The Last Airbender (2010)


Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 7:06 AM | Posted in

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 0.6/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 0/10 (Zero)

THE LAST AIRBENDER (2010) - M. Night Shyamalan

In my experience as a film critic as well as an audience, I live my life watching movies through three rules:
  1. If the film is a sequel or a remake, its rating is not determined by the original film's quality.
  2. While watching a film for the first time, there are no distractions allowed whatsoever (Using computers, talking on the phone, texting).
  3. The film must be finished from beginning to end, no matter how bad the film is.

I have followed these rules for years, and in my entire life, there is only one film where I have ever broken my rules, and that is Rule #3. That one film is The Last Airbender. In my confession, I did not finish the film. To be more specific, I did not even reach half of the movie.

Even though The Last Airbender opens with promising adaptations of the portrayals of the four elements, it is quickly downgraded with a surprisingly dreadful narration. Narrated by a young girl, which I suspected as Katara and as a critic I do not know who it is yet, the opening text rolls with words that spoken in medieval times -- words that emperors or monks would say. But before the prologue grabs me into the story, I could not help but notice that the girl's voice is reading the same exact thing as the text that is rolling up the screen. Yes, I can perfectly read the words. Even more appalling, the last sentence of the narration quickly shifts from medieval language to modern day jargon, to words that ten-year olds would say. One minute into the film, and I am already shocked.

The Last Airbender is based on the famous animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Why remove "avatar" from the title? As a little trivia, The Last Airbender was originally planned to be have the word in its title. However, a few months before its release, James Cameron's Avatar was released first. Since the studio does not wish to have the name confusion, the word "avatar" was removed from the title.

For those who are unfamiliar with the series, The Last Airbender takes place in a land where the world is civilized by four nations: The Water Nation, The Earth Nation, The Fire Nation, and The Air Nation. Each nation's citizens are born with the skill to manipulate, or bend, the specific element in their village. For centuries, the four nations lived together in harmony, until the Fire Nation chose to invade and control everyone. In the ancient prophecy, only the Avatar, the one who can bend all four elements, can stop the Fire Nation. However, when the world needed him most, he vanished. Years later, when almost every place is under the command of the Fire Nation, the Water nation siblings Katara and Sokka discover a round icicle sphere in which the new Avatar, Aang, is in slumber, along with his personal flying friend, Appa. Together, the trio find rebels to fight back against the Fire Nation, as Aang slowly learns how to bend all four elements. Hunting down Aang is Fire nation Prince Zuko. All in all, the narrative of The Last Airbender is a typical "chosen one" story, in which a hero is chosen through prophecy to stop a powerful evil.

Unless one has already seen the original series, it is agreeable that this story is indeed difficult to tell within an hour and a half when it took four seasons to tell the whole story. This is one of many (and I do mean many) flaws in The Last Airbender. I swear, if I have never seen the show ahead of time, I would have no idea what this movie is about. I would love to explain it to you, but I would have no idea. There are so many characters, so many "rules" of bending, so many concepts, so many creatures, so many mystical nonsense to learn before the actual story kicks in. Games are best with simple rules, right? How about playing a game in which you still do not comprehend the rules? This whole outpouring of concepts causes one to simply "check out" of the movie within the first ten minutes, not even reaching the 30-minute rule of grabbing the audience's interest.

The acting is absolutely horrendous, like the works of a middle school project where the students happen to have a big budget to afford costumes and not-so-good special effects. As for characterization, may I first say that the Avatar Aang's name is pronounced exactly the way it is spelled, without the second "a." However, for some dimwitted reason, his name in this film is pronounced as "Ong." Sokka's name is also pronounced exactly the way it is spelled. But the film pronounced it as "Soak-a." Does M. Night Shyamalan have a grudge against the show?

