The Grinch Review

Illumination Delivers Another Perfectly Acceptable if not Necessarily Exceptional Animated Diversion in this Re-Telling of the Dr. Suess Classic.

Bohemian Rhapsody Review

This Queen biopic Fails to Transcend the Genre the Way its Subjects Transcended the Music Scene, but at Least the Music is Good.

Overlord Review

Overlord Combines the Terror of War with the Terror of a Zombie Apocalypse and Accomplishes Exactly what it Means To.

The Nutcraker and the Four Realms Review

An All-Star Cast Attempts to Usher The Nutcracker Story to a New Generation Via Disney Blockbuster, but Unfortunately the Results Fall Short of the Ambition.

A Star is Born Review

Bradley Cooper Writes, Directs, Sings, and Stars in this Fourth Incarnation of this Story Alongside Lady Gaga to Rapturous Results.

MACGRUBER Review

Will Forte has always been the cast member on SNL who dared to go as far as he was allowed. When given free reign in an R-rated film there was no doubt he was going to be as ridiculous and raunchy as he could be. And so we have 'MacGruber' the thirty second spoof turned feature film. The plot is nothing new and is actually quite lazy, but the execution is rather impressive in that it only had a 10 million dollar budget but feels and looks like a much bigger action comedy. This credit is due to director Jorma Taccone who handles his responsibility quite well. Forte creates a full character, we must give him that, even if, in the end, we don't necessarily like the title character. There is no real reason for us to like him and the great thing is is that Forte doesn't seem to care. He goes through no progression and despite having some success in making new friends and renewing old relationships, MacGruber never seems to benefit personality wise from the trials and tribulations he goes through. This oddly works for me and therefore seems the only way the character could be played successfully. Overall, the film isn't as funny as it should be. It has its moments, but never hits that peak where you are laughing uncontrollably.I enjoyed the soundtrack of soft rock 80's hits as well as Kristen Wiig, who continues her streak of improving anything shes in simply by showing up, especially here. This movie would not have been half as good had Wiig not been present, while on the other side of things a more inspired choice than Ryan Phillippe could have made the movie and relationship between MacGruber and his new team member more exciting, interesting and most importantly, funnier. Despite looking a tad rough, Kilmer makes a good bad guy and the audience can clearly tell he is having a good time with the role. 'MacGruber' isn't the laugh out loud comedy I wanted it to be, but it did take things pretty far and pushing the limits is what I like my comedy to do. I can only hope that with repeat viewings it will grow on me and become even more hilarious, but for now I can accept that it was just another SNL movie, one that probably didn't need to be made, but at least it was given pretty fair treatment in being brought to the big screen.

MACGRUBER Review

Will Forte has always been the cast member on SNL who dared to go as far as he was allowed. When given free reign in an R-rated film there was no doubt he was going to be as ridiculous and raunchy as he could be. And so we have 'MacGruber' the thirty second spoof turned feature film. The plot is nothing new and is actually quite lazy, but the execution is rather impressive in that it only had a 10 million dollar budget but feels and looks like a much bigger action comedy. This credit is due to director Jorma Taccone who handles his responsibility quite well. Forte creates a full character, we must give him that, even if, in the end, we don't necessarily like the title character. There is no real reason for us to like him and the great thing is is that Forte doesn't seem to care. He goes through no progression and despite having some success in making new friends and renewing old relationships, MacGruber never seems to benefit personality wise from the trials and tribulations he goes through. This oddly works for me and therefore seems the only way the character could be played successfully. Overall, the film isn't as funny as it should be. It has its moments, but never hits that peak where you are laughing uncontrollably.I enjoyed the soundtrack of soft rock 80's hits as well as Kristen Wiig, who continues her streak of improving anything shes in simply by showing up, especially here. This movie would not have been half as good had Wiig not been present, while on the other side of things a more inspired choice than Ryan Phillippe could have made the movie and relationship between MacGruber and his new team member more exciting, interesting and most importantly, funnier. Despite looking a tad rough, Kilmer makes a good bad guy and the audience can clearly tell he is having a good time with the role. 'MacGruber' isn't the laugh out loud comedy I wanted it to be, but it did take things pretty far and pushing the limits is what I like my comedy to do. I can only hope that with repeat viewings it will grow on me and become even more hilarious, but for now I can accept that it was just another SNL movie, one that probably didn't need to be made, but at least it was given pretty fair treatment in being brought to the big screen.

