Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Movie Review: Oblivion (PG13 – 124 minutes)

Inevitably, when we get invaded in the future, we’re going to attempt to use nuclear weapons against them; whoever ‘they’ may be.  We’ve been taught this by countless movies:  Terminator, the Matrix, Independence Day, you name it.  You’d think by then there would be someone who would say, “Hey, let’s think of a different option – because you guys all remember how it turned out in those movies, right?”

Oblivion is directed by Joseph Kosinski, and is based on the graphic novel that is conveniently by Joseph Kosinski.  We can therefore assume the translation is completely accurate.  Previous to this, he was responsible for re-launching Tron and digitally youth-ing Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy.

In both Tron Legacy and Oblivion, Kosinski makes great use of large sweeping landscapes.   In Tron they were all digital, but beautiful.  In Oblivion, they were all shot in Iceland, then digital remains of current landmarks were layered on top.  I would also say both movies also share a small cast for the size of the picture, and run overly long.

Oblivion introduces us to Jack Harper, a drone repairman on Earth – 60 years after we defeated an invading alien race known as the Scavengers.  To defeat them, we launched the nukes (no one had seen any movies warning us not to) and destroyed the planet, while they destroyed our moon.  Destroying the moon had even more catastrophic results:  tidal waves, earthquakes, etc.  The majority of the human race escaped to our new colony on Saturn’s moon, Titan.  We left the ‘Tet’ in orbit as a way station and mission control for the drone repairmen on earth.  The drones protect our large hydro-energy generators that provide energy for the colony on Titan (not sure how that works).  The drones are very important, so Jack works a long day of repairing them.  He takes his breaks by building a little cabin in the woods.  He returns to his partner (work and personal), Victoria, in the evenings, where they share a nice meal, she throws away plants he brings her and they have sex in their glass bottom swimming pool attached to their apartment suspended miles above the destroyed earth.  Not a bad existence.

But Jack is starting to have disturbing dreams about earth before the war, and a woman, who knows him.  He’s not sure what these mean when one day he disrupts a signal the ‘scavs’ have set up at the remains of the Empire State Building and protects a crashed spaceship containing several human survivors.  Drones arrive and shoot all the survivors except one – who Jack manages to save and who also just happens to be the woman Jack was dreaming about.  Jack gets captured by the scavs – SPOILER ALERT – who are led by Morgan Freeman, and who have been stealing the power cells from the drones.  They’re using them to make bombs, and they have a large one they want Jack to take to a special place.

The cast in this is remarkably small for how big the movie looks:

·         Tom Cruise plays Jack Harper or Reacher or Eathan Hunt or whatever.  They’re all pretty much the same at this point.  He does a good job, like he always does, but he is just playing Tom Cruise.  I enjoyed the way he conveyed his pull to the earth, while Victoria kept insisting it was time to leave.  He also did some intense running, which seems to be in his contract for every movie now.

·         Andrea Riseborough plays Victoria, and actually had more to do that Cruise in terms of character changes.  She does a great semi-panicked look and gets to put that into use a few times.  Also – the best shortening of Victoria is now Vica. 

·         Olga Kurylenko plays Julia – the woman from Jack’s dreams who suddenly plummets to earth.  She’s fine, fairly one-dimensional, but capable.  Apparently Jessica Chaistain was in talks for that role and chose Zero Dark Thirty instead.  I did really enjoy Julia’s reaction to Victoria and Jack holding hands.  Hilarious.

·         Morgan Freeman plays Morgan Freeman.  Without giving too much away, he’s powerful, patient and angry and demanding of Jack’s help.  He gets a pretty cool costume, and gets to rock a half-cape like Lando Calrissian.

·         Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is in this – but barely.  I understand if you are a huge Game of Thrones fan, but if he is your reason for seeing this movie, you will be disappointed.

·         Zoe Bell is also in this, but again barely.  I don’t believe her character’s (or Nikolaj’s) name ever gets mentioned. 
  • Melissa Leo is in this – marking the third time in four or five months where I didn’t recognize her until the credits rolled.  Flight and Olympus Has Fallen were the others.  If you find the movie predictable because you can guess the twist – it’s because of Melissa Leo.  I can’t tell if that means she did a good job, or a bad job.

