Wednesday, December 31, 2014

St. Vincent


St. Vincent - 102min - PG13

This year’s films seem to be missing the emotional spark that lets you dive deep into the story. This movie should have been exactly what I needed. It's a very warm story that gives us a reminder that we need to not judge people. This move has all the elements for a green light film but falls sort of making a connection. They get a yellow light for the effort.

Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher) and his mother Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) move next door to the world’s largest curmudgeon, Vincent (Bill Murray). Being tight on options, Maggie asks if Vincent can watch Oliver after school as she is a single mom with a job that keeps her late. He agrees and takes care of Oliver. Hummm, that’s a stretch. Better to say he takes Oliver around with him everywhere he goes.

They go to the track and to the nursing home where Vincent’s wife lives and to the strip club where he visits his “girlfriend” Daka (Naomi Watts). They go everywhere really. Their exploits are documented by Maggie’s husband, David (Scott Adsit) and used against her to gain joint custody of Oliver. During their journey, Oliver gets an assignment to find someone who has the qualities of a saint, and he picks Vincent

Some movies you can tell are going to be aiming for the heart strings. This is one of them. As I have stated before and if you follow me you know I am a sap when it comes to movies. I am an easy cry. I never had an emotional connection to the characters. It was a really great show with the right characters and with some really good performances but lacked spirit.

There seemed to be a lot of elements that bogged down the story. I think the subplot where Vincent had a stroke really was almost too much to add with the gambling debts. The other problem was the neatness of how everything was wrapped up. I was thinking through the film that there is not going to be an easy way out of this mess. It felt like the ending was forced and wasn't a natural resolution to his problems.

The underlying message not to judge others is solid. We are never fully understanding a person’s journey so we shouldn't make assumptions about people. In the story, Vincent plays a completely unlikable character, but he is a product of the choices and events in his life. Oliver is forced to spend time with him so he gets to see him in a different light. Oliver gives us the fresh perspective that we need to see past the gruff nasty exterior.

It's hard to give this movie a lower than green light because it is was defiantly trying very hard. The failures of the story were just too much to cram into the amount of time. They were trying way too hard to make the differences in Vincent noticeable. The only real connection is between Vincent and Oliver.

Chris O’Dowd needs to get more work. He is absolutely hilarious in this role as an unflappable Priest who assigned the class the task of finding Saints among us. The interaction between him and Maggie is outstanding. Overall the Director/ Writer / Producer (Theodore Melfi) did a good job of making a clean movie, He just needs to eliminate some of the distractors and he could have a really great product. He did an interview and said he doesn’t like to get his stink on a film. It is a stink free film, but it does need a stronger voice.


What movie have you seen that was just short of making a connection? 

The Knights of Badassdome Posted on Web Wombat


The Knights of Badassdome - 86min - R

This is in no way shape or form a good movie. You can see that when you read my review on Web Wombat. IT is getting a green from me for Peter Dinklage and the absolute fun it looked like it was to make. I kind of want to go see if there are any LARP groups near here.

Are there? ALL THE LARPERS IN THE HOUSE SAY HAZAH!!!!!! and send me an email please.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Odd Thomas Posted on Web Wombat


This is the first movie of what could have been a very promising franchise. Here is my review on Web Wombat. I loved the potential of this movie. Directed by one of my favorites Stephen Sommers. He does do a fun movie. Starring Anton Yelchin as Odd. The hero with an, if you will forgive the expression, Odd view of the world.

What did you think of the film? Should they make more?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler – 117 min – R

This extremely creepy character is a great tool for commentary on the news media. I had the same affection for the character as I had for Dexter. The main character is not a good person but he is completely hypnotic. This movie gets a green light from me for excellent storytelling on an unsavory subject. I wanted to take a shower after watching it.

Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a common thief who stumbles on a car accident. An independent news videographer, Joe (Bill Paxton), is filming and Lou overhears that you can make money by showing up at these horrific accidents and violent crimes. He quickly gets a camera and starts shoving his way into this industry. He hires an Intern, Rick (Riz Ahmed), to help park the car and get some second camera footage. As Lou becomes more successful, he starts to switch from filming the news to choreographing the footage to make a better product that sells better.

