TRAILER: The Dictator

In my humble opinion the jury's still out on whether or not people have had enough of Sacha Baron Cohen's schtick. Personally, I feel it's pretty damn funny the first time around but negates any form of repeat viewings. That said, when you make as much as he does the first time around, who needs a second viewing? And of course, the Megan Fox bit is priceless.

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REVIEW: The Art Of Getting By

"Nothing special, but worth a look."

George is a special kind of slacker, a smart one whose been able to make it all the way to graduation without doing homework, projects or even tests.  Things get complicated when the principle cracks down on him and then to make matters even more tricky, he accidentally befriends Sally, the popular hot chick who he reluctantly falls for. 

There are countless teen angst movies out there that focus on different aspects of High School such as teen love, prom, being cool, sex and of course who can throw the biggest and best parties.  Because the High School niche is so vast, oftentimes it becomes easy as a viewer to get lost in the jumbled mess.  THE ART OF GETTING BY distances itself from the norm on most levels, focussing more on the reality of being a teenager in this day and age.  I had my reservations about this film at first, but I have to admit, there's a lot of truth floating about this flick, hard truths, the ones that sneak up on us when we're young and kick us in the face.  These trials and tribulations are game changers, they can and do often times determine our strengths, our weaknesses and test our resolve as we're moulded into the men and women of tomorrow.  This flick comes at us from a mostly male point of view, but I'd be hard pressed to believe there's any guy out there who wouldn't be able to relate with George on at least some level.

Painting an accurate picture does have its drawbacks however.  This by no means is a happy-go-lucky film, nor is it a comedy.  As a matter a fact, it's pretty damn depressing.  George's outlook on life isn't all the eccentric or out of place for being seventeen/eighteen, but as far as school goes, I know teachers have become a bit slack over the  years but letting everything slide till the end of the year and then letting him make it all up in the last three weeks seems like a bit of a stretch to me.  I dug how they didn't pull any punches when it comes to the game of love either.  We all remember our first burn, and it's never pretty.  I felt for this poor bastard because we've all been there, waiting too long to say the right thing (or anything at all) only to lose your chick to the next guy in line.  It's rough, but they got it right on the money here. 

THE ART OF GETTING BY is picture perfect view of life as a teenager out in the real world.  Reality seldom means rainbows, leprechauns and unicorns and that's where this flick excels.  Freddy Highmore and Emma Roberts handle their leading roles well, nothing memorable but at least they were believable.  Blair Underwood and Alicia Silverstone (who doesn't seem to be aging well, yikes) make cameo appearances as school faculty, but the coolest of the bunch was Harris the Art teacher, he was the shit.   One thing did stick out though, the fact that everywhere these kids went they were handed booze by parents and at bars despite the fact they're only eighteen.  This flick takes place in New York folks, where the drinking age is twenty-one.  Hell, I live in Canada where getting drunk is a national pass time and our drinking age is still nineteen.  I guess New York's a lot cooler than I thought. 

This flick isn't gold, but it spoke to me on a personal level.  I saw more than a few situations here than reminded me of High School, and all the lessons they don't teach you in the classroom.  It's not perfect, but there's something here to be sure.  It does however make me shake my head and whisper, "if I only knew then what I know now."

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TRAILER: Spartacus Vengeance

This third season of SPARTACUS has so very much riding on it. First, fans have had to wait two years to see how the first season progressed (due to Andy Whitfield's cancer diagnosis). Whitfield passed, may he rest in peace, and now the story continues with a new Spartacus leading the crowd. I wish Liam McIntyre all the best and hope he brings the same heart and soul to the character that Whitfield did. Of course, after a surprisingly interesting prequel season (GODS OF THE ARENA), I'm anxious as hell to see more Gannicus.

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TRAILER: Prometheus

I love all out, balls to walls science fiction pieces and they don't come around nearly as often as they should (please note, that although AVATAR was indeed a Sci-Fi flick, it doesn't cover this sort of territory). There's truly something magical happening here and I'm totally on board. I guess all the hype was worthwhile after all, trailer-wise, lets hope the film follows suit.

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BLU-RAY REVIEW: Evil Dead 2

"A face only a mother could love."

After clearly not learning his lesson the first time, Ash heads back into the woods to yet another dusty old cabin where he and his friends wake the dead a second time, this time losing his girl and a hand in the process.  Seriously bro, try Vegas next time.

When I was a kid just coming into my own with movies I was a big fan of horror.  I used to scan the many rows of VHS horror titles looking for the scariest or coolest pictures to aid in my selection.  I hadn't seen EVIL DEAD at this time, but the box for EVIL DEAD 2 looked (and still does look) pretty creepy.  Obviously I didn't know much about the storyline or the characters but I got the gist of it; these fools shack themselves up in a cabin out in the boons where they summon up some demons, accidentally or otherwise.  There's a part where Ash goes into the cellar and an old crone grabs his feet after saying, "someone's in my fruit cellar, someone with a fresh soul."  Our basement stairs back then looked just like that, and every time mom wanted me to go get something out of the deepfreeze I could hear that voice in my head (my view on mounted deer heads was also forever changed).  Oh yes, this movie scarred me as a child. 

Suffice to say, the old days were the days to enjoy campy horror like this as today I barely batted an eyelash.  Sam Raimi still gets mad props for going at the gruesome details with real prosthetics and loads of slimy substances.  This has become a trademark of his these days that still lives on (DRAG ME TO HELL), but this was Raimi's gore days at his finest.  He's known more now for his SPIDERMAN flicks, but horror is where he cut his teeth.  Particularly interesting here is where Raimi goes with the story at the end of the film, the time travel situation wasn't done all that much back then and it proved to be a clever story arc for a dullish sort of film.  Now bear in mind I say dullish because this film was a rough recreation of the first: a group of peeps end up in a secluded cabin in the woods where they open a big can of evil whoopass.  This is where the film fails for me now that I'm older and truly understand what's going on.

