Like my book reviews site, these are movie reviews I write for entertainment purposes only. These are just my reviews and my opinions. They are not endorsed by Blogger or any movie studios or anyone else. So there. I borrowed my scoring system from the Metacritic site, which does not imply an endorsement from them, although I think they do have a very nice website. I convert the 1-100 scores into 1-4 stars, essentially it works like this:

1 star = 25 points
2 stars = 50 points
3 stars = 75 points
4 stars = 100 points

And then if something falls about halfway between, then I'll give it an added half-star.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Doubt/Michael Clayton/Gran Torino/Up


As a former Lutheran, I've never been a big fan of the Catholic church and "Doubt" certainly wasn't going to improve my opinion.  It's 1964 in New York and Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) has recently come to the parish.  His new school beliefs about embracing the parishioners leads him to come into conflict with the old school nun Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Meryl Streep).  Caught in the middle is young Sister James (Amy Adams) who thinks Father Flynn is having an inappropriate relationship with the school's first black student.  Did he or didn't he?  That's the question but "Doubt" certainly leaves a lot of doubt about this.

I'm not one to usually comment on technical things like direction but some of the strange camera angles reminded me of the old "Batman" TV show, which is never a good thing and it really seemed to serve no purpose.  As well, the surprise confession at the end seemed kind of forced to me.

My score:  50/100 (2 stars)

Metacritic Score:  68/100 (2.5 stars)


"Michael Clayton"

Someone has to do the dirty work, even in corporate law.  Michael Clayton (George Clooney) is a big law firm's "fixer" or the guy who comes to your home after you've hit someone with your car or killed a hooker or something like that to spearhead damage control.  Meanwhile, Michael is facing financial problems after his junkie brother botches a bar Michael invested in.  Then things take a turn for the worse when a friend and fellow attorney Arthur (Tom Wilkinson) goes off his meds and freaks out in a meeting with clients in a case concerning an agrochemical conglomerate.  As Michael involves himself in this situation, he finds that something stinks--and it's not the cow manure down on the farm.

Two things that bugged me is first the movie starts with a scene that in the film's chronology takes place near the end.  Of course there's no way I as the viewer could realize this until later, which is really confusing and disconcerting.  Also, the end depends upon one of the oldest cliches in film, the old villain confessing into a recording device.  Otherwise it's a passable thriller, but not all that thrilling.

My score:  50/100 (2 stars)

Metacritic score:  82/100 (3 stars)


"Gran Torino"

When I saw the previews for this, the premise seemed ludicrous to me.  An octogenarian Dirty Harry battling an Asian gang a quarter his age?  Why don't they just steal his walker and push him down?

Of course it's not really Dirty Harry.  Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a former Ford assembly line worker in a Detroit-area neighborhood that has gone to seed, like much of the city itself.  Walt is recently widowed and has no one except his ingrate family who are basically waiting for him to die so they can sell off the house and take possession of the rest of his stuff like his cherry 1972 Gran Torino.  But someone else tries to take it first--a young Hmong kid named Thao.  A veteran of Korea, Walt doesn't like Asians much--or anyone really--but when a local gang picks on Thao and his family, Walt intervenes to help them.

This was a nice story of a jaded old coot bonding with a needy young man.  How this comes about manages to seem believable.  Even Walt confronting the much younger Asian and black kids in the neighborhood didn't seem as absurd as I'd feared when I first saw the previews.  And the end really comes as a surprise, especially for those who remember Eastwood from the Dirty Harry pictures, though I'm not sure his plan would really work in real life.

BTW, an interesting fact is Eastwood was one of the first to take advantage of new tax credits to film in the actual Detroit area instead of trying to have Toronto or Vancouver sub as the Motor City.

My score:  75/100 (3 stars)

Metacritic score:  72/100 (3 stars)



I keep waiting for the Pixar movie that's finally going to let me down.  But they do it yet again with "Up."  A sweet movie that still manages to tackle some grown up issues.  The movie itself is completely implausible, but only an idiot expects what is ostensibly a kid's movie to be plausible.

In really the most touching part of the movie, it begins with a montage about how young Carl Fredricksen (voice of Ed Asner) comes to meet Ellie.  They both worship adventurer Charles Muntz (voice of Christopher Plummer) who goes to South America in search of a rare bird back in the '30s.  Carl and Ellie go from best friends to husband and wife and dream of someday joining Muntz in Paradise Falls.  But someday never comes for Ellie.  So on the verge of being thrown in a retirement home, Carl ties a bunch of balloons to his house and floats away.  He has a stowaway in Wilderness Explorer Russell, who has no choice but to accompany Carl to Paradise Falls.  When Carl finally gets to Paradise Falls and meets his idol, he discovers his hero has feet of clay.

