A Nightmare on Elm Street Review

With A Nightmare on Elm Street, I got exactly what I expected, Nothing more and nothing less. I expected a classic slasher movie with the terrible acting (other than Haley as Krueger) and terrible writing. It’s just the kind of movie that doesn’t matter, you just go out and have fun with some friends. Play the “whose gonna die next” game.

The story of A Nightmare on Elm Street has its perks in by far the coolest slasher movie character. No killer beats Freddy Krueger and I actually preferred Jackie Earle Haley’s rendition more so than Robert Englund’s. He was darker, more disturbing even, while still having those still adding little sinister jokes here and there. That’s what’s fun about Freddy is that he actually talks unlike Leatherface, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers or Ghostface, to name a few.

So, A Nightmare on Elm Street is just your same old slasher film, filled with all the stuff that makes movies dumb, so I will grade accordingly, but you really have to take these films for what they are and this has got to be my favorite of the recent installations to horror. Its much better than the porno that was Friday the 13th and ten times better than Rob Zombie’s awful Halloween. I’d also like to say that I actually prefer this one to its original.

They’re a lot a like, but I had more fun with this one. So sue me. My complaint though would be that it was too much like the original at times. I’ll explain what I mean. When the trailer came out, it seemed that Freddy was actually innocent of his crimes against the children and was taking revenge against these people who killed him for no reason. That would’ve been more interesting, but we find out near the climax that he actually was guilty of his crimes and rightfully killed. That was a bit disappointing, but you can never expect much from a slasher.

Grade: D+

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Iron Man 2 Review

I’m just going to start this review out bluntly. Iron Man 2 was the biggest disappointment in a long time. I loved the first Iron Man and couldn’t wait for a sequel, but it was a huge let down. It was a bit saddening to be frank. This movie had everything going for it. It had Robert Downey Jr. playing the same character we know and love from the first, with the always fantastic Gwyneth Paltrow and best of all the great Mickey Rourke as a villain. Unfortunately the movie fell apart to the point of just being up setting.

The movie opens on a very cool note with Mickey Rourke designing his own mechanical suit that he plans to wreak havoc with to avenge his father. Its a well shot scene and it makes you excited for the rest of the movie. Next scene opens open with a few jokes, then later on, the movie ends with a joke and in between are a few decent action scenes and a lot of jokes (none of which are that funny). The movie seemed a lot more concerned with their next punch line than actually telling a good story. That might work for a comedy, but it doesn’t work here.

Iron Man 2, just tried so hard to make everything bigger and better and really just forgot what they were doing a long the way. They have this fantastic villain, played amazingly by Mickey Rourke and the character isn’t even close to being used to his full potential. Then you’ve got Robert Downey Jr. acting the same way he did in the first one, but when a sequel’s not written well, your performance is just overshadowed by your original one.

Iron Man 2 was a travesty in every sense of the world. I truly went in there wanting and expecting to enjoy myself. As hard as I tried though, I wasn’t able to. For this movie, I went to the midnight premiere, but when Iron Man 3 is released I’m going to have to wait for some reviews first.

Grade: D+

Alice in Wonderland Review

Alice in Wonderland seemed like a movie that couldn’t go wrong. It’s a classic tale we all know filled with a handful of memorable characters and an insane world that could only be called Wonderland. Tim Burton seemed like the absolute perfect director for a reboot of this fantastic story. I’m a huge fan of Burton’s and I was excited for Alice in Wonderland, but I was a bit disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong I had a lot of fun with this film. It’s practically hard not to, but I just expected more from Burton. With films like Corpse Bride, Edward Scissorhands and Nightmare Before Christmas, he was able to find away to appeal to children and adults, but at times Alice and Wonderland felt almost too childish.

Two particular parts I could think of right now would be the unnecessary dancing The Mad Hatter does after victory. It was just kind of awkward. Another complaint was the incredibly corny line when Alice cuts off the head of the jabawaki. There were a number of other parts that seemed a little immature and just unlike Tim Burton.

