Thursday, October 25, 2012

My "Favorite Halloween Movie" List 2012!

 Halloween is right around the corner and you know what that means? Yup! Non-stop scary movie marathons! And hell, anytime is a great time for a horror flick, so I decided to put together my list of must-watch films for Halloween 2012.

 I will start off with this: I have not seen EVERY movie out there and not all of my selections may be winners, but they are some of my favorites and maybe they will become your favorites too. Let's begin with some familiar faces...

The "Friday the 13th" series is a fun one, thanks to that momma's boy Jason, but only just a handful are worth viewing. My fav of the bunch has to be Part 3, because after all, it's the one in 3D. Just the ways they take advantage of it is great, and even more comical if you're watching it in 2D. After this one, the series turns into more supernatural than slasher. AVOID "Jason Goes To Hell" like the plague. Barely any Jason in that one. And don't get me started on the remake.

The King of Nightmares, Freddy Krueger, also has his stinkers. But if you're going to watch any Nightmare on Elm Street, part 1 is a must, along with New Nightmare, 3, maaaybe 4 and 5. 

Now, you can't do Halloween without "Halloween." I was not a fan AT ALL of the remake, the original however was perfect in my opinion. It's why we have the slasher genre. Dr. Loomis talked about Michael Myers as if he was the devil and pure evil and you feel it. He's just someone who went crazy one day. killed his sister, and that's that. No remorse, no feelings. 

The first two films are the ones to see, the third, "Season of The Witch," is a departure from the Myers story as the series was meant to be an anthology of horror stories. No Myers here, though there is a reference. Movie is all about a corporation brainwashing kids with Halloween masks and at first, I LOATHED it. But once I learned the reason why there's no Myers, I enjoyed it in only the guiltiest pleasure ways. Not a must-see, but you can't help but enjoy this bit of cheese. Oh, and anything H20 and on, AVOID. 

"Hellraiser" brought us my favorite of the horror monsters, Pinhead and his ever-faithful Cenobytes. The first is fantastic for its visuals and only really features Pinhead for just a couple of minutes, but the sequel really picks it up and goes nuts with it. Anything after, you don't really need to see. And anything without Doug Bradley, the actor behind the pins, AVOID that too.

Now, for the not-so familiars...

Since I started off with slashers, why not mention this little gem. "Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon" is a pseudo-documentary about a man who wants to be just like Jason and Freddy. You follow him as he does his thing and like "Scream," they poke some fun at the horror genre. There is even some cameos by big-time horror peeps, so keep an eye out for this bad boy!

 "Trick R' Treat" almost didn't see the light of day and for people like me, it would be a damn shame. It's an anthology of different and intertwining Halloween tales, with little scarecrow boy Sam as the thread that binds it all together. It has received cult status and his fair share of haters, "Trick" is one of those movies you have to see and judge for yourself. And any scary movie that all about Halloween is a no-brainer for a list like this.

Oh, "Slither." Mad genius James Gunn brings us what is essentially a hybrid of "Night of the Living Dead" meets "Body Snatchers" meets "Ghostbusters." More of a horror comedy, it can get REAL dark in some parts and I'm not one to cringe easily. 

It definitely can be shared with a triple bill  alongside "Shaun of The Dead" and "Dead Alive". Plus, alot of practical effects just adds much more charm to this weird one. 

If you love blood, then you'll love director Alexandre Aja. "High Tension" was my introduction to the French man and his appetite for the over-the-top and gritty. Two girls go on a trip for the weekend and find some trouble along the way. And that's all I will say. Aja also directed the remake of "The Hills Have Eyes," which is one of the few horror remakes I actually love. "Dawn of The Dead" and "The Crazies" are up there as well. 

For more violent, tough girl leads, "The Descent" is a good one to pair with "High Tension." It's all about a group of cave-diving girls and their battles with the elements and whatever is hiding in the shadows. Oh, and apparently, there is a sequel to it as well. DON'T WATCH IT.

And here some of the classics...

Director Dario Argento's "Suspiria." Anything Argento really is Halloween appropriate viewing. I hear "Phenomena" is so good too. And with a soundtrack by the band Goblin, just places the right kind of loud, creepiness his movies are so well-known for. 

