Tag Archive: Movie Review


The Brass Teapot (2012)

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Although young married couple Alice & John are ass-deep in debt, and John works at a dead end job, they are happy as can be. Making ends meet is difficult, but Alice feels that she is just about to land the perfect job with her degree in art history. While out for a drive, they come across an antique shop, where Alice finds the most beautiful thing she had ever seen: a shiny old teapot. Since they are broke, she just nabs the thing and they drive off into the sunset. The next day she accidentally burns herself on her curling iron, and she finds out that this teapot is something special: every time she hurts herself the teapot spits out cash… hundreds in cash. John comes home later to find the house in a mess and his wife all beat to hell, but also finds thousands of dollars.  Did his sweet wife just turn into a super kinky hooker?

The pair takes turns inflicting both physical and mental pain on each other until the teapot is only kicking out fives and tens. They learn that other people’s pain will result in the teapot spitting out the large sums they were accustomed to, so they do that for a while, but eventually they want a big score, and they realize that they might need to kill someone to get that teapot jackpot. Will they let their greed get the best of them and kill another human being? What is up with the Hasidic Jews who keep robbing them? And is the teapot a thing of pure evil as the old Oriental guys who keeps following them believes?

Alex’s Thoughts: I couldn’t tell if this was going to be a drama, a comedy or a horror movie, as is sometimes the case with low budget indie movies you’ve never heard of.  So I went it blind with just a vague description of the plot.  Immediately I felt a connection with the young couple and was hooked from then on.  It was interesting how two people who initially cared nothing for money or material things, because so obsessed with those things as the movie progressed.  The scenes with the verbal abuse and revealing of some hurtful secrets was a pretty unexpected twist, and you realize that greed has these two in their grasp.  It is well shot, and I loved the actors.  I would highly recommend this one.  Alex Rates This Movie 9/10

Tim’s Thoughts: The Brass Teapot is the quintessential Indie movie. It’s quirky, weird, not marketable by major studios, and a cast of up and comers that you will be seeing a lot more of in the future. There isn’t anything I really loved about this, but it’s funny enough, and the premise is unique. It’s a smart and unusual movie, and the talented cast keeps it interesting, the side characters especially. It does have flaws, a lot of common sense questions, and some unexplored avenues that I felt would have been interesting. So without spoiling the movie I will say that while far from perfect this is a solid movie, that is different enough to almost be refreshing, almost. Definitely worth a watch if you like independent movies, and there are laughs to be had. Tim Rates This Movie: 7/10

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View the IMDB entry for this movie here.

V/H/S 2 (2013)

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This movie opens with pretty much the same scenario as the previous one: people huddled around a bank of static filled televisions with a stack of video tapes just waiting to be watched.  This time around it is a pair of private investigators at the home of a missing college student.  They check out his video blog and see that he was watching these tapes before he disappeared, so let’s make some popcorn and watch 3 or 4 of these together shall we

PHASE I CLINICAL TRIALS – These held-held camera point of view movies try to find something to use instead of just a shaky camera, in this case it is an artificial eye that gives the wearer the ability to see again, but also conveniently records the images.  Not long after getting the implant, a man goes all Sixth Sense and starts seeing all these dead people in his house.  They don’t do anything, just sort of stand and stare.  The next morning a girl he recognized from the doctor’s office shows up and tells him the same thing is happening to her with her cochlear implant: hearing these dead folks talk all the time.  She tells him to ignore them and they can’t her them, but how do you ignore a house full of corpses?

A RIDE IN THE PARK – A guy is going for a quick mountain bike ride through the woods, straps his Go Pro on his helmet and he’s off!  Dude is tearing up the trails… big time, until he comes upon a chick looking pretty beat up and asking for help.  There isn’t much the guy can do for her and she dies right away, but since this is a horror flick and she is covered in bites, you know she going to come back as a zombie; and gives him a little love bite.  We are then shown a first-person perspective of a living person’s change into a zombie, and it isn’t pretty.  Now we have the first ZOMBIE CAM as he hunts along with other zombies; and all hell breaks loose as they encounter a little girl’s birthday party at a nearby park.

