RichardKleiner

IMDb member since September 2007
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    IMDb Member
    15 years

Reviews

A Good Day to Die Hard
(2013)

A Major disappointment (yes, with capital "m")
Rarely has a movie soured my day so much as this terrible sequel to a franchise that, while not entirely flawless with all its installments, has still delivered some pretty solid entertainment and fantastic action.

Needless to say that "Die Hard" is the best action movie ever made, and while the sequels are not as universally loved, all of them featured some continuation to Bruce Willis' character of John McClane in a witty script and some pretty damn cool and innovating action scenes.

All of that is gone out the window (which may or may not relate to a scene from the movie) with this new installment in the Die Hard franchise, with the not-too-clever title of "A Good Day to Die Hard".

Skip Woods relays screenwriters Steven E. de Souza, Jonathan Hensleigh and Mark Bomback's (among others) tasks of feeding John McClane smart one liners and coming up with clever and deceptive terrorist plots. And boy did he drop the ball.

The script is, for lack of a better word, idiotic. Any semblance of McClane's previous heroics (at Nakatomi Tower, Dulles Airport, New York and the entire USA) is largely ignored, and the only link or mention of anything previously seen in the franchise is Lucy's brief and pointless appearance (though welcome, since it's Mary Elizabeth Winstead). The characters speak dialogues that highlight the obvious, and not just that, they actually repeat information that was said BY THE SAME CHARACTERS. And Skip Woods has done something that should be considered a crime against cinema: He has written John McClane as a completely unlikable character. Gone are his witty one-liners, replaced with cliché lines such as as "guess who?" and others that would make Arnold Schwarzenegger feel embarrassed. Gone is his down to earth, pragmatism and his heroic, though believable and survivable, feats. And gone is his actual usefulness within the plot.

The acting itself is generic, at best. Bruce Willis acts shamefully on auto-pilot, and doesn't do that much justice to his character. But how can he, when he is so badly written, that it's beyond saving?

The story is intergalactically stupid. Exposition arrives late; a lot of guns, devices and elements are featured and mentioned, but rarely, if ever, used; the bad guys are more incompetent and disposable than the ones in Rambo movies; the third act twist drops like an anvil without making any actual sense; and, in the end, the story itself matters so little, you give up halfway through it. That, and you also forget any actual semblance of a challenge.

One might justify all of this by saying: "hey, you're not going to watch it for the plot. You just want to see the action scenes". That is an insult to a franchise that has been built around tense and challenging plots, great characters and competent scripts.

But, even still, for those who don't give a care about the plot, or for those that it has failed to interest them (which is most likely), they might find solace in the action.

Enter director John Moore, and witness the total demise of the film. His rushed, dirty and incompetent direction fails incredibly, with poorly shot frames, unnervingly shaky camera and editing and, overall, not a single care for making the action coherent or awe-inspiring. Say what you want about "Live Free or Die Hard", at least the action looked gorgeous, particularly that non-sensical but still awesome shot of a police car crashing into a helicopter. Here, the chases, gunshots and punches look so flat and boring, that there's truly no standout action sequence.

Yes, people. John Moore has managed to make the image of a truck hanging chained to a helicopter, pulling it down, look complete and utterly boring. Moore tries to add some call backs to the original Die Hard, with a shot of the main villain falling to his death and John McClane crashing into a wall of glass, but the damage has already been done, and no homage can save this mindless spectacle, most especially the endless slow-motion shot of the McClanes jumping away from the exploding helicopter.

This schlock is what you find in mindless action blockbusters that gourmet critics love to ravage to pieces. The thing was, the original "Die Hard" was completely the opposite of that type of movie. It was smart, tight and interesting, the villains were an actual threat, the hero was vulnerable and believable, the characters had heart, the action was never over the top, the explosions were not the trump card of the film, and it was on Christmas. The sequels, while lacking on some of these element, didn't lack on all of them.

Positive aspects include the stupidly amusing goon that liked to dance, whatever his name was. No, don't get me wrong, he's garbage. But at least he had the better (though still crappy) lines, and was somewhat interesting to watch. Also, a fun and active score by Marco Beltrami, filling the shoes of late Michael Kamen overachieves to a bad film.

I sincerely wanted to like this film, as I love the previous four of the franchise and was able to forgive the flaws it would have if it was fun, exciting and awe-inspiring. It wasn't.

If you're among those who thought "Live Free or Die Hard" was bad, "A Good Day to Die Hard" is its more obnoxious little brother. Len Wiseman, John McTiernan, Steve E. de Souza, where were you when we most needed you?

Superbad
(2007)

If you liked the movie, don't bother reading.
I mean, it's not the worst comedy ever made, but Superbad is incredibly overrated. Go ahead. Mark this comment as not useful. It won't change the fact that I find Seth Rogen to be utterly annoying and, most importantly, not funny.

The story itself is standard, focusing on the (not entirely true) reasoning that when kids go at parties, they drink, and when they drink, they get laid.

The script makes an effort in innovating in vulgar language, sex references and dick jokes, yet, it doesn't really focus on the most important aspect of a comedy: being funny. The scenes with the cops and McLovin are boring and drag for too long and they go around in circles, not really going anywhere. The only moral from that particular subplot is that hanging out with cops is cool.

As for the main storyline, most of the story is a bromance with very little fun factor. However, I did enjoy the ending, which had a clearer and more interesting lesson. But the somewhat comedic numbers don't feel natural or sincere, and they're not even over the top nor slapsticky enough to steal some primal chuckles.

This is not to say that the movie doesn't have its moments (the Thai last name "Phuck" was hilarious), but these are so in between mean jokes, mumblecore dialogue and boring drama, that you don't really enjoy it. The entire sequence with Seth and Evan at a college party is painfully realistic as how horrible some college folk are with minors, and thus, not enjoyable.

For this movie to be considered "generational" is rather scary. Again, it's not ghastly, but I honestly expected something better. And, no matter how much some will hate me for saying this, Seth Rogen sucks.

A Day Without a Mexican
(2004)

A one-gag movie
I don't have a problem with the commentary. That's perhaps one of the movie's strongest attributes. I'm not going to talk about the issue of Mexicans in California because the movie addressed this so well.

The problem with this movie is that it got lost in the way.

While the movie has a form of "mockumentary" style, Sergio Arau uses the format only whenever he finds it convenient, as all of the subplots are handled in a standard narrative way.

Another problem with the subplots is that they are done with an intimidating level of seriousness, moving the obviously (and natural) comedic tone of the movie into a dramatic direction, something completely unnecessary and which results in a bunch of dull moments.

The jokes themselves are great. Arau's sense of humor is a gem, and when it comes to the actual funny scenes within the documentary, they do come across as funny. It is a shame, then, that he had to fill most of the gags with drama. Now, obviously, a comedy could use some drama in order to balance the emotions, but A Day without a Mexican's drama is too much.

