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REVIEW – MAN OF STEEL

Man of Steel

4.5 out of 5.0

I’ve always held the Donner Superman films close to my heart.  Christopher Reeves was Clark Kent aka Kal-El aka Superman.  Though things went a little down hill with Superman III and then completely flat with Superman IV.

Then in 2006 we get Superman Returns.  A flat retelling of what is pretty much I and II combined.  I had hope for this one but once I saw it my hopes were dashed of seeing the Superman movie I had hoped for.

Enter 2013 and now Zack Snyder has taken the helm as Director of Man of Steel, a new retelling of the classic origin story.  I’ve always enjoyed Snyder’s work, yes even Legends of the Guardians was a rather fun romp, he has gotten a little bit of a bum rap with some mis-steps such as Sucker Punch.  When I first heard that Snyder was going to be directing the next Superman movie, thoughts were a little shaky at best.

While I was viewing Sucker Punch I could almost see a Superman movie in there, though with much less slow motion fighting, which is something Snyder is known for.  Well it wasn’t too long after that we now have a new vision and platform for the Man of Steel.

The movie starts off on Krypton and we see Jor-El, played wonderfully by Russell Crowe, as he delivers his son Kal-El.  The first natural born birth on Krypton in quite sometime.  After the birth Jor-E meets with the council of Krypton with a plan that will save their race long after Krypton has died.

Enter General Zod, played by Michael Shannon.  Shannon is evilly vicious as the war torn general.  He is not so much of a mad man but a man lusting for power, and once he reaches Earth to reclaim Kal-El, he is a general with no army to lead.  Power hungry Zod will soon be sent with his comrades to the Phantom Zone.

Now once Kal-El reaches Earth we flash ahead to where he’s a grown man on a fishing boat.  He’s trying to be a ghost, trying to blend in an lead a normal life.  We see some of his early life through flash backs, which are properly used when Clark is thinking of how he handled situations when he was younger.

This is not the Donner Superman’s and really shouldn’t be compared.  This is a new retelling, a much sterner, darker retelling and I feel it really sets the bar high.  It’s a great way to re-launch the Superman movie franchise and Snyder has hit all the right notes with this one.

David Goyer wrote a great screenplay and I loved how he worked in charm, some wit and sarcastic humor into the mainly dark story.  This definitely updates Superman to the style we have seen with Nolan’s Batman movies.  They definitely take a more serious tone with this new Superman incarnation.

Is this a bad thing?  Depends on how you like your superhero movies.  If you like snappy one lines, and lots of quips you may be disappointed that there isn’t much of that style of humor in this one.  I always felt DC was always more serious than the Marvel stories, and this version of the Man of Steel really keeps to that tone.

It’s a wonderfully paced film that is beautiful to behold.  My eyes never left the screen as the 2 and a half hours passed by in record time.  The CG worked very well, especially on Krypton where we finally get a full scope of what it was like on the planet.

The costume design for the film were magnificent,  from Superman’s costume, right down to the Kryptonian suits of armor.  Everything just looked fantastic.

The battle sequences were huge and the fights were as epic as one would expect from superhero battles.  Metropolis gets shattered in this movie and the battles have a take no prisioners kind of mentality.  You really get to see what it would be like to have the two juggernauts, Zod and Superman got head to heard in a no holds barred fight.  The damage is massive and clean up will take a long time.

Amy Adams takes on the role of Lois Lane, reported for The Daily Planet.  Adams brings new life to the role and makes it her own.  She plays Lane as a no nonsense kind of lady and can be tough when need be.  She’s not afraid to get into the fray and get her hands dirty if work calls for it.  She gets first hand experience with Superman and wants the Planet to run her story but they won’t so she takes it to an internet blog site.  She has a story to tell nothing will get in her way.

