Silver Screen Smackdown- Maleficent

Movie– Maleficent

TL; DR– Great movie, but not a great retelling. 87%



Summary-How about a story from the other side?  Maleficent is the story of the evil witch from Sleeping Beauty.  Maleficent starts off as a fey creature from a land locked in war with the land of men.  She is tricked, mutilated, and driven to evil cursing the first born of the human king.  But, how does the story play out looking from the other side?


Story– I have mixed feelings on this one.  The movie by itself is awesome.  I liked the plot.  The world is consistent, and the characters fit it in.  BUT, this is a retelling of another movie.  All the major elements from the first movie are there, but they don’t fit with how this movie changes them.  The elements are a bit too scattered to have the two work as being from different sides of the same coin.  Wicked did a god job of making the two sides work, this one gets close but almost falls into the uncanny valley of one looking like another.  The two are there, but as mirrors of one another they just don’t “work” on some levels for me.  3.5/5


Actors-All the actors do an amazing job, but a lot of them are not give enough time. You have Jolie doing an excellent job being a fairy, then evil queen, and finally a redemptive angel.  Copley does a good job slowly slipping into crazy too.  Sleeping beauty gets a bit of a roll, but it feels like she’s there pretty much to move those other two set pieces around one another. 4.5/5


Cinematography– Looks great.  All the characters look like they should.  The kings growing madness is reflected in his castle and the queens anger is reflected in her fey world.  As those actors/characters change so does their world.  Well done CGI. 5/5


Summary– This is an amazing stand alone move, but it’s not a standalone movie. As a semi-sequel, I felt the plot was a bit off.  The actors and cinematography are booth great.  If you want a good Disney movie with a bit more adult themes this summer, I’d check this one out! 87%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Edge of Tomorrow


Movie– Edge of Tomorrow

TL; DR– Tom Cruise and the Konami code! 93%



Basics– Tom Cruise plays a sleazy military recruiter who through his own fault is thrown into the worst military blunder in history.  While there, he accidently eats a piece of a time traveling alien, gaining the power to reverse time when he dies.  He embarks on a quest to become the hero and save the human race one continue at a time.


Story– This is an excellent single serving Sci-Fi movie.  In a few short minutes, you learn the problems of the world, see how the world works, and jump right in the action.  I loved that.  Rapid pace made the fact that many scenes were direct repeats of one another very awesome and fun to watch.  I watched the same day over 3000 times and didn’t get tired of it!  Ending is a bit too much Deus ex machina for the heroes, but it will do. 5/5


Actors– I really liked all the major players in this one.  Cruise does an excellent asshole who learns to be a hero.  The Emily Blunt, the female lead, does a good job too, but she’s a bit too much of a tough as nails bitch through most of the movie.  The secondary characters all don’t get enough time to really develop themselves, and that truly is a shame!  Those guys are almost as interesting as the main characters! 4/5


Cinematography– I loved this, hands down.  Things look cool and fresh even after the 300th time through the world.  I loved everything I saw.  Robot suits and aliens are an awesome mix in big budget well done movies! 5/5


Summary– It’s not perfect, but it’s fun.  It’s great single serving Sci-Fi that tells a great story with great actors.  I DON’T want a sequel as this movie told all the story it needs too.  I felt this was an excellent meal from the salad course opening to the desert course.  Well worth your time to see this movie! 93%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of X-men: Days of Future Past

Movie– X-Men: Days of Future Past

TL; DR– A good reboot, but a reboot 90%


Basics– The world of tomorrow is destroyed due to man’s eternal quest to stomp out mutants.  In the future, sentinels, robots designed to hunt mutants, are completely hunting man to extinction.  The few remaining X-Men band together to send Wolverine back in time to the 1970’s to stop the sentinels before they begin.  Can Wolverine save us all?