The thing about good directors is that they have the skill to adapt to the material that they are given. Steven Spielberg will understand that directing a war film like Saving Private Ryan is different from a more calm film like The Terminal. Gore Verbinski will understand that directing an action film like Pirates of the Caribbean is different from a comedy like Mouse Hunt. For people who do not know who M. Night Shyamalan is, he is most known for directing thrillers and horror films that have plot twists in the end. He is also known for having extremely slow camerawork to build suspense, using dread and skillful use of music. For the cinematography being uniquely slow, that is okay for thrillers. But for an action film like The Last Airbender, one has to learn that action films require fast camerawork as well as brisk editing. However, Shyamalan does not do it. Instead, he fully handicaps the film's potential to be the greatest blockbuster of 2010. As an alternative to having quick close-up shots during fight scenes, Shyamalan uses wide and slow camerawork still and what we end up with is an establishing shot of over ten characters taking it out with their bending and sword-fighting. Inevitably, it becomes hard to identify who's who and the fight scenes lose their intensity and entertainment. Pretty soon, you will find yourself jaw-dropped….… by your yawns of boredom.

M. Night Shyamalan, in this critic's opinion, is probably the most self-destruct director of all time. His directing style is much admired in some of his films, such as The Sixth Sense and Signs, but the style heavily parts from a fantasy like The Last Airbender. In watching the film, I seriously cannot help but ask myself "What was he thinking?!" It is no surprise that the film took home the Razzie for Worst Picture and Worst Director.

In conclusion, The Last Airbender is simply unacceptable. It is the worst film I have ever seen, evident from it being the only film I have ever broken my rules on. The minute the film begins, it throws you into a lecture class explaining everything to you, from characters to creatures, bending rules to locations. It squeezes the entire first season into an hour and a half, just like how the film Push squeezed the entire series of Heroes into an hour and a half. For the fans of the animated show, The Last Airbender is the biggest disappointment in the world. For filmmakers and critics, The Last Airbender is a confusing mess with laughable dialogue, poor acting, dismal directing, and no cinematic value whatsoever. In my career of reviewing films, I have always given a rating. For The Last Airbender, I refuse to give one. I shall air bend the shape of a zero on the clouds, flood around the filmmakers' studios with a zero shape, form a burning zero on the mountains, and raise an earth fortress the shape of….. you guessed it, a zero.

It's A Wonderful Life (1946)


Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 7:21 AM | Posted in

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 9.5/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 10/10 (Full Score)

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) - Frank Capra

Every single human in this world dreams -- of fame, of wealthiness, of getting an education. For the case of George Bailey (James Stewart), it is leaving the crummy old town of Bedford Falls and seeing the world: Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum. And then, he will build things. He will build airfields, skyscrapers a hundred stories high, bridges a mile long. For the case of George Bailey, this is his dream…. and it never came true.

George Bailey's father is Peter Bailey, owner of the Bailey Building and Loan Association, which for years has been battered down by the slumlord and majority shareholder Henry F. Potter (Lionel Barrymore). George's brother is Harry Bailey, a successful man who brings home a wife after college, and during World War II, he is awarded the Medal of Honor. As for George himself, he marries Mary Hatch (Donna Reed), who has had a long crush on him. They have four children, and immediately after their wedding, spent their honeymoon money on saving the Building and Loan from a bank run. Life has been stealing George's chances every time he finds one. It's A Wonderful Life is a magnificent film that follows George Bailey, whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody, who then shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in Bedford Falls would have been if he was never born.

It's A Wonderful Life strives with one of Frank Capra's greatest strength, which is characterization. In this film, it is not George and his family being the cast of characters, it is the whole town of Bedford Falls -- from George's mentor Mr. Gower to Bert the Cop, from Violet Bick the town sweetheart to Martini the bar owner. Every single character has their own unique personality here and they have just enough to express what living in Bedford Falls is like. Believe me, after experiencing a white Christmas at Bedford Falls, I wish I can just jump through the screen and visit. Although some may argue that there are too many characters to remember, the web will reveal itself as each character pieces together the picture. The greatest part about this enormous cast of characters is that each one relates to George Bailey differently, exploring the full scope of Bailey's character and his behavior towards a variety of town folks. This helps us understand George more, believing in him and agreeing with him.

James Stewart is my favorite actor of all time, and he brought the compassionate George Bailey to life in this piece. Never once has he put himself before everyone else. He is a warmhearted man, a caretaker for every citizen in the town, a person who I would pray for if he goes through hard times. As usual, Stewart is recognizable by his famous voice -- the way he sounds like he is talking with a candy in his mouth and the way he mildly stutters at times. However, these are all devices to help us relate to his character more. He talks like your neighbor. He reacts to situations like your friend. He saves houses and money like your hero.

