Tag Archive: Movie Review

Movie Review: Fury

fury-review-2Now from what I can tell Fury is not based on any true story. I’m fine with this, not all war movies have to be based on something that really happened. In the last several years we’ve seen a minor come back for war films. David Ayer the director of Training Day brings a gritty vision to a film genre that I believe lost it’s balls recently. Problem is the film almost goes too dark.

Brad Pitt is a stand out in this film. Frankly without him the movie might have really struggled. He is the commanding officer of a tank lead by men who have seen too much combat. They’ve been together for a long time, fought through Africa and France and now find themselves in Germany with their foot on the throat of the Nazi’s.

The rest of the team is made up of “Bible” the religious man of the group played by Shai Labeouf. “Gordo” played by the impressive Michael Pena. Then of course there is “Coon-ass” played by Shane… I mean Jon Berthal. They are paired up with a new kid played by Logan Lerman. They pick at each other and at many times seem like animals. Slowly we see them become brothers. The actors are all fine but really don’t stand out against Pitt.

The best thing about this movie is that there really isn’t any secret mission they go on or anything. They simply lumber forward and fight off desperate Germans. In one scene they fight children armed with rockets. Unlike other movies that try and find some sort of light hearted or meaning to war, Fury makes it clear that war is brutal and disgusting.

My only issue with the movie is its constant mission to be dark. There is no sympathy here in this movie. The balance is just off, at many times I actually disliked Pitt’s crew, that’s fine I guess but it doesn’t balance well with the action. The last almost twenty minutes of the movie the crew fight off a hundred SS soldiers. The violence turns real to suddenly comic book silliness. If you want to go dark and gritty then that should flow right into the action.

That being said the film is still very interesting. Just be prepared this is not a “fun” movie. The violence is brutal and Ayer is never afraid to show it.

Rating: 6/10

equacbThe plot is rather simple, Robert McCall(Denzel Washington) plays an ex-spy? Killer? Never really explained, all we know is that he’s out of the business and works at a fake Home Depot. Then one night he watches as a young prostitute(Chloe Moretz) get abused something goes off, he then goes on simply a killing spree, taking out every level of a Russian mob in Boston.

Where this film stands apart from most of the “ex-bad ass goes on a revenge binge” type film is that this movie is brutal. The violence is beyond over the top. McCall’s lack of empathy for the men he kills is interesting here but never looked into. They focus on him being slightly OCD, which again is just something to make his character stand out it never really becomes a part of the story. The movie is lightly based on a television show with the same title.

The film succeeds only in its action, the brutal R-rating is deserved and works. No CGI blood, this movie makes the violence very real. McCall weirdly barely uses guns and goes for books or tools to take out bad guys. Where the movie fails in not taking things a step further with the story. McCall is basically a quiet lunatic, I guess we’re suppose to believe he’s a nice guy who has an extreme on off switch but I never bought it. His brutality increases as the movie goes along and he seems very addicted to it. We spend most of the movie following McCall as he lays down his own balance of justice on, robbers, dirty cops, etc. None of which connect to the story. I thought they were going to use this for something greater but they never do. The film at no point tries to explain why almost all of a sudden McCall just goes on a vengeance binge. Somewhere in there was a very interesting movie, they decide to ignore and make it as generic as possible.

The third act of the film is so cliche riddled and so predictable, that it’s almost pointless to watch it. McCall also comes off as a quiet Superman. Nothing seems to hurt him and he seems to know what the villains are going to do several steps before they even think about doing it. Marton Czokas’ plays a very good Russian mobster. His character stands out in many ways, but by the end you know he is not a threat to McCall so the drama is gone. Nothing is a surprise, you’re just waiting for the next beat before the movie ends.

Antoine Fuqua is one of my favorite directors, he just makes good action movies. It felt like though the movie he wanted to make was held back here. It’s going on direction and then basically turns into Mr. and Mrs. Smith, by that I mean that it had something interesting going and then just decides to dumb it down and end it with a big shoot out in a department store. Kind of a let down.

Rating: 5/10

img.300.rise.of.an.empire10This film isn’t really a sequel, it’s more of a side piece. The action in this film is happening while and exactly after the events of the first 300 film are happening. This is the main issue with the film, you feel as if you simply know everything that is going to happen. Sullivan Stapleton plays the lead Athenian to stand up against the Persian army(well really Navy). The film has a chance to be something else but couldn’t help stay strapped to what the first film had done. The visuals and film style simply mimic Zack Snyder’s style from the first film.

