Kick-Ass 2 Movie Review

The costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass joins with a group of normal citizens who have been inspired to fight crime in costume. Meanwhile, the Red Mist plots an act of revenge that will affect everyone Kick-Ass knows.
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Going into Kick-Ass 2, I didn’t know what to expect. The movie has attracted a mixture of movie reviews, with critics primarily disappointed and general audiences primarily entertained. Surely, with these mixed reviews, the movie could never compare with the original Kick-Ass, that was universally liked, right?

Wrong.

Kick-Ass 2 blew my expectations out of the water. It was on pretty much the same level as the original Kick-Ass, maintaining everything that made the first one great such as:

  • Ironic comedy
  • Witty and hilarious dialogue
  • Gruesome action
  • A smart script that pokes fun at itself
  • Hilariously unique characters (the names are so good I don’t want to ruin them by listing them here)
  • Chloë Grace Moretz (you can’t not like her in the Kick-Ass series)

If you enjoyed the original, you will thoroughly enjoy this one as well. Whether it is quite as good as the first one is certainly up for debate but I would say they are certainly of comparable quality.

Kick-Ass 2 is jam-packed with references to modern culture, which makes it seem real despite its absurd elements. The movie’s biggest strength, aside from the performances by Chloe Grace Moretz and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, is the breadth of characters introduced. Each of the new heroes brought into the story are unique, interesting and out-right hilarious. Jim Carrey‘s character is particularly good. It is great to see him back on-screen.

In summary, Kick-Ass 2 kicks ass. Set your expectations slightly lower than the first and you will be sure not to be disappointed.

After the credits: Stick around after the credits for an interesting scene . . .

Even the music during the credits was amazing. The song Hero by Jessie J, recorded for the Kick-Ass 2 soundtrack is particular awesome:

Better Than the Books: The Sherlock Holmes (BBC) Series

I, like many others, am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes. My experience in getting to know the numerous stories, however, is different than most. Instead of starting with the books, my first experience of Sherlock Holmes was from the movie titled . . . Sherlock Holmes, with Robert Downey and Jude Law.

The Hollywood movies were good and stimulated my appetite for the stories but were by far the worst depiction of Sherlock Holmes I have yet to experience.

I then moved on to the books — undeniably classic stories. Certainly a must-read series for people of all ages and walks of life. However, the books are not the best! Gasp! Instead, the best version of the Sherlock Holmes stories I have yet to discover is Sherlock, the BBC series.

Feel free to comment below if you agree or disagree. You must have actually seen the BBC series to be able to judge it, of course.

The following are the many reasons why Sherlock (the BBC series) is by far the best version of Sherlock Holmes:

  1. The already virtually perfect characters, Sherlock and Watson, are further perfected (if that makes sense). Every piece of dialogue is carefully delivered and well thought-out and helps to develop other dimensions of Sherlock and Watson beyond the books. Although the dialogue in the books is incredible, it does have its flaws. For example, the way in which Sherlock Holmes comes to deliver his genius deductions sometimes seems a bit forced, in the interest of the reader. These explanations are done with somewhat more grace in the TV series.
  2. The series is modernized in a genius way. The way in which the series incorporates modern technology and circumstances into a story as old as Sherlock Holmes is nothing short of brilliant. Letters become texts, journals become blogs, and deductive processes include modern forensics. Much of the original charm is maintained while the show manages to rocket the series forward by more than a century.
  3. The show is funnier! At least somewhat so. The Sherlock Holmes series is not known for being particularly comedic but it is one of the only imperfections of the book series. After reading Catch 22, I have developed a taste for comedy, even in a serious story. Comedy helps round out a masterpiece, in my opinion.
  4. What was perfection before, remains perfection now. Almost everything that made the original Sherlock Holmes stories great has been maintained, with the points mentioned above added to polish what was already a perfect series.

Don’t take my word for it! Take a look at the Sherlock Holmes BBC series. You will be glad you did.

