Monday, November 29, 2010

Faster: "An Entertaining, Action Filled Story of Revenge"


By: Da’Mon Guy

Memorable quote: “God can’t save you from me.”

      Faster is a first-rate action thriller that will satisfy any adrenaline junkie. It’s excellent return to the action movie genre for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (The Other Guys). The movie also utilizes the talents of a high-quality ensemble cast featuring Billy Bob Thorton (Bad Santa), Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Going the Distance), Carla Guino (Rightous Kill), Moon Bloodgood (Terminator: Salvation), a (G.I.Joe: the Rise of Cobra), with appearances by Mike Epps (Next Day Air) and Tom Berrenger (Smokin‘ Aces: Assassin’s Ball).

      After serving a 10 yr sentence, An ex-con vows to avenge his brother’s death. Determined to stop at nothing, He sets out to kill the everyone who was involved in the double cross that left his brother for dead.

      Faster is a really enjoyable, well put together action movie. it’s one of the better one’s that have been released in some time. The movie waste no time as the action begins almost immediately. It moves at a terrific pace as the story is interwoven with the action terrifically while the details of the plot are revealed within the course of the film a little at a time. The fight and car chases were realistic and very entertaining.

      The film is carried by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s performance as Driver. Dwayne Johnson depiction of driver is very convincing. Most of his performance is communicated non-verbally as his body language does all of the talking. The subtlety is terrifically evident as a look or the way he enters the room communicates his emotion. The Driver is a man obsessed, and you can feel the intensity of the character in almost every scene as he tracks the people responsible for his brother‘s death. In every exchange between the Driver and one of his opponents, the audience can feel the intensity and energy of the scene. This fits this particular role perfectly and “the Rock” doesn’t disappoint. He is both believable and sympathetic simultaneously. He looks and plays the part exquisitely. The other two major stars do a good job as supporting actors as well. Billy Bob Thornton also does a good job as the conflicted cop in the movie. Thornton’s performance is a good opposite to the intense performance of Johnson. The Killer was the weakest of the three main characters. He was an extremely conflicted character that the story could have done without. His role in the film was moderately enjoyable but it was really unnecessary as he the story would be the same with or with him.

      Faster is a movie that is enjoyable on a multitude of levels. It was more than just your normal “shoot em up, bang, bang” movie. It’s filled with terrific undertones. The movie is an action movie but there were great nuances about life, choice, redemption, forgiveness, and morality. Nearly half of the movie is spent on a highway as Driver constantly traveled up and down the highway constantly. It was very symbolic of the path between good and evil in his pursuit for justice. The movie also exhibits excellent examples of forgiveness and the choices that help us become who we want to be and not who we are forced to become. Driver exhibits that. He suffers a great change of character by the end of the movie. Whereas in the beginning of the movie, he is hell bent almost consumed by revenge but by the end of the film he is able to show some mercy and that his action were not just about revenge but more about the justice for the death of his brother.

      I really enjoyed Faster. It's a movie that can keep everyone entertained as it plays out like a modern day western. The movie is definitely something to go the theaters for and leave satisfied. It was easily the best movie for Dwayne Johnson since the Rundown. In a time of limited action stars, he needs to embrace this role and give us more movies like this. I easily recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good movie.

A Nightmare on Elm St (2010)

By: Da’Mon Guy

      The pillaging of the 80’s rages on as A Nightmare on Elm St falls victim to Hollywood's ravaging of classic 80’s films. The new re-imagining stars Jackie Earl Haley (Watchmen), Rooney Mara (The Social Network), Kyle Ganner (Jennifer’s Body), and Thomas Dekker (The Sara Connor Chronicles). The 2010 Nightmare on Elm St is directed by Samuel Bayer.

      The new version of A Nightmare on Elm St offers some deeper insight into the character of Freddie Kruger. This new version actually builds on the origins of Freddie as none of the previous “Nightmare” movies never did. The old “Nightmare” films simply covered Freddie origins through word of mouth from other characters on screen. Although, the word of mouth story telling of Freddie’s origins added to his the boogeyman mystic, it clearly was something that needed to be shown. The 2010 Nightmare on Elm St deep into his origin. The movie connects many of the little details that were associated with Freddie. From his clothes, to his choice of weapons, to the classic child’s song linked with Freddie. Within a series of flashbacks, we are able to bear witness to the tragic death of the former child molester. This movie actually illustrates the details of his demise. It also addresses in greater detail the connection between the victims in the original movie and Freddie, especially between Freddie and Nancy.

      The 2010 version of A Nightmare on Elm St reverts Freddie to more of his sinister ways of the original movie. The new movie reverts him to the “monster” that he was intended to be. It eliminates the campy aspect that Freddie had attained in many of the sequels. The movie tries to incorporate the “blood and guts” of today’s horror movies with the scare factor of the movies of old. It does bring a level of realism to the story that the old movies never had. In addition, it incorporates some of the classic killing scenes from the original.
       The problem is that by increasing the level of realism it eliminates some of the creative ways that Freddie would kill his victims. That was a trademark of the original Nightmare movies. This film falls to connect the fact that Freddie stalks for one. He takes pleasure in the stalking of his victims. This movie doesn’t do that. Most of the stalking isn’t there and the kills are too quick and uncreative. The stalking and terrifying his victims was the real pleasure for Freddie not the killing. This movie falls to understand that important fact. Increasing his victims fear and was the source of Freddie’s pleasure and power. This was never more clear than in the first movie as at the end of it, Freddie is powerless because Nancy doesn’t fear him anymore.

