REVIEW: ‘The Last Airbender

Director:
M. Night Shyamalan
Cast:
Noah Ringer
Dev Patel
Nicola Peltz
Jackson Rathbone
Shaun Toub
Rated: PG

So this year’s Dragon Ball Evolution has shown up.

The story does take the basic premise of the animated series’ first season, setting up four nations of the world represented by people who can bend certain elements. These include water, earth, fire and air. The film takes place in the midst of a massive war with the Fire Nation seeking domination over the three others.

To combat the threat, people are hopeful that an Avatar, who can control all four elements, can return to bring peace. The movie picks up with two siblings from the Water Tribe who discover the latest Avatar, Aang (Ringer), who also happens to be the only remaining airbender. From there, the siblings decide to help Aang realize his destiny. However, they are constantly chased by the Fire Nation’s prince.

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REVIEW: ‘Jonah Hex’

Director:
Jimmy Hayward
Cast:
Josh Brolin
John Malkovich
Megan Fox
Rated: PG-13

Hey everybody! Do you want to see a “Western” even worse than Wild Wild West? Then do I have the movie for you.

The film follows the titular character, and if there’s no chance you’ll forget that name since the movie reminds the audience again and again. The movie opens with a misplaced animated sequence and follows that with introducing the villain Turnbell (Malkovich), who kill’s Hex’s (Brolin) wife and daughter while burning his face. Near death, Hex ends up being saved by a Native American tribe who rescues him, bringing him back from death which gives him supernatural powers.

After this, Hex becomes a bounty hunter and in the process, he is brought back into conflict with Turnbell. Turnbell plans to destroy the United States with a canon that shoots what look like Dragon Balls, for some reason. For this reason, the president orders Hex to save the U.S. from Turnbell.

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REVIEW: ‘Toy Story 3’

Director:
Lee Unkrich
Cast:
Tom Hanks
Tim Allen
Joan Cusack
Ned Beatty
Rated: PG

It’s not often the third film in a trilogy can be one of the best in the series. Pixar managed to pull it off.

The third and possibly final installment in the “Toy Story” saga begins with the main toys slowly watching as Andy begins losing interest. The film’s main plot begins with Andy being 17 and getting ready to leave home for college. At the same time, it’s now been years since Andy has actually seen the toys, let alone played with them.

The situation gets worse when, through a series of unfortunate events, the toys end up getting shipped away from their home to a daycare. At first, their new home seems like a paradise, but the more the protagonists stay at the daycare, the more like a prison it seems.

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REVIEW: ‘Karate Kid

Director:
Harald Zwart
Cast:
Jaden Smith
Jackie Chan
Taraji P. Henson
Wenwen Han
Rated: PG

Every so often, a critic has to eat crow when they see a movie they thought was going to be bad and it turns out to be good. This is one of those cases.

In this remake, the audience follows the character Dre Parker (Smith) who is moving to China since his mother was hired at a new job. His first few days there are a little rocky until he meets a girl named Mei Ying (Han) and the two become friends. However, this leads to trouble, mainly from a bully named Cheng.

The conflict eventually leads to Dre to fighting Cheng, who studies martial arts. As a result, Dre also wants to learn martial arts and begins training under a maintenance worker, Mr. Han (Chan).

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REVIEW: ‘Killers’

Director:
Robert Luketic
Cast:
Ashton Kutcher
Katherine Heigl
Tom Selleck
Catherine O’Hara
Rated: PG-13

After seeing this I felt like I had been punked out of my money when leaving the theater by Mr. Kutcher.

The film follows Jen (Heigl, who while on vacation with her parents meets another single named Spencer (Kutcher). Although they have an awkward meeting, the two hit it off and eventually get married.

Their relationship starts off well enough, but after settling into their lives things begin to change. This is mainly due to Spencer being a spy and having people out to kill him. The result is Spencer going on the run with his wife.

The film is a complete mess in terms of its story telling. Not only does it feature cliches in the action and romcom department, the filmmakers couldn’t seem to decide on a good tone for the flick, either. Sometimes it seems to lean toward a more satirical look at marriage and other times it goes for over the top action comedy and it simply never meshes.

The script was lacking, too, with much of the dialogue trying to come off as witty, but feeling more mean spirited, making much of the picture unlikable. Additionally, the film features a twist toward the end that crashes the whole thing even more.

