The Garbage Pail Kids Movie

Faces not even a mother would love.

Faces not even a mother would love.

It’s been a while since I did a review, primarily because of school reasons but I am officially back now and I am determined to start this New Year off with a bang. And start it with a bang I will. A really big bang.

That’s right, folks. What better way to kick off the New Year off than with a review of a really bad movie. But first, we’re gonna start off 2013 by taking a little trip to the magical world of the 80’s. The 80’s were the best decade for movies, best decade for TV, and of course the best decade for music. I am a huge 80’s buff. 80’s for the win. Specifically we are going back to the year 1987. From my understanding, 1987 was probably not a good year for movies, not that I’m saying that all movies that came out in 1987 were bad. There were good movies that came out in 1987, such as Lethal Weapon, The Untouchables, Predator, Robocop, Dirty Dancing… I could go on. But most of the movies that came out that year were bad, including the movie that we’re reviewing today.

The 80’s had its fair share of crappy movies but in contrast to movies that come out in today’s world, even the 80’s crap was better than most of today’s movies. But this particular movie goes beyond crap. This movie is so bad that every respectable critic that reviewed this movie from Siskel and Ebert all the way to the Nostalgia Critic have said unanimously that this movie sucks. That, accompanied by the fact that this movie has a 0% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and many people has called this movie “the worst movie ever made.”  And it’s also so bad that Doug Walker, the man behind the Nostalgia Critic devoted the last fifteen minutes of his Top 11 Worst Movies he’s ever had to review video ranting about this movie which was his top pick for the worst movie ever. So what is this movie? Well, it’s The Garbage Pail Kids Movie.

Before we begin, let’s talk a little bit about the director of this movie, a chap by the name of Rod Amateau, who started out during the days of Radio before branching out into movies and television and whose career spanned almost four decades prior to this movie. His name has been attached to many successful TV shows and movies over the years including being a supervising producer and has directed several episodes as well as the pilot episode of a TV show that was a big staple of my childhood as well as the childhoods of a lot of people in my generation: The Dukes of Hazzard. So with that body of work, why would a guy like Rod Amateau go from The Dukes of Hazzard to this piece of crap? Let’s find out.

The plot (what little there is anyway) focuses on a kid named Dodger (played by 80’s sitcom star Mackensie Astin) who is bullied by a group of bullies who actually look more like they could be in their twenties in which case they should be in jail for picking on a kid. In one of his run-ins with the bullies, a garbage can is accidentally opened and next thing you know, those little mean-spirited disgusting demons (played by actors in really badly-made animatronic suits) are released to cause mayhem in a variety of disgusting ways. I believe details are unnecessary, but I can tell you that in terms of the gross-out humor, they really push the envelope here, especially for a PG movie.

Dodger soon enlists the kids to help make clothes because surprise, surprise he’s trying to impress a girl (who obviously looks like she is her twenties and is the stereotypical hot chick that every guy wants.) She’s obviously involved with the bullies but she appears to be interested in Dodger, if only to use him to get what she wants which is to be a big fashion designer even if it means being a shallow bitch in order to accomplish her goals.

Before I go any further, I was in such a rush to get this review over with as quickly as possible that I forgot the backstory of the Garbage Pail Kids themselves. For those of you who don’t know or care for that matter, the Garbage Pail Kids are basically a series of bubble-gum Baseball cards designed to parody the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls that were wildly popular at the time this movie came out. Each card had a kid with a bizarre name like “Messy Tessie,” “Valerie Vomit” and “Ali Gator,” to name a few along with their respective gross superpower, such as pissing their pants every five minutes like what is in the movie. Once is enough but to do it every five minutes is pushing it. And somewhere some big shot in Hollywood thought that they could do a movie around this popular card series. I would have to say that it was a bad idea. And it’s also a bad idea that is about to repeat itself. At press time, there are plans to remake this movie using CGI that is supposed to be out sometime soon. Be afraid, viewers. Be very afraid.

As far as the overall story goes, it seems like the story was put together by someone who had been dropped on their head repeatedly as a child. That’s how bad it is. Like Twilight, this movie is designed to kill the brain cells of anyone who watches this movie. In fact, I’m pretty much convinced that this movie is the harbinger of The Twilight Saga, which has recently been named the worst movie of all time, or movies I would say because I am guessing that all five movies are included in that aspect.