Other than that, Alice in Wonderland was a good time at the movies. It was visually stunning. Depp and Carter were fantastic as always and the absolute saving grace of this film was the Cheshire Cat. I knew going in that Cheshire Cat would be my favorite character, but my expectations were exceeded with this aspect of the film. There were many parts of this film I can admit I actually loved, but especially the parts with the Cheshire Cat.

Overall, Alice in Wonderland was pretty good. I enjoyed myself a lot. Alice in Wonderland is actually a good example of a movie being visually amazing while still caring about other aspects of the movie. Some movies aren’t able to do that, such as the Transformers movies and most of all, Avatar.

Grade: B

A Prophet Review

A Prophet is a movie I just got to see recently. I got it on netflix the day it came out on DVD and I’ve been wanting to see it for a very long. I wasn’t able to see it in theaters because it wasn’t playing anywhere near me. The anticipation grew and my expectations were high. I’m happy to report that they were met.

A Prophet was spectacular. Every single moment of the film felt necessary and real. It was a stunning look into the life of an inmate of a prison run by crime. We get the full story of his rise through the ranks of the prison and it is realistic, tense, thrilling and some what epic.

A Prophet is a gritty crime film like no other I’ve ever seen, but I am so pleased I did. The acting is top-notch, the music is fantastic, the editing works so well and the direction is relentlessly awesome.  It’s hard to say much else. I just loved this film.

It’s a foreign film and among some of the greatest I’ve seen. It’s right there with Pan’s Labyrinth, City of God and Oldboy. I’ve already purchased my own copy and can’t wait for my next view. It’s seriously that good. There’s nothing more I can say. Just watch the movie.

Grade: A

Top Ten Coen Bros. Movies

The Coen Brohters are nothing short of the greatest filmmaker(s) of all time. Every single film they release is another brush stroke of originality that will, by the end, become the most memorable array of films that a filmmaker’s had to offer. I say filmmaker because whenever speaking of one, you always associate him with the other. That’s probably the reason they’re the best at what they do. They’ve got two brilliant minds working together.

Anyways, let’s get to this list. A list of Top Ten Coen Bros. Movies is one I’ve been working on for a while. The Coen Brothers are my favorite filmmaker(s) so this list had to be nothing short of perfect. I’ve put a lot of thought into it and here’s the result:

10. Burn After Reading

Burn After Reading is a story packed with black mail, murder, double crossings, back dealings, and above all else, stupidity. Burn After Reading is hilarious in the way that it throws a bunch of witless characters, none of which can be considered the main character, into a pointless story just to see what happens. Its an interesting concept and one that only the Coen Bros. could pull off.

9. Blood Simple

The Coen Brother’s first movie was made a little over 25 years ago and still leaves you speechless from beginning to end. It’s a simple tale of murder with real characters and an unforgettable mood of brutality and sleaze. Blood Simple is a fantastic movie that established exactly the kind of masterpieces that could be expected from these filmmakers in the future.

8. Miller’s Crossing

Miller’s Crossing is the Brother’s pitch-perfect take on the gangster genre. A prohibition era tale of a man who learns that empathy is a dangerous trait to have in a world run by sadism and crime. Miller’s Crossing is a poetic look at organized crime that few other filmmakers have been able to surpass. Miller’s Crossing should be held right up there with The Godfather and Goodfellas.

7. O Brother, Where Art Thou?

O Brother, Where Art Thou? is the Brother’s take on pure adventure. Like “The Lord of the Rings”, “Kill Bill” and “Gladiator” we’re on a fantastic quest with our heroes who are after a simple task that lead them to many different experiences and meeting many different characters. In the Coen Brother’s case, this involves three escaped convicts after buried treasure and meeting a string of memorable characters, from “Baby Face” Nelson, a one-eyed bible salesmen, and even Robert Johnson. O Brother, Where Art Thou? is said to be a modernized version of Homer’s “Odyssey”. I haven’t read it, but based on this movie, I think I’d love it.

