Raiders of the Lost Shark (2014) Directed by Scott Patrick

Of course the only reason why anyone would ever want to see this movie is because of its title and cover. You know it's going to be bad but yet you can't help but feel intrigued at the same time. And yes, it's definitely as bad as you would expect it to be and no, it's not 1% as fun or awesome as its title or cover suggests it is.

It's an amateur film, as simple as that. It got made with no real money or talents involved. It's a cheap looking film, with bad acting, terrible dialog and a script that you could barely even call a script at all. But luckily the movie knows what it is and it isn't taking itself very seriously neither. It's never trying to be a clever or realistic but instead one that's silly and fun to watch. In a way it works but I just really can't call the movie a good one as well. It's just a too poorly made movie for that.

The movie is following a whole bunch of different story lines and characters but to be frank, I had no idea what was going on in this movie. I had no idea what each character was up to, or what even his/her name was. I also still have absolutely no idea where the shark came from and why he kills people in shallow water in lakes. It's also crazy how the shark is supposed to be a mega-sized one, yet he (or she?) looks no bigger than an ordinary great white shark. And why does he fly exactly? I just really don't know and it shows you how confusing and nonsensical this movie gets to watch at points.

And while the movie is only 70 minutes short, it's pretty obvious that the film-makers were running out of ideas pretty early on already. All that basically happens in this movie is that one or two people keep going into the water and end up getting eaten by the shark. Not much else is happening really and it's annoying how scenes feel stretched out and most of the time utterly pointless as well. The movie is filled with needless character, pieces of dialog and scenes that just don't add anything to the story at all.

It's a cheap looking film, which does not only shows with the special effects but also look- and sound quality in general. It's as if they couldn't even afford a tripod at times and shot all of the scenes from the hip, without a real plan. 'We'll fix it in post-production' must have been one of the catchphrases often used by director Scott Patrick while shooting the movie.

I'm sure that the film-makers were having plenty of fun while making this movie and I'm also sure that to them this still remains a very fun movie to watch but for everyone else it's just a cheap, very amateurish movie, without any real creativity or good and memorable moments in it.


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Bad Asses on the Bayou (2015) Directed by Craig Moss

The 'Bad Asses' series is a bit of a weird one for me. I couldn't stand the first movie, while I surprisingly enough really enjoyed the second one. This third movie is a bit in between. It's an enjoyable enough movie to watch but at the same time it's also far from a very good one.

Aren't Danny Trejo and Danny Glover getting a bit too old for this sh!t? Well, as awesome and as physically strong looking as Danny Trejo is (he could still kick my ass), it isn't exactly very convincing when he beats down guys twice his size and half his age. And Danny Glover...well, Danny Glover is just Danny Glover. No, it really makes most of the action and fight scenes in this movie far from convincing ones, as well as the concept of the movie in general, in which Trejo and Glover play vigilantes, who won't back down for anyone.

But luckily "Bad Asses on the Bayou" and the previous two Bad Ass movies aren't ones that take itself too serious. As a matter of fact, they are more comedies than straightforward action flicks really, which is a good thing but at the same time also something the movie is struggling with. The movie struggles at times to find a right balance between the action, drama and comedy. At times the action works, at others it really doesn't because it's either something too ridicules or something totally unconvincing. At times the comedy works, at others it really doesn't because it comes at an inappropriate moment in the movie and the timing is totally off. The movie is like that, all throughout really. It's filled with some good and fun moments but also with some absolutely terrible ones. A real mixed bag.

The story, as you would expect, is a very simple and straightforward one. It's such a straightforward and simplistic one that the movie itself seems to forget about its own story at times. It actually makes the movie somewhat confusing to watch in parts, when it goes all over the place and totally overboard with its story and characters. I'll admit that at times I couldn't even understand anymore what was going on and what the characters were trying to do. It doesn't always matters to be honest, since the movie still remains a perfectly enjoyable to watch during those moments but it of course doesn't make it a very good movie as well.

The story as well as the storytelling is lacking and structurally and technically there is a whole lot wrong with this movie, that feels like a low-budget action movie that got turned into a comedy to conceal the fact that it's a low-budget one. But really, I have seen worse. Far worse! (Such as for instance the first "Bad Ass" movie.) The movie as it remains a perfectly fun one. It isn't trying to be anything brilliant, serious or groundbreaking and it's definitely a movie you could have a good and fun time with, if you're in the mood for something fun, light and simple...and short. It's only 85 minutes long, credits included.

It also seems like there is a part 4 coming soon, so there is no stopping the 'odd couple' Trejo and Glover! I'm definitely interested in seeing a fourth movie though I know very well that the chances of it being a great movie are very slim.


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The Dog Who Saved Summer (2015) Directed by Sean Olson

Man, can't a dog ever get a break? After saving Easter, saving the holidays (whatever that means), saving Halloween, saving the Christmas vacation, saving Christmas itself, Zeus the dog is back again to save the day again. Or not just a day this time but the summer as a whole! Don't even ask how or why, since I honestly don't know but luckily that hardly really matters in this case!

