Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie (2014) Directed by Kevin Finn & James D. Rolfe

Can't even remember when, why or how but just like basically everybody else I did stumble across an Angry Video Game Nerd episode on YouTube at a time. It was the "Superman 64" review that first introduced me to the character and before I knew it I was spending my afternoons and nights watching 'Nerd' videos until I finally caught up and had seen all of them. In other words; I'm very familiar with the 'Nerd Universe', the character and the comedy James D. Rolfe uses within his videos. Am I a fan as well? As being a fan means that you're anxiously awaiting another video by him every week, then yes but I'm still able to see some of the flaws and recognize the inconsistencies and repetitive elements within his videos as well.

Having said that, he clearly still is among the best, most entertaining and creative 'YouTuber's' that are around nowadays. Throughout the years he has managed to maintain and master a certain style and type comedy, without ever trying to really change- or ever forcing anything by going overboard, which all are thing that I admire and respect about him.

Is any of that relevant for this movie and my review of it? Not really actually. The movie differs quite a lot from any of the Nerd-episodes, in terms of style, story and even character and comedy. This undoubtedly is also part of the reason why some fans aren't very fond of this movie. But it at the same time also makes the movie perfectly accessible for those who aren't familiar with the character or the comedy. Sure, there are some 'inside' jokes and cameos by people most casual moviegoers won't recognize but as a movie it really stands on its own and does its very own thing, without constantly winking into the camera or taking the easy road with things, by being nothing but an extended and a more elaborate and expensive Nerd-episode.

It's really more of a streamlined and mainstream movie in that sense, that features a real story with a beginning, middle and end in it, supporting characters besides the Nerd himself and more 'normal' and 'serious' type of dialog than we are used to from anything involving the Nerd. And again, maybe all of these things are part of the reason as well why not all Nerd-fans are fans or lovers of this movie as well. It's not a movie that's all about the Nerd and it's not a movie in which all he does is sit around and play video games, that anger and annoy him, which results in him spewing his hilarious hatred toward it. You therefore also really shouldn't see this as a 'Nerd' movie but more as a movie that just happens to feature the Nerd character in it instead.

To be honest, I really wasn't expecting this movie to be much good. James D. Rolfe's past, more serious, attempts at making movies never impressed me much and didn't look appealing in the slightest to me. Besides, the first trailer for the movie didn't impress me very much and I also pretty much lost all interest in, especially after hearing people say how terrible and disappointing the movie was to them. I nevertheless decided to eventually give it a go and I must say, I didn't regret it for a single moment. I was pleasantly surprised. The movie is extremely entertaining and fun to watch but perhaps more importantly; it's a pretty well done and solid movie, which is a real accomplishment for a low-budget, crowed funded movie, made by people who had never made a full length movie before.

The movie has a great and very professional look to it, making use of both practical- and 'modern' computer effects. It also shows Rolfe's love for classic movies and cinema in general. He has a passion for movies and for making them, ever since he was a young boy and it really shows. Movies like this, that shows the love for the project from its creators and lets their passion for it shines through, are always great to watch in my opinion, even when the eventual movies are absolute garbage. It's also a reason why I actually love watching Ed Wood movies for instance. They are worse than terrible but Wood's love and passion for them still always shines through, which in a way makes them really irresistible and fun.

Having said that, this movie is obviously better than all of Ed Wood's movies combined (Yeah, put that on the poster!). It sounds like a backhanded compliment so maybe I should rephrase it; It's a pretty darn good movie!

The story feels a bit random at times and so does some of the comedy but is that really such a bad thing? I mean, cartoons are pretty much random like that as well and so are some of the very best '80's comedies for instance. Randomness can really add to the fun and adventurous aspects of a movie, as it does as well in this case. Having said that, the movie does get a bit TOO random and messy to watch toward the end though, when the movie is tying too hard to be as crazy as possible. It's a real shame, since I really was loving the movie up till that point but still it's not all bad enough to ruin the movie for me as well.

It's funny how just about every review that I have read for this movie has been positive but the general consensus among the average moviegoers seem to be that this actually is a pretty terrible movie. And while I also still see some flaws and weaknesses within this movie, I in this case couldn't disagree more with some of the negative things that already have been said about this movie but I can still understand why some people have said it and think that way.

