I have always loved Charles Dicken's classic, A Christmas Carol. I… MoreI have always loved Charles Dicken's classic, A Christmas Carol. I have seen literally dozens of adaptations of it and I still find it to be one of the greatest things ever written. All American Christmas Carol is a redneck take on the story, and while it wasn't a bad film, it wasn't what I thought it would be. Cindy (Taryn Manning) is a single mother, who has three kids from three different men, and she's not even thirty. Her drunken, partying life style doesn't even cover the bills to keep her three kids, Harley (Tristan Lake Leabu), Skoal, and Cheese Doodle in their trailer. Her life and family are headed for disaster, when Harley's father, aptly named Jake Marley, dies in a paintball accident. After the funeral those three ghosts we all know and love show up and try to put Cindy on the right path. This film was unrated and had all the makings of another terrific raunchy Christmas film. I was expecting Bad Santa, instead I got it's Duck Dynasty-esq PG-13 cousin. Kill Theories, Taryn Manning stars and she was great, she was far more believable than any of the ghosts and really made you feel for her character. The other stand out in the film is young Tristan Lake Leabu, who plays her oldest son, Harley. Harley is the man of the house at the ripe old age of 13. With the hilarious redneck antics going on around him, it's hard to remember that he's doing a man's job at a child's age. Leabu played the both sides of this character and did so with the ease of an actor far beyond his years. This is not your typical Christmas Carol, it's not all that raunchy either, but for it was, I was pretty entertaining. I wish they had taken it to the next level and really gone all out with the comedy, but still it didn't take that much away from the film. Rednecks let this film be a warning to you, if you don't do more than drink and have sex, the ghosts of loved ones passed will haunt you and it will be hilarious.
With their daughter away in the peace core, Nora and Luther Krank have… MoreWith their daughter away in the peace core, Nora and Luther Krank have decided to skip Christmas this year, and take a cruise to the Caribbean. There is only one problem, their Christmas Eve party and elaborate decorations are a staple of their neighborhood, and when the neighbors find out that the family is skipping Christmas this year, they go out of their way to change their minds. This film is your typical goof ball, family, holiday film, except with a much better cast then these things typically have. The chemistry between Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis was terrific, and in my opinion make the whole thing work. Besides the big named cast, producers also included a ton of cameos from the likes of Cheech Marin, Dan Akyrod, and Felicity Huffman, just to name a few. Seeing a big name you really like, who is not listed in the credits, show up even for a small role, it always adds to the enjoyment of the film. This is not the kind of movie that is going to win any awards. It might not even be the kind of holiday film that is remembered ten years from now, but it's certainly entertaining, with some heartfelt moments, and it's good for a few cheap laughs. Christmas With The Kranks delivers everything you expect from a holiday movie, as it is something you can watch with the whole family and it will put you in the holiday spirit.
Dark Space was a small budget independent film, that came out last… MoreDark Space was a small budget independent film, that came out last year. Even with it's small budget, the special effects were really cool, unfortunately, that's where they spent all their money. In the future, space vacations is big business, and six college kids on spring break have rented a ship to travel to one of the many off world locations. The ship is set to go the speed limit and that's not cool for the drunken students. After altering their ship, it flies out of control into an uncharted region, where the group crashes on an unknown planet. The story told in Dark Space is a good one and the special effects were the best I've seen in such an independent film, but the acting was awful! Alana Dietze is the lead and she literally sounded like she was reading from a teleprompter the entire film. Even the emotional scenes and the action sequences were just so badly portrayed that it was like watching someone read the news. The male lead, Steve West, wasn't much better either has he gives a dry and uneven performance. Independent films are where a lot of people get their start, and to get recognition, they have to do things to help the film stand out of the rest. That is why they spent so much money on special effects, but what good are the effects or even the terrific story, when you have actors that are so bad, you feel like your watch a middle school play? I liked everything about this film and with a more competent cast, it would have been terrific. If you like a good science fiction story, I'd still watch the film, but the cast just really doesn't cut it.
