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Boring All Around

Posted : 8 years, 1 month ago on 22 September 2010 03:26 (A review of The Killer Inside Me (2010))

*This review does contain spoilers*

Deputy Sherriff Lou Ford (Affleck) is sent out to run a local prostitute out of town, except he finds himself drawn to her. Eventually Lou succumbs to his inner demons and begins to brutally murder those around him and is slowly but surely unmasked as one West Texas most prolific and psychotic serial killers.

The Killer Inside Me has an unusual atmosphere, it is unbelievably slow paced, little character development seems to be used in the film which is based on a legendary and well know book. It seems like the Killer Inside Me is purposely trying to stop itself from being simply just a film about a murderous maniac who is hell bent on killing. It slows down for the awkward sexual scenes or brutal torture, with some really strange flashbacks that visually make no sense and plot wise never seem to be fully explained. There are some unusual moods on display in some of the sex scenes, and some odd after effects in one of them. Lou Ford is oddly pictured in this film as a man who enjoys the rougher side of the sexual experience, yet after one of the scenes he is calmly shown smoking a cigar while an old western tune plays in the background. There seems to be a lack of character in Ford at times. It may be that that they wanted to capture all his moods, and how quickly he can change on a dime but for a film that comes in at under 2 hours it makes the progression and the outcome seem entirely stretched.

There seems to be a lot lacking from the middle of this film it seems. It’s just Lou Ford trying to con his way out of a jail time. There is no other real purpose to the plot, it seems so much like they spent a lot of time worrying about how the character will worm his way out of the situation, rather than his complete transformation from a passive local Deputy Sheriff into a Psychopathic homicidal killer.

The killer Inside me features a few scenes of unnerving violence, that are enough to make even those who have seen gory horror flicks cringe and want to turn away. It’s not because Lou Ford hacks up his victims with a machete or a chainsaw but solely because it is a relentless attack with his own two fists that seems to drag on for about 3 minutes, which is about 2 and a half more minutes then necessary. It even has nothing to do with the actors, it’s just a scene of brutal violence that seemingly does not let up until you either have your eyes closed or you just simply do not care what happens in the rest of the film. There are two of these scenes, and the first one is enough for you to know when the second is coming, so my advice to you is if you do not like violence of this graphic nature just skip it, especially the second incident, because there are a few moments where you think it is over only for it to continue.

The actors do not seem to runaway with these performances, Affleck coming off his major break in Jesse James seems rather flat faced and dull in every scene other than those of pure violence. It just makes his performance seem even creepier, and his sexual scenes just seem to be really awkward and not in the way the film intends it to be. Hudson for lack of a better term is lacking in all sense of the word. Her sexual scenes with Affleck are just horrible, there is no striking chemistry between the two, even though their characters are going through a rough patch, they just cannot seem to get on the same level. Hudson seems to sit there with a square face, while Affleck takes the lead and tries to make the scene better, but it always seems to fail. It seems like Casey fails to ignite any sort of spark under his character that makes him a unique character. He is no different from any killer in any other slasher flick or thrill kill flick. As much as I like Casey this simply is a downgrade from his recent streak of top notch performances. The disappointment in acting stops when it comes to Jessica Alba and Elias Koteas. Koteas plays a small part as a man who is beginning to figure out the real Lou Ford. Alba has never looked so seductive and has never to this point in her career been so convincing in her portrayal of a dramatic character. This could be the reason why the scenes of violence seemed so much more intense. Her painful expressions, her sexual tension all brought realism to a filmed that was ultimately lacking in that department.

As far as films of this nature go, this has got to be one of the most predictable and drawn out films. Spoiler Alert for anyone reading who has intentions of seeing this film, the ending was so cliché. As much as I enjoyed Alba’s fine performance her characters resurgence at the end was a bit of a scapegoat ending. For her character to walk in and say she said nothing about who actually attacked her was downright dumb. Then she walked closer only to have Ford stab her, and the cops to shot him igniting the entire house in a blaze (that looked horribly CGIed if I might add). There was no conclusion, no moral play in the end, just every character who we had seen through out the film killed in one stupid looking blaze. The worst part of all it showed the bodies turning to ash and crumbling together. What a horrible way to end a film that should have been one hell of a masterpiece. The younger Affleck may need to re-examine his acting techniques and fine tune them because something was visibly lacking through out this performance.

