Saturday, April 23, 2011



Bruce Willis                            John Malkovich                     Brian Cox
Morgan Freeman                    Mary-Louise Parker              Ernest Borgnine
Helen Mirren                          Richard Dreyfuss

I listed the cast because this movie, this action movie filled with gun fights and explosions, is littered with cinematic icons and legends but trash, they are not.  This movie is fun, funny, and a wild ride to experience.  I mean seriously, the cast speaks for itself.

Bruce Willis plays Frank Moses, an ex-CIA operative who is retired from his old life and feeling very bored and lonely.  His biggest thrill in life are the phone calls to a representative (Mary-Louise Parker) who works for the call center who pays his government pension.  Suddenly, his past with the CIA comes back to haunt him and it seems his former employer wants him dead. Frank then gets his old team back together to get to the bottom of the mystery of who wants him dead and why.  They trip is filled with plenty of laughs, gunshots, explosions, and the cast works off each other so well you would think they had been working on this movie for years.  And watching this movie, you will certainly see why they are called RED (Retired Extremely Dangerous).

Helen Mirren definitely leaves her role as The Queen way behind in this movie.  I do not think the Queen could hold a machine gun anything like her character in this movie does.  Only Helen Mirren could attempt an assassination and still look like a lady doing it.  Morgan Freeman is hilarious. Another one who can do no wrong. But the one who steals the show has to be John Malkovich.  He plays Marvin Boggs, who as a younger man was a supposedly a test subject for the government, and now is a paranoid loon living in Florida.  His banter mixed with his extreme paranoia and proving he is not an old man provides most of the comedic relief in this movie.  If it weren't for the receding hairline and salt flakes mixed in, I would have thought he was a kid again this movie.  I could tell the man was having fun with this character and he forced Marvin Boggs to have some damn fun.

The characters are more than Retired Extremely Dangerous; they are legends showing these muscle bound super heroes in tights we see on the screen nowadays how to fuck shit up!

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Country Strong


You gotta love country music.  I have to admit, I haven't been keeping it up with it the past 10 years.  I was a much bigger fan in the late 80's and early to mid 90's.  I've always enjoyed the genre but nothing gets to me like rock n roll.  I was raised on it and I will always be a hard core rock n roll child.  However, there will always be a place in my eardrum for some good country music.  There is supreme talent all over the place coming out of Nashville and no one can deny that.

As soon as the beginning credits of Country Strong started rolling, I knew I was going to love it. Hell, I knew when I saw the trailer for the first time last fall.  Although, when I started the film, I thought here is another predictable movie about a fallen singer who comes back at the end and then everything is okay.  And that is what the movie pretty much is about.  I did end up loving it but lets face it, the storyline is tired.

Gwyneth Paltrow portrays Kelly Canter, a multi-platinum selling, multi-Grammy winning songbird who at one time, soared through the world of country music.  This songbird's wings suddenly quit flying when she practically drowns in the booze and performs a disastrous show.  She enters rehab then, with the help of her husband and manager Charles (a head turning performance by Tim McGraw) and sponsor Beau, a struggling singer/songwriter, Kelly stages a comeback tour. 

Granted, yes, this storyline has been done time and time again.  However, if you are any kind of fan of country music, you need to see this movie.  Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw give outstanding performances and yes, that is her actually singing, as she did in Duets.  You will find there are many movies that I may not care that much for as a film but sometimes has performances that I love.  That was definitely the case here with Paltrow and McGraw.  Garrett Hedlund (Troy, Four Brothers) and Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl, The Roommate) are solid but their characters do not have much depth anyway.  It really was a good movie with great music but the story itself, was nothing new.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

I Spit On Your Grave (2010)


Oh yes, it is the age of the horror remake. Well, its the age of the remake of just about anything these days.  I personally think there have been some good ones. To name a few, I personally liked The Amityville Horror remake. Nightmare on Elm Street wasn't bad.  The Crazies and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre were also watchable.

