“Fast & Furious 6” starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson scores a “5”This is an Action story filled with vehicle mayhem, combat violence, mild profanity and can be suitable for teens, young adults and adults.It may benefit the producers of this movie to include an opening credit to state that the chase scenes are “Hollywood dramatizations”. While extremely entertaining, most of automobile race stunts are extremely impossible in the real world. Yet with that I add, this is one of the best street racing action movies to come out of the Fast & Furious franchise. The action is as fast as the cars and just as unstoppable!Most action movies barely need a plot; this movie has a good storyboard along with a door opener for F&F 7. One of our critics made the remark, “I don’t know how they are going to get another one (movie) out of this (franchise)”. I think the ending answered his question, so stay after the credits roll to see for yourself. There are some humorous moments led by actor Tyrese Gibson (playing Roman). And Michelle Rodriguez (Letty) is not the only powerhouse woman in this flick. She is joined by tough-as-nails Gina Carano (Riley) and Miss Isreal 2004, Gal Gadot (playing Gisele) who are portraying bare knuckle heroines.I am beginning to think that Dwayne Johnson is bordering on getting as “juiced up” as Sylvester Stallone without the Botox. The Rock can turn his neck freely (unlike Stallone in “Bullet to the Head”), however Johnson can’t get his arms down by his side, and I don’t believe that’s from a natural pump. But he goes up against a villain almost twice his size in this flick and the extra size I guess helped. There are a few of the Victoria Secrets modeling type scenes that are gratuitous to the F&F genre, but the clips in this one are tame compared to the past. So don’t take your eyes off the screen folks, this movie races from beginning to end. And for the racing novice… don’t try this at home!“Star Trek – Into the Darkness” starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Benedict Cumberbatch score a “5”This is a Science-Fiction Action Adventure story with combat violence that portrays reckless behavior and sexual promiscuity however it should be suitable for well balanced teens, young adults and adults. Chris Pine (as Captain James Tiberius Kirk) is now the “Kirk” we need. Along with Zachary Quinto as First Officer Spock, this dynamic duo takes you through an era that is a convincing segue into the Star Trek original television series and movies that we cut our Sci-Fi teeth on. Yes, I confess that I am a Star Trek fan and this movie “gives the whole package”. This movie is over 2 hours long (132 minutes) and the action is non-stop so you will hardly notice the time if you allow yourself to get emerged in the story and be entertained by the “thrill-a-minute” ride. There are strings of amusing passages, however the grim challenges facing the crew of the Starship Enterprise seems almost never ending. And every member of the Enterprise crew has their “15 minutes of Fame” and my review would be a book if I tried to name the actors playing these characters, which may explain the long storyboard used in the movie giving each character their moment. Even the “Tribbles” make a useful appearance. Actor Peter Weller (playing Admiral Alexander Marcus) has a surprise for you. And you will get some background on a historical villain in the Star Trek franchise. Even if you are not a Star Trek fan, the action, the story and the visuals in this movie will offer something for every movie goer. Should you have the self control to wait for it to come out on disk, don’t rent, buy it. I plan to put a copy of “Star Trek – Into the Darkness” along side my Blue-Ray/DVD set of “Star Trek” staring Chris Pine.“Iron Man 3” starring Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow and Guy Pearce scores a “3.5”This is a Science-Fiction action story with combat violence and sarcastic characterization which may not be suitable for anyone under the age of 7. It should be okay for teens, young adults and adults.I must first warn you, DO NOT spend your money seeing this movie in IMAX 3D. While it is a good story with plenty of action, it did not own up to being a 3D graphic wonder. In fact scenes that would have been worthwhile from a 3D perspective were not taken advantage of. I could have saved $10 over the cost of a regular ticket and a one hour roundtrip to the nearest IMAX theater if I had watch it first in Real D. Robert Downey Jr.(playing the character Tony Stark) gives one of his best Iron Man performances and opens the door for Don Cheadle (playing Colonel Rhodes) to show his action hero talents. Cheadle actually muscled up adding to a convincing performance. The story also opens up to female action heroines in the Iron Man franchise. The movie even focused in on a “pint-sized” hero of sorts played by Ty Simpkins. Very entertaining, just not 3D material.“Pain & Gain” starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie scores a “4”This is a True-Live drama with strong sexual content, grotesque violence, torture and murder. Not recommended for the prude or weak at heart and definitely not suitable for young people and the decent minded. So if this is such a horrible movie which most people should not exposed themselves to, why the high score? This was a true story and a tragedy that was well portrayed. They could have left out a lot of the nudity and sexual innuendos; however they are trying to portray the people depicted in the real life event. We are talking dumb greedy criminals trying to play Robin Hood on despicable business people, porn merchants and immoral harlots. How this story plays out is almost unbelievable until they parallel the actual characters and court case during the closing of the movie. I almost felt a little shame laughing at the stupidity of these three morons. If you can get past the T&A this movie is a shocker.“The Factory” starring John Cusack, Jennifer Carpenter and Mae Whitman scores a “5”This is a mystery thriller inspired by a true story. There are disturbing scenes depicting bondage, torture and sexual abuse. This movie contains brief nudity and strong language along with episodes of violence. Because of the nature of the abductions portrayed in this movie, I recommend it for teens, young adults and adults, especially parents.This movie was made for DVD and online playback, yet not only deserves our “5” rating; it deserved to had been shown on the big screen. We were surprised that this movie did not go to the theaters since the story and actors were of such high quality. Detective Mike Fletcher (played by Cusack) is a hard working investigator consumed with solving the mystery of disappearing street workers (prostitutes). With no bodies recovered, Detective Fletcher goes on a rouge rampage when his rebellious daughter Abby (played by Mae Whitman) goes missing off the streets of Buffalo, New York. His partner, Detective Kelsey Walker (Jennifer Carpenter), tries to keep Mike in line, so it appeared; however there seems to be a bit of tension between Walker and Fletcher’s wife (played by Sonya Walger). I was pleasantly surprised to see Gary Anthony Williams (who played Smart Brother with Eddie Griffin in the hit comedy “Undercover Brother”). Williams is playing Darryl, a nasty sleaze ball who is supposed to be a trusted medical profession. We doubt if you will guess the ending of this non-stop thriller, as our three critic team (that includes a former bounty hunter) put together most of the pieces to have a major twist in the conclusion that dropped our jaws open. This DVD will be a part of my personal collection and you may want to own a copy as well if you are a fan of criminal investigation movies and television shows.