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The Uninvited


Can someone tell me what the title of The Uninvited means? I mean, I know the definition, but with regards to the movie, what is the title referring to? There is no one invited anywhere to begin with... it makes no sense.

This is the second PG-13 horror movie of the year and it's still January! Whats worse? They barely even changed the name of the first one to make the second one.

I tried to explain the plot of The Uninvited to my father, but it's virtually impossible... even having told him the ending. Don't waste your time and, especially you're money



The acting was actually OK. So was the direction. Where Notorious falls flat is in the writing. There's too much trite dialogue and way too many extraneous scenes. The movie wasn't long... but was still too long.

Being a white suburban kid while the events depicted in Notorious were actually happening, I wasn't all that aware of the details of the Hip-Hop wars of the mid 90's. I knew of the skirmish, but didn't know who were the members of the Axis of Evil and who were the members of the Coalition of the Willing. Based on the perspective of the movie, Biggie's death could have been a result of a misunderstanding between Biggie and his crew and Tupac Shakur, or the result of a fictitious bi-coastal rap rivalry propagated by Suge Knight, co-founder of Death Row Records. Biggie's murder remains unsolved and so the film remains unresolved, but since the film is from the perspective of the East Coast, it clearly depicts the West Coast rappers as the bad guys. I'd be interested to see the film from the perspective of the West Coast...

... what am I talking about?!?! I don't care about any of this.


Yeah, why not.

Inkheart has a couple of problems.

The first issue is something I never thought I'd say... Helen Mirren. What is she doing? She's fallen into the Halle Berry, Jamie Foxx, Adrian Brody trap. She won an Oscar... she may have actually won just about every award that was given out in 2006 and 2007 for her performances in Prime Suspect: The Final Act and The Queen. After that, she co-starred in National Treasure 2 and Inkheart. Normally I'd say that adding her name to the cast list raised the films property value, but whenever she acts in movies like Inkheart, she totally hams it up. She was brutally annoying in this movie.

The second problem is the running time of the movie. The adventurers in go to the place where the climax will be very early on in the movie. They then leave to do something that they could have done years earlier, and then go back to the place from where they had just left. The movie could have been 30 minutes shorter and it wouldn't have lost anything at all.

Thankfully, Brendan Fraser never utters the phrases "Here we go again", "Everybody hold on!!!", or "I hate mummies". He was actually fairly subdued in this and was pretty effective.

The special effects were decent and the story is fun. This is an adventure for the whole family and if you let your imagination go, you will probably enjoy Inkheart quite a bit.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop


... that is to say, No, you should not pay to see Paul Blart: Mall Cop. If you have some kind of a free pass, by all means, enjoy. If you wait and watch it on television, even better. It's definitely not worth $10 though.

Mall Cop is a one joke movie. Almost every gag in the film is rooted in some variation on the theme: Paul Blart is fat and pathetic. It's funny for the first 10 minutes and then the funny fat jokes are few and far between. I did laugh out loud during the bar scene, though.

I was actually kind of preoccupied for a lot of the movie trying to understand why this movie was released in January. The whole movie takes place around Thanksgiving with the majority of it on black Friday. If I were contracted by the movie studios to organize the release dates of their movies, I would have released Mall Cop on 11/26/08 instead of Four Christmases and then put Four Christmases out on 12/5/08 when the biggest release was Punisher: War Zone.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop wasn't terrible. It is rated PG so it's clean humor for the entire family. In my opinion it's virtually impossible to make a live action PG family comedy that's original and sharp. While Mall Cop didn't disprove my theory, it was much better than I thought it would be.

My Bloody Valentine 3D


I almost had a panic attack. I looked on to see what kinds of reviews My Bloody Valentine was getting and I saw something scarier than the movie itself... it was at 100%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Obviously I clicked the link because while 100% is impressive, there are other factors that come into play, such as how many reviews there are and who reviewed it. I was relieved to find that there were only 5 reviews posted. Normally 5 "fresh" reviews would indicate "a good start", however it is who the reviews were from that eased my mind. The 5 good reviews were from, Dread Central, Bloody Disgusting, CHUD, and FEARnet. I have a feeling that when more mainstream, general practitioners are granted access to the film, the percentage will drop tremendously.

If you do decide to go out to see this, make sure you see in in 3D. If you're willing to spend the $10 to begin with, $2 more won't kill you.

This movie is campy as fuck. The number of times that you will laugh at the movie because of how ridiculous it is will out number the times it makes you jump. The acting is godawful, the dialogue is abhorrent and most of the time the gore is superfluous.

The Unborn


Why is it that people in scary movies walk slowly as if there's something to be afraid of when as far as they're concerned... there's nothing to be afraid of? In one of the opening scenes of The Unborn, the girl in the movie (I don't know her real name nor can I remember her character's name) is babysitting. Although she believes the kids to be asleep, when she hears a noise upstairs she reluctantly heads upstairs to see what's going on. She cautiously creeps up the stairs, eyes jutting about looking for a ghost as if she knows she's in a horror movie.

The creepy child thing is getting pretty old. Filming a child in make-up and editing it so that it looks like he's doing scary things is almost funny at this point.