Is this movie for kids? Contrary to the fact that this movie carries a PG rating and is aimed at kids, I would have to say no fucking way!  No kids should see this movie. It’s too dark, mean-spirited, gross beyond what is acceptable, violent, and above all else, it’s stupid, stupid, STUPID! And the concept of a prison known as the State Home for the Ugly? Really? While I give that idea points for originality, I don’t agree with the fact that the writers made Abraham Lincoln, Santa Claus, and Gandhi inmates. Why don’t we trade them for Rasputia from Norbit, the cast of Honey Boo Boo, and Edward Cullen? At least putting the kids in there is the right idea. In fact, I might just change the name of the institution to the State Home for Crappy Entertainment. That would be more respectful.

Do I even need to continue this review any further? Summing this up, the acting sucks, the effects suck, the story sucks, the directing sucks… Now I have searched for a reason why I should not hate this movie and I have searched for a reason to prove all the critics wrong, and you know what? ALL THE CRITICS ARE RIGHT! THIS MOVIE SUCKS! Anyone associated with this movie deserve whatever bad karma they get!

See? I told you I would be starting this year off with a bang.

The Goonies

Goonies never say die!

This review is of one of the most iconic movies to ever come out of the 80’s. And as you know, I am a child of the 80’s. It was the best decade for music, best decade for TV, and the best decade for movies. And a lot of the best movies that Hollywood ever produced came out of the 80’s and today, I am going to review one of those iconic 80’s movies that you may remember seeing as a kid or you may not, but I am pretty sure that everyone has. Ladies and gentlemen, here is my review of The Goonies.

This film, produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Richard Donner, who prior to this movie was only known for directing the first Superman movie and would later go on to direct the Lethal Weapon series, is set in a coastal town in Oregon where a group of kids who call themselves the “Goonies” (so called because the part of town where they live is known as the Goon Docks) stumble upon a treasure map and decide to go on a treasure hunt as part of one last hurrah because all of them are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. However, a family of criminals is also hot on the trail of the kids because they want the treasure for themselves. What ensues is an adventure filled with booby traps, danger, excitement and humor that is fun for the whole family.

Also of note is that this movie features some very familiar faces: Sean Astin (who plays Mikey, the leader) before he became a Hobbit; Josh Brolin who would go on to play among other things, former President Bush and most recently a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones in the recent Men in Black III; Corey Feldman (yes, there was a period where he was still a kid); Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and in defense of Short Round being one of the reasons why people hated that movie, at least he had something to contribute as opposed to Kate Capshaw (whose dialogue in that movie was basically scream, scream, bitch and moan, bitch and moan, scream, scream, scream some more, bitch and moan some more, etc.)  I mean, he does karate in that movie and you gotta give him points for that. Also, Joey Pantoliano is in this movie playing one of the bad guys. How cool is that?

Also of note is that the movie also contains some awesome 80’s music that’s always a plus. The theme song was done by Cyndi Lauper and Spielberg also directed the music video for the movie and several members of the cast also appeared in the video. Again, how cool is that?

But, yeah, I’m a total child of the 80’s. Deal with it.

So there isn’t really much to say about a classic like The Goonies except that it’s awesome. If you grew up with this movie, great. It gives you something else to share with your kids. If not, check it out.

The Hunger Games

Girl on Fire? You said it. 😉

Today’s review is a movie that I have been waiting all year to see and it is the third-biggest movie of the year, behind The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. So what movie would this be? Well, in a word, it’s The Hunger Games.

Before we get started with this review, I have a bit of a confession to make. Going into this movie, I had never read any of the Hunger Games books yet I heard that it was really popular. When I heard that it was another series of books that had an enormous fan base and that it was going to be a movie, I was like, “Oh, great. This is going to be another Twilight.” Then I heard all the reviews and the positive word-of-mouth coming in and I was like, “Maybe I should check this out.” It took me months to see it and I finally saw it last Friday before I went into school and sure enough, it was everything that the critics and moviegoers said it was.

