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Paranormal Activity - Film Review

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Paranormal Activity Poster

In 2006, Katie (Katie Featherstone) and Micah (Micah Sloat), share a house together in a small suburb located in North America. Both Katie and Micah believe the house to be haunted, and to prove this Micah sets up a HD camera on a tripod at the foot of their bed, much to Katie's displeasure. As the hauntings become more frequent, Katie reveals how she had encounters with a similar demonic force throughout her childhood, leading the young couple to believe a demonic being is following Katie. Whilst Micah captures more evidence, Katie's behaviour begins to change night by night, and this doubled by the camera's constant intrusion in their lives puts a strain on their relationship.

Paranormal Activity, the first film by rookie director Oren Peli, has been shot entirely on a hand held camera and was heavily promoted on online sites such as Facebook, before being picked up by Paramount Pictures in 2008. Since then, Paranormal Activity has gone on to gross over $140 million at the box office, a major success compared to its miniscule $15,000 budget, and has been praised as "one of the scariest movies of all time". However, it should suffice to say that Paranormal Activity is the most over blown movie of the year, and stands out as more of a giggle worthy mess then a legitimate horror movie, let alone one of the greatest.

Straight away you can tell that Paranormal Activity is yet another victim of the broken sub genre that is hand held camera work, exploiting the already contrived ideas that worked so well in other movies such as Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project. The main issue with Peli's filming technique is his obsession with placing the camera in even the most minor of scenes, such as an early morning coffee fix or a casual swim outside. The constant intergration of the camera in these pointless moments taking place in broad daylight is meant to build on the idea that this is all real and that these were real people, however detracts from the films horror atmosphere that, for the most part, plays its part fairly consistently.

Paranormal Activity suffer's from a major flaw found in many horror movies today, namely a lack of attention to the main cast, a major issue considering how the film only really has two actors. Micah, the most annoying of the two leads, is your typical brute. He constantly undermines not only Katie's advice, but also a professional psychic sent to help their situation. Peli's main flaw with his characters is the lack of development he gives to them, making it very hard for the audience to show any simpathy towards the two, and not even Featherstone's impressive performance on screen can salvage her boring character.

What will annoy audiences and horror fans alike is just how dull the majority of the film is. Peli relies to much on the cliched scare tactics used in horror films since the birth of the genre. Doors slam, sheets move, and the whole time the audience's reaction will vary between boredom to outright laughter. It begs the question as to whether or not Peli actually watched his film after production wrapped due to its lack of anything truly frightening, until the finale of the film. Simply put, the ending is scary, but its hard to take seriously as it is little more then a horror cliché from yester-year.

Pararnormal Activity tries and fails to breathe some life into the dying horror genre, and instead showcases the very meaning of 'wasted potential'. Cliched and unimaginative, there's just not enough here to keep audiences interested and scare them without the use of cliches. The only really scary thing to be taken away from Paranormal Activity is that this flawed and underdeveloped sub genre will soon take over as the main form of film making in horror films. With a sequal on the way, audiences can do little but hope that the only way from here is up. Don't believe the hype, Paranormal Activity is a real dissapointment.

Sorry!!

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Hey all. First things first- Please shout outsome movies Any Movies for me to review or give advice on. PM me or leave a comment with any moviein cinemas or on DVD.Onwards, just wanted to apologise for the shortage of blogs ive been posting. I have been swamped by homework and tests lately and havent had enough time to review anything. But I have a few reviews in the works - On the game side of things I have a review of Batman : Arkum Asylum and WET coming out. Im also gonna review Dirt 2, ODST and a comparison between Need for Speed Shift and Dirt 2 then a review of Forza 3 to mix it up and add that to the racing comparison. On the movie side of things im going to pump out some reviews of the following - I Love You Man, Angels and Demons, Observe and Report, Up, Harry Potter 6, Transformers 2, Disgrace and My Year Without Sex. So ill be very busy in the coming weeks.

But I have some great news - I recently had a Science Skills Test and scraped up a nice 35/40 (87.5%). I later had a History Skills test and somehow managed to get a 27/30 (90%). And one last bit of news - on a recent Art Assignment I garnered an A for my efforts (considering I restarting the thing the day before, but . . . ). Anyway, watch this space soon and ill be reviewing some more movies and games soon!And keep those review recomendations coming in!

