Monday, April 19, 2010


Release Date: April 16th, 2010

Click here for the Kick-Ass Trailer.

Why hasn't anybody ever tried to become a real-life superhero? That is the exact question and point of Kick-Ass. Dave Lizewski(Aaron Johnson) is you average everyday teenager who wonders why nobody has ever tried to be a crime fighting superhero. After being mugged one day while a bystander watches and does nothing, Dave decides enough is enough. Buying a scuba suit from eBay and arming himself with fighting batons, Dave begins to wonder the streets looking for people in need and his first case comes sooner than expected. Walking home from school, Dave encounters the muggers who attacked him earlier breaking into a car. Dressed in his costume, Dave tries to fight off the muggers who end up stabbing him and leaving. As Dave staggers away he is struck by a car, which then drives off and leaves him as well.

Due to his accident, most of Dave's skeleton is covered with metal plates and his nerve endings are fried removing his ability to feel pain. Dave then opens up a MySpace account for his new alter ego, Kick-Ass, who has made city wide news after a video of him defending a man against three gang members hit the internet. Because of Kick-Ass' stardom, the girl of Dave's dreams, Katie Deauxma(Lyndsy Fonseca) asks Kick-Ass to take care of a guy that has been harassing her. Kick-Ass goes to the guys apartment only to find out that he is a violent drug dealer. As the man goes to kill him, Kick-Ass is saved by Mindy Macready, a.k.a. Hit-Girl(Chloe Grace Moretz) who kills all of the drug dealers with help from her dad and former police officer Damon Macready, a.k.a. Big Daddy(Nicholas Cage). Big Daddy and Hit-Girl think Kick-Ass has potential and tell him that they could all work together and that they will be in touch.

Kick-Ass goes on with his day to day life only to find out that the drug dealers Hit-Girl and Big Daddy killed were working for Crime Boss Frank D'Amico(Mark Strong), the biggest crime lord in New York. Kick-Ass also realizes that D'Amico thinks Kick-Ass is killing all of his men as opposed to the real threats, Hit-Girl and Big Daddy who have a personal vendetta against the entire D'Amico crime family. D'Amico begins to formulate a plan to kill Kick-Ass and the only way he is going to survive is with the help of Big Daddy and Hit-Girl.

If I could describe this movie in one word it would be epic, bu I personally believe that the only way to describe this movie lies within the very title, this movie was Kick-Ass! It blended a great mix of well-known actors like Nicholas Cage and Mark Strong with some excellent up and comers like Aaron Johnson and Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Chloe Grace Moretz. It took the comic book movie genre and turned it on its head creating one of the most unique and entertaining comic book movies ever.

Where to begin on this film. Well for starters, let me talk about the subject matter. This is not your mother's superhero/comic book movie. Its violent, graphic and contains more curse words than an episode of South Park. But it all works. The movie, directed by Matthew Vaughn, is an adaptation of the Marvel comic book series by Mark Millar and is one of the best adaptations to date. It follows the story very closely and does its best to stick true to the characters and capture the same feel that the comics were trying to impose. As far as comic book movies go, this one will definitely rank at the top of the list.

The film also had an amazing cast and amazing characters. A lot of times, movies either try to get as many big names in as possible or they try to keep most of the big names out. Kick-Ass tried to fuse that together by incorporating big names with small names and everything in between. Rolling out the big league names are acting greats Nicholas Cage and Mark Strong. Cage did a phenomenal job as vengeful ex-cop Damon Macready/Big Daddy. The character seemed to form a mix between "Elvis and Adam West" (who we know was the original televised Batman) coming from director Matthew Vaughn. What I liked most about Cage's performance was his awkwardness. Looking at him, you would never guess he spends his time hunting down and killing mob members and drug dealers. Sometimes when he talked under his alter ego of Big Daddy, I got feelings of William Shatner's Captain Kirk from Star Trek. It made the character seem like an odd ball which I thought worked perfectly. Strong also did great as crime boss frank D'Amico. Strong had the intense style of a hard core killer mixed with the humorous aspects of the family man that he also played.

