TRAILER: The Last Airbender

Okay, another solid trailer for M. Night's new flick and I have to say that if this thing is even half as good as it looks visually, we're in for one hell of a ride. M. Night's got a chance for a comeback here and though I may be the only one, I'm rooting for him.

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TRAILER: Eclipse

Now I'm probably one of those rare guys who doesn't mind the TWILIGHT series and as a result, I gotta say I'm digging the concept of the early teaser. Team Edward and team Jacob teaming up to fight an army of vampires sounds like it could be a cool time but I'll need to see a full trailer before I'm officially on board.

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REVIEW: The Blind Side

"Hands down this year's dramatic gem."

Michael Oher is poor kid from the projects who doesn’t have a chance in hell of making in this world until stubborn mother (with a heart of gold) of an all athlete family takes him under her wing. Both sides have a lot to learn about one another as Mike discovers his true calling in life.

I don’t remember hearing much about THE BLIND SIDE prior to its release, but what I do remember is the huge numbers it generated in ticket sales during the first month of its theatrical run. This has been a big year for genre Dramas that are based on true events but unlike PRECIOUS (a seriously overrated film, but I’ll come back to that later) this film shines for all the right reasons and won a place in my heart which is no small feat for this type of film.

The story was easy for me to get into as it revolved around football, or at least inadvertently. I thought there would be far more of the sport (loved the Lawrence Taylor shout outs), and despite Mike not really get into the game until mid-movie, I was still more than please as well as entertained by how the film progressed and unfolded because the pace was well balance for a flick that went beyond the two hour mark. The drama was well played, not too over the top but visceral enough to paint an appropriate picture and hit me in the gut when it needed to. Most films like this use the score to add a sombre layer to the atmosphere, not so here and I’m happy for it as sometimes it’s a dead giveaway to coming events.

Sandra Bullock has come a long way in my eyes and is sensational here. I feel genuinely sympathetic to her current plight in the tabloids as I’m sure it’s taken away from the glory she should have been enjoying due to this performance. I was thrown by the idea of seeing Tim McGraw here (still don’t know how in hell his name would have come up) but in his defence, the guy delivered far better than I’d anticipated and actually looked as though he belonged there. Big props to Quinton Aaron for a knockout character I couldn’t help but root for and adore. Mike’s was a story worth telling and I’m happy to have been a part of it. Also, speaking of coming a long way, Kathy Bates lends her eccentric humour to the pot and again, I was happy to see it.

THE BLIND SIDE was bar none a fantastic film and the only complaint I have is that its deserving spotlight was eclipsed by PRECIOUS. Having reviewed both films, I have to say that this one was far better and the true dramatic gem of the year despite what the Oscars would have you believe. I did feel the family were far nicer than your typical rich folk (and I was expecting far more fire to come from the car accident) but I will admit that it was nice to see the Good Samaritan side of things for a change. I also felt that more info on Mike’s siblings as well as the incident from his childhood could have been further explored but at least it didn’t hurt the story or make you wonder too much. This film is everything you could want in a heartfelt Drama and I sincerely recommend you see it.

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BLU-RAY: A Nightmare On Elm Street

"Will the new one hold a candle to this one, we'll know soon enough."

The parents living on Elm Street have a secret; they hunted down and murdered child killer named Freddy Krueger. Years later, Freddy’s spirit has come back to take revenge on the children of Elm Street by killing them on by one in their dreams.

There isn’t much to say about A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET that hasn’t already been said by now, but seeing as how I came into Horror during the eighties (around the time FREDDY’S REVENGE came out), I can say in all honesty that I have a unique perspective when it comes to this flick. Horror was booming in the eighties and Freddy was the “it guy” when it came to absolute terror. I mean seriously, a dude that kills you in your dreams with a razor blade fingered glove, how could that not scare the holy hell out of you? I still get a bit of a shiver every time I drive past an Elm Street (there just happens to be one in my grandparent’s neighbourhood).

So again, the story is pure genius and Wes Craven became big business after this baby came to town. The Blu-ray treatment is pretty decent and though dated, the effects are still pretty sharp (I’ll take good old fashioned real props over CGI any day of the week and twice on Sunday). And when it comes right down the man himself, Freddy looks insanely creepy for all the right and wrong reasons. Visually and conceptually this film is one of the best eighties Horror has to offer (I never really got into HALLOWEEN, Jason isn’t nearly as frightening and this was long before I discovered HELLRAISER).

