Well, it’s been at least two weeks since I last reviewed a film in theaters.  And now, nearly a week after having seen it, and more than a week since it was released, I’d like to tell you what I thought about Fright Night.


All of the characters in this comedic horror film were very funny.  The actors were completely believable in their roles and no suspension of disbelief was required in accepting that the characters portrayed could be real people.  (Oftentimes, comedies present you with a number of strawman characters because it’s easy to make them do funny things.  This film employed real personalities whose comedic value were brought about by situational humor and witty dialogue, comedy that I value highly.)  Favorite actors were Colin Farrell and David Tennant as the former portrayed a modern-day vampire as I’d hoped and the latter as being a stupendously ridiculous character, yet still acceptable as a human being.

Beyond the characters, I was a fan of the story.  In my many years, I never got around to seeing the original Fright Night, and have no immediate plans to do so.  (I find that watching original films, after impressive remakes, usually leaves me disappointed in the quality of the original.)  So I can only speak of the most recent Fright Night and commend it for both portraying vampires in a way that I can appreciate (take that Twilight), and for being clever with what a vampire entails.  Aside from the standard, goes out only at night and avoids garlic omelets, the Fright Night vampire, Jerry, is clever about his host city (Las Vegas), the construction of his house , and the way he works.


This movie only suffers when it attempts to reinforce itself.  Truly, it’s almost a curse of humility where the writers, director, and special effects staff must’ve thought they’d not produced a funny enough film so they had to go above and beyond.  In that pursuit, we find a scene reminiscent of An American Werewolf in London, in which our protagonist’s friend is turned into a vampire and is nearly decapitated after losing an arm.  But he remains alive, so now our protagonist is attacked by a one-armed, head hanging vampire that now not only reminds me of the zombie from AWIL, but the Black Knight from Monty Python.  ‘Tis merely a flesh wound. 


My sole qualm belonging in this section is the special effects work done in this film.  Blood effects seem overdone and Jerry’s transformation in times of extreme physical threat is a bit off-putting, with the transformed image looking poor in comparison to everything around him.


This was a greatly enjoyable film.  Though it is no cinematic masterpiece, it will likely become a modern cult classic, succeeding its predecessor.  I recommend this film as a comedy more than anything else because that’s what it did best.  It has mild thriller elements and a classic monster story, but you’ll probably want to see it for the laughs more than anything else.  (Well, the laughs and the scene in which our protagonist lights himself on fire to grapple with Jerry.  That was brilliant.)



A long time ago, longer now than it seems, in a place that perhaps you’ve seen in your dreams, I was a small boy.  Very small indeed, around eight years old.  With few friends and a malleable mind, I turned to books for solace and stimulation.  The first of these books was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  This novel kindled a love for the series and reading in general for me.  This love, which has defined me for much of my life, did not extend to the Harry Potter films.

While my review of the most recent Potter film was begrudgingly positive, films past had left me indifferent to the status of the series and wishing for the productions to end.  And, because of his titular status, Daniel Radcliffe soon became a negative figure in my mind.  I felt that the character he portrayed, while debatably accurate, was a very depressing protagonist whose sole purpose, it seemed, was to make me dislike him.  I realize though, that this was merely a character and that Radcliffe could be an excellent actor in his upcoming film.


I first heard of this film today when a trailer appeared in my news feed.  Radcliffe’s name caught my attention and I can say that I’m not disappointed by what I saw.  While only so much information can be gleaned from ninety seconds of video, the trailer is a marvel in itself.  The settings are cold and bleak (It’s just England, I know).  The voices are even colder and reciting some of the creepiest poetry I’ve ever heard.  Radcliffe, himself, seems to have matured from the filming of the last Potter film and now looks like an admirable adult actor. 

I can’t say much more other than that it appears to be an Anglicized version of The Grudge, by which I only mean to say that the two seem similar, that I’m actually looking forward to. 

The current release date is February 3, 2012.  The trailer may be viewed here.


