REVIEW – Scream 4

The first Scream movie opened in theaters in 1996 and brought the classic horror film back to the mainstream theaters likes of which we hadn’t seen since Friday the 13th or Nightmare On Elm Street. It went on to make $103 million domestically at the box office with a production budget of only $14 million. It was considered a huge success. Since then, Scream 2 went on to make $101 million and the third movie make $89 million. Now, Director Wes Craven is looking to scare a whole new generation of kids what the Scream franchise.

For those who haven’t seen, been warned I will write spoilers below. You’ve been warned.

Overview;

Ten years after the third movie, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), now a published author, returns home to Woodsboro on the last stop of her book tour. There she reconnects with Sheriff Dewey (David Arquette) and Gale (Courteney Cox), who are now married, as well as her cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) and her Aunt Kate (Mary McDonnell). Unfortunately, Sidney’s appearance also brings about the return of Ghostface, putting Sidney, Gale, and Dewey, along with all of their friends and the whole town of Woodsboro in danger.

What I Liked About It;

Things that were hip back in the day are coming back in full force. Everything from clothes, cartoons and even movies. While most remakes and sequels are horribly done, I have to admit being a fan of the Scream franchise, I was very impressed with this fourth installment as I walked into the film with high expectations.

Director Wes Craven got smart and brought back the good things that made the first one great. Witty dialog, humorous death scenes are always over the top and storyline that didn’t take it’s self seriously though gave the audience the right amount of suspense. Really it was all about getting back to a classic horror flick with this movie. The horror genre has changed since the first movie so does Scream 4 and Craven does an amazing job at having the franchise adapt to the new rules of horror.

Once again Neve Campbell brings Sidney Prescott character to life. Though this time rather than a helpless victim, her character shows more confidence in handling the situation. Which is refreshing to see. Because when you’ve already made 3 movies, you do need to change it up a bit.

Repriving their roles is Courteney Cox as Gale Weathers and David Arquette as Dewey Riley. I have always enjoyed both of their characters. They bring this campy and humorist tone to the story and pop up perfectly when the audience needs a quick breather from the suspense.

But who really stole the show was Emma Roberts as… the killer. Her ability to go from a “girl next door” character to psycho killer shows the amazing range she has as an actress. Mark my words, she is going to have a long career in Hollywood.

What I Think Didn’t Work;

There really isn’t anything wrong with this movie. It was fun and suspenseful and that’s exactly what I wanted from this movie.

Overall;

All in all the movie is worth your time and money. I would suggest checking it out on the big screen. This is one of those movies I am definitely picking up on DVD.

Check out the trailer below.

REVIEW – Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel

When many think of Hugh Hefner, they think Playboy Magazine and beautiful women. What many don’t see or know is the man who has been a catalyst for progressive change on a whole array of social and political issues.

Overview;

Oscar-winning producer/director Brigitte Berman follows the legendary man in her feature documentary in which she explores the two sides. The Playboy, pursuing his own sexual odyssey and living a highly controversial lifestyle, and on the other hand, the humanitarian who has worked hard for racial equality, First Amendment rights, abortion rights, sexual freedom, censorship and social justice.

What I Liked About It;

After watching this movie you’ll realize that this is a man who took some of the biggest gambles and risks that most people would never dare think of. Whether you love him or hate him, which I am a huge fan, you have to admire his boldness and bravery at making decisions that were considered unpopular at the time. For example, Hefner taking a risk in breaking the color line at his Playboy Clubs and TV shows when segregation was still commonplace in the U.S.

To give you an even better idea of some of the film highlights, Hefner was arrested at one point, branded a pornographer by Reagan’s Meese Commission, endured a boycott of his magazine, was under FBI surveillance and was set up on a fabricated drug charge.

What I think Didn’t Work;

Really I don’t think you can ever find something wrong with a documentary. This one, in particular, showed both the good and the bad throughout Hefner’s years.

Overall;

After all is said and done, today Hefner is bigger than ever. The man has lived a life that many can only dream of and while you may only think of beautiful women when looking at him, never forget that he gave us more than just a successful magazine.

He helped make sure we have our First Amendment rights, helped women make sure they had a choice in what they do with their bodies and racial equality when we needed it the most. No one can argue that Hefner is a man who has lived his life the way he wanted to.

While the movie came out last year, you can see it on Netflix and check out the movie’s website here and its IMDB site here and don’t forget to check out the trailer below.

