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hiphopspaz Official Movie Review Thread

Aug 18, 2011 @ 11:31
Fright Night, Conan The Barbarian: Movie Reviews
Fright Night: Movie Review

I totally dislike remakes. Especially if it
Aug 25, 2011 @ 12:53
Aug 25, 2011 @ 23:28
Colombiana: Movie Review
Colombiana: Movie Review

Going into COLOMBIANA, I did not have any idea what to expect. Sure, writer/producer Luc Besson has given us such entertaining B-movie action flicks like TRANSPORTER, UNLEASHED, & TAKEN. He is also responsible for the classic film LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL. My doubts about the film were based not only on a trailer that looked like a film I have seen many times before, but also the fact that Olivier Megaton was the film’s director. Aside from having one of the coolest last names I have ever seen (Who wouldn’t want the name Megaton? ), he did direct the terrible TRANSPORTER 3. I have some good news, Megaton’s second feature film is a huge improvement. Not only that, but it’s a damn entertaining film with a truly sexy leading lady. Zoe Saldana kicks major ass and looks great doing it.

Saldana plays Cataleya (which is the name of a flower that grows in Colombia). After having witnessed her parents being murdered as a young girl, she flees to the United States and winds up being trained by her uncle Emilio (Cliff Curtis) to be a professional killer. More than a decade later, Cataleya is now working for her uncle as an assassin, but she is leaving a drawing of the cataleya flower on each of her victims to send a message to her parents killers. She wants to flush them out since they have gone into hiding.

Cataleya is determined to find those responsible for her loss, but loses focus as she starts to fall in love with Danny (Michael Vartan). Danny thinks her name is actually Jennifer and he knows nothing about who she really is or what she does. On top of that, FBI Special Agent Ross (Lennie James) is hot on her trail.

COLOMBIANA is a wildly entertaining film with some terrific action. One of the film’s best scenes involves Cataleya crashing into a police car at full speed and getting out, pretending to be drunk just so she could get herself arrested and put in the same jail that one of her targets is located. Then she is able to free herself from the jail and take out her target. It’s really a fun scene.

There are scenes in the film that do not work so well. In one completely stupid scene, Uncle Emilio pulls out a gun and starts shooting it randomly in front a school that he wants to send Cataleya to. He does this in broad daylight, hitting a car and causing an accident while tons of witnesses are looking on. He also stands there for a few minutes talking to his niece while they hear the police sirens fast approaching. The way the rest of the audience giggled at that scene made me think everyone else felt the same way.

Saldana is an effective leading lady, even for a film of this nature. Strong, smart, and beautiful. I also want to mention Amandla Stenberg who plays young Cataleya. Stenburg takes us through a terrific chase through the streets of Colombia in the film’s opening scenes. James also delivers as the FBI agent tracking down Cataleya.

COLOMBIANA is fast paced and fun from start to finish. Good performances and some clever action scenes make it more than just another revenge retread. Sure this is like many films that you have seen before, but when it’s done well it’s worth seeing again.

By: Marc Ferman

Sep 01, 2011 @ 22:55
A Good Old Fashioned Orgy: Movie Review

Sometimes a movie comes out of nowhere, with very little marketing and promotion and just hits you over the head with its pure awesomeness. A GOOD OLD FASHIONED ORGY is one of those rare films, and it lives up to its funny yet straight-to-the-point title. Aside from catching the trailer once online about a month ago, I have heard nothing else about this film. No TV spots, no posters in the theaters, absolutely nothing. It
Sep 08, 2011 @ 11:35
Contagion & Warrior - Movie Reviews
Contagion: Movie Review

Director Steven Soderbergh (OCEANS 11-13, TRAFFIC) has proven in the past that he is more than capable when it comes to helming a film that has a large high profile cast which requires jumping back and forth to different points of the story and not having it feel like too much is going on. The extremely talented filmmaker somewhat succeeds again, except there is one major problem with CONTAGION. It
Sep 15, 2011 @ 23:18
Drive: Movie Review

The new film DRIVE by Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (PUSHER, BRONSON) is not so much an action movie as it is more of a film-noir crime/drama/caper with some action mixed in and a whole lot of blood. It also happens to be one of my favorite films to be released this year and seeing Albert Brooks play a boss in a crime syndicate is only a small part of why I loved it. Trust me when I tell you that Brooks
Sep 21, 2011 @ 17:16
Moneyball: Movie Review
Moneyball: Movie Review

The new movie MONEYBALL is based on the true story of Oakland A
Sep 22, 2011 @ 14:43
Killer Elite: Movie Review
Killer Elite: Movie Review

Real life is rarely as exciting as the movies, so it is not much of a surprise that the new action/spy film KILLER ELITE is pretty much a complete snoozer. Aside from a few cinematic feats of ass-kicking by Jason Statham (which I am guessing is the part of the film that is not inspired by true events), things remain feeling pretty flat throughout.

After a pre-opening-credits-job-gone-bad scene, Mercenary Danny (Jason Statham) decides to hang up his guns, fix up a cabin in the woods and live out his years in peace. Things quickly change when he learns that his mentor and long time friend Hunter (Robert De Niro) has been taken hostage. The only way he will be released is if Danny agrees to hunt down and kill the SAS soldiers responsible for murdering the three sons of Sheikh Amr bin Issa, a renegade Omani chieftain with six months to live. Meanwhile ex-SAS officer Spike (Clive Owen) is on the trail of Danny and his crew.

