Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Wolverine (2013): Review

Today I went and saw The Wolverine, the newest installment of the X-Men movies and this one is another one that has Hugh Jackman as the main star and a continuation of how many people like Jackman as the guff Wolverine and where the last one X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) was the prequel to the X-Men trilogy this one is a follow up continuation.  It starts with Logan off on his own in the woods, where he is trying to just slink away from all of the trama he experienced with the death of Jean, played by Famke Janssen, and how he doesn't want to be The Wolverine anymore.  He is hunted down by Yukio, played by Rila Fukushima who convinces him to go to Japan where he can be thanked by a Japanese Soldier who's life he saved during WWII.  Logan is then drawn into the plot and needing to protect the Mariko, the soldier's granddaughter while he has be wounded and not able to heal.  There is lots of stuff thrown together to keep the plot going, which although it had a lot of characters was very simplistic.  There was a lot of foreshadowing in the movie, which to me seemed (a) quite obvious, (b) hinted at in the trailers, and (c) somewhat unnecessary. 
I would not really say that this is worth seeing unless you do not mind the other X-Men movies and Wolverine as the complaints that go along with those movies are in this one.  Yes it is better the Wolverine (2009) but was not very good in its own right.  If you do watch it, you need to stay through the first few minuets of the credits as their is an extra scene that I really enjoyed.
The good part of this movie was the acting, for the type of movie it was the actors where well cast and not abrasive, I think the part at the end with the lady and her skin was stupid and unnecessary and she was the worst actress of the lot but she was kinda just used to pull some things together.  Jackman continues to be good as Logan, but as he has been playing him for since X-Men was released in 2000 he knows this character well and can just go into the gruffness.  I like Logan better now as Jackman is older, because in my head he was an older gruffer man and with a much younger Jackman in X-Men (2000) he was the sexy gruffness not the grizzily gruffness that the character, for me, seems more to be.  It also works well with the emotional place he is in during this movie.
This movie does the thing that bugs me where the action scenes are shot tight in and are choppy, also there is quite a bit of shaky cam work.  I could have done without the train action scene but it wasn't that bad.
Overall, if you weren't planning on seeing this because of it being a Wolverine or X-Men movie, it isn't worth watching but for X-Men movie fans it is good to be able to see.

There is an extra scene in the credits that is definitely worth watching.

My Rating: 1+

Sunday, July 21, 2013

White House Down (2013): Review

Today I went and saw White House Down and I am glad to say that it was a pretty solid action movie.  There were some bits that were slightly annoying and I think that if some of the gags where cut out it would have been even better.
White House Down is pretty much what it seems to be, John Cale, played by Channing Tatum is in the White House for a job interview with his daughter Emily, played by Joey King.  While they are on a tour, terrorist take over the White House and Cale steps up to help try and save President Sawyer, played by Jamie Foxx, and try and protect his daughter.  While he is doing this, there are  hurtles that must be overcome and lots of pieces that have to be fit together.  Per usual in this type of movie there are those on the outside, specifically Secret Service Agent Flannery, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, who are trying to figure out what is going on and save the day.  There is also some of the standard who is really who and what role do they play intrigue that has become common in these movies.
There was no really mystery for me in this movie and it played pretty much to type, but that didn't really bother me because the plot kept going and changed up what was happening.  The action sequences where not drawn out.  Overall I liked the cast and the acting (for an action movie) and in my opinion Channing Tatum is a good lead in action movies and is much better then a lot of others out there right now. I also liked Maggie Gyllenhall and how she fit into the puzzle. The weak link for me was Jamie Foxx as President Sawyer and this isn't because he doesn't have the capacity to be a good actor, he does, but that it seemed like he was the only one doing gags and this was inconsistent with the overall feel of the movie.  These things through in, example the comment about the Jordan's was unnecessary and the humor could have either been more subtle, or more consistent with the other characters.  If more of the acting from the others was campy or OTT this would not have been an issue but it seemed like he was planted in from another movie.
The CGI was not too blatant and the overall movie was a solid action film.  Nothing truly notable but defiantly good enough. Also, although tight shots were done during the fighting sequences it wasn't complete tight up, there were wider shots of the fights and I really liked this.
There did seem to be too many characters that had moments where the focus was on them, and for me this was unnecessary.  They didn't need to make it that complex, people who could have just been mentioned as who they are and what role they played to keep everything going, an example being the first lady and daughter, I don't understand why we needed to see a scene of them worried, them just being mentioned would have been sufficient to why they were not there and of course they would be worried.
This is worth watching in theatres if you like seeing all the stuff get blow up and shot at on the big scene but is definitely worth a rental if you like action movies.