One final issue, which manages to make the movie rather annoying at times, is how repetitive it is about the main gag. Yes, Mexicans are the main work force in California. Yes, Americans say any Latino is Mexican, whether they're from Urugay, Belize, Chile, etc. And, yes, if Mexicans would disappear from all of California, it would be disastrous. We get it!

Thankfuly, Arau's film is infinitely superior to Olallo Rubio's aimless "So, What's Your Price?". Still, "Naco es Chido", a mockumentary about Arau's legendary band "Botellita de Jerez", is ten times better than "A Day without a Mexican", being an actual mockumentary from start to finish and filled with better and funnier references to Mexican culture.

As for this one (and as everyone has mentioned before), it was a good premise that lost consistency and grew duller. Nice effort, though.

Priest
(2011)

Darn! It's as if the movie makes an effort for you not to care about anything.
I'll have to say, I didn't expect high art with this movie. I didn't expect a deep plot or some moral value, not even a sincere message. I expected to be entertained, as it is a 3D movie about vampires vs. motorcycle riding priests.

Priest, unfortunately, is one of those rare failures where not only is the plot boring, but the action is as well. First of all, the movie doesn't give any single shred of a damn to character exposition. Sure, it has an informative animated prologue, which is basically the best part of the movie, but that's pretty much it. The main character played by Paul Bettany is presented in such a shallow way, that his name literally is Priest. What kind of a society would name all of its members with the same name?

As for the other characters, the writers themselves do believe they don't matter, as they don't give a name to anyone. It's even worse that any trace of character development is quickly dismissed. The cowboy dude says "Who the hell is she?". Do they answer him? No. It's as if the movie thinks "Oh, no, the audience wants to know what's going on! Quick, add an action sequence!"

And, thus we move to the action scenes, which are actually too few in a movie too short. And not even these scenes are worth watching. Sure, maybe in 3D they could work, but it's hard to get into the action when you don't really care about anything that's going on. The climactic train scene does rise the tension a bit, but it's too similar to so many movie scenes involving trains that it's everything but impressive.

With (or in spite) these flaws, Christopher Young's massive score over compensates the lame faux-emotivity, as well as the larger than life special effects, but it's not enough to get a movie's main objective: to make you care.

Fortunately, you only endure a pretty quick hour and a half of boredom, and the film's art design is enough of a spectacle to behold. But, sincerely, it's advised to pass on this one.

Mars Needs Moms
(2011)

Cute and underrated.
I was tempted to see this movie in theaters, but I never got to convince anyone I knew to see it. Later, I was rather surprised to read it bombed. Sure, its plot sounded weak, but I didn't think it was THAT terrible.

So, after seeing it, I say liked it. It does has it's problems, but the movie has a heart, and it does touch your inner child.

I'm not crazy over Zemeckis' motion capture style, as, particularly in this movie, most of the characters are introduced as rather anonymous and not memorable.

The movie does start off very weak, with a thin introduction to the characters (there are hardly any close-ups of both Milo or his mom) and the action. However, about halfway through the movie, the story finally gets into shape. Gribble's character was annoyingly presented at first, but once you know his back story, you can actually feel for him. Ki also starts off very badly, and her own back story is rushed, making the opposite mistake that was made with Gribble.

Performances in this type of movies are rather irrelevant, so Seth Green's contribution might have been great as seen live, but in the movie it gets lost with all the visuals. Dan Fogler and Joan Cusack are functional, but their voice tone doesn't really mesh well with the style of the movie.

The animation and effects are nice, though a little too reminiscent of Wall-E and TRON: Legacy, so it does kind of feel very derivative. Also of note is John Powell's entertaining underscore.

As a whole, the plot starts off late, but it does grow in the telling. The movie isn't the worst ever made, it just happened to have the worst of luck during the season, which happens very often most of the times. Expect as an entertaining experience, and nothing else.

X: First Class
(2011)

They're doing it right again!
Needless to say that it was quite a relief, after so many disappointments with superheros, that the X-Men are back to their full glory.

The original X-Men was great, the sequel was just as good, and The Last Stand wasn't as bad as everybody keeps saying, alas, it didn't live up to its predecessors. Wolverine, on the other hand, threw out all of the artistic merit behind the films and went for the "look at me, I'm awesome" style, which almost killed the X-Men series' credibility.

First Class returns to the socio-political aspects of the original X-Men comics, but in the form of a prequel. Therefore, you get to know the Charles Xavier and Erik Lensher when they were young and how they became the Professor and Magneto, and their respective followings.

As a prequel, it's very loose in its connection to the previous movies. While the basics are still the same, if you nitpick, you'll notice some inaccuracies with the facts, but if you hated The Last Stand and Wolverine, then it won't be a real problem.

As some have said, the mutants starring in this movie aren't the coolest ones, but that actually helps the movie be more serious and not just wowing the audience with special effects, although they do accomplish that very well.

McAvoy and Fassbender as Xavier and Magneto, respectively, are terrific. Most particularly Magneto, in a performance that would make Sir Ian McKellen proud. McAvoy's Professor X isn't as striking as Patrick Stewart's, then again, Stewart didn't really make me believe he was Professor X, but simply Patrick Stewart being Patrick Stewart.

It is interesting how the characters are written. Xavier is a player, hitting on chicks and getting drunk, while he slowly (though not too subtly) changes into a wise mentor as the situation grows worse. Magneto still is antisocial and resentful, but he has lighter moments, showing a sense of humor and also genuine loyalty to his friends.

It was an interesting surprise to see Kevin Bacon here, but his villain is good, his powers are awesome and his performance excels. The rest of the characters, in all honesty, are rather generic, with the exception, naturally, of Raven and Hank (Mystique and Beast), who have an interesting subplot but, as we all know, doesn't really matter.

The story as a whole is fun and very entertaining. While they do take liberties with what happened on the Cuban missile crisis, going on the Watchmen route, the tension and the suspense is handled well, even though you wouldn't have a clue of what's going around the world.

The costumes are excellently designed. I'll have to say that, even though McKellen's Magneto was OK, I never really saw him the way I remembered Magneto in the TV show and comics. At the end, when you see Fassbender in costume and his emblematic helmet, you finally say "Yes! That's Magneto!"

I don't know if Bryan Singer's involvement as one of the producers helped the movie, but something was different here, and it was done great. Matthew Vaughn's effort paid off.

At first, I thought the movie would be as pretentious as Wolverine, but when I saw it, I felt it was genuine and done seriously, just like the first movies. If you yearned for the past glory of the X-Men or if you ever wanted to explore the history behind them, this is definitely a must. Continuity is faint, but you really won't care for it.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
(2010)

Holy crap, it's awesome!
Few movies take the chance of reinventing not only a story, but also the way of telling and shooting it. But Scott Pilgrim is a true effort in innovation for the late 80's, early 90's born generation.

