Transformers (2007)

Michael Bay has become famous for bringing us extremely loud and explosive movies with horrible stories such as Bad Boys and Armageddon. He continues this trend with the release of Transformers, a metaphorical orgy of over the top action, bad acting, and poor writing. But one thing separates Transformers from the rest of Bay's mind numbing projects. It's good. It is actually very good. The story follows Sam Witwicky (Shia Labeouf), a normal teenager that wants nothing more than a new car and a hot girlfriend, a very relatable situation. But soon after he gets his car, he discovers that it may not have been him who picked the car, but the car that picked him. Sam is then swept into a battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons, warring alien races that are both in search of "the cube". If this cube falls into the hands of the evil Decepticons led by Megatron (voiced by Hugo Weaving), the future of humanity would be bleak. It falls upon Sam and his new friends the Autobots led by Optimus Prime to find the cube before Megatron does.
Even with a story that seems to have come from the mind of an over imaginative 8 year old, Transformers manages to deliver solid entertainment for those even with IQ's above 90. For all the laughable writing and ridiculous plotlines, there are enough absurd action sequences to keep you and your mind as far away as possible. At times the story does become too outlandish and it makes you wonder why you are even watching this movie. But as soon as you think that, something blows up, and you just accept it. The special effects are first rate and the battle sequences will pin you to your seat and smack you in the face. There are some moments when the movie is so overflowing with action that you can barely see what is happening, but you just assume it's incredible. But this brings up one major problem. Transformers is strictly a theater movie. Without the giant screen and surround sound speakers, the power of Transformers is diminished greatly, which I learned first hand in buying the DVD. If you were not lucky enough to see this film in theaters, you will never know the true experience that was meant to be had by watching this movie.

If I were to make a list of all the best rising stars in Hollywood, Shia Labeouf would be up in the top 5. In what seems like such a short time he has gone from being the small troublemaker on Even Stevens to one of the best and most entertaining young actors of the decade. Even with a poor script, Labeouf is able to milk it for all it's worth and deliver a highly entertaining performance that will keep you laughing so you are sure to not take the movie too seriously. Megan Fox stars as Mikaela Banes, the girl that Sam has been lusting over. Her acting isn't much to behold, but the rest of her is. Her character is supposed to be in high school, but I'm not buying it for a second. John Turturro plays the cliche government official who runs the cliche secret organization that nobody else knows about. There isn't much to say about him except the fact that Mr. Turturro obviously had time to kill and needed a paycheck. After a recent trend of starring in bad movies, Jon Voight decided to star in a good one, as here he plays Secretary of Defense John Keller. Again, his performance isn't much, but I would rather see him here than in another Baby Geniuses movie. Basically, Transformers is not an acting movie in any way, with the exception of Labeouf's presentation. Kevin Dunn and Julie White provide a funny act as Sam's parents, but they aren't in the movie enough to really grow an attachment to them.

The one thing you must always keep in mind while watching Transformers, is that it was meant to be ridiculous. At least I hope it was. The best thing to do is leave your IQ at the door, shut the lights, crank up the volume on your television, and just enjoy the ride. A very long ride at that, considering the movie is upwards of 2 and a half hours. But if you feel you need a break from all the serious movies out there, go rent or buy Transformers, and forget everything you know about Michael Bay's previous films. My Rating (7/10)

A Respone to Brandon/ Rounders (1998) Not an official review

Recently I posted a review of 21, and I recieved a comment from "Brandon". He stated that he disgareed with my statement that all movies about cards are boring, and that I should see Rounders. Well Brandon, I took you up on it, and I must say, I have been proved wrong. I don't quite feel like reviewing Rounders officially, but it was a very good movie that did have a lot of excitement. Thank you for the suggestion, as I am always happy to find new movies to love, and thanks to you I have found another. There were a lot of excellent performances and I thought the ending was great and very satisfying. My Rating (7/10)

21 (2008)

When will Hollywood learn that watching people play cards is not fun? Their latest attempt to make a card game look exciting is 21, one of the worst movie experiences I have ever had in my life. The story follows Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), a genius MIT student who has just been accepted into Harvard Medical School. But Ben has a bit of a problem. In order to attend the college of his dreams, Ben needs over $300,000. As many of us know, that kind of money isn't very easy to come by. But Ben's prayers might be answered by a higher power in the form of his teacher Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey). Every weekend, Rosa and 4 of his most gifted students go to Vegas and return home hundreds of thousands of dollars richer. Their secret: counting cards. After Ben impresses Rosa by solving a problem that even I knew how to do (and I didn't even go to MIT!), Micky ultimately deduces that Ben must be a genius and therefore he is a perfect candidate to join his blackjack team. After some cliche moments of Ben dipping his feet into the water, he finally decides to jump in the pool and join his teachers squad. But as he begins to feel the highs of winning, will Ben take it too far and end up destroying all that he built up? Of course! If he didn't, they wouldn't have a very interesting movie would they?