KILLER ELITE has fighting, set ups, murder, political dealings, and a good cast. The problem is nothing here adds up to anything entertaining. The film limps on without showing us anything remotely believable, which is a major issues when the film claims to be inspired by true events. In one of the film
Sep 22, 2011 @ 22:47
Dolphin Tale: Movie Review
Dolphin Tale: Movie Review

The new family film DOLPHIN TALE is based on the true story about a dolphin named Winter (played by herself), who had to have her tail amputated after she was caught in a crab trap and washed up on a beach. Directed by Charles Martin Smith (who many would know more for his longstanding acting career), DOLPHIN TALE is competently made, but feels more like a made-for-TV movie than a theatrical feature. Yet, I would still recommend this sweet and inspirational film to those looking to take the family out for a matinee over the weekend.

Part of what makes the film work is using the real life dolphin that the story is based on as the star. Keeping away from using a CGI dolphin was a smart move. It makes it easier to feel for Winter. Another thing that works is the casting. Harry Connick Jr. is likeable as Dr. Clay Haskett, the man who runs the marine facility that nurses the sea-animals back to health. Along with his father Reed (Kris Kristofferson).

The story centers around young Sawyer Nelson (Nathan Gamble), the boy who cuts Winter loose from the trap on the beach and the only one she responds to during her rehabilitation. When Sawyer
Sep 29, 2011 @ 13:45
50/50: Movie Review
50/50: Movie Review

If you go by the trailers for the new film 50/50, you might go in to the film expecting a cancer-comedy. Even though the ads promote the film
Oct 06, 2011 @ 12:10
Real Steel: Movie Review

It could be argued that the new film REAL STEEL is director Shawn Levy’s best film to date. With his previous credits being DATE NIGHT, NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM (1&2), THE PINK PANTER, CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, & a few other forgettable pieces of filmmaking, REAL STEEL is by far the most entertaining. I do use the word “entertaining” loosely though. With a plot that basically borrows elements from the ROCKY films and OVER THE TOP, it is at times goofy and too cute for its own good (mainly dealing with the father and son relationship).

The main reason people are going to go see REAL STEEL is to watch robots beat the living hell out of each other, and I am happy to say, that those moments alone are worth the ticket price. Robot boxing is even cooler than it sounds. It is loud, violent, exciting, and blood-free, so the kiddies can enjoy it too (though there is some squirting hydro-fluid in place of the blood). We also have the always-awesome Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a washed up boxer who is now a down-on-his-luck promoter, fighting his robots for a living.

When Charlie learns that his ex-wife passed away, he agrees to look after his son Max (Dakota Goyo) for the summer while Max’s aunt (Hope Davis) is away on vacation. Charlie does not want the kid around, but he agrees in exchange for a payout from the aunt’s husband (James Rebhorn). The father and son continue to bump heads until Max discovers an old generation sparring-bot that has been buried in a junkyard, which is named Atom (as written on its chest). Turns out that Atom can not only take a beating better than any other robot in the ring, but it can dish out a metallic ass-whooping as well.

REAL STEEL is filled with cookie-cutter characters, like another former fighter named Ricky (Kevin Durand) who Charlie owes money. Anthony Mackie makes the best of the little he is given here as fight promoter Finn. To me, Mackie is a great talent and if a filmmaker is smart enough to give the actor a place in a film, it should be taken advantage of.

Just like any ROCKY movie, the film comes down to that one final fight between Atom and a high-tek monster of a robot named Zeus (think Rocky vs. Ivan Drago in ROCKY IV). We already know from the start of the film who is going to win the fight, but it does not make it any less exciting. REAL STEEL is simple and straight forward, no surprises here. Unlike watching one of the last couple TRANSFORMERS movies, you can watch robots going at it without being confused about the convoluted story. It’s a paint-by-numbers movie that delivers exactly what the trailers promise. Nothing more, nothing less.

By: Marc Ferman

Oct 06, 2011 @ 17:00
Machine Gun Preacher: Movie Review

When I first heard that Gerard Butler was starring in a film called MACHINE GUN PREACHER, the first thought in my head was the image of Cheech Marin as a priest with a shotgun in the exploitation film MACHETE. I was actually pretty excited, then I saw the trailer and realized that it was a film based on a true story. Though my excitement diminished, the trailer still made it look like a pretty decent flick. Unfortunately, while watching MACHINE GUN PREACHER, all I could do was pray for it to be over. This two hour preachy snooze-fest (with gunfire) felt like it was never-ending.

The story behind MACHINE GUN PREACHER, is actually an interesting one. A former drug-dealing criminal named Sam Childers (Butler) realizes he needs to change his wicked ways after stabbing a man and leaving him for dead. Thanks to the help of his wife Lynn (Michelle Monaghan), Sam finds God. Now drug-free and working in construction, Sam feels that he needs to go to East Africa and help rebuild villages that have been demolished by the civil war.

Sam decides to stay in Africa and build an orphanage in the middle of the most dangerous territory which is controlled by the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army). The LRA force children to kill their own parents and become soldiers. Sam wants to protect the children who have not yet been captured. He is also given the nick name Machine Gun Preacher. Not only has he become a preacher, but he loves his guns and has no problem firing them upon those who attack the children he is protecting.

Director Marc Forster (MONSTER’S BALL, THE KITE RUNNER, QUANTUM OF SOLACE) seems to have a natural talent of taking an interesting topic or story and drawing it out in a slow and sometimes unbearable way. He even managed to make the last James Bond outing boring. That takes skill. Another major problem I had with MACHINE GUN PREACHER is how the film rushes through his sudden transformation from drug-addicted criminal to everyday working man. It feels almost instant. I wish Forster would have delved into the transformation period a little more and spent a little less time in Africa.

Butler is good here, giving one of the best performances of his career thus far, but he alone can’t salvage all of the films problems. There are a few powerful moments and even a scene in which a woman had her lips cut from her face that was more grotesque than anything I have seen in a recent horror movie. I just wish MACHINE GUN PREACHER was even a fraction as entertaining as its’ title.

