The Amazing Spider Man 2

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6/10

The title doesn’t quite match the result in this sequel to the 2012 original. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has a lot of things that could possibly make it a great movie, but it’s the negatives that leave it as a disappointment when compared to the first film. First of all, I will say that this is nowhere close to the terrible film that was Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3. This is actually a good film. Good not great. Some of the things I really enjoyed about this film were done at the top of their game, and it’s those reasons why I saw the film in the first place, so I didn’t go home too unhappy. The 3D is very well done. This is a film that will be in my top 5 current 3D films of all time. For once, it’s not just a blending in background. It offers a lot of in your face effects with the lightning of Electro coming at you, and the beautiful popping out building shots that are around Spider-Man when he webs across New York City. It is for that reason alone why I will recommend this film before the review is even over. 3D is probably the only way to see this film. I also really enjoyed the beautiful cinematography. If I were in charge of next year’s Oscars, this film would get a nomination in that department for the beautiful colors that radiate off of the fight scenes of Spider-Man and Electro. Colorfully, it can only be matched by Watchmen in the super hero genre, and for those of you who know me, that is a great thing indeed. The chemistry between Andrew Garfield (Spider-Man, Peter Parker) and Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy) is present once again with lots of cute couple dialogue to go with it. These two are together in real life, so it’s no surprise that they know how to play a scene for all of the romantic jitterbugs in the audience. There was even a point when this movie kind of felt like a romantic comedy to me that was taking place in a super hero movie. When grading the acting of Garfield and Stone, the Spider-Man character isn’t even needed. I would enjoy a film with those two without gimmicks. The scenes between Sally Field (Aunt May) and Andrew Garfield are also very heartfelt. Field has always been on e of Hollywood’s most underrated actresses, and she shows that she is definitely the big dog on this set. She brings a feeling to Aunt May in this film that she has worked hard for Peter even when she hasn’t always had help. One of my current favorite actors (Dane Dehann) plays Harry Osbourne. A kid supposedly supposed to be Norman’s best friend from childhood. Dehann plays Harry incredibly with giving him a calm madness hiding just below the surface. He suffers from a lack of love from his father, so he tries to do things bigger and better than he ever did. There are a lot of things I didn’t like about the film, but I will go into them in detail. I loved Jamie Foxx as Electro and felt that he played a character with extreme loneliness very convincing. There are however times where he plays this character a little over the top for a science nerd working as Oscorp. His performance reminded me a lot of Jim Carrey as Edward Nigma in Batman Forever. Instead of breaking ground, he falls for too many of the nerd character clich├ęs that never make him feel even on the same level as Spider-Man. I also felt it was a step back for this film to not include point of view shots like it did in it’s predecessor. Spider-Man is definitely a film franchise that could do revolutionary things with the camera work, and they explored this by letting the crowd see through Spider-Man’s eyes in the first film. Without it here, it just feels like we revert back to the Sam Raimi Spider-Man with nothing new to grow on. I was completely disappointed with how bad they hurt the Rhino character. I know he wasn’t supposed to be a big part of this film, but if I were a fan of that character in the comics, I would be pissed. Paul Giamatti is a great actor, but they give him this awful Russian accent (Yes I know the character is Russian) and he is unintentionally funny every time he pops up on screen. Giamatti and Rhino deserved much better. There were also some scenes that the logic had me laughing. I will try to keep the spoilers to a minimum here, but I need some to tell my point. There is a store scene where Parker is sick and is buying medicine. A robber comes in and tries to steal the money from the register, but is stopped by Spider-Man. If the worker really wanted to, he could look at the camera in the store and see that Parker (While wearing the mask) walks out with the exact same medicine that Parker had in his hands one minute ago. This could easily be fixable with a 1 minute scene where Spider-Man destroys the cameras, but we need to include a cute scene where people laugh because Spider-Man is sick while leaving the store Another scene shows Jamie Foxx becoming Electro while being