Overall, the movie was what I expected, not better or worse.  There’s nothing wrong with that; I did enjoy it, but I felt like it could have been better.  For one thing, it is way too long.  At just over two hours, there are far too many grand sweeping scenes of the decimated landscape.  Do not get me wrong, it is very beautiful, and stunning to look at.  It feels like the longest short story ever told.  It also is a tad predictable, stealing bits and pieces here and there from other various classic science-fiction movies.  That is the way things are going currently, it is harder and harder to find an original idea.  And, like I mentioned, I saw the major ‘twist’ coming miles away.  Because of that, it made the movie feel even longer.  Still – it’s worth seeing on the big screen.

6 out of 10.  It tried, it’s okay, but it’s not great.  Gained points for Tom Cruise running.  He’s a very intense movie runner.  Lost points for the signal setting and disrupting subplot.  Did that make sense?  Gained points for the glass-bottom swimming pool; that was awesome.  Lost points for the drones being almost animal-like, creepy.  Gained points for the ending – which I really enjoyed.  Some nice closure there. 

Bonus Video 1:  Trailer for After Earth – similar to the Olympus Has Fallen/White House Down competition.  After Earth and Oblivion look really similar at this point.  We’ll see how After Earth does.

Bonus Video 2:  Tom Cruise in Legend.  1985 - one of his first, and an old Ridley Scott movie.

Bonus Video 3:  Cast Interviews.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Movie Review: Admission (PG13 – 107 minutes)

There are standard romantic comedies; handsome boy meets awkward girl, they realize they can’t live without one another, one of them betrays the other, there’s a huge blowout, then they come back together at the end.  These are the large studio rom-coms that are cookie-cutter, lame, predictable, and insulting.  I, in particular, have an issue with the insulting part – they always seem to implicate that a single straight woman is useless and horrible and worthless until she finds someone to spend her life with.  As a single straight woman, I hate that.  The worst example of this is the movie He’s Just Not That Into You.

There are other romantic comedies that are more rare; the ones with heart, a good and unique story, and some great acting.  Usually they still end up trying to convince you that single straight women are useless…but hey, at least the package is better.  A great example of this is Return To Me.

Admission is a movie that tries to be one of the second types of romcoms.  Tina Fey and Paul Rudd star in this small movie directed by Paul Weitz.

Weitz had previously directed Being Flynn, Little Fockers, Cirque du Freak:  the Vampire’s Asssitant, American Dreamz, In Good Company, About a Boy and the first American Pie movie.  Of those, the best I can say is that American Dreamz was okay, In Good Company was unique.  The rest I either haven’t seen or didn’t like.  But the trend of the romantic non-comedy is there in his worklist.

The story follows Princeton admissions officer Portia Nathan.  She is all business, and has been in a relationship with a co-worker for the last 10 years.  She makes a recruiting visit to an alternative high school run by John Pressman, who was a college classmate of hers.  She meets his gifted and strange student Jeremiah.  Pressman tells her he believes Jeremiah to be the son she gave up for adoption in college.  This causes her to look closely at her life to this point, and decide if she’s ready to break out of her rut.

At this point let me tell you that this movie is not funny.  It is charming, from time to time, but anything ‘funny’ was in the commercials.  Portia’s relationship with her cold, calculating mother is …  well, strained is a pleasant way to put it.  She gets dumped early in the film, which is really upsetting, and then dragged through the rest of the movie as an awkward running gag.  Pressman’s relationship with his adopted son is also started out playing for laughs then awkwardly shifts to painful. 

The cast is capable:

·         Tina Fey plays Portia and is always genius.  She’s good in this, but not as good as she might have been if she had written/directed this.  She had no role behind the scenes for this, and so I’m wondering if that would have made a difference.  She plays Portia as genuine, but overwhelmed.

·         Paul Rudd is again, always genius, but there’s not much for him to do in this.  I’m not sure where the relationship with Portia comes from – it does seem to pop out of nowhere.  Like Fey, he does the best he can with what he has, but he is better in an absurd comedy where he can improve the entire thing.  It does make me wish for another movie starring Fey and Rudd that was entirely improved.

·         Lilly Tomlin plays Portia’s extremely feminist mother.  She is angry and loud and has almost no motherly skills.  It’s attempted to be played for comedy, but she’s so cruel that when her ‘redemption’ point comes, I did not care.  She wasn’t funny, she was just mean and it made me sad.

