With all of the mixed reviews on practically every aspect of this movie, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) is about to get married to her dream man, a weatherman named Derek (Paul Rudd). But when a meteorite crashes nearby, the special energy hits Susan and turns her into a giant. Enter a special U.S. government agency led by General W.R. Monger (Keifer Sutherland), who has secretly been collecting monsters over the years and keeping them in a hidden facility. The other monsters in the facility include a gelatinous blob named B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), a mad scientist cockroach-man named Dr. Cockroach Ph.D. (Hugh Laurie), a testosterone-filled fish-man named The Missing Link (Will Arnet), and a giant mutated insect named Insectasaurus. But when an evil alien named Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) wants the energy from Susan, he starts a war on Earth that forces General Monger to suggest to President Hathaway (Stephen Colbert) to use the monsters to help win.

It’s a relatively straight-forward plot, but nobody is going to see a movie entitled Monsters Vs. Aliens to experience a narrative masterpiece. The biggest complain for the film is that it takes too long for anything to happen. It does, indeed, take about 30 minutes before the alien part of the story is even introduced. But that doesn’t mean everything else in that 30 minutes is bad. God forbid a movie try to set up its characters and give them even the smallest bit of depth. I never once looked at my watch through the entire movie. The movie was very entertaining from beginning to end.

While all of the characters were fun in their own way, I agree with most others and say that Seth Rogen’s B.O.B. was the heart of the film. He stole every scene he was in, which was most of the ones that didn’t focus on Susan’s personal life. But B.O.B. was just straight-up hilarious. I’ve never been a big fan of Seth Rogen’s laugh (I find it kinda annoying, really), but for whatever reason, it really worked for this character. To see B.O.B. launched into the sky and hear Seth Rogen’s laugh was just hysterical to me.

The least intriguing character was Will Arnet’s The Missing Link. He wasn’t a bad character. He just wasn’t nearly as interesting as the others. I loved General W.R. Monger (who doesn’t even sound like Keifer Sutherland) and Stephen Colbert’s President Hathaway, as well. As you also might have noticed, the movie is full of incredible voice actors. Much like in Kung Fu Panda where almost every character was voiced by a known actor (either in television or movies), Monsters Vs. Aliens even gave little roles to big names. Jeffrey Tambor, Renee Zellweger, John Krasinski, and Amy Poehler also share voices in this film. I don’t even know who the character was that Renee Zellweger voiced. That’s how small it must have been.

Also, whereas Kung Fu Panda was played homage to wuxia films, Monsters Vs. Aliens is a large homage to old B-horror movies and sci-fi in general. There are references from Third Encounters to Spaceballs. And then there are other homages to films like Dr. Strangelove and Beverly Hills Cop, but they’re fun anyway. If you know your film, you’ll see references all over the place. And I think that’s where a lot of people fail to grasp this movie, it seems. This is the kind of movie that falls into categories with Shaun of the Dead (though not quite as genius). They’re parody, but at the same time they pay respects to the films they’re poking fun at.

The humor in the film is somewhere between Kung Fu Panda and Shrek. It’s mostly kid-friendly, a bit of slapstick, and a couple adult jokes just for fun. My personal favorite of the adult jokes (which I was waiting for, though I can’t believe they actually used) was in General Monger’s description of Susan’s new giant form and how she’s gotten bigger while his hands are out in front of his chest (which he then notices and drops down).

On the side of the visuals, the movie was very fun to look at. I saw the film in 3D, and it was honestly one of my favorite 3D experiences thus far out of all the 3D films I’ve watched lately. All of the others that have come out recently haven’t seemed to use the gimmick to its full potential, but I finally believe they made a movie that damn near did. This really is a movie that needs to be seen in 3D, and I honestly couldn’t imagine watching it any other way.

If I had any complaints, it would be that I would have liked more character development between Susan and the monsters. Most reviews I’ve read said they just wanted to get to the alien stuff. But I thought the movie could have used at least some kind of montage (yes, a montage) to show Susan becoming friendlier with the other monsters. As it is, it goes from Susan being freaked out about where she is to it being a month later and her being best friends with everybody. In between is the alien introduction, but I think there should have been something else to show that span of time between Susan and the other monsters.

Otherwise, I really enjoyed the film. It was funny, especially B.O.B., and I did laugh out loud quite a few times. It was great to look at in its 3D form (though I figure it’d be good to look at in any form… I’d just prefer the 3D). The story isn’t anything epic, but all the movie homages are cool. I thought it was great fun, and I’d totally see it again.

A Keanu 'Whoa'


Short Review: Run Lola Run.

Premise: After her boyfriend loses 100,000 Francs to a hobo, Lola has 20 minutes to figure out how to get that much money and get it to her boyfriend before he either does something stupid or dies by the hands of the man he owes it to.

Starring: Franka Potente and Moritz Bliebtreu.

My Reaction: Like Amelie, everything that might normally work against a movie works together here. I loved the title sequence and the opening credits. I loved the chaos of everything. I loved the acting. I loved the animated bits. I loved snapshots of the future. I loved the 'red flashbacks'. I loved the deep moments of extreme heart that were interspersed throughout an otherwise hectic film. I loved the '3 scenarios' device, especially how, at times, they all seemed to actually be connected somehow. I loved the simple complexity of the story versus how it was told. I loved the camera work and the editing. I loved the music. I loved watching a woman run for the majority of the movie and rarely actually looking at her face. In short, I hated this movie. (...or not...).

Royale With Cheese


WTF Did I Just Watch: Casshern.

Warning: This post has been rated R by the... aw, who the fuck cares. There's cussing.


I found another movie that lands in a WTF moment for me, so I'm basically going to make this a feature review for whenever I watch a movie on TV or DVD that made me go "What The Fuck Did I Just Watch?" This time around it's a little Japanese sci-fi/action/superhero/drama... thing.

