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 Posted:   Aug 17, 2012 - 6:07 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Angels & Demons- 4 out of 10.

What ever happened to Ron Howard? He used to direct witty comedies and suspenseful dramas.
His films used contained characters that you cared about or could sympathize with.

Angels & Demons is sort of an "R" rated version of National Treasure, though (I feel erroneously) rated PG-13. The main character is always on the move trying to figure out "third grade" level clues and stay one step ahead of the bad guys. Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon has virtually no personality. His character is simply a plot device to move the story from point "a" to point "b". I swear the death count per minute is one of the highest Ive ever seen in a film- at least in its second half.

(I have not read the books in this series so my review is based solely on the film alone.)

 
 Posted:   Aug 18, 2012 - 2:16 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

The Expendables 2 (2012) - 8/10
“The Expendables” was a solid action film that was designed as a throw-back to the 80s style action movies. It avoided creating a complex plot in favor of one that gave good reason for a group made up of wrestlers and actors known for action films to wreak havoc and kill a bunch of bad guys with big guns and explosions. In order to take the idea one step further, “The Expendables 2” brings back more big-name action stars, this time giving lengthy action cameos to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, and Bruce Willis. Jean-Claude Van Damme plays the role of the villain, giving the film the final 80s touch.

There is a lot to love here for fans of the original. The plot is pretty straightforward but provides enough fuel to set up some great action. Action scenes are nicely mixed with silly one-liners that will leave audiences laughing frequently. The film spends more time letting us get to know the cast and some of their individual quirks.

The action is driven along nicely by a powerful thematic score from Brian Tyler. Tyler does a nice job using the theme from the original film in a variety of different styles. The music is bombastic and largely orchestral in a fitting ode to the older actors who play the main role. The film uses a number of classic songs as well that all fit nicely with the material.

If you enjoyed the first film, “The Expendables 2” provides enough explosion-driven spectacle to make it worth seeing in theaters. The film perfectly blends action and comedy, giving audiences a crowd-pleasing guilty-pleasure. The major cameos, especially the fun with Chuck Norris, are as awesome as you might expect and help the film stand out from the rest. 80s action is back with a vengeance and accomplishes its mission.

Note: Astute readers may notice I am scoring this lower than I did the first film back in 2010 even though I thought this one was slightly better. This is because my scoring has gotten stricter lately.

Note 2: I went to see “The Expendables 2” in RPX (Regal Cinemas Premium Experience) because the time was more convenient. In essence this gives you much nicer seats (with head-rests) and the clarity of sound similar to the speakers used in IMAX theaters. It was a nice touch but I probably won’t spend the extra $4 per ticket again for RPX if I can help it.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 18, 2012 - 3:12 PM   
 By:   Xebec   (Member)

Barbarian Brothers films are comedy gold:

The Barbarians 8/10 - brilliantly bad
Double Trouble 6/10 - drags in places but there are some ace/awful moments to savour
Dead Heat 6/10 - hilarious scene of undead Peking Duck/awful mostly in a good way
Safe House 7/10 - Ryan Reynolds is actually excellent and can act, Denzel does his usual Washington, Vera Farmiga is in a thankless role. It's just too straightforward for it's own good. Some decent action.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 19, 2012 - 12:52 AM   
 By:   CindyLover   (Member)

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax. I understand the '70s animated version is a lot better. I believe it. 4/10

 
 Posted:   Aug 19, 2012 - 9:41 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Real Steel- 7 out of 10

There is no way of reviewing a film like this without noting key plot details.
so MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW!

Is the film cliche? Yes. Is this film a Rockem Sockem Robots version of Rocky? Yes.
Do those elements make it a bad film. Not really.

The key problem is how despicable Hugh Jackmans character Charlie is. Down and out he gets quick and cheap money by matching up his robot(s) with bulls in carnival stunts. Yes, lets beat the crap out of bulls for fame and fortune. They never made it quite clear when the match is over. Apparently its to the death, though thankfully the bull wins.

Charlie is not one to honor debts or bets. If he looses he high tails it out of town as fast as he can. Even when he acquires some money he conveniently forgets about his debts. Which naturally leads to some ass whooping later on in the film.

Now he comes across a son whom he abandoned at birth. Wanting nothing to do with his son he gladly signs him over to his deceased ex-girl friends sister. Though what he actually does is SELL his son to the sisters husband.

