2 In 1: MirrorMask and Stardust.

The theme for this 2 In 1 is Neil Gaiman. That’s right, the man of twisted fantasy. He has a great imagination and his work truly shows it. In fact, the first on this list, MirrorMask, is the movie I always turn to when I’m writing anything fantastical and have writer’s block. It always seems to help pull me out of it. So here goes.


MirrorMask is pure imagination, truly. It is twisted, imaginative, and incredibly hard to describe. But I’ll give it a shot, anyway. Most people want to run away and join the circus. Helena (Stephanie Leonidas) is in the circus and wants to run away and join real life. But after a big argument with her mother (Gina McKee), and her mother falls ill with some type of cancer, Helena grows depressed at having said certain things to her mother. So Helena falls asleep, has a crazy nightmare, and wakes up. But when she wakes up, she wakes up in another realm: a realm of imagination and incredibly bizarre things based on Helena’s drawings. She joins up with witty Valentine (Jason Barry) and discovers that a Shadow is destroying the kingdom of Light because the Queen of Light (Gina McKee, again) has basically fallen into a coma because a ‘charm’ has been stolen by the kingdom of Dark’s princess (Stephanie Leonidas, again). And to top it all off, this Anti-Helena has taken Helena's place in the real world to mess up her life. So now it’s up to Helena and Valentine to travel this realm and try to find this charm, even though they have no idea what it is or where to look, and find a way back home before it's too late.

Like The Wizard of Oz, almost every character portrayed in the fantasy realm is played by an actor or actress that portrays a character in the reality realm. The acting is great and a lot of the characters are pretty funny/witty, especially Valentine (so the script/dialogue is great, as well). And the plot is great and touching. You really feel Helena’s pain and fear for her mother. The whole movie can really be seen on a whole other level, for this dream reality being Helena’s way of dealing with her life (much like the kids in Bridge to Terabithia, except more constant).

The special effects are phenomenal. You can tell stuff isn’t real, but it’s so fitting with the world that it works, because the world is imagination. It’s all based on Helena’s drawings and surroundings in the normal world. Some of my favorite scenes include Giants Orbiting (amazing scene), the monkey/bird ‘Bobs’ scene, and the scene in which Helena is becoming Dark Helena via the jack-in-the-box women (which can be seen as a runner-up in my Best Random Song/Dance Numbers article). Visually, this movie is pure special effects, really.

When I first saw this movie, I was like ‘what the hell did I just watch?’ But the more I thought about it, and the more times I watched it, I grew to love it more and more. In fact, I watched it again last night and gained even more love for it. Not many movies do that with me (Shaun of the Dead was another movie that this happens to me with). This was really a tough movie to score. I went back and forth a lot, but I suppose its gotta be done.

Royale With Cheese


This one is much more light-hearted than the previous (and that’s a cool thing about Neil Gaiman. He can write the full spectrum. If you see/read Stardust, you would never think he was the same person to write American Gods. Well, maybe I would, because I’m the same way with my writing, some dark some light). Anyway, this one is about Tristan (Charlie Cox), who lives in the town of Wall, which is, amazingly enough, surrounded by a wall. Outside the wall is a realm of magic. Tristan is in love/lust with Victoria (Sienna Miller), even though she’s going to be proposed to in a week by somebody else. So when they see a falling star, he promises that he will cross the wall and bring her back the fallen star in exchange for her hand in marriage. But when he gets there, the star turns out to have taken a human form, Yvaine (Claire Danes). Meanwhile, a witch named Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) is after the fallen star for her heart so she can gain youth. Simultaneously, evil Prince Septimus (Mark Strong) is after a jeweled necklace that knocked Yvaine out of the sky that she now wears around her neck, so that he can become the next king. Complicated much?

Anywho, this is one heck of an adventure. From Robert De Niro’s Captain Shakespeare and beyond, this movie is just plain fun. There is magic all over the place, comedy spread throughout, and it just has a cool story. Sure, there’s a ton going on, but it never seems convoluted in any way.

The acting is great, especially from Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro, who you could tell had loads of fun with their roles (especially De Niro). And once Tristan gets his makeover, his character gets a bit cooler, as well.

The special effects are pretty decent. The coolest scene has to be the Voodoo doll sword fight toward the end. The actor basically had to be on wires and act as a marionette, fighting with his eyes closed (avoiding saying who to not spoil those who haven’t seen it yet, though it’s relatively spoiled in the movie’s trailer anyway).

There’s not much more to say about the movie. It was a magical, fun, and funny adventure. I think it would be really hard to dislike this movie, honestly. I could see some people being turned off by parts of it, but it just seems to me to be this feel-good fantasy adventure.

A Keanu 'Whoa'



As Shaun of the Dead is basically one of my top favorite movies of all time, and Hot Fuzz is amazingly awesome, as well, I couldn’t help but go to see another Simon Pegg-vehicle (even if it’s directed by David Schwimmer, which still boggles my mind). Run Fatboy Run is about Dennis (Simon Pegg) who runs out on his bride-to-be, Libby (Thandie Newton), on their wedding day… and she was pregnant, as well. Five years later, he’s an out-of-weight lingerie store security guard who rents a small apartment underneath an Indian father/daughter. He still gets to see his son and such, but then he discovers that Whit (Hank Azaria) is now seeing Libby, and it’s pretty serious. Whit is also running this marathon that’s coming up in less than a month, so Dennis decides to try and prove he can finish something in his life by running and finishing the marathon, as well. Unfortunately, he kind of gets stuck in the situation when his best friend, Gordon (Dylan Moran), bets more than he has that Dennis will finish the race. So now they must work as hard as possible to get Dennis into better shape in time for the marathon so he can prove himself to his ex and his son and gain their respect (and maybe, just maybe, win her back, too).

I’ve read it all about this movie: If you liked Shaun or Fuzz, you’ll hate this one! That’s not even remotely true. See, I usually only laugh at movies in theater because other people are laughing and it’s contagious (only to later discover when I buy the movie and watch it alone at home that it wasn’t nearly as funny as I remember). But because there were literally only 3 other people in the theater with me, I can safely say that I laughed so much at this movie because it was truly funny. I actually laughed so much I thought the other people were gonna think I was weird for laughing at stuff they weren’t.

The acting was great, as always, and Simon Pegg has great comedic timing, as did Dylan Moran. One issue, though, is that he really isn’t fat as much as he’s relatively out of shape. Though the title really comes from an insult by another character. And the beginning is a bit slow at points, but once it really starts, it gets goin. Another slightly bothersome thing was that you have no idea why they used an American actor (Hank Azaria) for the Whit character until towards the end of the movie when it releases a plot point. But until then, you’re like “Interesting that they used an American for the role when the whole thing is set in England…” Also, funny side-note… Dennis has a poster of Team America in his apartment. I just thought that was mildly humorous in a few different ways…

I also really liked that it did something similar back to Shaun and Fuzz, which is where a lot of things are repeated in different scenarios (though not to the degree of the previous two movies). There’s really not all that much more I can say about it. Simon Pegg wins again. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was no Shaun or Fuzz, but it was still done amazingly well.

