Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Green Hornet: "A Disappointing, Mishandling of a Classic Character"


By: Da’Mon Guy

     The Green Hornet is a faintly enjoyable, extremely disappointing absurdity that is only something a teenager can enjoy. The film is a depressing abuse of a 1960's character that completely misuses the talent of the collection of actors that comprise the movie. This travesty features Seth Rogan (Zach & Miri Make a Porno), Jay Chou (Curse of the Golden Flower), Cameron Diaz (Knight and Day), Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton), Christopher Waltz (The Inglorious Bastards), David Harbour (State of Play), and Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica: TV series).

     After the murder of his father, the son of a high profile news paper owner, decides to don a mask and pose as a criminal in order to bring justice from within the criminal world.

     The Green Hornet is the first disappointing film of 2011. Seth Rogan doubles as the star and a co-writer of this re-imagining so he bears most of the responsibility for this miserable tragedy. Rogan turns the film into a comedic farce. This calamity induces too much humor and not enough action as it focuses too much on the comedic banter between Rogan & Jay Chou.
 It never addresses the real bond between Kato and Reid. The film quickly whisks them together and off to start the begining of the comedic mischief. Rogan completely mishandles his depiction of the Green Hornet. Instead of Rogan making a slight attempt to adjust his performance and get into character as the Green Hornet, he forces the character to blend into his usual comic style which completely up displaces the focus of the film. The movie quickly becomes another vehicle to showcase the usual Seth Rogan style of comedy. He swallows the character in his own displaced ego trip.

     The film has a few short-lived bright spots that entertain but no where near enough to justify the viewing of this debacle. Some of Rogan usual comedic style and antics were pleasing. In spite of its excessive usage, the camaraderie between Rogan & Chou was fairly entertaining. The duo’s rendition of “Gangster’s Paradise” was one of the better moments in the film.

The two best aspects of it were Kato & the Black Beauty. Every other aspect of the film needs to burned. Chou exquisite depiction of Kato was a tribute to Bruce Lee as well as being the only reason watch this travesty, if you are brave enough. Chou’s fighting scenes were Matrix like and equally as impressive. One aspect that makes Chou’s performance more impressive is the fact that he couldn’t speak any English at the beginning of the production of the movie. Chou learned the language during the filming of the movie. The film’s recreation of the Black Beauty was fantastic. The movie reintroduces movie goers to the famous car and does it in grand fashion. The car roars into the film and entrenches into film car history. Conversely, the film completely mismanages the talents of some well established actors such as Tom Wilkinson, Edward James Olmos, & Cameron Diaz.

      Muddled within the absurdity of this train wreck is a really warm theme. The movie speaks profoundly about family and true friendship. The movie shows how children try to live up to the immense pressure that parents place on them. Rogan’s character was constantly chasing his father’s approval even after his death. Never being able to (finish, living up to expectations)This was the overall theme of the film from the first scene.

     This was an extremely disappointing movie. The film completely misuess the entire concept of the character. The film’s light hearted nature was a welcome change to the more serious, dark themed nature of current super hero films. However this squandering mishap never truly becomes a super hero film. It uses the super hero aspect of the film as a sidebar to Rogan’s unneeded comedic tomfoolery. The movie’s focuses too much on the comedy making it almost juvenile. Seth Rogan is probably the worst excuse for a costumed hero ever. Rogan insults the super hero genre with this pathetic attempt to modernize the Green Hornet. The character was never that great but with Rogan’s petulant touch, he literally discredits ever super hero themed film in the last 10 yrs.

The Town: "A Performance Driven, Drama that Doesn't Disappoint"

      The Town is an enjoyable, performance driven, crime drama that focuses on a group of bank robbers. The film was directed and stars Ben Affleck (State of Play). It also features a superb performance by Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker), Jon Hamm (The Day the Earth Stood Still 2008), Rebecca Hall (The Prestige), and Blake Lively (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 1&2), with appearances by Chris Cooper (Seabiscuit) and Pete Postlethwaithe (Clash of the Titans 2010).

      The movie is set in Charlestown, MA, residents of the area call
Charlestown “the Town”, for which the film is aptly named after. The film uses the true chronology of the small town as its foundation for the story. The area is known for and has a history of producing a number of successful modern day bank robbers. Ben Affleck stars and directs. This is his second film as a director, conversely, this movie is not as good as his directing debut, Gone Baby Gone.