Anyone who knows me and my movie watching habits, I love thrillers and horror movies. I am especially a fan of the revenge flick. That old saying "revenge is a dish best served cold," I find to be total bullshit.  I say, an eye for an eye bitch!  Which brings me to a great revenge thriller, Eye for an Eye with the great Sally Field.  Then, on the subject of  great horror remakes and revenge movies, there was 2009's Last House on the Left, which I found to surpass the original. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it as long as you can get through the brutal rape scene. But, its a DVD, just skip through it.

Now I come to this blog's movie, I Spit On Your Grave. This is a remake of the 1978 movie of the same name which I am sorry I have to admit, I have not seen.  I only have one friend who has seen this movie and she loved it.  I read many things online about it before seeing it and mostly reviews say it surpasses the original.  However, this movie made less than $100,000 at the box office so I guess many people have not seen it. Also, it was a limited release too. It didn't play in theaters in my area at all.  I am sure it will do well on DVD rental. 

I Spit on your Grave focuses on Jennifer Hills, a novelist who rents a secluded cabin to work on her next book.  One night, she is visited by some local hoodlums and a series of savage assaults take place.  However, Jennifer quickly turns from sympathetic victim to vengeful all out bitch.  She tortures her assailants beyond belief in ways that had me half ass covering my eyes.  Sarah Butler portrays Jennifer Hills in what I read as a "fearless performance."  The original was banned on most of the planet so I feel as I should see it.  You can go online and look at the movie poster for the remake where one reviewer wrote, "if you can handle, then see it."  The movie is relatively slow and predictable at first.  It takes time before it gets off the ground.  It actually is very reminiscent of The Last House on the Left, which gets off to a better start then this movie.  Once Jennifer gets pissed off, it gets very interesting and a little painful to watch, especially for the guys.  Jennifer definitely  turns it into the "day of the woman."

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Friday, April 22, 2011

How Do You Know

This movie was actually very funny.  I only give it 3 stars because lets face it, you can tell by the previews that it is just another romantic comedy.  You know how it is going to end.  How do you know is from writer/director James L. Brooks and stars Paul Rudd, Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, and Jack Nicholson.  How do you know is no where near the box office and Oscar gem some of Brook's previous movies were like Terms of Endearment (over 100 million dollars at box office and winner of 5 Oscars including Best Picture) and As Good As It Gets (over 300 million dollars worldwide and winner of 2 Oscars).  It earned just over 30 million dollars at the box office.

However, in true James L. Brooks fashion, the writing is hilariously genius and his characters are real, meaning they are flawed.  He doesn't use anorexic, over tanned teenagers in his movies.  Don't get me wrong, he uses attractive people, but attractive people with talent.  And he gets the best of the best when it comes to talent.

Paul Rudd has certainly certified himself as a comedic phenom over the years. Whether its a slapstick, ridiculous movie, Phoebe's boyfriend/husband in Friends, or now the leading man.  He plays George Madison, an executive who got his job through extreme nepotism from his father Charles (Jack Nicholson).  In a 24 hour period, he has some of the worst luck one person can have.  There is this scene with just him and a bloody mary that I found so funny.  Then he meets Lisa, a wonder athlete, who is also down on her luck but Lisa is dating Matty (Owen Wilson), a professional baseball player.  Timing couldn't be worse for both but I think that was the perfect time for them to meet.  Owen Wilson is right in place as the narcissistic baseball player.  Jack Nicholson is of course brilliant and still does not miss a beat to absorb every part of his character.  I am sure it was a huge honor for Rudd, Witherspoon, and Wilson to be in the company of James L. Brooks and Jack Nicholson.

Brooks turns them into almost this dynamic duo.  Their chemistry and comedic timing is flawless.  The last time we saw Reese Witherspoon on screen was in 2008's Four Christmases and I think this was the perfect vehicle for her to come back in.  Even though you may already know the ending, it is still a joy to watch.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.