Mary Hatch is the greatest female character of all time, and is the "ideal wife" that every man in this world desires to have. Like George himself, Mary puts the people she loves in front of herself. Just minutes after being married, Mary gives up her honeymoon money to help George save the Building and Loan. There is no other response than to be touched by her acts of kindness in this film. She truly is a wonderful woman, excellently and beautifully delivered by the wonderful Donna Reed.

One of Frank Capra's most notable styles is the dialogue, the way the characters socialize. There is always dialogue overlapping dialogue. Noisy? I think not. Realistic? Yes, definitely. Personally, it is difficult to understand how the acting is planned, because every line goes naturally in response to another. It is exceptionally choreographed, with camera shots that go on for minutes and one would not notice because the camera simply follows the characters as they walk around in their conversations. Here, in It's A Wonderful Life, it is almost like Capra wants the camera itself to be a character. More importantly, he designs it so that the camera is us, the audience, making us follow the protagonist as he fights through his challenges. He invites us to become citizens of Bedford Falls before we even get to know this charming George Bailey. Frank Capra: Master of Characterization and Dialogue Chemistry.

Finally, and the reason why this masterpiece deserves a full score from this critic, It's A Wonderful Life delivers one of the most eternal morals in humanity: The fact that an individual can be so valuable and cherished by his/her loved ones. It is astonishing how one life can touch so many others, and how foolish it is to throw one's life away during times of frustration. George may have been through misery, with no wealth, but in the big picture, he truly had a wonderful life, and is the richest man in town. This heartwarming moral, which drives It's A Wonderful Life, has no stereotypes. It does not concern racism. It does not concern sexism. It does not concern age -- and most importantly, it does not concern its own "life," how long it can influence us in society. It is what keeps us moving forward, to be optimistic, to believe that things will turn all right in the end, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we must stop to appreciate everything that we do have, instead of wallowing in grief of what we do not have. No matter how many times I watch It's A Wonderful Life, its content lifts my spirits, especially during Christmas.

It's A Wonderful Life is the greatest film to share on Christmas. Yes, far stronger than Miracle on 34th Street. Agreeing with the American Film Institute, It's A Wonderful Life is also the most influential film of all time. It is the greatest gift to give to any loved one, guaranteed to warm one's heart on a beautiful Christmas. It may just be moving enough for you to shed a tear of happiness.

In conclusion, It's A Wonderful Life is, in this critic's opinion, the greatest film of all time. Its excellence in acting, directing talent, characterization and dialogue immerses us into the world of Bedford Falls as well as the affectionate mind of Frank Capra. It is a film that every person needs to see. Just as how life is God's greatest gift, the moral of appreciating life is the film's greatest gift -- open to share and touch everyone's hearts in this world. Finally, Frank Capra has given us the greatest gift in the movie industry, the masterpiece that is It's A Wonderful Life. Watch the film. Bless your "George Baileys." Cherish your family. Love your friends, and live your life to the fullest.

Mirror Mirror (2012)


Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 9:06 PM | Posted in

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 4.9/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 7/10

MIRROR MIRROR (2012) - Tarsem Singh

Snow White -- skin white as snow, lips red as blood, hair black as night. Blah blah blah. No, her hair is not black. It is raven and she is eighteen years old -- and her skin has never seen the sun, so of course it is good. She spent her whole life living in a dark tower, so what do you expect?

Taking a new turn for the original fairy tale, Mirror Mirror touches on the comedy aspect of fantasies, a more lighthearted approach compared to the dark Snow White and the Huntsman.

Mirror Mirror has all our familiar characters: The lovely Snow White (Lily Collins), locked in a tower by the Queen (Julia Roberts). After defying the Queen's orders and leaving the palace, Snow White meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) as well as the classic seven dwarves. As the film progresses, the charming group form a rebellion to stop the Queen and bring her down from the throne.