REVIEW – The Elephant in the Living Room

I think documentaries are somewhat tough to really review properly. For me personally they need to be pretty interesting like about pop culture or any topic from the History Channel on television, but when I read a movie tagline “A five hundred pound African Lion attaching cars on a freeway, A sixteen foot Burmese Python in a restaurant parking lot. A panther running loose in a residential neighborhood”, you can’t say that it would not get people’s attention fairly quickly.

Overview;

The Elephant in the Living Room is an award-winning documentary about the controversial subculture of raising the deadliest animals on earth as common household pets. The movie follows two men, Tim Harrison, an Ohio police officer whose friend was killed by an exotic animal that was a pet and Terry Brumfield, a big-hearted man who struggles to keep his two pet African Lions that he loves like family.

What I Liked About It;

I have to admit I didn’t know how to feel after watching the movie, as it was a very powerful movie with a solid message. It brought a huge problem that isn’t talked about in America. What I felt what Director Michael Webber did amazingly well was to show the reality of the situation. Don’t get me wrong as I warn you now, there are some graphic scenes that will pull at any animal lovers heart. But he did a good job at not sugar coating or going overboard when presenting the problem.

This is one of those few documentaries where you will feel sympathy for everyone involved. It’s not just an informative movie about a problem. It’s actually a real story with real people and animals involved.  All in all, while I am a huge animal lover but I now find myself in huge support of outlawing exotic animals as pets in the United States. So, Michael Webber, you did your job well.

What I Think Didn’t Work;

This documentary was very well made. It did a brilliant job of showing the negative consequences of owning an exotic pet. Sure it’s one-sided but there really isn’t another side to it. Plus you can’t argue that no one liked as it has an 83% Rotten Tomatoes score.

Overall;

If you can get a chance to catch “The Elephant In The Living Room” on April 1, I highly recommend it. It’s only coming to nearly 100 select cities across the country.

Check out the trailer below.

REVIEW – The Fighter

While walking into the theater yesterday, I really had no idea what to think of The Fighter. Sure it’s Oscar-nominated and its Rotten Tomatoes score is 90% with critics but the movie is so much more than that.

Overview;

Based on the true story of Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), a fledgling boxer who works to escape of being both a stepping stone in his sport and the shadow of his more famous but troubled older brother (Christian Bale) who once was a boxer as well. Ward looks to get his own shot at the title and greatness.

What I Liked About It;

The movie did a wonderful job at showing the real grittiness of it all and how Ward had to go through all of his trials and tribulations to end up a champion. To me, this is one of the main reason why the movie worked so well as it did. There’s almost an uneasiness to it when you watch the film. I mean really you are watching the story of a stranger and things that happened with him and his family.

What can I say about Mark Wahlberg? I always love his work. Everything from Four Brothers and The Departed to horrible movies like Planet of the Apes and Max Payne, his ability to bring his A-game to each of his roles is always evident on the bring screen. The Fighter is no different as he portrays boxing champion, Micky Ward.

Christian Bale plays Dicky Eklund, Micky Ward’s older brother in the movie. I can never seem to find a movie that Bale isn’t absolutely amazing in. His ability to not just act but turn into the character he plays is simply out of this world. This Eklund character Bale plays in the movie is a washed-up boxer who sadly found his way into hard drugs and just his mannerisms and even his physical body come off with perfection. I hope Bale gets an Oscar nomination for this role.

Amy Adams is flawless in the movie as Charlene Fleming, love interest to Micky Ward. Her character is a blend of both compassion and tomboyish feel that really rounds out Ward. She’s tough because of her environment but it does not completely change her into something she isn’t. What really stole the film was here interaction with his family, especially Ward’s mother played by Melissa Leo. Like I said about Bale, I hope Adams gets an Oscar nomination for this role.

What I think Didn’t Work;

This is a brilliant film with an amazing cast, everything worked.

Overall;

All in all, it was a movie done well! It was made with a great cast and storyline. I think “The Fighter” is for sure going to be a contender this year at the Academy Awards.

Check out the trailer below.

REVIEW – The King’s Speech

Having a Rotten Tomatoes score of 95%, an audience score of 92%, and let’s not forget 12 Oscars nominations, The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter is truly a masterpiece.

