Friday, July 13, 2012

(Movie Review) The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Comparisons are the worst. There is nothing worse to me than having something that I have done, or something that I am, compared to something else. That is the main reason I refused to watch Magic Mike. Can you imagine how instantly unattractive I would become just being within the vicinity of that movie screen. My poor wife would never look at me the same again. Getting back on track with this, the bad thing about having such a successful Spiderman franchise under their belt, Sony was going to have a hard time with this movie not being compared to the original trilogy. That is the problem that I think that I, along with most people, had to overcome with this movie. Because in a lot of ways, Spiderman (2002) was better.

Storyline: High school student Peter Parker (Garfield) is bit by a radioactive spider at the OSCORP lab. When he later discovers that this bite has awarded him some superhuman capabilities, he begins to embrace his new found confidence. When tragedy strikes, and a new friend goes off the deep end, Parker must do anything that it take to become the man that he was born to be and the hero that the city needs.

If we are getting down to the nuts and bolts of this movie, it was a fine enough film and it was actually very entertaining. The problem is that this is the second time we have watched the exact (almost exact) same origin story within the past 10 years. While there are some slight differences, the first half of this movie is almost a copy of the original Spiderman (2002). That is by far the worst (and slowest) part of this movie. The second half of the movie, where the story really deviates away from the previous origin story, is where this movie really gets good. If the first half would have been as good as the second half I would have been forced to come up with some awful title for this review like The Amazing Spiderman spins a web of GOLD….so at least you didn’t get stuck with that. The movie was good, but not amazing.

Worth the admission? It is. Despite my slightly harsh critique, the movie is enjoyable. I cannot properly describe how much more I love Andrew Garfield in that suit than I ever liked Tobey Maguire in it. Maguire always looked like a 40 year old man instead of a high school student. Garfield fits the part much better. Also, Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey is much more personable and likeable than Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson. I just hope that the next installment of the movie is a little bit faster paced.
Stick around after the end of the movie for an extra scene during the credits. It looked like this was just thrown together to me and in my opinion is not on par with extra scenes in Iron Man, Captain America and The Avengers…but you might like it. Let me know what you thought.

(Movie Review) That's My Boy (2012)

Looking back is a hard thing to do. I mean, not physically (unless you are in one of those Halo things they give people that break their neck), but looking back on certain parts of your life always make you see them in one extreme or another. Either it was the best or the worst. People usually don’t look back at moments in their lives and say “meh. It was average”. So, when I look back at Adam Sandler movies I almost always think of them in Best/Worst categories. Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy, The Wedding Singer and, to a lesser extent, Mr. Deeds will always stand out to me as some pretty solid comedy work. The same can be said for the horrible piles like Little Nicky, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Just Go With It and Jack and Jill. So the question becomes, “how will I see this movie in 10 years” and for the first time, I have to admit that this movie is somewhere in the middle.

Storyline: While in his teens, Donny fathered a son, Todd, and raised him as a single parent up until Todd's 18th birthday. Now, after not seeing each other for years, Todd's world comes crashing down when Donny resurfaces just before Todd's wedding. -From

Worth the admission? This is such a weak answer, but I have to say “maybe”. This movie actually has some surprisingly funny moments that made me laugh out loud in the movie (which is rare), but the problem is that Sandler no longer knows if he wants to be a comedic actor or a SHOCK comedic actor. He has been riding that fence for a while now but it has never been clearer to me than in this movie. There are some parts of the movie that are so stupid and so unnecessary that you can’t believe that he would even include them. Just gross/shock for the hell of it. So if you catch this on a matinee (while your wife is watching Magic Mike) or on Second Run Theater, check it out…but other than that, wait for the DVD.

(Movie Review) Project X (2012)

“Found camera footage” is one of the most overrated ways to shoot a movie these days. Some movies get it right. Chronicle, Cloverfield, The Devil Inside and, of course, Paranormal Activity all make this shooting style seem really attractive. But you could tell that there was some real structure and real storytelling that was going on with those movies. That is somewhat what I expected with Project X. Some type of “teen coming of age” story that would basically be Superbad with a handycam….and I couldn’t have been more wrong. This movie lacks everything that makes a good teen movie and replaces it with the glorification of everything that is wrong with teen culture these days.

Storyline: 3 high school seniors throw a birthday party to make a name for themselves. As the night progresses, things spiral out of control as word of the party spreads. –


First of all, the movie is not funny. Sure. There are a few (very few) moments that will get a laugh, but it is mostly just stupid.

Second, the teens are sooooooo stereotypical. The loveable geek with the hot “friend” that he will inevitably screw things up with, the foul mouthed best friend that pushes the main character into doing things that he doesn’t want to do (but ultimately the main character embraces) and the nerdy sidekick that always says/does the wrong thing for no other reason than to make the audience laugh. These are the same tired clich├ęs that we have seen over and over again. The problem is that other movies do it better. Superbad, Old School, The Hangover and a handful of other movies not only fill the same roles (maybe not for teens) but they do it much better and without the trickery of “lost footage” sales hype OR by glorifying drugs/alcohol/sex/slutty teen girls is a realistic way. I know you might be thinking…”um, all of those movies do that to some degree”. And you would be right. But my reply would be that those movies do not do so with the added realism that is usually associated with “found footage” video and is also so overdramatically played that you do not get any sense of realize from it. This movie does not present itself in such a way and I think that there is a pretty distinct difference there.  *spoiler alert* After the antics of the teens destroys the entire town the dad of the main perpetrator basically give his son a “high five” and says “wow. Never knew you had this in ya, champ. Let’s go get a double scoop of ice cream to reward you for being a very stupid kid that contributed to the destruction of a town AND for supplying all of this towns kids (even the underaged) with drugs). You are awesome. “  *End of spoiler*

Finally, the characters are not well developed and not well acted. The teens that are being portrayed are, what I imagine, would be the worst possible versions of real teens. If I am wrong, then a LOT has changed since I was a teen.
So, if you can’t tell from my above statement, I would not recommend this movie. It is a waste of money and time.