I'm not telling you anything you didn't already expect to hear from me, but this is and will remain in the bottom films of 2009. Unfortunately, until I see another movie, it's also the best movie of the year.

2008: The Best 20 Films of the Year

20 Funny Games

This is a sick, twisted, bloody, funny, uncomfortable, bizarre, creepy film. In comedies, if a character addresses the audience ("breaks the fourth wall") it always seems corny and forced. In Funny Games, however, it actually involves you... you get to play their sinister games with them. It also sets up the strange event towards the end of the movie when the killers cheat at their own game. Though there are some boring moments, I found Funny Games to be highly entertaining.

19 The Incredible Hulk

After Ang Lee's Hulk in 2004, I had very low expectations for this reboot of the Hulk Franchise. Even Ed Norton's attachment to the project didn't really help. My low expectations were a blessing because I ended up loving this movie. The special effects were well done and the story wasn't unbearably boring like the last version. In fact, they very wisely skip over the origin story, addressing it only with images during the opening credits. While there really is nothing extraordinary about the movie, it really is just a 2 hour fun time.

18 Snow Angels

It’s difficult to suggest that anyone see Snow Angels because of how upsetting it is. Everything else about it, everything, makes it so easy to recommend. The writing, the performances, the chemistry of the actors, the relationships of the characters, the direction, the cinematography... everything.

17 Quantum of Solace

I was never a fan of the 007 films, but since Casino Royale, the films have taken on a new identity thanks to the directors (Martin Campbell and Marc Forster) and to writers and actors. The franchise has transformed from the quirky, stylized suave secret agent fighting Dr. Evilesque villains to a British Bourne without the amnesia.

16 Religilous

This isn't a particularly well made documentary. It's poorly edited and a little bit 'all over the place'. There are some obvious liberties taken to shock the audience, but those of you who agree with Maher should see it for the entertainment value. Those that don't see eye to eye with him? You should watch it, too.

15 Kung Fu Panda

This beautifully rendered animated tale has a tired message and a formulaic plot, but it's a colorful, sharp, funny movie without the pop culture references that tainted Dreamworks Animation's previous efforts (Shrek, Shark Tale).

14 Frost/Nixon

Frost/Nixon is an extremely well made movie. The performances by Michael Sheen and especially Frank Langella were extraordinary and are absolutely deserving of recognition; if not with an Oscar then at least with a nomination. The end of Frost/Nixon was phenomenal. The rest of it, while interesting and well produced, was a little boring.

13 Burn After Reading

The humor is so dry that it's almost non-existent. Eventually you'll get the gag, but if at the end of the movie you don't laugh uncontrollably, watching it was probably a waste of time. Throughout the entire movie you'll wonder what the hell is going on... and at the end, you'll realize that you were right all along. I didn't think Burn After Reading would hold up to multiple viewings, but I’ve watched it several times since it came out on Blu-ray and it just gets funnier and funnier every time.

12 Role Models

The writers did an excellent job mixing obvious "dick and fart" jokes with a much more subtle, dry sense of humor. A lot of the gags get an immediate reaction and some of them make you think for a few seconds before you realize how funny the joke actually was.

11 Wanted

Wanted is a ridiculous, well written, acted and stylishly directed actioner. It's a fast-paced, high octane edge of your seat thrill ride that is more than just mindless fun.

10 The Visitor

The Visitor is both sad and uplifting. It is a story about how a complete stranger can change your life forever, for better or for worse. The movie itself is a slowly paced character study depicting a man who's heart and mind are opened by music and friendship.

9 Boy A

All aspects of the film's production are exceptional from the story and the direction to the acting and the cinematography. The more you get to know these characters the more you dread finding out how and why it all started as well as how and why it all ends. Boy A is an absolutely stunning piece of work. It's a shame that it never received a proper release, but everyone should make a point of seeing it now that it's available on DVD.

8 Gran Torino

In what may be his final appearance in front of the camera, Clint Eastwood does an amazing job playing a war veteran who, after his wife dies, gives up all hope for humanity and longs for the peace and quiet of a solitary life. This is made difficult by an overwhelming growth of Asians in his once familiar community. When a local gang threatens his new neighbors, Walt (Eastwood) takes the teenage boy under his wing. Both Walt and the boy learn and grow from each other and Eastwood's transformation from grumpy old man to mentor takes him to the end of his career while he is still in his prime.

7 Tropic Thunder

This is the funniest movie of the year. It pokes fun at the movie industry along with it's primadonna, substance abusing, insecure team of actors, directors, and producers. It also spoofs war films as a genre. The humor may be too much for some; Ben Stiller's characters attempt to prove that a dead body is actually a prop is a little unsettling. Robert Downey Jr. shines in this movie and deserves all of the accolades he has received from SAG and the Hollywood Foreign Press. Now all he needs is an Oscar nod for the role... so that he can lose that one to Heath Ledger as well.

6 Iron Man

I had mediocre expectations for Iron Man. I knew, literally, nothing about the comic book. I have no idea how accurate the movie is in its portrayal of the origins of Iron Man. I viewed it strictly as a movie and I really enjoyed it. This was a great year for RDj. I thought he was great in Iron Man until I saw Tropic Thunder. His talent as an actor is limitless. If he hadn't been a drug addict for the first half of his career, he would probably be a multiple Oscar winner by now.

