Monday, January 25, 2010

Magneto's right: there is a war coming. Are you sure you're on the right side?

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Admittedly I am not the biggest comic book fan in the world. It's not that I don't love comics I do. I am a HUGE Frank Miller and Mark Millar fan as well as a pretty devout reader of anything Batman, Punisher, Spider-man or X-Men related. Can I ramble off useless trivia or issue numbers? No. Can I name every character ever in any of those series? No. But I know enough of each series to appreciate nostalgia and subtle references in film, game and TV adaptations of the comics.

Growing up I watched Batman the Animated Series and the Superman movies. But I always had a soft spot for the X-Men so when I heard they were doing a movie I was excited. They have most of the major staples of the X-Men (Storm, Wolverine, Cyclops, Rogue, Jean Grey, Xavier) and they were going up against a decently sized Brotherhood (Magneto, Sabertooth, Mystique, Toad). It wasn't everyone I loved but it was a really good start. Add great writing, great acting, phenomenal CGI and special effects (at the time) and you have a really good movie.

The story of X-Men is a simple one. There is a mutant academy led by Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart). His arch nemesis is Magneto (Ian McKellen) who runs the Brotherhood. Magneto wants to take over the world with mutants and its up to Xavier's X-Men to stop them. There is a lot more to it but for the sake of letting people enjoy the movie and to not bore people with ALL the back story, that's basically the gist of it.

Everything about this movie was done with love and it shows. Granted the nitpickers could complain about inaccuracies and whatnot but those are always going to be inaccuracies. The characters are well developed and thought out. The writing is sharp and mixes great drama pieces with the occasional witty remark. The acting is top notch with every actor giving a great and believable performance.

This was but the first in the X-Men movie series but it will always have a soft spot in my heart. Two could arguably be better but this was the start, the reference point for all the upcoming films and a bar that was set high for everyone else. Sadly two rose to the occasion only for three and Origins to drop down a chasm of suckitude but the first one is a staple of comic book movie history.


She did make a choice, Scott. It was you.

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

The first X-Men film was a classic staple of comic book films and a standard set for those to come. Well so when the inevitable sequel was announced it was needless to say that the expectations were pretty high. Well the movie released and it was awesome. In my opinion not as good as the first one but still awesome in it's own right. It took most of the things that were great in the first movie and built them up and made them better. If only that would have been the case with the third one.

But I digress. The story of the second one revolves around William Stryker, an evil military mastermind with a major grudge against mutants. His ultimate goal is to destroy all mutants and its up to the X-Men to stop him.

I realize that's a really short synopsis but the film is mostly full of action. At almost any given moment of the film it is brimming with action, tension and awesome special effects. While the first was more plot driven, X-2 certainly outdoes the first one in the action department. And maybe that's why a lot of people seem to like this one over the first one. Either way though the film is awesome.

So if you loved the first one or want a really good action movie with amazing special effects then this is the film for you. That and after this movie the X Men series takes a giant freefall into oblivion. So check out the first two and skip the next two.


They wish to cure us. But I say to you, we are the cure!

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

They could have made a great movie. Taking almost all my favorite mutants from the X-Men universe (minus Gambit but since he was the only saving grace of the next film...) and pit them in an all out war against each other AND the military? AND THERE IS PHOENIX!!!?? This could have been the best comic book film of all time! But no...Brett Ratner had to step in as the new director and Zak Penn (writer of Last Action Hero) had to step in as the writer. So you have a Razzie Award winning writer and the director of the Rush Hour series doing the new X-Men movie....WHY!!!!!??? This could have been amazing and they turned it into a crappy, one-liner ridden, phoned in performed, continuity destroying, idiotic cameo ridden piece of garbage.

As you can tell I don't like this movie. It's badly acted, characters are almost miscast, there are totally useless cameos, all the regulars don't give a crap, the story (Mutants vs Mutants vs Military is really the extent of it with useless plot exposition to make us "care") is weak and poorly written and its just not fun to watch.

I just don't like talking about it. It's a bad movie, don't see it and really unless you thought Transformers 2 was the greatest thing ever made you won't find any enjoyment out of this poorly written crapsterpiece.


You can live knowing that the woman you loved was hunted down, or you can join me. I promise you will have your revenge.

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Meh...What you expect more?! Fine I will elaborate on this meh. Fox Studios had a good thing going with the X Men series. Granted while the first two were good, the series took a serious plunge with the third one. But because people like loud exploding things that means that the film made a truck load of money. So it came as no one's surprise that there would be another movie. But since the third one was kind enough to *spoiler* kill off almost everyone, there was no way to actually do a decent sequel. So what do they decide to do? Go the prequel route and hope for the best. And because Fox are actually quite good at making money off their films they decided to make the film about the most popular character in the X-Men series: Gambit. Yep Gambit finally makes his debut. But since that was too awesome and would cause mass chaos they instead called it X Men Origins: Wolverine named after the SECOND most popular character. Can you tell I love Gambit? Anywhoo the story is pretty straightforward for those who have READ the comics. For you non comic fans you may be a little confused as the story insinuates that you saw the last three movies and read the comics. But fear not I will straighten it out.

Origins is the story of two brothers (Hugh Jackman and Liev Schrieber). They are mutants with the power of immortality...basically. In other words their healing capabilities are so astounding that they reach 40 and stop aging and don't die from bullets or diseases. Anyway they decide to become assassins working for William Stryker and team up with a group of deadly mutants. When one of the brothers (who would later become Wolverine) has a moral dilemma and quits the group for a life as a lumberjack with the woman of his dreams. When his brother (who would become Sabertooth) kills the woman of his dreams he gets an offer from Stryker to become the ultimate weapon...which backfires on Stryker when he becomes a killing machine known as Wolverine. So with revenge on mind Wolverine must hunt down his brother and avoid Stryker.

Admittedly the plot (to me) wasn't that bad. But for those who have no knowledge of X-Men it could REALLY be a distraction. My major gripes with the movie were the useless cameos. Besides Gambit most of the other cameo characters get whacked. That's when the "What the hell continuity of the series Fox" problem comes back in. Also there seemed to be a lot of filler and exposition scenes that were totally unnecessary. The movie realistically could have been 85 minutes without all the crap parts shoved in there.

But while it may seem I'm being too nice to it its because it's not that bad of a movie. Yes its mediocre and the acting is cheesy and the effects are silly and the plot holes are huge and ect ect but its not THAT bad. I certainly don't recommend it and I'd advise that you stay far away from it, but its not a total abomination. If you MUST see it, fine but you were's NOT a good movie.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

I want to talk about how bad you make this room look.

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Do you remember the Wrestler? Mickey Rourke played a down on his luck wrestler who had a crappy life, would do any gig that came his way, only found solace in one woman, a hooker whom he deeply cared for, and was desperately trying to find meaning in his life. Well switch out wrestler with country music star, Rourke with Jeff Bridges, and hooker with journalist and you got Crazy Heart. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing but it's hard to deny the similarities in plot. But that's not to say it's a bad movie, in fact it's a great movie which is only helped by the inclusion of the Dude himself, the extremely under appreciated Jeff Bridges.

Jeff Bridges plays Bad Blake, a country star who has been married more times than he can count, has had more drinks that he can count and has had more gigs than he count. He has spent countless years on the road and that is really affecting him. Blake finds that he needs someone to reach out to and that person is Jean (Maggie Gyllenhaal) a journalist. Jean is trying to figure out what makes Blake tick and figure out the man behind the legend. Blake is trying to find redemption but finds out that it is harder than he thinks. The story is good but like I said it does mirror the Wrestler pretty close.