"The Omen" is another great supernatural film, especially with its ending. Original, of course. "Poltergeist" is safe, family-friendly in a way, but still scary as hell.  And yes, can't forget "Exorcist." I almost want to include "Repulsion" as Roman Polanski really put together a very creepy film about a young woman dealing with her sexuality.

The oldest of the bunch I truly enjoy have to be "Little Shop of Horrors" (not the 80s one but hey, that one's still good) and "House On Haunted Hill." Vincent Price does no wrong for me, with this and "Last Man On Earth." For most people, black and white is tough to get through, but trust me... these are much fun that it won't matter.

 Alright, that should give you a gist of what I'm into and hope that helps you out with your spooky watch parties. I'll have even more right below this, so you'll have plenty to choose from. And if I missed your favorites, please don't hate me! Any suggestions too, you let me know! Have a happy Halloween, everyone!

More quick picks:

Re-Animator: Campy, silly, but great special effects.

The Fly (80s): Cronenberg, man. You want to be creeped out, you go with Cronenberg! And Jeff Goldblum is awesome as the fly-man.

Evil Dead series: Nothing beats the first movie and its bleak, serious tone. Part 2, so over-the-top and so much fun.

Cabin In The Woods: If you haven't seen this yet, DO IT. Everything you know and love about cliche horror, and has a good time with it. A MUST for horror fans.

Braindead/DeadAlive and Bad Taste: Peter Jackson's best films, not to mention goriest. Love the gore!

Just about anything Alejandro Jodorowsky and David Lynch: Yeah, these two are nutty directors. Though their films won't play as well in front of crowds. Too alienating.

Dead Silence: Very well-done, eerie puppets, and much fear.

Devil: People trapped in an elevator  for 90 minutes, and yet it's entertaining and nerve-wracking! Probably the best thing that came out of M. Night, and yeah, I just said that.

Drag Me To Hell: Sam Raimi's return to horror. Not perfect, but alot of fun and great practical effects.

Anything Fulci: He did Zombi 2 and that has a zombie fighting a real shark. Yeah, you're interested.

Night of the Living Dead/ The Dead trilogy: The classic is a must if you've never seen it. Simple zombie flick that is basis of every one to come after. And they never even say "zombie" either.

The Mist: Walking Dead director Frank Darabont brought this one to the big screen with a hell of an ending that has received a lot of flack from critics and movie goers. The ending is what makes for the movie for me and why I recommend it.

The Thing (80s): Practical effects, no computers make this one an easy recommendation. Nothing beats the literally out-of-this-world creature effects and their transformations here. Oh, and Kurt Russell and Keith David, man!

Cannibal Holocaust: This one's definitely not for the PETA crowd. There is real death in this (not of the human kind though) and was basically the Blair Witch/ Paranormal Activity of its time. The people who made this movie even went to jail because audiences believed this! It's not that great, but it's fun to watch a crowd squirm to this!

The Shining: Almost forgot about this one. King, Kubrick and Nicholson make this one a classic and necessary Halloween viewing and really, it's pretty damn creepy. If you never saw the old lady or the pig mask, yeah, then go see it and have a nice day.

Stephen King films: Not all of them, but "The Mist" I mentioned is a story by King. "Pet Sematary" is one of my favorites growing up and still has those creeptastic moments you remember the first time you saw it. "IT" brought us Pennywise the Clown and for a TV movie, it's still freaks you out. "Christine" and "Cujo" I'd like to recommend since they have a charm to them, and can't forget "Carrie" either!

The Devil's Backbone: Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo Del Toro's earlier films involving Civil War and a haunted orphanage. Even Del Toro says this was his favorite film to direct.

In The Mouth of Madness: John Carpenter's movies are on my list a bunch, and this is one that not many talk about. Sutter Cane's popular book series is driving everyone mad and Sam Neill is in the middle of it. This one is a hell of a trip! Also, see Sam in "Event Horizon," a claustrophobic space horror piece!

Alien: This is one of my favorite films of all time. Slow, really takes its time, you're going along for the ride as a stowaway makes this group of space explorers' life a living hell. Part 2 is great, but dunno if I consider that Halloween viewing. But sure, why not?

Let the Right One In: It inspired a US remake, but I feel as if this was the stronger of the two. A boy falls for a vampire and the events that come with it.

Bram Stoker's Dracula: The visuals, the music, and Coppola make this a very epic Dracula film. Plus, Gary Oldman as the Prince of Darkness!

