The Raid 2 : Berandal

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7.5/10

This hard hitting sequel to the original has some big shoes to fill. The 2012 original raid is what i consider as the greatest action film of all time. It’s fight scenes alone pack such a punch that you feel like you are going through the pain that the characters are. While some things are on a bigger scale with the sequel, the film generally follows this same format with over the top fight scenes that are complimented by shaky camera work that actually has a reason for once. Iko Uwais returns as the protagonist, Rama. He is a cop who survived the carnage of the first film, and is quickly recruited to play a criminal to infiltrate a mob boss. Uwais’s experience in martial arts is what really makes each fight scene look amazing. There are some scenes that are really violent when it comes to the consequences of the characters. It’s for that reason alone why some people might pass on The Raid series, but i promise you that this isn’t one to miss. The Raid 2 was actually given a theatrical run, and it’s good to see more foreign films get a look in American cinema. The score is also quite excellent to this film. It builds the suspense and the terror that lurks behind every corner. The Raid 2 needs that score more than it’s original because it plays more on emotions in this one. The film clocks in at nearly 2 and a half hours (A little long in my opinion), but it’s because everything is bigger in this film. One of the charms about the original Raid was that it took place in an apartment building. Thus creating the claustrophobia that our protagonists are exploring. With The Raid 2, the story is everywhere, so it needs more time to invest in that telling. I mentioned before that it is a little long in time length, but i feel this way because we literally go 40 minutes at one point without any violence what so ever. I understand that you can’t make the movie about just one thing, but that is the bread and butter for this franchise, and the action scenes have never slowed down one bit even though we have seen over 20 fight scenes between the two films at this point. The storyline itself gives us a Kill Bill kind of feel with Uwais working his way through the ruthless Jakarta Crime syndicate. He is on a mission to find out which gang members are legit and which are undercover cops like himself. You really feel for this character that Iko portrays because he is doing everything to protect his family. This includes going to prison for two years just to get close to the mob boss’s son. The Raid 2 : Berandal is a very worthy sequel to the original. It doesn’t leave you with the same feelings that the first one did because at that time that film was original. After watching the sequel, you will undoubtedly compare it to it’s predecessor. Something that doesn’t give this film as original of a taste as the first. Without question, i urge everyone to rent the original on DVD, and catch this one in theaters. For 145 minutes of solid in your face action, it’s a must see.

Captain America : The Winter Soldier

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8/10

Steve Rogers is back as the first avenger, Captain America. This time the man donning the red white and blue battles a soldier created by Hydra who carries a dark secret of his own. The sequel to 2011’s Captain America packs an original punch with Marvel’s feature films. It feels very much like an espionage film straight out of a Jack Ryan movie. It gives every fan of the superhero something to appreciate, as it goes much further than a typical superhero movie. This film is completely different from the first film and i think that is what keeps Captain America so fresh. Other series like Thor are set in the same kind of setting and era, but Captain America goes from the 40’s to the current day, and it never misses a beat. Truth be told, i did enjoy this film a little more than the first one because it’s cool to see how the main character interacts with today’s technology and today’s problems like cyber hacking. He feels like he is in more trouble in a world he isn’t quite familiar with. The action is nonstop, and produces the best fight scenes of any Marvel film i have seen in a long time. In particular, the fight between Rogers and Georges Batroc (MMA’s George St-Pierre) has some amazing choreography that feels very authentic. Batroc isn’t on the screen for long, so you will be craving for a rematch between he and Captain America. The 3D wasn’t anything special, and i definitely wouldn’t recommend it when catching this at the theater. With the exception of some shield tosses at the screen, there is nothing to write home about to make it worth $12-14. The only other slight criticism i have is about the time. 2 hours and 10 minutes feels a little long for a film that we already know the back stories of these characters. I want to also mention the makeup design of Haley Atwell. She played the love interest of Captain America in the first film, but she has aged 60 years here. They show her in a hospital bed complete with makeup, and it actually looks great. Prometheus should write down on a piece of paper what to do and what not to do with makeup. It should be subtle and not stick out in the scene. Overall, Captain America : The Winter Soldier is a breath of fresh air in a genre that is getting overcrowded. It is my favorite story saga of the Avengers characters because it doesn’t limit itself to just one era. Looking for something to do with the family? Check out Captain America : The Winter Soldier. It’s well worth the price of admission. Just leave the 3D on the side.