SAFE HAVEN – A documentary crew meets up with a controversial cult leader, and they ask for his permission to come to his compound so he can set the record straight about all the crazy stuff the public thinks is going on out there, but mostly they just want to see what this kook is up to.  He reluctantly agrees, and it turns out the public might have legitimate concerns, as this leader wants to purify all he followers by putting his greasy wang in them.  They picked a good day to come over, as it turns out today in the rapture!  As the crew is filming, the Jonestown flavored Kool-Aid is passed out and consumed by the women and children, and all of the men put a bullet in their own heads.  So it turns out this nut job was right since a huge demonic goat shows up and starts killing everyone!

SLUMBER PARTY ALIEN ABDUCTION – We see mom and dad pulling away for a weekend away from the kids, and seconds later the kid’s friends start to show up for a party weekend.  Things are going well, with plenty of fun being had and pranks being pulled.  The big sister puts a mini camera on the family terrier to catch her bother touching himself in his special place, and everyone had a good laugh. It’s then that they hear a loud noise followed by bright lights around the house.  The lights go out, and all of a sudden the house is full of aliens!? That’s right kids, it’s abduction time!  The kids and their little dog spend the next ten minutes running around with nothing but a strobe light to see by.  If you don’t end up having a seizure, you get to see the aliens catch these kids, where we’re sure they will have something stuck up their butts within the hour.

Alex’s Thoughts: I really liked the first V/H/S. It was low budget, but full of imaginative stories by small time indy directors.  I was excited to see a larger budget sequel with big time horror movie directors was in the works.  I think I hyped myself up too much, because I was sort of disappointed.  This isn’t to say that V/H/S 2 isn’t good, and doesn’t have some great moments because it does.  I guess I was just expecting for bang for buck.  The highlights for me were A Ride on the Park, with the exception of the ending, and Safe haven, which was gust so good due to it’s shear strangeness.  The other two I didn’t like quite as much. For one, watching an alien abduction happen from a dog’s POV with no lighting except for a strobe is enough to make almost anyone queasy, but there isn’ enough of a payoff for all of that nausea.  The robot eye story wasn’t bad, but I didn’t connect with the actors, as their sense of dread just didn’t come through for me.  I would say that if you like the first one and horror movie anthologies, you will enjoy this.  Alex Rates This Movie 8/10

Tim’s Thoughts: Unlike Alex I was not disappointed with VHS 2 at all. It suffers from only one weak story (Slumber Party) and the wraparound story is much better this time. I really found the first story creepy, and the zombie bike ride was a lot of fun. Like a lot of horror movies the Safe Haven story went on about 1 minute too long, and could have ended stronger, instead it just gets silly. Not having much hope for this I came in skeptical, and left impressed. Unlike last time, I am looking forward to what they come up with next. Plus some of the anthology horror movies are the best, i.e. Creepshow. Tim Rates This Movie 8/10

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View the IMDB entry for this movie here.

Silent Hill: Revelation (2012)

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The town of Silent Hill is like any other small berg in America: a regal main street, family owned businesses and a portal to a hellish alternate dimension that opens every night.  Oh, and don’t forget that constant fog and falling ash that we all love about our small towns.   Young Heather was born is this awful place, but was taken away by her father Harry (Sean Bean); and ever since then she has been having nightmare about the town wanting her back… which it does.  So far, moving from town to town and changing their names has kept the townspeople from tracking them down, but that is all about to change now that her new boyfriend (Kit Harrington) is revealed to actually be from Silent Hill.

Although he swears that he only wants to help Heather, her new beau has unwittingly gotten her father captured by the townsfolk in an effort to lure her back to Silent Hill.  Of course their plan works, as she travels back to Hellville to find her daddy.  As night falls, the buildings seem to crumble and rot before her eyes as the monsters and whatnot come out to wreak havoc.  She encounters horrific creatures that would enjoying nothing more than to eat her or chop her into bits, and must escape them and find her dad before the town takes her back.

