Monthly Archives: June 2013

Movie Review: White House Down

As soon as I saw the trailer for White House Down, I was like “Really? Olympus Has Fallen just came out and now you’re making another one?” Hollywood has gotten into making sequels constantly (which drives me insane but now is not the time to talk about that) and while this wasn’t supposed to be a sequel, it was supposed to be an entirely different movie, the trailer looked like the same movie, except this time the President was African-American. After watching it though, I can assure you that White House Down is not the poor man’s Olympus Has Fallen.

The plot is technically the same, with terrorists causing havoc in the White House and trying to get the president, but early on viewers should recognize that this movie is not to be a realistic thriller. I’ll discuss those reasons in the spoiler’s edition. If you can’t change your stance on this movie mid-movie and try to enjoy it for what it is, you should just leave the theater because you should not expect Tatum to go Gerard Butler.

This movie attempts to make a satire of the current presidential administration, specifically President Obama and Vice President Biden. This movie does not satire maliciously or demonstrate any political bias, but it highlights certain things that Obama and Biden do that are widely known and makes a mockery out of them. Once again, not maliciously, but just to have a good time. For example, the plot has President Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) trying to get a peace treaty together with the Middle East and has a speech in which he says “The pen is mightier than the sword”. Obviously this is up for debate, but I can picture President Obama saying something like that. President Obama also loves basketball. For half the movie, they have President Sawyer running around in a pair of Jordan’s. Coincidence? I think not. There are more examples but I don’t want to spoil the movie. There are plenty of entertaining one-liners in this that get you laughing and while you’re not rolling on the floor, you are getting more than a chuckle out of these jokes. Tatum and Foxx work well together in this and the chemistry seems legit so the audience is able to relate to the characters.

The action scenes are entertaining but once again not 100% realistic so be wary of this. They’re fun to watch because half the time Tatum and Foxx are exchanging one-liners mid-firefight. The jokes allow the audience to disregard some of the unrealistic scenes and just take it for what it is, a comedy with bullets flying and walls exploding.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Iron Man 3World War Z)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Star Trek Into DarknessNow You See MeMan of SteelMonster-In-Law)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Oblivion)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one.

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The HobbitAfter EarthRoad to Perdition)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Patriot Games)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The ContractPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow.

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.”

My score for White House Down: 83.

While Olympus Has Fallen is the better of the two, White House Down is still a crowd pleaser and one worth seeing. The comedic political satire did well with character development and the action scenes were well put together even if unrealistic. It’s one I’ll probably buy.

My only major complaint was Maggie Gyllenhaal. She was boring, flat, and annoying throughout the whole movie. Seriously, if you want to make a really bad movie, put Maggie Gyllenhaal and John Cusack together in leading roles. You’ll be sure to win the Academy Award for Worst Picture.

*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!

*SPOILER’S EDITION*

First off, a six man team manages to take out the whole entire White House security team while in lockdown in a matter of like six minutes. They just went around knocking on doors, saying “security check” and shooting guards as they opened the doors. No code word to get the guards to open the doors and no shots fired by any of the guards that I can remember. They took out the whole security team without a single shot fired against them. Wow! They got to the armory and armed themselves with machine guns mid-route and if I recall there was little to no security protecting all those guns and no keypad or safe to crack into. Granted, the main baddie is the head of the Secret Service, so they would have gotten the codes anyway, but at least if they had shown them putting codes into something it would have looked like the Secret Service wasn’t a ragtag team of rookie interns. The director jumped straight into the Tatum-Foxx show without ever showing how difficult it is to take over the White House.

There is so much chaos going on in the White House during this movie and between that and the number of alliance switches and presidents being sworn in, I can see how some people might have had trouble following along at some points, even though I personally didn’t have that problem.

Overall, a pretty good movie and good acting performances by all of the cast, except of course for Maggie Gyllenhaal.

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Movie Review: Patriot Games

After watching one of my favorite Harrison Ford movies (Air Force One) on Thursday, I decided to watch another Ford movie, this time one I hadn’t seen before, and so Mom suggested watching Patriot Games, a movie based off a Tom Clancy bestseller.

