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"The Smurfs" We are so smurfed!

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, The Smurfs 2011J. David Stem,David N. WeissRaja GosnellNeil Patrick Harris,Jayma Mays,Anton Yelichin,Hank Asaria,Kate Perry,Alan Cumming Bitter,Bitterometer,meter The Smurfs(2011)
 

This smurfing smurfed project was probably smurfed from inception, but I’ll be smurfed if I ever have to sit through it or a smurfing sequel ever smurfing again.

Ok, now that we’ve got all that smurfing bull-smurf out of the way we can move on with the review. You can assume that we judged this movie in advance. Unprofessional, sure, but the minute our asses hit the seats we were open to whatever strange surprise we’d get. Were we surprised? You bet your smurf we were, only for reasons we didn’t think.

The story is about Gargamel and his obsession over getting the Smurfs, so he can grind them up and turn them into some powerful juju. Fair enough, he wants to be the most powerful and boring wizard in all of… wherever they live. The Smurfs run away once discovered during a blue moon (sigh) and have to jump into a mysterious vortex to evade Gargamel and Azrael. The Smurfs end up in New York, which sounds like a brilliant (as in terrible) idea. Neil Patrick Harris, somehow begging for film work already, runs into the Smurfs and helps them in the process.

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The Bitter gets our damned, stinking dirty paws all over Rise of the Planet of the Apes!!!

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Rise of the Planet of the Apes 2011Rick Jaffa, Amanda SilverRupert WyattJames Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida PintoPierre Boulle (novel Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Rise of the Planet of the Apes(2011)
 

The Summer of 2011 says sayonara with another prequel in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” “Rise” follows the storyline of the original series (with some astute references to the Charlton Heston classic), detailing how the apes enhanced cognitive thought, their subsequent fight for freedom, and the beginning of humanity’s fall. Set in modern day San Francisco, Will (James Franco) is a young scientist who zealously strives to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, the disease that plagues his father Charles (John Lithgow). Experimenting on Chimpanzees, Will’s project takes a dire turn when one the test subjects, Bright Eyes, wrecks havoc in the laboratory. Told to shut down by money-hungry CEO Jacobs (David Oyelowo), Will finds out that Bright Eyes was pregnant. Taking the newborn chimp under his wing, Will realizes the infant is endowed with intellect never seen in a primate.

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Zombies Go Wild on Camera (again) for Rec 2!!!

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Rec 2 2009Paco Plaza, Manu Díez, Jaume Balagueró	Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza	Jonathan Mellor, Manuela Velasco Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Rec 2(2009)
 

“Rec,” by the Spaniard tandem of Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza, was among the best modern horror movies about the walking dead. Picking up after Danny Boyle’s slick “28 Days Later” injected the Zombie genre with a slick urgency, “Rec” took that to a maniatical, claustrophobic level. The bloodletting fear taking place inside the annals of a Barcelonian condominium was heighten by the use of a handheld camera, making “Rec” a must for those who love the undead. Now, Balagueró and Plaza return to the unnerving confines of that same condominium with “Rec 2,” a sequel so fast-paced it makes its predecessor move like S. William Hinzman’s original flesh-eater.

This time around, the fodder comes in the form of an Elite SWAT team lead by Jefe (Óscar Zafra), a no-b.s bunch ready to go when they are led into the apartments by Dr. Owen (Jonathan Mellor). Perceiving their mission to rescue survivors and contain the disease, soon the SWAT discover they are part of Dr. Owens’ own mission, one that could end the infection. Unfortunately for Dr. Owen and crew, those damn zombies keep coming at them, not to mention an unexpected group of kids whose meddling worsens their predicament.

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The Mesrine Saga shows that the French do have Grandes Boules!!!

