Average User Score: 9.2Sep 28, 2011I don't like the Shawshank Redemption. It's a bunch of guys sitting around in prison listening to classical music. Most of them, with the exception of the protagonist, are murderers and scumbags. I don't feel any sympathy for them. Then you get to the end and there's some hokey fairytale ending where the two guys meet up on some sunny picturesque beach and it's all smiles and rainbows and **** What's to like?
Now, that doesn't mean I can't enjoy movies with people who've done bad things. There are plenty of anti-heroes in good films, like "Leon" for example. Or, The Professional if you will. The film was originally titled Leon in France but then changed to The Professional when it came over to America. I guess because they figured that American audiences wouldn't be interested in seeing a movie titled Leon, they'd just miss out on what the film was really about.
I think the difference in something like "Leon" is that while he's an assassin for hire, he's only going out and killing other drug dealers and corrupt cops and people who are as vile or worse. There's a code he follows. So it's like the lesser of two evils, you can relate with him because he's better then the people he combats. Same with Batman, he's a vigilante and thus a criminal, but he follows a code and commits violence against those even worse then he is. While in Shawshank... the convicts are imprisoned for committing crimes against innocent people, we assume. We don't really find out the specific circumstances, but it's generally understood that these people were not committing crimes against even worse human beings.
So this aura of reverence and love for the film has always mystified me. I'm not going to say it's a bad film. The cinematography and acting all seem fairly competent. But it just didn't do anything for me. I felt bored by it. And ya know, listening to people hyping it up to be one of the greatest films ever made didn't help either. It's number one on IMDB's top 250 greatest, for God's sake. And there're plenty of people out there who'll tell you it should've won Best Picture over Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump. Me, I'm of the opinion Forrest Gump rightfully deserved the award. Forrest Gump, now there was a film that really moved me and touched me deep down inside.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.2Sep 28, 2011It's alright. I don't think it's quite up to the standard of Don Bluth's earlier films like The Land Before Time, but it's not bad. The CGI and animation blend together fairly well.
I always found the film rather thought provoking, because I first watched it while I was playing Mass Effect, and one central idea in the film captured my imagination. Cause see, humanity at the beginning of the movie almost goes extinct. They're scattered to the far reaches of the galaxy as refugees. The main character, a young teenage male named Cale Tucker, is stuck working at an asteroid salvage yard. He's kinda lonely there, surrounded by aliens. Luckily, he eventually encounters an attractive human girl named Akima.
Now, what I always wondered was what would have happened if he had never lucked into finding another human girl? What if he really was alone on that alien asteroid facility? This is a teenage guy, after all. How do you deal with being horny all the time without having any chance for sex? Sure, you can masturbate, but how long can you do that before pondering the possibility of having sex with an alien girl? It's kinda gross and disturbing, because that would be bestiality, but eventually you'd have to consider it, right? The months and years pass by. Is he able to hold onto his humanity? Will he give into his hormones and try to romance and **** an alien?
It's something to think about.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.7Sep 28, 2011This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I finally went and saw Transformers Dark of the Moon last night. Kinda put it off for a while because I **** hated the second one and this didn't seem much better. But uh, finally got bored and went, this summer's been awful as far as good video games go. They're saving up all the big releases for the fall and holiday season. Here's my thoughts, with spoilers. Though really, this film is so dumb it's not the sort of thing you can spoil. -The story here is taken from the comics and the cartoon. When the Autobots leave in a giant ark that blows up, it's from Dreamwave's first storyline in their Transformers comic. And of course, the Decepticons using a space bridge to transport Cybertron to earth is "The Ultimate Doom" episode from the G1 cartoon. So... no real complaints there, them using the actual source material is a welcome change as they've pretty much butchered everything else up to this point.
-Who the hell is Q? He's some Autobot scientist that has hair? Why would transformers have hair? And how come I've never heard of Q before? I've watched the cartoon and read the comics and the character of Q, autobot scientist, never came to my attention before. Wait a minute. Q, that's the name of the gadget scientist that equips James Bond in every Bond film, isn't it? Is that what Bay is going for here, ripping off James Bond? Why the **** did he do that? The Autobots already have Ratchet and Wheeljack in the cartoons to outfit them with gear, there was no reason to make up some new lame character.
