Odd Thomas (2013) Review

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Odd Thomas (2013)

Directed by Stephen Sommers

Based on Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

Starring:
Anton Yelchin
Willem Dafoe
Addison Timlin
Nico Tortorella

Running time: 93 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In a California desert town, a short-order cook with clairvoyant abilities encounters a mysterious man with a link to dark, threatening forces.

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My Opinion:

Well, I have to use the word: This movie is certainly “odd”. It’s also not exactly “good”. However, I kind of liked it and am going to have some affection for it since I read A LOT of Dean Koontz books. Odd Thomas is one of his better books and certainly one of the best characters he’s created. Which is why I suppose there’s a load of Odd Thomas books now… When did that happen?! I only knew of three. I read the first two and bought the third (which I then lost and still can’t find anywhere – I need to find it so I can continue!). Anyway, the first book IS really good and this movie doesn’t capture how great the characters are but I appreciate that they made the effort. At least it sucks less than most the other truly awful Koontz adaptations.

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I’ll be honest – if you’ve not read Odd Thomas, I don’t recommend this movie. If you’ve read it, I think you’ll at least enjoy seeing Odd Thomas (the character – it’s his actual name) onscreen and I did really like Anton Yelchin as Odd even though he’s not exactly what I’d pictured. I’ve liked Yelchin since the underrated Charlie Bartlett & think he has the right sort of quirkiness to play Odd. Addison Timlin was also good as his girlfriend Stormy Llewellyn and they had a very nice chemistry together, although they came nowhere near capturing the relationship as well as in the book (through no fault of their own – you’re just never going to get as much character development in a movie). The humor in the movie feels a little out of place and just doesn’t work the way it worked so well in the book. And then there’s the strange “supernatural” stuff… Well, it comes across as quite cheesy in the movie and, if you’ve not read the book, I think you might laugh at those bits. To be fair, I think it’s probably very hard to get a Dean Koontz movie “right” onscreen. Well, they’ve managed to make some Stephen King stories into excellent films but I suppose he’s more well known and those movies probably have a bigger budget. Odd Thomas feels like a made-for-TV Stephen King movie, basically. I watch EVERYTHING Stephen King-related and know there’s been some truly dodgy adaptations of his work but I still enjoy watching them. I felt exactly the same way watching Koontz’s Odd Thomas. By the way – I think the girl playing Odd’s girlfriend was truly adorable:

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But I’m not sure how necessary THIS shot was:

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Summary:

First of all, I highly recommend reading Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz if you at all like supernatural fiction with a bit of horror. He’s Stephen-King-lite. I have a strange relationship with Dean Koontz – his books are an “easy read” and I devour them then totally forget about them but, occasionally, I love one. My favorites are Twilight Eyes & Watchers but Odd Thomas would be close to the top of the list as well, especially as I think it’s one of Koontz’s finest endings for a story as well as one of the best characters he’s created. The movie handles the ending fairly well, which I was worried about them getting right. I think there are some changes from what I remember of the book but nothing that bothered me too much as it was more important to get the characters right and I think the movie did a decent enough job of achieving this. You’ll like it okay if you’ve read the book but you probably won’t if you haven’t (unless you’re not bothered by a low-budget sort of feel). Read the book. THEN watch the movie. Then read a few more Dean Koontz books. Then watch Charlie Bartlett.

My Rating: 6/10

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I did it! I’ve managed to review movies based on books all week! I’ll attempt to do another tomorrow but at this point don’t have anything written yet. I may do Paperhouse – that was an “odd” film as well! Either that or The Spectacular Now… So far I’ve reviewed The Maze Runner & The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I & of course Odd Thomas. 🙂

Just One Of The Guys (1985) Review

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Just One Of The Guys (1985)

Directed by Lisa Gottlieb

Starring:
Joyce Hyser
Clayton Rohner
Billy Jacoby
Toni Hudson
Billy Zabka
Sherilyn Fenn

Running time: 90 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Terry (Joyce Hyser) is determined to win a school writing contest to prove that a pretty girl can be capable and intelligent. In order to be taken seriously, she dresses as a boy and tries to blend in at a new school until the contest results are announced.

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My Opinion:

I LOVE 80’s movies. I’ve probably seen 90% of them. Yet this one passed me by… Luckily, Netflix has a decent selection of dodgy 80’s movies. YES! So I finally checked this one out.

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First of all, it opens with the above image (and someone was clearly pervy enough to stick this still online). We then see plenty of the female lead in her underwear and in a bikini before she goes & chops off all her hair to look like a boy. But… She never straps those boobs down. They’re not small! Apparently no one notices them while she’s dressed as a guy.

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This movie has the opportunity to say something about gender stereotypes. Does it? Oh HELL no! Ha! In typical cheesy 80’s-movie-style, we see all male characters acting as sex-obsessed chauvinists. Billy Jacoby, the lead’s brother, is the worst. He spends the entire movie trying to get laid & has naked women all over his walls. I’ve never understood this – I remember walking into various dorm rooms in college and seeing guys who had naked girls plastered all over their walls was SUCH a turn-off! (Little tip there, guys). Anyway, Billy Jacoby was in lots of my teen movies so I was thoroughly confused when I looked this movie up as he’s now apparently called Billy Jayne. (Oh, but he looks pretty good in his current IMDB photo. Hmm…)

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(This is a picture of Jacoby showing his sister how to act like a guy by, um, adjusting her balls properly…)

Are guys all over the world REALLY as horny & pathetic as this movie makes it seem?! I don’t know… I do love how this movie acts like it’s making an important statement on sexism but has the lead parading around in her underwear & flashing her boobs. Gotta love the 80’s! By the way – there are loads of images and gifs of said flashing if you search online – I’m not posting that here! Sorry to disappoint you Eric, Brian, Mike & Seth… 😉

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I’m NOT saying I didn’t enjoy this cheesy & extremely predictable movie, however. As with all 80’s movies I didn’t manage to actually see in my youth, I won’t have a fond affection for this one as I didn’t grow up with it. But I ALWAYS feel a bit warm & fuzzy when watching a movie from the 80’s. I can’t help it! If I had a time machine, I’d totally go back to 1985 (but without a dodgy poodle-perm). Or… Maybe 1975. Anything would be better than these shitty times we live in now!