Sabotage

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8/10

This review thing is so much easier when you get a film that you can’t stop talking about. Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as a DEA agent who leads a team to a routine drug bust that goes wrong when 10 million dollars ends up missing. The team is blamed for stealing the money, and we are led on a fast paced action packed whodunnit? This movie surprised me in so many ways that it’s hard to get out in such a small review space. You knew the action was going to be good in an Arnold movie, but it hasn’t been this good since Terminator 2. That should tell you how serious i am. This film is better than anything released by Arnold lately (Expendables films included). The things that do surprise you though are the things you will be remembering when the credits roll. The first is that this script is pretty easy to follow, and will never leave you confused. The clues are all put on the table, and when the taker is revealed, you will understand how it was done. The film also has a ton of beautiful camera angles to go with the vicious violence that it presents. If gore and property damage are your thing, there hasn’t been a movie better made for you in the last ten years. Arnold is Arnold in the film, but i think it is Mirielle Enos (The Killing) who steals the show. She is on a riot of insanity and under the table drug use that casts the actress in a light that we have never seen. She not only carries the script, but she makes the other actors around her even better. Joe Manganello is pretty solid, Sam Worthington jumps outside of his usual comfort zone. But it’s Terrence Howard that was one of the lone dull spots for me in the film. He is the most acclaimed actor in the film, and isn’t given much to do. He easily plays this role asleep and that is kind of a shame. The ending is something i wish i could talk more about, but i don’t want to give away spoilers. To me, it ends in a perfect way that is a little unexpected for an expert in the action genre. Sabotage comes in at a fast paced 100 minutes and i think even that is a good choice for it not to drag. I recommend this film to Arnold and action fans alike. Sadly, a lot of people will wait till DVD to see this film, but i think it definitely deserves your 8-10 bucks. Sabotage is a chaotic violent dream.

Divergent

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6/10

I liked this film a lot more than i thought i was going to. The Dystopian genre is really taking off in Hollywood, but this one stands out more than a couple dystopian films that are coming out this year. Divergent stars Shailene Woodley as Tris, a teenage girl who has to choose her future aspiration in a future world controlled by a brainwashing regime. The film is 2 hours and 15 minutes long, and i can safely say that i was entertained for the first 2 hours of it. It’s in the last 15 minutes that the film loses a little bit of it’s steam with a cliche outcome. The ending was weird to me because it almost seems like they went with an ending that could work whether this film gets a sequel or doesn’t do good at all and ends here. Either way, it works. Woodley is excellent in this role. She is young enough to capture a typical 18 year old’s emotions, but she is a good enough actress to channel adult like transformation. She really does transform before our eyes from a weak duckling to a full on fighting machine. Kate Winslet is also outstanding as the lady in charge, Jeanine Matthews. You can tell that Winslet is having a great time as a villain for once. She gets under your skin with smiles and soft speaking. Theo James is a little bland to me as Tobias Eaton, but i think the ladies will love him just fine. They give him the yawning scene of him taking his shirt off showing his tattoo so he and Tris can hook up yada yada yada. He just doesn’t do a good job displaying the emotions of the terrible situation that these people are under. I did enjoy some beautiful scenery which included a capture the flag game at night with the army training. The colors of this dystopian future really work with the wardrobe and emotional symbolism. What i found the most interesting about this film is that it kept me entertained for 2 hours with just building these kids into the soldiers they are born to become. It’s the training and the transformation of Tris that is the best parts of this film. I asked two teenage girls who were sitting 2 rows behind me if the film was a good adaptation, and they said they got just about everything right. They can’t speak for everyone, but that is a good sign for you the readers. Divergent is a film that isn’t as good as Hunger Games (My opinion), but it gives you better character building than that film ever could. I wish a lot of success for this film as i wouldn’t be against seeing the sequels. I just hope they keep out the cliche love dialogue at home. I realize it’s needed because it’s in the books, but i can’t watch those scenes without rolling my eyes. Divergent is recommended to anyone who is into this kind of genre. If you aren’t into books like these, wait till the dollar theater. It’s not essential to see it. Overall verdict – In the middle of the pack for the 33 films i have seen this year.

