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Men in Black 3 ***

Is  It Worth Seeing in Theaters? Yes. 

The Men in Black franchise has been absent for quite a while. Ten years to be exact. I just love the creativeness of everything between the humor to the alien designs and to the cameos and weapons that the characters use. I was skeptical going into this one because I heard there were a lot of problems with the script while shooting the film, which is never a good sign. But to my surprise, Not only was the film a lot of fun to watch, the story was well done and has enough twists and turns to keep you interested from start to finish.

Men in Black 3 follows Agent J who travels in time to MIB’s early years in the 1960s, to stop an alien from assassinating his friend Agent K and changing history. Another problem I thought I was going to have prior to seeing the film is that they would not handle the time traveling aspects of it well. I had a feeling that there would be a lot of plot holes and that would make it silly. But they never made it to serious where it left the charm of the franchise behind, yet it never got too silly where it lost track of what it was trying to accomplish. It just felt right.

Will Smith is great here as Agent J. He really delivers the one liners well and he surprisingly gives not to bad of a serious performance as well, in the serious moments he does a great job and when the comedic scenes came up, he never lost his touch from the previous entries. Tommy Lee Jones, though with barely little screen time, is still just as good as K. He still has his non-emotional face but something I really enjoyed was that we get to see a better past of his character and see why he is the way he is.

Josh Brolin is easily one of the best parts of the film, He is spot on with the character K and not only that but he resembles Tommy Lee Jones quite a bit and nails him to perfection. Jemaine Clemment gave a good performance, but I do feel as if his character was the weakest of them all, but I’ll get into that later. Michael Stuhlbarg was good, he reminded me of a younger Robin Williams, I really enjoyed his character and his line delivery was fantastic.

All of the visuals were really cool, the alien designs were creative, the set pieces were excellent, and as always there are some hilarious celebrity cameos to look out for in the background of scenes. The film never seemed to lose it’s steam, all of the action scenes were spread out and shot perfectly and the humor was great here. There were some really subtle jokes that you either get or you don’t and there are laugh out loud jokes everyone can get.

Now, Men in Black 3 does have it’s problems. As I said before, I thought Jemaine Clemment did good as the villain. The only problem is I didn’t think his character was written well. He had a bunch of annoying one liners and while he was developed well, I didn’t really care for his reasoning of why he wanted to go back in time to kill K and it all just seemed a bit poorly put together in my opinion.

The film is a bit rushed, It never effect the story. Because at the end you feel totally satisfied but I believe there were a some moments where the breezed over scenes that I personally would have liked to see more of, and specifically the ending. Agent O in present is played by Emma Thompson who does a fine job and in the past is played by Alice Eve who is also solid. But they didn’t really have enough screen time to grasp or explore their characters other than their relationship with K.

Other than a few minor complaints I had with the film, I thought Men in Black 3 was a total blast and a surprisingly great film. It answers a bunch of questions, some that you are dying to know the answers to and others that you did not even know you should be asking, and by the time the movie is over you not only feel satisfied because the movie turned out to be so good, but in how they wrapped up the series as a whole. Some may get the feeling we have seen the last of Agents J and K.

Overall:  This is one of the biggest pleasant surprises of the summer movie season so far. I give Men In Black 3 *** stars.

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The Avengers ****

Is It Worth Seeing in Theaters? Yes.

Marvel has been leading us to this one film for over four years now with five different films that are all apparently going to tie into “The Avengers”, So I think it is pretty safe to say that if this film sucked Marvel would be on life support. Not to mention they would lose a lot of respect and profit.

“The Avengers” is an epic powerhouse of everything that a fan could possibly ask for in a comic book film and more. I am indeed a fan of Marvel and I have to say, I had incredibly high expectations going into this. At the same time, I was very cautious because how could one film simply achieve such greatness, mix in so many heroes into one story without it feeling messy or forced. Well, Joss Whedon certainly achieve that, he has crafted a pure cinematic thrill ride and dare I say, a masterpiece.

The plot involves Loki, Brother of Thor and God of Mischief who comes down to Earth to start war and take over everything. He is using the tesseract and his army of aliens to do so. Nick Fury is the first to witness this plan so he goes ahead and activates The Avengers Initiative. What is that? Well, It’s what this film is all about. Fury calls in Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, The Hulk, Black Widow, and Thor all to fight for the survival of mankind, and it is epic.