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Solid, Gritty. As good as crime dramas get

Posted : 8 years, 1 month ago on 18 September 2010 09:15 (A review of The Town (2010))

Doug MacRay and his best friend James Coughlin along with a group of their oldest friends rob banks. After they take a bank manager hostage James thinks she should be taken care of. Doug does not think that is the best idea and checks up on her, but he begins to fall for her as he gets to know her. As Doug and his friends draw heat from the police because of their most recent bank robbery Doug contemplates leaving Boston and this life behind. He asks Claire if she will go with him. The only problem is will Doug and his friends are able to successfully pull off one final job. Doug must way the options, do the job and risk being caught and sent to Federal Prison or not to do the job and risk Claire’s life if she doesn’t go with. Doug also finds himself pressure by Krista (James little sister, Doug’s drug addict ex girlfriend) to bring her and her daughter along with him.

The Town is one of those movies that show you a lot during its runtime. It gives you a wide variety of scenes featuring all of the characters mentioned above and a few more. There is enough of each character that you can understand who and what they stand for. Doug is featured in the most scenes however, along with Claire and James (aka Jem) because those are the three characters that the conflict is centered around. James figures that Claire has some information that she can give to the feds that will result in them being arrested. Doug talks to her and says she has no information and if they let it go she can’t give them up. Jem who is known for his violent past still wants Doug and the boys to accompany him on bank heists while Doug figures that laying low will get rid of their heat.

Ultimately the Town is one of those movies where you end up cheering for the wrong side. You cheer for Doug and Jem and hate the police force. The movie is designed to make you think this way. Doug and Jem really aren’t awful people, they have just hardened by the life they have led, as Ben Affleck brilliantly presents in the opening sequence Charlestown which is only a few miles worth of land is the bank robbery capital of America. He also presents a quote from a man simply identified as Charlestown man that reads “I’m proud to be from Charlestown, even though it has ruined my life, I am still proud” or something very similar to that. Doug and Jem have grown accustomed to living tough and breaking the law to earn money, and Affleck brilliantly captures his own character of Doug as a man who is trying to seek a better future at grasp for something more than just chaos and violence. On the other hand Jem played masterfully by Jeremy Renner wants nothing more. We loves what they do, where are they are and who they have become. He doesn’t want things to change; he wants Doug around swearing that Doug is the father of his sister’s kid, Even though Doug himself denies this at one point in the film. Renner has the tough, in your face attitude, and really I can’t picture anyone else who would have done this role as well. This is the second straight performance where Jeremy Renner makes a tough character look easy to portray. This is the second straight performance where Jeremy Renner takes a character and makes that character his own, so much so that you cannot see even the most seasoned veteran actors playing that part.

Even Blake Lively as Krista a down and out mother of a young daughter was an interesting performance. Lively who has never really been in a major mainstream picture to date is great in the role. Sure her character may say some odd things through-out one of her scenes, but she looked down and out, if nothing else she gets credit for looking the part. It does go deeper then that though in this film, Lively does nail the accent, the cracked out look. There is one scene close to the end of the film that we are able to see her real talent. Her little screen time is great, her performance is great. She is probably the most underrated in the entire film. She matches with Affleck, Hamm and Hall through out the film. Renner just hits an entire level all together.

There is not a bad performance in this film. It was good to see Ben use a couple of the guys from Gone Baby Gone including Titus Welliver and Slaine. As well as minor roles for Pete Postelwaite and Chris Cooper. Cooper, who only has one scene in the movie, has a lot to say about the background of Dough being that he plays his father. Cooper is able to show us that Doug is no different from his father, choosing to head down a life of crime.

The Town is easily one of the best films of 2010. There are downright dramatic scenes, and there are even a few light hearted moments between Doug and Claire. This film shows that Ben Affleck is one of the premiere filmmakers heading into the next decade. It even shows that Ben may still have a future in front of the camera as well. I am beginning to think Ben Affleck should handle the adaptation of Dennis Lehanes newest Boston set novel “The Given Day”. Affleck could make “The Given Day” his third film set in Boston that becomes not only a decent flick but a masterpiece.

The Town keeps you focused, engaged and emotionally attached to every one of these characters. If you have been unimpressed by Ben Affleck in recent years this may just turn your feelings for him around. I’m excited to see what Affleck does next, what Renner does next; even what Blake Lively does next if she keeps turning out performances like this one. Solid cast, solid movie. Crime dramas do not get much better then “The Town”

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Mindless, Cheesy, Predictable, Worst one yet.