The acting is great all around but Jeff is amazing. I've always had such respect for him and he just reeks awesome in this movie. If nothing else he makes this film worth watching. Maggie is great but when compared to Jeff not so much. All the other supporting characters are good but Maggie and Jeff are definitely the two standouts of the film.

Overall though its not the best movie plotwise but acting wise you can't get much better. Jeff certainly deserved that Oscar win and if for nothing else see the film for Jeff.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

"We can do this if we push ourselves and work around the clock" "I ALREADY WORK AROUND THE CLOCK!!!!"

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

To quote from my response to Fletch's TGITDNMAR: "Booooooooorrrrriiiiiiinnnnngggg." This was my response to Extraordinary Measures, a film inspired by a true story and created by CBS films. Why do I mention this? Rarely do I ever write off a movie completely. Even if the movie looks like total crap I will end up seeing it because of maybe one redeemable value. But when it came to this one I was totally not interested. But for some strange reason after seeing Legion I felt like I needed a movie that was a little more low key and less hectic. So I walked into Extraordinary Measures, one of 6 people in the whole theater and probably the only one under 60. Needless to say I was worried and not really expecting anything except a 100 minute time filler to keep me from total boredom at home. And another thing: the movie had made for TV written all over it. The trailers screamed overacting, Harrison Ford and Brendan Frasier looked washed up and monotone and it looked so predictably hokey and sappy that I thought it would be I paid 9 bucks to watch something I could watch for free at home. So your probably wondering when I'm going to say BUUUTTT...fine I won't keep you in suspense any more.

The story of Extraordinary Measures is about John Crowley (Brendan Frasier) and Aileen Crowley (Keri Russel) who are a young couple with three kids, two of which have Pompe Disease (a disease that won't metabolize sugars in your body causing enlarged organs and muscle degeneration). The life expectancy of a kid with Pompe is about 9 usually; their kids are 6 and 8. After a scare involving their daughter, John seeks out an eccentric but brilliant professor named Robert Stonehill. Stonehill is considered ahead of the curve on finding a cure and John decides he will do whatever it takes, raise whatever money it takes, and talk to whoever it takes to find a cure.

Granted it is a pretty predictable story. If you've ever seen a PG drama or any non dark drama that involves sick people (especially kids) you know what happens. The movie is formulaic in ever sense of the word and a good portion of the film involves a lot of hokey dialogue pieces ("Is she gonna make it Doc? *takes off glasses* "I'm not sure but I'm trying!" kind of stuff) as well as plenty of needless filler describing the disease. Brendan Fraser, lazy eye and all, plays John as well as he can doing what he needs to do and using the right emotions when he needs to. Harrison Ford plays the same character that he has for years (gruff, tough but with a heart of gold) and surprisingly swears a lot more than I thought he would (PG people!). The other actors come off either haughty and pompous or overly sweet and doing everything to get a cry out of you.

SO WHERE'S THE POSITIVE? I'll tell you. I enjoyed this movie a lot. It was all of the negative mentioned in the past paragraphs and maybe even more but at the same time it kept my interest, proved its point without overstaying its welcomed, was sweet as apple pie and even got one tear out of me at the end. Is it an award winner or a game changer? No. But what it does do is provide a good, well written (albeit hokey) story with good characters (albeit overacting) and was much higher quality in terms of the overall finished product than any other made for TV movie I've seen.

Even if you've written this one off already...don't. It's a good drama that I don't regret seeing.


I knew He'd send you, Gabriel. You were always so eager to please Him.

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

I'm usually not one of those people who falls for hype. I truly believe that you can't judge a movie based on other reviews or trailers or badass posters. But every now and again a movie comes along that totally makes that last claim total BS. Legion is one of those movies. Ever since the now infamous red band trailer came out, one of the few trailers that not only reveals the entire plot (including the death of a main character) but also is 5 MINUTES LONG I have been eagerly awaiting this movie. I'm a huge supporter of Kevin Durand movies as well as Paul Bettany. So to see that they were making a movie with both of them in it and it involved angels shooting the hell out of each other (religious action movies are in right now) I was hyped. Even after reading a review from my friend Nick Jobe over at R2D2 I was still convinced that I must see it. I need to listen to Nick more often.

Now don't get me wrong Legion is not a crappy movie. In all honesty its not THAT bad. What this movies main problem boils down to two things: it tries too hard and it leaves too many questions. The former happens rather quickly in the movie with references to Its A Wonderful Life, a cross burnt into a building ect but it builds in the movie and grows and grows until its like you are watching overacting 101 and bad cgi 101. The latter happens a lot in the movie to the point where it's head scratching. The movie is based around God being fed up with the world and opting to destroy it. Now I am a Christian (don't hate) but I think even atheists would agree that if a "higher being (God)" wanted to end the world...he could. There is no logical reason God can't destroy everything in a blink. There is no reason to send demon angels (irony) out to kill everyone. And why this one woman? Why is her kid that special (I realize he IS the ONE but what does that entail him to do?)? Why kill a character offscreen when they are in most of the movie? There are too many why's and the script is too weak to support there being all these questions.

I'm getting ahead of myself. I SHOULD explain the plot. God is pissed off at the world and decides to send angels to destroy it. Michael (the angel) decides to help protect the only chance at survival in a small town called Paradise falls where a woman named Charlie apparently is pregnant with THE ONE. Fighting ensues....

You'd think with a plot that simple there wouldn't be that many questions! Oh well... Either way Legion is not a BAD movie. The action is awesome, some effects are cool, Kevin Durand kicks ass, Paul Bettany is a good actor, Dennis Quaid doesn't suck and its not that long. But with all the questions, the bad script, weak plot, spotty special effects at times and a total case of trying too hard this movie doesn't warrant anything other than a rental.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

You like me, you really like me

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will

Usually I am against posting anything other than straight reviews because it helps me keep track of how many movies I have reviewed. But now that I have implemented a Review Archive and have acquired (in jpeg form) all the posters from all the movies I have ever seen (thus REALLY keeping count) I guess I can pause for special occasions. And this certainly is one.

Actually I have had a pretty special day. Around 10 o clock (over here) a post went up on LAMB. LAMB (Large Association of Movie Blogs) is the blog directory for which I belong to. Thanks to LAMB I have been exposed to many great movie related blogs. I've made some awesome friends thanks to LAMBcast (Tom Clift, Dylan Fields, Mike Mendez, Rachel, Nick Jobe, Jason Soto to name a few) and have enjoyed every minute of being a proud LAMB. Today though, Dylan "Fletch" Fields put up a post saying that a position at LAMB as a contributing author. Eagerly I emailed Dylan and got a position spotlighting amateur directors as well as my own weekly series Trailer Talk Thursday (T3). So you can imagine how excited I was. I was also extremely happy because I finally made a banner! I know that doesn't sound too exciting but realize I'm not good with art stuff (Paint is not my strong suit).

Onto what this post is really about. I've noticed a lot recently that all or most of my favorite sites have been getting a lot of awards recently. Now I'm excited for this year's LAMMY's since they may be around my birthday and hopefully I'll get a shot at least getting Runner Up in an award (hoping for Most Prolific). But one award that gets passed around a lot now and everyone (deservedly so) seems to have is the Kreativ Blogger award. This award, at least in my opinion, seems to go to people who show true creativity or go above and beyond as a blogger. So imagine my shock to learn that I had received this award.