The world of The Hunger Games takes place in the future where the whole continent of North America has been turned into the fictional nation of Pardem. That means no US, no Canada and no Mexico. At least we can’t blame Obama for that one. Pardem was supposedly divided into 13 “districts.” (kind of similar to how America got started. Get it? 13 districts, 13 colonies?) However, at one point, all the districts revolted against the Pardem government, a revolt that the president ruthlessly suppressed by wiping out District 13 (I think they nuked it or something) and they passed what is known as the Treaty of Treason, which created the idea of the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games was designed as punishment for the failed uprising in which every year each district offers up one boy and one girl (usually between the ages of 12 and 18) to compete in the Hunger Games, which can basically be described as the Olympics from Hell. However, there is no gold, silver, or bronze medals rewarded. There can only be one winner. Everyone else dies. And we’re talking about kids here. Kids killing kids, unpleasant to say the least.

So I’ve said enough, now onto the movie.

The movie actually starts in District 12, which is a coal-mining district that looks like something out of the Depression-era. I did mention this was set in the future, right? Here we are introduced to our main heroine, 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen (played by Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence) who is actually the strongest female character we’ve seen in movies in ages. She is sort of the man of the house (her father was a coal miner who got killed in a mining accident) who goes out and hunts with a bow and arrow which she is pretty good at and will serve her later on.

Soon enough, the government of Pardem comes a calling because it is Hunger Games season which means time to round up their one boy and one girl to see die on national television. Sent to pick the District 12 contestants is a rather flamboyant reporter (played by Elizabeth Banks.) Normally, Elizabeth Banks is a hot chick. She appeared as Betty Brant in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies but she’s probably best known as the sexy yet freaky girl in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Here, she’s virtually unrecognizable under the excessive make-up, bizarre hairstyle, and an outfit that looks like Victorian Era-meets-80’s era MTV. In fact, when we get to the Capital, you’ll notice that everyone is practically dressed like her, but I’ll get to the capital in a bit. However, all this works for the character and she ends up stealing the movie.

So they come and they pick their two contestants: A boy named Peeta (played by Josh Hutcherson) and Katniss’ 12-year old sister Primrose. Horrified that they would pick her younger sister, Katniss volunteers to take her place, which moves everyone in the movie. So Katniss and Peeta are taken to the Capital of Pardem which is ruled by the rich and by the media. (Sound familiar everyone?)

There they are introduced to luxuries that they are not used to, like exotic food, a comfortable penthouse apartment with a remote-control window that can change the scenery at any time, and more elegant clothing and spa treatment. Apparently Pardem wants its contestants to live like celebrities before they kill each other. And everything leading up to the games themselves (a parade and talk show interviews) kind of resembles American Idol from Hell. Katniss wows the audience by wearing outfits that emits fire which leads everyone to call her “the Girl on Fire.” Take that, Kristen Stewart!

And finally, we get to the main event, where Katniss puts all her skills to the test against the other contestants, who have been training for this their entire lives. And yes, things do get very intense. After all, this is a duel to the death. Now there have been some criticisms about the violence in the movie and the harm it may have on children. I have to say the violence in the movie isn’t really that bad. It gets its point across without being overly excessive.

As far as the performances go, everything’s pretty good. As I mentioned before, Jennifer Lawrence is a really effective screen heroine. She’s vulnerable when she needs to be but otherwise, she is pretty strong-willed and fearless. In short, she has characteristics that have been missing from big-screen heroines for years. The male performances were pretty good, most notably Woody Harrelson playing Haymitch Abernathy, a former Hunger Games champ turned mentor who spends his time drinking and cracking jokes. In short, he’s playing Woody Harrelson and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Another actor in the movie I didn’t recognize right away was Lenny Kravitz (who plays Katniss’ stylist.) I mean, it’s been years since I last saw or heard from him. And Donald Sutherland turns in a chilling performance as the President of Pardem who at one minute is heaping praise on someone and showering complements on someone and at the other minute is plotting to have that person killed. In short, he’s like the Emperor in Star Wars.

And there is something else I like about this film that I don’t like about the Twilight series (both book and film incarnations), the author of The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins (who also co-wrote the screenplay which gives it a degree of authenticity) treats its readers with dignity and intelligence, unlike that OTHER young adult movie series!

So how does The Hunger Games compare to Harry Potter and that franchise that will not be named? For one thing, the film is as good as the best of the Harry Potter movies (maybe even better) and it completely blows the Twilight Saga out of the water. And by Twilight Saga, I am also including Breaking Dawn Part 2 in the mix even though it’s not out in theaters until next month. I saw the trailer for that movie and it sucks! It confirms every bad thing everyone has been saying about that series for years. That while I have said in the past that it’s not required to have seen a Twilight movie to know it sucks, I think I’m actually going to see Breaking Dawn: Part 2 when it comes out so that way if it really does suck, I’ll be able to show it no mercy. Besides, I hope it bombs worse than John Carter and Battleship combined.

