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, you have to be familiar with the online poker world in order 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 still entertaining.


Friday, February 28, 2014

30 for 30: The Price of Gold (2014)

30 for 30 is an ESPN series that plays out like documentaries; sports related of course. Fittingly it aired just in time for the 2014 Winter Olympics. This "episode" focuses on the most talked about scandal in sports history: the over-hyped mess of the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding saga.

This production is a strange one. It's intriguing to watch if you remember the hype when it originally happened, but if you only know their names through pop culture and don't really understand any details, this documentary is not a good representation. I imagine it's partly due to the fact that Tonya Harding agreed to be interviewed for this while Nancy Kerrigan declined; which means they could only use archived footage. They do however use the archived footage to make it seem as though Kerrigan was being interviewed for this show; which further portrays Kerrigan in a darker light. The editing is heavily in Harding's favor and they clearly attempt to downplay and excuse her behavior.

Another portion that this film glosses over is the more damning issue of figure skating judges, but I suppose that needs its own documentary.

They do give details that I never knew and the quick updates of the major players is oddly fascinating. The one thing this film is missing is a SHRINK! They have the commentators, the former olympians, the media, and even the prosecutor, but no psychologist to analyze Harding's behavior. A psychologist would have filled in the gaps and made this film more fulfilling to watch.


Sherlock (TV-BBC) Series 3 (2014)

My long overdue review of Sherlock Series 3! But hey, with the way things are going, I have a year and a half before series 4 airs! Grrr. That's probably the most frustrating part of the entire show; it takes SO long between seasons. With each series only having 3 episodes makes the wait so much more agonizing. I love this show but it frustrates me to no end! It makes you feel like you're chasing after someone who doesn't love you as much as you love them. :/ Hmm...it's like being in a relationship with Sherlock himself! Sigh...

Series 3 is paced quickly; especially in the second episode. Honestly, I feel like they're cheating. In 'The Sign of Three' they go through a montage of past cases. Every flashback scene is a teaser to an episode that doesn't exist! You want nothing more than to watch each of those flashback scenes in full blown episodes.

With all my frustration, I will still wait for series 4...and 5...and 6...and it better go on forever!

Sherlock Series 3 Trailer...

There is a mini episode for this series called 'Many Happy Returns.' It's technically series 3 episode 0. It's only 7 minutes, but a fun little intro into series 3. In case you missed it...

Here's a little trick I'm excited to try for Sherlock Series 4. Download the extension 'Hola Better Internet' on Google Chrome. If you set the country to the UK, you can watch a lot of British shows on their iplayer service. That's not the most exciting part! BBC UK airs Sherlock BEFORE PBS airs it in the US. BBC aired the premiere on January 1st while PBS aired it on January 19th. I know, it's only 18 days but still...it's 18 DAYS!!!

Beyond that, there isn't much to say that I haven't said already about the past 2 series. The acting, directing, and writing are simply superb. Although I will admit series 3 is my least favorite thus far; again, mostly because it runs fast and on the edge of chaos. Otherwise, I'm excited to see how Mary will fit into future series and hoping they will keep Sherlock working is abductive magic.

When will BBC start upping the ante? We want more!!!
Here's more!
Dr. Watson's Blog!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

White House Down (2013)

White House Down is a mess. My new resolution is to never watch another movie with Channing Tatum in it. I can think of a dozen actors off the top of my head that would have been WAY better than Tatum. It's painful to watch him on screen. Unfortunately, Tatum isn't the only thing wrong with this flick.

Recently, I reviewed Olympus Has Fallen and I was pretty harsh about it. White House Down is its brother from another mother. Although it doesn't make the White House as easy to take down as Olympus Has Fallen, they both have almost identical plots. If I had to choose to watch one or the other, I would choose Olympus Has Fallen. That should give you an idea of what a hot mess White House Down is.

Tatum is the "hero" and Foxx plays the current President of the United States. Their chemistry is awkward to say the least. Tatum's character apparently has aspirations to be in the Secret Service but when he gets a chance to interact with the President, he treats him like an inadequate sidekick and comes off as disrespectful.

The attempted funny parts are noticeable and seriously not funny. Again, I blame this one on Tatum's delivery. Another Tatum point, then I'll stop. He is severely unconvincing as a father. He comes off more like a young punk. 

Joey King who plays Tatum's daughter, Emily, is good and reminds me a little of Alyssa Milano in Commando (1985). As good as she is, she still can't overcome Tatum's inabilities.

Overall, White House Down looks like they released the movie prematurely. It's unpolished and messy. Definitely not worth watching.

Friday, January 10, 2014

We're the Millers (2013)

We're the Millers is funny, cute, and quickly paced. Everything seems to happen fairly fast. Usually movies that are paced at this speed tend to feel rushed and turn out sloppy. This movie, however, is the exception. There are no dead spots or slow, hair-pulling scenes and yet it leaves you laughing for the ride and content in the end.

I have to give credit to the cast. Jason Sudeikis who plays main character, David, really holds it all together. He has instant appeal. There is a level of comfort he has with the camera that makes it so the movie doesn't require much character development on his part.

Jennifer Anniston as Rose, the stripper, is shaky in the beginning but she picks it up about 20 minutes in. She's not completely believable as a stripper in her mannerisms, and her body looks way to killer to be a low-class stripper, but her comedic timing is still there for sure. She plays well off of everyone. Nothing we're not used to.

Emma Roberts as Casey, the "daughter," is the weakest link. Her acting chops isn't quite at the level of the rest of the cast. With that said, she's still not that bad.

Will Poulter as Kenny is so quirky and funny and sweet and everything! He almost steals the spotlight. Seriously, who the hell is this kid and why isn't he in a shit ton of movies?!?! I would love to see a comedy series all about Kenny. 

I didn't want to tick down the cast but the cast is that great! Ed Helms as Brad Gurdinger, David's "boss," Kathryn Hahn and Nick Offerman as Edie and Don Fitzgerald, they're all so perfectly awkward. Kathryn Hahn is devastatingly underrated. 

There is no special plot. It's just a vulgar, funny, vulgar, sweet, vulgar movie. Did I mention it's vulgar? The language and content is most definitely mature...and vulgar, but wonderfully so.

Watch this one!

We're the Millers trailer...

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Admission (2013)

Admission is a calm, mildly funny movie. I wouldn't mind watching this one with my parents. It's definitely not as funny as the trailer makes it seem and it has a lower energy than you would expect with two popular comedic actors, but still a pretty good movie. Don't expect boisterous laughing. It's more of a feel-good flick.

Both Tina Fey and Paul Rudd are subdued and again, it's not that this is a bad movie, it's just kind of mellow. There is no real dramatic apex. It's simply, pleasant.

Tina Fey plays Princeton admissions officer Portia Nathan. At times she seems like she's trying too hard to pull the movie higher but overall she's just fine.

Lily Tomlin who plays Tina Fey's mother, Sussanah, is perfect. I would love to see a spin-off movie with Tomlin and Fey leading.

Paul Rudd plays a "director" of an alternative high school. Being a huge Paul Rudd fan, I was disappointed. There are only a few signature Paul Rudd moments. He is still good, I just love his quirkiness and have become conditioned to expecting it.

On a final note; Admission makes Princeton seem like a school of douche bags. I wonder if they were upset with this movie.