Category Archives: Movies

J.J. Abrams to direct ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’

Well, it looks like we finally have a director for the already massively-hyped Star Wars sequel. The man taking on the job? None other than Star Trek director J.J. Abrams! This is quite an interesting turn of events, as Abrams at one point made it quite clear that he was NOT going to be involved. The news has recently broke and is currently running rampant across the internet. Entertainment Weekly is but one of the many media outlets confirming the news.

Abrams has a brief but impressive filmography, directing 2009’s Star Trek and 2011’s Super 8. He just finished filming Star Trek Into Darkness, so it looks like he’ll be jumping right into a new franchise. Star Trek to Star Wars… interesting. The man obviously knows his Sci-Fi, so I’ll say that Star Wars is in very good hands.

Star Wars: Episode VII is currently slated for a 2015 release, so I’m sure we’ll start hearing casting news and plot details in the near future.

My Most Anticipated Movies of 2013

2012 was a great year for movies and it’s going to be hard for 2013 to match it. As always, I’m sure there will be movies that come along that I didn’t know about or didn’t know much about that will knock me on my ass and make me wonder why the hell I didn’t know about them, but whatever. The point of this list is to show you the 10 movies that I DO know about that I am pumped for the most. As long as these movies deliver on the level I’m hoping they will (IE they don’t suck) it looks like 2013 is going to be freakin’ awesome.


10. Star Trek Into Darkness

I admit I wasn’t too stoked to see this at first. While I really liked the first Star Trek, it didn’t wow me as much as it did some people. However, when I went to see The Hobbit in IMAX I was treated to a 9-minute preview of the new Star Trek… and let’s just say I’m on board now. Benedict Cumberbatch looks like he will be a fantastic villain (which was what I felt was lacking from the first film) and the stakes seem to be very high as it looks like Spock gets in a bit of trouble. I don’t want to get my expectations too high, but I am definitely curious to see where this one goes.

Note: let’s just hope it’s better than that stupid title. ‘Into Darkness’? Come on!

Release Date: May 17

9. Only God Forgives


You have Nicolas Winding Refn, who directed Drive, and you have Ryan Gosling who was the star of Drive… what more do you really need to know? Gosling plays Julian, who runs a Thai boxing club as a front for his family’s drug business. Something goes wrong and Julian finds himself being forced by his mother to avenge the death of his brother. The director has mentioned that this is a continuation of the language of Drive, which has me just a tad stoked. Just a tad, mind you.

Release Date: TBA

8. Thor: The Dark World

Thor was a movie that I loved more than most when it released in 2011. I instantly fell in love with the cast, the fish-out-of-water scenario, and the mythology it was all wrapped in. With the sequel, they are saying that this film is going to be darker (never would have guessed) and will feature new worlds (another shock). Wow, I guess the title really does say it all.

Release Date: November 8


7. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire


I was a big fan of the first one, even though it did have its flaws. I have even higher hopes for this one as it has a new director (Francis Lawrence) that will be directing the series right to the very end, and will be introducing some fantastic new characters to the series (Finnick Odair). Catching Fire definitely has a plot that surprised me when I first read the book, and it will be interesting to see it unfold onscreen.

Release Date: November 22

6. Iron Man 3

The Avengers was one of the biggest and best movies of last year, and here we have my favorite Avenger in his third solo movie. Shane Blackis directing (known for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) and Ben Kingsley is the villain, so this one has some serious talent on hand. It looks like this sequel is going to be the darkest one yet, with Iron Man appearing very battle worn and defeated in the trailer. I hope it still has some of the light-hearted charm that was present in the original Iron Man film, but whatever path it takes I will definitely be watching.

Release Date: May 3

5. Kick-Ass 2


I wasn’t expecting much from Kick-Ass, but it ended up being a movie that pleasantly surprised me. It had great humor, a good story, and a fantastic cast of characters. It really made me wonder what it would be like if some random person in the real world actually did dress up like a superhero and fought crime. It might not have enough realism to really take that plot point any deeper, but it still plays to the wonder that any superhero movie fan has.

