11 December 2010

Black Swan

Spanks - 4

Director - Darren Aronofsky

Writers - Mark Heyman and Andres Heinz and John J. McLaughlin

Starring - Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, and Winona Ryder

Release Date - 3 December 2010

MPAA Rating - R

I went into seeing Black Swan expecting a bizarre movie with a Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis sex scene. What I got was an excellent and bizarre movie that also makes you think, with a Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis sex scene. Black Swan follows a young ballerina named Nina who is up for her big break starring as the lead in "Black Swan" after the retirement of the groups' star. Nina befriends Lily, the new girl in the company. Lily also wants the lead role but is awarded the job as Nina's understudy. The pressure, hard work, and fame gets to Nina which makes her go through a transformation of her own.

The movie has a lot of sex throughout, which could make some people uncomfortable, and it can be debated if it was needed for plot development or not. Even though it is about ballet dancers(which I have no interest in going to see), Aronofsky made a film that keeps your attention from start to finish.

The camera work for the ballet scenes are incredible. The director of photography and camera operator made the camera another dancer to put you right in the middle of the action. Clint Mansell's music fits perfectly and was one of my favorite parts of the movie.

Black Swan was made very well and the actresses do deserve the award nominations that are being predicted. I also wouldn't be surprised it the film got a nomination for best picture.

30 November 2010


Spanks - 1

Director - George Tillman Jr.

Writers - Tony Gayton, Joe Gayton

Starring - Dwayne Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Carla Gugino, Tom Berenger

Release Date - 24 November 2010

MPAA Rating - R

Faster is the first Dwayne Johnson action movie in six years. He should stick to comedy and children's movies if he is going to make action films like this one. In Faster, his character is jailed for robbery for ten years. Now that he is free, his only goal is to get revenge and kill everyone who was involved in the robbery that had him put in prison and his brother murdered. Billy Bob Thornton plays a drug addicted detective that is a week from retirement. There is a hitman that the bad guys hire to kill Dwayne Johnson's character. I guess killing him in prison would have been too easy.

The film is unoriginal and extremely predictable. There wasn't any part in the 98 minutes run time that I was surprised by what happened. They didn't do anything groundbreaking or original in the cinematography. It is a very generic movie.

If you want a good revenge movie just watch any of the Transporter films, Kill Bill or Taken instead.

21 October 2010


Spanks - 4

Director - Robert Schwentke

Writers - Jon Hoeber & Erich Hoeber

Starring - Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Karl Urban, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich & Helen Mirren

Release Date - 15 October 2010

MPAA Rating - PG-13

RED is the latest action comedy that is based on the DC comic of the same name. The film follows Frank Moses who is a retired CIA agent. One night his home is attacked by a group of assassins. He escapes and with the help of a group of retired CIA agents, and the girl he likes, he finds out the conspiracy he was dragged into and sets out to clear his name.

RED is an extremely funny movie. You will be laughing through out the entire film. John Malkovich's character Marvin makes you laugh the whole time he is on screen. This is definitely the film to see to just laugh your ass off.

The only down side of the film is it is very predictable. It follows a very generic action movie formula, but since the movie is meant to be funny this is easy to overlook.

01 September 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Spanks - 5

Director - Edgar Wright

Writers - Michael Bacall & Edgar Wright

Starring - Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong, Mark Webber, , Johnny Simmons and Ben Lewis

Release Date - 13 August 2010

MPAA Rating - PG-13

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is an underrated movie. I know in the two weeks since it came out it has not been the blockbuster Universal had hoped, but this is a movie that you should see. It has something for everyone and is the perfect date movie; it has comedy, romance, action, lesbians love, epic battles, and breakups.

The film follows 23 year old Scott Pilgrim as he searches for his true love. He figures he found it in Ramona Flowers. Quickly, Scott finds out that he must defeat her "seven evil exes" in order to be with her.

The movie has lots of pop culture and 80's video game references hidden throughout to add to the laughs, but if you miss them you won't be lost in the plot. The only problem I had with the movie was that Michael Cera gets annoying and whinny at a few points throughout.

