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The Force Awakens is full of pomp and circumstance and it is not a particularly good movie but it is a good Star Wars movie. The Force is out of balance in this one. The CGI gets a B-, the diversity angle gets and A, the feminist angle gets an A+ and those angles weren’t thrown in the audience’s face. Everything else was rather sketchy the plot, the pacing, the dialogue, even the damn secrets.

Where to begin…Kylo Ren. This badass can freeze a laser blast with his back turned. He can sense his father’s presence when he lands on a planet, but he walks blindly down a scaffold searching for his father who is hiding 20 feet away from him. Ren spends half the film literally throwing tantrums while wearing a vocorder mask that he doesn’t need. Darth Vader had a mask on because he had asthma; Ren wears it try to be something he’s not. Even Han Solo says “Take off that mask, you don’t need it.”

The fact that Kylo Ren abilities allows him to kill Luke Skywalker’s Jedi pupils, but he battles the kindhearted storm trooper in a 5 minute lightsaber battle, should be enough to make any righteous Star Wars fan vomit in their mouth…just a little bit. Then Ren is bested by Rey, who may be strong with the Force but has never used the force, never been trained and who moments earlier said that the force was all a myth.

I know those are but minor quibbles…right, we finally got a good Star Wars film…just be happy. You could just be happy with your mediocre job, your mediocre car and your mediocre love life or you could want more, you could want better or you could just settle. That’s not all of the flaws you could take every major character and write a paragraph or two of WTF’s on them…really.

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The Star Killer base took forever to fire, and I mean forever. It was probably the longest 15 minutes in science fiction film history. A legend dies and their love ones just move on, you don’t even feel the loss.The dedicated Captain Phasma the platinum boss storm trooper just lowers the planet’s shields because, ex-storm trooper, Finn points a blaster at her while he asks her to.

After Han and Leia find each other Leia shows more warmth to Rey and Chewie than to her husband. Every scene Han with Leia seemed forced even that one tepid hug. Their chemistry is colder than the Hoth planet.

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Midnight: Rise of the Black Vampires is Part Novel, Part Graphic Novel, All Vampire

If the Republic was reorganized after Episode VI, then The First Order would be a ‘terrorist’ organization, and referred to as resistance. In The Force Awakens there are two separate resistance groups, one affiliated with the dark side of the force which can build starships, huge planet destroying machines and amasses great armies, the other affiliated with the light side of the force, which in 30 years haven’t changed the X-Wing fighter much, nor have they developed a missile, bomb or any other large scale weapon, also they seem to like to hide in jungles and dirty caves… So why are make a film about them again?

The Force Awakens foes produce an even greater respect for the first Star Wars films. All of the characters in The Force Awakens just seem conflicted; you don’t feel the evil just oozing out of Ren, just like you don’t feel the love coming from Leia. I don’t know why they needed Andy Serkis to play the Supreme Leader Snoke, he really doesn’t do much. I do know why…name recognition.

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Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Carrie Fisher as Leia and Mark Hamill as Skywalker all perform admirably when they aren’t on screen together…especially Ford. Daisy Ridley’s performance as Rey is strong and vulnerable. The Force Awaken is a remix and homage, perhaps too much, of the original films.

The Force Awakens is one big trailer for the new few films in the Disney franchise anyway. The film is nonsensical, predictable, it’s fun and it moves along quickly, but it’s not enjoyable the way the original “Star Wars” was. The dialogue, comaradery and witticisms are nowhere on par with The Empire Strikes Back. If the producers didn’t want The Force Awakens to be compared with those legendary films, they wouldn’t have borrowed everything this film is from them. After you see The Force Awakens go back and watch Episodes IV and V if nothing else.

The first half of the film is pretty much littered with bullshit and nostalgia. The second half is really the meat of the film. The film gets a solid C because it’s fun and all of the characters have their moments, especially Finn, played by John Boyega and Rey. There is a bit of hope that those two get together but political correctness already has Finn in a coma and Rey rolling around the galaxy with Chewbacca.

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No matter how dire the situation is Rey never really needs any help, think Richard B. Riddick in 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick. Rey who has never flown can pilot a starship like an expert, Finn can shoot blasters and laser turrets like a pro. Rey can mind probe, mind trick and lightsaber duel better than Yoda…talk about being overpowered.

