Empire State

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4/10

I can totally understand why this film which has a great cast went straight to DVD. Liam Hemsworth, The Rock and Emma Roberts star in this film about the biggest heist in American history. Hemsworth stars as a night time security officer who guards the city’s money exchange. When his partner is shot dead, he decides that life is too short and decides to rob the station of it’s 25 million dollars. Right off the bat, the problems i had with the film was the dialogue as well as the characters being some of the dumbest of the 2013 film year. For a robbery that was so much money, it sure seemed pretty easy with the way the security officers told everything to Hemsworth during his first day on the job. I mean, they showed him every possible way to get to the money and get out undetected past the security dog, the cameras and the secured timers. They told him so much, it seemed like everyone was just waiting for him to rob the place. It’s a shame that this film is so weak because it has a good cast and a decent story that could have been told a lot better. The Rock does nothing different in this film, and plays the same character that he does in every action movie. Roberts is probably the biggest waste though, as her character barely has ten total minutes of screen time. What is the purpose of even having a big name actress like her in this film? She doesn’t even seem to have a close friendship to Hemsworth, so i don’t even see the point of her character. I don’t recommend this film when it comes to DVD in 2 weeks. There are certainly much better true crime stories that are coming to DVD soon. Try The Iceman

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.

Paranoia

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5.5/10

If this is a look into the future of cell phone technology, i think i will keep my flip phone. Paranoia tells the story of competing cell phone companies who are looking for the next biggest thing. It just so happens that the next big thing they are selling is a model for a big brother system. This film is so unbelievable that it can’t even spell the word logic. Unbelievable technology mixed with an almost comedic business side of the cell phone world makes this film an easy pass. I am sure cell phone companies are very competitive with one another, but this is a little too extreme. This film turns into a CIA espionage movie midway through and never lets up. The only thing i really found redeemable about this film was the interaction between Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford. They are definitely two seasoned veterans who knows what to bring to two characters who betrayed each other. Liam Hemsworth is the same old same. I am not really a fan of his work because of the bad choices he has made in 2013 with what films to take. The dialogue is something out of a James Bond movie, and that is NOT for the better. Who talks like this? The characters are robotic and very empty through the better part of 93 minutes. I do not recommend this film to anyone. If you like technology, it could be cool. But i can’t see anyone coming out of this film with a positive review. This film was Harrison Ford’s worst opening weekend ever and i think it’s pretty easy to see why.

Kick Ass 2

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6/10

I have to say, i was expecting much worse after reading the critics reviews. First of all lets get it out of the way, this film is nowhere near as good as the original. I consider the original Kick Ass the child of the series. Kick Ass 2 would be the teenage version as there are a lot of hormones and teenage problems in this one. More on that later. If there is a Kick Ass 3, it would be the full evolution of these characters as they have now taken on the adult superhero role. My biggest problems with this film were the dialogue which isn’t funny at all. I laughed a couple of times, but they were more about the situation. I was a little disappointed that the best character in the film (Hit Girl) is nothing more than a “Mean Girls” storyline for 3/4 of the film. Chloe Moretz is great again as the purple haired warrior. Christopher Mintz Plasse also does a great job as the super villain Motherfucker. He provided the only laughs of the film for me. I also didn’t like the setting of this film. I know that seems like something stupid to complain about, but the first Kick – Ass had such beautiful coloring and cinematography that just isn’t present here. It still maintains that comic book feel which is nice, but the whole aura isn’t there. John Leguizamo and Jim Carrey were great in their roles for the 10 minutes each of screen time they received, but they were mostly wasted in this film. Nicolas Cage didn’t have much more screen time in the first film, and still made the most of it. I definitely think some fans will be disappointed with this film because it doesn’t pack the punch that the first one did. I am part of the crowd that thinks it is good but not great. I would recommend this film when it comes to dollar theaters. I think it definitely warrants a silver screen showing from some of the action scenes, and the Hit Girl Vs Mother Russia fight scene is definitely not to be missed

Planes

 

