GAME TRAILER: Batman Arkham City

Arkham Asylum was an instant classic and easily one of the best games to come out over the past five years (and quite possibly the best comic book based game ever). It was no surprise a sequel was on the way and this trailer is anything but a disappointment. The boys said this would be the last one they lend their voices to but lets just hope they were being modest because this is a series that should not stop anytime soon.

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TRAILER: Transformers: The Dark Side of the Moon

After the colossal disappointment that was TRANSFORMERS 2, I'm sincerely hoping that Michael Bay has brought his A game this time around. I dig the concept of the moon expedition but realistically we're not exactly being shown much here. Here's hoping for some redemption though.

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TRAILER: I Am Number Four

I'm a big fan of Sci-Fi action and this is just the sort of fresh idea that puts a grin on my face.  I'm all for the concept, the coolass bad guys and I really enjoyed DISTURBIA so the director's got my vote as well.  And even though Timothy Olyphant isn't in the lead here, it's good to see him as well.

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REVIEW: Faster

"The Rock is back to doing what he does best and I love it!"

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is an ex-con known only as Driver who just spent a dime up in chino after being double crossed with regards to a bank job he got involved in with his brother. Those responsible killed his brother and left him for dead but if wearing a tutu can’t kill The Rock, nothing can. Driven by revenge, The Rock’s out to kill each and every name on his list but to do so he’ll have to dodge the cops as well as a cocky hitman who’s been hired to take him out.

I grew up a big fan of wrestling and over the years I’ve kept tabs on the WWE, watching a pay per view here and there and sometimes tuning in for Monday Night Raw. Over the past decade however, the WWE has become a lot like Saturday Night Live, with those few overly talented wrestlers branching off into films. Of the lot, The Rock seemed most promising. THE RUNDOWN was a fantastic vehicle to start the ball rolling but despite this strong start, the wheels came to a screeching halt fairly quick. I dug his character in BE COOL but the film itself stunk to high heavens. I’m sure I don’t need to recount the list of disappoints that followed but needless to say I was stoked to hear The Rock was finally returning to action. Now the man may not have had a hell of a lot of dialogue, but The Rock sure did have a lot to say and I was all ears.

I love a healthy dose of payback and brother that’s exactly what The Rock is cooking here. His persona is everything you want in a badass anti-hero and I haven’t been this pumped to see some retribution since Mel Gibson’s PAYBACK. The fools on his list didn’t stand a chance but I will say that for a dude that’s anything but inconspicuous, from the build, to the scowl and car, the cops sure didn’t seem very on the ball when it came to rounding him up. His face is splashed all over the news, yet he’s still all over the place kicking ass, taking names and blowing big holes in people. I’m not complaining but it sure doesn’t say much for the law’s ability to serve and protect.

A definite edge to the story comes from our egocentric hitman (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) who’s hunger to conquer the world is as big as The Rock’s biceps. Now I happen to know a thing or two about that world and believe it or not, this film’s depiction of the life isn’t as far-fetched as you might think. Most of these killers are vain to the bone, competitive down to the last letter and lethal as they are egotistical. Some people may scoff at this character but I enjoyed him. Carla Gugino plays a cop, yet again but still looks hot as ever as does LOST’s Maggie Grace. We also get a couple of entertaining but rather pointless cameos from Mike Epps and Jennifer Carpenter but the biggest waste of talent came from Moon Bloodgood. I was hoping she’d get better breaks after TERMINATOR: SALVATION but I guess not.

FASTER reintroduces The Rock to the world of action the best way it can and hopefully sets a trend for his future roles. We need more action stars and there’s no question The Rock can fill the quota. The only problem I had with this flick is Billy Bob Thornton. After that ridiculousness in Toronto awhile back while trying to promote his crappy band and in the process spitting on his acting career, I feel the guy’s got no business in Hollywood anymore (truth be told, I never liked him as an actor anyway). Thornton aside, this was a blast and I’m happy to see The Rock in good form (literally, the man’s a beast). Here’s hoping this endeavour blows a big hole in everyone’s doubts and puts The Rock back on top where he belongs.

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REVIEW: Skyline

"A decent alien flick but a very odd ending."

Strange blue lights start dropping from the heavens into downtown Los Angeles captivating all who look upon them, taking hold of them and drawing them toward the source. The bad news is that this source just happens to be a race of aliens here to harvest the human race down to the last person standing.

I love a good alien invasion (beware, spoilers ahead). There’s the all out, in your face kind ala WAR OF THE WORLDS and INDEPENDANCE DAY and there’s the sneaky back door kind like THE FACULTY and INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. Both recipes work, though I certainly had my issues with aliens overlooking bacteria, caffeine or in some cases (I’m looking at you M. Night), water. These are the kinds of things you’d think alien scouts would pick up on when they’re casing the planet and as a result make for some debatable plot holes. My theory on an alien invasion is simple; if we ever got invaded, we’d have our asses handed to us which just happens to be the thought process behind SKYLINE and for this reason especially, I enjoyed the ride.

The story here starts off a lot like CLOVERFIELD in that we have a party built around two best friends. Add to that the standard dose of girlfriend drama (cheating, a potential move, pregnancy, they’re all here) and you’re wading through everyday waters. Now an alien invasion would throw off just about anyone’s day (especially after a hard night of boozing) so I was on board with the “make it up as we go along” vibe these characters were giving off. Their decisions (and arguments) made sense to me as they really didn’t have a hell of a lot of options. The only thing I didn’t get was the whole “we’ll be safer at sea” bit as in my opinion they’d stick out like sore thumbs on the water but hey, that’s me.

I can’t help but assume that the brother’s Straus, the effects team and the production team must all be pretty big fans of STARCRAFT because this film looked an awfully lot like a Protoss invasion on Earth. Some of the aliens were an obvious blend of sentinels from THE MATRIX and there was one (the ones from the end of the film, on the ship) that looked almost identical to the lickers from the RESIDENT EVIL films. Similarities aside, the monsters looked fantastic as did the ships. I love the use of blue light to ensnare prey (taking a page of the Dragonfish playbook) but I was confused by the idea they played around with when it came to breaking away from the light and or the effects it had on the human body. It felt like an unresolved idea that had potential but essentially went nowhere.

SKYLINE was about what I expected based upon the trailers and though most people seem to have a problem with the ending (which can be broken down into two parts), I enjoyed it as far as the invasion was concerned. The other aspect of the ending, which will be obvious when you see it, was indeed a perplexing turn of events. I won’t go into further detail but it does take a minute or two to digest. All things considered I dug this flick as I love this genre and as much as I think 3D is overdone these days I can’t help but wonder why movies like MY SOUL TO TAKE got shot in 3D yet this film didn’t (it would’ve looked awesome). If you’re a fan of alien flicks check this one out on the big screen but rest assured that it will look just as great on Blu-ray if you feel the need to wait.

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REVIEW: Sex and the City 2

"Let's just hope there's not a third one on the way."

Two years after getting married, Carrie’s starting to feel a little restless with Big and it looks like all the girls could use a break from the grind. When Samantha lands an all expense paid trip to Abu Dhabi for the four of them, the gang jump at the opportunity to get away for some girl time.

I am without a doubt one of the biggest fans of HBO entertainment. I won’t go as far as saying HBO can do no wrong but they’re pretty damn close. SEX AND THE CITY made sense to me, after all with the countless shows out there catering to men, their sense of humour and what they do and talk about behind closed doors; it was about time women got their due. My girl loves this show, so naturally I’ve ended up watching far more episodes than I wanted to but in all fairness I enjoyed it most of the time, mainly because of the dialogue and bond between the four friends. The first film was bound to happen and having a “Big” wedding also made sense to me. There really was no need of a sequel which becomes very evident when the girls end up in Abu Dhabi for a rather pointless adventure.

The first hour of this film was fine and actually felt like what a SEX AND THE CITY movie/episode should feel like. The wedding was hilarious and touching, beautiful to a fault and a fun way to expand and squeeze in some of the show’s key sub-characters. Liza Minnelli’s version of Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies” was cringe worthy (I hate that song with a passion) but other than that I enjoyed it. I also dug Alice Eve as the braless nanny but then again, what guy wouldn’t. As far as the men of the series go, they were downplayed here. Big got the better part of this spotlight but even then he was put on the back burner. Smith’s part was barely mentionable, ending up being nothing more than a gateway for the trip and Aidan? Well, I found his whole presence here unnecessary.