Upon reading the opening credits, one should be on the edge of their seats jumping for joy. Harrison Ford, one of the best actors of the past 50 years is starring in the main role and two of the three greatest African-Americans in the world are co-starring, those two being Samuel L. Jackson and James Earl Jones, and the one being left out being Morgan Freeman. With just those three names alone, you have an all-star cast, one that should be able to do wonders on the big screen.

Unfortunately, the writers failed to give them adequate material to do so. Former CIA agent Jack Ryan (Ford) prevents an attack on a member of the royal family while on vacation in London and kills one of the assailants. The assailant’s older brother (Sean Bean) also participated and witnessed the killing of his younger brother and now vows to get revenge.

The script writers gave the great Samuel L. Jackson and legendary James Earl Jones an estimated 15 minutes of screen time in this. Are you kidding me? Two of the greatest actors on the planet and you gave them 15 minutes? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! They put these two in this film because big names are supposed to draw big crowds, but honestly, I would be insulted if I were them. A total waste of talent.

The action scenes in this were not well done and at points this film was very predictable. I felt like I had watched it before. That’s not a problem if you change it up a little and make the characters memorable, but the film didn’t accomplish this.

There were a fair amount of plot holes in this, at points the movie got boring, and the acting suffered from poor script writing. Sean Bean plays villains all the time, and I even found his performance to be sub par.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Iron Man 3, World War Z)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Star Trek Into DarknessNow You See MeMan of SteelMonster-In-Law)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Oblivion)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one.

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The HobbitAfter EarthRoad to Perdition)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this.

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The ContractPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow.

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.”

My score for Patriot Games: 42.

Harrison Ford was left to carry the movie on his shoulders. While Pitt was able to do it in World War Z, at least he had scriptwriters to help out. Ford didn’t even have that and so his performance suffered. If your main star’s performance is suffering, so is your movie’s.

I would encourage you to watch the trailer for this, but it gives so many plot details and so many spoilers that it gives away a lot. If you insist though, here it is.

*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!

*SPOILER’S EDITION*

The authorities decide to move Miller (Bean) to another prison. Why it was so important to move him, I don’t know. Anyway they want to move him to Albany Prison, which is on an island, meaning you have to cross a bridge to get there for all those who haven’t had the privilege of being mentored by Captain Obvious. Well, they get stopped when the bridge is up, meaning they’re trapped. The rest of Miller’s team comes in, frees him, and kills everyone. You would think they would have priority traffic or something so that the bridge stayed down for the transportation of a dangerous convict/terrorist, but apparently not. Also, at the end, Ryan (Ford) is leading Miller away from his family on a boat and Miller gives chase in his own. He shoots Ryan’s engine causing it to catch on fire. There is a propane/gasoline tank right next to the engine and while the whole back half of Ryan’s small boat is engulfed in flames, the tank does not catch on fire. Bean jumps on to Ryan’s boat, engaging in a hand-to-hand struggle and the filmmakers give you an overhead view of the flames refusing to engulf this tank. This is preposterous. It’s a little thing, but why does there have to be a propane tank on this boat in the first place? If you put one of those things on, then it’s gotta go boom. Of course, it only goes boom after Ryan has impaled Bean on a stored anchor and abandons ship, leaving Bean to crash into a rock formation. Of course, this is when the thing decides to explode. *facepalm*

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Movie Review: World War Z

My brother and I have been looking forward to this apocalyptic zombie flick for a while now so to say I was expecting a lot from this film would be a true statement.

You’re thrown right into the action with this film. Director Marc Foster wasted no time discussing an elaborate back story or giving us an in-depth personality evaluation of the family. Foster knew the audience didn’t need this so he simplified it by basically saying, “Hey, here’s a family and the father, Gerry Lane (Pitt), he’s ex-military. And action!”

After leading his family to a navy aircraft carrier, the captain tells Lane he needs him to find a cure. When Lane refuses, the captain says “you search or you and your family are getting kicked off.” Obviously we can guess what Lane chooses to do, but this choice leads into a character connection with the audience.

It’s very important that a character connection is opened with the audience so early, because similar to After Earth, no one is in this film very long aside from Brad Pitt. Everyone around him seems to die or leave. This can be a major problem if you can’t relate to the main character, but Pitt does such a great job with this role that I’d be surprised if you didn’t connect with him. It takes a great actor to basically carry a movie on his shoulders, but Pitt made it look easy.