When it comes down to acting, well this IS an eighties Horror flick so some things need to be forgiven, but all in all NIGHTMARE holds up pretty well. Robert Englund is more than an icon, he’s a Horror God among men and not only does he deliver one of the most vile entities every created, you can also tell that he’s loving every minute of it! My personal favourites in the series were this one, part 3 and WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE and boo me if you must, but FREDDY VS JASON was a hell of a good time as well. I dug Nancy’s character and was happy to see her return a couple times down the road, but what’s made me equally happy is that Robert didn’t simply fade away from Horror either. Jackie Earl’s got big shoes to fill.

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET is a classic in my eyes. No, it’s not for everyone and most of these films (up until they grew comical) are as gruesome and gory as they come. I originally convinced by step dad (whom I didn’t know is easily freaked out by Horror movies) to rent A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2 when it first hit VHS (yes, it was ages ago). I’ll never forget the pale white look on his face as the credits began to roll, he looked over at me and said, “If they make another one, don’t even think about asking me to watch it with you.” The thought still brings a smile to my face.

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REVIEW: The Slammin' Salmon

"It's no SUPER TROOPERS, but still a hell of a good time."

Retired boxing champ Slammin’ Cleon Salmon has one night to come up with twenty thousand dollars or he’ll lose his restaurant. In hopes of solving this dilemma, he offers ten large to the server who can sell the most food and a broken-rib sandwich to whoever comes in last.

I’ve got a lot of love for the Broken Lizard crew as SUPER TROOPERS is one of my all time favourite unlikely comedies to pop up over the past few years and still makes me laugh almost to tears in some parts. CLUB DREAD had its moments, but in all honesty, other than a boobfest (which I’m not complaining about) and a couple one liners it didn’t put up big numbers for the boys. I missed BEERFEST and though I keep meaning to watch it, the opportunity never seems to present itself. Now when I originally saw clips on Joblo (saw them but didn’t watch them) I had no idea this was Broken Lizard territory, but then when I saw the cover (the blue lips had me worried) I had mixed feelings. The good news is this flick was pretty damn funny and though not their best, it certainly comes in second.

I suppose one of the main reasons I have a soft spot for the story is because it takes place in the restaurant business, where I’ve been working the past decade as both a server and manager so I’ve seen it all. This flick is Broken Lizard’s WAITING (another fantastic look at the life of a server) both films deliver in the laugh category but where SALMON trumps WAITING is the tone. Here we get a laid back flick that starts out by not taking itself too seriously, but the heat gets jacked up when the eccentric owner needs to make some serious coin and decides to offer the server with the highest sales ten grand. Hilarity ensues.

Now the BL boys hold their own, but the biggest surprise here (no pun intended) is Michael Clark Duncan as the retired boxing champ turned restaurant owner Slammin’ Cleon Salmon. I enjoy Duncan’s work, and though they rattled his funny bone a little in ARMAGEDDON and THE WHOLE NINE YARDS, we really get to see him shine this time around and I thought he was hysterical. There were a couple other cameos worth mentioning, Lance “the man” Henriksen, a very aged looking Vivica Fox and my personal favourite, Dr. Mohinder Suresh from HEROES. Character-wise though, I was rooting for Nuts.

THE SLAMMIN’ SALMON went relatively unnoticed and that’s a real shame as these boys know how to bring the funny. Broken Lizard have yet to score their “big break” but their films do have a solid following and that’s more than I can say for half the crap hitting theatres these days. Comedy isn’t easy but these guys tend to make flicks with replay value which is no small feat. Too many of these types of movies are throwaways that you watch once and forget about. Not so here, and though underdogs they may be, I think Broken Lizard have a few more tricks up their sleeves and should be considered contenders in this genre.

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REVIEW: Clash of the Titans

"Not the best action flick out there, but still a solid time."

CLASH OF THE TITANS was a huge deal when it came out in the eighties, and though I didn't get the chance to enjoy it then, I recently reviewed it on DVD for Joblo.com.  And I believe it's for this reason that I have mixed thoughts about the new one.  I know for a fact that I would have enjoyed the show far more if I didn't know what was going to happen, but that said, I've viewed countless remakes (knowing exactly what would happen going in) and still enjoyed them without trepidation.  This was different.  