Alex’s Thoughts:   I have never played any of the Silent Hill games or seen the first movie, and would therefore not consider myself to be a fan of the series, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying this one.  I was in the mood for a horror flick and found this on Netflix, and expected to be disappointed, but for once I was surprised.  It isn’t great or anything, but the effects are good and most of the creatures are all practical make-up, which I appreciate.  It also helped that I am a huge Game of Thrones fan, so having Eddard Stark and Jon Snow on the screen together in something else was fun for me.  And yes, Sean Bean dies a horrific death, although it is only in a dream, but he keeps he streak of dying in his roles alive (pun intended).  Fans of the series seem to have different opinions on this movie, but as a casual viewer and fan or the horror genre, I would recommend it, as it is something different from all the haunting and possession flicks that have been forced on us lately.  Alex Rates This Movie 7.5/10

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View the IMDB entry for this movie here,

Back to School!

Return to Horror High (1987)

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Several years back, Crippen High School was the scene of a grisly mass murder.  A scumbag B-movie producer wants to capitalize on the somewhat still fresh story by shooting a horror movie in that same high school, even though the murderer has yet to be captured.  If you don’t spend the majority of your day drooling into a bucket, you can probably see where this is going: people are going to die.  The police detectives at the scene of this brand new new crime scene, along with the few survivors of the attack help to narrate the story; which goes a little something like this: The actors and crew begin getting killed off one-by-one, but their disappearance doesn’t raise much of an alarm, as low budget movie employees apparently go missing all the time.  Also, this new movie used so much fake blood and fake body parts that it didn’t seem abnormal for whole rooms to be covered in gore and viscera, so that didn’t  to trigger any alarms either.

80’s movie stereotypes continue to be killed at an alarming rate, with the cheesy one-lines and obligatory ditsy girls’ exposed breasts filling in the parts between the murders. It progresses pretty much down a set of rails ending up exactly how you would expect a real life low budget 80’s horror movie to end. Also of note; it’s George Clooney’s first movie, and he is the first to die, so if this teaches us anything it’s this: be the first one to die in a crappy horror flick and you might end up a millionaire!  Or maybe you might be prostituting yourself for meth like that chick from Critters! Either way it’s a win win!

Alex’s Thoughts:  This was one of those I always wanted to see because that skeleton cheerleader on the VHS box looked so cool every time I went to the video store as a kid.  I sort of knew what to expect (low budget 80’s gore flick), and I shouldn’t have expected anything out of this, but there was a skeleton cheerleader on the box for crying out loud!  Come on man! Is that too much to ask for?  All I got were lame murder scenes, often just shown in silhouette, and actresses in their mid-to-late 30’s trying to pull off high school students.  It was just a whole pile of sad really.  I liked how the story was presented, but the acting wasn’t there and the overall story fell flat.  This is one to avoid, unless they remake it with skeleton cheerleaders!  Alex Rates This Movie 3/10

View The IMDB Entry For This Movie Here

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My Awkward Sexual Adventure (2012)

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Mild-mannered account, and general schmuck, Jordan is just about as boring as a person can be.  He takes crap from his co-workers and his bitch of a girlfriend, who falls asleep every time they have sex.  Jordan has been in love with Rachel since third grade, and she’s finally given him a chance, but he is way too boring and average for a wildcat like her. She breaks up with him as he is proposing right before their vacation to the big city of Montreal.  Jordan just thinks they need some time apart and waits for her to join him on his trip.  Of course she doesn’t show, and he goes to drown his sorrows at the local gentleman’s club, where he befriends a kindly stripper named Julia.

Julia is in a bit of a bind herself; she’s broke and wants to quit grinding on strangers, and open a restaurant.  Jordan offers her help with her finances in exchange for sex lessons, so he can win back Rachel.   Things progress awkwardly as you would imagine, and as befits a romantic comedy, the two opposites begin to have feeling for each other.  Once successfully trained in the art of making whoopee, Jordan goes back to Rachel, who has been slutting it up big time while he was away, but has also been missing him.  She agrees to marry him and all seems to be going well, until Jordan realizes that he really loves Julia, and he returns to her in typical movie-like fashion.