Story– The story is ok.  It’s even good.  But, as a comic/movie nerd, I could see the writing on the wall-this is a franchise reboot.  Why do the Spider-Man thing and cast new actors, rehash the same origin, and piss off a bunch of geeks, when you can just do a Back to the Future style reboot and BAMB money!  Honestly it works well, but it’s hard to get past that it’s there to just make more movies.  Don’t care about that?  Then, you will completely enjoy this movie.  Aside from the “reboot movie” feel, there are only a few story elements that didn’t make any sense like leaving Quicksilver back in America instead of him joining the X-Men. 4/5


Actors– There are almost NO new major actors in this one.  A few in the past and future, but all the big names we know, and love, are back.  That a good thing.  I liked the continuity that that brings.  Fox has their stuff together keeping these people in the roles there were meant to play.  Heck even in some minor, unimportant roles, you have big name actors coming back just for what is almost a cameo!  There are only a few moments where characters are “off” like Magneto trying to kill another mutant that disrupt the flow of the movie. Not bad at all! 4.5/5


Cinematography– It feel like the future when it needs to be the future, and, it feels like the past when it needs to be the past.  That is well done.  Also, this movie uses a few of the older movies scenes to great effect.  If you know what’s going on, you will love it.  If not, it shows that the characters are distracted by memories.  Most likely you’ve seen all the Fox X-Men movies, so, you know what’s going on.  Nothing bad here at all. 5/5


Summary– I didn’t hate this.  I actually kind of liked it.  This is honestly the best way I’ve seen to reboot a franchise.  BUT, it’s a reboot of a franchise.  That is hard to put out of mind.  But, the actors, story, and look of the movie do present a great movie that you will enjoy.  I might not like a reboot, but, based on this movie, I will enjoy the new movies that follow this one. 90%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Godzilla (2014)

I loved Godzilla back in the 90’s when I was a kid.  Recently, a new movie came out.  I’ve seen it, but over Memorial Day weekend, I went and saw it with my brothers.  It’s time for a two sided review: one from the perspective of a 30 year old fan and another from a perspective of a six year old, an 11 year old, and two 12 year olds.



Movie– Godzilla (2014)


Young TL;DR-I need to see this again! 92%

Old TL;DR– Good, not great reboot of the franchise. 80%



Basics– Godzilla’s back!  The world is in peril, and, monsters are springing up that only the giant lizard we all know and love can face.  Is he up to the challenge?


Plot-Young-The plot is amazing, but flawed.  We loved the fact that the monsters had a cool back stories with lots of city destruction.  But, too much of the plot had stupid plot points like why the people were in the city when the monsters were there or the nuke transportation problem! 4.5/5


Old- This movie focuses more on the human characters and other monsters than Godzilla.  I know why they did it, since you need framing characters to help the audience move from set piece to set piece.  But, Godzilla needed more screen time.  Also, there were some amazingly stupid plot points that really made me scratch my head like nukes and people in the way of a monster.  Also, Godzilla is never really given a reason to fight any other monsters.  He’s a predator, but he never eats any other creatures.  So, why did he do anything he does?  The story’s ok, but flawed. 4/5


Acting-Young– Pretty good.  The actors bring the characters to life, but some are a bit off.  It’s not bad, but fairly well done.  Godzilla rocked! 4.3/5


Old-The acting is ok.  Godzilla’s awesome, but the humans are, for the most part, ok.  I felt too many of the humans felt off or wooden.  But, I came for Godzilla, so the fake creatures are the best actors.  Take that as you will.  3/5






Summary-Young-This is an awesome Godzilla movie!  Godzilla’s back and better than ever.  He destroys cities and fights monsters.  Slight problems with acting and the plot make for some problems, but nothing that a 40 story monster can’t fix!  We want to see this again and again! Better than the 90’s American movie.  92%


Old-It’s not perfect, but it’s Godzilla!  The acting is a problem and so is the plot.  But the look is there.  That’s the Godzilla I remember from old Japanese movies.  Horrible acting, a gonzo plot, and man in suit fights the destroy cities.  Objectively, the movie is good, but not great.  However, I’ve been waiting since Godzilla Final Wars, but I can confidently say GODZILLA’S BACK! 80%

