Max M. 's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Man of Steel
Man of Steel(2013)

"Welcome to the Planet."

This is the most recent movie I watched. I watch a lot of films. I know a lot of directors. Now, like everyone else, I have my own opinion about everything. I have favorite directors (C. Nolan, Q. Tarantino), writers (P. Schrader, J. Nolan), and of course, movies. I don't wanna seem smug. I'm not a shallow man. My opinion isn't the only opinion I want to hear. I also wanna hear other people's opinion. I've seen countless lists of favorite films, writers, etc. For all Favorite Directors lists I've read, I have watched at least one film by every director. Even the really old ones like Hitchcock and Welles. But of all those directors, there was one of them whose films I haven't seen yet. It was Zack Snyder. I was born before the mid-2000's, so I've heard of Mr. Snyder. Despite the fact he's made some actually really good and underrated movies (I'm just speaking the general opinion), his reputation has seemingly been ripped apart all because of one film. You guessed it, Sucker Punch. Yeah yeah, he had that one owl film (that's what everyone seems to be calling it now) that nobody really liked, but Sucker Punch, one could say, "defined" his career. Which is weird, because this is the guy who made Watchmen and the Dawn of the Dead remake. I haven't watched either of those, but I heard both of them were really good. I heard Watchmen would be on a Most Underrated Films list if there ever was one. He even made 300, which I heard was great fun. Three good films and one mediocre one isn't much of an AFI Achievement-worthy career, but it shouldn't have been taken down just because of one awful film. I didn't even hear Sucker Punch was that bad. I heard it was a little worse than That One Owl Film. Just a little. But nonetheless, I am not much of a strong-minded guy, and I am very easily swayed by the opinions of the critics who are much older and wiser than myself. That doesn't mean I'm a tool. I don't always meet eye-to-eye with them, but with the impression they've made for Zack Snyder as a mediocre filmmaker, I was not looking forward to Man of Steel as much as most people. It seemed like that film that most people are supposed to be looking forward to because someone who has a really good filmmaking career is attached to it. Like Avatar and The Departed. The former had James Cameron, and latter had Martin Scorsese. In Man of Steel's situation, the film had Christopher Nolan. The fact that Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer were involved at all with this film, and the fact that Snyder has actually made some (presumably) pretty good movies, were facts that made me want to remotely see this film. But even with Batman and Dr. Manhattan attached to this project, I still didn't feel like this film captured my attention like other films being shown in 2013 did. Kick-Ass 2 looks interesting. The Wolverine looks awesome. I would illegally download The World's End if I could. For this film, I felt as if I'd only go to see Man of Steel if I was offered free tickets on cereal box or something. I only started avoiding this film like the plague when the reviews came up. I saw lots of people expecting a 94% or 88% for this movie. When I saw its rating during the first couple of weeks, of all the parts inside of my brain, only three or four of those parts were surprised at this film's unsatisfactory rating of 72%. Don't get me wrong, because I don't consider films at the 70's range to be bad. I liked Wanted. It's just that really high ratings like 90% are warranted for this film, at least for other people. For me, this could've been at least 80%, but like I said, I wouldn't have been that surprised if this film didn't end up as the truly masterful adaption of Superman. But then it slowly descended into the 60's. Then I went to see it, just so I can see if it's good or not. I wasn't looking forward to it at all. Before that, I would've at least been a little excited for the film, but by then, I wasn't. I could've watched something else, but the only other film to see was After Earth. I didn't really think Nolan producing would make the film any better. Producers, in my opinion, aren't terribly important to me. Writers and actors are important, but the most important people are the directors. The directors are the first people I search for when a new movie is announced. The Summer Movie Streak has not failed me yet. I had low expectations. There was no way this movie could've been good. Right?

Wrong. Now I haven't watched any of the other Superman films. There was the original, universally acclaimed one, the similarly well-received sequel, a well-received yet extremely backlashed reboot, and two other films that no one liked. The only other Superman I can compare Zack Snyder's rendition is the Justice League animated series one. So I'm not gonna compare. I'm gonna review this film with a fresh and new perspective. This movie was really good. The performances were fantastic, and very natural. Roger Ebert said in his review of Superman Returns that Brandon Routh didn't really capture the essence of Superman and he was probably cast in the film only because he looks like Christopher Reeve. I didn't feel that with Henry Cavill. He was realistic in that role. One does not simply play the role of Superman unless the actor who's being considered has that heroic, curious, good-natured, and caring persona. Mr. Cavill seems to be a very versatile actor because he seems to be capable to have that happy Superman persona and push it to his highest capacity, but he can also turn serious and brooding on a dime. I also commend Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon, and Russell Crowe. Jeremy Jahns, in his positive review of Man of Steel, said even if Shannon was good as General Zod, he anyone could've played him and it wouldn't have been that different. I disagree. Shannon turned "Kneel before Zod!" into "I will find him!", and he did it in an excellent and over-the-top manner. He looked very menacing, and one can see that he was determined and persevering in his goal to bring back Krypton. There was a giant lack of character development in the film besides Kal-El, and lack of character development usually doesn't make me care about character. Let's say I was watching a zombie film, and there were lots of characters in it. Too much characters = not much character development, right? Because of the lack of character development on the main character, if he/she died, I wouldn't care. Why would I? I don't know much about that character 'cause he had no character development. And usually, you don't really care if a guy or girl you don't know dies. That's what I would've felt with Jonathan and Martha Kent because I didn't see any character development on them. But they were played by Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, movie stars who's performances are unquestionable. You can go wrong with the movies they star in, but you can't go wrong with their performances. I didn't really care for them when they appeared during Kal-El's kid and teenager flashback sequences, but my appreciation for them really peaked during the middle and towards the end of the film. Besides crazy action films and dark and gritty films, I also like those films that are emotional. I'm not much of a romantic drama guy, but I like scenes that make me tear up. Scenes like that usually have a character dying. Though besides those scenes, the scenes where I tear up are scenes that are really intense or really beautiful and dramatic. I haven't fully watched American Psycho, but I watched the scene when Patrick Bateman leaves a lengthy telephone message for his lawyer. It made me tear up because it was intense and dramatic. And in Man of Steel, you have Kevin Costner dying in a tornado. That's right, Jonathan Kent dies. That may not seem surprising to anyone who watched the original movie, but it was hell of a lot surprising to me. When I saw Jonathan's grave, I could not help myself to think why, of all people in the film to kill, they chose Kevin Costner! I haven't seen much Costner films, and my favorite is probably JFK, but he was undeniably spectacular in that film. List of actors you cannot kill under any circumstances (At least in my book) Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Bruce Willis, Robin Williams, and most comedic actors (Jason Bateman, Ben Stiller, etc.) Kevin Costner was obviously on that list. It wasn't Henry Cavill who convinced me to watch the film, mostly because he was in another film the year before which I heard was an unforgivably formulaic and generic action film schlock. Of course, it was The Cold Light of Day, starring Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver, and the man of the hour, Henry Cavill. Jeremy Jahns named the Cold Light of Day #2 on his Top Worst Movies of 2012. It was able to muster a 5% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In his extremely negative review, Mr. Jahns explained if it weren't for Willis and Cavill's names attached to the main cast, the Cold Light of Day might as well have been a straight-to-DVD film. But I decided to give him a shot even if "wooden" seemed like his defining characteristic. Now that I think about it. when I see some clips of the original Superman with Christopher Reeve, it really does remind me of Henry Cavill. But that's beside the point. He may still have looked like Christopher Reeve just like Brandon Routh did, yet he was still, at best, an awesome Superman, and at least, a not too shabby one. Not too shabby, at all.