Alex’s Thoughts: Although you know exactly what’s going to happen 10 minutes in, and this storyline has been done many times before, this movie was still able to keep my attention.  The acting was unexpectedly good, and I really found myself pulling for old Jordan… the lovable putz that he is.  There wasn’t anything mind-blowing or that original with this; it’s just a fun movie that doesn’t require too much thought, and you can just sit back with a date and enjoy.  There is something for both the guys and gals in this flick, and I think most people would enjoy it. Alex Rates This Movie 7/10

View The IMDB Entry for This Movie Here

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Escape From L.A. (1996)

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In the sequel to 1981’s Escape for New York, we find our antihero Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell)  trying to escape from yet another post-apocalyptic mega city, this time it’s the City of Angles.  LA has become a penal colony after an earthquake turned it into an island, and is now only inhabited by the dregs of society.  Gun-for-hire Snake, winds up getting shipped off there after being captured by the Feds, but they have a deal for him: find a doomsday weapon that the president’s rebel daughter stole and we might give you the antidote to the deadly virus we just injected you with.  With no other choice he travels to the island in search of the weapon, now in the hands or the terrorist Cuervo Jones.

It isn’t going to be as easy as just going up to the guy and asking nicely, he is going to have to perform some off the wall and highly impractical feats to even get near the guy.  Snake will have to surf a 100 foot wave, escape from a group of plastic surgery addicts, shoot some hoops for his life and also hang-glide from Hollywood to Disneyland.  Once the mission is a success, he’s a little peeved at how the government used him (again), and decides to use the super-weapon against them.

Alex’s Thoughts:  What this movie lacks in quality it make up for in sheer awfulness. Wait… no… that’s sounds about right.  While John Carpenter’s previous movie was sort of charming and inventive it in’s own low-budget way, this one copies the exact same premise but without any of the charm, it’s just bad, and seems like it was just a cash grab flick.   While I do like Kurt Russell, he didn’t look to be giving it his best, and seemed like his best physical acting days were behind him.  With awful dialog, poorly choreographed fight scenes and low-rate special effects, it is easy to forget about this movie.  Its one redeeming quality is that it has Bruce Campbell in what could have been a great role as the Surgeon General of Beverly Hills, but it was totally underutilized.  If you need a good escape flick, you might want to check out Lockout instead.  Alex Rates This Movie 3/10.

Tim’s Thoughts: Oh, I want to like this so badly, every few years I will even go back to give it another shot, but it’s soooooo awful. There is nothing good about this, nothing at all. It’s a waste of time, and a sign that Carpenter’s good years were way behind him. I don’t know what else to say other than that the effects are so terrible that I can barely sit through it. MST3K would destroy this, and then like Pod People or Mitchell it could become a favorite. Until that happens, avoid this dumpster fire at all costs. Tim Rates This Movie 1/10

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View the IMDB entry for this movie here.

The ABC’s of Death (2012)

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It’s probably hard enough to make an anthology-type movie with just four or five directors, but The ABC’s of Death has TWENTY-SIX, one for each letter of the alphabet.  As the name implies, each three to four minute segment features a person (or people) getting killed, with the cause of death starting with that respective letter.  We certainly can’t review each one, but with entries like ‘D is for Dogfight’ and ‘Q is for Quack’, there is something for most horror fans.  The stories are presented in a wide variety of styles from serious artsy entries to humorous animations, and everything in-between. Each director had $5,000 and free reign to do whatever they wanted as long as the scene featured their letter and opened and closed on a red background.   With directors from around the world, all twenty-six stories are unique and vary a lot based on the director’s country of origin. And yes… F is for Fart!

Alex’s Thoughts: It’s hard to rate this movie, as there are so many different segments.  As a whole I thought it was a good effort, and while not all of the segments were good; if I didn’t like a particular one, I only had to sit through it for a few minutes.  The biggest gripe I have is that the version on Netflix that I watched didn’t have sub-titles, and with only a handful of the stories in English, I feel like I missed out on what was being presented.  A less, but equally annoying, aspect was the constant fade to and from a red background or object at the beginning and end of each segment.  After seeing that eight times I was already fed up with it, but no, I had to see it 18 more times.  I am a fan of different directing styles and short stories, so this was the perfect  format for me, even if I did only like/ understand only about half of the segments.  Alex rates This Movie: 7/10

Tim’s Thoughts: Conceptually this is an amazing idea, but I really felt the execution was lacking. Only one or two of these are watchable, while the rest are either too ambitious, silly or just plain stupid. I respect the effort, but would much rather have only 5 or 6 stories, with less crap, and just a tiny bit more time to develop. An interesting exercise in cinema, and nothing else. Tim Rates This Movie 4/10

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View the IMDB entry for this movie here.

