Category Archives: Fiction

A DVD Critic’s Corner Back to School Quiz!

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

Director: Peter Jackson

Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lily, Orlando Bloom

Plot: Bilbo Baggins and his dwarf pals continue their journey to fight a dragon and kill things.

Rating: PG-13 for swords clashing and scary monsters monstering.

Good day, class!

It’s September, and that means it’s time for the little miscreants – sorry, students to return to school for another fun filled year of readin’, writin’, and that stuff you do with numbers that makes no sense whatsoever.

Since the younglings will be facing a whole bunch of tests in the coming weeks, I though it would be a hoot if we took a quiz based on a DVD I recently viewed – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, directed by Peter Jackson.

So take out a sheet of paper and a pencil and we will begin. Keep your eyes on your own papers please, and no cheating or you’ll have to eat the food in the cafeteria as punishment.

Let’s begin!

1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a continuation of an epic movie saga based on a series of books by:

A) J.R.R. Tolkian

B) R.J.R Nabisco

C) J.R.J.R.R. Tolllkiann Jr.

D) That fat guy with the hat who writes Game of Thrones.

2. In this movie, Bilbo and his Dwarf companions:

A) Continue their journey to Lonely Mountain to reclaim the Dwarf Kingdom.

B) Fight deadly adversaries at every turn.

C) Resist the urge to stop and bathe once in a while.

D) All of the above.

3. When giant spiders capture the dwarves and wrap them up in their webs, Bilbo frees them by using:

A) A huge rolled up newspaper.

B)  The magical One Ring Bilbo stole from Gollum in the previous movie.

C) A can of Raid Giant CG Ant, Roach, and Spider Killer.

D) His glorious singing voice, which charmed the spiders into making Bilbo their King!

4. The Wood Elves:

A) Have a long standing animosity for the Dwarf race.

B) Are unwilling to help the Dwarves in their quest to defeat Smaug.

C) All dress like they’re in some 1970’s glam rock band.

5. Evangeline Lily plays Tauriel, an elf warrior who:

A) Is Chief of the Elvenking’s guards.

B) Goes against the Elvenking’s wishes and helps Bilbo and the Dwarves

C) Is one of only two chicks in all of Middle Earth! Seriously, this movie is one giant sausage fest!

6. Azog and his Orc army are still chasing our heroes because:

A) Azog wants to kill Thorin like he killed Thorin’s father decades earlier.

B) He wants to destroy all Darves.

C) He’s just a giant, evil, asshole.

D) All of the above.

7. At the climax of the movie, Bilbo sneaks into Lonely Mountain and meets Smaug. Smaug:

A) is a fierce dragon with immense powers.

B) holds captive the vast treasure of the Dwarf kingdom – a literal mountain of gold!

C) is voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, star of the popular BBC series Sherlock.

D) Which is totally awesome, by the way. I cant wait for the next series.

E) Martin Freeman is great in that show too. They make a great team.

F) Wait, what are we talking about?

8. While watching The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, I thought:

A) This is another well made film by Peter Jackson.

B) The fight scenes were exciting and the effects were amazing!

C) Did everyone in New Zealand work on this movie?

D) Orlando Bloom is the prettiest elf of them all!

Please pass your papers forward. I will grade them sometime between Friday and never.

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Z is for Zombie, that’s good enough for me!

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WORLD WAR Z (2013)

Director: Marc Forster

Starring: Brad Pitt, Marielle Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Fana Mokoena

Plot: In your head, In your head, Zombie! Zombie!

Rating: PG-13 for violent zombie rampages that aren’t gory enough to warrant an R rating.

 A zombie apocalypse? No thank you. Count me out compadre. No siree-bob.

Why? They’re noisy, frightening, and disgusting and nothing good ever comes from them. Basically  a zombie apocalypse is like the Coachella Music Festival minus the hippies.

But when a global pandemic turns everyone into bloodthirsty zombies, you’ll be glad Brad Pitt is on your side and not me.

Trust me. I don’t do well under pressure. I burst into tears when Starbucks is out of Cranberry Orange Scones.