First off the film has way too many slow motion scenes. In the first five minutes it stands out so much. The action is actually pretty solid across the board. There are a couple really solid action scenes across the board. I just dislike the over use of CGI blood and this movie LOVES CGI blood. Unlike the first film a lot of the movie is set on boats and that was interesting.

Even though Lena Headey shows up here and there in the film to make speeches and to remind us this film is a sequel. The real stand out and star here is Eva Green who actually plays the main villain. Even though she is in most of the movie I wanted even more of her. She’s beyond sexy and she obviously enjoyed her character and dialogue and we the audience benefit. The main issue is you start to like her so much you end up rooting for her. She also has hands down one of the best sex scenes I’ve ever seen on screen.

The film over all minus Green is just average. It would have been fun if they tried to show how different the Athenians were compared to the Spartans. In the first movie we’re told over and over again how intense the Spartans were and how war hungry they were as well. It kind of made sense why each warrior was ripped and they all had six packs. The Athenians here all look like Spartans, barely any clothes, all ripped with full on six packs, yet were told they are farmers and artists, okay sure. The movie seems like a pointless add on that simply doesn’t stand up to the first. See it for Eva Green and that is all.

Rating: 5/10

3-days-to-kill-review-1So I really wanted Kevin Costner to be the next Liam Neeson. That man has just pumped out solid action movies ever since the first Taken film. Costner has really made a come back and I’ve always liked him. Here he plays a former CIA agent who finds out he only has several months to live. He chooses that time to try and reconnect with his estranged family in Paris. Problem is he’s approached by another CIA agent/femme fatale/weirdo played by Amber Heard. She has a new medical drug that can save him, he can have it if he kills off an arms dealer for her.

The film is produced by Luc Besson who I like and is directed by McG who has made at least one good movie(We Are Marshal) so things should have worked out. Sadly almost nothing works here, Costner tries and it’s fun watching him be a bad ass, problem is we don’t get enough of it. The largest action scene is in the first five minutes of the movie, then the film slows down and never picks back up. The film wanted to be a new age True Lies but instead is just a true mess. Hailee Steinfeld plays Costner’s daughter named Zoey. Their scenes together are decent but it’s not enough, it’s simply too generic. The film could have worked if the second plot were interesting at all, but sadly as an action film the movie just fails.

The biggest and weirdest flaw is Amber Heard, her character is not believable in any way. We’re told she’s a CIA operative, but at no time does it feel like it. Every time Costner sees her she’s dressed in the tightest dresses possible. Every scene she’s in is set in a weird 60’s Bond set which is never explained and takes you out of each of those scenes instantly. You start to feel real bad for her because she tries to simply over act herself out of this terrible character/script but she can never escape.

The main villains in this movie are throw away German/Generic European types. One if called “The Wolf” and in the beginning he’s trying to sell a dirty bomb but later we have no idea what he’s even doing. Every bad guy is wearing a black and white suit and Costner has no problem dispersing dozens of them at a time. This lack of a threat makes the action pointless and could make you care even less about the family element.

The obvious selling point for the script was that Costner’s character has no idea how to be a father, so as he tortures men to find “The Wolf” he stops to ask them for father advice. None of these scenes are funny or smart in any way. Basically you realize they are just stalling so the movie didn’t have a run time of forty minutes.

Rating: 1/10

Movie Review: Kick-Ass 2

kickasscb23In an age where we get at least three or four comic book movies a year the original Kick-Ass was a breath of a fresh air. It was violent, really weird, and frankly really hilarious. The sequel is based off the comic book of the same name and frankly does a better job of getting the story across. The comic book is ultra-violent, now the movie has a lot of violence too, but it never gets too dark. Kick-Ass 2 stays in a weird zone, almost always going for comedy.

The story starts off with us following David Lizewski(Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who decides to put on the Kick-Ass costume again. Being the first real world super hero inspired dozens of others to do the same. Most of them are rather goofy but mean well. Kick-Ass teams up with Colonel Stars and Stripes(Jim Carrey) and they create a real world Justice League called “Justice Forever”. He trains with Hit-Girl(Chloe Grace Moretz) but she decides to turn down the life of a super hero so she can be a normal teenage girl.

The only major problem with the film is splitting the two leads away from each other. Where the first film felt fluid, probably thanks to director Matthew Vaughn, he didn’t direct the sequel(but did produce it). Here we bounce back and forth from Kick-Ass to Hit-Girl and somehow there is no real balance to it. What really helps is Christopher Mintz-Plasse who plays Red Mist, who uses his hatred for Kick-Ass, who killed his father in the first film, he decides to become the first real super villain. He changes his name to “The Motherfucker” and instead of really training or gaining any real ability, he just pays psycho’s to kill people for him. His lines are hilarious and the concept of a young rich ass-hole just becoming a super villain is really good.