“The Host” starring Saoirese Ronan, Rachel Roberts and Diane Kruger along with William Hurt scores a “1”This is a Science-Fiction thriller with a twisted love story. Brief scenes of violence. This movie may is suitable for teens, young adults and adults who don’t know any better. The title sucked me in and it being written by the author of “Twilight Raising Dawn – Part 2”, I thought maybe I should give it a chance and luck out since I impressed by the finally of the Twilight saga. Let me finish that in saying, I believe writer Stephenie Meyer is finished or Andrew Niccol screwed up the screenplay. Anyway this movie is different and that earned it at least a score of “1”. I went solo to see this and I am glad I did not drag anyone else from our review team into this cinema. How can I put it? This story about body possessing, mind erasing, utopia creating, symbiotic aliens will have you so confused as to whether this situation required someone to do an exorcism or to have continued to let Doc (played by Scott Lawrence) continue his meatball surgical approach to bring a happy ending. What else do you do when the voice inside your head, which is you, tries to reason with the symbiont who using your body to have an affair with your boyfriend’s brother? William Hunt (playing Jeb) is probably the only known actor in the entire movie, besides Lawrence whose career is stacked up in television commercials. Hunt couldn’t help the movie because his character was an overaged tree hugger trying to save humanity with an indoor wheat field. Stay away from this one unless you just need a good dose of “weird”.“Oblivion)” starring Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman scores a “2.5”This is a Science-fiction Action adventure about a futuristic fate of planet earth. There is some sci-fi battle scenes however the overall movie is not a gruesome with the violence. There is a bit of adult romance with a scant of unnecessary nudity. This movie should be okay for teens, young adults, adults and people who need multiple cat-naps. This movie is slow. When the story rolls it’s good, yet it keeps pumping the brakes. Oblivion was almost an original alien space adventure until they stole the ending right out of “Independence Day” with Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum. You can wait for this on DVD and it may be more enjoyable. Our three-man review team was having a napping contest so, between the three of us we agreed to score it a “3”. One critic flat out sad he did not like it. There was just nothing fantastic about the story overall, now that I think of it, I’m changing the score to “2.5”. The hype about Oblivion being the best movie of the year… NOT!!!“Evil Dead (2013)” starring Jane Levy and Shiloh Fernandez scores a “4.5”This is a re-make and namesake of its Horror Movie cult classic “Evil Dead”. Grim and disturbing scenes of supernatural violence and gore. Not to depict real life, this movie is purely for entertainment purposes, so take it light those on the moral right. This feature should be okay for young adults and adults, plus followers of the original. May be disappointing for Bruce Campbell fans – he’s not in it”Editors Note: Welcome to the movie review & scoring debut of Speak Up Movie Review critic Dwight “Standalonecomplex” Lewis. Dwight is an intelligent young writer, who scored perfect on the SAT Exam landing him a full ride at UMES, he is currently working on his memoirs about his “complexed” 30 something years on the planet. He writes more of a New York Times format, heck he even indents, so I let him ramble in this first one. Read and be impressed. Being both an 80s baby and a horror film aficionado I have long been a fan of the Evil Dead franchise/trilogy. I followed the adventures of Ash (Bruce Campbell) from the getaway in the secluded cabin in the woods that went to hell all the way to conquering the deadites in the kingdom of ago that he was jettisoned to at the end of Evil Dead II (beginning of Army of Darkness). As a preteen I watched in horror as all of Ash’s friends—and everyone else unfortunate enough to stumble upon the abandoned cabin—had their souls swallowed by the evil of the Necronomicon. I sympathized in pure terror as he dismembered the possessed body of his girlfriend and was forced to chop off his own hand after it became a demon’s marionette. Granted, the third installment of the trilogy (Army of Darkness) came across as sort of cartoonish and could pass for little more than a dark comedy the Evil Dead epitomized the best of low budget 80s horror and sky rocketed the careers of both director, Sam Raimi and leading man, Bruce Campbell (in addition to instilling a fear of the dark in me which still persists to this day). I assure any and all fellow fans of the original that the remake does not disappoint. Produced by both Raimi and Campbell, for the most part the new version stays true to the basic premise of the original. 5 friends make their way to a secluded cabin deep in the woods and after a cursory inspection of the place the stumble upon the Necronomicon in the cellar at which point Eric (a character played by Lou Taylor Pucci) unwittingly recites a verse from the evil book and subsequently all hell breaks loose.Is it the goriest movie of all time? Probably not, but it’s definitely pretty high in the running. There are some subtle differences between the remake and the original that make all the difference in the world. Most of the changes are positives. For instance, there’s more back story for the characters (there was really none in the original) which makes it easier for the audience to identify with them. There’s also more of a plot as Mia (played by Jane Levy), one of the five characters, has been taken to the cabin as a way to detox and kick an unspecified addiction (I’m thinking heroin). There’s also a mini story of sibling bonding which develops as Mia is nurtured and protected by her older, and previously absent, brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) that helps make the story seem more natural and complex this time around. Of course the blood and gore seems much more real thanks to great advances made in special effects technology in the last thirty years.There are a couple of minuses though. I (and I assume any other die hard