Laurence Fishburne plays Perry White, chief editor of The Daily Planet and Lois Lane’s boss.  Perry White as compassionate as he may be, shows that he a man of integrity and Fishburne brings it as Perry White even though he doesn’t have quite a lot of screen time.  When he is on the screen though he makes every minute count.

Kevin Costner brings humility and heart to Johnathan Kent, Clark’s Earth father.  He is also in top form even though he doesn’t get many minutes on screen.

Diane Lane plays the tender Martha Kent, Clark’s Earth mother.  She brings the right amount of strength and heart to the role as well, though her screen time is limited as well.

Snyder really was able to get a solid cast who gives it their all as they give top notch performances.  Hats off to Henry Cavill who takes on the role of Clark Kent/Superman.  There is no mistaking about it, Cavill is Superman.  He fits the bill and gives off a damn fine performance of Kal-El of Krypton.

Hans Zimmer’s score hits all the right notes and works very well through the halls of this film.  Every theme seems to fit well with what is happening on the screen and never overpowers what is happening.

I feel this is the Superman movie fans have been waiting for.  This isn’t a movie for critics.  They seem to be raking the movie over the coals and are not liking it one bit.  Fans on the other hand are eating it up left right and centre.  This is definitely the movie of the Summer and probably one of the best of the year.

This is not only a story about Superman, but a story of how one copes in life when he knows he doesn’t belong or feels like they don’t fit in.  Clark isn’t like the others and he knows it, though he perseveres and becomes accepted into society which makes him stronger.

Did the movie have any flaws.  It did, I’m not going to lie it isn’t a perfect movie, but then again what movie is.  There were a few shots, espeecially of Superman’s Kryptonia mother that were very blurry and almost seemed dated.  It was a little jarring to go from beautifully clear footage to a close up shot that looked like it was films 30 years ago.  Some of the CG is one of the fight scenes was a little dodgy but never really took you out of the action.

Can I recommend this movie?  You bet I can.  This is a movie that needs to be seen on the big screen.  It’s massive is scope and feel and just begs to be seen in the theatre.  When the action heats up it heats up fast and never lets go.  Not only do you get one of the most exciting superhero movies but you get a movie that has heart, something the other critics said it doesn’t have.  Sometimes I feel they see a different movie than whats actually playing.

Overall I give this movie 4.5 stars out of 5.  Easily one of the best movies of the year and definitely in my top 3 superhero movies of all time.  Snyder has done right I think with the fans bringing them the Superman movie they’ve been longing to see.  This one sets up the second one nicely and if you pay attention in the movie you will find some Easter Eggs as well as a few nods to the Donner films.  ‘Till next time my friends.

REVIEW – V/H/S 2

VHS 2

3.75 out of 5.0

It’s been a short bit since the last time I sat down and watched a found footage movie.  This time it is the sequel the very well made anthology V/H/S, properly titled V/H/S 2.

The main story this time around plays out better than the last one did.  Instead of a bunch of hooligans going to steal a tape we have a private investigator looking for a missing kid when he and his girlfriend stumble upon a room full of televisions and VCRs with some tapes to watch.

Instead of 5 stories this time we get 4.  Does it make for a better movie?  Yes and no.  Three of the four are very well put together and make for a very intense, graphic, terrifying ride, but the second story in the anthology just falls flat, and in some ways I wish it wasn’t included.

“Phase 1: Clinical Trials” revolves around a man who lost an eye in a car accident and gets a bionic eye implant.  This eye performs like a regular eye but also transmits back what the person is seeing back to the doctors for data analysis.

After returning home this man starts to see strange events in his home.  He soon finds out that he is now able to see spirits and they are not at all happy.  A girl comes to visit him who had a procedural done to her ears when she was a child and she can hear the ghosts but can not see them.  She comes to warn him about what is going on.  This story makes for a very chilling supernatural story and plays out very well, especially in the audio department.  It’s a good start to what appears is going to be another fulfilling anthology of horror.

