MovieZoo

IMDb member since June 2005
    Lifetime Total
    100+
    IMDb Member
    16 years

Reviews

Machete
(2010)

Machete: A hatchet job like this turns politics into a love fest
You can take anything out of this movie and put anything into this movie because that was how it was intended. Rodriguez made a movie that appears to aim its sharp and blunted edge at anyone and anything over anyone and everything, you get to witness the worst at its worst. Don't look for the good, there was no good. The bad people are not on any one particular side. Everyone had their bad side. Honestly, the only thing good that came out of this movie was probably Rodriguez' satisfaction on blowing everyone's mind. Every actor was given a bad line and they all acted badly. It appears to me that was intentional. How can anyone see it any differently? The blood and guts was disturbing, which added to the bad because there was so much of it. And it was what one would call gratuitous, automatic and over-indulgent.

The nudity was what one would call gratuitous, automatic and over-indulgent. Hmm, go figure. No love was lost here, there was none, not ever. The first nude scene was most likely intended to tell you not to hope for a serious love scene.

One can go on and on trying to tell you what was wrong and what was right about this movie. I am not wasting my breath on that. If you were caught off guard, if you like dark humor, if you like blood, guts and gore then you stand a better chance of understanding what this movie was about and maybe you will even like it. Personally, I doubt I will see this movie again. I doubt I will see the sequel(s). Why would I? Once a movie that sets out to tear into morality so completely, successfully rips it to shreds, there is nothing left to see that anyone can add. Well, wait a minute, I didn't notice any aliens from outerspace or monkeys flying out of butts. Maybe something else can be added.

Oh sure, the movie was about everyone being upset by the border battles and the politics and mayhem. But that was just an excuse to expose us all to a wonderfully developed warped imagination that made me laugh while tossing cookies. You have to put yourself above the political messages because both sides were ridiculous and stupid. Neither side wins in this if you don't let stupidity guide your sense of right and wrong. Save your politics for the real world. Just sit down at the movie like you were expecting to see something unreal. Rodriguez outdoes anything Tarantino ever did with Machete.

I give it a 7 because Rodriguez figured out how to shock and repulse us all while making us all feel left out of the fun. I took a point away from it because of the excessive blood, Lohan's character was allowed to live, and because Lohan was in it.

The Last Exorcism
(2010)

The Last Exorcism: saved by the farmers daughter
Had I stuck with my intuition after seeing the trailer a couple times, I would not have bothered going to this movie. First impressions too often let me down. I took a chance on reading some reviews from pros and amateurs and found a happy medium that then spirited myself to the theater. Or was I possessed? The movie pretends to be a documentary. We have seen the likes of this style in Paranormal Activity and, as yet unmatched, Blair Witch Project. Believe me, BWP is still unchallenged but Last Exorcism came close. Once again we see innocence and ignorance give way to the evil so often denied until the last moment. Ashley Bell, playing Nell Sweetzer, the most innocent, suffered the most evil excruciatingly believably. The child that Cotton Marcus came to "save" was more than he could handle thanks to his own ignorance in the beginning. I think the movie could have taken more time to focus on his own conversion from doubter to believer. As it was, I have no complaints regarding how he converted(because we are asked just to accept there was a conversion), but the drama of his transference would have added to the suspense.

Characters were believable, especially Nell(Bell) and Marcus(Patrick Fabian). Excellent performances by both. Aside from those two, one more character was just down-right scary as the angry teen(Caleb Sweetzer played by Caleb Landry Jones) who seemed hell-bent to protect his sister from the evil out-of-towners, apparently not aware of the source or evil within his own family.

I subtract points as I normally do for excessive blood (even when we expect it to be there) and slow spots and silly over-indulgence in some places, but in the long run, this movie is well worth seeing.

7/10

Inception
(2010)

Inception: The epitome of cinematic love
Before going to Inception, I know this much about Nolan, I loved Batman Begins and Dark Knight and I didn't like Memento but I don't remember why - it may have been my state of mind, so I will rent it again to see what happened. I also knew I was excited about seeing Inception thanks to fantastic trailers and reviews.

Arriving at the local, usually "ok" Carmike theater, I was upset they put Inception on the smaller, non-digital screen. I hate you now, Carmike.

Leaving Inception, I was mostly fretting over the ending, not knowing what it was that happened. I will have to get back to figuring that out later. As for the rest of the movie, I can safely say I have never seen a solid, mature movie like this. As one wonders if we leave our brains at the door or bring it ready for action, don't concern yourself. There is absolutely something for all. Where thought seemingly is abandoned and action takes over, we all know what happens when bullets fly...or do we? Because of the varying levels of involvement, you have to analyze the action and the possible consequences of it. Believe me, consequences are always in the middle of the moment.

Visually, I do not see how anyone can be disappointed. I do believe the true adrenaline junkie will be disappointed, however. Despite the amount of action, Inception, to be so truly admired, requires much thought, and that's a much appreciated positive concept these days.

Personally, I am so thankful there are people like Nolan out there. He convinced me that he cares about his creations. Inception is probably one of the most completely respectable movies as far as I am concerned. Nothing lacked except for one thing - the explanation for the ending. I need more time to finish my thoughts on that. Everything else was great. Acting, action, visuals, the cute musical allusion to one of the best performers in Inception, the mystery, and the perplexing concept of the story itself all come together as the key to true cinematic success.