The things I see as 'bad': While the story is decent enough, it at the same time also is a very simplistic one, with some far too random moments in it. The dialog isn't the best either and comedy-wise there are some hits and misses. The acting also isn't solid across the board, especially that by some of the movie its extras (seriously, the average movie extra is just as good at acting as a volleyball, Wilson not included of course) and some of the special effects are fake looking, though most of this seems deliberate, which admittedly works well for the movie at parts and the overall tone of it but the combination of different type of effects also made the movie somewhat inconsistent and it didn't always worked out too well, such as the use of miniatures.

All of this, combined with the fact that it differs from the average Nerd-episode and the Nerd himself isn't always the central character and isn't constantly doing or saying the type of things than we are accustomed to from the Nerd, makes the movie hated by some of the Nerd-fans and regular moviegoers. And sure to be honest, I would have liked to see some things being done differently as well, keeping the movie more in tone with the Nerd-episodes but it's obvious that Rolfe wanted to do something different and 'bigger', which is his good right of course. And yes for me- and for most other people who review movies on a regular basis, it worked! I was genuinely impressed with how well put together the movie was, even down to some of the smallest details. Things such as costumes, sound, sets are all incredibly professional looking and sounding and helps to make this movie into a good and fun one to watch. However I can understand how for some people, who are not accustomed to seeing low-budget productions, this movie may come across as cheap, lame and disappointing movie. I'm not saying that the movie reviewers are all right and the nay sayers among the general public are wrong for not liking this movie but I'm trying to explain the differences in perception and opinions of this movie. For people who watch hundreds of movies each year, such as myself, including some independent and very low-budget ones, there is absolutely no denying that this movie is one of the most impressive and entertaining low-budget independent movies that you could ever watch.

So while maybe this movie may not be for everyone, I absolutely enjoyed it and was genuinely impressed and surprised with the overall quality, though it's obviously not without its flaws as well.


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Poker Night (2014) Directed by Greg Francis

So I was in the mood for a bad slasher to start the new year off with. I saw the cover for this movie and thought it would be a good pick until I started reading about it and found at it wasn't a slasher at all. I felt disappointed but at the same time curious as well, after learning who all was in it and I decided to give it a go. Did I regret it? Well, yes to be honest. It's not a terrible movie but it's one I'm sure I won't remember anything about anymore in a week from now.

The main problem with this movie really is the narrative. It's a non-linear one, that constantly goes back and forth in time by making use of flashbacks, which is often confusing but more importantly; also highly annoying as well. Most of the time you're wondering to yourself 'what's the point of it all?' It doesn't always feels that the flashbacks are adding anything to the story or its characters. it also makes the movie drag at points, instead of helping the story to go forward. It's also an excuse for the movie to feature as many different characters as possible in it, of which very few actually add anything to the story.

Also the main story itself is hardly ever being anything groundbreaking or too surprising. None of the 'twists' come as a surprise really, once you have seen a few genre movies like this before. The movie itself still seems to believe it's being something highly creative and original though and loves to emphasize this with its constantly present, over-stylized, visual style.

I don't know, on the one hand the visual style of the movie is still making it a good one to watch but on the other it also gets a bit too much at times though. I felt worn out and fed up with it after a while. It provides the movie with pace and a good look but at the same time it often feels forced and out of place as well.

You could say this was a bit of an overambitious project that tried to do a lot but by doing so amounted to very little, It's not a really a gritty crime movie, not really a suspense filled thriller, not a cool modern action flick. It's a bit of everything but not in a very good, pleasant, well balanced or effective way.

It's also a bit of a problem for the movie that it lacks some good and likable enough characters. We basically get to knew very little about the main character played by Beau Mirchoff and something just feels off about him as well. Maybe it's because he looks and is way to young compared to all of the other actors in the movie and really, if you can get actors such as Ron Perlman and Giancarlo Esposito for your movie than why couldn't you get a slightly better and more well known actor for the lead role as well? The movie also lacks a good main 'villain'. For most part of the movie it's a masked person, which may work well for a slasher but not for a thriller and crime movie such as this one, in which the 'killer' is supposed to be more of a 'human' character with a human face, in order for him to work out as both threatening and intriguing. You want the movie to provide you with a reason to hate him and feel scared of him and disgusted by your actions but the movie never does so. As a matter of fact, in a weird way it glorifies its villain (who is not only 'just' a murderer but also a pedophile mind you) by showing him as a cool character, who walks away from explosions in slow-motion and is a real smooth talker. Yes, it's weird.