We now move onto story two, “A Ride in the Park”.  This is where we start to take a tumble.  This is just an average zombie story, which really doesn’t go anywhere and serve any purpose.  It’s graphic in nature but definitely not scary or terrifying.  I felt as if I was watching a bad student film and couldn’t help but laugh as this story went on.  This story really didn’t need to be in there and felt that it soiled what was a great anthology.

Story three was “Safe Haven”.  Think of this one as a Indonesian horror take on Waco.  This was a very unsettling story and terrifying.  Great use of sound and the acting was very well done.  This added to the intensity of the story and the full build up of what was to come.  Basically we have a man who is like an Indonesian David Koresh.  He has build a compound where he and his wives and children live.  He has promised them that Paradise awaits for them after they give themselves to the almighty.  He also said that when they pass into Paradise they will receive the blessing of immortality.  What plays out is a freaked out horror show, not only shocking in nature but shocking in the visuals.  This was a very chilling story and one of the best between both anthologies.

The last story of the anthology was “Slumber Party Alien Abduction”.  It’s pretty much what the title states.  Kids are having a slumber party and aliens show up.  The manner in which it happens is intense and also terrifying.  From the loud noise of the space craft, to the flashing flights, the tall grey aliens.  Everything starts off nice and fun, but soon turns bad quickly.

Timo Tjahjanto, the director of “Safe Haven” should be commended on doing an excellent job at making one of the best stories between the two movies.  He really knew how to work the camera and get the emotional responses needed from his actors.  Safe Haven I do have to warn is very hard to watch at times.  The graphic nature of the story is I think the most graphic of all the V/H/S stories.

The main story that plays out through the movie was called “Tape 49” and follows the private investigator team as they look for the missing student.  In the end they find out where he is and what has happened by watching a video on his laptop.  This story ties everything up nicely.

I was a big fan of the original V/H/S and this one ranks right up there with it.  Was it better that the first?  It definitely had more intense scares than the first but A Ride in the Park just brought it down some.  If that story wasn’t included it would have made the movie better than the first.

Overall though I give V/H/S 2 3.75 out of 5.  It does come highly recommended and if you do plan on seeing it, turn out the lights and turn up the sound system, you’re in for a treat.  Will there another V/H/S?  If they keep up the quality they have been putting out I do hope so.  ‘Till next time my friends.

REVIEW – THE PURGE

The Purge

3.75 out of 5.0

Unemployment is at a 1% low, crime is non-existent.  Life is good, well at least that is what we think.  The United States of America has given the people the right to commit crimes no matter how heinous for 12 hours one day a year.  This is known as The Purge.

This is allowed so people who have hatred, or anger towards people can lash out  and take out their frustrations any way they see fit.  Though weapons above a Class 4 ratings are not allowed and high ranking officials have immunity and can not be touched.  Everyone else is fair game.

This story is about one family’s ordeal through this torrid 12 hours and pushes them to their limits of morality and puts them in the situation we have seen before, the situation of how far would one go for their family.

Director James DeMonaco puts us into a night filled will extreme tension and brutal violence.  This is an idea that may seem good to some but definitely shouldn’t see the light of day.  His movie is lean, clocking in under an hour and 30 minutes and James DeMonaco uses every minute of it to weave a tale of brutality and makes you question yourself, ‘what would I do in this type of situation’.

The situation the family gets in starts when the son lets in a man searching for help during The Purge.  No one knows who he is or what he is doing in their neighborhood.  This brings on the group that are out to purge this man and go about their lives and pits the family in the struggle of do they keep the guy safe or let him loose to the purgers.  DeMonaco takes time getting here and really slowly lets the tension build.  This works very nicely because throughout the movie you can feel it building, like a pop that is slowly coming to boil.  When it hits it’s breaking point bad things happen.

DeMonaco doesn’t shy away from the violence either, especially in the opening title sequence that is littered with security cam footage from the years before purging.  The opening is brutal and very unsettling which sets the tone for the movie quickly.

