The Unborn (2009)


Jumby Wants to be Born Now.

My coworker Shannon seems to be a horror movie aficionado.  I’m fairly sure she has seen every horror movie Netflix has to offer.  So when October comes around, I have come to rely on her for at least one solid recommendation.  She seems to be a nice person so I always have to remind her first that I don’t necessarily want a fun movie, but want to MAKE FUN OF a movie because she always leads with something good, but once you get past that she can deliver the good stuff.  Or the bad stuff.  So she claimed today’s movie would be good to make fun of, but then I saw it was written and directed by David S. Goyer, who wrote the Nolan Batman trilogy and Dark City.  This can’t be right!  This is supposed to be a bad movie!  Then I saw he also wrote Batman v. Superman and BOTH Ghost Rider movies.  …This has potential…  And if nothing else, the poster for the movie was mainly just a hot chick’s butt, so it’s got that going for it.  This movie is The Unborn, written and directed by David S. Goyer, and starring Odette Yustman, Meagan Good, Gary Oldman, Carla Gugino, Jane Alexander, James Remar, and Idris Elba.

A super-hot lady named Casey (Yustman) starts going crazy and having strange visions of dogs wearing masks and mittens.  Then a little boy smashes a mirror on her face and makes her eye change color.  Somehow, this leads her to find out she was to be a twin but her brother didn’t survive.  She finds her Auschwitz survivor grandma (Alexander) who was also a twin, but Nazi’s made her brother into a babadook.  …No wait, it’s a dybbuk.  And that’s a Jewish demon, so her brother starts acting like a real dyb-bag until she kills him.  The evil demon thingie wanted to be reborn as Casey’s brother but was instead unborn.  Now it’s after her.

Shannon comes through again!  I wouldn’t say this was necessarily a bad movie, but it certainly wasn’t good.  I wasn’t pained by watching it, but I feel like I spent most of it fairly confused.  The movie contained a lot of superstitions that it just acted like everyone knew and were totally normal.  Did you know that newborns aren’t supposed to see their own reflections or they’ll die?  Yeah, me neither.  Nor, I assume, did millions of parents who don’t go around smashing every mirror in their house when they get the plus sign on that pregnancy test.  Want to know what else isn’t a thing?  The name “Jumby.”  Right before he smashes Casey in the face with a mirror, the creepy little kid tells her that “Jumby wants to be born now.”  I would then say that I hope that “Jumby” is never born because he won’t last long with a name like that.  And then Casey finds out that that’s the nickname her parents gave her twin brother and she somehow didn’t stop in the middle of her freak out to say, “I can’t believe you never told me I had a twin…wait…Jumby?  Did he die in utero because of all the drugs you guys were doing during the pregnancy to come up with that name?”  And what sort of drugs was her grandma on when she said, “What is a twin but another kind of mirror?”  …Well, grandma, a twin is lots of things.  A person. One that shares a lot of your genetic code.  Of all the things a twin could be, a reflective piece of glass would not make my list.  I kind of get what you’re saying because they may look alike, but not all twins do look alike and even the ones that do are not mirrors.  But I guess old grandma didn’t get herself in an old folk’s home by having full control of her faculties.  Anyway, the movie ends with an exorcism that goes poorly.  The dybbuk shows up and starts slinging people around the room like a little hurricane.  At this point, I agree with Casey when she says they have to finish the ceremony.  I don’t really understand her luck that the first piece of paper she grabbed at her feet as the book was blowing around the room just happened to be the page she needed.  This movie wouldn’t have happened if she was prone to such good fortune.

