Video game adaptations are known for being bad on the whole. The first Street Fighter film was no exception. Neither is this one. Honestly, I don’t even want to waste my time going into the plot details (partly because I’m still not sure what the plot was). But it stars Kristen Kreuk, Chris Klein, Neal McDonough, Moon Bloodgood, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Liu Kang—I mean, Robin Shou.

The acting was awful from everybody, though Chris Klein needs to be punched in the face for the performance he gave. The script and all of its dialogue was atrocious, including the voice over. You know how they say not to do voice over in movies because it acts as a cop-out? A visual telling over showing? Well, I’ve never understood that (because I’ve always seen voice over done well) until now. Most of it was so completely unnecessary, and the film would have been better if they’d have shown the struggles or whatever it was that was being narrated instead of just saying it happened. The story was all over the place; hence me not bothering to give a plot summary.

There were also so many different illogical happenings, so many different things that just didn’t make sense. I don’t even know where to start listing things… from thick, plastic bathroom stall doors that shatter like glass to a white baby growing up in Chinese slums and ending up with an Irish accent. Or of how a girl can be raised in China (looking less and less Asian as she gets older) and end up speaking perfect English with no accent and also fails to comprehend Chinese characters on a scroll (of course it’s explained as ancient Chinese, but still). And then there’s how the police are able to figure out name and complete backgrounds of somebody who they only have a blurry picture of when most cops can’t identify murder victims that they have the actual bodies of. Not to mention one of said cops and said person in the blurry picture suddenly find one another randomly having had no previous contact and act as if they’re old buddies (which they aren’t). The list just goes on and on.

The only two redeeming values (and they aren’t very redeeming) are the action sequences and Kristen Kreuk’s incredible hotness. But the only action scene that’s more than 30 seconds seems to be the climax battle, which includes one of the cheesiest and most poorly done special effects I’ve seen in a long time. With current technology, there was no need for it to look as awful as it did. But still, the action sequences were still, while not the best I've ever seen, rather entertaining. But the best part of the movie was when Chun-Li goes into a club and seduces another woman. It lasts all of 30 seconds or so, but it’s hot. However, everything is soon ruined when you realize the song in the background (or at least the background song that follows it… I wasn’t paying that close attention to the music at the time) is an almost beat-for-beat rip-off of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II “Ninja rap.” Seriously, it’s like they put “Go ninja go ninja go!” on repeat, but then exchanged the words for “Street Fighter!” It was so cheesy and lame that it was nearly laughable.

By the time the movie was over, I was literally so embarrassed that I had actually watched this movie in public by myself (with the intent of enjoyment, not making fun of it) that I didn’t want the lights to come on as the credits began to roll. However, I very generously give it the following score simply based on what was mentioned in the previous paragraph. But that’s all I’m gonna say on the matter.

The Zed Word


Five Great Things About Joss Whedon.

The last time I did one of these was almost a year ago with Keanu Reeves. I felt it necessary (and timing-appropriate) to do another... this time about Joss Whedon. Unlike Keanu, almost everybody who actually knows who the hell Joss Whedon is either appreciates, likes, or loves the guy. He's the guy that brought us the ever-so-popular Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. But besides those two shows, Joss has had the worst luck creating anything lasting on television. And you could even argue it only worked with Buffy, since Angel was canceled before it was meant to end, as well. But almost everything he touches these days is either canceled almost immediately (from Firefly to the current show Dollhouse, which even star Eliza Dushku doesn't seem to have much hope for in the 'lasting' department... at least from what I've heard). Luckily, most of it hits a cult status almost immediately, so he still makes some kind of money. But now, I want to honor 5 great things that have come about because of Joss Whedon... outside of the obvious (Buffy, etc.).

1. Nathan Fillion. Joss popularized the guy, even though Nathan had been around for nearly 10 years before Joss got a hold of him. First giving him a leading role in Firefly (and the later spin-off film Serenity), then a villainous role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and then yet another villainous (though superhero) role in the most recent Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog, Joss has made the guy into the Bruce Campbell for this generation. Granted, this generation still worships Bruce Campbell, too, but they're like two peas in a pod. They really should work on something together...

2. Repo! The Genetic Opera. I know, you're saying to yourself "But Joss didn't have anything to do with that movie." And you're right. However, Joss' brilliant work with "Once More With Feeling," the musical episode of Buffy, brought notice to Anthony Head's amazing singing ability. And it was actually because of this episode that director Darren Lynn Bousman requested Anthony Head for the role, and the very episode that got the producers to agree with it instead of going with a more big-name star. And I have to say, with anybody else besides Anthony Head in that role, the movie would have been, as the Spaniards would say, el terrible.

3. Neil Patrick Harris as a triple-threat. We all know Neil Patrick Harris. But it wasn't until Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog that we realized Neil Patrick Harris could do amazing acting, show brilliant comedic timing, and sing magnificintly... sometimes all at once. For me, he went from "Doogie Howser" to "The best part of Harold and Kumar" to "Doogie Howser is gay?" to "the guy from How I Met Your Mother" to "Holy crap, it's Neil Patrick Harris. I wanna see more of him." But I didn't reach that last point until Joss Whedon got a hold of him.