The first half of the film does a really good job at developing the relationships between each and every character, what the opinions are of each character to Loki, What they think of each other, do they want to be apart of The Avengers, which is what brings the realism to the film of making actual conflicts for a team, and these conflicts have consequences and it is so well done and interesting to see the outcome of the choices that these characters make.

Let’s go to the performances. Robert Downey Jr. is here for the third time in the role as Iron Man and he’s just as good here, with the same sense of humor that made him so lovable in the Iron Man movies. Mark Ruffalo is taking over from Edward Norton as The Hulk and he is easily my new favorite Avenger. He has a great sense of humor, he just takes control and totally owns the role of The Hulk and Bruce Banner. As Banner, he is really chill and in control, but when he does the motion capture for The Hulk he does an amazing job.

Chris Hemsworth is here again as Thor and you can see he has learned his lesson from his troubles in Thor, he seems to be a better man and he cares about Earth. That is why he is risking hurting his own brother to protect it. Chris Evans is great here as Captain America. He really nails the leader role and it’s really cool to see him being introduced to the new world and his reactions to past events and the new technology. Samuel L. Jackson was great as Nick Fury, he had some great one liners, as expected.

Scarlet Johanson was good as Black Widow, We get to see more back story for her this time around. As well was Hawkeye played by Jeremy Reener. He has some good lines, gives a solid performances, and does excellent in all of the action scenes. But, Of course, Loki. Tom Hidleston plays this role so brilliantly, he is easily the best villain since Heath Ledger’s The Joker. I like his character because he does his research on the team so he really knows everything about them and how to annoy and scare them, all of their strengths and weaknesses.

All of the action scenes are done really well, because there is no shaky cam what so ever, they are all very clear and you can tell what is going on. People you don’t expect to fight or team up with one another do just that and it only makes you appreciate this film even more. We also have to give credit to Mark Ruffalo for doing the motion capture for The Hulk and that is something else to admire, In the past Hulk films none of the actors resembled the design of The Hulk. This time around, The Hulk looks like a giant green Mark Ruffalo.

The final half of this film is a fan’s dream. There is a giant battle in New York and everyone fights everyone, everyone teams up with everyone. It’s destructive and I don’t even know how many times I clapped. Because this is what all of the fans wanted and I bow down to Whedon for giving fans a two and a half hour, quickly paced, swift action with amazing dialogue and every character fans loved in the past films interacting with one another masterpiece.

I could go on and on about how much I loved this film but that could be until the sequel, So here we go, this is easily the best film I have seen this year so far, and I have to give it my highest rating.

I Give The Avengers **** stars.

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The Five-Year Engagement ***

Is It Worth Seeing in Theaters? Yes.

“The Five-Year Engagement” is a new raunchy romantic comedy from director Nicholas Stoller (Get Him To The Greek, Forgetting Sarah Marshall.) which I’m a fan of, I find his films to be funny and sweet. The plot follows Tom and Violet, we follow them from the time of an engagement that is delayed to a Five Year time period in which drama and raunchy comedy ensue.

The Five-Year Engagement wasn’t quite as hilarious as I thought it would be, I wanted to get that right off the back. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t really enjoy the film for what it turned out to be. It was a true romance film, sprinkled with realism and mixed in with raunchy humor, making it a really good time at the movies.

Now, Easily the best part about this film are the performances and chemistry between Jason Segel and Emily Blunt. They work really well together, they have good dialogue between each other, the chemistry between the two of them work really well because it’s extremely believable. You believe the drama. You’ve certainly seen this film before, but the cast, director, and writer make it work.

They develop these characters really well because in the first few minutes you get a good sense of how much these two characters are in love and you really feel for what they go through and the challenges that this relationship faces. Which is what makes this film seem real and genuine.

Overall: This is a very feel good and funny film, it will make you leave the theater smiling.

I give The Five-Year Engagement *** Stars.

 

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The Cabin in The Woods ****


Is It Worth Seeing In Theaters? Yes.

I am not going to give a plot summary, because you should go into this film with a completely clear and open mind ready for an amazing theater experience shocked by everything that the creators of this modern day masterpiece have to offer you, and what they have to offer you is completely original, satisfying, and entertaining.

“The Cabin in The Woods” is the horror film for this generation. In late 1996 we got a little film called “Scream”, it redefined the way audiences viewed horror films and more importantly it changed the way film makers made the films. Now they are more self aware, and in Cabin in The Woods? Well, go out and see for your self.