It honestly isn't a terrible movie but it also really isn't as good, surprising, original or stylish as it seems to think that it is though.


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Tusk (2014) Directed by Kevin Smith

This movie clearly shows that shock horror and comedy doesn't go together very well. Or perhaps it's more fair to say that Kevin Smith has absolutely no idea how to effectively combine these two genres into a great movie...

And that's a real shame, since I honestly do feel and believe that with just a few minor changes and a different approach this could have been an absolutely great little horror movie. As weird and as silly as it main concept sounds, it actually works in the movie. The horror really hits you and the movie is filled with some absolutely great gut wrenching and shocking moments. But literally every time the movie hits you with a genuinely shocking or emotionally touching moment, it gets followed by some quirky and awkward comedic moment, that almost totally ruins the movie's momentum and completely takes you out of the movie.

There truly is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this would have been a great and very memorable horror movie, if it had been made with a more straightforward and serious approach to it but it's almost as if Kevin Smith himself doesn't want his movie to be good. He deliberate tries to make the movie as goofy and unlikely as possible, by throwing in some quirky characters, awkward comedic moments and silly pieces of dialog, that all feel like it belongs in a different type of movie.

The most explanatory example of this is the Johnny Depp character. He's quirky and over-the-top in the way how he looks, sounds and reacts to all of the different situations. In other words, it's Johnny Depp being Johnny Depp, in a movie that screamed for a far more subtle acting approach and character. Most people also say that the movie went downhill for them the moment the Johnny Depp comes on screen and while i don't necessarily agree on this (the movie started to go downhill way before that moment for me) I can definitely see what they mean and where they come from. Every little bit of credibility that the movie had build up and still had in it gets slowly taken away from the movie during its second half, not only courtesy of Mr. Depp but also definitely because of Smith's own writing and directing approach.

I'm still willing to give the movie plenty of credit as well though. It's a low-budget movie but it has a good look and feel to it. I also never expected a walrus-man to look as credible and 'realistic' as it did in this movie, so kudos to the effects- and makeup department as well.

And as I said before, the movie its concept of course is an absolutely ridicules one but it works surprisingly well, which still is a real accomplishment by Kevin Smith and something I will praise him for. On the other hand, it still also remains nothing but a very gimmicky concept and movie in general. There are some minor side-plots and characters but none of it ever gets made as important- or is as well developed as its main storyline. And there only is so much the movie does with its main storyline as well though. There really isn't that much depth to it and every time that it seems like the movie is going somewhere interesting with its concept, main story and characters it's doing something shallow and 'childish' again, which makes the movie go into nothing but an ultimately very simplistic and disappointing direction.

Disappointing probably also is the best way to describe this movie as. It's never really a terrible one but the way how it approaches its story and concept makes the movie nothing more but a mildly amusing one, with at times some hints of a great horror movie in it.


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A Belle for Christmas (2014) Directed by Jason Dallas

Yay! Another sappy family Christmas movie! And not just that, it features a dog in at as well! In other words, this movie has disaster written all over it but luckily the movie isn't as bad as it all sounds and looks like.

To be honest, this is some perfectly fun and clean, holiday-themed, family entertainment. It never gets too childish and ridicules (no talking dogs in this one!) to watch and the characters are all very formulaic, yet enjoyable, ones. It's easy to make fun of Dean Cain for playing in dozens of family movies like this each year and for basically playing the same role over and over again but when given the right material to work with, you just simply have to say that he's quite good and likable as an actor in movies such as this.

But more importantly; the kid actors are all quite good in the movie as well. The dialog isn't always that great but at least the kids act, behave and talk as real kids do in this movie.

My only real serious complaint with the movie would have to be the fact that the dog named Belle doesn't play much of a role in this movie. It's weird, since this definitely seems like the type of movie to focus on the dog character and the story indeed does still mostly revolve around him (or was it a she? I seriously got confused by that) but the actual dog is hardly seen in the movie and doesn't get an awful lot to do.

The story, as simple and predictable as it is at parts, still serves its purpose for most part. It's fun but at the same time also still dramatic at the right parts without ever becoming too heavy with anything. There basically is a good and effective balance between all of its many different ingredients, which all combined turns this movie into a pretty decent and entertaining one to watch for the entire family.


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Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B (2014) (TV) Directed by Bradley Walsh

This movie most definitely is up to par with all of the other Lifetime channel biopics, meaning that it's not very good though and neither very interesting to watch. Not for the Aaliyah fans, nor for the more casual viewers.

