Moving in another direction for their fourth film, the producers of… MoreMoving in another direction for their fourth film, the producers of Jackass decided to focus on a single character from the franchise, Johnny Knoxville's Irving Zisman. The film has everything you've come to expect from the series, as Knoxville plays a Grandfather, on vacation with his Grandson. Knoxville does his usual schtick, crashing into to things, saying outrageous things to strangers, and of course showing off his giant rubber testicles. As with most of the Jackass stuff, it's outrageous and hilarious for the first half hour, but quickly gets old. Maybe I'm just too old to appreciate Jackass anymore, but when I start out watching one of their films, I love it, and by the end, I'm just waiting for it to be over with. Knoxville is impressive, and while he's done films on his own, I think he was giving a message to the rest of the group in this film. The message being, if you guys don't want to do this anymore, I can make it work with anyone, even a 10 year old kid. Hopefully the message gets through and we'll get some more Jackass films. I really do love the simplistic comedic genius of the films, but it's repetitive nature makes anything more than an episode of the show wear on me. Maybe it's just not made for someone in my age group anymore, but regardless of age, Jackass has always been good for a few laughs and Bad Grandpa is no exception.
See No Evil is the film that started it all for WWE films, and with a… MoreSee No Evil is the film that started it all for WWE films, and with a sequel due out later this year, I figured I'd give it a shot. The WWE films have been surprisingly good, but I think See No Evil is what most people expected when they heard WWE was going into the film business. Kane stars as a mad man, held up in an old abandoned hotel. Chaos quickly ensues, when a group of teenage delinquents are assigned to fix up the hotel, as part of their community service. Kane is a perfect villain, as he is a huge scary guy, however, he plays a character that has all of two lines the whole film. Being that this was WWE's first venture into the film business, they weren't able to get anyone of name to support him, and there were some awful performances, by young actors in their debut roles. This film was a just a very basic, generic, slasher film, that we've all seen a million times. There is nothing of note and it was quite boring and unimaginative. I can only hope with the development of their films division, that WWE and Kane can come up with something better for the sequel.
Based on a series of successful novels, CBS decided to turn the Covert… MoreBased on a series of successful novels, CBS decided to turn the Covert One series into a mini-series, and while they got some big names to be in this three hour epic, the story just doesn't transfer well to film. Not every story can be condensed down and still keep the story believable and that's what happens here. Things move so quickly with one twist coming right on top another, making the film unbelievably confusing. The story begins on an army base, when a strange virus, thought to have been destroyed in the Middle East, starts killing people. The FBI, CIA, and mysterious group Covert One investigate and try to stop what they see as a terrorist attack. As I said there are so many different elements involved in this story and while a well placed twist in the story can help a film, too many just confuse things. Half way through this film it was impossible to tell who was working for whom, and what different groups were actually trying to accomplish. Stephen Dorff, AKA Mr. Blue E-Cig, stars and while he's not really known as an action guy, does a really good job. He's paired with Mira Sorvino who is one of my least favorite actresses. There is no doubting the fact that she's beautiful and somehow won an Academy Award, but I've always found her to be unbelievable and far to cold to play most of the roles she's been in. There are also some nice cameos from some people I haven't seen in a while, which could have been a big help to the film, if they weren't also part of the constant twists and turns of the story. I don't know how the novels were, but as far as the film goes, The Hades Factory is extremely fast paced and far too confusing to be worth watching. They had three hours to really engage and entrench the audience in the story, instead they blindfold you and put you on a roller coaster. The story is all over the place, the performances are mixed, and in the end, you'll just be scratching your head.
From the cast and crew that brought you Bad Teacher, comes Sex Tape,… MoreFrom the cast and crew that brought you Bad Teacher, comes Sex Tape, and on the surface it had all the makings of the next big comedic hit. Many people were saying that Sex Tape could be the next Hangover, as it is an original idea with an all-star cast, but sadly it falls well short of expectations. Annie & Jay's marriage has become a little stale, so one night they decide to spice things up by making a Sex Tape. Jay is a music producers and inexplicably neglects the fact that his laptop is connected to many other devices, and the tape finds its way to the cloud. Once again, Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz have absolutely no chemistry. They are too different types of actors that just don't compliment each other and they are even less believable as a married couple. If that were the only issue with this film, maybe I could have gotten passed it, but the real problem, as with Bad Teacher, is that the writers don't know their audience. This is an R rated film about a sex tape and in no way meant for children, yet the jokes are on a sixth grade level. As an adult going to see a raunchy comedy, I'm not interested in jokes about erections and diarrhea, it's in very poor taste and isn't something many adults will respond to. This film is supposed to be a laugh out loud comedy, but there was barely even a snicker in the movie theater, which basically tells you all you need to know about this film. Sex Tape is trying to get people to see it under the guise of being raunchy and featuring some pretty attractive stars, that fans hope they will get to see naked. The truth is that it is very amateurish, you really don't see all that much, and the jokes could be out of PG movie. All in all, Sex Tape is a big disappointment and a huge waste of time.