Raimi carries Ash over from the first film, which is fine, but I have to ask, if you and your crew went to a cabin in the woods in the first film only to have all hell break loose literally, why would you gather a new crew and do the same thing again?  This isn't like DIE HARD, where Bruce Willis ends up fighting a group of bad guys twice at Christmas, Ash CHOOSES to go back into the woods, to a decrepit cabin where they again, summon the undead.  This breaches the realm of believability for me and ends up pitching a tent on asinine stupidity.

EVIL DEAD 2 is gory, campy horror at its finest, no question there, but to properly appreciate it where this journey takes you, you really had to enjoy it in its hay day.  The other thing I always wondered about this series was how they went one eighty on the tone with ARMY OF DARKNESS.  Don't get me wrong, that's my favourite of the series simply because Ash becomes such a cool, over the top character, but again, this is completely opposite of the first two films.  I'm not saying it's a bad thing per say, but it is very confusing when trying to view these films as a series.  Be that as it may, all three films are classics that shouldn't be tampered with and I for one am not looking forward to Diablo Cody smearing her mark of the beast all over them here soon.     

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TRAILER: Game of Thrones Season 2

The first season of GAME OF THRONES was fantastic, everything I could hope for in a book to life conversion. Now that they have their audience, their budget and the free reign to go big, I'm thrilled to the bone to see where they take us. April feels so very far away.

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TRAILER: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I'll be honest and say that I wasn't overly keen on a Hobbit film, simply because the book itself felt too childish for my liking. The LOTR's trilogy however was a true and solid step forward for fantasy and the second you see Ian Mckellan, the ring and Gollum here in the trailer, I'm sure your heart will skip a beat or two if you're a fan. I'm hoping this is every bit as epic and I want it to be.

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TRAILER: The Dark Knight Rises

No matter how you slice it, this one will be put under tremendous scrutiny and debate, but being a fan of the Knightfall series, as well as Bane, I've been anxious to see what Nolan would do for the character. This trailer still leaves a lot up in the air but that's fine, I have faith in Nolan's vision and his team and know for a fact that this will be a, if not the, highlight of the coming summer.

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TRAILER: Wrath Of The Titans

CLASH OF THE TITANS was alright, but I'll be honest in saying that I didn't enjoy it as much as I would have had I not reviewed the original (watching it for the first time) a couple weeks prior. I knew the plot and it was so fresh in my mind that I know it hurt the process. This one looks like they upped the ante in every way possible and I'm definitely looking forward to it. Bring on the wrath!

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REVIEW: Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows

"Obviously not as good as the first, but still good."

In pursuit of his most dangerous adversary yet, Professor James Moriarty, detective Sherlock Holmes must breakup his trusty sidekick Watson's Honeymoon plans in hopes of enlisting his aid on a journey that could very well prevent or ignite a world war.

Sherlock Holmes is a character Hollywood has been trying to reinvent for years now, but Conan Doyle's sultry detective hasn't been foremost in people's minds these past couple decades so it took a back shelf for quite some time.  But with Christopher Nolan's reinventing of another brilliant detective, came Guy Ritchie's turn to do the same.  There was a lot riding on the first Sherlock film (which could have easily bombed like so many other re-imaginations), but much to many people's surprise it was a big hit.  The ending prodded at a sequel that would pit Holmes against arch nemesis Professor James Moriarty, and low and behold we got exactly that...sort of.  The real question is does it live up to the first one and for me it was a mixed bag.

I saw the early trailers for the film as a red flag, mainly because there really didn't seem to be much happening.  Sure, there were a couple choice words between Holmes, Moriarty and Watson, but they weren't nearly enough to get the blood pumping.  There were numerous explosions and slow motion shots, but when it came right down to it I was hoping for more.  Even the final sequence, a joke between Holmes and Watson, was only remotely funny (and wasn't even in the film I might add).  The film itself is fun, but I do have two very large complaints, the first being the film's length and pace.  With all the explosions and fighting in the trailer, you'd think this was an adrenaline packed powder keg...but you'd be mistaken.  There are some great action sequences here, mainly the train and gun battles but these scenes get lost in unnecessary storylines as our two main characters interact with gypsies, street thugs and Holmes' eccentric brother.

For starters, these aforementioned characters are unnecessary and do relatively nothing to further the main plot.  Noomi Rapace was awesome in the original GIRL WITH THE DRAON TATTOO flicks, but sadly she's quite useless here.  The same can be said of Holmes' brother (and his ridiculous nude scene).  So many other aspects of the film relied upon the old "if it ain't broke (and made us a ton of cash the first time) don't fix it" method that the addition of these weak characters really came out and slapped me in the face.  They kept in the martial arts aspect of Holmes fighting style (which to some fans is debatable but I loved), but they went all Michael Bay on the explosions and slow motion end of things though.  It was still cool (the woods scene especially) but felt a little overdone this time.  The storyline itself wasn't nearly as intricate or grandiose as the first one, nor was the piecing together of the puzzle at the end, but make no mistake, the end conflict between Holmes and Moriarty is phenomenal.  I've heard it referred to as "Bond-esque" and I would certainly have to agree, that castle retreat in the mountains is in itself breathtaking.

SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS may drag its heels at times whilst relying a little too heavily upon old tricks, but rest assured this is still a good flick and that's mostly due to Robert Downey Jr.  RDJ came back to the game with KISS KISS BANG BANG (which you NEED to watch it if you haven't) and then fully rocked the world with both his Tony Stark and Sherlock Holmes personas.  His witty charisma is a welcome treat in Hollywood and has me rooting for the guy tenfold.  Jude Law also comes back in style, but the "piece de resistance" here is Jared Harris as Moriarty.  That said, though the end conflict (and few key pieces of dialogue building up to it) are indeed memorable, the film got drastically lost in the not so important details when it should have focussed more on this interesting rivalry.  On a side note, Rachel McAdams' character deserved better as at least she felt like she belonged in this story.  Sequels in this genre were starting to do so well there for awhile, but this and say, IRON MAN 2 (not to pick on RDJ) are two examples of Hollywood dropping the ball.  I'm still game for more HOLMES down the road but let's hope they go big or go home for round three.    

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TRAILER: Expendables 2

This is probably the best usage of the word "tease" in a long time. We don't see much but it's enough to get the old adrenaline pumping. I can't wait for the full trailer baby!

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TRAILER: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

I'm still not feeling this one, not even with the addition of Idris Elba (who rocks). I don't know, I guess it's just because they had a chance to do something special here by making a hard R comic book hero and giving the devil his due, so to speak. Instead, they dropped the ball quite terribly and though this one does look a slight bit better, I still have an awful taste in my mouth from last time that no amount of booze or red bull can wash away.

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TRAILER: Jack The Giant Killer

So Brian Singer is making an epic action flick based upon "Jack and the Beanstalk"...color me curious. I'm not a huge fan of this Hollywood endgame either (redoing children stories and fables--see RED RIDING HOOD to understand this folly), but in light of a decent trailer for SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN, I might be able to get on board here. Time will tell.


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TRAILER: G.I.JOE 2: Retaliation

G.I.JOE was a mixed bag for many people, but as an avid fan of the toys as a kid and the cartoons even now, I was all for it. News of a sequel with significantly less cast had me worried, but I have to say this is a bold way to go and I'm pumped as hell to see where this journey takes us. This one had the making of a serious action adventure that just may surprise us all.


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TRAILER: Men In Black 3

I loved the first one, but lets be honest, the second one sucked big time and I'm not thinking a third one will be all that exceptional either. It really sucks too because Will Smith is a solid actor when he wants to be and this is not the return to glory I was hoping for after a long hiatus.


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TRAILER: Battleship

I still can't believe they're making a movies based upon board games but apparently it's happening whether we like it or not. That said, this doesn't look like the turd burger I expected and might (just might) end up being an okay action piece. One thing I'm not digging is Rihanna's forced accent.

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REVIEW: Another Earth

"Dull and very uninventive."

In the wake of a tragic car accident that claims the lives of to two people, the very night a second Earth is spotted in our solar system, a young girl who had everything going for her is left with nothing until she tries to make amends with the husband who's wife and son's deaths are her fault.

I remember catching the trailer for ANOTHER EARTH and feeling a bit intrigued, as the thought of well, another Earth (though unlikely) is still pretty damn cool.  That said, the idea behind this film can summed up quite easily by saying this is a tragic and very depressing story about a girl and an accident that destroys a family whilst a cool and provocative idea is lingering in the background.  The problem however, is that this film should have focussed upon this very cool idea, using the accident as the catalyst for sure, but keeping it in the background rather than building the story so closely around it.

Brit Marling's character Rhoda is a mess.  I can't even imagine going from being one of the youngest people accepted to MIT to being a school janitor.  The scene where she runs into a dude from school and he asks where she's working and what she's up to is brutally awkward and made me want to jump off a bridge, so I can only imagine what was going through her mind.  Of course, it was no more awkward than the relationship between Rhoda and John, the father from the accident.  I dug the idea of her wanting to make things right by him, even apologise at some point when she got the nerve, but I'm not so sure I dig where the relationship goes or what it blossoms into.

Not to seem like I'm being nitpicky but the few times they do try to explain Earth 2 make no real sense on a scientific level.  First, how the hell does another planet Earth just randomly pop up in our solar system and then invade our atmosphere like that without causing any sort of chaotic imbalances?  I mean seriously, this thing looks like it's going to hit us and nobody saw it coming before it was a blue light in the sky?  Now I'm no astrology major, but I thought all planets in our solar system revolve around the sun on very specific axis, and I can't help but think that another planet would throw it off, causing all sorts of trouble (remember in BRUCE ALMIGHTY when Bruce pulled the moon in closer for a romantic view causing disasters around the world?  That's how close Earth 2 seems to be, yet everything is fine).

ANOTHER EARTH sparks the imagination with talk of a second Earth like it's a parallel universe, but only enough to make us hungry rather than satisfy our appetites.  The story is far too depressing, even when it's trying not to be.  I loved the idea of winning a trip to EARTH 2, and that our main character had a shot at a second chance, but again, none of this makes any sense within the realm of reason.  The media and radio are making this new Earth out to be potentially dangerous, yet the first contact team won't be military...they'll be a rag-tag lottery group?  Also, people are at home watching the "first contact" via footage on TV as it happens?  I don't think so.  There's no way in hell the government would have that footage rolling live for audiences at home to view, it just wouldn't happen.  There was definitely potential here, it was just never truly realized or properly thought out.

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REVIEW: Hugo

"Not worth the effort."

