Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Terminator (1984)

If all robots look like The Governator, we’re all doomed.

In the post-apocalyptic future, reigning tyrannical supercomputers teleport a cyborg assassin known as the “Terminator” (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back to 1984 to snuff Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), whose unborn son is destined to lead insurgents against 21st century mechanical hegemony. Meanwhile, the human-resistance movement dispatches a lone warrior (Michael Biehn) to safeguard Sarah. Can he stop the virtually indestructible killing machine?

James Cameron is a guy that a lot of people don’t like because of his attitude, but say what you will, this guy knows how to make a good film. If you read that synopsis up above, it’s pretty laughable but it’s Cameron who doesn’t let that get him down and relies on many action scenes that keep the pace up and running. When you watch these action scenes, it’s awesome to see what Cameron does with such a low-budget and how he makes this type of film-making so much fun.

The action scenes are awesome and running at a brisk pace but the whole film is a great blend of all sorts of genres which makes it even better. It’s action, it’s sci-fi, it’s a little bit of romance, a little bit of horror, and a tiny hint of black comedy that all works so well. But when all that action is done, these characters actually are talking about something and I have to say that I liked the love story, no matter how corny it may have seemed.

My problem with this film is that like a lot of 80’s films, this does seem a bit dated. The visuals for the time we’re state-of-the-art, but looking at them now, I have to say they can be pretty laughable. The low-budget feel of this film made it seem very naturally made, but those special effects don’t stand the test of time at all. Also, there are many moments of random 80’s cheese, but I think when reviewing a film from the 80’s, that’s practically a given.

Even though many people are hating on him because he can’t keep it in the pants, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the man! The role as The Terminator he takes is perfect because he fits the look of a souless gun for hire. His chopped up hair, big shades, and 80’s punk look, make shim look like the Incredible Hulk if he went to down-town New York. Linda Hamilton is great as Sarah Conner who fits the convention of a girl-on-the run, and doesn’t get annoying one bit. Michael Biehn is OK here as Kyle Reese and is very good at playing that loner that is so angry and troubled, but still you want to see live on.

Consensus: Although the special effects may be dated, The Terminator is a great sci-fi action film because James Cameron keeps the film moving at a good pace, and has plenty of fun with what he’s making, and that leads to the viewer having an even better time.



Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

I guess there is such a thing as too many robots.

The plot revolves around Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), the human caught in the war between two factions of alien robots, the Autobots and Decepticons. Sam is having visions of Cybertronian symbols, and being hunted by the Decepticons under the orders oJosf their long-trapped leader, The Fallen, who seeks to get revenge on Earth by finding and activating a machine that would provide the Decepticons with an energon source, destroying the Sun and all life on Earth in the process.

Now since the third one is coming out, I just wanted to brush up on the last two and as much fun as I had with the first one, it was all lost when I saw this heaping pile of shit.

First off, the plot doesn’t even matter. It’s just another excuse to get a lot of these robots fighting something that entertained me so much in the first, here, not so much. The special effects are good but other than that I had no real idea what the hell was going on and nor did I really care that much since this plot is stupid to begin with, and keeps on getting dumber and dumber as time goes on.

Director Michael Bay took all that money he got from the first film’s box-office and spent it all on crack, soda, and pills. That actually sounds like it would be awesome, but it’s just insane what he puts on screen here. The action was annoying because all these special effects are flying around the whole screen and the problem was I had no idea who was fighting who. I know Optimus Prime is red and blue, and Bumblebee is orange with a slight tint of yellow, but everybody else is just gray, so I really had no idea who was fighting. But once again, nor did I care.

But I almost forgot to get started on the script which is just dumb, stupid, and lame. I actually laughed a lot at the first one, but all the dialogue here just seems like a crappy punch-line for a joke that didn’t need to be there and wasn’t even funny in the first place. I think they wrote this script as the film went along and for almost two-and-a-half-hours, I just totally zoned out.

Just to prove to you how dumb this script really is with this one scene in this film where out of nowhere, they find a robot that can teleport from Egypt but for some odd reason, no other robot actually has that ability. Why? No reason. Just does I guess. Once again, I did not care, and after about the third scene of showing two dogs humping, somebody getting tasered, and annoying robot mythology, you’ll start to see what I mean.

Shia LaBeouf was actually really charming in the first one as well but he really doesn’t know what to do here and I don’t quite think that was his fault. All Shia does here really is flair his nostrils, run from things, and yell; “Optimusss!”. However, I think it would have been a better film with the title; “Transformers: Revenge of Megan Fox’s Ass“. I have no idea just what the hell she does here other than share this scared face she does the whole entire film but she’s still hot, so I can’t hold too much against her. The rest of the cast doesn’t matter because stars like Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, and Rainn Wilson just feel like extras here and are used for nothing else other than just little story distractions.

But the one thing about this film that really pissed me off was the completley stereotypically racist portrayal of the two “hip” bots, that were obviously black. These two robots are the most blatant forms of black-face that I have ever seen and there not even funny, if you find that stuff funny. I don’t know if Bay has talked to many black people even though he has because Tyrese Gibson was in this, but whatever black people he talks to must jive-talk the whole conversation. That’s all that these two do and once you see what I’m saying, you’ll just hate this film even more too.

Consensus: The special effects are at least done nice but other than that, this terrible sequel features no humor, a very hard and confusing plot to follow, characters and robots we didn’t care about, and the most random shit blowing up all-over-the-screen for two-and-a-half hours. Thanks Michael Bay! Asshole.


XXX (2002)

The hipper and balder James Bond. (If you’re reading this Vin, I’m just kidding. Please don’t kick my ass).

Xander “XXX” Cage (Vin Diesel), a notorious underground rush-seeker deemed untouchable by the law, is coerced by NSA Agent Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) to cooperate with the government and infiltrate a Russian crime ring. If XXX succeeds, Gibbons promises to keep him out of prison.

I’ll never forget the first time I actually saw this when it was in theaters and I was about 10 at the time, and I my ears were ringing but with good reason, because this movie I thought was the greatest thing I have ever seen. Sadly, that isn’t what I think anymore.

The writing here isn’t as terrible as i could have imagined, but it was still pretty corny though. There were some funny and ironic lines here that had me chuckle here and there, but overall, some lines here will just make you laugh with how corny it sounds and how serious these characters sound when they say them.

There was also this moment in the film where the Russian chick here, Yelena, tells Xander to accelerate the car pedal, but instead says “hit the gas”. I highly doubt that in Czech Republic they use the term “gas” and I know this may sound dumb and pretty nit-picky but for some odd reason this just bothered the hell out of me.

