Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok


Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, & Mark Ruffalo
Director: Taika Waititi - Rating: PG-13 - Rating: 4 Stars

One thing I love about the Marvel Universe is that it is always trying to evolve. No matter how big the last box office or how good the last movie, with each film it is is always trying to get bigger, better, and even re-invent itself. With that however there is always a danger of going too far, and when it comes to their latest film, Thor: Ragnarok they came close. In his third installment Thor learns he must face his greatest foe of all, his long lost sister, who had been locked away millennia ago. She is said to be stronger than even Odin himself and casts Thor and Loki out of Asgard, where they wind up on a strange world, where Thor is forced to compete in a battle royal against an old friend. Thor has always featured arguably the best special effects in the Marvel film franchise, and at least to me, has always been more Science Fiction and therefore the least realistic of any of their modern characters. In an attempt to humanize him more and make him a little more friendly to general audiences, Marvel added a ton of humor to the character in Ragnarok. While I agree, Thor was a little dry, he always had his own wit to him, and by adding all the humor to the character I felt as though it took away from his mystique. Marvel is also using a lot more crossover material in the individual films than they have before. While the followers of the universe love it and call for more, this tends to confuse general audiences, who don't necessarily go to see all the Marvel films. It's a fine line that has to be drawn between pleasing the fans of the universe and the general audience, in order to keep the enormous box office. This time, they managed to tow the line, but the direction suggests that next time they may not be so lucky. As for the cast, again Marvel proves that when it comes to casting for their characters, there is no one better in the business as even Jeff Goldblum fit his role like a glove. Their was a little too much humor for my taste, Thor isn't Deadpool or a Guardian of The Galaxy, but by and large it was still a very enjoyable film. Truth be told, I was far more interested in the after credits scene then I was by the collaboration of Hulk and Thor or the resurgence of Hera.

The Returned (U.S. Version)


Starring: India Ennenga, Mark Pellegrino, Tandi Wright, Sophie Lowe, Dylan Kingwell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Mat Vairo, Kevin Alejandro, Sandrine Holt, Agnes Bruckner, Jeremy Sisto, Carl Lumbly, Leah Gibson, & Rhys Ward
Network: A&E - Seasons: 1 (2015) - Score: 2 Stars

Today there are more networks and streaming services offering original programming than ever before. It is an amazing time for TV lovers and it seems that anyone can get pretty much anything on the air. With all these new shows debuting all over the place, this does unfortunately leave the networks at somewhat of a disadvantage when it comes to original ideas. Out of desperation, many networks have turned to re-booting old shows, bringing back cancelled ideas that didin't work, and even Americanizing overseas television shows, The Returned is an example of the later.

I understand why A&E chose to take a show from overseas, Americanize it, and market it as their next big hit, but why the Returned? This idea has been done to death, both in movies and on TV, and while the show is critically acclaimed, the ratings for the overseas version were terrible, the show was cancelled after it's second season. If no one is watching it over there, why did they think anyone would watch it over here?

The returned takes place in a small Northwestern town, where one day, out of the blue, people who have been dead, some for decades, start showing up back at home with no memory of being gone at all. Each episode is broken up into sections that follow specific individuals and their interactions with their loved ones and society. There is also of course the police and investigative angle to the whole thing, and an unsolved crime thrown into the mix, in order to try and keep viewers coming back each week.

Funny thing is, I wasn't all that crazy about this episode of the Twilight Zone. It was a little better when The X-Files did it. The 4400 added beings from the future and turned it into a series that quickly ran out of storyline and fizzled out, and now we have The Returned. This isn't an original idea, far from it, and the fact that it takes place in the same location as the 4400 is completely laughable.

The cast has a few standouts that made the show a bit less tiresome, Mark Pellegrino is always fun to watch, as you never can figure out if he's a good guy or a bad one. We're also introduced to a new young actor in the form of Dylan Kingwell. He doesn't say much, but his character is honestly one of the most fascinating mysteries of the whole show.

The bottom line is that this show is a complete rip off of other ideas and there is really very little here to keep the viewers interested. The boys story turned out to be really cool, The murder investigation was interesting but under utilized, and there were a few cast members I enjoyed. Otherwise the writing was terrible and parts of this show were just painfully slow. There are some terrific overseas shows that no one has even mentioned bringing over here, why they chose this one, I'll never know.



Spotlight


Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, & Rachel McAdams
Director: Thomas McCarthy - Rating: R - Score: 5 Stars

The truth is always stranger than fiction and that's why it makes for the best movies. Spotlight is the 2016 Academy Award Winner for Best Picture and it was well deserved. This star studded cast comes together to tell the true story of how the Boston Globe was finally able to breakthrough the decades long wall of silence, and expose the Catholic Church's child molestation scandal. Michael Keaton headlines this all-star cast and shows that while he's been out of the spotlight (pun intended) for some time now, he hasn't lost a beat. As the enigmatic leader of the newspaper's Spotlight section, Walter Robinson (Keaton) will not give up the fight for the truth, no matter the personal cost. Even when his own bosses tell him the story is dead and to give up, he refuses to let it go and he shows that one man with a mission really can change the world. This film doesn't simply shine a light on the Catholic Church in a way it would rather nobody ever had, but it also gives views an in depth, inside look at all the intricacies that go into investigative journalism. With all the reports of fake news and all of us who simply get our news from staring at a screen, it's hard to think about all the effort that goes into getting that information from real life to print and I personally found the process fascinating. This film has a lot going for it, from an inside look at a long forgotten industry to the mysteries behind a long hidden secret. It features some terrific writing and more than one outstanding performance. You don't get six Oscar nominations by accident. This is a great film and a great addition to our list of can't miss movies!



The Silent Thief


Starring: Toby Hemingway, Cody Longo, John Billingsly, & Frances Fisher
Director: Jennifer Cleary - Rating: NR - Score: 2 Stars

Here we have yet another example of a terrific performance wasted in an absolutely terrible film. I don't understand why certain actors continue to under value themselves and take on roles like this one. Toby Hemingway gives a tremendous performance as Brennan, a drifter who rents a room in the Henderson household. At first he seems like a normal young guy, looking for a place to stay, until it become apparent that he is obsessed with their son, Mike (Cody Longo). That's when this film turns into some strange homoerotic version of Cape Fear, but not really, because the catch is, Mike is away at college and while he's there, Brennan is hanging out with his best friend and hooking up with his little sister. Is Brennan actually gay? Does he want Mike? His life? His family? No one knows because nothing is explained! All we ever see in this film are Brennan's current actions and out of context they make absolutely no sense. This isn't one of these films where it all comes together in the end either, it just keeps getting more bizarre, but at the center of it all is Toby Hemingway. He seems to always show up to take his cloths off in bad movies, but the fact is that he's more than that guy. The part of Brennan required a wide range of emotions to be believable and Hemingway pulled it off. The only reason I even made it to the end of this awful movie was because I enjoyed his performance and was curious to see where he'd go next. It's honestly a shame that it was wasted though on just another badly written story that I guess made sense to someone.