After losing his father to an accidental fire, twelve year old Hugo goes to live with his uncle who tends the clocks at a train station.  When his uncle up and leaves, Hugo's left to fend for himself and when he's not stealing to survive or doing his uncle's job, he spends his time trying to fix his father's automaton, a metallic doll built like a music box.  With the automaton nearly fixed, Hugo struggles to unlock the one remaining mystery, a heart shaped keyhole he has no way of opening.

I love Marty Scorsese's work, from GOODFELLAS, CAPE FEAR, CASINO, GANGS OF NEW YORK, THE DEPARTED, to SHUTTER ISLAND and even BOARDWALK EMPIRE.  What do all these films (and one TV show) have in common you might ask, well they have nothing at all to do with HUGO on any level or in any way, shape or form.  Scorsese's at his best with gritty, violent works of art, not family films and though visually this film does have his sense of grace and style, atmospherically it's way off and I wasn't liking it one bit.  I can sum this one up in two words:  immensely overrated.

The story is all over the place with where it's trying to go, ignoring the straight line between A and B and instead rearing off in any and all directions as it tries to jam in all sorts of nonsense in to kill time.  And as such, we end up with about a half hour of dead weight that just drags the film down.  The subplot with the dog lady is just plain ridiculous, then we have a drawn out bit with Sacha Baron Cohen's inspector character and the flower girl that, in my opinion,  was elaborated upon simply because it's him.  And beyond that, there's all sorts of extra stuff like finding out a police officer's wife left him and is pregnant, which in itself doesn't fit within the realm of family themed fun and feels terribly out of place.  The mystery of the automaton is interesting to be sure, but the way it all comes together should've been handled smoother to keep the audience interested rather than putting them to sleep. 

The one thing this film has going for it is the acting.  Sir Ben Kingsley is brilliant (as always) and I love Chloe Grace Moretz, her rise to fame is well deserved and puts a big smile on my face.  Jude Law and Ray Winstone make brief appearances but are forgotten almost instantly as a result.  It's a shame really, as I'd rather see more of them than more of Cohen (I enjoy the guy's work, but his bumbling character here feels more like he belonged in Mr. Magoo).  It was however, refreshing to get some Christopher Lee action, that man dominates the screen no matter how small the role.  Newcomer Asa Butterfield did a good job as Hugo, he handled the emotional pull of dealing with tragedy very well and he, Moretz and Kingsley shared some believable, heartfelt chemistry when and where it counted.

HUGO is film with heart and some visual flare, but although this young boy's quest to help others is indeed noble, the whole thing seemed very unlikely.  A twelve year old boy can't live in the walls of a train station.  Sure, the film tries to justify it by way of Hugo tending the clocks in his uncle's stead, and like he says, "as long as the clocks keep working, I'll be fine".  If only it were that simple.  Without giving anything away, his uncle's found dead, and has been that way for months apparently, so who was cashing his pay checks this whole time?  They didn't have direct deposit back in the 30s, so don't you think someone in payroll would've noticed?  Hugo steals a bun and some milk at one point, but there's no fridge, stove, or even cupboards in his little niche in the walls, so what's he eating to stay alive?  Add to that it's winter time and everyone else is bundled up coats, hats and gloves, meanwhile this kid's running around in shorts.  I hate to cut up a family film, but the plot has more holes than a shooting range target after a day of heavy gunfire.  Had they trimmed the fat a bit better and addressed some of these points with a little more finesse, HUGO couldn't been much more fun, but instead we end up with a slow, drawn out film that loses you in all extra clutter.  Hopefully Scorsese goes back to the hardcore adult themed stuff, that's clearly where he belongs.

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REVIEW: Immortals

"Finally, an enemy worth killing."

Long ago a war raged between the Gods.  The victors claimed the heavens, the losers became known as Titans and were imprisoned deep in the mountains.  Now, the bloodthirsty King Hyperion seeks the legendary Epirus Bow so that he may free the Titans from their prison and enslave mankind.  Ever watchful, Zeus sets his eye upon Theseus, the one mortal capable of leading mankind against Hyperion.  

A few years back, 300 renewed and revitalized our thirst for epic, blood thirsty battles of conquest, lust, power, riches and glory.  And then CLASH OF THE TITANS got a remake and we added Gods and mythical monsters to the equation.  IMMORTALS is smooth mixture of both worlds overflowing with scantily clad, muscular heroes and awesomely beautiful Gods who love to stir up trouble.  The result?  A two hour feast for the eyes if raging war ignites your heart, but not to worry if you happen to be the significant other of one such person as there's no shortage of eye candy either in any sense of the term.

Visually this flick surpasses 300 as most of that film takes place on the battlefield.  Not here.  The landscapes are magnificent, from Theseus' home in the mountains, to the pit, Zeus's temple and the resting place of the Titans.  The rich details and thought that went into them is jaw dropping and immensely impressive, but these things are simply the icing on the cake.  The storyline isn't as spellbindingly original as I'd hoped but fits well within the right parameters for what's expected.  The concept and legend surrounding the Epirus Bow was enough to impress me.  Sure, I felt Theseus found it a little too easily but then again, he did have help.  The oracles were also well done and added just enough intrigue, not to mention the fact they sure did know how to fight.

Henry Cavill may not be the biggest actor on set, but the spotlight was certainly on him as anticipation grows for THE MAN OF STEEL.  Cavill was brilliant as a brooding, flawed hero.  The fighting scenes were fewer than I'd anticipated but the choreography was there.  There were all kinds of cool slow motion shots (especially when the Gods were fighting) but no shaky up close angles or flash fighting.  I got to enjoy every inch of each battle scene and I loved every second of it.  A lot of the God battles were shown in the trailers but that's to be expected and didn't hurt the film.  The final battle between Theseus and Hyperion delivered big numbers and made me realize how underused Mickey Rourke's fighting skills are in most films.  The guy can pull off an incredible fight sequence, and should be called to do so more often.  Rourke's Hyperion is everything you want in a villain, ruthless, bloodthirsty, smart and tough (I loved his helmet too).  He did have a scene where they photo shopped him 300 style, but I just grinned.  It was noticeable but forgivable. 