There is a common misconception that Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) was a… MoreThere is a common misconception that Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) was a real person. In fact the character was created from the stories of Australia's most heinous criminals. While the crimes themselves are real, they were committed by a variety of people, not just one man. What made both films work, was the character of Mick Taylor, who while being a horrific serial killer, was still very likeable. Taylor is charismatic and most important of all very funny, and audiences in 2005 ate it up. After the success of the first film, a sequel was immediately planned, but put on hold due to the fact that some of the crimes portrayed in the film, were still being prosecuted in court. The legal issues delayed the film eight years and kept it out of theaters, which is a shame because it was better than the first and received almost no exposure. In the second installment of Wolf Creek, Mick isn't just torturing victims at his dungeon, he's chasing a man through the outback, and when they finally meet, they come to discover that they aren't entirely dissimilar from one another. Ryan Corr (Saw 3D) plays the runner and is just as witty and entertaining as Taylor himself. The chemistry between the too was terrific and gave the series a whole new dynamic, which elevated it to another level. Wolf Creek 2 is so much more intense and at the same time comedic, compared to the first film. It was definitely a risky move by Writer/Director Greg McLean, that really pays off. The Wolf Creek films are no different and no less predictable than any other slasher film. What makes them unique is a character that encompasses the personalities of multiple serial killers and gives the audience the rarest of bad guys, the one that you root for. Even if you don't like slasher films, you may enjoy John Jarratt's extremely strong performance and get a few laughs in between the carnage.
Black Rock is one of those rare films that was written by, directed… MoreBlack Rock is one of those rare films that was written by, directed by, and starring the same person. Back in the early days of film, this was common, but today it's rare. While I admire all the work a single person puts into such an effort, the truth is that most of these films turn out to be a little strange, Black Rock is no exception. Three life long best friends decide to reconnect on a weekend retreat, to a small secluded island, where they had a lot of childhood memories. Once there, they run into a pack of hunters. Testosterone and alcohol mix, leading to a vicious assault, leaving one group a member short, and the other group on the run. Katie Aselton is the Writer, Director, & star of this film and while I admire what she put into it, the truth is that it was very predictable and didn't make a whole lot of sense. First of all, these three women, as children were allowed to play on a secluded island in the middle of nowhere, without supervision? It also doesn't make sense that the hunters would be there, when there was seemingly no wildlife, and of course there had to be exactly three of them. Finally, why did three women, spending a weekend alone on a secluded island, bring enough alcohol to fuel a Todd Phillips movie? The whole thing was just a little too weird to be believable, and when you add how predictable this film was, it's just a recipe for disaster. The one thing I liked was the performance of Jay Paulson. He's usually a guy who gets bit parts and guest appearances here and there, but he was very solid and the most believable of the six characters. Aside from that this is a slow, painfully predictable, mess of a film, that really doesn't have a whole lot going for it.
