the plot twists are enough to make even M. Night Shyamalan go on a homicidal rampage across the cosmos.

To prove my point, we have a forced romance between Jace and Clary, the latter of whom is the girl Robert Sheehan's character Simon falls in love with, and Clary puts Simon in the friend zone to focus on Jace. This romance has no build-up. There's even a scene where they're making out in a fantasy garden that rips off Ferngully more than Avatar and Maleficent did, with a horrible Demi Lovato song playing as they make out. I'm surprised I made it through this movie.

Then, later on, we get a horribly written and poorly performed love triangle between Clary, Jace, and Simon (FUCK! WHY?). Simon has been in love with Clary throughout the whole movie, giving the most non-subtle hints and yet Clary, the dumb-ass that she is, doesn't even notice. At the end, the generic, annoying, and whiny villain whose first name is Valentine of all things, reveals to her that she's his daughter in a scene stolen from a movie that's actually good: The Empire Strikes Back.

And then... are you ready, folks... get this: Valentine also reveals that Jace was Clary's brother. When I first saw this in the theater, I immediately walked out when I saw this part. I couldn't take it anymore. So there was a romance between these two characters, and they're revealed to be siblings? FUCK YOU, MOVIE! Why'd you have to put such vile, cringeworthy, and disgusting images in my head, you unendurable turd?

Here's the difference between this crap and Star Wars. Yes, Leia did kiss Luke twice before it was revealed that they were siblings, but not because they were in love. Leia kissed him in Episode IV because she thought they were gonna get killed by Stormtroopers, and again in Empire solely to make Han jealous. Was there any sexual tension? Fuck no. Were there any heavy scenes of them making out? Fuck no. Was there an entire love story devoted to them? FUCK NO. I don't know which is even more gag-worthy: an incestuous romance (Mortal Instruments) or a pedophilic romance (Twilight).

Star Wars and Twilight aren't the only movies this film ripped off. This movie also rips off Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Hunger Games, Beautiful Creatures, Warm Bodies, The Host, Divergent, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Spider-Man, Inception, Vampire Academy, The Secret Circle, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and every catalog of Hot Topic. Fuck, the portal they use is a blatant and direct rip-off of Stargate!

The action sequences are a joke. Harald Zwart's direction is incompetent and sluggish. Zwart directs the action scenes with no passion or energy. The cinematography for the action is also terrible, as is the choppy and annoyingly jumpy editing, and the CGI and special effects are butt-fucking-ugly. Even the practical effects they use look like shit. They look beyond fake. If you're gonna put all your effort into the special FX and not into the rest of the movie, then at least make them look good! Come on! Even Michael Bay gets this right!

The score by Atli Orvarsson is also really bad. It's one of the most lifeless and derivative soundtracks I've come across in a while, and it's a shame because I love Orvarsson's other work. The pacing is uneven as hell. Some things happen too quickly, some things are boring to the point of succumbing to extreme exhaustion. The dialogue feels like it was written by little girls in the fourth grade, and the film made absolutely no effort to define the world it was set in.

And by the way, before you ask, yes, I did read Cassandra Clare's book, and it was equally fucking terrible, so don't you butthurt fangirls give me the bullshit argument that the book was great and the movie sucked donkey dick. The movie changed little from the book. Cassandra Clare can't write to save her life. But hey, what should I expect from the same woman who wrote plagiarized Harry Potter fan fiction? You might argue that plot points left unexplained in the movie will be explained in sequels. That's not an excuse. A movie has to stand alone and not depend on sequels to explain its bullshit.

FINAL SCORE: 0/10

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is the absolute worst young adult book and movie I've ever come across. They are both infuriating to the point of rage. Fuck this movie. The acting is awful, the story is awful, the plot is awful, the dialogue is awful, the action is awful, the pacing is awful, the visuals are awful, the characters are awful, the music is awful, everything about this unholy warcrime against humanity is awful. I'd rather watch any of the horrible Platinum Dunes remakes than watch this travesty ever again. Thank God a sequel never got made and let's all hope they pull the plug on the new TV series in development.

Ouija
Ouija(2014)

Ouija is a 2014 supernatural horror thriller film co-written and directed by Stiles White, co-written and executive produced by Juliet Snowden, produced by Michael Bay and Jason Blum, based on the board game of the same name created by Hasbro, and starring Olivia Cooke, Daren Kagasoff, Douglas Smith, Shelley Hennig, Ana Coto, Bianca Santos, Lin Shaye, Sierra Heuermann, Vivis Colombetti, Robyn Lively, and Matthew Settle.

Debbie Galardi (Shelley Hennig) is mysteriously killed after recording herself playing with an ancient Ouija board. Her childhood best friend Laine Morris (Olivia Cooke), her boyfriend Pete (Douglas Smith), Laine's boyfriend Trevor (Daren Kagasoff), their friend Isabelle (Bianca Santos), and Laine's sister Sarah (Ana Coto), all dealing with Debbie's loss, decide to investigate the Ouija board. They later find out that some things aren't meant to be played with, especially the other side.

Ouija is the bastard three-way love child of Hasbro, Transformers director Michael Bay's production company Platinum Dunes, and Blumhouse, the production company of Jason Blum, the producer of films such as Paranormal Activity, Sinister, Insidious, Oculus, and The Purge. The project was first conceived as a supernatural adventure action film with a proposed budget of $100 million.

Scott Stewart, Breck Eisner, McG, Sylvain White, Pierre Morrel, and John Moore were all in talks to direct, and the original script by Richard Jefferies was going through several re-writes. Screenwriters included Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz (Tron: Legacy), Marti Noxon (Fright Night), and Simon Kinberg (Jumper) among others. However, Universal shut down the project because of budgetary concerns. Later, they decided to resurrect the project and re-tool the script as a microbudget horror film, hiring Jason Blum as producer and Juliet Snowden & Stiles White to pen the screenplay, with White making his directorial debut with the film.

Yes, I actually saw Ouija. But keep in mind I did not pay my money for this. I, instead, paid for John Wick (a movie that actually looks good), and snuck into this piece of shit. To make a long story short, Ouija is one of the worst films I've seen all year as well as the worst and dumbest horror film I've seen this year. Bad acting, bad writing, bad story, bad characters, bad directing, the list goes on. Ouija is the worst film ever to be released under the Hasbro name. Yes, worse than Revenge of the Fallen, Age of Extinction, and Battleship.

Now, is there anything good about Ouija? Yes. There are only three good things I can say about this movie. The first good thing is Olivia Cooke's decent performance as Laine, the main protagonist. You can tell Cooke's trying very hard to turn her boring, poorly written character into something. The second good thing is the slick cinematography by David Emmerichs. Ouija is an admittedly well-shot, sleek-looking picture. The third good thing is that the opening ten minutes were watchable and atmospheric.

That's where all the good stuff ends, because everything else is absolutely horrendous. With the exception of Olivia Cooke, the actors are all terrible. The dialogue they exchange between each other is either laughable or horribly clichéd and generic. These are some of the most bland, boring, one-dimensional characters in film history. Seriously, there isn't any character development at all. The actors put no effort into their performances. They're never convincing or believable.

Stiles White's direction starts off well enough but then quickly sinks into the bottom of the barrel. His script, co-written with Juliet Snowden, is just horrendous. Dialogue? Terrible. Story? Terrible. Plotting? Terrible. Everything about this script was just terrible. Here's the big twist: So there's this little girl that these dumb-ass teenage cardboard cutouts mistaken for characters come into contact with using the Ouija board.

The little girl warns them all of her evil mother, who's killing all their friends, so she tells Laine to find her dead body and remove the stitches from her mouth so she can stop the madness and defeat her mother. Laine does exactly this, only to find out that the little girl was evil all along and that the mother was warning them that her daughter is evil and was lying to them. If the mother was innocent and the little girl who needed her body to be freed because it was trapped was the bad one, how the fuck were people dying before? This makes no sense!

And of course, here's the big one: IT'S NOT FUCKING SCARY. This movie isn't even OCCASIONALLY startling. Most of the scares consist of loud, irritating, cheap jump scares and horror visuals you have seen from every other fucking horror movie ever made. I was begging this movie to end. It was just so boring, so ineptly scripted, so horribly paced, so badly acted and directed, I considered walking out of the theater. Fuck this movie and never watch it. If someone buys the DVD for you in a few months, punch them for insulting you.

FINAL SCORE: 1/10

The first ten minutes were effective, Olivia Cooke was solid as the lead, and the cinematography was pretty good, but the story was nonsensical, the characters are dull as shit, the other actors either needed to express emotion or need acting lessons, the dialogue is terrible, there's no tension, there's no atmosphere, nothing is ever scary, and the twist was maddeningly incomprehensible. Ouija is a pathetic excuse for a movie. You're better off playing with an actual Ouija board than sitting down and watching this crap.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Transformers: Age of Extinction is a 2014 science fiction action film directed by Michael Bay, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, written by Ehren Kruger, and starring Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Sophia Myles, T.J. Miller, Li Bingbing, Titus Welliver, John Goodman, Ken Watanabe, Peter Cullen, and Frank Welker. The film is based on the Transformers franchise created by Hasbro.

Set five years after the events of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the human race no longer trusts the Transformers after thousands of human lives were claimed during the battle of Chicago. Under the order of ruthless government official agent Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer), military forces are tasked to exterminate all Transformers, both all the Autobots and the remaining Decepticons, with the help of the Transformer bounty hunter Lockdown. As a result, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee have gone into hiding, never to be seen again.

Five years later, mechanic and struggling inventor Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) and his assistant Lucas Flannery (T.J. Miller) purchases a rusty semi-truck, intending to sell its parts for money to help his teenage daughter Tessa (Nicola Peltz) pay for college. But when they discover the truck is the Autobot leader Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen), both Cade and Tessa bring the government, the Autobots, and the Decepticons on them.

Meanwhile, arrogant scientist Joshua Joyce (Stanley Tucci) and his technology firm KSI have created artificial Transformers of their own, replacing the Autobots, but the newly developed robots gain self-awareness and turn against the humans. With swelled ranks, the Decepticons plot to purge Earth into extinction. Now Cade, Tessa, her secret boyfriend Shane Dyson (an Irish rally car driver played by Jack Reynor), and Optimus must band with the remaining Autobots, face the Decepticons once more, and awaken the ancient Dinobots in order to save their home.

Since this is the fourth installment in Michael Bay's series of Transformers films, I think it'd be appropriate to talk about the other movies before talking about this one. The first film was a flawed but enjoyable summer blockbuster. Revenge of the Fallen is a catastrophically incomprehensible mess. Dark of the Moon is my personal favorite of the Bayformers films, primarily because of its darker tone, more involving characters, a decent story, improved-upon acting, and an effective political subtext.

I'm not entirely happy to report that Transformers: Age of Extinction is the weakest entry in this franchise since Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Don't get me wrong, it isn't terrible, but it's not good at all. It's one of the most visually impressive films of the year, no doubt about that, but it needed improvements in the other departments.

Now, what did I like about this movie? First off, the reason why these films make money and why people still see these movies: the action and the special effects. The visuals are impressive and this film has some of the best Transformers action since Dark of the Moon. The effects were created by Industrial Light & Magic and they did an excellent job with the visuals. So yeah, the action was entertaining as hell.

Replacing Shia LaBeouf as the lead actor is Mark Wahlberg as struggling inventor Cade Yeager. Cade isn't really a likeable character (hell, none of the human characters in this movie are likeable), but Mark Wahlberg does a good job with his performance. All the actors did fine for the most part (even Nicola Peltz wasn't terrible), but the two best performances come from Kelsey Grammer and Stanley Tucci. They're both fantastic actors and they were both good in this movie.

The cinematography by Amir Mokri (Man of Steel) is also pretty damn impressive. It isn't as oversaturated as other Michael Bay movies and that was surprising. I also enjoyed the score by Steve Jablonsky, but then again, his scores for the other Transformers movies were pretty good, so that goes without saying.

Now onto the bad shit. While I did enjoy the more dark and surprising tone, we still have racial stereotyping and dumb-ass comic relief to be found in the screenplay by Ehren Kruger. For example, there's an Asian samurai Autobot named Drift and he's voiced by Ken Watanabe. Fuck, they even make a slavery joke in this movie. Also, Kelsey Grammer's character's CIA unit is named Cemetery Wind. I don't know if that's supposed to be a fart joke or not. T.J. Miller as Lucas got on my nerves, and that's a shame because T.J. Miller is a great comedic actor. Michael Bay's direction never gave Miller the opportunity to provide genuine laughs to the audience.

While seeing the Dinobots on the big screen was a treat, they're in the film for about 10 minutes. They absolutely served no purpose to the plot. They were wasted. The story is overstuffed and bloated. There's rarely any character development, even though this film shares the same running time as The Dark Knight Rises. No joke. I wasn't bored, but I guarantee you'll be wanting this movie to end.

FINAL SCORE: 4/10

I really wanted to have fun with this movie, but there was more bad in this movie than good. The action scenes are fun, the special effects are terrific, and the performances are decent for the most part, but the characters are unlikeable and underdeveloped and the story is bloated and overstuffed. Overall, if you're a fan of this franchise, then I recommend this movie, but if you're not, I advise you to stay away.

Interstellar
Interstellar(2014)

Interstellar is a 2014 science fiction action adventure drama film co-written, directed, and produced by Christopher Nolan, co-written by Jonathan Nolan, and starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, Michael Caine, Bill Irwin, Casey Affleck, John Lithgow, Mackenzie Foy, Timothée Chalamet, Wes Bentley, Topher Grace, David Oyelowo, Elyes Gabel, David Gyasi, Matt Damon, and Josh Stewart.

Former Air Force pilot and engineer Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) has become a farmer, trying to raise crops with his daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy, Jessica Chastain, and Ellen Burstyn), his son Tom (Timothée Chalamet and Casey Affleck), and his father-in-law Donald (John Lithgow). With the world's crops failing and mankind's future food supply in question, Cooper agrees to explore the planets on the far side of a wormhole with other scientists (Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, and David Gyasi) in hopes of finding a place where Earth's inhabitants can find refuge once the Earth becomes uninhabitable.

Like most other film buffs, I'm a big fan of director Christopher Nolan, having given us the Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, Insomnia, The Prestige, Following, and one of my all-time favorite films, Memento. However, to be perfectly honest, The Dark Knight is my least favorite of Nolan's work, not that it was bad or anything. I liked the film, but the story and characters, while not at all bad, weren't that engaging (the one exception being the Joker). Nolan has now given us his latest film, Interstellar. Congratulations, Chris, you have given us your second 10/10 film after Memento.

Yep, that's right. Interstellar is a beautifully-paced, innovative, daring, seamlessly thought-provoking sci-fi film with interesting concepts, phenomenal performances, and groundbreaking visuals. This is an example of a sci-fi film that actually makes you think. Some could argue that the Nolan-produced Transcendence tried to do this, but whereas the plot of Transcendence wasn't really executed well, the plot of Interstellar is undeniably complex, even more so than Inception, and I mean that in the absolute best of ways.

I have to applaud Christopher Nolan for his tight, effortlessly fantastic direction. He has a clear grasp of how he wants to tell this kind of story and what questions he not only wants to ask the audience, but also wants the audience to ask themselves and the people around them. Nolan's writing is also really solid. The plotting is always interesting, the main characters are developed well enough, and the dialogue is quite believable. The emotional moments in the film never come across as syrupy. They are one hundred percent genuine.

The acting is top-notch all around. Matthew McConaughey is excellent as Cooper, and he's quickly becoming one of my all-time favorite actors. McConaughey plays Cooper like he should be played and he does a great job. It's not one of his best performances, but it's still great nonetheless. The lovely Anne Hathaway is fantastic as the character Brand. She and McConaughey also have really good chemistry with one another.

As Cooper's daughter Murph, both Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain are extraordinary. After giving a boring, bland performance as Renesmee Cullen in the last of the god-awful Twilight movies, Mackenzie Foy managed to deliver a solid performance in The Conjuring, and in here, she's rapidly becoming a promising young talent. Her scenes with McConaughey are some of the best moments in the film, and I particularly love this part:

"You have no idea when you're coming back."
"I'm coming back."
"When?"

To be perfectly honest, I almost got teary-eyed at that part. Not only is the aforementioned scene beautifully acted and written, but the emotional impact, once again, is honest and real. Murph wants Cooper, her father, to stay on Earth, to be with her and her brother and grandfather, but Cooper has to do this mission, to find a new home for humankind and wants her to feel safe. The unbelievably gorgeous Jessica Chastain is just as good, if not better, as an older Murph. Chastain never fails to impress as an actress, and she delivers yet again in this movie. Ellen Burstyn has a quick appearance as an elderly version of Murph, and it's good to see Burstyn in another big studio film again.

Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Topher Grace, David Oyelowo, John Lithgow, and Timothée Chalamet all have good supporting roles and they all do good jobs in their respective roles. There's also a very memorable cameo by Matt Damon (this isn't a spoiler, his casting was confirmed back in the summer of 2013). Bill Irwin and Josh Stewart are both entertaining as the two robots on the exploration, TARS and CASE, respectively. I especially enjoyed Irwin. Irwin's dry sense of humor makes TARS a very charismatic and always-humorous sentient character, help being provided by Nolan's sharp dialogue for the robot.

Hans Zimmer's musical score is marvelous, but that goes without saying. It's more than obvious Zimmer will be nominated for Best Original Score at the Oscars. Hoyte Van Hoytema's lush cinematography is beyond lavish. Hoytema's work here, to be honest, is better than Wally Pfister's work on Nolan's other films. This is quite possibly Nolan's best-shot film. Hoytema has impressed me before with his work on Her and The Fighter, and with him working on Bond 24, I can only expect great things.

The visual effects are off the charts astonishing. They looked so good I was convinced they actually looked real. The depths of outer space looked breathtaking, the interior and exterior designs of the spaceship looked awesome, and the ice and water planets were just incredible. I loved how Nolan didn't use green-screen and instead opted to create the visual effects first, so digital projectors could be used to display them behind the actors. I also really need to praise the ending. In the words of a friend of mine, "I found it to be the boldest, most original thing that I've seen in a sci-fi movie in years."

FINAL SCORE: 10/10

Interstellar was quite the movie-going experience. It's definitely a real brainmelter, or to use the more commonly used term, mindfuck. But it's a good kind of mindfuck. Interstellar is indeed one of the best films of the year. The concepts are intriguing, the pacing is good, the acting is top-notch, the visuals are beautifully-rendered, the direction is tightly-grasped and always clear, and the plot actually has you thinking about it. I absolutely loved Interstellar, and I'm begging all of you: Go see this movie.

Gone Girl
Gone Girl(2014)

Gone Girl is a 2014 mystery thriller drama film directed by David Fincher, written by Gillian Flynn, produced by Reese Witherspoon and Leslie Dixon, and starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, Casey Wilson, Missi Pyle, Sela Ward, Emily Ratajkowski, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Lisa Banes, David Clennon, Scoot McNairy, Boyd Holbrook, Lola Kirke, Cyd Strittmatter, and Leonard Kelly-Young.

On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick's portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon, his lies, deceits, and strange behavior have everyone asking if Nick killed his wife.

David Fincher made his film debut with the sci-fi horror thriller sequel Alien 3, which suffered from a disastrous production and an onslaught of script changes, re-writes, and polishes. Alien 3 was a huge letdown and Fincher himself hated the film. Fincher wasn't to blame for Alien 3. The producers, the writers, and the execs at 20th Century Fox were to blame for how the film turned out.

From 1995 onwards, Fincher stepped up his A-game. He gave us Se7en, The Game, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, all of which were great, especially Se7en, Fight Club, and Dragon Tattoo. Now, Fincher has given us his latest: a film adaptation of Gillian Flynn's excellent novel Gone Girl, the screenplay being penned by Flynn herself. Gone Girl is one of the best films of 2014 and is also Fincher's best since Fight Club.

First of all, Gone Girl is indeed a very faithful adaptation of the book, thanks to author Gillian Flynn also being responsible for penning the script. Flynn knew what would work for a translation to film and what wouldn't work. Flynn is an excellent writer and author. Her characters are always developed, her dialogue is consistently top-notch, and her storytelling is always engaging.

Second of all, David Fincher's direction is, once again, absolutely amazing. As my friend Diego Tutweiller has said many a time before, "Our Lord David Fincher has yet to disappoint." The way Fincher and his go-to cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth set up the shots and the lighting is nothing short of genius. Cronenweth's cinematography is another major highlight of the film. This is a beautiful-looking film. Nothing looks dull and nothing looks oversaturated. It's consistently slick and neat.

Third of all, the performances are phenomenal all around. Ben Affleck is one of my all-time favorite actors. With the exceptions of Gigli, Pearl Harbor, and Surviving Christmas, I loved Affleck in every film he starred in. He was the bomb in Phantoms, yo! Gone Girl features Affleck's best performance to date. If he doesn't win the Oscar or even get a nomination, I will lose all respect for the Academy. To the people who are doubting Affleck as Batman: watch this, The Town, Argo, and even Daredevil, and eat your words.

Rosamund Pike, who is indeed one of the most beautiful and talented actress in recent memory, is wonderful as Nick's wife Amy. Pike's American accent is incredibly convincing. Like Affleck, I am begging the Academy to at least consider nominating Pike for Best Actress. She is just so damn good. Tyler Perry and Neil Patrick Harris both give excellent supporting performances, especially Perry. He pulled off a surprisingly good performance in Alex Cross and he's even better here. Harris also surprised the hell out of me with his performance. He's terrific. The other actors are especially great as well.

FINAL SCORE: 10/10

Gone Girl is a wonderful movie and is by far one of the best films I've seen all year. I chose not to go into depth too much because I don't want to spoil the film for those who haven't seen it. If you haven't seen it, A) You should be ashamed of yourselves, and B) See if it's at your local theater and check it out. Gone Girl is smart, engaging, wicked, darkly comic, nail-biting, and undeniably chilling, and makes for another superb addition to David Fincher's filmography.

Jumper
Jumper(2008)

Jumper is a 2008 science fiction adventure action thriller film directed by Doug Liman, produced by Simon Kinberg, written by Kinberg, Jim Uhls, and David S. Goyer, based on the novel by Steven Gould, and starring Hayden Christensen, Rachel Bilson, Jamie Bell, Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Lane, Michael Rooker, Kristen Stewart, Annasophia Robb, and Max Thieriot.

A genetic abnormality allows David Rice (Hayden Christensen) to teleport himself anywhere on planet Earth. He discovers that this gift has existed for centuries and he finds himself in a war that has been raging for thousands of years between Jumpers and the Paladins, a group of religious extremists who have sworn to kill them because they see them as an abomination in the eyes of God.

I haven't read Steven Gould's sci-fi novel Jumper, so I can't judge this film as an adaptation. I can, however, judge it as a standalone film and it is less than stellar. Although it delivers the goods when it comes to the action sequences and the special effects, Jumper is a boring, generic, and middlingly-plotted sci-fi action film with bland performances and incredibly dull characters.

The acting is fifty-fifty. Samuel L. Jackson gives it his all as Roland Cox, the leader of the Paladins, but the character is just a boring, generic bad guy. However, Jackson helps keeping you awake with his good performance. Jamie Bell manages to be enjoyable as Griffin, a renegade Jumper who tracks down and eliminates the Paladins. Diane Lane and Michael Rooker are decent as the parents of the main protagonist, David. Unfortunately, Hayden Christensen and Rachel Bilson are so fucking bland as our leads. Christensen isn't as bad here as he was in Awake and Star Wars, but he still sucks anyway and he lacks charisma.

Doug Liman's direction is competent, although not as good as his work on The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow. The action scenes are very entertaining to watch thanks to the impressive special effects and the slick cinematography by Barry Peterson. The musical score by Liman's former go-to composer John Powell is pretty good, although not as good as some of Powell's other scores, like X-Men: The Last Stand and How to Train Your Dragon.

The screenplay by David S. Goyer, Simon Kinberg, and Jim Uhls is poorly written. Really, if they just stuck with Uhls' original script, we could've had a much better film on our hands. I mean, come on, the man wrote Fight Club for fuck's sake. Unfortunately, Doug Liman wanted re-writes, so 20th Century Fox hired Goyer and Kinberg to re-write the screenplay. Goyer and Kinberg aren't terrible screenwriters, but dear Lord, this script really could've used more improvement. The characters are underdeveloped, the dialogue is beyond generic, and the plotting is thinner than Kate Moss.

FINAL SCORE: 4/10

Really, if anything, just watch Jumper as a simple little timewaster if you have absolutely nothing to do over the weekend. Jumper could've been a good film, but thanks to a poor script, uninvolving characters, a loose narrative, and bland acting from the two lead actors, it fails to deliver despite its entertaining action scenes and decent visuals. I don't recommend this film.

Annabelle
Annabelle(2014)

Annabelle is a 2014 supernatural horror thriller film directed by John R. Leonetti, written by Gary Dauberman, produced by James Wan and Peter Safran, and starring Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard, Eric Ladin, Brian Howe, Tony Amendola, Kerry O'Malley, Tree O'Toole, Keira Daniels, and Trampas Thompson. The film is the spin-off/prequel to the 2013 film The Conjuring.

John Form (Ward Horton) has found the perfect gift for his wife Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and their newborn baby daughter Lea. His gift is Annabelle, a beautiful, rare vintage doll in a pure white wedding dress. But their delight with the doll doesn't last long. On one horrific night, their home is invaded by members of a satanic cult, who violently attack John and Mia. Spilled blood and terror are not all they leave behind. The cultists have conjured an entity so malevolent that nothing they did will compare to the sinister conduit to the damned that is now Annabelle.

When I heard a spin-off of The Conjuring was in the works, to tell you the truth, I was a bit skeptical. The Conjuring was a surprisingly good horror film, with old-school atmosphere, chilling tension, good acting, skillful (or, as a friend of mine by the name of Jed Groff would say, deft) direction from James Wan, a fresh visual style, and good characters.

Then, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema announced a spin-off that would focus on Annabelle the doll from the beginning of The Conjuring. That was strike one. John R. Leonetti, the cinematographer of every James Wan film except Saw and Fast & Furious 7, was hired to direct. That's strike two. An unknown was hired to pen the screenplay instead of Chad and Carey Hayes, who wrote The Conjuring. That's strike three.

First of all, why focus on Annabelle? The killer doll has been done to death in several horror films and TV shows. Second of all, while John R. Leonetti is an excellent cinematographer, he can't direct to save his life, as evidenced by his inept work on Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and The Butterfly Effect 2. Third of all, Gary Dauberman previously wrote direct-to-DVD horror films. I was worried this was going to blow major ass. Annabelle isn't horrible, but it really is just a quick cash-grab.

Now, John R. Leonetti actually doesn't do a bad job directing the film. Of his filmography as a director, Annabelle is definitely the least bad. You can tell Leonetti is trying hard to make a genuinely atmospheric picture. I also have to complement the impressive cinematography by James Kniest. The visual style of The Conjuring still remains fresh in this film. Joseph Bishara once again delivers an appropriately creepy musical score.

Annabelle Wallis and Ward Horton give decent performances as the two main characters. The two look the part of the classic, suburban late-1960's couple. Wallis pulls off a very convincing American accent. Plus, Wallis is really hot, so there's that. Alfre Woodard is the best actor in the film, but her character, sadly, is the most poorly written. Tony Amendola as the priest is also pretty good, his performance often reminiscent of Donald Pleasence in Halloween and Prince of Darkness, minus the British. The other actors, however, are very forgettable.

Let's get to the bad, shall we? While there are some effective and creepy moments, most of the scares in the film consist of loud and repetitive jump scares. Whereas The Conjuring took genre conventions and made them exciting, Annabelle doesn't do that. The screenplay by Gary Dauberman is very poorly and lazily written. The story is predictable, the dialogue is wooden, and the characters are boring as fuck. Why couldn't they get Chad and Carey Hayes to write the script instead of Dauberman?

Why do we need to see the origins of Annabelle? Horror filmmakers are aware that people have a fear of the unknown, right? Come on, they don't even use the true story of Annabelle as the basis for this film. That's just really pathetic. Several plot threads go nowhere and the film reeks of laziness and derivativeness. It's a really forgettable and familiar horror flick. Plus, I gotta point out a plot hole: Annabelle tries to kill the baby, but then later on, it's explained that the demon that attached itself to the doll is a demonic host looking for an innocent soul, so why the fuck does it try to kill the baby? God, this script is lacking.

FINAL SCORE: 4/10

Annabelle is far from terrible, but it's a stock, mediocre, tension-free horror film with bad writing, a lack of scares, boring characters, and poor storytelling. The acting is fine, the cinematography is very impressive, and the score is atmospheric, but those pros cannot outweigh the cons. You're better off watching this on TV, not in the theater. Hopefully, the upcoming Conjuring sequel will be better than this flick.

The Dark Knight Rises
½

The Dark Knight Rises is a 2012 superhero action thriller crime drama film directed, produced, and co-written by Christopher Nolan, co-written by Jonathan Nolan and David S. Goyer, based upon Batman characters created by Bob Kane, and starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy, Josh Stewart, Matthew Modine, Nestor Carbonell, Burn Gorman, Juno Temple, and Ben Mendelsohn. The film is sequel to the 2005 film Batman Begins and the 2008 film The Dark Knight, and is based on comic books published by DC Entertainment.

Following the death of District Attorney Harvey Dent / Two-Face (Aaron Eckhart), Bruce Wayne / Batman (Christian Bale) assumes responsibility for Dent's crimes to protect Dent's reputation and is subsequently hunted by the Gotham City Police Department. Eight years later, the Caped Crusader returns to Gotham, where he encounters the mysterious Selina Kyle / Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) while attempting to stop the villain Bane (Tom Hardy) from destroying the city.

Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins was a solid start to a promising trilogy of films. The acting was good, the visuals were stunning, the action scenes were decent, the story was well-paced, the music score was good, and Nolan's direction was solid. It was also the first Batman film to include the villains Ra's al Ghul (Liam Neeson) and Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy). Although I wish Scarecrow was given much more to do, he was all right, and so was Ra's.

Following up Batman Begins was The Dark Knight, featuring Heath Ledger in one of his final film roles as The Joker and Aaron Eckhart as Two-Face. The Dark Knight is a good film, but I still find it to be incredibly overrated. It's honestly my least favorite of the Nolan Batman franchise. While the acting, writing, music, direction, and action were still good, the pacing was lacking, the ending was poorly executed, and it lacked excitement. Really, the only reason this movie was a success was because of Ledger as The Joker.

The Dark Knight Rises is the epic conclusion to the trilogy and holy shit does it deliver. The Dark Knight Rises is without a shadow of a doubt my favorite installment in the Nolan Batman franchise. It's beautifully-paced, terrifically shot, incredibly engaging, and monumentally thrilling. Seriously, this is the longest film in the trilogy, clocking in at two hours and forty-five minutes, and yet I never got bored.

The performances are stellar. Christian Bale is honestly one of my favorite actors, and if you've seen his performances in American Psycho, The Fighter, and American Hustle, you can't disagree with me. Bale does a great job as Bruce Wayne in all three Batman films. In Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Bale's sore, cancer-like Batman voice never failed to make me chuckle, but in this film, it bothered me the least thanks to Bale's performance, Nolan's direction, and the well-written script.

Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman still pull off solid performances as always as Alfred Pennyworth, Commissioner Gordon, and Lucius Fox. These three are good in anything. Tom Hardy is absolutely fantastic as Bane, a villain who, dare I say it, is just as good if not better than the Joker. Ledger gave the better performance (who the fuck could top Ledger in terms of acting?), but the Joker says that the world needs a new class of criminal. Bane is exactly that: a new class of criminal. Hardy is able to give more emotions with his eyes than most other actors do with their entire faces.

Anne Hathaway is surprisingly excellent as the beautiful and mysterious Selena Kyle. Hathaway's portrayal of the character is more faithful to the comics than Michelle Pfeiffer's portrayal in Tim Burton's Batman Returns (however, I'm not dissing that movie, Burton, or Pfeiffer at all because I love them all). Sure, I'd prefer someone other than Hathaway for the role, but she still did a great job acting-wise and attractiveness-wise. Other players such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, and Josh Stewart are also great. This is by far the best-acted film in the trilogy.

The music score by Hans Zimmer is terrific. James Newton Howard doesn't return to do the score with Zimmer, but Zimmer still does an excellent job. The production designs by Nathan Crowley and Kevin Kavanaugh are spectacular. This film and Batman Begins are creative in terms of set designs, whereas The Dark Knight was quite lazy. The cinematography by Wally Pfister is stunning. The wide and aerial shots look beautiful and Pfister even manages to shoot the action and fight scenes well, improving upon his work on the first two films immensely. Lee Smith also outdoes himself with the film editing, also improving upon his work on BB and TDK.

The screenplay by David S. Goyer and the brothers Nolan is very well-written with good plotting, well-developed characters, and believable dialogue. The action sequences are very well-crafted and are always exciting, thrilling, and intense, specifically the opening scene on the airplane and the climax with one of Bane's Tumblers launching rockets at Batman, who's flying The Bat and trying to dodge them, while Selena Kyle dodges, outruns, and/or takes down other Tumblers while riding the Batpod. There's not much else I can say that most people haven't said already.

FINAL SCORE: 9/10

I'll admit, some plot holes bugged me but the rest of the movie was so great that they seemed like minor complaints. The Dark Knight Rises is the best of the trilogy and an excellent conclusion to the Dark Knight legend. The performances are great, the score is great, the action is great, the writing is great, the visuals are great, almost everything about this movie is great. I loved The Dark Knight Rises and unlike other Nolan fans, I'm not gonna attack someone for having a different opinion than mine. If you're not a fan of Nolan, that's perfectly fine. More power to you.

Deadly Friend
½

Deadly Friend is a 1986 supernatural science fiction romantic comedy-drama horror thriller slasher film directed by Wes Craven, written by Bruce Joel Rubin, loosely based on the novel "Friend" by Diana Henstell, and starring Matthew Laborteaux, Kristy Swanson, Michael Sharrett, Anne Twomey, Richard Marcus, Anne Ramsey, Charles Fleischer, Lee Paul, and Russ Marin.

Deadly Friend involves Paul, played by Matthew Laborteaux, a teenage science genius who relocates to the town of Welling with his mom Jeannie, played by Anne Twomey, and his robot buddy BB, voiced by Charles Fleischer. While adjusting to his new home, he becomes friends with paperboy Tom, played by Michael Sharrett. He also falls in love with the girl next door, Samantha, played by Kristy Swanson.

Samantha, unfortunately, has an abusive alcoholic father Harry, played by Richard Marcus, who savagely beats her, almost nearly to death. While Paul spends quality time with BB, Sam, and Tom, BB gets shot to death one night by crazy, paranoid neighbor bitch Elvira Parker, played by the late great Anne Ramsey. Also, Harry beats Sam and pushes her down the stairs, which causes her to get brain damage. Sam then dies and Paul re-animates her back to life with BB's microchip. However, he realizes he's created a terrifying monster.

Now, let me just talk about the history of the film's production before I talk about the film itself. Wes Craven made this movie right after he hit it big with A Nightmare on Elm Street. This was his first film made by a major Hollywood studio. Craven wanted to make this film gentler in tone than his other films. What he wanted to do with the film was what John Carpenter wanted to do with Starman.

Craven and the studios chose Jacob's Ladder and Ghost screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin to adapt Diana Henstell's beautiful horror love story into a script. When the script was finished and the casting was complete, filming began. After it was finished, Warner Bros. executives screened the film to a private screening with the audience mainly consisting of Wes Craven fanboys. All the audience wanted was blood, guts, and gore.

The then president of the studio, Mark Tappin, discovered Craven's popularity as a horror filmmaker. So Wes decided to make up one nightmare scene and then add it into the film. It later became the big hit at the screening. But then, Warner Bros. decided to add more gore. They told Craven to add to the deaths of a few people, add a couple gory dream sequences, add an opening jump scare, and add a new closing scene. They forced Rubin to write those scenes into the script.

It was at that point when Warner Bros. took the film away from Craven and Rubin. The two virtually disowned it. 1986 was a painful year for Wes Craven. At the time, he was going through a pretty rough divorce and he had to settle a case in court where some fuckhead claimed to have written A Nightmare on Elm Street, even though Craven himself wrote it and nobody else did.

As if production couldn't get any worse, there were seven or eight producers on set who each had their own idea of what the film should be like. There was also post-production re-shoots and re-editing when Warner Bros. decided to release this film as fast-paced horror instead of a sci-fi thriller that focuses on a dark, macabre, romantic love story. Also, the film had to be cut and submitted to the MPAA thirteen times before it could receive an R rating. Plus, the horrendous ending was the nonsensical idea of Mark Tappin.

In fact, in the theatrical trailer for the movie, there was a line where Sam says "You're so cute." to Paul and we get a couple clips of Anne Ramsey's original death scene, which involved Sam grabbing her from behind and slamming her through her front door, neither of which were in the movie. The studio made it look Elm Street redux considering the mixture of teens and horror. No frame of BB was in the trailer and I'm in awe that the creepy lullaby music isn't part of the soundtrack.

Okay, now since we got that out of the way, let's move on to the movie itself. How is it? Well, Deadly Friend will always hold a special place in my heart. It was one of the first horror movies I ever saw as a kid and I think it's a criminally underrated entry in Wes Craven's filmography. Does it have problems? Well, yeah. But I still really enjoy this movie.

Wes Craven does a decent job directing the film. Bruce Joel Rubin's screenplay features some pretty good dialogue here and there. The acting is great. Matthew Laborteaux and Kristy Swanson are incredibly likeable as Paul and Sam. Swanson gives a very sweet, innocent, compassionate, and vulnerable performance as Sam. Laborteaux is very convincing and believable as Paul. We feel for them and we care about them. We're on their side.

Michael Sharrett is the conscience and the comic relief of the film. When he fainted when he saw Samantha's leg moving after she was brought back to life, I was laughing pretty damn hard. Anne Twomey is really caring as Jeannie. Richard Marcus doesn't do a bad job playing Harry, but I really don't like the way the character was written. He just comes across as an underdeveloped bore, something that he wasn't in the book. Anne Ramsey's performance also stands out. She's brilliant at playing mean old ladies.

Charles Bernstein's score is absolutely fantastic. It really matches the tone of the film. My favorite track would have to be the main title music. Philip Lathrop's cinematography was decent for the time, but doesn't really hold up well today. Daniel A. Lomino's set designs really do echo A Nightmare on Elm Street's set designs, which Craven was apparently going for with the set designs of this movie. Unfortunately, Michael Eliot's editing is quite choppy to say the least.

But the absolute the best thing about this movie is--say it with me, folks--the legendary basketball death scene. Does it have terrible effects? Yes. Was it unnecessary? Yes. Could you take it out of the film? Yes. Would it not affect the continuity of the film? Yes. But this scene is fucking ingenious. It first starts off as irritating, then it's shit-your-pants scary and disturbing, and then it ends with a truly hilarious pay-off. Say what you will, but you can't deny that this is just beyond epic.

Then, we get to the bad shit. While the scene I mentioned in the above paragraph is truly awesome, it's still fucking stupid as fuck. For example, why would Anne Ramsey just stand there screaming instead of dodging the basketball? How is Sam able to grow super-strength because of the microchip? How is the force of the basketball able to make Anne Ramsey's head explode on impact?

Why does she walk around in circles and make death gurgles after being decapitated? Why would Sam kill her using the basketball instead of the shotgun Ramsey used to shoot BB? I get the association with the basketball, but the shotgun would've made more sense and would've tied things up much better. Hell, in the book, Sam killed her by drowning her in her bathtub.

As I said before, Harry is a completely one-dimensional bore. In the book, while we don't sympathize with him, we understand his torment. In the book, his wife left him for another man and that causes the rage inside him. The rage makes him bitter and he projects his anger out on Sam. In the movie, he's just abusive for the sake of being abusive.

The relationship between Paul and Sam ends before it even begins and some scenes lack character development. In fact, I saw dozens of pictures of lobby cards that depict several deleted scenes from the movie, including Paul and Sam having a picnic, Paul and Sam sitting on a porch with Sam holding a toy animal that's a gift from Paul, and Paul kneeling next to Sam in the hospital after she gets unplugged from life support among many others. They're not in the movie because of post-production re-editing.

And here's my major gripe: the fucking ridiculous ending. Paul visits Sam in the morgue, feeling guilt for bringing her back to life. Samantha transforms into a human version of BB and breaks Paul's neck. According to the IMDb message boards, this scene can be explained in three ways.

Explanation #1: Samantha grows stronger throughout the movie (after she gets the chip implanted in her brain) because the chip also slowly transforms her into a half-human, half-machine creature. She kills Paul because her human mind is officially gone and all that remains in her mind are memory glimpses of her old life, which is why she says "Come with me, Paul." before she kills him.

Explanation #2: Samantha is dead, but just for a short time, she returns as some sort of a ghost or maybe even a demonic entity because she wants Paul to come with her into the afterlife so she takes care of that by breaking his neck. Her transformation is not physical but instead supernatural. After she takes Paul, all that's left in morgue are their bodies in their normal condition which means that hers isn't actually transformed.

Explanation #3 (the one most fans of this movie tend to go with): It was all a nightmare that Paul has because he feels guilty for what happened to Samantha after he brought her back.

You can interpret this scene any way you want. That doesn't change the fact that this ending doesn't even attempt to make sense. It's so fucking stupid. It makes a basketball that is able to explode heads look like a theory conjured up by Stephen Hawking by comparison. From what I've heard, the producers wanted a cheap shock ending. This film really should've ended with Sam dying again in Paul's arms.

In Craven's original cut of the movie, instead of getting shot, Sam gets help and so does Paul. In the book, Sam and Paul run away from the police and Sam hugs Paul. Thinking she's trying to kill him, Paul pushes her into the river only to realize Sam wants Paul to come with her. Paul even says "So this is what love comes to." and jumps into the river to be with Sam in oblivion while the police are in hot pursuit.

This ending was fantastic and wrapped things up beautifully. If you're going to make the ending different from the book, then you need to have it make at least a shred of sense and have it be relevant to the fucking plot of this movie. But did they do that? No. This is what happens when studio execs think they're filmmakers. Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth.

FINAL SCORE: 7.5/10

Despite a lot of problems, Deadly Friend succeeds due to its likeable main characters, a decent script, good performances, one of the most awesome death scenes in film history, and the film itself being campy, bloody, entertaining fun. It's not a terrible adaptation of the novel, but it's certainly not a good one either. I really hope we get to see the original cut someday with the deleted and alternate footage.

In fact, there's a petition online to get Shout!/Scream Factory to release a two-disc special 30th anniversary collector's edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack of the film that includes the theatrical cut and the original director's cut. Here's the link: http://www.change.org/petitions/shout-scream-factory-release-deadly-friend-director-s-cut-on-blu-ray-dvd-2. Please sign it.

Man of Steel
Man of Steel(2013)

Man of Steel is a 2013 science fiction superhero action film directed by Zack Snyder, written by David S. Goyer, produced by Christopher Nolan, and starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Ayelet Zurer, Christopher Meloni, Harry J. Lennix, Richard Schiff, Michael Kelly, Rebecca Buller, and Christina Wran. The film is a reboot of the Superman franchise as well as an adaptation of the comic books published by DC Entertainment.

Man of Steel involves Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), a journalist who was adopted as a child by Jonathan and Martha Kent (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane) after he was transported to Earth from the dying planet of Krypton. Raised with the values of his adoptive parents, he feels alienated because of his unique super powers and struggles to find his own place in life. When the world is attacked by General Zod (Michael Shannon), Clark must become the hero named Superman in order to protect Earth and its people.

Now, I'm a big fan of Superman. The Superman comics I read were Secret Origin, Birthright, Red Son, and Earth One, all of which were terrific reads. I loved the first two Superman movies starring Christopher Reeve, I loved Superman: The Animated Series, and I loved Smallville. I'm also a big fan of the game Injustice: Gods Among Us. Superman III was a joke and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was an unholy abomination, and I'll admit, I kinda liked Superman Returns.

Man of Steel was a film I defended to the death amongst colleagues, friends, plebs, mindless haters, and yes, even my fellow Trollfighters. I was one of the people who thought that this movie was amazing. Cut to: one year and five re-watches later. This is when I realized I lost the fight because I ended up finding a few problems to be found in this movie. I fought a good fight, but sadly, my thoughts on this movie have now gone from "I love this movie!" to "I really liked this movie."

Man of Steel opens on the planet Krypton, where we see Lara Lor-Van (Ayelet Zurer) giving birth to her newborn son Kal-El. Her husband, the brilliant scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe), is having an argument with the Kryptonian Council regarding the harvesting of Krypton's core. Jor-El suggests that they evacuate the planet, but the Council doesn't want to do that because...reasons. Seriously, your home planet's core is unstable, thus causing your planet to face destruction, and yet you don't want to evacuate. What the fuck?

However, during the meeting, General Zod kills the guards and he wants to take over the planet (even though it has a few weeks left of life). Jor-El escapes Zod and retrieves the Codex (Zod apparently wanted to get the Codex after going to the Council). Zod fights Jor-El and eventually kills him, thus he feels surprisingly genuine remorse. Then, the Council banishes him and his gang to the Phantom Zone (even though your planet's gonna blow up). Then, everybody dies on Krypton. Yeah, this opening is pretty weak. But once it ends, the movie picks up into high gear fast.

The performances in Man of Steel are fantastic. Before Man of Steel, I've never liked Henry Cavill as an actor based on his terrible performances in The Cold Light of Day and Immortals, but in this film, he's superb, showing a lot of emotional range in the role. The beautiful Amy Adams was a great Lois Lane, portraying a stronger and more confident version of the character that we've never seen before.

Michael Shannon was excellent as General Zod, who's rather a broken, bitter, and single-minded man who has nothing to lose as he's pushed to the breaking point than a Hitler wannabe. Don't get me wrong, I love Terence Stamp as Zod in Superman II, but his version is nothing more than a cliché. The rest of the cast does a great job as well, especially Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, and Russell Crowe.

Man of Steel's action sequences are absolutely insane and the special effects are stunning. I'm shocked this wasn't nominated for Best Visuals at the Oscars. The cinematography by Amir Mokri is really impressive. He and Zack Snyder do manage to incorporate zoom-in shots and shaky camerawork into the action scenes, but they never came across as gimmicky. The film is also beautifully edited by David Brenner, the set designs by Alex McDowell are really good, and the score by Hans Zimmer is spellbinding.

Now, here are three complaints I have about Man of Steel. While David S. Goyer did a good job re-inventing the character of Superman for a new generation and also did a superb job adapting Superman: Earth One to the big screen, I don't think a non-linear storytelling structure was the way to do it. I'm not saying I hate the non-linear narrative, I'm just saying I would've preferred a more traditional narrative. Here's another: When Zod was probing Lois' memories, how did he not know that Lois had the USB when they took her on their ship after doing so?