The story itself is worthy of a video game. The mechanics are simple, with defined objectives and a fluid progression of challenges. Scott Pilgrim can only be steady with Ramona, the girl of his dreams, by defeating her 7 deadly exes.

The movie could have been made with symbolism, where the "fighting the exes" representing some debate or personal achievement for Scott Pilgrim with the opposition in real life.

However, the fights are part of the in-universe of the story, and so, Scott really is fighting to the death with the antagonists of the story, and they do pulverize into change. The score screens, the comic book sound effects and the "ultra-rad" voice over really are in the air. The movie is in itself fantasy, a contemporary set of mythology, and epic tale for this new generation.

Such kind of innovation may be alienating when you start watching, since you think it's somehow all in Scott's head, but once it sinks in, you can enjoy it's full potential.

The Visual Effects are the star of the show, along with the fights, resulting in some pretty cool scenes. The fight scenes, in particular, finally get it right, with some martial arts extravaganzas and stuff one would wish to live in one's own boring, pathetic reality.

The movie may not have the general appeal of Wright's Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, but it's still a solid, entertaining and innovating film. If your head doesn't spin with so many jumps from sequence to sequence and the almost constant appearances of title screens, it's a recommended thrill ride.

Fireproof
(2008)

Nice try
Christian movies may seem like the punchline of cinema, but they are slowly taking themselves a little more seriously. I've said before that Christian movies are usually seen by their makers as vehicles to give an evangelical message, and most of their technical and artistic aspects are taken for granted and delivered in quite a generic way.

Fireproof is far from being a triumph, but Alex Hendrick's film has proved that it's learning, not practicing, though, how to do it right.

The script is better than usual, touching all the necessary elements to keep it from being boring, which is a welcome move. However, the performances and the directing doesn't help the story flow. The dramatic, main story is boring. The evangelical preaching, as usual, doesn't sound very sincere. The lines of dialog are seldom realistic, taking few risks at harsh talking, but what do you expect from a church producing a family film? As an example, there's a particular scene where Caleb's wife, Catherine, confronts him over watching porn on the computer, but for some unexplained reason, she refers to it only as "trash on the internet". Lady, call it what it is. And it is called porn!

If it didn't have any of the comedy relief and action scenes in between, all of them expendable, nonetheless, the movie would be half as exciting as a soap opera episode. And, most frustratingly, the comedic scenes feel forced and fail to churn up at least a giggle.

The film's two lone action scenes are a good diversion to the story, but they aren't convincing or memorable enough. It's a bit ironic that given the references of fire in the story and the flames that appear on the cover on a movie starring firefighters, there is only one sequence in which there is an actual fire. And unfortunately, this scene is incredibly poorly done, thanks to the limited budget.

Awknownledged, most of the actors were volunteers, but it doesn't feel like they poured their hearts into their roles. Kirk Cameron, God bless him, seems a little out of his league to deliver such an emotionally heavy performance.

The cinematography is quite sub-par, although some of it is due to the film's limited budget. Still, the fire truck scenes are unexciting and the conversational scenes make you beg for close ups.

A capable score by Mark Willard is somehow overshadowed in the worst way by some standard worship songs. I understand that the music should glorify God as well as accompany the visuals, but can someone please do something more original or innovative than just generic pop-rock you hear in any single Christian bookstore?

I recognize the great deal of work that came into producing the film, but it's still not enough. The movie does avoid to be awful, but with some of the ingredients to make a memorable film, it fails, not miserably, but fails. The day is yet to come where you can hear cussing in a Christian film.

Inception
(2010)

Truly deserving hype
I've had it with the back story on how Nolan made the film. You've read it all countless times.

Usually you have directors that are known for making a great movie with the rest being marginally interesting and overrated. Christopher Nolan manages to elude being one of them.

Inception itself may not be as original as you may think, but still, considering how so many rehashes, sequels, prequels and adaptations have been made, it's a refreshing glass of water.

It's rare these days to see phenomenal sequences, heavy in CGI and special effects, attached to a genuinely superior story, but Nolan does just that. One thing I did think was missing was more chaos with the dreams. Sure, the idea of stealing ideas for the people is keeping them from realizing it is a dream, but yet, when things start to get much more complex, you might want to see some crazier sceneries.

As for the performances, none is truly groundbreaking, but most of them are functional and compelling. Leo DiCaprio does his best to be considered a mature actor and this is one of his better efforts. Still, the characters are not so well defined, with only Dom, Mal, Saito and Fischer, during his last scenes, being the only ones to stand out.

The movie does excel with their effects, many of them being actually technical and not digital. The city bending is a marvelous sight, however, it would have been nice to see much more of it. That and the hotel scenes with suspended gravity are your money's worth.

While The Dark Knight may be an undeserving "Best of the Year" title, "Inception" sincerely deserves it this time. Christopher Nolan is certainly proving he can make great movies.

Black Swan
(2010)

The hype is worth
And, so Aronofsky makes yet another film.

Fans of the director went orgasmic with this one, and it's not surprising that it really is a good picture.

The story centers on ballet dancer Nina and her obsession (which might be an understatement) with obtaining and mastering the role of both White and Black Swans in a new and innovative production of Swan Lake. The parallels between the Swans of the ballet and Nina's own personality are quite obvious, making it really tough for someone not to get it. To its credit, the script features two opposing views on the ballet, with Vincent Cassel's experienced and learned perception that it's "been done to death" and the two everyday guys that have never even heard of it. This helps the movie stay away from appealing exclusively to the elitists connoisseurs.

The movie does have some flaws. The almost horror tone of the hallucination scenes seems tired and unoriginal, the music being accessory to this. The big shock stingers with the music seem out of place, making Black Swan sound more as a terrifying story rather than the depressing one it really is. The Tchaikovsky original pieces are, not surprisingly, better and, surprisingly, produce a much more interesting effect with the scary scenes.

Given the psychological nature of the story, Aronofsky focuses exclusively on the perspective of Nina, which lends to innovative and very interesting shots, however, they make it rather difficult for viewers interested in the choreography to actually appreciate it.

This makes the movie center 90% on the psychological and 10% on the music and choreography. Yet, an obvious and clear Aronofsky piece.

The performances were solid. Natalie Portman nails the part, really reflecting her innocence and confusion with sincerity in an award deserving work. Vincent Cassel, as usual, delivers, and Mila Kunis not too far behind. Still, a surprise performance by Winona Ryder in a small role and Barbara Hershey's role are more interesting examples.

The lesbian scene seems a little bit out of place, but it becomes quite interesting once you understand the small twist at the end, which is not too original, actually.