-The comic relief, terrible as it is, comes from the two small robots Wheels and Brains. I'm not sure if Wheels is still voiced by Steve Buscemi but he sounds slightly different. Anyways, these two stupid characters are awful and try their darnedest to remind you of Skids and Mudflap from the second film. They might not be quite as racially offensive, but it's a near thing. Even viewing them without the racial stereotypes, they're just plain annoying as hell and contribute nothing else to the film. Also, Brains for some inexplicable reason has troll doll hair on his head. Again, why would Transformers have hair? These are robots.
-Shia LaBeouf screams and acts like a **** idiot. This does not make him a good protagonist.
-The comedy in this film is bizarre and off-putting, in other words... typical Bay. Ken Jeong of course has to straddle Shia LaBeouf in a restroom stall and call himself "Deep Wang." Of course he does. Of course Bay finds this funny. In fact, this is almost the exact same scenario that Bay gave us in The Island, where it was Steve Buscemi with Ewan McGregor. An unsuspecting innocent walks in on them and thinks they're gay lovers. I'm not saying this sort of situation is unimaginably lacking in comedic value, but the over-the-top manner that Jeong acts just made me feel so embarrassed and disgusted for humanity that the possibility of humor never arrived. Ken Jeong, man, he needs to try and think up some new schtick, because it's just getting old. Cringeworthy comedy is not necessarily a bad thing but it didn't work for me here.
-With the way Michael Bay shoots her, Rosie Huntington-Whitely is not nearly as ugly as she looked in some promo stills. However... her acting sucks and she's still not as attractive as Megan Fox.
-Optimus Prime appears to be a murderous psychopath. I'm not even sure if he's better then the Decepticons. "We'll kill them all." "Let's find out." Whatever happened to the Optimus Prime from the cartoon? That's the one that us kids all looked up to. The Optimus Prime here is either wimpering for his life or slicing and dicing everything in sight like a cold-blooded murderer. We bounce around from one extreme to the other, never quite coming into harmonious alignment with Peter Cullen's majestic and inspiring voice, perfect as always. Don't get me wrong, his voice is great, just not what he's made to say in that voice.
-Optimus is also equipped with his trailer now, which is an improvement over the past films which always had him trailer-less. Here, it finally completes his vehicle profile and also serves a useful purpose as his equipment locker and battle station.
-Why would the Decepticons use humans to rebuild Cybertron? How does that even work? Human slaves are going to be starving and beaten, how are they going to be able to rebuild a totally alien mechanical planet? The Cybertronians are highly advanced technological beings, right? How would 6 billion humans know how to repair this advanced technological planet? Hell, 4 billion humans on earth probably don't even have access to wikipedia yet. I mean, if you want human slaves to build ancient pyramids by dragging giant blocks up ramps, I guess we could probably do that. But I imagine Cybertron has completely alien and sophisticated systems that make up its structure.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.3Sep 28, 2011This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Sunshine is 2/3rds of a great film. But that third act is such a ruinous mistake that it taints the entire experience.
I mean, for the first two acts, Sunshine's basically a master class in how to create a brilliant scifi film. There's this loneliness and tension and a methodical, measured tone that really works to pull you into the film. It's obviously very referential of 2001, but without the mindnumbing pace and lack of characterization of Kubrick's film. It just fires on all cylinders in this beautifully conceived scifi environment. Plus, John Murphy's soundtrack is absolutely mesmerizing. "Adagio in D Minor" is a particular standout and his career achievement to date. Some of the events in the film do feel familiar, but that wasn't a bad thing. They felt like nice little tips of the hat to the giants of the genre. For example, the dilemma about running out of oxygen and having to kill a member of the crew to cut down on consumption felt like a very obvious callback to Tom Godwin's classic scifi short story "The Cold Equations." You know, the one about a girl secretly stowing aboard a small spacecraft with one pilot that's delivering life-saving drugs to a colony. Unfortunately, there's only enough fuel for the weight of the pilot and the drugs aboard, and the girl's added weight means the ship is going to run out of fuel and crash on the planet, killing both of them. So the only solution is to jettison this poor girl out the airlock. It's a very similar situation in the film, but that didn't bother me at all. If you're going to take influences, might as well take them from the best.
