Tag Archive: Movies

Movie Review: Robocop(2014)

robocop1cbThe original film is amazing and no one is saying it isn’t. Personally to me the original Robocop is a classic for me. I’m not going to compare the remake to the original too much because it simply wouldn’t be fair. I’m usually pretty anti-remake but in this case I think a series of Robocop movies would be awesome. The plot is pretty basic, a Detroit policeman starts digging too deep into a case and finds himself targeted, after the attempt on his life a morally corrupt company named Omnicorp spends billions to turn him into a part man/mostly robot cop. Once on the street Robocop tries to solve his own murder while trying to connect with his wife and son and dealing with what he has become.

What makes this movie solid is the actors on the screen. Joel Kinnaman is exactly a big name but he stood out on AMC’s “The Killing” and here he brings a good balance to Robocop. Abbie Cornish plays his wife and I’ve always liked her, here she doesn’t get a lot to chew on, she mainly cries but still with even the little she had to do you believed her emotions, you briefly understood how weird it would be to have a loved one return to you, but his body be something completely different. Gary Oldman plays the scientist who puts Robocop together, every scene he’s in has depth. The best is when he’s in the same room with Michael Keaton who plays the CEO of Omnicorp. When they play off each other it’s just amazing to watch.

A stand out moment is Samuel L. Jackson plays a Glenn Beck type who essentially works for Omnicorp and is pushing for America to allow robot police patrol the streets of crime infested streets. He book ends the movie and it’s a weird breath of fresh air in this movie. Most of the 80’s remakes have stepped away from camp or any political message, it’s nice to see this film at least attempt it.

Director Jose Padilha does a solid job with the look of the film. We never really see Detroit is full and never get a taste of how bad the crime is, yet when Robocop is in action the choices he makes for the scenes are always spot on. For a PG-13 rated film the action scenes are intense, things move fast of course because they tried to avoid seeing any blood. The only problem this film has really is the pacing, it’s trying to tell two stories at once and it messes things up. The more interesting story of Murphy reconnecting with his family is curbed for him trying to get revenge, oddly though his revenge story isn’t the final action piece. Keaton’s CEO rapidly forms as the main villain. I hate when movies can’t decide what they want to be so they split the story. Here it hurts the film badly. I still want to see this become a franchise. The original Robocop is a classic but the sequel is crazy in a fun way but not great and the third film was a disaster. This material deserves a series and I hope it gets it.

Rating: 7/10

jack-ryan-review-1We live in the age of remakes and reboots. Most of the time I’m unhappy about hearing remakes or reboots get the green light but when I heard it was happening for Jack Ryan I was pretty excited. I’m a big fan of the Tom Clancy novels and even bigger fan of the Harrison Ford movies. Even Ben Affleck’s attempt called “The Sum of All Fears” was pretty good. Even though that film ruined Clancy’s story by changing the villains from Arab terrorists to Neo Nazi’s which made no sense what so ever. This reboot starts everything over. We see Jack Ryan(Chris Pine) while in school in England when the attacks on 9/11 happen. He takes his talents to the military but in one short scene we see that a helicopter he was riding in is shot down over Afghanistan. Next thing we know he’s in a military hospital, back broken, the doctors talk about his heroics saving the other passengers from the wreckage, but we never see any of this. 

While recovering he meets a beautiful doctor(Keira Knightley) who helps him gain his strength. Knightley here does a very impressive American accent but her character is limited which was sad to see. Ryan from here gets picked up to be a covert CIA agent by a veteran agent(Kevin Costner). The problem this film has is it speeds through everything and frankly we’ve seen all of this before. The only bright light is when the villain is revealed. Kenneth Branagh plays a Russian millionaire who is trying to destroy America’s economy. Funny enough Branagh also directed the film. He’s scenes are hands down the best, he brings a darkness to the movie.

The action scenes, which there are not many of are very well filmed. The major problem for the film is that it just all feels very been there done that. The trailers for the movie hinted that Jack Ryan couldn’t trust anyone, none of this is actually in the film. At no point do we believe his mentor or wife could be a threat to him in any way. It’s rather clear that the only bad guy is Branagh. His characters plan is interesting but not very complex. So in the end the movie is just very generic. I was hoping for this film to lead into a franchise, for that to happen though the movie needed to take a chance and instead it kept its head down and stayed in the shadows.

