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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REVIEW: ‘The Crazies’

Director:
Breck Eisner
Cast:
Timothy Olyphant
Radha Mitchell
Joe Anderson
Danielle Panabaker
Rated: R

As the title would suggest, things get downright crazy in this remake.

“The Crazies” takes place in classic small town America. Set in Iowa, the movie follows Sheriff David Dutton (Olyphant) who begins to notice a barrage of strange activity in the town.

As more reports of crazed townsfolk become regular, Dutton learns that the cause is a virus that has found its way in the city. As a result, Dutton, his Sheriff Deputy and his wife have to deal with the ‘crazies’ and merciless government containment agents.

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REVIEW: ‘Cop Out’

Director:
Kevin Smith
Cast:
Bruce Willis
Tracy Morgan
Juan Carlos Hernández
Cory Fernandez
Rated: R

It’s early, but this will likely end up on the worst of the year list.

The movie follow’s two New York City police officers named Jimmy (Willis) and Paul (Morgan). Toward the beginning of the movie we find that Jimmy is trying to sell a prized baseball card to pay for his daughter’s wedding but it ends up getting stolen.

To get it back, he makes a deal with a rising drug lord which leads him and his partner into an even bigger case that neither expected.

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REVIEW: Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief

Director:
Chris Columbus
Cast:
Logan Lerman
Brandon T. Jackson
Alexandra Daddario
Jake Abel
Sean Bean
Rated: PG

We have another Harry Potter copy cat here.

This picture follows the title character who’s played by Logan Lerman. At the start, Percy seems to jut be an average kid who’s living day to day life. However, this soon changes when he’s thrust into a world of gods and monsters.

While this partially happens because of his heritage as Poseidon’s son, it also is caused because he’s wrongly accused of stealing Zeus’ lightning bolt.

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REVIEW: ‘From Paris with Love’

Director:
Pierre Morel
Cast:
John Travolta
Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Kasia Smutniak
Richard Durden
Rated: R

John Travolta characters sure love to swear these days, first “Taking of Pelham 123” and now this.

“With Love” follows the character James Reese (Meyers), an intelligence agent who’s about to step up with a promotion as he works in France. As this is happening, Reese is partnered with another agent named Charlie Wax.

Despite Reese having reservations about Wax for his peculiar methods, the two partner their way through their mission to stop a terrorist attack.

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REVIEW: ‘The Book of Eli’

Director:
Albert Hughes
Allen Hughes
Cast:
Denzel Washington
Gary Oldman
Mila Kunis
Ray Stevenson
Rated: R

January isn’t usually a month with the best theatrical releases, so it’s always great seeing one that bucks the trend.

“The Book of Eli” follows the titular character played by Washington. Taking place in a post apocalyptic world, Eli is a wandering warrior trying to go out west and deliver a book. Along the way, he has to avoid and fight off groups of other survivors.

As the film goes on, Eli gets into a small town run by a man named Carnegie (Oldman). Carnegie seems to want to partner with Eli at first, but the two eventually enter a conflict as Eli is unwilling to relinquish a prized possession.

“The Book of Eli” fantastically brings western and samurai story aspects into a sci-fi setting, ultimately making an exciting and fresh action picture. There’s the ‘man with no name’ type character, a wandering fighter just passing through a small town with a corrupt leader, it’s simply classic.

The movie also brings up the topic of religion and how different people view it and interperat its use in society. This is mainly seen through the characters Eli and Carnegie and their opposing sides on how to use religion and it adds another layer to the film overall. This isn’t to say the movie is an overbearing religious picture, though, because it’s far from it. The aspect of religion here is used as point to push the plot forward, rather than to convince an audience of something.

This film likely wouldn’t have worked as well as it did, though, if it wasn’t for the performances. Fortunately, the film features Washington who gives a solid performance. While it’s not up there with some of his award worthy material, Washington still has a ton of screen presence, offering charisma, charm and a sense of righteousness to his character.

Oldman was also fantastic as the villain Carnegie, providing a perfect opponent to Eli. In this future, Eli and Carnegie are two of the older survivors and they both have a higher intellect than those around them, but they disagree on a number of matters. Oldman really sells this character, who on the surface seems like a civilized business man but is far more deadly and corrupt.

Another fantastic aspect to the movie is the action. As previously stated, the movie takes elements from western and samurai films, and this includes the combat. Eli both fights with a big machete that’s practically a sword and he also has some exciting shootouts.

“The Book of Eli” is a really strong, exciting action film that pays homage to multiple genres and is raised up more by its veteran actors. 4 out of 5.

REVIEW: ‘Daybreakers’

Director:
Michael Spierig
Peter Spierig
Cast:
Ethan Hawke
Sam Neill
Willem Dafoe
Rated: R

Vampire fans should certainly be pleased with this new film.

In this alternate reality, the majority of Earth’s population have become vampires and because of the subsequent immortality, the world seems to be at a state of peace.

However, as the events of the film pick up, it’s revealed that the human population has dwindled so much that vampires are running out of blood. For this reason, a government employee named Edward Dalton, played by Ethan Hawke, is curious for a solution, but his search leads him to more unexpected discoveries.

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