If that wasn't enough, we have the deceased sister and husband whom want to go on vacation over seas but damn it sucks when your sister dies and your stuck with the kid. Lets not bring him along but hand him off to the dead beat dad for a week or so during this very sensitive time.

Then we have the kid, whom never once brings up her mothers memory or seem to even remorse over her death. Well not until the end of the film when we need an "emotional" moment.

In typical Hollywood style the relationship between father and son is reversed. The son was the "adult" in the film. He finds his own robot. He fixes his own robot. He programs his own robot. He controls every situation, he teaches his dad life lessons. He makes money deals with other adults.

The ending is un-satisfying to the tenth degree. No knock out. We end up with a draw and the reigning champion robot keeps its title. Clearly this was set up for a sequel rematch. But these aren't human beings they are robots. Who cares about a rematch? I wanted to see the underdog sock the champions head off. This is Rockem Sockem Robots for Pete's sake!

Finally with a quick wrap up we never quite learn what happens to the kid and his dad. By this point in the story they have reconciled, yet rights for raising the kid was written over to the oh so caring sister in the first act of the film. So I suppose whats left of the family gets split up once again after the boxing match.

As far as the production it was hard to enjoy the film because it was very loud. Almost every fight sequence was ruined by mind numbing heavy metal music. One thing CGI does great is "mechanical movements". This medium is perfect for animating robots. However, its clear they choose to go the motion capture route and this lead to robots that moved to fluidly and to human like. In my option it was the wrong way to handle the animation.

Odd, I found it marginally enjoyable. Reason being this. Ive read very negative reviews for both the child actor and Jackman. I actually liked both in one respect. They had chemistry together and was the only redeeming quality in this film. There was some really nice cinematography too. That is something I really miss in modern films, but captured here well in rural settings.

Ive only touched the surface of the absurdity of this script. Good idea but not well conceived.

 
 Posted:   Aug 19, 2012 - 11:28 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Mystery Men (1999) dir. Kinka Usher -- Watched this movie for the first time since it was in theaters. I'm not surprised it didn't perform well -- its humor all over the place, and not always in a good way, and the director makes some very annoying cinematic choices and doesn't handle action very well. This movie is often very funny, but occasionally extremely obnoxious. I've heard people say that this movie was ahead of its time, that it would have done better if it had arrived X-Men's success, and it probably would have -- not so much because audiences had learned how to handle team superhero movies, but because it could have learned a thing or two itself! Anyway. Offbeat, often amusing, but extremely uneven. 5.5/10

Sidewalls (Medianeras) (2011) dir. Gustavo Taretto -- An indie romantic comedy sort of thing about individual alienation and isolation amongst the urban multitudes, about how you can literally cross paths with your soulmate over and over and, despite the proximity, never catch on. I expected from the trailer that this movie would be more whimsical and charming than it ended up being. Instead it was mostly played mainly straight, which took me off guard at first. Occasionally very good with a few tedious stretches. 7.5/10

Extraterrestrial (Extraterrestre) (2011) dir. Nacho Vigalondo -- A huge disappointment. I was really impressed a few years ago by Vigalondo's horrific time-travel film Timecrimes, and so had high hopes for this alien invasion romcom. Instead it is just a nothing movie that only occasionally gets goofy or bizarre enough to merit attention but is mostly just completely tedious and pointless sexual tension between idiots. 3.5/10

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 19, 2012 - 12:19 PM   
 By:   Xebec   (Member)

Haywire 6/10

Gina Cerano (sp?) was decent in her role and it was nice to see action that was well executed, looked painful and was easy to follow thans to restrained editing and direction. The music, though good as music, was all over the film and just really drew attention to itself and i didn't think suited the film. I'd have been a lot happier without it. 4 of the 6 of us watching it mentioned we didn't like the music, which is surprising from my mates who don't usually notice these things. Soderbergh's style always leaves me a little cold and it did here too. I never really got into it, there was no peaks of excitement. It just seemed to run at a fairly flat level and then just ended without a punch. It's worth a watch once i suppose.