As always, a horror movie not making a lot of sense isn’t my top concern so long as they can make that up by being scary.  Unfortunately, this movie didn’t really do that either.  Mostly clichés and jump scares.  I guess I should’ve guessed it would be cliché from the thumbnail, but I kept getting distracted by Odette Yustman’s butt and couldn’t see the rest of the picture.  But she was standing in front of a bathroom vanity mirror that had her reflection and another mirror… sorry, her twin (I get those confused all the time).  But isn’t the bathroom vanity mirror in a horror movie one of the most played out and cliché things ever at this point?  You know exactly what they’re going to do with it eventually so the only suspense involved with it is wondering when.  I guess you could say they broke from cliché a little in the movie in that the black friend of Casey was not the first one to die, but I also felt no remorse for her when she did.  She’s supposed to be really superstitious but then she’s at home all alone and the power goes off and she hears a knock at the door but can’t see anyone when she looks outside so she opens the damned door?  She deserved to get stabbed by that little kid for that.  Also, you can’t take a little kid in a fight?  Maybe she’s just too nice, but I wish that little kid would try to stab me.  I would whoop that ass so hard!  Even if he did stab me in the gut first, I still think I could lay a beating on a little kid.  One thing I would say for this movie in the scares department is a good amount of the creatures they had were pretty creepy.  The dog with the mask or its head turned upside down and the old man later were both pretty well done.  And then I also have a burning question that this movie left me with: if an infant dies do the paramedics really bring in the full-sized human stretcher to bring it out?  I’m not suggesting they use a shoe box or something, but it seems like a waste of space.

The performances were pretty hit-and-miss in this movie.  The most surprising ones were Gary Oldman, Idris Elba, and Carla Gugino.  Not because they put on their career-defining, tour-de-force performances in this movie by a long shot, but more that they agreed to do the movie AND seemed to actually give about 10% more effort than the paycheck was probably worth.  Odette Yustman was the star of the movie in that she got the most screen time, and she did exactly what she needed to.  She was hot, she walked around in her underwear and made sure no one left this movie without knowing she has a nice butt.  And she screamed occasionally.  Otherwise, her performance and a lot of the other ones in the movie were good sometimes and very bad on others.  She probably did about as good as she could with the material, I suppose.  I mean, her character was written to make a really big deal about getting hit in the face by a kid with a mirror when talking to her friends, but never really bothered to bring up that she hatched an icky-looking bug out of an egg that morning.  I mean, shitty little kids hit people with things all the time.  It’s not every day that something other than egg comes out of an egg.  I also found it curious how profusely she thanked her boyfriend for accompanying her to the doctor.  She only had a minor scratch on her face really, but she WAS hit in the face so hard with a mirror that her eye was changing color.  Feels like going to the doctor with her would just be part of being a concerned boyfriend.  As I mentioned before, I did not get why she was so freaked out that she had a twin that died in utero.  Granted, it wouldn’t be great that the parents never thought to mention it, but I still feel like my reaction as an adult to receiving that information would be more along the lines of, “Oh…that’s interesting, I guess…”  I also wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that losing this twin was the reason my mom killed herself.  I mean, it was probably quite the bummer at first, but this movie showed that the mom killed herself when Casey was at least 9 or 10.  Seems like she probably would’ve moved past that by then.  I would at least give this movie credit that it seemed to write the character of the super-hot chick well on a couple of occasions.  Like when she took that book to Gary Oldman and asked if he could translate it for her.  …You want me to translate a thousand page religious manuscript for you?  “Could you?  That’d be great!  You’re such a sweetheart!”  That seems like a hot chick thing to do.  …I’d probably have done it for her too…  It also seems like a hot chick thing to do that when she’s told what to do to take the dybbuk’s power away, she only half-asses it.  Your grandma told you to break the mirrors in your house, burn the pieces, and bury them.  Why do all the mirrors in your house still have shards around the edges and pieces in a pile under them on the mantle?  Good enough, eh?

The Unborn was not particularly well-written and didn’t often stand up to logic, the performances were pretty hit-and-miss, and it was more cliché than it was scary.  The best parts of it are a couple of the creepy creatures and Odette Yustman’s butt. But I feel like you can get every piece of the enjoyment of those things from the movie poster I am attaching to this review.  So there’s not going to be much enjoyment to be gotten out of this movie, but I would say this would be a good candidate to watch at home with friends just to make fun of.  The Unborn gets “It’s not safe to be around me” out of “Am I going to be falling forever?”

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Thor: The Dark World (2013)


I Only Ask for One Thing in Return; a Good Seat from Which to Watch Asgard Burn!