Okay, so I've read up quite a bit on this movie (I had to... I honestly had less of a clue what I just watched than I did with Feast 3). And there, I saw a lot of opinions on this film. For those that love it, they tend to fall somewhere between "It took me 3 or 4 times, but I now think it's a masterpiece" and "If you don't understanding this movie, you're a fucking moron who likes Transformers and should stick to Hollywood crap because I'm condescending and stuff." But it seemed that no matter where you fell in your thoughts of this film, whether you loathed it or thought it was the best thing since sliced bread (seriously, shouldn't there have been another 'best thing' by now?), there was one major thing that everybody agreed on:

This movie is confusing as fuck.

Let me try to explain it. It's like mixing together 300, Speed Racer, The Matrix, The Guyver, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, The Spirit (if it took itself incredibly seriously), Dante from the Devil May Cry video game series, and, well, a bunch of other random shit that shouldn't go together. It's a futuristic story wherein a 50-year war has just recently ended, but there's another mini-war going on. So this scientist's son goes into the war while the scientist tries to come up with this stuff that can build new limbs and organs and whatnot so to defeat death. Well, the son dies in the war. But upon coming back, a lightning bolt strikes the building and brings all the detached limbs and whatnot together, creating these undead mutant people (not zombies... just... Frankenstein-type people, but without all the scars... and who look normal). The scientist also uses it to bring his son back to life. But the liquid stuff that brings him back makes his body unstable, so a scientist friend puts him in a weapon suit that can keep him together (think a less shiny and less metalic Iron Man, but where he can't take the suit off).

But then the mutant people escape and the government starts shooting them down. But a group escapes and heads out into a forest... and then snow... and then end up at a castle from nowhere. There are only like... 4 left by then. So they suddenly gather the ability to start talking (except for one of them), lose their pasty whiteness, and look more normal. They dub themselves "neo-sapiens." Oh, and in this castle is the sleeping robot army that nearly destroyed humans during the 50-year war. So the neo-sapiens awaken them and use them to destroy humankind because, well, humans suck and shot at them and stuff.

But not if Iron Man Jr. has anything to say about it! And there's also some corporation takeovers, a bunch of kidnapping, and a crapload of other random stuff in the movie.

So in other words, the plot makes absolutely no sense, but it's some of the most gorgeous eye candy that I've seen in a long. Seriously, this movie is beyond stunning on the visuals level. It's really to the point where I hate talking bad about it because it looked so good. But eye candy does not a movie make.

But everything else about the movie is a mess. It tries to do way too much. The plot implodes on itself so often that it constantly needs a Deus Ex Machina to revive itself (and I partly mean this literally, too... I think. There's a god (sort of) AND there are machines. And by machines, I mean a giant robot army). The script needed a lot more work before coming to the screen. It could have handled a lot of things differently. It was trying to work with too many themes. It was trying to have too many little side stories. And all of the "Neo-Sapien" journey to the Castle Deus Ex Machina stuff happens too quickly. In the span of about 10-15 minutes, the Neo-Sapiens go from being born to traveling what seems halfway across the world and awakening a robot army to destroy humans because, in this limited time, they have seen how cruel humans are because they were "hunted down" and "killed" (like it had been going on for centuries or something).

There are little scenes, too, that just seem out of place or make no sense. And don't get me started on the couple random 'stop motion' moments. I can't even go into detail on this movie because too much happens while almost nothing happens simultaneously. The only reason I didn't just turn it off was because every time I thought I was about to, something dramatic or action-packed started up.

And that's another thing. The action wasn't all that hot, either. It was done in too much of a stylistic and over-the-top cartoonish way for it to be too effective. This was the only real negative aspect that came from the visual style of the film.

However, I was glad that I did stick it out, because there is (honestly) a decent twist ending. No, it doesn't make the rest of the film make a lick of fucking sense, but it does tie together a few things. But then once that happens, it's like the movie never wants to end. Nobody will stay fucking dead in this movie. I swear, each character dies at least once and refuses to stay dead. There was a moment where both the main character and the main bad guy (who looks exactly like Dante from the Devil May Cry games... hence what I said earlier) seem to have killed each other (about halfway through the movie). I was like "Oh, good, it's over... I can turn it off." But it just kept going. And the next thing I know, both of them are walking around like nothing happened. In fact, there's quite a funny moment (unintentional, I'm sure), where the main guy is on the ground, limp and dead-ish. Then the bad guy calls his name and asks him to come over for a second, so the main guy pokes up his head and hops up and strolls over. It was one of those moments where it felt like the actor just played this serious death scene, and then the scene ends and he just stands up and walks across the stage as if nothing had happened (covered in blood be damned).

And once everybody is (un)dead, there's this big lightning strike and people are transported across the universe to some new alien planet so that they can star in their very own happy home video footage where everybody is just peachy and war-free. The end.

Anyway, I don't want to ramble on too much about this movie. I can see myself falling into the group that likes it after seeing it 3-4 times, but I honestly don't care to waste that many hours (it's a, quite long, 2 hour movie) re-watching it to get to that point. Because overall, the movie is amazing to look at, but so beyond frustrating to follow plot-wise. I eventually gave up trying to understand what the fuck was ever going on and just watched it in hopes that the ending might be good (and it was, to a degree... and not just because it finally ended).

But as I said earlier, you might have the best visuals this side of Tokyo, but if you can't tell a story worth a damn, they won't help you. And this movie doesn't know how to tell a story very well.


(P.S. When I mentioned Speed Racer earlier, I meant it both in visual style and literally. There are a few close-ups to a Speed Racer-like helmet that acts as an homage to the original creator of the anime this movie was based on, who was the same guy who created Speed Racer... if I got my research right, anyway).


"I Want To Play A Game."

A quote game, actually. And how better to title a quote game than by using a quote? If this game catches on, I'd like to do it often. If not, well... I won't.

