Archive for Jesse Eisenberg

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Eighteen months after the destructive attack by General Zod in Metropolis from Man of Steel, Superman has become a controversial figure. Daily Planet journalist Clark Kent, Superman’s alter ego, has moved in with Lois Lane. Billionaire Bruce Wayne, who has operated in Gotham City as Batman for nearly two decades, sees Superman as a potential threat to humanity. After learning of Batman’s activities, Superman also views him as a threat, and seeks to stop him via the Daily Planet articles under his disguise.

Wayne learns that weapon-trafficker Anatoli Knyazev has been contacting LexCorp’s mogul Lex Luthor. Meanwhile, Luthor tries to convince Senator June Finch to allow him to import Kryptonite retrieved from the Indian Ocean (results of Zod’s terraforming attempt), claiming to use it as a “deterrent” against Kryptonians. He also makes side dealings with Finch’s subordinate and demands access to Zod’s body and the Kryptonian scout ship. In the next meeting with Luthor, Finch denies his request.

Wayne attends Luthor’s party at LexCorp, where he meets mysterious antiques dealer Diana Prince, and retrieves data from the company’s mainframe. The data drive, however, is stolen by Prince, who later returns it to Bruce, due to her inability to decrypt the data. While decrypting the drive at the Batcave, Wayne receives a vision of a post-apocalyptic world, where he leads a group of rebels against Superman. He is snapped out of the vision by a mysterious time traveler, who warns him of Lane’s crucial role in the distant future, and urges him to find “the others”. Wayne later realizes that Luthor is not only experimenting with Kryptonite, but also investigating metahumans. One of them is Prince herself, who is an immortal warrior. Wayne admits to Alfred Pennyworth that he plans to steal the Kryptonite to weaponize it, should it become necessary to fight Superman. Batman pursues the convoy carrying the Kryptonite from the White Portuguese ship to LexCorp, but Superman intercedes and orders him to cease his activities.

Luthor orchestrates a bombing at a congressional hearing, where Finch is questioning Superman on the validity of his actions. The bomb kills dozens of people, including Finch. Frustrated with failing to save people, Superman goes into self-imposed exile. Batman breaks into LexCorp and steals the Kryptonite, in preparation to battle Superman by building a powerful exoskeleton and creating a Kryptonite grenade launcher and a Kryptonite-tipped spear. Meanwhile, Luthor enters the Kryptonian ship and learns of its functions, as well as recorded alien worlds.

Luthor kidnaps and holds hostage Martha Kent, Clark’s adoptive mother. He reveals that he has been sending messages to Batman and Superman to heighten their animosity towards each other. Luthor forces Superman to fight and kill Batman, in exchange for Martha’s life. Superman tries to reason with Batman, but Batman initiates the fight and eventually subdues him. Before Batman can kill Superman with the spear, Superman urges Batman to “save Martha”, whose name is also shared with Wayne’s late mother. Lane arrives and explains the situation. Upon learning of Luthor’s plan, Batman leaves to rescue Martha, while Superman confronts Luthor on the scout ship. Luthor unleashes a monstrous creature made from Zod’s body spliced with Luthor’s DNA. Superman, Batman and Diana join forces to fight the creature, but are outmatched by its ability to absorb energy. Realizing that it is vulnerable to Kryptonite, Superman retrieves the Kryptonite spear and impales the creature, while it stabs him with its bone protrusions, killing Superman.

Luthor is arrested and imprisoned. Facing Batman in prison, he gloats that Superman’s death has made the world vulnerable to powerful alien threats. A memorial is held for Superman in Metropolis. Clark is also declared dead and Wayne, Lane, Martha, and Diana attend a private funeral for him in Smallville. Martha passes an envelope to Lane, which contains an engagement ring from Clark. After the funeral, Wayne reveals to Diana that he plans to form a team of metahumans, starting from the ones from Luthor’s files, to protect the world in Superman’s absence. After they leave, a faint heartbeat echoes from Clark’s coffin and the dirt around it begins to levitate

REVIEW:

Let’s get ready to rumble! The fight every comic book fan and superhero nerd has been waiting on is about to go down in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The question on everyone’s mind, though, is with Zack Snyder directing will this be more flash over substance? Also, would it just be better to wait for the “main event” coming next month in Captain America: Civil War?

What is this about?

Following his titanic struggle against General Zod, Metropolis has been razed to the ground and Superman is the most controversial figure in the world. While for many he is still an emblem of hope, a growing number of people consider him a threat to humanity, seeking justice for the chaos he has brought to Earth. As far as Bruce Wayne is concerned, Superman is clearly a danger to society. He fears for the future of the world with such a reckless power left ungoverned, and so he dons his mask and cape to right Superman’s wrongs. The rivalry between them is furious, fueled by bitterness and vengeance, and nothing can dissuade them from waging this war. However, a dark new threat arises in the form of a third man: one who has a power greater than either of them to endanger the world and cause total destruction!

What did I like?

It’s all about the game. Batman has always been a badass, even in his campier days, but in this flick, he takes it to another level. There is a scene near the end of the film where he swoops in and, like a ninja takes out a room of about 12 guys with guns. It is a sight to behold and, those of us that have played the Arkham City franchise of Batman games may recognize that the fighting style is very similar. Whether that was done on purpose or not, I cannot be sure, but I liked it!

Clash of the Titans. Say what you will about Man of Steel, it brought Superman back to the forefront of the DC cinematic universe. A place he should have stayed, but they just couldn’t resist having Batman in there. So, here we go, a fight for supremacy, Superman vs. Batman. I would have preferred this be Christian Bale’s Batman, though, for continuity’s sake. No offense to Ben Affleck, he did perhaps the best Batman we’ve seen since…well, since Kevin Conroy in the animated series. The fight between these two pushes them to their limits, which is what we would expect.

She’s a Wonder. I do not believe Wonder Woman has ever graced the big screen with her presence. We all know of the infamous TV series starring Lynda Carter, her appearance in the Justice League animated series, and various other incarnations, including her own animated film. Word just dropped that her film was moved up to next summer, which is sure to have feminists and fans of the Amazon warrior happy. For me, I’m just glad we finally got to see her. Now, whether or not this is what she should look and act like is a different topic for another section.

What didn’t I like?