Lou's driven nature is one of his biggest character traits but it’s not tempered by any sort of ethics. He talks a great game of high moral standard but it really is only to better his own standing, which I think makes his connection with the news network perfect. Often I feel that they use sensationalism to blow news stories out of proportion to better their ratings. Really liked how Lou is the embodiment of that mindset.

Another good relationship in the film is between Nina (ReneRusso) and Frank (Kevin Rahm). Nina is an aging news person who really relies on the sensationalism to keep her job. Frank is there as a moral or ethical compass. The film uses him to show how far out of the desperation is to drive ratings and at what cost those ratings come.

Sometimes when a writer directs their own film, the movie suffers. This film is an exception. Most of writer/director Dan Gilroy's experience is in writing but this film is an excellent movie to start off a great future in the director’s chair.

This movie can be fit into the category of news drama and joins movies like Network or Natural Born Killers. All of them speak to the evils of sensationalistic news but this one does it in a new way that is more elegant than others in this category. Take a look at this film and get up close and personal to the car collision that is our network news.


What other movie character has made your skin crawl but you were unable to stop watching? 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Don Jon Posted on Web Wombat


Don Jon - 90min - R

I took a look at this film for Web Wombat see it here, It's on Netflix for the time being, A stroke of genius. Mr. JGL does it all, writes, directs and stars in, and he beats it off. No I mean pulls it  out, OFF, pulls it off. 

This just goes to  show you he does know jack about film. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Birdman



Birdman - 119min - R


This movie has me in conflict on how to review it. My film student brain loves the way it was filmed and appreciates the artistry of the scenes and the performances. The regular viewer brain finds it hard to connect with the characters. If I can draw from an automotive analogy, this is a really nice car that has a dark and depressing destination. The fight in my head--very much like the one in Michael Keaton's head--makes me land on a solid yellow light.

Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) starred in the series Birdman twenty years ago. He hasnt done much with his life so he tries to jumpstart his career by directing and starring in a Broadway play. His daughter, Sam (Emma Stone), is a production assistant who is just out of rehab. His girlfriend, Laura (Andrea Riseboriugh), and Broadway newcomer Lesley (Naomi Watts) need a stand in for a recently vacated role. Lesley gets her friend Mike (EdwardNorton) to fill in but he causes problems as he is hard to get along with though he is brilliant on stage. The story focuses on the stress Riggan is under because he has poured everything into this production.

Not everyone will appreciate the labor that went into filming this picture. The film was shot to make it look like we are flying through the picture in one long take. There are obvious cut points in the film but they blend them together masterfully. The difficulty with filming in this fashion is the actors need to be spot on. If you have a six min take and one of the performers misses a cue or flubs a line, the crew has to set up from square one, especially if its a moving scene across the set and through another room. That is an incredibly challenging feat of filmmaking. The best part is they pulled it off. It was something the film geeks will Sqeeee over but its done subtly enough to not make it a distraction.  

The performances were really good but I didn't make a connection with any of them. I realize that the whole point of the film was to take a closer look at people in a rough time and place in their lives and how they are all struggling to keep afloat but it was hard to watch the level of anxiety portrayed. I walked out of the theater in a funk. As I think about it maybe it did connect with me emotionally, I was feeling their desperation and it made me depressed.

As a viewer I wasn't entertained and that is the bottom line. There were choices with the end that made me question what I was watching. I have stated before that the quickest way to lose me is to not play by the rules you set up for me. If you set the rules I will follow your story to the other end of the galaxy and different dimensions. The end made me shrug and say "Huh" and walked out.


To sum up I appreciate the film but didn't care for the ride. The best part of the journey is the going but the destination also needs to be worth the trip. What films have impacted you in such a way as to make you blue? 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Fury





Fury - 134min - R
 
War movies are made to remind us how horrible war is. Another reason to make a war film is to highlight the real life events of a heroic individual or group of individuals. This film was painstakingly dedicated to the accuracy of the setting of the end of World War II in the heart of Germany. Being a Bradley gunner myself and a member of a crew in the Army, I have to say that the tone of the film captures what you feel in combat. This movie gets a yellow light in the final total for not providing anything to walk away with.

Toward the end of World War II a tank crew lead by Don 'Wardaddy' Collier (Brad Pitt) is working in the final push into Germany. His crew of four include Boyd 'Bible' Swan (Shia LeBeouf), Trini 'Gordo' Garcia (Michael Pena), Grady 'Coon-Ass' Travis (Jon Bernthal) and Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman). They are sent up against impossible odds as they try and hold a crossroad to protect the Allied lines of support.