Not so long ago, only about four years now, the first Ghost Rider film was released.  When I first saw it, I was enamored.  Unaccustomed to good films, I fell in love with the explosions and ridiculousness of Ghost Rider.  Upon a recent viewing of the film, I can tell you that it does not hold up to maturity.  The ridiculousness is less endearing and some scenes make me cringe in horror.  (Ignorance truly is bliss.) That said, I’ve no choice but to see the sequel, despite the frightening trailer that was just released.

In it, we gather little aside from the knowledge that Cage’s character is still forced to transform into the Ghost rider due to the prevalence of evil in the world.  In this film, the Ghost Rider is supposed to be more violent ("without conscience" was the phrase used in the trailer), and will likely lead to this film being more ridiculous than the first.  Evidentiary of this thought is a brief shot at the end of the trailer in which the Ghost Rider is seen literally pissing fire.

The release date is February 17, 2012.  The trailer may be viewed here.


For the uninformed, I have a cinematic curse following my romantic relationships.  My first date is invariably to see a movie (don’t judge me, I want a girl who enjoys film) and I let the woman choose the title.  Before Cate, my previous girlfriend chose the film He’s Just Not That Into You.  (While the film didn’t hold any significant message for our relationship, it was a foreboding experience).  As I said in an earlier entry, Cate and I saw Bad Teacher.  While not breaming with negative connotations, it was far from my favorite film. 

Now, what does this have to do with a film that was released before my birth?  (It’s nearly thirty years old, having been released in 1982.)  Well, on our second date, after watching X-Men: First Class (for my fourth time), we went back to her house and watched Tootsie, a surprisingly enjoyable film about an actor cross-dressing to find work.  I say surprising because often cross-dressing comedies are just slightly better than those employing solely sexual and scatological jokes.  In this case however, the characters are believable (enough) and you’re quickly drawn into their drama. 

Now, while the film was good, it deserves a longer review than what I mentioned above.  Let’s get started.


I’ll try not to start by praise the writing as I have in earlier posts, so I’ll start with the acting.  While there was a small cast and they all performed admirably, the acting of Dustin Hoffman was far above my expectations.  Unlike many other films using a transvestite as a major, comedic plot device, Hoffman’s characters (both male and female) serve to bring drama in along with the laughter.  Furthermore, this film requires a much less severe suspension of disbelief than other films with similar stories.  (In layman’s terms, Hoffman is a rather convincing woman.)

Aside from Hoffman’s impressive ability to portray both sexes, what did I enjoy from this film?  If I’m writing positively, it must be the writing.  And more specifically, the dialogue.  The film revolves around Hoffman’s most recent acting gig, a recurring role on a daytime soap opera.  The stereotypical cheesiness of the soap’s dialogue provides an excellent juxtaposition to the dialogue and acting off the set.  The weaknesses of the former serve to emphasize the clever word exchanges between cast members and the excellently pithy one-liners of Bill Murray.


While the suspension of disbelief was minimal for Hoffman’s female character, the same cannot be said for his/her romantic suitors.  Throughout the film, his female character (Dorothy) is courted by two men, a cast member from the soap opera (John Van Horn, played by George Gaynes) and the widowed father of a friend (Les, played by Charles Durning).  The former fails because his character is purely comical and his advances simply grotesque.  The latter fails for being a dim-witted character, knowing Dorothy for a week before proposing to her.  I detested the first for being a stupidly simple character, and the second for simply being stupid.


The only note that may strike an off chord with some viewers is that the conclusion doesn’t satisfy all of the possible plotlines that were begun throughout the film.  The most notable of these is that Hoffman’s male character never truly solves his romantic issues, though it concludes with he and his current interest walking home on good terms.


The film is most enjoyable and worthy of multiple viewings.  It’s a light comedy with dramatic and romantic aspects.  Altogether, I thoroughly recommend that anybody watch this film at least once.


Hey party people, today has been excellent.  (When I say today, I mean Tuesday.  The issue here is that I don’t sleep.)  I went out with Cate again, saw an excellent film, and some other things I really ought not talk about online.  But what matters here?  The film, of course.  And what, pray tell, was that film?  It was Crazy, Stupid, Love

Now, I know I told you that I was going to review The Guard this week, but I’m afraid that film has been put on a back burner.  With only two weeks until my semi-permanent departure from the West Coast (I’m going back to school in two 13 days), my time has become valuable through rarity and my friends and family are claiming timeslots so quickly that I really should have a secretary to keep track of everything.  So, with all of the crud I’m scheduled to do, and the number of things I’d like to do, The Guard will have to wait for a slow day or until I return to DC.

