REAL REVIEW

An entertaining movie, much like a good meal, is worth the price you pay. And even though a bad movie, unlike a bad meal, probably won’t give you the runs, paying $10 dollars to see it will make you feel like shit.

300

Production Budget: 65M

Worldwide Gross: 456M

Occasionally, there is a movie that breaks the mold of mediocrity; a movie that leaves a permanent imprint rather than fading into obscurity with the rest of the pack; a movie that is so unique and entertaining that it begs to be watched. Well, I confess -with seriousness – that 300 is THAT movie. Read the rest of this entry »

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Transformers

Production Budget: $150M

Worldwide Gross: $632.7M

As with every July 4th weekend, Hollywood releases a series of high-budget flicks that seek to attract moviegoers with the promise of great special effects, adventure, and acting. Transformers is no different. It follows the tried and true “summer blockbuster” recipe, supplying all the aforementioned elements minus perhaps, a flimsy storyline.

The movie stars Shia LeBeouf (Disturbia) as Sam Witwicki, your typical hormone driven, lip-bumbling teenager who finds himself stuck in the middle of a war between autonomous robotic organisms from the planet Cybertron. As with every war, there are two sides here, the good “Autobots” under Optimus Prime, and the bad “Decepticons” under Megatron. The two sides fight over the “all-spark”, a mysterious cube that has the ability to transform Earth’s machinery into an army of sinister robotic organisms at Megatron’s disposal. Optimus Prime and company follow Megatron to Earth in an effort to prevent his procuring of this cube.

You might be wondering, how is Sam in any way related to this conflict? Sam’s great grandfather and 19th century explorer Captain Witwicki had the misfortune of discovering Megatron, who crash landed – and got stuck in an ice berg at the North Pole (haha) – on Earth in search of the cube. When Captain Witwicki touched Megatron, he accidentally activated his navigation system and seared directions to the Cube into his own glasses. As luck would have it, Sam inherited the glasses, making him key to the Autobots and their effort to find the cube.

Clearly, this storyline is as ridiculous as it is unbelievable. But, once I came to the realization that most movies make no sense anyway, I sat back in my chair and enjoyed the show for what it was: a movie based on toys. So, story line gripes aside, Michael Bay (The Island, Armageddon) offers up a seriously enjoyable, action-packed movie. As we have come to expect, Bay shakes the screen with flying bullets, exploding rockets, and flipping robots. Even more important, all of this action looks completely real on screen. There were few if any instances in which I questioned the quality of the CG or its placement in the movie. In fact, I would venture to say that this movie sets the standard for special effects, easily topping the Matrix series and even Spiderman. Moreover, the movie sports a fine cast of young actors anchored by LeBeouf, who is surely on a path to stardom.

But, and as you have probably realized, this film is geared towards a young, male audience. Therefore be warned, if you’re female and in the process considering this movie, you’ll probably be unmoved by the film’s special effects and frenetic pace. Thus, my recommendation to you: if you’re searching for something to get your man out of the house for 2 hours and 20 minutes, get him a ticket to this movie; he won’t be home early – guaranteed.

~Josh

For the best bang for your buck: Watch in the theaters if you wanna be thoroughly entertained.

The Bourne Ultimatum

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Production Budget: $110M

Worldwide Gross: $218.6M

Welcome to man movie bliss. If you have testicles, you will agree, this movie has it all. From the outset, this cat and mouse thriller sets the tone with Jason Bourne again on the run. With amazing hand to hand combat scenes, breath taking settings, and stunning car chases, this movie grabs you by the neck for two hours, and when it releases you, you beg for the ringer again. Matt Damon is again excellent as Bourne, and the supporting cast is perfectly assembled to do what they do, support.

The CIA is painted again as the bad guy as they try to eliminate Bourne, the primary threat to expose their highly confidential assassination program. However, as the fact that there even is a third film demonstrates, killing Jason Bourne is no easy task. The movie essentially follows Bourne as he tries to recoup and put together his past. When he finally does, the film picks up steam and boils over with action scenes that amaze. It is simply astonishing that this movie, after all the action films before it, manages to reinvent fights scenes, add new elements to action, and generally keep an overdone genre fresh and exciting. The usage of props in fights is well done, original, and unlike a Jackie Chan flick for instance, totally believable and within the flow of the action.