·         Wallace Shawn plays Portia’s boss at Princeton.  It was fun seeing him on screen, and he does a good job.  He also could have been better in a more comedy-geared comedy.  He basically exists to set up the fact that Portia needs to double her workload.

·         Gloria Reuben plays Portia’s co-worker/competitor.  She gets to basically just walk around and be bitchy until her redemption moment at the end, which doesn’t completely redeem her.   She was in Timecop and ER and she does do a great job in this.

·         Michael Sheen plays Portia’s boyfriend who dumps her after 10 years together.  He’s been cheating on her with a Virginia Woolf scholar.  He’s better than this role allows him to be again – in fact, he was way better playing almost this exact character on 30 Rock.  He does seem to be in a different movie than everyone else, playing it as a complete comedy, whereas everyone else seems to be stuck on the ‘dramedy’ portion.

·         Nat Wolff, the kid who plays Jeremiah – and Tavaris Spears, the kid who plays Rudd’s son Nelson, are both great, and should have a long careers ahead of them. 

It was touching, and charming, but not especially funny.  It does make me remember the college application process, and how terrible it was.  And it must be so much worse for those who are trying to get into Princeton or a college like it.  The movie isn’t terrible, but I didn’t love it.  It’s a bit forgettable.
6 out of 10:  Gained points for Olek Krupa as the Russian – funny.  Lost points for Tomlin’s character – just terrible.  Gained points for Nat Wolff, lost points for the cow scene – not funny, and mostly useless.

Bonus Video 1:  Michael Sheen on 30 Rock as Wesley Snipes, yes Wesley Snipes.  What I wanted was the clip of him explaining his name - but I couldn't find that.

Bonus Video 2: Timecop – because, you know, Gloria Rueben…

Bonus Video 3:  Cast Interviews

Monday, April 8, 2013

Movie Review: Jurassic Park 3D (PG13 – 127 minutes)

The novel Jurassic Park was written by the amazing Michael Crichton in 1990.  Crichton was an incredible man – Harvard Medical School, practicing physician, and the only man to have works simultaneously charting at number 1 in television, film, and book sales (ER, Jurassic Park, and Disclosure).   I love almost all of his books (I didn’t like State of Fear or Next), but Timeline is my favorite (better than the movie).  Among his books are Andromeda Strain, The Terminal Man (1972), the Great Train Robbery (1975), Eaters of the Dead (1976, the movie was called the 13th Warrior), Congo (1980), Sphere (1987), Jurassic Park (1990), Rising Sun (1992), Disclosure (1994), The Lost World (1995), Airframe (1996), Timeline (1999), Prey (2002), State of Fear (2004), and Next (2006).  Pirate Latitudes and Micro were published posthumously based on stories he had started.  He was an incredibly smart writer who began to realize how to write his novels so that they would quickly and easily transfer to movies.  Because of this, it’s very interesting to read Jurassic Park, which is written with chapters upon chapters of science, then chapters of action.  Then, if you read the sequel, The Lost World, the science and the action are more equally mixed – to make for an easier transition.  The majority of his later books are like that (someone please make Prey). 

In any case, the movie Jurassic Park came out in 1993 (holy crap, it’s 20 years old).  It was directed by Steven Spielberg, with music by John Williams (like most Spielberg movies), practical effects by Stan Winston and his studio, and visual effects by ILM.  I remember seeing it in the theater 20 years ago (seriously, that is crazy), and being completely blown away.  When it came out, it swiftly became the highest grossing movie worldwide, eclipsing ET, and later being beaten by Titanic.  It had two sequels, the Lost World (very loosely based on the novel), and JP3 – which had even less story and more people being chased by dinosaurs, which is all we really wanted.  For the record, there is actually only 15 minutes of dinosaur footage in Jurassic Park – 9 minutes animatronics and 6 minutes CGI.  The T-Rex was astounding, but the animal that sticks with most people is the velociraptors, both in the book and the movie.  Real velociraptors were turkey sized, the animals referenced in the movie are Utahraptors; size enhanced for the movie because that looks better – and called Velociraptors because it sounds better than Utahraptor.  Although, in the book, they are particularly menacing because they are deadly, but not massive.  They are also more terrifying in the book by sheer numbers as they are breeding more than any other species, because raptors love breeding.