A Keanu 'Whoa'


Video Game Movies: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

I haven’t done this article-type since the Harry Potter one, which was one of my first articles, so this outta be interesting. With the advent of another live-action Street Fighter movie coming (centered around Chun-Li… who is being played by the non-Asian Kristin Kreuk), I felt it might be a good time to talk about Video Game Movies. Video Game Movies have been the bane of movie existence for some time. Some are pretty good, others decent, but most are just God-awful and incredibly horrible in paying the original source material homage. The following five movie series’ (or just movies) will detail what is good, bad, and ugly about each. But you don’t always have to be a fan of the games to be able to say whether or not it was a bad movie (though it does help some). So without further ado, here we go.

NOTE: Uwe Boll movies were automatically disqualified from this list due to none of them having any quality outside of ‘ugly’.

Super Mario Bros. (1993).

Intro: What’s a video game movie list without this one? Seriously. It would just be incomplete. Super Mario Bros., based on the insanely popular video game series of the same name, starred Bob Hoskins as Mario, John Leguizamo as Luigi, Dennis Hopper as Koopa, and Samantha Mathis as Princess Daisy. Though I must admit I haven’t seen this one since I was younger.

The Good: The movie might be bad, but it had some fun moments. Yoshi, after all, looked pretty cool. Also, those jumping boot things that they wore later on into the movie were cool. And Samantha Mathis was pretty hot in this movie, I have to say. Oh, and getting their red and green uniforms toward the end was funny/cool.

The Bad: Probably the acting, but it’s been too long to say. If I had to add something to this category, though, I’d say the ending. It left it at this huge ambiguous cliffhanger that really isn’t explained at all… and there’s probably never going to be a sequel… so that sucks. Most of everything else pretty much falls into the next category, though.

The Ugly: The story is absolutely nothing like the game. It’s like the writers tried to pay homage, but then got scared that the audience might not be able to grasp or comprehend the fantasy aspect of it, so they added a scientific twist to the whole thing. Instead of being just another world, it became a parallel universe where all the dinosaurs went when the meteorite crashed. Then they evolved into humans, as if they were afraid of having walking dinosaurs. And the Goombas were just de-evolved human-forms with huge bodies and tiny heads (when it should have been the OTHER way around). Toad was a hippie with a guitar and harmonica who was turned into a Goomba. Koopa was just an old dude who turned into a Raptor or something for roughly 2.5 seconds at the end instead of being a bulky monster dinosaur thing. It was just completely screwed up.

The Mortal Kombat Movies (1995 and 1997).

Intro: The first movie was actually pretty decent and fun. The second movie was, well, not. The first one revolved around just the basic characters from the first game or so. The second one… well, we’ll get to that.

The Good: The first movie was entertaining, stayed true to characters, and had some cool action. Scorpion and Sub-Zero were awesome. The Liu Kang/Reptile fight is wicked awesome. Goro was cool looking, too. I liked how they even threw in signature moves for each character. And Liu Kang doing the Hadoken or whatever at the end was awesome. The second movie… well, it was cool seeing all those characters on screen. And the Scorpion/Smoke/Sub-Zero fight was neat.

The Bad: First of all, Johnny Cage dies within the first five minutes. How lame is that? Second, the bad guy was lame and wasn’t nearly as creepy as Shang Tsung. Third, the dude who played Rayden changed (with a shorter haircut), only to be explained by him becoming mortal or something. Finally, the woman who played Sonya also changed… pfft. They kill off the character when the actor is the same, but they keep the characters whose actors change.

The Ugly: While seeing all the brand new characters from the later games on screen was cool, there were just far too many trying to be incorporated, and the story suffered for it. Not to mention that there were just some incredibly pointless scenes. It made the movie muddled and nearly pointless.

Silent Hill (2006).

Intro: Again, based on the games of the same name, Silent Hill is a creepy survival-horror game (supposedly one of the scariest). I haven’t played any of the games, but I’ve read that the movie was similar to the first game (I believe), but changed up a bit (such as making the main character a woman instead of a man).

The Good: This movie did have some pretty creepy moments, most specifically the ‘darkness’ scenes with Pyramid Head and all the other monsters (The Janitor was crazy! And I don’t mean the one from Scrubs). The story was done pretty well, too, as everything that comes together at the end was all pretty cool. The acting wasn’t too bad, either.

The Bad: After the first viewing, the movie gets pretty boring, especially the beginning. And the scenes with the husband (Sean Bean) are almost completely irrelevant and pointless. In fact, the movie was written with only a full-female cast, but the studio wanted some men in there, so they added the husband’s side of the story. It’s obvious that it was just tacked on with no real purpose.

The Ugly: The ending basically ruins this movie for me. I try to pretend the movie ends as soon as they drive off away from Silent Hill. But no… they go home in a world covered in the misty stuff never again to come back to the husband/father… and the little girl is still possessed or whatever by her evil half… and the sequel doesn’t seem to be coming until 2010 at the earliest, with possibly none of the cast from the first movie involved.

The Resident Evil Trilogy (2002, 2004, 2007).

Intro: The Resident Evil Trilogy is an odd puppy. The first movie is nothing like the games. The second movie tries to overcompensate. The third movie has to deal with the repercussions of the first two. So let’s get into it, shall we?

The Good: The first movie has the overall feel of the games, and the licker is pretty cool. The second movie has some of the characters from the games, such as Carlos, Jill, and the Ashford family. It also gives us Nemesis and S.T.A.R.S. The third movie removes Jill the Ashford’s and gives us Claire (sans her brother) and Wesker. The action that comes along with Alice is pretty cool, as she really is a badass, and Milla Jovovich is always cool. Oh, and the big fight at the end of the third movie with Tyrant was wicked cool.

The Bad: As stated, the first movie is nothing like the games at all in story. And you don’t even know Alice’s name until the ending credits. The Mansion was barely used, either. The second movie added in more game elements, but turned it from survival-horror to action. The third movie, unfortunately, had to wrap up all the crazy storylines going on, which made it fall symptom to something similar to the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

The Ugly: Alice, a character completely unrelated to the games, was way too powerful of a character. She was literally almost unbeatable. That is… until the third movie, when suddenly she had weaknesses and limits to her abilities. Also, they cut and added characters in and out of these movies like they were nothing. Two characters major to the second movie (Jill and Angie Ashford) supposedly die between the second and third movies. Not to mention that a lot of the character backgrounds for the ones that were taken from the games were a lot different.

The Final Fantasy Movies (2001 and 2005).

Intro: There should technically only be one Final Fantasy movie (Advent Children), because Spirits Within really shouldn’t count. But we’ll get to those shortly. I’m ending with these two movies because they are perfect examples of how both not to make a video game movie and how to do it perfectly.

