May Movie Watching in Review

It is hard to keep up with my film reviews–between work and stuff it gets difficult sometimes…(as you ALL know, I am sure!)  So, I decided to make compilation posts a monthly thing.  It may be cheating ;D but hey,  it will be a great way to wade through all the films I watch and for it not to end up being 6 months later.  😀

After Earth

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Oh, M. Night!  I really, really what him to do well…I miss him.  Unfortunately, After Earth is not his triumphant return.  It is NOT as horrible as everyone is saying–but it is NOT that fantastic either.  It is safe and bland.  I almost understand how M. Night Shyamalan would be scared to do anything “special” since he has been panned by critics and fans alike for so long now–almost understand.  But, by playing it safe, After Earth is perfectly mediocre.  It has a creative premise that is then saddled with typical themes and characters.  I enjoyed the performances by Will Smith and his son, Jaden Smith but it was not enough to save the film.

Now You See Me

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I love magic and films about magic–so, I was excited about this.  Well, Now You See Me is guilty of a lot of things–being a cool story about magic is not one of them.  Director Louis Leterrier‘s style may pass the empty-action test but when given a real scenario with real people well…he seems to have some trouble.  Let me count the ways… 1.  It tries WAY too hard to be clever.  2.  It is shallow and superficial, which is a pity because it had so much potential.  3.  It has ZERO character development–and I mean ZERO!  4. There is no chemistry between the cast, which is surprising because this is a notable ensemble. So, at the end I was left  shaking my head and a bit sad because of its lack of  “magic”.

The Company We Keep

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This Robert Redford directed films hails an impressive cast and although they all give good performances, The Company We Keep is flat and kind of boring.  I have to think hard to remember what all happened. Yeah, that’s not a good sign.  😀

Dark Skies

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So close to being DAMN good!!  The ending of this thriller is frustrating enough to taint the film.  What a shame too, because writer/director Scott Stewart creates a unique look at what can be an over done alien theme.  With the fresh approach I was invested.  I loved the time spent on the family and their dynamic.  It had several good scares and some really cool stuff going on.  Kerry Russell and Josh Hamilton give strong performances and I love J.K. Simmons small appearance.   See?  All good.  But it unravels at the end.  Sad.

The Guilt Trip

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I love Barbara Streisand!  Period.  The Guilt Trip is exactly what I expected…some Streisand time! LOL!  Hey, this is a paint by numbers movie.  Predictable themes, but Seth Rogan and Babs have some good chemistry and sell the mother/son connection.  I laughed and enjoyed my time visiting an old friend.

Safe Haven

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OH!  I remember this one…it’s Sleeping with the Enemy–right?  Wait…OH!  Nicholas Sparks.  I get it. Actually. No. I don’t.   One thing though, the adorable little girl?  Is almost an exact replica of my daughter at that age…awwww!  So cute!   That’s it.  That is all I got from that.  😀

The Last Stand

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I was thinking this could be fun–maybe even good.  The return on Arnold Schwarzenegger–YES! (I am a child of the 80s ;)).  Directed by Kim Jee-Woon, who had haunted me with I Saw the Devil.   This could be really good.  Well…I was wrong.  It’s terrible.

Side Effects

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OMG!!  This movie was so awesome–when it was titled MALICE!  -_-

Steven Soderbergh has left me feeling “meh” a lot lately…sure…I can find some good things, but I have to really look hard because the “meh” is too powerful.  Meh.

Well, folks.  That’s it.  Let’s see what June offers…

Later! 😀

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The Expendables 2 is 200% of ridiculous fun!!

This poster says it ALL!!  Big Guns. Big Dudes. Big Explosions. Yes. I am Capitalizing Everything Because IT’S BIG.  😀  The Expendable 2 : Back for War is exactly what you would expect and it’s a blast, if you’re willing to embrace the madness.

Like the first one, this is not meant to be anything but a testosterone joy ride. There is not much to review. Plot? Razor thin–it’s personal this time (that’s the tagline I would apply).  Acting?  Do they have to? C’mon they’re kicking ass and taking names…they don’t have time to act.  Direction? Point. Shoot. Blow shit up!

Here are some thoughts. I will have to admit to being happy to see Arnold “back” 😀 –I love him!  Chuck Norris had the funniest joke in the movie. Jean-Claude Van Damme played a nice baddie. Jason Statham is a bad SOB and had some of the coolest fight sequences. Sylvester Stallone still got it.  Dolph Lundgren is whack. Girl Power–Nan Yu is awesome–who seem to replace Jet Li (sadness). And Bruce Willis? Anytime, anyplace. 😀  It did get a bit one-liner happy towards the end, but hey…shit was happening and what else would they say?

Yup.  That’s about it.  If you can handle the mayhem…go for it!  It will be a fun ride.

Colin Farrell is no Arnold and the new Total Recall suffers for it…

Oh, Arnold Schwarzenegger! Little did we know how much we would miss you. Twice they have tried to remake one of your signature roles (let’s not forget the Conan fiasco) and twice they have failed to capture the magic, fun and muscles that made you a mega-star.  Give it up, Hollywood. It is not going to happen and plus, Arnold is coming back (like he promised).

The sad part is that the 1990 Total Recall could have benefited from a modern face lift and the trailer looked promising. The premise is clever enough that writers Kurt Wimmer (who has done some decent stuff that I really like) and Mark Bombach could have created a more realistic, gritty interpretation of the campy, fun original and although they tried–it never quite finds its feet (or mind…or whatever).

The 2012 Total Recall changes a lot of stuff up. There is no Mars, in any way, in this version. The world is darker and gloomier, but not necessarily more interesting. For the first 20 minutes I was hopeful. I liked the new look–the different direction they were taking, but then as it progresses, we are never invested in the dystopian society they have dropped us into. Since the politics of this society play a major motivating factor in the narrative, it feels empty and shallow.  In trying to be serious, they lose all the fun and the small attempts at humor or one-liners falls flat.

Director Len Wiseman, who started the successful, albeit shallow, Underworld series is no stranger to action, but manages somehow to make this bland and a bit boring.  All the sequences have been done and seen before in other sci-films and so…nothing feels fresh or exciting.

That leaves the acting. No one is awful. Actually, these are all capable actors. Well, except Jessica Biel, who is always stiff but not totally horrible.  Colin Farrell is fine, but he does not have much to work with here.  The wasted talent is Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy–they’re brilliant and unfortunately, they’re not even given the chance to shimmer.  The only shout-out I will give is to Kate Beckinsdale, who is the only character with a clear focus and drive and who can kick some serious ass!

Oh well. They tried to recreate a universe that has been memorably etched in most people’s memories, but they failed to capture the fun and even the innovation that the original achieved. Maybe those who have yet to see Paul Verhoeven‘s 22 year-old classic (wow! that’s crazy!) will find it okay.  But I will quickly recommend for them to go watch Arnold at his prime, as he will dishes out one-liners, blows up stuff and punches Sharon Stone in the face! Yeah…they will definitely have a better time with that version!