Monday, October 31, 2011

Rob Zombie completes his vision.

Halloween 2.

Before I get to H2…

Halloween (John Carpenter) is one of my favorite movies of all time. It is also one of the best movies of all time and is considered to be a classic horror film. It’s up there with Psycho, Exorcist, and the Frankenstein series. So when Rob Zombie remade Halloween I wasn’t too happy.

Problem – After the original Halloween 2 the series was very miss or miss worse. Part 3 was just ok, no Myers, but I was ok with it. Part 4 was sloppy and Myers looked silly in that light brown-haired mask. Part 5 was good, but the ending was a cliffhanger that led to part 6 which is the worst of the series. Then H20 came out with Jaime Lee coming back and continuing from the original part 2 again – they just ignored the whole Druid-Thorn-Symbol angle. H20 was just ok, the last act was really cool, but that should’ve been the end of Myers. But then Resurrection came out and actually I thought that overall it was better than H20, with Myers returning to scary mode – however, Busta Rhymes really destroys this movie. He is so awful and the fact he kills Myers in the end is so horrific that I consider Halloween Resurrection to have the worst ending of any horror movie ever made.

Back to the problem – I love Myers but the last 6 movies were very whatever – what else could you do but remake it. I mean if Spiderman 3 wasn’t up to standards, then I would still do Spiderman 4 and make it better – instead of rebooting. But when you have 5 bad movies in a row, it’s time to start over again.

So the first part of the remake is really a prequel and the last half is a remake – the last half is great! Brutal killings and pretty good atmosphere. The first half is all about kid Myers – which I don’t like. Too much swearing, and a too obvious back-story of how he was raised in a white trash home and everyone treated him like crap. What happened to the mysterious Michael Myers that no one knew why he killed? I guess to make it his own (something Carpenter told Zombie to do) Zombie gave us more back-story, which is fine, but now we have a different Myers than in the other films. So I guess in part this movie did its job of keeping it similar yet different. So I don’t think the remake was really as bad as everyone says and you know what, it was better than half the sequels, so there.

However, due to this new angle with Myers, we ended up rooting for him. Even in the second half! The teens are so stupid and obnoxious you end up wanting them dead. So I guess Zombie wants us to side with Myers – which is interesting for sure, since most horror films don’t do that, so I think Zombie identifies more with the villain than heroes.

That brings me to Halloween 2.

Well it continues from the last one – Myers was shot and left for dead, but he really wasn’t. The first act of this film (which totals 2 hours!!!) is a kind of remake of the original Halloween 2. Myers stalks Laurie at the hospital. This part is so amazing and in some ways even better than the original part 2. Myers is really pissed off and he is very brutal in his killings.

In fact, this movie was really harsh and you got a lot of lingering shots at the victims which made you feel really bad for them, especially the innocent ones, like the nurse.
I think Zombie is trying to show the aftermath of death. How it affects lives etc. Laurie is still having mental issues and is seeing a doctor (not Loomis this time, but Margot Kidder!) and everyone who survived the first movie is still trying to get over everything. I kind of like that approach and the film itself is shot really nicely.

It was shot on 16mm most films are done in 35mm or 70mm (for the epics). But this 16mm look makes it really nice and gritty. And I like that the grittiness wasn’t done in post production like it was with Planet Terror and Death Proof. Zombie was committed to the grainy look and it was no turning back!

The problem with this movie is that I am cheering way too much for Myers. Laurie is just a bitch in this and so are ALL her friends! I know she has been through a lot but she could be a bit nicer. Zombie is too blame. I believe that Rob Zombie is a good director. The look of the film and the dream sequences are really good. The pacing is good for a longer movie and I love the brutality. But I don’t think he is a good writer. His female characters especially are really despicable and just annoying. You want them dead so bad that you forget the tragedy of the death.

All in all this movie is a mixed bag with more good than bad – the dream sequences and the white horse motif are defiantly a bit weird, but you know I have to give Zombie this credit, he certainly makes an entertaining horror film and this is one of the better entries. In fact, it’s probably in the top 3-4 of the series.

On a personal note I love the ad campaign for this film and I love the poster above. It just seems really creepy and it tells a good story. I hate posters that have no movement, or are just faces lined up the side (see any modern poster). Oh and one last thing, Myers is without his mask for some of this film and its defiantly weird, but I think it works in Zombies alternate reality Halloween film series.

Just for kicks, this is my order:

Halloween (Orig)
Halloween 2 (Orig)
Halloween 5
Halloween 2 (Zombie)
Halloween (Zombie)
Halloween 4
Halloween Resurrection
Halloween H20
Halloween 6

I am interested to see what happens with Michael Myers next – if there is going to be a next!



Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Real G.One!