This film is crazy, and if you just sit back and relax you’ll have a good time. There are many moments that are stupid or over the top, but that is the point. At one moment one of The Motherfucker’s lead henchmen “Mother Russia” kills six cops at one point, and the scene makes no sense but it sets up how crazy things are going to be.

What doesn’t work is Hit-Girl going to high school. Nothing feels real once she’s there. It doesn’t help that all the girls she deals with in high school are obviously in their late 20’s playing teens. A couple of the scenes work, especially one where Hit-Girl watches a One Direction type band and finds herself, and not understanding her attraction to them.

The film frankly should have just been called “Kick-Ass 2: Hit Girl” because if we simply just followed her the entire time this film would have been a home run. Instead the film is fragmented by us following Kick-Ass and then Hit-Girl and also Mother Fucker’s league of villains. The action scenes are really well done, the R-rating helps too. PG-13 rated comic book violence only works occasionally. Here we get full on ass kicking and it’s nice to see. This film is silly and weird, but I enjoyed myself a lot and laughed a lot as well. In the end that’s all that really matters with a movie like this.

Rating: 7/10

Movie Review: 2 Guns

2gunscb2Want to see a weird remake of Lethal Weapon?… I’m just kidding. 2 Guns follows Denzel Washington who is a DEA Agent working under cover. He teams up with Mark Wahlberg who is a Naval Intelligence Officer, also under cover. When they team up neither of them know this and rob a bank together. Problem is when they break into the vault they find way more cash than expected. They find out they were not just robbing a Mexican drug cartel leader, but the CIA, who are taking protection money from all the cartels so they would not be destroyed. So of course both men find themselves hunted by a lot of bad dudes, good thing they have each other, and over the top aiming skills since every gun shot they take is a head shot.

It’s nice to see an R-rated action film these days, studios seem to be scared to make anything not rated PG-13 or under. What makes this film work is the leads. They are both simply awesome together on screen. The best parts of this movie are when they are sitting together and having a back and forth. The only thing this movie needed was a little more in the action department. Many shoot outs end far too quickly and both men are simply too good at what they do.

The film has three main villains… Yes three main villains. Edward James Olmos plays a Mexican drug cartel leader and has a fun time doing it to. I loved seeing him on screen in this role. Bill Paxton shows up as a CIA enforcer, he doesn’t have a lot of screen time, but when he’s there he’s great. It would have been nice if Paxton’s character had more to do. Also James Marsden plays Wahlberg’s boss who is planning on stealing the CIA money too. So there is a lot going on been when it comes to taking the three guys out the movie does this in a very bland and unsatisfying way.

Still the movie is a lot of fun, if you’re a Paula Patton fan you HAVE TO SEE THIS MOVIE, just trust me on that. Denzel Washington is great here as he plays basically his character from “Training Day” if he was a straight up good guy. Wahlberg just has loads of fun in this movie and the guy just made me laugh.

I would love a sequel called “3 Guns” mainly because I simply loved watching these two play off each other. Just wish the script had a stronger ending. Even though there is a decent twist towards the end that I didn’t see coming the final action sequence just didn’t do it for me. But it was still fun and in the end that is what matters.

Rating: 7/10

wolverine.cb1When we first saw Hugh Jackman as Wolverine was back when the first X-men movie came out in the year 2000. Then he took the character as his own in X2 which still stands as one of the best comic book movies of all time.  Sadly then came X-Men: The Last Stand where the studio and creative people in charge took a strong wrong turn. They decided that Wolverine  shouldn’t be an unstoppable man trying to forget he was a monster… They decided he should be a wimpy man in love and that love is the only thing he is fighting for. That bad decision, plus many other lead the third X-Men film to be one of the worst comic book movies of all time. We then got the first solo Wolverine film called X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Following what they did in third X-Men they simply ruined the character of Wolverine. They made him a wimp, and spat on his origin story and filled it with nonsense. The failure of that movie made the studio take a drastic turn in trying to rebuild the franchise, so they decided to do a prequel called “First Class”. That movie took things in the right direction…

This Wolverine solo film sends Logan to Japan and spoiler alert… They did an amazing job. The film opens with Logan dreaming about Jean Grey(Famke Janssen) and the guilt over her death and everything else he’s done. This is the only toss back to the original franchise which is a good thing. Wolverine is just chilling in the woods and looking like a super hobo. He comes out of hiding when a bunch of dick head hunters kill a bear. He heads for a local bar to essentially murder these men for their crimes, a Japanese woman named Yukio(Rila Fukushima) shows up and stops the show down. Her employer is an old Japanese man who Logan saved in a WW2 prison camp. The old man says he can help Logan stop being immortal and give him a real life.