The Queen is not evil in this movie. According to Director Singh, she is only insecure, which Julia Roberts portrays with great precision. Furthermore, choosing a familiar actress makes the Queen a character we can follow, one we can relate to. She despises Snow White the same way the evil stepmother despises Cinderella. It may seem cliche or too merry, but it is simplistic and easy to follow, similar to live-action films made by Disney. Thus, never once do we actually fear the Queen, which might disappoint certain viewers, but the atmosphere and tone of Mirror Mirror shows that the Queen should have a more humorous side to her character arc. This film is perhaps the most fun Julia Roberts has had since her golden times, possibly during Erin Brockovich or Pretty Woman.

Snow White is indeed fair in this movie, and Lily Collins brings her character's inner and outer beauty to life on screen. She is optimistic, good-natured, and caring -- always looking at the bright side of things. She may not be the best actress, but she is very well casted for appearances. Sweet and charming, Collins is the perfect Snow White for a film like Mirror Mirror. Kristen Stewart, eat your heart out.

Fortunately for Mirror Mirror, the film is also assisted with a great cast of supporting actors, including Hammer as the Prince, the seven dwarves, and Nathan Lane (Mouse Hunt) as the Queen's personal assistant. The prince here has a twist to his character, for he is not the one and only man who is brave and can defeat all works of wickedness. He is probably the most original character in the whole film and probably the most intriguing to watch. Hammer, beating James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class) and Alex Pettyfer (I Am Number FourBeastly) in auditions, has come a long way since two years ago when he played the serious role of the Winklevoss twins in the 2010 film The Social Network. The seven dwarves have names completely different from the Disney version, but just like the Disney film, they are lovable and very easy to tell who's who, especially when one of them is the famous dwarf crew-member on the Black Pearl in the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. As for Nathan Lane, his character is also appealing, but director Singh should have given him more freedom on his comedic performance. Undoubtedly inferior to his appearance in Mouse Hunt as well as The Producers, Nathan Lane could have been much funnier and could have been one of those "minor favorite" characters.

Mirror Mirror, like all other fantasy films, wins our hearts with fine costume-work and art direction. The tree trunks in the forest do look fake, but fake as in storybook-like, kind of like a hybrid between Where The Wild Things Are and The Wizard of Oz. The artistic painting-like background immerses us into the world with great effort and color. Its mischievous tone is attractive, though more as pleasing than decent satire, but in terms of a movie, Mirror Mirror is a pretty picture to look at…. but with a few cracks in the corners.

In spite of the fact that Mirror Mirror is ravishing, it is also surprisingly unoriginal as a whole -- meaning if you are aware of the story of Snow White, then this would not offer something really extraordinary. Sometimes it lacks energy and proper cinematic effort. As mentioned before, the dialogue is rather flat at times. From the New York Times, director Singh knows how to "make performers and sets look good, [but] he has trouble putting them into vibrant, kinetic, meaningful play, which effectively means that he is a better window dresser than a movie director." However, there are movies that are made for just amusement, fun, and simply to kill time. It is a nice show in which our expectations are fulfilled with admirable extravaganza. Mirror Mirror is a perfect example, of a film where parents spend a few money, take their children to the theater, buy some popcorn, and have a good time. 

In conclusion, Mirror Mirror is a jolly merry-go-round. It is classic lightheartedness being organic and produced efficiently onto the big screen. Despite the awkward dialogue and peculiar facial expressions that can define the film as "trippy," Mirror Mirror strives still with charm and sweetness, purely innocent entertainment for the whole family. It may not be the fairest of them all, but it is very engaging nonetheless and one of the more peacefully entertaining films of 2012. Tired of fantasies done Tim Burton style? Did not like Alice in Wonderland? Looking for something gorgeous? Mirror Mirror is your answer.

Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012)


Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 2:15 AM | Posted in

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 3.9/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 5/10

ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT (2012) - Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier

One of the most recurring films in the animation genre is the type where the cast is a group of animals. However, each new sequel's flaws are just as recurring as the films themselves. The greatest example is the fourth entry of the Ice Age franchise, Continental Drift, a cold drifting iceberg with nothing special.

