As World Championship Wrestling (WCW) was going bankrupt, they needed… MoreAs World Championship Wrestling (WCW) was going bankrupt, they needed to come up with other ways of earning money, and decided to jump into the film business. Little did they know that within two years, they'd be out of business and their rival, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), would pick up their idea and turn it into a billion dollar industry. Ready To Rumble features two life long wrestling fans, intent on restoring their favorite wrestler, The King (Oliver Platt), back to his former glory. Against all odds, they inspire The King to get back in shape, and compete for one last chance at glory. It's hard to remember through all the intense action and dangerous moves, that professional wrestlers are actually actors, who need to learn a script and play a character, on a weekly basis, so why not put them in movies. It has worked out very well for WWE Films, which has produced some great films, including; The Marine, 12 Rounds, and The Call, but what about WCW's only foray into the movie business? David Arquette was the perfect choice to play this wacky wrestling freak, and he actually had great chemistry with everyone involved. The story told in Ready To Rumble may lack the vulgarity and insanity that has become associated with most modern comedies, but it was certainly something different and did have it's movements of hilarity.
The plan was simple, kidnap a rich suburban woman, while her husband… MoreThe plan was simple, kidnap a rich suburban woman, while her husband and son are out of town. The husband is corrupt, so he will be more than willing to pay a ransom, in order to keep them quiet, and to get his wife back, right? This group of bumbling, life-long criminals thought they had it all figured out, except for one small problem, Frank Dawson (Tim Robbins) isn't really interested in getting his wife back. This strange film, based on the novel, Switch by Elmore Leonard, takes place in the late 70's, and had critics raving, but after seeing it for myself, I'm left with one question, why? After the kidnapping takes place, the film moves at a snails pace, with criminals arguing, and phone calls back and fourth, nothing happens for the majority of the film. Jennifer Aniston stars and gives probably the worst performance I've ever seen her give. She is this spoiled, whiny, rich bitch, who just doesn't know when to keep her mouth shut. It really got to the point where every time she spoke I cringed. On the other hand, Tim Robbins, who plays her husband, was hilarious, but not in the film nearly enough. One of my favorite young actors, Charlie Tahan, also has a role in the film, as their son. In the brief amount of screen time he has, we see a very troubled and confused kid, an angle that could have helped the story, but he too was hardly used. The majority of the film features Jennifer Aniston interacting with her kidnappers and trying to form a bond with the bumbling idiots. I'm not sure if this was supposed to be a comedy or just a comedy of errors wrapped up in a dramatic theme, but either way it doesn't work. Most of the cast is absolutely horrible, the majority of the film is unbelievably slow, and the parts that aren't, just don't make a whole lot of sense. Life of Crime had quite a few side stories that could have been utilized to fill up the space and break up the monotony, but it was all left on the cutting room floor, leaving us with a film that could be used as a method of torture at Guantanamo Bay.
A lot of film are made that are based on a true story, and most of… MoreA lot of film are made that are based on a true story, and most of these films claim to be inspirational, but seldom are. Finding a truly inspirational film, that is based on a true story, is like finding a needle in a haystack, in this case, that needle is called Conviction. Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank) came from a dysfunctional family, dropped out of High School, got married, and had kids, while she was still a child herself. She never wanted to be anything more than a housewife, until her brother, Kenneth (Sam Rockwell), was convicted of a murder she knew he couldn't have committed. It took fifteen long years, but Betty Anne got her GED, finished college, and went to law school, with the hopes of one day getting her brother exonerated. Hilary Swank stars and thrives in roles like this one. Despite her beauty and talent, she is one of the most down to earth people in Hollywood, and is always very believable as a normal, every day person. In most of her films, she is the kind of person audiences empathize with and cheer for, making her perfect for this role. She is paired with Sam Rockwell who is one of the most underrated stars in Hollywood. The man has immense talent, but is seldom talked about, because of the awful films he decides to star in. I have admired Rockwell for a long time, but this is the first time I can remember rating a film he was in higher than three stars. Conviction is a real story, written by the people who lived through it. It is heartfelt, inspirational, and most importantly real. The film may have bombed in theaters, but it is a true gem that was seriously overlooked.
The cast of Mind Hunters is as weird and diverse as any movie can get,… MoreThe cast of Mind Hunters is as weird and diverse as any movie can get, but what turned me on to this film was the fact that it was Directed by Renny Harlin. Harlin is a legend in the world of action films, responsible for such films as Die Hard 2, 12 Rounds, & The Long Kiss Goodnight. He usually doesn't waste his time on direct-to-video films, and prefers to feature his own people, but the story here was so good, that he must of made an exception. Mind Hunters follows seven FBI agents who are training to be profilers, under the watch of the toughest trainer there ever was, Jake Harris (Val Kilmer). For their final test, the group goes to a small island the navy uses for training, and must work together in order to catch a serial killer that doesn't exist or do they? Once they begin their investigation, the group quickly come to realize that the scene is booby trapped and they are cut off from the outside world, trapped on an island with a killer. While having a unique location and a terrific director, what I really enjoyed about this film was how it was more than just some slasher film. This group isn't just a bunch of frat girls running from a guy in a hockey mask, they are trained, intelligent, FBI agents, trying to figure out which one of them is responsible for setting the rest up. This film features all the fighting, gun battles, and chases that you get in a typical action thriller, but there is also a methodical obsession among the group to find the one that betrayed them, and for that this film is unique. Kathryn Morris stars and has more than enough experience playing a detective, after sever years on Cold Case. Likewise LL Cool J has played a cop on numerous occasions, most recently on NCIS: Los Angles. Going into the film, I wasn't all that crazy about this cast, but once I got into it, I realized that they were brought together, because all of these guys have plays cops, FBI agents, or some kind of law enforcer in the past. That mix of unique personalities and experience help this film, because what the cast lacks in talent, they make up for with experience. Mind Hunters isn't something you've never seen before, but it brings together several different common themes in a new way and it will keep you on the edge of your seat.
