Category Archives: Movie Reviews

StevenF Review of John Carter

The Disney film John Carter was released on March 9, 2012. It is based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs story A Princess of Mars. John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is a Civil War veteran running away from the US cavalry. He enters a cave, discovers gold, and is attacked by a strange man. Carter ends up being transported to Barsoom, i.e. Mars. Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids series) plays Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Willem Dafoe voices the Thark leader Tars Tarkas.

Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) escapes from an unwanted marriage and is taken by the Tharks where she meets John Carter. Dejah thinks Carter can help her but he is only interested in getting back to Earth.

There is plenty of action and intrigue in this film. There are also some humorous lines, as well as an alien guard dog named Wolla. The CGI in this film and the story line itself were done well. The director did a good job in keeping the story flowing. I have read Burroughs’ Barsoom Stories and believe this version followed the original. I can recommend this film for those who are fans of Burroughs and those who enjoy one of the early classics of science fiction. I give this 4.5 stars out of 5.

StevenF Review of 14 Blades

This film was released on August 22, 2014. 14 Blades takes place at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and concerns special secret agent Qinglong (Donnie Yen) who was selected as a child for training. While sent on a mission for the Emperor, Qinglong is betrayed by his fellow agents. His mission changes when he meets Qiao Hua (Wei Zhao) and her father who runs an armed security escort company facing bankruptcy.

The 14 blades referred to in the title are swords meant to represent honor and used to dispense justice. The acting was very good as well as the directing. The story line, whether historically accurate or not, was action packed with lots of blood (no gore or beheadings shown). The only thing that tended to distract from the story was the individual fight scenes which resorted to using the “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” flying fight technique.

The film flowed along very nicely and there was hardly a dull moment in it. The film was in Chinese with English subtitles, which I could deal with. Except for the mixing of regular fighting styles and flying styles, this was a good film. I give it 4 stars out of 5.

StevenF Review of Spy Kids 4-D (Last of a Series)

The final installment of the Spy Kids 4-D was released on August 19, 2011. Marissa Cortez-Wilson (Jessica Alba), the niece of Carmen Cortez, is married to a famous reporter (Joel McHale) and has retired from the OSS in order to take care of her baby, who is a regular farting machine, and two stepchildren, Rebecca (Rowan Blanchard) and Cecil (Mason Cook) who is hearing-disabled. Carmen and Juni have grown up and Juni has left the OSS while Carmen stayed.

Carmen and Juni (who only appears in the last 30 minutes of the film) are the only two characters from the previous films. Jeremy Piven plays the bad guy, The Timekeeper. His aim is to erase time from the world since he feels that people waste time for frivolous activities instead with their families. The CGI in this film is decent and the acting is good. I especially enjoyed the Wilson’s robotic dog which was voiced by Ricky Gervais. Like the other films in this series, there are lessons being taught to younger audiences about family, teamwork, etc. This story was a bit muddled at the beginning due to new characters.

Once I got the relationships worked out, I enjoyed the movie. It had its usual action and humor. Its ironic that I complained about Stallone playing four characters in the third installment while I was surprised by Piven’s portrayal of three characters. I give this 4 stars out of 5.

StevenF Review of Spy Kids 3-D (3rd in a Series)

This third installment of Spy Kids 3-D was released on July 25, 2003. The subtitle of this film is Game Over which is a reference to a new popular video game. The OSS has information that the game is made by an evil genius called The Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone). Carmen Cortez has entered the game in order to catch The Toymaker but is trapped in the game. Juni is called upon to rescue his sister.

According to the rules of the game, a player can bring in a helper. In this case, Juni calls in his grandfather (Ricardo Montalban) who was crippled by The Toymaker. Most of the film takes place within the game. Juni meets some beta-testers who end up helping Juni. The story is good and the subject of video games, which were gaining popularity at this time, was appealing to the target audience. The actors were good except for Stallone’s portrayal of The Toymaker. His performance didn’t exactly thrill me. I don’t know if it was because he played four different characters which did little to move the story.

What I think was one of the strong points of this installment was an emphasis on the usefulness of handicapped people. There were no negative stereotypes presented about Grandfather’s condition. The mediocre acting by Stallone was, however, a negative point. I give this installment 3.5 stars out of 5.

Lar’s Greg’s Treasure Map Update Video May 14, 2019

Shamefully I must admit I have never seen any of movies. After reading and hearing about the man who put it all together, Sterling Johnson, who has made many films over the years, I took a closer look.

I will let you look at their homepage and read it well, you will be surprised at what one man will do for a bunch of runny nose kids (OK that is an exaggeration because that only happens when they are in the wet and cold)

This month I could actually afford to donate to their cause, doing without beefburgers, beans and (cry) my ice cream, to afford it. So I donated. I hope you will find it in your heart to donate as well. I think it is a good cause.

Below, Lars Panchuk gives us an update on the next movie. IF you DO donate to the project let me know and I will feature YOU!