Contrast. Batman and Superman are both heroes to their cities and whatnot but it is their methodology which causes them to butt heads often. If you expecting to see that in this film, you will be sadly disappointed. The best way I can put this is that dark needs light and vice versa, but when you have two dark characters they cancel each other out. For this to have truly effective, we needed the Superman we all know, love, and deserve. A character steeped in goodness, truth, and is a beacon for right. Instead, we have a Superman who really isn’t that different from Batman, and that is why during the fight I found myself enjoying it, sure, but not really cheering for either one, because there was no clear side, save for the consequences should one or the other lose.

Riddle me this! Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by the Justice League cartoon, but when I think of Lex Luthor, I see a cold, calculating, brilliant businessman. That is not what we get here. Before I begin my rant on Lex, it should be known that none of the other films have produced one that is equal to what we got in animated form, including the original Superman franchise. None of those, however, insulted their audience with this version of Lex who might as well have been playing The Riddler, because that is what his mannerisms felt like. I kept expecting him to throw a riddle or two out at any moment. That didn’t happen, so we are left with this crazed, ADHD version of Lex who seems like a kid playing with his inheritance and brilliance. Oh, and don’t get me started on the casting of Jesse Eisenberg. It is well documents that any film with him is automatically starting out in the negative, but apparently the filmmakers could have cast Bryan Cranston, but instead they cast this punk and…ugh…let me stop before I throw my computer across the room.

That Gal. Give credit where it’s due, Gal Gadot put in the work to bulk up for her role as Wonder Woman. It just isn’t enough, as she still looks anorexically thin. I’m sure that I am not the only one that thinks this, but when I envision Wonder Woman, I think of Lucy Lawless during her Xena days. Can’t you just imagine her, or some equivalent, as Wonder Woman?

Anything Marvel can do. By now, everyone knows that this is a) not the sequel Superman deserves and b) is nothing more than a setup for a Justice League movie. Here’s the thing about that, Marvel meticulous took their time setting up The Avengers. It was something that had never been done before. Now everyone is trying to set up their own cinematic universe. Hell, even on television (ironically DC isn’t doing too bad in that department), they’re doing it. For me, I feel as if this is just something being fast tracked because they feel they are behind Marvel and need to play catch up.

Final verdict on Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice? There are good and bad parts to this film. First, the additions of Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman work much better than what everyone who initially criticized their casting thought they would. There is a scene where Batman perches on the side of a building and it looks like it is straight off the cover of one of the graphic novels! On the other side of the coin, this is a film that should be fun, with two uber popular superheroes duking it out for superior, but that level of fun never shows. Instead, we get a film that is so dark, it almost makes you want to slit your own wrists! DC really needs to lighten up. I also question the casting of Jeremy Irons as Alfred. He just seemed to not fit. All in all, there are more faults in this film than reasons to watch, but do I recommend it? Reluctantly, yes…it is still a high quality superhero movie. I don’t think I’ll be rushing to see it again, though.

4 out of 5 stars

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Cursed

Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film begins in Hollywood Los Angeles, when two friends, Jenny Tate and Becky Morton, are at a pier and decide to get their fortune told by Zela, asking about a boy. Zela foretells that they will suffer a horrible fate, but they don’t believe her and walk away laughing. A little while later, Becky realizes Jenny has disappeared and can’t find her on the pier.

On that same night, teenager Jimmy Myers is picked up on Hollywood Blvd by his sister Ellie, who just came back from visiting her boyfriend Jake Taylor. Jimmy had a run in with some bullies and his crush Brooke. On their way home, Jimmy and Ellie hit an animal and another car. They attempt to rescue the other driver, Becky Morton, but she is suddenly dragged and ripped in half by an unseen creature. Jimmy and Ellie are both slashed by the creature’s claws, but make it out alive. When interviewed by police, despite Jimmy’s belief that it was a wolf or dog type animal, the official report credits it to a bear or cougar.

Once they get home, Jimmy does research about wolves in California and starts to believe that the creature was a werewolf, and the next morning, nonchalantly tells Ellie, much to her disbelief. Jimmy and Ellie start to exhibit strange tendencies; while working at the news set, Ellie is attracted to the smell of blood, from a co-anchor but Ellie denies it, apparently proving her point by touching a silver picture frame and not getting burned. Jimmy becomes much stronger and more aggressive, as exampled when a bully named Bo forces him to join the wrestling team. He easily defeats three wrestlers, including Bo, and calls Bo out for constantly making gay jokes towards him, saying that Bo himself is repressing his own homosexuality.

Meanwhile, at a party, Jenny runs into Jake, implying that he is the boy that was mentioned at the beginning of the film. She also runs into Joanie, Ellie’s publicist, who takes note of Jake Taylor. Jenny leaves the party after an awkward encounter, and Jake and Joanie leave as the full moon rises. Jenny is torn apart in a parking garage by a wolf-like creature. Zela’s prediction for Jenny and Becky comes true.

Eventually, Ellie starts to believe the werewolf idea when she sees Zela at the news station and she warns about the coming full moon, and Jimmy proves it when he holds a silver cake server and gets burned (he then discovers that the picture frame Ellie touched was actually stainless steel). Their dog bites Jimmy, tasting his blood and becomes a werewolf type monster and goes on a rampage. Realizing what’s happening, he goes to warn Ellie with the help of Bo, who shows up at their house to confess that he is gay and has feelings for Jimmy which Jimmy says is because of the curse. Bo and Jimmy race to where Ellie is.

In the meantime she figures out that Jake is a werewolf. He confirms it, but claims it wasn’t him that attacked her and Jimmy. Another werewolf attacks, seemingly proving his story. Bo and Jimmy try to help, but Bo is knocked out. The new werewolf is revealed to be Joanie, who had a one-night stand with Jake and became a werewolf (with proof of a pentagram on her right hand). She wants revenge by killing all of the other girls he dates. He refuses to let her hurt Ellie, and she knocks him out. Joanie soon turns into a werewolf and starts attacking. Ellie and Jimmy fight her, and she finally runs and hides when the police arrive. The two draw her out by insulting her, which she (in werewolf form) gives them the finger. The police open fire, apparently killing her. What they don’t know is that the only way to kill a werewolf is to separate the brain from the heart. As she rises again, a cop shoots her in the head, finally killing her. Bo is okay, but Jake has disappeared.

