Monthly Archives: March 2014

Movie Review: Spider-Man 3

[ SPIDER-MAN 3 POSTER ]The Spider-Man saga didn’t end with a bang like everyone was hoping and so we take a visit to the third and final film to see where it all went wrong. I would like to mention that what I want to talk about may involve some plot points, but all spoilers will be left in the spoiler’s edition as always.

The severely underrated cast returns with its mainstays of Maguire, Dunst and Franco, but also welcomes some new faces with Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy, Topher Grace as Eddie Brock, and Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko/The Sandman.

Spider-Man and Peter Parker have finally gotten to where they want to be in life. The media and public have finally embraced him as the protector of the city and Parker has finally gotten the love of his life by his side. The only problem is that his best friend Harry Osborn knows that Peter is Spider-Man and believes Spider-Man killed his father and so by default Harry wants to kill Peter.

We’ve got new villains in Eddie Brock/Venom and Flint Marko/The Sandman. As I discussed in my review of Spider-Man 2, these films rely so heavily on its characters that it’s essential that they give our villains complexity and depth and they succeed in doing so somewhat. Eddie Brock is a guy who’s life never goes his way, which is more due to his poor character and life choices than on luck. He’s a guy hellbent on revenge and that’s really all there is to it. Grace doesn’t create a stench of lackluster acting by any means, but it’s also a character that I’ve seen far too many times and requires an actor who can sell me on his originality and unique qualities as well as dialogue that aids him in that endeavor. With Brock, we don’t really get a lot of that and I don’t really feel that sorry for the guy because most of the pain and embarrassment he suffers is of his own doing.

Marko on the other hand is a different story…slightly. Church has some broad strokes to his character that allow some depth but not as much as I was expecting from a Spider-Man film. Marko’s daughter is sick and he’s trying to get the money to pay for her medical bills. Its emotional appeal hits on some points and misses on others, something I feel is accredited to the fact that this character didn’t come out of a cauldron of creativity. Once again, it’s a role I’ve seen before and while Church has his moments, I’m not persuaded.

The action scenes continue their steady incline of progress although they’re not that much better than Spider-Man 2. Comedic lines were more prominent, which was much appreciated.

Now let’s get down to business and talk about what’s really wrong with this film: Peter Parker. It’s not Tobey Maguire although I was occasionally ranting at the television as if it was his fault, but truly it isn’t and I send Mr. Maguire my sincerest apologizes. The symbiote known as Venom makes his entrance and really from there the film goes downhill. For those of you who still haven’t seen this (how dare you), that’s like 10 minutes in. You see, the problem is the screenwriters got too antsy about turning our beloved Spider-Man into an egotistical bigot before he actually interacted with the symbiote, causing Parker to do things that he wouldn’t do. I’m basing this off of the character of Peter Parker. Obviously, this is a subjective concept, so I’m not right or wrong, this is purely opinion. Parker is a caring, intelligent and selfless guy, someone who puts others before himself, and so on and so on. Can we agree that this is a basic sketch of who Parker is? If you can, great. If you can’t, bear with me.

Mary Jane’s acting career isn’t set in stone just yet and whenever she tries to confide in Peter how she feels, he just relates everything to himself or Spider-Man. This is before he connects himself with the symbiote. Now, does this sound like something a selfless person would do? He accepts the key to the city and decides to take the special moment that only he and Mary Jane had, the Spidey-hanging-from-a-roof kiss, and do the same thing with Gwen Stacy. Mary Jane isn’t happy with this and I wouldn’t be either. Does this sound like something a caring and smart person would do, someone who knows how Mary Jane takes things?

Before we move on, we must address the purpose of the symbiote as well as what it actually does because Jon and I had a disagreement regarding it yesterday and so I want to explain what my viewpoint is so you know where I’m coming from.

Jon kept saying that once Parker interacted with the suit that he no longer had control of himself or could be held responsible for his actions, which I disagreed with. If you google “define symbiote”, it will explain that they’re a fiction parasite from the Marvel Comics and that:

“The Symbiotes envelop their hosts like costumes, creating a parasitic bond through which the host’s mind can be influenced.”

Notice I bolded the word influenced because that is the important word. It does not say control or manipulate. It says influence, meaning it tries to persuade Parker to do things but the choice is his. It gives me the impression that Parker is in the frame of mind of a person suffering from some sort of addiction. He keeps giving in to temptation and wants to continue to do it, not fully understanding the consequences of his actions. He’s still making the decisions. As further proof, he takes off the black suit at one point in the film, voluntarily and without any problem at all. If the symbiote was controlling him and he had no control of what he was doing, do you think the symbiote would have let it be separated from Parker? No, that wouldn’t make any sense. The more he wears it, the stronger the coercion and power it gives him, making it harder to break the “addiction” as in real life addictions.

Because of this, everything that Parker does in this film as both himself and Spider-Man he is responsible for. He does have outside forces interfering with how he would do things but he still is capable of choosing the right course of action. Parker fails to do the right thing again…and again…and again…and again…and again…and again, so much so that I got to the point of hating the character on the screen. Spider-Man is my favorite superhero and I was disgusted with the guy. Spider-Man has perhaps the highest moral compass of any of the more popular superheroes, so if anyone would be able to resist the temptations of the symbiote, it would be Spider-Man, but instead he proves to be just as bad as the average joe, doing things so uncharacteristic of himself that I didn’t even think I was watching Spider-Man anymore. It felt like I was watching M. Night Shyamalan take a dump on the character we all know and love and turn him into the ugliest filth humanly possible. Pretty hard to root for someone like that.

