Monday, August 25, 2014

CRAP! (Oct '14) - Bloody Varisity blues

CRAP! Some times movies are just so bad that by the end your palm is bruised from forehead impact, and your brain has liquified and began to drip, slowly, from your ears. So I Charles. B. Boonsweet have decided to stand up, and take the film loving bullet for you. I give you CRAP! A segment devoted to the silliest, worst, not worth time, films I come across. Sometimes new, sometimes old... but always, always... RANT inducing and remote tossing. The rules of my normal reviews do not apply (there is no film love here!). There may be spoilers, random rage, and hell... I might even invite the filmmakers to a parking lot throw down... we'll see... Enjoy Booniacs!!

VARSITY BLOOD (2014)


Ok I'll say it. Cool cover art,

Within 5 minutes you have all your high school horror cliches and stereotypes in order.

1. Jocks that are dicks
2. Cheerleaders that are party animals
3. The "Goodie" cheerleader that is dating the popular QB
4. The nerds that get pushed around (equipment/water boy, and the mascot)
5. Oh and the plain hipster sister to the hottest cheerleader.

(honorable mention to having actors that look 28+ playing 17 year old high school kids)

Check your how to horror pamphlet... Yup. Got em all. And you know what as we have seen in my awesome years of film review awesomeness (yes it has been fun hasn't it Booniacs) that acknowledging the cliche of your genre is not always a bad thing. As long as what... Right, you have a fun, cool, script to play on all the "By the numbers" you are throwing at the audience. Think a couple of reviews I've done in the last year: The little highschoolers vs the undead, Detention of the Dead (review HERE ) or the recent bit of bloody pom pommin' All Cheerleaders Die (bask in my review HERE ). Both this films were cheap cheesy bloody fun. 

Yup. Thats a cheerleader showering. And yup. Thats a gym bag blocking the view.
Within 3 minutes I knew this was not gunna be another gem in the rough... no. Here there would only be rough... and deep, dark, thicker rough... Golf joke anyone?

So your story goes... All the popular kids are somehow tied to the death of a girl a year earlier, and someone that knows is wiping them out.

Here's some of the things you will see in this flick... A "Killer" Swinging an Axe while standing about 6 inches from a woman who is bent over... and missing... just so they can have a gym chase scene. You will hear lines like (addressing a photographer) "did you get a few good wide shots?" to which the lady with the camera will reply "Well I tried to get one big enough to fit your head, but they don't come that big" Ha.

Ha. Ha. Ha. I mean. Come on. How about you just shorten it to "Oh, sorry, couldn't fit your ego in the frame" Bam! Boonsweet to the rescue. Seriously. Call me. I'll fix your shit.

Oh let me tell you, best/worst scene in the film opening half the "Explain the backstory about the dead girl to the new girl" scene. Which takes place on a park bench... in front of ducks... and is waaaaaay to long. I mean they explain who died, why, how, the parent is now dating new girl's mom, there was a suicide, sorry, attempted and now living in asylum ... blah, blah. Just ridiculous.

Goodie cheerleader 2... who buys sexy clothes to maybe finally have sex... Sigh
The real issue here is this: pick a damn side! You are either a movie that can be serious, and horrorish, or you realize your actors are C grade, your direction is C grade, and you should just go for pure B movie magic. But no, they actually try to be serious. They actually try to treat this as a real horror film... big mistake. Bad actors acting bad, can actually be awesome, and lead to way less pain, as in the pain the audience feels well processing bad dialogue.

An example? Why yes I would love to give one... so in one scene there is a brief joke about how the one jock looks older (but still can't buy booze without a fake ID) because he was held back 2 years. It would have been great if that line was delivered real tongue in cheek... and then maybe the girl had looked at the camera with a wink to the 4th wall.

Of course, maybe I have just been watching too many 80s flicks. Actually, screw that, I have always watched too many 80s movies, and have always been awesome... sooooo theory revoked.

Hey Costume designer... did you just have a rack of cheerleader outfits? I might actually make you laugh how much time these girls spend in their uniform. At home - uniform. At dinner - uniform. Check my watch... 45 minutes into this movie - one kill scene. Possible tea cup full of blood. What?! So there's not even any violence in this thing? Wait, no it shows up around 40 minutes left. Oh man was I happy to watch these dumb horrible people die. I mean sure, who's to say 6 jocks could take out a skinny punk in a mascot outfit... no I'm sure they couldn't handle that, better run. I mean this ain't exactly Jason Vorhees outside ya house... Right? Am I right? It's a thin dick in a mascot suit with a bow and a hatchet. I bet one solid punch... probably do it.