More to come here in this section as the week goes on...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: "The Amazing Spider-Man"

Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is back on the big screen, this time in reboot form. Gone is star Tobey Maguire and director Sam Raimi, in comes director Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield as the classic comic book web-slinger. Many thought this film would be unnecessary, with the last movie happening around five years ago and this movie being all about his origins again. Well, after much outcry and some changes, we can now see for ourselves if this was worth it. Is it amazing or not so spectacular?

Let's take a spin... shall we?

Tale as old as time. Boy gets bite by radioactive spider and becomes a crime-fighting superhero. Only this time, our hero Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is trying to find out what happened to his parents and what does a Dr. Curt Conners (played by Rhys Ifans) have to do with them. Along the way, he finds the girl of his dreams in Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and getting into trouble with her dad Captain Stacy (Denis Leary) and the rest of New York's finest.

It's hard not to compare this to the original "Spider-Man" flick from 2002, but really, outside of the standard Spidey origin parts is a different take and a new adventure for the wallcrawler. Just like in the comics, there are different ways of telling the story without completely changing what has been around for 50 years. This was a bold move by the studio to release a reboot so soon after the recent films, but it does right some of the wrongs and at the same time, makes some new wrongs of its own.

The reactions so far to the movie have been mixed, and as a Spidey fan, I wanted to be on the positive side. I know many will hate me for this, but it was just a good movie. Not really amazing, but hear me out. In order to right the wrongs, they had to start over and yes, do the origin story once more. Yes, the love story is done SO much better here and you can feel that Gwen and Peter truly do care for one another. Emma Stone here plays the sweet girl next door and not the weak female love interest that is usually seen in movies like this. She's smart, caring, and willing to do what it takes to keep her superhero boyfriend, even if it means taking on a giant lizard.

And it would be silly not to mention Andrew Garfield. He has to be the best pick for Peter/Spider-Man yet. He played the awkward nerd very well, while not being the full-blown stereotype and still remaining true to being an extremely intelligent teen with a bit of that New York attitude. So kudos to the both of them, they will definitely go far after this.

Rhys Ifans does a good job as the tragic character Dr. Conners/ Lizard. You can't help but sympathize with Conners and some of the decisions he makes as he tries to control the Lizard beast that has taken over his body. Not a fan of the Lizard design, but still didn't take away from how cool some of the action was between him and Spidey. Denis Leary is great as Captain Stacy, playing his usual tough-guy self. Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben was great, Sally Field was alright as Aunt May. I feel like there wasn't enough of her here, as all of a sudden she just disappears for most of it.

Oh, and yes, look out for the regular Stan Lee Marvel movie cameo. Could be the best one yet!

Now for some of the bad.

I actually don't mind an origin story, if done right. At times, this felt abit disjointed and it was having a hard time juggling time for everyone. It ends up just feeling like a love story more so than finding Peter's parents. More questions rise than they are answered and I feel like not everyone will like that. Not a fan of the music used, as it sounded more spiritual than superhero. Lots of plot holes too, like some characters teleporting and a certain Google search. But in reality, it's a summer movie and they won't all be perfect. It's a good attempt at the Spidey lore with some great action and stunning visuals, thanks to director Webb and his team. Could be better, could be ALOT worse.

In the end, I'm just happy enough to have a Spidey movie around, and here's hoping in eventual sequels they fix some of these issues addressed earlier. Hardcore Spidey fans, this is a no-brainer recommendation. As far as anyone else, even after everything I said here hasn't swayed you off, then check it out. It is worth seeing on the big screen, though, maybe even in 3D. Oh, and keep an eye out for a very interesting scene during the credits. THWIP!

7.5/ 10

Sunday, July 1, 2012


"Ted" is the first live-action film from Seth MacFarlane, the man behind the animated series "Family Guy." Here, he's directing, co-writing, producing, and even voicing the title character, so... no pressure, Seth! So the question is, is "Ted" any good or should MacFarlane stick to his usual cartoon schtick?

Read on...

Story starts with a young boy named John, who wishes for his teddy bear Ted to be his best friend for life. The bear comes to life, and soon becomes the talk of the town. Cut to 27 years later, an adult John (Mark Walhberg) is still slacking around with Ted, smoking and drinking and getting into all sorts of trouble. John's girlfriend Lori (Mila Kunis), after taking all that she can, gives John an ultimatum: it's her or Ted. And much hilarity and, surprisingly, much heart ensues.