On a beautiful morning in Philadelphia, retired United Nations investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is having breakfast with his beautiful wife and daughters, who are also by some amazing coincidence beautiful too!  Their perfect TV commercial family world is blown to heck when a mysterious viral outbreak rumbles through Philadelphia, turning normal citizens into violent bloodthirsty maniacs with a taste for human flesh. And no, I’m not talking about Phillies fans, I’m talking Zombies!

And these aren’t the usual shuffle along at one mile an hour zombies you see in the movies – these are the stampede at you full speed and climb up buildings to get to you zombies which is totally unfair for a guy like me who can barely break the 20 minute mile on the treadmill.  So I guess slowpokes like me are zombie food before the opening credits are over. Great, a zombie and I’m in Philadelphia. Not sure which is worse.

Anyhoo, Gerry and his family manage to escape Philly and head for the safety of Newark New Jersey, where the zombie outbreak has also taken place, but very few people notice. Luckily, Gerry puts a call to his best buddy, UN Deputy Secretary Umutoni (Fana Mokoena) who picks up the Lane family in a chopper and takes them to a Navy ship in the ocean where the remnants of the United Stated government are trying to figure out how to stop the zombies while voting on who is the next secretary of transportation.

And so Gerry begins a one man journey to find out where the zombie virus originated and how to stop it before the entire world is destroyed. He heads to South Korea, where there are zombies and some clues to the origin of the outbreak, then to Jerusalem where there are more zombies and more clues, then finally to a remote World Health Organization lab in Cardiff where he figures out a cure, but the ingredients to the cure are in a sealed off section of the compound which are surrounded by – wait for it – zombies!

World War Z moves along at a pretty urgent pace as Brad Pitt tries to stay one step ahead of the zombie hoards that are engulfing the planet. The movie hints of a possible sequel, but since this movie didn’t make a ton of money I’d say this is a one shot zombie apocalypse.

 I’ll say one thing about World War Z:  With the entire world in flames and society as we know it collapsing it’s good to know that the airplanes are still running frequent flights around the globe. Of course, you and I aren’t superstars like Brad Pitt, so if we had to fly across country to stop a zombie apocalypse there’s a really good chance we’d have to change planes in Denver and have at least a two hour layover in Atlanta.

Why is it always a layover in Atlanta?

If You Build It, Everything Will Be Awesome!

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THE LEGO MOVIE (2014)

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Starring: Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, and Will Ferrell

Synopsis: Everything is awesome.

Rating: PG for Lego type violence and brick on brick action.

Every once in a while, a movie comes along that shakes the very foundation of your being and rocks you to your very core.

The Lego Movie is such a movie.

What exactly makes The Lego Movie such an exceptional standout in a sea of lesser movies?

Is it the wonderful visuals? The funny voice work by a very funny cast? The perfect blending of story and humor with a thoughtful message about learning to put down the instruction manual from time to time and follow your own path?

Nope. it’s the Legos.  Every movie should have Legos. And every movie that has been made would be better if it had Legos.

The Hunger Games? Decent movie. The Hunger Games with Legos? Super awesome!

Jaws? Great movie. Jaws with Legos? Boom.

R.I.P.D? You know what, let’s skip that one…

If you haven’t seen The Lego Movie yet, then for Heaven sake screw it together and buy a copy! I mean, here’s a brief synopsis lf this charming tale of fun and adventure:

In the all Lego universe, happy go lucky Emmet (Chris Pratt) happily goes about his life in the city of Bricksburg, getting up early, driving safely, and doing his construction job with a positive attitude and a smile on his face.  One day Emmet catches the pretty and mysterious Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) snooping around the construction site, and while chasing her discovers the mysterious Piece of Resistance, an object that has been prophesized to save the Lego universe.

Now Emmet the ordinary becomes Emmet “The Special,” the being destined to stop the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) who wants to used his Kragle superweapon to freeze everyone and everything in the universe.

I know what you’re thinking – is Emmet truly “The Special?” Well…maybe. Not quite. Sort of. Not really. But thankfully he has a team of Master Builders in his corner to help guide our goofy but lovable protagonist along to find his courage and train him to become The Special. They are the aforementioned Wyldestyle, the mysterious blind wizard Vitruvious (Morgan Freeman) who offers all kinds of wisdom and advice, and superhero extraordinaire Batman (Will Arnett) who offers no help whatsoever.