It will take a few more films for people to realize Luke Skywalker was really just some asshole living on an island planet, playing with people’s minds so he can use them as conduits for the force.

Through the prequels we have come to know the Jedi and the Sith as arrogant, ill-prepared bumblers, cowards and dark cloak wearing idiots… The best thing about The Force Awakens is that none of that exist here. There are moments in the second half of the film that manage to capture the magic of the original film, but even those moments are fleeting.

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Half way through the film Han Solo implores his new companions “Don’t stare!”, when all the director wants the audience to do is stare. This is how easy a mark the movie going public has become. Director J.J. Abrams wants to piss people off, he’s like Quentin Tarantino in a way. They both do things in a movies just because they can, not because those things are necessary. Abrams gives us views of  hollowed out AT AT’s, imperial cruisers wrecked in the desert and a mangled, burned and ripped up Vader mask as message to Star Wars fans; that message… you are boldly going where you haven’t gone before.

After seeing this film, you should realize that those singular Star Wars moments were never meant to be captured again.

 

Iron Man 2 is Jon Favreau’s much anticipated follow-up to his 2008 blockbuster. Iron Man 2 recast Robert Downey Jr as the billionaire inventor/superhero. Also reprising her role is Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts. Mickey Rourke stars as villain Ivan Vanko complete with  uber Russian accent and electrified whips. James Rhodes played by Don Cheadle is the military liaison to Mr. Stark, but Cheadle is not very convincing and he comes awkward in the role. Director Favreau should have let Terrence Howard reprise this role, he  was much more believable as Stark’s uncomfortable best friend.  Surprisingly this movie is not about Ivan, or even explosions. This film is less about Iron Man and more about the appeal of Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey is a great actor, so the guess had to be that if Downey was in it the movie the story came second, you could just piece together a story, throw in pieces of conflict, flirt with an obvious love story that never really develops and voila you have a blockbuster. The box office tally will no doubt tell if the guess was right. No one will cringe at the needless use of comedy, no one will bat an eye that the so-called super villain had about 5 minutes of super villain screen time. I don’t think that anyone will mind that Ivan built his own arc reactor and power suit in his basement, but yet the government is still trying to have Tony Stark hand over his Iron Man suit.

Note to self:  Build Arc reactor in basement, then mow lawn.

In this sequel Anthony “Tony”  Stark just doesn’t give a shit, really. He is a big-time playboy, a trillionaire and a superhero what is there to be worried about, oh yeah his pesky heart. Tony Stark is an over-the-top arrogant, smug, unapologetic ass all the way up until we find out that wearing the Iron Man suit is killing him. Yeap he’s dying and rather quickly to add to the drama.

This movie is based on a comic book and all of the comic book geeks will be glad that their adolescent fantasies are now on the big screen, a feeling which I too experienced when I first saw the Silver Centurion armor. Although the Black Widow story line is spot on, Iron Man 2 as a movie is barely in the Marvel Universe, it is almost pure soap opera, which is probably why they kept referencing other Marvel’s other characters and films.

It’s not that the movie needed more action, it just needed a better story. The middle sags as Hamlet broads, but there just isn’t enough story to go around, well at least not enough to get the ensemble cast enough time to shine, especially Scarlett Johannson. I was sufficiently wondering where the movie was headed by the time Ivan Vanko a.k.a “Whiplash” shows up walking around slicing and dicing cars on the Monaco raceway. But even while he was doing that I was wondering where was the officer who tasered that 17-year old kid at the Philadelphia Phillies game.

Everything about Iron Man 2 from the music to the fight scenes to the actors are solid and unimpressive, except for Robert Downey Jr who saves or should I say makes this film, much in the same way Johnny Depp does the films he stars in. Director Jon Favreau plays footloose and fancy free with the dialogue as he goes with a more heart less suit theme. I am not kidding when I say that Iron Man gets maybe 20 minutes of screen time. These actors don’t compliment each other well. The moralizing from the first movie sadly has been removed in exchange for a larger cast and little direction. Iron Man, as marvel superhero’s go, is already on the lower rungs and this movie, while not terrible, does nothing to bolster that position.

Iron Man 2 gets a7.5 out of 10 and that’s my FilmWord.

‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’, is the sequel to Tyler Perry’s 2007 movie “Why Did I Get Married”. As many of my readers my know I try not to review Tyler Perry’s films because I have previously been compared to him, in some regard, and most of my reviews, while honest  have not been flattering.  The formula here is the same, couples bickering, exploiting emotions, and all of the marriage challenged have moral, ethical and relationship issues that usually get resolved by the time the movie is over and always with one character who is so horribly flawed that they are beyond redemption.

Honestly, Why Did I Get Married (2007) is when I thought that Tyler Perry had finally shown growth as a director, so I wanted to see this movie. The sequel’s story, though predictable, moves better than most of his films and the subject matter is still shallow. His films have marginally gotten better, but here we are almost 10 movies in and still Tyler Perry refuses to enlist real help with his film making.

This film picks up three years after the first movie, the four couples have moved on with their lives and are now taking their annual vacation. The location this time? The beautiful Bahamas. The couples all seen to be doing fine. Therapist Patricia (Janet Jackson) and her husband Gavin (Malik Yoba) have the perfect marriage and are moving on after the tragic death of their baby boy Noah. The workaholic Dianne (Sharon Leal) and her husband Terry (Tyler Perry) now have a little boy after Dianne had surgery to reverse the tubal ligation. Troy (Lamman Rucker) and Sheila (Jill Scott) are newlyweds and have moved from Colorado to Atlanta and have a little boy. Troy’s inability to land a job has put stress on the couple a matter which is complicated when Sheila’s ex-husband Mike (Richard T Jones) crashes their vacation. The ever mouthy Angela (Tasha Smith) and Marcus (Michael Jai White) are dealing with infidelity issues.

‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’ shows each of these couples attempting to portray that they have happy marriages, but before the vacation is over as we find out that real trouble is brewing. When the couples return home is where the couples face their problems head on.  Janet Jackson gives a nod to Tiger Woods in some very dramatic scenes. This film is where Janet turns in what I think is her best performance as an actress, sadly their isn’t much to see here. Now before you start thinking “he’s hating”, let me finish.

To say that this movie is cliché  and over the top are understatements, but what did you expect?  Sometimes the dialogue falls flat and the characters feel like they are on a stage instead of a beautiful island. There are several moments in this movie that will tug at your heart strings and tickle your funny bone. This is a film about relationships, love lost and found. Mr. Perry has continually assaulted my film experience since his arrival, and this movie is not totally good news for those waiting for the recently announced film “For Colored Girls”.  I said all of that to say that there is something about seeing the screen full of black actors and actresses that is refreshing… liberating even. There is something special about black people not being afraid of being black. This fact is something my fellow film critics will never get. Yes the Tyler Perry brand is formulaic and there are many things that can be said about his directing, writing  and acting. However, there is one word I have never heard someone say in regard to Tyler Perry, and that word is “Fearless”. And fearless is exactly what Tyler Perry is.  That is what ‘Why Did I Get Married Too?’ fully shows.  Fearless is what Mo’Nique showed by acting in Precious. Fearless is what Lee Daniels showed for directing that movie. They are all unafraid. So in that regard Tyler Perry thank you.

This movie gets a 7 out of 10 and that’s my Film Word.

This film is in theaters.

The original Clash of the Titans (1981) was as cheesy as cheesy gets, but it was still somehow endearing. I still recall the specific charm of the movie, which enchanted my imagination as a youth.

Directed by Louis Leterrier, Clash of the Titans (2010)… wait. Before I start I have to say that the mobs of people who mindlessly saw Avatar and bolstered the 3-D market, which will no doubt adversely affect ticket prices, have causes at least two movies this year to get the 3-D treatment post production and frankly it is Not Good. I know that I may get take a lot of flak for saying this but it is the ‘early-adopters’ that drive the prices up for everyone else. 3-D technology has been around for 20-years and even now it is imperfect, distracting and clumsy so much so the public has really got to be brain dead to fork over $4 or more extra to see any movie this way. 3-D is as unnecessary as Lady Gaga’s outfits. (subliminal message to Ipad buyers).  The extra cost alone should be enough to make anyone balk at these types of movies, on top of that “Clash” is not a good movie, sorry. I left disappointed and wondering why didn’t they just leave it alone?

