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2012 (2009)

>> Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I told you! Just because I'm a black president it doesn't mean the world is going to end!

How it took someone this long to make a movie about the popular Mayan prediction is beyond me. This could have easily been one of those 80’s movies that thought we'd all be flying in cars and escaping an exploding volcano at Yellowstone. That’s not to say that wouldn’t have been alright – sort of a Blade Runner meets Back to the Future meets Armageddon. Yes, I know Armageddon is from the 90’s but I couldn’t think of an 80’s disaster movie and nothing popped up fast enough up when I Googled “80’s disaster movies” -so, whatever.

But even in the 90’s , the decade of disasters, Hollywood was far too busy making 8 volcano movies in one year, or meteor movies, or tornado movies, or floods or whatever. That was the 90’s when all we wanted to see with the invention of CG was some really cool shit being blown up and giant towers getting knocked down. Maybe Hollywood was actually behind 9-11? (Too soon?..) But the point was filmmakers were like kids with Legos, where nothing was cooler than to build something and see it get wrecked. Hell, one movie even won an Oscar for sinking and wrecking a friggin’ boat! This of course was before this current decade where Hollywood embraced uber-hippie environmentalism and gave us disaster movies with a ‘Save the Whales’ bumper sticker plastered across the poster. (You know what I’m talking about Day After Tomorrow fans). Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a giant tidal wave hitting New York just as much as the next guy, I’m just saying don’t make me feel guilty about throwing my empty beer can out the window on the drive home from the theatre.

The idea behind 2012 could have been made far sooner and in so many ways I’m glad it wasn’t -that it sort of flew under the radar all these years. First off, it’s nice to see a disaster movie once more that doesn’t blame us (humanity). There’s no talk of feeling guilty the world is destroyed, or feelings we should have been more careful and respected the Earth. Screw - that. This film ended up being so much more than that, so much more than I expected at all really.

It’s like it pays homage to all the great disaster films of all time. Things like earthquakes and the tidal waves and the volcanoes prove to be some of the best visuals, even if it looks like they borrowed scenes from The Langoliers or Titanic or Poseidon (I’m actually pretty sure they literally took a scene from Poseidon). Hell, it even has the cliché black president. I suppose it’s sort of tradition by now, like having John Ratzenberger in every Pixar film. It also makes me fear for the real 2012 apocalypse. Thanks Obama. Yes – we – can! … destroy the world.

However, even as sub-par as the acting may be sometimes; even as lucky as John Cusack’s family may be every time they narrowly escape yet another disaster, 2012 ends up being fairly realistic. It works in the sense that if the world was to actually end in three years, would the government really let us know? If not, is it so bizarre to think they wouldn’t sell seats to the highest bidder on whatever their version of Ark would be? None of that seems out of question – which actually gives this movie some ... validity if you will.

Is this all a reason to see 2012, though? It helps. But I didn’t go to 2012 for the politics, nor do I believe the American people would make Danny Glover president. Morgan Freeman – yes, Danny Glover … no. I went to see this movie for the killer special effects and CG. It’s what drove me to it - so yes, I’m shallow. But it’s only because I believe a movie like 2012 should be experienced right in the theatre. Something like this will be far less effective at a discount theatre or at home. It's movies like 2012 that we have big motha effin’ screens for. Once the world started ending, I was smiling for a good while - I'm a guilty pleasure whore. The door is open on this one, and you know what they say – “when one door opens, the pacific coast slides into the ocean”. Sweet.

*Still courtesy of Columbia Pictures



>> Monday, November 16, 2009

I wonder what the fifth kind is? If it's probing I am NOT seeing the sequel.

In the spirit of The Blair Witch Project, “archival footage” is used in addition to re-enactments to portray the chilling events that took place in Nome, Alaska in 2000. So, because I’ve had this question on my mind since seeing the trailer this summer, I will propose it once more: is the archival footage actually real? Technically (and because I was listening for it), it’s never once said. Mila Jovovich, who plays Dr. Abigail Tyler, warns us at the beginning of the film that what we are about to see can be disturbing, and that this is all based on actual case studies (also a line printed on the poster). I also did research and found nothing supporting this film is real, other than Nome actually having a lot of missing people cases. In fact, most of what I have found states nothing is found on the actual Dr. Tyler, including whether the interview of her at Chapman University in California is actually legit. Because let’s face it, grainy video and a title at the beginning of the film stating it’s “based on a true story” doesn’t always mean exactly that (ie: Fargo and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre). Is it all real? I personally doubt it, but I had to in order to not allow the idea to eat away at me as I watched the film.

After several people begin to report memories or an odd-looking owl at their window at night, Dr. Tyler decides to investigate further, by means of reference to other patients of hers that have reported the same thing, and by means of hypnosis. This is when her patients begin to remember it was not an owl they had experienced at night, but an abduction wiped clean from their memories. Further hypnosis on the same patients creates further problems, such as speaking the ancient language of Samarian, hovering, and having the innate ability to make the video camera see nothing but static. Static by the way, that allows you to see just enough to be decently and conveniently creeped out.

Obviously Dr. Tyler feels she must investigate further, until she too becomes a target for abduction. Abduction by the way is the fourth kind of contact. The first is seeing a UFO, the second is said UFO leaving evidence of its visit (crop circles, radiation, etc.) and the third kind is alien contact.

The Fourth Kind is a really entertaining movie. It does all the right things, and it does get that extra creepy factor from acting like its real – that and the footage of the “real” Dr. Tyler. That woman almost looks like an alien herself - big eyes, long thin face. Her estranged eyes and distant speech make her a living ghost of sorts. They cast this role right (assuming it was actually cast that is…).

The door is open on this one, so go through it if you aren’t afraid of being abducted. My advice for you is do the same thing I did, and don’t go into it assuming it’s real, just go in expecting a very effective tale of fiction.
*Still courtesy of Focus Films



>> Thursday, November 12, 2009

Jim Carrey plays the Grinch then Scrooge? What kind of shitty Christmas gifts did he get as a kid?

We are all familiar with this classic tale from Charles Dickens. And as of this adaptation, there are over two dozen versions of this movie, and this one is by far the best. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed nothing more than watching Mickey’s Christmas Carol almost every year since I was born. It is the version I am most familiar with, and it seems to be one of the more popular Christmas movies amongst the masses. But Robert Zemeckis teamed up with Jim Carrey to create what may be almost exactly what was in Dickens’ head when he wrote the story back in 1843. This is made obvious if one views original illustrations which accompanied the original story. If placed side by side, it would be hard to distinguish between the two.

This isn’t the first time Zemeckis has been faithful to the source material. The Polar Express was literally like a living version of the book, right down to the last shot of the movie. I will use the mention of that film as a nice segway into comparing the two.