Kick-Ass 2 has an addition to the cast that I can’t wait to see on screen. Jim Carrey enters the mix as Colonel Stars and Stripes, and it would be awesome if this is ends up being another classic role for him. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is what really has me excited, however, as he is returning as a bad guy named ‘The Mother F*cker’. You read that right. This could be even better than the original, and will surely be a hell of a lot of fun this summer.

Release Date: June 28

4. Monster’s University


Monsters, Inc. is one of my favorite Pixar movies (one of my many favorites from Pixar, I guess I should say) and here we have a prequel to it. This film will show Mike Wazoski and Sully meeting in college as they both want to be scarers at Monsters, Inc. It should be absolutely hilarious seeing what college life might be like if it was inhabited entirely by monsters and with Mike and Sully along for the ride it makes the deal even better.

Release Date: June 21

3. The Wolverine


My anticipation for this movie doesn’t come solely from the fact that everything I’ve seen so far looks fantastic, but it also comes from me wanting Wolverine to get the movie he deserves. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Bryan Singer films, and 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverineended up being anything BUT an origin story. Wolverine is one of the most interesting superheroes, but I still feel like we haven’t seen the masterpiece he is more than capable of having.

Enter this movie, and my hopes for a masterpiece become very high. You have James Mangold directing, who was responsible for one of my favorite movies of all-time, 3:10 to Yuma. The story takes place after all of the other X films, so it won’t be bogged down trying to line up with another story line. James Mangold has said that the film deals more with the characters internal struggles, such as Wolverines own mortality. Add on top of all of this a plot set in Japan which involves a samurai sword wielding Wolverine and you have the most interesting looking X film in, well, ever.

Release Date: July 26

2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

When The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was released it received less than glowing reviews, and that really gutted me. The Lord of the Rings is my favorite movie trilogy of all time, and I just couldn’t bear to think that a movie set in the same world could not be awesome. Well, I finally went to see it and loved it, so thanks critics for breaking my heart over nothing. The story was great, the characters were all awesome and the cinematography was nothing less than stunning.

So, yeah, needless to say part two would have me excited if it was being reenacted with puppets. Here we get to see the evil dragon Smaug on the big screen and we get even more characters joining the fray. Smaug is a character that fans of the book have been dreaming to see on the big screen for decades. While his presence is felt in the first film, Peter Jackson wisely keeps him just outside the frame whenever he is mentioned to keep the suspense high for this next film.

Release Date: December 13

1. The World’s End

No question. No competition. This movie is THE MOVIE I have to see this year. Its predecessors, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, are two of my favorite movies of all-time, so this final film has just a LITTLE pressure on it. Those films effortlessly blended both horror and comedy and action and comedy; respectively. This new film is going to be a science fiction comedy, so it certainly has potential to be extremely weird and extremely funny at the same time. It’s been a while since the last one, so I hope the gang hasn’t gotten rusty.

The movie has Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reuniting with childhood friends after twenty years to repeat a legendary pub crawl. They will try to reach the fabled pub, “The World’s End”, but they soon discover that their struggle is not just their own, but all of humanities. Also joining Pegg and Frost is Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan and Paddy Considine, which sounds too good to be true (but it’s not!). Here’s to hoping this doesn’t disappoint and is on the same level as its predecessors, which would make it one of my all-time favorite movies and in effect would make The Three Flavours Cornettotrilogy one of the best of all time. No big deal.

Release Date: October 25

So there you have it! These are the movies I will NOT be missing this year (and if I do… then… poop). Feel free to list your most anticipated movies in the comments below.

‘Zombieland’ TV show back on track

The 2009 hit zombie comedy ‘Zombieland‘ may not be getting the big screen sequel everyone wants, but news has just broke that a spin-off TV show is heading to Amazon Instant Video. It is set to take place after the events of ‘Zombieland’, although the original cast will more than likely not be returning.

