Friday, April 26, 2013

Pain & Gain (2013): Review

Tonight I went and saw Pain & Gain and I was extremely surprised to fine that I actually liked it.  I was not really sure what to expect going into this movie. I knew it was the new Mark Wahlberg comedy, I tend to shy away from these, and that it was another movie being released in quick succession that has Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson starting in it.  Because nothing really came out this week that I was dying to see and that it had been a while since I saw a comedy, I decided to go see this movie and I am really glad we did.
This movie was completely OTT from start to finish and the movie really goes for it in the dark comedy kind of way.  In this instance it really worked and the caricatured but somewhat developed characters worked.  The development of the characters was done, although each was very much what they were, but it was good that there were not too many characters focused on and that they introduced them at different times, so there the audience was able to understand who everyone was, what role they played, and how they fit into the story. Basically the movie made sense as a story although it was completely ridiculous.
This movie is actually a true story and is based on the Miami Gym Gang consisting of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg), Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Macki), and Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson).  Although the story is about the capture, torture, and murder of actual people, the movie takes a dark comic approach which works in movie form.  Yes, it is horrible that these events actually occurred  but I am going to just focus on the movie and how due to being actual events the story has flow and dept to it.  I still find it hard to believe that what the movie portrayed actually happened and that these stupid decisions were actually made but there are court records and evidence to support this.
The film follows these three bodybuilders turned criminal who kidnap and steal the money of Victor Kershaw (named changed from true story), played by Tony Shalhub.  Lots of ridiculous things happened as they get themselves deeper and deeper into their messy situation.
This movie commits to the dark comedy and the OTT acting of all the characters really works.  I think that it was well cast and the chemistry between them was spot on. There was a focus on the sexual and it definitely earned it R rating, but the focus was both on the male and female.  While their were strippers/women in little to no clothing gyrating and making porn faces, there was also men buffed and oiled up, as well as Mark Wahlberg stripping down to his Marky Marks.
Like I said, I was surprised to find that I liked this movie but I must stress that it is for people who can handle the dark comedies which are presented in high gloss forms. This is one of the better ones I have seen and thinking back on the movie, I enjoyed the OTT ride and, yes, at times it went to places that were a bit too but there were no where near the way to far I have seen and disliked in other movies. Basically I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not the complete and utter crap I was expecting and that might be why I found myself enjoying the movie.
Also of note, this movie was set in the mid 1990's so there is lots of 90s flair, outfits, attitude, fashion, and technology.

My Rating: 2+

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thor: The Dark World Official Trailer 1 Released

Today the first official trailer for Thor 2: The Dark World was released and it focuses heavy on the drama and action which is to come. Watch here.

Although my excitement for Thor is behind my excitement for other movies that are coming out this spring, I am looking forward to Thor kicking off the holiday season when it is released in November.  As I said my current excitement are for the spring Blockbusters but that doesn't mean I cant start to look for the next crop of movies and the lead up to the Avengers 2.
In the first official trailer for Thor: The Dark Work it just starts to give us a glimpse of what is to come.  It has Thor coming back to Earth to get Jane and then jumps into the strife that Thor has to deal with as evil is thrust upon the world.  It has he seeking help from Loki and foreshadowing that "when you betray me, I will kill you."   Anyone starting to gear up for this movie and the next phase of the Marvel Saga?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Place Beyond the Pines (3013): Review

The Place Beyond the Pines is the newest installment of a movie drama with an enigma of a name that doesn't really tell you anything about the movie.  After seeing the film, I still do not see how the name has anything to do with the movie but that isn't really the point.  This movie is set in a middle of nowhere place and focuses on individual lives that sorta intertwine.
The Place Beyond the Pines is a liner movie that first follows Luke, played by Ryan Gosling, who is a motorcycle rider in a travel carnival.  When he comes back into a town on the circuit, he discovers that he has a young son (James) with Romina, played by Eva Mendez.  To try and be a part of his life he goes to robbing banks to try and have money.  It took me a while to realize that this part of the movie is set in the nineties and once I realized that it made a bit more sense.  Specifically the computers and reference to pagers.  In comes police officer Avery, played by Bradley Cooper, who is thrust into a sticky position with dirty cops and has to make a decision on what his life is going to be. This movie ends by coming full circle with the teenage sons of these two men struggling with dealing with their heritage.
This movie was definitely a drama with a focus on the characters and tries to develop the characters and although it was well acted by Gosling and Cooper I do not feel that the characters where really developed.  Not so much by not going into what there were experiencing but by there not really being much sense to the way they respond and struggle.  They are played  and presented one way, but then change their responses and go in a completely different direction.  At times, this was a bit predicable but at times I was like what is going on and is this going to be resolved or just end like some movies like this.
Overall the filming of this was gritty and trying to get you in the space of the characters but there was a moment of steady cam filming that I didn't like.  I think that this movie is only for people who like indie dramas.

