Monthly Archives: August 2014

Movie Review: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

There was a time when films were meant to tell a story and provide visuals that lengthy novels didn’t have the luxury to include. There was a time when films said something about our lives. It was more than a rare occurrence, it was a natural standard. Somewhere in the midst of film’s most prominent eras, a few people started to make comedies. Laughter disentangles us from the complexities of our existence, from the darker depths of our minds, and brings us to the heavenly homes of freedom, where we can be free of responsibility, obligation and society’s behavioral expectations. We can be us. We don’t have to feel fear. We don’t have to contemplate our worth. We can just be. That’s why Robin Williams’ passing has affected so many people, because we all, in some way, could relate to the man that he was and the things he faced. Perhaps we didn’t suffer from the bottle but we all go to comedy for the same treatment: relief. Whether it’s relief from addiction or financial crises or loneliness, it doesn’t matter. It’s all relief. That’s why we watch comedies, because they, like every other genre of film, transport us to another world free from distractions and obscurities.

Somewhere in the middle of that dream, a few brain matter-lacking individuals began to put on the cloak of comedy and make films. The films they made weren’t comedies at all, but they shrouded their products with illusions and falsities, luring us in with candy and shutting the door behind us once we crossed the threshold. In making films like these, these imbeciles inadvertently created a new genre of film. The genre’s name is known to few because many still believe them to be comedies. Many have not broken the persuasion of the brainwashing these filmmakers have barraged them with. For your information, the genre is called Stupid and Tucker & Dale vs. Evil belongs in this genre.

To call Tucker & Dale vs. Evil a comedy would be akin to calling a serial killer a toddler. Under no conditions do the phrases “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” and “comedy” ever come even remotely close to each other. They are in the exact opposite time zone. It is 12 am in comedy, 12 pm in Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. One is black, one is white. Every counterpart duo will work.

There is no acting. There is no laughter. There is no invitation to enter the world of make-believe. There is no relief, only blind rage and empty script pages. There is endless wandering with no direction, interminable dying but no living, incalculable life don’t’s but zero life lessons.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is so bad that I didn’t even want to write this review. Subjecting anyone to such garbage is torture and therefore as far as I know, illegal. I certainly wouldn’t want to give you a glimpse at this film. Why would I want to do that? What possible obligation would I be following by doing such a thing? Truthfully, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil‘s only favor was that there was nothing for me to spoil anyway because nothing happened. This film was like a really bad dream you had when you were six. It is branded into your mind forever and you’ll never forget it, but you can’t describe it to anyone else no matter how hard you try. Every time you try it vocalizes as insubstantial fiction and you have to keep qualifying yourself: “So this one day I was walking in the forest…actually scratch that, it was more of a meadow and we were walking through the tress…actually I guess they were tall bushes..”

You’re on an endless conveyor belt and you only get so far before your progress becomes regression. There are no checkpoints, no breaks, no stoppages, no power failures. You keep walking. Every part of you aches, especially your brain as the effects of the trauma you’re experiencing settles in. You’re short of breath and your rib cage is being pressed by what feels like a bulldozer. It’s an agonizing experience.

Rather than calm your nerves and tickle your funny bone, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil stings your nerves like a bothersome bee again and again and again until you flip out yelling at the television. There’s no medication to make this a better experience. There’s no anti-itch creme you can put on to make it a little more comfortable or anything like that. It’s invasive and it stinks all over. There are no pleasantries of any sort. Just don’t watch this, okay?

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. (Guardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the ApesTransformers: Age of ExtinctionJack ReacherGodzilla)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Tears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young GunsCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(Red Dawn(2012)MaleficentRise of the Planet of the ApesTransporter 2Battle: Los Angeles)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (RubberHansel and Gretel: Witch HuntersAnchorman: The Legend of Ron BurgundyThe TransporterSpeed)

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 Expendable 3HomefrontG.I. Joe: RetaliationVantage PointThe Starving Games)

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. (Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly MadisonA Haunted House300: Rise of an EmpireCowboys 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. (Planet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice, The Contract)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (X-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

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.” (SafeWatchmenClash of the TitansA Haunted House 2Open Grave)

My score for Tucker & Dale vs. Evil: 16.

I feel like I’ve said it in the most polite ways I can think of, but if you still want the general synopsis of Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, it fricking sucks. It’s bland and effortless. Truly no cares given in the making of this one, and surprisingly, I have no cares to watch this or show this to another living creature ever again.

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2014-2015 NFL Preview: AFC East

AFC EAST

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

GET: CB Darrelle Revis, CB Brandon Browner, LB Will Smith, S Patrick Chung, WR Brandon Lafell, TE Timothy Wright

LOSE: CB Aqib Talib, OT Will Svitek, G Logan Mankins, LB Brandon Spikes, RB LeGarrette Blount, S Adrian Wilson, LB Dane Fletcher

RE-SIGNS: TE Michael Hoomanawonui, WR Julian Edelman, OL Ryan Wendell

DRAFT: 1st round: DT Dominique Easley, Florida     2nd round: QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois     4th round: C Bryan Stork, Florida State     RB James White, Wisconsin     OT Cameron Fleming, Stanford     6th round: G Jon Halapio, Florida     DE Zach Moore, Concordia-St. Paul     S Jemea Thomas, Georgia Tech     7th round: WR Jeremy Gallon, Michigan

SUMMARY: The last time the New England Patriots didn’t reach the playoffs was 2008 but that was only because Tom Brady missed the year. If you go before that, it was 2002. In 12 seasons, the Patriots have reached the playoffs 11 times. Brady was at quarterback all 11 years. With that in mind, the Patriots will make the playoffs again. No matter how much you dislike Brady, you’ve got to respect the guy. He’s one of the best ever and your opinion of him doesn’t change that. It’s factual. Me, I’m not wild about the guy either. Does a little too much winning for me and sometimes he comes across as a cry-baby. Nonetheless, you’ve got to appreciate all the performances you’ve got to see from the guy even if the juiciest of them all was the Giants dismantling of their perfect season. Over the years, this team has changed styles of play to adjust and it has worked for them. The running game plays a larger role in this team’s offense than ever before so RB Stevan Ridley has got to step up to the plate and hold on to the ball. He killed me in fantasy last year and if it wasn’t for RB LeGarrette Blount, it would have killed the Patriots running game, too. I think Ridley has potential and while I think fumbles will continue to be a recurring issue, I think he’ll be able to hold the backfield together, although I’m not sure if they’ll be able to keep their top-ten rushing rank. That puts more pressure on Tom Brady but the receiving core on this team is thinner than it looks. Danny Amendola can’t stay healthy which makes Edelman the prime-time player, followed by Kenbrell Thompkins, who was a good fantasy pick-up last year and 2013 2nd round pick Aaron Dobson. Bringing in WR Brandon Lafell should help but more needed to be done than taking a WR in the 7th round of the draft. Gronkowski is a fragile china doll these days and I doubt he’ll play eight games, which means Hoomanawanui and Timothy Wright from Tampa will have to try to make plays. However, any offensive troubles that occur the defense should bail them out because for the first time in a while, the Patriots defense is stout. Ninkovich, a healthy Vince Wilfork, longtime-Raider Tommy Kelly, and Chandler Jones, who had 11.5 sacks last year up front. 2013 2nd round pick Jamie Collins will start at weakside linebacker but will be aided by Jerod Mayo and Dont’a Hightower. The secondary is Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner on the corners and Devin McCourty and 2013 3rd round pick Duron Harmon at the safeties. All said and done, this team is one of the leaders in a weak AFC, but I think they could compete in the NFC as well, certifying their place as a playoff team once again.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 10-6