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I enjoyed this movie in all its 80’s cheesiness. I liked that, in the picture above, the girl was also in the movie April Fool’s Day, which I love more than I should, and the guy was the prick in The Karate Kid. I also loved that someone in this movie (it might have been Sherilyn Fenn’s character) said the lead girl looked like Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid while dressed as a guy (she totally did!).

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Summary:

This movie isn’t “good”. If you’re younger than me and didn’t grow up with 80’s movies, it’s very unlikely that you’ll enjoy this one. This is one of those films that, unfortunately, hasn’t aged well. When you think about it, this came out the same year as Back To The Future but that one can still be watched today and loved by new generations. I’d never ever recommend this movie to a younger generation but, if you’re my sort of age and missed out on seeing this one back in the 80’s, I think you’d enjoy it just fine.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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Despicable Me 2 (2013) Review

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**SPOILER FREE REVIEW**

Despicable Me 2

Directed by Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud

Starring Voice Actors:
Steve Carell
Russell Brand
Kristen Wiig
Benjamin Bratt
Steve Coogan
Ken Jeong
Miranda Cosgrove

Music by Pharrell Williams & Heitor Pereira

Studio: Illumination Entertainment
Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Plot Synopsis:

After becoming a father to Margo, Edith, and Agnes, Gru is no longer an evil mastermind and is instead throwing kids’ birthday parties & making jelly. That is, until he’s recruited by the Anti-Villain League and must help save the world from a new evil villain…

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My Opinion:

I’m a HUGE fan of the first Despicable Me. It’s the first (and only) non-Disney or Pixar animated film that I’ve ever really liked. Everything about it is brilliant – the relationship between Gru and the three girls who are loveable without ever being overly saccharine and feisty without being bratty, the hilarious minions (one of the greatest cinematic creations in recent years in my opinion), and both Steve Carell & Russell Brand being genuinely funny instead of sometimes slightly annoying. Luckily, all these things are again present in Despicable Me 2.

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It was never going to live up to the first one (not many sequels do). But at least it comes close, so I’m happy with that. It starts early on with a birthday party for Agnes, which reminds us how much Gru fell in love with these three girls and how he’d do anything for them. I love the relationship between Gru and the girls – It was great seeing that develop in the first one and to watch Gru go from villain to hero so, of course, we don’t get that in this film. But we still see plenty of Gru & the girls together in this one and, at the end, we get a moment ALMOST as sweet as when Gru reads the girls the story he wrote in the first Despicable Me (that scene gets me every time!). And we get Gru being a (very!) overly protective father when Margo starts showing an interest in boys. Some great funny scenes involved with that!

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And then, of course, we have the MINIONS. Oh man – I love those little dudes so much! I want my own army of minions. And they’re as hilarious as always. Luckily, there are a lot more scenes with them in this one than in the first film. That’s a good thing (to me, at least). And they’re even more funny this time. I won’t spoil anything but I’ll say they sing a song at one point and the “lead singer” REALLY cracked me up. And there are so many little funny “blink and you’ll miss it” moments with the minions – it’s a lot like how you really need to pay attention to what’s happening in the background of Pixar films. The minions are just plain brilliant – I can see why they’re making a whole movie just about them.

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I really have nothing bad to say about this film other than, overall, the plot was weaker than the one in the original movie. And the new character of Lucy Wilde, who works with Gru as part of the Anti-Villain League, borders on annoying (which is kind of the point anyway). But so does Kristen Wiig, who voices this character. But these are pretty minor things and didn’t ruin my enjoyment at again seeing these characters for whom I have such affection. And, again, the music is brilliant thanks to Pharrell Williams & Heitor Pereira – something I also loved about the first one. And Gru goes on a pretty hilarious date with a woman far more annoying than Kristen Wiig… Plus we have cross-dressing minions again – one dressed as a French maid and one in frilly underwear. Okay – maybe I’m immature but cross-dressing minions are awesome. 😉

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Summary:

Doesn’t quite have the heart of the first one but definitely has all of the humor, if not more. This movie is genuinely hilarious, which is very hard for kids’ films to achieve (trust me – the adults in our sold-out cinema were laughing as much as the kids). Despicable Me 2 is just plain FUN. But, if for some reason you’ve not seen the first one, definitely watch it before seeing the sequel – you really need to understand the characters of Gru & the girls. You’re missing out if you’ve not seen the first one. If you have and if you love it, you won’t be disappointed by the sequel.

My Rating: 7.5/10

(If you’re curious, my 1st Despicable Me rating: 9/10)

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**Forgot to add – there are quite a few funny extra scenes with the minions throughout the credits so you might want to stay for that. I believe there’s no scene AFTER the credits…

Movies I’ve Seen In 2013

The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) Review

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The Man Who Fell To Earth

Directed by Nicolas Roeg

Starring

David Bowie
Rip Torn
Candy Clark
Buck Henry
Bernie Casey

Plot Synopsis (via Wikipedia):

Thomas Jerome Newton is a humanoid alien who comes to Earth from a distant planet on a mission to bring water back to his home planet, which is experiencing a catastrophic drought.