The movie is set in ancient Greece this adventure follows the tale of the half-god, half mortal Perseus (Sam Worthington). Apparently humans are tired of being the chess pieces of the gods and Perseus must lead the humans in the battle versus the gods Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon. The clock is ticking as  tries to save the princess from being sacrificed to the Kraken a gigantic sea monster. Zeus played by (Liam Neeson) is the only part of this movie that isn’t dull. (Note to self remember to change the movie term “special effects” to just “effects”, they haven’t been special in quite awhile a fact that this movie really hits home)  You know how your mind wanders when you see a bad movie, well I sat watching this movie wondering if demigods are still gods and I also wondered why Hollywood continues to stick political commentaries in movies like this… explosion, fight, look at that, he’s hot, politics, did you see that, she hot, fire, death, fight… we’ll only get the politics on DVD. Boring and tired this is one movie that should have stayed on Mount Olympus, another classic thoroughly butchered.

This film gets a 4.5 out of 10 and that’s my Film Word.

This movie is in theaters now

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Transformers :Revenge of the Fallen

I am not going to really review this movie. Why because no matter what it will make money and opinions of it will vary greatly. But I will say this it has spectacular explosions, a senseless story and that’s about it…frankly it is not worth my $11. That being said I agree that Transformers 2 is rife with many disturbing images and themes. Blogs are screaming racist, racism and the like. So what if Skids and Mudflap speak in slang and admit that they can’t read….but when did illiteracy become a Black stereotype? Michael Bay knows what he is doing so it is o.k. for an ice cream truck to randomly drop the B-word. Robots with gold teeth, buck teeth and bad grammar honestly I have been insulted far better in movies not as bad, maybe it’s me but robots are not made to be that flawed. This brings up the question I have been asking for the last 7 years… Can anyone make a good novie anymore?

This Michael Bay film makes fun of Blacks, Asians, Latinos, our over sexualized culture, and it offends our delicate sensibilities. Michael Bays seems to believe that these types of stereotypes and inappropriate language somehow make the movie more accessible to children. I don’t know where he got that idea, mostly likely he got that answer out of our wallets. I can’t believe that Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are the same writers of the brilliant Star Trek movie, which again only points back to Michael Bay. Maybe Mr. Limbaugh’s writers wrote some of those parts because they not only dehumanize of African-Americans but just about all other groups as well. Or does the robot animation make it o.k. to say things like “…we don’t really do much readin’!” I mean really who wrote that line? Black people we have enough progressive minstrel shows…right Spike? These stereotypes and more are really present in this film. And no the movie is not criticized because we lack of imagination, or that we are not a child a heart, there is no way to spin this Paramount…This is way worse than Jar Jar Binks did.

Right now many people are also yelling about the sexual themes and tone of this movie, the racial component is perhaps the overcompensation effect of having a Black President. But it is not an over reaction these films and more need to be taken to task. The directors need to do better and we as a people need to be better than this in a so-called “Post-Racial America”. This is not the first Michael Bay film with racial stereotypes so why are people upset now? The first Transformers Movie (which is a better movie by the way) has autobot Jazz, a break dancing, slang talking robot, who also happened to be the first robot killed. That robot also use the B word in it’s first lines as well. I was surprised he was eating chicken(maybe that was edited out)… still the audience would have laughed. You see it isn’t the stereotypes it is the fact that this film was made without intellect. If the movie itself were better everyone overlook the abundant flaws and would be talking about how good the acting was, or how well done the story was, or how surprised they were about this or that. It is the complete lack of those things as the only reason we are even having these discussions.

So let’s recap:

Violence, Inappropriate sexism, stereotypes, but the most disturbing thing of all is the more innocuous of all…. Bad Acting. I mean Shia Labouf is a star, but no one really knows why, can he please show some acting range. And Megan Fox is cute, you only call her hot because the media says so. Her acting is so sub par in this film I think Angelia Jolie is laughing her ass off saying “replace me….never.” Who listens to critics? They are hardly right, well they have this one right. Well it is the summer and we all need something to do, why go to the park when we could pay to be offended?

If you really want to see this movie great but don’t take anyone younger than 14, seriously. Because if you listen closely you’ll here the guys behind you enumerating all of the things they would like to do to Megan Fox. Note to Megan: Is this how you want to really be viewed? These questions and more will only be answered by the weekend box office tally.

Optimus Prime is the early favorite for Best Actor.

Jay Z could do a Death to Autobots track as a bonus.