You might think I would give it a 10 but because of the stymieing end, I am going to be stubborn enough to give it a 9. Loved Inception and thanks again Mr Nolan!

Predators
(2010)

Predators: Bad guys fight bad guys, making a good movie
The spoilers within should provide no surprising elements. But there is information which you may not want to know because some observations may sway you from wanting to see the movie. None of these observations should keep you from going. However, the non-spoiler comments may be enough to keep you from going.

Getting right to the not-so-revealing spoilers, Adrian Brody would be wise to leave out the faux-"Bale Batman" voice. Brody is not the tough guy he may want his fans to believe. To me, and this is not a slam against his talent, he is always going to appear punkish. Trying to sound like Batman was not wise. Forgetting his voice, he has a grasp on the emotional values of his character. He takes on the role of leader with surprising and unexpected ease. Personally I think he was miscast as the leader but I could not imagine any of the others as the leader either. So he wins by default and he actually comes out of it as a valid winner.

Topher Grace....wow, what can one say? Eddie Brock again?? WTH? Seriously, get past the Eddie Brock phase. Leave Spiderman 3 behind. Bad guys don't have to be whiners! The Brock-like whining was way out of line.

Walton Goggins was, by far, my favorite actor in this movie. His character was not much different from Boyd Crowder in Justified. Sleazy and persistently creepy but interesting and true to life(if you ever knew someone like Crowder).

Alice Braga is as interesting as she is fun to look at. Michelle Rodriguez, make room for Alice.

Two of my complaints were actually near movie killers. While I believe most people pay no attention to it, scoring in this movie was so far off mark throughout most of the movie it was distracting. It often felt like someone lifted the music from another style of movie, maybe a Coen brothers drama. Chase scenes sometimes felt less dramatic thanks to what I felt were musical miscues. Battles almost didn't feel like battles. Those and other scenes would have been better if the music had fit the scenes. And not related to music, in one explosion scene, flames could not have looked more fake if they had hired a grade school art teacher to fill the screen with comic book flames - totally out of place. It may work in cartoons, but the movie was far better than any cartoon.

As far as the movie itself goes, I enjoyed this as a great follow-up to the Predator movies, and was much better than AVP. The Earth people we can all relate to are somehow kidnapped without explanation either to us or even the characters that were kidnapped. They all wake up as they drop in on a planet via parachute. They quickly realize they are the prey on a planet supposedly used as a game preserve. Strangers deal with strangers as potential enemies only to find that they are on the same side whether they like it or not. More ammunition is lost than is love when the actual enemy makes its appearance. This is one of the mysteries for me: once the search for the enemy began, it seemed there would be an army of Predators, but eventually, it seemed more likely there were only a few. By the end of the movie it became apparent a sequel will reveal more of these Predators.

The action, tension, and character interaction were most enjoyable while the plot was simple yet fulfilling. A couple unexpected moments played well.

I am willing to give it a 7 out of 10 despite my complaints because it was better than an adrenaline junkies dream thanks to thoughtful directing, acting, planning and filming.

The A-Team
(2010)

A-Team: a defining moment in crap
It wasn't until I saw A-Team that I realized I never bothered to actually define what a movie is. So I went to Merram Webster online and found this: "a sequence of consecutive pictures of objects photographed in motion by a specially designed camera (motion-picture camera) and thrown on a screen by a projector (motion-picture projector) in such rapid succession as to give the illusion of natural movement." That was a perfect definition and exactly what I felt about A-Team. It was nothing but that. Someone threw images on a screen. There was sound, color, plenty of sensation and exaggeration, absurdity and nonsense. Amid all this I found several delightful performers who had the misfortune of having to portray characters who were forced to fit into a mess of "tossed-salad editing". I really did like the characters. But they could not rise above the crap all around them. Character development was horrible, story development was horrible, and having to change focus on highspeed mood shifts and plot shifts just became way too much of an intrusion on my intelligence. Sorry, I am not going to allow myself to give this trash any respect if I cannot get it from people who don't know how to make movies.

2 out of 10 out of sympathy and sorrow for a missed opportunity

Robin Hood
(2010)

Robin Hood: The best thing to come out of the forest ever!
I will begin by stating that I am NOT a history buff and I love a good movie. Knowing what I know of Robin Hood and knowing what I love about movies, I came out of this movie stunned. I was amazed by the story, the great acting, and the heart involved.

This, in my opinion was a brilliant movie. With all that I already said, knowing this was a build-up to a sequel, I already am excited about what is to follow. Crowe and Blanchett were so perfect for the characters Robin and Maid Marian in this interpretation which was somewhat off from the books I read. He was beautiful as a deeply affected man who fell into his destiny and she was more than beautiful who accepted each and every challenge confronting this once privileged lady. I was moved by the old traditional romantic style used. How others were not moved is a puzzle to me. Anyway, both deserve Oscar mention for their efforts.

Ridley Scott, you outdid yourself here. This was the best thing you ever did in my mind and heart. You definitely deserve Oscar mention. I was captivated by the beautiful scenery, the attention to details of the days of yore. The action was a little fast for me sometimes, but the effect was all I needed from what I saw. As the story moved on with all the action and tragedy surrounding everyone, there was plenty to keep me hungry and yet satisfied. Nothing felt forced or trivial.