Cheap Thrills


Starring: Pat Healy, Ethan Embry, Sara Paxton, & David Koechner
Director: E.L. Katz - Rating: NR - Score: 3 Stars

Craig Daniels (Pat Healy) is having a hell of a day. He's been fired on the very same day he's recieved an eviction notice on his front door. Content to drink his troubles away, Craig runs into an old friend from High School. Together they start catching up and run into a unique couple, a couple who starts offering them money simply for doing oddball things for their amusement. The duo agrees and even goes back to the couples house with them, and that's when things really start to get bizarre. I feel like I've seen something similar and far more serious before, but I can't place my finger on it. What I really liked about this film was that despite it's B-movie status, and obvious lack of quality writing, what goes down isn't as expected as you would think. A lot of it really was surprising and they do spare us the pain and torture of doing what is obvious. I also enjoyed Pat Healy as Craig, he's not the kind of character you'd expect to see in a movie like this, and he added an interesting dynamic to a cast that was otherwise pretty droll. Cheap Trills has a few funny and unexpected moments in it, and to be honest it was better than I thought it would be. It still however very much deserves it's B-movie status and reeks of inexperience.

Update!

Thank you for hanging in with us these past four months! Unfortunately we fell short of our goal and were unable to pay for the new web design I'd had in mind. As I said, I refused to start a Gofundme or ask for cash donations, because there are far worthier causes to donate your money to. I asked for donations of unwanted CDs, DVDs, books, and games to sell on eBay, in order raise the money myself, and I'd like to give a very special thank you to all of you who donated!

We did fall short of our goal, but we did raise enough money to get a new custom skin and give us some much needed breathing room! Over the next few weeks I'll be updating our links, supporting sites, Facebook page, YouTube, & Twitter, as well as writing a whole bunch of new reviews!!!

As you will notice our new custom page gives you SEVEN different options, so you can choose how you would like to view The Ultimate Movie Review! We have also greatly improved our search feature. Now, it is far more accurate and you can search by title, actor, genre, rating, and even keyword.

It looked like the end, but we are just starting a new era, where everything is going to be bigger and better! Please continue to follow us on Facebook, share our reviews, and if you'd like to donate unwanted items, please contact Todd, through the Facebook page! Thank you for your continued support!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Quantico


Starring: Priyanka Chopra, Yasmine Elmarsi, Johanna Braddy, Jake McLaughlin, Aunjanue Ellis, Graham Rogers, Josh Hopkins, Tate Ellington, Blair Underwood, Russell Tovey, Pearl Thusi, Aaron Diaz, Anabelle Acosta, & Tracy Ifeachor

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

 Last year, Quantico debuted on ABC with an incredible story line and a new action star for the next millennium. The show was so innovative and original, that it jumped quickly to the top of the ratings and was easily renewed. ABC thought the show was strong enough that it could draw viewers on any night, in any time slot, but they couldn't be more wrong. Quantico's first season was one of the best seasons of television I've ever seen, but it was the kind of story that left many viewers questioning, what else could they possibly do afterwards?

In only it's second season, Quantico set two television records. The first, saw the biggest drop in rating ever between a first season and a second. The second, saw the show renewed for a third season, as it had some of the highest DVR and on demand numbers of any show ever! Quantico was renewed based solely on DVR and on demand numbers, something that is unheard of and as little as five years ago never would have happened.

The series started with a bang, a big one, as terrorist blew up New York's Penn Station and immediately blamed for it, an FBI agent of middle eastern decent, Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra). She's an introverted person, and she knows she's been set up, by the only people who could have, one of her classmates from her time at the FBI academy at Quantico, she graduated from a year earlier. From there, each episode is a mix of Alex on the run in real time, trying to figure out who set her up and flashbacks to her time at the academy, showing her interacting with her classmates as she tries to remember anything she may have missed. 

TV shows just aren't written this well, it just doesn't happen, and when it does, it's usually in a ten episode cable series. I have never seen a network show that was this clever and gripping. Aside from the writing, Bollywood star, Priyanka Chopra, made the leap to Hollywood in a way that hasn't been done before. While Bollywood is just as big as Hollywood, it's biggest stars have never enjoyed the same success stateside, until now. She was beyond impressive and regardless of what happens with Quantico, has a bright future ahead of her.

Season two just started streaming and it's next up on my list, but like many, I am beyond curious about what could possibly happen next. For better or worse, the mystery was solved in season one, at least that's what we believe. What could possibly be left for season two? We saw them graduate the academy and we saw the end of the case, supposedly (I'm still a bit skeptical), where does the series go for here. Quantico always struck me as that series that was one hell of an idea, but if it succeeded, and it did, how does one keep the story going and keep it going with the same intensity? Similar shows with big ideas and tremendous first seasons like The Killing, The Riches, Under The Dome, and Wayward Pines quickly fizzled out. Will that ultimately be the fate of Quantico, or will it stand the test of time?

Little Accidents (2014)


Starring: Elizabeth Banks, Josh Lucas, Boyd Holbrook, & Jacob Lofland
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

In a small mining town, an accident has killed several workers, leaving a lone survivor, Amos Jenkins (Boyd Holbrook). The townspeople are furious and blame the mines owner, the towns wealthiest resident, a cold, heartless man, who many suspect caused the accident with his shortcuts and cheap business practices. The town is out for blood, but only one of them, literally, as soon after the accident, the mine owners teenage son turns up dead. Little Accidents is yet another example of these dark modern noir type films, that have become so popular the past decade, and normally I am a huge fan of them. This film however, may have had the modern noir feeling, but actually had the old noir story line AKA slow, strange, and confusing. I chose this film because one of it's stars is Jacob Lofland, who at just 21 years old, has only been acting for 5 years, but he is a natural in every sense of the word. Every performance he has given has been better than the one before it. His talent has lead him to leading roles in the Maze Runner series, as well as the AMC show, The Son. Being as fond of his style as I am, I decide to go back and watch his filmography from the beginning, and that's where I found Little Accidents. While Lofland's part was minor, you are still able to see some of the skills that brought him to where he is today. Paired with Elizabeth Banks and Josh Lucas, this was one fantastic cast, featured in a terrific setting, and I was sure this film was a can't miss, but the story had other ideas. Little Accidents was all over the place, some of things that happened have nothing to do with the story, and make little sense. The Bottom Line, don't let a terrific cast fool you, this film is slow and all over the place. The mystery, isn't much of one and the story will leave you scratching your head.