So, I'm gonna come straight out and say I'm totally ripping off Fletch at Blog Cabins and his Twelve Tags Tuesdays. Though those aren't quotes, but movie taglines. But let me explain the rules of this game first:

1) I will give 10 movie quotes (nothing too broad like "It's you!" so don't worry there), and you must comment in the comments section on what movies you think the quotes come from.

2) I urge you to please try to avoid using google, imdb, etc. to cheat. Try to go from memory.

3) I will also have a theme, something that each of the movies that the quotes come from have in common. If you get the theme, you get however many bonus points for that game (points increase or decrease depending on the level of difficulty).

Now, that last one is the one where I'm really ripping off Fletch's game. However, he's also made note that he would like to try his hand at a similar game, but can't do his own because, well, he knows all the answers. So here's a game of similar style that I thought all of you might enjoy, as well.

If too many days go by and certain quotes or the theme is/are still unanswered, I'll take it as a stump and the points go to me (unless it's the theme wherein it would put me ahead of somebody else). The person with the most points by the end wins the game. And as the weeks go by (if this catches on), you can either try to take the title or uphold it if you're just that good.

I went incredibly easy this first time to ease everybody into it. So with all of that out of the way, here are this week's quotes!

1) "One gay beer for my gay friend. One normal beer for me because I'm normal."

2) "Frightened? Child, you're talking to a man who's laughed in the face of death, sneered at doom, and chuckled at catastrophe... I was petrified. "

3) "Of course I'm not happy! Look at me, I'm a big fat slob. I've got bigger titties than you do. I've got more chins than a Chinese phone book. I've not seen my willie in two years, which is long enough to declare it legally dead."

4) "I should do something very extroverted and vengeful to you. Honestly, I'm too tired. So, I think I'll transfer you to the undergrowth department, brackens, more shrubs, that sort of thing... with a 19% cut in salary, backdated to the beginning of time."

5) "I wished for a purple elephant, but now I want a pink elephant!"

6) "Well, don't look at me, pal. I just said you were a fair pilot. I didn't know they were looking for somebody to lead this crazy attack. "

7) "Wrong, sir! Wrong! Under section 37B of the contract signed by him, it states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if - and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy."

8) "I am the greatest swordsman that ever lived. Say, um, can I have some of that water?"

9) "She just moved through me. My God. I felt her. I can smell her. It's her. It's her. Smell my clothes. It's her. She's all over me. It's her. She's on me. It's her. I felt her. It's her. It is. It's... it is... it's my baby. It's my baby. She went through my soul."

10) "There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it."


1) In Bruges (Alex)
2) The Wizard of Oz (Chris)
3) Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (Fletch)
4) Time Bandits (Me, Stump)
5) Bad Santa (Reel Whore)
6) Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (SteelKane)
7) Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Chris)
8) Willow (Mikey Filmmaker)
9) Poltergeist (Reel Whore)
10) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone (Joseph)
Theme - Each movie features 'little people' (Mikey Filmmaker)

The theme is worth 2 points (it's super easy). Good luck!

It Has Begun.

Go to the LAMB. Participate. Have fun.

Large Association of Movie Blogs


R2D2... The One With Geek-Outs And Freak-Outs.

Been holding back for about a week on this, though I'm glad I did for a few reasons (new or updated news, for instance). Anywho, here's some random thoughts for ya.

- After nearly 4 years of waiting, Vin Diesel finally announced that a new Riddick movie should be underway soon, as David Twohy has just finished working on the script (or is at least putting the finishing touches on it). It's about freakin' time! Chronicles wasn't a great as Pitch Black, but Riddick was still fun in it. And it left the ending on such a cliffhanger, I was starting to get pissed that they didn't seem to be making another one. But Vin loves the character so much that I guess he'd fund the project, which is awesome.

- In interesting news, the characters of Mundungus Fletcher and Bill Weasley have been cast for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The movies are already rather behind on introducing these characters, as they were introduced much earlier in the books (well, Order of the Phoenix for Dung and even earlier for Bill). I'm wondering how they're gonna do it, because Dung's relevance to book 7 is reliant on already knowing what kind of person he is; Bill's purpose, on the other hand, starts way back in Goblet of Fire, though it isn't brought up until Half-Blood Prince when the Fleur relationship is brought up. Similarly, they're also bringing Dobby back, which is awesome, even though they've cut him out of every movie except the one he's introduced in--the second, Chamber of Secrets. So I'm excited for all of this, but at the same time curious how they're gonna pull it off well.

- Next, I wanted to discuss Dragonball fans. I know I discussed fandoms in my last R2D2, but this one is striking me as odd. Maybe it's just been too long since these people have watched Dragonball, but... okay, let me set this up first. A few clips from the upcoming movie were released, and a lot of fans are swayed into liking it more now, because it is somewhat reminiscent of the show. On the other hand, there are fans who are complaining because a lot of stuff is either really cheesy or too hyper-real. To this I say to those critics: Were you actually fans of Dragonball? And I'm talking about Dragonball, not Dragonball Z. Dragonball was incredibly cheesy, childish, and over-the-top for the majority of the time. So this is really a really good adaptation of the feel of the show. But these fans seem to keep confusing Dragonball with Dragonball Z (which was much more serious)... and this is most obvious when they complain about there being no Vegeta and whatnot. These must be the same fans who complained that Speed Racer was too cheesy and bright, even though the show it was based on was exactly the same.

- I just read some casting information on the live action Avatar: The Last Airbender movie. Apparently, Slumdog Millionaire's Dev Patel is playing Prince Zuko. That's an interesting casting choice, I think. I know he'll have the sympathetic side to Zuko down, but I'm wondering how well he can do the anger. He hinted at it in Slumdog, but not a whole bunch. However, I think he has the charisma to play the character very well.

