• The Sorcerers Apprentice

    Whats with all the apprentice style movies coming out lately?  We had that "Vampires Apprentice" one a while back (which I hated) followed by "Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief", and we can't forget "Eragon".  There seems to be a trend in movies lately that focus on the training of fledgling magic users.  Maybe everyone just wants to bank on the fumes of Harry Potter as it blows its last load on the two part of the final book (which is the worst book that totally doesn't need two movies).

    This one plays out almost exactly like all the others.  It's your typical highschool/college kid discovers/becomes a wizard/demi-god/vampire, followed by training for whatever archtype he happens to fit into in those categories (in this case its college/becomes/wizard).  Throw an ancient evil/rogue sorcerer into the mix who wants nothing more than to see this kid fail, and a love interest, and you pretty much have your story!

    This isn't a bad movie by any means.  It is just so beyond similar to the armada of other recent movies that follow the exact same formula.  The special effects are decent and it should keep you entertained, but you definitely won't find anything new here.  If you liked the other 10 movies of this style,  then you will most likely find something to enjoy here too. 

    Sorcerers apprentice gets 3/5

  • Untitled

    Hello everyone, Calpain here again! A week has already passed since the start of the
    Draw-Off and I can't be more pleased with the results. Many have already entered
    and three weeks still remain! I'm amazed at all of your sheer creative energy and I'm
    looking forward to the weeks ahead. So far we've had69
    total with
    more arriving each day so keep them coming and flood my inbox! For those just noticing
    the event and want to know what it is all about check out the December Draw-Off
    Event link at the top of the blog. Any entries or questions can be e-mailed to me at

    To introduce our compilation this week we have a video from the talented JonFawkes
    who brings us this Hub quality commercial advertising the Draw-Off. Thanks much, Jon,
    I really appreciate the work you and your voice actress put in. Bang up job!

    You can check out his video and the entries after the break.

  • Countdown to Zero (2010)

    I haven't had much time lately for movies, but I did manage to rent and watch this after that whole Korean artillery strike thing that went on a few days ago.  This is actually a documentary, not a movie, so I am not really sure how I should go about reviewing it.  It was still a really interesting watch.

    You can probably guess from the cover art that this is a movie about nukes, and because of this, also involves lots of TERRORISM.  I am pretty tired of the word after so many years of constantly seeing it in the media, but I suppose it can't be ignored!  Most of the film involves things like how many nukes each nation has, and how many of said WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION are...missing.  Yes missing, somehow, our trusted governmental leaders have somehow managed to lose quite a few of these world ending, million dollar explosive devices. 

    Luckily is doesn't focus on scaring you like some of the other TERRORISM documentaries have in the past,  it's primary goal is informing the viewer.  As with most films these days, it has to stick with the laws of Hollywood on some aspects and focus on entertainment, so I'm sure some of the information is hyped up and overdone, but I am way too lazy to go research it.  Overall it was interesting to watch, and definitely something to check out if you like these types of movies. 

    Countdown to Zero gets a 4/5 for making TERRORISM fun.
  • The Expendables (2010)

    I don't think I have ever seen a more anticipated action movie than this one, with the piles of youtube videos and trailers clocking millions of views.  It seemed to almost drop off the face of the earth when it actually hit the big screen though. I didn't hear anything about it until recently when I found out it was being released next week.  With an all star cast like this, how could they screw it up? 

    The story is...definitely not the focus here.  Some crazy ass dictator is causing all sorts of trouble for the peaceful inhabitants of a non existent island somewhere in South America.  "The Expendables", a legendary crew of (aging) mercenaries are called in to deal with the issue directly using all sorts of fun explosives and high powered weaponry. 

    I am a huge fan of well done action movies, but it can't be "copied" action.  There has to at least be an interesting arch villain or new movie mechanic that makes things actually interesting.  A good example of this is "Shoot em' up", where they focus on making everything as over the top and unrealistic as possible;  this is perfect.  The Expendables on the other hand doesn't really pull anything off that any action fan hasn't already seen done countless times.  You have your gun fights, your plane fights, and your close quarters combat fights.  It definitely does a great job with these encounters, but it seems to be banking way too much on the fact that it dropped a few extra million to recruit a bunch of tired old actors into the mix.  Some of them were great in their hay day, but they were never amazing actors, and they didn't improve at all with age. 

    I know I'm going to get all sorts of crap from some people for not thinking this was the greatest movie of all time, but in all honesty it just wasn't as epic as I expected it to be.  If you really need your Stallone or  Schwarzenegger fix, you might want to consider picking up Rocky or Terminator instead.  But if you desperately need to see them in a new movie, this is a reasonably average action film that is pretty entertaining, but isn't setting any new boundaries.

    The Expendables gets a 3/5 for making me hope that "Red" pulls off the "invite all the stars for an action movie" formula off better. 

    Release Dates
    Blockbuster: November 23, 2010
    Red Box: November 23, 2010
  • 2010: Moby Dick

    Asylum, the illustrious creators of movies like "Titanic II" and "Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus" is at it again in this remake of the classic tale of Ahab vs the great white whale Moby Dick.  Yes, that is in fact a modern day ship on the movie poster.  But this is not Ahabs vessel...  Asylum isn't known for modesty in it's films.  Journey into the depths with a custom built whale-hunting military grade nuclear submarine! Now THAT is entertainment!

    The story is your typical Moby Dick tale with a modern spin.  Ahab was in his 20's when Moby decided to make a meal out of his submarine and kill the rest of the crew.  He escapes with one less leg and a serious grudge against the poor whale.  Fast forward 40 years and Ahab is the captain of his very own military submarine.  Unfortunately, his sanity has taken a pretty serious beating in his old age, and being the genius that he is, he takes off with the 2 billion dollar sub, kidnaps a marine biologist (who talks to whales), and sets out with his loyal crew on a revenge mission of epic proportions.

    This movie is completely ridiculous, but after watching several Asylum films, I'm pretty sure this is the goal of the company. It comes across as a stab at the old jaws movies, borrowing heavily from their dramatic underwater tension and corny looking monster fish.  Moby Dick himself seems to defy gravity as he skims across the top of the water and jumps over islands.  From an entertainment perspective, the movie does seem to drag on at points.  The characters are pretty unlikable and shallow, but for it's budget is isn't completely horrible.

    I probably wouldn't outright suggest it to anyone, but if you are in the mood for a jaws-like monster movie this one should do SOMETHING for you. 

    2010: Moby Dick earns a 2/5 for demonstrating how useless funky looking spear guns are on mountain size whales.

    Release Dates
    Blockbuster: November 23, 2010
    Red Box: None
  • Lottery Ticket (2010)

    My least favorite part of pretty much every movie is the inevitable downfall after the main character(s) hit their climax of success.  Just that feeling of everything crumbling down is uncomfortable.  I have seen a few movies that completely skip this aspect, and to be completely honest, I don't miss it at all.  This movie does the EXACT OPPOSITE. 

    You can probably guess from the title that the main character (Kevin Carson) wins the lottery. Unfortunately, he finds out that the prize claim office is closed for the holidays.  This is where that dramatic tension comes into play... for the rest of the movie.  See, Kevin isn't the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to... well anything.  What better way to wait out the weekend than to take a 100,000 dollar loan from a nearby crime boss and blow it all in a day while he waits? 

    This movie is swimming in African American stereotypes.  Normally it wouldn't bug me too much.  I have found plenty to enjoy in this style of humor in the past, but this one is just ridiculous.  Kevin's greatest ambition is sports shoes.  He has a closet full of them.  His friends are your typical gangster wannabes, who greet people by waving handguns around while throwing all sorts of obnoxious insults.  Martin Luther King would be turning over in his grave from just 10 minutes of this nonsense. 

    It has some funny parts, but I can't really recommend it to anyone, including blacks; I'd be afraid that they would take it as an insult.  If you want a African American style comedy movie, go with the Chris Rock remake of "Death At A Funeral" instead.  This one is just garbage. 