Newton uses the advanced technology of his home planet to patent many inventions on Earth, and acquires incredible wealth as the head of a technology-based conglomerate, World Enterprises Corporation, aided by leading patent attorney Oliver Farnsworth. His wealth is needed to construct his own space vehicle with the intention of shipping water back to his planet.

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My Opinion:

I’d been wanting to see this movie for a very long time and finally got the opportunity when it was on TV a couple of weeks ago. I’m a huge David Bowie fan. Okay – More a fan of his music than his, um, acting. But I’m glad I finally got to see this intriguing, unusual, crazy, slightly fucked up, and totally 70’s film.

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This film is a bit of an incoherent mess, quite frankly. It starts with Bowie coming to Earth. Then we suddenly get this college professor, Rip Torn, screwing lots of college girls. LOTS of screwing. There’s a lot of sex in this movie. And nudity. And naked Bowie (yes!).

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They show Bowie experiencing new things on Earth while Rip Torn does lots of screwing. I think they’re trying to show that he & Bowie have some sort of psychic connection? Then Bowie meets a sweet & simple girl, Candy Clark, and they start a relationship. And have lots of sex. And Bowie drinks a lot and watches multiple TVs all at once. And we see Bowie’s wife & kids slowly dying back on his home planet. And we see Bowie penis! And we see weird alien sex involving a milky substance that looks a bit like when Bishop is ripped apart in Aliens. And all of a sudden Bowie has a spaceship to fly back home and, oh yeah, I forgot that was the whole point of the movie. Then people are getting thrown out of windows and I’m losing the plot a bit. And the guy who’s the teacher in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure is suddenly in the movie and I’m still not sure what his role was. Then there’s crazy gun sex and contact lenses and nipple tweaking and WTF. The end. Well, not quite the end but I won’t give the end away.

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So, yeah. When this movie finished, I admit that I just kind of sat there going “WTF?”. I watched this two weeks ago. Since then I’ve started to think that, actually, this movie was kind of freaking awesome. In a totally fucked up way. Why? Well, that’s simple: David Bowie, of course. He always has been and always will be thoroughly intriguing. Who better to play an alien? And being an alien excuses any less than perfect acting, I guess. How are we meant to know how an alien would actually behave? 😉

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Candy Clark is very good as Bowie’s girlfriend on Earth. For me, the best parts of this movie by far are the ones focusing on their relationship. Whenever they focused on any characters other than these two, I lost interest. They were great together and it was fun watching their dysfunctional relationship. And their crazy gun sex.

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Summary:

I honestly don’t know what else to say so I’m going to just sum things up now. This movie is not good. Iconic, yes. But not good. But I didn’t care. Because… It’s David Bowie. And I love him. He makes me feel kind of funny, like when we used to climb the rope in gym class. (Does that line work if a girl says it? Also, we never actually climbed any ropes in my gym classes at school). This movie LOOKS cool. Especially Bowie – he looks cool as hell. I mainly wanted to write this review just for the cool pictures I could post. No, this movie is not good. But I liked it. It’s horribly awesome and I have to own it on DVD. If you’re not a Bowie fan, though, you’ll probably want to avoid this movie.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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I’d like to also add that I recently went to the “David Bowie Is” exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. If you’re a Bowie fan and live anywhere near London, I highly recommend it. You get to see SO many personal items – I especially loved all his handwritten lyrics to all my favorite songs and his many costumes. It was excellent.

My Top Ten David Bowie Songs

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The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009) Review

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The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor)

Directed by Niels Arden Oplev

Based on the novel by Stieg Larsson

Starring:

Michael Nyqvist
Noomi Rapace
Lena Endre
Sven-Bertil Taube
Peter Haber
Peter Andersson
Marika Lagercrantz
Ingvar Hirdwall
Björn Granath
Ewa Fröling

Plot Summary:

Wealthy retired businessman Henrik Vanger hires disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist to investigate the mysterious 1966 disappearance of his favorite grandniece, Harriet. Blomkvist is aided in his investigation by a deeply troubled but genius young hacker by the name of Lisbeth Salander (the girl with the dragon tattoo).

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My Opinion:

I know this is a very popular book & film series. I read the first book a few years ago. Yes, I thought it was good. The mystery was very compelling & I read the thing really quickly because I couldn’t wait to find out what had actually happened to Harriet Vanger. Top marks for the mystery! And then there was the character of Lisbeth Salander. Such an intriguing character! As I’ve only read the first book, I don’t know much about her. I didn’t enjoy the first book enough to read the rest but, if I ever do, it will only be to read more about her character & what happens to her & Blomkvist. You find out very little about her in the first one – I hope her character is more fully explored in the rest?

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As for the movie, it follows the novel very closely from what I remember other than (naturally) having to leave some things out to save on time. In the novel, the Vanger family is huge and so complex – I remember there was a family tree in the book that I had to keep going back to when I couldn’t remember who someone was in relation to everyone else. The movie seemed to leave a lot of this out but I think it still managed to be a bit confusing for viewers who hadn’t read the novel beforehand. I found all of the Vanger family members very underdeveloped in the film and was glad I’d read the book first so I had a bit more understanding of each of them.