However, when you think about it, this film isn’t about witty writing, it’s all about the action babyyyy!! And the action is good. The effects for some of these scenes (especially that avalanche scene) were really good and used very well in this film. They added a lot to the action sequences but it’s the stunts that really make this film bangin’.

There is no attempt to hide the fact that they are stunts (some are so completely impossible that they don’t even try to make them look possible) and are shot with a reverence that only a true action aficionado can appreciate. You’ll also find many bangs, booms, and loud explosions here, and although probably more than there actually needed to be, I still had a good time with this crazy action entertainment.

Vin Diesel fits so well as the muscular, cool, and awesome Xander Cage who does everything in the eXtreme. Diesel has a lot of snappy lines that make his character a lot more likable, and it’s just Diesel himself who knows how to make this muscle-head character into a guy we can root for and love to see shoot people and have things blow up. This film cemented Diesel’s ability as a box-office name and I’m glad because he’s a great action star. Samuel L. Jackson is pretty good as Agent Gibbs; Asia Argento is a very sexy and sly “Bond girl type” here as Yelena; and Marton Csokas totally hamms it up as our main villain for the 2 hours we watch, Yorgi. This guy’s lines are terrible and had me laughing at him almost every time he put that serious Russian face on.

Consensus: The writing is pretty laughable, but the action makes up for it with the non-stop explosions, terrific stunt work, and the always cool and muscular Vin Diesel looking intimidating as always which has XXX a very good action-spy flick.


L.A. Confidential (1997)

Not as amazing as everybody says it is, but still awesome.

In 1950s Los Angeles, three wildly different cops (Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe and Kevin Spacey) form an uneasy alliance to ferret out deep-seated police corruption. But some people will do anything to land their faces in the pages of trashy Hollywood tabloids such as Hush-Hush magazine.

This is one of those films that almost every film geek has as one of their all-time favorites. I wouldn’t really put it in mine but I will say I had a great time.

The best thing about this film is it’s overall feel is just very cool and slick. The story is your typical detective story that you would see in any neo-noir film, but there are little twists and turns that really keep you involved with it. But this is also a great “whodunit” as well because you have to pay attention real well to the story as it moves along because all the little clues, double-crosses, and twists come when you least expect it too. The whole time you’re constantly wondering just what’s going to happen next, and the script really adds to that suspense level well.

Curtis Hanson does a great job here as director because he takes this pretty enjoyable script, and makes it even better on-screen. This is a great detective story, but also a very fun one because it just looks beautiful, with the 1950’s look and the action is great too. You have a lot of great shoot-outs here, to add to the mystery appeal of this film, and the pace is very taut and gives enough detail to the story so we’re not totally lost.

However, my only problem with this film is that something just didn’t fully glue me in like I was expecting it too. Something was just not there and I don’t know if it was the script that kind of left me hanging, or the direction that was just a little too taut for me, I don’t know what it was but I just couldn’t get fully involved with this story, even though I liked the angle on police corruption. Not much really has changed in the past 50 years, and that is a real damn shame.

The ensemble cast is what really had me going with this film. The best thing about this cast is that they do so well with characters that are so fully fleshed out, that they could have had about dozens of spin-offs of each and every one of these cool characters. Kevin Spacey is great as Jack Vincennes and plays that cool, but slick cop so well. Guy Pearce is very good as Ed Exley because he starts out as this smiley-faced, bright-eyed rookie who just wants to do the right thing and make sure justice is served. However, he starts to get a little more vicious as he soon starts to realize all the corruption within the force, and he does a believable transition too. This was probably the first introduction of Russell Crowe to the world, and with good reason because he’s awesome as brutish, brawling and self-righteous police “Bud” White. Crowe is great at playing those big and bad characters who have a lot more to them then meet’s the eyes. Kim Basinger won an Oscar for her role as Lynn Bracke, which is OK, but she didn’t do an amazing job here, just pretty good. Danny DeVito is perfect as the slimy and snarky gossip magazine writer Sid Hudgeons, James Cromwell is ever so evil and corrupt as Dudley Smith, and David Strathairn is only in a couple scenes as Pierce Patchett but does a good job as well.

Consensus: Though there was something that just didn’t compel me as much, L.A. Confidential is still a well-directed, perfectly scripted, and fun detective story, that keeps you guessing with it’s smart story and will just entertain any popcorn-friendly watcher.


Transformers (2007)

Or, as I like to call it, “GIANT ROBOTS TEARIN’ UP SHIT!”

This film finds the planet Cybertron inhabitants engaging in a secret war for control of Earth’s natural resources, which they desperately need for fuel. But much of the action centers on young Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf), an unlikely hero whose first car turns out to be an Autobot and helps him win over his dream girl (Megan Fox).

There’s a little story somewhere in this film, with characters but you know coming into this film that’s not what you want. You want action, and you want it now! Michael Bay knows it too.

Bay is the absolute king at burning off people’s brain cells over the course of two hours, and he does not back down once from showing of his “art” in this film. Bay knows how to film action and make some incredibly awesome-looking action scenes while being able to actually tell what’s going on. Even while staring deeply at the screen it’s impossible to see how the cars become robots and vice versa. It’s exactly as fast and as confusing as it should and would be. This is Bay in top form and I won’t go as far as to say that this is a master-piece by any stretch of the imagination, but Bay does a stellar job here and makes this film totally entertaining.

This is also incredibly funny and silly with good reason because it’s not really trying to be anything else. I actually caught myself laughing a lot at this material, and not your typical bad action-humor, it’s the humor that will actually have you laughing and wondering was that supposed to be funny. There are also some nice in-jokes for the fans.

It’s crazy that this was adapted from a bunch of action figures and people who grew up in the 80’s will probably get that nostalgia appeal and even for me, who wasn’t a really big fan of Transformers found this actually really fun and cool. The problem with this film is that I could see a lot of people hating this because it’s nothing more than just a loud and insane action film. Also, it’s probably about an hour too long. I liked the whole epic last 30 minutes but the film goes on a bit way too long and the story kind of drags a bit.

The human parts in this film, as well as the story, are kind of weak but I still didn’t mind them as much. Shia LaBeouf is good as the nerdy but funny Sam Witwicky and contributes a lot to the character’s key likability; Megan Fox is just there to look sexy and that’s fine; Josh Duhamel does that tough llok on his face a lot the whole film, but he’s not so bad either. The rest of the supporting cast is pretty good too with the likes of Anthony Anderson, Tyrese Gibson, John Turturro, Jon Voight, and the comedic legend that is, Bernie Mac. Good cast, even though the story isn’t really too dependent on them after all.