23 July 2010


Spanks - 5

Director - Christopher Nolan

Writers - Christopher Nolan

Starring - Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Dileep Rao & Cillian Murphy

Release Date - 16 July 2010

MPAA Rating - PG-13

Christopher Nolan makes another awesome film with Inception. His first original film since Following. This film, like all of Nolan’s but The Dark Knight, is a not told in a straight linear fashion. It takes place throughout a series of dreams. Cobb, played by Leonardo Dicaprio, and his team use some made up technology that enables him to go into a person’s dreams to steal information. After a job goes sour, he is offered a job he can not refuse. This job requires Cobb to implant an idea into the subject's mind and not to steal something, which is believed to be impossible.

The movie does some really cool things visually that I can’t recall ever being done before. It is done so well that it doesn’t look fake like most effects in movies these days. It is really cool once you know why these things are happening in the story.

The story is the most original done in a long time. It isn’t based on a book, a TV show, a movie that was made 20 years ago, a comic book, or a video game. It is the only film this summer that isn’t based on something already made in some medium.

Inception is visually worth seeing in a theater, but you will have some questions that will make you want to walk back to the box office and buy another ticket so you can catch the answers the second time.

20 July 2010

Toy Story 3

Spanks - 5

Director - Lee Unkrich

Writer - Michael Arndt

Voices - Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Ned Beatty, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton, Wallace Shawn & John Ratzenberger

Release Date - 18 June 2010

MPAA Rating - G

Even though Pixar pretty much made traditional animated films extinct, they are probably the most creative group of people in Hollywood. Every movie they make is brilliant in every way. Toy Story 3 completes the story started 15 years ago at the genesis of computer animated films in Toy Story. We all grew up with these characters. In the first film, Andy was a little kid with a wild imagination who loved playing with his toys. Now, in 2010, Andy is grown up and is about to leave home for is first year at college and has not played with Woody, Buzz, and the gang in years. While cleaning is room, the toys were supposed to go in the attic, but accidentally end up at the Sunnyside day care center. Since Woody loves Andy unconditionally, he has to get the gang back to Andy since they aren’t supposed to be at the day care center.

Watching this movie, you see how far the technology has come over the years. The detail put into everything has gotten 100 times better. I would have never thought cartoons would look this good. It still will never replace traditional animation, but that is a whole other topic.

The movie is full of laughs, I laughed the whole time. The story was well thought out and it is the perfect ending for the series. I wont give anything away about the last reel, but it is a very happy heartfelt ending and if you don't feel some kind of emotion before the credits roll you must be some sort of robot.

13 July 2010


Spanks - 5

Director - Nimród Antal

Writers - Alex Litvak & Michael Finch

Starring - Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Alice Braga, Walton Goggins, Oleg Taktarov, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Trejo, Louis Ozawa Changchien & Mahershalalhashbaz Ali

Release Date - 9 July 2010

MPAA Rating - R

Predators is based on a story Robert Rodriguez wrote way back in 1994, but 20th Century Fox wouldn't produce it. Fast forward about 15 years, Fox decides to produce the film. Predators is the best movie starring the Predator since the original 1987 film with Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film takes the franchise back to its roots, something it lost in the two Alien Vs. Predator films. The film starts with Adrien Brody's character waking up in a free fall. His parachute opens and he lands safely in the jungle. He meets other military personnel, criminals and gangsters from around the world. The movie solves why the "greatest killers" are kidnapped and put together in this jungle.

The film pays its tributes to the original in many ways throughout, and never done in a way that it doesn't move the movie forward. Most importantly, the Predators were men in old school rubber monster suits and not crappy modern CGI, which would have ruined the whole thing. The composer even uses the original music themes and styles. You could watch the two films back to back and they would fit together as if the same people made both.

Since the film is a big hunt, it gets violent at time, but it isn't the gory variety. It wasn't easy to predict the order of deaths, I was wrong every time. If you enjoyed the original Predator films then you will enjoy and have a great time with Predators. And the one liners, are awesome!

13 June 2010

The A-Team

Spanks - 3

Director - Joe Carnahan

Writers - Joe Carnahan & Brian Bloom and Skip Woods

Starring - Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, Sharlto Copley & Patrick Wilson

Release Date - 11 June 2010

MPAA Rating - PG-13

The A-Team is the absolutely ridiculously fun action movie of the summer of 2010. The plot is unoriginal. The action is beyond unbelievable. It has some big names in the cast. It is funny. It is full of cheesy dialog.

Like the television show the film is based on, it follows a special army unit who are arrested for a "crime they didn't commit". The show (from what I remember) they break out of prison then become mercenaries and every episode they help people who have a problem and no one else can help. The film is about the unit trying to clear their names after being framed by a private security company called Black Forest.