Emmet and his pals travel from one amazing Lego world to another, trying to stay one step ahead of Lord Business and his Super Secret Police which is lead by Bad Cop/Good Cop (Liam Neeson), a cop with personality issues. Can Emmet become a Master Builder and put an end to Lord Business’ plans to really mess up Taco Tuesday?

The Lego Movie is a glorious, enjoyable action fantasy with lots of humor and a heartwarming ending.  If you watch this movie and aren’t charmed down to your shorts by this movie, we can no longer be friends.  Seriously, I will un-friend you on the spot if you don’t love this movie. This is what it’s come down to. I am drawing a line in the sand here compadre.

But I wouldn’t worry. You’re going to love The Lego Movie, and we’re going to be friends for a long, long time.  Can I crash at your place for a few weeks?

 

The Smith Family Vacation!

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AFTER EARTH (2013)

DIRECTOR: M. Knight Shyamalan

STARRING: Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Sophie Okonedo, Zoe Kravitz

PLOT: Father and son do some bonding on a fierce planet that used to  be earth.

RATING: PG-13 for intense scenes with CG animals and a big ass alien bug!

2013 was not a good year for movies set on earth in the future.

In Oblivion, earth 63 years in the future is a desolate wasteland populated by creepy robots and Tom Cruise, who is also a creepy robot.

In Elysium, earth circa 2157 is so messed up the only person the poor people can turn to is Matt Damon!

Yes, Matt Daaaaamon.

Matt Daaaaamon.

After Earth, starring Will Smith and his son Jaden is set over 1,000 years in the future, where a long abandoned earth has been reclaimed by nature.  The streets and highways have been replaced by green fields, the skyscrapers replaced by towering trees, and the adorable woodland creatures that used to populate earth have been replaced by bloodthirsty animals who are as vicious as they are computer generated. But there is no longer a Starbucks on every corner, so I’d say new earth is pretty damn great!

As the movie opens, human kind abandons earth because we forgot to pick up after ourselves and we left the water running or something.

They relocate to a planet called Nova Prime where everything is peaches and cream for about one thousand years until an alien race attacks, determined to wipe out mankind with huge six legged beasts called Ursa who hunt humans by smelling their fear.

But General Cypher Raige (Will Smith) of the United Ranger Corps has learned to mask his fear using a method that in no way involves the use of Axe body spray. The Rangers defeat the Ursa thanks to Cypher’s mind control trick, and Cypher is elevated to Fresh Prince levels of famous, but he’s become estranged from his family, especially his son Kitai (Jaden Smith) who wants to be a Ranger just like his awesome but neglectful Dad.

Hoping to reconnect with his boy, Cypher takes Kitai along on a Ranger Corps business trip to a neighboring planet, but things take a turn for the sucky when the ship is damaged in an asteroid storm, sucked into a wormhole and crash lands on earth.

Cypher and son survive the crash, but Cypher is severely injured and the only way to call for help is to find a distress beacon located in the tail section of the ship which is now miles away.

A brief aside: it’s comforting to know that designers and engineers 1,000 years into the future will still make ships with only one distress beacon that will still be located in the tail section of the craft – the one freaking thing that always breaks off and hits the ground miles away from where the rest of the ship will crash!

Kitai agrees to take on the dangerous mission to hike to the tail wreckage and signal for help.

Can the young Ranger in training survive the harsh flora and fauna of the planet of earth?

Can Kitai defeat the Ursa creature that escaped from the wreckage and is now stalking the jungle?

Why are Will and his son talking in some kind of weird Australian/Jamaican/ New Zealand accent?

Did you know the Six Sense guy directed this? Man, remember what a good movie that was?

Contrary to what you may have heard, After Earth is not the worst movie ever made. Not by a long shot.

As a person who loves watching, studying and absorbing bad movies since the cable company plugged the box into the house over 30 years ago, you can believe me when I tell you After Earth no danger of being added to the list of cinematic abominations that are in fact the worst movies ever made.

Smokey and the Bandit III is on this list.  The Ghost Rider movies are on the list. Charlies Angels: Full Throttle is on the list. Twice if I had my way.

The only thing After Earth is guilty of is being a boring vanity project Will Smith cooked up to introduce us to his son Jaden in the hopes that the movie going public we will embrace him like a new puppy we will hug, cuddle, take for longs walks in the park and love unconditionally even though the puppy in question has very little acting experience and practically zero on screen charisma.