The visual effects with Nina's hallucinations are well done, especially considering that most of the shots were done with hand-held shaky cameras. The scene that steals the show is Nina's definitive transformation during her presentation as the Black Swan, where she has red eyes and starts growing black feathers. An actual triumph for the artists. On the other hand, a particular scene where Nina is much more aware that she is turning into a swan with her legs crooking to the back may seem over the top and, let's face it, a bit laughable.

The movie as a whole is depressing, though not as much as Requiem for a Dream, of course. It's a delight to appreciate, and to some extent to enjoy, but not worth watching countless times. It is a noble contender as best movie of the year, but not really a winner. Either way, it's intellectual food and a standout example of good art film.

Les rivières pourpres 2 - Les anges de l'apocalypse
(2004)

Inferior. Not even that thrilling, actually.
The original Crimson Rivers is a great thriller, and I loved it. The sequel on the other hand, is a little difficult to appreciate.

With only Jean Reno returning from the original film, it's a telling sign that the movie will loose some of its artistic merit and give you a nagging feeling that it was made just for the money.

A screenplay written by Luc Besson might sound like a great starting place. Now, I prefer that sequels stay as different as possible to their predecessors while attaining some consistency with character and other technical details, but still, telling a different story. And Besson did that. Unfortunately, he managed to write an entirely different movie with no connection whatsoever to The Crimson Rivers that would make you consider it a sequel.

The story itself is a mess. It combines a "DaVinci code" type of semi-religious conspiracy with some urban action scenes, some of the gritty and gory murders that made the original movie so memorable, and, not kidding, Indiana Jones styled treasure hunting.

The director's weird composition doesn't help the cause, nor does the jumpy editing. The cinematography is a nightmare. With some sort of filter used for the lenses, whenever there are indoor sequences with light coming out of the windows, they get blurred so badly that you feel your glasses got smudged. The camera goes all over the place. All this combined with a convoluted script make this a movie which is extremely difficult to follow.

The characters themselves are thin. There are no introductions to any of the investigators, nor do they have time to interact. They're just thrown in, starting to figure out clues, running to places and solving puzzles right on the spot. Now, it's understandable that you don't want to waste time on pleasantries and go straight for the plot right away, but this pacing is TOO fast. You can't even think for yourself what's going one when the Marie character already tells the answer.

Jean Reno once again plays Niemans, and he does pretty much the same performance he did with the original. Some continuity is made by making him wear a black leather jacket, which is a nice touch, though quite irrelevant, except for maybe giving the movie an even darker tone and helping viewers with short attention spans to identify him quickly. (again, irrelevant, since they can't follow any of the plot). Benoit Magimel, on the other hand, just doesn't have a chance. No matter how much he tries, he can't shake off the notion that he is a replacement for Vincent Cassel. Christopher Lee is perfect, and he nails his character, but, it's nothing he hasn't done before. Didn't know he could speak both French and German, though.

Colin Towns' score, particularly the dissonant horror-like action cues, is not that anonymous as I hoped, though considering Bruno Coulais' surprisingly effective work for the first movie, you kinda miss him here.

The action scenes are exciting, if you manage to make anything out of them. Unfortunately for Besson and the producers, you can't really expect that the hooded monks actually have supernatural powers when the first movie was set in a non-fantastic scenario. While it is eventually revealed (in a very lame way, honestly) that they are enhanced by amphetamines, the plot is supposed to be made exciting by the mystery of their powers.

But at the end you can start seeing some of the flaws in the script making this entire conspiracy rather dumb. The supermarket scene, while quite entertaining, can loose all of the thrill once you notice that monks in hoods are walking freely and suspiciously (read: insultingly obvious) on the aisles and kill a guy in plain sight of everyone. And no one saw it coming?

The conclusion to the story is quite frustrating. All of these killings and conspiracies were just to find an old rare book, but it doesn't matter what it contains, since a mechanism floods the entire place and destroys the book, and killing everyone except, not surprisingly, Reno and Magimel. So basically, all of the plot was for nothing.

Either way, you might think this movie could have been better, but considering that The Crimson Rivers is perfect the way it is, there was absolutely no need for a sequel. At least, maybe one where we knew something else about Niemans, other than he named a dog after his partner. This is the ending line of the movie, by the way, and it could have stolen a chuckle if the movie had let some room for humor earlier!

As a sequel, it's terrible. As a standalone film, it's quite flawed. In the end, this movie should be moved up to the ranks of the Hall of Unnecessary Sequels. It's somewhat decent entertainment, but not even by taking out any references to The Crimson Rivers could you really think highly of it.

And people think everything European is high art?

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
(2010)

An improvement in many ways
Disney's biggest blunder in a while. There really is no excuse in abandoning a franchise like that. First, it's a series that worked fantastically as literature. Second, audience expectations were set higher with this part. And third, as it has been established before, this was supposedly the most successful book in the series.

One of my primary concerns is the double titles trend, where it becomes quite tedious to recite "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader". Perhaps if it were just "Narnia: TVoDT" it would be easier to read aloud. But everyone just utters "Narnia 3".

Anyway, the story leaves the older Pevensie children behind and concentrates on Lucy and Edmund, who already look quite old themselves, and adding a cousin, Esutace. This particular entry in the Narnia series is different from the previous ones mainly because there are no epic army vs. army battles, but more like a series of quests. The story itself is rather formulaic, where our heroes must go from one point to the next to retrieve a special object, etc, etc. The "real world" side of the story is dissed very quickly, actually. The first Narnia added a whole lot of background with the kids, living during the war and all, but the sequels don't seem to care that much anymore and go to Narnia straight away.

As a fantasy movie, it's nothing you haven't heard before, still, it manages to refresh the screen after so many unimaginative CGI "epics". Fearing that the franchise wouldn't be too successful, the ending actually is rather smart. It goes full circle with the Pevensie story, although it does leave Eustace out there without any more development.

As for the characters, all three movies have been slim on the roaster, and this one is no exception. Lucy and Eustace get the most development, and Edmund is curiously set aside most of the time. Aside of Caspian, Repicheep and the ever present Aslan, the rest of the characters are rather anonymous.

Naturally, the effects come first when talking about this movie, and the artists delivered. Sure, most of the creatures look fake (except for the superbly rendered Minotaur), but most of the CGI works fantastically. A special mention goes to the final scene, where the kids return to their room and the water slowly goes down while they remain dry.

Much anticipation came with David Arnold composing the score, having not worked on this type of genre before, but the music is great. It does improve from Harry Gregson-Williams' lovely but unmemorable score, rescuing some minor themes, but making the score his own. Can't wait to get it.

