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.

THE LAST EXORCISM Review

What is interesting about 'The Last Exorcism' is that this movie never truly scares you. Sure, there are moments where you prepare yourself for a good shock, but you are never fulfilled by these expectations. The interesting part is that no matter how many times the movie fails to scare you it is still interesting to watch and you are completely engaged with these characters up until its final moments. A few hours after seeing the film and I admit to still being somewhat confused as to how I really feel about it. I liked parts of it, that's for sure. The first half hour or so is pretty great and you feel like these guys are really onto something here. The character of Cotton Marcus is etched out very well and giving the audience a look into this mans mind only deepens the emotional pull of later events that correlate with the central epiphany of the film. The script offers some nice layers and some pretty creepy moments most of which are carried out by the wonderful Ashley Bell whose performance really makes or breaks the film for the viewer. Sure, Fabian is a perfect mix of arrogance and charm as Cotton and is able to make us understand why he does what he does without coming off a complete a-hole is quite impressive, but for the credibility factor of the film there was always going to have to be someone who could make the possessed girl come to life and rise above the standard cliches of sheltered daughter of an old religious nut. They always seem to fall into that category don't they? Bell plays Nell with such innocence underlined with suspicion you never really trust her. She is sweet and thankful one moment and we want to love her and root for the exorcism to work despite knowing the whole thing is a hoax. And without a moments notice she is crawling around like spider-man with a blade in her hand searching for her next victim and we want someone to get a hold of her and do what has to be done. She contorts and hisses her way into a bad part of our minds and if this movie leaves us with one impression it is how strong of a performance Bell gives on such a thinly written part on the page. As you may have heard, the last five minutes destroys the good momentum 'The Last Exorcism' had in its earlier parts and this is no doubt true. It is as if the writers simply did not know either where to go with the film at a certain point or if they just wanted to end it and this was the quickest way to wrap it up. It is hard to explain really, the film shifts gears so fast we are kind of caught off guard and when exiting the theater catch ourselves thinking, "Is that really all they could come up with?" And so, a few hours after seeing the movie I am still left with the feeling of it could have been better. They had me until the end. The documentary style way this was shot and told works for me still and for such an unknown cast it had a slew of strong performances, now only if the story could have pulled all this together in one of the more satisfying scary movie of the past few years. Oh well, I guess they can say they gave it a good shot, but in the end, we were never really fooled and our worst fears were realized: Just another good idea with nowhere to go.

THE LAST EXORCISM Review

What is interesting about 'The Last Exorcism' is that this movie never truly scares you. Sure, there are moments where you prepare yourself for a good shock, but you are never fulfilled by these expectations. The interesting part is that no matter how many times the movie fails to scare you it is still interesting to watch and you are completely engaged with these characters up until its final moments. A few hours after seeing the film and I admit to still being somewhat confused as to how I really feel about it. I liked parts of it, that's for sure. The first half hour or so is pretty great and you feel like these guys are really onto something here. The character of Cotton Marcus is etched out very well and giving the audience a look into this mans mind only deepens the emotional pull of later events that correlate with the central epiphany of the film. The script offers some nice layers and some pretty creepy moments most of which are carried out by the wonderful Ashley Bell whose performance really makes or breaks the film for the viewer. Sure, Fabian is a perfect mix of arrogance and charm as Cotton and is able to make us understand why he does what he does without coming off a complete a-hole is quite impressive, but for the credibility factor of the film there was always going to have to be someone who could make the possessed girl come to life and rise above the standard cliches of sheltered daughter of an old religious nut. They always seem to fall into that category don't they? Bell plays Nell with such innocence underlined with suspicion you never really trust her. She is sweet and thankful one moment and we want to love her and root for the exorcism to work despite knowing the whole thing is a hoax. And without a moments notice she is crawling around like spider-man with a blade in her hand searching for her next victim and we want someone to get a hold of her and do what has to be done. She contorts and hisses her way into a bad part of our minds and if this movie leaves us with one impression it is how strong of a performance Bell gives on such a thinly written part on the page. As you may have heard, the last five minutes destroys the good momentum 'The Last Exorcism' had in its earlier parts and this is no doubt true. It is as if the writers simply did not know either where to go with the film at a certain point or if they just wanted to end it and this was the quickest way to wrap it up. It is hard to explain really, the film shifts gears so fast we are kind of caught off guard and when exiting the theater catch ourselves thinking, "Is that really all they could come up with?" And so, a few hours after seeing the movie I am still left with the feeling of it could have been better. They had me until the end. The documentary style way this was shot and told works for me still and for such an unknown cast it had a slew of strong performances, now only if the story could have pulled all this together in one of the more satisfying scary movie of the past few years. Oh well, I guess they can say they gave it a good shot, but in the end, we were never really fooled and our worst fears were realized: Just another good idea with nowhere to go.