SHREK: FOREVER AFTER Review

I was always a bigger fan of 'Shrek 2' than I was of the original. Why you ask? Because not only did it introduce my favorite character of the series, Mr. Puss in Boots, but overall it was just funnier to me. Granted things kind of slowed for Shrek in his third outing, the 'It's A Wonderful Life' premise presented in this final chapter not only allows for the viewer to kind of see everything we have seen Shrek accomplish, but it offers some very heartfelt, some very funny and a few great moments that restored my faith and left me satisfied with the Shrek franchise. It brings everything to a point where we as an audience can believe everyone in the far far away universe is going to be just fine. And while this final chapter didn't incorporate some of the extra characters as well as previous installments did (ginger bread man, three pigs, big bad wolf etc...) it did give us a few new characters that are quite memorable in their own right. Rumpelstiltskin is a worthy villain although I would have liked a more original voice instead of the cliched one that came out. Someone like Jack Black I feel could have made the character more in the 'Shrek' vein of making fun of fairy tales. The film fully succeeds though in making the Piper a ridiculous tool that allows for some of the funnier moments in the film. Donkey is at his best here and my personal favorite pretty much steals the show in his screen time that is mainly delegated to the last half of the film. Though critics haven't responded to 'Shrek Forever After' with as much excitement as some of the earlier installments caused, it is still worth seeing. Let's just hope the studios keep their word and leave Shrek alone from now on. His story has been told.

SHREK: FOREVER AFTER Review

I was always a bigger fan of 'Shrek 2' than I was of the original. Why you ask? Because not only did it introduce my favorite character of the series, Mr. Puss in Boots, but overall it was just funnier to me. Granted things kind of slowed for Shrek in his third outing, the 'It's A Wonderful Life' premise presented in this final chapter not only allows for the viewer to kind of see everything we have seen Shrek accomplish, but it offers some very heartfelt, some very funny and a few great moments that restored my faith and left me satisfied with the Shrek franchise. It brings everything to a point where we as an audience can believe everyone in the far far away universe is going to be just fine. And while this final chapter didn't incorporate some of the extra characters as well as previous installments did (ginger bread man, three pigs, big bad wolf etc...) it did give us a few new characters that are quite memorable in their own right. Rumpelstiltskin is a worthy villain although I would have liked a more original voice instead of the cliched one that came out. Someone like Jack Black I feel could have made the character more in the 'Shrek' vein of making fun of fairy tales. The film fully succeeds though in making the Piper a ridiculous tool that allows for some of the funnier moments in the film. Donkey is at his best here and my personal favorite pretty much steals the show in his screen time that is mainly delegated to the last half of the film. Though critics haven't responded to 'Shrek Forever After' with as much excitement as some of the earlier installments caused, it is still worth seeing. Let's just hope the studios keep their word and leave Shrek alone from now on. His story has been told.

THE MESSENGER Review

I've been waiting for Ben Foster to get a leading role for a while now. In a film that never gained as much attention for the amount of critical praise it got, Mr. Foster turns in a very real and affecting performance. 'The Messenger' is the story of having to do the sometimes forgot about job of delivering the news to someones mother, father, wife or some other family member that their loved one has died in battle. You always think about those receiving the news and how awful you feel for them. You certainly feel this here with an array of different family members receiving the news. Steve Buscemi gives an amazing yet brief performance as a father who loses his son. The raw emotion that is felt in his scene as well as with both Foster and Harrelson the entire film raises this film way above a pure 'war' film, it is more about the human condition and how those constantly surrounded by bad news make their own way through life. Not a lot of background info is given about Foster's character although there is plenty of exposition to give us some assumptions as to why he has ended up in this current position. For the first 45 minutes or so the film examines Foster's Will Montgomery as he learns his new job and deals with his personal life. It shows us the blossoming of the relationship between him and Harrelson's Tony Stone and begins to break down these stone-faced soldiers as real people who sometimes are unable to handle the wave of emotion that comes to those they are delivering news to. After delivering the news to a woman of her husbands death Will becomes kind of oddly attracted to her and interested in her life. Samantha Morton is the widow who deals honorably with her husbands death and Wills advances. Through this he is able to resolve his personal issues that he allowed to creep into his professional duties. This makes the second half of the film which has a different tone than the first its heart. Where the first half makes us aware of heartache and loss the conclusion gives us a sense of repair and hope. Harrelson's performance is in a zone all its own though, his Tony seems to get as far away as possible from what he has been assigned to do in service of his country. He is bitter about it, but doesn't let it show. He saves all of his restraint for his job and completely lets loose when he goes out. It is a crazy way to live and in the end it is his evolution that brings the film full circle. This isn't a war movie at all, it is in fact a film simply about life and how to deal. This just happens to be a very true, raw and fearless glimpse at one perspective of that.