One particularly interesting point was the transition we see in the character of Norman. He enters this battle as a fresh recruit who hasn't seen battle. The first opportunity he has to kill someone he doesn't and it cost them four lives. Wardaddy brings him to an unarmed German and forces him to kill him. This is Norman's baptism in blood. The second time targets are presented to him, they are suffering from phosphorous burns and are burning alive. Norman sees their suffering and performs a mercy killing. He is now used to killing as demonstrated by his final choice to kill which is in wrath.

I was a gunner like Bible. His war experience was different than mine but we are still performing the same job. Like him, I am marked by the experiences in the Gulf War. If nothing else this film does capture the way war changes a person forever. Shia LeBeouf's antics may have been a problem on set, but on screen he did a great job of bringing that character to life. You can see the darkness that marks his soul.

Bible says in the film "Wait till you see it... what a man can do to another man." The horrors of war are not entertaining. This film feels like a project that was created to play in the setting of World War II.

I went with @wydeopen and he asked me where this film fits in with other war movies. I would have to place this somewhere on the bottom of the list. There is nothing it teaches us and it gives us nothing of historical significance. I walked out feeling empty.

The Director (David Ayer) has mastered the ability to capture settings that are dark and gritty. I think his talents will be well used in his upcoming project, Suicide Squad. As a storyteller, he does a good job of presenting a dark feel to his films. He has a good eye for action and tension in scenes. 

Looking at this review I haven't written with my usual humorous flare, I think its a reflection of how I felt about the movie.  Were there any movies that made you feel like that?   

Friday, December 5, 2014

House of Cards Posted on Web Wombat




I was introduced to binge watching with this netflix original series. Take a look at my review of the first two seasons  here. Season 3 is open for binge watching starting on February 27th 2015.  You have some time to catch up before it airs.

Maybe they should have started it November 2nd to coincide with Election Day.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

John Wick

John Wick – 101min – R

A tried and true formula of a revenge picture. This movie delivers exactly what it says on the tin. When you are looking for a popcorn munching, mind checking at the door, fasten your seatbelt kind of a film here is what you are looking for. This movie jumps us directly into the story and doesn’t give us a moment's rest, nor do we want one in this green light film.

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) seems like a normal guy who has been through the loss of his wife. A young Russian punk, Isoef (Alfie Allen), likes his car so he tries to buy it. John refuses and inadvertently insults the young man. The punk sneaks into John’s house and steals his car and kills his dog. John’s other life now rises from the ashes of the attack and he is like the Angel of Death bringing down the wrath of God onto his transgressors.

John has to get back in contact with his old acquaintances to exact revenge on Isoef. He makes contact with Winston (Ian McShane) who runs a hotel that is like a neutral ground where hired killers are safe from the dangers of their job. From the safety of the hotel he starts to take apart the Russian mob.

The Mob sends gangs of guys to take John down. They even going so far as hiring Marcus (Willem Dafoe), a sniper, and John's friend.

Keanu Reeves gets a bad rap about his acting, but I think a performer who knows what his range is and stays with it is a wonderful thing. He knows how to do action well. The fight scenes look really tight and his gun work is outstanding.

The director Chad Stahelski and Co director (David Leitch) both have a long resumes in the film industry but as their first go in the driver’s seat. I think they shows tremendous promise. He knows what buttons to hit to get the audience behind the absolute hell John rains down on the Tarasov family. John Leguizamo has a very short but memorable scene as the owner of the local chop shop. He is the set up for the best line in the film “oh.” Best Line Ever. You'll have to see it to appreciate it.

Derek Kolstad wrote the screenplay and it was tight. I think they missed a few opportunities for some really memorable lines. An opportunity was when Viggo was beating John up he should have tried to make an offer to pay him for the transgressions made by his son. After finding out the true depths of the wrongs done to John he should have then made the choice to kill him.

The next missed opportunity comes when John is standing on the hood of the car and facing down Viggo. John should have said in Russian “The bogeyman is here for your feckless child.” He has been referenced as the monster who takes bad kids twice before in the movie. They should have brought it full circle and owned it.

