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All reviews - Movies (80) - TV Shows (7) - Games (2)

decent outing in "The Transporter"

Posted : 6 years, 2 months ago on 24 May 2012 09:06 (A review of The Transporter (2002))

One of Luc Besson's latest and most ambitious projects was "The Transporter," released in 2002.

I have to admit this is one flick I approached with a very open mind - very open. I mean, I like Jason Statham. I think he's a pretty cool guy and at first, even I questioned his casting as Frank Martin in "The Transporter." But the problem is, and I'm assuming this is the result of the quickly edited action scenes (which were toned down to make the film "PG-13"), he's not being given the room to really be the best he can be.

As the lead character, he's a transporter. He can get you, your associates or your property anywhere, anytime, on time, no questions asked. But you know what? Common sense tells us that it was curiosity that killed the cat, and the cat in this picture thankfully doesn't die some horrible death but instead, curiosity yields him a break - a beautiful woman named Lai (Shu Qi) - bound and gagged, and in the trunk of his BMW.

It's not spoiling much that she and Frank get together and as a result, are forced to do battle with shady and vicious American businessman Wall Street (Matt Schulze) and his army of high-kicking, disposable assassins. There's a little more to the plot and Lai, and the circumstances surrounding her appearance in the trunk of Frank's car, and it involves some smuggling of poor Chinese immigrants from China to Europe, where much of the action takes place.

Speaking of action and there's plenty of it, Statham does display some pretty impressive moves but the frantic editing just doesn't do him justice. He obviously worked out for this part and there are frequent moments when his ripped torso is on display. He also (barely) manages to shy away any possible accusations that he's just a British novelty to American audiences. Director Corey Yuen (whose work on Jet Li's 2001 action film "Kiss of the Dragon" I admired), is behind it and Besson's got a producer credit.

The problem may not be Statham because I think he's a really cool actor with a raspy British accent, but the script is worth some deeper examination by more thoughtful minds. There are plenty of holes and unanswered questions (i.e., the extent of Frank's military training and experiences, Lai and how she wound up with Frank and her quarrelsome relationship with her father who is played by Ric Young, and the plot with the Chinese smuggling).

But why am I making such complaints? "The Transporter" is an action movie; no plot required. Despite some bumps in the road, "The Transporter" is pure action fun from beginning to end

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God of War review

Posted : 6 years, 2 months ago on 24 May 2012 09:00 (A review of God of War)

Similar to franchises like Devil May Cry, Rygar, and Castlevania, the game draws its inspiration from ancient Greek mythology and boasts a heavy emphasis on exploration and battle strategy. Broken into three to four acts, the game also has a strong focus on story-telling and boast tons of magic spells and abilities. Described as "Clash of the Titans meets Heavy Metal", God of War equips its hero with a pair of sword-like chain weapons that can grab enemies, perform multi-hit combos, and pull off a variety of different aerial attacks. Slight platforming elements and an energy collection system similar to that of Onimusha have been incorporated as well, and players are even able to use certain elements of their fallen enemies as a weapon (ex: Medusa's head, for instance, can be used to turn enemies to stone after you've defeated her).

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Fight, Fight... :)

Posted : 6 years, 2 months ago on 24 May 2012 08:59 (A review of Def Jam: Fight for NY)

The ultimate hip-hop fueled fighting game, Def Jam Fight For NY challenges players to step into the shoes of a ruthless street fighter battling for control of New York's hip-hop underground. The game features an all-new fighting engine including weapons, interactive environments, and five unique fighting styles that can be combined to form dozens of customized hybrid styles for the ultimate edge on the streets. Def Jam Fight For NY features more than 40 of the most well-known artists and personalities in hip-hop today, including Busta Rhymes, Carmen Electra, Lil' Kim, Ludacris, Method Man, Redman, Sean Paul, Slick Rick, Snoop Dogg, and many more. Experience 22 interactive venues with destructible environmental objects and rowdy spectators who like to get involved.

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If you're expecting a major movie, just don't watc

Posted : 6 years, 2 months ago on 23 May 2012 04:43 (A review of Trunk)

This is an extremely low budget movie, with only two people and one location (the trunk). It can get boring if you're expecting lots of action and violence, cause it is focused on the dialogue between the kidnapper and the victim, which are not cliché and are, in fact, actually good.