Need For Speed

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5.5/10 – (SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS) With the exception of Fast Six, this is the most i have ever had to suspend disbelief in a “Speed movie”. Need For Speed is the latest in a film genre about the machines men love and wish they had.It is an adaptation of the popular video game series. Aaron Paul stars as Tobey Marshall, a mechanic and driver who is given the opportunity to save his shop by racing against his arch rival for a boat load of cash. Aaron’s best friend is killed in the race, and he is to blame. He serves 2 years in prison for something that i honestly don’t understand how they pieced the blame on him. That’s exactly what ruins this film though, the fact that it has to brake every ten minutes for some other bombshell in disbelief. There were a couple of big problems that i had with the film that i will share at the bottom. If you don’t want to be spoiled, i suggest you don’t read it. Drive and Rush should have taught us that it is possible for this genre to produce good films. Those two show that the racing can be secondary as long as it has a great story to fall back on. In Need For Speed, the story is easily forgettable as we see beautifully shot chase scenes that will make the viewer feel the power of these muscle cars. The film also delivers two good performances by Aaron Paul and Michael Keaton. I had no idea Keaton was even in this film (Why has Hollywood been doing this with their trailers lately?), but he has the absolute time of his life as the organizer of the big race who hosts his own radio show. Keaton is quite literally off of his rocker in this role and i loved every minute of it. This film also had a pretty wide variety of cover songs that really set the mood for each scene. The best of all is a mellow cover of “All Along the Watchtower”. Beyond this, the film is lost in 2 hours of mediocrity. It has no chemistry between Paul and his female counterpart, it has a lot of awkward scenes just for the hell of it, and it is possibly the biggest insult to law enforcement. Overall, Paul has always had great dramatic chops, but he wastes it in terrible film choices like this. I hope his choices are better in the future. It will be hard to get out of the Jesse Pinkman typecast. Recommended to car buffs, but no one else.
Problems i had
1. While doing over 100 MPH on the freeway, a friend of Paul’s comes by with a gas truck. He fills up the car while they are driving at full speed. UMMMMM NO!!!! A car is already dangerous when it’s turned on while filling up. Multiply that danger by 50 when it’s going over 100 MPH.
2. The villain makes a threat to Aaron Paul on the radio show where he tells the world that he will give them 7 million dollars to make sure Paul doesn’t race in the final race. An issued threat would probably mean jail time for a death threat.
3. Aaron Paul has a friend in the film who steals 3 helicopters. He goes to jail for these acts and then manages to convince the guard to let him watch the final race on an IPAD. I can’t make this up people
4. (BIG TIME SPOILERS) The ending has Paul going to jail for 6 months for illegal racing. I guess they forgot eluding the officers multiple times, destruction of property, disturbing the peace, auto theft and assault during the final race. Smells like more than 6 months to me

