Upcoming Horror Reviews (9/30 - 10/6)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 6:38 AM | Posted in


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Dark Water 仄暗い水の底から (2002)

Insidious (2011)


Silk 詭絲 (2006)

The Core (2003)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 12:43 PM | Posted in


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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 4.2/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 5/10

THE CORE (2003) - Jon Amiel

The Earth's electromagnetic field has suddenly become unstable. People begin to randomly die. Lightning storms begin to grow. The weather begins to heat up. How does one explain these phenomena? The Earth has a deadline, and "the only way out is in."

The Core follows geologist Dr. Josh Keyes (Aaron Eckhart) as he learns that these strange occurrences are caused by a halt of the Earth's molten core rotation. If the planet's core remains ceased, the electromagnetic field will collapse within a year, literally "cooking" the Earth. The film follows Keyes and his fellow scientists as they develop a top-secret mission with the US government to drill into the Earth's core to set off a series of nuclear explosions to "jumpstart" the planet. Yes, it is exactly how it sounds.

For every disaster film, visual effects usually make up the flawed script. To my greatest surprise, not even that saved this movie. The visuals look horribly fake, similar to unrendered 3D models. There are so many ways to describe its ungodliness. The interior of the Earth looks like a video game simulation. The space ships look like something pulled off by Discovery Channel. The lightning bolts look like they were created by a college student on Adobe After Effects. Hell, if the whole film is looked at visual-wise, The Core just looks unfinished. You have a not-so-tasty cake with no decorations on it whatsoever to make it look better. The film's crust and mantle are bad enough. Wait until we drill deeper into the film's core.

As ridiculous as the script and story itself, the dialogue in The Core is unholy. It is as if it was written by high school students who took lessons in exaggerated drama theater. Even more scary is how a talented cast that includes Eckhart and even Hilary Swank is able to deliver those laughable lines while holding straight faces. Due to the film's horrendous writing, one just cannot take the film seriously anymore. Thus, for a disaster movie specifically, you lose the element of "panic," the vibe that reminds the audience that everyone is going to die.

After the huge layer of cheesiness, the crux of the film, where the stakes are raised even higher, that is when The Core becomes surprisingly interesting -- perhaps the most intriguing is the way the director interprets the inside of the Earth. Although the Earth's interior design is mediocre (maybe creative?), it is, without a doubt, scientifically inaccurate. Even a middle/high school student can point out the parts that lack sense. The movie is just sloppy, cheesy, and sometimes just plain stupid. From the Globe and Mall: "The only pressing burden in this deep interior world is the question - What in or on Earth is a cast this good doing in a movie this ridiculous?"

Nevertheless, it blows my mind on the fact that the crew of filmmakers was able to pull this off. The fact that The Core is barely digestible and there is a tacky mood throughout its narrative makes it be put on the shelf of "Bad movies." However, with visuals that look shockingly fake in a funny way and characters that somehow become tolerable halfway in, The Core is a bad movie that you have to see once. Step back, switch your brain off, and lose a few IQ points. It is worth the watch….. in a dumb way. Despite its purple script that cause demanding filmgoers to ask the film to stop, The Core keeps on going, like the very drill in its plot, like a never-ending roller coaster ride. In the end, it will somehow hold your attention. Maybe not your interest, but your attention.

In conclusion, The Core is definitely a bad movie, but it is one of those movies that is "so bad, it's good." To quote the Detroit NewsThe Core is "formulaic Hollywood swill done on such an epic scale of incompetency, it must be seen." The movie is aimed for audiences who seek something less emotional than Armageddon and something as ridiculously entertaining as Journey to the Center of the Earth or even 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. But unquestionably, The Core is earth science in its worst case. In addition, it is a disaster movie in its worst case, probably the most scientifically inaccurate film of all time, as accurate as Frankenstein is for bringing dead bodies to life with electricity.


Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 6:35 AM | Posted in


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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 9.4/10

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

MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939) - Frank Capra

Do not underestimate the power of one individual. A single grain of rice can tip the scale. One man can be the difference in winning and losing. One senator can be the difference in getting a corrupted government bill passed. This one senator who relies on honesty and persistence over knowledge. His name is Jefferson Smith (James Stewart), a novice in politics who changes many lives as well as his own when he goes to Washington D.C.

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington follows Jefferson Smith as he becomes a senator alongside an elder senator and also his father's friend, Senator Paine. As Smith attempts to work his way towards passing a bill to start a children's camp at Willowed Creek, he finds out that Willowed Creek has already been occupied by another bill ready to be passed -- a scandalous graft bill that promotes building a dam on the creek, which profits the corrupted businessman James Taylor. Despite himself being unfamiliar to politics, Senator Smith fights with his honesty and determination to prevent the bill from being passed. Similar to themes that Capra touches on, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington emphasizes on the power of the individual.