Gotta say, I enjoyed this very much. As much as I may be a casual Family Guy fan, I really wasn't looking forward to this movie. The idea is great and sounded fun, but last thing I wanted was a 2 hour Family Guy marathon. Really, that is what it ended up becoming in the end. But just like that series, when the jokes hit, it is too hilarious.

Yes, the usual cut-away humor is here, and the pop-culture references are in full effect, even the cast is pretty much taken from the show. Mila Kunis, Alex Borstein, Patrick Warburton, and even Patrick Stewart, playing your not-too-typical narrator. But at the same time, that is not a bad thing.

Mark Walhberg, who is not known for being the funny guy, does a good job as man-child John. After all, he's getting into all kinds of humorous situations with a CGI bear that he makes it work. And Seth MacFarlane doing his usual thing with Ted the bear, the star of the show. Seeing as it's a rowdy, raunchy teddy bear, however, it works so much better and you just can't end up hating this character. It also doesn't hurt that the effects are really well done here, so kudos to the animators. Mila Kunis does pretty good also as Lori, even though she was kind of a pain at first but the character does have some heart to her and breaks her out of the typical movie girlfriend role that so many movies do badly with. 

Joel McHale was fun as the typical jerk boss and Patrick Warburton had me laughing every time he came on screen in what was a really minor part. Look for some great cameos and again, the usual pop references, not to mention some really harsh jokes at some celebrities (Poor Superman...).  

"Ted" is definitely a recommendation is you're a full-on Family Guy fan. If you hate the series, don't bother. Also, the last 20, 30 minutes kind of drag on and lose the momentum that the rest of the film brought. I wasn't too sure about Giovanni Ribisi's character either. Yes, there is heart underneath all the crude humor but at times it's like they tried WAY too hard. At the end of the day, "Ted" is all about friendship and staying close to the ones you love. Oh, and Flash Gordon too. So I'll give it to MacFarlane as he did some fine work here, not perfect and far from classic, but it works enough.

So if you like everything mentioned above, bring your thunder buddies with you and go check out "Ted"!


Sunday, June 24, 2012


Pixar Studios have been flawless as far as making hits and classic films that both kids and adults love and cherish. Whether it be for the Toy Story franchise or Incredibles or yes, even the mixed crowd of Cars fans, you gotta love Pixar. Their newest is Brave, what is being labeled as their first fairy tale and that is definitely what this is... to an extent. Not much else is being said about the film, but there are many moviegoers curious to see what this tale is all about. 

So does it hit the mark? Yeah yeah, I said it...

The story is all about Merida, a young, but very headstrong princess who is armed with a bow and arrow and spirit that knows no bounds. Her parents, King Fergus and Queen Elinor, want her to follow in the royal Scottish tradition as they have selected three possible suitors to unite the kingdom. Merida just wants to be her own person and because of this, she constantly clashes with Elinor and creates chaos for all of the kingdom. Merida runs away and it wouldn't be a fairy tale without Merida finding... a witch. I won't spoil anything after that!

First off, Merida. What a great character. So strong and determined, she is really a great character for the young girls. Voiced by Kelly MacDonald (HBO's Boardwalk Empire), this powerful lass with the bright red hair shows she is still young in her manner of speaking, but her actions show she's her own individual and not one to be messed with. Definitely not your typical Disney princess and that's a good thing!

Fergus and Elinor, played by Billy Connelly and Emma Thompson, do an exceptional job as King and Queen parents, especially Thompson. Fergus is a gentle giant king, willing to protect his family and kingdom but he'll definitely have a good time while doing it too, while Elinor is the serious, by-the-book queen but is also the heart of both the family and all of their traditions. 

The suitor families, with one of the fathers being voiced by the always funny Craig Ferguson, are just a part of the comic relief to the film. Any time the fathers and their kids appear, you can't help but chuckle at their silliness. Merida's little brothers, the Triplets, are the stars here, however. What the Minions were to Despicable Me, is what these boys were to this movie. Adorable little mischief makers that you can't help but love... but you definitely don't want to be trapped in a room with them!

The animation is worth noting as well. Beautiful work by the people at Pixar, with the most noticeable upgrades being the environmental visuals (the forest, waterfalls, castle) and every bit of strand of hair on Merida. You can tell the improvements here as everyone had strand upon strand of hair and not just a block formed to look like hair, but hers... wow. 