- So Mickey Rourke and Scarlett Johansson are gonna be in Iron Man 2. I just hope that Johansson's performance is nothing like it was in last year's The Spirit. Otherwise, thumbs up.

- My last bit of news discussion is on the director of the third Twilight movie, Eclipse. I had a long paragraph typed out on the announcement of the director, but I just read moments before I was going to publish the post that it was actually false. The rumor was that Spanish visionary director Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage/El Orfanato) was going to lower his standards and direct the film. It was mostly a rant, but as it's not true, I guess I don't have to go there. So instead, let me just give a 'hooray!' that this is not true (he should focus on better material).



A couple interesting prospects, but nothing that has me all-out excited. It's time for Pre-Emptive Strike Thursday!


Title: Race to Witch Mountain.

Pre-Thoughts: I know of the original, probably even seen parts of it, but I don't think I've seen the whole thing. Regardless, I enjoy Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and this movie actually looks kinda fun... though the trailer does pretty much give away the ending (on them getting to the mountain) for those who haven't seen the original. So who knows? I might be there.

I Am McLovin!

Title: The Last House on the Left.

Pre-Thoughts: Another classic remake of which I have not seen the original (I know, shame on me being a horror fan and all). But at least it's not a remake of another brainless slasher flick. It's close, but at least this one has a story that kinda turns it all around on its head. Horror remakes almost always disappoint (Dawn of the Dead being one of the few exceptions in recent years). But I might check it out eventually, if simply because I like the premise.

Stop Saying Okay! Okay.

Title: Miss March.

Pre-Thoughts: Is it just me, or does anybody else feel like they've seen this movie before? It's like another Road Trip/EuroTrip, mixed in with The House Bunny, a bit of Just Friends, and a sprinkle of any number of the crappy "National Lampoon" movies to come out in recent years. I really have no strong feelings one way or the other about this movie... just that it looks tired and so-done-before.

Feed Me, Seymour!

Title: Sunshine Cleaning.

Pre-Thoughts: Never heard of it before this point. It has a decent cast, though--Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, and Steve Zahn. It also has a bit of an interesting premise. Too bad that it's gotten zero publicity and is probably just under limited release.

Pre-Score: Can't score it.

Title: Brothers at War.

Pre-Thoughts: Never heard of it, either. An unknown cast. Another movie involving the Iraq War. And probably a limited release. In other words, I really don't care.

Pre-Score: Can't score it.


DVD Review: Let The Right One In.

I want to prelude by saying this movie has been a long time coming for me. There’s a whole story to go with how I saw part of this movie a while back but didn’t get to finish it and whatnot, but I won’t get into that whole complicated mess. So instead, I just get to read about how this is a modern masterpiece, the best film of last year, and had one of the greatest endings to a film in quite some time. So with almost every review building it up and my own anticipation over the last few months building it up, I finally got to watch it on DVD. Needless to say, after all the hype around it… I was damn near under-whelmed. But before you grab the pitchforks and torches, let me give my review.

Let The Right One In is an almost by-definition “slow burn” film. If you’re not aware of what that is, a “slow burn” film is one that usually has thriller or horror aspects to it, but for the most part is about the characters and their interactions, making for quite a slow rise in tension. It builds all the way to the climax, giving you a couple short moments here or there, and then BAM, you have some kind of hardcore sequence at the end that you had been waiting for for the entire film. Another example of this type of movie is the Japanese film Audition. And as this is a Swedish film, you might catch the common denominator here: you don’t see these types of films very often as made in America.

But this film is about 12-year-old Oskar (Kare Hedebrant), a bullied child who dreams of vengeance and looks to be an up-and-coming school shooter. It’s also about Eli (Lina Leandersson), a vampire who looks to be 12 but is, in fact, much older. Eli has a helper named Hakan (Per Ragnar), as well. Oskar and Eli form a friendship, which the whole movie based upon. I don’t want to give much more than that away, because watching this film makes it seem like anything you say could be a spoiler.

There are other characters, too, but they really aren’t as important (so to speak), or as developed, as those main three. I’m really not too sure what to say about the film. It had great acting, of course. You really felt the pain from Oskar, and the uncertainty from Eli. The biggest compliment I can give is for the cinematography. The film is absolutely gorgeous to look at. If I had any major negatives for the movie as-is, it would be that I'd have liked to see more of Eli's past (as I've heard described in the book), which they were going to do in a flashback sequence, but cut it out because the director didn't want to slaughter a pig or something.

But what I loved the most about the film were the Eli moments. There are three moments I want to talk about specifically. First, of course, is the “invitation” explanation moment, where you find out what happens if a vampire enters a place without being invited in first. Second is an incredibly brief scene where if you blink, you’ll miss it. I actually had to rewind and watch it a couple times, just because I loved it so much. When Oskar takes Eli to the secret hangout place and it’s pitch black—you can hardly even see Eli’s face—if you pay close enough attention to Eli’s eyes right before Oskar turns on the lights, you’ll notice that they start to glow like they can see in the dark. It’s small attention to details like that which makes me love movies like this.

And then there was the third moment—the ending. Of course I’m not going to spoil it, but this is where I was under-whelmed the most. For months, all I heard was that this movie had one of the greatest endings to a movie ever. And then I finally see it, and I keep waiting, even after the climax, wondering if the awesome part is still coming like a major plot twist. And then the movie ends, and I’m going “Um… so where was that super awesome ultra ending of hardcore amazingness?” There’s no doubt that the climax was visually stunning. And I’m not blaming the movie for my let down, but the months of hype building it up before me finally seeing it. I think with much less hype around the ending, I might have enjoyed it so much more than I did. And I’d probably learn to love it more with future viewings.