Eisenberg, Stone, Breslin and Harrelson in 2009’s Zombieland

While I’m glad that this series will be continued in some form, it’s still sad knowing that the cast that made the original movie so awesome won’t be on board. I’ll probably give it a shot once it comes out, but don’t have very high expectations. Oh well, I suppose we shall see how it is WHEN it is!

Head on over to i09 for more details on the plot, though be warned it may contain some minor spoilers.

What do you guys think? Are you on board for a Zombieland TV show? Let me know in the comments below.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) Review

The legacy Peter Jackson left behind with The Lord of the Rings was massive. Jackson had successfully adapted 3 of the most cherished and beloved fantasy epics of all time to the big screen, and suddenly the world of Tolkien had opened up to an entirely new generation. The films were huge box office-successes; they were all nominated for many awards (with the last one winning 11 Oscars) and really pushed the boundaries of what was capable of being captured on film.

Now, nearly 10 years since TLOTR’s conclusion, we are being introduced to a new trilogy that will serve as the prequel. This trilogy has long been in-development, with numerous changes and setbacks taking place. Guillermo Del Toro was originally set to direct before dropping out, which resulted in Jackson taking the reigns once again. Then we have the fact that Jackson has split this one book into 3 films, whereas TLOTR was 3 separate books that got 3 separate films. Was Jackson pushing this too far?

Thankfully, the man still knows his way around Middle-Earth exceptionally well. Just within the first few minutes, all of the feelings and memories that I had when viewing TLOTR came flooding back. The setting, dialogue and characters are as rich as they were 10 years ago, and it honestly seemed like nothing had changed at all. We get some very awesome cameos and returns of characters from TLOTR (I’ll leave those out so you can be surprised like me) and we get to travel to many of the same locales, such as The Shire and Rivendell.

However, this obviously is an entirely different beast compared to TLOTR. As you may or may not know, TLOTR was written later on in Tolkien’s life, and was a much more serious undertaking, which results in a much more dark, complex and compelling adventure. The Hobbit, by comparison is more lighthearted, with more childish humor and whimsical sensibilities. However, that same sense of scope and grandeur is still hugely present, and makes this seem far more than just a light-hearted adventure.

The story tells of a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) who never went on any adventures or did anything unexpected. This all gets flipped on its head when a wizard named Gandalf (Ian McKellen) comes along looking for someone to join him in an adventure. Bilbo obviously wants nothing to do with it, and kindly (mostly) tells Gandalf, “Good Morning!” and goes back inside his hobbit hole. Gandalf leaves and Bilbo thinks that just maybe he has gotten rid of him, but alas, you can’t get rid of Gandalf.

Bilbo and his unexpected visitors

Bilbo receives a knock on his door that night, and in comes a dwarf. Shocked, he awkwardly lets him in and the dwarf helps himself to food. Then another dwarf knocks on the door, and then another, and then another, and then ANOTHER. Bilbo soon finds himself in the company of 13 dwarves, followed by Gandalf. They are embarking on a quest to take back their treasure from the dragon, Smaug, and they need Bilbo –whom they hope to enlist as a burglar- to help sneak their way in.

Unadventurous Bilbo Baggins of The Shire is shell-shocked by all of these sudden prospects of adventures and dragons and wars, but before long he finds himself on an unexpected journey.

The acting of this film is just as it was in TLOTR, phenomenal. Martin Freeman as Bilbo was the perfect choice for the role. He is very innocent and stern but he has a wry sense of humor that makes the character very funny. Watching him transform from a shy and reserved hobbit to a warrior among warriors is one of the most compelling things I have seen a character undergo. There is so much inner struggle from how he used to be and what he needs to be, and you really feel every doubt and struggle he has as the movie goes on.

