Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Other Guys: "A Tragic Misuse of Talent"


By Da’Mon Guy

      The Other Guys is a depressing flirtation with comedy that abuses the fans base of the actors who star in the movie. The film is a faintly amusing disappointment that does not live up to the star power that it contains. The movie is filled with an plethora of talent that is led by Will Ferrell (Step Brothers) and Mark Wahlberg (The Lovely Bones). The film also features Eva Mendes (The Women), Samuel L. Jackson (Lakeview Terrace), Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson (Faster), Michael Keaton (Post Grad), Ray Stevenson (Punisher: War Zone), Anne Heche (Spread), Rob Riggle (The Hangover), Steve Coogan (Hamlet 2) and Damon Wayans, Jr. (Dance Flick).

      The two top police officers in New York city die in the line of duty leaving a need for someone to replace them. A mismatched duo of officers then attempt to replace them and solve the big case.

      The Other Guys an extremely disappointing attempt at comedy. The film delivers a few fleeting moments of humor that evaporate quickly. It is a brief tease with being humorous but not enough to entertain even the most devote fan of Will Ferrell. The movie is no where near as funny as it should’ve have been. The Other Guys has a number of really good comedic scenes but they are quickly drowned out by the next unfunny one.

      The film has a great collection of stars and it simply misuses the entire cast. Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson were the best cop duo in the film. Their brief appearance of the film stole every scene that they were in. The film’s value quickly dropped once their characters left the movie. The other buddy cop duos in the film didn’t measure up to Jackson and Johnson in the story or with their performance. Wayans, Jr and Ripple as or the focus of the story Ferrell and Walhberg.

      The movie has a few brief moments of comedic genius. Some of the comedic scenes are extremely funny such as Alan’s (Ferrell) irritating humming of SWAT’s theme song while doing paperwork to irritate Terry (Walhberg), Terry’s accidental shooting of Derek Jeter, the wooden gun that Alan is forced to carry, the scene where the explosion knocks both of them to the ground, Terry’s openly disrespectful obsession with Alan’s wife, Alan’s college persona of the pimp, “Gator.” The Other Guys does have its great moments but they are more overshadowed by the multitude of bad ones.

      I think my expectations for this movie were too high which led to my level of disappointment in this movie. I really love Will Ferrell’s movies, I am one of his biggest supporters. However, The Other Guys is a disastrous catastrophy that has literally shaken my faith in Will Ferrell’s comedic ability. The film is slightly amusing and contains a few good moments of comedy but none of them are nearly enough to drown my disappointment of this calamity.

State of Play: "An Exceptional Politcal Thriller that Never Bores"


By: Da’Mon Guy

      State of Play is a captivating political thriller stockpiled with deception, subterfuge, and betrayal. This is a motion picture adaptation of a six part BBC television series. The film is constructed of a talented cast that is highlighted by a trio of first rate performances by Russell Crowe (Robin Hood), Ben Affleck (The Town), and Rachel McAdams (The Time Traveler‘s Wife). It also features great supporting performances by Hellen Mirren (Red), Robin Wright (New York, I Love You), Jeff Daniels (Traitor), and Jason Bateman (Couples Retreat).

      A team of investigative reporters work alongside a police detective to try to solve the murder of a congressman's mistress. A petty thief is gunned down in an alley and a Congressman's assistant falls in front of a subway - two seemingly unrelated deaths. But not to wisecracking, brash newspaper reporter Cal McAffrey who spies a conspiracy waiting to be uncovered. With a turbulent past connected to the Congressman and the aid of ambitious young rookie writer Della Frye, Cal begins uprooting clues that lead him to a corporate cover-up full of insiders, informants, and assassins. But as he draws closer to the truth, the relentless journalist must decide if it's worth risking his life and selling his soul to get the ultimate story. (

      State of Play is a exceptional suspense story that never bores. The movie’s mystery begins immediately from the opening minute. The film is well played out as the events of the story has many twists. The twist and changes in the film quickly build anticipation for the next twist in the story which enhances the suspense of the movie. The film is a multilayered story that speaks volumes about today‘s society. In one breath, it aptly exhibit’s the lengths that people will go for financial and sexual rewards. Then, it shows the character and passion of the people who dedicate themselves seeking the truth.

      State of Play is packed with a number of high-quality performances. Every role is played exquisitely. Crowe, McAdams, Affleck, Mirren, Wright, Daniels, and Bateman are all on the top of their game in order to deliver a top caliber whodunit. Crowe’s portrayal of the driven reporter, Cal McCaffery, is done exceptionally well. Rachel McAdams as Della Frye, is an excellent supporting character to McCaffery. Ben Affleck delivers one of his best portrayals and it is also one of the best performances in a film filled with superb acting. Affleck’s outstanding depiction of Congressman Collins is at the core of the film as his character is one of the driving forces of it.
The film contains a number of excellent aspects intertwined into the story that increases the enjoyment of Cal McCaffery‘s pursuit of the truth. The back story to the relationship between he and the Collins, both Stephen and Anne was a terrific dynamic to the story.