THE SWITCH Review

Under the suspicion this was going to be the better of the two romantic comedies based around the concept of sperm donors I have seen the past week, I had pretty high hopes for 'The Switch' despite some harsh reviews. How I feel though is simply this-critics sometimes if not most times look to deep and expect too much. Not expecting too much as in "I know you could do better" but in terms of "This should have been something that it never will be." If I am losing anyone so far, I apologize, to make an example of what I am trying to say can be found in the critical reactions to 'The Switch'. This is a romantic comedy and we all know rom coms have a formula that many stay very close to in regards to big Hollywood productions. To criticize a film that has been labeled as a rom com that has the gaul to focus more on a relationship between son and estranged father rather than the one between the child's mother and distant admirer says something I think. When a romantic comedy creates characters that can't be summed up in one sentence has to mean something. To give it to you straight, I did not perceive this film as a by the numbers romantic comedy or even a dumb comedy nor did I feel it to be inauthentic or removed from reality at all. These are a few of the complaints I've read and so even though I knew this would be much better than 'The Back Up Plan', I was starting to doubt if it would be "as good as it could be". Turns out, the movie is a heartfelt and very genuine comedy about one man learning a few lessons after he makes a life altering decision while in a drunken state. Bateman is a wonder here, he creates the character of Wally as someone we don't necessarily like at first, but we grow to gt to know him and so we forgive his pessimism and his unfiltered mouth that seems to cause him more stress than anything else. We see why he is the way he is, but we never really feel sorry for him, not in the beginning anyway. The film moves along at a slower pace than it sometimes needs, but the script creates some great parallels, not only in Wally and Anistons son Sebastian, but just in story. Things unfold and come to light with a "real" sense of progression, and a vibe that is simply inviting. With Aniston on the poster with Bateman you may expect her to be a bigger part in this than she actually is, not saying that she doesn't have much less screen time than Bateman, but this is really his story. Her wanting to have a child only sets up what is certainly more vital to changing his life course than hers. Aniston is always a pleasure when playing second fiddle to a male lead that can really hold his own and Bateman does that here with an easiness and charm that screams natural. We know the second we meet young Sebastian that he is Wally's not just because we witnessed Wally replacing the donors ingredient with his own, but because there is simply a connection there. A bond that is at the heart of this movie. The relationship between Wally and Sebastian is what made this film stand on its own two legs in the crowded world of romantic comedies. We see a focus that cares more about giving us a real sense of what Batemans character is going through rather than force Aniston and Bateman to become a couple quicker and then discover Sebastian fits in perfectly with the plan because he is in fact Wally's son. Not saying that Aniston and Bateman don't have chemistry, they actually bounce off one another really well-we want to see them become the family Sebastian is yearning for, but a romantic comedy that keeps its audience waiting until the last scene to confirm what we hoped and kinda knew would happen all along actually happen gets kudos from me. Give it a break critics, its not a french art house film, but what makes those better than a movie where you see a man make a real transformation and connect with a son in a way he never imagined. Nothing I think so ease up off its back and simply take it for what it is. A genuinely good romantic comedy.