Our girls themselves certainly haven’t lost their camaraderie (on set anyway, this film was a hissy fit nightmare of egos and estrogen led mainly by Kim Cattrall which was ironic to me considering the hormonal edge to her character) and pick up exactly where they left off. Their endearing friendship is what makes the show/films enjoyable and I will say that this magic was definitely still there but a trip to Abu Dhabi just wasn’t the answer. Everything about the country, hotel and scenery was breathtaking don’t get me wrong but it felt like a stretch and far too much of the film was spent there. I get that they all wanted and needed a vacation but whatever positive energy this place created is immediately squashed by Samantha’s recklessness which I suppose goes hand in hand with character but still came off as foolish to me.

SEX AND THE CITY 2 could’ve been a decent film had they not strayed so far from the beaten path and added senseless drama and ridiculousness as they went along. Carrie’s character has always bothered me; she’s a whiny, two timing retard who’s never satisfied with what’s she’s got; a fact that hits home yet again in this sequel. Samantha’s sex obsessed persona is getting tired, especially considering she by no means looks the part these days. Beyond that, the essence of what people know and love about this show is here, albeit it’s buried under the sand so to speak but it‘s here on some levels and for that reason this film is watchable to those who love the show. If you don’t love the show, or know very little about it, this will become two and a half hours of your life you’ll never get back.

I’ve always considered SEX AND THE CITY to be the woman’s equivalent to ENTOURAGE and by that rational considered it valid entertainment. The first film was cool as I’m hoping the upcoming ENTOURAGE film will be but if the boys land a second sequel that takes them half way around the world for nothing, I’ll be forced to accept the same kind of criticism that I’m giving out.

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TRAILER: Green Lantern

DC has a lot riding on Ryan Reynolds and this film. I'm not going to say I'm totally sold and I'm not gonna say I'm siding against it. There's still much more to be seen but all in all I know Reynolds can sell this flick. I just hope he leaves room and time for Deadpool because that's a role I really want to see him take further.

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TRAILER: Red Riding Hood

When the absurdness of this concept passes, what's left is Amanda Seyfried's hot ass, some pretty cool werewolf action and Gary Oldman at the helm. Sure, I'm not impressed by the fact it's from the director of TWILIGHT, but hey, no film's perfect right?

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TRAILER: The Machanic

I remember watching the original Charles Bronson version back in the day with my grandfather (I sure hope this one doesn't have the same ending) and though I'm not a fan of remakes, especially pointless ones which I consider this one to be as not many people would know what this flick is, I love me some Jason Statham and I'm also a pretty big fan of Ben Foster as well so who knows, this one might not suck.  Here's hoping.

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REVIEW: Centurion

"Not the best but certainly not the worst tale of Rome."

Rome’s War with northern Britain has become a long and bloody stalemate that must end one way or another. Having no more patience to give, Rome dispatches its famed Ninth Legion to wipe out the Picts once and for all. Little do they know they’re marching straight into a trap.

The Roman Empire never seems to run out of tales of valour, ambition, greed and violence and I for one keep eagerly coming back for more and more. GLADIATOR, KING ARTHUR, HBO’s ROME and this past year’s SPARTACUS BLOOD AND SAND were but some of the recent treks through Rome and I’ve enjoyed them all. The story of the Ninth Legion was unknown to me before now but suffice to say CENTURION brings about a different take not on Rome per say but on the typical “Rome crushing its enemies” storylines we’ve seen numerous times in the past making this film an unexpected treat.

It’s not very often you see the good guys get their asses handed to them on this large a scale but that’s the tone of this film and it begins rather abruptly and then mercilessly continues until the very end. I dug that completely because I didn’t see it coming (though I probably would have had I read the back of the box). The Picts were a relentless enemy; fearless, brutal and above all else cunning in battle. Watching them fight was awesome indeed but like I said, a little overwhelming when it came to the beat down they were giving out. It was a refreshing change of pace however, and as time wore on I found myself almost wanting to root for them (which wasn’t hard considering the Romans were a bit of a mixed bag).

These Roman soldiers weren’t like Arthur and his knights aside from the general (Dominic West) and our lone survivor of the first Pict raid, Quintus Dias. The rest of their merry band of soldiers were about half and half when it came down to the question of hero or villain and that’s the main reason I didn’t really care if any of them got hurt. This was an interesting role for Bond babe Olga Kurylenko as not only did she kick all sorts of ass and take all sorts of names but due to a Roman “accident” she ended up with no tongue and as a result says nothing the entire film. I was okay with this though as she was deadly as hell with a spear and looking just as hot as ever.

CENTURION wasn’t the best Roman based film I’ve ever seen but it was entertaining and an original enough take on things to come across as relevant rather than milking a tired story. The landscapes used here are breathtaking and shot extremely well (I guess director Neil Marshall can shoot landscapes equally as well as caves). And if you’re looking for epic battle sequences overflowing with lots of blood, decapitations and random chunks of flesh than look no further because there’s lots of that going on here. The tale of the Ninth Legion is definitely worth watching despite having a good idea where the film is going from Jump Street. And if you don’t already hate Rome, be prepared to dislike the Romans just a little more.

I love a good flick about war and bloody battles and will never tire of hearing more and more about Rome’s gigantic ego. This isn’t the big budget extravaganza most of us are used to when it comes to these types of films but I guarantee it’s worth watching even if you only watch it once.

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REVIEW: Scott Pilgrim VS. The World

"A mindblowing good time for the gamer at heart."

Scott Pilgrim is doing his best to get over his ex, jam with his band and find some way to justify dating a High School chick when the unthinkable happens...he falls head over heels for the new girl in town. Problem is she’s got seven evil ex-boyfriends whom he must fight to death to win her heart.

I’m going to be honest here, I had no idea who Scott Pilgrim was or any idea what he or this film was about when filming first began and we started covering it. I don’t remember who wrote the articles but suffice to say those writers and all those writing rebuttals were stoked as hell. I could tell this film had “fan boy” written all over it but from a trailer perspective I just wasn’t seeing it. I sat down with this flick thinking it was going to be ridiculous. Did I like it? Hell no...I loved every f*cking second of it!

The story of a dude falling for the new girl who just happens to have an evil league of seven deadly ex’s who he has to fight to the death is awesome. Clearly this flick leans heavy on the video game humour and as such I’m sure many people will be scratching their heads and or missing some of the very smart punch lines but luckily I’m not one of those people. The overall story feels like a Megaman game, with Scott as Megaman and Gideon as Dr. Wily but it doesn’t stop there. The band name, Sex Bob-Omb is pure genius and had me stitches. There were more than a couple musical themes straight out of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, I loved when he did the riff from Final Fantasy 2 on his guitar and the Street Fighter countdowns were awesome (not to mention the fact that each person he killed dropped coins). There’s no end to the video game hits here and the end result is truly epic.

I’m also a big fan of Michael Cera and his unique sense of humour. There are so many great lines here for Scott and it takes a guy like Cera to pull them off with such sincerity. The comic book over-writing with Cera’s dialogue and thinking process was hilarious to a fault and really worked well with everyone on board. And that’s the other huge thing here; the cast is perfect and play off one another brilliantly. Scott’s roommate is a crack-up, his band and sister are alright despite being a little predictable but I really loved his High School romance Knives. I mean really, how cool would it be to date a hot little Asian chick named Knives! Ramona was okay as the “it” girl but ultimately the film needed Knives to make that love triangle feel complete.

SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD is exactly what the cover implies, a game changer, on every possible level. Clearly both the writers and the director wanted to create something fresh, off the beaten path and above all else, special and that they did. The score was also fantastic, making the jamming and the battle of the bands a sight to see, not to mention all the insane visuals (like the dragons and yeti for example) making a description like “feast for the eyes” an epic understatement. There’s so much to love here that I could go on and on. I do want to add that both Brandon Routh and Chris Evans were my favourite of the evil ex’s and I would have rather seen either one of them at the top rather than Jason Schwartzman but at the end of the day they all did tremendously here.

I loved this film, obviously, but again, it’s worth mentioning that anyone not overly into video games, comics and anime might not feel the full magnitude of energy this film is putting out there. That said, those with open minds should feel Scott’s vibe and dig the film just the same, at least that’s what I’m hoping for.