Now, let’s talk about the film I saw:


First, this film was brilliant.  It truly was.  After watching a miserable comedy four days ago, this was such a reprieve.  But what was it exactly?  It was a comedy starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julian Moore, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon, and several others.  It was a film supported greatly by witty dialogue, well-written characters, and satisfactory cinematography.

Let’s skip the actors and talk about the characters.  The story revolves around a husband and father, Cal (Steve Carell).  At the beginning of the film, his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), tells him that she wants a divorce.  The next hour of the film is Cal meeting Jacob (Ryan Gosling), a professional womanizer, and learning the intricacies of meeting women (a skill he never developed as he married his high school sweetheart).  The second hour comprises of failures brought about by Cal’s womanizing, Cal’s attempts to regain his wife, and Jacob’s growth into a real character (a human being with feelings and a backstory, of sorts).  All the while, Emily is having flings with David Lindhagen (Kevin Bacon), Cal’s 13 year-old son is trying to romance his 17 year-old babysitter, and the babysitter is trying to romance Cal.

Now, the film becomes truly great through its dialogue and writing.  Carell’s character is never stupendous when it comes to being clever, but it’s made up for by Gosling’s and Stone’s characters.  Stone continues to be the clever redhead as she’s been in every other film (it’s okay, I love her), and Gosling plays a lovably mysterious lothario.  Whereas these two characters are the sole sources of wit, the full cast is utilized in the well-written scenes.  While Cal’s transformation from boring father to eligible bachelor is both entertaining and impressive, the best scene comes just before the film’s climax as all the characters meet up in a major plot twist and comedic violence ensues. 


This movie was brilliant.  That said, it was far from perfect.  In this section, we have Cal’s youngest child, Molly (Joey King).  The character had so little written that it only provided two chuckles throughout the film’s duration.  The first was to watch her dance and ignore the plot taking place, and the second was to excuse herself from an awkward situation.  Altogether, the character was about as well-fleshed out as a family pet. 

In addition to the disappointing daughter, I felt that Moore’s character served only to advance the plot or bring in more interesting characters.  She was often either a means to keep Carell on-screen or to bring Kevin Bacon into the light.  Otherwise, her character simply wallows in a poor situation she brought about, making it very hard to pity her.


Like most comedy films, there are moments where it seems that the writers may have crossed a line in decency or simply played the same joke for too long.  As far as decency goes, the only lines crossed were the ones where a thirteen year old discusses his masturbation habits with his uncomfortable babysitter, and when the babysitter photographs herself naked. 


This movie is an excellent and successfully funny comedy.  I wish I’d seen it when it came out.  Regardless, I still recommend that anyone who enjoys romantic comedies, or brilliant dialogue, see it immediately.


Okay, guess who accidentally saw The Change-Up yesterday?  That’s right, this guy.  And, to defend the illusion that I have good taste, I’d like to say that I was not the person who chose this film (nor was it Cate), it was my oldest friend, Andy.  As I rarely see him, being a student on the other side of the country, I felt like obliging him yesterday afternoon when he asked if I’d like to visit a mall with him.  We went and eventually ended up outside an AMC theatre and I let him select a film.  I’ve learned never to do so again.


It’s fair to say that I’m a fan of comedy films.  If I want to watch something that will distract me from the troubles of the world, or create noise as I’m writing these posts, I’m likely to play Rush Hour or The Proposal.  So, I enjoyed a few comedic moments of this film.  Sadly, they were almost every laugh was brought on purely by shock, existing in cringe moments where the only alternatives are to lie in the fetal position or leave the theatre in shame.

Upon review of the last paragraph, I had painfully little to say about this film’s good points.  To not seem like I’m being intentionally mean, I’d like to say that Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds, along with most of the other cast members did their jobs well and portrayed their poorly-written caricatures of human beings satisfactorily. 