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. (Mission ImpossibleMission Impossible IIMission Impossible III, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Basic, The Other GuysThe Lego MovieNon-StopDivergent)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Escape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the DeadFlyboys300)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

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. (AliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThorYou’re Next)

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. (Pitch BlackAlienSerendipityCowboys and Aliens300: Rise of an Empire)

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 PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

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.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3Open Grave)

My score for Spider-Man 3: 82.

The blame for the collapse of this trilogy may fall on the shoulders of Maguire and Dunst, but truly belongs to the developers of the script. A film that tried to show us a darker side ended up creating a whole different movie and along with some cornyness towards the end of the film, caused Spider-Man fandom to leave the theater disgusted.

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

*SPOILER’S EDITION*

When Harry threatens Mary Jane and tells her that if she doesn’t break up with Peter, he’s going to kill him, why does she do what he asks? I mean, he’s Spider-Man. Meet him at the bridge like you said you would and then say, “Hey, Harry’s got his memory back and says if I don’t break up with you he’s going to kill you.” There’s no way Harry can hear their conversation that far away from the bridge and so there’s no risk in telling him that. From here, you also have quite a couple of options of what you can do. 1) Mary Jane could “fake” break up with him and make it seem like Harry got what he wanted, Mary Jane goes unharmed and then Peter beats him up. 2) Peter and Mary Jane walked across the bridge to Harry and try to get him to stop being stupid and if not, Peter beats him up. I don’t think Harry would try to kill Mary Jane. 3) You walk away and do nothing. While an option, I wouldn’t consider it. 4) Mary Jane can actually break up with him, causing Peter to go into a bout of depression, destroy Harry’s crib and blow half his face off, which then results in Peter being an egotistical, self-absorbed prick and so on and so on. Mary Jane chose option 4, probably the worst option on here aside from option 3, although if she had picked 3 I probably would have been happier.

Finally, the romance between Mary Jane and Peter is left with a cliffhanger, which is just mean. They hint that they could be back together but they don’t come right out and say it either, not to mention that how she could give him a second chance I don’t know because he doesn’t deserve it. It’s just a movie that makes me very angry to watch, but not because it’s one of the worst ever seen.

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Movie Review: Spider-Man 2

[ SPIDER-MAN 2 POSTER ]The sequel to the 2002 Spider-Man start-up, the whole cast and crew returns along with director Sam Raimi. The new face on the set is Alfred Molina and he gives an enthralling performance as Doc Ock/Dr. Otto Octavius. His character, in my opinion, is more complex than the Green Goblin although Molina doesn’t make it seem that way on the screen. He’s shown to be a guy who’s spent his whole life trying to sustain fusion power, which if successfully retained, could be an indefinite source of energy for the whole world. It’s the type  of discovery that could literally change the world. However, when the experiment goes wrong and his wife is killed in the chaos that ensues, Dr. Octavius has literally lost everything. The loss is too much for him to take and so he decides to continue to pursue the one part of him he still can: his work, controlling and sustaining fusion power despite the life-threatening capability it has shown to have if done wrong. He’s not the worst of the worst, he’s just a guy that’s plagued by stubbornness, pride, and loss. Because of his desperation he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make his dream become a reality, even if that means killing a couple of people along the way. His robotic arms only spur his desperation further, detracting him from the reality that all the other experts have come to: it’s just not possible.

All of this is not stuff that I’ve read or heard from friends. It’s all stuff that Molina is able to tell the audience through the dialogue he’s presented with. He’s a more relatable villain. I’m not saying that villains need to be, because they don’t. Some villains are just sick and twisted individuals who need to be put in a mental asylum permanently, but in this case, a film that is so strongly based on its characters, I think it’s important the villain have some sort of humanity to him even if it’s the smallest portion. In this film, Doc Ock shows much more than the smallest portion of humanity. I sympathize with the guy to an extent, but his situation doesn’t warrant his actions.

We got Rosemary Harris as Aunt May once again, who is very caring, generous and sympathetic. Her acting is sincere and genuine and is so much more memorable than Sally Fields in the new one, which is a shame because if the filmmakers gave her the material, I’m sure she could pull it off. I’d like to mention once again how much I like J. K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson in these films. He’s so spot-on with the character. He’s flippant, facetious and erratic. Just really fun to watch.

Franco’s not lighting up the screen with Harry Osborn but he’s doing what’s required of him. His time comes in Spider-Man 3. Until then, we’re going to keep looking at Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire showing audiences how to transfer love stories from paper to the screen. Dunst retains the role of Mary Jane Watson and deservedly so because her encompassing of Parker’s sweetheart is very convincing and believable. For all the critics who cry foul about these films not following the source material, I ask them to look at the characters and tell me what’s wrong with them. Based off all you know about Spider-Man, is this not the Mary Jane you’ve read about for years? If you say no, we both know you’re lying to yourself.

Finally and most importantly, Tobey Maguire swings in the Spider-Man film once again. His overly fulfilling and touching consummation of our famous Peter Parker in the first film deserved the utmost applause and does so even more here. Parker’s so selfless and here viewers see how his overwhelming need to obey the moral right and his conscience interferes with his day-to-day life and his relationships. He struggles to get to school on time, to see Mary Jane’s play and to stay in touch with Harry and Aunt May. He’s always busy and he never has any time for himself and eventually he starts to wonder if there will ever be any time for him. It’s a great directorial direction from Sam Raimi and one that presents us with a theoretical and philosophical premise. Can you really blame Parker for wanting to hang up the suit? He’s such a selfless guy but I would hope the individual viewer would be able to see the amount of stress this type of responsibility can have on someone’s life. It’s a great idea and one that comes to life with Maguire at the forefront. He’s so talented as is Kirsten Dunst in her role. It makes me wonder if it hadn’t been for Maguire and Dunst’s bouts with depression and drug use, how far their careers could have gone. For now, I’m just going to enjoy the masterpieces they showed they were capable of giving.