Actually, this movie wasn't very interesting anyway. As I watched the first 15 minutes of 21, I had the strongest sensation to pull on my hair, just to ease the pain. Needless to say, I was bored senseless and I was at wit's end trying to find a way to stay awake during this predictable, unentertaining, soporific, mildly moronic hamfest. The plot turns and twists were cliche and easily recognizable 5 minutes before they even happened. The card counting scenes were uninspired and only interesting the first time you view them. But as the movie progresses and you feel as though you are watching the same scene over and over again, you get the strangest feeling that you could have stayed home and watched the World Series of Poker Tournament and had the same amount of excitement. After just one hour of 21, I was ready to count all my chips and just walk away...but my friend was my ride home and he didn't want to leave. Damn him.

Jim Sturgess is absolutely terrible as Ben Campbell. Throughout the entire film, his face remained expressionless, and his voice a near whisper. Even as he did the voiceover, the dynamics of his voice never raised and never fell. It was always the same. The romance between him and fellow teammate Jill, played plainly by Kate Bosworth, was utterly dreadful and often made me cringe at the sheer unconvincing manner in which it is acted out. This is another textbook case of a role going to a person based solely on their looks. Kevin Spacey does a fine job as the teacher Micky Rosa, which is no surprise because Spacey is an excellent actor, and is very capable of creating great moments in bad movies (see Superman Returns). Laurence Fishburne is extremely one dimensional and characterless as the casino's security enforcer. It is also very evident that his role was exaggerated greatly for the sake of the film, as he takes cheaters into a boiler room and beats them to a bloody pulp. I'm pretty sure that in real life, the only authority he has is to politely ask the person to leave.

21 was directed by Robert Luketic, who's previous credits contain Legally Blonde, Win a Date With Tad Hamilton, and Monster In-Law. It isn't exactly the best resume is it? Sadly, he will have to add one more dud to his list of "accomplishments" with this lame excuse for a movie. His overall directing style is lacking and he does very little to keep your interest peaked through even the "exciting" moments of the film. The writing is average and the attempts to wow us by displaying the main characters brilliance fail miserably, making me feel as if I could go to MIT and be just as smart as everyone else.

What makes 21 even worse is the fact that it is way too long. It also doesn't help that every minute of the 123 minutes was boring due to the aforementioned bad acting, directing, and writing. I began to fidget restlessly in my chair thinking the movie was almost over, only to discover that I was only 1 hour in. Ladies and gentlemen, there is a hell, and I was there. 21 was extremely predictable and was so uneventful that I could barely keep my eyes open for the duration. I had gone into this film with very low expectations, and came out discovering I was right on the money about every assumption I had made previous to watching this movie. Jim Sturgess must stick to minor roles because that is all his talent allows for, Kevin Spacey needs to start picking better movies to star in, and Hollywood must stop thinking that movies about playing cards are fun. They suck, just accept it. My rating (3/10)

1408 (2007)

If you found hotel rooms creepy before, just wait until you see 1408, the scariest Stephen King movie adaptation since Misery. The story revolves around Mike Enslin (John Cusack), an author that specializes in debunking fraudulent ghost stories that innkeepers tell their customers in order to keep business alive. After Mike receives an anonymous postcard from the Dolphin Hotel in New York warning him to avoid room 1408, he naturally does everything in his power to secure that room. The hotel manager Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson) pleads incessantly to Mike to reconsider, stating room 1408 has claimed 56 lives in the hotel's history. Enslin, who remains uninterested and disbelieves the story, ultimately decides to spend one night in the dreaded room. But what Mike will soon discover is that once you enter 1408, there is no return. He must now decipher what is fact and fiction in this supernatural room that not only inflicts physical pain, but toys with the mental anguish that Mike still has from the loss of his daughter.