As a whole, the third Narnia is a step forward in several aspects from its predecessors. It clearly isn't the best movie in the series (I think it is yet to be made) but it's fun, exciting and decent entertainment. The Christian themes are much more prominent here than in "Prince Caspian", but I don't have issues with them, honestly.

I would regret if they don't adapt the next books, but from the looks of it, the economic measure would be to adapt "The Last Battle" and be done with the film series. The other books may not be essential to the main story arc, but I'd still love to see them on film. But there has to be a fourth movie.

Ah, well, greed is everything in Hollywood.

White Chicks
(2004)

"There's nothing intelligent around this",
Don't get me wrong. The Wayans brothers make crap. Their movies have everything you can find funny but told in a way so offensive it should be against the law.

White Chicks is most certainly no masterpiece. It's not high class comedy. It barely counts as an actual piece of cinema. But, considering the other trash the Wayans' have produced, this is most certainly their best movie.

On one thing, it's tolerable. You can actually sit through this whole thing without feeling nauseated.

The script is average, but it's smart enough (in a way) to know it's in over its head when addressing FBI situations. And, the emotional story does actually click.

Some of the gags are really funny. Seriously. I laughed at some parts, smiled on several and didn't twitch in agony in any scene.

Naturally, in movies like these, technical aspects such as lighting, cinematography, the score, and even the acting are taken for granted, but it does excel on most of them. Interestingly, in the dramatic scenes, you can tell Marlon is the superior actor compared to his brother. Shawn delivers the lines so unconvincingly flat that it's funny. I don't know if it's because he was on Requiem or not, but Marlon simply is a better actor.

The reason the movie is not mind-numbingly offensive may be because it's more geared toward girls, and has more of that "chick flick" orientation, weak, but enough for your girlfriend to sit through it. It's similar to the success that 50 First Dates and The Hot Chick has had, appealing to both guys (the main target) and girls.

It's a dumb movie. It's unrealistic (which is the funniest part of it). It may be a waste of talent for some of the cast and crew involved. But it's the best film Keenen Wayans has ever directed. And it's not awful.

Brooklyn's Finest
(2009)

If you can't get enough of corrupt cops films...
It's been a bad season in the movies right now. From an assortment of forgettable and truly ridiculous sounding films, we settled on this one. I read Antoine Fuqua's name on the little plot synopsis sheet they put out the theater, so I kinda knew where this was going.

The movie doesn't break any new ground. Most of the time it felt like a two-hour long Third Watch or The Shield episode. Still, the film's moral message gets pretty well, with a rather depressing ending, or bittersweet at its best.

Don Cheadle is perfect. He nails his undercover street character pretty well, demonstrating the talented actor he is. Can't say the same about Ethan Hawke, who just looks like an extension of his previous Training Day (also directed by Fuqua) character. Richard Gere is really inexpressive most of the time. Wesley Snipes is also good, but not really memorable. The rest of the performances, coming from unknowns, are decent. Constant cussing and stereotypical African-American slang grace the script, and along with the action scenes, make for an entertaining experience. Unfortunately, the "tender" scenes kinda drag a while, particularly that scene with Gere and the hooker.

If you like those corruption in the police movies, you'll enjoy it, still, it's all been done before. The three simultaneous story lines are anything but new, and overall, while you might find the death of two of the main characters shocking, it's not that groundbreaking.

It's decent enough to watch a few times, but it's not an instant classic.

Fanboys
(2009)

"I have a bad feeling about this"
Well, it was a great idea. It showed promise. Four friends that are Star Wars fanboys set off on a self discovery cross country trip to Skywalker ranch to see Episode I before it opens.

The main problem with this movie is that it really doesn't hold up together. The actual emotional storyline looks like it was shoehorned in the script, and feels disjointed. The performances are decent, but none of the leads have that sense of comedy where they can improve their lines and make them funnier. Most of the cameos don't really work, with Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher looking more like frustrated yesteryear actors than genuine characters. The campfire scene with Danny Trejo is an instant Big Lipped Aligator Moment, which really serves no purpose to the story.

The true asset of this film are the references. Going from quotes to scene remakes, the movie is more of a test to see if you truly are a SW fan than an actual comedy. The non-SW jokes seem like they ran out of creativity, most of them are predictable and when they come out, the chuckle comes mostly by obligation. Still, my favorite scene is the confrontation with the Trekkies, with some of the best geek jokes ever.

The music from the film is really sub-par. One might feel tempted to decry the absence of any of Star Wars themes, though with the indie movie's budget, it would have been impossible. But given the premise of the film and their absolute adoration to the franchise, it's rather insulting that none of the characters ever even mentions the music.

As an overall product, it's a flawed indie movie. Perhaps they could have used some input from other, more comedy inclined writers, and it would have worked.

Given the fact that referencing Star Wars has made TV shows like The Simpsons, Family Guy, Robot Chicken and Spaced even funnier, it's so appalling to know Fanboys isn't really funny.

Hades, vida despues de la muerte
(1993)

Well, if it isn't the worst Christian movie ever made, it sure is close.
I really try to give Paco Del Toro credit. I really do. I'm sure he's a nice guy and he has great ideas. I don't doubt his beliefs, and I respect the fact that he makes the effort to make films which support his love for God. But this movie's just horrible.

Having viewed La Santa Muerte, I thought he couldn't get any worse than that boring, disappointing excuse of a message. Well, step aside, this is a more likely contender for the title of Worst Christian Movie Ever.

As always with Del Toro's films, the message isn't the flaw. He always manages to deliver a great subject theme, that could be perfect for a conference or a preaching at Church. But when he tries to put it on screen, it's so painful.

The acting is, of course, a joke. The script serves it's basic purpose, but it isn't very subtle. And then, there's the true death blow to this whole production: The scenes where demons appear (apparently out of hell) and drag some pour soul down there. The sheer cheesiness of the effects and set design make Troll 2 a Star Wars episode in comparison. Not only that, it doesn't seem to be very respectful to Christian standards.

Of all Armageddon films, this should be the last to choose. Again, I do believe that Paco Del Toro has talent, and he can be a great filmmaker. It just doesn't look like he's trying.

Avatar
(2009)

Fun, but not a masterpiece
James Cameron sure is a brilliant filmmaker. Most of his films have been memorable not just as fun stories, but also as great examples of experimental cinematography. Avatar is one such film.

Having spent ten years in film hiatus after Titanic, James Cameron returns to the big screen set to change Hollywood. And sure, technically, the film is surprising. The visuals look more like a Blu-ray DVD than traditional 24 frames per second film. Unfortunately, it is not the peak in cinematography it's been hyped to be.

For starters, the script is rather formulaic, and not just similar to other films like Dances with Wolves or Pocahontas. Several elements are taken directly from previous James Cameron works. The use of gigantic android vehicles is clearly drawn from Aliens (and also from The Matrix Revolutions). Some script resources are straight from Titanic, particularly an intermission where the main characters have sex.