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

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(Minor Spoilers Ahead) The crew of the USS Enterprise is back again, and ready to head out into space in pursuit of a Federation operative turned terrorist, in the sequel to JJ Abrams 2009 Star Trek reboot.  They end up finding him on the Klingon home planet, and he eventually saves them from a squad of those gnarly-headed aliens, so they have no choice but to take him back to the ship; although their orders were to kill him on site.  He tells Kirk that his orders were bogus and that he is the good guy in all of this. He also lets him know that he is a three-hundred year old super powered guy, who used to go by the name of Khan Noonien Singh (sound familiar?).

He ends up tricking the crew into helping him steal a giant Federation warship from a power-hungry admiral who wants to start a war with the Klingons.  Khan then attacks the Enterprise, who also retaliates against Khan’s ship, as both of them plummet towards Earth.  In a last ditch effort to save his crew Kirk takes over Spock’s role in Wrath of Khan, and sacrifices himself to get the engines back online.  Spock’s human side experiences a bit of rage and goes after Khan on what remains of San Francisco after his ship destroys half the city.

Alex’s Thoughts: While never a huge Trek fan, I grew up with the original movies, and I liked them well enough to be excited about the re-boot of this franchise a few years back.  While that movie looked good, I didn’t love it… but I DO love this sequel.  With all of the character introductions and back-stories out of the way, we are able to jump right into the action, and son, there is a ton of it.  From Khan taking out a squad of Klingons to some epic space battles, there is plenty of special effect eye candy for everyone.  There were some nice throwbacks to the original Star Trek II for fans of the series, and you even get a little Tribble action!  While I really enjoyed this movie, it really got me excited to see what JJ Abrams has in store for Star Wars in 2015.  Alex Rates This Movie 8/10.

Tim’s Thoughts: I am a big fan of original series Trek, and unlike a lot of those fans, I really appreciate the update the series is getting. The last few Next Gen films were just as bad as the last few original cast films, so I thought Trek was finished. I was so happy with the reboot, and loved the direction that the movie was taking that I was anticipating this sequel moments after Trek 08 ended. This does not disappoint, now you have to leave your love of old Trek at the door, and be ready to accept new takes on old themes, but if you can manage that, you will get some great Sci-Fi. I am glad to see the genre not only survive, but thrive now with the rise of comic book movies, and nerd culture. Enjoy this as action, Trek, or both, either way, this is a good time. Tim Rates This Movie 9/10

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View the IMDB entry for this movie here.

John Dies At the End (2012)

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Instead of trying to explain this very strange plot to you (it would sound liked jumbled up metaphors and nonsense) I will just tell you this: This movie is nothing but jumbled up metaphors and nonsense, sprinkled with some interesting philosophical questions. Okay, fine, here’s a basic outline: Dave and John are best friends that seem to be paranormal experts, as in they help people with their supernatural problems. They are qualified to do this due to the space/future/another dimension drug they take. It’s called Soy Sauce, and it gives them clairvoyance, and the ability to see things that other people can’t. Dave want’s to tell his story, so he contacts a reporter named Arnie, and proceeds to tell him how he and John save the world with the help of a dog named Bark Lee. An alien by the name of Korrok is going dimension to dimension conquering all in his path, and our Earth is next. Without being too spoilery, not everything is as it seems as Dave, John and a few friends fight off strange leech monsters, weird bee monsters that infest a host then blow it up, and a strange group of topless folks that wear bizarre masks. Needless to say that Soy Sauce is some powerful shit!