The reason for this comparison is because I don’t believe there would be a better comparison for either now that both exist. Express was a beautifully done film, and unlike many that came before it. It came to us as a faithful adaptation from a children’s book. So much like Where the Wild Things Are, because Express was so well done, it stands out and is well on its way to becoming a classic Christmas film much like the animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas or It’s a Wonderful Life.

A Christmas Carol however, although memorable and no doubt part of most chirldren’s DVD/Blu-Ray collections by January 2011 (assuming it’s released December 2010), may not be as memorable as Express. The reason for this is twofold. The first being it will be lost amongst the large amounts of adaptations that have come before it, and the second being that it does lack that certain warm holiday feeling due to its sometimes scary visuals and old English dialogue – which can at times be hard to understand, as faithful as it may be to the original source material. That, and the audience who watches and re-watches Christmas films on a yearly basis is made up mostly of children, who will no doubt relate more to a preteen boy who has trouble believing in Santa Claus versus an elderly man who has lost his holiday ways.

That said though, this is undoubtedly one of the best 3-D films I’ve seen (Zemeckis is a master at making sure he uses this technology to his advantage). The film itself looks absolutely wonderful and photo-realism takes another step forward with the infinite amount of detail, to the point where you can actually see the fine hairs on Scrooge’s face. Jim Carrey’s performance as the classic Christmas-hater Ebenezer Scrooge is well done (as well as all the past, present and future ghosts), although at many points the role gets lost in the usual antics of Carrey, and it can become distracting. Gary Oldman however does wonderfully as Bob Cratchit, and in the usual order of motion capture or other animated films, features of all the actors faces can be seen in their cartoon counterparts.

This film overall is definitely one to see, 3-D or not, as there is almost nothing else coming out celebrating the holiday season, and I am all for the holidays. This is definitely something I don’t recommend for your usual G-rated audience, as it all can become quite scary and maybe is too mature for audiences under the age of 8 or so – as it should be though, and is one of the reasons it will stand out amongst the other Carols for years to come. The door is festively open on this one, so go through it if you don’t mind a gentle Christmas haunting, and another visually stunning masterpiece from Zemeckis.

*Stills courtesy of Disney



>> Friday, November 6, 2009

Vince, why do ya look so tired all the time?

Vince Vaughn plays, well, every character he’s ever played in this, touchy-feely, let’s talk about our feelings newest comedy from, well, Vince Vaughn … and friends.

Basically, the premise here is that Jason, played Jason Bateman, and his wife Cynthia, played by Sarah Marshall’s Kristin Bell, decide that if they don’t go on this “couple’s retreat”, their marriage will end and they will have to waste another three years or so finding other partners and marrying and having kids, and well, that just doesn’t make sense financially nor does it fit into their business plan – and they have the slide show to prove it. But, in order for them to afford it, they have to take a cheaper group rate and end up suckering in their friends Dave (Vince Vaughn), Shane (Faizon Love), Joey (John Favreau) and their wives.

Then, unexpectedly – hilarity ensues as the gang realizes this isn't going to be as relaxing as they thought. And wouldn't you know it, they can't even watch the "big game" on TV as this retreat ain't got no TV's. Awww, shucks, I sure hope a lesson gets learnt here...

Okay, not really. Now, don’t get me wrong. I laughed during this movie. Due to the persistence of watching some terribly bad movies with my friend Luke, I am able to find humour in almost anything, and one moment can make a movie funny for me, and make it worth it. Except Norbit, nothing can make that movie funny – NOTHING. So, yes, I was able to enjoy the movie enough and enjoy the company of the people I saw it with.

However, I am growing tired of Vince Vaughn’s sarcastic/obvious outlook on the world and impatience towards stupid people. Sure, he does what he does well, and he’s a nice enough guy, but that man has NO acting spectrum whatsoever.

Couple’s Retreat is not realistic. It is convenient, uses cheap laughs and really makes it seem like everything can be solved in a problem marriage by having an epiphany, being honest with one another, and recognizing the mistakes you made are – well, mistakes. Sure, key points are made on how a successful marriage should work, it’s clear the writers may have cracked open 'Marriage for Dummies' and read the index, if not a couple of chapters. But it still doesn’t inspire as much as it maybe should, and it’s mostly forgettable. Oh and it ends with a happy ending. Literally, a happy ‘you learned your lesson and that’s what I was planning the whole time’ ending. Really.

Retreat may have been saved if it actually looked into the heart of what a simplistic yet terribly complicated thing marriage is, and if it took it more seriously than a sitcom romance or a black man showing his best friend’s wives his ginormous – love – tackle…. A lesson from Knocked Up or any Apatow flick could and should have been taken into consideration more when making this film. The door is closed on this one, save your $10 and put it towards a real vacation.

*Still courtesy of Universal Pictures



>> Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Not a lot of "paranormal activity"...

This is probably the most anticipated movie of the month. Why? Because Paramount decided to make people demand it through, if they wanted it to come to their city. Then, on top of that, eventually it just needed one million people to demand it for it to be released internationally. Wow, I guess it worked, huh? And just in the nick of time. Paranormal Activity was released on October 23rd, RIGHT before Halloween. After all, it would have been a shame should this film have been released Christmas day. Something tells me as many people wouldn’t have been in the spirit then.

Alright, alright. I’ll let off of Paramount for half a second to acknowledge that at least they did advertise creatively, and draw crowds to the Cineplex. But the same people that believe that this movie was actually real, probably believe that Paramount didn’t always plan of releasing it on October 23rd. I wonder if it still would have been released if people didn’t actually demand it? Hmmm…

That said, the premise of this little flick is basically a couple sets up their very own camera to record some uhh – paranormal activity in their home. It starts off small and builds up to some seriously creepy shit. This is all in an effort for the asshole boyfriend to be amused, and have his ever-forgiving girlfriend tell him he’s stupid and they should stop before they make it angry. This is of course before the boyfriend calls the ghost or whatever it is a pussy, asshole, etc. For shame he didn’t listen.

Now, I’m making this sound like some sort of House of Wax fake documentary or something. That’s not the case. This is actually a decent film, which in the spirit of Halloween, you may want to check out. That is if you end up in a theatre filled with people who can actually stay quiet during a movie as to not break the terribly-important (within reference to this movie) suspension of disbelief. I ended up seeing it with a massive amount of 15 year olds on Saturday night, and they ruined every quiet or potentially scary moment. Either by yelling something stupid or by making some other noise (ie: you’re hot!). Sigh…

The reason why this may have happened more than once is because, as aforementioned, the film moves slowly. Not in a bad way, but in a way that allows a person to build suspense over the time that’s its day, or when a psychic comes into the house to explain the rules or whatever. Again, I repeat, this is not a bad thing and assuming you have a decent crowd in the theatre with you, I imagine this to be a highly effective way of storytelling.