The best part of the movie is Murdock, played tremendously by Sharlto Copley. He makes the movie. Everything he said or did made me laugh. No one else in the cast is half as good as him.

The plot is predicable and follows the Hollywood formula for popcorn flick about clearing your name. However, with action sequences that involve flying a tank while being attacked by fight jets you have to give the writers some credit for some sort of creativity and originality.

The A-Team is worth a screening from your comfy couch while enjoying the beer (if your over 21) or soda and the chips and salsa that are on your coffee table.

09 May 2010

Iron Man 2

Spanks - 4

Director - Jon Favreau

Writers - Justin Theroux

Starring - Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson & Garry Shandling

Release Date - 7 May 2010

MPAA Rating - PG-13

Iron Man 2
is the third movie produced by Marvel Comics based on the universe they created in comic books adapted for the big screen (Thor and Captain America are in production for release next summer). The film takes place about six months after the first film and is about the repercussions of Tony Stark creating and becoming Iron Man. Tony has problems with the US military who want the suits for their soldiers. Problems running his company that is now in the business of peace instead of creating weapons. A poor disgruntled Russian man, Ivan Vanko, who wants to kill Tony because their fathers worked together and his was deported and the Stark’s got rich. And to top it all off, Tony is dying.

Robert Downey Jr. continues to portray Tony Stark perfectly. Mickey Rourke plays such a convincing Russian that you would think he was from Russia and not New York. Don Cheadle fits the role of assistant/sidekick/friend Colonel Rhoades better then Terrance Howard did in the first film. Howard was replaced because of salary issues. Cheadle looks more tough and military like then the former.

The film doesn’t one up itself from the original like some recent sequels like The Dark Knight or X2. I’m not saying it’s a bad movie, just when you compare the two the first is better. The film has less action overall then the first one, but the final action scene verses Whiplash is better then the final battle with Ironmonger. Whiplash was a much more bad ass villain too, and you can never go wrong with adding Scarlett Johansson kicking ass as the Black Widow.

Iron Man 2 is a true summer film, It is full of fun, edge of your seat excitement, things blowing up, beautiful women, laughs, and fighting. All the things needed and wanted in the opening weeks of the summer at the cinema. It is a movie that will not disappoint you.

18 April 2010


Spanks - 5

Director - Matthew Vaughn

Writers - Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn

Starring - Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Lyndsy Fonseca, Nicolas Cage & Chloe Grace Moretz

Release Date - 16 April 2010

MPAA Rating - R

Kick-Ass is the first superhero/comic book movie to be released this summer movie season. However, Kick-Ass is not your typical superhero film. Most superhero and/or comic book movies are rated PG-13 or even sometimes PG and Kick-Ass is rated R. Like any superhero movie, it isn't to be taken seriously.

The film is based on comic written by Mark Millar and is set in a world without superheroes. Dave Lizewski, a normal New York City teenager who hangs out reading comic books has always wondered why nobody has ever become a superhero. He makes a costume, makes a MySpace page and sets out to save New Yorkers and calls himself Kick-Ass. When Kick-Ass tries to help his school crush by telling a drug dealer to leave her alone he meets Hit-Girl and watches her kill all the "bad guys" in the apartment, and gets pulled into something way over his head.

There is a lot of controversy going around about the large amount of violence, gore, the bad language and Hit-Girl. Unlike Batman or Iron Man, the violence is not toned down and is very bloody. Every major character "curses like a sailor". The biggest of them all is the character of Hit Girl played by Chloe Grace Moretz. This is because of the language she uses (words like the ones that rhyme with sock and hunt) and the gratuitous violence (guns, knives, swords fights) and body count that her character racks up (I lost count at 6 and that was in Hit-Girls first scene) because she was 13 years old at the world premiere.

If you are not a fan of violence or bad language, this movie is not for you (go see Date Night instead). Controversy aside, since people just love to complain at everything on TV and on the silver screen, the film is funny, entertaining, and action packed. It is everything you can ask for in a superhero movie and Matthew Vaughn has done it better then most. Just remember, as Chloe Grace Moretz said "It's a movie and it’s not real"

07 March 2010

The Wolfman

Spanks - 2

Director - Joe Johnston

Writer - Andrew Kevin Walker and David Self

Starring - Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Geraldine Chaplin, and Hugo Weaving

Release Date - 12 February 2010

MPAA Rating - R

The Wolfman is Universal Studios latest remake of their classic monster movie franchises. The film follows English actor Lawrence Talbot who returns home to Blackmoor England, after being sent to the United States when he was younger, after a letter arrives that his brother was missing. After finding his brother's body ripped apart he investigates what killed him. During the investigation he is attacked and bitten in the neck by a wolf, which causes him to change on the full moon.