The action scenes are pretty intense and that’s without blood and guts being all over the screen. That’s a testament to how good these scenes were, not a testament to the constant criticism of “no blood/guts, not a good zombie movie”. My adrenaline was pumping throughout.

The movie was very suspenseful. At some points I was at the edge of my seat and at other points my hands were in front of my mouth because I was unsure what would happen next. After each moment I would breathe a sigh of relief, only to be startled by something I never saw coming.

I will warn you that the zombies in this movie are not slow like in the typical zombie flick. They are incredibly fast, so fast that at times I will admit I was questioning myself how Brad Pitt was outrunning them when on-screen it looked like he was barely jogging. While I think zombies would be slow if a zombie apocalypse were to occur, it didn’t bother me too much that the filmmakers decided to change things up a bit. Sometimes spicing things up leads to great new ideas and audiences are always looking for something new.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Iron Man 3)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Star Trek Into DarknessNow You See MeMan of SteelMonster-In-Law)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Oblivion)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one.

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The HobbitAfter EarthRoad to Perdition)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this.

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The Contract, Pride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow.

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.”

My score for World War Z: 91.

Despite going against the grain of popular zombie movies, World War Z kept me entertained throughout. Brad Pitt was as good as ever and took the burden of being the star actor, supporting actor(because there isn’t really anybody else) and producer of this film like a boss. The filmmakers brought a new idea for a zombie movie to the big screen and I loved it.

*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!

*SPOILER’S EDITION*

Real quick, I’d like to reiterate how suspenseful this movie really was. Like at the end, let’s be honest people, Gerry Lane sucks at walking! Kicking over Mountain Dew cans in the middle of an empty floor and later on stepping on all the big pieces of glass! I wanted to jump out of my seat and start screaming at him I was so into this movie.

My only complaint with this movie occurs during Lane’s visit to Jerusalem. The city is entirely safe with giant walls protecting the whole city. Life in Jerusalem is just as it was before the outbreak. However, some people have the great idea of turning on a microphone and singing their lungs out. What?! Haven’t any of these people read about basic zombie survival tips? I don’t know if this movie was meant to be like no one knew anything about zombies prior to the outbreak or not, but for a second let’s assume that’s the case. It took the zombies at least a minute and a half to pile onto each other climbing that wall. Why didn’t Lane say something? You think he would have noticed the obnoxious singing while trying to hold an important conversation. This scene was necessary to move the plot forward so it wasn’t a huge deal to me, but I was still like, “Wow, Israel, you guys make huge walls around your city because you’re smart as hell and then get swarmed by zombies because you’re dumb as hell.”

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Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice

Yesterday, I watched the 2005 rendition of Pride and Prejudice. Within the first ten minutes I knew I was going to hate it.

The movie is supposed to be about a family full of daughters, each of which is looking for a husband. Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley) loathes Mr. Darcy (Matthey Macfadyen). Aside from that, nothing very important happens. There were so many things wrong with this movie that it’s truly hard to name them all but I’m going to try anyway.

1. This movie featured snobby dance parties with aristocratic arrogant rich people looking down their noses at everyone else.

2. Much of the dialogue is said so fast you can’t even understand it. It’s like they were auditioning to be a speed-talker for radio commercials. In the second half, the dialogue finally slows down, but I missed the first half of the movie so it hardly means anything now.

3. Even when they talk slow enough that you can understand the words coming out of their mouths, they talk in such a complicated vocabulary that you don’t understand the essence of what they’re saying sometimes.

4. Even if you can understand what their saying, most of the conversations end up to be pointless small talk anyway that do nothing to further the plot.

5. Eventually the director got the great idea of simplifying the vocabulary so people could understand what was happening but the director thought of this when there was about a half hour left in the movie.

6. All the girls in this are extremely immature and act like they’re 14. Keira Knightley and Rosamund Pike’s characters are the only two even slightly mature.

7. There’s some epic staring and walking that’s totally unnecessary. If there was much more, I was going to have to call the Twilight directors and suggest they sue for plagiarism.