 
 Posted:   Aug 22, 2012 - 4:11 AM   
 By:   Michaelware   (Member)

Dark Knight Rises 0/10

Utter drivel. I don't get how everyone worships this film or the director. It's like stodgy, boring TV like filmmaking, and mostly it's even in a near-4X3 format with 1930s camera moves. The story is ludicrous and not worth the attention and hype tributed it already. Die Fleidermaus with negativity-enhancing 100 million decibels of clanging and droning. The story- um, the regular people are led to hate the rich by the goofy guy dressed up like Humongous from Road Warrior, yet are saved by a rich guy while everyone else hides. Never mind. I won't say the other things I want to say here, other than I find these films have a lot in common with Reifenstahl, except it's about a guy jumping around in a cape. Silly. David Cronenberg is right. And everyone can have a different opinion on this planet.

The Expendables 2 4/10 **
I liked Stallone's previous film, because he always puts his personality and heart into his directed movies. This one is just like an anonymous Bruckheimer nic cage movie. Maybe go back farther, it really is a cheesy 80s Albert Pyun movie with the same awful photography and hack direction. After Jet Li's scene at the very beginning, you can just go home.

The Bourne Legacy 5/10 **
At least it wasn't as shaky as the other ones, so, much improved!

Twixt 5/10 **.5

Coppola's backyard movie. It's what I would expect to see in the artsy/hipster type theater I saw it in. Catchy song at the end.

 
 Posted:   Aug 22, 2012 - 7:13 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Dark Knight Rises 0/10
the goofy guy dressed up like Humongous from Road Warrior


This really made me laugh. It was driving me bats (pun intended) where Ive seen this "Bane" character before. You answered my question. smile

 
 Posted:   Aug 22, 2012 - 7:18 AM   
 By:   gone   (Member)

Hunger Games : 6/10

Someone loaned me a copy, so decided to see what this year's blockbuster was like. The beginning was almost unwatchable with so much excessive camera shake; was glad when they toned it down.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 23, 2012 - 8:32 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

The Hunger Games

7/10

Went in expecting a 'Twilight' remake of the Running Man, was gladly surprised to see a solid cast and an ok sci fi premise. Only in the last act I felt the movie betrayed its premise and went too hollywood. This could've been an even better movie had they swallowed.

Expendables 2

6/10

I enjoyed it more than the first one but it has some serious issues in the middle part, and there isn't enough JCVD! The final fight is amazing though and the 'dramatic' scenes are much better here thanks to the wonderful and sexy Nan Yu who steals every scene she's in and works well opposite Stallone. The Stallone/Statham chemistry still doesn't work, with every joke dead in the water; I did smile a lot during the Arnie/Willis scenes. Chuck Norris sadly is better suited an internet legend than he is an on screen talent. Wasted effort there. I noticed the score by Brian Tyler a lot more this time around, good effort.

When A Stranger Calls 2006

3/10

There are a lot of problems with this movie. I wanted to watch it as I got James Dooley's score and enjoyed the score. Now that I've seen the movie, I do think Dooley overscored the movie to the point that every scene and I mean EVERY scene, an innocent daughter father talk, a meeting between babysitter and the parents who hired her, EVERYTHING gets scored with dark, foreboding music à la "The Ring". The score really is a continuation of the sound he developped for "The Ring", but once the actual threatening scenes come around, it feels redundant. A lot of this movie feels redundant and I read that this movie is a remake of a 70s movie? Even so, to me it felt like the first 10 minutes of "Scream" with Drew Barrymore stretched out for full running time; too many phone calls, too many shots of dark hallways and too many cliché name shouting. Scream did it better and this is very run of the mill.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 23, 2012 - 9:15 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

Dark Knight Rises 0/10

Utter drivel.


I'd have to agree.

 
 Posted:   Aug 24, 2012 - 10:55 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Community, Season 3 (2011-2012) created by Dan Harmon -- Continues to be the best sitcom out there. Consistently hilarious and dramatically satisfying. Successfully spoofs plenty of other shows along the way. John Goodman was a fabulous addition in a recurring role, and I wish Michael Kenneth Williams had had more to do in his role.

Clash of the Titans (2010) dir. Louis Leterrier -- Watched it a second time before seeing the sequel. Still garbage, but I liked it better this time around because I had my expectations set appropriately. For all its many flaws and stupidities, it at least moves along briskly enough. Still, garbage.

