Welcome to FilmProphet.com
> Online Since August 2003!

Film Prophet's Movie Reviews Page 16

 

(500) Days of Summer (2009)
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Matthew Gray Gubler, Chloe Grace Moretz

Film Prophet's Review...
This is not an ordinary boy meets girl romance story. This movie beats down that idea right away… and it does so suitably. The delightful movie examines a broken relationship between a woman who doesn't believe in love and the man who falls in love with her. The narration during the whole story is very unique. It relies on the day number to inform the audience on where the timeline is. It’s mostly told from the point of the view of the man. The girl is on instant tuned out or tuned in depending on his perspective, and the audience buys it. It flips back and forth between the number of 500 days of high points and low points of their relationship… not in subsequent order though. An example of a high point is when they visit some home shopping appliance store and imagine living together from the store’s sets and displays…. such a joyful scene. There’s a scene later in the movie when the guy goes to the girl’s party and the screen divides. This is one example of the split screens that are effectively used quite often. Here, it shows an expectation versus reality screen in half of what is going on at the moment up against what he would expect, and this is how original and fascinating the filmmaking can get. There’s a part where he struts down the city to the park from his apartment stay with the girl leading into a ‘You Make My Dreams’ song dance moment in the street and a little animated bird pops in. It may seem random, but it is one of the film’s most creative sequences that threw a bizarre curve ball to keep the viewer’s attention. Working for a greeting cards company at the same time makes the work position for the two even more appropriate to the storyline. The film also works because the primary focus is on the two and nothing else stands in the way of it. It is interesting to see what went wrong between them and how they’ve grown up into people they didn’t think of being. Both lead performances were their best to date so far who have some playful chemistry in the film. However, it never really explained why he ended up breaking dishes in one of the opening scenes which led to a turning point moment in their relationship. The breaking point was not clearly shown. The girl remains mysterious with an unplanned agenda. Though, the humor is definitely there and there are a ton of sweet moments for couples to relate to. The conversations are also serious or mature at times, but also witty too. The film also comes with some outstanding music choices. It’s easily a romantic-comedy, but no way brought down by anything generic or cliché. It is charming, refreshing, and completely original, but it’s essentially a fleeting romance where small, moments make up some of the fondest memories.

Final Grade: B+/B

Post Grad (2009)
Starring Alexis Bledel, Zach Gilford, Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch, Bobby Coleman, Carol Burnett

Film Prophet's Review...
A girl graduates from college on top of her class and moves back home with her eccentric family while trying to find a job and to decide where her life is heading. What may seem like a relevant movie for modern economy times for college graduates is not quite. It is awkward to release a film like this just before school is about to begin when it would have made more sense to be released after school is out. Anyone could see where this movie was going when it was first opening up its first few scenes - graduating from college, not finding a job, and living back at home – just about in that order. After that, it goes nowhere really. Her story is condensed by others. These others consist of mainly her family members and most everyone else including them who are all oddball characters. Meanwhile, she maintains her ambition of wanting to live up to her career dream she has had. However, her story did not have enough weight to carry the whole film based on her one character. It resorts to embarrassing moments or patching the past. Her younger brother is way too quirky and her grandmother keeps expecting and preparing her death. There’s also a boy in her life who has a strained relationship with his father. The romance with the boy hardly takes off properly. She also has a longtime rival from school who enters the same job market. It’s also odd to see a top-notch educated girl fall flat on the market. She aims too high, has the background, but for some reason, can't buy a bucket. Also, the neighbor tries to put the moves on her eventually. These meaningless subplots only get in the way of the whole college graduation transition to the real world. These stops are thrown in the middle of the movie and forgotten when it is over with. Despite the girl’s ambition toward books, she never really appears to be reading books or writing in the film. Instead, it is too concerned with the mess of other people’s lives that don’t really affect her. She just stands there while it is happening. When they have family moments, she is merely a background character put to the side to observe what's going on in front of her as she seems like she is not part of the family picture and more like a bystander. She doesn't seem to have any input into family matters like the casket looking, boxcar race, and the dad going to jail scenes just to name a few. One might argue that the others are more interesting than her to watch, even though Bledel does all she can do with this role. There’s a neat myspace video interaction of chat during the opening credits, but it didn't revisit this tool of communication, which was creative but also juvenile at the same time. Later in the movie, the girl tries quite hard to contact a boy who doesn’t respond back by cell phone, instead of appropriately using a computer which he was on at the time. Also, Demetri Martin is only in one short scene, sadly. The subject of the movie can be relatable, but there just isn’t much there in the centerpiece of the main story to be insightful.

Final Grade: C/C+

The Time Traveler's Wife (2009)
Starring Eric Bana, Rachel McAdams, Ron Livingston, Brooklynn Proulx, Stephen Tobolowsky, Arliss Howard

Film Prophet's Review...
The story, based on the book, follows a man with a time-traveling ability that allows him to find to his true love at different points in her life. It’s a fictional romantic drama with a chronological disorder by a time traveling courtship that’s unpretentious than manufactured. Eric Bana is the man who reappears and disappears pretty much every scene he is in. He transports naked, loses his clothes, and then snatches them elsewhere. This is his job. He puts on a bunch of clothes only to disappear again and lose them. He can't control where he goes which makes it more interesting to follow to see where he ends up in time. It is this which controls his choices and shapes McAdam's whole character. Besides the clothes, he goes in and out of meeting several characters from the past, present, and future at different ages. The part where Bana meets his mother in the subway is the film’s most heartfelt moment. There’s also some humor in the time travel, such as when he ends up in the museum, but for the most part, it is sincere. If the leads were ordinary and unknown performers, it just wouldn't have fully worked. McAdams and Bana automatically both have likeability factors right away and they sell their roles. More importantly, the pairing between the two is interesting and spirited. The film could have been handled miserably with the time travel, but it wasn't. With all the time traveling and age changing in each scene, one could figure out where in time they are in a matter of seconds. It takes a while to build up, but it gets there. Most of the scenes are sad and comes with weepy moments since Bana misses out on key parts of his life or something similar where he can’t be there. There’s a whole lot more involved in the story with the future and past, but further review would spoil over some content. What distinguishes this movie from the genre is not the science-fiction or fantasy, but the romance itself actually. Even though it is fictional, it is genuine and natural rather than fabricated. It is nice to see a harmless romance film without silly comedy dreading it down. The film holds together the fantasy still and the spontaneity shows in the two’s scenes together. Audiences should look pass the loop holes especially since it deals with time travel. The man can’t decide when he disappears and where he’s going, though he can show up when he wants to meet his younger self or other particular areas and people. These can be easily forgiven because they are still alluring nonetheless. It is compelling to watch love being a lifelong model for two individuals over and only through time travel. While Bana’s character cleverly resolves his disappearance, audiences can appreciate the romantic fantasy where ever it goes.

Final Grade: B

District 9 (2009)
Starring Sharlto Copley, Vanessa Haywood, David James, Jason Cope, Eugene Khumbanyiwa, Nathalie Boltt

Film Prophet's Review...
From South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp comes his debut film with a familiar premise to the science-fiction table, but his direction confronts it with a provocative and mysterious impression. It starts out documentary style with camerawork that puts the story on first sight as it happens. Short interview clips and people talking into the camera live on scene offers some insight. The camera is clearly shaky, but this also makes it realistic with a purpose in the making and not sloppy like Cloverfield. There's no secret to what the aliens look alike and what they like, which is cat food. Within minutes, they are revealed living in slum conditions forced for eviction. They're a continuous poise especially with a gigantic mother ship hovering motionless above Earth. There’s a mix of key factions starting with the aliens to the government to the military to the Nigerian gangsters in South Africa. All of these play a huge and important role surrounding the chief character. No glamour exists anywhere and it isn’t afraid to get down and dirty. For example, when someone peals away of skin and sorts. It generates a sense of tension and thought-provoking material with depth, even in the action. What separate the best from the rest are action conflicts that tell the story. These can contain twists or unexpected moments as well, such here as space fuel and alien weapons. This is all present here. At one moment the audience pulls for one group then switches to another. The direction controls the audience’s sympathies over which group to pull for despite sudden changes. This is how authentic humanity is attached with peace opposed to violence, but the action must happen. It shift sides and then the audience would start rooting for one of the two antagonist groups while the main character is pulled away from his goal. The long and final action sequence at the District 9 location made up for lack of action in the beginning and eliminated the documentary storytelling it had. After the break-in at the lab, it is apparent this film deserves to rank up high with the best. Another thing of note is that there’s an international appeal of this movie. There’s no real American presence at all or established actors either. Producer Peter Jackson puts the viewer in circumstances surrounding the main character to totally change a point of view of acting diplomatic with the opposition kind to come to a universal covenant in the moment of heat. It’s an extremely difficult way of being one against the rest, eventually changing to sympathize with the aliens more throughout while turning the government and military into evil. The forced to shoot and kill scene was memorable, as well as putting him in a bag and removing an organ. It’s a fight to survive. When a science-fiction movie delivers in an effective manner, it leaves audiences with some unanswered questions.

Final Grade: A-/A

Julie & Julia (2009)
Starring Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by Nora Ephron, the film follows two separate woman living parallel lives roughly fifty years in between of its timeline. Both start out as government workers as Julia Powell decides to cook all of Julie Child's classic recipes from her first book in one year's time out of her small kitchen in New York. Powell blogs about her daily experiences and meanwhile in the past, Julie Child finds her niche of food and cooking up to finalizing her first cooking book. It’s not about her television show she later has, although there are clips of Streep as Child shown on a television at present time in the future while Julia watches on. It’s also a film adaptation based on Julia Child's autobiography. It’s a movie about food, marriages, and recipes, but really it’s about the food. It always reminds the audience that it’s about the food and it brings it back to its root with some fine images and recipe construction. It’s essentially a really lovely and genuine film. It could be the ultimate date movie of the decade. The two women have love for food and married life. They first set into their new places and environment and get used to it. Where they are located and work plays a factor in their lives. One is Paris and the other is New York City. Julia Child's story is not all that interesting, but Streep makes it more than what it is worth by a long shot. Julie's story is more dramatic. Her first cubicle scene and on her commute to work was realistic and compelling. Shift to Julia now, and there’s more humor involved. For instance, the part where she tries to improve her onion cutting speeds in the kitchen. Amy Adams is adorable as always, even playing a character who is self-centered most of the time. It's a lightweight film when it comes to the humor and there’s adult age laughter that all ages can enjoy. The acting on both roles is clearly great. In addition, Stanley Tucci doesn’t even appear like himself and he acts with such excellent devotion. The two storylines work in wonderful. Though, a few handful scenes before it ended, it seemed like a long movie. Amy Adams and Meryl Streep never share a scene acting together. Julie and Julia never actually met or spoke in person, but neither storyline would be really strong enough alone. The combination of the two gives it the extra boost of passion. The mentions of McCarthyism are small and secondary characters disappear. Julia's younger tall sister and her pen pal came in for a decent portion and only last for that. Overall, it’s uplifting with a package of high and low emotions and inspiring to get in the kitchen and make food.

