The Last Exorcism

Movie: The Last Exorcism

  • Director: Daniel Stamm
  • Release Date:
  • Writers: Huck Botko, Andrew Gurland
  • Run Time: 87
  • Genre: Horror, Thriller

Tagline: Believe In Him.

Review: Ive been reading the reviews and felt the need to clarify a few things in case you
e reading these reviews, debating whether or not to see this film.

It is not the worst horror film ever. People who say something like that obviously have not seen enough horror films to know the worst ones. By no means is this movie a revolutionary breakthrough that will reinvigorate the horror genre, but the film does a good job at making a decent exorcism movie documentary-style.

The video camera shaking is not that bad. Yes, it shakes, but thats the style of the movie. Get over it. If you don like that style at all and are always made sick by it, don see it.

To say the ending was ambiguous and left people missing the themes of the movie and therefore a bad choice is also a bit ridiculous. If you saw the movie Inception and still loved it despite the “ambiguous” feeling the film left you with and the obsessive pondering over what actually happened in the last dreams sequence then you can complain at this ending which was NO WHERE near as complex. If you take a few minutes to work it out (talk amongst your friends if need be), the ending is not ambiguous at all.

The filmmakers themselves never claim that this is actual footage. So stop worrying about “how they found the camera footage” in the first place. The filmmakers made a work of fiction, and Im sure they hope their audience understands this.

I can deal with all the critiques, but to comment on the films good qualities:

It does add a few different takes on the “classic” form of an exorcism film such as the documentary-style, the characters, and particularly the ending.

As far as scariness, you have to understand the nature of what makes a good exorcism horror and good documentary horror: the “sluggish build up” (as many juvenile critics have termed it) is everything. What makes these movies great is that you, for a while, forget you
e in a horror movie and start to believe you
e watching real events unfold. You can split hairs over how long the film needs to convince you that these people and situations are real but without it you have no movie, or no good exorcism/documentary horror film. With its slower (I wouldn use sluggish) beginning the film hopes to sincerely connect you with the characters and believable setups so that when bizarre events do occur you are more likely to (sincerely) accept them and be frightened by them. No, the movie was not overwhelming scary. It doesn go for cheap jump out moments (maybe once or twice) or CGI animations of demons popping out everywhere. But it does deliver a more realistic approach to child possession than most of its predecessors, which is pretty scary.

The ending is definitely a big moment for peoples final judgment of the film, because it goes in such a different direction from what the rest of the film points too. But as stated before it is not ambiguous. All I will say is keep an open mind, and realize that this film though documentary-styled is still a work of fiction (again, as stated before). It took me a few moments to adjust once the ending was over, but after some thought I didn mind the twist. Could it have been better? Definitely. Am I outraged? No. The film makers just wanted to produce something a little different than the expected exorcism ending. Perhaps the biggest upset of the ending is that it detracts from majority of the films atmosphere of realism.

If you ARE a fan of exorcism movies and movies like the Blair Witch Project or even horror movies in general, The Last Exorcism is a good watch to satisfy you
e boredom and keep you entertained for an hour and a half, especially if you understand and like the construct of “sluggish build up” and if you have a few extra bucks that you
e looking to spend. But if your looking for a horror movie that will revive the horror genre for our time … this isn it. But the film isn trying to be the next big name in horror, so may rating is based off of the intentions of the film itself. Overall, the movie did its job in being mildly original, having great acting (considering that this is in fact a lower-budget horror movie), in staying true to the genre, and in delivering an engaging story.

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Resident Evil: Afterlife

Movie: Resident Evil: Afterlife

  • Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
  • Release Date:
  • Writers: Paul W.S. Anderson
  • Run Time: 97
  • Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Tagline: Shes back…And shes bringing a few of her friends.

Review: I am a huge fan of the video game series; Ive played & completed every Resident Evil game there is and I have 100% trophies of Resident Evil 5.

I loved the previous Resident Evil movie trilogy although many fans were disappointed by them because it wasn to close to the games and Alice is the main character who isn in any game. The filmmakers can please everyone when it comes to movies based on video games because if the movie is very similar to the game then people will say that “What is the point of the movie when it is just as same as the game?” but if it is very different then people will complain that it is not related to the game in any way, shape or form. What Paul W.S Anderson has done is created an original story and had the setting of the game in the first film & in this one as well. Which is the best thing to do and he has proved that he is a terrific writer & director, he may not be the best filmmaker ever but he does know how to make good movies based on games and he is one of my favourite directors. His two movies Mortal Kombat & Resident Evil are both the best video game adaptations to date.