electrocuted. It shows the gap in his teeth remarkably become fixed. I don’t have a problem with comic book logic, but what point does that have? Is it to make it hard for Peter and Gwen to recognize him? That is another thing that bothers me. Gwen is the one who realizes that Electro is a man named Max who is a scientist in her lab because Spider-Man refers to him as Max during their first encounter. Ya know, because no one else in New York City is named Max. When Electro rises, the logic becomes even funnier. There is a scene where he shuts off all of the cars in New York’s electricity but 50 feet from that everyone is using their cell phones without problems. What kind of electricity drains the cars, but not the cell phones? The friendship between Peter and Harry bothered me as well. We are supposed to believe that these two are childhood friends after not hearing about Harry for an entire first film. I know he left to go to the academy, but this friendship would mean more to the audience if we even heard Harry’s name once during the first film. It feels rushed and convenient that he returns now to add more adversity to Peter Parker. When Raimi wrote the friendship in the first series, it was beautifully constructed between three films before they ever struck fists. In this, it is rushed and never quite given the fight scene it deserves. The movie didn’t suffer as bad from overcrowding as i originally worried, but the final 20 minutes definitely feel rushed with three fight scenes between three different villains. Next, there is a scene where Peter Parker goes to find his Dad’s lost lab which is actually a train underground. Even if you can swallow that nobody found this train on ground radar and even if you can get past the fact that how Peter finds it is a true shot in the dark, you can’t get by the fact that everything in the train is 2014 technology that has no dust or spider webs in the train. It’s like the train has never been touched. I know this is starting to sound like a negative review of the film, but i really did enjoy it. I am trying to show why the film went from a possible 8/10 to a 6/10. The two worst areas of the film i saved for last because it makes me cringe even thinking about it. Sony owns the writes to Spider-Man, but did this movie have to be a big 2 hour and 20 minute commercial for Sony Products? I am not kidding when i say that there are 3, Sony Laptop shots, 3 Sony Cell phone models being used, and a big Sony desktop monitor. Keep in mind, this is all that i caught and that it’s possible that there are more out there. It just feels like a comedic spoof whenever this kind of thing comes on and takes you totally out of the feelings for the movie. The Sony thing is peanuts though compared to the worst musical score/soundtrack i have heard this year. Every pop/folk song like “For You” by Phillip Phillips is used to distinguish some kind of emotion because the director thinks the crowd is too stupid to pick up on emotions for themselves. If Peter is sad, you must play a song with sad lyrics in them. If Peter won’t quit, you must play a song that describes never giving up. Those emotion jams are nothing compared to the score that plays when Electro invades New York City. It’s some kind of awful dubstep song that has a male voice whispering words from Electro’s point of view. Words like “He lied to me”, “He forgot about me”, “SPIDER MAN SPIDER MAN SPIDER MAN” “DIe Spider Man”. It is single handedly the worst music i have heard in film this year. I get that Electro was a cheap reason to use dubstep in your movies because kids are hip to that music today, but it is so ear bleeding that i want to cover my ears even to risk missing plot dialogue. The ending is also kind of unsatisfying. There are technically two of them, and if they would’ve settled for the first one, it would have been awesome. Instead, they add on ten more minutes to film another fight scene that doesn’t even end. Seriously, they begin fighting and the camera goes to black. One will write this off as build up for the 3rd film, but i saw this final shot in the trailers, and when you see that shot in trailers it is supposed to get you psyched up to see the full fight, not wait another 2 years for another film so that we can maybe see the ending to that fight. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a decent effort by director Marc Webb (Webb, how cute?) but it is riddled in the kinds of negatives that made the first Spider-Man series feel old by the 3rd film. I really hope they can pick it up for the 3rd movie as the groundwork is set for an amazing confrontation. Lets just hope it stylistically resembles the first film more. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is recommended because the super hero era is still very big, but challenge yourself to not accept everything you see just because it’s a super hero movie. We don’t have to agree, but i don’t give any movie favoritism just because it’s a genre i enjoy.