When it came to negative opinions about this film, there were very few of them. I saw some negative reviews and they were really negative, some from critics, some from audience. "Henry Cavill is emotionless and wooden.", "Too much action and too less thought makes this one a dud.", "Zack Snyder has destroyed Superman." That last part I strongly disagree with. I really, really don't have any say when it comes to Snyder's direction because I haven't watched any other movie of his, but his direction was actually pretty good in Man of Steel. It's honestly not Snyder. It sure as hell isn't Nolan or Zimmer, so who was it? Holy Bad Dialogue, Batman, it was Goyer! That is right. David S. Goyer, more specifically his writing, was one of the weakest points of the film. As you all know, David S. Goyer was a writer that worked with Christopher Nolan when he directed 2008's The Dark Knight. You might think he was a good choice for Man of Steel just because he wrote The Dark Knight, but there is one thing you didn't notice. Back in 2006-2007, when The Dark Knight was being written and stuff, David S. had a whole ton of help from Jonathan Nolan, Chris Nolan's brother. You know, Jonathan Nolan, he wrote Memento Mori, the short story which C. Nolan's Memento was based on. He also has an acclaimed new show that I really should be checking out right now, and more importantly, he was a writer who also wrote The Dark Knight. He helped Goyer with the script, which is the only reason the dialogue didn't suck. On Man of Steel, Goyer didn't have J. Nolan to help him remove all the laughable cheesiness and absolutely pathetic parts of the script. Towards the end of the film, Superman drops a giant military thing (it might a satellite or something, but the point is he drops it) and it crash-lands on Earth. That grumpy military guy and that small military girl arrive at the crash site right before it happens. I'm not saying the military guy looked so tough and menacing that he could've been mistaken for R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket, but he looked like a legit military man. That was until he said to Superman what David Goyer thought was a cool thing to say, "Are you effin' stupid?". Then, after Superman leaves, Platoon asks the rookie girl, "What are you smiling at?" or something like that (acting as if his former statement never happened and was still supposed to be a badass captain) to which she replies, addressing the Man of Steel, "Nothing. I just think he's pretty hot." David S. Goyer is not a good writer. To everyone who loved this movie to death and is now raping the thumbs-down button, repeatedly and angrily asking for an alternative to the so-called "bad" dialogue, I'll tell you people this: I don't need offensive or un-Superman-like material such as curses in a PG-13 Superman movie. I just want the film to stop trying to act like Sin City or Watchmen, films that were praised not only for its visuals and storyline, but also because it wasn't afraid to include a few possibly offensive material to stay true to the comic. When making a Superman film, the only thing that shouldn't be on the writer or director's mind is, "Should I include dialogue pieces such as "frickin'" or "dick" in the movie? Maybe I should because it would stay true to the comic." Do the Superman comics have stuff like that? No, they don't. Maybe I would've respected the film more if they just went all out with the curses and violence and stuff. If they were gonna include those pansy words I just mentioned, they might have well just went all out and screw all those who would take a dump on the film because of all the curses and violence. It might lose the Superman touch, but it would feature the most entertaining directing traits of both Snyder and Nolan, and it would've mustered at least a 63%-67%. Let's face it if someone says "freaking" or "freakin'" in real life, it sounds lame and stupid, it honestly, does. If someone says that to me, instead of being offended, I just wish he would just say what he really feels and say, "You're an inanimate fucking object!" instead of censoring his words like SOPA. Conversely, I would've also respected this film more if it were like 1978's Superman: The Movie. I saw an article a long time ago saying that Richard Donner's Superman movie adaptation was a kind of movie no one makes anymore. Superman: The Movie was said to be great fun, and it was full of heart and hilarity. Though it was fun, it wasn't Grindhouse or Django Unchained fun, where the scenes you're supposed to laugh at are scenes where a mobile serial killer is beaten by several women and when a woman is unexpectedly but physically impossibly shot by a black bounty hunter. I don't have anything against Rodriguez and Tarantino whose humor consists of those type of things, but sometimes I like to laugh at good, clean humor. The article stated, mostly referencing the then upcoming Man of Steel, that all comic book movies have to be dark. The kind of humor 2011's The Muppets and Winnie the Pooh presented, and the kind of humor Donner's Superman probably presented, just to name a few, was popular back then, but modern directors nowadays think that good and clean is boring and lame. Superman: The Movie is what Man of Steel could have been. But they still had to include those scenes where younger Clark was getting bullied by fat Ronald Weasley on that bus and when grown up Clark was getting bullied by Joel from The Last of Us in that bar, among others. Those scenes seemed to have a touch of Nolan in it. Don't think Nolan is incapable of having curses in his films because he directed Memento. They were very out of place. So in short, a film can either be full-on dark, or full-on light. I think the reason Man of Steel pathetically tried to stay in the middle was because it wanted to have a realistic tone but didn't want the inevitable comparison between it and Nolan's TDK trilogy to happen too much. It was a really stupid thing to do, and if you ask me, I would've preferred trying to be like 1978's Superman, because that, that is what Superman is. Let's get to the character development. Probably the least developed thing in Man of Steel was the relationship between Kal-El and Lois Lane. This strange guy with an overly muscular body saves you during an extremely retarded escapade, who then dooms your world when that guy from Sorority Letter sends a world-wide ransom call asking for that strange guy who saved your life to turn himself in, then you talk to him a bit, then you guys are on a spaceship and there is a whole 40-50 minutes of an over-abundance of action, he saves your life again, but destroys your city in the process. Then what? You kiss him? It's not believable, it's not cute, and it surely isn't right. Also, with the character Lois herself. This is a Superman film, and it should be about Superman, but at least have some insight on Lois Lane like Returns did (that's right, I am commending Superman Returns for something right it did). I admit it, if Lois bled out on the icy floor during the start of the movie in that Krypton storage thing, or if she had been like Hans Gruber and fell hundreds of miles and became part of the ground towards the end of the movie, I would not have cared at all. I also have some other problems like Lawrence Fishbourne's character being too bland and pedestrian (I expected him to be like J.K Simmons in Spider-Man) or Zod's female sidekick also being kind of uninteresting, they're not really center characters so I'll let it slide.

The reason I'll be putting my biggest problem with Man of Steel on the last paragraph is because it has nothing to do with the set pieces within the film. It has something to do with the word "fanboy". I believe it is like YOLO or SWAG. It is a retarded word that is used by people because it's cool to do it. I'm upset at the racket this film has made. I'm upset at the fans of this film, and I'm upset at the people who hated it. I hate the fact that Nolan's films, though most people actually think they are good, people nowadays treat them as if they were Terrence Malick films. Pretentious films masking themselves as intelligent. The worse part is that I know for a fact some people hate on him because it is the cool thing to do. I know some people actually genuinely dislike Nolan, but other guys hate him because it's what all the cool kids are doing. Another percent of these haters are the overly sensitive ones. Let's say you are on the topic of Nolan's filmmaking quality and the moment you defend Insomnia for featuring the World's Greatest Dad as a psychopath or defending Inception for stealing too much content from Paprika and that Scrooge McDuck/Donald Duck comic strip, one of the users you're conversing with immediately posts something like, "Looks like we got a butthurt fanboy on our case!" It's really, really stupid. Let's get to why I'm upset at the fans too. I'm not gonna call them fanboys because I try to be good empathizer. Remember when The Dark Knight Rises was released to pretty good reviews, even universally acclaimed? That was also when die hard fans of Nolan started posting empty death threats and vows to shut down the websites of every critic who gave TDKR a bad or somewhat negative review. A whole part of the Rotten Tomatoes website was shut down because of the controversy, and I think there was a brief comeback of the RT Lynch Mob. You may remember them for their attack on Armond White for ruining District 9's 100% rating with his review (which thought it was more important than it actually was, like all his other reviews). Like the haters, there is a large percent of these fans that are overly sensitive. I myself am a big fan of Nolan. My top two favorite films are films directed by him, so it's very obvious. But not only do these "fans" treat Christopher Nolan like a god, they also create a very bad reputation for Nolan's fanbase, as their uncivilized behavior towards who don't like or are otherwise indifferent towards their god gives a clear representation of what kind of people Nolan films attract. Because of this, being a Nolan fan isn't normal. Except when you're talking to a fellow Nolan fan, anyone else would ask, "You're a Nolan fan? Really?" They still question you, which is something they wouldn't do if you said you were a fan of anyone else, like Quentin Tarantino. These "fans" are destroying Christopher Nolan more than the haters ever did. That being said, I am still proud to be a fan of Nolan. Now back to Man of Steel, it wasn't a bad film. But it was still undeniably cheesy and over-the-top. If this was a Nolan film, I would say that in a nicer way since I've never insulted a Nolan movie like that before. But it's not a Nolan film; he may have produced it, but no. It's a Snyder film, and therefore I can say whatever damn please to. So I will say that Man of Steel is an entertaining popcorn film, a film that is absolutely perfect for the summer. It doesn't really line up with anything else Christopher Nolan has been involved with, mainly because it doesn't nearly capture the innovative style of his normal films. What's worse is that Man of Steel fails to rise above the mostly inevitable flaws of a comic book film, especially with its unfunny and extremely cheesy dialogue, bland side characters, distracting presentation of action and mayhem, and the overblown CGI. Most of all, it mostly fails to be what I expected it to be: a mediocre comic book-ish disaster. And that is why it mostly succeeds.


"Who killed the president?"

Around the time I watched JFK, I was reading this novel by Stephen King called "11/22/63". The title of this book was also the date of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Like this film, 11/22/63 was about the assassination, yet it also has its own set of characters. But the film and the book are very different. While JFK is about the true story of Kevin Costner's character and his colleagues trying to go in deeper into the Kennedy assassination and why it happened, 11/22/63 was a science fiction book. It was all about a teacher who is friends with a guy who owns a diner. One day, the guy calls the teacher to his diner, and the teacher finds out that the guy has a time machine in his diner. The guy is obsessed with finding out who killed John F. Kennedy and wants to stop whoever did it (because as it was illustrated in JFK, there was a sort of chain of horrible events after Kennedy's assassination, such as the Vietnam War, and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy). He tells the teacher to go back in time in order to stop Lee Harvey Oswald. So the book and the film are very different. But if I were pressed, the film made a much larger impact on me. On paper, the book should've made the bigger impact. It had a thrilling story, it was over 800 pages long, and featured a closer look at what really happened on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas. In fact, when I read that book, it held information I didn't know about Oswald such as him having a wife and brother. That was probably the most I ever knew about the events and people surrounding the assassination. But as informative and thrilling this Stephen King novel really was, it ain't got nothing on JFK.

I'm no stranger to the conspiracies and controversies surrounding the assassination. As a matter of fact, I am one of those people who are very interested with urban legends and conspiracies. I'm just very curious about the uncertainty of it all. So as one would point out, I should've been very interested in this movie since it is a conspiracy movie. Be that as it may, I initially thought JFK would be one of those long, drawn-out history films, retelling stuff that obviously already happened. Pretend you're in school, and the lesson that day was JFK's assassination. Your class is noisy, and your teacher becomes so irritated, she threatens to make the class stay in the room during recess. That doesn't stop your class, so your punishment is to sit down in your chair, and read your history book and learn all about the assassination until recess is over and you can go to your next period. That's what I though JFK would be, despite the fact I've seen its 84% rating on its RT page. "Going to your next period" was a metaphor for when the movie ends and you can stop being bored learning stuff that already happened. But this movie was truly incredible. It was bashed by some critics for not being truthful in some points, but in my opinion, JFK made history interesting. It told me about points and people who were part of the pre-assassination, post-assassination, and during the assassination. It introduced a cast of characters I never knew were part of anything like George De Mohrenschildt, Bill and Janet Williams, Jim Garrison, Clay Shaw/Clay Bertrand, David Ferrie, Oswald's wife Marina, Earl Warren, Guy Banister, and the mysterious Black Ops Agent called "X". All the performances were great, especially by Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Oldman, Donald Sutherland, Joe Pesci, and even Kevin Bacon. When Jim Garrison's team are together and one of them are telling everyone else about something find out, even if what they're are just facts, they were interesting and I just wanted to keep watching. The assassination already happened over 45 years ago, but it's just as every bit as interesting and thrilling as any movie you can buy at your local store. "It's a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma!", said by Joe Pesci's character David Ferrie pretty much summed up everything I thought about the film. Everything was so complicated, yet several people, most especially this one determined district attorney, was so focused on finding what they would give their lives for: the truth. They'd be disillusioned with anything less than the truth. It was already difficult to find the truth, yet there was even people who didn't want them to find it out. People who would also give their lives just so the truth would not be found out. Because of that, not only was each fact they revealed to each other over dinner interesting, it also made me excited because each fact was one step closer to what I also wanted to know: the truth. When a movie about a guy wanting to know a truth is so good that it makes the viewer want to know the truth too, you know that film is special. These people take the viewer with them on a journey to the truth and it was thrilling every single step of the way.