    Lottery Ticket gets a 1/5 for attempting to destroy 100 years of Civil Rights. 
  • A Christmas Carol (2010)

    Yay for the holidays, where we are bombarded by all sorts of remakes and Harry Potter movies.  I think this one has been redone 5 times now?  Maybe more if you count all of the cartoon series that attempt to emulate it. Can Jim Carrey and CGI save the franchise from the same disease that cripples most of the other rehashes?

    I think everyone knows the story here, and if you don't then you are probably from a tribe in the middle of the amazon and not reading this blog anyway.  Everyone's favorite stingy asshole, Scrooge, is doing his best to live out the last few years of life alone as all sorts of people storm into his shop begging him for money.  One chilly Christmas eve night, he is visited by three ghosts that each want to show him how crappy his death will be if he doesn't fix his attitude and start stimulating the economy with his hard earned shillings.  You probably know the rest.

    The CGI is really well done, and if you have ever read any of my other reviews before, you know that I love me some computer generated goodness.  The characters do look a bit weird at first.  It took me a while to get used to them.  Unfortunately, that's about it when it comes to upgrades here.  Everything else is the same thing as the last 5 remakes.  If it didn't say Jim Carry on the box, you probably wouldn't even realize it's him.  The sound is also a bit off.  I don't know if it was just my disc, but Scrooge is really difficult to understand sometimes.  The same holds true for the ghosts themselves, who have wispy voices that tend to disperse halfway through their sentences. 

    If you really want the same story again with some new age graphical improvements, it does a good job at telling it.  Other than that... it's just average. 

    A Christmas Carol gets a 3/5 for being nice to the poor, overworked Disney writers out there while it just redoes the same story for the 6th time. 
  • Predators (2010)

    I've always been a fan of the Predator movies.  Like most classics, the last few "revamps" have been less than amazing.  I think this is more due to nostalgia than anything though.  I sometimes wonder what would have happened if these newer Alien and Predator movies were actually released years ago.  Maybe it was just due to the technology back then, and the fact that these days we are much more desensitized to it.  If I go back and watch the old ones, there really isn't THAT big a difference.  They were still somewhat mindless action movies.  But they did it first right?  So I guess that instantly makes them superior to anything we released in the digital age.

    Predators has a very straightforward story, almost too much so...  They literally just drop the cookie cutter action star team onto an alien planet and say go for it.  If you have seen any Predator movies in the past, you can probably guess why they were dropped there.  It's a game preserve and they are the game...exciting.

    If you pick this movie up for some mindless action, it won't disappoint.  That's pretty much it though!  The characters are your typical hardcore badasses who throw logic out the window in favor of going it alone since all the cool people fly solo.  Even the comedy relief death row inmate is forgettable. 

    There aren't a huge amount of straight up action movies anymore, and I can see why.  After watching a few of them, they all sort of blend together.  This one doesn't try to separate itself at all.  It does it's job well, but doesn't bring anything new to the table. 

    Predators gets a 3/5 for making my entire first paragraph pointless.
  • Extraordinary Measures (2010)

    I honestly don't like Brendan Fraser much.  The first time I saw him in a movie was years ago and it was probably the most awkward and strange movie I have ever seen, and his character is batshit insane throughout the whole thing.  This has tainted my views of him for life I'm afraid.  Harrison Ford on the other hand is a badass, so when I heard he was in this movie, I had to pick it up. 

    Extraordinary Measures is about a businessman (Brendan Fraser) who has two kids with the muscle deteriorating disease Pompe (not to be confused with the Volcano, Pompeii).  As his daughter nears her 9th birthday, and the end of the overall lifespan for kids with this disease, he decides to drop everything and focus 100% on a cure for the illness.  Unfortunately, all sorts of medical company nonsense is going on, so he takes matters into his own hands and opens a biotech institute where he recruits the grumpy old Pompe specialist Dr. Robert Stonehill to do the actual sciency stuff. 

    I honestly didn't expect to be entertained in the slightest with this one, but I actually found something to enjoy. Don't watch it seeking any action, it's drama in the deepest sense. Brendan Fraser plays an awesome desperate dad and Harrison Fords grouchy old guy persona is top notch.  It seems almost unrealistic how quickly everything got funded and started up, but to my complete surprise, it's actually based on a true story.  The time lines in the film going from non-profit organization to full on biotech facility were actually realistic!

    So why can't I get rich this quickly? Whoever taught this guy business is a genius!

    Extraordinary Measures gets a 4/5 for motivating me to be less lazy. 
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

    I am not normally a fan of Micheal Cera movies.  They are usually way too down to earth and slow for me.  This one on the other hand... holy shit.  It's about time he did something awesome.

    Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (which I think looks better with a capital T for "the World" but grammar says otherwise) is about a kid who finds himself head over heels in love with a crazy hipster girl with hair that randomly changes colors throughout the movie.   When he finally manages to hook up with her, he finds out that she has seven evil ex-boyfriends, each with their own over the top super mutant style abilities.  The only way to win her heart is to defeat them all in glorious Dragon Ball Z meets X-Men style combat.

    Everything about the movie is over the top.  Anyone who has ever played a classic video game, be it at an arcade or on an old Nintendo will find something to relate to.  The movie is littered with all sorts of gaming references, as well as a soundtrack heavily influenced by the culture as a whole.  The fight scenes range from completely ridiculous to overwhelmingly epic, keeping the pace fast and the plot fresh as each ex-boyfriend is conquered in the name of love.

    This is a must see unless you absolutely hate being entertained, because that is exactly what it will do.

    Scott Pilgrim vs. the World gets a 5/5 for taking No-More Heroes and turning it into the first ever truly awesome video game movie.  Take notes Uwe Boll!

    Release Dates
    Blockbuster: November 9th, 2010 (delayed at some stores)
    Red Box: December 7th, 2010
  • Language of the Enemy (2008)

    Contrary to popular belief, Blockbuster employees do in fact listen to customer suggestions about movies.  This is one of those that was recommended to me by one of our regulars.  It's something I normally wouldn't have bothered with.

    The film takes place in Israel, where everyone seems to absolutely despise each other.  Being the stupid American I am, I didn't know a whole lot about this part of the world before the movie, aside from "bombs go off and CNN reports it...sometimes".  A Jew by the name of Romi finds out about a bus explosion in the middle of the city.  Unfortunately, his father was one of the victims, so he flies out to Israel for the first time to visit his family.  When he arrives, he discovers that his brother is part of an anti-Palestinian group who immediately recruit him as an under-cover agent due to his knowledge of the enemy language.  Fast forward, and he meets a Palestinian woman (Joleh) who he instantly falls for (and who just so happens to be the daughter of the enemies leader).

    I should have realized it sooner based on the names, but it took me while.  If you haven't guessed it by now, this is LITERALLY Romeo and Juliette: Middle East edition.  Complete with the poisoning and the faked deaths.  Don't run for the hills just yet though!  The movie does an excellent job of portraying the every day dangers of the region, with top notch acting and an amazing inside look at the every day life of terrorist organization #32.  It was still a bit disappointing once I realized what the overlying story was going to be, but overall it's a solid movie.

    So if you are in the mood for a twist on the classic Shakespearean play, this one definitely destroys some of the other knock offs.  But in all honesty the formula is getting pretty stale.  I would split this movie in half and review each section separately if I could, but that wouldn't be accurate now would it?

    Language of the Enemy gets a 3/5 for fortifying my fears of visiting any country between France and China.

    Release Dates
    Blockbuster: October 14, 2010
    Red Box: (Not Carried) 
  • Locked Down (2010)

    Mixed Marshal Arts sure did explode quickly.  I remember first seeing it on youtube a few years ago and being surprised at how few rules there were.  Though after seeing two or three matches, and realizing that 90% of them turned into a sweaty muscle man hugging match on the floor, I swiftly lost interest.  I didn't expect much from this one to begin with.  It has been sort of a dry spell on movie releases lately, so I'm grabbing whatever I can get, and this just happened to be in the new release pile. 