Consensus: Though it may be too loud and noisy for some viewers, Transformers is a Michael Bay action show with fireworks, robots fighting robots, shooting, exploding, running, chasing, hitting, special effects all-over-the-place, and everything a good action film needs to keep everybody entertained even if you aren’t a huge fan of the original material.


Rush (1991)

Should have just watched Cops instead.

Jason Patric and Jennifer Jason Leigh star as undercover narcotics agents who become lovers when they partner up to infiltrate the Texas drug scene and bring down a suspected drug lord (Gregg Allman). But as their relationship intensifies and they become increasingly dependent on each other, they have difficulty resisting the temptations of the world they’re trying to subvert … and soon, their drug use becomes more than just a cover.

I wanted to like this, but the writer and director seem more intent on showing drug use and depicting the characters strung out in scene after scene than to tell the actual story: NARCs getting caught up in what they’re trying to stop. I don’t know what happened to me during this film but I just didn’t like it at all. This movie at times comes across as an outrageous PSA or an online criminal justice class with a bad teacher. I don’t know what happened to me during this film but I just didn’t like it at all. The main problem with this film is that nothing really happens here, other than a bunch of drug use and people crying over their addiction.

Very little of the film is focused on the actual investigation. They explain what might happen, then skip that scene entirely. The point that’s arrived at in the film is confused at best and stupid at its worst. All of the cops/investigators are weak and ineffectual, while the drug traffickers noble and wise, always one step ahead.

There was also no character development at all here and that’s why watching these characters do nothing but drugs and cry about it, started to really bother me. It’s over two hours so you would think that there would be some compelling material here to hold you over, but there’s not really. Just drugs, drugs, crying, and more drugs. Also, this was advertised as a crime action film, where there is only about 2 scenes of actual guns being fired.

The one thing about this film that made it suitable was the rockin’ soundtrack that featured many great classic rock artists. The score is done by Eric Clapton, and his slide “Texas” style guitar doesn’t fit well with this film and makes it seem more of a melodrama, but I have to say that a lot of the other songs here were awesome.

The performances from these two are good, but their both not really doing much here other than what I mentioned before: drugs and crying. Jason Patric is good as Jim Raynor although we never understand as to why he does all of this stuff that he does to himself. Jennifer Jason Leigh is also good as Kristen Cates and saves the film sometimes from when this film starts to wain on. Gregg Allman is here as the villain Will Gaines, and doesn’t really do much other than be some big hippy in a cool-looking suit. Pretty laughable if you ask me. Sam Elliot is always good and he is a saving grace here.

Consensus: Rush is not what it’s title says it is. It’s slow, boring, melodramatic, and features little or no character development for a story that is all about two characters practically crying and fighting over drugs.


Three Kings (1999)

Not your average, sympathetic war film.

George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube star as a group of American soldiers stationed in Iraq at the end of the Gulf War. When the three arguably wise men find a map they believe will take them to a huge cache of stolen Kuwaiti gold hidden near their base, they embark on a secret mission that’s destined to change everything.

The Gulf War just seems like a war that was basically a total joke. It only lasted for about a year, if not even that, and barely anybody got killed in it. So it was pretty cool to see a fun take on a war, that didn’t seem even energetic at all.

David O. Russell is a crazy mofo, but is a really great director. The one strength that Russell uses here is that he blends drama, action, and a little hint of comedy altogether but it doesn’t once get annoying like most films that blend genres do. The fact that this isn’t like any other war film is not the real reason it’s great it’s because of what this film does and actually talks about. Russell does some pretty innovative stuff here with his direction, whether it’s using a slow-mo shot to show the bullets hitting a person, or a moving image of the sky, or even an awesome image of showing what sepsis wound looks like. Russell is a very gritty director and he uses this to his ability, to bring out the real dirt and mud that was The Gulf War.

The real strength of this film is located within it’s script that Russell did himself as well. The real reason why this script works so well is because the drama is here and ways heavy on the story, there are still many moments of actual dark comedy that will probably have you laughing and wondering just exactly why you laughed here. The story starts off really quick and comedic with the sounds of The Beach Boys in the air, but soon changes into a very dark, haunting, and disturbing take on the war. You start to really get behind this story because the satire is there, and the political commentary which comments on the U.S.A’s involvement with foreign affairs will ring true and actually have you very angry as to where this story starts to take you. But this is also an action film and there’s plenty of enough thrills and spills to hold over any adrenaline junkie, but it’s more a political critique than an action/war film.

My only problem with this film is that sometimes I do feel like Russell get’s a little out-of-hand with the artistic side of his directing. I’m not going to lie, he does some pretty cool stuff here with everything he shows, but there are many times that I feel like he just gets a little too over his head with this artsy-fartsy crap he does. Also, by the end of the film it does get a little preachy, but I have to say this didn’t totally bother me, I just noticed it right away.

George Clooney and David O. Russell got in a huge brawl on-set during the filming of this film, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t turn in a good performance himself. Clooney basically plays the George Clooney he plays in every film but it always work because he has that cool vibe that always helps his character’s and is just totally sweet and smooth. He is all of that and a little more here as Archie Gates. Mark Wahlberg is amazing here as Troy Barlow because his character is a very human person that just wants to do what is right, and never wants to just kill anyone to kill anyone. Ice Cube is also great as the black grunt, Chief Elgin, and it’s kind of sad to watch this, knowing that this is his last film that actually showed that he any street cred left. Damn TBS! Spike Jonze is also very funny and good as the dumb hick, Conrad Vig, and it’s a very rare performance because now that Jonze has found his niche as a director, we may never see him in front of the screen again. This is a pretty strange head-lining cast but they all do real well with this very challenging material that gives them the opportunity to show their dramatic depths as actors, as well as their comedic timing too and they pull it off. The rest of the cast is very good as well with the likes of Jamie Kennedy, Judy Greer, and Mykelti Williamson aka Bubba.

Consensus: Though it gets a little preachy by the end, David O Russell’s Three Kings is still a smart and innovative blend of action, drama, war, and comedy that shows The Gulf War for the crap that it was and how we can all learn from our mistakes.


X-Men (2000)

The beginning of the freaks!

Amid increasing fear and bigotry, Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) provides a safe haven for powerful outcasts like Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Rogue (Anna Paquin) and Storm (Halle Berry), who are genetically gifted mutants — and the world’s newest, most persecuted minority group. In an explosive battle for freedom and honor, the X-Men take on Magneto (Ian McKellen) and his band of evil mutants, who relish the public’s paranoia.