The whole production details about creating a whole new culture make Cameron seem like a brilliant storyteller, but in reality, these type of things are done every time in other Sci-Fi and/or Fantasy productions.

Bottom line is, the story is not original.

The performances are not as important as the visuals here, but Cameron does know how to avoid the special effects from detracting the cast. Despite Sam Wothington and Zoe Saldanha's talents in acting, they're rather wasted when they're in CGI and in Na'Vi form. Sigourney Weaver and Giovanni Ribisi work perfectly. The rest of the cast does a great job.

There's an interesting parallel with the production and the score by James Horner. No matter how you look at it, this just isn't going to be another Titanic. Musically, it's not a breakthrough, since previous themes and constructs are from other scores, including surprising though pleasant portions of Apocalypto, and the ever so present "danger theme", which nearly ruins the "War" track. Add to this a pop song performed by Leona Lewis at the end (an irritating Horner tradition ever since Titanic), and you'll have a testament of elements that are placed to make the soundtrack work, but you've already heard them in better places.

The special effects are top notch, making such complex shots and sequences look realistic and compelling. The technical aspect of the film is the real champion for it's Oscar potential, with the 3D cameras, which are officially an invention by Cameron, doing an exemplary job. However, despite the versatile effects of shooting CGI and live action simultaneously, the Na'Vi still look fake. It's rather unfortunate that the spectacular landscapes are more realistically rendered than the moving inhabitants of this world of Pandora. The work done is not a cornerstone, but it sure is a good precursor of a new age in technical innovations.

Cameron made a huge fuss when releasing his Avatar, but, honestly, he doesn't have the right. The title dispute over The Last Airbender seems unfair, since the former was an already established franchise and Cameron's ego wouldn't let him let his pet project be altered in any way. The project wasn't that worthy of attention.

As it is with the director, it's his movie, and it is fun and technically groundbreaking, but it's not a masterpiece. It's a great way to close the decade, but it's also a sign of better things yet to come.

Shaun of the Dead
(2004)

A new classic!
I'm not a George A. Romero fan. Putrid ex-people tearing flesh with their teeth is not my idea of fine film-making, still, what seems to appease critics is the social commentary found on Romero's "Saga of the Dead". Either way, the filmmaker's revolutionary concept of horror and zombies spawned a new generation of movies that made their attempts to either honor Romero or improve his work. 28 Days Later may be the best example of the latter. However, most of those zombie flicks are known for being schlocky, formulaic and tasteless, particularly Resident Evil.

This homage to George Romero, by British comedians Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, is one of few that takes the concept to another direction. The script actually isn't focused on the zombie invasion at all. Shaun is a frustrated man with a job that goes nowhere, a friend that, while a faithful companion, only drags him further back, domestic problems with his mother and stepfather and, most importantly, a turbulent relationship with Liz, who's fed up with Shaun's lack of motivation, and threatens to leave him. All of this happens while an apocalyptic phenomenon strikes London, where people stop living and turn into flesh eating zombies.

Wright and Pegg blend this strange mix up of genres so brilliantly that it honors it's tagline "rom com zom" and becomes unique in it's kind.

It's not the "Airplane" style of parody, which usually means a pointless story made up with the sole purpose of making fun of a specific genre of films. It actually tells a really serious tale. Most people may not get that this whole horrifying zombie phenomenon actually helps Shaun in moving on and leaving his no good lifestyle behind. The tragic loss of his mother and Ed makes a necessary change on Shaun, as he no longer has someone to drag him back to his frustrated routine life.

The reason of the wide appeal of this film is it's versatility. Romero fans while find it a laugh riot, people who have never seen a zombie movie in their lives while find it extremely amusing, the cinematic homages by Edgar Wright are quite funny to the educated film scholar, and the technical aspects are quite flawless for film critics.

It's a favorable stereotype the fact that British humor is light years ahead of American or much farther of Mexican humor. The jokes found in Shaun of the Dead are original, creative and most likely never to be repeated again. Had this film be made by incompetent hacks passing as writers in America, the jokes might have been vulgar and with stupid punchlines. There are scenes that aren't just incredibly funny but their creation is technically ground breaking, like Shaun's two trips to the store done on a single shot each. Since I'm no Romero fan, the homages went largely unnoticed for me (unlike Hot Fuzz), but that doesn't affect the fine technical mastery involved in the film.

It doesn't matter if you love zombie films or hate them, the innovation in this British comedy will make the most avid living dead genre detractor thrilled and off their seat with laughter. Along with Hot Fuzz, a must have.

Watchmen
(2009)

Not your average group of Super Friends
Several critics who have read the comic book series have made an endeavor to dismiss this movie as an over-reverent praise to the source material without doing anything new. And while that has been rather accurate for those who have actually read the comics, I'm part of a narrow margin of individuals who not only didn't read the comics, but didn't even have the resources to buy such an expensive limited series. So I'm writing this comment with no prior knowledge of the story.

Set in an alternate storyline, the story focuses on what would happen to the United States politics and sociology had costumed vigilantes would actually existed. And so, this is not your family-friendly superhero story, where the good guys and the bad guys are easily differentiated and the consequences of their heroic deeds are always rewarding and lauded.

Some people hoping for an action ride may be disappointed with the film's pacing, as it's primarily a mystery plot, starting with the brutal assassination of former vigilante, The Comedian. As the mystery unravels, we learn back stories, motivations and events that are pertinent to each of the Watchmen: Rorscharch, Nite Owl, Silk Spectre Dr. Manhattan, Ozzymandias and The late Comedian. This, in turn, makes an even more complex set of superheroes than your average super friends. With just one glimpse of The Comedian's back story, you'll begin to wonder how on earth did this man can be considered a hero. I mean, he assassinated JFK.

Dr. Manhattan, although the second coolest character, is quite inexpressive. But that's justified as he grows more detached to human emotion, including empathy, resulting in an ultra-powerful being but a flawed protector that has lost its faith in humanity.

By far, my favorite character is Rorschach. His mask already has a personality, and his twisted but morally accurate sense of justice make him the most interesting character. Without his mask, or his "real" face, he isn't that fascinating. He still is cool, with a particular line "I'm not locked in here with you, You're locked in here with me".

Nite Owl was also a great character, but Silk Spectre II was rather expendable. SPOILER: Her importance came when it is revealed she is The Comedian's Daughter, even as her mother was raped by him earlier. Even with this, though quite hot, this female character didn't achieve much other than staying with Nite Owl, in a totally impertinent and unnecessary sex scene, which is done exquisitely, by the way.