The only really light hearted feel you get is after the credit sequence as the day is getting setup.  When it’s time for The Purge to start, the tone shifts into darkness.  The movie has many dark points and for the most part DeMonaco does a great job with pulling no punches, until the very end.

This is where the movie fell flat for me.  Everything was hitting the right notes and the viciousness of the evening is felt throughout the film until the ending scene.  I felt that DeMonaco pushed you to the mouth of madness and right at the last minute before falling in he pulls you back.  It wouldn’t have been the ending I would have chosen, though getting there, there were a few twists that I didn’t see coming.  I was pleasantly surprised when those twists came and thought the ending was going to go full tilt.

The acting throughout the movie was great.  Ethan Hawke as the father James Sandin, plays the part well and you feel that what he is doing is the right thing for his family.  Hawke usually always does a good job and this movie is no exception.

The mother Mary Sandin, played by the wonderful Lena Headey, is portrayed nicely on screen and Headey gives a good performance as mother who is conflicted about the whole purge night, and this comes across wonderfully in later scenes.  A very strong performance from a strong actress.

Max Burkholder and Adelaide Kane play the children Charlie and Zoey.  Beautiful performances from both, especially from Adelaide who has the most emotional part between them.  The director did a good job getting strong performances from  the younger performers.

Rhys Wakefield takes on the role of the Polite Stranger who comes knocking on the door to claim the injured man the family has hiding in their home.  He is down right creepy in this role and really rises to the occasion as the main villain in the movie.  Though at moments he felt a little over the top, overall he played the part well.  The rest of the crew that made up his gang were equally as scary and creepy and added to the overall rising tension as the movie went on.

Edwin Hodge who has a wonderful TV career was cast in the role of the strange, the man who was injured and looking for a place to hide out the night.  He’s not in a lot of the scenes but the ones he was in were well done.

Is this a movie for you to see?  If you like dark, heavy, brutally violent movies then you should enjoy this movie.  If you are very squeamish then it might not be your cup of tea.  Overall it is a good movie and I can recommend it, with the caveat being the ending though you may even end up liking the ending.

Overall I give this movie 3.75 out of 5.  It would have scored higher from me but the ending kind of ruined it a little for me.  It is a good movie and gives good scares and it is a pretty intense night out to the movies.  ‘Till next time my friends.

REVIEW – AFTER EARTH

AFTER EARTH POSTER

0 out of 5.0

I don’t what it is that gravitates me to go to the latest M. Night Shyamalan but I always end up in the dimly lit room watching what unfolds on that gigantic white screen.  I loved Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs and even saw promise with Lady in the Water.  Since then it has just been a downward spiral.  With his latest incarnation, After Earth, could this be his comeback.  One word will describe that…NO.

The story behind After Earth is that from disasters, to wars, Earth has become uninhabitable and people now live on Nova Prime.  This is not a story of the destruction of Earth, but the bonding between a father and his son after they crash land on the planet and must work together to light the beacon which will bring in the rescue party to save them.

This should be a touching sci-fi, which is something we haven’t seen in some time and don’t get me wrong the story as promise but what brings it down is the execution of the sum of all parts.

Will Smith stars as Cypher Raige, the hero of the war, he has the ability to ghost in battle meaning that by controlling his fear, he almost becomes invisible to the enemy giving him the upper hand in battle.  Cypher is as stern as they come and definitely is a military man first and a father second.  It’s a different role for Will Smith.  Smith plays it very close to the chest and turns off his natural charisma which he is know for in his roles.  This, along with the direction makes him come off very wooden in this approach and almost seems robotic at times with his dialogue delivery.  I normally like Smith in his various roles, even dating back to Fresh Prince and we seen him in very dramatic roles before, Pursuit of Happyness, Seven Pounds, and was tremendous in those. But in After Earth his performance just wasn’t compelling enough to make you care for his character.  Yes you can see he loves his son and his family but there was just no emotion to be seen and almost makes the character Cypher Raige seem heartless and cold.