What I disliked about the film was what kept from giving this movie a complete 5 out of 5. When I first watched this movie, it was engaging and kept me completely immersed in the film. I did not want to stop watching, I did not go to the bathroom, I did not check the clock to see what time it was. I was focused. But I decided later on to rewatch the film in order to see if it was still cool. And it wasn't as cool. While the film was still really well-acted and crafted, when the team of Kevin Costner tell their facts over the table, I realized, it wasn't as riveting as the first viewing because I already knew those facts. After the first viewing of JFK, I realized that this film was different from other true story films I've seen because I didn't know about Jim Garrison's investigation and his case against Clay Shaw. There were other political true story films like Recount (starring Kevin Spacey and Denis Leary) and Game Change (starring Julianne Moore and Ed Harris). Recount and Game Change are about the political campaigns of Al Gore against George W. Bush and of John McCain against Barack Obama. Though Recount was only about the campaign team of Al Gore, Game Change was actually about Sarah Palin's involvement with John McCain's campaign (with Julianne Moore as Palin and Ed Harris as John McCain). Now, I know both of those films weren't like JFK or Argo, both of which relied on thrilling the audience. Recount and Game Change was about retelling the personal behind-the-scenes events that happened to those involved with the campaigns and elections of Gore and McCain. But nonetheless, I already knew who won the election, so no matter how the film tries build up that its main characters are working so hard so they'll win, it's sad to watch them doing it, 'cause you know they still lose. But for JFK, I didn't know anything. I didn't know about the different facts the team was talking about. I knew of the conspiracies, but I didn't know them like the back of my hand. When this movie revealed it to me, it was awesome. This film made all the dumb action and cheesy humor in Michael Bay's films look worse than they already are because you need a little more than looking at the picture to understand what's happening. This movie, like Pulp Fiction, was carried by the dialogue. It asks more from the viewer. It exercises your brain. And like Inception, because of that, this movie is so great in many ways. But when your watching it for a second time, you already know what happens and you already know how the ending's gonna turn out. As Roger Ebert once said, "Every great film should seem new every time you see it." That's what I feel about a lotta movies. But for this one? Not so much. Also, as interesting the ideas and theories of Mr. Garrison were, they were very outrageous. Because of this film, I can believe that Clay Shaw was Clay Bertrand therefore was an accomplice in a wide conspiracy to assassinate Jack Kennedy. Because of this film, I can believe that Lee Harvey Oswald wasn't alone on that fateful day on November 22, 1963. Because of this film, I can even believe that the Warren Commission was mostly a work of fiction, and was just released to satisfy the American public. But to believe that Lyndon B. Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover were part of everything and Kennedy's assassination was coup d'état? I know the film isn't exactly asking me to believe Jim Garrison. But I admit it. If I was alive in 1966-1969 when his investigation was on the news, I would think he was just a crazy guy with crazy anti-government theories even without the media displaying him as such.

When something big happens, like an assassination, the loss of a candidate at an election, or a financial crash, the public only see them with the naked eye. The media is what helps them comprehend and see these crises. Though it is kind of a fact that the media sometimes exaggerates things and as illustrated in JFK, they display rumors to destroy a reputation if it seems fit. The media has always done that, and they always will because there is no one there to stop them. Even if there is, I doubt it'll stop them. So there is no absolute way the public can know the real and definite truth behind these big events. There are even people other than the media, maybe politicians or even police authority, that don't want the truth to get out. Even for this film. Maybe Oliver Stone tweaked some important points, I don't know. I've never thought of that before, and when I watched this film, it brought out that thought, so I'll give this film that. It's four years until all the information about the assassination that was not discussed with the American public is released. Nobody knows anything until then. But until then we'll just have to make do with this movie. Anyway, JFK, with its fantastic dialogue and speeches, great performances, and its unique style, JFK is a spectacular and truly unforgettable film. Though it might not warrant repeated viewings, one cannot forget the impact and thrill caused by the thought-provoking first viewing of the closest look into one of the greatest and controversial mysteries ever to exist within American history.

Pitch Perfect

"I'm gonna finish him like a cheesecake!"

I feel I was a bit unprofessional in my original review of this film, since it was like the second review I ever did, so I'm gonna make a new one. Like I explained in the original review, I first heard of Pitch Perfect from a friend in school. He was asking everyone if they saw Pitch Perfect, the new movie. I was an avid user of Rotten Tomatoes, even back then. So of course I heard of Pitch Perfect. To me, it was just a movie with that girl from Up in the Air and 50/50 and was Certified Fresh. When I saw the all the positive feedback it was getting, I got a little interested. Up until then, I didn't know what this film was about. I admit it, when Pitch Perfect was first announced at RT with a trailer, I thought it was all about a heist of some kind. But only because I remember thinking the thumbnail for Pitch Perfect's trailer on the main page had Anna Kendrick wearing a black ski cap and black clothing. That's what I remember thinking, but I don't think that's what was actually on the thumbnail. Also, the caption on the thumbnail (the one typed with small, yellow letters) only had "Pitch" on it, so I also thought the name of the film was only "Pitch". But later on, I found out it was Pitch Perfect and that can't be a heist name. Then I saw Pitch Perfect on the news as part of the opening films that week and they showed like 4-5 seconds of the film. That's when I figured out what the plot was. Just a bunch of college kids singing together in a group against a bunch of other people singing together in a group. That's when I lost my interest. Okay, now I'm getting a bit negative here since that synopsis is probably the worst way to present it. But no matter how amazing a summary of this film can be, I still wouldn't really be that interested in it. But I never suspected it to be bad, whether it wasn't interesting or otherwise. So back to guy from school. By then, I've already had the tendency to hate things that are overhyped by people. I would think that a person, whenever he hears a good song or sees a good movie, he would like it. But when that song/movie gets really overhyped, he gets annoyed a bit by the hype, but he would still like that song/movie. But unfortunately, I'm not like that. Once something gets overhyped, I'm done with it. I automatically don't like it, even if I started out liking it. Like Gangnam Style. Anyway, isn't one person at this one school talking about this one movie not exactly considered as "overhyping"? That question was strictly rhetorical. One guy talking about a movie isn't overhyping at all. But as it turns out, Pitch Perfect became one of the most talked-about films in my school for the next 3 months. So, as I said before, I started hating it really badly. Every day, first thing I hear at school are the tapping of plastic cups on tables and really bad singing. I've seen a thread in the Pitch Perfect RT page saying that Pitch Perfect was awful. I haven't watched the film yet, so I had no say in the matter. So despite I cursed Ms. Kendrick and the director of this film with my everlasting breath for the spell it cast onto the people I see everyday, I still went on and watched it just so I can talk all sorts of trash about it. But that's not what I'm gonna do.

There was some toe-tapping, sing-along fun to be found in this movie. There was some, but it wasn't really worth to sit through the whole movie just to see some of that. Like the auditions for the cappella groups. Or when Becca watched The Breakfast Club. Parts of those scenes were pretty funny in their own way. It was funny at what it was supposed to be: a clever college-themed musical film. Lots of laughs, bit of drama, scenes upon scenes of popular modern songs being sung on the silver screen. For the rest of the movie, I got what they were going for, but for me they didn't actually succeed. There was another moment I liked in the film. That one moment, I forgot when it was, but it was when a song was played. It wasn't a covered song, but it was a song in the background and it was played during a sequence of some sort. It was "Starships" by Nicki Minaj. I'm not really a big fan of Nicki Minaj or her music, but it's not a song that I hate. I mean, if I was listening to the radio and Starships just played on, I wouldn't throw the radio out the window or try to rip off my ears. But when I heard it in Pitch Perfect, it was when I actually enjoyed hearing a song on screen. The reason for that comes later on. But the thing I liked the most about Pitch Perfect was the quirky, fun mood of it all. I like most of my films serious and dark because I guess I grew up liking movies that way. Memento, Taxi Driver, Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight Rises. They were all amazing, mostly because my taste unfortunately sides with that kind of film. But there is a reason why I liked The Dark Knight and The Big Lebowski from most of those. They had their own balanced moments of humor. The Joker brings this gleeful feel to mix with the gritty and brooding masterpiece that was The Dark Knight, and The Big Lebowski, of course, is the funniest film I've ever seen. I didn't like it as much as The Dark Knight because it lacks at least a single scene that contains a serious or suspenseful tone that The Dark Knight had in almost every scene. Other films that I completely loved just because of the energetic and/or comedic mood were Boogie Nights (the opening sequence at the nightclub was mesmerizing), Django Unchained ("Goodbye, Ms. Lara") Pulp Fiction ("I shot Marvin in the face."), Snatch (this film is probably the epitome of sarcastic comedy) and most animated films. Even Seven Psychopaths and Shaun of the Dead had their own brutally and darkly comedic moments. Even for animated films. Even if they have humor intended for children, adults can also find something in those films because they're clever. I haven't watched Hairspray, but for the short bits of the film I see, I feel that Toy Story and Monsters Incorporated-esque clever and humorous mood that is intended for children. So I also thought Pitch Perfect's mood and the actual film itself would be humorous and clever in a way Monsters Inc and Hairspray was, albeit with curses and more adult humor trying to target older audiences. The film did have curses and adult humor that I didn't really like, but it has that cleverly humorous and quirky mood. The mood of the film made and still makes me want to like that film because the mood was supposed to remind of the similar yet milder mood of the animated films I loved to pieces. It made me want to like the film, so I'll give it that.