So when you receive a Kreativ Blogger award you need to do seven things:

1st: Thank the person that nominated you for the award-
Alright that's easy. I would like to thank Tom Clift of Plus Trailers for not only giving me this award but for also having an amazing site, for being awesome and for being the only Australian person I have ever talked to. So cheers to you my ACIF (Australian Comrade in Film)!

2nd: Copy the logo and place it on your blog-
Check above and to the side. There ya go. Next.

3rd: Link to the person who nominated you for this award-
Thought I already did that but it is Tom Clift of Plus Trailers. He is also a member of LAMB.

4th: Name seven things about yourself that people might find interesting-
Wow....this one is a little more difficult to think of but I'll give it a shot:
1. I am 18 years old and live in a small town in Washington State (the one with Seattle if you didn't know.
2. My dad's best friend's dad is the lead guitarist in a classic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band called the Ventures. They are the guys who did the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction, the theme to Hawaii 5-0 and the song Wipeout (to name a few of their accomplishments)

3. I have met Sinbad (the comedian), Chris Jericho, Hulk Hogan, Candice Michelle, Blake Lewis and the entire Seattle Sounders soccer team.
4. I am an avid watcher of Football (the American kind) and Baseball. My favorite Football teams are the New York Jets, the New York Giants, and the Indianapolis Colts. My favorite baseball teams are the New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox.
5. I have seen over 1,890 movies in my almost 19 years on this Earth.
6. I am currently enrolled in College hoping to get a degree in journalism so it can hopefully one day lead to me becoming a paid film critic like Roger Ebert or Richard Roeper.
7. My favorite film of all time is Shaun of the Dead, my favorite actor is Michael C Hall, my favorite actress is Meryl Streep, my favorite director is Martin Scorsese, my favorite author is Steven King, my favorite band is Rush and I am a dog person. (ha one sentence loophole)

5th: Nominate seven other Kreativ Bloggers-
Damn...this is actually really hard. I love a lot of sites and read a lot of sites but its hard to pick who to give an award to. Honestly though I want to give it to people who DON'T already have it. If I can't think of anymore I may put one person on there that has already got it but otherwise if you have it already don't expect to get nominated. That and my favorite sites are linked in the side.

1st: Cool Awesome Movies- These guys genuinely scare a good way. Magnum and Ventilation Shaft are two guys who are pretty hardcore. They review mostly action movies but they do review a lot of B movie crap and even Lego movies. They have a very unique writing style, take advantage of that NC-17 LAMB rating and have an extremely awesome site. Hopefully this award isn't too girly to be put on there site. They truly are creative.

2nd: Cane Toad Warrior- Luke of Cane Toad Warrior is a great guy. He was the first ever person to link me from his blog. When I saw on his Links section that I was there I was ecstatic. Luke is truly a movie encyclopedia as almost (or I think maybe) everyday he posts a new review. Some of his film's I haven't even heard of. And I'm the movie encyclopedia! Overall though his blog is extremely well written and a fun to read. He deserves some more time in the spotlight.

3rd: Journalistic Skepticism- Luke (another?!) of Journalistic Skepticism grabbed my attention quickly. His site started around the same time as mine did. He just recently joined LAMB and when I checked out his site for the first time I was blown away. He reviewed movies, he looked at years in film, he covered awards shows, this guy did it all and with a very unique writing style. Luke is someone to keep an eye out for in the future. He is truly creative.

4th: Radiation-Scarred Reviews: Where to begin with this site. B movie sites are usually a dime a dozen. I cant tell you how many horror movie sites or exploitation film sites I have seen. Granted there are the great ones like Bargain Bin Reviews and Invasion of the B Movies but for the most part they aren't really that interesting. Dan and Bill of Radiation-Scarred Reviews got me though. Their intriguing site design, logos, rating scale, and even there choice in movies are all creative and extremely well written. I am quoted on their site saying "I look forward to reading your reviews." I meant it.

5th: Obscure movie thoughts from an obscure movie fan- Boy that is a mouthful. Louis Baxter's blog is a simple blog. I mean that in a nice way though. It doesn't rely on fancy tricks, gimmicks or any flashy backgrounds. It does have an amazing banner though. What makes Louis interesting though is his writing. He has a wonderfully creative voice when he's writing and he isn't one to pull punches. Every time he writes a review or a "This Week's Films" I always look forward to reading. He is someone who deserves this award.

6th: Nevermind Popular Film- Fitz and Ben's blog is one I have been reading for a long time now. Fitz has also been responsible for 80% of my comments and actually backed me up when I got the position as a contributing author for LAMB. Not only that but Fitz and Ben's site is a treat to read, the analysis's of the different films and trailers is always fun to read. Basically there site is just ingenious, fun and creative. Big fan of these guys.

7th: The Ludovico Technique- Chase's site is just awesome. Every review, every spotlight, every THING about this site is awesome. I read this one every day and look forward to every single article. He is a brilliant writer and anyone who names there title after a really creepy technique used in A Clockwork Orange is awesome by my standards.

PS: Before I go on I gotta say be sure to check out the sites in the sidebar. I mentioned a few in here but seriously check it out. There are some great sites out here.

6th: Post Links to the seven films nominated-
Ha I already did that. Take that Kreativ Award!

7th: Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know that they have been nominated- Will'll take me a while though.

Thanks again to Tom Clift and remember if no one else will see it, I will.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

That's it pop-tart, I'm going to dog pound you straight to China

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

I will always have a soft spot for exploitation films past AND present. Sure nowadays most of them are really indie and hard to find or Hollywooded like House of 1000 Corpses or Grindhouse but they still hold a place in my heart no matter who makes them or who distributes them. So when I heard that Rick Jacobson, of B movie fame (although he is directing Starz new series Spartacus Blood and Sand) was creating a campy exploitation film with three chicks and calling it Bitch Slap I was all over it. But does it live up to the standards of the classic exploitation films? Sadly no...but it's still a fun ride.

The story of Bitch Slap is about Hel, Camaro and Trixie, three chicks with bad attitudes and even bigger guns who are out in the middle of the desert to exploit a seedy underground kingpin for all he is worth. Things quickly go to hell and the s**t hits the fan rather quickly. Guns are fired off, double entendres are spewed out at rapid fire, cleavage flies around, people get dirty and its a big action clusterf**k. Things even turn sci fi when its revealed that one of the characters may or may not be human.

Basically its the campy silliness that you either love or hate about these movies. If I can say this with a straight face the "plot" is a bit all over the place, even for exploitation standards. Sometimes the film is head scratchingly hard to understand. But most of the time you'll just be laughing at the dirty jokes and admiring the action which is all done quite well. The cinematography and the editing really stand out as being top notch in this film and I really appreciate it in a film like this that relies on style over substance.

So should you see Bitch Slap? Well while there are plenty other better exploitation films out there I admire the directors ambition and tip my hat off to him. He created a film that's both action packed and a true guy movie in every sense. Guns, babes and dirty jokes. Heaven.


Just get through the goddamn day...

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Tom Ford is a name that most women know by heart. Guys scratch there heads and gays rejoice in one of their idols. Tom Ford has been a very influential stylist and designer for a long time but everyone has to evolve. So evolve Ford did but instead of doing a runway show on Lifetime or Bravo he decided to make a movie based on an under appreciated Christopher Isherwood novel called a Single Man.