Before I go on to tell you why this is the best movie of the year and one of the best superhero flicks of all time, I’d like to say that this review will contain minor spoiler, but nothing you couldn’t figure out on your own while watching, so feel free to read on.

Ra.One is one of the first (and most expensive) Indian superhero movies ever made (I would count Krrish as well as a Robot, and a few others), and it’s a damn fine superhero movie at that! I mean you have to expect something fantastic from Shahrukh Khan (SRK) who brought us such greats as Billu Barber and My Name is Khan. This is a big budget superhero extravaganza and I loved every minute of it.

My wife had the songs playing well in advance of the film coming out, so I got to listen to some of the songs and I really enjoyed seeing them performed on the big screen. But this movie is actually light on Bollywood numbers – there are only 2 and the rest of the songs play during the film. The film is also shorter than the usual Bollywood fare, it totals at 2.5 hours (most are 3 or more). I think SRK and the film makers wanted to make this more “internationally friendly”. Some of the effects were done by Hollywood guys and Akon (hip hopper/rapper) provided 2 songs (the best 2 I might add, and they are currently playing in my car). So this is a collaboration of sorts. The movie is still firmly Bollywood though, so expect what you will.

The Plot – SRK is a video game designer, his son is really into gaming and uses the handle Lucifer. See his son is into villains, the cooler the better. He often dreams of gaming and in the games he is always called Lucifer and is usually playing in the image of his father. This leads to a great opening sequence where SRK has to save Priyanka Chopra (from Don, and Krrish). This dream sequence lets you know that the boy really does love his father and wishes he could be tougher. SRK in this movie is a total geek, and his son doesn’t have much respect for him because he believes him to be a coward. SRK tries to teach his son that evil will always be defeated by good and that worshipping the villain isn’t nice. He also teaches him other values and when they are attacked by a mugger his son wants him to go after him and get revenge. SRK quotes Gandhi “An eye for eye would leave the whole world blind.” This lesson falls on deaf ears as his son runs off.

SRK in the meantime, gets an assignment to make a new video game and he decides to base the game on the villain instead of the hero.

The title Ra.One stands for the villain of the game. The letters R.A.O.N.E. stand for something but if you say Ra.One fast, it sounds like Raavan – which is the Indian Demon in the Ramayan Epic. The hero of the movie, G.One (named the Good One) if said fast stands for “Life”. So the names make a lot of sense to the whole good vs evil motif. Also Ra.One is red (used for fire, hell etc) and G.One is blue (water, cool colour) so even the colour schemes play an important role.

This movie has been compared to other superhero movies and people have said they have been ripping off other movies or characters, well there are only 6 possible superheros: Born with powers (Namor/Mutants); Alien power (Superman, Martian Manhunter); Accidents (Flash, FF, Spidey); Technology/Gadgets (Batman, Iron man), Power from Gods (Wonder woman, Hercules, Thor) or powers from magic (Dr Strange, Captain Marvel), so every hero comes under one of these categories, so why hate on something like Ra.One? I think that for some stupid reason American audiences don’t want to let go and have fun.

I continually hear “we hate remakes” “make something new” etc, but then you get Sucker Punch and everyone hates it. So far Ra.One has been getting good reviews, and I hope that these snobs can just let it go and enjoy themselves for once.

The good news for you readers is that I am not one of these fools. I judge every movie for what it is and what it’s trying to do and this movie succeeds. And do I recommend it and do I think it was worth the year long wait, YES. A thousand times YES.

I am not sure if you have ever felt as happy as I do when I walk out of the theatre after seeing a great film. When it finished I knew in my heart that this was special and that I loved it. I am passionate about films, if I love them I love them, if I hate them I hate them. But I always give reasons I never just say it sucks and that’s it.

I am also an expert in superheroes and I can tell you that this movie holds up to any American superhero flick and it beats them too! Much better than Thor or Green Lantern, only Captain America can maybe hold its own against this, but in the end, Ra.One is number one.

I also wanted to point out that Super Star Rajinikanth is in this film, but not playing himself, he plays his character from Robot! Robot is another superhero flick but South Indian (Tollywood) and I LOVED the fact that both G.One and Robot met – maybe a possible team up in the future?

One last thing, Ra.One, the villain, is just the coolest darn villain of all time, and one of the best onscreen villains in ANY SUPERHERO MOVIE PERIOD! I tried to get a picture of him to show you all, but they are keeping him so secret – you can find his human form – played by a couple of actors (he can imitate others), but there are no pics of him in his Ra.One form – he is sick!

So please go see this movie. I cannot stress enough that this is a must see. Support this movie. Stop asking for something new, you got it, it’s called Ra.One and it’s right there waiting for you. GIVE IT A CHANCE.



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All for 3D.

The Three Musketeers.

