Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Last Exorcism Review

I can't say much about The Last Exorcism without possibly spoiling the plot, so I'll just get into the basic set up. Reverend Marcus has had a crisis of faith, and has begun to doubt his practices one of which includes exorcisms. He has hired a film crew to follow him as he sets off to perform his last exorcism, and reveal the tricks of the trade. Marcus is a performer, and puts on a show to ease the minds of the families and the victim who they believe to be possessed. However things turn out differently with this particular case, and he finds himself dealing with what appears to be a real possession.

That means this is another hand camera thriller similar to Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity. If you were not a fan of those films, then you most likely will not enjoy this either. I did happen to enjoy those films, and Last Exorcism isn't as effective as either but it does pack a few thrills of it's own. The actors come off as very convincing in this fake reality, aside from a few hiccups here and there.

My one major fault with the film is that it presents itself as documentary footage, but durring intense moments a sound track has been added to increase the effect. It does a decent job of building suspense, but it also ruins the entire atmosphere the film tries to present.

While the film doesn't pack very many jump out of your seat scares it is very creepy and unsettling at times. If you're looking for an early thrill before the rush of horror films leading up to Halloween then you might just find one in The Last Exorcism.

Final Score: B-

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Piranha 3D Review

It's been a busy week at the movies for me, three nights in a row of movies and all with a similar theme. That being that all three could be considered a different type of comedy. Starting with the spoof comedy of Vampires Suck, followed by the more witty comedy of The Switch, and ending off the week with a horror comedy in Piranha 3D.

This is a horror film that goes so over the top sometimes you can't help but laugh, and I believe that was the intent. This isn't really meant to scare people, but make you cringe and laugh at the same time. The plot here is an earthquake opens up a tunnel to an underground lake where thousands of prehistoric piranha have been living for millions of years. They then proceed to terrorize the surface of the lake were Spring Break is in full swing, giving the man eater fish hundreds of bodies to feast on.

I'll just say it right now, I enjoyed this film for what it was. A dumb gorey monster movie, that is a throwback to the old monster horror films of the 70's and 80's. Yes the CG is bad, but so were the rubber suits monsters were in past decades. The point is just to have fun with it, and watch these fish tear into these people in very bloody and brutal ways. The 3D is just a slight bonus, but I would have enjoyed it even without it.

Final Score: B

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Switch Review

I've had to review a lot of comedies this summer, and so the trend continues with The Switch. The concept involves a guy who replaces a sperm donor's seed for his own after an accident at his best friend's fertility party, and reunites with her years later were it becomes clear that her son is his. It sounds like a silly plot, and at first it is with the bizarre fertility party. Once that set up gets out of the way the film really opens up.

As a comedy Switch is pretty funny, but is also intelligent with its humor. Jason Bateman plays the same nice but sarcastic guy he always does, but he does it so well you never really mind. The supporting cast all perform well, but the real star of the movie is the young boy playing the son. This kid was adorable as a smart but neurotic little boy, who is just to cute.

This summer has been a bit crowded with a wide range of comedies from utterly stupid to surprisingly witty. The Switch starts off a bit stupid, but really turns it around with some great jokes. You should have a good time, and would be better off checking Switch out over Vampires Suck.

Final Score: B+

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vampires Suck Review

This will be a quick review, since this movie doesn't really give me much to talk about. Vampires Suck is from the same directors of craptastic films such as Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, and Disaster Movie. That resume doesn't instill much confidence in their latest release. This time they take a swing at the recent Vampire obsession that has taken over pop culture, most specifically Twilight.

So how does this compare to their other steaming piles? Well it's about as funny as their previous films, meaning not very funny at all. At least I was unable to find much humor in their gags, because I know practically nothing about Twilight as it is. This is a film made for those fans of Twilight who know it's bad but love it anyway. These are all "in jokes" that only a Twilight fan can appreciate.

From a technical stand point Vampires Suck is actually their best made film to date. I believe this strength comes from the focus on the Twilight films itself, so it doesn't try and cram as many pop culture references into one movie as they usually do. I also have to give it up to the actress playing Kristen Stewart's part, who captures every pause, twitch, hair tuck and bland personality of that horrible character perfectly.