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Mesrine: The Killer Instinct/Public Enemy #1 2008Jean-François Richet, Abdel Raouf DafriJean-François RichetVincent CasselJacques Mesrine (novel Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Mesrine: The Killer Instinct/Public Enemy #1(2008)
 

Vincent Cassel is a bad-ass. Any man who claims Italian Goddess Monica Bellucci his own while outshining George Clooney and Brad Pitt in “Ocean’s 12” deserves such entitlement. Cassel, whose made a career out of playing thieves in his native France, has an innate deviance behind his striking presence that one wonders if he would've taken a life of crime if not for his thespian talents.

Fittingly, Cassel is the only choice imaginable for the role of Jacques Mesrine, an infamous French outlaw whose two decade reign in the criminal underworld included numerous bank robberies, murders, and perhaps his ultimate claim to fame, four prison escapes. Mesrine, whose unrepentant criminal ways were matched by his undeniable charisma and cynical humor, makes him deserving of a cinematic testimony. Two movies on his antics are delivered, “The Killer Instinct” and “Public Enemy #1”. So, is this iconic gangster’s legend worth the “deux” treatment?

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part Deux! The end at last!

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 2011David YatesDaniel Radcliffe,Rupert Grint,Emma Watson,Alan Rickman,John Hurts,Ralph Fiennes Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2(2011)
 

At long last it has arrived. After a decade of filmmaking and an aging cast we get the last installment to the Harry Potter series. We’ve seen the cast grow and mature much the same as the characters they play. So after ten years of waiting for an ending does it live up to our expectations? This is a mixed bag, but mostly positive.

Harry Potter and his friends reach the conclusion of their wizardly adventure, at least that we’ll see, and Potter himself must face his final challenge. A simply illustrated description of what is essentially just before and following through the ending of the final book in the series.

Direction of the film by David Yates is good enough, but we still wish someone with more of a grander vision would’ve closed out the series. It’s not that the work is bad, but more that there is such a rich world created by Rowlings that we can imagine how it could be a more creative/intriguing movie. Yates manages to do what has to be done and for the most part delivers what we were hoping for.

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The Avatar Exhibition - as seen at the Sci-Fi Museum

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review,   Bitter,Bitterometer,meter  

The Sci-Fi Museum used to be a place I, JAS, held dear in Seattle. It always had a myriad of artifacts curated from ages of science fiction movie history. As the years have gone it has lost its way and has become a place of two singular (OK, plural, but still) exhibits and has abandoned two great floors of great movie props.

Instead, we are offered up a “Battlestar Galactica” exhibit, which we reviewed HERE and now an “Avatar” Exhibit. Do these two exhibits make up for the public’s loss of years of curated Sci-Fi material? That’s a clear, “No.” The “Battlestar Galactica” exhibit in addition to the one floor that was left of the museum at the time of our initial review was good, but the “Avatar” exhibit that took it place of the decades of props lost is not enough. “Avatar” as a movie (reviewed HERE) was only OK. The exhibit is equally as “OK”.

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Damn Yankee: Captain America gets BB all Patriotic!!!

Bitter, Bitter Balcony, Movie Review, Captain America: The First Avenger 2011Stephen McFeely, Christopher Markus	Joe JohnstonChris Evans, Tommy Lee JonesJack Kirby, Joe Simon Bitter,Bitterometer,meter Captain America: The First Avenger(2011)
 

Among the lowlights from the 1990’s, like wearing your pants and sports jersey backwards or Vanilla Ice’s bottom bargain bin “Cold As Ice,” is Albert Pyun’s horrendous “Captain America.” This film featured J.D Salinger’s son Matt Salinger as the Star Spangled protector and a plastic surgery repaired Red Skull, whose head stays red in the movie as long as Holden Caulfield spends “The Cather in The Rye” not bitter( forgive my weak attempt to link one of America's most beloved writers with a guy who wears our flag's colors as spandex). This early version of “Captain America” hopefully remains in VHS format, so when some fanboy orders a copy from Singapore, TSA would prevent a catastrophic act of terror by simply swiping the video with a magnet. So, if a twenty one year wait for a film to do Cap justice was called for, we are glad to report that Joe Johnston’s new “Captain America: The First Avenger” is a steady action/drama worthy of one of Marvel’s oldest Comic heroes.

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