It would be misleading to actually call this film scary. The amount of legitimate scares and terrors in the film are very very minimal. The best term to describe 1408 would be creepy. 1408 will send shivers down your spine and will unsettle your mind, but it will not terrify you. But it is for this reason that I extremely enjoyed this film. Living in an age of torture porn, it is very refreshing to see a horror film that will affect you on an internal level, rather than trying to make you flinch or throw up. This is all the more impressive given the fact that 1408 is rated PG13, but still manages to remain effective.

1408 is a bit of a one man show starring John Cusack, since the movie takes place mainly in a solitary hotel room. But unlike Will Smith in I Am Legend, John Cusack is a great actor that is capable of carrying a film on his shoulders. His portrayal of a man whose life is being diminished by this evil room is intensely compelling and heartbreaking. Scenes where we explore his relationship with his late daughter really illustrate the despair that has been tearing him up on the inside. In a way, the real demon of this story is not the room, but the memories that the room brings back to life. Cusack is absolutely outstanding in this role, and I feel he is one of the most underrated actors of our time. Samuel L. Jackson has a small role as hotel manager Gerald Olin, and does a solid job of selling the character as truly afraid of what the outcome of Enslin's stay could be. It is also very entertaining to watch his back and forth with Cusack as they discuss the history of the room.

1408 is a creepy, disturbing, well written, well acted, excellent piece of film work that deserves respect for avoiding the hackneyed gimmicks that modern horror films indulge in. A lot of credit must also be given to director Mikael Hafstrom. Even with the use of a few classic horror movie cliches, Hafstrom carries out these tired commonplace events in an original fashion that makes them seem brand new. Most importantly, 1408 doesn't linger around for too long. Before you begin to feel bored with the unchanging scenery, the movie finishes with one of the best and most fulfilling endings anybody could ask for. Just talking about it makes my heart race and brings back the memories of when I had first seen it in the theater, and stood up applauding as the credits ran. You owe it to yourself to see this film. My rating (8.5/10)

Shoot 'Em Up (2007)

There's nothing like a good old fashioned summer action flick to feed your need for senseless violence. The movie that pretty much embodies that description is Shoot 'Em Up, a film dedicated to killing the living hell out of everything. Clive Owen stars as Mr. Smith, a man who has seemingly no past, no friends, no patience, and a very large affinity for carrots. After Mr. Smith delivers a baby during a shootout, he must watch the newborn infant all while trying to find the man who killed it's mother. That man is Hertz, played admirably by Paul Giamatti. Hertz is a hired man whose job is to make sure that the baby becomes food for worms at any cost. In order to keep the child safe, Smith brings him to the most motherly person he knows: a prostitute who specializes in mommy fetishes (Monica Belucci). This odd couple must now do whatever it takes to save the baby and hunt down its predators.
Clive Owen is quickly rising to the top of the action hero charts in yet another role that exhibits his ability to kick ass and take names. A better actor could not have been cast, as nobody could deliver a one liner quite as effectively as Clive Owen. His excellent performance actually makes you believe he is capable of doing all of the outrageous things you witness him do during the entirety of the film. Another wonderful performance was given by Paul Giamatti, who seemed to have a lot of fun playing the bad guy. In a movie that was made strictly for the sake of fun, Giamatti shows his ability to not take a role too seriously and just indulge in a guilty pleasure to enjoy.
Despite the two stellar performances of the lead actors, Shoot 'Em Up has one major downfall. The implausibility factor is off the charts ridiculous. Granted, it's a summer action film and it is meant to be ridiculous, but even those who made The Transporter would say, "Wow, that's ridiculous". Even for a summer flick, a line is drawn that cannot be crossed, and this movie does just that. It reaches a point where you lose interest in the movie because it is no longer fun, just asinine. In order to appreciate these kinds of movies, you must ignore the flaws, but you will constantly find flaws to pick out that are so blatant it is hard to ignore them. The film shows no regard for the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, and every other form of science, and it is for this reason that I cannot call this film a great movie to just watch and not think about. A film that has lots of heart racing slick action, I give it a mild recommendation, if only for Clive Owen being excellent at what he does. My rating (6/10)

I Am Legend (2007)