THE SWITCH Review

Under the suspicion this was going to be the better of the two romantic comedies based around the concept of sperm donors I have seen the past week, I had pretty high hopes for 'The Switch' despite some harsh reviews. How I feel though is simply this-critics sometimes if not most times look to deep and expect too much. Not expecting too much as in "I know you could do better" but in terms of "This should have been something that it never will be." If I am losing anyone so far, I apologize, to make an example of what I am trying to say can be found in the critical reactions to 'The Switch'. This is a romantic comedy and we all know rom coms have a formula that many stay very close to in regards to big Hollywood productions. To criticize a film that has been labeled as a rom com that has the gaul to focus more on a relationship between son and estranged father rather than the one between the child's mother and distant admirer says something I think. When a romantic comedy creates characters that can't be summed up in one sentence has to mean something. To give it to you straight, I did not perceive this film as a by the numbers romantic comedy or even a dumb comedy nor did I feel it to be inauthentic or removed from reality at all. These are a few of the complaints I've read and so even though I knew this would be much better than 'The Back Up Plan', I was starting to doubt if it would be "as good as it could be". Turns out, the movie is a heartfelt and very genuine comedy about one man learning a few lessons after he makes a life altering decision while in a drunken state. Bateman is a wonder here, he creates the character of Wally as someone we don't necessarily like at first, but we grow to gt to know him and so we forgive his pessimism and his unfiltered mouth that seems to cause him more stress than anything else. We see why he is the way he is, but we never really feel sorry for him, not in the beginning anyway. The film moves along at a slower pace than it sometimes needs, but the script creates some great parallels, not only in Wally and Anistons son Sebastian, but just in story. Things unfold and come to light with a "real" sense of progression, and a vibe that is simply inviting. With Aniston on the poster with Bateman you may expect her to be a bigger part in this than she actually is, not saying that she doesn't have much less screen time than Bateman, but this is really his story. Her wanting to have a child only sets up what is certainly more vital to changing his life course than hers. Aniston is always a pleasure when playing second fiddle to a male lead that can really hold his own and Bateman does that here with an easiness and charm that screams natural. We know the second we meet young Sebastian that he is Wally's not just because we witnessed Wally replacing the donors ingredient with his own, but because there is simply a connection there. A bond that is at the heart of this movie. The relationship between Wally and Sebastian is what made this film stand on its own two legs in the crowded world of romantic comedies. We see a focus that cares more about giving us a real sense of what Batemans character is going through rather than force Aniston and Bateman to become a couple quicker and then discover Sebastian fits in perfectly with the plan because he is in fact Wally's son. Not saying that Aniston and Bateman don't have chemistry, they actually bounce off one another really well-we want to see them become the family Sebastian is yearning for, but a romantic comedy that keeps its audience waiting until the last scene to confirm what we hoped and kinda knew would happen all along actually happen gets kudos from me. Give it a break critics, its not a french art house film, but what makes those better than a movie where you see a man make a real transformation and connect with a son in a way he never imagined. Nothing I think so ease up off its back and simply take it for what it is. A genuinely good romantic comedy.

LOTTERY TICKET Review

Honestly, this was better then I expected it to be. It looked like a run of the mill comedy with a great African American ensemble cast. I don't point that out because I am white, but because it is one of the strengths of the film. Not just the cast, but the environment in which this is set. If it were not for the environment, this movie would not exist. Taking place in what is 'the hood' somewhere in the southern region it seems is the story of a young man who gets lucky, wins big and learns a whole bunch of lessons in the three days before he can actually claim the cash that help him make the right decisions when he actually does get the money. Bow Wow is good here, considering i haven't seen him much since 'Roll Bounce', which I enjoyed thoroughly, he has grown as an actor and as a presence. Here, he is easily likeable and gives us a character that we can easily root for, someone we wouldn't mind seeing win the lottery. if it can't be me, I'm glad its him. His best friend, as in 'Roll Bounce', is again played by Brandon T. Jackson who is one of the most promising young actors in Hollywood today. Not only is he hilarious in nearly every scene, but when his role calls for its dramatic moments, he truly makes you feel them. The rest of the cast is filled out in what are almost cameos-Loretta Devine is hilarious as Bow Wows grandmother, Mike Epps is a scene stealer as the local preacher and Terry Crews, Charlie Murphy and Ice Cube all are in fine form here. On a side note it was nice to see Jason Weaver getting some work. As for the story, it is predictable but fun and even though we know the lesson our main character will learn and overcome the film has a great pace and flow to it. It never lingers too long or flies by at a speed we aren't able to absorb whats going on. It is honestly the best thing the film has going for it, props to the editor. Though I still don't see the reason for Keith Davids character except to support the montage of Bow Wow and his friends actually spending some money, I guess that was necessary, but hoped they could have pulled this off in a less cliche manner. As said earlier though, this rose above my moderate expectations and while it never becomes something more than an average comedy, it is easily seen as a movie that anyone could enjoy. Everyone's a winner with this one...except for this review which just received the cheesiest final sentence ever.