Final Grade: B+/B

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)
Starring Channing Tatum, Marlon Wayans, Sienna Miller, Christopher Eccleston, Dennis Quaid, Rachel Nichols

Film Prophet's Review...
Based on the Hasbro toys and original cartoon series, the initial response was that the film went on the military action bandwagon of making old toy movies and mainly sticking to special effects in action. All of this was true. Over half of the scenery was computer generated. If the background wasn't CGI, something else on the screen was whether it was equipment or explosions or something of that matter. There’s so much high-tech weaponry and artillery present too. The whole halo armor may have some people puzzled. The visual effects look enormous on display, but in the end seem tacky and too much. The movie also had several poor casting choices. Aside from all the apparent ones, Brendan Fraser has one small sequence that serves no real point. He is no where to be found after his only appearance as a trainer. The plot tries to be clever with some character moles, but it's all too momentary and pushy. Secondary characters disappear which is a hint for later in the movie to come. The president subplot is completely random until it makes some sense in the final scene. The president appears for a few ten second cut scenes in the Oval Office and they were just pointless really. The Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow rivalry was great to watch though. The title of the film states the rise of cobra, yet the rise in this movie comes way too late to even matter at all. It’s rather a useless setup idea. The movie starts out with the creation of the cobra mask many years prior in the past and it went to waste. It doesn't capitalize on opportunities. Instead, the enemy is a suitcase full of warheads that contain volatile rapid termites that could eat up everything at an incredible speed. This also can make people realize that it's no longer fun to watch big structures in the world come falling down, as here it is the Eiffel tower. It’s another save the world type of movie. The final climax battle is so hectic. At one point, a jet flies from the polar ice caps to Washington D.C. in minutes. Next, the movie shows a chaotic underwater battle. It covers all territory but it's all over the place. One can wonder if this was the best a studio could probably do with from the cartoon source to turn it into a live-action film…. it sure had the main characters growing into what they would eventually become. Yet, with all that said, it’s pretty ridiculous, but very entertaining at the same time and it warrants a sequel. It’s loud, unrealistic, and fast paced to closely match the level its cartoon had.

Final Grade: C+

Funny People (2009)
Starring Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman, Aubrey Plaza

Film Prophet's Review...
George Simmons is a popular comedian heading past his prime when he develops a life threatening illness. He finds a young standup to work for him and takes him under his wing. In what's only his third directorial showing, Judd Apatow’s writing and direction may have never been better, recalling what was mentioned before in the movie eliminating any sort of holes. People could actually read the script of this movie and it would still be funny. That's how well written it is. There’s ton of wisecracking verbal humor and it is heavy on that and that is where the movie exceeds. The laughs are natural and not forced. There are no silly gags that go out of control. It works well without relying on any physical stunts or unexpected events. There is barely any action or running around, minus a fist brawl on a lawn. It’s also relevant to current times, adding funny facebook, youtube, and myspace jokes in the beginning. The mock movies such as Merman and Re-do in the movie are great and they always reappear. The viral sitcom called Yo Teach! was also hilarious to see inserted in this movie. Rogen and Sandler both perform at top level with solid chemistry. Some of the best parts are when they make jokes at the expense each other or others. Adam Sandler sort of plays in his own aging image as he is the oldest with characters who are comics hoping for a break. All of them are interesting in their own way to watch. Seth Rogen does some of his best work here. He is probably the most likable character in the film and maybe his most likable thus far. He does not need to scream the entire time, thankfully. In fact, one probably can't recall a big moment where he does so here. Aubrey Plaza as Daisy steals scene with her deadpan dialogue. Her moments with Rogen are also some of the best in the film. She could have had a big story to herself. Most of the humor is all just quick random shots at people. Though, there’s no real rooting for characters as there’s no bad guy or jerk unless some consider Eric Bana's husband character near the final third of the movie to be. Bana didn’t even appear till like almost two hours within. There are a bunch of celebrity surprise cameos, none that are bland too. Some may complain about that, and that it is close to being two and a half hours which is long for any comedy to be. It felt like two movies… one comedy and the second a drama. The second had too many scenes inside Sandler's ex's married family home. The longer it stays there, the more it dissolves away from the standup comedy from the start. It was less about the standup and more about a relationship with a woman. It eventually brings it back to it though. It shows the humanity of comedians through several plot threads with many supporting characters self-reflecting.

Final Grade: B+/B

Brüno (2009)
Starring Sacha Baron Cohen

Film Prophet's Review...
Similar to the direction of Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen plays dress up as a fictional character acting in the real world making everyone’s lives desolate who come in contact with him. Here, he is a flamboyant fashion journalist who tries to become famous. He reminds the audience every scene by every attempt at doing so. He is on the course of vying to become famous in whatever fashion. As a little spin on the typical documentary, Cohen interviews unsuspecting people about regular topics and turns them into taboo. Most of these interviews come to disbelief. It's hard to believe they weren't staged. Audiences would wonder throughout the entire film if parts were real or scripted, especially since prominent figures would allow such appearances to be released. Some of the job titles seemed fictional as well. A gay converter and public relations charity consultants were odd. Aside from the interviews, there were way too many obscure and obscene gestures. It was knocking on becoming NC-17. The graphic content is extremely high… more than any other mainstream film in years. It’s ridiculous and too revealing… outrageous and explicit. Everything is alarming where trouble is bound to happen due to it all being raunchy. The filmmaking is risky. For example, an early scene shows a focus group watching a gross video. Any time throughout this, audience members can walk out of room and it would be okay. Pretty much over half of its content is unnecessary, but that's the whole point. It’s a mean satire. However, Cohen is terrific at creating very uncomfortable situations among all various types of people in this. He’s not afraid to put himself on the line for a laugh. As for a storyline, it’s just a series of combining small acts and scenarios. The African-American child is displayed in unorthodox ways, but one must wonder what parts were rehearsed. Bruno attacks cultures left and right. One moment there’s anti-gay material, then karate sequence with dildos, then hunting in the woods and a cage fight, to parents selling out their children for money, with another offending moment after another. The humor throughout was too crass and cruel. Bruno's journey for respect is ironic because he is not giving respect to others. The problem is it never feels like a movie. Audiences have to wonder if any of this was even real or scripted or what. Running at about eighty minutes long, it ends abrupt and it’s short. It was more setup of meetings with certain individuals than interviews on the spot on streets like Borat was about. It’s a brave effort, but in bad taste.

Final Grade: C

Public Enemies (2009)
Starring Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Stephen Dorff, Billy Crudup, Giovanni Ribisi

Film Prophet's Review...
The Federal government puts Melvin Purvis in charge of trying to take down America’s public enemy number one, John Dillinger, during his thirties robbery upsurge. People can call the film a biopic, a gangster film, a full blast shootout, or a one man versus everyone associated with the law variety. For certain, Dillinger lives a rebellious, free lifestyle. For the first few scenes, the audience notices the movie’s villains as the criminals are the lead characters. It is hard to condone their violence, robbery, and murders they ensue. Soon enough though, this behavior is looked beyond and the audience can move pass it because the scenes look great. The rate and number of tommy gun violence is astounding. The movie is greatly obsessed with 1930s gun fights to an extreme magnitude. The problem with this is since there are so many of them, the audience can expect something incredibly amazing to happen again when a breakout starts. There is probably more depression era gun action in length than any other movie put together. Perhaps the film’s greatest gun fight is near a hideout in Wisconsin during a night in the forest. Dillinger tries to get away like he always does and there’s a point where he is behind a tree and when the bullets strike the tree, it sounds like it could tear it apart blasting through the tree and hitting him. This is an example of one of the intense gun fight moments. The music score sometimes is kept to a minimal in plenty of the gun fights, which raises the fright and appeals unfeigned. Some of it is shot with handheld digital cameras, which can be tricky, but it’s not the type how Cloverfield does it, as here it is handled with some prestige by the director Michael Mann. Most of the movie though spends its time making ways in and out of numerous hotels, banks, and prisons, all of which are exciting to watch as if it is something monumental happening... but in the end, there were too many of them which dropped their value of awe a bit, like the gun fights. The sound and acting are top-notch. There’s crisp dialogue without resorting to what older films would say in a film like this. It’s nice to see Depp not do children’s characters and play dress-up once in a while. Bale shows intelligence and bravery on his part through Melvin and it goes over well for the rest of his new team he gets to hunt Dillinger. When he comes on screen, there’s sure to be a John Connor or Bruce Wayne recognition, but suddenly his recent stuff is forgotten right away… he's that talented of an actor. Marion Cotillard’s first mainstream American performance is great as she finds the right amount of frailty and creativity just as a love interest. There is a large supporting cast too... all of who did really well, but nothing truly is long enough to endure the entire film. It is filled with tons of performers with high potential, but most end up being underused one can say. Crudup as J. Edgar Hoover ate up every scene he was in and he was a definite steal stealer in a film with two huge male stars already. Stephen Graham as Baby Face Nelson is a maniac on the gun. There’s even an incredibly short appearance of Channing Tatum as Pretty Boy Floyd in the beginning. Dillinger seemed respected by the public in a way. He is never shown torturing people whereas the other side of the law uses torture, a couple times to memory, to get information out of someone. As formulaic as it sounds, the movie doesn’t go without its flaws. There are no real explorations of motives. The woman stands by Dillinger perpetually even though she keeps saying she doesn’t know him and he flees away from the law for a long period of time. Where did all his money go that he stole in the past is one of the questions. After an escape of some sort by Dillinger and others, they would somehow reconvene at some hotel room after numerous people have been shot or killed. The only two people noticeable when they recoup are him and a guy named Homer. The rest are arbitrary guys who get killed off and yet some are leftover and still around, if not them then new people because they all look the same. It’s usually a small number to start with and they're always separated near the end of the action. Most of them appear and re-appear a half hour in between. The film could have reached three hours if it added moments of how they knew where each other were heading instead of worrying about fitting in as many breakouts and neat looking gun scenes as possible. However, it’s more epic in proportions than say Inside Man & Blow with a larger production scale. There are tons of dated and gorgeous American scenery. Chicago looks great and it’s nice to find out about the Biograph Theater landmark among others. It is the best Michael Mann has directed in terms of effort of pounding away with liveliness and not boring viewers like he has done in past with Collateral and The Insider and so on. It craves to be watched again so it has that factor. Best of all, it’s based on a true figure and story. It's a pure crime-gangster film and nothing more or less.