The one big problem that I always have with these type of movies is that they feel like a 'telling of events', rather than a movie that is actually trying to tell you a story that is both engaging and interesting to watch. It feels like someone printed out Aaliyah's Wikipedia page and used it as a basis for the script. These movies never feel very well researched, not very insightful and always far too basic and respectful toward its main subjects. These movies will never say or do anything that is going to make its main subject look bad in any way because the movies are far too afraid to offend anyone and get into legal trouble with anyone over it. But by doing so the movie does actually still offend; it offends those who watch this movie and get presented with something that never gets interesting, engaging, surprising or insightful to watch.

Watch this movie and you'll learn absolutely nothing about Aaliyah's career, her music or her personality and personal life. Again, this is all because the movie is just a telling events and not one that ever focuses on setting up any good characters, build up some good drama or to ever have some surprising scenes or developments in it. It's an extremely flat movie, that basically does little to nothing with its story or characters.

I wouldn't even call this a very musical movie, despite the fact that it obviously still features plenty of songs in it. It however never feels like the core of the movie and neither does Aaliyah herself. This obviously is a big problem for a movie that presents as a biopic about a singer and performer. The movie lacks a good focus as well as a real point to it. Was it made to educate you? Was it made to entertain? Was it made to celebrate Aaliyah's life and career? I really can't give you the answer to that since I genuinely have no idea.

Things just happen in this movie, without a good build up of any sort. A direct result of this is that everything Aaliyah ever does comes across as effortless and everything just happens for her and goes exactly her way. It never feels like she ever has to fight or work hard for anything to achieve things. We don't ever see her train her voice, sweat, cry, fight, write her songs, develop her sound, choreograph her dances, or anything else along those lines. It's annoying to watch since not only does it make things look easy, it also prevents the main character from ever developing and going through some interesting transformations. She never runs into any real hard times or struggles. No, it's just basically a happy movie, that's not about the rise of a popular R&B artist and what this does to an average young girl (she only was 15 when her career took off) and her direct surroundings but a movie about an average girl, who remains the same average girl all throughout, doing nothing but average things, that just happens to make her successful and popular. But while watching this movie it never becomes apparent why she ever became such a successful and popular star and why so many people still mourn her less (that's not a spoiler is it?).

Of course the production values aren't too high on this movie (after all, it's a TV movie) but that really can't serve as an excuse in this case. Besides, it absolutely is the script, more than anything else, that makes this movie such an incredibly flat, dull and extremely forgettable one. Some of the actors still try really hard but there just wasn't anything good for them to work with.


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Miss Meadows (2014) Directed by Karen Leigh Hopkins

This movie somewhat confuses me and not in a very good- or thought-provoking kind of way.

First of all; it's a movie that's filled with contrasts. On the one hand Miss Meadows seems like a well mannered, sweet and loving kind of person but on the other hand she's a stone-cold killer as well. It doesn't matter much that she only kills 'bad' people, it doesn't make her less of a killer. And on the one hand the movie is trying to be upbeat, light and fun to watch but on the other it's also dealing with some dark and more dramatic themes. I'm not saying that movies with extreme contrasts in them can't work out but in this case there isn't really ever a very good balance between the multiple different themes of the movie.

Since the movie basically is about a vigilante, people will compare it to all of the Death Wish movies of course but it's a totally different kind of movie in my opinion and if I would have to compare it to something it would be the Showtime series "Dexter". Big difference though is that people actually could sympathize with Dexter and feel involved with the story and main character. I just can't say the same thing about "Miss Meadows" as well. Her character is too much of an odd one for that. It feels like her character belongs in a totally different movie with a totally different atmosphere and tone, mostly due to the way how the character looks, talks and acts.

But there also is a different reason why I just couldn't ever get into the character and get behind her actions. It's because the character just isn't a very interesting or well written one. The movie tries very hard to put in some extra layers to her character but fact remains is that the character never goes through any interesting or emotional transformations. The main character starts off one way and by the end of it, she's still exactly the same person.

It's also a bit of a problem for the movie that it's entirely being told from the viewpoint of the main character. This has as a direct result that all of the other characters, who seemed like potentially interesting ones, remain terribly underdeveloped and in some cases also definitely underused.

