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Kid Movies

As a parent I have the pleasure of watching a lot of movies aimed at kids. Sometimes it’s the same movie repeatedly. I don’t mind, most of the time, and I understand. There are movies that to this day I can repeat verbatim because I watched them so much as a kid. The problem I’m finding is that my wife and I like to discuss the movies.  We try to rationalize the world they are set in and fill in the holes. It can be fun. There is one movie though that annoys the hell out of me.


For those who don’t know, it’s a movie about a dog who doesn’t know it’s an actor. It thinks that it really is a superpowered dog who has to protect his person. Things go wacky when Bolt escapes to find his person.

Sounds fun right?

Considering the people who made it know how movies work, it isn’t. Ignoring the multiple animal cruelty laws they would break every time the camera rolls and the fact that Bolt somehow survives being locked in a box filled with packing peanuts & shipped from Hollywood to NYC, it is completely it still has plenty of problems. The movie opens with an action scene that spans a city. It’s quickly revealed that it was a set and all the cars were props. Everything about it was setup, even the backdrop is fake. The punchline of the joke is that the shot is ruined by a boom-mic poking into the scene.

My daughter has rediscovered her love of this movie & it’s back in rotation. I’m tempted to steal a page from my parents book & just have it disappear.


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The Last Witch Hunter – Movie Review

The Last Witch Hunter, in theaters now, is the latest Vin Diesel flick. If you haven’t seen the trailers, it’s an action fantasy set in modern New York City. Kaulder is an 800 year old Witch Hunter who has been cursed with immortality.

I will do my best to keep spoilers to a minimum.

The movie starts out in with OG Kaulder and some of his fellow Vikings hunting down The Witch Queen. The opening sequence rang true to 13th Warrior, which I enjoy, and had some really cool parts in it. Kaulder gets cursed with immortality and it cuts to modern day.

There are so many parts of this movie that could have gone wrong. They could have made Kaulder too serious and pout over everything. They could have made him tech-phobic, or just someone who slaughters witches without a thought. They didn’t and I was so incredibly happy.

Vin Diesel plays Kaulder cool. He’s lived for years, he’s seen the world change, and he’s changed with it. He mourns those he’s lost, but that doesn’t define his character. So many times a character that’s long lived is put in scenes where they just mope around.

This is a fun movie. I’d suggest seeing it in the theater. It’s kind of like Constantine, but I liked this movie better. The Witch Bar was really cool. I’d like to see a sequel, or two, to expand the world they touched on.

There could have been a few little things that pushed the movie from a fun movie to a truly great one. The witch world could have been explored more. Elijah Wood and Michael Caine could have done with a bit more screen time, their stories were kind of rushed. Rose Leslie really shines -speaking of, she’d make a great Rachel Morgan if they ever do a Dead Witch Walking movie. Honestly, this movie could have done with another twenty minutes on run-time.

Verdict: See it. I look forward to owning it.

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Strange Magic LucasArts – Movie Review

IMDB: Stange Magic


Img Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9b/Strange_Magic_poster.jpg

First things first, the animation is beautiful. Everything is smooth, the world looks like it belongs, and I don’t think I’ve seen an animated movie this well done. The voice acting is nicely done and the singing isn’t half-bad.

That being said, what is wrong with this movie?
“Let’s a make a musical, but instead of writing new songs, let’s just get licensed stuff and get it to fit into the plot.”

This looks like Epic, remember that movie? No, I’ve seen it and I barely do. This looks a lot like Epic, fairies, pixies, and a ‘dark forest’. The good thing being that it doesn’t have that horrible snail & slug comic relief. I feel like someone should strip the audio & edit this to be something else. It’s great to watch, the visuals are stunning, but it is a mess.

Three different screenplay writers with the story coming from George Lucas. It says he supervised the choice of the songs. From the other movies that the three other writers have worked on it looks like a mish-mash that wouldn’t make for a kids movie. Lion King (1, 2, 1 1/2) Brave, Saving Private Ryan, and a few others that just don’t add up.

It’s not horrible. Compared to Epic, it actually has a story that makes sense and the voice acting is levels above. This feels like those B-Movie rip-offs of Blockbusters, but this was done from a mediocre movie and with a bigger budget. The movie really isn’t that bad, but it didn’t need the music, or half as much ‘comedic relief’, it’s just trying too hard.