A quick quiz...

Tree. Wide open yard. Truck coming at you. Do you a) Run across yard. b) Trick truck by standing in front of the tree and then jumping out of the way, resulting in the truck crashing or c) Stand directly in front of tree and watch the truck drive towards you and then crush you.

Did you pick c)?

This film did.

And thats all you really need to know. More shit in the horror genre that will be forgotten and lost to VOD or wherever really shitty films go now.

Movie scale .5 out of 5 stars
Horror Scale 1 out of 5 stars

You know a couple of great lines near the end where it would really seem to be the script wanting to have fun, but if that was the scriptwriter's goal... someone didn't get the memo... Can you imagine if this had been writer as a B-movie black comedy the entire time, and only one actor actually got it in the last 5 minutes... Oh. That poor screen writer.

Oh man. The gun thing at the end... cop pulls his gun and then just runs at the killer, and loses his head. So bad. It's all so bad.

-Chucky B.

#VarsityBlood


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dead Boring Love making.

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (2014)



Yes. People are going to say things like a wondrous gothic romance. Beautiful and poetic. Darkly humorous. Blah, blah, hell, a few are even going to drop the ever so titillating "Original" as in: This is a wholly original take on the vampire tale. 

And you know what, hell, they're right. Here's the problem: THIS FILM IS JUST PLAIN BORING.

The plot. Two vampires mop, and gloom, through an entire film. Talking about music, art, and occasionally sipping blood from a shot glass. That's it. The whole thing.

Now I want to state up front I am not exactly sure what went wrong here. I mean the performances are actually very good. Tom "Loki" Hiddleston as the dark brooding type (think TV's ANGEL with a stronger inclination towards music) is charismatic and fun. But, obviously by design, he restrains himself into this almost comedic vibe that from time to time seems frustrating. Tilda Swinton is great as the white haired lover... who is living around the world... for some reason... and stuff.

Shots, shots, shots, shots... every-BODY!

Even the supporting cast is great - John Hurt, Mia Wasikowska. I mean some serious talent in here. The script even has a few really entertaining lines, and some thoughtful presentation of the importance of music... but it goes nowhere. I mean it starts nowhere, goes nowhere. Ends kinda cool, but what's ten seconds in two hours of Blah?

I know not everyone will be with me here. Like I said, words like "Romantic", "Beautiful", "Original", are being thrown around this flick like rice at a 22 year old bride. But really, what is so beautiful? The fact that the titled "LOVERS" seem as bored of each other as they do the world? That's not pretty, or romantic. That nothing happens for two hours. That's not "Original".

Oh and really I need to call out the directing here. Jim Jarmusch has done some amazing work over the years; Way of the Samurai, Dead Man, Broken Flowers. Here however, his bland camerawork gives what should be beautifully filmed panning scenes the look of primetime TV. Not the whole movie, but there are major points where it stuck out. The female walking down the streets of Tangier with a moment of slow motion. If you are going to make her beautiful, gothic, and slow it down. Give us her features. The strains of white hair floating in the breeze... don't just leave a camera in the hall and watch her waddle towards it... ahhhhhhh. So frustrating.

This look. For two hours. That's your movie. 
As I mentioned the script has some fun, and the bleak dark comedy bits do occasionally hit home, but it is just so without purpose that I really didn't care... and I really wanted to. This is one of those situation where a film should come with a "CAUTION CRITICS LIKE ME" warning.

I get the director's indie style. But this, with the performances, and some of the music, really need a high concept approach to the camerawork... as it is... it is simply average. And sadly, amazing performances aside... so to goes the film.

Movie scale 2.5 out of 5 stars
Romantic Horror scale 3 out of 5 stars

I only recommend this film for the performances... and a few great tunes. That's it. Nothing else of note.

A huge letdown for me after the festival hype this baby was getting...

Sad Panda.

Tell Next Booniacs.

#OnlyLoversLeftAlive

-Chuck B.

Chiller Classics present: Deadly Blessing (1981)

Welcome my friends to Chiller Classics, where I Charles Bartholomew Boonsweet take you on a trip to the olden, sometimes golden, days of horror.  Hopefully I will introduce you to some fine genre flicks you may not have heard of, either because of how old they are or how obscure, and break down some gory, chill filled, education in Horror History 101. And for those of you who are already well versed in the "good ol' days" of horror, hopefully this will help bring back some nostalgic memories and maybe entice you to see some of these classics again.