8. There’s zero character connection in this movie for me. I can’t relate to anybody. To be honest, everyone in this movie is so snobby that half the time I wanted to punch the characters in the face. I could care less what happened to any of them.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Iron Man 3)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Star Trek Into DarknessNow You See MeMan of Steel, Monster-In-Law)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Oblivion)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one.

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The HobbitAfter EarthRoad to Perdition)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this.

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The Contract)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow.

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.”

My score for Pride and Prejudice: 34.

I must have looked at the clock like six times I was so bored with this movie. It takes way too long for anything to happen between Liz Bennet and Mr. Darcy and the chemistry between them seemed to struggle. There were very few bright points, if any. Seriously, don’t watch this people.

Modernizing this story would have made this a lot better. No one can relate to snobby people from the 1800’s. It’s a love story that could have easily been put into more recent times so that audiences could get some kind of character connection. A movie like this was doomed to fail from the start.

*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!

*SPOILER’S EDITION*

There’s nothing to spoil here. It’s one of the slowest-moving movies I’ve ever seen. Don’t watch this. Save some brain cells.

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Three Everyday Heroes

In one of my past posts, Two Important WordsofWistim, I said that something people need to do is think about people other than themselves and pay it forward.

In the news in the past couple days, there have been three instances where three people did something extraordinary.

First, near my hometown of Pittsburgh, there was a bank  robbery. A civilian named Vincent Kelley saw what happened, chased down the getaway car and jumped in the back seat of the car to try to stop the culprit. He was shot and later died in a hospital. A link to the full story here.

Earlier today, I saw a story on fox news in which a Chicago pizza owner named Giovanni Donancricchia confronted an armed assailant so that his wife could get away safely. Sadly,this man also lost his life. A link to that story here.

Finally, a man named Michael Patterson was at a creek spending time with his nine-year-old son when a strong current overtook a four-year-old nearby. Patterson heard the cries for help and dove into the creek to save the child. In the process, he gravely injured himself and is currently in intensive care. Patterson also saved a man from a car wreck two weeks ago. In addition, Patterson is receiving global support in the form of letters of encouragement and donations to pay for his medical bills because he doesn’t have health insurance. Links to this story here and here.

These three people: Vincent Kelley, Giovanni Donancricchia, and Michael Patterson, are all heroes in my eyes. They did something that required true bravery and selflessness and for that I applaud them and pray for their families. These three people are a reminder that there are still good people in this world who are willing to put their lives on the line for the good of others. It took a lot of courage to do what they did, and I only hope that if I’m given the opportunity, that I can be as brave and courageous as they were. God Bless Vincent Kelley, Giovanni Donancricchia, and Michael Patterson.

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Movie Review: Monster-In-Law

Following the disappointment that was Road to Perdition, I simply had to watch something else to feel better about my day, so I picked up the 2005 comedy Monster-In-Law, featuring Jennifer Lopez, Jane Fonda, Michael Vartan and Wanda Sykes.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

This movie finds Charlie Cantilini (Lopez) falling in love with Kevin Fields (Vartan). After just being forced into retirement by her news station, Kevin’s mom Viola Fields (Fonda) realizes that her son Kevin is all she has left and she’s not interested in anyone taking him away. Viola makes Charlie’s life a living hell in an attempt to cancel the wedding and the stuff she does is absolutely hilarious. Viola’s assistant Ruby (Sykes) helps aid Viola in her schemes and while Sykes plays a secondary role in this movie, I felt her role was extremely important. At times, she was the most comedic person on the screen, so while it was technically a secondary role, the filmmakers really needed someone worthy of a main actor spot in this role, and Sykes fit the mold to a tee.

Lopez and Fonda have great chemistry together which really keeps the laughs coming. Most of the time, I say actors should act, singers should sing because most often actors can’t sing and singers can’t act. This rule of mine usually rings true but there are some exceptions such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Lopez is also an exception to the rule because she knows how to act and her character is portrayed in a way which is easy to relate to.

I also really appreciated that this was a comedy with an actual plot. I’ve seen way too many comedies with weak plot lines. Too often, comedies are all about the jokes and there’s nearly no plot line at all. If I wanted to hear a bunch of jokes, I’d search comedy stand-up on YouTube, but I didn’t do that did I? No, I came to the theaters or pulled out a movie to watch in the hopes that there’s a decent plot line that can still get me to laugh. This movie succeeded in doing this, so again, thank you filmmakers.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Iron Man 3)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Star Trek Into DarknessNow You See MeMan of Steel)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Oblivion)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one.