I guess one we can chalk one strike up to poor as hell 3-D, I mean this was a mess and clearly lacked finess.  This was done for extra coin and it shows.  There were a few differences in the storyline but that's to be expected I suppose.  However, Hades played a vital role in this film despite being absent from the original.  Zeus was more the villain in the original (which I didn't like), so I wasn't too worried about the change of tempo with Hades taking the slack over Zeus.  But on that note, the Gods played a seemingly more important part in the first film but got thrown to the back of the bus this time around.  

The effects were definitely top notch, no question there, but when it came down to the Medusa and the Kraken, both creatures got very little screen time and at no point felt as menacing as they were depicted in the original.  Even poor Calibos' character seemed rushed and simply thrown in for filler, as a matter a fact the entire story felt rushed, cold and ultimately bland for the most part.  The action scenes were great, don't get me wrong, but the weren't explored like they should have been.  Grandiose feats like defeating the Medusa and Kraken or even taming the Pegasus were lost in translation and played out like minute tasks on the way to confronting Hades (a useless side-story that was far less important in my mind).

CLASH OF THE TITANS worked as a mindless popcorn action flick with decent eye candy to boot.  Sam Worthington does action well and I was happy to see Mads and Gemma together again as well (me and woman had just watched CASINO ROYALE the night before).  Again, the changes were fine (except for those Djinn creatures who were absolutely useless and looked cheesy as hell) and I like I said, I may have enjoyed it more if I didn't know what was coming but who knows.  I wouldn't worry about missing this on in theaters but I will say that it should make for one hell of a fun time on Blu-ray.  

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TRAILER: The Other Guys

This flick looked like it could possibly have some potential with the Rock and Sam Jackson kicking ass as cops...but then we get the other two thrids of the trailer which focusses on an annoying Will Ferrell and an uninteresting Marky Mark. I'm hoping to God this is rated R and I get a red-band trailer to inspire hope.

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TRAILER: Sex And The City 2

Well, what does a man say about SEX AND THE CITY? On the one hand, I'm glad women get another dose of their sex-crazed femme fatales but I'm not so sure about the lack of the whole city end of things as they girls take off to Egypt. It's not for me to judge though as I'm sure chicks are gonna dig it.

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TRAILER: Splice

I loved SPECIES, and this looks kinda like that...without all the hot Natasha Hinstridge nudity. That said, I'm all for a cloning gone bad flick as to be honest if there's one thing that hits home for me, it's the science of cloning. Sure this is Hollywood glamorised, but the message is still pretty scary. Can't wait.

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TRAILER: A Nightmare on Elm Street

This trailer doesn't do anything other than give away more of the film, which considering this is a remake, I'm not against it as I think we all know how this film will play out as it is. Everything looks great and as far as I'm concerned it's looking like Platinum Dunes has scored again. I hope I'm not wrong.

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TRAILER: Resident Evil: Afterlife

In all honesty, as much as I dug RE3, the series was starting to feel a little weak. In this one the zombies nuked the world, but that's not the worst of it as the Alice's many copies seem a touch odd and out of character for this universe. I was stoked to hear Wesker and Chris Redfield would here but thus far this trailer doesn't have the RE feel I was hoping for.

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BLU-RAY: Toy Story

"Still pretty damn funny."

Today is Andy’s birthday and his toys are scared to death of being replaced. When he gets a super-cool Buzz Lightyear doll as a surprise gift, Woody (Andy’s favourite toy) decides he’ll stop at nothing to get rid of the new arrival.

It’s hard to believe that TOY STORY is a decade and a half old (you know it’s been awhile when it says “Siskel & Ebert give it two thumbs way up”), then again TOY STORY 3 is right around the corner. The Disney/Pixar duo was a relatively unnoticed merger and at this point in time nobody really cared anyway. This film changed all that, and today when I hear the word “Pixar”, I immediately get excited to see what they’ve come up with next. That’s right, I said I get excited...over an animated G movie. That, ladies and gentlemen is a testament to how great these films truly are.

The story is fun for all ages and is really quite genius: What do our toys do when we’re not around? And what’s even funnier still is that like children, pets and anything else we give affection to, toys too can become jealous of one another. For me, this was a slight nod in the direction of Disney’s HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS, a forgotten adventure to most these days, but one that immediately comes to mind while watching this adventure un-fold (especially when it comes to Woody and Buzz fighting to get from one house to the other).