Richard Armitage as Thorin

The other major addition to the cast is Thorin, played by Richard Armitage. He is the leader of the dwarves, so he is very war-hardened and fierce. The only thing that occupies his mind is the hope of killing Smaug and taking back the treasure of his people. Armitage plays him wonderfully, being a very tough character that is hesitant to trust Bilbo in such a vital role in their mission. You sympathize with him a lot when you learn his back-story and what he witnessed happen to his home and people, so any scorn he conveys never seems overbearing or misunderstood.

The vast beauty of Middle-Earth is one that is unmatched by any other movie. While watching this movie, I was constantly thinking, “This might be the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.” The landscapes are so lush and vivid, and they are so masterfully brought to life by Jackson’s WETA team. This enormously gorgeous world seems 100% authentic, and continuously had my jaw dropping to the floor.

The big complaint people are having about the film is the fact that Jackson split the book into 3 parts, and that there isn’t enough story to warrant 3 movies. What those same people fail to realize is how close he is staying to the source material, whereas with TLOTR there was so much material that many things ended up being left out. He is also utilizing the appendices from TLOTR, which have additions and revisions to The Hobbit that Tolkien himself meant to one day implement into the book, but unfortunately never was able to. There is a surplus of material at Jackson’s hands, and there probably won’t be another adaptation of these stories for a long time, so whatever worthwhile material that’s available to be adapted should be adapted.


What Jackson has given us is another glorious adventure within the realms of Middle-Earth, one that gives several nods to his now classic TLOTR trilogy while also treading new territory that enriches everything we know about hobbits, wizards and orcs. These films have a distinct feel to them that is completely different compared to other fantasy epics, and it’s nearly impossible to not be swept away by the enormity of it all. It’s been a decade, but Peter Jackson proves here that he is still a master at bringing Tolkien’s world to life. Fortunately, we all get to witness such a classic story unfold on the big screen in magnificent fashion.

Release Date: December 14, 2012

Genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Epic


Silver Linings Playbook (2012) Review

David O. Russell is a director that I first discovered with 2010’s great movie, The Fighter. With that movie he took a very simple story that we’ve all heard before, yet he made it seem fresh because of well-written dialogue and strong performances. It was an emotional roller coaster that put a completely different spin on the boxer down-on-his-luck story.

With Silver Linings Playbook Russell did something similar. We have what appears to be a very simple story about a man trying come back to society after some mental issues, and how his path collides with a girl and both of their lives change as a result. But again, and even more so than with The Fighter, he completely turns the formula on its head, giving us real situations with real characters that convey real emotion. These are situations that are so believable and so well-done that it’s nearly impossible to not connect with them.

The story follows Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) who has bi-polar disorder. He has just been released from a mental health facility after 8 months of treatment and he truly believes that he is all better. He is released to the care of his parents Pat Sr. and Dolores (played by Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver) and the relationship here is very interesting. Pat Sr. is cautious about his son and doesn’t completely believe that he is 100% better (this goes back to prior events that I won’t delve into) but Dolores is very loving and just wants everything to be fine and back to normal.

However, Pat Jr. is instantly met with bad news, as he learns that his wife Nikki (Brea Bee) has moved away and his family is going through some hard times. The film regularly returns to scenes where Pat is talking with his therapist Dr. Patel (Anupam Kher) about the incident that resulted in him being taken away. Basically, he caught his wife in the shower with another man, and they had the stereo on playing Pat and Nikki’s wedding song, “My Cherie Amour”. This sets him off and he beats the man in a fit of rage.

The true change for Pat comes when he meets Tiffany(Jennifer Lawrence). She is another person who is coming off of a very serious situation (her husband was killed) and the two of them are able to connect, as a result. However, Pat is still holding on to hope that he can get back to Nikki, so even though he really likes Tiffany, he is holding himself back. This is where you really feel for Tiffany’s character because she is completely committed to Pat with not only helping him but loving him and there is a good chance that she will not even have those feelings reciprocated.

