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expendables 2

'Expendables 2' epitomizes dumb but fun action

  The enjoyment to be derived out of a film such as “The Expendables 2” falls squarely into two camps. You will either watch the film with your brain shut off, appreciating the intense high energy action and laugh at the chemistry between the cast members or you will condemn the general stupidity of the film, as it celebrates a style of filmmaking that was generally trashy, thus making it an undeniably bad film. If you can’t enjoy the stupidity of machismo driven action films, than this is by no means you’re movie and I do not blame you in the slightest. However if films like “Commando” and “Judge Dredd” light up the fire of excitement for you, than “The Expendables 2” is an absolute must see. Full story

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bourne legacy

'The Bourne Legacy' disappoints with same old thrills

Arguments are often made regarding the existence of a perfect trilogy; a trilogy of consistent quality in which each installment is better than the previous entry. Although big name franchises such as “Star Wars” or “The Lord of the Rings” tend to get tossed around in such discussions, the only franchise that I felt to have truly earned such a title is undoubtedly the “Bourne.” Despite the existence of many solid three part storylines, Jason Bourne’s journey to recover the information of who he was when he was a government operative and making amends for his actions after a change of heart brought on by his amnesiac state is one of the best story arcs brought full circle and personally, one of my favorite additions to the spy genre. So imagine my disappointment to discover that position as a perfect trilogy has been tarnished by “The Bourne Legacy,” a fourth installment that didn’t even have the courtesy to fail by taking a chance. Full story

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total recall

Tasteless 'Total Recall' remake leaves audiences underwhelmed

In 1990, film director Paul Verhoeven of “RoboCop” fame directed a sci-fi action thriller based on acclaimed science fiction writer Phillip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.” Titled “Total Recall,” the film was a critical and commercial hit that did what only one film before it managed to do; utilize Arnold Schwarzenegger in an action movie that was actually smart. I bring up this small history lesson because this original film was a fresh, original, and fascinating concept that came about at the end of an era of machismo driven action movies with little actual writing involved with them and if you haven’t seen it yet, it is still a very good watch. Its 2012 remake sharing the same name however, ups the ante with more flash but significantly less substance. Full story

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the watch

Actor chemistry saves 'The Watch' from being boring waste

With the success of “The Hangover,” it would appear that subsequent years following its 2009 release have seen Hollywood revamp the summer season, typically about big budget spectacle, sci-fi, superheroes, and action films, to include numerous raunchy comedies. Only time will tell if the trend will stick around but if there’s to be any future in the raunchy comedy during the summer whatsoever, filmmakers may want to be careful not to allow the genre to dip any further below “The Watch,” a poor film in every respect saved only by the chemistry of its leads and a few interesting concepts that separate it from the pack.  Full story

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the dark knight rises

Batman goes out strong in final 'Dark Knight' film

Watching something like “The Dark Knight Rises” come to fruition has instilled within me feelings similar to that of watching “The Avengers” earlier this year. The sense of amazement in watching a seven year project reach its grand finale is awe-inspiring and epic on a level that is rarely seen in modern filmmaking. Watching a man and his friends and allies making a journey from his childhood to his middle aged adulthood fulfilling what he believes to be his destiny, hitting incredible highs and depressing lows in his life along the way is a beautiful treat seldom brought full circle within any given medium. The only thing that makes reaching the finale of Bruce Wayne’s journey from victimized child to defender of Gotham City more glorious is the revelation that said finale is an incredible addition to the superhero genre, one of the best films of the year so far and easily lives up to the legacy of its predecessors, despite being the most flawed film of its saga. Full story

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savages

Stylistic choices sink 'Savages'

Part of me wants to view “Savages” as a sort of unintentional companion piece to “Prometheus;” a smart film intending to be a return to form for a classic director held back from the greatness it should have achieved by a handful of flaws. Unlike Ridley Scott’s return to science fiction from last month however, Oliver Stone’s action thriller on the study of human nature succumbs to too many faults of its craftsman ship for its own good. Full story

amazing spider-man

New 'Spider-Man' leaves fans satisfied but divided

There isn’t a single friend that I have that is not aware of the fact that I am an unabashedly avid “Spider-Man” fan. I’ve seen every film, watched every cartoon, and probably read every comic book publication of Peter Parker’s life and adventures from timid high school science nerd to confident married high school science teacher more times than I would care to admit. If any readers have read my previous opinion piece on my disdain for Hollywood reboots, I cited the “Spider-Man” film franchise as a prime example of rebooting too soon. The zero hour has finally been reached and while I strongly stand by the notion that this film could have done better had it come about two years later at least, I cannot deny that the product that we have ultimately received in the form of “The Amazing Spider-Man” may go down as one of the most fascinating superhero films of all time despite its laundry list of flaws. Full story