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. (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingMission ImpossibleMission Impossible IIMission Impossible III,  Spider-Man)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Basic, The Other GuysThe Lego MovieNon-StopDivergent)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Escape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the DeadFlyboys300)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

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. (AliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThorYou’re Next)

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. (Pitch BlackAlienSerendipityCowboys and Aliens300: Rise of an Empire)

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 PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

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.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3Open Grave)

My score for Spider-Man 2: 96.

The sequel just edges out the first one for my favorite of the superhero trilogy. The action is slightly better, especially if we consider the incredible special effects that are done with Doc Ock’s tentacle arms and I like the plot a lot better, which had a larger range with what it could do since it showed us the superhero’s origin in the first one. These films in my opinion are so underrated and if you’re as big a fan of Spider-Man as I am, you love every second of it.

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Movie Review: Spider-Man

[ SPIDER-MAN POSTER ]Before I start this review, I’m going to go off on a little tangent because I’m feeling it.

If I hear one more person bash a superhero film because it doesn’t go along with the comics, I am going to legitimately flip out. If you care about the comics, then please, read the comics!!! Don’t expect directors to make the story exactly like the comics because it’s not going to happen. Directors and anyone involved in Hollywood are there because they are creative people who are good at making stories come alive. At least most of them are. Their job is NOT to take a comic and make it into a film with all of the dialogue, characters, action and conflicts coming word-for-word from the comics. Their job is to creatively alter the story in a way that demonstrates appropriate respect for the comics while introducing a new look to the story. You know what’s really boring? Watching a film where we already know what’s going to happen down to the phrasing of the characters. You know what’s not? Giving a director free rein to take a story and give it some originality and flair that separates it from the adaptations done before it. If you are judging a movie purely based on the fact that it doesn’t align itself with the comics, you’re not giving the film a fair chance, not to mention you’re being completely ignorant to what the film is trying to depict.

Thank you for allowing my rant and please feel free to comment on the insert as well as your standing on the subject in the comments. I love reading what you guys have to say.

Now, Spider-Man the original trilogy starts off with this 2002 masterpiece, and yes, you read that correctly. The acting duo of Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst is exceptional in these films. Dunst gives us a vivacious depiction of Mary Jane Watson, providing the audience with a basic framework before illuminating the many strings attached to that character, mainly her insecurities and apprehension of what the future holds in store for her. She’s charismatic and charming, caring and flirtatious, but eventually comes to the realization that maybe it’s time to stop flirting with every guy and start looking for “the” guy. Her performance still had a little room for improvement but is by no means mediocre. It’s Dunst’s most noteworthy performance and after viewing this, it’s not too hard to see why.

James Franco’s career didn’t fully get going until he was Harry Osborn in the Spider-Man saga. He demonstrates apprehension for the future as well, but unlike Mary Jane, his instability is created by the fact that he’s not sure where he belongs. His dad, Norman, owns his own company, Oscorp, and is a recognizable public figure. He’s an established scientist and businessman and so Harry is constantly living in his father’s shadow. It’s a father-son relationship that is not unfamiliar with the theatric screen, but in this blockbuster separates itself from the sketches before it. Franco demonstrates the behavior of an upper echelon citizen, someone who at times looks down at others although doesn’t mean to do so.

Willem Dafoe is tenacious as Norman Osborn and his acting is especially impressive during the scenes he utilizes the personalities of Norman and the Green Goblin. It’s a visual representation of the internal conflict that Norman is dealing with and while not stellar or the best of the best, it is something to be admired.

Finally, we have Tobey Maguire. Oh, Tobey. He’s so good as Peter Parker and displays his humility, compassion, and wisdom through his actions. In so many ways, the character of Peter Parker reminds me of myself that the resemblance makes me wonder if we are twins. He doesn’t have a lot of friends at school (check), gets picked on (check), thrives in academics (check), relies on his family for support (check), has banks of potential but is not always the most responsible (check). He’s so easy to relate to and yet he’s such a unique character. With a character that is so down to Earth and so admirable, this is the best type of superhero for me. This is the Spider-Man that I like to see, one who holds himself to the highest values and standards and fights for the moral right, who’s willing to risk his life for others because of the selfless person that he is. He’s not cocky or arrogant or completely irresponsible. Talking about you, Andrew Garfield.

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. (The Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingMission ImpossibleMission Impossible IIMission Impossible III)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Basic, The Other GuysThe Lego MovieNon-Stop, Divergent)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Escape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the DeadFlyboys300)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

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. (AliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThorYou’re Next)

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. (Pitch BlackAlienSerendipityCowboys and Aliens300: Rise of an Empire)

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 PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

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.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3Open Grave)

My score for Spider-Man: 95.

Those who prefer the newer version to the original most likely do so because of the fact that the newer ones are closer aligned with the comics, an unfair and unprofessional reason for preferring one over the other. The visuals and battle sequences are choreographed well and the characters are all memorable, even J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson despite his incredibly short screen time. The cast is better, the dialogue is better and the character development wins by a mile and then some. Even if I weren’t comparing the two films, Spider-Man on its own is a great film in and of itself. If you’re a fan of Spider-Man, you gotta watch this.