Now, the bad. The twist that happens in the film, I've been told, put off some people. It may not be what you are expecting, unless you've seen every single ad or clip for this movie, which I DO NOT ADVISE! The twist had me doubting halfway in and kind of took me out of it for a bit, but if you go in head-first and give it a chance like I did, you will have a great time in the end.

Fun characters, not-your-average-princess story, stunning animation, and a really great message about family, "Brave" is another solid film from Pixar. Not their best yet, however, but one you really shouldn't miss.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

E3 2012 In A Nutshell!

As I type this up, E3 2012 is still going on, but the Big Three in video games have already had their press conferences so let's get into how they all fared. 

First, Microsoft... 

We start off with "Halo 4" and it was an pretty impressive showing for the return of Master Chief. Now, I'm not a fan of the series, but I can only imagine how the fans must feel for this one. Still, I won't lie and gotta say it looks really damn good. But... not as good as "Tomb Raider."

Wow. I need this game in my life. Essentially the prequel to the original games, 21 year-old Lara goes on her first adventure in what seems like a mix of the old and some of the new (very Uncharted kind of feel). Lara is beaten up and dragged around but is still tough as nails and ready to kick some ass! Looking dirty and gritty and yet so beautiful, "Tomb Raider" is the one to watch out for.

"South Park: The Stick of Truth" surprised many with its appearance at the conference, as it kept VERY true to the look of the series and seems like its fun factor as well. Basically an RPG, you play the new kid in town, teaming up with the boys to take on all that is evil (yes, Cartman, even the hippies). Definitely gonna give this one a try.

Now, what didn't work? Too many shooters, I think. Also, best not to end the show with one either, especially when you hype it like it's no tomorrow. Sorry, Black Op 2. Also, people expect games and Microsoft brought out... TV. And Nike Fit. So where were the games?? Well, we're still looking...

Now for Sony...

"Beyond: Two Souls"... Wow. What a way to kick it off for Sony. From the creators of "Heavy Rain," we follow our main protagonist, played by Academy Award nominee Ellen Page, on a cinematic experience similar to the previously mentioned game. With one added bonus: The girl has powers. This is one to watch.

"Playstation All-Star Battle Royale" is a mouthful, not to mention "a Smash Bros. clone." I can't help but agree with many of the critics, but at the same time, this COULD be fun. It is Smash with Sony characters. Beat down Parappa with Nathan Drake? Sweet Tooth's Mecha taking on Kratos? I'll definitely give it the time of day, let's see how this one goes...

"The Last of Us" was, no doubt, THE game of the show. If you haven't checked this one out yet, YOU NEED TO. Naughty Dog, the people who brought us "Uncharted," brings us this post-apocalyptic survival adventure game where you play as the two of last survivors Joel and 14 year-old Ellie. No, you don't fight zombies, you do have to fight for life as you must collect health and there are limited ammo. No pressure!

Sony's worst? Undoubtedly, the Wonderbook. Went on too long, and really? Do kids with a Playstation want to read? Sorry, but not sure this will work. Also, not alot of love for the Move. Does that mean Sony doesn't have much faith in it? Same for the Vita. At the end of the day, it was still a good show and way better than Microsoft's.

Now, for the big one... Nintendo.

We start off with Shigeru Miyamoto playing with the audience and shows off "Pikmin 3" for the Wii U. Things look promising for the new console as the game and its atmosphere is very crisp, clear and very beautiful. It was like stepping into a garden, no matter how cheesy that may sound. I actually want to play a Pikmin game and that says something since I never had interest in the series. 

They also showed "Lego City", a silly but funny Grand Theft Auto kid-friendly type game. Entertaining, so I wouldn't mind checking it out. "New Super Mario Bros. 2" also announced, along with a new "Super Scribblenauts" and "ZombiU," a unique, zombie survival game. The developers bring up that each game utilizes the new Wii-U Game Pad and its screen to enhance the game experience, like "Arkham City" using it as Batman's utility belt and "Sing" for a karaoke lyrics screen. 

Finally, the Big N capped off their show with "NintendoLand," a combination of the usual Wii Sports-like minigame extravaganza and many of the company's franchises. 