The movie most certainly is not boring, as the action is there, though it starts late. Highlights are some quite graphic fight scenes. Just saying that several bones are broken on screen in various sequences can warn over-sensitive eyes. Also, the sight of a man being poured hot oil all over him (while seeing his burning skin) and a goofy fat man having his arms sawed off (I kid you not), this may turn off quite a percentage of the movie going demographics, but that's the way real comic books are now. Again, not your average super friends.

Still, by the time you get to the ending, where the conspiracy is unmasked, it's all worth while. The morality contest that ensues between the always justice seeker Rorschach and the intimidatingly brilliant Ozzymandias' plan for a better good is truly a controversial but enlightening one.

This is not to say that the other characters are not interesting either. Facts abound about several characters and some important events from the comic book that were edited out of the picture, but it's commendable with the amount of footage they managed to include in the final cut.

The soliloquies may be overbearing if you're not aware that comic books are mostly narrated this way. Besides, this is one of those movies where most anything the characters say can turn into a memorable quote. "I will say: No". "I can't see the whole future, just my own". As for the performances, coming from a cast of unknowns, they're really good. They don't touch the realm of average. They're miles above average. The only known face I remember is "Mickey" from Seinfeld, which was a pleasant surprise. Even he delivers an excellent performance.

Needless to say that the visuals are impressive. The comic book frames in the big screen make twice the edgy effect.

The political dialog and references can seem like your classic college anarchist essay, but the political scenario is so properly constructed that it's truly the work of a visionary. Not just a philosopher, but a true scholar.

As much as this revolutionary piece of film is wonderful, 80% of the credit has to go to Dave Gibbon's graphics, and most especially, Alan Moore's brilliant storytelling. And while that remaining 20% could go to Zach Snyder's religiously respectful directorial effort, it should really go to the execs and producers that green lighted the project with Snyder's proved style in mind. Instead of altering the story to their likes, they really let the filmmakers do their thing. And the filmmakers have the better vision and intentions.

No superhero was, is or will be as fascinating, mature and groundbreaking as Watchmen. They're most certainly not your average super friends.

Warriors of Virtue
(1997)

Lazy fantasy, cool concept, maybe even a guilty pleasure
I stumbled upon this one basically by accident. While channel surfing at midnight, this came on, and saw an ordinary world kid in some pretty ancient looking forest, exploring it with a "where am I?" face, so I pretty much could tell this was some outsider boy who lives adventures in a fantasy world.

If you haven't noticed from the mere cover of the movie, this is no Lord of the Rings. Even worse, it doesn't live up to cult classic fantasies like Krull, Willow or Dark Crystal.

I'm a big fan of fantasy movies that deal with what I like to call "the outsider myth": some kid magically travels to a distant land and lives adventures (who wouldn't like to?), so I was left hypnotized with the potentially entertaining story and, (forgive me) the Elysia character.

However, one of many flaws with this movie are the Warriors of Virtue themselves. They're kinda rat or kangaroo-looking people with great martial arts knowledge. Rather out of place for this type of fantasy, and when you see them in action, it just doesn't work. It's like watching sports mascots practicing kung fu. Much more laughable than exciting.

This can be a turn off if you expected classic sword and sorcery swashbuckling, for instead, it delivers martial arts in flurry costumes.

The sets are awful, with no variety. No exploration of this fantastic (sarcasm) land is ever done, and all you see is a forest, an evil palace lair, the same forest and huts on trees in (you guessed it) the forest.

The main villain, one girly, over-the-top emperor, is both campy and not so evil. There appears to be a major battle to occur between his soldiers and the good guys, but no real sword fight ever occurs. Instead, you see more fluffy karate. The Evil Emperor inexplicably splits into five guys and fights all five warriors. If you thought that would be boring, they even show it in blurry vision, just another sign of the movie's inappropriately low budget. And by the end, the bad guy somehow has amnesia, forgets he was so cruel and joins the good guys (to make things even more yawn inducing). Like you could actually care. An underrated score by Don Davis helps the movie from falling completely into oblivion, but not an entirely new sound.

The mythology might sound good, so maybe a remake some decades later could squeeze some more juice to the premise. But, until that happens, you can keep "Warriors of Virtue" on the shelf and pass it on.

Terminator Salvation
(2009)

The work betrays the original concept, but it's still a pretty decent action flick.
I entered the theater with low expectations. James Cameron's low budget sci-fi thriller is still a classic in cinema, and it sure started several careers in the process. The sequel came, with bigger effects, old and new actors and it did deliver. This was both a blessing and a curse for Cameron, as the characters and world he created made him a name in Hollywood and also gave the studios one big franchise to squeeze it's juice from. When Part 3 came without the director's involvement (or blessing), it was a sign that the franchise had left Cameron.

While I found part 3 quite fun and full of facts about the war of the future worthy of attention, it sure wasn't the best. And I haven't seen the Sarah Chronicles TV series, because I thought THAT was too much. No Arnie meant no real direction.

And, with news that this Terminator was the first of a new trilogy, it won't be odd if you think this movie will have money as it's target more than artistry.

The movie has it's fair amount of characters, unfortunately, little exposition is given about them and more exposition is given about stuff people who've seen any Terminator movie already know. The character of Blair is just given a brief intro hanging from the parachute, Marcus merely chats with her and she's already willing to die for him. Who? What? Where? Guess nobody cares if they try to explain that. SPOILER: Marcus, the character we know little much about, is a Terminator, but feels human. Although I may sound pretentious, I could tell he was. Showing out of nowhere without clothes? Knowing how to disarm a kid? Feeling nothing when he's hit?

The movie in itself is entertaining. It's action sequences sure are fun and exciting, and the overall story works. The big Terminator gathering humans may work, but it's so Transformers it doesn't surprise you (though considering that sequel's awfulness, it's more effective)

Unfortunately, the story does venture in the realm of formulaic unimaginative action plot, with a particular scene where the main Skynet computer in the voice and face of Helena Bonham Carter reveals the whole plan to Marcus. Hello? I thought we were passed the age of movies where the villain exposed his entire scheme to the hero. I'm not a McG fan. Both Charlie's Angels movies are not good examples to brag about. Still, in this movie he manages to tell a compelling war story with pretty good shots. The one shot sequence where John Connor flies a helicopter is my personal favorite.

SPOILER: The classic T-800 (not the real Arnie, but a stand-in with a CGI face) makes an appearance. However, due to the fact that the Governor of California can't be in the movie, they rushed the action so he could get torched and lose the skin tissue. Still, that particular scene is quite gripping, despite said cheesy ploy.

The score by Danny Elfman, with only three brief renditions to the famous beat pattern (The Ta-ti-ta-ti-ta is not the entire theme, people), may be good if you define good as emulating the styles of Hans Zimmer, Graeme Revell and Marco Beltrami. But, the music works. Oh, and you can hear "You Could Be Mine" on a radio, which is a nice reference.