Week 1: @ MIA   Week 2: @ MIN   Week 3: vs. OAK   Week 4: @ KC   Week 5: vs. CIN   Week 6: @ BUF   Week 7: vs. NYJ   Week 8: vs. CHI   Week 9: vs. DEN   Week 10: BYE   Week 11: @ IND   Week 12: vs. DET   Week 13: @ GB   Week 14: @ SD   Week 15: vs. MIA   Week 16: @ NYJ   Week 17: vs. BUF

MIAMI DOLPHINS

GET: OT Branden Albert, S Louis Delmas, CB Cortland Finnegan, RB Knowshon Moreno, OL Shelley Smith, NT Earl Mitchell, OT Jason Fox, G Daryn Colledge

LOSE: CB R.J. Sanford, CB Chris Owens, S Chris Clemons, CB Nolan Carroll, DT Paul Soliai, DL Vaughan Martin, G John Jerry

RE-SIGNS: CB Brent Grimes, DT Randy Starks,

DRAFT: 1st round: OT Ja’Wuan James, Tennessee     2nd round: WR Jarvis Landry, LSU     3rd round: OT Billy Turner, North Dakota State     4th round: CB Walt Aikens, Liberty     5th round: TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia     OLB Jordie Tripp, Montana     6th round: WR Matt Hazel, Coastal Carolina     7th round: DE Terrence Fede, Marist

SUMMARY: Ryan Tannehill has proven to be a durable quarterback after being sacked a league-high 58 times last year, and an effective one, landing at the 10 spot for most passing yards last season ahead of notable names like Joe Flacco, Tony Romo and Andrew Luck, but back to those 58 sacks. Tannehill’s time on the turf last year landed him on the top-ten list for most-sacked quarterbacks in a single season all-time list, once again, at the ten spot. That’s an average of nearly four sacks a game, which can only explain why the Dolphins’ running game was so dreadful last year. Lamar Miller was supposed to be the guy according to the Phins’ front office but was slaughtered over the course of the season, barely posting a 4.0 ypc and glorifying the end zone with his presence just twice, the least among starting running backs along with New Orleans’ Pierre Thomas. The defense gave up a lot of yards but kept points off the scoreboard (20.9, 8th-best), which at the end of the game is all that matters. The front office made some badly-needed offensive line additions in Branden Albert and Shelley Smith and drafting Ja’Wuan James to start at right tackle alongside his former teammate Dallas Thomas. If the line can keep the pressure off Tannehill, his career length will be prolonged or else he’ll start missing a lot of games like Big Ben did early in his career. The addition of Knowshon Moreno also won’t help the team unless the big men up front can do their part first. The receiving core is a concern, although Charles Clay has proven to be a top-ten tight end. Mike Wallace spent more time talking than catching the ball last year. He had a fair amount of drops, had less than 1000 yards, and had less yards than teammate Brian Hartline who is getting paid a little over half (6.15 million) what Wallace is (12 million). The secondary has some new names but managed to keep top-corner Brent Grimes. All in all, the Dolphins will fight the Patriots for the division title, but will need to turn their eyes toward a wild-card spot halfway through the season.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 8-8

Week 1: vs. NE   Week 2: @ BUF   Week 3: vs. KC   Week 4: @ OAK   Week 5: BYE   Week 6: vs. GB   Week 7: @ CHI   Week 8: @ JAC   Week 9: vs. SD   Week 10: @ DET   Week 11: vs. BUF   Week 12: @ DEN   Week 13: @ NYJ   Week 14: vs. BAL   Week 15: @ NE   Week 16: vs. MIN   Week 17: vs. NYJ

NEW YORK JETS

GET: OT Brent Giacomini, QB Michael Vick, RB Chris Johnson, WR Eric Decker, CB Johnny Patrick

LOSE: OT Austin Howard, CB Antonio Cromartie, WR Santonio Holmes, CB Isaiah Trufant, QB Mark Sanchez

RE-SIGNS: K Nick Folk, OL Willie Colon, TE Jeff Cumberland, LB Jermaine Cunningham, LB Calvin Pace, CB Ellis Lankster

DRAFT: 1st round: S Calvin Pryor, Louisville     2nd round: TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech     3rd round: CB Dex McDougle, Maryland     4th round: WR Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma     WR Shaq Evans, UCLA     OT Dakota Dozier, Furman     5th round: ILB Jeremiah George, Iowa State     6th round: CB Brandon Dixon, Northwest Missouri State     WR Quincy Enunwa, Nebraska     DE IK Enemkpali, Louisiana Tech     QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson     7th round: OLB Trevor Reilly, Utah

SUMMARY: The New York Jets weren’t nearly as bad as I thought, maintaining a fight for a wild-card spot until the end. RBs Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell pushed the running game forward by large strides, all the way to the sixth spot, averaging 135 yards a game. The defense against the run was also outstanding at 88 yards allowed, third-best in the league. However, the team was largely substandard on both sides of the ball when it came to the passing game. Geno Smith, the supposed franchise quarterback, had barely 3000 yards, a 55.8 completion percentage, a 12:21 touchdown-interception ratio and was sacked 43 times, tied for fourth-most in the league. He had a passer rating of 66.5, worst in the league, even worse than interception leader Eli Manning. Granted, there are some reasons Geno stuttered so much last year, such as the ongoing absence of WR Santonio Holmes and TE Jeff Cumberland. The Jets also faced the NFC South and AFC North, two of the better defensive divisions in the league. The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Jets this year though, as they face the offense-powered AFC West and the strong NFC North. RB Chris Johnson should help the Jets maintain a top-ten rushing attack but even the addition of WR Eric Decker doesn’t lift this aerial threat off the ground.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 6-10

Week 1: vs. OAK   Week 2: @ GB   Week 3: vs. CHI   Week 4: vs. DET   Week 5: @ SD   Week 6: vs. DEN   Week 7: @ NE   Week 8: vs. BUF   Week 9: @ KC   Week 10: vs. PIT   Week 11: BYE   Week 12: @ BUF   Week 13: vs. MIA   Week 14: @ MIN   Week 15: @ TEN   Week 16: vs. NE   Week 17: @ MIA

BUFFALO BILLS

GET: WR Mike Williams, CB Corey Graham, OT Chris Williams, LB Keith Rivers, LB Brandon Spikes, RB Anthony Dixon, DE Jarius Wynn

LOSE: S Jairus Byrd, DT Alex Carrington, LB Arthur Moats, WR Stevie Johnson

RE-SIGNS: TE Scott Chandler, K Dan Carpenter, DL Alan Branch, P Brian Moorman

DRAFT: 1st round: WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson     2nd round: OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama     3rd round: ILB Preston Brown, Louisville     4th round: CB Ross Cockrell, Duke     5th round: G Cyril Richardson, Baylor     7th round: OLB Randell Johnson, Florida Atlantic     OT Seantrel Henderson, Miami

SUMMARY: The Buffalo Bills are one of the saddest franchises because they continue to widen the gap between themselves and the competition. I want to believe in them, I really do, but how can you when they are oblivious to the faults that continue to hamper them every year? They continue to give up far too much for draft picks each year. This year’s man was Clemson star Sammy Watkins and while I’m a Watkins fan, the Bills gave an arm and a leg for him and if you know anything about races, it’s that one-armed, one-legged men don’t win them. That is what the Bills are right now: a crippled man. It’s sad, it’s pitiful and I feel sorry for them, but I can only feel so sorry for them when they continue to chop off the limbs that are trying to regenerate. Among the highlights for the future, three of the top ten rushing attacks last year came from the AFC East and the Bills bested the Patriots (9th) and Jets (3rd) with a 2nd place finish, averaging nearly 145 yards a game. ILB Kiko Alonso also had a monster rookie season for the Bills, finishing with 159 tackles, third-most in the league. The bad news is that Alonso will miss this season with an ACL tear. Franchise safety Jairus Byrd left for New Orleans and the Bills traded long-tenured WR Stevie Johnson to the 49ers. C.J. Spiller continues to demonstrate health liabilities and if it wasn’t for Fred Jackson’s power running style, the Bills would have had a top-15 rushing attack, not a top-three. E.J. Manuel hasn’t come into his own yet and also struggles with durability issues. What the Bills need are people who don’t struggle to play complete seasons. What the Bills have are people who seem incapable of doing just that. In a division as balanced as the AFC East, that doesn’t lend well to the Bills and despite how young the conference is, the Bills won’t come close to anything except for the scraps that fall off the table.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 5-11