fan of the original evil dead) was disappointed that there was no Ash character in the remake nor a cameo by Bruce Campbell. Both points left me a bit heartbroken. Also it was missing that feeling of terror that I felt as a watched the camera following terrified victims through the woods and they looked over their shoulders once or twice and exposed a grimace that caused my imagination to runaway into the contemplation of what ungodly thing crawled up from the bowels of hell and was living in the woods.All things considered it was both a very good and very scary film but it did not surpass the original. However there’s no shame in that. The 1981 version turned out to be a cult classic that still entertains to this day for a reason… because it was near perfect. That makes it a very hard act to follow. “Tyler Perry’s – Temptation” starring Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross and Robbie Jones scores a “4”This is a dramatic romance story about marital tragedies. The movie contains adult themes and violent episodes. Substance abuse and reckless behavior is displayed. This movie is suitable for teens, young adults, adults and especially those considering extramarital affairs or betraying monogamous relationships.I never saw the play “Tyler Perry’s the Marriage Counselor” so the ending wasn’t ruined for me nor do I know if the movie stayed true to the play it is based on. What I do know is that this movie is basically a Shakespeare play with bit of a triumphant ending. That’s the style of Tyler Perry’s cinema dramas. Jurnee Smollett-Bell (playing Judith) tears the heart out of her husband character Brice (played by actor Lance Gross) after engaging in spiraling downward behaviors. This cast of celebrities include Ella Joyce (playing Judith’s mother), Kim Kardashian (Judith’s sultry materialistic co-worker), Vanessa Williams (who has a “French” way of putting you out of her office), Brandy (who hasn’t been on the big screen since “I Saw What You Did Last Summer”), Renee Taylor (played Sylvia Fine on the hit TV series “The Nanny”) provided great comedy relief (I honestly think she is this funny in real life), Candice Coke (the marriage counselor) and last but not least Robbie Jones (as Harley) who you will love to hate for his “home wrecker” role. As you know, Perry’s movies are not just for entertainment, they are “message” movies. I hope you get the message.“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” starring Dwayne Johnson, Ray Park, Adrianne Palicki, Byung-hun Lee and Elodie Yung scores a 4.5”This is an action-adventure movie portraying military style violence and killings. This is movie is recommended for teens, young adults and adults. I would not consider it for anyone younger, unless they are pursuing a future in martial arts or the military.The only mistake we made in watching this movie was driving on motorcycles from Hagerstown to Frederick, Maryland to see it on the nearest IMAX 3D screen. We had icy hands traveling both ways, however it was worth the 50 mile round trip. This movie was intended to be view in 3D and if you can afford the $18 per ticket price tag, see it in IMAX 3D. I used up a couple thousand reward points plus I had to supplement six bucks a ticket in “pimp” fees for the online transactions. And again, the cost was worth it. I must let Channing Tatum fans know, there ain’t a lot of him in this movie. In fact you will see more of Bruce Willis character General “Joe” Colton than “Duke” played by Tatum.And for Dwayne Johnson fans, this movie spins all around the “Roadblock”. Johnson is questionably huge (and I mean physically) in this flick, but not scary and freaky looking “big” like Stallone in “Bullet to the Head”. This well played out “retaliation” introduces new characters played Adrianne Palicki (Jaye) and Elodie Yung (playing Jinx) who put real life skills to work with action that the IMAX 3D enables you feel right in the middle of. Palicki is a former athlete and portrays an impressive soldier on and off the battlefield. Yung has a decade of martial arts skills that keeps her character believable. Adversarial characters Snake Eyes (played by Ray Park) and Storm Shadow (played by Byung-hun Lee) will take you through a thrilling visual battle on mountain walls of the Himalayas. The story takes a surprising twist with the fate of villains and heroes which leaves you wondering about the outcome of this franchise. I’ll close with this warning: don’t stick around after the credits roll, thinking as we did that there would be a closing glimpse at the next part of a sequel. They did add an “outro” in the first Joe and not at the end of Retaliation, as about six of us who watched all the credits were disappointed to get no extras. We did see a list of around 1,000 people, including actors and stunt people, were named for making this terrific feature. And for those who do not know what the actor looks like that plays Snake Eyes, and the Star Wars character Darth Maul, I threw in a picture of Ray Park (not to be confused with Ray Parker & Radio). “The Call” starring HalleBerry, Abigail Breslin and Michael Eklund scores a “4.5”This is a Thriller movie with disturbing violent, a few gory activities and homicide scenes. This is a movie for adults however, I recommend it for teens as a warning to be “aware” of their circumstances.HalleBerry (playing 911 operator Jordan Turner) will not disappoint in this thrilling drama that has an unexpected ending. Abigal Breslin (playing victim Casey Welson) has come a long way from “Little Miss Sunshine”. The gentle character Breslin plays will keep you on the edge of your sanity as her crazy abductor Michael Foster (played by Michael Eklund) takes her on the ride of her life. This is actually Eklund’s first leading role on the big screen and he drew the card to portray a psychopath. As you watch this movie you are somewhat led to think that Officer Paul Phillips, played by Morris Chestnut will emerge as the hero because of his focus on details during the manhunt. However the writers have a few surprises that make this movie feature one of the best thrillers to be released this year. This movie has a lot of big named actors playing supporting roles (Denise Dowse, Roma Maffia, Jose Zuniga, Justina Machado to name a few) even the Sopranos star Michael Imperioli. If you have already seen this movie, don’t tell the conclusion. If you haven’t seen it, go!