**I know this movie was released a while ago and is already on DVD but I am just now seeing it for the first time.  Many movies I will be reviewing on this blog are movies that are no longer in theaters since I do not get to the theater as much as I like. However, I am sure many people have not seen this movie yet and may want to read about it. Also, this blog is not only an entertainment information tool but is also a creative outlet for myself. As I have written before, I love writing about movies and this is a great way to do it. So, along with new releases, I will also review movies that are already out on DVD.**

I say welcome back to the non-CGI laden good old fashion action movie!  Unstoppable was released in November of 2010 and stars Denzel Washington and Chris Pine and is directed by Tony Scott.  Tony Scott is the director behind some of greatest (in my opinion) action movies and dramas of our time.  He was behind the camera for movies like Top Gun, Days of Thunder, True Romance, and Enemy of the State. Scott and Denzel Washington have worked together before on what has to be one of the best movies of the 21st century so far (and I know many people who would agree with me), Man on Fire.

When the movie first begins, I am already surprised to find out that it is based on true events.  I honestly had no idea of that.  I was always under the impression that this was some kind of terrorism movie.  That it is not.  The story is actually pretty simple but executed in an awesome way. A freight train carrying hazardous chemicals with no conductor or engineer gets away from a fool of a train employee and is speeding toward a heavily populated area in southern Pennsylvania.  Folks, I can tell you after just watching this movie, the suspense is there, the action is there.

Denzel gives yet another great performance as a near-retired train engineer. Lets face it, the man can do no wrong.  He could stand on a sidewalk and spit and fart and people would buy tickets, may even win a third Oscar. Chris Pine is definitely well on his way.  I have to admit, I didn't even know who he was til his Oscar-worthy performance in Star Trek (Yes, I wrote that. Really watch the movie people. His performance was excellent!). When I got home from the theater from that movie, I researched him immediately online and have now watched some of his earlier work.  He's developed an ability of being calm and lighthearted one minute then jumping to disaster, "we have to save everyone" mode without missing a beat.

The dialogue is also worth mentioning. Mark Bomback's script keeps these disasters believable, without all the flare or flash.  It is very reminiscent of another one of his screeplays, Live Free or Die Hard. Believable American heroes, great story, awesome action scenes with out all the green screens. I say, keep 'em comin.

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


3 1/2 STARS

Insidious was released on April 1st and was written by Leigh Wannell, who also wrote and starred in Saw 1 (he was the guy chained up with Cary Elwes in the bathroom) and Saw 3. I have to say, a very interesting movie. At first, it starts out as just another damn haunted house movie. The storyline soon makes a turn from just another haunted house movie to something completely new. As it says on the movie poster, "It's not the house that's haunted."

Patrick Wilson (Hard Candy, The A-Team) and Rose Byrne (Damages) play a young married couple with 3 children and they have just moved into a new house. The house is of course, large, ominous and everything creaks. Tragedy suddenly strikes the family when the middle son, Dalton, falls into a coma. That is when the shit hits the fan.

The images in the movie are genuinely creepy. There were even a couple of times, if I weren't looking close enough, I would have missed it which I enjoyed. I like it when the movie people make the creepiness just subtle enough. However, the movie then goes out into this other realm (literally) and the direction it goes in is certainly hit or miss. A co-worker of mine told me he thought most of the movie was great but the last 20 minutes was ridiculous.  I think ridiculous is harsh, they just did something new and for me, it worked.  Some of it towards the end did seem a little too house of horrors at a small town carnival for my taste. But the very end of the movie was done in great horror fashion.  My movie date certainly had the heeby geebies at times, even saying when the haunting beginning credits rolled, "Thats that bullshit."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Scream 4

This was the review that started it all but the 420 characters Facebook allows wasn't quite enough for what I wanted to say.

I am trying to come up with some kind of unique rating system, but for now, I am going with the good ol timeless stars. I give this movie 4 STARS.