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4/10

When you see a decent actor like Greg Kinnear in a film that doesn’t quite live up to his talents, you start wondering if his best days are behind him. Kinnear stars as the father of a boy who ends up in the hospital with a burst appendix. After his recovery, he mentions to his father that he was briefly in heaven when he was under the knife. This story is an adaptation from the New York Times #1 Bestseller, and while i haven’t read that book, i can say that the film is a big waste of time. There is so much wrong with this film that i hope i can get it all out in a basic review. When i compared this film to Son of God, i realized that this film does come off better as a motion picture. It has enough to keep the viewer interested in it’s questions, but fails when we are served the answers to those questions.Beyond this, the kind of film it comes off as is something that you would see on the Hallmark Channel. Son of God is an overall better film though. The reason being, it wasn’t afraid to take a chance with graphic violence that didn’t quite cater to the audience it was intended for. What i find interesting about Heaven is For Real is that we are led to believe that Greg Kinnear and his family are 30 thousand dollars in the hole when he works as a 1. Preacher, 2. Fireman, 3. Parts installer. He also has a nice countryside house which makes it hard to believe this guy is borderline poor. Another cute ongoing storyline is when word gets out of the little boy’s journey through Heaven and the townspeople find it uncomfortable that this is being talked about. Keep in mind that this is a religious community and all of the people who don’t believe him ARE THE PEOPLE SITTING IN THE CHURCH PEWS!!!! I have only been a Catholic for 23 years, but i thought believing in Heaven and God was kind of like the status quo for this group. The first half hour speeds a little too quickly when we are trying to learn the quirks and ticks of what makes this family. Because it speeds by, these people come off as lunatics when we see the way they act at church and softball games. The ladder, being one of the corniest scenes i have seen this year. Director Randall Wallace definitely tries to make this religious film something more that every kind of fan can relate to. Even to go so far as to add a big bad wicked rock anthem like “We Will Rock You” to the film. It’s cute because the little boy wants nothing to do with religious hymns, and instead sings Queen. It all seems so desperate. Which brings me to the little boy who plays Colton (Connor Corum). He is cute, and i am sure will win the award for “Child actor who every woman wants to pinch his cheeks”, but he is the single strangest child actor i have ever seen. He makes these faces that make him seem like he is hearing voices, and i don’t mean the religious kind. A scene when he vomits in the toilet is one of the funniest things i have seen this year. Not that there is an art to something so disgusting, but his noises are so imitated and made even better when the camera pans up to show nothing in the toilet. This film is just an absolute sloppy mess. I am ready for the backlash that comes with me hating this film because it rightfully deserves every word that i have made clear. The biggest shame with this film is the wasted star power of Margo Martindale and Thomas Haden Church. Two of Hollywood’s best role actors who are on sleep mode because this script would rather show you the cameos and not give them anything to earn that screen time. Heaven is For Real isn’t the worst film i have seen this year, but it’s pretty close. I can now add one more reason to why i left Catholic schooling after nine years; i didn’t want to turn out like the Burpo family in Heaven is For Real. The Burpo family, what an appropriate name. This film made me Burpo for 95 long minutes. Not recommended

Rio 2

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5/10

The effort is on a higher scale in this sequel to the 2011 animated feature that i wasn’t a fan of. I will say that Rio 2 is a better film than it’s predecessor, but it is completely riddled in problems. Blue and the family are back with the mission to move the family to his girlfriend’s (Jewel) homeland of the amazon. Blue runs into some tough adjustments along the way, and he has to prove to Jewel that he has what it takes to rough it in the jungle. This film felt very tedious and overstuffed to me. There are too many characters with too many storylines, and only 95 minutes of screen time to wrap everything up. The characters are so hard to distinguish because a lot of them look the same. It’s a rough animated film when you have to memorize every celebrity (Over 20 of them) just to know who is standing in what scene. Beyond this, the characters and their journeys just aren’t that exciting. One thing that films like Despicable Me and Frozen does well is that they give us characters that we learn so much about in such a small bit of dialogue. I felt like i knew everything about the sisters after i watched Frozen, and that is because that is storytelling done well. The animation is absolutely breathtaking with far away shots of Rio and the amazon. There is definitely nothing to complain about in the graphic department of coloring and shading. I did not see this film in 3D, but i can imagine that you won’t need it to fully enjoy the scenery that compliments the colorful feathers of each bird. I also felt that the songs were done a lot better than the first film. One scene in particular is where the villain of the film, Nigel is singing about how he plans to poop on the party of the main characters. It’s cheap laughs for the kiddies, but that doesn’t mean i didn’t catch myself laughing at it as well. The soundtrack is definitely the highlight of this film, but those tracks are few and far between. Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Jamie Foxx, Tracy Morgan and Bruno Mars to name a few, really do a great job for their characters. Their voices don’t necessarily stick out in a scene and that is perfect when doing voice work. It should be about the film and not the actors playing the animation. Overall, i know there are a lot of Rio fans out there, but i would wait till DVD on this one if you absolutely have to see it. I can just hope that this series will stop here because these characters have already squeezed every drop of this less than stellar franchise. Rio 2 is a bust.