The Call Up (2016)


Starring: Max Deacon, Morfydd Clark, Ali Cook, & Chris Obi
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

One day the best gamers in the world receive an invitation to compete for a $100,000 grand prize. When they all arrive, they find themselves alone in an office building, given instructions by a computer, which tells them to put on these state of the art suits, and once they do they are literally in the game. The game is like nothing they've ever seen before, a real life Call of Duty, but when they engage the terrorists, they learn that the consequences are all too real, and the only way to get out is to win. The Call Up isn't a new idea, however after the failure of films like Gamebox 1.0 and Stay Alive, it's been a decade since anyone has attempted to make a film like this. Since then, the technology has come a long way, allowing the filmmakers to finally get it right. The CGI and computerized effects are impressive for any film, not to mention a B-movie. The original idea and tech are so innovate, that it takes your mind off the fact that the acting in this film wasn't all that great. Additionally, the development of the characters and their backstories was fairly strong, strong enough, that each viewer should have their own favorite to win, meaning the audience is invested in the game as well. Watching this film is an adventure, in that one feels a part of the game, the strategy, and even has an investment in what happens to the individual gamers. A better cast would have added a lot to this film, but as I said it's a B-movie and I'm guessing all those special effects didn't come cheaply. Viewership without any performer of recognition may have been a factor, but once people click that watch button, they will be quickly drawn into a film the likes of which hasn't been seen before. The Call Up receives big points for originality, special effects, character development, and certainly stands out for being a film that is truly one of a kind.

Who Took Johnny?


Starring: Noreen Gosch
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

In 1982, missing children reports were so rare, that often times the local authorities didn't take them seriously. Most of these kids were considered runaways, as authorities at the time couldn't even fathom the depths of depravity that some people are capable of sinking to. In the case of Johnny Gosch, not only wasn't he a runaway, the compelling documentary, Who Took Johnny?, and the subsequent books by his mother, Noreen, have shown that not only may Johnny still be alive 35 years later, but he may have suffered more torture than anyone in the history of this planet. On September 5, 1982, Johnny Gosch, a local paperboy was abducted from Des Moines, Iowa. Despite eyewitness statements, the local police, considered him to be a runaway. Over the years evidence and even a witness go to the FBI to say that Johnny was used for human trafficking. Pictures have turned up and even his mother claims, Johnny stopped by the house for a brief time, 15 years after he'd disappeared. The documentary shows how the local authorities, didn't care and mishandled the case right from the very beginning, and how the FBI kept the family completely in the dark. To this day, despite the fact that her son could be god-knows-where, Noreen Gosch has become an outspoken defender for missing children and the rights of their parents. There is no doubt that this documentary is anything but unbiased and impartial, and while I'm not sure I believe everything Mrs. Gosch says, when taken as a whole, one can't ignore everything that happened in this case. The other side of this gave blanket statements or declined to be interviewed, which tells me, she's right about more than a few things, and even if a third of this is true, it's appalling. When catastrophe strikes, we rely on those in power to take care of us and make things right, but what happens if they just don't want to? This documentary is truly eye-opening and provides plenty of ammunition to victims rights advocates. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Marvel's Luke Cage


Starring: Mike Colter, Alfre Woodard, Rosario Dawson, Simone Missick, Mahershala Ali, Erik LaRay Harvey, Theo Rossi, Frank Whaley, Frankie Faison, Sonia Braga, & Ron C. Jones

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I was never a big superhero guy, but what I love about this new crop of Netflix superhero shows, is that for the most part the characters are new and relatively unknown to the general audience. It's so refreshing to see something in the genre beyond Batman and Superman. What's more is that this new crop of superhero is much more realistic than anything we've seen before, perhaps none more so than Luke Cage.

Luke Cage was in prison for a crime he didn't commit, the victim of a horrifying experiment that left him with super strength and unbreakable skin. Unlike the other superheroes, Luke doesn't want to be a hero, he just wants to live a normal life in obscurity, in his Harlem neighborhood content with working in a barber shop. What Luke can't stand though is seeing injustice, when he knows that he is capable of doing something about it. When he finally decides to take a stand, all hell breaks loose.

What I find odd is how everyone is talking about Wonder Woman. How it's more than time we had a strong female superhero and how great the film was, but no one mentioned the fact that it's about time we had a strong African-American superhero too. What's more is that his story was completely original and more realistic than any other superhero film or TV show I've ever seen! Luke Cage isn't a blind attorney who somehow sees everything. He's not fighting some ridiculous weird purple mist, and he's not some samurai who thinks he's a God, Luke Cage is just a man, who is fighting gangsters and corrupt politicians. 

Mike Colter is the star of the show and he just has this way about him that is infectious and makes you want to follow him. He couldn't be more perfect for this role, as he's laid back most of the time until he's not and then watch out. As for his co-stars, the stand out among them is recent Academy Award winner, Mahershala Ali. I said it years ago when I reviewed his awful show, the 4400, and I've repeated it every time I've seen him since, this guy is outstanding! Ali is one of the best actors, who until last year, nobody knew existed. Every single thing he is in, is that much better because of it, and I am thoroughly entertained every single time I watch him. His portrayal of the gangster Cottonmouth, was the best villain I've seen in a superhero themed project since Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.

The bottom line, Luke Cage IS a real life superhero. To date there has never been anything in the genre, even close to being as real or as honest as this. Luke Cage is unique, dynamic, and exciting, as well as being the best written out of any superhero show that I've ever seen. Marvel didn't just hit a home run with Luke Cage, they hit a grand slam!

