Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

TMNT Revamping a beloved franchise isn't an easy task. Just ask Michael Bay, he gets an incredible amount of well deserved hate for his reboot of the Transformers series which are indeed garbage. However, they make hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office so someone likes them. I am not one of those people. So, it stands as no surprise that when he announced that he would have a hand in bringing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle back to the big screen everyone had there reservations. After over a year of controversy and script rewrites and fan hate before the movie even came out once again, director Johnathan Liebsman and the John Cena of the film industry delivers a movie you'll either accept for what it is or rip to shreds.

The movie opens with a brief voice over by Splinter voiced by Tony Shalhoub about how the Turtles are about to face there biggest threat NYC has ever seen. Of course if you are well versed in the Turtle lore you know he is talking about the foot clan. They want to "reclaim" the city for some reason. April O'Neil played surprisingly solid by Megan Fox is introduced as a head strong reporter who isn't happy with her station at the Channel 6 News. She wants to cover the hard hitting (no pun intended) news that's taking place in the city but she's stuck reporting on the feel good stories with her trusty cameraman Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett). Once she goes out on her own to find out whats going down she brings information back to her boss Bernadette Thompson (Whoopi Goldberg). She's basically laughed out the room. It's not clever or inventive but it gets the movie going.

Once the Turtles are on screen we are introduced to four six foot plus hulking beasts. You've got Leonardo (Johnny Knoxville) Raphael (Alan Ritchson) Donetello (Jeremy Howard) and Michelangelo (Noe Fisher). They look like they're on steroids and you know what, I've got no problem with there redesigns. I don't know what a giant bipedal turtle looks like but I'd have to imagine, they might look like this. Once the whole crew is acclimated to each other we are treated to the new incredibly convenient origin story of the turtles and master splinter. It's far fetched but I wasn't mad at it. I feel like the origin story was created to simply showcase O'Neil a little more then she needed to be.

The best parts of the film are the Turtles interactions with each other. They actually feel like they're brothers. The dialog between them is amusing more often then not and the comradery was actually endearing. The humans take a backseat to these four halfway through the movie as it should be. I didn't come to see people talking to each other, I came to see Turtles beat people up. It didn't disappoint. The fight sequences between them were actually coherent. Liebsman pulled the camera back so we could actually see what the hell was happening on screen. When they go toe to toe with Shredder who is the main villian of the film all of those sequences were damn entertaining. The stand out set piece is easily the downhill chase sequence.

Speaking of Shredder, this brings me to the worst aspect of the film: The villains motivation. It really makes no sense whatsoever. It's the worst Saturday morning cartoon motivation you can think of. Maybe that was the point but come on man, do better. I don't know which one was worse The Dark Knight Rises or this (Yeah I said it and what?). William Fichtner's performance as the evil Millionaire Sachs was fine but then again I've never seen a bad performance by him. He really didn't need to exercise his acting chops. No one does honestly. It all boils down to the Turtles in action and if nothing else, it at least delivered on that front.

I'm probably going to be in the minority but the kid in me that used to watch the cartoon every day and still loves the original live action movie enjoyed it. Is it a good movie? By hollywood standards probably not. To me, it accomplishes what it sets out to do and it's incredibly entertaining. There were some genuine laughs throughout the movie and those of use that know the turtles will appreciate the nods to the cartoon intro, the script controversy and a host of other things. It never takes itself too seriously and it shouldn't. I've no doubt that the movie will be slammed by critics for being brain dead and stupid but let's just remember what the name of the movie is. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES.

[easyreview title= "Review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" cat1title="Terrence's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="3.0" overall= false]

Review: Kick-Ass 2

Kick-Ass 2 Kick-Ass 2: Kick Ass Harder? No, not really. It’s pretty much more of the same which is pretty great in my eyes. Let me say up front that I haven’t read the sequel comic… yet. Kick-Ass is a superhero in case you haven’t heard. He was the first real life superhero to go public and he inspired many more to don costumes and prowl the streets in search of criminals to pummel. That’s where we are when this movie opens only Kick-Ass himself put up the tights… but he still hears the calling and soon enough he’s back out in the wild and soon enough he’s getting the crap kicked out of him all over again.