     The plot of The Town revolves around a number of dysfunctional relationships. Every character in the movie has a sensibly flawed interaction with another. This adds a level of realism and creditability to the story. The movie is really comprised of two distinct relationships that define the film. The first is Doug MacRay (Affleck) and Claire Keesey’s (Hall) heartfelt love story that is the core of the film. Most of movie is really a tragic love story that is masked and superbly interwoven in the action of the film. The relationship between McKray and Coughlin the second defining relationship of the film. Their dysfunctional brotherly bond drives and characterizes the film. The connection that binds them epitomizes everything that the film is about. Love and most of all, loyalty without question. The other relationships that are in disarray are Doug’s relationship with his estranged father, and Doug’s on and off relationship with Coughlin’s sister, Krista.


      The Town is also comprised of a number of first-class quality performances. Renner’s superb depiction of the out of control, James Coughlin was the best performance in the movie. Renner has a penchant for these types of characters and was no different nor does he disappoint in his delivery of him. Affleck was equally entertaining as he is beginning to regain the form that he displayed early in his career. Chris Cooper and Pete Postlethwaithe as the florist both add to an already good cast.
The Town shows the meticulous handling of the robberies and that a treat. The bank robberies are well done. The action sequences are one of the highlights of the film. The action sequences are fast and intense. The film’s cinematography added a level of realism to the film although the placement of the camera had too much movement making some of the scenes slightly hard to follow.

     I enjoyed The Town. The film is a good movie that will keep your attention throughout. The characters in the movie are well acted and the story isn’t bad. However, the film is extremely predictable. This was the only hindrance to a good film that prevents it from being better. The movie’s plot contains very little originality. The story unfolded just like you knew that it would and it detracted from the other aspects of the film that were very remarkable.

Stone: "A Tragic, Disheartening Abuse of Star Power"


By: Da’Mon Guy

      Stone is a ridiculously dismal abuse of star power. This perplexing tragedy is an incestuous, meaningless waste of anyone’s time. This miserable calamity is the second movie to unite the talents of Robert DeNiro (Little Fockers) and Edward Norton (The Incredible Hulk). It also features Mila Jovovich (Resident Evil: Afterlife), and Francis Conroy (New In Town)

      An aging parole officer Jack Mabry (De Niro) has only a few weeks left before retirement and wishes to finish out the cases he's been assigned. One such case is that of Gerald "Stone" Creeson (Norton), a convicted arsonist who is up for parole. Jack is initially reluctant to indulge Stone in the coarse banter he wishes to pursue and feels little sympathy for the prisoner's pleads for an early release. Seeing little hope in convincing Jack himself, Stone arranges for his wife Lucetta (Jovovich) to seduce the officer, but motives and intentions steadily blur amidst the passions and buried secrets of the corrupted players in this deadly game of deception. (

      Stone is supposed to be a thought provoking movie. The tagline associated with the film, “Some People Tell Lies. Others Live Them”, does more than just tells about the story within the film. The tagline is a precursor about this heartbreaking tragedy that warns viewers about the film being a malicious fraud. The film is about the consequences of life choices. It showcases four individuals that are trapped in the mundane unhappiness of their lives. Each of the characters are imprisoned, physically and metaphysically, and each of them are seeking some release or sense of meaning in their otherwise mediocre dreary life. The film illicitly details how our life’s choices can turn our lives into a prison. However, the movie is a jumbled mishap that just rambles and worsens by the second.


 Stone has a multitude of detractors but the biggest is that the movie never gives any semblance of satisfaction. The film begins with a really good set up but it quickly lingers and never builds on the intensity of the opening scene. The movie never clearly defines anything about any of the characters. All of the characters begin one way and never progress or show their motivations for anything. The movie just goes on and on with no character resolution.

      The film is comprised of three really good actors that the makers of the film use to attract the audience to it. Robert DeNiro, Edward Norton and Mila Jovovich are headlined in a film that does nothing but discredit each of their body of work in the movie industry that each of them has established. In spite of the film being a disgraceful catastrophe, Edward Norton and Robert DeNiro’s on screen rivalry is as impressive as ever. The two of them recapture some of the magic from their prior collaboration, The Score. However this ridiculous charade misuses the pair. Edward Norton’s performance of the conflicted but devious Stone was commendable as it was the lone bright spot is this pitiful debacle.

      Stone is a tragic ordeal that exemplifies how a film uses actors to seduce movie lovers. The film is a literally is a pointless story that serves no purpose. It is a testament to anyone’s intestinal fortitude if you can make it through the film in its entirety. Stone isn’t just bad, it’s ridiculously awful. The only thing worse then the film, is the end of the movie. This is an insane absurdity compiled with an incredibly stupid anti-climatic ending. This was one of the worse film’s that I have ever seen. I want to break the ankles of each person involved in the creation of this movie and then back the biggest truck that I can find over them.