Jurassic Park is currently out in theaters again – to celebrate the 20th anniversary (when did I get so old?) and converted to 3D.   In case you never saw it (what’s wrong with you?), here’s a quick summary of the plot:  Scientist uses dinosaur DNA that he collects from mosquitos trapped in amber to clone dinosaurs and set them up on an island he owns off the coast of Costa Rica.  Accidents happen, a workman dies, and the investors send in a lawyer to bring in ‘experts’ to sign off on the park as safe.  The three experts, the lawyer, and scientist’s grandchildren set off to tour the park.  Due to a bad storm combined with a saboteur, things go bad – quickly.  Then people start being chased by dinosaurs.  The best description is actually offered up by Jeff Goldblum’s character in the Lost World, “…that’s how it all starts with oooing and aaaahhhing…but then later there's the running and the screaming…”  That statement is accurate both for the first movie and the second, which features some dangerous running in tall grass, because raptors love tall grass.

There’s no debating that Spielberg is easily one of the best directors working.  This movie is no exception, despite the fact that he uses a few easy to find tricks to enhance the story.  The subtle and slow push in on a character as they say something important is my favorite.  It is used many, many times in the movie.   The dinosaurs, both practical and visual effects, are stunning.  It is pretty easy to tell the difference between them – the best sequence for that is the initial T-Rex attack, “that’s the practical robot T-Rex, that one is a computer effect – back to practical – back to CGI!”  By the time JP3 came out, it was way more difficult to tell which was which; especially the scene where the raptors surround the actors. Some of those raptors are practical and some are visual.  They are all more colorful and fancy in that movie because by then we learned that raptors love feathers.  The movie was shot on location in Hawaii, and then in soundstages at both Warner Brothers and Universal Studios in Hollywood – take the studio tour when you get there, they have some fun JP bits on the tour, as well as the JP ride, in which raptors pop out at you as you go up a huge incline, because raptors love popping out and scaring you.

·         Sam Neill plays Dr. Alan Grant, a role that both William Hurt and Harrison Ford turned down.  He is a character inspired by John Horner, a real dino expert who helped as an assistant on the movie.  In the book he loves children.  In the movie, he starts out not liking children, then learns to like them as he takes care of the children throughout the course of the movie. 

·         Laura Dern plays Dr. Ellie Sattler, the paleobotanist.  In the book, she’s much younger than Grant, and his protégé, however in the movie they seem to be “together”.  She starts off a little weak, but then gets pretty badass by the end of the movie, having to close a raptor in the shed where the fuseboxes are.  Why are the fuseboxes in a shed far away from the main building?  Who knows.  Besides, it doesn’t really matter that she shuts it in there, because of course, raptors love learning to open doors.

·         Jeff Goldblum plays Dr. Ian Malcolm.  His character seems to be the most like the character in the book.  Malcolm is a chaotician who comes to the island predicting disaster, and is right about it.  He is the rock-star scientist, and survives a T-Rex attack to come back for the sequel.

·         Richard Attenborough plays John Hammond, appearing in a Spielberg movie after beating Spielberg for the best directing Oscar previously (Attenborough directed Ghandi, and beat Spielberg for ET).  In the book he gets killed at the end by tiny compys.  This death scene is re-worked for Peter Stomare in the sequel.  Attenborough plays the role great, starting off as confident and pompous, then over the course of the movie realizes he should not have been messing with nature.

·         Bob Peck plays Robert Muldoon, the big game warden of the park.  He predicts danger from the beginning, gets one of the slow camera push-ins as he describes how smart the raptors are, as well as possibly the best line of the movie, “Clever Girl”.  He does help to build the myth of the raptor by explaining how the raptors are working on outsmarting the people in the park, because - raptors love being smarter than everyone else.

·         Martin Ferrero plays Donald Gennaro, the lawyer.  He’s slimy and despicable, only seeing dollar signs after arriving at the island.  Don’t worry – he doesn’t last long. 

·         Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards play Tim and Lex.  Mazzello can also be seen currently in GI Joe Retailiation as Mouse.  There is not much to say about them, just that they play the kids terrorized by dinosaurs.  Incidentally – the movie is a legitimate PG13, there are some truly scary parts.  On the off chance that you haven’t seen this yet, don’t take your kids without checking it out first to see if they can handle it.  It is not a kids movie, despite the marketing.  The scene in the kitchen is especially frightening, where the raptors chase the kids around until they are distracted by a ladle, because raptors love soup.

