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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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Monday, 23 September 2013

Star Wars Characters


I have long wanted to do a Star Wars post, but it always got pushed to the back burner. Now that I have a free second to write, I figured I would do a Top 10 Star Wars list. When Disney bought the Star Wars rights late last year, I was stoked to find out that they were doing movies 7, 8, and 9 in the story arc. Star Wars was a huge part of my childhood and although the new ones didn’t amaze me, I never the less was entertained by them, and I also loved the nostalgia that they invoked. When I heard J.J. Abrams was set to direct the new ones, I was downright giddy. You see, I am a rare Star Wars/Star Trek crossover fan. I guess you can call me a surly Nausicaan Nerf Herder. I am not angry that Abrams is bringing his vision to Star Wars as his Star Trek reboots have been great. Although, the lightsaber scenes are going to have so many lens flares!  With the announcement of movies 7, 8, and 9, there came another announcement of two standalone films. The films would be separate origin stories of Han Solo and Boba Fett. Were these the right two characters to start with? Absolutely they are! It got me thinking about other characters that should get their own film. Keep in mind that I have never read the Star Wars books, so I am going on their movie characters alone. So make yourself a Tatooine Sunburn, sit back and enjoy a list that I hope comes to fruition.




10. Kit Fisto

Kit Fisto had little screen time and yet it was enough to intrigue me. He was part of the Jedi High Council and is an imposing figure. His signature grin lets the viewer know he loves to battle evil. Although he was chopped down in his prime by Darth Sidious, I can’t help but feel there is a rich origin story to be told about him.

9. Greedo

Greedo was the bounty hunter that Han Solo kills like a boss in the Cantina bar on Mos Eisley. It has sparked many debates of whether Han shot first. There is something about the ineptitude of the Greedo character that captured my interest. He is a trained killer and yet misses a point blank shot at Han. There must be a fascinating origin story about this green bounty hunter, and I want to see it.

8. Lando Calrissian

The Baron Administrator of Cloud city has led an interesting life. He gambles, smuggles, and to quasi quote Kanye West, Lando’s life is dope, and he does dope shit! Lando even owned the Millennium Falcon at one point but lost it to Han Solo while gambling. I want to see the origin of this man with such questionable morals. I hope he drinks Colt 45 in the film as well.

7. Yoda

Yoda is simply the most pimp character in the Star Wars universe. He stands 66 centimeters tall and yet is a giant amongst the Jedi. He is a master at nearly everything when it comes to the force and is virtually unrivalled in lightsaber battles. With 900 years of life, Star Wars fans deserve a trilogy to one of the most iconic figures in cinematic history. “Do or do not, There is no try.” – Yoda.

6. Darth Maul

Darth Maul was the Sith badass with the dual lightsabers in the Phantom Menace. He was awesome in the sense that he was a new bad guy for the legion of Star Wars nerds. The lightsaber battle scene between Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Darth Maul was arguably one of the best scenes from the prequels. He was a man of few words, but anyone that can kill Qui-Gon Jinn deserves an origin movie.

5. Chewbacca

Chewbacca is one of the greatest wingmen in the history of wingmen. He rides shotgun to Han Solo on the Millennium Falcon, and roars his way through the movies 4, 5, and 6. His strength is prodigious and his loyalty is even more so. You understood nothing he said which leads to wanting to know more about what makes this Wookie tick. Nerdy fun fact: Chewbacca is from the planet Kashyyyk.

4. Obi-Wan Kenobi

While Obi-Wan has had plenty of screen time already, he is such an awesome character that I want more. They could go two routes with the Obi-Wan character. They could do an origin story of his younger years. Or they could do the story of his life as a hermit on Tatooine. He fought Darth Maul, he fought Count Dooku, he fought Jango Fett, he fought General Grievous, and he fought Anakin Skywalker. This guy is the godfather of Jedi and deserves some more screen time.

3. General Grievous

Grievous might have been my favorite character from the new movies. When he opens his cloak and pulls out four lightsabers to fight Obi-Wan, I was in awe. I wanted to know more about a dude that could kill so many Jedi. There is no shame in losing to Obi-Wan in an epic battle, but it is a shame we don’t know more about this great villain.

2. Count Dooku

Holy shit, Saruman is in the Star Wars universe. Grey bearded and confident, Count Dooku owns the screen with his bravado and strong will. He is a former Jedi that has turned to the Dark Side. I want to know what caused the man to lose faith. I want to know what went on when Yoda trained Dooku in the way of the Jedi arts. A man that can survive a fight with Yoda deserves some back story.