Jimmy and Ellie return to a wrecked home. As Jimmy goes to try to fix the power, Jake arrives. He reveals that he did in fact bite Ellie and Jimmy, and he wants Ellie to live forever by his side after he kills Jimmy. She refuses, and the two fight it out, but her werewolf side only emerges and disappears at small intervals, while he has complete control over his werewolf side and dominates the fight. Jimmy joins in, climbing across the ceiling and biting Jake, distracting him long enough for Ellie to stab him with the silver cake server, badly injuring him. Ellie decapitates Jake with a shovel and breaking the curse on her, Jimmy and their dog. They watch as Jake’s body starts to burn with fire and eventually only leaving the silver cake server. Brooke shows up with their dog, having learned where they live from Bo, who also shows up. Bo and Jimmy are now friends; Jimmy kisses Brooke and walks her home along with Bo. Ellie goes to clean up the mess that is their house

REVIEW:

So, the new trailer from Batman vs. Superman just was released (or leaked) on-line from San Diego Comic-Con. The first thing I was asked when it surfaced wasn’t what I thought about it, but rather how much flack I’m going to give it for having Jesse Eisenberg. Many have wondered where my hate for that rat-faced, no talent hack came from and, to be honest, I don’t know where it started, but I would have to say Cursed would be a good place to start.

What is this about?

An estranged brother and sister must deal with the recent loss of their parents. But heaping more misery into their lives is a life-altering attack one dark night by a vicious werewolf.

What did I like?

Mythology. Everyone knows that basics about werewolves, get bit and you’re cursed to become a werewolf every full moon. What this film does is delve a bit further into the various versions of the mythology, such as heightened senses, sexual attraction, taste for blood, etc. The relationship with canines is even hinted at during one scene, which is nice since almost every other werewolf appearance in media from The Wolf Man starring Lon Chaney up to True Blood (I believe that is the latest werewolf appearance) has given us pieces to go on but, as with vampires, it’s all bunch of this and that with no one agreeing on anything except how you become one.

Sister. Christina Ricci, forever doomed to play a sister, it seems. She can’t complain about it this time, though. She was age appropriate and does a decent job with the material she’s given. Ricci is a strong woman taking care of herself and her teenage little brother, while working for the Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn. Not to mention, she has to deal with this werewolf stuff. I think she holds up pretty well. She even gets into a couple of fights, one with Judy Greer and the other with her boyfriend, Joshua Jackson, and holds her own. Maybe we should start looking at her for a role in a comic book movie.

Dirty dog. Werewolves aren’t limited to just people changing. It would appear that dogs can be afflicted by the curse, too. Dogs are already vicious killers, if you ask me, and giving the heightened powers of a werewolf? Yikes! Kudos to the film for basically make the family dog Cujo, though I wish they would have done more with him than just attack a car. We didn’t even really get a good look at his transformed state. Still, I’m sure some were freaked out by the notion of their dog turning on them.

What didn’t I like?

Use your gypsy. In the original Wolfman tale, the gypsy woman is a very important character. Judging by how many references there are to other werewolf movies and such, one could assume that the gypsy woman would at least be more than a cameo at the beginning of the film, but nope. Instead, she shows up one more time and that’s it. WTF?!? Use this woman to explain stuff! It would have been better and more accurate than dealing with Eisenberg’s half-ass research!

Luthor you ain’t! Alright, you knew this was coming. Eisenberg is a huge negative for this film. His character is the same annoying character he plays in every film. The nerdy, stammering guy who somehow becomes cool and gets the girl without any change, but rather deception. For the love of all this is holy, he better not have Lex Luthor follow this pattern. Well, the deception is allowed. As far as this film goes, I just didn’t buy him when he was trying to show off his enhanced strength and sexual magnetism. Going there is fine, but the actor needs to sell the change, and Eisenberg didn’t.

Werewolves, or lack thereof. In case  you haven’t figured out yet, this is a film about werewolves. Here’s the thing, though, we only see 1 wolf. There are maybe 4 werewolves in this film, but only one of them fully changes, Judy Greer. We see Christina Ricci, Joshua Jackson, and Eisenberg hint at changing. Ricci and Eisenberg show parts of their anatomy shifting, but nothing actually happens. For me, if I’m watching a modern werewolf flick, I expect to see some wolves. Instead, this was mostly a big cocktease. There may actually be less werewolves in here than in that Jack Nicholson werewolf movie, Wolf.

Cursed is one of those films that tries to do so much that it doesn’t do much of anything. It tries to give us a new werewolf flick while paying homage to its predecessors, but it just succeeds in getting bogged down in too much muck. The cast is decent and give alright performances, but this isn’t the greatest material to judge anyone on. All that said, and with the lack of werewolves, I still found myself enjoying this. It is head and shoulders above the crappy Wolfman that came out a few years back and way more believable than those Twilight wolves. So, do I recommend this? I guess it would be alright for a guilty pleasure viewing or to start a werewolf movie marathon.

3 out of 5 stars

Rio 2

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Blu and Jewel enjoy life in Rio with their 3 kids, the oldest and music-loving Carla, book smart Bia, and the youngest and mischievous Tiago. Meanwhile, Blu’s former owner, Linda Gunderson and her ornithologist husband, Tulio are on an expedition in the Amazon and eventually discover a quick-flying spix’s macaw that loses one of its feathers. When word gets out about this through television, Jewel believes that they should go to the Amazon to help find the blue macaws. While the kids are ecstatic, Blu is uncertain, but is pressured into going along. Rafael, Nico and Pedro decide to come along. Luiz attempts to follow, but fails. Blu brings a fanny pack full of supplies, one of which he uses mostly is a GPS, much to Jewel’s displeasure.

Meanwhile, the leader of a group that is in a line of illegal logging named Big Boss, discovers Linda and Tulio’s expedition to find the macaws and orders his henchmen to hunt them down to avoid disruptions to their work. Also, Blu and Jewel’s old nemesis, Nigel the cockatoo, has survived the plane crash from the first film, but is now unable to fly and is working as a fortune teller/con artist. When he sees Blu and his family flying overhead of him, he immediately decides to seek revenge on them. He enlists two minions to help him in his plans; a silent anteater named Charlie and a poison dart frog named Gabi, the latter of which is in love with Nigel. Blu and his family use a boat to get to the jungle (with Nigel’s first plan of revenge being inadvertently foiled by Charlie), and when they arrive, they find nothing in sight. However, they are eventually taken to a flock of blue macaws that are hiding in a secret paradise land. There, they meet Jewel’s stern long lost father, Eduardo, his older sister Mimi, and Jewel’s childhood friend, Roberto. Eduardo seems unimpressed with Blu’s domesticated human behavior.