      State of Play took me by surprise. I assumed that it would be good but no where near as enjoyable as it turned out to be. State of Play is as good as it gets when it comes to mysteries. This is a first rate whodunit that will have you guessing until the end. The story is deliciously well written as the plot will delectably twist and turn. It will take hold of you and have you in suspense waiting for the next turn. The characters of the story are aptly well portrayed. This is a brilliant suspense thriller in the mode of an Alfred Hitchcock type mystery. The movie is a must see and you will love every minute of it.

DC Comics Showcase presents Superman vs Shazam: The Return of the Black Adam: "An Entertaining Updating of a Classic Charater's Origin"


By: Da’Mon Guy

Memorable Quote:
“I fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.”

       DC comics Showcase presents Superman vs. Shazam: the Return of the Black Adam is a enjoyable, very entertaining animated feature that showcases three of the most powerful characters in the DC comics universe. It’s the latest animated feature from DC direct. The Return of the Black Adam features the voice talents of Zach Collison (Hanna Montana, Tv series), George Newbern (Saw VI), Jerry O’ Connell (Obsessed), Arnold Vosolo (The Mummy series), and James Gardner (The Notebook)

      The Return of the Black Adam is an extremely enjoyable animated short that updates of one of DC comics lesser known heroes, Captain Marvel. This latest animated feature modernizes his origins. The short is also a first-class showcase for another of DC comics lesser known characters, the formidable villian, The Black Adam. Superman makes a guest appearance in order to bring a mainstream audience’s attention to the animated feature. Billy Batson acquires his powers from the wizard, Shazam. Young Batson transforms into the mighty Captain Marvel when he speaks the name of the wizard who gave him his powers, Shazam. The Wizard's name "Shazam" - is an acronym from the initials of the deities who gave the protectors their powers. For Billy Batson the gods are Solomon (wisdom), Hercules (strength), Atlas (stamina), Zeus (power), Achilles (courage) and Mercury (speed); and for Black Adam it's the Egyptian gods Shu (stamina), Heru (speed), Amon (strength), Zehuti (wisdom), Aton (power) and Mehen (courage).

      The Return of the Black Adam is very exciting as the action begins almost as soon as the story does. The Black Adam boldly leaps into the narrative as he tries to kill his would be replacement, Billy Batson. The battles quickly ensue as the Man of Steel swoops in to thwart his efforts. The physical confrontations are big and bold as you witness the limitless physical abilities of all three combatants. The all powerful combatants clash using their immense power to clash, using the entire city and the air above it as their battlefield.

      The short exquisitely blends the child like feel of Captain Marvel’s alter ego, Billy Batson, into the progression of the story. The child like innocence of his personality is present throughout the animated feature as it adds enhances the story giving it a light hearted approach. It also very human element into the story and is a great contrast to Superman’s more serious character.
The dvd is comprised of a list of shorts highlighted by this one. The others contained on the disc are Jonah Hex (previously released with Batman: Under the Red Hood), Green Arrow (previously released with Superman/ Batman: Apocalypse) and The Spectre (previously released with Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths).

      I really enjoyed DC comics Showcase presents Superman vs. Shazam: the Return of the Black Adam. This short was better than the last animated feature, Superman/ Batman: Apocalypse. The short’s length is a its biggest detractor. The short appeals to all ages as it has an appealing story. It’s also stockpiled with enough action to keep any adrenaline junkie satisfied. The length of it is a real tease as it is only one of a collection of shorts. I would readily recommend this as it is very good viewing but not to buy at the price. It’s not worth the $20 that it costs and the other shorts are already released on other DC animated features. However, if you haven’t seen the others then the DVD is definitely worth the money as all of the shorts are very good.

Lottery Ticket: "A disappointing callaboration of African American star power"


By Da’Mon Guy

      Lottery Ticket is a slightly humorous movie that faintly teeters above mediocrity. The movie is highlighted by an all star African American cast. The film’s cast is comprised of Lil’ Bow Wow (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift), Brandon T. Jackson (Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief), Loretta Devine (For Colored Girls), Naturi Naughton (Fame), Ice Cube (First Sunday). The movie features appearances by Charlie Murphy (Our Family Wedding), Mike Epps (Next Day Air), Keith David (Death at a Funeral), Terry Crews (The Expendables), T-Pain, and Bill Belamy (The Brothers).

      A young man, Kevin Carson (Bow Wow), wins the Lotto and must survive the pressures and temptations of his urban neighbor for three days during the forth of July weekend until he can cash the ticket in.

      Lottery Ticket is a movie that has a lot of duality with it. It‘s almost like two sides to a coin. Let’s examine the film as heads and tales. On one side (Heads), it’s a predictable, stereotypical film that supports the negative perception of African Americans. Then on the other side (Tails), it’s a somewhat humorous movie that entertains with a warm hearted good message.

      Lottery Ticket tries to evoke nostalgia for old school neighborhood-centric comedies like Friday. The film echoes Friday from the opening scenes but it fails miserably as this just doesn’t have the same level of appeal as the Friday movies. Many of the scenes and characters are very reminiscent of those films as it pessimistically does not measure up. Nearly all of the relevant roles from Craig to Smokey to Deebo are included. Lottery Ticket fails in every way that the first Friday succeeded.