Will Smith is a world class scientist and army official in I Am Legend. No, seriously. It's present day and the cure for cancer has just been released. It appears to be all smiles and sunshine for everybody in the world as the body's number one enemy has been eradicated. But those who handle and distribute the new vaccine are about to make a big mistake. Fast forward to three years later, and there is only one man left on earth. That man is Robert Neville (Will Smith), who somehow is still alive after the "KV Virus" spreads the globe killing everyone...or did it? Neville goes about his days hunting for deer, exercising, talking to mannequins, and searching for more survivors, all with the accompaniment of his dog Sam. But Neville keeps it in his best interest to lock himself indoors as the sun begins to set. For night is the time of the "dark seekers", creatures that used to be human, but were infected by the virus. When the sun goes down it is there time to feed, so it's best to keep your distance. When Neville is not talking to mannequins or cruising around in his probably stolen Shelby GT500, he is in his laboratory working continuously searching for a cure, so that he can save those who have been infected. It is up to him to try and restore civilization to its former self.
Will Smith is pretty much forced to take the reins in I Am Legend, considering he is supposed to be the last person alive. Although Smith is a good actor, he is not a great actor. When you are going to make a film where your main character is essentially the only character, you MUST have a great actor to fill the time. Tom Hanks did it in Cast Away, and John Cusack was able to do it in 1408 (<--review coming eventually), but Smith was not able to accomplish it here. His performance was not all bad, as there were parts where I felt truly emotional as Smith started to lose composure after a tragic event. (I'm trying not to give too much away, but you could probably figure out what happens). Unfortunately, the emotional performance only takes up 10 minutes of the film, and the rest of the act is quite boring and plain to say the least.
One very positive thing to say about this film is the overall look of this post apocalyptic New York City. Through the opening of the movie, we are brought around the city where grasslands have overtook the streets and animals walk where humans used to reign. These effects are rendered very well, especially considering the director Francis Lawrence has only directed one film before, and his expertise lies mainly in music videos. But the visuals are not perfect, which is clearly evident in the effects used to generate the dark seekers. The infected people look flat out silly, and aren't very scary. It is also very clear that the makers used complete CGI to portray them. It really took me out of the film.
All in all, I Am Legend had A LOT of potential in being a great film, but failed in more than one aspect. Try again in another 25 years or so with a better actor, and it'll work. My rating (5/10)

National Treasure: The Book of Secrets (2007)

Nicolas Cage and his ridiculous haircut are back as the dauntless treasure hunter Ben Gates in National Treasure: The Book of Secrets. The second installment of the National Treasure series brings us an even more farfetched adventure than the first film, which was incredibly preposterous. But yet again, those brilliant/insane writers manage to trick us into believing the implausibilities that this movie spills out for us. This time around, Ben and his sidekick Riley (Justin Bartha) are out to clear Ben's ancestor's name, due to new evidence that suggests he may have been a conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The only way to prove his relatives innocence is by proving to the world the existence of a treasure that dates back to the 1800's. But this time around, Ben has new competition in the form of Ed Harris, a man who is trying to make a name for himself in the historical community. The evidence that Ben needs to accomplish his task lies somewhere so mysterious that many people impugn its very existence. The President's book of secrets. As you can probably conclude from the title, this was a book that only the President could lay eyes on, because it was, well, a secret. So how could Ben possibly go about getting his hands on this book? Kidnap the President of course! Did i mention it was a Jerry Bruckheimer film? At the same time, Ben must try to heal the wounds leftover from his split with his wife Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger). Although, this part of the plot doesn't seem nearly as controversial as the kidnapping. Other familiar characters return to this installment as well, such as FBI Agent Sadusky (Harvey Keitel) and Ben's father Patrick (Jon Voight).
When Book of Secrets was being written, those who penned the screenplay held nothing back in this completely over the top, unbelievable, sometimes stupid action flick. But I'll be damned if I wasn't entertained. Who would have thought that all it took to break into the Oval Office was a hot wife! It seems as though if you had proper brain function you'd know that that is completely false and extremely impossible (and also warrant for arrest), but if you are going to watch this film, you have to check your thinking cap at the door.
Nicolas Cage once again does a stellar job as the venturesome treasure hunter Ben Gates. Cage's performance manages to reflect the movie's tone perfectly in every scene he is in. He could easily switch from wisecracking jokester to stern kidnapper in a matter of seconds. Versatility, thy name is CAGE. His haircut however, leaves a lot to be desired. Justin Bartha also does much of the same as Riley Poole, providing that extra comic relief that keeps the movie in check. Diane Kreuger is pretty much meh, again, doing not much except look hot. Harvey Keitel provides even less to this movie than he did in the first film. It almost seems as though the only reason he was there was because he was under contract. Helen Mirren joins the cast this year as Ben's mother, and one can't help but wonder....why? Evidently, money can make even the most highly regarded actors and actresses deviate from their natural trend of starring in great films, and place them in a not so great blockbuster. While we are on that note, 4 time Oscar nominee Ed Harris is in this film as well. And if I'm not mistaken, Jon Voight won an Oscar way back before his days in Baby Geniuses and the Bratz movie. But I am not here to talk about Jon Voight's spiraling career, so back to business.
There is a lot more action to be appreciated in this National Treasure than in the previous one. Yes, it was probably done to make up for the ridiculous plot, but whatever works, works. The excitement level remains raised for extended periods of time that the first film lacked. Jon Turteltaub definitely takes it up a notch from the first installment in his directing style. He will not be winning any Oscars, but he deserves some kudos for managing to keep this film at a steady pace, and avoid having it sink into the lowest level of absurdity. (But it comes damn close.) Book of Secrets isn't as good as the first film, simply because it is a bit more unbelievable and convoluted, and at some points I did say "Oh, CMON", at the obvious flaws. But this is obviously a film that wasn't meant to be taken to heart in the first place, so I forgive them. Those of you who do not have the patience for a movie that completely ignores the laws of logic, I'd suggest staying away. To the rest of you, enjoy. My Rating (6/10)