Director Bryan Singer, who also did The Usual Suspects, does a good job with this material because he doesn’t get too chaotic with all of this action. The effects are seamless, not a big thing in these days of CGI, but still a difficult thing when dealing with human beings who keep moving around and talking. It’s good to watch a film where it isn’t always possible to tell which are the fake shots and which ones really happened. Now of course, there are action sequences here that are pretty awesome, but he also allows a lot of down-time for these characters to talk and be developed. However, that’s where my real problem with this film lies.

I liked how this is a film that’s based more on its characters than other superhero films, but there is almost too much time devoted to the characters. These characters were cool but the problem was that the film focuses too much on them and not the story so the big climax at the end, ends up being sort of anti-climactic.

I also felt like there was something missing from this final product because although they show all these different powers that all these different superheros have, it almost never seems to add up. It’s no secret that the studio rushed this film so it could make the summer blockbuster deadline. There are some lovely details that would’ve made this film extraodinary but didn’t make it thanks to the dollar driven movie studio.

Though, the main reason why I enjoyed this a lot is because I love X-Men, and even though the story may be a bit weak, you still can’t help but love all these characters. Hugh Jackman is perfectly cast as Wolverine because he has that total bad-ass look to him, and those funny side-cracks to him that just make him a likable superhero from the beginning. Patrick Stewart is also great as Professor Charles Xavier mainly because he’s just that lovable old man, who is always one step ahead of every one else. Ian McKellen is a perfect villain as Magneto, and brings out the devious attributes within Magneto that make him such a memorable villain. Everybody else here is pretty good too such as Halle Berry as Storm, Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, James Marsden as Cyclops, Anna Paquin as Rogue, and the always sexy Rebecca Romijn as Mystique.

Consensus: The action is fun and the ensemble is perfectly acted, but the story is too centered on all these different characters, rather than focusing on a good story, but if you’re a fan of the comics you’ll have a good time.


Midnight in Paris (2011)

After taking French for 2 years now, I finally have a reason to go and tour Paris. Thank you Woody!

Woody Allen focuses his lens on a young engaged couple (Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams) whose experiences traveling together in Paris make them begin to question the kind of life they want to live as a couple. There’s more to this plot, but I can’t tell you anymore I’m sad to say. You may just have to check it all out.

Woody Allen is one of my favorite writer and directors, and it’s just awesome to see him have a film come out during the big Summer blockbuster season and actually get this small film out there. You the man Woody!

My favorite thing about this film is just the overall delightful feeling which comes from Allen’s direction and writing. The first 5 minute silent sequence of Paris throughout a whole day is just beautiful and the way Allen films each little area of Paris is amazing. So basically right from the get-go, you get the total feeling that this is Woody Allen’s love-letter to the city of LOVE aka one of the most beautiful cities of the world. The whole film I just wanted to walk around Paris and every single place this film went made me feel so warm and cozy inside. I know that all may seem a little strange but Paris really is beautiful and the way Allen films it, almost makes it look even better.

The script by Allen is also something to praise as well. This is a very well-written script that features a lot of hilarious dialogue, as well as some nostalgia that will have you looking for your vintage vinyl players, and some insight to hit your brain also. Despite all the of the beautiful scenery here, the film is about living in the now and having a great time with what you have now, rather than just sitting back and brood on how the old days were so much better. It’s pretty funny hearing this message come from a guy who hasn’t put a single song in any of his films that have been after the year 1950, but with Woody, it’s still very relatable. Also, I was totally taken away with what happens to this premise. It really is awesome when you don’t really know what’s going to happen in a film before you see it.

The only real problem I had with this film was that I felt it was way too short and just happened very quickly. I guess I was just expecting more insight, and more plot development by the end of the film and with many of Allen’s films, I usually adore how he ends his films. Here, I didn’t really like the ending and I felt it was a little bit forced to bring out some more smiles for the people leaving the theater, which is not really a complaint, I just know that Woody almost always gets a great ending for whatever it is that he’s doing.

Owen Wilson is fantastic as Gil Penders, a screenplay writer who want’s something more. You would not really think of Wilson as a suitable Woody Allen stand-in because his persona is so easy-going, confident, and totally relaxed feel to him that it’s crazy to see how likable he is in this film. It’s been awhile since Wilson has got a good role lately but here he does a pretty stellar job at not at all phoning it in, and being believable when all this crazy ish is happening around him. Rachel McAdams is a total bitch as his fiancee Inez, but a good and hot one to say the least. The one thing about this film that also had me a little annoyed was how these two actually became so in love, in the first place since all they do here is basically argue and misunderstand one another. Inez treats Gil as a total moron and for me, I don’t care how fine the bitch is, if she’s disrespecting me, she is out the door. The rest of the cast is filled with some nice supporting performances/cameos from a couple of A-listers and up-and-comers, but when you see them, you’ll be totally surprised so I won’t say anything else.

Consensus: It may end very quickly than I expected, but Midnight in Paris is a charming and delightful comedy filled with beautiful images of the city of Paris, a great central performance from Owen Wilson, and an insightful script about living in the present, rather than harping on the past. You tell ’em Woody!


Bridesmaids (2011)

Not necessarily “the female Hangover”, but still funny altogether.

Named as her best friend’s maid of honor, down-on-her-luck Annie’s (Kristen Wiig) competition with a fellow bridesmaid, the wealthy and beautiful Helen (Rose Byrne), threatens to destroy the wedding. Meanwhile, a local cop takes a liking to Annie.

When this first came out, I didn’t want to see it at all probably because it looked like a straight-up chick flick, that I would probably get dragged to seeing with my lady. Although it took me over a month to check it out, I’m glad I actually did.

First things first, this film is funny. Not hilarious, not un-funny, just funny. I went in expecting some chuckles here and there, but I laughed a lot with this film because it’s dirty and witty which is very hard to find in any comedy today. Comedy, is usually a dude’s world, but it was cool to see some good humor come from the mouth of a lady, and be equally as funny as some other guy comedies that I’ve seen recently. I’m talking about you Hangover Part II.

My main problem with this film is that it is very uneven. The story structure here made this film just seem like a bunch of funny sketches, instead of a whole film and without those story elements in place, the story in my opinion just started to drag and drag. I mean the film is over 2 hours long and although I liked how they showed a lot of these characters for their imperfections and also tried to get a deep story out of this material, I just found myself checking my watch almost every 5 minutes waiting for this thing to actually wrap-up.