The casting really could not have been better. Von Sydow was magnificent and the actors playing Friar Tuck and Little John were great fun to watch and even added to the emotional aspect of the story. Godfrey, Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, all of them were so well played, I could not believe my eyes. The Feral Children were odd and mysterious, but I have a feeling they will be a big part of the sequel as they aid Robin and the gang. The children who at first were a threat to citizens because of the starvation and curse of the period reminded me much of the lost boys in Peter Pan. I think that was intentional as there was always some correlation between Robin Hood and Peter Pan.

Before I saw the movie, and I just got back from my second viewing, I was doubtful of romanticism. But there was no denying that romanticism was at the center of this story and movie. It was more than Robin and Marian findig each other. The romanticism was as much about the day and the night, evil and desire fill the hearts of many men and women. Damn, I love this movie!

Thanks again for a beautiful movie and please hurry up with that sequel. I will see Robin Hood at least once more before the DVD.

10/10

Iron Man 2
(2010)

Iron-Man 2: Stark raving mad over Favreau's folly
All these months of waiting on Iron Man 2 and my worst fears have been realized. You can rest assured that I am not going to glorify any of what I saw because I feel like I owe it to anyone or anything or because I was happy with at least a small part of the movie.

This was like Spider-Man 3 or Superman 4 Quest for Peace. It was only a shell of a superhero movie. Why any time was spent on Tony's ailment, is a puzzle to me. Why? Because so much time is spent showing us that no ego is stronger than his.How can anyone care that he is sick? I know I didn't. Nothing endeared him to me. His self centered, near sighted outlook on life made me sick. His overinflated ego is the near death of my interest in this franchise. It is not Downey's fault, although I still wish he had not been selected as Stark in the first place.

It had plenty of boom and bang tempered with ooh and ahh. Unfortunately for fans of the noise, it was short-lived in two different parts of the movie. For me, I don't care how loud the noise is or bright the flashes are as long as they are used intelligently. In my mind, that was the only thing that Favreau decided to give the fans, apparently not knowing we are not all like he is. To help you understand how much Favreau disappointed me, his presence on the screen repulsed me. When he decided to put his character in one fight scene, all I could think of was how little he must have understood what makes a superhero movie a good movie. I thought it was totally self indulgent and neglecting the attention the moment required. He just couldn't help but rush to a joke throughout the entire movie. Hopefully, this was his last shot at making a superhero movie. But wow, thanks for making money for the studio, eh? I give kudos to Rourke, Paltrow, Cheadle and Johannson. Paltrow's involvement was upgraded to a different level, showing her strengths just as she should have. And although they never got much of a chance to build much, Johansson and Cheadle made their presence very noticeable with hopes of more to expect in what I hope is a recoup of quality in Iron-Man 3(which would mean Favreau-less). My favorite scenes though were with Cheadle, as the denied friend and as War Machine. He was truly the best part of the movie. I hope Johansson comes back as Romanoff again, I liked her in this role. As little time she had on screen, this was one of her better roles. I think this character fits her fine.

Rourke was a great villain. But I felt he was not quite as fearsome as the trailer made me believe. I was entirely engrossed with his character until he died. While his Vanko seemed truly capable of being evil, his demise was almost anti-climatic. His leaving the story made it even more of a disappointment because Rockwell's Hammer was allowed to live. BTW, I never liked Rockwell's Hammer because his character was as much of a joke as Favreua's take on this movie.

Getting back to the loud explosions and bright lights, one scene near the end is the best example of why this Iron-Man is a great example for a weak superhero movie. While a large portion of the city is in flames, where is Iron-Man? Why, he is too busy talking to Pepper about her future. Dying children, women and men, ahhh, too busy here, folks. Iron-Man has a thing for this woman. Can't be bothered now. Give me a superhero who can't be bothered to help mankind and I give you nothing in return. I was hoping throughout the movie to see his ego fade away. Matter of fact, I had thought he learned a lesson near the end of the first Iron-Man. Guess I was wrong.

4 out of 10 - plain and simple. Suggestion: wait til the DVD hits Redbox. And disregard the positive reviews for the movie itself, it sucked.

The Bounty Hunter
(2010)

Bounty Hunter: I declare a mutiny
The beautiful and fun looking/loving Aniston; the good looking and quirky sometimes funny, sometimes deadly frightful Scot, Gerard Butler. Can't go wrong, can ya? WRONG!!!! How incredibly bad can a movie get when the trailer looks better than half funny? Find out and go see this idiotic romp to disaster. While Aniston and Butler are not at fault, I could not help but feeling totally disappointed by the inept writing and directing presented in another movie that should not have been let out of the production stage in such poor condition.

I have nothing to say in praise. But this was a lesson. Before I go see another comedy, I will check IMDb to see if anyone has any connection to SNL. At that point, I will avoid that movie.

Seriously, while this review does little to critique, I will give direction. This movie should go to hell along with anyone involved with the creative(or destructive) process.

Too bad there is no zero for rating movies. Gets a 1 for Aniston and Butler out of pity and I hope they can find a production team who cares about their product, because Aniston and Butler do show some potential for being a team.

Alice in Wonderland
(2010)

Alice In Wonderland: Take it or leave it, sadly
Prior to the movie, I was still holding onto hope. I had read the complaints about Alice In Wonderland. After the movie all I can add is confusion. This is what happens when you feel disdain and admiration. Thankfully the feelings are separated distinctly To cover my butt, I am starting off with what some may consider spoilers. You decide.