All in all, the film could have probably used a little more action, I found myself actually waiting until night to see what happens, and wanting the days to end – which most of the time consisted of the girlfriend telling her beau he should stop, then him telling her no, as he reviews the footage from last night. A film like Quarantine may have lacked the genuine creepiness this film offers, but Quarantine also moved faster, provided more eery and jumpy moments, and actually gave the audience and the characters a reason as to why they couldn’t get out of the house. These people were waaaay too patient if you ask me.

So if you dare to, walk through this door if you’re brave enough, but only if you’re willing to face the scary, scary thought that you may be accompanied by people who either have nothing else to do, or people who are insecure with looking like a baby, and will shout at the screen the whole time “this isn’t scary!”.

*Still courtesy of Paramount Pictures



>> Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hey, aren't you that guy from "Surviving Christmas"?

Where The Wild Things Are is exactly what it should be. Scary as hell to children at times, and a blast from the past to most adults born pre-1990. I can imagine the conversations between an adult and their child as they drive to the theatre:

KID: "Mommy, can't we go see GI Joe or Couples Retreat instead?"
MOM: "No, we're going to go relive one of my memories, and show you what a real movie is like!"
KID: "Isn't GI Joe a real movie?"
MOM: "Well, it is, but its not a classic."
KID: "Isn't Wild Things new, so how can it be a classic?"
MOM: "Yes, but it's - shut up or you won't get $12 popcorn!"

And half an hour later the kid is crying because he got scared when the wild things threaten to eat Max. Either that or he'll be right into it, or be bored.

Now, that's not to say Wild Things isn't a great movie. And based on the source material (which I have yet to read oddly enough), it was done in the best way possible with what they had, and I can easily see it being an actual classic film later on down the road as all these kids remember how scared they used to be of a wild thing named Carol who was voiced by one of the Sopranos. It reminded me a lot of Jim Henson creations to be honest. And would have probably fared just as well being made twenty years ago as it did today. Be it animatronic or CG, the realism of it all doesn't really matter anyways, but it is breathtaking at moments and does ease your mind into an otherwise preposterous world.

Whats most notable about what might seem to most viewers, is how problems are solved in this world. Be it a mud ball fight to settle some nerves or a stick in the place of an arm, its all interesting to look at and in most cases a bit comical.

It was nice to see Max relate to the character that represented what he was feeling at the time, be it loneliness, frustration and anger, or a need to explore when he was feeling lost. In fact, there were a lot of examples of little hidden things like this, where upon further examination you would notice a much finer level of detail than you might have seen upon your first viewing. The reason I mention this is because due to his schizophrenic amount of emotions, you end up getting a lot of lovable and wonderful creatures. James Gandolfini is misunderstood and angry as Carol, Chris Cooper as Douglas is a bit cocky but nonetheless is a great friend and supports Carol whenever he needs him. Meanwhile the "its not fair" Judith played by Home Alone's Catherine O'Hara is the closest to any enemy Max has in his world. Other mentionable roles were Ira and KW, played by Forest Whitaker and Lauren Ambrose respectively.

Now, I actually did see this film on Friday. And although the blog may not show it as i started writing this review on Saturday, and it is now October 20th. I didn't finish it due to a busy weekend, but In some ways I'm glad I didn't. Its allowed me to separate myself a bit from the actual film, and a get a better feel for how I felt about it. At first the film seemed sorta forgettable, a bit boring at times, and I wasn't sure how to feel about it. But now 3 days later, I actually wouldn't mind seeing it again. It leaves you with a feeling of warmth and and spark of creativity, and a fond memory of what it used to be like when you would still play with big hairy monsters and birds with human ears.

When is comes to Wild Things, I think if you feel like escaping one afternoon or evening, this will do it for you. This may not be a date movie, necessarily, and kids may not enjoy it for what it is, but its a damn good movie all around and the door is wide, wide open on this one. Perhaps even wide enough for you and your emotions.


TOY STORY 1&2 in 3-D (1995 & 1999)

>> Thursday, October 15, 2009

Waaaay better than the illegal VHS copy I first saw ...

In a release that should have lasted more than 2 weeks, Woody and Buzz embark on a big screen retread in a beautifully done third dimension. Now, I won't get right into the details on the story, as I think most people are familiar with it by now. The general overall story line is based around the idea that our toys are alive, and when we aren't looking, they intereact and have arguments and play video games based on themselves. But I've never seen it like this.

The first time I watched Toy Story my 7th grade teacher was kind enough to make a copy of the movie from a VHS her friend had loaned to her, and then showed to us. Now, before DVDs, the first VHS I bought was my own, and I didn't get to see very many films, so I was grateful for anything - good quality, static, full screen, whatever. Toy Story 2 was seen on VHS as well - only a real copy this time. That was the last time I saw them (crica 2001) until I bought them on DVD in 2004. Then i was able to rewatch them as I pleased in wonderful digital widescreen. They were as I had remembered, and I loved it.

But it was never, ever, like this. After watching these films in digital 3-D, I rediscovered these films in a whole new way, unlike anything i had seen before. When I say that, and when I tell you this, I may be biased, as I now am comparing a viewing experience like digital 3-D to a copied VHS I had seen over a decade ago. But past that, compared to the DVD's even, there were textures and details that one would almost certainly miss upon any other form of viewing. This goes from the paint on the walls to the texture of Slinky Dog. Now, this is probably due more to the digital side of viewing this film, but the 3-D added that little extra pop.

I found myself watching this film, purposely losing the suspension of disbelief to break myself from the story and just appreciate the pure technical achievement that went into making the first fully CG animated film ever. And boy howdy was it brilliant. You could see the animators stepped up the game in Toy Story 2, adding more and more detail, definitely outdoing the first film, which they should have. I appreciate that, but not as much as the fact Toy Story was even just created and how well it was done. I wish I could only see everything and every movie in as much detail and wonder as I did in every frame of these movies. Mixed with that sense of complete rediscovery for an old favourite.

As afforementioned, it is a true shame they only ran this for two weeks. In the last two weeks last night was the first chance I found to run through this very open door. Even the intermission proved entertaining with a clock counting down the 10 minutes between films, and trivia and behind the scenes looks - wonderful, wonderful stuff. Not to mention the truly unique nature of this double your pleasure movie-going experience.

Now, Toy Story 3 comes out on June 18th, 2010, and I intend to be there to see it. And from the looks of the trailer, its going to be a good one, based on the premise of Andy growing up, set up nicely in the second one. For now, I've included the trailer for the third chapter of this magical series.

Trailer ParkMySpace Videos

*Still courtesy of Disney



>> Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Damn! Now I want a Twinkie!

After Dawn of the Dead, and the original Shaun of the Dead, I was convinced that there was no more that could be done with the zombie genre. Not because my mind was closed to the idea that anybody could ever do another "good" zombie flick, but because I didn't think it was necessary. Dawn proved zombies could be scary while commenting on our wacked out consumerist society, and Shaun proved an actual good spoof could me made, while still taking the horror genre seriously (sorry, Scary Movie series, you shoulda stopped at one). Oh, and then there is also 28 Days Later, that was pretty awesome, too.