·         Samuel L. Jackson plays Ray Arnold – or, you know, plays Sam Jackson as a computer expert running a park.  Also, the great line, “Hang on to your Butts”.  He also, I believe, is the first two - Chrichton film actor, being in this and Sphere.  It would seem that he gets eaten by a raptor, all but his hand, because raptors do not like hands.

·         BD Wong plays Henry Wu, the geneticist who assures everyone that because the dinosaurs are genetically engineered to be all female, there is no way, absolutely NO WAY they could be breeding in the park.  He also supervisors the scene pictured below where the gang witnesses a baby raptor being born, then proceed to handle it a lot, because baby raptors love being manhandled.

·         Wayne Knight plays Dennis Nedry, the saboteur who starts the whole mess.  He is attempting to steal some dino embryos to give to a rival genetics company.  Then, there’s a storm, and he knocks over a roadsign with his jeep to get lost in the park, then gets spit at by a dilophosaur.

This movie is one of my favorites.  It’s so fun, the effects are amazing, and while the 3D isn’t overwhelming, it does add to some of the scenes.  It looks beautiful, and it’s worth it just to see it on the big screen again.

8 out of 10.  Honestly, I prefer more dinosaur action, which is why I love JP3 so much.  Gained points for the dinosaurs, all of them.  Lost points for the fact that really, there is only 15 minutes of dinosaurs in this movie.  Gained points for Jeff Goldblum – he’s fantastic.  Lost points for Laura Dern being mostly forgettable until the last 20 minutes of the movie.   Lost points because I actually expected them to tinker with the movie and either add more dinosaurs, or freshen up the dinosaurs.  They are all fairly brownish/greenish in Jurassic Park.  I'm so used to George Lucas fiddling with his movies and re-releasing them, that I just assumed there would be more 'stuff' in this one.  Or at least, more raptors...because raptors love being added in post.
Bonus Video 1:  Weird Al’s Jurassic Park.

Bonus Video 2:  Check out all the "How It Should Have Ended" videos, but I love this one:
Bonus Video 3:  Other Michael Crichton based movies…
Thirteenth Warrior (Eaters of the Dead - the movie is better than the book - the book is all first person)
Westworld (he wrote the movie, not sure if there is a book)
Congo (the book is better)
Sphere (the book is better, and really, almost impossible to translate to film)


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Movie Review: G.I. Joe Retailiation (PG13 – 110 minutes)

G.I. Joe has been around in one form or another since 1942.  The idea was licensed by Hasbro in 1967, leading to the first “movable fighting man” or action figure ("'cause boys don't play with dolls!"), and we have had the modern incarnation of cartoons, comics and action figures since the mid-1980s.  The 1985 cartoon featured the adventures of the G.I. Joes versus the evil organization Cobra.  Both sides featured characters with crazy gimmicks and features, because it was a kids cartoon, and you couldn’t really feature soldiers shooting at each other with guns and bullets in a kids show.  It also had the PSA at the end of episode, where "now you know, and knowing is half the battle!”

Stephen Sommers is a director who specializes in big.  The live action Jungle Book was his first, moving on to Deep Rising, the Mummy, the Mummy Returns, Van Helsing, and G.I. Joe: the Rise of Cobra.  His movies are all way over-the-top crazy action-adventure pieces.  This, of course, means that I am a fan of his.  I really enjoyed G.I. Joe 1 – having no previous knowledge of the cartoon or comics.  It gave some minor background on the characters, the squad, and how Cobra Commander and Destro came to be, also 'splosions and action and a Brendan Fraser cameo!

The sequel was originally supposed to come out in June of 2012, but due to 3D conversion, and adding more scenes with Channing Tatum (because he had such a major year last year), it was delayed until now.

This time around the movie is produced by Sommers, and directed by John M. Chu, who directed Step Up 2 and 3.  It features more of the same (‘splosions and action, but no Bredan Fraser this time), with a few more characters.  In terms of plot – well, the Joes square off against Cobra who has infiltrated the White House due to Master of Disguise Zartan’s work.  The Joes have their unit demolished, everyone except for Flint, Lady Jaye, and Roadblock killed; and they have to set out to get some help and some new toys to stop Cobra from taking over (or destroying?) the world.  They encounter the original Joe, and pick up Snake Eyes and Jinx.  Cobra Commander gets a better outfit, a pretty badass helmet, and the help of Firefly.   Chu doesn’t have much film directing experience at this point, so it’s hard to say if this matches his style, but there is a lot of movement, and there are really no slow points.