Smith’s real life son Jaden Smith plays his son Kitai Raige, an up and coming military boy who did not make the rank of Rangers this season.  He wants to feel like he fits in with his father and was hoping to make him proud that he be a Ranger like his dad, but has the hardship of letting him know he didn’t make it.  Jaden really is the one who needs to carry this movie through out almost the entire running time.  This is can be a difficult task for someone with little experience and is one of the downfalls of the picture.

Was he good?  There were points in the film that showed Jaden may have the talent if he works on it.  Most of the time he just falls flat and again comes off wooden and stiff during deliveries that should be echoing a sense of emotion and power behind them.  Don’t get me wrong, a lot also falls on the directing and terrible screenplay, and at times it felt as if George Lucas himself wrote and directed this.

Kitai is a character that is battling emotion of a boy who really doesn’t want to be military but wants to do well and succeed to get the approval he is looking for from his father.  Kitai is somewhat of a lost soul and Jaden just doesn’t have the chops yet to fully convey this to the audience.

M. Night Shyamalan directed After Earth and was one of the writers of the screenplay.  Shyamalan does try to do right in the movie business but just can’t seem to make it work.  Some call him a flash in the pan director and film maker and maybe he is, but some think one day he will come back to form.  After Earth isn’t it.  He was brought on to direct the movie through and idea Will Smith came up with about the story.  Will had a big scope of what this story could be, and don’t get me wrong it is a good story, a very good story, but poor directing and writing crumble what could have been something big.

One of the problems with his directing in After Earth is holding onto shots.  There are many strings of shots that are just held onto for seconds too long and it makes you want the pacing to quicken a little.  This ends up hurting the high end action sequences which should be pulse racing, heart  thumping big scenes, but instead these fall flat because of the very slow pacing that leads up to them.

By the time these action sequences hit you are so tired out from the pacing that these scenes just don’t have the bang needed to carry you through to the next long, dragged out sequence.  Also to note that some of these action scenes are short and seem to be over before they start, another hitch to the pacing of the movie.  It seems that Shyamalan fault with his films isn’t necessarily with his ability to tell a story but his ability to properly pace one out on screen and put emotion and heart into what we are watching.  Maybe his next movie should be a smaller budget film with smaller scope to get his creative juices flowing again.

The effects in the movie are a mixed bag.  Some things look brilliant, like the giant bird creature and the monkies.  Other things like the dead pilots in the trees looked terrible and very CG.  It’s too bad because the cinematography was well done for the most part giving us a very different looking Earth but most scenes end up falling flat because of poor CG that takes you out of the moment.  One of the tricks of CG is to add to the experience of being transported to a place that doesn’t exist or to add to the environment you are witnessing.  When it pulls you out of that moment it’s not utilized properly and there are many cases where the CG looked deliberate and fake.

Can I wholeheartedly recommend this movie?  No.  This is a movie best not to waste money to see.  Should you wait until it’s out to rent?  If you have Netflix and really want to see this movie, wait until then, no need to throw away money on another Shyamalan failure.

I think this may be a first in my reviews but I am giving this movie 0 stars out of 5.  After running it over and over in my mind I couldn’t find anything at all redeeming about it and giving it at least 1 start would have meant I liked something about it.  Maybe I did, but not enough to warrant that.  ‘Till next time my friends.

REVIEW — EVIL DEAD

Evil Dead Poster

4.5 Out of 5

This is perhaps one of the most talked about horror movies to come along in sometime.  Even if you are not a fan of the original Evil Dead series chances are you definitely heard about this one.  Me being a huge fan was very nervous when they announced that a re-visioning of the original was in the works was it given to a first time director and film maker.

Now I know we all must start somewhere but I can’t imagine being given something that has this much of a following and are told to run with it.  If it fails it can sink your career, but if it rises, expect more work quickly.