      Jackie Earl Haley does an admirable job in donning the mantle of Freddie Kruger. He doesn’t have Robert England’s “swag” but he makes this version of Freddie more vicious than Englund ever was. Robert Englund made Freddie one of the truly great horror characters of all time. He was the perfect combination of terror with a little comedy mixed in. No one could ever surpass his portrayal of this character. He single handily carried almost all of the “Nightmare” movies as after Nancy there was never a co star that could measure up. Jackie Earl Haley does come close. He doesn’t have Englund’s pungent for sarcasm as Englund always had the right lines for his timely killings. Haley on the other hand makes Freddie more brutal but he eliminates his personality. Through Haley’s portrayal of Freddie we feel the rage and anger that Freddie carries within from being murdered but we never get the sense of enjoyment that Englund’s Freddie got from killing his victims. Haley does try to add his own trademarks to the character such as the constant twitching of the knives as he stalks his victim. Haley’s approach to Freddie adds a brutality that Englund never matched. Rooney Mara’s depiction of the character of Nancy was no where near Heather Langenkamp’s prior depiction. She didn’t exhibit the strength or toughness that Langenkamp’s performance of Nancy had. It was clearly a detractor in this iteration.

      This new retelling of one of our beloved childhood horror stars isn’t as bad as it was the first time I watched this. My expectations prior to seeing this movie are the main contributors for my disappointment of it. I had such lofty expectations when I heard that there was another Nightmare on Elm St coming out, only to be presented with another damn re-imagining instead of a prequel or a sequel. For those of us who grew up with the Nightmare on Elm St movies this was simply an outrage. However, If we can separate ourselves from our emotional connection to the character of the 80’s, then this movie wasn’t that bad. It gives us a really good look at the origin of Freddie and it granted us a great deal of clarity into the relationship between Freddie and Nancy. It clearly wasn’t what I expected but it was no where near as bad as it initially was the first time I watched it. This movie is a worthy addition to the previous “Nightmare” films. Compared to some to the sequels, it’s actually better than a many of them in a lot of ways. Fans of Freddie should watch this without prejudging and give it a chance.

The Painted Veil: "A Thought Provoking Story about the Power of True Love"


By: Da’Mon Guy

     The Painted Veil is a intriguing love story packed with two good emotional performances. The movie was adapted from a book of the same name. The movie stars Edward Norton (The Incredible Hulk), Naomi Watts (Fair Game), Liev Schreiber (Salt), and Toby Jones (Frost/ Nixon).

     Set in the 1920’s, A British doctor falls in love and marries a young woman who does not share the same feelings. After he catches his wife committing adultery, he volunteers to become the doctor for a small Chinese village in the middle of the Cholera epidemic.

     The Painted Veil is a complex love story about two people that marry one another for two different reasons. This film showcases how people marry for many reasons other than love. The film doesn’t go into a lot of detail about the beginnings of their marriage. Conversely, it does open with a series of brief flashbacks that give us some insight into their problematic covenant. It shows the initial differences between them and the reason that this mismatched pair were married. For Walter (Norton), it was love at first sight and for Kitty (Watts), the marriage was a way to shed herself of the disappointments of her mother. There is a clear disconnect between them from the beginning. The couple are on opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of personality and that is the initial undoing of their marriage in the early goings. Kitty was very vibrant, outgoing, and social whereas Walter was more brooding and reclusive, shy almost dull.

     This is a story of a love that develops through maturity and adversity. Kitty is extremely selfish and immature in the beginning of the movie. In the beginning, she never truly understood the depths of Walter’s passion as she had an adulterous relationship. Walter, unable to sever himself from Kitty’s spell, cleverly devises a way to punish Kitty for her indiscretion. In doing so, he is able to penalize her and still selfishly control her.

     The movie moves at a very slow pace. However, this isn’t your usual love story. Throughout the course of the film, Kitty matures and emotionally develops to the level that she can appreciate the love that Walter has for her. This is a profound character development that occurs very subtlety but only after she is forced to mature and recognize Walter for the man that he is.

     The film’s great cinematography lends itself to the richness of the story and the performances of Watts and Norton. The scenes of China are a great backdrop to many of the intimate exchanges between them. Norton and Watts portray these mismatched lovers wonderfully as most of the emotional exchanges are extremely subtle. A look here, or a tear, or some other small gesture that sets the tone for the scene. Both Watts and Norton master these within the film as it hits home.

     This film wasn’t what I expected. It moved somewhat slow to me but it developed into a really thought provoking story. I didn’t approve of some of the character’s choices but they made the story worthwhile. The Painted Veil is a stirring, thought provoking love story. It isn’t a movie about big emotional displays or over the top confrontations. It’s about love, maturity, and the sacrifices that people endure for love. The movie’s less than stellar Hollywood ending is a great example of that. The Painted Veil is a good display of how love is can change someone completely.


30 Days of Night: Dark Days: "A Dismal Follow Up to a Good Movie"


By: Da’Mon Guy

      30 Days of Night: Dark Days is tragic raping of a good movie‘s name and story. This is a direct to dvd, sequel to 30 Days of Night. This calamity stars Kiele Sanchez (A Perfect Getaway), Rhys Corio (MacGrubber), Diora Baird (My Best Friend’s Girl), Harold Perrineau (The Matrix Revolutions) and Mila Kirshner (The Black Dahalia).

      After surviving the incidents in Barrow, Alaska, Stella Olemaun relocates to Los Angeles, where she intentionally attracts the attention of the local vampire population in order to avenge the death of her husband, Eben. (

      30 Days of Night: Dark Days is a dismal, rip off of the first movie. This sequel suffers from more than just a lack of funding. This film rapes, ravages, and butchers the story of the first movie. The movie opens well with an interesting beginning of the plot as it picks up right from the end of the first film but the movie quickly changes just another bloody action flick. The film races through too many of the small details to progress the action portion of the film. This makes the film more superficial and it causes the film to lose plausibility and the continuity to support the story.