Final Grade: B+/B

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, John Turturro, Josh Duhamel, Ramon Rodriguez, Isabel Lucas

Film Prophet's Review...
The writers actually did some research this time around. Judging by its first film, one can only expect what to get into again though. Inevitably once again, humans and Transformers share the movie’s time and the Transformers are not used to full proper treatment. The animation has given them justification while making any humans secondary, whereas the Michael Bay's movies is the other way around. There was never really a military feature because the Autobots could handle everything the Decepticons threw at them themselves eventually. They don't need all this extra military assistance. The premise can be summoned in one sentence: Autobots and the US Military engage in a battle against the Decepticons while looking for life energy sources the robots can use in forms of energon, fragments of AllSpark, the Matrix of Leadership, and so on. Much of this review will draw comparisons with director Michael Bay’s first live-action film and the original animated series. Something the first didn't do well at was characterizing the actual transformers robots. It put too much emphasis that all they did was wreck scenery so second time around there was more of an expectation that a bigger focus would be on the robots and their dialogue between each other which would be interesting as it was in the original cartoons... and not just stand there and blow up various things. On the positive side, there was a lot more screen time and dialogue with the Transformers, but not really enough. The special effects topped the first and there was longer action. There should be a Starscream that behaves like Starscream. So to a happy note, Starscream was more visible than before. He actually had his own moments in time while flying over Egypt in pursuit of Sam. Even better, there was slightly more conversation with him and Megatron. Really, there were only four important Transformers and that’s what it was like for the one before and the next to come probably. The other two are Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. These four are clearly the most recognizable of the franchise, so the movie couldn’t go wrong there unless it tried to insert Hot Rod or someone like that. Ravage as the Decepticon dog was vicious, but Soundwave was unmemorable. Arcee, the female Autobot, was in it, if anyone can remember. The Constructicons, who looked pretty, appear near the end in the desert and turn into Devastator quickly, which didn’t look pretty. They form together to vacuum what’s in front of them, aside while the real big battle is going on, so the movie could have left them out of the film, but it was still a nice surprise of seeing them included. The spacebridge and the Matrix mentions were a pleasure to hear also. The old Jetfire character looked older than what he really looked like in the cartoon. The whole the Fallen character as a master to Megatron just seemed too fictional and unbefitting. To think there is someone above Megatron in the Decepticons hierarchy is foolish to think about. Both live-action films were about two and a half hours long, but there are plenty of things that could have been eliminated. The twins as Skids and Mudflap were goofy and couldn’t read. They would fight each other and halt the momentum going on. It was pointless writing them in. They just followed Sam, Mikaela, this Leo guy Sam met at college, and Bumblebee around. They had poor comic relief and there was a decent amount already given to Leo and the former agent Simmons. Next, there was another annoying little robot character again. Before it was Frenzy in the first movie, and now it is Wheelie. They accumulate to none of the action pieces and overall just there to be silly. There was also The Doctor, another small character, torturing Sam to get inside his head. So those were the robots, now for the humans. Tyrese would casually appear in a short scene and then his first line would usually end the scene by having these solemn one-liners that sounded too serious and ended up being laughable. He’s a human who could have been expendable. The most expendable human character by far is Sam’s mother. She consumes much of the beginning while Sam first enters college by being super annoying and whimpering around. The mom and her husband later appear near the end after they were captured from Paris and essentially do nothing. They had no reason at all of being in the finale and weren't used by the Decepticons for anything. All the humping jokes, the small guard at the border, and Isabel Lucas playing Alice who stalks Sam around college could have been eliminated as well. Mostly anything going on in the first hour was suspect until the Fallen rises, but moments later after the Fallen rises, Megatron and few other main Transformers disappear on screen to allow Sam and the others go on a hunt of symbols. During this time, the movie acted too much like a National Treasure movie following the symbols Sam lays out from his mind. The best action sequence happens in the forest, mainly because it is only between the big robots and the military doesn’t interfere at all. At times, it looks like the military does a better job at holding off the Decepticons than the Autobots later in the film, which is uncanny. There was one extremely long and final action sequence in the Egyptian desert that didn’t want to end, but in a way, that’s how the rest of the movie should have been minus all the unnecessary stuff previously mentioned. Megan Fox somehow still looked like a beauty queen after dodging fire and assaults for a half hour in a desert while Sam takes a massive beating. It is clear any viewer can see Shia’s injured hand he got during offset. The movie also seemed like it was recently edited and current, including brand new Green Day songs that were heard about three times in the beginning, an Obama mention, and a Swine Flu joke with pigs. As a big fan of the animated series and owner of several merchandises, the movie is enjoyable based on the fact it had Transformers in them. Sometimes it is difficult to separate each Transformer from another within action because their appearance looks all bulky and too robotic by metallic form. Fans and many alike would still welcome a third one and rightly so. An ideal live-action Transformers film would consist of limited human interaction, strong masterminding by Megatron, a treacherous Starscream, a meaningful plot with just the Transformers involved, more dialogue between the Transformers, and generally much less comic relief. Maybe a real but minor storyline regarding the growth of the Dinobots, Shockwave, or something just between the Transformers would do. Perhaps a vision of Cybertron and having Omega Supreme as a spaceship would be intriguing, but Michael Bay is way too technical and wanted a new point of view focusing on the Earth and humans, so this is what was made out of it.

Final Grade: B-

Land of the Lost (2009)
Starring Will Ferrell, Anna Friel, Danny McBride, Jorma Taccone

Film Prophet's Review...
The movie follows a disgraced paleontologist, a female assistant, and a tour guide who find themselves on a land inhabited mainly by dinosaurs and lizard people. Possible viewers could try to decipher whether this film is for kids or young adults. If it’s aimed at kids, they might get a kick out of it for portions. If it isn’t, the jokes just don’t exist otherwise. Generally, anyone can become less and less interested after seeing more of this on screen. It’s just too plain and pointless. There’s no story or plot to set up with and the three people run around on this inexplicable land with a random and dull scene after another full of absurdity. It begins uninteresting with an interview with Matt Lauer and Will Ferrell’s character and then a short lecture to kids. Some female tags along to run around right away to start the adventure and Ferrell picks up random items and makes small jokes about them. The T-Rex appears in and out only for chases. The quote, ‘Dinosaurs have the brain as size as a walnut,’ was carried throughout the entire film to tease the T-Rex and he would rebel always. Instead of a wildlife exhibit, this film instead has hairy monkeys and lizard people, who look like aliens in costumes that would look worse than what a grade school would parade. The comedic talents of Ferrell are wasted and pretty much everything was a misfire. At some point the audience can expect him to take off his shirt or doing something silly but unfunny in this special effects-heavy comedy. Somehow this movie makes Will Ferrell, one of the elite comedian actors still, futile and gives him little material to work with. He could have been replaced with someone else and it wouldn't be as a wreck because having Will Ferrell starring means it shouldn't be all bad as far as a modern comedy goes. One point in the movie it spends almost five minutes with a discussion of urine, an example of his old and tired man-child spiel. One get also get the sense that Danny McBride is trying to be like John C. Reilly with his voice and mannerism, but just seems like a replica and fairly unimpressive. There’s no real chemistry between the three main characters… just nothing was going right for it in the way it should be. The adventure they go on never appears serious at all and this is where the movie loses most of its worth if it had any. It acts like a complete farce going nowhere in particular. An earthquake haphazardly occurs and so on just to make a mess out of their adventure and suddenly they end up in some unreality. During their breaks from the chases, they just sit around and do nothing, especially during the time where Ferrell plays a banjo in a cave at night then the next moment soon after they're in a swimming pool in the middle of a desert followed by a gigantic lobster. None of this is truly fun and funny as it probably was supposed to be. Even worse, at times one of the three characters would act as a camera person point of view like he or she is filming this and the others would attempt at narrating at what happened, what's going on, and what they are seeing. Next, this camera is absent like none of it mattered and it returns much later. They get tied up in sticky situations and one would wonder where this is actually going... well nowhere would be the correct response. There is nothing to go into detail here because none of it is exceptionally pleasing or bad... it’s just a huge abyss. It's as short as ninety minutes and even that was too long; thirty minutes was enough it needed. It fails at maintaining an attention span for a period of time through countless unexciting scenes of chases from creatures after the three people. From beginning to end, it is a bore to its miserable conclusion and it is one of Will Ferrell's worst comedies.