This would be the one glaring negative point I have with this film. This guy seems to have learned nothing after the events of the first film. He’s still as ineffectual as ever and it feels really wrong. To fix this he pretty much begs Hit-Girl, the prepubescent sidekick of the late Big Daddy from the first film, to train him. Through these two interaction we hit the theme, which is about people coming into their own and becoming the person they are meant to be. Kick-Ass learns to become a better hero, Hit-Girl learns that there is a bit more to life than beating up criminals and… well the villain learns that he is indeed a villain. He learns to be… the MotherFucker.

That theme helps keep the film from going down the super dark road I’ve heard the comic goes down. Kick-Ass 2 never takes itself too seriously and makes sure you have fun watching the madness play out no matter how violent. And yes, this film is SUPER violent and in some cases goes further than the comics and in other cases thankfully pulls back. There is a famous scene from the comic even I’ve heard about, a rape scene. I will tell you upfront there is no rape in this film. It would have severely shifted the tone and the scene is artfully written out in a very clever way that allows the villains to remain who they are without getting too depraved. I won’t spoil the scene but I will say it should put a smile on your face.

The star of this show isn’t Kick-Ass. Fan favorite Hit-Girl comes to the forefront of this cast with the stellar Chloe Moretz. She was a scene stealer in the first film and she is the star here with a large portion of the movie delving into how Hit-Girl slowly finds that there is indeed more to being a young girl, whether she wants to or not. I have yet to be disappointed in a performance by Moretz as she has some very matured acting chops and it’s a joy to watch her just be awesome with every line she delivers. Of course it helps that she utterly destroys everyone in her path.

The rest of the cast delivers as well. Christopher Mintz-Plasse is a very tongue in cheek villain as the Mother Fucker, John Leguizamo pops up as his assistant and is just as great as ever, Donald Faison, a favorite of mine, is hilarious as always and a huge cast full of costumed nuts that never ceases to understand.

This movie kept me smiling from start to finish. Smart humor as well as crude humor, extreme action, a small girl kick the shit out of everyone in her way and a scene stealing Jim Carrey with a dog that likes to… “fetch” balls. If you liked the first you’ll love the second. Don’t hesitate, get out there and kick ass with Kick-Ass 2.

[easyreview title= "Review of Kick-Ass 2" cat1title="Cheetimus's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="4.0" overall= false]

Review: Alex Cross

Alex Cross Once again we are thrust into the world of Alex Cross, which is a series of novels written by author James Patterson. In the two previous movies god himself Morgan Freeman played the beloved character. This time around we get Tyler Perry as the title character. If this sounds like something you're going to enjoy, you probably will. For the rest of you, it is what it is. What it is, is not good movie by any stretch of the imagination.

Here we have some what of a reboot or prequal to the previous movies as we see Cross (Perry) a homicide detective criminal profiler on the Detroit police force. He's got a wife, who is pregnant with his third child and a best friend Tommy (Ed Burns) who also happens to be his partner. We learn very early on in the movie that Cross is extremely good at what he does when he is able to profile a killer named Picasso who is played not so well by Matthew Fox. He's a crazy psychopath MMA fighter/artist/assassin. After Cross examines a crime scene and figures out the killer's next move, he is instantly put on the top of the killer's list. From here on we get a series of events that in the end don't really add up and to be perfectly honest with you, you've probably seen 1,000 times in even the worst television cop procedurals.

The problems with this movie are many including bad acting, a terrible script, an extremely predictable plot and one of the worst fight sequences I have ever seen in my entire life. For starters, Tyler Perry is not a good actor. He's got very little range and he cannot seem to break away from his stage play acting style. The script didn't help either as the monologues he was given when he was tasked with profiling the killer were laugh out loud funny when they were not supposed to be. Ed Burns as his partner did the best he could with what he had to work with. He played the same character he always plays which is funny because he cannot seem to drop his New York accent which doesn't fit when you're born and raised in Detroit, but whatever. Then we have Matthew Fox as villain. I'm not quite sure what he was going for in his portrayal but it damn sure didn't work. I can only assume he was having fun with the character but once again poor line delivery and odd acting choices made the character comical. There are some supporting characters but nothing is actually worth mentioning. The final nail in the coffin for this movie was the directing itself. There were scenes where the camera would pan from one person to the next and then inexplicably pan to an inanimate object only to pan back to the conversation. For those that are not fond of the shakey cam, there is a scene in this movie that will probably make you throw up. I've never seen anything quite like it before.