Thor: The Dark World (2013)I would like to offer you some backstory to why I saw today’s movie, but it simply doesn’t exist.  It’s a sequel to a movie I’ve seen and vaguely liked.  But more importantly than that, it’s a comic book movie.  That is all that is required for me to find interest in seeing it.  And then the movie came out and I watched it.  What do you want from me?  There’s not always an interesting story leading up to these reviews!  Sometimes I just watch movies!  And this one was Thor: The Dark World, written by Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely, directed by Alan Taylor, and starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christopher Eccleston, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Rene Russo, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jaimie Alexander, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, and Tadanobu Asano.

Eons ago, the Asgardians defeated the Dark Elves on the battlefield of Vanaheim –where Disneyland will someday be built – before they got the chance to plunge the universe into darkness with a weapon known as the Aether, but their leader Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) manages to escape with his lieutenant Algrim (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and some of their men.  In present day, the realms come close to aligning again, bringing the return of Malekith when he senses that the Aether was discovered by Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) when it started to use her body as a host.  Her “boyfriend” Thor (Chris Hemsworth) returns to Midgard to take her back to Asgard with him to see if it can be removed.

I didn’t really go into this movie expecting much.  The first Thor movie was okay, but not really anything special.  This one was slightly better.  Not the greatest thing ever and not the worst, but it was an enjoyable enough watch.  The story was your basic “Bad thing’s gonna happen, hero’s gotta stop it” storyline.  And some of the subplots were a little predictable.  If you were the type that kept thinking during the Avengers, “Why did they make Coulson’s part so much bigger?  It’s like they’re trying to get us attached to him for some … Oh …,” then you may think the same thing about a returning character that had one or two lines in the first movie and was suddenly Chatty Cathy.  There’s also a fight near the end of the movie between two characters who – though they are technically enemies – are clearly faking it.  I don’t think anyone watching thought they were actually fighting instead of feigning a fight.  Though the writing can be predictable, there are some well-written funny moments to be had.  The scene where Thor and Loki are walking down and Loki was changing his appearance was pointless, but funny.  I also thought the moment where Loki and Thor are arguing over who’s a better pilot and Thor says, “Out of the two of us, which one can ACTUALLY fly,” was a funny line, but Loki really dropped the ball on that one.  Thor doesn’t fly!  He throws his hammer and gets dragged through the air by it!

Not much to say about the visuals of this movie.  It looks pretty great all the way through.  One thing that stood out to me was the singularity grenades that the enemies used.  Those were pretty awesome, and pretty brutal.

We’ve all probably seen this cast before, either in Avengers or the first Thor movie.  They do that.  But they still do it pretty well.  Chris Hemsworth is all around solid, in both performance and body.  And Natalie Portman is sexy, in both performance and body.  …I don’t think that one makes sense…  Tom Hiddleston is also very good.  I think the stand out performance in this movie for me was Kat Dennings.  She was comic relief in the first movie, but they really gave her a lot of funny to work with in this one, and she made good with it.  She’s one of the few comic relief performances I’ve enjoyed in recent memory.  I was really curious about the Warriors Three, or more specifically the Warriors Two out of Three.  Ray Stevenson came back as Volstagg, but new actors were portraying Fandral and Hogun.  They did fine jobs at it, but what the hell are the other two doing that they can’t be in an epic Marvel movie?  Once Upon a Time?  Worth it!

Thor: The Dark World was a step up from the original Thor.  The story was basic, but entertaining, and even managed a good couple of laughs.  The look was great and the action was solid, and all of the actors did fine jobs, especially Kat Dennings, who was typically hilarious.  This was an enjoyable movie and definitely worth the money to check it out in theaters.  A rental would also work if you would rather wait for it.  Thor: The Dark World gets “Look at you!  Still all muscly and everything!” out of “If we do nothing, they will destroy us.”

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Pacific Rim (2013)


Today We Are Cancelling the Apocalypse!