1.Qui-Gon Jinn

I love Liam Neeson and he owned the Qui-Gon role. One of the biggest positives of the Phantom Menace was Neeson’s performance. He encapsulates everything I thought a Jedi would be. He is wise, calm, and confident in every situation. He is a beloved figure and understands the force in a unique way. Anyone who trained Obi-Wan must have an awesome origin story, and I would love to see Qui-Gon on the big screen again.

 There is my list. Is there anyone else you think that deserves a film? Let me know, and as always, thanks for reading!

P.S. If they make a Mace Windu origin movie, I hope they use Dave Chappelle!

Sunday, 22 September 2013


Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 100 minutes
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Directed By: Andres Muschietti
Rated: 5.5 out of 10
Two little girls get lost in the woods. They are found five years later and tell the story of an imaginary guardian named Mama.

“Mama” – Jim Carrey from Liar Liar

Two little girls go missing and are presumed dead. 5 years later they are found alive in the forest and are remarkably well preserved. There are no scientific explanations on how these two little girls could have survived alone in the woods for so long. Their Uncle and his girlfriend agree to take them into their house, only to discover they weren’t as alone in the woods as once thought.

“Mama.” There are a just a couple of things I want to say before I start my review. First, this is a terribly named film. Second, Guillermo Del Toro needs to stop presenting shit and stick to directing. Lastly, I have read review after review of how awful this film is, it isn’t that bad. The film starts out and the viewer is treated to the two children getting lost in the woods. It is a pet peeve of mine that they are not that far from civilization and yet they are totally lost to the world (but I digress.) Fast forward five years, and the kids are miraculously found alive and are doing quite well under the circumstances. These two little girls have endured harsh conditions and have come out a little on the feral side because of it. “Mama.” Their wild nature plays a big role with some of the effective scares that occur later on. Their loving uncle (Lucas) and his girlfriend (Annabel) decide to act as the girl’s guardians for the time being, and so the girls move in with them to reacquaint themselves with the real world. It doesn’t take long to realize that something is not right in the house. The girl’s talk of an imaginary protector named Mama. The doctors seem to think it is a manifestation of being alone for so long. They are about to discover that Mama is not that imaginary after all. The first half of the film sees a decent build up of story and the occasional fright. The girls creepily walk around the house on all fours, and they sleep on the floor or under the bed like wild animals. Add in odd noises coming from the walls and the closets, and the film starts off strong. “Mama.”

The acting is pretty good in this. Annabel is played by Jessica Chastain and she continues her recent trend of impressive performances (The Help, Zero Dark Thirty.) I am not saying this is an Oscar worthy performance, but she plays the alternative girlfriend quite well. She takes on the motherly role and is calm and collected when under stress. She might be faulted for sticking around the scary house for too long, but at least she is a strong character and wasn’t ditzy. Uncle Lucas was played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and he was okay. You will probably like him more in this if you don’t watch Game of Thrones. All I see is the Kingslayer, and Waldau’s performance did not convince me out of that vision. Lastly, I was very impressed with the kids. As you well know I am especially harsh on child actors, but they were solid in this. The two girls were played by Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nelisse. These two girls have much to be proud of as they grunted and snarled their way through this film. Overall, the acting allowed you to enjoy film more which I appreciated. “Mama.”

As the film carries on, it starts to unravel. While monsters in the closet and under the bed scenarios do work effectively in this. The story just cannot offer the quality scares like the start did. Mama is seen too soon, too frequently, and is too computer animated to be taken seriously. There are also convoluted dream sequences and characters stupidly wandering into dangerous locations by themselves. What once was frightening, quickly turns ludicrous, as Mama enacts an insane plot to get the girls back. The love between a mother and her child can be intense and powerful. Annabel’s maternal instincts to protect the girls are about to be tested by Mama’s resolve to get them back. Who will win? “Mama.” In conclusion, the acting is good, and there are a respectable number of jump scares. The kid’s wild nature is very unsettling, and the sound Mama makes is bone chilling. Unfortunately, the story is messy and relies too heavily on dream sequences and stupid plot development. At the end of the day, Mama herself is the worst part to this film. She just doesn’t have that X Factor to make this film work. The ending is also horrifically stupid.