StevenF Review of Spy Kids 2 (2nd in a Series)

The followup film Spy Kids 2 has the same cast as the original film and was released on August 7, 2002. In this film, Carmen and Juni are faced with competition from the Giggles brother/sister team of spy kids. When the Giggles kids father is put in charge of the Junior division of the OSS instead of Gregorio Cortez (Antonio Banderas), things get crazy.

Carmen and Juni undercut the Giggles team on a major assignment in order to find an invisible island. The kids manage to find the island, but also discover a scientist (Steve Buscemi) who has created hybrid monsters on the island. The CGI on this film is decent for the time that this film was made. Steve Buscemi is excellent as the eccentric scientist. This film also presents the Cortez’ kids grandparents (Ricardo Montalban and Holland Taylor). There is plenty of action and humor within the film.

I must say that I think I liked this film more than the first one. The humor was more self-deprecating and, at the same time, more visual. Once again I think this film will appeal to a preteen audience. I give it 4.5 stars out of 5.

Paul’s review of CHAPPiE

CHAPPiE was released on March 6th, 2015 and is set in the future where a high crime rates in Johannesburg, South Africa leads to the introduction of state-of-the-art armour plated robots. These succeed where their human counterparts have failed. So pleased with their success the programmer decides he wants to make them more human-like and updates their software with AI capabilities. His boss however does not agree. All would be fine until a gang of thugs decide they have had enough of the new police presence and decide they want to kidnap the programmer.

The movie is one that I found to be fairly original and in the most part I enjoyed it. The AI robot was well done and funny with the other cast being believable in their selected roles. Hugh Jackman was good in his role as the programmer’s rival in the company and Sigourney Weaver made a good boss. The thing that let it down was the amount of foul language, some of it I could take but it became tiresome as the story went on. I enjoyed the movie and would give it 3 out of 5.

Remmy’s Review of The Saint

The Saint 11 July 2017, Not Rated. We need a little history on this one. The Saint was originally written in 1920. This is important because other writers used this as a base for their books, Batman (1930), James Bond (1951) are two of them. Simon Templar, The Saint, watches his parents murdered in their mansion. He is raised an orphan of course, which is where this version of the movie fails. In the books, everything is explained, but they took that out of the movie.

This is not the first book written with this theme, as we can go back in history and see many books of the same genre’ however this is the first book to get a worldwide audience in a short amount of time. Leslie Charles Bowyer-Yin known by his pen name Leslie Charteris wrote this, and I for one found it fascinating. This movie lets you see how writers mimic each other when they don’t have original ideas, and based on Vampire stories alone, I prove my point.

As for the movie, it was exciting, the acting was great, the photography was great. but there were problems with the movie. The script writers need to learn how things are done in real life, it lacked in that department. For instance, there are wounded or dead people around and when the police arrive they pay no attention to those people. Odd to say the least since those people had automatic weapons and if still alive could hurt a lot of people, not to mention they may have needed first aid.

Simon Templar is a modern-day filthy rich good guy that does some not so sweet things. He only kills when trying to survive, but his actions show that he does not need to kill at all, and two, he steals only from bad guys, and then only to pay for his cars and mansion, well and sometimes he donated to organizations to help others, but based on this movie, it was only when there was an agreement for it.

This movie and several of the books have been remade several times over the years with actors including Roger Moore (1962) and Val Kilmer (1997). This is without a doubt a modern Spy movie, without the spies.

I rate this movie 4 out of 5 stars taking off for the bad script writing.

StevenF Review of Fantastic Beasts 2

The film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was released on November 16, 2018. After the chaos created in New York City from the first movie, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is forbidden from leaving the country. With some secret help from Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), he manages to get to France hoping to recapture Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) who has escaped from prison.

If you are a fan of Ms. Rowling’s other novel series then you may be disappointed that Harry Potter isn’t in this. Dumbledore and Hogwarts are the only crossovers. There is enough magical action to keep the audience satisfied and the characters are all very good. The CGI is impressive and the story line is good. There are a couple of humorous scenes, but over all the film is decent for this genre.

I can’t say that there were a lot of things wrong with this film. I wasn’t as engaged with this part as I was with the first film. Basically it is a mixture of fantasy, espionage, and a commentary on Mankind’s tendencies towards war. I probably wouldn’t buy it, but I will give it 4 stars out of 5.

Paul’s review of Alien Warfare

Alien Warfare was released on 5th April 2019 and follows a team of Navy Seals that are sent on a mission to investigate why a top-secret base has suddenly gone ‘dark’. When they get to the research facility, they find it completely vacant except for one lone survivor, Isabella (Larissa Andrade), a foreign scientist who assists them in finding what went wrong.

The movie on a whole was ok, but the acting was pretty dire throughout and the storyline was very far from original with the added nonsense of a brother vs brother feud going on. And please don’t get me started on the science, as there were lots of errors, particularly involving the so-called prototype Faraday suits! But I always find if a movie goes quickly then I enjoy watching it, and the 93 minutes certainly did that. Yes, it won’t be one I watch again, and I would recommend a lot more movies over this. I would still give it 3 out of 5 though just for the fun of watching strange alien suits!

Real Faraday suits –