REVIEW: The Expendables

"Thankfully this was everything I hoped it would be and more."

A group of ass kicking mercenaries take on a job nobody else would want, let alone could do, that takes them deep into South America to overthrow a ruthless dictator and his American contacts.

THE EXPENDABLES has been on my mind for nearly a year and a half since I first got wind of Sly's idea. I dug ROCKY BALBOA and enjoyed JOHN RAMBO for what it was but I knew deep down this would be different. Sylvester Stallone knows action and clearly realized how it's been waning as of late. Many people knocked this idea at first but those of us true action fans knew better and despite what a few random critics had to say, I think this film did exactly what it set out to: KICK ASS UNTIL THERE WAS NO MORE ASS LEFT TO KICK!

When it comes down to the cast, countless names come to mind for each and every action fan when it comes to what they felt would be the perfect roster. Aside from all the bullshit surrounding people who could have starred it this bad boy, I was alright with the cast for the most part. I would have dropped Randy Couture for one as he's not even a movie star but other than that I can't really complain. Sly did well enough with giving each guy their screen time though the ball certainly fell in his, Jet Li's, Dolph's and Statham's court for the most part. I could have cared less about seeing more Couture but I would have loved more Terry Crews.

Say what you will about the plot but my on beef was the whole "Southern Dictator" bit, I felt they could have done better like hunting down a rogue merc group or something. Hopefully we'll see bigger and better things from the next one story wise. The Dolph thing was back and forth for me and after the way it panned out (I won't ruin anything I promise) I was even more confused about it. That being the only negative vibe I really had. The action was top notch (thank GOD they went with a hard R rating), seeing Dolph blow a dude clean in half at the beginning and then having Crews decimate with his insane gun was a blast. There was no shortage of adrenaline here and that was the real money in the bank.

THE EXPENDABLES was a risky but brilliant move for Sly and it shows me that even at sixty-four years young, the man can deliver. How can not go to bat for him here after he broke his damn neck filming the thing. As for the Arnold and Willis cameos, I enjoyed the hell out of them but at the same time wasn't expecting much as I fear some people were. This flick was pure action and just the right kick in the nuts this summer needed. I've been overly worried about the death of the action film lately but this flick renewed my faith on some levels. Here's hoping for more from Sly and a hopefully a director's cut of the film when it hits DVD/BLU-RAY.

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VIDEO GAME TRAILER: Dragon Age 2

DRAGON AGE ORIGINS was by far one of the greatest RPGs I've played in the wake of the masterpieces known as the BALDUR'S GATE series. After the epic letdown that was FINAL FANTASY 13 I've been hard up to sink my teeth into a sequel and now it seems I have one on the way. The only good thing about this game coming out in March is that it'll give me enough time to finish STARCRAFT 2.

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TRAILER: Age Of The Dragons

The title alone was enough to get me interested as there's virtually no good fantasy flicks around when you need them. Then something curious happened about mid trailer, they make a reference to this being the fantasy version of MOBY DICK with a white dragon rather than a white whale. Now I have to watch it on principle.

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TRAILER: Black Swan

I'll be honest, I have no fucking idea what in hell's up with these two chicks but I hear they get it on so this may indeed merit a watch. I'm all for dark fucked up shit anyway so this one may be a pleasant surprise. That, or just a fist full of false advertising, smoke and mirrors. Let's hope for the first one.

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TRAILER: My Soul To Take

Being a Horror fan's been tough these past few years as most of the Horror we see hit theatres has been fluffed down to a PG-13 rating which quite frankly is one of the scariest things I've ever seen. I'm digging that this is by Wes Craven and as long as it's rated R there could be hope.

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TRAILER: Dexter S5

I'm an avid Dexter fan (I seriously can't imagine someone who isn't) and after the severe mindfuck that was season four's finale, I've been foaming at the mouth in anticipation. This trailer picks up right where the action stopped last season and builds multiple layers of intrigue that will no doubt make this an unbelievable season. September suddenly feels so far away.

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REVIEW: The Joneses

"Dave and Demi were a perfect team."

A picture perfect family with anything anyone could want and everything money can buy move to a rich suburb and quickly become the talk of the town but this perfect life just happens to be the perfect lie for a marketing corporation whose only concern is money.

Once in awhile a film comes out of nowhere that simply blows me away despite my first impression. In that regard one of the oldest expressions still rings true “you should never judge a book (or film) by its cover). This couldn’t be more true when it comes to THE JONESES. This flick is a brilliant spin on greed, lies and how money truly is the root of all evil. I’m happy as hell to have got this film to review, it’s an overlooked gem that I hope some of you will check out and enjoy as much as I did.