A Single Man is the story of George. It's November 30, 1962 and its the day he says he is going to commit suicide. He is a British professor who is struggling after his partner died suddenly 8 months ago. George is fixated on the past and thinks his future is an empty void. He plans on meeting with his best friend Charley for dinner buts gets sidetracked by a Spanish prostitute and a young student who becomes fixated with George.

If this film looks like Mad Men then don't be surprised when I tell you it was made with the same phenomenal production team behind it. Tom Ford financed the movie himself and hired the best people he could to help him out. It shows in everything in the film. Everything LOOKS authentic and time appropriate. Everything feels like the 60s and it adds a lot to the film. Colin Firth's George is brilliant. While Firth isn't exactly on my radar as a great actor (I did like him in Bridget Jone's Diary though) this almost totally changed my mind. His performance is deep, thoughtful and he really pulls you in with his performance. Julianne Moore and Matthew Goode add a lot to this movie as well. While both their parts are a bit smaller they do mean a lot to the plot and add some serious depth.

This film is one that is really style AND substance. It mixes all of it together to create a deep, well acted masterpiece. I recommend this to anyone who likes a little flair with their film.


My name is Salmon, like the fish. First name, Susie. I was fourteen years old when I was murdered on December 6th, 1973.

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Peter Jackson was a great director. His campy zombie gore fest Dead Alive is one of my favorite guilty pleasures and The Lord of the Ring series was a crowning achievement of fantasy film. After that though he decided F*** it I don't care anymore I made Lord of the Rings. It shows in all of his movies afterwards and almost even more so in his latest film The Lovely Bones.

The Lovely Bones is Alice Sebold's masterpiece of literature brought to life. I was a huge fan of the book, rich with deep symbolism, disturbing and unnerving violence, a portrait of heaven we haven't seen before, great characterization and a brilliant story overall. Everything about that book is so fascinating and awe inspiring. That book inspired me to want to write (along with John Green and Stephen King). So when I heard that it were to become a movie I was excited. Even when Jackson's name was attached I thought "How could he screw this up?" Well he answered that question and proved me wrong.

The first major problem is the story and how the film not only treats the story but the whole world that that the story encompasses. While not totally accurate (what film adaptation is) the film lacks any true emotional output. It's violent in a tasteless way, lacks any symbolic meaning whatsoever, and the settings all feel cold, devoid of life at all. The protagonist now whines too much without reason, heaven feels fake and forced (pretty but dull over the top and trippy at times to make it almost seem like "Look what I can do"), and its boring to boot.

For those who don't know or who haven't seen the previews (or read the post title) its the story of Susie Salmon, a girl who was murdered and now wants to solve her murder from heaven. That's really it at least in the film version. Yeah the mom and dad get involved and so does the sister but really the film doesn't even try to hard to make a decent story or a film that is interesting at all.

The second major flaw is the acting. Besides Stanley Tucci's brilliant performance (the only good thing about this movie) every seems to either phone it in or come off as whiny. Susie is a pain to listen to and everytime she talks I'm annoyed. Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz are okay but really seem too overdramatic or melodramatic at times. Overall the acting (besides Tucci) is total bull.

I really wanted this film to be good and besides sometimes pretty visuals and the brilliant performance from Tucci, this film just falls flat in every other aspect. You would do good to avoid this one.


Spying is easy...babysitting is hard

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

I'm not going to be mean to Jackie Chan. So many other critics whether professional or amateur love to take stabs at him. They say he is past his prime/too old. They say that he is no longer relevant or cool. They say that he can't act and is butchering the English Language. Well I'm not going to do that. Jackie has been one of my idols my whole life. His older films were badass. Even if they were comedies like Rush Hour Jackie always amazed me with his ability to endure as much pain and suffering doing his own stunts for our enjoyment. Sure nowadays he mostly does kids movies and comedies like Rush Hour 3 ect but can you blame him? He is in his 50s now and must be in pain all the time now. I'm surprised that he can act at all. He's got his health to think about. So with that said I must now review his latest film Spy Next Door.

The Spy Next Door is the new film by Brian Levant (Jingle all the Way) and is the story of Bob Ho (guess how many Bob Hope jokes there are?) a CIA agent who poses as a pen importer. He falls in love with Gillian and despite her three kids not liking Bob they get together. When Gillian's dad gets injured Bob has to take care of the kids, all while stopping an evil man trying to take over the world with oil.

It's True Lies with Jackie Chan and a bad script. Jackie does fine with what he is given (the problem with this movie) but all the other actors are abysmal. Billy Ray Cyrus is dull as ever, George Lopez lacks any real bite in this movie, the villain is boring, Lucas Till can not play a Russian spy and the kids are stereotypes of stereotypes. Basically everybody sucks. And the writing sucks, and the directing is bad. Basically its just a bad movie all around.

Bless his heart but Jackie can't save this picture. If you got young kids you will probably end up seeing it but unless you are 5 or have a kid who is 5 or younger than please stay away from this one.


I Want To Tickle Your Belly Button... From The Inside

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

I'm tired of Michael Cera, I really am. Usually I don't swear in my reviews but shit or get off the pot man! Cera has played the same character in EVERY movie for his ENTIRE career as an actor. He plays the socially awkward but lovable geek who listens to indie music, swears like a sailor on occasion, grows a pair during the climax of most of his movies and always gets the chick. I realize a lot of actors get away with playing the same actor but most of them would kill me in a fight (Steven Seagal, JCVD ect). Cera is a buck 15 maybe and would probably blow away in a strong wind. I just don't see the appeal of a guy whose voice can't seem to reach puberty. But what I say doesn't really matter as he will keep on playing the same character and he will keep on being awkward and he will still be a star.

Anyway onto his new movie Youth in Revolt. Basically the plot is based on a book by CD Payne and revolves around Nick Twisp. He is a socially awkward kid who doesn't fit in and feels out of place. His parents are divorced (Steve Buscemi what are you doing here?) and his mom is involved with a couple of guys who are total jerks. He meets Sheeni, a cute girl who Nick falls in love with. The problem is Sheeni has a boyfriend already and isn't interested in Nick...since he is a total wuss. So he creates Francois Dillinger, a badboy who gets Nick in trouble with the law and into Sheeni's pants.

It has its funny moments mostly involving Zach Galifianakis, Ray Liotta and Steve Buscemi but the movie just doesn't warrant that many laughs. Its downright depressing in some parts, Cera is a total loser in this part, the story plods along and I was bored for most of it. Sure I had a few laughs but I just didn't think it was that good.

So if you are a fan of the book or enjoy Michael Cera or any of the members of the cast be sure to rent this when it comes to DVD.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

And what's with the "big guy"? Is it because I'm fat?

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Romantic comedies are really a dime a dozen nowadays and its the predictability of it all that bothers me. Considering almost 100 of these movies are made every year can't more than one or two be original? Are we really that out of ideas that we go to the same plot outline over and over? Well thankfully Nancy Meyers new movie breaks enough away from that mold to make it a fun movie that, although has some dry and boring spots, is an enjoyable romp.

The story of It's Complicated is actually not that complicated. Jane (the wonderful Meryl Streep) and Jake (the talented Alec Baldwin) are a divorced couple and have been for ten years. Jane runs a bakery and Jake is married to his former mistress with a new son in kindergarten. When Jane and Jake's youngest son graduates from college they happen to collide the night before at the hotel bar. Without his wife and nobody to supervise Jane and after about 6-9 drinks they have sex. Jake is happy and thinks things should go back to the way they were. Jane repeats to herself, for half the movie at least, that it was a mistake, a bad idea and they shouldn't have done it. But things actually DO get complicated when Jane's contractor (Steve Martin) falls for her.

