TRAILER: Thor: Dark World

THOR was a gamble when Marvel first pitched it, and not because they went with relatively unknown actors--that worked out fine, but because it was a vast concept and a difficult thing to achieve on screen (think GREEN LANTERN as the other end of the spectrum). Now that Thor's been introduced and expanded in THE AVENGERS, I couldn't be more pumped to see him on another solo adventure. The gang's all here and they're looking fantastic.

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GAME TRAILER: The Evil Within

Games sure have come a long way in the visual department. Sure, sometimes it's a double-edged blade when the game doesn't back up the sweet-ass eye candy, but damn if it's amazing when it does. This game looks like RESIDENT EVIL meets SILENT HILL written by Rob Zombie. I like it. It looks nowhere near original, but creepy as all hell anyway. Lets hope the storyline and gameplay do it justice.

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TRAILER: R.I.P.D

Sigh. Ryan Reynolds has been talking about this flick forever--even mentioned it as being in the way of him making DEADPOOL. For all that hype, this is what we get? Are you kidding me? This looks awful. It's basically MEN IN BLACK with Jeff Bridges sounding cliched and annoying leaving Reynolds with a "how the hell did they rope me into this bullshit" look of puzzlement on his face. Garbage.

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TRAILER: Man of Steel

Is this the Superman movie we've all been waiting for? If I were a betting man, I'd say yes. From tone, to characters, to story arcs, this looks like something special. Did we need another origin story? No. But if the boys are cooking up a new trilogy I'm all for it, as well as, a link to a Justice League movie. Fingers are crossed, but I doubt it's necessary. I'm quite sure this will be a new high for DC.

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TRAILER: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I'm sorry, maybe I'm one of the only ones out there who dislikes this series, but I do. The first film was atrociously bad, don't even get me started. And this trailer does absolutely nothing for me. I love Jennifer Lawrence, but this series is far too overrated. The books may be good, but the films are not.

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TRAILER: The Hangover 3

I'll be brutally honest here, the first one was epic in every way, I loved the hell out of it. The second felt like rehashing the same old thing as they milked this baby for another few million. Do I feel the same now in the wake of a third? Definitely. Does it mean it can't be funny? Well, time will tell. The one thing this has going for it is the fact that it revolves around Ken Jeong, who just happens to be the funniest guy in these films. Here's hoping The Wolfpack go out on a high note.

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TRAILER: Elysium

I'm a sucker for high concept science fiction pieces and ELYSIUM looks to be all that and more. Matt Damon proved himself as an action star in the BOURNE films, but ever since he finished with that series I've been worried that he may have hung up his action chops for good. Sometimes it's good to be wrong. This looks like a fantastic summer blockbuster full of action, explosions and epically cool moments. Can't wait.

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REVIEW: Evil Dead

"Pitiful.  A sorry excuse for horror and a useless remake."

Five friends head to a secluded cabin in the woods to help kick a drug habit.  They find a strange book in the cellar.  Once they read from this book an evil spirit in awakened and comes to claim their souls one by one.

The EVIL DEAD has a cult following, this much is known.  I didn’t see the first one until only a couple years ago, and like most oldies, this flick needed to be enjoyed in it’s time to be treasured now.  However, EVIL DEAD 2 is another story.  I did see that as a kid and to this day I have no love for cellars, or the stairs leading down to them.  ARMY OF DARKNESS is where Sam Raimi’s trilogy began to shine its brightest, but by then, you could hardly call it horror with a straight face.  Like so many horror classics, this didn’t need to be remade, but that’s Hollywood’s thing nowadays so rather than whine about it (like so many fans did), I simply didn’t care.  The hype leading up to this movie was huge, the posters hitting us with gems like “The most terrifying film you will ever experience.”  Change that to, “The most uninspiring ninety minutes you’ll ever sit through,” and I’d agree, but this is so terrifyingly bad, I can’t simply leave it at that.

I know this might sound like bullying, but this is 2013 people.  Campy old ghost stories could get away with the “creepy cabin in the woods” premise twenty years ago because nobody knew any better—the brilliant tale CABIN IN THE WOODS being exempt from this rule simply because it broke all the rules.  But these days nobody in their right mind would set foot in a place like that for any reason.  Okay, so we’re all feeling brave, let’s go in and check it out.  A blood soaked cellar door?  No worries, let’s head down there anyway.  What do you mean the cellar looks like Freddy, Jason, Pinhead, Michael Myers and the Blair Witch summoned about a hundred demons from hell and had an all-night orgy that ended with burning some chick alive?  I’m sure it’s fine.  Wait, what about the book made of human flesh, full of satanic rites, and wrapped in barbwire that says, “DO NOT READ FROM THIS BOOK”?  Oh, I’m sure it’s fine, let’s just read from it anyway and see what happens.

This movie will make you angry.  Clearly what I’ve illustrated above is frustrating, but combine nonsense like that with terrible dialogue (this wreaks of Diablo Cody.  I know she originally had something to do with this film, but I’m not sure how much of her draft carried over), useless acting and dull characters.  Seriously, why bother bringing your girlfriend at all, David?  She barely spoke.  Now besides the fact that it took these fools three quarters of the movie to understand something was wrong, John Lennon, the genius who read from the book in the first place, finally tells David there’s only three ways to kill these things; bury them alive, full body dismemberment and fire.  Got it.  So why did Olivia and Natalie die?  One was hit over the head and the other lost an arm (and a half), yet they were left for dead and forgotten about by the story.  Sigh.