      There are many flaws to this film outside of the budget. First, the movie shouldn’t even be called 30 Days of Night as the story has now moved to LA. The whole premise of the first movie was the setting in Alaska, without that, we lose one of the biggest obstacles for the victims. Next, Stella, now portrayed by Keile Sanchez instead of Melissa George, goes from being a “damsel in distress,” to a bad ass in a matter of minutes. This character change was too rapid and too big to be believable. The supporting actors were worthless. Not one of them are even worth mentioning, except for Mila Kirshner. The vampires in this one barely seem like the same from the first movie, with the exception of their appearance they are nothing like the originals. These are more human as they blend with society extremely well, the one’s in the first movie were more primal. There’s no terror in this movie as the first movie did a terrific job at building suspense and did a good job at trying to scare the audience. This movie doesn’t even come close. Finally, the climax and ending were the worse things of all. Both are equally unsatisfying and not even worth going into detail about.

      “Dark Days” does possess a few good aspects that builds on the first movie. The opening of the film with Stella’s reflection and trepidation about her experience in Barrow is excellent. The movie’s beginning does a good job at expressing Stella’s feelings from the experience. Mila Kirshner does a good job as Lilith, the Vampire Queen was a surprisingly pleasing addition to the movie. The movie builds the character very well and does an effective attempt at interweaving her into the storyline. Mila Kirshner’s depiction of Lilith is done pleasantly and is well placed within the frame of the story.

      30 Days of Night: Dark Days is a lackluster shadow of the first film. It does almost nothing to enhance or extend the story of the first film. It simply tries to capitalize of the success of the first film. It is an unsatisfying plundering of a good story. It had a few redeemable qualities but they weren’t nearly enough to save this travesty and were quickly abandoned in hope to amp of the blood and violence. Nearly everything done is this film discredit’s the good aspects of the first film. If you watch this then you have no reason to even mention this movie to anyone. Watch the first one and never even consider this one as it will only infuriate you by the end of it.

MacGrubber: "Why???"

By: Da’Mon Guy

      MacGruber is a ridiculously dismal, tasteless, stupor of a comedy based on a on a short created on Saturday Night Live that was inspired from a 1980’s television show named MacGyver. This travesty stars Will Forte (The Brothers Solomon), Kristen Wiig (Extract), Ryan Gosling (Breach), Powers Boothe (Sin City), and Val Kilmer (Deja Vu).

      A nuclear warhead has been stolen by a terrorist. The government recruits an ex CIA agent, whose wife was killed by the same terrorist, to stop him.

      MacGruber is a parody based on the 1980’s TV show MacGyver but the movie version of the SNL short filters in aspects from other great action movies. Like most parodies, there is a level of stupidity that is expected, this one is no different but MacGruber exceeds the expectation level by leaps and bounds. This movie was absurdly dumb to the point of being offensive. Despite this being a parody, it was downright awful, unfunny, and insulting.

      MacGruber contains an extremely limited amount of aspects movie that could be considered funny. The character of MacGruber (Forte) is a foul-mouthed near-deviant, who isn’t even funny as he has no limits to what he will do or say within the movie. I was irritatated the longer I watched this him on screen. MacGruber’s car and radio was faintly amusing. He drove around in a red Miata with a pull out car stereo (the entire radio) playing 80’s music. The only other slightly amusing scene in the entire film was the coffee shop incident with Vicki St. Elmo (Wiig) when she was wearing a wire. The rest of the movie was absurdly dumb. The sex scenes with MacGruber were way over the top and weren’t even close to being funny. Too many of the supposedly funny scenes push the bounds of taste then fall completely flat.

      MacGruber was easily one of the worse movies that I have ever seen. Probably in the top two. There is absolutely nothing in this movie to be remotely positive about. I can’t even begin to comprehend how or why this movie was made. I barely laughed the entire movie. It was horrible from start to finish. MacGruber is a movie that goes from bad to worse to downright unbearable. This film was so pitiful that it’s hard to imagine how I sat through it. This movie was so awful that I am extremely upset that I spent a dollar to rent it. I would love to permanently maim everyone responsible for the creation of this film.

The Midnight Meat Train:"A Graphic, Muddled, Unsatisfying Mishandling of a Story"


By Da’Mon Guy

      The Midnight Meat Train is less than stellar, unsatisfying, blood and guts gore fest. It’s based on a short story by Clive Barker. The movie stars Bradley Cooper (The Hangover), Leslie Bibb (Law Abiding Citizen), Brooke Shields (Furry Vengeance), and Vinnie Jones (Xmen 3: the Last Stand).

      An aspiring photographer mistakenly photographs a missing model’s last appearance before her death. Determined to solve the crime, he crosses paths with a strange man. He soon begins to follow the man only to find out that the mysterious man has been killing victims on the subway train.

      Cooper and Bibb are both believable and likable as a couple. They look and feel genuine. The two of them have really good chemistry between them and it adds to the sympathy that we feel for them by the tragic end of the movie. Leon (Cooper) is a very sympathetic character in the beginning of the movie. Cooper gives a really good depiction in his portrayal of Leon’s building obsession. As Leon becomes more increasingly obsessed, the film does a great job at building the anticipation for the climax. The scene were Leon and his girlfriend, Maya (Bibb), is a one of the best in the movie. It’s touching and yet insightful simultaneously. This scene shows the love shared by the two but it also details the depth of Leon’s obsession. Vinnie Jones, in the role of Mahogany, portrays his usual “tough guy” role. As with most of his performances, this one is no different. It’s more about what he does on the screen and not what he says. This could easily be a character that could command a cult following.

