Eclipse

First of all, let’s get one thing straight. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.

No.

The god-damned movie is called Eclipse. Your movie isn't a “saga” just because it makes tons of money. Now, onto the review.

Everyone is back for what promises to be an Epic Final Showdown with the Cullen family and their uneasy allies, the Quileute werewolves, on one side; and the recurring Evil Redhead, her dupe (Xavier Samuel, who looks like a young Willem Dafoe), and a small army of newborn vampires on the other. “Newborn” as-in freshly turned, not vampiric infants. That’s a whole other brand of movie.

The showdown angle is actually the decent movie hidden deep in the recesses of an all new chapter of this overwrought teenage love story, and while I have praised the previous films for being focused, this one is-by comparison-quite overstuffed. Bella (Kristen Stuart) is still vapid and useless, unable to decide which boy’s emotions she’d rather toy with. I know there’s some subtext here, but seriously, girl, pick one! She’s not sure yet if she loves Jacob (Taylor Lautner), while he’s more or less insisting she loves him but doesn't know it yet. Edward (Robert Pattison) on the other hand, is acting fittingly like a 100-year-old man. The whole thing builds to its dramatic climax when Bella finds herself succumbing to hypothermia while hiding out from the rogue vampires, and Jacob has to keep Bella warm with his puppy-man body heat.

Eventually Ed and Jake have a little chat.

JACOB: I lurv Bella, even if she is a dumb girl ::ab flex::

EDWARD: I lurv Bella, even if she is a puny hoo-man. ::sparkles::

JACOB: You’re a dick.

EDWARD: No, you’re a dick.

JACOB: ::glowers::

EDWARD: ::glowers::

What’s really irritating about Jacob is that he sounds like he’s 16 years old, but his ripped as all hell, it’s really weird to see.

On top of this nonsense, Eclipse is the edgy flashback chapter of the Twilight movies, revealing the dark and angst ridden origins of two the Cullen Family “children.” One was a confederate major in the Civil War, and the other was some sort of gangster’s moll. There’s also a flashback to the reason why the local werewolf tribe hates vampires, featuring Peter Murphy. Yes, “Cuts-You-Up” Peter Murphy. All of these little vignettes actually add some much needed tension and horror to the story.

Then they remove all that tension by making the act of killing vampires look like breaking statues. During the long-awaited Epic Final Showdown, a whole lot of vampires die, and if it were any other movie, this would have been a scene full of well-earned gore and violence. The choice to not have more than an ounce of blood ruins the tension they built between scenes from the romantic comedy “Everybody Loves Bella.” It even feels like they edited the fights for TV. Honestly, I thought for a second that I needed to rent it on DVD, as this cut sucked. I then realized to my dismay that I was in a god-damned movie theater.

One thing they’re starting to get right when they make these movies is that it’s a comedy gold mine. There is a hysterical scene where Bella’s dad (Billy Burke) tries to give her “The Talk,” and insist she use condoms, because he’s just that clueless. Lesson learned: Always, always, always ask your daughter if she is dating some sort of supernatural humanoids. That’s just good parenting.

New Moon

Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is in way over her head. Edward Cullen (Robert Pattison), the pretty mopey boy she fell for, decides to break up with her the day after her birthday because he's an awesome boyfriend.

Bella, being an 18-year-old, decides that the break up is the end of the world so she wails like a banshee in her sleep. Her father (Billy Burke) now forever loathes Edward for giving his daughter what sounds like post-traumatic whooping cough.

Bella starts hanging out with Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner); local Native American, Vidal Sassoon poster boy, and Edward's arch nemesis. They have an awkward and sad relationship, as Bella uses him so she doesn't feel alone. She rebuffs his advances, so he cuts his hair and joins a gang whose sole focus appears to be showing off their rippling abdominal muscles. They have an exchange that goes something like this:

JACOB: I ARE TEH KILLAR MONSTER! (*ab flex*)

BELLA: I'm sorry I used you.

JACOB: RAWR!! (*ab flex*)

BELLA: I miss Edward! She is so beautiful!

JACOB: (*pout* *ab flex*)

Business as usual in Forks, Wash!