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Movie Review: Divergent

[ DIVERGENT POSTER ]Remember the last year you didn’t see at least one movie based on a book? Yeah, me neither.

I’m not saying I’m dissatisfied with Hollywood. Many of these novels turned films have become quite good, some exceptional. Others have been decent and still others absolutely dreadful. The reason I think I mention the whole book-turned-film scenario is because it doesn’t take much creativity from the filmmakers to get it done. Aside from separating the integral points of the film and positioning the main characters in the spotlight, it doesn’t really take that much. I’m not saying there isn’t any work or talent involved, but I do feel like there’s a much larger responsibility shouldered on the producers and directors of films that attempt to create their own niche and formulate a story of their own making rather than taking someone else’s idea. Again, there are plenty of films that adapt novels to the big screen and do it in a way so that it is entertaining, interactive, capable and over-achieving. I’m looking at you Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. God bless you guys. Well, there’s no point in postulating over things that won’t change so moving on.

Divergent takes place in a world with five factions, the purpose being that the separation of the social classes will allow for an indefinite and stable peace. A test suggests who goes with which faction, but there are some who cannot be categorized, known as divergent. Those who are divergent pose a threat to the structure of the factions and so are eliminated because I guess that’s easier than just creating another faction? Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me but perhaps I’m being overcritical. Aside from what I’ve described, not a whole lot happens in the first hour and a half of the film. With the average running time of a film being a little over two hours, that says something, mainly that not a lot is happening in this film. Once Trish, our main character, chooses her faction, she trains with a couple of people who are there purely to initiate character development and reveal the person that Trish is. Does it succeed in doing so? Yes, but it takes way too long to do so. There’s literally no conflict for more than half the film. It felt like I was watching a television show more than I was watching a feature film. For a book or a television show, this isn’t a problem. That’s what television shows and novels are for: establishing dynamic characters over an extended period of time. This movie tried to take that blueprint and execute it rather than adapt the novel to the film industry standard. Because they didn’t adapt, its pace is so slackened and uneventful that its audience starts looking at their phones for the time. Even I, who try to avoid looking at my watch during a movie, looked because of the film’s lack of tension. It seemed uneager to establish a conflict and by the time it does, the film is already more than half way gone, leaving limited time to show the audience the other side of the coin, the perspective of the antagonists.

What it does succeed in doing is highlighting the acting abilities of Shailene Woodley, known for her role in The Secret Life of the American Teenager. I’ve never watched the show because a show about teenage pregnancy isn’t my thing. I’m more interested in the action and suspenseful shows, such as The Walking Dead, Bates Motel and House of Cards. The acting of Woodley as well as her counterpart Theo James are the only two things that make this film slightly better than the average. Woodley and James have great chemistry together as well as a great ability to relate with the audience.

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. (The Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingMission ImpossibleMission Impossible IIMission Impossible III)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Next Three DaysBasic, The Other GuysThe Lego Movie, Non-Stop)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Escape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the DeadFlyboys300)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

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. (AliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThorYou’re Next)

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. (Pitch BlackAlienSerendipityCowboys and Aliens300: Rise of an Empire)

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 PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

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.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3Open Grave)

My score for Divergent: 80.

Despite its score, the duo of Woodley and James perform better than The Hunger Games‘ Lawrence and Hutcherson. Had it not been for the limited action, non-memorable secondary characters and lack of antagonist encounters, this film would have been much better. However, I’m not going to give up on the series because I do think this has some potential if pointed in the right direction.

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The Rules of Life

Spring break is now officially over and if you recall I promised I would start writing a life post weekly and I have declared Sunday to be the day. However, due to a lack of time yesterday, my life post comes today. My sincerest apologizes.

I had a conversation with a friend recently. It began when I heard the story of the Duke porn star on the Philip DeFranco show on YouTube. If you have never watched the Philip DeFranco show, he’s a guy who talks about the news that mattered to him on each day and I find him to be entertaining in his presentation of the news and how he highlights the stories that truly matter. I’d strongly suggest checking him out.

At the end of the video, DeFranco posed a question to his audience: What is your opinion of the Duke porn star and should she be allowed to do porn to pay for school?

I commented that if she was my daughter I would be very upset but at the same time I don’t know what her situation is or what her life is like. However, I did feel there was an easy solution to her problem: don’t attend a $60,000 a year school if you can’t afford it.

I turned to my friend and asked his opinion on the story. His response: I don’t care.

Among the many combinations of words that we are gifted with, the phrase “I don’t care” is probably the one that I hate the most. The phrase “I don’t care” says it doesn’t affect me directly so why should I be concerned with it. It’s not about me, it doesn’t focus on me and therefore it must not be worth my time. It’s a phrase that paints a picture of pure selfishness and arrogance, someone who doesn’t care about anything except himself, and those are the type of people that I can’t stand.

Was my friend trying to paint such a picture? Of course not, it just came out, but to say you don’t care irritates me. There are some things that aren’t worth caring about. I understand that. However, most of the time the phrase is used in regards to something that matters not just to me, but plenty of other people.

So, I pressured my friend, saying that he must have some sort of opinion on the story. He answered, “Well, it’s legal so I guess I’m okay with it.”

I didn’t like his answer, not because his answer was what it was, but the reasoning he gave for it.

“Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right. Does that mean you’re okay with the Westboro Baptist Church, too?” I said.

“Freedom of speech, so yeah.”

“What about racism? There’s no law against that. I guess you’re okay with that, too.”

“I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree.”