However, as it stands now, the movie didn’t meet my expectations whatsoever. On the upside of this, though (and this is what I meant by waiting to grab the pitchforks and whatnot), my expectations were so high by the point of finally seeing the movie that I would have to have built on a new rating system had the movie actually met them. In other words, I had been expecting something like 20 stars out of 10 or something. So whereas it didn’t meet my expectations, my thoughts on the film were not bogged down to the point where I thought the film was bad. Instead, I felt the movie was merely ‘great’ instead of ‘stupendously outstanding orgasms'. Not to mention, it has a wicked awesome poster, and the Swedish title is freakin’ fun to say out loud. So with all of that being said, I can give my score.

Royale With Cheese

(P.S. Attention Stephenie Meyer - This is how you do vampires. That is all).


TV Review: Dexter - The First Three Seasons.

I've been putting this off for a while, but I figured I might as well get around to it. Over the last couple months, I watched the entirety of the first three seasons of Showtime's hit series Dexter. I really didn't know what to expect going in. Like everybody else unacquainted with the show, I figured it was some serious, bloody, CSI-like drama about a serial killer. I couldn't have been more wrong.

While the show does have dramatic moments, it's much more of a dark comedy than anything. It's far more about the relationships Dexter has with everybody than about killing. For those of you who have no idea what I'm even talking about, Dexter is about, well, a guy named Dexter. He's a blood splatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department, which means he uses the blood at a crime scene to tell him how things went down, often helping out greatly in a case's outcome. Oh, and he's a serial killer. But not just any random serial killer. Brought up by his adoptive father Harry, a cop, Dexter was taught how to use his urges for good, as well as how not to get caught. He calls this the Code of Harry. In other words, he only kills other murderers, and he's very methodical about it.

But not having the normal emotions that would make him more human causes him to appear as an outsider at times, which means he needs to appear as human as possible. He has a girlfriend, Rita, who also has two kids from her previous husband, a guy with a drug problem that is currently in jail. He is close with his sister-by-adoption, the foul-mouthed Deb, who also works at the police station, though as a cop out to become a homicide detective. And then there are his other co-workers, including troubled detective Angel Bastista, perverted CSI Vince Masuka, Lieutenant Maria Laguerta, and her old partner Seargant James Doakes, the only person who suspects that Dexter might be more than he's letting on.

From this point on, there might be some mild spoilers (I try to be as vague as possible), but only because in talking about seasons 2 and 3, I'll obviously have to allude to information that happened in the season(s) preceding. Otherwise, I never really come out and say any of the major twists. If you don't want any kind of spoilers, you can hop on down to the "conclusion" section at the bottom of this post.

Season One

Season one obviously acts as an introduction to these characters. And you quickly get attached to Dexter and the other characters, including the meaner of the bunch (Doakes and Laguerta).

Every season does a bit of the same, but always does it in a fresh enough way that it stays exciting. For instance, every season has a main serial killer that it focuses on. It also has a second character that does some nasty things and has some kind of relationship with Dexter, and both of their stories collide at the end. Season one is the most different from that formula, though not by too much. There is a main serial killer--the Ice Truck Killer. But the 'second character' in this season is Dexter himself, which makes sense as the show has to build up Dexter first and foremost.

While Dexter is incredibly likeable as a person, he does have his darker side as a serial killer. And no matter how violent he can be to these other killers, you never want him to get caught. You're always on the edge of your seat, wondering how he's going to get out of tough situations.

As I said, this season focuses on the Ice Truck Killer, who actually has a secret connection to Dexter's past. And Dexter's past is shown quite frequently through the use of flashback, from his mysterious early memory of being a toddler in a pool of blood to his lessons with his father. Every episode is thematic, often tying in the flashbacks to the theme. Dexter's adoptive father Harry, played brilliantly by James Remar, knows what his son is becoming and teaches him how to not only hone his urges, but also teaches him methods on how not to get caught by police. And the relationship with his father and his father's code are really a central focus throughout not only this season, but the entire series (as it is ever tested, broken, and evolved).

But the show doesn't merely focus on Dexter and what happens with him. All of the other characters are fleshed out, as well. Angel Batista comes from a broken marriage, his wife having left him with their daughter. Deb really tries to come into her own, though unknowingly gets a bit of help from Dexter in the shadows. Rita grows from meek and damaged to strong and forward, much to Dexter's chagrin. He likes her because she's "as damaged as him," and also because she is troubled about sex due to her previous husband. But when she starts to grow and get over her fears, Dexter starts worrying that if they have sex, she'll see him for what he really is, since he has difficulty showing emotions in the easiest of times.

Overall, the first season is really strong, getting you attached to all of these characters and their lives. It has some pretty decent suspense (not nearly as much as the second season, though), and answers all important questions while leaving things open enough to continue on with the show. Some damaged characters grow stronger (Rita), while stronger characters grow damaged (Deb). And it leaves it open with some good cliffhangers for the next season.

Season Two

Season two starts with everything falling apart around Dexter. Deb is an emotional basketcase because of what happened to her the previous season, and she's now living with Dexter. Rita breaks up with Dexter because she thinks he's a drug addict like her previous husband (which he goes along with, as it's better than telling her he's a serial killer). James Doakes is stalking him everywhere, trying to figure out his secrets and his connection to the Ice Truck Killer. Dexter is having trouble killing when he's not being stalked due to the emotional destruction that came with the previous season. And on top of all that, his underwater graveyard of mutilated bodies is found by divers, starting a new case for a massive serial killer dubbed the Bay Harbor Butcher. So he has to always keep one step ahead of the police, as well as Special Agent Lundy (Keith Carradine), an genius and expert brought in to take charge of the case.

Of course, this time around the main serial killer is Dexter himself, and he has to do everything he can to keep calm and get rid of any and all evidence that can lead people to him. And not all of that is easy with Doakes constantly on his tail. And his emotions run crazy as he can no longer fall back on Rita unless he goes to Narcotics Anonymous meetings and gets a sponsor.