Alex’s Thoughts: After ten minutes in I thought this might be one of my new favorite movies, and then after twenty minutes I couldn’t remember what I liked about it. It went from what I thought was a buddy monster-hunting duo comedy into just a strange tale that lost me almost immediately.  Although there was very little that I understood, I thought the acting was still really good and I will watch anything with Paul Giamatti (Fred Claus excluded), and that goes the same for Mr. Eugene Krabbs himself, Clancy Brown.  It was almost too strange to watch, but somehow I thought it would get better if I kept watching, but it got stranger and stranger. I’m not sure what to think of it right now. It’s interesting for sure, but I don’t know if that is enough for me to say that it was good. Maybe it warrants a second viewing, or a reading of the book it’s based on.  Alex Rates This Movie 6/10

Tim’s Thoughts:This movie has a lot of problems, some weird plot holes, and Soy Sauce seems to be able to do whatever the plot requires. That being said, I will watch this again, if not only to try to understand it better, but also because I enjoyed the hell out of it. The strange philosophy, the goofy coincidences, and the odd jokes that seemed to hit all the right chords with me. I really enjoyed this despite all the problems that it has. It’s kinetic stream of consciousness kept me glued to the TV as I kept wondering where the hell this movie was going. Be ready for some really crazy stuff, but I say watch this. Tim Rates This Movie 8/10

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View the IMDB entry for this movie here.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

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When Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out in 1979, Trekkers were excited to see their beloved franchise made in to a movie. Then they saw it, and that excitement quickly faded.  The movie was less than great.  The studio decided to give it another shot a few years later with a decreased budget and using a popular villain from the TV show in Khan Noonien Singh as the antagonist.   This seemed to work, as Wrath of Khan is regarded as one of the best of the Trek movies by fans and general movie goers.   In the series, Kirk marooned Khan and his flunkies on a remote planet, as they were too dangerous to transport. Fifteen years later, the crew of the USS Reliant is looking for a remote planet for use as a testing site and set down to search for life.  It happens that it is the same planet Khan is on, and the environment has turned hostile, with most of his group dying from the elements.

Through the use of a mind-control worm indigenous to the planet, he is able to gain control of the Reliant; and Khan sets his sights on getting revenge on the man who left him to die. James T. Kirk is now an admiral and is aboard the Enterprise, currently being captained by Spock, on a routine training exercise with a crew of new cadets.  Nothing is routine about a fellow Federation starship attacking another one however, as the two ships severely damage each other.   The battle rages on with Khan using his super-human intellect and Kirk with his tenacity and refusal to lose. Although the crew of the Enterprise wins they day, they lose one of their own. Not to spoil anything, but the sequel to this is called ‘The Search for Spock”, so make your own assumptions.

Alex’s Thoughts: While not the biggest Trek fan, this one is by far my favorite featuring the original TV cast.  After this one, they get either really boring or suffer from too many bad jokes and lame attempts at humor.  There are several important on-going themes in this movie, which include aging, friendship and revenge; all of which get equal screen time.  I think my favorite scenes are when Kirk, through his sheer stubbornness, is able to outwit Khan who is totally revenge drunk and can think of nothing else but Kirk’s death.  If he could pull the Tina Turner mullet wig out of his ass for two minutes and commit to using his super-weapon, the Star Trek universe would have been a very different place.  Comparing this to the JJ Abrams movies is not recommended, as it makes it look like 30 years old crap (which it does indeed look like), but on it’s own, it’s a decent sci-fi flick.  Alex Rates This Movie 8/10.

Tim’s Thoughts: Yeah, this is everyone’s favorite Trek movie, I know, but it should be, because this is by far the best. Even better than any of the Next Generation films, mainly because this is the sequel all sequels are measured against. Wrath of Khan generated 4 more original cast films when the franchise was thought dead.  Plus who know you could use the same Khan all these years later, and he would be just as epic a villain. A hallmark not only for the franchise, but for Science Fiction movies overall. Yes it’s dated but if this isn’t for you, then it wouldn’t matter how old this movie was. I recommend this for fans of the series or if you just wonder what’s the big deal about Star Trek.  Tim Rates This Movie 10/10

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