Wrath of the Titans (2012) dir. Jonathan Liebesman -- Hard to believe, but this is even worse than the first one. The writers interpret the characters and their relationships so differently from how they were presented in the previous film that it's hard to swallow, and that's the least of the problems. This movie is extremely boring and stupid. Worthington is still also extremely boring. The emotional core of the movie, such as it is, is misplaced as a subplot, supporting the main conflict which climaxes like a video game boss fight -- and a particularly boring one at that. You know things are bad when the annoying comic relief character steals the show. And in another surprise, Navarrete's score turns out to be even less compelling in the film than Djawadi's was in the original. As bad as the first film was, it was commercially successful, and if they were going to do a sequel they should at least have made some attempt to maintain continuity with that film.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 24, 2012 - 11:44 AM   
 By:   Xebec   (Member)

JAWS - Blu-ray - 10/10

Mega film, looks amazo!

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 25, 2012 - 2:29 PM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

The Three Stooges

7/10

I've never seen the three stooges and only know them from the pop references (simpsons, family guy, stern, ...), so I could tell the sound bites were spot on. The slapstick & gags didn't go on too long and it's perhaps best that they are contained in a Farrelly comedy. That said, even with the majority of stooges material I'm sure got paid tribute to, still a lot of 'dumb & dumber' rehash. I think I only counted 1 big laugh and the rest was mainly smirks from me, but fun movie nonetheless. Also, Larry David was a nice addition.

Superhero Movie

8/10

I tried watching the Twilight spoof movie the other day, and had to turn it off because it sucked (no pun intended). As far these Naked Gun style parodies go, "Superhero Movie" had me laughing a ton; great cast with familiar faces turning up now and then, and of course Leslie Nielsen still had it. Hawking was a hoot, as well as the animal love potion. Oh, and the finale is in the tradition of Naked Gun 2 with a grand banquet scene, good stuff. big grin

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 25, 2012 - 4:34 PM   
 By:   Redokt64   (Member)

When A Stranger Calls 2006

3/10

There are a lot of problems with this movie. I wanted to watch it as I got James Dooley's score and enjoyed the score. Now that I've seen the movie, I do think Dooley overscored the movie to the point that every scene and I mean EVERY scene, an innocent daughter father talk, a meeting between babysitter and the parents who hired her, EVERYTHING gets scored with dark, foreboding music à la "The Ring". The score really is a continuation of the sound he developped for "The Ring", but once the actual threatening scenes come around, it feels redundant. A lot of this movie feels redundant and I read that this movie is a remake of a 70s movie? Even so, to me it felt like the first 10 minutes of "Scream" with Drew Barrymore stretched out for full running time; too many phone calls, too many shots of dark hallways and too many cliché name shouting. Scream did it better and this is very run of the mill.


Francis

The original is much better in every single department. When I saw that this film was remade and watched just the trailer I had to laugh. The lead turns in one of the absolute worst performances I have ever seen. Yes, I know... it's a thriller... but, for the impact of the situations happening to them... there needs to be strong performance. Dreadful.

Watched the film when it hit cable. Even worse. You know, I try to be positive on most things, but the remake of When A Stranger Calls is 0/10... nothing redeeming in it.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 27, 2012 - 1:07 PM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

Redokt, I reserve 0/10 for movies I couldn't sit through; 'when a stranger calls' had moments where I was looking at my watch but I've seen even more terrible B-schlock. smile

The Avengers

5/10

I went out of my way to see all the movies that lead up to Avengers; I thought 'Thor' was the best, followed by the 'Iron Man's & 'Captain America'. I didn't see the Hulk movie; I did see "incredible hulk", but apparently that wasn't the one they used for this movie.

My take on "The Avengers": skip the first hour and a half and only watch the last half hour.

This movie took forever to get going and it has the most unmemorable opening sequence for a summer blockbuster of this caliber. Actually the first hour of the movie is so flat and dull, I had to force myself to continue watching. I know it's great to see these guys finally together, but when they are together, they just stand around in one of those spy technology surveillance rooms, and make love to VR viewscreens. The amount of unnecessary computer screens in this movie is staggering.

The villain, Loki, is so 'low key' wink and not to mention an easy target for his brother Thor, that I wonder why it takes a flying military ship and the avengers to stop him. Yes, the end of the world is in sight, but NOTHING happens for about 3/4 of the movie. I was expecting this movie to be an all out action fest with the Avengers in peril, saving the world against all the odds; Instead, you literally get an hour of exposition where they just stand around and talk about energy sources, Loki and a supposed war that's coming.

Ok, the war does come but by then the movie is almost over and it's a shame because that's when it really should have started! I felt cheated by the boring mess that preceded that sequence really.