6. A Serious Man

The Coen Brother’s most recent film is a fantastic tale of the questions we all face in life and probably will never have answered. It’s a tale of a simple college professor who out of nowhere seems to be facing non-stop problems. First from a student attempting to bribe him for a better grade, then a wife who wants a divorce, a brother living on his couch, a daughter who steals from him to get a nose job, etc. He seeks the counsel of three different rabbi’s. What we see is hilarious and morally eye opening. This film, as all Coen Brother’s films do, but especially this film almost forces you to reflect on life’s big questions.

5. The Big Lebowski

The Big Lebowski is not just one of my favorite Coen Bros. films, it’s also by far the greatest comedy ever made. Most comedies, after a second viewing, you know what’s coming and you just don’t find it funny anymore. The Big Lebowski is almost magical in the way that it stays hilarious or is even funnier the more you watch it. I love every single moment we get to spend with, one of my favorite movie characters put on screen, The Dude and his hilarious friends and enemies. There are so many memorable lines and scenes that its making me sad that I’m not watching it right now.

4. True Grit

The Coen Brother’s have directed a versatile selection of films whether that be gangster films, mysteries, comedies or even tales of adventure. Their take on the western genre is a beautiful masterpiece on all accounts. True Grit unlike almost all westerns tells a story of the old west as realistically as possible. The direction and characters transcend into not only the western that feels the most real, but also a western that is one of the most resonant in the way that it truly brings you there and makes you feel for these characters. A truly brilliant film directed flawlessly by two brilliant minds.

3. Barton Fink

Barton Fink is nothing short of a masterpiece. An amazing film that is usually overlooked or misunderstood. I love every second of Barton Fink. The story seems simple early on, with a playwright moving to Hollywood, checks into the Hotel Earle, only to have writer’s block when asked to write a wrestling picture. What happens next is he meets his friendly neighbor Charlie, played by John Goodman in what is by far his greatest performance. I’ve already said too much though. I went in blind and what resulted was an fascinating movie experience. If you haven’t seen Barton Fink, I’d recommend doing the same. What makes Barton Fink stand out is the way that it is the kind of film you’ve never seen and will never see again. It’s utterly original and unquestionably brilliant.

2. Fargo

Fargo is nothing short of a perfect film. Fargo is the film where the Coen Brother’s really hit they’re full potential. They took every single thing that makes a Coen Bros. movie amazing and put it into this classic. Fargo takes that simple tale of murder, betrayal and realism they originated in Blood Simple and multiplied it by a billion.

Its hard to put into words what makes Fargo such a masterpiece, but for me I think it’s because how real Fargo seems. Its a story filled with real characters and real circumstances. It says in the beginning that the film is based on real events (any film buff knows that that’s actually not true) and that actually seems completely plausible because Fargo is directed to absolute perfection.

1. No Country for Old Men

When ever I think of No Country for Old Men, even before thinking about one of the greatest villains ever put on screen or the clever game of cat and mouse the film centers on or the resonant symbolism and morals that the makes the film spectacular. Before thinking of any of that, I first think of one word; Flawless. That’s what No Country for Old Men is; flawless, perfect, pure, and above all, a masterpiece.

No Country for Old Men is one of my favorite films of all time. It’s not my favorite, (although it is damn close) but I do consider it, by far, the greatest directed movie ever. The small details that few would notice, the lack of a score that adds to the realism, the shots and editing that forms tension one would never think possible with out music, are just a few of the artistic strokes the Coen’s make to form their greatest achievement in film.

No Country for Old Men centers on a game of cat and mouse between, an ordinary man named Llewellyn Moss (Josh Brolin) who happens upon a drug deal gone wrong and a suitcase full of 2 million dollars and an emotionless bounty hunter by the name of Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) whose task is simple; get the money and kill anyone who gets in the way. The grisly tale is seen threw the eyes of a washed up Texas sheriff played by none other than Tommy Lee Jones. What is learned from this tale of blood and violence is honest, important, and makes for one of the greatest films ever made. Period.

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