The conversation ended there and afterwards I admit I was quite frustrated. It wasn’t because my friend and I couldn’t see eye to eye. It was because of the reasoning he partook in. His backing for every answer that he gave was what the law says is right and wrong. From his perspective, if the law says it’s wrong, then it must be wrong and if the law doesn’t say anything about it then it must be acceptable.

Is that the way laws are supposed to work? Yes. However, when our congressman and representatives draw up legislation, it is not because they are the highest authority and are far wiser than us. It’s because they got voted in.

Laws are meant to be a visual framework of morality. Morality is subjective and isn’t the same for every person and recognizing this, governments attempt to make a universal morality that a majority can agree is right and good, but as I said, morality is subjective.

There are plenty of examples of history where legal proceedings fought against the moral right. The Civil Rights Movement is a prime example. Martin Luther King Jr. was jailed for protesting racial injustice. Does that mean he was in the wrong? I would hope most would say King was in the right.

On the other side of the fence, we have the Westboro Baptist Church, a group of people who hide behind a religious book that preaches peace and love and twist its meaning so that it benefits their demeaning purpose of breeding hate in people and showing hate to all who are unlike them. Picketing a soldier’s funeral: What is right about that?! What on God’s green Earth says, “this is acceptable” aside from a stupid piece of parchment?! When the freedom of speech was written into the Constitution, this is not what the founding fathers meant by this. Any sensible person can see that.

Some rules are necessary and most are acceptable, but if you’re living your life according to another person’s limitations, then what’s the point of living, or better yet, being a good person, aside from the fact that the men upstairs won’t have to discipline you for your actions? Your conscience, beliefs and experiences are what should be making your decisions and your opinions, not lawmakers. If you’re letting lawmakers make your decisions and opinions, then you’re just a cog in the machine, a pawn in a game of chess, expendable and of little value. And with all due respect, if you’re living life this way, you’re not living it right.

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Movie Review: Non-Stop

[ NON-STOP POSTER ]“How do you kill someone in a crowded plane and get away with it?”

That’s what Non-Stop offers audiences, an alluring and intriguing premise that the trailer adequately teased prior to the film’s release. Liam Neeson stars as Bill Marks, a guy whose life hasn’t gone the way he wanted it to. We’re not sure what happened at the outset but as the film progresses we get subtle hints to his past, a past that is ultimately revealed in the latter part of the film.

There are many films that focus on the downfall of others and the redemption stories that follow. Redemption stories are tales that show how far one can fall and despite how terrible life can get, there’s always a chance the light at the end of the tunnel is much larger than the size of a light bulb. Perhaps the light at the end of the tunnel is a giant treasure, a fresh start, a reunion with family and friends, etc. They’re stories no one would want to experience but when you hear one, you admire that person for fighting through all the muck, sludge and filth the world threw at them and yet they still managed to come out on top. They’re stories that leave an imprint on our minds and souls. The point is, redemption stories illustrate lives that no one wants to live, but if they were to live it, they’d want it to end that way, in a way that demonstrated purpose, the utmost resolve and the good of humankind.

Am I saying that Non-Stop is the ideal portrayal of such a story? Absolutely not. I’ve seen plenty of better ones than this, but Non-Stop does take on the figurative plot mold of a redemption story and that’s why I bring the topic up.

Now to Liam Neeson. The guy is great and more often than not he doesn’t disappoint me. He’s easily one of my favorite actors. Among the list of films I’ve seen him in: Schindler’s List, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Batman Begins, Taken, The A-Team, Battleship, Taken 2.. I enjoyed them all. If we include voice acting, we can throw on The Lego Movie and the Narnia films. The only two films I wasn’t wild about that he was in: Unknown and The Grey, which ironically he did back-to-back. Unknown was at best average while The Grey was downright awful. The short version: Liam Neeson is the man.

So like I said a couple of paragraphs ago (got a little sidetracked there), Neeson is Bill Marks, a U.S air marshal on a non-stop flight from New York to London and gets a text message on his phone saying someone is going to die every 20 minutes unless $150 million is transferred into a bank account. I thought it was at least thought-provoking if not more, so I thought, “Why not? I’ll go see it.” The only problem with movies that present an obscure premise is whether or not they can pull that premise off. Can they make it convincing? Movies like this end up throwing curveballs down the middle for homers (good) or wild pitches that hit the upper decks behind home plate (hopefully you can figure this one out). Most times there isn’t any middle ground with these films.

The film’s main cornerstone is not the action that Neeson is primarily known for although some does occur, but on the apprehension and suspense of the film. You, like Marks, are trying to figure out who the culprit is, putting yourself in the situation and the shoes of the character. Your opinion sways one way and then another as each character becomes more likely to be the killer from Marks’ perspective and your own. It’s not super intense but it does hold your attention and keep you entertained.

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. (The Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingMission ImpossibleMission Impossible IIMission Impossible III)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingThe Next Three DaysBasic, The Other Guys, The Lego Movie)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Escape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the DeadFlyboys300)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

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. (AliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThorYou’re Next)

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. (Pitch BlackAlienSerendipityCowboys and Aliens300: Rise of an Empire)

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 PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

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.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3Open Grave)

My score for Non-Stop: 83.

It’s not Neeson’s best film, but as always he gives audiences something to have fun with in Non-Stop. It’s captivating and while it’s not awesome all the time, it’s still a ride to partake in, so buckle your seat belts.

Movie Review: The Lego Movie

[ LEGO MOVIE POSTER ]Finally something with some true creativity! Readers and fellow bloggers, I present to you: The Lego Movie.

