It has been a long time coming, but in less than a month, all Marvel Fan Boys get to collectively jizz their pant’s. May 4th is the release date for Marvel’s The Avengers and I couldn’t be happier. Marvel Studios has really impressed me with the casting job on these recent films. From Iron Man to Captain America: The First Avenger, Marvel has been on a freakin’ roll. As I have been waiting patiently for the event to role around, I have found myself going back and revisiting the films. (I got tired of watching the damn trailer once a day…Ah, who am I kidding I LOVE WATCHING THAT TRAILER ONCE A DAY!!! I’m now currently watching the Disney Cartoon, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!) I know I’ve reviewed most of them before, but why not go back and review them in retrospective? Sure…why not!? Let’s start at the beginning….
A long time ago….Approxamatly 4 years to be exact…
Iron Man (2008)
I was really excited when I started to hear about this flick. I remember the first bit I read was that Robert Downey, Jr. was to play the lead. That alone had me sold! RDJ IS Tony Stark! I wasn’t too thrilled to see Jon Favreau Directing. At that point I had only really seen him act (and he wasn’t exactly my favorite!) Still though, the movie was a hit in my book. Marvel needed something to renew faith after X-Men: Last Stand. Looking back on it, I am able to say that Don Chaedle is a much better Rhodes than Terrance Howard. I love the way they handled the suits in the movie. From Mach I to III, and even the Iron Monger, I was greatly impressed. The way that the story progressed also had a nice touch. For the first time, Marvel managed present an all-inclusive origin movie that had little to no problem (Not to mention the this is the first peak we get of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. As far as I’m concerned, it was perfect! Their was still another Avenger film that came out that year though…
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
I was so pleased to see this film get the proper treatment. The one from 2003 was just…awful! The CGI was bad, the story was drawn out and boring, and I really didn’t care much for the actors. Normally I hate remakes, this was an exception. Ed Norton was an excellent Bruce Banner. Very reminicent of Bill Bixby, the orginal Banner from the 1978 series (If you pay attention, a TV screen at the very beginning offers him a cameo.) The movie gives you a short montage of how everything happened, and through flash backs in the middle of the film you get the origin. Thank Cthulhu, because I don’t think anyone needed to sit through a long drawn out origin story. He was hit with Gamma Rays. He became the Hulk. He’s running from the government. End of origin, let’s get to the meat and potatoes shall we? Liv Tyler offered a very loving Betty Ross just as William Hurt offered a very hateable General “Thunderbolt” Ross. Don’t get me started on Tim Roth. First, let me start off with I loved the choice for a villian. Abomination was way better than that screwed up version of Absorbing Man Nick Nolte played. The transformation from Blonsky to Abomination was a great part of the story. Before I leave this alone, let me add that the visual effects were…”Incredible”…I do undertand this movie had 5 years up on the last one, but come on! Even in 2003 they could have done better than what they did! It’s really a shame that Ed Norton won’t be reprising the role…but hey you just can’t get to greedy. Even in the film business…We shall see what Mark Ruffalo brings to the table.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
It was 2 long years before the next Avenger movie would come out. But boy was it worth it! Iron Man 2 was an incredible follow-up to the 2008 hit. As mentioned before we saw a change-up in casting with a new Rhoads (Not a bad thing.) We were also introduced more to S.H.E.I.L.D and the Black Widow, as well as introduced to a new villain…Whiplash. Now, if you go by the comics, Whiplash is a rather throw away villian. Marvel Studios really saw some potential when they designed him for the movie, and Micky Rourke did a superb job of bringing the character life. The story was even better as it showed the self-destructive side of Tony Stark (Even though it wasn’t the PSA for drug abuse that the comics offered!) This movie is a corner-stone in my Marvel movie collection. Really I can’t say enough good about this movie. I still wonder if they are going to flesh out Whiplash eventually as Crimson Dynamo. In comic book history Ivan’s father, Anton Vanko, was the original creator of the Crimson Dynamo armor. Whiplash was Ivan Vanko…but then again he did get blown up…but laws of comic’s unless you saw a corpse…it probebly didn’t happen (even then you have to suspect!) We shall see…