First of all, this movie had some good jokes. Jokes I would normally laugh at. There were performances that would usually consider really good and really fun, but by that point, I was too tired of watching this film to care. Also, I didn't really like how they presented Rebel Wilson's character in the film. Yeah sure, her performance was like Eddie Murphy's in Tower Heist or Jack Nicholson's in Batman (1989). A performance that stands out and overshadows all the others. But her character was, in my opinion, one of the weakest parts of this film. In any film, and I'm not just talking about some college-themed musical dramedy, there almost always has to be a comedian or the lunatic. The wisecracker or the psychopath. Someone who has to be the person the audience most certainly pays attention to. Someone who stands out whenever they are on the screen. Someone who's not necessarily the main character, but whose face is on every production image and poster for the film. I don't normally like those characters because the studios shove them down our throats hoping for those kinds of characters will make will make us laugh and make us care about them. But they just end up being loud and obnoxious. I like characters like that if they are subtly presented like John McClane or Christopher Walken's character Hans in Seven Psychopaths. John McClane was first presented as an average cop with the distant wife and he cares about his kids and all that. I didn't suspect him to be anyone out of the ordinary, mostly because for me, the people around him were more obvious and stranger than him (Argyle, Hans Gruber). But when he was faced with all the danger and stuff, he didn't see any reason not to show that he really was a tough and enduring man who will talk trash about his enemies to his final breath. For Hans in Seven Psychopaths, sure, he seemed a little odd with his timid manner and weird clothing, but he was still an old man. But later on, he show the audience the strange, deadpan psychopath that lived underneath his peaceful self. In Pitch Perfect, Rebel Wilson, once I saw her on screen, with the British accent and the large build, the director might as well have put a giant red sign that says, "I'm this film's comic relief!" written in frilly white letters on her. Also, I like those characters that aren't overly comedic. Like Sam Rockwell's character Billy in Seven Psychopaths, Christoph Waltz's character Dr. Schultz in Django Unchained, or Brendan Gleeson's character Sergeant Boyle in The Guard. They were all already presented as the comic relief the second they were on screen, so they weren't exactly subtle. But what still made them really good characters was that they weren't telling jokes and wisecracks during every scene because that just gets annoying. No, they all had their dramatic and dark moments and also had different personas. Billy was not only an unpredictable psychopath, but also a caring friend to Marty and Hans. Dr. Schultz was a cunning bounty hunter, and also ended up caring about Django and Broomhilda. Sergeant Boyle only had his wisecracking persona, but he also had a soft side for his friends and especially his family. Now I might be a little unfair to Wilson's character since a dramatic character isn't really what a college-themed musical film needs. We have Ms. Kendrick's character for that. But like I said, the film should've had Rebel Wilson doing something else besides the jokes and wisecracks in every scene she's in because it gets irritating. Also Kendrick's character kinda annoyed me. I'm not trying misogynistic here, but she was a little too strong-minded. She didn't want anyone to help her and she wanted to be on her own and stuff even if she did need help. I felt really sorry for Skylar Astin's character who just wanted to help her. Finally, I'll explain the reason why hearing Starships as a background song was a positive thing. It's because the song wasn't sung by any of the cast members. It was sung by the original singer. Let's take a song from the film. Any song. Let's say, "Party in the U.S.A" by Miley Cyrus, which Becca and the whole group sang on their road trip. That was a song that I didn't consider good because, well, Miley Cyrus. I didn't like the original, and someone else singing it or a group of people singing it won't make it better. But if I had to choose which is better to listen to, I would pick hearing the original song sung by the original singer instead of a person or a bunch of people singing it the same way. I know the film is supposed to be covering different modern songs and should let us, the audience, hear those songs in the voices of the film's main stars. But it's just another reason I don't like this film. I just don't like its style of taking songs from pop culture and just making the stars sing what I've heard countless times before. Wayne's World did that, but they didn't overdo it. Acceptable substitutes of films that take songs from the modern world and making the main stars sing it in the actual film are movies like The Big Lebowski or movies like Les Miserables. The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction, Magnolia, Jackie Brown, Reservoir Dogs, Goodfellas. What do they all have in common? They all have songs taken from the modern world of its time and put it eclectically into the films. But the songs are played in the soundtrack in its original version and sung by the original singer. That's good. Now how about Les Miserables and Sweeney Todd? What do they have in common? They're both musicals. They both have songs that are sung by the people starring in it. But most importantly, the songs the cast members sing are original. Sweeney Todd and Les Miserables were based on stuff that were created long ago when the people who plays didn't have a Bieber-esque public musical figure to get their songs from. So when they created Sweeney Todd, they created songs just for the occasion. And these songs were catchy and most of them had the dark and brooding mood so they could be fit perfectly into the play. Creating a catchy song is better, in my opinion, than just lazily taking a song from modern pop culture. So when that one moment when the original version of a song was played, even if it was a Nicki Minaj song, all I thought was, "Finally, I'm enjoying myself." But it lasted all too briefly. And also, like I said in my initial review, Pitch Perfect was actually a decent-ish film. But this film being decent-ish only made me hate it even more because it got so much hype and praise even if it was just decent.

I myself feel I'm a little too unfair. If I liked this film, and this was someone else's negative review, I would think, "The guy writing is a complete idiot. It doesn't matter if he liked The Dark Knight, Taxi Driver, Ed Wood, Memento, In Bruges, or any other film I also liked. Saying Seven Psychopaths was better than Pitch Perfect is like saying Django Unchained was better Reservoir Dogs." That was I would say because Pitch Perfect had the potential to be really, really good. If I actually enjoyed it, if it was actually a good movie overall for me, I feel as if I'd like it so much I'd like it better than Seven Psychopaths like how most people liked Reservoir Dogs than Django Unchained. But like I said, I'm being too unfair because I was influenced to give Pitch Perfect a negative review. All the hype it got was ruining the way things worked around my life and the impression the movie gave me of itself became lower and lower everyday. But I guess that's just how it goes down. The impression this movie gave was bad, and therefore I hated it. I can't change anything about it. Also, the movie toned down the good impression I originally had for The Breakfast Club. It toned it down real good. I'm not really looking forward to seeing it anymore. Okay, maybe I feel that because it was used in Pitch Perfect. You see what this movie is doing? My hatred for this movie is bringing out a feeling that I didn't know I had before. Thank God they didn't feature Jaws or Rocky or else I might've found out that I'm not really into predator movies or that I don't really like sports films. I feel a need to put a disclaimer, so here you go: This review in any way isn't meant to offend or degrade fans of this film. I would say to myself, "Why am I apologizing? Pitch Perfect wasn't some Oscar-worthy film that would be considered one of the best films of the 2010's and/or of all time. Who cares if 1 or 2 or 25 people hate this review? You do not apologize for your opinion. You're not hating on The Godfather. You're hating on a movie that is a complete and total waste of time." But as I said, if I put myself in a Pitch Perfect fan's shoes and see a good movie getting trashed, I'd be mad. So I'm not gonna say that anyone who liked this film was a 13-17 year old screaming, annoying One Directioner who has posters of Big Time Rush and the Jonas Brothers on their bedroom walls. I'm gonna say anyone who liked this film is a normal person who just happens to like these kinds of movies. And I'm okay with that. Everyone has their tastes. If I were to pick a movie I loved so much that I would loathe anyone who hates it, it would obviously be The Dark Knight. If someone gives The Dark Knight 70% or below, that guy is dead to me. I'm sure lots of people have movies like that. If anyone hates on it, all respect for that guy is automatically gone. I'm sure some people even have lists of movies like that. If Pitch Perfect is one of those movies, I'm sorry. If you loved this movie and hated this review even after I apologized, that's probably the time when I don't care if you hated it. But if it makes you feel any better, I'm not even gonna say that Pitch Perfect was a complete waste of money and time or a movie for epileptics or anything like that. What I'm gonna say is that overall, in my opinion, Pitch Perfect was a formulaic yet flashy and entertaining movie. With that remark, I'm not sure what it wants to be. Does it wanna be a formulaic, saccharine, melodramatic, sentimental, obnoxious, shamelessly offensive, overly (albeit unfunnily) comedic movie that unabashedly disgraces cinema with undeserved hype and tired themes? Or does it want to be a toe-tapping, energetic, unique, spectacular, moving, uproariously funny, over-the-top, perfectly made film that proves to be a milestone and at the same time a revival to the school-themed genre? When I watch this film, I see those two sides fighting each other so much that I start not caring and I get up and walk away. Eventually, the two sides rip this film in half. Everything I considered good became bad, and everything I considered bad became worse. The two sides upset the established order until everything became mediocrity. This film is an agent of mediocrity.

The Dark Knight Rises

"No one cared who I was until I put on the mask."

When I first watched the sequel to my favorite film of all time, it was in a really bad theater. The quality of the picture was fine, but the audio was horrible. Everything the characters said were echoes. Every single piece of dialogue. The first character I noticed speaking like that was Bane, and I thought it was just the effect of his mask. But later on, most notably at the party hosted by Wayne Manor, I realized that everything became way harder to understand. As a result, I almost didn't understand a single point of the movie. I understood that Batman died, presumably. I understood that thing with Miranda Tate and Bane and her father. I understood the twist. When Batman was confronting Bane about the whereabouts of the bomb trigger, when Miranda stabs Batman in his abdomen and reveals herself as the one and only child of Ra's Al Ghul, I was shocked. Up until then, I was trying to comprehend the excruciatingly difficult-to-comprehend-because-of-the-audio plot. When The Dark Knight Rises was announced and it had all those trailers and production pictures, I originally thought that Marion Cotillard was Talia Al Ghul. I already found out about Talia's character being used the third installment of Christopher Nolan's much-loved The Dark Knight trilogy from several news stories from different movie websites. But when the cast was first presented on The Dark Knight Rises' Rotten Tomatoes page, I saw the name under Marion Cotillard's name was Miranda Tate. I had no idea who that was, but the point is that she wasn't Talia. As a result, I dismissed the rumor that Talia would be in the final movie. I didn't understand the "child born and raised in Hell climbing out the Pit" story because of, like I said, the audio. But I heard of some talk about Liam Neeson's character in Batman Begins, who was Ra's Al Ghul. And besides that, I clearly saw Liam Neeson in the film as Ra's Al Ghul again. But I had no idea what he was saying, and even if I did, I wouldn't understand. Like I was saying, I didn't even suspect Miranda to be a villain. And when she was revealed to be the behind-the-scenes, pulls-the-strings antagonist, my heart skipped a beat. Literally, when she said, "But he isn't the child of Ra's Al Ghul," or something like that, she stabs Batman. He falls down. "I am." Goosebumps suddenly appeared on my skin like magic as I stared at the screen, transfixed. I didn't expect a thing. After watching it, I feared it would be the first Nolan film I ever disliked. But as I realized later on, and as many would point out, the only reason I didn't like it was because I didn't watch it properly. Less than a year later, I realized it, and TDKR was on my list of must-watches (Hot Fuzz, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, There Will Be Blood, Liar Liar, and soon enough, The Dark Knight Rises). It was soon on DVD, and though I didn't buy it immediately, I eventually did a few months later. By then, I heard positive and negative stuff about it. When there were positive reviews, they were generally positive, not largely or lightly. I only heard the negative stuff in RT. And when it was negative, it was really, really negative. Like 10-20/100 negative. But I watched the film with a fresh perspective, with all the reviews, positive or negative, and all the nostalgic remnants of earlier The Dark Knight installments out of my mind. And all Christopher Nolan films, altogether. Inception and Memento, didn't think about 'em. I did all that so I wouldn't be biased in my opinion and so I wouldn't compare TDKR to The Dark Knight or any other possibly better film. And I feel very mixed about everything.