The cast is another great aspect of this film as though I don’t usually enjoy Tom Hanks, I will give the man credit when it comes to comedy as he’s pretty damn good at it. Tim Allen (who also does funny rather well...or at least used to) came into this flick pretty much at the height of his career and it shows as he’s at the top of his game. I’m anxious to see where the chips fall with TOY STORY 3 and hope that these two can deliver once again. I enjoyed the second one for what it was, but there’s no comparison when it comes to this first incarnation. Even the dialogue is racy and suggestive at times for a Disney flick, and that’s one of the things that keeps me coming back for more.

TOY STORY is a landmark film that hasn’t aged a day in my mind. The animation is phenomenal considering this takes us back to a time when computer animation was just getting a proper foothold in cinema as a matured avenue for all. It was an uphill battle to be sure, but these guys pulled it off in spades and continue to bring the hits home (the only one I didn’t really care for was CARS). Disney is a love/hate company, but one thing that I can say in all certainty is that teaming up with Pixar to bring us these fantastic films was the best decision they ever made. Keep em coming guys!

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REVIEW: The Men Who Stare At Goats

"A hell of movie...if you're on acid."

A down on his luck journalist trying to get into Iraq for all the wrong reasons, stumbles upon an ex-military man claiming to have been part of a secret army project designed to teach and master psychic abilities to be used in combat.

Despite a star spangled cast, THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS in no way, shape or form looked enticing to me and had I not received it to review, I would never have watched it. That said, I enjoyed the theme of “government psychic training” despite the offbeat comedic overtone, but although this film does open a good many interesting doors, sadly these doors don’t really lead anywhere. The truth of the matter here is that this film has something to say, but stumbles when it comes to saying it, which is a shame because I truly did want to know more.

The story and subject matter are fun, even if they aren’t meant to be. There has been mass speculation for years that the army conducted “tests” on many soldiers in hopes of gaining or granting them psychic abilities, but of course like all military secrets, we’ve been left with just that, speculation. This is a side of the army we will never see, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the subtle nuances like the haircuts and all the little things Ewan McGregor’s character chalks up to “changes” that were implicated. I can appreciate the black comedy here as there no doubt was no other way to present this film (I’m unsure if the book it was based upon was similar in tone, but I can only assume it was).

At first I was a little surprised by this cast, and then I stopped to really think about it and realized that great as they may all be, these stars aren’t exactly doing much these days. George Clooney works well here, but I want to see another bad ass character like he played in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey have become supporting actors of late, and I suppose the same can be said of Ewan McGregor as well. Now the “Jedi” aspect of this film was laugh out loud funny the first time I heard it, but they really did lean on it quite a bit, making me wonder if George Lucas watched this flick with a raised eyebrow as he calmly dialled his lawyer’s number. The banality of it all took away from a cool premise.

THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS deals with smart ideas that are loosely based upon circumstantial evidence lost within the many secrets of our government and its army. But even the coolest ideas need proper pacing and this film took quite awhile to actually get somewhere, and even then, it didn’t get far. The cast was likeable and in good form, but again, it doesn’t change this fact that this film felt like straight to DVD fodder. I’ll be the first to admit that a man killing a goat (or any other animal) with his mind is indeed cool beans, but that sort of thing is better suited for an action/thriller rather than a bland comedy. And in the end I couldn’t really distinguish the genre they were shooting for as it’s a combination of many, yet not one of them stands out more than the rest.

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REVIEW: Brooklyn's Finest

"It's was nice to see Richard Gere back in action."

Three cops struggle to make ends meet, retain deep cover and get through those last days on the job as intertwining circumstances bring all them together.

I'm a huge fan of cop flicks, which is solely because of the cop side of things as I'm not overly fond of the dramatic twists and turns usually found therein. Basically what I'm saying to you is that these flicks don't always have the happy go lucky ending I want them to. Director Antoine Fuqua knows his way around these sorts of films with stuff like TRAINING DAY, BAIT and even KING ARTHUR under his belt and it certainly shows when the chips are down. That said, this film sports a more somber note than the aforementioned ones but all in all I dug it.

