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Movie rating system (0-2) The movie is balls (2-4) A few moments but mostly bad (4-5.5) Entertaining film but lacking something to make it good. (6-7.5) A recommendation meaning a good solid watch. (8-10) must watch films, they are usually leaders in their respective genre. I can also be found on Facebook or follow my blog at the bottom of this page. THERE MAY BE MINI SPOILERS AHEAD!!! But there will be no endings/twists/cameos/or large plot reveals given.

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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Bucky Larson:Born to Be a Star

Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star
Rated: R
Running Time: 97 minutes
Starring: Nick Swardson, Kevin Nealon, Christina Ricci, Don Johnson, Stephen Dorff
Directed By: Tom Brady
Rating: 5 out of 10
A small town kid travels to Hollywood to star in adult movies just like his parents did.

This is the hardest thing about being a movie critic. It is putting out your opinion on someone’s artistic work and getting to bash or laud it. Conversely people can do the same thing on your reviews. I told myself going into reviewing that I would always give my true opinion with no outside influences so here it goes. Bucky Larson might be one of the most reviled films in recent memory. Scratch that, it might be one of the most reviled films of all time and yet I know no one who has actually seen this film. It is like everyone saw the trailer and formed an opinion without actually watching the film. Is it a good film? The answer is undoubtedly no. Did it make me laugh? I am ashamed to say it did on numerous occasions. This film had more laughs then any recent Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, or Vince Vaughn movie that I can think of so people should lighten up a bit. Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star is the story of a kid who moves to Hollywood from the Midwest to become a porn actor. He wants to follow in his parents footsteps and make them proud.

I was hugely skeptical going in just by the DVD cover alone. But as the movie got underway I found myself laughing at the dumbest things. An opening scene involves a hick farmer with some peanut butter and a few barn animals is the type of humor that permeates itself right through this film. What stopped this film from actually working for me was the lead character himself. Bucky Larson is this absurdly buck toothed moron with a ridiculous Amish looking haircut. He constantly is mixing up what words mean. For example: “I thought you had a Mac and cheese fetish” one character comments, “Oh I don’t use fetish cheese, I use Velveeta” answers Bucky. It is the multitude of these types of lame comments that I can see why people hate this movie. Bucky is also so ridiculous he is hard to watch for the entire film. It is like he has had massive brain trauma after already being the dumbest person in the States. But I found that it is the supporting cast that makes this film funny coupled with the fact Bucky is such an easy target for insulting jokes.

Nick Swardson plays Bucky Larson and this is maybe one of the worst performances of 2011. His portrayal of this virginal dimwit seems to bring down any momentum this film could generate. He stumbles his way through this movie and really detracts from the funny moments that do occur. His supporting cast of Christina Ricci, Don Johnson, and Stephen Dorff clearly needs money as they have prominent roles in this film. They all do decent jobs with their characters though in a movie of such low brow humor.

So I have been bashing this film but why I laughed mostly came through the struggles of Bucky to break into the porn industry. His unusual scenes of masturbating and his explosive ear piercing orgasms are pretty funny. He obviously gets insulted at regular intervals for his appearance but some of the comments cast his way are funny in their bluntness. I am not saying this is going to win any awards but I found I laughed at regular intervals and people who like movies like Grandma’s Boy may find some entertainment in it. So in conclusion, Bucky getting into the Porn industry is insane, Bucky getting a girlfriend is appalling, and the story is insulting, but the laughs that occur are more than a lot of comedies I have recently watched.

Director Tom Brady takes a truly bizarre script and makes a watchable movie with it. It seems he can QB for the Patriots and can also make a comedy with laughs. His pacing is great and he seems to be able to capture the toilet humor well. I am not going to blame him for casting Nick Swardson as Bucky as no one could have pulled off the role. I will applaud him for getting some decent actors to get the most out of this film. Overall I think he did a decent job on a film that could have been much worse than it was.

I cannot recommend this film but truly I was entertained for most of the film. If you like toilet humor and can stomach Bucky as a main character, than I wouldn’t read into all the negative reviews of people who haven’t seen this film. Also remember that Zoolander, Napoleon Dynamite, and Anchorman all have a big following when they are also terrible films.

T Factor + If you like potty humor than this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you need a good story with believable characters than this could easily score a zero on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: Grandma’s Boy, Little Man    

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Muppets

The Muppets
Family (Comedy, Musical)
Rated: PG
Running Time: 103 minutes
Starring: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper
Directed By: James Bobin
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Three fans help the Muppet gang get back together and try to save their old theatre from being torn down.

Like a long lost friend the Muppets come back to us after too long of a hiatus. Twelve years have passed since the last Muppet major motion picture and finally the public is reacquainted with the lovable furry puppets. The main storyline of this movie is basically a reflection of everyday reality. The Muppets have become obsolete and their old stomping ground is about to be sold if they cannot raise the money to save it. The problem is the old Muppet gang is split up and pursuing other lines of work all over the globe.

 After a couple of minutes of watching this film you will quickly realize they never should have left in the first place. We have a big thank you to make to writers Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller for their persistence and efforts in getting this film made. Along with anyone else who gave this project the green light after all this time. If you have never seen a Muppet movie before they combine human actors and puppets to create a wide world of entertainment. Led by a Muppet wannabe named Walter and human on screen couple Gary and Mary, they try and get the old crew back together for one more show. This is where the movie gets amazing and nostalgic all at the same time. Led by Kermit, the Muppets are reunited one at a time and it is a journey that will bring laughter and smiles in abundance. It plays out as a musical with original songs and popular chart toppers mixed in. This film even sees a rap interlude by the evil business man Tex Richman. This movie is proof you do not to be crude to be funny. With its multitude of 80’s references, bad pun jokes, and classic Muppet shenanigans, this film will appeal to adults and children alike.