And then the third act twist occurs, and it all just goes right to hell. I dunno what Danny Boyle and his scriptwriter were thinking, but man, that uh... that last act and what happens was just such a course change, and an unneeded one for me, that it completely stopped the movie. You're just staring at the screen wondering why, why, why. Why would they drop the ball like this? The whole tone and tenor of the piece just veered off in this rather ridiculous and unbelievable direction. I felt cheated, to be honest. It didn't make sense and didn't seem to be what the first two acts had been about. The twist is that the captain of the first Icarus is alive and he's basically a monster out of a slasher film. He's somehow been living on the other ship getting a suntan for all these years and now he's on the Icarus 2 murdering people and possessing superhuman strength even though he's covered all over with horrible burns. Also, he appears as this blurry, vibrating, fluctuating mess on camera which makes no sense. I guess Danny Boyle wanted it to create some sort of effect or to suggest that perhaps he's just a hallucination, but it just looked irritating to my eyes. Of course, you've gotta wonder how he even became Captain of the Icarus, you'd think NASA or whoever would check for mental instability when picking the crew for THE MOST IMPORTANT MANNED SPACE MISSION OF ALL TIME.
It's tough, because you really want to recommend this somewhat unknown scifi film to friends (it only made around 3 million at the box office IIRC) but that last act is a blunder that just sinks the whole thing. Can I really recommend 2/3rds of a film to someone? That's what I'd like to do.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.2Sep 28, 2011This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Just rewatched The Island yesterday, and it reaffirmed my belief that it's one of Michael Bay's best films. The central message behind the film might be obscured by all the overblown **** crazy action scenes, but I believe it's an important one and I'm glad he got it out there in a mainstream film. It's no Never Let Me Go, but the marriage of action and speculative fiction worked for me. The one issue I have with the film is the black mercenary who turns good at the end. That felt completely ridiculous and unearned. This guy comes into the film and has his men murder McCord, murder a couple of hapless police officers, and he himself mistakenly murders Tom Lincoln. Yet at the end of the film, he has this sudden change of heart, does a complete 180, and gets to walk off smiling into the camera at the end with an "Oh, you feisty clones... you whippersnappers you, go and have some fun, you've earned it!" expression. That was complete **** **** you movie, I'm not gonna applaud this man. If he'd actually shot who he'd intended to, he wouldn't be looking at Lincoln Six Echo kissing Jordan Two Delta at the end there, because Lincoln would be dead.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.7Sep 28, 2011Finally got around to seeing Kung Fu Panda 2. And I gotta say... this was a great experience. Quite amazing that they managed to create a second film at least equal to the first one, which was a sensational animated film. Not prepared to say it's better than its predecessor, because it's still new and fresh in my mind and there's some afterglow lingering about. The first film had a few majestic shots that this one lacked, like that tranquil scene where Master Oogway ascends in a flurry of petals while Hans Zimmer and John Powell's powerful music swells. On the other hand, there are jaw dropping scenes in this one that you didn't find in the first entry. So yeah, all in all it feels about as good as the first.
The thing with these two Kung Fu Panda films that I am so damn thrilled about and which engenders great love for them is that they know how to come up with third act climaxes that actually do deliver. The third acts in these films have final showdowns/battles that are legitimately spectacular and you can sense that the film is at the height of its power, that these really are the animators working at their high point. With a lot of recent superhero films like Iron Man and Iron Man 2 and Thor... you don't really get that. You're usually left with somewhat disappointing climactic battles at the end, and this is a sin that the KFP films effortlessly avoid. When something begins to spin around and around in a white hot fury in the closing battle, your eyes pop open along with the main villain's in the film, as the significance of that image truly becomes clear. The artistry of Dreamworks is not just evident in its CGI animation, but in simple and effective composition of shots from 2D hand-drawn images that are placed in between the 3D animation.
The emotional depth of KFP2 is surprising for a kid's movie, and recalls much of Pixar's previous work in this area. Here, most of it is centered around Po's relationship with his adopted father Mr. Ping, and with his search for his true parents. Most people aren't at all familiar with the dynamics of adopted children and their foster parents, not having experienced anything like that themselves, but it's handled with touching grace and empathy and humor. You might never imagine a goose and a panda could comprise a family, but at the end of the film you'll have a hard time believing otherwise, the strength of the material and the performances makes it so. Po's memories of his actual parents are deeply affecting and become more so as the picture progresses, due to the aforementioned artistic vision of the creative team. At the beginning of the movie, Po's memories are rendered as 2D hand-drawn animation, with bold broad strokes which look simplistic and convey the distant and unnatural nature of his recollection. Later, when he finally makes his breakthrough and his mind is clear, these memories are transformed into the 3D animation of the rest of the film, with subtle detail and a realism that make the flashbacks incredibly heartbreaking to watch. This is first rate storytelling, and something that could have only been done in these animated films.