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The HobbitAfter Earth, Road to Perdition)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this.

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The Contract)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow.

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.”

My score for Monster-In-Law: 82.

This movie is entertaining to watch. The jokes weren’t ones that made me roll all over the floor, but they were ones that made me chuckle, so a job well done overall. It’s not worthy of being one of my favorite comedies, but it’s a good watch.

*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!

*SPOILER’S EDITION*

Truth be told there really isn’t anything to say here. Obviously a comedy has to have a happy ending so you can figure out what happens. The only thing I have to say is Michael Vartan must have been depressed as hell making this movie. His character, Kevin, isn’t very exciting and I don’t see what Charlie sees in him. Throughout the whole movie, he’s entirely oblivious to everything that’s going on between Charlie and Viola and he doesn’t choose a side, partly because he’s oblivious and partly because he doesn’t want to upset anyone. At the end of the day, you feel happy for Charlie, but at the same time you’re wondering why she married a dumb smuck like him. It seriously seems like the guy has no brain function and the fact that he’s supposed to be a doctor makes this even worse because you would think a doctor would have a head on his shoulders. Definitely not Vartan’s best performance, but maybe poor script writing is partly to blame for that.

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Movie Review: Road to Perdition

We have a bookshelf next to our front door and every time I walk out the door this movie catches my peripherals. I’ve always wanted to see it and I decided today was the day. A gangster film starring Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, and Daniel Craig was not what I was expecting. You can see the trailer here.

Cover of

Cover of Road to Perdition (Widescreen Edition)

Tom Hanks plays Michael Sullivan, a father during the early 1930’s who’s trying to provide for his family by whatever means necessary. His sons aren’t sure what he does and when the oldest son starts snooping around, he discovers the truth: his dad is in some shady stuff. Some events play out as a result of Michael’s son, Michael Jr., witnessing some mafia murders, and shortly after Sullivan and his son are on the run. While on the run, Sullivan and his son form a stronger father-son bond and you get to see more of their characters. The son, played by Tyler Hoechlin, does a good job of displaying his emotions as a twelve-year-old, someone who is forced to become a man but is still a kid at the same time.

Tom Hanks did the best he could with what he was given and at points I smiled, but this was not the movie I was expecting it to be. The story was slow. It is a drama and I understand that dramas can be slow-moving, but at times it was like the filmmakers didn’t know where they wanted to go with this one.

Once again, this is a drama so there weren’t a lot of action scenes. This isn’t a bad thing, but don’t think of this as a gangster movie. Think of this as a father-son bonding road trip that gets dangerous. A great cast was put together in Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, and a young Daniel Craig and Jude Law, but none are able to demonstrate their acting ability to the fullest in this movie. The script writing was just lacking and what was originally a good idea kinda fizzled out by the end. The bonding between Sullivan and his son is what keeps the movie going but you only get short glimpses of that relationship at some points, making the movie drag. With the cast they had, I was expecting more than this.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Iron Man 3)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Star Trek Into DarknessNow You See Me, Man of Steel)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Oblivion)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one.

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The HobbitAfter Earth)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this.

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The Contract)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow.

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.”

My score for Road to Perdition: 55.

The performances by Tom Hanks and Tyler Hoechlin kept this movie going. They made me care about the relationship and the characters. Newman, Craig, and Law’s roles were too small to make a significant impact, so half-decent actors probably could have played their roles and done as good a job. At the end of the day, it kept me watching, but there’s no doubt this movie was over-hyped by the cover.

*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!

*SPOILER’S EDITION*

The ending to this movie made me very unhappy. They go to Michael Jr.’s aunt’s house and Michael Jr. sees a dog on the beach and runs to it as Sullivan walks behind, his face expressing the euphoric feeling of “I did it”(you’ll have to find out “what he did” by watching the movie). He walks into the house as Michael Jr. continues playing with the dog. He gets to the second floor and looks out the window at the sun’s reflection on the water and then gets shot in the back two or three times by Jude Law’s character, who was sent to kill Sullivan earlier in the movie and failed to do so twice. Michael comes up the stairs with a gun and gets the drop on Law (I don’t even know what Law’s character’s name is in this movie so for now on, he’s Law). He starts telling Michael to give him the gun and right when Law’s about to take the gun out of his hands, Sullivan shoots him in the back and kills him. Michael runs over to his dad and holds him in his arms as he dies.