As I said, this is a really sweet movie that is enjoyable for the kids without all the gross out fart gags prevalent in "Shrek" and other computer animated kids movies.  At the same time it also deals with loss, love, and loneliness in a way that kids and adults can understand.  Basically if you liked "Wall-E" then you'll like this too.

My score:  100/100 (4 stars)

Metacritic score:  88/100 (3.5 stars)

That is all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Alien Trespass

Those who are old enough to remember nights at the drive-in would probably remember the type of B-movie "Alien Trespass" aspires to be. For the younger generation, it's like something you'd see on "Mystery Science Theater 3000" only without Crowe T. Robot, Tom Servo, and Joel/Mike in the front row cracking wise. Though it doesn't achieve B-movie perfection, it is a fun little movie.

The movie starts off with an introduction by the former head of a fictitious studio that in the '50s produced a movie called "Alien Trespass" that was supposed to be the greatest sci-fi film of its time, up there with classics like "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Except before the studio could release the film, there was a contract dispute with the film's star, M. Eric "Merrick" McCormack, the supposed grandfather of "Will & Grace" and "Free Enterprise" star Eric McCormack. The film was hidden away for over 50 years until a construction crew uncovers it and now at long last it can be screened. (This is of course all a put on.)

The actual film begins on a night in the small town of Mojave. Dr. Ted Lewis (McCormack) works at the local observatory but during a meteor shower is spending some romantic time with his wife. After a little roll in one of their twin beds, Dr. Lewis is watching the meteor shower when he sees one crash on the butte nearby. When Lewis gets up there, he encounters a crashed flying saucer and an alien in a silver space suit who looks sort of like GORT from "The Day the Earth Stood Still."

Nearby, Dick and Penny are making out at Lookout Point when they think they see a strange monster with one arm and tentacles. They run away and shrug it off until the next morning when their friend convinces them to go back for a closer look. Meanwhile, Lewis returns home, but his wife notices he's acting very strangely. For one thing he starts speaking about himself in third person saying things like, "Ted loves Lana." This freaks her out enough that she goes to find a doctor.

Though the cops refuse to believe the kids about the monster, they eventually suspect something's going on when people start disappearing, leaving behind only puddles of goo. Meanwhile, Lewis goes off in search of the monster with the help of a waitress named Tammy. But will he be able to find the monster before it begins splitting and devouring the town and then the world?

This movie was fun to watch and as I said at the beginning, it's in that B-movie mold you might still be able to catch on TV late at night. There's no point in criticizing the silly story or hammy acting because that's the whole point of the thing. Nor can you fault the rubber-suit monster or other lame effects, because that's how it's supposed to be.

Really though my main criticism is that some of the effects (notably the flying saucer when it's flying around) aren't lame enough. The ship should have looked like spray-painted paper plates on a string or something like that. Another thing is that with the gag at the beginning about this being a film recovered from the '50s, the film quality should have been grainier. As it stands, the picture looks much too clear to be over 50 years old, most of which has been spent in the ground. Maybe we're supposed to believe someone cleaned it up first, but why? The gag would have worked better if it looked more like a drive-in movie.

Anyway, it only clocks in at 80 minutes, so it doesn't take up much time. If you want to relive some campy B-movie fun, this movie is for you. Just remember not to take it seriously.

That is all.

My score: 63/100 (2.5 stars)

Metacritic score: 48/100 (2 stars)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

GI JOE: The Rise of COBRA

Growing up, GI JOE was always my #2 favorite action figure (sometimes lower than that) behind Transformers. I'm not sure how to explain that, except that Transformers were cool giant robots and GI JOEs were just little dudes with tiny weapons that were always getting lost--and half the time the rubber bands holding the JOEs together would break. (Seriously, my brother and I had a whole bag full of dismembered JOES.) Anyway, this pattern repeats itself in that I didn't really like GI JOE: The Rise of COBRA as much as "Transformers" in 2007. Though I did like it better than "Transformers 2" because it's shorter and doesn't have all the dumb gross-out gags and as bad of racist stereotypes.