Without question, the thing that makes this movie work so well is the acting. Across the board you are given phenomenal performances, with Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro all being nominated for acting Oscars. Bradley Cooper was a big risk and I was very hesitant in thinking that he could pull off a role like this, but he was terrific. He towed the line of behaving regularly to slowly submitting to a bi-polar attack with such poise and nuance that really makes you believe this man is conflicted.

Jennifer Lawrence continues to knock each roll she takes out of the park and this could possibly be her best performance yet. She is a wise-ass who definitely gives a lot of comic relief to the movie, but she’s also where the most emotional parts of the movie come from. She shows so much range and command, and if there is one performance that deserves an Oscar over all the others it is this one.

Lastly, Robert De Niro comes out of nowhere and finds himself in a very good role in which he gives a – wait for it – great performance! He plays a man who is old-fashioned and tough but deep down he really just wants to reconnect with his son because he feels he didn’t give him as much love as he could have when he was younger. Welcome back, Bob!

On a less serious note; David O. Russell continues to put together fantastic soundtracks for his films. With The Fighter he had Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones to name a few. This time around we’re given more Zeppelin, Bob Dylan and two White Stripes songs. I want to emphasize the White Stripes songs, particularly the second one. The song is “Fell In Love With A Girl”, and I won’t spoil it but I will say that the way Russell incorporated it into the film was fantastic. I usually don’t pay much attention to soundtracks of films, but he has done an awesome job with them recently.

By this point, I am now anxiously awaiting whatever David O. Russell does next, because he has impressed the hell out of me with his last two movies. He is a master at taking familiar situations and breathing completely new life into them. Silver Linings Playbook on the surface is very familiar, but as we delve deeper to the core of the narrative we discover a story that is more realistic and emotional than most we have ever seen. This is perhaps Russell’s best film yet, and deserves all of the awards it has coming its way.

Release Date: November 16, 2012

Genres: Drama, Romance, Comedy


Zero Dark Thirty (2012) Review

When everyone heard that Osama bin Laden had been killed in 2011, the U.S. breathed a huge sigh of relief. We were finally able to find the man responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent American citizens after a decade-long manhunt. At the same time, Kathryn Bigelow, who was just coming off the huge Academy Award success of The Hurt Locker, was shooting a film documenting the entire journey. This was met with mixed reception, as some believed it might be too political and wouldn’t do justice to such an important story. They are wrong on both accounts. This film isn’t political, nor does it gloss over or sugarcoat any of the vital details of this operation. Kathryn Bigelow has crafted a masterpiece of a film that slowly builds tension over the 157 minute run-time, erupting in a heart-pounding finale that everyone was eagerly anticipating to unfold onscreen.

The film begins with the torture of man linked to al-Qaeda. Dan, a CIA agent played by Jason Clarke, is letting the Arab man know that “if you lie, I hurt you.” The man is not so easily broken, so this leads to a few torture sequences which were definitely a bit shocking and hard to watch. I know that many people are making a big deal out of whether or not torture was really used during this ordeal and questioning the morality issues of portraying it that way, but I myself don’t look too deeply into it. No matter how “true” a story claims it is, you are never going to get a movie that is 100% truthful to the source material, because it more than likely wouldn’t make for an engaging film. This is nothing more than a dramatization of the facts that we do know about the investigation and uses only the most important and/or interesting details in order to keep the viewer’s eyes glued to the screen.

During the opening sequence we are also introduced to Maya, a CIA agent played by Jessica Chastain. She is the woman this entire film revolves around, because it is her complete commitment to finding Osama bin Laden that results in all of the progress that was made to finally find him. Jessica Chastain is simply phenomenal in this role. She is very reserved and meticulous, and you always get the sense that the only thing on her mind is to get bin Laden. Of course, this mindset has had some negative side-effects on her social life and maybe a bit of her sanity, but you sympathize with her because you know that she cannot rest until her mission is complete. Chastain definitely put in an Oscar-worthy performance here, and if she does win it is deservedly so.