While searching for the macaws, Linda and Tulio are eventually trapped by the loggers. Meanwhile, Blu does his best to fit in with the flock, as his family and friends are doing, although the flock (especially Eduardo) are against humans and all things human. Meanwhile, a disguised Nigel plans to kill Blu at the new Carnival show after landing in an audition hosted by Rafael, Nico, Pedro, and Carla. When Blu tries to pick a Brazilian nut for Jewel, he accidentally tries to get it in the territory of the Spix Macaw’s enemies, the Scarlet macaws, led by the hostile Felipe. Blu inadvertently causes war between the two tribes for food when he accidentally hits Felipe with a twig. The war turns out to be just like football (soccer), and Blu accidentally costs the flock the food when he sends the fruit ball into his own team’s goal.

Blu visits Tulio and Linda’s site, where he discovers that it has been majorly disturbed. After discovering the loggers are destroying the jungle, Blu sends Roberto (who followed Blu) to warn the flock as he saves Linda and Tulio. Blu persuades the macaws to defend their homes, and they easily outmatch the loggers with help from the Scarlet macaws and the other animals. Big Boss tries to blow up the trees as a back-up plan, but Blu steals the lit dynamite. Nigel goes after Blu, and reveals himself as they are falling down when he tugs on the dynamite. After the dynamite goes off, Blu and Nigel engage in a battle while tangled in vines. Gabi and Charlie try to help Nigel by shooting Blu with a dart that has Gabi’s poison on it, but it accidentally hits Nigel, who gives a Shakespearean death speech before seemingly dying. Gabi tries to commit suicide by drinking her own poison and the pair are seemingly dead. However, Bia reveals that Gabi isn’t poisonous at all (she was lied to by her parents that she was). Nigel tries to attack Blu one last time, but Gabi showers Nigel with affection against his will. Meanwhile, Big Boss is eaten alive by a boa constrictor.

With the flock now under Linda and Tulio’s protection, Blu and Jewel decide to live in the Amazon with their kids and friends, though still agreeing to visit Rio in the summer. Meanwhile, Nigel and Gabi are captured by Tulio and are both taken back to Rio, Luiz finally arrives in the Amazon after hitching a ride with Kipo, and Charlie joins the birds’ party.

REVIEW:

I was not the biggest fan of Rio, the first film featuring a rare blue macaw, but apparently more than a few people liked it. How else do you explain the existence of Rio 2? Here’s hoping this is better and not just some cruel April Fool’s joke someone is playing on me.

What is this about?

Blu, Jewel and their three youngsters visit the Amazon, where they find adventure, friends old and new, and even a little danger. The family finds the rain forest in peril, but first they must contend with their old nemesis, Nigel the cockatoo.

What did I like?

Singing frog. Kristin Chenoweth had a recognizable voice, so casting her is really a no-brainer. When casting her, especially in a kids film such as this, it is almost automatic that she’s going to get the chance to belt out at least one number. Considering how we can’t see her vertically challenged cuteness, then we as the audience expect nothing less and I believe the filmmakers knew this, as well. Why else would that little pink frog have a song in a film that really isn’t a musical?

Colors. If there is one thing to be said about this film, it doesn’t skimp on the colors! They are brilliant, vibrant, and plentiful. Even in the darker parts of the film, we are blasted in the face with color, but not in a way to make us wish for less, just enough to keep respectful to the region. I can respect that and wish more films of this, or any, nature would take note and use the color palette as liberally.

What didn’t I like?

Bigger does not always mean better. I don’t care what franchise it is, when it comes time for the sequel, there is more money, which makes filmmaker go bigger. This does not equal better, though. Using the jungle setting of most of the film seemed like a good idea, especially with the 3D, but other than the birds, we really didn’t see any wildlife. This brings into question, why use the jungle at all. Wouldn’t have just been easier to keep everyone in Rio and bring in these new birds? I just didn’t get it.

Length. For a children’s film, I felt this was too long. Sure, the aforementioned bright colors will keep kids’ attention, but what about the adults and/or older siblings that are forced to watch with them? This story is not strong enough to justify the nearly 2 hour run time. A good 30 minutes needed to be cut, methinks.

Enough Eisenberg. I will never be a fan of Jesse Eisenberg. The guy is a no-talent hack who somehow has a career. His voice grates on me, and it is even worse in animated form. The stammering thing he does is not cute. In comparison, Jay Baruchel has a much more annoying voice, but at least he’s doesn’t annoy the living %!#%^@$& when he talks.

Final verdict on Rio 2? Well, it is definitely a sequel. I don’t really have much to say on this other than that. I mean, the first film was forgettable and this one follows suit. Other than some inspired voice casting with the likes of Kristin Chenoweth, Rita Moreno, Bruno Mars, etc., this is just a mess of a film that only got the greenlight because kids can be sold just about anything these days. I do not recommend this!

2 out of 5 stars

Now You See Me

Posted in Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Four street magicians — J. Daniel Atlas, Henley Reeves, Jack Wilder, and Merritt McKinney—are brought together by an unknown benefactor and, one year later, perform in Las Vegas as “The Four Horsemen”, sponsored by insurance magnate Arthur Tressler. For the finale, a member of the audience is invited to help them in their next trick: robbing a bank. That member in an audience is Étienne Forcier, the account holder at the Crédit Républicain de Paris. Forcier is apparently teleported to his bank in Paris, where he activates an air-duct that vacuums up the money and showers it onto the crowd in Las Vegas.

Upon discovering that the money really is missing from the bank vault, FBI agent Dylan Rhodes is called to investigate the theft and is partnered with Interpol agent Alma Dray. They interrogate the Four Horsemen, but release them when no explanation can be found. Dylan meets Thaddeus Bradley, an ex-magician who makes money by revealing the secrets behind other magicians’ tricks. Thaddeus was in the audience and deduced that the Four Horsemen stole the money weeks before, and manipulated the audience’s perception of current events.

Dylan, Dray, and Thaddeus attend the Four Horsemen’s next performance in New Orleans. The group’s finale involves them stealing roughly $140 million from Tressler’s bank account and distributing it to the audience, composed of people whose insurance claims had been denied or reduced by Tressler’s company. Dylan attempts to arrest the Four Horsemen, but they escape with help from hypnotised audience members. An infuriated Tressler hires Thaddeus to expose and humiliate the Four Horsemen in their next performance. Later, while researching the Four Horsemen’s background, Dray learns about rumors of a secret society of magicians called “The Eye”, who steal from the rich and powerful to give to the needy, and suggests to a skeptical Dylan the case might be tied to a magician named Lionel Shrike, whom Thaddeus had exposed 30 years earlier and who was so embarrassed that he undertook a dangerous underwater stunt and drowned.

