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Movie review: Silent Hill: Revelation 3D

Grade: C+

Even though I didn’t see the first movie or play the video game it was easy enough to figure out where this movie was going from the very start. The girl was tormented by dreams. Dad had done something terrible but it wasn’t his fault. Mom was either in heaven or headed for Hell because of something to do with the tormented girl. Then Dad goes missing and just about that time the tormented girl meets a tormented boy and together they go looking for the missing Dad. And of course the first place they go is to the place her father told her to avoid at all cost.

This plot has been played to death ever since movie makers realized that kids love to watch slasher movies. Silent Hill offered nothing new. What I did like was the makeup and special effects. There was one scene with a room full of freaky nurses that I’ll not soon forget.

The very best thing in Silent Hill was Adelaide Clemens as Sharon, the tormented girl. Her acting was well above the bar set for this sort of film. I’d like to see her in a role with a little more meat on it. I’ll have to give this a C+ and I’ve added the plus because of Adelaide’s performance.

Movie review: Cloud Atlas

Grade: B

*Cloud Atlas* is not an easy movie to review. It is confusing, and epic, and sometimes epically confusing. This is clearly a movie with a mission statement I’m just not entirely sure it’s something I get after one viewing. ( It doesn’t help that I was writing peetime notes throughout most of the film. )

There are a few things that are very easy to review. Most striking is the acting which was, without exception, fantastic. Tom Hanks delivers a handful of powerful performances through different characters yet doesn’t stand out, much, from the rest of the cast. Clearly the director, directors in this case, deserve a great deal of credit when the entire cast performs so well together.

The cinematography, special effects, and costumes were all stunning. Everything from the modern designs in one scene to the costumes and makeup of the barbarians in the next was detailed and real. Most of all I thought they did a great job with the grit and dirt and pain in some of the worlds.

Now, about the story. That’s where it gets difficult to judge this film. I truly feel that I’ll have to watch this movie at least once more in order to “get it”. As I mentioned earlier I was handicapped by taking notes throughout most of the movie but I still think I’d need to see this multiple times to let it all sink in before giving it a fair assessment. The only critique I can offer at this point is I wish they had stuck with scenes a little longer than they did. There were very few scenes that went on for more than about 2 minutes before jumping forward or backward hundreds or thousands of years. I think it may have been a little easier to keep track of events if the movie stuck with each scene for at least 5 minutes.

For now I’m giving this movie a “B”. I reserve the right to bump that up or down a full leter grade after a few more viewings. I’m hoping it gets better over time.

Movie review: The Perk of Being a Wallflower

Grade: A+

To say that this was a sweet, coming of age movie is about as accurate as calling the Mona Lisa a nice snapshot.

I haven’t been a teenager for about 50 years but I found myself becoming a part of the movie rather than just sitting in the audience casually observing the actors reciting their lines.

The acting was extraordinary, especially by the kids: Charlie, Sam and Patrick played by Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller respectively. These are all fine young actors and the director – Stephen Chbosky – deserves some huge props for helping the cast really expose some terrific emotional scenes.

This is Stephen Chbosky’s first real directing gig but you can bet that I’ll be keeping an eye out for his future projects.

Movie review: Alex Cross

Grade: D-

Let me preface this review by letting you know I don’t have any background with the Alex Cross stories. I’m coming into this as a newbie. As a newbie I thought this movie left a lot to be desired.

First, the good stuff: I thought Tyler Perry was decent as Dr. Alex Cross. Nothing extraordinary but a solid performance. The bad guy – Matthew Fox as Picasso – was also just decent. But I don’t think the shortcomings of Fox’s performance were really his fault. I’ll hang this one on the director/writers. I thought he played angry more than crazy. I think back to other psychopaths who were really convincing and it seems that the performance needs someone who is cold and not angry.

The real issue I have with the movie is the story. It felt like it was put together by randomly picking from the thriller tree of plots. Take a psychopath, make him an assassin, kill a pretty girl, make it personal with the detective, throw in some international business angle, blah, blah, blah.