LOTTERY TICKET Review

Honestly, this was better then I expected it to be. It looked like a run of the mill comedy with a great African American ensemble cast. I don't point that out because I am white, but because it is one of the strengths of the film. Not just the cast, but the environment in which this is set. If it were not for the environment, this movie would not exist. Taking place in what is 'the hood' somewhere in the southern region it seems is the story of a young man who gets lucky, wins big and learns a whole bunch of lessons in the three days before he can actually claim the cash that help him make the right decisions when he actually does get the money. Bow Wow is good here, considering i haven't seen him much since 'Roll Bounce', which I enjoyed thoroughly, he has grown as an actor and as a presence. Here, he is easily likeable and gives us a character that we can easily root for, someone we wouldn't mind seeing win the lottery. if it can't be me, I'm glad its him. His best friend, as in 'Roll Bounce', is again played by Brandon T. Jackson who is one of the most promising young actors in Hollywood today. Not only is he hilarious in nearly every scene, but when his role calls for its dramatic moments, he truly makes you feel them. The rest of the cast is filled out in what are almost cameos-Loretta Devine is hilarious as Bow Wows grandmother, Mike Epps is a scene stealer as the local preacher and Terry Crews, Charlie Murphy and Ice Cube all are in fine form here. On a side note it was nice to see Jason Weaver getting some work. As for the story, it is predictable but fun and even though we know the lesson our main character will learn and overcome the film has a great pace and flow to it. It never lingers too long or flies by at a speed we aren't able to absorb whats going on. It is honestly the best thing the film has going for it, props to the editor. Though I still don't see the reason for Keith Davids character except to support the montage of Bow Wow and his friends actually spending some money, I guess that was necessary, but hoped they could have pulled this off in a less cliche manner. As said earlier though, this rose above my moderate expectations and while it never becomes something more than an average comedy, it is easily seen as a movie that anyone could enjoy. Everyone's a winner with this one...except for this review which just received the cheesiest final sentence ever.

PIRANHA 3D Review

'Piranha 3-D' is the epitome of campy horror. I have to say there was no real interest for me in seeing this, lets face it, we knew what we were gonna get after the first trailer was released. I was curious as to why actors such as Adam Scott and Ving Rhames signed on for this as well as interested in what exactly it was that reeled Mr. Dreyfuss and Mr. Lloyd to make their cameos in the film. I am all for making films that hearken back to the horror flicks of the 70's and 80's so as to laugh at the references and cheesiness in glory. Like last weekends 'Expendables', when it works, making a movie that is entertaining while still aware of its ridiculousness makes for a pretty fun time at the theater. I wouldn't say I enjoyed 'Piranha' as much as Stallone's action throw back or even the "Grindhouse' movies, but then again I've never really had a true affection for scary movies. I don't mind a story creeping me out or attempting to scare me and I love when movies make fun of the tools that are used in films to try and scare its audience-what my movie watching brain some times has trouble with though is when I feel pulled in two different directions. Director Aja sets his story around the town sheriff (Elisabeth Shue, hopefully only doing this for the fun and not her attempt at a comeback) and her children in a small lakeside town during the week of spring break. There is also the Joe Francis-like character played by O'Connell, who seems to be having the time of his life here, that drags our protagonists son away from his babysitting duties and thus the sheriffs kids are in trouble, deserted on an island while million year-old piranhas are going crazy. This is a slightly dramatic story and it has its tones of seriousness and gets the audience begging those kids not to step in the water, but Aja strays to far from this connecting plot line and goes for the long shots of kid partying it up, topless women and finally...gallons of blood and mayhem in the middle of the lake. Not that it isn't a hoot to watch and there are a few cheesy touches that truly make you laugh out loud. One thing I found fun with this movie was watching all the extras give their best at being hurt and scared. Which brings me to the point that while this is an entertaining ride to say the least, it is too scattered and concerned with putting in as many gags as possible to really feel like a focused and fully realized movie. We got what we expected, but probably not what we paid for, only a few instances utilized the 3-D technique to its advantage. Oh well, I'm sure 'Piranha 2' will be just as fun but hopefully not as pointless.