The Four Horsemen are located in New York, but they escape during the raid to arrest them. However, Jack is killed when he crashes a stolen car and it bursts into flames and explodes. The remaining Horsemen vow to continue and complete their final performance, stealing a safe made by the same company that made the safe Lionel Shrike died in. Then they perform their one last show at 5 Pointz during which they seemingly vanish into thin air, transforming into loads of money that is showered on the crowd. The money turns out to be a fake and the real money is found stashed in Thaddeus’s Range Rover. Thaddeus is then assumed to be the fifth Horseman and arrested, although he said that he was framed.

Dylan visits Thaddeus in his cell, where Thaddeus explains that the only way the safe could have been removed was if Jack was still alive, but they would have also needed an inside man. Thaddeus realizes that Dylan is the fifth Horseman (when he disappears from the locked cell, reappearing on the outside). Dylan tells Thaddeus he wants him to spend the rest of his life in jail and leaves as Thaddeus asks why he did it.

The Horsemen are now rejoined by Jack, whose death was staged. They finally meet their benefactor and are surprised to find it is Dylan. He welcomes them into “The Eye.”

Later, on the Pont des Arts in France, Dray is met by Dylan (as he reveals himself to be the son of Lionel Shrike, the magician who drowned years ago). He masterminded and designed the Horsemen plot to obtain revenge on those involved: Thaddeus, for humiliating his father; the Crédit Républicain de Paris and Tressler’s company, who refused to pay the insurance on his father’s death; and the company that produced the substandard safe used in the trick that led to its failure. Dray, however, decides not to turn him in. When Dray sees the lock with a key that Dylan magically handed out in front of her eyes, he proclaimed, “One more secret to lock away”. As soon as Dray locks the lock on a chain fence with all of the locks that have been locked, she throws the key into the Seine.

In a post-credit scene in the extended cut, The Horsemen are seen arriving at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas. They find crates marked with the sign of the “Eye”. The movie ends with them looking for the four key cards to open the crates that hold their new equipment.

REVIEW:

You may recall about 5 yrs or so ago that magicians were all over the place, most specifically “illusionists” such as David Blaine and Chris Angel. Well, apparently Hollywood wants them to come back because Now You See Me and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone have been released this year with the subject matter of magic and/or magicians. Let’s hope this doesn’t start a revival in that so-called magic, although I wouldn’t mind those David Copperfield specials that used to come on ever year back in the day.

What is this about?

Brainy magicians Atlas and Henley lead a troupe of illusionists who specialize in robbing from the rich, in the form of banks, and giving to the poor, their audiences, all while trying to outwit a team of FBI agents determined to bring them down.

What did I like?

Just like magic. Perhaps the biggest illusion this film pulls off is that it is a crime thriller, and a fairly competent one at that. From what I recall from the trailers, it wasn’t advertised as anything more than a film about magicians. Perhaps that is why, initially this film didn’t do as well, because who wants to see a film about magicians, especially after Burt Wonderstone earlier this year? Covering up what this film is really about, though, was quite the impressive feat.

Twist. I’ve been reading people’s complaints about this film and it seems that the major issue is with the ending. Personally, I like the twist, especially since it wasn’t what you would have excepted. I was thinking it was going to go another direction, but I was completely wrong. Sorry for the vagueness, I’m trying not to spoil anything. If you’re into endings that come out of nowhere and surprise you, be on the lookout for this one.

Heist. You have to give these guys credit, they literally got on the stage and said they were going to rob this bank or that one. The fact that no one believed them was only the fault of the authorities. It takes some real cojones to do that, don’t you think? Of course, you also have to be able to pull it off and not leave a trace of evidence that you were there, as well.

What didn’t I like?

Atlas. So, another film starring the untalented and overhyped Jesse Eisenberg. I swear, the only thing I’ve liked this guy in has been Cursed, everything else he has ruined!!! How the hell does this guy keep getting work?!! Just because you have the make up artists slap some peach fuzz on your face and make an attempt to not make your voice so annoying isn’t going to make you a competent actor. Someone should inform him of this fact!

Weight. If you don’t know who Isla Fisher is, take a moment and look her up in Google images. Now that you’re done drooling…Can you believe they used her as the butt of weight jokes in this film? What was the point of that, I wonder? Here you have the super hot Isla Fisher and you reduce her to fat jokes. The only thing worse would have been to make her a shrill shrew of a character, which at times, it did seem like they wanted to go that route, but fought it. Very disappointed that they had to make those jokes.

Franco. No, not James, but his little brother, Dave, was impressive…in the short time he’s on the screen. I loved his one on one showdown with the cops, but it would have been nice to have more of him. Just because he was the youngest doesn’t mean he had to get such little screentime, while we get bogged down with Eisenberg’s whiny narration. Ugh!

There is no reason that Now You See Me should have been this good. It has already been greenlit for a sequel. I don’t know if it was that good, but it was entertaining. There are flaws to be sure, but if you really sit there and nitpick each and every one of them, then you’ll never have fun watching a film ever again. For that reason, I give this a fairly high recommendation. Check it out!

4 out of 5 stars

The Social Network

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 2003, Harvard University student Mark Zuckerberg is dumped by his girlfriend Erica Albright. He returns to his dorm drunk and writes a scathing blog entry about her. This inspires him to create an on-campus website called Facemash which allows users to rate the attractiveness of female students using photographs pilfered from various university systems. Mark receives six months of academic probation after traffic to the site crashes parts of Harvard’s network. Facemash’s popularity and the fact that Mark created it in one night while drunk brings him to the attention of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and their business partner Divya Narendra. The Winklevoss twins invite Mark to their final club, where Mark accepts a job as programmer for a proposed dating website they call Harvard Connection which will be exclusive to Harvard alums.

Mark approaches his friend Eduardo Saverin and tells him of his idea for what he calls “Thefacebook”, an online social networking website exclusive to Harvard University students. He explains that this would mimic the popularity of FaceMash but since signing up would be consensual it would avoid the ethical problems of the earlier site. Eduardo agrees to help Mark, providing $1,000 to help start the site. They distribute the link to Eduardo’s connections at the Phoenix S-K final club, and it becomes popular throughout the student body. When they learn of Thefacebook, the Winklevoss twins and Narendra believe Zuckerberg has stolen their idea while stalling on their website. Tyler and Divya want to sue Mark for intellectual property theft, but Cameron convinces them to settle the matter as “gentlemen of Harvard”.