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The film focuses much more on the far more interesting characters of Mikael Blomkvist & Lisbeth Salander. Which is fine as they’re the main characters in all the books (um, right?) but I think the intriguing mystery suffers a little bit in the film – it was much more exciting in the book. Part of this is me, though – I often don’t enjoy a film as much when it’s an adaptation of a book I’ve already read. And I get annoyed when the film isn’t faithful to the book but then get a little bored when it IS as it’s then an inferior version of what I’ve already “seen” in my head. Plus, with a mystery, once you know how it ends there’s not as much excitement in hearing the story again, I suppose.

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As for the actors, they all do a fine job. Yes, Noomi Rapace is very good – I know she’s been praised for the role. When looking this up for the review, I found it interesting that the title of this in Swedish, Män som hatar kvinnor, is “Men Who Hate Women”. Yes, that title makes sense. Lisbeth Salander has some kind of horrible history that’s hinted at in the film. And then there’s all the raping… Yes, lots of that. This is why I wasn’t really planning on reading the rest of the books and I’m not sure if I’m bothered about the rest of the films or not, although I’d like to know more about Lisbeth. Plus, there’s not enough hacking for my liking! She’s this brilliant hacker but they don’t go into that TOO much in the book or the film. I’m hoping there’s much more of this in the further books/films? I’d like far more hacking & far less raping. And Lisbeth kicking more ass. Will I get these things? Do you recommend I at least watch the further films? (Doubt I’ll bother with the books but I may enjoy the films more that way anyway).

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Summary:

A very compelling mystery that’s not explored in near as much detail in the film as in the novel, which I found a little disappointing. The family who are a part of this mystery are underdeveloped in the film. But the mystery kind of only really serves as a backdrop to the two main and much more interesting characters of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander anyway – I was satisfied with their portrayals in the film. There are very disturbing themes in the film that I can’t fully go into in case you’re one of the only people left who doesn’t know a thing about these books or films. Overall, this “genre” has just never been my sort of thing. The book & film ARE better than I’m making it sound and I suppose I would recommend them. If you’re not easily disturbed by misogynistic violence…

I hope Lisbeth kicks more ass in the further films.

My Rating: 7/10

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**This was the second place choice when I asked all of you which film I should review next. First place review is here: Exit Through The Gift Shop.

Thanks again for all your input. 🙂 Up next will be The Man Who Fell To Earth.

The Purge (2013) Review

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The Purge

Directed by James DeMonaco

Starring:

Ethan Hawke
Lena Headey
Max Burkholder
Adelaide Kane
Edwin Hodge
Rhys Wakefield
Tony Oller
Arija Bareikis

Plot Synopsis:

In 2022 America, all crime is legal for one night of every year. Unemployment & the crime rate are at an all time low thanks to this annual 12-hour period, known as The Purge, when people are allowed the opportunity to get out all their aggressions.

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My Opinion:

First of all, it actually wasn’t until looking for the images to use in this review that I saw the poster saying “from the producer of Paranormal Activity & Sinister”. I’m glad I didn’t know that beforehand because I’d have skipped The Purge. Luckily, it’s better than those. Paranormal Activity was… Meh. Sinister actually started out very promising and I found it pretty creepy at first but then it got extremely stupid & left me very pissed off. The Purge has the same eerie feel & tension that the start of Sinister has but manages to maintain that throughout the whole film.

I enjoyed this movie more than I was expecting. It’s kind of a weird one, though – it’s somewhere in between “suspenseful thriller” (like Panic Room but nowhere near as good) and “horror” (like The Strangers – it felt VERY similar to this movie). I can see people not liking The Purge if they’re expecting it to fit nicely into just one of those two categories. It’s actually considered “science fiction”, however – I guess as it takes place in a dystopian future? It just doesn’t feel like “the future” as it’s only nine years from now so I guess that’s why it doesn’t feel like science fiction. (Did you notice how I used the word “dystopian” there? Look at me using big words & stuff!). 🙂

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I’m not sure what to say now. I’m not entirely sure why I liked this film. I went to it only because I heard what it was about and really liked the concept. With so many sequels and remakes and the rehashing of the same old stories over and over again these days, it was great to hear about a movie plot that felt like a fresh new idea (although I’m sure it’s been done somewhere?). All crime legal for one night- It’s a great concept for a film! Very simple yet with SO many possibilities. There were so many ways this movie could have played out. Is it as good as its concept? No, unfortunately not. It tries to demonstrate the (obvious) moral implications involved in people going around and doing any horrible thing they desire for one night each year. But it never really manages to be “deep”. The Purge feels like a wasted opportunity – a high concept that’s not explored in depth. However, I did still enjoy it. I mean, it’s only 85 minutes and it’s from the producer of Paranormal Activity & Sinister – you’re not going to get something too deep & meaningful. As long as you don’t go to it expecting that, you might enjoy it. It’s a popcorn movie that happens to have good original concept. I think this is one of those that’s easier to discuss by breaking it down into the “good” and “not so good” bits.

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The Good:

– The concept

– The moral implications involved in a night of purging (although only touched on a little bit in this film)

– The creepy masks & the “baddies”. I’m not going to go into the plot too much as I try to keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible. The trailer gives away a lot more about this movie so I can say the story centers on one family (Ethan Hawke & Lena Headey and their son & daughter) in their secured home on the night of The Purge and the people who are trying to enter their house. The masks were creepy. There’s just something about faceless strangers committing acts of evil – I find that frightening. Yes, it’s VERY similar to The Strangers, which I liked but I know not everyone did. If you liked that, you might like The Purge.

– The doll’s head. It’s creepy. What’s creepier than people in masks? Freaking DOLLS.