Just like any other Capra film, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington strives with excellent writing, one of the greatest screenplays in this critic's opinion. The movie is well-supplied with powerful monologues and simple memorable quotes. Having a lot of people talk at once, as I mentioned before, makes scenarios become much more realistic, and that is a skill that Capra uses so efficiently, to help immerse the audience into his world with his characters. The cinematography is approached in a similar fashion, having the camera either stay still or follow a certain character for a long amount of time. The difference is here, most of the time the dialogue is presented as either a meaningful conversation or a powerful speech -- in this case, delivered by James Stewart. Undoubtedly, Stewart's "filibuster" is the greatest scene in the entire film, even when it lasts for at least a good half an hour.

For those unaware of terms in politics, a filibuster is simply "the right to talk your head off," meaning if a senator is given the floor, he can speak as long as he wishes as long as he has the energy to keep standing as well as talking. For Jefferson Smith, he spoke until doomsday, a little over 23 hours.

Pay great attention on James Stewart in this film, for this is *the* greatest performance of his entire career. You may not support his extremely libertarian statements, but one cannot help but respect and appreciate his perseverance. It is amazing to see how much heart Stewart pours into Jefferson Smith, making him one of the most realistically heroic characters in cinema, alongside George Bailey, which is also portrayed by Stewart. You will feel the emotions with him. You will feel the frustration in his face. You will feel the passion in his words, and above all, you will feel the chills run down your spine when he refuses to yield the floor.

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington careens itself to the foreground as a film that emphasizes the corruption of government. For a film released in the emergence of the Second World War, it was quite a controversial subject to present. However, its very theme of "one individual can make a difference" promotes democracy, the very engine that drives America, and is undoubtedly the best message to deliver in the heap of international affairs. Inevitably, the film was banned in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and the USSR, but to this day, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington is widely regarded as Frank Capra's best film, and was selected for preservation fifty years after its initial release.

In conclusion, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington is a masterpiece, a cinematic work of artistic filmmaking that produces political thoughts as well as emotional thoughts. The film stands tall with James Stewart's greatest performance in his career as well as the greatest screenplay ever written (Academy Award won). It is a timeless classic equipped with Capra's prominent theme as well as normal American ideals. Behind Capra's It's A Wonderful LifeMr. Smith Goes To Washington is, in this critic's opinion, the second greatest film of all time. Driven by an arresting narrative and captivating storyline, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington will have you forget that it is a movie.


Buy, Rent, or Burn (Volume Two)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 7:38 AM | Posted in


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BRB written by: Born Movie Reviews

BUY, RENT, OR BURN (Volume Two)

  1. Ghost Rider (2007) - Mark Steven Johnson
    • RT Critics Rating: 2.6/10
    • Conclusion: BURN
  2. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012) - Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor
    • RT Critics Rating: 1.8/10
    • Conclusion: BURN
  3. The Karate Kid (2010) - Harald Zwart
    • RT Critics Rating: 6.7/10
    • Conclusion: RENT
  4. The Descendants (2011) - Alexander Payne
    • RT Critics Rating: 8.9/10
    • Conclusion: RENT
  5. Phone Booth (2003) - Joel Schumacher
    • RT Critics Rating: 7.1/10
    • Conclusion: RENT
  6. Galaxy Quest (1999) - Dean Parisot
    • RT Critics Rating: 8.9/10
    • Conclusion: BUY
  7. Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love the Bomb (1964) - Stanley Kubrick
    • RT Critics Rating: 10/10
    • Conclusion: BUY
  8. The Neverending Story (1984) - Wolfgang Petersen
    • RT Critics Rating: 8.6/10
    • Conclusion: BUY
  9. True Grit (2010) - Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
    • RT Critics Rating: 9.6/10
    • Conclusion: RENT
  10. Sleepy Hollow (1999) - Tim Burton
    • RT Critics Rating: 6.7/10
    • Conclusion: RENT

2012 (2009)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 5:49 PM | Posted in


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

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 6/10

2012 (2009) - Roland Emmerich

The 2012 phenomenon is a scope of eschatological beliefs focused on the cataclysmic events that mark the "end of the world." Whether the notion is the arrival of the next solar maximum, or Earth's collision with an object, this catastrophic event is believed to occur on the 21st day of December, 2012, the end-date of a 5,125 year long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar.