Vaughn also did a great job of blending in great up and coming actors like Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Lyndsy Fonseca, with some rather unknowns like the lead Aaron Johnson and the show stealing Chloe Grace Moretz. Mintz-Plasse was awesome as Red Mist, another wannabe superhero who signs on to help out Kick-Ass. Mintz-Plasse has already a nice resume under his belt with such movies as Superbad, Role Models, and Year One and can now add another notch with Kick-Ass. Aaron Johnson, being that he was in every scene, was very well cast as the title character. He really brought the movie together and did a great job of making a real, down-to-earth character. However, the real show-stealer goes to the young Chloe Grace Moretz. Moretz has one of the most "controversial" roles of the film playing the 9-year old mob murdering Hit-Girl. Let me just tell you that if you are offended by a girl of this age saying some very crude words and packing enough hacking and slashing to make Kill Bill look like The Andy Griffith Show, then please walk away now.

Moretz was fantastic and was really the star of the show in my opinion. She took on the mature role extremely well and showed that she has some real acting chops. A lot of people were "offended" by her role, like that twat Roger Ebert. Well to that I saw get over it. This movie is rated "R". That means it probably isn't good for young children or the faint of heart. But what many people fail to realize is that the movie is also fiction. When you get so offended by something then you can no longer discern fact from fiction and it is you who needs some help.

Sorry about the rant and back to the review. The action in this movie was violent, intense and a wicked good time. It rivaled the action of many other comic book/superhero movies and Hit-Girl packed enough punch to make Bruce Lee flinch. The film also incorporated some very funny themes. This movie will have you laughing just as much as it will have you wincing at the sheer amount of damage that is dealt with each crushing blow from our heroes. I also thoroughly enjoyed the music in this film. Soundtracks are very important and the right music can make that perfect scene that much better which is the story with Kick-Ass.

Overall Kick-Ass is one of my favorite movies of the new year and will definitely be high on my list of overall amazing comic book movies. The characters were great, the acting was great, the action was great. An all around great movie for those who are not easily offended.

I give Kick-Ass 10 mob murdering little girls out of 10.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Clash of the Titans

Release Date: April 2nd, 2010

Click here for the Clash of the Titans Trailer.

Zeus(Liam Neeson) along with his brothers Poseidon(Danny Huston) and Hades(Ralph Fiennes) rose up one day to overthrow their own creators, the Titans, and assumed leadership over all with Zeus ruling over the gods, Poseidon ruling over the seas and Hades, tricked by Zeus and Poseidon, ruling over the underworld in chaos and torment. Zeus then creates mankind so that their prayers and worships may forever strengthen the gods.

Many years later, a fisherman named Spyros(Pete Postlethwaite) finds a coffin floating in the water with a baby inside. Spyros adopts the baby and names him Perseus. 12 years later, Perseus(Sam Worthington) is fishing with his family when the witness soldiers from Argos destroying a massive statue of Zeus, declaring war on the gods. Hades then appears above the soldiers and releases harpies to destroy them and in his rage, Hades destroys Perseus' fishing boat, killing his whole family.

Perseus is found by Draco(Mads Mikkelsen), the leader of Argos' Praetorian Guard, who takes him to the city to meet with King Cephus(Vincent Regan) and Queen Cassiopeia(Polly Walker) who are having a feast celebrating their soldiers and the war on the gods. The king and queen compare themselves to gods and even declare their daughter, Princess Andromeda(Alexa Davalos) to be more beautiful than the goddess Aphrodite(Agyness Deyn). This angers the gods and Hades appears at the banquet and kills the queen. Hades also creates a vortex, sucking in and killing almost all of the returning soldiers as Perseus remains unharmed. Hades then reveals that Perseus is a demigod, the offspring of a god and a human, and threatens to release the Kraken, an enormous beast that was created to destroy the Titans, on the city of Argos unless Andromeda is sacrificed within 10 days.