It's mostly your typical rom com affair but its made different because of three things: one-it doesn't pull any of its R rated punches, something most other rom com's don't dare to do. Two-it has the comical timing of Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin and John Krasinski. Three-Nancy Meyers writing. But all that together and you get a quite enjoyable movie. Alec is on rapid fire mode in this movie spewing sarcastic line after line. Streep is a bit more reserved in this movie but still does quite well. Martin is underused and played as the straight man but he does bring some good comic moments.

So what keeps the film from being great? Its really boring in places. Its a two hour movie that could have been 89-90 minutes. For every great comical scene, funny gag or great story piece the film puts in at least one scene of pointless (I'm serious I'm not being rude here) dialogue that doesn't add ANYTHING to the plot and at least one scene of Meryl going "What am I doing? This is wrong, its a mistake" for ten minutes. Most of to all of those scenes could have been cut and this would have been a five star film. The writing is witty and sharp but the excruciatingly long and boring scenes REALLY take a lot away from the film.

Overall though its a good romantic comedy that changes enough from the norm to make it interesting. If you like the actors or the director or if you just like a good laugh then check this one out.


It came as a surprise to me that you could speak fluent cow

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Why do so many romantic comedies come out? I mean I see there appeal: family friendly (usually), charmingly funny, uplifting, predictable and usually feature a good cast. But besides the aesthetic aspect of each film and maybe besides the occasional twist they are the exact same movie. Boy/Girl meets Boy/Girl. They love/hate each other but through a quirky series of events they love/hate each other. Usually there is a reflective moment, a musical montage of good/bad events and in the end Boy/Girl and Boy/Girl live happily ever after. Throw in the thing that makes the film "unique" and you got yourselves a feel good film that while may not sway critics will sway audiences.

Don't get me wrong I actually enjoy romantic comedies. My only major gripe is that every year there are more and more of them more and more frequently. Only rarely do we get a Notebook or a (500) Days of Summer film that really stretches the boundaries set forth by these films. So does Amy Adams new film stretch those boundaries? No..but its surprisingly decent.

The story of Leap Year revolves around Anna. She is a business woman with a great business oriented boyfriend. She is madly in love with him but when she gets denied a potential proposal and he leaves for Dublin (Ireland for people who don't know) she decides to invoke an old Irish tradition which is explained by her dad (thanks John Lithgow cameo). So she heads off to Dublin but gets stopped and forced to land in Cardiff. Once there she meets the quiet, good looking, rugged but a bit of a smart ass Declan who is the local bar owner/taxi driver. He agrees to take her to Dublin for a price and off they go. Comical adventure ensues.

Well really for anyone who has seen a romantic comedy they already know what happens in this movie. In fact everyone probably does but we still sit through it all anyway. Its painstakingly hokey how its been overdone. But to the movies credit Amy Adams and Matthew Goode are really good actors and work well with the material, hokey, silly and predictable as it may be.

It's a forgettable movie with a boring title, predictable story and stereotypical characters. But thanks to Adams and Goode the film actually works and is a charming film that kept my attention for 100 minutes. Worth a rent at least.


Living in a world where vampires are the dominate species is about as safe as bare backing a 5 dollar whore.

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Vampires suck. They didn't used to but now they do. Back in the olden days with classics like Fright Night, Bram Stoker's Dracula (despite Keanu), Nosferatu, and Interview with a Vampire vampires were feared and loved. Feared because they were genuinely terrifying but loved because they were so devious but so calm, cool and collected. Heck even Leslie Neelson made a decent vampire. But then vampires took a more demonic tone with movies like Dracula 2000, Van Helsing, Blade and the Underworld series. Now they were mostly feared but also kind of badass. But in 2005 something started to change. A book came out called Twilight. Vampires were now hot and so were werewolves. Slowly but surely people stopped fearing vampires but instead wanted to make love to them. The final nail came when the movie version of Twilight was released as well as a show called True Blood coming out. Then vampires stopped mattering as evil creatures and now people only care about the sexy SPARKLY vampires. Do people even remember 30 Days of Night now besides people who LIKE movies? And so its understandable that when a new vampire movie comes out that people write it off. And I almost wrote Daybreakers off. That was until I saw it one day when there was nothing better to do. Is it a groundbreaking film? No. Is it a masterpiece? No. Its just a decent well made thriller that is entertaining to watch.

The story of Daybreakers is an interesting one. In 2019 a virus turns nearly every human into a vampire. Now the vampire population hunts and harvests humans as a way to feast on blood. If they don't get blood they turn into bat like demons zombies. When the movie starts the vampires are running low on blood. To avoid extinction an executive named Charles Bromley (Sam Neill) hire Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke and yes another vampire Edward) a hematologist to help find a solution to this problem by either finding all of the humans or finding a blood substitute that can help solve the problem. While Edward is finding out a way to help he bumps into Elvis (Willem Dafoe) and Audrey (Claudia Karvan) who have found a cure to vamparism. Now its just a matter of mass producing it.

Its part sci fi epic like the Matrix, part vampire horror like 30 Days of Night and part black comedy...or at least that's what I got out of it. Its funny but not silly, dark but not depressing and it does have some pretty decent scares in it as well. All the acting is decent but Willem Dafoe in my opinion was amazing as always. Hawke was good but he's never been a big favorite of mine.

Overall its a campy, dark, violent, funny thriller that isn't groundbreaking but a good way to spend 100 minutes. There are much worse movies than this and hopefully this movie will get more love.


For out of the ground we were taken from the dust we are, and to the dust we shall return!

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

I still don't get it. Why are we so obsessed with the Apocalypse and what happens afterward? Does it really matter since most of us will be dead? I guess in some respects its interesting to see a more simple time with modern weapons and its pretty cool to see what all will come out of it but this obsession is almost as bad as vampires. We have the Fallout series of video games, we have movies like Tank Girl, The Road, The Book of Eli, Doomsday, Resident Evil and countless numbers of books. The difference I think though between this vampire craze and the Apocalypse craze is that the Apocalypse movies are actually good 90% of the time which means they warrant more being made.

This newest one The Book of Eli is a masterpiece. Granted it has flaws (no movie is perfect) but it is damn near close. Directed by The Hughes brothers who are probably best known for From Hell and Menace to Society and written by Gary Whitta (a god amonst gamers for writing the Gears of War games, the Duke Nukem series, Prey and starting PC Gamer magazine) this film is amazing from start to finish. Whether its the action, the cinematography, the story or the style, it all works.

The story of Eli takes place in the post apocalyptic world sometime in the future. Most of the people died in the blast but those who remain either became hijackers/scavengers, cannibalistic or live in one of the few shanty towns they got left scraping for food and water. Eli (Denzel Washington) is a solemn, quiet man who has one goal: walk west. He has been traveling for 30 years and still has yet to reach his destination. But just because he is older doesn't mean he can't put up a fight. He carries around a loaded pistol, a shotgun, detachable bow and arrow and a huge machete, all of which he isn't afraid to use. One day he is brought to a town run by a man named Carnegie (Gary Oldman). He takes a liking to Eli but starts hunting him down when one of the barmaids Solara (Mila Kunis) tells him that Eli is carrying around a bible. Carnegie wants the bible and will stop at nothing to get it.