If you are a fan of Twilight and can make fun of it for what it is, then you will love this film. If not ... eh skip it, there is nothing here for you.

Final Score: C-

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs The World Review

Nerds and geeks rejoice, this movie was made with you specifically in mind and worships the ground you walk on. I count myself a member of Nerdom, this is Nerd Xing after all, so I'm a part of Scott Pilgrim's target demographic for sure. I can't let fandom blind my judgment of the film though, so I'll try my best to be fair in this review.

Scott Pilgrim vs The World is set in a world were life plays out like a video game, with Scott Pilgrim being the main character. Scott's life has become a bit complicated since he started going out with Ramona Flowers. Now he has to fight The League of Ramona's Evil Ex's if he wants to continue dating her. These fights play out as video game boss battles, and each one different then the last.

The cast is massive, but the main players are Scott, Ramona, and Scott's friends with the Evil Ex's playing minor to major roles. Nearly everyone is spot on as their given character, but I have one minor gripe in the casting. I'm not joining the "I hate Michael Cera Club" in fact I don't mind the guy, but felt he was slightly miss cast as Scott Pilgrim. As a fan of the source material, the comic, I felt major parts of Scott's personality and development were lost in his performance. He is perfectly fine for the film's version of the character, but disappointing that it couldn't have better matched the comic.

If you're looking for something fun, wild, and original then check out Scott Pilgrim this weekend for sure. Director Edgar Wright delivers a fast paced action comedy with a kinetic energy like you've never seen before. It is flawed and maybe not for everyone, but it's still one of the best of the year.

Final Score: A-

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Expendables Review

Expendables isn't just a big, dumb and loud action flick. It is the biggest, dumbest and loudest to hit the big screen. This is a manly movie made for men, written by men, directed by men, and staring manly men. Really the only thing that sets it apart from any other action film is the cast, which is jam packed with action stars from the last few decades.

What is the plot of Expendables? Eh ... does it really matter? It tries to tell a story outside of all the action, but the writing just isn't there so it tends to fall apart. Until another big action set piece builds the movie back up again. The action is what you are looking for here, and this movie has everything you have seen before and then some.

How about the Expendables themselves? Well lets go down the list. First is Sylvester Stallone who represents the macho American action hero. Then there is Jason Statham as the fakey Hollywood type of Martial Artist, who also likes to throw knives apparently. While Jet Li steps in as the real Martial Artist who is the smallest of the group. My favorite of the group was Dolph Lundgren who is an insane bad ass, and It's awesome to just see the guy in anything. There are a few other guys along with two cameos from big name action stars, but none are given the amount of screen time as the rest.

So should you see The Expendables? Well you're not missing anything if you happen to skip it. It's just a big action flick with a lot of names attached to it. If you're looking for something a bit more fun and different this weekend maybe check out Scott Pilgrim instead. Also warning to any ladies who plan on watching Expendables, you may leave the theater with a pair of testicles due to the dangerous amounts of testosterone you will be exposed to.

Final Score: B-

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Other Guys Review

It's time to review another comedy, but this one is a special case. This particular film is a Will Ferrell comedy, which tend to be a different breed of movie. His over the top hi jinks can make or break a film, but shockingly this is one of Ferrell's more subdued roles.

The Other Guys is a buddy cop movie with a twist. Instead of the two lead cops being macho super cops from your typical cop drama, they are in fact desk cops. After a seemingly tame case involving building permit violations turns into a corporate scandal the cops find themselves under fire. This forces them to step up their game and take on the jobs of real cops.

Will Ferrell plays an oddball cop who enjoys doing paper work and is happy behind his desk, while Mark Wahlberg's character is eager to get out of the office and hit the streets like real cops. With Ferrell restraining himself for once it must have made Wahlberg feel the need to release his insanity. Wahlberg goes off the wall with his anger constantly, but that might just be how the character was written.

As a comedy The Other Guys is pretty damn funny, with lots of laughs from nearly every cast member. If you might be on the fence about the movie because of Ferrell's involvement I want to assure you this doesn't go down the same road many Will Ferrell movies do. It is a lot of fun, and one of the funnier comedies of the summer.

Final Score: B+