My Rating: 2

Saturday, July 20, 2013

R.I.P.D (2013): Review

The second movie that I saw in my double feature was the new Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds movie R.I.P.D and although there were some fun parts overall this one was a stinker.  I have to give it some props as there were no parts that I got upset at or pissed me off but it was a total stinker.
R.I.P.D. stands for Rest in Peace Department and after cop Nick, played by Ryan Reynolds is killed by his partner Hayes, played by Kevin Bacon he is drafted into the R.I.P.D department as a type of purgatory to try and keep the world for the living.  He is pared up with Roy, played by Jeff Bridges who reluctantly shows him the ropes.  Basically it is their job to capture the dead who refuse to leave called Deados (pronounced dead-o), they need to do this because they cause negativity in the world.  A plot is discovered that some of the Deados are working to take over the world for themselves and it is up to Roy and Nick to stop it.
This movie is not worth watching in the movies theater and is a watch on television is nothing else is on kind of movie, and this is kinda a bummer for me because I actually liked how they used 3D in this movie.  I know, I tend to not like 3D movies and think that it is overrated technique but it worked well in this movie.  It went with giving things a floating and dimensional feel that I really liked and although some of it was CGI it was not blatantly obvious or jarring like some other films that have come out recently.
Jeff Bridges was fun and I bough him in this character and I liked the play between him and Proctor, played by Mary-Louise Parker.  Ryan Reynolds really needs to work on making a good movie and picking a good role. He did not capture his usually charm in this movie and I really didn't care much about him, he needs to dial back into his charm as I am starting to get annoyed with him to the point where his attractiveness is trumped by this.
This movie was appropriate for families and not that scary so if younger tweens want to see it it wouldn't be that bad.

My Rating: 1

RED 2 (2013): Review

Today I was in a movie watching mood so I decided to do a double feature of new movies and it just seemed to work out that Mary-Louise Parker was in both of them. This might be due to the fact that she was in two of the movies that came out this weekend.  Anywho the first movie that I went to see was RED 2 and I absolutely enjoyed it.  When RED came out in 2010 I thought that it was fantastic and if you know me, you know that I love action movies, that I love this resurgence of old action stars in movies again, and when their is some humor and witty banter within these movies, I tend to absolutely love them.  That being said, it is not an award winner and somewhat stupid and predictable but I enjoyed the entire ride. 
RED stands for Retired, Extremely Dangerous and I think that understanding some basics about the previous movie is important for this one, as it jumps right into the story and doesn't spend any time telling anything about the past stories.  I will be re-watching RED (2010) shortly and will give a more in-depth synapsis in that post.  Basically here are the relationships.  Frank, played by Bruce Willis is retired and has been having a phone relationship with Sarah, played by Mary-Louise Parker, when he gets drawn into danger he seeks out Sarah because she is the person that can be used against him because he cares about her.  Marvin, played by John Malkovich, is Franks best friend and highly paranoid about everything.  Victoria, played by Helen Mirren, is ex MI-6 and a crack shot.  She goes way back with Frank and Marvin. Ivan, played by Brian Cox, is an ex romantic interest of Victoria, who she was contracted to kill and shot in the chest years previously.
RED 2 continues on the story of RED (2010) with Frank and Sarah living their life together with Frank dedicated to protecting her and Sarah rolling her eyes behind Frank for being a homemaker.  They get a price put on their heads again after information comes out on the internet that Frank and Marvin know where a bomb made during the cold war was hidden in Russia.  They get tipped off by Victoria that Han, played by Byung-hun Lee, a contract killer and someone with history with Frank is on the path to kill them.  During this hunt for the information and the bomb, they run into a past love interest of Frank, Katya, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones.  They work together and against each other to try and save the world and as Frank would say, do what is "right."
For me this movie had the right balance of action, camp, wit, and ridiculousness.  I laughed at parts and overall really liked the interplay between the actors.  That being said, the movie is not that surprising and the plot is minimal, but it does keep moving.  I think that John Malkovich really stole the show when he was on camera and it was great how he played all of his little nuances.  Also Helen Mirren continues to be fabulous and kick-ass.  I think that Catherine Zeta-Jones was the weak link and her part could have been cut out of the entire movie. 
I liked the length and mix up of action scenes.  They were good lengths and did not ever get really drawn out like a lot of action sequences now a days, and there were change ups with the type of actions with fist fights, gun fights, and chases.  I liked the addition of Lee, he added a nice note to the film.
I think it is important to like a little ridiculousness and campiness in your movies to enjoy this movie and if you liked the first RED this is worth a watch.  This is not a must see and could probably wait until it is released on DVD or television.