First of all, no the title of the movie doesn't make much sense in the context of the movie but hey, it's at least of course in tone with the previous movies in the series. Sure, the movie takes place during the summer time but that hardly seems relevant to anything and Zeus the dog is constantly busy doing a whole bunch of stuff, except with actually 'saving' the summer. This is not any criticism toward the movie itself of course but it shows you how this movie isn't really too concerned or busy with trying to make sense, or with taking things too seriously. And I actually mean this as something positive in this particular case. After all, here we have a movie about a talking dog! The more you try to make sense of things, the less likely it's going to be that it shall work out as a very convincing or enjoyable movie to watch.

To be honest, I'm pretty fed up with talking animal movies by now. Most of them aren't much good but what's even worse is that they aren't even trying to be remotely original or creative with anything. Most of them keep relying on the same clichés over and over again. They are lazy movies, which perhaps is the best way to describe them as. But then again, these movies also aren't made for me of course. They are obviously catered toward very young children but that however doesn't mean that the movies should be allowed to get away with everything. They still need to be creative and take their audience as serious as possible, by offering them plenty of surprises, entertainment, without constantly talking down to the young kids watching it and by showing its viewers how some serious time and effort went into the making of the movie. And whether it's something it's fully aware of or not, this is something "The Dog Who Saved Summer" does quite well all.

As straightforward and as simple as the movie of course is, there is plenty of creativity in it. There actually constantly is a whole bunch of stuff happening at the same time, which maybe isn't always a good thing for the movie but it at least also ensures that the movie never turns into an either dull or tiresome one. It isn't a repetitive movie, or one that recycles many of the old talking animal movie's jokes and clichés. There are multiple different story lines, featuring different characters, that don't always work out together very well or feel very organic but it does give the movie a good pace and ensures that there is plenty of variety in it.

I'll admit though, that the movie tends to be a bit confusing to watch at times, as weird as that might seem to say about a simplistic children's movie. It's because of the reason that not all story lines feel connected to each other and I'll even bet that some of the actors never even met any of the other ones while shooting this movie. It's as if some of them act in totally different and individual movies, that unfortunately never blend in effectively enough with each other. The actors all still look like they were having a lot of fun doing this movie and they don't just act and walk around like it's just another paycheck for them, which makes up for a lot!

It's definitely true that the movie lacks a good main focus at times though. Is it a movie about Zeus? Is it a movie about the Bannister's? Is it a movie in which Zeus is trying to stop the criminals? Is it a movie about Zeus winning a contest? I can't really tell you and the simple answer is that it's a about a bit of everything, without unfortunately lacking one good and solid main plot line, that's constantly present and an important element throughout the entire movie. This simply could have been achieved by focusing on Zeus his owners, the Bannister's, more often but for some reason their story and the characters get pushed to the background this time.

Will any of this matter to the kids watching it? I'm sure that to some extend it will but of course for most part it really isn't going to bother them. They'll surely enjoy the movie for what is and laugh at the gags and almost cartoon like comedy of the movie and feel happy while looking at the cute looking dogs, doing cute little dog things. It besides is a very bright, positive, colorful and happy little film, that never gets tense or scary in any way. It makes this perfectly light entertainment for the young kids and their parents, who definitely should be able to enjoy this movie as well.

It's some simple, harmless, clean and fairly well made fun, that you shouldn't over-analyze or be too critical toward. After all, it entertains and brings some fun and joy into your living room, which is all that really matters with these type of movies.


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Predator Dark Ages (2015) Directed by James Bushe

Personally, I love the idea of blending different genres in with each other. Zombies and westerns, horror and WW II flicks, science-fiction and western, thriller and fantasy, I love it! It's probably because it's one of the few remaining ways you can truly be creative and original with something nowadays. There also are no boundaries or limitations to what you can do, since you're basically exploring new territories with your movie and you can let your own fantasy run free as a writer and director. "Predator Dark Ages" also is such a movie, that places the well known Predator character into a medieval setting and age.

"Predator Dark Ages" is a short fan film but don't let that scare you off. It's made with lots of skill and professionalism and yes, of course it's also way better than any of the Alien vs. Predator movies. That's not much of a compliment of course so let me praise it other ways instead; The movie is a genuinely good looking one and I don't mean good looking for an amateur movie, I mean good looking for a movie in general. Sound, sets, costumes, camera-work, the special effects, it's all topnotch.

The story itself; Well, you know, there only is so much you can do with the concept of having an alien predator hunting down people, especially when your movie only is 25 minutes short. It does some good things with its story but at the same time the story also feels somewhat lazy at times. With this I mean that some things happen too conveniently and the movie also tries to mimic some scenes from the original 1987 "Predator" movie once or twice too often. This actually is the same thing one of the Alien vs. Predator movies, "AVPR: Aliens vs Predator - Requiem", did wrong. It tried to be exactly like an Alien and Predator by mimicking scenes, instead of coming up with anything original. Luckily this movie does still have plenty of originality to offer as well but I still do feel that it could have tried a bit harder at parts.