The story bounces around from intel that the team gathers on bin Laden’s whereabouts and to other people who may be able to shed a little light on the situation. These scenes are often slow and methodical, as it took a long time for any evidence of note to really be uncovered. However, it is the passion of those involved and the desperation of Maya that keeps these scenes from becoming stale. They literally have almost nothing to go on for a while, so even the littlest detail is a huge deal. Some intel leads to important breakthroughs, while others are misleads that come with dire consequences. The teams really has no choice but to trust people who they normally wouldn’t, which adds a lot of suspense to the entire narrative.

Maya faces a lot of adversity throughout the film, because she is truly the only person that believes in the hunt. Throughout the films runtime she constantly has to prove people wrong and try to convince them that the effort is worth it. People are getting tired of the manhunt, they have other things to worry about and Chastain has become that boil on everyone’s butt. However, she never once falters, and even if she doesn’t always get the results she wants or expects, she is always making sure that there is no stone left unturned. Everyone else in the film basically continues just based on her own confidence and determination by the second half of the film, which is truly inspiring.

Even though Chastain is far and away the central character and the driving force for the entire film, she is still surrounded by a very strong supporting cast. Mark Strong is fantastic as George, a man involved with the intelligence of the mission. There is a repeated situation between Strong and Chastain that happens throughout the second half of the film that provides some quick but refreshing humor into the mix. As the days go on and no progress is being made on the mission, Chastain repeatedly goes to the window of Strong’s office and writes the number of days it has been in big red marker. It is very funny, especially as you witness the number getting bigger and bigger and bigger.

Jason Clarke is perhaps the most important supporting character in the film, because he is the most closely involved with Maya and her operation. He’s responsible for the torturing of the those linked to Osama bin Laden, though you can tell that such a job has left a mark on him. He wants to help Maya, but at the same time he also wants to have a normal life and wants to get away from all the madness he’s involved in. The intensity he brings to the early scenes is what really makes the movie hit the ground running. Rounding out the cast is Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Ehle, and James Gandolfini as well as Joel Edgerton and Chris Pratt who are part of the SEAL team. They don’t show up until the last act of the movie, but there is no denying the importance of their roles and the talent conveyed from them.

What Kathryn Bigelow has been able to achieve with Zero Dark Thirty is remarkable. She’s taken a decade-long manhunt and condensed it to just over 2 hours and 30 minutes of muted intensity. To be able to do that with a story that everybody already knows the ending to is incredible. As I said before, we probably will never know the exact events of what happened during the entire operation, and this film only scratches the surface of a dilemma that definitely has immense depths of information left untapped. Even so, the film completely immerses you in the experience and makes you believe in absolutely everything it is telling you. Bigelow makes you feel like you had a first-hand account of one of the biggest events in American history, and that alone is an incredible achievement.

Release Date: December 18, 2012 (Limited)

Genres: War, Action, Thriller



The Bourne Legacy (2012) Review

The Bourne trilogy contains some of the best action / espionage films ever created. They are extremely well scripted, acted and executed, and really raised the bar for what is possible for these types of movies. When that trilogy came to an end, many people were still thirsty for more (especially considering how fantastic the final film was). However, director Paul Greengrass and the series star Matt Damon would not be returning. How can you continue a franchise without the main character? Do you make a reboot, prequel, or a sequel that focuses on somebody new? Well, the answer to that, more or less, is all of the above. The events of this film run parallel with The Bourne Ultimatum, while fleshing out background info from previous installments while simultaneously building things up for future installments.

The Bourne Legacy stars Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross. He’s a member of Operation Outcome, which is a Department of Defense black ops program. They enlist people who – like Jason Bourne at Treadstone – take on a new identity, though the difference is that they are physically and mentally enhanced by blue and green “chems”. These pills that Outcome are giving their field operatives are a genetic breakthrough, though they are top-secret and are known only to those involved in the program. The movie begins with Cross being in the middle of training assignment for Outcome in Alaska, which is basically supposed to test everything that he is capable of doing.