This story has been done 700 times, but not quite like this. This is a “fantasy” take on the story. In reality there were no airships, Milady De Winter wasn’t a ninja and explosions weren’t very common, but hey it’s all in the name of fun; and in that spirit, this movie delivers.

I am not as pissed off at the very loose interpretation of the novel – see this story has been done so many different ways – The Musketeer had kung fu, there was a motorcycle version of it, they are doing an Asian version now, and there have even been musical versions and even Mickey Mouse did one! So a hyper fantasized version with goofy jokes is yet another version. The only Musketeer movie that I love is the Man in the Iron Mask (with Leo) that was serious drama! But for the most part all 3M movies have comedy, so this movie doesn’t piss me off like Transformers for example, which only has one live action film that everyone judges the cartoon by and which is super inaccurate.

Anyway, this movie has bombed and gotten very bad reviews. Well I am not sure what these people were expecting. The trailers were very accurate to what you got in the movie. I have the original novel (both the first and fifth novels actually – don’t ask) and several movie versions on DVD (5 in total), and if you are not going to translate the book, then you may as well have fun with it, and that’s what Paul Anderson does.

That being said, there are some really stupid things that happen, like the fat servant. The musketeers make fun of him for no reason, why are they being such dicks? Anyway, he ends up being very useful later on, but then after that, they go back to making fun of him? WTF? Also, the 3M’s never wear the musketeer outfits? That’s another WTF moment!

On the other hand, there is a lot to like. Milla is great as always, and is the best character, Rocheford is wicked – the only serious villain. The musketeers themselves are pretty cool and the scenery is amazing!

So all in all, this was a fun movie. I don’t understand the hatred. I could understand if I or one of my bloggers hated it, but not the same crowd that loves Transformers and Hangover.

I say go see it!

PS the 3D was a complete pile of shit, as usual, so go for 2D if you can.



Monday, October 24, 2011

A Great Year!

Batman Year One.

Based on Frank Millers graphic novel of the same name, and once again DC does it. Just like All-Star Superman, this is an amazing animated film. This is what Batman Begins should have been!

I mean the story is familiar, Batman’s parents are killed and he starts his war on crime, but it’s handled so well in this that you don’t mind seeing his origin again. And you get A LOT of Batman action. This isn’t Bruce Wayne walking around for 60 minutes!

Another great thing about this is the handling of Commissioner Gordon (who is Lieutenant at this time) and his development as a character.

I am constantly amazed at how good these animated films are, every single one of them is 5/5 and this is no different.

This is a must own for movie fans, and a super must own for ALL COMIC FANS. Second only to All-Star Superman.



Turkey doesnt care about copyrights!

3 Dev Adam.

So the poster you are looking at is not a marvel comic or book, it’s a movie. Why haven’t you heard of it? Well because you suck. Don’t you know that Turkey makes their own superhero movies?

They don’t even have to create their own characters, they can simply steal Marvels! So Captain America teams up with Santo (even Mexico isn’t safe from being ripped off) to fight The Spider (who isn’t exactly Spiderman, but close enough – google the movie for some really cool pics of his costume).

The Spider in this case is an evil sadistic madman who kills one woman buy burying her and then using a boat motor to mangle her face! Wow!

I have to say that I loved this movie! There is a lot of fighting and everyone is taking the movie very seriously. This isn’t a parody; this is a serious movie, well in Turkey at least. Here it would fall under the category of “so bad its good” if I believed in that genre. I had a lot of fun watching this mess and I loved it!

PS the story is impossible to follow. 95% of the time I was confused as to what was going on, or why I should care, but that just added to the coolness.

4/5 for fun factor, 1/5 for those of you who actually want to understand what you are watching.


Good Knight.

Knight and Day.

This movie was just killed at the box office and critics hated it. That should’ve been my first clue to go see it! But I didn’t, and I missed out on a fun-filled action comedy that works both as a comedy and action!

The action was really cool and inventive, think 80s style! And the comedy was good too! Diaz and Cruise were both really good in this and actually Tom Cruise was just jokes! His calm attitude towards the violence in the film is so funny.

There was also this great part where Diaz is unconscious for a about 5 mins of screen time where you see everything from her point of view as she drifts from being conscious to unconscious and you see Tom Cruise tied up and hanging, and he’s like “Don’t worry Ill get us out of here” then she passes out again and wakes up and they are in a helicopter and jump out, then she wakes up on the beach with Tom making lunch! It was like she was on this adventure while being unconscious; I thought that was really funny.