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REVIEW: Superman/Batman Apocalypse

"More good times on the DC front."

When a ship falls to Earth containing Kara, Superman’s cousin, the Justice League must figure out what to do with her until she can learn to control her powers, but a sinister villain from another planet has his own intensions for Kara’s future and will let none stand in his way.

As I’ve mentioned before, both DC and MARVEL are kicking ass and taking names when it comes down to their animated films lately. With the exception of Batman, I’ve never really cared for the DC universe (though admittedly I did enjoy the Green Lantern film FIRST FLIGHT which opened my mind to what DC has to offer). BATMAN/SUPERMAN PUBLIC ENEMIES and JUSTICE LEAGUE CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS were both excellent but as with APOCALYPSE, I find myself more of a Batman fan than Superman or Wonder Woman. That said, Superman fans will love this one as it pretty much focuses upon Sups and his rocky introduction to Kara. I was unfamiliar with Kara’s proper origin story and was impressed with how it went down.

Now as a SMALLVILLE fan I have to say this origin story was quite different than the one we got in that series but then again, I can see why. Taking these characters to space and or other planets would be a tricky business on TV or the big screen (I’m half scared, half curious to see how Ryan Reynolds’ GREEN LANTERN handles this situation) and as far as the characters themselves go, most importantly Kara and Clark, this is one of the reasons I prefer SMALLVILLE. Superman comes off as pretty much indestructible in these films as does his cousin Kara, and because of this we need cosmic villains like Darkseid to make the battles seem even remotely fair (Superman did however get rocked by Darkseid here yet at the same time managed to level an army of Doomsday clones just prior to that which made me scratch my head in confusion).

Now fundamentally speaking, I don’t feel these heroes have the same camaraderie or comedic tone the Avengers do but Batman does tend to fill that void with great one liners and witty dialogue which always keeps me entertained. There’s also some racy language and bloodshed present to push the adult entertainment vibe which again, is very much appreciated and a telltale sign that DC is taking these films seriously from a fan’s perspective. The cut is crisp on Blu-ray, the score top notch and as always the voice talent does anything but disappoint with Kevin Conroy leading the team as the best and only voice of Batman as far as I’m concerned (Conroy continues his legacy in the upcoming PS3 sequel BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY and the upcoming online PC game DC UNIVERSE).

SUPERMAN/BATMAN APOCALYPSE scores another point for DC on the animated front and manages to keep my interest in DC strong. Again, the transition from SMALLVILLE to here is a little rough and though Superman clearly lacks the humanity here that he has in SMALLVILLE I still enjoy seeing him in action. Supergirl is nowhere near as exciting to watch as Batman and Superman are but this was a fun origin story and a cool continuation to the this series of films, leaving me stoked with anticipation for the next film in line.

If you’re a fan of these animated adventures you’ll have nothing to complain about here. I’m still not sure if I enjoy DC or Marvel more lately but one thing I do know is that a lot of hard work goes into these films and I for one appreciate it. There’s lots to love here and it’s all well worth your money.

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REVIEW: Due Date

"Fun, but destined to dwell in THE HANGOVER's shadow."


Peter Highman is about to be a father but upon bumping into an odd fellow outside the airport, he’s thrown into one mishap after another landing him on the no-fly list. That same odd fellow, Ethan Tremblay, offer’s Peter a ride to LA and as much as Peter doesn’t like the idea, he has no real choice but to accept if he’s going to make it home in time.

DUE DATE comes off as a really funny film from the trailers but I could easily tell that this was one of those times when they showed far too much of the goods up front before we paid to see the final product (damn marketing). Todd Phillips’ THE HANGOVER trailers felt the same way but ended up tickling the old funny bone with tons of extra laughs which sadly is where DUE DATE falls short. There are quite a few humorous moments to be sure, but more often than not these moments are crushed under the weight of a slow momentum and confusing direction.

I like the story which is original enough and easy to get on board with especially when it came down the airport bit. I loved the whole plane sequence and immediately dug the friction between our two main characters. The dialogue here is gold and Robert Downey Jr. is on fire yet again, carrying this film like it’s a walk in the park. If anyone deserved a second run at Hollywood its RDJ and I for one think he’s brilliant. He does play a slightly shorter fused Tony Stark on Red Bull here but that’s the sort of flavour that makes this film go down as easy as it does. Jamie Foxx and Danny McBride made fun cameo appearances (I can mention them simply because there’s no surprise due to the trailers) but it would have been cool to see more out of them as both are well known when it comes to comedy.

The wild card here is Zach Galifianakis who beyond the shadow of a doubt is playing the same sort of character he did in THE HANGOVER. I found this curious from Jump Street considering THE HANGOVER 2 is currently on the horizon. It seems to me that Galifianakis is pulling a Russell Brand here by overusing the same persona and I really hope this doesn’t hurt the laughs when THE HANGOVER 2 actually hits theatres. I’m not saying Ethan Tremblay isn’t funny because he is, however TOMMY BOY and BLACK SHEEP come to mind here as Chris Farley and David Spade tried very hard to recreate a good thing and failed. I wouldn’t call Galifianakis’ exploits here a failure but his childish antics weren’t nearly as funny here as they were in THE HANGOVER.

DUE DATE was a refreshing step away from all the Horror titles we’ve been seeing of late and ended up being a decent comedy despite its flaws. I enjoyed the ending here and have nothing against road trip comedies; but much like PINEAPPLE EXPRESS and HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE (which were both admittedly better than this one), there are a couple times when this film veers into the oober-ridiculous for the sake of mischievous antics (the border escape was a touch much and I’m still not sure what to think about the masturbation stuff). This comedy is worth seeing for RDJ alone, the man’s hilarious and his reactions to the many bumps in the road are indeed priceless (the part with the kid was hysterical) but I have to be honest and tell you that this is definitely one due date that can be pushed back until DVD and BLU-RAY release.

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TRAILER: Battle: Los Angeles

I liked SKYLINE, I truly did but this sort of all out war centered around an alien invasion is definitely a cool route to take and looks to be something worth watching. It's all been done before but full scale military assault is always fun to watch so here's hoping this one doesn't disappoint.

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TRAILER: Season of the Witch

Sure, Nicolas Cage is all over the place lately and other than BAD LIEUTENANT 2 and KICKASS I haven't been overly impressed with his work. This flick could change all that. This is no SOLOMON KANE but it's about as close as I'm gonna get there's no sense in complaining. I can only hope this is enough to fill the Fantasy hunger gap until something better comes along.

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TRAILER: Sucker Punch

I'm gonna be honest here, I have absolutely no idea what the hell's going on in this trailer/movie. I mean, is this chick crazy, is she locked up, who the hell knows but what I do know is that there's a ton of hot chicks, dragons, epic battles, swords and plenty of badass imagery so I guess I'm in. I've sat through movies for less.

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REVIEW: Mirrors 2

"Chalk another one up to dumb, redundant sequels."

Trying to piece his life back together after a tragic accident, Max decides to help his father by becoming the new night watchmen at the Mayflower, unaware of what happened to the previous guy. Max is also unaware of the murder that transpired in the building until the young woman starts to appear to him in the mirrors while at the same time killing off his fellow employees.

I was a fan of the original MIRRORS film simply because of Kiefer Sutherland. Don’t get me wrong, it was a cool horror flick and sported some over the top gore thanks to director Alexandre Aja who simply adores the overabundance of red stuff. And speaking of that, the scene that made MIRRORS as popular as it is (the bathtub scene) is one that will forever be remembered by all those who watch it. That said, MIRRORS didn’t do much else for me and the last thing I ever expected to see was a sequel, yet here we are. MIRRORS 2 is a clichéd waste of time, filled to the brim with a stiff dose of “same ol, same ol” that goes down a lot like turpentine.

If you’re reading this I have no doubt you’ve already read my SAW 3D review as well, and as I stated in that review, many horror films have branched off into the torture porn end of the spectrum, pushing pointless gore tactics like it’s a fresh concept. Well, it isn’t and that’s exactly what we get here. This film’s storyline is weak and really doesn’t go anywhere for the first hour or so. What we do see right off the bat is a gruesome series of deaths via the evil versions of each victim in the mirrors. Sadly, you don’t know why it’s happening until close to the end of the film, instead they focus on Max’s traumatic experience (another used up scenario) which is tossed and forgotten as the story unfolds making me wonder why in hell they spent so much time with it in the first place.