Final Grade: D/C-

Alive (1993)
Starring Ethan Hawke, Vincent Spano, Josh Hamilton, Bruce Ramsay, John Newton

Film Prophet's Review...
This film is based on a real life horror story surviving the Andes. Members of a Uruguayan rugby team en route to Chile on an airplane do what they must to survive after their plane crashed in the frigid Andes. It’s a gloomy situation for sure. It opens straight on the plane already over the snowy landscape, then with a straightforward bumpy ride in the air. The graphics seeing the plane flying while it rips apart piece by piece losing various items and people in the air is incredible. It is interesting to see who has wounds, who died already, who bled, and who doesn't. The question here since the crash happens early in the movie is that if there will be more excitement to see in this disaster film. Some of movie is known for its cannibalism parts, so after the crash one would wonder how far the movie eventually goes until it shows some sick cannibalism. As one can predict, people will starve and die off. Each day they got one capful of wine, one square of chocolate. To note, none of the survivors were female. However, by having many, many characters, all who look roughly the same, it is hard to really care for someone who drops dead too early due to the number and rate it happens at. It is not easy foremost to really pinpoint the difference between them all because all the guys have the same shaggy long brown hair look along with the same size and age. So when these random people die off, they don't get much of interest into them before. Rest of the movie is filled with some agony, prayer, and screams. Temperatures drop even more at night and it’s darker and it affects them. A few people have a different mindset on what to do and when to go forward, but this is a team. Back to the cannibalism, it happens half way within. It wasn’t as graphic as one could expect from this R-rated film. The bodies are still clothed, mostly covered by snow and frost, to the point where it doesn’t even look like a body. There’s parts were skin is eaten at times, but nothing too extreme. The first bite is a great piece of film work as well. The film builds momentum near the end when some finally start moving on feet for some sort of rescue and it is strong when there is a select focus on a few characters rather than by collective whole. However, Frank Marshall could have directed something even stronger. Yes, the message regarding god and the power within is present, but it could have opened up the story in the wilderness, yet it remains concise not over doing it. Narration by John Malkovich opens and closes the story for a bit, but the ending is cut short to see the actual rescue happen, though the image of seeing the survivors in joy on ground is magnificent. It is really one of the first plane wreck films that opened during its decade and that was followed by more that eventually went toward the terrorist framework. This is a film that can only be watched once because there’s really little reason to watch it again.

Final Grade: B-/B

The Hangover (2009)
Starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Heather Graham, Jeffrey Tambor

Film Prophet's Review...
This is a comedy where it is better to not know anything about it beforehand. A bachelor party gone wrong in Las Vegas seems like a premise that has been played out before, but none like to the distinction of this. This movie is a comedy nightmare ride at its finest. What starts out like a road trip movie turns into something imaginative despite the story being surrounded around an eventual wedding like several modern comedies have been. All four lead actors are really unknowns to be starring in this, but director Todd Phillips took the chance and excelled far with them. The characterizations of three lead characters, minus the groom who is not in the picture for a big portion, really overweigh the jokes. One is socially awkward, another is a nerd in his own right, and the other is suave guy who has it all put together, or so he thinks. The story follows these three to find the groom just before the wedding. They have to figure out the night before where they last saw him by retracing clues and connect back with people they don't remember but who remember them. They fill in the blanks that open up the hangover the morning after. While doing so, they take huge punishment, loss, or damage, for instance, the stun gun part. Again, this review won't go into much detail. Ken Jeong seems to have found his comedy role he is accustomed to playing and will be in the future. Here is he a wise guy Asian mobster who plays a big role two-thirds within. Mike Tyson is not in the opening credits as he plays himself, who has more than a gimmick or cameo. It was somewhere between those two acts where the audience can begin to realize that the harm the groomsmen take is not fully funny anymore as it was before because the audience by now can then care about them to hope they don't get into anymore nuisance. Their safety is at concern. This even goes for the car; the status of the Mercedes convertible also becomes a worry that it will be alright. The beginning parts of the film has an abundant amount of recent silly pop songs, more than usual any film would have featured, that fitted the story somewhat. There’s also some mix ups with the salutations as a dentist versus doctor title or a bartender versus sailor story. "We don't remember anything from last night, remember?" Sure, there are some memory loss jokes, profanity, and coarse gags, but the comedy really works due to the unanticipated items placed within that the characters come by and try to figure out, which won’t be named here. The comedy relies on these things for the most part. These situations and scenarios keep piling up one after another and becomes worse than the one before. The hilarity rises with these wacky and rowdy scenes. It is impossible not to think this movie is funny. Though, the target audience is teenagers to young adults before mid-age who can appreciate this comedy the most. It's more than just a Harold and Kumar type of circumstances and journey. Here, despite all the wild events like it, it is more compelling and pragmatic in context.

Final Grade: B+/B

Deception (2008)
Starring Ewan McGregor, Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Natasha Henstridge

Film Prophet's Review...
Going into this, one can wonder how can a film featuring three big performers can be such an unknown. Due to that, expectations are low right away however. A lawyer introduces an auditor to an anonymous sex club while the auditor suspects in a woman's disappearance. It starts out with basically a bunch of late office calm banter between Ewan and Hugh as businessmen. Both feel quite distant from what the movie shows them in despite being assumed high profiled figures. Their lifestyle is pretty much uninteresting at its core first off. They make some cheap jokes to each other that they only understand and laugh about which really doesn't translate well to the audience, which is really its main problem by having a rough start. They chat around various locales during the first third of the film and it feels like there's never really a plot happening so it loses the audience early on. They’re in a midlife crisis where nothing around them is really fulfilling but money. Low profile music stretches on during moments of no conversation… it makes the movie seem meditative but it's suppressive because one can't really tell if the film is just a bad homage to old mystery drama films or just bad itself at featuring monotonous male individuals living fancy for a while. The overall sex appeal isn't that strong despite numerous early scenes at clubs and hotel rooms. The music during the scene where Ewan gets it on with one of the call girls is terrible. The beginning surrounds call girls and yet it is so humdrum to watch and follow. In a nut shell, Ewan and a bunch of random call girls get it on and it skips any dialogue as it goes from him noticing the woman then straight to the bedroom in a long repeated sequence of this. This pretty much hurts any sort of natural or meaningful appeal. The most attractive piece in the movie is Michelle Williams, but technically she isn't because she's hardly featured in the center of the story. Hugh is out of this picture as he is mostly unseen since he plays the mysterious figure. As a matter of fact, those two of the three big billed names, Hugh and Michelle, are underused for the most part until when it matters, but by then when it does matter most and becomes a bit gripping, it's way too late. This is near the end when it stops being about the call girls and heads into transferring funds and the results of it afterward. It really didn't matter who was picked for these roles because they weren't given enough versatility. On the other side, it did matter because if all three weren’t picked, this would be something Cinemax would be handed to accept showing first. It’s an adult film that has lust, lies, misleads, and confusion. It can all be seen before better in several countless movies but can't really pinpoint where. It’s director Marcel Langenegger’s first film, but one can also expect something off the wall to happen in it since the title of the movie couldn't make it more obvious. The surprises that are supposed to be clever aren't because it's all played down in a low-key manner and the believability is reduced from its beginning.

Final Grade: C/C-

Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Starring Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao, David Paymer, Adriana Barraza

Film Prophet's Review...
Directed by Sam Raimi, an underappreciated loan officer evicts an old woman from her house who bequeaths her with a mystical curse, which turns her life into a living hell. Noticed by her solid supporting roles from the start of her early young career, Alison Lohman always had to potential to be the lead. Here's she's finally given the chance taken under the helm of Sam Raimi’s direction. Despite her powerhouse performance, one might realize she's surrounded by many body fluids and corpses that are spotted for sight gags that the film depends on to which she acts by. It’s not a setback here but some people might find it to be. Right away, one can pick up the music in the background which is big for any horror film. There’s an opening scene that deals with hell and Satan, but it’s vague at that moment. The viewer already knows from the trailer there will be time spent at some office, but none of it is irrelevant to the storyline. It fits under the supernatural curse that gets underway shortly. Audiences will look to see what more it can offer and it does deliver plenty of surprises. Blended with nightmarish elements, the story kicks off after an old lady encounter with Lohman at her work which helps the audience start caring about the lead that helps for the rest of the story. In pretty much every scene after the opening couple minutes, Lohman is in it and she’s awesome. When something positive happens to her, snap because a turn happens upside down. It shows how terrifying terror can get to her, or how silly or messed up it can be, with demonic spirits in action. It goes about this very easily with class than crass even with all the spit-out gore at place. The sound effects and editing in cracks, creaks, taps, bangs, and the like along with the gasps of a fragile, harmless character are great with stirring music. All Justin Long does is support and come in aid from time to time, as he’s fine. The movie works because there's barely any difference to tell between the illusions she sees and reality. It adjusts within a split second with a quick cut to tell whether it is or not after it happens. Audiences will never really know what a nightmare is or not. Things pop out that are adequately placed or sometimes she sees things that only she can see that bugs her. Everything is short and concise, including the film's runtime at a tidy ninety minutes about. Disturbance is random and unexpected turns occur… it’s an absolute curse that provides an immense threat to her that acts like a bodily virus… for example when she is at work about to teach someone something. It can be labeled as a weird little film or morbidly funny, so therefore it may be difficult to take it seriously if it intends to come with intentional humor… but what it comes down to is that it's really a neat and even so an ideal picture regarding a terrible curse on someone for its movie genre… and yet being new and fresh than a dull remake of The Omen or sequel to The Ring or Saw. Troubling and pounding sensations lead to devastating results and ends with one of the most explosive, terrifying endings.

Final Grade: B/B+

Dead Man Walking (1995)
Starring Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Robert Prosky, Raymond J. Barry, R. Lee Ermey

Film Prophet's Review...
A Sister and a death row convict commence a relationship. He asks the Sister to be his spiritual advisor and she complies while she communes with the victims' families who seek retribution. It’s one of those films by Tim Robbins and one that features Sean Penn that underscores their careers yet no one talks about it… as there are several reasons for this. It’s not the one movie that people name first when naming the individuals. It mainly features Susan Sarandon as a death-row nun in the opening junk of the film and throughout. She’s no Truman Capote and there’s nothing fascinating about her. The movie bares resemblance to The Silence of the Lambs and several others alike, just less vigorous and active. Here it tries to be a realistic account. It looks like Robbins purposely did not care to engage the audience with excess drama or activity so he left that out while stretching it out with little content which ends up to be unsurprising. Since it is a true story, it is as sincere and unpretentious as can be, but this also translates to too many wearisome one on one talks where characters bring up poor memories. There are plenty of stagnant conversations that could tune out audiences that want excitement. It tries to be more genuine than wild-like, but that also could mean less appealing to watch. There are random cuts to quick flashbacks that don't add up anything to the moment early on, as these are the scenes of the murder incident. Everything that would have been movie worthy to see happened in the past so it's just conversed about leading to execution talk. The problem is that Sean Penn is not featured much and sits behind the window in the cell talking to Sarandon most of the time. It is also a very quiet and slow film. There is no music score or cuts to show something interesting. It feels like there's little progress going on for a film that's well over two hours long. Depending too much on the script, it seems to repeat itself into similar scenes and conversations. It’s scene after scene of regular dialogue that’s pretty much all on the same type of dreary tone too… most of it is talk to Sarandon debating whether the convict is a person or an animal. At one point, she becomes exhausted, faints, and heads to a hospital. From here, it is incredibly tedious. Peter Sarsgaard, Jack Black, and Jon Abrahams all make very minor appearances. It's sad in a way that isn't touching because it’s way too soft and inadequately melodramatic. By taking a snapshot of the film anywhere, one wouldn't really know where it was in the film. It ends up struggling to draw the line that this convict is guilty but then continues to sympathize with him. Therefore, it becomes uneven and remains with the cliché work of who to side with while it never picks up any pace and doesn't push out anything new.