I also wasn't the biggest fan of the ending. In case you're wondering, no, I'm not talking about Superman breaking Zod's neck, I'm talking about what happens after that. I actually didn't mind Superman killing Zod because if you think about it, it's actually a really bold choice for Superman. Also, Superman killed Zod before in Superman II and nobody slit their wrists about that.

To quote Angry Joe, "Ultimately, it lets Zod win. It plays again to a young and inexperienced Clark and how he knows his actions will have huge ramifications. It's a catalyst now for why he will never ever take another life. The fact that he had to do it to one of his own people, one of the last remaining Kryptonians. At that moment, he not only choses to be human, but he makes the ultimate sacrifice for humanity, and he also makes himself forever alone."

However, after that scene, we cut to Superman destroying an expensive piece of military equipment, an attractive military woman making a quip about how hot Superman is, Superman having a chat with his mom, and then him taking a job at the Daily Planet where we get a jab at Superman wearing glasses. They never bring Zod's death up again. It's rushed for no reason. But who knows, maybe we'll get to see Superman dealing with the consequences in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

Man of Steel is a highly underrated and truly great re-telling of the story of Superman, but it's no longer as excellent as I used to make it out to be. Honestly, could you really blame me? I was blinded by my inner fanboyism. Man of Steel is far from perfect, but thanks to its excellent action scenes, terrific effects, great performances, and a, for the most part, well-handled re-invention of the Last Son of Krypton, Man of Steel fucking rocks.

Curse of Chucky
½

Curse of Chucky is a 2013 horror thriller slasher film written, produced, and directed by Don Mancini, produced by David Kirschner, and starring Brad Dourif, Fiona Dourif, Danielle Bisutti, Brennan Elliott, Maitland McConnell, Chantal Quesnelle, Summer Howell, A Martinez, Jennifer Tilly, and Alex Vincent. The film is, of course, the sixth installment of the Child's Play franchise.

Taking place twenty-five years after the events of the first film, serial killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif) once again returns in the form of the Good Guy doll known as Chucky. After the mysterious death of her mother Sarah (Chantal Quesnelle), Nica (Fiona Dourif) begins to suspect that the talking, red-haired doll her visiting niece Alice (Summer Howell) has been playing with may be the key to recent bloodshed and chaos.

I do happen to be a fan of the Child's Play franchise, having liked the first three films since childhood. The second one happens to be my personal favorite, in terms of acting, cinematography, special effects, and plotting. And yes, I do like Bride of Chucky, the film that introduced the comedy aspect of the franchise. But what I liked was that it was mainly dark comedy and that it perfectly balanced humor and horror. However, the franchise sunk into oblivion with the godawful Seed of Chucky.

Although Curse of Chucky is a step back in the right direction for the franchise, it's nowhere near as good as die-hard Chucky fans claim it is. The film has a lot of good things going for it, especially in terms of suspense, special effects, and gore, but it also has a lot of bad things going for it as well, especially the writing and most of the acting. Yes, I thought Bride of Chucky was a better film than this. Come the fuck at me.

As for the performances, the only two who manage to pull out good performances are Brad and Fiona Dourif as Chucky and Nica, respectively. Brad still does a great job as always, although at certain points, it seems as if the man is phoning it in. His daughter Fiona is a great actress, pulling in a legitimately competent and convincing performance as Nica. Also, Fiona Dourif is absolutely gorgeous, so that's a plus.

However, the other actors are simply terrible. Brennan Elliott, Chantal Quesnelle, and Maitland McConnell are all bland and wooden, Summer Howell is just another lame child actor, A Martinez is stiff and boring, and Danielle Bisutti is absolutely atrocious. To paraphrase my good friend Diego Tutweiller's thoughts on Nicola Peltz in The Last Airbender, Bisutti has the double whammy of being both unattractive and untalented. Good Lord, honestly, her line delivery is cringe-worthy.

The writing is pretty bad. Chucky's one-liners in this movie are hit-or-miss. There's one scene he says, "Women. Can't live with 'em. Period." Really? I could think of something better than that. How about, "Women. Can't live with 'em... can't fuck 'em. Period."? That's actually funny. Come on, Don Mancini. Chucky had better one-liners in the previous film. Also, this film gave birth to the worst insult of all time. So there's a scene where Danielle Bisutti and Brennan Elliott are having an argument and it ends with her walking out of the room and calling him a latte-making loser. You'll want to slit your wrists after seeing that.

Thankfully, this film has some redeeming qualities. The musical score by Joseph LoDuca of Evil Dead fame is incredibly eerie and is the best score in the franchise since Child's Play 2. The cinematography by Michael Marshall is slick and stylish, and the lighting is top-notch. The practical gore effects are very well-done, especially A Martinez's decapitation scene. The effects for Chucky, brought to life by Tony Gardner, are well-executed, despite a few annoying instances of dodgy CGI.

FINAL SCORE: 5/10

When I first saw this film, I hated it with every fiber of my being. Giving it another watch, I was way too harsh on this movie although it's still not that good. It's well-shot, it has a creepy score, it has solid gore, and that post-credits scene...fucking awesome. But the writing is bad, most of the acting isn't good, and while it's suspenseful, it's not scary. Overall, this would have to be the weakest entry in the franchise since Seed of Chucky, although this is nowhere near as terrible as Seed.

I, Frankenstein

I, Frankenstein is a 2014 supernatural science fiction fantasy adventure action horror thriller film directed by Stuart Beattie, written by Beattie and executive producer Kevin Grevioux, based on the graphic novel by Grevioux and the character of Frankenstein created by Mary Shelley, and starring Aaron Eckhart, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Bill Nighy, Jai Courtney, Socratis Otto, Aden Young, Virginie Le Brun, Nicholas Bell, and Grevioux.

Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Aden Young) dies frozen to death and his creature (Aaron Eckhart) buries him at the cemetery of his family. However, he is attacked by demons, but he kills one of them. Gargoyles save him and take him to a Cathedral where the Gargoyles Order gathers. The Queen of the Gargoyles, Leonore (Miranda Otto), keeps Dr. Frankenstein's journal together with the treasures of the Order and gives the name of Adam to the creature. She then explains to Adam that there is an ancient war between the Gargoyles that are angels and demons under the command of Prince Naberius (Bill Nighy).

She also invites Adam to join the Gargoyles in the war against the demons, but Adam prefers to isolate in a remote place. Two hundred years later, Adam returns and finds a modern society. Soon he learns that Naberius has the intention of creating an army of soulless corpses to be possessed by demons. Scientist Terra Wade (Yvonne Strahovski) is researching a process to create life and Naberius, disguised as billionaire businessman Charles Wessex, is seeking Dr. Frankenstein's journal to help Terra and raise his army.

One of the first horror films I've ever seen as a child was James Whale's 1931 horror classic Frankenstein, starring Boris Karloff as the legendary creature. Since then, I've been a huge fan of Frankenstein. I loved the novel by Mary Shelley, I loved Bride of Frankenstein, I liked some of the Hammer Frankenstein films with Peter Cushing, and Kenneth Branagh's film is criminally underrated.

I haven't read Kevin Grevioux's graphic novel I, Frankenstein, but when I heard a film adaptation was in the works, I was interested. I thought the idea of making a fantasy horror action film with Frankenstein fighting demons from hell sounded very intriguing. Stuart Beattie was attached to write and direct, and I'm a fan of his work on Collateral, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Australia, 30 Days of Night, Curse of the Black Pearl, and Tomorrow, When the War Began.

This movie is not only a piece of shit but an absolute disgrace to Frankenstein. Mary Shelley is spinning in her grave. First of all, the acting is atrocious. Aaron Eckhart is beyond stiff as Frankenstein's monster and he looks bored throughout the entire movie, as do Miranda Otto as the gargoyle queen and Bill Nighy as the villain. Yvonne Strahovski is just there to look attractive and Jai Courtney is terrible as the leader of the gargoyle army. Let's be thankful Courtney redeemed himself with Divergent.

The special effects and CGI are fucking horrible. This cost over $60 million to make. That is absolutely pathetic. District 9 and Serenity had $30 million budgets and their visuals were impressive and eye-popping. Good God, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones had better CGI than this. Because of the horrible visuals, the action isn't fun to watch at all. Also, Frankenstein doesn't look he's made of dead, rotting body parts. He looks like a scarred hobo you'd see on the streets. Fucking pathetic.

Speaking of Serenity, the climax of this film rips that movie off. You know the scene in Serenity where Mal and his crew enter Reaver space and then the Reavers engage in battle with the Alliance, therefore providing help to Mal's crew? Yeah, Stuart Beattie decided to steal from that. Mr. Beattie, I hate to point out the obvious, but you are not Joss Whedon.

If that wasn't enough, the villain's plan is a rip-off of Van Helsing. I'm not fucking with you. I can at least watch Van Helsing as a decent timewaster, unlike this atrocity. I feel bad for these actors having to star in this shitstorm. The plotting and storytelling are beyond idiotic. The script is terribly written and reeks of laziness and utter retardation. The characters are all shallow and wooden, the dialogue is abysmal, and the story is way too quickly paced.

In fact, here are two terrible lines within the space of less than a minute:
"Human beings are the most complex creatures in the universe."
"Frankenstein is just a horror story made to frighten children."

Wow, two times the fail.

By the way, Frankenstein was a horror story made to frighten everyone on planet Earth, both kids and adults, you fucking idiot. Ugh. Talk about J.W.-levels of stupidity.

FINAL SCORE: 2/10

The only two good things this movie has to offer are the musical score by Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil and the cinematography by Ross Emery. Other than that, this film is a giant mess, with horrible writing, terrible acting, inept direction, god-awful special effects, repetitive action sequences, asinine plotting, and a lack of creativity, originality, and imagination. If you want to watch a good Frankenstein movie, watch either the Boris Karloff films, the Peter Cushing films, or the Kenneth Branagh film. Or better yet, read Mary Shelley's book. Fuck this movie.

Bicentennial Man

Bicentennial Man is a 1999 science fiction drama film directed by Chris Columbus, written by Nicholas Kazan, produced by Columbus and Wolfgang Petersen, and starring Robin Williams, Embeth Davidtz, Sam Neill, Bradley Whitford, Oliver Platt, Wendy Crewson, Stephen Root, John Michael Higgins, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, and Kiersten Warren. The film is based on the short story The Bicentennial Man by Isaac Asimov and the novel The Positronic Man by Asimov and Robert Silverberg.

If a robot spends enough time around humans, can he learn to become one of them? The Martin family purchases a domestic android as a servant and names him Andrew (Robin Williams). Andrew comes to know the man of the house as Sir (Sam Neill), his wife as Ma'am (Wendy Crewson), and their daughter as Little Miss (Embeth Davidtz). Before long, the Martins suspect that they don't have an ordinary robot on their hands.

Andrew seems capable of expressing emotion and generating original thoughts, and the longer he stays with the Martins, the more strongly these human traits manifest themselves. Over the next two centuries, Andrew becomes less a machine and more a member of the family, even falling in love with Little Miss' granddaughter Portia (Davidtz), until mechanic Rupert Burns (Oliver Platt) tells Andrew that he might be able to turn him into a human being.

After first reviewing the overrated Dead Poets Society, I decided to review the underrated Bicentennial Man, in memory of Williams' recent passing. Yes, I'm aware that many people didn't like this movie. Yes, I'm aware that the film was a bomb at the box office. Yes, I'm aware that people criticized this movie for being too sentimental. This film is very sentimental, but what makes the film so good isn't just the emotions of the characters but also the ideas about humanity and how we, as a race, perceive it.

Robin Williams gives one of his best performances as our unlikely hero Andrew and other performances from talented actors like Sam Neill, Oliver Platt, and especially the gorgeous Embeth Davidtz are also great. Williams plays the character of Andrew to absolute perfection and the dialogue, written by Nicholas Kazan of Matilda fame, is delivered extraordinary well by Williams.

Chris Columbus does a great job directing the film. The man is a good director, giving us greats like Mrs. Doubtfire, Adventures in Babysitting, Harry Potter, and Home Alone among others. Columbus' direction is great and his vision of the film is wondrous, with Phil Meheux's cinematography perfectly complementing them. The visuals and set designs look fantastic and the film is also beautifully paced.

The humor and the drama are balanced perfectly, with neither overshadowing the other. The story about life and the human condition is very engaging. The character of Andrew is incredibly likeable and endearing. The score by James Horner is one of his best scores, right up there with Casper, Avatar, The Amazing Spider-Man, Aliens, Commando, A Beautiful Mind, and Wrath of Khan.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

Bicentennial Man is not only a great Robin Williams movie, but an even better sci-fi film. It's very touching, heartwarming, and makes for a really good character drama. Featuring one of Williams' best performances, gorgeous scenery, a beautiful score, and a well-written screenplay, Bicentennial Man is a highly underrated, underappreciated, and overlooked sci-fi gem. Oh, and the ending is now very tough to watch due to Williams' passing.

Need For Speed

Need for Speed is a 2014 action thriller film directed and co-edited by Scott Waugh, written by John and George Gatins, produced by John Gatins, and starring Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots, Scott "Kid Cudi" Mescudi, Michael Keaton, Ramon Rodriguez, Dakota Johnson, Rami Malek, Harrison Gilbertson, and Stevie Ray Dallimore. The film is based on the video game series of the same name developed by Electronic Arts.

Framed by his ex-partner Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) for a murder he did not commit, Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul), a financially struggling custom-car builder and street racer, spends two years in jail thinking about one moment. Fresh out of prison, he reacquires the fastest car his workshop ever built and sold, and seeks to enter a secretive and extremely high-stakes race known as the De Leon. His purpose: redemption, recognition from the world of racing, and to solve his problems, yet all of this fades in comparison to his driving reason: revenge. Above all, revenge.

To be perfectly honest, with the exception of Rivals, I've never played any of the Need for Speed video games, and since they're about racing, this film is one of the most faithful adaptations of any video game ever made. Need for Speed joins a rare batch of decent films based on video games. Other films in this lot include Silent Hill, Tekken, the first Mortal Kombat, and Final Fantasy: Advent Children.

Yes, as much as I hate to admit, I did enjoy this movie. I'm not saying it's objectively good because it isn't, really. But if you're able to turn your brain off for two hours and try to have some fun, this is the film for you. First and foremost, the action. Need for Speed has some of the best-shot car chases I've seen in a very long time. The car chases are surprisingly well-shot and competently edited. I have to give director Scott Waugh and cinematographer Shane Hurlbut credit for opting to avoid using shaky-cam, zoom-in shots, and quick-cut editing. Also, the car chases were created entirely using practical effects and they look awesome.

The score by Nathan Furst is good and it complements the action scenes and the more serious, dramatic moments perfectly. The performances are hit and miss. The best performances come from Aaron Paul and Dominic Cooper. I love Aaron Paul as an actor, and while he was good here, he wasn't great, but I don't necessarily blame Paul for this as much as I blame George Gatins' formulaic script. Imogen Poots is passable and provides great eye candy, Kid Cudi is surprisingly not bad in his film debut, and Michael Keaton is always a treat to watch, but the other actors are pretty wooden and bland, especially Dakota Johnson.

The screenplay is cheesy, formulaic, and quite predictable. The characters are underdeveloped and the story is nothing special. This is pretty much a movie made by gearheads for gearheads. However, what else would you expect? I don't expect Oscar-worthy material from a film based on a video game. With a film like this, you just go in to have a good time, plain and simple. It's flawed, but it's never boring.

FINAL SCORE: 6/10

I shamefully admit to having fun with Need for Speed. It's one of the better movies based on a best-selling series of video games, with exciting action scenes and decent performances despite a clichéd script and generic plotting. It's also remarkably well-paced. For a 130-minute-long movie, it honestly felt like a half-hour shorter than that. If you're looking for decent escapism, Need for Speed fits your bill.

Dead Poets Society
½

Dead Poets Society is a 1989 drama film directed by Peter Weir, written by Tom Schulman, and starring Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, Kurtwood Smith, Josh Charles, Gale Hansen, Norman Lloyd, Dylan Kussman, James Waterston, Allelon Ruggiero, Leon Pownall, Alexandra Powers, Kevin Cooney, Welker White, Debra Mooney, George Hager, Carla Belver, and John Cunningham.

In 1959, Welton Academy is a staid but well-respected preparatory school for boys where education is a pragmatic and rather dull affair. Several of the students, however, have their thoughts on the learning process (and life itself) changed when a new teacher comes to the school. John Keating (Robin Williams) is an unconventional educator who tears chapters of his textbooks and asks his students to stand on their desks to see the world from a new angle.

Keating introduces his students to poetry, and his free-thinking attitude and the liberating philosophies of the authors he introduces to his class have a profound effect on his students, especially Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke), Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard), Knox Overstreet (Josh Charles), Steven Meeks (Allelon Ruggiero), Charlie Dalton (Gale Hansen), Gerard Pitts (James Waterston), and Richard Cameron (Dylan Kussman). Keating urges his students to seize the day and live their lives boldly, but when this philosophy leads to an unexpected tragedy, headmaster Gale Nolan (Norman Lloyd) fires Keating, and his students leap to his defense.

Considering Robin Williams has recently passed away, I don't think it would be fair to write a negative review of one of his movies, but I'm sorry, please forgive me, but this movie is criminally overrated. I just need to get this off my chest. Dead Poets Society has Williams' strongest performance, but it's completely wasted in this boring, pretentious, manipulative trite.

I'll get the good stuff out of the way first. The performances are fantastic, and it's a shame to see them wasted. Robin Williams is not only a great comedic actor, but an even better dramatic actor, and to Dead Poets Society's credit, it shows in this movie. He plays off actors like Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard very well. Hawke and Leonard are also really good in this movie as are the other young actors. The cinematography by John Seale is also very strong and the musical score by Maurice Jarre is beautiful.

However, the rest of the movie is boring, pretentious, manipulative, sentimental, and hackneyed. Robin Williams is great, but his character isn't. He's an unrealistically-written poetry nut, and to sum up the classes he teaches to his students, he pretty much just tells them, "Be open-minded! Think like me!" and that's it.

Now, here's the biggest problem I have with this movie. In the words of my good friend Diego Tutweiller:

"Williams does fucking nothing. The film is supposedly about breaking out of molds, ending conformism, and being your own man. Williams encourages one of his students to do this, but the student incurs the wrath of his father, and then (spoiler alert) kills himself. Suddenly, the administration is up in arms and decides to blame Williams and his Dead Poets Society for it. After forcing all of the society members to sign a paper disavowing Williams, he is fired. So what changed? Fucking nothing, that's what. The kid's father, who was the most evil human being in the movie, got away fine. The faculty goes on living their lives. Only Williams is punished. Now, you could make the argument that he somehow impacted the lives of his students, sure. But what evidence of that is there? They all end up being spineless fucks who throw him under the bus at the end of the movie! Ooh, they stood up on desks and saluted him! What a valiant and spontaneous display of individualism! But after Williams walks out of that class, what will have changed? Nothing at all! They will go on being treated like human doormats! The film completely rejects its own premise by allowing its villains to go unpunished and confining its heroes to a lifetime of suffering! THE FUCK?"

I couldn't have said that better myself. That's what I hate the most about Dead Poets Society and that is the number one reason why this never managed to grip me or inspire me and why this truly is one of the most overrated films of all time. Sorry, but this prep school drama just failed most of the courses. Better luck next year, am I right?

FINAL SCORE: 3/10

Dead Poets Society has good intentions. It tries so hard to be a gripping, inspiring, and emotionally powerful film and it fails. It rejects its own premise, it constantly undermines its own message, it's poorly paced, it attempts to be intelligent when it really isn't, and it's not really moving as much as it is manipulative and lacking in heart and brains. Despite great performances, strong cinematography, and a fantastic score, Dead Poets Society is a film that I never, ever understood why people love it so much.

Into The Storm

Into the Storm is a 2014 found footage action adventure disaster thriller film directed by Steven Quale, written by John Swetnam, produced by Todd Garner, and starring Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Jeremy Sumpter, Nathan Kress, Arlen Escarpeta, Max Deacon, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Scott Lawrence, Lee Whittaker, Jon Reep, and Kyle Davis.

In the span of a single day, the town of Silverton is ravaged by an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes. The entire town is at the mercy of the erratic and deadly cyclones, even as storm trackers predict the worst is yet to come. Most people seek shelter, while others run towards the vortex, testing how far a storm chaser will go for that once-in-a-lifetime shot. Professional storm chasers, thrill-seeking amateurs, and courageous townspeople are thrown directly into the eye of the storm to experience Mother Nature at her most extreme.

Steven Quale first started off as a protégé of filmmaker James Cameron, handling second unit direction on Titanic and Avatar, co-directing the documentary Aliens of the Deep, and editing the special edition director's cut of The Abyss. Quale made his filmmaking debut with the surprisingly enjoyable Final Destination 5, which garnered generally positive reviews from film critics, a first for the franchise. Quade's follow-up feature, Into the Storm, is fun and all, but not worth your money.

The visual effects, admittedly, look spectacular. All the tornado destruction scenes are ridiculously entertaining to watch. Trust me when I say that when shit hits the fan, it really hits the fan. I'm talking Man of Steel-level destruction, folks. The musical score by Brian Tyler is pretty good. The performances by Richard Armitage (Thorin Oakenshield, yo), the gorgeous Sarah Wayne Callies (whom you might remember as Lori from The Walking Dead), and Matt Walsh are decent.

However, Steven Quale's directorial style for this film was a huge problem, which was surprising considering Quale did a good job directing Final Destination 5. About half of this movie is found footage and the other half isn't, and it's very confusing because you can't tell which is which. The cinematography by Brian Pearson and the film editing by Eric A. Sears play a big part in this problem I have with the film.

The characters are stock and forgettable, especially Richard Armitage's sons and one of the sons' girlfriend, and the screenplay by John Swetnam lacks character development. In fact, in some scenes, the characters often do stupid things. The dialogue and plotting are generic, by-the-numbers, and weak. Say what you will about Twister, but at least it had a decent story and at least you cared about the main characters.

FINAL SCORE: 4/10

Into the Storm is pretty much a movie you'd see on the Syfy Channel but with a million times better special effects and a hundred times better acting quality. It's an entertaining picture with fantastic visuals and fun destruction sequences as well as a decent score by Brian Tyler, but it lacks good storytelling and interesting characters. All in all, Into the Storm is a mediocre if visually phenomenal disaster film.

Patch Adams
Patch Adams(1998)

Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman, two immensely talented actors, have passed away this year. Last year, we had James Gandolfini, Dennis Farina, Paul Walker, and Peter O'Toole, and now, we have Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Williams. So, I thought why not review one of their movies to honor them? However, instead of one of their more iconic movies, I'll instead be reviewing one of their more underrated films. That film is Patch Adams.

Patch Adams is a 1998 semi-biographical comedy-drama film directed by Tom Shadyac (The Nutty Professor, Ace Ventura, Bruce Almighty, Liar Liar), written by Steve Oedekerk (Ace Ventura 2, Barnyard, Jimmy Neutron, Cowboys & Aliens), and starring Robin Williams, Monica Potter, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Daniel London, Bob Gunton, Harold Gould, Michael Jeter, Alan Tudyk (Firefly, bitches), Peter Coyote, and Greg Sestero (not making it up; he's really in this movie).

Patch Adams is inspired by the true story of Hunter Adams, a.k.a. Patch Adams. The plot involves a man determined to become a medical doctor because he enjoys helping people. The medical community though doesn't like his methods of healing the sick patients, even though everyone else appreciates and enjoys what he does as he is the only one who can do so. Patch Adams attempts to prove that laughter may be the best medicine.

Robin Williams does an outstanding job playing the character of Patch Adams. I've heard of the real Patch Adams, but I don't know much about the guy so I'm unable to point out historical inaccuracies or changes made from true events. Williams is a fantastic actor, and it really shows in this film. The film mainly focuses on how doctors should treat their patients as opposed to how they actually do treat their patients.

Patch takes the time to get to know them, and finds out what's wrong with them in their minds and in their hearts, as opposed to just walking into a patient's room and pulling out an IV or a needle out of nowhere. From what I've heard, over 100,000 medical students have helped joined the real Patch Adams' cause. This is one of the most underrated films I have ever seen in my entire life and I am shocked by how much hatred this film gets.

All the actors do great jobs playing their roles, especially Robin Williams, Monica Potter, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Bob Gunton. Potter does a good job playing Carin Fisher, the love interest of Patch Adams. The more Carin believes in Patch, the more Patch believes in himself. One thing people hated about this film was the choice of casting Robin Williams as Patch Adams. They thought he was too over-the-top to play a role as serious as this. I don't recall one scene in this film where he goes over-the-top, so to everybody who hates this film: please explain to me.

Don't get me wrong. Robin Williams can be funny in this film, but he's not Death to Smoochy Rainbow Randolph funny (Death to Smoochy is another highly underrated Robin Williams film). Williams fucking nailed this role. Not one word in the Oxford English Dictionary can explain how much I disagree with the haters on this one. Here's probably my favorite line in the entire movie:

"Why can't we treat death with a certain amount of humanity and dignity and decency, and God forbid, maybe even humor? Death is not the enemy, gentlemen. If we're gonna fight a disease, let's fight one of the most terrible diseases of all: indifference. Transference is inevitable, sir. Every human being has an impact on another. Why don't we want that in a patient/doctor relationship? A doctor's mission should be not just to prevent death but also to improve the quality of life. That's why you treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you win, no matter what the outcome."

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

Patch Adams is a great film. It's well-written, competently directed, well-acted, has genuine emotion, the pacing was good, the plot was well-established, and I love the score by Marc Shaiman. If you're a fan of Robin Williams, check this film out. If you don't like the film, that's fine, more power to you, I can't change your opinion, but like I said in my G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra review, at least give credit where credit is due.

The Expendables 3
½

The Expendables 3 is a 2014 ensemble action film directed by Patrick Hughes, produced by Sylvester Stallone, written by Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, and Stallone, and starring Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terry Crews, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, Antonio Banderas, Kelsey Grammer, Wesley Snipes, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, and Robert Davi.

Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), and the rest of the mercenary team known as the Expendables come face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. Stonebanks subsequently became a ruthless arms trader and someone who Barney was forced to kill...or so he thought.

Stonebanks, who eluded death once before, is now making it his mission to end The Expendables, but Barney has other plans. Barney decides that he has to fight old blood with new blood, and brings in a new era of Expendables team members, recruiting individuals who are younger, faster, and more tech-savvy. The latest mission becomes a clash of classic, old-school style versus high-tech, new-school expertise in the Expendables' most personal battle yet.

Ever since I was a kid, I've always been a fan of the action genre, having grown up watching classics like Die Hard, Commando, Predator, Lethal Weapon, The Running Man, Rambo, Cliffhanger, Mad Max, The Terminator, etc. and even underrated gems such as Dark Angel (a.k.a. I Come in Peace), Red Scorpion, Joshua Tree (a.k.a. Army of One), Timecop, Bloodsport, Kickboxer, Cyborg, Death Warrant, Hard Target, Sudden Death, Double Impact, Lionheart, The Perfect Weapon, and Red Heat among others.

I had a lot of fun with the first Expendables movie. Despite the laughable CGI blood and occasional shaky-cam, The Expendables was a blast, with great action scenes, graphic violence that harkens back to the action genre's glory days, a great cast, good performances, and some witty one-liners. The Expendables 2 was even better, improving upon the camerawork, action, and dialogue, and featuring great appearances by Chuck Norris and Arnold Schwarzenegger, despite focusing a little too much on the comedic one-liners.

I'm unhappy to tell you all that The Expendables 3 is a crushing disappointment. It's even weaker than the first Expendables movie, and that is seriously saying a lot. Even with Indiana Jones, El Mariachi, Blade, and the older Hank McCoy joining the cast, the director of Red Hill sitting in the director's chair, and the writers of Olympus Has Fallen collaborating with Stallone on the writing, The Expendables 3 isn't really all that fun.

First of all, the PG-13 rating really hurts the film. The first two films were rated R to further promote themselves as throwbacks to 80's and 90's action films. The Expendables 3 is now a bloodless, watered-down PG-13 because Stallone wants the film to make more money at the box office. News flash, Stallone: the new generation you want to appeal to doesn't give a shit about you.

To prove my point, The Last Stand, Sabotage, Bullet to the Head, Grudge Match, and Escape Plan weren't box office successes. Sorry, Sly, but today's generation doesn't care about 80's action stars anymore. To add insult to injury, Patrick Hughes' previous film, Red Hill (which was also his directorial debut), was rated R, and Olympus Has Fallen, which was written by Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt, who co-wrote this movie, was also rated R. Jesus.

Also, the idea of a younger generation of Expendables is absolutely retarded. This misses the point of The Expendables. The point of the franchise was to pay homage to and resurrect the glory days of the action genre, where we had Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Van Damme, Lundgren, Willis, etc. To make matters worse, you don't care about the younger generation of Expendables and they're in the film just to be kidnapped by Mel Gibson's character. Plus, the performances from these younger actors, with the exception of the gorgeous and bad-ass Ronda Rousey as Luna, are terrible.

Thankfully, the older actors make up for them. Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, and Jet Li are still fun, although Jet Li still has an aggravatingly short amount of screentime. Mel Gibson hams it up as the villain and he was entertaining as hell. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes, Antonio Banderas, and Kelsey Grammer all have fun appearances. However, the presences of Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis, and Mickey Rourke are all sorely missed.

The plot is nothing special, but then again, The Expendables franchise isn't exactly known for having great plots, although the first Expendables had a decent-enough story about finding your soul. There's some nice cinematography at points and Brian Tyler does another good job with the musical score. Despite lacking the R-rating, which is annoying, the action sequences are enjoyable...for the most part, anyway.

FINAL SCORE: 3/10

The Expendables 3 is inarguably the worst entry in the Expendables franchise, with watered-down action scenes that lack intensity and brutality, too many characters, a by-the-numbers plot, and generic dialogue. The action scenes are somewhat entertaining, the one-liners are still witty, and the performances are pretty good (with the exceptions of Kellan Lutz, Victor Ortiz, and Glen Powell, all three of which are terrible), but at the end of day, this definitely wasn't what anyone wanted out of an Expendables movie. I'd call this the Spider-Man 3 of the Expendables trilogy.

BTW, I found and watched the actual movie on Yify.tv, so your question "How'd you see the movie before it came out in theaters?" has now been answered.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
½

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a 2014 science fiction martial arts comedy action film produced by Michael Bay, directed by Jonathan Liebesman, written by Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, and Evan Daugherty, and starring Megan Fox, Johnny Knoxville, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Alan Ritchson, Danny Woodburn, Tony Shalhoub, William Fichtner, Will Arnett, Tohoru Masamune, Minae Noji, Whoopi Goldberg, Abby Elliott, Taran Killam, and K. Todd Freeman. The film is based on the TMNT franchise created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.

Darkness has settled over New York City as the Shredder and his evil Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until four unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles must work with fearless reporter April O'Neil (Megan Fox) and her wisecracking cameraman Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett) to save the city and unravel Shredder's diabolical plan.

As a kid, one of the most important parts of my childhood was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I loved the cartoon, I loved the comic books, I loved the 2003 TV series, and I even enjoyed the video games. In 1990, New Line Cinema made the first attempt at bringing the TMNT to the big screen with a live-action film. The film took the franchise back to its more gritty roots, like in the comics, while also including some light-hearted humor in order to balance the tone. I loved the movie when I was a kid, and I still love it now.

That film wasn't a critical hit, but it was a box office success, so New Line Cinema began work on a sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. The tone was lighter in order to appeal more to kids, like the cartoon. I actually do enjoy this sequel and it's one of my guilty pleasures. Then, the franchise sunk into oblivion with the abysmal Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. Fourteen years later, we got a standalone animated film TMNT. This film wasn't really good, but it actually wasn't that bad either.

Now, we have a reboot of the franchise, produced by Nickelodeon and Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes production company. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came close to being terrible. This came close to raping my childhood. It's not the full-on anus of cinema (although it is safe to say this film is my good friend Diego Tutweiller's next -0/10 rating), but this film was garbage.

Let me get started on some decent stuff. The action sequences are fun and the visual effects are impressive. Originally, I loathed the new Turtle designs but over time, I managed to get used to them. I didn't care for Splinter's design. The cinematography by Lula Carvalho is occasionally cool and the score by Brian Tyler is enjoyable. They got Donatello and Raphael right (despite Donny now being a stereotype) and Michelangelo has a few funny one-liners.

Here's the bad stuff. With the exceptions of the Turtles, Shredder, and Splinter, the performances are weak. Megan Fox as April O'Neil is excellent eye candy. In fact, she looks hotter in this movie than she does in Transformers. But while she isn't grating like in Transformers, she still sucks here. I mean, good God, she's blander than FDR's legs. Why not get someone like Jane Levy or Emmy Rossum to play April? Will Arnett is shockingly unfunny and annoying, and William Fichtner and Whoopi Goldberg look bored to be in this movie.

The screenplay, penned by Josh Appelbaum & Andre Nemec (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol) and Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman, Killing Season, Divergent) is absolutely atrocious. The dialogue is generic and the story hardly makes a lick of sense. Jonathan Liebesman's direction wasn't ungodly terrible, but he was the wrong choice. In fact, Brett Ratner was originally rumored to direct before Liebesman was hired, and to be honest, I would've preferred Ratner.

Plot holes plague the shit out of this movie. For example, William Fichtner's character reveals to April O'Neil that he killed her father, but earlier, we see April's dad dying in a fire. CinemaSins would have a ball with this movie. The Turtles' origins made me cringe. We have a scene where April's watching some videos and we see her, as a little girl, playing around in her father's top-secret government lab and we see her playing with Splinter and the Turtles, and...get this...

...the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Splinter were April's childhood pets.

I'm gonna have to pull a Chase Nyland here.

*flips coffee table* FUCK YOU, MOVIE.

FINAL SCORE: 3/10

The origins are an absolute insult to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lore, the story is terribly written, the dialogue is lame, the human characters are boring, and the climax rips off the first Amazing Spider-Man movie. Despite a nice score by Brian Tyler and fun action scenes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a poorly-written, nonsensical, generic, incredibly dull, predictable, and forgettable reboot of the TMNT franchise. If you wanna see a good Ninja Turtles movie, watch the original 1990 film. Hell, I'd actually recommend you see Transformers: Age of Extinction instead of this...and that film is an hour longer than this.

P.S. Why does Shredder look like fucking Megatron?

Southland Tales

Southland Tales is a 2007 science fiction comedy drama thriller film written, produced, and directed by Richard Kelly and starring Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Seann William Scott, Justin Timberlake, Mandy Moore, Miranda Richardson, Holmes Osborne, John Larroquette, Wallace Shawn, Bai Ling, Nora Dunn, Kevin Smith, Wood Harris, Amy Poehler, Cheri Oteri, Jon Lovitz, Will Sasso, Lou Taylor Pucci, Curtis Armstrong, Beth Grant, Michele Durrett, Zelda Rubinstein, Christopher Lambert, Jill Ritchie, Todd Berger, and Janeane Garofalo.

California is at the epicenter of a political and environmental disaster that threatens to destroy the world. In the year 2005, a nuclear attack wipes out part of the state of Texas, and three years later, America is a virtual police state, with the government taking control of nearly every part of people's lives, supposedly for their own good.

A German firm has found a way to generate energy using seawater, but both public and private concerns are desperate to prevent the new technology from being introduced in the gasoline-starved United States. A Marxist underground based on the West Coast is determined to bring down the federal government through violent revolution. In this midst of this chaos, we follow a number of stories that continually return to three principle characters.

Boxer Santaros (Dwayne Johnson) is an amnesiac action star trying to secure financing for a new project, but reality keeps mirroring the events in his script and he struggles to hold on to his identity. Krysta Now (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is a porn star reinventing herself as a TV pundit offering her views on politics, modern culture, and teenage sex. And finally, Roland Taverner (Seann William Scott) is a Los Angeles police officer whose identity has mysteriously split in two and he struggles to track down his other half.

Once upon a time there was filmmaker known as Richard Kelly, whose debut feature was the 2001 sci-fi drama Donnie Darko. Donnie Darko is a masterpiece of filmmaking. It might just be one of my all-time favorite films. Donnie Darko gave us well-developed characters who served a purpose to the story, top-notch dialogue, great performances, and one mindfuck of a plot. You might need to think about and watch the film again in order to understand it, and if you do, you'll appreciate the film more.

Kelly's next-produced script was the Tony Scott-directed Domino, a biopic about bounty hunter Domino Harvey. Honestly, I did enjoy Domino. It's occasionally messy in terms of storytelling, but man oh man, is it ever entertaining. Four years after Domino, Kelly gave us The Box, an adaptation of the short story Button, Button by the late Richard Matheson. It started off with intrigue until it got a little messy. I could watch The Box as a timewaster. Before The Box, Kelly gave us Southland Tales.

Southland Tales is one of the most pretentious; if not THE most pretentious ass-pile I've ever had the displeasure of watching. Could you believe for a second that this was from the same man who gave us Donnie Darko? Southland Tales is a convoluted, messy, nonsensical, incoherent, incomprehensible, and ludicrous mess from beginning to end. It's mind-numbingly bad.

BTW, the synopsis that lasts three paragraphs (paragraphs 2-4) is taken from IMDb. I can't really explain the plot, and if I try to do so, my fucking brain will explode with chunks of matter and gore flying everywhere. It's not deep, it's not intelligent, and it's not easy to explain. It's pretentious, it's nonsensical, and most of all, it's complicated as fuck. After watching this, The Box, and the director's cut of Donnie Darko, I am sad to say that the theatrical cut of Donnie Darko is nothing more than a fucking fluke.

Seriously, with the exception of Domino, Richard Kelly is just a one-trick pony. Donnie Darko and Southland Tales both deal with time travel and the Apocalypse. The Box started out with intrigue but then turned into a mess when he added padding involving aliens, time travel, and the Apocalypse. Fuck, Kelly's screenplay adaptation of the Louis Sachar novel Holes was a hard-R sci-fi fantasy action script where the holes that the kids were digging contained people that were killed by a nuclear holocaust. As someone who read that draft, it gets a hell of a lot dumber from there.

The performances, much to my shock, are awful. Literally every single actor in this film is either bored, confused, looking for a paycheck, free for the weekend, or so uncaring of this project that they just phone in their performances. Richard Kelly's screenplay is terribly written and his direction is just as bad, if not worse. This fucking sophomoric dung heap of a film is the answer to the question "What the hell happened to Richard Kelly?".

Southland Tales is supposedly a satire. This movie is trying to riff on the Bush Administration that was still in power during the time this movie was made. To make a long story short, George W. Bush brings about the Apocalypse. If you wanna take jabs at the Bush Administration, they've given you a shit-ton of ammunition, Richard. But every attack and threat, every policy introduced in this dystopian near-future, they're all fictionalized events and only serve as a display to how little Kelly knows about the politics, particularly the imagery of elephants fucking. Apparently, Richard Kelly knows nothing about subtlety.

Going back to the acting, the casting choices are fucking bizarre. This has to be the strangest ensemble cast for any movie ever made, and that includes Movie 43. A lot of comedians appear in small roles, promoting Southland Tales as a satire. For example, we have Cheri Oteri and Amy Poehler from SNL as Neo-Marxists, Jon Lovitz (also from SNL) as a racist cop, and Will Sasso from MADtv as some random villainous guy I don't give a fuck about. There's also Janeane Garofalo as a military general, but her scenes were cut from the theatrical cut and were seen in the nearly three-hours long Cannes Film Festival cut of the film.

But, wait! There's more! We have Rex from Toy Story, the psychic lady from Poltergeist, Donnie Darko's gym teacher, and Booger from Revenge of the Nerds as members of this strange cult. And the main actors? Good holy God. Seann William Scott looks confused throughout the entire movie, merely pretending to understand the script he's working off of. Dwayne Johnson playing an action star is believable, but his character is also a screenwriter with a working knowledge of the spacetime continuum? What the fuck? Also, we have Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a porn star. If Joss Whedon saw this movie, he'd kill himself.

Southland Tales is also apparently a Californicated Bush era-set retelling of the Book of Revelations (also known as the Revelation of St. John). The Antichrist is Wallace Shawn's character Baron Von Westphalen, the False Prophet is Holmes Osborne's character Bobby Frost (because Justin Timberlake quotes Robert Frost! It's such a clever and creative pun, am I right?! HAHAHAHA!!!), the Two Witnesses are The Rock and Seann William Scott (God, I wish I was watching The Rundown...you know, a good movie), the Whore of Babylon is Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Our Lord Jesus Holy Christ Almighty is the two magnificent Stiflers.

The Book of Revelations is known for being contradictory, convoluted, and complicated. I haven't read the Book of Revelations in the Bible (because I couldn't give two shits and a fuck less about religion and I'm not a Bible purist), but I've heard about how misunderstandable it is through a review of this film I watched on YouTube. It's because of this that Richard Kelly has no choice but to make Southland Tales so convoluted and so bloody incomprehensible.

There are only three positive things I can say about this movie. First of all, the cinematography by Steven Poster looks fantastic, especially for a film with a budget of $17 million. But then again, Only God Forgives had luscious cinematography and that was also a pretentious fuckfest. Alexander Hammond's set designs look pretty cool, especially the interior sets. The montage of Justin Timberlake's lip-synching of All These Things That I've Done by The Killers was entertaining and easily the best part of the movie. If only the rest of this ostentatious motherfucker was engaging.

FINAL SCORE: 2/10

Southland Tales is a terrible, terrible movie. It truly is awful. On a visual level, Southland Tales is a delight, but from a storytelling standpoint, this film is a pretentious, incomprehensible, inconsistent, ludicrous, incoherent, and flat-out disjointed load of ass. Richard Kelly should be ashamed of himself. How is it that the same man who gave us Donnie Darko, a masterpiece of cult filmmaking, also gave us this illogical, plotless, and nonsensical ass-pile? Unbelievable. Do not watch Southland Tales. It's two hours and twenty minutes of absolute shit.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy is a 2014 epic space opera science fiction superhero fantasy adventure action comedy film directed by James Gunn, written by Nicole Perlman and Gunn, produced by Kevin Feige, executive produced by Stan Lee, and starring Chris Pratt, Zoë Saldaña, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Ophelia Lovibond, Josh Brolin, Sean Gunn, Gregg Henry, Laura Haddock, Alexis Denisof, Seth Green, Nathan Fillion, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Benicio del Toro. The film is based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name.

In the far reaches of space, American pilot Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) a.k.a. Star-Lord finds himself the object of a manhunt after stealing an orb coveted by the villainous Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). In order to evade Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a group of criminals including Gamora (Zoë Saldaña), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), and Groot (Vin Diesel). But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand, with the galaxy's fate in the balance.

James Gunn is pretty hit-and-miss. On one hand, he gave us gems like The Specials, Slither, Super, the Dawn of the Dead remake (Zack Snyder directed it but Gunn penned the script), and Lollipop Chainsaw. On the other hand, he also gave us the Scooby-Doo movies and one of the sketches from Movie 43. When I heard that a film based on one of Marvel's more obscure titles, Guardians of the Galaxy, was in development with James Gunn attached to write and direct, I was quite skeptical. Then, I heard about the cast and I saw the trailers. That's when my expectations got higher.

Guardians of the Galaxy has officially dethroned Edge of Tomorrow as my favorite film of the year. This movie is crazy, funny, stylish, thrilling, exciting, heartfelt, clever, intense, imaginative, and entertaining as hell. Guardians of the Galaxy is pretty much everything you wanted it to be and more. I'll even go as far as to say that this has officially dethroned Marvel's The Avengers as the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes, this movie is that awesome.

The characters are all memorable, fun, and given interesting and distinct personalities. Chris Pratt does an excellent job as Peter Quill/Star-Lord. Pratt is very witty and charismatic as Quill and the character is given a genuinely emotional and heartbreaking backstory. Zoë Saldaña also does a great job as Gamora, the adopted daughter of Thanos. Gamora is given a very dark backstory and is a very enjoyable and well-developed character. Also, green Zoë Saldaña is just hot as fuck.

Dave Bautista portrays Drax the Destroyer, who wants revenge on Ronan for killing his wife and daughter. Bautista actually does a very commendable job playing the character and I have to agree with Chris Stuckmann that he's the best wrestler-turned-actor since Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. The two actors who steal the show are Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper as Groot and Rocket Raccoon, respectively. These two characters are so fun to watch, especially Rocket. Despite Rocket's sarcasm and witty banter, his backstory, like Quill's, is sad and painful. I loved these characters.

Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, and Djimon Hounsou portray the villains: Ronan the Accuser, Gamora's adoptive sister Nebula, and Korath the Pursuer, respectively. Now, I'll admit, like the human characters in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I wish they could've been given a little more development, but they were still very fun characters in their own right, especially Nebula. Watching Amy Pond fight Uhura was a fanboy orgasm of megaversal proportions. Michael Rooker is enjoyably gruff as Quill's former partner Yondu and the rest of the cast did a good job as well. I also enjoyed Josh Brolin's cameo as Thanos.

James Gunn does a fantastic job directing the film. This is his first big-budget film and this film doesn't even look like he hasn't made one before. This is also his most mature film. The screenplay, penned by Gunn and Nicole Perlman, is terrifically written with sharp dialogue and plenty of funny humor. Seriously, the humor in this film is so funny that I'm convinced this is a legitimate comedy.

The cinematography by Ben Davis and the production designs by Charles Wood look gorgeous. For a tongue-in-cheek space adventure, it's beautiful-looking. The action sequences are awesome, the practical and make-up effects look really creative, and the visual effects and CGI look amazing. This is possibly the most visually impressive film of the year. The score by Tyler Bates is very unique, opting to ignore a more traditional John Williams/Michael Giacchino-esque style of music. I also gotta compliment the soundtrack. It's fucking epic in every sense of the word.

FINAL SCORE: 10/10

Overall, there's not much else I can say that I haven't already. Guardians of the Galaxy is my favorite film of 2014 and my favorite film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's one of the wittiest and most unique superhero films to come in quite some time. It's funny, it's creative, it's clever, it's imaginative, and it has plenty of thrills and heart. The one thing I love the most about this movie is that it takes a simple story and turns it into something very special. Please go see this movie. You definitely won't regret it.

BTW, I gotta spoil something: The post-credits scene has Benicio del Toro's character, Taneleer Tivan a.k.a. the Collector, getting licked by the telepathic Russian space dog Cosmo, and being mocked by one of his collections: Howard the Duck, voiced by Seth Green (a friend of James Gunn). There's also a cameo by Nathan Fillion.

Sabotage
Sabotage(2014)

Sabotage is a 2014 action crime mystery thriller film co-written, produced, and directed by David Ayer, co-written and executive produced by Skip Woods, and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Mireille Enos, Olivia Williams, Terrence Howard, Joe Manganiello, Josh Holloway, Martin Donovan, Harold Perrineau, and Max Martini.