      The Midnight Meat Train is a movie that begins really well as it starts with a intriguing mystery. It had a lot of promise but the movie quickly turns into just a blood and guts gore fest with no point. Some of the scenes are ridiculously graphic to the point of being unviewable. The movie a terrific job to develop a really good suspense story and then it absolutely fell flat. The climax leading to the end of the movie gave no answers that were satisfying. You never get a clear understanding of why or who the creatures are at the end of the movie. Don’t watch it, not worth the sheer disappointment. Leave this one alone, PLEASE!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Back Up Plan:




By: Da’Mon Guy

      The Back Up Plan is an enjoyable romantic comedy that effectively blends the fantasy of dating with the reality of relationships. It’s a very entertaining movie that stars Jennifer Lopez (Enough), Alex O’Loughlin (Whiteout), Micheala Watkins (The New Adventures of Old Christine), Eric Christian Olsen (Fired Up), Linda Lavin (Alice), and Anthony Anderson (Hustle and Flow).

      Zoe (Lopez), is an attractive, successful woman, who has dating and trust issues. She decides to conceive a family through artificial insemination because of the lack of available candidates. Then in a chance meeting she meets Stan (O’Loughlin) and falls in love.

      The Back Up Plan is actually two movies. First, it’s the usual larger than life date movie. Secondly, it becomes a really good venue to illustrate the problems of modern dating and relationships. This movie is a prime example of one of the main issues that face men and women in today’s modern dating world. Too many women in today’s society watch these types of films and fail to realize that this is a fantasy. They often blur the lines of reality with what goes on these types of films when it comes to modern dating. The larger than life dates and courting in these movies are unrealistic for the most part. Then, the belief that it leads to some happily ever after ending builds expectations that men could never live up to. These movies appeal to women’s sense of romance and fantasy. They are set in real life situations and many women fail to grasp the fantasy aspect of the movie. Everyone would like to be swept off of their feet, but with these larger than life date movies, it would make it hard for any man to ever equate to one of these fictionalized characters. It’s almost as impossible to become one of them as it is to become Batman.

      The Back Up Plan quickly transitions from a flight of the imagination into a more sensible couples movie that addresses many modern day concerns that both men and women face everyday. After the impossible build up, The Back Up Plan swiftly becomes an very down to earth movie. Something that everyone can relate to. It really addresses the level of mistrust that confront a lot of couples as they try to move to that next level. The Back Up Plan shows the level of concern that women have entering into difficult situations with men. This movie mirrors actual life and shows first hand how women tend to build up a wall with the expectation that a man will leave. Then try to convince themselves and the other individual that it will not work to avoid the disappointment of taking a chance with the relationship as opposed to trying to resolve and work through the tough times. Zoe repeatedly pushes Stan away, trying to convince him that they can’t work because of her trust issues.

     The Back Up Plan has a very good blend of comedy for both sexes. There are many scenes that will be hilarious to women that will barely make and man smile and vice versa. It is full of good performances starting with the main stars. Lopez and O’Loughlin make a good couple on screen and the audience can feel the chemistry between them. This is situational comedy at its best. Anthony Anderson also makes a scene stealing cameo.

      The Back Up Plan is a really good "chick flick" that guys can watch too. It’s good enough to hold a man’s attention in spite of being geared towards a feminine audience. Women will definitely get more of a kick out of it but its filled with a lot of situational comedy that every man will be able to relate to and laugh at. It’s not something to run to the theaters and see but it makes for a good dvd night. The most important thing is that it is good viewing with the one you love.

Brooklyn's FInest:" A Performance Driven Showcase About the Perception of Morality"


By: Da’Mon Guy

      Brooklyn’s Finest is a gripping, performance driven, showcase that questions conscience, morality, and the decisions that blur the lines of right and wrong. The film exhibits the talents of Don Chedle (Iron Man 2), Richard Gere (Amelia ), Ethan Hawke (Daybreakers), and Wesley Snipes (the Blade trilogy) and is directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day).

      In Brooklyn, amid drug deals, violence, casual racism, poverty, housing projects, and corrupt cops, the movie follows the lives of three police officers and the choices they make that shapes their lives.

      “Its not a matter of right and wrong, it’s a matter of righter and wronger.” Brooklyn’s Finest opens with these words and this is the overriding theme of the entire film. The movie applies these terms to the situations of a trio of officers in three different departments of the NYPD as each of them are confronted with the difficult tasks of upholding the law.
      Brooklyn’s Finest is packed with excellent performances. All of the main characters of the story are portrayed exquisitely. Chedle, Snipes, Hawke, and Gere are each at their best as they show us the lesser known side of the lives of a police officer. None of the police officers interact, with the exception of Tango (Chedle) and Cassanova (Snipes), the other characters are not connected nor do they know one another. Their paths rarely intersect within the movie with the exception of the occasional brush by.
      There are a number of scenes where there are challenges of morality. The movie profoundly exhibits each characters constant battles with their conscience. Sal (Hawke) has a very moving scene were he is in confession, the priest asks does he want God’s forgiveness and Sal says “I don’t want his forgiveness, I want his help.” this is a prime example of the challenges of morality that each character in Brooklyn’s Finest faces.

      The movie offers a more realistic perspective on three different, distinct aspects of life that face these police offers. Each one is bound by a different, trying, aspect of everyday life that all people have experienced. Family (love), Friendship (loyalty), and self preservation (duty) are just some of themes that are addressed within the movie.

      If you watch Brooklyn’s Finest with the expectation that this is similar to New Jack City, King of New York, or Carlito’s Way then you will be disappointed. Brooklyn’s Finest is none of those. It’s as good as all of them but in it’s own way. This is more like Traffic or Crash but set in the midst of a crime setting. What Brooklyn’s Finest is, is a movie about perspective and morality. This movie is more about the tough choices that police face and how each day of the job is an opportunity for them to question their morality. This is a film about hidden truths not the glamorous side of the police but the hard choices that questions each one of them. This movie divulges into how slim the line is that separates someone from being the hero or the villain in the eyes of every individual based upon perception and choice.