Most of all know the story of Evil Dead by now.  Group of adults go to a cabin in the woods and there they find a strange book.  The book is opened and passages are read and thus releasing evil upon the group.  This time around we are actually given a reason as to why these said adults are arriving at the cabin.  They are there for an Mia’s(Jane Levy) intervention.  The cabin belonged to Mia and her brother David(Shiloh Fernandez) parents and it was a place they always used to come to up until their mother’ death.

Once there they find the cabin needs some cleaning up and it looks like someone broke into the place.  While searching they find dead cats hanging in the basement and that’s where the book is found.

Their friend Eric(Lou Taylor Pucci), who is a teacher, takes it upon himself to study the book which ultimately leads to the releasing of evil.

The first that is noticeable about the film is the tone.  The original series always had a campy, comedic fill to it but this re-visioning is pretty serious.  It takes itself seriously and definitely no punches are pulled.  That’s thanks to the wonderful direction of Fede Alvarez.

He is a first time film maker that had the daunting task of bringing this film to life and he pulls out all the stops.  He takes his time with scenes and lets things play out building the tension surrounding the group, which is rounded out by David’s girlfriend Natalie(Elizabeth Blackmore) and their doctor friend Olivia(Jessica Lucas).  The movie picks up the pace once the terror arrives and the blood starts to flow.

Alvarez also tips his hat to the original Evil Dead in how a couple of the scenes are shot and edited.  It was a real homage to the series and the audience clapped when these scenes arrived.  The only small place where Alvarez falters is with the pacing.  It gets a little uneven at times, most of which I think is because of the tight running time the movie has being just above 1 hour and 30 minutes.  If the movie was a bit longer Alvarez would have had a bit more time scenes to play out better.  Does this make this movie a bad movie?  Not in the least.

One thing that you have to give Alvarez props for is the use of practical gore effects.  Buckets of prop blood, prosthetic limbs, old school make up effects. The director did not want to use CG for these effects if it could be helped and that really pays off.

This film has a lot of very extreme, brutally gory scenes and is definitely not for the squeamish.  If you hate the site of blood and severed limbs you may want to bring a pillow or bury yourself if your partners shoulder.

Is the movie scary?  It had a very jump scares in it but it feels more terrifying that scary.  It’s not stuff that will haunt your dreams but there are scenes that will stay with you long after the curtains fall.

The acting in the movie passes the grade with all the actors hitting their marks, giving honest performances.  The character David could have used a bit more life, he seemed a little bored through out the movie, other than that they were fine.   Fans of Suburgatory will notice Jane Levy(Mia) as the daughter from the hit show.  She becomes a total freak show later in the movie.

Fans of the original and newcomers to the show should enjoy it thoroughly.  It definitely was one hell of a ride and I’m hoping Alvarez comes back to do a second one.  This version is a gore lover’s dream and makes for some pretty unsettling scenes.  It was originally given the NC-17 rating and was cut to get the hard R.  You will probably find once it gets out on Bluray/DVD that there will be the Uncut version along with the theatrical version.  We shall see.

Overall I give this movie 4.5 stars out of 5.  It’s definitely worth full price to see in the movie house and then to buy to add to ones movie collection.  If you are a fan of the original or just a fan of horror in general, go, run, rush to see this movie.  It’s American horror done right.  Till next time my friends.

REVIEW – GI JOE RETALIATION

GI JOE RETALIATION POSTED

2.0 out of 5

I’ve always been a huge GI Joe fan when i was a kid.  Never missed the cartoon, well at least in the first two seasons, when it was good.  Lately there has been a resurgence in the franchise with the new animated series  GI JOE: RENEGADES, which is what part of the plot of Retaliation is base on, and the new movies.