So I don’t know why this was hated? Maybe because Cruise at the time was not liked for some reason – see I don’t much care about the life of a star outside of their movies. I like Tom Cruise and he made some great films, this isn’t one of them, but this is one of the more fun films he has done in a while. I don’t get why people get so wrapped up in the private life of these people to the point of missing out on fun movies that they probably would have really enjoyed. I mean it’s not like Cruise was a Nazi or something – then maybe I would care, but I mean just watch the movie for what it is – I am told to do that all the time, and when I do, people still don’t get me.

In any case, this is a fun movie and I am glad I got it! (especially since it was $1.00 on brand new bluray from Blockbuster!)



Monday, October 17, 2011

Film Noir - Video Game Style!

Lady in the Lake.

So Philip Marlowe has to solve a murder. Nothing new and there’s been tons of Marlowe movies, what makes this one different? Well this time – YOU get to solve the mystery with him.

This movie is shot completely in the POV of Marlowe. You see ONLY what he sees and hear ONLY what he hears. There isn’t much music in the film either, it’s just his POV for the entire thing. Think Blair Witch Project, but less motion sickness. Apparently Marlowe can keep himself steady better than those other guys.

The positives of this movie are the negatives. The POV is really an interesting technique, you have to really pay attention. When Marlowe reads something, you have to read it too. You even get to drive a car with him! Lots of cool stuff and I really enjoyed the use of the POV.

The only problem with POV is that you never get any other shots of anything or anyone else to draw you in the mystery. If this was a video game, you’d at least get “cut” scenes. Cut scenes take place between the game action so you can see more of the story without your character actually being there.

Here we only get to see Marlowe’s actions, so the mystery isn’t very interesting or difficult to solve. They had to make the mystery simple so that people wouldn’t get confused, but in doing so, there is less suspense.

All in all I still kind of liked the movie. I liked the POV and I think they can improve on the technique to do something better than Cloverfield or Blair Witch. And yes, this movie was better than both of those.



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Real Winner!!

Real Steel.

I was pumped for this movie from day one, and for good reason. I am a fan of Hugh Jackman and I love robots in any capacity, and especially if they are fighting!

This movie gets going right away. Ambush, Jackman’s Bot, fights a bull in the first scene! Wow! After that we get the dead-beat-dad trying to make right with his 11 year old kid – wait, did I say that, no, Jackman doesn’t want to make right! He wants to sell the kid off to his mother’s sister! The boy’s mother passed away, and her sister is very rich and Jackman takes the opportunity to get some money for his kid he never knew.

I like that Jackman is not a nice guy (although he is still extremely likable in this movie) and that he is committed to being a dead-beat. He never pays his debts, he is always borrowing money, and he is always looking for a new bot to help him make it big.

The problem is that his “sister in-law” (he was never married to the boy’s mother, but you get the idea) and her husband are going to Italy, so even though they want the boy, he will have to stay with Jackman for the summer. This kicks off the father and son relationship that seems typical, but it’s actually really well done.

You’d think the two would bond quicker than they actually do. Even after saving the boys life, Jackman isn’t going to become the father figure the boy needs.

Their eventual bonding is helped by the bot named Atom. Atom is found in a junkyard and Jackman has no use for him, but the boy really wants him, so they end up keeping him and training him. Atom has a “shadow” ability which allows Atom to mimic all the movements of his controller. Jackman used to be a boxer and he can react quicker than anyone on remote controls can, so Atom has an advantage, even though he is smaller than most fighterbots.

I know some may think that there is too much of the father-son relationship, but really, there is an equal amount of fighting and action. I was surprised at how much action there was and the fights are very very very very exciting. They are just as exciting as in the Rocky films, and you may be thinking, but it’s just robots, but you really get into the story and really want Atom to win! This is due to the writing and Jackman’s performance. The kid is actually quite good too and the movie has some heart.

Good characters, amazing fights, excellent story, good acting Real Steel is a great movie – one of the best of the year!



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Fast and Furious Franchise

I have reviewed part 1 and 3 on this site already, so I wont spend to much time on them, but I will present my reviews in order of how they were made – technically Tokyo Drift takes place AFTER all the others (even after the upcoming Fast Six).

The Fast and the Furious.

First film in the series and it’s the best. Introduced all the characters, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriquez and Jordana Brewster. Good story and good characters with a cool ending.


2 Fast 2 Furious.

Only Paul Walker returns, this time teaming up with Eve Mendes, Ludacris and Tyrese. This one is really fun and has a lot of car chases – probably the most in the series.

After the events of part 1, Paul Walker is now a criminal, but the government knows that they need him to take down the villain (who Eva has been working undercover for a year). Walker needs help in the form of Tyrese – an old buddy of his who is currently under house arrest.

They team up and its all car crashes and stunt driving.

I have to say I thought this would be a letdown, but I ended up really liking it. Paul Walker is cool and Tyrese may be my favorite character of the series!

Really fun movie!