It’s a smartly written, masterfully crafted, genuinely terrifying, hilarious, and self aware. If that alone doesn’t make you realize my thoughts on the film, here you go. I loved every minute of the film, It is honestly one of the best horror films that I have ever seen. That’s right, I said it. One of the best I’ve ever seen.

If you are one of the people that hate remakes and 3D, wanting to find something original in a horror film or just maybe a film in general I think you will be very surprised and satisfied with this film. Because it’s an improvement on anything and everything that you would want to see in a film from this genre.

It starts off pretty generic, but once you get a good idea and grasp of what is happening, the film takes off at the pace of a speeding train. I thought the cast worked really well together. Drew Goddard had some twisted and amazing direction here, Joss Whedon wrote the script and I tip my hat to this man, he did a brilliant job at crafting this.

It sets the bar high for any other horror film to not only come out for the rest of 2012, but it sets the bar high for any horror film to ever come out in the next generation or so. It is built to lead you up to believe it’s something you’ve seen, and right when you expect something really generic. It turns and makes you think, get confused, and scare you, blowing your mind as they do so.

I wouldn’t exactly call Cabin in The Woods a slap to the face of any and all horror films, even though, yes, it’s a lot smartly written and self aware than any other horror film I’ve seen. I wouldn’t call it a slap to the face of the genre, it’s more of a critique if you will. A smudge of greatness thrown at the faces of anyone who has ever made a horror film. Audiences will never view them the same way, ever again.

Overall: The Cabin in The Woods is an originally inventive take on the genre and is entertainment at it’s finest. It’s a modern day masterpiece, the review would be more insightful but I’m afraid I would accidentally spoil something.

I give The Cabin in The Woods **** Stars.

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American Reunion *** 1/2

Is It Worth Seeing In Theaters? Yes.

“American Reunion” is the newest installment in the “American Pie” franchise, the first film was a big hit back when it was released in 1999 and It’s personally one of my favorite High School films because I think all of the characters are so well done and you can relate to at least one of them. The sequels came in and I enjoyed them, but they didn’t quite capture the feel of the first. Now that we have American Reunion, not only do I think we have captured the feel of the first, but I think it might actually be better than the first.

This time around we have Jim and Michelle who are now married with a child, they still love each other but the marriage has lost it’s spark. Oz is a news expert on a sports channel and is married to a younger woman, Kevin is married and is pretty much a stay at home husband, Vicky is living in New York, Heather is in a relationship with a cardiologist,  Finch is mysterious and traveling the world, and Stifler is, well, still Stifler. He has a job but he is just as, if not more, immature this time around.

Going into this film I was a little worried, I was thinking they were going to modernize it and try to make it all hip. To some extent, yes, there were moments where they tried to modernize one of Stifler’s party or something but I found it to work because it represented that they were getting older and that it’s a new generation, it isn’t the same type of music or parties, everything is changing.

The main question everyone wants to know, Is this film funny? Yes, It’s very funny. I’d go out and say it’s hilarious. If you didn’t like the previous entries, yes, this is the most light hearted of the franchise but it still has nudity and strong language, it’s still a raunchy comedy so if you didn’t like it in the nineties, you won’t like it now.

It felt real when we see the guys come back together, and the previous films made the cast work so well together we feel like we actually are apart of this series, like these are our friends and this installment makes us feel as if this is our reunion we are attending.

Oddly, something I wasn’t expecting, it has heart to it. Yes, the previous entries has a small dose of heart but I felt this one really nailed it between Jim’s Dad and his struggles,  Stifler trying to live in the past of his high school and college days, and the marriage problems between Jim and Michelle. For the first time in the series I felt like the problems these characters had were real and genuine.

If you are a fan of the originals you will love this film, it has the same exact type humor, it’s most likely the funniest of the four. It has a lot of great cameos and references to the previous installments and it’s just a nostalgic ride from beginning to end, and as a fan of the series, I completely loved it. It wraps up the series nicely and it closes on just about anything you could think of, and for that…

I give American Reunion *** 1/2 Stars.

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American Reunion: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Review

Today I am here to review the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack from the new film “American Reunion”, which I saw the other night and I will have my movie review up shortly.

 

The American Pie films have always had a very specific type of Blink 182 90’s rock thrown into it’s soundtrack, which I’ve always admired quite a bit.  While there isn’t a whole lot of 90’s rock to be found in this soundtrack, it manages to keep the soul of the original soundtrack alive while adding in some modern and hip music as well.