Posted : 8 years, 1 month ago on 16 September 2010 04:37 (A review of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010))

After a series of random killings plague Seattle, the Cullen fears that they will venture into Forks and disturb the peace. Once they realize however that is the work of Victoria they scramble to help protect Bella, but they must align with the wolves in order to take on her army of new born blood thirsty vampires. With the battle rapidly approaching Bella is confronted with the choice between Edward and Jacob, and who she loves more.

Twilight as a series of books have swept over most of the teenage girl population 15 and under. They believe Edward and Jacob are the hottest of the hot, the epitome of all things literary characters. Twilight is not a great series of books. It is overdramtic, why to focused on one character and the same old story over and over. How long does it take Bella to realize who she is in love with? Does her heart not belong to sparkly frizzy haired vampire Edward Cullen? Why does the love story still play an issue in the third novel? The idea of love in the Twi-universe is a nonsense notion. Bella who apparently has devoted her heart and soul to being a vampire is willing to ask Jacob to make out with her before he enters the biggest battle of his life. Only then does she try to explain to her boyfriend Edward that she didn’t know what became of her and she does love Jacob but just not as much as she loves her precious Edward. Wow is that even love? It seems way more like lust to me. Bella loves Edward because he is different, not because of who he is. He is a 108 year old vampire who still hasn’t been able to adapt to society over the years. He continues to go to highschool, and this brings up another point, did they not graduate in the first movie? Did Bella and Edward not attend prom together because they were both seniors? I thought so anyway, correct me if I am wrong.

Stephanie Meyer is not a good writer in any way. Her characters are bland, say really cheesy dumb things to each other and fight over the one girl that is probably not worth fighting for. Twilight is widely known to be a fantasy where Bella represents Meyer herself and two buff guys fight for her. Bella is in many ways the character version of herself. There is a description comparison that can easily be found on the web and there features are strikingly similar in many ways.

There is also one more thing I need to mention, and no disrespect to any of her fans but Bryce Dallas Howard lost a lot of my respect. She was offered the role of Victoria before filming of Twilight even began, she turned it down because she did not feel strongly about the series as a whole. The role was eventually given to Rachelle Lefevre and she did a decent job with the part. As the series took off and Victoria played an bigger part Dallas Howard took notice and wanted the part back. The respectable thing to do at this point from any film exec would be to respectfully decline her no found interest and stick with your original actress. Dallas Howard was awarded the part she originally turned down and in my opinion she failed miserable as Victoria. She added nothing to the overall outcome because in the end remember nothing matters except what Bella wants or need. No other character even remotely matters except for Edward, Jake and Bella.The Cullens even are a waste of time trying to make them interesting, because lets face teenage girls don’t care about Jasper or Emmitt they want Edward and Jacob to run around shirtless. The Cullen flashbacks were easily the best and most rewarding scenes in the movie, yet they were lost amongst Lautners lack of shirt wearing and Edwards complete devotion to Bella.

There is a lot to dislike about this movie and little to like. They make these films as stereotypically as possible it seems. They add the cheesy dialogue and the shirtless Jacob for teenage girls to like and fall dreamily in love with. Twilight offers nothing to the mature film goer, and nothing to anyone who likes interesting and well thought out plots. Twilight is just an over zealous teenage angst film, with action scenes that are predictable and always favour the Cullen clan and the wolves. Word to the wise Smeyer people get more attached to action scenes that have a good balance of good and bad sides winning. The good do not always win without any hesitation especially after you take the time to explain how dangerous your group of bad guys are.

All though one shout-out before I end this, and that is to Jackson Rathbone who plays Jasper. They finally gave him something interesting to say, and I watched this guy in something else and he proved to me he can really seriously act. So Mr. Rathbone, I am waiting to see your post twi-light decisions because you are the one actor attached to this franchise that could have a bright future.

Eclipse just furthers what the first two already showed me, that Twilight does not care about its mature audience, they care about the shirtless guys they can show the teenage girls, and Bella is just one whiny undecided confused individual. Make up your mind already, because I am already dreading the idea of a two-part possibly 4 hour adaptation of Breaking Dawn which will most likely be a watered down oversexed version of the book which features graphic scenes. Good luck with that adaptation and ruining the book just so the 13 year old female audience is able to buy a ticket.