I loved the first movie.  It was over the top, fun, and I thought it brought the right amount of cheese to the battle, just like the comics and the cartoon.  We do have to remember that this franchise of movies is based off a toy, comic, cartoon line that is just as cheesy.  I loved the characters in the first movie Rise of Cobra and I liked the direction it was taking.

Jump to 2012 which is the year Retaliation was supposed to be released.  It was delayed due to the audience wanting more Channing Tatum as Duke, so it was delayed and more scenes were added.  Now that Retaliation is finally released we can sit down and take a look at how it stacks up to the first one.

Before we do that let’s recap at what the story is about.  The Joes are called in to disable and take away nuclear weapons.  Snake Eyes is caught for murder and is taken to the subterranean prision to be held captive where Cobra Commander and Destro are being held.

There is an attack on the Joes while they are waiting for extraction and the President of the United States declares the Joes are no more.  They are turned on by the country because of Cobra, which is where they borrow a little from the cartoon Renegades.

This time around we have Duke, Roadblock, Lady Jaye, Flint and Mousetrap, as well as Jinx and Snake Eyes.  The characters all work for the most part and at the first part of the movie, it was a good and fun time by all and started very enjoyable.

The director this time around is Jon M. Chu, director of Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, and two of the Step Up movies.  This is where the movie really falters.   Chu just doesn’t seem to know how to properly direct action sequences, and there are a lot of them.  He piles on poorly choreographed scenes that are not only directed poorly but also poorly edited to a point where some of it can be hard to follow.

Though what these scenes are really lacking is the fun the first movie had.  The battles Chu wanted to be more grounded in reality, which make them out of place in such a fantastical world.  That’s why the battles in the first one worked so well was because they were over the top and were fluid.  These actions scenes just seemed stiff and didn’t flow well, which once the movie gets going makes for a long sit.

The best part about the movie was the interactions between Duke(Tatum) and Roadblock(Dwayne Johnson).  Their chemistry worked very well and they were a delight to see on screen.  The acting was good for the style movie, though the sparse and terrible dialogue left a little to be desired.  I know it’s not supposed to be Shakespeare, but at least have some fun dialogue that could possible seem like it works.

This time we have a proper looking Cobra Commander with his shiny faceplate mask with the Cobra insignia.  He really looked cool and felt the part of the leader of the Cobra Organization, though he wasn’t a whimpering fool like in the cartoons.  Destro is nowhere to be seen except for in the prision.

The rest of the story is Cobra trying to take over the world with it’s new Zeus weapons.  Satellites locked on to countries which can be obliterated at the push of a button.

What ultimately brings down the movie is the poor directing teamed with terrible editing.  It throws the pacing all over the place and really kills what should have been BIG action set pieces.  The effects this time were better but some scenes (avalanche on cliff) looked  terrible in the wide shot and if the shot was tighter would have played better on the eyes.  One thing that did bother me is that the other characters with masks, Storm Shadow and Firefly kept taking them off.  Why keep a mask if you are just going to keep taking it off, which is something they didn’t do in the show and should have carried over to the movie.

Will it do well this Easter weekend, I think it will.  My wife and I were there for the 9:30 showing and there was a line up and the theatre was pretty packed.  Does it have the legs of the first one? It probably doesn’t but with Dwayne Johnson it should have some big pull at the box office.

One more thing, Bruce Willis is in it, but doesn’t have a lot of screen time.  Though when he is on screen has some of the better one liners of the movie.

I have to give this movie 2 stars out of 5.  The interactions between Duke and Roadblock made it fun, which is what it should have been through the rest of the movie.  If you really must see this film in theatres wait until a matinee to save the money, otherwise wait for the DVD/Redbox/Netflix treatment.  It definitely not worth the full price of admission.  Now you know…and knowing is half the battle.  Till next time my friends.

REVIEW – NIGHT IN THE WOODS

Night In The Woods Poster

2.5 out of 5

I have been hearing some good buzz about this movie, since it is from the makers of  “Bronson” and “Monsters”, two movies that I absolutely loved, but after watching the movie I was left with a disappointing feeling.