 

One song that oddly didn’t make it on the track which played at the opening of the film was “Everybody Talks” by Neon Trees which was sad they didn’t include it, I was actually mistaken when hearing it, thinking it was a song from the 90’s when it was really released little over a year ago.

 

As for the songs I think fit relatively well with the soundtrack’s 90s theme are Wannamama — Pop Levi , I’m A Man — The Blue Van , Bring It On Home — Kopek ,  and Last Night — Good Charlotte (Personal Favorite of mine.) .

While the film does add some new, hip, songs to the mix such as You Make Me Feel…(feat. Sabi) — Cobra Starship and My First Kiss — Ke$ha I think it is added in the appropriate moments and spots where the characters are realizing we are no longer in the 90s, as the world has changed, so has the soundtrack.

Overall: I think if you are a fan of the previous soundtrack entries in the American Pie franchise I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the way this one has turned out.  I am going to give it a *** Star rating simply because I would have liked to hear more from Blink 182 or classic American Pie music like that.

 

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The Hunger Games ***

Is It Worth Seeing In Theaters? Yes.

“The Hunger Games” is the latest adaptation from a wildly popular young adult book series to hit the big screen and predicted to win big time at the box office, but for people like me, we know it’s not the money that makes quality of a film, looks at Twilight. Those films are terrible but make about 100 million on, what, opening night alone? I’m glad to say “The Hunger Games” is making some serious cash and beats Twilight quality wise.

I first read “The Hunger Games” back in 2009 back when no one knew what it was, back when Twilight was still the biggest thing out there.  That being said that I have read the book, how did I think it adapted? I can say it’s a pretty good adaptation, it brought the best parts, brought it to life and nailed the overall tone of the book nicely, it has a few minor changes that really didn’t annoy me that much if at all.

The Hunger Games follows Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) who lives in District 12, run by The Capitol each year a reaping is held where each of the twelve districts sacrifice one teen male and female from ages 12-18 to compete in The Hunger Games, a fight to the death until the last person is standing type competition, when her little sister is picked for The Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers in her place and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), a baker’s son, are the two put in the games representing District 12. Now Katniss must use her hunting skills to try to survive and win throughout The Hunger Games, to be crowned victor.

I really dug this film, there are going to be a lot of fans out there not happy with it because of a few things they didn’t nail exactly correct but I really enjoyed it. I think the best part of The Hunger Games is the cast, everyone here does better than good. Each person did a great job with their role.  Jennifer Lawrence holds the center of the film and gives the performance of her career both action and stunt wise, but a powerful and emotional performance as well.

Another standout in the cast was Woody Harelson, I thought he did excellent as Haymith, Katniss and Peeta’s drunken mentor for the games. Stanley Tucci who played Caesar, just a host of the show, stole the show in every scene he was in. Josh Hutcherson was really solid in the role as Peeta but I would have liked to see the writers give him a bit more to work with. The Rest of the cast from Liam Hemsworth who played Gale and Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket all did really good as well.

The Film is a solid 140 minutes, and it moves it’s pace along at the speed of lightning, this is one of the most fast paced films I’ve seen, considering it’s running time. It has a great build up to the games, we are getting pumped to see what actually happens and once the games hit, the action is intense and that’s where the first flaw comes in, after the first few minutes of shaky cam and feeling like we are in the games with Katniss, it gets annoying because at time we can’t see who is killing who.

The Action we do see are pretty bloody and intense, and there a lot of times during this film where I realize that they were really pushing the PG-13 rating with teenagers killing each other.  When I kept thinking this might be a little much, I realize we are supposed to feel this way, it’s towards the capitol just like how the districts feel when they see children from where they live get killed just for the sake of entertainment. I thought they handled that really well and expressed a great message about the upper and lower class of finance.

Going back to what I said earlier about the brilliant pacing, at time towards the third act of the film, I do feel as if they rushed through a lot of important plot points, and I really don’t like having to compared the book and film but there are a lot of things here the film makers don’t worry about explaining, because I guess they thought fans of the books would know what was going on and didn’t think anyone else would see it. There are a lot of plot holes here and that is a major flaw for me.

But Overall: The Hunger Games will for sure get a sequel and I will not be surprised if it ends up getting development later this year if that early. I really enjoyed it despite a few flaws.

I’m going to give The Hunger Games *** stars.