Week 1: @ CHI   Week 2: vs. MIA   Week 3: vs. SD   Week 4: @ HOU   Week 5: @ DET   Week 6: vs. NE   Week 7: vs. MIN   Week 8: @ NYJ   Week 9: BYE   Week 10: vs. KC   Week 11: @ MIA   Week 12: vs. NYJ   Week 13: vs. CLE   Week 14: @ DEN   Week 15: vs. GB   Week 16: @ OAK   Week 17: @ NE

AFC North   AFC West   AFC South   NFC North   NFC West   NFC East   NFC South

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Movie Review: Rubber

Rubber is a movie all of its own. I know of no film like it. It is a movie about a tire. Don’t give up on this just yet. You may never see a film precisely like this one again.

The opening sequence is very well-written and expels a message that’s quite convincing and sheds a light on something that can really irritate film critics like myself: when things in movies happen for no reason.

The concept of “no reason” is one of the most irksome things in the American experience. No matter how many times you see it illustrated in film, it still grinds your teeth to nubs and your brain to mush as you try your hardest to figure out what the purpose was. Most of the time it is a lousy work ethic from the crew behind the camera, who in turn receive all of the skepticism and explosive outbursts from critics and fans. However, there are some times, a very minute portion of the pie, but nonetheless, there are times where it’s just there. There isn’t any reason for it to be there because it’s the ideal of “no reason”. As the opening speech states,  “The film you are about to see today is an homage to the ‘no reason’.”

That speech relates to the remainder of the film. You will see things that make no sense. Speechless will become the best adjective to describe you. You’ll have emotions because it’s not indifferent material and depending on who you are, dare I say, you might have fun watching this.

Originality is one of Rubber‘s top fortes because the premise of a movie about a tire, while absurd, questionable, and of seemingly senseless stupidity, is still an attention-grabbing film that will draw you in. The spectacle is too bewildering to ignore.

The visual quality and cinematography isn’t anything special and might even be at a college level at points but that didn’t bother me that much because this movie isn’t about that. It’s about the “no reason”. Everything that happens in this movie is because of no reason. Surprisingly, that manages to entertain for a majority of the film’s running time. It only drags for about the last ten minutes and considering this is a movie focused on a tire, that’s pretty good.

A simple yet complicated screenplay by Quentin Dupieux is the engine of this film. The acting is decent but anyone could work in these roles. It’s the lines of the characters and the actions of the tire that really form the inner workings here. The spectators act like people who are watching this film, executing the personalities and attitudes. Rubber thrives on the creative concepts of the screenplay so well that the average acting and substandard pacing can be forgiven. Character development isn’t a priority for this film so that is an obstacle to this reaching a higher score, but this is also a film that wasn’t meant for that. Sometimes I think we get so used to things  that when someone decides to change it up, we’re too quick to fault them as wrong before giving them a chance and I’m afraid that’s what many will do with this flick.

The tire’s given some emotions, like being drowsy and uncoordinated in the morning, and identifies with a person. With that said, the emotional roller coaster is like the land of the Sahara: flat and deserted. There’s no emotional platform here. There are a plethora of laughs that conceal that, but it’s the character development and emotional roller coaster that can make a movie something more than it is. Perhaps that’s not what Rubber is trying to be and if that’s the case, that’s fine, but I like to look for some deeper meaning to my movies when I can. There are some movies that it doesn’t matter what the overall takeaway is, they’re still a laugh-out-loud time and I think that’s just the case with Rubber.

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. (Guardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the ApesTransformers: Age of ExtinctionJack ReacherGodzilla)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Tears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young GunsCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(Red Dawn(2012)MaleficentRise of the Planet of the ApesTransporter 2Battle: Los Angeles)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Hansel and Gretel: Witch HuntersAnchorman: The Legend of Ron BurgundyThe TransporterSpeedGodzilla(1998))

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 Expendable 3HomefrontG.I. Joe: RetaliationVantage PointThe Starving Games)

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. (Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly MadisonA Haunted House300: Rise of an EmpireCowboys 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. (Planet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice, The Contract)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (X-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

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.” (SafeWatchmenClash of the TitansA Haunted House 2Open Grave)

My score for Rubber62.

Rubber‘s individuality alone makes it worth a watch, although many people will debate its value afterwards. If you enjoy the witty, dry humor take, Rubber will probably be for you.

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2014-2015 NFL Preview: AFC West

AFC WEST

DENVER BRONCOS

GET: CB Aqib Talib, DB T.J. Ward, DE DeMarcus Ware, WR Emmanuel Sanders, C Will Montgomery, DT Mitch Unrein

LOSE: WR Eric Decker, RB Knowshon Moreno, G Zane Beadles, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, LB Wesley Woodyard, LB Shaun Phillips, CB Champ Bailey, S Mike Adams, DE Robert Ayers, DE Jeremy Mincey, WR Trindon Holliday

RE-SIGNS: WR Andre Caldwell, OT Winston Justice

DRAFT:   1st round: CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State     2nd round: WR Cody Latimer, Indiana     3rd round: OT Michael Schofield, Michigan     5th round: OLB Lamin Barrow, LSU     6th round: C Matt Paradis, Boise State     7th round: OLB Corey Nelson, Oklahoma

SUMMARY: The Denver Broncos ended their historic, record-setting year with one of the worst performances in not just Super Bowl history, but the history of sports. Last year’s Super Bowl could not even be called a competition. It was a bunch of all-stars playing like high school students. The Broncos defense was atrocious and the offense lost any semblance of chemistry as the game progressed. It was the worst Super Bowl I ever saw. With all that said, it’s a new year and the Broncos front office did everything they could to prevent another collapse. They released and let walk a large majority of their defense, knowing the defense was inadequate and improvements needed to be made. The secondary especially was thin, 27th in the league, so CBs Talib and Ward became the Broncos first defensive additions. Longtime Cowboy Ware was brought in up front. The draft went well for the Broncos also, ushering Ohio State standout CB Bradley Roby into Mile High. The only concerns here are for the Broncos running game because I worry about how effective Montee Ball will be as the primary back. He revealed no talent last year. However, Peyton Manning is nearing the end of his career and with even more weapons than last year at his disposal, you got to believe another playoff run is in the cards.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 12-4

Week 1: vs. IND   Week 2: vs. KC   Week 3: @ SEA   Week 4: BYE   Week 5: vs. ARI   Week 6: @ NYJ   Week 7: vs. SF   Week 8: vs. SD   Week 9: @ NE   Week 10: @ OAK   Week 11: @ STL   Week 12: vs. MIA   Week 13: @ KC   Week 14: vs. BUF   Week 15: @ SD   Week 16: @ CIN   Week 17: vs. OAK

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

GET: DT Vance Walker, OT Jeffrey Linkenbach, OT J’Marcus Webb, DT Cory Grissom, CB Cris Owens, LB Joe Mays

LOSE: CB Brandon Flowers, OT Brandon Albert, WR Dexter McCluster, OL Jon Asamoah, DE Tyson Jackson, OL Geoff Schwartz, S Quintin Demps, LB Akeem Jordan, DT Jerrell Powe, S Kendrick Lewis