I’m not fond of the cast here either, led by a boring Nick Stahl. I thought he was a horrible choice for John Connors in T3 and though his performance in SIN CITY was of merit, it’s clearly done nothing for him as now he’s showing up in straight to DVD flicks where I guess he belongs. The acting was rather stiff across the board anyway (I did like the two cops, they’re dialogue was hilarious), not surprising as most of these characters don’t live very long anyway. I’m still confused as to why Max’s father was even in here to begin with, talk about a pointless character build up, he clearly had nothing to do with what was going on yet the mirrors were still going to kill him and then poof, he’s gone from the story leaving nothing behind but an odd plot hole.

MIRRORS 2 is just another drummed out, pointless, straight to DVD sequel that does nothing but give the original a bad name. The entire premise makes no sense; why would they rebuild the Mayflower a second time considering all the carnage that happened there twice before? Why would anyone want to use one of the original mirrors after what happened in the last movie? We could debate the lack of logic surrounding this film for hours but there’s no need as I’m sure you’ve gathered by now that watching this movie is about as smart as juggling rusty fish hooks in the dark. The first one is still worth your time but watching the second one just may give you seven years of bad luck.

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REVIEW: Saw 3D

"I sincerely hope they quit while they're ahead."

Left for dead, Detective Hoffman struggles with betrayal and loose ends while another game is set in motion. A former Jigsaw survivor (whose been cashing in on his story) is put to the test and forced to revisit the sins of his past forcing yet another unseen hand into play.

Now I know Horror has strayed off the beaten path a bit over the past few years, veering into the realm of what some have decided to label the “torture porn” era with films like HOSTEL and HOSTEL 2 leading the pack and though the SAW films certainly fit the bill, I have and always will consider them to be different from all the rest. SAW came along first and started it all (though in all fairness I firmly believe that SAW is one of SE7EN’s many illegitimate children) and though brutal, SAW was magnificent in every detail with an ending that put everyone back on their heels. SAW 3D brings the series full circle and takes things out with a bang. As a fan of these films (worried as I was about all these sequels), I can honestly say I was impressed with this final instalment.

While I’m being honest, since Jigsaw’s death at the end of SAW III, I’ve gone into the sequels thinking, “Okay, this will be the one that takes things too far,” but oddly enough I’ve never felt that way. Don’t get me wrong though, I think it’s absolutely hilarious that Jigsaw’s been dead for the past four films yet his sphere of influence is ever growing. What started out as one disgruntled man out to show people that life is precious and shouldn’t be taken for granted has turned into a Jigsaw cult with more members than you can shake a stick at. This is one of two things I find hard to swallow when it comes to these films. Jigsaw was clearly brilliant, I won’t take that away from him, but these films would have us believe that the only master plan bigger than Jigsaw’s would be God’s himself and it comes across as a bit of stretch at times.

My only other beef with these films are the traps. Not to say they’re underwhelming in the least because that’s not what I’m getting at here, the traps are sinfully grotesque and efficient (I literally loved the 3D aspect of things to pieces) but I didn’t realize Jigsaw or any of his merry band were engineers for NASA. Now back in the first SAW Jigsaw used trip wires attached to shotguns which even I could MacGyver up if need be but as time wore on these trap got more and more complex while Jigsaw himself got weaker and weaker. I can’t see that ex-junkie chick putting these things together and as much as I like Detective Hoffman, I don’t think they taught that sort of thing at the academy. All that aside these traps always work exactly as planned (and again, these things make assembling a computer tower chip by chip look easy) which is so contrary to life. I would have loved to see at least one trap fail at some point for believability’s sake.

SAW 3D (beyond the aforementioned nitpicking which if I don’t mention someone else will) was a devilishly good time on the big screen and the perfect way to wrap things up. The story is top notch and as much as I want to talk about it, I just can’t without giving too much away. There are a lot of plot points, characters (it was nice to see Sean Patrick Flanery in good form again after the disappointment that was BOONDOCK SAINTS 2) and angles that make this film shine but to discuss any of them would potentially rob this film (and you) of the glory deserved. Suffice to say, I’m impressed with where they went this time around. Jigsaw makes an appearance, Hoffman is still the badass we’ve grown to love and Jigsaw’s rule of punishing those who deserve it lives on. The only thing that can ruin this film now is greed, so hopefully Hollywood lets this series one go, regardless of how much money it makes. Don’t worry guys there’s still loads of money to be made off the box sets.

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REVIEW: Paranormal Activity 2

"People that say they liked this have to be lying."

After an alleged break-in, a semi-spooked family decide to install a bunch of cameras so they can keep a better eye on things. When more bizarre occurrences start taking place they slowly come around the idea that something isn’t right and that there’s a good chance they’re not alone in the house.

I guess I’ll begin by saying that PARANORMAL ACTIVITY didn’t “wow” me like it did so many others but there’s a reason for this and that reason is that this “video camera” take on things has been done nearly to death these days. Add to that the overabundance of ghost/possession films that have been haunting theatres and video stores for the past decade and you may begin to understand my ire, but before we feed that fire let me just say this film was slow as all hell. Watching the days go by as the camera scans the pool and all the same rooms over and over went beyond tedious. By midpoint I just wanted them all to die so I could be done with this flick but sadly the only person dying at that point was me...of boredom.

THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT kick started this genre apocalypse back in the nineties but at least then it was a fresh perspective; creepy sounds, stuff moving around, things going bump in the night, all being recorded by supposed real victims, it was pure gold and we all ate it up. Then what happened? Well, what always does in Hollywood when someone has a good idea: they bled it dry. I don’t have to tell you how piss poor a sequel BOOK OF SHADOWS panned out to be, and why, because they’d already used up all the WTF-juice on the first film and like so many other sequels, the bar was already so high it had nowhere else to go but down. Okay, so yes, they do splice a semi-interesting arc into this new story but all in all, this film takes us down the same worn path into all too familiar territory.

The characters involved were also a bit of letdown for me. Now let’s look beyond the fact that the family nanny just happened to be all into spiritual cleansing, going around the house burning incense and reciting incantations like a voodoo priestess (which got her fired too, nice work Dad), to the fact that the father is completely oblivious, the daughter’s a yahoo who believes everything she reads on the internet and the wife is lost somewhere in the middle. The only redeeming characters were the baby and the dog, so what does that tell you? There were a couple jolts to be sure but when bored to the point of slumber, only to have the silence broken by a loud “bang” or “thud”, yes you might jump but I wouldn’t particularly call that fear, just very poor scare tactics that died in the eighties.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 can only be described as a loathsome letdown drummed up by the same people that brought you the last one in hopes of turning another profit. Stirring aimlessly through an hour and twenty-five minutes for five final minutes of “action” was a taxing endeavour, one I sincerely don’t recommend. Without spoiling anything, let me say that this film ends exactly the way I expected it to (to be fair though, there was one cool twist that led up to it) which isn’t a far cry from the first one or many other similar incarnations. There was no need for this sequel and I would personally sell my soul to demons to ensure no more sequels (or similar films) get made in the future.

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REVIEW: Lost Boys The Thirst

"Somewhere Corey Haim is shaking his head."


DJ X, a vampire masquerading as a DJ, is building an army by infecting young ravers with what they believe to be a designer drug but in reality is blood, his blood. It’s up to the Frog Brothers to end this charade and rescue the brother of a Horror author before he’s sacrificed under the Blood Moon.

Well, it’s only fair to start this review by saying that LOST BOYS is one of my top five favourite films of all time, a classic so dear to my heart that I was utterly mortified by the idea of a sequel. The Coreys had many interviews during the gap between first and second film and in the end tried to justify that gap of time with quotes like, “we needed this time to get the story perfect,” and many other empty promises and boasting about THE TRIBE. My thoughts there? THE TRIBE was a complete rehashing of the first film in a different city with a lot of the same dialogue superimposed in for kicks. The ending was remotely interesting but the entire film just shouldn’t have happened. THE THIRST, though just as unnecessary as its predecessor, at least tries to go in a different direction, problem is, that direction is still down.