The last one is when Viggo is beating Marcus up. Viggo tells him “If you had done your job my son might still be alive” without missing a beat Marcus should have said “If you were doing your job as a father, your son wouldn’t have caused this in the first place.”{Spit blood on Viggo’s shoe}

I know these are very nitpicky but their absence doesn’t take away from the film in any way. It’s still a very solid action film. I want to thank @GabnDad for suggesting it.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

3 Days to Kill Posted on WebWombat


3 Days to Kill - 117min - PG13

Here is my review of 3 Days to Kill. I am a sucker for a Luc Besson story.  Take a look at the article on Web Wombat

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Judge

The Judge - 141min - R

The best part of this film is the spectacular cast. Working with excellent material, director David Dobkin, whose films have been hit or miss, has created a wonderful story that plays well and gives the setting an honest feeling. The characters all play well off one another without overdoing it. The story could easily fall into a bog of sentimentality but it provides enough to give the film flavor without overdoing it. I sentence this film to be a green light.

Hank (Robert Downy Jr.) is a high priced defense attorney. His client list consists of the worst of humanity but the best paid. When he gets a call from his brother to say his mother has passed away, he is faced with going back to his home town and dealing with the family issues he has separated himself from. His father (Robert Duvall) is a judge of the local area and is a hard man. Hank reconnects with his family and his old life. His interactions are those of an outsider only there to bury his mother.

As he about to leave, his father gets accused of killing a man he had problems with in the past. Now, Hank has to stay and defend his father. Through the trial, he starts to learn about his past and why his relationship with his father has been so hard. This journey is peppered with self-realization and a new understanding, and Robert Downy Jr. does an excellent job of showing us that journey. His performance is spot-on.

This film's trailer is misleading. It really focuses on the trial but the story has way more depth than expressed. The movies that show growth of a character are more appealing to me than anything else. They give us hope that we can change as well. Hank is going to be Hank but the story shows us his change in direction as a person without losing the edge of flare of who that character is. His journey back home brings to light a lot of feelings and emotions that he has buried but not forgotten.

Robert Duvall's portrayal of Judge Palmer is excellent. He really does an outstanding job of expressing the proud professional that sacrifices his relationship with his son to maintain the image of propriety in the community. He would rather be found guilty than have his judgments called into question because of possible evidence that could save him in the trial.

Some outstanding performances that need recognition are Vincent D'Onofrio and Vera Farmiga. D'Onfrio completely nailed the emotional struggle of the older brother who has moved past the loss of his shot at baseball and the frustrations of the possibility of having to be the cartaker of his youngest brother. Farmiga is a great strong independent woman. Her character's strength is in knowing her feelings for Hank but also knowing who he is and she doesn't let that change or color her world.

I enjoy the realism of the story. Its strength is the honesty of the characters and their realness. Other films of this nature give in to sentimentality but this one keeps it feet on the ground and provides a good story that makes the viewer enjoy the ride. We also see the change in character in the opening scene Hank urinates on the prosecuting attorney after his journey we see him in the same setting offering the character a bit of advice. The second interaction is completely civil and a perfect touch.



Friday, November 21, 2014

Snowpiercer Posted on WebWombat

Snowpiercer - 126min - R

Here is my review of this film on WebWombat. Now showing on Netflix. 


Excellent work performed by all, what should I watch next on Netflix? 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Gone Girl

Gone Girl – 149min – R

This movie is surprising. It’s defiantly not what you expect. The trailer does a perfect job of giving you the feeling of the film and entices you in without giving anything away. This is a well-made film and expands into a whole new level of creepy. Imagine if the 1991 film He Said, She Said were darker and written by sociopaths. Then you have some idea of what this green light film has to offer.

Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) and his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) are having problems. They are the normal problems couples have if they fall out of love and the pressures of life are weighing down on them. Nick goes and sees his sister, Margo (Carrie Coon) at the bar they both own. When he returns home he finds signs of a struggle and his wife gone. Nick is completely clueless to how his wife disappeared you start to wonder if you have the whole story. What happens then must be seen to be believed. It’s hard to replay more about this film when I don’t want to give away too much. This move is best experienced.

The amazing thing about this film is its ability to provide clues, yet keep the whole story a mystery until the end where you can see all three sides of the story: his side, her side and the truth. I’m still wrapping my head around how completely broken a few of the characters are. I feel manipulated and I wasn’t even in the story.