Now, having given all these accolades, I do have to say that the main villain of this film, Lord Shen, was not as good as Tai Lung was in the first film. I've been hearing a lot of praise for this character, but honestly, I don't really see why. He's this psychopathic **** who saw a prophecy that he would be defeated by something black and white, and decided to go cause, basically, a panda holocaust. Then he's shunned, and rightfully so, by his parents for said holocaust. So he's bitter and later returns to get revenge on... well, everyone in China, cause his parents are dead by this point. This is not a deep or complex antagonist here. Don't get me wrong, I think Gary Oldman gives a great voice acting performance as Shen, Oldman always does good work in whatever role he's given, so that's all fine. But just talking about the character itself, it's not anything to write home about. He seemed about as evil and one-dimensional as your average cardboard villain.… Expand
Average User Score: 5.6Sep 28, 2011This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I actually liked the movie more then the reviews led me to believe I would. I mean... you start out with the big fighter dogfight in the skies and I was like, yeah hey, this is uh, this is alright. It kinda reminded me of the F22 dogfight in Iron Man, and that was a pretty good high-flying action scene. Well here, they're also flying around in fighter planes and it's all cool looking and kinetic. I enjoyed that.
There was a lot of fear about Blake Lively and her performance as Carol Ferris, since the first trailer had that infamously halting line reading, "Hal! This test today! It's! Important!" So yeah, I was very leery of her. But... actually, in the full finished product, I thought she gave an adequate performance. It was okay, it was alright. It wasn't that bad, actually. Her line readings were not like fingernails being scraped across a chalkboard. It wasn't a great performance, but I found that she did fine with the material she was given... which wasn't much. It wasn't compelling stuff, but she did look good delivering it. Maybe that's partially blinding me, I dunno. I'll admit, I find her pretty damn attractive. She's one of those women who's able to look equally as sexy with her natural blonde hair or with dark brunette, which she had here. Right now, I feel like she gave a better accounting of herself then Katie Holmes did in Batman Begins. Not great, but not terrible either.
The stuff on Oa with Sinestro was done really well. I was pleased with Mark Strong's depiction, it felt pitch perfect. He's just conjuring up two or three swords at a time and completely schooling Hal with this training sequence and it's like yeah, that's exactly how Sinestro would behave, he doesn't have time for this upstart rookie. If you gather up 3600 of the bravest and most determined beings in the universe... of course they're all going to be somewhat elitist and headstrong and have no patience for the newbies.
But then you keep watching and the film starts letting you down more and more. The editing is a complete trainwreck and just makes no sense at times. Sinestro leads a taskforce of Lanterns to battle Parallax and they predictably get massacred. That didn't really bother me, but the editing for that sequence was just atrocious. We see them try and net Parallax and he breaks free and begins to suck the fear out of two or three Lanterns and... that's it, cut to Sinestro explaining their defeat to the Guardians back on Oa. Now... why the sudden cut? Why not show us a bit more? Hell, why not actually show us why Sinestro didn't get murderized along with the rest of the lanterns? Parallax just somehow decided to spare Sinestro? He just fed on a couple, got full, and slithered away? Did Sinestro pull any nifty maneuvers or tricks to escape with his life? What the hell happened there? The movie's only about 1 hour and 45 minutes along, so why the **** is it chopped down so damn much? There could've been much more shown to us.
Of course, another example is the confrontation with Hector Hammond in the secret lab. Now, he's just taken out a bunch of security guards, murdered one scientist, knocked out Amanda Waller (Angela Bassett in a real waste of a role here, she didn't do much of anything. I suspect she's not dead because Waller is a big fixture in the DCU and they'd want her back in other films), and barbequed his father Tim Robbins (who for some reason looked even younger then his son Peter Sarsgaard). This is pretty serious stuff here. And yet he just gets to escape at the end of the scene. Why didn't Hal go and pursue him? The man has a giant head and doesn't seem to have any super speed, so it looked like it'd be easy to catch him. Yet nothing happens. We next see Hammond writhing around on his bed, apparently. Nobody thought to check his residence? There'd probably be a massive search for an alien-infected man responsible for the murder of a US Senator, right?