RE-SIGNS: LB Frank Zombo, DB Husain Abdullah

DRAFT: 1st round: DE Dee Ford, Auburn     3rd round: CB Phillip Gaines, Rice     4th round: RB De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon     5th round: QB Aaron Murray, Georgia     6th round: G Zach Fulton, Tennessee     OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, McGill

SUMMARY: The Kansas City Chiefs were one of the best defenses in the league last year, but not on paper. It may surprise you to know the Chiefs were 24th in yards allowed, 25th against the pass, 22nd against the rush and were only 24th in passing behind newcomer QB Alex Smith. Despite all those measly statistics, the Chiefs allowed only 19.1 points per game, tied for fifth-least in the league. The other stat that kept them ahead: turnovers. The Chiefs had 36 takeaways last year. That’s only three behind league-leading Seattle. The Chiefs’ turnover differential: +19. The defense also point up a lot of points on the board for their team from interception and fumbles returns. However, do you know who had a great turnover differential in 2012? The Washington Redskins. Do you know how the Washington Redskins faired last year? 3-13. Granted, Robert Griffin III missed most of the year. However, the Chiefs are going to have similar problems. They will not be able to mimic that turnover differential again, which means they won’t have as many opportunities to get back in games. A blaring defect is the team’s reliance on Jamaal Charles. He was third in the league in rushing. Without him, this team offensively is not much of anything. Aside from Dwayne Bowe, the other top receivers are Donnie Avery (596 yards last year), A.J. Jenkins (8 career receptions) and Junior Hemingway (13 career receptions). Despite the bleeding offense, the defense is still a rock, with one of the best front sevens in the league. Eric Berry and Sean Smith will keep things at bay on the secondary side and in an underachieving AFC, the Chiefs should be looking for a wild-card spot but will have to hold off the Chargers in their own division as well.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 8-8

Week 1: vs. TEN   Week 2: @ DEN   Week 3: @ MIA   Week 4: vs. NE   Week 5: @ SF   Week 6: BYE   Week 7: @SD   Week 8: vs. STL   Week 9: vs. NYJ   Week 10: @ BUF   Week 11: vs. SEA   Week 12: @ OAK   Week 13: vs. DEN   Week 14: @ ARI   Week 15: vs. OAK   Week 16: @ PIT   Week 17: vs. SD

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

GET: RB Donald Brown, CB Brandon Flowers, TE David Johnson, LB Kavell Conner, QB Kellen Clemens, CB Brandon Ghee

LOSE: CB Derek Cox, CB Johnny Patrick, G Stephen Schilling, WR Lavelle Hawkins, DT Cam Thomas, QB Charlie Whitehurst

RE-SIGNS: LB Donald Butler, G Chad Rinehart, S Darrell Stuckey, LB Reggie Walker, WR Seyi Ajirotutu, CB Richard Marshall

DRAFT: 1st round: CB Jason Verrett, TCU     2nd round: OLB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech     3rd round: G Chris Watt, Notre Dame     5th round: DT Ryan Carrethers, Arkansas State     6th round: RB Marion Grice, Arizona State     7th round: WR Tevin Reese, Baylor

SUMMARY: The Chargers offense showed great strides last year, ending the regular season fourth in passing and 13th in rushing thanks to Ryan Matthews first complete season and 1,255 yards, good for 7th in the league. The defense was better than some expected against the run (12th) but worse than expected against the pass (29th). Nonetheless, the Chargers squeaked out a wild-card spot and had an impressive victory over the Bengals before losing to the dominant Broncos. The team looks to be impressive on the offensive side of the ball and has lots of depth. A receiving core of Keenan Allen, Antonio Gates, Vincent Brown, Eddie Royal, and Malcolm Floyd and a backfield of Ryan Matthews, Donald Brown and Danny Woodhead is very impressive. The offensive line is also solid. The defensive front is middle of the pack but again, that secondary is dreadful. The addition of Brandon Flowers and the drafting of Jason Verrett is a good start to improve but I still hesitate to put my faith in the hands of Philip Rivers and this linebacking core led by Te’o. In another division, the Chargers would be looking at a division title, but in one of the toughest in the league, the Chargers will have to fight for a wild-card spot once again as well as for second place in the division.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 8-8

Week 1: @ ARI   Week 2: vs. SEA   Week 3: @ BUF   Week 4: vs. JAC   Week 5: vs. NYJ   Week 6: @ OAK   Week 7: vs. KC   Week 8: @ DEN   Week 9: @ MIA   Week 10: BYE   Week 11: vs. OAK   Week 12: vs. STL   Week 13: @ BAL   Week 14: vs. NE   Week 15: vs. DEN   Week 16: @ SF   Week 17: @ KC

OAKLAND RAIDERS

GET: DE Justin Tuck, LB LaMarr Woodley, WR James Jones, OT Donald Penn, G Kevin Boothe, RB Maurice Jones-Drew, CB Carlos Rogers, CB Tarrell Brown, OT Austin Howard, DE Antonio Smith, DE C.J. Wilson

LOSE: DE Lamarr Houston, RB Rashad Jennings, CB Tracy Porter, OT Jared Veldheer, DT Vance Walker, CB Phillip Adams, CB Mike Jenkins, WR Jacoby Ford

RE-SIGNS: OT Khalif Barnes, RB Darren McFadden, S Usama Young, S Charles Woodson

DRAFT: 1st round: OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo     2nd round: QB Derek Carr, Fresno State     3rd round: G Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State     4th round: DT Justin Ellis, Louisiana Tech     CB Keith McGill, Utah     7th round: CB T.J. Carrie, Ohio     DE Shelby Harris, Illinois State     CB Jonathan Dowling, Western Kentucky

SUMMARY: The Raiders year-in and year-out are always a bottom dweller in the league and that was the same headline last year as the team was 25th in passing, 28th against the pass and 29th in points allowed (28.3). The Raiders had another 4-12 season and that was that. However, you didn’t have to look as hard for the bright spots of last year’s team. Rashad Jennings got the team a 12th place ranking in the running game and the Raiders fought in the trenches for a 13th-best run defense. The summer saw Jennings go to the Giants though. With that said, the Raiders had, in my opinion, one of the best offseasons in the league. They signed some big-name players. Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley will help a young defensive line. The offensive line will see three new starters in Austin Howard, Kevin Boothe and Donald Penn, who will be moved to left tackle. WR James Jones and RB Maurice Jones-Drew help with the offense and San Francisco corners Tarrell Brown and Carlos Rogers found themselves in Oakland as well. Every area this team needed to address was improved and the drafting of OLB Khalil Mack was exactly what this team needed. Alas, the Raiders still play in the AFC West with the Broncos, Chiefs and Chargers, so despite their vast improvements the team will miss the playoffs once again. Depth at receiver is a concern, tight end has become a non-existent position for the team and Darren McFadden can’t stay healthy. Maurice Jones-Drew is past his prime and Matt Schaub has to prove he can get over last year’s mistakes and get back to being a half-decent quarterback. Don’t get me wrong, the Raiders will get a few upset wins and surprise some people, but playoffs is not in the cards, especially given they’re facing the AFC and NFC West.

SCHEDULE     PROJECTED RECORD: 5-11

Week 1: @ NYJ   Week 2: vs. HOU   Week 3: @ NE   Week 4: vs. MIA   Week 5: BYE   Week 6: vs. SD   Week 7: vs. ARI   Week 8: @ CLE   Week 9: @ SEA   Week 10: vs. DEN   Week 11: @ SD   Week 12: vs. KC   Week 13: @ STL   Week 14: vs. SF   Week 15: @ KC   Week 16: vs. BUF   Week 17: @ DEN

AFC North   AFC East   AFC South   NFC North   NFC West   NFC East   NFC South

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Movie Review: Safe

Jason Statham, you’re killing me, man. You’re killing me.