“Olympus Has Fallen” starring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman scores a “4.5”This movie is an Action Thriller with hand-to-hand combat, gun violence, gun violence and did I mention gun violence. Recommended for an audience of youth, young adults and adults. This movie quickly turns into a “guy flick” as soon as Olympus has fallen. But, ladies don’t go to sleep because the start of the movie is not the only touching scene and the female characters like Melissa Leo (playing Secretary of Defense Ruth McMillan) make great contributions to this story. This is not an understatement, “the action starts and never stops”. We thought that Hollywood ran out of bullets in the making of “Gangster Squad”, we were wrong. And just when we thought that there was not any more creative ways to take out an enemy, wrong again. This is a patriotic movie of a different sort. Don’t get me wrong, they let a few character be complete jackasses. But Mike Banning (played by Gerard Butler) fixes up the mess. Well, at least he evens the score. I have to say this and not just because he’s a brother, Director Antoine Fuqua is outstanding. He directed “Training Day” (starring Denzel Washington) and “The Shooter” (starring Mark Wahlberg) along directing music videos for Prince, Usher, Stevie Wonder, Pras and Arrested Development. Back to the cast, Aaron Eckhart (playing President Asher) is just as tough as his Harvey Dent character in the Dark Knight and Dylan McDermott’s character Forbes, has a little surprise for you too. If your like me and frequent the nation’s capital a lot, don’t let this story scare you from hanging out in WashingtonD.C. To me, this movie is worth buying when it comes out on DVD because it worth seeing more than once. I would have gave it a score of “5” but one of our reviewers said it was a “3.5”, he said it was a bit “Die Hardish”. The last “Die Hard” movie could only wish to be like this flick. See for yourself and let me know. “Dead Man Down” starring Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace and Terrence Howard scores a “4”This is an Action Drama with graphic violence displaying gun violence and homicide scenes. It should be okay for young adults and older.This movie takes off with action and never stops. The characters have so many dimensions it can be an entertaining puzzle to solve. Colin Farrell (playing Victor) is good in this movie, with plenty of help from Terrence Howard (playing gang boss Alphonse) and Noomi Rapace (the original “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). I can’t tell you much more than this because there are mysteries here that will reveal themselves and the action unleashed will match the drama. This story actually has a plot and helps Farrell redeem his self from that crappy movie “London Boulevard”. Action thrill seekers will not be disappointed. And it has a nice ending too.“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” starring Steve Carell, Olivia Wilde and Jim Carrey scores a “2”This is a “twisted” comedy with enough disturbing moments and adult circumstances that I would not recommend it for an audience younger than 12 years old. While this is not a lousy movie, it could have done better. It has several of my favorite comedy actors, including Alan Arkin (playing retired magician Rance Holloway). This is a flick that you should wait for it on rental, “don’t buy it – rent it”. The character played by Jim Carrey (Steve Gray “Brain Rapist”)is a mockery of Chris Angel “Mind Freak”. This movie was all satire and obvious. As I said, it would be okay to rent and maybe you will enjoy the few funny moments they throw at you, but don’t expect it to be hilarious even with Steve Buscemi playing side-kick “Antone Marvelton”. “Oz the Great and Powerful” starring James Franco, Milena Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams gets a score of “3”This is a fantasy story that contains violent themes without the blood and guts. It should be okay for an audience 10 years of age and older. This Disney flick is not a remake of the “Wizard of Oz”. This story is all about the Wizard. Actually this movie is more of a prequel to what happened in Oz before the girl in pig-tails arrived with her little dog. I must let you know it starts really sloooooooow. I only had three hours of sleep the night before, yet I stayed awake anticipating the wonder that unfolded (I can’t say that much for our other critic that I had to awaken – twice). Once this movie starts it is pretty amazing and very artistic in 3D, which could have earned it another half of point for our rating score. But Hollywood is making just about everything 3D or 3D IMAX. I don’t recommend it for the very young because they may fall asleep after the first 15 minutes. The characters still have a duality, their Kansas roll and their roll in the Land of Oz. However the Wizard doesn't wake up telling everyone, "You were there, and you, and you too Auntie M". Nevertheless, Once Oz takes off, the movie does fly. I hope you enjoy the new twist; the inhabitants of Oz have some added references. Not just Munchkins, you now have Quadlings, Winkies and Tinkers as well as an animated girl made of … nah, I’m not going to run the surprise. This movie has some very, very funny moments. I don't know which character brought more laughter the Munchkin Knuck (played by Tony Cox) or the monkey sidekick. And I did see a little tear jerking going on in the theater during a touching dramatic moment. It was good to see James Franco out of the shadow of Spiderman. This movie really deserves a score of “4” if they would have edited the first 30 minutes into something useful other than showing Oz was a worthless magician. Oh, sorry I ruined a half hour of disappointment. You’ll thank me, now you can time yourself to see the Great and Powerful remaining part of this movie.“Jack the Giant Slayer” starring Nicholas Hoult and Eleanor Tomlinson scores a “3”This is a fantasy set in medieval times about humans versus the giants the story contains violent situations and a few distasteful moments for an audience of teens, young adults and adults.This “ain’t no Disney film”. Even though they went out of the way to actually eliminate gory violence (I only saw blood on a dagger), however they thought it was okay to show a giant pick his nose and eat it while preparing a meal of humans and whole pigs. There was a brief glimpse at the Golden Harp displaying a graphic pair of breast (we still can’t figure what the heck that was about because there was not indication that the harp was ever rescued). Our critic Jay Williams said that the “boob” scene was a mistake. The entire movie almost made it without profanity until a giant, that was being destroy, gets out most of the sentence, “Oh fu**…” and King Brahmwell, played by Ian McShane (Deadwood on HBO 2004-2006) felt the need to say, “The H E double-hockey sticks I will”. He actually used "hell", I just wanted to show the long version he could have used for spelling "hell" in front of children (lol). Jack played by Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies) is proving to be a talented actor and may be working toward getting his own academy award in the future. Stanley Tucci, playing Roderick was convincingly “despicable”. I cannot leave out mentioning the heroic character Elmont, played by Ewan McGregor (best known role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode II and Episode III). Jack the Giant Slayer proves that Hollywood can do just about anything with Computer Generated Graphics. We saw it in Real D and it was visually believable of an ancient time. I think this movie is okay to go see, just leave the little ones at home.