      The duo of Bow Wow and Brandon Jackson cannot compare to the duos of Ice Cube and Chris Tucker or Ice Cube and Mike Epps. Bow Wow was mostly unimpressive in this movie. His range of acting is quickly becoming very limited as this role was indifferent than many of the roles that he has portrayed in most of his films to date. His depiction of Kevin Carson, was very typical and boring. He literally brought nothing to this role. He was barely funny and when he finally had a change of character, I didn’t care. Brandon T. Jackson was amusing as Benny. He had the best performance in the film. He easily out played everyone else in the film. The film is crammed with guest appearances by a number of top quality African American actors. Each of them making some slightly humorous cameo. In spite of the abundance of talent, the supporting cast as well as the comedic value of the movie was less than impressive. The film was way too predictable. Not allowing for anything special from any of the actors.

      Lottery ticket is a billboard for creating/maintaining false perception about African Americans. The film is a showcase for stereotypical perceptions of inner city African Americans. The movie has a few fleeting moments of comedy but they are quickly forgotten as the film embraces every stereotype that you can name for a “hood movie.” This is a film that glorifies the misfortunes of those living in impoverished areas. It increases the deformation of lower and working class African Americans. The film hinders the positive perception of African Americans and at the same time it increases the already negative perceptions of African Americans.

      In spite of all of the negativity within Lottery Ticket, it does have good intentions. The film utilizes a really light hearted approach to it and it has an extremely warm message embedded within it. The movie spoke volumes about true friendship, not allowing money to corrupt someone, giving back to the community, and the belief in one’s self.

      Lottery Ticket is supposed to be funny. It’s contains some brief flashes of humor but not enough to substantiate the production of it. It does more harm to African Americans that in does to entertain. I liked some of it but not enough of it to endorse. After watching Friday, this just seems like a cheap rip off.

Centurion: "A multi-layered Blood and Guts treat."



By Da’Mon Guy

      Centurion is a little known, enjoyable, action packed fictitious tale based on the historical events that surrounded the disappearance of the Roman 9th legion. The film premiered in limited release in August of 2010. Centurion stars Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Bastards), Dominic West (Punisher: War Zone), Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) David Morrissey (Basic Instinct 2), and Axelle Carolyn (Doomsday).
      Britain, A.D. 117. Quintus Dias, the sole survivor of a Pict raid on a Roman frontier fort, marches north with General Virilus' legendary Ninth Legion, under orders to wipe the Picts from the face of the Earth and destroy their leader, Gorlacon. (
      The movie is an enjoyable fable set in the time of the Roman empire. The subplot of the main story is the Roman’s attempted conquest of a nomadic people known as the Picts. The main story surrounds the remaining soldiers of the Roman 9th legion that try to return to Rome after a failed confrontation with the Picts. The remaining group of seven men then try to escape the land of the Picts. They attempt to trek back to Roman territory but in the process they are then hunted by the Picts. The movie is really simplistic in nature, a chase film. The Picts led by Etan (Kurylenko) are on a blood hunt chasing after Dias (Fassbender) and his remaining Roman soldiers after one of them killed the Pict king’s son.

      The film is a multi layered story. On the surface, it’s an action movie, but beneath the blood, guts, and gore, it’s a film that is filled with deception, mistrust, betrayal, loyalty, and the need to find one’s true place in the world. The movie does a good job at showing the more barbaric nature of both sides of the conflict as the Romans attempt to conquer the seemingly barbaric Picts but the Romans are equally as uncivilized, just in a different way. The movie also shows in detail how both races of people are not oblivious to persecution of their own kind. From one another and from within. Both cultures turn on their own people for the sake of its beliefs. The Romans for glory and the Picts for religion.

      Centurion is filled with action and is graphically violent. This is not a film for the weak stomached, the conflict is brutal but fitting. The cinematography and action sequences are very well shot. The fight scenes are swift, bloody and violent. A good representation of the time of the movie. The film contains one of the better confrontation scenes that I’ve seen in a period based film as the Picts commenced a surprise attack of the 9th legion. The film is has a really good look in spite of a lack of budget.
      The film is carried by a duo of commendable performances. Micheal Fassbender, and Olga Kurylenko both give entertaining performances. Fassbender and Kurylenko’s characters are the central focus of the film. Fassbender as Quintus Dias is compelling. Kurylenko is equally good as the mute Pict, Etan. Usually known for her looks more than her acting Kurylenko gives a decent performance as the driven female barbarian. She is very convincing as she doesn’t contain any line within the film. Dominic West made an very brief but confusing performance as the Roman general. The character was initially portrayed as a “bad ass” but was quickly dismissed as he was captured and killed. The character’s only relevance was to serve as motivation for Fassbender’s character, Dias.

      Centurion is a mildly enjoyable movie. The film will be more entertaining for fans of period based films. However, the story is simplistic and enjoyable. The movie isn’t a must see but it is more than adequate enough to satisfy a boring night at home.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Warrior's Way: "The Greatest Trick Ever Played"

By: Da’Mon Guy

      The Warrior’s Way is a trav-sham-mockery! This film is the biggest swindle that I have ever witnessed by a movie. This misleading debacle is an unsatisfying story in the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon mold. The Warrior’s Way stars Jang Dong Gun (The Promise), Kate Bosworth (Superman: Returns), Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean), Danny Huston (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and Tony Cox (Disaster Movie).
       After refusing to kill a baby, who is the last member of his clan’s 500 year war. A samurai-assassin, known as Yang (Dong Gun), becomes hunted by his own clan. Rescuing the baby and then escaping to America, he is befriended by a wild west circus.

