Movie Review: Wanted

A smart summer film that laughs with you.

Director: Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch)
MPAA Rating: R (strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language and some sexuality)
What I Expected: A fun, campy, stupid shooter that is hopefully better than Crank.
What I Got: An entertaining thriller that is intelligent without overshooting itself.
Appeals To: Action lovers, people looking for an excellent story, Angelina Jolie/James McAvoy fans, and people who wish the Matrix movies didn’t start to suck.

I started to worry about movies that look like this one: pulse pounding sequences of action laced with high-end, slow-motion special effects involving improbable feats that mostly involve guns. Frankly, movies of this species have been earning a bad rap for themselves as of late. The Matrix movies have declined in quality, Crank was particularly imbecilic, and as lovable as Clive Owen is, Shoot ‘Em Up could have accepted help from illicit recreational agents. Frankly, when one goes to an action film, the action is expected, but everything else is just forgotten about. Thankfully, Timur Bekmambetov realized this and created a work of art that both takes these kinds of movies in a satirical light while providing a deep storyline that hasn’t been seen since the first Matrix film.

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Movie Review: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

“Buddy Noir” describes this shockingly hilarious romp through urban LA.

Director: Shane Black (Writer of the Lethal Weapon movies)
MPAA Rating: R (language, violence and sexuality/nudity)
What I Expected: A funny crime drama with a classic style.
What I Got: A hilarious, intelligent crime drama that successfully updates a classic style.
Appeals To: Buddy film nuts, modern noir afficionados, anyone looking for something fresh.

It seems as of late that I will give credit to any movie that stops me cold in my “I saw it coming” amateur film student tracks and slap me with a fish – warm or cold – and proceeds to laugh alongside me at the total randomness of the situation. Perhaps I have been too jaded – it is easy to predict and expect the right things walking into any average movie. However, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a film that is a laughable mix of brutal honesty, ticklishly sharp wit, and a timeless style.

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Movie Review: The Incredible Hulk

Marvel does it right again.

Director: Louis Leterrier (The Transporter, Unleashed)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (sequences of intense action violence, some frightening sci-fi images, and brief suggestive content.)
What I Expected: Ed Norton commanding an excellent film adaptation of The Hulk.
What I Got: An excellent film adaptation of The Hulk.
Appeals To: Hulk fans; special effects buffs; anyone looking for a good, story driven action film.

Not too long ago, I spoke of how Iron Man shattered everything I came to expect of a Marvel film – focusing on the art rather than the character value and becoming a true medium where art and literature collide on a live-action performance. Now that Marvel has taken command of production, their movies have transcended the popcorn-value of the average summer blockbuster and achieved true cult status among comic fans and movie aficionados. With the release of The Incredible Hulk, we get to see Marvel continue its trend.

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Game Review: Grand Theft Auto IV

Let me not be vague about my message about Grand Theft Auto IV: GTA IV is a good game, but it is not the best game ever, not even the best game of its time. I don’t care how many GTA fanboys object to that – there are several problems with the game that no game of high quality should have.

Now, I’m not one for not giving credit where credit is due. I know the reason GTA IV behaves the way it does is because it has to cut corners to overcome technological obstacles. It does this for good reason as well, as the modern GTA series is one of its only games of its kind. However, the game on a technical and playable standpoint is far from the best thing on the market.

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Video Games Are Evil And That’s Wonderful

By title alone, this is easily the most fundamentalist Roman Catholic thing I will ever write, and seeing as I am far from a fundamentalist, it embitters me to pander to such a blatant extreme. However, before you start waving the torches and pitchforks, assuming you’ll find a Floridan lawyer briefs-down-to-ankles in my basement and brown marks on my cheek, realize that this is an article exploring a darker side of something we do so haplessly. Yes, a majority of video games out there are violent, and they’re mostly fun when we’ve achieved the glorious climax of this violence. It comes to a point that we release ourselves from moral judgment and concentrate instead on a sense of hubris – we are doing the exact opposite of productivity. However, is this necessarily so bad?

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Movie Review – P.S. This Is Sparta

P.S. This Is Sparta

Director: Richard Snyder (I Love You 300 Times)
MPAA Rating: R (for intense violence, nudity, sappy romance, and yelling into one’s ear.)
What I Expected: A cheesy romance film about relationships and feelings.
What I Got: The most epic love story of all time.
Appeals To: Spartans, soldiers, women, Gerard Butler Fans, anyone.

Now, I’m not usually one to see cheesy romance films. They usually have the same message – love is a wonderful thing. While I’m sure it is from the many reviews I’ve read about it and countless pictures of couples making out to express their love because nobody would believe they’re a couple if they didn’t, I think the Hollywood industry is trying to fleece us. They give us this short, sweet tale about a couple who clearly love each other but don’t know how to treat each other as such. I’m glad someone finally decided to show us what love is really supposed to be.

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