The movie begins with a prologue showing that the MacCullen clan in Scotland has a long tradition of selling weapons to both sides of a conflict and that one of the clan was the Man in the Iron Mask. James MacCullen keeps the tradition alive by running MARS, which makes 70% of the world's weapons systems. His latest triumph are missiles loaded with tiny robots that devour metal called nanomites.

Transporting a load of nanomites from the factory in a former Soviet republic to a NATO base is the job of Duke, Rip Cord, and a team of NATO troops. Unfortunately the NATO team is ambushed and everyone except Duke (Channing Tatum) and Rip Cord (Marlon Wayans) killed by the Baroness (Sienna Miller), an old flame of Duke's. They're saved by an elite ultra-secret unit known as GI JOE. Like a military Dream Team, GI JOE is made up of the best soldiers from every country. Charter members include British weapons specialist Heavy Duty, Moroccan communications expert Breaker, American intelligence officer Scarlet, and Japanese ninja Snake Eyes. They're lead by General Hawk (Dennis Quaid) who invites Duke and Rip Cord to audition for the team.

After the bad guys infiltrate JOE headquarters in the Egyptian desert to steal the warheads, it becomes a chase to get the warheads back before they destroy the world. This leads Duke and the gang to Paris and other places. In the process, Duke finds out what happened to the Baroness and her brother Rex (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) during a mission in Africa four years earlier.

I really wanted to dislike this movie, but I couldn't. It delivers exactly what it promises in pretty much non-stop action. The story is paper-thin and doesn't always make a lot of sense, but only the most uptight critic would expect anything more. Really, when it's made by the guy who did the first two Brendan Fraser "Mummy" movies and "Van Helsing" what can you expect?

Still, there were a couple of things I couldn't ignore. First, Channing Tatum sucks. he mumbles his way through the movie and with as much emotion or charisma as a WWE star. Really, couldn't they have gotten John Cena or one of those guys for the role? Also, why does Snake Eyes have a mouth on his suit? He doesn't talk! Not ever! A mouth on his costume is as superfluous as nipples on the Batsuit.

Also, from a pure JOE fanboy point of view, the Baroness isn't supposed to have a heart of gold. We didn't need an origin story for COBRA Commander or Snake Eyes, though it is kind of fun watching 8 year olds whaling on each other. And JOEs don't have robotic Iron Man suits--that's for Transformers. Though you have to appreciate them working in the "Knowing is Half the Battle" line from the old PSAs after each episode.

But really, if you want a popcorn movie filled with a lot of action, then GI JOE gives you exactly that--and not much more.

And now you know; and knowing is half the battle.

My score: 50/100 (2 stars)

Metacritic score: 32/100 (1 star)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Eastern Promises

Most movies, for instance "Transformers 2," are far too bloated and could use a good half-hour or more (in the case of "Transformers 2" much more) cut out. It's rare that I actually think a movie should go longer. Such is the case, though, with "Eastern Promises."

The movie starts off with the execution of a Russian man in a London barber shop. Meanwhile, a young girl stumbles into a pharmacy, pleading for help before she collapses and goes into labor. The girl dies in childbirth, but the baby survives.

How these two seemingly unconnected events connect is the focus of the rest of the film. Anna Ivanova (Naomi Watts) is a midwife at the hospital who helped deliver the girl's baby. No one at the hospital knows who the girl is and if they don't find out soon, the baby will be given over to the foster care system. Anna finds a diary among the girl's effects, but the problem is the diary is written in Russian.

Lucky for her that she has a Russian uncle, except that he gets grumpy and reluctant to translate it. Then Anna finds the card for a local Russian restaurant called TransSiberian. She goes there and talks with the kindly old owner, who promises to help her. Outside, she finds a driver named Nicolai (Viggo Mortensen) admiring her motorcycle. No, they don't fall madly in love. This isn't that kind of movie.

As it turns out, Nicolai is also a part-time enforcer for the local Russian Mafia syndicate, run by the seemingly kindly old restaurant owner. At the moment the don is having some trouble with his son because of that barber shop murder. What's inside the diary only makes things worse and puts Anna and her family in danger.

There's more to it, but I won't spoil that for you. Though I can say that if you watched "Lord of the Rings" and ever wanted to see Aragorn's butt and junk you'll be thrilled. Me, not so much. (And if we were going to get gratuitous shots of Viggo Mortensen naked, could we at least have gotten a Naomi Watts nude scene to balance it out? I hate to sound like a pig, but come on!)