4. Titan A.E./Toy Story. Does anybody else remember Titan A.E.? Personally, I think it's vastly underrated to the point where nobody ever talks about it. It has some great voice acting from the likes of Matt Damon, Bill Pullman, John Leguizamo, Nathan Lane, Janeane Garofalo, Drew Barrymore, and Ron Pearlman. It also has a fun, imaginative, and interesting story. And the story, along with its witty dialogue, was brought to us by none other than one of its screenwriters, Joss Whedon. Similarly, and I didn't realize this until not too long ago, Joss Whedon was one of the four screenwriters of Toy Story. He was up for the Oscar and everything. A man of many talents, huh? For the record, I included both of these together as more of a 'hidden writing credit' category.

5. Feminism in television/movies. Joss Whedon, in almost everything he does (especially if he's more personally involved), has strong female leads--oftentimes literally, physically strong. But where most filmmakers wouldn't risk it for whatever reason, Joss always shakes his finger at the male-dominated industry and does things his own way. Then again, maybe that's why he can't keep a project going very long (Hell, even his attempted adaptation of the popular Wonder Woman fell through, as no producers could agree with his vision... or he just couldn't get around to writing it. One of the two). But one thing is always certain where Joss Whedon is involved: females will never be mere damsels in distress.



The Jonas Brothers in 3D and a remake of Street Fighter all in one weekend? Be still my heart! (Or not). It's Pre-Emptive Strike Thursday!


Title: Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience.

Pre-Thoughts: Going back to the Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana event that did so freaking well at the box office last year, I've never understood putting not only a concert in theaters, but making a concert 3D. To top it all off with the concert being the Jonas Brothers? You'll find more teeny boppers there than at an Edward Cullen suck fest (take that however you like).

She's Gone From Suck to Blow!

Title: Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.

Pre-Thoughts: Remember how well the Van Damme version did? Well, lots of other people do, too. I don't know how this one will fair. It's interesting that they're having it focus on Chun-Li instead of the game's main protagonists Ken and Ryu, but I know there's some game storyline Street Fighter vs. Street Fighter II reasoning behind it. But I was never a big Street Fighter fan (nothing against it, just didn't play it), so I couldn't tell you. However, while the movie looks rather bad, it's actually including more of the superpowered stuff like hadokens, which I'd like to see on screen. And that's probably the same reason I'm gonna see Dragonball when it comes out this year, too. Though with my expectations so low, I might be in for a surprise. Hell, maybe that's what they're hoping for... if anybody goes to watch it.

Feed Me, Seymour!

Title: Crossing Over.

Pre-Thoughts: Is it just me, or has anybody else never heard of this movie? And with a cast like Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, and (to a lesser extent) Jim Sturgess, I'm baffled as to why this film has had absolutely no advertisement whatsoever... at least that I've seen.

Pre-Score: Couldn't tell you... haven't even seen a trailer.


Short Review: The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Premise: Closet homosexual and sociopath Tom Ripley gets a little too attached to a millionaire's son in Italy, leading to dangerous consequences.

Starring: Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

My Reaction: Stunning acting. Great writing. Astonishing camera work. Brilliant symbolic cinematography. However, a bit on the long side and dragged a bit in the first hour, as well as toward the end. But it had a great, powerful ending.

A Keanu 'Whoa'



Well, I had a really bad f*cking Monday. Anybody else? Anywho, I felt I would take some frustrations out on fandoms and see how many people I can piss off (bring on the crazy).

- Let's start with Twilight. The director taking over for the second film isn't going to be able to direct the third film. Why? Because they're trying to pound the money out of the series before all the teen girls forget about it in about a year. They're gonna start filming while the second is still in post-production. The second film is to come out this November. The third film is to come out in June or July of NEXT YEAR. They're not even separating two films by a year, and they're not filming simultaneously, either. They're gonna rush the third one. Not that I care. But a lot of the fandom do. But you know what? There's not enough plot for them to destroy. The books are bad and terribly rushed and edited to begin with, so if they make a bad film that was rushed and poorly edited, I'd say they stayed pretty close to the books (after all, each book was published within a year of each other, which means each was written in about the same time as they'll take to make the film).

- Next... Harry Potter. So I keep reading how people bash David Yates and praise Alfonso Cauron and beg for him to come back. I can understand that if you're basing your opinion on the overall magical look/style of the picture. But no, these people are basing it on the fact that they believe Yates made a bad adaptation because he cut so much from the book and Cauron didn't. Have these people both read the books and seen the films? Cauron made, by far, the worst adaptation in terms of sticking with the book. Cauron cut out the entire PLOT and PURPOSE of the book, added in random and useless things (including some pointless slapstick and talking shrunken heads), and got continually warned by JK Rowling because he wanted to change the plot completely, which would have ruined any chance that the future books could have been adapted into films. He also ruined the fourth film, because he talked Warner Bros. into making it short and choppy, even though he wasn't even involved.

Yates, on the other hand, took the largest book with almost no plot, cut out all the things that weren't relevant to anything (Quidditch, for instance, which took up half the book), and made it coherent and meaningful, telling all the important details in the book in a little over 2 hours. And it looked good stylistically. So if you're a fan of the movies and not the books and liked Cauron because his film looked good... fine. But you can't be a fan of the books and say Cauron made a more faithful film than Yates (who, outside of Chris Columbus and his page-for-pagers, made one of the closests damn adaptations of the films).