From Luigi's Mansion to Donkey Kong Country, players use their costumed Miis to play through 12 different themed worlds and its many minigames. Seems like it could be a good time, though there's still alot to learn about this game. Working title from Plantinum and Nintendo, "Project P-100," was shown after the conference and was interesting as it looked to have a bit of Earthbound and just a drop of Bayonetta's combo attacks and Pikmin's teamwork.

What went wrong with Nintendo? There was much hype and expectation and to many, including myself, it was not THAT strong of a showing. They have a new console coming out by the end of the year, but where are the main franchises? Are these the only launch titles? How much is the Wii-U? When releasing your new console, you HAVE to bring out your best. It didn't feel like Nintendo did and they definitely need to bring everyone back on the train. Only time will tell if this will work out or what.

In the end, who had the best conference of  the three? Possibly Playstation, but really... the strongest, no doubt, was Ubisoft. "Rayman," "Assassin's Creed 3." "Watch Dogs," "ZombiU," etc. Nothing but great looking games along the board, showing how strong this company is. And for sure, Nintendo must be happy to have them as they were heavily focused on how they're incorporating their games with the Game Pad.

Not the best E3, but hey. Like Christmas, it's the best time of the year, especially if you're a gamer. So now as the 2012 edition winds down, let's just be happy and enjoy some real quality games in the year to come! GAME ON!

P.S, just because, here are the conferences... all in a couple of nutshells. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: "Snow White And The Huntsman"

Whether you read the books, or saw the Disney film, or known about it through pop culture and its countless parodies, you know the story of "Snow White." For sure, this is not the cartoon you have grown up with. Like many times before, Hollywood tries to bring out the Grimm in these classic tales and it always doesn't work. In this version of "Snow White," I have to say it is fairly successful.

"Twilight" star Kristen Stewart plays the fairest of them all, who must stop the wicked queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and her quest for immortality. Snow White is aided by the Huntsman, played by Thor himself Chris Hemsworth, and a group of the last living dwarfs (Ian McShane, Nick Frost, just to name a few). You know the rest of the story, but even then, it works very well and you still get shocked when certain moments happen. Stewart does a fairly good job as Snow White, especially considering I didn't expect much from her (I'm not a fan of hers or the vampire series) and even then, I was still willing to give her a shot. Hemsworth as Huntsman also does well enough, being the tough yet caring brute who will make sure the job is done.

Now Charlize... not everyone will love her performance, but I believe she did incredible work. She may not be the most believable villain, sometimes abit over the top, but you knew enough about her to really hate her and still sympathize with her at the same time. Plus it didn't hurt that the visuals that came with the Queen were beautiful, dark, and very elegant. Love the bird skull dress!

So the flaws... there were some, yes. Again, Kristen Stewart did well, but not enough for me in some parts. I like that she can be this headstrong, all-powerful woman, but it was hard to buy it sometimes. She's not that strong of an actress to pull it off completely, honestly. And definitely not for everyone in the audience, for that matter. Sam Claflin, who played Prince William, could have been used more, considering how important his character is to Snow White at one time. And there are moments that can be groan-worthy, very cheesy, and played-out, but that's minor besides the fact that this story has been done to death. So how can it not be cheesy, right?

Still, there is much good. The special effects and visuals were well-done as it felt more like Wonderland than that stupid "Alice" movie could ever bring. The Dark and the light forest were stunning to look at and felt very magical. The one scene with Snow White and all the forest creatures is worth noting and the Queen turning into birds and her rising from the milk bath... wow. Alot of action too keeps this from being that repetitive (gotta love the castle raid) and the dwarfs also keep this a fun affair with their jokes and occasional silly actions. But of course, don't have them fooled as the Disney versions since these guys kick butt and are seriously while doing it.

All and all, I must say I was genuinely surprised by "Snow White." There was action, romance, drama, horror, and really great visuals to boot. No movie can ever be perfect, this is one of those cases. However, for a story told many times over, it's not boring, you actually care for the characters, and the scope of this film is so epic that it can feel like Lord of the Rings or Kingdom of Heaven at times and that's not a bad thing. And come on, you just have to see Charlize go crazy while wearing outlandish outfits! It's worth a shot, seeing as I had very low expectations and I had a pretty good time with it. So check it out, if not in theaters, then definitely on home video.