(MiniSeries Review) The Langoliers (1995)

A buddy of mine asked for my take on a very dated, but extremely entertaining, Stephen King miniseries called The Langoliers. For those that don’t remember it, don’t worry. It was not something that really set the world on fire. This was aired on NBC (I think) in 1995. The series is considered, by some, to be one of the cheesiest things that King has produced. I, on the other hand, absolutely loved this story and think that it is one of the most underrated pieces of work from Mr. King.

Storyline: On a red eye flight to Boston from LA 10 people wake up to a shock. All the passengers and crew have vanished. When they try to contact the ground they make no connections. They land the plane only to discover that things haven't changed. But it’s like the world is dead. No one is there, the air is still, sound doesn't echo, the food is tasteless. And a distant sound is heard coming closer. A race of monstrous beings bent on their destruction is heading for them, eating everything in sight. – IMDB.COM


As I said, this is completely underrated by the majority of the viewers. Sure, it has low/poor product value, but that is what happens when you take something and break it down to a budget suitable for TV. By that account The Hobbit is a horrible story with no potential because the cartoon version (1977) was a pile. I’m no fan of remakes (in general) but this is one story that I would love to see adapted to the big screen. Time travel, a dead world, hallucinating psychopaths, and a destructive force that lies just beyond the line of sight….how could that be bad??

Do yourself a favor and check this out. You will love it (even with the bad special effects).

(TV Review) Falling Skies

Summer time is always a slow one for TV lovers. You have a few shows that keep your interest but for most of us Sci-Fi fans…it’s pretty slim pickings. So the one thing that I have looked forward to for that past two summers in Falling Skies.

Plotline: The world has been attacked by aliens. Humanity, for the most part, has been killed or enslaved by the new alien overlords. Those that have managed to stay alive have banded together. Some form small roving gangs while others have joined a more military minded resistance. In the midst of this resistance are Tom Mason (Wyle) and his 3 sons. Tom is in a position of authority in the resistance, but his main goal is the safety of his boys. So far he has been able to keep them relatively safe, the only question left to be answered is “for how long?”.


I admit that the premise is pretty hard to take. An alien race that can basically destroy the world but can’t seem to stomp out a few rebels that are constantly within a few miles of them? That is a little farfetched. However, the concept of an alien invasion is pretty farfetched by itself…so I can make peace with this little flaw.

The effects are a little uneven. Sometimes they are amazing and sometimes that are a little cartoonish. But if you are looking for a good way to slip some Sci-Fi fun in on a Sunday night, you should really check it out. I personally really like the show and love the character that Noah Wyle plays. As an added bonus, Will Patton is a delight as Captain Weaver.

Do yourself a favor and check the series out.

Friday, July 6, 2012

(Movie Reviews) TED (2012)

Anticipation. It is one feeling that I let rule me more than most feelings. When I see something that I think I will really want to do/see/buy I often have a hard time waiting patiently for it. Then, in most cases, when I finally get to experience what I thought I wanted I am extremely let down. The idea of something usually makes me build it up to a level that is so far beyond what it can actually achieve that I will not be satisfied with anything that is delivered. I can’t help it. My mind is a curious thing. So when I heard that Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy/American Dad/The Cleveland Show) was creating his first Live Action film, I was really excited. Unfortunately when the movie was over I was left with little more than a “Meh” feeling.

Storyline: John Bennett (Wahlberg) was not the most popular kid. One Christmas he makes a wish that his new stuffed bear were alive so that he can finally have a friend. When the wish comes true, John and “Teddy” become lifelong best friends. Fast forward almost 30 years and John is still hanging out with his Teddy Bear all day, blowing off work, partying, and shirking all responsibilities.  This is extremely annoying to John’s girlfriend Lori (Kunis) who is ready to take their relationship to the next level but knows she can’t with Ted in the picture. John has to make a decision between keeping his lifelong friend in his life or moving forward with his relationship. 

I want to point this out I don’t think this is a bad movie, just that it wasn’t great . There were some really good parts to it and, for the most part, the trailer doesn’t give away all of the funny bits. In fact, I think that Seth actually excluded as many of those as the story would allow. The problem that I had with the movie was that almost all of the comedy comes from having a stuffed animal say offensive things that you might not normally find funny...but it seems funnier coming from a stuffed animal. To me, that is a little cheap. If you think about it that way the movie becomes less of a comedy and more of a “shock movie” and after a while I got bored with that. Most people will love it. I thought it was “OK”.

Worth the admission? It is for most folks. For me, it just seemed a little too gimmicky. But I am sure that most fans of Seth will have a lot of fun watching this movie. WARNING: I want to make sure that parents know that this is an R-rated movie and rightfully so. Lots of crude acts and some mild drug use…by a teddy bear. So be sure to send the kids to see BRAVE.
Let me know what you thought