IMMORTALS didn't hold back when it comes to bloodshed and violence, which is exactly what I want to see in films like this.  That said, It didn't go overboard with gore or even nudity, there was one sex scene but it was brief and modestly done.  The dialogue was well written and never overacted, the Gods weren't around as much as I wanted them to be, but it's understandable considering how the story plays out.  There are lots of familiar faces here in cameo appearances like Kellan Lutz if you're a TWILIGHT fan, Joseph Morgan if you watch THE VAMPIRE DIARIES and let's not forget Stephen Dorff who plays a perfect wing man to Theseus.  Luke Evans played a great Zeus, though that's the youngest I've ever seen him portrayed.  Also, ironically enough, Evans played the God Apollo in the remake of CLASH OF THE TITANS.  From start to finish this flick was the goods, and I especially love that the ending implies a round two.  I certainly hope to see this group again, it was a well rounded cast and a fun action packed adventure.  As for Cavill, I think he's got what it takes to be leading man materiel, making me even more pumped to see him play Superman.    

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REVIEW: 13

"Pure garbage, I wouldn't wipe my ass with it."

A young man down on his luck and in need of some extra cash for his family, mistakenly stumbles upon an underground Russian Roulette syndicate which he's able to slip into at the last moment.  With the stakes clearly not in his favour, he must rely on luck and determination if there's to be any hope of survival.

Oh Hollywood, why do you continue to rape our eyes with such drivel?  I've never been opposed to B level action films, but I've never been disillusioned by them either.  The fact is, just because these types of films can be hit or miss, most times they miss by a long shot.  13 is a prime example of this theory and here are just a few reasons why you should never rent this film.

The premise/story is a lazy rip-off of a HOSTEL/HARD TARGET/SURVIVING THE GAME type scenario where instead of being abducted, people actually volunteer to play this ridiculous hybrid game of Russian Roulette.  It's all been done before, but better and with better actors or at the very least a better lead.  Who the hell is Sam Riley?  Nobody, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, I'm all for new blood to shake things up, but this guy is terrible.  Not only can't he act, the guy barely says five minutes of dialogue the entire film which I guess can be seen and both good and bad.  Not that it really matters though as this flick's polluted with familiar faces which I can only assume was to take the spotlight off Riley, but most of these faces are wasted and/or forgotten all too quickly. 

Let's start with Mickey Rourke.  I love the guy but his character is pointless, as is the fact he's joined by 50 Cent, whose character is even more pointless.  TRUE BLOOD's Alexander Skarsgard pops up as a driver who's clearly just there to "be seen" as is ENTOURAGE's sexy Emmanuelle Chriqui and DEXTER's David Zayas.  Yet, the worst example of this is Jason Statham.  He's splashed all over the trailer and cover like he's the man with the plan here, but again, he's barely there and comes off as a one dimensional throwaway character who nobody's rooting for.  You almost feel sorry for our lead whose Dad needs an operation the family can't afford (snore), but the guy's got no charisma, heart or soul, he's just there.  The nonchalant way he's squeezed into the game is questionable, just like his run in with the law afterward which he so conveniently talks his way out of.  Don't get too excited though, things don't exactly end well for him which also hurts the end result.

13 is a waste of time, film and talent, pure and simple.  How any of these people signed on for this nonsense is beyond me.  They must've been cut a decent pay check and told booze was on the house for the entire length of filming.  I understand some of these TV sensations wanting to get their faces out there by whatever means possible, but this is definitely not the way.  As for Statham, Rourke and Ray Winstone, they should be ashamed as this is below them.  Come on boys, quality over quantity wins the race.  Now whose up for some shots on the director!

This flick is nothing short of a big, crowded pissing contest that nobody wins, especially the viewer.  Some B flicks become hidden gems or cult favourites, ninety-nine percent of which aren't rolling with such a well known cast.  This movie could've been bang up fun like THE TOURNAMENT, but instead failed on virtually every level imaginable. 

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REVIEW: Bellflower

"Powerful for a first time run at filmmaking."

Two best friends dream of conquest in the event the world goes post apocalyptic.  To prepare for this future they decide to build an insane muscle car and flame throwers  worthy of their gang, Mother Medusa.  Sadly, a chance meeting with the wrong women threatens to change everything. 

I like a good Sundance flick from time to time to balance out the equilibrium of all this modern age Hollywood fluff.  That said, these babies aren't all gold, far from it, yet most times there's at least a spark of interest buried in there somewhere.  BELLFLOWER has enough sparks to kindle a flame but it's by no means perfect.  Perfection however can be overrated and the good here certainly outweigh the bad making for an interesting story.  The film opens with a quote from Lord Humongous, the main baddy from MAD MAX 2, which in and about itself made me smile.  I loved the concept of supposed "real dudes" being so obsessed with fictional characters whom they could ascend to if indeed the world went off the deep end.  I'm not saying it's a sane lifestyle to live or that maybe all this energy and ambition couldn't be spent in a more rewarding fashion, but hey, it's still pretty damn cool.

