Thursday, April 30, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Genre - Action-Adventure/Comic Book/Fantasy
Year Released - 2009
Running Time - 107 minutes
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence and some partial nudity
Directed by Gavin Hood
Written by David Benioff (who also wrote Troy, 25th Hour, Stay, and The Kite Runner) and Skip Woods (who also wrote Swordfish and Hitman)

Cast Includes:
Hugh Jackman (reprising his role of Wolverine from the X-Men films)
Liev Schreiber (from the Scream films)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Ryan Reynolds (from the television show Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place - he is also in Blade: Trinity, the '05 Re-Make of The Amityville Horror, and Just Friends)
Taylor Kitsch (Snakes on a Plane and The Covenant)
Scott Adkins (Unleashed, The Bourne UltimatumUndisputed 2, and the upcoming Undisputed 3)
Lynn Collins (50 First Dates, The Lake House, Bug, and The Number 23)
Tahyna Tozzi
Dominic Monaghan (Merry from The Lord of the Rings films and the upcoming I Sell the Dead)
Kevin Durand  (from the television series Dark Angel - he is also in The Butterfly Effect and the '04 Re-Make of Walking Tall)
Daniel Henney

Rating: 4 Skulls

The Cover of X-Men Origins: Wolverine #1

An earlier poster from before the film's name changed

Plot Summary:
This action-packed prequel to the popular X-Men films explores Marvel Comics character Wolverine's past, and the events that influenced the mutant before the Weapon X Program bonded his skeleton with the powerful, strong metal alloy adamantium.

After the death of his girlfriend, Wolverine seeks vengeance against supervillain Victor Creed.

So, I just got back from the midnight showing of Wolverine and it was definitely worth attending!
The local comic shop was on-hand, giving out prizes - one of which my son won [the '03 Wolverine comic-book mini-series Exile] which made his night. Another prize included a statue of the Zombie Wolverine [from the Marvel Zombies series] I wish that I could say I won that one!

As a fan of the Wolverine comics, I was looking forward to this film, and I was not disappointed!

The film starts off with Logan & Creed as young boys [the year was 1845] and follows them through the different wars... then along comes Col. Stryker [played by Danny Huston - who played Marlow in 30 Days of Night] who recruits the brothers in his quest for adamantium, etc. 

In X-Men 2, Stryker was played by Brian Cox, who I really like, so I wasn't sure about Huston filling those shoes - in fact, the same can be said for Tyler Mane [who portrayed Sabretooth in the 1st X-Men film] I was disappointed when I heard that he would not be reprising the role, though I can say that Schreiber floored me - I absolutely loved him as Creed!! [and Huston portrayed a great Stryker as well]

As for Deadpool & Gambit [two of my favorite mutants]
Ryan Reynolds was excellent as Wade Wilson, who becomes Deadpool - who was portrayed wonderfully by Scott Adkins! [for even more Deadpool mayhem, be sure to check out the animated feature Hulk vs Wolverine - you can also check out my review on that one!]
As for Taylor Kitsch [who played Gambit] I'm not too keen on him - the character was okay, Kitch just isn't how I pictured Gambit.

All of this is well and good, but the movie is about Wolverine after all. How was Jackman
Though I am still curious as to how Danzig would have portrayed Wolverine, I must say that Jackman was indeed impressive. He knows the character well enough and was able to take him back to his savagery!

The film ends a few years before X-Men takes place, and in my opinion, they should have chosen a different ending. [My understanding is that there are several different endings to the film, depending on which theatre you see it at [I saw it in a Marcus Theatre]
The ending that I saw had a horrible CGI rendition of Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier picking up some mutants [why didn't they just get Stewart to reprise the 10 seconds that he was on-screen? Or, at the very least,  just show the back of his bald head, with a voice over... This ending just left a bad taste in my mouth.

Oh yeah, in case you are planning to stay all the way through the credits, don't bother! What a stupid final scene!

Here's the trailer:

As for my above rating - while I loved the film, and I will definitely be buying it [which is basically 5 Skulls] I just can't give it the same rating that I gave Watchmen :-)


Monday, April 27, 2009

Cheerbleeders ~ Free On-line!

If you remember, I reviewed this 10-minute short film, back in January.
[if you don't remember, check out the review here: or you can check out the film's website here:]

The director, Peter Podgurski, just e-mailed me to let me know that it is currently being shown, on-line, for free! [but only for two weeks!]

So, definitely head over to or to check this short film out, while you can! [it's definitely worth the ten minutes of your time!]

Come back and let me know your thoughts on the film!