Movies sometimes provide lessons to the viewers. For example Basic Instinct was a cautionary tale about infidelity. In Sleeping With the Enemy you have a woman who feels free but in reality her nightmare of a spouse shows back up again, warning us that things will come back to haunt us. I still don’t know what message this movie is imparting, or at least I can’t and not give away huge parts of the plot. If you want to talk more about this drop me a line at Fatsamuraireviews@gmail.com .

David Fincher continues to impress with his storytelling and his wonderful ability to build pressure and deliver the goods. Not surprising there, but what I really enjoyed was the story itself. I have been told that the movie guts the novel but as you know direct translations to film never work out so you have to make sacrifices.

I think the important parts of the book were relayed in the film because I would be interested in reading it based on my experience with the movie. Gillian Flynn was the one who wrote the novel and the screenplay so the story's creator had some control of what the end result was. Gillian Flynn does pen a good story.

This gripping story is definitely going to make this one of my favorites even if Neil Patrick Harris plays a complete creep in it, showing off his range. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a Fincher film.

If you have seen the film, tell me what you thought did it end the way you were expecting it to? I know I was surprised.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Don’t Look Back

Don’t Look Back - 85min – Not Rated

William Dickerson tweeted me, asking me to review his film. It’s on iTunes so I paid for a copy and gave it a look. I was pleased with the result. This is a nice small production. The story focuses around a central character in a small town who is dealing with her past. I am a huge fan of small, well-done productions. They seem to have a lot of spirit when done right. This film is a well-deserved green light.

Nora Clark (Lucy Griffiths) is an author of children’s books. Her grandmother (Holly Kaplan) recently passed away and left her the house she grew up in. She seems to be having writers block so she goes to the house to get away and start writing the next book in her series. She meets Peyton (Cassidy Freeman) who is looking for a room to rent. They become friends and as Nora starts to write she asks Peyton to do the photography for the new book. Their friendship grows but is also tested because Nora’s past comes back to haunt her and Peyton seems to be more than she is letting on.

The psychological journey going back to your childhood and revisiting your past is a great subject. That’s what gives the audience a connection with this film. We have all had those moments of reflection. Not saying everyone has had the same past as Nora but that uncertainty of returning to the home you grew up in is a common feeling for all of us. The setting this movie takes place in is a wonderful idyllic, quaint and quiet town.

This story unwraps the layers of Nora’s history like a present. Slowly undoing the ribbons and paper to see what is in the box of her mind. In the film the use of the popsicle house is used to great effect to show us the progression of Nora’s journey. As much as Nora pushes this symbol into her past, Peyton embraces it and completes the house. The similarities in their characters play well with this imagery.


The cast was spectacular. The performances complimented each other very well. There was chemistry with all of them. I liked the relationship between Peyton and Nora. They played well off of each other and build that close connection. It was nice seeing Roddy Piper in another film, though it was a bit hard to watch him play this role so well. To me, he will always be Nada standing in the bank saying “I have come to chew bubble gum and to kick ass… and I am all out of bubblegum.” I still use that whenever I can in online games.

There is an HD version and an SD. It’s worth the extra few bucks for the HD version. The shot composition is really well done. With the beautiful Idyllwild as a backdrop it makes for great eye candy and you might as well enjoy it in its fullest depth of color and scope. The scenes are really put together well.


I had a chance to talk with the Director via Email here is our conversation.
What drew you to this story?

I'm primarily drawn to a theme, or themes, in a movie before I decide to make it. I find myself drawn consistently to the theme of "rebirth," which was the major theme in my film "Detour." The idea of rebirth is also threaded throughout "Don't Look Back." While it's a psychological thriller on the surface, the film is a latent coming-of-age story at its core. Albeit a twisted one. Nora hasn’t really yet become an adult, emotionally speaking. She is stuck due to her childhood trauma; until she confronts it, she can't fully grow into her present self. Her character arc, for all intents and purposes, leads to a cathartic rebirth into a new self. This idea fascinates me.

What was your favorite part to shoot?

It's hard to write about it without giving a key moment of the movie away! Though, it's like that with most of the movie, since there are a number of twists and turns. There is a death scene that is filmed through the viewfinder of the 3D camera -- if I have to pick one part of the film that I had the most fun shooting, I'd have to pick that!