The reason I gave it a 5 out of 10 and not a 4 is twofold; Robert Downey is still a good screen presence with some decent scenes and that final battle almost saves the movie.

I think of all the avengers' movies, this one looks the cheapest; the lighting is drab and overlit, the framing is so bland and there are so many tv moments where I thought I was seeing one of those bad Power Ranger shows instead of a motion picture movie. All the money went to that last 20 minutes. Also, in the other movies, The Avengers all shined, in this one they look like comic con dress ups. Could this be due to the 3D?

After all the positive reviews I expected more from this really and it's a missed opportunity.

Oh, and regarding Silvestri's score which I did enjoy, this movie gave him so little scenes to do his thing that it became clear to me right away why his Avengers score is so short on big action. Because aside from the finale there really isn't that much going on.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 28, 2012 - 3:37 AM   
 By:   CinemaScope   (Member)

I saw a couple of Hichcock's I recorded off the telly (I hadn't seen both for years), they really looked great so I'd think they're the new transfers. Vertigo & The Birds &....I found them both a bit slow. Vertigo is a mood piece really, it has a fantastic start & Herrmann's music all the way through it, but I was tempted by the fast forward button, at my age I should know better. I've never liked The Birds that much, it seems to take an age doing anything & I'm never really convinced by it. I won't be buying the Hitchcock Box. I saw Ben-Hur last night, I've had the Blu-ray since Christmas. It is of course showing its age, but if you leave this cynical world behind & just sink into it, it works a treat, & of course looks fantastic, except some of the exteriors, wher they've pushed the contrast too much to get the wow factor.

...& of course the chariot race is one of the best sequences ever. Massive sets, thousands of people & the fantastic way the race is shot, & not a computer pixel in sight!

 
 Posted:   Aug 28, 2012 - 9:16 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

I think of all the avengers' movies, this one looks the cheapest . . . Also, in the other movies, The Avengers all shined, in this one they look like comic con dress ups. Could this be due to the 3D?

This is one thing that really surprised me. I was already accustomed to Cap's new costume so that didn't bother me much, but Thor in particular looked really low-rent and less well-groomed than in his own film.

 
 Posted:   Aug 29, 2012 - 6:36 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Seeking Justice (2011) dir. Roger Donaldson -- I watched this one mostly to hear Robinson's score which, to be honest, served the movie just fine but didn't make much of an impression. I wouldn't otherwise have seen the movie, though: Donaldson is one of those workmanlike directors whose films you can trust to be professionally made but can be fairly sure won't be excellent, a solid but unspectacular director and not really on my radar, and both Cage and Jones are on my shortlist of actors more likely to keep me away from a film than attract me to it . . . so to my surprise this was actually a decent thriller. I can think of a number of ways it could have been better, but in the end it was solid, neither Jones nor Cage embarrassed themselves, and it was basically entertaining throughout. We've had a lot of crappy thrillers recently and while this one isn't as high concept as some of them, it's not as embarrassingly bad as many of the bigger ones either. That may be damning with faint praise but there it is. Recommended if you're looking for a decent thriller and crap like Man on a Ledge isn't doing it for you.

Johnny English (2003) dir. Peter Howitt -- I'm not really a fan of James Bond and found his films as I was a young adult (the Brosnan era) sufficiently close to self-parody that I've never really felt the need to check out a James Bond spoof. But I've wanted to hear Shearmur's score for a while and Rowan Atkinson can be very funny so I finally checked this out. It's mostly awful. An overabundance of stupid humor bolstered by far too little wit or cleverness. Overall a very childish comedy. Not much to my taste.

Johnny English Reborn (2011) dir. Oliver Parker -- I disliked the first Johnny English enough that if this rental hadn't already been at home I probably wouldn't have watched it. Fortunately, it's a good deal better than the first, with a slightly wiser Johnny English, a couple fairly clever chase scenes and at least marginally more wit. Still not a great comedy but a step in the right direction. They probably should have used Ben Miller's character from the first film for Dominic West's role, but I guess that doesn't matter much.

The Booth at the End: Series 1 (2011) created by Christopher Kubasik -- I generally don't watch webseries, but this one came highly recommended, and it turns out it was a good recommendation. I put on the first episode intending to just get a feel for the production values, and ended up watching the whole season (5 22-minute episodes) at once. Xander Berkeley's been around for a while but this may just be his definitive role for me. Excellent storytelling.

 
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