Kristen Wiig is always good in her little bit roles in films like Adventureland and Knocked Up, as well as her stint on SNL, but her leading role as Annie here wasn’t anything special which kind of disappointed me since I always laugh at her in anything she does. At any given moment, Wiig can be really really funny but at the end of the film I didn’t feel like she was one singular character, but more a series of sketch-roles. Despite that, Wiig is still funny but for this role she needed to be more of an actress to make us emotionally sympathize with her rather than just doing a bunch of wacky comedy.

The rest of the cast here is very good at everything they do. Maya Rudolph is putting on some big pounds, but is still good as the bride; Rose Byrne is perfect as the perfect and beautiful, other best-friend, Helen; Melissa McCarthy had me laughing my ass off just about every time she was on screen as Megan; and even though they don’t have too much to do Wendi McClendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper are good too. Jon Hamm is a total deucher in this film, but funny still as Wiig’s “eff-buddy”, and Chris O’Dowd is a delight to watch on-screen as Wiig’s other lover, Rhodes.

Consensus: Although it doesn’t work as a good structure for its story, Bridesmaids still has some very good performances from a very funny cast, that gives this material more laughing power, even when it does start to seem over-long.


Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001)

I wish I played these guys’ video games, other than that chump Tony Hawk’s.

Legendary skateboarder Stacy Peralta directed documentary that focuses on the Z-Boys of Venice Beach, Calif., who revolutionized skateboarding in the 1970s when they infused surfing techniques into the sport. Credited with founding skating culture as we know it, these young, innovative guys became legends in the field, and the depth of their influence is still felt in a variety of sports — and society — today.

I was never a big skater, mainly because I’m a puss, and I can’t really take a fall but I must say after seeing this, these guys make me really wanna go out there and break some more bones.

The material here may not actually interest most people, since most don’t give a damn at all about skate-boarding, but what this film does best is that it makes this material, somehow very entertaining to learn about. The fast-pace keeps this film going at a fun and quick feel, and the stories and the way they tell each one actually works too. With the soundtrack, rare pictures/videos, and the great interviews from everybody involved from this movement, I felt like I was actually there with these guys, skating it up during the 70’s.

Speaking of the soundtrack, I have to say that the music here is absolutely awesome and takes me back to the time of when these guys were skating around California. Songs from the likes of The Stooges, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, and Ted Nugent. You know when you got “the Nuge” on a soundtrack its just going to be the shit.

My main problem with this film is that I wanted to know more about the lives of all these people involved. Now of course we get to know the Lords of Dogtown’s story the most, but there were plenty of others that I would have liked to know more about since they all influenced just as much. The fast pace made this film feel like an hour rather than an hour and a half, but I think this film could have done with more minutes added on to show more stories.

Sean Penn narrates here and does an OK job, but I have to say I was rather disappointed. I thought it was cool how they got this guy to actually narrate a documentary about a bunch of skater bros, but I hardly even knew it was him, and if they didn’t tell me in the beginning, I don’t think I would have really noticed in the first place.

Consensus: You want to know more about these people, and the narration isn’t awesome, but the fast-pace, and rockin’ soundtrack makes us feel like we’re right there with these guys, which makes this documentary succeed at making a subject fascinating, whether you like it or not.


Green Lantern (2011)

The Green Lantern film the fans have been waiting for…..if it were made for TV 15 years ago.

Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), a brash, talented test pilot, is chosen by an alien force of warriors to become their representative on Earth and use his new powers as the Green Lantern to promote order and justice before conflict destroys his world. Despite being the first human to wear the ring that bestows his abilities, Hal must combat villain Parallax. Fellow pilot Carol Ferris (Blake Lively) aids Hal in his quest to save the galaxy.

It seems like Hollywood is trying anyway they can to get almost every superhero film done in time for the big Avengers film. Add this to the collection of superhero films that make more ready for it.

This film wasn’t really for me because I was not a huge fanboy of The Green Lantern comics, or The Green Lantern himself. I thought he was a pretty silly superhero to begin with and I looked to this film to have me like him more. Which it didn’t do really. The problem this movie has I think lies within it’s script which is so jumbled altogether with all these different stories and crazy mythology that it takes away from the actual story that could have been more compelling and easy enough to get behind. The mythology here they constantly talk about is also nonsensical and seems to have any reason to be put in there also.

Many scenes also felt like they had no real purpose and were just put in there to show a cool CGI shot that didn’t really do much to the film in the first place. But let’s not forget that this story doesn’t really get going until we are already an hour into the film and have already known what The Green Lantern can do, and who ALL of the characters are, what they do, and the purpose they actually serve to the story.

However, when it get’s going, it really does move much thanks to director Martin Campbell who knows what he’s doing when it comes to showing awesome action scenes. Campbell, who brought back to life the “Bond” films, knows what he’s doing when he wants to make the action fun and exciting look at and that transcends well with this material to 3-D. The film has tons and tons of CGI as well which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it does look well-done here, I just wish they less on the special effects in some cases. Although, I still liked the CGI, because this film did actually look “pretty” to say the least.

Ryan Reynolds is very good as Hal Jordan, a role that some thought he wouldn’t be able to pull off but in my case, thought he did the best job there could be to be done. He has the looks, he has the charm, he has the humor, but he also has the dramatic acting chops that makes it look like he actually wants to be there and not just phoning it all in for an easy paycheck. That is why I liked Reynolds so much here. Blake Lively is just gorgeous as Carol Ferris; Peter Sarsgaard is always vilainous in anything he does and his performance as the big testicle, Dr. Hector Hammond, is no different; and Mark Strong is also awesome as the porn-star look-alike, Sinestro. The rest of the cast is fine as well with the likes of Angela Bassett, Tim Robbins, Geoffrey Rush, and Michael Clarke Duncan.

Consensus: Martin Campbell knows what he’s doing with the action and the cast, especially Reynolds, all do well with their own individual performances, but the script is clonky with too much going on and not enough focus on the real story at hand, which may have fanboys totally pissed off. However, not being a fan of the original comic books, I must say that I walked away happy that I saw this.


The Sweet Hereafter (1997)

Blame Canada! And the bus driver!

Director Atom Egoyan’s adaptation of Russell Banks’s novel follows a grieving mountain community in the wake of a tragic school bus accident that takes the lives of numerous local children. A lawyer (Ian Holm) arrives in town to persuade the survivors to initiate a class-action lawsuit, driving apart the once tight-knit hamlet. Meanwhile, a teen crippled in the crash (Sarah Polley) must choose between mourning and moving on.