I really wasn’t expecting much from this movie. I went to go see it simply because it was one of the Avenger movies. Other than that, I didn’t have the highest hopes for the film. I left the theater a Thor fan. Most of the time I kind of viewed Thor as a silly superhero. I think most of it had to do with the way he talked. It just kind of made me laugh. The movie did a great job of telling the origin of Thor…but at the same time it didn’t make it feel like your typical origin story. Most origin stories have that drag to them at least in one section. Not this one! No, your attention is kept from beginning to end. They even manage to throw in a love story (Better than Twilight…sorry had to make the joke!) The choice of Chris Hemsworth kind of had me shakey, but I feel he really did the role justice. Anthoney Hopkins was the BEST decision for Odin…HANDS DOWN!!! This movie also brought us what seems to be the primary antagonist in The Avengers, Loki. I don’t know where they dug this dude up from, but he is really good. I really can’t view anyone else to play the Trickster God. Might I also go on the record saying this, wasn’t Heimdall the only Asgardian that had “Bad Mother Fucker” on him? That was the best way I could have seen him played! As cool as Thor was though…their was one more movie that year…
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
This was unfortunately the only one I didn’t get to see in the theater. It was either Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 or Captain America…I chose Harry Potter (Hey man, I was aching to see the sequal…it was necessary!!!) I was shocked and amazed with the level of detail put into this film. The casting was spot on, the CGI was top-notch, and the story was well told. One of the coolest things about it was it had that sort of old-time war film feel to it. I enjoyed it. I loved the casting of Red Skull. Hugo Weaving is one of my favorite actors. It just made so much sense. I was also impressed with how they handled making Chris Evans smaller. That definatly took me by surprise. The last thing I will mention before I leave the subject is how impressed I was with Chris Evans portrayal of Captain America. At first I wasn’t to hopeful. Evans is more known for his comical roles, not serious ones (He was Human Torch in Fantastic 4 for crying out loud!) No after seeing his performance, I can’t picture a better Captain!
That about wraps it up. I suppose all we have now is to wait for the movie to come out. I wonder if they are going to have a few cameo’s from future Avengers? They are kind of missing Ant Man, Wasp, and Black Panther. I guess we will just have to wait and see. All I can tell you for now is that Iron Man 3 is due out next year. The following year, April 2014 to be exact, will be the follow-up to Captain America: The First Avenger. Only time will tell, But I’m thinking this one is going to beat the pants off what ever else comes out this year.
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
Over the last two months I have been doing a rather large amount of catching up. I was way behind with movies, and needed to get up to date on what I had been missing. While I was doing this I had every intention of doing an individual article for all of them. Upon writing all the titles down, I had an epiphany…there are WAYYYYYYYY to many to attempt to do this. Thus, I’m going to bunch them up, and just write several reviews in one article making this three pieces (four if you count the gaming one)! Now all of them aren’t current, and all of them are not Horror or like that.
Before we get started, let me remind everyone (or if you are new, explain for the first time) how I do movie reviews. My rating system is not necessarily like other systems. I have a lot of factors to what differs from 1 Top Hat to a 5 Top Hat rating. Rest assured, I will tell you what those reasons are. I’m not one to slap a movie with a reason and then not give you a reason why it received that rating. Also keep in mind, my taste my differ from yours. Most tastes to differ, but the reason I and other sites review movies is to give you an idea. Or even better, a “Buyer Beware” if you will! Not to mention, it’s rather handy when you are able to relate to a reviewer. To know they are generally spot on with your taste makes it a little easier to make a decision. It’s also noteworthy that my reviews CONTAIN SPOILERS!! So consider this your one and only warning!! Other than that, that’s about all I can think of to explain. So with the formalities out of the way…let us begin!