300 : Rise of an Empire

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8/10

The battle for Greece continues in this war epic to the 2007 original. Right off of the bat, i will say possibly the most blasphemous sentence to ever be said on this website. This film is better than the original. Rise of an Empire plays off better as an actual movie with a revenge plot storyline that the audience will eat up. In return, the characters are written with more depth and more humanity in this film. The main character is named Thermistocles, and he is an Athenian politician and general. At the same time Leonidas led the 300 spartans, Thermistocles is leading his naval army against the Persians who threaten to take over Greece. I enjoyed that they were showing both armies as they traveled at the same time to fight different sides of the Persian army. The film stars Sullivan Stapleton (Thermistocles), Eva Green and the returning wife of Leonidas, Lena Heady. Green in particular is the best part of this movie. The camera gives her the most screen time, and it is through this that we learn of her very disgusting past. She is after the Greeks for a reason, and will stop at nothing to achieve glory. Green’s dialogue and demeanor show nothing but her having the time of her life in this role. She is sexy, funny and VERY dangerous. It is her sex appeal that makes her at her most dangerous. She’s easy on the eyes, but bad for your health. There is one thing i can say in this review that i have never said and that is that this film has the greatest sex scene in a movie that i have ever seen. Not trying to sound perverted here, but it’s filled with so much passion and aggression that you can see so much of their war emotions coming out on screen. I did see the film in 3D and i have to say that this is one of the only times that i will say it is definitely worth it. My eyes had so much to focus on from falling ash to hundreds of daggers being pushed right in your face. The 3D is also big on pushing a movie that is twice as violent as the original. This movie is not afraid to show buckets of blood, and that is a good and bad thing. It’s good because these films should be brutal. Wars in films should never be PG-13 because of what our soldiers went through. They should be honored in a 100% honest telling. It’s bad though because most of the blood is CGI in this film and it looks horrible. My friend Ryan had an interesting thought. He wondered if the blood looked so bad because we had 3D glasses on and those are like magnifying glasses. I don’t know the answer to his question, but i do think the blood was one of the lone weak spots in the movie. The film also has it’s differences from what actually happened, but i am not going to get into that argument. After everything i said, i still haven’t mentioned the best thing with the film. The two 300 films have some of the best cinematography i have ever seen. Zach Snyder perfected it with the original, but director Noam Murro pushes it to the limit with beautiful sky shots, as well as far and away shots of the naval war scenes that really capture the bloodshed that is present. 300: Rise of an Empire isn’t the best movie i have seen in the first three months of 2014, but it is the most fun i have had at a movie. I think a lot of the problem with these reviewers is that they don’t give sequels a chance to succeed because sequels are mostly a money plot. I think any movie deserves a shot to shine, and if you give Rise of an Empire a chance, it will dazzle you with 100 minutes of powerful battles and characters fighting for the state of civilization. See this film at all costs in theaters and in 3D

Non Stop

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7.5/10 –

Liam Neeson stars in this thriller about a hijacked flight to London. Neeson plays a U.S Air Marshall whose cell phone is hacked by the person who threatens to kill a passenger every 20 minutes. First of all, this film combines two things that i enjoy. I have become a HUGE Liam Neeson fan. Pretty much to the point that anything the man comes out with, i will see it. I also enjoy the airplane genre (If there is one). Films like Flightplan, Passenger 57, Air Force One and Snakes on a Plane are ones i have always enjoyed. What makes Non Stop better than any of the films i mentioned is that it gives us characters that we can get behind and care what happens to them. It gives us an easy enough plot of a whodunnit with a surprise behind every corner. The ending will surprise 90% of the audience as even i got the prediction wrong . The twist gives us a back story that makes sense with our villain. It’s smart and most importantly, it’s human. The camera work is also something that is very attractive to this film. It’s very claustrophobic in which it gives us up close and tight shots that make us feel like we are stuck in a cock pit with Neeson. Those close camera shots also make the guessing game a lot harder for the audience as we get a lot of suspicious faces from the passengers on board. Julianne Moore is the lead female for the film, but i don’t think she is a huge presence here. Her performance is kind of on sleep mode as her character doesn’t have a lot to do. I was particularly fond of Michelle Dockery as the flight attendant, Nancy. For those of you Downton Abbey fans, you know her very well as Lady Crawley. This is the first thing i have ever seen her in, and i think she plays to the drama of a scene very well. She has the kind of eyes that really make you feel her pain. It also doesn’t hurt that i kind of have a crush on her (wink wink). The only problem i really had with the film was some of the things that the villain was able to accomplish. Make no mistake, there are things you will have to look the other way for in this film, but it’s nothing too drastic. I would have a couple of scenario questions for director Juame Collet Serra if i had the chance, but it’s just the critic in me nitpicking. Non Stop is a slow build Hitchcock-like suspense piece. It’s movement is a lot like the plain in which it’s gaining more height with each passing minute. It’s one of those films that will grab your attention and keep it as you want to figure out the big reveal before the ending. I definitely recommend it to everyone.

