Rapid Review: Charlie Bartlett (2007)

Charlie Bartlett Poster

“My family has a psychiatrist on call. How normal can I be?”
– Charlie Bartlett

SYNOPSIS: A rich kid becomes the self-appointed psychiatrist to the student body of his new high school. – via IMDB

charlie bartlett

GRADE 8The movie is a lot of fun and had me in stitches in so many places. It was an amusing look at a rich kid, and I loved the scheme of the prescription pills, popularity, growing up, loneliness as well as the lengths a teenager will go to in order to fit in. What a person does with popularity is important, and that is explored earlier in Charlie Bartlett than other movies of its kind. It was an awesome feel good movie, and I enjoy it every time, even if it not my normal blood, guts and gore or insane drama. It is simply a fun and enjoyable movie, and it is great to watch every now and again. For me there are so many great scenes where you can just laugh at Charlie and his antics, as well as respect how he is an organizer for the students, and will help them at every turn that he can and is able to have everyone rally together. The movie was also pretty well cast, and Robert Downey Jr was again a joy to watch, he is a diverse and great actor, no matter that people think he has been typecast as Tony Stark / Iron Man. He is so much  more talented than that – although he should actually go back to doing other things again. Anton Yelchin is an actor that I enjoy quite a lot, and I think that he was perfectly cast to give us Charlie, he did so with style. I was a huge fan of Tyler Hilton’s Murphy, that guy was hilarious! The way he ran that business with Charlie, the way he wanted to take a girl out on a very specific dinner and a movie date, the way he was actually a softie? You cannot help but love Murph. Watching the wheeling and dealing of Charlie is exceptionally entertaining, that kid is smooth! If you haven’t seen this, Charlie Bartlett is well worth the watch, no matter what your age.

Review: The Shrine (2010)

The Shrine Poster

Carmen (Cindy Sampson) is a struggling journalist, trying to redeem herself in the eyes of her employer. She is also having a hard time of things with her photographer boyfriend Marcus (Aaron Ashmore). She asks her boss, Dale (Philip Craig) if she is allowed to investigate the disappearance of an American tourist in Alvania, Poland. Naturally, he tells her to shut it and concentrate on real issues.

Carmen does some more digging into the story of missing tourist Eric Taylor (Ben Lewis). The village he disappeared at seems to have some suspect activity. More tourists have gone missing in the Eastern European area, all near the same motel, all their luggage turning up unclaimed at airports. Carmen gets her intern Sara (Meghan Heffern) involved, and together they visit Ben’s mother. Leaving with Ben’s journal, they decide that there is a story, and convince Marcus to go to Alvania with them, not telling him that they have no permission.

The Shrine cast
Unwelcome in the Polish village? What made you think that?

Arriving in Poland, they find that the locals are very hostile, and that there is a mist/smoke hanging above the forest, not moving, not swirling, nothing. They also notice that the locals treat the clergy like they are gods, and are very subservient to them. Approaching the woods, some local men become extremely agitated, with their leader Henryk (Trevor Matthews) banishing them from the town. Now Carmen really wants to know what they are hiding, and mission into the forests. They encounter the mist, that is as thick and impenetrable as a wall, and Sara wanders off into it. Carmen follows her and comes across a creepy gargoyle type of statue in the forest. Something changes in Carmen, though she has no idea what.

The Shrine Statue
When you go into the creepy fog

Regrouping, they need to hurry up and leave. They run into a young girl named Lidia (Julia Debowska), and she takes them to where Eric is theoretically being held. At the scene, they make a gruesome discovery, and it is decided that they need to escape. The locals are hunting them now, they should have gotten out when they had the chance. Are they going to find out first hand what the missing tourists endured? Are they going to suffer at the hands of some inexplicable and previously unheard of cult?