Because of the popularity of the Muppets this film is littered with stars. I will only mention the main three characters as to not ruin any surprises for people who haven’t seen this film yet. The lead Gary is played by Jason Segel and he is just spot on in this film. He is charismatic and happily animated for most of the film. His song voice is well suited for the movie and he is very easy to watch. Amy Adams plays his love interest Mary and she also is a very easy person to watch. She kind of looks like a Disney princess and her innocence is a perfect complement to Segel. They are cute together and work well in their musical numbers both solo and duet. The last character is Tex Richman played by Chris Cooper. He plays an evil oil tycoon to a tee. He has teaed up with two bad Muppets to demolish the old Muppet theatre and he is just a solid character without being too menacing. The host of cameos is worth the watch in on itself. If you like star gazing then this film will not disappoint.

So as the film carries on you will be reintroduced to all the old gang. Kermit, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and all your other favorites gather together for one last show. I am not ashamed to say a tear appeared in my eye when they sang the Muppets theme song in this. The film is just an entertaining time as they put on one last show. There may be better movies in 2011 but this was easily my favorite. Somewhere Jim Henson is looking down and would be very proud of this film.

Director James Bobin brings his quirky music routine made famous by the hilarious show The Flight of the Conchords. Because of his work with music in the past it makes this film so special in terms of the song work. It even took home best song at the Oscars that is how great the music was. The pacing is perfect between story and musical interludes. The casting is perfect and the cameos are spread out well as not to be distracting. A combination of adult humor to kid whoopee cushion jokes makes this film super appealing to all. This was just a perfectly put together film you won’t want to miss.

I give this movie a huge recommendation as it is such a great time.

T Factor + If you like the Muppet Show then this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you are unfamiliar with the Muppet characters than this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: Shrek movies, Toy Story movies

Monday, 17 December 2012


Drama (Horror)
Rated: R
Running Time:
Directed By:
Rating: 6 out of 10
4 guys break into a house to recover a V/H/S tape only to find out more than they bargained for in the house and on the tape.

It pains me to think there are kids out there that will be wondering what the hell a V/H/S tape is. With one of the crazier movie trailers in recent history I was stoked to finally get to see this film. While this film is a mess and put together like Melanie Griffith's face, it still has enough frights to ultimately make me like it. V/H/S is the story of 4 guys who film everything to try and make money on line. They are tasked to retrieve a video tape from an abandoned house for a large amount of money. They arrive at the house only to discover there are dozens of tapes and must peruse the content to find the right one. While viewing these tapes they are forced to watch 5 different found footages of terror and mayhem.

This movie is a pretty cool concept reminiscent of the movie Four Rooms. Each of the found footages is shot by different Indy directors, so it is cool to see the different points of views and styles in the same film. I will have to change up my usual review style so please bear with me. What I liked about this film is it has such a variety of different scare tactics. It has Vampires, Hitchhikers, Paranormal Activity, Murder, Demons, and a liberal splashing of blood so you never will be bored of watching one style. The frights range the spectrum from cheap loud noises to in your face murder. Ultimately this movie kept me entertained for the whole watch even though it stumbles in so many key areas. The bad: the main story of the four guys breaking into the house to find the tape is awful. They stumble around the abandoned house not caring a bit when they get split up. They watch the V/H/S tapes in this spooky house which is absurd. The film also ends rather abruptly and doesn’t really give proper closure as to what we just watched. Other complaints I had are about the general feel of this film. They splash way too many instances of sexual assault right through it and it gets uncomfortable. I am not opposed to watching this angle but I felt it a little tasteless at times. Also I felt the film would go overboard with the gore. It would show just a little too much blood, just a few too many body parts being removed, and finally there was just a little too much nudity. (Yeah I just said that)

The first found footage short movie was the best of the 5. Three guys rig a video camera on some hipster glasses and go out to pick up some women for video recorded sex. Their idea doesn’t go as planned and what starts out as fun and games gets frightening quite quickly. One of the women they pick up is disturbingly quiet and has frighteningly large eyes. While the blood in this short film is overused it still was a fantastic little movie that will give you many scares and shivers. Overall I give it 8 out of 10

The second short movie involves a couple travelling cross country and recording their journey. On the way they encounter a strange hitchhiking girl that gives them the creeps and that never seems to leave them. This short movie was okay but it has some truly scary parts involving a switch blade so I felt it worked. Overall it was 6 out of 10.

The third short movie involves a foursome travelling up to a lake for some rest and relaxation. What starts off as a quiet little trip turns ominous as the woods they are in seems alive with danger. This film would have worked better if the killing was more realistic and the camera work was better. It has the odd scary moment but fails to connect with the viewer. Overall it was 4 out of 10

The fourth movie is about a couple that chats by web cam. The girl is convinced her place is haunted and her boyfriend is skeptical. The film proceeds to scare the viewer with barely seen and unexplained images that show up out of nowhere. What is cool about this film is the progression of the paranormal activity shows in the girl’s appearance. She becomes more haggard over time through lack of sleep and wonders if she is going crazy. The film frightens you by scary noises and up close blood. If the ending was better than this would have been a better watch. Overall this was 5 out of 10

The final short movie is the story of 4 friends as they travel to a Halloween party. What they find is an abandoned house and a creepy vibe. Someone has rigged the house to be haunted and the guys travel around it getting scared by random noises and props. What starts off as a good time turns against them as they realize they may not be props they are seeing. This short movie builds itself and then gets suspenseful and super frantic as they try to flee this strange house. The ending is meh but it was the second best short movie of the batch. Overall I give it 6.5 out of 10

So in conclusion this film should be checked out by people who like variety in their horror and like to be scared at frequent intervals. This film should not be watched by people who like well formed films in terms of story and characters.

I recommend this film but be warned it can be over the top in terms of blood and sexual situations.

T Factor + If you like found footage films then this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you do not like lots of blood and guts in your horror than this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: REC, Quarantine.  

From Paris with Love

From Paris with Love
Rated: R
Running Time: 92 minutes
Starring: John Travolta, Jonathon Rhys Meyers, Kasia Smutniak
Directed By: Pierre Morel
Rating: 4.5 out of 10
Two unlikely partners have to stop a terrorist plot in Paris.