The remake of The Manchurian Candidate is one of the few Denzel… MoreThe remake of The Manchurian Candidate is one of the few Denzel Washington films I've never seen. To be honest, the story just didn't interest me that much, but it started streaming this month, so I gave it a shot. As expected, it's a someone complex story, that at times was difficult to understand, however an all-star cast manages to pull it together at the end. The story begins in Iraq during the Gulf War, when a U.S. Army platoon goes missing for three days. Even they were unaware of what happened to them, until one of the men starts having nightmares, and bodies start turning up. Denzel Washington plays the commanding officer, who takes it upon himself to investigate the strange deaths of his men, almost a decade later. As always, Washington is at the top of his game, giving off that infectious intensity, that keeps you on the edge of your seat through every step of the investigation. Washington is paired with Liev Schreiber who is one guy that has always just rubbed me the wrong way. It's not that he's a bad actor, there is just something about him and the characters he plays that is inherently unlikeable. He wasn't bad in this film, but being a similarly intense actor, meant that the chemistry with Washington was almost non-existent. The story is complicated and in the beginning of the film, it's going to be somewhat hard to watch. As the film proceeds and the elements become more clear, the film gets easier to watch, and the ending really pulls everything together. The Manchurian Candidate is one of those films that you think is going to be a bust, some people may even turn it off, but those who stick with it will see that it just gets better and better until a surprise ending brings it all together. If I were the writer of this film, I would have made the beginning of the film more intense and less confusing. The truth is the most important parts of a film are the beginning and the end, and without a strong opening, a lot of people will be turned off to the film and have the wrong attitude throughout. If you manage to stick with it, The Manchurian Candidate is great, but it does take a while to get there.
The Place Beyond The Pines is the kind of film that I love. The film… MoreThe Place Beyond The Pines is the kind of film that I love. The film is broken up into three stories, starring three different actors, and it all comes together at the end. The film is about two men, one is a criminal, the other is a cop, and both have a decision to make. One makes the right choice, the other makes the wrong one, and fifteen years later, both decisions have a huge impact on their children, who come together in High School. Each part features a different actor, Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, and Dane DeHann. While they were all terrific, it's Cooper who really stands out. I thought he was good in Limitless, but he blows that performance away, giving an Oscar worthy portrayal. Due to the violent nature of the film, of course the Academy overlooked him, but you will be hard pressed to find a better performance all year. He was magically and is the thread that connects the stories. Without Cooper being at his best, this film probably wouldn't have worked out as well as it did. There are so many supporting stars and the story becomes so much more complex than it appears to be. Watching The Place Beyond The Pines was really like seeing three different short plays, that are loosely tied together, but don't make much of an impact until you see the fourth and final act. Once you see the whole picture, you will be blown away, both by the magnitude of the story and an unexpected conclusion. The cast and previews for this film really didn't excite me that much, but the reviews were strong, I gave it a chance, and what I found was another must see movie.
In 2008, The Scott brothers, along with the master of the mini-series,… MoreIn 2008, The Scott brothers, along with the master of the mini-series, Mikael Salomon, decided to remake the 1969 debut novel and 1971 film, The Andromeda Strain, written by famed Jurassic Park author, Michael Crichton. The film was in serious need of an upgrade, and while the new technology really enhanced the film, making it all the more believable, the updates to the story along with the new characters that were introduced, really did the original story a disservice. The basic story was not changed, just modernized, and for that we are very thankful. The story was always a terrific tale of Science Fiction and an early message about the damage we are doing to our planet. I like how the story was updated and I loved the technological advancements. What I didn't like was how much they changed the cast. They wanted to make them more diverse and I don't have a problem with that, but this is not a story that focuses on individuals, it's more about the virus, the technology, and the human impact on our planet. In that sense, I felt it hurt the series, but the technology enhanced it, evening things out. The original novel and movie were 4 stars, and so is the remake. It's different, but there wasn't much harm done, the way you often see in remakes. I think Michale Crichton would have approved.
Occasionally I come across a movie that I don't like, but not because… MoreOccasionally I come across a movie that I don't like, but not because it's a bad film. Somethings are not for everyone, but I can still appreciate the terrific performances and unique storyline of Kill Your Darlings. This film follows the early lives, and some previously untold stories, of the 1940's Beat Generation. People like Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, & William S. Burroughs are featured prominently in this film, and show what some of America's greatest writers were like when they were mere college students. The story centers mainly around Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan), who was better than any of them, and could have also been one of the greats, if it wasn't for an event that changed his life forever. The story is a gripping drama, telling a true, untold story from the 1940's, so what's not to like? There was a lot of focus on Philosophy, Art, Poetry and Love. There are some people that really that stuff up, but it just really wasn't for me. DeHaan and Daniel Radcliffe were both terrific, but I'll always have a problem seeing Radcliffe playing anyone except for Harry Potter, and when Radcliffe was in a rather graphic sex scene, I admit I had to avert my eyes. The bottom line is that Kill Your Darlings isn't a bad film, but it's very philosophic and somewhat slow moving. I can see how some people are going to absolutely love it, but I just found it slow and a bit too artistic for my liking.