5. Milk

Milk is an extraordinary film, politically and personally, with powerful performances from THE ENTIRE CAST. Sean Penn, as much as I hate him, is perfect... as always... but James Franco, Josh Brolin, and Emile Hirsch are all deserving of recognition for their work as well. I was surprised how at how much I liked Milk. I've gotten bored with biopics as of late. What sets this one apart is that it doesn't really feel like a biopic. It's funny and entertaining, but it's also intense and heartbreaking.


If Wall-E isn't perfect, it's only because it's a little too long. Other than that, this is the best Pixar movie since The Incredibles. The whole movie looks and sounds beautiful and as far as that is concerned, this is the best Pixar movie... ever. It's more artsy than previous Pixar films in that there is little dialogue and what there is of it doesn't start until halfway through the movie. It's portrayal of the human race in the future is unfortunate, as it maybe spot on if we don't get our acts together. Drinking "lunch in a cup" and floating around on auto piloting "hover recliners" with a computer screen in front of our faces isn't something that seems too far off.

3 Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire is one of the best told stories I've seen in a long time. Stylish and masterful direction, astonishing performances, stunning cinematography, and a bitter sweet tale of love, sacrifice, and destiny make Slumdog Millionaire one of the best films of 2008.

2 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Words can't express how beautiful this film is. I was absolutely mesmerized from the moment the Paramount logo hit the screen. This movie made me think of films like The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. All simple stories with complex subtexts, written, directed, acted and filmed at a skill level that most filmmakers could only dream of.

1 The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight is almost, if not perfect on every level of it's multitude of levels. Where Batman Begins was about the psychology of becoming Batman, The Dark Knight is about, amongst other things, the duality of being both Batman and Bruce Wayne. Harvey Dent is a DA by the books, Jim Gordon uses the law as a set of guidelines to bring down criminals and corrupt cops, and Batman has only one rule. When the Joker sees that his rule over Gotham's underworld can only be thwarted by these three men, he attempts to bring them down using each man's limitations. Everything about the production of this film is top notch. Christopher Nolan's take on the Batman franchise elevates it from a superhero story to a gritty crime saga and therefore is, without a doubt, the best Superhero franchise ever. Last year I chose Sweeney Todd for my favorite film of the year, knowing full well that it wouldn't even be nominated for best picture. This year, I truly believe that The Dark Knight is the best picture of the year and I hope the Academy recognizes that as well.

2008: The Worst 20 Films of the Year

Click on the movie title to see my review. The movies aren't worth reading about, but some of the reviews may tickle you.

20 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

19 Quarantine

18 Shutter

17 Space Chimps

16 Hell Ride

15 The Love Guru

14 You Don’t Mess with the Zohan

13 Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show

12 Fool’s Gold

11 The Eye

10 Punisher: War Zone

09 The Hottie and the Nottie

08 College

07 88 Minutes

06 One Missed Call

05 First Sunday

04 10,000 B.C.

03 Star Wars: The Clone Wars

02 Meet the Spartans

01 Strange Wilderness

2008: Superlatives

Best Fight: Batman and Joker in the interrogation room in The Dark Knight

Best Newcomer: Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire

Worst Decision by an Actor: Al Pacino, 88 Minutes

Worst Decision by an Actress: Tina Fey, Baby Mama

Best Ensemble: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllanhaal, Michael Caine, The Dark Knight

Best Brainless Movie: Eagle Eye

Most Depressing Film: Revolutionary Road

Worst "Smart" Film: Smart People

Most Underrated (Critically): Seven Pounds

Guiltiest Pleasure: The House Bunny

Biggest Disappointments: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and Pineapple Express

Most Romantic Scene: WALL-E caring for EVE while she is awaiting her spaceship

The person you'd most like to remove from show business permanently (based on a film released in 2008): George Lucas

Worst Sequel: If Star Wars: The Clone Wars doesn’t count, then Punisher: War Zone

Worst Remake OR Movie based on a TV show: The X-Files: I Want to Believe

Best Cameo: Morgan Freeman in The Love Guru

Best Actor: Sean Penn, Milk

Best Actress: Meryl Streep, Doubt

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Doubt

Best Director: David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire

Favorite Song: Another Way to Die from Quantum of Solace

Favorite Score: The Dark Knight

Tearjerker Moment: When Rosario Dawson figures out the plot of Seven Pounds

Best Movie That Did Not Receive a Proper Release: Boy A

Favorite Bad movie: Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D

Worst actors: Mark Wahlberg and Mike Myers

Worst actress: Paris Hilton

Most overrated: Bolt

Best Monologues: Anything The Joker says in The Dark Knight

Favorite Characters: Joker - The Dark Knight, Wesley Gibson - Wanted, and Kirk Lazarus - Tropic Thunder

Most nail-biting moment: The initial attack on Liv Tyler in The Strangers

Most stomach-turning moment: What Colin Farrell did that set up the plot in In Bruges

Favorite DVD: The Dark Knight