The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

This one is directed by Justin Lin (who stays on as director for the remainder of the series) and some people think it’s the weakest. It may be the weakest (slightly) but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie!

It doesn’t have Paul Walker, or Vin Diesel (although Vin makes a cameo appearance in the very very end), but it introduces Han (Sung Kang) who remains part of the cast for the rest of the series and he is a cool character!

I liked this one, but I am a mark for anything Japanese, so the location and scenery had something to do with it. Also the drifting is really really cool, and Lil Bow-wow has an Incredible Hulk car – so what more do you want?

PS – this one takes place after all the others – in Fast Five Han is asked “Don’t you want to go to Tokyo?” and he responds “Eventually.” – meaning that there will be a few more movies before the storyline of Tokyo Drift takes place.


Fast and Furious

This is part 4 but instead of calling it that, they simply removed the “the’s” and now we have Fast and Furious.

This one marked the beginning of a new genre for the series – action.

I mean all of the films were action flicks, but the others focused on car culture and street racing – this one is a revenge flick.

Everyone returns – Vin, Michelle, Walker (who is now an agent again), Jordana and even Han makes an appearance.

Spoilers –

Michelle is killed off in this one and Vin wants to take revenge. It just so happens that the killer is someone that Walker is after – so they team up again and Walker falls back in love with Jordana.

This was a great action film I must say. It’s almost equal to the first – Vin is really intense in this one and he just kicks ass! It was also nice to have all the cast return, so I have to say I am very happy with this fourth film – they haven’t lost steam yet and changing the genre helped too – there was only so much street racing they could do.


Fast Five.

This may be the best one yet!

This time around EVERYONE returns. Walker, Jordana, Vin, Han, Tyrese, Ludacris, the girl from part 4, and they are now joined by the Rock (Dwayne Johnson).

Ok - the Rock is the best character ever in this! He is so cool, and so no-nonsense! He is after these guys with a vengeance! This one has amazing action sequences and has the best stunts I have seen involving cars!

I mean I was blown away with the action – the story – good too! This has to be the coolest movie of all time!

But the only problem – you have to have seen all the others. If not, then it’s just an Ocean’s 11 rip off. See in Ocean’s 11 you don’t really know all the characters, this film was better because they brought back guys from other movies you have seen – so you already know them all and we can get right to action instead of spending time learning who they are.

The story is similar to Ocean’s 11, Vin and Walker need to gather a team of guys together (hence everyone returning) to steal money from this Brazilian drug lord (btw – the location here is a amazing – Brazil is beautiful!) and the Rock is out to get them.

The Rock in this movie is very smart, the villain is very smart and Vin and his crew is smart, so the tension is really jam packed in this one.

I cant wait till Fast Six – this is shaping up to be one hell of a great action series!



Monday, October 10, 2011

More of a nightmare

I used to be a big sucker for movies like Dream House.  A thriller with an interesting premise...even if the trailer gives away half the damn movie, it still looked like it had promise.  Okay, maybe I still am a sucker for these types of movies...or trailers if you will.

Did I like Dream House?  I liked bits of it.  The intro is standard: the happy family who are renovating the new house they just moved in to.  Then weird stuff happens.  We come to find out their were murders involving the previous owners the house, the father went nuts and murdered his wife and two daughters.  People won't look James Bond, I mean Daniel Craig in the eye.  They look skittish around him.  No...could it be?

Well yes, the second part of the film implies that Craig did indeed off the wifey and the two little ones.  For me, this was the most interesting part of the movie.  Craig comes to the realization that he may have been responsible for their murders and the ghosts (or is it hallucinations of Craig's sick mind?) refuse to believe that he killed them.  No matter how much he tries to convince them...or is it himself he's trying to convince?

Anyhow, the last third of the movie is just, it's ludicrous.  This is where Dream House fails.  Suffice to say, they had the real opportunity to do something different with this film, make it unique and something you don't see every day.  However, they went totally mainstream for the last part of the movie and it's really, really awful.  I'm talking contrived, tacked-on-so-we-can-have-a-happy-ending nonsense.  It makes no sense not just in the context of the movie, but in the framework of an everyday world.  This is really the sort of movie that needs, no DEMANDS more of a downer or dry ending.  Instead, it oddly turns out all roses and tulips. 

Unfortunately too, the way the film was put-together, you'll be able to know the final twist a mile away.  I'm not talking about "I think this happened", I'm talking about "this happened and this and this are the people involved."  It was almost like they got a neat script and they were like "okay, how can we make this completely amateurish?"