My Rating: 2

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Butch Cassidy and the Sundace Kid (1969): Review

Tonight, I went down to the Old Redford theatre and saw Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  This was the first time I had ever seen this movie and I was interested in seeing what it was all about.  I have never been much of a old western movie but was expecting it to be like the classic westerns that are spoken about.  I think that this movie was worth seeing, due to the fact that I have heard about it for years but I do not think that it is anything that special.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, follows the two title characters played by Paul Newman and Robert Redford respectively.  They are two robbers who used to rob banks but then switch to trains. The are driven to move to Bolivia because of being tracked by men hired by the railroad.  They then go back to robbing banks.
This movie has a slow pace and doesn't really seem to have any point to the plot.  The action was fine but nothing really exciting.  There was a female character but I still cannot seem to figure out what the point of her was besides just having a female in the movie.  Like I said there was nothing particular wrong with this movie, besides being slow, but there was nothing really spectacular about it.

My rating: 1

Friday, April 19, 2013

Oblivion (2013): Review

Tonight for Friday Night Movie Night I went and saw the new Tom Cruise movie Oblivion and it was a stunning film to watch. This movie is set around and focused on the character of Jack Harper, played by Tom Cruise, as he discovers that the world he lives in is not the world he thought it was.  It is set in a Earth that was attached by an alien entity who destroyed the moon, which sent Earth into a state of natural destruction and Earth is now uninhabited except for Jack and Victoria, played by Andrea Riseborogh, two people who are stationed on Earth to monitor and repair drones.  As Jack goes about investigating the world and what is left on the world he finds a human survivor, Julia, played by Olga Kurylenko, and discovers that humans have not left Earth like he was lead to believe. 
This movie was absolutely stunning to watch and I loved the sweeping landscape shots.  This movie was not like others that are being made today that focus the shoot tight into what is going on, but it backs up the camera and lets the audience see the vastness of what is going on.  I like how the world that Jack and Victoria live in is white and sterile while the world underneath is dark and dirty.  It is a nice juxtaposition of how the individuals are living their lives and seeing the world. 
The CG is very nicely worked into the shots and it just seems to flow with what is going on, the technology fits into this as well.  It is not there to shock or be cool, it is just what is part of the world and part of how things are.  It is beautiful to watch as Jack flies through the different terrains of the world and I just liked enjoying the ride.
Although this movie was beautiful to watch and was nicely tracked musically the plot was extremely simplistic and predictable.  Nothing really surprised me and I was able to guess what was happening or going to happen.  It tried to do some surprises but there was too much foreshadowing and due to the simplistic plot and limited dialogue, anything said that was ominous, gave you an idea of what was going to happen.  This movie was also set at a slow pace, as it seemed the focus was more on telling a sweeping story and illustrating the cinematography then anything super exciting or thrilling.  It was just a ride to follow and experience without really thinking about it.  The characters were not really developed, except for Jack and even he was only developed as much as he had to be in order to have the plot have anything to it.
This is a movie that is not for people expecting a lot of action or who want a quick pace, but for those who like something that they don't have to figure out and yet get to watch the futuristic setting with focus on the settings it is worth seeing. 

My Rating: 2-

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Man of Steel: Official Trailer #3

Also released today was the third official trailer for Man of Steel which will be released in June.  Check it out here:

This trailer really stresses the origin story of Superman and how he came to be on Earth and his journey to becoming his alter ego.  If this isn't really focused on in the movie I will be really disappointed because it is now what I really want to see.  This trailer also hits at the struggles that Superman experiences and his interactions with Lois Lane (I am not even certain that he is a journalist in this rendition but who knows) as well as the villain.  The villain is only hinted at and I hope to see a young boy, became a young man, who embraces his destiny to be one of my favorite superheros.  This late spring, early summer looks to be fantastic for movies and I hope that they all live up to my expectations.
What do you think? Are you getting excited for the spring/ summer blockbusters of 2013?

Star Trek: Into Darkness Offical Trailer #3

Today the new Star Trek: Into Darkness Trailer was released and it really ups my excitement for this movie to come out next month.  I cannot wait.  Watch the Star Trek: Into Darkness Official Trailer #3.