I was happy to see that John Travolta shaved off or washed off whatever was on top of his head for this film. With his disturbing hair out of the way it meant there were no distractions for this film to be enjoyed. We just needed it to be a decent movie and we were all set. The KEY being it needed to be a decent movie but this film was less than stellar. From Paris with Love is the story of an employee of the U.S. ambassador’s office joining forces with an unorthodox American super agent. Their job is to stop a terrorist plot within the city of Paris

To start off, these types of movies clearly have a lot of fans out there. If they didn’t people like Wesley Snipes, JCVD, and many other B action stars wouldn’t have had/have such long careers. They are just not my flavor with their mindless action sequences and weak characters. The film starts off and we are introduced to the straight laced ambassador assistant named James. He goes about his job in a proficient and highly professional manner. He is a stickler for formality and protocol. A short time later we are introduced to his unlikely partner known as Charlie Wax. Charlie is a top U.S. spy whose unorthodox techniques and brash attitude make him an unlikely candidate for an elite agent. Because of their polar opposite personalities and the nature of their jobs this film plays out like a buddy cop movie but without any comedy. Their job is to stop a terrorist plot so they have to investigate bad guys all over the city. The positive to this film is the high body count and lots of shoot outs with various bad guys. Action lovers will not be disappointed as there are few lulls in this fast paced film. The bad is this film is an over edited mess; it is hard to enjoy the car chases, gun play, and hand to hand combat with the split second cuts. It is super frustrating to watch. It also is one of those films where the good guys hit with every shot fired and the bad guys couldn’t hid the broad side of a barn with their return fire.    

James is played by Jonathon Rhys Meyers. He is okay as the lead trying to impress his bosses through hard work and his brains. His performance is rigid though as the voice of reason and he seems a stretch as a secret agent. His partner Charlie Wax is played by John Travolta. I hated this character at the start but he grows on you. By the end I liked his performance even though he would have been killed a long time ago with his stupid decisions. He fires first and asks questions later. I felt Travolta captures the craziness of the character and while super unbelievable as a government spy, he is largely entertaining as high octane killing machine. The two actors have little chemistry on screen and Meyers is basically forgotten for long stretches as Travolta steals scene after scene from him.

As the film continues it gets harder and harder to deal with these guys as a team. James is forced to carry an ornate vase for a huge period of time. When it finally comes into play as to why he is doing it you won’t care anymore. Charlie Wax also gets crazier and crazier as the movie progresses. Things like cocaine use, public shootings, and whipping out bazookas is a little too much for my taste. The story is bland and will surprise no one with its outcome. I promise this film will give you lots of dead gangsters and many explosions but gets bogged down with too many unrealistic scenarios.

Director Pierre Morel didn’t make this film for the masses he made it for the mindless action lovers out there. With the movies District 13 and Taken on his resume it is shocking to me that this film failed for the most part. He has always been guilty of over editing but this film was worse than most. The story itself is weak and the ending predictable. If he reigned in some of the unnecessary explosions and added a steadier camera this film could have worked. Certainly this movie is high impact but not high reward. I give him a pass for his target audience but fail overall.

I cannot recommend this film as Paris seems a nice place to visit but not fun to see a shootout in.

T Factor + If you like mindless action films than this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you need solid characters in your films then this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: Taken, Bourne Identity

Friday, 14 December 2012


Drama (Horror, Thriller)
Rated: R
Running Time: 123 minutes
Starring: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman
Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra
Rating: 5 out of 10
A family adopts a nine year old girl only to realize she is not as sweet as she seems.

Whenever I hear the word orphan all I can think about is a little red headed girl singing It’s a Hard Knock Life. Seeing that this was a horror I dint think too many musical interludes were going to show up in this film. The Orphan is the story of the Coleman family. After the loss of their baby they go out and adopt a 9 year old girl. She seems like a sweet and innocent child but looks can be deceiving.

I wasn’t expecting too much from this film judging by its 2 dollar DVD cover art but surprisingly it wasn’t terrible. In fact if they tweaked a few things this film could have worked. The film starts off right with a pretty creepy and bloody scene of Mrs. Coleman giving birth. From there the movie just provides story, and story, and story, and more story. It goes so long without anything truly frightful happening that one forgets this is supposed to be a thriller. The film takes the usual path of evil child movies. The adoptive child Esther seems super polite and proper at the start but things slowly escalate. She progressively gets worse and plays all the family members off each other. There are some interesting scenes that are very well done though. A scene where a young schoolmate of Esther’s is frightened at a playground shows some original thought by the director. Playgrounds are the last place you would think of being scared at and yet with some cool camera work it turns into a place of terror. There are also some interesting scenes involving a hammer and a box cutter also. Truly this film makes your skin crawl but it is just is too slow and built up for my taste.

Newcomer Isabelle Fuhrman does a great job of playing the adopted kid Esther. She can be disarmingly sweet and then shockingly sinister. She can be polite and respectful and then she can be suddenly dark and abrasive. She makes the movie as good as it is and gives a very adult performance with not that easy of a character. This character is disturbing to watch and that means Fuhrman did her job and did it well. She will be one to notice in the future I think. The other notable performance was Mrs. Coleman played by Vera Farmiga. She plays an emotionally troubled woman that can see the truth of Esther’s evil. Her performance allows for some great scenes of trying to get some answers to all the odd happenings around their house.

Why I liked this film as Esther doesn’t discriminate on who she attacks. Kids are just as liable to get hurt as adults and she has some elaborate plans to tear the Coleman family apart. Also the fact that Esther is so calm while she is being evil just adds to the dark tone of the film. The story does get a little played out as Mr. and Mrs. Coleman constantly fight about old issues that are exacerbated by Esther’s meddling. It is hard to take seriously that Esther could tear them apart so easily that quickly. This film can be shockingly violent and disturbingly creepy but it just never reaches the level that made it truly thrilling. The ending is not the worst except for the police’s terrible response time. Overall I was entertained but not impressed with this film.