Eastern Promises: "An Entertaining, Insightful Peak into a Very Taboo Subject"


By: Da’Mon Guy

      Eastern Promises is an engaging, attention-grabbing story about the unfortunate, disheartening exploitation of young girls in Europe. The film gives some keen insight into the obscure world of the Russian mob. The film addresses the use of prostitution that takes place in eastern Europe. This fascinating showcase stars Viggo Mortensen (The Road), Naomi Watts (The Ring 1 &2), Vincent Cassel (The Black Swan), and Armin Mueller-Stahl (Angels & Demons).

      A teenage prostitute dies while giving birth, the midwife who aids in the birth of the baby, tries to find the family. As she searches for the family of the child, she quickly becomes intertwined into the world of the Russian mafia in Europe.

      Eastern Promises premiered in 2007. It’s a compelling story that utilizes and explicitly gives some insight into a very taboo and under publicized subject matter. The film addresses the abduction and use of European Young girls that are forced into prostitution. The title of the movie, on one level, refers to promises made to young women in Russia, luring them to the West, where the Mob enslaves them as prostitutes.

      The film is a slow paced tale of suspense that meticulously envelopes the audience into the dark subject matter of the film. As we follow Anna’s (Watts) journey, we insightfully introduced to the into the world of the Russian mob where we are shown the inner workings of a Russian crime family.

      The film does a fantastic job incorporating intricate details to establish the level of realism. Eastern Promises is explicitly true to life in order to divulge the little known and violent lifestyle of the Russian mafia. That is one of its greatest strengths. The movie goes through painstaking lengths to make it realistic. The film contains an extremely violent scene but it is also extremely realistic.

      The movie contains a multitude of small subplots within the bigger plot of the film. All of them are excellent as they support and supplement the main plot of the film. The many smaller plots such as the Kirll’s (Cassell) questionable sexuality and his estranged relationship with his father add to the richness of the main plot.
      All of the major characters in the film are depicted well as each actor’s performance enriches the story. However, at the heart of the movie is a duo of outstanding performances. Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts both deliver two very powerful yet underappreciated character depictions. The two of the use very different approaches in the delivery of their craft. Watts gives a subtle but emotional portrayal of Anna. Her drive and passion are conveyed through facial expressions or a some silent but emotional display such as a single tear. She really embodied the essence of the story. Mortensen’s depiction of Nikolai is also very subtle but he does it more with his body language. He appropriately displays all of the mannerism of the Russian Henchman and his accent was fantastic. This was clearly one of his best performances to date.

      Eastern Promises is an excellent film. This is not a usual happy Hollywood film. The movie is an eye opening story that has only one downfall, the ending. The movie has an unsatisfying, anti-climatic conclusion certainly strays away from your classic Hollywood “everything works out” happy ending. It strays away from it so much that it is almost a disservice to the movie to a point. The film is so good that the ending will shock you leaving you with an attitude. That was the only detractor to an otherwise great story that everyone should see.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Black Swan: "An Entertaining, Twisted, Drug Ride of a Movie"


By: Da’Mon Guy

      Black Swan is a bizarre, intriguing but muddled tale of obsession, desire, sacrifice, passion, and most of all a fixation with perfection. The movie features an impressive performance by Natalie Portman (Brothers) and some high-quality supporting performances by Vincent Cassell (Eastern Promises), Mila Kunis (The Book of Eli), Winona Rider (Star Trek 2009) and Barbara Hershey (Falling Down).

      Black Swan is a multi layered materialization of a young woman’s obsession. It’s an emotional journey of a young woman chasing a lifelong passion that has become fanatical. The movie aptly illustrates the struggles within herself and the immense amount of pressures that are placed on her which causes her to lose touch with reality in her neurotic pursuit of becoming the lead in a Broadway ballet.

       The movie is one of the weirdest films that you’ll ever see however, it is a touching, engaging story that aptly exemplifies the degree that ballerinas go through to achieve a childhood dream that often becomes a life long passion. Black Swan opens with a great scene illustrating the detailed, painstaking process of preparation. It contains multiple scenes showing her feet that are filled with scars, cuts, and bruises to accentuate the sacrifices that ballet dancers are forced to overcome in their surrender to their craft.