A 4/10 for The Shrine. It just didn’t work. It took forever to go anywhere, and then even it was still not as great as I would have hoped. The lack of subtitles drove me insane (and yes, I know they were not supposed to be there, but still, I wanted them). It didn’t incite fear in me, only irritation. I felt that the story was weak, too, seeing as it kept floundering to find its rightful place, which should have actually been from the off but it was not. It ended better than what you would expect while watching, although it is abrupt. It was sad that a whole movie was wasted for a decent conclusion when it is usually the other way around. The concept for the movie has been seen before, and this is really no different, and it was not done very well, either. I truly expected a bit more from Aaron Ashmore, and even Cindy Sampson after Supernatural, but no… I was not as impressed with this film as I was hoping to be, and cannot see myself checking it out again. Once was truly more than enough.

James Bond: 50th Anniversary DVD Box Set

Oooooh thank you, Mother! What a fantastic, wonderful and highly appreciated gift! I am going to watch so much Bond it is going to come out of my ears, I can tell you! Ricky told me I am on my own, he is not spending a month or so watching Bond. Never fear, I’ve got this!

In any event, I thought that I would post a review on what the box set actually looks like. I mean prior to ordering it I could find virtually nothing to actually show me hands on what this set looked like. Apart from a lone video or two on YouTube, I was going in blind. There was slightly more to view if you bought Blu-ray, but not enough on the DVD set. So this is more for the people who, like me, would like to have a good look at what they are buying, and for those who are not always buying Blu-ray.

Also, I am going to start a Bond Friday, so until I have finally watched all of these movies, there will be a Bond review at the end of each week.


The exterior of the box set is stunning. It is a sturdy gloss box cover (sort of like the really nice hardcover books that you get, the coffee table ones). It features the six 007’s from the last five decades, with a gorgeous gold swirling and BOND 50 emblazoned over the front. The spine pronounces the celebration of fifty years of Bond. The base of the box has a list of the twenty two Bond movies contained in the set.


As you can see, it is a slot box. A stunning black book-type slips from the case, plain black with BOND 50 stamped onto it in gold lettering. It is also on the back of the box.


It looks very pretty once taken out. As you can see, it is plastic “pages” so to speak that hold the DVDs in the book-type folder. The materials used are truly lovely, feel fantastic, and there is no cheap feeling about the set whatsoever; the construction is wonderful!


Inside the box set, the first five Bond actors appear on the left and the inside fold. The DVDs are stacked two to a page, and they are all a uniform black with a grey 007 on each one, and a gold title for each film.


Another depiction of the pages and the look of each disc. They clip in and out of the holders nicely, and the first DVD does not have to be removed to take out the second one, seeing as the first one is set slightly higher, so the second one just slips out beneath it should you want to watch the bottom one.


The box set includes a slot for Skyfall, which I own and was incredibly eager to put in, so my pictures show Skyfall as a part of the box set already. The fact that there was a space for the movie was so great, because it means the box set gets to remain pretty uniform, and has an added kick, keeping all the movies together. Granted, the DVD lable is one that is different, but that is completely alright!


Taking Skyfall out of the predefined slot that was inserted, Daniel Craig joins the Bond lineup right at the back.

The films themselves are great, having the video and audio remastered, it looks and sounds beautiful, and the menus are pretty cool, too, giving the options to “Initiate Mission”, “Mission Select”, “MI6 Commentary” or “Language Decryption”. This truly is a gorgeous box set, whether for yourself as a fan or someone you know. It looks so nice in any collection, and is worth the spend!

