Elysium (2013) – Review

3 Stars

Elysium isn’t the masterpiece some were expecting following director Neill Blomkamp’s District 9. That film was nominated for ten Academy Awards including Best Picture. That’s a tough act to follow and it proves too much for the talented writer/director. Elysium is a better than average sci-fi tale that presents some intriguing ideas but never ignites they way his previous film did. Matt Damon, leaned out and bald, makes a compelling anti-hero who is forced into the position of rebel due to a series of increasingly dire events.
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Barb Wire (1996) – Review

2 Stars

It was inevitable that starlet Pamela Anderson would eventually top line a studio-backed big-screen feature film. Anderson’s international fame from the television show Baywatch made her one of the most famous actresses on the planet, even if she wasn’t much of an actress. The public’s focus was squarely on her ‘assets’ and not her acting. Anderson’s ample bosom is on display early and often in Barb Wire, a sci-fi comic-book adaptation that is aimed directly at pre-teen boys and their fathers’.
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Independence Day (1996) – Review

3 1/2 Stars

The mother of all Alien invasion movies and a star making vehicle for Will Smith, Independence Day is still the best movie from German director Roland Emmerich and his producing partner/co-writer Dean Devlin. Riding in on a wave of ingenious marketing, ID-4 would become a cultural phenomenon. It was the biggest hit of 1996, and the highest grossing science-fiction film since Return of the Jedi.
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X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) – Review

2 Stars

X-Men: Apocalypse is neither the best nor the worst in the franchise, It’s simply the newest. After eight movies in sixteen years, this series is notable for retaining its creative forces, but everything has become one episodic tale that would be impenetrable for newbies. At this point X-Men is the longest running of the superhero tales invading theaters. Sure, Superman and Batman have been matinĂ©e idols since their reinvention in the 70’s and 80’s, but those roles been recast numerous times, different directors have given their take, and audience reaction has varied drastically from film-to-film. At least the X-Men series gets credit for rebooting whiling also finding ways to still integrate the original stars.
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Independent’s Day (2016) – Review

3 Stars

Its summer-time, which means blockbuster season is in full swing at multiplexes throughout the nation. It also means that The Asylum will produce a handful of ‘mockbusters’ designed to win a time-slot during primetime on channels like USA or SYFY. Once upon a time, these low-level rip-offs were meant to trick unsuspecting renters at local video stores. In the age of streaming, The Asylum has been forced to up its product and reduce its output, all for the betterment of each individual movie. It seems that more time and money have been dedicated to the special effects departments.
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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

I’ve seen Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice twice, and I’m still not clear on every plot development that transpires throughout. Unfortunately, this highly anticipated pairing of the most popular characters within the DC Comic universe is just as ungainly as its wordy title. This is an unwieldy epic that has moments of cinematic exuberance and others that display the current weakness of the over-saturated genre. Still, the visual style and filmmaking verve of director Zack Synder often off-sets the films shortcomings.
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King Kong (2005) – Review

4 Stars

Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong is marvelous and meticulous entertainment. No expense has been spared or shortcuts taken in delivering the ‘wow’ factor multiple times throughout the course of its lighting quick 183 minute running-time. Don’t let the elongated length dissuade you from the film, there is hardly a dull moment as the characters are thrown together on a steamer headed to the mysterious Skull Island. The film has been structured as three major movements from the depression era streets of New York to battling all sorts of prehistoric creatures and then climaxing with a battle atop the Empire State Building.
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Steel (1997) – Review

1/2 Star

Fanboys and websites love to debate about the worst comic book movie ever made. Often times Batman & Robin, Elektra and Fantastic Four are cited as the worst cinematic representation of our illustrated superheroes. But Steel is by far the most inept, poorly produced, and plain boring of all the DC or Marvel properties that have graced the silver screen thus far. Based on a little known character from the pages of the Superman mythos, Steel has been removed from his comic book storyline, given a new origin story, and a fabricated antagonist.
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10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) – Review

4 Stars

It has become commonplace in recent years to nonchalantly acknowledge (and dismiss) the substantial acting abilities of John Goodman. His ubiquitous appearances in supporting roles over the last decade have cemented the notion that he’s one of our country’s most under-valued talents. Perhaps, with the extremely strong work in 10 Cloverfield Lane, Goodman will finally get attention from the awards circuit.
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Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace (1996) – Review

1 Star

In the annals of unnecessary sequels Lawnmower Man 2 ranks amongst the worst. Rightfully taking its place along side undistinguished company like Blair Witch Project 2, Species II, and Pet Cemetery 2, just to name a few. The only returning member from 1992’s Lawnmower Man is Austin O’ Brien, no longer a silly looking adolescent, but a goofy looking teenager. This is one of the most preposterous movies I’ve ever seen, and I have sat through all the Highlander movies, and Super Mario Bros.
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The Last Witch Hunter (2015) – Review

3 Stars

The Last Witch Hunter is the type of movie I refer to as ‘gloriously goofy.’ This the kind of over-plotted, backstory-heavy, horror/fantasy/sci-fi mash-up that I typically disdain, but this time all the B-movie elements aline and make for a solid guilty pleasure. It seems that every-time star Vin Diesel steps away from his Furious franchise, it’s to appear in a shabby fantasy film. He obviously has an appreciation for the genre, but his contributions like Babylon A.D. and Riddick (2013) have been forgettable trash, The Last Witch Hunter provides Diesel with an appealing character in a film that is slickly directed, and written with more wit and imagination than was probably necessary, especially for the foreign markets that will no-doubt eat this stuff up, with a cast of familiar actors in supporting roles that don’t call for heavy dramatic lifting.
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From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

From Dusk Til Dawn is a tale of two movies, each battling for screen time. Like Grindhouse, this vampire story could have played out in a double feature. Instead the narrative is split into halves, the first is a hostage picture with strong dialogue, the second a horror movie with little talking and lots of visual mayhem. The former section works better than the latter half. The screenplay from scribe Quentin Tarantino is literate and overly violent, not surprising given the writer’s other works. The film’s main problem is in not providing a main character that is sympathetic or likable, the Gecko brothers are raging psychopaths.
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Aeon Flux (2005) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

Aeon Flux is one of the most absurd movies to come down the pike in a long time. This beautifully designed sci-fi thriller, is a head-scratching adaptation of the nearly incomprehensible animated shorts that ran on MTV. Ranking with Battlefield Earth and Doom as contenders for worst science fiction movie of the aughts, Aeon Flux strips lead actress Charlize Theron of charisma and saddles her with awkward dialogue.
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The Lawnmower Man (1992) – Review

2 Stars

It’s easy to forget that pre-James Bond, Pierce Brosnan starred in mostly bad movies. Add to the list The Lawnmower Man, a film that most people remember as ‘that virtual reality’ movie. Yes. There is in fact a lot of talk about new frontiers in a digitized dimension, but there is also a lot of contrived scenes that are so obvious in their resolutions that we are left stranded as the characters on-screen try to figure out what we already know.
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Elektra (2005) – Review

2 Stars

Before Marvel reinvented itself with Ironman in 2008, the high-water mark was X2, Elektra has long been thought of as the low-point for the company. I would argue that Ghost Rider or Blade:Trinity holds this unremarkable title, but there is no mistaking that this spin-off of the so-so Daredevil big-screen adventure is a silly romp with little on the agenda outside of the most basic plot elements.
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