scroll down on the right-hand side and "FOLLOW" us for the optimum experience!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Draft Day




" No one can stop the clock from ticking, but the great ones know how to slow it down."

Sympathy for Cleveland .  I’m glad they decided to do a film with this organization in mind.  I’m not a Cleveland fan but can’t help but pity what that city had to endure through the years….

  • Michael Jordan single handedly destroying their Championship run with the greatest NBA team THAT city has ever had.
  • Having Bill Belichick and letting him go only to become one of the greatest coaches ever in the history of the NFL.
  • Cleveland Indians hasn’t won a World Series since 1948
  • Art Modell [owner] moves the beloved Browns team to Baltimore then wins the SuperBowl.
  • “The Decision”. Ohio’s own LeBron James opting to leave his “home” for brighter pastures down in South Beach Florida, now a  2 time NBA Champion with the Miami Heat.

     With such great fans it seems the people of Cleveland can not catch a break.  I noticed that all the teams showcased or highlighted in this film were teams that have a rich fan base but have fell short of glory in this celebrated league that is the NFL.  The Bills, Jacksonville, Texans, Cardinals, Kansas City, although they did manage to have the Seahawks as one of the franchises that was featured. The film had probably finished production by the time the Seahawks won the Superbowl this year…. Maybe had they waited to shoot the scenes with the Seahawk insignia on it, this movie may have showcased the Detroit Lions, Anyways…
    The entire movie is paced around 12 hours on the actual Draft Day for the NFL. Which made the story development happen at a good pace.  You can imagine as the hours wind down the story get’s more intense. Before the last couple of hours ticked away I was prepared to give Draft Day a C+, which isn’t bad.  After the final 2 hours ticked away in the last 20 minutes of the film, it earned a B-.  That small part elevated my whole viewing experience.
     Kevin Costner did a very good job as the GM for the Browns but not as good as Denis Leary.  Denis played the Head Coach for the Cleveland Browns and did an outstanding job.  I used to think Al Pacino played the best coach in Any Given Sunday, or even Samuel L. Jackson in Coach Carter.  Denis is now in that conversation.    

     Worth Watching!

      grade: B-

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Raid 2: Berandal




"Everything is possible"

Look at this teaser... no really, watch it, its only a minute.

The Raid 2: Berandal - Teaser Trailer from Merantau Films on Vimeo.


This is the GREATEST action movie that you’ve ever seen.  I know that’s clishe’-ish and it’s sooooo over the top… only thing is I’m oh so sincere.  Oh, you haven’t saw it yet? I’ll bet!  I almost didn’t see it.  I loved RAID:REDEMPTION so much I was prepared to take a turn-around road trip to Chicago to view this sequel.  Raid 2 took forever to get to Michigan… Well maybe not that long but to an eagerly awaiting fan it sure seemed like it.  This could be one of the most anticipated sequels of my life and it did not disappoint, not one bit… Ohhhh where do I begin?  TR2 starts approximately 2 hours after the The RAID:REDEMPTION ends. So no kinetic energy from the original story is lost. TR2 picks the story right up with an emotional opening scene that will prepare you for the next two hours (that fly by) of extreme emotion oscillation…meaning you're in for a killer ride (no pun).  The action in these RAID movies rival only the horror genre.  I can’t say enough about how real the action looked so I shouldn’t try. I will mention the behind the scenes hard and sometimes brutal work of these actors/actress certainly showed off.  Every hit, swing, duck , counter, stab, etc… choreographed to sheer perfection… and no I don’t exaggerate… perfection.  It’s just a shame that this film along with the first one may end up in the pit of the forgotten.  Today the theater was nearly empty and it just opened here this week… it’s the first Saturday!  It’s so hard to try and fathom that a film of this magnitude can’t be marketed any better than this.
    The pace was pretty good for a complicated story.  If I was a stickler, the only gripe that I could find would be in the beginning it can be a bit confusing, especially with all the new characters being introduced.  However, the director did a superb job of building up all the villains dispositions.  A superlative job of making them all varying and interesting.  Again, if I was a pedant and HAD to be unhappy about one more thing, the use of the actor that played “Mad Dog” reappeared in TR2 but had no relation to Mad Dog from the first film.  The actor’s name is Yayan Ruhian and he played the character “Prakoso”  which was more frustrating than weird.  Imagine the actor Michael Imperioli appearing in another season of The Sopranos but not as and of no relation to his known character Christopher Moltisanti… Val Kilmer acting in the next Top Gun movie but not as Ice Man… but again, I’m nit-picking.
    One thing I love about these new age action features is the new ethos of the modern hero.  Back in the 80’s and 90’s, the good guys never die.  The hero back then could recklessly fight through a multitude of highly trained and armed men and come out the other side without a scratch and still smelling of Old spice… Enter the Bourne Identity and the precedent it set with a plausible, realistic guy that can get hurt or shot.  The Daniel Craig James Bond is very scruffy and unpolished in the fight scenes…. He’s bloody after fights.  The HBO “Game of Thrones” just proves to everyone season after season that they are not afraid to kill off ANYONE… hero, good guy, it doesn’t matter.  Its with all of that in mind that we watch TR2 and wonder if Jaka will make it back to his family… to me it is that dynamic that keeps the whole film balanced.