During a visiting lecture by Bill Gates, fellow Harvard University student Christy Lee introduces herself and her friend Alice to Eduardo and Mark and asks the boys to “Facebook me”. Christy’s use of this phrase impresses both of them. Christy invites them to a bar, where Mark runs into Erica, who is not aware of Thefacebook because she is not a Harvard student. Mark decides to expand the site to Yale University, Columbia University and Stanford University as Thefacebook grows in popularity, while the Winklevoss twins and Narendra watch “their idea” advance without them. Cameron refuses to sue them, instead accusing Mark of violating the Harvard student Code of Conduct. Through their father’s connections they meet with Harvard President Larry Summers, who is dismissive towards the twins and sees no potential value in either a disciplinary action or in Thefacebook website itself.

Through Christy, now Eduardo’s girlfriend, Eduardo and Mark arrange a meeting with Napster co-founder Sean Parker. Eduardo becomes skeptical, noting Sean’s problematic personal and professional history. Sean presents a vision for Facebook very similar to that of Mark, which earns Mark’s instant admiration. In a parting comment, Sean suggests they drop the “The” from Thefacebook.

At Sean’s suggestion, Mark moves the company to Palo Alto while Eduardo remains in New York seeking advertising support. Sean advises Mark to keep hold of his ownership of Facebook to ensure that Mark does not lose control of a potentially lucrative business venture, using Victoria’s Secret founder Roy Raymond as an example. After Sean promises to expand Facebook to two continents, Mark invites Sean to live at the house he is using as the company headquarters.

While competing in the Henley Royal Regatta for Harvard, the Winklevoss twins discover Facebook has expanded to a number of English universities and footage of their lost finals match against the Hollandia Roeiclub is posted on it. Cameron relents and they decide to sue. When Eduardo visits from New York, he is angered to find Sean living in their house and making business decisions for Facebook. Eduardo argues with Mark, with Mark making a demeaning remark regarding Eduardo’s failed attempts to find advertisers. Eduardo freezes the company’s bank account and returns to New York.

Christy argues with Eduardo about his Facebook profile, which lists him as “single”. Christy does not believe Eduardo when he reluctantly explains that he does not know how to change his profile. She accuses him of cheating on her and sets fire to a scarf he gave to her. While Eduardo extinguishes the fire she caused, Mark reveals on the phone that although he was upset that Eduardo almost jeopardized Facebook by freezing the bank account, they have secured $500,000 from angel investor Peter Thiel. As a result of Christy’s odd behavior, Eduardo ends his relationship with her.

While visiting the new headquarters for a meeting, Eduardo discovers the deal he signed with Sean’s investors has allowed them to dilute his share of the company from 34 percent to 0.03 percent, while maintaining the ownership percentage of all other parties. He confronts Mark and announces his intention to sue him. During a party celebrating Facebook’s one millionth member, Sean and a number of underage Facebook interns are arrested for possession of cocaine. Sean tries deceiving Mark into believing that he had nothing to do with the incident and that Eduardo stashed the cocaine, but Mark does not believe him and tells him to “go home”.

The story is intercut with scenes from depositions taken in lawsuits against Mark and Facebook—one filed by the Winklevoss twins, the other by Eduardo. The Winklevoss twins claim that Zuckerberg stole their idea, while Saverin claims his shares of Facebook were diluted when the company was incorporated. At the end, Marylin Delpy, a junior lawyer for the defense, informs Mark they will be settling with Eduardo, since the sordid details of Facebook’s founding and Mark’s callous attitude will make a jury highly unsympathetic. After everyone leaves, Mark sends a friend request to Erica Albright on Facebook, and refreshes the page every few seconds waiting for a response.

In the film’s epilogue, it reveals that Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss received a settlement of $65 million dollars and signed a non-disclosure agreement. They also rowed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and placed sixth. Eduardo Saverin also received a settlement but the payment is unknown. The epilogue also reveals that Saverin’s name has been restored to the Facebook masthead as the Co-founder of Facebook and that the website has over 500 million members in 207 countries and is currently valued at 25 billion dollars. The epilogue finally states that Mark Zuckerberg is the world’s youngest billionaire

REVIEW:

Chances are, if you use the internet, then you use Facebook. Well, The Social Network is nothing more than the origin of said site that we are all addicted too. Hell, even as I was watching this, I was playing Words With Friends and Gardens of Time on there. Isn’t that special?

So, last awards season, this was one of the darlings, but got beaten down by Black Swan and The King’s Speech for most of the awards. Was it worth it?

Most of the time, when a historical film is released, it is usually after something has come and gone, not while it is at or around the peak of its popularity, as Facebook is right now (until something else comes around). This makes the release of this film a bit of a head scratcher, but, when you think about the status of our society and our lack of an attention span, it makes sense.

The story here is told in flashback form, as the principal players are at some sort of deposition regarding various lawsuits. Why they are all happening on the same day is curious, but that may have been done just for the film’s purpose.

For the most part, I liked how the film moved along. There wasn’t any real lull that puts the audience to sleep, but at the same time, I think the film took itself a little seriously. A little comic relief (that wasn’t those twins or the psychotic girlfriend) would have been nice, at least for my taste.

I have said over and over again that I am no fan of Jesse Eisenberg. Nothing is going to change that, but I can say that this is hands down his best performance, not to mention the least annoying he’s been on-screen. Shame he followed it up by returning to his annoying ways in Rio, though.

Andrew Garfield apparently used this as a springboard to bigger things such as this summer’s forthcoming (unnecessary) reboot The Amazing Spider-Man. As an actor, he is very competent, and may very well have been the best thespian in the film. However, his character….well, I’m not sure if he was unlikable or wishy-washy, or what, but something about him rubbed me the wrong way and I just don’t know what it was.

Armie Hammer, who I recognized for his brief stint on Reaper played the Winklevoss twins. Yes, he played them both. I think they had a body double for some scenes, but he still played them both. For some reason, I couldn’t help but wonder why they couldn’t find a couple of twins or at least just let the guy that was the body double just play the other brother? Having said that, if you watch old shows like I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched, then you’re aware that they often time would have the same person play two separate characters that look exactly alike. Wishful thinking has me assuming this was a nod to that, but I know better.