Director Jaume Collet-Serra follows up his House of Wax movie with this and it was a decent entry. He uses a good combination of nice camerawork and a great performance by Fuhrman to maximum effect. The film is ultimately too slow and if they could have put in a couple of more scenes of scares then the film would have worked for me. It can be violent and at certain moments brutal but it is not paced very well. With a little editing and a little more thought this film would have been better.

I cannot recommend this film as it is too slow for my taste.

T Factor + If you like horror movies where kids are the antagonists then this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you like your horror to be fast paced than this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film the reel recommendations: The Good Son, The Omen.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Fighter

The Fighter
Drama (Sports)
Rated: R
Running Time: 116 minutes
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, Amy Adams
Directed By: David O. Russell
Rating: 7 out of 10
Taking place in the 1990’s this is the story of real life boxer Mickey Ward as he tries to juggle his personal life and his boxing career.

When I saw Mark Wahlberg was starring in a boxing movie I hoped he wasn’t going to fight a tree in the title bout. I also hoped he wouldn’t have to fight Seamus at some point. Based on a true story The Fighter is the story of boxer Micky Ward. He is a fledgling boxer who has lost his last few fights. He has one more shot at glory but there is a problem. His manager mother and drug addicted brother/trainer never seem to have his best interests at heart.

I am always super critical of sports movies as the actual sports being played in it are usually substandard and unrealistic. That coupled with fact it gets super repetitive and that usually detracts from the bigger picture. The Fighter easily gets past that and works even though there is very little boxing involved. It really is a movie with boxing as opposed to a boxing movie. The film starts off and we are introduced to Micky and his crack addled brother Dicky. This is a winding tale about the love of family, the hardships of boxing as a career, and the power of belief even when you are a severe underdog. The story of Micky as a blue collar worker and as a boxer is quite compelling as the movie rolls along. Will he decide to trust in his family and quit boxing altogether? or go with a whole different route entirely? It is a journey you will want to see to the end. Boxing is Micky’s passion but it is tearing his family apart and it ultimately could kill him as he is getting some suspect advice from many levels.

The acting is truly what makes this film as good as it is. Mark Wahlberg while not always on point is never the less a charismatic lead who has the look of a boxer. His older half brother Dicky played by Christian Bale is incredible as a drug addicted former fighter. He is hard to look at as Bale has lost a lot of weight for authenticity. His twitchy and hyper active demeanor really captured the character and his winning of the best supporting actor trophy was a foregone conclusion. Wahlberg and Bale have instant chemistry letting you fully buy into their relationship as it peaks and valleys. Their mom played by Melissa Leo won the best supporting actress award for this role and while she is solid as their domineering mom I felt Amy Adams deserved the award more. Adams plays Micky’s girlfriend Charlene and her raw and gritty performance is such a transformation you won’t believe it is her. I am not usually a fan of Adams but she brought her A game in this. The rest of the cast is nothing short of solid and realistic only adding to the power of this story.

The boxing that takes place in this is pretty good and they add a special filter to the camera to make it look like old footage from the 90’s. It is a shame that we don’t see more fights taking place in the ring but it really is incidental to the story. As the story rolls along you are taken for a wild ride of Dicky’s constant struggle between the love of drugs and the love of boxing. You see Micky torn between his meddling family and his strong willed girlfriend. You also get taken for a ride in the ring as Micky tries for one last bout for glory. As the film comes to an end you will have laughed a little, smiled a lot, and maybe even shed the odd tear. Fighting might be what Micky does best in the ring but his struggle to survive life is the hardest fight he will face. Will Dicky die from drugs? Will Micky have success in the ring? Will his family be torn apart? All great questions that you should watch to find out.

Director David O. Russell takes a great script and just delivers a great sports movie. It has power inside and outside the ring. The casting is perfect and the rough and tumble characters are super easy to follow. While it does have slow parts it never lasts for long as it always seems that Micky needs to solve some interesting personal issue. The film will punch its way into your heart and that is without much time in the ring. A solid finished product put forth by Mr. Russell.

I give this movie a recommendation especially to people who like underdog stories.

T Factor + If you like Wahlberg as an actor than this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you like lots of sport shots in your movies than this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: Million Dollar Baby, Cinderella Man. 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


Drama (Horror)
Rated: R
Running Time: 94 minutes
Starring: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson
Directed By: Eli Roth
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Three friends head to a small eastern European town for some heathen pleasure only to wake up in a town of horrors.

I don’t usually like films that are just glorified bloodbaths of dissection and body parts. Somehow this movie worked for me though. Hostel just sticks in your mind long after it is done and I felt it did its job of not only scaring but ultimately horrifying its audience. Hostel is the story of three friends backpacking across Europe. They head to a small town in Slovakia for some partying and casual sex but what they find though is a place straight out of hell.

The film starts out and we are treated to the three friends as they smoke pot, fornicate with prostitutes, and generally act like a bunch of jackasses. After a pretty lame start to the film we find ourselves following them to a little town in Slovakia. This run down and industrial looking city is a great backdrop for the horrific murders that take place there. If you are a person that dissects movies then this is not going to score very high on the rating scale. The characters personalities are over the top and why the murders are taking place in the area is appalling. The characters decisions under duress are also questionable and many more things will test your faith in this film. If you can take a movie at face value and treat it as an hour long torture and gore fest than this film works. We find different characters stuck in some truly terrifying situations. People are killed using every implement of death you can think of. This film will not be for the squeamish as scissors come perilously close to eyes and scalpels cut deep into human flesh. The casual attitude of how these murders are executed truly makes this film chilling.

The acting is almost presented as a comedy. The three friends are super obnoxious and are hard to root for. Actors Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, and Eythor Gudjonsson comprise the trio of friends and put forth unremarkable performances. What I will say positive about them is they do better jobs of acting when their lives are on the line and that is the most important thing I guess. Gudjonsson plays a guy named Oli from Iceland. I don’t know much about that country but this character must be insulting to it. Oli is not someone normal people would befriend as he whips his penis out at random and humps anything that moves. He was an odd character for this film. The best part about the casting was the Slovakian locals as they all look authentic and menacing which captures a darker edge to the story.