My Rating: 2
My Enjoyment Rating: 3

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sleeping With The Enemy (1991): My Thought Today/ Review

This contains spoilers about the movie, but since it was released over twenty years ago, just will just have to deal with it if you choose to read any further.

Today I happened to turn on the television just as the program was changing and the next thing on was Sleeping with the Enemy so I decided that it was time to re-watch it.  It has been at least ten years since I last saw this movie, and I know that I watched it multiple times back in school because I had it taped on a VHS (which I still have because I never get rid of movies or tapes, I know I'm weird).  Re-watching this move, I realize why I like Lifetime movies because looking at this now it seems more like a made for TV movie then a big theatre release. 
Sleeping with the Enemy is a 1991 Julia Roberts movie, where she plays the abused wife, Laura Burney, who works to escape her abusive husband and start a new life with a new name.  Now that I think about it the plot is very similar to the recent Nicolas Sparks movie "Safe Haven," except she fakes her own death to get away from her husband. The movie starts with introducing Laura a housewife who lives in beach house with her husband.  Slowly you discover that their relationship is not what it should be and that she has been emotional and physically abused by her husband Martin, played by Patrick Bergin.  She is persuaded by her husband to take a sail with a new neighbor even thought she is afraid of the ocean and cannot swim.  When they hit rough weather, she is found to no longer be onboard and her husband searches to find her. This all turns out to be an opportunity that Laura took to fake her own death and escape from her husband.  She had secretly been learning how to swim, jumped overboard and ran away.  She starts a new life in a rural town, where she meets Ben, played by Kevin Anderson.  She works to regain her trust and feelings of safety but this doesn't last long because Marvin discovers by people he didn't know his wife knew contacting him and then him finding her discarded wedding ring in the toilet.  Marvin is able to hunt her down and threatens her but she is able to overcome him and take her life back.
This movie is totally structured and filmed like a made for television Lifetime movie and I love it for that.  I think that Julia Roberts is fantastic in it and plays the skittish animal very well.  It was made during the time where she was the big young actress and at this time she is still genuine in her presentation.  The thing I have difficulty with Julia Roberts when I see her now, is that it seems like she has become a caricature of herself but in this movie she has not yet developed this superficially polish.
This movie is really focused on Julia Roberts and everyone else is a supporting character to her journey and struggle.  There is some over emphasis on setting up the tension of the scenes and there are some times where there really is the focus on the suspense and this works.
Basically this is a great and still good version of the abused women overcomes this and makes her own life movie, and because the focus is on the drama and the journey the change in technology doesn't matter, and the emotional connection is still there because this type of thing still happens today, therefore it didn't seems at all set in its time. Yes the outfits and hairdos are early nineties but it wasn't too big of a deal. The most annoying part was the commercials.

My Rating: 2+

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pacific Rim (2013): Review

Today I went and saw Pacific Rim and I am excited to say that it delivered and was better then I thought it was going to be.  It was able to have everything that I want in an big budget action movies and although some of the action sequences where a bit drawn out it was well balanced with all of its components. Plus there were giant robots fighting lizard aliens, how is that not awesome.
Anyway to the synopsis.  As we come into the movie, the background is set up, it includes some information that were in the trailers and some that were not.  Basically aliens, called Kaiju, started attaching the world from a chasm in the ocean and the world decided to come together to cream huge human controlled robots, called Jaegers, to fight the aliens. Raleigh Becket, played by Charlie Hunnam, is a pilot for one of these Jaegers along with his brother and they have to fight a Kaiju, during this battle Becket's brother is killed but he is able to take the alien down.  in the aftermath of his brothers death he gives up the piloting Jaegers but is brought back into the fold when the world needs him to try and stop the Kaiju for good.  Along the way he gets a new co-pilot, Mako Mori, played by Rinko Kikuchi, and has to come to the aid of the Jaeger team, while the world is being attacked and under certain doom.
There are multiple side characters, such as the doctors and other Jaeger pilots which add some fun moments as well as more tension through interpersonal interactions but I think that they were able to work together in harmony.  They were given their own moments but they worked within the movie to continue the pace well.  I really liked Ron Pearlman as Hannibal Chau, and it took me a while to figure out where I knew some of the actors from, as none of them besides Pearlman and Idris Elba seemed to be that big of stars until I realized it used actors from one of my favorite television shows Revenge. Many of the actors in this movie seemed to be recognizable from different television shows.
Anywho, like I said this movie, really gave me what I like in an action movie, there were big fights between aliens and robots.  If this doesn't bring glee to you, then you need to look at that, do I need to say it again, it was Giant Robots fighting Giant Lizard Aliens, this is awesome.  There were people who were funny with several zingers and fun moments.  There was a slight romantic tension, but this was not the main focus, just another layer added in.  There was interpersonal dynamics and some back story without getting too in depth or taking away from the pace of the story. There was some explanation into the science of the aliens and the drifting (ways the pilots interacted with each other and the robot) but it was just enough to keep it going but didn't get too caught up in making it plausible.
I really enjoyed this movie and for me it was able to stand with the other action movies that were released this spring and I enjoyed it more then some of them.  I recommend this to anyone who likes action movies, big budget movies, fighting movies, or just a fun not serious time at the cinema.