What project are you working on next?

I'm writing several screenplays with my partner, Dwight Moody, several of which we would like to put into production. We are also writing a TV pilot that may, or may not, have to do with aliens.

What is your dream film to shoot?

My dream, my passion project, is to shoot the adaptation of my novel, "No Alternative." It's a coming-of-age drama set in the world of suburban American teens in the early 90's. One of the teens, Thomas Harrison, starts his own alternative band, which becomes an obsession that blinds him to what’s either the mental collapse, or the eruption of musical genius, of his little sister, Bridget. Bridget boldly rejects her brother’s music by taking on the persona of an X-rated gangsta’ rapper named “Bri Da B.” I think the landscape of the early 90’s – the “grunge era” of music and the lifestyle that went along with it – is something that evokes a great deal of nostalgia for people right now. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Kurt Cobain and nostalgia for the 90’s is at a fever pitch. The remarkable thing about kids in the 90’s is that every kid felt alone, alienated – from their schools, from their family, from themselves – but they were all alienated together. The music that filled the air between them was the glue that connected them all.

When did you start getting the bug for filmmaking?

When I was a kid, my grandfather gave me his old camcorder, and I filmed everything I could with it. My first "legit" film was an adaptation of Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians" that I made in 6th grade. I was allowed to make a film in lieu of writing a book report. Thank you, Mrs. Burke.

How did you start?

"Ten Little Indians!" As legit as that project was, I really started to get going when I made a few shorts that got into festivals and got me accepted to the American Film Institute as a Directing Fellow.

Who were and are your influences?

The first time I realized there was a creative mind behind filmed entertainment was while watching television in the early 90's. I was watching Episode 8 of "Twin Peaks" as a kid and something just clicked: there was someone behind the curtain, and that someone held my emotions in his hands like a palm full of putty. That someone was David Lynch, of course. He is a big influence. As is Scorsese, Hitchcock, Spielberg, Bunuel, Kubrick and De Palma, among lots of others.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sex Tape


Sex Tape - 94 min - R

Blink, blink....Um....Blink. I have no words for how bad this film is. Obviously a red light film. However more disappointing: this is proof to the contrary of a point I have been making for years. If you enjoy working with a group of people on one film, don't do a sequel--make a new movie. This turd burger is brought to you from the makers of Bad Teacher. Thank you for giving me an hour and thirty minutes to reevaluate my life and enjoy the fact my life is way better than the characters you showed us. Bask in the red glow of the light you have earned.

Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) are in the time of their lives when you and your spouse get wrapped up in life and responsibilities you forgot to carve out some time for yourselves. So to break out of this pattern they decide to make a sex tape on the new iPad Jay has just gotten. This will bring passion and excitement to their otherwise dull boring sex life.

We thankfully don't get to see this evening of debauchery we just see the afterglow moment when they are both drifting off to sleep. "Don't forget to delete that file?" ..."Hum..Ok. I won't." Well the auto back up to the cloud happens in the morning and the rest is hijinks history.

See Jay has this habit of sharing his old iPads with friends and family. Why a person would have more than one is beyond me. He likes to keep them linked to his cloud because once he discovers great music play list everyone gets an update.

We now have the setup and like any traffic accident we see the problems coming way before the participants do. There is one person who has seen the sex show and keeps sending mysterious texts and is threatening to upload a copy to the web. So Jay and Annie spend the night trying to get all of the iPads back and deleting the offending film. Too bad they couldn't get to the production office before this movie was released.

One of the most painful scenes is the section where they try and get the iPad back from Annie's prospective buyers of her parenting blog. His company is focused on wholesome family values. She gave Hank (Rob Lowe) an iPad with a power point slide on it. Who are these people who can just toss around iPads like business cards? I want to be that rich. Well maybe not--it apparently makes you dumb.

Hank is enjoying a quiet night at home with some heavy drinking and cocaine. Annie distracts him by doing a few lines and spending time while Jay wanders through the maze of a house trying to find the iPad and avoiding the attack dog pet. This is turning point for Jay who decides to not pay the mysterious blackmailer because of his horrific experiences with the dog.