Oh Wes Craven. I do have a wee bit of a horror crush on the man. Not only is he one of the most well spoken folks you will ever see in interview, but his lasting touch can never, and I mean, NEVER be underestimated when it comes to the modern horror landscape.

The man is one of a kind. There is a reality to all of his film that can not be ignored. Whether its the ever present fear of the unknown (Freddy), the crazy modern tech murderer (Shocker), reinventing the slasher (scream)... the man has his hands in several decades of horror. And let's look at this one more way, shall we. And I warn you some of your horror crazy are gunna come at me yo... I knows it. I'm ready. How many horror directors from the 70s... have had hits in the 70s, 80s, and 90s... big hits. Anyone? Nope. He stands alone in the genre.

So turns out Wes ripped himself off for Nightmare on elm Streets infamous scene...
Ok. I'm done. Let's talk DEADY BLESSINGS. Your story somehow a man leaves a group of Hyper Amish folks. But decides to move in next door to then with his new big city wife. Mistake? Yes. Someone drives over him in his own tractor... and well, then the crazy starts. As the widowed city girl and two of her visiting friends deal with the crazy country folks thinking they're the devil.

What makes this film so effective (other than Wes's Craven's amazing direction that still packs a few scares into a film that by all means has no business being scary) is the story, acting, pace, it all feels a cut above. As you may have gathered from my plot synapses - there are some plot holes. Cops just letting them crazy amish (Hi-Tites) keep dead bodies. Why the heck they all live so cozy close anyway... boundary issues... the list goes on... but why I am here? Why are you here? Why is Honey Boo boo here....?

Okay. There's no answer for that last one. The first two however are to be entertained dang it. Scares, kills, good looking peeps in peril... and this movie has all including one hell of a twisted ending. I mean twisted. And then they take it one step further... into WTF land hahaha.... a little too far actually.

A very young, very hot, Sharon Stone. Mmmm... Legs... interview... wait, dammit
The voice over at the end is just so ridiculous that I thought I was watching an OUTER LIMITS episode, and it feels so stitched on that I actually giggled. Yup.

But hey we are talking an 80s horror cult classic here, complete with a love blu-ray release from the fantastic folks over at Shout! (aka SCREAM) factory. And as far as worthy releases go I have to say I did not see this ending coming, had a few jump scares, some genuinely creepy moments...

I'm in. Not perfect, but it's always great to find a piece of work from one of the big 3 of that golden ear (the other two being Carpenter, and Argento).

Movie scale 3 out 5 stars
Horror scale 3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Half-Shelled.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2014)



Before I get into this, and let me tell you, shit is gunna get real. I really want to share a couple of thoughts on this film. More accurately the way I feel a film, based on a a cheesy 80s cartoon series, should be taken in. Look. The bottom line is most of you, dear Booniacs, grew up Turtle fans. Rocking Pjs, and bedsheets. Hours lost on the toys. But the simple fact is... the 80s cartoon, the movies, were cheesy as all hell. They were. Sure we love them because we saw them at an age where the impact was maximized and our logic was allowed a hall pass. Even now we look back with a reverence, that really, don't belong. I mean, they were cheesy. Lines like "Gretzky, on Steroids?" may make us smile, but they are cheese.

And Vanilla Ice sang a damn theme song in the film called... NINJA RAP. I saw this film in a theatre filled with kids and parents, and let me tell you, those kids loved it. Yes I wish... as you will see that the film was better, but really, as a full grown man... is it made for me? I wish it was... but no, it's not.

And lastly, before I go straight Review-fu on this... the entire film was acted out by actors in suits, speaking all the lines, stunts, and then they were cgi'd over and redubbed... so to anyone bitching about how the turtles are all cgi... well, in my mind, that is this generations "Men in suits" playing the turtles, and I'm okay with that.

So you're saying... I still look cooler than her husband? (sorry I said that, but Miss  Fox is so damn hot my jealous rage is uncontainable)
Your story. 4 mutant turtles, led by a Rat, learn the way of the ninja, and battle an action clan of ninjas... and bad guys. A reporter, April O'Niel, ends up in the middle.