The film is just strange but it all comes together somehow. There is a ragtag gang of kids terrorizing the tourists while begging for candy, the women are unrealistically beautiful, and the locals are brutally unfriendly. It shouldn’t work but yet it congeals into something watchable. The most important part of the film though is the horror itself and it is done very well. Some people might refer to this as torture porn but I felt it was within reason (If that makes sense). The characters are forced to make brutal decision as they fight for their lives. The blood flows by the bucket as the characters are dissected and tortured in the most horrific ways. The ending seems to fit with the overall flow of this film which is more horror/comedy than anything dramatic or realistic. Overall I thought this film was a nice entry into the world of horror and it repulsed and entertained me in equal parts.

Director and writer Eli Roth puts forth another successful comedy/horror in my mind (See Cabin Fever). There are numerous tense situations as these three friends run around one the strangest towns in Europe. The murders are campy but well thought up and while the story has a lot to be desired it all fits together quite well. Sex, nudity, and murder are the name of the game and Roth gives the viewer all of these in ample quantity. Truly this is a fun film in the horror genre.

 I recommend this film but especially to horror lovers that like over the top gore.

T Factor + If you like blood and guts then this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you need realistic characters and story in your films then this could score lower on the rating scale.

IF you liked this film reel recommendations: Wolf Creek, House of Wax.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood
Drama (Horror)
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 100 minutes
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Virginia Madsen, Julie Christie
Directed By:
Rating: 2 out of 10
A medieval town is under siege from a violent werewolf.

Courtney Cox’s lips, green ketchup, Mila Kunis dating Macaulay Culkin, and the Whitney show can all be categorized under what were we they thinking. This film can easily be added to that list. Red Riding Hood is based on the fairy tale of the same name. A werewolf terrorizes a medieval town and it is up to the villagers to destroy the wolf before it murders anymore people.

I have said it many times before and I will say it many times in the future. They need to stop making werewolf movies in all shapes and forms. They are terrible to watch and this film was no different. The film starts and we are introduced to Red Riding Hood who goes by the name of Valerie. She is in love with a local boy but is promised to wed another. The old fashioned town looks like a recently built set and because of that fact  the film is super hard to get in to. With the help of a fanatical werewolf hunter priest, the town’s people must defend themselves from this four legged predator of the night. That is basically the entire film. The story flip flops between two jealous men who fight over Valerie’s affections and the villagers trying to kill the werewolf. The werewolf in this film looks directly imported from the Twilight franchise which means it is god awful and crappy to behold. The infrequent action sequences where the wolf attacks the village are shaky and of low quality. It is a tedious watch and the frights are non-existent.

The acting is weak across the board. Valerie is played by Amanda Seyfried and while she is pretty to look at she does nothing to make this movie watchable. The clichéd townspeople that support her also do not work. A town drunk, a simple minded boy, a loud mouthed skeptic, and a witch grandmother all add to the misery of this film. In fact if I didn’t know any better I would say this film just copied the characters from M Night’s the Village. The last person I need to mention is Gary Oldman playing the vigilante priest. He shows up in these types of films to try and give them credibility. He just looks out of place as he delivers his loud sermons and it was tough to sit through.

The film is poorly designed and never really excites the viewer as one would like. Red Riding Hood was never that interesting a tale so to stretch it into a full length feature film was never going to work properly. The blood and murders won’t scare anyone and the daily lives of these villagers are as boring as one would expect. Trying to guess who's the werewolf gets tiring as each character always seems to act oddly for no reason. Even Valerie’s suitors will get on your nerves as they seem like stalkers instead of love interests. As the ending finally drags itself on to the screen it will shock no one and more importantly will impress no one. The full moon may bring out a werewolf but it doesn’t bring out the excitement.

Director Catherine Hardwick just likes to make crappy movies during the last few years (see Twilight). To be fair the script is repugnant (David Johnson) but she adds nothing to it. The fake set, poor special effects, cheap looking costumes, and lack of excitement can all be put on her. The old fashioned story just drags itself from scene to scene with virtually nothing scary happening to alleviate the lulls. It is just another awful film on her resume.

I cannot recommend this film as it was a mistake to bring it to the big screen.

T Factor + If you like Amanda Seyfried as an actress then this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you like lots of bloody violence in you werewolf movies then this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: The Village, Signs.

Monday, 10 December 2012

While She Was Out

While She Was Out
Drama (Thriller)
Rated: R
Running Time: 108 minutes
Starring: Kim Basinger
Directed By: Susan Montford
Rating: 0 out of 10
A woman must run for her life as she is chased by 4 gang members.

If Phoebe Cates was my number one crush when I was a kid then Kim Basinger was a close second. Well that was until Mickey Rourke just dealt with her for the entire 2 hours in Nine 1/2 Weeks. Anyways I hadn’t heard of this film before (not a good sign) when I randomly came across it. I saw it starred Kim Basinger and was presented by Guillermo Del Toro and I said to myself how bad can this movie really be? To make a long story short I didn’t dislike this film I loathed it. While She Was Out is the story of Della Myers. She is an unappreciated house wife who goes to the local mall to buy some gift wrap. On the way back to her car she is accosted by some hooligans and must run for her life in a nearby forest.

It takes a lot for me to give a movie a 0 on the rating scale. I usually can find something positive to say about a film but not with this. The film starts off and we get to see a puzzling opening sequence where Della’s husband goes on an abusive tirade of epic proportions. The cleanliness of their house causes him to verbally abuse her for like 5 minutes straight. I am not sure if this is a thinly veiled poke at Alec Baldwin but it does not remotely fit into this film. From there the film follows Della to the weirdest mall in America. The mall sells lingerie not in stores but in racks along walkways for everyone to see. Apathetic deaf people with attitudes work at the coffee shops. The mall closes and the thousands of shoppers instantly disappear leaving the huge parking lot empty, and those are just the things I can remember. Della inexplicably gets involved in a fight with a group of thugs in the parking lot and her flight for her life commences. Up to this point the viewer will have felt nothing for the main character, so when Della gets chased into the forest you will yawn instead of care what happens next.