Sabotage involves an elite DEA task force that takes on the world's deadliest drug cartels. The team is led by John "Breacher" Wharton (Arnold Schwarzenegger), and consists of James "Monster" Murray (Sam Worthington), Monster's wife Lizzy (Mireille Enos), Julius "Sugar" Edmonds (Terrence Howard), Joe "Grinder" Phillips (Joe Manganiello), Eddie "Neck" Jordan (Josh Holloway), and Tom "Pyro" Roberts (Max Martini) among others.

When the team successfully executes a high-stakes raid on a cartel safe house, they think their work is done. That is until members of the team mysteriously start to be eliminated one-by-one. As the body count rises, everyone is a suspect. Wharton must team up with federal agent Caroline Brentwood (Olivia Williams) and work out just what the fuck's going on.

The original screenplay for the film was written by Skip Woods, so I wasn't looking forward to this movie at first. Then David Ayer was hired to direct. It was later confirmed that Ayer liked the idea Woods had but he hated the script, so he re-tooled it from scratch, polishing it as naturally as possible. He pretty much turned it into his own screenplay. Woods got credit for legal reasons. That's when my expectations got higher. When I first saw Sabotage in the theater, I enjoyed the hell out of it. I watched the film online months later and it was less good the second time around.

First and foremost, the good stuff. The cast does a great job, especially Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold plays a different character than before and he does an awesome job playing a character like Breacher, who's rather a flawed human being than an action superhero. The action sequences are very well-shot and exciting. The practical blood and gore effects are absolutely superb. Finally, I really liked how the premise mixes together Agatha Christie's novel And Then There Were None with a gritty crime thriller plot.

Now onto the bad shit. The bodily humor is terribly unfunny and out-of-place. Within the first twenty-or-so minutes, David Ayer manages to work in a toilet covered and clogged with shit, a piss gag, two fart jokes, a trip to the sewer, and a lengthy conversation involving a piss bottle used on stakeouts. I guess David Ayer added these in to make the film more edgy, but it's not really edgy as much as it is unnecessary and quite frankly, gross.

The characters are really hard to root for, with the exception of Schwarzenegger and Olivia Williams. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed how the actors got in character, but the characters themselves really aren't that likeable, especially Mireille Enos' batshit insane coke-whore. Now, their dialogue can get pretty energetic, humorous, and naturalistic, but the majority of their dialogue makes me feel like I'm watching a Rob Zombie movie. Hell, there's one scene where the beat up a security guard even though he was just doing his job.

FINAL SCORE: 4/10

I had high hopes for Sabotage. I was satisfied at first, but disappointed as of now. The saddest part is that Skip Woods isn't entirely to blame. Sabotage has great action scenes, an interesting premise, and good performances, but it also has poor writing, unlikeable characters, gratuitous violence, and unnecessary bodily humor. You know your movie is disappointing when I liked it less than Transcendence, Divergent, Transformers 4, and Paranormal Activity's Latino spin-off.

Silent Hill
Silent Hill(2006)
½

Silent Hill is one of the few genuinely good films to be based on a massively popular and critically acclaimed video game, along with Tekken and Final Fantasy: Advent Children. Don't get me wrong, there are fun ones, like Mortal Kombat (only the first one), Street Fighter (the 1994 version), the Resident Evil films directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (Apocalypse and Extinction don't count), the Super Mario Bros. movie, Prince of Persia (although it's a 4 out of 10 at best), the Tomb Raider films, and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, but they were rather poor adaptations of their respective source materials. This one actually manages to stay true to its source.

I'm a fan of the Silent Hill games. I love the first three games and I like The Room (no, not the Room that you're thinking about), Origins, Downpour, Homecoming, and Shattered Memories. As a fan, other die-hard fans might call me batshit nuts that I like this film. Silent Hill was released in 2006 to generally negative reviews from film critics and harsh reactions from Silent Hill fans. I didn't think the film was that bad.

Directed by Christophe Gans (Brotherhood of the Wolf, Crying Freeman) from a screenplay penned by Beowulf and Pulp Fiction co-writer Roger Avary, Silent Hill follows Rose Da Silva, played by Radha Mitchell, who takes her adopted daughter Sharon, played by Jodelle Ferland, to the town of Silent Hill, for which Sharon cries while sleepwalking. Arriving at Silent Hill, Rose gets in a car accident and wakes up the next morning to find Sharon missing. While searching for Sharon, Rose fights a local cult while uncovering Sharon's connection to the town's past.

What I really like about this film is that contains elements from the Silent Hill video games, mainly their emotional, religious, and aesthetic content. Rose Da Silva is a likeable, strong, determined, well-written, and interesting character. Radha Mitchell does an admirable job playing the character, even if the character wasn't from the game. Rose doesn't exactly need to be a fighter or shoot with a cool-ass gun to be tough.

Contrary to most video game movies, this one actually rarely strays away from the template of the games. Laurie Holden also gives a solid performance as Cybil Bennett (a character from the games who's been done some worthwhile justice in this film), another strong, well-written, and likeable character. She's comparable to Alice from Resident Evil, only Cybil is more of an actual character.

There's a scene in which she believes Rose is a kidnapper when she's taking Sharon to Silent Hill. At first, I thought this was incredibly stupid and nonsensical, but her actions later became justified. A few years ago, a kidnapper brought a kid to Silent Hill and dropped him down a mine shaft. Cybil rescued the kid and took care of him for a few days until help came.

The visual designs are terrifying and breathtaking at the same time. The production design crew did an astonishing job creating the town of Silent Hill. The creature effects were handled by expert VFX supervisor and Patrick Tatopoulos. The guy hit the ball right out of the park with the creature effects. I loved the mix of practical effects and CGI, and hell, some of the creatures even managed to scare the hell out of me. The music by Jeff Danna is also very chilling and atmospheric.

As much as I like this film, there are flaws to be found. Some parts of the first act are honestly pretty boring and uninteresting. This is a two hour long movie, but I feel it could've been cut by fifteen or twenty minutes to give the film more of a quicker pace. Roger Avary feels the need to explain almost everything in exhaustive detail in his screenplay and that wasn't needed. The ending was just...stupid. It didn't ruin the film, but it was incredibly stupid and surprisingly murky.

FINAL SCORE: 7.5/10

In closing, Silent Hill is among one of three genuinely good films based on video games. Is it a perfect film? No. Was the exposition needed? No. The first act? Some parts can get pretty boring. The ending? Dumb. Just fucking dumb and I couldn't believe the co-writer of Pulp Fiction came up with it. However, compared to most video game adaptations, Silent Hill actually manages to stick true to the templates of its source material.

Hercules
Hercules(2014)

Hercules is a 2014 fantasy adventure action film produced and directed by Brett Ratner, executive produced by Peter Berg, written by Ryan J. Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos, based on the Radical Comics graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars by Admira Wijaya and the late Steve Moore, and starring Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan, Rebecca Ferguson, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Irina Shayk, Reece Ritchie, Aksel Hennie, Joe Anderson, and Tobias Santelmann.

Both man and myth, the Greek hero Hercules (Dwayne Johnson), after completing his twelve labors, leads a band of mercenaries to help end a bloody civil war in the land of Thrace and return the rightful king to his throne. A tormented soul from birth, Hercules has the strength of a God but feels the suffering of a human. Unimaginable villains will test the legendary power of the son of Zeus.

Like I said in my review of The Legend of Hercules, I was fascinated by Greek mythology but I was never a huge geek over it. In high school, I read a picture book depicting the twelve labors of Hercules: slaying the Nemean lion and the Hydra, catching an Erymanthian boar, cleaning the stables of Augeas by means of a river, retrieving the horses of Diomedes, abducting Cerberus from the underworld, etc.

I never read Steve Moore's graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars, but I did hear about it. From what I've heard, the graphic novel was a lot more risqué and explicit than this adaptation, so I'm guessing Brett Ratner and the studios decided to make the movie PG-13 in order to make more money at the box office. However, I can only judge Hercules as its own film, not as an adaptation of the graphic novel. Hercules is by no means a great film, but unlike the earlier Hercules movie, I can actually call this a Hercules movie.

First and foremost, it's a well-acted film. I do enjoy Dwayne Johnson as an actor and he has plenty of charisma as Hercules. Ian McShane hams it up as Amphiaraus and you can tell he was having a blast playing the character. Rufus Sewell is perfectly cast as Autolycus, the sarcastic best friend of Hercules. Ingrid Bolsø Berdal is very fun to watch as Atalanta, the tough and sexy Amazonian archer. Overall, the supporting cast is pretty strong, especially the always-great John Hurt as Lord Cotys, the King of Thrace.

Second of all, the action sequences are very impressive. The action moves at a very nice pace and the visual effects are above-average. The battle sequences can get pretty brutal at times without being too reliant on blood and guts. Ratner resists using super-stylized slow motion during the action sequences. Instead, he insists on keeping the sense of scale, speed of action, and physical intensity.

The cinematography by Dante Spinotti is good. The lighting and colors are neat and Spinotti shoots the action sequences and visuals coherently. Jany Temime's costume designs really do represent the era this film takes place in. Another thing I enjoyed about this film is the tone. Hercules is a film that knows exactly what it is and sticks to its guns. It never pretends to be something it's not. The clichés may be cheesy, but dear God, is it ever enjoyable.

The writing, of course, is clichéd and cheesy, with by-the-numbers plotting and generic dialogue despite a few hilarious one-liners (ex: "Fucking centaurs.") and some nice tongue-in-cheek moments. I also thought the pacing went by a little too fast. This film is an hour and thirty-eight minutes long. I think another fifteen or so minutes would've been nice. Also, Brett Ratner and screenwriters Ryan J. Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos seem to have trouble finding a balance between fun and stupid.

FINAL SCORE: 6/10

Brett Ratner's Hercules isn't a great film. It isn't...at all. However, it's surprisingly better than you'd expect. It's a much better Hercules movie than Renny Harlin's shitstorm, and on its own, it's a perfectly serviceable fantasy picture with nice visuals and fun action sequences. If you wanna turn off your brain for a couple hours or wash the taste of The Legend of Hercules out of your mouth, look no further than Brett Ratner's Hercules (or you can watch the Disney film or the TV show Hercules: The Legendary Journeys).

The Legend of Hercules

The Legend of Hercules is a 2014 fantasy adventure action film produced and directed by Renny Harlin, written by Sean Hood, Daniel Giat, Harlin, Giulio Steve, and Hanna Weg (the latter three uncredited because...reasons), and starring Kellan Lutz, Liam McIntyre, Scott Adkins, Rade Serbedzija, Gaia Weiss, Jonathan Shaech, Roxanne McKee, and Liam Garrigan.

The Legend of Hercules involves the titular Kellan Lutz-portrayed half-god, half-mortal son of Zeus, who's blessed with extraordinary strength. Betrayed by his stepfather, the King, and exiled and sold into slavery because of a forbidden love, the mythical Greek hero Hercules must use his formidable powers to fight his way back to his rightful kingdom. Through harrowing battles and gladiator-arena death matches, Hercules embarks on a legendary odyssey to overthrow the King and restore peace to the land.

Now, I wasn't a huge Greek mythology nerd, but I was fascinated by it. This godawful abomination of nature, however, has literally nothing to do with the original mythology. It doesn't even attempt to even be the slightest bit accurate. I remember when I was in high school and I read a picture book that tells us of the twelve labors of Hercules.

In this picture book, I read about Hercules slaying a lion of Nemea and the nine-headed serpent Hydra, catching an Erymanthian boar, cleaning the stables of Augeas by means of a river, retrieving the flesh-eating horses of Diomedes, and abducting the hellhound Cerberus from the underworld. You see, THAT, my friend, is Hercules. None of that is seen in this unholy load of cow anus.

Believe me...I KNEW that this was going to be really bad, horrendous even...BUT I HAD NO IDEA. In short, The Legend of Hercules is the worst film of 2014, the worst film of all time, and the absolute worst film I've ever seen...and I've seen Twilight, The Mortal Instruments, and most of Uwe Boll's filmography. This movie was unbelievably terrifying in its awfulness. It's mind-blowing beyond relief.

First of all, this film is a complete betrayal to the legend of Hercules. If I point out all the mythological inaccuracies, this could easily be a hundred-paragraph review, and I don't have the time or the energy for that. Second of all, this film is a massive rip-off of other and better movies, like 300 and Gladiator, but without any of the elements that made those movies good.

Renny Harlin does a nightmarishly awful job directing the film. It truly is quite a shame. I mean, come on, this is the man who gave us Prison, Die Hard 2, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4, Ford Fairlane, Cliffhanger, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Deep Blue Sea, and Mindhunters, all of which were legitimately entertaining movies. This film is pretty much the end of his career. Seriously, Renny, what were you smoking, man?

The writing is unbearably horrible. All the dialogue is disastrously laughable, forced, uninspired, and clichéd to fucking pieces. The dreadful screenplay gives you no look into the minds of the characters. The acting is some of the worst I've ever seen in a theatrically-released motion picture. Kellan Lutz is a horrible, horrible actor. I honestly thought he did a better job in Twilight than he did in this. He cannot act to save his life. The only thing Lutz does good at is making teenage girls wet their panties.

The story is terribly written and the plotting is nothing short of a joke. The love story is unengaging, horribly acted, and poorly scripted. The action sequences are awfully shot, amateurishly edited, and are always filled with pointless, gratuitous, repetitive slo-mo every five to ten seconds. It's annoying as fuck. The CGI is fucking horrendous and the green-screen looks like a 60's James Bond movie. I've seen movies on the Syfy Channel with better production values than this...and this cost $70 million to make. Fucking pathetic.

FINAL SCORE: 0/10

The Legend of Hercules is a pathetic, disturbingly insufferable excuse for a movie. After seeing this film, I'm actually looking forward to the Brett Ratner/Dwayne Johnson version. If anything, see this movie as a crash course on how not to make a movie. I mean, fuck, you could literally write a thesis on the ineptitude on display here. Everything about this movie is beyond horrible. You'll be blown away. Never watch this shit. It's the absolute worst film I've ever had the misfortune of watching. It is, in the words of Diego Tutweiller, the anus of cinema.

The Purge: Anarchy
½

The Purge: Anarchy is a 2014 dystopian science fiction action crime horror thriller slasher film written and directed by James DeMonaco, produced by Jason Blum and Michael Bay, and starring Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Michael K. Williams, Zoe Soul, and Edwin Hodge. The film is, of course, the sequel to The Purge.

The Purge: Anarchy, taking a place a year after its predecessor, involves a couple named Shane and Liz (Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez), who are driving to Shane's sister's house in Los Angeles to wait out the Purge when their car runs out of gas just as the Purge commences, and they flee from masked attackers on motorcycles and minibikes.

Meanwhile, police sergeant Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) goes out into the streets to get revenge on the man who killed his son, and a mother and daughter, Eva (Carmen Ejogo) and Cali (Zoe Soul) Sanchez, run into the night after an unknown group of well-equipped assailants break into their tenement. The five meet up as they attempt to survive the night.

Back in my good old Rotten Tomatoes days, I was a naïve idiot. Original gangsta (OG) Johnny boy Tyler gave out the following: 10/10 for Only God Forgives, 5/10 for the Twilight movies (all of 'em), 4/10 for Movie 43, 8/10 for Alex Cross, etc. The idiocy was strong with this one. Back during said good old days, I gave an 8/10 to The Purge, the surprise sleeper hit starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey (this made my good friend Jay Cutler see the film and let's just say he turned red afterwards).

Current gangsta (CG) Johnny boy Tyler isn't a fan of The Purge. In fact, I find The Purge to be as nonsensical and clichéd as it gets. Now, the idea of an America where all crime is legal one night a year was actually very intriguing. However, the concept itself is retarded and ludicrous, and it doesn't help that it's nothing more than a generic home invasion thriller that just so happens to be produced by Michael Bay and directed by the same guy who wrote the boring and pointless remake of Assault on Precinct 13.

Now, what good things can I say about The Purge: Anarchy? Like Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey in the first film, Frank Grillo is the best part of the movie. He's a damn good actor. Also like the first film, this sequel moves along at a decent pace and the score by Nathan Whitehead is pretty good. Those are the only pros I can give this movie. Why? Because The Purge: Anarchy is just as bad as the first film. This isn't better than the first film, nor is it worse. It's just as bad.

The reason why people found this better than the first film is solely because of this: the film takes place outside where the Purge is happening. And stop right there, you! You about to yell out, "Oh, it takes place outside now! It's what the first film should've been! It's more intense and entertaining!" You shut the fuck up. In the words of Chris Stuckmann, "It's directed by the same person and it's written by the same person. Why would it be any different? It's the same movie. It's just outside now."

Much like the first film, the characters are complete imbeciles who never stop bickering and make absolutely idiotic decisions. For example, early on in the movie, Purgers break into Carmen Ejogo's character's apartment and her daughter, hiding in a closet, yells out that she and her mom back here and tells the Purger not to because they have lots of guns. That's not what people would do in a situation like this. The only character who isn't completely idiotic was Frank Grillo's character.

With the exceptions of Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, and Michael K. Williams, the acting is below-average. Zach Gilford, who I didn't mind in Devil's Due, gives a mediocre performance in this movie as does his real-life and on-screen wife Kiele Sanchez. Zoe Soul was really annoying in the film as the teenage daughter character. Edwin Hodge returns as the black guy from the first film and he's blander than FDR's legs. As for the passable performances, Carmen Ejogo and Michael K. Williams did perfectly okay jobs and the best actor, once again, is Frank Grillo.

The social commentary on society and how rich people and the government are improving the economy and controlling the population rate in terrible and horrifying ways is also completely shallow. Why? Because The Purge: Anarchy is nothing more than a mindless slasher film, and if you're expecting entertainment out of the death scenes, you'll be disappointed because the blood and gore are created using terrible CGI.

James DeMonaco's writing is crap, with generic, by-the-numbers, sub-par dialogue, stupid characters, and plot holes galore. DeMonaco also does an incredibly poor job directing the film and the cinematography by Jacques Jouffret is asinine. The majority of the shots in this film are shaky-cam close-ups. I recommend that James DeMonaco retire from filmmaking because I don't want to see The Purge 3 happen.

FINAL SCORE: 3/10

The Purge: Anarchy is lame sequel to an equally lame first film. The violence is gratuitous and repetitive, the action is boring, the characters are morons, most of the acting is sub-par, the writing is terrible, the direction is lazy, and the camerawork is sluggish. I actually didn't pay money for this. I gave my money to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and snuck into this movie. Both Purge movies aren't worth your time nor are they worth your money.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
½

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace is a 1999 epic space opera science fiction fantasy action film written, produced, and directed by George Lucas and starring Jake Lloyd, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Pernilla August, Ahmed Best, Samuel L. Jackson, Frank Oz, Ray Park, Ian McDiarmid, Terence Stamp, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Sofia Coppola, Brian Blessed, and Keira Knightley. The film is the first installment in the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a young apprentice Jedi Knight under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), who will later father Luke Skywalker and become the villain known as Darth Vader, is just a nine-year-old boy. When the Trade Federation cuts off all routes to the planet Naboo, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are assigned to settle the matter, but when they arrive, they are brought to Queen Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) by Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best).

Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan plan to escort Amidala to a meeting of Republic leaders in Coruscant, but trouble with their spacecraft strands them on Anakin's home planet Tatooine, where Qui-Gon meets Anakin, the slave of a scrap dealer. Qui-Gon is soon convinced that the boy could be the leader the Jedis have been searching for, and he begins bargaining for his freedom and teaching the boy the lessons of the Force.

I was a massive Star Wars fan growing up, having been a huge fan of the original trilogy. Strong characters, excellent action scenes, great stories, good performances, wonderful special effects, and even legitimately decent dialogue are what Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi all had in common with one another. I was hyped as hell for The Phantom Menace. When I finally got to see it in theaters, I did enjoy it...but not as much as I thought I would. Years later, I don't really like this movie.

Now, while I don't like this movie, I don't think it's an unholy abomination. Before you all throw your laptops and lightsaber toys at the wall, let me explain. Yes, it's not a good movie by any means. That is a fact. Yes, the acting isn't good. Yes, the plot should've been more simplified and coherent. Yes, the dialogue is terrible. Yes, Jar Jar Binks is an annoying-as-hell CGI turd. However, The Phantom Menace really isn't as terrible as it's made out to be.

Now, let me get all the bad shit out of the way first before I get to the good stuff. First of all, with the exceptions of Liam Neeson, Ian McDiarmid, and Ewan McGregor, the acting is sub-par. Natalie Portman already gave a great performance in The Professional and this film was five years after that movie, so why she gave a sub-par performance is beyond me. Samuel L. Jackson is shockingly bland and uninteresting, and he looks bored throughout the entire prequel trilogy. And of course, Jake Lloyd sucks. Enough said.

Next up, Jar Jar Binks is the most obnoxious, irritating, naïve, childish, racially insensitive CGI creation ever to grace the silver screen (until Transformers 2 introduced to us to the plebs known as Skids and Mudflap). Good Lord. Granted, the CGI effects for him are impressive, but that doesn't excuse the fact that he's so damn annoying. Lucas should've just written him out and replaced him with a more fleshed-out, less irritating character.

Then, we have the story, which involves the fate of the planet Naboo and a trade dispute. Really? A fucking trade dispute in a Star Wars movie? Who in God's name cared about this? We don't even care about what happens to the people of Naboo because Lucas rarely shows us what's happening in Naboo. And finally, we have the Midichlorians. Good holy God, need I say more?

Now, we get the good shit. The special effects were fantastic for their time. Although by today's standards, you could claim that they look like a PlayStation 3 video game, they're still pretty damn impressive nevertheless. This was the first movie to use computer-generated imagery to create different worlds and it looks superb. In terms of visuals, the Star Wars prequels rarely lack creativity.

The cinematography by David Tattersall is gorgeous. Say what you will about the Star Wars prequels, but they're undoubtedly beautiful-looking films. The set designs by Gavin Bocquet look really cool. The action sequences are very fun to watch, especially the pod race and the final fight between Darth Maul and Qui-Gon & Obi-Wan. The music score by John Williams is just as amazing as ever. Williams' music is another pro of the Star Wars prequels.

FINAL SCORE: 5/10

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace is a mixed bag. It's spectacular on a technical level, yet terrible in terms of storytelling and dialogue. Some people have forgiven this movie for being lackluster as they say it's only the first in the prequel trilogy and it's just setting up everything to follow. However, this film needed to be its own movie first and foremost as the original three films were. It needed to have good characters and a somewhat interesting story, and sadly, it didn't. It's a fun watch, but holy shit, did it need to have a lot of mistakes fixed.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a 2014 science fiction action drama film directed by Matt Reeves, written by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Scott Z. Burns (who's uncredited because...reasons), and Mark Bomback, based on the premise suggested by La Planète Des Singes by Pierre Boulle, produced by Jaffa and Silver, and starring Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Judy Greer, and Toby Kebbell. The film is the sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes takes place over ten years after the events of its predecessor. A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar, played by Andy Serkis, is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating ALZ-113 virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth's dominant species.

The original Planet of the Apes starring Charlton Heston is a classic and one of my favorite films. I've seen only two of its four sequels: Escape and Conquest (the latter I haven't seen in a while, but my memory came back when I saw a clip online), which I thought were okay. Tim Burton's 2001 remake was mildly entertaining and Rise of the Planet of the Apes was nothing short of excellent. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is just as stellar, if not better, than Rise, and is currently one of my favorite films of the year.

The direction by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In) is spectacular. Matt Reeves achieves a scale that's arguably bigger than Rise. From the opening shot, Reeves builds up genuine realism and suspense. He's a terrific director and this is by far his best-directed film. The cinematography by Michael Seresin is gorgeous and it compliments Reeves' direction and the visual effects perfectly. This is an astonishingly good-looking movie.

The visual effects are nothing short of excellent. The apes look extremely convincing and not fake at all. The visuals are actually used to tell the story, and very effectively so, with imagination. The screenplay by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Scott Z. Burns, and Mark Bomback is tremendously well-written. It's clear in this movie and in the script that although they differentiate, the apes and the humans are emotionally similar. Both species desire to protect their peoples and avoid conflict.

The performances are another highlight of the film. Let me get started on the human characters first. While I did enjoy the human characters, I wish they would've been given a little more development. In fact, it's clear that Matt Reeves and the writers wanted to give them more development, but then the running time would be ridiculous. Despite that, I did enjoy them and I especially loved the actors' performances. Jason Clarke and Gary Oldman both do fantastic jobs in their roles, and Keri Russell and Kodi Smit-McPhee, two of the supporting human players, are also good in the film.

Now onto the apes. I know this has been said thousands of times before, but Andy Serkis deserves the Oscar. Seriously, Academy, why don't you listen? Not nominating Serkis for his previous mo-cap performances were tremendous mistakes and I'm begging you, please nominate the guy already. Serkis' performance is just phenomenal and is by far the best part of the movie. Toby Kebbell is damn near just as good as Serkis as Koba, who hates the humans (and his hatred isn't over-the-top, it's actually quite subtle).

FINAL SCORE: 10/10

To paraphrase film critic Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter, this might be to Rise of the POTA what The Empire Strikes Back was to Star Wars. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a visually stunning, emotional, and intelligent sci-fi film with great performances, a terrific script, excellent visual effects, a beautiful score by Michael Giacchino, and solid direction from Matt Reeves. I can't wait to see where this franchise goes next.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
½

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a 2009 science fiction action film directed by Michael Bay, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, written by Ehren Kruger, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman, and starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Ramon Rodriguez, Julie White, Kevin Dunn, John Benjamin Hickey, Isabel Lucas, Rainn Wilson, Glenn Morshower, Matthew Marsden, Peter Cullen, Hugo Weaving, and Tony Todd. The film is based on the Transformers franchise created by Hasbro.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, taking place two years after its predecessor, revolves around Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), who is caught in the war between two factions of alien robots, the Autobots and the Decepticons. Sam is having weird visions of Cybertronian symbols, and along with his girlfriend Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox), is being hunted by the Decepticons under the orders of an ancient Decepticon named The Fallen (Tony Todd), who seeks to get revenge on Earth by finding and activating a machine that would provide the Decepticons with an Energon source, destroying the sun and all life on Earth in the process.

After the box office success of the first film, it'd make sense for the studios to greenlight a sequel with Michael Bay returning to direct and Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman returning to pen the script. The studio also hired Ehren Kruger, who impressed Bay and Hasbro with his knowledge of the Transformers mythology. However, screenwriting and production were both interrupted by the Writer's Strike. The studios wanted to hold production on the film but Bay decided against that, saying he wasn't going to let the Writer's Strike ruin his movie or hold him back. It's safe to say that Bay made a catastrophic mistake.

First of all, Megan Fox (although hot) isn't a good actress. We can all agree on that, right? Second of all, the plot is terrible. It's an incoherent, incomprehensible, ludicrous, rushed mess. The story felt made up as it went along. I don't even need to explain how that's possible. Just watch the movie. It pretty much speaks for itself. Third of all, and this is the big one, the humor is absolutely godawful. I haven't seen comedy this unbearable since the Ashton Kutcher era of Two and a Half Men episodes.

Sam's parents, I admit, were actually kinda funny in the first film, but in this piece of crap, they are damn near unwatchable. For example, Sam's dad taps his wife on the ass like he's horny and constantly reminds his two dogs to stop humping each other. Michael Bay, I don't care if this movie is rated PG-13. There are still kids watching this movie, dumbfuck. Cut that shit out.

I couldn't stand Sam's mom. She cries, she yells, she makes annoying remarks, she acts naïve on some dumb-ass occasions, and there's one scene where she visits Sam at his college and eats pot brownies and I literally had to fast-forward through that scene just so the retardation of it didn't turn me into a fucking vegetable. If you're gonna do a weed joke, at least know what the effects of weed are. This scene is enough to make my good friend Chase Nyland kill himself.

This film also gave birth to the horribly unfunny and downright offensive racial stereotypes named Skids and Mudflap. These two are some of the most annoying and racially insensitive CGI creations since Jar Jar Binks. Fuck, it borders on blackface. There's even a scene in John Turturro's character's deli where we see a third-world employee doing his job poorly and wanting new teeth from Sky Mall. Good God.

If that wasn't enough, we even have a fart joke where the Decepticon-turned-Autobot known as Jetfire blows a firework and a parachute out of his ass simultaneously. But it doesn't end there. Another Decepticon-turned-Autobot, Wheelie, humps Mikaela's leg, and Devastator has testicles. Kill me. Also, the revenge of the Fallen is a lame-as-hell revenge. He hardly does anything in this movie and his final fight with Megatron and Optimus lasts for about a minute and a half. Fucking pathetic.

Now onto the stuff I did like, and trust me, there isn't a whole lot. The actors did fine (except for Megan Fox, Sam's annoying roommate, Sam's mom, and the Decepticon Pretender). The action scenes are arguably bigger and better than the first film, as are the special effects. The score by Steve Jablonsky is also pretty decent and I do enjoy the end credits song New Divide by the underrated Linkin Park. I also thought the film moved along at a good pace.

FINAL SCORE: 3/10 (I'm being a little generous)

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen may be good for dumb fun, but this is way too dumb, unfunny, and racially insensitive for me to enjoy it. This film is nothing short of an incomprehensible, incoherent, rushed, and ludicrous piece of garbage. If Michael Bay just held production on the film like the studios wanted to do instead of rushing through production, then this film wouldn't be anywhere as bad as people thought it was.

Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow is a 2014 apocalyptic alien invasion science fiction military adventure action thriller time travel war film directed by Doug Liman, written by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, based on the light novel entitled "All You Need is Kill" written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, and starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, and Brendan Gleeson.

Edge of Tomorrow involves Major Bill Cage, played by Tom Cruise, a soldier fighting in a war with an alien race known as the Mimics who finds himself caught in a time loop of his last day in the battle, though he becomes better skilled along the way thanks to training with the symbol of the war effort, Special Forces soldier Rita Vrataski, played by Emily Blunt.

Edge of Tomorrow was based on Hiroshi Sakurazaka's Japanese light novel All You Need is Kill. A script for a film adaptation was written by Dante Harper. The script had gone through a lot of re-writes by different writers, including Joby Harold (Awake), Tim Kring (Heroes), Steve Kloves (Harry Potter), and Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek), until the final drafts of the script were credited to and written by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) and Jez & John-Henry Butterworth (Fair Game).

With the exception of Jumper (it's watchable, but it's a cluttered, poorly-written mess), I'm a fan of Doug Liman's filmography, my favorite of film of his being The Bourne Identity. Liman was one of three filmmakers who can make shaky-cam and quick-cut editing not gimmicky, the other two being Steven Spielberg and Paul Greengrass. However, I didn't think that style would work with Edge of Tomorrow.

I was looking forward to the film, but I thought the critical reviews would be less than stellar. However, much to my absolute shock, the film had received unanimous critical praise, with most reviews calling the film smart, clever, and witty. My expectations got much higher and I was really hoping the film would live up to them. Well, guys, I'm here to tell you that Edge of Tomorrow is an intelligently-written and excellently-made sci-fi film. You know what, I'm gonna say it...Edge of Tomorrow is currently my favorite film of the year.

To call this movie good would be a massive understatement. This was fantastic. I couldn't believe it. It's gritty, it's funny, it's clever, it's smart, it's snappy, and most of all, it's kick-ass summer blockbuster fun. This movie exceeded my expectations. Edge of Tomorrow is a slick and stylish piece of sci-fi cinema. It's a witty and thrilling action film that delivers much more than you'd expect (even if you were expecting a lot).

Edge of Tomorrow is advertised as a mash-up of Groundhog Day, Oblivion, Source Code, Starship Troopers, and hell, even The Butterfly Effect. However, the film itself is more seamless and groundbreakingly original than you'd expect. The tone was also perfect. While it does take itself seriously to an extent, it never becomes overly dark and focuses on the fun as well as the film's intelligence.

The performances are spectacular. Tom Cruise is on top form as Major Bill Cage, a cowardly military officer inexperienced in combat. I've always loved Cruise as an actor and he shines yet again in Edge of Tomorrow. Emily Blunt is absolutely bad-ass (not to mention gorgeous) as the hard-as-nails Rita Vrataski, the poster girl of the war. Blunt was surprisingly fantastic in the role. Supporting players Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson are also great.

When we don't have action scenes, we have a lot of character development given to all the characters, even the soldiers with limited screentime. They're all given interesting and distinct personalities. When there is action, it kicks it right into high gear and it never gets boring. The action sequences are very well-directed by Doug Liman and terrifically shot by cinematographer Dion Beebe. Most of them are long takes without any generic shaky-cam and they look astonishing. The music by Christophe Beck is also really good.

The production and set designs by Independence Day veteran Oliver Scholl look really slick. The editing by James Herbert is very fast-paced and very snappy. The special effects and CGI are phenomenal and I really loved the usage of practical effects. The exoskeleton "jackets" look really cool, the action is very intense, and the aliens look bad-ass. The situations could get old really fast if it weren't for the editing that concisely and freshly shows the differences in each repetition Bill Cage goes through.

The screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth is surprisingly intelligent, well-written, inventive, and full of energy. The pacing is relentless. There's even quite a bit of humor and the humor really does work, especially during the training. A few scenes in the film are really funny, intentionally so, and the audience in my theater was laughing their asses off.

FINAL SCORE: 10/10

Edge of Tomorrow is a fast-paced, beautifully-shot, expertly-directed, and cleverly-written sci-fi film, benefitted from the outstanding action scenes, the fantastic special effects, the great performances, Doug Liman's tight direction, the clever and witty humor, and the seamless pacing and tone. I loved this movie. This is well worth your time and your money. Please go see this in theaters. You won't be disappointed.

Shocker
Shocker(1989)

Shocker is a 1989 supernatural science fiction black comedy horror thriller slasher film written, produced, and directed by Wes Craven and starring Peter Berg, Mitch Pileggi, Michael Murphy, Cami Cooper, Richard Brooks (the black guy from the series finale of Serenity), Ted Raimi (brother of writer/director Sam Raimi), Sam Scarber, and Heather Langenkamp in a "blink or you'll miss it" cameo appearance.

The protagonist of Shocker is high school football player Jonathan Parker, played by future filmmaker Peter Berg, the adopted son of police lieutenant Don Parker, played by Michael Murphy. Serial killer Horace Pinker, played by Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files), was a former television repairman with a limp. Pinker kills Don's wife, foster daughter, and other foster son as well as Jonathan's attractive girlfriend, so the last remaining Parkers arrest Pinker and take him to the electric chair, where of course, he gets fried to death.

However, after being electrocuted, Pinker comes back to life as a supernatural ghost after making a deal with the Devil. Jonathan turns out to be Pinker's biological son who shot Pinker in the knee after witnessing him trying to kill his mother. This is also what causes Jonathan to develop a strange connection with Pinker, who uses electricity to come back from the dead and carry out his vengeance on Jonathan.

Now, let me just say right off the bat that this movie is absolutely insane. You have a psychopathic, wise-cracking, foul-mouthed serial killer with a limp. You have a fantastic heavy metal soundtrack. You have hallucinations as well as nightmares. You have some gore here and there. You even have a final fight between the hero and the villain in the TV world. Sounds fucking nuts, right?

Shocker is a fucking blast to watch and it's by far one of Wes Craven's most underrated films, as well as one of the most underrated films in the horror genre. Like Deadly Friend, Shocker is a movie that I can watch and never get bored with. Shocker is atmospheric, entertaining, and witty as fuck. In other words, it's electrifying and positively shocking in how fun it is (pun fully intended).

For better and for worse, Wes Craven has created a more technologically advanced re-imagining of A Nightmare on Elm Street, but with a bigger budget, a more professional cast, and some new, fresh ideas. Now, if you watch this movie, please don't take it seriously. If you do so, you'll want to gouge your eyes out. While it's a horror film, it has its share of humor and black comedy moments as well.

Peter Berg is very likeable as Jonathan Parker and I also really enjoy Michael Murphy as his foster father. Cami Cooper is also pretty good as Jonathan's girlfriend Alison and even provides some good eye candy. However, Alison provides more to the story than just being eye candy. The one performance that truly stands out is Mitch Pileggi as Horace Pinker. Pileggi was spectacularly fun to watch and you can tell he was having a blast play this character.

Wes Craven does a great job directing the film and the screenplay is very clever and occasionally droll. The horror/scare scenes work quite well with some decent suspense and a lot of nice atmosphere. The score is also really good. However, the best part of the movie would have to be the heavy metal soundtrack. It's fantastic. Also, for 1989, the special effects are top-notch.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

Many things aren't quite explained, such as Jonathan's psychic ability, and many things aren't really that explored, such as why Pinker turned into a psychopathic serial killer. While it's atmospheric, it's not really scary. However, despite all that, I'm a big fan of Shocker. It's fast-paced, it's witty, it's clever, it's fun, and it's definitely worth a watch. If you're a fan of Wes Craven, you might enjoy this one.

Maleficent
Maleficent(2014)

Maleficent is a 2014 dark fantasy adventure film directed by Robert Stromberg, produced by Joe Roth, written by Linda Woolverton (with additional script pages provided by Paul Dini and John Lee Hancock), executive produced by Don Hahn and Angelina Jolie, and starring Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Brenton Thwaites, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville.

Maleficent explores the untold story of Disney's most iconic villain from the 1959 animated classic Sleeping Beauty and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turned her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent, the title character played by Angelina Jolie, cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon a baby girl named Aurora.

Aurora is the newborn infant daughter of Maleficent's former lover, Stefan, played by Sharlto Copley. Stefan also happens to be the king. As the child grows, Aurora, played by Elle Fanning, is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.

As a huge fan of Sleeping Beauty, I was looking forward to this film. The idea of a darker re-imagining of the story of Sleeping Beauty told from Maleficent's point of view was very intriguing. The cast was terrific. I love Robert Stromberg as a production designer and I was hoping he'd be just as good as a director. The trailers looked really cool. So, I just got back from seeing it in theaters. While Maleficent features an interesting take on the title character, it's pretty disappointing.

Now, I don't hate the film. In fact, I actually think it's quite decent. But it could've been so much better, especially given the talent behind and in front of the camera. You have Linda Woolverton, the writer of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, penning the screenplay. You have James Newton Howard composing the music. You have Tim Burton collaborator Chris Lebenzon on editing duties. You have a wonderful cast on board. Sadly, Maleficent is only worthwhile as serviceable fantasy entertainment.

Now, let me the good stuff out of the way first. The film looks breathtaking. It's inarguably one of the most visually appealing films of the year. The cinematography by Dean Semler is absolutely gorgeous and the production designs by Gary Freeman and Dylan Cole look beautiful. The CGI is pretty impressive, although it could get pretty excessive. The score by James Newton Howard is fantastic as is the editing by Richard Pearson and Chris Lebenzon.

Robert Stromberg actually does a pretty damn good job directing the film. The performances are fucking fantastic. Angelina Jolie is absolutely wonderful as Maleficent. You can tell from her performance that Jolie understands the character and she shines. Elle Fanning does a really good job as Princess Aurora a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty. Sharlto Copley does a good job as King Stefan, although he may have come off as a bit of a miscast (and we'll get to that later). The other actors and actresses also do good jobs all around.

Now, we get to the bad. This take on the character of Maleficent is very interesting, but it wasn't really handled well. Here's her origin: when she was younger, she was friends with Stefan, who was a very kind boy. However, man's influence corrupted Stefan and that led him to become king (although we are never told what about man's influence that corrupted him or why the kingdom is so damn appealing). Stefan even poisons Maleficent and burns her wings (this is supposedly Disney's version of date-rape...not joking).

Maleficent defeats the king in battle and this is what causes Stefan to be tasked with poisoning her and taking off her wings using iron. Actually, to correct myself there, he's asked to kill her, but he couldn't bring himself to do so, so he presents the wings he burnt off of Maleficent to the throne as proof that she was killed, and this is what causes Stefan to be the new king as well as what breaks Maleficent's heart, so she places a curse on Aurora, but as the years go by, she starts to regret that decision, which causes some complications.

If you wanna make Maleficent the protagonist or maybe an anti-hero in her own movie, then fine, have at it, but for God's sake, at least handle it well. So much is changed between this version and the 1959 animated film that I can only call this a completely new story. Everything I've loved about the character is hardly present in this movie and that's just sad. The screenplay by Linda Woolverton is very problematic...even though this is the same writer who wrote Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.

Also, in this version, Maleficent doesn't turn into a dragon. Instead, Maleficent's servant Diaval, who can transform into a crow and a human, turns into the dragon. Plus, according to this movie, Maleficent is the protagonist of the picture while King Stefan is the true villain. I have a question: why the hell do we need a true villain in a movie about MOTHERFUCKING MALEFICENT? Top that off with an abrupt ending and throwing in Prince Philip into the film just to be in the film, and you have the flaws to be found in Maleficent.

Actually, after doing some research, I can't entirely blame Linda Woolverton for how flawed the script is. In fact, it's actually really different from the final film. For example, in the original script, which actually had contributions from Paul Dini (best known for Batman: The Animated Series), Stefan was the half-human, half-fairy bastard son of King Henry, played by Kenneth Cranham, and there were two characters called Queen Ulla and King Kinloch.

Ulla and Kinloch were the fairy queen and the fairy king of the Moors, and the aunt and uncle of Maleficent. Miranda Richardson and Peter Capaldi played Queen Ulla and King Kinloch, respectively, and both of them shot their scenes, but they were cut in the editing process together with more than fifteen minutes of the first act of the film. In fact, a lot had to be cut out of the film. There were even re-shoots with additional script pages provided by John Lee Hancock. I think it would've been better had it stuck to the original vision.

FINAL SCORE: 6/10

Maleficent is a perfectly serviceable but undoubtedly disappointing film. It's poorly written, it features an interesting but poorly-executed and badly-handled take on the title character, and it rarely features the Maleficent we all knew and loved. However, despite all that, it's visually stunning, it's very well-acted, and it's pretty entertaining. It's not a terrible film. It's okay, but it could've, would've, and should've been better. Also, I forgot to mention, the three pixie fairies are kinda annoying.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past is a 2014 science fiction superhero action thriller film produced and directed by Bryan Singer, produced by Simon Kinberg, written by Kinberg, Jane Goldman, and Matthew Vaughn, based on the Marvel comic books created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and starring Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Nicholas Hoult, Shawn Ashmore, Evan Peters, Daniel Cudmore, Omar Sy, Lucas Till, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Anna Paquin, Kelsey Grammer, Fan Bingbing, Booboo Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Patrick Stewart.

X-Men: Days of Future Past, based on the famous Uncanny X-Men comic book storyline of the same name by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, is a sequel to X-Men: First Class, X-Men: The Last Stand, and The Wolverine. The X-Men are at the edge of extinction thanks to the future being turned miserable and bleak by the forces of the Sentinels. They send Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman, to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent the annihilation of both humans and mutants.

Now, when I was a kid, I didn't read many of the X-Men comics. I did, however, watch the X-Men cartoon from the 90's and I still love the shit out of it. The first X-Men film was released in 2000 under the direction of The Usual Suspects helmer Bryan Singer and I really enjoyed it. It had a good story, good characters, and a lot of great action sequences. It also made a huge star out of then-newcomer Hugh Jackman, who then became the fanboys' ideal choice for Wolverine.

The success of that film led to a sequel, X2: X-Men United, again directed by Singer. X2 used to be my personal favorite of the X-Men film franchise. Everything about the film worked damn near perfectly for me. When X-Men: The Last Stand entered development, Singer didn't have time to define the storyline for X3, so he left to work on Superman Returns. Replacing Singer in the director's chair initially was Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn.

What Vaughn wanted to do was make an emotional, heartfelt, and dramatic entry in the series but still packing it with action and special effects. Hell, he storyboarded the entire film. However, due to personal and professional problems, Vaughn dropped out and taking the helm was Brett Ratner. X-Men: The Last Stand was a very problematic sequel and is nowhere near as good as the first two films, but I don't hate it. It's not a good movie, but it's a guilty pleasure of mine.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine, on the other hand, was a piece of shit that completely butchered the continuity of the franchise. It was horribly written, poorly plotted, and absolutely haphazard. However, Singer and Vaughn teamed up to fix the mistakes of Last Stand and Origins with their prequel/reboot X-Men: First Class, which turned out to be the best X-Men film since X2. Two years later, Jackman and James Mangold decided to fix more mistakes of Origins with The Wolverine. Now, everything about Last Stand and Origins has officially been flushed down the toilet with Days of Future Past.

X-Men: Days of Future Past has topped The LEGO Movie as my second favorite film of the year. Yes, it was that good. Not only did it manage to top First Class, but it actually replaced X2 as my favorite of the series. This film has everything the X-Men fans wants to see and didn't expect to see, all wrapped up into one spectacular and awesome package. Singer's long-awaited return to the franchise is a fast-paced, witty, and exciting superhero film and one of the best films of the year.

First of all, the performances are great. Hugh Jackman returns as Wolverine and he still shines as usual. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen return as the present-day Professor X and Magneto and the two are good in anything. James McAvoy is absolutely fantastic as the young Professor X, and he proved that in First Class. Michael Fassbender was also great as young Magneto.

Jennifer Lawrence, Ellen Page, and Halle Berry are the three leading ladies of the film and all three do really good jobs. Evan Peters also did a great job as this franchise's version of Quicksilver. Peter Dinklage was also really good as Bolivar Trask, the creator of the robotic Sentinels that at first want to target mutants but things go wrong when the Sentinels are hellbent on destroying the world. I also really liked Nicholas Hoult and Shawn Ashmore as Beast and Iceman, respectively.

The screenplay by Simon Kinberg is probably the best screenplay ever written for an X-Men movie. Kinberg really brought everything he had to the table and he absolutely delivered. This is the best film in his track record. The story was just outstanding, the dialogue was very rich, the characters were great and felt very believable, and Kinberg has a really cool sense of humor. Characters that were underused in the other X-Men movies are utilized in a manner that actually makes sense and the new characters blended in with the story fantastically.

The action sequences and special effects are just orgasmic in their incredibleness. When I saw Magneto lift up the baseball stadium, the audience in my theater were all cheering and most of them even gave a standing ovation. Say what you will about Bryan Singer, but the guy knows how to direct excellent action. The action is also beautifully shot by Singer's go-to cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel, who actually also worked on Drive.

The music by John Ottman was also fantastic. Hearing his X-Men theme again was just a treat to listen to. Ottman also does an excellent job editing the film and I also really liked the production and set designs by John Myhre (who worked on the first film). At the end of the movie, Wolverine wakes up in a new timeline and the mutants at Xavier's school include him, Iceman, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Beast, and Storm among three others.

