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:

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Man of Steel Movie Review: 1 Spoiler — It Sucks

A young itinerant worker is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race.
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I found it completely shocking that some people actually liked this movie, although I attribute it to the hype and the action that overshadowed the actual meat of the movie (or lack thereof). Of course, many people also share my sentiment that Man of Steel sucks.

Man of Steel falls down on so many levels it is hard to know where to begin. The biggest hole in the movie was the cast: failing to create any believable characters. The “Man of Steel” (Henry Cavill) was very dull, delivered lines robotically, and was just absolutely unlovable. He certainly lived up to his name in the movie though, with no more personality than a steel girder. The same went for Lois Lane, played by Amy Adams that failed to create any spark on-screen between herself and Superman. She was hot, yes, but a great movie that does not make.

By far the worst scenes were between Superman and his parents as they try to explain who he is and what is happening to him. It is always interesting to see how a movie will approach these difficult aspects but they did not handle it well. “Son, you are an alien. No big deal” was essentially their approach. It was awkward. It was bad. It felt like the directors just wanted to deal with it quickly like ripping off a band-aid.

What was good about the movie? The action — kinda. There was a lot of it, but it was senseless. The movie was too long and yet it was full of action scenes that stretched on forever. Superman is basically invincible and so are his enemies. So why are they punching each other around for 10 mins? Don’t they realize they are not accomplishing anything? Neither Superman nor his enemies seemed to take any damage throughout their “epic” battles but they kept punching each other anyway. The graphics were really good though, that’s about it.

The way they explained Superman’s powers was also bad. See the spoilers for details.

To spare myself an essay, I’m going to stop here. If you liked the movie, I don’t blame you but you might want to get your eyes and ears checked 🙂 Give the movie another watch and pay attention to the things I have mentioned and I am sure you will understand my pain. Of course you can always just look at the pretty explosions.

Spoilers below

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I actually laughed out loud when Superman let his dad die in the tornado. It was a huge stretch for him to let his dad die just to conceal his identity but on top of that, they felt the need to spell it out for us by him specifically saying that he let his dad die for that purpose. Laugh out loud ridiculous.

His powers were explained by atmospheric differences between Krypton and Earth which was great. Except that no amount of atmospheric differences gives you the ability to fly. Jump high? Sure! Fly? No. Laser vision? Where did that come from? Near invincibility? You’re going to have to try harder than “atmospheric differences”. I actually love it when super hero movies use plausible explanations to bridge reality but when it’s not plausible, it is painful.

Iron Man 3 Movie Review — “It Kinda Sucked”

When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution.
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I may get a lot of flack for this review but it has to be said: Iron Man 3 kinda sucked.

Before everyone freaks out, the keyword is “kinda”. The movie was very entertaining and had elements of what has made the Iron Man series so great but also included a lot of cheesy moments and ludicrous scenes.

I have not read the Iron Man comics, so I do not know if the movie has stayed true to the originals, however, my main complaint with Iron Man 3 is that it throws whatever semblance of realism existed in the series. One of the things that puts Iron Man and Batman at the top of the super heroes list is the fact that they are at least somewhat realistic. In a previous review of The Dark Knight Rises, I wrote about how refreshing a semi-believable hero is. Batman and Iron Man are great examples of extraordinary people that use technology to accomplish even more extraordinary feats. Unlike Superman, a powerful alien with outright superpowers . . .

See spoiler section for more on the movie’s unbelievability.

Luckily, most of the other great elements of the Iron Man series remained intact. Robert Downey Jr.‘s dialogue was not as sharp as usual but still great and the movie had plenty of funny scenes and didn’t take itself too seriously. Several action scenes were also unrealistic but overall, Iron Man 3 was an action-packed adventure. The visual effects were fantastic as usual and seemed to be very present in every single scene of the movie. If you watch the credits, pay attention towards the end for the EPIC chunk of names attributed to the movie’s visual effects. It’s quite impressive.

Overall, Iron Man will entertain (as it is doing for the masses) but it is a farcry from the quality of the first two movies in the trilogy. It’s worth a watch in the theatres because of its visual effects but don’t fret too much if you can’t make it out for a couple weeks.

P.s. There is a scene after the (particularly long) credits but is highly unnecessary so feel free to head home and not wait for it.