Seeing David Duchovny on the cover gave me hope. I’m not an X-FILES bandwagoner, to be honest I really only watched that show a half dozen or so times and even then it was out of sheer boredom. My respect for Duchovny came about after watching EVOLUTION and realizing the guy is downright hilarious when he wants to be. Then I discovered CALIFORNICATION which not only blew me away but made Duchovny one of the coolest mofo’s on the planet in my books. He brings Hank Moody’s unique charm to this film and I was happy as hell for it, combined with a true moment of heartfelt clarity that gave the film a lot of power. This was Mr. Jones’ tale after all and Duchovny nailed it.

The story is a lot like TWO FOR THE MONEY if you swap out the stock market with the home market. I was very impressed with the idea behind this company and I for one think it would be a badass job to have. The story arc taken (I won’t ruin it) is understandable but you can’t tell me this job wouldn’t be fun as hell in a place full of rich yuppies with money to burn. Demi Moore proves yet again (see MR. BROOKS for further impressions) that she’s still got it and HOT DAMN is gorgeous. So much so that I almost forgot she was starring alongside Amber Heard here (that is until Heard’s amazing rack took center stage).

THE JONESES is a fantastic film laced with interesting characters who feel genuine and are powered by a stream of emotions and desires most of us try so hard to hide in our everyday lives. I’m not a hundred percent taken by some of the decisions these characters make in the closing moments of the film but I won’t say I didn’t see it coming. I’ve literally heard zero information by way of advertizing or word of mouth as far as this flick is concerned which is a shame because it’s one of the better films I’ve seen this year. I sincerely hope some of you decide to check it out.

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REVIEW: Date Night

"Please Steve, stop...just...stop."

An everyday married couple whose life has become a tandem bore decide to spice up their relationship with a date night at a fancy restaurant. Unable to get a table they decide to steal someone else’s reservation creating a case of mistaken identity with disastrous results.

I’m not really a Steve Carell fan, or at least I’m not a fan of his latest attempts at comedy. I dug his character in BRUCE ALMIGHTY and 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN but when EVAN ALMIGHTY came a calling, Carell’s career took a ginormous nosedive as far as I’m concerned and he’s been tittering out of control like a stubborn dog who needs to be put down ever since. I’ll admit that he’s found a great niche in his hit show THE OFFICE (at least there he’s funny). Here...not so much.

Don’t get me wrong, DATE NIGHT does have a couple things going for it. I enjoyed the banter between Carell and Tina Fey, especially when they do their impressions of other couples in the room. These impressions weren’t mind blowing but they were good for a chuckle. The cameos really helped in the laugh category with Marky Mark Wahlberg leading the battle (and in my mind stealing the show a bit). The shirt bit was by far the funniest part of the film for me. It was cool seeing James Franco and Mila Kunis pop up briefly but one guy I can do without is Common. He plays the same stiff dumbass in every film, why and how he keeps getting roles is beyond me (also, big round of applause to William Fichtner who was hilarious).

I get what they’re trying to do with the story here but it’s a little depressing, especially in the opening few minutes of the film which puts a huge downer on things. People are already scared of marriage and view it and kids as the end of the world. Life can be a monotonous grind and yes, couples do fall into a routine sometimes but one thing they don’t want to see in movies (supposed comedies at that) are their lives being slanted negatively. Not to mention the underlining theme here (at least from Claire’s best friend who’s getting divorced) is forget marriage, leave your man and lets go dancing followed by a gang bang with three men. Monogamy is already a thing of the past, between this and all that TWILIGHT nonsense with Bella pretty teaching kids that it’s okay to be with two guys at the same time, it’s no wonder most relationships are in shambles.

DATE NIGHT is Steve Carell trying very hard to bring some of his OFFICE SPACE mojo back to the big screen but I’m just not feeling it. Leaning on a slew of cameos can’t carry a film’s one good joke to the next when there are about twenty really bad ones in between. Besides, if this were a real scenario, those cops would have shot them into Swiss cheese in the first place. Two simpletons like these two wouldn’t have lasted the night. I did get a kick out Wahlberg’s super computer though, that thing was straight out of MINORITY REPORT, too bad he wasn’t the real star here as his character had “cool comedy” written all over it.

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VIDEO: I Love The Way You Lie

I don't usually post music videos unless they're remotely movie related which this one is as it stars Dominic Monaghan and Megan Fox. That said, as an Eminem fan I'm glad he finally came back with a good tune (it's been awhile). Also, mad points to him for having the wisdom to swallow his pride and team up with Rihanna as the fairer sex can carry a tune far better than us guys can which in this case makes for a kickass chorus.