– The “haves” vs the “have nots”. Naturally, in a future where a night of legalized crime exists, it’s those who have the money to arm themselves and secure their homes who have the least to worry about. Again, though, this is something that could have been explored more fully but I thought they did a decent enough job of getting this point across in 85 minutes.

– The suspense. It’s pretty good through the whole film. Things are always pretty tense.

– The boy looked like Skrillex. Especially when wearing his glasses. (Can’t find a picture with the glasses).

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The Not So Good:

– A great concept not explored in depth

– A few things were WAY too obvious and predictable. But I can’t discuss them without spoilers.

– The daughter is unnecessarily in her school uniform (with the shortest school uniform skirt EVER) the entire time. (And the male readers are now wondering why this is listed under “not so good”. Lol). Because, like the underwear scene in Into Darkness, it doesn’t make sense. There’s no reason for it.

– The characters of the central family & their neighbors. They just came across as very “sheltered” from the realities of the nights of The Purge (other than the son who actually questions things a little). I know the point is that they’re rich so they don’t have to worry about it. It’s not their “problem”. But this is only nine years from now. It just seems a bit weird that The Purge has been so readily accepted as a necessary thing. It just didn’t feel QUITE like how people would actually behave if this was reality. (But the scary thing is that I may be wrong). I think this movie probably would have worked a bit better set a little further into the future.

– The genre.The feeling that the movie doesn’t quite know where it “fits”. Thriller? Horror? Science fiction? I just feel like, in the right hands, this concept could have been turned into an absolutely brilliant film. It makes me wish the central idea could be reused and turned into a suspenseful thriller that also explores all the moral issues. Done by David Fincher? I think he could make something great out of this. Christopher Nolan? Heck… Maybe even Lars Von Trier – he’d make something interesting out of this concept. (Look at me trying to sound like a smart film person – I think I’ve only ever seen one Lars Von Trier film. Lol!). Cronenberg might be a good one too… Oh, he’d make an awesome movie out of this. Dammit – I want someone to completely remake this now!

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Summary:

The Purge is a movie with an excellent concept that’s never fully explored in depth. It feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity but is still enjoyable enough as a simple 85 minute popcorn flick. There are moments that are actually pretty tense & frightening and I stayed gripped until the end. It doesn’t quite know which genre it’s aiming for or maybe even what kind of an audience it’s aiming for, though. Some will like it, some will hate it. I enjoyed it quite a bit even though I was a little disappointed when thinking about how great the movie COULD have been in different hands. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone but I would if I thought it was someone’s sort of thing. But I’d definitely recommend going to it with an open mind and not expecting to learn anything deep and meaningful about the human condition that we don’t all already know.

My Rating: 7.5/10

**Rating upped after watching the final film, The Purge: Election Year, as I think this is a very solid trilogy & the first two films have gone up even more in my estimation.

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New Photos From Thor: The Dark World and Rumored Director Issues

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Phwoar! Thor!

Photos of Thor from Empire magazine. Possible issues with the director. Blah blah. Photos of Thor. Movie synopsis about Nine Realms and an ancient race plunging the universe into darkness or some shit like that. Yada yada yada. And photos of THOR!

Link: Empire Magazine photos via GeekTyrant

Only two photos & he’s fully clothed, though. No photos of Thor in his underwear. If I had a photo of that, I promise I’d post it. 🙂

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My 6 Month Blogging Anniversary & 10,000 Views

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I figured I should do a post for either my 6 month blogging anniversary or when I hit 10,000 views but they happened close to the same time. I’m up to 10,771 views as of today since starting this blog on the 25th of November 2012. I have no clue if this is a high or low number after six months but I’m happy about it anyway. I seriously didn’t think anyone would ever look at this thing. 🙂

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I’ve always loved movies but have met very few “real life” people who share that passion (other than my hubby!). So I started this (secret) blog thinking maybe I’d find a few other movie lovers to chat with & was shocked to find that there are SO many of you totally awesome movie geeks! Seriously – you people watch way more movies than I do. 🙂

To celebrate my six months of blogging (this is probably the longest I’ve ever kept going with a hobby!), I figured I’d post links to some of my favorite past posts.

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REVIEWS

– My First Movie Review: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. I didn’t say a lot but I think I need to find a balance between this and my more recent reviews which I think have become way too wordy! Perks was one of my favorite movies of the past few years and I decided to also read the book after seeing the movie. Book review HERE.

– One of my favorites that I’ve seen in the cinema this year: Robot & Frank. One thing I like about writing these reviews (although I really struggle with them sometimes as I’m certainly no “writer”) is that it makes me think more about the film as I write about it. Quite often the movies go down in my estimation but sometimes I end up liking them even more after I write about them. This happened with Robot & Frank – I realized just how brilliant the film really was while I typed out my thoughts. Another film like this was Beginners.

– The review I had the most fun writing: Monkey Shines. Ha! This movie is a bit mental. I try to keep “spoiler free” with all my reviews but with this one I just HAD to go through the whole thing scene by scene. My review makes the movie sound sort of awesome. It’s not. Lol. Also had fun reviewing Project X, which totally ripped off far superior 80s teen movies.

– The movie that was the biggest “pleasant surprise”: Tucker And Dale Vs Evil. Wasn’t expecting to enjoy that one so much! The same goes for Warm Bodies and, oddly, Sleuth. I keep moving Sleuth up higher & higher in my list of All The Movies I’ve Watched In 2013 – it’s one of those that’s really stuck with me for some reason.