Once Wolverine shows up in Japan things get a little crazy. He finds out the old man’s grand daughter Mariko(Tao Okamoto) is being hunted by the Yakuza. The scenes where Wolverine fights the assassins  is stunning frankly. Unlike other super heroes Wolverine has claws and making his fights work in a PG-13 rated film is difficult but they nail it here.

The movies plot in the third act becomes predictable as he falls in love with Mariko and the villains goals becomes clear. Still this movie is pretty much better than X-Men Origins in every possible way. Hugh Jackman does it again, he looks amazing and his Logan is perfect here.

Another stand out is Svetlana Khodchenkova who plays the villain named Viper. She eats into the scenes around her and having a character having some fun being bad was necessary in this movie. This movie also was a real breath of fresh air being that the plot wasn’t over the top. No cities destroyed, no massive world wide disaster in it. That made this movie a real treat that everyone should check out.

Rating: 8/10

Movie Review: World War Z

world war z 2America really loves zombies, so much so we now have different kinds of zombies in movies. There are the originals which are slow and love chewing on flesh. Then in the Dawn of the Dead remake we got fast zombies. In 28 Days Later/28 Weeks Later we got fast zombies that were essentially humans with rabies. The best part of this film is new type of zombie we get here. These zombies could care less about eating flesh, they simply want to bite people once and spread the virus in their blood. For a PG-13 rated zombie film it’s a real nice touch.

We follow Gerry(Brad Pitt) and his family, he used to work for the UN but decided to be a stay at home dad. Then as they try and drive through New York the end of the known world happens as they virus breaks out. The scenes in New York are intense and almost too real. In about seconds things fall apart, people run screaming in every direction, the zombies leap around, no fear or death or pain, they jump through windows  and over each other just to bite any human they can find. Gerry takes his family to New Jersey and they have to hide out in apartment complex, these scenes are also intense, impressive with the lack of violence Marc Foster is able to push up the tension with silence or just leaving most scenes in darkness.

Eventually Gerry and his family are rescued by a friend of his at the UN. They are taken by helicopter to a battle ship where survivors are being taken. From there Gerry is given an ultimatum by the commanding officer, help lead a team to figure out what started this zombie horde or his family gets kicked off the ship. So obviously he agrees to go on the mission. This is kind of where the film starts to run out of gas. The film really hinges on Brad Pitt’s performance, you like him so much you can’t help but cheer him on. Mireille Enos(AMC’s The Killing) plays his wife and is also very impressive. Sadly once they are on the ship she is pushed into the back ground.

Gerry’s first stop is South Korea, he’s not there long before he heads to Israel to find out how they are fairing against the zombies. The movies plot moves so quickly but goes no where. Gerry moves from one action set piece to another without learning anything. Now the fall of Israel is an impressive scene. The one from the trailers where the zombies climb up each other like ants. The scenes are fantastic and frantic. The main issue is that the virus makes no sense and all the action scenes lead to nothing. Gerry learns nothing until he just randomly decides to find a medical facility. I won’t spoil how he comes up with a plan to defeat the zombies, it makes sense but it’s not very complicated and it makes everything that happens in Korea and Israel rather pointless.

The major issue with the film is the virus that is turning people into zombies. I just couldn’t get over the fact that in twelve seconds after being bit you turn into a zombie… That’s impossible. Then later the film just abandons this by having characters say they’ve seen people change in ten minutes and in some cases it took even longer. We never find out where the virus came from or how it spread world wide. The film just chooses to ignore all of this even though Gerry’s first mission is to find out these very things.

Brad Pitt helps make this movie work even though the third act can’t keep up with the first two and when the movie ends you kind of shrug and say “Okay, that was cool.” it really would have helped if the film was rated R. The tension worked really well early on in the film but if there was real danger in violence the movie might stand out more. Also one big battle sequence between soldiers and zombies would have been cool to see too. Over all the movie is a lot of fun and worth your time.

Rating: 6/10

Movie Review: Man Of Steel

maxresdefaultcbThe original Superman film is a classic. In 2006 we got Super Returns which was mainly an homage to those movies. At the time critics claimed the film lacked action. To me I enjoyed most of that movie besides a couple of story decisions. I couldn’t handle the fact they gave Superman a son and barely used it to be a part of the major story. That film didn’t exactly bomb but it didn’t meet studio expectations so the sequel was never green lit.