I have to say that I was really looking forward to seeing this film, knowing that almost everyone who has seen it, loves it. But for me, I didn’t love it as much as everyone else did.

Atom Egoyan does a great job here with telling this story in such a meaningful and powerful way. He plays up the subtlety of this story very well and doesn’t try to smash what he’s trying to say over our heads. Instead, his brisk pace creates a sense of anger and underlining tension between all of the townspeople and let all their decisions be their own, rather than have us drop-down into crappy soap operaish material. Egoyan also did a masterful job of filming this in Canada, because I have to say that some of the visuals here are absolutely beautiful I don’t know if this is the real way Canada actually looks, but this place is empty, sad, and overall just a depressing place to be around, which totally worked for this film when it came right down to it’s overall mood.

Egoyan also examines tragedy in such a great way because he shows plenty of insight and shows us some real dark places that are inside the human soul. People change as grief hits us, and it’s hard to cope with the loss of loved ones especially after an accident as tragic and shocking as this. I also have to say that this film does justice to the novel that this is based off of because when you have simple story like this, it’s hard to make it as effective as it would like to be. But somehow it just seems to work very very well.

My main problem with this film is that I didn’t feel any connection to these characters that I really wanted to. I think the fact that these people were so messed up after the tragedy, but before it, they all seemed like not-so likable people and I have to say that I didn’t enjoy watching these characters. Something here just didn’t grip me like I was expecting it too, and I don’t know what it was but just took away from my whole experience of watching this film. Also, the medieval score music really bugged me and made me feel like I was watching something like The Shining or a really old horror film.

The cast is filled with a bunch of total unknowns that I have probably never seen before, but a couple of them are worth mentioning. Ian Holm plays the lawyer and made me realize how much of a great actor he is. There are a lot of scenes that rely on him to bring out these heart-wrenching moments and I have to say Holm does a great job. Bruce Greenwood plays one of the townspeople who has the worst problem of coping with this accident and does a good job being one of the most interesting townspeople to watch. Sarah Polley is good in this very early role as a young girl who was crippled in the crash and makes use of her great screen presence.

Consensus: Though it may be too dark for some viewers, and may or may not grip you, The Sweet Hereafter still has some effective material about coping, or not coping with grief and the loss of loved ones.


A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

For a film that tries to tell us about the dangers of falling asleep, I couldn’t help but nod off during this crap.

Freddy Krueger (Jackie Earle Haley), is a serial killer who crosses the boundary between dreams and the waking world to gut his victims with his razor-sharp blade-fingered glove. As Nancy (Rooney Mara) and her pals fight for their lives, they also uncover clues to a shocking secret from their past.

This is a remake of the 1984 classic from Wes Craven and what I don’t understand is why the hell did we need this?!? Oh wait that’s right because we want kids who don’t even know about the original to go out and see this in order to get lots of moolah. Smart plan, bastards.

The movie’s main problem is that it’s just totally dull. It all starts off as one kid dozes off into this crazy fantasy, and then Freddy comes in and kills them, and then it happens to another kid. Nothing new really happens here other than just the fact that the kill-count keeps on moving up and it all gets so damn predictable. The supposed “scares” didn’t do anything for me, because every time Freddy popped up it was just a jump scare, and I mean almost every single time too. This just annoyed me because I knew where this film was headed and then it just totally began to lose my interest.

However, I liked how they actually dived into a more interesting story explaining Freddy for what he was, and why he is doing this all. I liked this because we don’t just see Freddy as a killer, but more of a human, that did bad things. I also liked a lot of the dark and creepy visuals here too but I feel like they had so much opportunity here to actually do something good and be awesome, but instead just totally relied on a shitty story, and even worse action/kills.

Jackie Earle Haley does try his hardest to be Freddy Krueger. He has that deep and raspy voice, and brings out a lot of chuckles with his one-liners but he’s just no Robert Englund. I think most of that problem is the fact that here, Freddy looks more like a lion mixed with a frog than an actual monster. Every time he popped up, I just wasn’t scared and thought that he looked pretty ridiculous. The rest of the acting is pretty crappy. This kid, Kyle Gallner, he basically has one-note in this film and it’s that he looks like he is about to cry like a little bitch. I don’t know why they got the most emo looking kid to star as the main teen in this film, but I have to say he sucks anyway. Thank God for The Social Network, or else Rooney Mara would be a total laughing-stock after this. She plays Nancy and is terribly boring and brings nothing new to the table other than being scared, sad, or sleepy. The rest of the teens suck but since the film doesn’t really care about them all that much, then neither should I.

Consensus: It has a more interesting take on the story, but that doesn’t mean it is actually good at all one bit. A Nightmare on Elm Street is boring, horribly acted, and just nothing new or cool that we haven’t seen before despite a couple of cool visuals.


Step Brothers (2008)

A comedy that almost every teenager in the 21st century quotes non-stop.

Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell) and Dale Doback (John C. Reilly) might be grown men. But that doesn’t stop them from living at home and turning into jealous, competitive stepbrothers when their single parents (Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins) marry. Brennan’s constant competition with Dale strains his mom’s marriage to Dale’s dad, leaving everyone to wonder whether they’ll ever see eye to eye.

I remember when this film first came out in the Summer of 2008 and how almost everybody who saw it, hated it. Now, almost every single person on the face of this Earth has quoted it, or at least seen it.

This film deserves to be quoted so many times because it actually is really funny. I don’t know how much of this was actually scripted but I have to say a lot of the things that are said here, will have you cracking your ass up for days. I mean you have the usual gross-out humor that serves no meaning to the actual plot, slapstick, and these two grown-ass men acting like little kids. Much of this humor is just constant rambling about something completley random, but I have to say I laughed a whole lot.

Despite laughing so much at the beginning of this film, I have to say that there’s a middle part with this film that actually slows down. You can tell right where the laughs come around less and less, and this is what bothered me since my cheeks were practically hurting from the beginning. Also, I wish there was more sophisticated laughs here instead of just childish jokes because I think if the filmmakers actually gained some confidence in the audience, they could have made a lot more funnier stuff up there.

No matter what though, it’s always awesome to see Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly doing what they do best, be down-right hilarious. A lot of this you can already tell is improvised, but these two make it seem so natural and perfect, that you can’t help but believe these two guys as these sort of man-children. The script gives them a lot to work with here, but it’s how these two actually deliver it, that works so well and keeps the laughs coming and coming. Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins were also good as their parents, who both bring their own little laughs. Let’s not forget to mention Adam Scott as the asshole brother, Derek, who practically steals the show almost every time he’s on screen, and has one of the more memorable scenes. You know what I’m talking about.