The thing I liked about the story is how it successfully managed to create a good atmosphere and introduce you to its characters, in just a very short amount of time. Without saying or explaining too much to you, you feel like you know the characters and get what they are all about, sometimes only based on how they look or on how they handle certain situations.

Still, the buildup feels a bit lacking at times. I mean, this really is far from the most tense movies that I have ever seen, despite featuring the right type of concept for it. It's mostly due to the running time of the movie. When you only have 25 minutes to tell a story with you have to rush through things at times and skip certain elements, I get that but still, it definitely can be done. For instance; wouldn't it have been better if the movie revealed its Predator much later into the movie? That way it could have worked longer and more effectively on its suspense and mystery, instead of getting right into the action? Just thinking out loud here.

That brings me to another 'problem' I had with this movie; The Predator isn't really always behaving like a true Predator in my opinion (Like I'm actually an expert on Predators). It's almost as if he wants to be seen and wants to give his opponent a change at catching and killing him. Also his mask...out of all of the things that are in the movie, the mask is the only thing that's somewhat fake looking. It maybe sounds nitpicky but sometimes you can only get nitpicky with a short that otherwise does most things right and is a very good and entertaining one to watch, all throughout.

And now that we are nitpicking: The acting is very good and so is most of the dialog but I have to say that i at times felt disappointed with the reactions by the actors at times. They don't really ever seem scared, surprised or shocked when the Predator starts to appear and kill their friends. You could say that this is because they are tough and very manly (even the girl character is very manly like) knights but in the original "Predator" movie even the hardest, toughest and most manly commandos freaked out when the Predator appeared, so that can't be an excuse.

But really, all criticism aside, I applaud this movie for being as good as it is. It truly is a wonderful accomplishment by everyone involved. It maybe isn't always the most effective or most original movie you could watch, it's still a very creative one as well at the same time, that successfully brings an already well known movie villain into a new world and time period.


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San Andreas Quake (2015) Directed by John Baumgartner

Yep, this is a disaster movie alright. Get it? Ha!

Oh, how I love watching these bad, silly, terrible, cheap knockoffs done by The Asylum. No, of course "San Andreas Quake" isn't a good movie and I can't even call if a fun or very entertaining one but there is always something very fascinating about watching a quickly made, cheap and poorly done movie, that has absolutely nothing original- or even remotely decent to offer.

It's obvious this movie was quickly made to cash in on the success of "San Andreas" and to fool people into thinking that both are the same movie. A tactic often used by The Asylum and it's probably the only reason why they are still around and are able to make tons of movies each year, fore the quality of their movies absolutely never, in no way, justifies the company's existence and 'populairity'.

All disaster flicks are of course more or less the same and they often follow the same patterns and feature the same sort of clichés in them. This movie is no different in that regard but what is worse is that the movie isn't even trying to be somewhat surprising with its story or characters. All characters basically are such big stereotypes that you already know in advance what's going to happen to them in the story. As a matter of fact, despite featuring many of the usual disaster movie clichés, it's a movie that never really manages to feel like a true disaster flick as well.

As you would have guessed already, this movie features a whole bunch of earthquakes in it, however there never is any sense of chaos, panic and destruction in the movie. Every time a quake hits the camera starts shaking and we get to see some glass shatter but we never get to see any real destruction. Maybe this actually is a good thing as well, since if the movie would have wanted to show more destruction it would have meant that it would have to feature more CGI in it, which is one of the things that's absolutely appalling about the movie.

The special effects are all simply horrible and it's the type of stuff everybody with a normal family computer is able to create nowadays. Bad CGI is always a big distraction but in this case it's not just bad CGI, it's absolutely awful CGI. Most random and the most awful moment of the movie is when out of nowhere some random CGI hippos appear and start to attack our 'heroes'. Yeah, don't even ask...

Perhaps the only thing that matches the movie its poor CGI is the acting. My goodness, was that awful! Sure, it's true that the actors didn't had a very good script to work with and most of their lines were just horrible but somehow I still don't believe that any of the actors in this movie are capable of acting any better, in any other random movie and type of role. I'm still not really sure what's worse; The acting, the CGI or the story.

The story is kept far too simple throughout the entire movie, which ensures that it also remains a predictable one. It's of course also far from a very convincing movie, with silly explanations and technologies. The main character for instance is constantly running around clinging on to her iPad, which helps her to predict exactly when and where the next big quake is going to hit and how big it's going to be. I don't know what app she's using but it sure looks need and helpful! Too bad it doesn't look or works out very convincing as well for the movie.

One of the other reasons why there never is any sense of panic or danger is because the movie only focuses on just an handful of characters, who also are all related to each other, at only just an handful of different locations. There are no mass scenes and the streets and buildings throughout the movie all look dead.

Now, "San Andreas" doesn't look like a very good movie to me but I still dare to say (without having seen that movie yet) that you're way better off watching that one, rather than this cheap, nonsensical and poorly made knockoff, from the boys and girls at The Asylum.


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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 clichés 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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