Basically, that's it. The whole movie is within the car, where the only thing that happens is the kidnapper and victim talking, flirting and threatening each other.

It is not a major movie at all, so only watch it if you're ready for a not-so-clear image, not-so- clear sound and no special effects.

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A franchise is reborn

Posted : 6 years, 2 months ago on 23 May 2012 02:10 (A review of X-Men: First Class)

There came a point, about half way through this film, when I emerged from the world of wonder on screen, took stock of my emotions in that instant, and realized that yes, by God, I am LOVING this movie.

I didn't really expect to, of course -- although certainly, I hoped for it. With such an incredible cast, an able director at the helm, a story of Bryan Singer provenance and the inclusion of some of my favorite, if lesser known, X-types (Darwin! Tempest! Havok!), I was eager to see this beloved band of merry Marvel mutants redeem themselves after the massive failures of X3 and X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.

Which they do. And how!

One thing that the avid comic fan must do when approaching this movie, however, is to divorce themselves utterly from almost all established four-color X-Men continuity. Oh, some bears up, but by and large this is a whole new origin story, a reboot of epic proportions, and yet it is a retcon so cleverly done, and one that offers up a such a delicious mélange of complex relationships and sensible motivation, that all of the many discrepancies inherent in having Mystique on the side of good or having Moira McTaggert a CIA agent simply do not matter.

Speaking of McTaggert, Rose Byrne is both comely and convincing in the role, and almost every other actor is perfectly, one might almost say forcefully, cast. McAvoy brings a kind of laddish charm to Charles Xavier that he mixes nicely with both decency and naïveté, and Michael Fassbender's nascent Magneto is relentlessly, even heart-breakingly, compelling. Their chemistry is electric -- theirs' is one of the most multi-faceted and sincere bromances the screen has seen in a good long while.

The younger cast all impress, though particular praise must go to Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence as the petulant but pitiable Raven/Mystique (The Academy Awards have been good to young, hot X-chicks; let us not forget that Rogue herself, Anna Paquin, won for THE PIANO). Former child star Nicholas Hoult is also outstanding as the troubled Hank McCoy, and perhaps the most surprising kudos must go to teenage dream Lucas Till, who conveys the particular anti-social asshole-hood of the turbulent Alex Summers very convincingly indeed.

The biggest letdown in the movie, acting-wise, is January Jones as Emma Frost. True, she is appropriately ravishing, there can be no denying that, but she lacks the… the zing of the written character. There is very little intelligence, snark, or even personality behind her interpretation of this most intriguing of mutants; she's just kind of Stand There and Look Pretty -- which, for one playing Emma Frost, is something a travesty.

The only other weight under which this movie really labors is the fact that it is a prequel, and it therefore suffers from the feeling of inevitability that besets all such endeavors. Anakin Skywalker HAS to go Dark Side. Bilbo Baggins HAS to find the One Ring. And Magneto HAS to turn against humans; Mystique HAS to join him; Xavier HAS to end up in a wheelchair. With these definite plot developments looming, their eventuation is bound to be a bit of an anti-climax.

And yet the fun part about X-MEN: FIRST CLASS is the journey it takes us on to get us there. Offering up plenty of surprises, some kickass action sequences, mighty fine special effects, sly humor and a killer cameo, it is without doubt the best comic book movie of the year – nay, decade – thus far. And considering how overcrowded that list is, this is really saying Something.

Huh. A prequel that does not, in any way, suck.

Amazing, isn't it?

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Not so much a disappointment......

Posted : 6 years, 2 months ago on 23 May 2012 03:53 (A review of I Am Number Four)

In a perfect world, the convoluted mess called I Am Number Four could have been great. It had all the trappings for success: based off a semi-popular novel for teens, a fairly accomplished director in D.J. Caruso, the producing "talent" of Michael Bay, two hot young stars in Alex Pettyfer and Glee's own Dianna Agron, and an enigmatic, yet intriguing trailer campaign. So why is it that the final product is one of the most deeply unsatisfying theatrical experiences I have had in some time?