The plot, dialogue, and most of the images.  Well, virtually everything I saw.  It was all kind of terrible.  However, choice moments will be saved for THE UGLY.  So, what was my issue with this film?  Probably that it was an R-rated comedy.  I find that R-rated comedies, like Step Brothers, rely upon gratuitous cursing and sexual acts/references in lieu of actual comedy.  They write to the lowest common denominator, going on for nearly two hours before they permit you to leave the theatre feeling dirty.  


Now for the fun part.  Er, the antithesis of my enjoyment, but fun to decry.  Among the ugliest scenes we have the following:

a. Ryan Reynolds about to have sex with a nine-month pregnant woman (whom we see completely naked).  Luckily, they do not consummate the evening, though we do see the child kick at one point.

b.  An infant projectile defecating a greenish-brown sludge, three feet in Jason Bateman’s mouth as Bateman is trying to change the child’s diaper.

c.  Jason Bateman leaving the bathroom naked, into the presence of Ryan Reynolds and Leslie Mann, and shouting something along the lines of “Dude, I have freckles on my taint.  This is awesome!”

d.  Leslie Mann using the toilet in view and making a number of noises either unnatural or horrifying.

While there were many others, I feel I’d give away the only reason anyone might see this film if I continue.


This movie is dismal.  I feel that most of its viewers will agree with my opinion.  Like most R-rated comedy films, I recommend this film only to the lowest common denominator of comedy lovers or general film viewers.


Hey, I’m sure you’ve already noticed something’s wrong.  (Nope, almost nobody checked atbreaksix today.)  To elaborate, the page is lacking a review of one of the films that came out last night.  There’s a perfectly good reason for this: I didn’t see any new films this week.  (Instantly, I’ve lost all of my critic cred.) 


I didn’t see a film yesterday for three reasons:

a.  I’m not a fan of The Planet of the Apes story and cannot compel myself to see a film that segues into the existing films.  Despite being a major motion picture, I do have my personal tastes and watching humanity’s demise (Knowing can eat it) doesn’t appeal to me.

b.  The Change-Up was given a miserable rating on Rotten-Tomatoes and last-night’s birthday girl (my friend Miranda celebrated her 19th) elected not to take her party there. 

c.  Cate (I wonder if she’ll become a regular fixture here?) asked me if we could see X-Men: First Class and I happily obliged her.  (It was my fourth time seeing this.)


I will be writing at least two reviews in the next five days.  I say five because neither of these reviews will be for next week’s major motion picture release.  The first will be for an older film (1980s), Tootsie, which I watched today and found surprisingly enjoyable for a rather ridiculous premise.  The second will be for a recently released Irish film, The Guard. 

In addition to these reviews, this week, there will be the usual movie gossip post and hopefully a review of 30 Minutes or Less.


I regret to inform the masses that there will not be a crossover film involving the casts of Star Trek and The Avengers.  Actually, I don’t regret that at all.  It would be terrible.  No, this is merely a status update in popular films and a reminder that I still exist.  But first…

I had a date. 

That’s right, I went out with a nice, little lady by the name of Cate.  We went to see Bad Teacher.  Now, I’m saying this not because I feel the need to boast that I actually had a date with a woman, but because we saw a film.  And the reason you’re reading it in this article is because I’ve declined to do a critique on Bad Teacher.  Simply put, the film wasn’t great.  It was given an R-rating for being vulgar.  It’s full of low-brow humor and nudity.  If that floats your boat, go see it.  Otherwise, avoid it and it will be out of most theatres in two weeks.

Now, back to business.


Like the upcoming information about the Avengers, this will be short.  io9, one of my favorite nerd and media culture sites (hosted by the Gawker network), has released an interview they had with Zachary Quinto (Spock from the 2009 Star Trek) on his outlooks and character views in the sequel.  It can be found here.


Okay, that heading may not have been entirely accurate.  This information isn’t so much about The Avengers; it’s about S.H.I.E.L.D., the Avengers umbrella company and the people who rounded up the individual heroes.  In this case, there’s a short that’s being released with the Thor DVD.  It’s called The Consultant and stars Clark Gregg (Agent Coulsen) and an associate discussing S.H.I.E.L.D. work matters.  The clip can be viewed here.


