Watch This Not That

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Olympus Has Fallen

olympus-has-fallen-gerard-butler-aaron-eckhartLast year two White House terrorist movies were released.  As far as quality movies go, Olympus Has Fallen was able to combine humor, action and familial love effortlessly. Brining in a high profile cast, the movie had stronger characters brought to life by a talented cast. Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Ashley Judd, Angela Basset, and to round things out Morgan Freeman gave life to the terrorist crisis. Director Antoine Fugua was able to focus on the action while mixing in emotions and humor without losing sight of the film’s plot.  Exciting, engaging, and entertaining Olympus Has Fallen has gotten a sequel to take place in London. Here’s hoping the team can recreate that same style.

 

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White House Down

816rBuBLsjL._SL1500_While it had a bigger gross at the box office (and a way bigger budget), White House Down falls short at fulfilling its scope in an emotional and exciting way. One of the biggest problems is that Channing Tatum is not a good actor. He’s good looking (I’d watch him in Magic Mike all day long) but he is not a quality actor. The movie also meanders along and it’s quite sure where it is going and when to end.  It’s heavy on the FX and that is what really steals the show. Like so many Roland Emmerich movies, this one looks good but fails at being a quality film.

 

 

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300

300-Rise-of-an-Empire_zpsf2428956_1398972388300 took a graphic novel and made an inspiring underdog story and entertaining film. It didn’t focuses on gore, and Zack Snyder gave it a distinctive color palate to help mimic the look of a graphic novel. Mostly unknown Gerard Butler showed us he could be an action hero and Olympus Has Fallen continues to show that. Rounded out with Lena Headey and Dominic West, the movie’s cast captures the emotion of the characters without being sappy.  Well thought out and smart, the film stands on its own merits—even if it isn’t very factual.

 

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300: Rise of an Empire

300-rise-of-an-empire-movie-poster-3The problem with this sequel is that it is a spectacle movie. Rise of an Empire is not about the story, it’s not about the character; it’s about getting your attention with blood, gore and nudity.  Director Noam Murro tries to outdo himself adding in special filtering techniques and using slow motion way too often. Unlike the first film, it’s not a story of an underdog to inspire the ages. It just wants to push the envelope. Sorry it takes more than Eva Green’s breasts to entertain me.

Watch This Not That- Oscar Leading Man Edition

Leonardo DiCaprio

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11169254_800Shutter Island

DiCaprio is amazing in The Wolf of Wall street no doubt.  He does well with the humor and cockiness, but to see him really delve into the human psyche watch Shutter Island. Based and well adapted from Dennis Lahane’s novel, this haunting movie has a Sixth Sense ending so it will take two viewing to truly understand what a great job the cast and crew did with the material. Dicaprio never falters easily moving his character from situation to situation. The movie would have suffered with a lesser cast, but DiCaprio leads marvelous ensembles through the dark world of mental health.

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Titanic_posterTitanic

We’ve all seen it. We all know its crap. Like Pearl Harbor, it’s not truly about the actual historical event that took place. Instead, it’s cliché movie romance a sucky ending. The whole movie is totally unbelievable. While it was great start for a young Leo on the big screen, it shouldn’t be remembered fondly.

Mads Mikkelsen

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Jagten-The-Hunt-posterJagten (The Hunt)

This Foreign Language Nominee is emotionally powerful, even if the ending is a bit obtuse.  Mikkelsen plays Lucas, a kindergarten teacher who is falsely accused of sexual abusing his students. The plot is well thought out and viewers see the consequences on the accusations on not just Lucas but on several of the key players. Mikkelsen plays no one stereotype blending together a variety of emotions and feeling. He shows how deeply complex the situation is and how society actually reacts to even the allegations of abuse. The movie is moving and you easily side with Lucas from the beginning.