The Good: Regardless of anything, the graphics for both movies are nothing short of stunning. Forget The Polar Express, these movies were screwed out of recognition for their simply beautiful CGI. Now, as for Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children… that is how you do a Video Game Movie. Sure, they might have been doing it to cash in, but it seemed purely fan service. Every important character was there, it picked up soon after the game ended, and the story (while there isn’t much of one) is pretty cool. The voice acting, believe it or not, is done really nicely, too (with one exception). Oh, and the music is amazingly beautiful. A large portion is remixed from the game, but the game music was beautiful anyway. Finally, the action in is some of the coolest, most badass action I’ve ever seen in an animated movie (and I do watch anime). As for anything good about Spirits Within… well… the story was good, and it had a lot of really good voice actors (Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, James Woods, Keith David, Alec Baldwin, Ming-Na).

The Bad: Well, the only ‘bad’ goes to Advent Children, as most of the rest of Spirits Within would be under the next category. So anyway, Advent Children’s only bad side is that it really is a fan-service movie. If you haven’t played the game, you’ll probably be incredibly lost into most of the stuff happening (as it is a sequel to the game). Well, you might not be incredibly lost, as there is a voice-over narration that explains almost every key point you need to know, but you won’t get the deeper meanings or a full understanding of everything happening. Also, what the hell is up with the American voice for Cait Sith? Why they hell does he sound like a drunken Irishman? Especially since he’s actually a robot controlled by Reeve, who is even voiced via telephone before Cait Sith shows up in the movie, and is not a drunken Irishman…

The Ugly: This is pretty simple. Spirits Within had absolutely nothing, nada, zip to do with Final Fantasy. The first Resident Evil movie had more to do with its source material than Spirits Within, which is sad. There was one connection… a dude named Cid… but it was even SPELLED wrong! In the movie, they spelled it Sid. The movie itself isn’t actually all that awful… but it’s no Final Fantasy. There’s nothing even remotely similar to a Final Fantasy story that would be in a game. They should have gone with the original title idea and named it ‘Gaia’ instead of trying to cash in on the FF brand. That way, it probably wouldn’t have been boycotted like it was, it would have made more money, and Squaresoft wouldn’t have bankrupted like it did and be forced to merge with their rival company to stay afloat to become Square-Enix (it’s ironic that Final Fantasy was the game to keep the company going in the first place, and the FF movie was what basically killed them).

Conclusion: So all in all, I would like to conclude with this: Uwe Boll, stop making movies, you horrible, horrible man. You’re ruining video games and movies simultaneously. That is all. Oh, and people need to make more movies like Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children.


Bad Movies. Bad Memory. Fun Times.

These are the movies that you saw ages ago (whatever bracket of years that might be for you), that are pretty bad movies in general when you think back, and you haven’t seen them since you were younger (for the most part)… yet you distinctly remember certain scenes and can’t help but smile. Most of the time they’re B-Horror movies, but there are exceptions. This is a list of 6 movies that take me back down memory lane. Some may be recognizable, some might not. Either way, gotta pay mad respect! … Or not.

Arcade (1993).

Who You’ll Recognize: Peter Billingsley (from A Christmas Story) and Seth Green.

Plot: A bunch of teens play a new virtual reality video game that really kills.

Scene(s) I Remember: Towards the end of the movie, the main female ends up going directly inside the main gaming unit to play the game from there. She has to beat the game in order to finally bring it down. There’s a scene within the game in which she reaches two Ferrymen, a liar and a truthteller, who she can ask one question to only one of them to help her find out which one will take her to the place she needs to go next. I remembered this scene because of the Liar’s Paradox and how mind-blowing the paradox actually is. The same paradox is also used in the movie Labyrinth with David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly.

Other: I’d love to see this movie again, just to see how laughably bad it really is, but I seriously doubt it’ll ever see the light of day on DVD.

The Gate (1987).

Who You’ll Recognize: Stephen Dorff.

Plot: A bunch of kids are left home alone for the weekend. After playing a record backwards, they unknowingly open a gateway to hell in their backyard and are then plagued by little demons and scary phone calls.

Scene(s) I Remember: I remember a few with this one. I remember the really creepy phone calls and I believe a melting phone. I remember the tiny little demon creatures and, of course, the incredibly large demon creature. I’m pretty sure they were all stop-motion monsters, which look incredibly stupid and unscary today.

Other: I remember parts of this movie being really creepy, like the phone call stuff. Though I think the ending of the movie with the stop-motion creatures would definitely ruin it for me now.

Pulse (1988).

Who You’ll Recognize: Joey and Matthew Lawrence.

Plot: Basically a ‘Ghost-In-The-Machine’ story in which a murderous pulse of electricity moves from house to house and possesses electronics and other household things in order to kill or wreak havoc.

Scene(s) I Remember: I remember a scene in which the pulse possesses a shower, somehow locking the woman in it, and turning up the heat to ‘magma’, boiling her alive. I also remember a scene in which I believe Joey Lawrence’s character is trying to go out a broken window or something, and it slams down on his hand, the glass going through it (if I remember correctly). Crazy stuff. I also think I remember a guy getting locked in his car and the pulse not letting the garage door open, so the exhaust got to him or something.

Other: Nothing, really.

House (1986).

Who You’ll Recognize: Nobody, really.

Plot: A Vietnam vet, now a horror novelist, comes spiraling down when his son disappears in his aunt’s house. When his aunt dies, however, he goes to live in the house for a bit. Unfortunately, the house is a bit demonic, and he must fight his way into finding his son again.

Scene(s) I Remember: I’m pretty sure both of these scenes I remember are from this movie and not the sequel. One scene is when the main guy breaks a mirror in his bathroom and finds a deep bit of emptiness. So he gets a rope and climbs on down, but is attacked by a bunch of winged demons. He ends up falling into a river in the middle of Vietnam or something, takes a deep breath, swims down, and comes up out of a swimming pool in his backyard. The other scene isn’t really a scene, but more of a character… the big skeletal war buddy comes back to exact revenge or something. I just remember them fighting each other and the skeletal guy ends up getting a grenade in him or something.

Other: I’m a pretty big fan of Horror Comedies these days, so I’d love to go back and see this movie again. It’d be a fun one, I think.

Guyver (1991).

Who You’ll Recognize: Mark Hamill.

Plot: A dorky kid accidentally bashes his head against an alien mechanism which merges with his body, allowing him to become a cyborg-like superhero.

Scene(s) I Remember: When Mark Hamill turns into a big lobster-creature and dies.

Other: This movie, as well as its sequel, is just so bizarre and freaky that it could be pretty cool. The creatures are just people in crappy suits, but The Guyver suit itself is just freakin cool. But what else would you expect from a movie based on Japanese Manga/Anime?

Howard the Duck (1986).

Who You’ll Recognize: Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones, Tim Robbins.

Plot: A duck from a parallel universe gets sucked to Earth and teams up with a singer and a scientist to try and stop an alien that is currently possessing another scientist from destroying the world.

Scene(s) I Remember: Oh man, what isn’t to remember about this movie? A bathtub with a naked duck with human-like breasts, a electric-charged Jeffrey Jones rampaging through a diner, and the big showdown at the end with a really bizarre-looking alien monster.

Other: Of course I had to mention this movie. This is like… the king of all bad B-Movies. I used to love this movie as a kid… but I have to say, I watched it again a few months back and realized just how God-awful it is.