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Across The Universe

Posted : 8 years, 2 months ago on 22 August 2010 05:08 (A review of Across the Universe)

Jude leaves his home country of England for America in search of his biological father, what he finds instead is a romance and a group of friends that will forever change his life. After he meets Max he is invited over for thanksgiving and meets his younger sister Lucy who he takes an instant liking too. The pair hit if off rather well, but Max and Jude move to New York. Jude and Lucy reconnect when she decides it is in her best interest to move to New York. Lucy begins to become involved in peace rallies after Max is drafted for the war. As the peace rallies heat up Jude and Lucy begin to drift apart and after an altercation with law Jude is forced back to his home country. Jude eventually tries to get back into America so that he can reconnect with Lucy and make things right.

Across the Universe is rich and beautiful in its own right just for the soundtrack, but it happens to go a lot deeper then that. Lucy and Jude are two young people looking to live and love and to just find peace. The world around them is focused in on war and destruction and they just want to find a peaceful safe haven where war is not an option. This becomes difficult after Max becomes a part of the war. Lucy’s resentment towards the war escalates as she begins to become a part of violent protests which result in police action.

This film tells this story in such a unique way you cannot help but love it. The music of the Beatles is so rich with color and imagery, the words have been sung now for almost 50 years and everyone from anywhere has heard the Beatles and possibly been touched by their lyrics. Across the Universe is a simple tale of love and peace that uses some of the greatest words ever written on paper to help tell its story. As the story unfolds and the main characters belt out famous Beatles songs you can strangely realize how music can define a generation and change the way we look at things. You can also strangely envision the tales told through songs and what it all means and how the interpretation of the lyrics comes down to how the song and its words make each individual feel.

Jude and Lucy were complete opposite, Jude coming from a tough background having to work for everything he got, Lucy was a bit naïve in that sense, coming from a rich uptight American family not having to worry about how they would survive. Lucy sort of finds herself struck by reality when her boyfriend dies in the war and then her brother gets drafted. Jude and Lucy just really want to be these free spirits and this is beautifully captured through the dream like sequences that play out while they sing masterfully to the words of the Beatles. As they listen to their music and Jude creates his art you can feel how they want to be disconnected from what it means to be normal. Evan Rachel Wood and Jim Sturgess play these characters and convey their youthful innocence so well, they capture what it means to fall in love and have life get in the way. They bring new life to classic songs and their vocals are just stunning. You cannot ask for much more from a young vibrant cast. They gave it their all both mentally and physically and left everything out in the open for the audiences to enjoy.

Across the Universe is a film I put off watching on many occasions, the reason being I have no idea. I love the lyrics of the Beatles and have a lot of respect for the Beatles and what the accomplished in a short amount of time. It was great to see their songs used to tell a great story. Across the universe is a stellar film, do not pass up the chance to see it.

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Touching and Heartwarming

Posted : 8 years, 2 months ago on 12 August 2010 06:29 (A review of Away We Go (2009))

Burt and Verona are expecting their first child, which came as an unexpected surprise. When Verona is about six months pregnant they hear that Burt’s parents are moving away, the main reason Burt and Verona moved to the town they are living in. After hearing this announcement Burt and Verona contemplate their own big move, so that they feel happy with their own situation. They decide to take a trip, visit old friends and see what city will work well for them. They realize that everyone has changed and has their own life and they ultimately end up realizing that they need to find their own path and do what feels right.

Away We Go has a Juno like feel to it, these two quirky people looking to find their own unique way in life go on a life changing adventure that brings them closer then either of them could have ever imagined. Away We Go is full of surprises, the people they meet along the way or different and lead their own lifestyles. Away We Go is a simply written, simply directed film about life blossoming from its roots and how it changes the parents forever. Burt and Verona have no idea who or what ideals their child will have, but they do know one thing and that is they will love their child unconditionally no matter what happens.

John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph are perfect in the lead roles, much like Ellen Page was in Juno. Krasinski plays a quietly confident Burt, and is a joy to watch. Rudolph plays Verona, who is frustrated with their surroundings and she simply just wants a fresh start. Together Krasinski and Rudolph make the perfect pair, and as they travel they begin to experience things they would have never experienced before, As they meet up with old friends Burt and Verona begin to shape as people and realize what they need to do in order to be truly happy. It is later in the film that their travels take a bit of a dramatic turn and Krasinski just seems to awkwardly sit through these scenes, and his facial expressions are enough to tell us that Burt understands. There a few scenes where Burt and Verona are sitting alone talking and you can really comprehend the concerns these characters have, because it is something we will all have to consider at some point in life. Perhaps not because a child, but there will come a time where all of us will consider if our current situation is making us happy, but will we have the strength like Burt and Verona to change it if we then realize we aren’t happy.