THE MESSENGER Review

I've been waiting for Ben Foster to get a leading role for a while now. In a film that never gained as much attention for the amount of critical praise it got, Mr. Foster turns in a very real and affecting performance. 'The Messenger' is the story of having to do the sometimes forgot about job of delivering the news to someones mother, father, wife or some other family member that their loved one has died in battle. You always think about those receiving the news and how awful you feel for them. You certainly feel this here with an array of different family members receiving the news. Steve Buscemi gives an amazing yet brief performance as a father who loses his son. The raw emotion that is felt in his scene as well as with both Foster and Harrelson the entire film raises this film way above a pure 'war' film, it is more about the human condition and how those constantly surrounded by bad news make their own way through life. Not a lot of background info is given about Foster's character although there is plenty of exposition to give us some assumptions as to why he has ended up in this current position. For the first 45 minutes or so the film examines Foster's Will Montgomery as he learns his new job and deals with his personal life. It shows us the blossoming of the relationship between him and Harrelson's Tony Stone and begins to break down these stone-faced soldiers as real people who sometimes are unable to handle the wave of emotion that comes to those they are delivering news to. After delivering the news to a woman of her husbands death Will becomes kind of oddly attracted to her and interested in her life. Samantha Morton is the widow who deals honorably with her husbands death and Wills advances. Through this he is able to resolve his personal issues that he allowed to creep into his professional duties. This makes the second half of the film which has a different tone than the first its heart. Where the first half makes us aware of heartache and loss the conclusion gives us a sense of repair and hope. Harrelson's performance is in a zone all its own though, his Tony seems to get as far away as possible from what he has been assigned to do in service of his country. He is bitter about it, but doesn't let it show. He saves all of his restraint for his job and completely lets loose when he goes out. It is a crazy way to live and in the end it is his evolution that brings the film full circle. This isn't a war movie at all, it is in fact a film simply about life and how to deal. This just happens to be a very true, raw and fearless glimpse at one perspective of that.

ROBIN HOOD Review

Don't get me wrong, I love a good origin story and with one of my favorite childhood films being the Disney version of Robin Hood I was certainly looking forward to this kind of prequel to the mythology of Robin Hood we have all seen many times before. The trailers gave a look and feel of a rough and classic England mixed with the sweeping camera shots and glimpses of great acting that are usually packaged with a Ridley Scott film. My complaints seem to be the same as many about this latest version of 'Robin Hood'. Though it does look great visually and the acting is top notch, Crowe is simply to old for the role of Robin in an origin story. Had this movie been about the Robin we already know it might make more sense and so gives another reason the sequel to this will be a much better film, granted its given the chance to be made. For a two and a half hour film though it just doesn't seem to have that much going on. Sure we get to see how Robin and Maid Marion fall in love and how Robin and Little John become so close. We see the beginnings of his merry men and Richards death that leads to the King John era that has become unanimous with the Robin Hood tale, overall this movie feels more like a history lesson than an interesting story about the beginnings of one of our cultures most beloved folk heroes. It is sad to say all of this because I expected and wanted so much more out of this film. It is consistently slow though and never really gets going until it reaches its final twenty minutes and then abruptly ends as we are just beginning to really get into the story. I hope Mr. Scott and his team make enough money off of this film so that they are granted the chance to make a second movie. It will certainly be more exciting and interesting than this one turned out to be. It is hard to blame Scott or any of the actors though, the real weakness here is the script and so if we are lucky and get to see the second part of this "new" Robin Hood I hope they at least hire a collaborator to work on the script, liven it up a bit. Give it a better pace. This production has everything it needs to become a great take on an iconic character, it just needs that story that will turn it from missed opportunity to making the sum of its parts an opportunity one wants to see over and over again.

ROBIN HOOD Review

Don't get me wrong, I love a good origin story and with one of my favorite childhood films being the Disney version of Robin Hood I was certainly looking forward to this kind of prequel to the mythology of Robin Hood we have all seen many times before. The trailers gave a look and feel of a rough and classic England mixed with the sweeping camera shots and glimpses of great acting that are usually packaged with a Ridley Scott film. My complaints seem to be the same as many about this latest version of 'Robin Hood'. Though it does look great visually and the acting is top notch, Crowe is simply to old for the role of Robin in an origin story. Had this movie been about the Robin we already know it might make more sense and so gives another reason the sequel to this will be a much better film, granted its given the chance to be made. For a two and a half hour film though it just doesn't seem to have that much going on. Sure we get to see how Robin and Maid Marion fall in love and how Robin and Little John become so close. We see the beginnings of his merry men and Richards death that leads to the King John era that has become unanimous with the Robin Hood tale, overall this movie feels more like a history lesson than an interesting story about the beginnings of one of our cultures most beloved folk heroes. It is sad to say all of this because I expected and wanted so much more out of this film. It is consistently slow though and never really gets going until it reaches its final twenty minutes and then abruptly ends as we are just beginning to really get into the story. I hope Mr. Scott and his team make enough money off of this film so that they are granted the chance to make a second movie. It will certainly be more exciting and interesting than this one turned out to be. It is hard to blame Scott or any of the actors though, the real weakness here is the script and so if we are lucky and get to see the second part of this "new" Robin Hood I hope they at least hire a collaborator to work on the script, liven it up a bit. Give it a better pace. This production has everything it needs to become a great take on an iconic character, it just needs that story that will turn it from missed opportunity to making the sum of its parts an opportunity one wants to see over and over again.