Surrogates - Film Review

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Surrogates International Movie Poster

In the year 2017, humans live in near isolation, rarely leaving the safety and comfort of their own homes. This is all due to a breakthrough in modern technology - robotic human bodies controlled remotely by the controller and known as 'Surrogates', designed as faster, more agile and attractive versions of the users. These Surrogates allow humans to not feel pain no matter what actions take place, and are built under the mundane slogan 'Its Life . . . But Better'. Because of this, crime has dropped down to a record breaking 1% of the original number, but not everyone agrees. These rebels have gone so far as to barricade themselves of from the rest of the world. The film opens with the murder of two people, one the son of the disgraced creater of the first Surrogates, killed via their Surrogates - something unknown in the world of Surrogacy and using as new weapon. FBI Agents Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) and Agent Peters (Radha Mitchell) must work together to destroy this weapon before the killer wipes Surrogacy from the face of the earth.

Based on the largely unknown comic book series, Surrogates is definately an intriguing film with its deeper question - Will mankind keep it humanity as technology rises?. However despite some intersting ideas, the film comes off as shallow and lazy with a plot littered with cliches and miss-matched acting. It tries to have the social commentary of District 9 with the action of Transformers, but ends up a forgettable mess that offers no justification of its existence. With such an interesting plot device and strong potential Director John Mostow really deserves to be applauded for what a mess he made of the whole thing and the way he watered down the level of repectable film-making that other action/sci-fi directors are known for to the point where the whole film is unbearable. Then again, what did I expect from the Director of the satanically bad Terminator 3 : Rise of the Machines being given $80 Million to make this load of utter garbage.

The plot, as mentioned above, is incredibally basic. The cliches visible throughout the film really stand out, by far the most annoying of which being Bruce Willis's character of Tom Greer. He is, essentially, an agingman on the force who doesnt quite approve the use of said new technology and who's marriage has slowly broken down from his grieving of his dead son. Greer is more or less Will Smiths character from I,Robot without the quality or interest. The plot is so predictable that within twenty minutes I had already guessed the 'Giant Plot Twist' at the end of the film. Bruce Willis is little more then decent in his role, although he hasnt built his performance any more then the 2005 film Hostage. Radha Mitchell is very bizarre in her performance as Agent Peters, as she veers wildly between acting like a complete robot to a regular human whilst still plugged into her Surrogate. This is especially odd since Mitchell's last performances were fairly solid compared to her role in Surrogates and shows Mostow's inability to direct a simple cast.

This issue faces the rest of the supporting cast, as Mostow obviously didnt put enough direction into his actors performance. This issue really ditracts from the rest of the film and the entertainment that you may- or probably wont be - having whilst watching. This is even more noticeable in a very peculiar club scene at the beginning of the film, where all the Surrogates dance like complete robots. This makes the rest of the film incredibally laughable. Another thing that really shows the poor direction and use of stereotypesin the film is the portrayal of the rebels against the use of Surrogates as Religious Shotgun Wielding Hicks and Hippies. This is highlighted by the fact that these rebels are lead by 'The Prophet' (Ving Rhames). It was a completely unnecessary and offensive in many ways to the religious community who may be against this technology, as if Surrogates were actually designed a lot more then 1% of all people would have condoned the usage of Surrogates in everyday life.

The special effects in Surrogates are incredibally mediocre at times. The action scenes in Surrogates could have been a lot better and its really dispicable considering that the film has an $80 Million budget and comparing it to the mastery made from District 9's insignificent $30 Million budget. The action scenes look incredibally fake for the most part, especially a scene at the start of the film when a car flips over and slams into a nightclub wall. Also, the use of the illegal weapon being used to kill the people hooked up to their Surrogates looks completely animated and fake. Its a bright blue flash of light that ruins the rest of the action in the film. The Surrogates design looks okay, but the use of a splashing green liquid spurting from their wounds when they are injured was an incredibally odd addition to the Surrogates design. Its strange considering that Terminator 3's robotic design was a lot more dynamic then that of Surrogates and could have been handled much better if Mostow had not tryed this new tack of Robotic Film Design.