Justin Timberlake was perfectly cast as Sean Parker. Well, at least in terms of how much they look-alike. I don’t know if he got the demeanor and everything down, but Timberlake was a nice addition to this cast, and may very well have been how this film was greenlit when you consider that the rest of the cast are mostly unknown, save for a small role for Rashida Jones, and even she isn’t a household name. Just mild speculation on my part, though.

Learning the history of a site that has blown up over the past few years and that almost everyone spends the majority of their internet time on was quite intriguing. Some of the facts that were presented and made you really think. After watching this, I got to thinking why not make a similar film about the rise and subsequent “fall” of Myspace?

I just saw a commercial showing the real Winklevoss twins and it appears that tonight’s episode of The Simpsons is a parody of this film. Can we say perfect timing?

So, what is the final verdict on The Social Network? Well, it is mostly worth all the praise it has been lauded with, but it isn’t the best thing since sliced bread, contrary to what some people have been saying about. While I found this to be a really well crafted film, I am not in love with it. It didn’t exactly leave me wanting to rush out and see it again. That being said, it is a worthwhile viewing and I do recommend it, so give it a chance, even if you are one of the handful of people left in the world without a Facebook account.

4 out of 5 stars

Rio

Posted in Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

n Brazil, several types of exotic birds get smuggled to different countries. A crate with a male blue macaw hatchling falls off the truck into the streets of Moose Lake, Minnesota. Linda Gunderson quickly finds the macaw, adopting him as her pet and naming him Blu. However, he is unable to fly, which makes him subject to ridicule by the Canadian Geese that frequent the outside of Linda’s bookstore.

One day, ornithologist Túlio Monteiro invites Blu and Linda to vacation in Rio de Janeiro, on the condition that Blu mate with a female macaw before his return to Moose Lake, as he is the last male of his species. Linda takes the offer and the three are flown to Rio, where Blu meets a Red-crested Cardinal named Pedro and his Yellow Canary friend Nico. Blu is taken to Túlio’s aviary, and falls in love with Jewel, a cynical, fiercely independent blue macaw longing to flee into the wilderness. Blu and Jewel are captured by a boy named Fernando and a psychopathic Sulphur-crested Cockatoo named Nigel, both of whom work for a group of smugglers led by Marcel. Nigel tells the macaws that he vowed to smuggle exotic birds because of his role being replaced on a television program. Blu and Jewel flee from him, ending up in a jungle.

Fernando meets Linda and Túlio, explaining that Marcel had forced him to capture birds before cooperating with the two to Blu. The macaws meet a Toco toucan named Rafael, who offers to take them to his bulldog friend Luiz to remove a chain connected to their legs. He also tries to teach Blu how to fly, before the three meet Pedro and Nico. Nigel hires a horde of thieving marmosets led by Mauro to capture Blu and Jewel. Pedro and Nico take Blu and Jewel to a bird’s Rio-style party, where they perform a duet, but are attacked by the marmosets. Their bird friends fight them, allowing the five to flee. Linda and Túlio are taken to the smugglers hideout. While there, Marcel explains that he will use the Rio Carnival to kidnap Blu and Jewel.

Meanwhile, Blu and the others meet Luiz. Luiz manages to release the chain holding Blu and Jewel using his drool. After a brief falling out, Blu and Jewel decide to go their separate ways. When Blu and Rafael learn from Pedro and Nico that Nigel captured Jewel, the four rush to the carnival to rescue Jewel, while Linda and Túlio organize a rescue attempt on the birds.

While Linda and Túlio pose as dancers, Marcel enacts his plan, using Nigel to capture the birds. On board Marcel’s Short SC.7 Skyvan, Blu and Jewel release the captive birds out of the plane, but Nigel fractures Jewel’s wing and then proceeds to finish Blu. Before he can do so, Blu uses a fire extinguisher to send Nigel into the propeller of the plane’s engine, and the smugglers flee. Unable to fly, Jewel slips out of the plane, falling towards the ocean. Blu jumps out of the plane to rescue Jewel, and finally discovers that he is able to fly. Later, Linda, Túlio and Fernando organize a sanctuary to protect the jungle from smugglers. Blu and Jewel raise three chicks together and celebrate with their bird friends, Nigel is ridiculed for his loss of feathers, and the smugglers are sent to jail.

REVIEW:

Remember those days when animation was hand drawn? Oh, how I miss those days! Rio is another of these compter animated films in which the characters all look nearly alike and the plot is more generic than peanut butter.

Is it me, or are of these films from Dreamworks all starting to seem like they want to be something bigger, but they just haven’t been able to measure up to Shrek, yet. I can think of two that were really good, but the rest, including the Shrek sequels (excluding 2), all fall into mediocrity. This one is no exception.

Sure, the plot is a nice one about a rare blue macaw that was kidnapped from Rio, somehow ended up in Minnesota where he was taken in by this socially awkward little girl who took care of him and then somehow they are asked to go back to Rio so that he can mate with the only other of his kind. Along the way, there are perils, hijinks, and a psycho cockatoo.

The problem I have with the plot is that it all seemed too…I dunno..formuulaic, for lack of a better word. The whole while I was watching this, nothing happened to make me sit up and say wow! Everything was something we’ve all seen before and you could tell what was going to happen next throughout the entire picture.

If there was a surprise, it was the random musical numbers. These would be fine, except for the fact that the songs were quite horrid! These are the kind of musical productions that make you wish those wannabes on American Idol actually got a shot. Yes, they were that bad!

Not to make it sound like this is a total downer for me, I will say that the animation of Carnival and the city itself was breathtaking. Now, it quite possibly be that the colors were distracting from some shortcomings, but hey,it worked.

Voice casting was fine for the most part. My only issue is with Jesse Eisenberg. This guy has no talent and is just annoying. I mean, the guy from How to Train Your Dragon, Jay Baruchel, is annoying, but his annoying voice is what works for him. Eisenberg is just a hack. He didn’t work for this character, in my opinion.

I’ll be honest, I was really expecting to like this film. It is a huge disappointment that it turned out to be this…whatever this was. There is a ton of wasted talent, forgettable, forced music, and a story that probably should have been tweaked a little more before they went into production. I recommend Rio for two groups of people…if you’re one of those that has kids that are fascinated by brilliant, fantastic colors or if you want to be blown away by the way they captured the essence of Rio in computer animated form. Everyone else would do better watching one of the far superior Dreamworks films,or even better watch a classic Disney hand drawn masterpiece!