“Snitch” Starring Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson and Jon Bernthal scores a “4”This is a crime-drama with physical assaults, gun violence and motor vehicle mayhem and should be okay for an audience of teens, young adults and adults. The movie is supposed to be based on a true story and I won’t challenge that claim because I am sure some of us could link it to real life circumstances going on all over the U.S. It is a gripping tale of the challenges facing the American family and as our critic Jay Williams said, “Your children can do some dumb sh*t”. And that is the part of the movie that hits home. It was good to see actor Barry Pepper (the Green Mile) playing Agent Cooper. Susan Sarandon will make you love to hate her in her role as U.S. Prosecutor Joanne Keegan. I am wondering if actor Michael K. Williams (Omar from the HBO series “The Wire”) can get any other roles except for street hoods and pimps (Law & Order SVU). Williams however does well as the drug slinging character “Malik” for this movie. I don’t watch the T.V. series “Walking Dead” but I did like its actors Jon Bernthal playing the role of two-timer loser Michael James. Bernthal’s character just may bring the ladies to tears as he struggles to hold on to his family when all hell breaks loose in “Snitch”.“Dark Skies” starring Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton and Dakota Goyo with J.K. Simmons scores a “1.5”This is a story about an Alien abduction with mild violence and slightly disturbing content for an audience of young adults, adults and conspiracy theorist.Let me quote one of our other critics that accompanied at this viewing, “They didn’t know how to end it”.I can be fair to say the actors played their roles well. Unfortunately Director/Writer Scott Stewart (also directed “Legion”) should have hired another writer and stuck with directing. This slow starting movie that actually revved up into a nice story basically cut off the light switch and rolled the credits while we were sitting there waiting for a conclusion. I timed how long it took for an “extraterrestrial” or unexplained experience to emerge in the movie and it was approximately 35 minutes. I don’t want to ruin it for you, but by the time an abduction occurs, you will realize that it’s you who has been taken. J.K. Simmons (the We are Farmers commercials) playing character Edwin Pollard offers a bit of closure, so pay close attention to his role should you venture to see Dark Skies and please tell us, “what in the heck happened to the dog?” “Escape from Planet Earth” starring Brendan Fraser, Rob Corddry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jonathan Morgan Heit, and Jessica Alba scores a “3” This an animated Science Fiction action adventure for a family audience (youth and parents).This movie is quite remarkable; it’s a funny and entertaining story from the “alien” perspective with a not so subtle profile about human nature. The graphics are probably better in “3D”, I saw it in Real D and was quite pleased with the visuals. A mixed audience of children and adults appeared to pay attention through most of the movie. I interviewed one family after the movie and the adult said they thought it was a good movie and the children said that they liked it. Brendan Fraser the voice of Scorch Supernova teams up with one of my favorite comedy actors, Rob Corddry the voice of alien brother Gary Supernova. This delightful computerized cartoon comedy may be worth a family outing. “A Good Day to Die Hard” – starring Bruce Willis and Jai Courtney scores a disappointing “2”This is an Action Crime adventure for a general audience, filled with gun violence and catastrophe.I rushed back from the movie theater in hopes to launch this review or more of a “warning label” to save my readers from wasting their time and money. This movie should have been made for DVD and only rented when all the good stuff is not available. I really don’t know who to blame this rotten tomato, the writers or the director. I can’t blame Bruce Willis, he is the reason it is getting a score of “2”. I would have rated it less however cinematography (appearance) and sound are good. Take these factors away and A Good Day to Die Hard is worthless and should be named A Good Day to Stay Home”. Bruce Willis is another member of the action heroes that starred in the “Expendables” franchise, yet this script puts his score far below what Stallone, Statham and Schwarzenegger pulled off in their recent movie roles. I guess your name has to start with an “S” to get a good script. If you think I am wrong about this one, go see it then write me back and I will publish your take on it. “Side Effects” – starring Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Channing Tatum scores “5”This thrilling Drama filled with Mystery and Conspiracy is for an audience of Young Adults and Adults. I wrote in my last review that it is hard for me to give a movie a “5” rating and then BOOM! There is not much I can write about the movie without corrupting your chance to figure out the story as it unravels. Jude Law (playing Dr. Jonathan Banks) is flawless as he makes his character more brilliant than the legendary character Sherlock Holmes. Even with my investigative skill and discernment I did not figure out or even imagine the conclusion to this diabolical conspiracy tale crafted by the movie’s writer Scott Burns. Wow! Pay attention to the clues because nothing is what it appears until the truth is told.
“Identity Thief” – starring Jason Bateman, and Melissa McCarthy scores a “4.5”This is an Adventure, Crime – Comedy story for an audience of Teens, Young Adults and Adults). The Dialogue is laced with Profanity and Baldy Humor. Some mild violence which is almost "slapstick". You are going to need thick skin for this one because some of the stuff they say is often thought and hardly ever spoken. This movie is the most hilarious films this year! For a brief second you may have a “déjà vu” moment if you watched “Guilt Trip” when the two literally hit the road. Jason Bateman is way funnier than his role in “Horrible Bosses” thanks to Melissa McCarthy (playing the pathological thief Diana). Throughout the theater, we were howling with laughter from start to finish. I almost felt ashamed for enjoying the buffoonery unleashed in the movie. I write “almost”. You will not be able to help yourself. McCarthy actually looks like she dropped some pounds in comparison to her character in the TV show “Mike & Molly”. I never saw McCarthy in Brides Maids, so I had no idea that she is this FUNNY!!! This was a culturally diverse cast with John Cho (the new Star Trek and Harold & Kumar), Genesis Rodriguez (who just did “Last Stand” with Schwarzenegger), Morris Chestnut (big start was “Boyz N the Hood”), and Amanda Peet (the not so bashful Jill St. Claire in the “Whole Nine Yards”). If you can get past some of the language (which kept me from giving it our rare "5" rating), you may find out that you can still cry tears of joy.