Scroll for spoiler section

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Unlike previous enemies of Iron Man, the enemies in Iron Man 3 are particularly unbelievable. I mean, c’mon, fire people? The regenerative biological process was interesting, but the fact that it turned people into fire demons was excessively stupid. The most hilariously bad scene in the movie was when Aldrich Killian breathed fire. It was included as a bit of comedy but was just plain ridiculous. Dragon people? I expect so much more of Iron Man.

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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Oz the Great and Powerful Movie Review (Only one spoiler: It was bad)

A small-time magician arrives in an enchanted land and is forced to decide if he will be a good man or a great one.
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The super short version: Oz the Great and Powerful was quite bad. Skip it.

My expectations were not very high for Oz, but I was greatly disappointed nonetheless. Despite being bankrolled and produced by Disney, with quite the record of success, Oz failed on so many levels.

The most notable failure was the acting. James Franco’s performance was predictable good for much of the movie but terrible off-base for others. He just never seemed to really find his place in the movie except for a few scenes. All of the actors, including each of the witches were painful to watch during most scenes. I felt like I was watching a highschool play at times, forgetting for many segments that the movie cost many millions.

Mila Kunis was most disappointing of all. Her first appearance onscreen was very painful and unnatural to watch. She didn’t improve throughout the movie either. She may not be Anne Hathaway but I expected much more from her acting skills.

Despite not being the primary target audience for Oz, I was unimpressed by the lack of universal appeal. Pixar, for example, is very successful at making movies that can entertain both kids and adults alike. Unfortunately, Disney has a long way to go in this respect, Oz being a great example. Many scenes were rather childish and played out too far as a very cheesy fairytale.

The one saving grace was the visual appeal, although it still fell far short of comparable visual masterpieces like Alice in Wonderland. Despite the fantasy landscapes being well put-together, other visual effects were not. The witches moved unnaturally in several scenes – so much so that you could easily picture the ropes and pulleys pulling them into the air.

I found myself laughing awkwardly, sighing, and rolling my eyes throughout at least half a dozen scenes. Oz was easily one of the worst movies I have seen in a long time. Viewer beware!

Django Unchained Movie Review

With the help of his mentor, a slave-turned-bounty hunter sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.
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Movie Poster - Django Unchained CastDjango Unchained is both very intense and very good. Be warned, however, that the movie has many uncomfortable scenes, even by my standards. Racism runs throughout the entire movie and, although uncomfortable, appears to be an accurate depiction of the monstrosities of the past.

Django Unchained is a movie that does not hold back in any way. Quentin Tarantino seems to fear no one, not even mixed reactions from the audiences, so he does not hold back. This is what separates Quentin Tarantino from other directors — the fact that he has a back bone.

What has always stood out to me about Tarantino movies is the amazing balance he is able to find between dead-seriousness, ridiculous over-the-top violence and pure comedy. As dark as some scenes in Django Unchained were, many were hilarious. And do not get me started on the witty dialogue!

Christoph Waltz is without question, one of my favourite actors and the way he delivers his witty lines is nothing short of amazing. Those that believe they are not familiar with Christoph Walz, may remember his spectacular performance in Inglorious Basterds as part of a hilariously bizarre opening scene (see video below). Needless to say, Waltz is an incredible actor that I hope to see take on many more roles — currently he is primarily a favourite of Tarantino’s.

Django’s character, played by Jamie Foxx, was more simplistic than Waltz’s, however Foxx still crushed the performance. It certainly seemed like the entire purpose of the movie was to first build-up how atrocious slavery was and then have Foxx come in an make up for the harm that was done in glorious fashion. This, he most certainly accomplished.

The plot was simplistic but did not hinder the movie in any way. In fact, I tend to think it a characteristic of some of the best movies – following the Keep-It-Simple-Stupid principle. Instead of a convoluted plot, Django Unchained focused all of it’s attention on Tarantino’s signature blend of action and dialogue and the outcome was very satisfying.

To finish up this post, I figured I would leave you with a checklist that can help you decide whether or not you should see this movie. You should definitely watch Django Unchained if any of the following are true:

  • You are a Tarantino or Christoph Waltz fan
  • You enjoy a movie with a blend of action, comedy and dialogue
  • When you see gore you do not hide in a corner and cry

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.