Rapid Review: The Amityville Horror (2005)


“Mrs. Lutz, get you and your family out of that house. Right now!”
– Father Callaway

amityville horror guest

Also – this was obviously for science…

amityville horror 2005 ryan reynolds

GRADE 6.5I know that it was not the most popular of films, or the most appreciated adaption of this tale, but I found the movie to be rather enjoyable – shoot me. I liked it. Maybe that is because I watched this without thinking of the true story, without trying to picture it in reality, and without having seen the original one in years. Makes a difference, I tell you. I watched it for what it was – another film. Ryan Reynolds is usually such a fun actor, and he can go more serious, but at times I felt that this might be a stretch for him, but in a sense it is good to see him out there doing something other than a cocky character. He pulled it off the majority of the time. I thought the film was shot very nicely, it all looked very nice and well put together. There were jump scares that I feel were more executed due to sounds and quick flits of camera, but they were definitely better than most. As is typical of a horror, the dialogue was a little weak, but I have to give this film credit for the entertainment that it gave forth – for me at any rate. I liked it, and feel that it is a lovely addition to any horror evening should you want to see it.

Review: The Impossible (2012)

The Impossible Poster

“After that, when I came up, I was on my own. That was the scariest part.”
– Henry Bennett

Henry Bennett (Ewan McGregor) and his wife, Maria (Naomi Watts) are happily married and living in Japan with their three sons, Lucas (Tom Holland), Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast), and are on a lovely Christmas vacation in Thailand. Their room was incorrect, but the ever helpful Thai hotel employee shifts them into a luxury suite closer to the ocean. Their peaceful holiday starts and is progressing wonderfully.

The Impossible Family
When such a wonderful vacation can be snatched away so quickly

On December 26 2004, the family goes to the pool with most of the other holiday makers at the resort. They are having a blast when a roar and a rumble takes on everybody’s attention. Before they know it, a massive tsunami rolls through the resort. The family is ripped apart, and when Maria surfaces, she cannot find anyone. Soon she spots her eldest son, Lucas, and the two make a desperate attempt to get to each other. Maria is badly injured, and Lucas is heartbroken. Locals eventually pick them up after they rescue another little boy called Daniel (Johan Sundberg) and escort them to the overcrowded hospitals. In the hospitals, Maria seriously needs surgery, and she sends Lucas off to do something, to help people. So he begins to go through the tsunami victims, trying to bring families together again. Lucas has taken it for granted that his father and brothers are dead.

The Impossible Tsunami
The start of the tsunami that caused immense damage

Meanwhile, Henry has recovered Simon and Thomas, and desperately wants to find Maria and Lucas. He starts his journey, while Maria and Lucas are on their own. Will the family be able to find each other, and will they all survive a paradise vacation turned sour? Will they make it out of Thailand alive, together as a family again?

The Impossible
Sticking together

I would give The Impossible 5.5/10. It just didn’t grip me (yep, I can see I am going to Hell for that). The event was truly disastrous and absolutely terrible, and the movie itself was not a bad depiction, there was just something wrong with the way that it was told. The movie got me, and at the same time it lost me. There was a lot that had me thinking if the director just implemented it differently, the movie might have felt a bit more whole and complete. This family was by far the luckiest family I have seen in a long time, and I am glad that things worked out so well for them. Another thing the movie got was the total terror that a tsunami brings, and the aftermath was shown quite well (such as the hospitals, what places looked like, etc.) I can only imagine the fear and the horror that a natural disaster like that can bring, and I would not wish to experience something like that. You really think about how lucky you are when you watch the film, I will most definitely give it that. I don’t think I will be watching it again in a hurry, or buying it.

Rapid Review: Django Unchained (2012)

Django Unchained

“Gentlemen, you had my curiosity. But now you have my attention.”
– Calvin Candie

django unchained training

King Schultz is simply the best!

