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Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Review

SWE2 CoverStar Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Released: May 16, 2002

Rated: PG

Runtime: 142 Minutes

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is part 2 in the newer Star Wars trilogy. It is widely considered to be the “female favorite” due to the heavy emphasis on Anakin and Padme’s forbidden romance. Well, it would be pretty cool if it wasn’t filled to the brim with cliches and silliness. Aside from that, Episode II offers plenty of fun and thrills to please hardcore Star Wars fans, but one should not expect to be vastly impressed. It’s better than Episode I but worse than Episode III. The characters are developed a little better and this time around, there is more action and tense moments. As you watch, it is inevitable something is awry in the galaxy and it sets up Episode III pretty well. On the flip side, things tend to seem superficial with head-scratching dialogue and subpar acting and directing. The improved CGI helps bring Episode II to life, but an over-reliance on it is off-putting. Regardless of its flaws, the tense moments, political intrigue, great characters and grand production values help Episode II improve upon its predecessor.

SWE2 scene 3
Since when did Nicholas Sparks start directing Star Wars?


+Less of Jar Jar Binks

+Obi-Wan develops into one awesome Jedi

+Many great characters

+Strong performances by McGregor, Jackson and McDiarmid

+CGI Yoda

+More lightsaber battles

+Political themes and storylines are mature and engrossing


-Romance between Anakin and Padme is silly at times and full of cliches

-Story is bogged down by the romantic aspect of the film

-More poor dialogue just like Episode I

-Casting of Hayden Christensen as Anakin is questionable

-The script is just as jagged as Episode I

-Some poor performances


3.5 out of 5

SWE2 scene 1
One of the best scenes in the new Star Wars trilogy!

Faith Advisory:

-Some violence

-Some provocative outfits worn by Padme

-Occasional kissing

Faith Verdict:

3.5 out of 5

Dark Skies Review

Dark Skies CoverDark Skies is a passable horror film. The script is weak and the performances are subpar. The story drags and simply isn’t very interesting. This is coming from a fan of alien movies. Yes, there are a couple scares here and there, but the latter part of the film bogs down and it all becomes disappointing, especially when you finally “see” what has been haunting the family. Overall, I just didn’t enjoy Dark Skies. Watch Signs instead.

2 out of 5

Thor: The Dark World Review

imageReview by contributor Austin Winkler

Thor: The Dark World is a super hero film directed by Alan Taylor and stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, and Anthony Hopkins. The story involves Thor (Hemsworth) trying to bring balance to the galaxy as the hordes of The Dark Elves scour the cosmos for an ancient super weapon called “The Aether.” While many disagree, I believe this film was an improvement upon its predecessor. It’s filled to the brim with action and you get to see Thor in all his glory: smashing things to rubble with his almighty hammer. While the first Thor brought an interesting idea to mind in taking Thor’s powers away, it was slow in several areas. This one is interesting all the way through and never grows stale. The acting is great on all ends of the spectrum, but Tom Hiddleston’s performance as Loki stands out the most to me. He owns his part and steals the show with every appearance. The roles of Jane Foster’s (Portman) associates seem forced into the movie, but I can’t deny it adds a comedic and light-hearted relief.

Thor Dark World Scene 1
Chris Hemsworth as Thor

The story is interesting as well. It may seem unoriginal compared to other films of the same genre, but the after-credits scene lets the audience know the film was building up the next idea out of Marvel Studio’s arsenal (Guardians of the Galaxy!!!). Be sure to not leave too early. My only real complaint about this movie is the enemy. He was very uninteresting and simply bland. He had no personality, and no true motivation. The film needed more connection between the heroes and villains.

Bottom Line, Thor: The Dark World is a genuinely entertaining movie and can be enjoyed by almost everyone. Marvel never seems to fail and the studio’s future projects have me anxiously waiting.

4 out of 5

Wade’s Thoughts:

I just saw this movie thanks to my good friend and fellow movie lover, Austin, who coincidentally wrote the original review for this film. I watched it in glorious 3D on Blu-Ray. I never was a huge Thor fan. Heck, I thought the the first Thor movie was merely “okay”. I didn’t have high hopes going in this time, but when it was all said and done, I was shocked to find I thoroughly enjoyed Thor: The Dark World. It packs fierce action sequences, ones that show off Thor’s awesomeness. Chris Hemsworth was the perfect role for Thor. He just owns it. I thought this time around, Thor, as a character, was more mature, more intelligent and more calculated. I like this version of him much more than his old self, as shown in the first movie. The relationship between himself and Natalie Portman’s character boasts great chemistry and always brings out Thor’s human side. Loki is awesome as always and we see a totally different side of him this time around. That was pretty refreshing. Malekith is the main villain here, but isn’t a very interesting or intimidating one. Kurse is way more imposing and frightening. The special effects are excellent. The movie does a fantastic job of making you feel as if you’re right in the middle of the action. The latter part of the film has some especially cool action and fight scenes too.

Hemsworth as Thor and Hopkins as Odin
Hemsworth as Thor and Hopkins as Odin

Thor: The Dark World has some silly moments such as stupid little romances (yes, the one involving Kat Dennings) and some cliches here and there, but has so many other cool, fresh elements to phase them out. I was very impressed with this film. It’s one of my new favorite super hero movies. I will definitely purchase the 3D Blu-Ray pack and I suggest you check it out as well, if you haven’t already.