Most people have played with Legos before and can associate themselves with the toy and while this is quite the interesting premise, I was a little worried that I might not fit the film’s target audience. It’s primarily a film for kids and sometimes films for kids are too simple in their plot, humor, characters and really everything that you could be simple about. As a filmmaker appealing to a young audience, you want to make sure your story isn’t too confusing or complex so that everyone can be involved, understand what is going on and have a good time. While this is great for younger lifeforms, seasoned movie-goers like myself prefer some complexity, originality and depth that goes beyond the simple.

Worries aside, a talented assembly of actors got put together for this film including Morgan Freeman and Liam Neeson. I have to admit I was surprised they didn’t also have Samuel L. Jackson or Russell Crowe because they have such iconic voices, voices that if given comedic lines, especially talking about Jackson here, they would have the talent to deliver. When I think of voice acting and who I want in each role, I think of two things: 1) Who can fit the character I’m trying to write and 2) Who has a voice that is distinguishable and iconic enough to make a difference? I would also like to admit I didn’t pick out Will Ferrell’s voice until later in the film. Guess that means I don’t watch enough Will Ferrell movies. Moving on though, I did like the casting in this film. The right voices were chosen for these characters, although I have to mention again that if Samuel L. Jackson’s voice was heard coming out of a Lego man, I would have been extremely happy, so a slight bit of disappointment in that regard.

The plot and dialogue are fun, laughable and enjoyable for all audiences. It’s basic and complex at the same time, putting the story of a regular guy who wants to be special on a pedestal for all to see and ponder like a statue in a museum, except this is one that people actually care about. That’s the character Emmet is, the guy who’s just looking for his own little niche in a big, big world where everyone’s got something going for them, something that makes them memorable and more than just a name. Emmet’s still looking for what his something is and he thinks he’s found it when he falls upon a rare artifact that according to a prophecy makes him the chosen one, the man who will save the world from Lord Business. As the plot progresses and more is revealed to the audience, the story makes you think more about yourself, especially when the big reveal is uncovered at the end of the film. That’s what the spoiler’s edition is for, but for those who haven’t seen the film yet, this is what I’m willing to say: the ending reminds you of your childhood and what it meant to be a kid.

Finally the visuals, which I’m sure is what most people came to the theater to see, are excellent. The modeling and animation are superb and far beyond basic in their execution. I was very impressed and could only imagine how long it must have taken to put all those pieces together.

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. (The Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingMission ImpossibleMission Impossible IIMission Impossible III)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Lone SurvivorThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingThe Next Three DaysBasic, The Other Guys)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Escape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the DeadFlyboys300)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

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. (AliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThorYou’re Next)

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. (Pitch BlackAlienSerendipityCowboys and Aliens, 300: Rise of an Empire)

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 PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

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.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3Open Grave)

My score for The Lego Movie: 87.

Despite worries about the material, The Lego Movie proves to be worthy of the time of all age groups, both young and old. Life lessons that can be applied to everyone as well as humor and dialogue that can be easily entertained, The Lego Movie is definitely a must-see as well as a movie that I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel for.

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

*SPOILER’S EDITION*

There are references made to the “guy upstairs” in the film and the great reveal shows that all that is happening is on a large-scale map in a basement through the hands of a young kid. His father, played by Will Ferrell, comes down to find his son “messing up” his perfect world. Through a little discussion, Ferrell comes to the realization that the whole fun of Legos is that you can make stuff and play with it and then break it up and create something new again, that it’s not about making one thing and keeping it the same forever. It’s heartfelt and true stuff.

 

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Movie Review: 300: Rise of an Empire

[ 300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE POSTER ]I came into this movie thinking it was directed by Zack Snyder. However, that is not the case, although Snyder did produce and write the screenplay. This film is directed by Noam Murro, a man so inexperienced and unknown that he doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. Not really instilling me with confidence. On the other hand, I only found that out at the end of the movie, so there wasn’t really any confidence to instill in me by then anyway.

If you have read about the history of the Greco-Persian wars, specifically regarding the second invasion of Greece, then you probably know the story this film is trying to tell. I have read about these legends a few times because I have always been interested in history. The idea of making the saga of Leonidas and the Spartans into a visual reenactment for theaters wasn’t a bad idea and I give credit to the people who originally proposed the idea. It’s nice to see something new that has historical significance to it and hasn’t been translated into a film far too many times already.

With that said, I was disappointed with 300. It’s one of the greatest stories of military history, a tale that has been passed throughout the centuries and Snyder couldn’t even make a memorable film about it? As I discussed in my 300 review, the action scenes are fulfilling but had room for improvement and so did the rest of the plot, characters, and really everything this movie had to offer.

So when I say that I went to see 300: Rise of an Empire so I could write a review on it and nothing more, I mean just that. Was I hoping for some entertainment and enjoyment to come out of it? Of course, but my standards weren’t very high and remember, this is when I thought Zack Snyder was the one directing.

The film charges out of the gates well, giving us a flashback to what occurred before the battle of the 300. The action is good although slow-motion is still smacking me in the face although not as much as in 300.What’s hitting me in the face even more is the unconscionable amount of blood splatter that is coming out of every wound inflicted on the battlefield. It’s like someone put a hose in the stunt doubles filled with red paint and just set it loose. It’s preposterous and incredibly fictionalized but I’m dealing with it because after all the movie just started. It’s probably just trying to get us pumped for what is to come, right?