The plot goes on (it IS a 2 hour movie) but to go any further would reach spoiler zone and this is one movie you DO NOT want spoiled. There is some great twists in this movie that actually warrant a second viewing. And its a movie I'd happily sit through again. If not for the new perspective gained by watching the film once than because of the brilliant cinematography and great writing.

What seems to put off most critics it seems is the idea of religion in the movie. Unlike some movies that get huge gripes for being religious, I just don't see it as a problem in this movie. They never shove religion down your throat or say that Christianity is the only way. All it ever is Eli quoting the Bible before he kicks some ass (where I got the quote from) and two prayers he does one of which is used as a plot device to kick the movie into high gear. And if people have problem with quoting-

then this scene would be more highly controversial. Nobody until recently had problems with quoting so I don't see it as a problem now. As for the other non plot device prayer it never really takes away from the movie. And seeing as how the religious aspect seems to confound people the most, I'm here to say that it is NOT an issue or should even be considered an issue for this movie.

All in all The Book of Eli is a great Mad Maxish sci fi action thriller that is a thrill to watch from the first minute to the last minute. This will remain as one of my favorites for the year and considering this is January it gives me high hopes for the other films this year.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'll be back

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Now its time for my number 1 favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger film of all time-The Terminator. While Conan is the movie that turned Arnold into a star it was The Terminator that turned him into a legend. The Terminator series is the highest point of Arnold's career and people to this day quote him constantly. In fact it wouldn't be much of a stretch to say one of the few things people REMEMBER from these films is Arnold. The Hasta La Vista's the I'll be Back's and all the other great one liners in the movies turned Arnold into a household name, made him even more badass then he already was and even gave him a nickname when he became governor-The Governator.

But James Cameron's first entry into the series, a film series based on a nightmare he had once, is the story of a world 19 years from now. A world where Skynet, a group of robotic creatures have taken over the world and killed off most of humanity. The only opposition and only problems that Skynet have ever had is with a man named John Connor. So to solve that problem Skynet sends one of their Terminator cyborgs (dressed as a human) to kill John Connor's mother Sarah Connor. At the same time the resistance fighters send one of their best Kyle Reese to stop the Terminator and protect Sarah.

That's about as deep as the plot goes and considering this was a completely original idea from Cameron (something he lacked in his latest movie BURN) it is pretty well done. The backstory is well told and explained and actually quite interesting. That and most people love time travel. The meat of the film however is not story but action. This movie is chock full of non stop no holds barred action and its awesome. Yeah there is some action involving Sarah and Kyle that's awesome (towards the end) but most of the great stuff and nearly all of the action comes from the Terminator. He blows holes through people, stabs them, throws them, shoots them, drives cars through buildings, he is RUTHLESS. AWESOME...but RUTHLESS. Add that to one line that will be repeated more than any other line in film history (do I need to say) and you got a great movie.

While this is a great movie it does have slow moments. My only other gripe though is that the sequel was amazing. The third one not so much but the sequel was one of the most badass movies ever. But then why did I choose this one? Its a classic and it MADE Arnold who he is today.

If you haven't seen this it. There is no reason you shouldn't. Please see this movie. Or I'll be back.


Cohaagen, you got what you wanted; you must give those people air!

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Along with Stephen King one of my favorite authors of all time is Phillip K Dick. If you don't know Phillip K Dick is famous for writing great sci fi stories like The Minority Report or We Can Remember it for you Wholesale (just to name a few). Of course since his stories are so well made and have such great futuristic stories it would probably come as nobodies surprise that they would be made into movies. Granted everyone's heard of Steven Spielberg's Minority Report which came out a few years back but one that a lot of people know but maybe didn't know was an adaptation of a Phillip K Dick book was 1990's Total Recall. Yes that Total Recall. For some reason (in my circles at least) Total Recall is considered one of the greatest sci fi films of all time and one of the movies with the highest body count. Its also famous for something else...being an awesome Arnold Schwarzenegger film and if nothing else probably his best actual acting performance. Yes he is a great action star but for the most part his acting can be cheesy. Its genuinely awesome in this one.

The story of Total Recall (based on We Can Remember it For You Wholesale) is that of Douglas Quaid. He is happily married to a wonderful wife (Sharon Stone) has a good job as a construction worker with his buddy (Robert Costanzo) but has bigger dreams. He's lived on Earth all his life and wants to explore other colonies and other planets. He decides to go to a company called Rekall which lets you take a fake vacation. While there he learns that he had already been implanted with a memory device which had erased his memory of the past two months. He then learns that he was a resistance fighter and that his wife and friends are out to kill him. He wants to survive, learn the truth and take down the bad guys. If you know Arnold movies than you know what comes next:

Total Chaos, lots of blood, people exploding, gunfire, human shields and one liners. But its all done in a way that is totally amazing to watch. The story is genuinely interesting to watch and its fun to see how it pans out. The supporting characters are great and the villains are deviously awesome. From minute one to the end its a well acted and well done sci fi action film. In fact it even won an Academy Award for its special effects, an award this movie definitely deserved.

So if you like sci fi action thrillers or just action movies in general or want to see an Arnold movie where he is almost too awesome than check out Total Recall...and Phillip K Dick. His books are amazing.


Get in da choppa!

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Sorry to confuse anyone by not saying but by now you should know what Conan was number 4 and Predator is number 3 on my top 10 Arnold Schwarzenegger movies of all time. Probably one of his best known movies and also known for spawning a two sequels (one is in the making right now) and a spin off series (without Arnie) Predator has become an American classic. Whether we want to admit it or not we have all said "Get in da choppa" or "Stick around" and have all seen Predator numerous times. Its sci fi futuristic elements, the horror and action/adventure of it all and a one on one hunt at the end makes this an unforgettable feat of cinema.

If you don't know by now the plot of Predator is simple. A special task force of commandos led by a man known as Dutch is sent to rescue a member of the presidential cabinet who has been kidnapped by mercenaries. When they dispatch of the mercenaries camp only to learn it was a set up (they were sent just to destroy the camp) they find a woman named Anna and head to the extraction point. As they go along they realize that a creature is hunting them down and killing them off one by one.

The film goes from generic action movie featuring tough as nails soldiers to an amazing futuristic sci-fi/horror film in a matter of minutes. Its essentially a game of cat and mouse, predator and prey and its done extremely well. The acting is cheesy but great for the film with Arnold and Kevin Peter Hall (the Predator) standing out the most. I will say though that Jesse Ventura is pretty awesome in the movie as well. It has its moments of pure stupidity but all of the films flaws are made up in the final confrontation between Dutch and the Predator. Its a survival game and the final duel shows that predator is not only a devastating enemy but also a gentlemen of sorts (*spoiler* he lets Dutch get up so they can fight hand to hand and he even lets him have a minute)

This film is ballsy, full of action, suspense and sci fi greatness. It has its stupid moments but overall its an amazing film that should not be missed.


To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

John Milius, who was the inspiration for the Big Lebowski and was the person who thought the UFC ring should be an octagon has made some interesting movies. He is the person behind Red Dawn, Dillinger, Farewell to the King and more. His most famous and probably his most well known film however will always be Conan the Barbarian. Conan was known for three things: awesome swordplay and sorcery in barbarian times, Mako's narration and the film that shot Arnold Schwarzenegger into stardom. Yes it was with this film that made Arnold into the star he was (arguably it could also be Terminator). And while it spawned a crappy sequel and a weird crossover film, the original Conan the Barbarian is a classic action movie.