London Has Fallen


Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, & Morgan Freeman
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Action movies didn't really take off until the 1980s, when the technology caught up with the big ideas. Out of those films some big stars emerged, many of which are still hanging in there making movies today. However, in recent years a new crop of action star has emerged, one that is more charismatic and more of an actor than just simply a big guy. One of the most exciting of the pack is the star of London Has Fallen, Gerard Butler. After surviving a kidnapping attempt in the thrilling, Olympus Has Fallen, President Asher (Aaron Eckhart) won't go anywhere without Mike Banning (Butler) by his side. Despite a lot of chatter, the pair travel to London for a world summit, where terrorists plan on doing a lot more than talking. They plan to distract the high police and military presence by attacking the city, thereby leaving President Asher vulnerable to assassination. So if I'm understanding this correctly, blowing up half of London will distract the U.S. Secret Service enough to leave the U.S. President vulnerable? This is why nobody watches action films for the story lines. We watch these movies to see the incredible moves, the gratuitous violence, the unbelievable special effects, and of course that catch phrase we all know is coming. Gerard Butler stars and he just gets better with every film he is in, as his technique and style remind me so much of a young Bruce Willis. Let's just hope that M. Night Shyamalan doesn't make him shave his head and turn him into a zombie as well. Assisted by a cast of veteran award winners the likes of Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, and Angela Bassit, this film doesn't just have the moves, but it has the star power to back it up. The story here is absolutely ridiculous, but when it comes to a great action film, who really cares? London Has Fallen has everything you could ever ask for from an action movie and it's star is only continuing to rise.

Dying of The Light


Starring: Nicholas Cage, Anton Yelchin, & Alexander Karim
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Evan Lake (Nicholas Cage) was a legend at the C.I.A., but after years in the game, and a particularly horrible experience at the hands of the Taliban, he was diagnosed with dementia, and forced into retirement. Lake is moving on with his life when new information comes to light, that his old nemesis, a terrorist leader long believed dead, is back. Knowing their best chance to catch him is Lake, they turn to him for help, but can he keep it together long enough to complete his mission? This unbelievably was a b-movie, yet a remarkably strong performance for Nicholas Cage, who randomly had to go between C.I.A. legend and confused old man. His performance is aided by the late Anton Yelchin, playing an analyst who admires Lake so much, that he goes against orders to help him with his mission. The whole dynamic between the man at the end of his career on his last mission, and the boy at the start of his career on his first mission, really added something different, that you don't typically see in espionage films. Dying of The Light really does have a lot to like about it, but one must remember, it is an espionage film and a direct-to-video one at that. The writing isn't spectacular and parts of it are more than somewhat confusing. They also throw in a lot of Evan's flashbacks and delusions at the completely wrong times, which really did start to bother me as the film got more intense. Overall, I did enjoy this film, I thought the acting was terrific, and I loved the dynamic and chemistry between the two leading men, despite the obvious age difference. Dying of The Light certainly isn't a perfect movie, but it's still an entertaining one.

The Trust


Starring: Nicholas Cage, Elijah Wood, Jerry Lewis, & Sky Ferreira
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

There are certain actors and actresses whom I will watch in anything they release, Nicholas Cage is one of those actors. Even in the worst movies, he always gives a strong performance and I enjoy watching him work, but even the Academy Award winning actor couldn't save The Trust. Cage plays Stone, a lifelong cop still on the bottom of the pecking order. Luckily for him, he's paired with the much younger Waters (Elijah Wood), another cop with few aspirations. Together they don't make up a team of elite crime fighters, so on their off hours, they're small time criminals, and as it turns out they're not great at that either. One day while investigating a case, they notice a safe in the evidence room and decide to bust it open, what's inside leads them into a mess of police corruption. For starters, this movie doesn't make sense! Everyone talks in riddles, it's impossible to know who is on what side, and most important of all, what's the point? If these guys are corrupt cops, why do they care so much when they discover that they aren't the only ones? They're losers who don't care about anything, until they find out there are other bad cops, then all of a sudden they are Starsky and Hutch? I love the cast, but between the riddles, the constant twists, and the strange dialogue this film was just a mess, and pretty much unwatchable. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

100,000 Views!!!


Six years ago when I started this blog, it actually took some encouragement. I was asking, "who am I and why will anyone care what I think about movies and TV shows?" My friends reminded me that I was always the one they came to for on advice about movies, and even strangers on Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster, and IMDB would message me, just based on my reviews. Their comments made my day, people I didn't even know were telling me I should open up my reviews to the net, so people who weren't active on sites like that could see my reviews and comment on them. While the discussions and comments have never gotten to the level I would have liked, I never in a million years would have imagined that my link would have been clicked a hundred thousand times, I am eternally grateful and humbled.

In six year we've been sponsored, provided you with over 950 reviews, started a Facebook fan page, that provides over 150 followers with previews, movie news, and streaming schedules. We've even had the occasional celeb google their name and stop by to leave a comment. This blog is bigger and better than anything I could have ever imagined and we're not even close to being done...

As many of you know by now, I am out of work and currently caught in the horrible position of working odd and seasonal jobs. It makes my schedule ridiculously unpredictable and leaves me without a cent to put into the blog. That is why it isn't update weekly, as it had been for the past four years. Once I have a job and get back into a routine, not only will weekly reviews be coming back, but I also plan on spending a few bucks to have the page completely re-designed to give everyone a fresh new look and hopefully attract new followers!

Please keep clicking that link, sharing our reviews across social media, telling your friends about us, and enjoying all the great films and television shows we recommend, because it's our job to tell you what's good!

Wonder Woman (2017)


Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, & Robin Wright
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

So DC finally got one right, isn't that what everyone's saying? I completely agree, Wonder Woman was much better than anything else DC has released in a very long time, and it was a pretty great film, but was it as amazing as everyone say it was or are we all a bit bias due to the hype surrounding the film? In the first blockbuster superhero film featuring Wonder Woman since the 1970's, we see Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) sitting in her office, remembering how it all started, and we are thrown back to the Island of the Amazons, where she is a little girl. We see her grow up and go through her training, with her aunt played admirably by the Princess Bride herself, Robin Wright, making an epic comeback. After which, a series of events lead her to meet a man and leave the island to join the war effort in England. Gal Gadot played Wonder Woman and she was truly something special, I mean to take nothing away from her or her performance with this next statement, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't point this out. While everyone got caught up in the hype of the fact that DC made a good movie, that didn't center around Batman, and the fact that this film was centered on a female superhero, they failed to see just how unoriginal the story actually was. As I was watching the scenes on this Island, with Diana growing up, not knowing what she really was, and leaving before she was ready, I was very much reminded of Thor, but that was just the first hour of the film. I thought things would get better but they didn't. She becomes this unexpected larger than life hero in World War I, much in the way that Captain America did in World War II. Both of them fought really bad guys who weren't the "main" bad guy behind the war, and then there is the whole God angle, which brings us right back to Thor again. The film was so well done, I think it is more than time we had a strong female hero that young girl can emulate and look up to, and I thought Gal Gadot was a breath of fresh air, who gave an outstanding performance. As far as originality goes, to me it just wasn't there, as it seems the writers took elements from two of the more popular Marvel films and mashed them together. The Bottom Line, Wonder Woman is absolutely worth seeing, however I'm all for original ideas, and I want to see something different, especially at a time when a new superhero film is coming out every month. 