The Burrowers

Genre - Horror/Western
Year Released - 2008
Running Time - 124 minutes
Directed by J. T. Petty (who also directed Soft for Digging, which is in my Netflix Queue, and Mimic 3, which I haven't seen)
Written by J. T. Petty (who also wrote both Soft for Digging and Mimic 3)
Cast Includes: 
Karl Geary (Nadja)
Clancy Brown (Highlander, Starship Troopers, The Shawshank Redemption)
William Mapother (Mission Impossible 2 and In the Bedroom - which is, again, in my Netflix Queue)
Doug Hutchison (Tooms from The X-Files - he is also in Punisher: War Zone, The Green Mile, and The Salton Sea)
Sean Patrick Thomas (Cruel Intentions and Halloween 8: Resurrection)

Rating: 2 Skulls

Plot Summary:
The Dakota Territories - 1879 - A handful of brave pioneers maintain isolated settlements in the badlands beyond civilization. Irish immigrant Fergus Coffey is near to winning the hand of his beloved, Maryanne, when she is suddenly taken from him - her family brutally abducted in a nighttime attack on their homestead.

Suspicion falls immediately on hostile Indians.

Experienced Indian fighters Will Parcher and John Clay form a posse and set out to rescue the kidnapped settlers - taking along a naive teenager hoping to prove himself a man, an ex-slave looking for his place, and their ranch hand, Coffey.

But as men vanish into the night and horrific evidence accumulates with the dead and dying, the group discovers that their prey is far more terrifying than anything human, and their prospects are far more terrible than death.

Horror Westerns - there just aren't enough of them - good ones anyway. . .

When my neighbor brought this one over, all excited about it - I anxiously popped it into my DVD player, only to be sorely disappointed. 

You see, this one was near the top of my Netflix Queue - it had a long wait attached to it, which is generally a good sign. Turns out, I need not have bothered even renting it - this one can definitely wait for television.

As I told my neighbor though - I enjoy horror [obviously] as well as westerns, and I love when the two are combined - I just have yet to find a horror western that absolutely floors me, and I think that I was hoping that this would be the one. Sadly, it isn't. 

Another thing is that I love Tremors [all 4 films] and I was hoping that this one was going to be a more serious "Tremors 4" type of movie - perhaps that is yet another reason that I didn't like this one.

Here's the trailer:


The Sisters Grimm - Book One: The Fairy-Tale Detectives [A Special Review]

Today's review is brought to you by my 8-year-old daughter. She read this book, a few months back, and has been after me to read it ever since. She even wrote up a book review for me! :-) [so I figured that I would share it with you all]
I was finally able to squeeze this book in-between a couple of my  review books, and I must say that I rather enjoyed it.

So, whether you have children around my daughter's age, or if you just like to read mystery/fairy-tales yourself, this is a book to be enjoyed by all ages!

Genre - Children's Fantasy
Year Published - 2007 (Published by Amulet Books - an imprint of Harry N. Abrams, Inc.)
Length - 284 pages
Written by Michael Buckley
Illustrations by by Peter Ferguson

Rating: 5 Skulls [I will concur with my daughter's rating]

Plot Summary:
For Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, life hasn't been a fairy tale. After the mysterious disappearance of their parents, the sisters are sent to live with their grandmother - a woman they believed was dead! Granny Relda reveals that the girls have two famous ancestors, the Brothers Grimm, whose classic book of fairy tales is actually a collection of case files of magical mischief.

Now the girls must take on the family responsibility of being fairy-tale detectives.
Their first case? A roller-coaster ride of an adventure to stop a giant from destroying their new hometown.

First, I just have to let you know that my daughter is an avid-reader. We probably make a trip to the bookstore at least once a week! She found this book herself, and has since read all seven books [I believe that an 8th is currently being written]

Here is my daughter's review - verbatim:

"The Sisters Grimm is a lip-smacking, eye-bobbing, heart-stopping, most exciting book that I have ever read(and the most longest)

Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are the main characters of this book. They are also sisters. When Sabrina and Daphne were younger, there parents disappeared. Yes, very sad! So, they were sent to the orphanage until about two months later, when a woman came to pick them up. She took them to some of the most unkind people, until one day a woman came who claimed to be their Grandma Grimm. But when Sabrina was younger, her father had told her that her grandmother had died before she was born.

The pictures in this book are very realistic! I hope you can make the time to read this book. I plan to read the second one.


So, there you have my daughter's review! [and like I already mentioned, she has already read all of the other books in the series, that are currently available] She intentionally did not write any of the "plot" as she did not want to give anything away :-)

I just wanted to also mention that the book includes an excellent reader's guide to the world of fairy tales in general - giving the reader a brief glimpse at the works of the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, Rudyard Kipling, Lewis Carroll, Andrew Lang, L. Frank Baum, etc. 

Also, the author Michael Buckley encourages and inspires others to create their own stories, which is awesome - especially since my daughter has already written two stories of her own [she may just grow up to be an author!]