Then Zombieland came out, and thank G-O-D they didn't stop. Because it is defiitely up there with Shaun, but mixes the zombie genre a little more with something like I Am Legend - where people are left alone in the world wondering if there are more people who are unaffected such as they are.

In this case Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) and Michael Cera's long lost brother Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), meet up as a means of watching eachother's backs until they get a little more north to their destination, where either family or Twinkies may lie. Think of a buddy road trip movie with zombies. Along the way they meet up with Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), who screw them over more than once with their "we only look out for ourselves and we eachother" attitude. But, that doesn't stop them all from becoming a sort of dysfunctional family. Think National Lampoon's Vaction ... with zombies.

What reallly helps this movie move and move along fast is the fact that it's not afraid to have some fun, and lots of it. Nor is it afraid to be silly and a little over the top. It's one of those movies you won't watch again to see one funny part that reminds you of something you once laughed at, it's one that you watch again to see the whole movie filled with memorable dialogue and characters. "You're just asking to have your hair swept behind your ear." It's a day later and I'm still laughing every time I hear Eisenberg utter that line. The same goes for when his character meets Bill Murry for the first time. Murray, who plays himself, by the way, is the cherry that tops off what is already one of my favorite movies of the year.

When it comes down to it, Zombieland is more than just a comedy, and its more than just a horror, it's why I love movies. No, this won't win an Oscar, well, actually with the new expansion this year... no, okay it won't, but that's not the point. However, you will have fun watching it, no matter your mood. Whether it be lazy afternoon bored mood, a late night cuddle/date flick, or getting drunk and wanting to laugh at something. The door is wide open on this one, because damn it if Woody Harrelson beating up zombies with every different weapon imaginable and then wastefully tossing them aside in order to grab a new one, all in an effort to have some fun and get agression out, isn't a welcome site. Any movie, any day.

*Still courtesy of Columbia Pictures



>> Friday, October 9, 2009

This ain't no fairy tale . . . or SaskTel commercial.

For the last year I have seen two trailers and searched endlessly through the internet to find a copy of this movie to download, to buy, to anything. Trick ‘R Treat never did appear in theatres in wide release after being pushed back from its original release date of October 5th, 2007. A few folks saw it here and there, and excited rumours stated it would come out on DVD in late 2008. It never did. All that was seen of this film for a while was the creepy poster and a damn fun trailer, leaving you wanting more.
Then finally it was announced the film would be released on October 6th, 2009, just in time for Halloween - which seemed about as good a time as ever. If there had been a line to stand in, I would have been in it. That is if I hadn’t forgotten about the release and picked it up the next day, on October 7th. Which by the way, Wal-Mart was trying to sell it for $32, while HMV had it for $22. For shame, Wal-Mart. Clearly that DVD should have been manufactured by Indonesian children so you could sell it as one of your everyday low prices.

I digress. This isn’t about the outrageous price difference from store to store. This is about the pure joy that is Trick ‘r Treat. The film is an mash-up of four Halloween-related tales. One thing that ties the stories together is the presence of Sam, a mysterious pint-sized trick-or-treater with a burlap pumpkin mask, who makes an appearance in all the stories, as a 'friendly-reminder' to those who break the Halloween traditions. His wardrobe may have also inspired the look of all the characters in the film 9.

Nothing is what it seems when a suburban couple learns the dangers of blowing out a jack-o'-lantern before midnight; a terrifying principal (Dylan Baker) with a serial killer attitude teaches one neighbor the true meaning of Halloween; Laurie (Anna Paquin), a young woman dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, is stalked by a mysterious hooded figure at a local Halloween festival; a group of pranksters go too far and discover the horrifying truth buried in a local urban legend of a school bus massacre; and a grouch of an old man (Brian Cox), is visited by a strange trick-or-treater with a few bones to pick, which reminds me very much a Halloween version of A Christmas Carol, but a little more violent.

Things turn deadly as strange creatures of every variety — human and otherwise — try to survive the scariest night of the year. This movie is beyond any delicious-marshmallow or nougat covered candy you’re sure to receive at the end of this month. Being that it was purely word of mouth that drew me to this flick I didn’t know what to expect. As I was watching it there was enough disturbing, weirdness in the characters to remind me of Happiness, which also starred Dylan Baker mixed with Donnie Darko (Darko because you will enjoy the ride but it will leave you with a few questions).

The world of Trick ‘r Treat is set up based on the ghost stories and traditions surrounding Halloween, along with a few history lessons thrown in for good measure. It does it in a way where you instantly accept what you see before you, and as random as it may be, it never leaves you wondering why or how these characters got there, or why they exist in that world. It just is, and it’s a fun ride. Regular horror films like Nightmare on Elm Street (remake on its way, FYI), or Friday the 13th, don’t come close to perfecting this genre nearly as much as Trick does. John Carpenter’s Halloween is still king, but only because it preceded this film by three decades. Consider this movie a really well done adult version of the Goosebumps TV series – if it can be at all, even compared. This film will stand the test of time, and will undoubtedly be added to my roster of movies to watch come October and Halloween.

Trick ‘r Treat may have been more forgotten as a film in general had it not been for it’s back and forth, will it or won’t it be released reputation. This trend is now continuing on purpose with Paramount’s Paranormal Activity, the newest addition to the first person, fake-real documentary, which is purposely slowly being leaked to the public through small screenings in bigger cities in the US. But it only goes onto other cities when it is demanded by the public here, at Since the films limited release, the site has now been updated with a note stating “HIT 1,000,000 DEMANDS AND PARANORMAL ACTIVITY WILL OPEN NATIONWIDE”. This has no doubt been the tactic initiated by Paramount from the beginning- after all, what better form of advertising than word of mouth, right? Something tells me Paranormal Activity, which at the time of this review is at 936, 218 ‘demands’ will hit theatres nationwide slightly before Halloween. What a fun coincidence right? Touché, Paramount, and well done.

However, it should be noted that this only works if it’s actually a good film. Both Trick and Paranormal have gotten rave reviews from the people that have seen them. Paranormal is said to be ridiculously scary. So, note to all studios out there, don’t try and release the next Disaster Movie that way, because, your demands will equal about 8 people, and you would have wasted millions on production and . . . ahh, what’s the point? You’re gonna do it anyways, aren’t you? Because making bad movies is what fills time in between Oscar wannabes and summer blockbusters.

Again, I digress, Trick ‘r Treat is an instant classic for those who love horror movies and Halloween alike. The door is wide open on this one, you don’t even have to knock and say trick-or-treat to get the goodies here.