But back to Hunger Games. Awesome movie, really worth checking out. I’m glad I saw it. Trust me, it was well worth the really long wait I had to endure just to see it. And if the next two movies (because there are two more books to adapt and the next one comes out next fall) are as good as this, we’re gonna be in for a really awesome film series.

Spider-Man (1977 TV Pilot)

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/iIMmg4b2egA?p=1 width=”320″ height=”270″]

Spider-Man, 1970’s style.

Today, since I didn’t get to do a new movie review, I decided to do a special old movie review and this one is a very rare find. It’s not available on DVD. However, I recently discovered it on YouTube and I figure why not review it. Here then is a review of “Spider-Man…” the 1970’s TV pilot.

Yeah, it’s almost as cheesy as the 60’s Batman TV series and the visual effects are primitive even by 70’s standards, but it sure is nostalgic. I remember seeing  this as a kid on Videodisc (if you’re as old as I am, you’ll remember videodiscs) and I thought it was really good back then.

There were obviously some liberties taken with the show. For one thing, Peter Parker (played here by Nicholas Hammond who at the time was known only as one of the Von Trapp kids in The Sound of Music) gets his super powers while in college. In the comics, he gets them while still in high school. He starts out as a photographer for the Daily Bugle before he gets bitten by the radioactive spider whereas in the comics, he works for the Bugle after becoming Spider-Man. There’s no mentioning of his Uncle Ben, whose murder gave Spidey his motivation and his “with great power comes great responsibility” philosophy. So he really has no motivation to become Spider-Man except that he was bitten by a radioactive spider and that he becomes a superhero just for the fun of it. Plus, Spidey’s too quiet. It’s like he’s more ninja than superhero in this one.

I know I’m nitpicking, but I am a die-hard Spider-Man fan. Deal with it.

But there are some things that stand out: For one, the funky “porn music” score (which almost every 70’s show seemed to have and this was no exception) and the wall-crawling effects, which seem unbelievable and impossible (even for a stuntman in the 70’s) to do. But to be fair, Spidey was a next-to-impossible superhero character to pull off back in the 70’s as opposed to now where we have CGI technology to bring him to life. And this show gets an A for effort.

The 2-hour pilot is basically an origin story. Peter gets his powers, becomes Spider-Man and fights crime. His first adversary in this one  is a self-help guru (played by Thayer David aka the boxing promoter from the first Rocky movie) who uses mind control to hypnotize select people to rob banks for him. His evil plan that Spidey has to foil is that he’s blackmailing the city in which unless the city pays him millions of dollars, he is going to hypnotize ten people to commit mass suicide.

Sure enough, the pilot episode launched the series, which lasted for two very short seasons, producing a total of 13 episodes before CBS pulled the plug, not because of ratings but because of “network politics.” CBS didn’t want to be known as the “Superhero Network.” At that time, CBS also had “Wonder Woman” and “The Incredible Hulk” on the air at that time.

But I can’t really pick on the show too much. After all, it was the 70’s. But those were the days. So if you’re nostalgic and want to see an early attempt to bring your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to TV or film, you might want to check it out.

Since it still is not available on DVD, if you want to watch it and don’t want to search for it, here it is:

Norbit

Yeah, I did. Watching this movie!

For starters, this will actually be the first review in a while in which the movie is not based on a comic book. And as you may recall, so far in every movie I’ve reviewed I actually praised the movie. So I’m sure a lot of you may ask the question, “When are you going to review a bad movie?” Well, today.

I’m going to review a movie that’s so bad that it ought to be outlawed by the Geneva Convention and it makes Batman and Robin look like Titanic. So what is this monstrosity I’m supposed to review? Norbit!

Eddie Murphy, what the hell happened to you? You used to be so funny and your movies used to be awesome. I’m talking 48 Hrs., Beverly Hills Cop (the first 2 anyway), Trading Places, and Coming to America. All funny movies. all of them awesome. Then all of your movies started to suck. I mean, name one good movie Eddie Murphy has done in the last 20 years, besides the voice of Donkey in Shrek. Well, he did get an Oscar nomination for a supporting role in the 2006 movie Dreamgirls (which I have not seen yet.) And he seemed like the lock to win the Oscar.