Final Grade: C/C-

Up (2009)
Voices by Edward Asner, Jordan Nagai, Christopher Plummer, Bob Peterson

Film Prophet's Review...
Viewed in 3D, this 10th Pixar animation bears a huge delight factor along with pure melancholy in a way that is exceptionally reached on screen. It smashes grief and sorrow in between the joy and laughter in a seamless manner. The film is undeniably heartfelt and warm… harmless and adorable… and sad and funny at the highest height any film can achieve together collectively on the animated platform. The empathy with the old man and the young ranger boy balances this out too. It is also the funniest picture Pixar has put out thus far… even the bad guy and dogs are comical. This is the very first 3D picture by Pixar that will lead off for the rest of their productions to follow in 3D at the theaters to come. Firstly, the premise looks like a basic old man with balloons attached to his house. There’s way more to that image. What Pixar does best with this film is hiding the true reactions one would receive from it. The main characters are human, which is uncharacteristic for Pixar since eight of their last nine films brought other things, such as cars, to life. By showcasing humans this time around, there’s a resonant thematic and storytelling mood it provides for the audience to relate with that is not often accomplished. The combination of an older crowd with a cartoon is rarely seen. Here, older generations can understand and appreciate the story’s means of love through the course of time. It will go down as a top animated feature because of this and much more and everyone of all ages can enjoy it. The movie begins with a story of Carl and Ellie, as two misfit kids, eventually growing up and living together in a married life. There’s about a five or so minute montage sequence of their lives growing up together playfully to an old age having dreams of traveling to some distant place… this right here might be the most eloquent motion picture sequence to ever be created on film. It is easily the strongest in any animation. It can almost be compared to a full blast of an old Chaplin sequence with a man and a woman charming each other over like in City Lights… it’s that great if not better. Audiences will feel like they are watching something great at this instant and historical in the midst of viewing the opening scenes right after. It evokes such genuine emotions right away and continues throughout with items to remind the audience of the past and the way of a pursing a dream fantasy. Items like a scrapbook, a photo on the wall, a mailbox, and two chairs next to each other will be remembered… even the word squirrel. Without mentioning anything, it surprises every few minutes where certain things end up in time or how they are proceeding, if that makes sense. The sequences in this film are completely original. One can forget the movie is even in 3D and pay full attention to the movie. There is nothing drastic with the graphics going on but it didn't need to. It satisfies by the way it grasps attention telling an incredible story with little dialogue at parts. It’s sweet and then bittersweet and watching it in 3D only enhances it by a bit. It doesn't rely on the beautiful graphics; rather it supports the film in general. The work done in the sky toward the last quarter of the film was breathtaking watching the daring characters maneuver miles above the ground. There’s also the sound design and editing done in this film. It all accompanies the film perfectly. The music plays a big role and it blends in here without becoming noticeable. The action is exciting while still capturing a child’s imagination because every sequence is that creative. Surrounded by tears and hilarity at the same time, there is no moment of waste... every second is astounding striking feelings that very few modern films can do. The thing is that it could have been void of emotion and just been cute for the stake of being kid-friendly like most generic animations such as redundant and unneeded sequels to Shrek and Ice Age. This movie is no way in means of an ordinary cartoon. It is beyond those limited ways which is why Pixar studios is chiefly that prominent and a major player in the film industry. It wins the audience from the beginning and it happens within the first few minutes, then it strikes with what the state the house is in and by all means the old man wants to protect it which sets and floats up the plot. It's like what Finding Nemo and The Lion King brought to the animation table and this movie only advances how to capture humanity in every way emotionally possible while watching a fictional animated film with such a range and breadth that is deep and complex with human emotions.

Final Grade: A-/A

Footloose (1984)
Starring Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest, Chris Penn, Sarah Jessica Parker

Film Prophet's Review...
A Chicago city teenager moves to a conservative Midwestern town as his tastes in dance and rock music change his high school town around while dancing was banned forced by a local pastor. It’s a silly concept, but somewhat interesting just to see how it goes. It could have done something with religion versus politics with a pastor influencing law regulations, but it didn’t really. Instead, it was more about social repressing youth by outlawing dancing. The pastor figures music is ruining their lives. They’re mostly interested in music and dancing and the word dancing seems to be said over a hundred times during the movie. As silly as it is, the word comedy or it being funny doesn't come across during this movie until realizing it isn't one at all. Teens enjoy themselves in frivolous events even including dares and risks like when one is about to be hit by a moving vehicle. A young Sarah Jessica Parker is first seen in a car in this direction. This was really her first big movie. The new kid in school is less rebellious than expected. He tries to adjust to the town and looks like an outsider but he really isn't. He doesn’t do drugs or commit any sort of crime. There are several small fist fights, but nothing big. The audience doesn’t see him dance on screen until a while. In fact, dancing scenes are not to be found that often. There are some scenes that are just dull with no real content involved. Near the two-thirds of the film, it is less interesting to watch because it loses its joy as the music and dancing takes a backseat. The congregation and the pastor meet to join in on the dancing case where people defend it or not. Really, everyone should know where it will end up eventually. Looking back on the movie now, it seems like one of its purposes it was made was to plug underground early eighties rock and dance music that wasn't truly mainstream yet although it sounds like it was. There are sequences that look like pop promos. However, without the music, it would just be a minor story in a light, conventional drama. The soundtrack is what is most important here weighing heavy on the interpretation of characters' tastes and just scenes full of adolescent nonsense. The songs are not half bad… featuring Kenny Loggins and Foreigner, and it is loud when it's on. There’s decent mix of second-rate dance and rock for the movie. None of the characters sing which is great so it doesn't draw comparisons to Grease. There’s no dancing competition either. The music and dancing were their means to get away from adults because it is their thing where they get space. Besides the music, there is the occasional fries with ketchup and a coke meal… this movie is mindless nostalgia. Though, it can still stand strong today, especially since there's a remake with Chace Crawford underway and a musical already out. It’s a fine example as a teenage classic out of the eighties, but it's just that.

Final Grade: C+/B-

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)
Starring Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Hank Azaria, Bill Hader, Robin Williams, Christopher Guest

Film Prophet's Review...
The sequel kicks off when the original museum artifacts from the Museum of Natural History in New York City are boxed up and sent to the archives at the Smithsonian in Washington. Feeling responsible, Larry Daley the night watchman travels there with no plan on what to do. The first movie was seen on Blu-ray, and also being the first Blu-ray to be seen, as its fantastic colors were vivid. Seen with the IMAX experience for the sequel, it was just as effective but put on a more enormous display. The first one didn’t warrant a review and it was one of those movies where a review wasn't called for just because. It grossed over 250 million domestically as a holiday movie three years ago, which was second that year, so it has a huge success at making a ton of money again especially with this being the first true kids and family film of its summer time release. The film opens with its original cast brought back. All of them join in together as their debut in this film so there isn't that one by one introduction of amazement anymore it had last time. Robin Williams is there in the beginning and the end to bestow some wisdom and advice to Ben Stiller. He isn't in any of the action and new-comer Hank Azaria had a huge role as villain Kahmunrah and the funny thing is that he also gave the voice for The Thinker and Abe Lincoln. Jonah Hill is only in one scene, which happens to be a full slapstick comedy scene with Stiller, or some might just find it annoying. The actress who played Sacajawea fell behind shorter in her role and she was really replaced by Amelia Earhart as the female lead character. The monkey isn’t causing trouble anymore and he just slaps Stiller around as his memorable part. The original cast is set aside after they bicker about not wanting to transfer when in fact they eventually transfer soon. From there, it opens in the new set of museum pieces, wax figures, and the like while the originals all are stuck elsewhere, like an hour glass. The original score is also used once again. Amy Adams is normally in smaller films so this is really her first time she’s in a big box office film, minus her big performance in Enchanted. She’s still her bubbly self and in ways, she is the best part of the film that makes it its difference from the first. She’s so fun to watch and radiant in every role she does. Ben Stiller suits perfect in this role again and he’s someone audiences can connect with. He's the only real human character in the story to have witnessed all the action this time around. His character has this ‘been there, done that, seen it, nothing I can't handle’ attitude as he flaunts more confidence. Therefore, he breaks a bunch of laws in the midst of saving artificial figures as property is damaged. Yet, there’s no night guard of their own at the Smithsonian. That's what happens when fantasies are set in the real world by throwing out logic and no one should really mind when it's so harmless. To a disappointment, Capone never even uses his machine gun he keeps carrying around and spears and swords never hit their targets. The notorious historical characters were just comical villains instead. There are several moments where people end up seizing the magical tablet back and forth, mostly between Pharaoh Kahmunrah and Larry Daley. The sequel enters familiar territory again despite setting foot in another gigantic museum. Eventually, they rally up the old troops after their adventure to finish it all. Again, it's just like the last one and stays with the same formula. There are a few new things brought to life, like drawings and paintings... remember the cell phone. There are all sorts of gentle and playful humor. In a way, it's a lightweight comedy adventure with frivolous fantasy elements. It's for all ages and people might even enjoy this humor these days without it being entirely profane all the time like there has been with past poor comedies. It’s very simple to follow ending with a simple resolution. Full of interesting personalities with a wide range of historical figures come to life and it is definitely calls for another watch with its casual appeal. It’s for people who enjoyed the first one and would like to see its sequel. It’s generally a film people would be excited to see again because there's another one. Though it accomplishes its purpose of inept fun, in the end, there is very little difference between the sequel and the first so there's less of an impact on the audience it had in its first run.