4 out of 5

Review: The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises

Released July 20, 2012

Rated PG-13

Directed By Christopher Nolan

Starring Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, and Anne Hathaway

165 Minutes

The Dark Knight Rises is one of the most anticipated films of 2012. It has a lot to live up to after the stellar “Dark Knight” releases back in 2008. This is the third and final film of the Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy. Christian Bale is back as the Dark Knight, Tom Hardy plays the vicious villain known as Bane, and Anne Hathaway is here as Catwoman. Also appearing are Morgan Freeman as Fox, Joseph Gordon Levitt as Blake, Marion Cotillard as Miranda, Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon, and of course, Michael Caine as Alfred. Does The Dark Knight Rises live up to all the hype?

The answer to that last question is an emphatic “Yes”. The Dark Knight Rises delivers on nearly every level and hits on all eight cylinders at all times. There is never a dull moment. Every single scene contributes to the overall production and that’s what makes it so great. It manages to do this, even while having a staggering 165-minute runtime. This is an extremely difficult thing to do. Christian Bale is stellar as always as Batman, and Anne Hathaway proves a welcome addition as Catwoman. She does a great job embracing the character, doing a lot better than most would expect. The cast is filled with talent. Bane is one of the most menacing characters in the Batman universe, and Tom Hardy cements that idea here. His voice, at first, may sound laughable, but as you learn Bane’s evil intentions and see what he is capable of, the voice goes from funny to terrifying. It’s one of the most unique you will hear from a villain or any other character. Bane ranks near the top, falling short of only the Joker as one of the most acclaimed Batman villains of all time. All of the characters also seem to mesh together extremely well.

Aside from the fabulous cast and performances, The Dark Knight Rises succeeds in brilliantly mixing quality entertainment with fanfare and is consistent in nearly every category. It manages to keep you on the edge of your seat and most of all, cheering on one of our all time favorite super heroes. The film’s storyline is sculpted with precision and told wonderfully. Every bit and piece is significant to the story arch. The film also packs a significant emotional punch, making for a wonderful viewing experience.

The special effects in The Dark Knight Rises are simply remarkable. From a transforming motorcycle to a futuristic-looking aircraft piloted by Batman, it’s all beautiful and just plain cool. There’s also plenty of action, face-offs, and drama. Gunfights are intense, seeing Batman and Bane go toe to toe is exhilarating, and watching the drama of Gotham City unfold is pure entertainment.

The Dark Knight Rises doesn’t get much wrong. It goes down as one of the best Batman movies of all time, alongside 2008’s “The Dark Knight”.  The film is entertaining, emotional, and extravagant. It boasts a spectacular cast, remarkable directing, a deep story, solid special effects, and profound emotional depth. Christopher Nolan has created a gem in The Dark Knight Rises, but also in the series as a whole. It easily ranks as one of the best film trilogies of all time. Until we see the caped crusader on the big screen again, we will continue to bask in the glory of his last three marvelous adventures.


4.5 out of 5

Contributor Austin Winkler’s Review

The Dark Knight Rises is the conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. The film was named one of the most anticipated movies of the year by tons of critics and movie-goers, including me. It hit theaters on July 20th, 2012.

Set eight years after the events of the previous movie, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has retired for his work as the masked vigilante known as Batman. He has grown old and contracted a couple physical issues, like losing cartilage in his knees. Bane (Tom Hardy) arises as Gotham’s newest criminal and hatches a maniacal plot to blow up the city with a nuclear bomb. Now, Batman must arise from his hibernation and put an end to his reign of terror.

In the manner I just displayed the story, it sounds like there isn’t much to it, but I didn’t want any spoilers in this review. The story goes much deeper than what I just described. If you’ve seen the other movies of Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, you should know what I’m talking about. This one in particular took us deeper than any of its predecessors. For example, The Dark Knight never showed The Joker before he was The Joker, but in The Dark Knight Rises, it goes through almost all of the character’s personal lives and what molded them into what they are now. Each cast member played their part effectively and Nolan’s directing along with the special effects were evenly great.

There are only a couple of things that are making this movie run short of perfection. One of them is the pacing. There were a few moments in the movie that weren’t needed and were unnecessarily drug out. Another thing was that while the script was great, there were a couple lines that were just absolutely cheesy. It provided the audience a laugh, but it throws the actors out of character. Also, this may sound like a bit of an opinion rather than a con, but Bane’s voice needed more “bass” to it. Bane is this monstrous brute of a human being. His voice in the movie sounded more like a maniac than a brute. However, this did match his character in some aspects. He was a combination of brawn and brain. He had a genius level of intellect which came into play in a lot of the scenes in the film. However, it’s a little awkward looking at a brute talking with a higher-octave voice.

Bottom line, this movie is absolutely great. Despite its flaws that can easily be overlooked, this movie delivers and makes for a fantastic end to the trilogy. It left me wanting more! Everyone needs to make it a priority to see it in theaters and buy it on Blu-ray! It’s a movie that just can’t be missed!

Austin’s Score:

4.5 out of 5