Pacific Rim (2013)When I saw my first trailers for today’s movie, I confess to having no real interest in it.  It seemed like a big, dumb action movie directed by a person who has a fairly low percentage of movies that actually interested me.  But when the movie finally came out, I heard a lot of glowing reviews for it, most notably for me from my roommate Richurd, who saw the movie and lauded its fantastic action scenes.  Even though that only supported my idea that it was a big, dumb action movie, it did intrigue me.  When my friend Forty then proposed the idea that we go see a movie, it instantly became my primary suggestion.  Especially since nothing else of interest was out at the time.  Let’s see how it went as I review Pacific Rim, written by Travis Beacham, co-written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, and starring Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi, Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Diego Klattenhoff, Robert Kazinsky, Max Martini, Clifton Collins Jr., Ron Perlman, Ellen McLain, and most importantly Max the English Bulldog.

Sometime in the near future, an interdimensional rift opens up on the floor of the Pacific Ocean, releasing giant alien monsters called Kaijus onto the people of Earth, especially those living next to the ocean.  Instead of deciding to move away from the beaches, Earth decides to build giant robotic suits called Jaegers to battle the monsters.  The strain of controlling the Jaegers is too much for any one person’s mind, so they develop a system wherein two people that are mentally compatible can control the suits as one.  Two such pilots are Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) and Yancy Becket (Diego Klattenhoff).  On one of their missions, a particularly nasty Kaiju rips into the helmet of the Jaeger, pulling Yancy to his death.  Raleigh takes a couple years off to cope.  Eventually, Raleigh’s former commander Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) shows up with his pretty Asian lady Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) to try to tempt Raleigh back into his Jaeger for one last ditch effort to close the portal and seal the Kaijus away once and for all.  In order to keep the movie interesting, things don’t go exactly as planned.

I was definitely right about this movie being a big, dumb action movie, but it is a big, dumb action movie in all the best ways.  I’m going to break from standard RRS protocols and talk about the action of the movie first because, let’s be honest, that’s the reason to see this movie.  And it definitely makes the movie worth it.  The action is fantastic, and never that far away.  The movie is visually fantastic, and it definitely doesn’t seem like they took the easy way out on any of it.  It’s probably hard enough to create a giant monster fighting a giant robot, but just to kick that up a notch you’re going to have it take place in the middle of the water?  While it’s raining?  And have to deal with all the water physics on top of the rest of it?  Well, they pulled that off successfully, but certainly focusing so much on the visuals of the movie would make other things in the movie – such as the sound – suffer from neglect, right?  Nuh-uh!  The sound effects really made the punches feel epic.  They really captured the feeling I’ve felt so many times in my life while watching giant robots fight giant monsters.  Basically, this movie seemed fully aware of what it was.  It wasn’t going to bother with the story, so let’s have this action be over the top.  One of the Jaegers uses a freighter ship like a baseball bat!  I would have to say, part of my brain took issue with this.  They do not build ships that well!  Haven’t you seen Titanic?  Just the front half of that thing lifts up and it splits in half!  But this one is going to not only survive being dragged down the street, but also be sturdy enough to smash against a monster’s face a few times?  I did appreciate that, when that stopped working out for them, that Gipsy Danger was able to go all Voltron and pull out a sword like the one Ivy carries in Soul Calibur.  And I would say I definitely did NOT appreciate the gag they pulled with the kinetic balls.  It was corny and it made my kinetic balls hurt.  And though it was cool to watch in the movie, I would say that I would definitely recommend against headbutting while in the Jaegers.  You guys live in there!  But they did it and it worked out well for them, so it’s okay.

The story is fairly basic.  It’s not bad, but there’s not a whole lot to say about its quality.  I guess what I would say about it is that the story successfully filled the spaces between giant creatures punching each other.  One of the bigger issues I took early on in the movie is that the government was trying to get rid of the fairly successful Jaeger program in exchange for a continuously failing “giant wall” program.  That’s your big fix?  When we first see the wall, it’s introduced with a Kaiju busting right through it.  Good call, government.  It’s not like you’ve ever built anything that’s already running that the Kaiju’s cannot tear through like they’re made of toilet paper.  And that can also punch back instead of just hoping that the Kaiju’s get bored of your drab walls and go home.  One thing I liked about this movie is how being in each other’s brains as Jaeger pilots helped eliminate the need for exposition.  Characters don’t really need to find sweaty ways to throw in their back story when we can just jump into their brains and watch it happen instead.