I’m a huge fan of Adam Sandler. Generally speaking I like most of his work. His comedy work that is. I try to pretend such movies as Spanglish and Punch Drunk Love don’t exist! So I had some pretty high hopes for this movie upon seeing the trailer for it. I’m very happy to say that the movie delivered and then some. The story line follows a group of childhood friends that…well grew up! They have all gone their own seprate ways, and they are untied by the death of their mentor. The funeral lays the ground work for a very hilarious weekend where old friendships are renewed and marriages are saved. What are my thoughts?
Well, if you have seen any of Adam Sandler’s movies, you know about what kind of humor to expect. Now I’m not saying they are all the same, but I will say it follows the humor from about 50 First Dates on up. Rob Schneider is a great punch line in this movie! I hope this man was paid well, because it seems like he is the butt end of most of the jokes in this movie. The movie is very relatable, as everyone has at one point in their childhood had that unbreakable group of best friends that seem to have drifted apart once they “Grew Up”. I like comedies that you can look at and say, “Yeah that would be me,” or “Yep that is so (insert friend here)!” To me that makes a comedy that much better. I would love to site some of the jokes that I loved in this film, but to be honest there are just to many. I love all of the comedians in the film, and every one of them brings their own personal brand of humor to the table. So whats the final verdict? 5 Top Hats for roll in the floor laughs, ability to relate, and an all-star comedy cast!
This movie had me going either way. It was going to knock my socks off or make me want to commit myself. Really it did neither, I just found it a buzz kill. It was like I wasn’t really pissed with the movie, but I wasn’t pleased with it either. Just more I felt it was a waste of time. I will say to its credit I’m generally not a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio movies. However, taking back that credit, I will tell you that I’m a fan of both Ben Kingsley and Mark Ruffalo. The movie plays out like this, two U.S. Marshalls are sent to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of an escaped inmate. DiCaprio’s character is plagued by flash backs to his times in WWII and memories of his dead wife. Toward the middle of the movie they try twisting and turning the plot to keep you off-balance. Is there a dark secret on Shutter Island? What kind of experiments are going on? Was he lured there just to silence him? Unfortunately, it’s painfully obvious half way through that it is neither…
My main problem with the movie is the predictability of it. There are very few plot twists in the movie that I hadn’t thought of within the first 20 minutes. Of those plot twists, I was able to tell you the main message, he wasn’t going to make it off that rock. There also wasn’t a lot to keep your attention. In an effort to make the movie a “thinker” they end up throwing a slew of dream sequences that stop the movie dead. It’s not till the very end of the movie does it all fit, and by then you are really just disengaged. Then the ending is what made it worst! You finally get DiCaprio to where it looks like he is on the road to recovery. Then they try to go for the artsy ending. They make you think that he has relapsed back to his fantasy world. Something that is going to sign him up for an express ticket to a Lobotomy. This ending would have been depressing, but better than the one surprise of the whole movie. He then makes a comment that makes you see that he didn’t really lapse back, he’s just choosing to have a lobotomy over living with the fact his wife killed his kids. Now before you shake your finger at me and tell me what a great ending that was, do you know what a lobotomy does? If you don’t, Google it then come back…it’s OK I’ll wait………Now you tell me a lobotomy sounds better! I give the movie 2 Top Hats for great cinematography and some pretty cool visuals. However, it also get’s those 2 Top Hats because of a predictable story line, a horrible ending, and an annoying musical score.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this movie. The only experience I have with the games is maybe a demo and what my friends have told me and seen them play. I’ve never really gotten to know more than that. I also have to admit I had my reservations at seeing Jake Gyllenhaal as the action hero type. I don’t know about you, but I just didn’t see it. It was nice to be proven wrong. There were a few moments, but for the most part he stuck it pretty well. The story line that the movie follows in the story of Prince Dastan, a Prince of Persia (Oh look I said it! I said it!! I said the movie title!) Dastan is the wilder of the three heirs to the crown of Persia and adopted. Through an insidious plot (you’ll find out about that later) they head long into a battle with a holy city containing the legendary, Sands of Time. After the battle (in which they succeeded because of Dastan) the King is Assassinated. The movie takes off here as Dastan is set up for the murder, and he must prove his innocence. That is really as much as I want to give away.