On the good side, the film looks sleek enough and sports a cool scene or two like when the vampires jump out of the plane, cascading down toward the ground the sound of Cry Little Sister. I dug how both sequels kept the song alive and one of the rewarding things about THE THIRST is how much they treasure the memory of Corey Haim and the first film. There are countless flashbacks which came off as genuine to me simply because I’m sure Feldman misses his lost friend. The Batman 14 comic was an especially nice touch and felt appropriate when visiting the grave.

Sadly, that’s where the fun ends for me as the rest of the film is simply a mess. The vampires were a touch over the top...that is, when you see them. DJ X was a fleeting thought as a villain and the so called twist is nothing at all to write home about. Feldman’s Rorschach grunts were ridiculous and though his one liners were nowhere near as bad as they were in THE TRIBE they were still awe-inspiringly bad. The whole rave thing was cool and all, I mean it’s the perfect cover for a vampire but it all felt way too BLADE-ish to be taken seriously. And on that note, Feldman is no Blade, the dude got his ass handed to him all movie. Not to mention the fact you could tell beyond the shadow of a doubt that he had no idea how to use a sword which really hurt his battle scene.

LOST BOYS THE THIRST was a partially entertaining trip down memory lane on a purely nostalgic level but by no means should be glorified or taken seriously as a sequel. I knew exactly what kind of ride I was in for when the film opened up with the Frog Brothers saving a senator from being turned (think X-MEN 2’s opening scene only dummied down to an infant’s mental capacity) and the hits just kept on coming. The ending made my stomach churn simply because it implies they may make another film with some changes to appease the TWILIGHT mob. My only hope is that Corey Haim is sitting across from God as we speak negotiating the terms for ending this series now.

LOST BOYS will always shine in my eyes and for me, there are no sequels, just two stand alone pieces of nonsense trying to hitch a ride on the original’s coattails. I’ll admit this one was better than the last but that’s still not saying much, nor is it any reason to waste your time or money here. Nostalgia is a funny thing but I can honestly say I’m not sure I’d have watched this movie had I not needed to review it.

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BLU RAY: High Tension

"Words can't describe the horror."

Two best friends, Marie and Alexia, decide to drive down to Alexia’s parent’s farmhouse in the country for a little downtime as they get ready to write their college exams. All seems well until Marie realizes they’re not alone and that a brutal killer has decided to make them this night’s game.

Well, I’m going to be honest with you all in saying that I was overjoyed to get this Blu-ray to review but not for the reasons you might think. This is not a good movie. As a matter of fact, I don’t even consider this abomination a film at all. HIGH TENSION is a prime example of why there’s no room for the naive in Hollywood and obviously no depths to which some people will sink to make a buck. Allow me to explain.

The French gore fest entitled "High Tension" was released back in 2003. I'll never forget my seething anger the night I rented it. I'd recently gotten into Dean Koontz's work and had just finished reading "Intensity" and was hot on the trail of the made for TV movie adaption when I came across this steaming nugget of plagiarism. I didn't know it at the time of course, I was fishing for something to watch at Blockbuster and as the pull of desperate times was upon me yet again, I ended up going home with this flick. I started it up, instantly feeling something wrong in the first ten minutes, something familiar. About fifteen minutes in, "High Tension" ceased to exist and I was now watching "Intensity", or rather someone’s twisted version of it.

Now I know what you might be thinking, “come on man, there are tons of films with the same M.O. so how can you say this was a carbon copy?” Well, to be honest, because that’s exactly what the first half of the film is. The two girls driving out to the farmhouse in the middle of wine country, the dinner with the family, a killer coming in and killing the parents then abducting one of the girls, the other girl sneaking into the truck, stopping at the gas station and then to completely top it off, Marie brought a knife (just like in the book) which she mistakenly drops at the pumps just as she does in the book. Okay, so yes, the film does change from there (going beyond ridiculous I might add, with an ending that’s just plain absurd) but there’s no denying the obvious here.

HIGH TENSION is a disgrace, a mockery that demeans everything movies are supposed to stand for. As I writer, this goes beyond insult and I just couldn't get my mind around it. I later wrote to Mr. Koontz for answers (and instructions on how to find the TV version of Intensity) and he was kind enough to write me back assuring me this "situation" was being dealt with. Now, I was glad to hear it but it really depresses me to know this kind of out right plagiarism happens...and apparently more often than we know. Bottom line folks (and especially to all you writers out there) copyright your work and be damn careful what you do with it and who you show it to. And whatever you do, DON’T spend a dime on this film or encourage it in any way shape or form.

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BLU RAY: The Order

"My second favourite Heath Ledger movie."

Alex Bernier is a radical young priest unlike any you might find in the order. When a renowned member of his order, a priest who was like a father to him, dies mysteriously Alex is sent to Rome to investigate. What he finds are a series of ritualistic murders perpetrated by an ancient evil known only as a Sin Eater.

I vaguely remembered Heath Ledger from 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU but he instantly became one of my favourite up and coming actors after A KNIGHT’S TALE. I’d never heard of THE ORDER and as a matter of fact received it as a gift from my fiancée after it hit DVD. Aside from A KNIGHT’S TALE (and of course THE DARK KNIGHT), this flick was and still is my second favourite Heath Ledger film. Most people have never heard of THE ORDER but thankfully I’m here to tell you why you should change that.

For me this movie spelt “win” across the board for two reasons; the first being that this film practically reunites the full cast of A KNIGHT’S TALE. Heath is once again joined by Shannyn Sossamon and Mark Addy and as with A KNIGHT’S TALE their chemistry and camaraderie is flawless. Clearly these actors became great friends and decided to go the Ben Affleck/Matt Damon and Vince Vaughn/Jon Favs route which was fine by me as like I said, they worked magic together. On a side note, I’d love to know what happened to Sossamon as she seems to have vanished. Addy co-starred in the funny TV series STILL STANDING, popped up in ROBIN HOOD and will be in the upcoming A GAME OF THRONES HBO series, so clearly he’s doing well but it’s a real shame about Sossamon as I think she’s got real talent.

The second and most notable reason I loved this film was due to the unparalleled original path it takes with religion. I’m a big fan of religious overtones that delve into the dark uncharted regions of mankind and this film goes where none have gone before with the Sin Eater. I won’t give too much away for those who have yet to see this but I was very much impressed by this phenomenon. Peter Weller’s character was just as fascinating as are his (ahem) extracurricular activities in the film. Some of these darker elements remind me of CONSTANTINE (another film I loved) only darker and more sadistic if you can imagine that. Like I said, “win” across the board for me.

THE ORDER is a rare gem, a film that goes where most people don’t dare tread and it’s these types of unbeaten paths that entertain me the most. I remember being at the gym the night Heath Ledger was pronounced dead, a buddy of mine who knows how into movies I am told me and I was very upset by the news. Ledger was a fine actor and just starting to get the recognition he deserved. I was looking forward to seeing him reprise his Joker role in the next Batman film but above all else I was anxiously awaiting a sequel to this film as the ending is quite a cliff hanger. Clearly, we’ll never see these performances and that makes me sad. May Heath rest in peace knowing that although he may be gone, he’s most certainly not forgotten.

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TRAILER: Drive Angry

The way this trailer started off, I thought I was looking at GHOST RIDER 2, what with all the devil and hell mentions and of course Nicholas Cage but this is something completely different. To be honest I have no clue where this one came from but the premise is cool, William Fichtner is the man and Amber Heard is looking hotter than ever (though I will say her accent here does seem like it'll get on my nerves pretty quick).

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REVIEW: Red

"A great action flick from the boys over at DC."

Retired Black-Ops agent Frank Moses is trying to integrate back into society by playing phone tag with a receptionist he’s developing a thing for when a wet team suddenly drops in on him in the dead of night to take him out. Looking to settle the score (and protect the woman he’s now put in danger) Frank decides to reassemble the old gang for one last job.

I didn’t go into RED with high expectations for a couple of reasons, the first being that the trailer didn’t exactly blow me away; there were a couple bad one liners and the premise seemed a bit of a stretch. Now the main reason I wasn’t impressed was due to the PG-13 rating. This is a film based upon a graphic novel from our crew over at DC and though not all graphic novel to film transitions end up like 300 or THE WATCHMEN, I really do feel this one could have benefitted from bump up in the hierarchy. That said, RED was a blast in more ways than one and a definite pick-me-up in this dull theatrical time.