- So I finally finished reading Watchmen yesterday (Sunday). It took me about 2-3 months to get through it... not because it was bad, but because I kept getting distracted with other things. Anyway, I really enjoyed it, and I can't wait for the movie in a couple weeks. But while I was reading it, I kept seeing stuff on the internet that was like "OH EM GEE THEY CHANGED THE ENDING IT'S GONNA SUCK NOW!" Now that I've read the graphic novel, I looked to see the ending of the movie (if you haven't read the graphic novel and/or don't care to read the ending of the movie, STOP READING NOW).

So in the graphic novel, half of New York is blown up because one of the characters scientifically constructs a giant squid monster that uses the brain of a human psychic and uses a partially functional teleportation machine to transport it, which triggers its psychic explosion. In the movie, half of New York is blown up with nuke-like devices to frame Jon/Dr. Manhattan. Both are done to stop the war and bring peace. Both succeed. But the fans are like "NO GIANT SQUID THAT GOES BOOM? BLASPHEMY!" Who the fuck cares? Hell, when I read the novel, I couldn't stop staring in disbelief at the pure, over-the-top silliness of that whole part. It almost destroyed the rest of the novel for me. I actually really like what the movie is doing instead, as it focuses it back on the characters, making it more realistic (as realistic as Watchmen can be), and just keeps it along the same lines as the feel of the story was up until that point in time. The only thing I don't like is that I heard a rumor that the Rorschach diary twist at the end of the book isn't included in the movie, which is the part I do hate, because that's what really made the entire book for me. That's what made it complete and pure awesome. And if they leave that out... that's just lame. I hope that isn't true.

I think that's all I have to say for now.


My Almost-Too-Late Oscar Predictions!

Well, Oscars are tonight (as if you didn't know). I wanted to go ahead and post my predictions. I'm also in the LAMB Oscar Pool, so here's to hoping I do well. But silly me, I didn't write down which ones I voted for in the Oscar Pool, so I don't remember if I chose the same ones for this list as I did for that one (as I guessed on some). Anywho, here's my current predictions, the ones I'm going to be going off of during the show. And for reference, one this list, Winner means who I think will win, Might means who I think could take the Oscar if not the one listed under Winner, and Want is the one I want to win.

Actor in a Leading Role

Winner: Sean Penn - Milk

Might: Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

Want: Don’t care

Actor in a Supporting Role

Winner: Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

Might: Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

Want: Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

Actress in a Leading Role

Winner: Kate Winslet – The Reader

Might: Meryl Streep - Doubt

Want: Angelina Jolie - Changeling

Actress in a Supporting Role

Winner: Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Might: Viola Davis – Doubt

Want: Don’t care

Animated Feature Film

Winner: WALL-E

Might: Kung Fu Panda

Want: WALL-E

Art Direction

Winner: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Might: Changeling

Want: The Dark Knight

Best Picture

Winner: Slumdog Millionaire

Might: Milk

Want: Slumdog Millionaire


Winner: Slumdog Millionaire

Might: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Want: Slumdog Millionaire

Costume Design

Winner: The Duchess

Might: The Duchess

Want: The Duchess


Winner: Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire

Might: Gus Van Sant - Milk

Want: Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire


Winner: Man On Wire

Might: Man On Wire

Want: Man On Wire

Documentary Short

Winner: The Witness

Might: The Witness

Want: The Witness

Film Editing

Winner: Slumdog Millionaire

Might: Slumdog Millionaire

Want: Slumdog Millionaire

Foreign Language Film

Winner: Waltz with Bashir

Might: The Class

Want: Waltz with Bashir


Winner: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Might: Hellboy II

Want: Hellboy II

Music (Score)

Winner: Slumdog Millionaire

Might: Slumdog Millionaire

Want: Slumdog Millionaire

Music (Song)

Winner: Jai Ho – Slumdog Millionaire

Might: Down to Earth – WALL-E

Want: Jai Ho – Slumdog Millionaire

Short Film (Animated)

Winner: Presto

Might: Presto

Want: Presto

Short Film (Live Action)

Winner: New Boy

Might: Toyland

Want: New Boy

Sound Editing

Winner: WALL-E

Might: Slumdog Millionaire

Want: WALL-E

Sound Mixing

Winner: WALL-E

Might: Slumdog Millionaire

Want: WALL-E

Visual Effects

Winner: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Might: Iron Man

Want: Iron Man

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Winner: Slumdog Millionaire

Might: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Want: Slumdog Millionaire

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Winner: Milk

Might: WALL-E

Want: In Bruges



I went into this movie with low expectations already. So when I say that it was bad, I really rather mean it. Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet) is a mysterious woman who ends up having an affair with a teenager named Michael Berg (David Kross) during one summer. She has him read to her constantly when they’re not having sex. A few years later, Michael is in law school and goes to witness a court case for his seminar. The court case, however, is to convict a group of ex-Nazi guards at Auschwitz for some of the murders that occurred there. Unfortunately for Michael, Hanna turns out to be one of the main people on trial. The movie also stars Ralph Fiennes as an older Michael.

The movie nearly made me fall asleep. I was yawning half the time, checking my watch the other half. I felt absolutely nothing for any of the characters. That’s not to say the acting was bad (except for the beginning, which was just stiff… no innuendo intended). Winslet actually did a bang-up job in her role. But I actually liked the professor of the law school seminar better. At least he was intriguing.

