Saturday, May 21, 2011

REVIEW: Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Directed By: Rob Marshall

Johnny Depp - Captain Jack Sparrow
Penélope Cruz - Angelica
Ian McShane - Blackbeard
Geoffrey Rush - Captain Hector Barbossa
Kevin McNally - Joshamee Gibbs
Sam Claflin - Philip Swift
Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey - Syrena
Greg Ellis - Lt. Cmdr. Theodore Groves
Damian O'Hare - Lieutenant Gillette

When I first saw "Curse Of The Black Pearl" in 2003 I thought this was another one of those "look at this, another gimmick movie. Even with Johnny Depp, this won't be that interesting". I was blown away by the first film. Over the next two films, "Dead Mans Chest" & "At Worlds End", I became frustrated, confused and quite frankly annoyed with Disney for taking such a simple concept and overdoing it. I mean, it's a movie about pirates! How hard can it be? Disney managed to let the movies run their course and after the conclusion of "At Worlds End", I thought the series was done. When I first heard they were making a 4th film, I thought this was gonna be the final nail in the coffin for the series. I walked into the theater not expecting much. I thought I was going to be very disappointed. I'm very happy to say that I was 100% wrong.

"On Stranger Tides" revived the magic and simplicity that the first film introduced us with. We know what the plot is. We know what the characters goals are. We know who is on what side. We also know Johnny Depp will steal the show as Jack Sparrow. Surprisingly, the real star of the show in this movie is Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa.

The film takes place just a few years after the events of "At Worlds End". Jack is still seeking his ship (at this point, he will take any ship) to find the fountain of youth. Barbossa is now a commander in the royal fleet serving the Kings crown. Mr. Gibbs, Sparrows trusted first mate, is still staying loyal to his Captain. These are the only characters from the first 3 films that are in this movie. Everyone else is new, which I think was a great decision to not include Will & Elizabeth Turner. To me, those characters died out after the end of the third film. A new cast of characters was a great way to revamp the series.

Lets get to the good news, which I'm happy to say, there is a lot of good things going on in this movie the viewer will like. Lets start with Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow. You know him, you love him and every hacky comedian wants to do a great impression of him.

Every womans facial expression when Captain Jack first came on screen.

Next is the very lovely Penelope Cruz, who plays Angelica, a former love interest of Sparrow and the daughter of Blackbeard.

Besides her great performance as Angelica, well, just look at her. Her looks alone sold me. She didn't even have to talk & yell with that wonderful Spanish accent of hers.

Yep, I just made this creepy. Apologies.

Moving on, the movie never got boring. There was more than sufficient battles and action sequences when the heat picked up. Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow made you laugh when there weren't guns blazing. Above all else, you knew what was going on in the film with all parties. Everyone was after one goal, unlike in "At Worlds End", where the 5 main characters were each after their own prize. This made the movie so simple to follow.

Now lets get to the bad news, which again I'm happy to say, there isn't a lot of it. I do have one complaint. You may have noticed I haven't mentioned Blackbeard at all. Let me ask you something...

Does this look intimidating to you?

That is my one and only complaint. Blackbeard is the main antagonist in the movie. He is hyped as the most dangerous pirate of all time. All other pirates tremble in fear when they hear his name. The thing is though, he wasn't that intimidating. Sure, he did the usual threats like "if I don't make it to the fountain, you won't either". He killed one or two people and his ship even has giant flamethrowers in front of it. Not to mention having zombie officers on board. You would expect all of this along with his appearance to be just a bad, tough villain. I'm sorry, but he just wasn't. He seemed, well, soft.

The film concludes with a great battle and an ending you will enjoy. Stay after the credits, as the post credits scene sets up for another sequel.

SUMMARY: Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides wipes the floor with the previous two films. Dare I say it's even almost as good as the first film, "Curse Of The Black Pearl"? I really enjoyed this movie and you will too. Ignore the critics and ignore the current 35% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Go see this film.

RATING: 8/10

Written By: Hammy
Twitter: @BrainstuHammy

Thursday, May 19, 2011

REVIEW: Bridesmaids

The chick flick for men...