It is really a stretch for me to find anything negative to say about this film. Everything it sets out to do, it does effectively. That being said, there are limitations in the film. This is the third installment, so the characters are somewhat flushed out. As such, unless you are big into suspenseful action, this movie has little else to offer. The only other negative in my experience viewing this film was the obnoxious middle aged couple seated behind me that wouldn’t shut their mouths the whole film. To them: If, on August 4th, 2007, at 10:30 PM, at Showtime Cinemas in Woburn, MA, you saw this film, and you are fairly old, really loud, and totally misunderstood the point of the movie, I have a beat down reserved for you. That being said, this movie has very few weaknesses, and does everything it sets out to do with excellence and authenticity.

Do yourself a favor men, buy the lady a few cocktails, tell her you’re taking her to see Hairspray, and bring her to Bourne instead. She’ll pass out, and you’ll have a two hour journey to testosterone city. What a great ride.

Great - In The Theater For the best bang for your buck, see this movie in the Theater NOW.

~Jared

Buy the previous Bourne DVD’s Below.

Welcome to Real Review

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This site is dedicated to the review of movies, both old and new, long and short, good, and especially bad.  If you’re like us, countless times you’ve read a critic’s review and thought, “Did they watch the same movie I just did?”  Of course the answer is yes, they just watched it through a hazy cloud of pretentious mist.  (Although hazy clouds aren’t all bad for movie watching.) 

Your only other option before spending your hard earned money is to take a gander at user reviews, and frankly, I strongly advise against taking advice from the same mass that elected George Bush…twice.  So, for better or worse, you’re left with us.  A couple guys that combat bordom with mass movie watching and rewatching.   

The site is so easy to navigate, well, a critic could do it.  The two right columns describe the ratings system.  Click the images for further details on our highly scientific ranking system.  The far right column includes easy to navigate links to the reviews, as well as the critics’ (Yeah, I guess we are those) myspace pages, and a search bar.  Reviews are being added daily, so tell us what you think, bookmark, and make sure to come back.   

Pathfinder

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Production Budget: $45M

Worldwide Gross: $26.4M

This is the Ford Escort of movies. It’s comes across as kind of cheap, seems like it may go somewhere for a while, then leaves you stranded and pissed. It is an underwhelming and unsuccessful attempt to merge two good movies, 300 and Apocalypto, into one.

Long before Columbus sailed the ocean blue, before Europeans started handing out small-pox laced blankets like they were ‘Tootsie-Rolls’ on Halloween, and before some guy James named a town after himself…a Norse boy was abandoned along the Eastern Coast of what would become the United States. That boy would be discovered by a Native America tribe, who found him in the ruins of a Viking shipwreck, and raised him as their own. When the boy reaches adulthood, the Vikings return to ransack, pillage, rape, and grunt, as if they never left.

The natives, outmanned, and at the immense disadvantage of wood weapons against iron, have their weapons broken, again and again, and again, and again, before being systematically murdered by the grunting, large, hairy Vikings. After several plodding battles between an army that resembles hundreds of chubakka’s, and the natives, the boy, now all grown up, takes it upon himself to defend his new people (the little defenseless ones with wooden weapons), against his old people (the big hairy ones).

From there the story plods along. It has some nice imagery which reminded me of 300, in VERY brief flashes. It also had some decent action. Unfortunately though, the movie falls largely flat. It is a repeat of something we have seen hundreds of times, only before, it was done better. This film ads nothing new to the genre, and comes across as rushed and completely mediocre.

As mentioned earlier, there are some very nice visuals. The bad guys are certainly bad, which is nice. They grunt alot, which makes me dislike them. They are hairy, which makes them appear unpleasant. They are large, which gives the natives a David to Goliath type empathy, which is good. But all in all, the bad guys do bad things, and the good guys do good things. It is simply not enough to carry the conflict without some more genuine development.

I’ve seen some very bad movies, and this one is slightly less bad than those.

Below Average - Illegal Download For the best bang for your buck, I recommend strongly that you download this movie illegally from the internet.