Rating: 6.5/10

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

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: After Earth

after.earthcb2So try and follow me here, in a near future mankind must abandon Earth because we treated it like garbage. Humanity found a new home on a planet called Nova Prime, problem is aliens show up and send down monsters that can only smell fear. The face these creatures down a man named Cypher Raige(Will Smith) takes them down. Years later his son Kitai(Jaden Smith) wants to follow in his fathers footsteps. They go on a training mission, problem is there ship crashes down on to Earth. Cypher Raige is hurt badly so his son must go out alone to find a beacon that will signal help. Kitai must over come his fears to survive.

M. Night Shyamalan gets hated on a lot these days, some of it is deserved but most of it isn’t. I hated Lady in the Water and The Last Airbender but some of his other films have been very strong. His style here never really hurts the film. The movie has a lot going for it, Earth looks amazing, most of the animals are overly CGI’d. The future technology is pretty interesting and at least a little refreshing to see some different ideas on how things would look or work.  There is also a strong back story here involving Kitai’s sister, but the film doesn’t really use it right, which is a shame.

Will Smith is strong here, but frankly he doesn’t have much to do, he’s stuck on a ship most of the time. Jaden Smith struggles here, his line delivery is very weird at many times. M. Night has proven one thing, he isn’t good at working with kids. The script is really where the failure is though so you can’t blame Jaden all that much. The film even though being titled “After Earth” doesn’t really seem to make Earth matter that much. Things just evolved to be bigger, I was expecting some sort of explanation or discovery on Earth but that never happens.

The film comes of like a video game mostly, as Kitai must over come an obstacle, then face off with an animal, then face off against a monster. He even has to take capsules to survive every day. That is the major issue with the movie, using a video game structure just doesn’t really make this movie very interesting. At no time is there any real peril it’s just going through the motions.

After Earth isn’t terrible, visually it is very interesting. There is no major twist or anything like that. Just don’t go in expecting some sort of science fiction game changer. Some of the ships and tech choices are interesting, but beyond that the film is basically a short video game.

Rating: 5.5/10

Olympuscb1Obviously it was clear how this movie got made, in a meeting somewhere someone said “Die Hard in the White House”… That is essentially what this movie is. I will be upfront about this movie, it has problems, at many points it has loads of problems, but still it’s so much fun and executes the action scenes so well you almost just ignore the bumps in the road. The film opens with secret service agent Mike Banning(Gerard Butler) failing to save the First Lady from a car accident, even though he’s good friends with the President(Aaron Eckhart) he is demoted. Then of course the White House is attacked and then taken over by terrorists and Banning is the only hope to save the President and possibly… THE COUNTRY!

Somehow this movie has the cast of all casts, not only Butler and Eckhart but we get Melissa Leo and Morgan Freeman, the villain is played by Rick Yune who actually really stands out here. The actors all really give their all here which is interesting since the movie really is a B-Action movie. The best part of the film is seeing how the bad guys take the White House down, there are many moments where you’ll have to suspend your sense of reality. The bad guys fly a giant plane over DC, somehow avoid every missile fired at them, it rains bullets down on the White House and streets around it. Then as it crashes it takes the Washington Monument down as well. Then on the ground a wave of gun men dressed as tourists attack. This part is where you should just sit back and realize how silly the movie is. Somehow EVERY secret service agent runs outside likes drones to mowed down by machine gun fire. I get they had to do something to make it so Gerard Butler is the only guy left in the White House, but still it’s really silly.

The bad guys are North Koreans faking they are South Koreans. This is how Rick Yune’s character gets inside the bunker with the President. Using him and every staff member around him as hostages, they hold off the American military. The movie tries to tip toe around the North Koreans involvement and hint at the bad guys are working on their own. Whatever you never really care why the bad guys are doing what they are doing, the fact they are so brutal in their attack makes you understand they are bad dudes.

The rest of the movie is a lot of fun. It never holds back with the violence. Butler eats up his role as the hero here and you will love following him on his mission to take back the White House. The film does use a lot of weird CGI for bigger action set pieces, those involving planes or helicopters, it stands out and is frankly horrible. Still the movie does avoid general PG-13 action movie problems, the President has a young son in the White House, the film could have had some eye rolling scenes with the son sticking with Butler all film, instead the kid is used for one key plot point and then is never really used again, which was a breath of fresh air.