The main problem being that pacing it off, and the middle of the movie drags. I don’t see the target audience. There’s not enough happening to keep kids invested, but there’s not enough depth to keep older viewers engaged. Watching this just makes me want to get some editing software and cut about ten minutes from the run time.

Put it on for my kids. They love it.

EDIT the 2nd:
Kids have now watched this movie at least 4 times today. It’s actually pretty good after the second time through.

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Afternoon Triple Play Review

I’m a little sluggish on the creative writing side today so here are a few movies I’ve watched recently.

Jonah Hex- 2010

From IMDB:
The U.S. military makes a scarred bounty hunter with warrants on his own head an offer he cannot refuse: in exchange for his freedom, he must stop a terrorist who is ready to unleash Hell on Earth.

I have a soft spot for Westerns. That being said, this movie sucked. It was clunky, it lacked direction, and it felt like everyone just showed up for the check. It could have been good. The only good part of the movie is Josh Brolin. It appears that no one told him that that it was a phone-in.
John Malkovich is my Nic Cage. I love him as the crazy dude in Red, but in this he’s just kind of there. It’s the same deal with Megan Fox. I feel like with the right director she could knock it out, but this just wasn’t it.

Verdict: Save your $1.20 for another Redbox.

The Lone Ranger – 2013
From IMDB:
Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice.

I went in expecting Captain Jack playing Tonto, but I was pleasantly wrong. Armie Hammer proves he’s got some chops to him and the entire cast was really good. It felt like Johnny Depp was kind of just the nugget to draw in crowds. Tonto is a big part of the movie, and he does have some good parts, but once The Lone Ranger gets his mask it’s Armie Hammer who’s driving the movie. That isn’t a bad thing. The action is madcap slapstick, but I can see why audiences were a little put off. It runs a bit long, and the first third is the origin story.

Verdict: If you want a Johnny Depp movie then get one of the Pirates movies. It’s worth the $1.20 if you’re looking for something a bit different.

R.I.P.D. – 2013
From IMDB:
A recently slain cop joins a team of undead police officers working for the Rest in Peace Department and tries to find the man who murdered him.

Oh, Ryan Reynolds, when will your bad luck streak end? Was this movie good? No, not really. Was it fun? Yes. Have I watched it more than once? Yes, about three.
Kevin Bacon, Jeff Bridges, and Ryan Reynolds are the three main players in the plot and they all do a good job. The FX are a little lacking in a couple spots, but It was a fun movie. It was said to be MIB with the undead. That’s about half-way accurate, there is a lot unsaid about the world around the story, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel or TV show to flesh it out.

Verdict: Good to slay a bucket of popcorn. Redbox it.

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White House Down – Movie Review

I watched the link below and decided to check out White House Down.


IMDB Review:
While on a tour of the White House with his young daughter, a Capitol policeman springs into action to save his child and protect the president from a heavily armed group of paramilitary invaders.

Starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx this is the spiritual sequel to the Die Hard franchise. If you want a good action movie watch it. There is a healthy dose of ‘Merica in the plot as well. I swear this movie could have easily come out during the golden era of Stallone and Schwarzenegger. It was a big fun mess. After watching Pacific Rim the plot holes and logical fallacies in the movie are nonexistent. It’s a big, dumb, fun ride with lots of explosions, gunfights, and some jokes too.

Verdict: Redbox it with a bucket of popcorn. Buy it if the Die Hard franchise is a fond memory.

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Dead in Tombstone – Movie Review


A Western with a supernatural tilt.

I have a soft spot for Westerns. I love the damn things. I can’t help it, though I never was much of a fan of John Wayne. Mixing the ‘deal with the devil’ plot in with a classic betrayal story should have struck gold but it missed the mark. It’s somewhat fun to watch and Danny Trejo is the equivalent of Hispanic version of Jason Statham playing the same roll over and over but killing it each time. He’s a bad ass with two revolvers and a debt to the devil to pay.

The first two acts of the movie play out pretty well but in the third act is when things bog down. A long chase scene towards the end with plenty of WTF moments. My favorite is when an overturned wagon turns into a catapult and then the three men riding in said wagonapult hit the ground like they had a hard sneeze. The saloon scene is pretty mind-numbing and the hostage thing during last part is just annoying. I have to say the final showdown at High Midnight, not noon, is amusing.