With all this movies faults, it somehow manages to stay slightly entertaining I guess. I mean I didn't walk out so that's saying something. This could have easily gone straight to DVD but then again I've got a feeling it's going to make its money back based off of Tyler Perry alone. All in all it is not the worst movie I've ever seen but it isn't any good either. I can't stress that enough.

Stick to Madea out of 5!!

[easyreview title= "Review of Alex Cross" cat1title="Terrence Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="1.5" overall= false]

Review: The Campaign

When political rivals meet in the heat of battle we are normally treated to well staged lies and political stunts that seem so trivial. The Campaign pushes these notions to their absurd endpoint. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis star as two battling politicians who are willing to put it all on the line just to call themselves one of the few in Congress. The Campaign is a not just a slap stick comedy but surprisingly it has a very astute message.

Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) is a seasoned political veteran, when he is forced to go head to head with Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis) his entire career is put in jeopardy. When we first me Cam he recites his favorite catch phrase over and over to himself, “America, Jesus, Freedom.” When asked why he says that, he responds, “I have no idea but people love that shit!” Right there I knew director Jay Roach had a little more of a clever approach than what we saw in the trailers. The movie basically banks on the notion that large money interest have massive influence over politics, both local and national. When Marty Huggins, a local tour guide, is asked to run against Brady by two wealthy brothers named Glen and Wade Motch (John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd) he thinks he finally has hit big time. He is of course being manipulated by the brothers who share a clear comparison to Charles and David Koch. So hilarity ensues and we get baby punching, insane campaign ads, trash talk, and political rallies that were full of your cast of standard political characters. From the guy yelling about secret ties to China to discussions on whether a candidate believed in socialism in 2nd grade. While these concepts seem so silly they work more as an example of how far American politics have truly gone off the deep end.

The first half of the movie was a standard raunchy comedy that we have come to expect these days. Kids saying hilariously rude things and people put into absurd and awkward situations, all run of the mill. I laughed continually throughout and the jokes were genuine unlike Ted, for example. The second half pivots and examines what politics have become and how they are influenced. While the jokes are still there you can tell Roach wanted to make a sticking point for the audiences. He was aiming for that drive home conversation after watching The Campaign. The laughs and punches were just to get you in the door, and it worked beautifully. The pivot isn’t so outrageous that people will be off put by it, but it's certainly obvious. The movie never gets to preachy either, just lays out its message for even the lay to understand.

All in all, the acting was serviceable and there were no huge standout performances. However, what we did get was a movie that was trying to entertain and educate us. There aren’t enough movies like it so for that I am grateful. The Campaign is a genuinely funny movie, and you will come out of it happy you spent the money. While not as strong as 21 Jump Street, The Campaign takes its rightful seat in second place for comedies this year.

We will talk spoilers and more details on this week upcoming episode of The Nerdpocalypse podcast

[easyreview title= "Review of The Campaign" cat1title="Jay's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="3.5" overall= false]

image via collider.com

A Second Opinion: Total Recall Review

This is the second review of Total Recall by Terrence. You can read Micah's review here

When one thinks of Total Recall, you're first thought is the 1990 Schwarzenegger cult classic. What we have here is another remake that didn't seem necessary. What was a campy action movie with charm turns into a banal run of the mill action laden snore fest.

We are introduced to a world at the end of the 21st century that has been ravaged by chemical warfare. The inhabited world is now divided into two land masses. The opulent United federation of Britain (UFB) and the Colony located on Australia which for some reason looks like China. These two land masses are connected by a transporter called The Fall. A giant elevator that goes through the core of the earth. The Science in this completely escapes me. It's here that we meet Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell). An assembly line worker who is none to pleased with his life. He keeps having a recurring dream that strengthens this feeling and he isn't sure why. This drives him to visit Rekall. A place that implants memories into your brain and allows you to live out whatever fantasy you desire. While setting up his trip, things go crazy and he finds out that things are not what they seem to be. When he leaves Rekall he finds his wife Lori (Kate Bekinsale) is trying to kill him and after a fairly decent yet all too familiar chase scene we meet up with freedom fighter Melina (Jessica Beil) who is tasked in helping him remember who he is. From here on out we get what I have dubbed Quaid Runner.