Della is played by Kim Basinger and all I can say is wow. Her weird over emotional delivery fails at every turn. She is depressed one moment and fierce the next. She is whiny in the next instance and then she is cold as ice the next. I get they were trying to portray her as a self empowered woman but this was an awful performance and a terrible character. Speaking of terrible, the random collection of four super stereotypical gangsters also made this movie suck. There is a White leader to not stir any controversy, the hip hop Asian guy, the Latino, and the African American guy make up this Glee ensemble gang. This ridiculous group hangs around super busy parking lots looking to harass lonely women during the holidays apparently. So a terrible protagonist and ridiculous antagonists and the film never has a chance.

As the film continues we are treated to Della running Forrest Gump style around the forest while carrying a red toolbox. The toolbox never makes a sound even though it is full of metal objects that she fends off her attackers with. The movie is spent following Della while the thugs chase her around and they are always right behind her even though the forest is huge. When the movie seems to be at its absolute worst the leader of the thugs keeps yelling out "Della!" This is not only stupid it is basically a desecration of the famous scene from A Street Car Named Desire. This film is in no way interesting, it is in no way thrilling, it is in no way scary, and most importantly it is in no way believable. Over complicated deaths and cheesy characters are all that you can expect if you decide to watch this. Not sure where this ranks on my all time worst movie list but it cracks the top 100 for sure.

Director Susan Montford has directed only this movie in her career and it is not a shock as to why. From its campy and tired gang members to its terrible dialogue, there is a plethora of things this movie failed to do. No one will be interested as hooligans chase a house wife through a forest. The film starts off strange and ends even worse and truly this is not worth anyone’s time.

I cannot recommend this movie.

T Factor + If you are able to enjoy movies without thinking too much about them then this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – None.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: The Brave One, Panic Room.   

Friday, 7 December 2012


Rated: R
Running Time: 141 minutes
Starring: Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich
Directed By: Clint Eastwood
Rating: 6 .5 out of 10
A woman takes on the LAPD after the return the wrong child to her after hers goes missing.

For all you Star Trek nerds out there this isn’t a film about Odo from Deep Space Nine. Nor is it a documentary about Beorn from the Hobbit. Changeling is based on the true story of Christine Collins. After her child disappears the LAPD returns to her an imposter in place of her missing child. She takes on the corrupt police force while never losing faith that her child was still out there.

Simply put if you can make it past the first half an hour of this film it turns into a pretty decent drama. The start to this film is abysmal though. It is so slow and boring it was shocking to me that it was able to turn itself around. The beginning of this film sees the viewer introduced to Christine and her son as they go about their everyday lives. All I took from the start of this film is that living in the 1920’s must have been balls. Their lives are very mundane and that makes watching it mundane. Christine is a single mother and a switch board supervisor and that’s about it. The film doesn’t really start to get interesting until after her son disappears and the subsequent return of the imposter child by the LAPD. From there the struggle for the truth and some huge civil rights violations is intriguing and sometimes downright chilling. David versus Goliath stories will always be a good watch and this is no different. The LAPD at the time were a bunch of corrupt and lawless individuals so Christine really has an uphill battle in the search for her missing son. Not only that she has to live with an obnoxious child imposter and has to care for him during her grief. Her pain and fear is palpable as no one seems to want to help find her child.

Christine is played by Angelina Jolie and she is solid in the role as a distraught single mother. Her wide range of emotions is captured through sudden outbursts of rage and touching sadness of tears. She has to jump through hoops to find her son and her love seems very real which makes this story very touching. The other acting job of note is Reverend Briegleb played by John Malkovich. He is not only a man of faith but also a crusader for civil rights and his passionate portrayal helps this movie along. The LAPD are a corrupt entity and he is bringing that truth out to the public.

As the film moves along the viewer will feel Christine’s pain as she is physically, emotionally, and verbally abused by these corrupt cops. In a surprising twist what starts out as a basic story of a lost child turns into a thriller. It involves murder and deceit of monstrous proportions. The viewer will be swept along for the ride and will feel a range of emotions from shock to happiness and from laughter to rage. The ending brings closure to a film that if it had a better start could have won best picture.

Director Clint Eastwood takes on a challenging period piece and delivers just another good drama. (Mystic River, Gran Torino) The old time buildings, cars, and clothing are all authentic and the sweeping tale of police corruption and malicious practices will enrage most viewers. Besides the terrible introduction this film settles into a fantastic tale of the power of love. This is another great job from a fantastic director.

I give this movie a recommendation but especially to drama lovers.

T Factor + If you like Angelina Jolie as an actress than this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you do not like slow moving films than this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: Mystic River, The Aviator.


Action (Sci-Fi)
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 119 minutes
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite, Ron Glass, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Summer Glau, Sean Maher
Directed By: Joss Whedon
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
A group of space smugglers try to evade a government bounty hunter as one of their crew carries deep rooted military secrets.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say fans of the television show Firefly will like this movie better than the casual observer. That is because the characters will connect more with plenty of back story and development. If you are unfamiliar please don’t count out watching this film as it is still a great entry into the world of Sci-Fi/Action. Serenity is based on the awesome and incomparable television show called Firefly (If you haven’t seen it than you probably have a significant other or are married but it is AMAZING.) It is the story of Captain Mal Reynolds and his crew of space smugglers. They are trying to make a living hauling contraband across the universe (In a ship called Serenity) and staying one step ahead of the government called the Alliance.