By the way, the movie is filled with other references to all the Terminator movies, from the iconic lines "Come with me..." and "I'll be back" to similar entire sequences and settings.

The ending is left open for, of course, more sequels, but there were few who thought otherwise. As long as the Terminators keep gathering fans, the movies will keep going. As least they could endeavor in making them as fun and exciting as this, but maybe a tad smarter.

The story was worth telling, but as a movie, it betrays the concept of the previous three. The originals had the tension and conflict all happening in present day, with the future deliberately left unclear and only shown via flashes in the character's memories or imagination. In Salvation, the story just focuses on the action happening at that time. It does include a particular time paradox, but they don't take advantage of it.

It may have been more respectful as a spin-off novel. But, hey, at least it doesn't suck.

The Last House on the Left
(2009)

Pointless gore, unfruitful script and lousy ending.
Oh boy, if had to choose between this and Star Trek. Unfortunately for me, residing in the Mexican town of Celaya, ST wasn't available in my schedule to watch, so the rest of my family decided to watch this.

After the credits, I noticed it was a remake of a Wes Craven film. This is just one of many movies in a sad trend of remaking every work by Mr. Craven. I haven't seen the original, but for what I have seen here, there wasn't much of a story to tell. I thought it followed the same storyline as "Deliverance", but without the outstanding performances or memorable music.

The story follows a young girl who, after several mix-ups, ends up being held hostage by a pair of criminals led by an escaped convict. She miraculously escapes, and later, the criminals arrive at her parent's summer house. In this odd coincidence, the parents later discover the truth and slowly but surely, end up executing all of their evil-doers. There wasn't much to the script other than this premise, which may have worked better for a short film, not a full length picture.

But, the main problem is that this story is told for the sheer purpose of showing you blood and gore. I guess it was meant to show a normal family turning into killers due to aggravating circumstances. But, other than that, there is no lesson to be learned, no emotional situation to be explored. There's a lot of drama, but it's not properly handled.

It would have been interesting to see the Main Bad Guy's relation to his son in the past, or see more interaction between the girl and her parents. The dad has sort of an attitude at the beginning, blaming his brother in law for almost everything, and later, he's just a vicious torturer. This brother in law, by the way, is merely mentioned and not seen anywhere later.

You can tell the writers tried to add some more juice to the already predictable and dull scenes, including some long dialogs, extending scenes with more and more tension and having a character take forever to die. All of this sure ensues a running time of +90 minutes, but it's tedious and boring.

By the end, where you think the main bad guy got killed, it turns out that the dad had him paralyzed and stuffed his head in a microwave. Why would he do that? That's too vicious. And, yes, you do get to see the head exploding, making it even more gross and unnecessary than it already is.

The score by John Murphy also aids in creating tension, but don't expect to play some of that unlistenable audio on you stereo. As for the technical aspects, it's competently made, even for the gory scenes, coming from your average crew of unknowns. The gore here sure is realistic and not over the top (except for the microwave finale).

Overall, the story goes nowhere and the violence and gore make it nearly unwatchable. If you find blood splashing and that sort of things entertaining, you'll enjoy it. If you want a story worth telling, I suggest Star Trek.

Sky High
(2005)

An overall good time.
It may not be the best superhero movie, mainly because it deals with themes that were already established in "The Incredibles". The story is quite simple, actually. It's the average teen drama, but with superpowers.

The main protagonist has a crush on the hottest girl in school, but the girl who has been his best friend since they were little kids is secretly in love with him. Not very original, but at least the misunderstandings aren't as painful as other, more over the top, teen dramas.

The misfits are the heroes (wrongfully called Sidekicks by the elites) and who appear to be the heroes are actually the villains, not only that, but most of them are sidekicks to the main boss (didn't get that little thing until now)

The movie is quite wacky. It's very generous in tilted camera angles and colors. Most of the characters are varied and fun to watch, though initially Disney actor Kurt Russel's character, may seem a little too dumb to be a superhero. And, hey, you get a Linda Carter cameo. WHat can possibly top that!

The score by Michael Giacchino isn't as in your face as The Incredibles, but it works fine. Too bad you can't get that one on CD.

If it wasn't for the special effects, you might consider it's an original Disney Channel movie, and more intellectual moviegoers might feel scared away. But it's very fun to watch.

¿Y tú cuánto cuestas?
(2007)

A documentary that doesn't go anywhere
Sure, the poster seemed promising. Unfortunately, what you saw in the poster was pretty much it.

I don't know what this documentary is trying to prove. It shows some mock infomercials that look like they wan't to make a point about morality, but it's just not there.

The interviews just make you feel sad about how much stupidity there is in both sides of the river.

The subjects are incredibly unrelated. What does Coke have to do with cloning? Or the "Euro vs. Dollar" fake trailer with organ donning? This film has no thematic unity. It's just a stream of consciousness that draws too many questions and too few answers. And, regarding your price, the movie doesn't tell you, not even show you how to calculate your price. They just say how much do body organs cost, which in turns is ridiculous to say, since nobody's going Frankenstein building a living person and shopping for different body parts.

With basically one narrator, the information is bombarded at you with kinetic typography so you blindly swallow anything he says. There are no sources, no statistics, not even specialists opinions.

So, were this two hours of my life a documentary about slavery? Organ traffic? A message against cloning? Does it say to illegal immigrants that they should stay in their own country or seek better opportunities elsewhere? Will the cream that turns your skin black ever be made? Will we finally see "Coyote Airlines"? I don't know! This man, Olallo, is a mediocre director and a hack researcher. He tries to sound intellectual, but his opinion is as sourced and mature as all the mixed nuts he's interviewed.

Trust me, the poster itself is enough to make it's point. The rest is a jumble of ideas that won't be worthy of your attention and won't make a tangible conclusion. It doesn't even make you draw your own conclusion. Basically, IT SUCKS! (and I'm Mexican).

The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter
(1990)

Half of the movie is The NeverEnding Story. The rest, I don't know.
Well, to tell the truth, I did like this sequel when I first saw it. I must have been five or six years old (din't remember it in the movies).

When I see it today, there are an assortment of flaws and awkward moments that make it inferior by far with both Ende's novel and it's film predecessor, and overall, inferior to several fantasy movies before it.

Some aspects of the novel, including characters like Xayide and events like Bastian's loss of memories are included, but completely altered for the newly conceived story.

Bastian's father, only mentioned in the novel, has a bigger part in this movie, giving it a "Spielberg-esque" moralist tone. It's not entirely bad, but it's just not what the original story was about.

Half of the movie is Ende's stuff. The rest is made up plots and cheap kiddy fantasy. Don't feel obligated to rent it, but if you do, don't read the novel nor watch Part I first. You may feel disappointed. You also may need to think like a kid to find it amusing.

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