IRON MAN 2 Review

'Iron Man 2' will inevitably be compared to the first one in regards to how good it is. It is hard to say whether or not it actually is. At some points it seemed it was going to take off and be the kind of sequel 'The Dark Knight' was, but in the end, I am unable to feel like it was as good as the first one. Close, but no cigar. To justify this, we can start by discussing Robert Downey Jr's character Tony Stark. He is no doubt the highlight of the film and these Iron Man films have been able to do something most superhero movies fall short of. The audience is just as interested in Tony Stark when he is not in the Iron Man suit. Granted, they have a little leeway here being as everyone knows the identity of Iron Man, but still, I am just excited to watch Tony Stark, the man, square off with the U.S. senate as I am watching Tony Stark, the superhero, fight Mickey Rourke. The one glitch I have with the character this time around though is that we don't feel as personal with him as we did in the first. Here, he is a bigger celebrity and sometimes we feel more like a member of the paparazzi and less like one of his close friends. There is a personal aspect that doesn't make you feel as connected to Mr. Stark as you did in the first one. This may be a small complaint, but a valid one I think. What 'Iron Man 2' does very well is manage everything it has going on. There are so many characters and plot lines being set up and carried out it, but it never felt like the movie was about to explode from having too much in it, it flowed very nicely and if anything I felt a little short-changed at the end. Mickey Rourke didn't have as much to do as I was hoping for, although when he was on screen he was very good. His debut as whiplash on the race track is one of the best scenes in either film and it is able to capture the drama, action and heart of what Tony Stark is doing and who he is. As I write this I am even more impressed with how well writer Justin Therouex managed all these characters. Col. Rhodes, who is played here by Don Cheadle is much better and much more involved than Terrance Howards character was in the first. Maybe it's just because I like Don Cheadle more, but I felt he had more of a relationship with Tony and was able to convey that even with them having less screen time together in this one. As for Sam Rockwell, he is simply great, everything we expected from him he brings here. His character is obviously being set-up for future reasons in which he is sure to be used, but in this performance he is more the evil bad guy than anyone else. He is extravagant and self-confident all at the same time. I am most anxious to see where his story line goes. As for Scarlett Johannson, her appearances here felt only relevant as she will too play an important role in the Avengers and future Iron Man films. Same with Sam Jackson, though it would be a lie to say it isn't exciting watching this all come together. The little hints with the Captain America shield and the bit after the credits (of course you should stay) make us feel even more anxious to see this films preceeding ones. And so, at some points this only feels it serves the purpose of settign things up, but in looking at it as its own individual film, it is definitely fun and smart. don't think these films will ever fail to be that, they entertain us and keep us wanting more. That is exactly what they are supposed to do. Sure, the final battle could have lasted much longer and some parts felt more cohesive than others, but it was none the less fun, and thats all that really matters.