The film has its highs and lows. Unfortunately, the highs only occur when there is a werewolf on screen. The non-lycan part of the film is very boring, which sadly used more film stock than the werewolf parts. One is not seen until about a half hour into the movie. Once the wolf shows up, it gets violent and sometimes brutal, and many people, some of whom are innocent, are torn to pieces.

28 February 2010

Cop Out

Spanks - 4

Director - Kevin Smith

Writer - Robb Cullen & Mark Cullen

Starring - Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Kevin Pollak, Adam Brody, Guillermo Díaz, Seann William Scott & Ana de la Reguera

Release Date - 26 February 2010

MPAA Rating - R

Cop Out is the latest film from New Jersey native Kevin Smith, and it is his first that he did not write himself. The only connection to Smith's View Askewniverse is that Jason Lee plays a very small roll, so don't expect to see Jay and Silent Bob anywhere.

The film is about two detectives who have been partners for nine years. Paul (Tracy Morgan) thinks his wife is cheating on him and Jimmy (Bruce Willis)has his daughter's wedding coming up. To pay for the wedding Jimmy plans on selling his mint condition 1952 baseball card of Andy Pafko. At the baseball card shop, Dave (Seann William Scott) robs the place, tasers Jimmy and steals his card. Paul and Jimmy use their knowledge from nine years on the force to get back his baseball card and find out if Paul's wife is cheating on him.

Cop Out is the second funniest cop movie of the 2000's behind Hot Fuzz. The theater was full and everyone was laughing from beginning to end. Tracy Morgan is as hysterical as always. Bruce Willis is a funny John McClain. Seann William Scott continues to make me laugh even though Stiffler was annoying and not funny at all.

The plot isn't anything original and great, but it is a fun buddy cop movie. The type that we have not seen since the 80's and early 90's. The score reminded me of the scores from all the classic '80s cop movies, and is scored by the guy who scored Beverly Hills Cop. Go see this movie to just laugh.

22 February 2010

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Spanks - 4

Director - Chris Columbus

Writer - Craig Titley

Starring - Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson and Alexandra Daddario

Release Date - 12 February 2010

MPAA Rating - PG

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief is based on the book of the same name written by Rick Riordan. The story follows Percy Jackson who is a regular teenager living in New York City who finds out he is the son of Poseidon, the God of the Sea. Percy finds out who he is, because he is attacked by a fury disguised as a substitute teacher on a field trip who wants him to give her the stolen lightning bolt of Zeus. Another of his teachers is Chiron in disguise who tells him who he is and that the Gods will start a war in 14 days if the lightning bolt isn't returned to Zeus. Percy and two of his friends set out to find the stolen bolt and save humanity from the gods war.

The film is great the whole family can enjoy. There was never a time where I was bored or thought it was too childlike. It wasn't as predictable as most family movies I have seen and reviewed either. Creatures from Greek Mythology are all over the movie and could be a good way to introduce your children to these stories and gets your reacquainted with them.

There is one part of the movie that was so bad it was funny when it happened, but in the end it made a little bit of sense. This is the part in Las Vegas. The song used in this sequence is Poker Face by Lady Gaga. It is so out of context in the film, that if you hear all the lyrics of the song, which adds cheeseyness of it. This is the only complaint I have about the film. I see the books 4 sequels (so far) being made in the coming years.

27 January 2010


Spanks - 3

Director - Scott Stewart

Writer - Peter Schink and Scott Stewart

Starring - Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, Adrianne Palicki, Charles S. Dutton & Kevin Durand

Release Date - 22 January 2010

MPAA Rating - R

Legion is a film about angels, but they are not the beautiful glowy ones you see in churches. When God loses faith in humanity, he plans to send an army of angles to Earth to exterminate it. Archangel Micheal doesn't agree with God, so he leaves Heaven, cuts off his wings, steals a locker full of automatic weapons, and becomes humanities last hope for survival. Meanwhile, at a diner in the middle of the desert in New Mexico, is a pregnant waitress named Charlie, a few other employees, and six customers. When the sky gets cloudy and things start getting crazy Micheal shows up.

