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Showing posts from 2011

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (2011) PG-13

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It's been nearly two months since the release of the fourth Twilight film. Sorry about that. It's just taken a lot of courage to admit I actually saw this laugh-riot of a "film." It probably wasn't a great idea to view Breaking Dawn being that I skipped Eclipse, but I'm glad I gave it a chance for so many reasons. Apparently it's Bill Condon's (Dreamgirls, Kinsey) turn to try and direct Stewart, Pattinson and Lautner. Good luck, buddy. Condon is also on board for Breaking Dawn - Part 2. These three young actors are quite bad, and aren't improving in the very least; especially Lautner, he's dreadful. But, I'm not here to rip on Taylor Lautner's inability to be convincing in any way, shape or form. I'm here to share my wonderful Breaking Dawn experience with y'all, which was fun for all the wrong reasons.

Where to begin? The film begins with Bella (Stewart) getting primped for her impending wedding by Edward's (Pattinson) beau…

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011) R

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Well, lookie here! Our good friends Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) are back at their usual self-destructive ways in 2011! This time around they're ruining Christmas for themselves and everyone else in their path. While it's not easy to admit, I actually thoroughly enjoyed White Castle and Escape from Guantanamo Bay. Both films were completely ludicrous from start to finish, but contained one knee-slapper after another. The chemistry between the leads was palpable, the supporting casts were killer and the scripts were filled with relevant humor. A sequel wasn't really necessary, but what the hell; it was funny. This film, however, was utterly unnecessary, and it sure seemed like that from the very beginning. Writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (who co-wrote the first two successful films) have obviously run out of fresh material for Harry and Kum, because the laughs just simply do not arrive. What's the deal with all the annoyingly redundant 3D these days…

Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) R

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This "spooky" franchise obviously isn't going anywhere anytime soon, so we can choose to ignore it or perhaps embrace it. I, however, take these films for what they are: scare-less, oft-comical, head-scratching, disappointing and genuinely entertaining genre films. I was mildly freaked out (as much as a 22-year old watching a stupid documentary style horror film can be) at the first edition. However, the second film was insanely boring, unfunny, unoriginal and anti-climatic. I went into this one having little to no expectations. You do not want to set any sort of bar heading into a Paranormal film, because you will then be disappointed in every aspect; trust me.

The team behind the genius "documentary" Catfish got the call to film a third and not final Paranormal Activity. They accepted, obviously strictly based on the paycheck, because these films make a ton of money. Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman didn't drop the ball though, they re-livened up the script …

50/50 (2011) R

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Obviously this film resembles Judd Apatow's Funny People in more ways than one; and yes, it also stars Seth Rogen (Funny People, Pineapple Express), but it's a tremendous film with plenty of laughs, terrific performances and lots of heart. This is film is based (somewhat loosely) on the friendship between writer Will Reiser and actor Seth Rogen. Reiser battled with cancer a few years back and survived, thanks in part to the support of Rogen. After Reiser made it out alive, Rogen convinced him to write a screenplay based on his battle with the deadly disease. This film lacks the star power that Funny People had with Adam Sandler, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman and Aziz Ansari, but it makes up for it with a funnier performance by Rogen. Director Jonathan Levine (The Wackness, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane) had yet to make a watchable film, so expectations weren't extremely high, but the three main leads had me quite intrigued.

Joesph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, 500 Days of Summer…

Drive (2011) R

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It's taken me weeks to find time to write this review, and I just hope that you had a chance to catch this thrilling drama when it was still in most theaters. I'm sure you've heard the buzz surrounding Drive for some time, but that doesn't mean you manned up and took a chance on it. Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Valhalla Rising) has proven himself overseas with some terrific films, especially Tom Hardy's (Warrior, Inception) breakout film Bronson. With this being his first American film, he's really outdone himself and created one of the best films in recent memory. It came as no surprise that the cinematography was breathtaking. Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Three Kings) is one of the best in the business, and Winding Refn's films are always top notch in that category. The original music by Cliff Martinez (Solaris, Traffic) set a deep, dark tone which helped capture the hearts of film-goers everywhere. As the openin…

Warrior (2011) PG-13

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Despite getting high praise from critics and audiences, this film epically boomed at the box office. It didn't come as a huge surprise, mainly because nobody has ever heard of Tom Hardy (Inception, Bronson) or Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom, The Square). Yes, I'm looking at you. And it's a darn shame because not only is this an intense, heartfelt film, Hardy and Edgerton are terrific actors. Hardy first caught my attention in Nicolas Winding Refn's (Drive, Valhalla Rising) Bronson. He's simply electric in that trippy, entertaining "biopic." I'm no stranger to Edgerton either. His best two films are The Square and Animal Kingdom, both films are pure Australian gold. You haven't seen the last of these two young(ish) stars in the making. They both have a big couple years ahead of them that will make or break their careers. My money is on make.

