Curse of Chucky

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7/10

The moral of this story is to never judge a book by it’s previous covers. The Child’s Play franchise isn’t one one of my favorites in horror, but i did enjoy the first one. I think it’s a pretty silly premise, but has it’s charms with some great death scenes and a story that is good but never gives us a full history lesson. That is all multiplied by 5 with Curse of Chucky. This is the best film in the franchise by far. It’s got amazing death scenes, an amazing story that i will get to later and a cast of great characters. Brad Douriff dons the voice of the knife hurling doll known as Chucky. It was great to also see his daughter, Fiona Douriff as the lead of the film as a wheel chaired victim who must overcome her situation. The film is filmed with other amazing cameos that i am not going to spoil for you, and we finally get to find out the back story of the killer who possesses the Chucky doll, Charles Lee Ray. Brad Douriff had a lot to do with writing this film because he wrote a very clever way to bring Chucky back which none of the other sequels have figured out. Chucky is also menacing in this one like he was in the original. Sure, there are some comedic lines, but it’s not overdone. Chucky became a literal joke to everyone with the last couple films and this rightfully brings him back as a legend in the horror genre. The acting was terrible as usual with this film and some of the characters are dumb by actions, but i don’t think the film suffered as a result of it. Curse of Chucky is one of the biggest surprises of the year in my book, and it definitely reaches the top 5 in horror for the year of 2013. I recommend this film to fans of the franchise or anyone who thought that last few movies were crap. I think this is a film that likers and haters of Chucky will all enjoy.

Riddick

 

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7.5/10

I really enjoyed this sequel to Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick. In my opinion, this film is more similar to the style in Pitch Black. It’s rated R, and the storylines of the two films are very similar. There were of course some very enjoyable differences. This film has the best characters of the three films. The acting is a little dull with a couple of them, but i haven’t cared about characters fate as much as i do in this one. That cast is led by Katie Sackoff, who i think is the best character in the film. She is kind of like a female Riddick without all of the cliche’s. She is definitely the biggest badass female i have seen in cinema this year. I also enjoyed the ending as i felt it gave something different to this trilogy. I was worried that this film’s ending was going to fall in the same category as the other two, but it gave a little twist at the end that made you keep from rolling your eyes. I thought the CGI of the landscape looked great at night, but very fake during the day shots. I think Riddick films work better at night anyway because that is what he is all about. If there is a fourth film in the series, i would like to see a movie completely at night time. The monsters in this movie were very original and packed a lethal punch to give Riddick a hard fight. I recommend this film to fans of the series and action buffs alike. There are parts that will have you rolling your eyes at the believability, but come on, it’s a Vin Diesel movie.

The World’s End

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7/10

The final film in the flavors trilogy ends us on a positive note. There was a lot i really enjoyed about this film. About 35 minutes in, it becomes a totally different film that is all about learning from our mistakes and that the good times we had when we were young don’t have to be the best times of our life. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are back (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Paul) for another dose of comedic genius and great characters that are sometimes hard to find in today’s films. The character of Pegg’s was a little hard to like at first, but you realize that he is a man who doesn’t have much to live for. I thought the action and effects from the violence were done very well. The comedy is the right tone for a film that has a bit of a serious tone on alcoholism. The only things i didn’t like was what happened at the end of the pub crawl, and the ending of the film itself is a little drawn out. It’s cool that the film had balls to go through with an ending that some people might not be satisfied with when they head home. I definitely recommend the film to everyone, and especially to those of you who have seen Shaun and Fuzz and enjoyed them. I would say this is the 2nd best film of the trilogy behind Shaun of the Dead, but that is just my opinion.

Jobs

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7.5/10

I enjoyed a lot of the aspects of this film. The scenery is well done with a great model of the Apple offices being displayed. I really thought the film was shot in a beautiful way with lots of close up angles to display the emotions of a character. Ashton Kutcher wouldn’t have been my #1 choice to play Steve Jobs, but he gets a couple things right. Steve Jobs was a genius, but an asshole at the same time. Kutcher brings out the asshole in Jobs, but that is about it. The problem with Ashton playing the Apple CEO is that i only see Ashton; i don’t see Steve. The best performances in a biography film make you feel like you are watching the character and not the actor. Some good examples are Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), Jared Leto (Chapter 27) and John Cusack (The Raven).With that said, i would’ve opted for Jason Schwartzman. Jobs gets a lot right with a script that includes a lot of important dates. It also has a lot of events that should be cut from the film that don’t make any reason to be there. With a 2 hour running time, there are definitely ways to get this down to a 100 minute film. When comparing this film to The Social Network and Pirates of Silicon Valley, i enjoyed the story and characters more in Social Network, but i felt Jobs was better than Pirates. I recommend this film as a rental or pay per view purchase. Not that the film isn’t good enough to see in theaters, but there are some small things you may miss that will need rewinding, so i don’t think it’s suitable for theaters.