Roland Emmerich's 2012 begins with geologist Adrian Helmsley, who learns in the year 2009 that neutrinos from a massive solar flare are causing the temperature of the Earth's core to rapidly increase. In 2010, President Wilson (Danny Glover) and other international leaders combine their efforts to commence a top secret project to ensure humanity's survival: Building "arks" in the Himalayas, which are built to save approximately a population of 400,000.

The main plot of 2012 is set in the year of the disaster, and follows science fiction writer Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) who, after hearing about the phenomenon from a radio host (Woody Harrelson), attempts to bring both his children, ex-wife (Amanda Peet) and her boyfriend to refuge and escape the astronomical changes in the Earth's geography.

The cleverest move 2012 makes is that it is fully aware that the phenomenon involves the entire world, and thus the scope of the disasters must be as massive as ever. Roland Emmerich goes from Los Angeles to Tibet, Hawaii to India, Brazil to Italy, and takes almost every famous monument and demolishes it for our cinematic entertainment. The visual effects are incredible, with every single detail of chaos being shown. Every time I watch the earthquake sequence, I can see something new. The scale of this film defines the word "grand." If you thought Emmerich's Independence Day or The Day After Tomorrow was grand, this movie would make all the others look like minimalist films. This is the end of the *world*, and Roland Emmerich is not afraid to show it to you.

I remember in 2009, when I was sitting in the theater watching 2012, and after the film was over, to quote one of the main criticisms on this film, I had a dragged feeling that "three years have passed and it is actually the year of 2012." 2012 suffers from its second greatest flaw, the running time: 2 hours and 38 minutes. Underneath the disaster plot of 2012 lies a good 90-minute core of unnecessary drama, the family stories involving John Cusack's character. To quote New York Times, "The movie sags, done in by multiple story lines that undercut one another and by the heaviness of its conceit." Due to its large scale, there are many more characters in this film, each one with his/her own story to tell, but the script is too minuscule to support it all. Thus, it begins collapsing like the Earth itself in this so-called end of the world.

Unfortunately, despite 2012 having the greatest visuals in Emmerich's career, it probably has one of his worst screenplays. The dialogue here is much more hackneyed than before, and the situations that the characters find themselves in are far more ludicrous, as if the absurd situations from the previous films are not enough. To quote the Los Angeles Times, "[Nothing] will give you more respect for how difficult it is to be an actor than watching top talent like John Cusack struggling to treat the film's ungodly language and situations with perfect seriousness." The film is undoubtedly over-the-top, but it is one of those rare films that are cinematically bad but are immensely enjoyable still, though I would not go so far as to call this a "so bad, it's good" movie. 2012 is a movie with cheesy dialogue and preposterous scenes where earthquakes "chase" planes. But remember, this is a disaster movie made by Roland Emmerich. However, if this film's concept was handed to someone like Steven Spielberg, then 2012 might have ended up becoming a very unique film with monumental scales and themes.

In conclusion, 2012 is pure senseless fun. It is absolutely ridiculous, but it is the biggest ride you will ever have. To touch on the film's cheesiness again, the plot is basically a cast of famous actors surviving massive earthquakes, giant fireballs, and a mountainous flood. Literally mountainous. Just look at the poster. Nevertheless, just like any disaster movie, the film accomplishes what it sets out to do. To agree with Roger Ebert, "2012 delivers what it promises, and since no sentient being will buy a ticket expecting anything else, it will be, for its audiences, one of the most satisfactory films of the year." For this critic's opinion, that statement would be completely true if the film was cut down by a lot. But as mentioned before, 2012 is a disaster movie. No, scratch that. It is a disaster movie on steroids. It is the ultimate summer blockbuster movie where you enjoy the visuals while munching on your bag of popcorns. Actually, you will probably need three extra bags to sit through the entire film.


The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 4:04 PM | Posted in


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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 4.5/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 7/10

THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW (2004) - Roland Emmerich

The Earth's current is depended on the balance of salt and fresh water. As a possibility, melting polar ice can disrupt currents, creating several different results of weather. Of course, this environmental concept is Hollywood-ized by the disaster movie director Roland Emmerich, in the 2004 film The Day After Tomorrow.

The film depicts catastrophic effects of global warming in a series of extreme weather events that lead to a new ice age. It follows Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid), a paleoclimatologist who goes on a hazardous journey to rescue his son (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is sheltered in the New York Public Library after a storm surge and flood engulf Manhattan.

