Saturday, April 30, 2011


I had been told how bad Skyline was, but I ignored the warnings and rented it anyway. I'm actually kind of glad that I did since I can now add Skyline and Battle of Los Angeles to my rival movie list. They both came out at the same time and are about aliens attacking Los Angeles.

I didn't really care about any of the characters in this movie. There is no character development and they all appear to be pretty shallow. They are also pretty stupid. The aliens are attacking outside so they decide to leave the penthouse were they are hiding and make their way to the marina so they can escape on a boat since they have a hunch they won't be attacked if they are on water? The must have seen Signs.

One distraction I had with this movie was that I kept waiting for a guitar strum or dream beat when Donald Faison would deliver his lines since I've been conditioned from watching Scrubs, but it never happened. I was also a little confused about the aliens. They looked like the sentinels in The Matrix but also had the traditional space ships, as well as giant dinosaurs looking monsters.

Skyline has good special effects and is a combination of Independence Day, War of the Worlds, and Cloverfield, but it's not as good as any of them. I guess the critics were right. I try not to jump on the bashing band wagon since I frequently enjoy movies that others didn't care for, but I can only give Skyline 5.0 stars. At least it made Battle Los Angeles look way better than I originally thought it was.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I Am Number Four

I recently saw I Am Number Four and can best summarize it as "Twilight for boys".

It had the same feel to it as Percy Jackson and left you with a bubble gum after taste. The movie is obviously geared towards a younger audience, but I still think the story had potential. It's about a young man from another planet who is hiding out on earth as his enemies are trying to track him down and kill him.

There were several things in this movie that bothered me.
1) Why do high school students always have to be played by people over 20?
2) His girlfriend is an avid photographer yet she uses an old school camera with film but is somehow able to upload the photos she takes with it onto the Internet shortly after taking the pictures.
3) The main character just happens to move next door to a kid who's dad is an alien expert who new about his planet's existence.
4) The bad guys were a little bit overdone. Big scary bald guys with tattoos, red eyes, and trench coats. I guess that helps the really stupid people in the audience differentiate between the good guys and the villains.
5) The tough chick #6 was trying way too hard to be cool.

Cool girls don't look at explosions!
I Am Number Four is your standard teen movie. The special effects were good but there was plenty of cheesy dialogue and plot holes. I give this 6.4 stars.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


M. Knight Shyamalan has been on a downward trend for a while. I almost wrote him off after I saw The Last Airbender, so I had very low expectations for Devil when I heard it was written and produced by him.

I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised and thought this movie was actually quite entertaining. Devil is a suspenseful movie about 5 people who are trapped in an elevator together and one by one they are killed by supernatural forces.

This movie is a decent horror/mystery and it keeps you guessing. It has the usual plot twists and surprising developments you might expect from M. Knight. I give Devil 7.1 stars since I'm pleased he appears to be on an upswing again.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Source Code

Source Code is a science fiction movie that makes you think and stretches your mind kind of like The Matrix or Inception. Jake Gyllenhaal plays Captain Colter Stevens, a man who wakes up on a train where he has assumed the identity of someone else. He tries to figure out what is happening to him, but after 8 minutes, a bomb on the train explodes and kills everyone on board. He then wakes up in a chamber and is questioned about the events. He is disoriented and confused as he is continually sent back for 8 minute increments to try and find the bomber and change history.

This movie reminded me of Vantage Point since it kept replaying the same event over and over with different details or scenarios playing out each time. It also had a similar story line to Deja Vu. I love time travel movies, but Source Code claims to not use time travel, but some other complicated bogus explanation of how one can change the past. I'm not a quantum physics expert so I had to accept their explanation even thought I'm pretty sure this is not a true story.

I thought it was a little disturbing how the commanding officers were so detached for people who are trying to assist Gyllenhaal with his mission. It becomes apparent later into the movie why they are withholding so much information from him. Jeffrey Wright plays an awkward, uncaring scientist and was particularly unlikeable.

I liked Source Code, but like many science fiction movies that stretch your brain, it also leaves unanswered questions. For instance, what happened to the poor dude who's identity Gyllenhaal had assumed? Maybe we will see what happened to him if there is a sequel. I give it 7.7 stars.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Hereafter features three stories that revolve around the topic of death and life after death. The first involves a French survivor of a tsunami who has a near death experience. The second is about a young British school boy who loses his twin brother. The third features Matt Damon who plays an American with psychic abilities. These three stories take place in different countries but they are all woven together and eventually they meet one another in London for the culmination of the movie.

Hereafter is a slow paced drama but there are a couple disturbing action sequences involving a tsunami and a subway bombing. This movie deals with the afterlife and how death affects people, but it is still quite vague and doesn't preach any particular doctrine or give any concrete answers to the audience.

Damon gives a great performance of a psychic who is afflicted with a gift to communicate with the dead which he refers to as a curse. I appreciated the fact that he isn't mysterious or mystical. He doesn't hold a seance and it's not creepy, it's just an average guy who is straight forward and business like as he relays messages from the dead to their loved ones.