What I liked about this movie is the very tight story line it paints. You have a special blend of action, drama, and comedy that really keeps you interested the whole way through. The casting is not bad at all with names like Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Kingsley, and Alfred Molina. I also have to say the special effects in this movie were pretty over the top! It’s really nice to see Disney stepping up their game and delivering on some pretty decent action films. It certainly does give me hope for Marvel’s future in their hands. Another really cool thing is the style of action. The movie does a good job at recreating some of the death-defying acrobatics from the game. Whether its Dastan running sideways on a wall or free-falling off a ledge, it just has a way of pushing your fanboy button (or action junkie button, which ever you have). Taking all of this into account I give this movie 5 Top Hats. I’m sure if I ever play through the game I might end up shrinking it back one for accuracy. But, that will be a short time off. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time offers you a good thumping time. I don’t really recall having anything bad to say about this movie. I think it was because my expectations were set pretty low. You know what they say the lower the expectations, the more you may get surprised.
This movie I rented on a whim really. I didn’t know a lot about it, all I knew was it was a modern take on the vampire mythos. Now don’t get me wrong, I love when people try to rekindle the vampire story! It’s just a lot of people don’t do it any justice, or it’s like they just add vampires to the story for a draw. Upon watching the movie, I was left wanting several sequels! The story line is amazing, the actors even better. There are really too many good things to say. The story revolves around the concept of the world being overrun by vampires. With that many vampires in the world, homosapiens are about to go extinct. This also poses a real problem for vampires too, being that they will lose their food source. Actually two problems, one being obvious. The other is the more they starve the more they turn into a grotesque half man/ half bat creature. This is where you meet the main protagonist Edward Dalton, portrayed by Ethan Hawke. Edward is a scientist charged with creating a synthetic blood supply. I would also like to mention he doesn’t exactly like being a vampire. He still has a very soft spot for humanity because of this. A soft spot that leads him to hell and back.
Now like I said, this movie has a very tight story line. The writers really put a very cool modern spin on the vampire movie. The way that the vampires live, the technological advancements that allow them to live life in the dark is very new and interesting. There are really so many little details that this film covers, you can’t possibly list them all in a small review. Your main cast really plays a big part in this movie too! Willem Dafoe does what he does best with his role as Lionel “Elvis” Cormac, an ex-vampire that totes a bad-ass cross-bow! I also have to add it’s nice seeing Sam Neil in his villainous role as the head of a big blood supply company. There is just something about him that he plays a very good evil corporate America scum, with the added evil of being a vampire! Taking all of these things into account you have a good story line, a great cast, and a very nice visual presentation. All of which help me happily give this movie a 5 Top Hat rating. I really urge all who are looking for a good vampire movie to go and check this movie out. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
Iron Man 2
If you know me you know that I am a HUGE fanboy when it comes to Marvel. I love all things Marvel, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to judge just based on that. No I was actually very nervous for this movie. When you are following a first movie as good as Iron Man, you have a lot to live up to! Iron Man 2 sets a really high bar for any comic movie to follow, including a third movie! our story takes place 6 months after the events of the first movie. Right away you are introduced to Ivan Vanko (Micky Rourke) a physicist whose family has a grudge against the Stark family. Did I forget to mention that he is the only other person in the world with access to the arc reactor technology? The second part of the story is Tony going through a self-destructive phase in his life (Yeah, I know as if alcoholism and womanizing wasn’t self-destructive enough!) You see the very arc reactor that is saving his life is also poisoning him. So he is in a race to find an alternate power source before the thing meant to save his life ends him. Take all of that and add that the government is breathing down his neck for the Iron Man suit…he is in some deep shit and it’s only been 20 minutes into the movie!