      I really enjoyed this movie. It was extremely different than the usual police film. Every situation in this movie is a chance to question one’s morality and then it offers each character a choice. This allows the audience to judge each of the characters choices based upon our own interpretation of morality. Does the end justify the means? This is what this movie asks us and then it ends with leaving us with the same words than it began with “Its not a matter of right and wrong, it’s a matter of righter and wronger.”

Defendor: "A Touching, Dark Comedy with Heart"


By: Da’Mon Guy

      Defendor is a really touching, dark comedy wrapped in the truth of today’s world that takes a different approach on the superhero genre. It’s right along the lines of Kick Ass. The movie is carried by a really good performance by Woody Harrelson (Zombieland). It also features Kat Dennings (Charlie Bartlett), Elias Kotas (Shutter Island), Sandra Oh (Blindness), and Michael Kelly (Law Abiding Citizen).
      Arthur Pennington (Harrelson), a slightly mentally challenged construction worker, whose mother died by drug overdose. Inspired by comics and fueled by the desire to stop others from the same fate, he dons the guise of a superhero to clean up the streets. Donning the name of Defendor he tries to exact justice and in the process he befriends a prostitute (Dennings) and inspires the city.
      Defendor is the touching story of a misguided individual who is inspired by comic books to become a superhero. The movie is set in the real world and it’s full of comedic moments. However, this is really a story about courage, friendship, loyalty and standing up for what we believe in. Its about one man who wants to do better for others because he doesn‘t want anyone else to endure what he has. The now cliché saying of “one man can make a difference” is what this is truly about.
      Woody Harrelson is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. He has great flexibility and diversity in the roles he chooses. As in most of his performances, he hardly disappoints and Defendor is no different. The performance of Woody Harrelson is a stand alone performance as he single handily carries the movie. Harrelson as the mentally challenged Pennington is believable and very entertaining.
       There are some good comedic moments as Defendor continues to fail repeatedly as he tries to clean up the streets. Everything about Defendor has comedy in it. From his costume, to his dialogue, to his misguided efforts to be a hero is funny and entertaining. He has no special powers nor does have any exceptional fighting prowess. He’s probably the worse superhero ever but what he does have is the heart and courage that all heroes should have. The message that is embedded within the comedy of this story is a really serious one and will really touch you. Defendor is a film that demonstrates that no matter who you are you can make a difference in some way.

The Wolfman: "A Glorius Return of a Classic Hollywood Character"



By Da’Mon Guy

      The Wolfman returns! The latest addition to the werewolf legend is a terrific combination of horror, action, and suspense. This new incarnation finally returns a classic Hollywood creature to its roots and gives him the glorious film that he deserves. The movie showcases a talented cast featuring Benicio Del Toro (Traffic), Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada), Anthony Hopkins (Fracture), and Hugo Weaving (The Matrix trilogy).

      A series of gruesome murders haunt a 19th century town. Lawerence Talbot (Del Toro) returns home to discover his brother, Ben, was viciously murdered. Lawerence vows to atone for shortcomings in their relationship swearing to uncover the details surrounding his brother’s demise. In the midst of his search, Lawerence falls victim to the bite of the werewolf.

      The Wolfman  is a remake loosely based on the 1941 classic movie by the same name. The original version starred Lon Chaney, Jr. The movie features the same characters and the plot is very similar but this version more enjoyable on a multitude of levels. The new story adds more depth to the character and is rich with details, action, suspense, and love. The visuals are great. This new film greatly improves on the original version in every way as well in the process of paying homage to the original classic. This version of the werewolf story blends the half man, half wolf look as it did back in the early days of movies. The movie adheres to many of the details that are now left out in many of the modern tellings of the werewolf stories. This look and the attention to many of the small, forgotten details definitely enhances the look, feel, and retelling of the story.

      The new film is vastly expanded as it divulges more into the psyche of the main character, Lawerence Talbot. This version really explores the tortured spirits that haunt Talbot even before being bitten by the beast. He was already dealing with an emotional trauma of the apparent suicide of his mother. This movie also shows how the burden that the failed relationships of the Talbot family weigh on Lawerence Talbot. In two distinct scenes, we are shown how Lawerence has always been dealing with his inner demons surrounding his family. He is haunted by the death of his mother, the lost relationship with his brother, and the strained relationship with his father. The movie does an excellent job in addressing the tortured soul that the now possessed werewolf inhabits.

      Benincio Del Toro exquisitely depicts Lawerence Talbot. His performance really shows the withdrawn nature of Lawerence Talbot from the opening of the movie. His depiction is perfect as we feel the distance that Talbot has placed between him and the rest of the world right from the beginning of the film. In every exchange between he and another person you can see that Talbot has a disdain for people until he meets Gwynn Kundiff. Emily Blunt gives an average performance. She doesn’t measure up to Del Toro’s performance. The chemistry for this romance never sparks. Anthony Hopkins offers a terrific performance as Sir John Talbot, Lawerence’s father. He is equally mysterious and devious. He elegantly makes the most of every minute that he appears on screen. The audience is never aware of his true motives because of his performance which enhances the outcome of the climax of the movie.

      I loved this remake of the Wolfman. This was well overdue, It was about time that someone did at least one of the classic Hollywood horror creatures justice. The movie returns to the "horror" feel of films instead of the insane amount of blood, guts, and gore that many of today's horror movies are filled with. Every aspect of the film is great. The story, the cast, as well as the look and feel of the movie is exactly managed. No aspect of this movie will disappoint. Anthony Hopkins said it best when he said “The Beast will have his day,” and thanks to this great retelling, it does.