Otherwise, the whole thing was a mess. The whole movie was like one long string of montages. The first hour of the movie itself was nothing but just big one sex montage. Hopefully they give the Oscar to Kate Winslet’s breasts instead, because they had more screen time than any other part of her. And while normally I might not mind this… it just got to be too much. The first half of the movie was like high-budget, high-quality, softcore Cinemax porn. It didn’t give any time for character development (or even time to get to know the characters to begin with), which led to me not caring whatsoever about the characters. At the start of the relationship, right before their first sexual encounter, I started wondering if somebody based the script on some cheap erotica fiction from the internet… it was that random and coincidental. “Oh… you’re a dirty, dirty boy. Take off your clothes, and I’ll draw you a bath.” “Kay.” *bow chicka bow wow*

There was no focus on any scene for more than a minute. There was even one moment where they show him go home for about 20 seconds, and his family is all disgruntled with him, alluding to him having run away from home or something. But there was no way of knowing that before this point because the last 45 minutes had been a giant reading/sex montage.

The second half of the movie wasn’t much better about the massive montage sequences. That only died down a couple times toward the end, but that’s about it. I can seriously only remember maybe one major scene in the entire movie that lasted more than 2 minutes and stood on its own.

And of course there's the whole bit where the movie attempts to make us feel sorry for a character that we don't even like... and backfires quite a bit. The movie attempts to say that because she's naive, she's more innocent. I actually think that because she was so blase about the whole thing... that just makes her even worse. Which doesn't help when it comes back to the film trying to make the audience side with her... which just doesn't work.

I’m not sure what else to say about this film. I knew it had gotten a lot of so-so reviews, but I didn’t expect to dislike it as much as I did. All that said, there were a couple things I did like, the main of which I can’t say for spoiler reasons. And I suppose I can understand why it was Oscar-nominated. Although the holocaust topic probably helps, we all know the formula is Time Period Piece + Kate Winslet’s Boobs = Oscar Nomination. After all, it worked for Titanic.

The Zed Word

(P.S. The most entertaining parts to me was the old man behind me saying random stuff like "Where was she when I was 15?" and "I'd like Kate Winslet to give me a bath.").



Tomorrow's my birthday (turning the boring ol' age of 23). But the real question is... what to go see?! It's time for Pre-Emptive Strike Thursday!


Fired Up!

Pre-Thoughts: A comedy about two football players who go to cheerleader camp instead to pick up chicks. I'm not really excited, honestly. Though I'm not sure anybody else is, either. It's like if Bring It On were a buddy comedy. Let me reiterate... my main comparison here was Bring It On.

Stop Saying Okay! Okay.

Title: Medea Goes To Jail.

Pre-Thoughts: Is Tyler Perry the Jim Varney for (cross-dressing) black people or what? I've never really got swept up into the Tyler Perry craze, and I think the guy is mostly overrated. He comes out with about 472.5 movies a year, none of which ever seem that outstanding. And as for this particular one, not even the trailer could figure out what the movie wanted to be. It was all over the place, and Medea seemed like an afterthought just to get his cash-cow character into the film... kinda like how the script for Spider-Man 3 was already written, and then studios wanted to put Venom in to get more money from fans.

The Zed Word

Title: The Reader.

Pre-Thoughts: Finally coming to my town, the weekend of the Oscars. I would have much preferred Milk, but I guess this will do. It's not made me very excited, especially after only so-so reviews... but I wanna get in as many Oscar movies I can before the big event. So I guess that means I'm going to see a depressing holocaust film for my birthday. Talk about cause for celebration.


I Am McLovin!


What The F@#% Did I Just Watch?

Please allow me to interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for this special news bulletin:

I just finished watching Feast 3: The Happy Finish. Feast was a masterpiece of horror/comedy. I wanted to like Feast 2: Sloppy Seconds, and I might have even given it a decent review, but in hindsight... no, it was pretty bad. But none of that could have prepared me for what I could expect in Feast 3.

Spoiler warning now, because I'm not gonna hold back (though I encourage you to read anyway and not waste your time with the actual film... plus, it might be more entertaining this way).

So the movie picks up right where the second left off. Honey Pie goes to stand up after being kinda killed... and then gets attacked by a monster. Her head gets ripped off. Then the monster eats her head. Then you see the camera go down the internal tubing. And then, I kid you not, the movie takes about 30 seconds to show the monster crap out her head.

Then we pick back up where the other characters left off. The guy who got a pipe blown through his lower jaw and into his brain is still alive, as is the Mexican wrestling midget who was inside a trashcan with dynamite when it exploded. They run and stuff until they break into the jail where they tried to get into the last movie and then beat the shit out of the hobo that had locked himself inside (literally... they beat him until he shits himself. And yes, one of the characters does make that joke in the movie).

So a bunch of other completely irrelevant stuff happens for another 20-30 minutes until one of the monsters butt-rapes a character through a hole in a shed... who immediately gets pregnant with a little monster and explodes.

Not long after that, they get stuck in a bus when a mentally handicapped guy in a cult-cloak that makes him look like he's late for a Dungeons and Dragons session shows up and apparently has some kind of control over the monsters (which you soon figure out how on your own in an incredibly easy fashion... though the other characters are morons and don't figure it out until later). The up side of this is that the guy is played by comedian Josh Blue (he was the comedian with multiple sclerosis from Last Comic Standing).