Ethan Hawke must love cop movies too as he's been in a number of them now, and though he doesn't have the most likeable character here, you can't help but feel for the guy and gun for him as the story unfolds. I was happy to see that Richard Gere hasn't disappeared from action flicks entirely, and though this characters is rather obviously cliched, how can I not cheer for the man, especially seeing as how it may be awhile before I see him in this sort of film again. And raise your glass because Wesley Snipes is back in the house! Sure, he's not one of the leads (he's actually more of a minor supporting role) but who cares, he's another guy I hoped wouldn't fade into the night and I was happy to see he's still got it.

BROOKLYN'S FINEST treads a rather beaten path and though heavily cliched by cop movie standards, it was still engrossing, well acted and one hell of a good time from where I was sitting. Yes, you may know what will happen. Yes, you've no doubt seen these characters before. But if you're a fan of the genre (like I am), you'll no doubt appreciate the fact that there are only so few ways police, their drama and their adventures can unfold on the big screen. So with that in mind, this flick was a decent ride and worth checking out.

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REVIEW: Ninja Assassin

"Rain is the man."

When his ninja master has the woman he loves killed, Raiso turns his back on the clan he's called home putting in motion a deadly series of events that will lead to an all out ninja war.

When I first caught wind of a couple ninja movies in the works a part of me cringed while another part of me jumped for joy. I grew up on classic ninja flicks and for that reason NINJA ASSASSIN stood out from me when I learned Sho Kosugi (the man himself) would be playing the role of the evil ninja master. Add to that some Rain action, a larger budget and the Warchowski Brothers and how can you go wrong? As far as I'm concerned you can't.

This flick caught some negative feedback and I'm not really that surprised, it's a fucking ninja movie after all, not exactly everyone's cup of tea. But as a far of the genre, I quickly took notice of some of the little things going on here. One, the source material here is very reminiscent of the phenomenal NINJA SCROLL(MANGA's animated ninja epic) and believe me when I tell you, that's a good thing. The way they did the ninja stars was dazzling, and adding a supernatural twist to the ninja with the darkness and whispers was a nice touch. There are so many subtle nods in the right direction here that you really have to watch this film more than once to truly catch and appreciate them all.

NINJA ASSASSIN is brutal, violent and very bloody, everything a stellar ninja movie should be. There should be no regrets or shame as far as this film is concerned. Rain was amazing in both physical prowess, marital arts ability and weapons. He's also a pretty decent actor to boot. Some have said there was a little too much CGI going on, but I disagree. This is a volatile sort of film to deal with and in my opinion was handled with care and finesse. Due to the lack of ninja believers out there, I'm not entirely sure we'll see more of these films anytime soon but I for one would love to see more and hope the ninja aren't forgotten.

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TRAILER: Survival of the Dead

George Romero certainly knows his zombies, he pretty much started the trend after all but times change and all good things must come to an end. I loved all of George's zombie flicks down to DIARY OF THE DEAD. Though not epic, they were all a pretty decent time as far as zombie flicks go. This new one looks half assed, low budget and just plain weak. I hate to say this, but George should retire from the zombie field after this one.

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TRAILER: Iron Man 2

This isn't much (only a little more than a minute), but even if it is just an IMAX trailer for the film, it's still IRON MAN 2 so I felt it was my duty to post it just the same. There are a ton of great movies hitting theaters this summer but I think we all know this is one of, if not THE biggest one.

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TRAILER: The A-Team

Well after a decent teaser this first trailer is exactly what I'd expect and hope for from an A-TEAM movie. I loved this show as a kid, and though Rampage Jackson's dialogue is a little too "straight from the hood" for my liking, I'm more than excited to see these boys in action. Next stop, nostalgia lane.

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TRAILER: Salt

I may not always feel too fondly about Angelina Jolie but I can't and won't deny the fact that she's one hell of an actress. I mean, who knew she'd be so convincing as an action star, but she brings the heat and this second SALT trailer has summer blockbuster written all over it.

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TRAILER: The Expendables

Well I must say that this second EXPENDABLES trailer packs quite a punch with more action that you can shake a stick at. I'm still not a hundred percent certain if they're going to release it as PG-13 or R yet (God knows I'm praying for R), and though the second half of this trailer gives off a "the world is being saved by mercenaries" vibe, I'm still pretty stoked.

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