Continental Drift follows our familiar pack of mammals: Manny (Ray Romano), Sid (John Leguizamo), Diego (Denis Leary), Ellie (Queen Latifah), and the possums Crash and Eddie. And of course -- somehow the public's most favorite -- the acorn-obsessed squirrel. This time, the herd find themselves in the middle of a continental drift, the notable time period when Pangaea split up into several smaller landmasses. After an iceberg breaks off, separating Manny, Diego, and Sid from the rest of the herd, the main trio find themselves pitted against pirates, led by a prehistoric ape with no appeal on screen.

The film may appear like it has less to offer visually due to the large amount of water seen, but Continental Drift strives with fluent animation once again. Take one good look at the tidal waves, then go back and watch The Meltdown (the second Ice Age), and you will be surprised at how much the animation improved. But at the end, not even the smooth visuals can save Continental Drift from drifting into familiar territory.

One of the main problems with this film is that it constantly recycles elements from its previous films. Sid speaking gibberish and dancing in a funny way, have you seen that somewhere before? Yes, in The Meltdown, with the tiny sloths. Diego not admitting that he is in love with a female, have you seen that somewhere before? Yes, also in The Meltdown, but it applies to Manny. How many times did a character call Manny fat? At least once in every single Ice Age movie. Despite Continental Drift having an interesting premise and intriguing background for a sequel, it fails to create an original script with brand new jokes as well as depth. The characterization is still uninteresting at times, possibly even called "boring," and what you are left with here is simply an uninteresting movie, because every storyline element covers, what I mentioned before, familiar territory.

In the third film, Dawn of the Dinosaurs, technically only two new characters were introduced: Buck the Weasel and Momma Dinosaur, who has no dialogue. Though Buck defines the word "crazy," Simon Pegg brought the Ice Age franchise to new depths, thus making his character lovable and memorable. Here in Continental Drift, there are over ten new characters, each one glacial and lukewarm. Each new character has cardboard personalities, familiar in almost every kids movie. Furthermore, certain characters, specifically the new mammoths, have no logic of being existent in the film. Ever since The Meltdown, the franchise always stressed on how Manny and Ellie are the last ones of their kind, until Dawn of the Dinosaurs, when they have their first and only child, Peaches. Here though, Peaches meets four new mammoths the same age as her (two of them voiced by Drake and Nicki Minaj). Where did these new mammoths come from? Even better: Since they are the same age as Peaches, they should have their parents too. So where did *they* come from? Never explained.

The new villain of this movie is Captain Gutt, a prehistoric ape, captain of a pirate ship made out of a big iceberg. Unfortunately, Gutt never starts sailing as a character, with his personality as ugly as his appearance. Unlike all other well-designed villains, Gutt has no goal whatsoever and no origin nor explanation of how he is the antagonist of the film -- nothing more than just a bad-tempered ape who happened to run into a mammoth he does not like.

With a flood of familiar elements and unfavorable characters, Continental Drift is nothing more than just a better animated version of The Meltdown. Simply put, this entry to the franchise is strictly designed for either the younger folks or the *extremely* less demanding filmgoers. It may charm seldom times with slapstick that is surprisingly clever, but it is not enough to conceal its frozen originality.

On a more forgiving note, if one who is unfamiliar with the Ice Age franchise and ends up watching Continental Drift as his/her first movie, then it might settle as a straightforward popcorn movie, animated entertainment at its silliest. It inevitably lacks the depth that Pixar and even DreamWorks have, and worse, it attempts to have depth but fails at it.

In conclusion, Continental Drift will be extinct soon, easily forgotten for being way too similar to its predecessors, and I mean, *three* predecessors. It is chaotic, with hackneyed dialogue and an atmospheric mood that is labeled as "stupid." In summary, it has nothing new to offer and instead regurgitates out a herd of new characters that have no complete personality arcs and say moronic talk. The animals may exist in the presence of the film, but they do not "come alive" anymore. The pirate ship does not sail for long, or in fact, at all -- and as for Continental Drift as a film on its own, it will eventually drift away to the far ends of the globe.

Total Recall (2012)


Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 10:23 PM | Posted in

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 3.1/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 6/10

TOTAL RECALL (2012) - Len Wiseman

Philip K. Dick was a science fiction novelist who explored sociological, political and metaphysical themes in novels dominated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments, and altered states. His 1966 short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" was adapted to the big screen in 1990 as the Schwarzenegger film Total Recall, a cult classic in the science fiction genre. Now, 22 years later, Columbia Pictures begins to recall the elements that drove the original to be so successful and starts to enhance visual experiences and special effects. However, unlike the original film, the new Total Recall no longer contains a trip to Mars and bears political overtones instead, a little more faithful to the source material.