If you read my Homefront review, my Transporter review, and/or my Transporter 2 review, you know that Jason Statham has my utmost respect. He does his own stunts, he’s got a great work ethic, constantly plays anti-heroes. He’s just got it all. If there was a problem with Jason Statham, it would be that either A) his agent is incompetent or B) Statham doesn’t know how to say no to a role.

Me personally, I’m more likely to go with the former because I think too much of Statham. With that said, Safe was…..

This little Asian girl running around and being all super-smart at school and getting sent to a better school so…

Statham’s Luke Wright is a UFC fighter who wins a match he was supposed to lose, angering the Russian mafia and….

She can do math for a crime syndicate while her mother is…

Wright finds tragedy when he gets home when he finds out the mafia have killed his…

In the hospital.

That’s super-annoying isn’t it, when I don’t finish my sentences and I keep jumping to different topics? It’s like you’re trying to watch a movie in a theater and this annoying 7-year old won’t shut his mouth, interrupting every conversation with different gurgles, chuckles and comments.

I’m a patient person. I’ve worked retail. Patience is a requirement for such work. However, this film does not know what scene, time period, or location to focus on. There are three time changes and at least three location changes in the first 15 minutes! Make up your mind!

I already hate the movie at this point and it’s only been 15 minutes. I’ve watched some pretty bad movies, but only a select few of the 100+ movies I’ve reviewed have caused me such nagging irritation at the outset. It was worse than living in the woods for a week with no bug spray and that’s pretty miserable in my mind.

Safe, ironically, is anything but safe in its premise, characters, or viewer experience. Plot inconsistencies in this film are more common than fast-food restaurants.

Some of them are “go with it” elements that I’d be surprised if most people would actually go with and others I think are there just to spite the audience. For example, our Asian girl in this film has a photographic memory. There’s a scene where a list of numbers, at least five lines long, is put in front of her. I kid you not, the paper had just touched the table and she said she had it memorized already. YOU DID NOT YOU LIAR!!! NOT EVEN A PHOTOGRAPHER COULD HAVE GOTTEN ALL THOSE!

It’s things like this that get me especially angry. I know you’re trying to move the film along but how much time did you really cut out by crossing into the boundary of falsity? Five, ten seconds?

The action scenes are futile compared to Statham’s other work yet the only entertainment this film offers.

Statham’s Luke Wright is so one-note and underdeveloped that describing him as a character does an injustice to the word. I think the more appropriate term would be “scribble”, or perhaps “mistake”. I truly can’t comment on Statham’s acting  because I’m not sure he even does any here. He wanders around and eventually punches a few people in the throat and shoots a few in the head, all for the sake of a little Asian girl who he wants to save for a reason that is called plot convenience.

Catherine Chan stars as Mei and I hope she never acts again and makes any more of an embarrassment out of herself because….*deep breath*… she is insipid- without distinctive, interesting, or stimulating qualities. Is this all her fault? No, but her inability to unleash emotional output or humanistic tendencies aside from closing her eyes and putting her hands over her ears is incredibly childish and simple.

Director Boaz Yakin should never have been given the pen for this film. This script would not have worked as a book, magazine excerpt or short story. It is an incommunicable assembly of words, that’s it. No other distinction or title can be given to this rancid work, if you can even call it work. He also, based off Safe, does not know of the phrase “character development”.

Despite all that, I will say Yakin had a larger political agenda he was trying to dive into with this, especially the corruption of the police and leadership heads, but if you want to talk about that alone, write a book or an article. If you want to make a movie detailing your thoughts, you’ve got to write a plot.

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. (Guardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the ApesTransformers: Age of ExtinctionJack ReacherGodzilla)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Tears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young GunsCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(Red Dawn(2012)MaleficentRise of the Planet of the ApesTransporter 2Battle: Los Angeles)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Hansel and Gretel: Witch HuntersAnchorman: The Legend of Ron BurgundyThe TransporterSpeedGodzilla(1998))

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 Expendable 3HomefrontG.I. Joe: RetaliationVantage PointThe Starving Games)

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. (Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly MadisonA Haunted House300: Rise of an EmpireCowboys 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. (Planet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice, The Contract)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (X-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

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.” (WatchmenClash of the TitansA Haunted House 2Open GraveAlien 3)

My score for Safe: 19.

Statham is still one of my favorites, but his uselessness in Safe cannot be overstated. Careless acting and negligent writing by themselves make this film intolerable and that’s without including the unoriginal stunt choreography, deprecating dialogue and overbearing political aspiration into the equation.

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My Top Ten Favorite Video Games

My favorite video games are going to include some that are ancient by video game terms. I still have a Nintendo Gamecube and Playstation 2. I’ve never had a Xbox-360 or a PS3. With that being said, here are my favorite games up to this point of my life. Also, check out my brother’s list here. Note: These are my favorite games, not the ones I think are the best.

10. Killzone

Easily one of my favorite games on the PS2, Killzone had a solid campaign and story line that kept me engaged and wanted me to keep going with it. Among the few things I remember most about this game, the sniper interface was insanely difficult to get adjusted to compared to the other first-person shooters I’ve played. It’s not a difficult game to master by any means, but putting the AI’s on the hardest difficulty and putting on the maximum amount is still a difficult task on domination on most maps when it’s just you and a friend versus, elongating the game’s playability.

 

 

9. Conflict: Desert Storm and Conflict: Desert Storm II: Back to Baghdad

These are third-person shooters on the Nintendo Gamecube and probably ones few will know of, but I always got a kick out of Desert Storm for its two-player campaigns. It was one of the few games my brother and I could play the campaign together and that feature alone makes these some of my favorite games. The graphics are mediocre compared to the Call of Duty games on the system, but the versatility of the game and the unique control platform make this game a fun play that manages to stump you occasionally.

 

 

8. Mercenaries

Another third-person shooter, this time for the PS2, Mercenaries is easily one of the more difficult games I’ve played. There isn’t any multiplayer for it, but the campaign is so long and addictive that there’s really nothing to complain about there. You have to capture 52 different bad guys scattered all over Korea in a free-roam style play format. You can do whatever you want and missions will be waiting for you when you’ve decided you’ve done enough fooling around. With all that said, I found this game to be very difficult and it’s one of the few games I have that I haven’t beaten yet. After about 30 tries on the last mission, I just gave up. My brother eventually beat it, which was a thrill to watch, but I do think this game’s difficulty toward the end battered my resolve.

7. NHL 06

This game’s graphics are shoddy but I always found the gameplay to be pretty responsive and enjoyable on a continual basis. Upping up the difficulty did present its challenges but I eventually adjusted. I’ve pretty much mastered this game but I still play it on Gamecube on a regular basis from time to time. I love the newer NHL games though. The new controls are more elaborate and provide a more competitive and adrenaline-filled experience.

 

 

 

6. Madden 07

This game on Gamecube was made the year the Steelers won Super Bowl XL, giving this game some special significance to me. The lineups are solidified in my mind and the gameplay was the way I liked it before it became all about the graphics in the new one and your quarterback throws like a girl. The newer games are definitely more defensive-minded while this game was all about racking up the points. It never got to an arena football-type scoring match, but it was an up-tempo experience, something I miss with the latest renditions.

 

 

5. Super Smash Bros. Melee

One of the more popular games from Nintendo, the Super Smash Bros. on Gamecube holds the classic status over the newer remakes because of how big a deal it was at the time. Then, Nintendo was still a profitable company that had some solid games aside from Pokemon and Mario. Super Smash Bros.’ variety of characters and the combos you can do with each provides for a cartoon chess match for players. Everyone’s played it and if you’re a poor college kid such as myself, pulling out this game is one you can have a blast with.