“Warm Bodies” – starring Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich and Rob Corddry scores a “3.5”This is a Comedy, Romance story (with a touch of Horror) for an Audience of Teens and Young Adults). The Dialogue is very tame, containing a bit of Gun Violence and light Gore. Guys, here is your chance to spend time with your girls because this is the ideal “date movie”. Nicholas Hoult (playing the zombie “R”) is better known, yet maybe not visually recognized for his role as “Beast” (the blue guy) in “X Men First Class”. Hoult in this role has sort of an Edward Scissors Hand appeal, and girls say he has looks to rival Johnny Depp. You may recall Tesesa Palmer from her role as the motorcycle riding hottie Number Six in the movie “I Am Number Four”. Hoult and Palmer are convincing romantics in this light hearty comedy. Rod Corddry (zombie “M”) is funny without even trying and I liked him best as Agent Chariot in “Operation End Game”. This movie is entertaining and John Malkovich was a nice compliment to the cast. Analeigh Tipton (playing Nora) is worth mention as the sidekick to Palmer’s character Julie. I didn’t see any tear jerking going on around the theater so guys you should be able to ride this one out and try to enjoy the complimentary action scenes speckled throughout the story.
“Bullet to the Head” – starring Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Jason Momoa and Christian Slater scores a “3”This is an Action, Crime story for an Audience of Young Adults and Adults or to be quite honest, this is just a “Guy Flick”. The Dialogue is basically Profanity with a plot stumbling around in it somewhere. The movie centers on Gun violence along brutal Hand-to-hand Combat and plenty of New Orleans style Nudity.As I said in my review of “Parker” the alumni cast of the “Expendables” movie franchise are getting some solo movie work with Bruce Willis’ in a flick coming out after this one. Stallone (playing hitman Jimmy Bonomo) was so muscled up in this movie that I wanted to test him for steroids. He could at least stopped at the size he wore for his role as Rocky Balboa. I was trying to get past his appearance, yet I couldn’t help but notice that he must have been getting Botox injections between scenes because he could not turn his neck, he literally had to pivot to look around. Enough Stallone bashing. I have no idea what Sung Kang, the Korean James Dean, was doing however he did give his character Detective Kwon a bit of redemption in his final fight scene. Christian Slater, well nothing to say here. Jason Momoa, playing Keegan, was great in his role as a villain and helped this movie get a three rating out of me. You can wait for this one on DVD it doesn’t touch “Parker” or “Last Stand”. “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters – starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton scores “3.5”This is an Fantasy, Action, Horror story for an Audience of Teens and Young Adults (maybe Adults). The Dialogue has some Profanity, containing Gory violence and Brief Nudity.
I hate to say that this storyboard is not original, in fact it’s a sinister and dark version of Disney’s: Hocus Pocus”. The promotional poster has the sound bite “Classic Tale, New Twist”. The new twist is taking a Medieval time period and adding modern day themes, Missing Child posters on milk bottles and a scrapbook toting autograph hound. The weapons are so out of place that I had to remind myself that it’s a fantasy story. The high score is because the 3D effects are very entertaining and it is a nice looking movie with good acting. Hansel (played by Jeremy Renner) is believable in his role. Gemma has done Clash of the Titans, a James Bond movie and Prince of Persia so she is convincing in the action roles but I’m not sure if her costume is suppose to be in competition with the Selene character in Underworld. Unfortunately the best way to see this movie is in 3D, so if you’re not going that route, you may want to wait for Blue Ray. Real D is not going to do this any justice if appearance is important to you. Its only about 90 minutes long, so someone in editing used great judgment with the story length, which helped my rating of the movie.
“Parker” – starring Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez and Michael Chiklis scores a “4”This is an Action, Crime story for an Audience of Teens, Young Adults and Adults. The Dialogue has Mild Profanity, Containing brutal Hand-to-hand Combat with Gun violence and Brief Nudity.
I am beginning to wonder if all of the former stars in the “Expendables” movie franchise are planning on releasing movies of their own, Schwarzenegger just released “The Last Stand”, Statham is now out with “Parker” and Stallone is bringing out “Bullet to the Head”. Well anyway, Statham (playing Parker) and Chiklis mix it up very well in this in this modern day “Aladdin” crime adventure. Chiklis hasn’t done anything this big since his TV series “The Shield” and playing The Thing in “Fantastic Four”. However the character Melander (played by Chiklis) is a real “bad dude”. There are some original Krav Maga tactics used by Parker that appear original (or “deadly things you can do with a handgun magazine”). You will definitely get a glance into the lifestyles of the Rich & Famous in Palm Beach, Florida. And while Jason Statham is surely eye candy for the ladies, you are going to see a very, very impressive 43 year-old female give you something to remember. Enough said… go check it out.
“The Last Stand” – starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker and Johnny Knoxville scores a “5”This an Action, Crime story for an Audience of Teens, Young Adults and Adults. The Dialogue has Mild Profanity and Violence containing Graphic Gun Battles & Hand-to-hand Combat. Go see it, Go see it, Go see it!!! This has to be one of the most entertaining movies to start the year. Action packed and loaded with hilarious moments (and not just from the “Jackass” star). Schwarzenegger still got it. Knoxville deserves recognition for Supporting Actor. Luis Guzman (playing Deputy Mike Figuerola) has his minute of fame too in this one. Nicely done and another very diverse cast with a reasonable story length. I plan on seeing it at least one more time on an IMAX screen to catch what I may have missed, plus it’s worth a second glance. And listen for this phrase, "Put the hurt on them Ray"! “Broken City” – starring Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones is worth a “4”This is a Crime Drama with Mystery for an Audience of Young Adults and Adults. It contains Mild profanity, a Murder plotwith Sexual Content & Brief Nudity The city is definitely broken and these three powerful actors are the hammer on the glass. You will not be disappointed if you are looking for “jaw dropping” twist and turns. Sadly, this sort of thing the story is based is ongoing in big cities and even small town America. There is not much more I can write without ruining the movie for others. The previews of this movie are weak compared to what you will see. They couldn’t show too much in the previews without giving away the plot of a movie worth going to see. "Broken City" almost deserves our rating of a “5” for keeping the story length under two hours. Bravo to the editor!