National Treasure (2004)

For all those who have been itching for the next great Indiana Jones style adventure...keep looking, because Indiana Jones is an unmatchable film franchise. However, National Treasure is a very entertaining gold rush that is certain to provide you with enough whimsy to cure that itch. Nicolas Cage plays Benjamin Franklin Gates, an astute treasure hunter who's family has been tracking the Templar treasure for generations. Along with his snarky sidekick Riley Poole (Justin Bartha), Gates follows clues left behind from early American history to try and discover the largest treasure that was ever amassed by man. After discovering another clue with partner Ian (Sean Bean), the treasure hunters are re-routed to the next clue in the never ending quest: an invisible map on the back of the Declaration of Independence. Naturally one would assume that this is ridiculous, but it's a Jerry Bruckheimer film, so don't worry about it. Following a deception by Ian, Ben must do whatever he can to protect a piece of American history. Even after he pleads his case to several government officials, one being Abigail Chase (Diane Krueger), nobody believes it is possible to break into a government facility and walk out with a highly regarded document such as the Declaration of Independence. Didn't they realize this was a Jerry Bruckheimer film? Anyway, Ben is now forced to use every ounce of his cunning intellect and take action to prevent his two faced partner from stealing the Declaration of stealing the Declaration of Independence.
The writers of National Treasure are either impaired beyond recognition, or absolutely brilliant. Even though they bring us through implausible situation to implausible situation, we still feel as though it all makes sense. As I watched Ben concoct his ludicrous scheme to steal the Declaration, part of me was saying, "What?", but the other part was saying, "'s genius". I was actually tricked into thinking it would work. If you are like me and are able to look past this movies blatant flaws and just take it, you will enjoy the ride.
Nicolas Cage does a pretty good job playing Ben Gates, as it was his performance that made me believe such outrageous events were possible. Cage was definitely the right man for this part, and he seemed very in his element playing the action hero explorer that always manages to find a way to get out of those sticky situations. But he ain't no Harrison Ford. Justin Bartha is very entertaining as quirky sidekick Riley, and actually provides the movie with a comedic undertone that lets you know that, hey, it's just a movie. As you could've guessed, that government official played by Diane Krueger turns out to be the love interest for Ben in the movie, because I believe the 3rd law of cliche action hero movies is "A cliche action hero must have a love interest that at one point or another faces the dangers of peril. I believe it's right after "An action hero must blow AT LEAST 1 large thing up in order to be considered an action hero". As far as her performance goes, meh. Sean Bean is moderately believable as the villain of the movie, because just as Cage's character follows the cliche action hero laws, Bean's character follows the cliche action villain laws. Bean's evil henchmen don't do much, although I believe evil henchmen number 2 was especially evil. Harvey Keitel and Jon Voight also show up eventually as an FBI agent and Ben's father, respectively. Keitel provides very little to the film, but Voight actually provides a good foil for Ben's adventurous nature.
Jon Turteltaub takes very few risks in the direction of this film, as he didn't really stray away from the technique of just filming what's put in front of the screen. Still, there were a lot of moments that really stuck out and certainly resonated with me. National Treasure is over 2 hours, but there is lots of mindless fun to keep you occupied for the entire film. It is also a lot of fun to learn actual historical tid bits that you may not have known before. Just don't think too much while you watch National Treasure, that would basically ruin the entire experience. My rating (7/10)