I was expecting an epic battle of angels versus angles, but that never came. The film has a lot of action, and it is some good action, but is of the human versus possessed type human kind. The action is well shot and fun to watch. They special effects looked good too, and I couldn't tell if some were computer generated effects or practical effects.

The movie gets slow at times between the action when the survivors in the diner are talking with each other. Some of the dialog during these scenes isn't the greatest and is silly but it wasn't meant to be. A lot more could have been done with the story of Legion, but maybe the filmmakers have more of a story to tell and with that the story can be taken to the level of potential that this one had. And Micheal is a bad-ass hero.

16 January 2010


Spanks - 5

Director - James Cameron

Writer - James Cameron

Starring - Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Joel Moore, Giovanni Ribisi & Michelle Rodriguez

Release Date - 18 December 2009

MPAA Rating - PG-13

Avatar starts off on a spaceship that has just arrived in orbit of the moon Pandora. Pandora has become a great interest to a Corporation from Earth who built an outpost there. The company is there to mine a mineral called unobtainium which sells for millions of dollars per kilogram. Pandora has a humanoid species called the Na'vi that are in their way, and an atmosphere that is poisonous to humans. Because of this, they create the avatar program that genetically creates a Na'vi out of a humans DNA that can be remotely controlled by the human safely on the outpost. On the ship is the movies' narrator, a disabled veteran named Jake Sully who is permanently in a wheelchair. He signs up for the avatar program to make money to get his legs fixed to walk again. What starts off as following orders, turns into much much more.

Tise film, like Titanic, has all of the action in the last third of the movie. Cameron keeps your attention and never gets boring in the "slow" parts because he is teaching the viewer all about the culture of the Na'vi and the ecosystem of Pandora and showing the greed of the humans who run the human outpost, lead by Colonel Miles Quaritch and lead miner Parker Selfridge.

The film is visually awesome. You can tell that it took a long time to make by the great attention to detail. It did have two years of post production. You could say that it looks like a cartoon with the blue people and pastel colors of the native wildlife, which is true if it were set on Earth. Do you really think every possible planet or moon would look exactly like Earth? Everything that has been transported to Pandora from Earth looks just like it would here on Earth from the humans, from the habitats, to the methods of transportation.

I have been hearing stories that the film is racist. If humans conquering, destroying, and relocating other beings to get what they want without any care to the beings or the environment is racist then so is Avatar. How District 9 is the science fiction version of the South African Apartheid, Avatar is the science fiction version of the way European settlers/early Americans treated the Indians to get what they wanted. Those people complaining about Sigourney Weaver's smoking are out of their mind, because she has a cigarette like three times in the two hour and a half hour film.

Avatar is truly a film that has to be seen in 3D. It was filmed with 3D cameras to be in 3D and not digitally converted into 3D like most 3D films are. Seeing it in a standard 2D theater would be a waist of money. If you can make it to a true IMAX theater, it would be even better being that the screen is bigger then standard 35 mm or digital 3D theater.

03 January 2010

Sherlock Holmes

Spanks - 3

Director - Guy Ritchie

Writer - Michael Robert Johnson and Anthony Peckham and Simon Kinberg

Starring - Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong & Eddie Marsan

Release Date - 25 December 2009

MPAA Rating - PG-13

Sherlock Holmes has been adapted into films over 200 times since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle published his first print appearance in 1887. This is Holmes' the first appearance in a major motion picture in the 2000s (that I can recall). The film is not your normal Hollywood origin story. The film begins with Holmes and Watson being introduced by solving a case involving a serial killer. Cut to a few months later and we find out Watson is getting married and Holmes gets his next case, the case the movie follows.

Being a film by Guy Richie, I expected a lot of crazy twist and plot developments you come to expect from a Richie film. But being the film wasn't written by him, you get generic plot development and little suspense. I hope the planned sequel is written with a lot more input from Richie and takes more of what he has done brilliantly in the films he has written and directed previously.

If you go without the expectations I had for it, it is probably a good movie. The people I saw it with enjoyed it a lot. I thought the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer was different sounding and amazing. The design team did a good job recreating London in the 1890s. Robert Downey Jr. brings Holmes to live as well as he did with Tony Stark. Everything was in the right place for Sherlock Holmes to be a great film, but it shows in this film how a wrong story can mess up everything.