    Locked Down's primary character is a cop who is famous for getting hardcore crime bosses around the nation thrown into prison.  One day, he wakes up (after a 10 minute soft core porn style sex scene, wtf?) and is greeted by a swat team who quickly locate a stash of drugs and cash planted under his sheets. Due to some strings pulling by a "mysterious and unknown source", he ends up in the same prison as all of his best criminal buddies.  As is the norm with any movie involving the Mafia, every other cop on the force is corrupt, so no one bothers to question any of this in the slightest.  Fast forward and he is cage fighting in the basement of the prison hosted by a crime boss controlling the entire place from his master bedroom sized luxury jail cell.

    There are a lot of things about this movie that are just straight up corny.  The prison guards are some of the least intimidating officers I have ever seen, including a tiny Asian woman with a nasty attitude, and a wanna-be sadist who bombards everyone with awful one liners throughout the entire movie. The main character doesn't talk much, but when he does, it sounds forced and unnatural.  Luckily most of the other characters do a pretty good job when it comes to acting.  The fighting is well done, aside from some ridiculous bone cracking sound effects.  At least they aren't making out on the floor the whole time like real MMA fights. 

    For a straight to dvd movie, this one isn't terrible.  If you can get over the cornyness, the whole rocky style revenge/training thing can be entertaining.  The bad acting and lame dialogue hurt the movie, but don't completely kill it.  It's just average.

    Locked Down gets a 3/5 for being the perfect example of straight to dvd.

    Release Dates
    Blockbuster: November. 9
    Red Box: (Not Carried)
  • Grown Ups (2010)

    It has been a while since I've seen an Adam Sandler movie.  They definitely tend to bank on the fart/poop/boob jokes quite a bit. This movie is no exception.  There is more flatulence here than a senior center during bean burrito night.  Luckily that isn't the only convention it uses for humor. 

    Grown Ups is about a group of adults who all chose different paths in life.  You have the stay at home dad (Chris Rock), the Multi-millionaire (Adam Sandler), the slacker/womanizer (David Spade),  the crazy hippy vegan (Rob Schneider), and the co-owner to a lawn furniture company (Kevin James), whatever that is supposed to be .  The 5 friends all have a common ground in a small suburban City where their basketball coach and idol, "Buzzer" dies of old age.  Adam Sandler rents out a lake house and they spend the weekend being kids again. 

    The movie doesn't have a novel quality story.  The clashing lifestyles and personal attacks are the primary focus here, which is a lot more entertaining than I expected.  Don't pick it up expecting a life-changing experience. It's here to entertain, and in that it does a great job.  If you aren't a fan of past Adam Sandler movies, then I can't really recommend it to you. It follows the exact same formula.   For everyone else, it's a hilarious movie that most people will probably find something to enjoy in. 

    Grown Ups gets a 4/5 for making reunions sound less awful.

    Release Dates
    Blockbuster: November. 9
    Red Box: November. 9
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

    Hollywood sure does to butcher classics.  Luckily, I never watched any of the old Nightmare on Elm Street movies, so they can't crap all over my memories with their green screen shenanigans! I know it's a bit late for a horror movie, but I couldn't rent this one until now.

    A Nightmare on Elm Street is about a group of teenagers who find themselves haunted by a batshit crazy sadist in their dreams.  Unfortunately for them, these dreams are quite deadly, killing off the majority of them.  It works sort of like a mystery solving movie, where the group is trying to find out why this zombie looking guy has such a  bloodthirsty vendetta against them.  This is something it does well, and the story is definitely intriguing with all sorts of twists. 

    I have heard countless times that this movie is nowhere near as good as the old ones, so I will most likely be renting them next (if they ever come back, Halloween wiped out the more popular horror movie section).  As a standalone movie, I thought it was mildly enjoyable.  It's not going to blow you away with amazing horror sequences or acting that would make Morgan Freeman jealous; it's just....average.  Freddy just isn't all that scary.  Maybe it's because he has been so overused over the years. 

    A Nightmare on Elm Street gets a 3/5 for failing to give me any nightmares. 
  • Altitude (2010)

    So about 2 weeks ago I was rummaging around on blockbuster online, when I ran into this in the new release section.  It definitely wasn't something we carried in store, so I went ahead and ordered it.  The description promised a supernatural airplane thriller, which seems like a long stretch.  I like to give the low budget disaster style movies a chance.  Every once in a while you hit some really low karat gold and after around 300 swings, you dig up something like this; freakin diamonds. 

    Altitude's story is too difficult to explain without ruining it.  I went into this movie knowing almost nothing about it, and I think that is the best way to experience it.  Every 30 minutes it seems to borrow from a new genre, from horror, to suspense, to drama, action, mystery, sci-fi, you name it.  The general premise is a group of college students embarking on a plane ride with their inexperienced pilot friend, and accidentally flying into what appears to be storm clouds due to a malfunction in the planes flaps. Not too exciting sounding eh?  Well shit goes crazy. 

    You will probably enter the movie expecting plane trouble and obnoxious drunk college kids, but don't let its initial appearance deceive you.  The film combines all sorts of awesome movie/tv series conventions from over the years, from "Cloverfield" style monster mystery,  to "Heroes" comic book prophecy.  The acting can be a little bit off sometimes, and it probably could have lead up to the ending twist a bit better, but overall everything flows perfectly into an awesome supernatural style roller-coaster ride. 

    Of course, once again, Imdb believes the exact opposite.  Maybe I'm just into weird movies?

    Altitude gets a 4/5 for making motherfucking Cloverfield on a motherfucking plane actually work.  (but completely evicting the snakes)
  • Toy Story 3 (2010)

    For how big of a film this one was, It definitely fell under my radar.  I see pretty much every CGI movie in the theaters.  This is one of the few that I somehow managed to miss completely.  Luckily Toy Story 3 on Blu-ray(Is that supposed to be capitalized?) didn't disappoint in the slightest!

    Andy has grown up, and unfortunately for our favorite cast of misfit toys, this means the end of their fun loving careers.  Now before you jump up and shout "GOD DAMN IT PIXAR WHY DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO BE SO SAD!", this one manages to surprise you by being light in the drama.  A mixup has the entire crew being tossed into a trash bag and donated to a nearby day care where they meet a whole mess of new toys; including a giant "friendly" pink teddy-bear.  I bet you can guess who the villain of the story is. 

    The animation has really improved dramatically.  Facial features and general flow of the characters is top notch.  I watched the first one immediately after, and noticed a huge difference.  Another thing that impressed me was the sheer scale of the cast of characters.  The movie is littered with all sorts of different toys, ranging from Totoro (from "My Neighbor Totoro) to talking telephones with wheels.   They really went all out on this one.  Usually as any series hits it's third film, it starts to die down some, but Toy Story 3 leaves the gate full steam ahead.

    If you enjoy CGI films even in the slightest, this is a must see. I hate to sound biased by having 2 of these up in the top bracket, but they are usually so well done with such original themes, its hard not to.  At least "How To Train your Dragon" was made by a different company!

    Toy Story 3 gets a 5/5 for showing that even a 15 year old series can still be as entertaining as the day it was released.
  • Survival of the Dead (2010)

    Zombie movies are a dime a dozen.  They take place in just about every setting, from New York, to giant under ground laboratories.  Survival of the Dead doesn't veer off from that heavily paved path. It sticks to it's roots like some kind of industrial super glue.

    The story is simple.  An island off the coast of Delaware is home to two feuding families.  With the sudden rise in undead pests, they end up squaring off on what the correct moral choice is in dealing with the situation.  One side says they can be saved, and chaining them  up until a cure is found is the correct course of action, while the other wants to wipe them out before more appear.  Unfortunately, the leader of choice number two is voted off the island, and you can probably imagine what happens next.