Pompeii

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6/10

It’s always a rare happening when you pay the full $13 for a 3D film and see the movie in 2D. That is the problem i ran into tonight at the Chapel Hill Regal Cinemas. Midway through Pompeii, the crowd began to talk to each other as we all realized the screen wasn’t blurry when we took off our 3D glasses. One of the ladies ran out to the lobby to inform the manager. They did do the right thing and rewarded everyone with a free future 3D showing of any movie. Props to Regal Cinemas for doing the right thing, but i won’t be seeing a film i saw again just to get the 3D experience. As for the film, it was a lot better than i thought it was going to be. The story (For those who don’t know) is about the volcano explosion in Pompeii in the year AD 79. Kit Harrington plays a slave turned fighter who watched his Irish family die at the hands of Senator Corvus’s (Kiefer Sutherland) army when Kit was a child. Harrington is excellent as the main character of this film. He registers the proper emotions to show us that revenge is the only thing on his mind. That changes when he meets Princess Cassia (Emily Browning). Cassia and her family rule Pompeii and are doing business with Corvus so that he can invest in a new territory. The film is perfectly cast from Browning as a naive but powerful princess to Carrie Anne-Moss as her mother. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is by far the best part of the film though. He plays a slave who is the champion of the battle league that goes on between the prisoners. When the explosion happens, he turns into the biggest bad ass that i have seen in a long time. Adewale has been in some amazing roles, but i think this is his deepest one yet. His rivalry turned friendship with Harrington is what really gives the film a relating premise. The only problem with the casting i had was Sutherland. This just isn’t the right role for him. He does play the villain well as evidenced by his filmography, but his terrible accent mixed with his 2014 look just doesn’t fit. I feel they could have given the man some makeup or at least a wig to pull off the look a little better. The explosion itself happens with a half hour left of the 95 minute playtime, and it is easily the best part of the film. The first hour is ok, but it does kind of drag on with the business side of Pompeii’s community. The thing with these historical films is that you wait the most for what you already know is going to happen. This film had a ton of comparisons to the 1997 film “Titanic” that i won’t bore you with, but i was almost laughing by the time the corny ending hit. That is one thing i didn’t like about the film; the ending will make you role your eyes with this kind of film. Some of the impacting positives were the beautiful visuals and sets throughout the film. Director Paul Anderson really makes Pompeii the beautiful place it once was with colorful buildings and green pastures as far as the eyes can see. The fighting scenes were also nothing short of energetic. A film like this can take you out if the battles don’t do justice of ancient times, but Pompeii definitely brings it. Pompeii is a film that i recommend to the history buffs who like this sort of film. It’s not as good as 300, but it sure as hell is a lot better than this year’s Hercules. I apologize that i can’t comment on the 3D, but if you see it you are more than welcome to review it for me.