P.s. if you haven’t read the books, there is a great complete Sherlock Holmes Collection available in hardcopy and digital format that I can vouch for.

Spring Breakers Movie Review

Four college girls who land in jail after robbing a restaurant in order to fund their spring break vacation find themselves bailed out by a drug and arms dealer who wants them to do some dirty work.
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The super short review: Spring Breakers was bizarre, sexy, funny and unique. If you are not a fan of the naked female form, perhaps you should opt to watch Safe Haven instead.

Spring Breakers is not the movie you think it is. It is far more “artsy” and “deep” than you could possibly expect from its title and premise. In this case, it was mostly a good thing.

It helps to know what to expect going in to the movie, so pay attention. If you are looking for a lighthearted comedy or mainstream flick, look elsewhere. Spring Breakers has its funny parts and some mainstream good times, but it is far more than that. You will frequently find your brain melting, for example. Not from stupidity but rather from trying to comprehend the insanity you are watching.

Overall though, the movie works. It depicts a life that few of us ever live — the true “wild side” of life — so it is impossible to watch expecting the plot points to be normal. The direction helped add to the bizarre feel of the movie which seems to cause eye-glazing among the general public. A hit with the critics; less so with the general public. If nothing else, Spring Breakers is a very unique movie and should be appreciated for that.

Prudes beware: nudity abounds. Spring Breakers earns its 18A rating within the first 2 minutes with more breasts in the movie than there are aliens in Alien. Although there is no doubt that the nudity helps appease the male audience, it is used in such a way that it actually adds to the validity of the setting. Some nudity, of course, has been thrown in to increase word of mouth.

James Franco does a surprisingly good job playing a drug dealer/rapper/straight-up gansta. His performance was very refreshing after The Great and Miserable Oz. The ladies (Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine) were great performance-wise as well, though they were largely eye-candy.

In summary: if you go in expecting a weird but unique movie with a lot of boobs, you will not be disappointed.

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SkyFall Movie Review | Bond is back. James Bond.

Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.
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James Bond is back and he is kicking ass and taking names! SkyFall is action-packed but it is not the action that carries this movie. Instead, it is nostalgia and overall utter brilliance – as the British would say.

For those who are unaware, our favourite agent 007 is celebrating his 50 anniversary and for his birthday he gets an amazing gift — without question the best Bond movie. Sure, you may argue that an older Bond film is better because you prefer a particular portrayal of James Bond but there is no arguing that SkyFall is one of the most perfectly put together movies of the franchise. Here’s why:

  • Action. But unlike many other Bond movies, action is not all she wrote.
  • A perfect blend of nostalgia and throw-backs combined with graceful modernization
  • A storyline that, while simple, is very engaging and restarts the franchise (much like Batman Begins)
  • Performances that are likely to be remembered for years to come

Much like Christopher Nolan’s revamp of the Batman franchise, SkyFall succeeds in transcending James Bond movies of the past in terms of relevance, polish and a level of “seriousness” that was absent from many of the mainstream-action iterations of the past. You can hear it amongst the group of moviegoers as they exit the theatre. Not only the joy of having witnessed such a great movie but pure excitement; already eagerly anticipating the next movie in what will hopefully be a whole new era of Bond. An era of high expectations and delivering upon those expectations.

SkyFall also toys with a unique bond girl setup in which there is not a specific woman of interest. Although still present, sex appeal was used more sparingly than previous Bond movies, if my memory serves me correctly. This is not a sour point, however, as I believe that many bond girls in past movies have merely served as a distraction from the plot and little else (a significant visual distraction). Instead, Bond interacts with the women in the movie in a much more progressive way. Perhaps as a means of appeasing a changing female demographic or perhaps to eliminate distractions from the main story. After all, Bond never really spent a great deal of time building relationships in the past so any character contributions made by “romance scenes” in previous movies were negligible.