The Muppets : Most Wanted

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7.5/10

During the first musical number of the film, Kermit sings about how sequels are never as good as the originals. While this wouldn’t apply to the 2011 Muppets film since that one is the 6th and this is the 7th of the Muppets films, this one nearly comes close to topping the 2011 Muppets. Most Wanted has most of the Jim Henson charms going for it. Creative lyrics with beautiful melodies that are composed by Christophe Beck. One thing you can always count on in Muppets films is that the songs will have you singing them for days and days. A couple of my early favorites are “I’m Number One” and “Stick With Me”. The films puppetry is also quite impressive again. The muppets are each given their own time to shine from the main story involving a kidnapping of Kermit to Walter, Fozzie and Animal figuring out a way to get him back. The storyline itself is enough to keep you intrigued while still giving you the subtle winks every time the outcome seems predictable. That is what makes Muppets films so entertaining; they aren’t your typical children’s films. I am 29 years old and have been a Muppets fan my whole life. Even as i get older, i find that these films still earn the $10 ticket worth. They are very minor reasons, but there are two things that keep this from equaling the magic of the 2011 film. The first is that i didn’t laugh as much during this film. I think there is nothing really wrong with that, but this film was filled more with it’s sentimental moments. When i watch The Muppets, i am in it to laugh. Most Wanted has it’s moments that will have you repeating the lines in laughter. I can just remember the first film being more quotable. The other reason is that the on screen charisma of Jason Segal, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper just can’t be matched by anyone in this film. Sure, Ty Burrell was born to be in a Muppets film, and Tina Fey is a welcome contribution even with a silly russian accent. But Segal was a fan, and you could feel that about that film. Burrell’s buddy cop moments with Sam the Eagle were by far my favorite parts of the film, and i would more than welcome a spin off film with just those two. Muppets Most Wanted is definitely a recommended film for an audience of any age. There is humor, colorful characters and touching moments. It’s a can’t miss for any fan who grew up watching the shows/films.

Mr Peabody and Sherman

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7/10

The re-visioning of the 1960’s side cartoon on Rocky and Bullwinkle sees our main protagonists in trouble traveling back through time to get back home. The voice acting of Ty Burrell (Mr Peabody) and 10 year old Max Charles (Sherman) is done really well, and the perfect choice to compliment old school fans of the cartoon. Peabody is a dog who is the adoptive father of Sherman. He is a very intelligent canine who tries to teach his son about world history through a time machine. Sherman disobeys his father when he takes the time machine out and gets stuck in ancient Egypt. The animation of the film looked very crisp and beautifully textured. Dreamworks once again scores on a beautiful cinematography that really updates the cartoon. One of the biggest benefits to showing this film over another animated feature is that kids will get a history lesson from this film. It makes learning fun by taking our two characters back through some of the world’s biggest events and listing the time and place for those events. Many such historical figures are even brought to life to help the duo get back home. People like George Washington, Marie Antoinette, Da Vinci and even King Tut are given plenty of screen time to represent their respective era’s. There were two things that i thought weren’t necessarily problems but were very interesting about the film. The first is that the film really has no antagonist. I am sure some people will fire back with Mrs Grunion (The Children’s services worker) being the villain, but she doesn’t have enough screen time and isn’t dark inside enough to pull it off. It’s weird to watch a children’s film nowadays that doesn’t have an antagonist. The other thing was that for a film that was marketed as a comedy, it’s not a very funny movie. There is some comedy in the film that will make you chuckle and that is mostly adult comedy. It’s kind of sad to say that the comedy in this film really doesn’t represent children very well. I could be wrong with different kids seeing this, but the children in my theater barely ever laughed. I think all of this is OK because it is still a good and educative film, but it’s just weird that they marketed to kids and it didn’t really do anything for them. I saw this film with my friend who is almost 40 and we both had a couple good laughs when the entire rest of the theater was dead silent. I think that has to do with the comedy that is present being too descriptive for a 5 or 6 year old to understand. Overall, Mr Peabody and Sherman is a delightful ride through the past. It’s a story about our children growing up and having to let go so they can spread their metaphorical wings. It’s also a story about being different and being OK with that. I would recommend waiting till DVD or if you can catch a dollar theater showing of it. It’s a good film, but it can wait.