The performances all succeeded.  They did not blow my mind, but they did great for what was required out of them for the movie.  Charlie Hunnam carried the movie pretty successfully.  He made a good hero, but he’d make a really shitty doctor.  I base that almost entirely on the fact that he decides he needs to check the pulse of one of the monsters after defeating it and thinks that the best way to do that is to shoot it in the chest a few times.  It made me really nervous later when one of the human characters might have been dead, but I think someone else decided to take over and used the tried and true fingers to the neck technique.  Rinko Kikuchi also did a good job carrying her part of the movie.  I got irritated at Idris Elba in parts of the movie, but it may have mostly been because he was the authority figure and I’m such a rebel.  It may also have been when he said that Raleigh and Mako weren’t physically compatible enough to run a Jaeger together.  Are you kidding me?  Nature made them physically compatible, if you know what I’m saying.  WINK WINK!  He did win me back at the end when he delivered a speech that felt like it was right out of Independence Day, basically just exchanging “Today we celebrate our Independence Day” for “Today we’re cancelling the apocalypse.”   Not because it was a particularly riveting or well-written speech, but because I like Independence Day.  Charlie Day was pretty entertaining in the movie, and I definitely agreed with what I had read about him doing his best Rick Moranis impression for parts of the performance.  I also found it amusing when he barely escaped death when the baby Kaiju strangled itself with its umbilical cord.  He was saved by SIDS!  Not so bad after all, is it?  I did find his partner (played by Burn Gorman) annoying more often than not, and not just because he did the worst job of miming typing on a keyboard that I’ve ever seen.  He basically just slapped it with his open palms a few times and decided that he had successfully programmed something.  I also thought Robert Kazinsky did a good job in the movie, but his character was far from likeable.  That’s what he was going for though.  He was to this movie what Val Kilmer was to Top Gun.  Basically just the hotshot asshole rival of the hero of the movie.  As much as I liked the cast of the movie, I think one performance stole the show for me: the English bulldog named Max.  I had been warned about his presence before seeing the movie and, with the recent loss of my own English bulldog, it may have been painful to watch.  And it kind of was, but you cannot really be sad while looking at one of those faces.  I would actually consider him to be the hero of the movie.  I mean, you need something to fight for in these movies, right?  What better to fight for than one of those smushie faces?!

Pacific Rim was basically what I expected it to be, but all of those things were amped up to the point of excellence.  The story was negligible, but not bad.  And the performances were all great, but not mind-blowing.  What really sells this movie is the action, which is huge, frequent, and exciting.  That and the English bulldog.  And because of those things (and mainly the bulldog), I am definitely recommending you get to a theater to check this out.  You could wait to get it on BluRay, but I feel like you cannot possibly have a home theater setup in your home that would match the scale of the movie.  Pacific Rim gets “Where would you rather die?  Here, or in a Jaeger?” out of “Fortune favors the brave, dude.”

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!

Prometheus (2012)


My God, We Were So Wrong…

When Samrizon recommended that I watch today’s movie, she seemed a little deflated that I said it may have to wait quite some time. As with most movies in theaters, I can’t really afford to go and see everything people want me to when it’s in theaters. I’d much rather wait until I can find it for a dollar on RedBox or on Netflix. But I did indeed want to see this movie, being a fan (to different degrees) of the quadrilogy that already existed. When Friendboss Josh heard the Who’s singing in Whoville and his heart grew three sizes this day, I was afforded the ability to go to a theater that was playing the movie for only $5. This movie is Prometheus, written by Damon Lindelof and Jon Spaihts, directed by Ridley Scott, and starring Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Kate Dickie, Emun Elliott, Benedict Wong, and Patrick Wilson.