So Josh Blue takes them into the sewers where a character farts. Then, not too long after that, a sexy, topless, lesbian biker chick is killed by a crazy woman and her posse who are apparently cannibalistic and blood-crazy because a monster puked on them (which is NOT what happened in the first film). But then a young guy hops down out of nowhere and goes all karate on them with knives on his wrists, killing the attackers. He's Jean-Claude Seagal (no... seriously). But he eventually gets both his arms ripped off (which leads to the only good line in the movie, delivered by Bartender, the only character from the first movie left: "You don't need arms to kick ass.").

During their time in the sewer, they come upon a random zombie rave including strobe light and have a bizarrely confusing (though kind of interesting) fight scene where you have no idea what's going on, but it looks cool. To me, that was the only good part of the film... and it wasn't even that good. Oh, and another part where somebody puts a bullet inside the pipe that sticking out of the one guy's head and hits the pipe with a hammer, which causes it to react like a gun and shoot out the opposite end.

Eventually, the majority of the cast dies, and they get up to the street again in a bigger city and find a dirt bike. One of the dying characters takes a pretty much dead monster on the bike with her and rides off into the streets to distract the other monsters so the last remaining 3 can survive or something.

So the three, including Clu Gulager's character Bartender (who is at least in his 80s), walk out into the street. So then out of nowhere, Bartender is like "We need to repopulate the Earth! We need to do it now!" and he rips off his shirt. But then a giant robot leg comes out of nowhere and steps on the other two survivors, crushing him. Bartender walks away, and a Mexican mariachi dressed like Elvis walks on screen and serenades the audience during the credits by summarizing the last 3 movies.

Yeah, I didn't make any of that last part up. I swear. I've never stared, speechless, mouth agape, at a screen like that before, asking myself "what the fuck did I just watch?" over and over in my head. And I'm still not sure.

My advice? Stick to the first Feast. It's a cult classic. The next two (which are, amazingly, made by the exact same writers and director) are... well, something else entirely.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled program.



Thoughts On Romantic Comedies.

With it being Valentine's Day, I thought of the perfect topic of discussion: How relationships always fail because guys suck. Cheerful, no?

There are many reasons why males don’t often like to see chick flicks/romantic comedies. Personally, I like a good romantic comedy. I have no problems with the romance aspect of it, and they can be pretty funny. But something I’ve begun to notice (call me slow, if you will) is that there is one major trend in all romantic comedies: the guy is always wrong. He’s always a jerk. He’s always the one to screw everything up. He’s always the one who has to come crawling back to redeem himself.

Just looking at more recent films, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Break-Up start off with a break up because the woman feels underappreciated by the guy; The relationships in Shaun of the Dead and Knocked Up fail because the guys are losers afraid to grow up; The main characters in Hitch and My Best Friend’s Girl are womanizers; She’s All That and 10 Things I Hate About You have a guy who falls in love with a girl he makes a bet on. Hell, even The Princess Bride would never have happened if they guy hadn’t left his love and ‘died’.

I’m not trying to be misogynistic or anything, but females do screw up in real-life relationships, too. Sometimes the guy isn’t even at fault for what happens. But you never see that in film. In fact, the only time you ever do see a woman at fault in a relationship, it’s somebody like Isla Fisher in Wedding Crashers who is just clingy to the point of terrifying—the over-the-top female. But even then, the guy is still partially at fault just because of the nature of the movie.

The closest I’ve ever come to seeing a movie where the female is more at fault than the male in the leading relationship was in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. Kate Hudson is writing an article about everything she can do to break up with a guy in 10 days. Matthew McConaughey is a guy who makes a bet (seems to be a really common plot device, huh?) that he can make a woman fall in love with him in 10 days. Clearly the woman is more of a jerk in the situation, but the guy is still at fault for making a sleazy bet to begin with. Juno would be another one, because outside of getting her pregnant and asking another girl out (under Juno’s request), Michael Cera’s Paulie Bleeker didn’t really do anything wrong. Yet the movie still skews it to where the male is still at least partially to blame (he should have read between the lines).

Now maybe one exists out there and I just haven’t seen it. But I’d really like to see a romantic comedy one day where the roles change and the guy is actually blameless and it’s the woman who has to come back apologizing. I know these are typically marketed for women, and women don’t want to see movies where they screw up (heaven forbid), but they are also made with the knowledge that girlfriends and wives will drag their (usually unwilling) boyfriends and husbands to see the film, as well.

After all, in the end, what does the theme of ‘the guy is a jerk and the woman eventually takes him back’ really doing? It’s setting a standard for women that, if your guy treats you like crap, you should always take him back. Well, if you’re gonna freak with the feminine mind, you might as well have equal time and freak with the masculine mind, as well. Let men know it’s okay to accept the faults of females and be forgiving. Don’t just tell us how much we suck.



Take some Alice in Wonderland and mash it up with some Stepford Wives. Then have the incredibly imaginative and batshit crazy Neil Gaiman (Stardust, MirrorMask) write it out into a story. After that, snatch the guy who did The Nightmare Before Christmas (Henry Selick, not Tim Burton) and have him make it into a movie with a similar style. What do you end up with? Coraline. And yes, it’s every bit as weird as you think it is. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad, either.