Anyway, as I mentioned at the beginning, I felt this could have gone longer than its 100 minutes running time, especially because of a surprise twist near the end. As it stands, the movie ends with some things left up in the air and the romance (such as it is) between Anna and Nicolai doesn't really get anywhere.

It is a fascinating crime/gangster drama, though perhaps not exactly up there with "The Godfather." If you liked "The Departed" or "Road to Perdition" then you will probably like this one too. And maybe you'll think this movie promised a little more than it delivered.

That is all.

My score: 62/100 (2.5 stars)

Metacritic score: 82/100 (3.5 stars)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

State of Play

You know a thriller is a good thriller when you feel you should watch it twice to make sense of it all. Such was the case for me with "State of Play." The first time I watched it I wasn't sure I really understood what happened, so I watched it again to make sure. With an action movie that would be considered a weakness, but thrillers like this are supposed to have the kinds of twists and turns that leave you second-guessing yourself.

The story begins with a young assistant to Congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) dying on a subway platform in DC. It's soon uncovered that Collins and the girl were having an intimate relationship.

At first the media describes it as a suicide but Collins goes to his old college roommate Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe), an old-school investigative journalist for the Washington Globe--a thinly-veiled Washington Post--to say he thinks the girl was murdered. McAffrey is already investigating the murders of a purse-snatcher and a pizza delivery guy in an alley. On the surface these seem completely unrelated, but of course they aren't.

Cal gets some help in his investigation from Della Frye (Rachel McAdams) a blogger for the paper's online side. So as a subplot we have the changing world of journalism from print to pixels, not to mention from ethics to profit. Della delves into the girl's sordid personal life while Cal digs into PointCorp, a Blackwater-type private security outfit Collins has been holding hearings on.

Before long Cal and Della are getting in over their heads and unsure of who, if anyone to trust. And that's really all I'll say so as not to spoil too many of the twists and turns.

Overall this was to me a well put together movie and with Crowe, Affleck, and supporting players like Helen Mirren, Robin Wright Penn, Jeff Daniels, and Jason Bateman there's plenty of talent, none of which really disappointed me. Like any good thriller, there were times when I thought for sure I had it all figured out only to realize (like the reporters in the movie) that I didn't. That's part of the reason I wanted to go back and see it again to see what I might have missed.

On a side note, the congressman's aide could almost be considered the film's MacGuffin. That's a plot element that sets things into motion but in a broader sense doesn't really matter. Basically all the girl does is walk from her apartment to the train platform; her only lines come in the form of voice mail. So it's kind of funny that she causes everything to happen and yet has almost no screen time whatsoever.

Anyway, as far as political thrillers go, I liked this and would recommend watching it--twice.

That is all.

My score: 75/100 (3 stars)

Metacritic score: 64/100 (2.5 stars)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pieces of April & Rachel Getting Married

Through some quirk of fate or chance or whatever, two of the movies I received from Blockbuster this week had a lot of parallels. In particular both films feature a black sheep daughter trying to atone and make amends during a family get together. So I figure I might as well review them together. We'll do this in chronological order.


Remember when Katie Holmes was more than Mrs. Cruise and Suri's mommy and frequent cover girl of tabloids and US Weekly? If not, "Pieces of April" from 2003 might be a good reminder. At the very least, with Thanksgiving approaching it's a timely film to watch.

The movie centers around Holmes's character, the eponymous April. After years of drug abuse, terrible boyfriends, and just in general mayhem, April has settled into a New York apartment with a new boyfriend, Bobby (Derek Luke) who seems to be The One. She decides to demonstrate this change by inviting her family to the apartment for Thanksgiving.

Her family lives in suburban Pennsylvania or somewhere like that, necessitating a five hour drive to the Big Apple. April's mother (Patricia Clarkson) is apprehensive and cynical, expecting everything to be a disaster, as does April's brown-nosing sister. April's father (Oliver Platt) is more hopeful. Making things more interesting on the long trip is that the mother is suffering from breast cancer, which requires frequent stops for her to throw up and light up some medical pot. And there's also the senile grandmother along for the ride.

Things are shaping up to be a disaster, especially when she finds out her oven isn't working. This necessitates a mad scramble throughout the building to find someone who will let her use her oven. By the time all is said and done, I'm not sure I'd want to eat the bird for fear of what germs might have got on it along the way.