    That's a pretty deep situation isn't it?  Would you follow the norm and wipe out the zombies?  Or would you keep them as pets?  I happen to be an expert in this very likely situation thanks to years research.  The tiniest genetic defect can set off a chain reaction that litters the entire world with the undead, and because of this we must always be vigilant.  There is only one way to deal with zombies, and it has absolutely nothing to do with keeping them alive.  They cannot be contained! Even at a two miles per hour walking speed, they WILL find a way.  My preferred weapon of choice is a longsword.  This fine blade has no bullets, and crafted with high quality steel will outlast any katana or baseball bat.

    So the next time you decide to run a zombie-hunting game show, or keep one as a pet, please reconsider.  Zombies are notorious escape artists, and just a single zombie tricking an old lady can escalate into a full on apocalypse. 

    This has been a public service announcement from Rent a Movie™ (also 3/5 for being average)
  • The Joneses

    When I first saw this movie sitting in our pre-street box, my first reaction was "oh boy.. another chick flick to fake knowing something about, how exciting!".  And for the past month or so I have done just that with the typical, "eh.. its kind of slow... why not try (insert chick flick #100 that everyone is recommending) instead?"  Well I finally sucked it up and watched it and was pleasantly surprised that "The Joneses" is in fact, not at all, a chick flick.

    The movie is about a family, but they are not actually related in any way.  They are employees in a company that sends out groups of trendsetters for stealth marketing.  Their job is to start fads up in their specific age groups, be it golfing in the middle aged male section, or the lipstick and perfume of the teenage girl demographic.

    It's rare to find a movie that is just so.. original.  It's awesome how they go about their daily fake lives, silently hinting at different products and services offered around their area.  Is this why I couldn't get enough of Pokemon cards and Beanie Babies as a kid?  Are these the same people pushing stupid animal shaped rubber bands on the current generation? 

    This movie is just altogether entertaining, and I highly recommend it. 

    The Joneses gets a 4/5 for making me second guess all of my past hobbies/friendships...
  • Dorian Gray (2009)

    We have a section in the store of movies that usually aren't very good.  They defy the normal rule of "If it has a blu-ray version, chances are it's high budget!".  This same section is home to exemplary movies like "The Chosen One".  Dorian Gray was in this general area for a good month or two, and I never really had the urge to give it a shot.  After hearing several good reviews on it though from various customers, I decided to throw caution to the wind and rent it.

    The story takes place during the good old Victorian era of London, where according to just about every movie that takes place there, is completely infested with all sorts of nasty devils, vampires, and werewolves.  This movie is no exception.  Naive young Dorian Gray becomes friends with the legendary womanizer Henry Wotton, who transforms him from innocent 20something year old to party animal in a little less than a week. 

    Dorian commissions a painter to create a self portrait, and somehow becomes "cursed" with immortality via a link to the painting. Dorian can do whatever he pleases, from consuming loads of drugs and alcohol, to having sex with just about everyone (and I do mean everyone, he explores BOTH sides of the spectrum) without ANY physical consequences. The painting takes the brunt of all of it instead.

    This movie has a long "learn about the characters" period.  It literally took 40 minutes to get to the premise of the film. Assuming you make it past those 40...long...slow...minutes, it actually improves dramatically.  For the entire introductory period I was ready to give up, but as soon as it hit that peak, I couldn't stop watching. 

    If you have 2 hours to burn, and don't mind a slow start, this movie gets pretty freakin awesome.  I just wish they could have shaved off some of that beginning boringness. 

    Dorian Gray gets a 3/5 for making me second guess those 25+ movies I have turned off in the first half hour. 
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)

    This one was pretty low on my list.  It's been sitting there for a while, and I keep hearing how awesome it is, so I grabbed it.  For a kids movie, it was actually pretty entertaining.  I just wish my middle school days were as eventful as this movie, I might remember them if that was the case. 

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid is the story of a kid who is taking the big step from grade school to junior high.  In this transition, he is hoping to change his persona from unpopular and unknown, to top of the class and king of the yearbook.  Unfortunately, his plans for becoming top dog fail completely, and he ends up hitting rock bottom while his fat immature friend that he was attempting to "fix" takes his place at the pinnacle of school fame.

    This movie is actually pretty funny, even though most of the jokes are elementary nonsense.  Usually these kid movies have horrible acting, and this one still has some scenes of monologue sounding dialogue, but the majority of it is really well done. 

    It's not something I would recommend to a group of young adults for a movie night, but for everyone else its a charming tale of taking the great leap from kid to teen and doing it with a bang.  If I was in that age bracket or lower, this movie would have been beyond entertaining. 

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid earns a 4/5 for making immature snot/fart/rotting cheese jokes still entertaining. 
  • Attack on Darfur (2009)

    Phase 4 films sure does pump a lot of movies out.  It's surprising really considering I never heard about them before I started working at Blockbuster.  This is one of their most recent ones to be released at rental stores.  Every once in a while you get an awesome movie from them, but this one was sort of in the middle.

    In an almost documentary style this film follows the journey of a group of journalists who are visiting the Darfur region of Sudan.  For those stupid Americans like myself, this is over there in Africa.  Apparently, a civil war has been going on over there since 1988; well more like genocide.  The reporters are heading to a small village in the center of the conflict to learn all about what is going on in the middle of what is essentially "hell".  For the first 30 minutes or so, it is primarily them interviewing villagers, as well as a full 5-10 minute clip of general village life which was really overdone.  The rest is just..slaughter, more so than any horror movie I have seen.

    The movie does a good job of portraying what is happening over there.  It's a "rage" movie, meaning you will be raging at these rebels as they run around butchering helpless villagers and raping the women.  This is not a movie for the faint of heart.  I once read that the big taboo with horror films was killing kids, but this film manages to take it to a whole new level.  Babies are impaled on spikes, mothers are raped after watching their children murdered right in front of them.  This shit can get really gruesome.

    Then as the movie ends, I see who the director is in the credits... "Uwe Boll".  Should have known!

    But regardless of his bad reputation, he definitely does a good job of shocking some emotion into you with this one.  I have read stories about Darfur since watching the movie, and assuming said stories are correct, the movie is actually accurate, even toned down some compared  to what is actually going on over there.

    Minus some slow parts, it's not a bad movie for its budget.  I guess educationally it's a good choice, it definitely made me more aware of the world. 

    Attack on Darfur gets a 3/5 making horror movies look like Disney movies.
  • Winters Bone (2010)

    I actually picked this up hoping it was a horror movie.  There are surprisingly few coming out considering how close it is to Halloween.  It promised "thriller" on the box so I was at least expecting that! But thrills was the exact opposite of what I experienced.  I'm sure it has all sorts of deep underlying themes that I failed to pick up on.  I am no Shakespearean English major though, and this is a blog for the average movie watcher, so I doubt others would find anything either! 

    Winters Bone is a drama in every sense.  A father ditched his daughter with the responsibility of raising her two siblings and went on the run from the law for cooking crack in his barn out back.  On top of this, he is required for a court date and not showing up means the family loses the house to the law.  So the movie essentially revolves around locating the worlds greatest dad and discovering all sorts of nasty secrets about the nearby drug trade loving yokels. 

    I honestly fell asleep the night I turned this on.  It is probably one of the slowest movies ever, then add on that southern speaking style of talking at a snails pace, and you got yourself some non-addictive sleeping medication.  It sort of has that vibe that most movies down south have, and I'm sure I will get no end of shit for this when it ends up a classic (its a 7.9 on imdb, go figure).  This really is the reason I created the blog in the first place.  I never agree with critics.  I really just don't like these style movies.  I ended up completing it, but barely. 

    I'm giving Winters Bone a 2/5.  There are much better slow movies out there.
  • Sorry about the lack of updates!

    I have been crazy busy, and ended up with what I thought was pink eye so I skipped Saturday and Sunday of work (meaning I rented 3/10 of my weekly rentals last week).  Luckily it was not pink eye, and I have already stocked 9 new movies to review for the weekend/early next week.

    Here is what to expect..