The worst offenders in the film, though, lie with the performances. Heigl, for example, did nothing with her character but shriek, yell and whine. This became grating really fast and made her intolerable.

Kutcher, meanwhile, was basically just playing himself which isn’t saying too much. Kutcher isn’t awful in comedic roles, but he just doesn’t have a high level of screen presence and he also doesn’t have chemistry with Heigl.

The action in the film was likely the best part of the movie. Despite the acting being bland and annoying and the story and the script not holding much weight, the action sequences were actually somewhat competently made.

In the end, that’s not much of a saving grace. The action might have at least made this watchable, but all of the other issues along with that horrific plot twist at the end push this one far down. 1 out of 5.

This review was first produced for the KSDM-KGHS Radio Station in International Falls, Minn.

REVIEW: ‘Robin Hood’

Director:
Ridley Scott
Cast:
Russell Crowe
Cate Blanchett
Max von Sydow
Mark Strong
Oscar Isaac
Mark Addy
Matthew Macfadyen
Kevin Durand
Rated: PG-13

This film probably would have done better with the title “Robin Begins” because this is a prequel.

The movie picks up with a young Robin Longstride (Crowe) who’s following King Richard Lionheart (Danny Huston) into battle. During the war, King Richard dies, making Prince John (Oscar Isaac) the King of England. During that same time, a character Godfrey (Strong) works as a double agent, pretending to be British but fully backing a French invasion.

As this happens, Robin returns to England and goes to the area of Nottingham. Arriving there, Robin begins impersonating another person to help a family keep their land and in doing so, he marries a woman named Marion (Blanchett).

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REVIEW: ‘Iron Man 2’

Director:
Jon Favreau
Cast:
Robert Downey Jr.
Don Cheadle
Scarlett Johansson
Gwyneth Paltrow
Sam Rockwell
Mickey Rourke
Samuel L. Jackson
Rated: PG-13

Iron Man has finally returned, but did this film live up to its original.

The movie takes place after some time has past since Tony Stark revealed to the world that he’s the hero Iron Man. In light of this, Stark holds a large expo to not only tout his technology, but also inspire other scientific achievements.

However, problems for the metal clad protagonist start to mount quickly. A new villain named Whiplash (Rourke) with a vendetta against Stark’s family teams up with a rival technology CEO, Justin Hammer (Rockwell) to eliminate Iron Man. Additionally, Stark is suffering from a new disease caused by his arc reactor in his chest and he’s unsure of what to do. Plus, the government begins to distrust Tony.

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March-April 2010 Mini-Reviews

Our Family Wedding: 2/5
This movie staring Carlos Mencia and Forest Whitaker had potential with a humorous premise but just turned out to be another run of the mill wedding movie that mostly used some racial humor. Simply put, it didn’t work. Plus Mencia can’t really act and Whitaker was phoning it in.

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REVIEW: ‘The Losers’

Director:
Sylvain White
Cast:
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Zoe Saldana
Chris Evans
Idris Elba
Columbus Short
Óscar Jaenada
Rated: PG-13

Guns blazing and one liners, what could go wrong with this film?

Well, plenty,. “The Losers” follows a team of special operatives that includes Clay (Morgan), Jensen (Evans), Pooch (Elba), Rogue, (Short) and Cougar (Jaenada). The film picks up with the group wrapping up a mission when they are set up by the villain of the film, Max, played by Jason Patrick. In order to clear their names, the group seeks the help of a woman named Aisha, played by Saldana.

What takes place next is an adventure to hunt down their enemy and restore their names.

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REVIEW: ‘Kick-Ass’

Director:
Matthew Vaughn
Cast:
Aaron Johnson
Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Chloe Moretz
Nicolas Cage
Rated: R

Bar none, “Kick-Ass” is one of the best comic-book films ever made.

The film tells the story of Dave Lizewski (Johnson), a high school student and avid comic book reader who eventually decides to become a superhero himself. After some stumbles along the way, Dave establishes himself with a suit and the name Kick-Ass and ends up becoming an internet sensation.

Initially, Dave enjoys the newfound fame, but trouble shows up, too. By being a superhero, Dave get the attention of the mafia as well as a father-daughter vigilante duo who go by Big Daddy (Cage) and Hit Girl (Moretz). This all leads to Dave feeling in over his head.

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