    Usually when I feel this invigorated about a film I wait a few days to settle down.  The last thing I want to do is make a judgment while still being held a “prisoner to the moment.”  Having said that, I’m going to ask that you simply take my word for it… This movie is as perfect as it gets in the action/martial arts genre…. Ohhhh did I mention theres probably one of the greatest car chase scenes in this flick as well?  No matter… if you don’t believe me after the first 3 paragraphs why should you believe that last little tidbit right???  GO SEE THIS MOVIE but not before you rent the first one called The Raid: Redemption.

   I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the score music… Mmmmph!!! (smh) perfect, just perfect.

More than Worth Watching, this movie IS the reason I watch.
careful parents thinking about taking younglings, these stories are extremely violent.

grade: A+

here is a link to my review of the first film:  The Raid: Redemption

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier




"On your left."

There is a lot going on in this movie, a whole lot.  At one point I literally got confused a little bit. From all the double cross, triple cross to “don’t trust anyone”, I was more frustrated than intrigued… at first.  Once everything started making sense, I was able to sit back a little bit and enjoy the movie more.  One thing that was constant throughout the entire film was the action.  Captain America was finally able to showcase his full arsenal of abilities that made his brand stand the test of time in the comic book world.  More so than in The Avengers and yes even the first Captain America movie.

    Chris Evans was always a pretty good cast for the Captain America role but now I think more of it.  I feel as if I can put this casting up there with all the near perfect castings like Sir Patrick Stewart  playing Professor X, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Edward Norton as Dr. David Banner and who can forget Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark??!! (*in my high pitch voice* Also, shout out to Wesley Snipes as Blade!)...  You get my drift.  I thought Chris Evans did a pretty good job playing the Human Torch in Fantastic Four. There he played the direct opposite type of good-guy being young and rebellious, practical joker and playboy.  That should be recognized, I tip my hat to his diversity.

    I marvel(no pun intended) at the quality of motion pictures being made to depict these comic book heros.  Most of these I never read consistently to at all. Who would of thought where those comics would end up, DC and Marvel… A billion dollar industry.  I really can’t wait to see who the next big thing to hit the silver screen will be?  As long as the studios keep these stories more plausible than fantasy anything is possible.

    Worth Watching.

letter grade: B+

by now you should know to wait for two bonus scenes.  One at the end of the closing sequence and again after ALL the credits have finished.

Friday, April 4, 2014



                 ¢ modified 4-8-2014


"I'm not alone"

There is enormous controversy surrounding this film.  By now you are probably tired of hearing or talking about it so I’ll try to be brief with my opening… This is definitely a film inspired by the account of Noah and his family in the Bible.  The only accuracies in the film are the water, animals, ark, and the names… Oh and the rainbow.  Everything else is an add influenced by the imagination of director/screenwriter Darren Aronofsky.  Having said that, this makes it hard to grade and decipher whether or not this production is “worth watching”.