Extract: "An Inexcusible Waste of Time"


By Da’Mon Guy
      Extract is flat line of a comedy that doesn’t even garner the attention of watching the trailer. This inexcusable waste of time stars Jason Bateman (Hancock), Ben Affleck (The Town), Mila Kunis (Date Night), Kristen Wiig (MacGruber), J. K. Simmons (Spiderman 1, 2, & 3), Clifton Collins, Jr. (Brothers), and David Koechner (The Goods). This catastrophe was written and directed by Mike Judge (Idoicracy, King of the Hill).

      Joel (Bateman), the owner of an extract manufacturing plant, is having a string of bad luck that begins when his wife, Suzie (Wiig) won’t have sex with him. He then constantly finds himself in precarious situations that steadily worsen by the minute. First, his soon-to-be floor manager acquires a serious injury in a machine malfunctioning accident that subsequently endangers the wellbeing of his company. Second, his personal life doesn't fair much better when he takes the advice of his bartending friend Dean (Affleck) during a drug-induced brainstorming session on how to test his wife's faithfulness. Finally, compounding these catastrophes is new employee Cindy (Kunis), a scam artist that Joel wants to have an affair with, is intent on milking the company for all its worth. Now, Joel must attempt to piece his company and his marriage back together all while trying to figure out what he's really after in life. (

      Extract is a barely humorous movie. It contains an exceptionally limited amount of comedic moments as the laughs are very scarce. There are a few situations within Extract that do garner a laugh or two. The situation where Jason Bateman pays a “idiot gigolo” to sleep with his wife is very humorus. In addition, the annoying neighbor who has a tragic heart attack while being criticized for being annoying, and the weed smoking incident with Affleck and Bateman are somewhat comical. However, most of the other situations that are supposed to be funny fall completely flat.

      Extract contains a few fleeting moments of comedy but there’s no where near enough to endure this tragedy. This movie will frustrate you the longer you watch it. There isn’t much to be positive about in this film. It rapidly goes from good to bad to awful in a heartbeat. Any one that would suggest this movie to someone should be mule kicked in the head. My life has definitely been diminished by viewing it in its entirety.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jonah Hex: "A Disappointing, Mismanaged Use of Talent"



By: Da’Mon Guy

      The era of the comic book characters continues to dominate Hollywood with Jonah Hex being the latest character to be brought to life on the big screen. This misfortune boasts big action sequences but it lacks depth. The movie stars Josh Brolin (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps), Megan Fox (Transformers 1 & 2), Will Arnett (Semi-Pro), and John Malkoivch (Red).

      Jonah Hex (Brolin) is a former confederate soldier whose family is murdered. Left for dead, Hex develops a connection with the afterlife. Upon his return to health, He then becomes obsessed with revenge and sets out to kill the man responsible for killing his family.

      Jonah Hex is based on one of DC comics lesser known characters of the same name. It makes a good attempt at capturing the spirit of the book as the big screen version mirrors the one portrayed in the comic. Many of the details of the comics character are covered but the movie misuses the motivations of the character. The movie moves at too fast of a pace. The hurried pace causes the movie to be too superficial almost cartoon like. In spite of this being adapted from a comic book, it should have allowed for a deeper emotional connection. At the heart of the character is his loss. The death of his family is the trigger for all of the events that follow as well as his motivation for everyting that he does. Within the movie, too many of the scenes are too quick so they lose the dramatic affect. The movie quickly races through too many of the scenes in order to get to the action.

      The film’s biggest downfall is the mismanagement of Jonah Hex’s origins. They are covered but not in enough detail to allow us to sympathize with his loss. The loss of his wife and son are the main motivations for everything that he does and this movie whisks through those significant details as well as his time with the Indians which shaped him into the character before us. Those two significant details are treated as a speed bump. Hex’s wife and son are never shown. We hear them but they never fully appear on screen. We never get the full affect of the scene as the connection is lost because of the lack of sight of Jonah family. In the time that we live now, visuals go a long way and just hearing the suffering doesn‘t quite establish the same intensity or affect that it should have had. We never really feel his loss. Consequently, the scene isn’t as powerful as it should have been. It doesn’t garner the compassion that it could’ve had.

      The big screen version of Jonah Hex doesn’t leave too much room for compelling performances. There wasn’t one stand out performance worth mentioning even though it had two really good actors as the stars. The movie wastes the talents of Josh Brolin and John Malkoivch. Brolin’s depiction of Hex is excellent but the limitations of the script really hurts his performance. He has the look and “feel” of Jonah Hex as he is written in the pages of the comics. But the movie doesn’t allow for Brolin to go beyond a few words here and there or the occasionally grunt in his portrayal of Jonah Hex. Hex is much the same in the comics but there is a lot more depth to the character that is not always communicated verbally. John Malkoivch is one of the best actors at playing wild, strangely odd characters. He also makes an exceptional villain. In this movie he’s got the wild down but there is nothing exceptional about his depiction of Quentin Turnbull. Its just an opportunity of him to say a couple of lines, kill someone or blow something up. Megan Fox is nothing more than the eye candy that she is in every movie. Her performance is no different than any other. Shallow and worthless. She should start taking non speaking roles as she is only on screen for how she looks. Her quick one liners are not entertaining at all.

      This movie had a lot of potential but too many scenes and details are sacrificed or rushed through which lead to the downfall of the movie. It had the look of the comic and is loaded with action but that doesn‘t make up for its shortcomings. In addition, its only an hour and twenty minutes, much too short to cover this story. In the end, the movie is extremely superficial. I was so disappointed. I had high aspirations for this movie. The combination of the two lead actors and this story would've been a really good movie if it was handle correctly. Jonah Hex was watchable but could’ve been so much more.