This film is just a great blend of interesting characters and a decent story. If you are unfamiliar with this franchise then prepare yourself for an odd mix for Sci-Fi. The characters all dress in western garb and can speak a fluent Asian dialect (usually when swearing.) It sounds odd but the unorthodox take on this futuristic genre actually adds to the charm of this movie. The film starts off and the viewer is treated to the evil Alliance as they perform evil experiments on helpless victims. It sets the stage quite nicely as you can see the length at which the Alliance will go to enforce the law. From there the film breaks down into following the crew as they travel the universe looking for their next smuggling job. I liked this film because I felt it is what the Star Trek movies should have been more like. The introduction to Mal’s crew and that one of them maybe carrying a top military secret only adds to the story and the instances for intense combat. This film has a little bit of everything and that is why it works so well. It has gun fights, space battles, alien creatures and a liberal amount of comedy that will keep most watchers entertained.

There are too many characters to review properly so I will pick my top three. The best character of the bunch is the Captain Mal Reynolds played by the always entertaining Nathan Fillion. The film wouldn’t have been nearly as fun without his wise cracking bravado and natural charm. The next best character in this is a bounty hunter chasing Mal’s crew. He is simply known as the Operative and is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. His calm and collected performance compliments Fillion’s perfectly and the two of them have an easy chemistry as they play a deadly game of cat and mouse. The last of my favorite notable performance is the character River played by Summer Glau. She portrays a troubled young woman but can kick ass with a wide array of high impact maneuvers. Her small stature makes her hand to hand fight scenes that much more impressive. Really though there isn’t a weak link in the cast, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite and the rest of the characters all bring something positive to the film in their respective roles.

The only real negatives I can point out are for people not familiar with this franchise as the story can seem rushed. The background development of the characters seems forced on the viewer as well. Lastly, the films lower budget will not be appreciated by all as some of the effects are not as crisp as one would like (see the spaceships.) But really these negatives are incidental if you truly appreciate Sci-Fi. The film continues on its way and the pacing is beautiful. You follow this smuggling crew as if you are part of the team and want them to get away from the authorities. When the film comes to a close it may upset some Firefly purists but to the everyday viewer it will be a perfect action climax on just a great overall watch.

Director and writer Joss Whedon, aka the King of the Nerds has added another gem to his impressive resume (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Avengers, Dr. Horrible). He knows his audience and brings the brilliance of his television show Firefly onto the big screen. He has created characters you care about, he eases the sometimes dramatic story with a well timed joke, the action scenes are detailed and frequent, and lastly he has created a unique world that all Sci-Fi lovers will appreciate. If this is the end of the road for the crew of Serenity at least they go out on top.

I give this movie a recommendation especially to Sci-Fi lovers.

T Factor + If you watched the show Firefly this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you do not like Sci-Fi than this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: Star Trek, Star Trek: First Contact.    

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The Switch

The Switch
Comedy (Drama, Romance)
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 101 minutes
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Wilson, Juliette Lewis, Thomas Robinson
Directed By: Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Rating: 3 out of 10
Seven years after his best friend gets pregnant through a sperm donor, a guy realizes he may be the father.

I am pretty sure Jennifer Aniston is trying to find a cure for insomnia with her movies. Her film choices have been curious and this is another forgettable movie for the most marketable of the Friends alumni. The Switch is the story of best friends Wally and Kassie. 7 years after Kassie used a sperm donor to become pregnant, Wally realizes he is the father of her son.

This is the style of movie I hate the most. It is the movie that hovers in between genres that never really settles into one or the other. The premise of a guy switching his sperm for another donor is undoubtedly a comedic theme. You would guess that but the film isn’t funny. The premise of a single mom raising a kid and struggling with relationships is undoubtedly dramatic. You would guess that but this film isn’t interesting story wise. Because the film doesn’t establish a genre it just awkwardly flip-flops between comedy and drama confusing the viewer as to what they are watching. The film introduces us to Wally and Kassie and instantly I was skeptical of this premise. Kassie is a beautiful woman with no weird traits so why does she have so much trouble finding a partner? Wally is this ball of neuroses that is hard to appreciate. He is a hypochondriac, a cynic, and he purrs when he eats. He is all these things and yet he is rarely funny. So the will they or wont they get together scenario is really tired and cliché to witness.

Wally is played by Jason Bateman and this is his bread and butter character. I am a little tired of it at this point as he is the same sarcastic character in every film. He is okay but is at his best when he isn’t trying that hard. A great scene where he casually throws up in a trash can teases the viewer with what could have been. Kassie played by Jennifer Aniston is her same old self and brings nothing new to the role. She is underwhelming as a single mom and she needs to be more discerning in what she chooses. The kid Sebastian played by Thomas Robinson is easily the worst part of the film. His depressed face and adult demeanor is just sad to witness. I am especially hard on kid actors and Robinson was not only weak, but he really bothered me with his performance. Jeff Goldblum and Juliette Lewis are in this also if you are fans of theirs.

So the film is basically a lot of posturing until Kassie comes back to town with a 6 year old Sebastian. While there are some touching moments between Wally and Sebastian, the film never the less fails to keep the viewer interested. Wally struggling with his feelings and Sebastian’s constant frown is enough to make the viewer pray for this film to end. This film tries its hardest to be funny and thoughtful but it fails on both counts.

I was interested to see this film as directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck put together a surprisingly funny film in Blades of Glory. They couldn’t continue that success as this film struggles in many departments to be entertaining. The unoriginal leads, the obvious advice giving co-workers, and the casting of a truly obnoxious kid all leads to a poor watch. While the script itself is generic they also never help it along. This is truly a disappointing finished product.

 I cannot recommend this film as it struggles with its own identity.

T Factor + If you like romantic comedies than this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor + If you do not like child actors than this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: Failure to Launch, Fool’s Gold

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Stan Helsing

Stan Helsing
Rated: R
Running Time: 108 minutes
Starring: Steve Howey, Diora Baird, Kenan Thompson, Desi Lydic, Leslie Nielsen
Directed By: Bo Zenga
Rating: 1 out of 10
4 friends must survive Halloween night as they are chased by killer icons of horror cinema.

I wasn’t in a very good mood so I decided to pop in a comedy to lighten things up. Unfortunately the comedy was called Stan Helsing and it did nothing to improve my grouchiness. This film is the story of Stan Helsing. He and three friends get lost on their way to a Halloween party and end up on the wrong side of town. They are pursued by evil monsters who all mistake him for the legendary monster killer, Van Helsing.