 

4. Star Wars: Battlefront II

PS2’s third-person shooter is a top-five for me for a couple of reason. First, Star Wars. Who doesn’t love that? The class loadouts are diverse but not overly complicated and the maps are pretty good. I’ve never played this online but the multiplayer conquest is a lot of fun if you can play with a friend.

 

 

 

 

3. Guitar Hero Series

Guitar Hero has had a bigger impact on me as a person than any other game. My music tastes were brewed by these games. Before Guitar Hero, it was all 80’s pop rock. Guitar Hero showed me there was more than that and now I listen to a lot of rock, alternative rock, hard rock and even a little metal. Some set lists are more challenging than others but I like most of the songs they put on these games. It was the first concept of playing a guitar as a video game that I know of and the reaction time to when you hit the keys was very accurate, which could have easily been these games downfall. Every time I hear a guitar hero song on the radio, I know which Guitar Hero it’s from because I’ve played them so much. Truly an addictive experience to engage in.

2. COD: MW3

My favorite Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 3’s maps are better than any of the other COD’s I’ve played. The loadouts allow for hundreds of weapon and perk combinations so there’s always something you haven’t tried playing with before. The shot accuracy is usually pretty good and the graphics are visually-satisfying enough to immerse yourself with the gameplay.

 

1. COD:BOP2 Zombies

I love zombies. That’s all there is to it. I’ve played zombies for hours at a time. Most of the new maps are pretty good and the visual caliber is pretty detailed. Playing online is a blast considering all the people you meet in the different lobbies and achieving teamwork with your buds is always a must. Keep calm and Shoot Zombies.

 

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Movie Review: The Expendables 3

The Expendables 3 was…..*sigh*.

I really don’t want to talk about this film right now because it was such an utter disappointment. Alas, I trudge on.

The Expendables was something that was a long time coming. Action die-hards had wanted to see the biggest action heroes come together for one big explosion since the 80’s. Had it been done during the 80’s with a solid story structure and character arcs, this theoretical movie could have been one of the best. With that said, it never happened and so we retreated back into our man caves and continued to watch ceaseless violence, decent but never overachieving acting and stories that were questionable at times. I’m not saying we haven’t been blessed with the material we’ve been given. How can you complain when you got Rocky AND Rambo from just one of these guys? Die Hard, Predator, the titles are truly endless. However, there was still a niche, a void in all of our hearts because the film with the big three of Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger never came out of the fantasy realm and into the real world.

The Expendables, the first one, gave us that. A projectile and gut-busting epic with some of the best in the business plus some witty dialogue and an amicable story line, The Expendables was not the perfect model but was certainly awesome nonetheless. Yes, we can debate what could have been better and about whether Stallone should have written and directed and all that, but it was what it was and it was confident in what it was doing. It was all fun and while it remained light-hearted throughout, it still managed to bring a serious undertone into the equation.

Then there was The Expendables 2, where more big names joined the route and while this film struggled with poor villain writing as did the first, it was still a phenom for the genre.

So, The Expendables 3 came in with a lot of gas and yet gave us an incredibly bland trailer with a long cast list of names that made me scratch my head. Glen Powell? Victor Ortiz? Kelsey Grammer? Wesley Snipes? Kellen Lutz? Some of these people flat-out didn’t belong in a movie and others didn’t belong in this movie.

The Expendables 3 missteps where quite a few films I’ve watched recently trip: in getting over-involved in the film’s message rather than the film itself. This is on Stallone although I understand what he’s trying to say. By bringing in a list of no-name actors and depositing them in front of the spotlight, Stallone is trying to illustrate the sad but obvious fact that Stallone’s career is coming to a close as are most of the action stars we’ve grown up with. Some of the dialogue emboldens that message as do some of the plot anchor points but in terms of story and the characters we’re viewing makes no sense whatsoever, which I’ll get to later.

We don’t know how many years are left, but a new generation of action heroes is coming. We don’t know who most of them are yet, but a few are poking out. With that being said, I think it’s fair to say that Victor Ortiz, Glen Powell, Kellen Lutz and Ronda Rousey are not it.

Just looking at the filmographies of this quartet makes me cringe. Glenn Powell has survived as a TV actor. Ronda Rousey is a professional fighter and while she most deserved to be in this out of the four, has no acting credentials, which was blatant during my viewing. Kellen Lutz’s most notable role was in Twilight. Need I say more? Finally, Victor Ortiz is a boxer who is incorporated in no notable boxing sequences during the film and his most regarded accomplishment outside the ring was appearing in Dancing With the Stars.

Again, I understand Stallone is trying to usher in a new group of action stars but none of these people will become action legends let alone decent actors. If Stallone wanted to make his message more meaningful, bringing in some actors we’ve heard of would have been a good start. I would have suggested Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Tom Hiddleston and Michael Fassbender. They’re all younger guys who look like they could be the new faces of the genre yet not one was given a role for this.

Prioritizing his theatrical farewell note over this franchise’s once promising company of dangerous misfits leaves us with an incredibly dull and uneventful screenplay that demonstrates little resemblance to its two predecessors. No character furtherance nor refreshing life reflections occur and the light-hearted tone of dark humor we’re familiar with is never introduced. The references to previous blockbuster hits and corny one-liners weren’t included in the script, instead making room for the untalented quartet I mentioned above and Stallone’s meanderings. I always found these jabs to be quite effective. Reminiscence was an aspect I always enjoyed because it reminded us, one last time, to appreciate the past before we got absorbed with the revolutionary visual effects of today.

Without the humor, the film is bottle-necked into expositional dialogue, character progression and life platitudes and sadly this film’s sharpshooters only find one of the three targets and even more depressing, the least of the three: expositional dialogue. One of the more common cinematic sins, a film’s layering of expositional dialogue is usually a strong indicator to a film’s success or upheaval. Too much nine times out of ten means a bad movie. This was one of the nine.

Our go-to ragtag team is broken up because Stallone’s Ross decides it’s too dangerous now even though there’s no clarification for his change of heart and audiences with significant brain activity will come to the unanimous decision that this story turn is for the worst. The rest of the film only solidifies our assumption as we’re stuck with Mr. Expositional himself, Kelsey Grammer, as he introduces the newbs to the film industry and then leaves. Truly no point having him here aside from a paycheck. All of the new additions to the cast are bores aside from Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson who don’t get enough screen time to make as large of an impact as they could have. Jet Li is pretty much excluded from The Expendables for the second installment in a row even though his chemistry with Dolph Lundgren in the original was fine-tuned.

Antonio Banderas is the stand-out of this disheveled mess and all he’s doing is rambling and talking as fast as he can. That’s it. Pretty dumb but when the film’s as uneventful as this is, that’s a high note.

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. (Guardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the ApesTransformers: Age of ExtinctionJack ReacherGodzilla)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Tears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young GunsCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(Red Dawn(2012)MaleficentRise of the Planet of the ApesTransporter 2Battle: Los Angeles)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Hansel and Gretel: Witch HuntersAnchorman: The Legend of Ron BurgundyThe TransporterSpeedGodzilla(1998))

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. (HomefrontG.I. Joe: RetaliationVantage PointThe Starving GamesYou’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. (Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly MadisonA Haunted House300: Rise of an EmpireCowboys 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. (Planet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice, The Contract)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (X-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

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.” (WatchmenClash of the TitansA Haunted House 2Open GraveAlien 3)

My score for The Expendables 3: 54.