I would be very curious if the Alex Cross fans enjoy this movie. But I can’t imagine than many newbies are going to like it.

Movie review: Argo

Grade: A-

Wonderful movie all the way around. Great performances from the entire cast. Affleck did a great job both acting and directing.

If you’ve seen the previews then you have a complete understanding of what the plot is. No surprises there. The biggest surprise for me was the humor. The audience laughed out loud at least a dozen times during the movie.

As with most really good movies I gave up on trying to find any decent peetimes in the second half. The tension builds up and there’s just not a 4 minute gap that is missable.

Movie review: Paranormal Activity 4

Grade: C

I want to start off by saying the last thirty minutes of the movie is what made it watchable. I enjoyed those few minutes. My legs were in a constant state of chill bumps and I have to admit my hands flew up to my face of their own accord a few times. That being said the rest of the movie kind of ticked me off.

The movie begins by showing clips of the previous movies. They catch you up as to what has transpired so far. Katie kills Micah, she goes to her sister’s house and kills her, takes sister’s baby and leaves. We remember all of that. It now jumps ahead five years and we meet a whole new family.

The new family sucks. Mom and Dad are so forgettable that IMDB doesn’t even have them listed in the cast. Alex is the big sister, I felt sorry for her because her parents were so stupid. Her boyfriend Ben was my favorite part of the movie. He is one of those guys that are funny even when he’s not trying to be. Then there is the little brother Wyatt. Not much to say about him. All in all they give you a typical suburban family that is a lot on the dysfunctional side. Then you meet Robbie. The kid that lives across the street. This little dude is creepy. Now…let the movie begin. In about an hour.

I get that they are trying to build up the suspense. I just hated the way they did it. My gripe is they used the whole ostrich with his head in the sand kind of mind set for the parents. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but if I were Alex, CPS would have been on my speed dial. “Hello, CPS? Yeah, my parents are so ridiculously clueless to mine and my brother’s safety that I would like to be put in foster care. Thank you, please send someone immediately.”

I suppose the writers had a method to their madness but I think it fell flat on their faces. It wasn’t just me sitting there thinking how bad the build up was. As people were leaving the theater I listened in on their comments. About 90 % of them were negative. I hate giving bad reviews but this movie could have been better.

Movie review: Here Comes the Boom

Grade: B

A sweet and inspiring story. The actors did a great job of creating characters that are enjoyable and sympathetic in an otherwise predictable movie.

If you want to go sit in a theater, have a good time, and not have to think about anything *Boom* fits the bill. There were a few chuckles and a couple of tender moments.

There was no profanity so you can take the kiddies and have a pleasant evening.

Movie review: Sinister

Grade: A+

Sinister totally exceeded my expectations. Over the last few years it’s been really hard to come across a scary movie that delivers us some chills and thrills. This one did and then some.

While I was watching there were about twenty people in the theater besides myself. I can tell you that every person in that room jumped. I even heard a few screams. Okay I won’t lie, it was me that screamed. I couldn’t help it.

The tension that they built was so thick my nerves were being stretched to their screaming point. I don’t want to give away anything so I won’t explain what brought out the screams but I promise you won’t be disappointed. It’s the perfect time of year for this movie. My advice is if you have a date this weekend go have a nice dinner then check out this flick. Once you and your date are nicely scared go visit your local haunted house/forest. Great way to end a great movie.

Movie review: Seven Psychopaths

Grade: A

Watching heads explode and throats sliced open has never been funnier. Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson steal the movie. Oh yes, let’s not forget Bonnie, the Shih Tzu.

The story line was at times bizarre but I loved this movie. Just as I have seen Pulp Fiction a couple of hundred times, I’ll watch this movie again and again and find something new to laugh at each time.

Movie review: Frankenweenie

Grade: A

Tim B urton has hit one out of the ball park with *Frankenweenie*. He manages to spoof just about all of the old B movies of the 50’s and 60’s, from Godzilla to Gamera.

*Frankenweenie* is sweet without being saccharine and charming without being cutesy.

The ending was one that every child will love as well as adults.