***** POSSIBLE SPOILERS***** 3D or not 3D: I opted for the 3D version. What I feared from 3D is that the special attention to 3D might interfere with the attention to story and acting. THat indeed happened. While, for the most part, 3D was done well, so many times, the intricacies which should dazzle were too flittery and fast and sometimes fuzzy so it was not used to the best of its ability. But the staples were used in terrific fashion. Depth, color, stationary backgrounds, and normal motion fit well into the 3D scheme of things, however. So I am guessing that the non-3D version may have a definite advantage over 3D. Given all that, I am sure if you have half a notion, you will still want to see it in 3D if possible. So go, but be forewarned.

Acting: Depp and Carter were beautiful. Mia Wasikowska played an excellent Alice but I think her character was so distorted by Burton's darker desires that it will soon be forgotten who did play Alice. On the other hand, Depp and Carter were so absurd and colorful as Mad Hatter and Red Queen they immediately drew my respect and admiration. However, the Red Queen was the only one of those two characters that I felt remained most closely relevant while Mad Hatter often reminded me of Depp's flaky Jack Sparrow thanks to unforeseen feistiness in some scenes. That takes me back to why I was not too happy with Alice - didn't like the warrior in armor scene at all. As for Glover and Hathaway, neither offered much talent. Hathaway's quirkiness as the White Queen was just too unappealing.

Story: I so wish the story was the original Alice and not a sequel of sorts. While it was definitely Burton's story it was not a great story at all. Again, making Alice a warrior was not what I, personally, wanted to see. Characters seemed too self absorbed. Fast paced humor came and went but only would have worked well if there was enough time to feel some endearment to the character.

Overall: Right down the middle because things felt way too fragmented. I will say that I am thankful that the job of bringing book-true Alice In Wonderland was not given to Burton but I hope we get a version that looks as good artistically as this one did and then some.

5 out of 10

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
(2008)

Sarah Connor Chronicles - much better than TV deserved
I know it's a bit late but I am tossing my 2 bits in for what it's worth.

This was one of the most fascinating sci-fi TV shows of all time. So grossly under-rated, the characters were fun to watch, especially Summer Glau, whose Cameron was sent to protect John Connor. Trying to behave as a human was some of the best comic sci-fi stuff I can remember. And her fight scenes were often engaging to say the least - especially the catfight in the elevator with another female terminator. John on the run with his mother and Cameron and whatever "friends" appeared throughout the series sometimes caused one to ask far too many questions about the direction and the reasoning. But in the long run, it was well worth it. Coming back for more every week was a treat and a disappointment all in one when the final episode made it clear the series was finished. But that was by far the best finale I had ever seen.

I highly recommend the DVD sets for both seasons. Something about watching them over again from Season one, episode one made the series appear even better than I remembered it.

9 of 10

Cop Out
(2010)

Cop Out: says it all, trust me, it IS a cop out
The movie "Cop Out" was a great hint and I missed it. The movie was indeed a "Cop Out"! In no way, shape or form should this movie have been released in the condition it was. It was nothing more than the kind of crap you would get from "The Worst Of Saturday Night Live". Kevin Smith directed this??? Who did he lose a bet with? The trailer gave me the impression that the teaming up of Willis, Cullen and Morgan would be brilliant. I can't believe how wrong I was. Willis being the straight man never worked for me. Morgan was nothing more than what you got from him on SNL. Cullen was by far the best part of the movie but he was in it for such a short time, savoring his sharp wit was only a lost hope. He really would have been the one to make the trio of Willis, Morgan and Cullen a great edgy, comic team.

As it goes, this movie was totally predictable, stupid, without appeal or attachment and definitely a total waste of time and money for movie fans. Maybe thats why this movie was released as it was - creative powers saw an opportunity to make a buck without regard to the fans. Maybe? The only reasons I give this movie a 1 is because of the appearances of Sean Cullen and the cute Michelle Trachtenberg. Yep, 1 of 10 is a stretch but the movie deserves some gratitude.

AVOID THIS MOVIE!!

Shutter Island
(2010)

Shutter Island: A great movie on either side of the walls
The trailer had me wondering if the movie would miss its mark. I was expecting the haunting atmosphere with a mystery to boot. I kinda wondered if there were going to be ghosts or evil creatures. But I left that in the back of my mind. I opted more for the mystery and atmosphere.

Unfortunately, I expect DiCaprio to disappoint me because he just doesn't have that "quality actor" appeal for me. I am also aware I am probably not in the majority. But as it goes, I am slowly coming out of my cloud of negativity. This was one of DiCaprio's better roles. I liked him best in The Departed but Shutter Island is going to stick in my mind for a long time.

Ben Kingsley was at the top of his game here as the mysterious Dr. Cawley. He was an easy man to be suspicious of thanks to his squinty eyes and devious smirks. Thanks also to the implications and direction of the movie. While DiCaprio and Kingsley easily filled the bill for leads, all the actors did a great job of keeping this viewer's attention.

The atmosphere and scenery provided satisfactory background while the action and actors merged well to make this such a great, void-less movie. Yes, the sea was angry that day my friend, but actions, icons, trinkets and memories kept the restless mind rolling. Push came to shove when doubt tried to overrule belief. "Up" and "down" had no meaning or relevance when it came time to analyze. What did have meaning was the love for the mystery and love itself.