Kristen Wiig - Annie Walker
Maya Rudolph - Lillian Donovan
Rose Byrne - Helen Harris
Ellie Kemper - Becca
Melissa McCarthy - Megan
Wendi McLendon-Covey - Rita
Jill Clayburgh - Annie's mother
Kali Hawk - Kahlua
Chris O'Dowd - Officer Nathan Rhodes
Rebel Wilson - Brynn
Matt Lucas - Gil

If a comedy can keep me laughing consistently throughout the running time of the film, then this movie has done its job. With Bridesmaids, the new comedy starring Kristen Wiig and Directed by Paul Feig, the film goes above and beyond the call of duty to deliver tear inducing laughter.

The film rests on Kristen Wiigs performance, but the supporting cast is impressive in their talents as well. Even Rose Byrne, who’s mostly done dramatic work I.E. Sunshine and the FX series Damages, manages to deliver laughs by playing the bitch. Out of the supporting cast though it’s Melissa McCarthy who steals the show with nearly every line of dialogue she delivers.

The storyline of the movie centers on Annie’s (Wiig) best friend Lillian’s (Maya Rudolph) wedding and her responsibilities as maid of honor. The movie isn’t afraid to be low brow when it needs to be and it benefits from it. There’s a sequence involving food poisoning that is both hysterical and disgusting.

This is a movie that guys wouldn’t be ashamed to admit they like while girls will most definitely love it. If men want to take their girlfriends on a date night movie and not groan or roll their eyes at another stupid romantic comedy, this is the movie to take them to. There are a few elements of a romantic comedy but ultimately it is a hardcore consistently funny comedy.

The funniest thing about the movie is the fact that you can’t imagine everything being scripted. It doesn’t take anything away from the movie, but when watching Bridesmaids there is no way everything was written down.

SUMMARY: The movie has a very natural flow to it where you can watch it and enjoy it without feeling like it is dragging on. Bridesmaids is a movie that can be viewed multiple times and never get old. With a movie produced by Judd Apatow, what else would you think it was going to be?

Written By: Ariel Schmiedhauser

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

REVIEW: Thor (2)

Chris Hemsworth - Thor
Natalie Portman - Jane Foster
Tom Hiddleston - Loki
Anthony Hopkins - Odin
Stellan Skarsgård - Erik Selvig
Kat Dennings - Darcy Lewis
Clark Gregg - Agent Coulson
Colm Feore - King Laufey
Ray Stevenson - Volstagg

It’s safe to say that on May 6 the 2011 Summer movie season officially kicked off with a bang when Thor came out across the globe. This movie had some high expectations considering it was the next movie in a line of Marvel movies that link to the upcoming Avengers movie and well the last franchise that was part of this set of movies were the highly successful Iron Man movies. It also had the distinction of having no middle ground pre-hype. People thought it was either going to be amazing or it was going to be complete shit.

Fortunately for us moviegoers it was not complete shit. Actually it was pretty awesome.

Well awesome considering it was an origin movie. While not as good an origin movie as Iron Man (which featured a spectacular performance by Robert Downey Jr and had a few people put it up there with the Dark Knight), it had something that set it apart from the typical origin movie. It wasn’t showing how a man got his powers and became this spectacularly heroic being. It was more a movie about how he had those powers but was in need of a reality check. You pretty much got the action right away before is ceded to the plot until it was mixed with more action which for a story like Thor that is the perfect formula. What it also introduced was the realm of Asgard which is depicted wonderfully.

With everything established as quickly it helps out the people who have little to no patience with stuff like plot and character development(which Thor also had but a lot of people like to bitch and moan when the hero isn’t in costume fighting right away).

As for the acting, Chris Hemsworth did a decent job as the title character and Anthony Hopkins made for a great Odin. The actor I really want to spotlight is Tom Hiddleston as the role of Loki. He made Loki into the perfect storm of emotion and sneaky bastard which was spot on for the character. This movie is to him as Inglorious Basterds was to Christoph Waltz in terms of introducing most of the world to an actor. As for the rest of the cast, Natalie Portman and Stellen Skarsgard proved to be good supporting pieces to the cast and it is always great to see Kat Dennings in anything.

The Warriors Three was casted perfectly. You had Ray Stevenson as Volstagg (he is known for playing The Punisher in Punisher: War Zone), Joshua Dallas as Fandral, and Tadanobu Asano as Hogun (you might remember him as Kakihara in Ichi the Killer). Also in the movie shortly was Rene Russo as Thor’s step-mother Frigga.