      Natalie Portman gives a riveting performance as she portrays Nina, a repressed, shy, little girl trapped in a woman’s body. She has been emotionally repressed because of her overbearing mother, who constantly treats her like a little girl. Nina is terrified of her mother, after being forced to chase her mother dream, having been made to feel guilty because she birthed her at the age of 28 and sacrifice her dancing career. Nina constantly seeks her approval just like a teenager. Portman delivers an extremely convincing depiction of a young woman with an neurotic obsession with perfection. The eloquent portrayal of her character’s gambit of emotions is very impressive. Nina develops a dual personality because of a number of influences. The pressures of the pursuit of perfection, the fact that she scars herself in order the alter her perfect appearance, and the constant inner battle to keep her inhibitions in check. This causes her to repress her personality. Another impressive aspect to Portman’s performance is the fact that she does most of the ballet dancing herself. Mila Kunis adds a good performance as Lily, the uninhibited newcomer, that threatens to upstage Nina. Vincent Cassell also supplies a commendable performance as Thomas, the promiscuous director of the Ballet.

      The film does a great undertaking at trying to connect the audience with Nina’s level of psychosis. She is unstable emotionally and the movie goes through great lengths to try to get the audience in her head. The cinematography and soundtrack of Black Swan is excellent. They both enhance the film very well. It’s visuals are excellent and has dual purpose. Much of the cinematography is used to convey her feelings. Nearly every scene in the movie is used to convey her emotional state within the movie. Multiple camera angles are used to resemble her emotion state. One angle in particular that is used is from behind Nina. Many of the scenes are from behind Nina, this allows the audience to share Nina’s feeling of her instability and her level of insecurity. The final ballet scenes were terrific as Nina dances transforming from the White Swan into the Black Swan was impressive. The soundtrack was equally impressive as it plays just like a ballet, especially in the most tense moments. The music raises and lowers highlighting the action of the film giving the true feel of a ballet.

       Black Swan is extremely dark. Almost twisted in nature. The movie is actually pretty decent but it an exceedingly hard film to watch. Too much of the film plays out like you are on drugs, It’s all over the place. This was the only detractor from the movie. It’s truly difficult to discern what is actually the reality of the film and when it’s Nina twisted perception of reality. The movie never makes it clear. It constantly flip flops between the two and you are constantly trying to make sense of what is going on. This lack of clarity is the only extreme hindrance of what is a good movie but could’ve become a great one.

Little Fockers: "Somebody "Focked" this one up"


By: Da’Mon Guy

     Little Fockers is a moderately amusing, obsessively raunchy film that abuses the PG-13 rating and it doesn’t measure up to the two previous fims. This is the third installment to feature this collection of stars. The film reunites Ben Stiller (Tropic Thunder), Robert DeNiro (Machete), Terri Polo (The Hole), Blythe Danner (Waiting for Forever), Dustin Hoffman (Stranger Than Fiction), Barbara Streisand (Meet the Fockers), and Owen Wilson (Marley & Me ) who all reprise their roles from the two prior “Focker” movies. The film also introduces Jessica Alba (Valentine‘s Day), Kevin Hart (Death at a Funeral), Laura Dern (Tenderness), Harvey Keitel (National Treasure 2), Daisy Tahan (The Other Woman), and Colin Baiocchi (Couples Retreat) to the Focker universe.

     Greg Focker (Stiller) returns again trying to overcome the scrutiny and win the approval of his overbearing father in law, Jack Byrnes (DeNiro). Gregg now a father of twins, tries to measure up to the task of being the head of the Byrnes/Focker family.

     Little Fockers is a fairly amusing comedy that continues the story of the Gregg (Gaylord) Focker, attempting to garner the approval of his Father in Law, Jack Byrnes. The film is fairly entertaining but it has a multitude of issues that hinder the movie from equaling the quality of the two previous movies. The rating of the film, the lack of focus on the other characters, the misuse of the children, the lack of progression in the Gregg/Jack dynamic. These are just a few of the issues that impede the movie from measuring up to the two prior films in the trilogy.

     The most prevalent detractor from the movie is that most of the humor in the movie is really sexually based. The movie that really pushes the envelope of its PG-13 rating. Who Rated this? I don’t know how or who rated this film but it should not have been rated PG-13, it should have been R rated. There isn’t that much of a difference from 13-16. But there is a big difference between 10-13. PG-13 usually indicates some level of family friendly or at least a film that is tolerable for the entire family and this clearly was not. I really thought movies were rated for a reason.

     The film opens with Jack’s concerns about the family, having discovered that one of his two son in laws, had an affair and this sets the tone for the entire film. The film really focuses too much on sexual themed jokes to keep the movie going. There was some sexual reference or some sexual innuendo nearly every ten minutes. The movie opens, continues and ends with it.