Clocking in at less than 90 minutes, this movie is brisk but enjoyable. There's not really a lot of weeping and teeth-gnashing and screaming, so that while it's not extremely light-hearted, it's not gloomy either. And there's a good message about love, family, and forgiveness. So I guess you could say this movie is no turkey.

My score: 75/100 (3 stars)

Metacritic score: 70/100 (3 stars)


It's a wedding instead of Thanksgiving dinner that's the centerpiece of "Rachel Getting Married," as should be obvious from the title. Kym Buchanan after years of drug abuse, drinking, and just in general mayhem is checking out of rehab for the weekend for her sister's wedding.

Almost immediately she visits a local AA meeting, where she meets Kiernan, who turns out to also be the best man and almost immediately she and Kiernan are having sex in the basement. While Kym doesn't sabotage the wedding in any huge way, she does hamper things with her overly dramatic, me-first behavior, such as demanding to be made the maid of honor despite having had no input on the wedding.

Kym's presence reopens some old wounds, especially with her and her mother (Debra Winger) over something that happened before Kym went into rehab. But there are good times as well with lots of dancing and singing and competitive dishwasher loading.

There's not much else I could really say about the plot without giving too much away. I thought this movie was interesting, but not overly great. Parts of it dragged, especially the rehearsal dinner toasts and during the reception. There's not too many "Bridezilla" moments except a tantrum at the hair salon and it avoids the cliches about cold feet and such.

There is to some extent the same message about love, family, and forgiveness only with a slightly darker ending.

My score: 50/100 (2 stars)

Metacritic score: 82/100 (3.5 stars)

Overall, I'd say if you want something lighter and funnier than go with the former and if you want more serious fare go with the latter.

That is all.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Sasquatch Gang

There are good independent films out there. There are even good independent films about nerds, such as "Free Enterprise." Then there's "The Sasquatch Gang," which I unfortunately stumbled across on Showtime one morning and decided to rent so I could watch the whole thing.

The movie is written and directed by Tim Skousen, the first assistant director on the surprise hit, "Napoleon Dynamite." It also has at least one of the same producers and also Jon Gries (Uncle Rico in Napoleon) as a sheriff and a cameo by Napoleon Dynamite himself, Jon Heder.

The material is similar to that movie as well. Like the titular hero of the aforementioned "Napoleon Dynamite," this film revolves around an immature doofus. In this case it's a teenager named Gavin, whose idea of a good time is to stage battles on his front lawn with his chubby friend Hobie and androgynous friend Maynard. They make swords, maces, and phallic instruments that I think are supposed to be spears, out of duct tape and plastic tubing. Then there's Sophie, a clerk at the local video store who thinks she's fat and so has her dentist uncle wire her jaw shut. She also has a crush on Gavin and so they go on a "date" where he teaches her to sword fight.

Now you're probably wondering, what does Sasquatch have to do with anything? Well, one day Gavin, his friends, and Sophie are walking in the woods when they find a big pile of poop and some larger-than-normal footprints. They call the sheriff, who in turn alerts the media, which in turn prompts Dr. Artemis Snodgross (Apollo Creed himself, Carl Weathers) to show up to evaluate the find.

Except the poop and footprints are fake, which would be a spoiler if not for the jumbled timeline the film uses, which actually discloses this crucial fact early on. Mullet-wearing Zerk (Justin Long of Mac commercial fame) is about to have his prized Firebird repoed for racking up $1000 on his credit card (he bought $5 of fast food six years earlier and then never paid the bill, which is probably one of the movie's funnier points) and so with his shirtless friend Shirts, decide to stage the hoax to raise money by selling Bigfoot poop and prints on Ebay.

Then there's some fuzzy story point about if the find turns out to be a hoax that Gavin will have to give away his prized video collection to his nemesis Shane. Yes, though this is supposed to be 2005 he has a collection of videotapes and Sophie's store still rents VHS tapes. I guess DVD technology hadn't reached the Oregon woods yet.

This is all similar to "Napoleon Dynamite" as I said early on, but really it seems like a pale imitation. While Napoleon was the charming tale of an immature doofus (and the immature doofuses around him) finding love and acceptance, there's no such fairy tale story to embrace here. Mostly the story is a confusing mess that probably smells as bad as Bigfoot's poo. The acting by pretty much all involved is just as bad.