Final Grade: B-/C+

Terminator Salvation (2009)
Starring Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood, Common, Bryce Dallas Howard

Film Prophet's Review...
Keep in mind that in action-based science-fiction, anything is possible, especially when it takes place in a war-driven future. Anything can be created or obstructed and it is all boundless. This non-stop action movie, which is a pure blockbuster and popcorn film, satisfies within its confines not going overboard and it sticks to the foundation of the Terminator franchise without any disgrace. Fans want to know how John Connor became the leader of the human race and a quick transition would help from being an ordinary teen to human leader, but that didn’t necessarily happen in this film. Next, where exactly did the Terminator machines come from and a big why question follows, which could be explained in the third one somewhat… which results in illustrating and sending Kyle Reese, three versions of Arnold’s T-800 Terminator, the liquid T-1000, the female T-X, and so on in time with no clothes on, surrounding the fate of John Connor. However, the thing is that the story has been told and foretold already primarily in the first two movies where the Connors are just discovering the looming future ahead, so the rest of the continuations including the contemporary television series has been dedicated for them to seek and destroy Skynet facilities and creators and just avoid any harm to John Connor. With any forth movie that wasn’t written or thought of when the first one was created, it just stretches out the franchise and tries to continue it with faith. This movie continues as John Connor is a leader of a resistance organization team with some of Earth's remaining survivors against the army of machines slowly being built up by Skynet. There's no starting point or an acknowledgment of where it left off from the third movie. John Connor is grown up and he is a leader already, but not the leader yet. The year is 2018, which puts it eleven years behind the Los Angeles 2029 time period where people are sent back in time dated in the original movies. There is nothing mentioned in this movie about time machines existing though… so there’s no reprogramming a T-800 to send back to protect the young John Connor or Kyle Reese yet to protect Sarah. Everyone stays in current time. As so, the war is generally more and longer than this one movie. Christian Bale as Connor is intense and dominates when he’s on and one can easily forget he played Bruce Wayne only a year ago. John Connor is still John Connor from the second movie. He still hacks in technology, rides motorcycles, and yea even listens to the Guns N Roses' You Could Be Mine song, to those who were paying attention before. Somewhere near the first third of the film, he is less of a main character. The movie then focuses on this new Marcus Wright character, who is a big part of this movie from start to finish, and of course, Kyle Reese for Connor to locate, until they come in contact with Connor. There’s also a conflict between Connor and Marcus after just finding out each other. Sam Worthington is impressive as Marcus as someone who doesn’t know the truth behind who he is. He might go down as among the year's most underrated performances because he is only in a summer action film, but he'll be back in James Cameron's Avatar later in the year. As someone who owns the first two Terminator movies on Blu-ray and has a Terminator movie poster on his wall, he wants answers and has been waiting to see this since the foreshadowing future war against the machines openings in the first two movies. Instead, this movie is less talky and informative and it’s mostly all action and effects. As mentioned before, it’s really a terrific popcorn movie. There are huge explosions and it’s entertaining to watch. With all this sound, it is never boring because it is always loud and the action is just as aggressive as before even being rated PG-13. All were R before. As for the original theme song, it is not played this time, though it's not missed since Danny Elfman does the music. There are still top-notch action sequences which are what the franchise is famous for. The camera aids inside the action with tension… for instance, when a helicopter is falling down to the ground, the view is from right inside it. War video game audiences should be all over this. It’s full of futuristic post-apocalyptic survival. There are plenty of traps, minefields, prison camps, and huge ammo to go with it. There are even big carrying containers to fit humans in similar to the ones in War of the Worlds. However, there is very little to no time dedicated to the actual central villain of Skynet or Terminators… purposely done one might say, since they are all straightforward programmed computer chips. There is no one face of the evil besides the many of the Terminators scattered around rounding up or killing humans. Random T-600s and T-800s arrive. Some are difficult to take down and others are just more extreme. It is the humans this time in doing all the dirty work. Machines range from eels, flying ships, and super tall and massive machines like something from the live-action Transformers film. There are also more means and technology and disasters that already happened to take them down with. Note, the liquid android, T-1000, hasn't been built yet. It’s a quarter-century from the first movie's release and it's also the first movie without the 'present-day' Arnold Schwarzenegger and every performer in the past is gone or has changed from movie to movie, such as the lead of John Connor. Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor has her voice on taped messages to John. One can argue that the movie is just a strong post-apocalyptic film that looks nice. There’s nothing too much to connect back to the past films. There's no Terminator going back in time to protect John Connor because the moment has arrived for what the protection has been about. Therefore, there is not a single, resistant villain who hangs around for the duration of the film. It is better than Rise of the Machines, which tried too hard to be like its predecessor, but no greater than the first two which are among the elite science-fiction and action films ever made, so people shouldn’t really put it next to those films and compare this to them anyways because they’re untouchable. Looking at it as a summer action film, it delivers, but it’s nothing much to be super proud about. It didn’t push the story forward and left it as it is. It’s exciting and mostly everything a big action film should be.

Final Grade: B+/B

Angels & Demons (2009)
Starring Tom Hanks, Ayelet Zurer, Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgård, Pierfrancesco Favino, Nikolaj Lie Kaas

Film Prophet's Review...
Adapted from the best selling Dan Brown mystery novel, the story centers on religious art scholar Robert Langdon who comes across murderous findings presumably by the Illuminati. The Pope has died and Vatican waits for a successor. Meanwhile, a stolen canister of antimatter, which is an incredible amount of an energy source, is set to explode somewhere. Also, four cardinals are kidnapped and they’re about to die every hour in a horrible death. It all comes down to Robert Langdon to figure everything out. The story was written before The Da Vinci Code, though this film was released after, so it will appeal to wide range of viewers, especially with the Christianity mystery that’s involved again. As someone who read most of the book before the movie came out, this movie is not a full entertaining two hours and twenty minutes. It’s rather a big nuisance to sit and follow it all on screen. The movie makes the events in the book more improbable than they should be. It goes at a fast pace, but careless at it. It's apparent a movie is in trouble when the background scenery is more interesting and appealing than the preposterous plot unfolding. It’s extremely radical and implausible. The setup in the beginning is really poor and it leads to little to no suspense the rest of the way. There’s no exploration of who Robert Langdon is and the movie omits any of this from the book. He is central character just there to run around following haphazard plotting of deaths and make up things as he and others go along uncovering one dodgy clue after another. A deliberate planning that an assassin would leave all these traces to the next killings and religious artifact clues hidden to find after various threats is just silly. The movie did not make any of this seem pure as the book somewhat does… it is rather a fantasy world at the Vatican, which is probably why the Vatican didn't care much about this film after viewed since it's no where near reality. Audiences will be unaffected by most of the parts in the movie and they could be better off reading hundreds of pages in the book, but the movie condensed it. It seems like it skipped the first hundred pages in the book, spending less time in the Switzerland facility with the antimatter. Many people can easily get lost into the story... more than The Da Vinci Code film. Things happen suddenly and characters mumble some wise, prudent lecture of words to each other that spill over in a tedious manner. Everything each character tries to shove verbally stresses importance that comes out of the blue like they are speaking out of an encyclopedia. The scientist girl, Vittoria Vetra as Langdon’s sidekick, suddenly picks up this state of symbology dialogue and speaks it herself. She was less of a main character in this movie and had a smaller role than what she was in the book. The movie is very dim itself and there is rarely any daylight through all of the film's activities, as it is supposed to be since the time frame is really one whole long night. The best scene in the movie might be the trapping inside an archive room and suffocating with no oxygen. However, the jumbling narrative hurts plenty of the other scenes that are not worth going into detail. It’s too reliant on knowledge of where statues are and what certain scriptures say. They run around Rome and Vatican and find anything that is remotely a clue and they rush to it the next time. Sometimes they even get it wrong and they go back or figure out something new on the spot. What's weird is that they go on a fast rush through this, yet the pacing of the film was lackluster. Scenes full of retracing any random statue brings up the National Treasure movies… both are uncaring to combining religion or history with science while just running around to various pretty locations. The movie takes a confrontational premise and weakens it down to a tedious layer. Angels & Demons will be remembered as a book favorite, and a film disappointment.

Final Grade: C/C+

Star Trek (2009)
Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Eric Bana, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Bruce Greenwood, John Cho

Film Prophet's Review...
For an entertainment franchise that was gradually rotting away and soon to be forgotten, it reboots into a fresh foundation chapter. It’s the same treatment the new James Bonds and Transformers films were receiving with a luxurious appeal, though this is the only one so far to satisfy on most levels of filmmaking. The movie chronicles the early days of James T. Kirk and his fellow Enterprise crew members during their time at Starfleet Academy to stop the evil Narada controlled by villain Nero. People who are not fans of Star Trek or unfamiliar with its basics don’t have to worry about knowing much about it, since it is a complete new start as it’s entirely an introduction. The relationship development and probable friendship between Kirk and Spock occurs at large. They debate theories with each other back and forth. One plays out as someone bold while the other reasons by logic. The scientific and technical dialogue, mainly from Spock, is still over the top and sophisticated for any human to really understand. "The cadet's logic is sound.” Zachary Quinto, a brilliant choice to cast as Spock, is so impressive at saying anything convoluted and consumes screen presence when he’s on. The same can be applied to Chris Pine as Kirk. Other crew members also get their time during moments of the movie and play out with some affection. Karl Urban as McCoy was crafty and the feature of Captain Christopher Pike who wasn't addressed in original series is present. It relates to evolution… the passing of the aging and coming together of the new as the formation of the original crew. They come together naturally due to circumstances and deaths. Still, the central story is James Kirk and most of the scenes feature him as he grows into a captain. It really all begins after Kirk is summoned of cheating on a test and goes in front of the Starfleet panel and it doesn't let up from there. They never rest or stop for a moment and the story keeps continuing. Much of the movie is all flash with explosions, lights, and special effects during space combats, which is a pleasure to see as a spectacle on the big screen. There’s tons of action and fighting, more than what would be seen on the television platform. Space battles and physical combat ensues all to tension. The parachute landing fight on some ground platform in space was astonishing. For about the first half hour, it’s so straightforward and pretty much flawless to critique poorly on. There’s an emotional beginning with losses as an excellent start to the film. Everything was fine except for Uhura's sudden liking of Spock. This love interest part could be ignored as it just like happened out of the blue randomly, especially since Kirk was trying to get with her in the beginning. It’s the throwaway piece of the move. The future time warp thing might be confusing to some. The time travel parts are not really explained. Spock's father, a Vulcan, is just lingering around in the background later in the movie. The snowy planet and its creatures Kirk fell on were interesting to see, but were limited in time spent there, as it should be since it wasn't a big part. The alien presence is low as a few fill in as meager backdrop characters, but not a big deal. One can also forget the original theme song is not heard during the movie until the credits. Fans might also forget about Scotty as his arrival was so late, but a droll inclusion to the story at that point. The villain Nero sustained duration but was quite immobile only staying in his commanding area the entire film. Putting this film next to the top science-fiction films ever, it is not that close since it is not totally original on its own, minus the planet imploding parts by a black hole drill through the center of a planet. A new generation of fans could be formed reaching out to wider audiences, which it has started already. The movie represents a fine beginning of the creation of Star Trek while honoring all the original characters.