The Butler

 

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7/10

This was a pretty good film that told a very detailed story of how far equal rights has come in 80 years. Forrest Whitaker really gave an amazing performance as the butler of The White House. Whitaker’s performance has been praised by many over the last couple months, and while i feel it is good, i don’t feel it is Oscar worthy. To be honest, i actually cared more about his son’s point of view in the story. It seemed like his son was taking a very different road that you don’t hear about often in movies. This cast is absolutely one of the best of the year. Aside from Whitaker, there’s Oprah, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber, James Marsden, Minka Kelly, Robin Williams, Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr. Not all of the performances are phenominal and the problem with a cast this huge is that you always desire more out of them, but they are given such limited time. John Cusack for instance, is my favorite actor but i felt he didn’t do Nixon well at all. The best impression was probably Alan Rickman as Reagan. The film has a lot of value for people to give it a look. You might even be like me and learn a thing or two. At 2 hours and 10 minutes, this film is a little long for the average viewer, but i think it’s well worth it. Personally, i feel it is probably one of the top two or three films currently playing in theaters.

We’re the Millers

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7.5/10

Definitely the funniest movie of the year. This was probably the first film in a couple of years that really tugged at my gut as far as laughs go. This film has an outstanding cast led by Jennifer Anniston, Emma Roberts and Ed Helms, but it’s Jason Sudeikis and Nick Offerman who totally steal the show. Sudeikis has been in some great comedies, but he is never really the centerpiece of the story. This film totally changes that and shows that he should be the lead in more roles. There is something about the way he says his lines in a straight toned manner that really only he can do. Nick Offerman kicks total ass as a DEA agent. For the people who love Parks and Recreation, he turns in another great performance in this film. The story and situations are a little far fetched, but i have seen a lot worse from better films this year. Millers succeeds because you care about these characters and the family they become by the end of the film. The scenes with Anniston stripping are a little much and not really needed, but the men will like it. There is a point after she strips where Sudeikis looks at the camera and shrugs like he is saying “What the hell?” I definitely recommend this film for people who want to go to the movies and have a fun time. This film will leave you with some lines you will be quoting for the next couple of years. Be sure to stay for the credits as there is a great gag reel. It includes what i think is the greatest gag reel prank i have ever seen. You will know what it is when you see it

The Lone Ranger

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7/10

I am wrong about a film every once in a while, and this was definitely one of those times. The Lone Ranger clocks in at 2 hours and 20 minutes long which will detract a lot of it’s viewers. I am not foolish enough to believe that everyone will feel the same way about this film that i did. With that said, it is a lot of fun and thrills with very colorful characters. The chemistry between Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp is incredible, and i can see why they were both chosen for this role. Johnny Depp can be a little stereotypical of the indian culture as Tonto, but does not overdo it. The cast also includes excellent turns from Barry Pepper, Helena Bonham Carter and the always amazing William Fichtner. This was also surprisingly dark for a Disney film. I was definitely surprised as they showed an eating of the heart by the villain of the movie. Things i would’ve done differently aside from cutting the film to 2 hours even, i would’ve included more about the backstory of Tonto. We do learn that he is responsible for a lot of the bad things in the film, but i found that story very intriguing and would’ve liked to learn more about it. Overall, i definitely recommend this film to everyone, but be prepared for a long one. I am also not guaranteeing you will like it. But hell, it made a believer out of me, and i am certainly not an easy one to please when it comes to cinema.

The Wolverine

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7/10

This is the Wolverine film that i have been waiting for. This sequel to the crappy X-Men Origins: Wolverine does things a little better in the story of this legendary comic character. It’s not 100% perfect, but it is getting there slowly. Hugh Jackman returns in a role that i couldn’t imagine anyone else in Hollywood playing. He is simply amazing by this point playing the troubled Logan. Jackman is probably the best casted superhero in any comic book film. This film finally took the dark premise of Logan’s life and brought it to the big screen, and that is something that no X-Men film has done correctly so far. I really enjoyed how they finally showed us the bone structure underneath the claws. It’s the little things like those that can always win me over. I wasn’t too high on the choice for Viper as the villain. She is an amazing character and very powerful, but i have always considered her more of an Avengers villain (comic books or not). It was also pretty comical to see Yukio beating her down. The visuals and shooting locations are beautiful for this film. I have always liked the setting of Japan when filming a troubled story. They seem to get it right with their western culture and beautiful landscapes. Be sure to stay after the credits again as we see build up for the upcoming X-Men : Days of futures Past. The 2 minute bit had me half excited and half wondering where the hell they are going with this film. Overall, i recommend The Wolverine to comic book fans in particular. I don’t think the outside world will get much enjoyment out of this film, but the fans of X-Men and Wolverine will love it.