The movies plot quickly takes a back seat to chase scene after chase scene with enemies that were taught at the Cobra Commander school of weapons training. They couldn't hit the broad side of a barn let alone a moving target. None of it is particularly spectacular or memorable. It's all just extremely dull. The action drives its way to the inevitable conclusion with the true danger Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston) which was also very anticlimactic. Throughout the movie, they throw in some nods for those that have seen the original movie. One in particular is so out of place they should have scrapped it all together. The biggest problem I had was that it was hard to care about anything going on as the movie never really shows the struggle or plight of the Colony. So what is the fight for. Hell, Quaid's apartment looks pretty stylish to me.

The one thing that is done right is the design of the locales. The Colony is clearly inspired by Blade Runner and The UFB is pretty much a throwback to Minority report. It's clear this movie had a budget and the CG shows it. However that's not saying much as the best part of Batman and Robin was also the set design and we all know that was god awful.

In the end, Farrell was serviceable, Beckinsale reprized her roll as the death dealer from Underworld as she was a bad ass Beil was meh and Cranston is always awesome. The plot was paper thin the action was abundant yet boring and the film as a whole was just dumb. It's sad when your exhausted after watching an action movie and its for the wrong reason.

Rating = Dumb out of 5

We will talk Total Recall in depth on this week's episode of The Nerdpocalypse podcast

Review: Beasts of the Southern Wild

The lines between reality and fantasy are harshly drawn in most cases, however, in the mind of a child they can begin to blur. This notion is what makes Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild so appealing. At no point in the film do we really know if we are witnessing the imagination of a child raised in anarchy or the anarchy itself. The audience’s confusion allows them to empathize with the character of Hushpuppy in a deeper and more meaningful way.

Beasts of the Southern Wild involves a young girl, Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis), who embarks on a life changing journey with her father, Wink (Dwight Henry), as he is dying of an unknown illness. The relationship between the two is as manic, frightening, and beautiful as a vivid dream. They live in a southern Delta, which is clearly near New Orleans, in abysmal surroundings. Zeitlin makes obvious yet considerate connections between how chaotic their home life is as a mirror for Wink’s, and to an extent Hushpuppy’s, mental state. Wink suffers from mental illness of some kind and is an alcoholic, but this doesn’t slow him down from his fatherly duties. However twisted as they may seem Wink finds its necessary to bring Hushpuppy up to speed on surviving in the “Bathtub” (another name for the Delta they live in). From how to catch fish with your bare hands to “beasting a crab” Wink shows her all she needs to know. While no one would summarize his lessons as stellar moments in parenting they are some of the most heartfelt moments in the film. The early part of the film really shows you just how much Wink cares for Hushpuppy, and more importantly how much Hushpuppy idolizes her dying father.

While Wink is teaching our heroine some life lessons there is another story arc happening in the background. As her world becomes more hectic ancient animals called aurochs begin to be released into the world. These giant boar-like animals are the thing of a child’s nightmares. They are ever approaching, and as time goes on they grow in numbers and size. The collision between the aurochs and Hushpuppy is inevitable. Her madness filled life will eventually catch up to her and she will have to deal with it face to face. Zeitlin gives these aurochs no personality or anything to connect with. They are soulless monsters just over the horizon. Here you can see the most obvious blurs of reality and the dream world. The aurochs represent many things in the film, however, ironically they ultimately represent real life, and its inevitability.

The performances in this film were something to really see. Quvenzhané Wallis as Hushpuppy was some of the best child acting I have ever seen. At age 5 she brought a realness to the role. It felt at times she was just being filmed in her normal life. For a majority of child actors showing heartfelt emotion is difficult, however for Wallis it came all too easy. Dwight Henry’s portrayal of Wink was stellar. His manic swings in emotion were genuinely disturbing. I have to guess that Henry is a father in real life because he is able to emote in scenes with a sense of concern that is so pitch perfect for a parent to a child. His genuineness reminded me of Chris Parnell's role in Pariah. The rest of the cast is filled with emotional and very real performances. One thing that I generally don’t get into when I do reviews is cinematography. Its general bores people to tears so I just don’t bother. However, in the case of Beasts of the Southern Wild I will make an exception. The movie looks simply beautiful. We were treated to tight shots of a southern Delta and flooded rivers. The transitions to and from reality was seamless. Anytime the aurochs were on screen they were larger than life and had a dream like presence due to their enormity comparative to their environment. All of this makes for not only an intriguing experience but a beautiful film. Go see Beast of the Southern Wild.