PIRANHA 3D Review

'Piranha 3-D' is the epitome of campy horror. I have to say there was no real interest for me in seeing this, lets face it, we knew what we were gonna get after the first trailer was released. I was curious as to why actors such as Adam Scott and Ving Rhames signed on for this as well as interested in what exactly it was that reeled Mr. Dreyfuss and Mr. Lloyd to make their cameos in the film. I am all for making films that hearken back to the horror flicks of the 70's and 80's so as to laugh at the references and cheesiness in glory. Like last weekends 'Expendables', when it works, making a movie that is entertaining while still aware of its ridiculousness makes for a pretty fun time at the theater. I wouldn't say I enjoyed 'Piranha' as much as Stallone's action throw back or even the "Grindhouse' movies, but then again I've never really had a true affection for scary movies. I don't mind a story creeping me out or attempting to scare me and I love when movies make fun of the tools that are used in films to try and scare its audience-what my movie watching brain some times has trouble with though is when I feel pulled in two different directions. Director Aja sets his story around the town sheriff (Elisabeth Shue, hopefully only doing this for the fun and not her attempt at a comeback) and her children in a small lakeside town during the week of spring break. There is also the Joe Francis-like character played by O'Connell, who seems to be having the time of his life here, that drags our protagonists son away from his babysitting duties and thus the sheriffs kids are in trouble, deserted on an island while million year-old piranhas are going crazy. This is a slightly dramatic story and it has its tones of seriousness and gets the audience begging those kids not to step in the water, but Aja strays to far from this connecting plot line and goes for the long shots of kid partying it up, topless women and finally...gallons of blood and mayhem in the middle of the lake. Not that it isn't a hoot to watch and there are a few cheesy touches that truly make you laugh out loud. One thing I found fun with this movie was watching all the extras give their best at being hurt and scared. Which brings me to the point that while this is an entertaining ride to say the least, it is too scattered and concerned with putting in as many gags as possible to really feel like a focused and fully realized movie. We got what we expected, but probably not what we paid for, only a few instances utilized the 3-D technique to its advantage. Oh well, I'm sure 'Piranha 2' will be just as fun but hopefully not as pointless.

THE EXPENDABLES Review


If you have any interest in seeing 'The Expendables' then you get exactly what you expect it to be. Stallone's orgy of action heroes is a throwback to his glory days. Plain and simple. This is an action film that is so bombastic, violent and over-the-top it is impossible to take anything seriously. Good thing this tone is completely intentional. Usually it is a bad sign when a movie is less about substance and more about explosions, but lets be honest-the whole point, the entire reason for this film even existing is to witness some of todays and yesterdays action stars kick some serious butt. And so, that is what consumes most of the films running time. There is cheesy dialogue, bad camera movements and awkward shots galore, but in essence we believe Stallone captures his tone perfectly and allows these elements to work for him instead of against him. The stereotypes of action films are played up for chuckles instead of trying to make them serious. The plot is standard guns for hire bad boys so we know how everything is going to go down, but we love watching these guys get into it. Stallone is still kickin it in the lead role and looks amazing really for 65, no matter how disfigured his lips sometime look. Statham is the real anchor here though, he is the most likeable and its almost as if Stallone knows he is the true heir to the action throne and is sometimes mentoring him while other times giving him a right of passage to command the throne. Every supporting cast member gets their moment, though Jet Li doesn't get enough and old timers Rourke and Lundgren have some of the better bits, but Mickey nearly steals the film in one of the only sincere and moving sections of the film. Eric Roberts of course plays the bad guy and the much hyped scene that contains the three biggest action stars ever isn't as impactful as it maybe should have been, but it happened so lets be happy. 'The Expendables' is honestly nothing but a fun time and I imagine that is all Stallone wanted his audience to have. Good for him, can't wait for the sequel, maybe Van Damme will show up next time.

THE EXPENDABLES Review


If you have any interest in seeing 'The Expendables' then you get exactly what you expect it to be. Stallone's orgy of action heroes is a throwback to his glory days. Plain and simple. This is an action film that is so bombastic, violent and over-the-top it is impossible to take anything seriously. Good thing this tone is completely intentional. Usually it is a bad sign when a movie is less about substance and more about explosions, but lets be honest-the whole point, the entire reason for this film even existing is to witness some of todays and yesterdays action stars kick some serious butt. And so, that is what consumes most of the films running time. There is cheesy dialogue, bad camera movements and awkward shots galore, but in essence we believe Stallone captures his tone perfectly and allows these elements to work for him instead of against him. The stereotypes of action films are played up for chuckles instead of trying to make them serious. The plot is standard guns for hire bad boys so we know how everything is going to go down, but we love watching these guys get into it. Stallone is still kickin it in the lead role and looks amazing really for 65, no matter how disfigured his lips sometime look. Statham is the real anchor here though, he is the most likeable and its almost as if Stallone knows he is the true heir to the action throne and is sometimes mentoring him while other times giving him a right of passage to command the throne. Every supporting cast member gets their moment, though Jet Li doesn't get enough and old timers Rourke and Lundgren have some of the better bits, but Mickey nearly steals the film in one of the only sincere and moving sections of the film. Eric Roberts of course plays the bad guy and the much hyped scene that contains the three biggest action stars ever isn't as impactful as it maybe should have been, but it happened so lets be happy. 'The Expendables' is honestly nothing but a fun time and I imagine that is all Stallone wanted his audience to have. Good for him, can't wait for the sequel, maybe Van Damme will show up next time.

SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD Review


Cera continues his winning streak and seriously breaks into new ground with the title role of Scott Pilgrim. Director Edgar Wright has provided a completely original, fun and inventive film that is a pure representation of this generations love story. 'Scott Pilgrim' is simply a feast for the eyes and more importantly the brain. No, it's not some elaborate story and it does not possess an elaborate plot, in fact it is very much the same story as every other Michael Cera movie, but it is the way, the style in which it is told that makes the film stand firmly in a league of its own. Its a simple story of boy liking girl and the obstacles he faces in trying to obtain that dream girl. Nothing to strange right? No, but then we meet the first of seven evil exes that belong to scotts hearts desire and so the fun begins and the film keeps a consistent upbeat tempo with its little quirks galore. Some could easily criticize it for being too reluctant on its gag of making life into a video game, but the movie never makes its intentions feel gag-like in any way. Instead, it feels like an experiment in what if real life was more like a video game, especially those the ones of a certain generation grew up loving on the NES. For the first hour or so this movie is completely fun and exciting-everyone in it is having a blast and even with the supplement of an alternate reality like Canada, the emotions are real in a way that translates to the target audience that this specific story and execution are aiming for. Certainly this film has a specific audience and it was hard for me to tell whether or not those not involved with this generational gap would care for, "get' or like the film. Its themes are universal though and it translates emotions into visual art pieces and does so in a wam pow comic book fusion that not only gets its tone and mood across correctly but is entertaining to look at and become involved in at the same time. 'Scott Pilgrim' isn't a video game and you can't control these characters as you would if you were playing a game, but you like where the story takes them anyway.

SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD Review


Cera continues his winning streak and seriously breaks into new ground with the title role of Scott Pilgrim. Director Edgar Wright has provided a completely original, fun and inventive film that is a pure representation of this generations love story. 'Scott Pilgrim' is simply a feast for the eyes and more importantly the brain. No, it's not some elaborate story and it does not possess an elaborate plot, in fact it is very much the same story as every other Michael Cera movie, but it is the way, the style in which it is told that makes the film stand firmly in a league of its own. Its a simple story of boy liking girl and the obstacles he faces in trying to obtain that dream girl. Nothing to strange right? No, but then we meet the first of seven evil exes that belong to scotts hearts desire and so the fun begins and the film keeps a consistent upbeat tempo with its little quirks galore. Some could easily criticize it for being too reluctant on its gag of making life into a video game, but the movie never makes its intentions feel gag-like in any way. Instead, it feels like an experiment in what if real life was more like a video game, especially those the ones of a certain generation grew up loving on the NES. For the first hour or so this movie is completely fun and exciting-everyone in it is having a blast and even with the supplement of an alternate reality like Canada, the emotions are real in a way that translates to the target audience that this specific story and execution are aiming for. Certainly this film has a specific audience and it was hard for me to tell whether or not those not involved with this generational gap would care for, "get' or like the film. Its themes are universal though and it translates emotions into visual art pieces and does so in a wam pow comic book fusion that not only gets its tone and mood across correctly but is entertaining to look at and become involved in at the same time. 'Scott Pilgrim' isn't a video game and you can't control these characters as you would if you were playing a game, but you like where the story takes them anyway.