~Jared

Hot Fuzz

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Production Budget: N/A

Worldwide Gross: $78.7M

Hot Fuzz is a movie I was very much looking forward to seeing. As it is presented by the same makers as Shaun of the Dead, I can say one thing about this movie with a level of certainty. If you loved Shaun of the Dead, you’ll like this movie less. Nicholas Angel, played by Simon Pegg, is the most successful cop London has seen in years. His die hard devotion to the force, and enforcing even the most mundane laws of the land, has resulted in a most impressive arrest record. Unfortunately for him, much like the office kiss ass, his act has worn thin with those on the force who don’t share his enthusiasm for the job, or paperwork. As such, he is “promoted”, and transferred to the small town of Sandford.

Sandford is a town that from the outside appears devoid of crime. In a matter of minutes however, Pegg is back to his ways, halting harmless fun, and arresting underage drinkers as only an uptight cop could. As his time in Sandford progresses, he befriends Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), who is his law enforcement antithesis. Butterman is a bumbling fool, who like many cops I fear, got into law enforcement to reenact cheesy American Cop movies in real life. When a series of “accidental” deaths start occurring around Sandford, the two embark on a mission to solve the murders, while the rest of the town and police force stand blindly by the mantra, “Accidents Happen”.

As with Shaun of the Dead, the strength of this movie is found in its thought and creative design. It is a combination of Police Academy, Scary Movie, and Shaun of the The Dead, with a touch of Rambo sprinkled in for good measure. The dry humor is there, and contrary to some reviews I have read, the intermittent over the top violence was done cleverly and added to the humor of several scenes. The character’s were fairly well done, and they effectively spoofed the “competent cop-useless cop” set up of modern cop movies. The story is strong in parts, and the movie does manage to entertain for most of its excessive runtime.

The biggest weakness of the film is that it simply didn’t quite measure up to Shaun of the Dead. The directing, acting, premise, and script were all far superior to cookie cutter comedies like I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. However, something just didn’t fit. The movie was long and indecisive, the final plot twist was far less that surprising, and the ending just never seemed to come.

I am still a big fan of the makers of this movie, and I will certainly see this team’s next release. The film shows flashes of promise, but I was left unsatisfied.

Average - DVD Bargain Bin For the best bang for your buck, I recommend you rent this movie from the bargain bin. If you are a huge fan of the genre and Shaun of the Dead, then consider renting it as a new release.

~Jared

Sunshine

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Production Budget: N/A

Worldwide Gross: $31.3M

Most movies define themselves in the opening minutes and never look back. The typical horror introduces itself with at least one tone setting sacrificial slaying. Comedies often commence with a humorous montage set to obnoxiously upbeat music. This movie is unique in that it immediately defines itself, and then at least three additional times throughout the course of the movie, recreates itself into something new, before returning to its underlying purpose. The transitions are not forced nor awkward, but instead individually add something unique to the story while pulling any potentially wandering attention spans back into the movie.

The story, simply put, is about a crew of eight astronauts of diverse skill sets, assembled to embark on the second of two attempts to restart the Earth’s dying sun. The first attempt was unsuccessful, and that crew and ship have since lost contact with Earth. The plan, probably the weakest element of the film, is to use a unique space craft with more amenities than an overpriced time share condo, to deliver a “Pay Load” to the sun. Theoretically, this non descript payload will rekindle the dying star, thus saving all man kind from New England winters…I mean immediate death.

The acting and directing in the film are top notch, which is to be expected from director Dennis Boyle, who also brought Train Spotting and 28 Days Later to the big screen. The characters are all extremely diverse, and the viewer gets an immediate glimpse into each person’s role in the mission. The script does an excellent job of diversifying the characters to prevent the movie from turning campy, like Armageddon and The Core did at times. (ie. This is not a ship of eight heroic boy scouts) The movie strikes an excellent balance between action, dark horror, thriller, and artistic imagery. It is extremely pleasing on the eyes, and while it does not overburden the viewer with special effects, the well placed special effects it does embark upon were done realistically, beautifully, and with great artistic style.

The drawback of the movie is in the details. With all of the great transitions the movie makes, it seems like an awful lot happened in an hour and forty eight minutes. As such, some explanation and detail has to be filled in by the viewer. The viewer has to make an overt decision to just accept these lapses for what they are, and not let them detract from the many strong points of the film. This is not to say that the omission of some details is fatal to the film, but instead it is simply realistic to predict that a large number of people that see this movie will experience the same somewhat distracting unanswered questions.

Good - DVD New ReleaseRecommendation: To make this movie worth your buck, Rent the DVD as a new release.

~Jared