     Little Fockers features the return of the great collection of Hollywood star power that graced the two previous movies and it even introduces a few more into the Focker family of films. Conversely, this film doesn’t really use them other than as a side show for the Jack vs. Gregg rivalry. The movie spends way too much time focusing on the rivalry between Jack and Gregg, ignoring the other members of the two families. In the two prior films, especially the last movie, the other members of the two families all had some opportunity to add to the story. This film allows no room for that. Even Ben Stiller wasn’t the Ben Stiller we are accustomed to. We never got the classic “Stiller” zapping out.

     This movie is a prime example of how much a director means to a movie. Little Fockers was director by Paul Weitz and the other two movie were directed by Jay Roach. The changing of directors was clearly detractor for this movie. In the two prior films the title indicated a level of progression in the Byrnes/Focker story. The first film introduced to the character, Gregg Focker in particular, as it is aptly entitled Meet the Parents, the second film Meet the Fockers, introduced to the Focker side of the family as it highlighted Gregg’s parents. This film is entitled Little Fockers. The title of the film would indicate move of a focus on the children. The kids are in the movie but they are only minor details of the story as most of the movie isn’t really about them nor do they get enough screen time. The lack of the Focker in laws in this film hurt it as well. In additon, Owen Wilson’s character had too much screen time in this version. He was overused, unneeded, and unwanted.

     The movie does have its moments in spite of the many detractors. The Jack vs. Gregg rivalry was still extremely entertaining. This film mishandles it but Stiller and DeNiro still maintain the intensity that makes the series work. Jessica Alba was amusing as the ditzy drug rep, Harvey Keitel makes a brief but humorous appearance.

     The comedy in Little Fockers is adult based in nature. It’s hit or miss with no middle ground. Either you’ll like it and laugh or you’ll sit there and wonder why are you watching this. The Focker films have always been about family and the bond/ commitment of marriage. This film is about them but it skews its theme as it focuses too much on the cheating and sexual aspects of marriage. The movie has its short-lived comic moments but not to the high standards set by the previous two. This one was a disappointing addition to two great comedic films.

Grown Ups: "A Lackluster Mishandling of Comedic Talent that is Still Entertains"


By: Da’Mon Guy

      Grown Ups is a light hearted, moderately humorous, family friendly experience that comically highlights the generational differences between the children of today and those of the previous generation. The film intermingles a quintet of today’s top comedic talent that includes Adam Sandler (Bedtime Stories), David Spade (The Benchwarmers), Kevin James (The Dilemma), Chris Rock (Death at a Funeral), and Rob Schneider (Deuce Bigalow: 1&2 ). The movie also features Selma Hayek (Frida), Mario Bello (The Mummy: the Tomb of the Dragon Emperor), Mya Randolph (MacGrubber), Tim Meadows (The Ladies Man) and Steve Buscemi (Youth in Revolt).

      Grown Ups is a collection of witty banter and comedic scenes that focuses on a group of childhood friends that reunite to spend the forth of July holiday together after a 30 year separation. The friends and their families try to have a session of family bonding to renew their friendship.
It comically addresses the differences of growing up in to 70’s as opposed to the technologically obsessed generation of today.

      The film’s biggest asset is the camaraderie between the friends that all of it’s stars portray extremely well. All five of the stars intermingle and interact extremely well which makes the friendships within the movie appear more genuine. The jokes are well timed as each of the actors chime in add their own mark to each series of ridicule between them.

      One of its best attribute of Grown Ups is how it comically addresses the generational differences between the parents and their children. The film gives great comedic instances that cite the technological obsession of today’s youth as opposed to the more creative and simplistic childhood recreation of the prior generation.

      Grown Ups has a couple of major flaws that hinder the success of the movie. The film’s biggest asset is also its greatest detractor. The movie is a lackluster use of the assemblage of actors that comprises it. It does entertain but it isn’t “knock you socks off funny” as you may expect. The film is just an exchange of jokes between the quintet of actors and then the next scene filled with another exchange of jokes. Not enough dialogue or anything to enhance the plot of the film. It was enjoyable for the comedic aspect of the film but it does nothing for the story, this is a movie after all and not a stand up comedic free for all.

      The second is that there is a distinct lack of background of the five childhood friends. We never get any flashbacks of their childhood other than the championship game. The film only uses the basketball experience that the five friends had together as the only childhood flashbacks for the friends. It only makes a few verbal references to their childhood after that. This takes away from the credibility of the strength of their friendship.

      The final detractor is not as considerable as the other two flaws but it hurt the film none the less. There was also a lack of screen time for Chris Rock. Rock is as talented as anyone of the other of the stars and his character for whatever reason was the least shown of the five friends. He had the least amount of screen time and was barely involved in many of the fivesome’s comedic interchanges.