Which he does, though that turns bad. Enter the 'second character that does bad things' for the season. She's a British bombshell named Lila, and not only is she his new sponsor (bringing a jealous streak into Rita), but she really gets Dexter. She's like his therapist, and he can go to her any time he feels the need to kill to try and get over this addiction (though, of course, she doesn't know he's a killer... but their metaphors for internal struggle work for both drugs and murder).

Everything in this season goes from bad to worse, but in a good way. Dexter just can never seem to catch a break. Everything he does blows up in his face. And then he starts to realize that maybe Lila wasn't the best person to get into a relationship with. The suspense is incredible this season. I would literally be sitting up, grasping my pillow to my chest, eyes wide and glued to the television, never knowing what was going to happen next.

But the relationships between characters are still center in the story. Deb grows a relationship with Lundy, who is a really fun character. The fierce love triangle between Rita/Dexter/Lila is intense. The relationship between ex partners Laguerta and Doakes peaks, with Laguerta constantly trying to keep Doakes above water, while Laguerta does what's necessary to regain her Lieutenant position that was lost at the end of the previous season. Angel's love/family life is still mentioned here and there. Vince Masuka is still typically the joker of the lot.

But the best relationship of the season was that of Dexter and Doakes, especially within the last 5 or so episodes. You see a whole other side of Doakes, and you really have no idea what's going to happen next between them. You know something has to happen to either Dexter or Doakes, and you really don't want anything bad to happen to either one. It's a major internal confliction. But as the show is, indeed, called Dexter, you're always relatively sure which one is gonna come out on top. You're just never sure how.

Dexter's Code of Harry is also questioned as Dexter learns more information about his adoptive father that really makes him wonder how important the code actually is. It's really interesting how they build on the character of Harry, even though he's dead and never physically seen in the present.

Overall, season two is incredibly suspenseful, head-pounding, and full of OMG! moments. It builds on season one with the depth of its characters and the depth of its story. Though it never forgets the characters like some other shows on television do. It gives equal time to both character and plot. But it's a much heavier, and maybe even darker season than the first or even third. But great all around.

Season Three

Season three changes some things around. It is seen by many fans as the first slump in the series (and all series' have a slump at some point), though while I can see where some of their comments are coming from, I overall disagree. After the incredibly dark and heavy second season, the third season lightens up a bit and focuses on the future.

The Code of Harry is pretty central in this season's plot, as it begins as Dexter gets into a self-defense position and kills somebody he didn't research first. Therefore, he didn't know if the guy he killed deserved it or not. But it turns out that the victim is the little brother of Assistant Defense Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits). Think of him kind of like Harvey Dent. He's very popular, but also quite controversial in some of his methods.

Strangely enough, though, Miguel and Dexter form a friendship... Dexter's first real friend. And, obviously, Miguel is this season's 'second person who does bad things'. Because as it turns out, Miguel is a lot more similar to Dexter than Dexter even realizes at first. Though as their friendship continues, the Code of Harry is pushed to its limits, especially as Dexter continues to question his father. And the funnest part of the season is the 'battle of wits' between Dexter and Miguel that comes in later in the season.

One of the biggest changes made in this season is in regards to Harry. In the past two seasons, Harry has been the giver of advice in the past, brought in with flashbacks. But this season has removed the flashbacks completely. Instead, it toys with Dexter's sanity as Harry shows up in hallucinatory fantasies acting somewhat as a corporeal conscience, where the two characters talk to each other about what to do or not to do. And often with Dexter ignoring him.

Though the biggest complaint of the season, and the one I do agree with to an extent, is the 'main serial killer' of the season, The Skinner. Whereas the previous main serial killers have been the forefront of the plot, The Skinner seems to take a backseat to the relationship between Miguel and Dexter. It feels more as if The Skinner plot, at least until the climactic episodes, is just something that's going on in the background.

But this is also where I disagree with the complaints. When you look at the season as a whole, the formula was mostly dropped, wherein there is a difference between the main bad guy and the secondary character. In this instance, Miguel Prado basically acts as both, which really adds to the dichotomoy of Dexter with and without the Code of Harry. But as they did include The Skinner, I agree that they could have added a bit more depth to him, as he really wasn't that exciting (again, until the climactic episodes).

Again, though, like the previous seasons, the relationships are vital. I've already mentioned the relationship between Miguel and Dexter. But the one between Dexter and Rita is at an all time high (and low) as we soon discover that Rita is pregnant. And of course, Dexter has to deal with questions like "What if the kid turns out like me?", "Do I marry Rita?", and "Does this mean I have to leave the sanctity of my apartment?"

The show also amps up the screen time for both Angel and Vince Masuka, giving them bigger side stories. Angel shows his troubled side, but also moves on with a new girlfriend. Vince Masuka is finally shown as more than a jester, realizing that people might dislike him and wants their respect as friends.

But there's also a new character in town, too. A detective named Quinn, whose past is pretty sketchy, and who gets on Deb's nerves quite often. Though if anything could have been worked on a bit this season, it would be the whole Quinn thing. Nothing is ever explained with any finality, and the whole subplot against him just kind of disappears at one point and is never mentioned again. Regardless, he's a good character.

Then there's Deb. I'm hoping because of how season three ended that season four won't introduce another love interest. It seems that every season Deb gets a new love interest, only for him to leave in one way or another by the end. Though I liked the one this season, I'm hoping he'll be the last new guy, at least for a while.

Overall, season three isn't nearly as suspenseful as season two, but it's still good (and had one of the saddest episodes ever... the 'easy as pie' episode for those who have seen it). Though it really leads you to a place that makes you wonder where they're going to go with it in season four. I seriously hope they do something with Rita, because that woman is starting to get a bit on the annoying side. She was a great character to start with, and I know she had come from this damaged marriage, but they're taking her character in such directions that make me wish they'd focus more on one of the other characters.