From the Director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him To The… MoreFrom the Director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him To The Greek, comes Neighbors, and you usually can't go wrong with a comedy that stars Seth Rogen. In this film, Rogen is actually playing a grown up, with a new baby and a new house. Life seems to be perfect for Mac (Rogen) and his new wife Kelly (Rose Byrne), until they get new neighbors, a fraternity house. They seem like they'll get along okay, until the couple finally calls the police on their neighbors, then all hell breaks loose. This film had all the makings of a great comedy and would have been terrific, if their had been less partying, and more fighting. While there were some extremely funny moments, most of the film either features the eye candy partying or Rogen and Byrne consistently interrupting each other during their long, loud, confusing conversations. This film really was the first time I understood peoples complaints about Rogen, as his rambling and interrupting was just ridiculously over the top. The surprise of the film was easily Zac Efron. I've seen him in several films before and he's good at what he does, usually playing this super attractive, really nice guy, in some love story or teen drama. I can honestly say until this point, I never enjoyed anything he was in, except for 17 Again. This film marks a change in direction for the young stars career and he was really great. Most of the funny moments in this film, actually came not from Rogen, but from Efron. It was great to see, but still not enough to save this film. There is a lot of partying, drinking, pot, and eye candy, but when it comes right down to it, this film really wasn't anything special.
I've let my feeling be known many times on how I feel about these… MoreI've let my feeling be known many times on how I feel about these found footage documentary films, that use camcorders. They are lazy, usually have no storyline, and the constant camera movement is just nauseating. Europa Report is different, as the film is told through surveillance cameras, aboard a state of the art space ship. Europa is a privately funded mission to the sixth moon of Saturn, to investigate strange heat signatures detected by NASA, that could be alien lifeforms. The cinematography was better than most of these film, and there was somewhat of a back story, however Europa Report is really not much different than a million other similar films. Nothing really happens until they reach their destination, they find something strange, and then must decide if fighting for their lives is worth the potential for scientific discovery. I bet you can name a dozen other films that were similar. As for the cast, they were just like film, in that they were very average, with little to nothing of note. Science Fiction is my favorite genre and I'm always hoping these films will show me something new and excited, but as with Apollo 18, Mission To Mars, Sunshine, and Moon, I was extremely disappointed. Europa Report wasn't a bad film, but it wasn't unique in any way. If you haven't seen many films, you may be wowed by something like this, but if you're like me, all you're going to find is a very boring and unimaginative film.
Human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, but… MoreHuman trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, but what if it was used for something other than sex or slavery? The story of Arena is of a rich millionaire, who wanted to blend the UFC with Roman gladiators. The people taken are all men in excellent shape, who believe they're about to have sex with a beautiful woman, when they are kidnapped, and forced to fight to the death on a highly popular internet site. Everyone from the rich to college kids bet on the fights and then determine the fate of the loser. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from a film like this, but the story far exceeded my expectations. There is a huge back story to their most recent acquisition, a firefighter from Denver who is dubbed as Death Dealer. Kellan Lutz plays him and is one of these OC, Twilight, model types, who gives a surprising performance. This guy must have some kind of special fight training and portrayed this scary dude, who just wasn't going to give up. He's paired with the legendary Samuel L. Jackson, who was his usual hilarious, twisted self. Jackson is one of these guys who is just at a point in his career where everything he does is worth watching, and in a relatively small role, he really adds a lot to this film. Arena was a little better than I expected, until it reached it's conclusion. At the end of this film, there was a huge twist that would have made M. Night Shamalyan proud. I really didn't see it coming and the ending changes the whole theme of the movie. It's the kind of ending that makes you want to watch the film again, after you know the ending, to see if there were clues to figuring out the truth earlier than it was revealed. Arena is far from an award winning film, but it's got much more going for it then I ever would have expected. It's got some crazy violence, but there is also has a pretty compelling story, with an ending that will absolutely blow your mind.