And the design for Parallax was so bad, Jesus Christ. I was kinda open to anything they'd come up with. I mean, in the books, it's just this yellow space insect thing which tends to look a bit silly and you know, why would the embodiment of fear look like a giant bug? It's sorta silly, so I was alright with changing that aspect of it. There's all sorts of different places you could go with that, in order to make it more palateable for audiences. But they for whatever reason decided to go with... a big dark, murky cloud with tentacles and a silly giant head that reminded me of the Martians from "Mars Attacks!" I dunno, I was not feeling that creative decision at all, it looked like a pile of crap. And didn't we learn that giant space clouds make for **** villains, from that second Fantastic Four movie? Why revisit that territory? Given the choice between an octopus cloud and a giant insect... I think I'd probably take the giant insect.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.0Sep 28, 2011This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I liked Catfish. Doesn't matter if it's real or not, though I tend to think it's mostly true. The rawness of it all... it rang true to me!
Apparently a lot of people saw a trailer and were disappointed by the film because the trailer made it out to be some horror slasher film, but I never saw the trailer before watching it, so I never had any of those silly expectations. It was what it was, and the humanity of the people involved just really got under my skin. I guess a lot of people, including me, would rather choose to believe that it's real. You know, I certainly wouldn't be surprised or shocked at all if they eventually came out and admitted it was fake. But there's this latent desire to believe in amazing feats of happenstance, and with this film, we want to believe that a couple of average guys in NYC could just stumble into creating this rather astounding and compelling documentary. But if it turned out to fake, it wouldn't be much of a change in my appreciation of the thing. It'd just mean that a couple of incredibly talented guys in NYC had instead created this rather astounding and compelling fictional story. PS: But dude, what was up with that male tramp stamp? Like seriously... that was probably the most unbelievable part of the film for me. Nev must be out of his goddamn mind.… Expand
Average User Score: 8.0Sep 28, 2011This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I quite enjoyed Scott Pilgrim, thought it uh, did a rather good job adapting all six volumes of the comic book into a two hour theatrical experience. That's a lot to cover, but they got the real gist of it.
Well, except for... the thing with Knives Chau. And now, you either get what I'm referring to, or you don't. But I think most people know what I'm talking about when I mention Knives Chau. Cause see, in the comic book, Scott inevitably ends up being with Ramona. They give it another try at the end and we hope for the best. They're meant to be.
And that does happen in the movie as well, that does happen. But the strange thing is, and I felt it for about the last half of the running time... the strange thing is, it kinda feels like the film's leading towards another ending, one where Scott learns the error of his ways, matures, and reunites with Knives at the end. The narrative seems like it's building towards that outcome. It doesn't shake out that way, so I was just left baffled that the tone suggested it was veering towards that. Seemed like they had the Knives ending in mind but changed their minds at the last moment and chopped it out and replaced it with the Ramona ending.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.6Sep 28, 2011This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Iron Man 2 is not exactly a worthy followup to the original. My problems with the film: The fight between Rhodey and Tony in his mansion with DJ AM in the background was really dumb. These two guys are supposed to be best friends? Yeah Tony was being a douche, but that doesn't mean you steal one of his suits and proceed to try to beat his ass and tear up his whole damn mansion in the process. It just felt like they needed an action beat, like they said "Oh hey, it's been x amount of pages since we've had some action to entertain the audience, we need to stick a fight scene in here according to this scriptwriting 101 guide." It seemed very forced and unnecessary to me.
Justin Hammer was cheesing up the joint and just acting way too goofy.
Tony and Pepper's playful banter had turned into a lot of bickering that wasn't that fun to watch.
Tony's father had hidden away his secret formula for an amazing new element as... the overhead blueprint for his **** Stark Expo? What the hell, why would anybody... what? That doesn't even make any sense. How would he know that Tony would possess a nifty holographic projector that could strip away the details and reveal this magical wonder element? Why not just write down the formula on a piece of paper, why hide it as the layout for a stupid ass expo? This... this **** stinks.
How is Tony's new power source poisoning his blood? The palladium core goes right into his arc reactor, why would this end up in his bloodstream? His bloodstream seems completely segregated from the reactor. Couldn't he just invent some filter between the reactor and his body? He seems good at inventing stuff.
At the race track, when Vanko attacks... why don't the security guards just shoot Vanko in the chest with their guns? His exoskeleton doesn't seem to cover his chest, they could shoot him to death.
Rourke's Vanko spends most of the second half of the movie in a factory building robots. That's kinda boring, you shouldn't have your main villain squirrelled away that much.
The final battle with Vanko was way too short and just involved IM and WM doing some stupid high-five with their repulsors. Vanko also opens his helmet for no reason, making his head incredibly vulnerable. But other then that, I thought it was an enjoyable experience.… Expand