This movie is another found footage horror film.  This time we have a couple and the girlfriend’s cousin exploring the Dartmoor’s Wistman’s Woods.  Legend tells of a mysterious figure who steals witches and hangs them from a tree in the woods.  Brody, the boyfriend starts to get a jealous feeling seeing how his girlfriend Kerry is acting around her cousin Leo.  Once in the woods and camp is set, night befalls the group sending them, and the viewer into a night full of terror.

The beginning of the movie has a note stating this was the footage that was found from this camping trip and was edited together to tell the groups story.  What starts off as a good tale eventually turns into a boring mess with a few scares near the end.  Like most feature length found footage film, there is so much footage used that really could have been either omitted or trimmed down to save time and tighten the movie better.  I thought there were many scenes that either went no where or just dragged the movie down and didn’t let it become the movie it was trying to be.  One thing the movie has going for it is the acting.  The performances are strong pretty much through out the movie, especially with the female lead.

Directed by Richard Parry who is mainly know for documentaries brings to life these characters and shows that he knows how to shoot stunning landscapes and is able to convey a realism with what is being showed on screen.  The film gives us a sense that this could very well be actual found footage of a band of explorers who got lost in these woods and were never heard from again.  Though there is one scene that really bothered me and that was when Kerry was all by herself and looking around for Leo and Brody.  There is a camera following her and shooting footage but we never know who that was.  It wasn’t Brody or Leo because at that time they were lost in the woods.  I thought that may add a little confusion near the end of the movie.

What Richard needed to work on was the pacing.  It started out good with the pacing, keeping things moving a long nicely at a good clip but once we get into the woods I felt that the pacing slowed to a point where the viewer is left waiting and waiting for something to happen.  This worked a little bit to the movies advantage when the scares came because it allows the viewer to let their guard down and then POW something happens and freaks you out.  The problem with that is that it takes a long while before anything like that happens.

Scoot McNairy, who was in “Monsters” and the upcoming “Argo” plays Brody, the boyfriend who loves to capture everything on camera.  McNairy gives a great performance of the nice guy who becomes obsessed with capturing everything on film and later on turns to the creepy side of life.  I really liked McNairy in “Monsters” and enjoyed seeing him in this film.  There is something honest in his acting on screen and this helps gives a genuine feeling to the characters he plays.  I can’t wait to see him in “Argo” as I’m sure he will give a spot on performance in that as well.

Anna Skellern from the TV series “Outnumbered” and “The Decent 2” plays Brody’s girlfriend Kerry.  Anna gives a very emotional performance especially near the end of the movie.  Anna’s character Kerry has a secret that she has bee keeping from Brody and it has to do with Leo.  Anna also gives a very honest performance and gives Kerry the realism needed to make the character and what is going on with the character believable.  Another strong performance from a great cast.

Andrew Hawley, recently seen in “Snow White and the Huntsman” plays Leo, the catalyst to what starts to happen between Brody and Kerry.  Andrew also brings the realism needed to make this character believable on screen and gives an honest performance.  The whole cast gives us their all and it really shows on screen and is definitely the movies strongest point.

This isn’t the worst found footage movie out there but it also doesn’t rank up there with the best of them.  It’s just below middle of the road for me and that really has to do with how the last act of the movie was handled.  The beginning really sets up something big and works well, but the last part just fell apart and I think really brought down the movie.  Yes I have to admit there were a few scares during the end but the question that remains is ‘will the viewer be able to stay with the movie long enough to get there?’  I really wanted to like this movie and like it a lot but I just walked away feeling more disappointment that enjoyment.

I give this movie 2.5 stars out of 5.  The strong acting and the decent directing keeps this movie afloat but not by much.  If you have a chance to see it and found footage is your thing then give it a shot, you might like.  Till next time my friends.