I am excited because this trailer actually gives a bit more then the previous trailers, teaser trailers, and sneak peaks that I have seen in the past.  Yes, they all fueled my excitement to see the movie, but they did not seem to really give any more information about the film, just expanded or re-worked the information that is already out there.  This trailer still does not give away any information on who Benedict Cumberbatch plays but it does focus on how Captain Kirk is juxtaposed against him, and the peril that the Enterprise Crew will be in.  In the trailer it shows that Kirk is determined to go after Cumberbatch, assumingly after he has attacked London, as seen in previous trailers, and is encouraged not to by those around him.  I like this trailer because besides focusing on just the action, which looks to be amazing and exciting, it shows some about the relationship between Kirk and his crew, as well as the struggles that Kirk goes through while being the hero.
So, who is as excited as I am for this movie to come out...

Friday, April 12, 2013

42: The True Story of an American Legend (2013): Review

Tonight for Friday Movie Night I went and saw 42, a movie based on the life of Jackie Robinson, the first African American Baseball player to play in the major league.  I liked this movie and enjoyed how it took a very character focused drama approach to the story.  Although there were some points that were slow and sluggish with the story overall it was worth seeing.
42 is a movie based on the true life of Jackie Robinson following the year leading up to and the first year of him playing baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers. It starts with Branch Rickey, played by Harrison Ford deciding that he wants to recruit Jackie Robinson, played by Chadwick Boseman, to play for Montreal and then Brooklyn.  Jackie is charged to play the game without fighting and giving people the fodder that they want to keep baseball segregated.  It is character driven and focuses on the relationships between Jackie, Rickey, Rachel Robinson (Jackie's wife) and his fellow baseballers both supportive and discouraging toward him and what he represents.  This movie is set in 1946 and 1947.
Going into this movie I was only minimally knowledgeable about the story.  I knew who Jackie Robinson was and was familiar with the name but did not know really anything specific about his career.  I would not call myself a sports fan but I like to watch a few baseball games throughout the year and by support my local team but the love of baseball did not prompt me to see this movie.  My like of seeing character driven movies that encourage people to beat adversity and follow their dreams encouraged me to see this movie. I am glad that I went and saw it and feel that even those who are not huge sports or baseball fans will like this movie.  Like I said it is focused on the interactions between the character and they just happen to have the backdrop of baseball.  I think that this movie was well acted and all of the actors keep up with each other.  I liked Harrison Ford as the curmudgeon old man who keeps this story going and Chadwick Boseman has a quality that has you rooting for him.
This movie does not have a lot of action and at times goes a bit slow.  It is not focused on showing baseball games with a focus on the drama of the game, instead just letting it be part of the interactions of the characters.  There is a lot of use of the N word in this movie but it is in context of the times and how it was used to be very disrespectful toward Jackie.  I did not find it was used for shock value, but that it was part of the struggles that were a part of this time in history.
I think that this is a movie that many will enjoy and that it was interesting to watch it all play out.

My Rating: 3-

Monday, April 8, 2013

Undercover Blues (1993)

Growing up I loved to watch movies that were fun and when I think of the movie Undercover Blues I think of a fun family movie. This movie has a little bit of all that I have learned that I love in movies, now that I have grown up to now what I like. A little action, smart banter between characters, a story that movies along, fun, and ridiculousness that done in a tongue and cheek way.

Undercover Blues stars Dennis Quaid and Kathleen Turner as Jeff and Jane Blue, two spies that are vacationing in New Orleans after they have had a baby. While there, they become the focus of two local detectives, Lt. Theodore 'Ted' Sawyer, played by Obba Babatundé, and Det. Sgt. Halsey, played by Larry Miller, after it is discover that Jeff Blue defeated a local thug Muerte, played by Stanley Tucci. Muerte attempts to rob Jeff while he is out taking a stroll with his baby daughter. The real shenanigans start when Jeff and Jane are recruited to set up Paulina Novacek, played by Fiano Shaw, after she stole a case of plastic explosives. Throughout there tracking of Novacek, Muerte is trying to kill Jeff for humiliating him during his attempted mugging and Lt. Sawyer is focused on discovering what the Blue's are really doing in New Orleans.

As I was growing up I loved this movie, and it was one of the movie that I repeated rented, rented to the point that I figured I should spend my money to but the tape, so I did. Today, when I want to watch a care free movie I pick this one. More recently when I watched this after several years of it being in my DVD case, I came to the pleasant discovery that Stanley Tucci is in it. I think that Stanley Tucci is a fabulous actor, especially when he is being over the topic, which his character of Muerte definitely is.

Undercover blues on the surface is a comedy but it also has some fun action scenes in them. Many of these are between Jeff and Muerte, where Muerte is trying to kill Jeff, and Jeff playing with him because he is a trained spied who could easily defeat him, he likes to mess with him and call him Morty, and he is manipulating Muerte to help him in his scheme to get Novacek. There is lots of fun dialogue and banter back and forth between the character's in this movie and it seems like Jeff is always saying something smart with the intention of getting others to underestimate him, so that he can get the result that he wants. After this movie, I developed my joy of Dennis Quaid and to this day I still enjoy watching him in fun movies.