What a waste of a puppy.

Rock’em Sock’em Robots!

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PACIFIC RIM (2013)  Director: Guillermo del Toro Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, and Ron Perlman Rating: PG-13 for big robots punching big monsters and lots of stuff getting stepped on. 

Hey.

In a review I posted a while back I shared a detailed list of all the special things I look for in a movie that make it worthy of this blog. Creating this list was a near impossible task that took me years to put together and cost me every penny of my family’s fortune, plus I had to kill several cold blooded ninja assassins who wanted to discover the secrets of my list.

Of course the ninjas could have just read my blog where the list was out in the open for everyone to read. If they had only subscribed to my blog, they’d still be alive doing ninja assassin stuff today.

Anyhoo, here are the things that make a movie worthy of a review here on DVD Critics Corner:

1. A gratuitous amount of violence which includes any or all of the following: gun play, sword play, close quarter hand to hand combat, kung fu fighting, and lots and lots of kicking.

2. Space aliens, other worldly monsters, scary zombies, cool robots, or at the very least Ron Perlman.

3. Plenty of explosions which destroy property and/or motor vehicles.

4. A complete lack of Katherine Heigl.

Hold onto your hats folks because I have found a movie that has scored a perfect 100% on the DVD Critics Corner Movie Worthiness Checklist (pat. pend.).

It’s Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro’s action epic tribute to the Japanese monster movies we all know and love!

It’s got monsters! It’s got robots! It’s got destruction! It has Ron Perlman! It has absolutely no Katherine Heigl!

A movie that satisfies all my prerequisites at this special time of year? It’s a Christmas miracle!

Here is a bunch of things that happen in the movie:

In the not too distant future, Earth is just fine until a bunch of giant monsters begin attacking it! These towering creatures (known as Kaijus) are coming from another dimension through a portal in the Pacific Ocean and are determined to wipe out all the people; even the really nice ones who say please and thank you.

When conventional weapons fail to slow down the Kaiju attacks, the governments of the Pacific Rim nations decide the best way to fight these monsters is with equally giant robots with supercool weapons, because the governments of the Pacific Rim nations are run by nine year old boys.

The giant robots (named Jaegers) battle the Kaijus for the survival of Earth, but as the the years go by the Kaijus get bigger and stronger and their attacks become more frequent, leaving the humans with little hope for survival and a huge stack of giant robot repair bills.

The last four super Jaeger bots gather in Hong Kong where for some reason it always rains to end the war by destroying the portal and sending those monsters back to the computer generated heck they came from!

Commander Pentacost (Idris Elba) recruits Raleigh (a well chiseled Charlie Hunnam) as his ace in the hole.  A former Jaeger pilot who’s been out of the war for a while he may be the maverick who has the right stuff to ride into the danger zone and other movie cliches.

But Raleigh needs a co-pilot, since the robots need two people to work all of the controls and two brains that must be electronically linked to handle all of the complex computer stuff. Raleigh meets with several candidates who are physically and mentally up for the challenge, and settles on Moko (Rinko Kikuchi), an untested warrior who is loaded with determination, courage…

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And hotness. Let’s not forget hotness.

There’a plenty of action and excitement in Pacific Rim as huge robots punch huge monsters then huge huge weapons to slice and dice the monsters into tiny but still huge pieces. As I said before the movie is reminiscent of those 60’s Japanese monster movies featuring Godzilla, King of the Monsters, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, and Mothra: The Big Stupid Moth that Nobody Liked.  But instead of men in rubber suits smashing scale model buildings and fighter jets, millions of computer guys created every monster, robot, ocean, city, and explosion in Pacific Rim. 

Which is what they do nowadays, and that’s okay I guess. Personally, I miss all the cool model buildings getting smashed and stepped on with the tiny explosions and the model jets flying around on clearly visible wires.  What I’m trying to say is I like my special effects like I like my women; cheap and from the 1960s.

Pacific Rim is a great deal of fun with the fighting robots, evil monsters, a delightful cameo by everyone’s favorite thespian Ron Perlman, and the destruction of major (though computer generated) cities and property.

And no Katherine Heigl.