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TRAILER: Skyline

Now this is what I'm talking about! We haven't seen a decent alien flick in quite some time (since DISTRICT 9 to be exact but that wasn't an alien invasion) and if this can deliver even half the intensity of the trailer I think we'll be in for a fun ride. This flick came out of nowhere and I'm definitely a fan of being surprised.

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TRAILER: Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

I really don't know about this one. Sure I'd like to see Katie Holmes return to the screen (I still think she should have been in THE DARK KNIGHT) but if this flick isn't rated R I'm not interested as I'm sick to death of fluff horror pretending to be scary when it wouldn't even cause a five year old to flinch.

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REVIEW: Cop Out

"What a waste of time and talent."

A couple of screw-up cops blow an undercover investigation that lands them a month’s suspension. Still, they quite literally get mixed up in another case when one of them has an eighty thousand dollar baseball card stolen that he was planning on selling to pay for his daughter’s upcoming wedding.

Let me begin by saying I’m a Kevin Smith fan, but this mainly pertains to the films Smith wrote rather than simply directed. People gave Smith more shit over this film than Biff Tannen got dumped on him by that manure truck. On the one hand, I understand as this film was pretty damn terrible and an overall embarrassment for all those involved but in Smith’s defence, he merely directed this crapfest. Now had he wrote it, I’d be all for giving him hell but since he didn’t, I simply shook my head sadly, unsure as to why he wanted anywhere near this thing. The title, originally A COUPLE OF DICKS (there’s still a wink or two in that direction written into the script), got changed to COP OUT which ironically sums up this film rather nicely.

I enjoy buddy cop movies that go part way action and part way comedy but this flick just wasn’t that funny. The opening beat down in the interrogation room where Tracy Morgan’s spouting off nearly every famous film quote imaginable was tediously boring save for the shot at DIE HARD when he said, “Yippee ki-ay, motherfucker” to which Willis (who’d been calling out the names of each film as he quoted them) says, “I never saw that movie.” That much inspired a chuckle but it was sorely short lived. There was an odd laugh here and there afterward but nothing memorable or worth repeating.

The biggest flaw with this film (which I’m sure you’ve heard or deduced by now) is Tracy Morgan. Now I’m all for “token black guy” humour but this dude sucks. I don’t watch 30 ROCK so this was my first time seeing him in action and I was less than impressed. His overacting was horrible and grated on my nerves to the point of anger. I didn’t care for his character or his “cheating wife” obsession, not that the rest of the film’s characters were any better mind you. The boot police partners were ridiculous, the baseball obsessed villain atrocious and what a damn waste of time for Sean William Scott who really needs original roles that aren’t Stiffler rip-offs and fast, if it’s not too late already. Bruce Willis was no comfort either. He was totally on autopilot here and didn’t seem to give two shits about where he was or what was going on.

COP OUT may very well have looked (ahem) semi-okay on paper but even then the dialogue should have thrown up a red flag or two (the overabundance of shit jokes stood out like a sore thumb). Smith should have been as adamant about touching up the script as he was about squeezing his buddy Jason Lee into the cast but such was not the case and it’s a shame. That said, I’m still a Kevin Smith fan and look forward to his next picture (as long as he writes it), the guy’s got talent and I don’t think he’s washed up just yet. This is debatable of course, but what’s not debatable is whether or not you should spend money on this movie. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, you should not.

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TRAILER: Burlesque

Sigh...this flick is COYOTE UGLY meets MOULIN ROUGE with a splash of SHOWGIRLS mixed in for fun. That said, instead of nudity and hot chicks we've got a grumpy Cher and Christina Aguilera singing because she knows damn well she can't act for shit. Fun...but not really.

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TRAILER: The Avengers

This is probably the tease of all teases if you're anticipating this film but at least it's something to finally confirm that it's coming. That, and I don't mind some Sam Jackson monologue action.

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GAME TRAILER: DC Universe Online

Many a game has tried to follow in the footsteps of the Blizzard's baby, World of Warcraft and many...have failed. This trailer/concept shows me that DC may indeed be on to something here. Online gaming is always a gamble but maybe these comic book heroes will prosper. I won't know for sure until I've sampled the fruit of their labour but colour me interested as this is a trailer I had to immediately watch again.

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TRAILER: SAW VII

Well, on the one hand Jigsaw's been dead since part 3 but on the other hand he's still managed to expand his puzzle for another four sequels. This time the slaughterfest is in 3-D (sigh) and is being billed as the final throwdown. I'm up for it as I enjoy these flicks but even I know they're stretching this a little thin at this point.

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