Date Night: An Entertaining Film that is Stockpiled with Hollywood Talent"



By Da’Mon Guy

      Date Night comically highlights the trials and tribulations of married life. It stars Steve Carill (Dinner for Schmucks) and Tina Fey (Saturday Night Live). The movie features an all star supporting casts which is the real strength of the film. Taraji P. Henson (The curious Case of Benjamin Button), Common (Just Wright), James Franco (Pineapple Express), Ray Liotta (Goodfellas), Mark Wahlberg (The Other Guys), William Fitchner (Zodiac), Mark Ruffalo (Shutter Island) and Mila Kunis (The Book of Eli) are all featured as they commit to the comedic decadence.

      An everyday suburban couple, The Fosters (Carrel and Fey), try to add some spice to their lives by going to an new, popular, restaurant. The resturant is overbooked and when they can’t get a table they decide to take another couple’s reservation. A case of mistaken identity causes the couple to fall into a series of comedic events as they try to clear their names.

      Date Night displays the ups and downs that most married couples face and then it pokes fun at it. The comedy of Date Night is in the truth of these situations. There are at least two or three circumstances that every couple can connect with. This is where the magic of Date Night lies. That’s why Date Night is likable. The movie will relate the best to those long tenured couples as it really touches upon all of the concerns that most of them face. Either it’s the sex, or lack of, the husband leaving the toilet seat up, the man attending his wife’s interest, or the fear that you will outgrow one another. Date Night comically address all of those concerns and more.

      Steve Carrel and Tina Fey are perfect as the Fosters. They compliment one another well as they look like a suburban couple and they have excellent chemistry. The real treat of Date Night is the amount of cameos that it contains. Almost every role in the film is portrayed by an established star.

      It isn’t too creative nor is it innovative but it does what it‘s supposed to. It’s a good movie for couples to connect and laugh. Phil and Claire can easily be interchanged for any couple that been in these situations. It’s not so much that its that good but the movie makes fun at those moments that every couple has. This is why Date Night is a really good movie for a date night.

Clash of the Titans



By: Da’Mon Guy

      The pillaging of great 80’s movies continues with Clash of the Titans. It’s a visually captivating re-imagining of a classic 1981 film of the same name. The new re-imagining boasts two rising stars in Sam Worthington (Avatar, Terminator: Salvation), Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia), and two established stars in Liam Neelson (A-Team) and Ralph Fiennes (The Reader).

      Born of a God but raised at as a man, Perseus (Worthington) the illegitimate son of Zeus (Neelson), vows vengeance on the Gods after the death of his mortal family at the hands of Hades (Finnes). In order to get his revenge, Perseus undertakes a quest to rescue the princess (Arterton) after she is to be sacrificed to the Gods to prevent the destruction of the city, Argos.

      Clash of the Titans is the re-imagining of a movie of the same name that premiered in 1981. This new version contains the same plot and most of the main characters. In spite of this, the premise and tone of the movie have been changed. In this version, Perseus does not embellish his connection to the gods as he did in the original. In this adaptation, He resents it. The movie takes a man vs. the gods theme. “Damn the Gods” was the characters unspoken motto. It also became a selling point for the film.

      In many of today's re-imaginings, the richness of the details of the story are traded for visual effects. Clash of the Titans is the latest example of that. The story of the new Clash doesn’t best the previous one in any way. Yet the special effects are the thing that sets this Clash from the previous one. The cheesy nature of the previous movie did not compliment the story, in some ways, they took away from the story. The confines of the time limited the movie’s makers from using the effects to expand the story. The effects didn’t extend the story. They hindered it in some ways, taking away from the realism. That allowed it to be more of a fantasy. On the contrary, many of the best moments are lost as the updated version prefers to focus on the visuals and speed up the plot to max out the adrenaline rush. The special effects in this version are the highlight of the film, not the story.

      The Andromeda-Perseus dynamic was at the core of the original and in the new movie it has been bypassed for a revenge and an “Us against them (the gods)” approach for the film. That approach changes the entire complexity of the movie especially for the main character, Perseus. This outlook dehumanizes Perseus as well as reducing man to angry, intolerant beast who lacks compassion. The previous film gave Perseus’ quest meaning. It showcased some of the best characteristics about him and mankind. Those being love, courage, and honor. This version turns Perseus into a vengeful, blood thirsty monster without a sympathetic side.
The reduction of the role of Andromeda is another clear detractor for this incarnation. Andromeda’s role is very limited in this version. She is barely more than a minor detail to move the story along. This reduction of her role takes away from the substance of the movie. The removal of the romance between Perseus and Andromeda causes the movie to reshape its entire theme. It loses much of its depth. The removal of the romantic dynamic essentially removes the purpose of the film, changing it and turning the movie into an action flick.

      Sam Worthington’s performance as Perseus is good but very superficial. The man against the Gods approach is on full display as Worthington’s macho bravado is in full force throughout the movie. He clearly embellishes the action aspect of the movie. In this version, Perseus is after revenge. The shift in focus causes a complete change in the tone of the movie causing the character to lack substance. This is the main detractor from this version of Clash of the Titans.

      The newest Clash of the Titans best the 1981 version in almost everyway but the one that counts. The story. The original Clash was a multifaceted story that contained many elements to enhance a good love story. The special effects were used to support and enhance the story. This latest Clash is just another big budget pillage that capitalizes on someone else’s idea. It alters too many of the essential details of the story to amp up the action and violence. I was impressed with the look of the film but disappointed in the approach the film used to retell this story. It’s an extremely mediocre recreation of a great story.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010



By: Da’Mon Guy

      Predators is the latest action-packed iteration in the continuing saga of the alien hunting race known by only one name, the Predator. The movie boasts a talented cast consisting of Adrien Brody (Splice, King Kong), Alice Bragga (Repo Men, I Am Legend), Toper Grace (Valentine’s Day, Spiderman 3), Danny Trejo (Machete, From Dusk till Dawn) and Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix Trilogy, Armored).