I guess it was only a matter of time until someone put little Carl… MoreI guess it was only a matter of time until someone put little Carl (Chandler Riggs) from the Walking Dead in a movie. Mercy is that film, and it is based on a short story by Stephen King. There is a reason this was a short story, there wasn't enough to make an entire book out of it, so what made them thing there was enough for a full length film? Rebecca, George, & Buddy are going to spend time living with their grandmother at her cabin in the woods. She is a sick old woman and it's only a matter of time, but she isn't a candidate for the nursing home, because she is psychotic. While caring for the old woman, George (Riggs) finds some mysterious occult stuff, that lead him to believe his grandmother isn't psychotic, but possessed. This film is everything that is wrong with the Horror movies of today, because it's not scary, different, or even all that interesting, it's more stupid than anything else. For most of the movie, nothing happens, except for this kid walking around testing his theory, but what does it matter, the old woman is going to be dead soon anyway right? Chandler Riggs stars and I really don't care for him as an actor. I realize he's just a kid, but Riggs is always playing some whiny loner, looking for help. Some people might find it cute or endearing, to me it's just annoying, especially in a film where he's the lead. The rest of the cast was underutilized, especially Super 8's, Joel Courtney, who is a terrific young talent, I would have liked to see more of. Mercy is written by the master of horror and stars two of TV's top young stars, but it was a story that never developed into anything, and is buried in some massive Stephen King short story anthology. This is not the kind of story that should have ever been turned into a film. I don't say it much, but this time I really believe that Mercy was just a waste of 90 minutes that I will never get back.
Megan's twin sister has recently committed suicide, and it was a shock… MoreMegan's twin sister has recently committed suicide, and it was a shock to everyone. She was popular, had a terrific boyfriend, and was on top of the world, no one knew just what happened. To celebrate her memory, her sister and a group of their friends go to their summer house for the weekend, and that's when Megan starts seeing things. Her friends think she's nuts, but Megan feels that her sister is trying to tell her something, so Megan goes on a quest to find answers. Why is it always the low budget films you hear nothing about, that turn out to be the most interesting? I honestly thought this was going to be another weird supernatural slasher film, but it wasn't at all. Solstice gives you so many angles and so many things to focus on, including intense flashbacks, a terrific mystery, a creepy neighbor, a missing child, a love story, and of course attractive people skinny dipping. The focus of the film seems quite evident early on, but it really isn't, as Solstice twists and turns in so many directions, that by the time it's over, you'll be left with your mouth open. The cast comprised of normally ancillary characters was terrific, especially Elisabeth Harnois. Her face may be familiar to film-goers, but not because of any leading roles, she has bided her time, taking small roles, learning as much as she could to use in performance like this one. Solstice was her chance to finally take the reigns and she did it with grace and intensity. The rest of the cast, featuring some well-known teen idols, also doesn't disappoint as Matthew O'Leary was hilarious, Shawn Ashmore was the level headed one, and Tyler Hoechlin was wonderfully weird. As I said early, Solstice is a thriller that has it all, from the supernatural to an earthly mystery, it is one terrific film, that doesn't stay in one place for very long. The rural setting and the way the story is told, with well timed flashbacks, just make everything that more intense. It may be a low budget, independent film, but it's better than anything you'll see on the big screen right now and I can't recommend it enough.
Once again, we have a Statham movie, where the story isn't the focus… MoreOnce again, we have a Statham movie, where the story isn't the focus and doesn't matter much at all. The allure of this film is the terrific characters created by Luc Besson. The mysterious driver with OCD is back, but is well into his retirement. Instead of helping the bad guys get away, Frank Martin (Statham) is driving rich people around, but he's forced into action when their young son is kidnapped. The story here is somewhat simplistic, but the bad guys are as creative as you will ever see in this type of film. I'm not sure where they found Alessandro Gassman and Amber Valletta, but they were so much fun to watch. He is a self-obsessed drug lord, with ridiculous moves, and big plans, while she is a deadly assassin, whose ability with a gun would put John Wayne and Clint Eastwood to shame. When Statham is added to the mix, you have the perfect formula for one intense movie. Transporter 2 was terrific in that it never stops moving and you will see things you never thought were possible outside of CGI, it was unbelievably entertaining. From the stand point of a film aficionado, while these amazing moves and characters make for a lot of fun, the story and dialogue are severely lacking. This film is not for people looking for a great story or loveable characters, it's made for adrenaline junkies who want to see explosions, long fight scenes, and intense thematic action. If you're all about the action, you won't find much better than this, but if you want there to be some greater purpose, a worth-while cause to fight for, or want to see the world become a better place because of all that happened, you'll be disappointed.