You'd probably have to go out of your way to find this movie unless it's showing on Showtime or you have Netflix. Don't go to the effort.

BTW, on a side note the ending credits call the movie "The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang." I'm not sure what's up with that, except maybe the studio decided to shorten the title and no one changed the credits.

That is all.

My score: 40/100 (1.5 stars) (Though it was probably more fun than "Adventureland.")

Metacritic score: 57/100 (2.5 stars)

Monday, November 9, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Maybe someone can help me out here and tell me about a decent prequel that has ever been made. I'm sure someone, some time has made one--I just can't think of one. "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (there's quite a mouthful) doesn't qualify.

If you know nothing about comics or movies, Wolverine is a character first introduced in the "X-Men" series of comics back in the '70s. He has cool metal claws that come out of his hands when he gets mad--which happens a lot. He can also regenerate, which comes in handy if the Incredible Hulk rips him in half, as happened in a recent comic book series. When the X-Men made the leap to the big screen in 2000, Wolverine was played by Hugh Jackman as gruff loner with cool metal claws and regenerative powers and also amnesia. In "X2" some of Wolverine's past was revealed when he uncovered the former lab of William Stryker, who performed experiments on mutants. So now you're up to speed.

Since making "X4" was too difficult, the studio decided to bring Jackman back to reprise Wolverine, only in this case to describe how he became everyone's favorite Canadian superhero. The movie starts with a prologue in 1845 in the Canadian Rockies, when young James Logan has a Luke Skywalker moment and also finds out cool bone claws spring from his hands when he gets mad. Together with his brother (or half-brother maybe, I'm not sure) Victor, aka Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber), Logan goes on for whatever reason to fight in every American war of the next 120 years from the Civil War on to Vietnam in a montage similar to the one used more effectively in "Watchmen."

With all of that out of the way the real story begins in the early '70s or so. Logan and Victor get found out by the Army and sentenced to death until a man named Major William Stryker (Danny Huston taking the role played by Brian Cox in "X2") steps in to offer them a License to Kill by doing the government's dirty work. While Victor enjoys this, Logan decides that 130 years of killing is enough and after a mission to Africa to locate meteor fragments containing a strange alien metal, he goes off the grid in the Canadian Rockies. There he lives with a schoolteacher named Kayla (Lynn Collins) and all seems happy.

But of course we know it can't stay that way because we've seen the other three movies. So it's no surprise when Victor shows up and kills Kayla. This drives Logan over the edge so that he makes a deal with Stryker to get adamantium (made from that alien metal found in Africa) injected into his body so that he can kill Victor. When Stryker tries to double-cross him, Logan goes on the run. Eventually more of Stryker's dirty deeds are uncovered, which leads to a battle at a certain nuclear plant that became famous in the late '70s. Along the way some mutants not seen in the previous movies like Gambit are introduced and younger versions of some shown in the previous movies like Cyclops are shown.

Like most prequels I found it hard to care much about any of this. The problem with prequels like this or the "Star Wars" ones is that it was never essential to know the background of the character. How many people besides rabid fanboys really cared how Darth Vader became Darth Vader? After over 8 mostly dull hours we found out, but did it satisfy anyone? In the same vein, how many people were really hankering to find out how Wolverine became Wolverine? Probably not many.

Like other prequels it does sort of in a half-baked way answer the big questions about Wolverine's origins. At the same time like any prequel made almost a decade after the source material it leaves other nagging questions, such as why Sabretooth looks completely different from the first film and seems not to really know his brother.

I suppose if you just want to appreciate this on the popcorn level it's slightly less boring and annoying than "Transformers 2." That's not saying much. Though I thought the effects looked pretty cheap, the kind you can tell were all done on computers. Notably was a scene where Logan and Kayla are in their El Camino and it's so obvious they were surrounded by a blue/green screen that I nearly laughed. And apparently the writers/producers/director didn't bother doing any homework or they'd have realized that HumVees did not go into service until 1985 and didn't even begin development until 1981, both coming after when this movie is supposed to be taking place. Is it that hard to find some old Jeeps these days? As well, it seems unlikely the technology for creating Weapon X (Wolvie's codename) would exist in the '70s when most computers still took up whole rooms.

Most damning though is still the absence of any yellow spandex. Though you have to admire the craftsmanship of the leather jacket he wears, which apparently survives the next 20 years.

That is all.

My score: 50/100 (2 stars)

Metacritic score: 43/100 (1.5 stars)