IRON MAN 2 Review

'Iron Man 2' will inevitably be compared to the first one in regards to how good it is. It is hard to say whether or not it actually is. At some points it seemed it was going to take off and be the kind of sequel 'The Dark Knight' was, but in the end, I am unable to feel like it was as good as the first one. Close, but no cigar. To justify this, we can start by discussing Robert Downey Jr's character Tony Stark. He is no doubt the highlight of the film and these Iron Man films have been able to do something most superhero movies fall short of. The audience is just as interested in Tony Stark when he is not in the Iron Man suit. Granted, they have a little leeway here being as everyone knows the identity of Iron Man, but still, I am just excited to watch Tony Stark, the man, square off with the U.S. senate as I am watching Tony Stark, the superhero, fight Mickey Rourke. The one glitch I have with the character this time around though is that we don't feel as personal with him as we did in the first. Here, he is a bigger celebrity and sometimes we feel more like a member of the paparazzi and less like one of his close friends. There is a personal aspect that doesn't make you feel as connected to Mr. Stark as you did in the first one. This may be a small complaint, but a valid one I think. What 'Iron Man 2' does very well is manage everything it has going on. There are so many characters and plot lines being set up and carried out it, but it never felt like the movie was about to explode from having too much in it, it flowed very nicely and if anything I felt a little short-changed at the end. Mickey Rourke didn't have as much to do as I was hoping for, although when he was on screen he was very good. His debut as whiplash on the race track is one of the best scenes in either film and it is able to capture the drama, action and heart of what Tony Stark is doing and who he is. As I write this I am even more impressed with how well writer Justin Therouex managed all these characters. Col. Rhodes, who is played here by Don Cheadle is much better and much more involved than Terrance Howards character was in the first. Maybe it's just because I like Don Cheadle more, but I felt he had more of a relationship with Tony and was able to convey that even with them having less screen time together in this one. As for Sam Rockwell, he is simply great, everything we expected from him he brings here. His character is obviously being set-up for future reasons in which he is sure to be used, but in this performance he is more the evil bad guy than anyone else. He is extravagant and self-confident all at the same time. I am most anxious to see where his story line goes. As for Scarlett Johannson, her appearances here felt only relevant as she will too play an important role in the Avengers and future Iron Man films. Same with Sam Jackson, though it would be a lie to say it isn't exciting watching this all come together. The little hints with the Captain America shield and the bit after the credits (of course you should stay) make us feel even more anxious to see this films preceeding ones. And so, at some points this only feels it serves the purpose of settign things up, but in looking at it as its own individual film, it is definitely fun and smart. don't think these films will ever fail to be that, they entertain us and keep us wanting more. That is exactly what they are supposed to do. Sure, the final battle could have lasted much longer and some parts felt more cohesive than others, but it was none the less fun, and thats all that really matters.

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS Review

This was a bittersweet film to watch for obvious reasons, but I was happy to see that Mr. Gilliam was able to pull this together since his productions always seem to be plagued by some kind of misfortune. Besides all the extra commotion surrounding this film when you get to the actual story and the production design it is a wonderful kind of twisted fairy tale. It is a film that strives to be weird and odd and out there, but never really blows the audience away with originality. It is nice to see this kind of fantastical tale set in the present day where Parnassus' traveling show is one that sticks out like a sore thumb. His huge horse-drawn show on wheels is an appealing centerpiece for which to intrigue the audience. It begins smoothly with a fuzzy story and an element of surprise in that we don't really know what's going on or what we are supposed to be looking for here. As the film begins to drag a bit though we can tell where the story has been tweaked to fit Ledger's untimely death and it is ultimately a bit of a let down that it falls into the applied structure of many other films. Inserting three just as famous and just as artsy actors to fill the movies holes is a fine idea, and it is done to the best of all their abilities here, but you can't help but wish Ledger had been able to finish the film himself. There is plenty to love here though. Plummer is doing some great work as the title character and new comers Lily Cole and Andrew Garfield create a very organic chemistry that helps give the film a sense of authenticity that would otherwise be non-existent. The performance I enjoyed most though, while slightly conventional was Mr. Tom Waits. His version of the devil is sly and creepy. A betting kind of guy that can't help but mess with Parnassus. The interaction between these two offers some of the best parts of the film. The star here is Ledger though, and luckily he had the opportunity to greatly show off his charm and wit in scenes where he coaxes women into the mirror. These are both funny and heartbreaking. Knowing this is the last we will actually see of Mr. Ledger on screen gives off a deep sense of sorrow, but watching him exude these qualities allows one the ability to smile as they travel into the strange, colorful and very inventive world that is the imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS Review

This was a bittersweet film to watch for obvious reasons, but I was happy to see that Mr. Gilliam was able to pull this together since his productions always seem to be plagued by some kind of misfortune. Besides all the extra commotion surrounding this film when you get to the actual story and the production design it is a wonderful kind of twisted fairy tale. It is a film that strives to be weird and odd and out there, but never really blows the audience away with originality. It is nice to see this kind of fantastical tale set in the present day where Parnassus' traveling show is one that sticks out like a sore thumb. His huge horse-drawn show on wheels is an appealing centerpiece for which to intrigue the audience. It begins smoothly with a fuzzy story and an element of surprise in that we don't really know what's going on or what we are supposed to be looking for here. As the film begins to drag a bit though we can tell where the story has been tweaked to fit Ledger's untimely death and it is ultimately a bit of a let down that it falls into the applied structure of many other films. Inserting three just as famous and just as artsy actors to fill the movies holes is a fine idea, and it is done to the best of all their abilities here, but you can't help but wish Ledger had been able to finish the film himself. There is plenty to love here though. Plummer is doing some great work as the title character and new comers Lily Cole and Andrew Garfield create a very organic chemistry that helps give the film a sense of authenticity that would otherwise be non-existent. The performance I enjoyed most though, while slightly conventional was Mr. Tom Waits. His version of the devil is sly and creepy. A betting kind of guy that can't help but mess with Parnassus. The interaction between these two offers some of the best parts of the film. The star here is Ledger though, and luckily he had the opportunity to greatly show off his charm and wit in scenes where he coaxes women into the mirror. These are both funny and heartbreaking. Knowing this is the last we will actually see of Mr. Ledger on screen gives off a deep sense of sorrow, but watching him exude these qualities allows one the ability to smile as they travel into the strange, colorful and very inventive world that is the imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.

