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.

Fruitvale Station

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8/10

This was a very deep look into the tragedy of Fruitvale Station in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve 2008. An african american male is shot by a caucasian police officer, leaving the family in shambles. This film is heartbreaking in every sense that a man lost his life at the age of 22. He left behind a daughter and a loving girlfriend. I enjoyed the film because it is shot very well. I usually don’t like the “Shot on video” style of films, but this story is a film that definitely benefited from it. Octavia Spencer is the best performer in the film as usual. She always gives such a performance that can tug at the strings of your heart in any emotion. I think she is purely underrated and one of the best actresses in Hollywood today. I also liked how they made a short incident seem longer in an 80 minute film by filling in the blanks. They gave us a great back story that made you care about the change and good things to come in these characters futures. There were a couple of things i didn’t like which included the actress playing the girlfriend. I just think she wasn’t emotional enough to pull off a role of that magnitude. You can’t even tell me for a second that his girlfriend wasn’t knocked to the floor when she heard the news of her boyfriend. Yet she plays it like a headlight in her car just burnt out. The movie is definitely worth a look, but the only problem with true story films is that you never know 100% what is real and what the studios did to enhance a film. The final shot of the movie is done so well and leaves you with a powerful stance when you exit the film. I definitely recommend this film if you can find it in theaters. If not, it should be out on DVD soon.

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 Way Way Back

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9.5/10

Every year there will be a couple of films that get delayed a few months because i wasn’t able to catch the films while they were in theaters. Luckily, The Way Way Back announced that it was going back into theaters for a limited engagement. This was a film that i wanted to see since May, and it didn’t disappoint. This film was a lot better than i thought it was going to be. Nat Faxon and Jim Rash write and direct a tribute to all of our adolescent memories. The Way Way Back is about a family who takes a vacation to the father’s (Steve Carrell) beach house. First of all, the characters are the best i have seen in a film all year. Carrell plays an amazing douche bag who tries to rough up his step son by dragging him out of his shell. Liam James plays that kid we all once were who longs to belong to someone or something. That feeling of loneliness that drifts into all of us when we enter our teenage years. He also plays it very well. Toni Collette was great as his mother, Amanda Peet, Rob Coddry, and Maya Rudolph turn in decent performances as well. My only gripe is that Coddry doesn’t have much to do and is kind of wasted, but his character isn’t a main one so it didn’t bother me that much. The two people who really steal this film are Alison Janney and Sam Rockwell. Janney is brilliant as an alcoholic mother who is a humiliation to her kids and friends. She has some of the most awkwardly funny moment that can’t help but drag a smile out of you. Sam Rockwell plays my favorite character of the year, by far. His character works as kind of a father figure to James and he sees the child that he used to be with loneliness. He gets James a job at the Swim park he works at, and it turns into the best summer of James life. Rockwell’s dialogue is something that deserves to be seen by everyone. He has a sarcasm that reminded me a lot of Randall Mcmurphy (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). The script is amazing and really gets across the dramatic points that this story has to tell. It’s with those dramatic tones that this film is hard to judge if it is a comedy or drama. I personally saw it as more of a comedy. The drama shows that there are more problems with this family that meets the eye. Steve Carrell is not the best adult figure to these teens going through growing up. The only things i didn’t like about this film was slight nitpicking. I feel that the beginning 15 minutes start off slow and might make some people lose interest. Some people don’t have patience at the beginning of a film, but i am telling you to give it a chance. Those fifteen minutes just build the story before it plays out the problems in front of our eyes. I also didn’t like the last two minutes of the film. The film technically has two endings. The first one is amazing. It sends you going home with a smile. Then there is the 2nd one that leaves you with kind of a bad taste. I can’t give away too much because i really want people to see this film. It’s just not the way i would’ve ended it, but i think the directors were going for a realistic tone that happens in the everyday world. Overall, i definitely recommend this film. I don’t want to give away where i have it ranked currently, but it’s definitely one of the best films i have seen this year. Plus, i was alone in the theater and that always makes for a more enjoyable experience.

World War Z

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8/10

This is the happiest i have been after an original zombie film since 2003 (28 Days Later). The world is overrun by disease infected zombies in this end of the world drama. I say “disease infected” because this film treats the zombie epidemic as a disease…..and it works. It’s nice to see a film take an old idea and make it fresh again with the psychology and not the killings of zombies. That is what makes World War Z different; the zombies infect, not kill. Some of the scenes were amazingly scored by rock legends Muse, which only adds to a heart dropping scene like the one in the plane. Things i didn’t like about this film was the camera work. I got a headache watching this film that took me back to Die Hard 5 earlier this year. Shaky cam work doesn’t always have to be a stable in an action scene. I know why they do it, but just shoot the scene and leave it at that. I also had a dispute with the ending, but because of spoilers i can’t get into that. Brad Pitt is just ok as the lead in this film, nothing good or bad. I felt that a no namer could’ve done just as well, but it probably wouldn’t have sold in that perspective. Overall, i recommend this film in theaters but not in 3D. Outside of the plane scene, i didn’t feel it added anything great.