It's a shame really, because the promise for the film is there.  It's just not executed very well.  All the actors try hard but in actuality, they were there for a paycheck, you get the sense that all of them pretty much knew how this film was going to turn out.  I guess the best thing to come of this from Craig is he married Rachel Weisz in real life.  I guess that's a nice consolation prize for having this cheese on his filmography.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

- Stephenstein

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What a fright

J-Man showed me the original a while back.  The trailer for this one looked not half-bad, so I was curious to see it, even though it was a remake.  I didn't pay money to see it though, which in retrospect, was probably a good thing...

So, for those of you who are fans of the original, you won't be surprised to read that it's way better than this remake?  Why?  Simple.  The first one was more subtle, more clever, more charming.  Nothing embodies that more than Chris Sarandon, the original Jerry.  He was suave, he was charismatic.  When he seduced Amanda Bearse in the infamous club scene, you can believe despite the fact she's a virgin and won't even sleep with her boyfriend, Sarandon could somehow woo her out of her clothes, which he basically does, before turning her (temporarily) into a vampire.  In this version of the film, they're in the club, but Colin Farrell just picks Amy up and slings her over his shoulder like a caveman, there is a brief, very lame attempt at a seduction on his part.  

That's the problem with this film, though.  It just takes all the elements from the first film and continuously slams you over the head with it.  Farrell is a lot more overtly menacing as Jerry than Sarandon was, but because he so damned creepy, when Charley is telling his friends and Mom that Jerry's a vampire, they would at least think there's something wrong with the guy.  Another problem is, there's something wrong with almost everyone in the movie.  Charley at the beginning doesn't talk to Ed because he figures Amy, his girlfriend won't talk to him if he's friends with Ed because Ed is a huge nerd...which Charley is too, by the way.  Jerry is just a sleazy, creepy player who attracts women with his bad-boy persona.  Amy, she doesn't really do anything wrong, but you can sort of sense she can be a bitch if she needs to.  Peter Vincent is a huge disappointment, he's a drunken, womanizing, cowardly jackass.  It's hard to like any of the main characters, especially in the first twenty or so minutes in the film. 

That's not to say there isn't some good parts of the film.  The pacing is pretty good, there's a lot of stalking by Jerry on Charley and Amy and it doesn't take long for things to get moving, it's already established that Jerry is a vampire fifteen minutes into the film.  Peter Vincent is an actual occult student who knows lore about vampires and he has all sorts of cool artifacts and what-not in his penthouse.  I find Imogen Poots a lot more attractive as Amy than Amanda Bearse.  Yup, I'm reaching now, because there isn't a lot going for the film, the best thing I can say about it is it's pretty relentless in it's pace.  It's pretty evident that they missed a lot about what made the first film so good, though. 

So, that's Fright Night.  It's a straight vampire movie missing all of the charm of the first film.  It was sort of neat for Charley to be this horror movie fan and he gets to fight an actual vampire with Peter Vincent, whose show he watches on late-night television.  This Charley is a bland dweeb who is just lucky he got a girlfriend as hot as Amy, there's nothing that really stands out about him.  At the end of the day, if you can't cheer for the hero, you have to cheer for the villain, but he's nowhere as good as the original, either.  So, do yourself a favour, don't bother with this one and just pop in the original. 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

- Stephenstein

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Turn to the Dark.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Ok to recap. I hate the first film, and the second one is a bit better, since more robot action, but the bad comedy in both really kills them.

Before I begin on TF3 -

Let me explain something first. I love robots fighting each other. Period. I love Ultraman, Robot Jox, Robot Wars, and anything that involves robots (I’m sure I’ll like Real Steel when it comes out this week), so I love the idea of Transformers.

I loved the old cartoon and the movie that came from it. That movie is a masterpiece, even though they end up killing off a lot of the classic Autobots in order to bring in new ones. That cartoon movie was made to sell toys, so they were basically killing off their old toyline to introduce a new one. But when they killed Optimus Prime, children were crying in the theatre. At that point Hasbro knew they had more than just a toyline, they had characters that people grew to love.

They weren’t just robots, they were people, think of C3PO, is he just a robot? R2-D2, or Johnny Five, or you can even think of ET, or Yoda, are they just puppets, no, they are characters that people love.

So when you call a movie Transformers and then destroy all the characters that were created you really kill people’s feelings inside. These are not just a bunch of garbage characters that people don’t care about; they have a following of loyal fans that care about them.

But a lot of people feel the same way about the Dolph Lundgren Masters of the Universe movie, which I love, and even though it’s not the cartoon, I still think it’s great. I judge it as a movie on its own, not as a He-Man movie – same goes for Dark Knight – a great film, but not really a great Batman film (although it’s pretty darn good anyway).

If I was to judge the Michael Bay Transformer movies as just movies themselves, then they are just ok. Part one doesn’t make any sense, the story I mean. Forget about the fact that none of the characters are accurate; pretend I don’t know anything about TF. Well then if I look at it that way, then I must say that the comedy in part one is terrible, offensive (giant robots pissing on people) and that the leader robot (Optimus Prime) is clumsy and breaks the fountain and that some kid defeats the main villain robot (Megatron) and Prime is left laying on the ground like a bitch.