KICK-ASS Review

I have to start off by saying that I've never read the comic book from which 'Kick-Ass' is based, but I imagine the film gets the tone of it right. That seems to be the most important thing about this film. It has huge elements of both action, comedy and drama. Neither of these are small elements of an otherwise dominate comedic, action or drama film. So, in order to mix all of these with a good balance and having to keep a consistent tone I'd also say it is the most impressive thing about this film. it does escalate from comedy to action comedy to action drama with bits of humor, but it knows what it wants and it goes for it with no regard as to who will be offended. I read Roger Ebert's review of this film because he was severely offended by the thought of an 11 year-old girl killing people with no remorse and claims the audience who enjoys this film simply "inhabit(s) a world I am so very not interested in." I am not going to make my review a justification of why it is a much better film than Ebert gives it credit for, but his points are certainly interesting and worth noting. He knows this is satire but doesn't know what of. This is a fair question, but one I would assume most people could guess after watching the film. This is not necessarily a spoof of comics or comic book movies, as it still has moments that resemble any other comic book adaptation. What this is making fun of but being in love with at the same time is the world that these comic books take us too. At least, that is how I am going to take it. The question is posed, "How come nobody's ever tried to be a superhero?" and that in turn spawns our main character to try it out. What this leads to is the "making fun" of how ridiculous it would be if someone tried to act like the superheroes they read about in the comics. Even the good ones like Big Daddy and Hit Girl are laughable in the way they have chosen to live their lives. It is also fair to question how an 11 year-old can show no remorse after stone cold killing 12 men, but it is established from the beginning that this character has not been raised to show remorse or affection or anything. She has been trained her entire life to kill, why would one expect her to act any differently than the way she did? There is no argument this is not the best way to raise a child, but for the purposes of being shocking and quite original (which I'm positive is what the comic book creators were going for) it works here. This is not for the young crowd, this is for the 17 to 30 audience (mostly males) that enjoy comic book movies and comedies. This is for the college age-kids who's narcissistic tendencies will be satisfied with this piece of satire. The story I thought was structured well, giving all plot lines the right amount of attention and sequencing them in the right order so as to create the best effect this kind of story can produce.Even Ebert cannot deny the appeal of the cast which is great here. In any other movie Chloe Moretz would have ran away as a scene stealer, but Aaron Johnson anchors the film well playing normal teen with a kind thrill for the unknown. Christopher Mintz-Plasse feels underused and is really my only complaint about the film though if they actually get to make the sequel that the end suggests at my craving for more McLovin will be satisfied there. Mark Strong is quickly becoming one of my new favorite actors and one of my least favorite actors, Mr. Nic Cage turns in his best performance in years channeling Adam West's batman and being the source of some of my favorite moments in the film. It has to be remembered this is all in good fun and shouldn't be taken as more than that, if kids are being allowed to watch a movie called 'Kick-Ass' in the first place, its their parents fault they take it as something other than a parody. Its just poking a little fun at a world most people who will actually see this love. Nothing more. There is nothing to be sad about.