*Still courtesy of Warner Bros


DISTRICT 9 (2009)

>> Thursday, September 24, 2009

Christopher Johnson is not in Kansas anymore . . . (alien Kansas)

It would be a lie to say this film was not on my most wanting to watch list of 2009. Now, that said, I didn’t know about it until earlier on this summer by watching the trailer at The fact that Peter Jackson was “behind” it, didn’t interest me much, either. Frankly, I found Lord of the Rings to be technically exhilarating, and a classic example of fantasy, but when it comes to that trilogy, I pretty much think “so what?”. Away from that, District 9 was not directed by Jackson, so perhaps my point is moot.

This movie starts off like it’s going to be compiled much like Quarantine or Cloverfield, made up of documentary and security camera footage. Some into the film, it becomes obvious that it’s a hybrid between that and your usual fly-on-the-wall narrative. This isn’t a bad thing, just a little confusing if you’re paying attention to that kind of stuff. But that might be the only issue I have with this film.

An alien ship has been hovering above Johannesburg for over twenty years, when the government decides to move the inhabitants of said ship (who have been living below in District 9), to an area more than 200 km away from the city due to the unpleasant outcries of the people affected by the “invasion”. Heading this mass eviction is Wikus Van De Merwe, played by Sharlto Copley, an unknown amongst many other unknowns - which, in a film like this, hell, in any film, is fine and adds realism to the story. Someone like Johnyy Depp, even with his many Oscar-nominated voices, would have hurt this production. During his intrusive tour of District 9, Wikus comes across a black material that sprays him in the face when he attempts to open it up to see what’s inside. At first all appears fine, until he starts to lose finger nails and teeth (channeling Jeff Goldblum in The Fly no doubt). Soon it’s discovered he is slowly starting to change into one of these “prawns” (a derogatory term used to describe the aliens, as they apparently look like giant shrimp).

What happens once he discovers he is turning into one of them? The usual as you may expect. The government sweeps in and apprehends him, and he escapes. Soon he is one of the most wanted men in the world, with his image and name plastering all media across the globe. It turns out Wikus has the ability to use the alien weapons, which no human can, as they have a genetic safety lock of sorts. And you know us humans - always after new ways of destroying each other. (*shakes head in shame).

This movie is a wonderful example of human ignorance, xenophobia and role reversal. Only once the transformation begins does Wikus learn to have more than just political admiration and sympathy for these aliens. His story is paired with the story of one alien named Christopher Johnson and his son who are in a race against time to gather enough fuel to power a smaller alien aircraft and get back to the mother ship to return home, wherever that may be.

District 9 is weird, but it has great heart and a wonderful and a convincing story at its core. The effects are always realistic, and it’s never a chore to hold one’s suspension of disbelief. It moves quickly, and in the end, leaves you wanting a little more, while still feeling satisfied - definitely one of my favorite movies of the summer. The door is wide open on this one - all aboard the mother ship!

*Still courtesy of TriStar Pictures



>> Friday, September 11, 2009

Weird Al tells McDowell's Loomis to just "eat it"

Two years ago around the same time, I sat in a theatre with my friend Luke, my ex-manager and her beau. Why were we there? I'd scored four tickets from the local radio station to go to the premiere of Rob Zombie's Halloween. At this point I'd been a fan of the Halloween franchise (minus a few dismal flicks here and there) for about ten years. Although I wasn’t big on a Halloween remake, I was interested in seeing what director Rob Zombie could do with it. I loved The Devil’s Rejects and figured he could bring some realism to the story. Pull a 'Christopher Nolan' and reboot what had become a very stale series.

Since I just started this blog and you haven't heard my thoughts on the first Halloween, I’ll tell you what I thought of it. It sucked. Now, it wasn’t completely awful - I’ve seen worse. It was, however, awkward and unrealistic. Upon watching it again a few nights ago, I didn’t mind it as much as the first time I had seen it, but it still lacked the eeriness so present in the original 1978 flick. My mistake was perhaps walking into Rob Zombie's Halloween expecting something better and being too critical. But all I remember from watching that movie the first time, was looking at Luke and seeing him constantly rolling his eyes or shaking his head at me. So, I’m publicly stating an apology to Luke Fandrich of Editing Luke -I’m sorry. Even though it was free, its two hours you will never get back. Two hours which could have been spent playing Lego Star Wars on your GameCube.

That said, this is the frame of mind I had walking into Halloween II. The first thing I see? That Daeg Faerch has been inexplicably replaced by Chase Wright Vanek (yes, obviously no kids have normal names anymore). Now, when I say it’s the first thing I saw, I don’t mean it’s the first thing I noticed. I mean it’s literally the first shot. I don’t know why the other kid didn’t come back (perhaps he was too busy talking smack to Hancock with a really, really bad French accent). We catch up with Michael Myers is in Smith’s Grove Sanitarium being given a white horse by his mom, played almost decently Sherri Moon Zombie. It’s frivolous and seems to be only in the film to set up that little Mikey has a white horse fetish and mommy issues. Sure its artsy, I’ll give it that -(as are many shots in the film) which is probably Zombie’s biggest strength. As single frames, some of his work is breathtaking.

Scout Taylor-Compton
returns as Laurie Strode now all grunged up and party-happy. In contrast, her friend Annie Brackett (Danielle Harris) has now tamed down considerably and worries less about partying and more about her father’s calorie intake. Her father is Sheriff Lee Brackett, and he's played by the one and only Chucky, Brad Dourif. It’s an odd thing watching Dourif in another film, when all you're wanting the Sheriff to yell is “F***ing woman drivers!”.

Halloween II takes place one year after the first film, and follows Laurie as she struggles to deal with the horrific events of last Halloween,and an apparent psychic (or psycho, hmmm . . . ) connection she has with her maniac brother, Michael Myers. She has a breakdown when she discovers her lineage to Michael by reading it in Dr. Loomis’ new book “The Devil Walks Among Us”, or something like that. Loomis is played by Malcolm McDowell and has gone from a know it all doctor to an ego-driven writer, who gets his comeuppance handed to him on a TV talk show by none other than Weird Al! That’s right, Weird Al Yankovic is in Halloween II and might just be the best part of the film- or the least expected, one of the two.

As usual, Michael randomly ends up finding all the characters he needs to by walking through well-lit and smoky fields. As this is a modernized version of the series, perhaps he has GPS. When he does find what he’s looking for, it doesn’t take long for him to stab or curb-stomp his way past his victims, moving on until he finds Laurie. Now, I won’t tell you how the film ends (Laurie stabs Michael in the face and goes crazy) but it’s as expected.

The main reason I feel Zombie keeps getting these movies wrong is because he’s humanizing Michael too much. The original had Michael walking around, stabbing babysitters and doing it without batting an eyelash or saying a word. In the new Halloween series, he does the act but grunts and stabs his way through his victims - all while following his hallucination of a mother (and that damn white horse). The reason Michael was scary in the first place was because he was a shape, a shadow, a mystery. It didn’t matter what drove him, he just simply was there. You could either accept it or you could sit there and die.