The saddest part of this movie was the story about a young boy who loses his twin brother. It was gut wrenching to see how depressing and lonely this boy's life was with no family support as he searched for a way to try and get his brother back. I'm glad this movie addressed the charlatan aspect of mediums who prey on desperate and vulnerable victims. I've heard some of them on the radio over the years and have just rolled my eyes at how blatantly predatory and clueless they are.

I really liked this movie. I can't remember the last time I was not impressed with a Clint Eastwood film. This was not a huge hit at the box office and it has its critics, but I really enjoyed it. I give it 7.6 stars despite an abrupt ending.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


This week I saw two Matt Dillon movies. Both of them came out around the same time, have one word titles, and involved robbing armored cars. They were also both only mediocre.

Armored is about several armored truck employees who decide to steal 42 million dollars rather than deliver it. Their plan meets resistance when their newest coworker decides not to go along after someone is shot during the heist. As a result, he locks himself in the bulletproof vehicle while his partners try to break in and kill him before the banks realize their shipments are late.

This movie felt like it could have been a made for TV movie and it couldn't have been more than an hour and half long. I liked Dillon in this role more than I did in Takers and it helped to have Jean Reno and Laurence Fishburne playing corrupt security guards. Armored is a guy movie. In fact there is only one female character in the entire movie.

This was not a life changing movie. It was pretty fake, but I still enjoyed it enough to give it 6.6 stars.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I recently saw Takers on DVD, and I wasn't too impressed. Takers is about a group of bank robbers and their attempt to pull a heist. Matt Dillon plays the cop who is trying to capture them. This movie was a mix of The Italian Job and GQ Magazine. Every character is a young, cocky, good looking guy who parades around in fancy clothes most of the movie. It made me laugh how hard they tried to make these crooks look so glamorous.

I'm all for action, suspense, and cops and robber movies, but here are a several things I didn't like about this movie.

1. The first action scene culminated with the most blatant and textbook example of "Cool guys don't look at explosions".
2. Hayden Christensen pretending to play Jazz piano during one of the scenes.
3. Hayden Christensen beating up 3 tough street smart gangsters by himself.
4. Hayden Christensen wearing that stupid hat the entire movie.
5. The serious dramatic music when Hayden Christensen dies.
6. When two of the characters are back stabbed by one of their partners they vow vengeance on him, but then do a Butch Cassidy and charge the cops who have them surrounded. How does a suicidal move like that help them get revenge on their betrayer?
7. The classic 3 gun draw and stand off at the end of the movie.

This movie had some potential, but it ultimately disappointed. It really bothered me how hard these guys were trying to act cool. By the way, I'm not a Hayden hater. I was OK with him as Anakin Skywalker and I liked him in Jumper, but accepting him as a tough thug in this movie was asking too much. I give it 5.9 Stars. It would have been higher if it weren't for that hat!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fair Game

I recently saw Fair Game and I have to confess that I had a hard time getting into this movie. I'm not sure why, but it didn't really capture my attention. Maybe I was expecting Naomi Watts to be more like Angelina Jolie in Salt. Perhaps I'm not mature enough to enjoy a drama unless it features special effects and action.

To be fair, I probably shouldn't put much blame on the movie. I may have been tired or in a bad mood, but I felt kind of bored while I was watching it, then all of a sudden it was over. Maybe I was concerned about what kind of political message the movie makers were trying to send. I don't know what my problem was but I sure felt like I missed something when I read everyones glowing reviews.

Fair Game is based on actual events and I give it 6.7 stars. One thing I appreciate about this movie is that Naomi Watts actually looks like Valerie Plame. Good job to the casting and make up department. I will try to be more vigilant for my next review.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


I recently saw Limitless and I really enjoyed it. Limitless is about a loser struggling writer who is introduced to a drug call NZT that helps you access 100% of your brain power. By taking the drug he is able to organize and clean his life up and make some amazing changes. He multiplies his money, talents, and intellect in a very short amount of time but soon finds out that there are dangerous side effects associated with the drug. If that wasn't enough of a problem, there are also people who are trying to kill him for it.

I have mixed feelings about the subject matter since the movie kind of glorifies drug use, but it also addresses drug abuse, and dependence. Since NZT is a fictional drug, it didn't hit home as hard as it would if the featured drug was one that currently plagues society.

There were scenes when I felt Cooper was almost being transformed into a superhero just from taking the pill similar to how Popeye was empowered by eating Spinach. This movie features drama, action, suspense, and science fiction.

All of the performances were good and I really liked Bradley Cooper in this. He did a great job of portraying a wide range of emotions during the ups and downs he went through as a result of using the drug. I also liked the visual effects. They were subtle, but very effective.

This is one of the better movies I have seen in a long time. It was original and entertaining and it was better than what I was expecting from the trailer. I give it 8.2 stars.
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