To say I was peeved when this happened was an understatement. I know that life isn’t always a fairy-tale ending and I have seen plenty of movies with sad endings that I liked. However, this didn’t fly with me. This is partly because the relationship between the two that I have watched develop for the last two hours of my life is now over. The other reason is because Sullivan’s twelve-year-old son is now by himself with a dog and a car. They can’t end the movie like that, right?

Well surprise, they don’t. It gets worse. Earlier in the movie, Law shoots Sullivan in the arm and Michael drives away. Sullivan passes out and Michael stops the car on a road that appears to be in the middle of nowhere except for one house. Michael starts screaming for help and the elderly couple residing there takes them in, fixes up Sullivan, and let’s him rest and recuperate there. Apparently, they ask no questions about anything because there is nothing in the movie that hints at that. Well, Michael decides he’ll go back to that place and live there.

Wow. Really? He’s going to live with the only people in the whole movie with more than a minute of screen time that don’t die? Talk about tying up loose ends.

It’s an interesting watch, but don’t expect to finish this and be like “that was a Tom Hanks classic to add to the collection”, because it’s not.

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Movie Review: Man of Steel

From the same director that filmed 300, an action bonanza that at the end of the day had little of anything else, comes the Superman movie that people have been waiting on for the past decade, because Batman topped the priority chart and every Superman movie they make is a fail.

The day before I went to see this movie, the 2006 film Superman Returns was on TV. I watched a little of it, remembering how much of a disappointment that movie was, and hoping that this wasn’t a bad omen to what I was going to be watching tomorrow.

For the most part, good job, Zack Snyder. The first hour of this movie went over the backstory but did so in flashbacks rather than in live action, something I appreciated because if I had to watch Superman as a child for an extended period of time, I think I would have gotten bored pretty quick. Sometimes introducing the backstory in these superhero movies can be very slow and uneventful, but I think this movie did a good job at keeping it moving at a steady pace.

The acting was pretty well done in this movie. Henry Cavill, who was one of the main stars in one of the worst movies I ever saw (Immortals) redeemed himself in this. A soft-spoken guy persona came across very well and I found his character to be convincing. For not having any serious movie roles prior to this, he did a great job. Props to him.

The action scenes were pretty good for the most part, too. At the end of this movie though, I found myself wanting more. The major fight scene at the end, where the movie gets real, caused some problems for me, which I’ll discuss in the spoiler’s edition.

There also was very little humor in this movie. Something that I think people loved about The Avengers was the humor. It wasn’t a comedy but whenever the audience was getting uptight and really serious, a joke would be sprung that would get the audience laughing. This movie was all seriousness, all business. This was not a laughing matter. I agree this movie shouldn’t have been a laughing matter, because apparently making a Superman movie for Warner Bros is as difficult as Tiger Woods winning a major these days. Nonetheless, I know I would have liked some humor in there.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Iron Man 3)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Star Trek Into DarknessNow You See Me)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Oblivion)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one.

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The HobbitAfter Earth)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this.

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The Contract)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow.

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.”

My score for Man of Steel: 87.

This wasn’t as good as Star Trek Into Darkness, but isn’t too far behind. Overall, a good product by Zack Snyder. Finally, Warner Bros is making some progress. Oh, and thank you for not putting Lex Luthor in this. Seriously, you put a great actor in Kevin Spacey in the last one and made him look like an idiot. It’s about time filmmakers came up with a new story.

*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!