Coraline (Dakota Fanning) is a bored little girl whose parents (Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman) neglect her. All she really has is herself, a neighbor named Wybie (Robert Bailey Jr.) whom she can’t stand, and his cat (Keith David). She also has some other crazy neighbors, including the possibly drunk Russian, jumping-rat-circus ringmaster Mr. Bobinski (Ian McShane), as well as retired theatrics performers, Miss Spink (Jennifer Saunders) and Miss Forcible (Dawn French). But then Coraline discovers a doorway to an alternate universe where her Other Mother and Other Father are pretty awesome, everything is fun, and the food is great. The only catch? Everybody has buttons for eyes, and if Coraline wants to stay in this creepy Wonderland, she’ll have to sew some into her own eyes.

The movie doesn’t really have much of a plot, per se. It’s more of a character study… with a lot of bizarre characters. At times I felt as if the movie was a bit all over the place, but by the time the climax came, everything tied together nicely. It's a nice little fairy tale.

I really don’t have much to say on the film. It had beautiful visuals, interesting music, and a good voice cast. It was funny, suspenseful, and just plain weird at times (but in a fun way). I saw it in 3D, which was a bit disappointing. The film didn’t take full advantage of the effect. Sure it had its poke-out-into-the-audience moments, but they were very few and far between. And there were numerous moments that weren’t taken advantage of that could have been great in 3D. But my favorite use of it, by far, was the tunnel between realms. Every time I saw that, it felt like I was really in the tunnel with Coraline, traveling with her to another world, and that was awesome. But besides all of that, I honestly can’t think of anything else to say. It was a fun time that I wouldn’t mind revisiting.

I Am McLovin!

(P.S. This was a difficult rating to give. I honestly had no idea what to rate it. If anything, it's a very high 'McLovin'. But the film as a whole didn't resonate deep within me, if that makes sense. So I really liked it, almost loved it, but not quite. Or something like that).


To Improve Or Not To Improve... That Is The Question.

I've hit kind of a slump here at R2D2, if you haven't been able to tell. It's just one movie review after another... and sometimes I can go a week without posting anything. But I want to do something more than that. I want to involve my readers. You.

But how? What would you like to see at R2D2? I've put a poll up to the left. And please feel free to comment in response to this topic and give me some straighter feedback if you'd like. That'd be great.

But here are the options:

- Add Some Games! Games add some fun interaction and competitiveness to a blog. Just check out Fletch's Blog Cabins every Sunday and Tuesday.

- Do More Blog-A-Thons! I've attempted blog-a-thons in the past, even some wherein I ask for guest posts... but nobody ever responds. So would this be something you'd be more interested in if I tried it again?

- Do More MeMes! I think I've done one or two of these ever on my blog, but they're only interactive in that those who I tag have to do them... so not super exciting, but it gets out of the monotony of movie reviews.

- No Interactive/More Articles! If you don't care to interact with others or me, but you want more themed articles about movies or whatnot, let me know. I haven't done an article in ages, but I'd be willing to write some if y'all are interested.

- Some Or All Of The Above! If you think I should do multiple choices of those on this list, choose this option. But if you do, hit me up in the comment section and let me know which ones you'd like to see specifically. I'm specifically not setting it to let you choose multiple options, because I wanna hear straight from you that you want multiples of these and that it's not just different people choosing different options.

- Keep At What You're Doing! If you just don't agree with any of the above and just want movie reviews... you're fine with just reading my opinion on films and (sometimes) books.

Anywho, I hope y'all let me know what's going on and what y'all would like to see about the site. I'd love the feedback.


R2D2... The One With Me.

I haven't done an R2D2 in a while, and I have a few random personal announcements... so here we are.

- Two weeks ago now, I finally got my diploma in the mail. I guess I officially know English, grammar, writing, and Literature (as opposed to before I got the bit of paper, where I hadn't officially known any of that stuff).

- This past week, my Teacher's Certification came in the mail. So now I can officially take all the aforementioned knowledge that I now officially know and pass it on to other, younger people who don't really care to know it in the first place.

- Regardless of knowing all that stuff and being qualified to pass it on, I still can't find a bloody job. I think I'm cursed or something, because every time I put in an application with a school district that has an open position, the position is almost immediately filled by somebody else. The shortest turn-around has been a few hours, and the longest has been about a week.

- A couple weeks ago (the last full week in January, I believe), I finished another novel. For the past three years now (this one being the third), I've written the first draft of a novel within the month of January. The one I finished last month is actually a sequel to a book I wrote last year, The Most Wonderful Fairy Tale (formerly known as Some Kind Of Real). This one is called A Beautiful Melody. Here's the synopsis:

It's been three years, and Georgia is finally returning to her hometown of Hunchly, Texas after a lengthy book tour for her bestselling hit, The Most Wonderful Fairy Tale. But when Resistance Alchemists Marty and Fitz show up in Hunchly to arrest her, Georgia realizes that telling the truth, the complete truth, about the Book of Tales may have been a mistake. She's charged with violence against the Resistance, and they have nearly two dozen witnesses to back it up. And what's worse, they say that Georgia had also declared she would use the mysterious and frightening Fancy War Doctrines.