Remember I am someone who knows nothing about the real Transformers, so seeing the main villain robot defeated by a kid is really bad – for any movie. Then on to part 2 – I like it more than part one because there are more robots and the story revolves more around them, but the comedy is so bad that again it really ruins things. The action is much better and we can see it for once, so that is good, but not enough to satisfy me (remember I don’t know anything about the TF’s only judging from an average viewer standpoint).

So judging from an average viewer, then this third movie is clearly the best. The story makes more sense than part one (that being said, there are tons of plot holes – but I mean not any more or less than Robot Jox).

So from that view, I enjoyed this movie a lot actually and would say that I really liked it! This may be the Transformers version of Masters of the Universe (although not nearly as good), but at least I could follow the plot and there was A LOT of robot action – again I am ignoring the fact they killed off Ironhide – remember he is just a robot, he is not the real Ironhide that I love, so I don’t see him as anything but a robot.

But yes, the action here is incredible and the robots are pretty darn cool. Sentinel Prime is really wicked too and I love how Megaton has a hood and cape (remember both characters here are ruined, but I don’t know that, I am an average person).

So all in all I would highly recommend this third one to action fans. Or anyone who wants to see a bunch of destruction – and Shockwave provides a lot of that! (again Shockwave is ruined as he does next to nothing in the story, but he looks cool).

So if it’s any consolation, this is the very best of the series by far and it’s even enjoyable to watch. At least this one doesn’t have offensive humor, the humor is still not funny, but it’s less than 2 and not as offensive, so I can live with it – maybe (I have the bluray so I can ff any bad stuff).

It’s not like Robot Jox doesn’t have tons of flaws etc, but I still love it. The big problem is calling it “Transformers” then NOT delivering what we want.

I think if you can put away your hatred for them ruining the characters, then you can enjoy this for what it is. That’s a big IF though and honestly deep down this movie still sucks – it’s not even as neat as Masters of the Universe because there at least the hero and villain were pretty accurate and that movie still had some heart to it, this one doesn’t. It is just a straightforward action fest with robots – nothing more, but what can you expect from Bay.

PS – this is Bay’s best movie and it’s the only one I would say that I liked – from an action standpoint.

As a Transformers fan I still have to say it sucks (although it’s better than 1 or 2) and I am hoping and praying for Transformers Begins.

4/5 (based on an average viewer – it would be 2.5/5 for TF fans)


You mean Kung Fu right?

The Karate Kid.

Ok, let’s get going here. The original Karate Kid is one of my all-time favorite films. I love part one and two, and I have memorized the dialogue even. Deceptisean (who sometimes posts on here) is a big fan too and both of us often quote dialogue and talk about certain scenes that we loved in the old movies.

So here comes this remake which is pointless to be sure, and in fact, Jaden Smith doesn’t even learn Karate! He learns Kung Fu. So why not call it the Kung Fu Kid? Well that wouldn’t guaranty seats like calling it Karate Kid would.

If you ignore that part of it, the title and the fact that it’s a remake, it’s not a bad movie. It’s not great either though, as its structure is exactly the same as the old one. However, this one takes place in China.

The scenery in this film is bloody amazing. China is a beautiful place and I was taken aback by some of the shots in this flick. Jaden is believable and likeable in this role, and Jackie Chan just rocks in anything he does. The villains here aren’t quite as nasty as the old one, I guess since we are dealing with 12 year olds, they can’t be shown to be as brutal, but it does take some of the emotion away. I remember the old movie, and how I hated the villains, I wanted them dead! In this one I was more impressed with their martial arts skill than being pissed off at them.

That being said, they still suck and bullies need to be beaten up and they are. There is no crane kick, and no wax on, wax off, but they substitute with others moves and training, which are lame in comparison.

Another thing, I don’t think the emotional bond and relationship between Jaden and Chan was a good as the original one. I mean Daniel and Miyagi are so great that you actually feel as though they are truly friends and it feels so real that I thought maybe they were best friends in real life too. And I even felt envious of Daniel – I wanted a friend like Miyagi too.

Another quick point is that in the original one, the trainer was a white guy who was a Vietnam veteran and used karate for fighting, and he taught his students that. Miyagi taught Daniel the true meaning of karate, so it makes sense coming from Miyagi – he knows what karate truly is. I doubt that in China an evil trainer would train little kids bad stuff, when Kung Fu is super respected in China. And in the old one, the villains were spoiled rich white guys, so they get defeated by Daniel who knows the real value of karate (how it brings balance to his life etc) and he is on equal terms. I think it would be tough for little Jaden to defeat a bunch of Chinese guys!

