This Means War is a Must see

                In a world where the romantic movies and romantic dramas are increasing in number, I look for one movie of this genre that stands out.  Time and time again my quest has failed, and I get stuck in a film that is predictable, boring, and quite silly that it makes me nearly give up on the genre.  However, there are a select few of comedies that actually stand out and restore hope that even a modern romantic comedy can still be fun.  My friends “This Means War” is one of those films that actually impressed me and so I ask you to read on to find out more.

The plot of this film centers on two CIA special agents  named FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy)  who are quite skilled at taking targets out.  However, both men soon find a mission that they can no longer work together on,; that mission is to who the heart of one Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a product-testing manager who is looking for someone special.  What starts out as a friendly competition for a girl’s heart, soon turns into an all out war as both men try to claim their prize.

The  plot of this movie may not sound that original, and in truth it pretty much is a typical romantic comedy plot.  However, what makes this movie stand out from the rest is the presentation of said plot and the balance they have managed to achieve.  Guys will be happy to hear that the movie starts out with an action scene that is exciting and somewhat flashy.  Despite the action label on this movie though, the exciting action scenes are few and far in between and usually don’t last too long.  Does that mean this is a bad movie though?   Not at all, it just means action lovers should not get the hopes up for a lot of CIA action.  Instead try to focus more on the variety of comedy this movie has to offer to the audience.  This movie has a comedy style for everyone from situational comedy to cheesy one-liners that people will be quoting left and right.  The clever integration of CIA gadgetry into modern dating life is entertaining and fans will surely applaud the abuse of such delicate resources.   

Pine and Hardy make a good duo in this movie and their natures complement one another to provide dynamic dialog, constantly evolving characters/situations, and of course plenty of unique comedic laughs, while still providing eye candy for the ladies.  Witherspoon on the other hand still acts well, but is not as funny as you might think.  The beautiful blonde has more a character development role, and is used as a tool to continue to reveal the characters background nature.  Witherspoon looks good however, and she flaunts her body in many ways that are sure to keep the male audience members interested.  Instead the role of stupid comedic catch phrases comes from supporting actress Chelsea Handler who plays Witherspoon’s best friend.  Handler captures the shallow blonde comedy well and delivers her lines in perfect time to add another layer of fun to the movie.  Perhaps the other things to complement on about this movie are the secondary stories of this movie.  One story keeps the movie tense and opens up the action scenes.  The second story is more of a cute, tug at your heartstrings, story that will appeal to the ladies’ family side.

The weaknesses for this movie were hard to find for me and so I can only provide a few things that brought this movie down for me.  Number one is the predictability of the story.  If you pay attention to the dialog and situations, you can pretty much predict the winner of Witherspoon’s heart in probably twenty minutes of the story, but those who don’t pay attention will be surprised up until about five minutes of the revelation.  A second weakness is that although Trish is funny, I grew tired of her lines about halfway through the movie because they were the same thing.  Perhaps my final weakness is again just how simple the action is.  I know this is too keep the female audience happier so that is doesn’t become a guy flick, but surely they could have done a little more detail to make these scenes a little more exciting.

All in all This Means War is perhaps one of the best romantic comedy movies I have seen in a while.  The dynamic characters and comedy styles are a welcome touch, and the clever use of CIA technology is again worthy of applause.  However, this movie is definitely one that is good to see with a girlfriend/boyfriend and  should not be misconstrued as an action movie in any way.  This film was definitely fun though and dare I say it worth a second trip to the theater to see if I had the time.  My scores for this movie are as followed:

Romance Comedy:  8.5

Movie overall:  7.5-8.0

So tune in next time my friends for another exciting movie review.  Until then, as always, keep on enjoying the movies.

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A Ride To Skip

 

 

 

The rider returns this weekend in all his fiery madness.  After watching the first journey of the skull biker, I never thought that I would see a movie starring him again.  Guess I was wrong huh?  When I saw the trailer for this movie over the winter break, I thought maybe they would redeem the comic series and bring me an action flick worth watching.  However, the trailers fooled me again and thus I now share my reports on this latest Marvel movie.

 

If you haven’t seen the trailers, Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) a.k.a. the Ghost Rider has been in hiding with his curse.  Despite his desire to be alone, he is pulled into a quest to save a boy named Danny (Fergus Riordan) and his mother Nadya (Violante Placido) from a cult worshipping the Devil (Ciarán Hinds).  The devil has plans to use Danny as a medium to channel the powers of hell and use the boy to plunge the world into darkness.

 

Does that sound cliché to you?  Well it should because its pretty much the same plot in any movie involving a demon from hell.  Those looking for connections to the first movie will be disappointed as there are only some slight references to the previous events.  Instead they tried to explain the rider’s origins in this movie to develop the character a little more, while also attempting to develop a story about the villain as well.  Unfortunately both of these new plots are very thin and one dimensional, and not even Cage, whose acting is just like you’ve in every other movie starring him, can make it come to life.   The supporting dialog also can’t save this one-dimensional plot as most of the cheesy phrasing and one liners are more laughable than anything else.    In fact Cage’s delivery of some of the more intense dialog, had me laughing hysterically at how cheesy it was delivered.  Some of the sarcastic humor though managed to get a laugh from my buddy and I.