Man of Steel

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7.5/10

Such a beautiful film with a cast that really hits a home run. Zach Snyder is back with another amazing piece of cinematography. As a fan of Watchman and the beauty of Sucker Punch (Cause not much else was great about that film), this movie only improved my opinion on Mr. Snyder. This is the film that every Superman fan has been waiting decades for. In my opinion, this is the greatest Superman film of all time. Great acting performances are handed in by Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Laurence Fishbourne and of course the amazing Michael Shannon. I didn’t really like Amy Adams as Lois Lane, but she is a football field better than Kate Bosworth. It also took some time for me to adjust to Henry Cavill as the man with the cape. I am not fully in his camp yet, and it may take another Superman movie to see what he can do when he is deeper under fire. The problem with making a Superman film and why nearly no one has been able to do it is because he is the strongest and fastest superhero on the planet. It’s hard to put someone up against him and make him seem defeated and vulnerable. Zod is an excellent choice to put up some adversity, but i had a couple other villains who i would’ve preferred. I absolutely loved the action and destruction in this film. After being slightly disappointed with Iron Man 3, Man of Steel redeems my faith in the superhero genre. My favorite part of the film was definitely the epic showdown between Superman and Zod which goes through buildings and streets like they are wallpaper. I longed for more scenes on Krypton as i felt they were some of the best of the movie. Overall, i definitely recommend this film and would like to hear your opinions on where it ranks among the original four Superman Movies and the 2005 Superman Returns

Hello Herman

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4/10

Herman is a boy who shoots up his high school after years of abuse and torture. This film’s biggest problem (aside from it’s editing, sound, terrible acting and length of time) is it’s story progression. With a movie synopsis like the one i described, you know a story can’t go much further. Example – Boy shoots up school, boy either dies or goes to prison, Boy is put to death if he is sent to prison…..THE END. There isn’t anything about this film that makes you go WOW, or sets up a difference in the shootings we have had in our country. This film does offer a look into the mind of one of these children who are picked on, but it’s stuff we already know. It’s pretty much assumed that a child doesn’t just snap for the hell of it. There has to be a building up of tension and terror in a child’s life for them to let it all out. This film is just an anatomy of that. Norman Reedus does give a decent performance and has some shadows of his own, but that is definitely not enough to save this film. The movie was so generic that the news channel was called “American News”, i am not kidding. The news anchor and the governor are so overdone that it’s ridiculous. We are supposed to sit there and believe that they would get away with the things they say about Herman on TV? Even killers cannot be trashed like they are doing. Overall, i don’t recommend this film to anyone. It’s a decent look at a hate crime, but it doesn’t give you anything new to put yourself through 85 minutes of this slop

The Purge

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6/10

First off, i didn’t like or hate this movie. The difference with this movie as opposed to The Lords of Salem is that this film had the potential to be great. During the first 70 minutes, it is a good film. It gives a great build-up right to the point of the bad people breaking into the house. From there, it’s like the writers didn’t know how to follow in the last 20 minutes. There is a twist ending that gives the film life again, but they abandon it for an ending that is both predictable and corny. This film is enriched with good performances by Ethan Hawke and the leader of the creepy outsiders, Rhys Wakefield. The movie oozes in symbolism for the way we do things in our current society just to prove a point. This isn’t one of the finer points of the film. Finally, i finished the film wondering how all criminals and murderers obide by rules made by our founding fathers. THEY ARE MURDERERS!!! THERE ARE NO RULES FOR THEM!!!! I would recommend this film if you have a dollar theater in your town. Other than that, i wouldn’t waste your time in theaters.

12 Rounds : Reloaded

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6.5/10

I really enjoyed this film from the underwhelming WWE Studios. This is a sequel from the 2008 film starring John Cena. This film stars Randy Orton and doesn’t include any characters or storylines from the previous film. First off, Orton is great for this role. He is a MUCH better actor than Cena, and can bring out the best of dramatic emotions when he needs to. I also enjoyed the vilain in this film. With the exception of one twist towards the end that makes no sense, i felt like we could relate to him a lot for the reasons he is doing the things he is doing. The film almost feels like an early Die Hard movie with the scavenger hunt that Orton has to go on to save his girlfriend. The only critques i have for this film are the normal for WWE Studios. Some of the camera angles they use are terrible and not the best shots for capturing the action sequences. They also don’t always write the best of backstories for their characters. Orton’s character in particular suffers from lack of a past. We don’t really find out anything about his character, and i think that would add to the good storytelling. Overall, 12 Rounds 2 is a good film, and among the top 5 for WWE films. It’s definitely worth a one dollar Redbox rental, so give it a shot

After Earth

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7/10

I was very surprised with how much better this movie was than i thought it would be. Will and Jaden Smith are father and son (Big stretch i know) who crash land on Earth 50 years after it is deemed unlivable. From there, the movie tells a tale of boy becomes man in the form of Jaden Smith stepping out and making this movie his own. I was really surprised that Will took a backseat on this one. This is clearly Jaden’s movie and you know it from the opening 5 minutes. This film featured a lot of excellent fighting scenes with the creatures that inhabit the earth. The only negative i really had for this film was the annoyance of the accents that the main characters had and the lack of acting from Jaden Smith. I know he is a teenager, but he doesn’t even come close to inheriting his father’s range. Overall, a good movie that i would recommend to anyone who liked Will’s 90’s films.