Speaking of cool, the fact that these guys not only obsess about a post-apocalyptic future, but have decided to prepare for it hardcore is awesome on paper, but the thought of these two turning into Columbine type crazies did cross my mind more than a couple times.  I loved the fact that they're building a flamethrower, I loved the fact that Woodrow's car had a booze dispenser on the dash of the passenger side (think an espresso machine that pumps out Jack Daniels instead).  I'm not saying I embrace the message it portrays, but it was a pretty off the wall gadget and I'd absolutely LOVE to see how they explained that one to the cops.  The only sad part is that he trades it in for a shitty looking bike to impress a chick.  I'm not certain, but I think that's a violation of the man code.

The crazy storyline is backed up in spades by our crazy two best friends, Woodrow and Aiden, whose loyalty to one another (and spot on chemistry) is the heart and soul of the movie.  I'm not saying they don't have a few ups and downs, but these guys are tight and that helps pull everything together.  Now, a couple things I didn't get was how these two afford all their gear.  Aiden's the mechanic and you see him shopping for parts, building the flamethrower and he even builds a car which he out and out gives to Woodrow.  Now add to that, these guys are boozing every night (and day oftentimes), can afford to just pick up and drive out to Texas with a chick on a whim and pretty much party their lives away, yet you never see or hear tell of them working or get an inkling of how they earn all this cash.  Rent, booze, flamethrowers, cars, women, none of these things come cheap.  Maybe Aiden built a money tree too, who knows, but it's a mystery that sticks out like a sore thumb.

BELLFLOWER is a film that immediately pumps adrenaline into your bloodstream and straight to your heart, especially if you're a guy whose fantasised about mass destruction, mayhem, fire and big explosions (I have no doubt Michael Bay owns this Blu-Ray).  There are very real emotions portrayed along the way when it comes to women and how they can come between even the best of friends if you let them, and as a guy whose seen it happen, I felt it was handled very accurately.  Evan Glodell (Woodrow) did an outstanding job considering he's the writer, director and one of the main leads.  Like I said, the film's not perfect, but the dude's got talent and I'll be keeping an eye out for his next endeavour.

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REVIEW: Tower Heist

"It's nice to have Eddie back, but a bigger role would've been even better."

After a Wall Street tyrant is taken into custody by FBI agents, the manager and staff of the high-rise building where his penthouse is located learn that he's made off with all their pensions as well.  Left with nothing to lose, some of the staff team up with a professional thief in hopes of stealing twenty million dollars stashed away in his safe.

Ben Stiller's career was in steady decline until TROPIC THUNDER, a film in which his character (ironically enough) was pitched as an actor whose career was in steady decline.  Personally I loved this clever or not so clever approach to things and since then I've been rooting for Stiller.  It pained me to the soul seeing him fluff off another FOCKERS film as well as another NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, so naturally I was hoping for a step up with this film (as I am with NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH).  I still don't understand all the Brett Ratner hate as the man is good at bringing comedy and action together with the most unseemly groups of individuals.  Sure, RUSH HOUR 2 and 3 shouldn't have happened, but RUSH HOUR was fantastic, a film I still hold in high regard, and Ratner also did a phenomenal job on RED DRAGON and PRISON BREAK.  If the only thing we're faulting him for is X-MEN 3, then we really need to give the man a break, it's not like it was BATMAN AND ROBIN people.

Now when it comes to making team efforts, Ratner's choice of bringing Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker together isn't all that different from a Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy combo (with a touch of FERRIS BUELLER).  Tucker and Murphy are both great comedians, and though being known for raunchy comedies is always cool in my book, for some reason that seems to hurt these guys in the long run (see Martin Lawrence's career over the past decade outside of the two BAD BOYS films and BLUE STREAK).  I love Eddie Murphy's comedy.  Yes, I prefer old Eddie to new Eddie, but given the right character to work with is what it all boils down to.  Murphy's character here may be toned down a little, but his boisterous charisma is what sells half of this film.  Murphy's gruff persona is the glue holding this together and there's more than a couple times we get a flash of old Eddie, which was enough for me.  To his credit, Stiller is also on his game here, he brings a TROPIC THUNDER/MEET THE PARENTS sort of comedy that works and he and Murphy play off one another very well.

The storyline is touch and go.  The idea of seeing more crooks in Wall Street may indeed be a little too much lately, especially to those who felt the sting of similar situations over the past few years.  Though they do push this button, thankfully the consensus rests upon a bumbling OCEANS ELEVEN plot that tries to keep us entertained throughout.  Now a heist tale about thieves is easy to swallow, and although suspension of disbelief walks on paper thin ice here, a heist tale about wannabe thieves overcoming comical obstacle after comical obstacle (the bits with the maid aren't overly believable but their fun) does still have merit.  The supporting cast weighs in on this aspect of the film heavily and I must say everyone does their part well.  Tea Leoni may not be the vision she was in BAD BOYS but she's still looking pretty good and lends a very cool angle to the story.

TOWER HEIST isn't the comedy event comeback from Eddie Murphy some were hoping it would be, but it's certainly a step in the right direction (and damn if he doesn't look a day older than he did twenty years ago).  Apparently Murphy originally wanted this buddy heist flick to be an all black event with him and his crew robbing Trump Towers.  I'd have been on board for that, but such was not the end verdict.  Now he wants to do the same thing with an alien abduction plot (crickets).  I know, I don't really get it either.  There are actually a few things I didn't get about this film; The whole deal with the car and how they move it, how anyone in their right mind would trust a client at the Tower to handle their finances or why the gang so blindly puts all their faith into a thief they barely know.  The stealing initiation Murphy gets the boys to pull off is fun, but sadly most of the other laughs (especially the ones featuring Murphy) are given away in the trailers.  Suffice to say, when you watch a heist film, part of the fun is retracing the steps to see how the plan began, changed and prevailed.  You'll have a hard time doing that here as many of these situations don't make much sense and are supported by virtually zero credibility.  I mean, MacGyver himself would hang his head in shame.  Still, there's plenty of laughs and fun locked in this tower so I'd still recommend checking it out.