By: Marc Ferman


The Ides of March: Movie Review

The George Clooney directed film THE IDES OF MARCH stars Clooney along-side such great talent as Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, & Philip Seymour Hoffman. With such a terrific cast and director, I was hoping for a strong and engaging political thriller that was based on the play by Beau Willimon. I am happy to say that this new film which takes place during the last days before an intense Ohio presidential primary does not disappoint.

This really is the season of Ryan Gosling. Just weeks after the release of DRIVE (one of 2011′s best films), Gosling proves that he can captivate an audience just by his eyes. The guy is simply amazing and to me one of the best actors of his generation. This is Gosling’s show playing up-and-coming campaign press secretary Stephen Myers, a man who at the start of the film believes in the ideals of his candidate Governor Mike Norris (Clooney) . With his friend/mentor/boss Paul Zara (Hoffman) they are working toward winning Ohio.

Things start to shift when Stephen gets involved with the young intern Molly (Evan Rachel Wood) and learns that she has a secret that can hurt the campaign. Not only that, but Stephen is also caught speaking with rival Tom Duffy (Giamatti) who claims to want to steal him away from Morris’s campaign. The story develops at a brisk pace and we are treated to quite a few twists and turns, which all feel quite believable and the more I think about it after watching the film, the more I wonder who can we actually trust in politics. Is there any loyalty? It’s hard to really go into too much detail about THE IDES OF MARCH without giving away many of the plot points.

As I said before, Gosling is terrific. He is not the only one though. Clooney is understated in not only in his direction of the film, but also his performance as Morris. Throughout the film, Morris seems like an ideal candidate that most of the country would want to vote for. There is more to Norris and Clooney does not overplay it. Hoffman and Giamatti are also terrific here, along with Marisa Tomei as a pushy news paper reporter and Jeffry Wright as a Senator that Myers wants to back Norris for the primary so they can win the state. This is truly a great cast.

I am not a political person, though I do find what goes on behind the scenes to be fascinating at times. I am not a fan of baseball either, but like last month’s release MONEYBALL, I would be quick to recommend THE IDES OF MARCH to anyone who just wants to see a good movie.

By: Marc Ferman

Oct 13, 2011 @ 03:55
Footloose (2011): Movie Review

It’s a funny thing. The idea behind movie remakes never really bothered me until Hollywood started remaking movies that came out when I was a kid. They could remake any movie from the 1930′s-60′s and I just wouldn’t care, but now the studio executives are green-lighting all these needless remakes of my generations films. I am not sure what bothers me more, the fact that the films were so awesome to begin with and should not be tampered with or is it because these remakes keep reminding me how old I am. As a matter of fact, I am writing this review on my 38th birthday. Be it as it may, there are crappy remakes, decent remakes and there are good remakes. Aside from a few gripes, I will have to say that the new FOOTLOOSE is a decent remake.

Just like in the original film, young Ren McCormack (Kenny Wormald) moves to a small town to stay with his aunt and uncle after his mother passes away. Ren quickly realizes things are out of place in this town when he gets issued a ticket and has to appear in court for playing music too loud in his car. Soon after that, he finds out from his new high school friends, which include the attention seeking preachers daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough) and the good ol’ country boy Willard (Miles Teller) that public displays of dancing have been outlawed in the town. This is terrible news for a boy who loves to get his boogie on.

Unlike the original 1984 film, this time around we get to see the actual town tragedy, that caused the dancing and drinking ban within the towns limits. Now the teens have to sneak off and dance where the law will not find them. The film’s plot alone in today’s day and age would make anyone roll their eyes and unfortunately, it makes the film feel a lot more silly than it did almost three decades ago.

The film still manages to work, thanks to director Craig Brewer (HUSTLE & FLOW, BLACK SNAKE MOAN). Right from the opening credits, it is obvious that Brewer has a lot of respect for the original film and feels that if he is going to remake a classic, do not change the best parts of the 1984 film. Having said that, there were times when I wish Brewer would have used a bit more creativity when it came to re-creating some of the original film’s more memorable dance moments. Ren’s solo dance number in the abandoned warehouse in which he is blowing off steam in a dance of rage, seems almost identical to the one for the original film. The montage of Willard learning to dance and even the films prom finale seem the same, granted I have not seen the original in over 20 years.

Another thing this remake has going for it, is the great supporting cast. Dennis Quaid’s Rev. Shaw Moore is less eccentric than John Lithgow’s performance, which works better for this update. I also loved Ray McKinnon as Ren’s uncle Wes, but just like in the original film, it’s Willard that is the most fun to watch. Originally played by the late Chris Penn, newcomer Miles Teller is a whole lot of fun to watch.

I am still standing by the fact that this is a remake that just did not need to happen, but it could have turned out a whole lot worse. With good direction by Brewer and a good cast on board, this is much better than most “dance” films of the last decade. If you have seen the 80′s version and loved it, there is no major reason to go see the remake, but if you have never seen the original and just like to watch stuff that is recent, then I have no doubt that you will be entertained by the 2011 FOOTLOOSE.

By: Marc Ferman


The Big Year: Movie Review

Due to the absence of the film’s actual plot in the trailers, 20th Century Fox must have known that the general public would have no desire to shell out ten dollars to see a movie about birders. What are birders? They are people who travel the world and count the different species of birds that they find. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if birding wasn’t such a large part of the film. Unfortunately it’s the whole movie and THE BIG YEAR only barely gets by due to its extremely likeable cast.