Surrogates could have been a great sci-fi action film. However, the film ends up being a lazy mess of poorly designed and mediocre action scenes, terrible acting that doesnt seem to know what form it should take on and a cliched and boring plot. The characters are really boring and dull and adds to the overall poor quality of the film. Honestly, if a stronger Director had been chosen to adapt this comic book from its former source material the film could have gone down as one of the best film of 2009, and also one of the most thought provocing films in our generation in the sci-fi genre such as District 9 or Moon. This could have been done better if Mostow had put some actual effort into his lazy script and actually taken advantage of the potential he had with the films deeper question. The studios use of providing an $80 Million budget for the film was simply disgusting and the films grose of $52 Million makes the effort all the more laughable to look at. Theres definately no reason to watch Surrogates, and only the least critical and impressed-by-any-flashes-of-action type of person will find it to be a serviceable action movie for the winter/spring season.

Overall : 2/5 Stars.

Need for Speed : Shift Review

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Hey all, I have finally posted my review of Need for Speed : Shift up on my blog.I had the original review posted earlier but wasnt exactly satisfied with my score so I adjusted it and went over the review. So I hope you all like my review, and feelfree to leave your comments or recommend it if you think it deserves it. The game is pretty good, but isnt without its flaws. Im thinking of doing a comparison between Shift and DiRT2 once I have a review of it up, and I will alert you of when my review of WET is up and running.

Anyway, I cant wait for Couples Retreat whenever it comes out if anyone knows, and im trying to get Batman : Arkum Asylum when I can next go to EBGames. And I urgently need everyone I sent a Union Request to which should have been sent to your Gamespot Email to accept. Im really excited about starting my union and I need you guys to accept so I can establish it atleast. Cya, Kieran.

Funny People Movie Review

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Funny People Launch Poster

In renowned Director Judd Apatows third feature film, Funny People, follows the character of George Simmons (Adam Sandler), a world famousstand up comedian who dabbles in cheap cash in comedies to scrape up extra cash. After learning he has a rare form of leaukimia, George delivers a dark stand up show and is later mocked on stageby genuinely un-funnyIra Wright (Seth Rogan). George later tracks down Ira and offers him a job as his secretary, hoping to finally have a strong friendship with someone before his life ends. However, the plot soon turns remarkably when George learns that the high level of Red Bull and Experimental Drugs he has been using have cured him of his disease, and he sees life in a new light. Ditching his B-Movie roles and slutty one-night-stands, George goes after the only women he ever truly loved, Laura (Leslie Mann). Problem is, she's now married to Australian husband Clarke (played by Aussie Eric Bana), but is their marriage as strong as they had hoped?

As you can probably tell by my synopsis, Funny People is by far Apatows maturist film yet, and he has really proven that in the pursuit of comedy, nothing is sacred to him. The plot of the film is very interesting, showing George sick then later George on the mend. However the two dont really click as Georges recovery was summed up quite quickly in a matter of minutes. However this isnt to major an issue and doesnt effect the plot to badly. What is a major issue is the films length. Funny People clocks in at almost 3 hours in run time, and it really doesnt need to be as it lingers to long on unimportant issues, like establishing Georges one-night-stands ( a ten minute scene ) but not enough detail on Georges afformentioned recovery. Im still trying to figure out why Apatow didnt cut down the film, as around 30% of the film is unfunny, like some cheesy speeches at a 4th of July Celebration. Probably the most memorable consistent sequences were the hit or miss stand up scenes and the celebrity cameos (with the likes of Eminem, Ray Romano, Andy Dick).

The rest of the film is pure Apatow humour, bizzarre but real. And both Adam Sandler and Seth Rogan are great in their roles, despite some gravelly tone from Sandler. Rogan does a great job at ditching his formerly gross reputation (which he unfortunately re-adopted for his role in the poorly made Observe and Report - ill have a review up for it soon) and makes Ira sympathetic. Eric Bana's role as the Aussie Clarke is great, and some of the films greatest scenes involve him in some way (refering to Australians as people who "Just Kill Things" was a strong joke). Leslie Mann brings a great level of charm on-screen, and its clear that Apatow didnt pick her just because of their marriage as implied in her cameo in The 40 Year Old Virgin. The banter between the always great Jonah Hill and the cocky Jason Swartzman is incredibally good as Ira's more successful roomates. There's even the very nice inclusion of Apatows daughters, seen very memorbaly in Knocked Up, and their acting skills are very solid.