– My Most Popular Reviews: Star Trek Into Darkness and three reviews for Star Trek: The Motion Picture & The Wrath Of Khan & Star Trek (2009)

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MY IMDB TOP 250 CHALLENGE

I started my IMDB Top 250 Challenge on the 1st of January. I’m hoping to watch all of the top 250 movies at IMDB (eventually!). I’d already seen 150 as of the 1st of January and I’ve watched 16 more so far this year. Links to all my Top 250 reviews are at the bottom of the page at the above link but I’ll include the links for my favorites here:

The Secret In Their Eyes – Excellent foreign film. I highly recommend this.

Princess Mononoke – Working my way through the Studio Ghibli stuff. This is the first one to make me truly appreciate Studio Ghibli and I now desperately want to watch all the rest that I haven’t seen.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope – I’ve now watched all the Hitchcock films in the Top 250 (there are a lot because Hitchcock was a genius). I’m always surprised to see this review still getting views – seems to be a popular slightly underrated Hitchcock classic.

Charlie Chaplin. Okay – Charlie Chaplin is my favorite “new discovery” this year. I’m so glad that I’ve FINALLY made a start on watching his films. They’re absolutely brilliant. Here’s a link to a post about him on his birthday, which includes links to my reviews of Modern Times, City Lights & The Kid: Happy Birthday To Charlie Chaplin.

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LISTS

Like the character of Rob in High Fidelity, I’m a bit obsessed with making Top Five Lists (or Top Ten, depending on my mood). Here are a few of my lists:

My Top Ten Shower & Bath Scenes In Movies. I decided to make this list after seeing JUST how many views my blog got after I casually mentioned Amber Heard’s shower scene in my review for The Ward. This list worked. People search for various combinations of the word “shower” and end up on my blog EVERY SINGLE DAY. Pervs. 🙂

My Top Ten Movie Endings. Loved making this list. There are WAY too many to choose from and I have lots of honorable mentions. Plus I keep having to go back & add to the list as I watch more films. I should probably add The Wrath Of Khan as an honorable mention as well, come to think of it.

My Top Ten Foreign Language Films

My Top Animated Disney Films

My Top Five Movies About Love

My Top Ten John Hughes Movies

My Top Ten Stephen King Movies

My Top Five Beatles Songs

My Top Ten David Bowie Songs. Because I’m a little obsessed with David Bowie.

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MY TOP POSTS

Ten Things I Like About England. My most liked post ever. And it has NOTHING to do with movies. Maybe I shouldn’t be running a movie blog?! Lol

What Kind Of Film Would YOU Make?. By far the biggest response I’ve ever had to a post. Looks like we all would love to be filmmakers.

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(I felt like there should be a Star Wars picture in here somewhere)

Phew. That took a while. Sorry if that was too long, too wordy, too boring. But it was fun looking back through the past six months of this blog and seeing how much it’s grown. I’m really glad I decided to start it and am really happy to have met such great people here. I love all the discussions we’ve had and I look forward to the next six months. I’ll leave you with an underwear picture as it seems I’ve become known for posting pictures of half-naked people a bit too often lately.

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Were you actually expecting a girl? 🙂

Epic (2013) Review

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Epic

Directed by Chris Wedge

Based on The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs
by William Joyce

Starring Voice Actors:
Amanda Seyfried
Colin Farrell
Beyoncé Knowles
Josh Hutcherson
Christoph Waltz
Aziz Ansari
Chris O’Dowd
Pitbull
Jason Sudeikis
Steven Tyler

Music by Danny Elfman

Studio:
Blue Sky Studios
20th Century Fox Animation

Plot (courtesy of Wikipedia):

A girl named Mary Katherine (M.K), long separated from her father, Professor Bomba, visits him in his old house near a forest, where he lives with his dog, Ozzie. Bomba has long studied the artifacts of what he believes to be a group of tiny warriors who live in the forest and protect it. He often goes into the forest to look for them and has cameras everywhere, in hopes of confirming their existence. He is so involved with his work that he neglects M.K., resulting in her leaving and pasting a goodbye note to one of his monitors. As she is leaving, Ozzie knocks past her and runs into the woods. M.K. sets out to look for him. She comes upon a group of glowing, falling leaves. Catching one of them, she is suddenly shrunken. In her minuscule state, she discovers the group of warriors Bomba has studied, who are known as the Leafmen. Soon she is forced to assist them in a war against forces of rot known as the Boggans and their leader Mandrake, while trying to find out how to return home.

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My Opinion:

I won’t again go into my love for Pixar and how they make truly stunning films for people of all ages – I don’t see them as just “kid movies”. Studios other than Disney/Pixar, however, have yet to master keeping the adults as well as the kids entertained. Despicable Me (love it!) and Shrek (meh) have been a couple of the only non-Pixar movies that I think achieved this. Epic doesn’t even come close to “keeping the adults entertained too” so I’ll review this for what it is: a kid’s movie.

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Epic is a strange one because I think the story is a bit complicated and the fact that the main character is a teenage girl makes this movie feel like it’s aimed at kids (girls especially) aged 8-13 or so. But this doesn’t seem like the sort of movie that kids these sort of ages WANT to see these days. There are some okay characters for the much younger audience (the snail & the slug are fairly funny) but I think younger kids will be a bit confused by the plot. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure who this movie is aimed at but I know I was really bored. I saw this four days ago and I’m struggling to remember much about it in order to be able to write anything. This is one of those movies I’m going to completely forget about in a year.