The story was solid and conveyed retired assassins in what I would envision to be an accurate (and quite humorous, the Christmas decorations bit was a hoot) fashion. I mean honestly, what does one do to avoid boredom after a life killing? Hearing one of the characters gripe about not having killed someone in years and then another admitting to taking the odd contract on the side was priceless and again, probably not too far from the mark. Of course on that note, the film’s tone was rather light hearted when weighed against the often bleak subject matter which to me clearly goes back to the rating. There’s room for a splash of humour without watering a film down (take KICK ASS for example) from grittier glory and as good a time as RED was I firmly believe it could have been better.

What really drives this film into the bleachers is the flawless cast. Bruce Willis has still got it; that much needs to be immediately put out there. I was sceptical about the last DIE HARD flick but Willis handled himself like a true action star would as he also does here. Now mind you I would consider this film a lot closer to THE WHOLE NINE YARDS than any full tilt action vehicle but bottom line Bruce still packs a punch. Morgan Freeman, Brian Cox and John Malkovich are always a pleasure and they even squeezed in a couple nice cameos from James Remar and Richard Dreyfuss but it was Karl Urban who steals the show next to Willis. Urban’s been an up and coming favourite of mine for awhile but fell off the grid for a time up until STAR TREK and I for one am happy to see him back in the game.

RED was a lot of fun and to be honest, I shouldn’t have had any doubts because DC has upped their game considerably of late (on all fronts) and continues to amaze me. The action was well shot, the shootouts were some of the best I’ve seen in awhile and the stunts were as sharp as the explosions. I also enjoyed the dialogue (even if it was corny at times) but the team, good as they are, seemed to get things done with minimal trouble or notice (Bruce’s house getting shot up as it did didn’t even seem to stir a neighbourhood dog let alone the neighbours themselves). This film is worth your money don’t get me wrong, I just tend to see things for what they could have been when it comes to action, especially when I enjoy what I saw.

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TRAILER: Scream 4

I'll never forget walking out of SCREAM with my crew back in the day, it was a blast from start to finish and just what Wes Craven needed to redefine his genius. Years later, we stand on the brink of SCREAM 4 and though I'm unsure just how I feel about this, one thing is for certain, I am curious.

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REVIEW: My Soul To Take

"Not Craven's best but still a decent Horror flick."

It’s Ripper Day, the anniversary of a serial killer’s death that brought the town of Riverton to its knees sixteen years ago. Seven children were born that night and some believe the killer’s soul passed into one of those kids while others believe the killer never truly died, either way people are dying and it’s up to the Riverton seven to put an end to the Ripper once and for all.

Reinventing one’s self in the Horror industry isn’t an easy task for anyone, even a guy as renown as Wes Craven. There’s a reason so many Horror films are being remade and simply put, it just ain’t easy to invent new icons for this genre. Jigsaw (according to Tobin Bell) was a fluke but be that as it may he’s become a household name. Other than that, I enjoyed THE COLLECTOR, THE STRANGERS and FUNNY GAMES but the only true breakthrough Horror icon to come about in the past few years other than that would be Adam Green’s Victor Crowley from HATCHET (I’m purposely leaving one out but I’ll come back to him later). I can’t see the Ripper joining the ranks (unless it’s through straight to DVD sequels) but I did enjoy this film nonetheless.

First, the good: I dig stories about multiple personalities when there’s clearly been some effort put into them (dropping it on us in the last five minutes has gotten rather old), but even better is the idea of soul jumping. This film reminds me of John Saul’s BLACK LIGHTNING (if only vaguely) where a killer learned to leave his body and possess someone else for a short time. CHILD’S PLAY used this theory a bit more directly but in all cases I’ve enjoyed it. Uniquely added details like the condor are always welcome as is Wes Craven’s obvious ability to write sharp, witty dialogue laced with just the right amount of humour. Pacing, score, tension, those were all bang on as well.

Now for the bad: First, releasing this in 3D is a joke (on us) because it’s obviously all about the Benjamins as there was absolutely no need for it or proper use of it whatsoever. The biggest flaw is with Wes Craven himself as he’s his own worst enemy here. Have you guessed the left out icon yet? Wes Craven’s SCREAM films introduced Ghostface into the mix (and in all honestly I’m looking forward to SCREAM 4) and though he’s a fantastic baddy, I couldn’t help but feel cheated here as the Ripper was pretty much living in his shadow. He even called one of them on the phone and I was waiting with a grin to see if he’d drop a scary movie line. He didn’t, but I’m sure you get the picture.

MY SOUL TO TAKE was a decent trip down Horror lane with an explosive opening sequence and a cool ending for what it is. Like I said, it’s rough trying to keep your edge sharp in Horror these days, especially with slasher flicks like these. Wes Craven is clearly still in SCREAM mode, which is fine, but it wouldn’t have hurt him to distance himself from it and take this film down a different road. Similarities aside this is still good times and the best new choice at the theatre right now unless you live in one of the selected cities showing Ryan Reynold’s film BURIED (I clearly don’t) but that said, the cost of 3D can be steep so waiting for this one to hit the home market might not be a bad idea either.

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TRAILER: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The first Narnia flick had it's moments, especially when it came to the battle sequence at the end. The second film blew me away and got me hooked on this series but this trailer doesn't have the power of the first two films or the energy. Some fans of the novels say this was the best one but as it stands right now I'm not seeing it. Time will tell.

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REVIEW: Let Me In

"Better than the original but still unnecessary."

Owen is a shy, lonely little boy who's mostly ignored by everyone except the bullies who pick on him at school. When a strange girl (who turns out to be a vampire) moves into his building, the two become close and Owen's lonely world slowly begins to change.

I remember coming out of Blockbuster back in early 2009 and picking up the "coming soon" movie news magazine they have at the door. Glancing through it, I came upon a flick called LET THE RIGHT ONE IN and a caption going on about how it’s "the best vampire movie ever." I'd already heard some buzz about it at that point and though I didn't dislike the film, I can easy say as a vampire fan it was a far cry from the best vampire movie out there. LET ME IN isn’t exactly a carbon copy of its original Swedish counterpart but it looks pretty damn close. I’m not particularly crazy about remakes (especially when done like this and so soon, something they’re also doing with THE GIRLWITH THE DRAGON TATTOO films) but this version was indeed neater and easier to watch.

Personally, one of the very few things that cause my suspension of disbelief to stumble is watching kids who are written as adults. I dug the storyline for what it is (something that no doubt looked better on paper) but most people (myself included) aren't terribly into stories that revolve around twelve year old kids, vampire or no vampire. INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE killed the idea of kid vamps for me with Kristen Dunst's whinny little character running around like a spoiled brat (I was so happy when she got burnt to a crisp). That said, Chloe Moretz was phenomenal as Abby which isn’t surprising after her work as Hit Girl and Kodi Smit-McPhee also worked well as Owen. They’re chemistry was genuine and that in itself was the key to holding this film together.

Thankfully this version didn’t suffer from the mess of subtitles or horrendous dubbing, something that really hurt the original’s fun factor for me. They really toned down the intimacy between the two kids here as well, something I was also relieved to see (I held my breath during the scene when she comes in the window and strips down praying they wouldn’t show anything and they didn’t). The only real drag here is the pace, something a little more time in the editing room could have easily fixed. The CGI is my only real complaint as it looked silly as hell and just plain lazy. Also, I don’t remember there being so much “Jesus” talk in the original, it stuck out here like a sore thumb.

LET ME IN is not a bad film but there are things to consider before forking out your hard earned cash to see in theatres; the most important of these being that only true (hardcore) vampire fans will have any use for it. I enjoyed what this film tries to do. I liked the story, the tense mood and there were more than a couple cool effects and dark scenes (looooved the pool scene as well as Abby showing Own what happens if she’s not invited in) and the ending was pretty cool too despite knowing that it’s all going to come full circle again down the road. A great way to look at this film is by comparing it to the first couple Harry Potter films, yes they were cool stories but they were a little hard to take seriously due to the age of the actors. LET ME IN is by no means campy, nor does it feel like Disney territory but there are more than a couple moments that may cause you to squirm uncomfortably in your seat and it won’t be due to the violence.

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TRAILER: Death Race 2

Now on the one hand, I enjoyed Paul W.S. Anderson's DEATH RACE remake but on the other hand I can't help but call a direct to DVD sequel a bit of a red flag. I dig the idea of a prequel to explain the origins of Statham's secret character (and of course more Danny Trejo) but I can't see this being anything but rental territory and even then, it probably won't be re-watchable.