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TRAILER: The Hunger Games

There's been a lot of hype and anticipation surrounding this flick, but even after this trailer, I'm still not feeling it. It's like THE RUNNING MAN with kids instead and of course, a few changes, but the concept is very similar. I hope they have more up their sleeve when it comes to this series because I remain unimpressed.


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TRAILER: Snow White And The Huntsman

I had no interest in ALICE IN WONDERLAND or RED RIDING HOOD so a similar interest in revamping SNOW WHITE didn't entice me much. Of course, I'm impressed with Chris Hemsworth's rise to fame and for that I was curious. Suffice to say, this trailer looks surprisingly great. Color me intrigued.


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TRAILER: Goon

I've never cared for Hockey. Yes, I'm Canadian but not all of us go crazy for this game. Thankfully though, Hollywood tends to make exciting movies out of sports some people may not find so exciting. This is one of those times. I probably won't hit the theatres to see it, but it does look interesting enough to watch.

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TRAILER: Safe House

Denzel Washington is still the man, realistically there's very few like him in Hollywood these days and I'd gladly watch just about anything the man puts out there. Ryan Reynolds is another favourite of mine and to see them both together in an action flick makes me excited as Reynolds may be primarily funny, but he can also do action.

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TRAILER: 21 Jump Street

I'll admit that I have no resounding knowledge about the show this flick is based upon whatsoever so I'm totally bias when I say it looks funny (that said, I loved THE A-TEAM, STARSKY AND HUTCH and many other shows that weren't quite made the same). This won't win any awards or break any records but it does look like it's worth a few laughs.

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TRAILER: Underworld Awakening

In case anyone was wondering, "hmmm, does Kate Beckinsale still look smoking hot in tight black leather," the answer is most definitely yes...and of course the ongoing struggle between vampires and lycans looks cool too. Not sure how much juice this franchise has left in it but this is one of the few vampire vs. werewolf situations that works every time. I'm totally in.

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GAME TRAILER: StarCraft 2: Heart Of The Swarm

And speaking of Blizzard's awesomeness, here's another trailer for STARCRAFT 2's expansion, HEART OF THE SWARM. I love the much anticipated sequel and this expansion looks fantastic, as much as I like to give Blizzard shit for taking so long, it's clear that they have an immensely full plate.

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GAME TRAILER: Diablo 3

Yes, we've all been waiting for this game for the better part of a decade now, damn Blizzard and their slow-ass awesomeness, but the time is nearly here and my fingers are tingling with anticipation. But again, I have at least three or four games to get through before this one so I guess I can wait a little bit longer.

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GAME TRAILER: Skyrim

This live action trailer for SKYRIM, the latest ELDER SCROLLS game, is reason enough to check it out here in a couple weeks, but trailers aside this game looks amazing thus far...of course I still need to finish DARK SOULS and then beat ARKHAM CITY first.

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TRAILER: American Reunion

Now THIS is what I'm talking about! The first little teaser set the mood but this trailer confirms my suspicions that this flick will be worthwhile. I love seeing the gang all back in action (even Nadia), so I'm pumped to see how this one plays out.

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TRAILER: Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol

No offence to Eminem but a MISSION IMPOSSIBLE movie needs to have the theme song present in the trailer to feel legit. This second trailer turns up the heat and gives me more hope for the future of this franchise. Tom Cruise has still got it as far as I'm concerned.

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REVIEW: In Time

"A waste of time unless you're renting it."

In the future, people are engineered (don't ask me how) to stop aging at twenty-five, but once your twenty-fifth birthday hits, the clock on your arm starts counting down with only a year to live.  The good news is the world's currency is now time, so when you get paid, it adds to your clock.  The bad news is the rich and powerful have usurped the system to their advantage so they can potentially live forever.  When Will Salas crosses paths with a stranger who has over a century left on his clock, he's told the truth and then given the extra time to do something about it.

The quest for immortality by way of greed, vanity and murder...and the clock is ticking.  Essentially, the world is now overrun with vampires whose fuel for survival is no longer blood, but time.  No, this isn't some sort of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE type BLADE spinoff, but the idea of living forever, never physically aging beyond twenty-five and sucking people dry via the timers on their arms does feel a touch like vampirism to me.  IN TIME is Hollywood's latest "high concept" futuristic thriller, something we see in singles and doubles from Hollywood every three or four years.  Most of these films do quite well by my standards, MINORITY REPORT, BLADE RUNNER, I ROBOT, THE MATRIX, to name a few, but every now and again we get a dud that just doesn't push the envelope or worse, ends up sporting more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese.  IN TIME, though interesting and thought provoking on some levels, is hindered by both those problems.  At times, painfully so.

Firstly, I dig the idea of time becoming our currency, but there are some questions surrounding this premise that seriously need addressing but instead get shrugged off with a "I don't remember how this started" cop out.  I love it when they do that.  Okay, so I can let that one go.  I can even look past the awesome but high unlikely fact that people stop physically aging at twenty-five, but common sense just starts pounding in my head when they try to sell me on the idea that time can be transferred from one person's clock to another by simply grasping each other by the arm.  Sooo, the clock is triggered by a consensual telepathic bond between two people?  Nope, that's not it, because you can steel or give time while one of the two people are unconscious.  This paragraph could go on and on folks as this one tidbit is means for a long debate, and this is just one of many reasons you'll be scratching your head as you watch the film.