Tom Garnett: It's all those good things you have in you. The love, the wisdom, the generosity, the selflessness, the patience. The patience! At 3 A.M. when everyone's awake because Ibrahim is sick and he can't find the bathroom and he's just puked all over Katki's bed. When you blink, when you blink! And it's 5:30 and it's time to get up again and you know you're going to be tired all day, all week, all your fucking life. And you're thinking what happened to Greece? What happened to swimming naked off the coast of Greece? And you have to be willing to make the family out of whatever you have.

Away We Go has this way of showing us life is only as good as we can make it out to be. We need to be the ones who face each day with grace and appreciation, and as much as we want more and strive more, we should stop and be thankful for everything we do have. Away We Go is a beautiful life altering story, one we should all take note of. We can do anything and go anywhere as long as we have the strength and courage to make those changes.

Burt Farlander: Do you promise to let our daughter be fat or skinny or any weight at all? Because we want her to be happy, no matter what. Being obsessed with weight is just too cliché for our daughter.
Verona De Tessant: Yes, I do. Do you promise, when she talks, you'll listen? Like, really listen, especially when she's scared? And that her fights will be your fights?
Burt Farlander: I do. And do you promise that if I die some embarrassing and boring death that you're gonna tell our daughter that her father was killed by Russian soldiers in this intense hand-to-hand combat in an attempt to save the lives of 850 Chechnyan orphans?
Verona De Tessant: I do. Chechnyan orphans. I do. I do.

I instantly fell in love with this story and these people, every different person that came across the screen in this film had their own sense of belonging, and that is why Away We Go is such a special and unique film.

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Simply Stunning

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 21 July 2010 03:43 (A review of Inception)

Dom Cobb is trained in Subconscious security. He can enter into the human mind and steal any idea. He must do one last job, one last risky job that will put all his training to the test. Cobb must use his skills not to steal an idea but to plant one. Cobb will use only the most skilled people in order to get his job done; each one has their specific task.

What’s the most resilient parasite? An Idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules. Which is why I have to steal it.

Inception has been one of the most talked about films in a really long time. Writer/Director Chris Nolan makes his return to the big screen after 2008's The Dark Knight was an instant success. Nolan however this time around created something that is purely original. Nolan has created a film that takes the complexities of the dream world and tries to explain them. He creates a film that is borderline fantasy. Nolan creates his best work to date; Inception is exciting, fresh and original. As much as I loved The Dark Knight, Inception is way more intense and much deeper. Inception tackles touchy subjects, and gets us questioning reality and how our minds actually work.

Inception is by far the best film I have seen this year, if not in the past 5 or 6 years. Dicaprio continues to amaze me with his stellar choice of scripts. This time around he plays Cobb a man who is trying to find a way home to his children. Cobb holds many secrets and little by little we learn more about this man, and we are not quite certain if he is trustworthy of not. In the past 10 years there has not been an actor as consistent as Leo in choosing quality roles working alongside some of the best directors of this generation. Leo on numerous occasions has turned in award worthy performances, and Inception is another one of them. I am really hoping as a fan of his work that Inception can finally be that film that gets him an Academy Award.

Inception is way deeper then I could have ever imagined it being. Some of the things they discuss and bring to the forefront leave you breathless and with chills down your spine. It is a heavy film, with many concepts and will take repeated viewings to understand. Even still after 3, 4 or maybe even 5 viewings this film may still weigh heavily on your mind. It is up to you what you take from it. Nolan has set it up so you can discuss and process it within in your own mind or with a group of friends. Just don’t lose your sense of reality trying to wrap your head around the fantasy elements this film possesses.

Inception is a beautiful film, one that will stick with you long after you have seen it. It has been nearly three hours since I have finished my first viewing of the film and all I can think about is when will I be seeing it again. Will I think the same about the ending and the events after the second viewing? Is any of this remotely possible at some point in the future? Would this be a benefit or a menace to society? The biggest question of all that Inception raises is what is real and what is not? Is any of what we are surrounded by in fact real or are we just projections of another persons dream state? Inception raises all these questions and many more for me, but maybe it will raise different questions for you. Inception is that kind of movie; it will get people questioning different aspects of life and the human mind.

