Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pain & Gain (2013)

Pain & Gain is supposed to be a comedy about criminal bodybuilders. In reality, it plays like a campy SNL skit. There are funny moments but there is an overall lack of chemistry between the entire cast. I then found out Michael Bay directed it and it all made sense. He's not known for creating the best onset atmosphere.

The Rock's character..excuse me, Dwayne Johnson's character, had potential and is the funniest of the bunch, but his talent was still overtaken by the heavy-handed directing and bad script.

Originally I thought the whole "this is true" bit was like Fargo where a part of the fake story is to pretend it was real. Then the ending with the pictures of the actual criminals came up and I looked it up. It's a sad and crazy story. Then in reflecting upon the movie I was disturbed. It's quite actually in bad taste to make a comedy out of two people being butchered and another being tortured for a month! The families did not approve of this version of the story and are all outraged. I would be as well and had I known this from the start, I would not have watched this out of respect to the victims.

If they wanted to make it a comedy, they would have been much better off angling it as a dark comedy where the seriousness of the killings don't seem so diminished. Any which way you look at it, even if it wasn't a true story, the movie was not made well and is disorganized.

A painful mess. I do not recommend it.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Cabin In The Woods (2013)

The Cabin in the Woods is not anything close to what I was expecting. It's going to be difficult to review this one without spoilers. I'll try my best.

Even though it has the same cheesy slasher premise, it goes to an interpretative level of artistic expression. There are layers to this that remind me of The Cube series, more specifically Cube Zero (2004); a film that I wrote a thesis about in college interpreting religious symbology in film and a highly recommended watch. ANYWAY, back to The Cabin in the Woods! It melds the entire slasher/horror genre into one story. It's quite crazy and creative.

It's still clearly a scary movie. I would not watch this alone! There isn't much else to say without giving away too much. The acting was unoffensive and Bradley Whitford is good as always. I was quite surprised to find out that Josh Whedon co-wrote the script, but after watching it you can definitely see his hand-print on it.

It's a scary, fun, and entertaining movie.

The Cabin in the Woods trailer:


Monday, May 19, 2014

Ten Actors That Would Be A [WAY] Better Gambit Than Channing Tatum

I'm usually not upset about a casting decision. I didn't even blink when they announced Ben Affleck as Batman. However; recently there was an official announcement that Channing Tatum is slated to play Gambit from X-Men. I almost can't even say that without heaving. I have never been so upset about a casting decision...EVER! So as part of my self-imposed therapy, I have compiled a short list of actors that would have been a MUCH better choice than Tatum.
 Some on this list don't have very good acting skills but all of them are far and away better at acting than...you know who. 
This is not in order of preference.

NUMBER 10: Stephen Amell
Heartland (tv) & Arrow (tv)
He would bring a harder side to Gambit. He's got the body,  the jawline, and great physical ability too. I'm not sure how people would react to him playing two comic book characters at the same time (Green Arrow), and also not sure if there is any kind of back story intertwining Green Arrow and Gambit in the DC vs Marvel Universe battles. I know that fans have created mock battles between Green Arrow and Gambit so... *shrug*

NUMBER 9: Theo James
Golden Boy (tv), Divergent (film), Underworld: Awakening (film)
He's got the Gambit sex appeal and he's probably the best actor on this list.

NUMBER 8: Kellan Lutz
 Twilight series ("film") I know I know. He's not my favorite choice but I would still rather have him than Channing Tatum.

NUMBER 7: William Levy
Latin tv actor & DWTS runner up. He does have a noticeable Cuban accent. Although it wouldn't be the first time an actor had to learn a new accent for a role, he might have a hard time pulling it off.


NUMBER 6: Ashton Kutcher
That 70's Show (tv), Butterfly Effect (film), Two and a Half Men (tv)
He's probably a surprising pick to most but he looks like Gambit & he would most likely have the best chance of getting the accent spot on.


NUMBER 5:Matt Barr
One Tree Hill (tv), Hellcats (tv)
Not sure about his acting ability, but he's got the right...ahem...build.

NUMBER 4: Jamie Dornan
Once Upon a Time (tv), The Fall (tv)
He has officially been confirmed to play Christian Grey in The Fifty Shades of Grey. Need I say more?

NUMBER 3: Josh Duhamel
Las Vegas (tv), Transformers series (film)
Granted he might a little too old to be playing Gambit now, but he's only about 5 years older than Tatum.

NUMBER 2: Alex Pettyfer
I Am Number Four (film), Beastly (film), In Time (film), & -.- Magic Mike ("film")
I think he would be a great Gambit. He's got the acting ability and the look.

NUMBER 1: Jared Padalecki
Gilmore Girls (tv), Supernatural (tv)
Okay...so...he's not the greatest actor but O.M.G. he looks exactly like Gambit.

 I could list another 10 but you get the idea. #XMenFail

Friday, May 2, 2014

Gravity (2013)

I originally had no desire to watch this but the award's season got me. After winning so many awards for it's visuals and directing, I couldn't resist.