I honestly didn't know what to think walking into this one.  I absolutely am a fan of the Scream franchise. The first one in 1996 was a tour-de-force in horror movies and completely turned the slasher genre 360 degrees.  It was 111 minutes of jumps, twitches, laughs, and of course screams.  Drew Barrymore in the beginning sequence was a stroke of genius giving a performance that was compared to the great scream queens Jamie Lee Curtis and the original, her mother Janet Leigh.  Many people do not know Drew was originally supposed to be Sydney Prescott, but because of scheduling conflicts, did not have the time to do the entire movie.  The film as a whole was a treasure chest full of "whodunit" mystery.  Then, in true blockbuster movie fashion, 2 more movies followed and I loved them both.  I mean, don't get me wrong, when you have such a great formula the first time around, its really not that easy to replicate it in the same fashion and still keep people guessing but I think Wes Craven has done it brilliantly.

Now, do not go into Scream 4 expecting a "jump in your seat" scary movie.  They are now "whodunit" slasher flicks. Was this movie any good the fourth time around?  Hell yes!  I found Scream 4 most excellent.  The original three (Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette) are back and their chemistry together is better than ever.  The beginning sequence at first is going to be annoying but when all is said and done, it is pretty brilliant.  As I wrote before, you will not be jumping in your seat but there is plenty of suspense to be enjoyed.  Kevin Williamson does another damn good job writing the script.   Even though by the time the 1st hour was over, I had the killer figured out, I still enjoyed the hell out of this movie.  The original cast has matured nicely and I liked where they took the characters and I liked them setting the movie back in Woodsboro.  The new kids on the block all did a great job.  I wasn't sure when I first saw the trailer but after seeing the movie, I give Hayden Panettiere props. She was my fave of the new class.

I think any fan of the franchise will enjoy it.  If you've seen all three of the movies, you are already invested so you might as well watch the 4th.  Sydney still kicks ass, Gale is still a bitch, and Dewey is, well, he's still Dewey.  And speaking on behalf of all the Scream fans, we wouldn't have it any other way. Wes, you are still the man!

Thank you and see you at the next blog.

Blog Numero Uno

Well, I always said I would never do it. But, alas I have given in to something that is actually of this century: blogging. And this is my site. As you can see, I am calling it "The Critic of Southeast Texas."

As of recent, this is something I have been thinking heavily about but as most people know, my brain has been on standby mode lately.  Well, not anymore. I have experienced a surge of creatively recently that I have not felt in a long time and I think I feel I should share it with everyone I can.  Anyone who knows anything about me knows I am an entertainment guru.  I love music, books, television, and especially movies!  I love writing about them especially critiquing.  Now, I know there are movie critics coming out of our ears out there.  You can go on any number of sites and look up a review of a movie.  I mean, have an issue of Rolling Stone (gasp!oh yes, I still love an actual magazine) right here next to me and of course, as with every issue, there are critics in the back reviewing CD's and the latest movies.  I for one do sometimes read those but I have always felt like they are just taking most movies too seriously.  I look at movies like the average movie viewer looks at movies and that is how I want to review the movies I watch, the books I read, and the CD's I (gasp! again, yes I still listen to CD's. I support the music and movie industry by actually purchasing the products from stores) listen to.  I am writing this, my first blog, listening to my newly purchased Adele "21" cd which I will of course review in a later post.  I recently reviewed a movie on a Facebook post and people commented on that post and even told me in person that I should be a film critic. Well, that has always been a dream of mine. I want to write reviews that the people who go and see them can actually understand.  Also, depending on the movie I go and see, I know what I am expecting and try not to expect too damn much so when it turns out to be amazing, I can be, well, amazed. 

Simply put, I enjoy movies.  I enjoy the entire entertainment industry and hopefully one day will be a part of it.  As most of the people in my life know, I published my first novel last year, "Moonlight on the Water," and have always dreamed of the day it would become a movie.  So, I hope everyone enjoys this blog.  I figure if you become one of the followers of this blog, then you will care what I think about a certain movie. 

Thank you and see you at the next blog.