Killing Season

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7/10

Robert De Niro and John Travolta return to top notch in this revenge thriller. De Niro held Travolta at gunpoint in the Bosnia war shooting and (what he thought) killing him. 18 Years later, Travolta returns for revenge. I loved the amazing acting by each one. This movie only features four credited actors, but it doesn’t need anyone else. It’s all about De Niro and Travolta giving great performances. The film only runs 80 minutes, but i don’t think it hurts it in anyway. It has a story to tell and that is as long as the movie could possibly stretch without it getting dull. I enjoyed the beautiful music score by Christopher Young. Johnny Cash even lends his support with the song “Don’t take your guns to town”. It certainly makes you never look at the song the same way again. Since this is an independent film, you probably won’t be able to find it, but i definitely recommend seeking it out when it hits DVD. If you are a fan of De Niro or Travolta, i think you will enjoy it.

Only God Forgives

 

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7/10

This review will no doubt be the weirdest and most contradictory of all of my reviews. First of all, i want to say that i enjoyed the film. It was definitely a good old fashioned Japanese revenge film. It reminded me a lot of the kung fu films because of the graphic violence of it. I also enjoyed the cinematography and the way the film was shot. Nicolas Refn sees a world in his films that is both beautiful and frightening. He is a director that i really enjoy, and i felt he did a good job here……..mostly. On the negative side, i can fully understand why this film was booed at Cannes Film Festival. This movie definitely isn’t for everyone, and i will go ahead and tell all of my readers that i would be very surprised if anyone else likes this movie. One thing that is good and bad about this film is that it’s dominated by the performance of Vithaya Pansringarm. Make no mistake about it, this is his movie. As much as you are told in the trailer and synopsis to hate this man, he is the guy you will feel the closest to. You understand why he does the things he does. Ryan Gosling and Kristen Scott Thomas are kind of wasted here. It’s a shame because you have great actors like these two in the film and they are practically on sleep mode the entire time. Only God Forgives will go down as possibly the only film i have ever liked and not recommended at the same time

The Conjuring

 

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7.5/10

I really enjoyed this horror/suspense movie about a family that is the victims of a possession. Based on a true story, this film has been receiving mostly positive reviews with even some comparing it to The Exorcist. Personally, i thought the film was done really well with great acting and a lot of visuals that make the non-horror fan very scared. I don’t think deep horror fans (like myself) will be that scared or bothered by this film. I found 2012’s Sinister a little more bothering to me. That doesn’t mean that this film doesn’t deserve the praise it’s getting. The Conjuring tells a very creepy story that makes you wonder how this family is ever going to get out of it. Some of the negatives of the film was the weak body count and a somewhat anti-climatic ending. Some of the positives was the great acting led by Vera Farmiga as a psychic with the ability to see demons.Also, i don’t praise child actors often, but i thought they were outstanding in this film. All five of the children add something to a great formula. I also think the musical score is one of the best of the year. I think the music in particular is where a lot of the comparisons to past horror films comes from. I would recommend this film to horror fans new and old who are looking for a recipe on horror films done right. There have been many done wrong in the last 15 years, but The Conjuring is one that we will be talking about for years to come.

Pacific Rim

 

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7/10

This film was like a mix between The Power Rangers movie and Real Steel. I will first of all start by saying that i enjoyed this film a lot more than all three Transformers films and Battleship. This film has a lot better characters and real life drama than those films could ever comprehend. This movie is a big war with robots taking on monsters that appear out of a portal from the ocean floor. My only problem with that premise is that it never explains why the portal is there in the first place. I would’ve liked some background on when the attacks started, but instead we arrive midway through a random attack of San Francisco. Another problem i had was the training class of stick jousting. I understand why they had to do it, but why couldn’t it just be a boxing class? The robots don’t use sticks so why do the trainees have to? Stuff i liked about this film was the cast. Idris Elba has always been an amazing actor in my opinion, and he really adds a dramatic layer to this film. Charlie Hunnan is great in the lead role that gets a little cliche at times, but gives us more than a typical jock in this role. In my opinion, the action was 2nd to none in 2013 film, and i would definitely be curious to see how this film looks in 3D. Overall, i recommend this film for the action buffs. I think it provides a good story with tons of great fighting scenes between the robots and the monsters.