Now I can go on about how visually pleasing this movie, and how awesome Robert Downey Jr. is at playing Tony Stark, but you already know that! I’ll start with the new actor for Rhodes, Don Cheadle. This man did so much for the character that it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the role. Not to say Terrance Howard was terrible, I just feel he could have not done the Rhodes that this movie needed. I will also add that Scarlett Johansson did wonderfully. I’m not a real big fan of her work, and I really have to say I’m usually not impressed with her as an actress. In this movie she delivers what no other woman has lately. A female Super Hero that doesn’t make you laugh out of the theater. Oh, and Micky Rourke! Where do I start? For the first time I’ve seen, you see a director go with a B list villain and turn him into a force to be reckoned with. Whiplash is such a great choice to pit against Tony Stark. He’s the exact opposite of Tony Stark that it makes it a perfect show down. I’m now left saying “Where do you go from here?” So as you all may have guessed I give this film a 5 Top Hat rating. This movie was Jon Faveau’s perfect storm. Will lightning strike a third time with Iron Man 3? Only time will tell ladies and gentleman…
Now, at this point you are either saying “Wow, Malice hardly any stinker you’ve either got impeccable taste in movies or your easy to please…” Well let me tell you, I do pride myself on knowing when a movie is going to be shit! This movie I went against my usual instinct. The reason I did this was for my love of Repo! The Genetic Opera. You see I couldn’t tell whether it was my love for Repo! that was causing my bullshit meter to go off, or the fact it was in fact a massive turd! The story line reads as this, Jude Law plays Remy. Remy is a repo man for the company simply called “The Union.” Remy and his partner Jake (Forrest Whitaker) are the best there is in the organ repossession game. What “The Union” does, is finance organs to people who need them. You know so you don’t have to worry about a donor. Catch is if you miss a payment, they send in…the Repo Men. (Is it just me, or does this story line sound REALLY familiar? Maybe it’s just me…) Remy is trying to struggle with the choice of either lose his family or switch to a desk job. “The Union” doesn’t like this. I mean how would you take losing your best man? So “The Union” in an effort to flex their muscle sets it up so Remy is going to need their help with an organ. This effectively binds him to the company, because the only way he can afford it is to stay a Repo Man. So basically, the company screws him over. To top it off, he has a meeting with his conscience and can no longer “perform.” Now Remy must fight against the company to survive! (I swear I’ve heard this story somewhere before…)
O.K. I will set aside completely pigeon holing this movie with Repo! The Genetic Opera jokes, because really I don’t need them. This movie sucks all on its own! To top it off, it’s not even really the whole movie sucks, but the last 5 minutes ofthis film are so unforgivable!! The ending of the movie sets you up with Remy and this girl he meets on the streets that is hooked on a street sedative for her organ transplants (….Don’t look at me I didn’t say anything….). These two have made pretty good friends and are trying to escape the system. The only way they can, is to make sure that their organs are checked out of the system. The only way to do this is to break into the main computer room at “The Unions” home office. There are some awesome fight scenes along the way here culminating in an even more awesome ass kicking sequence on their way down the hallway to this ‘core computer.” When they get in there it’s just a hole in the wall, a scanner, and a monitor. The only way they can check the organs out is to scan them out. Unfortunately the only way to do that is the Saw decision of “How much blood will you shed to gain your freedom?” So in an even more grizzly display of cutting each other open and rooting their hands and a handheld scanner around (and looking very much like they are having sex) they have to scan all of the bar codes. Now this isn’t hard for Remy, he only has the heart. Beth however has like 12-13 implants!! Upon doing this Frank (Leiv Streiber) and Jake finally gain entrance to the room. Frank is basically ignoring the fact that they beat the system and is going to kill Remy and Beth. Well this doesn’t sit well with Jake, so he kills Frank. Then with the help of Frank they stick a hole butt load of grenades into the central processing hole and blow the place