KICK-ASS Review

I have to start off by saying that I've never read the comic book from which 'Kick-Ass' is based, but I imagine the film gets the tone of it right. That seems to be the most important thing about this film. It has huge elements of both action, comedy and drama. Neither of these are small elements of an otherwise dominate comedic, action or drama film. So, in order to mix all of these with a good balance and having to keep a consistent tone I'd also say it is the most impressive thing about this film. it does escalate from comedy to action comedy to action drama with bits of humor, but it knows what it wants and it goes for it with no regard as to who will be offended. I read Roger Ebert's review of this film because he was severely offended by the thought of an 11 year-old girl killing people with no remorse and claims the audience who enjoys this film simply "inhabit(s) a world I am so very not interested in." I am not going to make my review a justification of why it is a much better film than Ebert gives it credit for, but his points are certainly interesting and worth noting. He knows this is satire but doesn't know what of. This is a fair question, but one I would assume most people could guess after watching the film. This is not necessarily a spoof of comics or comic book movies, as it still has moments that resemble any other comic book adaptation. What this is making fun of but being in love with at the same time is the world that these comic books take us too. At least, that is how I am going to take it. The question is posed, "How come nobody's ever tried to be a superhero?" and that in turn spawns our main character to try it out. What this leads to is the "making fun" of how ridiculous it would be if someone tried to act like the superheroes they read about in the comics. Even the good ones like Big Daddy and Hit Girl are laughable in the way they have chosen to live their lives. It is also fair to question how an 11 year-old can show no remorse after stone cold killing 12 men, but it is established from the beginning that this character has not been raised to show remorse or affection or anything. She has been trained her entire life to kill, why would one expect her to act any differently than the way she did? There is no argument this is not the best way to raise a child, but for the purposes of being shocking and quite original (which I'm positive is what the comic book creators were going for) it works here. This is not for the young crowd, this is for the 17 to 30 audience (mostly males) that enjoy comic book movies and comedies. This is for the college age-kids who's narcissistic tendencies will be satisfied with this piece of satire. The story I thought was structured well, giving all plot lines the right amount of attention and sequencing them in the right order so as to create the best effect this kind of story can produce.Even Ebert cannot deny the appeal of the cast which is great here. In any other movie Chloe Moretz would have ran away as a scene stealer, but Aaron Johnson anchors the film well playing normal teen with a kind thrill for the unknown. Christopher Mintz-Plasse feels underused and is really my only complaint about the film though if they actually get to make the sequel that the end suggests at my craving for more McLovin will be satisfied there. Mark Strong is quickly becoming one of my new favorite actors and one of my least favorite actors, Mr. Nic Cage turns in his best performance in years channeling Adam West's batman and being the source of some of my favorite moments in the film. It has to be remembered this is all in good fun and shouldn't be taken as more than that, if kids are being allowed to watch a movie called 'Kick-Ass' in the first place, its their parents fault they take it as something other than a parody. Its just poking a little fun at a world most people who will actually see this love. Nothing more. There is nothing to be sad about.

NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET Review

I am not of the generation that grew up watching the originals these recent horror films produced by Michael Bay have been revamping. I have of course seen them in all their campy glory, but would hope these new revisions would be what I would do with the material had I the opportunity to remake it. I think that has been the key downfall with most of these remakes, they haven't lived up to what I always wanted the older ones to be. After last years horrible 'Friday the 13th' update I expected the worst from this film. It is without debate that Freddy Krueger is the most iconic of these movie villains. When it was announced that Jackie Earle Haley would be playing Freddy I was pleased with the choice. Most say his portrayal of Mr. Krueger can never compare to Mr. Englunds, but with a very Rorschach-like voice and overall sense of sick bestowed upon him, this Freddy Krueger is no joke. This is a much more serious film than the original that spawned it. If this wasn't a re-make I would be thoroughly impressed and probably call it one of the better scary movies I've seen in years. The story has elements of the original but has been updated significantly. And most of the time, for the better. This script offers more of a back story and reason as to why it is this specific group of teens having these dreams. It paints a horrifying picture of how Freddy became the nightmare stalker and a complex dilemma in the children that are trying to get rid of him. There are of course a few campy lines, especially as the film gets closer to its climax, but for the first hour or so this is a nicely paced, if not sometimes cliched horror flick. It offers a few jumps, but is never really scary, which I guess is the main detraction from this piece. I have no idea how scary the original was when it first came out, but this one is more good cinematography and surprisingly good acting with less of the things that make you jump in your seat. Still, it isn't as bad as everyone might tell you it is, in fact it is much better. Although I did go in with low expectations and so this may be a little bias in that it exceeded those low expectations to the fullest it could. It doesn't ruin the original but it doesn't set a new standard. The ending is ridiculous and I'm actually not sure if we can expect a sequel. All that needed to be said was said, but I'm sure if this makes enough money we will see Krueger back again.

NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET Review

I am not of the generation that grew up watching the originals these recent horror films produced by Michael Bay have been revamping. I have of course seen them in all their campy glory, but would hope these new revisions would be what I would do with the material had I the opportunity to remake it. I think that has been the key downfall with most of these remakes, they haven't lived up to what I always wanted the older ones to be. After last years horrible 'Friday the 13th' update I expected the worst from this film. It is without debate that Freddy Krueger is the most iconic of these movie villains. When it was announced that Jackie Earle Haley would be playing Freddy I was pleased with the choice. Most say his portrayal of Mr. Krueger can never compare to Mr. Englunds, but with a very Rorschach-like voice and overall sense of sick bestowed upon him, this Freddy Krueger is no joke. This is a much more serious film than the original that spawned it. If this wasn't a re-make I would be thoroughly impressed and probably call it one of the better scary movies I've seen in years. The story has elements of the original but has been updated significantly. And most of the time, for the better. This script offers more of a back story and reason as to why it is this specific group of teens having these dreams. It paints a horrifying picture of how Freddy became the nightmare stalker and a complex dilemma in the children that are trying to get rid of him. There are of course a few campy lines, especially as the film gets closer to its climax, but for the first hour or so this is a nicely paced, if not sometimes cliched horror flick. It offers a few jumps, but is never really scary, which I guess is the main detraction from this piece. I have no idea how scary the original was when it first came out, but this one is more good cinematography and surprisingly good acting with less of the things that make you jump in your seat. Still, it isn't as bad as everyone might tell you it is, in fact it is much better. Although I did go in with low expectations and so this may be a little bias in that it exceeded those low expectations to the fullest it could. It doesn't ruin the original but it doesn't set a new standard. The ending is ridiculous and I'm actually not sure if we can expect a sequel. All that needed to be said was said, but I'm sure if this makes enough money we will see Krueger back again.