Once again, Scorsese puts it altogether in such a beautiful way. You sir, are the boss! And I mean that in a good way. Thanks! 9 of 10

The Wolfman
(2010)

The Wolfman: howl all you want, horror never looked so good
I was totally satisfied with The Wolfman. Right from the start, I never strayed. The look, the sound and the feel were nostalgic if not delicious. Rustic scenes outdoors and inside a beautiful mansion were simply some of the best eye candy for someone wanting a horror movie done with old fashion movie making flavor. Thanks to modern technology some of that eye and ear candy really stood out. Steel, loading gun barrels, fire even - they all sounded like I never noticed before. The sound of a stream was almost like hearing one for the first time.

I loved it all!! Performances were incredible by most. Hopkin's performance was so loved and appreciated. From the start, it was obvious he would have an important role as Sir John Talbot, father of Lawrence(Del Toro). Every smile and twinkle in his eye spoke volumes from the depth of his devious heart. Benicio Del Toro did a great job as well. The innocent bystander who is forced into a hellish existence, obviously suffered before his destined transformation. Del Toro put his heart and soul into both the good and evil sides of his character.

As for Weaving and Blunt, they deserve recognition. Weaving was fantastic as Abberline, seeking the one who wreaked so much bloody havoc. Emily Blunt beautifully portrayed the lovely woman who lost her love, killed by a beast(or was it a mad man?), and then suffered for the inhumanity of his family's curse.

It's hard to understand how anyone might not like this movie. Costumes, scenery, acting, action, blood, love...it's all there. I say we get Joe Jackson to come back and direct Frankenstein and Dracula...and a new Tarzan. I think he has a great feel for how these movies need to be done.

9 out of 10

Edge of Darkness
(2010)

Edge of Darkness sheds light on humanity
Anyone who has seen the trailer can expect to get exactly what the trailer depicts. A cop loses his beautiful daughter and sets out to solve the murder that others conclude was self explanatory as a shooting in an attempt to get revenge against a cop. Taking things at face value sometimes just don't cut it.

Gibson and Ray Winstone were so perfect for the roles they played. The tension from both kept me clinging to my seat and wiping my brow. Gibson probably had his best role in this movie. I have seen most of his movies starting with Lethal Weapon and I could not see one potential likeness of Martin Riggs in Edge of Darkness, except for the fact he played a cop. As Craven, he was truly believable as a dad on a mission to make things right. Winstone is someone I didn't recognize even though he has been in a ton of movies. But after this, I will know and respect him for the rest of my life. Trying to understand his role was a treat, but while doing that, I kept my distance for fear he might have caught me trying to get too close. His thick Brit accent and command of those around him was absolutely a great treat.

Danny Huston is someone I came to enjoy since seeing him in 30 Days of Night as the lead Vampire. He did not disappoint but he could have had a meatier role. As far as I am concerned, he has been added to the list of great seasoned actors to look for anytime you expect to see quality acting.

I mean no disrespect to any of the actors. Everyone did a great job, including some of those in smaller, yet relevant roles.

Everything about the movie was believable and memorable. Some of the violence that you will need to endure will catch you off guard. There is no need to brace yourself because you will get caught off guard.

Excellent emotional roller coaster getting an 8 and a great big "welcome back" hug for Mel.

The Lovely Bones
(2009)

The Lovely Bones needed some meat
Performances in this movie are excellent. Special effects, very much like what you expect from Spielberg and Peter Jackson, were beautiful. The emotion you feel from the sadness and from anger were well drawn out. The frustration I felt from the movie was my curse I guess.

The bits and pieces, being well done, just did not come together for me. I could not relate too well with anyone. I felt sorry for those who deserved it and I hated the one who deserved it. But as some of the imagery we all saw in trailers seemed surreal, so were the characters. Sure they were real people but their reactions were as surreal as the scenes Susie had after her death.

I had heard that you really have to read the book. I didn't read it. Maybe that's why I didn't fully appreciate it. Blame it on the reactions of the family. Forsaking their human nature hurt the movie as far as my feelings about the film go. But then again, I think it might have sidetracked the movie from taking us on a trip through the afterlife. I get that the creators probably wanted us to feel like we were on this surreal trip. But why was it for only murdered girls? Was the surrealism supposed to make us feel good? - with all these murdered girls?? I am confused. Maybe I should read the book before I go on.

My applause goes to the performances, despite weak characters, and for the surreal imagery. I would have probably had no complaint if this surreal trip had a justifiably good message. I could not shake my anger for the creep (and for the poor investigation) long enough to really respect the beauty of the trip.

You will probably be reminded of ET: The Extraterrestrial and Spielberg's "Amazing Stories" because of the imagery and the story telling. The performances and the beautiful artistic CGI alone put this movie at a 7 for me.

The Book of Eli
(2010)

Book Of Eli: Make the best of it and you will get just that
I was not excited about seeing this movie. I predicted there would be violence and I was right. I predicted overcast skies with plenty of gloom and doom. I was right again. I underestimated the impact of the unforeseen.

Washington played the part well. A lone man walking the road straight and narrow with a destination he had only been told of. He focused on his destiny doing good deeds. He hesitated where others seemed to have their own destiny at hand. All the time, being the loner who appeared to be dark and moody if not mistakenly dangerous and bloodthirsty, he stayed the path. He protected his own, whatever that was. Whatever "that" was is what the story becomes about. And what the story becomes, is what saved the movie in my eyes.

The cloudy skies and dirty earth made the movie as gloomy as could be. The people made the planet a dirty unwanted place. Only hope could save it. Where I had about given up was when it all seems so repeatedly depressing. Despite much appreciated acting on all counts, the continued darkness and fighting became distasteful and not artfully so. However, after the halfway point, the message made its appearance. The message, the word, had made it clear to me what the characters had been missing and needed. There definitely is a message for those who get tired of the violence and bloodshed. Look for it.