The plot of Resident Evil: Afterlife is that it takes place after Extinction and Alice is continuing to look for survivors in world that has been infected by T-Virus that has turned into flesh eating zombies plus she wants to take revenge on Albert Wesker and this time she if fully prepared with her clones, telekinetic powers and awesome weapons. Fighting Wesker isn an easy task because he is superhuman himself just like in Resident Evil 5. This instalment is very close to the games and particularly Resident Evil Code Veronica & Resident Evil 5. Those who have played the 2 games will get flashbacks while watching the movie.

This was the most anticipated film for me this year and it absolutely did not disappoint me at all. I loved every minute of it right from start to end. Resident Evil: Afterlife was relentlessly entertaining, exiting and a perfect popcorn movie at the cinema kind. The movie had a great blend of action, horror, sci-fi and thriller. This one had a much more post-apocalyptic look than in extinction and has amazing special & visual effects in just in a $60 million budget. The monsters were just like in Resident Evil 5, e.g. the zombies look like the majinis with their predator like mouth, the executioner and the dogs that split their heads open with teeth inside it. So it was fascinating to see that.

The cast was great, Milla needs no introduction & is fantastic just like always and she is improving in acting, stunts and she doesn struggle to get the job done because she can do it. Shawn Roberts was a much better Albert Wesker than Jason OMara in Extinction.

Overall its not an Oscar winning kind movie & it doesn need to be. Its a movie for the fans not for critics so ignore their negative reviews but I had a really good time watching it since I am a fan and check it out if you
e looking for an entertaining movie and its a must see if you are a Resident Evil fan.

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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Movie: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

  • Director: Edgar Wright
  • Release Date:
  • Writers: Michael Bacall, Edgar Wright
  • Run Time: 112
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

Tagline: An epic of epic epicness.

Review: Edgar Wright is fanboy gold. Shaun of the Dead proved that he was a director to watch and Hot Fuzz showed that he had a bit more up his sleeve. So what happens when Wright branches out to comic fare without the help of his regulars? We get a film that is nonstop entertainment done in a way that only Wright can. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is unique to its very core, the fact that its also well done and enjoyable is icing on that one-of-a-kind cake.

Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is a 22-year-old Toronto slacker. When he isn practicing with his band, he is hanging out with his 17-year-old girlfriend Knives Chau (Ellen Wong). Everything is business as usual until Scott sees the literal girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Scott quickly discovers that being with Ramona isn as easy as he thought. While dealing with an unclear relationship with Knives he must face off against Ramonas seven evil exes.

The casting of this film is inspired. For all those that have grown tired of Michael Cera I urge you to go see this film. At the surface Scott Pilgrim is yet another awkward young man that youve seen Cera do before, but he finds a way to dig deeper into the character. Scott is a flawed individual and Cera is able to communicate these flaws without negating the charm that is at the characters core. It is a tough performance to describe, since it is simultaneously similar to his prior roles while also being quite a bit more complex. Technically Michael Cera is the lead, however very few scenes are all his own. Nearly every supporting actor is able to steal at least one scene. From Kieran Culkin as Wallace to Johnny Simmons as Young Neil, there was not one actor that I tired of. I found myself wishing the film could be longer simply so I could have more time to get to know all of the other characters. Anna Kendrick is sweet and smarmy as Scotts little sister, Aubrey Plaza is endearing as the overworked and unappreciated Julie Powers and Ellen Wong manages to sidestep the chasm of annoyance as Knives Chau. Then there are the seven evil exes who you should hate but just can . In short, if the saying “you
e only as strong as your weakest link” is true, then this cast is a diamond chain.

The story is fantastic, if a bit simplistic. Bryan Lee OMalley has created a world that is both ridiculous and relatable. The film is as much a character piece as it is an action film. The writing is able to examine the complications that come with relationships at a young age. Scott is a selfish individual that pays little notice to the effect his decisions have on those around him. Ramona has led a life of regret and is constantly running from a past that will not let her escape. The characters and story are complex enough that you will be surprise to see them following you out of the theater.