ted

'Ted' marks promising film career for McFarlane

  Seth McFarlane is a name that I have long stopped associating with quality. After years of watching “Family Guy” drag out its tired gimmicks to cover up a lack of creative humor, along with the pointless green lighting of a mediocre spinoff, there is no name attached to the production of “Ted” that I could even remotely attach myself to. Therefore I have no real reason for enjoying said film beyond the fact that it’s actually a surprisingly fun comedy that harkens back to McFarlane’s comedic heyday. Full story

abraham lincoln vampire hunter

'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' offers love it/hate it B-movie thrills

With its own punch line making up the composition of its very title, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” makes no pretentions of even trying to be anything more than a schlocky B-movie. The success of such films however, rides on the cast and production crew’s earnest effort to respect their material while remaining consistently visually inventive. While “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” delivery through a straight face can cause dragging at times, the final result, if nothing else, is a respectable attempt at a direct-to-video B-movie with a budget. Full story

rock of ages

'Rock of Ages' presents boring mess of a musical

 

With pleasant surprises and disappointments abound throughout the season, “Rock of Ages” is the first movie of the summer and quite possibly the year that I had no set expectations for whatsoever.  I wouldn’t quite say that its previews looked terrible but there was something about Tom Cruise playing a hard rocker in a musical bloated with overexposed 80s rock music that just never blipped on my radar. The revelation from my friends that the film is based on a rather successful stage musical helped me to abate my gut instinct warning me of any negative qualities that the film would have, allowing me to judge the film as the laughably awful production that it is regardless of my feelings towards the previews.

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prometheus

Ridley Scott presents flawed but solid masterpiece with 'Prometheus'

  In a summer movie season that has proven itself to be rather mediocre thus far, “Prometheus” is the welcome injection of life that I have been waiting for. After nearly a month of slogging through several rather mediocre to bad weeks of film releases, director Ridley Scott’s return to his creation of the late 70s was an entertaining, if heavily flawed, breath of fresh air. Full story

snow white and the huntsman

'Snow White and the Huntsman' bogged down by gritty overtones

Repackaging older stories for younger generations is a trend that has long been a Hollywood staple, existing in higher prevalence today sheerly due to the overexposure of film in pop culture today. Unfortunately the recent pattern of dumbing down fairy tales into pseudo gritty teenage harlequin romances has quickly proven to be one of the most obnoxious in the least amount of time. With this in mind, I kept my expectations for “Snow White and the Huntsman” relatively low and while it has far exceeded the substantially low bar of quality set by films such as “Red Riding Hood” and “Beastly,” this trend has a long way to go before reaching the territory of actually being entertaining. Full story

men in black 3

'Men In Black' strikes back with average entertainment

 

Watching “Men In Black 3” can best be described as the best case scenario of running into an old best friend from grade school at a high school reunion. You’re surprised to see him again after years of being completely out of your mind and out of your life for one reason or another and are very happy to see that he’s doing well for himself. By this point however, you realize that he’s simply changed too much and things can just never be the same between you no matter how hard you may try. Even when you’re having fun, you’ve essentially realized that you’re time together is up and there’s most likely nothing in existence to reignite that fuel.

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dictator

Toilet humor prevents 'The Dictator' from shining

 

If there was anybody in Hollywood that I wish would listen to their critics, it’s Sacha Baron Cohen. The man has far more talent than he’s willing to allow people to believe but he sadly refuses to step beyond his own bag of tricks. In the case of “The Dictator,” I can commend him for trying to twist his usual formula of satire into a different form of narrative but continues to succumb to Cohen’s insistence on shock humor whether it has an actual place in the film or not.

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battleship

'Battleship' sunk by horrendous writing and boring action

  I would like to take a moment to issue a public apology to film director Michael Bay for the numerous swipes that I take at him throughout the course of my everyday life. I stand firm in my belief that he is an unprofessional and highly arrogant man that lacks the ability to tell a coherent or well acted story leading to one of the most obnoxious trilogies of films that I have seen in the last ten years. However, the fact that he never made anything nearing the level of quality of “Battleship” has forced me to reevaluate the science that goes into making something like “Transformers.” I’m not saying that the “Transformers” films are good, I’m just saying that “Battleship” is an easy contender for worst movie I’ve seen this year or even last year for that matter. Full story