THE BIG YEAR follows three fellow birders. The first is Brad (Jack Black), a lonely guy who hates his job and has nothing going in his life aside from the dream of birding. Next comes Stu (Steve Martin), a successful CEO who wants to retire and pursue his dream of birding. Finally we have Kenny (Owen Wilson), a married man who neglects his wife in favor of keeping his status at the world’s best birder. The only thing these three men have in common is their pursuit of The Big Year, an event in which the person who spots the largest number of bird species wins, even though there is no actual prize for winning. As a matter of fact, proof of actually spotting the birds is not required. Everything is based on the honor system. If a birder wanted to cheat and make up a high number, they actually could.

The biggest problem with THE BIG YEAR is that bird watching is just not interesting and following people around the country to watch them watch birds is even less interesting. On the plus side, it does help that the people you are following are Steve Martin, Jack Black, & Owen Wilson. Surprisingly, Martin & Black are quite reserved here, pretty much playing it straight. The two stars are better known for their larger than life antics on screen, but the more low-key approach works here. Wilson delivers the same fast-talking performance that we get from him time and again, but it’s Martin and Back who are the film’s real stars. Martin also gets the film’s few decent lines, my favorite being when Stu spots two of his top executives (played by Joel McHale & Kevin Pollak) in a landfill while everyone is looking for birds, and he points at the execs and yells, “look everyone, vulchers.” I think that was one of the only times I laughed out loud during the film.

Director David Frankel (THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, MARLEY & ME) tries to deliver a sophisticated comedy, shows us some beautiful locations and gives us a great cast that also includes supporting players like Rosamund Pike, Rashida Jones, Tim Blake Nelson, Anjelica Houston, Brian Dennehy, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Anderson, & more. The story just falls flat.

THE BIG YEAR is not a bad movie — it’s probably the best movie about bird watchers that I have ever seen (it’s the only one, actually) — but your enjoyment of the film will probably rely on how much you are into birds. I can’t recommend that you go out to the theater to see THE BIG YEAR, but if you are a fan of the Martin, Black, & Wilson, then it’s good enough to check out on DVD at home or on cable. Could have been worse, they could have cast Brendan Fraser and Kevin James in the film and had all the birds find a way to throw things at their testicles.

By: Marc Ferman

Oct 13, 2011 @ 06:44
happy birthday, good reviews

same birthday as my pops
Oct 13, 2011 @ 17:41
<p>happy birthday, good reviews </p>
<p>same birthday as my pops</p>

Thanks, but I actually wrote that review on September 28th...which was my birthday. I just could not post the review till the films release.
Oct 13, 2011 @ 19:48
The Thing (2011): Movie Review

The first thing that bothered me about this prequel to the 1982 film THE THING, is the title. The prequel to THE THING is called THE THING. I had an issue with this before walking into the theater to see the new flick. Another fact was that the new film has actually been on the shelf for awhile before being released. I am guessing the filmmakers were hoping to fix some of the film’s problems before it was released. Aside from some nifty CGI effects that were much better than I expected and a few decent “jump” scares, this new version of THE THING is pretty much a bore.

THE THING (2011) takes place a couple months prior to the events in THE THING (1982), and even though you do not need to see the classic John Carpenter film to understand this new one, it does help when it comes to getting some of the nods to the older film. At times while watching THE THING, so much of it felt similar to the previous film. I guess there is only so much you can do with a group of people stuck in a small Antarctica outpost armed with nothing but handguns and flame throwers.

When Paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) travels to a desolate region of Antarctica for an expedition in which an alien and its’ space craft is discovered. Things start to go wrong when the alien thaws out and begins to kill and replicate its’ victims. Now any one of the crew can be a possible alien. The alien can replicate DNA, but not implanted objects like metal plates or fillings. If you have perfect teeth, then you are not to be trusted.

The 1982 version of the film freaked me out as a kid and it also has some of the best practical monster effects I have ever seen. The prequel does a commendable job in trying to replicate some of the creature effects using CGI and even though at times it does work well, it’s just not nearly as creepy as the practical ones. I thing heavy CGI use in any horror film is a bad idea. The problem is that is never looks real and realism is what helps make something frightening.

Chances are that people who have never seen the Carpenter film might dig some of the elements of the new version, but anyone who has seen it, can easily tell that this is just a lazy knock off of a great film.

By: Marc Ferman


The Way: Movie Review

How often do you hear about a son writing, producing, & directing a movie for his father to star in? As a matter of fact, not very often. The screening I attended for the new film THE WAY, was followed by a Q&A session with the father and son team of Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen. It is obvious the love and respect that the two men share for each other and it comes across clearly in what is a truly beautiful piece of filmmaking.

Estevez has come a long way as a writer/director. Known mostly as a former member of the brat pack in the 80′s, He has stepped away from acting (aside from a few minor roles) and focused more behind the camera. Starting a few decades ago with WISDOM & MEN AT WORK and then garnering critical acclaim for the all star film BOBBY. Now Estevez delivers what is obviously his most personal work to date. Without much help from the studios. Sheen & Estevez traveled around the country on a bus promoting their movie. That proves the love that has gone into all aspects of THE WAY.

When Tom (Sheen), an affluent California doctor finds how that his son Daniel (Estevez) died while on the 500-mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, he travels to St. Pied de Port, France to collect the ashes. Along with the remains of his son Tom collects Daniel’s hiking gear and backpack, and decides to complete the journey that his son did not get the chance to finish.