One of the other pivotal questions on people's minds is "does JT have what it takes to lead the show?"  Personally, I don't mind Justin Timberlake, he's by no means the best musical entertainer turned movie star, but I've seen much, much worse.  He carried himself well here, I loved the all-in poker game for time.  It was short but for a second there (no pun intended) it felt a little like CASINO ROYAL as the whole setup to this scene was very Bond-esque.  This however, was the highlight of the film, that and Cillian Murphy.  His presence here made the film much more tolerable than if some lesser actor had filled the role.  The Timekeepers weren't all that impressive, and I didn't care for where Murphy's storyline took him (also a very strange and debatable plot point).  I liked Alex Pettyfer's gangster minute man persona, but again, where it leads is a letdown, not by the scene itself but by the ridiculous arm-wrestling type duel to death situation both characters are drawn into.  This concept, referred to a couple times in the film as "fighting" is quite weak and will only make you roll your eyes.  If Stallone can make an entire film out arm wrestling (OVER THE TOP), making it adrenaline fused and exciting, then I think they could've done something a little better with this idea.

IN TIME is yet another Sci-Fi flick with cool ideas but no steam, intelligence, heart or common sense to properly nurture them, thus they come off dull, rushed and most of all lazy.   Amanda Seyfried is a good actress and with the exception of RED RIDING HOOD I love all her work.  That said, no matter how hot you are or how great your body looks in tight clothes, there's no way on God's green earth that any woman can run full tilt (and they do a lot of running) in high heel pumps.  It's impossible and a slap in the face to anyone with half a brain.  This film could've been great (like FREE JACK, a film whose endgame was also immortality) and I sincerely hate to pick it apart like this as I always go in with an open mind, but when there's this much there for the picking it's exceedingly difficult to enjoy what could've and should've been.  Save your money folks, this one's a rental.    

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REVIEW: The Three Musketeers 3D

"Not bad for a fourth re-telling."

Europe is on the brink of war with the Duke of Buckingham and Cardinal Richelieu both using a beautiful assassin  in a double crossing plot to overthrow a young and naive King Louis XIII.  Luckily for the King, an aspiring musketeer named D'Artagnan unites with three renown outlaw musketeers to put an end to this treachery.

All for one and one for all, the well known slogan of the musketeers, and why is it so well known you might ask?  Well, it's easy to remember when the story of the three musketeers is made into a new film at least once a decade.  Now don't get me wrong, I loved the three major incarnations that came before this one; THE THREE MUSKETEERS with Kiefer Sutherland, Charlie Sheen and Oliver Platt, THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK with Leo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons and John Malcovich and the terribly underrated THE MUSKETEER with Justin Chambers, Mena Suvari and Tim Roth (which I consequently re-watched a couple weeks ago still loving every second of it).  Of course despite all this musketeer love, I still couldn't help but ask myself "is a new one really necessary?"  Well of course it's not necessary, but I still had a blast watching it.

The storyline is interesting here and though there are many changes to the lore that have become a questionable topic of discussion, I personally enjoyed the ride.  If video games like FINAL FANTASY, which take place in the old sword and sorcery days, can devise a means of creating airships then why would it be so hard to believe that Da Vinci had one mind?  Personally I'm of a mind to go with the flow on this one.  And speaking of FINAL FANTASY, I bring it up simply because of the exchange that takes place between the two rival ships mid air, is reminiscent of a similar scene in FINAL FANTASY 2.  A sly wink in the game's direction?  I'm not sure, but I was wearing a sly grin nonetheless. 

The characters went through quite a change as well, but again, if you're going to retell a story then by all means explore new options that may or may not stretch the realm of reason.  Look at Robin Hood, how many times have we seen or heard that story?  But if you tweak it a bit each time, changing the flavour just a bit, you end up with a winning recipe.  Milady De Winter a sexy assassin?  Sweet!  Athos, Porthos and Aramis each have a deadly field of specialty like pretending to be captured by the enemy?  Loved it!  Turning Buckingham into an actual character for a change, albeit an slick, evil one at that?  Yes please!  I can even get behind Percy Jackson as D'Artagnan (he was much better than Chris O'Donnell at the very least).  I much rather preferred the character of Planchet in THE MUSKETEER rather than the bumbling fool they had here simply for comic relief, but hey, you can't win 'em all.

THE THREE MUSKETEERS was a wondrous surprise and guilty pleasure as far as selling the same old story goes.  I don't think the 3D was at all necessary, but then again, it never really is.  There's a lot of hate going around for this film on the account of Paul W.S Anderson, but to the haters I have this to say, "GET OVER IT PEOPLE!"  So the RESIDENT EVIL flicks aren't everything the fan boys wanted them to be, who cares?  So the guy puts Milla in nearly all of his movies now, she's his wife (and just happens to look very hot in a corset) and we could do far worse than Milla on the screen (I personally love Milla so I don't get the hate on that front).  Mr. Anderson did a fine job, the story was solid, the scenery and architecture were flawless and that final sword battle between D'Artagnan and Rochefort was pretty epic.  Also, the flying machines looked amazing, Orlando Bloom stole the show as Buckingham and the more personable approach to the King and Queen was also as welcome as it was fun.  There are many needless remakes going around these days but this is not one of them.  I could gripe about the PG rating (sigh) as I could've went for a more serious atmosphere, but beyond that it was still very engaging and above all else, fun.  

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