The final couple minutes made me wonder why Michelle Rodriguez didn't get cast in a part that could've clearly been hers - Solara. Maybe the sequel(if there is one) will change things.

Anyway, don't lose hope, give it a chance, and appreciate the whys and wherefores.

I hesitated and ended up giving it a 7 for all the pain I had to suffer to finally get to the best part. I decided against an 8.

Leap Year
(2010)

Leap Year: nice romantic comedy
Anna (Amy Adams) - busy, dedicated, talented, goal oriented with one track mind on life matters. Has "what she wants and not what she needs".

Jeremy (Adam Scott) - accomplished cardiologist with no need to be concerned. Has what he wants and not sure what he needs. Loves himself and thinks everyone else does, too.

Declan (Matthew Goode) - very much a Hugh Jackman "coulda-been", content with what he has and thinks he needs nothing, Luck 'o the Irish did nothing for him but he doesn't believe in luck anyway.

As Anna herself put it, she has "what she wants but not what she needs". Since becoming an accomplished "Stager", decorating homes to display in hopes of selling, she happily puts herself on display, knowing exactly what it takes. We see her first known personal disappointment when she expects her boyfriend, Jeremy, to propose. He is so comfortable with her company, earrings are the obvious gift to surprise his girlfriend of 4 years, and not an engagement ring. She is further disappointed when he immediately has to leave the country temporarily. Being the woman she is, she spends no time with self pity but decides it's time to go to Dublin and propose to him as Leap Year permits.

Leap Year is an excellent romantic comedy. I was reminded of Doris Day and Audrey Hepburn comedies. Nothing hilarious, Amy really has wonderful physical comedic skills but still allows her charm to come across and make me smile. While the movie gets a little clumsy, nothing is bad enough to keep me from appreciating her. Her chemistry with Matthew Goode played well. He was fun to watch as the Irish he-man who lives a casual life with no expectations and no concern for others'. But then along comes Anna, and their one-track lives intertwine and soon the future becomes less clear. Anna and Declan travel to Dublin finding strangers and situations that force them to examine life and its meaning, or lack thereof. A forked road appears and we find both now have reason to question a future with or without each other.

Please don't expect hilarity. Sit down, get comfy, and admire a good, simple love story. It's what we all need.

7 of 10

Sherlock Holmes
(2009)

Sherlock Holmes: Taking names and dragging them through the mud
This review may seem as schizophrenic as Downey's Sherlock. As others have noted, there are reasons to like this movie and reasons to hate it.

Starting with why I hated it, this is not the Sherlock Holmes I remember. Sure the name is used but do not expect to see the quality detective story and character as done in the past. What we get instead is a distorted, cartoonish version of a great detective. The movie could have used other characters instead of Holmes and Watson. The movie would have been more appealing if it had in fact used a new pair of detectives. Ahhh, but Ritchie is going to make money thanks to the currently popular name of Robert Downey. In the meantime he gets to recreate, and even pollute the name of Holmes for the sake of opportunity, glory and money. That is even more devious than a plot from Blackwood or Moriarty. Even worse, Holmes is not a man of great confidence and intelligence. He resembles someone who is everything and yet nothing. A lonely, alcoholic, schizoid with little regard for sense and sensibility, he seems more able to succeed thanks to luck and surprisingly loyal friends. And yet he is an accomplished fighter, again with a great deal of cartoonish luck. How sad and pathetic. That being said, nothing really need be said about Watson.

Now for the good. The story, imagining this is not about Holmes and Watson but some other unkowns, was pretty good. I liked the mystery and the evil Blackwood. I liked old London. I liked the fast pace in picking up clues and developing mystery. The action was good and the humor was OK. I preferred Watson over Holmes. Jude Law's interpretation of Watson was more appealing than Holmes( I even got to the point, where I didn't care much for Holmes). Well, that's it for the good.

If you don't care for the traditional Sherlock Holmes, you may very well like this movie. But if you want to see the traditional Holmes and Watson get a clue and you will miss this slap in the face of tradition.

2 out of 10 for destroying tradition but a 6 out of 10 for a good attempt at making a fun detective movie. That averages out to a 4, Lestrade.

Avatar
(2009)

Avatar: The parts that miss are good enough and offer hope for more
Avatar, Avatar twinkling from afar. I wish I may, I wish I might review your wonder near as bright.

UPDATE: AFTER SEEING THIS AT A DIFFERENT THEATER, I WANT TO ADD THAT 3D EFFECTS WERE BETTER, AS WAS AUDIO, BUT IMPROVEMENTS ARE STILL NEEDED TO MAKE 3D A RELIABLE ACROSS THE BOARD STANDARD. BUT STILL AN EXCELLENT MOVIE.

This is not a negative review, so everyone can breathe free now. I liked the movie as it was done, Unfortunately, for those of us who can be overly analytical, I really think some things needed to be done to make it a better appreciated 3D movie. Perhaps I should say that I have my doubts about the capability of the theater I was at even though it is one of the newer ones. As a result, I have to see the movie again at another theater.