In the year 2089, two archaeologists, Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green), find a cave painting in Scotland that, along with similar murals from groups that never met each other from around the world, points to a star like our own sun and a habitable planet. They take this as an invitation from a group they call “the Engineers”, who they believe created our species. The elderly CEO of Weyland Corporation, Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), funds a ship called Prometheus to take the two archaeologists and a group of other people to the planet to see if they can find the Engineers. An android called David (Michael Fassbender) wakes up the crew as they arrive in the year 2093. They find a collection of non-artificial structures and start to explore them, soon finding dead bodies of the Engineers, which are more human than they originally thought. Also, there’s a black goo that they find that starts some bad things into motion. And also some good things. I mean, have you seen Alien? That’s a good movie!

I went into this movie REALLY wanting to be blown away, but try as it might, the movie never really resonated with me. It wasn’t a bad movie, but I was hoping for a major nerd boner that never arrived. And I need this, guys. I’m single and hurting. I’ll probably need to watch Avengers again to get my fix. This movie just didn’t excite me. It was pretty slow moving until the last half hour. At first it’s just archaeology, then it’s just space travel, then it’s just a mystery that’s not that mysterious. Not until someone gets infected later in the movie does shit start going down that captures my attention. The mystery part is somewhat excusable because I went into this movie know it was a prequel to a movie I’ve already seen, so this entire movie just becomes a waiting game until we get to see a Xenomorph. I got a little excited that shit was gonna go down when Shaw told one of the other crew members to leave the weapon behind when they were heading into the structure. I didn’t get excited because that’s a good idea, because it’s entirely not. Sure, it’s a scientific expedition, but better safe than sorry, right? But usually when a bonehead decision like that is made in the name of noble scientific enterprise, shit goes down and people start dying. That didn’t happen. Around the time when someone gets infected is when the movie starts to pick up, but I was also getting angry because some jerkfaces in the audience were talking and someone said, “He’s infected,” really loudly. Ya think? Are you basing that on what you’re seeing now or the part where we watched the guy cause him to get infected in a super obvious way? Later on, there’s a hurried surgery scene that is rich with thrills, and from that point on it doesn’t let up, but I wished it had happened sooner. For one more thing, I won’t spoil it directly so I’ll just turn it into a metaphor. If two people are running away from a hula hoop, should it really take that long to realize that you can side-step it instead of continuing to run in front of it? If you see the movie, that’ll make more sense.

I would say that, by far, the best thing about this movie is definitely the look. It’s a spectacular visual feast. The movie lets you know that much pretty quickly into the movie as they open with a big sweep over huge and gorgeous landscapes on the moon LV-223. Almost everything looks amazing in this movie. The Engineers (though they look like Powder on steroids) are great looking creatures that could look either benevolent or malevolent, so you never really know which way they’ll go with the story. The structure and the aliens are still heavily influenced by H.R. Giger, which means they’re going to be creepy and dark, but also awesome. The first version of the aliens that are encountered bummed me out for two reasons. First, they didn’t look like the facehuggers that we know and love. Second, they were REALLY phallic. And they go into the mouth. I can’t wait until they turn Prometheus into a porn. The holographic star map that David watches later in the movie is also a visual delight, but I couldn’t help but think that it was the futuristic version of a laser light show, without the benefit of REO Speedwagon. The only real visual problem with the movie was Peter Weyland. You could have actually hired an old guy instead of putting really unconvincing old guy makeup on a young dude. And you didn’t even try when it came to his feet!

The performances in the movie were good, but not what I’d call great. They were what the roles called for, but that usually left them being not altogether compelling to me. Noomi Rapace did a good job, but I was disappointed by her character. I think one of the things that’s been a staple in all of the Alien movies is a badass female lead. Sigourney Weaver was a boss. Ellen Ripley was always right up there with Sarah Connor as some of the most badass women to ever grace the screen. And it’s not like Noomi can’t do badass; she was the original Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movies. But in this movie, she was never a badass. She was pretty standard damsel in distress all the way through that was just a scientist and was only our heroine because we were watching the bad things happen all around her. I know it wasn’t really the character she was going for, but I missed it. Charlize Theron was kind of a badass bitch, but way more bitch than badass, so certainly no replacement for Ripley. I liked that apparently all it takes to have sex with her is to suggest that she might be a robot. Speaking of which, Michael Fassbender was good in his role, but it was totally ruined for me when Samrizon ruined that he was a robot. Okay, so you find that out pretty quickly, but Samrizon should shut her damned cake hole. Fassbender definitely acted like a robot, but a robot isn’t always the most impressive performance. You have to be stiff and robotic, which isn’t all that interesting to watch. And you kind of get the idea of where the movie is going from his performance because he doesn’t hide the fact that he’s not that big of a fan of humans.