This cast has been a part of something much more then just another film. Inception is a portrait of the depth of the human mind, and how we as humans are the masters of our own dream state, and within the state we can be whoever or whatever we want. The dream state can bring back images, places from our past and take us to far out exotic lands and on life changing adventures, but we always have to come back to this reality whatever that may be for each of us. Inception takes on that wild ride from start to finish and reminds us that knowing exactly what reality is can be the only thing keeping us from going insane.

Nolan has created something of awe and wonder. Dreams are a collection of thoughts, and Chris Nolan has given us his take on the dream world, now we must draw our own conclusions on what it all means.

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Not quite so bad, but still nothing special

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 8 July 2010 02:13 (A review of Sorority Row)

A group of Sorority Sisters try to pull a prank after one of the girls find out her boyfriend has cheated on her. The prank goes wrong and he ends up stabbing her with a tire iron and so the girls make up their minds that they will dispose of the body and never speak of the tragedy again. Flash to 8 months later, the girls are set to graduate and so the make a toast to their fallen friend saying she has been missing and they hope someday she will be found. After Graduation the girls receive a text message of a tire iron and so they pass it off as a sick prank, but as they day progresses the girls begin to get killed and so they try and come up with a plan that will settle it once and for all.

Sorority Row is a step up from most modern horror remakes, however it does not bring back the classic horror feel because it is still one cliché after another. They built the tension fairly well, and there was the odd glimmer of acting hope in this film. But like most horror film remakes you have the clichés, the predictability factor, and the parties. One thing screenwriters, unless you are intending to have some supernatural aspect added in near the end stop with the whole idea of having your characters think it could possibly be the dead person back for revenge. It is simply the most annoying thing to have the characters yelling and screaming it could be the person they know they killed.

On the acting front you had young girls who were meant to get the young males attention. Yes they were pretty young girls, but that is not the highlight of the film. It doesn’t get the film added points; it does not turn the film from another remake to a horror masterpiece. Perhaps the best acting was from Rumer Willis, most of the others seemed to be content with looking like a pinup and sounding way to overdramatic. Most notable for doing this was Leah Pipes who played Jessica the leader of the Sorority House. She looked too fake and sounded even worse, her voice at times was annoying, and her words just made the movie almost unbearable.

Sorority Row at least tried to bring into effect how one decision can mess up the rest of your lives. It played on doing what was morally correct or lying to protect your image. Sorority Row was a film that had one killer looking for justice for a girl that was a victim of a horrible accident. Sorority Row was about one person taking matters into their own hands and trying to make those who only cared about their own good looks pay. The thing is you smash any hope of trying to convince people that doing the morally correct thing is ok when you pit a cheesy tire iron wielding killer against 5 girls. Convince people with a solid film where the morally incorrect choice actually has an adverse affect on their lives. Horror films have a tendency to kill off the people that react badly or treat other people badly and letting those who are decent loyal individuals live. It has become this way for horror movies to try and teach people that being good always pays off. To most people these have just become cheesy endings to horror films.

What is with endings these days always ending on a sour note, this is probably the fourth horror film in a row that has an ending where a killer is the final shot. The Friday the 13th remake had an ending where Jason was attacking in the final shot, Nightmare on elm Street had Freddy attacking through a mirror and this one had a flash a scarred wrist as the new year of college began. These horror films always leave room for a possible sequel because, and none of them as of yet have an announced sequel or score a high enough audience approval rating to even bother making a sequel. Stop with the stupid ending that makes us wonder about a sequel, because most of the time we just do not care if there will be one or not because the first films are not good enough.

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Restores my faith in the series

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 5 July 2010 04:44 (A review of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince tells the tale of the choosen one Harry Potter sixth year at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizadry. Harry is personally shown memories of Lord Voldemort so that he can gain a greater understanding of who he is actually facing. Harry grows increasingly close with Ginny and Hermione has conflictions as Ron begins to show interest in other girls. As the film progesses, the characters find themselves fighting for not only themselves but also for the ones they love the most in the world.