King Cephus begs for the aid of Perseus to find a way to defeat the gods and the Kraken in order to save Argos. Driven by his hatred of the gods for killing his family, Perseus embarks on a quest, along with Argos' Praetorian Guard and Io(Gemma Arterton), a woman cursed with agelessness, to find the answers he needs and the means to defeat the Kraken before all is lost.

Clash of the Titans is a remake of the classic 1981 film of the same name with hopes of revamping the story and bringing in a fresh new audience. That seems to be the theme for a lot of recent movies these days and the director can either succeed or fail. With Clash of the Titans, director Louis Leterrier does either depending on what exactly you expected from this film.

There are some very notable differences from the first Clash to this one. Probably the most noticeable is the presentation. The original 1981 film featured Perseus(Harry Hamlin) as a young, fair skinned man with flowing black wavy hair. He was very clean and looked, for lack of a better term, like a pretty boy. Sam Worthington's Perseus, however, is rugged, dirty, vengeful and bald adding, for me, a greater sense of realism to the character. Another huge difference is the story. In the original, Perseus is tasked with completing a riddle to win Andromeda's hand in marriage and then the goddess Thetis declares that Andromeda be sacrificed to the Kraken or the city of Joppa will be destroyed by the creature. To put it side by side in the original, Perseus married Andromeda, this didn't happen in the remake. Thetis will send the Kraken to destroy Joppa if Andromeda isn't sacrificed within 30 days(1981). Hades will send the Kraken to destroy Argos if Andromeda isn't sacrificed within 10 days. So as you can see, the differences are not slight. However, the differences are good and they do give the film its own uniqueness.

So lets get into the components of the film. If you haven't guessed it by now, Clash of the Titans is an action film through and through. The film focuses on swordplay, big battles and dangerous creatures to satisfy the bloodlust most of us have brewing inside us. This is where the movie works its magic. We already know Sam Worthington can do action thanks to his performances in Terminator Salvation and Avatar and he definitely upped his game in this film. The action sequences were definitely intense. The sword choreography was awesome and reminisced films like 300 and Gladiator.

That being said, my one problem with the action/fighting scenes is that there wasn't enough and there certainly were not enough monsters. I expected Perseus to be fighting through hordes of enemies similar to 300 but on a lesser scale. But that wasn't the case. In the film, Perseus fought a total of 4 different monsters: giant scorpions, Medusa, a mutated and burnt king named Acrisius who was given superhuman powers by Hades and the Kraken. It was like playing a video game and skipping right to the boss battles. For me, it lessened the struggle Perseus had to face. I also was very disappointed with the Kraken sequences. The previews played the Kraken up big and his downfall was rather small.

The acting in the film was pretty good. I didn't think anybody was really terrible though Ralph Fiennes was really hard to hear and understand at some points. Other than that I though Worthington did a really good job and that all the supporting characters were very well done as well. Director Leterrier tried to incorporate humor into the film which is always good, but in an action flick you do not want to add to much and, at times, the humor tended to be a bit obnoxious and unnecessary.

The visual effects were all really good, obviously the creatures in the film do not exist but the team used to create them did a good job of making them look realistic and intimidating. The Kraken was by far the most visually stunning creature of the film, even though it deserved more screen time. Mount Olympus and the gods all had nice looks to them. They all had a tendency to glow, especially Zeus, which added to their mythology even more.

Overall, Clash of the Titans is a good flick to catch if you are in the mood for some good action, nice special effects, mythology, or just a good time. While there needed to be a bigger vairuety of monsters and some more action sequences, the ones that were in the film did a good job of holding your attention. Definitely one to see if this is your type of film but I would recommend seeing it in 2D. 3D is by far more expensive and the general consensus on the 3D in the film is that it isn't worth the extra cash. Overall I give Clash of the Titans 7.5 crazy Hades worshiping, Kraken loving zealots out of 10.