As a show, Dexter is brilliant. It has a great cast of characters, superb acting, and amazing writing. It's funny, sad, suspenseful, and dramatic all at the right moments. For those of you worried about the blood factor, it's really not that bad. In fact, with only a few notable exceptions, CSI is probably more gruesome than Dexter is. And if you're wondering how a serial killer can be fun, likeable, and even lighthearted, this show gives a prime example.

It's all about the characters and how they deal with their everyday lives while mixing in a bit of serial killer action (either hunting one or being one). It quickly became one of my favorite shows on television, and I highly recommend it to fans of dark comedy and/or serial killer stories. And they couldn't have casted anybody better for Dexter than Six Feet Under's Michael C. Hall.

Long story short? Brilliant show.


DVD Review: Amélie.

Following up Watchmen with Amélie is like hanging out with Mother Teresa after reading Mein Kampf. Amélie Poulain (Audrey Tautou) is a shy, introverted French girl. But after she accidentally finds a rusty old box filled with knickknacks, she goes on a mission to get it back to the boy that used to live in her apartment. But this spirals her into a new life of controlled extroversion, helping people out from the shadows. But then she starts to fall in love with one of the guys she wants to help, a young photo collector named Nino (Mathieu Kassovitz).

This is an incredibly difficult review to write, mostly because I can’t think of much negative to say. It does everything that might annoy your average movie-goer. It spends a good chunk of the beginning introducing every miniscule thing (likes/dislikes) about every character. It has voice-over narration that spoon-feeds you information. It has moments of sped-up, frantic footage for almost no reason. It breaks the fourth wall. It has subtitles.

But I’m not your average movie-goer. And even if I were, I think I’d still love this movie. Even though it does all of those things, it somehow does them all right (well, there’s really no right or wrong way to have subtitles—for the most part—but I like foreign films, so those didn’t bother me anyway). The voice-over narration makes the characters quirky and fun, as well as just makes the film itself even more entertaining in its randomness. Even in the first ten minutes, with almost no real speaking outside of the voice-over, I was already entranced by everything that was going on, already emotionally involved. When young Amélie’s fish is dumped into the river and stares up at her, I felt sad for them both (Amélie and the fish).

The acting was great, of course. And Audrey Tautou is gorgeous. One thing I did want to bring up about the actors was Jamel Debbouze as Lucien, the young man at the grocers who gets made fun of all the time. It took me about half the movie to realize he played the lead male character in Angel-A, another great and beautiful French film about celebrating life and love. The guy can really act.

If there were anything negative to say, it would be that the relationship between two of the characters is never resolved. They fight because of jealousy brought about by a misunderstood moment, but the movie never goes back to them. I don’t think it spoils the overall film, though.

The cinematography was beautifully done, as well. The color arrangements were eye-catching. If anything, the film is just great to watch with or without sound (or subtitles). And one thing that I felt about this film that I rarely feel about other films is that this movie is a work of art, but without being pompous. Most art films try way too hard and oftentimes fall short under the weight of their self-indulgence. But not this one. It’s fun, quirky, and beautifully shot. And that’s about all I can say about Amélie.

Royale With Cheese



I’m sure a lot of you who have been here for a while know that I’m a pretty big Harry Potter fan. But I’m sure you’re asking “What does Harry Potter have to do with Watchmen?” I’m getting there. Let me try to say this in as succinct of a way as possible: I outta punch all you complaining Watchmen fanboys in your whiny, selfish, silly little faces.


Anyway. So Watchmen is about a bunch of things. During a time of an impending World War III, a man is murdered. His name is Edward Blake (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), also known as The Comedian. He’s a costumed hero. A powerless superhero, in other words. In fact, there are quite a few costumed heroes out there—or at least there were, before the Keene Act was put in place and made them illegal. Most are retired now, including Dan Dreiberg AKA Nite Owl II (Patrick Wilson), Laurie Jupiter AKA Silk Spectre II (Malin Akerman), and successful businessman Adrien Veidt AKA Ozymandias (Matthew Goode). But then there are two others on opposite ends of the spectrum. There’s deranged sociopath Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), an anti-hero out to figure out who killed The Comedian and why, as well as Jon Osterman AKA Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), a God-like being who works with the United States to stay a superpower. But Rorschach thinks somebody is hunting down costumed heroes, and more evidence continues to pile up to help his case.

The story is actually much more complicated than that, too. There are love triangles. There are incredible themes of love, loss, death, and nihilism. The story is so thick and heavy, you can’t pick up everything on the first go-around. I read the graphic novel myself, and I have to say they did a damn good job adapting it.

This brings me back to my opening point. How dare some fanboys complain about this adaptation. This movie is damn near panel-for-panel of the graphic novel. There are some obvious things that were cut or removed for time purposes, but none of it was anything major. The biggest thing actually cut was the newsstand/Black Freighter stuff, but even that’s being released separately on DVD and being integrated back into the film for a Director’s Cut. But none of that is crucial to plot—only themes. As for the changed ending—it’s like I’ve said before, it’s so much better than the comic’s. The comic came out of nowhere with its ending, while it had been building up a perfectly logical ending that the movie actually went for instead. And I think the story was better for it. It makes perfect sense. It works. It changes absolutely nothing about the outcome. Why complain? Not to mention (and this made me the happiest) that the last frame of the graphic novel is in the movie! It had its perfect ending.

Not to mention there are so many other miniscule details from the comic in the film that you only have to keep an eye out for, even if they’re never mentioned specifically (Laurie’s snow globe, for instance?). There was an amazing attention to detail. The panels came straight to the screen. Hell, they even integrated the doomsday clock, which isn't even in the actual story itself in the comic.

The music has been another complaint (by fans and non-fans alike), but I didn’t find fault here, either. I thought the music used fit almost every scene. I think Hallelujah during the sex scene was witty, but I might have gone for maybe a smoother cover version of the song instead. That’s the only real music complaint I had.