The Lego Movie

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9/10

The most creative movie i have seen in a few years deserves all of the critical praise it has received. The Lego Movie is something out of a childhood dream. It combines incredible animation with comedic humor that is totally unlike anything ever seen in the animation world. I loved the hell out of this movie for so many reasons. The first, it has an amazing cast. Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks,Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell and the always great Charlie Day bring so much heart to the voices they deliver. Freeman especially brings us so much dry humor as God. It’s a role that he has gotten so amazing at playing (Bruce+Evan Almighty) that people start to question if this man actually is God. As i said before, the animation is incredible. I give the designers of this film an Oscar based on how they brought the Lego world to life. I kind of want to watch this film again based on what i missed. The designs go on for miles and miles and it truly is incredible. The comedic timing has something for everyone. The kids will laugh because this is after all a movie for them, but the adults will love it too because it’s that kind of humor you can look devilishly at your husband/wife and appreciate. It’s also very creative how they tie the movie together at the end. There is a surprise ending that will really melt your heart for those of us who always played with our toys. A love letter to the child in all of us, if you will. I haven’t felt this good about leaving a theater in a while. Sure, there have been better movies in the last few years, but The Lego Movie makes you feel something that you thought was buried away with adulthood. It makes us feel like we are looking down on the world we create with our minds. A couple of the cameos are also very cool in the movie. I am not going to spoil them all, but only the couple that have already been seen in commercials (Batman, Superman, Spaceman). The only negative critique i have for this film is so little that it doesn’t hurt the movie at all. The 3D is kind of useless. Sure it adds to the coloring and the motion of the animation, but no real big tricks with stuff flying at your face. I think you can see this film without paying extra for 3D and still be amazed. There is also a song in the film titled “Everything is Awesome” that will surely be stuck in my head till the end of time, and that isn’t a good thing. The Lego Movie is a film that shouldn’t be missed by anyone. Moviegoers of all ages will be struck with the magic that Village Roadshow Pictures have created.

The Nut Job

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3.5/10

This is the angriest i have been at a film in a long time. The continuing trend of Hollywood studios treating children like they’re idiots, continues with The Nut Job. This film is the equivalent to a cheesy joke told at a party with friends. It’s an unfunny and uninteresting mess.The film stars a couple squirrels (Will Arnett and Katherine Heigl) who are literally fighting over nuts to feed a park of other animals. The biggest pain in the film is how many times they use the “Nut pun” OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. I think the audience understood the first time that nuts is a dirty pun that you can use as a sexual innuendo. It’s childish the first time and mind numbing by time 1,456. The voice acting is what gives this film as high of a rating as it is. Liam Neeson is outstanding once again. This time he is a villain who is the park’s leader as he is harboring a secret plan to starve them all out. Neeson is one of those actors who doesn’t need a face to truly grasp the emotion that he is delivering. Even in a script this stupid, he finds a way to make his character menacing. The 3D is totally useless. There is absolutely no reason that this film had to be in 3D except to make Pixar own even more of your wallet. There is one part in the film that didn’t make sense to me, but by the film’s end it was put in there just so the bad guy could be defeated. Another villain who is a human is blessed with the ability to hear dog whistles. This talent hurts him as he holds his ears in agony every time it’s blown. It’s never explained why or how he has this ability but it sure enough shows you why it was put in the film at the end of the movie. If it wasn’t for the voice work and Pixar’s excellent animation, this film would have been worse than the latest Paranormal Activity. It was THAT bad. I will recommend this film for kids, but even the ten or so kids in the theater i was in were getting bored with it. I caught several glances of them kicking the chairs in front of them. One even played games on his mother’s cell phone. The kids will like it, but only the hardest of die hard Pixar adults will like this film. I have yet to even explain the worst part. That is saved in the closing credits of the film. The film’s theme is Gagnam Style by Psy, and sure enough he makes an animated appearance dancing on the side of the credits. If 80 minutes of torture won’t make you roll your eyes, Psy’s 2 year old dance on the side of the screen will. It’s great to have a song in a children’s movie (yelling) THAT THE CHILDREN CAN’T UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE!!!!! Save your money and go see Frozen if you haven’t seen that. If you have, see it again. See it 400 times before this