      The Warrior’s Way is a trav-sham-mockery! (Travesty, Shamble, Mockery) What that means is that this movie is most certainly not what it promoted to be when looking at the trailer. The movie’s first 10 minutes and the movie’s last 30 min are all of the kung fu that it contains. This movie is the best example of how trailers can sell movies tickets. The film is fairly entertaining but it is no where near the martial arts spectacle that it is advertised to be.
      The film is visually captivating. It’s a visual delight filled with excellent cinematography. The movie has a look and feel of the style of 300. The action sequences of the film look just like they are jumping off of the pages of a comic book. This look enhances the look and feel of the movie as it quickly absorbs the audience into the fight sequences.
      There really isn’t any performances to highlight the movie. Dang Gun as Yang is likeable and looks good in his martial arts scenes. His character doesn’t speak much in the film. He looks uncomfortable in most of his normal scenes but he’s in the film for his martial arts and he does a first rate job with those scenes. Kate Bosworth was mildly entertaining in her performance of Lynne. Her bogus country accent was terrible and extremely irritating. The rest of her performance wasn’t unbearable as her character’s back story was a good addition to the main plot of Yang’s. Geoffrey Rush, Tony Cox, and Danny Huston all give commendable performances in a lackluster movie.
       The opening of the film establishes an brilliant pretense for a martial arts film as the hoax begins. The opening fighting scene is fantastic and to the point. It’s visually engrossing as initial confrontation ensues. Yang is one step away from completing his dual purposed quest to become the world’s greatest swordsmen and eliminate all of the members of the opposing clan. He quickly executes them. He then becomes the world greatest swordsmen. The swordsmen are samurai and as all great samurai confrontations should go, it was quick and to the point. A terrific illustration of his level of swordsmanship. The movie brilliantly encompasses what the art of Bushido and Kendo is all about.

      The Warrior’s Way biggest downfall is that this is advertised as a martial arts extravaganza. The trailers and everything shown seduces movie goers to come to the movies to see a kung fu film and this is more of a story of sympathy than it is of action. The movie has it’s good points but none of them are enough to garner the ticket price or enduring the less than satisfying back story. The movie was advertised as a martial arts movie and that’s what most people are going to go to see this with that expectation and The Warrior’s Way absolutely murders that preconception. The movie’s final scene was fantastic but it was no where near worth having to sit through the hour that it took to build up to it. The first 10 minutes and the last 30 minutes are exceptional and what the audience came to see. It’s a shame that the fighting is very limited because it is first rate and the easily the best part of the movie. More of it and the film could’ve been great. HEED MY WARNING, WAIT FOR THE DVD. Then you can watch the first ten minutes and the hit the skip so that you can watch the last 30 minutes and have the martial arts showcase that the trailer sold us on.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: "This is Possibly the Dumbest Movie Ever"


By: Da’Mon Guy

      Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a brainless catastrophe that is easily one of the worse movies that I have seen to date. This dim witted debacle is the latest film to star the unendurable Michael Cera (Youth in Revolt). The movie also features Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Live Free or Die Hard), Allison Pill (Dan in Real Life), Mark Webber (Snow Day), Johnnie Simmons (Jennifer’s Body), Ellen Wong (Unnatural History, TV series), and Kieran Culkin (The Cider House Rules) The movie contains a number of guest appearances by some good Hollywood talent. Brandon Routh (Superman Returns), Clifton Collins, Jr. (The Experiment), Thomas Jane (The Mist), Chris Evans (The Losers) all show up in this debauchery.

       In order to date the girl of his dreams, A young man, Scott Pilgrim (Cera), must fight her seven former ex’s to the death in order to be with her.
      There is very little to be positive about in this ludicrous depravity. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World has only two aspects of this calamity worth mentioning, one of them is the movie’s special effects. The visuals of the movie are top-quality. They are cutting edge and state of the art. From the opening credits, the movie unfolds just like a video game. Many of the bleeps and quips from old 80’s video games are added to the film to give an old school Nintendo feel. This particular aspect was very impressive. Most of it was excessive to the point of exasperation. However, it was very innovative, giving the movie a lot of originality. The battles were also a pleasure to watch in spite of the ridiculous nature of them. The fights were remarkable and well choreographed.
      The second positive aspect of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is that it has a very warm message embedded within its absurdity. The film teeters the line of idiocy but if you can look past the ridiculousness nature of it then one can discern that it really has good intentions. It speaks volumes about overcoming and look past someone’s faults and or shortcomings in order to be with them. The movie is also about overcoming the obstacles for someone that you potentially love. Ignoring the past and look forward to building with them for the future. The film also does a good job at addressing the nature of breaking up with someone. It shows how one should overcoming bad feelings and then make penance for wronging others.
      The only thing worse than watching Michael Cera in a movie is watching THIS movie with movie with Michael Cera as the star. Cera’s comic style of incisive babbling is intolerable enough when he is in a good movie. Paired with this misfortune, It was as bad as getting a route canal.