    1) The Jonses- No clue on this one! Rollin the dice!
    2) Dorian Gray- Looks like a vampire movie? No clue
    3) It's Complicated- chick flick of the week
    4) Diary of A Whimpy Kid
    5) Ironman 2- Yah I know, way late.  But I wanted to do a review of the DVD release and compare it to the theater like I did with How To Train Your Dragon.
    6) Attack on Darfur (pre street) Releases next week
    7)  Winters Bone (pre street 2)
    8) Survival of the Dead
    9) Legendary

    My final rental was Dead Rising 2.  Sorry, I gotta game some time!

    And on that note I am resubbing my WoW account.  It's probably a terrible idea but I miss having an MMO to grind away in and Minecraft can only go so far.   

    Anyway if you have any suggestions for next week, let me know!  Chances are 5/10 slots will be filled (lots of awesome pre-street coming out next week) but the rest is stuff I haven't bothered with yet.
  • Temple Grandin (2010)

    Someone needs to fire whoever created this completely unappealing movie cover, I don't think I have ever seen one so boring looking.  I have said it before though, you really can't judge a movie by the cover, and after people kept telling me to check this one out, I sucked it up and did it.  For the record, this is my check flick of the week. 

    Temple Grandin follows the story of... Temple Grandin.  Why they couldn't think of something clever like "The Rainman" for an autism movie is beyond me, but if they are in the same department as the art team, then it isn't too surprising.  Uglyness aside, the story is actually really interesting.  A girl who was essentially sentenced to uselessness at the age of four, is instead pushed by her mother to go through high school and college like a normal kid.  Temple learns to cope with her mental issues using techniques of her own design, and comes out with an amazing talent for engineering and architecture. 

    This is definitely one to pick up if you like a good story.  With not a gun in sight, it keeps even an action movie buff like myself completely focused; which really is a testament to how well it was written! It can be a little bit awkward at times listening to Claire Danes teeter on the edge of "full retard" (lol tropic thunder), but overall its an excellent movie. 

    Temple Grandin earns a 4/5
  • The Chosen One (2010)

    I heard horror stories about this one for over a month.  It has been hailed as the worst movie in the store, which is huge when we have over 10,000 movies.  The majority of people I talk to say they don't make it past the 30 minute mark!  I took this as a challenge!

    "The Chosen One" is about a car salesman who absolutely hates his life.  His wife left him, his job is boring, and his family constantly berates him for everything he does.  The movie starts off with him attempting to burn down his house, and eventually trying to hang himself.  Fortunately for Paul, he fails, and out of nowhere a group of technologically inept holy men from Colombia are knocking at his door calling him The Chosen One.

    Now normally this would elicit some comedy, which is what the movie was trying to aim for.  I am not sure how you screw up the plot of  "crazy hippies who haven't been out of their cave in a thousand years suddenly finding themselves in the modern world", but somehow they did just that.  There are so many missed opportunities here!  It really falls flat on it's face.  The movie was just straight up boring, everything about it was unfunny.  It also manages to look awful presentation-wise;  it looks like someone filmed it with a 20 dollar VHS camcorder than converted it over to DVD with free software found on download.com.

    I wouldn't say it's the worst movie on the planet, but it definitely wasn't something I would ever recommend.  Even fans of Rob Schneider (all 10 of them) would probably scoff that this poor excuse for a movie. 

    The Chosen One gets a 1/5 for making fun of the technologically illiterate but using 10 year old filming equipment itself. 
  • How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

    I watch a ton of movies, and the majority of them are forgotten within a week.  I don't know what it is with Pixar and Dreamworks though... they use some cerebral memory adhesive to really make things stick.  How to Train Your Dragon falls into this category.  I actually saw this in I-Max 3D when it came out, which for me, moves even lowly films up a few notches.  For movies like "How to Train Your Dragon", it makes them all the more epic.

    The story is your typical "boy befriends wild animal" thing we have seen countless times before, but replace wild animal with Dragon (I think that has been done a few times before too...).  It primarily follows Hiccup, a viking wanna-be who in comparison to the rest of his "class" is a mouse being chased around by jaguars.  The clan he lives with is completely anti dragon, and suffer constant raids from a nearby nest of them.  During one raid, he manages to knock the legendary Night Fury out of the sky with a makeshift cannon.  Fast forward, and he ends up befriending the dragon he felled, and has to hide it from everyone else "kid with a stray dog" style. 

    The visuals in this movie are nuts, and this is even after renting it and re-watching it on my small 36inch TV.  Sure it isn't as amazing as the massive I-max screen, but it still manages to pull of that epic feeling of flight with it's superb musical scores and crazy use of height.  If you have even the slightest interest in CGI movies, this is definitely one to pick up.

    How to Train Your Dragon gets a 5/5 for proving that a movie doesn't need I-Max and 30 surround sound speakers to still be epic.
  • Mirrors 2 (2010)

    You know yesterday when I said certain movies are scarier to some than others?  Well this is one of those movies that scared the crap out of me.  Something about crazy undead ghost women stalking people is just straight up creepy. 

    There isn't much to the story.  A guy named Max gets a job as a night watchmen at his fathers boutique, and as with most horror movies, he has been through a whole mess of psychological trauma.  So naturally, the crazy girl in the mirror trying to kill him is totally a figment of his imagination in everyone else's eyes.  The majority of the movie is Max trying to convince everyone that he is not batshit crazy.  That is pretty much it!

    But we don't watch horror movies for the story do we?  These movies are here to scare us!  As the title suggests, the majority of the horror in this one is accomplished through the use of mirrors.  It does get a bit old... especially if you have seen a ton of other movies that use mirrors.  It gets to a point where, if there is a mirror in the room, then you can pretty much assume something is going to happen.

    So if movies like "The Grudge" or "The Eye" scared you, then this is probably another one to add to the pile.  It follows the same scare tactics and formula that most of the higher budget films seem to fear straying away from.  It's definitely scary, no doubt about that.

    Mirrors gets a 3/5 for making something peaceful like a bathroom break, and turning it into a nerve-wracking experience every time I see my reflection.
  • Dark House (2010)

    I am not a huge fan of rating horror movies.  Certain topics are scarier to some people than others, and certain situations (e.g. daytime/night time/crowded room/alone) can increase or decrease the scariness.  "Orphan" for example scared the crap out of some of my friends who think "The Grudge" is the dumbest movie ever; and that is the complete opposite for me.  Dark House is one of those low budget films for the Fangoria Frightfest, and because of this, it is difficult to compare it to the high budget horror movies most people are used to.   

    The storyline is pretty simple, but still really interesting.  A class of acting students are offered a job to work for the self proclaimed "King of Horror" who builds haunted houses and theme parks around the country.  He buys out an abandoned orphanage in the suburbs of a small town where a mass murder took place, and sets it up as a haunted house with all sorts of special effects built in for hologram monsters and such.  I am not sure what year this movie takes place in, but the operating system used for these special effects looks like it came from the early 70's, while the effects themselves look like they are from 20 years in the future.  Anyhow, a ghost virus is let loose and the hologram monsters come to life.

    There are some huge twists in this movie that my short description doesn't really cover, and that really set it apart.  Usually horror movies are known for their twists, but they are for the most part corny and feel tacked on.  Dark House manages to pull off it's twist beautifully, and maintain its creepy atmosphere at the same time.

    For the budget it was built on, this movie doesn't disappoint.  It wasn't too scary, some of the monsters are almost comical looking, but I think if certain factors are met (with friends, at night), then the movie would be a great choice for a Halloween marathon.

    Dark House gets 3/5 for being the grown-up version of "Are You Afraid of the Dark?".
  • Orphan (2009)

    Creepy little girl? Check... Lots of sudden events that make you jump? Check... Completely over the top twist? Yep!  Orphan is a horror movie (kind of)  that falls into the category of "realistic" horror.  This is where poltergeists and demons dare not venture; instead we meet genuinely creepy individuals whos primary goal is to be completely batshit insane, and in doing so, make you think that there just might be people out there that have the same inner thoughts and motives. 

    Orphan is about a nine year old girl named Esther, who is adopted by a well off couple with two other children.  The wife is currently recovering from some serious depression and alcoholism, so all of her credibility is thrown out the window when the proper, talented little girl they have taken in starts doing disturbing and destructive things around their quiet little abode.  Of course, Esther being the genius that she is, does these things in secrecy, usually framing others.