3 Days To Kill

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6.5/10

Kevin Costner returns to the silver screen in his first lead role since 2008’s Swing Vote. Luckily, this film is heading in a better direction than a lot of his recent films. Let it be known that i am a Kevin Costner fan. I think the guy puts a lot of heart into the roles he chooses. He is responsible for some of my favorite films of all time. Costner stars as a small time Hit man who is approached by Amber Heard (A CIA agent) about killing “The Wolf”, a contract killer who has alluded authorities for decades. While this is the film that the trailer presents, it is a completely different film that is presented to us the audience. Costner finds out he has less than 2 months to live as he has stage 4 cancer. He uses the remaining time left to form a relationship with the wife and daughter he left behind. It is in the second plot of the film that i found the most enjoyment. The action was fast paced with a lot of well choreographed fight scenes, but the majority of the 112 minute film revolves around the time that is running out. This is the kind of film that i wish Crank would have been if it wasn’t so goofy with the sequel, Crank 2. When watching the movie, i told myself that Costner doesn’t seem right for the action side of this movie. He isn’t terrible, but you just don’t see him as a Jason Statham or Liam Neeson kind of role actor. He more than makes up for it with the emotional story he tells while trying to bond with his daughter Zoey (Played by Hailee Steinfeld). The script is a little sloppy at times as it plays a three way tug of war game with deciding what direction the film should take. On one side, there is the fast paced action chaser, and on another side there is the sweet family movie that tries to tell us love conquers all, and finally a comedic side that takes the steam out of anything mentioned before. Director Mc G has proven before that he can direct his characters to great heights, and it’s kind of felt here as Amber Heard is seductively dangerous as CIA agent Vivi Delay. The villains of the film are a little James Bond-ish with almost laughable personalities. I am OK with the fact that Mc G doesn’t focus a lot on the villain side of the movie, and saves the big battle for the final 15 minutes of the film. The end is done in two parts which makes it kind of drag on at times, but it’s in those final minutes that Costner realizes what gives his life importance. Overall, i was really amazed with how deep at times this film went. It’s more than a typical shoot em up kind of action flick. It’s nice to see a back story inserted that will put you emotionally invested in the characters and not just the violence. I recommend the film for action lovers, but i think it can wait till dollar theater.

Robocop

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6/10

Is it better to have a conscience when being a police officer, or is a blank slate the best way to go? This question is the focus of the newest Hollywood remake, Robocop. First of all, there isn’t going to be a lot of critique with this review. The Robocop franchise is ridiculous and possibly the furthest thing from realistic. It’s like reviewing The Fast and Furious films for realism. There are a couple of things i didn’t like about this film, but i will get to that later. Joel Kinnaman stars as Alex Murphy, a Detroit police officer who is left with damage to 95% of his body in a set up explosion. A corporate big shot (Michael Keaton) and a scientist (Gary Oldman) come up with an idea to put Murphy back on the streets with a robot suit that controls his actions. Kinnaman is decent as Murphy, but he isn’t given the proper development that Peter Weller had in the 1987 original. Kinnaman is a good enough actor to make us care what happens to Murphy, but it would be better if we learned more about who he is and what his actions are as a cop for arguably the most dangerous city in the country. The filming of Detroit is one of my biggest problems with the film. I understand that 90% of movies aren’t filmed in the cities they are portrayed in, but Detroit is one that is hard to fake. Everyone knows what you are in for when you travel there, so to see it as a beautiful lighted up town is almost comical. The movie was filmed mostly in Vancouver and that is understandable as it is one of the cheaper places to film a movie. Two amazing performances come in the hands of Keaton and Oldman. Keaton’s character change is the biggest one of the movie as we learn what his true priorities are. There is a calm storm to his actions on the exterior, but you know it’s all just waiting to blow. Gary Oldman is the best part of the movie for me. He is such a veteran of film that he can do roles like this in his sleep. The role he plays as Dr. Dennett Norton is written very one dimensional, but Gary puts a caring sense of Dr. Frankenstein in the object he has created. He cares for Murphy’s health, and that gives him more definition than the characters he is surrounded by.Samuel L Jackson cameos as a talk show host who comes close to stealing the spotlight at times. He knows more than the viewers he talks to, but relates to them as he only wants the best for America. The action in this film is top notch. There are a lot of fast pace chase scenes with vibrating camera shots to replicate machine gun fire. The new black suit is really cool, but i hope they revert to the old school silver if they make a sequel. The black is supposed to represent the modernization of the Robocop character itself. Overall, i would definitely recommend this film to Robocop fans and action lovers alike. I think it is only passed by the original Robocop (barely), but it far exceeds parts 2 and 3 by a mile. It’s a fun, action packed extravaganza that takes the best parts of 80’s action and 2014 cinematography and creates a hybrid worthy of the Robocop name. Well done Director Jose Padihla.