Director Andres Muschietti (I pronounce Muschietti like Margheriti from Inglorious Basterds) shows that he is competent at making horror. He has an effective style that the viewer can easily get invested in, even though the material is out there. His casting and pacing lead to an easy watch and there are a few truly scary scenes. His downfall was the implementation of CGI and his overuse of the Mama character. With a few script tweaks, this film could have worked, but ultimately it falls just short.

I cannot recommend this film but it is better than what most critics say.  Also, “Mama.”
T Factor + If you like creature horror then this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you like gore in your horror then this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: Darkness Falls, Pitch Black.

Monday, 9 September 2013


Drama (Comedy)
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 104 minutes
Starring: Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey
Directed By: Richard Linklater
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
In small-town Texas, a funeral director befriends a wealthy widow to funny and ultimately murderous results.  

"It's in my top two movies of all time with the word Bernie in the title. I'm not going to say what the other one is, but let’s just say it doesn’t take place during the week." - Andy Samberg

Jack Black is singing in this movie? That is an entirely original and unique happenstance. Bernie is the story of a small-town in Texas (Carthage). Bernie Tiede is a mild mannered funeral director who is adored by the populace. After the passing of a one, Mr. Nugent, Bernie befriends his widow (Marjorie.)

Bernie is a very odd, and a very bizarre true story coming out of the state of Texas. Bernie Tiede is an assistant funeral director in the small town of Carthage. He seems to have an inexhaustible amount of energy, and a raging thirst to help the recently grieved. He has the town of Carthage under a spell of he can do no wrong. The film has a unique style in that it is presented as a movie and sort of as a documentary at the same time. The viewer is treated to real life testimonials from the people of Carthage. They paint Bernie as a saint who enacts smiles and kindness where ever he goes. On the other side of the equation is the widow Mrs. Nugent. She is painted as crotchety, temperamental, racist, and a straight up B. Bernie and Mrs. Nugent are polar opposites on the personality scale and yet their lives are about to collide. I liked the first half of this movie, with Bernie’s strange charm and thirst for singing. It combined will with Mrs. Nugent’s permanent scowl and hideous attitude. It makes you wonder if Bernie is being nice for the personal gain, or if he is a saint walking around in a man’s body?

I hate to say this, but the acting in this is superb. Jack Black plays Bernie Tiede perfectly. With his pants hitched up and his small moustache perfectly coiffed, Black leads the viewer on tale that you will have to see to believe. Tiede is socially awkward with young people and yet at ease with the grieving. He sings beautifully in front of hundreds of strangers, and yet is embarrassed by sex talk. I usually can take Black in only small doses but this might be his finest performance to date. Tiede was awkwardly popular and Black makes the viewer understand that. Mrs. Nugent is also played very well by Shirley MacLaine. While it wasn’t a hard role, Maclaine hits all the right notes to get under the viewers skin. Never smiling, and always mad, she is the darkness to Tiede’s light. Matthew McConaughey has a small role as Prosecutor Danny Buck, which I also quite enjoyed.

Watching Bernie and Mrs. Nugent interact can be funny and it can be cringe worthy. And that is what I liked most about this film. It takes a little bit of being uncomfortable to get this story across and the unanswered questions only add to its intrigue. Was Bernie a gold digger? Were the two of them sleeping together? Can anyone possibly be this nice? Was the end of this story predestined? The more the film goes on, the more you will like Bernie and the more you will hate Mrs. Nugent. Everyman has a tipping point though, and Bernie is no different. I personally would have gone with the Throw Mama from the Train route, but Bernie takes a different approach. An inexplicable and suddenly violent act will eventually cause the town of Carthage to rally behind a man that lost his cool. Except to add to the insanity which is this tale, it takes almost a year for anyone to realize a crime has even been committed. The story ends the way it starts, bizarrely.  In conclusion, I liked this film for its reliance on people’s faith. It makes you wonder about when someone does so much good with their life, can they be forgiven for one act of depravity? This film can be cleverly funny, and decidedly dark. The first half is certainly better than the second as getting to know Bernie is the best part. The film is very slow at times, but ultimately Black’s acting and the crazy story won me over.

Director Richard Linklater seems to get the most out of Jack Black (see School of Rock) and that is not the easiest of things to do. The towns testimonials integrated with fictional reenactments of the key players involved, was a stroke of genius. It keeps the viewer emotionally invested in a film that could easily have been a snooze fest. This is a unique tale of humanity at its finest and at its worst, which was great to watch.