Eger to get through the journey as soon as possible, Tom begins to learn and understand the reason why his son wanted to go on this ancient pilgrimage. Along the way Tom meets a hefty Dutchman named Joost (Yorick Van Wageningen) who claims to be on the journey to help him lose weight, though it does not help that during his first stop he devours a few pounds of lamb. We also get the chain-smoking sarcastic Canadian Sarah (Deborah Kara Unger) who claims to be on the walk so she can quit her nasty habit. Finally we meet up with the motor-mouthed Irish writer Jack (James Nesbitt), who is suffering from writer’s block and is on the journey to help him come up with a good idea for a book.

There are two major factors in what makes THE WAY work so well. First off is the splendid casting of each of the characters, none of which are cookie-cutter characters. Each one has depth and each one has a deeper reason as to why they are on the pilgrimage. They are all suffering in their own way. Tom’s resistance to having the group join him slowly turns into acceptance. The second reason is just how amazing the Camino de Santiago seems to be. Though the story may not be real, the pilgrimage is. Each year people come from all over the world to take this journey and the sights are simply beautiful. We are shown places which have never been filmed before.

THE WAY is a slow film and not everyone will appreciate some of the amazing things it has to offer, but if you want to spend some time with some great characters and amazing settings, then make sure to find your way to THE WAY.

By: Marc Ferman

Oct 20, 2011 @ 19:55
Paranormal Activity 3: Movie Review

If you are a fan of the first two films in the successful horror franchise, then I have little doubt that you will not be disappointed in the latest installment, which happens to be a prequel. If you did not like the first or second film, then I can’t think of a single reason why you should go see the third. It is just more of the same, but that is not a bad thing for the fans.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY takes place in 1988, when sisters Katie and Kristi were young. We learn how the sisters first came in contact with the creature that would later terrorize them and their families as adults. It all starts with Kristi, who begins talking to what her parents think is an imaginary friend. When strange events start occurring around the house, the girls step-father starts setting up video cameras around the house. If you have seen either of the first two films, (which I am assuming you have since you are reading this review)then I do not have to tell you where the film goes from here.

At a brisk eighty minutes, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 gets going pretty quickly and does offer up quite a bit of building tension like its predecessors. The main problem for me was that lacked “jump-scares”. The second film had quite few scenes that caused me to jump out of my seat, the prequel was missing that.

For a horror sequel, this third time around is still quite strong which is a very rare thing for the genre. As most of us know, sequels to horror films generally suck. The people behind these films are doing something right. One of the best decisions to me are the misleading trailers for the film, trust me when I tell you, that they do not ruin any of the surprising moments.

By: Marc Ferman


Johnny English: Reborn – Movie Review

Do you remember a movie that came out eight years ago called Johnny English? No? Ok, let me remind you. It was an unfunny James Bond spoof that stared Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) in the title role. The movie was pretty bad, from what I can remember anyway. Well, I have some awesomely terrible news for you. Johnny English has been REBORN. If there was an award for worst movie studio judgment call of the year, JOHNNY ENGLISH: REBORN would get that award. Seriously, what was the logic in waiting 8 years to make a sequel to a comedy that was bad enough the first time around? Atkinson is a great comic talent and he deserves much better than this crap.

I did laugh a couple of times in JOHNNY ENGLIGH: REBORN, but then I just felt ashamed. The jokes were recycled so many times before that I think they were just pity laughs. During the actual screening the person sitting a few seats down from me was basically sitting in their seat, spread out with legs on top of the seat in front of them, having a blank expression on their face which looked like they wanted to shoot themselves in the head because what was happening on screen was torture for the viewer. I so badly wanted to take the phone out of my pocket and take a picture of them and have that picture be my whole review for the movie.

I know during this review, I have not mentioned one single detail about the story itself and I don’t plan to either. It’s not worth my time or yours. JOHNNY ENGLISH: REBORN should be avoided at all costs. The worst type of movie is a comedy thats just not funny.

By: Marc Ferman

Oct 21, 2011 @ 04:05
The Three Musketeers: Movie Review

There have been countless cinematic incarnations of THE THREE MUSKETEERS. The last few musketeer films were 1998′s THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK, which I quite enjoyed and 2001′s THE MUSKETEER which was just plain terrible. Director Paul W.S. Anderson’s (DEATH RACE, RESIDENT EVIL) latest version fits snugly right in the middle of those two previous films, not very good, but watchable.

The film opens with the musketeers, Athos (Mathew Macfadyen), Armis (Luke Evans), Porthos (Ray Stevenson), along with Milady (Milla Jovovich) breaking into a vault to steel plans for a flying warship. What the musketeers did not realize is that they were about to be betrayed by Milady, with the help of the Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom).

Cut to a year later, the musketeers are now broke and penniless, with nothing to do but drink and pick fights with the Cardinal’s guards. The musketeers meet up with the young headstrong and cocky D’Artagnan (Logan Lerman), who challenges them each to a duel because he feels they have disrespected him. Things change when the Cardinal’s guards arrive and the trio join the young man in a fight of four against forty. After the battle, D’Artagnen is accepted as a musketeer.

THE THREE MUSKETEERS does have quite a bit of action and some fun swordplay, plus the casting of the musketeers was a good choice because each actor brings some good life to their part, especially Stevenson as Porthos. Too bad not all the performances are good. The Cardinal is played surprisingly uninterestingly by the talented Christoph Waltz. Waltz is not the only big name featured here with a poor performance. Bloom is laughably bad as the evil Duke. On the other hand, Freddie Fox as King Louis XIII of France is hilarious. He claims to be in love with the queen, but saying is sexuality is questionable is an understatement. Each time she shared a scene with D’Artagnan, I thought the King was going to lean over and plant a big wet one on him.

Though much of the CGI work in the film is quite good and looks beautiful in 3D, I still feel that CGI should not be used heavily in films of this nature. THE THREE MUSKETEERS does have a few good qualities but in the end, its not worth the price of admission. If you still have the desire to watch it, I am sure it will look great on blu-ray a few months down the line.