Scroll up to the poster of this film real quick. What do you see? A lot of names and tiny faces. That’s how large of a role each of these people get to play in the film. The Expendables 3 suffers from OBCLD, or Over-Bloated Cast List Disease. The material doesn’t do any of these stars justice with the exception of Powell, Rousey, Lutz and Ortiz, but only because these four couldn’t do any better than this. I honestly think Stallone picked names out of a hat to collect these four tragedies. The action scenes were surprisingly mediocre, not even close to their usual standards. It seems fair to say that The Expendables 3, unlike the previous two installments, is definitely expendable and stands as one of the leaders of the League of Extraordinarily Disappointing Sequels.

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Movie Review: Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

Everyone I’ve talked to has confirmed that Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is a terrible, terrible film. Some have even gone so far as to say it’s the worst cinematic picture they’ve ever seen.

I’m at the fifteen minute mark and I haven’t seen anything that has enraged me yet. Considering this is an 88 minute affair, that’s pretty good.

The half hour mark and I’m still safe and sound. Have to admit I’m a little worried now because that means this must go into a full nosedive.

The End….What was so terrible about that?

I’m not sure what it was about this film but I really didn’t have any serious concerns with it nor could I admit to any sort of rage whatsoever. Dare I say, I had fun with this.

The concept is pretty preposterous and no realism is to be found here but it’s based on a fairy tale so I feel like the options are available for them to go haywire here and there. The action sequences were pretty solid from my angle, even though there’s no doubt Hansel and Gretel would have suffered concussions, broken ribs, separated shoulders and maybe even a punctured lung.

It’s safe to say Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters falls into the category of mindless action. Watch it, have fun, have a few laughs and move on. Wikipedia calls this an action comedy and I certainly wouldn’t call it that because Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton take this material very seriously. Really, I think everyone takes this seriously. No one is acting like this is time to screw around and I don’t think there’s ever a shift to the tone of this film at any point. Considering the opening sequence starts with Hansel and Gretel burning a witch alive, I don’t think there are many giggles or gut-busters in this film.

I’m not sure how this film got an R-rating. Aside from a small nude scene that was no longer than 15 seconds and really didn’t need to be there in the first place, there’s nothing overly sexual here and the violence never reaches the carnage level of brutality most films that have that label reach. Some of the kills are so absurd you smirk at them. I’d be surprised if anyone was shaking in their chair because of what they’ve seen. Given all that, I’m curious why they went for the R-rating. Hansel and Gretel feels like a PG-13 film in every way, from the witty lines to the action sequences.

The attitude is dark and deadly serious but the production quality is where the “comedy” parts come in. Some of it is just not good, especially some of the blood effects but I think everyone knows that, including those involved with this film. It was produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay and if you know anything about those guys, it’s that they live and breathe comedy. They don’t sponsor action films. Obviously they found some of the dark humor funny enough to give it a couple bucks.

The plot is blunt and while there was one major question I had early on, the film retreated back to give me an answer to it. I didn’t find any bloated plot holes or script discrepancies.

Finally, the acting was concrete. I haven’t seen Jeremy Renner in much but I have a favorable opinion of him so far. This didn’t change that and I think it actually won him a few points in my book. I think he’s a little flamboyant and he doesn’t seem to fear any role or what anyone may think of him and I admire that fearless trait and not letting other people hold you back.

It was nice to see Gemma Arterton in something other than Clash of the Titans. Really, really didn’t like Clash of the Titans.

Just as it was nice to see Gemma Arterton removed from that shoddy material, it was cool to see Famke Janssen out of the grasp of the X-Men films for more than five seconds. I know she’s got to have talent but she never seems to get a chance to show it because she’s always tied down and judged because of Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand. I really enjoyed her ferocity and enthusiasm in this role.

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. (Guardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the ApesTransformers: Age of ExtinctionJack ReacherGodzilla)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Tears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young GunsCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(Red Dawn(2012)MaleficentRise of the Planet of the ApesTransporter 2Battle: Los Angeles)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron BurgundyThe TransporterSpeedGodzilla(1998)The Incredible Hulk)

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. (HomefrontG.I. Joe: RetaliationVantage PointThe Starving GamesYou’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. (Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly MadisonA Haunted House300: Rise of an EmpireCowboys 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. (Planet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice, The Contract)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (X-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

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.” (WatchmenClash of the TitansA Haunted House 2Open GraveAlien 3)

My score for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters: 66.

I don’t know if you would call this a guilty pleasure because I’m not sure if I’ll watch it again, but I certainly found Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters to be an enjoyable experience, even if there’s no overall message or lesson to take away from it aside from “Don’t eat the candy.”

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Movie Review: Homefront

If your kid gets dropped in a fight at school, don’t call your drug-dealing brother to make things right. It will not end well.

If you read my Transporter review, you know I have some serious respect for Jason Statham. Easily one of the best action stars today, entertainment is always in the cards when it comes to Statham, which is why when I was scrolling through Netflix, Homefront jumped out to me. It’s Statham, guys! If you’re looking for a good time that doesn’t ask for too much from you as a viewer, a Statham film is always an option. Chances are you’ll have fun with it, although to what degree is something you’ll have to find out for yourself. On a rare occasion, you’ll enter a Statham movie you hate. For example, don’t watch this or this, especially the second one, although I might watch it again just so I can rail on it for your enjoyment. Those are the only two I’ve regretted with Statham and when your success rate with me is eight for ten, I’m going to keep watching.

Also figuring into the equation is Sylvester Stallone. Stallone and Statham have become good friends since the making of The Expendables and join forces again here. Stallone was Statham before Statham was Statham and I think that’s why they get along so well, because they seek the same type of roles and have the same attitude to their work. That being said, Statham’s got all the screen to himself on this shoot because Stallone’s responsibilities are as the screenwriter and producer. Scripts by Stallone are hit-or-miss but people continue to see his work anyway because of the icon he’s become. No one wants to miss a masterpiece that may or may not arise from the author of the Rocky and Rambo franchises.

My respect for these two guys is through the roof because of their work ethic, character and the roles they play. Easily two of my favorites right here.

All that being said, I did not pursue Homefront when it came out. It just didn’t look like that great of a film. I’ll always love Statham but I think I’ve discovered that his movies are not usually ones worth seeing in theaters. They’re the ones you seek out the year after their release when they’re at Walmart for $5 or on Netflix, which I’m really happy I’m subscribed to now. A quick sidenote, I watched Johnny Mnemonic and Rubber yesterday. However, I want to show them to my roommate Jon and some friends at college so you’ll have to wait on reviews on those.

Look at me, getting all sidetracked. Anyway as I was saying, Statham’s movies don’t make barrels of cash at the box office and there’s a reason for that. I think people such as myself have realized that they’re films worth waiting for. Other films you just can’t wait to see. For example, everyone is going to see Expendables 3 because no one wants to wait to see that. The bank deposit for that movie should be sizable.

Statham’s movies differ because while you probably won’t see them at the theater, you’re bound to see them eventually. I don’t know a lot of people who haven’t seen a Statham role-play. When you’re hanging out with friends and you’re scrolling through lists of movies to watch, Statham shows up with his British accent saying, “Hey, you wanna take a ride?”

Keeping all that in mind, Homefront highlights a few big names but doesn’t give them a lot to do. I believe Winona Ryder was meant to ascribe “visual quality” rather than her acting prowess. Kate Bosworth plays the venomous mother of the son who gets a beatdown in the playground and brews hate in the audience. She’s one of those parents who thinks she’s perfect and everyone else is wrong. I don’t like those people.

Moving on to the leads, Statham is Statham and gives it his all, reveling in the spotlight while emanating a character I think is closely associated with himself. A simple life for a simple man is all Phil Broker wants for himself and his little girl but a face-off with a bully ascends to something much more than that, all because Kate Bosworth had to take things personally. The sad thing is that this scenario is credible considering all the other dumb stuff people do these days. There is some page-turning tension here as you see events continue to unfold into bigger and badder things. With that being said, you wonder where this is going to go. Is there going to be some big explosive third act or is Broker just going to beat a couple of guys senseless and ride into the sunset? Advances in character are made while we wait to see what happens.