There is one actor I will point out due to the controversy that his casting started. Despite what the mullet wearers on white supremacy sites will say, I think Idris Elba was perfect casting for Heimdall.

He was stoic but had a sense of all knowing which you need for the person who can see anything he wants on all the realms. I also laughed when people got pissed by the casting of a black man to play Kingpin in the Daredevil movie because in my opinion, sometimes you have to cast for acting ability over appearance. Considering Kingpins attributes, Michael Clark Duncan was perfect casting and considering Heimdalls attributes, Idris Elba was perfect casting for the role. It’s not the actor’s fault that the original artist painted the character in a wall.

There was also plenty linking this to the Avengers. Clark Gregg returns as the Shield Agent Coulson, which he played in Iron Man 1 and 2. They had a continuation of scene that was hidden at the end of Iron Man 2 which shows why it looked like a cookout around Mjolnir. There was a cameo of Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye where he actually got dialogue in it. And of course there is a post-credit scene that I will not describe but comic fans will have a full out nerdgasm once they realize the object in the scene.

SUMMARY: I’d say this is a really good origin story. Not as good as Iron Man or Batman Begins, but better than most of the rest. 4 complaining fanboys out of 5.

Written By: Mike Falcone
Twitter: @BrainstuFalcone

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Chris Hemsworth - Thor
Natalie Portman - Jane Foster
Tom Hiddleston - Loki
Anthony Hopkins - Odin
Stellan Skarsgård - Erik Selvig
Kat Dennings - Darcy Lewis
Clark Gregg - Agent Coulson
Colm Feore - King Laufey
Ray Stevenson - Volstagg

Chris Hemsworth takes on the role of Thor, the God of Thunder, and I must say he owned the character. Tom Hiddlestom also did a great job bringing the believability of Loki to the big screen. Personally, I don't know a whole lot about Thor to begin with to be perfectly honest. But I do know the basics behind it to know what to expect.

To those who are not familiar with Thor this movie does a pretty good job of telling his story. He is the son of Odin, ruler of Asgard, he is a proud, mighty warrior, and a stuck up arrogant brat. You can't help but like how much of a badass he thinks he is and watching him back it up puts to rest any doubts.

Thor is next in line to the thrown when an enemy, the Ice Giants, sneak in to the kingdom and cause a mess of things. Thor won't leave it be and attacks the Ice Giants head on. This causes the start of a new war and his father is not pleased. He is so pissed off that he casts out his own son and strips him of his power. He would regain his power only if he learns to be humble on earth.

Long story short, Loki (Thor's brother), is now king and turns things to the worst and its up to Thor to bitch slap him and straighten things out once again.

The story I'm familiar with is that they are in fact gods, but in the movie they are only an alien race from a different galaxy. Apparently, that is the original concept from the original comic. also, I understand that it's a movie and they only have so little time to try to show how Thor grows as a character, but for me i just didn't feel it realistic enough. it looked like such a short amount of time for such a huge change near the end of the film. oh and at times if you pay attention his cape looks like something you could find in party city.

SUMMARY: I'm gonna have to give it an 8/10. Badass effects, great acting in the 2 main roles, and just a plain good time. Plus it sets up the coming Captain America movie.

Written By: Stalin Lopez

Monday, May 9, 2011

TOPIC: Superman's Citizenship

Dear DC,

You missed it, big time. You also forgot too much history that some of us didn’t forget. Superman is and always should be an American citizen. This isn’t a discussion about socialism or politics in general. This is about a boy and his comic book hero. I do not dispute that Superman helps with crisis around the world. What you forgot is that he doesn’t get involved in politics. This isn’t Watchmen!

Superman doesn’t renounce his citizenship anymore than does the Statue of Liberty! He is a symbol of American ideals. This is what countries aspire to be, democratic and free. I read where a journalist said that we are making too much of this. As a true comic book fan I have to disagree. Here are a few things that I would like to bring to the table:

The comic book is historically an American medium. We fostered it. We nurtured it. It's way of telling stories graphically that has been adopted the world over. There is some dispute over the genesis of the actual paneled work that we call a comic book (Shirrel Rhoades, A Complete History of American Comic books, p. 3) still, history shows that the comic book is at its core a patently American vehicle.