*SPOILER’S EDITION*

At the end of the movie, there’s a huge fight scene in which all of New York City is turned to rubble. Hundreds of buildings fall over, with destruction and action scenes that Michael Bay would approve of. After Superman defeats General Zod and goes back home to his mom, she asks him what he’s going to do now. He says he’s going to get a job, which is when he goes to work at the Daily Planet. But wait…New York City was just totaled. How did they build the whole city in 5 minutes? They never tell you it’s a flash ahead and while it obviously has to be, I think a better transition would have been nice. Superman also gets tossed around like a rag doll in this movie but his suit never tears, even after going through an electric pulsar ray that is able to break through the earth’s crust all the way to the other side, which if you google “diameter of earth”, is 7,918 miles. You would think a force that strong would make a tear, but apparently he’s wearing nukeproof clothing.

That’s something I’ve always had a problem with in regards to Superman. He’s seriously indestructible. You could drop the United States nuclear payload on Superman and he’d be like, “I got this.” I just think that is ridiculous. What’s the point of making a superhero like that when you’re basically making him out to be God, totally indestructible and impervious to anything?(unless it’s a rare diamond from your own planet, which was destroyed, meaning there’s little to none in existence and no one can find it, unless of course you’re Lex Luthor) What’s the point of any battle when there’s no possibility that your hero can lose? Seriously, if someone told me Superman was a superhero created by a 7-year-old and I didn’t know who created him, I’d probably believe that guy. Tell me you can’t picture a 7-year-old talking about a drawing he just made:

“Look Dad, look what I drew today.”

“That’s nice, son. Who is it?”

“He’s a superhero I made up. He can fly and shoot lasers out of his eyes and no one can hurt him. He’s unbeatable!”

Let’s be honest people. Dad probably had to tell him to add the kryptonite part to the story.

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U.S. to arm/train Syrian rebels

After reports confirmed that chemical weapons had been used on Syrian rebels, President Obama announced that the CIA will arm and train Syrian rebels as well as provide small arms and ammunition. An article on Fox News stated,

As the United States prepares to supply Syrian rebels with small arms through a CIA-run program, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said Saturday that U.S. troops temporarily in neighboring Jordan will leave behind fighter jets and a cache of Patriot missiles.

So far the White House has committed only to supplying rebel forces with small arms and ammunition, following confirmation that the regime of Syria President Bashar al-Assad’s has been using chemical weapons in the 2-year-long civil war in which at least 90,000 people have been killed.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and other Capitol Hill military hawks have called for much heavier arms including the Patriot defense missiles and for the United States to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria.

To read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/06/15/cia-will-lead-us-effort-to-arm-train-syrian-rebel-forces-fox-confirms/#ixzz2WORWZxlE

Personally, I’m against any involvement here. Time and time again we get involved in foreign wars that do not concern us, plunging our country farther and farther into debt for the benefit of others. This is a noble pursuit, but it’s got to stop.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been unproductive aside from the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Military expenditures have gone through the roof in recent years and for what? To “stop terrorism?” I don’t even think that’s possible without divine intervention. You can’t stop evil, it just happens. You can cause bad things to happen less frequently, but they’re still going to happen. In this case, the cost that we’re paying is too much. With our economy in dire straits, it seems like isolationism would be the best foreign policy to me. We’re always the ones that have to do something. Why can’t someone else step in? When’s Britain going to do something, or France or Germany or Canada, etc? It’s time for someone else to do something. If people want the world to be a better place, they need to go out there and do something about it, not expect the same guy to go fix the problem. The U.S. has to be a father figure and do everything because everyone else is too cowardly or too selfish to do anything themselves.

I also wonder if the U.S. has learned anything from past history. In the late 1970’s, we supported an Iranian shah who was a brutal and corrupt dictator, but because he served U.S. interests we supported him in the revolution. When he was defeated, we took the shah into our country. When the Iranians asked for him back so that justice could be served, the U.S. refused. The Iranians then took hostages from the U.S. embassy, and the U.S. interference with the Iranians “justice” is what led to the Iranians hatred of the United States. A link to that whole history class here.

We also armed Afghanistan in the war against the Soviet Union and those same weapons are now being used against us today. Every involvement we have ever had with the Middle East, aside from the Persian Gulf War of the 90’s, has accomplished nothing and has been detrimental to our economy and foreign relations. I don’t understand why the U.S. continues to get involved over there. It makes no sense to me.

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Movie Review: The Contract

Cover of

Cover of The Contract

Two days ago, I watched the 2006 film, The Contract, starring Morgan Freeman and John Cusack. It took me two days to recover from this movie before I could write this review.