Closing Words: If I think of more movies, I’ll create another post. This one was more dedicated to the horror/sci-fi genres. I thought of a few more, but they weren’t within either of those boundaries, so I didn’t include them. What are some of y’all’s movies for this kinda thing?



Have you ever wondered what Superbad would have been like had the kids been starting their Freshman year of high school instead of ending their Senior year? And what if the movie was just rated PG-13 instead of R because all the dirty talk and sex jokes were removed? And the alcohol was also removed, so that the movie was just basically about acceptance (and getting a girl to notice you)? Then Drillbit Taylor is the movie for you! Drillbit Taylor is about a couple loser kids (who pick up a third along the way) who are starting high school off on the wrong foot. Wade (Nate Hartley), Ryan (Troy Gentile), and Emmit (David Dorfman) are three dorky kids trying to stay alive in high school, as two bullies, Filkins (Alex Frost) and Ronnie (Josh Peck), won’t leave them alone. So they go out and hire a bodyguard, Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson), who is actually a bum just trying to rip off the kids so he can get enough money to go to Canada. But then he starts getting attached to them.

I’ll start off by clarifying my opening statements. Really, if you strip down Superbad like I did, it really would be this movie. The three main kids are an incredible amount (even in looks) like the three from Superbad. However, that doesn’t make this movie super bad (… I know, bad joke). It was actually really funny. It’s hard to get me to laugh out loud in movies these days, but I found myself laughing quite a bit with this one.

Unfortunately, there are some downsides. A lot of the jokes were hit or miss. There were some pretty funny ones, but others were just silly and unneeded. One was actually kinda disturbing (the step-dad on the vibrating chair). The acting was… alright. Owen Wilson was good, as was Nate Hartley (for the most part). Troy Gentile was just awful at times, but sometimes he was okay. Alex Frost and Josh Peck as the bullies were really good, though Josh Peck’s character was really underused, I thought. Stephen Root makes a couple appearances as the high school principal, and his part is alright and has its moments. And then we have Leslie Mann (AKA Judd Apatow’s wife, who appears in every movie he’s linked to). Her part was completely unnecessary and added nothing to the movie. The relationship with Drillbit was pointless and had no chemistry whatsoever.

You can really tell this movie was toned down from the other Apatow productions, but it doesn’t suffer too much from it. The movie didn’t really need any excessive nudity, swearing, or sex-talk. It worked for what it was. I really wanted to give this movie a higher score, but there were just some things that brought it down a notch. However, I think giving it this rating is ironic within itself.

I Am McLovin!

There Will Be PokeMon.

Haha, oh my God, I just had to share this. One of my favorite YouTube sensations, Smosh, just came out with their newest video... a spoof of the ending to There Will Be Blood. And... well... just watch. It's hilarious. And if you haven't seen There Will Be Blood and have been living under a rock and don't know how it ends, this is the link given in the 'description box' listed in the beginning of the video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=ThZI-p8SKe0.


Rental Review: Eye of the Dolphin.

I love dolphins. Kids’ movies can be cool when they’re done right. So I rented this in hopes it would be pretty good. Apparently, I was wrong. Alyssa (Carly Schroeder) is a troubled teen after her mother gets killed in a boating accident and drowns. She ends up acting out in school (by making excellent grades, listening to her iPod, and smoking pot), which makes her get expelled. So her grandmother decides to let her know that her father, Dr. James Hawk (Adrian Dunbar), is still alive and working with dolphins in the Bahamas. They decide to go (right when her father is facing issues with/cancellation of his research), and end up meeting her father’s friends and partners, the father/daughter Daniel (George Harris) and Tamika (Christine Adams). Her father proceeds to be an awful father to her, while Daniel, Tamika, and the dolphins try to work together to ‘fix’ her.

So let’s start with the acting. Carly Schroeder, who you may or may not recognize as an all-grown-up version of the best friend of the little brother from the old Disney show Lizzie McGuire (did I lose you there?), gives anywhere from a bad to a so-so performance. The grandmother is just awful. In fact, to make this short, the only good thing to come from this movie acting-wise was the vastly underused George Harris, but that’s to be expected. I mean, the man is Kingsley Shacklebolt. Christine Adams isn’t too bad, either.

The script and the dialogue are horrible, as well. The story is so by-the-books that it’s ridiculous. The dialogue is stiff, cheesy, and just plain bad (and, as I said, the delivery doesn’t help much, either). There’s really not much more to say about the story. Some of the characters are just plain jerks when it is really unnecessary and just being done to help further plot.

The cinematography is basic stuff you might see in a TV movie… nothing special… like the rest of the movie. I’m really not sure what else I can say about this movie. And the ending is mind-boggling. Ignore if you care, but they spend the whole movie trying to make it so that the dolphins won't have to deal with tourists in their space and they can be free and be studied in peace. So what is the final resolution? Basically to create a Sea World-like environment where the dolphins can be studied in tiny cages in which tourists can hang in and around. Seriously. There was more of a scientific reasoning behind it, but call it what you might... it's still taking away the entire point. Might as well score it now.

The Zed Word

(By the way, if you're curious, the only reasons I scored it that high was due to random bikini scenes throughout, as well as George Harris' performance).


2 In 1: Across the Universe and August Rush.

This 2 In 1 focuses on two movies where the music is key to the movie. The first, Across the Universe, is one I’ve been wanting to see for a while and just recently rented. The second, August Rush, is one I first saw in theater and just watched for a second time. So without further ado…

Across the Universe.

Across the Universe was not what I expected, and, frankly, as a fan of musicals, I was a bit disappointed. Jude (Jim Sturgess) goes to America to find his father and meets Max (Joe Anderson) and falls in love with Max’s sister, Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood). A bunch of Beatles songs are sung. Max is drafted. The 1960s ensue.

I guess I’ll start with the good. The movie’s renditions of the songs were, for the most part, really good. And the singing was good. I also liked how some of the props and such became part of the music (like in Atonement). Also, visually, the movie was stunning (with a few exceptions around the middle, such as The Magic Schoolbus and the incredibly random circus, which were just annoying). My favorite song is “Let It Be” near the beginning. It just felt like a really powerful song and scene in the movie. I also liked “Come Together” right afterward, because it was so random (hobos, hookers, and pimps singing bluesy). Ironically, neither of these songs were sung by the main cast (with the exception of one line at the end of “Come Together.”

Now for the bad. The story is nearly non-existent and disjointed, and the songs sometimes suffered from what I like to call “High School Musical Syndrome.” In other words, it was overly obvious that the actors were lip-syncing to a pre-recorded track. And oftentimes the musical numbers weren’t musical numbers at all. They would either start as a musical number and turn into a music video with the songs playing over a nearly unrelated-to-the-song montage where you never see the singer, or it would start with said montage and end with the singer. It just didn’t feel like a musical, but instead one really long music video medley of Beatles covers. And a lot of the time (though not all the time), as I said, the songs didn’t seem to match up with what was going on… or it was overly forced and just seemed to be a random fluff scene that was only in the movie so the song could be included (which was a huge chunk of the movie). A lot of this was remedied by the end of the movie (to a degree), but by that point, the movie had become so disjointed and boring that I no longer really cared.