      In spite of its deficiencies, Grown Ups has a really warm message imbedded within its humor. The movie speaks volumes about the importance of family, friendship, and the simple moments that make life worth living. The theme of the movie is about family and how you should never lose touch with the ones that you love. A prime example is how the Feders (Sandler and Hayek) are wealthy and have lost touch with most everyday family occurrences while working to establish their careers. The film shows how life is not about how much wealth and material possessions you attain. It is a great example of how you must maintain a simple ideology in one’s pursuit of career and wealth but never lose touch of the more simplistic ideals that make life valuable.

      Grown Ups is fairly enjoyable but no where the movie that it should be. The majority of movie goes would have assumed that it would have been hilarious based upon the stars that contained. The end result, however, is a convening of comedic talent that fails to maximize the potential of its stars. The movie is humorous but no where near as funny as one may expect. In the end, the film is a slight disappointment but it has enough to make for a good family DVD night.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Tron Legacy: "An Enjoyable, Long Overdue Sequel That Compliments the Original"


By: Da’Mon Guy

      Tron: Legacy is an extremely entertaining, visually captivating, long overdue sequel to a great sci fi classic. The movie stars Jeff Bridges (The Men Who Stare at Goats), Garrett Hedlund (Death Sentence), Olivia Wilde (The Next Three Days), Bruce Boxleitner (Tron), Michael Sheen (Underworld: Rise of the Lycans), and Beau Garrett (Turistas)

      Sam Flynn, the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn, looks into his father's disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 20 years. Along with Kevin's loyal confidant, father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous. (

      Tron: Legacy is a great follow up to the 1982 Disney ground breaking film. The movie is a fantastic visual spectacle much in the same way that the original film was. The first Tron featured innovative visuals that took audiences breaths away and the new film meets and exceeds the bar that was set by its predecessor.
The cinematography of this film adds a great tone the picture as this Tron‘s theme is much darker and more sinister than the first movie. It is a great follow up to the original as it aptly explains the progression of the story and the development of the Tron universe. The first Tron’s universe mirrored the video games of the time as it was filled with bright colors. This film uses more dark tones highlighted by colors to help emphasize the darker tone of the film.

      Tron: Legacy has a very good plot that compliments the original film but it has a universal appeal so that those who never saw the first film can enjoy just as well. The story is very plausible and has very little flaws. The main flaw of the story is the subtracted role of one of its main stars from the original Tron movie, Tron himself. Tron was a warrior program that championed for the users in the first film. He led the revolution against the Master Control Program. The character in the lastest Tron film is more of a henchman and is barely seen. This was huge subtraction.

      The movie is a visually stunning marvel with a multitude of underlying themes about parenting, and family embedded within the larger than life sci fi fantasy. Tron: Legacy is really about family and the legacy that all parents want to leave their children. It is a really good illustration of the obsession with career that many parents chase and in the process they often miss time or ignore the real legacy of them which is their children.

      Tron: Legacy is not about performances. Conversely, the film does contain some notable ones however. The main characters in the movie are portrayed very well. Jeff Bridges, in particular, gives a enjoyable performance as Kevin Flynn. He adds a feel of nostalgia as he uses many phrases like “far out,” “way cool” or other proverbial sayings from the 1980’s to emphasize the character’s lack of progression while being trapped in the computer. Garrett Hedlund does an admirable job as Sam Flynn. The main detractor to his performance was the combat/gladiatorial games that Sam was too proficient at. He too easily defeated everyone in the games. I found it extremely hard to believe the level of ease that he had in defeating some of the more experienced fighters in the games. In the first Tron, Flynn needed the help of Tron to survive the games. In this version, Sam easily takes them out until he faces Tron. Michael Sheen was extremely entertaining in his over the top performance of Zeus. His portrayal of the excessively exuberant Zeus added some color and a great relief to the more serious performances in the film.

       The original Tron was a good story highlighted by ground breaking visual effects that captured everyone attention and it was way ahead of its time with is cinematography. Tron: Legacy is not a performance driven movie. Nearly everyone that goes to see this movie will go to see it for one of two reasons. The visuals or the fans of the original film or both. The movie is equally satisfying in both of those areas as well as enhancing the original story in almost every way. Considering those two factors then Tron:Legacy is an excellent sequel to the classic.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps: Another Less Than Average Follow Up to an 80's Classic

By: Da’Mon Guy

      Hollywood’s love affair with reinventing 80’s movies continues as Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is a mildly entertaining follow up to the movie Wall Street that was released in 1987. The film stars Shia Labeouf (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen), Michael Douglass (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past), Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Susan Sarandon (The Lovely Bones), and Frank Langella (The Box).

      Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is the sequel to the 1987 movie, Wall Street. It uses the fact based financial crash of 2008 as a back story for the plot of the film. This fact based back story adds to the creditability of the film. This movie is much in the same as the first movie. The sequel follows the same formula as the original and focuses on a young, up and coming, stock broker who falls prey to the manipulative ways of Gekko. The movie opens with Gordon Gekko’s release from prison in 2001as a result of insider trading and then fast forwards to 2008 and Gekko is now a public speaker talking about the evil of the economy . The story picks up and follows the life of Jake Moore (Labeouf), a young stock trader. He seemingly has it all until his boss and mentor commits suicide after he is pressured to sell his investment firm. Jake discovers that another investor at a rival firm, Britton James (Brolin), was indirectly responsible for his mentor’s death. Jake then seeks revenge against James.

      The film features some commendable performances. Shia Labeouf, Michael Douglass, and Josh Brolin. The Wall Street universe revolves around Gordon Gekko. Let’s face it, The original Wall Street only became what is was because of that character and Michael Douglass’s depiction of him. Douglass reprises his Academy Award winning and one of his better know roles, Gordon Gekko. Douglass picks right up where he left off in his masterful portrayal of Gekko. He is as manipulative and cunning as ever. He masterfully uses Jake to exact revenge and re-establish a relationship with his estranged daughter. The movie is carried by Shia Labeouf’s performance as the driven Jake Moore and by Josh Brolin’s Britton James. The two play very good rivals in spite of the distinct age difference. Carey Mulligan gives an adequate performance as emotionally withdrawn, estranged girlfriend and daughter of Gordon Gekko. Charlie Sheen also makes a cameo returning as Bud Fox from the first film.

      This film is hindered by a couple of problems. The first is Shia Lebeouf’s character’s motivations are never truly clear. In the beginning of the film, he is apparently motivated by money. Next, he’s campaigng to get money to support a fusion energy investment. Then he’s out for revenge, all the while he’s all about his girlfriend. The character’s true desires are extremely muddled. The second is the pace of the movie. The film moves at a snail’s pace to anyone who isn’t familiar with the knowledge of the stock world. The middle of the film is filled with a lot of information involving the financial crash of 2008 that makes the film credible but it also makes it somewhat difficult to follow. It was extremely hard to relate to as someone isn’t extremely familiar with the investment world.

      The original Wall Street wasn’t that great of a film as it is more known for a character and details of it as opposed to how good the movie actually was. The film featured one of that decades great movie characters, Gordon Gekko. It was forever immortalized by Gekko’s “Winner takes all approach to the corporate world and his famous quote “Greed is Good” as it became one of the truly iconic phases from a film. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps was a let down for me. The film had a lot of potential based upon the stars, the story, and the director but just flops. The original movie wasn’t that great but this one didn’t even measure up to that one. The first film is about money, power and greed, but it is a film about human relationships and redemption. The movie moves very slow and Gekko’s sublte character change at the end wasn’t anywhere close to being slightly convincing. The film message that love is more powerful than money was unbelievable because the characters or the story didn’t persuade the audience to accept it. A mishandled movie that truly disappoints based on all that it had going for it. A lackluster following to a cult classic that becomes extremely mundane and run of the mill.

Knight and Day: "An Extremely

By: Da’Mon Guy

      Knight and Day is an extremely enjoyable, terrific intermingling of action and comedy. It’s an action packed film that never bores and is easily one of the most entertaining movies of 2010. This the second film to unite the duo of Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible trilogy), and Cameron Diaz (The Box). The film also features Peter Sarsgaard (Orphan), Viola Davis (Eat Pray Love), Jordi Molla (Bad Boys 2), and Maggie Grace (Faster).

      On the way to her sister’s wedding in Boston, a woman has a chance meeting with a man who turns out to be a rouge agent and turns her life upside down.

      Knight and Day is a very entertaining film. The film aptly intertwines action and comedy superbly. The movie has an extremely light hearted nature that enhances the comedic aspect of the film but it doesn’t detract from the seriousness of it either. It’s a rarity that occurs in these types of film. Knight and Day eloquently handles the delicate balance of the two, merging the two of them very well to present a very enjoyable movie.

      Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz are at their best in this film that is one hundred times better than the last movie that they teamed up to do (Vanilla Sky). The chemistry between Cruise and Diaz is magnificent as every scene that the two of them are in sparkles. Tom Cruise still has the charisma to make the movie work with his dialogue and the physicality to make this movie work as well as he his with his prior action performances. Diaz was in top form as the reluctant side kick, June Havens. Her smile still captivates and as well as her “Valley Girl” personality. Cruise stars as Roy Miller, an apparently rouge agent with a penchant for being unspeakably calm no matter the situations. Cruise’s comedic timing was impeccable. Roy’s repeated greeting of “Hi June” to Diaz‘s character was terrifically well timed and very amusing. The film takes off right after Roy and June's chance meeting, or so it appears. From there, the movie takes off and never stops. The action of the movie is terrific.