to shit. Now the next scene is them relaxing on a beach somewhere, maybe in Mexico. They beat the company! Now best friends and new girlfriend can live happy and at peace at last (Yeah if you are asking yourself where the hell did this mans family go to that caused all these problems? I assure you, you are not alone…) So life is good right? Well it is until the beach background starts to glitch. You see you then are sucked back to 30 minutes to an hour earlier in the film when Remy was knocked over the head by Jake. “The Union” are working frantically trying to help bring Remy back with an experimental “Brain” implant designed for people in comas. Oh yeah they went there! The epic ending that they have set up is all a dream! I mean really who is going to overcome a corporate giant. That stuffs for movies!! This is the real world, and that’s what people go to a theater to see right, reality? I don’t have to go any further to describe to you why I hated this movie. I will ignore the obscure “Repossession Mambo” references that only Repo! fans will know about. I will ignore the numerous plot holes this movie creates. Just because of that movie I give this a rating of 1 Top Hat. The only reason I won’t give it a half of a Top Hat is because, it is rediculous to have a half of a hat. Who would wear it? That’s rubbish, and so is this movie. Congratulations to Repo Men for receiving the first ever Encyclopedia Psychotika Golden Turd Award for 2010. I don’t see how a movie that had such a great cast could be this bad. I guess going to show you that no matter how good the cast, it doesn’t save the movie!
p.s this goes to Jude Law, Forrest Whitaker, Leiv Streiber, and John Leguizamo…..SHAME ON YOU!!!
Lost Boys: The Thirst
Finally, we reach the end of Part I of this trilogy. What better way to end it, then by reviewing the third installment to The Lost Boys, Lost Boys: The Thirst. I must tell you that I am stepping outside the realm of traditional horror film reviewers at this point. I’m not a prude, and I do think that there are sometimes a return to a franchise can be a good thing. If not a really good way to stave off an inevitable remake. I would sometimes much rather you return and expand, rather than hollow out the original and use the puppet as your movie. In the second one you are reintroduced to the beloved Edgar Frog. In this one, they actually retcon some of the bad plot from the second one, and turn this one into a much better follow-up. It is really just too much of a shame that our dearly departed Corey Haim could not have been a part of this movie. The basis for this movie is that Edgar Frog is getting kicked out of his place. His whole life is falling apart. Then a girl comes to his door asking him to do what he does best kick some vampire tail! This time he must race to keep a vampire coven from performing a ritual that will make its leader super charged. He even goes to enlist the help of his brother Alan, already showed turned vamp in the first scene of the movie. Through a few plot twist, the insidious plot is revealed and you get to see what every fanboy wants, the Frog Brothers back in the business of kicking blood sucker ass (and business is good)!
This movie worked way better as a follow-up to the original on a few different levels. You actually have a more solid story that doesn’t get annoying. Alan is changed, but is not the evil douche he is portrayed to be in the second one. Sam still got turned. But in a tribute to him they tie it up and say that Edgar had to kill him. While we are on that, I will add that the little tribute they have to him in the form of Edgar’s cherished Batman #14, is just…touching really. Add that to the looks Edgar has when mentioning Sam, and it just gets down right teary! The movie achieves its point of reuniting the Frog Brothers for an excellent adventure. As good as it is though and as much as I love the story, there is a negative. Most the other characters in this movie are terrible actors or actresses. I mean they are barely worthy of a SyFy original. That being said I’m unable to give this movie a full perfect rating. I will give this movie a 4 Top Hat rating. Why? For a tight story line, decent visual effects, and sheer “rewatchability’.
Well that’s all for now! I know this has been a long epic of an article, but I assure you the next two sequels are just as big! Use these as you will. Whether they help you make a choice to or not to watch is entirely up to you! Hope everyone is having a good start to the year. Oh, and it’s good to be back in the saddle!
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,