Best Christmas gift EVER.

They Might Be Giants!

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JACK THE GIANT SLAYER (2013) Director: Bryan Singer Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane Rating: PG-13 for swordplay, stabbings and CGI scary stuff. 

Giants, those really big people featured in modern CG laden fantasy films have (if you pardon the pun) been given the short end of the stick.

In movies like The Hobbit and Wrath of the Titans, giants are portrayed as disgusting creatures who never bathe, are hideous in appearance, and apparently spend their days belching and biting the heads off of farm animals.

And don’t get me started on the farting. My God, the farting!

Why are giants depicted as unwashed, feral frat boys? Why can’t movies show us the kinder, gentler giants?

Where are the giant artists? The giant scientists? The giant Moms and Dads picking up their giant children from giant soccer practice?

Sadly, the giants featured in the 2013 adventure Jack the Giant Slayer are even more foul and gross than you would expect, and worst of all they hate us tiny humans and would love to devour us in a spicy buffalo sauce with extra bleu cheese and a side order of chili fries. The fries of course are made of humans too.

Who’s hungry?

A long time ago, Giants and humans had an uneasy truce: They lived in their kingdom way up in the sky, and humans lived in England, where all the roads were muddy and Shakespeare was just an unemployed theater major.

Jack (Nicholas Hoult), a local farm boy who for some reason wears a modern leather jacket and a hoodie in a movie set in medieval England, must sell his horse and carriage at the local village because the bills are piling up back on the farm. While in town Jack has a meet cute moment with the adorable yet feisty Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) but loses his horse to a Monk who sticks him with some magic beans which surprisingly wasn’t some form of currency back then.

The magic beans belong to Lord Roderick (Stanely Tucci) one of those scheming evil douches who is always next in line for the throne in these movies. Roderick is going to use the beans and a magic crown forged the last giant/human war for some evil scheme to take over the world, which isn’t that impressive since the world had maybe three or four hundred people back then. Look it up.

Anyway, Princess Isabelle is one of those fiercely independent princesses who wants to do her own thing and not marry Roderick like the King (Ian McShane) wishes. But instead of breaking into a heartfelt ballad about how she wants to be her own person like the Disney princesses do, she hops on her horse and sneaks out of town.

By some amazing coincidence she finds herself at Jack’s rundown farmhouse and asks to hide there until the rain stops. But before Jack can light some mood candles and pop in a Barry White cassette, one of the magic beans gets wet and a huge beanstalk shoots up from the ground, carrying Isabelle high into the sky, leaving Jack with a whole lot of ‘splainin to do when the King and his heavily armed entourage arrive looking for the princess.

A group of the King’s bravest knights, led by the fearless Elmont (Ewan McGregor in full Obi-Wan Kenobi swagger mode) decide to climb the beanstalk and rescue the princess, and farm boy Jack and Lord Roderick decide to join the quest which is understandable since Jack is the hero of the movie and Roderick is the scheming evil douche.

When our heroes reach the top, they discover a world populated by ugly unwashed CG giants who are going to bake Isabelle into an hors d’oeuvre for Fallon the head giant (voiced by Bill Nighy) to eat. Jack and Elmont rescue Isabelle and make a break for the beanstalk, but Roderick shows his true scheming evil douche colors and dons the magic crown, gaining control over the giants who he now commands to climb down the beanstalk and step on everyone in England.

The climax of Jack the Giant Slayer features a huge battle as the giants lay siege to King Brahmwell’s castle. Can the tiny Englishmen defeat the unwashed giants? Will peace be restored? Why is Jack jack wearing slim fit corduroys? Seriously, watch this movie and tell me that Jack’s wardrobe wasn’t purchased at J.Crew!

Jack the Giant Slayer has an excellent cast and a few adventure filled moments, but it doesn’t have much else to distinguish itself from all of the other movies retelling classic fairy tales that have hit the theaters the past year or so. It’s a bit more fun that Snow White and the Huntsman, but not as stylish and cool as Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters. But Jack the Giant Slayer definitely wins for the most horrifying and unappealing characters assembled for a feature length movie.

Wait, I take that back. That honor belongs to The Great Gatsby.

Horror Movie Villains I Want to Punch in the Face!

Hey kids, It’s Tom, your DVD Critics Corner bud.