Halloween (the holiday) is coming up in less than two months and if you're as into celebrating this end-of-October event as I am, you’ll notice that movies centering around this day are in short supply. So, although I can’t recommend seeing this movie in an expensive theatre, it might be worth a lazy Sunday look at the discount screen near you - should you get in the Halloween spirit in the coming weeks. Then again, you can also pop in the original 1978 Halloween DVD and watch that instead, which I would recommend.

Halloween II
, however, isn’t as bad as the first one and if you like Rob Zombie films, you'll notice his work and his skills shine through in Halloween II much more than it’s predecessor. That means you shouldn’t have any problems getting through this film without constantly looking at your watch (or your eye-rolling friend next to you). As another plus, this film is a half hour shorter than the first and it moves much more quickly. But just because a film isn’t as bad as a person expects it will be, it doesn’t mean one should see it. I have to leave the door closed on this one, especially with Oscar season coming up. Since there are better films in theatres right now, there are better ways to spend your money. If you’re bored though and you have nothing else to watch one day - then yeah, maybe Halloween II will suffice, but not for $10.

*Stills courtesy Dimension Films



>> Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Someone please kill me...

Four twenty somethings, a few racist rednecks and a security guard fight off death in what I hope to be the final Final Destination. After an explosion at a race track that happens after a dream of an explosion at a race track, the hero, his girlfriend, and the douche and his girlfriend run out of what is sure to be disaster. Never mind the poor construction of the building or the wreckless pit crew of one of the race cars, it's just one of those days that makes you wish you had stayed in bed.

The case is no different here. And much like the prior films in Final Destination series, the catalyst is a vision of the traumatic events about to transpire. I actually liked the first and second films a lot. The first one had your heart beating after the plane actually exploded, and death's "design" made sense. They even managed to work the effects of said deaths into the next film, again, into a highway scene that made your heart stop. This series should have pulled a Ghostbusters and ended after two. (this last line may have to be updated soon)

The Final Destination was made for the rednecks who starred in it, and want no emotion, no sympathy to the endless deaths, and nothing but a spectacle of the relatively new 3-D technology plaguing a cineplex near you. There's even a scene in the movie where the characters go see a movie in a 3-D - supposedly a clever nod at what you as a viewer are watching, when in reality it seems like an excuse to add another ending onto what seemed to be a movie that never really ended or had any close to the story at all.

This was NOT a movie I could get into. It reminded me of when I would watch a student film in university, more poignantly, one that would try and be something unachievable with resources like friends or family for actors. Especially if they were trying to make a drama. Now give them the 3-D technology, and you have this film. The acting and the beats were off, and special effects as gory as some were, were extremely fake. Something that was supposed to be scary made me laugh out loud. Imagine watching a movie, where the people in the movie are watching a movie, and it's cheesy and really bad. That's what this was! I literally looked around a couple times to make sure I wasn't in a movie myself. Okay, I didn't, but maybe this helps you understand better what I mean when I say I couldn't get into it.

Now, a person won't go into this movie expecting a great story line. But this movie, had NO story line. Literally - none. I think the biggest thing was that after our hero sees the first accident with a vision, the rest of the signs of who is next and what is going to happen literally come in the forms of wake up sweaty, shots from the upcoming scene, dreams. No . . . really. There is so little imagination in this film, the characters didn't have to work to figure out anything. Its like one writer said "what should they do to get from one accident to the other, and how do we tie it all together?" and the other writer said "I don't f***ing know, dreams? Now come here and see how I'm gonna kill this person - a bus will hit him!" WHAT?!

Also, let's theorize death is a real "figure" or whatever, would he (or she - I won't be sexist) really be spending its time chasing these guys through the film? It's like the equivalent of a villain monologuing waiting for the hero to get away, instead of shooting them in the head. There is literally a moment where in the movie where a character tries to kill himself - THREE TIMES, but death won't allow it. Does death not get to collect Airmiles if it's victims kill themselves?

The basic jist of this whole thing is, don't see this movie. There are plenty of other films coming out in 3-D for a person to sink their teeth into to gain the full spectacle of this miraculous new additions to our theatres. If Up is still available for 3-D viewing in your area, go see that. Hell, Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are coming out in a full blown, two for the price of one 3-D in October, see that. But do not, DO NOT, see this film. If I found out you did, after I wrote this, we are not friends, and I WILL remove you from Facebook. This is one door that should remained closed, be sealed off and never be opened again.

*Still courtesy of New Line Cinema



>> Monday, August 31, 2009

It’s been a slow month for me as far as getting to see new movies go. There are a few on my list to see – Inglorious Bastards, District 9, GI Joe, The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, 500 Days of Summer, and Halloween 2 (I expect it to be awful, I wasn’t a fan of the first one but I’m a fan if the series, so we’ll see). I hope to get to those eventually (probably in the cheap theatre due to budgetary restraints as of late). But most of them look promising. In the mean time, I look forward to having some summer bad movie fun tomorrow as I head to The Final Destination in 3-D. I expect this flick to be bad, but hopefully it’s fun. I have nothing against movies that can almost make fun of themselves. The director of Snakes on a Plane helms this project, so I hope he doesn’t let us down.

In the meantime however, in an effort to update my blog, and provide some substance, I’ve decided to do a very, very late review of some movies from 2008.
*These are in no particular order within each category

TOP 3:

Tropic Thunder

Robert Downey Jr. got a Best Supporting Actor nod from the Academy for his role as an Australian who plays a black man who is a soldier; Tom Cruise has sausage fingers, and Tobey McGuire pretends to be a gay Monk in a trailer preceding the film. This is one of those films, much like the Ocean series, that has a lot of great stars, who are there for no other reason than to have fun, make a movie within a movie, and do all with style and pizazz. It reminds me of a movie much like Shaun of the Dead, or Hot Fuzz - basically, a spoof movie (in this case a Vietnam flick) done right. None of this Disaster Movie crap.


It’s Pixar, Disney/Pixar. It’s like jumping into a Porsche, or walking into a Beverly Hills home. You don’t go in expecting crap, because you never get crap. This film played back to the days before talkies came along, and did it with heart, and a non-overly environmental message. Attention Evan Almighty. Wall-E was beautiful, and absolutely perfect.

The Dark Knight

I don’t think there is one Top 10 or Favourite Movie list from last year that didn’t include this film on its list. Why? Because this movie kicked ass. That’s as simple as it gets. It was funny, scary, action-packed and the acting was pristine. Do I have a hard-on for Knight? Yes! And I am proud to say it and display it. This all is taken into account before thinking about the even darker idea that Heath Ledger put so much life into the character of the Joker that it literally killed him. His performance was brilliant, and he deserved the Oscar for it. Speaking of the Oscars and Heath Ledger, I know his family had a nice 25 minute long speech prepared for him, but does that mean that they Academy couldn’t have included him in the In Memoriam thing they do every year. Like give me a break.