In creating a more mature film Apatow has definately sacrificed some his trademark humour, which is the main problem in Funny People. The extended length and darker tones really make Funny People nowhere near as great as Knocked Up or The 40 Year Old Virginas it is much more of a dramady then a comedy (see what i did there?). Its a shame as if Apatow had cut it down and some some better editing this really could have been a comdedy great. It really is hard to recommend Funny People as a must see like other comedies, and whats even worse is that its very hard to recommend as a rental due to its long length and unfunny (at times) material. Overall, Funny People is a great idea on paper, however the execution is very poor leading to a very strong let down of a comedy. Probably the only thing that salvages Funny People from total mediocrity is the great acting and decent humour for the most part, although its still a waste of watching time by most stretches of the imagination unless your an absolute Apatow Fanboy and cant miss any of his work.

Overall : 3/5 stars.

Recommendations : Smart Mouths

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Smart Mouths Logo

Hey, its time for another Recommendations Blog. This time im recommending something a little different, its a podcast. The podcast is called 'Smart Mouths', and it began recording on iTunes back in January. Essentially, the podcast is focussed on main issues that have happened during the last week, with segments like Politics and World News, Pop Culture and The Round Up (a recap of recent and memorable events). But its also a very funny podcast too, and by far the star of the show is the (probably infamous in certain circles) WTF News. WTF News is a segment discussing some of the weirdest and f***** up stories, such as a women whos in love with a circus ride, a man who was having an affair with a horse, and generally a whole load of Genital Mutilation. Theres even segments such as 'Screw, Marry, Kill' and'The Hotseat'.The show is posted every wednesday weekly, on iTunes and if that doesnt work then there is also a Smart Mouths Podcast Website.

Smart Mouths is on FaceBook, and each host has their own Twitter account and one for the podcast itself. The show is hosted by some of the leading webtrenders, who also work on the highly praised 'Muggle Cast' website and pocast, and the up-and-coming 'Imprint' podcast and website. Smart Mouths also has a youtube account where they post iChats and many other recapping segments. The podcast is an audio podcast, and is rated 'Explicit' on iTunes as the hosts do make a hobby of swearing. Thats it for now, and i'll be sure to update with more recommendations soon. Until then, I implore you to check out this podcast, you wont be dissapointed. (Hosted by Laura Thomson, Elysa Monfort, Matt Briton, Andrew Sims, Micah Tanenbaum and Greg and Penny Girshman).

Smart Mouths Website - http://smartmouthspodcast.com/

Smart Mouths on Twitter - http://twitter.com/SMPodcast

Smart Mouths on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/smartmouths?v=info

Smart Mouths on Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/user/smpodcast#play/all

Getting WET

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WET Poster

Finally, after 2 long years of waiting andchecking release dates, I finally made it to the light at the end of the tunnel : WET. I'll start at the beginning. It all started many years ago, back in mid 2007. I was flicking through my latest issue of Hyper Magazine, Issue 169 of October 2007, when I spotted something new next to a Leipzig Games Convention preview of Devil May Cry 4. Almost half of the page was covered in a giant spread of WETs sassy heroine - Ruby Malone. The Release Date was set for early 2008, I might add. To be honest, after June 2008 I was just about ready to give up on WET, and I suppose everyone else was, mainly because of the list if games still due to release "Sometime Soon". The list was large - Dead Island, Sabotage (which I think was overhauled into Velvet Assassin), WarHound, They, and the soon to be released Borderlands. But despite everyone elses clear disdain for the game, developer A2M didnt give up on their dream - and WET was made.