In recent years, Director Simon West has become known for turning… MoreIn recent years, Director Simon West has become known for turning simple action movies into big hits, thanks his unique story lines. The story doesn't actually mean as much in action films as it does in other genres, because as long as people are getting killed and things are blowing up, most action fans are satisfied. Simon West wasn't and in recent years, he has given us some great stories to go along with the amazing action. His most recent film is actually a remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson classic, by the same name. The Mechanic is a code name for CIA hit-man, Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham). For years, the Mechanic has gotten the job done without question, until one day his next target is revealed as his mentor. The stories are similar, but the special effects and action moves are much more intense, and we have Jason Statham to thank for that. This man has single handedly taken action films to another level. For those unfamiliar, the man speaks several different languages, is trained in dozens of forms of fighting, and he's quick with a joke, many of which are unscripted. Every film Statham does is entertaining for his tremendous moves and unpredictability. The Mechanic gives Statham the chance to show off his talents and for that, I loved it, but trying to modernize the original story without changing it all that much, makes things feel a little outdated. I found many things to be tame by today's standards and the film itself does suffer because of it. Statham is paired with Ben Foster and that's problematic for the film as well. Foster is not known as an action star, he's the complete opposite of Statham, and in this case opposites do not attract, they had no chemistry whatsoever. In my opinion, Jonathan Rhys-Myers or Alex Pettyfer would have been a much better choice, but I am just a reviewer. That being said, the Mechanic isn't a bad movie, it has all the moves and wit of a typical Statham movie, but the story is more than a little outdated and aside from Statham and Sutherland, the casting left a lot to be desired.
Writer/Director Joss Whedon received so much negative feedback from… MoreWriter/Director Joss Whedon received so much negative feedback from this film, that he actually deactivated his Twitter, but I can't understand why. It's not that Age of Ultron was a bad film, in fact there were many parts of it that were very impressive, but what bothered people was how Age of Ultron wasn't geared toward general audiences. In the first film, even if you'd never seen a Marvel film, you could follow the story and enjoy it, but that's not the case with the sequel. Age of Ultron is aimed more at the comic-con crowd and parts of it were very confusing to those of us who aren't familiar with the comics that the film is based on. There are a lot of new characters and new technologies introduced in this film, without any kind of background information given, and as the film progresses, it did become confusing. The story begins with the Avengers as a separate faction from Shield, centering on Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and David Banner (Mark Ruffalo) working to develop a new type of artificial intelligence. The pair believe that if they can create this intelligence, everyone can retire and won't have to fight anymore. As always there is a problem though, as the A.I., known as Ultron, comes to life and fails to see the distinction between saving humanity and destroying the planet for the protection of humanity. The film then becomes a race for the clock as the mighty Avengers try to stop Ultron from destroying the planet. We all know that sequels aren't as good as the original, because the creators change things too much and Age of Ultron is no exception. The story isn't even close to as strong as the first film, but that doesn't mean it wasn't good. The special effects are even better and the chemistry between the large cast is much more important then it had been previously. These things set the foundation for a better film, but the story fails to deliver. The Avengers is a monumental undertaking for cinema, with so many well known actors and characters trying to come together as one. The idea is ingenious and the technology behind the whole thing is nothing short of magic, but as far as films go, while I loved the first one, I could have done without Age of Ultron.
Many actors known for their work in Mafia films become tight-cast as… MoreMany actors known for their work in Mafia films become tight-cast as gangsters, meaning that audiences are so familiar with them as a gangster, that they can't see them as anything else. That's fine when they're younger, but once these guys are in their 70s, it becomes a lot harder to find work. Some turn to comedy, while other try, unconvincingly, to remain gangsters, this is one of those stories. Lou Marazano (Frank Vincent) is one of the last OG's in his Chicago crew. While he still sees himself as a gangster, the next generation sees him as a dinosaur. One night Marazano becomes aware of how the others see him, and decides to take on one last big job in order to prove himself. Frank Vincent was terrific in the Sopranos, because he was an old school boss. In this film, he's an old school hitman, running around town, trying to intimidate people with a Tommy-Gun. The whole thing, wasn't believable or funny, it was just sad, watching this old man running around like it's still 1940. The rest of the cast was no prize either, made up of guys who had three lines in a Sopranos episode 15 years ago. Chicago Overcoat proves that it takes a lot more than just gun fire and some f-bombs to make a decent film about the Mafia. There is no honor in this final act of violence and there isn't even a compelling reason for it. The whole theme of this film is an old man trying to prove something that he no longer has. I feel badly that a legend like Frank Vincent is forced to take on roles like this and I just found the whole thing to be sad and in poor taste.