THE OTHER GUYS Review

Adam McKay has seriously upped his game this time. I will never doubt either him or Ferrell when they pair up and although this isn't as consistently funny as their three previous collaborations, it is a really well thought out film. It feels like an authentic film, not just a bunch of funnymen goofing around. 'The Other Guys' brings Ferrell back to form in a way that his career seriously needed. What is best about his performance here is the fact he isn't playing his standard ignorant, obnoxious man-child. He is a completely different person, but he is still Will Ferrell and he is hilarious. Playing a guy who plays it safe for the most outrageous reasons partnered with Mark Wahlberg who is playing a version of his 'Departed' character, but the version that has been shamed out of his cred for shooting Derek Jeter in the leg. Together they create a comedic pair that truly shines, not since Ferrell and Reilly teamed up has their been a better pair. If all of this is sounding a tad ridiculous, that's because it is. While drawing from buddy cop films of the past to create its conventions it also has an equal share of comedy that keeps the plot moving while still feeling random and yes, slightly ridiculous. It is my favorite type of humor. When things are said, that garner no explanation, but the delivery and combination of words are hilarious no matter the context in which they are spoken. There are more than a handful of occasions where this happens. Why Michael Keatons character works two jobs is explained, but why that second job is at Bed, Bath and Beyond? Lord knows, but its funny. Why is there a section in the film that involves Ferrells mother-in-law discussing his and his wives sex life? There is none, but I laughed harder at it than I have at a movie in a long time. 'The Other Guys' simply gets it right, it is the movie 'Cop Out' wanted to be. It pokes fun at obvious impracticalities in action films yet it doesn't feel forced. It has the right amount of comedy and action-the two are balanced nicely and not to mention the story is pretty dang interesting in itself. The way Wahlberg's Terry keeps trying to make the case all about drugs is just a tiny gem in how well this movie parodies every cop drama that comes out. Not to mention the supporting cast here either, Keaton shines with hilarity every time he is on screen. It is good to see him back and garnering laughs. Eva Mendes has always seemed to have a knack for appearing in crap movies, but here, she is limited in screen time and keeps one of the stronger running jokes in the film alive and hilarious by playing her role up to its fullest. Rob Riggle and Damon Wayans Jr. score some big laughs as the rival cops gunning for the spot left open by The Rock and Sam Jackson. Speaking of those two guys, their short but lively time on screen gets the movie rolling and from then on it hardly lets up. McKay is seriously improving as a director and storyteller, Wahlberg is a surprise and should do more comedies while Ferrell proves he is still in his prime. There was nothing I truly disliked about the film and there was a whole lot I loved. Especially those running TLC and LRB jokes. Classic.

THE OTHER GUYS Review

Adam McKay has seriously upped his game this time. I will never doubt either him or Ferrell when they pair up and although this isn't as consistently funny as their three previous collaborations, it is a really well thought out film. It feels like an authentic film, not just a bunch of funnymen goofing around. 'The Other Guys' brings Ferrell back to form in a way that his career seriously needed. What is best about his performance here is the fact he isn't playing his standard ignorant, obnoxious man-child. He is a completely different person, but he is still Will Ferrell and he is hilarious. Playing a guy who plays it safe for the most outrageous reasons partnered with Mark Wahlberg who is playing a version of his 'Departed' character, but the version that has been shamed out of his cred for shooting Derek Jeter in the leg. Together they create a comedic pair that truly shines, not since Ferrell and Reilly teamed up has their been a better pair. If all of this is sounding a tad ridiculous, that's because it is. While drawing from buddy cop films of the past to create its conventions it also has an equal share of comedy that keeps the plot moving while still feeling random and yes, slightly ridiculous. It is my favorite type of humor. When things are said, that garner no explanation, but the delivery and combination of words are hilarious no matter the context in which they are spoken. There are more than a handful of occasions where this happens. Why Michael Keatons character works two jobs is explained, but why that second job is at Bed, Bath and Beyond? Lord knows, but its funny. Why is there a section in the film that involves Ferrells mother-in-law discussing his and his wives sex life? There is none, but I laughed harder at it than I have at a movie in a long time. 'The Other Guys' simply gets it right, it is the movie 'Cop Out' wanted to be. It pokes fun at obvious impracticalities in action films yet it doesn't feel forced. It has the right amount of comedy and action-the two are balanced nicely and not to mention the story is pretty dang interesting in itself. The way Wahlberg's Terry keeps trying to make the case all about drugs is just a tiny gem in how well this movie parodies every cop drama that comes out. Not to mention the supporting cast here either, Keaton shines with hilarity every time he is on screen. It is good to see him back and garnering laughs. Eva Mendes has always seemed to have a knack for appearing in crap movies, but here, she is limited in screen time and keeps one of the stronger running jokes in the film alive and hilarious by playing her role up to its fullest. Rob Riggle and Damon Wayans Jr. score some big laughs as the rival cops gunning for the spot left open by The Rock and Sam Jackson. Speaking of those two guys, their short but lively time on screen gets the movie rolling and from then on it hardly lets up. McKay is seriously improving as a director and storyteller, Wahlberg is a surprise and should do more comedies while Ferrell proves he is still in his prime. There was nothing I truly disliked about the film and there was a whole lot I loved. Especially those running TLC and LRB jokes. Classic.