The other three surviving mutants may surprise you. The other three surviving mutants are Rogue, Jean Grey, and Cyclops. Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, and James Marsden have both made their long-awaited return to the original X-Men continuity and I couldn't help but grin in joy. The disruption of the space-time continuum changed the events leading to her death at The Last Stand. After that, Xavier explains to Wolverine that they got a lot of catching up to do.

Wolverine goes back to 1973 and Mystique, impersonating the REAL young William Stryker (fuck you, X-Men Origins: Wolverine), rescues him from a river. Also, after the credits, we see people bowing and chanting to En Sabah Nur as he creates the Egyptian Pyramids while his Four Horsemen stand in the distance. This sets up X-Men: Apocalypse and God knows I can't wait to see that film.

FINAL SCORE: 10/10

X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine have officially been retconned and X-Men: Days of Future Past is the best X-Men film yet. The action is great, the story is terrific, the direction is marvelous (no pun intended), the special effects are fantastic, the dialogue is good, and the humor is so damn clever. I applaud Simon Kinberg for fixing every mistake he made while writing X-Men: The Last Stand and I doth my cap off to Bryan Singer for giving us another truly great installment in this franchise. Bring on Apocalypse.

Godzilla
Godzilla(2014)
½

Godzilla is a 2014 science fiction action drama monster film directed by Gareth Edwards, written by David Callaham, David S. Goyer, Drew Pearce, Max Borenstein, and Frank Darabont, based on the character of the same name owned and created by Toho, and starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Juliette Binoche, Ken Watanabe, David Strathairn, Sally Hawkins, CJ Adams, and Carson Bolde. The film is an American reboot of the Japanese franchise of the same name.

Godzilla starts out in 1954, a clever nod to the original Godzilla film from that same year (also known as Gojira), where the titular monster is awakened by a Russian military submarine accident. Throughout the mid-1950s, the United States and Russian militaries used nuclear weapons in attempts to kill Godzilla and covered them up as atomic tests. Thus, his existence was unknown to the worldwide public, and Godzilla survived every attempt.

Sixty years later, Godzilla re-awakens and wreaks havoc all over the Earth. USN lieutenant Ford Brody, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and his crew attempt to discover what the hell's going on with the help of scientist Ishiro Serizawa, played by Ken Watanabe, and his assistant Vivienne Graham (yes, Tut, her last name is Graham), played by Sally Hawkins. Ford's father Joe, played by Bryan Cranston, is haunted by the death of his wife Sandra, played by Juliette Binoche, back in 1999 and also wants to find out what's going on.

Trying to survive the chaos is Ford's wife Elle, a nurse played by Elizabeth Olsen, and their young son Sam, played by Carson Bolde. During the disaster, Godzilla is pitted against malevolent creatures known as massive unidentified terrestrial organisms (a.k.a. MUTOs) who, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence. Godzilla fights them off, hoping to restore balance to nature.

When I was a kid, I grew up watching Godzilla. The original film from 1954 is one of my all-time favorite films. The ones I also like are King Kong VS. Godzilla, Monster Zero, Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster, Destroy All Monsters, Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., all four Godzilla VS. MechaGodzilla movies, Return of Godzilla, Godzilla VS. Destroyah, Godzilla VS. King Ghidorah, Godzilla: Final Wars, the original Godzilla VS. Mothra, Godzilla 2000, and Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.

When I heard that there will be an American reboot of Godzilla back in the 90's, I was hyped. Jurassic Park made dinosaurs look incredibly realistic and I was hoping that same technology could be used to make the Big G look real. I was 13 years old when I saw it in the theater and I remember liking it. Cut to years later and I now think the reboot was a childhood raping of epic proportions. Did Roland Emmerich even watch the other Godzilla movies? Unlike that reboot, this one is actually good.

Godzilla is one of my favorite films of the year, ranking only behind The LEGO Movie and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It has everything I wanted to see in a true reboot of Godzilla: characters who are likeable, well-developed, and given interesting personalities, excellent action sequences, set pieces, and special effects, great acting, good writing, competent direction, and a faithfulness to the character and the series.

The performances are fantastic. Aaron Taylor-Johnson does a great job playing Ford Brody and never came across as boring, wooden, or dull like the critics thought. Elizabeth Olsen also does a really good job playing Ford's wife Elle, and while her character could've been a little more strong, she was still likeable and developed well enough. Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn, and Sally Hawkins also do good jobs with the roles they're given. However, Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe give the two best performances in the movie. They were absolutely fantastic, especially Cranston.

The music score by Alexandre Desplat is beautiful, creating genuine suspense and a mood of agitation. The cinematography by Seamus McGarvey (Marvel's The Avengers) is simply astonishing. Every shot and frame of this picture looks gorgeous. Owen Paterson does a great job with the film's production and set designs. The film is also beautifully edited by Stephen Sommers collaborator Bob Ducsay.

The action sequences are amazing to sit through, very well-shot by McGarvey and beautifully directed by Gareth Edwards. After this and Monsters, I look forward to seeing what Edwards is bringing to the table next. This is Max Borenstein's first screenplay (with some uncredited help provided by Frank Darabont) and my God, is it good. While it could've been a little tighter, Borenstein does a great job with the script, developing his characters, creating a good story, and focusing on the human drama aspect very well.

Now, there's one complaint about this movie that I thoroughly disagree with. Critics have complained that they see Godzilla over an hour into the movie and they wanted more shit blown up. Okay, first they say Man of Steel had too much action, and now they say this. I don't get the critics. The build-up worked excellently and if you showed more of the Big G, the final fight at the end of the movie wouldn't be that exhilarating. If I want mindless shit, I'll just watch Michael Bay's Transformers movies.

FINAL SCORE: 9/10

Godzilla is a monster film with brains as well as a summer blockbuster with brains. The King of the Monsters is back and better than ever, and I truly couldn't be happier. It definitely washes the taste of Roland Emmerich's first and more terrible attempt at bringing the Big G to American audiences out of my mouth. Was this as good as the Japanese original? No. Nothing will ever top it. But this is a truly excellent creature feature with intelligence, heart, and intensity. This is definitely worth your time and money.

Transformers
Transformers(2007)
½

Transformers is a 2007 science fiction action film directed and executive produced by Michael Bay, written by John Rogers, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman, executive produced by Steven Spielberg, and starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Rachael Taylor, Anthony Anderson, John Turturro, Jon Voight, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, Zack Ward, Amaury Nolasco, Travis Van Winkle, and the late Bernie Mac. The film is an adaptation of the 1980's television series of the same name as well as Hasbro's toy line of Transformers action figures.

The plot involves sixteen-year-old high school student Sam Witwicky, played by Shia LaBeouf, who has just gotten his first car, a 1977 Chevrolet Camaro who is actually the Autobot known as Bumblebee. Bumblebee saves Sam and his classmate and later girlfriend Mikaela Banes, played by Megan Fox, from the Decepticon known as Barricade from an attack as the other Autobots and Decepticons land on Earth.

Bumblebee introduces Sam and Mikaela to the Autobots, consisting of Ironhide, Ratchet, Jazz, and their leader, Optimus Prime. The Autobots and the Decepticons' home planet, Cybertron, was destroyed by the war between them. The Decepticons, led by Megatron, were searching for the AllSpark, the cube that created their autonomous robotic race. They want the AllSpark in order to take over the universe and give life to the machines on Earth, whereas the Autobots intend to use it to rebuild Cybertron and end the war.

Now, when I was a kid, I fucking loved Transformers. I watched the 80's TV show, I loved the animated movie from 1986, I read a lot of the comic books, and I've had many of the action figures. When I heard that a live-action adaptation of Transformers was announced, I was highly pumped. When Michael Bay was announced as the director, I was skeptical. I liked every film he's directed (except for Pearl Harbor and Revenge of the Fallen), but I wasn't sure his style was right for the film. However, I was still willing to give it a fair shake.

Here are my thoughts on Michael Bay's other films (just the ones he directed): Bad Boys is fun, The Rock is highly enjoyable, Armageddon was really entertaining, Pearl Harbor was fucking garbage, Bad Boys II was just as fun as the first film, The Island was a fun dose of futuristic sci-fi, Revenge of the Fallen is a film I liked at first (I now really dislike it), Dark of the Moon is the best Bay film since The Rock, and Pain & Gain was a funny and thought-provoking comedy thriller. The first Transformers movie is another fun film from Michael Bay.

Now, let me get the bad shit out of the way first. Most of the humor isn't really that funny, and some of them involve unfunny racial stereotypes. The thing about the AllSpark being able to create worlds was a direct rip-off of the far superior and highly underrated Titan A.E., a film written by Joss Whedon that stars a much better cast. Megan Fox is nice to look at, but to call her an actress would be a lie.

The script isn't particularly well-written, but I'm expecting a poor script out of a Michael Bay film. Megatron's plan makes no sense. He wants to transform human technology to take over the universe but he landed on Earth thousands of years ago. What fucking technology was he gonna use from back then? The location of the AllSpark being on Sam's glasses was...just silly. I didn't need to see Bumblebee pissing on John Turturro nor did I need to see Turturro in his underwear.

And now for the two crowning achievements of terrible dialogue:
"ARE YOU USERNAME LADIESMAN217?!" and "The ice is freezing faster than it's melting!"

Painful, isn't it? Well, luckily, there's a lot more fun than there is awful. For example, the main characters are likeable to some extent. The actors do a good job (well, except for Megan Fox). The action sequences and special effects are great, especially the final battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons. The re-designs of the Transformers look really cool. Peter Cullen is still a bad-ass motherfucker as Optimus Prime and Hugo Weaving is a really intimidating Megatron.

FINAL SCORE: 7/10

Unlike most people, this movie didn't rape my childhood. Is it flawed? Yes. But it's a Michael Bay film and a Kurtzman/Orci screenplay. What were you expecting? Despite its lame-as-hell humor, painfully unfunny racial stereotypes, and occasional story problems, Transformers is a fun time. It has great action scenes, good performances (excluding Megan Fox), wonderful special effects, and a few likeable characters. If you enjoy seeing thirty-foot-tall robots fighting each other, this movie's worth your time and money.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a 2014 science fiction superhero action film directed by Marc Webb, written by James Vanderbilt, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Jeff Pinkner, executive produced by Stan Lee, Kurtzman, and Orci, based on the Marvel comic books by Steve Ditko and Lee, and starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Paul Giamatti, Chris Cooper, Felicity Jones, Sally Field, Colm Feore, Marton Csokas, B.J. Novak, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, and Sarah Gadon. The film is the sequel to the 2012 film The Amazing Spider-Man.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 involves Peter Parker, played by Andrew Garfield, who's continuing to struggle with balancing his life as a high school student and his responsibilities as the superhero Spider-Man. When Peter begins to investigate more about his parents' (Richard and Mary, played by Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz) past, thanks to the help of his friend Harry Osborn, played by Dane DeHaan, he begins to realize that the new threats of Electro, played by Jamie Foxx, and the Rhino, played by Paul Giamatti, all have one thing in common: OsCorp.

Of course, I happen to be a big fan of The Amazing Spider-Man. Does it have the same premise as the comics and Sam Raimi's film? Yes. But this reboot builds a more complex story around the premise. Many people complained that the film was just a rehash of the Sam Raimi film. While things from the Raimi film still happen in Marc Webb's reboot, they happen through a different sequence of events, so it's not really a rehash. Andrew Garfield was fantastic as Peter Parker and as Spider-Man, much better than Tobey Maguire. There was also an interesting villain, a good love interest, and some kick-ass action to boot.

Naturally, I was looking forward to the sequel. Marc Webb, who did a great job directing its predecessor, returns to direct. Garfield, Emma Stone, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, and Sally Field all reprise their roles from the first film. In this sequel, there are now three villains: the Rhino, Electro, and the Green Goblin. Now, people were at first worried that this was gonna be Spider-Man 3 all over again. After seeing this film, I can safely say this handles it a tad better. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a pretty good sequel. It isn't amazing, like the title suggests, but it's entertaining.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is definitely not as great as its predecessor. WARNING: This review is coated with spoilers. Please see the movie first and then come back to this review. The film opens with Richard and Mary Parker, the parents of Peter Parker, leaving Peter at Uncle Ben and Aunt May's house. Before, in a flashback, Richard records a message explaining his disappearance. He and Mary are onboard a private jet hijacked by an assassin sent to kill Richard. Shit hits the fan, the assassin and Richard fight, Mary gets shot, the pilot's dead, the plane crashes, and the Parkers die in the crash.

In present day, we see Spider-Man already in action as he tries to pursue Russian criminal Aleksei Sytsevich, played by Paul Giamatti, who later becomes the villain Rhino in the comics. You can tell Giamatti is having a blast with the limited amount of screentime he has in this movie playing this guy and believe me, he's incredibly fun to sit through. Aleksei is trying to steal a truck containing plutonium vials from OsCorp as the police and our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man are chasing him. Spidey stops him and the police put his ass in jail.

Peter changes out of his costume just in time to get his diploma during his high school graduation ceremony and to catch up with his girlfriend Gwen Stacy, played by Emma Stone. During the chase and ceremony, he has a vision of Gwen's father George, played by Denis Leary, reminding him of his promise to leave Gwen alone. But as we all know, the promises we can't keep are the best kind. Insisting to keep his promise, Peter and Gwen carefully decide to end their relationship.

Also during the chase, Peter rescues nerdy OsCorp employee/scientist Max Dillon, played by Jamie Foxx, from incoming danger. Max has a bit of an obsession with Spider-Man, wishing he could be like him, akin to Edward Nygma in Batman Forever. Why does he develop an obsession with the web-slinging wise-cracker? Well, it's because that after Spider-Man saves him, he assumes they're now friends. Now if you're a comic book-loving nerdy fanboy, a reason like that is very understandable.

Andrew Garfield is back and better than ever as Spider-Man. The man was fucking born to play this character. He actually messes around and makes funny quips and witty wisecracks like he does in the comics. Tobey Maguire never did that in the Raimi trilogy and he was just a wimpy nerd. In the reboot, he's still a nerd but in no way, shape, or form is he wimpy. They also put unique spins on Spider-Man's uniform in both of these Amazing Spider-Man movies. Also, actually creating the web shooters makes a hell of a lot more sense than shooting webs out of your wrist.

While working for maintenance at OsCorp, Max loses his balance and falls into a pool of genetically-engineered electrical eels being used for experiments. The electricity mutates him into a living electric generator. Max now calls himself Electro. Electro then causes destruction and Times Square and shit hits the fan non-stop during this sequence. Electro himself manages to be a pretty damn good villain.

Also, Peter's friend Harry Osborn, played by Dane DeHaan, comes to visit New York to see his terminally ill father, OsCorp CEO Norman Osborn, played by Chris Cooper, who's suffering from a rare disease. Peter and Harry were best friends during childhood. After Norman dies, Harry becomes the new CEO of OsCorp and becomes corrupt. Harry begins to get the disease that killed his father.

Because he's corrupt, he's removed as CEO. Electro and Harry's assistant Felicia Hardy (Black Cat in the comics), played by Felicity Jones, inform him of equipment Norman made before and while he was ill and get him back into OsCorp. Harry finds a suit of armor and other equipment as well as venom (no, not the villain Venom) from genetically-engineered spiders. They don't cure his disease. They transform him into the one and only Green Goblin. Dane DeHaan puts Willem Dafoe to fucking shame. Unlike Dafoe, DeHaan is actually intimidating as the Goblin.

Peter uses information left by his dad to locate the video message. In the message, Richard explains he had to leave New York because he was unwilling to cooperate with Norman's plans to use what they had created for biological weapons. Peter also professes his love for Gwen while making a call to her. Peter and Gwen manage to kill Electro, but then the Green Goblin kidnaps Gwen.

Spider-Man defeats the Green Goblin during a fight on a clock tower, but as he tries to save Gwen, she accidentally slips and then falls to her death, and then Peter breaks out in tears. This was actually handled extremely well. After that, Peter gives up being Spider-Man and then months later, the man in the shadows from the first movie breaks Aleksei out of prison.

The man in the shadows gives him a mechanical suit of armor, having Aleksei become the Rhino, his costume being inspired by Ultimate Spider-Man. The movie ends with Rhino rampaging through the streets of New York and Peter returning as Spider-Man to battle the Rhino after being inspired by a recording of Gwen's graduation speech.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn't come close to its predecessor, but I still really enjoyed the hell out of it. This film features excellent action set pieces, entertaining special effects, good characters, a well-paced storyline, a great sense of humor, decent villains, a fantastic score by Hans Zimmer and the Magnificent Six (featuring Pharrell Williams), and a perfect mix of lightness and seriousness.

The storyline is occasionally cluttered and unfocused and that really bugged me. The film was also trying to cram a little too much into one story, and I wish Electro was given more development, a purpose he can serve to the story, and a better reason for doing what he does when he becomes Electro, but other than that, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a serviceably worthy sequel. We also have perfect chemistry between Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone and incredibly confident direction from Marc Webb. It should've been better, but in the end, it's fun.

Transcendence

Transcendence is a 2014 science fiction action mystery drama techno-thriller film directed by Wally Pfister (Christopher Nolan's preferred cinematographer who's making his directorial debut with this movie), executive produced by Christopher Nolan, written by Jack Paglen, and starring Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, Cole Hauser, Josh Stewart, Cory Hardrict, Clifton Collins Jr., Xander Berkeley, and Lukas Haas.

Transcendence involves scientist Dr. Will Caster, played by Johnny Depp (who gives his best performance in years in this film), an artificial intelligence researcher famous for his controversial experiments, who strives to create a machine that possesses sentience and collective intelligence. The anti-technology unit known as R.I.F.T. a.k.a. Revolutionary Independence from Technology targets him. They shoot him and other researchers with radioactively-tainted bullets.

The radiation poisoning will kill them even if the assassination fails, but their actions drive him toward his goal. Caster also wants to become part of the new technology, and his wife Evelyn, played by Rebecca Hall, and his best friend Max Waters, played by Paul Bettany, also researchers, question the wisdom of this drive. When his mind is downloaded into a computer to try and save his life, Caster's goal to acquire knowledge becomes one to acquire power, and he seems to be unstoppable.

Now, I actually have a PDF copy of Jack Paglen's original first draft of Transcendence that got the script on the Black List. It was absolutely fantastic. It was a very thrilling science fiction adventure action film with a dramatic heft to it that worked beautifully. I loved the first draft and I was hyped for this movie. It had an excellent cast, a very interesting premise, and while Pfister is a first-time director, he's one of the better cinematographers working today. After seeing this film, I must ask: What the fuck happened to this screenplay?

Now, for what the film was, it's pretty decent. Disappointing and flawed, but serviceable, but the original script was completely butchered by Pfister, the studios, and the producers (but not Nolan, because he was an executive producer and hardly was involved in the film's production). Pfister, Jordan Goldberg, and Alex Paraskevas all collaborated on uncredited re-writes of the screenplay without Paglen's supervision or cooperation. Pfister, you're a fantastic cinematographer and a competent director, but screenwriter you are not. You damn near ruined this movie.

Now, let's get the good shit out of the way first. The cast does a great job, especially Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, and Morgan Freeman. Pfister does a competent job directing the film (although I wished he didn't fuck up Paglen's original vision). The premise, once again, is very intriguing and somewhat original. The visuals look great. It has a decent pace. The themes are very thought-provoking. The score by Mychael Danna and the beautiful cinematography by Jess Hall are fantastic.

So yeah, on a technical level, Transcendence is fantastic. Unfortunately, while the premise is very interesting, the execution is shockingly sloppy. For example, when Johnny Depp's consciousness is uploaded into the computer, all he does is add money to people's bank accounts, find ways to cure diseases, and build some empire consisting of an army of super-strong individuals. Depp hardly does anything interesting in this film.

Another problem I have with this film is with the characters. They're not unlikeable, but they're very dull, flat, and lifeless. They're very two-dimensional, a trait of which they don't have in Paglen's first draft. The one vert interesting thing about this movie, sadly, is the set-up. With a premise as incredible as this, there was no reason to disappoint us this much.

Also, for a supposed thriller, there are hardly any thrills to be found. There's like only one action scene in this movie and while well-shot, well-edited, and entertaining, it lasts for damn near less than a minute. For a film rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, that's what I'm expecting. The first draft had action and Paglen put action sequences into his screenplay when needed, and when he did, it worked because the action was exciting and thrilling.

In this film, we also have a rather overblown finale. There's also too much focus between Evelyn trying to maintain Will's life. This is a problem for me because it's written very blandly and it makes the movie bland. Also, Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy hardly do jack fucking shit in this movie. They add damn near nothing to the plot of this movie. Their performances are very good, yes, but their characters are pointless.

FINAL SCORE: 6/10

The acting and score are great, the direction is competent, the idea is intriguing, the cinematography is fantastic, it's a beautifully-edited film, and the set designs and visuals are impressive, but the characters are boring, the execution of the premise is dull, there's hardly anything interesting or thrilling, and the film butchered a terrific first draft. This actually could've used a touch of Nolan.

This could've been an intelligent and intense sci-fi thriller that's essentially Inception meets The Terminator meets The Matrix, but as it turns out, it's not. Transcendence is far from terrible, and it's not the worst way to kill two hours of your time, but it's the most disappointing film of the year so far and it could've been so much better. It's serviceable, somewhat thought-provoking, and original to some degree, but not worth seeing in theaters. Just wait till it hits DVD.

The Amazing Spider-Man
½

The Amazing Spider-Man is a 2012 science fiction superhero action thriller film directed by Marc Webb, written by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, and Steve Kloves, based on the Marvel comic books by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, executive produced by Lee, and starring Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Irrfan Khan, Chris Zylka, Campbell Scott, and Embeth Davidtz. The film is a reboot of the Spider-Man franchise.

The Amazing Spider-Man involves orphaned teenage social outcast Peter Parker, played by Andrew Garfield, who lives with his uncle Ben, played by Martin Sheen, and aunt May, played by Sally Field. Peter usually spends his days trying to unravel the mystery of his own past and winning the heart of his high school crush Gwen Stacy, played by Emma Stone, the daughter of NYPD captain George Stacy, played by Denis Leary.

Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase belonging to his father Richard, played by Campbell Scott, who abandoned him when he was a child along with his mother Mary (Embeth Davidtz), which leads him to his dad's former partner, Dr. Curt Connors, played by Rhys Ifans. The discovery of his father's secret, as well as the murder of Ben, will ultimately shape his destiny of becoming the web-shooting, wise-cracking superhero known as Spider-Man and brings him face to face with Connors' villainous alter ego, the Lizard.

Now, I am a fan of the first Spider-Man film in 2002, directed by Sam Raimi. I really am a fan. However, just because I like the movie doesn't mean I have to like everything about the movie. I thought it had a good story, good performances from the supporting cast, some strong dramatic moments, and some really enjoyable action sequences.

However, I don't like Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker and as Spider-Man, I don't like Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson, some of the effects looked too cartoony, some of the dialogue was really poorly written, and the Green Goblin acted way too over-the-top and goofy to be taken seriously (not to mention his costume is fucking ridiculous as fuck). I like the film, but for God's sakes, people, it's not amazing.

Spider-Man 2 was even better. It was stronger in every department. I love Spider-Man 2. It's one of my all-time favorite comic book movies. Then, Spider-Man 3 came out. While I don't think it deserves the endless amount of hatred it gets, it's not a good film and it's a massive disappointment. Plans for a fourth Spider-Man film got scrapped, so Sony hit the reset button and hired (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb to take the helm for this reboot.

The Amazing Spider-Man is a great reboot, a great Spider-Man film, and a great film in general. Spider-Man 2 will always be the best Spider-Man film, but this reboot is much better than Spider-Man 1 and 3. Now, I've actually read some Spider-Man comics, and I must say, this reboot is definitely more faithful to the source material while still taking liberties that in no way, shape, or form hurt the film.

Events from the 2002 film and the comics (such as the death of Uncle Ben and Peter being bitten by the radioactive spider) still happen, but through a different sequence of events. By doing this, Marc Webb, James Vanderbilt (White House Down, The Losers, Zodiac), Alvin Sargent (the Raimi trilogy), and Steve Kloves (Harry Potter) are able to tell their own Spider-Man story while still making the fans happy. On top of this, the movie gives us an original albeit very similar origin story instead of a rehash of the first Spider-Man movie.

The acting is fantastic. Andrew Garfield literally lives and breathes Peter Parker. Casting decisions couldn't get any more perfect. In the comics, Peter Parker is a nerd, but he's also a wisecracking smartass. Garfield pulls that off amazingly. Emma Stone also does a great job playing Gwen Stacy, the original Spider-Man love interest and the obviously better one. She's a very witty, charming, and interesting character. Garfield and Stone also have perfect chemistry with one another.

Rhys Ifans was brilliant as Curt Connors. He's a sympathetic character, but also comes across as very secretive, like he knows more than he's actually letting on. The character is also perfectly-written and Ifans truly does shine in this role. I liked Dylan Baker in the Raimi trilogy, but Ifans nails this role. The Lizard also manages to be a really good villain. I admit, the CGI used for this character really could've been improved upon, but I do like that he looked the same way Steve Ditko drew him in the comics.

Martin Sheen is great as Uncle Ben, but let's face it, folks, Martin Sheen is good in anything. Sheen plays a more interesting Uncle Ben than Cliff Robertson. This Uncle Ben understands Peter much more, and because he's more interesting, his death scene has a lot more emotional weight to it this time around. Sally Field does a great job as Aunt May, who seems more worried about Peter, warning him that all secrets have a cost and are never for free. Denis Leary is a fantastic George Stacy. His fight at the end was so fun to watch.

Now, this was the first action film Marc Webb has directed, and he does a great job. All the action scenes are fluently shot, well-directed, and expertly edited by Michael McCusker, Alan Edward Bell, and Pietro Scalia. The set designs by J. Michael Riva were also really impressive. While there was CGI, there was also a lot of practical effects that were shot beautifully by cinematographer John Schwartzman.

Now, the film does have some problems. I felt like a couple scenes were missing, and after watching the trailers again as well as looking at some production stills on Google Images, it's because there were scenes missing. The character of Dr. Ratha just disappears out of nowhere. There was a really good part of the trailer where Curt Connors says "If you want the truth, Peter Parker...come and get it!" that's missing entirely from the movie. Are you shitting me? Why didn't they keep that in the movie?

Also, sorry Raimi purists, but the mechanical web slingers are much better than shooting spider-webs out of your wrist. In the immortal words of former Trollfighter Alex Maverick, "Aside from being faithful to the source material, artificial web-shooters are better because it makes no sense for Peter to be able to shoot webs out of his wrists. Why? Because if he could shoot webs out of his body, they would come from his ass just like real spiders." Exactly.

FINAL SCORE: 9/10

The Amazing Spider-Man would have to be a 10/10 in order to qualify as amazing, but it comes close. No doubt about that. The Amazing Spider-Man is a fantastically-acted, expertly-written, and confidently-directed reboot that improves upon the first and third installments of Sam Raimi's previous attempt to bring the beloved character to the big screen. I can't wait till The Amazing Spider-Man 2 comes out. I love this movie. It's my second favorite of the Spider-Man movies.

The Counselor
½

The Counselor is a 2013 crime thriller drama film that deals with themes of greed, death, the primal instincts of humans and their consequences. The Counselor is produced and directed by Ridley Scott, written and executive produced by Cormac McCarthy, and starring Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Rosie Perez, Natalie Dormer, Édgar Ramirez, Rubén Blades, Goran Visnjic, Toby Kebbell, John Leguizamo, and Dean Norris. This was the first original film screenplay by McCarthy.

The Counselor tells the story of the title character, a greedy lawyer (Michael Fassbender) who finds himself in over his head when he decides to delve into the dark world of drug trafficking, primarily in a deal around the troubled Juarez, Mexico/Texas border area. Along the way, we meet his naïve fiancée Laura (Penélope Cruz), seedy middleman Westray (Brad Pitt), the mysterious and dangerous couple Reiner (Javier Bardem) and Malkina (Cameron Diaz), and prison inmate Ruth (Rosie Perez), who's represented by the Counselor.

When I first saw the trailers for this film, I was hyped, mainly because this is the first film Cormac McCarthy has provided an original screenplay for and this looked a lot better than Ridley Scott's previous disappointment Prometheus (it's a decent film, but Lord, is it a letdown). The cast was fantastic and the marketing team did an amazing job promoting the film. It looked stylish and gritty. Then, I saw the film in theaters and I enjoyed it. Four months later, I forgot about the film and thought I might give it a re-watch, which I did. This movie sucks.

First of all, the characters are unlikeable, boring, pretentiously-written cardboard nothings with incredibly nonsensical motivations. For example, why in the hell would a highly respected lawyer enter the world of drug trafficking? I understand if he's greedy, but HE'S A FUCKING LAWYER. Doesn't he have and make enough money? Also, Malkina, a slut who occasionally uses her stupid Mexican accent, does a complete 180 by turning into a full-on villain during the entire second half for no reason other than the plot says so.

Cormac McCarthy's screenplay is poor. Now, I have the movie tie-in novelization of this movie. It's an enjoyable read as a book, but only as a book. As a movie, the screenplay sucks ass. Every character speaks in long, excruciatingly-detailed paragraphs just like they do in a book, and my God, is it ever painfully boring to sit through. Cormac, there's a difference between writing a book and writing a film screenplay. You can easily look it up on the Internet. The Counselor works as a book, not really as a film.

Now, onto the acting. Michael Fassbender is a fantastic actor, but he's just completely flat and empty in this movie. I guess he wanted to be in character, but this is the wrong character to be in. We don't feel anything with/for this guy. We don't understand any single one of his motives. We don't understand any single one of his reactions. He's one of the most boring characters I've ever seen in a motion picture.

Cameron Diaz is painful to sit through as Malkina, a "femme fatale" who fucks cars. No, I'm not kidding. She fucks Javier Bardem's car in this movie, and she wants to make sure he's watching except Javier tells her to be quiet because he's reading his fucking e-mail. Malkina is supposed to be mysterious and terrifying, but Diaz fails to be any of those. Her performance and line delivery are so hilariously inept that it makes you wonder if she wanted to act like she was in a godawful high school play. It's pathetic.

Javier Bardem's character Reiner looks like a morphing of Tommy Wiseau, Johnny Depp, Hunter S. Thompson, Tim Burton, and an emo punk hipster, and yet he's the most human of all the characters. Bardem does a decent job with the material given, as does Brad Pitt as the urban cowboy known as Westray. Penélope Cruz's beauty and talent is wasted. She does damn near nothing throughout the whole movie and she plays the most naïve, one-dimensional cardboard cutout ever written.

FINAL SCORE: 3/10

To be fair, Ridley Scott does a more-than-capable job directing the film, Dariusz Wolski's cinematography is pretty damn good, Pietro Scalia does a decent job editing the movie, Daniel Pemberton's score is great, and Brad Pitt's decapitation deserves more than a 10/10. However, The Counselor suffers from unlikeable characters, a convoluted and extremely clumsy storyline, painfully wordy dialogue, and incredibly vapid pacing. If you're a fan of Ridley Scott or Cormac McCarthy, this isn't the movie for you.

Winter's Tale

(A New York) Winter's Tale is a 2014 supernatural romantic fantasy drama film written, produced, and directed by Akiva Goldsman (this film is his feature film directorial debut), based on the novel of the same name by Mark Helprin, and starring Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint, Will Smith, Graham Greene, Ripley Sobo, Mckayla Twiggs, Matt Bomer, Lucy Griffiths, and Kevin Durand.

Set in 1916 and present-day Manhattan, Winter's Tale follows the story of Peter Lake (Colin Farrell), a thief who falls in love with Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay), a dying girl who has tuberculosis and consumption, and occupies one of the houses he breaks into. Lake is saved from a demon posing as the insane Irish gangster Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe) and Pearly's henchmen by Athansor, a mysterious white horse (a Pegasus) who becomes his guardian angel.

Winter's Tale originally was going to be directed by Martin Scorsese, but those plans got scrapped when Scorsese dropped out of the project, deeming the novel unfilmable, which is understandable (we'll get to that later). This was actually a film that I thought had potential. The story is surprisingly original, the film had a great cast, the trailers looked really good, and Akiva Goldsman is a decent writer. Naturally, I was looking forward to this movie.

Then, the reviews came in. This film had a 13% on Rotten Tomatoes and it flopped at the box office much to my disappointment. So I just decided not to see it and just see About Last Night instead. After reading my colleague Diego Tutweiller's full-on negative review of this movie and checking my Facebook to see that one of my friends called this the best film of the year, I decided "You know what? Fuck it, I'll watch it."

Winter's Tale is not the worst film of the year. I've seen worse. However, it's one of the most disappointing films of the year. Is it deserving of its 13% on RT? Honestly, fuck no. But I don't really like this movie. It has an original story, yes. It's very well-acted, yes. It's beautifully shot, scored, and edited, yes. But the film never really comes together the way Akiva Goldsman wants it to. I'm sorry, but it doesn't.

The acting is incredible. Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay both give fantastic performances as Peter and Beverly. The two also have genuine chemistry with one another. Jennifer Connelly also does a really good job as Virginia Gamely. Supporting players like William Hurt and Eva Marie Saint also do good with the roles they're given. Russell Crowe is unapologetically hammy as Pearly Soames, but you can tell he's having a blast with this role and he was fun to watch. Also...Will Smith as Lucifer. Need I say more?

Winter's Tale is very impressive on a technical level. Akiva Goldsman does a surprisingly good job directing the film. Caleb Deschanel's cinematography is absolutely fantastic. The guy knows how to shoot and lens a movie. Naomi Shohan does a great job with the set designs as does Wayne Wahrman and Tim Squyres with the editing. Collaborating on the masterful score are Hans Zimmer and Rupert Gregson-Williams, the latter of whom finally decided to take a break from composing music for shitty Adam Sandler movies.

Winter's Tale is also plentiful of really strong and intriguing ideas. It hints at the notion of good and evil taking physical form. For example, Russell Crowe's character Pearly Soames is an Irish gangster on the outside, but on the inside, he's a demon working for the Devil himself. When he decides to confront Peter for good and forever, he's forced to fight on equal and mortal terms. I wouldn't mind an expansion of this fantasy universe.

So the logical thing to do would be to juggle up all the various ideas of the story together in a very cohesive, coherent, believable, and spectacular fashion that would satisfy the audience, but Goldsman doesn't do that. In fact, he lets the opportunity yell out "bye-bye" and run out the fucking window. This is what hurts the film and what causes the strings of problems that prevented me from defending this movie. In fact, trying to juggle all these ideas together would probably explain why Martin Scorsese called the novel unfilmable.

Goldsman focuses almost entirely on the love story and puts a torturous amount of detail into it, so much detail that it's more likely to bore, not entertain. Even though the actors have chemistry, the characters aren't given a connection by Goldsman's screenplay. Peter teaches Beverly how to escape her fever by slowing her heart down and Beverly explains to Peter how she believes people rise to the stars to find their loved ones when they die. It's very romantic, which will please the female adolescents, but not emotional.

If you thought that was problematic enough, the film then flings even more tropes and complications into the mix. For example, Peter loses his memory and then he winds up travelling ninety-six years through the future into present-day Manhattan, and we have some "love conquers all" mumbo jumbo. Goldsman just carelessly adds these things into the screenplay without taking a break to explain how it all hangs together.

FINAL SCORE: 4/10

Winter's Tale is a surprisingly original, competently-made, fantastically-acted, and beautifully-shot fantasy romance with strong ideas. But the film never really tries to mix the ideas together, and it's poorly written. Also, for a film with such originality, the absurdity of the structure is baffling. Also, the CGI effects are incredibly cheesy (although not as much as I, Frankenstein). Winter's Tale isn't a terrible movie, but it's not good enough to warrant a recommendation.

RoboCop
RoboCop(2014)

RoboCop is a 2014 science fiction action film directed by José Padilha, written by Joshua Zetumer, and starring Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish, Michael K. Williams, Jackie Earle Haley, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Aimee Garcia, John Paul Ruttan, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and Douglas Urbanski. The film is, of course, the unnecessary, generic, lazy, and half-assed remake of the 1987 Paul Verhoeven film of the same name starring Peter Weller.

RoboCop takes place fourteen years into the future. Multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years and it's meant billions for OmniCorp's bottom line. Now OmniCorp wants to bring their controversial technology to the homefront, and they see a golden opportunity to do it.

When Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), a loving husband, father, and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit is critically injured by a car-bomb in the line of duty, OmniCorp sees their chance for a half-human, half-machine police officer. OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and even more billions for their shareholders, but they never counted on one thing: there is still a man inside the machine pursuing justice.

I remember when I was a kid and I saw the original RoboCop for the first time on VHS. I was probably 9 or 10 years old. It was awesome. RoboCop is a bad-ass, classic sci-fi action film with intense, gritty violence, a memorable title character, witty dialogue, and consistently clever and biting social satire. Peter Weller will always be the definitive RoboCop. The success of RoboCop would lead to two sequels.

RoboCop 2 was directed by Empire Strikes Back helmer Irvin Kershner (this was his last movie) and written by Frank Miller (The Spirit, 300, Sin City) and Walon Green (Eraser, WarGames). I thought RoboCop 2, while not as good as the first film, was a criminally underrated sequel that's nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be. It closely follows the events and tone of the first film, it still has the clever social satire, RoboCop's fight scene with RoboCop II (a.k.a. RoboCain) was worth the price of admission, and it had some strong ideas that were executed rather decently.

However, RoboCop 3 was ABYSMAL. I mean...good Lord, RoboCop 3 is without a doubt one of the worst sequels EVER MADE. First of all, Robert John Burke does a terrible job playing RoboCop, Nancy Allen gets killed off, it looks cheap, the PG-13 rating made the action less effective, the dialogue was atrocious, and you have stupid shit like RoboCop getting his ass beaten by robot ninjas, RoboCop driving a pimp mobile, and a little girl hacking an ED-209 so she can make it as loyal as a puppy. Fuck RoboCop 3.

Now, we have this remake. This somehow managed to be worse than I expected. Now, I'll admit, it has some decent visuals and I thought a few of the actors did a decent job, but that's about it. Instead of a city on the brink of war between cops and criminals where anybody can be corrupted, like in the original, we instead have the clichéd, generic normal everyday city we see in most movies that looks as peaceful as ever with a few robberies and murders here and there. How fucking original.

Remember when movies like Blade Runner and The Terminator among others had atmosphere, creativity, and an otherworldliness to them? Today, we have generic realism crap. Now, realism isn't a bad thing, but if you're going to re-introduce a memorable character like RoboCop, Batman, or fuck, even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, then for God's sake, step up your game and be creative!

Paul Verhoeven's depiction of a war-torn city between cops and criminals in the original RoboCop looked gritty and exciting. Tim Burton's depiction of Gotham City in his Batman films looked exactly like Gotham. He didn't try to make it look generic nor did he go insufferably over-the-top with the design like Joel Schumacher did. Hell, even to an extent, Steve Barron and Michael Pressman got creative with the environment the Ninja Turtles inhabited in the first two TMNT movies with kids being trained to be the criminal element, which was a clever social satire for the time.

I don't want to see the Ninja Turtles in a generic, commando-ridden Times Square that obviously looks like every other city from every other Michael Bay film, I don't want to see Doug Quaid from Total Recall driving through the skyway from Minority Report (it was creative in Minority Report yet came across as generic in Total Recall), I don't want to see Batman in what is obviously Chicago, New York, Pittsburgh, or Los Angeles, and I don't want to see RoboCop in fucking suburbia.

Instead of being murdered in the grittiest and most violent way possible in the line of duty, like in the original film, we have Alex Murphy get killed by a car-bomb. What a fucking joke. Hell, after Alex becomes RoboCop, we have to wait another forty-five goddamn minutes before RoboCop does shit that's actually relevant to the fucking plot of this stupid-ass piece of crap.

Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, Abbie Cornish, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, and Jackie Earle Haley all give decent performances. Joel Kinnaman is fucking terrible as RoboCop. Normally, when Samuel L. Jackson is given a role like this, he's very fun, but in this movie, he was painful to sit through. The attempts at humor are terrible. The action sequences are so fucking generic with shaky-cam and quick-cuts. The lack of a PG-13 rating makes the violence way less effective. Also, why is Anne from the original turned into Alex's African-American partner? I'm not trying to be racist, but this just comes across as a rip-off of Lethal Weapon.

FINAL SCORE: 2/10

RoboCop is a RoboCumguzzling piece of shit. Is it better than RoboCop 3? Yeah. Choosing between this and that, I'd buy this for a dollar. RoboCop is one of the worst films of the year, folks. This is even more generic than the Total Recall remake. Lazy storytelling, hit-and-miss acting, generic action, bad dialogue, underdeveloped characters, this lousy crap has it all. RoboCop's wife and son are not characters, They are cheap plot devices. We rarely see RoboCop in his traditional suit and that pissed me the fuck off. Also, you have ridiculous song choices like the Wizard of Oz and Yodeling. FUCKING YODELING. Fuck this movie.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a 2014 science fiction superhero action thriller film directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, produced by Kevin Feige, executive produced by Stan Lee, and starring Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford, Cobie Smulders, Emily VanCamp, Frank Grillo, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, and Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Thomas Kretschmann in mid-credit cameos (this review is riddled with spoilers by the way). The film is a sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier takes place two years after the events of Marvel's The Avengers and a year after the events of Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World. The film involves Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America, played by Chris Evans, who resides peacefully in Washington, D.C., struggling to adapt to contemporary society. However, after a S.H.I.E.L.D. compatriot is assailed, Rogers becomes entangled in a mystery that may endanger the globe.

Together with Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, Captain America attempts to uncover the growing machination while fending off hired hit men. When the entire scheme is discovered, Captain America and Black Widow must recruit the aid of Sam Wilson a.k.a. Falcon, played by Anthony Mackie, and soon encounter an unanticipated and powerful adversary, a brainwashed Bucky Barnes, played by Sebastian Stan, turned into an assassin known as the Winter Soldier.

I was a huge fan of the previous film, so naturally, I was really looking forward to the sequel, especially since I liked every released film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who wrote the first film and Thor 2, were hired to write the script for the sequel. However, I then heard that Anthony and Joe Russo were to direct. "Really? The guys who made You, Me, and Dupree are gonna direct this?" said myself in disappointment. Then, the trailer came out, and it looked awesome.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is even better than its predecessor and you know what, I'm gonna say it, it's the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since The Avengers. Yes, you heard me right. Like the other films in the MCU, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is well-written, well-acted, well-made, packed with fantastic action sequences and effects, and it has a great villain as well as a nice sense of humor. However, The Winter Soldier is the grittiest of the films in the MCU.

It's not the darkest film you'll ever see, but when it comes to the action, the tone, the plot, and the villain, it can be gritty at times. For example, in most of the hand-to-hand fights, things get pretty damn ugly and we even get to see some blood at times. For the tone, it goes back to the political thrillers of the 70's, like Three Days of the Condor. The Winter Soldier is Marvel's best villain yet. He's an intense, bad-ass, and unstoppable killing machine, and Sebastian Stan kills it in this role.

The acting is fantastic, especially from Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford (who, ironically, starred in Three Days of the Condor), and Samuel L. Jackson. Evans gives his best performance yet in this movie. He brings everything he's got to the table and more. He truly does rock in this role. Scarlett Johansson does a great job as Black Widow. In Iron Man 2, she was good, but she felt too much like eye candy. Johansson proves she can be more than that in The Avengers and especially this film.

The idea of Robert Redford co-starring in a superhero movie just screams "HOLY SHIT! THAT IS AWESOME!". Robert Redford is awesome as senior S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Alexander Pierce, but come on, the guy is good in anything, and so is Samuel L. Jackson as S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury. Anthony Mackie does a great job as the Falcon and I look forward to seeing more of him in future Marvel movies. It's refreshing to see an African-American superhero be an actual supporting character instead of the token comedic sidekick.

Cobie Smulders does a pretty damn good job as Maria Hill, who has now left S.H.I.E.L.D. and is currently working for Stark Industries. Emily VanCamp also does a good job as Peggy Carter's niece Sharon a.k.a. Agent 13. Hayley Atwell does appear as Peggy in the film, wearing old woman make-up. The make-up actually looks pretty convincing (fuck you, Prometheus) and Atwell does fine with the little screentime she has. Frank Grillo also does a decent job as Brock Rumlow, who becomes the villain Crossbow in the comics.

Anthony and Joe Russo do a fantastic job directing the film. I think they should stick to this type of genre and not lame comedies. Along with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who wrote a great script, they keep changing the game, and they do so brilliantly. We have stealth and cloak missions, car chases, hand-to-hand fights, gun fights, and dog fights. Cinematographer Trent Opaloch and film editor Jeffrey Ford also need to be commended for their contributions to strengthening the action and thrills this film has to offer.

Despite the big budget, the Russo brothers tried to use as much practical effects as possible and only use CGI when absolutely needed. The CGI we do get, brought to life by Industrial Light & Magic, looks spectacular and the practical effects make the film look even better. Adding to the film's intensity is the fantastic score by Henry Jackman. Here's a fun fact: the first film was scored by Alan Silvestri and Jackman scores this sequel. Jackman also did the score for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, a sequel to a film scored by Silvestri.

FINAL SCORE: 10/10

Captain America: The Winter Soldier truly is a great movie. It has topped The LEGO Movie as my favorite movie of the year so far. It's suspenseful, it has fantastic action sequences, it has great characters, it has a great story, it has a feeling of intensity that works beautifully with the tone of the film, it's intriguing, it has great performances, and it has a truly spectacular villain. It's even better than its predecessor and there's surprisingly a lot of character development. Even if you're not a Marvel fan, I recommend you see this.

By the way, if you ever get a chance to see this movie, I urge you to please stick around after the end credits. The post-credits scene involves the Winter Soldier visiting the Captain America exhibit and the Bucky memorial at the Smithsonian Institution to learn of his past. He also looks at a mural, which depicts him fighting alongside Captain America.

The mid-credits scene has Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, played by Thomas Kretschmann, discussing HYDRA plans with subordinates. He holds Loki's scepter and observes two prisoners in cells. The prisoners are Pietro and Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen. This, of course, sets up Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Fever Pitch
Fever Pitch(1985)

Fever Pitch (not to be confused with Nick Hornby's novel of the same name and said novel's two film adaptations) is a 1985 drama film that focuses on the dark, seedy underbelly of the negative aspects of the Las Vegas lifestyle, primarily gambling. It was written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker Richard Brooks, who also gave us Looking for Mr. Goodbar and the adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. This was his last film...which is sad. Fever Pitch stars Ryan O'Neal, Catherine Hicks, Giancarlo Giannini, Bridgette Andersen, John Saxon, Keith Hefner, and Rafael Campos.