Jacob and his new gang of underage underwear models spend most of their time killing the vampires that stray onto their land, one is being the former girlfriend of the guy who tried kill Bella in the previous film. She is unhappy. So much so that she kills veteran character actor Graham Greene while Thom York's "Hearing Damage" drains the tension out of all the action.

Edward's hot goth sister, Alice (Ashely Green),  shows up to tell Bella that Edward believes Bella to be dead; so he's off to Italy to ask Vampire Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) to kill him, as he can't go on without Bella. Ain't love grand?

The Vampire c Council is the best part of the movie. It barely lasts 20 minutes, but Vampire Tony Blair is a sight to behold. He's unctuous as all get out, speaking Italian and leering at Bella like she was as if she were a pert, firm teenager. . . as everyone else has been doing, really. Dakota Fanning is also here, playing one of those really young-looking vampires. Also present is professional Creepy Kid Cameron Bright , all grown up!  Vampire Tony Blair wants to kill Bella unless the Cullen family agrees to turn her into a vampire. They all shake on it, and then the group gets back in their mystery machine and head heads back to Forks.

Edward swears to never leave Bella again, so he and Jacob have a final face off, but nothing comes of it; they just glower at each other. Edward then asks Bella to marry him. The end! No really, Bella gasps and then they roll credits.

I must praise this movie, however, for having excellent internal continuity. New Moon definitely continues the story started in the first film. Sadly, that story is as a tortuously slow tale of teenagers falling hopelessly in and out of love, which is boring, even when they're not creatures of the night.

New Moon, like its predecessor, feels completely unnecessary. The film doesn't stand on its own, as everything that happens was set up in the first film, making it a true sequel like Lethal Weapon 2 ...only lame.

Push

It would seriously be cool to move shit with your mind. Think about it: Football Sunday, game's in full-gear, but your beer is all the way on the other end of the coffee table, requiring you to shift your butt from that perfect spot on the couch that you just spent the last 30 minutes getting just right. According to the world history of Push, this age-old conundrum can be solved by simple genetic mutation. Solution? Telekinesis, baby!

At the heart of this story is Nick Grant,  a rather crappy telekinetic played by the charmingly never-serious Chris Evans, whose father was murdered by Agent Carver (portrayed with arrogant menace by Djimon Hounsou), and has been on the run ever since.

When we catch up with the perfectly stubble-faced Calvin Klein model protagonist, he's attempting to win money by manipulating dice games, fails and gets punched in the head. Enter 13-year-old Cassie (Fanning), who is the definition of precocious. A hard drinker with knobby knees and huge boots, she tells Grant they can get six million dollars, but then the future changes. Constantly. First, they're going to die. Then everyone's going to die, and then everyone and their mother is going to die.

No, seriously.

Unless they can enlist the aid of a motley crew of ex-pat psychic-powered people against the sinister Division, a government organization that nabs psychics and uses them for Nefarious OperationsTM is...going to grab them and use them for Nefarious OperationsTM.

Then-DOOM is certain.

A bunch spiffy psychic action sequences happen, followed by some advancement of a silly plot that's actually reasonably well acted and not boring, then some more action, and a few neat twists which I'm just not going to give away here.

The special effects are smoothly worked into the set pieces and the cinematography takes everything it knows from all kinds of eastern cinema.The plot of movie is actually less convoluted than you'd expect from a movie with people who can alter memories and see the future to be, and it actually leads into to some nice twists, but this is an action movie, not Dark City-do not expect depth of story. (For the record: if you haven't seen Dark City, shame on you)

Years ago, action movies were more provincial: there was the Hong-Kong flick, the French actioner, and the American blockbuster. But as time has gone on, movies- especially action movies-have been become more and more diverse in their stories and casts. Push is probably the most diverse of these movies to date, with no less than six countries represented by its performers.

Push is very unique film. It's a stupid-yet-fun action movie, with elements of a heist picture mixed with a video game, and is setup to be the first film in a trilogy that will never be made. The best angle to take for a Cavalcade is to go international action, with Time and Tide to follow this one.