Don Jon

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7.5/10

To see this film’s trailer is to only see half of the film. This comedy starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a lot more than a young man’s addiction to porn. It is about his transformation into becoming a better person which makes his sexual experiences that much better. Tony Danza totally stole the movie as Levitt’s father who is a shining example of most hard assed parents who want the best for their kids. I always say that Requiem For a Dream should be shown to every high school kid in the world, well this film needs to be shown to every male who is in a relationship. I don’t want to give too much away, but this film asks the question of which things within yourself are worth changing for what you view as tranquility. The only things i didn’t like about the film was some of the acting being a little over the top. I think people see New Jersey citizens in the script and always have to play to the stereotype. I feel like these characters could’ve added a little more to making them their own. Also, Brie Larsen plays Levitt’s sister and is totally wasted as she plays the Silent Bob role of the movie. Don Jon is a film about opening up your eyes and changing the things in your life that may be toxic to the way you live. I recommend this film to the male demographic. I don’t know how secure the female demographic will be to enjoy this film. The porn might be a little too over the top.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

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7/10

The laughs are brought with a very cute movie for the whole family. I really enjoyed this film that is a sequel to what i thought was the best animated film of 2009. All of the best characters are back with Terry Crewes filling in for Mr T. I personally preferred Terry Crewes as i feel he is comic gold in anything that he does. Steve the Monkey has always been my favorite character in this franchise, but i thought Berry was a much welcome addition. There was something about this film that was more adorable than funny. Don’t get me wrong, the laughs are certainly there, but this film was just more of a feel good story for me. It doesn’t match the greatness of the original, but it is still a very good film. I have been real pleased the last couple of years with animated films. I think they are reaching an artistic peak with the technology available. I would welcome a 3rd film in this franchise as i feel they kept it very entertaining in the 2nd film. I personally preferred the egotistical mayor of the first film as opposed to Chester V, but that is a nit pick. Take the whole family to see this film. The kids will like it for all of the adorable and funny characters, but the adults will love it for all of the puns the kids don’t understand.

Rush

 

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8/10

The title says it all in this fast paced film about two rival Formula 1 drivers who live the fast life of racing, and give it all to defeat the other one. This film had a lot of great qualities to it. The camera shots were beautiful with some incredible edits. This film should be nominated for an Oscar for it’s editing alone. Chris Hemsworth is great as the cocky and young, James Hunt, but it’s Daniel Bruhl who steals the show as Niki Lauda. During the film, you will find yourself rooting for Lauda even as the story follows Hunt more. I think that is what really puts Ron Howard above most directors in terms of storytelling. That subject definitely isn’t abandoned in this film as the story is every bit as good as any other part of the film. The only thing i would probably change about the storytelling is the outside of the racing world. We get glimpses into the different lifestyles of Lauda and Hunt, but we don’t ever really see enough to see what they are going through. The film is about the racing world, but to see more from the outside characters (Olivia Wilde especially) could make this film go a whole lot further. There are times where the film gets a little slow from the same scenario, and that is where some outside perspective would’ve helped. I would definitely recommend this film to everyone. I think racing fans will love it for obvious reasons, but non racing fans will like it from the charisma of Hemsworth and the intelligence of Bruhl.

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.

Prisoners

 

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9/10

Hugh Jackman is an Oscar contender in this dark kidnapping drama. This 2 and a half hour film is filled with enough swerves to always keep you guessing. I thought the film played out more as a TV show than a movie. It has such a bleak surrounding that you wonder if the sun ever shines in this town. Two children go missing on Thanksgiving Day after playing outside, and the only thing the parents have to go on is an R-V that the kids were playing on outside. The thing i find the best about this movie is that it’s much more than a harrowing drama. It plays out a story that shows how parents can become a nightmare version of themselves when they lose the thing that can be the most precious to them, their children. This film turns in great performances as well from Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis and Maria Bello. Infact, i think Terrence Howard is the only actor who was wasted by a jam packed film. There simply just isn’t enough for him to do in this film. Some people who watch the film are going to hate it because there is kind of a negative aspect to the way the film ends, but i think it’s perfect. All of us have to answer for the sins we have committed and that is no further proof than in the film Prisoners. This is definitely the best film in theaters right now, and i recommend that everybody go see it. I don’t think a film has ever been as smart to cops and how they act when a child goes missing. A top ten of the year for sure.

Thanks For Sharing

 

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6/10

If Judd Apatow directed a film about sex addiction and the toxic traits that come with it, this would be the film he would make. Thanks for Sharing follows a couple of people in a group (Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Pink and Josh Gad) who struggle with the real disease known as sex addiction. This film does do a lot of good in opening the eyes of the world, and getting the word out there. It does have a lot wrong with it at the same time. For one, Mark Ruffalo just doesn’t feel right in this role. He comes off as a smarter man in all of his films and is quite good at playing the stereotypical genius character. That is why someone like The Hulk is perfect for him, because he is the side of Bruce Banner that is the scientist. In this role though, it just doesn’t work. He shares no on screen chemistry with his girlfriend in the movie (Gwyneth Paltrow) and that really hurts the scenes. Ruffalo is a great actor, but there are just some films that certain actors shouldn’t do. Tim Robbins however, was born to play this role. He plays a father whose own son is a drug addict. He struggles between the responsibility of leading a group and being a positive role model for his own child. Pink is also a breath of fresh air. For this being her first big role in a film, she really nails it. She brings such a deep sense of comfort and paranoia at the same time in her role as Dede. The scenes in this film were shot very well, but don’t take many risks. It’s a pretty safe movie with some real touching moments. There were just a couple of parts in particular that really took me out of the film. You can see some things coming from a mile away, and i think that is truly one of the film’s biggest weaknesses. Overall, the film is just OK, but should probably still be seen by anyone who is into films like these and 28 Days. As for sex addiction, i would stick with 2011’s Shame. It polarizes the disease in a more life altering nature.