Fever Pitch involves investigative journalist Steve Taggart, played by Ryan O'Neal, who gets hooked on organized gambling, the subject of his inquiry. You can tell the movie looks cheap as fuck just by the opening credits sequence, and when I say cheap, I mean that as the biggest understatement of all time. Fever Pitch also has a laughably bad yet entertaining score by Thomas Dolby, who gave us "She Blinded Me with Science" (which, by the way, was the original theme song for The Big Bang Theory before Barenaked Ladies came in to do the current song).

Also during the opening, we get a boring montage of people hitting it big in the casinos of Las Vegas. If you wanna know how I remember this movie, here's the story. A few years ago, I saw the VHS on Amazon. I saw several negative comments for the film pointing out that the film is so bad you'll stab your eyes with a rusty pitchfork. This peaked my interest mainly because I saw the two Richard Brooks film I pointed out in the first paragraph of this review. I thought they were great films, so I bought Fever Pitch off Amazon and I watched it. This film is so horrible it'd be enough to make Sidney Poitier proud of making Ghost Dad.

Seriously, the exact same widely acclaimed Richard Brooks made this schlock? I'm in awe. Ryan O'Neal is decent when given the right material. When given the wrong material, he is ABYSMAL, especially in this sick, ugly, nasty load of ass on a golden platter. Hell, every actor in this film sucks because of how horrendous this screenplay is. Catherine Hicks, who I really enjoy as an actress, is horrible in this film. You get to see her tits and they're incredibly nice to look at, but you get distracted by her terrible acting. John Saxon, you were in A Nightmare on Elm Street the year before you made this movie. What the fuck were you thinking, man?

Two other things that fail epically in this film is William A. Fraker's incredibly weak cinematography and Jeff Jones' hyperkinetic, sloppy, inept editing. To quote Janet Maslin of the New York Times, "The cinematography is grainy and wan, the editing abrupt, and Mr. O'Neal wears the blank look of a man whose heart just isn't in it. No wonder." No wonder indeed, Janet. Now onto the writing. This is probably one of the worst screenplays ever written. Get this: according to Wikipedia, Richard Brooks wrote this film over two years and spent nine months editing the film. Was Brooks on weed during those months of time?

Here are some classic lines to be found in this retarded fuckfest of a film:
"Gambling. Series. How many people gamble? How? Why?"
"Don't touch her! You wanna get sued? You could get sued...by her!"
"She got slot machine bladder. Forgot to go to the toilet."
"I've been at it for 19 years. The best, the most exciting years of my life."
"Papa, I love you madly!"
"We're going to Knotts BERRY Farm! We're going to Knotts BERRY Farm!"
"Losers make lousy lovers!"
"She's hurt! She's hurt! She's hurt!"

And who could forget this:
"I want Taggart." "Who wants him?" "None of your fucking business, whopper." "Happens I'm Irish." "That's the worst kind of whopper."

Oh, but it gets even better with this:
"I'll see you Monday." "Nope!" "Tomorrow, I'm still here at work. Sunday, family business. Monday, it's you and me, champ!" "Your family can fucking will waiting. Sunday. 8:00 AM. Same place. Be here."

Yeah, a critically acclaimed writer and director actually wrote the nonsensical, hyper-boiled dialogue that you'll regret listening to that this movie has to offer. Seriously, The Mortal Instruments had better fucking dialogue than this shit!

People talk in clichés all throughout this fucking mess that it becomes maddening, and very quickly in, you wish to ask the resurrected zombified version of Richard Brooks if we're supposed to take this all seriously. Also, the message of the movie is basically if you fall into massive debt because of gambling, just keep placing bets until you win all your money back because the only solution to gambling debt is more gambling and anybody who tells you otherwise is dead wrong. FUCK. THAT. SHIT. This movie is so fucking wrong!

FINAL SCORE: 0/10

I actually had to re-watch this movie on VHS and watch a video review of this movie so I can remember it, and God, does the remembering fucking hurt. To this day, Fever Pitch has never gotten a DVD release, and for good fucking reason. There's a lot more stupid, idiotic, horribly written, terribly directed, atrociously edited, and dismally written shit in this movie, but if you don't wanna be completely bereft of brain cells, just read this review. This is a film that has to be seen to be believed. It's sick garbage. Fuck Fever Pitch. It's one of the worst films I've ever seen in the 28-going-on-29 years that I've lived.

V/H/S
V/H/S(2012)
½

V/H/S is one of the more recent found footage horror films to come along. However, this is not only a found footage horror film, but also a horror anthology. There are many horror anthologies I enjoy like Creepshow, Trick 'r Treat, Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Hood, the Tales from the Darkside movie, From Beyond the Grave, and the Twilight Zone movie. There are rarely any good found footage films. The only good ones I could think of are [REC], The Blair Witch Project, Chronicle, The Bay, End of Watch, Europa Report, Cloverfield, The Last Exorcism, Paranormal Activity 3, and Welcome to the Jungle, but there are also sub-par ones like Paranormal Activity 1, 2, and 4, and Diary of the Dead, and shitty ones like Apollo 18 (fuck you, Jed) and The Devil Inside. The first few times I saw V/H/S, I hated it. But then I gave it another watch and I began to appreciate it more.

V/H/S is directed by Adam Wingard (You're Next), Ti West (House of the Devil), Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies), David Bruckner (The Signal), Radio Silence (Devil's Due), and Glenn McQuaid. Wingard directs the wraparound story, Tape 56, which involves a group of criminals, two of them played by Wingard and his collaborator Simon Barrett, who have to go into a house and steal a VHS tape. They don't know which tape they have to retrieve so they watch a few.

We get the first segment, Amateur Night, directed by David Bruckner. The segment involves three horny frat boys, one of which has glasses that can record what's going on, who are on spring break and try to get laid by picking up hot women. They pick up two of them. One's hot, the other is a weird girl who's interested in the guy with the camera glasses and keeps saying to him, "I like you". The reason why I hated this movie before is because of the characters. They were just unlikeable, idiotic douchebags. However, when I began to appreciate this movie more as I watched it again, I realized it's a challenge to develop and have us like characters in a horror anthology, let alone one that's found footage.

The guys and girls stay in a hotel. The hot girl falls asleep after getting all boozed up, much to the depression of one of them, so he decides to do the nasty with the weird girl and have the guy with the glasses record it. Another frat boy gets naked, so it looks like it's orgy time. However, the girl bites off his finger and she turns out to be a creature and kills two of the frat boys in gory fashion. The only one she doesn't kill is the one with the glasses. As he escapes, the girl transforms into a winged creature and drags him up in the air to the skies, the glasses falling to the streets.

Our next segment is Second Honeymoon, written and directed by Ti West. This would have to be my second favorite of the five sketches (six if you include the wrap-around). A couple, the husband being played by Joe Swanberg, is on a second honeymoon and ride in their car, go on hikes, visit places, stay in a hotel, the usual stuff. However, when they go to sleep, a mysterious stranger stalks them. First, the stranger tries to use a knife to pull off the wife's panties and even steals the husband's money from his wallet. The next night, the stranger stabs the husband in the throat. The way he gurgles the blood as it pours out of his mouth and the stab wound is actually pretty bone-chilling. The stranger turns out to be a woman, and she and the wife are lesbo killers.

The third sketch is Tuesday the 17th (get it? Like Friday the 13th?), directed by Glenn McQuaid. This is one of the weaker bits in the film. The sketch involves three kids going on a trip to visit their friend in the woods. The friend, Wendy, occasionally mentions accidents that caused her friends to die. As she keeps mentioning them, the camera glitches up and we see some brief images of dead bodies. Two of the kids leave and they get killed by a glitch killer obscured in tracking errors. Wendy reveals to the other kid that she lured them to the camp as bait and he gets killed, so she escapes and the killer falls for traps until the killer gets to kill her by eviscerating her.

Sketch #4 is my least favorite. The title? The Sick Thing that Happened to Emily When She Was Younger. I thought this sketch was just utterly dull, slow, and just painfully boring. So this girl Emily thinks her house is haunted and web chats with her doctor boyfriend. As the paranormal activity increases, the doctor finds her unconscious and removes a fetus from her. It's not ghosts, it's aliens we're dealing with. The doctor web chats with another patient, one with excellent tits, and the forgettable sketch ends. In fact, after this sketch ends, the wraparound ends.

We then get our final sketch, 10/31/98, the best of the bunch and by far the most creative, imaginative, creepy, and inventive. Four friends are going to a party at a haunted house, but what do you know it, they end up at the wrong house. They encounter a lot of crazy, spooky shit, like a door window shrinking, shit flying around everywhere, the camera focusing on a demonic little girl, then looking away, then looking back again with the girl gone (in one shot), and even a girl getting an exorcism with the priests being sucked up into the walls with demonic hands coming out of them. The boys escape with the girl, and she really is possessed, and they can't get out of their car and they get hit by a train and the film ends. BTW, if you get this film on DVD, then don't watch the unnecessary and stupid alternate ending to this sketch.

FINAL SCORE: 7/10

One of the better found footage horror films I've seen. It's no Blair Witch Project, but it's certainly not awful like Apollo 18. Many moments in the film are genuinely dark and creepy. There is a solid amount of blood and gore in the movie. Some sketches are strong and some are weak, but above all, this is a decent entry in the found footage horror sub-genre. The sequel is very much superior and I can't wait for V/H/S 3.

Oculus
Oculus(2014)
½

Oculus is a 2014 supernatural horror film edited and directed by Mike Flanagan, written by Flanagan and Jeff Howard, based on the experimental short horror film of the same name by Flanagan and Jeff Seidman, produced and presented by Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister, The Purge), co-produced by WWE Studios, and starring Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, Annalise Basso, Garrett Ryan, James Lafferty, and Miguel Sandoval.

Oculus involves Tim and Kaylie Russell, played by Brenton Thwaites and Karen Gillan. Years ago, Tim shot his dad Alan, played by Rory Cochrane, after he witnessed him killing his mom Marie, played by Katee Sackhoff. He's sent to a mental hospital because of the shooting but also because he believed that his parents' deaths were due to an evil supernatural entity that possessed an antique mirror in their home. This leaves Kaylie to face life alone until Tim is finally released years later.

Now in his 20's, all Tim wants to do is move on from that fateful night, but in his absence, Kaylie has become convinced that the mirror is indeed possessed, as she's discovered that the mirror's previous owners throughout the centuries have had similarly terrifyingly bloody pasts. Kaylie is determined to prove that the mirror is responsible for the murders as opposed to Tim or their father.

I haven't seen Mike Flanagan's previous film Absentia, nor have I seen Flanagan's experimental short horror film this movie was based on, but now I'm on the hunt to retrieve those. Oculus is one of my favorite films of the year and it's inarguably the best horror film of the year. I was looking forward to this movie because of the creepy-looking trailers and posters as well as the interesting premise. Oculus exceeded my expectations.

I'm a huge fan of Karen Gillan, having seen her as Amy Pond on Doctor Who. Amy is my favorite of the Doctor Who companions, and Karen Gillan is great in this movie. Her character is likeable, relatable, headstrong, and determined. Imagine if a demonic entity is coming to attack you and you want to prove the existence of said entity. How you'd do it would be the same as how Gillan does it in Oculus. Also, Gillan manages to pull off an extremely convincing American accent (and God, does it ever sound sexy).

Brenton Thwaites also does a great job playing Tim. After seeing his performance in this, I look forward to seeing him in The Signal and Maleficent, but no so much for The Giver (mainly because the movie looks hardly anything like the book). Katee Sackhoff, a.k.a. Starbuck from Syfy's Battlestar Galactica, also does a good job playing Tim and Kaylie's mom. Even the kid actors truly shine in this movie. The other actors also do good jobs, especially Rory Cochrane as Tim and Kaylie's dad.

Now onto the story. Now, I know this is just another simple ghost story, but Flanagan and co-writer Jeff Howard manage to conjure up something very compelling, very intense, and very entertaining. A premise like this could be compared to Alexandre Aja's 2008 film Mirrors, but Oculus kicks Mirrors right in the fucking nuts. Oculus not only also pours salt in Mirrors' wounds, but even adds ammonia to said wounds. Flanagan and Howard's script is surprisingly well-written, with good dialogue and a sense of cleverness to it.

Mike Flanagan does a great job directing the film, and does an even better job editing the film. Oculus goes back and forth between Tim and Kaylie trying to prove the existence of the demonic entity and Tim and Kaylie's tragic childhood. Flanagan and Howard do this so we can see what actually went down with the mirror and Tim and Kaylie's parents in the first place. It works perfectly. I look forward to Mike Flanagan's next film Somnia. The film is also beautifully filmed by cinematographer Michael Fimognari and there's also an effective electronic score by the Newton Brothers.

FINAL SCORE: 9/10

I do love this film, but not enough to give it a perfect 10. Oculus is an exceedingly well-told, atmospheric, nail-biting roller coaster ride with great performances, quality scares, and a clever script. For a supernatural horror film, it does its job better than most (fuck Paranormal Activity, watch this). Also for a horror film, it's actually pretty damn scary at times. The scares in this film are spot-on. They're actual, genuine scares. If you wanna see a horror film with class and real suspense, check this out. Your time and money won't be wasted.

Oblivion
Oblivion(2013)
½

Oblivion is a 2013 sci-fi film directed by Joseph Kosinski, a director with talent. I happen to be a fan of TRON: Legacy, and I feel that movie got a bad rap for dumb reasons. Oblivion stars Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, that guy from Mama who does a way better job here than he does in that movie, and Melissa Leo. This film was originally a graphic novel that was never finished, so Joseph Kosinski opted to make it into a film instead.

Kosinski's story was adapted into a screenplay written by Kosinski, William Monahan (uncredited for some reason), Karl Gajdusek, and Michael Arndt (credited as Michael DeBruyn). The final draft written by Arndt was appreciated by Universal Pictures. Hell, they called it one of the most beautiful scripts they've come across (Jed would feel the same way). I wouldn't say the script is beautiful, but it's a well-written one nevertheless.

Tom Cruise has made a lot of good films over the years, such as The Outsiders, Risky Business, Top Gun, Days of Thunder, A Few Good Men, Mission: Impossible 1, 3, and 4, Minority Report, War of the Worlds, Rain Man, Jerry Maguire, The Last Samurai, Collateral, Tropic Thunder, Vanilla Sky, Jack Reacher, Legend, The Color of Money, Eyes Wide Shut, Born on the Fourth of July, Interview with the Vampire, Far and Away, The Firm, Valkyrie, Knight and Day, and Lions for Lambs, so it's no surprise to me that this one was good as well.

Oblivion stars Cruise as Jack Harper, a maintenance man who repairs anti-alien drones on a now-deserted planet Earth. It is the future and Earth has been seemingly evacuated due to a war with an alien race that wiped out half of the planet's natural resources. As Jack's love for his home planet gets the best of him, he comes across a woman frozen in cryosleep named Julia, played by Olga Kurylenko (without a doubt one of my favorite Bond girls), who happens to know a great deal about him, and a group of human beings living beneath the planet who help Jack to seek the truth and protect his home.

Let me just say that if I made a top 15 sci-fi films of the decade (THIS decade) list, Oblivion would sure as hell be in the top ten. I really liked this movie. The fact that it gets a 50-something percent on Rotten Tomatoes just baffles me. The score should be in the high 70's or mid-80's. Based on the trailers, you would think this is just another generic sci-fi action film with Tom Cruise running for his life and kicking every form of ass. This isn't the case here. The film is actually thought-provoking and complex, and had me thinking about it after I get done watching it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this is a perfect movie, because it isn't, but it takes its time by focusing on story and characters rather than action and special effects. This is a sci-fi film first, an action film second.

From the start of the movie, I was instantly hooked. Tom Cruise pulls in another great performance as Jack Harper. He plays the character all too well. Jack is a very likeable, well-thought out, and complex character who knows what he's supposed to do and does what he's supposed to do, but constantly questions why he's doing what he's supposed to do. To him, Earth is his home, even though his memories of his past have been wiped out and lost in space to protect the, and I quote, "mission". He doesn't care. He just wants to stay on Earth and live peacefully in the cabin he built for himself. What makes Jack interesting is that we come to find out he was once an astronaut before the alien invasion. This lends irony in the sense that he once couldn't wait to go into deep space and now all he wants to do is just stay on Earth.

Olga Kurylenko pulls in a very good performance as Julia, the woman Jack discovers in cryosleep. Julia manages to be a pretty damn good character in her own right. Olga is given a role that she can make her own and it works. Who she turned out to be was kinda predictable, but regardless of that, she was still an interesting and enjoyable character. Other cast members such as Morgan Freeman and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau also do great jobs playing their respective characters.

Melissa Leo as Sally, the leader giving Jack and his partner Victoria, played very well by Andrea Riseborough, their orders, is just chilling. Never have I seen a character this intimidating and effective in a sci-fi film since, dare I say it, HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Oh, yes. I fucking went there. She says evil shit with a smile on her face the whole time and it creeped the ever-living crap out of me. "This is insubordinate behavior, Jack. You don't have to die. She doesn't have to die. It's time to come home." Holy crap, did that send shivers up my damn spine.

In the first hour of this movie, there's hardly any action. This isn't at all a complaint because, as I said before, the film focuses more on storytelling and character development rather than bad-ass action and explosions. It takes its time building the story and characters up in a way that isn't only interesting, but also suspenseful. The action we do get is very well-done with top-notch special effects, good editing, great production designs, good cinematography, and a well usage of the $120 million budget. Kosinski made this film to be his love letter to the sci-fi genre and it really shows here. However, Oblivion manages to find a way to be its own film and tell a unique story without being a rip-off in any way, despite nods to films like Moon, Total Recall, Planet of the Apes, and many more.

FINAL SCORE: 9/10

Oblivion is a fun dose of smart sci-fi that I had a great time with. The film is beautiful to look at, it's story-driven and entertaining, it has a script that is a love letter to sci-fi, it has characters that I managed to like and care about, and it has another great Tom Cruise performance in it. Some things get predictable, but other things keep the level of suspense high. Even if you hated TRON: Legacy, you will enjoy this film.

Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3(2013)

Iron Man 3 is one of my favorite films of 2013. I'm a huge fan of the first Iron Man. It's one of my favorite superhero movies. Robert Downey, Jr. was fantastic as Tony Stark and as Iron Man. Iron Man 2 is a very good sequel although nowhere near as great as the first film. Of course, everybody knows that Marvel's The Avengers is my all-time favorite superhero movie. IM3 totally exceeded my expectations and is my favorite of the Iron Man trilogy.

Iron Man 3 involves Tony Stark, now with post-traumatic stress disorder after the events of The Avengers, as he's now bitten in the ass due to his obsession of building all these Iron Man suits and using them save the world and him being the biggest asshole in the world back in 1999, on New Year's Eve. So he has to figure out how to fix this shit all by himself while coming face-to-face with the evil terrorist, The Mandarin.

When I heard Jon Favreau was stepping down as director, I was worried this was gonna suck. But then I heard Shane Black was gonna be directing the film and co-writing the script with Drew Pearce. I cheered. Shane Black wrote Lethal Weapon 1 and 2, The Monster Squad, The Last Boy Scout, Last Action Hero, The Long Kiss Goodnight, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (which he also directed). With a résumé as flawless as that, there was no way I was gonna be let down by Iron Man 3.

The story, the tightly-written characters, the witty dialogue, the direction, and of course, the action and effects, are done the most well here and there was more conflict this time around. This was a very personal story for Tony Stark and it works perfectly. Shane Black went very deep into Tony's psyche and conjured up something special not only for Iron Man fanboys, but for common moviegoers as well.

We're reminded that while Tony is a genius billionaire alcoholic playboy philanthropist, he's anything but perfect. He's made several mistakes during his past just like any other human being has. His greatest strength is his intelligence, not saving the world. His greatest achievement is his relationship with Pepper Potts, not building the Iron Man suits. Even without the suit, Tony is still Iron Man. The man makes the suit, not the other way around. This tone works brilliantly in this film.

Now, let's get to the action. The action sequences and special effects are fucking awesometacular. I was vastly entertained by them. Not only does this film have the best action of the three Iron Man films, but also has the best climax. Now, some people would say that the climax is basically Transformers 4, but come on, you all know it was awesome. The effects are very impressive, even without the work of Industrial Light & Magic onboard. The action is shot beautifully by cinematographer John Toll, and Shane Black never lets the story overshadow the action or let the action overshadow the story, and he never wastes the audience's time.

Now, I gotta talk about this real quick: the villain is first believed to be the Mandarin, but over an hour into the movie, it's revealed that the Mandarin was a persona created by Aldrich Killian of AIM and the person portraying the Mandarin is drunken British actor Trevor Slattery, played by Ben Kingsley. All the fanboys were pissed off at this twist. If you're not a fan of the twist, that's fine. I have no problem. I have read some issues of Iron Man. The ones I read had the Mandarin. He sucks. He's just an irritating racially-insensitive Wang Chung stereotype, and he's supposed to be Iron Man's arch-nemesis? Yeah, there's no way in hell you're gonna get me to buy that. The twist was ingenious, and the film gets better beyond that. As a plus, the twist provides social commentary on modern-day terrorists that works very well.

The performances are absolutely fantastic. Robert Downey, Jr. doesn't play Tony Stark/Iron Man. He IS Tony Stark/Iron Man. He absolutely fucking owns this role, and this would have to be Downey's best performance of his career. Gwyneth Paltrow is given a much bigger role this time around as Pepper Potts and she's given more to do, and she's more than just a damsel in distress. Guy Pearce does a wonderful job playing Aldrich Killian. Killian is a great villain whose motives make perfect sense. Don Cheadle does a great job as Rhodey and is given a lot more to do.

FINAL SCORE: 10/10

I was more than satisfied with this movie. I loved how Shane Black took Tony Stark back to his roots, demonstrating his genius and never at all derailing from the story at hand. The action sequences are brilliantly filmed, the music score by Brian Tyler was just wonderful and outstanding, the villains are the best in this trilogy of films, the twist was ingenious and unpredictable, and Robert Downey, Jr. is Iron Man indeed. I loved this film. It's definitely on my top 15 of the year.

Divergent
Divergent(2014)

Divergent is a 2014 dystopian science fiction action film directed by Neil Burger (Limitless), adapted from Veronica Roth's acclaimed best-selling novel of the same name by Evan Daugherty (Killing Season) and Vanessa Taylor (Hope Springs), and starring an ensemble cast including Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, Theo James, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Jai Courtney, Maggie Q, Zoe Kravitz, Ashley Judd, Ray Stevenson, Tony Goldwyn, and Mekhi Phifer.

Divergent takes place in the future in Chicago. The city is divided into five factions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. On a given day each year, all sixteen-year-olds take an aptitude test that will tell them for which faction they are best suited. After receiving the results of their test, they must decide whether to remain with their family or transfer to a new faction. Tris Prior, played by Shailene Woodley, discovers that she is Divergent, meaning she fits into more than one or two factions and has no fear, and soon uncovers a sinister plot brewing in her seemingly perfect society.

Now, I'm a huge fan of Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy. They have interesting characters and plots. When I heard film adaptations were in the works, I was worried, mainly because the pacing of the books wouldn't work for translations to film. Also, it was released by Summit Entertainment, the same studio that made the Twilight saga into films. However, I then heard that Neil Burger was directing and Vanessa Taylor was re-writing the original screenplay by Evan Daugherty. That peaked my interest.

Divergent surprised the hell out of me. It's a young adult movie that's actually good. If I were to rank the good YA movies, I'd rank them in this order: Catching Fire, Beautiful Creatures, Divergent, The Hunger Games. Yes, there are four (COUNT IT! FOUR!) YA movies that don't make you want to scream at the TV or movie theater screen. Divergent is one of them.

How is Divergent as an adaptation of the book? It's surprisingly faithful...well, for the most part. It follows the plotline pretty damn well, Jeanine Matthews (the villain, played flawlessly by Kate Winslet) acts damn near exactly how she does in the book, and the characters are done very well. Despite its faithfulness, there are changes. I'm not gonna point most of them out because I'm sure a few of you never read the book, but here's one of them:

The violence and the overall threat of the Dauntless initiation were watered down, and that was pretty lame, especially on Burger's, Daugherty's, and Taylor's parts because most of the danger to Tris in the book is due to how brutal the initiation process was. Also, the film feels the need to rush through certain parts despite its runtime being less than two and a half hours. But despite that, the film is a decent adaptation.

Divergent is also surprisingly pretty damn good as a film on its own. Burger does a great job directing the movie, and this would have to be his best film since Limitless. The performances were pretty damn good, especially from Shailene Woodley as Tris and Kate Winslet as Jeanine. I find it funny seeing Woodley and her love interests from The Spectacular Now and The Fault in Our Stars in the same movie. Also, Jai Courtney is officially forgiven for Die Hard 5.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

I was hoping for the best and expecting the worst out of Divergent. What I got was not only an underrated movie, not only a faithful adaptation, but also a YA movie that actually has good things going for it. The cinematography was good, the set designs and production values were great, the action was exciting, Junkie XL's music was pretty good, and it's very well-acted. Hell, even Veronica Roth liked the movie. Don't go in expecting something great. I'll be hoping for the best and expecting the worst out of the sequels.

Thor: The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World is a 2013 science fiction superhero fantasy action film directed by Alan Taylor, written by Don Payne, Robert Rodat, Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely, produced by Kevin Feige, and starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgard, Christopher Eccleston, Idris Elba, Ray Stevenson, Jaimie Alexander, Zachary Levi, Adewale Akkinuoye-Agbage, Tadanobu Asano, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins, and Chris Evans and Benicio del Toro in uncredited cameo appearances, the latter cameo used to set up the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

Thor: The Dark World is the sequel to the 2011 film Thor and takes place a year after Marvel's The Avengers. Replacing Kenneth Branagh in the director's chair is Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor. Thousands of years ago, a race of beings known as Dark Elves tried to send the universe into darkness by using a weapon known as the Aether. Warriors from Asgard, led by Odin's (Anthony Hopkins) father King Bor, stop them but their leader, Malekith the Accursed (played by Christopher Eccleston, the beloved ninth incarnation of the Doctor), escapes to wait for another opportunity. The warriors find the Aether and since it cannot be destroyed, they try to hide it.

In the present day, Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, awaits the return of Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, although it has been two years since they last saw once another. In the meantime, Thor has been trying to bring peace to the Nine Realms. Jane discovers an anomaly similar to the one that brought Thor to Earth. She goes to investigate, finds a wormhole, and is sucked into it. Back on Asgard, Thor wishes to return to Earth but his father, Odin, refuses to let him. Thor learns from Heimdall, played by Idris Elba, who can see into all of the realms, that Jane disappeared. Thor then returns to Earth just as Jane reappears. However, when some policemen try to arrest her, an unknown energy repulses them.

Thor then brings Jane to Asgard to find out what happened to her. When the energy is released again, they discover that when Jane disappeared, she crossed paths with the Aether and it entered her. Malekith, upon sensing that the time to strike is now, seeks out the Aether. He attacks Asgard and Thor's mother Frigga, played by Rene Russo, is killed protecting Jane. Odin wants to keep Jane on Asgard so that Malekith will come. Thor disagrees with his plan, so with his cohorts, he decides to take Jane away. He enlists the aid of his brother, Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston. Unfortunately, Loki's motivations remain unknown.

Thor: The Dark World is a rather surprising slight improvement upon its predecessor. I wasn't expecting it to be as good as the original, but I actually got something that turned out to be a bit better. Patrick Doyle's score for the first one was great, but Brian Tyler's score for The Dark World was one of the few cases of bigger does equal better. It's more fresh, more action-packed, and at times, more powerful. Tyler is quickly becoming one of my favorite composers. I mean, come on, listen to the man's score for Iron Man 3. He's great.

The action sequences and special effects are incredible. Think Lord of the Rings but with mesh-ups of Avatar: The Last Airbender (the show, not the terrible movie), Avatar (the James Cameron movie), Transformers, and even Star Wars. The action is shot beautifully by cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau with no choppy quick-cut edits, hacky zoom-ins, or amateur shaky-cam shots. Alan Taylor's Game of Thrones style is present in this film and it works. He's a very talented director and I look forward to his next projects.

The performances are great, the best coming from Hemsworth, Portman, Hiddleston, Hopkins, and Eccleston. Hemsworth surprised the hell out of me with his performance in the first film and he was even better in The Avengers. In here, he's still as great as he was in The Avengers. Portman gives a good performance as Jane and while being an important part of the film's plot because she needs the Aether to be removed from her, she's not just a damsel in distress. Also, she's incredibly nice to look at (she's Natalie fucking Portman), especially in Asgardian clothing, so there's that. To Chris Hemsworth, I say this: Lucky bastard.

Tom Hiddleston gives another great performance as Loki. Whereas he was a villain in Thor and The Avengers, in The Dark World, he's more of an antihero this time around...well, until the very end of the movie anyway. Anthony Hopkins is fantastic as Odin, but then again, Hopkins is great in anything. Malekith is a pretty two-dimensional who's motives are rather seemingly convoluted and just wants to take over the world, but Christopher Eccleston's gives a dark, brooding, intimidating, and menacing performance as the character.

FINAL SCORE: 8.5/10

Thor: The Dark World is another solid entry in the flawless Marvel Cinematic Universe. Seriously, that franchise has made eight films so far and a TV show and not one of them sucked even the tiniest ones. Thor: The Dark World succeeds due to good performances, a good story, witty humor (yeah, I liked Kat Dennings in this movie), fast-paced action sequences, great special effects, interesting antagonists, a nice twist at the end, and great characters, some of which are more three-dimensional this time around than in the first film. If you're a fan of the first Thor film, I recommend this sequel. Bring on Thor 3.

By the way, if you ever get this on Blu-ray, make sure you watch both post-credits scenes, one of which sets up Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Marvel One-Shot entitled All Hail the King, taking place after Iron Man 3.

Movie 43
Movie 43(2013)

Movie 43 is indeed a pretty damn bad comedy. Now, a comedy is hard to review, because not only is comedy subjective, but if you find it funny, then it's funny, and if you don't find it funny, then it's not funny. This film is considered to be the killer of comedy. This film is shit but in no way did it kill comedy. If anything, the shit-piles created by Friedberg & Seltzer killed comedy. Seriously, why couldn't those two fuckers die on November 30th instead of Paul Walker? Further proof that God may not even exist.

This film took four years to make, I shit you not. The idea was conceived by Peter Farrelly, who gave us Dumb & Dumber, Fever Pitch, There's Something About Mary, Outside Providence, and Kingpin. The idea was to make the raunchiest, crudest, most profane, most tasteless, zaniest, and most outrageous comedy ever created. Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet did a sketch for the film, and the producers used it to convince other actors to join in on the absurdity. Talk about an epic career-killer.

I'm gonna skip over the wraparounds 'cause they're forgettable to say the least. Let's just go to our first sketch. The sketch involves Beth, played by Kate Winslet, going on a blind date with Davis, played by Hugh Jackman. The date starts off well until it's revealed that Wolverine has balls hanging around his neck. To the film's very little credit, the prosthetic balls look like real testicles, but that's it. A guy with balls on his Adam's apple isn't really hilarious, and the wacky hijinks and gags involving the balls are just stupid as fuck.

The next sketch stars Sabretooth and Princess Diana as a married couple who homeschools their teenage son, played by Lip from Shameless. Because they homeschool him, they feel they should do everything in high school to him, such as bullying, partying, teasing, and even talk about sex. This sketch isn't particularly funny but it's one of the somewhat better sketches of the film.

Sketch #3 stars Anna Faris and Star-Lord as a romantic couple. Star-Lord plans on marrying her, but Faris proposes that he shit on her because she's a coprophiliac. This is when the awful starts to become more apparent. Star-Lord's friends support the idea, like any other non-human being, and one of them even gives him "poop Viagra". If you expect me to find this shit funny, then chances are you're not right in the head. So he guzzles the poop Viagra, he and Faris start to go lovey-dovey but then it goes downhill, so she runs off and he chases after her. He gets hit by a car and shit splatters everywhere. Ha-ha. How fucking hilarious.

Next sketch: Macaulay Culkin's younger brother, in a role that should've went to Tobey Maguire or Shia LaBeouf, plays some guy working a night shift at a grocery store. His ex-girlfriend Veronica, played by Emma Stone, shows up and they argue. But then their argument turns into dirty, trashy, pseudo-romantic sex talk. She runs off but the customers encourage him to run after her. Where is the joke? There's no joke to be found in this sketch.

Then, we get our next sketch: Superhero Speed Dating. Robin, played by Justin Long, is getting pissed off at the fact that his speed dates are getting shit on by the Frank Miller version of Batman, played by Jason Sudeikis. Batman ruining Robin's chances at women? I've seen that before. It was a $20,000 short film you can find on YouTube with Justin Long as Robin. We meet several characters, like Uma Thurman as Lois Lane, Leslie Bibb as Wonder Woman, and Kristen Bell of Supergirl, the latter of which has her pussy described in vivid detail by Batman. Yeah, this sketch isn't funny, so let's leave it at that.

Next sketch: Some boss at a technology business, played by Richard Gere, is discussing and arguing with his co-workers regarding their new product, the iBabe, an MP3 music player that looks exactly like a naked chick. Teens buy the iBabe to have sex with them, but whenever they try sticking their dick in the iBabe's vagina, a fan in the vagina mangles them. A bunch of boring comedy shit happens and that's pretty much it. Nothing more, nothing less.

Next sketch: A boy and girl, the girl being played by Hit-Girl are watching TV and just as they start to kiss, the boy's brother, played by McLovin, interrupts, spies on, and annoys them. As he fucks off someplace me, Chloe Moretz discovers she's having her first period in a 2013 movie. So everybody flips out and they don't know what to do about it. Their dads try to help out, but they don't do jack shit. This sketch is dire. 'Nuff said.

Next sketch: Bo and Luke Duke's birthday present is a foul-mouthed, rude-talking leprechaun played by Leonidas. The leprechaun shoots them in the eyeballs and nipples, stabs them through the calves, head-butt them, beat the crap out of them, insult them in profane fashion, threatens them, and tells them dirty jokes about their moms. Fun fact: This sketch was directed by Brett Ratner. What ain't no country I ever heard off, Brett, nor is this sketch funny although not entirely unfunny.

Okay, let's just wrap this up before I puke and fall asleep. The next sketches involve Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant embarrassing themselves, Terrence Howard teaching his basketball team that blacks beat whites by a longshot, and Elizabeth Banks fighting a cat who's gay for Josh Duhamel, Not funny, not funny, and not funny. None of the sketches in this movie are even remotely funny, Makes me wonder how this got released in theaters.

FINAL SCORE: 2/10

Movie 43 is an unfunny, dire, and just tiring mess of a comedy, an anthology film, and a movie in general. It's not one of the worst comedies I've ever seen. I've seen a fuckload worse, but this film still sucks the big one with humorless jokes, raunchy humor that fails to make the viewer laugh, and gags that get tedious and wear off real quick, not that they were ever funny to begin with.

Endless Love
Endless Love(2014)

Holy fuck did this movie piss me off. The original novel of the same name by Scott Spencer is one of my all-time favorite books. It's a beautifully-written novel. Then, we have the original Franco Zeffirelli movie from 1981 starring the lovely Brooke Shields. That film was awful. Not only is it a terrible adaptation of the book but sappy, poorly acted, terribly written, and both funny and creepy unintentionally simultaneously. Now, we get this.

Endless Love is produced by Gossip Girl creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, directed by Country Strong writer/director Shana Feste, and written by Feste and Gossip Girl co-writer Joshua Safran. It stars Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde as our main characters, David Axelrod (oh, I'm sorry, I meant David Elliot) and Jade Butterfield. Their instant desire for each other sparks a love affair that's made only more reckless by Jade's father, played by Bruce "What the fuck am I doing with my career?" Greenwood, who is trying to keep them apart.

David and Jade have graduated from high school in Georgia, even though in the novel, they're still in high school and the setting is Chicago. Now, as a film in general, this is much better than the 1981 version. The acting, the direction, the writing, the story, and the characters are done much better here. The performances aren't great, but the actors did their jobs. However, as an adaptation, this one is one hundred times worse.

The 1981 version is an abysmal adaptation, but fuck, at least that qualifies as an adaptation. At least shit from the book happened in that film. This film shouldn't be called an adaptation. It has literally nothing to do with the book. The only things they kept from the book were characters named David and Jade. Based on the novel by Scott Spencer my ass. Seriously, I'm surprised Spencer didn't sue these fuckheads to get his name off the movie.

The book's story is linked more to mental illness rather than a sappy, Nicholas Sparks-esque teen romance. It is told by David who has a total obsession over his girlfriend and her family. The book goes into detail about David's experience in the mental institution (no institution to be found in this movie). He's sentenced there for a number of years and continues to obsess over Jade, whom he hasn't seen for a very long time. It's kind of sad and dark because you feel sorry for this guy who can't function with a job or live his life without obsessing over this girl and her family.

He never really recovers by the end of the novel. You just assume he's a sick person with serious issues. Jade does love him, but is able to move on with her life and marry someone else. She can't handle the fact that David is somewhat responsible for her father's death. Then there's the graphic, ten-page sex scene between the lovers after they reunite in their early 20's. Later on, Jade becomes a lesbian for a short while as well.

With all of this information, you should realize this book is realistic and covers most of life's problems. What do both movies do? They just turn the book into cutesy Nicholas Sparks Twilight-reject fan fiction hodgepodge bullshit that caters to the unintelligent and simple-minded. However, at least the 1981 version is actually a fucking adaptation. This film shouldn't qualify as such and it's horrendous.

FINAL SCORE: 0/10

Yes, I gave this film the perfectly rotten zero out of ten. I don't feel the need to go into detail of how this film differs so greatly and so arrogantly from the original novel. Just pick up the book from your local library or order it off of Amazon and read it. You won't regret it. Even if you've never read or liked the book, this film is still a failure. It sucks ass. Not only is it the worst adaptation of all time (yes, there's an adaptation worse than Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief), but it's also the worst film of the year for me (I still haven't seen The Legend of Hercules). Fuck this unintelligent, sentimental, sappy, melodramatic bullshit. Just read the book and avoid this turd.

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby was a book my English teacher planned on us reading in high school. However, she got into an accident and was sick and injured. So we had a substitute who let us do what the fuck we want without causing trouble. And when my teacher got better, she forgot we had to read the book. So yeah, I've never read the book (I plan on doing so sometime). I am familiar with the previous two adaptations, released in 1974 and 2000 respectively. Those two were just okay. This recent adaptation released last year is inarguably the best of the three.

The Great Gatsby, directed by Baz Luhrmann from a screenplay by Luhrmann and Craig Pearce, stars Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway as he recalls the story of how he met Jay Gatsby, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and how the two of them eventually became good friends. As the story goes on, we've come to find out that Nick's cousin Daisy Buchanan, played by Carey Mulligan, has been the object of Gatsby's affections for years.

Gatsby has been throwing several parties, hoping against hope that she'll show up eventually. The two had a relationship years ago before Gatsby went to fight in the war. However, over time, Daisy had forgotten all about Gatsby and ended up marrying rich asshole Tom Buchanan, played wonderfully by Joel Edgerton. Eventually, Gatsby and Daisy reunite, kicking off a story of love, betrayal, and the corruption of the American dream.

Of the films directed by Baz Luhrmann, this is undoubtedly his best. I didn't care for Romeo + Juliet, I've never seen Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge is one of my guiltiest pleasures, and I'm one of few who thinks Australia is underrated. The Great Gatsby perfectly mixes both style and substance in my opinion, neither one ever overshadowing the other. The film is beautifully shot and has dazzling visuals but Luhrmann and Pearce's screenplay provides enough story to be on par with them.

All the actors do fine jobs and play their parts perfectly. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of Tobey Maguire. I liked him in Brothers and Spider-Man 2, but I didn't like him in Spider-Man 1, Spider-Man 3, or Pleasantville (R.I.P. Paul Walker). In nearly all the films he's been in, he just acts stoic and boring. He's like that in the first act of this film and it's really meh. However, when we get to the second act, he surprised the hell out of me and showed a lot of emotional range. By the third act, the guy is fantastic. I mean...damn!

Joel Edgerton is excellently casted in the role of asshole millionaire Tom Buchanan. If they'd gotten any other actor (with the exception of Ben Affleck, who was originally casted in the role), they'd just play this character in a hammy, over-the-top, completely stupid yet fun fashion, like say Richard Roxburgh in, you guessed it, Moulin Rouge. However, Edgerton doesn't do that. He plays this asshole so damn well. I fucking loved the hell out of hating this guy.

In certain scenes when he should be going apeshit with anger, he manages to play it cool and keep his temper in check like he has absolutely nothing to fear. Tom Buchanan is nothing more than a spoiled, rich, greedy bastard who believes he can get away with anything and everything, and the sad thing is, it's because he can. He's so manipulative and smooth-talking that he can pretty much talk his way out of any situation. It's these traits that make Tom not only a good antagonist, but an intimidating one as well.

Carey Mulligan does a pretty solid job playing Daisy. She plays the part well. Isla Fisher was a decent choice for Myrtle Wilson, although to be honest, I think she would've made for a better Daisy. Jason Clarke did an okay job playing Myrtle's husband George (a Zero Dark Thirty reunion for Edgerton and Clarke). Finally, we get to Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby. What can I say? The guy nails this role. He embodies everything that this character is supposed to be and he gets better as the film progresses.

I can't say enough great things about DiCaprio. You just need to see this movie. I thought DiCaprio used the term "old sport" a bit too much in this movie, but in the long run, it didn't bother me too much. Gatsby is a brilliantly-written character caught in a love triangle (take notes, Twilight) where he seems to be the only one ever truly invested. His love for Daisy is there and borders on obsession. We see the pain this character goes through, wanting nothing more than to be with Daisy. The way he speaks about Daisy, you really do get that he loves her, can't let her go, and would do anything for her. It all ends in a bit of tragic irony.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

The Great Gatsby is one of the most surprising films of 2013. It's certainly a damn fine piece of cinema. Some of the song choices are very odd and out-of-place, the billboard that has the cover of the book on it gets repetitive and tedious, DiCaprio uses the term "old sport" a bit too much, the beginning and end with Nick narrating the story to a doctor wasn't needed, and the affair between Tom and Myrtle is underdeveloped. However, solid performances, a good story, a perfect mix of style and substance, and careful direction by Baz Luhrmann strengthen this film and make up for those flaws. Now, all I gotta do is go to the library and read the book.

A Good Day To Die Hard

A Good Day to Die Hard is piss-poor beyond comprehension. John McClane isn't John McClane anymore, the plot is stupid as hell, the writing is anything but good, the action was fun but the camerawork and editing were awful, the villain is so idiotic that words can't explain it, and it's just a blatant mess mistaken for a Die Hard movie.

John McClane's son, Jack, played by a mostly-miss-and-not-enough-hit Jai Courtney, has been arrested in Moscow and John goes there to help him out. But he finds he's once again in the wrong place at the wrong time, but for all the wrong reasons. Jack now hates his dad just because he wasn't there for him growing up. It's been 25 years, ever heard of learning to deal with it? Also, Jack hating John is a blatant carbon copy of Lucy hating John in Live Free or Die Hard. In that film, Lucy had legitimate reasons for hating John. He was overprotective. That's relatable. Also, Lucy was actually a decent character. Jack is just a whiny CIA asshat. Justin Long from Die Hard 4 had much more personality than him and he was just a fucking computer hacker for Christ's sakes!

When John finds out Jack is working for the CIA, Jack tells him he's trying to locate some Russian millionaire prisoner named Yuri Komarov, who is believed to have had a file that included evidence on his ally-turned-rival, Boris Chagarin. And there's some bad guy named Alik who serves nothing to the story until later on. Speaking of Alik, I forgot to talk about the first action sequence we have. It's a car chase through Russia with Alik pursuing John, John pursuing Jack, and Alik also pursuing Jack. The practical explosions and car stunts were entertaining as hell and the music by Marco Beltrami kicks tons of ass. But the shaky-cam and editing was borderline poor. John Moore, please hire a cinematographer who doesn't have fucking Parkinson's. The camerawork in Man of Steel and Michael Bay films were better than this. Also, John McClane punches some random Russian guy and tries to get out of a jam by landing on pedestrians' cars, getting off them, and driving away, not giving a single flying, flaming fuck. John McClane is now an unlikeable old guy with superhuman powers. That's not what John McClane is, you fucking retards. He was a caring, nice, witty, smart, and good cop who actually cares about people and gets back up no matter how hard he goes down. Skip Woods of The A-Team and X-Men Origins: Wolverine wrote this movie. Skip, go fuck yourself. You butchered this iconic and legendary character with your inability to know jack shit about Die Hard.

After the chase, John, Jack, and Yuri enter a safe with house with Jack's partner, played by Cole Hauser of Pitch Black and Olympus Has Fallen fame. Cole gets killed and we have another action scene (although it's short). After some number of minutes of boring chatter, they stop at a place where they meet Yuri's smoking hot daughter, Irina, played by a Russian model. So, John Moore is the Irish Michael Bay, eh? That's nice. Alik finds them and PLOT TWIST: Irina betrays her dad. So John and Jack get tied up and...THIS happens: he eats a carrot and tap-dances like a fucking anorexic DEA ballet dancer on Ritalin. Jack has a knife and cuts the knot...and somehow the guards behind them are fucking blind. This leads to--what's that? Oh, yeah! Another action sequence! To the film's credit, this is actually the second best action scene in the film, beating out the car chase. Granted, them jumping out the window and falling through several wood floors onto a rubbish truck is idiotically over-the-top, I had fun with it nonetheless, so don't judge me.

It turns out that the file is in Chernobyl. I'm sorry, but I'm just gonna say it: Russia is a boring location for an action film. It's just not that good a setting. Why not somewhere in Australia or Ireland? Those could be decent action film locations. But fucking Russia? No. Also, how many films have to have Chernobyl? First, there's Transformers 3. Then, there's Chernobyl Diaries. Now, there's this film. The scene where they ENTER Chernobyl is not only boring, but scientifically inaccurate to the point where Diego Tutweiller will go on a rampage against all inept Hollywood screenwriters who don't know jack shit about the elements of film. Deadly Friend is more scientifically accurate than this...and that had a scene where a crazy lady's head got exploded by a fucking basketball of all things!

When Alik demands the file, he gets shot and SURPRISE PLOT TWIST: Yuri was the villain the whole time. He and Irina manipulated the entire sequence of events in order to get revenge on Chagarin. We still don't give a fuck about this useless Chagarin guy and this villain scheme is so nonsensical and outrageous it hurts. The Tyler Perry Alex Cross movie had much less nonsensical moments than this. So, we get the final action sequence, the best action sequence in the film. But I'm too tired of describing this plot. So, Yuri gets killed in a piss-poor reenactment of Hans Gruber's death, causing Irina to ram into a building in a suicide attack, where John and Jack land in a swimming pool of nuclear fallout, they go back to America, and the fucking end.