As you know, it’s almost Halloween. Since this is a movie blog, WordPress rules state I must write a post about horror movies.

It’s true. It’s in that list of terms thing you didn’t read when you joined this blogging site. Look it up.

Anyhoo, Horror films have spawned some of the most iconic characters in movie history. But for every Freddy Kruger and Michael Myers, there are characters that are horrifying if your definition of horrifying is sad, pitiful, and friggin awful.

Here are some horror movie characters I would gladly feed a knuckle sandwich with a side of another knuckle sandwich, followed by a dessert tray loaded with (you guessed it) knuckle sandwiches.  It’s a very limited menu.

Let’s begin!

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JACK FROST, the killer snowman from JACK FROST (1997) and JACK FROST 2 (2000)

Snowmen are supposed to be jolly, happy souls. They dance and partake in spirited hi-jinks because that’s what the classic Christmas tune “Frosty the Snowman” says! Nowhere in the song does the snowmen kill the townspeople in horrible and gruesome ways!  Shame on you Jack Frost for breaking all of the snowman rules. Turn in our corncob pipe and eyes made out of coal.

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HORNY THE CLOWN from DRIVE THRU (2007)

Look, clowns are scary enough being..well, clowns. So they don’t need someone like Horny, a homicidal clown who disembowels annoying teenagers in the generic horror movie Drive Thru making them look even worse! Send in the clowns? I don’t think so!

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PAMELA VOORHEES from FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)

Okay, I’ll say it. Pam, you are a bad Mom.

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THE GINGERDEAD MAN from GINGERDEAD MAN 1, 2, and 3.

That’s right, the protagonist of this film is a killer cookie. Oh wait, did I say film? I meant films because they made three of these Gingerdead Man movies. THREE! The can’t get a  Justice League movie franchise off the ground, but they’re cranking out Gingerdead Man sequels like there’s no friggin tomorrow! So. Many. Punches.

And finally…

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THE MANGLER from The Mangler (1995)

A killer shirt folding machine. I see.

Hey, does anyone have Stephen King’s e-mail address? Also, can you punch someone in the face via e-mail?

HAPPY HALLOWEEN from DVD Critic’s Corner!

More Movie News!

RYAN GOSLING’S HANDSOMENESS FELLS FILM CREW
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Hollywood – Production was halted on the set of Ryan Goslings latest movie on Monday when six members of the film crew were overcome by the incredible handsomeness of the famous star and had to be rushed to a nearby hospital.

According to eyewitnesses, three production assistants, a makeup artist, and two grips were apparently standing in close proximity to the actor between a take and were rendered unconscious by Gosling’s amazing jawline and steely blue eyes. Always the gentleman, Gosling helped tend to the fallen crew members until paramedics arrived.

They are all expected to make a full recovery.

 “This happens quite a bit during the filming of a Ryan Gosling movie, especially with people who have never worked with him before,” a production executive stated to the press outside the hospital. “They simply do not understand how damn good looking this man is. We’ve advised everyone in the cast and on the crew to refrain from looking at Ryan for any extended periods of time. Also, they are not to stand very close to him, since his handsomeness also gives off a powerful aura. That aura alone nearly killed a camera operator who was working with him on Drive.

A representative for the very handsome Gosling said that Ryan is very sorry for what happened, and is sending each of the affected crew members a Crabtree and Evelyn gift basket and an autographed copy of The Notebook Blu Ray/DVD combo pack.

More Movie News!!

KATHERINE HEIGL, MOVIES FINALLY CALL IT QUITS

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(Hollywood) After several tumultuous years full of mediocre romantic comedies and disappointing box office returns, the movie industry and actress Katherine Heigl have amicably decided to end their relationship. 

“While we love and respect Miss Heigl, things simply weren’t working out with us,” the movie industry said in a brief interview on Monday morning. “We ask the media to respect ours and Miss Heigl’s privacy during this difficult time.”

People close with Miss Heigl and movies are not surprised with the breakup, sighting several incidents which strained a relationship that was shaky from the beginning.  “Things with Katherine and movies were never that great,” one friend revealed. “I’m amazed they were able to stay together after The Ugly Truth and Killers. And Life as We Know It? We thought it would be the end of them right there. How they were able to work things out after that, we’ll never know.” 