As for the acting, I thought it was good all around, with maybe one exception. Malin Ackerman as Laurie got a bit cheesy and poorly acted at times, especially near the beginning. She got a little more bearable later on. But then again, the character was similar in the comic. The biggest shout out, though, goes to Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach, who was freakin’ brilliant. They couldn’t have picked a better person for the role. He embodied the character fully and even brought emotion in his facial expressions (once you see his face) that layered the character even more than in the comic. He was perfect.

For visuals, I want to talk about CGI and action. To get the CGI out of the way first, Dr. Manhattan (blue penis and all) was done fantastically. In fact, the majority of the visual effects were done great. My only CGI problem was Veidt’s pet mutant cat, which, honestly, didn’t even need to be in the movie. That was just a wink for the fandom. As for the action, it was exciting. You really feel like you’re there with these people, pumping adrenaline, and beating the baddies. And it was stylish, though that’s to be expected from the guy who made 300. Overall, the entire movie was visually stunning on all fronts (except for maybe Richard Nixon and any of the aging prosthetics).

There really isn’t much more I want to say about the film. It was funny, sad, depressing, heart-breaking, action-packed, and faithful. It captured everything that the comic was, and it really is as close to a perfect adaptation of this previously declared unfilmable source material as anybody is ever going to get. And personally, I can’t wait to see the version that includes the Tales of the Black Freighter material put back in. And though I give it the following score, I’m not saying the film is perfect (it did have its faults). I’m just saying it’s pretty freakin’ close.

Royale With Cheese



There's about 5 movies coming out this weekend, 4 of which nobody has ever heard of, and only 1 that anybody cares about. It's time for Pre-Emptive Strike Thursday!


Title: Watchmen.

Pre-Thoughts: I read the graphic novel and enjoyed it. I know of the altered ending and don't really care (in respect to the climax). The only thing I'm not liking is that there are rumors that the final scene in the book is not in the movie, which is insane, because that's the scene that makes the entire story worth it. Not to mention it's one of the greatest endings ever. But everything else is supposed to be dead-on with the graphic novel (except for the Black Freighter stuff, which is going to be added in with a Director's Cut DVD). I'm pretty excited. Though the rating really depends on if they cut that final scene or not. Going on the assumption that they did (grumble grumble), I am prescoring it as such.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

Title: The Horsemen.

Pre-Thoughts: Never heard of it.

Pre-Score: Can't score it.

Title: 12.

Pre-Thoughts: Okay, so I have heard of this one. This is the remake of 12 Angry Men that was up for a Foreign Film Oscar a year ago. Why it's just getting released now, who knows. But with a slew of poor reviews (and the fact that it isn't being released here), I just don't care.

Pre-Score: Can't score it.

Title: Phoebe in Wonderland.

Pre-Thoughts: Again, I had heard of this one once, not too long ago, but haven't watched the trailer or anything, so I can't say much.

Pre-Score: Can't score it.

Title: Tokyo!

Pre-Thoughts: Never heard of it.

Pre-Score: Can't score it.


Manic Movie Madness Spectacular Bam Wow!

NOTE: This post is in both the MOVIES and TV sections because of a mix of MST3K and regular movies.


Also known as "I've been too lazy to write some reviews for a while, so now I've gotten to the point where I've seen a bunch of movies through Netflix but haven't gotten around to reviewing them because I'm lazy and now I'm getting redundant." But I thought that was a bit long. And redundant. So I figured I'd mesh them all together here in one very short, to-the-point review post. Okay, and so I only have three this time, but if I ever do this in the future, there will probably be more.

While I'm at it, I'll let you know of some other reviews I have planned to give in the future... a TV Review of all 3 seasons of Dexter, a 2 In 1 for Son of Rambow and Driving Lessons (the latter of which I've owned for a while, but thought it felt appropriate to pair with the former), and most probably a review of Amelie, which I'm finally going to be getting around to seeing. Anywho, let's get on to the reviews.

The Title: Mystery Science Theater 3000: Hobgoblins.

The Skinny: Funny in some parts. Only slightly humorous in others. Kept me entertained.

The Score:
I Am McLovin

The Title: My Name Is Bruce.
The Skinny: Great fun. Nice homages. Very cheesy/classic Bruce Campbell. Sometimes tries a bit too hard. For Bruce Campbell fans only.
The Score:
I Am McLovin

The Title: Mystery Science Theater 3000: "Manos" The Hands of Fate.

The Skinny: Freakin' hilarious. For the first time in my life, I nearly almost peed myself because I was laughing so hard at a movie. I actually got so tired of laughing by the end that I nearly felt like turning it off because I didn't want to laugh any more. However, the in-between skits were, as usual, a bit on the lame side. But that can't detract from the overall hilarity.

The Score:
Royale With Cheese

(P.S. I was very tempted to use a picture of the creepy sales dude holding a Sham Wow from the Sham Wow commercials for my picture... but I didn't).


Short Review: Hamlet 2.

Premise: In an effort to save his department from being removed from the system, drama teacher Dana Marschz hopes to inspire his new 'ethnic' class and everybody else by putting on a controversial sequel to Hamlet.

Starring: Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, David Arquette, and Elizabeth Shue.

My Reaction: I liked how it tried to parody inspirational teacher movies, as I love those. However, it often tried way too hard. I laughed maybe two or three times in the whole movie. The rest was just way too silly or over-the-top. The best acting (and character) was from Joseph Julian Soria, the main "troublemaker" kid. The movie wasn't bad. I just wasn't blown away by it. The best part, of course, was "Rock Me Sexy Jesus," but that scene had been advertised and played up so much that its comedic effect had worn off by the time I actually saw the film. Alas, the issues of using your best jokes to sell a comedy.

Stop Saying Okay! Okay.