The Hills Have Eyes 1 and 2 (2006 and 2007)

For some strange reason, torture porn becomes more and more popular as time goes on. Two movies that follow this ongoing trend are the remakes of The Hills Have Eyes and The Hills Have Eyes 2. Now, I have not seen the original films, so I am not qualified to compare these disgraceful movies to them. But watching these films as individuals, I am repulsed. Even excellent movies have their fair share of brutal murders (No Country For Old Men, Silence of the Lambs, to name a few). But those films at least have a fitting context to put those deaths in. The Hills Have Eyes simply murders people for the sake of murdering people. I myself have a guilty pleasure when it comes to the Saw franchise, but even I get disgusted by some of the things I see.
Both movies revolve around a group of people who for some reason or another get trapped in a desolate area of the desert referred to as Sector 16. The desert alone is a brutal enemy, but what lurks in the desert is far worse than any heat related ailment. Bands of radioactive mutants still live in the mountains, and decide to kill anything that passes by, for unexplained reasons of course. The groups must then fend for themselves as they begin to get picked off one by one by these ugly beings.
As I have already stated, this movie does nothing but kill people. The plot is practically irrelevant, and the characters interchangeable. The acting and script are atrocious, and the direction doesn't do anything to impress. You feel no sorrow for the victims, and you don't feel anything whatsoever about the killers. The films were written and directed by different people, and none of the original stars returned for the sequel. Actually that isn't true. Michael Bailey Smith was a mutant in the first movie, and also played one in the second. But his character dies in the first movie and they brought him back as a different character. Lack of continuity, yet another reason these movies are terrible.
But you really can't take this films seriously. When they were being made, I doubt anybody involved was very proud of themselves. The story is a joke, the actings bad, the scripts bad, the directing's bad, and the fact that these movies were even made makes me sad. What makes it worse is that I actually watched these films. I don't know what I was thinking. I obviously wasn't. Still, I'd say they were better than Ratatouille. My rating (2/10)

Ratatouille (2007)

Pixar is famous for releasing animated films that make us laugh and feel good, but recently they decided to change their formula. Somebody who was apparently very mad at the world and worked at Pixar decided to trick us into seeing a movie that would torture us and destroy our trust in an animated film. This film is Ratatouille, my vote for one of the worst films of 2007. The plot revolves around a rodent named Remy, who happens to be a marvelous cook. After a bunch of complex circumstances, Remy ends up meeting Linguini, a busboy at a very fancy restaurant that is going under quickly due to a bad review from famous food critic Anton Ego. Linguini soon learns that Remy is an amazing chef and instead of say, running away in fear or at least laying down a mouse trap, he decides to use Remy to help pull the restaraunt out of depression.
Now I completely understand that this is an animated movie, but seriously. It's about a RAT that cooks FOOD. It is VERMIN. And we are supposed to have no problem with this? We are expected to find it funny? Even cute?! No, that's not how it works. If this movie was made in live action, it wouldn't be nearly as accepted as it was.
Secondly, if you can look past the stupid plot, the movie itself is extremely lacking in all forms of entertainment. In it, I felt no joy, no laughter, no happiness, no sentiment, not a single moment of interest. For the first 45 minutes I tried with every ounce of strength I had to remain interested, but I simply couldn't do it. Every minute after that simply felt like another minute towards freedom and away from this awful movie. The plot wears thin after the first half hour, as you continually repeat to yourself, "OK. The rat cooks. Anything else? Does this movie offer anything other than that? " No. It doesn't.
The human characters don't offer much in this dreadful rat pellet of a movie. Linguini is utterly annoying and you don't feel any connection to him whatsoever. There is also supposed to be a small love story between Linguini and fellow chef Collette, but it seems very forced and frankly silly as there is practically no interaction between the characters for basically the entire first hour of the movie.
The jokes in this movie are flat and are sometimes a little too grown up for the usual target audience of a Pixar film. I don't think there is much here for little kiddies to enjoy, and this movie isn't quite sensible enough for a self respecting human being to enjoy. Basically, there isn't much to offer in this movie except for great animations. But seriously, in this day and age, the animations on EVERY movie are great. Just because something animated looks real doesn't make the entire movie good. In this case, the animations were the only good thing offered. My rating (1/10)