[easyreview title= "Review of Beast of the Southern Wild" cat1title="Jay's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="5.0" overall= false]

Review: Ted

If Ted is all about growing up and becoming an adult, I think it might be its own worst enemy. Ted is the story of John Bennett (Mark Walberg) and his magical teddy bear, named aptly Ted, that comes to life when he is a child. The two live in a perpetual cycle of bong hits and liquor shots. Its the college man and bear's dream.

When John and Ted's relationship seems to stand in the way of the adult relationship John has with his girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis) conflict begins. What happens next is fairly obvious. Frankly, the entire movie is obvious and fairly simplistic. Ted and John get drunk and/or high then get into trouble. Rinse and repeat.

So it should come as no surprise that I didn't care for this movie at all. Seth MacFarlane  basically crafted a real life version of his successful tv cartoon show, Family Guy. However, I think that MacFarlane miss the point of his own movie. While Ted walks us through what changes have to be made when we throw away our childish toys and become an adult it tries to do it with cheap fart jokes. While watching the movie there were so many jokes that simply fell flat with the audience, and with me. There are some chuckles but nothing long lasting. I found myself really regretting ever sitting down in the theater for this.

So why are so many raving about this movie? Product loyalty is my guess. If you are a hardcore fan of Family Guy or perhaps The Cleveland Show then you will most likely enjoy Ted. However, if you aren't a super fan of those properties then I would argue that this might not be for you.

[easyreview title= "Review of Ted" cat1title="Jay's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="1.5" overall= false]

image via hollywoodapples.com

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man

With 5 years separating the final Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy, Sony received unabashed grief for their idea to scrap the old and reboot the universe. From every corner of the nerd-verse we heard how this was a terrible idea and was a total waste. This response was rather odd to me considering how much people loved the new Christopher Nolan Batman movies that were created after only 8 years from its previous series. The internet is an odd place that facts and rationales don’t always go over well, but I digress.

The Amazing Spider-Man (TASM) is a retelling of one of the most familiar superhero origin stories we know. Boy gets bit by spider, boy gets powers, boy’s uncle dies, and boy becomes hero. This is so familiar that my mother could probably recite it and I know she has never even seen the Spider-Man movies. With that being the case why even bother telling this story again? Just start with him already performing adventures and get right to the stuff we want to see. I think it was important to take another stab at how Peter Parker came to be. The director, Marc Webb, takes some leeway with Parker/Spider-Man’s origin by modernizing him and making his teen angst rooted in the lack of knowing his parents. Webb is careful not to dismiss the powerful presence that Uncle Ben and Aunt May play in Peter’s life, which was something that I was afraid was going to happen. Parker’s parents are used more as an emotional MacGuffin to get the plot moving. Both Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Fields) bring real depth to their characters. Unlike in Sam Raimi’s interpretation were they felt very campy and like placeholders. When Uncle Ben dies you actually feel a sense of loss for Peter, and you get to see Garfield actually emote! With the culmination of his parental loss we get to the making of a hero.

When Marc Webb, who is most famous for his work on 500 Days of Summer, was selected as the helmer of this reboot I was skeptical. How does a new director go from a quiet anti-romcom to big budget superhero movies. However, it's those emotional quiet moments that Webb really shines. The ability to capture teen awkwardness between Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) and Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) was great to see. The onscreen chemistry between the two was a nice relief from the very wooden acting of Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire. I think the amount of thoughtfulness in developing their relationship is what really made it work.