    The entire film follows sort of a shock style horror theme, designed to make you jump.  I wouldn't call it an actual scary movie, but it does employ the tactics used by most in this category, via mirrors and sudden camera shifts. This isn't necessarily a bad thing,  but don't expect to be afraid of the dark the next night after watching it.  It's still an excellent movie that even non horror fans could find something to enjoy in

    Orphan earns a 4/5 for reaffirming my belief that children are the essence of evil.
  • Anonymous Visitors should be able to post now

    I guess I accidentally enabled "blogspot members only" in the comment settings when I created the blog.  Sorry all you Anon readers.  Feel free to post away/criticize. 

    On a side note, I am always looking to improve my writing.  If you see a typo, or something that looks goofy in general, please let me know!  Anon #1 has already taught me the difference between e.g and i.e.
  • Solitary Man (2009)

    This one has been sitting on the shelf for a while now.  It's another one of those movies that I set aside primarily due to the boring cover (a terrible habit, I know).  Everyone kept telling me to check it out though, so I threw caution to the wind and rented it.

    "Solitary Man" definitely has an interesting story, and that's about it.  This isn't a bad thing though; the story is done really well.  Unlike most movies that focus 100% on the story (e.g. The Ghost Writer), this one actually keeps you interested.  A famous and successful car dealership owner (Ben) decides to take a massive risk and ends up nearly being thrown in jail, and losing everything.  The story follows his struggles from this point on, and all of the trouble he gets himself into.  Every time Ben nearly breaks free of his slump, he throws it all away again due to his tendencies to sleep with everyone. That is pretty much it...

    The acting in this movie is top notch, and probably the primary reason why anyone would stay interested.  The actual movie box is honest (which is becoming rare these days) in that it literally is just the story of Ben's life.  There is no humor at all anywhere in it, the tone is completely serious throughout.  You might find some comedy in how badly he fails over, and over, but for the most part its straight drama.

    I am not usually a big fan of this style of movie, but it did a good job with what it was trying to accomplish.  Seek it out for a story, but don't expect anything else, and even then, expect it to be pretty forgettable (I watched it last night and am already having trouble recalling it!) The Shawshank Redemption this movie is NOT.

    Solitary Man earns a 3/5 for showing me how limited my 1-5 scale is, and how I really should add some 2.5 category or something..
  • Leaves of Grass (2009)

    This is another one of those completely unexpected, "don't judge a book by it's cover" movies.  It looks like it is going to be a straight up action movie with gun fights and car chases.  It actually turned out to be more of a drama, with a relatively unique plot.

    Leaves of Grass follows two twin brothers who have essentially disconnected from one another.  Born and raised in Oklahoma, one chooses a life of higher education and university life (Bill), while the other becomes a weed dealer (Brady).  Now I've never experienced the drug trade firsthand, but I'm pretty sure it's not the best career move, and Brady find that out the hard way.  He borrows 200,000 dollars to build a massive pot greenhouse but fails to pay it back, so he tricks his poor brother into coming back to the state that he absolutely hates and fill in for him twin-style, while he heads to Texas to "deal" with the situation.   Obviously this idiotic scheme doesn't go so well.

    This movie is a black comedy according to the DVD box, and I honestly thought that had everything to do with African Americans and nothing to do with the style of it.  I was actually surprised when Brady went from silly hillbilly who spends all his money and brain power on a giant pot farm with ingenious engineering and cultivating, to a cold hard criminal blowing peoples heads off.  That was one of the few "WTF?" moments I have had in a long time. 

    So If you want a reasonable drama/comedy(kind of) movie with a really interesting story, then this is probably one to pick up.  If you are a stoner looking for a crazy weed movie, then this might not be the best option.  If anything, it was definitely entertaining to see it all unfold. It can be a little bit slow at times, but it's still a solid choice.

    Leaves of Grass earns a 3/5 for making me even less likely to ignore lame movie covers. 
  • Please Give (2010)

    I promised some people I would review at least one chick flick a week, and this just so happened to be the most recent one.  Sometimes these movies surprise me.  It's Complicated for example was pretty hilarious (and Date Night but I have been told that is in fact, not a chick flick).  Please Give didn't promise any comedy though, so I broke completely new ground with this one.  Fortunately it did include a grouchy old person, and nothing is funnier than a grouchy old person. 

    The story is very simple... almost too simple.  It literally is just the daily lives of a group of people living in an apartment building together.  You have your married couple who run a business on the bottom floor, with a wife who is completely obsessed with saving the world and helping those in need, and a husband who is going through a mid life crisis and sleeping with the hot skin care specialist next door.  The skincare specialist has a grandmother who is nearing death, and just happens to be in apartment that the couple mentioned above wants to buy out and renovate. 

    I'll be honest, I don't know much about this genre.  Hopefully over time I will pickup on more.  I guess it does explore a lot of different human emotions.  They have their greedy little girl who completely flips out on her mother over a pair of 300 dollar jeans... The mother who feels guilty about absolutely everything yet holds a sales job where she runs around and rips people off.  The cancer obsessed skin care specialist who uses tanning beds because the sun is WAY too dangerous in comparison.

    The whole thing sounds like a mess doesn't it?  But it's way more down to earth than that. 

    Anyway the movie was solid, I admit that.  Good acting, reasonably good every day story.  There wasn't anything completely amazing about it that a hundred movies before it haven't already accomplished.

    Please Give gets a 3/5 for being a gateway drug to future chick flicks (kind of).
  • Kung-Fu Master (2010)

    Where have I heard this title before...  oh that's right, the 10 other Kung-Fu master movies.  Don't get confused here though, this one isn't a remake of anything.  When a movie comes in, and it has no Blu-Ray counterpart, usually it is considered low budget.  That may sound shallow, but so far it has proven pretty damn true, and this sticks to the formula.  It is essentially kung-fu on steroids mixed with shrooms.

    In all honesty, it really doesn't have much of a story going for it. It repeats a pattern of : 30 seconds of story, 30 minutes of combat.  Fighting is the main focus here, but be prepared for some serious cornyness.

    I love kung-fu movies, even the ridiculous ones from the 70's are still some of my favorites.  Right from the get go this film throws all sorts of random junk at you.  The very first fight is some guy in a floating coffin doing what is essentially casket combat.. then right after that we get a team of sharp umbrella users, and another guy who fights using an instrument with strings that come to life.  If this is starting to sound like a really bad Naruto episode, then I am describing it perfectly.  Later on in the film we meet the bench army, who's primary weapon is...benches.  It's literally a hundred man team swinging around benches wrestler style.  

    The main character is a humble Shaolin monk who deflects spears with his Adam's apple and breaks swords in half with his face (though the weapons in this movie are beyond rubbery so he MIGHT be cheating).

    The acting in the movie is just stupid, with all sorts of awkward over-done facial expressions and sound effects that don't match what is actually going on.  It reminded me of one of those cosplay youtube videos at some points.

    The movie picks up big time near the end.  It's like the choreographers were learning as they were going, and I really wanted to give this movie a 3 for originality, but the reality is, most people will probably turn it off within the first 20 minutes.

    Kung-Fu master gets a 2/5 for breaking my kung-fu heart with a flying umbrella coffin kick to the sternum.
  • Jonah Hex (2010)

    I have said it before.. I am not huge on westerns.  I didn't realize it was yet another comic book movie until the "bonus" comic version on the disc popped up.  I honestly skipped it and went right for the movie... never was one for comics. If it can't entertain me without its obscure DC license, then it shouldn't have been made in the first place!  Luckily, Jonah Hex turned out to be a pretty impressive action movie. 

    The story is probably the weakest part of the movie.  It follows the same formula as every other revenge action movie; father watches his family killed in front of him and pledges his undying loyalty to an endless goal of revenge against the guy that did it.  Unfortunately for Jonah, his mark decides to (supposedly) get himself killed, so the depressed cowboy becomes a hardcore bounty hunter who completely ignores the law and ends up with a nice bounty on his own head. 