The story of Conan is a long one but quite easy to explain. When Conan was a young boy his parents were killed by evil men and he was sold into slavery. One day Conan becomes big and strong, finds a sword and dedicates his life to vengeance. In between he meets many different men and women, sorcerers and warriors but still keeps his one goal in mind, to find the people who killed his family.

Considering it was made in 1982 it does show its age a little compared to films nowadays. It also has some very slow moments and some seriously plodding along moments. But in the boredom is great writing surprisingly. Then again considering Oliver Stone wrote part of it that wouldn't surprise me. Its also worth noting that the acting, while cheesy to some people, in my opinion is really well done. Arnold is great, believable and considering this was before he was an actor or had very much experience he did quite well with it. Its also worth noting that the action and effects are really well done too. Everything is cheese but good cheese and well done cheese with good swordplay.

Though Arnold would go on to do better films, this one stands out as being his big debut and a really well made too. If you haven't seen it, give it a look. Its worth your time.


First I'm gonna use you as a human shield, then I gonna kill this guard over there, then I was thinking about breaking your neck

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Now we get into the top 5 favorite Arnold movies. This was probably the hardest for me to come up with because my top 5 favorite Arnold movies switch up all the time. But then I had to think about which films showcase Arnold as the true badass that he is. And while True Lies is one of my favorite movies of all time and also my favorite James Cameron movie of all time (I can feel the hate mail already) I think there are four others that show off Arnold's badassery more than True Lies. But for the record, True Lies is an amazing movie that I have seen probably 20 times.

The story of True Lies is that of Harry Tasker. Harry works for the Omega Sector, a group of covert counter terrorist operatives. He is the best of the best, the toughest of the toughest and and brilliant as well. The only problem is that he leads a double life. His wife Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis) and daughter Dana (Eliza Dushku *pant*) think he is a mild mannered computer salesmen/tech who goes on lots of trips. Because he is always away Helen and Dana feel unappreciated. When rumors of infidelity go around involving Harry's wife, Harry goes out of his way, even though he is on a mission, to find the truth. When he learns it wasn't true and that she just wanted adventure, Harry plans on surprising her romantically but things go awry when they are kidnapped. From there the movie enters awesome territory with constant explosions, epic gunfights and lots of badassness.

Despite my general dislike of James Cameron, he makes this movie awesome. The writing is perfect, the casting is amazing, Arnold gives a genuinely amazing performance, Jamie Lee Curtis is both funny and biting, and Art Malik is an amazing villain. Hell they even have Charlton Heston in it. You know a movie is good when it has him in it. Cameron also has great sense when it comes to making great action scenes. This is what I mean:

DAMN! All of the action is fast paced full of explosions, neck snaps, quick reloads and one liners in there to boot. And the truth scene is one of my all time favorite scenes because it shows just how awesome Arnold is.

Overall if you like well written, well acted, well directed action movies (which you should), Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Cameron or just movies that are fun to watch multiple times than pick this one up. Its an action masterpiece.


I'm not into politics. I'm into survival.

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

My number six pick of Arnold favorites is a movie that most people kind of remember and if you said the title they'd know who was in it but not what its about is Running Man. This is not only one of my favorite Arnold movies but its also one of my favorite action movies of all time. Granted it has major flaws (in the plot hole and acting department) but its still amazing.

Ya wanna know why I love Running Man? It's for numerous reasons: First is that its based on a Stephen King novel. Somewhere down the road when I review more King based movies you'll notice something about me; I love Stephen King. I have read every book that he has written under every name. I say that because The Running Man was written under the name Richard Bachman and was the finale in the "Bachman Books" series. The second reason I love it is that The Running Man, in my opinion, was the Death Race and Gamer before they ever came out. Before you correct me on Death Race (I know its a David Carradine sci fi film) realize I'm talking about the remake. While the remake loosely followed the original, it was definitely ripping off a lot of the aspects of Running Man and Gamer just flat out rips it off. Running Man was one of the originals in that "convict competition" films and will always be my favorite.

The plot of Running Man is simple. In the future the world has become a police state. There is an overflow of convicts so the government created game shows that put convicts against each other with the winner being set free and the losers dying. The most popular of these game shows is called Running Man, a gladiator like game where the convicts, or runners, avoid stalkers and certain death. If they survive they go free. Ben Richards is a wrongly convicted convict and when he escapes from a labor camp is soon caught and forced to compete in Running Man.

This should sound familiar. That's because it is. The story, while now done plenty of times, does its job well enough and is quite interesting. The acting is laughably bad for most of the actors with only Arnold giving a truly solid performance. Also Arnold has some pretty badass one liners

Overall Running Man is one of my favorite action movies of all time and a great Arnold classic. Pick this one up.


There *is* no bathroom!

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Getting sick and tired yet of seeing Arnold's mug posted on my site? Too bad because this is number 7 of my Top 10 Arnold favorites countdown which means we have six movies left. Will your favorite be number 1? I honestly don't know and remember this is opinion and not fact so I will probably piss some people off and for that I am sorry (unless you are the people who like Junior...I hate you). After 3 semi or pretty serious Arnold action movies I thought my number seven pick should be one of his comedies. And so I picked one of my personal favorites, or at least one of the one's I remember the most, Kindergarten Cop.

The story of Kindergarten Cop is not like a Baby Genius thing like it sounds at first. No its about Detective John Kimble, a total hardass and overly violent who goes on the hunt for a drug dealer named Crisp. When Crisp is finally arrested they can't get him convicted. So what does he do? Go undercover as a kindergarten teacher to find the mother and son of Crisp so that they strike up a deal and get Crisp behind bars....I cannot believe I just wrote that. The original substitute teacher, Kimble's partner, gets sick and so Kimble has to become the teacher. Hijinks and hilarities ensue.

It's dumb, it has bad one liners, and it has laughable acting and a weak story. But because it has Arnold it is awesome. Here's what I mean

And many more. Imagine this movie if it would have been a different actor. It wouldn't be as awesome. I grew up with this movie and while its a crappy movie, Arnold makes it amazing and a guilty pleasure that I still watch to this day.


You've just been erased.

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Well time for number eight on my Top 10 Arnold Schwarzenegger countdown and today we are going to talk about one of his nineties action movies known simply as Eraser. By the time the nineties rolled around Arnold had already established himself as a badass among men and arguably one of the best action stars around. In the nineties classics such as T2, Total Recall and Last Action Hero came out so it was pretty safe to assume that his career was pretty cemented as an awesome action star. Granted he also made Junior, Kindergarten Cop and Jingle All the Way in this time period also cementing him as a walking punchline but we always remember his action movies more anyway.

Enough rambling now onto the action. Eraser is the story of US Marshall John Kruger who has the delightful nickname of The Eraser. He works specifically for WITSEC (aka Witness Protection Program) and has just been recently given the job of protecting scientist Lee Cullen (Vanessa Williams...stay with me) She works for the Cyrez Corporation who makes military weapons. When Cyrez plans on selling electronic pulse rifles to Russian terrorists, she finds out and becomes the only witness to their evil plan. William Donahue (James Cromwell) now wants Lee dead and so WITSEC sends Kruger to protect her. Essentially chaos ensues, stuff gets blown up, people get shot, trains get derailed...the usual Arnold stuff.