****SPOILERS HERE**** The 3D effects were good but with obvious fault. The less important, tiny features stood out better than the more important, screen filling creatures. Colorful plants were cute and charming, knives and arrows pointed at the screen seemed almost real and disarming. Flying and falling, which I thought would thrill, were flat, giving me little more than a chill. Running through the jungle was exhausting to say the least, dodging bushes, branches, huge trees and wild beasts.

Seriously, after all the hype and high expectations I did find some things that needed more attention. For a true 3D movie, I wanted 3D sound as well. The beasts and huge machines that should have made the ground tremble and send sounds of thunder were not as impressive as they could have been. It seemed that more attention was given to vision than to the audio and it was way too noticeable. Again, I will be seeing Avatar at another theater which may correct that problem. However, I am not able to see Avatar at IMAX, so that's out.

While the Na'vi were well done, I didn't see the advantage to watching in 3D as opposed to seeing it in digital. I could have been happier seeing it in digital because I would have been less critical of the faults of 3D. Not that I disliked the effort, because I think Cameron did a great job - much better than most other directors probably would have done. But he could have used something that J. J. Abrams used, flaring or glaring flashes of light that gave screen images the appearance of being lively. Abrams may have used it a little too much in Star Trek, but it worked very well. It's just that bright lights in Avatar were not as bright or real as they could have been.

While the story was good, it was a little much to see military and corporate people in the year 2154 being so cruel and soulless as some appeared. I do not believe we can be such idiots so far into the future. The Na'vi were much more appealing and spiritual. Their desire to work with nature gave them a definite advantage in the "smarts" department. I was wondering why no one gave Enya a vocal part during rituals at the tree of souls. She would have fit beautifully. Yeah, that's right, I like Enya. And yeah, that's right, I am saying this is somewhat of a chick flick with heart and soul. At least Avatar has huge battles and Tarzan-like scenes with wild animals doing harm to man-kind. And there were wild animals that were tamed and loved. So there was definite balance.

So, to finish, I say see Avatar. It is a very good movie and 3D effects were very good but they also missed the mark when it came to getting the full affect from visual and audio immersion. That's not a complaint, just an observation. I hope Cameron continues in this effort to perfect 3D because I think he can do it after learning from his mistakes.

Even after all the things I did not like, my love for the movie as a whole I am glad to give this a 9/10

Everybody's Fine
(2009)

Everybody's Fine: The family that came unglued find a reason to stick together
Once the trailer hit the internet, I knew I was going to see this movie. Nostalgia, De Niro and Barrymore were the primary reasons. Of those reasons, Nostalgia and De Niro were most responsible for the big lump in my throat and regret that I had no Kleenex.

We go to movies to either escape reality or simply live in fantasy, don't we? I have to say, so much reality existed in this movie, escapism and fantasy seemed totally lost. The subtleties of everyday life can mean so much in retrospect. Every little thing that we do, no matter its importance, can come back and haunt us. That, surprisingly, is what makes this movie so real and endearing.

Nothing about Everybody's Fine is lacking if you can find yourself or someone you know in this movie. The beauty of it is, you will find someone you know. If you haven't tricked yourself into thinking this might be like Christmas Vacation or Planes, Trains and Automobiles, then I hope you can appreciate its evenly paced, nostalgia filled beauty.

De Niro has outdone himself with this simple heart-filled "grown family" film. I can truthfully say I liked him more in this than anything else he has done, although I also believe he probably didn't have to dig too deep into his soul to be Frank Goode. I will be surprised if he has not turned the heads and hearts of those who can nominate him for an Oscar. While all the characters were easy to relate to, this movie was more about Frank Goode's journey from state to state and through life.

Believe me, Everybody's Fine is more than just fine.

9/10 and one giant hug for everyone involved in making this beautiful film.

2012
(2009)

2012: Mayans knew 2012 would be the disaster film to end all disaster films
Once I saw the first trailer, I knew the movie was going to be exactly what the trailer told us it would be. One disaster after another with people dying and certain people just escaping death by a hair. If you really expect to see a mystery then forget it. On second thought, go anyway, this movie is fun for fun's sake.

I can't even remember if the Mayans were mentioned, but they may have been. There! There's your Mayan fix. The Mayans were mentioned. Now sit back and enjoy the long wild ride.

A spectacular film, the lucky ones only have to keep running and dodging. You have to hold your breath longer than is humanly possible while the actors do all the work. Images of concrete and glass flying all around while intense audio nearly blasts you out of your seat and grabs your attention and shakes it til your bones rattle. Family tragedies are used as a buffer to slow things down a bit but not for long. 2012 is one excellent fun film. But it is not for fans of great acting.

I have no problem with any of the acting because even though none were great, none of them distracted from the movie. 2012 is like but better than other tragedy films in a big way. Compare it to Poseidon, Day After Tomorrow, Deep Impact if you want, but none come close to being as fun and spectacular as 2012.

A free from thought movie, I give it an 8

The Mentalist
(2008)

The Mentalist: absolutely blows my mind
This is one of the few TV shows I HAVE to catch or I start having withdrawal symptoms. Someone said this is not original but not in a hostile way. I don't believe anything out there is original anymore, but The Mentalist is as close to being original as possible. It has more going for it than any other show I can think of.

There is not a single main character I don't enjoy(oops, there is one, but no biggie). Robin Tunney(Lisbon) is great as a squad leader trying to control a team sometimes weakened and almost under complete control by the brilliant, charming and unflappable Patrick Jane(Simon Baker). Amanda Righetti(Van Pelt - mmm, mmm, mmm!), Owain Yeoman(Rigsby) and Tim Kang, (Cho) all have nearly perfect characters that are equally as fun to watch. The characters that come and go fit in so well in every episode I can think of. I guess I just am addicted to the cop show comedy, drama, Sherlock Holmes-like investigations that are benevolently touched up with gunfire and bloodshed.