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tumblr_m8g6kizSKC1r04lg2o1_500Casino Royale

As Far as Daniel Craig’s James Bond movies goes, this is the best one in the lineup. This was probably the first time most American ever saw Milkklensen. While many are now familiar with him as the creepy Hannibal, this movie really proved that he was a great villain. But it only gave you that one side to his acting ability. Plus, whoever truly cheers for the Bond villain?

Bradley Cooper

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MV5BMTM2MTI5NzA3MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODExNTc0OA@@__V1_SX214_Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook was all anyone could talk about last year and with good reason. The movie is both funny and serious and worked well with both aspects. Cooper gave the performance of a lifetime with a relatable protagonist with bi-polar disorder. From subtle tics to full blown outburst, Cooper managed each with ease and often it was painful to watch his character go through these emotions. The empathy he made us feel for his character was powerful.

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MV5BNjkxMTc0MDc4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODUyNTI1MDE@__V1_SX214_American Hustle

Sure, Cooper easily glides into the role of the overly ambitious FBI agent with a perm. But it lacked the nuance of those as his character in Silver Linings. While it easy to argue that the issue is the character itself is the problem, it does not let Cooper shine. His character is just one of many characters where the roles are reversed. We are supposed to feel sorry for the bad guys and hate the good guys. But the movie doesn’t manage to do that, and Cooper’s character is an overblown hardass.

Watch This Not That Halloween Edition

John Carpenter Film

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The Ward

A fabulously spun psychological thriller places Amber Heard in a haunted mental ward. Tight writing and plot twists keep you guessing the entire time through out this movie. More than anything, the final moments of the movie are the scariest and will be carried around with you for days.

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Vampires

I hated this movie. It joins the ranks of B-movies every where. There was gratuitous gore, violence, cussing and nudity. It was a spectacle instead of a story. Anyone wanting  a no holds bar horror movie of flesh and rampage would do well for this, but other viewers should beware.

Stan Winston Studio Creature Fest

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Wrong Turn

A throwback to ‘70s horror films, Wrong Turn uses tension and release in tandem to scare the pants of the viewers. The Stan Winston Studio creatures are grotesque in bred humans and terrifying in their own right. Add in talented young actors (Eliza Dushku, Desmond Harrington), and it’s a horror film worth watching.

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Darkness Falls

This uninspired horror movies is neither good nor bad. It fails to draw viewers into their world. The evil tooth fairy is very frightening in look but due to the lack of excitement in the story, her psychological fear is minimal. Darkness Falls lacks the urgency, character relation, and tension needed to a good horror movie.

Clive Barker’s Book of Blood Adaptation

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Dread

One of my friends calls Dread the “best worst movie ever.” The plot is so psychologically twisting that the terror lies more in the decisions of the killer instead of his actions. I dare you to look at a steak the same way ever again. Staring Jackson Rathbone and Shaun Evans, the film looks into the idea of fear and comes to the conclusion the only way to get over your fear is to face it.

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Midnight Meat Train

I love Bradley Cooper. I love Leslie Bibb. I love Peter Jacobson. I hate this movie. One of Barker’s more odd tales about beings that devour humans, Midnight Meat Train is full of blood and gore and it down right depressing. The short story is actually better, minimal zing many of the things that make the movie so bad. Like men with hammers on a train? Like creatures from the center of the earth that need sacrifices? Watch this movie.

Classic Horror Movie Remake

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The Omen

It takes handwork to keep something true to its source material. The Omen does well giving a modern twist on several scenes while keeping the spirit and the spookiness the same. Well cast actors help as well, and only Liev Schreiber could pull off the famous Gregory Peck role. While not as good as the 1976 original, the new version gave quite a spook on 6/6/06.

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Psycho

This “shot for shot” remake is horrible. Why Gus Van Sant thought this was a worthwhile project I don’t know. Why Vince Vaughn was picked to play Norma Bates is beyond me. This version gives a modernized spin adding masturbation and graphic violence where there is no need. The original 1960 version didn’t need it, so I’m not sure why the 1998 version did.