Saving Mr Banks

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10/10

Ladies and gentlemen, i give you the best cast in a film this year. Saving Mr Banks is one of those films that come along every once in a while and leave you with all kinds of emotions while watching it. You will laugh, smile, cry and even be frightened for the character of E.L Travers, the author of Mary Poppins. The film shows Travers (Played amazingly by Emma Thompson) struggling to make a living since writing Mary Poppins over 20 years ago. She is approached by Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) with a deal to make Mary Poppins into a film. What follows is the struggle to find a decent agreement between the two sides for making a film that won’t damage the other party. There were so many great performances to talk about that i feel this review might be my longest ever. Tom Hanks is the only choice for Walt Disney. He brings out the magic and charisma in a constant workaholic who made a 20 year promise to his daughters to get this picture made. Emma Thompson deserves an Oscar nod for bringing out the true heart in an otherwise grouchy woman. She makes us understand why she is the way she is when pitching the book to Disney. Colin Ferrell stole the film for me. He gives his best performance to date as the father of a young Travers. He is majestic and energetic as a loving parent with a bad secret below surface. This is the second part of the story told in this film. It shows us flashbacks as the current film is going on of a young Travers and the actual real story of her family and the wonderful woman who came into their lives, Mary Poppins. I honestly tried my hardest to find something negative about this film, and i couldn’t. Everything is done so well that i would totally see this film more than once in theaters just to catch what i may have missed. The supporting cast also deserves praise for the talent that they bring to this picture. Paul Giamatti (ALWAYS amazing), Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman and BJ Novak bring just as much to the picture as the actors i already names. Scwartzman is brilliant as the song writer to some of Disney’s most magnificent numbers. Giamatti is the limo driver who forms the only friendship with Travers, as he sees something deeper below the surface. The set pieces were outstanding with the recreation of 1960’s Hollywood. The film really does it’s homework in trying to get the look and feel right, from vehicles to clothes to Disney Land itself. Saving Mr Banks is one film that definitely cannot be missed. I can’t imagine anyone would have anything negative to say about this film. It’s one of those where the whole family will love it, and it tells two amazing tales with one movie.

A Madea Christmas

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4/10

93 Minutes has never felt longer. I shouldn’t say that this film was a total waste, there are a few laughs. I hate saying this but Larry the Cable Guy was by far the best part of the film as the father of the husband in this story. Madea goes on vacation with a friend to the country to visit the friend’s daughter. Throughout the weekend, they find out that the daughter is married to a white man. This film does pack a decent message with the point of us all bleeding red, but at what a price. To sit through Madea’s loud rude and crude humor is just not worth another glorified Hallmark movie. Take away the rude jokes and that’s exactly what this is. Cheap acting and a story that totally doesn’t make sense. The people of this small town supposedly invested all of their money in this jubilee, so they all go broke. Sounds like a pretty stupid place to me. By the end of the film, the town gets their money back and some more ($100,000 a year for four years). It’s said that the school will be able to buy a couple computers with that money. How much do they think a computer costs? For that much money, they could build a new building than the town hall building that the kids currently go to school at. I also feel like the reason for some of the racism in the film (Both black and white) are some of the dumbest reasons i have ever heard. A Madea Christmas is the best of the three Madea films i have seen, but it still has a long way to go. This kind of film only appeals to the deepest Tyler Perry fans, and from what i have heard, that isn’t many. I don’t need to tell you this, but pass on this one

The Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug

 