SkyFall is the best iteration of James Bond in a long time and probably ever. Everyone will find something about this movie that will truly catch their attention. Die-hard fans of the original movies will enjoy the many inclusions of nostalgic elements, while new-comers to the franchise will enjoy the modernization of the story and the removal of many “cheesy” elements that are no longer acceptable in great modern movies.

I tend to rate movies rather favourably, however, exaggerations aside, SkyFall has likely found its place in my list of Top 10 Movies of All Time.

Seven Psychopaths Movie Review

A struggling screenwriter inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends kidnap a gangster’s beloved Shih Tzu.
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Seven Psychopaths is a difficult movie to describe – the premise convoluted. Basically the movie is about a guy writing a movie about psychopaths while being surrounded by psychopaths. However, it is not quite as simple as that.

Without ruining the plot, all I can say is that this is one weird movie, but I mean that in a good way. Have you ever seen Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch? Firstly, watch these movies! Secondly, the point that I was trying to make: Seven Psychopaths has a similar feel to them despite not sharing the same writer or director. Lock, Stock and Snatch were directed by the amazingly weird and brilliant Guy Ritchie, while Seven Psychopaths was written and directed by Martin McDonagh.

Now back to trying to describe this movie.

Seven Psychopaths brings a number of things to the table:

  • An multi-layered story
  • Incredible actors
  • Intentional hilarity where hilarity is not expected
  • Brilliant writing and dialogue

The only thing holding this movie back from a 5-star rating in my opinion is its absurdity (which, absurdly, is also the movie’s greatest strength). Some scenes will leave your head spinning at the insanity but you won’t spend long worrying about the room spinning around you because you will be too busy laughing at the many anti-clichés throughout the movie.

Yes, I just invented a word.

There may be a fancy theatre term for it, but when I refer to an anti-cliche, I am referring to a situation that is extremely cliche initially but then plays out entirely differently than you would expect. This movie is full of them and they are delightful.

Noticed how I still haven’t said much about the story? There’s a two-fold reason for that: spoilers and complexity. I will simply say this: Seven Psychopaths is very meta (Google it), bizarre, fun and self-aware. You will be entertained.

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Fast Five Movie Review

fast-five-movie-review Dominic and his crew find themselves on the wrong side of the law once again as they try to switch lanes between a ruthless drug lord and a relentless federal agent.

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I am going to keep this movie review very short. There are only a few things you need to know about Fast Five.

1. This movie is by-far the best of the series

2. It has some of the best action sequences I have seen in a long time

3. It has “heist movie” elements which are amazing (particularly if you like heist movies)

4. The story is nothing special but the movie is thoroughly entertaining and an absolute must-see

Mindless but mind-blowing entertainment

If you were getting bored of the “Fast” series, do not worry. Although the movie contains many common elements of its predecessors, it also introduces a number of new elements. Introducing heist components works well with the successful series and fans of movies like The Italian Job will enjoy the style of this movie.

The acting leaves a lot to be desired but remains bearable – even pretty good at times. Re-introducing old cast members adds to the experience and nostalgia. The support casts serves as one of the strongest points for the movie.

Although many of the action scenes remain over-the-top, their entertainment value cannot be denied. The stunts and effects in Fast Five are among Hollywood’s best. Few straight-up action movies are worthy of a 5 star rating but Fast Five earns it for its improvement over its predecessors, its heist-movie elements and its ultimate entertainment value.

Oh, and stay after the credits. Trust me. – D. Michaelangelo

Once you’ve seen the movie, come on back and we’ll chat about the ending.

Spoilers from this point on ——————————————————>

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I could not believe what happened after the credits!!! Letty is alive??? Although I will miss the series, I was excited for this movie because it was a nice ending/wrap-up. Unfortunately it looks like they will be continue to milk the series (either that or the Letty thing completely throws off the neat ending). I am a fan of tidy endings. What do you think?