So what happened?  THIS MOVIE HAPPENED! This movie cost him the Oscar. And that’s not the worst of it. The worst tragedy about this movie is THIS MOVIE MADE MONEY! This was a box office hit when it should have been DOA like the rest of Eddie’s movies in the last 10 years. This makes Nutty Professor II (another bad film where Eddie wore a fat suit) look good, even though the giant hamster turning Eddie’s boss into a soprano was a nice touch.

But anyway, I’ve said enough. So grab your popcorn tin and your vomit pails (it would be best not to confuse them) and let’s get on with it.

The movie opens with Norbit as a kid being tossed out of a car in front of an orphanage run by an Asian man (played by NONE OTHER THAN EDDIE MURPHY!) Were they trying to offend every stereotype known to man in this movie? It’s almost like Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but at least Mickey Rooney’s Asian character in that movie was funny! But to be fair, Eddie’s Asian character is the only good character in the movie. So anyway, Norbit grows up in the orphanage and there he became close with a girl named Kate, who’s a nice, cute sweet girl. So it basically starts out as a standard boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, boy loses girl (she gets adopted) story. Then some time, Norbit is saved from bullies by a girl named Rasputia (a female variation of Rasputin, one of the most evil men who ever lived) and she is a complete 180 from Kate. Instead of the nice sweet cute girl, we get an overweight, ugly, mean-spirited oversexed abomination of a human being who practically forces her way on Norbit because he’s too nice and weak-minded to know the meaning of the word no.

And if you think Rasputia was ugly as a kid… It gets worse.

Fast forward to them as adults and Norbit has grown up to become Eddie Murphy only now Norbit looks like a 40-year-old Steve Urkel with a really bad fro and a voice that’s reminiscent of his days playing the grown-up Buckwheat from The Little Rascals during his days on SNL. And Rasputia? Well, I’ll let this image speak for itself.

Would you date a chick who looked like this?

That is what Eddie Murphy looks like in a fat suit and in drag! Get used to that image, people. You will be seeing THAT for the rest of the movie!

So they unfortunately get married and Norbit is working for Rasputia’s brothers’ construction company which serves as a front for their extortionist activities where they bully practically the whole town. And speaking of the marriage, the sex scenes in this movie are painful to watch. Yes, I said it, painful. Their sex scenes are so bad that it could very well be considered torture. Sadly, this is the only time in the movie where we feel sorry for Norbit, primarily because he is a nice guy and this is a situation that nice guys find themselves in every day. And that is clearly not good.

And even worse the only one who actually finds that thing attractive is her aerobics instructor (Marlon Wayans.) Marlon, WHERE’S YOUR DIGNITY?!

However, there is a light at the end of Norbit’s tunnel. His old friend, Kate (played by Thandie Newton, the token hot chick who should be offered an apology for being in this movie) comes back into town because she wants to take over the orphanage and the two reconnect. However, she has a fiancé, played by Cuba Gooding, Jr. who is (surprise, surprise) a douchebag who is in league with Norbit’s evil brother-in-laws because they want to buy the orphanage so they can turn it into a nudie bar. So will they succeed? Will Norbit abandon his evil wife in favor of true love?

Despite the horrifying mess that this movie truly is, there are actually some good performances. In addition to Murphy’s performance as the Asian orphanage owner (only), Thandie Newton actually brings a ray of light to this film even though it doesn’t deserve it and it’s good to see the pimps (one of whom is played by Eddie Griffin) as the good guys.

However, none of these things can save this movie. There is absolutely no redeeming quality to this movie at all. And that, combined with the fact that this movie has only a 9% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I cannot ignore that. So there is nothing else to say except… this movie is the biggest and most offensive, racist, stupid, disgusting, mean-spirited, irreverent, hopeless, shameless, pig-headed, vomit-inducing worm-headed piece of crap I’ve ever seen in my life!  But above all else, THIS MOVIE SUCKS! Avoid it like the plague! If you have this movie on DVD, destroy it! Kill it before it multiplies!