I don’t know why but the title of this film cracks me up. That is all that cracks me up with this movie though. The film starts and we see Stan Helsing as he finishes his shift at a local video store. A bizarre encounter with a human sized cockroach in the bathroom sets the stage for a truly putrid film. The writer seems to be obsessed with bathrooms in this film as there were four different bathroom scenes all together. Not exactly a parody this film uses the likeness of all the infamous serial killers in cinematic history. Pinhead, Michael Myers, Jason, Freddy, Leatherface, and many more show up in the film but are slightly altered. Leatherface has a leaf blower instead of a chainsaw, Freddy has utensils instead of finger knives, Pinhead has darts instead of spikes in his head, and this is the best they could come up with. The film is a woeful 108 minutes of the lowest grade humor you will find. Stan Helsing and his friend Teddy are a couple of bumbling idiots and the girls are basically eye candy that repeatedly have attention brought to their bodies by lights and honking sounds when they get groped. The movie has the four friends running around from place to place sexually harassing each other and also trying to stay one step ahead of the poorly thought up monsters.

I am not going to talk much about the acting as these people are here for a paycheck and that’s it. Stan Helsing is played by Steve Howey. Besides looking a little like Jimmy McNulty from the Wire he is a terrible lead and everyone else follows his example. Teddy is played by the perpetually unfunny Kenan Thompson and he plays a generic token black guy. The girls played by Diora Baird and Desi Lydic set women back 20 years with their scantily clad performances. It was sad to witness these people go through the motions when even they know this wasn’t going to be funny.

The movie rolls along and besides a funny Kobe Bryant reference very early on I can’t remember even one funny scene. When I thought this film couldn’t get any worse the four friends battle the serial killers in a karaoke battle. Seeing infamous serial killers singing a YMCA parody is truly the low point of this film. As the end mercifully arrives, one can only wonder how a movie can be this bad and get funding. Do not watch this for any reason as it will just infuriate you.

Director and writer Bo Zenga should be banned from doing anything in regards to movies. You would think with a name like Bo Zenga he would be funnier but that isn’t the case. He tortures this cast as he sends them on a journey no one wants to watch. He misuses comedy legend Leslie Neilson and his tired toilet humor will appeal to no one. The film is many things but ultimately it just isn’t funny.

I cannot recommend this film as it should never have been made.

T Factor + If you like movies that are so bad they are funny than this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – Pick anything and this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: Epic Movie, Date Movie. 

Monday, 3 December 2012

The Help

The Help
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 146 minutes
Starring: Emma Stone, Sissy Spacek, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney
Directed By: Tate Taylor
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
An aspiring writer is trying to get a book published on the African American maids that work in her community during the civil rights movement.

About a year ago I heard a bunch of different people talking about a person named Skeeter on the subway. I was wondering why all the fuss over the obnoxious journalist from Harry Potter. What I soon found out was a book called the Help was the biggest literary fad of the moment. From there it was only a natural progression to turn one of North America’s hottest books into a full length feature film. The Help is the story of an aspiring white writer during the civil rights movement in the 1960’s. She decides to write a book from the African American maid’s point of view leading to some interesting problems.

I haven’t read the book this film is based on so I don’t know if this film does it justice but it was a good watch. Most people will like this film for its touching story and for its appealing characters. The film starts and the viewer is instantly treated to the maids as they go about their work as second class citizens. The films tone is set by things like separate bathrooms for the African American maids, disparaging remarks about the maids while they are still in the room, riding at the back of the bus and so on and so forth. The film follows Skeeter who is an aspiring writer. The first subject of her book is a maid named Aibileen. Skeeter is writing a book about the maid’s point of view in serving the white folk of the county. Aibileen is a strong woman who goes against her better judgment and provides her thoughts and experiences for the book. It takes strong people on both sides of a touchy subject to enact change and that is why this movie is so good. Skeeter is shunned for her unpopular dealings with the help and Aibileen could not only lose her job for her stories but also her life. The struggle to get the truth out about the maid’s deplorable working conditions will bring out a few tears from the viewer.

The story is good but the characters and more importantly the acting is what makes this movie special. Skeeter is played by Emma Stone and she is good as the lead. She is able to drive the story as a tom boyish woman with strong convictions. Her supporting cast is great though. The maid Aibileen played by Viola Davis and  the maid Minny played by Octavia Spencer steal the show in this. Davis plays her character as a serious woman but with strong emotion. Spencer is more of the comedic and sassy character and either of them could have taken best supporting actress for their work. Not to be forgotten is the evil woman of the film called Hilly Holbrook. She is played by Bryce Dallas Howard and without this malicious and ignorant character the film never would have worked as well as it did. Howard’s smug performance was perfect and I couldn’t picture anyone else in that role. Lastly a special mention goes out to Jessica Chastain playing Celia Foote. A lot of people could have pulled this role off but she was great as a shunned woman in the community.

The film carries along and the viewer will be captivated by how the maids deal with bigotry and mistreatment. The viewer will also be captivated by the power of love as not all people are hate mongers. The film is obviously quite serious but the odd thrown in joke or funny situation can lighten the mood. Simple things like the maids discussing their boss’s dirty laundry are funny scenes without being cheesy. The maids care about the white children they look after while their own children have to fend for themselves at home. Will Skeeter’s book be published about racism and unfair practices? I obviously won’t tell you but the film is well worth watching to find out.

Virtually unknown director Tate Taylor takes a controversial subject and delivers a very veteran looking finished product. The casting is spot on and the story spends the perfect amount of time on each character. The touching story of love in the face of oppression will touch most viewers hearts and the film never was slow. Overall I felt he did a great job delivering a topic that a lot of people could have gotten wrong.

I give this film a recommendation especially to people who appreciate films for the acting.

T Factor + If you read the book this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you don’t like slow moving dramas than this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: Remember the Titans, North Country