I really wanted Prometheus to blow me away, but it didn’t really manage to do so. The story was fine, but it takes a while for it to get going. Once it does, it remains pretty awesome for a while, but I started to get bored waiting for that to start. The look of the movie was completely fantastic and worth seeing for just the spectacle alone. The performances were fine in the movie, but never blew my mind. I understand that you couldn’t put Ellen Ripley in this chronologically, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a character that’s just as awesome. The movie didn’t impress me, but I still think it’s worth seeing in the theaters. It’s a good movie, but not as good as I wanted it to be. Check it out, but it might help to have lower expectations. Prometheus gets “Big things have small beginnings” out of “WE are the gods now.”

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Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)


You Were the Worst Fucking Deal I Ever Made!

I finally managed to get to a theater to see a movie followup of a movie I reviewed last month.  After how badly I felt they ruined one of the most compelling comic book characters last time, I went into today’s movie hoping for the best.  I mean, why wouldn’t it be a winning combination to take the stuff from the first movie and add two directors that I feel are completely overrated?  Who knows?  Maybe the different take on things will improve things.  We’ll find out right now in my review of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, written by David S. Goyer, directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (or Neveldine/Taylor as it was in the credits), and starring Nicolas Cage, Fergus Riordan, Ciaran Hinds, Violante Placido, Idris Elba, Johnny Whitworth, and Christopher Lambert.

Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) is still under the curse of the Ghost Rider.  At night, or in the presence of evil, he turns into a badass with a fiery skull and prehensile chains.  All the rest of the time, it causes him to overact.  He’s now hanging out in Europe until he gets approached by Moreau (Idris Elba) and is asked to use his overacting powers to rescue a little boy named Danny (Fergus Riordan) who the Devil, or Roarke (Ciaran Hinds), wants to possess the body of.  At first, Johnny doesn’t want to get involved, but when Moreau promises him some sweet, sweet freedom from the curse of the Ghost Rider, Johnny jumps on board.  But he also does a pretty shitty job because he comes across Danny and his mother, Nadya (Violante Placido), gets his ass kicked by the Devil’s henchman, Ray Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth), and lets Danny get abducted.  The rest of the movie is the Ghost Rider playing tug of war with the Devil, with Danny as the rope.

This movie sucked out loud.  Though the story is much improved from the original movie, the way it’s told is stupid, annoying, and lackluster.  For some reason, people seem to enjoy the work of these two shitty directors, Neveldine/Taylor.  Yes, it is interesting that they film while riding on Rollerblades to make us feel like we’re closer to the action.  What it isn’t is enjoyable to watch.  The camera is constantly shaking, whipping back and forth for no reason, and doing whatever it can to make me give my popcorn back to the nice people at the movie theater in a slightly more digested form.  If I wanted to watch Crank again (and I don’t), I would go watch Crank.  Get a new trick, guys.  Your current one sucks.  Some of the visuals in this movie were really awesome.  Some of them were less than that.  The Ghost Rider looks so much more badass in this movie.  Something about the new way they did the skull is really awesome looking.  But the Ghost Rider is a worse actor than Nicolas Cage.  Instead of being a hardcore badass, his body movements are more like the little girl from the Ring.  He oddly darts around the field of battle and often chooses to try to win a staring contest with an enemy while the enemies around him are reloading.  And I don’t mean that he’s killing them with the Penance Stare.  They forgot about that for this movie.  He just runs up to guys, gets face to face with them, and stares.  Then gets hit by a grenade.  One new trick that he has is that whatever the Rider rides turns all firey and badass like his bike, and this is pretty cool.  He does it to some gigantic digging machine and a big truck.  At one point, Ghost Rider was knocked into the air where he stopped in midair and started spinning around in circles, parallel to the ground that he was about 5 feet off of.  What the fuck are you doing?!  The only logical assumption to be made is that the directors were riding their Rollerblades behind a truck when it stopped abruptly, causing them to smash their faces into the vehicle causing them brain damage.  And, though I still had to sit through the movie, at least they’re brain damaged now.