Cult (TV Show)


Starring: Matthew Davis, Jessica Lucas, Alona Tal, Robert Knepper, Marie Avgeropoulos, Jeffrey Piece, Kadeem Hardison, James Pizzinato, Christian Michael Cooper, & Shauna Johannesne

Rating: 4 out 5 stars

In the age of streaming, DVRs, and On Demand, networks still aren't getting it! Even the best and most innovative TV show to come along in years isn't going to survive, if you debut it with minimal advertising in the middle of the summer! This is the reason why Cult didn't last and why it isn't currently the top rated show on the CW network. 

The wildly creative idea was the brainchild of Farscape's Rockne S. O'Bannon and took nearly a decade to come to television. Cult is a TV show within a TV show, that features a cult, within a cult, I will attempt to explain. The show Cult is centered around a fictitious show called Cult. That fictitious show is centered around an FBI agent (Alona Tal) who lived her whole life in a cult, only to escape and join the FBI, with the hopes of locking up her old family for the abuses she endured. In retaliation, the cult has abducted her sister, brother-in-law, and nephew, who she is attempted to rescue. Back to the "real" Cult, the fans of this fictitious show, claim to see hidden messages in the show, that lead them to commit crimes on behalf of the shows mysterious creator, a man no one has ever met. One such crime is to kidnap Nate Sefton (James Pizzinato), the younger brother of a reporter, Jeff (Matthew Davis). Jeff makes it his mission to investigate these followers of cult, to find his brother, and to figure out what their up to, but he needs help. Jeff recruits Skye Yarrow (Jessica Lucas), a researcher on the show, whose father, was also a reporter, who disappeared fifteen years ago, while attempting to investigate the same man who created this TV show. Every episode is a wild ride into an underworld that has existed for decades, that no one knew anything about, and as always is the case with shows like this, each episode is better than the one before it, as it builds up to an epic conclusion.

This is the kind of show that had so many original ideas and so much material it could have gone on for years. Cult would have appealed to main stream audiences across every demographic and (pun intended) would have garnered a huge cult following, if it wasn't for the CW. I remember when this show premiered, the CW literally started to advertise for it a week before it aired, and then rarely after that. Cult was on Tuesday nights in the middle of the summer, when lets face it, most people are out enjoying the nice weather. Since the show had no previous exposure, there was no reason for anyone to watch on demand or even DVR it, so it was cancelled. It just doesn't make sense to me, why even spend the money and make the show if you're not going to give it a real chance? If this show debuted on the fall line-up after Supernatural, the ratings would have been enormous, the show would still be on! 

You have a terrific young cast playing duel roles, an experienced creator, with a team that's already had success with Seaquest, Farscape, and Alien Nation, there was no reason to bury this show, but a las, Cult met it's fate after just thirteen episodes, which are currently streaming on Netflix. For all my followers who claim they have nothing to watch, here is 13 hours of some of the most imaginative and creative writing you will ever see on TV, add Cult to your queue and start watching tonight!!!

ARQ


Starring: Robbie Amell, Rachael Taylor, & Adam Butcher
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First it was original TV shows, then documentaries, and now Netflix is making it's own feature films. ARQ is the companies first foray into science fiction and it hasn't gotten great reviews, due to the fact that it takes place in a time loop. I love science fiction and my favorite type of sci-fi is anything that features the manipulation of time, time travel, alternate history, time displacement, and yes, even time loops. In an apocalyptic futuristic world, Renton (Robbie Amell) has created a new form of energy, one that can possibly turn the tide and save the world. Renton wants to give this gift to all of humanity, but his former employer has other ideas and decides to steal the technology in a violent home invasion, where Renton is killed. After being killed, Renton reawakens starting his day all over again, with a complete memory of what happened. He soon discovers, the longer he lives, the more he learns, but will it be enough to figure out how to escape his current predicament, as well as the unusual time loop he seems to be caught in? Science Fiction fans love this type of film, because it gives us a chance to figure out things at the same time as the main character. It also gives us the chance to think about what we'd do in that situation and see if the character agrees or has some other wildly innovative idea that we didn't even think of. These films also tend to have a lot of noir type twists and turns and can be really thought provoking. The flip side of that, is that you can see some of the same scenes as many as ten times, and if you've never seen anything like this before and aren't a fan of the genre, it can be extremely confusing. That being said, I thought ARQ was exceptionally well written and done to near perfection, some of the twists just blew my mind. On a side note, as a fan of the film Saint Ralph, I was shocked to see Adam Butcher all grown up, playing a hired gun, I really got a kick out of that. ARQ isn't for general audiences, it is genre specific for fans of science fiction. If sci-fi isn't you thing, obviously you're not going to get it and you're not going to like it. If you are a fan, this was really well done, in particular the writing was fantastic, this film will keep guessing right up until the very end, which in and of itself was shocking.