Final Grade: B+/B

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Starring Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Lynn Collins, Will i Am, Taylor Kitsch, Daniel Henney

Film Prophet's Review...
Treated as a back story in this new Origins series from Marvel, the prequel shows the roots of the mutant Wolverine. For a movie that's so aggressive, gripping, and striking, it reminds many that X-Men was once the standard for comic book movies around the turn of the century. A surprise was that it had more than Wolverine in it too. As the third X-Men movie was plain awful as a classic mess of special effects and action throwing everyone into one short film with no memorable story piece, this movie brings it back to the level the first two were at while focusing on its main lead, and a personal favorite. As every prequel is predictable, fans are familiar with Wolverine’s soon to be memory loss, but it is still tragic and also exciting to get there nevertheless. Backtracking to missions with other mutants, Wolverine still contains his rugged attitude, teaming up with his brother who he is alike. The opening credits war sequences with the two were so assertive and just downright macho. The opening displays the apparent mutant healing and being immortal right away, as these two often physically brawl each other often in the film. Wolverine is known to have some female sidekick or flame around him but not all the time. The first three X-Men movies had a lot of female actresses, ranging from Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, Rebecca Romijn, to Anna Paquin, but they weren’t missed here. There’s still one solid female piece in the movie, which happens to play the misfortune card in the story. Government official William Stryker is interesting and manipulative. Due to his limited recognition in films, this might be Liev Schreiber's best performance to date. All the fights scenes were choreographed well, giving it the look of a comic book movie on top of the explosions and so on with the helicopter and motorcycle chases and all that. That Weapon Eleven fight versus the brothers was staggering. What this movie should be really concerned about is the essence of the Wolverine character himself, and it is. The sense of detail is formed not only about him, but also around him… connecting to the other portions of the X-Men franchise reminding everyone this is still a very X-Men film. It shows many other mutant characters who didn't live beyond this movie that many didn’t know about, but were a very neat addition. They were more than just cameos, except for maybe Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool. Some of the top parts of the movie were seeing the other mutants scattered around. The extra mutants surrounding Wolverine's main story arch was a strong complement, while still capturing the entire essence of Wolverine’s growing pains and losses. This film is never boring and if people find this film boring, then it shows how unaffected or unpretentious it really has to show for it. With all the manly content, men would certainly take this movie seriously. Wolverine even works as a lumberjack for a bit. Sure some poor things fly by but no one should really mind. For instance, why everyone can jump really high, the clearly bad CGI mirror scene with Wolverine’s new claws among others, underused mutants, and reasoning behind creating an indestructible metal body are in question. It’s a perfect kick off to the summer for its year, nothing bad or great. It's really about Wolverine and his brother Victor, who hawks around everywhere and murders people, as it is fun and exciting and there will likely be more of these Origins movies to follow.

Final Grade: B/B+

Earth (2009)
Narrated by James Earl Jones

Film Prophet's Review...
Disney’s first feature-length version of the television series derived from Planet Earth is a nature documentary. It mainly follows the lives of polar bears, elephants, and humpback whales. The most interesting of them all are the polar bears because they start the film and grasp the audience’s attention foremost as they are all alone on this vast icy landscape searching for food straight out of hibernation. It is titled Earth and the film covers plenty of species but without any humans at all shown or mentioned. Animals are portrayed in their natural habitant, which includes exotic tropical birds. Birth, survival, and sadly death are uncovered among most of them on screen. It is incredible how the filming crew managed to take live footage of several animals' lives on extraordinary and tranquil locations during their peak moments naturally. It seems most of the footage was in the moment of something happening... less than one day's work of filming... except for the polar bears who start the film and eventually the movie comes back to them near the end to see where they went from their start. Most of them start when it is starting to get warm out and the sun, at its twenty-three point five degree angle, comes out, lapsing through the seasons. James Earl Jones provides the narration. The narration is not all just elaborating a small story of some animal's life... it also dishes some neat facts, such as desert covers a third of the Earth's surface. The narration never becomes anything annoying as most narrations can be. Generally, it is for a wide audience with a meditative view. Nothing mentioned is complex or in detail... rather, just explaining a short story of what is happening on screen from birth, migration, walking, or flying. It speaks out that the animals’ experiences are universal among all other living organisms as they enter Earth. This Disney film is not a hundred percent pretty and cute for its G-rating. It's still very realistic in what it has to show… meaning, an animal's survival till he or she can no longer go on. There's plenty of hunter versus prey sequences of animals chasing other animals for pure food and flesh. The father polar bear versus the walrus clan sticks out, though it’s poignant. The film doesn't really examine the violent animals, such as the cheetah side of the story, either. Somewhere near the hour mark, it begins to lose some concentration on its core of animals after the opening half hour. The coverage opens up to a wide display of creatures and it even heads into the ocean for a bit, which provides some amazing shots in the water. The time length of the film was ideal; it was not overlong running at ninety minutes. After getting used to seeing the same category things and hearing the same narrator speak, it ends at the right time before wearing off with a highlight montage of bright points throughout the film. However, there is nothing to dislike about this film. The music goes along with it really well and it makes nature feel more connected to the Earth than presumed. Since viewers can easily be lost in the imagery, it does have a merit for anyone to watch it again because there may have been a ton of things viewers could have missed.

Final Grade: B

Marley & Me (2008)
Starring Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Eric Dane, Alan Arkin, Kathleen Turner

Film Prophet's Review...
Marley is a young dog adopted by a young couple growing up and dealing with a family starting. The newly wed couple starts their life together as the movie shows almost a decade from that point forward. The idea behind the dog was to give them a taste of parenthood in preparation for kids, but they got more than they asked. Marley is unruly with no obedience, yet becomes a vital part of the family. They say Marley is the worst dog in the world… as the husband writes a successful column about his dog. The story is about the evolution of this family with the dog. It’s so sweet and then it’s as bittersweet as the story progresses. It starts out light-hearted it seems, like a movie about a dog, that soon becomes a joy to watch… although it has a heavy heart which becomes a very sad time for the last twenty of so minutes… a long period of time and there's bound to be tears somewhere from the audience. It may be too sad to watch again soon after. Key moments arise while raising the dog in a young, active family and it makes them all bright and resonant. Warm and delightful moments with the dog fill up the screen that aren't silly or too-kiddy as one might expect. Setting is a big part of the story. They change houses, jobs, and cities. There’s a fast montage that lasts about five minutes where Owen Wilson narrates a few seconds of certain moments in their life that has occurred, as he starts by saying almost each time, ‘wrote a column about…’ There’s also an amazing soundtrack while Wilson mostly chases Marley around many, many times in the beginning. The direction is as real as it could get, while keeping the matter commercial. The supporting ensemble is small, but in top shape. There is no poor acting anywhere. This may have been the best Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson have been in to date. Their chemistry together was wonderful. Everything seems real and believable. Twenty-two dogs were used as Marley grew to show the aging difference and skills too, especially the older dogs with their eyes. Themes of family and careers are common for audience to share with. It is a surprising, affecting film adding some authentic humor that isn’t pushed or careless… or reduced to juvenile dialogue or stints. It keeps it family oriented and it is strong at that level. A dog running straight into a backyard pool was hilarious and it requires no idiocy writing. Not only is it beautifully shot, it full of fondness without a dull moment or having a single annoying character which is rare for modern comedy films, as well as not seeing any gross gags or dumb jokes that aren't funny. It doesn't try to be a funny movie; it is genuinely a lovable movie for the most part. Even when it goes back to the couple, it never strays away from the center character in Marley. It shows how a pet can make an imprint on a family and for people re-evaluate how valuable a person’s loved ones are, as it may be the most poignant pet movie ever. “A dog doesn't care if you're rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his.”

Final Grade: B+/B

Let the Right One In (2008)
Starring Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Ika Nord

Film Prophet's Review...
This is a Swedish film involving a boy who befriends a girl who may be a vampire. On the outskirts of Stockholm, the boy is brutally bullied on by classmates that'll leave him scars. A very eerie beginning starts with people who the audience wouldn't see every day. The unconventional cinematography is invigorating from the first minute. The music score hits the right notes to tinge someone's nerves. The storytelling goes without verbally instructing the audience, but rather showing pieces of people and their small actions on setting. There isn’t much movement going on in the film… everything seems so still, not moving. There are plenty of moments of silence. Unique haunting scares are accomplished by the picture and the score. The combination of both is what separates itself from the rest of the horror vampire pack. The sound as well as the acting and makeup puts it just outside of the taste of mainstream viewers, along with the way the tale is brought to screen. Viewers might complain it is boring with slow pacing, or just being sick since certain parts aren’t censored. The movie dissolves into its loneliness and isolation the main characters set in. For that, there’s a little bit more darkness. Cold, winter settings are shown and some don't wear much heavy clothing, yet there's snow on the ground… a hint someone may be a vampire. There is nothing glamorous about the life of the vampire in this. Killing people, all adults, for their blood is viable for the girl vampire, but she shows a shame in her practice. She’s not the only one seeking blood in the town. There’s an unsightly looking man who is her guardian as he slits throats and drains for their blood, but he is not a major figure to the main storyline. A little more time than needed is spent on some of the shabby locals also. The beginning of second half wears down by this by not seeing anything exciting develop between them, as well as the boy and girl. It does not glamorize the life of a vampire and neither softens up the vampire core. Pretty much all regularities about vampires are in the film… like not being exposed to sunlight and craving for human blood… nothing excessive though. One also gets to find out what happens when a vampire consumes food. There are no violent special effects or things being loud at any point. Some highlights are the attack by pet cats, the burning up in fire by sunlight, and the incredible swimming pool climax sequence. It isn't really a vampire story. Instead, it's about the understanding between two misfits at adrift better together than at one. The movie works best with the scenes between the two, which is childlike and haunting at the same time. The girl boosts the boy’s confidence to not be afraid. Even with two kid performers at the top of the film, it treats the story with maturity while bonding the two in a gentle and affecting way.