This film was surprisingly well made. From the beginning scene of Voldemorts destruction to the final emotional tribute to Albus Dumbledore, you cannot help but feel comfortable with how much these films have changed the face of the film industry. Harry Potter has revolutionized both the literary and film worlds. As we have seen the series progress we have scene a few blips on the map, especially with the last film The Order of the Phoenix. Also along the way we have seen some of our favorite characters transcend to the big screen, like Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, Albus Dumbledore and even the boy wizard himself Harry Potter.

The Harry Potter franchise is internationally known, many people cherish these books, and are faithful to the books. This film was for the most part faithful to its novel companion. Harry Potter finds himself dealing with love and death at the same time. Harry for the first time in his life, finds himself in love, while he sees the world around come to a crumbling halt. Harry finally sees the path that has been laid out before him. What really came to light in this film, was not Harry Potter being heroic like every other film, but Harry Potter realizing that the people around him are going to be hurt and killed along the way. Harry in this film comes to realize that friends and those who care are willing to give themselves for you.

As previously mentioned these actors have become extremely comfortable with who they are playing. Possibly none more than Rubert Grint. He was grown into Ronald Weasley so much. Ron's wise remarks, and his attempts to cover up how loyal and brilliant he really is have become something of pure brilliance in the films. Ron was always that lovable kid in the books, the one who wasnt exceptional in everything he tried, but was a good friend, one who would lay down for Harry and Hermione. Ron has become the best acted character in the series, second only to Sirius Black who is no longer in the films because he was killed in the last one.

Many people have been debating about the importance of the characters in the film. Was the burrow scene really needed? One will always have an opinion on this. Yes it was, Ginny really came into her own in that scene. Harry knew he wasn't alone, despite being the reason the death eaters would have attacked the Burrow, the Weasleys, Ginny especially didn't give up on Harry. Ginny was brave and stood up and would have died beside Harry Potter. One would say the kiss scene lacked, but no it didn't. Harry and Ginny's passion and almost forbidden love was captured to a tee. Harry being the chosen one and Rons best friend didn't want to to overstep the boundries, but he couldn't pass on the feelings of love.

Also another thing that many people are debating was the importance of Severus Snape and how he revealed himself. No the scene where he reveals to be the Half Blood Prince was well acted, well delivered and Alan Rickman was so cold and sincere it sent chills up the spine of everyone who watched. Snape did not reveal any of the major plot elements. Harry believed that he was about to help Dumbledore, and so he let it happen. Snape also knew that Bellatrix and the other death eaters would have destroyed Harry in an instant. Snape was as ruthless and seemed as ruthless as he needed to be.

There were two major surprises in this film that really made it better. The first already having been mentioned is how Bonnie Wright was able to go from secondary part to grown up mature Ginny Weasley. Bonnie was able to look and act all grown up in this film. She was able to look like a mature 16 year old girl, who finds herself in an awkward situation. The second surprise was the performance of Jim Broadbent as Horace Slughorn. Simply amazing. His expressions, his continued acts of guilt, his continued aversions to reveal the information he gave Tom Riddle. Broadbent captured the full brilliance of man who always gave to much information.

The thing that was probably the most impressive, was how each and every characer was well developed. All though, I couldn’t help but wish Richard Harris had have been playing Dumbledore, in his final scenes. Harris has the wise look about him. R.I.P Richard Harris, and kudos to Michael Gambon for stepping up and taking on a challenging role, and finishing with style and Grace.

This film was entertaining, the scenes were moving, especially the tribute to Albus Dumbledore, fallen hero and friend of many. The cast came together, each and every character with tears in their eyes, as they looked down at their fallen mentor. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince restored everyone’s faith in the series, and built up everyone’s anticipation for a thrilling two part conclusion that quite possibly could be the best of the series if done right.

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Not very impressive

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 5 July 2010 03:44 (A review of Sahara (2005))

Dirk Pitt and his long time friend and business partner Al are off on a grand adventure in Africa. After Dirk saves a young doctor working with the world health organization they part ways. As Dirk and Al begin search for a possible American Ironclad vessel that has sank they become aware that the possible plague the world health organization is treating has spread. As they dig deeper and deeper into the situation they learn that it may not be the plague at all just the poisoning of the local water supply.Dirk, Al and Eva must race to stop the poison from spreading before it reaches the Atlantic ocean and the worlds water supply becomes contaminated.