The cast is some of the same from the first, with some new additions:

·         Channing Tatum briefly returns as Duke, and again – all the buddy sequences with him and the Rock were added in over the year delay.  He’s still charming and fun, and maybe the movie could have used even more of him.  Gone are Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Heavy Duty, Christopher Eccleston as Destro, Sienna Miller as the Baroness, Rachel Nichols as Scarlett, Marlon Wayans as Ripcord, and Dennis Quaid as General Hawk.  Instead we get some new additions:
·         Dwayne Johnson (the Rock) as Roadblock:  He brings his characteristic fun and energy, and is starting to look crazy huge again – I guess when he stopped doing the kids movies, he decided to bulk up again.  He is a fantastic movie star, and has a huge career in front of him – and he’s better than this movie lets him be, but he does as well as he can with what he was given.

·         Adrianne Palicki plays Lady Jaye and actually gets some character moments, but not many.  She’s capable, not capable enough to make me wish that Wonder Woman series starring her had gotten off the ground (I don’t think she could pull that off).  She’s not bad in this – and is sufficiently tough enough to keep up with the guys.

·         D.J. Cotrona plays Flint, and he gets no character moments.  I had a hard time remembering if he had any lines in the movie (he did), so I guess he’s a bit forgettable.  Not his fault when he spends most of the movie standing next to the Rock.

·         Ray Park is back as Snake Eyes, although you never see him.  Movement-wise, he’s great, and Snake Eyes is still cool as hell – probably because of the whole silent-ninja thing.  The mask is a little different this time around, no mouth.

· Elodie Yung is new this time around as Jinx, and proves to be just above forgettable. She did some stuff, just not entirely sure what.
·         Byung-Hun Lee returns at Storm Shadow and Lautners the hell out of his first scene (his shirt is off within his first 30 seconds – no complaints here!).  He’s quietly menacing, and another great ninja-style character.

·         Johnathan Pryce plays Arnold Vosloo playing Zartan.  Yes, that’s a little confusing, but as you know, Vosloo played Zartan in the first movie, and the final scene was him taking over the President’s life and locking up the President, which was played by Pryce.  Vosloo has maybe two moments in the movie, and Pryce chews the scenery in the rest of them.  Perfect for the tone.

·         Bruce Willis plays Bruce Willis.  He’s quiet, and shoots a bunch of stuff.  That’s about it. 

·         Walton Goggins in is this, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out why.  He was entertaining for the brief time he was around.  It was almost exactly like Michael Wincott in the Count of Monte Cristo (check that reference).

·         One of the best parts of this movie was the addition of Ray Stevenson as Firefly.  He’s always decent and brings some life to the villains.  He also has the size (6’4”) to make for a worthy fight opponent of the Rock (6’5”).  I wasn’t completely sure the accent was necessary – Stevenson is very British, and he seemed to be doing American Southern?  But, he was fun and entertaining for the most part, plus the little exploding fireflies were cool.

There you have it – listen, this movie is not great by any means, and if you have any kind of emotional attachment to the 80s cartoon/comics, you are probably already upset enough by the first movie that you are refusing to see the second.  If you like dumb action movies, and don’t expect too much – it’s certainly entertaining.  See it in 3D if you see it, just for the fireflies.

7 out of 10 – Fun, but dumb – exactly what I expected, and that’s not entirely a bad thing.  Gained points for the fireflies, did I mention them yet?  Lost points for Flint being practically useless.  Gained points for the ninja sequences, but lost points on how they didn’t really fit the movie.  Gained points for Byung-Hun Lee being shirtless and rocking that, lost points for the Rock NOT being shirtless – which is insane, because all of his shirts seem entirely too small for him.  Simultaneously lost and gained points for the RZA – crazy awesome.

Bonus Video 1:  Deep Rising.  While the Mummy is Stephen Sommers’s best movie, you really should check out this one – hilarious and bizarre.

Bonus Video 2:  Hard Target – the reason I love Arnold Vosloo (well, this and that one episode of the Red Shoe Diaries…remember that?)

Bonus Video 3:  Ray Stevenson is fine in the Punisher sequel (third Punisher movie), but his Titus Pullo is the best part of Rome, the HBO show.  Check that out if you never saw it.

Bonus Video 4:  Cast Interviews!