As for the acting, it was… okay. The only character I really grew attached to was Jude, and I wasn’t even overly caring about him. It was just hard to get attached to anything in the movie. I really can’t think of anything else to say about this movie. It was good to look at (most of the time, when it wasn’t being just plain weird), and it was good to listen to, but I don’t think it really worked as a movie, nor as a musical.

Stop Saying Okay! Okay.

August Rush.

There are a couple good ways to describe this movie. The first is actually said near the beginning of the movie: “I believe in music the way some people believe in fairy tales.” This movie is basically like a modern day fairy tale with a strong musical theme. The second way to describe this movie would be as a musical with (almost) nothing but instrumentals. August Rush is about three different stories: The first is about young Evan (Freddie Highmore), left to an orphanage, who has a keen ear for music. He runs away from the orphanage to the big city of New York and meets up with Wizard (Robin Williams), a homeless musician who uses homeless kids to help make a profit in exchange for giving them a place to stay. Wizard ends up dubbing Evan with a better performer name, August Rush. His adventure grows from there. The second story is about his mother, Lyla (Keri Russell), a concert musician who learns of her son’s existence and tries to find him. The third story is about his father, Louis (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), an Irishman in a rock band who loses the musical faith and tries to find the woman (Lyla) he once had a one-night fling with.

This movie is all about the music, and the music is beautiful. From the mixing of concert strings and rock guitar to church choir to just noises of the busy streets, the music is mesmerizing. As I stated previously, this movie is like a musical for instrumental music (with a few vocals thrown in every now and then), and the music is wonderful.

There are also some great visual effects, as well, such as the stunning opening sequence in the tall grass. There’s some good camera choices and lighting choices, as well, which make the movie a joy to watch. There are a couple mistakes noticeable here and there, such as a scene in which Louis is speaking but his mouth is saying something completely different. There was also a scene that was fixed between theater and DVD, apparently, as in the theater version you could clearly see Freddie Highmore’s mic pack as he stood up after first meeting Terrence Howard’s character. But those are just nitpicky things, really.

The acting is pretty good all around, even to Robin Williams, whose character you can’t help but both equally dislike and feel sorry for (he alludes very clearly the kind of childhood he had). Yeah, it’s completely not the type of character advertised in the previews. There’s really not much else to say. Great music, good visuals, good acting, good story… overall great movie.

A Keanu 'Whoa'


Rental Review: Gone Baby Gone.

This is for movies I rent instead of see in theater that I just feel like reviewing for the heck of it… and to start it off, we’ll go with Gone Baby Gone.

Ben Affleck’s directorial debut was even better than I thought it was gonna be. Gone Baby Gone is about two private detectives (and couple), Patrick (Casey Affleck) and Angie (Michelle Monaghan), who are hired to find a missing girl by the girl’s aunt and uncle. Teaming up with police Captain Doyle (Morgan Freeman) and Detectives Remy Bressant (Ed Harris) and Nick Poole (John Ashton), they try to uncover what actually happened to the little girl so they can get her back to her druggie mother (Amy Ryan).

The movie was confusing at times, moreso toward the middle when they’re going through all the suspects and giving rapid-fire gangster names left and right, making it hard to remember who is who and who is doing what. But by the end of the movie, everything is so perfectly explained, the confusion is just a distant issue. But the story is magnificent. There are some great moral dilemmas showcased by the movie, which is great (yet uncomfortable) for the audience, as it makes you think about what you would do in the situation. What is right and what is wrong? Does it change due to circumstance? Those are the main questions the movie asks.

The acting is top notch, with great performances by Affleck, Freeman, and Harris. But the real performance was given by Amy Ryan, and I can see why she was nominated for the part. It might be hard to hear what is being said due to the thick Boston accents (and the fact that Casey Affleck kinda slurs his words together, an issue I had with him in The Assassination of Jesse James). I’ve read about people who had to watch this movie with subtitles so they knew what was being said. But I followed it well enough.

Overall, it was a great movie, and I thought it was a lot tighter and, dare I say, better than No Country For Old Men (great movie, but horrible ending that pretty much ruins the rest of it). I’m now rather shocked that Gone Baby Gone didn’t get more nominations for the Oscars. It really was snubbed.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

(P.S. In an age where a lot of movies are given odd titles that have little reference to the movie, I was happy when I heard the title of this movie actually used in dialogue within it. You don’t see that incredibly often anymore (“There Will Be Blood”…?).)



The best way to describe Doomsday is “oddly entertaining.” The first half is like mixing 28 Days/Weeks Later with Mad Max, and the second half is like mixing King Arthur, Gladiator, and Mad Max. Like I said: odd. It’s like a comic-book premise without being a comic book. The plot of Doomsday is thus: Roughly 30 years after a major plague (the Reaper Virus) spread through the upper section of Britain (namely Scotland), the virus has reappeared in the safe zone. The government gets Bill Nelson (Bob Hoskins) to get his best soldier, Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra), to head up a team into the quarantined area before the Doomsday Contingency Plan (flooding and killing all of London) is performed. Why? Because they’ve noticed that there are people still alive inside (via satellite images), which means there must be a cure. And the only way there could possibly be a cure is if Dr. Kane (Malcolm McDowell), a scientist/doctor who got stuck behind, had found one. Unfortunately, when they get there, they discover that they really aren't alone... and that's a problem.

As I said, Doomsday is an odd mixture of things. In all honesty, it should have been called Doomsday: Randomness on Screen. The first major section of the movie was a lot like the 28 ___ Later… movies, in a way. It was really a horror/suspense kinda deal. Then, quite a ways in, the punk guys show up, led by a crazy dude named Sol (pronounced Saul). They’re survivors of the initial outbreak who have broken from all law and are living savagely, violently, and sado-masochistically (…seriously, there’s a random dude in all black leather, including a full leather mask over his face, and he’s constantly in chains). They’re also cannibalistic. Not too long after that, the movie gets medieval with people dressed up like they are walking about the Renaissance Festival. But during this stuff, there’s a Gladiator-like coliseum fight (Telamon is freakin awesome looking). After that, there’s a huge and incredibly crazy car chase sequence. For a car chase with no traffic, this sequence is maybe a few notches below Death Proof (because that one was awesome. This one doesn’t come close to that, but it’s still really cool).

Oh, and did I mention the blood and gore? My God, was there a lot of it. Nothing is safe in this movie, from people to bunnies and cows. Blood is excessive (It’s almost a ridiculous amount, as you might find in any Comic Book). The action is pretty cool, for what there is of it. I think my favorite fight was the (too short) sword fight about halfway in. Oh, and the main character can remove her eyeball from her socket and use it like a wireless webcam kinda thing. Nifty (and random). As for music, it was pretty cool, though the main theme reminded me WAY too much of the main theme from the 28 ____ Later… movies. It was almost identical, but with a few differences.

So really, if you shut off your brain and don’t think about all the movies this is ripping off (and don’t mind a bit of blood), this movie is really cool. The acting is done pretty well, for the most part, except for the dude who played Canaris. He got on my nerves with his whispery voice that sounded like he’d had one too many cigarettes, not to mention his stiff acting ability. The movie was over-the-top, random, and pretty fun when you just give yourself in to it.