Not trying to sound too harsh about this movie but it feels like one big missed opportunity really. This movie very easily could have worked out as a much better one, with only a few minor changes and additions to it. Instead now, the movie misses the depth to work out as an engaging movie. I feel that somewhere in all of it. the movie was really trying to say- and do something thought-provoking and original but in the end, none of it came through as such. The story actually mostly comes across as flat one instead, that also relies far too much on bad clich├ęs and extreme stereotypes (priests like young boys, men are rapists and ex-cons are all evil crooks who can't better their lives).

Certain elements of the movie feel rushed and poorly developed, such as the romantic angle for instance. It seems like an interesting plot development; a vigilante falling in love with the police sheriff who's in charge of investigating the murders she has committed but there actually is absolutely never anything interesting, suspenseful or surprising about any of the romance. As a matter of fact; most things in this movie just happen and develop without a good build up. It all has as a result that there never is a suspenseful moment in the movie, never a surprising enough plot twist and never a powerful enough dramatic moment neither.

And speaking of rushed things...the final 20 minutes of the movie were absolutely horrible in my opinion. It was like the movie was desperately searching for a way for the movie to end and for it to end with a 'bang' but again; it all feels far too poorly developed to work out as anything engaging or suspenseful, also not helped by some absolutely awful and rushed editing.

On a more positive note; even though I didn't really liked her character, Katie Holmes' acting is really excellent and I wouldn't at all be surprised if she won some awards for it.

The movie seemed to have some good ideas in it and it definitely showed plenty of potential but none of it comes together well enough.


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Ardennes Fury (2014) Directed by Joseph J. Lawson

Well, it's a movie by The Asylum, so you should know what that means by now. It means that you are going to get a cheap knock off of a big blockbuster movie that's about to come out or has just come out. In this case, the 'lucky' victim is the WW II movie "Fury". Does this movie even have anything in common with the Brad Pitt movie? Well there are tanks in it...

But in all honesty, there definitely are far more worse cheap WW II action-flicks out there and you can definitely take my word for that. Not saying that this movie is much good but it at least isn't quite as bad and laughable as I expected it to be.

The 'positive' thing I can say about this movie is that it at least isn't following a story. Not a very solid, original or well thought out story but a story nevertheless. It doesn't dwell too much on anything and there are no distractions in the movie its story, which potentially so very easily could had turned it into an unpleasant and hard to follow mess. It's sticking to its very basic and straightforward story all throughout, which also means that there luckily is never really a slow moment in it and the movie never turns into a boring one, despite the fact that there really isn't an awful lot happening in it.

But sure, it's definitely true as well that there are far more negatives than positives about this movie. The acting for instance is absolutely terrible, especially from the actors who play the bad guys (yes, I mean the Nazi's). It also is the kind of movie in which you never really get to know any of the characters and you most likely won't be able to tell them apart or remember any of their names.

It's a movie that's going for action and entertainment, instead of realism, which is fine of course but the problem with the movie is that this is a modern movie set during WW II, which means that it's still having to rely on having authentic looking sets, costumes and props in it, for it to work out as an actual WW II movie. But it's all too obvious, from the start on already, that the movie clearly doesn't have the budget to ever let anything look authentic or even realistic enough. The CGI effects are especially horrible and unfortunately 80% of all of the action sequences use some form of CGI in them. But at the same time I still have to admit that I liked the locations they shot at, which in fact felt authentic. As far as I;m able to find out, the movie was entirely shot in Alabama, USA but it definitely looks and feels like it got filmed in Belgium or France to me.

It's not a very subtle, clever, convincing, spectacular or engaging movie to watch and definitely one you should avoid but there definitely are far more worse knockoffs by The Asylum- and other cheap low budget war movies to watch, out there. It's the type of movie that I would have loved to have made with a bunch of friends back when I was 16 but one that I would have never shown to the rest of the world, out of embarrassment for it.


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The Three Dogateers (2014) Directed by Jesse Baget

There never can be enough talking animal movies...on second thought; yes, there definitely can be. Every new talking animal movie that comes out nowadays seems to be one too many, not just because they are cheap and horrible to watch but also because they lack the spark of true imagination, magic and creativity that the early genre movies still had in them, such as of course for instance the king of all modern talking animal movies "Babe".