By: Marc Ferman

Oct 27, 2011 @ 03:21
The Rum Diary: Movie Review

Hunter S. Thompson’s novel THE RUM DIARY which was inspired by his experiences in San Juan, Puerto Rico during the 1960′s remained unpublished for decades. That is until close friend Johnny Depp accidentally discovered the manuscript in the 90′s while visiting Thompson’s home. Soon after, they decided to publish the novel and adapt it to film.

The story centers on unhinged journalist Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp), who moves from New York to Puerto Rico to write for a soon-to-fold local newspaper. The paper’s editor Lotterman (Richard Jenkins) brings Kemp aboard, regardless of the writer’s obvious drinking problem. Kemp even arrives to work with a nasty hangover on his first day. Nobody plays an entertaining drunk like Depp (though the late Dudley Moore was pretty great too) .

THE RUM DIARY is filled with some great characters, including Kemp’s new friend the paper’s photographer Sala (Michael Rispoli) and the Hitler loving drunk Moburg (Govanni Ribisi). We also get a shady property developer named Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart) who wants to use Kemp to help write favorable articles about his unsavory business ventures. There is Chanault (Amber Heard) a blond bombshell that Kemp has fallen for, even though she is Sanderson’s fiancée.

Just like the characters in THE RUM DIARY, the film is a colorful mess. Entertaining at times, but it can never seem to find its’ footing. It seems to go all over the place. There are some inspired moments and one laugh-out-loud scene involving Kemp and Sala having to drive a car that is missing the driver’s seat. Unfortunately the entertaining characters and beautiful scenery can’t save THE RUM DIARY from feeling like the morning after a night of binge drinking.

By: Marc Ferman

Oct 27, 2011 @ 15:30
Anonymous: Movie Review

As a film critic, one has to keep their mind open to all types of films. One must be able to appreciate a film for how well it is made no matter what the subject matter is. I say this because in all honesty, I have rarely been able to enjoy films that take place during previous centuries. I do not want to use the term “period piece” because I do enjoy films that take place during different periods over the past hundred years, but prior to that is just hard for me.

During the first hour of the new movie ANONYMOUS something unexpected was happening. I was actually enjoying it and taken in with the events that were unraveling on screen. At times with all the secrets, lies, ease dropping & infidelity, ANONYMOUS felt like a well acted version of a prime-time soap opera. Unfortunately the longer the film went on, the less entertaining and more it began to meander .

ANONYMOUS speculates on the century’s old theory that William Shakespeare did not write the plays he was credited for. If you were to go by Rafe Spall’s portrayal of Shakespeare as an illiterate idiot actor, then you would probably agree with the logic that he could have never created such classic works of art. Instead, the film suggests that Edward De Vere, the Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) was the man behind the writings. Edward could not put his own name on his work because nobles were not supposed to write poetry and plays. Instead, Edward gives his work to playwright Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) and asks him to take credit for the writings and not tell a single soul. Ben does share this confidence with one man, William Shakespeare. When the first of the Earl’s plays is performed to a more-than-pleased crowd, Shakespeare is the one who walks on stage to take the credit. Even though this frustrates Edward, he has no choice but to go along with it.

When Director Roland Emmerich (2012, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW) focuses on the story between Ben Jonson, Edward De Vere, & William Shakespeare, the film is at its best. When the story shifts to the past and present relationship between Edward and Queen Elizabeth I (Joely Richerdson & Vanessa Redgrave) is when the story weakens and reminds me why I have never been a fan of this type of film to begin with.

As for the performances, Redgrave, Richardson, Spall, & Armesto are all quite good here, but it’s Ifans that really steals the film. I have always liked the actor, though have seen him in more comedic roles. He is a wonderful dramatic actor as well.

Another problem I had was the use of CGI to help create some of the vast environments in the film. Though it is not overused, it does take away from the classic feel of the film. I did however love the film’s opening in which the story actually starts on a New York Broadway stage and then suddenly transition into the past. I thought that was quite unique. If you are a fan of films that take place during this period of history and whether you agree with the story that the filmmaker is telling or not, ANONYMOUS might be the film for you.

By: Marc Ferman

Oct 27, 2011 @ 19:05
Margin Call: Movie Review

It never fails to amaze me when a first time feature film writer/director, like MARGIN CALL’s J.C. Chandor knocks one out of the park with a nearly flawless movie. Calling MARGIN CALL a good movie is like calling the stock market crash a minor financial hiccup. With an all star cast and quiet but intense direction by Chandor, I will say that this is the best Wall Street related film I have ever seen. Yes, even better than the 1987 Oliver Stone classic WALL STREET.

MARGIN CALL takes place over the first 24-hours of the 2008 financial crisis, when Jr. Analyst Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto) pieces together information given to him by his former boss Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci) that could prove to bankrupt his firm. Peter quickly calls two co-workers Seth (Penn Badgley) and Will (Paul Bettany) and tells them to come back to the office in the middle of the night so he can show them what he discovered. It does not take long before their boss Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey) is urgently requested to come in as well.

What is the discovery that has everyone in a panic? Well, to put it in simple terms (which is what even the characters in the film request, because they don’t understand how to read figures either), the firm was operating on a formula for years that made them tons of money, but Peter discovered the flaw in the formula that projected the firm was about to go under. In a panic, the firm’s CEO (Jeremy Irons) orders his traders to unload everything to any willing buyers, even though the stock is essentially worthless. In doing so, this would save the firm but cripple the economy.