Honourable Mentions: Slumdog Millionaire, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, The Incredible Hulk


Disaster Movie

This film is almost so bad it barely deserves to be even mentioned here, not once, but twice (*see above). The most memorable part of this movie? The fact that it inspired my friend Dave Gassner to be Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men. It was a great costume as you can see by below. Well done, Dave!
The Love Guru

No doubt Mike Myers made this film in an attempt to create another Austin Powers franchise. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Austin Powers, which might explain why a fourth one is in development. Best thing about this film, it’s nod to Canada (maybe it’s more of an insult than anything). The worst thing about this film, it’s embarrassingly bad use of Ben Kingsley, maybe the one person that could have saved this film. Actually, no, I take that back. There were a lot of people that could have made this film better – the writers, the director, the creator, the studio . . .

Hamlet 2

This film disappointed me mainly because I expected a clever and witty take on censorship. Not to mention it came to us from the producers of South Park. No, not Matt and Trey, their producers. Either way, unfortunately this movie had more heart than I would have liked or it needed, and it pretty much came off as a rip off of School of Rock, which was alright, but this just really took it lower, and made it almost . . . dare I say – boring?

Honourable Mention: Speed Racer (just because it was all crazy and Matrix-like and an okay take on the cartoon, doesn’t mean I have to like it).


Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I watched it, had a good time, but it missed the magic and adventure of the first three films, and ultimately let me down. I still like it, but expected more. Perhaps over time it will grow on me more, as it has in the past year, but it still didn’t do what it could have. For a more detailed review, watch South Park: Season 12: Episode 8: The China Problem.


Iron Man

Going into this film I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, just maybe some cool effects and nice story line. Simply put, it went above and beyond. This film blew – me – away. Sure, the acting is what you’d expect from Downey Jr. and Paltrow, but the CG is flawless (I could never differentiate real from not), and Downey as Stark is just, just wonderful. Sure he’s a douche, but he changes his ways, and he was always smooth and funny. Do I have a bit of a man crush on RDJ? Hells yes! Why not? He’s always been a good actor, and I look forward to seeing Iron Man 2 next year. Haven’t seen The Soloist yet, but I can’t imagine it being that bad. But this film was good enough that it’s one of a few films I can re-watch without it getting tiring. Ask my friend Luke, re-watchability is huge. You want a traditional popcorn movie? This fits the bill. It’s fun, amusing and enjoyable.

There you have it! Hope you enjoyed a look back at films past! (from 2008)



>> Monday, August 10, 2009

A well so deep if you fell to the bottom and looked up, you would see a sky full of stars in the middle of the day.

It’s been a long while since I found myself owning a DVD without actually seeing it prior. Up until this point I had assumed Coraline was nothing more than another CG film aimed at children but hoping it would find an adult audience as well. To my surprise, I found myself watching a film made for no younger than more mature children . . . and possibly no older.

I think this because I think most adults would find this film boring. Now when I say ‘most’ I mean the general populous, not those who actually will take this film as the brilliant work of art it is, and who will have trouble giving it the patience it deserves. I myself am no stranger to ‘boring’ films per say, being subjected time and time again to them in numerous film studies classes.

A good example of another “boring” animation would be the Oscar nominated Les Triplettes de Belleville. Yet, as “boring” as it was, it was recognized internationally. Why? - Because again it was brilliant. Did I think it was brilliant when I watched it? Yes. Did I like the film and would I watch it again? No - but I can see what the people behind the film were going for, and they pulled it off with grace and style and vividness. It still doesn’t mean it’s for the average viewer.

This film comes from director Henry Selick, who also directed the wonderfully imaginative A Nightmare Before Christmas. This time it takes a different direction though and has a slightly more indie feel to it, which I’m grateful for. The last thing I need or want from Coraline is an animated cat lip-syncing to “Who Let the Dogs Out?”. It is also setting a precedent for sundry films to come, including Fantastic Mr. Fox and Where the Wild Things Are, both adapted from children's books.

The fact of the matter is that Coraline, when one gets down to it, may come off as a bit dreary. The music for the most part is a bit drab, however, much like Triplettes, a person who pays attention will find themselves immersed in a world very much like that of the average childhood dream, a sort of scary yet very harmless dream. A dream that’s easier to sit through than the dialogue-absent Belleville, mind you. And like most dreams, Coraline is in a sense more real, than well, reality.

There is something unsettling about the way Coraline looks though, that reminds you of just how creepy films like Alice in Wonderland should have been, which it clearly pays homage to, and which also might explain Burton’s Alice in Wonderland coming out next year. But much like the classic Disney version, most parents will probably pop the DVD, sit their toddler and tweens in front of the TV, and walk away. This is all fine and dandy, as I believe the kids will enjoy and understand it more anyways. Than again, some may be completely freaked out and never want to see it again. But in time it won’t be surprising if the kids of today will reminisce about Coraline much like my generation talks about Return to Oz or Labyrinth, and the generation before discusses Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

And to answer your impending question, no, I won’t be surprised if we see Oz and Labyrinth at the hands of Burton soon. Can you just leave ONE childhood classic alone, please, Tim? Except for Garbage Pail Kids, do that one.

As for the DVD extras that come on this disc, they are what they are. Take my advice and don’t watch the 3-D version, it’ll just hurt your poor corneas. I watched the opening sequence and decided to flip over the disc to the 2-D version instead. I won’t watch another film in 3-D at home again, until they make polarized 3-D home theatre-capable. You get some nice explanations for the way they did some effects (I assure you not as much CG is done in the film as you think), and a feature length director’s commentary – which I’ve yet to listen to, but hear isn’t too bad.

As for the acting, Teri Hatcher and Dakota Fanning and the guy that plays the PC from the Justin Long Mac commercials all do pretty good jobs. It should be noted that this is one of the only films I actually like Dakota Fanning in. The door is open on this one. Although be cautious if you plan to step through it. You may find all those you know sporting a shiny pair of button eyes.

*Still courtesy of Alliance Atlantis


ORPHAN (2009)

>> Saturday, July 25, 2009

Annie was never this sadistic.

M. Night Shyamalan would be proud. Then again, M. Night was proud of Lady in the Water and The Happening. Why would M. Night be proud, you ask? Because like the movies that he helms on a regular basis, this one comes with a twist ending. Orphan is a film that doesn’t hide the fact that something sinister is going on with the oddly charming Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman), but rather boldy states that something is wrong with her - as the tagline proclaims. Not because she looks like Damien's sister nor because she has a creepy Russian accent (which is at times oddly hypnotic and almost polite-sounding), but because she pushes a girl off of the top of a playground slide and breaks her ankle without batting an eyelash. This is of course not immediately, but enough into the film that up until this point you find yourself almost rooting for Esther hoping that everything will work out with her new mom and dad, Kate and John, played respectably by Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard.

But what’s with the ribbons around her wrists and neck that Esther wears? And why does she refuse to never take them off? This is the question that plagues you throughout the movie, almost more than wondering why she’s so deliciously evil. It reminded me of an old ghost story I heard when I was a child, about a woman who would always wear a ribbon around her neck and nobody could figure out why. Turns out when the ribbon is removed at the end of the story by her new found lover, her head falls off. Keep this story in mind when you're watching this film. I assure you I'm not giving anything away and for the most part, the twist ending is good enough you probably won’t guess it until the time comes.

Orphan does its best to keep moving at a nice pace throughout the two hour running time. If you’re not intrigued by Esther’s disturbing quietness and neatness, you'll find yourself anticipating what are normally cliché “jumping at shadow” moments - like when Esther’s adoptive mother Kate opens the fridge to grab something. The music queue suggests to stand on guard for Esther to be standing behind the door when it closes. When it does, the space is empty and the film moves along its merry little way. There are many of these moments within the film, and it does get tiring, but never tiresome.

You’ll find Orphan very creepy, quiet and subtle and you'll be surprised at times to find you're watching a thriller rather than just a regular family drama. Granted, it's a 'drama' about adopting a slightly unusual, yet gifted little girl and the struggles a family faces when accepting her into their home. Kate and John are realistic parents, with realistic problems and regular kids - which is all the more reason to feel the fear, anxiety and odd acceptance one might normally feel when blindly welcoming a stranger into their household.

The door is open on this one, as it improves upon the usual demon child genre and doesn’t resort to terribly cheap thrills. Definitely more could have been done with this premise and the idea, as is the case with most films in the horror/thriller genre, but it doesn’t fall too short. My recommendation is you go into Orphan much like you would;ve gone into Snakes on a Plane. Don’t expect anything too serious, and you should find yourself having a pretty good time. Particularly when you hear the line “I AM NOT - YOUR - MOMMY!”

*Still courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures



>> Friday, July 24, 2009

For the longest time imaginable I’ve been wanting to start doing film reviews for my blog Don’t Make Charlie Angry. It’s been attempted and talked about a couple of times amongst my friends and I to perhaps do a once a month video segment based a movie we would see that month. Preferably new, but depending on the situation we may have hit up Regina’s premiere discount movie theatre and seen something that was a couple months old. The fact is is that people still look up reviews on the web for older films, especially when looking through the Wal-Mart $5 movie bin. Silly Movie 2 anyone?

But more than likely it would be for newer movies, and with almost every theatre having a cheap day on one or more days of the week, it no longer has to be a choice between eating Zoodles straight from the can or seeing a movie.

My goal with this blog is to review a movie once a week, and once a month I’ll do a video review as well. The biggest problem I ran into as far as thinking about how I would do this whole thing was “how do I rate these films?”. I will be writing the review of course, accompanied by a logo for quick reference on whether I think it’s worth seeing or not seeing. The logos will be as follows:

*The yellow logo is an "Open Door". It means I think you should go see the movie.
*The red logo is a "Closed Door". It means I think you shouldn't even bother taking a peak inside.

Now don’t get me wrong, I respect a system where I could give a percentage or stars or a grade of A, B, or C. Realistically, my opinion of the film will be in the review, and based on that I won’t waste your time by saying “I give this a 7 because it’s worth seeing but it’s not the best. If I don’t think its worth seeing, you will know it by seeing a closed door. If I do think its worth your $10, then you will know it by seeing an open door. Its simple, its to the point, and it works. This is of course being said real early on in my career as a film critic, like most things in life it will undoubtedly change as I see fit, and I may find there are films that will be worthy of an in between rating, at which point I may change my rating system accordingly.

But for now, I hope you enjoy my new blog, and I hope to update it often enough on new movies, old movies, and DVD’s to keep you, the valued reader and film goer, entertained, informed and interested. This is Angry Charlie, opening his door. Welcome.



>> Thursday, July 23, 2009


- 127 Hours (2010)
- 2012 (2009)


- Adjustment Bureau, The (2011)
- Adventures of Tintin, The (2011)
- Alice in Wonderland (2010)
- Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009)
- Apollo 18 (2011)
- Avatar (2009)


- Battle: Los Angeles (2011)
- Black Swan (2010)
- Book of Eli, The (2010)
- Bridesmaids (2011)
- Burlesque (2010)


- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
- Cars 2 (2011)
- Catfish (2010)
- Christmas Carol, A (2009)
- Conan O' Brien Can't Stop (2011)
- Contagion (2011)
- Coraline (2009)
- Couples Retreat (2009)
- Cowboys & Aliens (2011)


- Date Night (2010)
- Despicable Me (2010)
- Devil (2010)
- District 9 (2009)
- Due Date (2010)
- Dungeon Crawl (2010)



- Fast Five (2011)
- Final Destination, The (2009)
- Final Destination 5 (2011)
- Fright Night (2011)
- Fourth Kind, The (2009)
- Friends With Benefits (2011)


- Gnomeo & Juliet (2011)
- Green Hornet, The (2011)
- Green Lantern (2011)
- Gulliver's Travels (2010)


- Halloween II (2009)
- Hanna (2011)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
- Help, The (2011)
- Hereafter (2010)
- Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)


- Inception (2010)
- Insidious (2011)
- Iron Man 2 (2010)


- Jackass 3D (2010)


- Karate Kid, The (2010)
- Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)


- Larry Crowne (2011)
- Last Exorcism, The (2010)
- Legion (2010)
- Limitless (2011)
- Little Fockers (2010)
- Losers, The (2010)
- Lovely Bones, The ( 2009)


- MacGruber (2010)
- Machete (2010)
- Megamind (2010)
- Midnight in Paris (2011)



- Orphan (2009)
- Other Guys, The (2010)


- Paranormal Activity (2009)
- Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
- Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
- Paul (2011)
- Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)
- Piranha 3D (2010)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
- Priest (2011)
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)



- Rango (2011)
- RED (2010)
- Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
- Rio (2011)
- Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
- Rite, The (2011)


- Sanctum (2011)
- Salt (2010)
- Saw: The Final Chapter (2010)
- Score: A Hockey Musical (2010)
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
- Scream 4 (2011)
- She's Out of My League (2010)
- Sherlock Holmes (2009)
- Shrek Forever After (2010)
- Shutter Island (2010)
- Skyline (2010)
- Smurfs, The (2011)
- Social Network, The (2010)
- Source Code (2011)
- Splice (2009)
- Sucker Punch (2011)
- Super (2010)
- Super 8 (2011)
- Switch, The (2010)


- Tangled (2010)
- Thor (2011)
- Town, The (2010)
- Toy Story 1 & 2 (1995 & 1999)
- Toy Story 3 (2010)
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
- Trick R' Treat (2008)
- Tron Legacy (2010)
- True Grit (2010)


- Up in the Air (2009)


- Valentine's Day (2010)
- Vampire's Suck (2010)


- Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
- Where the Wild Things Are ( 2009)
- Wolfman, The (2010)


- X-Men: First Class (2011)



- Zombieland (2009)


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