I have to give credit to Christopher Nolan because all of the films I've seen so far under his direction were films I really liked. If I were to make a list in order of how much I liked them, it would be: 1. The Dark Knight 2. Memento 3. Batman Begins 4. The Dark Knight Rises and Inception (TIE). I haven't seen Insomnia or Following. Now obviously, I liked The Dark Knight Rises. But I see The Dark Knight Rises as two different aspects. One aspect would be how it good was as a film. If you were to pretend that the Nolan installments preceding TDKR never existed, and if you were to erase that part of the film where you were expected to have already watched the previous two installments in order to understand what was happening, The Dark Knight Rises is really good as a movie. As an ordinary film, yeah. The Dark Knight Rises is really good. Best movie of 2012? No, because that title belongs Seven Psychopaths. But it's one of the best of 2012, because as a film, it's pretty good indeed. The other aspect will be discussed later. What I really liked about The Dark Knight Rises was the villain and the storyline. Although, I wouldn't really commend the whole outlandish cast of characters, I commend Tom Hardy's character. He was a really despicable mastermind. He was strong and bulky. He didn't need henchman to protect himself and only needed men to carry out his plans. As the Joker in The Dark Knight was a psychopath without a sensible plan, he's on one side of the bad guy spectrum. Bane is on the other side. He's well-organized and sane. He is a terrorist who justifies his actions and masks himself as a liberator giving Gotham City back to its citizens. He also has a tremendous plan where neither the government nor the military can interfere and save the day. It's like how Hans Gruber turned the Nakatomi Plaza into a hostage building in Die Hard. Bane does what Hans does, but does it to an entire city with a population of about 12 million people (while Hans had like 30 hostages. But Die Hard is still awesome). It was a really intelligent and villainous plan I'd have to admit, which leads us to our story. Similar to The Dark Knight, TDKR has a really great story, albeit on a much larger and wider scale. It was mixture of an excommunicated, chronically injured mastermind's plan for a peaceful, formerly corrupted city, and the plan of an isolated and unsung hero to return and salvage the aforementioned city that shunned him. Throw in a couple of interesting characters (Joseph Gordon-Levitt's and Marion Cotillard's characters are the other pretty cool characters besides Bane) and once you mix those story lines together, it soon becomes a farce where Bane, while heading his master plan, tries to break Batman. Bane tries to make Batman feel the darkness and despair Bane felt while imprisoned inside the exact definition of Hell on earth. I heard that each The Dark Knight installment had a certain theme. No matter what was going on, this theme was the main middle. It was the core that pulled everything together. Batman Begins was about Fear ("Tell us, Mr. Wayne, what do you fear?"), The Dark Knight was about chaos ("I'm an agent of chaos."), and The Dark Knight Rises was about Pain ("Then, I will break you.") TDKR was about Pain, and was supposed to execute its theme. And it did so very well.

Even as an ordinary movie, the film has its cheesy moments. And when it became kinda cheesy, it was really cheesy. For example, when the war had started, and all the mercenaries and cops are fighting, Bane and Batman somehow see each other amidst all the anarchy. They go closer to each other, and Bane says, "So, you came back to die with your city." Batman responds, "No, I came back to stop you." On paper, it sounds good enough. But no. In my second viewing, I noticed how cheesy Batman's response to Bane's otherwise villainous remark. "No, I came back to stop you." I'm no script doctor, but they really couldn't think of anything else to say? I expected Batman to say something unexpected or witty. Obviously, he came back to stop Bane. It's like in Star Wars Episode V and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke says, "(About Luke's father) He told me enough. He told me you killed him." Darth Vader famously responds, "No, I am your father." In Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim movie, towards the end of the film at the club owned by Jason Schwartzman's character, Scott Pilgrim bursts in and confronts Schwartzman. Schwartzman's character Gideon, as Scott is getting ready to fight him asks Scott, "You wanna fight me, for her?", referring to Mary Elizabeth Winstead's character, Ramona. Scott says, "Was I not clear?", or in other words, yes. He wants to fight Gideon for Ramona. He gains "The Power of Love" sword, which he fights Gideon with. But his sword isn't strong enough, it eventually gets destroyed, and Scott dies. But due to an extra life he gained, he goes back, and he confronts Gideon once again. Faced with the same scenario, Gideon asks Scott once again, "You wanna fight me, for her?" Scott answers differently, and responds, "No, I wanna fight you for me." He earns the Power of Self-Respect sword and he wins. Like in The Dark Knight Rises, "No, I am your father." and "No, I wanna fight you for me." were presented as, "No, _________." But unlike that quote from The Dark Knight Rises, those two quotes were unexpected and caused goosebumps. Sure, people will be quoting The Dark Knight Rises a year or even two years from now. But that line...sure it seems like I'm being too hung over by one piece of dialogue, but really, it was that bad. Another corny thing was Miranda Tate AKA Talia Al Ghul's death. I had an idea on how her death could have been cooler and more realistic. When I first watched TDKR in that bad theater, I already understood that she died even if I didn't understand pretty much anything else. After watching it, I asked my friend, "What was that? Why did Marion Cotillard die?" So, in my natural opinion, her death was so cheesy, it was unbelievable. But my idea was for her death to be similar to the death of Brendan Gleeson's character Ken in the Martin McDonagh film In Bruges. Although his cause of death was falling from a distant height, the way he slowly descends into dying could've been how it was done for Marion Cotillard in TDKR. Like Brendan Gleeson in In Bruges, Talia should have been bloodied. She should've been covered in blood from the crash. When Batman opens the truck door only to find the dying Talia, she should've been covered in her own blood and then she should say her lines about fulfilling her father's will and all that stuff. Then, instead of dying like some Nickelodeon character, her eyes should've slowly turned into whites, and her eyelids should close only to show some of her completely white eyeballs. And her head should've fallen backwards, not sideways. The eyes turning into whites thing was just like how Brendan Gleeson died in In Bruges. It seems to be gruesome death for Christopher Nolan movie, but that is what's supposed to happen if the truck you're driving falls from a freeway and smashes front first onto the road. Now let's talk about the other aspect of the film I was talking about. Sure, The Dark Knight Rises was really good as a film. But as the conclusion of The Dark Knight trilogy? I don't think so. Most people would disagree with me. They would say that The Dark Knight Rises was a really good end to what may be one of the greatest trilogies since The Lord of the Rings. They would say the only way to describe the conclusion of this trilogy was "with a bang." But I disagree. There are trilogies that ended with a bang (Toy Story 3). There are trilogies that ended badly (The Hangover Part III, The Matrix Revolutions). There are trilogies the ended decently but wasn't exactly the proper conclusion to the trilogy (The Godfather Part III). I consider The Dark Knight Rises to be exactly like the latter. It can't end here. Sure, Nolan and Bale have ended their contracts. Sure, if they continue with this Batman franchise, their career will only be described as "the guys who made The Dark Knight Franchise" and not for anything else. But why is that so bad? Other people have worse profiles at IMDB. They need to come back. This is a trilogy that needs to be made into a franchise (albeit with the same main star and writer/director) because this trilogy is a franchise where really good filmmaking culminated in all the installments. The mistake the studios make is that they make franchises and trilogies based on the success accumulated by the first one (Jaws, RoboCop, The Karate Kid, Death Wish), which created diminishing returns. They might've broken the diminishing returns streak with the fifth and sixth Fast & the Furious installments, but that's not the point. The point is everyone needs to return because TDKR wasn't a good enough conclusion.

Because of the dislike section of my review, you might think I hated this film, but the truth is, I really liked it. I can recall something Jeremy Jahns said in his review of Inception, "On the eighth day, God created Christopher Nolan, and on the ninth he started making movies," or something like that. And it's true. Without Nolan, the Batman franchise would've ended at the Batman & Robin one by Joel Schumacher. That can't happen. And it didn't. Nolan brought the franchise back from the dead. That's exactly what they did with Batman Begins and they're ending it with The Dark Knight Rises. The franchise is once again being put to rest by Mr. Nolan, in hopes that another young and intelligent filmmaker similar to him will bring it back and entertain us once more. But if it isn't, at least it all ended on a good note. I for one am sad that the trilogy's wrapping up, but I am looking forward for more diverse and amazing projects from Mr. Nolan. Overall, The Dark Knight Rises, despite its sporadic corniness, wins fans, non-fans and critics alike with its masterful villain that separates itself from the generic moustache-twirling bad guy, intriguing story lines, and is a good, if not deserved, conclusion to the series of wondrous films that was once The Dark Knight Trilogy.

Vampires Suck

"A chihuahua, seriously?"
"Yeah, I'm new to this thing."

Where do I start? Um, okay. Some people say that Vampires Suck was actually one of the better Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer movies. But if I remember correctly, before I was an avid moviegoer, I was just a normal guy who would laugh at any absurd comedy. And I remember Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, and Old Dogs were three of my favorites. Oh God, I was a moron. But anyway, at least, for a while, I liked Epic Movie and Disaster Movie. But later on, when I was older and smarter, I watched this one. By then, I have already realized how stupid I was for liking those kinds of films. But still, I watched Vampire Sucks in order to find out if I was still like that. Not at all, fortunately. I never knew what former me (the moron who liked Friedberg & Seltzer films) would've thought about this film and I never will. Former me never got the chance to watch Vampire Sucks because by then he's already evolved into current me, a guy who actually has taste. But nevertheless, current me still has an opinion about this film.