Never heard of Sullivan Stapleton or of Eva Green. Oh wait, I take that back, she was in Casino Royale, a movie I have no interest to talk about so moving on. Stapleton is suiting up as Themistocles, the Athenian politician/general hybrid that does everything for the safety and preservation of Greece. He has no family or spouse and is the strongest of patriots. History views Themistocles, not Leonidas, as the ultimate savior of Greece, a detail overlooked because of the great Battle of Thermopylae, the battle of the 300. Therefore, I’m expecting a lot of this Stapleton fellow. I don’t care if he doesn’t have a lot of film experience. That’s not my problem. He decided to take on the role of one of the most famous Greeks to ever live. Hope you didn’t pick a pair of boots you couldn’t fill, bud.

Then we have Eva Green as Artemisia, Xerxes’ naval captain who leads the fight against Themistocles. Artemisia is volatile, unpredictable and especially heinous. There’s not much known of her past history so most of it is fictionalized, some of it to an extent that the story didn’t need to go into.

There’s not nearly enough of Xerxes in this flick, a disappointment for me. The guy’s huge and intimidating so the more of him the better, something the audience is not gifted with.

Once you get to the halfway point, the film begins the turn for the worst. Stapleton isn’t giving me enough as Themistocles aside from a few too many uplifting speeches that aren’t all that uplifting, although Green is holding down her side of the fort. Then out of the blue, the film turns into an adult film for a three minute period, with a hardcore sex sequence that doesn’t add anything to the film. It’s incredibly repulsive and off-putting and didn’t need to be there. Following that, the film just goes further and further downhill as the plot and dialogue get cheesy and predictable. The characters lose any depth that the actors had built up during the first half of the film. The blood hoses get even more obnoxious as the film goes on and the ferocious intensity of the film is lost as the audience becomes more and more indifferent towards the third-rate material they’re presented with.

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. (The Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingMission ImpossibleMission Impossible IIMission Impossible III)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Lone SurvivorThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingThe Next Three DaysBasic, The Other Guys)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Escape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the DeadFlyboys, 300)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

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. (AliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThorYou’re Next)

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. (The Great GatsbyPitch BlackAlienSerendipityCowboys and Aliens)

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 PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

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.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3Open Grave)

My score for 300: Rise of an Empire: 49.

The fact that the film teases at seeing some Spartans destroy stuff and then it doesn’t happen aside from the last three minutes of the film enrages me to no end. Couple that with some incredibly disappointing acting and direction from a director that no one’s ever heard of and you get a film that I wish I had never seen. The sad thing is there will probably be a third one, because there’s still another part of the Greco-Persian wars to tell. Since I’ve watched the first two, I’ll probably have to go see that already pre-determined hunk of garbage. Man!

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Movie Review: 300

[ 300 POSTER ]One of the more famous stories of history gets its chance at the big screen in 300, starring Gerard Butler as the great Leonidas. I remember before I watched this film for the first time how everyone at school said it was like the best thing ever. Then I watched it and I was like, “how was that the best thing ever?”

Most people know the story of the 300 and those that don’t had an easy time following this because the background was laid out pretty clearly. It’s very organized and precise in the story it’s trying to tell although not every part of the story is necessarily worth telling. There’s a lot of narration and tons of slow motion, which Snyder has grown notorious for overusing. If you haven’t seen the Everything Wrong With 300 on YouTube yet, here’s a link. The creator of the Everything Wrong With videos, CinemaSins, calculated there was around a half hour of slow motion in the film. Is there far too much of it? Certainly, but it has the potential to be entertaining and more often than not it is. The action scenes are pretty cool although very unrealistic sometimes. For example, chances are you won’t separate a limb from a body in one swing. I’m not throwing my hands up because I’m not outraged about it, just something that by the end of the film I thought had been thrown in my face way too much. Action scenes in slow motion are cool, but action in real-time is preferred, at least for me, unless you’re demonstrating extreme detail that makes a scene significantly more awesome. Overall, my action lust was fulfilled.

The characters and plot are a different story. While plenty of this material is historically accurate, I felt like Snyder had the opportunity to make this story more than it was. While David Wenham does a fine job with his narration, I would have liked to have heard the story from Leonidas’ perspective because after all, isn’t he supposed to be the main character? I know why they have Wenham narrate: it goes along with the story but I don’t see why we couldn’t have had at least some of the story told from Leonidas’ point of view. The more things you give Butler to do, the more of a character he becomes, which means more chances for the audience to connect with him. With Leonidas being such a famous hero, you would think this would have been a likely approach for Snyder to take but for some reason he decided not to. With Leonidas being just as famous as the great warrior Achilles, I’m not sure why he took the approach that he did. Perhaps he felt that adding too much depth to Leonidas’ character would take away from the action or that Butler wouldn’t be able to pull off the portrayal, I don’t know, but Snyder most certainly let the opportunity pass him by. Furthermore, the story doesn’t always focus on the Battle of Thermopylae and the 300, but on Lena Headey and life back in Sparta, mainly her character, Queen Gorgo, trying to get the senate to send reinforcements to Leonidas. It’s not all that important and I’m not that interested in it, mostly because I know the only reason I’m watching this is because Snyder couldn’t figure out what he was going to do to extend the running time a little more. The subplot isn’t worth watching and all you really want is to fast forward to the next time Leonidas is screaming about something patriotic and killing Persians. Movies are supposed to be more than this, but 300 isn’t looking for that.

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. (The Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingMission ImpossibleMission Impossible IIMission Impossible III)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Lone SurvivorThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingThe Next Three DaysBasic, The Other Guys)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (21 Jump StreetEscape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the DeadFlyboys)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

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. (AliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThorYou’re Next)

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. (The Great GatsbyPitch BlackAlienSerendipityCowboys and Aliens)

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 PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

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.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3Open Grave)

My score for 300: 77.