When watching these type of family- and kids oriented movies, I always attempt to reconnect with my inner child and ask myself; would I enjoy and like watching this movie if I were a young kid? The answer to that in this case would have to be; NO! Absolutely not. The adventurous element in the story isn't 'big' enough, the characters not likable enough (the voice acting really got on my nerves after a while), the comedy far too predictable and the dialog far too lame. It seems that sometimes film-makers think that they are able to get away with just about anything when it comes down to making movies for kids. But even kids, no matter how young and oblivious they are, have standards and you can't expect them to go along with just about everything.

The overall movie feels rushed, cheap (the 'effects' are all horrible) and poorly thought out. The story is about as basic as it can get and there is absolutely nothing about this movie that makes it stand out from any other talking animal movies, featuring cute looking dogs in them. It's really disappointing to see how the movie is lacking any form of true creativity and doesn't ever take any of its 'fantasy' elements far enough. This of course very easily still could have a cute and somewhat entertaining movie to watch, if only the story would have been a tad bit more original and surprising. It at the very least would have made things more bearable to watch but after only 15 minutes in, I was waiting for the movie to end already and the movie did absolutely nothing to ever change this. On the contrary actually.

'Good' thing about these type of movies always is that no one involved with it ever seems to believe that they are making anything actually good. They know very well what they are involved with, so they simply decide to go and have some fun with it. It provides the movie with some decently entertaining moments and a pleasant, fun, light atmosphere but it's just really too bad the story, jokes or any of the characters are entertaining or good as well.

If dogs running through parking lots, biting guards in the balls, getting a trouble with a dogcatcher, jumping through widows and drive cars around sounds appealing and entertaining to you, then by all means, watch this movie. If you expect something a little bit more creative and surprising, to also get you into the Christmas spirit (yes, it's a Christmas movie as well), then you definitely should go and watch something else instead.


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Reclaim (2014) Directed by Alan White

In short; this is not a bad movie but it ain't exactly a great one either. There is enough in it to call this movie a decent and original enough one but at the same time, it really isn't ever doing anything special or surprising as well.

Within its genre this movie really does work out as a fresh and original one. It found some new interesting angles to the whole kidnapping/disappearance of a person, in a strange foreign country, thriller sub-genre but by saying that the movie appears to be original with its story I'm really not saying that the movie itself works out as a very surprising or original one as well. No, the movie itself still remains nothing more but an incredibly ordinary and flat one, when it comes down to its emotions and tension.

It's not a thriller with any good tension. It's not a thriller with any good surprises and it's not really a thriller with any good action or other entertaining elements in it either. But is it a bad thriller as well? I really don't think so. Sure, it would be crazy for you to run over to the cinema to see this movie but once you catch it late on TV or find it laying in a bargain bin somewhere you most likely wont regret watching this movie or picking it up for cheap. It's doing all of the usual and formulaic stuff that you would expect to see in a movie like this but it's luckily doing most of it well. It absolutely never is a terrible or too far fetched and ridicules movie to watch and you most likely won't feel bored while watching it.

It truly is an average movie to watch, in just about every way imaginable. The movie is never shot, directed or acted out very well but still everything about it remains competent enough. It's obvious that this movie wasn't the most expensive one to make and especially when you are taking that into consideration you just have to conclude that this movie really isn't a bad one at all.

Foremost reason why this movie remains a mostly flat one, in terms of emotions, drama, suspense and other engaging elements is the acting. The characters really aren't all that interesting and the acting truly feels lacking at parts. Sure, John Cusack is always still good and fun enough to watch in these sort of roles but that at the same time is also the problem with it; he has played these type of roles over and over again already in the past few years and his role in this movie isn't exactly among the most memorable or best ones. Not entirely his fault of course. The script just doesn't ever offer anything out of the ordinary for him to do and work with.

It's not a bad movie, just not a very solid or memorable one as well.


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Blended (2014) Directed by Frank Coraci

Wasn't expecting much from this movie but it turned out to be way worse than I had ever anticipated!

It's of course an absolute requirement for a comedy to be funny and feature some good creative jokes and entertaining moments in it. I really can't say that this movie features any of that but that's only part of the reason why it works out as such an incredibly weak and even annoying movie.