Even though the firm and people employed by it are fictitious, the events in which inspired the film are frighteningly real. Most of MARGIN CALL takes place within an empty office building during the hours of 11pm -5am. With only a handful of people on hand, which also includes Chief Risk Officer Sarah Robertson (Demi Moore) and Sam’s boss Jared Cohen (Simon Baker), Chandor creates an authentic feel for the financial crisis that is about to hit.

Quinto who many people know from the TV show HEROES and more recently the reboot of STAR TREK, is able to carry his own here and he allows the viewer to discover the impending doom along with him. Spacey, Bettany, and Moore also deliver spot-on performances. Tucci and Irons who have smaller but equally as important roles give their all as well. Not a single performance in the film is less than terrific.

Having a lack of knowledge about Wall Street will not prevent the viewer from understanding what’s happening in the film. If you are someone who enjoys watching an intense thriller that delivers on every level, MARGIN CALL is for you. It’s all about the mighty dollar and how ruthless people will be to make it.

By: Marc Ferman

Oct 27, 2011 @ 19:06
Puss In Boots: Movie Review

As you are probably aware, PUSS IN BOOTS is a spin-off film featuring the sword wielding feline from the SHREK films. Again voiced perfectly by Antonio Banderas. In Puss’s first solo feature, we learn the origins of the bad orphan kitty, turned legendary hero.

The films premise has Puss In Boots along with Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), & Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis) searching for the notorious criminals Jack & Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris respectively) so that they can steal their magic beans and climb the magic beanstalk which leads to a castle that holds the goose that laid the golden eggs. Yep, I actually just typed that.

Directed by Chris Miller (SHREK THE THIRD), PUSS IN BOOTS is nowhere near as good as the first two SHREK movies but it is a vast improvement over the last two in the past its’ prime franchise. What helps is the fact that Puss has been the most engaging character in the series. Another plus is teaming Puss up with the equally likeable Kitty Softpaws, a declawed female feline with a knack for thievery. Together, they are a fun pair. Unfortunately, Zach Galifianakis is not as interesting as Puss’s childhood friend Humpty Dumpty.

The films biggest flaw is that much of the humor just does not work. It’s never really laugh-out-loud funny, but at times it is mildly amusing. The animation is beautiful and the 3D is stunning. With a lack of family films in theaters right now, PUSS IN BOOTS is a nice film that moves quickly and is never dull. Though it does not offer much more than that. Kids will enjoy it and parents won’t be suffering. It may not be great, but it sure isn’t bad either.

By: Marc Ferman

Nov 03, 2011 @ 21:29
Tower Heist: Movie Review

I feel like it has been ages since Eddie Murphy actually made me laugh. Aside from DREAMGIRLS and NORBIT (2006-2007), Murphy had been churning out unfunny family films that were a waste of his enormous talent. The good news is that Murphy gives us a glimpse of what made him a star in the new film TOWER HEIST. The bad news is that he was seriously under used in the film.

In the new film directed by Brett Ratner, a staff of workers seek revenge when Wall Street swindler Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) steals their pensions. The group which decide to break into Shaw’s penthouse and steal $20 million is led by former building manager Josh Kovacks (Ben Stiller). Kovacks is joined by concierge Charlie (Casey Affleck), bankrupt squatter Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick), rookie bellhop Dev’Reaux (Michael Peña),feisty maid Odessa (Gabourey Sidibe), and small time crook Slide (Eddie Murphy). Ratner gets a lot of flak for being a poor director, especially after the disaster that was X-Men 3. I don’t think Ratner is all that bad, none of his films are unwatchable. Most of them are actually entertaining, but then again, he usually keeps the films simple and hires an energetic cast.

TOWER HEIST is an entertaining film but the laughs come in spurts, and thanks mostly to Murphy and Peña. The rest of the cast is good enough to keep things flowing. I can’t forget to mention Téa Leoni who plays Special Agent Claire Deham. Leoni is another actress who is not used enough in Hollywood and its always good to see her on screen.

Things are at its best during the final act in which the group go all OCEANS 11 on the luxury Central Park condominium, which include some very funny moments when things do not go smoothly. TOWER HEIST does feel lazy at times, but so does most of Ratner’s films. If you are looking for something simple with a few laughs, then this might be the film for you.

By: Marc Ferman

Nov 03, 2011 @ 21:30
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas: Movie Review

I am a huge fan of the first film and enjoyed the sub-par sequel. The new film is entertaining with a few good laughs but feels like it’s time to put the franchise to bed (at least for awhile).

Six years after the events of Guantanamo Bay, Harold & Kumar are living completely different lives and no longer speaking to each other. Harold (John Cho) is now successful at work, he has a beautiful home and is married to his love Maria (Paula Garces). Kumar on the other hand smokes weed every day in the duo’s old apartment. He is also jobless and just found out that his girlfriend Vanessa (Danneel Harris) is pregnant. The only thing that Harold and Kumar share in common is that they each cannot stand their new replacement best friends (Tom Lennon and Amir Blumenfeld)

When Kumar gets a package delivered to the apartment which Harold hasn’t lived at in a few years, he decides to bring it to his former friend himself. Surprised to see his old buddy, Harold invites Kumar in for a drink. Just moments later, the Christmas tree that Harold’s father-in-law (Danny Trejo) spent eight years growing goes up in flames from a run-away joint that Kumar lit up.

The boys spend the film in search for a replacement tree and in typical Harold & Kumar fashion, troubles ensue. Just some of the problems the boys face include a ruthless mafia boss who catches them in an awkward moment with his virginal teenage daughter, they get tied up and almost set on fire, and Harold accidentally shoots Santa Claus in the face with a shotgun. In one of the film’s inspired moments, the two get transformed into claymation characters while under the influence of an unknown substance.