So anyway, that’s how I deal with bad movies. Oh, yeah, one more thing. Earlier this year, Eddie Murphy and the director of Norbit teamed up to direct a movie called “A Thousand Words.” Anyone remember that one? Neither do I.

Karma’s a bitch, Eddie. Karma’s a bitch.

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

Well friends, this is it. The big one. The review that everyone has been waiting for. A review of the most anticipated film of 2012. So sit back, relax, and buckle up because I am about to get this review underway. Ladies and gentlemen, here is a review of the final chapter of Christopher Nolan’s Batman saga, The Dark Knight Rises.

But before we get started, I want to offer an apology for not reviewing the previous film, The Dark Knight. I was just starting to film myself on YouTube at the time The Dark Knight came out and I meant to do a review of that film at the time, but I forgot all about it and by the time I would have gotten around to it, everyone would have said everything I was going to say about it anyway so I decided not to go through with it.

So as my way of atoning for that, I am going to review this movie. One suggestion I would make about this movie is that you better pack a lunch because this film is almost 3 hours long. You heard that right, folks. Almost 3 hours long, a rarity for a summer movie blockbuster. So let’s not waste any time, shall we?

I’m gonna start off with a recap of the last movie, so this is hardly a spoiler because it’s safe to say that everyone by this point has seen The Dark Knight. Batman is wanted by the cops for murdering District Attorney Harvey Dent, even though by that time, Dent was corrupted by the Joker and turned into Two-Face. As Two-Face, Dent kidnaps Commissioner Gordon’s family and Batman saves them, even though Dent is killed in the process. In order to ensure that Dent’s good-guy reputation is secure, Batman and Gordon hatch a plot in which Batman will take the fall for both Dent’s death and the crimes Dent committed as Two-Face.

When this movie begins, its 8 years later and Batman has pretty much disappeared and the man behind the Bat, Bruce Wayne (again played by Christian Bale) has become a crippled recluse. Meanwhile two new villains have emerged to plague Gotham: Selena Kyle (played by Anne Hathaway), a cat burglar who we all know in the comics as Catwoman even though she isn’t called Catwoman in the movie and the main villain, Bane (played by Tom Hardy.) Now here is where I have to show some praise. Despite a liberty taken here and there, this movie’s Bane is closer to the real Bane as seen in the comics as opposed to the ass-raping the character received by Joel Schumacher in Batman and Robin. This is one of Batman’s most dangerous villains and the only real villain to actually defeat Batman and he is portrayed as such here but I’m not going to give too much away. I mean, it’s hard to do a movie like this without giving away too many spoilers.

Anne Hathaway does a pretty decent job here as Catwoman (I’ll call her that even though Nolan doesn’t call her that in the movie.) She has the right amount of sex appeal, physical prowess, and vulnerability that the character should have. And we sort of do feel the conflict that Catwoman has: She doesn’t know whether she wants to be a villain or a hero, just like in the comics.

The actions of both these villains force Bruce out of self-imposed exile and puts on the Bat suit again to save Gotham. Yes, folks, Christian Bale’s Bat-voice is back too, although it’s more toned down here than it is in the previous two movies. And what ensues is probably the biggest battle of his life.

And some of the supporting actors in this movie are pretty good too. Nolan Bat-regulars Michael Caine gives off an extremely touching performance especially for having significantly less screen time than in the last movie. Morgan Freeman again shines as Lucius Fox. Gary Oldman again does a pretty decent job as Commissioner Gordon. And the newcomers do a pretty decent job as well. Note that at least five of the main actors came over from Nolan’s last film, Inception (also a good movie I saw in theaters.) In addition to Tom Hardy (Bane) and Michael Caine (Alfred), Marion Cotillard (who appeared with Bale in the film Public Enemies) does fairly well as Miranda Tate, who has been handling Wayne Enterprise activities in Bruce’s absence.  You might think she doesn’t play a major role in the story, but she does (especially towards the end of the movie.) And Joseph Gordon-Leavitt as idealistic cop John Blake does most of the hero stuff whenever Batman is off-screen. And he does share a connection to Batman (which I also will not give away.)

The visuals are absolutely incredible. Everything from Batman’s newest vehicle, the Bat (a variation of the Batwing from the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher franchise) to Bane blowing up various sections of Gotham City (including a spectacular sequence where a football field is destroyed while one player plays on oblivious to the destruction around him.) And the climactic battle between Batman and his army of cops and Bane and his army of liberated criminals will clearly take your breath away.