Opening with the death of "Number Three", we jump into the life of John (Pettyfer), an alien being protected on Earth from a group called the Mogadorians. As it turns out, the Mogadorians wiped out the population of John's planet years before, except for nine children with extraordinary powers. For some reason, they have to be killed in order, and with three down, John is next in line for extermination. As he goes on the run with his protector Henri (Timothy Olyphant), they settle into the small town of Paradise, Ohio. Soon after, John starts gaining and learning more about his powers. But with a new love (Agron) and his lust to just be normal thrown into the mix, John may be in more trouble than he can imagine.

I have never read the source material for I Am Number Four, but I would hazard a guess that it did a half decent job of explaining what is going on, and did not just strive to set future sequels in motion. The film on the other hand, suffers because the sequel seems to be the only thing in mind outside of special effects. We are thrown right into John's life, and we only get little nuggets of reason for what is going on at any given time. We never get full explanations, and are never even offered the ability to piece it together by ourselves. The film seems merely content giving us hints, offering little enigmatic moments to get us thinking. But instead of doing anything with these scenes, it merely continues trucking along to its eventual ending which promises a continuation and the hope for some further reasoning for what is happening. But if the filmmakers do not care about informing the audience now, why will we care later?

But this would not be such a slap in the face if we had not already seen so many films in the past half-decade doing the exact same thing, attempting to replicate the success of the Harry Potter, Twilight and The Lord of the Rings franchises. The Golden Compass, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, The Spiderwick Chronicles, and Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (which this film oddly resembles) are all examples of studios making films out of young adult books, specifically to capitalize on the potential for sequels and lengthy franchise possibilities. They all failed in varying degrees, because they all suffer from the same thing I Am Number Four suffers from – not enough plot, too much dependence on a sequel. Had all of these films even attempted to be able to stand on their own, perhaps they would have gotten the sequel they seemed to think they deserved. I know Four is part of a proposed book franchise, as opposed to an already established book franchise, but it merely skipped the waiting in the middle for the eventual film.

Should these plot and sequel problems not already be enough, Four suffers from copying Twilight a little too close (even including the notable musical cues from current alt-rockers). Sure, there are no vampires, but the romance between John and Agron's Sarah feels a little too forced for comfort. Right in the middle of being hunted down to be systematically wiped out, we are supposed to believe that someone who has spent their life running, would simply fall in love out of the blue, and not feel any consequences? We are supposed to believe he does not know better? Sure he's a teenager and we all did stupid things when we were that young, but why does the focus of the film seem to hinge on the chemistry and romance between these two star-crossed lovers? I was intrigued from the early moments in the film where it started to set the plot into motion, and the need for John and Henri to keep running to avoid death. But then it suddenly shifts from a science fiction tale to a romantic love story, and totally loses anything it has going for it. A last minute save in the final act of the film where it shifts back into the realm of sci-fi is not nearly enough to make up for well over an hour of melodrama and teen angst. It is awkward, silly, and practically plagiarizes Twilight.

I will say I was interested and intrigued when the film was attempting to do something with the plot and overarching story, but these moments are never given the chance to fully develop. The film criminally underuses Olyphant, the only actor who actually acts in the entire film, and makes him into an almost useless background character. We only get glimpses of Teresa Palmer's character throughout the film (the trailer already gives away any mystery of who she might be), and when she finally shows up to do something, she merely speaks in overtly sexual allusions. Pettyfer and Agron both seem to suffer from not knowing what emphasis to put on their character and when, and relative newcomer Callan McAuliffe is stuck in the cliché-ridden role as the know-it-all geek of a best friend.

When it attempts to work, I Am Number Four is quite interesting. I would have loved more story, and a whole lot less romance. Even what does work (including the decent special effects) seems to suffer as a result of all the melodramatic romance..... :(

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a few good performances..

Posted : 6 years, 2 months ago on 22 May 2012 05:08 (A review of Constantine)

I got to see this a few months ago at a preview screening and it decent nothing great but a little disappointing.

Constantine tells the story of a urban sorcerer (Keanu Reeves) who helps a cop (Rachel Weisz) look into her sister's death which was cause by supernatural forces that is trying to steal souls and cause a war on earth. They both must stop an evil that not only threatens their safety but the fabric of the boarders of hell itself, which threatens to break wide open. It's a decent movie with some pretty good effects but it's hindered by a couple of glaring problems. One of them is in fact Keanu Reeves and if you call his range as an actor a series of glum expressions and moments of him staring into space for no reason at all, than you pretty much got him nailed. The character he plays is just as bewildering as Keanu Reeves himself and is in fact the most underdeveloped character in the entire film.