       There isn’t any reason in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World to even remotely suggest that it is worth viewing. It easily one of the stupidest movies that I have seen in some time. The plot of the story is dumb and the movie’s delivery of it is simply idiotic. The movie is utterly senseless to the point of being unwatchable. This was an almost unbearable hour plus. The only reason that I finished watching it was to be able to warn as many people as I could of this ludicrous disaster. I feel like someone stole an hour and forty two minutes from my life. I would love use everyone responsible for the creation of this film for target practice with a large caliber assault weapon.

The Experiment: "A Little Known Secret that Needs to be Shared"


By: Da’Mon Guy
      The Experiment is an engaging, thought provoking, psychological thriller that examines the destructive nature of man. The movie exhibits the talents of Forrest Whitaker (Repo Men), Adrien Brody (Predators), Cam Gigandet (Pandorum), and Clifton Collins, Jr. (Extract).

      The Experiment is a direct to video remake adapted from a German movie called Das Experiment that was released in 2001. Both films are based on a book that was inspired by the real-life events that occurred at a Stanford University’s study of a prison experiment in 1971. A group of 26 men volunteer for a two week behavioral psychological experiment. The Experiment involves study of aggressive behavior in a closed environment that quickly escalates to the point of being out of control.

     The movie begins very slowly but it quickly gets better once the experiment begins. At the beginning of the examination, all of the men are taking away into an isolated facility. Upon their arrival, they are made aware of the guidelines for the test, and that because of the nature of it, some of them may lose their civil rights during the experiment. The participants agree to the experiment and are divided into two parties, the prisoners and the guards. Both of the groups are advised that there is no violence of any form is allowed in the study or it will end by a red light buzzing. They are also informed that if the experiment ends then no one gets paid. The Guards, however, are given a second set of rules that they are supposed to use to govern the prisoner without the use of violence. They are also told that they must maintain order or the experiment ends and no one gets paid.

      The film contains a very solid story that is highlighted by a quartet of really quality performances. Forrest Whitaker, Adrien Brody, Clifton Collins, and Cam Gigandet all give solid performances in the movie. Forrest Whitaker’s portrayal of Burris is the best of the movie. His depiction of the power drunken Burris Whitaker’s dark transformation of Burris is the driving force of the movie. Whitaker did a first rate job at convincing the audience of Burris. Burris power trip was complete when he got an erection after his first taste of power as he handcuffed and humiliated Travis. Gigandet’s twisted portrayal of Chase was manipulative and his cruelty matched Burris’s as he was the one to first embellish the role of power inciting the other would be guards to do the same. Brody’s character of Travis was an excellent off set to Whitaker’s Burris. Brody did a first rate job at conveying Travis’s multitude of emotions and the constant battle he had within himself as he tried to avoid a violent response to being constantly degraded and continually tested. Clifton Collins, Jr adds a good performance in his limited appearances as the ex-con Arian, Nix.

      The film is very entertaining but it does have some shortcomings. The biggest problem is the lack of details about the main characters. The movie barely reveals enough about Travis (Brody), Burris (Whitaker), and Chase (Gigandet). Nix (Collins) never has anything revealed about his background accept for a quick verbal assessment by Travis who notices his tattoos. We get a scene or two about them and maybe a line or so in dialogue about each them. The movie never discloses enough about the main characters to help to understand what motivates the rapid behavior changes that each man, especially the guards, undergoes during the experiment. The second is the experiment itself. The film never explains why the experiment was being conducted. This would make more sense if we knew why some corporation was willing to pay these mean an obscene amount of money, $14, 000 each, to watch them kill one another. The third shortcoming is the scientist themselves are never shown. One is shown at the beginning of the movie and before the men enter the experiment begins and then he’s never seen again. Not even at the end of the movie. That exclusion hurts the climax of the movie.

      The Experiment is violent and very graphic. It is also a very good movie that questions one’s moral compass and human nature. The film is filled with some really good acting. I really enjoyed this movie. I absolutely loved watching Forest Whitaker as his dark performance drove the movie. The movie had a lot of inconsistency but not enough to hinder the enjoyment of the movie. The end of the movie was a little unsatisfying as too many details were left out which made lose value. In spite of that, The Experiment is a definite watch for anyone who enjoys a good movie.

Youth in Revolt



By: Da’Mon Guy

      Youth in Revolt  is a mediocre, slightly entertaining, comedic coming of age story. The film assembles a talented ensemble cast that is headlined by Michael Cera and features Portia Doubleday (The Wheelerboys), Jean Smart (Sweet Home Alabama) Zack Galifiankis (The Hangover), Justin Long (He’s Just Not That Into You), Steve Buschemi (Grown Ups), Fred Willard (Anchorman) and Ray Liotta (Date Night).

      Nick Twisp (Cera) is a young teen who finds his first love but has no way to stay with her. He devises an alter ego to become the rebel that he needs to become in order to aid in his goal to fulfill his desires and lose his virginity.