But Georgia's never heard of the Fancy War Doctrines. Lina, the leader of the Resistance, entrusted the Doctrines to a spy more than a hundred years ago, and no one but she knows who it is. With Lina in a coma as a result of the attack, Resistance Agent Felicia will stop at nothing to make sure Georgia stays in her custody. Fortunately for Georgia, nothing can stop her brother Al from getting his sister out of custody. He teams up with Li and Leah, two renegade Alchemists, to save his sister. Once reunited, the brother and sister team revisit old friends and make new ones as they try to find the spy, find the Doctrines, prove Georgia's innocence, and stop whoever is framing her before it's too late.

Anywho, that's all for now!



There was a moment while watching this movie, soon before it began to come to its climax, that I realized this was one of those movies where the ending was either going to really make or really break the whole film. Fortunately, it was the former. Nick (Chris Evans) is a second-generation Mover; in other words, he has telekinesis… and he sucks at it. Cassie (Dakota Fanning) is a second-generation Watcher; in other words, she can see the (ever-changing) future and draw it down… but she’s not the best at it. When Cassie forces her way into Nick’s life, she forces him to join her on a quest to locate a girl—Kira (Camilla Belle)—who has a case that could bring down the Division, a government agency that experiments on all types of people with extra abilities. Kira has been the sole survivor of a ‘power booster’ injection and has escaped the clutches of the Division, but has had her memory wiped. Now she, as well as Nick and Cassie, are being pursued by one of the elite members of Division, a Pusher (somebody who can make you believe and thus do anything) named Henry Carver (Djimon Hounsou).

Overall, it’s a pretty simple plot, but just very difficult to describe (mostly because there’s so many new terms introduced in the film). But first let me tackle the comparisons that have been made to such things like last year’s Jumper or the TV show Heroes. First, the movie is nothing like Jumper except that there are people with superpowers. The story is better, the characters are better, and the acting is infinitely better (for the most part). As for Heroes, I can give it that. The powers are incredibly similar to those of the TV show, especially with Watchers, who can see visions of the future (that are liable to change) and have to draw them down on paper. And then there’s a government-type agency involved with injecting people with abilities. Other than that, the story and characters are pretty different.

The story itself, like I said, is pretty straight forward, though it did lose me a few times regardless of that. For at least half the movie, I’m thinking that the Asian group after them is working with Division, then all of a sudden it comes out (or at least becomes clear) that they’re working on their own. So then who are they? Did I just miss that explanation? And something else I liked with the story is that they left it open for a possible sequel, but at the same time kept this one self-containing so a sequel wouldn’t be necessary (unlike the poor past attempts of similar ideas such as Jumper or The Covenant).

Now to discuss the acting. It can really be said with a couple sentences: Dakota Fanning stole the show and Camilla Belle was pretty bad. Chris Evans was somewhere in between. But I’ll expand for you. Dakota Fanning’s Cassie was, by far, the best character of the film. She made you laugh with her spunkiness and made you sad when she was upset. And boy, was she spunky. Though to the filmmakers: why would you give such a young teenager such a short skirt (and I mean short) and then proceed to take every advantage to shove the camera up her legs? Talk about uncomfortable. Camilla Belle did better facial acting than vocal acting, though that’s really not saying much. I know the girl can act (I’ve seen her do it at least once). But maybe something’s just gotten into her recently. Chris Evans, despite being the main character, really felt left out of the film too much to really show off. Sure he was always around, but I guess Dakota upstaged the guy so much that it seemed she was more the main character than he was.

But of course, you’re wondering about the powers. How were they? For the most part, they were really good. Some of the visuals were kinda bad (like any time a Mover floated a gun, which just looked fake), but overall a good job. The best abilities were those outside the telekinesis. Shadows can hide people or places, and the main Shadow of the movie was funny. Wipers can remove memory. Sniffs can smell any object and see the past of where it’s been and where the people who have touched it are now. Shifters can change the appearance of things for a short period of time (the main shifter of the film was pretty cool, too). Stitchers can manipulate the body by either healing it or painfully destroying it. And then Bleeders do some ultrasonic screams that can apparently break glass, explode fish, and disable or kill people. The face alteration of the Bleeders when they scream is just freaky. And I’ve already mentioned Pushers, Movers, and Watchers. But what I loved most about each of the characters with these abilities is that they weren’t just used once and then forgotten. They were continually brought back for different purposes, and you got to see basically every use of their abilities. The filmmakers really didn’t get lazy with this aspect of the film, and it’s very obvious. It really made the film.

But the coolest thing about the powers was toward the end with the Pushers. There’s a bit of a twist, but because of the nature of the Pushing ability, you can never be sure if it’s true or not. I sat there bouncing back and forth, never sure what to believe, even if you think there’s evidence to prove one way or the other. Just like they do with characters in the movie, the movie sometimes acts as Pusher, letting you never be certain if what you’re seeing is true or not until it’s too late.

For more on the visuals (outside of CGI), the cinematography was nice with a plethora of different colors and hues that inked over the picture—blues, greens… it made you feel like you were really in some kind of acid-trip music video, but in a positive way. And I liked the use of the poorer quality video shots to show when a Watcher is watching you. You’re not sure what it is at first (at least I wasn’t), but when you realize it, the rest of the film you’re like “Oh crap, somebody’s watching them” when it happens. Needless to say, the filmmakers made this one heck of an experience. Like I said with the Pushers, it’s like almost every ability of the characters is used somehow within the film itself to clue in or mess with the audience. And I think that was a brilliant tactic.