Sahara is a decent film based on the novel by Clive Cussler. The film is set up to be an intense mystery where anything is possible, yet as the film progresses it becomes increasingly predictable. The offbeat attempts to be humorous become redundant, and the outcome is another film trying to masterfully mix really suspenseful moments with key comedic timing. Sahara has its own blend of action, a bit over the top but at times believable only because you have come to terms with Dirk Pitt being a lot like Indiana Jones (without the unique style of Indiana Jones)

There were no real interesting plot devices other then Dirk and Al being able to seemingly get passed any object that stood in their way without any hesitation. There was no real standout as far as the cast was concerned. McConaughey played his usual character, a self confident man who ends up scoring the girl in the end. Steve Zhan tried so desperately to have great comedic timing, but it failed at times with the way the film was trying to portray the matter at hand as a potential threat to the very existence of humanity. It is kind of hard to listen to these characters mention how they have only a certain amount of time to save humanity and then watch as Steve Zahn overcompensates and makes a complete fool out of himself. Penelope Cruz did little, she could have easily have not been there and everything could have happened except for Dirk winning Eva's heart. There was so much crammed into this film, it all seems to become this mass pile of science and comedy and Dirk and Al being boring average non comedic versions of Indiana Jones.

Sahara is a decent movie, that tries so hard to have heart and for people to like it. I find it hard to take McConaughey seriously in any role he plays, maybe I am too hard on the guy or maybe he should try and step up his game, I just feel he was not the right man for the part and Steve Zahn could have made his character work but somewhere down the line the two of them combined for over 2 hours makes for a long drawn out overly annoying back and forth adventure dramedy. Sahara had it stuck to the science aspect of things could have been a little better, as it stands it is average and a film that will easily drop from your memory within two to three hours after viewing.

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Another average horror flick

Posted : 8 years, 3 months ago on 2 July 2010 03:26 (A review of Friday the 13th (2009))

Clay Miller (Padalecki) is looking for his sister at Camp Crystal Lake, the home of Jason Voorhees. Clay believes that his sister is alive, and he will stop at nothing to save her, or at least find out what happened to her. At the same time Clay arrives at Crystal Lake so do a group of teenagers who are there to spend a weekend away at a cottage so that they can party and enjoy the summer weather. The weekend away turns into hell as the group go off to enjoy different activities they are brutally murdered by Jason Voorhees.

Jason is one of the premiere faces of the horror industry. He is the famous machete wielding maniac who defends his home turf of Camp Crystal Lake from outsiders. Over the years there have been many different Jason slasher flicks, including Jason X where Jason is in the future and killing people in outer space. Jason was always so massive and brutal because he wore an old fashioned hockey mask and used nothing but a machete to do what he wanted. This version of Jason was faster and more agile, and used more weapons over the course of the film. Jason never ran in the older flicks, he always had this uncanny ability to be where he should never be and no one bothered to question how he could have done it. Jason was always pure brute force, but this time he seemed smarter more aware of peoples presence, he even took a girl hostage and did not kill her. It is a tough sell and a tough buy when you change the foundation of a character that has stood as a horror legend for many years.

This was your classic glory horror flick with no character you felt for. All though Aaron Yoo's character seemed to have a long drawn out death scene and it was pretty brutal. Odd bit of information here, this is because Aaron Yoo became the first Asian male to be executed by Jason. Other then that you could predict each death as it began to happen. You could clearly tell who was going to be next, and you could clearly know who was going to be the last three standing. The arrogant asshole character is never one of the final three standing. You always want to good people to make it out alive, but usually only one of them do. The thrills seemed rather dull, other then the killing of the Asian guy. Jason used a bow and arrow on one of the couples and then smashed his machete through the dock into a girls head and lifted her up and you can clearly hear the thud and then she falls into the water. Some of the scenes were laugh worthy, because they were so over the top.

Horror as a whole genre needs to stop trying to reinvent the old classics and find a way to create something mind boggling, something that messes with our heads and not just a kill everyone and leave no trace of it kind of thing. A real thriller that dives deep into the human brain and leaves us thinking. Stop with the horny teenager cliche, stop with the beach house, sex upped horror films, where you hear the awkward sounds of the forest and so one person goes to check it out. Stop with the creepy man in the window as a couple are having sex in the bedroom. Just stop the sex and the pointless nudity. It does not even appear to be remotely real, it is just drunk teenagers how are so wrapped up in their own little sex world that they cant even hear or see what is going on around them.

Friday the 13th is nothing new or exciting. It tries to be the classic but we dont want to see the classic again or we could watch it. We want to see something new, something interesting.

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