Which leads to the next glaring problem, which is the fact that you don't really give a crap about his character. His character is really an ******* that does not treat people well and abuses himself to the point of death. The funny part of all of this (and the part that make absolutely no sense once you really think about it) is that he wants redemption and is willing to put himself in jeopardy in order to secure a spot for him in heaven, despite the fact that he still does not treat himself or others well. Even with the knowledge that he's not good health does not make you care about him and that's a real testament on how much of an asshole the character is in this film. Now I can understand the reason why the people who made this film wanted to have a character like John Constantine in it. People always love the reluctant hero, who is sometimes very shady and is not always thinking of others best interest but himself. But when he's needed, he always does the right thing when it matters the most. You know whom I mean, the Han Solos or the Captain Jack Sparrows that make the movie much more interesting than it is. Now the big difference between those characters and the character of John Constantine is the fact that you do see their humanity despite how shady they seem and you still want to spend more time with them regardless of their faults. On top of that, you had actors who knew how to show you those things when they needed to be shown and give you a reason to believe in their characters despite of their short comings. Keanu Reeves on the other hand fails miserably in doing that because he does not have it in him to pull it off and the fact that the script itself does not show any humanity in the character is a big problem all in itself. Another problem this movie has is the fact that the story is really something we have all seen before on an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with all the demons and half breeds that populate that show, but in a much bigger scale and with better special effects. The story is much more than an episode of that show but it still is in the same ballpark. There are some good things to say about the movie that does kind of outweigh the bad. Rachel Weisz's performance as the cop and her doom twin sister is much better than the film itself and much more realistic than the actual story. You really do root for her and hope she does overcomes the problems she's facing, which is a blessing when you think about it because of how much of a drag Keanu Reeve's character is to the film itself. The worlds of heaven and hell itself in also pretty interesting, giving you the impression of how close they are to themselves and of the actual world that we live in. There is a scene that has Constantine trying to get a demon out of a little girl that is a little scary and some of the demons do look creepy enough to give you a brief pause when you look at them, so it does have a good scare or two in the film but it's really an action flick with supernatural elements thrown in for effect.

The twist in the ending is pretty inventive but typical when it involves the lead character doing something noble for a change.

To put it all in perspective. It's decent for what it is but with Keanu playing a character as befuddled as he is as an actor, the movie is only held together by the great performance of Rachel Weisz and a few good scares that are few and far between.

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Take the ride

Posted : 6 years, 2 months ago on 22 May 2012 05:05 (A review of Con Air (1997))

Strap yourselves in, fasten your seatbelts and prepare for one of the most exhilarating thrill rides of your life as "Con Air" takes you on a two-hour adventure that includes an all-star cast, powerful action sequences and great direction. Everyone will be glad to learn that "Con Air" is an action film that is able to have a great story to accompany it.

Originality and believability are two more keys to the success of a film because if nobody believes the story, success can be thrown out the window. "Con Air" revolves around a plane carrying high-risk prisoners being transported to a maximum-security prison. However, the prisoners have other ideas.

Action films cannot survive without the right cast in place to portray the heroes and villains; therefore, the director must locate the right talent who has the correct chemistry to make it work. For "Con Air," the director chose five immensely and incredibly talented actors who fit this formula. Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, John Malkovich, Ving Rhames lead an all-star, stellar cast in "Con Air." Chemistry between cast members is key to the success of every movie. It didn't take long to realize these five actors contained a massive amount of chemistry.

Cage stars as Cameron Poe, a parolee on his way home to his wife and daughter until he runs into a problem and save the day. Cage is one of the most versatile actors I have come across. Playing everything from a romantic lead in "It Could Happen To You" and Moonstruck" to dramatic roles in "Leaving Las Vegas" and "Bringing Out The Dead" to comedic roles in "Trapped In Paradise" and "Guarding Tess." Cage is the ultimate action star combining all of these elements to bring home the role of Cameron Poe. For this reason, I'm proud to call him one of my favorite actors.