A copy goes to a porn sharing website. The only funny part in this film is Jay's attempt to watch it to judge how bad it is because they never watched it. He gets about 30 seconds in and freaks out. Their big plan is to go to the website servers and break the internet. They get caught and the owner just tells them, why didn't you just send us an email and tell us to take it down because they didn't give permission to use the tape?

The writing crew has got a lot of good work under their belt. I can't explain why this film flops so supremely. This just goes to show you even when you have a good cast and crew and talented writes sometimes they fall flat.

Like The Hangover, at the end we get to see the tape in a manner of speaking. We get to watch how bad the night was. There are no naughty bits because of creative prop placement and shot composition. This movie is not really anything. Not funny, not titillating and not worth a look. If you are locked in a room and you have a choice between watching this film or being locked away in solitary confinement for two years, think long and hard on your choice. The two years will seem like a bargain compared to the lasting damage this film could do you.

If you are a person who enjoyed this movie, first I am sorry. Second please leave a comment and tell me why you enjoyed it. I promise not to judge you.



Jason Segel looks like he is going to be ill, I know how you feel man.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Expendables 3





Expendables 3 - 126min - PG13

The first two movies of this franchise were red light films, the second one being particularly bad. It was beyond bad. It explored new depth of suckage. You can read my reviews of two it falls into the same category as one. However even a broken clock is right twice a day. This one was their closest attempt at a story beyond campy catchphrases and cheesy references to previous film glory. I give this a Yellow light as a marked improvement but still not high quality.

We open on a mission in progress. Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) is freeing fellow Expendable Doc (Wesley Snipes) from imprisonment. Doc was an original Expendable. Apparently once an Expendable you are always an expendable, which means you are not ummm... expendable? They need him to stop the sale of a missile by a arms dealer. So, I guess ex-Expendables are only expendable until they are needed.

The arms dealer is Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson) and he and Barney have history. Conrad proves to be too much for the team and our heroes are thwarted. They return to base to lick their wounds where they are met by their new handler Max Drummer (Harrison Ford). Their new boss tells them they screwed up and need to go after Stonebanks.

Barney decides his team needs to retire and calls them all together to let them go. The next section of the film is dedicated to hiring new recruits. With the help of Bonaparte (Kelsey Grammer), a retired mercenary, they go looking at potential candidates.

The problem here is we have no investment in the new characters they are the ones who will be going in and failing so the real heroes can come in and save the day. So like clockwork, they fail but Barney survives and plans to go it alone to save the new team. His old team shows up and they work together to free the new guys and work together as a team to complete the mission.

We have the lone hero going in to get the newbies because it was his fault they were captured. The tenacious Galgo (Antonio Banderas) finally talks and talks and talks his way into getting a chance because Barney needs some backup. But as they are about to fly off to save the new crew, the old crew is standing on the runway. They are not going to leave Barney to deal with this on his own.

We now have twice the number of Expendables going up against an Army lead by a madman. A spectacular battle scene ensues which I can't even begin to describe. Suffice it to say this battle, suspension of disbelief in hand, is one of the better fight scenes I have seen in a long time. Well worth the price of renting.

None of these movies ever take themselves seriously. This one is the probably the best at toning down the "Hey Look at us we are still making movies laugh at us" aspect. They depend less on the catch phrases and cutesy interactions and more on trying to tell a story. It's not a great story, but at least they are heading in the right direction.

This film's shortcoming is its attempt to lengthen the franchise with fresh faces and a poor attempt at making this a father and son picture. One of the new recruits is Barney's son. They drive this point home with all the subtlety of a sledge hammer.

The freshness of this story is the fact they don't take time to beat the old tired punch lines and make fun of themselves. This could be the movie which opens this franchise to new generation of action heroes.

One point I noted was the fact Stonebanks as a leader started shooting his own troops who were not performing to his standard. As a leadership tactic that's a good way to get yourself shot in the back of the head. It doesn't play as well in real life as it does on screen. I have no idea why that stood out. Even in a completely unrealistic picture there needs to be some basis in reality.

My final verdict is this is still not a great movie but they are defiantly getting themselves under a better formula and hopefully a new batch of fresh faces could bring this franchise up to a decent film. When you have as much money and time as Mr. Stallone does you can make movies because they are fun to do and care less for the reviews of the press.

If you agree disagree let me know about it drop me a comment or tweet me. I am always up for a good movie conversation.