Wedding Crashers (2005)

Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson deal out the laughs in the 2005 comedy Wedding Crashers. The two play Jeremy and John, two best friends who celebrate one extra season every year: wedding season. The duo go from wedding to wedding picking up vulnerable bridesmaids who are willing to throw their inhibitions to the wind for this one day. After a long season, Jeremy convinces John to crash the mother of all weddings. But things don't all go to plan as John ends up falling in love with his target Claire, played by the beautiful Rachel McAdams, and Jeremy gets involved with her sister Gloria, a level 5 clinger played by Isla Fisher. After the two are invited back to the sisters house by their father, played by the always hilarious Christopher Walken, their friendship is tested as John attempts to woo Claire despite the fact that she is in a committed relationship. Meanwhile, Jeremy must fend off the oversexed Gloria before he becomes completely drained of all life.
The laughs never cease in this hysterical comedy that also has a touch of heart. Vaughn and Wilson are perfect together, able to play off of each others characters extremely effectively, making it almost impossible not to laugh as the two interact. McAdams does a very good job as the girl who needs to make the inner choice of whether to stay with her long time boyfriend or move on to the charming newcomer John. The chemistry between Wilson and McAdams is extremely palpable, making you want to watch their relationship, instead of just being force fed it like romances in other movies (I'm looking at you, Pirates of the Caribbean). Christopher Walken is just too damn funny as the girl's father, Secretary William Cleary. He makes comedy look effortless as he manages to get big laughs without a lot of the theatrics that somebody like Vince Vaughn uses. But the person who really deserves a gold star is Isla Fisher. She is spot on as the bubbly, goofy, seemingly insane, and extremely lustful younger sister that becomes infatuated with Jeremy. She had me laughing every moment that she was on screen. Her career in Hollywood seems very promising, as she has already starred in many movies since then, which is much deserved given her performance here.
Wedding Crashers is about 2 hours long, and it kind've begins to get under your skin with a half hour left. I began to feel like the movie started to drag as the comedy halted to a stop after an unforeseen circumstance that I will not give away, at the risk of spoiling it. The movies ending does leave you satisfied though, which makes it worth it. There are a lot of funny performances here, and enough sentimentality to classify it as a pleasant romantic comedy. I certainly recommend watching this film multiple times, because like me, you'll find something new to love about it every time. My rating: (8/10)

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)