The Day After Tomorrow is the first Jake Gyllenhaal film that I have seen, and believe me, even this kind of movie can show how much of a good actor he is. It may not be Oscar-worthy, but it is easy to tell that Gyllenhaal has put all his strength and efforts into portraying a determined survivor in the heap of the New York flood. As for Dennis Quaid, this film shows less. It is more of a showcase towards the younger members of the cast. On that subject, The Day After Tomorrow is also the first Emmy Rossum film I have seen, and I knew that she will rise up in the industry. Portraying the love interest of Jake's character in the film, Rossum went on to become a music artist and appeared in several other films and TV shows. There are a lot more lovable characters within the cast, just too much to count. They range from librarian to student.

As for the characters on the government side of the story, there are a few complications. In this critic's opinion, the President is mis-cast. Either mis-cast or not fleshed out enough. In a way, he is not even needed in this film and has less character value than even the President in Emmerich's earlier work Independence Day. Concerning the vice president in the film, he bears an exceedingly strong resemblance to our current vice president at the time, Dick Cheney. If one gnaws through the ice, The Day After Tomorrow does have some political undertones, expressing the negativities of the government regarding the environment, especially scoffing at Cheney. Though not well-received on this matter, Roland Emmerich did confirm that he purposely casted an actor who looked like the vice president and intentionally portrayed the government the way it is based on the environmental policies during the presidency of George W. Bush. According to USA Today, the White House did not respond to requests for comment on the film.

For a disaster movie, The Day After Tomorrow comes forth as one of the more "possible" ones. Global warming creating a whole wave of disasters? At least it is far more believable than a group of astronauts attempting to blow up an asteroid before it collides with Earth. At least it is far more believable than a group of scientists traveling to the Earth's core to detonate it and restart the planet's outer core revolution.

The most important thing one must know about The Day After Tomorrow is that its plot truly asks us to suspend disbelief. It is extremely exaggerated in its field of global warming at its most catastrophic, and the idea of ice storms "chasing" a cast of characters is pure Hollywood scrap. However, every actor, no matter how minor, plays his/her part seriously, and with the help of dazzling visual effects and good use of sets and environments, there are certain aspects of the film where the disasters feel real. It is a guilty pleasure movie, a movie where one simply buys popcorn, "oohs and ahs" over the visual effects, and have a great time watching things get wrecked. I have personally seen The Day After Tomorrow more than ten times and I still get the same entertainment value out of it. It has the same philosophy as Independence Day. Is it a cinematic work of memorable status? No. Is it going to win any Oscars for screenplay or directing or acting? Of course not. Is it going to make any money? You bet it is.

In conclusion, The Day After Tomorrow is a satisfying feature, one of the best disaster movies made from Hollywood. It may be ridiculous, but like all guilty pleasure movies, it is ridiculous entertainment. From the words of Roger Ebert, "The special effects are on such an awesome scale that the movie works despite its cornball plotting." To agree with Ebert, the film never intended to have masterful plotting nor exquisite craft in its creation. It is simply made to stir and stimulate excitement, and for a film that is only made for that one purpose, The Day After Tomorrow has created quite an enormous impact.


Buy, Rent, or Burn (Volume One)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 8:56 PM | Posted in


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BRB written by: Born Movie Reviews

BUY, RENT, OR BURN (Volume One)

  1. The Adventures of Tintin (2011) - Steven Spielberg
    • RT Critics Rating: 7.5/10
    • Conclusion: RENT
  2. Finding Nemo (2004) - Andrew Stanton
    • RT Critics Rating: 9.9/10
    • Conclusion: BUY
  3. Back to the Future Part 2 (1989) - Robert Zemeckis
    • RT Critics Rating: 6.4/10
    • Conclusion: BUY
  4. A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) - Brad Silberling
    • RT Critics Rating: 7.2/10
    • Conclusion: RENT
  5. Home Alone (1990) - Chris Columbus
    • RT Critics Rating: 5.4/10
    • Conclusion: BUY
  6. Hook (1991) - Steven Spielberg
    • RT Critics Rating: 2.9/10
    • Conclusion: RENT
  7. Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983) - Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
    • RT Critics Rating: 8.9/10
    • Conclusion: RENT
  8. Happy Feet (2006) - George Miller
    • RT Critics Rating: 7.5/10
    • Conclusion: RENT
  9. Shark Tale (2004) - Rob Letterman
    • RT Critics Rating: 3.6/10
    • Conclusion: BURN
  10. RV (2006) - Barry Sonnenfeld
    • RT Critics Rating: 2.4/10
    • Conclusion: BURN

Upcoming Reviews: DISASTER MOVIES

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 11:16 PM | Posted in


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The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
2012 (2009)