This time I'm gonna start with my dislikes. I haven't seen all those critically acclaimed spoof films like The Naked Gun or Hot Shots! or Airplane, so currently, I don't really know what a good spoof film is like. But I read something in one article of the website of the British magazine Empire (In the 50 Worst Films of All Time article) that was concerning the difference between Airplane! and Epic Movie. Airplane! spoofed lots of famous things from pop culture yet had unchanging focus. Epic Movie, or in this case Vampires Suck, was a disastrous and atrociously unfunny mess. Sure, it targeted lots of famous things, but it was too unfocused in its gags and tried to push in, albeit unfunnily, every single gag Friedberg & Seltzer could think of. And why was Ken Jeong in it? He could've taken any other role! He's a good actor; he was in the Hangover and Community. If he couldn't get any other role, he could've just focused on his TV career. Also, if Friedberg & Seltzer can use any famous pop culture topic as basis for their film, at least they could've used a topic people actually like (I don't hate the Twilight series, but most people do). From the clips and bits I've seen of Hot Shots, Airplane, and The Naked Gun, they pretty much knew what they were trying to spoof. They didn't over-spoof, either. They didn't cram everything they could think of. They stayed on one or two targets in each scene and had an actual focused storyline. "Surely you can't be serious." "I am serious. And don't call me Shirley." That's a funny line. It's unexpected and witty. With Vampires Suck, you already know the kind of immature humor Friedberg & Seltzer are into. I feel as if the first Scary Movie is funnier than this film, mostly because this film is a travesty (and because the first Scary Movie is the only one in the franchise someone would consider funny). Everything is a travesty with these guys. And they keep getting funded. Some people wouldn't know why. Some people would think, "Why would anyone like these Friedberg & Seltzer films and go to watch them, which just increases the money each film makes?" I remember seeing this video on YouTube called Top 10 Movie Spoofs by the channel WatchMojo. They included the aforementioned critically acclaimed spoof films, and also included other great spoofs (and also some of the funniest films of all time) like Blazing Saddles, Austin Powers, and Galaxy Quest. They even included Spaceballs, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, MacGruber, and the first Scary Movie. Because of that, I would think that they're pretty decent, despite their rotten ratings. Other films they ought to add, in my opinion, are Shaun of the Dead, Young Frankenstein (which was almost on the list, but was ultimately and entirely replaced by Blazing Saddles), and Monty Python. But if you go to the comments section, you'll see comments along the lines of, "Where's Meet the Spartans?", "You should add Vampires Suck. That one was one of my all time favorites!", and "What about A Haunted House? Also, Epic Movie and Date Movie cause those films were hilarious!". And if you go to each of the Friedberg & Seltzer film trailers, you'll see that there are more positive comments than negative (or in real talk, there are more blind people than tasteful people). I'm one of those guys who respects most opinions, especially of those who are reasonable in why they liked Evan Almighty or why they disliked The Seventh Seal. But there are just some opinions I can't stand. There's just that one opinion.

What did I like about Vampires Suck? Now that I think about, nothing really.

This review, despite the fact it was for Vampires Suck, it was more of an analysis of the overall filmography of Friedberg & Seltzer and the genre of spoof altogether. One of the things I hate the most about these spoof ruiners and bad directors overall (Uwe Boll) is that sometimes (mostly Uwe Boll) they are able to cast actors with actual talent. Christian Slater, Edward Furlong, Eric Roberts, Ben Kingsley, Jason Statham. Talented people who's abilities were wasted in the undeserving films of Uwe Boll. Now for Friedberg & Seltzer, they got David Carradine, Kal Penn, Crispin Glover, Pat Morita, Nicolette Sheridan, Kevin McDonald, Kevin Hart, Alyson Hannigan, Fred Willard, Judah Friedlander, Ken Jeong, Marcia Gay Harden, and Andy Griffith. They even had people who weren't actors but were still talented like Weird Al and Ray Charles. But worst of all, when Friedberg & Seltzer were the writers for "Spy Hard", Leslie Nielsen, one of the funniest and greatest spoof (and even serious) actors of all time, was the main star. He was in Superhero Movie, but at least that film had no traces of Friedberg & Seltzer in it. Spy Hard was written by them. Depressing, isn't it? Friedberg & Seltzer should just stick with the untalented cast members they have like Kim Kardashian, Crista Flanagan, and Carmen Electra. Vampires Suck even had Diedrich Bader in it, and he was a pretty good Batman in the Brave and the Bold Series. But anywho, altogether, Vampires Suck is a film I don't consider a single film. No, because I consider all Friedberg & Seltzer films to be one. If I wrote another review for any other Friedberg & Seltzer parody, I wouldn't know what to type cause everything's right here. For all my other reviews on Disaster Movie, Epic Movie, Date Movie and Meet the Spartans, it's gonna be a three word review and it's not "I love it," or "It's pretty decent." You know what's a good action movie? The Raid: Redemption. You know what's a bad action flick? Bad Boys II. You know what's a good buddy cop film? Rush Hour or Lethal Weapon. You know what's a bad one? Showtime. Good airplane film. The Aviator. Bad one. Pearl Harbor. Good political thriller. JFK. Bad one. The Sentinel in 2006. If you wanna know a good comedy, check all the critically acclaimed spoof films I mentioned above, and also Hot Fuzz, Paul, Dr. Strangelove, The Hangover, Zoolander, In Bruges, Top Secret, Knocked Up, The 40-Year Old Virgin, and countless others. But for a bad, nay, outlandishly atrocious comedy, you can't just mention Bio-Dome or Freddy Got Fingered or Grown Ups or any of those Adam Sandler ones. You wanna see the worst comedy ever? Try this one. It'll be a riot.

The Dark Knight

"I think you and I are destined to do this forever."

I love comic book films. There were the 3 Iron Man films (all of which I loved), The First Avenger, Thor. But I don't consider The Dark Knight a comic book film. 2012's The Avengers is a comic book film. It's cartoonish and action-packed. It had aliens, battlesuits, gods, other realms, and other things that aren't real. The First Avenger had a bright and shining agent of unlimited power in the shape of a cube and had us believe Steve Rogers survived getting frozen (Even if he was a superhuman, his blood and pulse would also freeze along with his physical self, therefore killing him.) Thor had the obvious theme of magic and supernatural gods. I could also add Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy and Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man to the list of comic book films above. Both Raimi's and Webb's versions had an awkward teenage boy getting bitten by a radioactive spider. What all these films had in common were they had unrealistic set pieces. As unrealistic as they were, these films were more loyal to the comics they used as a basis. The most realistic of the movies above were, in my opinion, Iron Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man. Iron Man 3, instead of displaying the Mandarin to be an old man with magic rings as his weapon, showed him to be a terrorist leader. The Amazing Spider-Man became more loyal to the comic and at the same time became more realistic by, instead of Peter's spider web coming from his wrist, showing that Peter's spider web came from a wrist device that Peter invented. Then again, Iron Man 3 had the fiery superhuman bit while The Amazing Spider-Man had a man turn into a mutated, hulking lizard-man. Now, I'm not saying I didn't like all those films. I loved every single one of the films mentioned above except Spider-Man 3 (which I would downgrade to "kinda liked"). I just think that these films are inferior to The Dark Knight. I don't consider The Dark Knight as a comic book film. In fact, to any critic's review, positive or negative, that says that The Dark Knight is a comic book film is a review I'd have to agree to disagree with. I even disagree with the critics consensus with that one bit where it says this movie succeeds as a comic book movie. It doesn't. This film makes Daredevil, Elektra, and The Fantastic Four look like Superman (1978), The Rocketeer, and The Mask of the Phantasm in comparison if you're talking about how great this film is as a comic book movie. In the Batman comics, Batman goes against monsters and magic. This film isn't loyal. It changes how the Joker and Two-Face became who they were, it continues to choose a completely fictional character (Rachel Dawes) to be a main character, and most of all, Bruce Wayne does a Sam Elliott impression every time he dons his costume. No, this film isn't a comic book film. It's a superhero film. It uses comic book characters, but it's not about comics. It's about heroes.

Here is The Dark Knight's best film set pieces in order:

1. Story
2. Characters/Performances
3. Script

Let's talk about the script. The Dark Knight follows The Big Lebowski as the most quotable movie of all time. The script was brilliant and it created a very serious and ghoulishly brooding overtone for the film. Serious and brooding overtones aren't necessarily good. Just look at Daredevil. But it made The Dark Knight different from older versions of Batman. It separated Christian Bale from Adam West, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney. It separated Aaron Eckhart from Tommy Lee Jones (who is still really, really awesome by the way). It separated Maggie Gyllenhaal from Kim Basinger. It separated Heath Ledger from Cesar Romero. This overtone made the Joker gleeful and terrifyingly villainous in a way that was more powerful than Jack Nicholson's Joker (But I think both Ledger's and Nicholson's versions were equally great in their own ways. And Jack Nicholson is still really, really awesome). Now let's talk about the characters. I've met some people who thought Heath Ledger's performance was only universally acclaimed out of respect for the dead. Which in this case, was unfortunately Mr. Ledger himself. RIP, by the way. But in my opinion, Ledger's suspense-inducing and horrifying portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime is up there on the Greatest Film Characters Hall of Fame along with The Dude, Walter Sobchak, Travis Bickle, Ed Wood, Gerry Boyle, Agent K, and many others. The rest of the cast was also spectacular. Christian Bale brought depth into the character of Batman in a way even the other good Batman (Michael Keaton) never could. Aaron Eckhart was a really great villain, and he makes the viewer feel sad that Harvey Dent became a bad guy because he could've been a much greater hero. Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are amazing as usual. The characters are a very big part of a film. Films with great characters like The Big Lebowski and Magnolia are enough to make them both marvelous, entertaining, and unforgettable. Similarly, the characters of The Dark Knight are one of the major reasons this film is phenomenal. Finally, there's the story. I will tell you of a film that had great visual effects and a great performance from its main star. That film was Oblivion. The positive things RT counted from Oblivion was the special effects and the performance of Tom Cruise. But what critics didn't find present in it was a good story, which was most likely what led to its rotten rating that's ever so close to a fresh one. The story of The Dark Knight took genuine storytelling and actual elements from the comics and put them into one book. For example, the comic The Killing Joke exchanged between two story lines: Batman trying to save Commissioner Gordon from the Joker's new bad guy plan, and the backstory of the evil yet mysterious clown prince of crime, the Joker. The Dark Knight's story was more similar to the former. The Joker's current plan for Commissioner Gordon was to put him through a day of true Hell. Joker captures the Commissioner's daughter, Barbara Gordon (AKA Batgirl), and shoots her through the spine, crippling her. In my opinion, that has to be Comic Book Joker's most villainous deed since he beat Jason Todd with a crowbar and blowing him up with his biological mother. Anyway, Joker's plan in The Killing Joke was to show Batman that anyone, even the sanest person on the planet, can turn into a lunatic through a day of pain and torture. In order to show Batman that, he cripples Batgirl (also turning her into her other heroine persona, Oracle), strips her naked, takes pictures of her bloodied and exposed body, captures Gordon, strips him naked (I don't know what's up with that), and sends Gordon through a roller coaster of Hell. During the ride, he is surrounded by pictures of his daughter's bloodied body all the while getting laughed at by the Joker's creepy henchmen and being subjected to the forced listening to Joker's impromptu jingle about insanity. The Joker expects Gordon to be insane at the end of the ride, but the bad guys never win. Similarly, the Joker does this to Harvey Dent by getting him captured, having half of his face burned off, and killing his fiancée (who had just accepted his proposal). Although unlike Commissioner Gordon in The Killing Joke comic, Harvey's sanity gave in, and soon turns into another infamous Batman antagonist, Two-Face. While some people might find that too bleak, I find it to be another realistic element added by Christopher Nolan because it shows that not everything ends with a happy ending. Which of course this film certainly did not. Anyway, this film is my exact example of a perfect film. If my scoring system was similar to IMDB and I can use decimals, I would still give this film an exact 10/10. No, not a 9.7/10. Not a 9.8/10. Not even a 9.9/10. My score would be 10/10, no matter what. In other Batman media, such as the animated Batman TV shows, if you see a flaw in the realism of it all (such as Batman knowing exactly where the villain's secret lair is or how he can move so quickly from one place to another), one can easily respond, "BECAUSE HE'S BATMAN!!!!". With Mr. Nolan's version, you couldn't do that because in the Nolanverse, Batman wasn't using teleporting machines or rocket boots. He had military technology, but compared to everything he's used in other media, the weapons he used in the Nolanverse were nothing. He also didn't have his supernatural and extraterrestrial friends like Superman or Green Lantern. If an ultra powerful force were to attack Gotham, he wouldn't have help from them. If he dies, he can't be resurrected. It's like with James Bond and Die Hard. What Daniel Craig's Bond did was that it modernized one of the oldest characters and excellently settle in James Bond into a modern world where there aren't any exploding pens or invisible cars. Daniel Craig modernized Bond, like what Nolan did to Batman. The first Die Hard was loved by people not only because it was an action-packed and witty film, but also because John McClane was an everyman. An ordinary joe. Besides that, he was trapped in a building full of terrorists and hostages, meaning the police couldn't just bust in anytime and help John. He had to save everyone by himself. Also why some people didn't like the fourth one and why most people didn't like the fifth one. At that point, John was a Jason Bourne. He seemed like a superhuman who could survive anything and lived in a world where anytime, he can just call people for help to defeat the bad guy. Like Die Hard, in the Justice League or the Brave and the Bold animated series, Batman paired up with Superman, Green Lantern, the Atom, Green Arrow, Plastic Man, and many others. In the Nolanverse, sure, he had Lucius Fox's machines, he had help from Gordon, and he had help from Catwoman and the rest of the GCPD in TDKR. But like Batman's weapons, compared to Batman's other superhero partners, Fox, Gordon, Selina, and the police force were nothing. So overall, Christopher Nolan made Batman's life much more difficult. But still, The Dark Knight is a masterful and well-crafted spectacle for both Batman fans and non-fans, and words cannot describe, in my opinion, how true the words, "The Dark Knight is the greatest film of all time." really are. Well, all I know for sure, it's true enough to make this amazing film my one and only absolute favorite.

The Big Lebowski

"Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules."

When this film was first released, I could compare it to the then-unknown Tim Burton project Pee-wee's Big Adventure starring Paul Reubens in his famous persona, Pee-wee Herman. Both films received mixed critical reception. Both eventually became cult films. Both accumulated more positive reception over the years. But in a way I don't understand, Pee-wee's Big Adventure was more successful than The Big Lebowski during its release. As much as I respect Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd, The Nightmare Before Christmas, other things), I find it very strange that this film was a big disappointment at the US box office, while conversely, Big Adventure profited over 40 million dollars. I find it weird, considering this film was directed by the brothers whose filmography at the time consisted of Blood Simple, Miller's Crossing, Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, and Fargo. Sure Big Adventure starred the famous Pee-wee Herman, but in the eyes of the people of 1985 (I should also point out the 13-year difference between the two films), the name printed next to the phrase "Directed By" didn't mean anything. But most of all, I'm baffled by the score this film receives. 80%?. You have overrated films like Pitch Perfect or Perks of Being a Wallflower receiving scores higher than The Big Lebowski, which of course is both an injustice and a travesty. The Big Lebowski is probably the most quotable movie of all time.

The thing I liked about this movie the most was the script didn't follow the formulaic and safe way writers try to let their screenplay go through. Writers who do that are normally in the fear of their movie getting bad reviews for being too audacious or too raunchy. They're afraid of being criticized by the most esteemed film critics, which of course would lead to negative publicity and disappointing box office. The Coen brothers were no ordinary writers. The last thing did apply to this movie but if I was Joel Coen or Ethan Coen it wouldn't really bother me. Another thing I loved about this film was the darkly comedic performances of the two main stars, Jeff Bridges and John Goodman. Both were very entertaining in their respective and peculiar roles as bowling buddies Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski and Walter Sobchak. Both characters, in my opinion, are legendary and have left a mark on history. And of course, no one can go through a review of The Big Lebowski without mentioning the unforgettable narration by Sam Elliott. The Big Lebowski isn't the same without the deep and gruffly Southern voice introducing us to our laid-back main hero.

If I were pressed to pick something I disliked about this movie, it would have to be the ultimately unimportant plot. When I first watched The Big Lebowski, there were the eccentric characters, clever dialogue, and unique dream and fantasy sequences. But besides those, there was the unorthodox yet heavy plot that was building around everything, which I found riveting in a weird way (like with Magnolia). *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* I was kind of disappointed everyone involved with the whole thing excluding The Dude and Walter, who were the titular Big Lebowski, Uli and the Nihilists, and Mrs. Bunny Lebowski, were just scamming each other. Originally, everyone thought that Bunny was captured by the Nihilists and wanted ransom money from Big Lebowski. Big Lebowski wanted The Dude, who he met during a previous conversation about the recent defecation of his rug, to be the courier. The plan was to throw the briefcase over a bridge. But Walter, who The Dude apparently invited to the event, ruins everything with his schemes and throws a bag full of dirty laundry over the bridge instead. But as Maude Lebowski explains to the Dude and as the Dude fully explains to Walter and Donny later on, the nihilists are friends of Bunny and all Bunny actually wants to do is pretend to be kidnapped, ask for ransom money, receive ransom money, and pay her debts all over town, most notably to pornographic tycoon Jackie Treehorn. Treehorn's thugs were also the ones who soiled The Dude's rug while they were looking for the Big Lebowski, who The Dude shares the same name with (Exactly why they got mixed up and went looking for the money at The Dude's house instead of Big Lebowski's, which also led to the soiled rug.) In turn, the Big Lebowski actually wanted Bunny to die because of the difficulty of being married to her. So he put a bunch of useless stuff inside a briefcase, closed it, and called the contents "the money", in hopes of his wife's captors killing her. In turn, the nihilists tried to intimidate both Lebowskis by mailing a toe painted with his wife's green nail polish (the toe actually from one of the nihilists themselves) and crashing into The Dude's home, breaking his stuff, dropping a ferret ("marmot") into Dude's bathtub while he's taking a relaxing bath, and leaving with the threat to cut off Dude's "johnson". Walter actually predicted this kind of stuff to happen, and though these predictions were creative, I didn't want it to happen because it would prove the whole story to be pointless. But I didn't get my wish. I know The Big Lebowski's supposed to be a "Raymond Chandler-esque (dark) comedy crime caper", but I guess Mr. Chandler's work isn't really for me.

Oh, silly me. I forgot to mention to the effectively creepy yet comedic performance by John Turturro as Jesus Quintana. "You said it man. Nobody fucks with the Jesus." Classic. Anywho, I first watched this movie when I was 20 with my friend. I was the only one who made a sound throughout the whole film. After it, all my friend did was turn to me with a blank face, and expressed his feeling of hate he has whenever there is a dream sequence or surreal scene in movie. He said that he thinks stuff like that are random and stupid, which is probably why he hates David Lynch. He never felt any amazement from surreal films and this one was no different. I called him out, saying that The Big Lebowski is a deeply funny dark comedy, not a Lynchian film just because it had weird dream sequences in it. Then he reminded me of people like Kenneth Turan or Todd McCarthy, people who I will never understand for disliking The Big Lebowski. Overall, great quantities of curse words and ultimately pointless plot aside, The Big Lebowski is filled to the brim with perfectly-timed comedic greatness, unorthodox characters, audacious and sharp dialogue, creative dream sequences, and created one of the most influential, known, and legendary characters of all time, Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski.

Apocalypse Now

"This war's gonna end someday."