Also of note is that this movie was filmed in New York City during the Occupy Wall Street movement which actually gives a hint of realism to this film (something the Nolan Bat-films have done pretty well) and from what I’ve heard, actual protesters were used as extras in the film further adding to the authenticity of the film.

So now on to the story. The story is a mixture of some of the best Batman stories ever told in the comics: “Knightfall” (the Batman/Bane storyline), “No Man’s Land” (criminals controlling a cut-off Gotham City) and the landmark mini-series, “The Dark Knight Returns” (Batman returning after a prolonged absence) and the story is told really well. In fact, the pacing is so good that you forget that this film is almost 3 hours long. If a movie can do that, then that’s the sign of a good movie.

So now the moment of truth: Is The Dark Knight Rises good or is it a colossal letdown? Well, in my honest opinion, The Dark Knight Rises is really, really good. In fact, I think I liked this better than The Dark Knight. It kept me really interested and it is clearly the ultimate Batman movie. A true epic and it’s also one of those rare threequels that is actually just as good as or better than the original movies. Other examples of this include Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (even though I never seen it and as I’ve mentioned before in previous videos, I am not a Lord of the Rings fan.)

So there you go viewers. That is my take on The Dark Knight Rises. I highly recommend it to everyone and if you don’t want to see the Olympics, I suggest you go to the movies and check it out.

The Avengers

The Avengers

The Avengers

And now I am going to do a review (even though it is actually almost three months late and it’s pretty much out of theaters now) of what is not only the highest grossing movie of 2012 (although a certain Dark Knight could change that) but it’s also the third highest grossing movie of all time and the only one in the top 3 that is not directed by James Cameron. So without further ado, here is my long-awaited review of The Avengers!

So what do I think of the movie? It can only be summed up in a few words: Now THIS is a superhero team movie! I mean, the first two X-Men movies were good. I didn’t see the third one but I heard it sucked. And don’t get me started on the not-so-Fantastic Four movies. I really like the way that they used five movies (Iron Man 1 and 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger) to set up this movie. Aside from the fact that I did not see the 2008 Hulk movie (the one that is part of the Avengers franchise despite being owned by Universal), I thought that the Avenger-related movies have been handled pretty well. And we’re up to this movie. And as soon as I heard Joss Whedon who created Buffy the Vampire Slayer was gonna direct this movie, I knew this was gonna be in good hands. And it shows.

The main plot involves all the aforementioned superheroes Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, replacing Edward Norton from the 2008 film), Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson, reprising her role from Iron Man 2), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) are brought together by SHIELD director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to save the world from the evil Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and a race of aliens who steal a cosmic cube so they can, you guessed it, take over the world.

And of course, like in every superhero team movie, there’s some good conflicts in the film and not just against the evil aliens but also among the heroes as well, the main ones between the squabble matches between Tony Stark (the self-absorbed cocky anti-team player) and Steve Rogers (the humble yet patriotic boy scout); Thor and Loki (adopted brothers but on different sides of the coin); and probably the best in-team fighting in the movie: Thor and Hulk (demigod vs indestructible 10-foot green monster who becomes so whenever he gets a little teed off.)

Now before we continue with the review, I just want to say that I personally haven’t read any of the Avenger-themed comics growing up, except for Iron Man. Iron Man was cool, especially in the early 90’s with the kick-ass Terminator-style artwork and I was a huge fan of War Machine. I was mainly into Spider-Man and Batman (I have already seen the Spidey reboot and I’m planning to go see The Dark Knight Rises sometime this month.) But as far as the other Avengers go, I never really got into Captain America or the others.

There are loads of action sequences littered throughout the film that will practically leave you at the edge of your seat and the climactic battle in New York City pretty much rivals the climatic battle for Metropolis in Superman II. It will blow you away. And while the film was released in 3D, you don’t really need to see it in 3D to know what scenes were converted in 3D.

Now on to the performances. Robert Downey, Jr. is still in top form as Iron Man and Tony Stark. In fact, Robert Downey, Jr. post-drugs is awesome. Chris Evans is still good as Cap, but he’s more like a general in this one than he was in. But to be fair, he’s better as Cap than he was as the Human Torch in the not-so-Fantastic Four movies. Mark Ruffalo pulls off both Bruce Banner and the Hulk (who is easily the best character in the movie) really well, considering that the only real successful attempt to bring the Hulk to life was the TV series in the late 70’s. The 2003 Ang Lee/Eric Bana film sucked and like I said earlier, I haven’t seen the Ed Norton film to give it a good-enough judgment but this is by far the most successful attempt to bring the Hulk to the big screen. Ed Norton must be kicking himself now for not wanting to be a part of this movie.