7.5/ 10

Thursday, May 31, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: "Men In Black 3"

14 years after our first encounter with them, the Men in Black are back! Sure, the sequel was not that good and difficult considering the massive success the original film was able to bring, but doesn't hurt to try again... does it?? Three time MAY be the charm, or should we just bust out the Neurolizer and forget all about this movie? Well... let's find out!

 Director Barry Sonnenfeld and stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (Agents J and K) return for one more adventure. Agent J must time travel to 1969 to save a young Agent K (played by Josh Brolin) from the evil alien Boris The Animal (Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords), his long-time nemesis who wants revenge. Along the way, the duo meet some familiar faces, new creatures, and all while forming a tighter bond for the two agents. That's the plot, simple as that. Rumors are that there were plenty of rewrites, even as they were filming, changing things on the fly. It feels that way at times, as some of the heart and fun from the original is lacking at times. Not to say this isn't fun though. It has its moments and yes, it does have a bit of heart. Let's dig deeper...

Josh Brolin made this movie worth the watch as young K. Acting and sounding like Tommy Lee Jones, Brolin really pulls it off and makes this character his own with some little tweaks. Young K is just as serious as older K, but his feelings show a little more now, especially when it comes to the young Agent O, played by the beautiful but underused Alice Eve. Also underused is the current Agent O, played by Emma Thompson, who has one moment of note... but then disappears into oblivion. 

Jemaine Clement as Boris makes for an interesting villain, being creepy (thanks to Rick Baker for a great makeup job) and quite the menace and yes, maaaaybe even a little funny! If you know his work from Flight of the Conchords and love it, you're going to enjoy seeing him here. Also, it's worth noting Bill Hader as Andy Warhol and Griffin, played by "Boardwalk Empire's" Michael Stuhlbarg, who brings the most heart to this film. 

Complaints? Most of the jokes fall flat here, the writing gets really bad at times with plot holes aplenty, and this one moment, meant to be heartfelt... it just felt tacked on and cheesy. It's not a bad movie, though, but it's just not a great one. It definitely needed more bizarre creatures and weird moments, more... fun... to really make this movie great. Oh, and I saw this in 3D and it was not worth the extra bucks AT ALL. The time travel scenes made some use of the 3D effects, but other than that, nothing. So is the film itself worth a watch? Sure, why not? It was an OK way to pass the time, but I almost want to say it's more of a rental. At least if this is the last MIB movie we ever get, it's good they ended it this way. Er, minus the song during the credits. Ugh, that Pitbull...


Monday, May 7, 2012

"Blunderbuss" - Jack White

In my opinion, Jack White is a musical genius. Many would disagree otherwise, but after his 3 other projects (Raconteurs, Dead Weather, and White Stripes) I really think this man is one of a kind. He knows music and once I heard he was going solo, I was curious to hear what he would do next.

"Blunderbuss" has that Jack White sound, blues and all, a bit of piano and even his cover of the track "I'm Shakin'." The song can be heard below...

Such a catchy song and really gets you moving, while still capturing the soul of the original. In between this song and some others, you can tell there is some heartache over White's split from his wife and the end of the White Stripes and this was his way of coping through it all. "Weep Themselves To Sleep" gives off those vibes, one ivory key at a time, but remains such a beautiful, powerful song. 

It does take more than one listen to really get into the album, like it was for me, which I was expecting more of his other bands' sounds. The closest thing you get to that is the single "Sixteen Saltines." It's a good song, but I feel it doesn't really fit here. It does make me miss White Stripes very much. In any case, it's great to hear Jack again and experimenting with both an all male band and an all female band as well. 

"Blunderbuss" is Jack White at his more interesting and what I feel like is really his true side. If you're a fan of his, you NEED this album in your life. I've heard people compare it to Dylan, but it's only slight for me. But still, it is a beautiful piece of work. Also, if you liked the samples above, more reason for you to own the album. It may not be loud too often, or guitar heavy, but definitely worth a bit of your time.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

MOVIE REVIEW: "Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope"

As you may have already guessed from past reviews, I am a fan of comics and superheroes. So no brainer here, I had to check out "Comic-Con Episode IV." What is it all about? It's all about San Diego Comic-Con and its die-hard fans. This documentary was put together by director Morgan Spurlock of "Supersize Me" fame, along with comic book and movie staples Stan "The Man" Lee, Joss Wheadon (seems to be another trend in my reviews, huh?), Harry Knowles, and many other familiar faces and names.