In this one, Kung Fu is used just for sport, Jaden doesn’t really apply any of the teachings to real life. One thing that is good in the remake is that the mother has a larger role and Jaden is able to win over this Chinese girl’s father (he doesn’t approve of her being friends with Jaden) by using words instead of trying some stupid trick to impress her. I thought that was great!

All in all, this was a good movie; it won’t be remembered as much as the old one, but I am hoping that kids seek out the old one if they enjoy seeing this one.

So check it out as a companion piece to the original, you’ll like it.



Crazy Good.

The Crazies.

Remake of George A Romero’s classic. I own the original and watched it ages ago. I don’t remember much about it, except that I thought it was a bit slow. This one isn’t slow and gets going pretty fast.

I liked this movie. Good atmosphere and I thought it was pretty plausible. So not all remakes are bad, and Romero was the executive producer on this one, so that’s cool.

If you don’t know, the plot is about a virus turning local residents of Ogden crazy. They go around killing their families and anyone that comes near them. They are basically zombies, but have more motor functions. They can run, use weapons, and are smarter. So in fact, they are much worse than zombies (although I like them less – zombies rock!).

The military knows about the virus, since they created it, they show up and quarantine the town by basically killing anyone in it.

Our heroes must survive and get out of town, but will getting out really save them?
Who knows…



Monday, October 3, 2011

Half right.

Vampire’s Suck.

Oh they suck, and not only do they suck, but this movie about them sucks. I got this for free on bluray and I think I was ripped off.

Now, maybe it’s not that bad, I did get like 3 laughs and 2 chuckles, but honestly Twilight is really silly enough on it’s own and it doesn’t require a spoof. These spoof movies, Teen movie, Spartans, Scary Movie, etc, are getting a bit tiresome and it’s like, make a funny movie that spoofs life, or something generic that doesn’t require you have to have seen the thing it’s spoofed on.

Something like Airplane comes to mind. Or just make a new comedy that isn’t Hangover. Whatever, maybe if I saw more than just Twilight part one, I would find it funnier, but as it stands, it’s just pretty flat.

I know some may be thinking, duh, what else did you expect out of this movie, and I agree with that.

So there.



Sunday, October 2, 2011

It's all in the money

I haven't read the book that this was based on.  Nevertheless, I know most of the story behind it.  Moneyball was a way for teams in smaller markets with lesser payrolls to compete with the New York's, the Boston's and the Los Angeles' of the world.  It was a way to make your team competitive without spending 100 million on the payroll like the Yankees and Boston do every year.  It's an innovative way of building a sport's team in this day and age, a strategy used by almost everyone to this day.  So, how did it stack up?

First, all these "based on a true story" stuff has one natural flaw: some of the stuff didn't really happen.  I'm not just talking about minor details like so-and-so didn't ask for cookies from this other person.  I'm talking about this major character who does all this stuff in the movie doesn't actually exist.  In this movie's case, Jonah Hill's character never existed, at least not as one person.  He is actually a composite of several people, who were the real-life Billy Beane's (Brad Pitt's character) assistants and lieutenants.  Well who cares, as long as what he did was done by someone in real life, right?  However, the movie really goes out its way to show Hill's isolation from the rest of the traditional baseball people in the organization.  It endears his character quickly to the viewer, as the underdog nerdy smart kid in the room full of people who think they know better.  However, if Hill's character doesn't really exist, then that scene probably never happened, so based on what true story?

The other thing people should be aware of is that Pitt's character is not the person who actually came up with Moneyball.  That's Hill's character.  The only thing is, Pitt has just lost 3 of his best players to teams with higher payrolls, so he has no alternative but to do something drastic.  Pitt's character should be credited with giving Hill's character the platform and opportunity to put his plans into action, but that's it.  However, the movie delves into Billy Beane's personal life, the reason behind his philosophy and what not.  However, that's like going into the life of the guy who got the scientists together for the Manhattan Project.  He didn't really do anything but assemble the guys, they're the ones who did the breakthrough.  So, these scenes are really unnecessary, as Pitt's character did nothing really but recognize the guy who changed the way baseball's business was done and only then it was done out of pure desperation, it wasn't like he had a big vision or anything.

That being said, I really did enjoy the movie.  Pitt's portrayal of Beane is spot-on (from what I understand about the real man) and the interplay between Pitt and Hill is really good and often funny as well.  The scene with the trade conversations at the deadline was hilarious!  If that stuff is how it's actually done, then I would love to be a baseball GM, just to involved in such sheer lunacy.  This is a movie that can really be viewed by baseball fans and non-fans, though my feeling is baseball fans will probably get more enjoyment out of the movie. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

- Stephenstein