Ok. So I started wit that lovely fair opening, now I bitch! Man, this movie is stupid. I mean, it's really stupid. First of all, the story is just ridiculous. And I mean, I am watching a movie about 6 foot mutant Turtles, and yet, the plot manages to actually demand you notice how horrible it is. I mean the back story is simple... Ninja friends become enemies. The good ninja becomes a rat through the same incident that creates the turtles... years later they must battle evil ninja. Well, all that is gone now. Yup. You know what the rat is... a rat. That's it. He finds a book on ninja shit in the sewer and decides to teach it to himself, and then the 4 turtle babies he is raising.

Apparently, turtles wear hipster hollister accessories. 
That's right. There is no connection at all between Shredder and Splinter. So when there fight goes down (which by the way is an awesome fight) there really is no point to it. Shredder literally shows up and goes, "hey a giant rat, we might as well fight". Ok I paraphrase, but that's the juste. April O'Neil is fine. Megan Fox brings a certain cuteness to the character, but the conversations between herself and her camera man, Verne, are so pointless, you can actually here the script writers asking - Oh my God how to we fill ten pages to get to the next action scene.

The action is the one place this film really manages to be worth something. The fights are great... oh well, except for the last fight... which is inexplicably horrible. I mean, wow. There is actually a point where for a minute, or two, you just watch this (over and over)... Shredder shooting knives, turtles deflecting knives, shredder shooting knives... turtles deflecting knives... hahaha oh it's so bad. Until the turtles decide to defeat him with... a game of... leap frog.

Ya. That happened.

Did we need a backstory for April? Did we? The answer is no. But hey you know what I could have forgiven everything. I mean everything in this film... if there had just been more of the turtles. I mean a couple of scenes where genuinely smile inducing. Sadly. If you actually take the screen time the turtles have... and subtract the action... they maybe have 7 and a half minutes of actually hang and chat and be turtles.

Hey, at least the pizza scene was there.

Fav scene of the movie... the elevator freestyle. Priceless, and a sad reminder just how little turtle time you actually get to experience.

You know the turtles are somehow bullet proof in this... fine... they dodged lasers on TV, I can't be too angry, but... BUUUUUUTTTTT the slow motion shot of Raphael Flexing his chest and bullets bouncing off is just bat shit crazy. And while we are talking about Raphael... if you are going to go through all the trouble of putting shredder in a giant robot battle armour... why make Raph taller than him. Seriously... why?

Ahhhhhhh. Did no one even bother to get feedback on this thing? It feels like someone just said... "Alright go" and then a few months later yelled "cut" and everyone clapped and went we made awesome and went home.

No. Wrong. Incorrect. You made poo.

But hey, there was no pressure right. These are the turtles the film was going to make 450 million no matter what. Sadly, when it is money in the bank.. they obvs give no care, at all, to what they put on screen...

But like I said. I am a grown ass man. Jaded. In a decades long love hate relationship with hollywood... kids love this film.

ONE LINE REVIEW: An effort that just ain't got the chops.

Movie scale 2.5 out of 5 stars
Action scale 2.5 out of 5 stars

There is not one memorable line from this film. No one. And man they tried with those jokes letmetellya.

-Chuck Boonsweet

Guardians of the genre!

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014)



So.
You probably already know the planet loves this movie, I am a little behind in getting my review ahead of the masses here... but you know, screw it. You keep coming back for more, so damn it, I am gunna give it to you, hard.

Also. If all you want to do is get the whole review in one line, here you go -

I saw this flick in theatre, twice!

Making it only the 3rd flick I have ever done that with. The first being The Fifth Element, the second being Freddy vs Jason. Soooooo ya. Pretty exclusive company your.

Your story. A man abducted from earth in 1988, a green woman with Daddy Issues, a big green guy with some rage issues, a racoon with attitude issues, and a plant man... must find a way to become friends, heroes, and save the universe from a blue guy... with entitlement issues.

So what do you need to know about this flick? Is it original. Nope. Pretty much standard sic-fi space drama. But, this film does something that I haven't experienced in theatre in a long long time... something that has so sorely been missed that it makes the story and the characters within it feel so fresh you find yourself pacman smiling... IT HAS FUN. I mean real, deep belly laugh fun. And within that fun they weave interesting people, fantastic action, and some cool plot...

I give you - evil android smurfette. 
YES! I say that because there are at least 3 YES! moments in this film. Like genuine stand up and cheer moments. You know how that happens? You like it. You like the tone, you like the people, so when they kick ass in wondrous 3D (and it is grand) you get pretty damn invested. It's simple hollywood... anyone ever looking to connect the audience with characters in big budget, half of this film will be action, flicks... here you go. I mean within the first 5 minutes you already love Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, the will be leader of the ragtag squad.