FINAL SCORE: 2/10

It sucks so much ass and balls. Shitty direction, horrible writing, lame characters, a nonexistent John McClane, piss-poor camerawork, a terrible plot, and a lame-ass villain with a plan so illogical it hurts. Silva's plan from Skyfall had a billion times more meaning. Good night, people of the world. I'm out.

X-Men Origins - Wolverine
½

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a half-assed, boring, and disappointing solo Marvel comic book character movie with a clichéd screenplay, uninteresting characters, a boring story, and terrible CGI, along with the butt-fucking of a classic Marvel character. It's no surprise this got bad reviews, 'cause this film was written by Skip Woods, who would later give us A Bad Day for Die Hard. To date, this guy's written only two films I enjoyed: the 1998 cult classic Thursday and the 2010 action movie The A-Team, based on the television series from back in the day. Oh, yeah. Such a credible writer for a solo film starring Wolverine.

I enjoyed the first three X-Men films. I'm a big fan of the first one, I loved the second one, and I admit, I had fun with the third one despite it being flawed throughout. When news of a spin-off solo film starring Wolverine hit the news, I was looking forward to it. The original screenplay was written by Game of Thrones co-developer David Benioff. It was more brutal, more violent, more leaning towards an R rating. I got pumped. Rumored to direct were Zack Snyder, Len Wiseman, Bryan Singer, Brett Ratner, and hell, even Alexandre Aja. Snyder rejected the offer to do Watchmen, Wiseman was busy on post-production of Die Hard 4 and working on other projects, Singer was doing Valkyrie, Aja was working on Mirrors and Piranha 3D, and Ratner was working on Tower Heist and the sketch films Movie 43 and New York, I Love You. Jackman was a producer on the project and rejected the R-rated script, in favor of a PG-13 rating because kids saw the other X-Men films. Now, I'm not saying that a film like this needs an R rating to be good, but we're talking about a spin-off solo movie starring a beloved Marvel character who has no problem decapitating some poor-ass villain motherfucker's head off.

Hired to re-write Benioff's draft was Skip Woods, who previously brought us Swordfish and Hitman, the former, ironically, starring Hugh Jackman. What Woods' screenplay has was what caused the movie to have a 38% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Hired to direct was Tsotsi, Rendition, and Ender's Game director Gavin Hood, mainly because Jackman saw parallels between Wolverine and the main character from Tsotsi. During production, Hood would have fights with the producers. Hood's depiction of Wolverine was an Army veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder, which I thought would be a decent and interesting interpretation of the character, but 20th Century Fuckface thought the target audience wouldn't be interested in themes this heavy. Before the '07-'08 Writer's Strike, Amazing Spider-Man and White House Down co-writer James Vanderbilt was hired for last-minute re-writes on the script along with 8 Mile and Mod Squad co-writer Scott Silver, but don't worry, I'm sure Skip Woods provided more touches throughout the re-write. David Ayer, the creator of Training Day, also provided some touch on the script, but not the Woods/Silver/Vanderbilt screenplay.

I admit, the first and second times I saw this movie, I liked it, but I watched it a third time not too long ago and my opinion on the movie has now changed. What I first thought was a fun, entertaining action film is now something I currently believe is a stupid, disappointing action film. The film begins in the 1840's in Canada where we see a young Wolverine sick in bed. His father gets shot by someone and he develops bone claws and uses them to kill the murderer, who turns out to be his REAL father, revealing who he murdered wasn't his true parent. It's also revealed that Wolverine's brother is Victor Creed, who was in his room while Wolverine was sick. The two run away and end up fighting wars, mainly the Civil, World, and Vietnam wars, as the opening credits play out.

Now, here's one of my problems here: we don't need to hear the origins of Wolverine. We really don't. As a matter of fact, there was some origin in X-Men 2, and that was all you needed to know. That was all. We didn't need a backstory or the birth of Wolverine. It just feels unnecessary. Anyway, Wolverine and Victor, now Sabretooth, are asked to join Team X by Major William Stryker, played by Danny Huston, also known as Poseidon from the remake of Clash of the Titans. On the team are Agent Zero, The Blob, John Wraith, Chris Bradley, and Wade Wilson, the latter character played by Hannibal King/Green Lantern himself, Ryan Reynolds. During a mission, we get some pretty bad-ass action going on. But after the mission, Wolverine seems uncomfortable with the group's disregard for human life and leaves the team.

Years later, Wolverine is now a lumberjack in Canada and has a girlfriend, Kayla Silverfox, played by Lynn Collins from John Carter. Another cast member from that movie is also in this one. Anyway, Chris and Wade are supposedly murdered by someone. That someone is Sabretooth. Chris gets killed in his trailer at a carnival where he does an act in front of a chick played by Heather Mason from Silent Hill: Revelation. Stryker asks Wolverine to rejoin his team, but he rejects the offer, but when he sees the dead body of Kayla, he agrees just after losing to a fight with Sabretooth. The way he loses makes Wolverine look like a fucking pussy. THAT...IS...FUCKING...INEXCUSABLE. This is Wolverine we're talking about here! He's the best of the best at what he does, and what he does isn't very nice. How is making Wolverine a bad-ass motherfucker so hard? Get some fucking medication, Skip Woods.

Anyway, Sabretooth has now gone rogue and Stryker tells Wolverine that he found a way to make him strong enough to have his revenge on Sabretooth, so Wolverine goes through an operation which reinforces his skull with adamantium, thus giving him the silver, indestructible claws we all know and love. But Stryker attempts to betray him by trying to give him amnesia. Wolverine escapes and kills Agent Zero, hellbent on killing Stryker and Sabretooth. He finds John and The Blob, and gets directions to a place called The Island where he meets the fan favorite X-Men character, Gambit, played by that other John Carter cast member, Taylor Kitsch. But here's another problem: he has little screentime. Seriously, this is the first time you put a fan favorite character into an X-Men movie and you hardly give him 30 minutes of screentime. What the fuck, man?

Wolverine fights Sabretooth, who kills John. Gambit takes Wolverine to Stryker's facility in Three Mile Island, where Wolverine finds out that Kayla is still alive. I wasn't at all surprised and I didn't care less. She conspired with Sabretooth to keep tabs on him for the safety of her sister, who turns out to be a version of Emma Frost, another fan favorite X-Men character. Stryker rejects her offer and denies giving Sabretooth the adamantium. He activates a newly-revived, now-mutant Wade, now known as Weapon XI. And as it turns out, Weapon XI is supposed to be Deadpool. Are you fucking kidding me? I recall Deadpool wearing a red-and-black suit in the comics with a cool-ass gun, frequent funny one-liners, and a humorous tendency to break the fourth wall. In this movie, he's a mutant with a sewn mouth, a bald head, eyes that rip-off Sam from Deadly Friend (such a new low), and swords that come out of his knuckles. This is Blackheart from Ghost Rider all over again.

Also, a bunch of captured mutants are taken by Charles Xavier, played by a horribly digitalized Patrick Stewart. One of the mutants is high schooler Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops. After that, Wolverine gets into a fight with Deadpool and cuts his head off but with no blood anywhere to be found. He gets shot in the head by Stryker, leaving him unconscious, but as he aims the gun at Kayla, she uses a mutant power to make him walk back until his feet bleed. Wolverine wakes up, now having amnesia. Time to point out the plot hole: Adamantium is an indestructible metal, so how does shooting Wolverine in the head get him amnesia? This movie is ass.

FINAL SCORE: 3/10

Is it a terrible movie? Well, no. I've seen much worse superhero movies. Some of the action is fun, the film is directed competently, and the potential was there. The actors didn't do a bad job for the most part. But this film still sucks. Poor CGI, clichéd dialogue, a lame script, wasted potential, a derivative story, and boring characters overcome the things I thought were decent. It's by far the weakest of the X-Men films, weaker than X-Men: The Last Stand. If you're looking for dumb fun, then this is the movie for you. But this film is too dumb for me to have fun with.

Oh, I forgot to mention: when Wolverine is running off after escaping the facility where gets the adamantium, he seeks shelter at an old couple's home. In one scene, he shows off his claws that are made from horrible CGI. The couple gets killed by Agent Zero and Stryker. I saw it coming 'cause I didn't give a fuck about them. That's a wrap on this rant, folks. If you wanna see a good solo Wolverine movie, watch the one that just came out four months ago directed by James Mangold. That one's worth your money, and not this.

Scooby-Doo
Scooby-Doo(2002)
½

Scooby-Doo is director Raja Gosnell and writer James Gunn's attempt at making a live-action adaptation of the original cartoon show from the 60's. I never watched the show, but I have seen Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf, Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase, Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders, Aloha Scooby-Doo, Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost, Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, Scooby-Doo Meets Batman, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, and What's New, Scooby-Doo. I liked them all.

I also had the misfortune of watching Scooby-Doo: The Mystery Begins and Scooby-Doo: Curse of the Lake Monster on TV. Both films were absolutely fucking HORRENDOUS. No word in the dictionary can describe how hard those two abominations suck ugly cock. This film and its sequel are much better than those two shitpiles, although that rarely says much, although the sequel is better than this.

Scooby-Doo stars Freddie "Why the fuck do I still have a career?" Prinze, Jr. as Fred, Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Daphne, Linda "Grandma's Boy" Cardellini as Velma, Stu from Scream as Shaggy, and Mr. Bean as the villain. The film involves the Mystery, Inc. gang reuniting after a two-year break-up as they investigate strange things going on at the Spooky Island resort.

The main actors all do solid jobs playing the characters, especially Sarah Michelle Gellar and Matthew Lillard as Daphne and Shaggy (looking at Daphne was enough to make this film watchable). Linda Cardellini did a decent job as Velma, and much to my surprise, I liked Freddie Prinze, Jr. as Fred. I didn't care for Rowan Atkinson as the owner of the island and I didn't care for Isla Fisher. Hell, they don't even make Fisher funny or even attractive in this movie.

David Newman did a great job composing the score, but that's not surprising. Newman's one of my all-time favorite composers. The guy did the music for War of the Roses, Throw Momma from the Train, Heathers, Serenity, The Cat in the Hat (movie was terrible but score was good), Anastasia, The Brave Little Toaster, Big Momma's House 3 (another terrible film with a good score), Matilda, The Phantom, The Mighty Ducks, Galaxy Quest, both Bill & Ted movies, Duplex, The Spirit (another poor film with a good score), and Death to Smoochy. The guy's a legend when it comes to film scores.

The cinematography by David Eggby was okay. It's a decently-shot film. The guy worked on Pitch Black, Riddick, and Mad Max. He's a good cinematographer. James Gunn's screenplay offers a few funny self-referential gags, but most of them fall flatter than flat on their asses. Raja Gosnell is a sucky director. The only film I liked from this guy was Never Been Kissed. He should go back to editing. The effects are atrocious. I'm in awe that this had a budget of $84 million. Those demons at Spooky Island look worse than the Scorpion King at the end of The Mummy Returns.

The twist with Scrappy-Doo, one of the most annoying things ever created, being the villain was fucking retarded. It's explained that Scooby and the gang left him on the side of the road because he's such an annoying twat, but come on, that's pretty evil. Yeah, Scrappy's annoying, but he's innocent. Leaving him on the side of the road to die is a really asshole thing to do.

Him as the villain fails miserably. As a film on its own, Scrappy being the villain the entire time made absolutely no sense whatsoever. I may not have watched the show, but I know these characters. They would never do this. Scrappy wouldn't be evil, the gang would never isolate him, and the series would never be this mean-spirited. From a comedic standpoint, it's godawfully underdeveloped. The movie doesn't know if it wants to be mean-spirited, light-hearted, or both. But whatever it's trying to be, it doesn't work at all. It fails and it fucking sucks.

FINAL SCORE: 3/10

This is a goddamn mess. Is it a terrible film? No. I've seen a lot worse, especially from this director (The Smurfs and Beverly Hills Chihuahua). But this sucks ass. The writing is lame, the jokes are lame, the effects are lame, the twist is lame, nearly everything in this film is lame. It's incredible not only how much this movie misses the point and the ideas of the series, but how many different moods and angles it's trying to attack it with and how many of them don't work, not to mention the fact that they fail to be loyal to the characters. Ugh, fuck this movie.

The Last Airbender

The Last Airbender is one of the most infuriating, lifeless, and unnecessarily boring films I've ever seen and it also happens to be one of the worst adaptations of all time. This film is so stock, so tiring, so empty, and so dull. It's dim-witted to an extent. And who better to adapt the greatest television show since Firefly (and greatest anime cartoon since Dragonball) than the man who gave us such great gems as Signs, The Village, Lady in the Water, The Happening, and After Earth. Really? Joss Whedon wasn't in the running? Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson weren't either?

Avatar: The Last Airbender (Avatar was taken out of the name of the movie because...yeah...) is an animated fantasy action TV show that aired on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008. I saw the film before and I never saw the show before. So, I decided to check it out. I loved the shit out of it. It got better every episode. The animation was fantastic, the action was phenomenal, the writing was ingenious, the storylines were intriguing, the fast pacing of the episodes was well-done, and the characters were brilliant.

M. Night Shyamalan first hit it big with his 1999 hit The Sixth Sense. It was released to critical and commercial success. Although the film is rather overrated, it's a damn good movie. After that, Shyamalan brought us one of my favorite films of all time, Unbreakable. Then, Signs came out, and to be honest, I didn't really care for it, but there really was an attempt to make a good film and it shows. Then, The Village came out and it bored me to tears. Then, Lady in the Water came out and it sucked ass. Then, The Happening came out and I was dying laughing. We all know how bland, generic, and uninspired After Earth was.

After the cartoon was cancelled, Paramount announced a live-action adaptation to be written, produced, and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Who else wouldn't cringe at that idea? The film's cast included a comedian (Aasif Mandvi from The Daily Show), an Oscar-winning newcomer (Dev Patel), a Twilight co-star (Jackson Rathbone), and two critically acclaimed actors (Shaun Toub and Cliff Curtis) among two child stars that made their debut in this picture. The film was post-converted to 3D to cash in on the 3D gimmick that was re-popularized by James Cameron in 2009 with Avatar.

When the film came out, it was released to universally negative reviews. It has a 6% on Rotten Tomatoes. Fans and critics lambasted the shit out of it, and for very good reason. The Last Airbender involves Katara and Sokka, two siblings who live in the Southern Water Tribe. Long ago, the four nations: Air, Water, Earth, and Fire lived together in harmony. The Avatar was the only person who could master all four elements. But then he suddenly disappeared. 12-year-old Aang, who was frozen in an ice sphere for 100 years, turns out to be the Avatar and he has to master all four elements while escaping the forces of the evil Fire Nation.

Now, what's the first thing wrong with this movie? The acting. The performances in this film are terrible, some of which coming close to near-laughable. The only actor who gives a decent performance in the entire picture is Shaun Toub as General Iroh. Nicola Peltz and Jackson Rathbone act very poorly as Katara and Sokka. Noah Ringer is fucking amateur as Aang. It's sad to see great actors like Cliff Curtis and Aasif Mandvi give shitty performances. Dev Patel can't act to save his life. Fuck Slumdog Millionaire.

Now, we move onto story and dialogue. The script is just dreadful. The dialogue is and feels unnatural, laughable, and numbskulled. The tone is so hopelessly bleak and so hilariously moody. Never does anybody say that they like something, or feel something, or wonder something. Sweet Jesus. Instead of being a funny and inventive wisecracker like in the show, Sokka always acts constipatedly angry and rarely does this fucker lighten up a notch. Ugh. There's always a need to explain shit and it just drags and drags and drags. Whenever they explain things often throughout the movie, they always need to explain what happened instead of explaining why it happened. Argh!

The earthbending prison camp scene is some of the most disgustingly infuriating shit of all time. In the show, the prison is on a metal ship, where no earthbending is possible, and thus, it breaks their spirit because they can't get away. They are powerless to stop them. Here, they're fucking surrounded by earth. Aang makes a big speech about rising up and fighting back, whereas in the show, it's justified because there's a big risk. They have something to lose. Argh, fuck this bullshit.

Now, onto the earthbending. I am in absolute awe that this is the extent of M. Night Shyamalan's imagination. The amazing possibilities that could've been used with this scenario, and this is what Shyamalan comes up with. In the show, several scenes have only one...I repeat, ONE...earthbender bending the Earth to his or her will and the earthbender unleashes a fucking gigantic boulder. Here, six or so earthbenders unleash an average-sized rock. In the show, six earthbenders unleash a rock wave that takes down a tank. Shyamalan should pay me to re-write better material and incorporate it into your screenplays. Fuck him.

I can't believe that they butt-fucked the villain, Fire Lord Ozai. In the show, the Fire Lord was built up big time, always kept in shadow until the final season, and when he finally was revealed, he wasn't a monster or anything, but he was still intimidating. Cliff Curtis is a great actor, but he is the most common, non-threatening person you could put in this role. It's bad enough Shyamalan has zero idea how to direct his actors and write his characters.

FINAL SCORE: 1/10

What did I like about this movie? I liked Shaun Toub, the music by James Newton Howard was fantastic, and I liked the scene with Aang raising that huge-ass wave. This movie is still horrible, it's awful. Terrible dialogue, atrocious writing, horrible acting, average special effects, poor costume design, unimpressive sets, bland cinematography, frustrating direction, and a lack of joy and fun plague whatever this film had that was tolerable. Fuck this movie. Just watch the show.

Serenity
Serenity(2005)

Serenity is one of the best sci-fi films of all time and one of my favorite films in general. Firefly was a TV show created over ten years ago by screenwriting god Joss Whedon. It involved the crew of the Firefly-class spaceship Serenity, consisting of captain Mal (Nathan Fillion), first mate Zoe (Gina Torres), pilot Wash (Alan Tudyk), and companion Inara (Morena Baccarin).

There's also mercenary Jayne (Adam Baldwin), mechanic Kaylee (Jewel Staite), doctor Simon (Sean Maher), psychic River (Summer Glau), and shepherd Book (Ron Glass) as they face off against the powerful Alliance. Mal and Zoe were former veterans of the Unification War (including the Battle of Serenity Valley) and Wash is Zoe's interracial husband.

Firefly was the greatest TV show of all time. Strong characters, excellent writing, great acting, wonderful visuals, intense action, and interesting plots are what you find in each and every episode of the series. But, of course, FOX cancelled it due to low ratings, a terrible marketing campaign, and airing the episodes out of order. Joss Whedon decided to include all of his ideas for a second season into a movie continuing where the series finale left off, to wrap the saga up at two hours in his screenplay, titled Serenity.

Whedon decided not to take the script to 20th Century Fox, instead insisting on having the project set up at Universal. Universal executive Mary Parent was a big fan of the show and approved of Joss Whedon's script. Whedon made his feature film directorial debut with Serenity, with producing duties handled by Barry Mendel, who previously produced M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. Serenity was a big hit with critics, but sadly bombed at the box office.

Serenity continues where Firefly's final episode Objects in Space left off, with the Alliance now in pursuit of 17-year-old mentally traumatized psychic genius River Tam, played by Summer Glau. The Alliance hires an Operative, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who has no rank or no name, to track down River and kill her, as high Alliance politicians have accidentally exposed top secrets to her psychic abilities. The Operative believes in a world without sin and believes that killing River will change the world into a better one.

In the 26th century, humanity has left an overpopulated and decimated Earth and moved to a new star system, colonizing many planets and moons. The Alliance has won a war against the Colonies, less established planets in the outer solar system. River was the most promising of many child prodigies being mentally and physically conditioned against their will by Alliance scientists. River was rescued by her brother Simon, played by Sean Maher. They both seek refuge on Serenity.

Aboard the ship, we get a cool steadicam sequence where we're (re-)introduced to most of the crew and we get to touch on their emotions and personalities. I really like how Joss Whedon and cinematographer Jack Green directed, shot, and created this sequence, establishing how this scene manages to inaugurate safety onboard Serenity.

During a bank robbery performed by Mal, Zoe, Jayne, and River, we finally get to see the cannibalistic and deadly Reavers on-screen. For those who haven't seen the show: A) Please see it now. B) Reavers are animalistic humans who attack settlers from space, eat you alive, sew your skin to their bodies, and then rape your dead corpses and remaining amounts of skin for hours. C) Watching the show will help you fully understand the plot of this movie (trust me, it will).

Firefly and Serenity have both proved to be brilliant mixes of the science fiction and western genres, the show focusing a bit more on the western part, and the movie focusing a bit more on the sci-fi part particularly to please common moviegoers, and it works incredibly well. Of course, traditional Whedon trademarks are here: a terrific sense of humor, likeable characters (with actual personalities) who are strong and you root for, a villain who isn't a derivative cliché or a generic stereotype, terrific dialogue, real emotional pain, and of course, brilliant action sequences and special effects.

Regarding the action, the hovercraft chase during the bank robbery and escape from the Reavers was very well-shot. Not to mention, the visuals were incredible considering this had a budget of less than $40 million. Sorry, District 9, but Serenity played the "low budget film with great effects" game first. All the violence in the film is actually pretty strong and brutal, especially for a film with a PG-13 rating, but without any gratuitous or pointless blood or gore just to please standard hardcore action junkies.

The cast members do great jobs playing their respective memorable characters. The best performances in the film definitely come from Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mal, River, and the Operative. Fillion is awesome as usual, the word awesome being an understatement, but come on, did I really need to say it? Glau does a terrific job playing the emotional and fighter sides of River. Ejiofor made for a very intimidating and cool villain.

FINAL SCORE: 10/10

Joss Whedon's first full-length feature film is just amazing. Whedon writes and directs the film masterfully and very tightly. All members of the cast do incredible jobs. The action was intense, the effects were great, the visuals were terrific, the story was interesting, the film is well-paced, the characters are memorable, and the villain was spot-on.

Surprisingly enough, the deaths of Book and Wash (SPOILERS!) didn't piss me off. They were actually well-handled and emotional in the good way. Even if you're not a Whedon fanboy, or a fan of sci-fi in general, you'll love this movie. However, if you're new to the 'verse of Firefly, please the watch the show first and then watch the movie. Those gorramn FOX executives is the dumbest bastards in the whole 'verse.

Carrie
Carrie(2013)
½

Carrie is arguably one of the most underrated films of last year. Most tend to disagree, pointing out that Carrie has no originality, a lack of scares, average CGI, bland acting, and is just a re-imagining of the original Brian De Palma film from 1976 instead of a re-adaptation of Stephen King's original novel. However, this remake is more like the novel than you believe.

Carrie was the first published novel written by acclaimed horror author Stephen King. It was the story of Carrie White, a high school senior who is abused physically by her overly religious mother and is bullied and tormented constantly by her high school classmates. Carrie later discovers that she has telekinetic powers and can move things with her mind. At the prom, when the bullies push her too far, Carrie goes on a rampage through the town killing everybody in sight. The point of the novel was to show that the person you're pushing too far most certainly has a breaking point.

Carrie was later adapted into a 1976 horror film of the same name by Phantom of the Paradise director Brian De Palma, with a screenplay by Lawrence D. Cohen, who later went on to adapt Stephen King's novels It and The Tommyknockers into TV miniseries. Carrie is one of my all-time favorite horror movies and is just a fantastic film in its own right. However, there were a lot of changes made due to budget constraints and the fact that back then, it was difficult to create top-notch special effects.

There was a shameful sequel, The Rage: Carrie 2, released in 1999 that nearly ruined everything that made the original fantastic. There was also a 2002 reboot of Carrie directed by David Carson of Star Trek: Generations fame and co-written by Mockingbird Lane writer Bryan Fuller that was a boring load of ass and was far from worthy of the original. Now, we get to Kimberly Peirce's latest reboot, and it was surprisingly great.

The plot is nothing that different between this film and the original. They're virtually the same, except this is made for a newer generation and has a bit more kick this time around. Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore play Carrie and Margaret White respectively. They're both fantastic in this movie. When Chloe was first cast in the role, people complained that she's too pretty for the role. So what? When I was in school, some of the prettiest girls were bullied and tormented. Bullies don't care for your looks. If they think you're worthy of torment, they'll torment you. Moretz is a fantastic actress and she did a great job playing Carrie.

Moore also did a great job playing Carrie's mom Margaret. Now, Piper Laurie gave an entertaining performance in the original and was very good at playing a religious nut, but she's way too over-the-top and goofy in the role and I didn't really find her scary as much as I found her funny. Re-watch the scene at the end of the original when she's being crucified. She sounded like she was having an orgasm with each passing blade. Moore goes a little over-the-top in some scenes, but her performance was never goofy. She plays it straight and the scenes with her torturing Carrie were actually pretty frightening and disturbing.

While the plot is virtually the same as the original, they're both different thematically. For example, in the original's prom scene, Carrie kills everybody at the prom and keeps the same creepy-ass look on her face. In the remake, Carrie displays a variety of emotions as she kills everybody at the prom, almost as if she's displaying each kill for us, like it's a presentation of her telekinetic abilities. The De Palma version is a horror classic and it's just that. Kimberly Peirce's remake is more of a tragedy.

So yeah, the story is the same, but the theme is radically different. It's because of that that this reboot got across the point and social commentary of the novel a lot better than Brian De Palma's original version did. Q: In the original, before the prom scene where everything goes batshit nuts, how many times did we actually see Carrie being tortured, both emotionally and physically, by her classmates? A: ONLY ONCE.

The opening scene in the locker room where Carrie's having her first period and the girls are throwing tampons at her and screaming "Plug it up!" was the only scene in the original film where we actually saw these bitches physically and emotionally torturing Carrie (although, this scene is still pretty fucked up, so good job, De Palma). This isn't the first time something like this happened to her, and there were scenes with her classmates mocking her behind her back, but that was it, up until the prom massacre anyways.

Kimberly Peirce and writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, for better or for worse, were more interested in expanding on the social commentary of King's novel than they were in creating a horror movie. That's what makes both of these films radically different from each other, despite the plot remaining the same. Peirce and De Palma had a specific vision of how the story should be portrayed, and both visions work great in their own right.

So, in what ways is the bullying expanded upon? Instead of just throwing tampons at Carrie, Chris Hargensen, played this time by Portia Doubleday, actually films it on her iPhone and uploads the video to YouTube for the whole world to see. Carrie reads aloud a poem in her English class and it would've been enough if only her classmates mocked it, but in this version, her teacher mocks it too, calls her and her poem disturbing, and laughs at her. We get several scenes of bullies mocking Carrie in front of her and there's one scene where two douchebags are spraypainting "CARRIE WHITE EATS SHIT" on the lockers.

The bullying in this version pulls absolutely no punches and is all too realistic. Possibly the best example of a bully is Portia Doubleday as Chris Hargensen. Doubleday was absolutely perfect in this role, and she is so evil, so uncaring, so stuck-up, and so manipulative as this character, that I couldn't wait for this bitch to get hers in the end. I just loved to hate her. Hell, after she's banned from prom, she needs her dad to fix everything, playing the daddy's little girl routine. And to top it all off, she has the best death scene in the movie.

The new movie does a much better job of displaying Sue's guilt over her involvement with the prank while also displaying that it hurts her, emotionally, to let Tommy take Carrie to the prom since, as Chris said, Sue has wanted this fairy tale night since she was a girl. Prom night was supposed to be her dream night. And it really shows in her performance that she's silently causing herself emotional pain by having Tommy go with Carrie instead.

Then, there's Tommy, who not only sticks up for Carrie in the classroom scene, but they also added the fact that Tommy was bullied when he was younger, which is why he is none too kind to see the displays of bullying towards Carrie. He's also the catalyst for Sue's redemption as he actually asks her what Carrie did to deserve such treatment. Add to that the fact that he knew where Carrie's poem came from and praised her on it when they were speaking together.

FINAL SCORE: 9/10

Many critics have called this movie a pointless cash grab. I personally disagree. For a remake, it does its job better than most. The cast and characters are fantastic, the social commentary of King's novel shines through this film rather beautifully, and Carrie's rampage is just as tragic and heartbreaking as ever. There are of course problems. There could've been more to the ending and two moments in this film were really, really dumb. But in the long run, Carrie is an above-average remake and a great film in general.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
½

I hated the first Ghost Rider film. I thought it was just wasted potential and a dumb piece of crap all-around. So with me hating the first film and me liking its standalone reboot/sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, you people would call me batshit insane. What did Spirit of Vengeance get right that Ghost Rider didn't? #1: SoV is a solid action film. #2: SoV is a fun Nic Cage film. #3: SoV is an actual Ghost Rider film, and a very entertaining one at that.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance involves former daredevil stuntman Johnny Blaze, played by Nicolas Cage, who is in self-imposed exile from the world. Blaze has become a tormented soul, convinced that his powers are a curse. Blaze is then approached by Moreau, a member of the monastic order of Michael, the warrior angel. Moreau seeks a protector for Nadya, played by the gorgeous Violante Placido, and her son Danny Ketch, played by Fergus Riordan, who are being pursued by a figure named Roarke, the biblical Devil himself with a detailed knowledge of the Ghost Rider and his different identities over the centuries.

Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor and writers Scott Gimple, Seth Hoffman, and David S. Goyer have certainly cleaned up Mark Steven Johnson's mess. I have no fucking idea why this got worse reviews than the original. For those who haven't seen this and have only seen the first, this film has absolutely nothing to do with the original...and that's probably the best thing about this sequel. Johnny Blaze and the origin of the Ghost Rider are vastly different this time around and in here, it works.

Nicolas Cage is a hell of a lot better here than he is in the first film. The demon Zarathos being in the Ghost Rider's body fighting within him for control of the Ghost Rider powers occasionally has Nic Cage go absolutely nuts in a few scenes (mainly because Zarathos is driving Johnny to absolute madness), and hell, I love it. You see, in this film, Nic Cage has an actual excuse as to why he's acting like a mentally insane asylum patient on screen.

In this film, Ghost Rider has a black Harley, a dirty-looking skull, a black leather jacket, and black leather pants covered in soot. Not to mention, Johnny is guzzling alcohol in this film, this trait of which he had in the comics. Good to see David S. Goyer and Neveldine & Taylor actually did their research on the source material like Goyer did with the first two Blade films, Man of Steel (sue me), and the Dark Knight trilogy.

The main villain this time is Ray Carrigan a.k.a. Blackout, played by Johnny Whitworth, who you may remember as Bradley Cooper's former brother-in-law from Limitless. Carrigan was a former mercenary who's given powers by the Devil after a series of unfortunate events in order to retrieve Danny, who turns out to be the Devil's son. Blackout can make the world around him turn pitch black and he can decay anything he touches. Whitworth does a great job playing the character, who looks exactly like he does in the comics.

A supposed plot hole in this film is that if Blackout can decay everything he touches, how would he be able to retrieve Danny and give him to Roarke without killing Danny? Well, let's look at this logically. If the Devil gave Blackout the powers to combat the Ghost Rider in order to retrieve his son, I'm pretty sure the Devil would make it where Blackout couldn't kill Danny. I'd like to think that the Devil isn't that fucking stupid.

Idris Elba was pretty damn good as Moreau, Violante Placido and Fergus Riordan did solid jobs as Nadya and Danny, and Ciaran Hinds was great as Roarke, but then again, Ciaran Hinds, like Morgan Freeman, is good in anything. Now, I do have some complaints about the film. The ending didn't really feel like an ending. To me, the film just stopped, kinda like Transformers 3, but it wasn't bad.

Christopher Lambert was shamefully given a limited amount of screentime. In fact, he had a swordfight with Idris Elba that was cut out of the film. To Sony: you dare cut a fight between Stacker Pentecost and Connor MacLeod out of a film. Also, as much as I really liked Ciaran Hinds as the Devil, he should be playing Mephisto. In the comics, Johnny wasn't cursed by the Devil. He was cursed by a normal demon named Mephisto. Mephisto isn't Satan. However, in the context of this film, I guess the biblical Devil does have it make more sense.

Now back to the good shit. Danny Ketch made for an interesting character, and from what I've heard, in the comics, Danny was originally Johnny Blaze's brother. However, seeing the present Ghost Rider (Blaze) and the future Ghost Rider (Ketch) was a satisfying treat. Their relationship was well-handled and it actually kinda reminded me of the relationship between John Connor and the T-850 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

The special effects and action sequences were fantastic. These action sequences destroy, piss on, and burn everything the other Ghost Rider attempted to give us. You can tell in the final action scene, a road chase scene by the way, that there was a real love for Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, with Ghost Rider and Blackout hopping on multiple cars and motorcycles fighting each other. It's awesome. I loved every minute of it.

The Ghost Rider effects are considerably better this time around. In this film, he actually looks frightening and menacing. He looks like I should be intimidated, whereas in the first film, he looks like a fucking cartoon. Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor have a directing style that is unique and entertaining. I love both Crank films and I had some fun with Gamer and Pathology, granted, I thought Jonah Hex was a load of ass. The film's dark sense of humor really works, especially with Nicolas Cage.

FINAL SCORE: 7.5/10

Overall, there's not much more I can say about this film that I haven't already. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is a vast improvement upon its lousy predecessor. The film is well-paced and directed very uniquely with highly entertaining action sequences, top-notch special effects, and a great sense of fun. This is a version of Ghost Rider that is actually worth seeing. If you like Crank or Drive Angry, you'll really enjoy this movie.

Dragonball Evolution

Dragonball: Evolution is a slap in the face to my childhood. When I was a kid growing up in the 80's and 90's, Dragonball was the shit. I never read the manga, so I only watched the cartoon. It was fucking epic. The stories and action were amazing. The only complaint I have is the long, drawn-out scenes of people panting and staring. But overall, Dragonball and Dragonball Z are two great shows. This movie doesn't understand Dragonball nor does it attempt to do so.

It's directed by James Wong, a no-talent hack who got a film career after a one-hit wonder. The original script for this film was written by Ben Ramsey, who directed the underrated Michael Jai White action film Blood and Bone. Ramsey's script was too expensive to shoot, so 20th Century Fuckface had him write several more drafts under studio notes. Wong came along and provided uncredited re-writes and polishes to the script, again under studio notes. So we can blame Wong for fucking up the Dragonball saga.

We begin with a narration that tells us that long ago, the moon eclipsed (too late for a Heroes reference?) as the evil Lord Piccolo, played by James Marsters (the only good actor in this film), and his minion Ozaru, a shitty CGI abomination, brought darkness to our, and I quote, "peaceful" planet. We then meet Goku, played by Jimmy from Shameless a.k.a. that dickcheese from Baby Geniuses 2.

In the cartoon, he's a member of an alien race known as Saiyans, who appear human except they have tails and know nothing about race or gender. In this movie, Goku is a nerd who is a human and has no tail, and the Saiyans aren't even mentioned. This kid's about as much Goku as Nick Stahl is John Connor. He's too old to be young Goku, he's too young to be old Goku, and his hair makes him look like a Twilight reject. We must be in for one hell of a ride. Also, they also changed the origins and setting of Dragonball, even those of the dragonballs themselves. Yyyyyyyup, this is gonna hurt like hell.

So, anyway, Goku's 18th birthday is today and his grandpa Gohan gives him one of the seven magical dragonballs as a present. Goku goes to school and gets picked on by local bully Carey Fuller, played by that douchenozzle from Final Destination 3. Goku has a crush on Chi Chi, played by one of the girls from Sucker Punch (a much better film than this one). In the cartoon, Goku wasn't trying to impress Chi Chi. It was vice-versa. But let's face it, if I point out any more differences between the cartoon and this movie, we're gonna be here 25/8, people.

So anyway, Goku goes to Chi Chi's party and even manages to get past the bullies. On that night, however, Lord Piccolo (a.k.a. an alien with a Matrix suit who looks like Yoshi and a head of lettuce) and his big-boobed minion kill his grandpa and fail to get a Dragonball. So Goku runs to his destroyed home and finds his grandpa dead in a scene lifted directly from Star Wars. Most of this film's material rips off several other films, like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and The Matrix. Hell, in one scene, they even rip off Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. I don't even kid you when I say that. This film makes Skyline look like Raiders of the Lost Ark by comparison. In fact, whenever Goku touches a Dragonball, there's always this weird vision bullshit that rips off LOTR and in one of them, we get an image stolen directly from Armageddon, a Michael Bay movie. God, talk about a new low in filmmaking.

Just before grandpa dies, he tells Goku to find Roshi, who has another one of the Dragonballs. The next morning, the house isn't completely destroyed anymore for some unexplained reason, and meets Bulma of the Capsule Corporation. Bulma is played by Emmy Rossum. Yeah, this film actually managed to waste genuine talent. Bulma's hair isn't blue like in the cartoon except for like one highlight in the hair. Bulma's Dragonball was stolen by Piccolo's big-tit Asian minion and teams up with Goku to find the Dragonballs.

They find Roshi's Kame-house, which looks absolutely nothing like the original Kame-house (the set designs in Resident Evil (movies & games) were more accurate). They meet Roshi, played by Chow Yun-Fat (more talent wasted in this shit), who reveals to them that he not only knew but also trained Gohan. That makes no sense because Gohan is older than Roshi. Don't even get me started on how Roshi looks absolutely fucking nothing like Roshi. Then, he tells us that the Dragonball attacks turn out to be airbending techniques. The nail. This movie hit it right on the head. Blood oozes out as I fall dead on the floor.

Under Roshi's wing, Goku begins training his Ki, knowing that they must get all the Dragonballs before the next solar eclipse, when Ozaru will return and join with Piccolo. In the midst of the group's search for the Dragonballs, they fall into a trap set by desert bandit Yamcha, but Roshi convinces Yamcha to join them. Together, the group fight off an ambush by Mai and successfully get the next Dragonball. As the group continues their quest, they travel to a temple where Roshi consults his former teacher Sifu Norris, played by Ernie Hudson (more talent being wasted) and begins preparing the Mafuba enchantment so he can reseal Piccolo, while Goku must learn the most powerful of the ki-bending techniques: the Kamehameha.

During the night, Mai (disguised as Chi-Chi) steals the team's Dragonballs, adding them to the ones that Piccolo already has. Mai and the real Chi Chi even get a fight which leads to Goku getting killed but being brought back to life with the Kamehameha (the writers were too lazy to use the Senzu Beans). With the Dragonballs successfully united, Piccolo begins to summon Shen Long, but is stopped by the timely arrival of Goku's team. During the ensuing battle, Piccolo reveals to Goku that Goku himself is Ozaru, having been sent to Earth as an infant to destroy it when he came of age. As the eclipse begins, Goku transforms into Ozaru while Roshi attempts to use the Mafuba, but he doesn't have enough energy to live before he can reseal Piccolo. Roshi's dying words restore Goku to his senses as he is choked to death by Ozaru.

He engages Piccolo in a final battle, seemingly defeating him with the power of the Kamehameha. Goku then uses the Dragonballs to summon Shen Long, and request that he restore Roshi to life. As they celebrate, they realize the Dragonballs have now scattered, and Bulma declares that they must seek the balls again in the sequel that will never enter development. Before they head out, Goku meets with Chi Chi to get to know her better, and they begin a sparring match to see which of them is stronger. This film is so bad even Krillin got "owned" out of the movie (not my joke).

FINAL SCORE: 1/10

An atrocious adaptation of a wonderful franchise and a terrible film in general. Character development, good dialogue, good performances, entertaining action, good effects, a good story, and a plot that makes sense are sorely absent from this shit-pile. This film has an IQ of 4 with abysmal writing, horrendous direction, miscast actors, and special effects and CGI that look like they were done with After Effects. The effects in The Mummy 3 were better than this fucking garbage.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the best of Michael Bay's Transformers films. Better than the first two. Some call the first better than this, and there are even few who say this is the weakest of the trio (one of them is Mr. Diego John "Hugo fucking sucked" Tutweiller). I disagree. Dark of the Moon is without a doubt the one, truly great entry in this series. I do happen to be a fan of the first two films, but mainly as guilty pleasures. Yes, they have mindless plots, forced unfunny humor, Megan Fox being a pretty bad actress, and other things, but they had an okay protagonist, some good cast members, great action, and top-notch effects. The third one, however, is no guilty pleasure. It's entirely bad-ass.

Dark of the Moon opens on the planet Cybertron with some beautiful special effects and CGI. The Autobots and Decepticons are at war. An Autobot ship, the Ark, tries to escape the Decepticon ship known as the Nemesis. The Ark is carrying a secret cargo. The Nemesis launches some mini-missiles coming out of a rocket at the Ark, destroying it. The Ark escapes Cybertron's atmosphere and lands on the dark side of the Earth's Moon. In 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (the latter enjoyed After Earth), are the first humans to discover the ship. As they go back to Earth, we enter the ship and see the Autobot leader Sentinel Prime, voiced by the original Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy. A great opening.

We then enter the present and we meet our protagonist, Sam Witwicky, played by Shia LaBeouf. I didn't mind LaBeouf in the first two films, but in this film, he improved his acting skills and his character is a bit more mature. Sam is now a college graduate living with his new girlfriend Carly, played by Victoria's Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Yep, Mikaela, played by Megan Fox, dumped Sam in-between the events of Revenge of the Fallen and this one. Thank God. Megan Fox has no talent. Watching her try to act just makes me want to take a pinecone and fucking eat it. Yeah, yeah, Megan Fox is hot, but where is the performance?

Compared to Fox, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is Sigourney Weaver. Is Rosie a great actress? Well, no, not exactly, but I thought she did a good job with what she was given here in this movie. Not to mention, her character actually...oh, I don't know...serves a damn purpose. Sam isn't working with the Autobots anymore and wants to matter. Carly serves a purpose because he matters to her and that's all he really needs.

To those of you who think the first film is better than this one, compare the two and see who the better actress is. If you believe Fox is the correct answer, you are sorely mistaken. Also, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is hotter than Megan Fox (fucking sue me, butthurt bitches) and her character actually seems like she genuinely enjoys being with Sam, whereas Mikaela seemed like she only wanted to be with him because he has a cool car.

One of the things I like about this movie is how the tone is considerably darker this time around. Don't get me wrong, we get some humor once in a while (mostly political humor; only two raunchy jokes that weren't over-the-top), but aside from that, it's arguably the most serious of the three films. Bay wanted to have the film be darker and include more character development. In that regard, he succeeded somewhat triumphantly. You get murder assassinations, betrayal, mass murder, death, and destruction everywhere. What helps is that the story is interesting and kept revealing something new as it moved on, and the plot, much to my surprise, makes sense for the most part.

The action sequences and special effects are orgasmically awesome. Every action scene is shot smoothly and is very elegant. Hell, this film is a straight-up war movie. The scene with the building collapsing should've won Holy Shit Scene of the Year at the Spike TV Scream Awards. I was speechless. The scene with Optimus going around tearing apart every Decepticon in the streets of Chicago and finally stabbing through Shockwave and tearing out his eye socket was fucking epic. Michael Bay topped every action scene he's ever filmed with this movie, especially the last 45-60 minutes with some highly stylized camerawork. The 3D used for the film was great and is by far some of the best 3D I've seen since Avatar.

FINAL SCORE: 8.5/10

This is certainly a flawed film, but is still a bad-ass, action-packed, highly entertaining summer blockbuster that you'll have a fun time with. Some things in this film are messy, no doubt about that, but this film manages to still keep you on the edge of your seat with how fun and enjoyable it is. It's two and a half hours of very solid sci-fi action entertainment and is not only the best Transformers film, but also the best film Michael Bay's directed since Bad Boys and The Rock.

Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines

Now here comes the moment you've all been waiting for: my epic rant on Terminator 3, the film many fans believe is superior to Salvation. I couldn't disagree more. This movie has weak action, a dumb-ass story, uninteresting characters, a lame script, and for the first time in action film history, Schwarzenegger making me cringe. Not only did this movie destroy what The Terminator and Terminator 2 stood for as two of the greatest sci-fi and action films of all time, but it also had the nerve, it had the gall, it had the AUDACITY to make fun of them.

In 1984, filmmaker James Cameron gave us a classic, The Terminator, a dark and gritty sci-fi action thriller with some occasional surprising elements of horror here and there. Everything about the film was just great, from the acting, the script, the action, the suspense, the climax, and the concept among others. It's one of the best films ever known to man for very good reason.

Seven years later, Terminator 2: Judgment Day came along and it was even better. The plot is basically the same, except Arnold Schwarzenegger became the good guy this time around in a stroke of absolute genius. We also had a new villain found in the T-1000, a superior Terminator who went on to become one of the most famous villains in film history. Everything was fantastic, especially the action, effects, and performances.

If you were going to make Terminator 3, then you NEEDED to live up to them. You didn't need to be better than them. You just had to live up to them. But they failed. T3 was so bad it couldn't even live up to a bad episode of The Big Bang Theory. Here's the story: John Connor is now in his 20's and is living in fear of Judgment Day, and to make things worse, Skynet sends a new Terminator, the T-X, back to his time, when he couldn't be located, so a new T-850 Model 101 comes to protect him and a woman who'll be his wife in the future so they can stop Judgment Day, which turns out to be inevitable.

Here are the glaring errors 70% of RT critics failed to notice: John living in fear of Judgment Day, and Judgment Day turning out to be inevitable, ruins the definitive ending to T2, with the T-850 sacrificing himself to save the future and take down Cyberdyne, and John and Sarah Connor no longer living in fear of Skynet, having a sense of hope. Making Judgment Day inevitable makes everything in T2 completely nonsensical, and even has everything that happened in both T1 and T2 not only be extremely pointless, but mean absolutely fucking nothing. Also, why are John, the Terminator, and Kate trying to stop Judgment Day if it's fucking inevitable? Who the fuck wrote this shit? Did the fucking Easter Bunny write this script on meth?

The acting is just putrid. Arnold Schwarzenegger is clearly trying to make the new T-850 work here in this movie, but the writing and direction are so bad that he comes off as annoying and cringe-worthy. I'm not even kidding when I say that. Nick Stahl sucks as John Connor. He's just a talentless gimp and an awful replacement for the great Edward Furlong. Claire Danes as Kate Brewster was just painful. Like with Arnold Schwarzenegger, I wouldn't blame her for the awful performance she gave, but rather the piss-poor script she had to work off of. For example, her fiancé and dad were killed on the same day and she hardly shows any genuine emotion. I've seen people show more emotion taking a shit on someone's grave, sucking their blood, spitting the blood out on a pilgrim's face, and wetting their fucking bedsheets afterwards.

This script, much to my surprise, was written by John Brancato and Michael Ferris, both of whom confirmed to have hated T2. So, the writers who hate T2 are the guys you want to hire to pen the script for one of the biggest sequels in film history? My God, fuck you, filmmakers. Brancato's and Ferris' previous writing credits include David Fincher's The Game (a great film), the much superior Terminator sequel Terminator Salvation, and the highly entertaining Surrogates. So, I must ask: What the fuck went wrong here?