“Zero Dark Thirty” – starring Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke and Kyle Chandler scores a “3”Genre: DramaAudience: Young Adults and AdultsDialogue: Strong LangueViolence: Murder and assassinationsEveryone is curious to know exactly what happened with the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden. Well before you go running off to get the scoop, know this, there was no “capture” of OBL as he is referred to by the intelligence community. Osama was terminated or “killed” if you believe this story. I think it’s true. Zero Dark Thirty is not meant to be entertaining; I believe it was meant to be informative, so unless you have a background in covert intelligence, special operations or criminal investigations you may want to pass on this movie. However if you are curious about the demise of Osama bin Laden get your ticket in advance, show up for the last hour of the movie and your curiosity should be filled.
The picture demonstrates that the spirit and persistence of the character Mara (played by Jessica Chastain) is what is needed to get the job done, even without the techniques of “torture until they break” used by the character Dan (played by Jason Clarke). Some of these actors you may recall. Jessica Chastain played “Celia Foote” the un-Southerly woman who broke the rules and openly ate at the table with the housekeeper in the movie “The Help”. Actor Joel Edgerton, plays one of the Navy Seal team leaders, favors Robin Williams. Edgerton starred in the Odd Life of Timothy Green.
“Gangster Squad” – starring Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone & Sean PennThis movie scores a “3” for the average movie goer and a “5” if you like old time gangster movies!Genre: Crime, Drama, ActionAudience: Young Adults and AdultsDialogue: Strong languageViolence: Murder, rape sceneNudity: partial nudity, exotic dance You may really want to read about the true life of L.A. gangster Mickey Cohen (played by Sean Penn) so you know the whole story. This flick is the Untouchables meets the Goodfellas and should get an A+ for a diverse cast portrayal including: women, blacks, Latinos and seniors. No one was left out in the war against crime. Is it just me or does Josh Brolin favor a young Nick Nolte? The film has a very entertaining plot with a good balance of amusement. Walking out of the theater, one patron asked us, “How many bullets did you count being shot?” I should have answered, “It would have been like trying to count sand”. Seriously, if you are in the market of recycling brass, you would want what hit the ground during the filming of this movie. If you are into Crime and Action movies, go see Gangster Squad. If you like the old style gangster dramas, you don’t want to miss this one. And you will find yourself rooting for the good guys.
“Promised Land” – starring Matt Damon gets a “3”Genre: DramaDemographics: Adults and Seniors (the theater was filled with a senior audience) For “Bourne Identity” fans you are going to have to rewire you brain for Damon’s appearance and performance in ‘Promised Land’, he even gets his bell rang in a bar fight. The movie really has no pace and ends with an obvious conclusion, short of one twist that is easy to figure out. The number three rating is due to the subject matter that shines light on what rural America is experiencing and hopefully fellow citizens will take action to help stop the decay of the nation’s farming industry. I am tired of paying $5 for ten ounces of mixed lettuce and most of those dollars are not going to local farmers.
“This is 40” starring Paul Rudd & Leslie Mann scores a "4" Genre: Comedy with mild violenceDemographics: Young Adult and AdultDialogue: Exaggerated Profanity “This is 40” is a funny but sad reflection of the direction the American family may be headed. The story is blatantly honest and may have you take look at your own family predicament. The very talented cast will make you laugh and squirm as they deal with issues you hope never have. Couples without children may reconsider raising a family after seeing what the parents in this story dealt with. Again, movie producers are set on making these feature lengths that go over two hours and the story is only worth an hour and a half your time. About 45 minutes of this movie was wasted on creative ways to use profanity. Cut out the cussing and you would probably have a movie that you could take your children and have a useful discussion afterwards. Nevertheless, it is a worthwhile movie to see. “Guilt Trip” starring Seth Rogen & Barbra Streisand scores a "3" Genre: Comedy, AdventureDemographics: Teen, Young Adult and AdultDialogue: Strong language The movie story is okay and refreshing. It could have been done without the distasteful profanity rant that Rogen’s character Andy Brewster directed at his mother Joyce Brewster (played by Streisand). Andy is on a road trip hustling a product like Clorox’s Green Works, however he’s not brilliant enough to give it a name as simple and that is the root of his troubles as a salesman. The other problems the pair encounters along the way are self-inflicted. Bloodiest Movie of the Year goes to – “Django Unchained” starring Jamie Foxx get a “3” on our rating scale.Genre: Action, AdventureDemographics: Young Adult and AdultViolence: Bloody mess and Torture scenesRomance: Hero gets the girlDialogue: Profanity, Profanity, Profanity (and its not all Samuel L. Jackson). Explicit use of the “N” word
First let me say: Buy your tickets in advance and show up about an hour late and you will still have enough time to see a pretty entertaining movie without having to sit for three hours. What in the heck was Tarantino thinking about making the movie so long, or did he run out of money for an editor? I know that I could trim at least 45 minutes off the film and still maintain the integrity of the movie. All the actors played there roles well, except Leonardo (playing Calvin Candie) lost his Southern accent for a brief moment. This movie is bloodier than a cheap slasher flick, then that’s typical of Quentin Tarantino films, in fact at one point, I thought I was going to catch an arm in the background tossing out a bucket of fake blood when it got gory in the last 30 minutes of the movie. Samuel L. Jackson (playing the house Negro Stephen) is going to have to live down the sort of “Uncle Tom” image that fell on Morgan Freeman after “Driving Miss Daisy”. Stephen brings new heights to the term “Sellout”, yet the character does get a chance to reveal Jackson’s humorous style. Please don’t pursue this movie as a Western, it is not. I really don’t know what genre to consider it (Western, Pre-Civil War, Slavery…). Oh, and the “N” word is not dead. There was one clip that the word “nigger” was said so many times I lost count. Perhaps that was to desensitize viewers to the fact that “nigger” would be said in every other sentence throughout the rest of the movie and used by every cast member except for the women. Hooray Tarantino! (well done).