And can we talk about how badass a Racoon can be? Cheers to Bradley Coopers voice work... annnnnd a shout out to Vin Diesel who, voicing the man Plant Groot, manages to create a character with three words... I AM GROOT. Zoe Saldana is great as usual (I do hope this woman eventually gets the credit she deserves, of course she may need to step away from all these 200 million dollar
flicks).

Give me all your berries!
Director James Gunn... A man forever in my heart for SLITHER and SUPER delivers like a champ here. The action is bright, fun, laced with drama, and most importantly, cool.

Verdict. Get off ya butts and see this film in theatre. Hell, your friends already have, don't be that guy... eating doritos, watching a shaky cam download... going "It was ah-ite". Ain't no-body got time for that.

Heart. Everything in this movie would be nothing without the surprising amount of heart this film sneaks in. The opening scene is gut wrenching, and you don't even know the character yet. But thats just it... it goes back to just how likeable the characters are. They slip in these heartwarming moments and you find yourself caught off guard. That little pang of emotion catching your throat... the two minutes later you're laughing and fist pumping...

A true achievement in the "Based on a comic" films, and one of the best science fiction flicks in a long, long, time...

in a galaxy far, far...

Anywho.

Movie scale 4 out of 5 stars
Sci-fi scale 4.5 out of 5 stars

ONE LINE REVIEW - Space awesomeness. I may see it a 3rd time. 

#Guardiansofthegalaxy

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Zero must equal 100

THE ZERO THEOREM (2014)



You know what before I go anywhere I want to try to explain the plot of this movie. And you know what I am going to do something I have never done before... Borrow the explanation from good old IMDB: A computer hacker whose goal is to discover the reason for human existence continually finds his work interrupted thanks to the Management; namely, they send a teenager and lusty love interest to distract him.

Yup that's the explanation. But you know what I'm going to sum it up a little better... A guy, Qohen, does nothing for a whole movie while occasionally cool scenes and graphics happen around him. Oh and Matt Damon channels his inner Philipp Seymour Hoffman.

Listen, this is a Terry Gilliam film. The man behind the lens for Time Bandits, 12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and his oft regarded masterpiece - Brazil. He is a legend. When you go into a Gilliam film you understand that you will be witnessing film, as seen through the mind of an artist that though perhaps not always on point... never short of imagination and originality.

I hate to be a bother, but Nurse? I'll need to see some ID. 

So was this film good? Yes. Was it great? No. Hell I'm not even sure it was good. But it wasn't bad... see the thing is the idea is sound. The future as seen through the imagination of the screen writer, Pat Rushin, and the eye of Gilliam, is a sea of ads and non purpose. One scene in particular with people carrying around their tablets at a party struck a particular sort of mock genius. Another has a laundry list of "don'ts" by way of signs posted to the side of a park. These ideas, and the as expected, amazing visuals, help to create a very interesting world. The trouble is... they really do nothing with it.

I mean Christopher Waltz is brilliant, the supporting cast is brilliant, but other than a few scenes, they really have  nothing to do. As this film is about proving that there is nothing to existence, is that in fact the message within the nothingness of the film? Oooooo I'm over thinking. Really though why is it just when we begin to unravel the possibilities of the Zero Theorem and the supposed connection between body and soul... and love as a possible counter to the zero theorem? Maybe? The film ends and really you are left with 100 minutes of a 107 minute movie that was Mr. Waltz in a broke down building looking awkward.

Still enticing but hardly a masterpiece. Yes. I get it. There is a large group of people that will pull a ton of messages out of this film. They will call them "Deeper Truths" and tell you that you just didn't get it, and this is thinking man's scifi. You know what, F em. 12 Monkeys was thinking man's scifi and it had a coherent plot. Brazil was a twisted mind wrap, and yet it was enjoyable and coherent. Hell, even The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus still came together for a pay off in the end. This film carries a heavy message and even manages to involve you a little more than it has any right to thanks to the wonderful acting... but at the end of the day, no real payoff, and nothing really.

Just a naked guy standing in water.

Yup.

It is a visual wonder. The moments that really move you, are so beautiful you wait for them to involve... become something more... but then often end almost as soon as they begin. Terry Gilliam is a director who I will always follow. And Christopher Waltz is an actor that demands to be witnessed.... but here, the story was big, and bold, and could have been the kind of story to stay with the word decades from now... as it is. I imagine it as simply Kinda kool, and really weird. Just feels they know the answer... they being the filmmakers... and really forgot to let you in on it.

movie scale 2.5 out of 5 stars
Scifi Scale 3 out of 5 stars.