Dark Summer


Starring: Keir Gilchrist, Grace Phipps, & Peter Stormare 
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

The best actors in Hollywood need to get that big role before their career can take off. No matter how good they are, until they find that role, they won't be a household name and are forced to take whatever roles they can get. Even megastars, like Chris Pratt got his start on a low rated CW drama, and did B-movies for a decade before he was cast as Star Lord, this is the position Keir Gilchrist finds himself in now. Gilchrist is an exceptional young actor, who always gives his best, but without that big role on his resume, he's forced to take jobs like this one. Dark Summer follows Daniel, (Gilchrist) a 17 year old who has recently been sentenced to house arrest for stalking a girl from his school. To make matters worse, his parents are away for the summer and Daniel is all alone. As boredom ware away at him mind, Daniel starts to see things and wonders if he's being punished for his crimes by some supernatural entity, or if he's just going insane from boredom. For much of this movie, the actor is bored, and if the actor is bored, what do you think the audience is feeling? Daniel's days are filled with monotonous discussions with friends, who sneak over, and of course investigations that turn up nothing. As for his nights, they are filled with a lot of jump scares and loud noises that again ultimately turn up nothing, as Dark Summer is just one of those films where nothing happens until the last twenty minutes, and by then, who really cares anymore? The bottom line, even a great actor couldn't save this film, it's your typical supernatural horror film, filled with a lot of jump scares, good looking people, and a whole lot of nothing else until the very end.

Mother's Day (2010)


Starring: Rebecca De Mornay, Patrick Flueger, & Warren Kole
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

From the Director of Saw 2, 3, & 4 comes an even scarier film, a story that is not only brutal, but also entirely possible. Three recently released prisoners are back to their old tricks, as they have just robbed a bank and escaped a shoot out with the police. With no where else to go, they flee to a familiar place, their mother's house, only while they were away, she lost that house to the bank and it had been re-sold. The trio stumbles right into the new owners house warming party and quickly take them as hostages. These boys are brutal, but they aren't very smart, not knowing what the next step is, they do they only thing they can think of and call their dear old mother for advice. Mother's Day is your typical film about hostages held at bay, trying to escape the brutal hold of their captors, with one exception, Rebecca De Mornay, a veteran actress of these types of films. De Mornay's is the one who raised these monsters, but she's also the voice of reason, with a cool calm demeanor, that will send a chill down your spine. Her performance in this film is what takes a simple hostage film and turns it into something deeper, darker, and more sinister. Of course a film like this isn't without it's flaws, as it is extremely predictable. They throw in all the things you would expect to see in a film about a hostage situation, and outside of the named actors you recognize, the rest of the cast, wasn't very good. That being said, I really enjoyed the triple dynamic between mother, psychopathic children, and the hostages, aside from that, this film was pretty much forgettable.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Interstate 60


Starring: James Marsden, Amy Smart, & Gary Oldman 
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Interstate 60 is one very strange but one very cool movie, that features a man searching for the great mysteries of life on a road that doesn't exist on any map. On Interstate 60, your wildest dreams or worst nightmares can come true, so you have to be careful where you get off. You might find yourself in a town that's full of insane laws, where everyone is a lawyer. On the other hand, you might find yourself in a town dedicated to partying, where every resident is high on drugs 24/7. There are strange drifters, weird road side attractions, and caught in the middle of everything is Neal Oliver (James Marsden), who isn't sure why he's there. At first, I just thought this film was weird and over my head, but as time went by, I started to see the genius of it. How it shows us that taken to the extreme, what we really want isn't what we want at all, and that most of us don't really know what the hell we want. James Marsden is the star and he is fantastic, paired with a non-stop flow of cameos everywhere he stops. This virtually unknown film has appearances by Michael J. Fox, Ann-Margert, Christopher Lloyd, Kurt Russell, and the list goes on and on. How they got all these guys to appear in a direct to video feature is beyond me, but take it from me, this isn't your typical b-movie. This film is one of the most unique stories you will ever see and even if you don't fully understand everything that's happening, you'll keep watching simply to see who and what comes next.

Malcolm In The Middle


Starring: Frankie Muniz, Bryan Cranston, Jane Kaczmarek, Justin Berfield, Erik Per Sullivan, Christopher Masterson, Craig Lamar Traylor, David Anthony Higgins, & Catherine Lloyd Burns

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Many TV historians will tell you that if it wasn't wedged in between the Simpsons and the X-Files on FOX Sunday nights, Malcolm In The Middle never would have lasted seven seasons. The ratings did drop every time Fox tried to move the show, and it did ultimately get cancelled when Family Guy came back and took it's time slot. I think however, it had more to do with the kids growing up than it did with the quality of the show or it's time slot, because Malcolm In The Middle to me, was the first truly hilarious and worthwhile sitcom of the new millennium.

The family with no last name, (yes, in seven seasons, they don't mention their last name a single time) is the dysfunctional family that puts all others to shame! The father, Hal (Bryan Cranston), may be the biggest kid of them all, with absolutely no self-control. The mother, Lois (Jane Kaczmarek), is the boss, the big scary scream machine, who hands out the punishments, and is the boys ultimate rival, making her the most fun to mess with. The oldest son, Francis (Christopher Masterson), is so bad, that he keeps getting sent away to one ridiculous place after another. The next oldest, Reese (Justin Berfield), is the good old fashion school bully. Little brother, Dewey (Erik Per Sullivan) is just as weird as they come (every time he screamed like a girl, especially when he got older, I almost peed myself). Finally, in the middle is Malcolm (Frankie Muniz), who is a genius, trying to make sense of the chaos that is his life. 

To me this show was so ahead of it's time, I mean they cast Bryan Cranston in a leading role, back when Vince Gilligan was still a part-time screen writer on the X-Files. The chemistry between the kids is fantastic and the dynamic between the laid back Hal and the high struck Lois is comedic gold. This isn't just the kind of show you love to watch, but it's also the kind of show you can tell the people involved with loved doing it. When it's more than just a job and the actors really love the characters and fellow cast members, that is when a show can become really special.

The bottom line, most sitcoms are full of corny PG jokes meant for prime time audiences. They're something to tune into when nothing else is on, but once in a while, one of them comes along that is special and breaks the mold, Malcolm In The Middle is that show. No sitcom, with perhaps the exception of Everybody Loves Raymond has ever made me laugh as much as this show has, and trust me that is not an easy task with my weird sense of humor.

Horrible Bosses 2


Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, & Chris Pine
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Okay, I understand that people love sequels and it's usually a guaranteed win at the box office, but did we really need another Horrible Bosses movie? In this unnecessary sequel, the boys have gone into business for themselves, and in common fashion have signed away their invention to an investor for a fraction of what it's worth. Realizing they've been taken, they plan on kidnapping the billionaires son and the ridiculousness begins again. The old bosses and old accomplishes join new face for another adventure that's even more absurd than the first one was. I watched this film because I love Jason Sudeikis, he is one of my favorite comedic actors, however Charlie Day is not. I really don't know how anyone can stand watching It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, with this little guy running around, with his high pitched rabbit voice, always excited like he just did an eight ball before every single scene he shoots. It's honestly one of the most annoying things I can think of. This film was kind of lame and leaned toward the stupid side to begin with, but when you add this little squirrel on crack to the mix, it really becomes nearly unwatchable. The bottom line, sequels make money. Some people want to learn the fate of characters they've seen and gotten to know. Then there are people like me, who went to see the first one and even though they weren't crazy about it, figured I might as well go see the next one. I can only hope at this point they don't decide to make it into a trilogy.

