This movie is adorable. I expected a few chuckles, but it’s honestly one of the funnier Seth Rogen movies that I’ve seen. He and Barbara Streisand have wonderful chemistry and she’s just as funny as he is. If you can’t relate to their back-and-forth, you probably won’t get much out of it, but I feel like this film is representative of the majority of mother-son relationships. A wonderful film.
It took me years to see this cult classic, but it’s easy to see why it’s gained such a following. Marketed as a true story, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (I realize chainsaw is one word, that’s how IMDB spells it) proves that the scariest stories are ones that could very well happen. Is there a more terrifying weapon than a chainsaw? It’s a tool meant to be handled with the utmost care, so watching Leatherface swing it around haphazardly makes him seem like more of a force of destruction than a man. The mask is a brilliant touch. It’s never discussed in the film, and you never even get a good look at it, but given that he literally butchers the people he kills, it’s not hard to guess what the mask is made from.
There was a moment when I caught the film dragging and it almost lost me, but the genuinely terrifying and nerve-wracking ending sucked me right back in. The entire film is so simple, both in idea and execution, and that’s why they nailed it so completely.
In the first Iron Man, Tony Stark took on his power-hungry one-time mentor Obidiah Stane. In Iron Man 2, Mickey Rourke played long-time Iron Man villain Whiplash, who wanted revenge on the Stark family for injustices his father faced.
In Iron Man 3, Ben Kinglsey plays the Mandarin, a terrorist who’s hell-bent on doing terrorist stuff. Guy Pearce plays Aldrich Killian, a rival scientist who hates Tony because Tony left him on a roof once. Don Cheadle reprises his role as Rhodey, but instead of War Machine, he’s now Iron Patriot. Also there are people who are bombs. There’s a lot going on in Iron Man 3. There are connections that aren’t fully fleshed out, motivations that aren’t fully explored, and ideas that just don’t seem to go anywhere. If I really gave it some thought, I’m sure I could discover a plot hole or two, but I’ve never been one to criticize a film over plot holes that didn’t occur to me while I was watching the actual film.
Despite all of that craziness, Iron Man 3 is still a fantastic film, because everything that happens in the plot, logical or not, does so to give us the strongest, deepest Tony Stark we’ve ever seen. This is a Tony Stark who’s battling serious inner demons in the form of PTSD, brought on by the events of 2012’s The Avengers. Robert Downey Jr. is at his best, as is screenwriter Shane Black, and Iron Man 3 might just contain more depth than any Marvel film so far. It’s funny, emotional, and a shitload of fun.
Critical reception for Oblivion seems to be split right down the middle. I assume that line divides the sci-fi fanatics from everyone else. It’s not an innovative movie. If you don’t know the specific films it pulls from, you’ll at least recognize the ideas. It borrows elements from countless genre classics and blends them all into a lovingly-made homage to science fiction. The friends I saw it with weren’t crazy about it, and I can’t blame them, but as a lover of sci-fi, I totally dug it. The ideas might be well worn, but it’s visually stunning and supported with terrific performances.
The best part of Jack Reacher is Jack Reacher himself. The character is an entertaining mixture of Jason Bourne and John McClane, with the correct percentage of each. Tom Cruise gives an appropriately intense performance. I’d like to see more of Lee Child’s books adapted just to see Cruise step back into those shoes.
Christopher McQuarrie’s direction works well for the action-thriller style. There’s a theory that if you don’t notice the directing, that’s a sign that it works, and I think that accurately describes McQuarrie’s work on Jack Reacher.
Unfortunately, not only is nothing else in the film as entertaining, none of it is particularly good at all. The plot is serviceable, but nothing more. Most of the characters – Rosamund Pike’s ADA and Werner Herzog’s Zec specifically – are weak archetypes. The performances are fine, but the characters are weak on paper and you only elevate them so much on the screen. It takes a lot of bad script to make Werner Herzog and Richard Jenkins anything less than stellar.
Jack Reacher and McQuarrie’s direction work well enough to make Jack Reacher an easy recommendation for action fans. I hope a sequel is made and I hope they find a suitable cast of characters to surround the ex-military policeman.