      A group of mismatched individuals awaken to find themselves on a strange planet. Each one of the individuals comes from different backgrounds but have one thing in common, they all have preyed upon human life at one point or another. Royce (Brody), a mercenary, unwillingly becomes the leader of this mismatched ban of slayers that is forced to ban together in order to survive. They soon realize that they are being hunted by an alien species.

      Predators is the latest movie in the ongoing series of films containing a character that originated in the movie Predator in 1987. This latest version boasts the same concept as the original. The film is very enjoyable on an extremely superficial level. It’s big, bold, and jam-packed with action. It’ll make every adrenaline junkie very happy. The film moves at a fast pace right from the outset as the action scenes come fast and in bunches. However, the main detractor to this movie being entitled, Predators, is that we never see more than one Predator on screen at a time -- except in the climax. Another flaw with the Predator movies is that, given the nature of characters, they garner so little screen time. This means the rest of the characters must carry the film and that’s where this one comes up short.

      Predators is not a movie about compelling performances. This is a movie about action and killing. However, it does contain some commendable performances and one stand-out performance. The Predator character doesn’t need too much skill to depict it, but to offset the limited screen appearances by it, the character opposite it should be someone that we want to stand and cheer for. This film lacks that character which is one of the factors that add to the demise of the it. Adrien Brody’s character of Royce is supposed to be a bad ass. It’s a throwback character to the classic 80’s characters portrayed by once great action stars like Arnold Schwarzeneggar and Sylvester Stallone. It was written to be that kind of character but Brody is not the actor that can accomplish it. He does an above average job, but I find it hard to believe that Brody was the best choice to play him. Adrien Brody has never been much of an action star. He is a very good character actor given the roles that he’s portrayed up to now. In the age of limited action stars, we have to settle for Brody’s depiction of Royce. This character would have been better served if they’d cast someone like Vin Diesel, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, or Sam Worthington. Topher Grace offers a commendable performance as Edwin. He’s was highly convincing as a two faced killer. Laurence Fishburne's performance makes the movie worth while even though his screen time is limited. His portrayal of the psychotic Nolan was by far the best in the film. His limited screen was a disservice to the audience. I loved every minute that his character was in the movie.

      Predators offers very little originality as it is basically the same movie as the first Predator. The plot has merely been updated with too many of the scenes from the original movie being transposed into this one. This movie pays homage to the original with not only the look of the film but with many things factored into the story. However, in many ways it pays it too much respect causing it to infringe upon the originality of this one. I, personally love when updated movies or sequels connect themselves to a prior incarnation. Conversely, Predators loses itself in the process of trying to connect the two films.

      I really love the original Predator. That was why I had high hopes for this one. My ongoing love of the first movie also adds to my ambiguity in rating this movie. On the one hand, I loved the fact that they tried to pay homage to the first movie, but in the same regard it doesn’t add or extend the series in any way. My biggest issue with this film is that the creators of the film never divulge the origin of the Predators. The characters originated in 1987, 23 yrs and 5 movies later, we know no more now than we did when the first movie premiered. Somewhere in the process, they should have given us some details about the characters origins or their motives in becoming what we witness on screen. I liked the movie but I don’t love it, it had so much promise but provided us with so little satisfaction. In spite of this, I would recommend it as a good action movie can cure any boring night at home.

The Day the Earth Stood Still



By Da’Mon Guy

      The Day the Earth Stood Still is an extremely disappointing remake of a classic film of the same name from 1951. This pillage stars Keenu Reeves (the Matrix trilogy, Street Kings), Jennifer Connelly (The Incredible Hulk, Dark Water), Kathy Bates (The Family that Preys) and Jayden Smith (The Karate Kid).

      The Day the Earth Stood Still is about an alien who arrives on earth to warn mankind of his destructive ways but because of the violent nature of man he decides that in order to save the earth he must cleanse it of its biggest problem, mankind. Klaatu (Reeves) tries to warn mankind of the destructive ways. The movie opens pretty much the same as Klaatu and GORT arrive to a large brigade of US soldiers. After he is shot during his arrival then not being allowed to speak to the world leaders of earth, Klaatu must make his own judgment of human beings. He then bares witness to their self destructive nature. Once he witnesses this, he decides that in order for the Earth to survive, the existence of man must cease to exist.

      The Day the Earth Stood Still is full of visual eye candy. The film tries to wow the audience with the updated technological advances that movies have made since the original debuted some 50 yrs ago but it butchers the story. The movie maintains the same premise of the original movie. It even contains most of the significant scenes that the original has. The message of the movie, however, gets lost in the “razzle dazzle” of the special effects. The great visual effects do not make up for what it lacks in terms of the plot. You never get the feeling of Klaatu's visit to Earth. While this version moves him on a faster pace it loses the connection that Klaatu made with the Bensons in the original film. That relationship was one of the key factors of the original film. This one never shows it. The relationship that he has with them is shallow at best. This version pales in comparison to the depth of the original film.
      Keenu Reeves gives a dismal performance as Klaatu. He does an adequate job at making us believe that he is an alien. His short comings are the attempt to convince the audience of sympathetic side of this character. We never truly understand what he is supposed to feel when he finally “connects“ with mankind. Jennifer Connelly was equally disappointing. Her role as Dr. Helen Benson was unimpressive. The relationship between her and her son Jacob(Jaden Smith) was barely believable. This role was the beginning of consecutive roles as a troubled kid with a cute face for Jaden Smith. I’m tired of seeing this role for him already.

      The original version of The Day The Earth Stood Still had a profound message about conflict, war, and the nature of man. The climax of the movie had a more distinct affect on the audience as we watched all of the technology stand still. This demonstration of power served as a warning when Klaatu delivered his message to mankind. This new version tries to achieve the same affect but those themes are not conveyed effectively. The amount of special effects negates the level of urgency of the climax. As the Earth stands still, we barely care. This movie proves that “bigger is not always better.”