When used properly, John Malkovich is the best of the best when it… MoreWhen used properly, John Malkovich is the best of the best when it comes to playing the bad guy. In his latest film, Deadly Code, Malkovich is playing the Grandfather of a Siberian crime syndicate and much like Brando in the Godfather, is used sparely to impart words of wisdom on his young decedents. Siberia is one of the coldest and most desolate places on the planet. When a criminal is too dangerous to even be put in the jail of a major Russian city, they are dumped into Siberia. Crime is rampant and everything is run by organized crime families, who's strict code of loyalty and honor puts even the Italians to shame. Kolyma (Vilius Turnalavicius) is the grandson and the film is split between Kolyma in the army, hunting down a wanted man, and his time growing up in a crime family under his Grandfathers guidance. Mafia movies traditionally follow a format and this film was no different, with the except of the setting, so when I heard it was the Godfather of Russian organized crime and started John Malkovich, I wondered how it was possible that I'd never heard of it, well now I know. There are these crazy rules and code of honor that these guys live by, making them gangsters who aren't really violent. They simply steal from the government to help their community. In a real sense, it's about sophisticated, responsible criminals, helping people, and avoiding the police. While honorable, it makes for an extremely slow moving film, add to that all the Russian actors trying to speak English, and you have a film that's somewhat hard to even understand. Subtitles and some more action would have helped, but so would have a more experienced cast. Most of these guys have no other listings on IMDB and the inexperience shows. The story of Deadly Code seems like a good idea, but when you have a lack of action, mixed with inexperienced actors, speaking in a way that is barely understandable, you have a very uninteresting movie that is more than somewhat hard to watch.
Everyone thinks their parents are crazy, but in the case of Joe,… MoreEveryone thinks their parents are crazy, but in the case of Joe, Patrick, & Biaggio, their parents really are nuts. Looking to escape the insanity of their every day lives, the boys decide one summer to build a cabin in the woods, where they can live off the land like men. Nick Robinson stars as Joe, and gives a performance that is out of this world. In a film that stars three kids in the woods, it would be very easy for things to turn stupid very quickly, but as the leader of the pack, Joe not only keeps the group together, but keeps the story together. No matter what this young man does over the course of his career, he will have a hard time duplicating what was easily a career defining performance. Robinson is paired with Disney star Moises Arias, who until now I thought was just this weird little guy they used to guest in their shows. Arias plays Biaggio, easily one of the funniest characters I've seen in a very long time, some of the things that come out of his mouth are just fall on the floor funny. As the kids enjoy their time in the woods, their parents really start to show their crazy, as they go on a hunt for the lost boys. The characters were all unique in their own way, but Joe's father, played by Nick Offerman, was far and away the best, leading the parents the same way, his son lead the boys. From gigantic wontons to turtles on kites, The Kings of Summer is an extremely enjoyable film and the rare instance of a film that I wish was longer. I truly loved every second of this smart coming of age comedy, for it's uniqueness and young exciting cast. Blending dramatic and comedic elements, The Kings of Summer is that perfect mix that takes you from laughter to tears and back again. For that, this film is an easy choice for one of our must see movies!
Arnold is back, and at 67 years old he hasn't missed a beat. Sabotage… MoreArnold is back, and at 67 years old he hasn't missed a beat. Sabotage is the Governor's third starring role since returning from his stint in politics, and it's easily his best one to date. Schwarzenegger stars as Breacher, the commander of an elite DEA swat team, who agrees to help his under appreciated team take part in the theft of millions of dollars, from a top cartel boss. The heist goes relatively smoothly, but when the team goes to retrieve their money, they discover that one of them double crossed the rest and had stolen the pay day. Everyone is upset and trying to figure out who it was, when the cartel shows up looking for retribution. As the cartel picks off the team one by one, the remaining members have to ban together to try and stop them, except this time, they have to do it knowing that one of them is a trader. Arnold isn't doing the crazy stunts or fighting scenes that he's become synonymous for, he's in more of a leadership role in this film, but he's still the man when it comes to action films. Here he's paired with the Killing's Mireille Enos, who as the only female member of the team, gives an amazing performance. I'm used to her always playing these quiet, reserved, troubled characters, and it was a real treat to see her break out as the wild girl on a team full of men. Sabotage is the rarest of Action films, as it is one with a great storyline, that is as gripping as any drama. The film isn't just about killing people and blowing things up, it has plenty of that, but in the case of Sabotage, there is a reason for all of it, and this film will really keep you on the edge of your seat.