What I enjoy about this movie is the speed. I know that sounds weird but its a fast paced action movie. Its a Michael Bay movie before Michael Bay except that it doesn't suck (BURN). The gunfire is fast paced, the one liners are snappy and actually clever, and Arnold has mastered the art of badassery. Vanessa Williams detracts a lot from the awesome as she really can't act all that well but great character actors like James Cromwell and even James Caan make up for her lackluster performance. The scale of the film is also quite well done.

Overall its a great 90s action movie and while not his best film ever it certainly showed everyone that Arnold just gets better with age it seems. So if you love Arnold action then check this one out.


You wanna be a farmer? Here's a couple of acres!

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

YOW! Welcome back to the number 9 addition of my top 10 favorite Schwarzenegger films of all time in celebration of Schwarzenegger month. This time we are tackling one of his lesser loved movies but still a classic in my opinion Last Action Hero.

Last Action Hero is the story of Jack Slater. Jack is a tough as nails cop who will do anything and everything inside and outside the law to catch the bad guys. He's the guy with nothing to lose ect ect (insert clever action movie trailer sentence here). There is only one major flaw with Slater. He is not real. Jack Slater is an action movie character played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. So let me get this straight...Arnold Schwarzenegger is playing himself playing Jack Slater? Oh boy I am too tired to be reviewing this. Anyway the story REALLY focuses on Danny Madigan a New Yorker who loves movies. He pals around with Nick played by Robert Prosky who owns the theater. One day Nick gives Danny a magical ticket that transports Danny into a Jack Slater movie. Now with Danny in the film, Jack and Danny now have to both solve crimes together and Danny has to find a way to get out.

You know what I love about this movie? The movie world. Everything about it is made for a movie buff like me and every time I watch it I still laugh out loud. Seeing Robert Patrick as the T2, Sharon Stone from Basic Instinct, Stallone on the cover of Terminator, and the wild stereotypes and tongue in cheek pokes at the industry make this movie awesome to me. The acting (aside from Arnold) is honestly pretty subpar and kind of boring in some spots. Danny comes off as a whiny know it all sometimes and the villain is kind of uninteresting. Also another big flaw with the movie is the useless cameos. It was like they were there to be there. It made no sense for some of them to be there and was kind of distracting.

But besides the aforementioned jokes what makes this movie awesome is Arnold. Arnold is awesome in this movie BECAUSE he is playing ARNOLD. He gets to be the stereotype that everybody knows and love. He spews one liners, is totally ignorant to the real world (even butchers his own real name), blows things up, uses doors when he feels like it and is just awesome to watch. If you go into an Arnold movie you know what to expect.

As much crap as we give him Arnold is always in top form and while this movie has some seriously weird plot holes/situations/cameos that detract from the awesomness, this is still a great Arnold movie and number 9 on my top 10 Arnold movies of all time.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Let off some steam, Bennett.

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Well as a lot of my close and personal friends know I am a huge fan of The Nostalgia Critic. And in fact he is one of the reasons I created this blog. So when I started having trouble figuring out what would be my next movie review (or reviews) I turned to him for advice. Doug Walker (the Nostalgia Critic) has declared it Arnold Schwarzenegger month and that's great for me because I love me some 6'2 mumbling Austrian (that came out wrong). Whether you want to admit it or not we all love Arnold. He is the reason we love action movies. He is loud, abrasive, no holds barred, spews out one liners like nobody else can and is arguably one of the best worst actors of our time. If that confused anybody let me explain:

Arnold is NOT a good actor. Put him next to Daniel Day Lewis or Edward Norton and its pretty obvious who the better actor is. His delivery is spotty, his only emotions are pissed off and WAH WAH WAH goofball, his accent makes him almost incoherent, he looks the same in every movie he chooses horrible films and his one liners (while awesome in their own way) are almost cheesier than Horatio Cane.

But the thing that makes Arnold great as an actor and one of my personal favorites is that he is TRYING. I can't tell you how many movies I have seen where perfectly good actors phone it in or just BS a part for a paycheck. That's not Arnold. Whether he is a pregnant man, a military commando or a business man he always puts his heart and soul into each and every film. Granted its not very good in comparison to other actors but Arnold always TRIES. So I guess in tribute to Arnold as well as the Nostalgia Critic I will review my top 10 Arnold movies of all time starting first with one of my favorite guilty pleasures: COMMANDO.

Commando is the story of John Matrix (Arnold) a single parent with a daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano) who is also a former Colonel who once led a special forces team. One day he is approached by his old friend who tells him his former teammates are being killed. Not soon afterwards his house is ambushed and Jenny is kidnapped. Unless he wants Jenny to die he must assassinate the president of a foreign country to help out a guy named Arius. Matrix complies but since this is a Schwarzenegger film that means he will comply for two seconds and then blow everything up and kill everyone.

If you are expecting an Academy Award winner you aren't going to get one. But what you are going to get is a totally kick ass 80s action flick. The one liners are great, the action is over the top and awesome and Arnold is just in top form. Granted there are nine other Arnold films I prefer over this one but this is still an amazing movie. It's textbook action movie. In fact I think this film wrote some pages for the action movie textbook because I have seen plenty modern day action films rip off Commando.

So if you love action movies, cheesy one liners, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or just want to watch a movie where stuff blows up (Michael Bay fans I'm looking at you) then check this picture out. Classic Arnold.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Enough of symbolism and these escapist themes of purity and innocence.

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Fredrico Fellini was quite the director. Yes he had his issues with fidelity and drinking (then again so did most of the "greatest" authors of our time) but he was a brilliant visionary. Whether you were a devout fan of his older work and a scoffer of his ladder work or were just a casual fan, his films captured you with their creative style and a subtle flair that made his films quite entertaining to watch. Fellini has inspired many modern directors and most of his films now are considered art and a major part of Italian culture. But when you think of Fellini what do you think of? Non film buffs are probably like "Who the hell is he?" and even some film buffs say "Who the hell is he?" But considering most of his work was IN Italian and had no (sometimes brief) run in American cinemas I don't blame a lot of people. In fact I will be one to admit that the first Fellini film I ever saw was this: 8 1/2.

8 1/2 is a semi autobiographical film starring Claudia Cardinale and Marcello Mastroianni dealing with Guido Anselmi. Guido is a director suffering from director's block. He is in the middle of making a science fiction film that hints at potentially personal problems that Guido himself faces when he just becomes apathetic. He loses interest and can't seem to focus long enough to finish it. As he half heartedly attempts to make the film we are seen flashbacks of his life and what led up to this moment.

8 1/2 is called 8 1/2 because it is Fellini's 8 1/2th film. He made 6 previous films, 2 short films (which he considered halves) and collaborated with another director (another half). This is an allusion to the autobiographical tones in this movie. Its very self reflective and, in my opinion, a recursive film. Its a film about making a film. And despite posting on his camera lens "Ricordati che e un film comico (Remember this is a comedy)" the film comes off more serious than funny although to Fellini it MAY actually BE funny.

I think my major gripe with the movie is that it is too deep. I know that sounds weird coming from a Blade Runner worshiper but this film requires a LOT of analysis and double checking and watching again and again to understand it. I think its due probably to the fact that (like its musical counterpart Nine) it lacks in the coherent plot department. Its more of an umbrella plot with events happening in between. That's not a bad thing per se but it does make it hard to sit through the film as a casual viewer instead of a film scholar who would get the most out of the movie.

If you haven't seen this film I would definitely recommend seeing it. Its an experience and really does capture the idea of the creative struggle and while it lacks a truly coherent plot and may be a bit too deep for casual viewers, its a film that really does deserve to be watched.