Well, Apocalypse Now, along with 1971's Get Carter, was one of the two very disturbing films I have seen in the past few weeks. As much as I am very worn out from witnessing the haunting and thought- provoking themes these films present, I very much would like to write a full review. Now, before Apocalypse Now, I heard of Heart of Darkness, a documentary about the very large and unfortunately very eventful development and filming of Apocalypse Now which conveyed the very risks and measures and challenges that Francis Ford Coppola ever so strongly handled, despite the fact the mere making of the film almost drove him insane. Challenges such as filming delays, Martin Sheen's heart problems, and most infamously, Marlon Brando's very gigantic change in weight. Don't take this the wrong way, because I loved the other performances, especially by Robert Duvall, but the unconventionally peculiar, or more specifically, idiosyncratic Colonel Kurtz lived and breathed by Marlon Brando was quite simply what carried the film after it was taken off the shoulders of the film's equally shining lead, who was portrayed by Martin Sheen. Another thing that I'd like to point out is the recurring theme that reveals the very obvious truth about war that it simply spares no one. It chooses no one. Yes, people might complain about the disturbing scenes presented in the film. But it's just like Quentin Tarantino and his ear-cutting scene in Reservoir Dogs. Yes, the scenes might be very haunting and disturbing, but it only shows how mad times really were back then during those times. It was when killing a man, taking away his life, taking everything he is and all he's ever gonna be, was just another day in the field. It wasn't met with punishment. It wasn't met with death. It was met with reward and praise. Francis Ford Coppola, like Mr. Tarantino, chose and wanted the scene to be disturbing. Both of them wanted to affect the audience. Not in a way where the people watching will be left too traumatized, but in a way where despite all the blood and gore and carnage, it isn't mindless. It isn't gratuitous. The grim and horror of the scene is presented, but one has to appreciate the power and strength also presented in these scenes (The harrowing and dark violence in the ear-cutting scene is in this film, but unlike the violence in Apocalypse Now, the violence of Mr. Tarantino is purely for grit and style) so instead of being too disturbed, the scene would bring out emotion and would leave you gasping in awe about how unflinchingly horrifying yet undeniably amazing these kind of scenes really are. It's just an answer to people who thought that Django Unchained was too graphic about how badly black slaves were treated or thought JFK was too blatant and straightforward on their very controversial conspiracy theories about the title character's assassination. That was just how it was. The gist of those movies weren't to make people uncomfortable and uneasy. They were to retell. Similarly, Apocalypse Now isn't an exploit. It's a reminder. This is also the reason why I'd understand, whether he/she loves this film or not, someone wouldn't really want to see it again. Other films that contain scenes that also greatly capture the essence of mixing graphic sex/violence/nudity with thought-provoking and raw content are American History X, 2004's Crash, or The Deer Hunter (And only the latter is about war.) Now, I've never met a soldier in my life. I've never been associated with one. I've never known a guy who's even remotely associated with a soldier. I never touched a gun. I never got into a physical fight. The closest I've ever gotten to ultraviolence was playing video games and watching A Clockwork Orange. I guess I could add watching this film to the list. But anyway, what I'm saying is that I can't really relate to this film in any way, but nevertheless, I loved it. But unlike Quentin Tarantino, Coppola didn't one or two of his scenes to be perfectly unsettling and thought-provoking. He wanted the whole film to be. Apocalypse Now is one whole ear-cutting scene. But not in a bad way, like saying the film is too painful to bear. Anyway, back to Colonel Kurtz. I have to admit he's pretty clever, but no matter how intelligent or brilliant his paper calls him out to be, he is a lunatic. Kurtz was insane. But not Travis Bickle-insane. Sure, Bickle is a ticking time bomb, ready to explode any second. He was a sociopathic animal, and if a real rain ever came like he wished, he unfortunately, would be washed away along with the rest of the scum. But at least for the time being, Travis seemed to be able to lead a good life and he seemed to be capable of living in a totally normal society. But Kurtz? No. No, Kurtz had to build his own society. He had formed himself an army of darkness and made everyone around him his own personal stuff while for Kurtz, everything was just rainbows and chocolates. I'd never think, no matter how deeply on edge he was from fighting in the war, that Capt. Willard would ever sink down to Kurtz's level. He was recruited as a competent, level-headed, and reluctant albeit obedient soldier. He had a crew. He made friends. But most of all, he was brave. Brave enough for his country. *SPOILERS* *SPOILERS* "The horror, the horror." For me, the horror was seeing the final shots of the films, which were the perfect haunting example of a man become exactly like the man he'd been trying to kill. But we all had to know that Willard was a normal guy. He couldn't experience so much without something cracking. Let's go through what experienced, shall we? Lawrence Fishbourne, in a very early role, is a young gunner in Willard's crew. He wants to reunite with his family, and while traveling by boat with the crew, receives a message on tape from his mother. He plays it, when suddenly the boat is ambushed and Fishbourne's soldier is shot dead. The worst part was that the tape wasn't even finished playing. After his death, the crew's boat captain, who didn't even seem to like Willard, is driven into an angry rampage due to the death of his crew mate, and deems his death as Willard's fault. Boat Capt. tries to attacked Willard, but is shot in the back with an arrow by the guys who ambushed the crew. Even in his dying moments, the boat captain still tries to avenge Fishbourne. Willard had no choice but to finish him off. Then another one of his crew, an aspiring chef, and most of all, Willard's friend, is left to wait at the boat while Willard is taken to Kurtz. The next thing Willard knows, Chef's bloody and recently disembodied head, eternally staring into nothingness, is thrown onto his lap. So overall, Willard, an officially former sane person, grabs a machete and slashes and stabs Kurtz's ass to death with it. Nothing worse than seeing someone stoop down to his enemy's level. That's why I liked Christopher Nolan's Batman Trilogy so much instead of Burton's. It's because Batman doesn't kill and sink down to his enemies' level. Anyway, overall, this film is spectacular not only because it takes a normally disturbing scene and makes it more, but also because even now when every story and every genre is worn out, and people who weren't alive back then in 1979, people like myself, wouldn't really find Apocalypse Now's story original, the film conveys a daunting message against the backdrop of a depressing mood and a eery war-themed background, and executes with too much unconventional style and fantastic performances for it to be ignored.

The Master
The Master(2012)

"What do you do?"
"I am a writer, a doctor, a nuclear physicist and a theoretical philosopher. But above all, I am a man, a hopelessly inquisitive man, just like you."

There's a saying, "The first cut is the deepest." Mostly, whenever I hear that saying, I apply it to first impressions. If you make a bad first impression, it will be the impression that will be first to come to one's mind when thinking of you. No matter how much you try to change this first impression of you, "the first cut is the deepest." I thought of that after watching this film, because this film gave my first impression of the filmmkaing prowess of universally acclaimed director Paul Thomas Anderson. Now even though in this case, the second and third cut (Boogie Nights and Magnolia) was the deepest and made me rethink my whole opinion of Mr. Anderson, but let's talk about the reason this film made me have a mixed first impression of him. My first impression of Mr. Anderson's great god-given gift of filmmaking savvy was that he wasn't really as good as everyone made him out to be. I didn't hate this film, it's just that I thought it was too much of a character piece. While a film being a character piece isn't necessarily a bad thing, I just think that those type of films are too jarring and slow-paced for a guy like me, who has a different taste and opinion just like everyone else. One thing I liked about this film was the performances of Mr. Hoffman and Mr. Phoenix, both of whom perfectly captured an unusual relationship between a man who has been isolated from society and a man who has built his own. And yet, a thing I didn't like was the story, mostly because there was no story. A character piece, in my definition, is a film that just follows the main character and follows whatever he does instead of building around a larger and wider story more complex than the main character, which this film, in my opinion, is exactly. Though I did rank this film higher than another film which I thought was strikingly similar to The Master, which was Mike Leigh's 1993 film Naked. I wouldn't call this film pretentious though. Empty and doesn't really arrive anywhere? Maybe. But never pretentious or overly symbollic or other similar words. I felt after this film that I had mixed feelings for it, but like other films, I let it settle in and hoped it would let like it more. But for the first time, my opinion of this film never changed, and I don't think it will either, despite the fact that my opinion of Mr. Anderson has highly changed. Though I rated the film 70%, in real life, I feel more mixed about it, exactly why I agree a lot more with the audience score (even if I feel kind of angry that the audience score of Scary Movie V and The Big Wedding is higher than this one's). Nope, this film is just a neutral one, sitting down on the line between a good film and a bad one.


"This happens. This is something that happens."

For that film quote above, I'd apply it to P.T Anderson making a great film. About 10 months after witnessing the brilliant film Magnolia, I found myself using my computer and coming across a forum on a different website where someone asked other people what the worst film ever was. One guy said Movie 43. Another guy said any Tyler Perry film (except I Can Do Bad All By Myself and Peeples). And yet another guy said either the Uwe Boll video game adaptions Alone in the Dark and Postal (TIE) or Epic Movie (or any Friedberg & Seltzer film, since they're all in the same level of bad). There was even a whole argument and ultimate debate about which Scary Movie installment was the worst behind the fifth one. I commented, saying the worst film ever was Vampire Sucks. And even if all this one forum bystander had to do was agree with everything anybody said, he still posted, "Really? Silent Hill/Resident Evil/Disaster Movie/Alex Cross/A Haunted House wasn't THAT bad. If you know what the meaning of the worst film ever is, you'd pick Magnolia." He also said something about Apocalypse Now and Suspiria, but at that point I didn't care. His first pick was Magnolia? Of all films, you had to pick the best achievement of Paul Thomas Anderson since Boogie Nights? When I first watched The Master, I thought it wasn't really as great as everyone made it out to be, so I thought the same thing about P.T. Anderson. But this was a film that made me change my whole opinion about him. During that time I thought people who had dissenting opinions were just trolls, and I also thought that you can actually be completely anonymous on the internet, so I didn't hold back in what I posted against him or her. When I first watched Magnolia, I was cut off from being able to finish it. Like a few of my favorites, I felt mixed feelings towards the parts of the film I already watched. I thought it had too much vulgar language and over the top characters. But watching it again a few months later, I thought that I should finish the films I watched for once. So I started with this one. Let's start with the stories. I thought the stories were very simple, even if they were about some not-so-ordinary people (a lonely cop, a drug addict, a dying and possibly pedophilic game show host, a young game show contestant, his abusive father, a gay former game show contestant, a dying televsion producer, his caring male nurse, the said dying television producer's worried and formerly manipulative wife, and a vulgar and self-proclaimed motivational speaker, who specifically motivates and even instructs men how to seduce women). In fact, these stories are so simple, I wonder why I felt a sense of suspense and thrill when I was watching. You'd think that an ordinary moviegoer would have that kind of feeling when watching an Alfred Hitchock Presents episode, but I instead felt that feeling while watching this particular film. One would ask, "How can Paul Thomas Anderson handle all these stories?", and some people, like the bystander above, would say, "That's the thing. That's why this film is bad. That's why people who like this film can only be called blind. He can't.". But I say differently. All these intertwined stories performed perfectly on their own. But during that climactic event (which I won't give away) that brought all of these briiliant and formerly independent stories together, it only showed how great they work as a team. I'm older now, and I try to watch this film at least once every year. Unlike other films (Disaster Movie, The Last Airbender, The Dark Knight), my opinion of this film never changed. And I think I like it that way.