Silver Screen Smackdown- The Amazing Spider-Man (2013)

Movie– The Amazing Spider-Man

TL;DR– Not bad, but not as good as the first trilogy’s number one. 80%


Basics– It’s the standard Spider-Man origin story we know and love.  Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider who gives him the ability to walk on walls and the strength, speed, and endurance proportionally to a spider.  His uncle is murdered because Peter didn’t stop a robber, and he swears to protect the innocent.  In this adventure, Peter helps Dr. Connors with a formula to regenerate limbs.  When Dr. Connors uses the formula on himself he turns into the Lizard, a fearsome monster who wants to turn the rest of mankind in to lizard people too.  Can Spider-Man stop the monster, get the girl, and save the day?


Plot– The plot is ok.  Some things are a bit contrived and a bit too lucky.  Things tend to fall into place too much with this story.  Peter is often time in the right place at the right time.  That said, this a decent story that is fun to watch.  It’s got its moments that will stretch logic like when Spider-Man is shot, and later he then jump kicks into the Lizard.  He most likely should have blacked out from that one.  It’s easy to nitpick problems, but I was honestly entertained and I had a fun ride. 3/5


Actors– The actors are pretty good.  Peter Parker is a good match.  He looks like a high schooler should.  He does high schooler things like storm out, have social problems, and fight with his adopted parents.  He’s very funny with the quips, so that makes Spider-Man really come alive on the screen.  I would like him to actually keep the mask on, but we can’t have everything.  Uncle Ben is well done, but HE NEVER SAYS WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY!  WHY!?  That is Spider-Man’s thing.  Leaving that out was a major mistake!  Gwen Stacy looks like she should, and she does a good job bringing that character to life. 4/5


Visuals– This is well done.  The CGI is awesome, and the costumes are great.  Spider-Man’s suit is different, but that isn’t bad.  The world looks like it should.  Heck even the Lizard looks great.  He’s CGI the whole movie, but it doesn’t show. 5/5


Summary– This was a fun movie.  It’s good, but not great.  I had some major problems with the story, and I WANT MY LINE FROM UNCLE BEN!  But, I felt the movie was fun.  Other critics have said it was a cash grab to keep the Spider-Man license.  I didn’t feel that.  I felt it was a good movie with lots of action and some decent comic fun.  It’s not as good as the first movie in the last Spider-Man trilogy.  That is true.  Honestly, if I could merge this movie with the other first movie, I would have the Spider-Man movie I’ve always wanted. 80%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Captain America-The Winter Soldier

Movie– Captain America-The Winter Soldier


tl;dr– Better than the original 100%


Basics-Captain America is back!  This time, something is dirty in SHIELD.  Can Cap find what’s wrong before the three new helicarriers are launched?  Along the way a new villain appears., but  WHO is the Winter Soldier?


Plot- This is the best spy thriller I’ve seen in a long time.  All the plot elements make sense for the established characters.  This even follows the good sequel rules by expanding the characters AND building the world not just repeating the same things again.  Top Notch.  5/5


Acting- Again, this is amazing.  All the actors make the characters they are come to life.  Every character FEELS like who they are while BUILDING who they are.  Again, well done. 5 /5


Visuals- The movie looks great.  Everybody looks like they should.  And, the world looks amazing.  Heck, most of the third act is CGI and I loved every minute of it. 5/5


Summary- This is an amazing movie.  Why haven’t you gone to see this yet?  Honestly, it’s better than the original. 100%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Muppets Most Wanted

Movie– Muppets Most Wanted


tl;dr– Good, but loses to the original 93%


Basics-It’s the sequel to The Muppets from a year ago.  That says it all.  Welcome back to zany family friendly fun.  In this movie, the Muppets just finished their last movie and don’t know what to do next, but since the cameras are still following them it must be a sequel so they start a song and dance number talking about how sequels are never as good.  They decide to take the act on the road for a world tour.  But a slick manager who is a world second best thief uses them as a cover for his goal of stealing the English Crown Jewels.  Along the way, Kermit is mistaken for the world’s best thief and sent to a Russian Gulag.  Can the Muppets save Kermit, stop the thieves, AND not get thrown in jail?