So far as the visuals, sound, and directing are concerned, I would agree with most of their assessments regarding those subjects. For instance, there is a moment when Sandra Bullock is crying and instead of her tears running down her face, they float away. It seems like an obvious detail that is needed, but the stunning part is the way these details mesmerize you. I attribute that to the director, Alfonso Cuaron. He wants you to see the details and so you see them.

It's not just teeming with visuals but with artistic expression as well. There is a religious undertone that, if you so choose, can interpret the symbology from beginning to end.

The details in the visuals almost make up for the lack of detail in the story. The story is awfully plain. It's as if Open Water (2003) turned into "Open Space" and was given a much much larger budget. I'm not at all surprised it wasn't even nominated for Best Screenplay at the Oscars.

What isn't surprising is Sandra Bullock. She rarely misses and she certainly doesn't miss here. Even her breathing is top notch. On the other hand, her counterpart George Clooney, is a little wonky. His performance doesn't detract that much so he's forgiven.

It's not a long movie, clocking in at 91 minutes, so give it a go! I would recommend it if you're looking for interpretation in art.

Gravity Trailer...


Monday, April 28, 2014

Prisoners (2013)

Prisoners is not as good as I had hoped. It tries valiantly to be a clever puzzle but it's all too predictable. I see what they were trying to do but unfortunately Ben Affleck didn't direct this and it turns out too light.

The main focus is on Hugh Jackman's character, Keller Dover, as he desperately looks for his missing daughter, Anna, and her friend, Joy. The heavy focus on one girl is odd. There isn't enough screen time for Joy and her family; they're an afterthought, which is another disappointment because they had the powerful acting skills of Viola Davis as Joy's mom.

The first half of the movie is much faster than the second half. It's a noticeable drop off that would be forgivable if the storyline got stronger, but it runs out of steam quickly. I especially despise what they did with Maria Bello's character, Grace Dover, Anna's mom. Her very fast and over-dramatic decline is mostly unnecessary.

With the exception of Hugh Jackman, Viola Davis, and Paul Dano as Alex Jones, the acting leans weak. Jake Gyllenhall as Detective Loki, aka seemingly the only detective in town, doesn't do a bad job but just isn't good for this role.

Overall, I still wish for so much more from this movie. I do not recommend it.

Prisoners trailer:


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Riddick (2013)

Riddick is the most recent installment in The Chronicles of Riddick franchise. Of the three major films, Pitch Black (2000), The Chronicels of Riddick (2004), and Riddick (2013), this most recent is definitely the one that needs the most viewer knowledge from previous movies. In other words, RIDDICK MARATHON! Watch the others before this one, it will make much more sense if you do.

The first 20 minutes of this movie is lonely. It's almost too long and you begin to wonder if any other human is going to join the party.

Riddick plays out like a Resident Evil movie. It's given leeway on the quality of the script so long as it progresses our beloved storyline. This script however, relies too heavily on that notion. Which brings me to those cheesy lines. Aw lawd the cheese is abundant in this one. Some of the lines are just down right perplexing. David Twohy does a fine job directing, but he should have definitely had someone else revamp his script. It reads like a draft instead of a final product.

It's not my favorite Riddick movie, but I still enjoyed it and look forward to the next.

The trailer below is edited really well and is a good introduction to the movie; especially if you haven't seen the previous ones.


Runner Runner (2013)

Runner Runner is about the dirty underbelly of the online gaming community. It's entertaining and you don't have to be familiar with poker to understand what's going on; however, it helps to be familiar with it to grasp its entirety. I happen to find the evolution of online gaming fascinating, so I found many more redeeming qualities about this movie than it probably deserves.

The bones are there, but Runner Runner misses by a few feet. It's categorized as an "American crime thriller," and it almost is. There isn't enough suspense for me to call it a "thriller." This could have been the new generation The Firm (1993) ala Tom Cruise, but the writing and editing butcher it. The storyline is sloppily put together, there's weak cohesion, and most of all a lack of character and relationship development.

Ben Affleck as Ivan Block is surprisingly good, but it's toward the end of the movie where he shines. The one time he raises his voice and the crocodile scenes are ones to watch. This Affleck kid is growing on me.

Justin Timberlake as Richie Furst, is like the movie...almost good. He's getting there, but his timing and energy still needs some polishing. The hardest thing about this film is that Timberlake doesn't let you sympathize with Richie, so there's really no one you're rooting for.

Gemma Arterton plays Rebecca Shafran. Unfortunately, her role is typical female support/love interest. Although, for this movie being so male dominated, she brings a great amount of sultry confidence. She does however dwarf Timberlake's abilities and it's unconvincing that she finds such a weak presence so endearing. This is only the second film I have seen Arterton, the first being Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013). I have to admit, I'm fangirling her a little and she will be a deciding factor in whether to watch any particular movie in the future.

The great version of this movie lives in my head. In the meantime, this one is decently entertaining.