However, things quickly start to fall apart, and it turns out Operation Outcome has found itself in hot water. Operation Blackbriar and Treadstone have been publicly exposed (as witnessed in the 3rd film) which leads to an investigation by the FBI and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. They will be digging up as much information as they can on known faces from previous films in the franchise, such as Pamela Landy and Dr. Albert Hirsch.

The conflict truly begins when Eric Byer, a CIA clandestine operations leader, discovers a video on the internet in which the lead researchers of both Outcome and Treadstone are seen together. Byer does not want this link to lead to an exposure of Operation Outcome, so he decides to completely destroy the program. He plans to kill all of those involved so nothing about the program ever sees the light of day, and he has no problem with doing that because there is a backup plan. Aaron Cross eventually realizes this, and must now avoid assassination from the very same people he is working for.

The main thing that everybody is wondering is whether or not Jeremy Renner is a fitting replacement for Matt Damon, and I can answer that with a resounding yes. Renner is every bit as capable as Matt Damon, acting-wise, though the difference in the two characters allows Renner to do more. Aaron Cross is still very much a person who is aware of his situation, unlike Bourne who is very confused about everything, which gives us a character who is tough but extremely likeable. Aaron Cross was a character that I found more compelling, which is probably because Renner is a better actor than Damon.

Renner and Norton

The cast is definitely one of the highlights of the film, as it is rounded out by some truly talented people. Rachel Weisz is the leading lady this time around, and she gives a very powerful performance. Her character is constantly in turmoil, and Weisz brings the proper amount of hysteria for her particular situation. Ed Norton is another new face, being the man who is tirelessly hunting down Aaron Cross. He appears to be an average person, but he has many things up his sleeves that he must subdue in order for his master plan to work. He’s evil but you can understand the circumstances that lead him to what he’s doing, and that makes him quite the compelling antagonist.

Tony Gilroy takes over the directing duties as previous director Paul Greengrass stepped aside, and he does a fantastic job. Gilroy has been the screenwriter for all films in the franchise up to this point, so he definitely is no slouch in knowing what the heart and soul of the movies are all about. His action scenes are not nearly as choppy or shaky as what we saw in previous installments, and that was a definite improvement. Gilroy also wrote the screenplay and delivers another compelling story that is both familiar and unique compared to the ones that came before it.

The Bourne Legacy is a very worthy addition to this fantastic franchise. It introduces new characters, conflicts and ideas, and it’s all wrapped up in a narrative that is very compelling. We get to see an entirely different perspective to the story we have been following for years now, and it sheds a new light on everything we have learned up to this point. Jeremy Renner is absolutely fantastic as Aaron Cross, giving us a protagonist that we can relate to far more than we could with Jason Bourne. I hope that the filmmakers decide to continue on with him at the helm, though it’s looking iffy with the mixed reception. Whatever happens, it doesn’t change the fact that this is an awesome addition to the franchise and continues to cement this series as one of the best ever made.

Release Date: August 10, 2012

Genres: Action, Thriller, Espionage


House at the End of the Street (2012) Review

With a movie that has such a generic title, you might expect that it would be a red herring. The Cabin in the Woods was a similar situation, and it ended up being one of my favorite horror satires of all-time. House at the End of the Street is not horror satire; in fact, it is the exact kind of movie that horror satires make fun of. However, even though the script is spotty, it still contains some characters I found to be very likeable, and a story that was interesting even if it wasn’t executed as well as it could have been.

The movie is a about a teenage girl named Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) that moves into a new neighborhood with her mom. They move right next to a house where a young girl murdered her parents four years ago. Her mother tells her that the drama surrounding that house allowed them to move in next door for a rather affordable price. They believe that this house at the end of the street is vacant; but the mother notices a light turn on in the house around 3 o’clock in the morning. It turns out the son of the murder victims, Ryan, still lives in the house.