3 out of 5 stars

Adventureland

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

t is the summer of 1987 and James Brennan (Jesse Eisenberg) has just graduated with a comparative literature degree from Oberlin College. He is looking forward to touring Europe for the summer and going to Columbia University for graduate school in journalism when his parents (Wendie Malick and Jack Gilpin) announce they won’t be able to help him financially.

James looks for summer jobs, but can only find one, at Adventureland, a local amusement park in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where his childhood friend Frigo (Matt Bush), who has a habit of punching James in the testicles, works. James is hired immediately by the assistant manager, Bobby (Bill Hader), and is assigned to the games area. He meets some of his co-workers: the dry and sarcastic Joel (Martin Starr), Bobby’s wife and manager of Adventureland, Paulette (Kristen Wiig), Sue O’Malley (Paige Howard), Mark (Mark Miller), Lisa P. (Margarita Levieva), and the park’s repairs technician Mike Connell (Ryan Reynolds), who is a part-time musician and claims to have once jammed with Lou Reed.

James meets another games worker, Emily “Em” Lewin (Kristen Stewart), after she saves him from being stabbed by a disgruntled customer. She later invites him to a party at her house. During the party, Em invites him to join her in the pool. After the party ends, it’s revealed that Em has been having an affair with Connell, although he is married. James goes out to a bar for a drink with Em, and while they are talking at the bar, Em is surprised to learn James is still a virgin. Connell arrives at the bar and Em wants to leave, so they go to one of Pittsburgh’s three rivers close to one of the city’s bridges where James kisses her. The following day, James tells Connell about his strong feelings for Em, which Connell reports to Em. Em later tells James she wants to take it slow.

The next morning, Lisa P. asks James out on a date, but only lets a few people know. After James returns from the date, he learns Em had called to tell him that she regrets having rejected his feelings on their past date. James gives Em some of his marijuana to bake pot cookies to cheer her up. After a pot-induced game-playing streak, Joel is attacked by an angry customer who learns the games are rigged. When Em steps in, the customer pushes her and James defends her by punching him in the balls. The customer’s friend starts chasing James who hides in Bobby’s office, who then scares the customer off by threatening him with a baseball bat. Em tells James that she doesn’t want to lose him.

Joel sees them walking together and decides to quit. James tries to talk him out of it but Joel is angry at James for dating Lisa P. when he already loves Em. James wants to be honest and tells Em about the night he went out with Lisa P. Shocked by his honesty, Em goes to Connell’s house that night to end their affair. Prompted by Frigo, the park’s mentally challenged parking official tells James he saw Em and Connell doing “push-ups without any pants on” in the back of Connell’s car a few weeks earlier. James goes to Connell’s Grandmas house with Frigo and sees Em leaving, having just broken up with Connell. When James confronts Em, she is so shocked to see him there that she becomes tongue-tied and does not explain; James becomes angered by the assumed betrayal, and leaves after Em calls herself an “idiot”. Later, James tells Lisa P. about the affair, but asks her not to tell anyone.

Lisa P. tells her friend Kelly, and soon everybody in the park has found out and Em quits. James is heartbroken and drunkenly crashes his dad’s car into a tree and passes out. The next morning, his mother wakes him up and tells him that he has to pay to fix all the damage. After getting his last paycheck, Connell tells James that he has not spoken to Em since she quit. James doesn’t have enough money to go to graduate school, but heads for New York anyway. In New York City, James waits outside Em’s apartment. She’s surprised to see James waiting for her and is reluctant to talk to him, feeling she has ruined everything between them. James tells her that he sees her in a different way than she sees herself, that he sees the girl who saved him from getting knifed, the girl who stood up for Joel, the girl who introduced him to psychotropic cookies, and the girl who doesn’t make apologies for herself. Touched, Em brings James up to her apartment. Once there, James gets out of his wet clothes, and finds she still has an Adventureland shirt. They kiss and begin to take their clothes off as the film ends, and James presumably finally loses his virginity to Em.

REVIEW:

When this film was first announced, I thought it was some sort of film based on the attraction at Disneyland. I was somewhat right. Adventureland is based on a theme park, but not in Disneyland.

I had heard that while this was a comedy, it was also a critic’s favorite. Translation- it isn’t very funny.

That doesn’t mean this isn’t a good film, though. It does make a few failed attempts at comedy, they just don’t pan out.

This film works best when playing up the drama aspect of these college grads and soon-to-be grads who have to spend their summer working at a cheaply run theme park and their lives.

I have to say this…how does anyone find Kristen Stewart attractive? On top of that, why do studios keep hiring her? She can’t act. Granted, she’s nowhere near as bad as Megan Fox, she’s just a bad actress. When the Twilight franchise ends, chances are so will her career.

As expected, when you put a bunch of young adults together, there is going to be some attraction. Even in a crappy theme park like Adventureland, this is the case.

Jesse Eisenberg is just not leading man material. In Zombieland and Cursed, he was able to pull off being the male lead because the film wasn’t primarily focused on him. However, in Adventureland, it is quite obvious that he is the “star”.  Don’t get me wrong, the guy tries, but he fails. He doesn’t have the charisma to carry a picture…even as a nerdy loser.

I’ve already mention Kristen Stewart’s appeal being overrated and her lack of acting talent. I’m still perplexed how anyone can pick her over Margarita Levieva, though. As Lisa P., she is the goddess of Adventureland. A girl who every guy wants to be with and every girl wishes she were. I will say that she did seem to be a bit Jersey-ish. I don’t know if that was on purpose or not. One thing is for sure, though. I was wishing for more of her and less of just about everyone else.

Sad part of this film is the best acting came from the older cast members. Ryan Reynolds does what he does best, but he gets to flex his acting chops a bit here as he acts as a friend/mentor to James and lover to Em. Bill Hader and Kristin Wiig aren’t as funny as they could be, but I belive that has more to do with the way this film was written, rather than anything they did.

Adventureland fails in the comedy aspect and should not be categorized as such, but they insist this is a comedy. It does however succeed in the teen drama (even though everyone here is in the early 20s or above). The story is a good one, though not great. I wasn’t totally bored, though I was sort of wishing the film would’ve moved along at a faster pace, rather than plod along the way it seemed to do, especially after James gets settled in at Adventureland. I suppose I can recommend this, but I’m not enthusiastic about it.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars