Archive for the 'Movies' Category

29
Apr
17

Sing (No, Please, Don’t)

Now that I have a kid who’s old enough to take to the movies, you can expect to see more children’s film reviews. So, yeah, enjoy these, everyone.

Sing is the latest in a long line of non-Disney animated films that tries hard but misses the point entirely. You see, most non-Disney animated movies think that all they need to be good is a bunch of brightly colored animals cavorting around on-screen. Kids aren’t that stupid. Movies don’t have to pander to them.

Sing is about a koala who owns a failing theater. As a last-ditch effort to save the theater (save the rec center, amirite?), he hosts a singing competition a la American Idol. What follows is a parade of animals singing popular songs. The songs are strung together at regularly intervals to hold together the paper-thin plot.

Continue reading ‘Sing (No, Please, Don’t)’

22
Apr
17

The Man with the Midas Touch (James Bond 3)

Goldfinger was the film that perfected the James Bond formula. The first two films developed it, but there were bits that were rough around the edges and pieces that were missing. It wasn’t until this third film that everything solidified into the quintessential formula. Filmed on a budget of $3 million, and raking in a whopping $125 million, the filmmakers quickly learned that the public loved this latest iteration, and they have rarely strayed from it since.

The behind-the-scenes history of the James Bond franchise is often more interesting than the films themselves. A few years earlier, when the filmmakers wanted to make Dr. No, they had originally attempted to lure Guy Hamilton into the director’s chair. Hamilton declined, and the producers went with Terrence Young instead. This was a huge benefit to the film series, as it was Young who taught Connery how to play Bond. Without that insight, who knows if the series would have been so popular?

Continue reading ‘The Man with the Midas Touch (James Bond 3)’

02
Apr
17

Lucy, Spy

Lucy

This movie is based on the myth that humans only use 10% of their brain’s capacity. OK, right out the gate, the whole film’s premise is based on shitty pseudo-science, so it’s not off to a great start. The concept is this: what would happen to a person if they could unlock 100% of their brain’s capacity?

Unfortunately, Lucy isn’t able to come up with anything original. As the title character unlocks ever greater portions of her brain, she is able to see cell phone signals (apparently it unlocked greater eyesight, too), and she develops telekinetic powers (apparently it unlocked the ability to defy the laws of physics, too).

As Lucy herself becomes more intelligent, she becomes less empathetic, essentially becoming a machine. This is one of the oldest, most tired clichés in all of science fiction. It would have been nice if they had tried to come up with something a little different. By the end of the film, she literally becomes a machine, swamped in black goo, and interfacing with everything on the planet. She becomes a god-computer or something, I don’t know, it didn’t make any sense. It goes completely off the rails, and is hilarious in how stupid it is.

Verdict: Shitty

Spy

Melissa McCarthy’s movies are trash. Most angry bloggers on the Internet agree with me. But, at the same time, I kept reading how Spy was the exception; how it was the one movie where she plays against type, and how it’s a laugh riot. So, stupidly believing said angry bloggers, I watched this movie in the hopes I would enjoy it.

Once again, McCarthy fails to deliver. This is just as shitty as the rest of her work. She does play against type at first. She plays a nebbish CIA desk jockey who aids suave super-spy Jude Law in his field assignments. She’s frumpy and passive, and in love with a man who uses her without any intention of reciprocating her feelings. That’s all fine and good, but none of it is actually funny.

Later, McCarthy winds up going into the field. She ultimately dons the usual McCarthy persona: brash, rude, bitchy, and with fat jokes abounding. What good will the film might have earned by that point is immediately squandered. The “jokes” the film offers up are nothing more than insults and slapstick. They could work if they were clever, but they exist solely as a vehicle for McCarthy to cavort on screen, offering no humor whatsoever.

The only part of the movie that gave me any joy was Jason Statham’s hot-headed, dim-witted secret agent. But it begs the question, why are the CIA’s top two secret agents British? Is it movie law that all secret agents be British?

Verdict: Shitty

18
Mar
17

Amadeus, Sleeping With Other People

Amadeus

Amadeus is a tour de force of film making. It has everything you’d want in a period drama: lush sets, flamboyant costumes, fantastic dialogue, deep drama, scandal, and treachery. While Amadeus is far from portraying the events of Mozart’s life accurately, it is a riveting film nonetheless.

The most brilliant aspect of the film is that it is told not from Mozart’s point of view, but rather his rival’s. Antonio Salieri is the court composer for the Holy Roman Emperor. His also a deeply pious individual. He is gladdened to learn that musical prodigy Mozart will be coming to Vienna, where he lives. He is then abhorred to discover that Mozart is lewd, tactless, and arrogant. He questions why God would imbue such undeniable talent into someone so abrasive. The film moves on to portray the major events in Mozart’s life, and how Salieri tries to thwart him at every turn.

The acting is great all around, but F. Murray Abraham is especially fantastic as Salieri. Every inch of his face exudes his love of music, his hatred of Mozart, as well as confusion, dismay, joy, and every other human emotion. He towers among the other players, but never overshadows them.

It is an expertly directed film. While it might not get the historical details right, that really isn’t the point. It showcases a wonderful rivalry set against a historical backdrop. And Mozart’s thundering music helps to perfect the atmosphere.

Verdict: Good

Sleeping With Other People

This movie is an utterly forgettable romantic comedy from 2015. It managed to snag some decent talent with the likes of Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Adam Scott, and Amanda Peet. How they managed to secure those big names for such an abysmal failure is beyond me.

Sudeikis and Brie lost their virginity to each other in college, and then never saw each other again. Both went on to become sex addicts. They meet at a Sex Addicts Anonymous group, and rekindle their friendship. They decide they’ll not bang, and by doing so, they will become true friends.

Yawn. The movie derives its comedy from juvenile humor. They expect us to believe that the couple will just be friends, but they do shit like Brie modeling sexy underwear to Sudeikis. What kind of friends do that? It’s like whoever wrote this movie came from Mars, and is writing what they think Earth-friends must do together.

Eventually, Brie and Sudeikis have a falling out over Scott, whom she is having an affair with. She breaks it off, and then she and Sudeikis fall in love. This movie has every trope you’ve ever seen in a romantic comedy. This movie is bland, not funny, and sucks.

Verdict: Shitty

11
Mar
17

Logan: The Spoiler Review

Hugh Jackman’s final (until he gets paid all the money to return) outing as Wolverine has finally hit theaters. So far, it is both a critical and commercial success. With a bleak tone, incredible violence, and a definitive ending, we finally have been treated to the first truly great X-Men film.

Taking place 12 years from now, Logan’s future looks like a hellscape. One could be forgiven for thinking they accidentally stepped into a post-apocalyptic movie. With locations set primarily on the U.S.-Mexico border, the film’s vistas are mostly desert wastelands. This mirrors the inner narrative that Logan’s life has been wasted on violence, leaving him with nothing to show for it. That’s not to say the film can’t be beautiful at times. In fact, the forlorn landscapes evoke their own stark beauty thanks to some wonderful cinematography.

Once again, mutants are on the run, hiding from humans who wish to wipe them out. Humans have perfected a gene therapy technique that has caused all mutants to either lose their powers, or find they have become unstable. Professor X can barely control his telepathic powers, and is reduced to taking seizure meds to subdue them. Logan’s healing factor has slowed substantially, causing him to take much longer to recover from injuries, and making him almost mortal.

Continue reading ‘Logan: The Spoiler Review’

11
Feb
17

Interstellar: The Girls Keep Getting Older, But the Spaceman Stays the Same Age

Christopher Nolan has a pretty good track record. His Dark Knight trilogy was excellent, and some of his other films like Memento and Inception have gone on to be modern classics. Unfortunately, Nolan finally hit a stumbling block with his ninth film.

Interstellar wants to be a space epic in the vein of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It also wants to feature a labyrinthine mystery like Memento and be mindfucky like Inception. Sadly, though, it’s none of those things. It just gets bogged down under its own weight and Nolan’s ill-advised aspirations.

Continue reading ‘Interstellar: The Girls Keep Getting Older, But the Spaceman Stays the Same Age’

28
Jan
17

The Mist, Trainwreck

The Mist

A 2007 adaptation of a Stephen King novel directed by Frank Darabont seems like a recipe for success. After all, the two of them made fan-favorite The Shawshank Redemption. Sadly, though, this movie was a misfire for everyone involved. It takes places in a sleepy Maine town that gets overrun by a mysterious mist. What’s in the mist? Giant bugs and tentacle monsters (*facepalm*). The characters crowd inside a supermarket while they try to wait out the pending apocalypse, but the group loses cohesion and the fight to stay alive becomes exponentially harder.

There are all kinds of problems with this movie. Foremost is the absurd length. It’s over two hours long, and for what essentially boils down to a monsters-killing-everyone flick, that’s about thirty minutes longer than it needs to be. The pacing of the scenes between the monsters is laborious, and the film drags most of the time. And when the monsters come out, the incredibly dated CGI makes them more hilarious than frightening.

None of the characters are remotely interesting, and there is nothing for the audience to latch onto. The only good thing about this movie was the ballsy, super-dark ending. I hadn’t expecting something so bleak, and it definitely worked. But watching the dreck that came before didn’t make it worthwhile.

Verdict: Shitty

Trainwreck

Trainwreck falls squarely into the “check out the socially-inept, rude, funny, fat chick” genre of comedy films. Written and starring Amy Schumer, Trainwreck fails to bring anything new to the table, and instead recycles the same clichéd relationship jokes that have been done a million times over. None of the characters are relatable, from the unbelievably oversexed Schumer to the as-exciting-as-paint-drying Bill Hader. There is a bizarre subplot with Schumer’s father, played by a young Colin Quinn, suddenly getting dementia, being put in a home, and dying. It is strange because he acts normal, is way too young to have dementia, let alone be her father, and it adds nothing of value to the story. In the end, Schumer and Hader’s characters break up, and they get back together without an apology or any growth on the part of Schumer’s deplorable character. I admit I laughed at some of the jokes, and, most surprising of all, LeBron James was the highlight of the film. Overall, though, it’s not worth it.

Verdict: Bad




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