EVIL DEAD is a cliché ridden, lazy, unintelligent series of events that defy not only common logic, but the rules and reality in which they’re based.  Pro tip:  A plastic canister of gasoline will not explode if shot, no more than a car’s gas tank would.  Furthermore, a person’s arm is not made of silly putty.  If you get your hand pinned under a car, pulling it will not cause it to stretch like toffee, break and then suddenly have no bones to show for it.  Hollywood needs to wake up and realize that rehashing old ideas is a worn out business that deprives movie goers of the fun loving movie experience they deserve.  Stop destroying horror.  If you can’t come up with an original idea (or take on an old premise like CABIN IN THE WOODS), stop, and wait until a better idea comes to mind.  Every now and again a remake is fun, but this doesn’t even begin to justify the eight or nine out of ten that aren’t.  Irony alert:  Shiloh Fernandez (David) is in a flick called DEADGIRL, which more than qualifies as being the most terrifying film you’ll watch this year. 

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TRAILER: Carrie

I love Chloe Moretz, she's an amazing aspiring actress, but Stephen King isn't well known for great films. I didn't see the original. I didn't read this book. But everyone knows the basis of this story from it's pop culture status. It looks good, don't get me wrong, but the jury will remain out until I leave the theater because you just never know with remakes.

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TRAILER: The Purge

I tip my hat to whomever thought this up and wrote the novel (it has to be based on a book), because it's a damn smart premise. The only flip side being that it's one of those everything happens in a house types of flicks which means it could fall prey to many a cliched pitfall. Hopefully not, but either way, this certainly has my attention.

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TRAILER: This Is The End

I dare anyone to watch this trailer and not laugh. It's just not possible, unless you're dead. I want this to be awesome so badly, and pray that all the good stuff isn't being wasted in the trailers. Either way, I'm there and don't kid yourselves, you're all there too.

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REVIEW: G.I.JOE: Retaliation

"Let's hope they get it right the third time around."

With Zartan posing at the President, G.I.Joe is wiped out down to a handful of four as Cobra Commander is rescued by Storm Shadow and given the power to destroy the world.  It’s up to Roadblock, Lady Jaye, Flint and Snake Eyes to make things right.

G.I.Joe was my favorite cartoon as a kid, hell, I still watch the animated movie once a year and can recite every word.  For this reason I find the JOE movies a little harder to review.  I view the franchise in the same light I view the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE script I read a couple years back—that got shelved.  There’s the way I want to see it hit the big screen, and then there’s the inevitable way it will hit the big screen.  I used to think getting something was better than nothing in this regard, but then BATMAN FOREVER came out and I quickly ate those words.  Now, I try to have fun and enjoy what I get (X-MEN ORIGINS WOLVERINE is a fine example of this).  G.I.JOE RETALIATION has many issues, but as an action film based upon my favorite cartoon, I can’t really complain…much.

I found the story intriguing upon viewing the initial trailer—I mean damn, it’s awfully ballsy to kill off G.I.JOE down to a handful of soldiers.  This works and it doesn’t work.  The call itself makes sense as Zartan’s still rocking the President’s meat suit, but from it spawns a crap load of questions that never get answered.  The initial strike force they dispatch is clad full of ‘henchmen type’ soldiers, rather than the named ones we meet in the first film, so where’d they all go?  What happened to the JOE base in the dessert?  They say Duke’s leading the Joes now, so what happened to General Hawk—and for that matter, I hated that they killed Duke off.  It’s the equivalent to making Jim turn on his team in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.  These are two things that just wouldn’t ever happen in these universes. 

Okay, so let’s get past all that for a second and move on to Cobra.  One of the best aspects of the film came from the always cool Walton Goggins as the smooth talking Warden of a secret prison facility (housing both Destro and Cobra Commander) that’s supposed to be impenetrable as well as inescapable…unless you’re Storm Shadow.  I like the whole cryosleep pod deal, but why didn’t the process work on Storm Shadow?  I get this jailbreak had to happen, but I wasn’t thrilled by their decision to just leave Destro behind—or for Cobra Commander to say, “Sorry Destro, you’re out of the band.”  Ouch, and sadly, the rest of Cobra Commander’s limited dialogue suffers from the same level of cheese.

What does work is the addition of The Rock.  The guy’s just awesome, pure and simple.  He reinvigorated the FAST & FURIOUS franchise first, and now he’s rocked the JOE universe as well.  I wish the same could be said about Bruce Willis, but it can’t.  What a waste.  D. J. Cotrona’s Flint was nothing like his cartoon counterpart, however his parkour tactics made the action sequences better so I can live with it.  Adrianne Palicki’s Lady Jaye was also a welcome addition to the team and hot as hell to boot—two words: red dress.  Ray Park’s Snake Eyes felt terribly underused, which is a shame seeing as how he’s probably the second most popular JOE next to Duke and Sgt. Slaughter.  Why they even bothered to add Jinx to the mix is beyond me.  She said maybe two words the entire film.

G.I.JOE RETALIATION is riddled with unexplained questions, catch 22s and a myriad of ridiculousness under the skin, but on the surface it’s a hell of a fun time at the movies.  I know I seem like I’m coming down hard, but for anyone who isn’t a fan of the cartoon or bathed in nostalgia, these are issues that will clearly stand out.  Don’t get me wrong, visually this was a feast, from the vehicles down to the fine details like fixing Snake Eye’s mask and getting Cobra Commander’s right.  I loved seeing Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow team up—it would be like seeing Sub Zero team up with Scorpion—but the reasoning is unbelievably terrible.  I loved the ninja scenes in the mountains (aside from the atrocious RZA), but the whole Zartan/Storm Shadow backstory makes absolutely no sense…much like the idea of putting a red button on the control console for your end game weapon that self-destructs set weapon by simply pressing it.  No code entry sequence guys?  It’d be quite a shame to press that button by mistake.  At the end of the day I liked the movie, and I’d be interested in another.  I just hope they put some more thought into the next one rather than just slapping a bunch of random stuff together and winging it.   


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