      Youth in Revolt is a comedic take on the coming of age story that fits into the usual coming of age boy meets girl archetype. The film contains a plot that is not too different than most. It contains many of the stereotypical elements as in most of the stories of this nature. Youth in Revolt, however, adds a really enjoyable twist to break free of the usual archetype. It breathes a lot of originality into the usual coming of age story of horny teenage boys trying to lose their virginity. The addition of the dual identity of Nick Twisp. This character gives the story a unique perspective that allows every teenager to visually live vicariously though Nick’s double identity of Francois Dellinger.

      The movie features the agonizing performance of Michael Cera. Conversely, Cera actually portrays two roles in the film. Nick Twisp, is his usual whiny, loquacious, portrayal and then there's Dillinger. Dillinger is Nick’s exact opposite and the exact opposite of every other excruciating performance of Cera to this point. He’s straight to the point and more devious than anything Cera has portrayed to this point. Dellinger has no moral boundaries as he is willing to all of the bad things that teens dream of, without hesitation or fear discipline. It was a welcome change to being subjected to another one of the insufferable, over verbose performances by Michael Cera.
      Youth In Revolt is full of humorus scenes. Many of them are the usual stereotypical teenage rebellion scenes but this movie slightly different approach breathes fresh life into them. The film’s terrific supporting cast is the only thing that even began to make this painstaking process of spending an hour and a half with Cera bearable. Each of the supporting actors Long, Galfinikas, Buschemi, Willard, and Liotta enrich many of the scenes with good quality humor make it comical.
      Youth is Revolt is a pretty good movie in spite of Michael Cera. I would have liked this movie much better if someone else where the star. Where it really suffers is it’s star. I think that Michael Cera hinders this picture. Cera’s brand of talkative, obsessively wordy approach to comedy makes my skin crawl. I literally hate this guy. However, the movie is actually slightly entertaining. It's somewhat funny so it's humorous enough to satisfy a boring night at home.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Disappearance of Alice Creed: "The Little Movie that Could"

By: Da’Mon Guy

      The Disappearance of Alice Creed is an intriguing thriller full of deception, betrayal, mistrust, greed and love. The film premiered in limited release in 2010. The movie features Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia), Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes), and Martin Compston.
      Two ex cons kidnap the daughter of a millionaire. They lock her in a fortified apartment and hold her for ransom. As the story progresses, nothing is as simple as it seems.

      The Disappearance of Alice Creed is a British movie that premiered in limited release in August of 2010. It’s a surprising suspense thriller that will keep you guessing as to what will happen next throughout the course of the movie. The opening of the film aptly exhibits the detailed, meticulous preparation of the two kidnappers for the abduction. These cold, calculating, steps quickly trigger an emotional response as the audience bares witness to these sinister acts. After watching the two of them, it instantaneously desensitizing the audience, erasing any apathy for the two kidnappers. Conversely, this immediately establishes an instant level of sympathy for the victim. The movie really emphasizes many of the details of the kidnapping to establish the look and feel of a kidnapping.

      The Disappearance of Alice Creed progresses just like a short story. It gives you just enough details to peak your attention but never too much to spoil the suspense in the process of raising the audience’s anticipation for the next twist in the plot. The movie moves at a terrific pace. Each scene cleverly reveals a small detail that builds a level of anticipation for the next one as it eloquently intertwines the details with the unfolding action of the story. The movie’s only detractor is that it doesn’t clearly give too much insight into the background of each character other than a brief verbal exchange about each. However, this approach adds to the suspense of the film but it hurts the end as we never truly understand any of their motives.

            The Disappearance of Alice Creed is comprised of three very good quality performances. Arterton as Alice, the kidnap victim, portrays the role masterfully as the audience can feel the gambit of emotions that she delectably depicts in the movie. Martin Compston gives as equally compelling performance as the seemingly conflicted Danny. His character was at the center of the film and Compston gives a skillful performance that is both sinister and sympathetic simultaneously. Finally, Eddie Marsan (Vic), rounds out the trio of good performances that drive the movie. Marsan depiction of Vic, mirrors the opening of the film. Cold, calculating and ruthless. His evil performance is the foundation for the film. The movie contains three very flawed tragic characters. This adds to the reality of each. Each of the characters emotionally driven and bound to one another by the circumstances. They each underwent a specific change by the end the film that alters your initial perception of each of them. The film involves one of the most interesting plot twists that you’ll ever see.

       The Disappearance of Alice Creed is not your normal kidnapping movie. It’s a very cleverly written thriller that will hold your attention and then surprise you through out. Nothing is as simple as it appears with in the movie. It contains an interesting twist that is the film’s real strength. This movie will definitely surprise you as it is not what it appears to be from the outset. I really enjoyed The Disappearance of Alice Creed. I didn’t know what to expect from this movie. I heard that this was a really good movie and it was much better than I had expected. It is one of the better films that I have seen this year. It was both captivating and entertaining. The movie is a real delight as I would certainly recommend this to anyone who wants a enjoy a good movie.

When In Rome

By: Da’Mon Guy

      When In Rome is a lighthearted, entertaining, approach to the age old question of trying to find one’s “true love.” The movie stars Kristen Bell (Couples Retreat) and Josh Duhamel (Transformers 1&2). The movie is filled with an all star ensemble supporting class that features the talents of Danny Devito (Be Cool), Dax Sheppard (Let‘s Go to Prison), Jon Header (Blades of Glory), Will Arnett (Semi-Pro), Anjelica Houston (Martian Child), and Don Johnson (Guilty As Sin).
      On a trip to Rome to attend her sister’s wedding, an unsuccessful with love young woman decides to take the coins of men that are seeking true love from a magic fountain. The coin removal causes the former owners of the coins fall under a spell and in love with her.