ONE LINE REVIEW - Artsy. Confusing. Confusion. 

As I am with any Terry G flick my hopes are set perhaps too high. A last thought the female lead Melanie Thierry was great. I dare say she held her own more than easily alongside Mr. Waltz. No small task. Well done!

- Charles B. Boonsweet

If you don't belong, rebel.

DIVERGENT (2014)



So, for good, and mostly bad, we are in the era of teen books to big screen sensations. The good, Harry Potter, to the bad, Twilight, and the worse... that I really do not need to name here. SO am I the only one that groaned a little out loud when I heard yet another series was getting the Trilogy treatment... wait I mean - Quadrilogy (as all the new series now turn the last book into two films  - Hello $$$$). And then groaned again, slightly louder, and with a lean back... when you found out that it was about a future with social problems, and a young woman that rises up to challenge the future douche bags that wish to control everyone... like oh I don't know Hunger Games. 

Can anyone freakin' blame me with that damn poster? I mean, it's just pure cheese... 

Well Katniss, meet Tris. Yes, dammit I know even the freaking names are similar.... But! BUT! I was wrong. Maybe there is hope for a few of these series yet, because this here franchise starter was a blast.

You story goes... In the future society is broken up into well, pretty damn wonderful factions. The problem is one faction has decided they should rule instead of the super kind people. Uh-Oh. They plan on using the faction system to allow for a takeover, and well, these folks called divergents that have no set class, and can think freely (always dangerous for future Dystopian society rulers) must be destroyed first. Guess what our lead lady is? Yup. Luckily she'll make friends and together they might just have a chance to save the world.

In the future all doors are Jump Doors. Knock. Leap.
Ok. There's a lot there, or well, maybe not that much depending on how you look at it. Can I just pause for a moment and ask why no future ever seems to have over weight people? Seriously can we ponder this? Do they cure fat? Did Macdonalds close... So many questions that I must have ANSWERED!

Sigh. Another time I guess.

Man this world is full of pretty people. Moving past that, and a few of surface issues with the simplicity of the class structure... Kind people, people that can't lie, etc... this film is a hoot from open to close.

1) they rely on a sharp and fast moving script 2) the acting is great. I mean no one dials it in here. Even the bit actors seem determined to earn every dollar.

That makes all the difference. Unlike some of these Based on the International Bestseller movies there is no dragging part in the middle. You might put a few things together well in advance if you are a genre buff like well... your friendly neighbourhood blogger here. But the fun, and speed of the story make sure you enjoy the heck out of it anyway. Shailene Woodley. Well, all signs point to her being the next Jennifer Lawrence... wait is that too soon? Is Jennifer Lawrence still Jennifer Lawrence? Wasn't she the next Julia Roberts?

Screw it. Point is the girl has some serious acting chops. Now with this film raking in the dough and The Fault in our stars taking tonnes of cash from crying teenagers everywhere... well, we do have ourselves a genuine superstar.

The art of Mime, is now a matter of life and death.
I heard some complaining about the fights, and some of the hand to hand, given that Tris is a rather small frail creature, but I didn't really mind it. They are well filmed and for the most part she is just hitting someone with an elbow or a boot. I don't care if you weigh 110. That will still damage someone.

The direction is top notch. Neil Burger who I have enjoyed since The Illusionist. One of those sadly under seen films (You can grab it for 5$ in the blu-ray bin - DO IT!). I'm saying the man has skills and they show up here. He pushes the budget as much as he can and when it fails him, he trusts his eye to capture the tale, and his actors, in some truly beautiful shots. And who knew the man could do action...

Keep in mind they made this film with 85 million. Compared to some of the money being thrown down on these films (130 million for the second Hunger Games for example) they got a nice return on there buck.

This rates as another great surprise from an unexpected source. I really had fun with this film. Listen if you are going to complain about the story being done before, well, you should probably just ignore all film then. And sic-fi, well I've said this before. There really is only two (arguably 3) story structures from which all Sci-Fi is born.

Great pace. Great cast. Great fun. And yes, a message for the younger folks.

Movie scale 3.5 out of 5 stars
Sci-fi Scale 3.5 out of 5 stars

ONE LINE REVIEW - The best of the YA adaptations so far. 

I can't believe I am saying this... but actually really looking forward to the next film. Hopefully they keep the fun, and fast moving nature of this film intact.

-Chuck B.