Sinister (2012)


Starring: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, & James Ransone
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Original ideas in horror are hard to come by given the nature of the genre. The fans all want to be scared, some want blood and gore, and do we ever really want to see a happy ending? The idea behind Sinster was simple, lets give fans a little bit of everything and see how they react. Seeking peace and solitude, real crime writer, Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke), moves his family to the country, unaware that the house he's living in has a checkered past. That is until he finds an old movie projector with 8mm films, that will horrify the man to his core. Having children as the perpetrators of these crimes was my favorite part of the film, I love it when horror movies do that, because what could be scarier than an evil child. You take the most innocent thing in the world, turn it evil, and once that happens what can you do about it? Would you be able to shoot a kid? So how do you stop them? The idea is bone chilling. I also liked the fact that they touch on every aspect of the genre they could from ghosts to possession, from gore to jump scares, they really did include a lot. The problem however is that the film focuses on Ethan Hawke, who tries to shield his family from what's happening, while investigating the events on his own, and this makes the time in between events move at a snails pace. With so much going for it, this is a movie that should have a lot going on, not long periods of nothingness. Personally I'd like to see the story focus on a child and watch as he/she transforms into one of the kids in the 8mm films, that would be cool. For what it's worth, this wasn't a bad film, the cast was pretty good, and they did a lot with what they had, but ultimately Sinister just moved a little too slowly for me.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2


Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, & Kurt Russell
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The long awaited sequel to the break out hit, Guardians of The Galaxy, is here! In 2014, the Marvel Studios original came out of obscurity to set box office records, introducing fans to a cast of heroes who aren't exactly your typical superheroes. Combining amazing special effects and comedy, the film quickly gained a cult following and critical acclaim, but can they defeat the biggest enemy of all, the curse of the sequel? The Guardians are back doing what they do best, with a new enemy on their tail, when they crash land on an uninhabited planet. Their rescuer comes in a form of a man who seems too good to be true, is he really there to help them or does he have something else in mind? The story in volume two is not as good as the first one, that was to be expected, but luckily it isn't far off. The characters are the same and this time they know each other a whole lot better, meaning the chemistry is better, the humor comes more quickly, and the magic is still there. Once again Chris Pratt is outstanding, it's still hard to believe he went from the annoying jock on Everwood to this charismatic megastar. The rest of the cast is also on it's game and we learn much more about the characters then we did in the first film. While not being as strong story wise, this film certainly hits closer to home, and everything is amped up from the special effects to the humor and even the soundtrack. I love these films and I hope there are a lot more of them, however I'd be remiss in not sharing my thought that something this good, especially with how the story evolves in the second film, is better suited for a weekly TV series than at most a handful of feature films. The Bottom Line, if you liked the first one, you'll love the second one.

Dark Matter (TV Series)


Starring: Marc Bendavid, Melissa O'Neil, Anthony Lemke, Alex Mallari Jr., Jodelle Ferland, Roger Cross, Zoie Palmer, Shaun Sipos, & Melanie Liburd

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Once in a generation, a show comes along that insists you pay attention to it. Nearly fifty years after the debut of Star Trek, Dark Matter is the latest show turning heads in the world of science fiction and it is like nothing you have ever seen before. Blending elements of Star Trek, Lost, and Knight Rider, this new show from the producers of Stargate SG1, will have you talking about it and pining for the next episode.

Orbiting a planet out in deep space on the edges of civilization, six people wake up on a spaceship, with no memory of who they are or how they got there. After pairing up and searching the ship, they discover it's full of weapons. With the help of an android they find on board, the crew discovers they are orbiting a disputed planet and the weapons are likely for the colonists below. The crew quickly becomes attached to the colonists, that is until they learn the horrible truth, that they are mercenaries at the top of the galactic authorities most wanted list. They know they must be there to remove the colonist for one of the big corporations that now run the galaxy, but with the lose of their memories, came something no one could have expected, a conscience. Eventually, the crew of the ship called, The Raza, decide they have to stick together and find out who they are, where they're from, and what happened to them, so begins Dark Matter.

Each episode is another adventure, dealing with the authority, their old enemies, and their old employers. They don't know their friends from their enemies, but after each adventure they get another piece of the puzzle and we get a glimpse into their passed lives. Together with the crew, the audience has the pleasure of trying to figure out who these people were, what happened to them, and debate on where they may be going. 

Much like Star Trek, this show has a virtually unknown cast, and is slowly producing it's own stars. I only recognized a couple of name, but the different skills each cast member present is as incredible and unique as the characters themselves. The women on board have moves that would make Bruce Lee jealous, but not to be overlooked is the cast interactions with each other, which often times are hilarious. The cast is diverse and so are the characters and their backgrounds, in coming together they all play on each others strengths and weaknesses to make this one of the most enjoyable shows on television.

I watch a lot of TV, probably a lot more than is healthy, but in all this time, there have only been a handful of shows that I can honestly say, I could not wait to see the next episode, Dark Matter is one of those shows. Honestly I get home early on the nights it on and put on SyFy fifteen minutes early so that I don't miss a second. The first two seasons are currently streaming, go and watch the pilot and I promise you, weather you love science fiction or not, Dark Matter will have you hooked.

What's Eating Gilbert Grape?


Starring: Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, & Juliette Lewis
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Sometimes the best performance come in a film that just doesn't deserve them. Everyone knows of Gilbert Grape, but not because it is a classic film that deserves to stand the test of time, rather it is the film that launched two of the biggest careers in Hollywood. Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp) is barely old enough to drink, yet he is the man of the house, forced to raise his brother and sisters, and care for his obese mother. Gilbert lives in the middle of nowhere, works a terrible job, and his future doesn't look so bright, that is until a girl, traveling cross-country with her grandmother, breaks down in his town. A relationship blossoms and Gilbert finally discovers that life has been passing him by. The story here is simple and at many points extremely slow moving. This film was just meant to be a backwards love story, but has become so much more, because of Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio. The two young stars gave everything they had and more, with so little to work with, that their performances became absolutely legendary. What's Eating Gilbert Grape is not a good film, but you will be hard pressed to find one performance, must less two as good as the ones in this film. The feeling and emotion that come along with their joys and despair is something you just can't teach, either you have it or you don't. Both these actors will make you feel every emotion of their characters and make you take a look inside yourself in a way that few film will ever do. I hated the story, but I recommend this film for nothing else than it's performances. If every performance were as good as these, there wouldn't be a need to rate and review films.