    After finding out from the military that the man he hunted for 10 years actually faked his death, and that he is running around with a city destroying super weapon with a target for the capital of the USA, Jonah finally finds a new meaning to life. Oh.. and he can talk to dead people.

    The keyword here is city destroying super weapon... in the 1800's.  This weapon is never explained.  All you ever see of it is massive explosions and strange glowy remote-detonated orbs.   A lot of questions go unanswered here.  Fortunately it makes up for the story with some awesome action sequences.  Hell even the long winded talking parts have fights going on in the background.  Throw in a stray dog that randomly starts following Jonah halfway through and you got a reasonable movie going.

    If you want a mindless action movie, or if you are a fan of the comic, you might find something interesting here.  At the very least it is an entertaining movie.  Just don't watch it expecting to feel any other emotion than adrenaline.  Jonah doesn't exactly make any attempts at making the viewer like him.  

    Jonah Hex gets a 3/5 for proving that dogs are more interesting characters than cowboys.
  • Night of the Demons (2009)

    Ahh.. Halloween... The magical time where all sorts of horror movies start popping up.  Some are serious business high budget ghost style films with tons of CGI, while others are trashy and ridiculous.  This one falls somewhere in the middle. 

    Right from the get go, Night at the Demons lets you know that it is not taking itself seriously with its heavy metal rock music and its slutty cat girl costumes.  Sure, its going to try to scare you, but at the same time its going to awe you with massive cleavage and a haunted house style halloween party with tons of drinking and sex all over the place.  When the cops shut down the booze filled extravaganza, things start to (kind of) take a turn for more horror oriented.  Seven young adults find themselves trapped in the house, and "all hell breaks loose" as the movie poster states.

    This is one of those that you pick up just to laugh at on Halloween.  It throws all sorts of ridiculous stuff at you.  Don't be surprised by the STD style demon disease that is being passed around, or the side effect of tentacle nipples once one acquires said illness.  Hell it even throws an all on undead demon threesome at you for a brief thirty seconds.

    I wouldn't call this a bad movie.  It knows its ridiculous, and capitalizes on it.  If you want a good Halloween party movie, this is perfect.  If you are looking for an ACTUAL horror movie, look elsewhere. 

    Night at the Demons earns a 3/5 for doing its part in keeping demons gross and gruesome, and throwing a kink in all those deviant art fan girls who try to turn them into the perfect significant other.
  • Movies currently in review

    Hey all, Happy October!

    I'm currently watching/reviewing a ton of movies for this week.  Primarily stuff that isn't out until tuesday of next week.

    Here is the list..

    (Not yet released)
    Jonah Hex (Done)
    Leaves of Grass
    Arn: Knight templar (lol?)
    Please Give (Done)
    Night of the Demons (Done)
    Kung-Fu Master (Done)

    Harry Brown
    Solitary Man

    I will probably throw How To Train Your Dragon in there once it comes in, but I have already seen it in theatres so I might just review it from memory.  I have been trying to avoid this since movie rentals are for TV's, not theatre screens (which I believe is a totally different experience) but I have almost maxed my rentals for the week and we are getting more in soon ;p

    That does leave 2 slots open for either HTTYD or some suggestions, so feel free to add some you want to see reviewed by me in the comment section of this post.

    I'm also going to try to add a better "list" of movies (with pictures).  I am not sure how I can do this easily with blogger.  I already have way too much junk on the main page for a blog.  Maybe I'll create a separate rentamovie info blog for everything else, or a separate website entirely if I get a strong following going here. 

    I'm going to try to make a Halloween theme banner with my limited photoshop skills too. Wish me luck!

    Anyway off to watch movies/eat spaghetti! See yahs
  • Law Abiding Citizen (2009)

    I think everyone experiences frustration with laws and regulations at least a few times in their lives.  Our justice system isn't exactly foolproof, hell it has more holes than Swiss cheese that was recently shot by a scattergun.  This movie portrays the most extreme level of failure on the judicial systems part, and one mans quest to fix the wrong that was done to him.

    The story follows Clyde Shelton, a simple engineer who follows the laws to a T.  Then out of nowhere, a pair of robbers break into his home and kill/rape his wife and daughter... ouch.  Unfortunately for Clyde, he was knocked out during the robbery and not allowed to testify.  On top of this, the forensic investigation was screwed up, and one of the burglars escapes with only a breaking and entering charge.  Clyde is furious, and spends 10 long years cooking up a massive Rube Goldberg machine style revenge plan that is the basis of the entire movie.

    The acting really sets this one apart.  Gerard Butler does an excellent job of playing the cool, calculating Clyde as he completely slaughters everyone that wronged him.  The way the events play out is like one giant Final Destination chapter with each part leading to another.  It's fascinating how it all comes together.    The only negative is the ending, you can probably skip the last ~20 minutes and be much happier about the movie.

    This is definitely one to check out, if only for the crazy progression mechanics it employs.

    Law Abiding Citizen earns a 4/5
  • New updates coming soon

    I have been really busy lately with piles of homework and haven't had a chance to rent anything to watch.  Hopefully I can head over to my store tomorrow and pick up my weekly rentals.

    Until then, did you know my website was considered an "adult" website due to the word o.rgy?  I've added periods after the o's to fix that in case you were wondering.

    Anyway see you tomorrow!
  • All American Org.y (2010)

    I didn't expect much here, but I was still praying for an American pie style movie.  I loved those movies (minus the new ones).  This is far from an American pie though.  It's more of the outhouse behind the motel six on interstate 14 pie.

    All American O.rgy is about a group of couples who want to spice things up a bit by having their first o.rgy.  Unfortunately these couples don't exactly see eye to eye right from the start, so when they do finally meet up all hell breaks loose.  And by all hell, I mean a pile of really horrible pick up lines and bad acting.  There honestly isn't much more to talk about when it comes to the plot.  That is pretty much the basis of it.

    I am not sure what category this movie is trying to place itself into.  The cover art screams fun, stupid comedy;  but when you actually watch it , it plays out more like a soap opera. I guess some people could find a likable story in there.  Maybe it's niche is with the o.rgy loves out there?  They might be able to relate.

    But for everyone else, including those looking to laugh, All American O.rgy earns a 2/5 for being slightly more watchable than The Human Centipede.
  • The Human Centipede (2009)

    We only received 3 of these.  It was a mystery to everyone in the store... but only I was brave enough to open the Pandora's box of horror movies.   The back of the box hinted at it being the most grotesque and horrifying film of the decade.  Could it stand up to it's own hype?

    The movie is about this crazy Japanese-German doctor who decided it would be a great idea to try combining his three dogs into a single triple-dog entity.  Unfortunately,  his new best friend dies and the heartbroken surgeon decides he wants to up the ante on his next project.  He captures two girls and another a poor unsuspecting tourist, and connects their digestional tracts together to form a brand new human centipede!

    The concept alone should be enough to raise red flags, but this movie really does stretch the boundaries of...boredom.  The idea is completely ridiculous, and difficult to take it seriously.  The acting is awful, especially the two girls who seem to be making it a career goal to be as obnoxious as possible.  The good doctor (who is almost impossible to understand due to a heavy accent) actually does a favor by shutting them up via "anal connection surgery".  This movie also manages to be exceedingly slow.  There wasn't a single part that really kept me on my toes; or interested for that matter.  Don't get me wrong, most of it is gross; but that is pretty much all it accomplishes. 

    I can't really recommend this crap to anyone.  I'm sure the few people that pick it up are just doing it out of curiosity like I did.  The bad acting, combined with the terrible pacing and almost funny concept make it the complete opposite of a horror movie.  Pick it up if you want something ridiculous to laugh at.

    The Human Centipede is my first movie to receive a 1/5! Congrats!
  • Splice (2009)

    I expected something weird with this one, and it definitely didn't disappoint.  In fact, it ranks up there as one of the strangest movies I have seen in the last 10 years.