      When in Rome is a delightful change to the romantic comedy genre. This is one of the few that successfully balances the comedic aspect with the romantic aspect of the romantic comedy genre. This approach gives a fresher approach and adds some balance allowing both sexes to enjoy what has become known as “chick flicks.”

      The film is full of comedic situations that are enjoyable. It’s not “knock your socks off funny,“ but it is entertaining. Kristen Bell (Beth) and Josh Duhamel (Nick) have really good chemistry on film. Both are very likable and entertaining on screen together. Both of them added their own touch to the comedic aspect of the film. Duhamel character's clumsiness and bad luck was a pleasant humorous touch.

      The real strength of the movie is the quartet of enamored lovers and their pursuit of Beth is very comical. Heder, Sheppard, Arnett, and Devitto’s misguided attempts to woo Beth was the best part of the film. Much of it is somewhat ridiculous but each of them are funny. The downfall to many of the situations is that each of them are very brief, almost a little rushed, because as soon as one comedic exchange ends the film quickly rushes Beth to the next encounter with another would be suitor. This hurts the effect of each of the scenes.

      When In Rome makes for a good home viewing for the family or a couple as it focuses on romance and love. It’s good viewing that everyone can relate to. It’s not too “chicky” as the comedic situations balance the movie very well to make it amusing for men. Couples as well as families can be entertained by this film. The climax and end of the movie had a pleasing, warm touch to it. It contained a every touching message about true love as all of the enchanted suitors put their desires aside to aid Beth in her pursuit of true love. That enhanced my enjoyment of the it. The film isn’t a must see movie but it is more than entertaining enough to offset a boring night at home.

The Lost Tribe: "A Sound Story that Lacks the Budget to Suppport it"

By: Da’Mon Guy

      The Lost Tribe is a rare treat that only occurs every once in a while in direct to video movies, it‘s actually half decent. This is a mildly entertaining direct to video movie that is comprised of a cast of unknowns that includes Emily Foxler (Ghosts of Girlfriends Past), Nick Mendel (Friday the 13th 2009), Marc Bacher, Brianna Brown (Knocked Up), Maxine Bahns (Paradise Lost), Hadley Foster (Dr. Who), and an appearance by Lance Herkinson (Alien vs. Predator). The movie is a remake of another direct to video movie named The Forgotten Ones.     
      After a devastating boat crash, a group of friends are stranded on an uncharted island where they encounter an ancient tribe of humanoid creatures, who may be the missing link in the evolutionary process of man.

      The movie’s plot is fairly plausible but it is missing aspects that hinder the story. The movie focuses on the crash and the four people that visit the island. But the subplot is about what’s known as man’s missing link, the unknown evolutionary step between man and ape in the evolutionary process. In this film, a scientist discovers it. And because of the discovery, the church pays someone to make this information disappear because of the religious ramifications. This subplot builds a terrific back story to the movie but the rest of the film does nothing to resolve that particular set up. That was definitely a downfall to this film.

      The cast and their performances aren’t great but Emily Foxler does an admirable job as our protagonist. Foxler depicts Anna as both fragile and driven. Anna is a believable and likable character that we can understand the transition of her character. Her motives are clear as she is motivated to becoming the heroine of the film. With a better script, she could have easily made this role better. Nick Mendel isn't too dreadful as her boyfriend. Their tragic love story at the heart of the film was commendable. The other actors were a complete waste of time, and the special effects are limited. Many of the aspects of the film will be recognizable as some elements of the film is very reminiscent of Predator and Congo to name a few but this is a direct to video movie so the expectation shouldn’t be too high. The film’s climax was moderately entertaining, but it was very reminiscent of Predator 2. However, it was quite entertaining, as we see Anna battle the head of the “lost tribesman” and showcases primal nature of man and beast.

      The Lost Tribe is a direct to video movie that has a number of shortcomings. The biggest downfall is the lack of budget. The movie’s severe lack of funding hinders this film tremendously. If it had a descent budget, then the film could’ve matched its potential of the story. The second major shortcoming that this film faces is the inconsistencies in the story. The Lost Tribe does possess a fairly solid storyline, and in spite of containing some inconsistencies in the story, the movie is viewable. The film begins with a really good build up but it never ties up many of the details of the underlying subplot of the story that are shown in the beginning of the movie. It also has some decent performances by a bunch of unknown actors. If you can stomach the movie’s lack of budget then this makes for a treat among direct to video movies. If you don’t place too high of an expectation on this movie then it will be worth the time it takes to view it. It’s not something that I would recommend but for hard core movie fans it’s something to see. The movie isn‘t that good, it simply isn‘t awful.   