Total Recall is set in the year 2084, after Earth is devastated by World War III. It is now divided into two superpowers, United Federation of Britain and The Colony, who are locked in a battle for supremacy to unify the world. Citizens of The Colony and the UFB travel between the two nations via a supermassive underground gravity elevator called "The Fall," which takes them directly through the core of the Earth, emerging on the opposite side of the planet in under twenty minutes. Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), is a factory worker who grows tired of his monotonous life in The Colony. He decides to visit Rekall, a company that implants its clients with artificial memories of experiences they want to remember. He is persuaded to be implanted with memories of being a secret agent and is then tested on his past to dispel any compatibility issues. To his greatest surprise, it fails and the employee accuses Doug of being a spy in real life. Soon enough, a squad of armored police officers gun down the area and arrest Doug, but he reacts instinctively and manages to kill all of officers before escaping. After returning home to his wife (Kate Beckinsale), who attempts to kill him, Doug learns from her that she is not really his wife, but an undercover police officer. Furthermore, his wife reveals that Doug's mind was implanted with a life he thought he lived. The film continues on as a sci-fi chase marathon.

The movie nicely blends Western and Eastern culture together, and the contrasting appearances between the UFB and the Colony are clear and admirable to look at. With combinations of computer generated effects and real set pieces, the location settings of the film are difficult to tell what is real and what is not. Everything is fancy, making Avatar and Prometheus look like animatronics of the '80s (maybe not that exaggerated). Although UFB looks decorative and flamboyant, it undoubtedly looks like some rip-off of Coruscant from Star Wars. Personally, the Colony has much more little details to admire. It might look the same as 2019 Los Angeles in Blade Runner, but it efficiently fleshes out a plethora of asian culture as well, with boats, lavish umbrellas, Chinese words, and alleys similar to apartment buildings in Taiwan. Visually, Total Recall is impressive, with endless creativity and imagination to its designs. Fortunately for this film, the effects are good enough to win over its flaws, by a margin.

Surprisingly, Colin Farrell exhibits great effort as the male lead. It is almost as if he knows how significant Schwarzenegger was in the original film that he needs his own personality and characterization to make the new protagonist interesting to follow. As for Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel, who portrays a resistance fighter, they are great to look at on screen, but clearly one-dimensional, with character arcs incomplete and scopes partially explored. However, for a film like Total Recall that is flooded with an army of visuals, it is smart of the filmmakers to have only a small cast of individuals, or else having a lot of characters for us to remember would have been a pain. It would be hard to recall everyone.

The story and execution of its narrative is probably the greatest defect in its engine. It states that the protagonist Quaid is a secret agent, but the film never displayed any signs of wit or intelligence that show he is indeed a secret agent. No clever manipulations of items. No use of tools and locations. No Jason Bourne-like brilliance. As for the action scenes, there are barely any fight scenes, more like chase scenes. The plot of Total Recall comes forth as a futuristic Bourne Identity, but the thrilling sequences are delivered as if the film is a futuristic The Fugitive. Furthermore, and the most troublesome: By the third chase scene, the film begins to get repetitive. The scenes may appear different, but the skeletal concepts are identical.

For Total Recall's narrative, it is consistent, but consistently noisy. Even though it does relax and has time for us to breathe sometimes, the film all in all is just one roller coaster ride. In terms of a thoughtful Phillip K. Dick like story, Total Recall does not give time to develop it. Thus, it comes forth as a solid action-packed flick, and that is all there is to offer us. For demanding science fiction fans, they might be disappointed here. For plain entertainment seekers, it might just satisfy them. But for me, who is in between, I felt exhausted when the film is over. The pumped feeling when Terminator 2 ended did not exist. The pumped feeling when Star Wars: A New Hope did not exist. It is similar to stepping out of a roller coaster ride that was too long. In the end, Total Recall will have you worn out.