Plot-Look, it’s a kids movie.  It’s well done and funny for all ages, but you’re not going to this thing for “The King’s Speech.”  That said, I enjoyed the hell out of this thing.  Lots of things made absolutely no sense, and that’s the way it should be.  It’s a fun ride that gets the Muppets some new places. But, like the song says “not as good as the original.” 4/5


Acting- It’s the Muppets you’ve been missing.  All the characters are spot on, but its hard as most of the characters don’t get much screen time since the Muppets has such a large cast.  Also, as the opening song says, sequels have lots of cameos.  And this one is full of TONS!  You will spend most of the movie either laughing or trying to figure out who that minor character is.  Odds are he’s/she’s a major well know actor. 5/5


Visuals- It’s the Muppets, get used to lots of waist up shots.  Also, get used to lots of sight gags.  Honestly, this is spot on for what the Muppets should be. 5/5


Summary- This is a damn good movie.  I enjoyed it a lot.  Its major competition is the original Muppets movie.  And to that one it loses, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie.  It’s good, just not as good. 93%


Silver Screen Smackdown-Movie Review of Tangled

Movie– Tangled


tl;dr– An awesome beta test for Frozen! 97%


Basics– This movie is loosely based on “Rapunzel.”  The movie expands on the story by starting with the witch singing to a magic, sun-like flower to stay young.  A Queen becomes deathly ill, and she sends men to find the flower.  The queen uses the flower in a tea, become well, and later has a child with long blond hair.  The witch returns and finds that singing to the hair will restore her youth, but when it is cut the hair loses its magic.  She steals the child, puts her in the famous tower.  This leads the King and Queen to release floating lanterns each year on her birthday in remembrance.  Rapunzel wants to leave the tower to see the lights in the sky, but her witch “mother”, for obvious reasons, forbids her from ever leaving the tower.  Near Rapunzel’s 18th birthday, a thief named Flynn Rider steals the stolen princess’ crown and runs into the forest abandoning his two cohorts along the way.  He sneaks into the tower, and Rapunzel hits him with a frying pan.  She steals and hides the crown promising to only return it when Flynn takes her to the lights.  Flynn reluctantly agrees, and the adventure begins.  Now the other thieves, the witch, and guards are all of the Rapunzel and Flynn!  And it wouldn’t be Disney without some random sidekicks like a smart horse, a smart aleck chameleon, and some true love.


Plot-The plot follows the base story with lots of new fun elements.  It’s a fun ride with some good songs, memorable moments, and crazy action sequences.  After seeing all of Disney’s movies, it’s not Disney’s best.  But, it’s up there.  What costs it here is it’s not as memorable as many of their other films with a similar princess-kidnap-true love formula. 4.5/5


Acting-The characters do feel lifelike, and the actors do a good job of bringing them to that life.  I didn’t recognize most of the voice actors, but two of the side characters did stand out: Ron Perlman and Brad Garrett.  Obscure casting isn’t bad, but I was surprised. 5/5


Visuals-This movie is completely computer generated.  It’s semi-realistic with comedic touches.  I liked the style.  After seeing a few of these, I think Disney is going to use this as their default style for animated pictures. 5/5


Summary- I really liked this movie.  Not as much a Frozen, but it’s a good movie.  I saw this after Frozen, and that might have hurt the rankings of this film.  It’s never a good idea to go head to head with a major award winner!  However, this film feels like a well done test of what Frozen was and brings back some classic Disney:  some good songs, good acting, fun action, and nice visuals.  You won’t leave the theater singing the songs like you did when you left Frozen or Mulan, but some family entertainment, it’s hard to do better! 97%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Mr. Peabody and Sherman