300 may have been responsible for jump-starting Zack Snyder’s career, but when the dust clears proves to be an overrated and over-hyped blood and gore bonanza that guys love simply because of the raw intensity it provides.

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Movie Review: The Other Guys

[ OTHER GUYS POSTER ]First off, I’d like to apologize to my readers for not writing as much of late. I also apologize for not writing anything aside from my movie reviews and that sadly Open Grave is the only film of 2014 I have had the chance to view. However, spring break is coming up at the end of the week so prepare yourselves for a plethora of current film reviews. I’m also going to try to get in the habit of writing a life post each week, because I want to share a little bit about myself as well as my perspective on life.

Moving on, The Other Guys. I remember when this movie came out but I ended up not seeing it, partially because I’m not that fond of Mark Wahlberg. It’s nothing personal, but at the end of the day I always feel like I’m watching a white guy trying to act like Samuel L. Jackson, except that no one can fully replicate Samuel L. Jackson and while Jackson’s ostentatious vibrato is vibrantly captivating, Wahlberg tends to encompass a white-boy rapper who utilizes the f-bomb to such an absurd proportion that it’s not even funny, it’s just stupid.

Lo and behold, Samuel L. Jackson makes an appearance to start off the film with Wahlberg in the same room, which I was very surprised did not include a “I’m better than you” squabble match between the two, which Wahlberg would have lost. Anyway, Will Ferrell and Wahlberg are one duo who tend to sit in the office and get disrespected day in and day out while Jackson and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are the duo that blows stuff up and gets stuff done. Right off the bat, I’m intrigued and at the same time perturbed because I’m not sure how director Adam McKay is going to split the film’s running time between such great duos of actors. I say duos, as in plural, because within the first couple minutes I know that Wahlberg is going to be more than tolerable for me because of the character he is enfolding. He’s a character, Terry Hoitz, who’s tired of being pushed around and overlooked and is tired of being surrounded by his mild-mannered partner Allen Gamble (Ferrell), who thinks everything is wonderful and life couldn’t get better. He’s far too happy and upbeat for Hoitz, who just wants Gamble to shut up and come down from his pedestal on happy land. It’s a character I can relate to because on occasion it exemplifies the relationship that my roommate, Jon, and I share. In the morning, Jon says hello to every person we walk by and I don’t talk to anyone till I’ve had my breakfast so I don’t say anything, which means I get unpleasant looks from the people walking by, which I then put on Jon, etc. We’re just on two different planets at that time of day, where as Hoitz and Gamble seem to be on different planets at all times of the day.

So there’s potential there for sure, but there’s also Samuel L. Jackson and The Rock, who are entertaining and already have a full-out dynamic chemistry going within the first couple scenes, leaving the audience pulled in two different directions of which group they want to follow. McKay makes the decision for us, killing off Jackson and Johnson in perhaps the dumbest death scene I have ever seen. It is illogical and so stupid that it’s not even funny, it’s just like, “Well that was probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen and now I’m really pissed.” So there’s that and while it helps push the story forward and bring Ferrell and Wahlberg to the spotlight, it also takes a lot of air out of the sails that could have taken the film so much farther than it goes. This movie could have become a comedic hilarity with some of the most elite actors in the business. Would the plot have been shaken a lot and been hard to write? I’m sure, but a series of random jokes loosely tied to reality featuring Jackson, Johnson, Ferrell and Wahlberg delivering the punch lines I think would have been a huge success, which only saddened me because of the potential the film let go to waste.

Ferrell and Wahlberg still deliver plenty of humor and originality through the script and dialogue but at some points beat the comedic horse to death, resurrect the horse, kill it again, and resurrect it yet a third time before finally decapitating it for the final hurrah that really isn’t a hurrah at all but rather a long sigh from the audience that may or may not include a “Thank God” declaration from an individual viewer or the only group of sober people in the audience. I think this film is aimed at the same group of people that Happy Madison Productions tends to target, college kids who may be currently involved in a drinking binge and want something to look at that has the possibility of being more attractive than their trashed counterparts. It could be something incredibly dumb and make no sense but chances are if you put in a minimal amount of effort and smile you’ll get the drunkards pissing their pants and howling to the moon. Since I’m sober and not wasted out of my mind, I end up looking at the jokes and thinking, “Was that supposed to be funny or did the screenwriters just draw a blank in the middle of the script?”

Thankfully not all the jokes are as ill-founded as the ones I describe above because there’s some serious gumption (which means shrewd or spirited initiative and resourcefulness, I didn’t know that either) to some of the lines that Ferrell and Wahlberg get the chance to deliver. The comedic timing is pretty good and the jokes themselves are random and although not completely slapdash (which means careless; bet you didn’t know that one), they can be at times, which is okay because it’s fun.

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. (The Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingMission ImpossibleMission Impossible II, Mission Impossible III)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Iron ManLone SurvivorThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingThe Next Three DaysBasic)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (21 Jump StreetEscape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the DeadFlyboys)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

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. (AliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThorYou’re Next)

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. (The Great GatsbyPitch BlackAlienSerendipityCowboys and Aliens)

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 PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

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.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3Open Grave)

My score for The Other Guys: 81. 

We get some spastic punches from The Other Guys, but the fact that you watch further potential and what could have been get smashed on the pavement is discouraging. It’s a fun watch for the most part that clears the average barrier, but isn’t doing quite enough to be memorable for me.

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