James Franco is our villain and does nothing for me….again. I just don’t get the flavoring, the sinister vibe from Franco here. He doesn’t seem interested in doing any of the dirty work, making him more of a weasel than a face worthy of standing across from Statham’s Broker. Some blame can certainly go to the writing of his character but Franco’s lackluster effort is also worth noting.

A subplot of romance is hinted with Broker but is never explored, something that would have distracted from the meandering of this plot at the halfway point. I wouldn’t have minded a little romance either because you don’t see Statham get emotional much if at all in his roles.

Frank Grillo provides what might have been a beacon of light for audiences given his aptitude but to our dismay is a false hope, playing an angry biker whose only meaningful line of dialogue is “Where’s the narc?”

The third act is sure to disappoint everyone and excite no one. The only success the third act can boast is anchoring this film rather than pushing it off the ground, certifying Homefront‘s status as one of the forgettable films of 2013.

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. (Guardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the ApesTransformers: Age of ExtinctionJack ReacherGodzilla)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Tears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young GunsCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(Red Dawn(2012)MaleficentRise of the Planet of the ApesTransporter 2Battle: Los Angeles)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron BurgundyThe TransporterSpeedGodzilla(1998)The Incredible Hulk)

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. (G.I. Joe: RetaliationVantage PointThe Starving GamesYou’re NextThor)

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. (Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly MadisonA Haunted House300: Rise of an EmpireCowboys 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. (Planet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice, The Contract)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (X-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

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.” (WatchmenClash of the TitansA Haunted House 2Open GraveAlien 3)

My score for Homefront: 58.

Potential was there but Stallone does a poor job of utilizing it. The cast list may read nice but doesn’t come to fruition. Truthfully, the achievement that Homefront can boast the most is its ability to deceive and ensnare potential viewers into thinking it’s something more than it is.

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Movie Review: Watchmen

To even take time to talk about this film pains me. This movie is really bad. It was so bad that when my brother and I first watched it on TV, we couldn’t even make it past the half hour mark. However, everyone mentions Watchmen at one point or another and I was tired of being left out of the loop. I could have went without seeing this.

Zack Snyder hits few cinematic targets and the things he does succeed at barely meet the standard the average viewer would expect. The score to the film is well done and accentuates the overall tone of the film and the dark humor is sly but effective. Notice neither of these things have anything to do with story structure, plot stability, or characters.

The only character that hits the figurative nail on the head is Jackie Earle Haley’s Rorschach. Haley’s acting draws many parallels to Clint Eastwood and despite that this depiction is the only one with any solidarity in this hunk of junk that has somehow received the title “film”. Incredibly dark and sadistic plus his ever-changing face, Rorschach is easily Watchmen‘s most notable commodity.

Without these three minimal positives, Watchmen would easily be the worst film I’ve ever seen and yes, even worse than Alien 3. The pacing of a soldier that just got his legs blown off by shrapnel, Watchmen drags on…..and on…..and on…..AND ON… It never ends. Ever. Until your mind is empty, full of cobwebs, confusion and the loss of any sense of mental existence. Who knows? Depending on who you are, your physical existence might be in jeopardy because this is a movie that could send someone over the edge, not because of its message but because it’s just so ponderous and insubstantial. Not even oxygen could exist in this film. Even the air would scream, “NO!!! I can’t take this anymore!!! I quit!!!”

And that’s just what the tempo does to you. The overall specimen we are reviewing today is far more toxic than that. Heck, no oxygen is child’s play compared to what this film is capable of.

We learn the background story of every notable character. Every single one. It makes Watchmen more of a biographical adaptation than a story. A film should have development, not minutes upon minutes of background that detract from any conflict this film may or may not have. Subplots dominate the running time on a continual cycle as do revolving narrators and camera specimens. Rarely is our band of heroes together.

Naturally, this film is going very dark and vulgar with its tone. Composing a tone as brutal and uncompromising as this film wants is no easy task. It takes a lot of time, effort and diverse screenwriting. While there is little doubt that the writers were given unlimited paper and ink, they don’t accomplish the message they set out to send. What this film was trying to say and what it actually said are two different things. What I think it was trying to say was that the world is corrupt and there’s no sort of redemptive justice that is willing to do anything about it. Humans are vicious creatures capable of tortures that we would rather not imagine because the thought is sickening. The world is full of sludge.

If that was all there, I would understand. However, I think it’s also important to show there is some light, some good in the world, even if just a little bit. If there’s no good in the world, then what’s the point of justice? What’s the definition of life? If there is no innocence, no youthful naivety, no will for good and no concept of conscience, then how can this film complain about the circumstances it finds itself in? None of our heroes have an interest in saving anyone, contradicting the basic understanding of the word “hero”, but on the other hand, this film doesn’t direct the camera to anyone needing saving except for one minor and incredibly short scene that felt like a deleted scene more than actual movie material. In Watchmen‘s eyes, the world is full of ravenous dogs and the gnashing of teeth, fighting for the rotten scraps that remain on the curb. There are no puppies or a need for good. If there’s no need for good, why have heroes? This film is like hell on earth and if Snyder could have answered my most recent question, it would have gotten a lot more points from me, but it didn’t, nor showed the aspiration to do so. There’s no doubt that the want to discuss ethical questions is there, but Watchmen fails to show two sides of the coin, leaving us with only one side, one option and you can’t argue which option is correct when there’s only one option, making the ethical questions you’re trying to discuss null and void. The underwritten characters that relied far too much on comic profiles and previous material only makes this film’s primary purpose all the more impractical.

With the majority of this film’s deeper meaning evaporated, the only thing Watchmen has to lean on is a plot that balances like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, leading to a domino effect of collapsing film devices.

Dr. Manhattan leads our league of inferior characters, continually demonstrating his ineptitude for emotional output or humanistic tendencies. A blue robot more than a former human, Dr. Manhattan reserves no empathy or care for anything, making him as unreachable as a lone man in Antarctica.

The first hour of this is dedicated to past memories of the Comedian, who in every sequence proves to be filth just like the rest of the world. That is where I think this film really lost me, was that these characters are not superheroes at all. They are neither super nor heroes. No one saves anyone from anything aside from that short scene I mentioned earlier which was no longer than four minutes. It’s almost as if this film is trying to debate the notion of superheroes, if the term is a fictitious thought or a genuine reality. If anything in this film was more developed, maybe it had a chance, but there’s too much multitasking here to accomplish anything at a bearable standard.

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. (Guardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the ApesTransformers: Age of ExtinctionJack ReacherGodzilla)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Tears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young GunsCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(Red Dawn(2012)MaleficentRise of the Planet of the ApesTransporter 2Battle: Los Angeles)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron BurgundyThe TransporterSpeedGodzilla(1998)The Incredible Hulk)

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. (G.I. Joe: RetaliationVantage PointThe Starving GamesYou’re NextThor)

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. (Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly MadisonA Haunted House300: Rise of an EmpireCowboys 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. (Planet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice, The Contract)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (X-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

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.” (Clash of the TitansA Haunted House 2Open GraveAlien 3Dark Fury)

My score for Watchmen: 11.

Watchmen is centered on its theme. If it was more of a philosophical discussion and less of directionless character dialogue focused on the over-complicated plot, this might have been half decent. As it stands, Watchmen is a malignant tumor that slowly takes over the agonizing viewer for all of its absurdly lengthy 161-minute running time. There are a few scenes where people are spray painting on walls and windows, “Who watches Watchmen?” The correct answer is no one because like these characters’ attitude towards other people, no one cares.

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