    On one hand I’ve never witness a Hollywood production of an event inspired by Bible that is 100 percent accurate.  However, I’ve enjoyed The 10 Commandments and Ben-Hur with Charlton Heston, The Passion, The Son of God, I’ll even add the movie 300. There are scripture based ideas all through Star Wars.  I have nothing against any of these films. What NOAH does that is different from the rest of these is take the facts, characters and settings from the original source material and changes them to support Darren Aronofsky’s veracity of environmentalism .  It feels deceitful to those that know the real story regarding this event.   It’s almost as if Darren purposely tried to tap into the Christian-bases market because of it’s large fan base.  It already sets a very dangerous precedent for other secular producers/directors to cinema-plagiarize the Bible and insert their own propaganda for profit gain or some gnostic agenda.  The film already earned way more it’s opening week than they were expecting.  I credit that to the curiosity of moviegoers Christian and non-Christian.  I expect the numbers to dwindle down this week, especially with Captain America ready to bust the box-office wide open this upcoming weekend.

    For the sake of not spoiling it for those whom haven’t viewed it yet I’ll just mention the nephilim, which are recast as the "fallen angels" in this picture.  In Darren’s world they are stoned giants seeking some sort of atonement with “the creator” These characters are very imaginative and ultimately, for me, what distinguishes this picture from any other biblical based movie ever made.  I would of probably gave Darren’s lofty “version” of these giants a pass only if the rest of his story wasn’t so whimsical and off base from the source material.  

   Aside from all that I just mentioned the production and execution of this film is well done. Anthony Hopkins provided his usual dominance as a scene stealer as well as some comic relief, being the seasoned vet that he is.  The rest of the supporting cast was pretty good to real good. The CGI was done very well and the pace of the film was near perfect for this type of story... It’s just a shame of what NOAH could have been.
    The quality of NOAH makes this film worth watching. Conversely, the blatant disregard for accurately telling the story of Noah from the Old Testament makes this movie NOT worth watching… So be warned, at least from this reviewer.

    letter grade: C

follow-up(4/8/2014)- After learning more and interpreting more things about this movie that I did not like, particularly the old relic that was passed down from Noah's father to him and ultimately Noah's son.  In this movie it was some form of enlightenment/anointment.  Once Aronofsky’s film defines what that old relic is, it becomes blatantly obvious that his film is based on a series gnostic beliefs.    I modified the "WORTH" above to refund because of the deceitful way this movie was marketed.  





"Let's go do god's work."

That line was sooooo misused in this flick.  Little “g” was inserted hoping the context in the film wasn't as blasphemous as I thought it was.  Instead of that whole phrase referring to the nature of the work of the DEA, specifically the most dangerous division in that faction, the director allows that simple phrase to mean something way lesser, sinister even.  This movie was cluttered with shallow lines and sub-level attempts at comedy. The abhorrent attempts at a classic one-liner marred the seriousness of the main plot and all the events leading to it. The distasteful and unfunny banter went as low as the word “BOO-YAH”...  I heard Stuart Scott say that in the late 90’s.

     I went in thinking this was an action movie from what I could gather from the trailer.  Turns out it is more of an investigation/revenge film.  Reminds me of The Counselor in some ways.  Like way more dialog than I was expecting but Sabotage didn't have the depth of The Counselor.  Sabotage is more straight forward.  Devoid of any imagination, most may find the conflict resolution predictable.  There are a few plot twist but hardly anything that puts you on the edge of your seat.  Also, each character was hard to root for, good and bad.  As a result, I didn't connect/care what happened to any of them, but that may just be me.

    I’m not mad at Arnold for taking on this project.  It’s “marginally” different from anything he’s done in the past.  I also am willing to bet that this movie looked awesome on paper.  I was just poorly executed trying to bring this story to the screen.

Not worth watching.

letter grade: C-