Speaking of Surrogates, both that film and this one were directed by Jonathan Mostow. Mostow previously directed the boring and historically inaccurate U-571 and the underrated Kurt Russell thriller Breakdown. Why would you get a director with a variety of films smaller than Rob Cohen or Michael Bay to direct one of the biggest sequels ever? Are you shitting me? Hell, Surrogates was the only film Mostow directed SINCE Terminator 3. Yep, this film was so bad Mostow couldn't even get his films funded anymore. He went on to co-write the shitty horror thriller House at the End of the Street and produce the mediocre Playing for Keeps. So of all the directors you could've gotten to direct T3, from Michael Bay to Sam Raimi, from Gore Verbinski to Tony Scott, from Rob Cohen to Joe Johnston, from John Woo to Gary Fleder, you pick this guy. Fuck you.

The T-X is just an awful villain. I have no problem with the fact that the T-X is a female Terminator. I thought it was a decent idea to have a female Terminator. But here's my problem: She's not a new model despite what the film claims. She has no more new abilities than the T-1000 has. She can turn into metal, change into anything she touches, she's tougher than Schwarzenegger, and she can survive tons of explosive shit. She even orgasms when licking blood for DNA samples. I've never seen a robot orgasm this weird and out-of-place since that yellow robot BB had an orgasm charging himself in that film that shall not be named.

Oh, but wait, her fingers can turn into pointy sharp stick nail knives, whereas the T-1000 can turn his arms into swords. Such a step up, Skynet. Speaking of Skynet, they're fucking retarded in this movie. They send the T-X to kill not John, but Kate, because she's his future wife and general in the war. Not only that, but they sent her to a time when John couldn't be located. Skynet is fucking amateur. And THIS is the film you people think is better than Salation. Wow. Fuck you all. Unbelievable. "Oh, well, this movie had Arnie in it, you dumb fuck! And it's rated R! PG-13 can suck it!" No. Arnie couldn't save T3. An R rating does not make your film any better (have you seen Die Hard 4 and 5 lately?).

The comedy in this film is just...do I even need to comment on how stupid and out-of-place it is? "There was comedy relief in Terminator 2, you stupid shit-sack!" Excuse me, that wasn't comedy in T2. That was humor. There's a difference. Look it the fuck up on Google. Arnie wearing the pink Elton John glasses made me cringe, and him telling that store clerk to talk to the hand...it was just utterly idiotic, so much so the point of being unbearable. It's just sad to see him embarrass himself like this. When Schwarzenegger does comedy so lame you want to punch him in the face, THERE IS AN ISSUE.

On the plus side, we do get a bad-ass action sequence involving Arnie hanging on to a crane smashing into tons of cars and buildings. That scene was very well-done and well-made. However, after that, this film still goes downhill. Downhill on a fucking bike with no brakes. Then, this happens: the T-850, Kate, and John find a casket. The casket turns out to have Sarah Connor's name on it. Yep, Sarah Connor has been killed off in-between T2 and T3 off-screen with leukemia. I wanted to break my TV with a sledgehammer. That was just insulting. You kill off one of the most beloved female characters in film history off-screen with leukemia? FUCK YOU AND DIE. Trying to keep up, people. Trying to keep up.

Okay, let's just wrap this up before I pull a gun on myself. John and Kate shoot some robot baddies at Skynet, Arnie kills the T-X and tells John they'll meet again (14 years later for a few seconds), and what do you know it, Judgment Day actually happens, and I don't give a fuck. Bad story, bad action, bad characters, bad villain, bad comedy, bad sequel, bad movie. GOD, WHY DO PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIKE THIS FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT MOVIE? AAAAARRGH!!!!!

FINAL SCORE: 2/10

2 because of decent effects, the crane sequence, good music, decent editing, good production design, and okay cinematography. Other than that, this film was the textbook definition of weak. Weak to the fucking max. What pisses me off more than anything is the fact that James Cameron himself liked this movie. Well, then again, he liked the first AVP film, so why should I be surprised? The script is piss-poor, the action isn't memorable, the story is retarded, the direction is badly handled, and the characters aren't fucking interesting. Rant done and over with. Fuck this movie. Fuck it with a cherry on top.

Terminator Salvation

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is just an insulting disgrace to the first two films and the fact that it gets more praise than Terminator Salvation just pisses me off. Salvation is a film I actually really enjoyed because it was dark, it didn't rehash and lampoon the first two films, it focused on Kyle Reese, it had good characters, the post-apocalyptic wasteland setting was bleak, the acting was good, and the tone was dark but still had kick-ass action and effects, not to mention it at least tried to stay true to the heart of the first two films. So, I must ask you: How is Salvation bad and Rise of the Machines better? Please inform me. I REALLY WANT TO FUCKING KNOW.

I'm gonna talk about Salvation first and explain why I liked it, and then conclude by pointing out the major flaws present in Terminator 3. Terminator Salvation stars Christian Bale as John Connor, the leader of the human resistance. We're in the year 2018. John is now married to Kate Brewster (oh, the irony), played by Ron Howard's hot daughter. Kyle Reese, played by Anton Yelchin, travels to the future and updates death row inmate Marcus Wright, played by Sam Worthington, about the war between the humans and Skynet. Marcus is now a cyborg, and has been that way since 2003. He's in this future, this other world, and tries to find himself as Connor leads a resistance attack on Skynet.

One of the things I really liked about this movie is the story in general, how it's four years since Judgment Day, it actually does something new with the established material for once, and focuses more on Kyle Reese and Marcus Wright rather than John Connor, who's only in a small role. This pissed many fans off. Here's my question: What the hell was wrong with having more focus on characters other than John Connor? I've heard and seen nothing but John Connor for THREE. FUCKING. MOVIES. I gladly fucking welcome the new concept.

The actors do a good job for the most part, especially Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, and Anton Yelchin. Bale can go a bit over-the-top at times, but he's still a more convincing John Connor than Nick Stahl. Sam Worthington is an underrated actor in my opinion. I really liked him in this movie. Many people bash him for showing like no emotion. If that really was the case, I'd still take that over talentless gimps like Hayden Christensen. Hell, he and Yelchin practically carry the film by themselves.

Moon Bloodgood does okay with the role she's given. There were some nice cameos by Michael Ironside and Helena Bonham Carter. Bryce Dallas Howard isn't exactly good, but still does a better job as Kate here than Claire Danes did in Rise of the Machines, which is surprising considering I'm a big fan of Claire Danes, but I thought she was awful in T3. Other cast members such as Common and Jane Alexander also did good jobs with what they had to do in the film.

Regarding the new concept I mentioned earlier, this is about the war between the humans and the machines. It should be about Kyle Reese anyway. Also, even Linda Hamilton, Sarah Connor herself, lent her voice to this film, so we can hear the rest of the tapes that she recorded for John when she was still pregnant with him at the end of the first film. At least this film managed to make her still part of the Terminator canon, unlike THAT OTHER FUCKING MOVIE, which killed her off with leukemia in-between T2 and T3 off-screen.

We were also given several new Terminators. All of the new machines we were given were absolutely awesometacular. I'll take a Transformer-sized Terminator over the T-X any day of the week. I even loved the several homages they gave to the first two movies, particularly the scene where Kyle Reese tells Marcus Wright to come with him if he wants to live, and the scene where Marcus teaches Kyle how to tie the shotgun on his arm, just like Kyle did in the first movie, but more importantly, they carry over the concept of a Terminator learning the value of human life. Marcus is a cyborg who has human organs but a Terminator skeleton. This convict who had no regard for human life, becomes more human as a Terminator, and risks his life for Kyle Reese, and gives up his heart to save John Connor's life.

The action sequences are very fun to sit through and are well-shot, the special effects are very good as usual, the music by Danny Elfman was absolutely fantastic, and the $200 million budget was used pretty damn well for the most part. Considering that he's part of the MTV generation of film directors, McG is one of the few who actually has some noticeable talent. I thought his Charlie's Angels were kinda fun (sue me, bitches) and I happen to be a big fan of We Are Marshall. Granted I didn't like This Means War, McG does have an eye for the camera and it really does show in Terminator Salvation.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

There are flaws present here and there, but Terminator Salvation is at the very least an entertaining and solid entry in the franchise. It doesn't rehash previous entries. It does something new and it works. To the people who thought Terminator 3 was better than this: HOW? In this film, I see a new concept, characters I actually gave two shits about, action that was exciting, and an attempt to stay true to the heart of James Cameron's Terminator movies. In Terminator 3, I see a rehashed plot, uninteresting characters, rather boring and lame action (except for the bad-ass crane scene), a piss-poor villain, and killing off a beloved character in-between T2 and T3 off-screen with leukemia, thus making me want to strangle somebody. You fucking people.

After Earth
After Earth(2013)

After Earth is one of the worst films of the year. Not exactly a surprise. But what makes it one of the worst films of the year? Underwhelming CGI, Will Smith giving a bad performance, crappy writing, zero character development, the waste of a budget, the lack of originality, and M. Night Shyamalamadingdong fucking up his once promising career once again. Mix those together with Jaden Smith playing the main character and you get After Earth, a.k.a. After-Birth.

After Earth involves Kitai Raige, played by Jaden ain't got no talent Smith, who narrates to us that one thousand years ago, the aliens from Signs and the deadly trees from The Happening join forces to cause an environmental cataclysm that forces the human race to leave Earth. A sci-fi film involving a now deserted Earth in the future? Gee, I haven't seen that film a month before this one came out. Oh, wait, I did. It was called Oblivion, and it was an actually good movie. Bravo, Shyamalan. Brav-fucking-o.

Anyway, the humans settle on a new planet called Nova Prime, but a thousand years later, some alien beasts known as Ursas attack. They're blind, so they hunt by smelling one's fear. General Cypher Raige, played by Will "Goddammit, I gotta live with my auntie and uncle in Bel-Air...AGAIN" Smith, leader of the United Ranger Corps, suppresses his fear by inventing a technique called ghosting, thus making him invisible to the Ursas, which were created by the power of second-rate Avatar CGI and third-rate King Kong '05 visuals. The concept of a blind alien creature that can smell your fear is a decent one at that, but the execution is poor and the effects are shit. I miss the old days when we used make-up designs, practical effects, animatronics, and puppetry.

Kitai trains to become a Ranger like his dad, but his application is rejected. When he tells Cypher, he's disappointed and deems Kitai not ready. Here's some of the crackling dialogue, in book form: "May I go to my room, sir?" said Kitai in the blandest and most boring way of underacting. "DENIED! SIT DOWN!" said Cypher in hammy, over-the-top fashion. Cypher's wife convinces him to take Kitai on his last voyage before retirement. He's reluctant at first, but then agrees. So on their voyage, shit happens. Asteroids crash the ship and the father and son duo and Cypher's crew, which are dead, land on the deserted Earth.

Kitai isn't injured at all, which is more unrealistic than Zartan's plan in G.I. Joe 2, but Cypher's legs are broken. Oh, no! They both recover the damaged main beacon for firing a distress signal. Cypher instructs Kitai to locate the tail section of the ship, which broke off on entry to the Earth's atmosphere. Inside is the backup beacon, which they can use to signal the Rangers for a rescue or if he fails, they both die a, and I quote, "horrible, horrible" death. Cypher gives Kitai a double-bladed sword, a wrist communicator, and oxygen capsules.

Will Smith and Jaden Smith are both awful in this movie. Willy boy Smith is surprisingly bland and terrible as Cypher Raige. His performance just consists of glaring, looking menacing, staring angrily, look as if he's taking a shit whilst having a bad time raping someone, and act boring. He's not a fucking character in this movie and his tough guy military dad persona gets obnoxiously tedious.

Jaden is incapable of giving good performances. I thought he did okay in The Pursuit of Happyness, but I didn't care for him in The Day the Earth Stood Still nor did I care for him in the unnecessary, bland, and boring Karate Kid reboot. In this film, his acting is inexcusable and he sounds not only like he's frustrated all the time, but also like he wants to whine just so he can please the emo demographic. What makes this even more baffling is the fact that Will and Jaden, real-life father and son, have no chemistry in this movie. Wow. Fucking wow. Will, face it. Forcing your kid to act isn't gonna help his or your career.

The production designs are okay. It's a decent-looking film. But the CGI is just...ugh. We get crappy CGI baboons, shitty CGI Ursas that are some of the most poorly-executed and weakest alien villains ever, dumb CGI condors, stupid CGI sabertoothed cats, and a lousy CGI giant bird. This cost $130 million to make? I'm calling bullshit. There's also some subplot in which Cypher blames Kitai for not saving his sister from an Ursa even though Kitai was like 9 when it happened, and some shit where Cypher's being a bitter bastard because he's angry at the fact that he wasn't there to save her, and I don't give a fuck.

This film is derivative, clichéd, contrived, pointless, and generic sci-fi shit. All this film is unoriginal science fiction mumbo jumbo that has been trillions of times before in better films. Some of the science in this film doesn't even attempt to make sense. For example, every night, the Earth gets colder and colder, and yet somehow the forests haven't died off. Oh, God...the stupid...it hurts so bad. And look at this line Jaden says when his suit turns a different color: "I like it, but I think it's bad". Oh, my Jesus. I think Uwe Boll wrote the "I like it" part and Stephenie Meyer wrote the "But I think it's bad" part. The wooden dialogue and atrocious plot points don't help.

M. Night...please just retire. Stop fucking up. You're embarrassing yourself. I'm a big fan of The Sixth Sense. I fucking loved Unbreakable. Signs was what started the fucking up. I'm sorry, I don't care for that movie. I thought it was crap. The Village was a chore to sit through. Lady in the Water is some old bullshit. The Happening was a fantastic comedy. The Last Airbender has some of the dumbest dialogue and 3D usage I've ever seen in a movie. I enjoyed Devil, but you didn't direct that one, so that doesn't count. You had a once promising career and it's sad to see it flushed down the john (oh, the fucking irony). Will Smith...my man...*pats you on the back*...the only way you'll be forgiven for this movie is if you agree to do Independence Day 2. It will save your career. I promise you.

FINAL SCORE: 2.5/10

There is a maximum level of suckiness in this film. Why the fuck can't you see that, Jed? One of the worst films of 2013 without even a shadow of a doubt. Awful acting, a wasted budget, poorly-done effects, scientific inaccuracies that are just lousy, a dumb script, stupid dialogue, lame plot points...90% of the things in this film are just plain, dull crap. Need I say more?

Pacific Rim
Pacific Rim(2013)
½

Pacific Rim is the latest film from filmmaking legend Guillermo del Toro. What is Pacific Rim all about exactly? Very simple. It's about giant robots fighting giant monsters. Mix those two together with a good story, well-developed characters, beautiful special effects, great creature designs, excellent action sequences, some fun doses of witty humor, decent dialogue, and good acting, and you get one of this year's best sci-fi films.

Pacific Rim was conceived by Travis Beacham, the original writer of the remake of Clash of the Titans. Guillermo del Toro was attached to his adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness, and he became interested in Beacham's story. He opted to adapt the idea into a screenplay and make it as a feature film. So ATMOM was cancelled and Pacific Rim's screenplay was written by Beacham and Del Toro. Uncredited re-writes were provided by Neil Cross (who created the excellent BBC show Luther), Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3), and much to my surprise, Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan (Saw IV-VII and both Collector films). Let's go kick some kaiju ass.

The film begins with a narration by our main character, the likeable and well-developed Raleigh Becket, played by Charlie Hunnam, who gives a good performance here. Hunnam gives a good performance in one of my new favorite shows Sons of Anarchy. The narration tells us that the humans always thought alien life would come from the stars. Turns out, they were looking in the wrong direction.

These so-called "aliens" known as kaijus are colossal monsters with toxic blood that came through an interdimensional portal on the floor of Pacific Ocean. They started attacking this year. To combat them, the nations of the Pacific Rim build equally colossal humanoid robotic war machines called Jaegers. Each Jaeger is piloted by two people whose brains are linked to share the overwhelming mental load of operating the machine. The brains behind the Jaegers is Ops Tendo Choi, played by Clifton Collins, Jr.

The Jaegers are at first in effect, but many are destroyed as the kaijus grow more dominant and their attacks more numerous. In 2025, twelve years into the future, the involved governments deem the Jaeger program unviable, and discontinue it in favor of building massive coastal walls to protect humanity from the kaijus. The four remaining Jaegers are redeployed to Hong Kong to defend the coast until the wall's completion. Jaeger commander Stacker Pentecost, played by Idris Elba, an actor who's good in anything, devises a plot to conclude the war by destroying the portal with a thermonuclear bomb.

Pentecost approaches Becket, now retired and washed-up, and convinces him with the help of the Pan Pacific Defense Corps to return and pilot a Jaeger he once co-piloted, the Gipsy Danger. Five years ago, in 2020, during a mission off the coast of Alaska, Raleigh's brother and co-pilot, Yancy, was killed by a kaiju while connected to Raleigh, traumatizing him. In Hong Kong, Raleigh keeps getting pissed on (no, not literally) by Chuck Hansen, who makes for a pretty damn good asshole of a character and sees Raleigh as unreliable. He and his father Herc are the pilots of the Jaeger known as the Striker Eureka. All the Jaegers in this movie are beautiful to look at and have incredible special effects.

Later, Raleigh tests with potential co-pilots to find one with whom he connects strongly, which ensures effective performance in battle. Sensing a strong connection, Raleigh demands to be partnered with Mako Mori, played very well in the film by Rinko Kikuchi. Mako is not only the director of the Jaeger refurbishment project, but also Pentecost's adoptive daughter. Pentecost is against the idea at first, but then relents.

During Raleigh and Mako's test run, she becomes engrossed in a childhood memory of the Kaiju attack which orphaned her, and nearly discharges the Gipsy Danger's weapons in the hangar, to which Pentecost deems her unready for combat. I thought this was a great scene. Seeing a kaiju attack from a child's perspective was a genius idea and proves to be a well-done emotional moment in the film. Though Mako possesses a strength and fury that should serve well against the kaijus, Pentecost is reluctant because he knows she is still fighting the terror of her childhood.

Later on, the other Jaegers are tasked with fending off a double kaiju attack in Hong Kong. When the kaijus destroy two Jaegers and disable Striker Eureka, Pentecost sends out Raleigh and Mako to take a last stand with Gipsy Danger. The action sequences are absolutely fantastic. Not only are the special effects great, but the action is well-directed by Guillermo del Toro, well-shot by cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, and well-edited by John Gilroy and Peter Amundson. You can actually see what's going on and the camerawork is used really well. Topping the iceberg is Ramin Djawadi's great score and the beautiful production designs by Carol Spier and Andrew Neskoromny. This is a cool, beautiful-looking film.

Del Toro envisioned Pacific Rim as an earnest, colorful adventure story, with an incredibly airy and light feel, in contrast to the super-brooding, super-dark, cynical summer movie. The director focused on big, beautiful, sophisticated visuals and action that would satisfy an adult audience, but has stated his real hope is to introduce the kaiju and mecha genres to a generation of children. While the film draws heavily on these genres, it avoids direct references to previous works. Del Toro intended to create something original but madly in love with its influences, instilled with epic beauty and operatic grandeur. Del Toro knew what he was doing and he succeeded in making an epic, fun movie.

Anyway, back to the story, a scientist, Newt Geiszler, played by Charlie Day, who provides some pretty entertaining comic relief along with his assistant Hermann Gottlieb, played by Burn Gorman, is studying the kaijus and creates a device that allows him to establish a mental link with a kaiju brain fragment. He discovers that the kaijus aren't wild beasts but rather living weapons sharing a hive mind and fighting at the behest of a race of alien colonists. He seeks out black marketeer Hannibal Chau, played by Hellboy himself Ron Perlman, who also provides some good jokes along the way.

Hannibal is a major figure in the trafficking of kaiju parts, and Newt attempts to procure an intact kaiju brain to repeat the experiment. After Gipsy Danger kills both kaijus, Chau's crew move in to harvest parts, but discover one kaiju to be pregnant. The idea of a pregnant kaiju, and the idea of a kaiju newborn, are both good ideas that are used well in the film. The newborn bursts from its mother and swallows Chau before dying. But don't worry, after the end credits, Chau bursts out of the newborn and tries to find his goddamn shoe. Geiszler links with the newborn kaiju's brain, and learns that the reason all previous attempts to infiltrate and destroy the portal have failed is that the portal only opens for kaiju DNA.

The two remaining Jaegers commence the plan to destroy the portal; Pentecost and Chuck carry the bomb with Striker Eureka, escorted by Raleigh and Mako in Gipsy Danger. "Today, we are cancelling the apocalypse!" May the bad-assery ensue. They find the portal guarded by three kaijus. The ensuing battle renders Striker Eureka unable to deliver the bomb. Pentecost instructs Raleigh to use Gipsy Danger's nuclear reactor core as an improvised bomb; he and Chuck sacrifice themselves, detonating the original bomb in an effort to clear a path. I also thought this was one of my personal favorite scenes in the film.

Considering Geiszler's discovery, Raleigh and Mako seize the final kaiju with Gipsy Danger and use it to enter the portal. As Gipsy Danger descends into the alien dimension, Raleigh ejects Mako's escape pod, initiates the core's overload sequence and ejects himself. Gipsy Danger's core detonates, laying waste to the alien colonists and destroying the portal. Mako and Raleigh's escape pods surface safely in the Pacific, and the duo embrace as rescue helicopters arrive. One of the things I do like about Mako is that they don't try to sex her up to appease a wider demographic, nor do they make her a love interest for Raleigh. That was pretty refreshing to see in an action movie.

FINAL SCORE: 9/10

Pacific Rim is a visually spectacular sci-fi action creature feature bolstered by fantastical imagery and an irresistible sense of fun and enjoyment. If you love films like Godzilla and/or Transformers, then you'll love this movie. To quote sci-fi writer William Gibson, "Pacific Rim is a ravishing display of intelligent, often wonderfully witty visual design, every frame alive with coherent language, in the service of what is at heart a children's story...a baroque that doesn't curdle, that never fetishizes itself."

All About Steve

All About Steve is all about shit being topped onto another smelly pile of shit in the Fuckthisnoise Mountains, located in Dicklicks, New Shitskiezzle. Actually, I take that back. This is a film that doesn't know what it's meant to be about. The fact that great actors like Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, Thomas Haden Church, Ken Jeong, and Keith David (why did you do this? You were in The Thing for fuck's sakes!) would agree to do this pile of garbage just disturbs me. This charming comedy involves a woman stalking a man. How appealing.

All About Steve stars Sandra Bullock in her second 2009 movie, playing Mary. There's something about her, and God knows I'd rather watch that movie instead of this one. Now, in 2009, Bullock was also in an actual good movie, The Blind Side. In that movie, Bullock improved that film by being perfectly casted as Leigh Anne Tuohy. However, in this film, she is spectacularly miscast, and drags the movie down around her. What makes this even more perplexing is that she's the producer of All About Steve, which baffles the shit out of me considering she also produced Miss Congeniality (I'm talking about the first one and the first one only) and Two Weeks Notice, two films/roles that played towards her strengths.

The film opens with Mary walking to work. She's a crossword puzzle creator at the Sacramento Herald. You can tell from the opening that Mary isn't a correctly functioned person. She wears gearish red boots all the time, she obsesses over anyone solving her puzzles, and she has a startling lack of social skills. Sandra Bullock hasn't even said one word yet, and the credits aren't even finished, and we know something's seriously up with her. Her boss recommends she do something other than work, but she reminds him that she's going out on a blind date tonight, so her boss gives her advice by telling her to be normal, and get this: she writes down a note to be normal. Mary, doing something like that...isn't normal...like, at all.

So, anyway, that night, Steve, played by Bradley Cooper, arrives to pick up Mary for their blind date. Since he's handsome and is a bit of a charmer, she sluts up for him appropriately, and I have to admit, Sandra Bullock looks fucking hot in this part. When they go in Steve's van, Mary starts making out with him in, no joke, the first thirty seconds. This woman is just downright creepy. I wouldn't mind Sandra Bullock jumping on me in a van, but I'd probably save the BJ action till...oh, I don't know...after dinner, like anyone else would do. Steve does something logical and fakes a phone call, ditching her the first chance he gets. In her sick, twisted, bull-cockamamie, socially retarded mind, however, Mary thinks this date went well. Mary finishes a crossword puzzle for the newspaper and turns it in.

The next morning, the town of Sacramento is baffled by Mary's new crossword, which is titled "All About Steve," to excuse the irony. Mary gets fired from her job but is still optimistic about her, and I quote, "chances" with Steve. Speaking of unprofessionalism, Steve and reporter Hartman Hughes, played by Thomas Haden Church a.k.a. Sandman (that movie is Jesus compared to this), get into trouble with their boss at CCN News Network, played by Childs (Lord knows he'd wish MacReady was there), for a camera shoot where Steve zooms in on some girl's tits. Their next assignment is to report on a hostage situation in Arizona. Minutes later, Mary sees that Steve and Hartman are in Arizona, on TV, and decides to meet Steve and travels by bus.

During the ride, Mary speaks some random shit and the bus driver kicks her off due to the other passengers being annoyed, like me and the audience, and Mary being a terribly-written, ditzy fuckwit. I never thought I'd say this but they actually managed to make me want to see Sandra Bullock die slowly and painfully. That's one hell of an accomplishment. When Mary gets a ride from a trucker to Arizona, she discovers that Steve is no longer there. Steve is now in Oklahoma with Hartman, reporting on an ensuing custody battle between two parents whose child was born with a third leg. Mary goes there and promptly terrorizes Steve. This is when Steve notices that Mary is stalking him. Hartman plays a joke on Steve, telling Mary that whenever Steve says he doesn't want her here, that's just his fear talking and he wants her to be with him. Yeah, 'cause that really helps the situation Steve is in, dumbfuck.

Steve gets into a fight with Hartman, which results in Mary and Angus, played by Ken Jeong, accidentally having the camera hit Steve's face. His nose bleeds, so Mary goes to get him a tissue, but because of struggling with security guards, they accidentally trip on a wire inserted into Steve's camera, causing him to fall to the ground on his back. Isn't it funny how she could've seriously injured him by being an obsessive-compulsive, idiotic sack of shit that should've been aborted? BTW, I forgot to mention, this movie is meant to be a satire of TV news. Not only is this as cutting as baby teeth, but the satire fails epically because the gags are obvious as fuck.

Steve and Hartman's next assignment is to report on a hurricane off the coast of Texas. Steve finally tells Mary to leave him. Oh, wait, before that, Angus asks Mary why she's stalking him. Mary says that she isn't stalking him because something like that borders on obsession, even though that's exactly what she was doing to Steve the whole time. Seriously, what in the holy name of scrote lick is this woman's deal (skinny)? After Steve tells her to leave, she narrates this: "You know what word you never see in crosswords? 'Go'." As in: "go away, fuck off, and die alone".

She gets a ride from two hippies to Galveston, where Steve is at. They ride in a Gremlin, one that can't reverse, and they literally drive to the heart of the storm. I think the two hippies are the film equivalent of Jed Groff and Brendan Sullivan. Here's some crackling dialogue: "A little wrinkled old lady..." "That's Mother Theresa. I'm an apple sculptor." "Really? I love apples!" Please let that goddamn hurricane come any sooner. I fucking beg of you. As if someone with a brain heard me, they stop at a tornado and seek refuge in a sewer as the Gremlin gets sucked up into the tornado.

The next morning, we move on to our final news story: a group of deaf kids falling into a collapsed mine near the carnival. So, of all the zany news stories you pick for your comedy, you go with the one about the fucking deaf children. Ladies and gentlemen, we just found the textbook definition of tasteless. Guess who they're sending to cover it: Steve and Hartman. Are they the ONLY FUCKING NEWS TEAM on this news network? They've been to four different states in less than THREE DAYS. On their travels, they encounter Mary and the wreckage, and Mary follows them. BIGGEST. COINCIDENCE. OF ALL TIME.

Steve is so fearful of Mary that he dons a disguise. Yeah, because it's so funny how he's concerned for his own safety. Hartman writes their next location on a bucket and throws it to Marty. Steve and Hartman bitch at each other. Angus shuts them up and points this out: "Mary is not a psycho! *You're* the psycho! She's just a smart girl with red boots!". Wait, so he's the bad one here?! FOR FUCKING WHAT?! Being afraid that the woman who stalked him across several states might be a sociopath?! Oh, yeah, he's REALLY the psycho here. I'm pulling the "BULLSHIT" alarm.

As firemen rescue the deaf kids from the hole in Colorado, Mary and the two hippies travel to the carnival the hole is at. How? By using the Gremlin. How is that car still functioning? It was sucked into a fucking tornado. Mary arrives at the scene and proves to be an even dumber person than J.W. by falling into the hole, not noticing it. Woman, if you're so smart, then how come you didn't notice THE OBVIOUS GIANT FUCKING HOLE IN THE GROUND WITH A CRANE STICKING OUT OF IT?! Whoever wrote this script needs a Darwin Award. The crane is now broken and rescue workers are desperate to try and help her. I'd personally leave her down there to die and rot so I can do this universe a favor.

With Mary trapped in the mine, a media frenzy ensues. She lights a torch and finds that the firemen accidentally forgot a child. This, in turn, makes her a hero in the eyes of the media once they are made aware of this. Steve is interviewed. Here's what he says: "She sees things that other people don't, and she knows everything. Everything but who not to trust, how not to get hurt, and how to survive us." TRANSLATION: "Mary's not a stalker. She's a naïve woman in a cruel, cruel world. We're the bad ones here!" Might I remind you that hours ago, this guy was afraid she might KILL HIM. This guy is 100% hypocrite.

Hope for Mary and the deaf kid have now fallen due to the mine rumored to contain toxic gases, poison water, and noxious odors. Even Mary loses hope. We even get a reason why she wears the red boots. Here it is: it's because they make her toes feel like ten friends on a camping trip. I'm not making this shit up. This lady isn't right in the head and needs SERIOUS MEDICAL HELP. If she was so smart, she'd realize how fucking retarded what she just said was.

Thanks to sign language, Mary decides to use the damaged crane, rocks, and a mine cart in a way that will lift her and the deaf kid up to safety. But then Hartman decides to save Mary by jumping into the hole and land in the water. This idiot just made this movie five minutes longer. After some weight adjustments, Mary, Hartman, and the deaf kid make it up to safety. Steve apologizes to Mary (why it's not vice-versa is beyond me). However, at least the filmmakers weren't stupid enough to have them get together at the end. Mary gets a standing ovation. The end.

FINAL SCORE: 1/10

An extra 1 because Sandra Bullock looked smoking hot in the van scene. Other than that, this film was fucking atrocious. It's downright obscene. Terrible jokes, a horrible script, just about everything in this film was crap to the max. What's this movie even about? Despite the marketing, it's not a rom-com. It fails horrendously at TV news satire. As a comedy about being yourself, why does the first half mock Mary? Speaking of Mary, she's so fucking irritating it downright hurts. She is too optimistic, creepy, and asks too many questions. It's like mixing Bella Swan with a kid on permanent sugar rush. Don't even get me started on how Bullock is too old for the part. Anyway, happy Thanksgiving, and don't watch this turd.

Elysium
Elysium(2013)
½

Elysium is another great sci-fi film to come along this year, joining the ranks of this year's other great sci-fi films like Oblivion, Gravity, Pacific Rim, and Star Trek Into Darkness. It isn't a surprise this was a damn good film. It has Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, and Sharlto Copley starring, it has a good story, it has breathtaking visuals, it has great action, it has a hero that I like and give two shits about, it has villains who are actually intimidating, and it's written and directed by Neill Blomkamp, who previously gave us another great sci-fi film, District 9.

Elysium involves Max De Costa, played by Matt Damon, who gets into an accident at his job that causes him to get radiation poisoning, so he doesn't have that much long to live. His radiation poisoning can be cured by the Med-Bays of the space station Elysium. The year is 2154, so this is obviously the future. The rich and privileged live on Elysium, where it has no wars, no sickness, and no destruction. Max lives on a post-apocalyptic, devastated, and overpopulated Earth and has to go to Elysium in order to cure himself, but not without getting past the forces of Elysium's secretary of defense Jessica Delacourt, played by Jodie Foster, mainly the bounty hunter Kruger, played by Sharlto Copley.

Neill Blomkamp does a top-notch job writing the screenplay and directing the film. Blomkamp's script is well-written and the story is well-done. It's not the most original sci-fi film, but then again it's hard to create a truly original sci-fi film nowadays, due to the billions of sci-fi films that we have. Blomkamp directs the film in a unique, attention-grabbing, and enjoyable style. This film and District 9 both prove that Blomkamp is one of the best newcomers in Hollywood filmmaking.

Trent Opaloch's cinematography is fantastic and the film is expertly edited by Julian Clarke and Lee Smith (Smith's editing for this and Ender's Game are better than his editing for Nolan's Batman trilogy, but that's just me). As you can tell, Blomkamp collaborated with his District 9 friends on this one, like Sharlto Copley, editor Julian Clarke, cinematographer Trent Opaloch, production designer Philip Ivey, and the studios TriStar Pictures and QED International. Ivey's production design is wholly gorgeous. The post-apocalyptic Earth is actually pretty damn realistic-looking. Elysium itself is very beautiful to look at. You can tell Neill Blomkamp knows how to use a budget and it really shows here.

The special effects and CGI are incredibly amazing. The robot forces, spaceships, and weapons, as well as Matt Damon's exoskeleton gear, are fucking awesome and look wonderful. The few scenes set in outer space where we see Elysium next to Earth have dazzling visuals. Ryan Amon composes an absolutely remarkable score. My favorite track in the soundtrack would have to be the twenty-eighth track, ironically titled Elysium. I was impressed considering this was Amon's first time composing a feature film.

The performances are pretty damn good overall. Matt Damon gives a great performance as Max. You can tell Damon got invested in this character and his acting kicks serious ass. Max is a well-written, likeable, and determined character who you actually care about and actually hope he successfully gets to Elysium to cure his radiation poisoning. During the action sequences, which are well-shot and fun to sit through, Max is very much a bad-ass in his own right.

Jodie Foster does a great job playing Delacourt, Elysium's secretary who does whatever she can to prevent Max, a poor factory worker from a planet that's citizens can't get to Elysium because of all the crime and poverty, from entering Elysium. She makes for a good, well-written, and intimidating villain, and to be honest, I didn't really mind Foster's accent. It doesn't add to her performance, but it doesn't ruin it either.

Sharlto Copley is fantastic as Kruger, the ruthless bounty hunter activated by Delacourt to prevent Max from going to Elysium. He's a hard-as-nails, menacing, and extremely cold-blooded villain and Copley does a great job playing this type of character like. The other cast members, such as Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura, Faran Tahir, and William Fichtner among others also do pretty good jobs with the characters they're playing.

If there's anything I have any issues with, it would have to be at some times, the characters and story would take a bit of a back seat to the special effects. Some of the character development is a bit lacking, although the character development overall was decent. My biggest issue would have to be the message of the film, which is basically: rich people are bad and poor people are good.

The message is not only bafflingly simple, but also brought up too much. Okay, we get it. That's the message. You don't need to shoehorn and repeat it every few minutes or so. But regardless of those issues, Elysium proves to be a great sci-fi film. My favorite scene would have to be at the end where Max sacrifices his life to save those from Earth entering Elysium and granting them full citizenship on Elysium. That was a great emotional moment in the film, and truly is a sacrifice that is made for a reason.

FINAL SCORE: 9/10

Elysium proves to be a worthy sci-fi epic with a good script, great performances, excellent special effects, a beautiful score, well-developed characters, a great ending, a well-done story, entertaining action, and great direction from Neill Blomkamp, who's really proven to be an excellent director and I look forward to his next film Chappie. Does Elysium have issues here and there? Yes indeed. It's by no means a perfect film, and I can understand why some could consider this a minor or major disappointment considering how much love District 9 got. But despite its flaws, Elysium is a well-paced, visually stunning, and exciting entry in the sci-fi genre.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
½

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is rather extremely bland and incredibly undistinguished. It's a phenomenally mixed bag on all levels. Is it a flawless, breathtaking, and beautiful piece of cinema that pleases and encourages moviegoers with its everlasting brilliance? The correct answer to that question is: ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOT. However, is it rather a cinematic abomination that's sappy, overtly sentimental bullshit ravages the Earth and causes the destruction of humankind? The correct answer to that question is still the same answer as the first question. This is a case where I don't love a film despite it having a lot of good things yet I don't hate a film despite it having a lot of serious issues.

EL&IC was directed by Stephen Daldry, who previously gave us his three masterpieces Billy Elliot, The Hours, and The Reader, and written by Eric Roth, who gave us Forrest Gump, The Postman, The Horse Whisperer, The Insider, Ali, Munich, The Good Shepherd, Lucky You, and Benjamin Button. It was based on a book of the same name that I never read so I can't judge it as an adaptation. It has an impressive cast including Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Max Von Sydow, Viola Davis, John Goodman, and Jeffrey Wright. James Gandolfini was also in this movie but his scenes were cut out of the movie.

EL&IC opens with bodies falling out of the World Trade Center during the attacks on 9/11. Honestly, I wasn't ever disturbed nor was I agitated by this scene. It just gave me a "...meh..." look on my face. No disrespect to the survivors and events of, and/or those who died during 9/11 intended. After that, we meet our protagonist, Oskar Schell, played by newcomer Thomas Horn. He's smart, determined, arrogant, obnoxious, irritating, competent, weird, socially awkward, and EXCEEDINGLY anal. He's got two parents, Thomas and Linda Schell, played by Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, respectively. It's rather interesting seeing Robert Langdon and Miss Congeniality in the same movie, together.

Anyway, because Oskar is supremely intelligent (notice how I'm not using extremely or incredibly. Oh, look at that, I just did. Why? Because I'm a fucking hypocrite, that's why...or is it?), Thomas would often send him on missions to do things involving his riddles. Oskar has a serious condition, the reason why he's anal, arrogant, and vastly smart. The reason why Thomas would send him on these missions is to aid his condition. But then a major event arrives that prevents Thomas from doing so ever again. We'll get to that later. Regarding the missions, one time, Thomas and Oskar played a scavenger hunt to find objects throughout New York City. The game requires communication with other people, so it really isn't easy for Oskar. They both say that if things were easy to find, they wouldn't be worth finding.

Anyway, on the day of the fall of the Twin Towers, Oskar and his classmates are sent home early while Linda's at work. When Oskar's home, he finds five messages from Thomas saying he's in the WTC. He calls for a sixth time, but Oskar's too scared to answer the phone. The answering machine records a sixth message, which stops when the Twin Towers collapse. Thomas is now dead, and because he's dead, he can't aid Oskar's condition. Oskar now knows this and he's devastated. He even falls on the floor and starts to pinch himself so hard he starts drawing blood. He replaces the answering machine with a new one so Linda won't find out.

I just gotta talk about the character of Oskar for a minute. I just really don't care for the little fucker. He's just a vastly intelligent, whiny, obnoxious, arrogant, and extremely anal fuckwad. He's irritating and obnoxious. I didn't give a shit about him. Maybe he being obnoxious and irritating was the point to begin with since in one scene, he says he was once tested for Aspberger's (a.k.a. Assburgers) and the results were inconclusive, and kids in real life do act like that, but I still didn't care about Oskar, and this level of irritation and arrogance is pushing it. Jed, say what the fuck you want. I tend to disagree. Thomas Horn's performance doesn't help. You can tell he's trying, but I don't think he tried hard enough in my opinion. BTW, this is for Adam J. Seebach (also known as Film Master Adam from YouTube, Geekvision, and Blip): You call Horn's performance flawless, and I disagree with you to the max, just as much as I disagree with you on Curse of Chucky.

With the exception of Horn (not a terrible actor, but he needs lessons), the cast does a pretty damn good job, especially Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. But let's face it. They're both good in anything. Well, except for Bullock in All About Steve, although she's pretty hot in that movie, but I digress. Max Von Sydow does a great job playing his character, but the character he plays would have to be the film's biggest letdown. Sydow doesn't have much to do and the revelation that he's Oskar's German grandpa is very predictable and obvious from the get-go, not to mention very contrived. Viola Davis, John Goodman, Jeffrey Wright, and Zoe Caldwell do good jobs as well, although they're a bit wasted.

Anyway, back to the story, Oskar's relationship with his German grandma strengthens a few weeks after Thomas' death on 9/11, which Oskar calls the worst day of his life. But his relationship with his mom worsens because she can't explain why his dad died or why the attacks on 9/11 were committed. Being the arrogant autistic prick he is, he says he wishes she was in the building dead and not his dad. He later tries to convince her that he didn't mean it like any stupid kid would do, but like any real parent, she doesn't buy it.

A year later, Oskar's now 10 and finds a key in an envelope with the word "Black" on it. The envelope was in his dad's closet. He goes on a mission like the ones he did that were created by his dad to find what the key fits. In the phonebook, he finds 472 people with the last name Black. He first goes to Abby Black, played by Viola Davis. I could make a joke revolving around the last name, but then I'd come off as a racist douche-sucking asshat. Abby is divorced and tells Oskar she knows nothing about his dad or the key.

While continuing his quest, he finds that a strange man, played by Max Von Sydow from The Exorcist and Judge Dredd (Stallone movie) in case you didn't know, has moved in with his grandma. The stranger, a.k.a. The Renter, doesn't talk because he was traumatized as a child by the fact that his parents died in World War II. He communicates using written notes and his hands that have "Yes" and "No" on them. The two become friends and Oskar learns to face his fears. This is when he realizes the stranger is really his grandpa much to the surprise of fucking nobody.

The plot is also one of my problems with this movie. To its credit, it's well-established for the most part but it's very farfetched. I think it's safe to say Eric Roth has lost some of his greatness. It's a shame considering I loved Forrest Gump and Benjamin Button, Munich is one of my favorites, and The Postman is a considerably underrated gem. The plot's farfetchedness represents the mediocre side of Stephen Daldry's direction that I once refused to believe existed until I saw this movie in the theater. Not to mention, seeing Oskar visit random strangers asking them about his dad or the key is tedious as fuck.

The stranger hears the answering machine messages and stops at the last one because he can't bear listening to his son's (Thomas') last words any longer. He moves out and tells Oskar to stop searching. When Oskar looks at a newspaper clipping his dad gave him, he finds a circled phone number with a reference to an estate sale. He dials the number and reaches Abby, who wants to take Oskar to her ex-husband, William, played by Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace's Jeffrey Wright, who may know about the key.

They go to William's place. He tells Oskar that he's been looking for the key. William sold a vase to Oskar's father who never knew the key was in the vase. The key fits a safe deposit box where William's dad left something for him. Disappointed and distraught because the key does not belong to him, Oskar confesses to William that he didn't pick up the phone during his dad's sixth and final phone call and then goes home, throwing a temper tantrum. I still don't feel sad for him. Why? Because he's a fucking brat.

Oskar's mother tells him she knew he was contacting the Blacks. She then informs him that she visited each Black in advance and informed them that Oskar was gonna visit and why. Calling this believable is overstatement of the century. Oskar makes a scrapbook of his scavenger hunt and all the people he met and titles it "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close." At the end of the scrapbook, there's an animation in which Thomas' body is falling up instead of down. Oskar's grandpa returns to live with Oskar's grandma. The final shot is underwhelming, but the worst part is that there were several other points where it could've ended, but it didn't, so we're left with this. Sure, sure.

FINAL SCORE: 5/10

The plot is well-established, but it's completely farfetched. The actors do fine, but Thomas Horn's the weak link, and most of them are wasted. The script has great ideas and interesting characters (interesting is overstatement of the month), but it's disappointingly undistinguished. Oskar's meant to be sympathetic, but he's too arrogant and too much of an anal brat for me to feel sorry for him. The direction by Stephen Daldry is good, and the cinematography is excellent, but the plot represents Daldry's mediocre side. Overall, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is extremely so-so and incredibly disappointing. It's far from terrible, and there were some things I really liked in the film, such as the excellent score by Alexandre Desplat, but considering the talent behind and in front of the camera, it could've, and certainly should've, been better. A hell of a lot better.

Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider(2007)

Ghost Rider is the epitome of disappointingly embarrassing. Everything in this movie is wasted so badly it's unforgivable to its core. You had the makings of an excellent comic book story, and you fucked it right up the ass. All the potential was ruined. This was a hammy, stupid-as-fuck, sour-tasting piece of crap. All the amazing possibilities that could've been thought out ran out the fucking window yelling out "Bye-bye!" in front of our damn faces.

Now, this film was written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson, who previously gave us Daredevil, a superhero movie that, as many of you know, I'm a very big fan of. I really like the theatrical cut of Daredevil. I don't care how much flack I get. Now, what the theatrical cut was is a version tampered by the producers against Johnson's wishes. A couple years later, Johnson set the record straight with his director's cut, which received more praise than the theatrical version. Hell, even I thought the DC was better than the TC. Sony and Marvel give Johnson a second chance by hiring him to create the Ghost Rider movie, with Nicolas Cage starring as Johnny Blaze a.k.a. Ghost Rider, who was hired because Cage was a massive fan of the character and even has a tattoo of him on his shoulder. Now what happened with Ghost Rider? Well, it got hatred by all. So who's to blame? Mark Steven Johnson himself, everybody. Whoop-de-fucking-doo.

The movie begins with a narration by Sam Elliott, making his second appearance in a comic book movie. Trust me, the 2003 Hulk movie is The Godfather compared to this. Elliott's narration states that long ago, in a western town known as San Venganza, a Ghost Rider was sent there to fetch a contract with a thousand evil souls. The contract was so powerful that the Ghost Rider couldn't let the biblical Devil known as Mephistopheles (or Mephisto for short) get his hands on it, so he did what no other Ghost Rider ever did: he outran the Devil himself. Okay, the idea of one outrunning the Devil is actually pretty damn cool, but here's my problem: IT'S FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE. He's the embodiment of all evil. If he wants something, he takes it faster than the eye blinks. He's the fucking Devil. Oh, boy, we must be in for a real ride, huh? No pun intended.

Several years later, we see a father-and-son motorcycle stunt duo, Johnny Blaze and his father Barton. Barton is a cigarette-smoker and always coughs up a lung when doing so. Johnny's love interest is Roxanne Simpson, who reveals to him that she's leaving because her father feels that Johnny is a bad influence. Say what now? As I recall, in the source material, Roxanne's father is fond of Johnny and takes him in when his father is killed (SPOILERS). Anyway, at night, Johnny discovers that his dad has cancer and doesn't have that much long to live. While repairing a bike, he meets Mephisto, played by Peter Fonda. Fonda is one of the few redeeming things in this movie. He's a fantastic actor, so I got no problem with him. My problem is with the character. In the movie, Mephisto is in human form wearing a dark black coat and carrying a skull cane and is the biblical Devil. In the comics, he's just a demon. He's a red demon with yellow eyes who's a real sick bastard. He's an extremely powerful, immortal demonic entity who has superhuman and supernatural physical powers, attributes, and intelligence, gained by manipulation of magical forces and the takings of human souls. The fuck is this shit?