 

Now maybe you are wondering if the action can save this shallow plot.  Well it can, but only if your action involves seeing people disintegrate into an ashen mess.  You heard me correctly, the action in this movie mainly involves the rider whipping his red-hot chain whip around and turning his victims to dust.  Many of the scenes are incredibly short and even the longer ones fail to live up to the building hype, the exception being a scene where he transforms a rock quarry machine into a wheel of doom.  When the rider isn’t whipping his chain, he is blazing a fiery trail down the road, often transforming into the demon in the process.  It’s here I’ll say that a good portion of the transformation scenes are filmed like someone was on acid.  Exaggerated facial gestures, crazy eccentric laughing, and spastic camera work make the mutation into the rider an even stranger experience than expected.

 

Despite the lists of flaws mentioned, there are a few rays of hope embedded in this movie.  Perhaps the strongest point of this movie is the character Moreau (Idris Elba) who seems to drive a large part of the story.  Elba manages to deliver his lines to a natural extent, and his character is very dynamic, which helps breathe some life into this movie.  Heck even some of his action scenes are better than the one’s involving the rider.  The second positive is that the graphics for this movie are pretty well done, though the need for 3-D was really not necessary.  Many of the biker scenes were edited and put together well without any glitches and for the most part the camera kept up with the limited action.  Finally those who like more of a metal soundtrack will be happy with the music they selected.  The electric guitars and roaring amps add some extra power to the scenes that can help get your adrenaline rushing during the scenes.  I guess I could also comment that the rest of the cast did an okay job acting, though it was nothing really special. 

 

To wrap this up Ghost Rider 2 does not deliver what the fans were hoping it would.  A shallow, predictable storyline, limited action, and poor character development are just too large to b enjoyed.  It’s definitely not the worse movie I have seen, but it certainly needs some tweaking.  My suggestion is to avoid seeing it in 3-D if you can and save yourself some money.  However, an even better suggestion is to wait for this movie to come out on red box/regular T.V. to watch it and save yourself considerable time and money.  The Robbie’s ratings for this movie are as follows:

 

Action/Thriller:  5.5

Movie Overall:  4.5-5.0

 

So that’s my review for now.  Tune in next time for my review on “This Means War” and as always keep enjoying the movies.

Woman in Black Brings The Creepiness Back

 

 

 

 

With the Harry Potter series officially over, Daniel Radcliffe has been busy doing plays.  You can imagine my surprise when I saw him as the star of the latest horror movie the Woman in Black.  Now whenever I see a horror movie trailer I typically roll my eyes because most of them are very cheesy and over hyped.  As a result, I wasn’t too excited about this movie and thought that it would follow the stereotypical horror genre.  Well to tell you the truth it did, but for once I was actually a little creeped out by this movie, which hasn’t occurred in a long time.  So if you are interested in reading my thoughts continue on below.

 

To me most modern horror movies try to scare people by loud screams and creatures or objects suddenly jumping out at you.  Well The Woman in Black takes full advantage of this scare tactic to a degree of over use.   Many of these sudden surprises were easy for me to protect, thanks to the camera work, and were usually not that scary to me.  A majority of the audience, however, jumped at most of these scenes, and many of them screamed as well.  If you are one who startles easily, then you will surely be entertained or scared throughout this movie, and if you enjoy being scared that makes this film even better.  For me however, I was frightened more by the scenery and camera work than anything else.  The feeling of isolation and mystery combined with the cold stares and lifeless objects gave me chills that I haven’t felt in a long time in a horror movie.   The film crew essentially made my imagination fill in the gaps and paint a picture that was much worse than the actual ghosts themselves.

 

So the film crew did a nice job with the filming, but what else can I tell you about the movie.  I guess the next thing to talk about is the story of the Woman in Black.  Like most horror movies these days, the story for this movie is fairly predictable and easy to uncover.  The various clues, the victims of the woman’s crimes, and the emphasis on various pieces of paper allowed me to guess all the surprises within about thirty minutes of the movie.  However, there were a few twists that I did not predict, only one of which was really surprising.  Now most people I know are not into this genre for the story, but still you can do better than this and can make it a little less predictable.

 

Regardless of the story, there are a few other things to report about this movie.  Perhaps the biggest thing to complement on is the acting of Radcliffe and his fellow co actor Roger Allam who played Radcliffe’s wingman.  Radcliffe managed to catch the quiet, intense, and tragic hero role down once more, and seems to have a gift for playing characters with tragic pasts.  Although he is no longer casting spells and fighting wizards, he still manages to make his character interesting and helps you latch on to the character and wonder what will happen to him.  Allam as well does a great job and his character helps fill in some gaps in the story, while still providing that friend factor that further strengthens Radcliff’s character.   Another positive for this movie is that I definitely did not feel any slow parts in this movie, thanks to the scenery and suspense keeping my attention in this movie.  Perhaps the other thing that kept the pace quick and kind of refreshed the audiences’ attention are the various deaths in the film.  Each of them is rather sudden and none of them are in that cheesy way that slasher films like Saw and Final Destination have made famous.    Perhaps the last thing I will mention in this film is that it is very depressing.  You may be saying, “Are you surprised?  It is a horror movie after all.”  Well yes I agree, but this movie is not drowned in cheesy kills, or fake looking monsters to keep the movie slightly upbeat.  Instead there is no ray of hope throughout most of this movie and the constant cloud of depression that sweeps over the movie can bring you down.