To learn about the backstory, I’d strongly suggest you watch the trailer by clicking here.

For those too lazy to do that, a very quick overview. Frank Carden (Morgan Freeman) is an assassin who escapes the U.S. marshals only to run into Ray Keene (John Cusack), an ex-policeman who is now a gym teacher (great career transition) and feels it’s his job to get Carden to justice. Keene and his son are pursued through the woods by Carden’s colleagues.

This movie is certainly not one that I would have seen in theaters because the trailer doesn’t look that good. We got it for a few bucks and I wasn’t very entertained.

Every time I see John Cusack or Keanu Reeves, I cringe, because I have no idea how they ever got into Hollywood. In everything I’ve seen them in, their acting has been horrible. Reeves starred in The Replacements with Gene Hackman, which I didn’t think was too bad, but that can be attributed to the supporting cast more than to Reeves. Nicolas Cage was great in Con Air, which overshadowed Cusack’s flat secondary role. Neither Reeves nor Cusack do anything for me.

Now that you know a little about why I cringe, back to the review. Once again, Cusack was flat and boring. With Cusack as a main character, one could say this film was doomed before I started it. He’s supposed to be the father who has to balance his and his son’s safety against his want to serve justice, but his lack of emotion in displaying this predicament is a huge problem for me. I can’t relate to this character at all nor do I really care what happens to him. His son, played by Jamie Anderson, also has little emotional capacity. Maybe the characters are supposed to be introverts, but there are still ways that introverts show emotion and Cusack and Anderson fail to even do that.

I never really developed any character connection with these characters, not even Freeman’s. He did what he could with a script that could have been written by a middle school student, but not even the great Freeman could make me care. For example, while they’re evading Carden’s colleagues, the three’s interaction goes like this:

Anderson: “Dad, we should let him go.”

Carden: “Your son’s right, Keene. You should let me go and go back home.”

Keene: “No, keep moving.”

The same  dialogue goes on again and again. Surprisingly, I got tired of hearing it (this sentence has been laced with deadly amounts of sarcasm). What is Freeman supposed to do with that?

Similar to After Earth, there are more scenes of hiking/running then there are of actual action scenes. The action scenes were very unrealistic. Some great movies have very unrealistic action scenes, but that’s because the goal was to make the most improbable stuff happen because it’s cool and it gets people pumped. The scenes in this movie weren’t meant to be unrealistic, but somehow the filmmakers failed to make realistic action scenes and instead made them so corny that they were hilarious. The actors have serious faces on while doing these scenes, too, only adding to my amusement.

There are also a ton of plot holes in this movie. Some allowed for the comedic action scenes, but most made me say “Stupid, stupid, stupid.”

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Iron Man 3)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Star Trek Into DarknessNow You See Me)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Oblivion)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one.

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The Hobbit, After Earth)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this.

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb.

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow.

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.”

My score for The Contract: 37.

The humorous action scenes were the only thing that made me keep watching. I discuss these scenes more in-depth in the spoiler’s edition below, along with direct links to what I’m talking about. The acting was typical Cusack-ish, boring, dull, and corny as can be. This movie was also very predictable, which means there are no surprises. Unless, you’re really bored, I wouldn’t suggest watching this.

*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!

*SPOILER’S EDITION*

First, the writers for this movie should feel horrible for ever conceiving the idea for this movie. Some of the worst writing I’ve ever seen. I’m pretty good at picking out good movies and I admit that I didn’t expect this to be good, but even an average performing movie will most likely get a score in the sixties. This is just a testament to how bad this movie really was.

The movie starts with Keene’s son being busted for pot, and throughout the movie, Keene’s son is the stereotypical underachieving son. Later on, there’s a scene where one of Carden’s colleagues catches Keene between two trees and shoots him, walks over and says, “I hate amateurs.” As if on cue, Keene flips around, trips the guy and puts two in his chest. Keene gets up without a scratch. All of Carden’s colleagues are highly trained ex-military, so there’s simply no way that Keene didn’t get hit. It was stupid.

Later on, Keene beats up two of them with right jabs. Here’s a clip if you want a laugh.

There are plenty of other problems I have with this movie, but it’s seriously not even worth talking about.

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