Additional note- there is an extra scene during the credits that it worth seeing.

My rating: 3

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pacific Rim (2013): Official Trailer #4

Tomorrow is the official release of the new movie Pacific Rim, see the official trailer # 4 below

The mid summer blockbuster is being released this weekend and although I am planning to see it, based on the trailers it seems like it is basically a movie slapped together to have huge robots fight huge aliens.  With a spring full of big blockbusters and action movies, I am interested to see where this one falls.  Since it was not released around any specific date I don't know how confident I am in it, but hopefully it will just focus on the action without overdoing it like other movies this summer.  Anyway with a saturated market lets see what it has to offer and if it can separate itself from the pack.
This trailer focuses on the two individuals who are connect with the robots to fight the aliens and how it is important that shows us the archetype of the follow warrior needed to come back because of the skills and need to be the good person that he really is.
Who is excited for this movie and plans to see it?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Lone Ranger (2013): Review

Today I went and saw the new Johnny Depp movie The Lone Ranger and although Johnny Depp isn't The Longer Ranger this is still a Johnny Depp movie, he gets to dress in an OTT outfit and be ridiculous.  This movie was better then I expected it to be but going in I wasn't thinking it would be very good, so that isn't really saying anything.  Although this was a bad movie, with lots of negative, it was fun at times, and I found myself laughing at some of the moments.  The good thing about it being this type of Disney movie, is that it commits to the camp factor and really just goes for the OTTness. 
I do not like how this movie started out as the main story is told in Flashbacks by on older Tonto, played by Johnny Depp, to a young boy at a wild west fair exhibit.  Throughout the movie, it jumps back to this storytelling. I do not think that this was necessary and seemed like just another chance for Johnny Depp to do his thing, although the little boy who he was telling the story to was adorable.  I would have preferred the story to have gone through the events and have this little boy be the main boy in the story, he was much cuter.  Anyway, although Johnny Depp gets top billing as Tonto, the main story follow John Reid, played by Armie Hammer as he returns to the wild west on the same train as the outlaw Butch Cavendish, played by William Filchner, and Tonto.  Butch escapes and Reid along with his brother the local head Ranger go out to capture him.  This group is ambushed and everyone is killed except for Reid.  Tonto finds him and identifies him as a shadow walker who needs to become The Lone Ranger to seek justice for his brothers death.  Meanwhile there are other shenanigans going on that create more peril then Reid was expecting. 
I was not expecting much when I went into this movie, but it did have the things I like about these types of Disney movies, overall it was beautiful to watch, with bright contrasting collars and cinematography.  At moments the CG was obvious but due to it being in 2D it wasn't that big of a deal, there was lots of OTT moments and lots of gags thrown in for a some giggles.
Overall the casting was good and I liked Hammer as the Lone Ranger, it worked with how he was played as a bit neurotic and awkward and how he is trying to do the right thing when nothing is working out for him. I think that Johnny Depp was too much OTT and I  kept thinking that he was just trying to recreate a bit of Captain Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean) in Tonto.  That being said I did like the moment where The Lone Ranger references the introduction of Captain Jack Sparrow in the movie and I thought that the train sequence was one of the better ones. 
The story was a bit chaotic and predictable but that is what this movie was about.  The thing that surprised me the most was that for a Disney PG-13 movie, there was an awful lot of killing and deaths.  I don't think that many were needed and just seemed out of place for the family movie that this was.
This movie wasn't very good but I enjoyed it, it is more of a rental or watch on TV movie then one worth seeing in the theatre.

My Rating (of the movie itself): 1
My Enjoyment Rating: 2 (for the type of movie it was it was okay and I would recommend if for people who tend to like this type of family movie)