I'll give you a brief idea of my thoughts on the game before I post my review. The gameplay, particullaly the gunplay, is incredibally fun. To break up the action, A2M introduced a Rage system. This is where Ruby gets a blood-splattering and the screen turns annd animated red, with characters black silouettes and blood being white. Its an incredibally stylish feature, and really gives the game a nice touch. The Prince of Persia elements of the game are really fun, and the game has some great scripted sequences. However, the game is ugly as sin. Or religion, depending on you religion. And the voice acting is only decent to be frank. Check back on my reviews for my thoughts on WET soon. Oh, and the HOLIDAYS are here! So ill have plenty of time to chat with you all while I put of my 3 assignments and then panick 2 days before they are due.

Some Good News

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Hey all, Just wanted to decorate Gamespot with some great news. I recently got some results back for a Maths test that I did a few days back, whichturned out to be majorly easy btw, and I ended up with a score of 92%. Im very pleased, although a little annoyed that my friends all beat me, (ie. 95%,99%,96%), since I usually beat them. But moving on, I also got some results for an English Assessment on Anime, in which we had to draw an Anime Figure, a Storyboard of a scene and a Plot Synopsis of the story we had to create. Not as shining a mark, but I got 21/30 (70%). Im annoyed at this, but beat quite a few people in my class as it was marked really hard. Moving on, I would just like to say that I cannot wait for WET to come out here in AUS, if only I knew when! And also, NFS:Shift looks really good and so does Batman : Arkhum Asylum. Please dont laugh at this next bit, but I am officially in love with Mini Ninjas! I cant wait, but Im not sure if ill buy it full price as im saving for a $500 PS3 Slim, and am $300 close.

Oh, and for all of you asking me, the new Recommendations Blog will be up shortly, I just need to edit the list. Sorry if I have seemed a little distant lately, but I have had masive amounts of school work to do, History, Maths, Science. And soonI will upload a photo of my painting for Art. Its very WTF if im honest, as the topic was Appropriation. For those who dont know, thats a fancy word for change and edit. I chose two pictures, one of which I cant remember the name of (always uselful this memory of mine) and the other being The Scream. I call it The Screams Wife, and it has been painted on a shirt. My friends in art have either chosen pointless and stupid things (No sh*t,Cam chose a random fat guy and turned him into a pie although it is farely good, and Idiot 7chose a chair. Someone else didnt even choose anything, just painted a group of cr*ppy flames.) or some really good ideas, like The Afformentioned PieMan whichturned out well and Jeremy chose the Mona Lisa and changed her to Predator. Someone else turned The Scream into Jean Simons. Yeah . . . .

I should probably sign off now, but if you have any choices for my next next Recommendations Blog please email me or comment bellow. :D

The International Movie Review

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The International Movie Poster

Interpol Agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) amd Manhatten District Attorney Elenour Whitman (Naomi Watts) are working together to bring down a multinationalbank, The International Bank of Business and Credit (otherwise known as the IBBC). BothWhitman and Salinger suspect that the IBBC are secretly funding terrorist activities around the globe. There suspisions are all but comfirmed when Salingers business partner suffers a brutal heart attack under suspicious circumstances, which they believe to be murder. As they zero in on the IBBC, the stakes become even higher with the IBBC resorting to killing prominent political figures to keep their secrets hidden. While the pair travel accross the globe, Salinger slowly becomes a much more vengefull and unstable man, with only Whitman there to keep him steady. The International is a very intriguing film, and could have been a great and very memorable action thriller, if only it was handled better. But I will start with the good.

The acting is very solid by all the actors. Ofcourse, the standout here is Clive Owens portrayal of Louis Salinger, although I am a bit concerned about his future career. After watching a few of his previous films, he's basically playing the same character as in his previous films, if only more violent. He wasnt really playing Charles Schine from Derailed, nor was he playing Ray Koval from Duplicity, he was essentially playing Clive Owen. But, luckily, it works for The International. Australian Actress Naomi Watts puts on a very good Australian Accent, and her performance is very solid. Theres also a very well directed and edited scene shot in the Guggenheim Museum, and the plot is quite intriguing and kept me hooked for the most part. So whats wrong with The International? Well for starters, Naomi Watts character of Eleanour Whitman, is a complete waist of script. Infact, not only is she a completely useless and pointless addition to the film, shes barely even human. You dont find out about her motivation throughout the film, nor to you find out anything about her character.