Consensus: Step Brothers may get a little slow by the end, you still can’t help but laugh at all the non-stop gut-busting laughs here, that are delivered terrifically by naturals John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell.


Beautiful Girls (1996)

Being snowed in makes me all warm and fuzzy, except I wouldn’t want that feeling all year round.

Willie Conway (Timothy Hutton) returns to the small town he left behind as erstwhile friends, lovers and the scary thought of settling down swirl around him. A friend’s unapproachable cousin (Uma Thurman) and the winsome teenager next door (Natalie Portman) couldn’t be more different, but they afford glimpses of two possible futures.

Those “small-town” films have always been a favorite of mine since I like to feel like I’m right there with the story, and this one did not disappoint.

The script here by Scott Rosenberg is what really has this film clickin’. Rosenberg does a great job of expressing the insecurity’s that men have, and the sexual politics between men and women. Us men, we can sometimes be horny mofo’s and not always do the brightest things, and this film shows that it’s alright because that’s how life is. There is also plenty of comedy to go along here that won’t have you laughing-out-loud, but it will at least give you this breezy feeling throughout the whole film.

Most of the problem with this film that people will actually have is that not much happens here. The whole film is basically conversational, and nothing eventful really goes down and some will be bored by this, but I actually didn’t mind it because they gave us things interesting and witty to talk about.

However, my problem with this film is that it does get schmaltzy at times which sort of took away from the whole cool feel that this film gave me. I didn’t mind the little emotional scenes they had, but I think they were unnecessary especially with that cheesy score they had pop in every once and awhile. Also, I wish there was more viewpoints from the gals here too, but I can’t lie, I still liked what I heard from both sides.

The ensemble cast is good-looking, but don’t let that actually fool you because their all so good. Timothy Hutton is good as Willie and handles the film really well bringing in that coolio charm, and actual “realistic-guy” feel to him. I don’t know if that made any sense but the point I’m trying to make is that he’s a cool dude. Matt Dillon, Noah Emmerich, and my favorite no matter what he does, Michael Rapaport, all do great jobs as the other dudes here. Martha Plimpton, Mira Sorvino, and Lauren Holly are good too. But my favorites out of this cast are from three gals actually. Rosie O’Donnell has a totally hilarious scene here where she talk’s about dudes and our sexual fantasies, and it’s all so true, but the way she puts everything just made me crack up the whole time. Uma Thurman is also awesome as the really cool chick named Andera, who really made me wish I had here as a “fake date” when I needed one the most. But the best performance from the whole cast is Natalie Portman, who at 13, took this little role, and made it so memorable. Her character, Marty, is really quirky and Portman does a great job at bringing out that quirkiness within her character, and make almost every scene she has hilarious but also very interesting. This was a star-making role for her, and with good reason because she’s awesome in this role.

Consensus: Nothing much really happens here other than a bunch of conversations, but Beautiful Girls’ script is so good, that it kind of makes up for that, with it’s themes about men and women, and performances from a great cast, especially Natalie Portman.


Coach Carter (2005)

I honestly don’t think I could see someone like Lebron taking the SAT’s.

Samuel L. Jackson stars as the titular, controversial Coach Carter, a no-nonsense hardliner who firmly believes that scholarship and a sense of ethics go hand in hand with excellence on the basketball court. The coach is so firm in his convictions that he benches his undefeated team of high schoolers when they turn in poor academic grades, much to the chagrin of the players’ parents and many fellow teachers.

The inspirational sports film comes out about once a year, and there always the same. It just depends on who you have in it that makes it different.

The biggest problem with Coach Carter is that the script is terrible. When I mean terrible, I do mean, terrible. Every single line here is like a little cliche that has been used in almost every other sports film, and brings nothing new to the table. This all so generic and with everything that happens I just started laughing by how terribly predictable it was, and since these people are black it’s even more hilarious to listen to these “characters” talk “gangster”. Some of the most unintentionally hilarious stuff I’ve ever heard.

Another problem with this script and this film is that it’s way too long with a terribly preachy feel. This is all fact-based which I liked, but the fact that this film tries to keep on spoon-feeding us what and how we should feel about education when it comes to sports, just simply annoyed me. The social issues it explores kept me interested but they hit it over my head way too much. Also, this is a film that runs for about 2 hours and 16 minutes. Yeah, it’s a long one.

However, what this film does right is that it actually is somewhat entertaining and inspiring beneath all the cliches and preaching. I liked how they explore the fact that more student athletes should rely on school work, rather than sports to get them through life. I think I liked this mainly because not many sports film show this, and instead show that sports will get you through life and just make you happy forever. Some of the basketball game scenes were fun too, as they are shot with a nice and slick style to keep you in the game.

Samuel L. Jackson is the real reason why this film is a step-above from making this total crap. I like how subtle Jackson takes this role as Coach Carter in the beginning, but then when he has to, turns the knob and becomes this totally angry but still smart basketball coach who wants nothing more than just the best education possible for his players. Now of course there is the yelling, screaming, and hollering we have all come to know and love about Sammy, but there’s a lot more to that, and he makes it worth while. The rest of the cast is OK including Ashanti, Channing Tatum, Rob Brown, and Robert Ri’chard. Nothing special, mainly because Jackson knocks them all out of the water.

Consensus: Coach Carter is terribly-written because its huge amount of cliches and preachiness that bores along with its over 2 hour time-limit, but it’s occasionally inspiring, and an always reliable Samuel L. Jackson makes this easier to deal with.


Super 8 (2011)

Makes me wanna hang-out with my childhood friends again, or what’s left of them anyway.

Living in a small town in the summer of 1979, Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) helps out his friends film their monster movie while trying to move on from the death of his mother. While filming a scene at a station, a truck smashes into an oncoming train forcing it to derail. After the immense explosion, something escapes from the wreckage. Joe and his friends then witness several strange events around town while Joe’s father (Kyle Chandler) tries to keep the peace and the shady military begins to occupy the once sleepy town.

From the beginning nobody had any idea just what this film was about and then everybody started to notice it was like an old Spielberg film. Now of course, this is a big homage to such sci-fi classics as “The Goonies”, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, and “E.T”. During this whole film, you’ll definitely be reminded of those films but I can promise you this isn’t a parody, this isn’t a rip-off, it’s just an homage to those old films and with Steven Spielberg as producer, its a great homage.