Hardy plays Tommy Riordan, an ex-Marine with a nasty streak. He's channeled his hatred towards his alcohol…

2011 Fall/Winter Preview

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In this segment I will count down my 25 most anticipated fall/winter 2011 films. These are all upcoming, unreleased 2011 films (no 2012 films will be covered). The majority of these films should be available to view at most theaters, but a few of them will be difficult to find when they're released. At the bottom I will give honorable mention to ten other films that barely missed this list. Enjoy!

25. The Rum Diary (10/28) - Directed by Bruce Robinson. Starring Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart. -- This is supposedly a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas sequel, which should intrigue some. But this is one of those rare roles that should actually bring the best out of Depp (Public Enemies, The Tourist). He's definitely not one of my favorite actors, but he can be quite talented when given the opportunity.

24. The Sitter (12/9) - Directed by David Gordon Green. Starring Jonah Hill, Ari Graynor. -- Green did make Pineapple Express and Jonah Hill (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Superbad) is a very,…

Fright Night (2011) R

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When word first got out about a Fright Night remake, I was skeptical to say the least. The original 1985 film is rather campy, silly and scare-less. It is however, entertaining and enjoyable. Although this film is considered a remake and the original names are kept in tact it's a very different film. It has a completely different feel. It's dark, much more intense and actually rather unfunny. Going in I thought Colin Farrell (In Bruges, Miami Vice) was going to be the weak link; false. Farrell is what keeps this film moving, and actually delivers the majority of the laughs with his little facial expressions and quick one-liners. There are some miscast characters which ruin some scenes quite honestly.

Are people sick of vampires? Yes. Yes they are. Don't start with me on the Twilight "saga." Those aren't vampire movies. They are teen romance films with shirtless dudes, pale people and some timber wolves. In order to be a vampire film there needs to be blood, a…

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) PG-13

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It's hard to believe that it's been ten years since Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes (starring Mark Wahlberg) hit the big screen. While that film got mixed reviews, which is certainly understandable, I enjoyed it and it cleaned up at the box office. A lot of people were quite skeptical when first trailers for this reboot were released. It appeared to be way too CGI-driven and cheesy. While this film obviously relies heavily on CGI, it's anything but cheesy.

Having now seen all seven Planet of the Apes films, I must say that this one ranks among the best. If not the very best. This time around, inexperienced director Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist) is at the helm and boy does he knock this opportunity out of the park. Rise stars James Franco (127 Hours, Pineapple Express), who's fresh off his Oscar-nominated brilliant performance in Danny Boyle's 127 Hours. Franco, to be honest, isn't all that spectacular in this film but he doesn't have to be. The real star …

Get your popcorn ready...

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Once again, I will now give a rundown of some recent DVD releases. It's been somewhat of a rough 2011 campaign for films, but I have my fingers crossed for a good finish. Here's a little grading scale to consider...

See in theaters and/or buy your own copy and/or rent without hesitation, because i said so
A+ = Perfection
A = Amazing
A- = Terrific
B+ = Very good
B = Good stuff, but not great

Rent, then mock me for recommending, and then apologizing for taking it too far
B- = Worth seeing
C+ = Decent
C = Nice effort, but can't quite recommend

Stay away, unless you like bad movies with nothing more to offer than one or two half-witted fart jokes or a side-boob. Your call
C- = Watchable to a degree
D+ = Stay away, maybe a few memorable scenes

Find a copy, then set ablaze for your amusement, then go to jail for arson
D = Very, very bad
D- = Amazingly horrible
F = An abomination

American: The Bill Hicks Story: Bill Hicks is considered one of the funniest and edgiest comedians ever. …

Cowboys & Aliens (2011) PG-13

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I think we can all agree that this film appeared intriguing on paper. Cowboys, aliens, James Bond (Daniel Craig), Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and the director of Iron Man (Jon Favreau). However, historically westerns don't go over well with audiences and everyone seems to be sick of alien flicks that don't involve Sigourney Weaver (Alien, Aliens), myself included. The Alien vs. Predator films were all-time fails. Battle: Los Angeles was one of the worst alien films in recent memory. The remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still was an abomination. And last years Skyline was laughable to say the least. But there were some recent films that gave us hope that maybe, just maybe, we can actually sit through an alien film without wanting to smash something extremely valuable. Most notably was 2009's smash-hit District 9, which was amazingly awesome entertainment at it's best. Cloverfield was very enjoyable and quite fresh, despite a head-scratching ending (which has grown on…