Final Grade: B

I Love You, Man (2009)
Starring Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Jaime Pressly, Jon Favreau, Sarah Burns

Film Prophet's Review...
Going into this, one might wonder how likable Paul Rudd can be acting as a bland male lead character. The film does invest a lot of time in him featuring him in nearly every scene. Rudd plays a guy who gets engaged but doesn’t have any friends so he goes on man dates to find men to be a Best Man for his wedding party. He sets up these man dates for what seems the entire time until about the final twenty or so minutes. There are plenty cringe worthy moments along with being inordinately awkward that arise from these situations. The movie starts with a quick and short proposal before knowing any of the characters. The comedy gets underway as the waiting begins for a laugh. Jason Segel arrives after twenty minutes as he was a necessary piece to the film because without him, it didn't have a true spark to hold throughout. It’s all basic from there and there is nothing over the top or visually dynamic to examine. It just follows a grown up man who has no friends and can't seem to bond with anyone as he goes through occasional vomit and fart jokes. The guy even portrays having little of interest or connection with guys but then when he finds a hobby such as playing the bass, he pushes this on to everyone he talks to like it identifies him now. The theme of acquiring friends after being engaged is sudden and touchy to grasp. It's a fresh concept but it often struggles by being indisputably awkward. With this, it plays with a same sex tone. This guy is straight but he acts different and it just makes the movie weird. Andy Samberg in a supporting role is his homosexual brother, so finding a best man shouldn’t be an issue since he has a brother he appears close with. Among the tons of comedies that revolve around weddings, it is quite uncreative. Along with the typical poker nights and work outs at the gym the guys have, it sums up as a newly engaged man who realizes that he doesn't have any male friends; even though the plot is somewhat original, one could find more of a source of laughter easily somewhere else in a shorter running time. Laughs are too short and scattered. The fiancée’s girl friends are nothing more than gossip. Rudd asks her why she is marrying him and then regrets it like five seconds after. Pretty much everything he says he wants to take back and it doesn't make up for a punch line at all. Before Rudd’s character hangs up on the phone, he says, ‘I will see you there or I will see you at another time,’ as then Segel says, ‘that was very confusing, I don't know if you're going to come or not.’ He is horrible at his ending. The movie lacks big conflict and it remains simple. It’s really a one joke sort about a bromance in a making than the engaged couple, which creates all of its awkwardness.

Final Grade: C+

Twilight (2008)
Starring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Ashley Greene, Nikki Reed, Peter Facinelli

Film Prophet's Review...
Based on the first novel, it tells the story of seventeen year-old girl Bella Swan, who moves to a small town to live with her father, transfers to a new school, and is drawn to a pale mysterious classmate named Edward Cullen who comes from a family of vampires. Bella is also the narrator of the story. As someone who didn't read any of the novels, most of the characters in the film came off amateurish during a weak beginning that took slow to start to tell that it was an actual vampire film. It trembles along for almost an hour that was about a new kid entering a new town and school while introducing people that aren’t a big deal in the end like nearly all the high school stuff. There are a bunch of background characters who serve little value, though assuming they’ll be used in later sequels, like the mom, some local Indian tribe, and the usual old people at the diner. The annoying high school characters are painful to watch them bother and clog up the vampire centerpiece of the film. The villain vampires received no personalities or screen time until during a baseball game near the woods that started up a long sequence of action. An evil vampire named James, played by Cam Gigandet, was interesting, who was also perhaps the main antagonist, but he was only saved for the chase and tease for the finale bursts. Soon enough, Bela adds up her clues and traces Edward to be a vampire. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson may be overrated together though. Their acting is cold and uneasy between each other and the dialogue by the two leads isn’t any better. Nikki Reed's part was underused as she was an overlooked dazzling spot in the acting department. Most of the other vampires just stand there and smell flesh and hold back from biting for Bella's blood. As for vampires in general, much of everything vampire related in this is a very, very G-rated True Blood, which has books written before the Twilight books. There is no profanity, nudity, or even gore and blood for this vampire film. The vampires don’t really have problems with sunlight as they aren’t in flames underneath it, and there are no mentions of stakes through the heart, holy water, garlic, or crucifixes. They were very fast and very strong, but the special effects here are not impressive. The Paramore song for the soundtrack was briefly heard in the background in one, yes one scene when a few girls were trying out their prom dresses in a store. On screen, the colors were washed out and dull, matching its damp like weather atmosphere as nothing was bright. As heard, the ending to the film was different to the book also. Conversely, there's definitely room for conflict opportunities for the sequels to follow.

Final Grade: C+/B-

Prom Night (2008)
Starring Brittany Snow, Johnathon Schaech, Idris Elba, Jessica Stroup, Scott Porter, Dana Davis

Film Prophet's Review...
A movie viewed in High-definition can only go so far and do so much justice to a poor movie. However, this movies needs to take its terrible and infantile writing elsewhere. This is what happens late at night when a certain cable company gives limited High-definition movie stations. At a high school senior prom with her friends at a hotel, a horror from her past returns to murder. Every high school character in this is hollow. There is nothing remotely interesting or compelling in any of the characters… the prom dance design has more flair. They aren't given anything fresh or original to do and the movie just beats down an already damaged sub-genre of teen horror flicks. This movie needs to rot in hell because that's where it belongs. The killer only uses a switchblade and it all takes place in some fancy hotel basically. As predictable, it only takes a couple bullets to bring him down and that's it. Bring on the ending credits from there because there's no reason to go any further with this garbage. Before it gets there, and for a movie that isn't even long to begin with, it goes so slow and takes, or really wastes, its time with slow prom dancing and joking at the actual dance before a climax with the female lead and the killer occur. By then, it is pretty much futile after watching how every scene before was dull as scenes just drag after the initial contact anyways. The real culprit is the writer of the movie, J.S. Cardone. There is absolutely no real point to ever watch this. The film is so frustrating that I didn't even want to write a review for it, but I had to just to release my thoughts out because it was terrible all the way through with so many ridiculous and juvenile writing holes. If the hotel is being evacuated and especially right after they’re about to announce the winners of prom king and queen, the lead must go back upstairs to her room to get something which means she is going back to the danger zone. When a teacher catches a guy with a bottle of whiskey at prom, the teacher will just take it away and let him go in anyway. The prom itself is so typical and cliché and it focuses on the generic high school king and queen battle. Friends get depressed at their prom near the end because they realize they will never see each other again after that night. Running upright in heels and leaving a phone off the hook in a hotel room is just asking for trouble... like having the weakest looking cop on a stakeout in front of a house alone in his car with the window down. When a guy is looking for his girlfriend in a hotel room during prom, it must be normal just sneak around until he finds her because it’s usual for her to hide, especially behind a shower curtain. Hotel closets are so many feet deep so someone has enough room to hide and come out of the shadows. Slitting someone's throat produces no blood anywhere and leaves no trail of blood when it should be quite messy. As rated PG-13, there is no gore or sex, as the killing scenes are a joke. It’s a slash and a small fright and that's it. The killings aren't graphic and there's no suspense anywhere. There's no creativity and one might wonder why this script that seemed like it was written by a child was turned into a full length motion picture. Only watch it as an example of what a really, really bad film can be like.

Final Grade: F/D

Coraline (2009)
Voices by Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Keith David, Ian McShane, John Hodgman

Film Prophet's Review...
Viewed entirely in 3D. After hundreds of reviews in the past years, this is actually the very first 3D motion picture watched at the theater that’s reviewed. The disadvantages, however, that to 3D are the limited theater availability to find one and before it’s taken off the 3D theaters, pricier tickets, and the need to wear glasses. Without the 3D glasses on, the picture is blurry and useless to watch. None of that really got in the way of the experience it was intended to be. Directed and written by Henry Selick who did The Nightmare Before Christmas, the movie centers on a young girl who discovers an alternate vision of her life that’s joyous and filled with circus magic after going through a hidden door in her new house. This appears to be similar to her real life with the same stray cat and a neighborhood boy, only more rewarding. The adventure turns dangerous when the girl's bogus parents try to keep her forever. After being amazed by the 3D graphics and effects during the first few minutes, the first impressions actually wore off pretty quickly. The redundancy of the story harmed it by having Coraline go back to similar looking parts when she would wake up and meet her mom in the kitchen to find out if it is her real mom or the evil mom. This all made the movie seem quite slow too. Other recurring parts were people pronouncing the name Coraline as Caroline, entering and leaving the hidden door in the house, and then her on the search for eyes, a set of keys, and other miscellaneous junk to free dead souls and her parents and to trap away the evil mysterious mother for eternity. That's basically the whole agenda for the girl right there. This picture in 3D demonstrates how trancelike and fantastic visuals can be charmless and bland to watch. This 3D picture is a viewing experience and nothing more. It is a cartoon and the central character is a kid in a movie that's for families and kids generally. Yet, there isn't one single thing that is remotely close to being funny or adorable. All the random supporting creatures are just bizarre and serve no purpose or important role. Coraline's voice does not sound like Dakota Fanning who was the voice actress as Coraline Jones, so she did a superb job and also to make her likable. One probably couldn't recognize or identify it at all. Tons of credit is obviously given to the unbelievable creativity and technology work with stop-motion animation to create images in this film. Expecting them to be creepy though, they weren't. So what that ghost kids and parents have button eyes and the evil mommy is a villain. There’s no real emotion invested anywhere though. It's still a cliché tale of a kid given a spoiled opportunity at being pampered by evil but then wanting the actual and ordinary parents back. It’s how a kid can’t differentiate between fantasy and reality, but aware of the belief in ghosts. Back to the format of the picture, rarely do things pop off the screen to fright the audience like in the 3-D trailers before. It needed a little more eye-catching visuals and something to laugh about. It’s still innovative and mostly different from the CGI crowd of late.

Final Grade: B-/B