Danny Trejo, Anthony Michael Hall, and Mickey Rourke headline the movie but Dina Meyer steals the show. She is awesome in this and she needs more action rolls. Not that Anthony Michael Hall doesn’t make an awesome bad guy. When I saw him listed in the cast I was worried but in reality the one that kills their screen time is Mickey Rourke. Aside from name recognition I’m not sure what he brings to the table. Whoever did his costume work should rethink their career choices. It almost sounded like they dubbed over him for most of the movie.

My Verdict: If you love Westerns, Redbox/Netflix it. Otherwise, skip it.

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The Colony (2013) Movie Review

The Colony (2013) Movie Review


From IMDB:
Forced underground by the next ice age, a struggling outpost of survivors must fight to preserve humanity against a threat even more savage than nature.

There will be spoilers.

It’s October and I live in the Northern US, what does that mean? Snow on Halloween. What better way to combine the cold with scary by watching a horror movie set in a frozen world? Apparently, a lot of things.

I didn’t know too much about this movie. It was marketed as zombies in Antarctica but it’s more than that. The ‘savage’ force mentioned in the blurb is a group of people turned feral. I wish I could tell you how but I got about 2/3 of the way through before I turned it off. The kids are asleep, it’s daddy time and I’m not wasting it by watching a crap movie.

It starts off with a scene of people running through a bunker trying to get away from something. The scene actually works, for a moment you aren’t sure if it’s going to turn out to lead to a back drop of ‘2 Days Ago’ or something else. Major downer, it’s something else. In THE FUTURE humanity ran out of fuel sources and started engineering the weather which is totally connected but uh-oh it backfires and as the narrator so eloquently puts it “one day it started snowing”.

We join our main character as he’s out in the snow fixing… something, when Bill Paxton pushes out some poor shmoo  outside at the end of a gun. There is just enough back and forth to see that Mr Paxton will be playing the role of ‘unhinged dude’ that has to show up in every survival movie ever. I tried not to groan when instead of just stopping the guy they decide to talk about it with Lawrence Fishburne.

And this is where the movie failed me. Mr Fishburne sees that his old buddy is going crazy and puts someone else in charge when they head off. Somewhere between the two scenes we hear that another colony sent an SOS then went dark. Following Star Trek logic the leader has to go out to see what’s up.

Guess what? That opening scene, yeah, it was this colony. Kevin Zegers (our hero), Lawrence Fishburne, and some kid go off to explore. Hm, Star Trek logic someone isn’t coming back. The logic behind our hero going makes sense, they might need a hand for mechanical stuff. The redshirt even makes sense, he isn’t vital to the colony and he was taught how to use a gun. But why the leader too? You’ve got some obvious trust issues with a guy who executes sick people, I think you’re needed at home more than just heading off in the middle of a crisis.

They get to the other colony and find a lone survivor who has locked himself in a room. He tells them they received a transmission somewhere there is sun and soil. When they sent a team out something found them and followed them back to the colony. The ‘something’ in question being feral cannibal people. Side note, I’ve spelled cannibal differently each time I type it. There isn’t much time to dwell on things as the not-zombies attack. The redshirt dies but our two heroes make it out. They blow up the tower leading to the surface and head home.

They have to camp out to keep from freezing to death and in the morning it turns out that the not-zombies are following them… despite having blown up the way to the surface. Okay, I’ll let that slide. Logically, there had to be more than one entrance.

Morpheus sacrifices himself to destroy a bridge and halt the oncoming horde and Is-that-Jared-Leto makes it back in time to see Paxton go full on crazy time. There is a moment here, where the person left in charge has Mr Crazypants at gunpoint and could easily end his decent into madness. What happens? Our hero stumbles into view and collapses. The interim-leader played by Charlotte Sullivan rushes over to see what’s wrong and gets a thump on the head for her troubles.

This is where I stopped watching. I had seen it all before and the fact that it was in snow wasn’t going to save it. I’m really tired of the crazy guy in these types of movies. The hint that someone recognized what was happening was just enough of a slap in the face for me to really hate the return to the same old trope. I don’t know how it ended. I paid $1.20 to rent it and I feel like I’ve been ripped off.

Verdict: Skip it.

It’s that time of the year for scary movies. Any suggestions or requests for horror movie reviews?

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