“Jack Reacher” starring Tom Cruise scores a "3" on our scaleGenre: Action, Crime, ThrillerDemographics: Teen, Young Adult and AdultViolence: Somewhat disturbing sniper scenesRomance: Without nudity (except Helen, played by Rosamund Pike, does some pretty provocative cleavage flashing)Dialogue: Very tame for an action-packed crime thrillerThe flick is okay and not a waste of time or money, you could wait for it on DVD and not feel left out. There was a creative and unique use a combat weapon that could possibly considered "Krav Maga" in a humorous way. The story becomes intriguing after character Jack throws out a few theories for the murders. I think author Lee Child is hoping this will become a sequel, much like Tyler Perry's "Alex Cross" character. Be fair and don't expect the powder keg action that Cruise brings with his Ethan Hunt character in Mission Impossible because Jack Reacher is a former Army Homicide Investigator, not a Super Spy! Cruise is one of the Producers, so he does give you your money's worth. By the way, the other characters are a "little" dull, though Robert Duvall does add some useful humor with his character "Cash". Worst movie of the year so far is – “Killing Them Softly” starring Brad Pitt = 0 on our rating scale!Genre: Drama, Action (or lack of)Demographics: Young Adult and AdultViolence and Crass profanity
The slow starting plot never takes off, though Pitt tries to save it with the last 15 minutes of the movie. At some point, I should have just walked out and saved about 90 minutes of my life realizing that my “glass half full benefit of the doubt” never had anything in the cup to start with. The best part of the movie was the how the promoters suckered me in to watching it. The promoters get an A+ for bold faced lying. Stay away from this one and don’t even waste a dollar on it for rental. Killing Them Softly sucks so bad it will probably be in rental by Christmas to scam a few more before the word gets around about this rotten tomato. Shame on the rental company that carries it!
“Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” gets our “5” and is it’s a way to become the Best Picture of the Year! Genre: Drama, Romance and Action/Adventure Demographics: Teen, Young Adult and Adult Violence without the gore Romance without nudity Dialogue without profanity I was breaking in a new movie critic to our team (Josie Smith) and her pick to view was the latest in the Twilight saga. Josie gets an A+ for movie choices. This advanced review from Speak Up is just to help set the tone for her review. The movie is flawless in satisfying a range of interest. I prefer Action flicks or Crime Dramas and Breaking Dawn – Part 2 delivered with action, suspense and intrigue. As much as the majority of our review team is skittish on “chick flicks”, I am not ashamed to say I watched this “Twilight” movie which was not a chick flick or movie just for the high school students. In fact, the action scene at the end was so off the hook because everybody got..., my bad you’re going to have to see this movie for yourself. Look for our new movie critic, Josie Smith’s, reviews. – Brother Andy
Catch up on a few of our Past Movie Reviews:
Skyfall – 5 of 5Oh Yeah! Bond nailed this one! A bit long so drink a small soda if you must, so you won’t miss any action for a toilet break! This will be worth buying the DVD when it hits the market. Flight – 5 of 5Hollywood stretched the truth on the airplane stunt. The story roots back to the commercial airline pilot behavior that has been reported for the past 20 years. However this will open the eyes of regular airline commuters. The movie has the most surprising ending that is done in true Denzel Washington style.Lincoln – 5 of 5If this story hold’s true, President Lincoln was Smart, Funny and Cool. This movie will be running neck-N-neck with Flight for Oscar nominations. An interesting look into the past views of today’s political parties…. Hummm. Red Dawn – 2 of 5Really. This does an injustice to the original. Frankenweenie – 2 of 5Embarrassed to say I saw it. I guess you have to be a Tim Burton fan. Hotel Transylvania – 4 of 5Funny and cool. Adam Sandler is a genius and it still shows. Cloud Atlas – 3 of 5It only gets a three because its three movies in one so it’s a great bargain for your buck. Unfortunately the three tales are no way connected except a weird tattoo. What was that about? Take a notebook so that you can try to keep up. I saw it at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia, so I had an IMAX screen and great sound, but the number of stories with the same characters was a bit overwhelming. I would not advise watching try this on a small cinema screen or when it hits DVD because you may get disappointed. The graphics are epic and intended for the really BIG screens. Wreck-It Ralph – 5 of 5Great movie and fun for all. The old gamers will like seeing the “old school” type arcades that paved the way. ParaNorman – 3 of 5Ok and interesting. Nice for kids age 10 and up. Alright for adults. Our top four movie theaters that we do our movie viewing at several movie houses in a Four-State area: Regal Theaters n Hagerstown, Maryland Valley Mall, is a clean theater with plenty of viewing options including 3D and the latest digital formats except for IMAX. Regal Theaters have Discounts on Tuesday nights that include movies reduced below matinee price and discounts on refreshments as well if you use your Regal card. Using your Regal card will earn you FREE movie passes and FREE refreshments.Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia (Great HUGE screens, great 3D with real 3D glasses; the food and drink is ordered at your seat and brought to you – including alcohol beverages.Johnson IMAX Theatre in the Museum of Natural History in WashingtonDC. They have a 60 foot by 90 foot screen and the best 3D in the world! Plus I am a card carrying member of the Smithsonian Institute so I get huge discounts on movies. Their prices are okay for DC and if you are down in the museum district take the kids in a see a 3D short movie.Leitersburg Cinemas in Hagerstown, Maryland on the Pennsylvania border, if you catch the matinee you can enjoy the VIP seats for matinee prices – they also have a Dinner Theater too where you buy the food at the counter, take and eat it in nice recliners that have trays and no one theater staff running around distracting you during the movie. No booze though in this movie house, you’ll have to go to Alamo for that.Follow us on http://Facebook.com/brotherswhocare for the latest reviews
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