CRAZY HEART Review


I am so thankful I was finally able to watch 'Crazy Heart'. I have wanted to see it since I first heard about it and was even more interested when Jeff Bridges received the Oscar nomination. He completely deserved it by the way. This is one of those movies that just sticks with you. It may be a slightly conventional film when it comes to story of a has-been musician and it plays out with little surprise, but the performances and the heart these actors put behind this material makes it all the more real and affecting. The biggest thing to love about this movie though is Mr. Bridges, hands down. As Bad Blake he epitomizes what country music is supposed to be and he does with with such charm you wish he actually was a country singer. For such a small film it has an amazing supporting cast as well, I like Maggie Gyllenhaal, I really do, but she plays white trash so well it makes you kind of detract from her. She is understandable here and has one of my most unforgettable moments in the film, but the one thing the film doesn't get across well enough to support her decision is the reason behind the attraction she has for Bad. Yes, he's appealing and has that charm, but he is much older, overweight, an alcoholic and has no money to support him let alone her and her child. What about him makes her think everything will be okay if she forgets all those things for the time being? It is one loose end and a detail that can just as easily be looked over. What is essentially cameos from Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall are bright moments in an otherwise cloudy-toned atmosphere the film creates. Farrell is especially effective here as Bads protege Tommy Sweet. He is made to be this unlikeable dirt bag who left Bad in the dust for money and fame, but when we actually meet him about halfway through the film , he is a much more complex character than that. Farrell plays him with the perfect balance of humble and celebrity. He is willing to help Bad to the best of his abilities as long as Bad cooperates and goes with the flow of things. We like Sweet, sometimes more than we like Bad. As for Duvall, he brings Bad back around to right where he needs to be, helps him see the light of day and is the cutest old man here (something I never thought I would say about Mr. Duvall). Besides all of this the music is great. I will definitely be buying the soundtrack and will listen to it often, just to get a sense of how great and rough yet pure Bad's style of country is. Just like the movie in which it comes from.

CRAZY HEART Review


I am so thankful I was finally able to watch 'Crazy Heart'. I have wanted to see it since I first heard about it and was even more interested when Jeff Bridges received the Oscar nomination. He completely deserved it by the way. This is one of those movies that just sticks with you. It may be a slightly conventional film when it comes to story of a has-been musician and it plays out with little surprise, but the performances and the heart these actors put behind this material makes it all the more real and affecting. The biggest thing to love about this movie though is Mr. Bridges, hands down. As Bad Blake he epitomizes what country music is supposed to be and he does with with such charm you wish he actually was a country singer. For such a small film it has an amazing supporting cast as well, I like Maggie Gyllenhaal, I really do, but she plays white trash so well it makes you kind of detract from her. She is understandable here and has one of my most unforgettable moments in the film, but the one thing the film doesn't get across well enough to support her decision is the reason behind the attraction she has for Bad. Yes, he's appealing and has that charm, but he is much older, overweight, an alcoholic and has no money to support him let alone her and her child. What about him makes her think everything will be okay if she forgets all those things for the time being? It is one loose end and a detail that can just as easily be looked over. What is essentially cameos from Colin Farrell and Robert Duvall are bright moments in an otherwise cloudy-toned atmosphere the film creates. Farrell is especially effective here as Bads protege Tommy Sweet. He is made to be this unlikeable dirt bag who left Bad in the dust for money and fame, but when we actually meet him about halfway through the film , he is a much more complex character than that. Farrell plays him with the perfect balance of humble and celebrity. He is willing to help Bad to the best of his abilities as long as Bad cooperates and goes with the flow of things. We like Sweet, sometimes more than we like Bad. As for Duvall, he brings Bad back around to right where he needs to be, helps him see the light of day and is the cutest old man here (something I never thought I would say about Mr. Duvall). Besides all of this the music is great. I will definitely be buying the soundtrack and will listen to it often, just to get a sense of how great and rough yet pure Bad's style of country is. Just like the movie in which it comes from.