It's Complicated


      It’s Complicated is a charming, slightly different, approach to the romantic comedy genre. The movie blends together the talents of Meryl Streep (Mamma Mia), Alec Baldwin (My Best Friend’s Girl), John Kaminski (Leatherheads) and Steve Martin (The Pink Panther 1 & 2). The movie was written and directed by Nancy Meyers(Something’s Gotta Give).
      Jane Adler (Streep) is a romantically deprived divorcee at a crossroads in her life. She runs a successful business, has three grown children, and has a really good set of friends. What she doesn’t have is a romantic interest since her divorce. Taking the advice of her close friends, Jane decides to have an affair with a married man. This married man turns out to be her ex-husband.
      It’s Complicated is a enjoyable comedy that uses an older cast for the usual comedic love triangle. This approach gives the genre a slightly different approach than usual. This is a formula that the director, Nancy Mayers, has tried before and had some level of success (As Good as it Gets) but it works much better in this movie. This approach causes this movie to be slightly fresher as many of the comedic scenes feel new and not just more of the same as in too many of today’s romantic comedies.
      It’s Complicated is a couple of different movies rolled into one. It’s starts as your sobby, man bashing, chick flick where most men who watch this film will begin to lose interest. The scenes with Jane and her girlfriends were too “chickish.” They were a complete turn off. They could’ve easily cut those down or even out. Next, it’s a more sensible family movie as we see Jane’s strength and perseverance after enduring a tough break up leading to divorce. Finally, it becomes a really good romantic comedy involving a love triangle between Streep, Baldwin, and, Martin.
      All three of the stars had really fine performances as they blend and compliment one another very well. Streep and Baldwin were great on screen together. Their scenes were both very enjoyable and amusing. Steve Martin also was really nice. His performance was more laid back than usual but it was a great off set to Alec Baldwin’s more manic character. Baldwin, Streep, and Martin formed an enjoyable love triangle as each one brought something different but entertaining to the movie. Streep and Martin’s weed smoking incident was one of the best scenes in the film. John Kaminski gives an admirable performance as Harley, he stole many of the scenes as Streep’s son in law.
      There was a really good feel to this movie. I really liked Streep and Baldwin’s chemistry. Their performances were likable and funny. In the outset, the movie begins really too feminine, almost to the point of being unbearable for some men. The first 20 minutes or so could have been cut or altered. It was almost enough to turn me against the film. The scenes with Streep and her girlfriends were useless. Conversely, the film does get much, much better. Streep’s character of Jane wasn’t a character that everyone could like in the beginning of the film. At the start, she was just some sappy, “goody too shoes,” divorcee. But once the affair starts you start to like her and then the real fun of the story begins as the love triangle takes shape and the movie progresses. The movie had a very predictable ending but it was enjoyable regardless. It’s Complicated is definitely a movie worth seeing. It makes for a really good couples movie. Not something that I would have suggested to see in the theaters but it is a great dvd to add to your library or to rent if you want to have a movie night.

American Pie Presents The Book of Love: "The Worst Slice of American Pie to Date"


By: Da’Mon Guy

      American Pie Presents: The Book of Love is the seventh and most recent disappointing installment in the American Pie series of movies. This depressing waste of time features Eugene Levy (American Pie) who makes his usual appearance in the franchise’s films. He is joined by a cast of virtual unknowns such as Bug Hall, Kevin Horton, Brandon Hardesty, Beth Behrs, Melanie Papalia , Jennifer Holland, and John Patrick Jordan.     
      Horny teens that are trying to score find the “fabled” Book of Love that will aid them in the quest to end their virginity.

      The Book of Love follows the same formula as the previous movies in the franchise. Horny teens + some nudity + a masturbation incident involving food, throw in a teen named Stifler, and an appearance by Eugene Levy equals an American Pie movie. The biggest problem with The Book of Love and most of the subsequent sequels that followed the first three of the franchise is that they all lack the main ingredients that made the first three movies of this franchise enjoyable. Namely, the substance at the core of the story and the original cast. These films have always been about horny teens and the extreme measures that they are willing to go through for sex but the original three American Pie films had a heartwarming story and a good cast as a foundation. Almost none of the rest of the other sequels have either. These films have been lacking any kind of continuity since the original cast moved on. That has definitely hurt the franchise. Lone holdover Eugene Levy is no where entertaining enough to carry a film or validate the franchise.

      The Book of Love does have a few very limited situations that were very humorous. Rob (Bug Hall), in the Jason Biggs role, was constantly being caught in compromising situations that ended up on video tape throughout the movie. These situations were continuously placed on You Tube to embarrass rob. Secondly, there was the panty theft incident and then the old hooker who dies while giving a blow job. Aside from those, it has almost nothing to laugh at. The Book of Love simply just ups the raunchiness in an attempt to make a quick buck.

      The cast of The Book of Love is completely disposable as is the rest of the story. None of them are even worth mentioning as they are just components to express the limited comedic sequences. The recurring role of “Stifler”, which is a constant role and necessary component of the series, was no where near as entertaining in this incarnation as in the prior installments of the American Pie series of films. John Patrick Jordan is clearly not up to the task as he lacks the charisma that Sean William Scott brought to the role so many years ago.

      American Pie Presents: The Book of Love is easily the worse in the American Pie franchise. This seventh installment is nothing more than an attempt to capitalize on the quickly diminishing fan base that follows this franchise. This one in particular is nothing but a disservice and a mockery to the movies and story that started the franchise.

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.