Saturday, January 11, 2014


When I had heard about HER, the new film from director Spike Jonze, I could not wait to see it. A story about a guy falling in love with his OS seemed extremely clever and interesting. The trailer did not win me over, it made the movie seem really hipster and pretentious. The reviews kept me optimistic. Sadly I was duped. Duped by my own self. You see, I went into HER thinking one thing and in return getting something more complex. A satire about how our culture is becoming to dependent on technology, smart phones, and social media is what I was expecting. I should have known a film from Spike Jonze wouldn't be as simple as that.

Jonze goes deeper than a commentary on people falling in love with their "iPhones". HER is one of the most smart and honest films about love and relationships I've seen in awhile.

Theodore, a writer still getting over the break up of his soon to be ex-wife. He's been in and out of the dating game with no success in finding the right woman. One day he decides to install the latest and greatest OS. This OS is designed to be the perfect operating system for its user. Theodore immediately bonds with Samantha, his new artificially intelligent OS. The bonding quickly turns into a relationship that becomes full blown love.

HER is one of the most original films I've seen in years. That being said, I could just not get into it. The reason, I'm embarrassed to say is because it wasn't cliched enough for me. Maybe I was thinking too literal at times? One thing for sure, the performances sell it. Joaquin Phoenix is stellar as usual. Scarlett Johansson gives what is probably her best performance as the voice of Samantha.

i really wanted to love HER but came away only liking it. It may grow on me with future viewings much like last years THE MASTER.

I recommend HER based solely on how original and smart the film is.



Scott Adkins is awesome! Unfortunately you've probably never even heard of him. He's Jean Claude Van Damme's right hand man in THE EXPENDABLES 2. If you have seen that movie, then you understand when I say he is pretty bad ass. My fingers are crossed he gets some more prolific roles in the next few years. Bullseye in the upcoming Daredevil television show would be awesome. Heck, he'd make a good Daredevil now that I think about it.

Casey (Scott Adkins) is a ninja master. While going to the market to pick up a late night snack for his pregnant wife, a intruder breaks into their home and murders her. Hell bent on revenge Casey takes out two common thugs who he thinks are responsible. To help cope with the loss of his wife Nakabara, a friend of Casey tells him he should train and meditate at his dojo. Casey's anger gets the best of him and it's not long until he is back on the trail of his wife's killer Goro, a barbed wire gauntlet wielding ninja bad ass!

This film has to be one of the best action films of last year. I want to go ahead and give it that title but I've yet to see DRUG WAR. Regardless, NINJA II has it all in terms of an action movie. At every turn it seemed like Casey was kicking someone's ass. Every turn. One moment he is roundhouse kicking peoples faces off in Taiwan , and the next he is taking out a military compound in Burma. It reminded me a lot of those late 80's early 90's pay per view action films, but done correctly. You see, a lot of action movies back then just had tough looking people with big guns or swords walking around and doing nothing. There is nothing boring about NINJA II thanks to filmmaker Issac Florentine and his star Scott Adkins.

I can't say much about Mr. Florentine with only having seen but a few of his films, but it is apparent he is perfecting his craft. Cannot wait to see what future projects are in store for him!

Now I've seen enough movies starring Scott Adkins to say that he is the next Chuck Norris. NINJA II had better fight choreography than any other big budget blockbuster I saw last year.

At a recent movie night the evenings choice was a extended cut of THE WOLVERINE. I like that version quite a bit but I was left with wanting more. Marvel/Disney is sort of cool for giving fans a R rated Wolverine film. I'm thankful for that but while watching NINJA II, I kept thinking wouldn't have been cool if THE WOLVERINE was like this! I'm probably asking to much a genuine R rated Wolverine movie would rule. Just sayin'.

So if you're looking for an amazing action movie to watch then NINJA II is your movie. Now don't worry about seeing the first film. It's equally as cool but might be tough to find.


Saturday, January 4, 2014


Well this is a surprise! PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 5, I mean PARANORMAL ACTIVITY:THE MARKED ONES is good. Really good. The third installment left a bad taste in my mouth so I skipped part 4. Turns out I did not miss much.

A brief history on my thoughts of the series. I love how the first film took Hollywood by storm and practically destroyed the torture-porn horror genre overnight. Part 2 (my favorite) kept the gravy train rolling. While still being a huge success this second entry split fans apart on what constitutes a good PA movie and what does not. PA3 pissed me off. I loved the trailers leading up to the movies release. I missed opening night due to some family issues. The next few days all I kept hearing was how nothing from the trailers were in the movie. I hate that crap! I caught the film later on Netflix. It was an underwhelming experience to say the least. I still haven't seen PA4 nor do I plan to.

In the coming years supernatural horror was where it's at with blockbuster hits such as INSIDIOUS, SINISTER, and THE CONJURING.

So it's 2014 and we have a new Paranormal Activity in January. January? Man, sorry for all you fans but that's not a good sign. Turns out the movie is good. The more that I think about it, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES is probably my favorite of the series! It's genuinely scary with moments that are not 100% loud jump scares. It's the first film in the franchise that really embraces it's R rating.

For a graduating present (I think), Hector gets a camera. Quickly him and his friend Jesse start filming everywhere around their apartment complex. Filming everything from Grandma getting drunk to dancing with the family dog. Strange things start to occur when a neighbor is murdered. While snooping around the crime scene the two friends find some weird trinkets and a notebook full of demonic script. In the following weeks Jessie is not himself. Hector and Marisol find some possible answers to what is wrong with their friend. They find out Jesse is a "Marked One", someone selected by a coven of witches (I forget the name if the movie gave one) for a demon army. If you've seen any of these films then you can already guess if Jesse's friends save him in time.

This spin-off added a lot of cool interesting elements, namely time travel or more appropriate teleporting. I won't spoil it but for a moment we see the apartment from the first film. A twist I found very enjoyable.

I highly recommend PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES to fans of the series. Best of luck to what is in store for us with PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 5 or PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES II.