The basic story of Ghost Rider is good enough, but the dialogue and other ideas ruin that.  The basic premise of the movie is like End of Days, the Arnold Swasserhassermcgoo movie.  Something going to be inhabited by the Devil, there’s a good cult and a bad cult, and there’s only one person that can stop them.  Well, three people, but only one is really effective at it.  The dialogue, however, is generally pretty awful.  The entire opening narration by Cage is really blase about the whole situation.  Like “Yeah, that’s me.  I sold my soul to the Devil.  Whatev’s, bro.”  Part of that is Cage’s delivery, but I assume it was written, and written poorly.  As a plus though, in the recap of his past in the narration, Blaze actually intentionally puts his blood on the contract so that it’s not complete bullshit like the last movie.  But then I started wondering: Why would anyone WANT this “curse” lifted?  The only way it really affects you is by keeping people that are evil away from you, and part of your life you get to be a badass.  There’s also a part when one of the bad guys turns into a creature that can cause things to decay with a mere touch, but they also decided this would be a good point to have him digging through a guy’s lunch for something to eat.  He grabs a sandwich; it turns moldy.  He picks up an apple, but it also decays.  Then he picks up a Twinkie, and that stays fresh.  OH, I get it!  You’re retarded!  Thanks for wasting 5 minutes of my life for that gem.  The worst part in the movie for me was when Cage was talking with the little kid, and the kid asks what he has to do if he has to pee when he’s the Ghost Rider.  Blaze responds “Oh, it’s great.  It’s like a flamethrower.”  This joke wouldn’t be particularly funny, but it was just something throw out there … until Cage jumps up and starts mimicking a flamethrower with his wang, and the kid visualizes the Ghost Rider doing it.  Personally, I think it would’ve been more appropriate if the kid imagined the writer of the movie standing over the Ghost Rider, peeing on him.  It’s pretty much what you’re doing anyway.

Some of the performances in this movie were fine, but not too many.  Nick Cage … I suppose I don’t really need to say it, do I?  For the first 20 minutes of the movie, I was thinking he toned it down and was not annoyingly overacting the entire time, but then he started doing it again.  Idris Elba did a good enough job with the performance, but his French accent made him go over the top on occasion.  He’s not really French, he’s English.  But he literally kills two guys by throwing a bottle of wine at them, shooting them, and then berating them for wasting good wine.  It’s a shame they cut out the part where he choked someone with cheese and snails.  Ciaran Hinds and Violante Placido do solid jobs in the movie, and Johnny Whitworth and Fergus Riordan made no impact whatsoever.  I was really happy to see Christopher Lambert in the movie, but he didn’t have a very big role.

I must say, easily the best part of this movie is the trailer for the new Spider-Man that preceded it.  As for this movie, they somehow managed to made a movie worse than the original Ghost Rider.  And we thought it couldn’t be done…  There were a couple of parts in the action scenes that were bona fide badasslery, but the rest of it was crap.  Neveldine/Taylor continue to beat the shit out of the dead horse that is their Rollerblade riding style of directing, making most of the scenes shaky and nauseating.  If you wanted to see what Crank would look like if Chev Chelios’ head was on fire, this might be the movie for you.  Also, you might enjoy this box of Crayons and a padded room, but you can always keep drawing with your own feces.  The Ghost Rider himself looks better, but acts worse.  And so does Nick Cage.  I can’t recommend you watch this movie in the theaters.  It’s too expensive and I’m pretty sure they won’t give me my money back if I call and complain.  If you REALLY want to see this, it’ll probably be on RedBox in no time.  I’m looking out for you.  Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance gets “Roadkill” out of “I will eat your stinking soul!”

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