So now that the boy has his powers what does he do with them. Well, he does what Spider-Man is suppose to do...be awesome. The practical web swinging used in the film is stellar. The acrobatics used by the character are really shown off and look pretty flawless. There are a few times where the CGI fails slightly but these are few and far between. When Spider-Man is onscreen his suit shines and so does the action. When he is taking on the Lizard/Kurt Conners (Rhys Ifans) things move very fast but deliberate. The fight scenes are pretty intense and they feel like a battle out of the comics. Spider-Man is constantly making quips while sliding, flipping, and jumping to avoid being defeated. Ifans’s Lizard is my least favorite portion of the movie. I think the CGI was good, but I didn’t think he needed to speak. I think the Lizard is more effective as a wild animal persona. Other than that he was played well. The Lizard’s ultimate plan was pretty lackluster, but so are most plans of evil villains in these comic book movies. Even with something so highly regarded as Batman Begins, the master plan is just silly. This is the nature of comic books being translated to the silver screen.

Overall, TASM is a great ride and is the best Spider-Man movie we have to date. With a great cast headed by Andrew Garfield this is an entry that has emotion, energy, passion, and action. Webb does wonders in breathing new life into the all but familiar character. This year we have seen Marvel’s blockbuster, The Avengers, set the bar pretty damn high. The Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t reach that bar but it gets points for trying. For a movie that tons of people didn’t want, TASM manages to not only meet the, unfairly, lowered expectations but far surpass them as well.

Spider-Man is back!

[easyreview title= "Review of The Amazing Spider-Man" cat1title="Jay's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="4.0" overall= false]

Review: The Avengers

The Avengers

In 2008, Marvel Studios released Iron Man starring Robert Downey Jr. That movie had the now infamous after credits scene that started it all. When Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) made his surprising announcement the comic book movie genre was forever catapulted to a different level. No longer were these movies going to be one offs, but rather they would build to a large event that may be the most ambitious movie idea in years. Under the directorial control of Joss Whedon, fanboys/girls and everyone in between got to see something truly special. When a familiar Asgardian foe, Loki, steals a mysterious weapon from Nick Fury and his S.H.I.E.L.D. organization it sparks a global crisis. No longer being able to handle this level of a threat, Fury calls upon a ragtag group of super powered misfits to come together to save the planet. The premise of the movie is simple and easy to understand. I do believe that if you never saw the previous solo films you would be fine. Every character's powers/abilities are explained in a smoothly done reintroduction.

The Avengers is an action movie, with a brain. I specify that because this is so commonly not the case in American cinema. Director Joss Whedon’s stylistic dialogue can be seen throughout. Robert Downey Jr. benefits the most from this. At times it seems the RDJ was born and bred to be Whedon’s microphone. The first half of the movie is used as nostalgia for the characters from their solo outings and brings you up to speed on their lives. When the Avengers do come together Whedon is able to show you why they shouldn’t, in a good way. There are real conflicts in personalities that come to the forefront rather quickly. The level of balance that is needed to keep these scenes from being too much is handled masterfully by Whedon. Largely, in my opinion, this is the reason why he was brought on to the project. Balancing multiple complex characters is essential to this movie doing well with critics and fans, alike. Interspersed throughout the movie is well paced fun action. Unlike a Transformers we do not get the movie split in half - first half buildup, second half mindless action. I was glad to see there was a decent mixture of the two until the last 40 minutes.

The Avengers is more character driven than you would think for a summer blockbuster that looks to break a series of opening weekend records. One of the largest fears I had going in was that this would somehow become IronMan 3. Being that IronMan was the most popular Avenger its hard not to give him a good amount of screen time. However, at no point did I feel like any of the team was being slighted, including the ones with no super powers. Everybody had their moment in the sun. Whether your favorite Avenger is the Hulk or Black Widow you got to see them on screen plenty of times and more importantly do something spectacular.

As much hype as this movie is getting in this review and I’m sure many others it does possess some faults. The first 20 minutes seems very rough to me. Disjointed at times and character line deliveries seemed to fall flat. I was worried because it didn’t seem like the Whedon writing I was use to. Now we know the movie had major rewrites so I’m not sure if Whedon ever edited the beginning of the movie’s writing. The pacing felt nothing like the rest of the movie. When the Avengers begin to meet one another the movie makes the ultimate pivot towards heroic greatness. Sometimes the dialogue can get a little too heavy in parts and should be a tad trimmer. This is hardly a big deficit as you enjoy the banter back in forth anyway.