Overview;

The story is about King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Prince Albert (Colin Firth) must ascend the throne as the King but has a speech impediment that prevents him from official duties as royalty. Knowing that the country needs her husband to be able to communicate effectively, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) hires Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian actor and unofficial speech therapist, to help him overcome his stammer. A friendship develops between the two, as Logue uses unconventional means to teach the monarch how to speak with confidence.

What I liked About It;

I can see why it has won so many awards and took 12 Oscar nominations this year. It has spectacular acting by the entire cast. The writing and dialog is written and given beautifully. And the storyline,  While I enjoyed “The Social Network” and “Inception”, “The King’s Speech” is one of those movies in which I believe has earned the recognition. Just looking at the box office alone the movie was made on a $15 million dollar budget and saw success with $135 million domestically and $275 worldwide.

This is probably one of the best performances of Colin Firth I have ever seen. He was great in Mamma Mia!, Love Actually, and Bridget Jones’s Diary, but this performance as King George VI went to a whole other level. If he does not win an Oscar for this, then the Academy is blind as a bat. I don’t think anyone can really comprehend what it took to not just act but act well with a fake stammer and then make it convinceable.

While Colin Firth brought his A-game to the screen, so did his co-star Helena Bonham Carter who plays Queen Elizabeth. Her range of acting is something to be admired and respected. Carter is an actress that can go from Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter franchise to Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and it feels like we see something new from her every time she’s in a movie.

I absolutely loved Geoffrey Rush’s performance as Lionel Logue. There was such an innocence to the character in just wanting to do the right thing for the king. Just like his co-stars, his ability to bring something amazing to his character is just impressive but that goes to show you the quality of an actor he and the rest of the cast are.

Guy Pearce always plays amazing antagonists. This one was no different as he played King Edward VIII, the older brother to King George VI. His sleazy persona as a bully to his younger brother is something most people can enjoy to hate.

Honorable mention goes to Michael Gambon who plays King George V. Many know him as Professor Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter. His performances are always memorable.

What I Think Didn’t Work;

Everything about this movie was amazing. I can’t find really anything wrong with it. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen it is being criticized in the media as being historically inaccurate, the movie is superb. Really, the criticism shouldn’t keep people away from a great film like this one.

Overall;

All in all, this is a must-see movie. So much so that I already plan to go back and watch it again in the theaters soon. For more information about the movie check out its IMDB site here and check out the trailer below.

REVIEW – The A-Team

I feel like a summer blockbuster is becoming few and far between. Which is probably why I have been disappointed with what movies have been released this summer until now. Based on the 1980’s TV show of the same name, The A-Team is the pure definition of what a traditional summer blockbuster movie is.

Overview;

A group of Iraq War veterans is looking to clear their names with the U.S. Military, who suspect the four men of committing a crime during a mission for which they were framed.

What I Liked About It;

Usually, in the first five to ten minutes of every action movie, there are huge scenes to grab the moviegoers attention, The A-Team spared no expensive and delivered probably one of the best opening actions I have seen in a long while. It’s this whole amazing helicopter chase scene that actually was fun and humorous to watch.

Speaking of humor, while this movie is filled with action scenes filled with amazing stunts, what got me is how humor is thrown into the mix of the character play between actors. Cheesy oneliners are brilliantly placed throughout the movie. Plus anyone who loves the TV show from the 80’s will see little nod and easter eggs homages to the original.

Liam Neeson plays Hannibal, leader of the group. I think most moviegoers have taken Neeson for granted since we usually see him in serious roles when it comes to action movies. For me, to see him play Hannibal is almost refreshing. The character, while tough, comes off loyal and sympathetic when it comes to his men. You could even call Hannibal fun-loving when it comes to his career. That being said Hannibal is a 180 turn from Neeson’s previous character in movies like Taken, Batman Begins, and Kingdom of Heaven. All parts that his character are very stern and serious.

Also in the movie is Bradley Cooper who plays Face. A wisecracking pretty boy who looks up to Hannibal. Which if you know anything from the original TV show, Cooper fits perfectly into the role.

Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson as B.A. Baracus is a brilliant match for the character. Made famous by Mr. T in the 80’s, Jackson perfectly emulates the role

Though who steals the show is Sharlto Copley as Murdock. Best known for his lead role in District 9, Copley has a unique ability to act out of his mind and sell it to audiences. I expect will see a lot from him in the future.