Okay, just to mess with my update schedule (it seems), the first Avengers trailer was released last night by Yahoo! Movies.  It’s not exactly a trailer though, it’s actually the clip that aired after the credits in Captain America: The First Avenger.  And even then, most of the clip is the final thirty seconds of Captain America and about ten seconds of the Avengers clip (which was originally about thirty seconds long).  Either way, the internet is abuzz and I promised myself that I’d write about the Avengers as soon as the first trailer was released. 

To start, here’s the clip:

I apologize to Yahoo! Movies for using a youtube version, but WordPress is picky about where I can embed video from.  If you’d like to view it in HD, which I thoroughly recommend (or if the youtube version has been flagged and removed), you can view it here.

So, what do we have in those…30 seconds?  Well, about ten seconds of actual footage and twenty seconds of a motion poster with a Samuel L. Jackson voiceover.  Narrowing this down,


Well, there’s about three seconds of snapshots: Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Captain America (Chris Evans), Bruce Banner [The Hulk] (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).

Then we have a brief shot of Thor with his arms folded.  Behind him, we have Captain America, Black Widow, and Bruce Banner standing around a table with what appears to be the S.H.I.E.L.D.(employer of Agent Coulson from Iron Man and Thor) emblem on the wall.

Followed by a very brief shot of Jackson before some neat looking Minority Report-esque computer screens.  And then we see Tony Stark making fun of Thor’s hammer toss (that’s a bright move).  Which brings about the final shot, Thor tossing his hammer (which actually rotates now, unlike in Thor).

Then we have twenty seconds of motion poster and Jackson talking about the Avengers. 


Well, as the title specified, I’m already drooling over this film.  Which, I have to say, is kind of surprising.  I have never been a fan of the Hulk films, nor was I particularly impressed by Thor.  But I’m hopeful, neither of those two can have an overly large share of screen time in this film as there are a bunch of other main characters.  Furthermore, the budget for this film must be exorbitant as Marvel’s basically unleashing half of their heroes in one film.  

For those reasons, I will remain optimistic. 



The anticipated release date for The Avengers is May 4, 2012.


Like every Thursday night, I went out last night to catch a midnight movie.  Unlike most weekends though, I had three choices: Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Smurfs, or Cowboys & Aliens.  While the first didn’t seem a bad choice, my companion didn’t feel like watching a Steve Carell picture.  The second, however, seemed terrible from the first trailer I viewed.  So, I’ll be boycotting the annoying film and its atrocious use of 3D graphics.  Ergo, my friend and I went to see Cowboys & Aliens last night.  (This seems like an awkward case of the game Clue.  It was Tom and his friend, at the AMC, with the Sci-Fi Western.)


To start, this is an action film.  So we should expect a fair number of explosions, guns and knives aplenty, and enough jaw punches to pulp Jay Leno’s epic mandible.  In these respects, Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and the aliens certainly deliver.  From the opening scene in which Craig kills three riding bandits/bounty hunters, to the first invasion sequence as the town explodes and its citizens are captured, and finally with the concluding battle against the invading aliens as the town’s forces war with the entire invasionary force in a canyon, the action scenes stand up to today’s standards.

As a fan of westerns, I enjoyed the historic elements present in this film.  I enjoyed the costuming, seeing that the characters were well dressed without coming off as pretentious, up until the end when everybody’s living off the new gold market.  Aside from the costumes, I also enjoyed the set design.  Classic western town elements were present, from the local saloon, to the town jail.  While I felt that a bit too little time was spent in these areas so as to recognize the detailing, it seemed well put together at first glance.


Like I said before, this is an action film.  So, while we’re expecting gratuitous violence and accompanying one-liners, we should not expect impressive character growth or any real depth to this film.  Like before, the film delivers here as well.  

Craig plays the stereotypical western badass.  He is Jake Lonergan, an ex-bandit amnesiac who begins the film working only to repair his memories but eventually sides with the townsfolk to return their abducted kin.  Ford portrays the crotchety, old bastard bigot and corrupted cattle owner, Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde.  Like all main cast seemingly misanthropes, he eventually comes to forget his racism and show compassion for his ignored son. 