Overall The Avengers is something to see on the big screen. I think this movie would look and sound amazing on a quality home setup, but there is nothing like seeing in theaters. I saw it in 3D and felt that it did nothing to add or take away from the movie. If you want to save a few dollars, skip the 3D. Lastly, I saw this movie with my 11 nephew and glancing over at him was my favorite part of the experience. I realized very quickly that the new Star Wars trilogy isn’t his generation's Star Wars, the Avengers is and I’m very ok with that.

[easyreview title= "Review of The Avengers" cat1title="Jay's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="4.5" overall= false]

We will of course talk in depth on this week's upcoming podcast episode. Stay tuned.

Review: Wrath of the Titans

Wrath of the Titans, the follow up to 2010’s wildly successful Clash of the Titans is a far better outing. Jonathan Liebesman takes the helm and dodges a lot of the pitfalls from the first movie. Though not critically loved, Clash of the Titans pleased fans enough to make this sequel. After watching Wrath of the Titans I cannot imagine not seeing a poster for (blank) of the Titans coming in 2014. This movie is the definition of a popcorn movie and gears audiences up for an action packed movie bonanza that is on the horizon in the upcoming months.

The story picks up a decade after Clash where we see Perseus living a normal life with his son, Helius. Like a classic gunslinger from a spaghetti western, Perseus vows never to pick up his sword or allow his son to do so. All is not so normal for the Gods at this time, however. Zeus and the other Gods are losing power because people aren’t praying to them. All the while Kronos, father of Zeus, is planning to escape from his prison to destroy the world. Perseus is forced to pick up his sword again and do his duty to save the universe as the son of Zeus. Like and good adventure quest we need a band of merry men/women to accompany our hero.  Agenor, the demigod son of Poseidon, joins the group with Queen Andromeda and some of her troops. Our hero team sets off to save the universe by heading to Hell, Tartarus, to win the day.

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I liked the simple and effective premise of the movie. It's one we have seen time and again, but enjoyable just the same. Sam Worthington (Preseus) does a much better job in this movie than the first. Before I found him just brooding and bland, here he was still brooding but kicking a little bit more ass. Speaking of kicking ass, the action was amped up quite a bit for Wrath. It's clear that the words “more action” were scribbled in the margins of the a first draft. Liebesman definitely paid attention and gave fans what they were missing in the first movie. The scenes were Perseus must battle certain boss monsters the brutality was far and away better. By the way, I call them boss monsters because they all appear at the end of the levels much like a boss villain in a video game. Frankly, this movie was created and marketed to a crowd that would get the reference immediately. The 3D, which was post converted, was a vast improvement. I thought the 3D worked great to make for a more intense feel during the amped up action sequences. I however still don’t believe it was needed, but a nice fun addition.

Now that I have said all the sweet lovely things about the movie, let's get critical. The movie has no brain. It is a big dumb ogre stumbling, LOUDLY, through the forest knocking things over. While the action was pumped up the fast jump cuts get a tad old and frustrating at times. You get to hear a lot of the action but see so much less of it. I wanted to just have the camera pull back from a scene a few feet. Close action shots look great in small doses but continually for the majority of 99 minutes, no thank you. Earlier I said Worthington was better in this one, that’s true. However, that’s not really saying much. His character has little to no depth. He is a man made of cardboard fighting fake monsters. I didn’t care about him or any of the characters to be honest. I felt like I was just going through the motions for 99 minutes. The supporting cast was there but no stand out performances really existed. The only scene I found that was just outright offensive to my movie loving brain was with Liam Nesson and Ralph Fiennes. Having these two amazing actors pretend to shoot magic at a green screen was one of the worst moments I have seen in a while.

All and all the movie is what I would expect, pure popcorn. The movie knows what it is and delivers to its audience in a big way. If you are going for a big, loud, and proper 3D-ed popcorn action flick this is for you. When I saw Clash I actually fell asleep because I was so bored. However, Wrath grabs your attention and holds it for 99 minutes even if you don’t care about the characters to any level of depth. Look forward to the third film in the series, guaranteed!

[easyreview title= "Review of Wrath of the Titans" cat1title="Jay's Rating" cat1detail="Overall Review" cat1rating="2.5" overall= false]