CHARLIE ST. CLOUD Review

The critics have not been kind to Zac Efrons attempt at leaving his 'High School Musical' image behind him. In reality though, it is going to take a lot more than this to push Efrons image into a more mature realm. As I exited the theater, the crowd mainly consisted of tweenage girls and they seemed rather happy with the film. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed, or maybe "didn't mind" is a better phrase, the film. With it receiving such harsh reviews I was afraid this would be a huge disappointment to what looked like an otherwise enticing film in its trailers. I haven't read the book on which this is based, but if you've seen a drama about the loss of a loved one you probably have seen what the makers were going for here. 'Charlie St. Cloud' comes off very much like a Hallmark or Lifetime film, where the emotions and melodrama are shoved right up in your face. The emotions aren't as contrived here as it is in those made for TV movies, but the tone of the film is pretty darn close. As for Efron, I am a guy who can admit that he is a charming actor and an easily likeable guy. If not for his committed performance the film would fall from only sometimes cheesy to completely hackish. Efron makes Charlie, who is supposed to be this town weirdo, but we are never really given this characteristic from the way the film presents him, into a guy just trying to deal with his grief. We are given the point of view that he has simply retreated from life after being at fault for the death of his young brother. We understand, even if it isn't the way we may have acted in his shoes. Or maybe we would. The twist comes pretty early on, we get that he can "see" his dead friends and family members. We don't know why, but that doesn't matter. We know as soon as the girl he has eyes for decides to do what she's told not to that this is going to end exactly how we think it will. That is not to say the movie doesn't have its charming moments. What are essentially cameos by Kim Basinger and Ray Liotta not only add a tad bit of cred to the film but also bring a more raw and human emotion to it, especially Liotta, who is moving in every frame he appears. You can tell the people behind the film are really trying to make an emotionally moving film, and in certain moments, they succeed. It deals with some difficult situations in life and though its supernatural twist may take some viewers off guard, it never gets too weird. I didn't mind the movie. It wasn't as good as I hoped it would be, but it isn't as bad as they're saying either.

CHARLIE ST. CLOUD Review

The critics have not been kind to Zac Efrons attempt at leaving his 'High School Musical' image behind him. In reality though, it is going to take a lot more than this to push Efrons image into a more mature realm. As I exited the theater, the crowd mainly consisted of tweenage girls and they seemed rather happy with the film. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed, or maybe "didn't mind" is a better phrase, the film. With it receiving such harsh reviews I was afraid this would be a huge disappointment to what looked like an otherwise enticing film in its trailers. I haven't read the book on which this is based, but if you've seen a drama about the loss of a loved one you probably have seen what the makers were going for here. 'Charlie St. Cloud' comes off very much like a Hallmark or Lifetime film, where the emotions and melodrama are shoved right up in your face. The emotions aren't as contrived here as it is in those made for TV movies, but the tone of the film is pretty darn close. As for Efron, I am a guy who can admit that he is a charming actor and an easily likeable guy. If not for his committed performance the film would fall from only sometimes cheesy to completely hackish. Efron makes Charlie, who is supposed to be this town weirdo, but we are never really given this characteristic from the way the film presents him, into a guy just trying to deal with his grief. We are given the point of view that he has simply retreated from life after being at fault for the death of his young brother. We understand, even if it isn't the way we may have acted in his shoes. Or maybe we would. The twist comes pretty early on, we get that he can "see" his dead friends and family members. We don't know why, but that doesn't matter. We know as soon as the girl he has eyes for decides to do what she's told not to that this is going to end exactly how we think it will. That is not to say the movie doesn't have its charming moments. What are essentially cameos by Kim Basinger and Ray Liotta not only add a tad bit of cred to the film but also bring a more raw and human emotion to it, especially Liotta, who is moving in every frame he appears. You can tell the people behind the film are really trying to make an emotionally moving film, and in certain moments, they succeed. It deals with some difficult situations in life and though its supernatural twist may take some viewers off guard, it never gets too weird. I didn't mind the movie. It wasn't as good as I hoped it would be, but it isn't as bad as they're saying either.