Writer and director J.J. Abrams obviously grew up loving these films and I could feel it watching this because with every little element to this film, he does it all right. Abrams keeps this story moving at a nice pace and doesn’t try to do anything that would seem phony or cheesy in any way, he tells the story like it is. Abrams also does a great job at not actually showing us “the monster” and when we actually do its great because the whole time during the film we are just left in total mystery of what this thing is, and what is behind all these strange happenings. The explanations Abrams give us are reasonable, but the mystery of the plot is what really sold me here because I really wanted to see what this damn thing was.

My only problem with this film was the fact they did a bad job of making the Army seem like the bad guys, which isn’t really a problem considering so many films do that nowadays. I just felt like this film was so much smarter than all those others, but made these Army officials look like complete dicks, but then again, this film did need some conflict in between everything else so I understand.

The cast here is full of a bunch of random people but their all good. Joel Courtney is great in his big-screen debut as Joe, who carries that emotional weight of the story on his shoulders and doesn’t let up once. Great performance, and I can tell that this kid has got himself a good career ahead of him. Elle Fanning is growing up pretty quickly and is actually my favorite from the cast as the sort of bad girl, Alice. The rest of the kids are pretty good too, but my main favorite was Riley Griffiths as Charles, and is just hilarious the whole time through and kind of reminded me of a younger Dan the Man I must say. Let’s not also forget the always reliable Kyle Chandler as Joe’s Dad, Jackson, who finally gets some big-screen time here as well.

What really had me here was that this is just a whole lot of fun, but still with something to show for it. The visuals, especially the train crash, are absolutely amazing and just look so realistic. The screenplay here is also near-perfect because even though all these crazy explosions, invasions, kidnappings, and strange happenings are occurring, this is still all about the kids and with good reason because their just so fun to be around. The film reminded me of “Stand By Me” because this actually showed kids talking like kids again. They aren’t all squeaky clean and know-it-alls, these ones insecure, curse like it’s nobody’s business, and altogether, innocent. This film is all about the kids and how they relate to each other and not once does it hit a false-note at how the kids and their parents unify, or don’t unify during these strange events. I was totally surprised by how much of an emotional weight impact this had on me and when I left the theater, I just felt happy.

Consensus: Some may be annoyed from the constant nostalgia feel of this film, but Super 8 is a J.J. Abrams’ beautiful homage to all of the old Spielberg films of the 80’s with a great screenplay that is funny and emotional, fun action, and just reminds us what Summer blockbusters should always be like.

9/10=Full Pricee!!

Liar Liar (1997)

I never ever tell a lie, so if this happened to me, it wouldn’t much matter…

Lawyer Fletcher Reede’s (Jim Carrey) mendacious ways destroyed his marriage and alienated his son, Max (Justin Cooper). But when Max makes a birthday wish that magically comes true, Fletcher finds himself incapable of telling a lie for 24 hours. That’s great news for Max and his mom (Maura Tierney), but terrible timing for Fletcher, who’s due in court to try a major divorce case.

I don’t know how many times I have actually seen this film, but it’s been many, many times. Somehow, it still never gets old.

The premise here is actually very good and scores plenty of laughs to go along with it. There are many moments in this film where it almost seems like the plot will actually run dry, however, the comedy keeps on going. Kind of like lying itself, sometimes it’s nice and sometimes it’s mean, the comedy from the plot keeps you laughing.

There’s a whole heap of froth and bubble which is unfortunately spoiled by traditional American family values as interpreted by Hollywood demographic doctors. The whole film just gets very sentimental and cheesy at many points and especially towards the end, to give off a great message about being a father and staying true to your family. This was all done on purpose to stay with it’s family audience, and kind of bothered me because the comedy here is sometimes so mean that it seems strange that they would actually have these little sweet moments about family.

The premise is good, but the only real reason this is funny, because of that man at the top right there. Jim Carrey is a guy that a lot hate, but others love. I’am one of those others. Fletcher Reede is one of his best comedic performances because everything he does here from the goofy faces, the weird exclamations, and non-stop craziness work so well. Carrey is one of those guys that will do anything for a laugh and here he is no different, bringing out some well-deserved laughs with everything in his might.

Consensus: The sentimental value may be a little bit annoying, but Jim Carrey brings Liar Liar’s good plot, to becoming a hilarious time.


Find Me Guilty (2006)

Whoever thought that Dominic Toretto could actually act.

Training his lens on infamous mobster “Fat” Jack DiNorscio (Vin Diesel) — a man who decided to defend himself in court rather than rat out his cohorts –director Sidney Lumet recounts the longest Mafia trial in U.S. history.

The one thing about this courtroom film that separates it from plenty others, is the fact that draws its dialogue from actual courtroom transcripts that happened. This was really cool because we never felt that biased, misunderstanding of the law when this case is all said and done. I also liked how well the script was written because there are many comedic moments, but then there are actual deeply strong, emotional moments that happen as well but it never feels too cheesy. Sidney Lumet knows how to tell a story, and make it entertaining, despite the story not all being that thrilling.

However, the problem with this film is that it does run on too long. This film is about 2 hours long, and they cram the whole court case into that time limit, which was kind of a long stretch considering that sometimes this film can show a lot of problems within the American judicial system.

The film also does have us rooting for these actual criminals in the end, and this to me all seemed weird. These guys all committed crimes, killed people, dealt drugs, and have basically gotten caught doing it all, but now, we are supposed to root for them in a case that shows these criminals for what they are. There is a lot of evidence in this film that will have you kind of shake your head at the American judicial system, but this is all real stuff here, so I can’t really hold that much against this film.

Vin Diesel proves that he actually can act here as Jack DiNorscio, and knocks his performance out-of-the-park. Diesel has the incredible likability, to match his huge muscles, that makes us love Jackie and root for him as this film goes on. Although this is a bad guy, who has done many bad things, we kind of see him as a human being, that wants nothing more than for his friends to be free and safe, and not rat them out at all. Peter Dinklage is also awesome in his role as Ben Klandis, Linus Roache is pretty good as the evil lawyer Sean Kierney, Ron Silver does what he does as Judge Finestein, and Annabella Sciorra shows up randomly but owns her scene. Let’s not also forget Alex Rocco here as Nick Calabrese, who everybody probably remembers as Moe Greene.

Consensus: Sidney Lumet’s Find Me Guilty won’t have you thrilled, or inspired at all by the American judicial system, but with impressive performances from the cast, mainly Diesel, and a nice pace, you won’t be bored.