The Giver


Starring: Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, & Brenton Thwaites
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It was the Nebula award winning novel that took the science fiction world by storm. Almost immediately after it's release, talk of turning The Giver into a feature film began, but turning a complex science fiction story into something general audiences could enjoy was a big issue. Studio, cast delays, and re-writes held the film up for more than a decade, but in 2014 it was released and it is spectacular! In the not so distant future, on top of a mountain, lays a futurist society in which pain, war, and disease has been eliminated at a huge cost. With all that society has gained, it has lost the ability to exercise individuality and free thought, this effects everyone except for one, The Giver. The Giver is the historian, who keeps the memory of what life used to be like, so that society never forgets that what it's gained far outweighs the cost. The Giver however is old and must train a replacement. At the choosing ceremony, a young teenager named Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is chosen. Once Jonas learns the truth, he must decide to do the job of The Giver or reveal the truth, in the hopes of bringing back individuality, but at what cost? Originally producers wanted Lloyd Bridges to play the Giver, when he passed, his son took on the role, and while he doesn't fit the mold of an elder statesman, he was still amazing. Meryl Streep also partakes in this magical film, playing the settlements leader, and she is every bit as chilling and suspenseful as the character in the book. At this point, I'm really convinced that there isn't a role she can't play successfully. Even with all the star power, far an away the best performance in this film is given by Brenton Thwaites, a British actor I'd never seen before. Aside from his tremendous good looks, Thwaites portrayal of a teenager with the fate of the world on his shoulders is better than even that of Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games. The passion and charisma he portrays was absolutely infectious and helped carry the film through even the slowest parts. The Bottom Line, the book is a Sci-Fi lovers dream, while the movie is a lot different in order to attract a more mainstream audience, the power and genius of the story remains, and for that The Giver joins our list of must see movies!

Alexander & The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


Starring: Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Ed Oxenbould, & Bella Thorne
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

When something fresh and successful comes along, everyone wants a piece of it. Shortly following the films release, a number of copycats emerge and to be honest most of them are terrible. Maybe it's because we tend to compare it to the original or maybe it's because the scripts are rushed and just aren't that good. In any case, after the release of the Wimpy Kid series, we saw a lot of these family comedies, centering on the not so popular kids, and as expected, most of them were awful, with one notable exception. Alexander's bad day focuses on a young man whose birthday coincides with his first day of middle school, which doesn't go so well. After receiving no sympathy from his family, Alexander wishes that they all had their own bad day, and the results were hilarious. This isn't the typical PG family comedy you see from Disney, as it was quite raunchy for them and really pushes the boundary of that PG rating. Ed Oxenbould stars as Alexander and fits the role like a glove. Oxenbould looks and sounds kind of awkward, after all it is a strange age, but watching him gave the feeling that he's not all that unfamiliar with being unpopular. Possibly playing on real life experience, he rivals Alex Gordon with a performance that was not only believable, but it was also very funny. Another advantage this film has over the Wimpy Kid series is that the young cast has help from some of Hollywood's elite, as co-stars include Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner. The pair give a lot of support and the producers use them to break-up the middle school monotony that would has surely ensued. While not my usual genre, I loved the Wimpy kid series, but Alexander's bad day is more than an adequate alternative for those who are looking for something a little bit different.

Bending The Rules


Starring: Edge, Jamie Kennedy, & Jennifer Esposito
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

WWE Superstars aren't seen as actors, but in fact make some of the best action heroes on the big screen. They may be athletes showing off impossible moves in the ring, but they are also actors, who portray characters and memorize lines on a weekly basis. They are tailor made action stars, who even do their own stunts. That's why I was looking forward to Bending The Rules, It's star Edge is one of the most charismatic superstars in WWE history and he certainly didn't disappoint, unlike the script. The story follows a by the book District Attorney, who turns to an unconventional cop to help him, when his late father's prized possession is stolen. In order to score points with the man who is out to get him, the officer agrees, having no idea the case would take him into something much bigger. As I said Edge was great, the stunts were terrific, he was funny, and had great chemistry with Jamie Kennedy. This comedic duo could have made a great film together, if they didn't get stuck with a script that made little sense and was all over the place. This film randomly jumps between scenes without any context and without completing the scene before it, A lot of it just doesn't make sense. The whole premise is a bit ridiculous to begin with, a D.A. turning to the cop he's trying to bust to help him get back a stolen car, which leads to an international conspiracy, involving the police, the D.A., the FBI, gangsters, drug dealers, gang-bangers, and everyone else they could throw in there. Honestly, I continued to watch this film for it's humor and it's exemplary choreographed action sequences, beyond that, Bending The Rules is a pretty forgettable film.

The Fear of 13


Starring: Nicholas Yarris
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I don't generally review Documentaries, but sometimes a documentary comes along that is so compelling, people need to know about it. The Fear of 13 is the biography of a man, that most of us have never heard of, Nicholas Yarris. His was one of the first cases taken on by the Innocence Project and he is a prime example of not only the system failing to help someone, but a reason that it should scare the hell out of you. Yarris wasn't a great guy, when he was pulled over in the wrong place at the wrong time. Given his criminal history and inability to pay for a proper defense, Yarris was the perfect target for an over zealous District Attorney. Despite being based on completely circumstantial evidence, Yarris was convinced of murder and sentenced to death row. His life was troubled on the outside, but what happened in prison made it seem like a walk in the park. For twenty years, Yarris's cries fell on deaf ears, and it wasn't until he gave up and said, just kill me already, that someone finally noticed him. Nicholas Yarris's story is the kind of thing you can't make up and someday, I'd love to see a movie version of it. This man was never considered innocent and he wasn't proven guilty, yet he was forced to endure government sanctioned torture, the likes of which we couldn't possibly imagine. This is an eye opening documentary that must be seen by all and afterwards it may just change your opinion on our criminal justice system.