I Am McLovin!

(Update: Thinking about it... this is a lot like this director's previous film, The Descent, in one specific way: The first half (pre-Punks) has very good atmosphere and is naturally suspenseful. The second half just gets bizarre and introduces random things that almost make the movie worse than it could have been (i.e. the creatures of The Descent).


Overrated Movies: Gosford Park.

Warning: Minor Alluded Spoiler (as to who dies, not to who kills).

I had thought about doing a Top 10 for Overrated Movies, but felt it might be better to just do a recurring article and do one at a time. So that brings us to this movie: Gosford Park. I had the (dis)pleasure of watching this movie for the first time last night (I DVR’d it off IFC). Gosford Park is about…um… absolutely nothing up until somebody gets killed about an hour and a half into the movie. Okay, honestly, it’s about a bunch of rich English aristocrats (and Ryan Phillippe) and their servants who all get together at this mansion to go shooting/hunting. When one of them dies, it turns into a (relatively boring and slightly predictable) who-dun-it.

So this movie has a massive cast full of top-notch actors: Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Stephen Fry, Geraldine Somerville, Emily Watson, Clive Owen, Helen Mirren, Derek Jacobi, Ryan Phillippe, and a whole bunch of others. As I’ve joked, Ryan Phillippe seems to be the most out of place (and he’s not even the only American in the movie. Bob Balaban plays an American movie producer/director, and even he seems like he could be there. Ryan Phillippe’s character just seems to be like a random red herring that normally wouldn’t be there otherwise).

Anyway… so the movie starts off with this young woman (I didn’t really bother to learn anybody’s names, because not only did they change once they got to the mansion, but there were too many people to bother remembering), going out into the rain to help Maggie Smith’s character open a thermos. Yeah. I’m not kidding. So then they get to the mansion and everybody meets up, they talk in quiet voices about stuff you can’t understand and move on to the next person before you can get a grasp on what was being said. Then they cook dinner and then eat it. And the process cycles for the next hour and a half. And then Dumbledore dies TWICE. Then what has to be the most incompetent detective (Stephen Fry) shows up (though he was one of my favorite parts of the movie, albeit insanely out of place).

The movie was incredibly obvious as to whom at least one of the killers was. The other was what I like to call a ‘pull-out-your-ass’ ending. These types of twist endings are those that leave absolutely no clues for the reader or watcher to pick up on to figure it out, and then pull this random ending out their ass so they can point and laugh at you because they pulled a fast one on you, when in reality, there is no respect for that type of ending. For shame, Robert Altman… for shame.

So yeah… incredibly boring and pointless first half (save for a few key scenes in dropping ‘killer’ hints) that you can’t even understand. Then a really random second half that is only made up for by the funny and random Stephen Fry. I know this movie was supposed to be this social commentary thing, but I didn’t even care for it as that, and I like movies with social commentary. I can’t believe this movie won Best Original Screenplay over Memento (or, hell, even Amélie or The Royal Tenenbaums… neither of which I’ve seen, but I’m sure both are much better movies). I can’t believe I’m about to use the following rating… as even Stephen Fry’s short character appearance couldn’t make me watch this again.

She's Gone From Suck to Blow!

(P.S. I think it’s funny how at least half the cast has either been in, is related to somebody who has been in, or is somehow linked to Harry Potter. Gotta love British ensemble casts).


2 In 1: Chaos and Dog Day Afternoon.

Alrighty. After watching The Bank Job this past Friday, I got in the mood to check out some more heist movies, so I went to rent Dog Day Afternoon. While there, I rented some other movies, one of which was a movie called Chaos with Jason Statham, which could also be considered a heist movie (and better, I thought, than The Bank Job, also starring Jason Statham). Watching both, I felt I could turn this into a 2 in 1, so here we go.


Chaos has an interesting take on the heist film. It actually reminded me a bit of my last novel (without the supernatural/religious elements). The plot of Chaos is thus: After a disastrous hostage situation on a bridge in which both hostage and hostage taker die, Detective Conners (Jason Statham) is suspended and basically blacklisted, while his partner is fired. But when a bank robber who calls himself Lorenz (Wesley Snipes) takes hostages and seemingly tries to rob the place, he only has one request: to have Conners be the negotiator in charge. So Conners is brought back in and is partnered up with the young Detective Dekker (Ryan Phillippe). But when the robbers escape and people start dying randomly, the two detectives believe it has to do with the Chaos Theory—a bunch of seemingly unrelated events are all connected somehow.

The movie is just plain fun, really. The acting is alright… it’s basic thriller-genre acting (and Jason Statham). The plot is really cool, I thought, though highly predictable (though that could be a bad thing, considering the point of the plot is to be unpredictable). I figured out way too much early on, but that honestly didn’t stop me from enjoying the movie. Even though I figured out the final twist before it happened, I was still able to enjoy it with a smile on my face as it was revealed.

I think this is really the first time Jason Statham hasn’t really done his thing in one of his movies. He does kick some ass at one point, but its more cop-type brawling than anything. But I don’t think that’s a drawback or anything. And Wesley Snipes plays a pretty cool bad guy. He just has this “Oh, I’m cool, I’m a badass, I’m totally big pimpin. Look at my hat!” air about him every time you see him. And all the characters were more than just one-dimensional. They each had some kind of backstory to deepen their characters (at least to a degree).

So yeah, really, this is just one of those movies you have to not look too much into, but just sit back and enjoy it. But you also gotta pay attention toward the end, or it might go too fast for you to keep up (I know my dad started trying to talk to me during this point, and I was trying to pay attention to the movie, too. But I got the basic gist of what was going on; plus, I had already figured it out by that point, anyway).

I Am McLovin!

Dog Day Afternoon.

So I just saw it for the first time last night. Better late than never, right? Dog Day Afternoon is based on the true story of a simple bank robbery gone bad. Sonny (Al Pacino) and Sal (John Cazale) go to rob a bank, but being the down-on-their-luck overall nice guys, they take too long and attract police attention. The day lingers on with the employees no longer feeling any threat from the two men (except maybe Sal), and some even refusing to leave when they have the opportunity (by the way, just a random bit of trivia: this is known as Stockholm Syndrome, when the hostages begin to become attached to their hostage takers). Anyway, it gets all over the news, and the two men (moreso Sonny) start getting many fans. The only question left is… how are they gonna get out of this?

I thought this movie was excellent. Its two hours flew by. It was hilarious, sad, and dramatic. The acting was phenomenal, especially by the then young Al Pacino. The subtle performance by the late John Cazale was good, too, making you feel both frightened of and worried for him. The twist about halfway in when you find out exactly why Sonny is robbing the bank was unexpected (at least for me). But it worked (I’d hope so, considering it actually happened that way).

Afterwards I read an article from the real ‘Sonny’ and said he loved the movie, but was highly upset at how some of the things were portrayed and “Hollywood-ized,” and that the movie was really only about 30% true. Still, the movie version of the events was great in its own right. I just rented this movie, but I have a feeling I’m gonna end up going out and buying it. Let’s all go to the country of Wyoming!

Royale With Cheese



Apparently I couldn’t be a professional movie critic, because I’d be disagreeing with what seems to be everybody on the planet. I thought I was going to see a heist movie… and I did, I suppose… though I’m not too sure… and I don’t think the movie was sure, either. The Bank Job is the true story about this one guy who is this drug dealing pimp black radical gangster who gets accused of all said charges, but the cops can’t do anything because he has illicit photos of one of the royal family that he can use as blackmail. So the cops get this one chick to get Jason Statham (who gets a crew of his own) to find a way to rob the bank and safety deposit boxes that the photos are held in. Unfortunately, that’s not all they take, and they end up over their heads in numerous scandals such as dirty cops and compromising sexual photos of prominent figures.

I first have to say that, even though this was based on a true story, it seemed way too complicated for what it was. Don’t get me wrong, by the end of the movie I understood everything that was going on and wasn’t confused whatsoever, but during the movie, everything was twisting and turning and this was going on while that was happening and so-and-so was being undercover while this-that-and-the-other were doing whatever the hell else was going on. And to me, the undercover woman who was with the black radical guys seemed to be an unnecessary subplot just used to complicate the matter.

The first act of the movie seemed too random and confusing at the time (with an insane amount of nudity). The second act of the movie, the actual heist, was way too short. The third act of the movie, the part where all the crooked cops and whatnot are trying to get back their information and such, seemed way too long. It also seemed like the movie wasn’t sure what it was trying to be. The first act seemed like a dark comedy (with a bit of drama). The second act was like a heist drama (with a bit of dark comedy). And the third act was just a violent, overdramatic, depressing thriller. When that third act hit, I was shocked. I wasn’t expecting that amount of violence and such, or for some of the people to die who did. The first half of the movie just didn’t set me up for that.

It wasn’t a terrible movie by any means, but I don’t think it deserves the awesome praise it’s getting from what seems to be almost every professional critic. The acting was alright, and it was pretty funny at times. The big fight at the end of the movie was some Jason Statham action, as always. And I really liked the idea behind it: a bunch of small-time crooks robbing a bank, finding more than they can chew, and then trying to get out of the situation both alive and while trying to do the right thing. I just don’t think it was executed as well as it could have been.

Stop Saying Okay! Okay.


Because I Know You Wanted To Know All About Me...

1.) What was your favorite toy as a kid? Where is it now?
-It depends on what age you are referring to 'as a kid'. I had a nice collection of TMNT action figures. Most are either broken or in storage now. I had a 'My Buddy' doll when I was even young which I carried everywhere (those things are worth loads now...). Then I got into video games...

2.) Name some strange misconception you had as a child - like where babies come from and crazy kid stuff like that.
- I was a pretty oblivious child. And it really sucks, because I constantly feel completely and utterly lost nowadays. I mean, seriously... there's some stuff either social-wise or education-wise that I always feel "Where was I on the day we were taught the basics for this?"

3.) Tell me about something you're extremely passionate about and why?
- Harry Potter. No, seriously. You have no idea.
- Writing... it's just a way to let my imagination roam free. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't get down all my story ideas out on paper (or computer, as it were).
- Movies... obviously. Movies are both an art form and an escape... it's so easy to get lost in a movie and forget all your troubles.

4.) Who is the one friend you would turn to when in trouble? This excludes girlfriends and boyfriends and focuses solely on those outside the realm of "people you sleep with."
- I really don't have one... as sad as that is. I mean, I suppose my parents or my sister if I was in major trouble, but this question said 'friend', not 'family'.

5.) Riff on something going on in the world that pisses you off. This can be some epic world-spanning problem or something as simple as getting cut off in traffic.
- Not much about the world truly 'pisses me off' (except the common stupidity of human beings in general). Though I did get rather upset that Hilary just won the Texas primaries. What an upset.

6.) Do your absolute best to define beautiful. Feel free to cite examples.
- What? Sorry, I was looking in a mirror... okay, maybe not. Beauty cannot be defined. It is truly in the eye of the beholder. It can be a cardboard box to keep out the rain, or it can be Helen of Troy. It all depends on perspective.

7.) I'm going to need from you a list of your inspirations. I want to know what sparks your creativity - what makes you smile inside your head. What has shaped you?-
- Inspirations... hmm... movies and books, obviously. Anything with a plot-line can give me ideas for plot-lines of my own. Anything can spark my creativity, honestly. When I used to work at Sears, I once saw a man in a business suit walking with a pink balloon and immediately started trying to formulate that into a story somehow. Anything can be inspiration if you truly look for it.

8.) Maybe this will be easier - what are your primary sources of laughter?
- Movies... or my friend Jesse. God, he can make me laugh no matter what.

9.) If you could live in any time period, what would it be and why? Keep in mind that you would be born in this time period and are not simply time-traveling, thus you can't change the past, present or future...
- I've always thought it would be cool to live in a post-apocalyptic future where you can roam the lands without law on an adventure or something... maybe try to take down a dystopian government...

10.) If you could have one super power, what would it be... and would you use it for Good or Evil?
- I have to say mind reading... I'd use it like Matt Parkman, but without the massive headaches. I'd try to do good with it, but I'd sometimes use it to my own gain, as well.

11.) What is something that is completely fictional, that you wish was real? This could be a character or mythic location or theory - anything that doesn't truly exist in our world.
- Oh man... PokeMon. Oh come on! Don't look at me like that. Seriously... you can't tell me that if you lived in the PokeMon universe that you wouldn't grab your pokeballs and head out on an adventure, never knowing what was coming, meeting new friends along the way, and trying to become a pokemon master?

12.) If you could have any creature on this planet as a domesticated pet, what would it be?
- Hmm... a dolphin. But I'd need a huge swimming pool for it to live in, of course.

13.) I need to know 3 to 5 television shows that you could never tire of. Think about shows in syndication that you could watch rerun after rerun of...
- Boy Meets World
- Scrubs
- Family Guy
- Heroes
- Futurama

14.) What is your preferred flavor of potato chip?
- Almost any, really... except guacamole.

15.) Finally, I'm going to need dream jobs. As a kid what did you want to do? What do you want to do now? Feel free to go nuts.
- When I was in first and second grade, I realized I wanted to be a writer, so I wrote a bunch of stories.... but I drew (really bad) pictures with the stories. Around 4th grade I thought I wanted to be an animator. But soon after I went back to writer. Not too long after that, probably around 6th grade or so, I realized I was going to be a teacher (which I'm about to be). Come high school, the writing thing came back full swing (it never left, but it just kept bouncing back and forth for that as a professional job). I started reading and writing a whole lot more and finally realized if i could do anything, I'd want to be a famous novelist. About late high school, I realized I'd love to do anything related with movies, but I still wanted to be a novelist, and I knew I was going to be a teacher. So I came up with my final conclusion: I'm going to be a teacher, but I'm going to continue trying to become that famous novelist. When I become that famous novelist, one of my books will become a freakin awesome movie, and my life will be complete.

16.) What is something you're really excited about that's coming up?

Top 5 albums (or artists if you're not an 'album' person)
- I'm not really an 'album' or 'artist' person... but I have to say, Taylor Mali's slam poetry CD's are awesome.

Top 5 Films (you knew this was coming...)
- Shaun of the Dead
- Little Shop of Horrors
- Bang Bang, You're Dead
- Leon
- Saw
(I wanna keep going! I hate making top 5's and 10's! I love too many movies!)

Top 5 Books
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince/Deathly Hallows (...it's hard to choose)
- Odd Thomas
- Catch-22
- Twilight
- I can't choose! It's like the movies! I like too many books!


2 In 1: American Gangster and Inside Man.

The theme for this one would be Denzel Washington… and I can already tell I’ll probably be blasted for my views and opinions in this posting. Denzel, to me, is great. He’s great to watch, and he’s full of intensity. However, he really only plays one of two characters in each movie: good Denzel and bad Denzel (in respect to morals, not acting ability). This article has both. Please don't hurt me too bad.

American Gangster.

I had low expectations going into this movie. I figured it might have some exceptional acting, but overall, I thought it was going to be boring and overly long. Unfortunately, I was right. It’s the 1970s, Vietnam Era, and Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) is the new big heroin king. But Detective Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) is looking for somebody to bust, and Frank just happens to end up at the top of the list.

Let’s get the bad out first (assuming I have some good). The first 20 minutes of this movie lost me. I had almost no idea what was going on. Once I got a handle on the situation, I realized I really couldn’t give a rat’s behind about Frank Lucas. His character had no depth or development. He was just boring. Detective Roberts was at least a bit more interesting with the whole family trouble aspect, but even that kind of goes to the wayside. What’s sad is that I’m more of a fan of Denzel than Crowe, and I enjoyed Crowe more than Denzel in this movie.

The Lucas family was vastly underused in the movie, I felt. And how the hell does Ruby Dee (Frank’s mother) get a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination? She’s in probably a grand total of 5 minutes in the 2 and a half hour movie, and speaks probably a total of 3 of that, if even. The Academy must have been incredibly desperate.

Another random note… it felt that every time an f-bomb was dropped in this movie, it was used in the wrong place and felt forced. And it’s sad when you notice that kind of thing. But this brings us to the acting. The acting was pretty good. Denzel was “bad Denzel,” which is always entertaining. Crowe was good, as well.

I don’t know… I just didn’t dig the movie. It was too long, and it seemed as if it wasn’t sure what it was trying to do. When something of importance actually happens, you’re left wondering how they got to that point or how it actually came about. It has the Ridley Scott epic feel, but it fell flat for me. It was a good effort, but not good enough. In other words, I think this movie is a bit overrated and tries too hard.

Feed Me, Seymour!

Inside Man.

This movie, on the other hand, is very entertaining, and stars “good Denzel.” Dalton Russell (Clive Owen) and his crew show up in a bank dressed up as painters, lock the place down, and seemingly try to rob it. Detective Frazier (Denzel) is the cop trying to figure out what’s going on. Meanwhile, Madeline White (Jodie Foster) is hired to get some information taken safely out of the bank that could ruin the owner (Christopher Plummer).

Heist movies are always great, in my opinion. This movie actually helped me get inspired and stay in the mood for my last novel, which is, in essence, a ‘perfect heist’ story. I just really enjoy the idea of incredibly intelligent bad guys who always know what they’re doing and can easily outsmart the good guys at every level.

Denzel’s acting is great, as always. Clive Owen is Clive Owen: deeply monotone and mysterious. But this time he does it with a mask over his face the majority of the time. And both characters have depth. They have purpose and are just round characters. As for Jodie Foster's character, the idea behind her character is cool, but I don’t necessarily think she was needed. The first time I saw the movie, I thought her character was completely pointless. The next time I saw it, I gathered a bit more purpose for the character, but that’s about it. I still think the script could have been written in a way to exclude her completely, even though she gave it a bit of edge. And there were, I admit, one or two scenes that she gave meaning to.

It’s hard to talk about this movie without giving much away. It’s a much more entertaining movie than the previous one, I thought, and the pacing is much better, as well. It has its faults, of course, but I don’t think they’re nearly as big. Great movie all around, though.

A Keanu 'Whoa'


I Respect You, Doug Jones.

He’s acted in nearly 60 movies and television shows, but you have probably never heard of Doug Jones, nor would you recognize his face upon seeing him. That’s right, Doug Jones doesn’t even have the honor of being a that guy. Why is that? Because the majority of the time, you will find Mr. Jones in a costume that nobody else wants to wear and doesn’t even get to use his voice half the time.

Some of the more recent movies you’ve seen him in would include Hellboy, in which he played Abe Sapien (but did not voice him, and he will also be playing three different characters in the upcoming Hellboy sequel); Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, in which he played the body of the Silver Surfer; and Pan’s Labyrinth, in which he played both the Faun and the Pale Man/Ogre. He’s played an alien in three episodes of The Outer Limits, and played The Gentleman (the silent and widely grinning pale guy) in a memorable episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

One of the rare movies where he both dressed up and got to speak was in Disney’s 1993 movie, Hocus Pocus, in which he played back-from-the-dead Billy Butcherson, although he had his mouth sewn shut for most of the movie.

You have to give this guy massive props for having been in the game for over 20 years now, having been in nearly 60 features, and having almost nobody know who the heck he is. You should definitely check out the behind-the-scenes features for Pan’s Labyrinth, where they go into extensive detail about all the stuff Doug has to go through in what he does. I really have quite a bit of respect for the guy.


R2D2... The One With Superheroes.

Yeah, so... there's been a bunch of superhero movie (not the actual Superhero Movie, but movies with superheroes) news lately... felt like sharing.

- First, it was just recently confirmed that Harley Quinn is going to be in The Dark Knight, played by Sarah Jayne Dunn. It wasn't confirmed how much she's actually going to be in the movie, but she'll be there.

- Man, that new Iron Man trailer is sweet.

- I read a few days back that the reason Galactus was just a floating blob of a cloud in Fantastic Four 2 was because they're waiting to reveal the actual Galactus in the Silver Surfer prequel/origin movie they're working on (which does not involve the Fantastic Four). That should hopefully be much cooler.

- Good God, who ISN'T going to be in the upcoming Wolverine movie? Will.i.am from the Black-Eyed Peas, Dominic Managhan from Lost and LOTR, and even Ryan Reynolds is gonna be in it (which is exciting). The most exciting, however, is not an actor, but a character. GAMBIT is *finally* going to be on film! It's just odd that they waited until the Wolverine prequel to put him in.

- I don't know what's funnier: the fact they're actually making an Astro Boy movie, or the fact that Astro Boy is gonna be played by Freddie Highmore.

- Oh, I know what's funnier... they're making a Shazam! movie (Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam!). Seriously... Captain Marvel? And The Rock is playing the badguy, Black Adam.

- I can't tell if it's ironic or disturbing that Heroes co-stars Milo Ventimiglia and Hayden Panettiere are now dating, since a lot of fans wanted their characters Peter and Claire (respectively) to hook up on the show prior to finding out the characters were uncle and neice.

Anywho, I think that's about it for now!