Thing with this movie is that they obviously were going for a sweet and cute sort of approach with its story lines, different characters and comedy. It basically in essence is a movie about family and about finding love when you maybe aren't really expecting it or looking for it. It makes this a romantic comedy for the whole family but I wish I could say that I can recommend this movie to the whole family as well. At first sight the movie seems to have all of the right ingredients in it to turn this movie into a good, cute and fun one but the problem however is that the director and writers obviously had no idea how to use any of the ingredients to help to turn this into an actually good and cute enough comedy to watch.

it simply comes down to it that this movie is neither a cute and funny one to watch, at all. It fails miserably, which in my opinion still is mostly due to the forced romance in the movie. It truly is a big problem for the movie that there is absolutely no chemistry between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in this movie. Nothing about the romance feels natural or convincing and there is no reason for their two characters to fall in love with each other. They have absolutely nothing in common with each other and I just don't get what is supposed to be the attraction. It seems that the film-makers themselves realized this as well, which forced them to throw in a scene in which the two characters both simultaneously order some black coffee, after which they look at each other with a look of; 'Wow, we have so much in common with each other! We definitely should be together.' It's just one of those forced things that neither works out as effective or cute but rather as something stupid and unnatural instead.

It also truly bothered and annoyed me that this movie was partly supposed to take place in South Africa. No, nothing against South Africa of course but I definitely have something against the way the country gets depicted in this movie. But aside from that, there in my opinion also was absolutely no reason for this movie to take place in South Africa in the first place. It adds absolutely nothing to neither the story or atmosphere of the movie and most of the time it doesn't even feels like the movie is taking place in Africa in the first place. Now, could be wrong of course but to me it seemed like most of the scenes involving the Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler and other main characters were filmed in a studio or somewhere else outside in the good old US of A instead. All of the exteriors shots featuring elephants, rhinos, other wildlife, the natural environments and African sunsets feel cut in and they never appear in a scene together, alongside with any of the characters. But like I said, it also incredibly annoyed me how the country got depicted. There's nothing but tourist resorts and all of the locals only live to entertain and serve the wealthy tourists and are otherwise completely oblivious and stupid individuals, at least according to this movie. This movie in no way feels like it's actually taking place in South Africa and there is absolutely nothing or anybody in it that resembles South Africa or an actual South African. Now, I'm obviously not South African but if I would have been I most likely would have felt terribly offended by this movie.

There in my opinion also are only an handful of comedies that are 'allowed' to be 2 hours long. Not this one though obviously. And I really don't get why it's nearly 2 hours long either. It's not like it features a complicated story, with multiple different story lines and tons of characters in it. It's a very basic romantic comedy, with also a very basic story, that so easily could have been told in 90 minutes or less. It of course also would have prevented the movie from turning into a tiresome and repetitive one.

It's a fast paced- but not a very well paced movie, that keeps firing jokes at you. This also has as a result that the movie on some rare occasions does still manage to work out as a funny one. As much as I disliked watching this movie I still have to admit that I laughed during it as well. I for instance still enjoyed the parts in which Adam Sandler's daughters got mistaken for boys and I also have to admit that while watching it I felt confused as well. I had no idea whether or not his daughters were played by boys or girls, so kudos to the makeup- and costume department for that.

But really, other than that, I often felt puzzled by how incredibly ineffective this movie was as both a romantic-comedy and just movie in general. Bad storytelling, weak writing, poor characters and absolutely no chemistry between its two leads makes this one turd of a movie and quite honestly one of the worst comedies that I have seen in awhile. And I'm not even an Adam Sandler hater...


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This week's movie reviews - Week #33

All of this week's new movie reviews

The Expendables 3 (2014)

Can't say I remember all that much about any of the previous two The Expendables movies but I do remember that neither of them was as good or entertaining as it potentially so easily could have been. Sadly the same could be said about this third series installment. though at the same time I also still have to admit that I absolutely didn't hate watching this movie. Read more>

Life After Beth (2014)

Getting a movie like this right actually is incredibly difficult. You need to find a right balance between all of the different comedy, drama and horror elements in order for the movie to work out as an effective. And well, they definitely tried but no, they never managed to find a good and right balance in my opinion. Read more>


Life After Beth (2014) Directed by Jeff Baena

Getting a movie like this right actually is incredibly difficult. You need to find a right balance between all of the different comedy, drama and horror elements in order for the movie to work out as an effective. And well, they definitely tried but no, they never managed to find a good and right balance in my opinion.

And that's really the foremost with this movie. Because it tries to blend multiple different genres in with each other the movie just never becomes effective enough as a drama, not funny enough for a comedy and definitely never scary enough for a convincing horror/zombie movie. Every time that the drama starts to develop something goofy and unlikely happens in the story, which ruins the drama again and every time that the movie starts to develop into something genuinely funny, the drama kicks in again which again takes out most of the fun out of the movie.