Saturday, April 25, 2009


Foreign Film from Belgium
Language - English [Dubbed]
Genre - Action/Drama
Year Released - 2008
Running Time - 96 minutes
Directed by Mabrouk El Mechri
Written by Mabrouk El Mechri, Frederic Benudis, and Christophe Turpin
Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme (No Retreat No Surrender, Bloodsport, Kickboxer, Lionheart, Double Impact, Hard Target, etc, etc)

Rating: 4 Skulls

Plot Summary:
Jean-Claude Van Damme plays himself in this comic action film. While visiting his family at home in Belgium, Van Damme is caught in the middle of a robbery, and the cops think the aging star has snapped and pulled the job himself.

Now, on top of dealing with financial problems, a nasty custody battle, and a waning career, he has to make like a real-life action hero and find his way out of a very tense situation.

I was pleasantly surprised this evening when I checked my Netflix Queue and noticed that this film was available to watch Instantly [it doesn't even officially come out on DVD until Tuesday!] 
Being that this film was at the top of my queue anyhow, I removed it - put the kids to bed, took a break from the book that I am currently reading, and watched it on my computer, thanks to Netflix, and it was just as good as I was hoping that it would be!

Even though this is not a "traditional" Van Damme flick, it is, without a doubt, Van Damme's best performance. 

The film has a great beginning, with a full-fledged action sequence during an un-named war movie, starring the one and only Jean-Claude Van Damme. This opening sequence only made me long for his glory days! There was so much action going on, that I wasn't even reading the credits. :-)

The  film then jumps to a couple of foreigners discussing the action films of the eighties, with the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Bruce Willis. The foreigners even take into account that it was Van Damme who brought John Woo to Hollywood [I never even thought of that, being that I have been a fan of Woo's long before Hard Target ever came along]

Anyway, as the foreigners are talking, one of them notices Van Damme getting out of a cab, and flags him over, so that he can have his picture taken with the action-star. Van Damme kindly does so and then explains that he was just on his way to the Post Office, across the street.

A few minutes go by, when all of a sudden, a gun shot blows out a window of the cab. It turns out that the Post Office/Bank is being robbed, and the police who show up on scene believe Van Damme to be a part of the heist/hostage situation.

The film is split into 4 different segments, each giving a different perspective of the situation. This made the film even that more interesting - I believe it was during the 3rd segment, where Van Damme gives an outstanding monologue, to us the viewers, that [I believe] was completely sincere.

A great movie - definitely recommended if you are a fan of Van Damme
So, if you have Netflix, it is currently available to watch Instantly, or it will be available on DVD, as of Tuesday.

Here's the trailer:



Genre - Action/Drama
Year Released - 2009
Running Time - 105 minutes
Rated PG-13 for fight sequences and brief strong language
Directed by Dito Montiel
Written by Dito Montiel and Robert Munic
Cast Includes:
Channing Tatum (Coach Carter - he is also going to be in the upcoming G. I. Joe film and Public Enemies)
Terrence Howard (Hustle and Flow, Crash, The Brave One, and Iron Man)
Zulay Henao
Brian J White (Brick, The Game Plan, and 12 Rounds - which I haven't seen yet)
I just also have to mention that MMA Fighter Cung Le also made an appearance in this film

Rating: 3 Skulls

Plot Summary:
When Sean MacArthur, an unmotivated young man who hustles counterfeit merchandise in New York City, meets seasoned street-fighting coach Harvey Boarden by chance, his whole life changes.

Sean's fights are dangerous, but he sets out to win the prize money at stake and the respect of those around him.

This was an "okay" movie - nothing that needs to be seen in the theatre. The only reason that I gave it 3 Skulls, instead of 2, is because that I think it is better than last year's fighting drama, RedBelt [which I rated 2 stars on Netflix]

The movie is more drama than it is action [not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just that the fights were nothing spectacular] The best fight is the one with Cung Le - he has it made as a martial arts movie star - I hope that he decides to do more films! [He reminds me of a young Bolo Yeung, whose most famous film is probably Van Damme's Bloodsport]

As for the drama - it was written well - good characters, etc. [I really enjoyed Zulay's grandmother, played by Altagracia Guzman - she was hysterical, and Terrence Howard, of course, was great. As for Channing Tatum - I liked his character, though I didn't buy him for the fighter that he was supposed to be...

I would have to say that New York City is probably the greatest aspect of the film - it was vividly and very realistically displayed.

With all of that said, just wait and catch this one when it hits television.

Here's the trailer:

Speaking of trailers, I saw some great ones before Fighting - such as Armored, Funny People, Drag Me to Hell, and Inglourious Basterds - all of which look fantastic!