Anyway, Mephisto offers to cure Johnny's dad's cancer in exchange for Johnny's soul in which he would become the Ghost Rider. Johnny, being a dumb-ass, signs the contract with an accidental drip of his blood. The next day, Barton is cured but is killed during a stunt. Johnny gets pissed at Mephisto but he reminds him that the contract is now fulfilled. Johnny rides away, leaving Roxanne behind. One day, he will become the Ghost Rider, the Devil's bounty hunter. NEWS FLASH: Ghost Rider isn't the Devil's fucking bounty hunter. More of this story coming to you at 8. Only on CBS News.

Years later, Johnny is now a famous stuntman and he's played by Nicolas Cage. During a show, he gets into an accident and ends up surviving, because his friends believe it's luck and the Devil won't let him die because of the contract and the curse within him. After the show, we meet our villain: Mephisto's son Blackheart, played by Wes Bentley of Hunger Games fame. Now, Blackheart has to one of the dumbest villains in superhero film history. In the movie, he's a pale, bitchy, annoying, stupid evil demon in human form who looks like one of those gay bastard vampires from fucking Twilight and has terrible puns. In the comics, he looks like this: dreadlocks, all black, surrounded by smoke, glowing, menacing, red eyes, a demonic tail, no human form, abilities include high intelligence, energy manipulation, reality warping, magical and mystical powers, shape-shifting, telepathy, telekinesis, accelerated healing factor, and superhuman physical attributes. They turned a bad-ass, dark, hardcore, menacing, black-hearted demon (no pun intended) into an insufferable pussy. This is unforgivable, just downright inexcusable. Mark Steven Johnson, what the fuck happened to you?

Anyway, Blackheart meets up with his useless and retarded minions, all of which have the powers of elements. They plan to find the contract of San Venganza, said to be in a local cemetery. The next day, Johnny performs another stunt show and meets up with Roxanne, now a journalist and played by Eva Mendes. Why did she come back now? Well, we needed a love interest/damsel in distress. In the comics, she's done a hell of a lot better. Roxanne was Johnny's girlfriend all along and she knew he was the Ghost Rider. In fact, she interfered with Johnny when Mephisto tried to claim Johnny's soul. Using a combination of her pure soul and some mystic incantations she had learned by reading Johnny's occult books behind his back, she was able to drive Mephisto for a time. Roxanne had an affinity for the supernatural and some skill in magic. Mephisto would later try to force Roxanne to rescind her protection of Johnny. Hell, at one point, she was even killed and resurrected by Blackheart as Black Rose. In the movie, not only is she done differently, but she's turned into an annoying, bitchy, useless weakling whose only purpose is to be a damsel for Johnny to save. FUCK. YOU. MOVIE.

Back to the movie, Johnny asks Roxanne out on a dinner date and she agrees. That night, Mephisto forces Johnny to transform into the Ghost Rider. The effects for the Rider are easily the least bad CGI in the film, but he looks like a cartoon more than anything else. Isn't he supposed to look...oh, I don't know...MENACING? When he's in Rider mode, he fights Blackheart and his minions. He kills one of them and rides on his flaming, flashy motorcycle through town causing destruction with explosive consequences. At one point, he uses a Penance Stare to kill a mugger and incinerate his soul. FUN FACT: The fat chick the mugger was harassing is, I shit you not, Rebel Wilson. During the date, Roxanne is pissed that Johnny's late, so she consoles...*laughs*...She...Okay, get a piece of pie, you're gonna...*laughs*...you're gonna love this. She consoles a magic 8-ball. Yes, you heard that right. Stewie Griffin laughs his ass off. "It's like she's fucking five!" says Stewie.

The next day, he's back in human form and wakes up in the cemetery Blackheart was talking about earlier, where he meets the Caretaker, played by Sam Elliott. The Caretaker explains to him that Blackheart and his minions, who turn out to be three fallen angels, can't walk on hollow ground. And now back to Plot Hole Hour, with your host: Dicky McDumbclot. What's today's plot hole? Here it is: Blackheart and his fallen angels are looking for the cemetery to find the contract of San Venganza, yet they can't walk on hollow ground. More plot holes coming at you live in HD on Lifetime, television for idiots.

Also, I gotta talk about Johnny Blaze in this movie. HE SUCKS...HARD. In this movie, he's a clean, sober daredevil who drinks jelly beans out of martini glasses, has nightmares when drinking alcohol, watches chimp videos on TV, and listens to the Carpenters. Now, let's look at the comics: Johnny is a death-defying, foul-mouthed tough guy who guzzles whiskey, listens to hard rock and heavy metal, and has an inner war with the demon Zarathos for control of the powers of the Ghost Rider. I'm aware this is an adaptation and changes need to be made. But here's the thing: it's gotta be changes that MAKE FUCKING SENSE. Also, the comic relief and puns in this movie are not only awful, but completely fucking pointless. Yeah, because we don't want a dark tone in a movie involving a guy whose soul was taken by a demon/the Devil.

Anyway, that night, Roxanne visits Johnny and tells him she's leaving town and kisses him, even though earlier, she chewed him out earlier for being late for the date. Johnny tells Roxanne about him being the Ghost Rider in the most unintentionally hilarious way possible. Johnny, how about you...oh, I don't know...SHOW HER? For fuck's sakes, man, before she came in, you were learning to control your powers. Why don't you show her by turning into the Ghost Rider so she'll believe you? This fucking movie...it fails so hard...and this is coming from a guy who liked the sequel. But big shock, she doesn't believe him, so she drives off. That's when the police arrive. Holy convenience, Batman. They arrest Johnny for Blackheart's murders and destruction. In his cell, a bunch of prisoners beat up Johnny, but then he turns into the Ghost Rider.

Blackheart walks onto hollow ground, which he supposedly can't do (epic plot point fail), and sends the angel with the power of air after Ghost Rider. But the police are chasing GR as he rides his bike up a building which Roxanne happens to be on the other side of, convincing her of Johnny's story. The Rider and the air angel clash on the roof and we get one of the dumbest action sequences in a motion picture. Ghost Rider uses the hell-chain to circle around the air angel, burning him, causing him to fade and decay away, complete with terrible CGI, lack of imagination, and high-level stupidity. The other action sequences are lame also. There's nothing action-packed going on, it's just a bunch of showing offs of special effects. The effects are crap, so what's there to be entertained by? After the fight, Ghost Rider rides off the building and the police shoot at him, but Ghost Rider creates a fiery explosion and rides away. Shooting the clearly supernatural entity with a flaming skull was a great idea, wasn't it?

The following morning, Johnny goes to see the Caretaker, who tells him about Johnny's predecessor, Carter Slade, the first Ghost Rider who was a Texas Ranger. Slade made a deal with Mephisto and ended up a Rider, and he stole the contract of San Venganza, therefore outrunning the devil. Two major problems are now present after this. #1: We know the Caretaker is Carter Slade. He did the narration at the beginning. He's another Ghost Rider. It's no fucking surprise. #2: This is supposed to be Carter Slade? Are you shitting me? In the comics, Carter was absolutely nothing like Johnny. Don't get me wrong, Carter was the first Ghost Rider, but he never made a deal with Mephisto, nor was he bound by a deal, nor was he immortal like in the movie. Also in the comics, Carter Slade was a western outlaw who had zero supernatural powers of any kind. He received his outfit and white horse from a Native American medicine man named Flaming Star. Listen, Mark Steven Johnson, I'll defend Daredevil till the day I die, but Ghost Rider fucking blows.

That night, Caretaker senses evil and goes outside, completely unaware of horror movie clichés. He faces off with Blackheart and his last remaining fallen angel. Blackheart points out that he actually CAN walk on hollow ground because not only did Caretaker think he was like the others, but he has all of Mephisto's strengths and none of his weaknesses. All of one's strengths and none of that one's weaknesses? Gee, I haven't heard that before in a Marvel movie. Oh, wait, I did, back in 1998, when the superhero movie genre became re-popularized. Also, Caretaker, if he doesn't follow that rule, then why the fuck would you bring it up in the first place? It's fucking confusing for us. But why should I care? This scene goes fucking nowhere.

Roxanne goes to Johnny's apartment, looking for him. Also looking for him is a friend of Johnny's, Mack, played by Santa Jim Epstein himself, Donal Logue. Blackheart kills Mack and paralyzes Roxanne as a trap. Johnny turns into the Ghost Rider and tries to use the Penance Stare on Blackheart, which won't work because Blackheart has no soul to burn. "I don't know who's more pathetic. *You* or *him* (my father)!" Oh, if anyone's pathetic, it's certainly *you*, bitch.

Blackheart tells Johnny to get the contract or else he'll harm Roxanne, so Johnny goes to the Caretaker to get the contract. The Caretaker breaks a shovel and gets the contract out of it, giving it to him. Caretaker reveals to Johnny that he's Carter Slade to the surprise of nobody. If he was a Ghost Rider this whole time, why didn't he use his power when Blackheart attacked earlier? But I can forgive those, because now we get two Ghost Riders side by side, ready to kick Blackheart's ass. But then Carter tells Johnny to stick to the shadows and rides away. Now those things I've forgiven are officially re-unforgiven. Carter, where the fuck are you going?! I WANT MY FUCKING BIG CLIMAX! Fuck this fucking movie.

Before the final fight, we get another sequence: one with Johnny and the water angel. Johnny defeats the angel by burning him up underwater. Also, at long last, the CGI in this scene is actually passable. However, that doesn't save this lame action scene nor does it compensate for the fact that these villains are fucking LAAAAAAAAAME as hell. Anyway, Johnny meets up with Blackheart and gives him the contract. They have a rather stupid scrap in which Blackheart uses the hell-chain to throw Ghost Rider into the sunlight, turning him back into Johnny. This gives Blackheart enough time to read the contract, filling his body with the thousand evil souls, all of which are made from poor CGI. Blackheart now becomes Legion, now with glowing, menacing red eyes. So, NOW we get a trait from the original Blackheart. Even in Legion mode, he's still affected by gun blasts. He just has powers that rip-off the T-1000. Hell, this climax doesn't even have fighting, just showing off visual effects. Pretty lame. Ghost Rider's powers work in the shadows, so he uses the Penance Stare to incinerate the thousand souls within Blackheart, therefore defeating him, thus officially making Blackheart one of the lamest and dumbest villains in superhero movie history. I bet you fifty bucks he didn't think this plan out.

Mephisto appears and gives Johnny his soul, offering to take back the curse of the Ghost Rider. Johnny refuses, saying that he will use his power against him, and against all harm that comes to the innocent. Infuriated of being robbed of the power, Mephisto vows to make Johnny pay, to which Johnny in response recites his favorite saying: "You can't live in fear." Mephisto then disappears, taking Blackheart's body with him. Really, Johnny? Your decision not only makes zero sense, but Mephisto is the BIBLICAL FUCKING DEVIL. He can just snap his fingers and whoop-de-fucking-doo, no more Ghost Rider. But no, the Devil himself yells out "NOOOOOO!" and goes back to hell. LAMEST. DEVIL. EVER. Johnny and Roxanne kiss. He rides off, turning into Ghost Rider one last time. The movie ends. Fuck this turd.

FINAL SCORE: 2/10

This could've been a fun, entertaining, silly action film but it's so stupid, so full of terrible puns, and so unevenly toned that it boggles me. Lame action, the butchering of the source material, and stupidity overcome the things I liked, which are the score by Christopher Young, Peter Fonda's performance as Mephisto, Sam Elliott, the cinematography, and the production design. But overall, skip this. The sequel is stand-alone and is much better than this. Sue me.

The Spectacular Now

The Spectacular Now, as you already know, unsurprisingly, is obviously one of my favorite films of 2013 so far. I was very much looking forward to seeing it. It was written by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, who wrote (500) Days of Summer, which I loved. It was directed by James Ponsoldt, who made Smashed, which I also loved. The Spectacular Now is truly a terrific film.

The story involves high school kid Sutter Keely, played wonderfully by Miles Teller. He drinks a lot, he's got a job, a car, and a girl, and he's pretty much the life of the party. After splitting up with his girlfriend and getting drunk off his ass, he wakes up on someone's front lawn. That someone is Sutter's classmate Aimee Finnecky, played wonderfully by Shailene Woodley. Sutter and Aimee are different, whereas Sutter has lots of friends, Aimee has no friends and likes reading sci-fi and actually has plans for her future. But over time, getting to know each other, they seem to find a connection.

This film was beautiful. Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley gave outstanding performances as Sutter and Aimee and I relate to both of them a lot. The chemistry between the two works beyond well. Everything about this film feels so real, from the characters to their interactions and from the sex scene to the conflicts that arise: it's just so natural flow-wise and is so real that it honest to God creeped me out in certain spots. It was that genuine and honest.

The supporting cast does very well too. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler, and Jennifer Jason Leigh do great jobs playing Sutter's sister, dad, and mom respectively. Brie Larson does a good job playing Sutter's ex and there's a nice cameo by Bob Odenkirk as Sutter's boss.

One of my favorite scenes in the film is when Sutter and Aimee go visit Sutter's dad Tommy. In that scene, Tommy reveals that he doesn't live in the past nor does he plan the future, he lives in the now, because that's what it's all about. Sutter also lives in the now, unlike Aimee.

The sex scene with Sutter and Aimee felt genuinely natural. They perform the sex seriously and with a lot of care. When they start their task, they look into each other's eyes solemnly. Director James Ponsoldt and cinematographer Jess Hall shot and handled this scene very well for the most part.

Here's a humongously positive aspect about this movie: Sutter and Aimee are teenagers that actually look, speak, and feel like real teenagers. There was a clip of this film on YouTube showing their first kiss. That scene was done perfectly. It's awkward and cute, and that's because that's what your first kiss, let alone your first love, is supposed to be like. Scenes like the first date scene from Fever Pitch; they were awkward and cute as well, but that scene was like that in a humorous way (not unintentionally). Scenes like the first kiss in The Spectacular Now; they're awkward and cute in a very genuine and endearing way.

FINAL SCORE: 10/10

This film was excellent. I have never seen a film like this so genuine, so sensitive, so adroit, and/or so breathtaking. The Spectacular Now is not a Hollywood romance; it's a real one with twists and turns. It's one that's lovely, natural, proper, and absolute.

Twilight
Twilight(2008)

No word in the fucking dictionary can explain how boring, tedious, horrid, pretentious, lousy, stupid, bland, generic, abnormal, retarded, wretched, pointless, and overall unbearable this piece-of-shit excuse for an actual movie is. This is the lowest of the low, the dumbest of the dumb, the lousiest of the lousy, the worst of the fucking worst. This, my friends, is the franchise dumb-ass teenage fangirls wet their pants over when they think about it. This, my friends, is Twilight.

So, we begin in horrible CGI running/rapid shaky-cam fairytale forest land where we see some strong, fast, pale-looking motherfucker attack some random deer in the woods. Then, we meet our protagonist, the bland, emo Bella Swan, played by Kristen Stewart, whom the writers of Drive and Killing Season believe is the fairest of them all. Bella is an annoying, cowardly, clumsy, and boring fuckwad that nobody gives a fuck about and who doesn't know how to pour ketchup on a hamburger. Kristen Stewart's acting is completely nonexistent. You don't see an actual performance on the screen.

Bella moves to the town of Forks, where she now lives with her police officer dad Charlie, played by Drive Angry's Billy Burke. Billy Burke is a good actor, and his performances in Drive Angry, Revolution, and 24 can prove that, so in the Twilight movies, I can give him a pass. He did an okay job with what little he was given. Bella gets some new friends at school, such as Tyler, Mike, Angela, the smokin' eye candy Jessica (who's played by Anna Kendrick, and I will forever ask why she would agree to star in something as shitty as this), and the increasingly gay Asian nerd Eric (who's played by Justin Chon from 21 & Over, whom I wanted to play Carlos Lo in the Trollfighters trilogy).

During her first day at school, she meets the Cullens, consisting of Alice (who's hot), Rosalie (who's also hot), Jasper (who looks like he's gonna rape something), Emmett (who looks like he just ate rotten grapes for breakfast), and the one she eventually falls in love with, Edward, played by Cosmopolis' Robert Pattinson, who looks constipated throughout the entire movie. Pattinson is horrendous in this movie. That makes me sad. I liked him in Cosmopolis. I didn't mind him in Water for Elephants. I liked him in Remember Me. He did fine with the little screentime he had in Harry Potter 4. In this film and its sequels, he fucking sucks so much ass, dick, and balls.

Fun fact for you: the screenplays for all five Twilight movies were written by Melissa Rosenberg, who wrote several episodes of--I'm not kidding--Dexter. How in the blue HELL does one go from Dexter to Twilight and sink so fucking low? I've never read any one of the Twilight books. However, my cousin is an English Major who owns and has read all four Twilight books. She called me one time and told me that when she began reading the first book, she grabbed a pen and immediately corrected the grammar. There is a mistake on literally every fucking page in every four of those fucking books. No wonder Rosenberg sunk so low. Stephenie Meyer is a TERRIBLE fucking author. Did she have a 0.2 grade average in high school? Jesus holy fucking Christ.

Anyway, back to the horrendously-written plot, Bella ends up being attracted to him and wants to know about him, but Edward avoids and ignores her. Then, one day, a car nearly runs her over, so Edward runs fast to Bella and pushes the car with his bare hands. If it weren't for Edward, that car would've crushed Bella, and I'd be pleased as hell if she were killed by that car. Why did you save her, you dumb-ass pedophile fuck?!

So, after that, we get forty-or-so minutes of boring, uninteresting, tedious, unbearable, forgettable, clichéd, pretentious, nauseating, horribly-written, shitty-as-all-hell, redundant, and overall pointless chatter with Bella, Edward, and other characters we don't give a flying, flaming fuck about. The only good thing in this 2-hour-long fuckfest of crap is Anna Kendrick and her cleavage. She almost made this movie passable, but the horrendous script she had to work off of would never allow her to make this experience tolerable for me or anybody else living on this fucking planet. When Scott Pilgrim's sister can't save your movie, you know it has a serious amount of problems.

Also, during the 40 minutes of boredom, we get a scene that comes the fuck out of fucking nowhere. The scene involves some random group of pointless guys attempting to rape Bella. First of all, this rape attempt is so lame, so pointless, and so inept, that it makes the one in the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man look worthy of an NC-17. Second of all, nobody would ever attempt to rape Kristen Stewart...EVER. And third of all, as I said before, this scene comes the fuck out of fucking nowhere. But, of course, Edward saves her from the retarded group of inexperienced college rapists.

An hour into the movie, Bella finally figures out Edward's secret: he's a vampire. His skin is pale white and ice-cold, he has superspeed and superstrength, he doesn't go out in the sunlight, he rarely eats or drinks anything, explaining him looking pale, sickly, and deliberately constipated throughout this entire franchise, and he has a taste for blood. However, get this: Edward only hunts animals, thus making him a vegetarian vampire, he has the ability to fucking read minds, and whenever he goes out in the sunlight, he sparkles like he's a blind, deaf, mindless fairy taking a witchcrafted Aspirin.

Okay, let me make something very clear here: this is the worst representation of a vampire in any work of fiction...EVER. This isn't surprising considering Stephenie Meyer has never read any vampire novel nor has she watched any vampire movie. Vampires turn into a flying bat, a bat-monster, a werewolf, and a green fog. They sleep in coffins. They are classy, kind, gentle, and patient, but are also violent, brutal, mysterious, and dangerous. They feast on human blood to stay alive. Here's how they die: a stake in the heart, holy water hosed on them, crosses on their bodies, decapitation, burning and decaying in sunlight, etc. This pussy mistaken for a character isn't a true vampire, you dumbshit filmmakers. Get this: in this film, vampires have reflections in the mirror. ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?! Vampires have NO reflection whatsoever in traditional vampire lore. Are you people on fucking meth or some bullshit?

Oh, and get this: vampires...play baseball...in the rain. Oh, fucking blow me a new asshole! Somebody write the people who made The Boondock Saints, Movie 43, The Apparition, Skyline, and the adaptations of House of the Dead and BloodRayne fucking apology letters! I MEAN IT! I'll get a lawyer! THERE'LL BE HELL TO PAY! *acquires lawyer* Looks like I better call Saul. Anyway, Edward keeps telling Bella to stay away from her. Okay, if you want her to stay away from you, then stop following her around, you bitch stalker jackass full of horseshit! If you expect me to believe that Edward is a sexy, bad-ass vampire, then you people have an IQ of -825.

How anybody of any gender, any race, or any religion can consider this entertainment baffles, disgusts, and angers the ever-living piss out of me. This film is a load of anally inane drivel from beginning to end. Nothing in this shitstorm can possibly be considered good nor can it be taken remotely seriously. If this film was like a Tommy Wiseau version of a mix-up of Fright Night, Near Dark, and Vampire's Kiss, it would've been fine. But, no. These shitty filmmakers needed it to be serious. Good fucking God, I loathe you people.

The writing is absolutely atrocious. This is some of the worst dialogue I've ever heard in a movie. It's unbelievable. How this script managed to get greenlit and purchased by any Hollywood studio is beyond me. This writer has genuine talent, and Melissa Rosenberg proved that with Dexter and Red Widow. Considering the source material is considered shit by many, I think Rosenberg lost her brain cells when reading these books and writing these screenplays. If I said that this script was on the same level as The Room, then that'd be an absolute insult to Tommy Wiseau.

So, during their game of rainy-day pseudo-vampire non-baseball, the Cullens and Bella encounter a trio of vampires, consisting of obviously gay emo bitch James, played by Cam Gigandet, one of Hollywood's most insufferable actors, his smoking hot lover Victoria, played by that chick from Under the Dome whose also the wife of Channing Tatum and the mother of Joey King, and the next-gen Blacula himself, Laurent, played by Darwin from X-Men: First Class. Some I-don't-know-what-number or so minutes of boring bullshit later, James and Edward fight. This is one of the most uninteresting and unentertaining fight scenes ever in a motion picture. Bella's wrist is bitten by James, and thank fucking God for that. But sadly, Edward kills James and sucks the venom out of Bella's wrist. STOP SAVING HER! YOU TWO HAVE NO CHEMISTRY! YOU TWO DON'T KNOW WHY YOU'RE IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER! You know what, fuck that, because nothing in this entire fucking movie can convince me or anybody else that these two mentally-challenged emo dingbats are in love.

Carter Burwell, collaborator of the Coen Brothers, does the music not only for this, but also for Breaking Dawn Parts 1 and 2. His scores are just okay. They're not that good, they're just fine. When your movie is scored by Carter fucking Burwell, and the score doesn't impress anybody that much, you fuckers are in deadly serious trouble. By the way, here's a plot hole I found: if Edward and his family only hunts animals, then how come in one scene, Edward says he's once killed and hunted HUMANS? Also, why don't the bastards in town know about Edward's family being vampires? Oh, fuck it. I'm giving up on this shitty movie's logic.

Okay, to hell with this crap, we're wrapping it the fuck up. The movie ends with Bella and Edward dancing at the prom. Bella expresses her desires of becoming a vampire, like Edward, but he refuses to grant her wish. As they dance, Victoria secretly and mysteriously watches them, planning revenge on them for the death of James. Good luck failing that plan and getting your head torn off by Edward! Oh, look at that, I just spoiled the third Twilight movie for you. You people should fucking thank me. So, after all of that torture, all of that blasphemous drivel I had to suffer through, can I find one redeeming quality from this fuckturd of a movie? Not a damn thing. Anna Kendrick's cleavage is spot-on, Billy Burke did an okay job, and Carter Burwell's music is decent, but they don't save the movie. FUUUUUUUUUUCK THIS SHIT! Fuck it all to hell. Fuck it all to oblivion. FUCK IT ALL TO THE DAMNATION OF MANKIND! Long story short, fuck it. This movie sucks. Enough has been said.

FINAL SCORE: 0/10 (if anybody gives this any score above 2, I will fucking rip the heart of your chest)

What else can I say about this shallow and wretched disasterpiece that I haven't said before nor has anybody else fucking said before? Nothing. But that doesn't excuse the fact that this movie is beyond horrible. It's one of the worst, folks. One of the worst films I have ever had the displeasure of watching. The fact that these fangirls who are obsessed with this lame franchise consider this shit to be masterful and entertaining really makes me yearning to rage through Burger King with a fucking pick-axe. However, I'll give the movie this: this film and its sequels are absolute crap, but in no way is it as bad as the Friedberg/Seltzer Twilight parody Vampires Suck. Also, the Twilight running commentary was awesome, so that's a teeny-tiny bit of a plus. No arguments. The case is now officially closed. Good night, motherfuckers. Oh, and a special "FUCK YOU!" to those butthurt Twi-tards out there. In fact, there are hundreds of millions of middle finger blimps heading toward their houses right now. Let's see if they can handle experiencing the same pain I felt watching this horseshit.

"You better hold on tight, spider monkey."
Oh, fuck off, you perverted dickmule. Just do us a favor and please, please, please, please, please, just fucking fuck off.

*checks online*

It appears I made a mistake. The screenplay wasn't written by Melissa Rosenberg or Stephenie Meyer. It was, in fact, written by Brendan Sullivan and You You See. Give me some credit, that's at least plausible. I also forgot to mention that this really isn't a movie. This is really an experiment conducted to determine which member of the audience goes insane and becomes a psychopathic serial killer. Not only is this twist good, but it's also rather pretty damn accurate. Have a happy October, motherfuckers.

Just one final message to the fans of this series:
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Good night, people of the world. I'm out. And stay the fuck away from Twilight.

Gravity
Gravity(2013)

Cinema fans rejoice. Gravity is my favorite film of 2013, one of your favorite films of 2013, and one of the critics' favorite films of 2013. I think it's also safe to say that Gravity is also now one of my favorite films in recent years. Alfonso Cuaron deserves one hell of a round of applause. This movie is incredible. Words can't explain the amazement.

Gravity is a sci-fi outer space techno-thriller directed by Prisoner of Azkaban and Children of Men helmer Alfonso Cuaron, who co-wrote Gravity's script with his son, Jonas Cuaron. This film was in development since 2010. It was to star Angelina Jolie and Robert Downey, Jr. as the lead roles. However, Jolie dropped out to direct In the Land of Blood and Honey, which was a great film. Multiple actresses then auditioned for the female lead role, like Scarlett Johansson, Blake Lively, Marion Cotillard, and Natalie Portman. Sandra Bullock was then chosen for the role. Robert Downey, Jr. dropped out to do Iron Man 2, Due Date, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Marvel's The Avengers, and Iron Man 3, so he was replaced by Danny Ocean himself, George Clooney.

Filmed digitally on a budget of exactly $100 million, which was a bit lower than the usual 3D/CGI film (The Hobbit, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avatar, Star Trek), the film was shot by expert cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. Father and son Cuaron intended the film to be as scientifically accurate despite a few inaccuracies and exaggerations. For example, in the movie, the explosions and falling debris crashing into things are completely non-audible. Warner Bros. Pictures made the action audible in the trailers to make the movie appear more exciting. In 2013, Gravity was released in IMAX and Real-D theaters everywhere, in the beginning of slasher icon month.

Gravity involves bio-medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone, played wonderfully by Sandra Bullock, who's on her first space mission. Joining her is to-be-retired veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski, played by George Clooney. Clooney does a great job playing this character and the dialogue helps Clooney and Bullock's performances. It amazes me...in the GOOD way. I really like the opening shot of this film and how it lasts for like fifteen-or-so minutes. What kept me invested was Alfonso Cuaron's brilliant direction and Emmanuel Lubezki's beautiful cinematography. Lubezki's cinematography beats out Larry Smith's cinematography for Only God Forgives. Oh, yeah. I went there, motherfuckers.

So, as Ryan, Matt, and the other members of the crew of the spaceship Explorer get into space, falling satellite debris crashes into the ship during a spacewalk. Let me just talk about the 3D and the special effects for a second. They are stunning. They are just unbelievably gorgeous. The CGI and special effects are absolutely remarkable, quite possibly some of the best I've seen since Avatar. The 3D actually works in this film. I saw this in IMAX 3D yesterday (opening day), and I honest to God felt like I was actually in space. To quote a line Sandra Bullock says in this movie: it's terrifyingly beautiful. I also found it very clever how they got Mission Control to be voiced by Ed Harris, in a reference to another wonderful outer space film: Ron Howard's classic, Apollo 13.

Back to the story, and be warned because there's a shit-ton of spoilers ahead, Stone and Kowalski are now floating in space with a limited amount of air. The debris hits other satellites, causing a chain reaction of destruction until the satellites necessary for them to communicate with Mission Control in Houston are also destroyed. Even though they don't receive messages from Mission Control, both Kowalski and Stone continue to transmit in the blind to Mission Control, in the hopes that Mission Control can hear them.

Stone tumbles out of control after separating from the shuttle's cargo bay arm. Kowalski, who's wearing a thruster pack as part of his spacesuit, navigates to Stone and retrieves her. They tether together, and make their way back to Explorer, where they discover the shuttle has been damaged beyond repair, and the rest of their crew is dead. They then decide to use the thruster pack to make their way to the ISS, which is nearby in orbit. Kowalski sets the timer on his suit for an hour and a half, estimating the debris that destroyed Explorer will orbit the Earth and come back around in that amount of time.

Kowalski's ever calm and efficient in the crisis, continuing to reassure Stone that they'll both make it back to Earth safely. En route to the ISS, they discuss Stone's life back home and the death of her young daughter in a schoolyard accident. As they approach the ISS, it's clear that the ISS crew has evacuated due to the debris field causing damage. One Soyuz module for delivering ISS crew and returning them to Earth is missing, used by the ISS crew to evacuate the station. The other Soyuz module has been damaged, and its landing parachute has been deployed as a result. It becomes clear that the remaining Soyuz module can't return them to Earth safely.

As they approach the ISS they realize they have almost no air left and only one thruster burst remaining in Kowalski's pack. They bounce off the many parts of the ISS as they attempt to grab on at their accelerated speed relative to the station. Stone is able to grab onto the ISS for a moment, however, Kowalski's momentum yanks Stone away from the ISS. As they both bounce off the ISS further, a solar wind they pass severs the tether holding the two together. At the last moment, Stone's leg becomes entangled in parachute cords connected to the Soyuz reentry module, and is able to grab hold of the tether connected to Kowalski. His additional mass stretches the parachute cords entangled to Stone's leg to nearly break free because the damaged ISS is losing altitude and the rarefied air molecules are beginning to exert too much drag on both astronauts. He sacrifices himself for her survival and unclips his strap, floating away.

When Kowalski sacrificed himself to save Ryan's life, I was nearly in tears. This is one of the most emotional scenes I've ever seen in a film. This film handles its emotional grounding superbly. Never was it overdrawn nor was it forced. It was perfect, along with the screenplay. Father and son Cuaron have a supreme amount of talent. It's amazing. So amazing that it can't be put into words.

Back to the plot, Stone indeed floats easily back to the ISS now. Kowalski's still in radio contact with her, asking Stone about her minimal piloting training and instructs Stone to use the Soyuz capsule to travel to the nearby Chinese space station Tiangong by using the small maneuvering rockets to navigate, even though the reentry vehicle itself can't return to earth due to the prematurely deployed parachute. Kowalski says that even if the Chinese have evacuated, she can use the remaining return module that's based on the design of the Soyuz, and Stone's limited training will get her home safely.

Stone boards the ISS, which has been damaged but still has breathable air. Stone makes her way to the Soyuz module, but a fire starts from sparking wires aboard the ISS. She tries vainly to put out the fire, and finally gets aboard the Soyuz. Once aboard, Stone undocks the module and proceeds to fire the thruster, but the parachute cables of the Soyuz are tangled to the ISS, keeping the Soyuz from getting free. Stone puts on one of the Soyuz spacesuits and spacewalks outside to release the parachute cables from the capsule. An hour and a half has passed and during the spacewalk, the satellite debris approaches again, impacting with the ISS and the Soyuz. Stone barely makes it inside the Soyuz in time, just as the debris field impacts and destroys the ISS, but the Soyuz module manages to break free of the ISS.

Stone goes over the emergency manual, and uses the thrusters to line the Soyuz up with Tiangong. She attempts to fire the main Soyuz rocket to navigate to Tiangong; however, the fuel tanks are empty. Stone tries to use the Soyuz radio to contact Earth, but she's only able to reach a farmer who doesn't speak English on a short wave frequency. Stone resigns herself to her fate of dying, and instead of waiting to die from excruciating carbon dioxide poisoning, she slowly begins decompression in the cabin to commit suicide by the painless hypoxia. She begins to fall asleep, running out of oxygen, when she sees Kowalski outside the capsule. Kowalski enters the capsule, to Stone's amazement. Stone tells him that there's no fuel left for the navigation rockets, but Kowalski, ever the optimist, tells Stone that the capsule still has reentry rockets for the touchdown procedure. These will be just as useful for navigating to Tiangong.

Kowalski's suddenly gone and Stone realizes she hallucinated him in her oxygen-deprived state. She turns the oxygen flow back on in the Soyuz and implements the information about the landing thrusters she remembered from her hallucination, firing the thrusters, making her way to Tiangong. Realizing she's gonna miss the station by several dozen meters, Stone picks up a fire extinguisher and opens the Soyuz hatch while the capsule's still pressurized, blowing her across the distance. She navigates to Tiangong using the fire extinguisher as a makeshift thruster. Stone boards Tiangong just as the entire station, having been pushed out of its stable orbit by the satellite debris, starts to burn up on the upper edge of the atmosphere. Stone successfully enters the re-entry commands in the Chinese capsule Shenzhou's computer, and Shenzhou begins its descent towards Earth. On the way down, Stone hears Mission Control over the radio tracking the capsule while rescue teams are being dispatched.

Shenzhou splashes down in a lake in an uninhabited part of the Earth. Stone opens the capsule hatch, but the water rushing in nearly drowns her, pinning her against the back wall. Once the water pressure equalizes, she swims out, but sinks with the weight of her spacesuit. She successfully slips out of her spacesuit and swims to the surface with the last of her breath. She swims to shore watching the remains of Tiangong and other satellite debris as they burn up high in the sky overhead. Stone pulls herself ashore with difficulty and takes her first shaky steps on dry land, gradually adjusting to the Earth's gravity. And the film ends there.

FINAL SCORE: 10/10

Gravity is masterful in all areas. The writing is stellar, the direction is superb, the visual effects are awe-inspiring, the 3D is great, the production design is breathtaking, the cinematography is beautiful, the music score by Steven Price is brilliant, and Sandra Bullock and George Clooney's performances are wonderful. This is sure to make everybody's top 10 of 2013 list, and it is guaranteed to be nominated for and win tons of Oscars and Golden Globes.

Halloween
Halloween(1978)

Halloween, without a doubt one of the best horror films ever made. It's definitely a classic in the genre. You have a lead character who you root for and is likeable, a villain who's always mysterious and is frightening, an endless amount of tension, a high level of suspense and dread, a Hitchcock-esque atmosphere, and a good story.

The film was directed by filmmaking legend John Carpenter, who, at the time, was hot off the success of his low-budget independent action thriller Assault on Precinct 13, and was asked to make a horror film by Irwin Yablans. So, a script was written by Carpenter and his close friend, Debra Hill, titled "The Babysitter Murders". Over time, the script was re-titled Halloween and was now set on Halloween night. The film was made on a budget of $325,000 and was released in 1978. Over time, people loved this film and is now the highest-grossing independent film of all time, with a gross of $70 million.

The film starts off with Carpenter's forever-awesome Halloween theme as the very well-done opening credits roll. We begin in 1963 on Halloween night. A little boy named Michael Myers is a normal, average, everyday 6-year-old kid, until this night. He suddenly snaps. Through his POV, he grabs a butcher knife from the kitchen, heads up to his sister's room, and stabs her to death. When his parents come home and take his mask off, he holds the knife with no sign of emotion.

Fifteen years later, the character everybody remembers and loves, Dr. Loomis, played brilliantly by Donald Pleasence, drives to Saint Grove Sanitarium with a nurse. It's a very rainy night. As they pull over, Michael escapes the sanitarium, attacks Loomis and the nurse, steals the car, and drives off to his hometown of Haddonfield.

In Haddonfield, we meet our protagonist Laurie Strode, played very well by Jamie Lee Curtis in her acting debut. She has to babysit her 8-year-old neighbor Tommy Doyle tonight. You can think of Laurie as the horror film equivalent of a girl scout. She's a kind, strong, and smart individual, and you root for her because you really like her. She's got two best friends: Annie, the daughter of the local sheriff, and Lynda, the cheerleader who likes to use the word "totally" a lot. The three of them are likeable.

Sheriff Leigh Brackett (get it? Like Leigh Brackett, co-writer of Empire Strikes Back and Rio Bravo?) is investigating a warehouse store where he assumes some kids stole a Halloween mask and some knives (or is it?). Loomis heads to Haddonfield and meets up with Brackett about the current situation he's involved him. Although a bit reluctant, Brackett agrees to help.

Michael Myers begins stalking Laurie, like any other typical psychopath. But when she first notices, he's there, and when she looks back for a second time, he's gone. This is part of the reason why Michael works as a horror villain: he's always mysterious. He needs no explanation for his evil. He's mysterious. We love mystery, we love suspense, we love the unknown, there is a fear of the unknown, something the people who made Halloween 6 forgot about. So Michael isn't technically human.

So, the night where kids are trick-or-treating, people are throwing parties, and everybody is wearing costumes. Laurie's babysitting Tommy at his house, and Annie is babysitting Lindsey Wallace, a friend of Tommy's. Annie wants to go out with her boyfriend Paul, so she asks Laurie to babysit her as well. But before she could drive, Michael pops up from the back seat and attacks her as some creepily eerie music plays. He finally kills her by slitting her throat. Notice how there's hardly any blood or gore. Carpenter didn't want to do a gory slasher; he wanted to make a truly scary Hitchcockian horror thriller, focusing on suspense, tension, dread, and atmosphere rather than gallons of blood. In that regard, he succeeded triumphantly.

Lynda drives to Annie's house with her boyfriend Bob, who looks like a mix-up of Chris Stuckmann, James Rolfe, Lou Taylor Pucci, Lucas Till, Miles Teller, Skylar Astin, Oliver Cooper, the Hemsworth brothers, and every high school guy and/or nerd with glasses combined into one, to make out, drink beer, and have sex. But Michael shows up. He kills Bob by pinning him to a wall and stabbing him in the chest with a knife. Michael then kills Lynda by strangling her with a telephone cord. In case you ask, yes, you do get to see Lynda's tits in this scene.

Loomis and the sheriff enter the old, abandoned Myers house where Loomis discusses Michael. When he first met him, he saw that his eyes were some of the blackest and darkest he's ever seen. He believed those were the eyes of the Devil himself, and what he saw in Michael was nothing but pure and simple evil. Michael isn't human; he's really the incarnation of evil itself.

As Laurie, Lindsey, and Tommy watch the classic sci-fi horror thriller The Thing from Another World (oh, the irony), Tommy keeps noticing Michael, whom he refers to as the Boogeyman. Laurie checks on Annie's house. She finds the dead Annie on a bed with Michael's sister's tombstone on the pillows. She's truly horrified, and then out of nowhere, Bob's corpse swings by upside down. You can tell from her screams that this shit is really damn scary. She finds the dead Lynda in a drawer. Popping out of nowhere, Michael stabs her in the shoulder and she ends up falling, landing on the stairs. The horror is already getting real, motherfuckers.

She runs away to Tommy's house, terrified beyond relief, and as she gets in, Michael pops up from behind the couch and she stabs him in the neck with a knitting needle. He drops dead and she catches up with Tommy and Lindsey. The Boogeyman's here and she killed him. But Tommy points out that nobody can kill the Boogeyman, so as it turns out: Michael can't be killed no matter how hard one might try. After we get my favorite scary scene in the movie where Laurie hides in the closet and Michael attacks, she undoes a clothes hanger, pokes him in the eye with it, he drops the knife, Laurie grabs it, and she stabs him with it.

But the horror isn't over yet. Michael attacks Laurie and she pushes him and takes off his mask. We get a brief (I repeat, BRIEF) glimpse of his face as he puts his mask back on. Loomis shows up to save the day. He shoots Michael six times and Michael finally drops off the balcony, lying dead on the dirt and grass. Laurie asks Loomis if Michael was the Boogeyman, to which Loomis replies, "As a matter of fact...it was". Loomis looks out at the balcony and Michael is gone. This speculates that Michael could be anywhere at any time. We hear Michael's heavy breathing through the background. This scene also proves a point John Carpenter wanted to make while making this movie: Evil never dies.

FINAL SCORE: 10/10

This is one of the most chilling and terrifying films to come along in years. The actors all did good jobs, the script was very well-done, John Carpenter did a fantastic job directing the film and doing the music, the amount of tension was endless, and the atmosphere was horrific. Halloween is truly a classic in the horror genre.

Oh, I forgot to mention: How did Michael find his costume? He killed a mechanic and stole his suit and wore it. And Judith's grave was stolen by Michael from the local cemetery. Have a happy Halloween, bitches.

Slumdog Millionaire

What the hell else can I say about this highly overrated, bullshit excuse for a movie that I haven't said before? Nothing. But I'm gonna reveal to you why Slumdog Millionaire is a cinematic dicksplash.

PROBLEM #1: The bullshit advertising. This film involves forced marriage, torture, murder, prostitution, violence, gang members, a little boy diving into his own shit, and the Mumbai version of the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire...and yet this was promoted as a feel-good film. BULL-FUCKING-SHITTY-SHIT. Feel-good movie my ass. None of the things I listed that the movie involves are at all feel-good. Oh, wait. The dance at the end is what people thought made this a feel-good film. Okay. *face palm*

PROBLEM #2: The romance. The bland, clichéd, and unimaginative romantic love story between Jamal (Dev Patel from The Last Airbender) and Latika (Frieda Pinto from RotPotA) is one of the most boring and contrived romances in any film ever made. It's reminiscent of not only cheap Nicholas Sparks novels, but...here it goes...it's also reminiscent of Twilight. Oh, yes. I FUCKING went there. Jamal & Malik's romance = Twilight. Why are they in love? There is NO explanation. They're in love just because they're in love. That's it. If you want to see well-done romances, watch films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, True Romance, Fever Pitch, and hell, even The Vow. The Vow was a very honest love story. Here's another example of a good love story: Paul and Samantha from Deadly Friend. Yes, it was a horror film, but the romance and friendship between the two leads was done well. Slumdog Millionaire has a boring, uninteresting, and uninvolving love story.

PROBLEM #3: The characters. THERE. AREN'T. ANY. The characters and WWTBAM are merely cheap plot devices that do whatever's required of them to simply show us things. Simon Beaufoy, go fuck yourself. You can't write to save your damn life. *minutes later* The guy did 127 Hours? An actually good film?! Simon, what were you snorting back then when you were writing Slumdogshit Millionaire? This script is bereft of any characters I gave two shits about. Plus, everybody and everything IN THE ENTIRE FUCKING MOVIE is either good or evil. No grey areas exist in the world of this movie apparently. They don't even learn anything about themselves or even change. FUCK.

PROBLEM #4: The slums of Mumbai. To be fair, there were a lot of grisly acts in the slums of Mumbai. But here's a history lesson, Beaufoy: NOT ALL OF MUMBAI IS EVIL. There are parts of Mumbai that are actually very breathtaking and refreshing. This film only talks about the dark sides of Mumbai. Okay. That's fine. But my problem is that this tries to trick its audience into feeling sorry for the children in Jamal's flashbacks of how he knew the answers. And yet it STILL claims to be a so-called "feel-good" film. Also, in real life, the criminals in Mumbai have actual motivation. The ones in this movie are boring and annoying.

PROBLEM #5: The cops who torture Jamal. They accuse Jamal of cheating on WWTBAM and the host gets Jamal arrested. It's fucking IMPOSSIBLE to cheat on Who Wants to be a Millionaire unless the host gives you the answers. Also, the head cop has a desk full of murderers, rapists, bomb bandits, and extortionists, and puts them all aside to focus on Jamal. The cops in Die Hard are fucking gods compared to these two shitheads. In no sane reality would a cop pull a desk full of rapists and murderers aside to focus on a kid he thinks cheated on a game show. Plus, the head cop believes Jamal has a microchip under his skin. Okay, Einstein, if the kid is smart enough to implant a microchip under his skin, don't you think he'd be smart enough to answer the questions on a goddamn game show? DUMB-ASS. *bashes head with textbook* Furthermore, why was Jamal arrested in the first place? Okay, the cops said he cheated. Why would you just assume and go with it? YOU NEED PROOF. You need EVIDENCE. There ISN'T any. MORONS.

PROBLEM #6: Plot conveniences. Non-stop plot conveniences and random chance happenings throughout. Oh, Lord in heaven, do they get annoying REAL fucking quick. As a matter of fact, they're all this movie is: chance happenings. Many times, when Jamal is asked a question on WWTBAM and when he has flashbacks, he knows the answer by either convenience or by not learning the answer at all. We gave Oscars to this, people. We gave Oscars to this. *weeps for humanity*

PROBLEM #7: Salim and the other antagonists. These are some of the most uninvesting characters I've ever seen in a film. Salim is a fucking asshole for no reason. What pisses me off about him is the scene where he shoots the drug lord with the revolver. Many say that's when Salim became an asshole and turned to greed. BULL. FUCKING. SHIT. He was an asshole before he shot the guy, when he shot the guy, and after he shot the guy. Is the general movie-going public this retarded? The drug lords and criminals aren't much better since they have absolutely no motivation at all.

PROBLEM #8: The inaccuracies to the requirements needed to participate on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Good fucking God. Jamal is chosen to participate on the show, but he doesn't call in, he doesn't answer the general knowledge questions that you need to answer to even get on the show, and he doesn't do the fast finger challenge. Here's why: it was his destiny. For fuck's sake. Using the theme on destiny is not a fucking excuse for the plot structure to be all over the damn place.

PROBLEM #9: The praise it received. This film won 8 Oscars (10 nominations) and has a 94% rating on RT. I have a question: WHY?! There are much better films: Iron Man, The Dark Knight, Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, The Wrestler, WALL-E, Revolutionary Road, and The Reader. Those films are the gods of Olympus compared to this shit.

PROBLEM #10: The cinematography. This is some of the most generic cinematography of all time, which is sad because the cinematographer worked on Dredd 3D, Trance, and 28 Days Later. And that shitty neon-puke color scheme. *bashes head with textbook*

Okay, that's enough of me tearing this film a new asshole.

FINAL SCORE: 1.5/10

This is one of the worst and most overhyped excuses for a film I've ever witnessed. The only reason I'm giving it a 1.5 is because it's not as bad as films like Disaster Movie, the Rollerball remake, or Battlefield Earth. God, did this movie suck.

To: This movie
From: John Tyler

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From,
John Tyler