Superman shouldn’t HAVE to renounce his American citizenship. An American soldier doesn’t have to renounce his citizenship to fight in another country. What you screwed up was treating Superman like he is a vigilante. Superman never would have gone to Iran in the first place! You have forgotten so much history it’s frightening. Does he have to quit the Justice League of America? (Note: “America”)

The Justice Society of America storyline (Note: “America”) (JSA #45 thereabouts) stopping Black Adam from interfering in his country of Kahndaq’s politics was a huge storyline for defining that American superheroes were just an offshoot of America and that we didn’t belong in other countries because it did give us an unfair advantage.

Take a look back at the “52” storyline. There are plenty of heroes that, if done properly in the true spirit of comic books and realism (such that you can), are from other countries (See 52 - Week 10). The Great Ten of China and Russia’s Rocket Reds are examples. A distinctly outside of the box storyline would be for Iran to create its own superhero team. Let Superman be an ambassador for America to go into other countries. To renounce his American self actually goes more against his character than treating him like some political pawn. Ma and Pa Kent raised him better than that. Superman/Clark Kent would never renounce anything. He wouldn’t feel he had to.

Superman was created by two Americans. Siegel and Schuster were immigrants, of course, as were we all. Yet, they were proud to be Americans. The boy who created Superman not just as a comic book hero but perhaps as a way of getting retribution for his father’s death, would be rolling over in his grave. This renunciation is such a slap in the face of America, the American comic book reading public and Siegel and Shuster that it’s frightening. We have been touting “Truth, Justice and the American Way” not just for the America of today but for the very ideals that our forefathers fought the British empire for 235 years ago.

To quote Joe Simon, the artist-writer who co-created Captain America, “…our work carried with it a particularly American slant. After all, we were Americans drawing and writing about things that touched us. As it turned out, the early work was, you might say, a comic book version of jazz. In the sense, that is, that jazz too was a uniquely American art form (Dan Whitehead, “Kapow! A Talk with Joe Simon,” The Web, simoncomics.com). Superman has always been a uniquely American persona. The ideal that children the world over would aspire to. If we believe in ourselves as Americans then Superman epitomized the hope that we would one day “leap tall buildings in a single bound”.

DC, do the right thing and fix it because I won’t be buying anymore Superman comic books until you do. I am sure that my chump change won’t make a difference but it’s the principal of the thing. I have 20 years worth of comics that I painstakingly collected and found in dusty comic book shops. Superman is my hero. My AMERICAN hero.

Written By: Jerry Browning
Twitter: @Endless102

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

REVIEW: HBO GO App (iPhone)

I'll be honest when I say this, I haven't put my iPhone down since I downloaded this app. It's the best app I ever got next to the Netflix app. What HBO did is take their "On Demand" service you get on TV and put it on an app that is 100% FREE. As long as you have HBO from your TV provider, you can watch unlimited HBO movies, TV shows, comedy specials & documentaries on the app.

The first thing you do when you get the app is go to the "Sign In" tab on the bottom right of the main menu. There, you select your TV provider. Once you enter your account number and password with your TV provider, it will bring you back to the main screen. You now have 100% access to the apps library of entertainment for free.

The app automatically updates to give you the latest HBO entertainment from new episodes of your favorite HBO shows, to the latest movies, stand up comedy specials and documentaries.

The video quality is also excellent. On a good Wi-Fi network, you won't get any lag at all in your stream. Even on 3G, the video quality only drops slightly, but still looks great. It's an even better quality than the Netflix stream on 3G. I must warn you AT&T users though, a 50 minute episode of Boardwalk Empire will have you using over 150MB of your data limit.

My favorite part about this app is all of the episodes from all 7 seasons of one of my favorite shows, Entourage, are available anytime I want to watch them. Netflix doesn't offer Entourage on it's streaming service. This is very convenient for the HBO GO app because I don't have to wait for Netflix to deliver the DVD's. Although I'm a very happy Netflix customer and love their service, I can catch up on episodes I haven't seen on the go, thanks to this app.

SUMMARY: The HBO GO app is a must have for all HBO subscribers. It operates the same as the Netflix app and is very easy to use. The video quality is also excellent and even when your not on a good Wi-Fi network, hardly ever lags.

RATING: 9.5/10

Written By: Hammy
Twitter: @BrainstuHammy