On the other side of these awfully shallow or predictable characters, we have the confusing and unpredictable.  Most notably, Olivia Wilde portrays a young woman, Ella Swenson, who follows Craig throughout the first seventy-five percent of the film.  Her reasoning is that the aliens had abducted her people long before the film began and she believes that he can locate them.  Then she’s struck by one of the aliens, dies, is cremated, and then comes out of the fire.  She then informs everybody that she’s an alien who has taken a human form so as to work alongside Lonergan and the town to destroy the aliens that have no sanctity for life (caring only for the local gold).  She ends up sacrificing herself to destroy the alien ship in a large explosion before it can return to the alien home-world.


The biggest issue of this film, aside from Wilde’s phoenix return and subsequent trans-species romance with Lonergan, was that deaths were almost completely ignored in this film.  The preacher’s death seemed to be the one to which the characters showed the most emotion for, but that took place in the first half of the film.  Wilde’s death was a brief, “He’s dead, Jim”, but she comes back, and then proceeds to die again, with the latter death being unspoken as all the characters simply disburse.  Lonergan’s wife/lady-friend from before the film’s beginning, who we later discover was disintegrated upon the alien ship, similarly was left without feeling.  Craig walks into their old house, sets down some flowers, sees a hummingbird, and then walks out smiling.  Even in the final moments of the film, when the quiet town is seen to be growing and changing because of the new gold, everyone is grinning without any lamentation over their fallen comrades and lovers.


At this point, I’ve said it several times: this is an action film.  Therefore, it will be viewed by an audience who want action.  They’ll not be looking for character development or historical accuracy or any real emotion.  They’ll be looking for gun shots, haymakers, and explosions.  For that reason, this film will definitely satisfy them.  It does the western genre justice while simultaneously developing a new type of alien (large, green, neck-less beast things with superior technology and multiple sets of arms) for the general public to mull over. 

So, while I doubt that this movie will be a huge success (though I could be wrong with their advertising pushes), I’m sure it will be enjoyed by many.  And, if you ever wanted to see Daniel Craig ride off into the sunset atop a horse, this movie will not leave you disappointed.


This is a bit awkward for me.  There’s a film adaptation being made for a young adult novel that I haven’t read.  (In my defense, the series is on my list.)  That doesn’t happen very often.  Yet here we are.

So, after a bit of online research and quizzing my younger brother (who has read this series), I think I have a general idea of what takes place.  It’s a bit like The Running Man and Gamer and Battle Royale and a multitude of other novels and films and television programs with a premise of a selected group of people fighting for somebody’s entertainment whilst the lives of those engaged in combat are in jeopardy.  However, unlike its predecessors, The Hunger Games has been a huge success among North American young adults.

What takes place?  Well, if you’ve never heard of the examples listed above, here’s a brief synopsis.  The story takes place in a dystopian future (rather played out in modern young adult novels) called Panem (the ruins of modern-day North America).  There, an annual reality television program called the Hunger Games are held in which one boy and one girl are selected from each of the twelve districts (states in Panem) and are forced to fight to the death with the other competitors until only one is left standing.  Beyond the basic premise, we have some character action that bores me.  The lead protagonist is a female archer/huntress who’s entangled in a love triangle with two males, a hunter and a baker.  Ergo, my hyper-simplified mind has turned The Hunger Games into a dystopian Twilight.

Evidently, I’m not particularly excited about this film.  Well, not the story at least.  That said, there are a few good points.  The first is Danny Elfman.  I’m a fan of his work and have high expectations for this film’s score now that his name’s attached to it.  Aside from the magically musical ginger, I also took some enjoyment in the brief and pitifully vague trailer (called a “motion poster”).  With a motion poster instead of a trailer, I’ve no idea how impressive the cinematography may be, but I’m hopeful.  If the story doesn’t satisfy, perhaps the visuals and musical accompaniment will.

I will update as the studio releases information.  Anticipated release date is March 23, 2012.

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