django unchained king schultz


GRADE 9YES! After all this time, all the excitement, the time has finally arrived for me! I am sure I damn near drove you all insane (most notably Chris, Ryan and Tim – sorry, forgot to link) what with posting about it, all the eagerly reading reviews and lamenting the fact that I have not yet seen this film. Tarantino pulled out all the stops, as per usual. It was a really rough thing to watch certain things, and to see the slavery, the despicable Mandingo fights, the injustice suffered due to racism of its time, and the total disregard for fellow human beings and their freedom. However, Tarantino again blew me away with the style that he brought all that drama out and made it tangible, all the while weaving it into a solid story. I know this may sound dreadful, but he packed in plenty of uproariously hilarious humour (but naturally, placed correctly). I laughed so hard at certain places, especially with the hooded group riding in with their lack of sight. Leonardo DiCaprio was again a pleasure to watch, and I was highly entertained by the total role switch of Christoph Waltz from outrageous racist German to a humanitarian German. He had me in stitches, however, being the lunatic that he was. The film was also visually appealing, and it would not be a Tarantino without crazily exaggerated blood, a serious showdown of note, and some core and/or lead character being taken down in a brutal blaze of glory. Overall, this movie was definitely worth the wait and the hype, and lived up to all the expectations that I had for it, and truly rocked my socks. It was worth the wait, and is highly recommended, though if you are not one that is able to stomach violence, then this will most certainly unnerve you and likely not be your cup of tea. Well done, absolutely!

Review: Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Spider-Man 2 Movie Poster 2004

“Now… let’s see who’s behind the mask.”
– Harry Osborn

Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is done with high school and knee deep in a really horrid dead end job, though his double life and Spider-Man is going incredibly well. Crime rates are down, and he is slowly but surely climbing the rungs at the Daily Bugle (who is claiming Spider-Man is a criminal), though the jobs are sporadic and mostly insignificant. As if Peter’s life does not suck enough, he loses his useless pizza delivery job, and is having a really hard time at school as he is missing a lot of classes and his homework is always late. Dr Curt Connors (Dylan Baker) is progressively getting more and more tired of his once-star pupil.

Peter’s best friend, Harry Osborn (James Franco), is intent of finding Spider-Man and making him pay for the loss of his father. He becomes obsessed with the notion of revenge. He has taken over Oscorp, and the business is very successful. Peter and Harry start drifting when Peter refuses to give Spider-Man’s whereabouts to Harry, who despises the fact that Peter is protecting what he feels to be a villain. The love of Peter’s life, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) is becoming a successful star, and is dating and becomes engaged to Daily Bugle mogul J Jonah Jameson’s (J.K. Simmons) son John Jameson (Daniel Gillies). However, Mary Jane is still in love with Spider-Man, and houses her suspicions of Peter being that visage.

The ultra famous upside down kiss
The ultra famous upside down kiss

Finally Peter’s powers start to dwindle and disappear, leaving him in rather an uncomfortable predicament. He has no idea what the issue is, and a doctor that he sees for his restlessness tells him that he is at a crossroads and needs to choose what path he will take: the hero or normality, basically. Peter crumbles and confesses to his Aunt May Parker (Rosemary Harris) the circumstances surrounding Uncle Ben’s (Cliff Robertson) death, and the guilt he carries with him daily. The news hurts her, and she is already in dire straits as it is, both emotionally as well as financially. Two years of crime fighting in secret and losing his real life’s friends and family has finally come knocking to take its toll. Peter chooses a simple, plain and boring life, and things start looking up for him again.

Epic train fight
Epic train fight

Brilliant scientist Dr Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) attempts a fusion experiment that Harry is funding. Naturally the experiment would go horribly wrong, and his wife Roaslie (Donna Murphy) pays the ultimate price: her life. Bitter and angry, and the regulator between the fusion and his brain shattered, Doctor Octopus rises to tear the city apart. Peter’s giving up the crime-fighter’s life seems to have been a rash decision. He will have to re-evaluate his intentions, and choose his destiny once again, the same as he did years ago. Spider-Man has never been needed more, and Peter rises to the occasion in suited red and blue.

When revenge is not as simple as you would have hoped
When revenge is not as simple as you would have hoped

Will Peter be able to repair his shattered friendship with Harry as well as score the girl of his dreams? Will he ever really learn how to successfully balance his two lives with minor repercussions?