Now we have Zack Snyder’s film that essentially reboots the entire story. Russell Crowe plays Jor-El a scientific leader on the planet Krypton. He tries to stand up to General Zod(Michael Shannon) as  he attempts to over throw the leadership on the planet. The one thing they agree on is that Krypton is going to be destroyed. So Jor-El sends his new born son Kal-El into space towards his new home Earth.

The telling of Superman’s up bringing is done totally through flash back as we follow Clark(Aka Kal-El) as he moves around from job to job. He tries to wrestle with what to do with his powers. His genetics on Earth makes him God like, he can fly and is super strong. Once an old ship from Krypton is found by the government Clark meets Louis Lane(Amy Adams) who is doing a story of the ship for the Daily Planet. Clark gets on the ship and learns who he really is, and gets a great suit. Everything would be awesome if it wasn’t for Zod coming back with a small army. Then the third act of the film is basically watching a fictional city get destroyed.

I was worried about this film before it opened, Superman to me hasn’t exactly been done right. I really liked Superman Returns but Lex Luthor creating a Continent from Kryptonian technology wasn’t enough for me. I wanted a little super hero action. Well Man Of Steel throws action right in your face. Superman’s show down with Zod and his people is epic on a scale of comic book action we have never seen before. This movie simply blows The Avengers away. They did things I only imagined as a kid reading Superman comics, he punches people through trucks and buildings. It’s frankly amazing.

When it comes to some of the changes they did in his origin, I liked almost all of them. Louis Lane gets a lot more to do and they wrote off the idea that she never connects that Clark is Superman. My only issue is with his suit, Kal-El finds it randomly in an old Kryptonian ship. Most of the armor Zod and his other people wear are black and silver. Yet Kal-El just finds a blue and red suit in a ship he and none of his family was ever on. This just didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Maybe I missed something. That is a minor complaint.

Some reviews online have stated that there is too much action in this film. I don’t remember this claim for last years Avengers or The Dark Knight Rises. The film is epic in scale that is for sure. Maybe for some watching building collapse is a little too much, if you’re sensitive about watching cities being destroyed then maybe stay away from this film.

The acting is fantastic across the board. Henry Cavill plays it just right as the boy scout in blue. He just nails it. He doesn’t really get to be Clark that much but I’m glad he’ll be Superman for a while. Amy Adams is just charming and really works as a modern Louis Lane. Russell Crowe is that stand out here as he really seemed to enjoy playing Jor-El. Kevin Costner plays Kal-El’s human father and is fantastic even though his screen time is limited. Michael Shannon plays Zod straight, not really over the top. He’s a man who loved his people so much he’s willing to destroy all of Earth just to give his people a chance. It might take another view before I really know how I feel about his version of Zod.

The film has minor issues but over all is a great comic book movie. It is visually impressive but if you can’t handle destruction on a massive scale you might want to avoid this movie.

Rating: 9/10

Movie Review: Now You See Me

Now.You.See.Me.cb1Four random magicians(Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco) are brought together by a mysterious force or individual. A year later the four are part of a group named The Four Horsemen. After a show in Vegas where the group seems to steal millions from a French bank. This brings in the FBI and Interpol. This leads a cynical and drunk agent Dylan Rhodes(Mark Ruffalo) and French investigator(Melanie Laurent) must team up to track down the Horsemen before their real plan can unfold.

I didn’t really know what to expect with this movie, the trailers never gave you any hints. My biggest surprise is that this movie really follows Mark Ruffalo and the magicians don’t really get a lot of screen time. The tricks they pull of are massive. One problem the movie puts on itself is that it plays with the idea that the magic could be real. It only plays with this idea though and never gets really deep with it. The film also heavily uses CGI during the larger moments and it’s blatant and kind of takes you out of the movie.

The best part of the film is the performances, everyone is good here and is obviously having a good time. Eisenberg especially seems to enjoy the cocky magician role. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine show up and give very solid performances too. It’s Mark Ruffalo’s show though and he does a fine job here, I’ve always really liked him and here he gets to shine.

Don’t really be expecting anything deep or intense, this is really just a cops and robbers/magicians type movie. At times it acts like it wants to be more, but never really pushes past it. Melanie Laurent is kind of wasted here as the partner/love interest character but she still does a fine job though. I’m having a hard time not liking this movie, it’s charming and fun and a perfect summer film, problem is it could have been more, for what it is though it’s very solid.

Rating: 7.5/10