Quote whore quotes:
“Tom Cruise REACHES new heights.”
“Step aside Jack Bauer, there’s a new Jack in town and he’s got reach!”
Submarines are just spaceships of the ocean, so that already gives submarine movies a leg up in my book. Below is a submarine movie with ghosts; if there is a better subgenre than haunted submarine, I have never heard of it. Solid cast, solid scares, a decent plot, and a fantastic atmosphere make Below THE haunted submarine movie to see.
Quote whore quotes:
“Solid Submarine Squares!”
“A depth charge of explosive thrills!”
“The film may be called BELOW, but director David Twohy goes ABOVE and beyond!”
I love horror, but I’m a bit squeamish when it comes to violent and painful imagery. It’s not an ideal combination. There are certain films that I flat out refuse to watch; Hostel and Antichrist come to mind. This isn’t a principled stand, I just know that I wouldn’t have a pleasant time.
When a friend asked me if I wanted to tag along to see the new Evil Dead, I was conflicted. I said yes right away, but I knew I might have trouble watching certain scenes. I was right. There were a handful of particularly gruesome moments during which I averted my eyes. Not so much that I wouldn’t know what was going on, but enough that I didn’t have to subject myself to the torture. When a demon-possessed woman begins to lick the sharp side of a razor knife, you can make an educated guess that her tongue is going to split in two.
I don’t like gore for the sake of gore. I’ve never been that sort of horror fan. The gore in Evil Dead serves a purpose. It’s supposed to be sadistic and twisted and violent, because it all stems for an such an evil place. There’s also a refreshing lack of jump scares, with the film instead pulling its scares out of tension and atmosphere.
Evil Dead is a solid homage to Sam Raimi’s original film. It’s very light on the absurd humor that made the original such a classic, and for that reason alone doesn’t surpass the original in terms of quality, but that’s a high bar to shoot for. It’s good, effective horror.
You don’t go into a film like G.I. Joe: Retaliation expecting a good film, but a good time isn’t out of the question. Retaliation delivers on that for the most part. The Rock plays Roadblock, who leads a new team of Joes after what seems to be a rather obnoxious attempt to reboot the franchise by bucking a large amount of characters from the first film. A decent amount don’t have any presence at all. Still, it’s not as if any of them were compelling in the least.
What’s even more bizarre about the shuffling of characters is that plot-wise, the film picks up right where the first left off, with Zartan (Arnold Vosloo) masquerading as the U.S. President (Jonathan Pryce). Watching Pryce have fun in the role is worth the cost of admission alone. Watching Roadblock blow things up and Snake Eyes hack CGI ninjas off of a mountainside is just a bonus. One thing I could’ve done with - and I can’t believe I’m typing this - is Bruce Willis. There was a time when I expected nothing less than greatness from him, now I just want to see him try.
I doubt I’ll ever watch it again, but with the right expectations G.I. Joe: Retaliation can offer some fun.
I really dig Christopher Smith’s stuff - Severance, Black Death, and especially Triangle - so I was excited to check out Creep, his first feature film. Unsurprisingly, it’s his weakest film. There are some good ideas at play, and I definitely appreciate that Smith hints at a backstory rather than shoving it down our throats, but even at only 81 minutes there’s a lot of boring stretches. Creep is generic and underwhelming, but it’s nice to see that Smith learned his lesson in his later films.
God I’ve missed Jim Carrey. He’s in top form in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, but there just isn’t enough of him. The trailers really play up the rivalry between Burt and Carrey’s Steve Gray, but Gray is really just a minor obstacle in Burt’s comeback. Carrell is in fine form, as are Gandolfini and Arkin, but Carrey steals every scene that he’s in and you spend most of the time hoping that you see more of him.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a funny movie. Not funny enough to justify two major comedic talents like Carrell and Carrey, but I wasn’t wishing for my money back. Over the years I’ve grown increasingly tired of comedies centered around such overblown personalities, because it’s difficult to relate to a Looney Tunes character, but just because you can’t expect any depth doesn’t mean that you can’t have a good time.