Spider-Man 2 earned 7/10. I really don’t know, but Kirsten Dunst’s performance seemed so wooden in this Spider-Man that I am truly shocked. It was cool how the tentacles carried Doc Ock around without him needing to walk places. Impressive. There were a few holes in the story again, but I really felt sorry for Peter at times. What got me, though (after long talks with Ricky), the scene when Harry heard his father, Norman, he heard the Green Goblin laughing. Now the thing is, Harry never knew his father was the Green Goblin (Peter ensured that), and the Goblin was a manifestation in Norman’s head. Norman is a manifestation is Harry’s head, so how is the Green Goblin laugh there? Maybe my brain is just being overly logical again… forgive me. Alfred Molina did a very good job as Doc Ock, so it was pretty cool to watch that. Worth watching but I would say the best time for it would be during the course of a Spider-Man run.

Review: Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Reservoir Dogs Wallpaper

“I can say I definitely didn’t do it because I know what I did or didn’t do. But I cannot definitely say that about anybody else, ’cause I don’t definitely know.”
– Mr Pink

Looks like I have been revisiting a lot of old movies recently. I love old movies. They really don’t make many movies like they used to. Now, when it comes to Quentin Tarantino, you can’t help but love him. Well… I am sure there will be people that disagree, but I have to say he is some kind of special genius. He has brought some great things to us. Always weird, always strange, but never dull. Something new and refreshing every time, and he has a stark way of telling things.

Reservoir dogs

Reservoir Dogs is a film about a group of crooks brought together by the big boss, Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney). He is planning a big heist, and needs six guys to get in, get the diamonds and get out. He has a buyer set up, and just needs a trusty crew assembled. He calls in Mr Blue (Edward Bunker), Mr Brown (Quentin Tarantino), Mr Pink (Steve Buscemi), Mr White (Harvey Keitel), Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen) and Mr Orange (Tim Roth), each with a different role, each with their own unique contribution they need to bring to the table to make the heist a success, and all strangers.

Unfortunately, the robbery goes wrong, and badly. It turns into a news headlining bloodbath, and the crew scatters to get out of what evidently turns out to be a setup. With the members sporadically meeting up at the designated rendezvous, tempers flare when they try to establish whether the whole gig was a setup or not.  Mr Blonde has a kidnapped police officer in the trunk whom the men are intent on torturing for information on a rat, and the presence of the law in a hostage situation has elevated the issue enough. The desperation to find the rat skyrockets, and trust between a group who hardly knows one another disintegrates rapidly.

Reservoir Dogs was, as always, a great watch, and deserves a 8/10. Tarantino brought his quirky skills to the fore again, and has a story take shape only as it progresses, and in jumbled parts. It is an awesome journey to take with him, and he so beautifully executes his writing and directing.

My cinema sucks!

I want to tell you about my innate disappointment in my movie theatre here in Nelspruit. I am heartbroken that we will not have Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie play here. I have been waiting for years, earmarked the release date, got prepared (I was completely let down by his last movie, Dark Shadows) and then waited. Well, 26 October 2012 came around and rolled away with no apparent airing on the horizon. Eventually I could not take it anymore and I phoned the cinema. It is not on our cards to have it here, sorry, deal with it. The rest of my country got it, why not us?

I suppose our cinema here is the worst. And I mean the absolute pits. When The Dark Knight came in 2008, it was literally only played here for roughly a week.  That was a huge title to bin like that!  They did, however. Rush Hour 3 played for four months! How does that even work?!

So through my depression of having to wait for Frankenweenie to release on DVD, I had to make sure that they were still bringing my last two highlights of the year: Skyfall and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Luckily for the theatre, those two are very much still in store for us. So I am pre-booking my tickets for Bond next week (I only see certain films on the big screen, and I always make sure that I pre-order and see it on opening night as movies never seem to last long here). I cannot wait for it! I love Daniel Craig as Bond. He is my all time favourite 007. I know that there are so many people that will not agree with me, but so what? He brought something fresh and new to the secret agent franchise.

That is all I wanted to share, just vent a little about how useless they are here, and how disappointed I am. Oh well, I shall soldier on!