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TRAILER: Skyline

I love alien flicks, always have but even I can't deny the fact that the originality in this field has been waning for quite some time now. SKYLINE looks phenomenal and exploding with enough small curves into new territory to indeed become something worthy of praise. Let's hope I'm not wrong.

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BLU RAY: Hatchet

"A perfect shout out to the yesteryears of Horror."

An illegal after dark boat tour down a haunted New Orleans swamp puts a group of strangers at the mercy of Victor Crowley, a tormented soul whose tragic death has him forever wandering the swamps angry and looking for blood.

If you read my reviews or ravings in C’mon Hollywood, it’s no secret by now that I’m not very happy with where Horror has gone in the past decade. Aside from a random gem here and there, all we’ve been left with are remakes and campy, watered down PG-13 fluff (which admittedly works from time to time but mostly doesn’t). HATCHET had me intrigued from day one. Not because it was an insanely high budget endeavour, or because it was so death defiantly original but because director/writer Adam Green is like me, a true fan of old school Horror. He wanted to give us a taste of the glory days and trust me when I tell you that evil’s never tasted so good.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that HATCHET goes overboard with the blood and gore, something that’s painfully obvious in the opening moments of the film but then again, that’s the point. This film delivers on the same level MASTERS OF HORROR did (which to me was THE best Horror show to ever grace TV) and does so without shame or apology. Some have argued that this film was “too gross” and you don’t need that kind of violence to make Horror fun. These people are right. You don’t need it at all. I just watched DEVIL this weekend and enjoyed the hell out of it in a totally different way than I enjoyed HATCHET. You don’t need limbs a flying or heads being torn off just like I don’t need a sixty inch TV but that doesn’t mean that both don’t put a huge smile on my face.

The cast was another fun aspect of this film with the most obvious being that Kane (Jason Voorhees) Hodder and Robert (Freddy Kruger) Englund are once again in the same flick, even if it’s not for long. It was cool to see Candyman as well even if it was only a cameo. Joel Moore and Deon Richmond were the perfect pair of friends to pony up for this adventure. Sure, Deon was playing “the token black guy” to the letter but his dialogue was priceless and had me in stitches most of the time. The writing was tight, witty and not too over the top which is exactly what flicks like this need. I was also a fan of Victor Crowley’s story line, it was simple yet solid.

HATCHET was the perfect DeLorean ride back to Horror’s past while maintaining all the great features of the present. There were scares, laughs, lots of red stuff and plenty of T&A, basically all the things that seem to be on the comeback lately with flicks like PIRAHNNA 3-D and MACHETE (even though that last one’s not technically a Horror movie). HATCHET made no attempt to hide what it was or trick anyone into thinking it was anything but an old school bloodbath from start to finish. Every now and again this is exactly what I want out of a Horror film, which I guess means it’s good to have some fluff in this genre otherwise the novelty of films like this would no doubt quickly wear off.

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BLU RAY: Se7en

"A brutal masterpiece."

Detective Mills and Summerset are about to go head to head with the evilest and most diabolical serial killer to set the stage as he leads them through seven murders, one for each of the seven deadly sins, in what will become one of the most famous cases of all time.

One thing I couldn’t help but think as I sat down with SE7EN for close to the fiftieth time was how appropriate it felt that the film opens with Trent Reznor’s song “Closer”. This flick is hands down my favourite serial killer movie of all time and I can honestly say that no film will ever trump it (not that so many haven’t tried). At this point (when the film was originally released) the only other movie similar to this one to push the envelope was THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS but even Hannibal himself would have no doubt thought twice about messing with John Doe. I use the following accolade very rarely but here it goes, SE7EN is an absolute masterpiece of a film, it really doesn’t get better than this.

As we’re now sitting fifteen years later (I honestly can’t believe it’s been that long) there can’t be much to say about this superb film that hasn’t already been said so as always I’m going to focus on what I loved the most. First and foremost it’s the brooding atmosphere. Despite knowing this film word for word I’m still drawn in every time feeling every second of raw tension through clenched teeth and tightened muscles. The score is perfect, coiling around you like a snake and slowly squeezing with each step forward. Again, you know what’s going to happen, who or what’s around every corner but it doesn’t matter as each viewing actually feels like the first time which isn’t an easy thing to pull off.

The characters are also gold. John Doe is a special breed of monster, something we tend to forget between viewings but it all comes crashing back as we’re once again plunged into his world. No one will ever forget the grotesque gluttony kill or the brutal lust kill but the one that still puts me back on my heels is sloth. Torturing someone for an entire year is beyond even my sick, twisted mind. I’d have to hate someone will a real hard-on to go that kind of distance. Of course, the ending here or as John would call it, the complete act, is what truly makes the film. I’ve never in my life wanted to see someone die more than Doe at this point and had I been in Pitt’s shoes, I wouldn’t have hesitated even half as long.

SE7EN rests upon a cinematic pedestal so high even the Gods themselves look up at it. John Doe was right; his masterpiece has been mulled over, copied and taken from since the day this film hit theatres. The roots of countless films can be found here from nearly half the serial killer movies that have come after it, to Horror franchises like SAW and HOSTEL (and I dare any of them to deny it). That said, there’s no substitute for the real thing and SE7EN is just as phenomenal now as it ever was.

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BLU RAY: American Beauty

"A personal favourite, pure gold."

Lester Burnham and his family may look normal, their neighbours may look normal, their lives and neighbourhood may seem normal but nothing could be father from the truth in this vivid tale about how beautiful and ugly life gets when we’re not paying attention.

There are very few movies that after having sat through them I can honestly say I felt something inside me change just a little. Some films either very bluntly or rather inconspicuously draw something out of us or point something out, reminding us that there’s more to life than the mundane grind. These moments of clarity are few and far between by AMERICAN BEAUTY triggered one such moment (or perhaps many) for me and as such I make it a point to watch this film at least once or twice a year.

First off, how can you not love Lester, the guy just screams, “I’m trapped in a shitty marriage working a dead end job while fighting the urge to dive into oncoming traffic as this mid-life crisis slowly eats away at my soul,” and in his case it’s not an exaggeration (case in point his hilarious shower monologue at the beginning). Lester’s character development throughout this film is genuine and wholeheartedly awesome, despite being built upon the rather risky and borderline criminal idea of hooking up with his daughter’s best friend. Of course, the funny thing there is that Lester is such an empathetic (or is pathetic) character that you look past his unhealthy obsession and still root for him nonetheless.

Lester is far from the only “character” in this tale though, as a matter a fact this film is full of them but again, therein lies the true beauty of this film; we’re all incredibly messed up individuals behind closed doors and instead of hiding this fact (like we all do) this film simply runs with it and I think that’s why it works on so many levels. My favourite scene comes from Wes Bently who plays the unusually creepy, yet surprisingly brilliant Ricky Fitts. The first time I heard him explain the video tapping of the bag blowing in the wind I truly was moved and it made me think of all the magnificent beauty in the world that we all take for granted every day. It’s for this reason I try to take a step back from stress and life in general whenever I can to “smell the roses” so to speak and I suggest you all try to do the same whenever possible.

AMERICAN BEAUTY is one of the all time best films I’ve ever seen so as you can well imagine I was overjoyed to get it on Blu-ray to review. This just happens to be Kevin Spacey at his best and watching this again makes me wish did more movies lately. There’s a lot going on in this film I didn’t mention as there may be a few stragglers out there who have yet to see it but in closing I feel the need to defend Lester once again when it comes to Mena Suvari. The rose petal thing aside, this was the absolute hottest that girl’s looked on camera and even if she is half the man’s age, no man on this planet could look me in the eye and honestly say he wouldn’t have done the same thing in Lester’s situation.

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TRAILER: The Fighter

Well, I like Mark Wahlberg and I like Christian Bale but if you want my honest opinion this flick feels like it's trying to ride on ROCKY's coattails which rubs me the wrong way. If I see this movie, I won't be paying for it.

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TRAILER: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

This series has really amazed me with a story and characters that have come so far. I'm reminded of the feeling I got when THE LORD OF THE RINGS films were coming to an end, so too now does an epic tale begin its final journey and after watching this trailer I can tell it will be a truly magical event in cinematic history.