 

To wrap up this review, Woman in Black is definitely a horror movie worthy of a big screen visit.  The use of the imagination and setting are well combined to create an environment that will give you chills and make you feel very alone.  Radcliffe was an excellent choice as well, and will provide you a character that you will latch on to the moment you learn his story.  However, the predictable story and flood of obvious startling scenes take away from this movie and eventually become more annoying than anything.  Taking everything into account, my scores are as followed:

 

Drama/Horror:  8.5

Movie overall:  7.0-7.5

 

Hopefully next week I will have more reviews for you, but until then have fun and continue to enjoy the movie!

Chronicle: Not so much action

It was only about two weeks ago that I saw the first trailer for Chronicle and I’ll admit it looked interesting.  The idea of an alien artifact giving people powers is definitely not a new concept, but it is rare to see alien powers in a non-comic book superhero way.  So when I saw the trailer I do admit that I was excited and yes I did think this would be a decent action flick to kind of kill some time with.  Was my assumption right?  Read on to find out.

 

As mentioned earlier, Chronicle is about three boys, Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Matt (Alex Russell, and Steven (Alex Russell), who by chance one night stumble upon a strange artifact that somehow bestows upon them telekinetic powers.  At first the trio use their new gifts for fun, but Andrew loses control and decides to use his powers for other reasons than what the trio originally intended.

 

Now if you are like me then when you saw the trailer you were expecting to see a cascade of scenes and sequences portraying the development of their powers and eventually ending in a fast paced action scene.  Well my friends you get half of what you wished for.  A majority of the movie does focus on watching the their powers develop.  The movie is filled with various shots of the levitating objects, shifting of heavy objects without any touch, and of course high-flying soaring through the clouds.  You heard me right; the trio eventually learn how to levitate their bodies to allow them to fly through the skies.  These scenes were actually well done, being a good blend of fun and excitement.  In fact I would say that these scenes were the perhaps the most action packed of the movie, but that’s not saying much.  Unfortunately these scenes, like a good portion of the movie, are shot in that amateur cameraman style made famous in movies like Blair Witch and Cloverfield.  The director decided to have Andrew be obsessed with filming life through a camera and thus the movie is shot as if we are watching through the lens of that camera.

 

This brings me to the first of my two major weaknesses of this movie.  For me the camera work was once again bouncy and annoying and took away from the detail in the movie.  Many of the faster scenes had plenty of bobbing, spinning, and shaking, while the slower scenes had more of a floating effect to them.  Now this definitely wasn’t the worse camera work I’ve seen, but it still was not my ideal style for the trailer.   Now there are some breaks from Andrew’s camera work in the movie, but a majority are just other cameras (i.e. security cameras, news choppers, other friends etc.), which are appropriate for the scenes, yet still annoying.

 

Despite the camera work, the movie still has some positive qualities to it.  For one the visual effects are well-edited and not half bad graphic wise.  Editing did a good job of blending the scenes together, and the graphic artists kept the power using scenes flowing and glitch free.  The movie also didn’t drag too much for me as well even though there was little action or surprise in this film.  I felt that they were able to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.  The acting also wasn’t that bad as well, and the three main actors did a nice job capturing the teenage lifestyle down, while still maintaining some individuality in their characters.  Perhaps the only exception to the acting would be DeHaan’s acting near the end, which was more ridiculous screaming than anything.

 

This brings me to my next big weakness, which is the “action” at the end.  Instead of getting a flood of power attacks and clever use of powers, the audience gets a cascade of a screaming Andrew and a few floating cars from his temper tantrums.  Matt manages to get a couple of moves in, but again it’s just constant images of the two on the ground and breathing heavily.  The epic conclusion to this fight is also lame and is rather anti-climatic and let me down considerably.  Other weaknesses to this movie include shallow plot line lacking any surprise or twist. casual dialog that is at points annoying, and the amount of darkness/depression in this film.

 

Chronicle is definitely what the title states, a collection of amateur camera work that portrays the evolution of Andrew.  Although there is decent acting, smooth graphics, and some fun power scenes, the poor camera work and lack of story really diluted the film’s entertainment value.  It’s not the worse movie I have seen in a while, but it also isn’t the best.  I strongly recommend waiting to see this film on Netflix or Red box and only see it in theaters if there is no other movie for you.  My scores for this movie are:

 

Action/Drama/Sci-fi  (7.0 definitely more Drama and Sci-fi)

Movie overall:  (5.0-5.5)

 

Check back later for my review on the Woman in Black and as always enjoy the movies!