In conclusion, Total Recall is a visually pleasing film, but it has a few bugs in its system. The visual effects and art direction will not be questioned here, but the characterization and story will. You might have a fun ride, but there is high chance that you will be tired when it is over. As for the original Schwarzenegger film, do not even bring that film into the picture, because the two films are drastically different. Watch Total Recall on its own, as an independent science fiction thriller. However, the best thing I can recall is probably the three-breasted woman. Yes, they have it, to pay homage to the original. Oh, and there is a reference to Mars.

21 Jump Street (2012)


Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 8:41 PM | Posted in

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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 8.5/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 8/10

21 JUMP STREET (2012) - Phil Lord, Chris Miller

Always know your rights. Your Miranda rights. Or else you might just be "unlucky" enough to be thrown into a division filled with Justin Beaver, Molly Cyrus lookin' motherf***ers. Welcome to 21 Jump Street.

21 Jump Street follows Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum), who are former classmates who meet again at the police academy. Schmidt was a nerd while Jenko was a jock. They end up becoming friends at the academy and graduate together as park patrol partners. After arresting a group of drug dealers, Schmidt and Jenko are both forced to be released due to Jenko forgetting to read the Miranda rights. Then are then reassigned to a revived specialty division on 21 Jump Street, led by Captain Dickson (Ice Cube).

The interesting execution that 21 Jump Street goes with is that it is self-aware of its ridiculous premise and preposterousness, but goes with it consistently. The idea of casting Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as high school students just does not work; it is the same first impression of casting Daniel Radcliffe as a father in The Woman in Black. However, this comedy points out the actors' mature looks, how Channing Tatum must have hit puberty when he was seven. On another aspect besides characters, 21 Jump Street stands as also a parody on classic action films. It addresses the genre's cliches yet uses them in an original fashion, similar to what Scream did to the horror genre and what Tropic Thunder did to the Vietnam War genre.

I was (and still not really) never a fan of Jonah Hill, and I rarely find him funny. His movies never appear on my noticeable comedies list, mostly because of my strong distaste of them; they are often rude, raunchy, sleazy, and offensive. Here, in 21 Jump Street, Hill's crudeness is toned down a full level, tolerable and acceptable in my standards. In a way, Hill is attached to Tatum more due to the character duo leading the film. As for Tatum, this film is proof and a perfect example that he can do a comedy, and properly too. You may have seen him in She's The Man, but 21 Jump Street can make Tatum look like he deserves a Razzie for his previous comedies.

In terms of storyline, 21 Jump Street is surprisingly thoughtful over its silliness. It may have the typical Jonah Hill comedy, but it does not prevent the film from presenting its actual narrative. As for promotion and advertising, the film avoids the pit that all comedies fall into, the "expose the best jokes in the trailer" pit. It comes forth as cliche and familiar, but delivers much more than it reveals initially. From the Washington Post, it may appear as "another product of Hollywood's recycling program, but it deserves to be noticed." It is a very rare comedy, a movie where I care about the characters and laugh my lungs out at the same time. The film may be vulgar, like every American comedy nowadays, but thoughtfulness and efficient satire makes 21 Jump Street jump out of the crowd.

The humor is chaotic, noisy and keeps on going like a steamroller. It is one of those stupid comedies that are stupid in a good way, a guilty pleasure that I never expected to have. When a comedy is rated R, you expect a script that favors vulgarity over everything else. But after you see 21 Jump Street, you will be immersed into its fast-paced narrative and ridicule so fast that you will forget everything else and forgive it all. The amount of jokes it offers is tremendously large, and they can range from clever gags to random one-liners. When the comedy runs out of fuel, 21 Jump Street is smart enough to morph into an action film, with hilarious chase scenes and cheesy shoot-outs that brings out the campy action sequences in trashy television, and makes fun of them. It is inevitably the funniest film of 2012 so far, and one of the biggest surprises of this year as well.

In conclusion, 21 Jump Street is a fun ride. Despite it delivering rather low IQ jokes, the movie itself definitely has a high IQ, for being self-aware, witty, and constructive. Being a remake of the show of the same name, 21 Jump Street touches on elements of the '80s while exploring teen movie tropes and the YouTube generation, providing us with a largely entertaining movie that can satisfy a wide target audience.