The reason the film is able to work is Edgar Wright. I cannot imagine this film in any other directors hands. Some have described Wrights style as customized for the “ADD generation” but I believe this is borderline insulting. While he does utilize several fast cuts and the film has very few moments that do not cruise by, I believe this is necessary. A comic book does not contain several solemn moments of reflection and as such, a film based on a comic book should not either. I was shocked to realize that the film is close to two hours long since it seemed to clip by at such a fast pace. I may be a bit bias since this film seems to be customized to me. I grew up with my Sega Genesis at my side and a television nearby. Due to this, I found all of the video game and television inflections to be a delight. These references are in no way a distraction, simply a fantastic supplement. If the sound of the Sonic the Hedgehog theme brings a big smile to your face, then this film is just for you.

Comic book films have become pretty commonplace. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World may not be a Marvel or DC film, but it manages to feel much more like a comic book than any film since Sin City. Wright shoots for the moon when it comes to staying true to his source and I am glad he did. The screen oozes comic charm and this allows for the intense fights and stylized musical numbers to feel completely authentic. I believe that a comic should only be transitioned to the screen if something more can be added to the experience in the process. I have only read portions of the Scott Pilgrim comic, but when it comes to the film, I would be elated to sit down and experience it all over again.

With this film, Edgar Wright completes a hat trick of memorable fare. Bryan Lee OMalley has created a story that weve seen before in a way that is completely unique. Wright is able to take OMalleys fantastic story and transition it beautifully to the screen. Every member of the cast is fantastic; I only wish that each actor had more time on screen. With so many comic book films feeling obligated to be rooted less in the fantastic and more in the real, it is nice to a see a comic book film that embraces its roots. The strong comic book style, coupled with video game accents, results in a film that is never boring. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World will make you laugh and yearn for young love, all while pummeling you with its awesomeness.

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The Expendables

Movie: The Expendables

  • Director: Sylvester Stallone
  • Release Date:
  • Writers: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Callaham
  • Run Time: 103
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller

Tagline: Choose your weapon.

Review: “The Expendables” is without question the most anticipated movie of the summer of 2010. Its cast is a whos who of established action film stars of the previous three decades. Even though the previews gave away the cameo by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, it still gave us just another reason to stand in line for this movie.

And who else leads the impressive roster of stars but the American dream himself, Sylvester Stallone, who also co-wrote and directed this movie himself. Stallone is one of those rare movie stars who, even in that period of time (circa 1998-2005) when he wasn making many films, you never heard him referred to as a B-lister or a has-been. It could be because he has arguably had more career comebacks than any actor in history.

Don call “The Expendables” a comeback, though. If anything, its a further reminder that Stallone can still make engrossing films that defy target audience groups. Oh yeah, and he looks better than any 64-year-old I know of.

Although Stallone wears three heavy hats in this movie, he doesn carry the weight of the movie on his own shoulders. Youve already read the names of the action stars who support him here. Although the youngest of the Expendables (Jason Statham) is 37, they are far from a rag-tag crew. This movie shows that they can still kick more ass than “Kick- Ass” (2010).

The Expendables describes a team of what could be considered mercenaries, or bounty hunters. They go on high-risk missions, guns in hand, and pick up the money owed to them at the end of the day. Their main mission in this movie is initially to overthrow a South American dictator in the fictional nation of Vilena. Eventually, they find that the real enemy is ex-CIA agent James Munroe (Eric Roberts) aided by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and a whole army of guerrilla soldiers.

This movie is full of action sequences, all of which are fun to watch. There are also some scenes involving knives (particularly ones thrown by Jason Statham) that even made me flinch. Although there are plenty of scenes involving knives and big guns, there are some great sequences involving hand-to-hand combat. You definitely don want to take a bathroom break when 56 Jet Li takes on 64 Dolph Lundgren. Theres also a fight scene between Steve Austin and Randy Couture that will satisfy both UFC and WWE fans.