    Splice is about a team of scientists (primarily 2 of them) who are on the verge of a major biological breakthrough.  Unfortunately, the company they are working for is also right there ready to cut their funding.  Being the exemplary scientists that they are, they decide to take matters into their own hands and continue their new "human engineering" project in secret.  This eventually leads to the creation of the alien looking creature you see in the movie poster.  "Dren" as they call her is a mix of several different types of (non agressive) creatures, and topped off with human (which is, as most movies tend to point out these days, the epitome of evil). 

    This movie calls itself a horror movie, but I really didn't see much until the last 20 minutes or so that would constitute frightening people.  Sure you will be disgusted or grossed out at some points; I never thought a movie could top Avatar in terms of awkward sex scenes, but it doesn't really horrify.   Splice is more psychological, focusing on how far a desperate scientist will go for success.  Dren essentially becomes the female protagonists child throughout most of the movie. 

    If you are looking for an interesting sci-fi style thriller movie, this will definitely do it.  I am not sure how accurate the science actually is, and I'm assuming it makes giant leaps and bounds all over the place, but it still manages to entertain.

    Splice gets a 3/5 for making the blue cat people sex in avatar look ALMOST normal.
  • The Karate Kid (2010)

    Now I understand a lot of people obsess over "the classics".  There is no denying that movies from back in the 80's were great.  Every once in a while though, an old series needs a reboot.  Most of these flop; all the others go through what is essentially fanboyism.  The Karate Kid falls into category B.  The majority of reviews are chock full of 20+ year old's nostalgia of the good old days, and because of this, it was critically hated.  I also grew up watching these movies, but luckily my memory is awful. 

    If you expect this movie to be a carbon copy of karate kid 1, 2, and 3, then you will be sorely disappointed.  It is completely modernized.  I really don't see this as a negative though.  The old movies had their charm, but compared to the fight choreography we have today, the scenes in the old stuff are just downright corny. The current generation (ie the primary audience for this film) has higher expectations. The Kung Fu in this revamp is all around superior.  If you want a good example of this, watch the Darth Vader vs Luke Skywalker lightsaber fights in the original trilogy, then compare it to the ones in the new movies.  There is an obvious difference.

    But Karate kid is also known for its uplifting story and rocky-esque training sequences.  It's all here, but again, modernized and revamped!  The movie does a great job of building up to the final battle, though it does take its sweet time at some points.  Over the 2 hour and 20 minute long run time, you will see a kid go from getting completely decimated in combat, to kung fu champion.  Sure its unrealistic as hell, but since when were movies ever meant to be lifelike?    

    If you are blinded by nostalgia, then avoid this like the plague.  For everyone else, it is totally worth the rental.

    The Karate Kid gets a 4/5 for finding a new path to awesome.
  • The Losers (2010)

    I have seen so many of these gunfight style action movies. I usually don't even bother anymore. There is also this new trend of "choose a comic and make a movie out of it" that we keep seeing so much of lately.  Some have been good, others are ridiculous. The Losers is another one to add to the good pile.  It doesn't do a huge amount to set itself apart, but it is still a great ride. 

    The plot is your typical revenge story.  Five special forces soldiers are tasked with a mission in the heart of Borneo.  A kink is thrown into their master plan however, when they discover a group of children being hustled into the camp that they had just recently painted for an air strike.   You can probably guess what happens from here if you have ever seen an action movie before.  Needless to say, the soldiers are now ex-soldiers and their new mission is to take out the guy who refused to cancel the strike. 

    The characters are well done, but you won't see anything new here.  You have the tech geek/comedy relief, the hardass black dude, the silent and ridiculously skilled sniper, the chivalrous leader who's only fault is caring too much, and the love interest that said leader falls for. Top it off with an evil villain who's idea for world piece is micro black holes, and you have yourself all the makings of an action movie! This isn't really a bad thing.  Hundreds of great action movies have followed this formula and been completely successful, and The Losers does a great job of it.  Just don't expect anything new.

    Overall, it's a solid movie with some excellent fight scenes, and more explosions than a day in the life of an Iraqi insurgent.  It should do a great job of entertaining you until (insert action movie #300,000) comes out.

    Losers earns a 3/5
  • Leaving for a few days

    Scratch that. Vacation cancelled!
  • The Experiment (2010)

    This was an interesting one... The Experiment is based off of a real life experiment where psychologists created a mock prison and assigned people to roles as guards and prisoners.  It was pretty infamous for revealing just how far people will go when given enough power with no consequences. 

    This is also a remake of the original German movie Das Experiment, which is considered to be a much more accurate and all around better account of what really went on.  From the very beginning you can tell this one is going to be chock full of Hollywood "improvements".  They cut out some extremely important parts of the original.   The psychologists have a brief cameo at the beginning, but from then on all you see of them is cameras.  The German movie actually had snippets of their responses to what was going on as they observed, which drastically helped the story feel more believable. Without this, the remake constantly leaves you wanting more information.  It's almost frustrating.

    The whole thing gives you an interesting look into the minds of different types of people, but it just feels so inaccurate compared to the far superior Das Experiment.  The acting is excellent, and they definitely get you cheering for the prisoners by the end, but it's still just not worth it.  It's such an obvious cash in, you are really much better off picking up the old one.

    The Experiment gets a 2/5 for being an awful rehash of what was originally an awesome movie.
  • Book of Eli (2010)

    It's not very often that a good post apocalyptic film shows up.  After having to deal with crap like The Road,  it's refreshing to see a quality one like Book of Eli. 

    The movie takes place in the year 2042, and something unmentioned has managed to completely decimate the world.  Eli is crossing the wasteland on a religious journey to deliver one of the last remaining bibles to someone way over on the west coast.  Along the way he runs into gangs, madmen, starvation, and all sorts of other nastyness. A man named Carnegie, the leader of a small settlement of brigands and thieves, discovers what Eli is carrying, and lets lose the hounds.  This leads to some awesome action sequences.  Eli must have been trained by Les Stroud himself, because even after being shot, he still manages to find a way to continue.

    Fans of the Fallout series will feel at home here.  The director really did an awesome job of portraying the wasteland as a horrifically dangrous place where only the most powerful or silver-tonged survive.  Merchants hold each other at gunpoint, and seemingly innocent captives are almost always a trap in disguise.  The action sequences are very well done, but a bit sparse.  The movie can be slow at times, but for the most part these sections do a great job of further detailing the world.    

    At the end of the day, we receive a solid post-apocalyptic action movie that bleeds production quality and crazy presentation all over the place.

    Book of Eli earns a 4/5 for its awesome world, and making Legion look like it came from Kazakhstan.
  • Untitled

    This is one of those movies where I expected something, and got something totally different.  Watching the previews for Shutter Island makes it look like some sort of freaky psych ward horror story;  and the first 30 or so minutes of the movie do a great job of reaffirming just that.  But Shutter Island is far from a ghost story or horror movie.  It is the literal definition of a psychological thriller.

    It is difficult to summarize the movie without ruining anything, so I will make this brief. A US Marshall who goes by the name of "Teddy" accepts a case to locate a missing inmate on an island out beyond Boston harbor where an old military fort has been retrofitted into a mental institution for the criminally insane.  Upon arrival, he meets the warden of the place who shows him around and explains the situation in more depth.  Going any further would screw the entire movie over for you, so I will stop there.

    Shutter Island pulls off an excellent atmosphere.  The Island and its residence are creepy, to the point where you can tell something is way off right from the get go.  It really does pull the setting off perfectly.  The story is a bit convoluted, plagued with random flash backs that force you to think outside the box in order to follow what is actually going on.  This theme carries right up to the end, and for a lot of people leaves them completely confused.  This might be a movie you have to watch twice to fully grasp. 

    If you are in the mood for a psychological thriller that forces your brain to run laps to the point of mental exhaustion, this is the perfect movie.  For everyone else, it might be worth it to check it out if only for the excellent atmosphere, acting, and characters. 

    Shutter Island's unique but slightly confusing story earn it a 3/5