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The movie takes quite a while to get going and the pacing of the entire thing was off. We see a lot of the teenage girl and her estranged father at the beginning as she comes to stay with and reconnect with him. It seemed like ages before we got to the bit where she finally sees the tiny Leafmen. Yet in that time they still didn’t manage to make you feel anything for the father & daughter and for their situation – they didn’t develop any sort of connection with each other. I thought the teenage girl also adjusted to suddenly being tiny and in the middle of this epic “tiny person battle” a little too quickly. Of course, there’s a hot teenage Leafman so, naturally, I’m sure that helped. 😉

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As I said, the slug and snail were fairly funny (not good Pixar-type funny but typical kid-movie funny) so they were probably the highlight of the film for me. I guess. I found the voices of Beyonce and especially Steven Tyler a bit distracting (but, hey, kids wouldn’t notice things like that). But it reminded me of how much I hated Steven Tyler’s voice suddenly being in Polar Express and totally throwing me out of that movie (not that I was too bothered as I didn’t like that one much anyway). The teenage girl is fine as the main character – I think young girls watching the movie will probably connect with her. The dad was a bit of a bumbling idiot. The teenage Leafman was fine and the older Leafman who’s in charge was fine – these characters and the “baddies” (and the slug and snail) help to make this a movie that boys should like too even though the main character is female. There are also a lot of battles as there’s this war of good vs evil going on so I don’t mean to make it sound like this is a girl’s movie – sometimes boys see a girl as the main character and think that makes something a girl’s movie.

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Summary:

Epic is a movie where the plot is a bit too complicated for the very young but the slightly older child audience it seems to be aimed at will probably not find much they’ll care about in the film. I think older girls will connect with the main teenage girl, younger boys will like the Leafmen, the battles & the fairly scary bad guys, and the very young will like the slug and the snail. The whole thing was pretty and the animation was good and all that but I don’t think any of that is going to matter to the adults in the audience who will be checking their watches and just enjoying a bit of peace while their kids are (hopefully!) quiet and sitting still for 1 hour and 42 minutes. Meh. It’s not horrible. But it’s not that good. It’s aimed at kids but I don’t think this rating is too unfair as I don’t think many kids will exactly consider this one of their all-time favorite films…

My Rating: 5.5/10

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For a slightly better recent film aimed at kids, I did enjoy The Croods a bit more. Review here: The Croods

**And for those disappointed that there are no “underwear” pictures in this post, the closest I can think of is a picture of the character voiced by Steven Tyler. He wears a robe the whole time. With nothing underneath. And fully open. Close enough??

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Star Trek Into Darkness Writer Apologizes For “Unnecessary” Underwear Scene

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Hahaha! As hot as she is, you have to admit that scene with Alice Eve in her underwear was pretty pathetic. 😉

Link to article: ScreenCrush

And as there have been far too many pictures of girls in their underwear on my blog lately, here’s a half-naked Chris Hemsworth to balance things out:

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And again:

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And as Thor. Hello.

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My Review For Star Trek Into Darkness

My Reviews For Star Trek: The Motion Picture & The Wrath Of Khan & Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) Review

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Star Trek Into Darkness

Directed by JJ Abrams

Starring:
John Cho
Benedict Cumberbatch
Alice Eve
Bruce Greenwood
Simon Pegg
Chris Pine
Zachary Quinto
Zoe Saldana
Karl Urban
Peter Weller
Anton Yelchin

Plot Synopsis:

After devastating attacks on Starfleet, the USS Enterprise is sent on a mission into enemy territory in order to find the man responsible for these terrorist acts.

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My Opinion:

I won’t go into how much I know about all things Star Trek – I already did that here when I reviewed Star Trek (2009), which I re-watched this past week, and The Motion Picture & The Wrath Of Khan, which I’ve just watched for the first time: Star Trek Reviews

Basically, I loved The Next Generation and then watched the original series after TNG & have just now started on the movies with the original cast. So, this review is from someone who likes Star Trek but is not exactly a Trekkie (or is it Trekker?).

I really enjoyed Star Trek Into Darkness. I thought the 2009 movie was a decent enough intro to a new series of movies but it didn’t really blow me away. Plus, I fell asleep both times I tried to watch it all the way through. Well, I can say you’re not likely to fall asleep during Into Darkness. 😉

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I enjoyed the main characters more in this one as they were able to just kind of “be themselves” as opposed to in the first movie where they had to spend time setting them up for those in the audience new to Star Trek. It also meant they were able to spend more time focusing on the story and the action in this one – and there’s A LOT of action. It was pretty non-stop from beginning to end. I liked the opening scene (even if it was maybe a bit silly). The bits set in London and in San Francisco looked great. The emotional bits felt more “real” in this one than in the 2009 one (perhaps as we’re more used to the main actors now). Alice Eve is sexy, especially in all the different uniforms. And Benedict Cumberbatch is an EXCELLENT villain. He’s by far the best thing about this one. The only slight downside is he’s so good that it shows off the weaknesses in all the other actors in the film.

I’m reading mixed reviews of this movie now and see that some die hard Trekkies (Trekkers?!) are hating it. That’s unfortunate – I thoroughly enjoyed this but now, after seeing the first two Star Trek films, I can see why they’d take issue with certain things. To those who don’t hold the original movies so dear, I think it’s a lot easier to just sit back and enjoy the new films without overanalyzing them. To those who are pretty new to Star Trek, I can see them really liking the new films. Especially Into Darkness – I thought it was quite exciting (and much better than the first one).