Elissa is introduced to a boy that goes to her school, but quickly realizes that he is a jerk and does not want to be involved with his crowd. She is walking home from a party one night, and Ryan offers to give her a ride home. She accepts, eventually, and proceeds to ask him about the story of the murders. He tells her that his sister, Carrie-Anne, got brain damage from falling off a swing. This made her become very aggressive which led to her murdering their parents. He feels responsible because he was helping her go higher than she should have been going on the swing. She quickly learns that he is very troubled, but deep down she feels that he is a good person and she wants to help him.

If it wasn’t for Jennifer Lawrence I would not have gotten as much out of this movie as I did. She is extremely likeable and elevates the so-so dialogue so that you at least are interested in what is going on, even if you aren’t completely wowed by it. This won’t be a performance she’ll be remembered for, but it certainly is better than most horror films of this nature. I must also praise the performance of Max Thieriot, who played Ryan. He was very reserved and socially awkward, and was believable as a boy with a rough upbringing. Thieriot portrayed the emotional scars that Ryan had well, and even though he didn’t need much range, I still sympathized with his character.

This wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be. The plot isn’t anything revolutionary, but it offered enough interesting elements to keep me watching. It’s unfortunate that the movie squanders a lot of the potential the story did have, and relies on very cheap jump scares to try and rack the tension up. There was potential here for a very good horror movie, but some interesting plot points simply don’t get fleshed out enough. House at the End of the Street isn’t going to be on any year end lists, but as far as the horror genre goes, you can do a worse. Even though the execution is spotty and it isn’t very scary, I liked some of the pieces to this puzzle, even if they never fit together.

Release Date: September 25, 2012

Genres: Horror, Thriller, Mystery



The Cabin in the Woods (2012) Review

A horror film that is clever and original is something that you seldom see in this day and age. The genre is overflowing with films that have paper-thin plots that are buried with gore, nudity and cheap scares as a way to cover up the shortcomings. With the vast majority of these films being panned by critics and moviegoers alike, it is about time that a film came around that turns today’s horror formula on its head. Thankfully, along comes The Cabin in the Woods; a horror film that makes fun of many of the horror genre cliches and treats us with a story that is fun and engaging. Finally, a modern horror film with a freakin’ script!

The film takes place – you guessed it – in a cabin in the woods. 5 college students go there for a vacation, and bad things happen. While this appears to be the most standard and dumb horror plot in existence, that is exactly the point. The film starts off as just another horror film in order to make fun of all of the genres cliches; such as the isolated area, a creepy man warning them not to go there, and the 5 people themselves all fall into the most generic horror characterizations imaginable. As the film goes on, however, the nods to old horror films takes a back seat, and we are slowly sucked into a story that resembles no other.

This is a well executed film, and Drew Goddard (director, co-writer) is able to balance the comedy and horror aspects really well. Whether you are laughing at the absurdity of a situation or shaking because of what lies in the shadows, they both work and the tonal shifts never feel jarring. I must also give him credit for gathering a great cast of actors that actually make the film better rather than taking away from it. It is a given in horror films that you have absolutely horrible actors that are underdeveloped and you could not care any less about them. This is not the case here, as all of the actors give solid performances and are very likeable. Each character is here for a reason that drives the story forward, not just to drive up the death count.

I can’t delve any deeper into the plot because it’s nearly impossible to without spoiling something. This film is best viewed without knowing any of its tricks, so I recommend not reading any in-depth reviews before seeing it. It’s called The Cabin in the Woods for crying out loud; it wants you to think it is just another dumb horror film, and if you go in thinking that you will more than likely come out pleasantly surprised. Rarely does a film come along that is so predictable and at the same time so unpredictable, and the fact that it happens to be a horror film is more than enough reason why it should be checked out.

Release Date: April 13, 2012

Genres: Horror, Comedy, Thriller