Vampire Academy

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3.5/10 – Combine “Clueless” with your typical Vampire genre entry and you will have Vampire Academy. The problem with that comparison is that it doesn’t have the memorable lines of Clueless, or the creativity of a 1960’s vampire film. What you are left with is a hip and sexy look at one of the oldest genres in cinema history. This film to me tries to even cash in on some of what made the Harry Potter franchise a success. It creates a cool school where the kids are vampires and carry magical powers. It just doesn’t work when you are talking about something as dark as vampires. I get what producer Don Murphy was trying to do here. He was taking six books in this genre and picking apart the best parts to grab the teen audience into coming along for a ride the same way Twilight did. I think that is my biggest problem with this film; it lacks originality. Zoey Deutch and Lucy Fry star as two vampire teenagers who run away from their high school only to be dragged back after a year on the road. Deutch and Fry are two actresses who i feel could do a lot better in a straight comedy flick. They are too unbelievable to be in this role. They dress sexy, they say the cool lines and they never once seem like they are in danger. I did appreciate the attempt at classifying multiple vampire groups like the Strigori. I wish they would have explored the different families in that respect more and left the teenage lingo out of it. These girls are teenagers and so are their target audience, but it’s just so BORING for anyone outside of that group. The film clocks in at around 100 minutes, and you feel every single minute of it. It’s easy to get lost in the explanation of the families and what powers they possess because the stories carry on and on. There was a nice twist near the end of the movie which i thought was by far the best part of the movie. Other than that, the dialogue is laughable, the CGI is terrible and the fight scenes lack dedication. This film currently holds an 11% on Rotten Tomatoes and it’s easy to see why. I call out directors in children’s movies who treat kids like idiots, so i am calling out the same in teenage genres. I can totally get behind those of you enjoying these books. After skimming through their premises, i can clearly say that they sound like a decent read. But the film dumbs everything that you liked about the books and says sometimes books should just be left alone. I recommend this to the Twilight crowd, but no one else. To those people, i would still wait for DVD.

The Monuments Men

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7.5/10

George Clooney stars and directs in this film about the real life story of the men who rescued and returned millions of stolen art pieces by the Nazi regime. Clooney might not be much of a factor in this film, but he sort of passes the torch to a dynamite cast that brings out the best in every kind of emotion. When i say that, i mean that i was surprised at how much i laughed through this movie. The film does have Bill Murray, John Goodman and Bob Balaban, but i didn’t expect that comedy would be at such a forefront in a film set during World War II. Murray is incredible. He isn’t given a lot of screen time, but he makes the most of a character that makes us laugh and cry as he feels the pain of being away from his grandchildren. Goodman, Matt Damon and Jean Dujardin are victims of a script that is jam packed with characters. They don’t receive enough time to shine, and are kind of backgrounds to the two best characters in the movie, Balaban and the always elegant Cate Blanchett. Blanchett is a victim of the Nazi’s when her brother is murdered in cold blood for discovering a couple of the locations where they store the stolen art. This puts Blanchett in a tight spot because she is the secretary (Forcefully) of one of the Nazi generals. Bob Balaban is by far the best thing about the movie. He is bright, bothered and above all else, charming. He brings a nerd quality that makes him stand out above other characters who are either quiet or the typical good looking Hollywood leading man. His sarcasm really brings out the best in scenes with Murray. The two are stationed on their own route together, and it’s during these times that you will get the best scenes of the movie. The problem with the characters that fall into the background is the fact that they don’t receive character build at the beginning of the screen. They are recruited by Clooney and just thrown into the fray. It would have been nice to know a little more about these people in their home lives. The movie is 1 hour and 50 minutes, but some of that time should be used to make us care more. Which brings me to my other problem with the film; it’s riddled in a slow movement. The first 80 minutes of the film move so slow that it will be hard to believe that it redeems itself in the final 30. Believe me, it all works out. The final few scenes will give you goosebumps at the depths that these monsters went to. The Monuments Men isn’t an amazing movie, and it doesn’t give you the intense warfare of Lone Survivor. The film does however give you an amazing historical insight (Pictures of the actual sights are present) mixed with actors we have known and loved for decades. What might surprise you is that i only recommend it to two types of people; historical buffs or fans of art. I think that anyone outside of these bubbles might get overwhelmed with the slow pacing. If this film sounds like your piece of art, give The Monuments Men a chance.