Another insider believes things were really over between the troubled couple after the disastrous 2012 comedy One for the Money where Miss Heigl played a wise cracking bounty hunter. “Oh God, no relationship could survive after that crapfest,” an anonymous friend sniffed. “You can tell it was over between them, but neither one of them would admit it. I’m glad the movie industry finally put a stop to this before more innocent film fans were hurt.”

Representatives for Miss Heigl said that while she is upset over the breakup she is hopeful things will bounce back for her very soon. “Katherine is still on fairly good terms with her last ex, the Television Industry. Maybe they can work things out and get back together for a new series or an original movie on Lifetime.  Keep your fingers crossed!”

Better Off Dredd!

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DREDD (2012) Director: Pete Travis Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thrilby, Lena Headey Rating: R for a ton of graphic violence, bad language, adult situations, and dystopian future stuff.

Gather around kids, it’s time to learn something!

Wait! Come back! This will be brief, I promise. The movie I’m reviewing this week is based on a long running comic book, and I thought it would be nice if I gave you a little history lesson about the title character based on my extensive knowledge of something I just read on Wikipedia.

In 1977 Judge Joseph Dredd made his debut in 2000 AD, a British science fiction anthology comic book and became one of the most popular recurring characters. Fans thrilled to the gritty exploits of this “Street Judge” who dispenses law and order in a future society armed with a high tech handgun and an awesome helmet.

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Pictured: helmet that is awesome.

Then in 1995, Hollywood came a calling, and cult comic book Judge Dredd became big action movie Judge Dredd starring Sylvester Stallone, his awesome helmet…

and his plated package!

Critics and comic book fans worldwide gave a big thumbs down to Sly’s robotic codpiece and everything else about Judge Dredd, although I think Rob Shneider did a fantastic job in the thankless role of Fergie, Dredd’s wisecracking, non codpiece wearing sidekick.

A good sidekick is aces in my book. So is a nude scene by an A list actress as long as it’s integral to the plot and she’s really really pretty.

Anyway, now that 17 years have passed and the horrible memories of  Judge Dredd have finally subsided, a new Judge Dredd was reborn with the 2012 actioner simply titled DREDD. Gone are the flying motorcycles and Versace designed costumes, replaced with lots of guns and buckets of CG blood and gore because that’s what Judge Dredd would want even though he’s a fictional character and therefore doesn’t exist!

In the future the world has been turned into a blighted wasteland because of a nuclear war or a plague or because someone forgot to water the plants. Everyone in America now lives in Mega City One, a mega metropolis which stretches from Boston to Washington DC, is home to 800 million people, and looks like a soundstage in South Africa.

Crime and lawlessness are rampant in Mega City One, and it’s up to The Judges (who have the power of judge, jury, and executioner) to maintain order. Leading the charge against the criminals is the biggest baddest Street Judge on the force, Joseph Dredd (Karl Urban) who talks softly and carries a really big gun with more bells and whistles than the bells and whistles kiosk at the mall.

Dredd, who hates to work with a partner, is of course partnered with a rookie Judge named Anderson (Olivia Thrilby) who is a psychic and can’t wear the awesome helmet because it interferes with her mind reading powers and hides her purty face.

While investigating a series of murders at a 200 story apartment building, Dredd and Anderson run afoul of Ma-Ma (Lena Heady), a ruthless drug lord who is really cranky when it comes to cops who want to disrupt her busy narcotics factory. Before he can call for backup, Dredd and his young partner find themselves sealed inside the massive skyscraper with hundreds of Ma-Ma’s heavily armed thugs who are just dying to welcome their new guests to the neighborhood.

It’s at this point where DREDD turns into a giant live action rated M for mature video game as Dredd and Anderson jump from level to level picking off bad guys with lots of gun fights and ass kicking, trying to shut down Ma-Ma’s drug empire and find an open window so they can call for backup because even in the future you can’t get a decent cell phone signal in a freakin high rise!

Action movie fans should be pretty satisfied with DREDD. Sci-fi fans who love things exploding in slow motion will love DREDD. People who like to see all of Karl Urban’s face will absolutly hate DREDD, because the actor never removes his helmet. Why? It’s awesome.

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Pictured: Awesome.