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REVIEW: Devil

"Welcome back Mr. Shyamalan."

Five strangers riding in an elevator on what appears to be a normal day are trapped when the elevator suddenly stops working. Though the building security promise everything is fine and that they’ll be out soon, it quickly becomes obvious that something is very wrong and that their lives (and souls) are in serious danger.

In 1999 M. Night Shyamalan became a household name when he blew us away with THE SIXTH SENSE. Then came UNBREAKABLE and SIGNS and at that point he couldn’t make movies fast enough to appease the masses just waiting to throw money at him. Of course, all good things must come to an end and as such crap like THE VILLAGE, THE LADY IN THE WATER and THE HAPPENING floated down the pipeline and pretty much undid all that he’d done for himself (I’ll leave THE LAST AIRBENDER out of this). What happened, you ask? Arrogance, ignorance, laziness, all of the above, who knows really but it happens a lot in Hollywood so I can’t say I’m surprised, disappointed yes but not surprised. That said, here’s the good news: DEVIL was the edge of your seat, spine tingling experience I crave yet seldom get out of a Horror film. I couldn’t have left the theatre happier.

Okay, so even I’ll admit that the premise here (five people stuck in an elevator realize they’re in there with the Devil) though remotely intriguing wasn’t exactly compelling. The first thing that popped into my mind was PHONEBOOTH, which for all intensive purposes accomplished a lot with so very little. The same can be said here as the story goes far beyond the small tidbit they’re using to reel us in. M. Night gives us a monologue intro about stories he was told as a kid (weak monologues devoid of any type of emotion but Shyamalan always has to put himself in there somehow) to help kick start the mood and build some tension but it isn’t until one of the security guards (who just happens to be a religious fanatic) gets a glimpse of what’s going on in the elevator do we really start to see some of the pieces come together.

Now if I’m sounding a little vague it’s because there’s a lot to give away or ruin here and I just can’t bring myself to do that to you but I will say this, what catapults DEVIL beyond other tales involving Satan himself is that usually you get some kind of creepy “Devil” inspired mystery turning up in some remote ruins or tied to some unearthed artefact all of which go relatively unnoticed to all those uninvolved. Not this time. Here the Devil wants an audience to see how he’s punishing his victims and I loved that concept! No hiding, no secrets, just an all out “The Devil came down to Georgia” free for all with all the cards out on the table, the way it should be.

DEVIL was a film I went into with next to no expectations but believe you me, film one of the M. Night Chronicles has me revved up and screaming for more. Shyamalan can write a great Thriller/Horror flick if he wants to and the dialogue here proves that he had to be on something when he wrote THE HAPPENING as he didn’t miss a beat here. You’ll recognize some of the cast from minor roles here and there but all players involved shine. I was also impressed with the camera work; lots of close-ups were the way to go to help create a sense of claustrophobia mixed with simple darkness when the lights went out from time to time. Sometimes the simplest route is the best route. All in all DEVIL marks the return of my faith in Shyamalan and was a grade A time at the movies (with an ending that’ll suck the air out of the room). I highly recommend it.

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BLU RAY: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

"Much better than I expected."

After being framed for killing the King, Prince Dastan must reluctantly team up with a renegade Princess to keep a magical dagger protected from evil, preventing the sands of time from being released and destroying the world.

Being an avid gamer I was indeed well aware of the premise behind PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME. I wasn’t into these games personally but my best friend Aaron is and I did watch him play through them. These games were similar to TOMB RAIDER and the LEGACY OF KAIN games with an overabundance of puzzle solving, acrobatics and well timed jumps making them a tad bit tedious for me but they were a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Thankfully, the film follows in the game’s footsteps in that regard as I had nothing but fun watching it.

I found it ironic that Disney was the studio behind this film. The similarities between this movie and Aladdin are quite amazing. If the game didn’t exist, a couple changes here and there and this could easily have become a live action Aladdin film. That said, one of the greatest parts about this film (and no doubt one of the most challenging for Gyllenhaal) was how true to form they made Prince Dastan. Not only did Jake look the part but they kept his fighting prowess and remarkable agility intact. The stunts, from running across the wall, to the jumping and the arrow climbing were exciting, awe inspiring and just plain awesome. They really paid close attention to detail here and it paid off.

When I’d head Ben Kingsley was up for the role of Nizam I was immediately excited, not to mention Jake being up for the role of Dastan. I’m a big fan of both these actors and am happy to report that they (as well as the rest of this fantastic cast) did exceptionally well. Gyllenhaal handled the action like a champion and here’s hoping he takes on similar roles in the future. And as far as the action goes, I’m always impressed with Jerry Bruckheimer’s vision. I remember being unsure what to make of the first PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN simply because it was being backed by Disney (and naturally felt the same way here a little) but thankfully they’re able to keep a good balance, one that’s sure to make everyone happy.

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME is proof that there’s still hope for video game movies. Sure I’d have been much happier seeing this film darker but as I said, a proper equilibrium was kept and I was satisfied with result. The dagger of time was obviously one of the coolest uses of special effects I’ve seen in awhile and shooting in the deserts of Morocco added a tremendous amount of character to the film and looked absolutely gorgeous on Blu-ray (and so did Gemma Arterton I might add). Gamers will quickly add that this isn’t the best translation from game to film but they never really are, so my advice is to take from it what you can and enjoy the ride for what it is.

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REVIEW: Resident Evil: Afterlife

"They were on the right track but could have went further with it."

The world as we know it has been destroyed by the infection and Alice now continues her quest for revenge against the Umbrella Corporation. After an unexpected setback, Alice winds up pursuing her friend Claire and the other survivors who sought refuge in Alaska where there was rumoured to be a safe haven without infection. Alice finds out this was a lie and is determined to seek out the truth.

I’ve been an avid fan of the RE games since the first one helped launch the original Playstation and had an absolute blast with RE 5 on the Playstation 3. I was overjoyed at the news of a RESIDENT EVIL film and though I did enjoy the first one I couldn’t help but wonder why they strayed so far from what the game truly was, ending up with something that was not a whole hell of a lot different from your average zombie flick. They did learn their lesson quick though and decided to be a bit more faithful with the second instalment but the third really went off the beaten path. RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE is caught somewhere in the middle but still manages to be a decent action flick.

My biggest problem with this series is Alice. I love Milla don’t get me wrong but I don’t understand why Paul W.S. Anderson and the rest of the crew involved decided to create a new female lead and forsake the ones already there in front of them. Add to that, they spend so much time over the course of these films developing Alice and her arsenal of (sometimes cool, sometimes ridiculous) abilities when they should have been diving head long into the Umbrella Corporation, the T-Virus and the many other strains and developments that made the games so damn intriguing. Yes, they kept the gore and violence. Yes, the action looks great and these films get slicker and slicker as they go but where’s the depth and mystery? Where’s that extra push to make these films stand above the rest?

The rumour is this film was based loosely on RE 5 and therein sits one of the other problems. Each film tries to steal a bit of lore or add a familiar name but with Alice as the lead it ends up being a moot point. Jill Valentine, Claire and Chris Redfield, even my main man Wesker are all here but what’s the use as they’re underdeveloped fillers most of the time. Claire was useless in the third film and remains useless here. I loved seeing Wentworth Miller come aboard as Chris Redfield but other than a wink in PRISON BREAK’s direction and a couple one liners he too becomes a fleeting memory. Albert Wesker is a big deal when it comes to the games, he was at ground zero and is a wavering presence over your shoulder at all times. The battles with him are cool but to non-fans of the game he might come off as more of a Neo clone than anything else which is a shame because he’s a superb villain.

RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE was a fun time at the movies and an absolute feast for the eyes in 3-D (the rain drops cascading off the actor names in the opening credits was a nice touch). The pace slowed down a couple times but the action was bang on when it was there. The undead did take a backseat to Wesker and the Axeman (who looked amazing by the way) but they still managed to squeeze in the new mutated dogs and zombies (with tentacles) from RE 5 which though brief was still good to see. I liked the ending (also a cool RE 5-ish tie in) but I thought they were planning on rebooting the franchise after this one and not moving forward, an idea I absolutely loathe I might add. Who knows with Hollywood these days but I’d personally love to see Leon Kennedy take the lead in a live action film and personally would have liked Wentworth Miller in that role instead of the one he ended up with.

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