Monica Potter and young newcomer Landry Albright star as Cameron's wife and daughter to whom he is flying home to after being paroled. Potter's beauty radiates off the screen with such heat and force I almost melt.

She may not be a veteran, but Potter's poise, beauty, talent and presence has proven that she could be mistaken for one. I relish every opportunity I had to watch her on screen because I knew what I was seeing was something special. Potter is on the rise with awards in her future and great films on the horizon.

Albright's performance as Casey brought smiles to my face because she is one of the cutest and most talented newcomers to hit Hollywood in recent years. Albright may not have a lot of dialogue, but her presence on screen is a sight for sore eyes, her beauty is hypnotizing and her energy is electric.

Albright will have a long, bright future in acting if she decides to pursue the profession because she has the special sparkle in her eye and aura surrounding her. I can't wait to see her next film.

Malkovich is Cyrus 'The Virus' Grissom, the ringleader of the hijacking. Malkovich's face oozes with villainous intent, which is one of the reasons he is so great at playing one. With his role in "Con Air," he proves once again he is the best. Cyrus was calm, cool, and collected in the face of danger as he led his group of convicts.I have gained a new respect for Malkovich because I was able to see the true range and versatility he brought to the role.

However, the best was yet to come as I learned that the supporting cast was a welcome surprise. For example, Rhames is Nathan 'Diamond Dog' Jones, Cyrus' right hand man. Mykelti Williamson stars as Baby-O O'Dell, Poe's only friend on board "The Jailbird." John Cusack is Vince Larkin, a federal agent, who from the ground is doing his best to bring down the plane full of convicts. At odds with Larkin is Duncan Malloy, played by Colm Meaney.

Another aspect of "Con Air" I enjoyed was the writing because the film was able to tell a story with substance without letting the action take over. Creating great character development and story depth are just a few examples how the writers were able to win me over.

The special effects in "Con Air" is great that it made me feel as if were part of that flight right along with the convicts. I commend director Simon West, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer on how well they put together the action sequences and bringing together the tremendous cast without any clash of egos.

Finally, the one thing that signed, sealed, and delivered this movie was the signature song performed by Trisha Yearwood called "How Do I Live." It remains my favorite song even today, five years after "Con Air" was released.

This is an action packed film from start to finish that has a believable plot; as well as comedic moments at times with great one-liners by various actors. I urge everyone to see "Con Air" for a great action film with substance.

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Oh, "Baby"!

Posted : 6 years, 2 months ago on 22 May 2012 04:33 (A review of Baby's Day Out)

Dumb laughs are easy to come by. Dumb characters are even easier. But when you get a movie that is so endearingly, goofily dumb as "Baby's day Out", you can't help but love it!

The plot is straight out of Cartoon Land, with a low bow in the Three Stooges' direction compliments of scripter John Hughes (surprise!). Three of the dimmest kidnappers in history (Mantegna, Pantoliano and Haley) make the mistake of kidnapping a rich couple's little baby, who turns out to be far more resourceful than all three of them combined. And a lot more ruthless.

During the course of the day, baby Bink (Warton and Warton) leads the dumb bad guys throughout the width and breadth of Chicago and leaves them all bruised, beaten, burnt, plummeted from innumerable high drops and otherwise humiliated ("we've had the living hell torn out of us by a baby," screams Mantegna at one point). And all the while, we're laughing.

It's nice to play dumb once in a while. And even nicer to witness it.

Hats off for "Baby's Day Out". If you like such laughs, it'll make your "Day".

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lol,I thought the 'Sy' of 'SyFy' stood for science

Posted : 6 years, 2 months ago on 17 May 2012 02:21 (A review of Dinocroc vs. Supergator)

of course, of COURSE this was atrocious. I couldn't stop laughing after the dingbat hotbabe informed the audience that they chose a crocodile and an alligator because they are amphibians.

um, they are reptiles. Frogs are amphibians. Newts. Toads. The director of this film. Reptiles, like crocodiles and alligators, are more evolved. At least they would never be caught dead associated with this drivel.

This is well worth watching if you want an example of why us humans will eventually extinct ourselves. Not because the plot has any insights into how we will engineer ourselves into a biological catastrophe, but because in watching this film you will realize someone is able to earn a living making a product this stupid.

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