I recommend this film, especially to people who enjoy odd storylines.

P.S. Do not fall asleep while this DVD is in the player. The title screen song on a loop will haunt your dreams for eternity.
T Factor + If you like Jack Black as an actor then this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you do not like slower dramas/Indie films then this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: Safety Not Guaranteed, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Olympus Has Fallen

Olympus Has Fallen
Rated: R
Running Time: 120 minutes
Starring: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Dylan McDermott, Rick Yune, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser
Directed By: Antoine Fuqua
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Terrorists have overtaken the White House and it is up to one man to stop them.

There are terrorists in the White House? Where is John Maclean when you need him! Olympus Has Fallen is the story of former Presidential guard, Mike Banning. He is caught inside the White House when a terrorist attack occurs. It is up to him to try and rescue the president from these unknown invaders, and to prevent their sinister plot from coming to fruition.

This film can be summed up in one sentence. Die Hard in the White House. I will not compare the two films but there are lots of similarities. On a positive note, there are certainly way worse movies to be compared to. After a security detail goes wrong, a presidential guard (Mike Banning) is forced into the quiet life. He has trouble adjusting to his new job and his personal life is suffering because of it. That is all about to change, as Terrorists are about to descend on the White House. It has been a long time since I have seen a bare bones action flick, so I was able to enjoy this in all of its absurdity. The White House is about to face a threat unseen since the British burned it to the ground in the 1800’s. Thank god, Mike Banning is there to defend it and to kill bad guys at will. A scene where the terrorists invade Washington is bloody and pretty spectacular if you ask me. New age weapons explode in the air, and tens of thousands of bullets are fired with no thought to civilian welfare. Casualties are high on both sides as bodies are strewn about the White House lawn. It is a pretty cool introductory scene and establishes a great tone of violence. What this film is lacking in dialogue, casting, and believability, is more than made up in bloody carnage.

This film lives and dies with the lead. Mike Banning is played by Bruce Willis, I mean Gerard Butler. He is no stranger to action (300, Gamer) so this film was not a hard role for him. He tells the viewer to climb on his back and he will carry you through to the end. He shoots people with pin point accuracy, he breaks necks with pent up aggression, and he stabs people with style and effectiveness. He was great even while spouting off cheesy threats and trying humor in all the wrong places. Without Butler, this film would have failed, so I say bravo Mike Banning! You are no John Maclean but you are still pretty bad ass! His supporting cast is pretty much whatever. The president is played by Aaron Eckhart. All shred of realism is lost with that casting right there. There is no need for a young president with Hollywood looks, but that is what we find ourselves with. Morgan Freeman dials in his performance with a generic portrayal of Speaker Trumbull. And the lead terrorist is played by Rick Yune, who is also pretty generic and of course knows martial arts. In fact, if I didn’t know any better, I would have guessed they were casting poorly on purpose. Butler saves the day though and that is all that matters.

As the White House stands on the brink of collapse it is up to one man to save it. Mike Banning, who is bleeding and bruised, uses his intricate knowledge of the place to gain intelligence and to kill bad guys at will. Every step is a battle as he faces highly trained terrorists who will not go out quietly. Kill scenes occur often enough to sate even the most hardcore of action fan. I like how Mike Banning is battling these evil men Han style…………Solo, and he is doing it all for the viewer to see. The romantic relationships are kept to a minimum, the terrorists plot is not complicated, and the dialogue is thankfully sparse when needed. As the film comes to a close, I can’t help but feel this film hit all the right action notes that I was looking for, and it takes place in a cool locale that should be untouchable. In conclusion, if you like blood, violence, and death, then this film has that in abundance. Butler is allowed to go Rambo on some terrorists for 2 hours and he is fun to watch. If you need a great story then look elsewhere as the film offers little in the way of believability or originality. The use of CGI is over the top in some places but that can be overlooked when so many buildings are exploding and planes are crashing to the ground.

Director Antoine Fuqua is no stranger to action (King Arthur, Shooter) so he has put together another solid action film for his resume. What kept this movie from being great? The casting is main thing. Because the President is off, the bad guy is whatever, and the character development is virtually nonexistent, it is hard to care for anyone in this film. People die and things explode but there is no emotional connection. Butler saves the film though, and while other characters drop off, his steady finger on the trigger delivers every time.

I give this movie a recommendation and a Yippee Ki Yay Mofo!

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

T Factor – If you need a good storyline then this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: Die Hard, Shooter