Its really a missed opportunity, as a brief scene shows Whitman with her family. However, you dont even find out the family members names. To make it worse, the fact that the film advertises itself by the 'constant globe hopping' is simply wrong, as you dont get a decent look at the scenery, ie. Berlin might aswell be New York for all we know. Director Tom Tykwer and screen writer Eric Warren Singer forget one fatal thing in the film ; it doesnt have an ending. They try to convey that this bank has no conscience, and will take whatever it takes to keep their secrets, even killing their own team members. However this is done very badly, and leaves us with a very unspectacular rooftop chase that does little more them remind us that the former estimed directorof Run, Lola Run has been far surpassed by many other directors. The film also doesnt know what it wants to be. The first half of the film is strongly an action flick, however the ending collides with this completely. If you've seen the film, youll know what I mean.

As previously stated, The International could have been great. But despit some good plotting, good acting and some good action scenes, it ends up becoming a very forgettable and poor film. The ending is the main culprit here, as it makes the movie seem poor. The end of the film ends up not feeling whole, and ruins the plot. Infact, the only scenes you may remember from the film you would have wished was filmed and edited by a muchmore qulaified and estimed actor director that could live up to its expectations. Its could have passed as either a great action film, or a fairly original confronting and memorbale movie. Like I said, most of the regular elements of what should make a film great are here, but are ruined by the end of the flick. Definately a miss, unless you are Clive Owen or Naomi Watts fanatics, or just want to watch a bad movie.

Overall : 2.5/5

Recommendations : What Not to Watch

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Heres a list of Movies that I felt were I either to oldish to review (I ususally review new releases), or were to painful to even think of, and were all terrible. Dont worry all, if I get enough requests I will compose another list from my collection, and your recommendations. In no order ofcourse, Enjoy -

  • 10,000 BC - Score : 2/5 - Starring Camilla Belle, Steven StraitCOMMENTS: While the green screen animation can be a treat to watch at times, the film is to damaged in almost every other area to make it enjoyable.
  • The Covenant - Score : 2/5 - Starring Steven Strait COMMENTS: A terrible plot, poor acting and mediocre special effects make this movie, simply put, bad.
  • UltraViolet - Score : 1/5 - Starring Milla Jovovich COMMENTS: A dreadfull and impossible to understand plot is probably the highlight of this atrocity to the Hollywood Industry, aswell as poor acting and mediocre action sequences.
  • Derailed - Score : 2.5/5 - Starring Jennifer Anniston, Clive Owen COMMENTS: Despite a promising first 3rd, this "thriller" soon decends into mediocrety.
  • The Pink Panther - Score : 1/5 - Starring Beyonce Knowles, Steve Martin COMMENTS: I question the logic in my choice to watch this every day I live.
  • Babylon A.D - Score: 2/5 - Starring Vin Diesal COMMENTS: When the director of a movie clearly states that his movie is bad only days before its release, your walking into a bear trap.
  • The Butterfly Effect 3 : Revelations - Score : 2/5 - Starring Chris Carmack COMMENTS: The plot in this promising flick marr it down to much to make it recommendable.
  • Jumper - Score : 2/5 - Starring Hayden Christiansen, Samuel L Jackson COMMENTS: A complete butchering of a great novel, with poorly directed action scenes, stupid dialogue andpaper thin characters.
  • 300 - Score : 2.5.5 - Starring Gerard Butler COMMENTS: Good action scenes and extreme violence are the only commendable things about this film, and while the CompGenFX are good, its to dull to enjoy.
  • Eight Legged Freaks - Score : 1/5 - Starring A group of people whos careers are dead because of this film COMMENTS: I dont know why this was made, but I want the director Dead.
  • The Happening - Score : 1/5 - StarringMarky Mark Whalberg, Zooey Deschanel COMMENTS: Horrible acting, Terrible plot and the lack of an ending make this thriller laughable, to say the least.
  • The Heartbreak Kid - Score : 2/5 - Starring Ben Stiller, Michelle Monaghan COMMENTS: Just plain not funny.

I hope you enjoyed my list of terrible-movies-that-should-not-be-watched-under-any-circumastances, and I cant wait to here your feedback. Please comment and feel free to add some movies for my my next list.

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