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8/10

Coming from someone who is not a big fan of this series, i thoroughly enjoyed this film. This film has made walk away with the greatest feeling after seeing it, and that is for a few reasons. The first is that i was on the edge of my seat for this movie. The dragon Smaug is a great villain that adds even more because he can talk. The scene with the gold coins and his awakening scared me to death. There was just something about seeing his huge eye pop out that made my heart pump. The cinematography in these films is second to none. While i didn’t like the first Hobbit film, i can say that it was the most beautiful picture of the year. This one follows that trend, but it does it in a way to match the desolate mood of the Lake Town. This film’s views are seen more as dark and (hate to use this word again) desolate. The high frame rate is something pretty cool to read about with this film. The fact that they shot each frame at 48 frames per second is impressive, and it shows. I also really enjoyed the introduction of Bard the Bowman and felt Luke Evans was a perfect choice to play him. For those who don’t know, Luke has been cast in The Crow reboot, so i am curious to see what he can bring to Eric Draven. Some of the things i haven’t liked about other films are still there in this film, and i am sure i will get ambushed by fans of the series for it. Ultimately though, what kind of critic would i be if i didn’t put all of my cards on the table? These films are just way too long. I get that it is an epic story you are trying to tell with lots of characters, but maybe there in lies the problem; too many characters. I think the same story can be told without a couple of their back stories being learned. I also have never been a fan of Legolas. The guy is just too immortal for me to relate to. I mean seriously, could he get a cut or a scrape just once? Why do they even need an army if this guy can kill ten people in ten seconds? Just send Legolas to take care of any trouble in the town. I did enjoy the way the film ends as it sets up for There and Back Again quite well. I recommend this film to fans of the series for sure. As for non fans, it’s a hard prediction to make. I am not a fan and i loved it for the things i mentioned above. Give it a shot, it might surprise you.

Frozen

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8/10

The best animated film i have seen in a long time. Before seeing this film, i had no idea that it was a musical. It’s a good thing that it is, because this film has some of the best musical pieces from Disney in a long time. The thing that i love the most about this film is that it reminds me a lot of those Disney films from the 80’s and 90’s. It was a time when the music was possibly the most important aspect of a Disney film, and that is what this is. The film doesn’t have your typical love story or your typical villain. Hell, it even has a swerve. That aspect alone gives Frozen a very original touch. On top of it, there is some of the most beautiful visuals i have ever seen in an animated film. I definitely think this film should win the Oscar for best animated film. The cast is incredible. Outside of Kristen Bell, it’s not really anyone super famous and i like that. Just voice actors here, the way it should be. Idina Menzel has the voice of an angel with amazing songs that she had a part in writing. The comic character (Olaf) was pretty good too. I don’t feel he was desperately needed, but Disney loves their comedy. I definitely recommend everyone see this film. Kids will love the colorful characters, and adults will appreciate the creative songs.

The Hunger Games : Catching Fire

 

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8.5/10

My favorite book of the trilogy is adapted in this sequel that is every bit better than the first adaptation. First off, there are some things that are left out from the book in this film. If you go into every film not wanting anything to change, then you might as well stick to the books. This film got roughly 90% of the book correct. Some of the adaptations are surrounded by beautiful scenery and awesome acted dialogue that puts the first film to shame. The biggest thing i loved about this film as opposed to the first one is the fact that the characters are much better in this one. The characters are given time to shine in their roles. My favorite character in the books has always been Finnick, and Sam Claflin plays him perfectly. The character isn’t too overdone with his charismatic charms that he comes off as feminine, but he carries enough charm to make the character lovable. Jena Malone also turns in an incredible performance as Johanna. She really adds her own attitude to an already rebel character. Phillip Seymour Hoffman kicked so much ass as Plutarch that i could never see anyone else in the role. It’s as simple as that. Peeta and Gale don’t get too much time to shine in this film and i hope their roles will be more important in the 3rd/4th film since they are a huge part of the Mockingjay novel. The film’s 2 hour and 26 minute run time didn’t even feel like it as the time breezed by. With the final novel being adapted into two films, i am curious to see how well they keep with the pacing. Especially since the first of those films comes out in less than a year. I hope they aren’t rushed too quickly. Overall, this film is great and definitely deserves a theater viewing. If you liked the first film, you will love this one. If you hated the first film, you won’t find much charm in this one