Johnny Depp is back as charismatic Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. The story picks up where the lackluster second film ended, with the same characters that we've grown fond of. Captain Barbossa is back miraculously, Will and Elizabeth bicker over anything and everything, and Jack has been sent to Davy Jones locker by the Kraken. If I were to try and explain what this movie was about in detail, I fear this post would turn into a novel. So I will do the best I can to keep this short and understandable. Captain Barbossa, Elizabeth Swann, and William Turner are attempting to get Jack back from Davy Jones locker. But each person has their own plan in mind in what to do with Jack. Meanwhile, Lord Cutler Beckett is attempting to rid the seas of all pirates and pirate conspirators with the help of his new "ally" Davy Jones. The movie quickly becomes bewildering, confusing, convoluted, and every other combination of the word as each character makes a deal with every other character, without knowing that character has made a deal with another character that has it in for the first character. Phew, that was exhausting even to type.
There are so many performances to comment on, both positively and negatively. As usual, Johnny Depp is extremely entertaining as the supposedly self-absorbed pirate Jack Sparrow. His seemingly lackadaisical nature makes him all the more lovable when he turns into the reluctant hero. Bill Nighy can only be described as freakin awesome as the heartless villain Davy Jones. We also get to see the villains softer side as the movie explores his relationship with Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris), the woman who scorned him all those years ago. Harris gives a perfect example of how to take a role too seriously. It seemed like she forced everything her character said to sound extremely abysmal and dangerous. You know how you've always got that one friend who is always trying to make things seem more serious than they are? That is basically her entire part. Tom Hollander plays Cutler Beckett, the leader of the East India Company and the main antagonist in the film. If his job was to make the audience hate him, give Hollander an Oscar, because he did a splendid job of that. But one could not speak of bad performances without mentioning the following name...Orlando Bloom. My oh my. I'm officially convinced the only reason he was even allowed in this series was because women believe his face was carved by angels. But watching this movie, you can actually see that he is a terrible actor. The level of his voice doesn't change no matter what he's doing, his face doesn't move, and it is impossible for him to express any emotion whatsoever. This is painfully clear whenever he and Keira Knightley are on screen together. And yes, painful is the best adjective to describe it. To give you an idea of what it was like having to watch these two supposedly lovestruck characters interact, go outside, and stare the side of your house. Just go right up to it, and look forward. Now, stay that way for 2 hours. That's it. That's what it was like, hell, it's what I would rather do, than watch Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley act together. Every other performance aside, Geoffrey Rush dominates all as Captain Barbossa. Even with Johnny Depp to compete with, Rush's screen presence is phenomenal as he epitomizes what many think a real pirate should be like. I'm fairly certain the reason the second movie was so bad was because of "lack of Barbossa".
I could go on and on, but my fingers have grown tired, so I will try to wrap it up. I recommend this film not for the performances or for the plot, but because of the final 30 minutes. The Pirates series is capped off with an epic final battle that is sure to stun and amaze you, as it did me. I could not imagine a more fitting ending. Overall, this movie had a lot of ups and a lot of downs. If anything, just watch the last half hour. You don't even need to know the plot to appreciate it. It's quite wonderful. My rating(7/10)

30 Days of Night (2007)

In a decade of awful horror movies, one film tries to be better than the rest. 30 Days of Night attempts to revive the horror genre by releasing a new breed of vampires to the world. Based on the graphic novel, the story takes place in the northernmost town in Alaska, where one month out of the year, the sun does not rise. This particular year, right before this stretch of darkness occurs, a stranger wanders into town seemingly from thin air. After startling a local, he is brought to the police station by the town sheriff, played by Josh Hartnett. Once there, the creepy man begins warning the sheriff that "something's coming". In this case, the "something's" are a pack of vicious vampires who are obviously out for that beautiful elixir that they just cannot resist. As the sun goes down, townspeople begin to be picked off one by one. Eventually, a small group of people meet and decide to ride out the attack together. They must then fight for their lives as they try to find food to last the month, or become food in the process.
According to the commercial, 30 Days of Night was going to "reinvent the vampire movie". The people who came up with that tag line should immediately be fired for flat out lying to America. In truth, this movie does nothing differently than any vampire movie I've ever seen. In a movie like 28 Days Later, zombies were redefined as being able to run just as fast as humans, thus rendering hope lost. But the vampires in this film are much the same as all vampires: quick, agile, violent, and vulnerable to sunlight. The only noticeable difference was the shape of some of their heads. But I'm not sure that's what they meant. Put simply, I've seen all of this before.
30 Days of Night is chock full of the cliches we have all become accustomed to; The band of survivors crowding in one building talking of loved ones and crying about futures that may not come; Somebody saying "It's not safe here, we have to move"; People being killed one by one as they do the aforementioned moving. It seems as though this movie follows the motions of all the films it supposedly is trying to be better than.
It is impossible to rate the acting in this film, as it is after all a modern day horror film. The only reason such a well known actor as Josh Hartnett was cast was probably to attract fans of his to seeing it. Ben Foster plays the mysterious stranger, and pretty much nails the ability to look and speak menacingly. Because of this, he becomes the only character that anybody really wants to see more of. Unfortunately, the stranger has only 15 minutes of screen time, leaving me one extremely pissed off movie-goer.
Overall, 30 Days of Night is a repetition of any other movie of its kind, using the same formula that's been around for years now. The ending lacks substance, and definetly leaves you feeling cheated out of your time. And when it's all said and done, it's basically just watching people get killed in nasty ways. My rating (3/10)

Movies given a 10/10

  • Milk
  • In Bruges
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • The Dark Knight
  • Iron Man
  • No Country For Old Men
  • The Shining
  • A Clockwork Orange