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6/10

This movie had a lot of similarities to Dreamworks Turbo. Both films take place in a race where the little athlete that couldn’t has to overcome the big bad villain to win the race. Along the way, both films have side characters that tell the lead that they can’t win. This all leads me to wonder how many more times they can pull off the same premise. Cars was kind of similar as well, but Cars is my favorite of the three films by far. Planes isn’t a bad little movie, but it isn’t very original. As i said before, this premise has been done so many times that it’s completely predictable by this point. With that said, i did enjoy this film that had some great voice over work by Brad Garrett, Stacy Keach and Sinbad. Dane Cook wasn’t terrible as Dusty Crophopper, but his storyline wasn’t very exciting to me. The film is already planning for a sequel in 2014 and i hope it brings a little more with it. The animated world has been very blessed the last couple of years with Despicable Me (1 and 2), Wreck it Ralph, 9, Paranorman and many others. So it’s easy for a film like Planes to fall into the forgettable category. Clocking in at 82 minutes, it is a very short film. I think they could have taken more time to develop the story and make it a little different. I recommend this film to kids because they will love it, but i would pass for adults. It’s not a film that warrants more than a Redbox rental.

Elysium

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5/10

I still don’t know what the hell i just watched. Matt Damon and Jodie Foster star in possibly the biggest bomb of the summer (my opinion). This film had a very confusing storyline, slow paced movement among the storylines and a weak ending. You could pretty much predict what happens in the film just by watching the trailer. There were a couple of things i enjoyed and that was the performances of Jodie Foster as the head of security on Elysium. She really brings a lot to the role as a snob who is trying to keep the poor class off of her land. I also enjoyed Sharlto Copley as the rugged bad guy, Krueger. The film also has some decent action scenes, but that is it. The problems with this film are the symbolism it expresses with our own world of overpopulation and a snobbish rich class. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with symbolism, but it was poured on WAY too thick in this film. Elysium is a look at the future that takes you on a ride through a look at the future. The problem with that look is that it only gets exciting in the final 20 minutes. It is within that time frame that we finally land on Elysium. Anything before that, is a long and boring look at characters in which we don’t ever receive a decent back story with. I don’t recommend Elysium unless you are a die hard Matt Damon fan. Even then, it would be hard for me to believe you would enjoy this.

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.

2 Guns

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6.5/10

Honestly, i was a little disappointed in this film. It’s good, but it doesn’t have a lot of substance. The trailer pretty much tells you everything about the film, and you can tell the direction it is heading with all of the predictions in the first 15 minutes of it. I really enjoyed the team of Mark Wahlberg (stole the movie) and Denzel Washington, and you can tell they had a lot of fun shooting this film. The action is pretty good, the storyline reminds me of 1996’s Bulletproof, and they even manage to throw some great comedic humor into it. I guess i was disappointed because nothing out of the ordinary happened. Like i said, if you have seen the trailer then you have already seen 90% of this film. Bill Paxton is great as the bad guy. He is typically someone i am not a fan of, but he certainly fit well as a C.I.A agent searching for his 43 million dollars. I would only recommend this film at the dollar theater or to wait till DVD. It’s not something that would require you to put ahead of other (better) films that are currently playing.

Red 2

 

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8/10

Best action film of the year by far. The group returns in this sequel that is better than the original (in my opinion), and brings in several new characters that are awesome. Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich (Best part of these films) return with Neal Mcdonough, Anthony Hopkins and Byung Hun-Lee. Hopkins is the best actor on the screen as usual, but it’s Lee who steals the show as the #1 assassin in the world, Han. Han is one of those bad guys who just kicks total ass and doesn’t worry about consequences. He is smarter, quicker and stronger than everyone in this group which makes you wonder how they will take this guy down. The result is one of few things i don’t like about this film. I don’t want to give it away, but he is jobbed out in this film like he was GI Joe 2. I also thought the last ten minutes were a little far fetched, but the difference between this film and say Fast and Furious is that these are trained agents, so them pulling this stuff off is a little more believable. Not completely, but a little bit. On top of it all, there are great explosions and awesome fight scenes. The scene with Han taking on a dozen cops in a convenience store personally sealed this film as an 8/10 for me. I definitely recommend this film for everyone. The guys will love the action and the women will love the comedy and the two awesome female heroes that carry the group completely

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