I can see Simon Baker as a Sherlock Holmes like Basil Rathbone characterized. His seemingly child-like innocence gets stored away when he is on the right track of solving a crime or bringing justice to light.

The other day I was thinking Robin Tunney should be a Lois Lane if another Superman ever comes about. Come to find that she was in a Superman movie as a girl friend of a guy who played Superman in "Hollywoodland". Interesting coincidence I guess.

Anyway, as I understand it, the series is about to take a huge turn on Novemeber 19th due to a major event. I have my fingers crossed that the essence of this series is not lost. In any case, many thanks to everyone involved in bringing this show to TV. Great job!! I have not seen an episode yet that does not warrant a 9 out of 10

The Men Who Stare at Goats
(2009)

Men Who Stare At Goats: for people who stare blankly at the big screen
A great trailer to laugh at is a good way to sucker, I mean DRAW, people to a movie. Or maybe someone was controlling my brain(I refuse to take total blame) and made me want to see a movie about goats being killed by a superior mind. But then the title of the movie itself was so enticing. I could have spent hours trying to decipher the meaning of the title, "Men Who Stare At Goats". But after the disappointment with this movie, I am glad I only purchased a matinée ticket and wasted only 93 minutes.

Dry humor helped me appreciate the desert environment. Boring dialogue helped me keep my eyes on the sky for alien life. Drug trips, dealing with indifference, and underused talent just sent this thing all over the place for no reason at all.

My God!!! Clooney, McGregor, Spacey and Bridges...what happened??? I saw Robert Patrick too. Yep, he was there. This is not me saying I don't care for these guys, because I do. But someone did not know how to use the talent made available. Someone didn't know how to connect the dots.

The story was inspired by what? - a true story??? So what? The silliness in the movie was just that, SILLY. So, silliness was inspired by some silliness? Really?? WOW. Someimes I hate going to movies.

There is an Oasis in the movie but when you find it in the credits alone, there is nothing to give credit to. The trailer is indeed the funniest part of the movie.

Miss it, please. 4/10

The Fourth Kind
(2009)

THE FOURTH KIND: Keeping it real was almost the last straw
I love a movie that can grab your imagination and toy with it while images and sounds toss your senses against the wall of logic and sensibility until all thats left is a big ol' black and blue "WOW". The Fourth Kind had that going on for a long time and I was loving it. But instead of enjoying it entirely, I came away a little upset.

The movie starts out fine, mixing supposed "real" footage with "faux" footage, inducing the viewer to accepting both "reality" and the scripted. Even though I do not believe for a moment that the "real" footage was at all real, I did find that what I was seeing was very entertaining. But then someone had to inflict a little too much of real life into the mix.

I wanted to see a movie about the effects flying saucer people had on us ground people. I expected an exaggerated documentary so I wasn't disappointed with that part. But the movie took its toll when the viewer is expected to suffer the children and an idiot sheriff. I found myself too distracted from the horror and mystery in the movie when the story turned to family matters that I feel did not need to be dragged in but instead dragged on and on. And when a sheriff gets away with being a moron and lawyers don't appear to exist in Nome, I felt the movie expected too much from me. I tried to mentally edit the negativity out of the movie, but I couldn't. Remember, reality was supposedly key here. But no way would real legal matters be handled as they were in this movie.

OK, so I couldn't totally erase the unfortunate, but I so wish they had before releasing this movie. I just wish attention had stayed focused on what I considered a great technique. Creepy and satisfyingly(sp?) frustrating with events that hold your attention and keep your eyes darting all over the screen. I did enjoy the performances and the creepiness. Ony two changes in the movie would have probably ended with me giving it a 10, but instead I have to give it a 7, which is me saying it is still good enough to see despite artificial and unnecessary family matters.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
(2009)

Vampires Assistant: Help needed Apply now
Here we go again...

A luscious looking trailer with promises of cinematic pleasure. Silky and sinister, the lighting and color make you believe there is some serious attention to the cinematography. Mixed with some great, clever lines delivered by preposterously quirky looking characters that no one in a non-freaky state of mind would want to meet in an alley, dark or otherwise, high expectations were created for dark spoof. And so, we get high levels of disappointment. The trailer shows only good parts, so that means someone knows whats good and bad. So if that someone is smart enough to recognize the bad parts and leave them out of the trailer, why weren't they smart enough to fix the bad parts in the movie? I give high marks for the acting from the seasoned performers, the special effects, and the darker backgrounds. The story, while I thought it had a great chance in the beginning, became far too convoluted. The one-liners, while often hitting the funny bone at the right time, were sometimes too clumsy and just plain wrong! Not even garlic and silver bullets would help.

The surreal naivety of the everyday non-freaks was bizarre to say the least but often fed the need for darker material. However, Steve and Darren were hard to stay with as their acting was school play quality. While I am sure they were following direction, their performances really killed the allure of this movie.

Again, I feel potential greatness in this movie is diminished by the lack of attention to the same kind of care that the trailer got. I am puzzled on one more thing. How can the greater actors be used to show their skills so beautifully, and yet the rest of the package around these wonderful actors be treated with so little respect? Sooooo disappointing...

4 of 10

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