      Knight and Day has a really sweet love story submerged within the comedy and the action. The movie is really about a chance encounter between two individuals who are a point in their lives where they both are seeking to satisfy unfilled opportunities and desires. Their first conversation exhibit’s the longing the two of them have for that special someone as they share their “bucket list.”

      The film uses the initial flirtatious encounter between Roy and June as a basis for their romance and never moves it too fast. The budding romance between Roy and June isn’t forced or over the top. It had a more genuine feel to it. The movie makes the focus of their romance on what it may become and not on the immediate. Their attraction to one another was key for much of the movie and this perspective adds to the mysterious nature of Roy’s character. It breaks the usual “James Bond” jump into the bed with the spy cliché. It slowly develops their attraction throughout the film, allowing it to cultivate between them as opposed to many films that force the situation for some quick illicit sex scene. It never goes too far as it always borders flirtation. This approach gives the audience a more satisfying conclusion to the movie.

      I don’t know why Knight and Day got such a bad rap over the summer. This a fun movie to watch. You’ll enjoy this film throughout just as I did. The film is full of action and the comedy is well placed. No aspect of this film will disappoint. It was easily one of the better films of 2010. This was ten times better than the other couple spy movie (Killers) that come out earlier this year. Knight and Day is a movie that will only get better the more times you see it.

Chloe: "A New, Entertaining Perspective on the Story of Obssession"




By: Da’Mon Guy

      Chloe is a fascinating, suspense story filled with manipulation, deception, mistrust, lust, and obsession. It’s a incredibly intimate tale that explores the lengths that desire can drive someone. The film showcases the talents of Julianne Moore (Blindness), Liam Neeson (The A-Team), and Amanda Seyfried (Jennifer’s Body).

      A woman, Catherine Stewart (Moore), a very successful gynocologist, seemingly has it all. She’s attractive, has a thriving practice, and a on the surface, a perfect family. But Catherine’s family life is anything but perfect. Catherine has started to feel the affects of age, loneliness and slightly disconnected from her family. She has a teenage son that she can no longer relate to and husband that she has loss touch with. Catherine’s emotional instability and insecurities lead her to suspect that her husband of infidelity. She then hires a prostitute to seduce him in order to validate her suspicions.

      Chloe is a story of seduction in the style of Fatal Attraction. The movie is a slow paced erotic thriller of deception, mistrust, and love. The movie opens with a brief dialogue by Chloe about her profession that gives some insight into the movie. Deception is the overriding theme of the film as the movie itself seduces the audience by leading us to believe that it’s about one point but in actuality it’s something other than what the audience is led to believe from the onset. Chloe manipulates the details of the story that creates a misleading plot in order to build anticipation for the real core of the story. It exquisitely gives you a slow build up influencing the audience to believe that it is the usual, well chronicled, unfaithful husband movie but then it quickly changes to all together different.

      Chloe uses some really close camera shots to establish a level of intimacy. Many of the shots of the actors in the beginning are close shots of their face as we are able to discern the emotion that each actor is going through. This use of cinematography establishes a feeling of intimacy as it draws the audience close into the story. This establishes a level of personal connection between the audience and the main characters of the movie.

      The film offers some really good quality performances, headlined by Amanda Seyfried as Chloe. This film is Seyfried's best to date as she portrays the obsessed Chloe. She depicts the scheming, emotionally unstable, prostitute to perfection. This was easily the best performance of the film as she manipulates Catherine in her pursuit of her affections. Chloe’s calculated manipulation of Catherine‘s insecurities was a treat to watch as this exhibits how things aren't always as they appear. This movie was also one of the better performances for Julianne Moore. Her character of Catherine was the focus of the movie as most of the movie revolved around Moore being able to convince the audience of Catherine’s insecurities, desires, and the emotional disconnection from her family. Moore does it admirably Liam Neeson gives a nice performance as the David Stewart. It was nothing special but it complimented the movie well.

      Chloe was a very interesting movie. The movie is a slightly different twist the usual obsession perspective. This approach made for some very good viewing. The characters were well portrayed and I really liked the twist taking the story in a new direction as opposed to the overused cheating husband story. Not an outstanding movie but a good one nonetheless. It is more than satisfying enough to entertain.