The film follows some very different fans on their road to the event, as two are looking for a career in comics, one group puts together a Mass Effect cosplay show for the ages, a man and his epic comic collection struggle to survive, and one young man wants to solidify his love for his girlfriend at a Kevin Smith panel. Very interesting stories from each, especially the man and his collection of million dollar comics. The Con, as he and many others learn, is not so much about comics anymore as Hollywood has taken over and made it into a huge press conference for their next big projects. Kind of sad, but it's the truth.

Still, the love for the event is there and you can tell from those that attend the show. Whether you've been to the San Diego Con or any of the other Cons, you know how these shows work and you have seen how people go all out. Sure, it may seem like a joke and you get a laugh or three from the silly outfits and situations, but "Comic-Con" shows that passion people have for what they love and you're not an outcast here. It's a fun little flick, completely harmless, not particularly life-changing but worth a watch if you're a fan of anything comic and nerd culture. 

I say check it out. You get moments like the one above, so how can you go wrong?


Thursday, May 3, 2012


It took Marvel Comics and most of Hollywood more than 40 years to put together this band of superheroes on the big screen. Definitely a large undertaking and just an ounce of pressure on the writer and director, "Buffy" creator Joss Wheadon, to finally bring Earth's Mightiest Heroes on the same stage.

So does the flick assemble greatness or is it just a super waste of time? Well, bad puns aside, "Avengers" was a incredibly fun ride and an epic start to the summer movie season. Now where to start... Ah, the plot!

The evil and mischievous Loki makes his way to Earth and is looking to tear it apart, especially if it means taking out his powerful step-brother Thor with it. Nick Fury and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D decide it's time to form the team. It's time to form... THE AVENGERS! And that's all you need to know. Of course, it helps if you saw the 5 movies that came before it as it goes straight in, no more origin stories and right to the action.

From Robert Downey, Jr. as the over-confident Iron Man, to Chris Evans as the straight-laced, old-fashioned boy scout Captain America, each of the Avengers stays true to their comic and movie ways and none of the characters are really overshadowed. Well, one character does kind of stand above the rest...

Mark Ruffalo is the new Bruce Banner/Hulk here and completely steals the show. His Banner is abit different than the others, as he's older, wiser, and knows his fate. His Hulk... Wow. Now THIS... is the Hulk that the people wanted! Mean, green, and full of attitude. Once he hits the screen, it is so much fun! Scarlett as Black Widow and Sam Jackson as Fury are worth mentioning as well, as they play bigger roles in this film and show that even heroes without powers can still kick much ass! Jeremy Renner does alright as Hawkeye, though. If only there was more to him here, but still, watching him take down everyone with a bow and arrow in every way is pretty cool!

And yes, Agent Coulsen is back! Clark Gregg is Coulsen and here, his interactions with our heroes really help the movie. As much as he is a veteran agent and seen his fair share, he can get starstruck and be a fan too. Like his reactions to one of the characters, you can't help but feel like a kid again during this whole experience. It's just too much fun!

It's also to note that there is plenty of action here, obviously. But this is a fan boy's dream. You get heroes fighting heroes, heroes fighting villains and even more huge villains. And just to see these guys bickering at one another and even praising each other at any time... come on. Wheadon knows and loves his characters, and he is a pro at writing for an ensemble cast, not to mention ensemble comic book casts. It shows here, like in his run in the X-Men comics, that just the scenes of Iron Man and company at the round table talking to each other are worth the price of admission alone.

Now, any complaints? Sure, but not many. Some explanations in the film are quick, to-the-point, let's move on, kind of thing. I do understand that these explanations could be elaborated on in the future solo movies, so it's only just a small nitpick. One scene involving Iron Man and an engine felt alittle too long for me, but other than that... no real complaints. 

So final verdict? Obvious, you need to see this movie! Much action, alot of laughs (especially from Tony Stark and his "entrances"), and Hulk smashing! It's the perfect comic book movie, the definition of a summer movie, and with just enough personality and good times to keep you smiling until the very end. By the way, reminder: STAY AFTER THE CREDITS. It's a Marvel Studios movie, people didn't realize about any of the post-credit scenes. So don't leave or you'll miss the best one yet! Ok, I'm still in fanboy mode. Much apologizes!

In any case, go see it, especially in IMAX!