Insidious : Chapter Two

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5/10

I am convinced that i may be the only person who didn’t like this movie. I have seen posts over the last week from people saying it was “The best movie ever” and “The best horror film of the year”. It all left me scratching my head after watching it. Insidious 2 does have it’s moments. I particularly enjoyed the storyline about the abused little boy and the spirit of the woman in black. It made complete sense when they were explaining the back story and some of the things that happened in the first film. The one thing i didn’t understand was how the good spirit of Josh could hear the alarm going off in the first film and then be the one ringing the alarm at the same time in the 2nd film. The thing that is real depressing is that i laughed my way through a lot of this film. The fight scenes were anything but suspenseful and the scenes are just utterly pointless. The comedic dialogue was great (especially with the two nerds), but it doesn’t belong in a demonic film this dark. The score is once again phenominal. There is something about hearing violins during jumpy scenes that really heightens the terror. I also enjoyed the work of Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne. They were definitely the right choices for the mother and father of this family. This film really made me sad for the first one because i LOVED that movie. The suspense was great and it didn’t need some cheap comedy laughs or even a backstory for it to be great. Speaking of which, where the hell did the man with the red face go in this sequel? He is nowhere to be found. You would think that he would have a lot to do with this abused child becoming a killer. Overall, i DO recommend this film because i know people are going to like it because some people were not raised on classic horror films. This is a genre that i am a very tough critic with because it’s my favorite kind of films, but i do not give this a passing grade.

The Family

 

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6/10

I enjoyed this dark comedy about a mobster family who tries to start their lives over after their father is exposed. The thing that i had a problem with in this film is that it sometimes has problems identifying itself with the kind of film it wants to be. There are points that make you think this is a kickass action comedy along the lines of Red and Red 2, but then there are points that make you think this is a dark mafia film to the likes of Goodfellas. The first third of the film is the weakest part of the movie for me. It’s slow in transition and doesn’t tell you the things we need to know about the characters for the struggles they will face later on. The other 2/3 of the film is very strong when we start to see these characters settle into their environment. I really enjoyed the work of everyone in the family. Michelle Pfeiffer is starting to be similar with all of her movie roles, but she’s not terrible. Robert De Niro and Tommy Lee Jones have amazing on screen chemistry that really lights it up during the arguments that they have. They are best friends who really hate each other and it’s gold. I really enjoyed the final ten minutes of the film, but i wish they would’ve cut out some other stuff earlier and made this sequence about ten minutes longer. Overall, a decent film that i think warrants a dollar theater checkout. I don’t think i would pay the full price at a theater to see the film

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane

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3/10

What a horrible piece of mess. This 2006 shelved film just came out this year and stars Amber Heard as a teenage girl who goes on a weekend getaway with the popular crowd. I can only imagine that the reason this film was on the shelf for 7 years is because it is a complete failure. I appreciate the original idea they were going for with this film, and some of the deaths are cool, but this film has a lot of problems. First of all the acting is terrible. Even for a straight to DVD horror film, the acting is some of the worst of the year. With that acting comes awful dialogue. Even for stupid teenagers, i can’t picture them saying some of the conversations that are said in this film. Not one character you give a single bit about. They are all expendable and a waste in the truest form. The film is a whodunnit? which takes us back to the horror films of the 90’s, but you realize who the killer is within the first 25 minutes. It is during the 40th minute when the killer reveals themselves, and 50 minutes still to spare. The thing that the director didn’t realize is that there is nothing left after you give the big reveal, so it struggles for the rest of the movie. The remainder does include a swerve that i can say i did see coming, but it does work. It’s just too late by this point. The close of the movie shows possibly the worst 10 minute fight scene i have ever seen. Neither person work well in a fighting angle, and it looks like a teenage girl slap fight. This is dead and useless film here people. Do yourself a favor and pass on this one when you see it on the movie store shelf. You will be glad you read this review first

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.

Getaway

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4/10

This unoriginal film was definitely nothing to be amazed with. Ethan Hawke, Selina Gomez and Jon Voight star in this fast paced thriller about a man’s wife being kidnapped for a hefty ransom. In a nutshell, you have seen this premise a million times before, so what makes Getaway so different? Absolutely nothing. I mean sure, there are some amazing camera angles and the action is off the hook, but it has a very week story that doesn’t bring out the best in the characters. Action can only take a film so far without a story line. The Fast and Furious films are a great example of this. They needed a storyline for the last couple of films so it wouldn’t be the same chase and crash scene over and over. Selina Gomez is possibly the most annoying character of the year. She seems like a brat who whines and constantly complains. Voight is good as the bad guy (Big surprise there, huh?), but he doesn’t have a lot to do. We don’t ever see his face, and come to think of it, this film is a lot like 2002’s Phone Booth. We don’t see the villain’s face or (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) we are thrown for a huge loop at the end when he isn’t the bad guy caught. It’s the exact same ending. The film is good for it’s action, but i don’t think that is enough to make a believer out of me. I don’t recommend this film unless you see it on HBO or Showtime in a year. It’s nothing to really get excited about.

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