Overall, I thought I was going to have a difficult time rating the movie, but the more I write about it and reflect back on it, the more set I really am in my score and my thoughts. There were a few confusing bits (especially for what is essentially a straight-forward story), and there could have been a bit more character development with Chris Evans’ character, and they probably should have cast somebody besides Camilla Belle for Kira. But other than those things, I had a really great time with the movie. I didn’t look at my watch once.

A Keanu 'Whoa'



I’ve been waiting longer than you know to see this movie. And now I finally have. And my verdict? I’ll get to that. Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire is a basic love story/pseudo-fairy tale told in a very entertaining and creative way. Jamal (Ayush Khedekar, Tanay Chheda, Dev Patel) and his brother Salim (Azharuddin Ismail, Ashutosh Gajiwala, Madhur Mittal) live in the slums of Mumbai. But after an attack on the city, they become orphans to survive on their own. They then meet Latika (Rubiana Ali, Tanvi Lonkar, Freida Pinto) who he comes to fall for, even as a young child. They go through many hardships together, sometimes even becoming separated for long periods of time. All of this eventually culminates in Jamal becoming a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? But something has to be wrong, because this boy from the slums is answering all these questions correctly when even doctors and lawyers couldn’t get as far as he had. So, one question at a time, Jamal must explain himself to the authorities how he knew each and every answer, all of which is shown in a series of flashbacks.

So what did I think of the film? Well, I saw two of my old professors there and we talked briefly afterward. I asked them what they thought, and they said it all in one word: brilliant. Everything about this film was brilliant. Let’s look at it one bit at a time, though. First we have the story. It was always the story that attracted me to the film, even before it started to get all its praise. And it turned out even more than I expected. The juxtaposition of stories between Jamal and Salim and how each turned out (one rising from the slums in the quintessential rags-to-riches story, and the other sinking down into its depths, stuck in its gnawing teeth and dastardly ways) was very unexpected. And the symbolism at the end there (to try and keep this vague and non-spoilery… themes of love and unwanted money) all converged tightly in the apex of the film. And while the final question was rather obvious (but still got a nice “OH!” reaction from the audience), you still had no idea if he was going to answer it correctly (because it was never about winning in that sense).

On the more technical side of things, I loved the frenetic camera work (which was more at the beginning and the end). And it mixed in nicely with the music. And on the subject of the music, I absolutely adored the soundtrack. This was probably one of my favorite soundtracks (at least of a non-musical) of this past year. The music fit so perfectly with every scene, always adding energy or dramatics.

As for the acting, well, it was great all around. I think the move to use real slum kids from Mumbai was (again) brilliant. For just being random kids off the street, they sure did a fantastic job with their parts, especially the youngest versions of Jamal and Salim. For the adult roles, of course Dev Patel shines through as the deeply longing and sometimes snarky Jamal. And Freida Pinto is incredibly hot. And she looks so much like Dilshad Vadsaria (who plays Rebecca Logan on the TV show “Greek”), who is also hot.

It’s really hard to review films you love in almost every way, because you get to that place where you don’t want to gush too much and it’s hard to find anything negative. If I did have anything negative at all to say, it would be that at times, some of the English was hard to understand because of the thick accents. But that only happened so few times (most of it toward the beginning of the film, which worried me at first, but that quickly went away). I do disagree with those people who say the movie is too straightforward with not many deeper levels. I found plenty of deeper levels, metaphors, etc. all throughout the film; you just have to know where to look. So my love of the film just continually built more and more until by the end of the movie, I had the exactly feelings within me that I had hoped to have in watching this movie: I had just watched something great, and I felt really good about that.

Royale With Cheese



I'm actually posting this on time! Dakato Fanning better ready herself for the fight against... herself. It's Pre-Emptive Strike Thursday!


Title: The Pink Panther 2.

Pre-Thoughts: I didn't even bother seeing the first one (with Steve Martin). Though Steve Martin himself pretty much gave me little hope in the film anyway on The Colbert Report. He said the movie plays on many levels: there's low comedy and high comedy... but not much high comedy. It's mostly low.

Stop Saying Okay! Okay.

Title: Push.

Pre-Thoughts: I've seen some pretty rave reviews thus far, and it looks freakin' awesome. I've been waiting for this one ever since I first saw the trailer months back. But let's just hope it's not another Jumper, which coincidentally came out right around this same time last year. But I'm putting myself up for high hopes this time around. Let's hope I don't come crashing down.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

Title: He's Just Not That Into You.

Pre-Thoughts: Great ensemble cast, even if it's a romantic comedy. I do want to see it purely for its cast. I just don't know when I'll get around to actually doing so (probably not until it comes out on DVD).

I Am McLovin!

Title: Fanboys.

Pre-Thoughts: Another movie that's been pushed back for way too long that's finally getting its release. Ironically, there's a huge fan following of this movie that has been waiting in the shadows for its release. Unfortunately, it's getting quite the limited release, which means it ain't coming my way anytime soon.

I Am McLovin!

Title: Coraline.

Pre-Thoughts: Neil Gaiman? Henry Sellick? Stop Motion? 3-D? The next movie to have every wannabe goth girl shopping at Hot Topic? I'm there... eventually. It's number 3 on my list after Push and the next one on the list.

I Am McLovin!

Title: Slumdog Millionaire.

Pre-Thoughts: That's right, it's finally coming here! I'm seeing this tomorrow after ages of waiting. Can't wait.

Royale With Cheese