You must understand that this movie is silly going in, it’s over the top and in many places it doesn’t even make a lot of sense. Still the fact the movie never tries to be anything more than it is, the action is so solid I just really enjoyed myself. The actors alone should be thanked, without them the movie would be bland, but with these people involved everything pops and just feels right.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Movie Review: Dead Man Down

Dead.Man.Downcb3Colin Farrell plays Victor and is part of the crew run by Alphonse Hoyt(Terrence Howard) and is quiet but good with a gun. His neighbor Beatrice(Noomi Rapace) has a badly scarred face from a car accident. She wants the drunk driver that hit her dead, when she sees Victor kill a man in his apartment, she black mails him into killing the man for her. This deal leads to them falling for each other, we also find out Victor has another plan that he is putting together and we find out Victor isn’t exactly some mindless thug.

I went into this movie rather blind, I saw the trailer, had no idea what was going on. I was beyond surprised as the movie played out, this film is a refreshing action/thriller film, as it stands now it’s one of my favorite movies of 2013(I know it’s early) because of how different it is. This movie comes from Niels Arden Oplev who was behind the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and his style makes this movie very special. The dark tones to the highly stylized action scenes just makes the movie strong through out.

What makes the movie great though is the two leads, I’m starting to really fall for Noomi Rapace, she was hands down one of the best parts of Prometheus and stood out in the second Sherlock Holmes movie. If you haven’t seen her in the original Dragon Tattoo film, check it out, she’s amazing. Really though this movie is proof of how good Farrell is, his stardom rose years ago but wrong projects brought his career down. Recently he’s opened up and had a little fun. Sure the Total Recall remake was bad, but he was good in it. Here he makes the movie, without him, the movie wouldn’t be nearly as good. His quiet and calm approach to Victor just makes you cheer him on.

This film isn’t exactly for everyone, it’s dark and doesn’t move like most American action films. Still even though the movie is quiet in places the explosive finale will wake people up. The action is solid and the two leads are so good you just have to check this movie out. If you miss it in theaters check it out at Red Box or pick up when it comes out on DVD. You won’t regret it. I do wish they would have done a title change, because it doesn’t really connect to the movie at all.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

21overcb1On his 21st birthday, Jeff Chang(Justin Chon) is visited by his high school buddies/best friends, the kind of tight laced Casey(Skylar Astin) and the over the top and always causing trouble Miller(Miles Teller). The two take him out to campus bars(never caught which campus they were on) and get him wasted the night before his big interview with med-school. The two buddies promise to get him home safe and sound, of course this doesn’t happen and things of course get crazy.

The formula is something we’ve seen before, it’s a lot like The Hangover(The guys who wrote that wrote this movie) and Old School but in many other ways it’s better than those films. Both of those movies were about guys who were remembering the good old days. This is about guys who are actually in college. It also helps that I really don’t know the three leads, I haven’t seen them in much and it was refreshing. Sarah Wright shows up and is gorgeous, Casey falls for her but of course she has a douche boy friend. This is the only real problem with this movie is you have seen a lot of this stuff before. Drinking, hot girls, douche boy friends it’s all been done. So when it came to gags and set pieces nothing ever really surprises you, at one point our leads piss off a Latina sorority(does that exist?) and you just don’t find it as funny as you might twenty years ago.

The strongest thing the film has going for it is frankly Justin Chon’s Jeff Chang, you like him enough to the point you really want him to make it. His drunken antics seem real enough. The other two leads are good too it’s just there problems are obvious, they have lost contact, don’t consider themselves friends anymore blah blah blah… Jeff Chang on the other hand has secret problems that evolve as the movie rolls forward. That’s the films strongest point, is the movie funny? Yeah totally is, but it’s nothing special. Most of the jokes you’ve seen before.

If you just take a breath and let yourself enjoy the movie then you’ll find yourself smiling. This isn’t like Project X where I straight up disliked the leads to a point I wanted things to turn on them. Here I like all three guys and want to see them have a good time, so in a way the movie really works, is it a classic comedy? Far from it though.

Rating: 7 out of 10