Movie- Mr. Peabody and Sherman

tl;dr-  An awesome blast from the past. 100 %


Basics- Based on the smaller cartoons set during the Rocky and Bullwinkle show, Mr. Peabody and Sherman is a family movie covering several different themes from growing up, loving your family, and the relationship between a dog and his boy.  The movie starts with a short movie with a different alien race finding a home.  This short movie has nothing to do with the main movie.  The main feature starts with Mr. Peabody and Sherman going on a short adventure in revolutionary France, then the movie really kicks in gear with Sherman going to school and meeting a bully.  Sherman bits the bully in self-defense, but Mr. Peabody must prove that he’s a fit parent by meeting with a social worker and the bully parents.  Sherman has to make friends with the bully, but in doing so he shows her the time machine.  And, together they screw up time.  Sherman and Mr. Peabody have to fix all of time, fix their relationship, and find a way to prevent the evil social worker from separating them forever!


Plot-  I loved this movie!  A lot of movies based on classic cartoons all too often don’t reference the source material enough.  Mr. Peabody and Sherman’s first act starts with a section that could have come right out of the cartoon it was based on, bad puns and all!  From there the plot get better as nothing is out of place and it really does hit home a great message about family and growing up. 5/5


Acting- The characters felt like they should have.  I watched the cartoons when I was younger and these characters felt like they came from that show.  The new characters are interesting, but they feel like they belong in the world.  All the voice actors did great jobs bringing these characters to life. 5 /5


Visuals- This movie is completely computer generated.  If you don’t like that update from the classic hand drawn style, you won’t like this.  However, I liked the style and the characters did look like they should have.  The movie does take some visual cues from the Sherlock Holmes movies as Mr. Peabody goes into strange meditative state invovling lots of math blurring across the screen.  It’s a novel addition that I enjoyed.  I’d like to watch it in slow motion and see if the math adds up. 5/5


Summary- This is an excellent family movie.  Don’t expect an epic where characters have massive characters arcs like 12 Years a Slave, but for a movie aimed at kids, it covers a lot of ground and make you feel happy when you leave the theater.  If you made me choose, I’d still go with The Lego Movie as a better movie, but this one is an amazingly close second.  My one gripe has to be Odysseus.  He gets made out to be a moron!  But if you can look past one minor character, you will have an amazing ride!   100%


Silver Screen Smackdown- Total Recall (2012)

Movie- Total Recall

tl;dr-  We can remember it for you wholesale and not as well! 76.7%


Basics- This is a remake of the classic 90’s movie.  The main character Douglas Quaid has a dead end job that he hates, and to escape the boredom, he tried Total Recall, a mental vacation agency that make you remember awesome events without them actually happening.  Midway through the procedure he is attacked by government goons, and he finds out he’s the only man who can save the resistance with his memories having been previously removed.  He begins his quest to save the world, but along the way he constantly questions if any of this is real.


Plot- The plot isn’t bad, but its not as well done as the original.  The story moves pretty quick, but it’s not as engaging as you don’t really feel for the resistance or the poor like you did in the original. Also, the end bad guy has a somewhat questionable plan and for some reason has to oversee it personally.  That could be a factor that plays into the paranoia that plays through the movie, but that seems too smart for this movie.  3/5


Acting- The acting is ok.  Its not the worst I’ve seen, but I wouldn’t say its the best.  Some great moments, but overall the actors do a decent job more often than not.  No Oscars, but not Razzies. 3.5/5


Visuals-  The is a big budget movie, so the movie spent lots of money to make its self pretty.  However, while this one is good, I almost felt the original was better here too as you get awesome 90’s graphics AND mutants.  Here you get pretty CGI and robots.  5/5


Summary-This isn’t a bad movie, but when I show my brothers Total Recall, this won’t be the version I show them.  Both versions have a undercurrent of paranoia, but this one just didn’t make me feel for the lower class people.  I’m glad I saw this one, but I won’t have much to remember from it. 76.7%