As far as the non-super powered Avengers go, Scarlett Johannson more than holds her own, proving that she is more than just eye candy for the guys (she takes out three guys while handcuffed to a chair in a hot black dress.) That’s the way you do it. And Samuel L. Jackson is awesome as usual as Nick Fury despite being a little more subdued than usual (mainly because this is a PG-13 movie.) But if there’s one nitpick that I have with the movie, it’s that Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is a little too underdeveloped. He doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time.

Now on to the main villain. For one thing, I like how multi-layered Loki was. He starts out as a General Zod-like character (again another Superman II reference) during his battle with Captain America, mixed with Hannibal Lecter (when he is captured by the Avengers and he does have one scene with Scarlett Johannson that echoes the Clarice/Lecter conversations in “Silence of the Lambs.”) It’s also amusing when he and Tony Stark are talking smack to each other back and forth. But like all villains, he gets his comeuppance in the end and it’s one of the best scenes in the movie so I will not give that away for those of you who have not seen the movie yet.

So basically as far as some closing thoughts on the movie goes, I just want to make a note that I’ve been going to movies since I was 2 years old and never once in my 30-somewhat years of going to the movies have I seen moviegoers on their feet and cheering for a movie than I have for The Avengers. Trust me, it’s that good. If you haven’t seen it yet and by some miracle, it’s still in theaters, go see it. You definitely will not be disappointed.

The Amazing Spider-Man

Tobey Maguire, eat your heart out.

I was originally going to begin this new blog site devoted to movie reviews with a review of The Avengers but I was still trying to work out the bugs. Don’t worry, The Avengers review is still coming, but for now I’m going to launch this site with a review of the reboot film, The Amazing Spider-Man.

I primarily reviewed this film as part of my obligations as a die-hard Spidey fan and I had a lot of expectations for this film. And I was not disappointed. This reboot film is, for the lack of a better word, amazing.

A lot of fans were skeptical about doing a reboot of Spider-Man at least five years after the much-maligned Spider-Man 3. But as far as I’m concerned, Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire should be taking notes. As far as this movie is concerned, this is Spider-Man as he was in the comics.

For one thing, Andrew Garfield (best known for playing Eduardo Saverin in the Facebook movie, “The Social Network”) looks exactly like Peter Parker in the comics. And in costume, he has all of Spidey’s mannerisms (talking smack while kicking some bad guy butt) and I also like the fact that they brought Peter back to his science nerd background (something that was not explored fully in the Raimi films) and showing off his ability to invent stuff (he builds his own web-shooters as opposed to organic web-shooters.)

In fact a lot of the lot of the actors in this movie were pretty good. I thought Martin Sheen was a better Uncle Ben than the 2002 version and Emma Stone (she had me at Zombieland) is great as Peter’s love interest Gwen Stacy avoiding some of the problems I had with Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane in the other films. (For one thing, Raimi turned the character of Mary Jane, who in the original comics was a party girl, into girl-next-door Gwen Stacy.)

If there was a problem with this movie, it was basically the fact that the main villain of this film, the one-armed Dr. Curt Connors aka The Lizard (played by Rhys Ifans) was a bit underdeveloped but still effective, but in all fairness, the Lizard is a pretty hard character to pull off on screen.

As far as the story goes, I think that the director, Marc Webb (ironic that a man with the last name of Webb would be directing a Spider-Man movie) was actually going the Christopher Nolan route when he rebooted the Batman franchise, making it darker and doing a big story arc with three movies. The story arc here deals with Peter finding out a secret about his parents (who in this film as well as in the Ultimates Universe were scientists as opposed to secret agents as they were in the original comics.) Other than a few liberties here and there, this film is probably the most faithful to the comics than the Raimi films.

My final verdict is that if you liked The Avengers and the Nolan Batman films, you should definitely see this movie, preferably before you see The Dark Knight Rises.

PS: A little spoiler for you. Peter does not tap dance in this movie.