What I Think Didn’t Work;

I get why the movie got a Rotten Tomatoes score of 48% and an audience score of 65%. Not everyone is going to like this movie. It can be a bit over the top, though come on it’s the A-Team we are talking about. Plus the plot is pretty basic. But then again if you are arguing that then you don’t understand the basic idea of a summer blockbuster movie.

I am just not sold on Patrick Wilson as Agent Lynch. Sure he’s a great actor, but he didn’t come as this overall menacing villain.

Overall;

All in all the storyline, acting and action scenes were all around great! This one is well worth your time and money. Because in a movie season of sequels and remakes, this is a perfect summer movie.

Check out the trailer below.

REVIEW – Kick Ass

Based on the comic book of the same name, Kick-Ass is an over the top, violent, no-nonsense movie that is really not for the faint at heart. Which is exactly what I was hoping for when seeing the trailer. Be forewarned this movie is not for little kids by any means.

Overview;

Dave Lizewski is a high school student and comic book geek with very few friends. In reality, his life is very bland. Until one day he makes the simple decision to become a super-hero even though he has no powers or combat training.

What I Liked About It;

The level of violence is so beyond unexpected, it’s like watching a Quentin Tarantino film, the violence is turned up to an 11. In some aspects, it reminds me of the movie Boondock Saints just with a superhero element to the overall story.

The movie is directed by British Director Matthew Vaughn. This is the first big mainstream movie that American audiences have gotten to watch and he did not disappoint. Made on a $30 million budget it made it back twofold with $96 million worldwide. I expect will see a sequel to this movie sooner than later.

The arch of Dave Lizewski played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson is a very stereotypical protagonist arch. Taylor-Johnson’s acting as the school nerd turns into a strong and powerful hero is amazing. He was superbly cast for this role. Though the difference this time with the arch is that the female hero really does all the work for him.

Speaking of the female lead Chloë Grace Moretz steals the movie as Hit Girl. It a rare sight to see a little 11-year-old girl killing off mob ganister left and right but Moretz really took this role and ran with it.

Also starring in the movie is Hollywood royalty, Nicolas Cage as Big Daddy. I find with Cage either he’s really good or really bad. He did not disappoint in this movie. While only a supporting role, it’s both memorable and brilliant. It’s almost like the wrote the character just for him.

What I Think Didn’t Work;

I am sitting here at the computer wanting to write something negative but I really can’t. Kick-Ass is a fun, over the top violent movie. So if anything not everyone will enjoy it.

Overall;

This move is well worth your time and money. Great acting, writing and amazing fight scenes this movie is, yes… pretty kick ass.

Check out the trailer below.

REVIEW – The Hurt Locker

Since it’s Oscar weekend I figure I would go watch a nominated movie on the big screen. Now I have seen this movie already on DVD but I never got the chance to see it in theaters and talk about a difference.

Overview;

The movie is an extreme portrayal of soldiers within a bomb squad in the Middle East. When a new sergeant, James (Jeremy Renner), takes over a team, he surprises his two subordinates, Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), by recklessly putting them harms way and behaving as if he can cheat death. As the men struggle to control their new sergeant, the city explodes into chaos, and Jame’s true nature reveals itself.

What I Liked About It;

I have worked at a movie theater and watched more movies than I can count. This to me is one of the most perfect movies I have ever seen. From start to finish you jump on the rollercoaster and down stop until the credits start rolling. I mean talk about the craziest adrenaline rush you will ever have watching a movie. I haven’t felt this kinda rush since I first watched Gladiator.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, best known for the epic movie Point Break. I spoke with the director at the Writer’s Guild Award show talking about the overall script ” For me, I am content driven and that’s where really the material begins” said Bigelow. While I know all the hype with the Oscars this year being between Avatar and The Hurt Locker, I feel confident that Bigelow is going to have a bigger night than Director James Cameron.

Staff Sergeant William James is played by Jeremy Renner and if you don’t know the name, he has been in such movies as 28 Weeks Later and S.W.A.T. His character is a cross between a cowboy, adrenaline junkie and army grunt all rolled up into one. Which Renner makes very believable. On a side note there are some scenes that are not for the faint at heart, so be forewarned.

What I Think Didn’t Work;

This is a perfect movie. Everything about it worked.

Overall;

All in all, there is a good reason why this movie is up for 9 Academy Awards tonight. Out on DVD now and in theaters still in some places. Go check out all the hype that is surrounding this wonderfully made epic movie.

Check out the trailer below.