It's not just the mixture of things but also the story itself is definitely a lacking one in my opinion. It just seems to lack a good point and it just meanders on, which was done very deliberately, since this movie is obviously trying to be as 'small', simplistic and straightforward as possible but that in this case unfortunately also means that there isn't an awful lot of depth to anything. It never becomes an heartfelt or cute enough movie and it never works out as an engaging enough one, which is mainly due to its main premise in my opinion.

The movie of course features a totally ridicules main premise but the movie itself actually approaches most things in a very grounded and realistic way, which often is in too big contrast with its silly story and unlikely events. The movie is a mostly subtle one with its storytelling and characters yet all of the comedy is terribly over-the-top.

It maybe sounds like I absolute hate this movie but that really isn't the case though. Thing about it just is that it isn't ever fully working out in the way that it was obviously supposed to. I still got some enjoyment out of the movie and there also still are some things about it that I respect and truly admire.

One of those things definitely is the acting. I especially liked Aubrey Plaza's and John C. Reilly's performances and it's good to see how all of the actors understood what type of movie they were in. Most of their performances are goofy yet restrained and played straight at the same time as well. It's not an easy thing to do and some actors would have taken things over-the-top instead but not most of the actors who were involved with this movie though. The performances, generally speaking, are pretty good and definitely suit the style and approach of the movie.

I admire the attempt and it's absolutely not a bad movie to watch but it's not as great and unique as it potentially could have been ant it's also not a movie that I would wholeheartedly recommend to just everyone.


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The Expendables 3 (2014) Directed by Patrick Hughes

Can't say I remember all that much about any of the previous two The Expendables movies but I do remember that neither of them was as good or entertaining as it potentially so easily could have been. Sadly the same could be said about this third series installment. though at the same time I also still have to admit that I absolutely didn't hate watching this movie.

It's weird, all of the right ingredients always seem to be there in all of the The Expendables movies, yet they just can't seem to manage to work out as both impressive and memorable action flicks. I actually surprisingly liked "The Expendables 2" but yet I still can't remember an awful lot about it. I remember Jean-Claude Van Damme being in it as the villain and doing some kick-ass moves and I do remember Chuck Norris having an awesome cameo but I just can't remember a thing of the story but more importantly, nothing of the action neither. It's disappointing when a big budget action movie, with so many stars and big names in it, fails to make much of an impression as an action movie.

Not saying that the action is bad in this movie, it's actually shot pretty well and director Patrick Hughes definitely seems like a good and right choice for the "The Raid" remake, which he already is attached to but thing that is lacking from this movie are any memorable action set pieces. Instead of featuring 2 or 3 big, long and impressive action set pieces in it, the movie is featuring a whole bunch of smaller ones, that are all rapidly following each other, which is all nothing that we haven't seen done before in any other movies. Sure, it's entertaining to watch but it's absolutely never anything truly impressive or memorable as well.

Another obvious problem with this movie is of course the story. Now, it seems straightforward enough but it's actually still confusing to follow, since too often I had absolutely no idea what was going on in it. I for instance still don't know or understand what the Mel Gibson character, who is the main villain of this movie, wanted or why the Sylvester Stallone character felt the need to form a new team. So that more action stars could become part of the franchise of course but it just doesn't ever makes much sense in the context of the movie. And do the new characters bring anything new and fresh to the table? Not really. When a movie features about 20 different characters in it there of course isn't going to be an awful lot of time and space for any proper character development. Having said that, some of the new actors still are a very welcome addition. Not because of the characters they play but simply because of their acting. Let's face it, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Randy Couture, etcetera, are all awesome action movie stars but they just aren't the best actors around as well. This movie however also does feature the likes of Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Kelsey Grammar and Antonio Banderas, who obviously all are some far better and more skilled actors, who also definitely manage to give the movie something extra.

I simply have to say that despite everything I still had a good time watching this movie but that in this case isn't saying an awful lot about its quality. It's fast paced and even when there isn't anything going on in the story it never feels like a bad or annoying movie to watch but I really do wish that they would work a bit harder and longer on the script next time (since surely there will be more The Expendables movies) and focus more on getting 2 or 3 big action sequences right, instead of trying to constantly feature smaller action set pieces in it, all throughout.


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