My Rating: 2+

My Nostalgic Rating: 3
One of my favorite movies growing up and I used to watch it all the time.

Holding Up Rating: 2-
The technology doesn't hole up at all, and today tracking a person's location would be no big deal.  But due to it being more of a chracter movie then acutal spy movie, it doesnt bother me at all.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Tyler Perry's Temptation (2013): Review

Today I went and saw Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor and I was extremely disappointed in this movie.  I had some hopes going in because Tyler Perry movies without him acting in them tend to be better, but I wasn't sure what I was going to get into because the previews seemed to push more of a thriller type feel then his normal character focused drama.  Anyway the movie itself had this some type of uncertainty feel to it. I am going to start with a description of the movie itself and then follow with the few positives and the negative points of the movie.  Keep reading if you want but I would not recommend this movie to anyone and only my personal belief that I should stick it out kept me from walking out of this movie.
Temptation starts with a couple having problems and talking to a marriage counselor.  After the husband storms out from frustration the looking very poor counselor gets the wife to acknowledge that she is interested in someone else.  the counselor goes on to tell the wife a story about her "sister" Judith and the situation she got herself if.  We go into the past and follow this story.  Basically Judith has been in love with Brice since she was a little girl. They marry at eighteen and move to the big city where Brice becomes a pharmacist and Judith gets her degree to become a marriage counselor.  When Judith is twenty five and right out of school she gets a job as the house therapist at a million dollar matchmaker's business.  She has theses big dreams to open her own marriage counselor practice and thinks that it is not worth while to work at her job.  While there she is thrown together with Harly a man who is thinking about investing in the business.  She is tempted by him as he is exciting and focused on her.  There are lots of hints about him being mysterious and dangerous and he does not hide his interest in Judith.  During this time Judith feels ignored by Brice and decides to be tempted away.  This crushes Brice who is just trying to save Judith from her downward spiral.  Can she make it.
I had a hard time with this movie and by ten minutes in I was thinking about walking out, there wasn't anything that i found attractive about any of the main characters and was already tired of their OTT drama (i was not drawn in, like i think the point was).  I kept with it but through the entire movie I could not find myself to care about any of the main characters and was looking forward to snippets of the supporting cast as they are the only real positive of the whole experience. Basically Kim Kardasian, who plays a worker at the match makers, was a positive for me even though she is not lovable, she at least seemed excited to be there.  I really like that Brady was in this movie, she played an employee at the pharmacy, and wanted more focus on her, even though her story line was a bit obvious.  The best part was the owner of the pharmacy, played by Renee Taylor, as she was funny and sharp witted.
Like I said, I didn't connect to the main characters and therefore their struggles, which were bit ridiculous, did not resonate to me.  It seems like all of the characters where unlikable and I couldn't figure out it i was suppose to root for, and although it seemed by the horrible things some of them did, I should hate them but it was just I don't care about any of them.
One of the big problems I have with this movie, and this is a completely biased opinion because I am a licenced counselor was how they played Judith in reference to her profession.  She was complaining that she wanted her own practice but states that she isn't licenced yet. And how did she get a job as a house therapist at a big to do matchmakers place, where she develops compatibility test when she has just graduated. I think it would have worked better if they made her twenty nine turning thirty, that would have made her crisis more real and her melancholy about not really doing what she wanted fit better.  It could have added a bit of worn downness to her instead of whinny new adult that i could have had some connection to.  Also how she interacted with Harley was ridiculous, she acts as if she has no professional boundaries, which would have been no problem, because he wasn't her client, but she gets all therapist on him at times and feeds into him but doesn't get what it going on (come on you really think we by this I didn't know he was an ahole crap).  She even mentions when going over his scores that he has a bit of a mean streak.  I can get that he was exciting and rich but when she meets him she identifies his negative past relationship pattern and not only walks right into it, but complete throws her stated morals out the window while doing it.  Two romps into it, shes using drugs (really?), sneaking out when her Reverend mother is there (really).

I didn't like this movie enough to even edit this, so take it for what it is.  And yes, i understand that i am a bit biased about the whole thing, but this movie and basic storyline had some much potential. Correctly done, I could have bought into the whole tempted by a mysterious man while going through an internal crisis.  Those are emotions that people can relate to, but a key to that, is it needs to be realistic, and not in a it can happen to me way, but in a I can see how that character got there way.  It the focus was more on internal crisis instead of outside way, it could have really drawn me in as a viewer.

My Rating: 0+