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My initial reaction was that Into Darkness was “fantastic” and I called it the best Star Trek film yet. Well, I stand by what I said about it being fantastic. It’s probably not the “best” one, though. I haven’t watched First Contact since it first came out but I do remember how much I loved it at the time. And I don’t think Into Darkness would EVER top The Wrath Of Khan for any big fans of the original Star Treks. So I think Into Darkness is “one of” the best films of the entire series. But, okay, yeah… I think, for its time and what it will have meant to fans when they first watched it, The Wrath Of Khan is still the “best”. It just didn’t have the emotional impact for me watching it for the first time all these years later.

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Summary:

Star Trek Into Darkness is a thoroughly entertaining & action-packed film with a great villain played brilliantly by Benedict Cumberbatch, who is the highlight of the film. It’s a worthy addition to the Star Trek universe and, in my opinion, one of the best in the entire series. However, after the adrenaline wore off and I thought about the film a little more the day after seeing it, I can see some of the faults. There are minor things (Like the way Alice Eve ends up in her underwear. Yes, she’s hot. But the scene was silly). But there are a few major things as well, which I unfortunately can’t discuss without major spoilers. All in all, this film had the chance to possibly end up (almost) as much of a classic as The Wrath Of Khan. But it doesn’t manage it. None of the Star Trek films, for me, manage the depth needed to make any of them truly stunning films. And now that I’ve thought about things a bit more – Yes, The Wrath Of Khan is the one that actually came the closest to achieving the greatness that, hopefully, we’ll someday get from a Star Trek film. Star Trek Into Darkness was great fun but they’re going to need to get much more bold with the next film if they wish to ever achieve true greatness.

My Rating: 8/10

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Okay okay – Here’s Alice Eve in her underwear:

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Tucker And Dale Vs Evil (2010) Review

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Tucker And Dale Vs Evil

Directed by Eli Craig

Starring:
Tyler Labine
Alan Tudyk
Katrina Bowden
Jesse Moss

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Plot:

A comedy horror in which two “simple” but sweet hillbillies, Dale played by Tyler Labine & Tucker played by Alan Tudyk, are on their way to the “dream vacation home” (a rundown shack) they’ve just bought deep in the woods of West Virginia. While at a gas station, they encounter a group of college students who are there to do some camping. The snobby students are immediately freaked out by these “hillbillies”, especially when Dale tries to talk to one of them (Allison played by Katrina Bowden). Mistaking his nervousness at talking to a pretty girl for “maniacal hillbilly craziness”, the college students flee. Later, when the students decide to do some skinny dipping in the lake where Tucker & Dale happen to be fishing, Allison is startled & bumps her head. Tucker & Dale save her but the other students again flee, thinking they’ve kidnapped her.

What follows as the students try to “rescue” Allison from the hillbillies’ cabin are a series of hilarious deadly mishaps which further reinforce the students’ belief that the hillbillies are killers while a baffled Tucker & Dale are confused as to why these students seem to have some crazy kind of suicide pact.

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My Opinion:

This was a pleasant surprise! Especially as I’ve liked very few horror movies since the 70s & 80s (The Omen & The Shining are my type of thing with a bit of the Nightmare On Elm Street-type 80s slasher). I’m even pickier on comedy – I can’t say I’ve found many movies funny since the days of Wayne’s World, The Princess Bride & This Is Spinal Tap. Yeah, I’m old & grumpy. But Tucker And Dale had me laughing throughout the whole movie. As for the “horror”, it’s harder for me to say if horror fans liked this? The gore is cheesy & the film has that very 80s look overall as that’s (I assume?) what they’re going for since it’s a send-up of 80s slasher flicks. I liked that and it worked perfectly for this film.

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This movie never “tries too hard” on the comedy, which is kind of refreshing. This is NOT, I repeat NOT, one of those horrible Scary Movie movies. This was made by someone with a brain who knows that being more subtle on the comedy isn’t a bad thing and who clearly has a love for 80s slashers and can make fun of them in just the right way. It’s also clearly made by someone the same sort of age as me, though, so I think this movie probably wouldn’t appeal so much to the younger Saw generation who didn’t grow up on 70s & 80s horror movies and might not get the comedy in this. And, of course, they’d just moan at the gore looking unrealistic and cheesy. And that it’s not in 3D with blood, vomit & entrails popping out of the screen at you. Kids these days – they don’t know what’s good. 😉

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Summary:

A thoroughly fun & entertaining comedy horror that lovingly pokes fun at the 80s slasher flick and the horror clichés of dumb college students doing every dumb thing possible in order to “escape” crazy inbred hillbilly maniacs. It takes what’s actually a very simple idea of having the hillbillies just be two nice guys who think that they’re actually the ones being terrorized by college kids who seem to have completely lost their minds and gives us a clever film that, in never trying too hard to please the audience, manages to do just that. However, you’re probably much more likely to enjoy this if, like me, you’re of the age where you grew up on 70s & 80s horror flicks.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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All the movies I’ve seen in 2013 – Yep, Tucker And Dale comes in just under a Hitchcock film… 🙂

New Star Trek Into Darkness Poster Puts Alice Eve Front and Center

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Sexy. Alice Eve is a babe. (I sounded like Wayne & Garth in my head there).

Link: ScreenCrush

Oh yeah – I should include the picture of her in her underwear for the male viewers. To be honest, she seems to have gone the way of too many other actresses here – she was never this bony before. Curves are sexy, girls! Keep the curves!

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This Week’s Movie Quote

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Lisa: You know, there’s going to be sex, drugs, rock-n-roll… chips, dips, chains, whips… You know, your basic high school orgy type of thing. I mean, uh, I’m not talking candlewax on the nipples, or witchcraft or anything like that, no, no, no. Just a couple of hundred kids running around in their underwear, acting like complete animals.

Weird Science (1985)