These scenes were not without their confusion, though, especially those shot using what appeared to be a hand-held camera. There were a lot of close-up shots during these intense parts that didn seem necessary, and the way the camera shook and almost too quickly cut to another scene was confusing. Ang Lee used similar camera tricks in his version of “Hulk”, and they bewildered more than entranced.

A thinking mans movie it is not, thats for sure, but it is still a fun movie that needs to be seen on the big screen. Plus, with all the testosterone in it, it may have been difficult for a woman to stand out. Although she didn have any weapons or fighting power, Giselle Itie was hardly a damsel in distress. In fact, one scene I won give away has her making a decision that few, men or woman, would have made amidst all the explosions and gunfire. Youll know it when you see it.

“The Expendables” will not disappoint action fans. It also is not short of quotable lines, especially in Gov. Schwarzeneggers cameo. Expendable, by definition, means considered to be not worth keeping or maintaining, but the careers of everyone involved in this film remain quite the opposite.

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Step Up 3D

Movie: Step Up 3D

  • Director: Jon Chu
  • Release Date:
  • Writers: Amy Andelson, Emily Meyer
  • Run Time: 107
  • Genre: Drama, Music, Romance

Tagline: Take the biggest step of all in 3D

Review: Its been a while of slogging through the past year of 3D after 3D movie coming out, and most of them are not rushing out to see, since the movies themselves aren worth the trouble (and some, like Last Airbender, threaten to derail the old-new technology that is raking in the bucks). But sometimes one should see a 3D movie if it merits it, or looks to be like the gimmick of it will make it worthwhile- yes, gimmick, it really still is even with the merits with Avatar and Toy Story 3 in the format- and Step Up 3D is one of those movies.

This isn a review where I can talk about the film in terms of its canon placement in the series, in large part since this is the first Step Up movie Ive seen. Then again the films are only somewhat connected through a couple of the characters (Moose and Camille, from Step Up 2 the Streets and Step Up respectively), and it can be watched pretty much on its own terms. And who comes to these movies for the plot?

The story is the most clichéd thing about it: a guy has his own kind of, uh, family of dancers called The Pirates who dance the pants off anyone they come across, except maybe the Samurai, who will face off against them. But does the guy, closet filmmaker Luke, know that the girl hes falling for is really the sister of the nefarious douche who runs the Samurai dancers? Oh no, what will happen, especially considering all of the dancers are counting on this final 100 grand payment at the competition to save the loft?

Indeed the story was not the reason I went out to see this, and aside from some laughter at some of the plot twists and almost ALL of the performances (they range from competent to laughably WTF, like pulling out the rejects from Electric Boogaloo from the Hot Tub Time Machin), but how nuts the dancing could get. To be fair, who really follows who these cast members are? One is more well-versed in the work of the composer, Bear McCreary, oddly enough of Battlestar Galactica fame.

Believe it or not, this isn really all technically *dancing*. Its crazy choreography, and there should be a difference distinguished between the two. When a dance number turns into a demo reel for TRON 3D, it isn dancing really, not the kind that can be enjoyed like from the old days of dancing musicals. After a while it just turns into a lot of manic movements, often like robotic dancing (Domo Arrigato) and other weird things. At one point a dance group keeps wooshing black smoke, which of course is just right (and wrong) for 3D.

But there are some moments when one can stop laughing or just being entertained at the ludicrous justin of moves and how some of it turns into Beat It (like the music video, such as a dancing fight in a bathroom where the Samurai crew gang up on Moose in the bathroom), or some moments when one can stop laughing at the character turns (hey, if a character can have a double major in Engineering and Dancing at NYU, why can another go to film school in NYC, supposedly in this world there are only film schools in California and they accept based on crappy document, oh nevermind), and it is genuinely fun. It is mostly harmless, and not offensive to certain sensibilities of intelligence like High School Musical movies. Its a goofy movie for young people that does feature a couple of genuinely amazing moments; when Moose and Camille stop at an ice cream truck and have a song turned up loud and do a *real* dance number on the street, it turns for a moment into the bright whimsy of a Gene Kelly number.

Those moments aren many, and often the movie just goes from one stupid scene to another. But if one can leave intellectual high standards at the door and take in a movie that is just silly 80s-dance-movie inspired fun, then its a good time. And the 3D makes things pop and groove in the dance numbers, and somehow works for the benefit of the material.

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