The always awesome Neil Patrick Harris is back playing himself and Bobby Lee is back as Kenneth Park from the first film. Harold & Kumar’s old Jewish neighbors Goldstein & Rosenberg (David Krumholtz & Eddie Kaye Thomas respectively) make an appearance as well.

As for the 3D, for awhile I have felt that when using 3D in a live-action film, it is best to use it as a gimmick. Have fun with it. Throw things into the audience. Horror films like FINAL DESTINATION seem to understand this, and so do the makers of A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS. We get tons of things thrown at us in 3D, like ping pong balls, broken glass, Christmas trees, teeth, crack rocks, cocaine that falls like snow, and of course a good amount of weed smoke blown right into our faces. This is a film in which seeing it in 3D is a must.

If you are a fan of the Harold & Kumar films like I am, then you might enjoy the third one as well. It’s not great, but I enjoy the characters enough to watch them do just about anything.

By: Marc Ferman

Nov 04, 2011 @ 04:50
The Double: Movie Review

The new thriller THE DOUBLE has to be one of the single most idiotic films to come out this year. Even the predictable twist ending does not add anything of interest here. Richard Gere used to be one of Hollywood’s leading men, but lately he has been hitting the bottom of the barrel with films like this. It does not help that experienced screenwriter, but first time director Michael Brandt does not bring any energy to the story.

In THE DOUBLE, retired CIA operative Paul Shepherdson (Gere) teams up with FBI agent Ben Geary (Topher Grace) to search for the killer of a United States senator. Ben believes the killer is the thought-to-be-dead Soviet assassin, code-named Cassius. Little does Ben know that his new partner Paul is Cassius (which is given away in the film’s trailer). Things though are not always as they seem in a film like this.

Grace is essentially playing the same character he always plays, except this time he has a gun. Gere is more than fine, but the poorly written and directed film has nothing to support him. We get what is basically an extended cameo by Martin Sheen and we also get a laughably bad performance from TRUE BLOOD’s Stephen Moyer as a prisoner that Paul and Ben question.

THE DOUBLE had nothing new to offer and at best, it may be something to watch on cable if you are really hard up for entertainment.

By: Marc Ferman

Nov 11, 2011 @ 06:02
For some reason I could not post my full reviews, so I will just post links to them
Immortals: Movie Review
Jack And Jill: Movie Review
J. Edgar: Movie Review
Nov 18, 2011 @ 03:39
Happy Feet Two: Movie Review

The sequel to the 2006 animated hit HAPPY FEET is a mixed bag. The animation is beautiful, the cast of voices are lively, the 3D is top notch, but the story and some questionable song choices are what ultimately hurt the film. There is not only way too much going on, but way too many characters to follow. The result is a chaotic mess that at least manages to be somewhat entertaining. With all its faults, it is still one of the best animated films to come out during this lackluster year for family entertainment.

read the rest of the review here
Nov 18, 2011 @ 03:42
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 - Movie Review

Let me first start off this review by saying that I am not a TWILIGHT fan. I did not enjoy the first two films in the saga but I did admittedly enjoy the third film ECLIPSE. I found that the added action and humor that the first two films lacked made it more enjoyable. It at least helped me look past the terrible acting and dialogue. Now we have BREAKING DAWN PART 1 which is the first half of the final chapter. Is it any good? The answer is, not really. Then again, the other films were not very good either. If you enjoyed the first three films and you are a devoted fan of the saga, then I am sure that you are going to enjoy the latest chapter as well. Simply put, its as good or as bad as the rest of them depending on how you feel about the films.

Read the rest of the review here
Nov 23, 2011 @ 03:50

Martin Scorsese is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. He is responsible for GOODFELLAS, THE DEPARTED, CASINO, CAPE FEAR, TAXI DRIVER, and more. What do those films have in common? They are not what you would call family films. HUGO is Scorsese’s first film that is made for all ages, it is also in my opinion his greatest achievements. This is a movie made by someone who loves movies for people who love movies. HUGO is a 140 minute love letter to the cinema and it is displayed in the most beautiful eye popping 3D since AVATAR. The 3D is used to help tell the story and not as some money grabbing studio gimmick to sell more expensive tickets. The 3D supports the story. I am not recommending you see HUGO in 3D, I am insisting on it. From the opening scenes where we sweep over 1930′s Paris and through the train station, the 3D is rich in detail. Each shot is like a work of art. Each shot in HUGO was planned for 3D and allot of effort went into making sure it was perfect. Read the rest here


I grew up with The Muppets. As a kid, I used to watch The Muppet Show on TV weekly and even saw all the big screen Muppet adventures as well (my favorite being, The Great Muppet Caper). It’s been twelve years since their last film MUPPETS FROM SPACE and to me that is way too long to go without a visit from Kermit the Frog and friends. Read the rest here


Truth be told, I wasn’t that enthused about seeing ARTHUR CHRISTMAS before heading into the theater. It was the first film in a double feature for me which would be followed by THE MUPPETS. The second film was the one I was excited about. One of the best things about having little to no expectations of a film is that it could wind up surprising the hell out of you. As it turned out, ARTHUR CHRISTMAS did just that, and what a nice surprise it was too. Read the rest here
Dec 08, 2011 @ 05:40
The Sitter: Movie Review

I am sure the new Jonah Hill comedy THE SITTER will get allot of comparisons to the 80′s classic ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING. Both films follow a similar premise but the execution of each of the films are completely different. Where the film from the 80′s was more of a family friendly flick, the new film which was directed by David Gordon Green (PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, YOUR HIGHNESS) is R-rated adult fare. The trailers for THE SITTER did not leave me with much in the way of expectations but I left the theater mildly entertained, thanks mostly to Hill. Read the rest of the review here
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