Being the independent movie phenomenon of the summer, Boyhood has… MoreBeing the independent movie phenomenon of the summer, Boyhood has acquired a somewhat legendary reputation for both the scope of its production (11 years?! WTF?!) and its avant-garde direction. And it mostly works, though I have to confess that it is a tad bit overrated, but not by much. If you hadn't noticed, the general shtick of Richard Linklater's filmography is nothing more than white people sitting around and talking. Or standing and talking. Preferably while drinking or smoking ganja. And somehow he manages to get away with it. This has been the case in an unbroken line all the way back from Slacker and Dazed and Confused, through his "Before Sunrise" trilogy, and into the present.
I really enjoyed Ethan Hawke quite a bit, though some of the other characters...not so much. It is odd how the boy in question grows up from being a fun, introspective kid into a Richard Linklater clone/stoner, but it doesn't break the movie's tone. The first half was bit more interesting to me, while the second became as lethargic as its protagonist. To its credit, melodrama is kept to a minimum, which is quite commendable considering the subject matter. Most critics and cinemaphiles have already seen this and loved it, but as it leans a bit on the long and pretentious side I must give a moderate advisory warning to normal people. Make sure to break it up into two or three separate viewings. Preferably while drinking and smoking ganja.
Well that didn't quite pan out. Let's cut the shit right now and… MoreWell that didn't quite pan out. Let's cut the shit right now and admit that the only thing that worked in this franchise was the second movie. It had just enough fun, dumb humor interspersed with some truly dark and depraved moments that made it worthwhile. And the action set pieces managed to be fun. Which is great because the first one was bollocks and somehow this is even worse. What's most notable about Expendables 3 is just how frickin boring it is. I am quite surprised how an action movie had so little ACTION going on in it and as everyone knows by now (and the reason why it thudded so hard at the box office) said violence is safe, bland, and forgettable PG-13 schlock. Did they think people were coming in here for the plot? Or the no name newcomers who have absolutely nothing to do? Despite this, the final battle scene was somewhat diverting with all those exploding tanks and Mel Gibson is an able villain (surprise, surprise) even if Jean-Claude Van Damme's monster from the previous installment has him dead to rights. And I guess I will miss some of that playful banter between old Sly and Jason Statham. Aside from those things, there is nothing else to recommend it. Give it a pass.
It's easy to forget that before Frank Miller became an eccentric… MoreIt's easy to forget that before Frank Miller became an eccentric pseudo-fascist nutjob he was probably one of the best comic book authors around. Not on par with the likes of Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman, but he was easily one of the best when it came to creating dense, strange, and immensely quotable stories. Perhaps this is why previous adaptations of his earlier pieces worked so well. The original Sin City was a well-crafted and beautifully rendered noir-ish experience with enough R-rated action to make general audiences forget that what they were watching was essentially an experimental art film. (Something they didn't forget for the misunderstood A Scanner Darkly.) It also showcased Robert Rodriguez's skills at directing something restrained and at least somewhat memorable.
Aside from being an ill-advised and completely unnecessary follow up (nine years later?!), Sin City: A Dame to Kill For abandons the slow-paced noir roots its predecessor worshipped and more resembles forgettable trashy pulp. So many subplots go absolutely nowhere. Violent, gory action is ramped up in over-the-top fashion and seems to have little to no consequence on many of the main characters or the plot. Even the visuals themselves seem somewhat watered down and have increased use of jarring CGI. The two MVP awards go to Eva Green (my femme fatale of choice since Casino Royale) and Mickey Rourke who genuinely seems to enjoy himself while crushing men with his bare hands or cutting them down with shotguns. Consolation prizes are in order for Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Powers Boothe for trying. Most of the minor and even major characters are miserable and pointless. Most notably Josh Brolin who was miscast as Clive Owen's character from the previous movie. While Brolin is usually excellent he is bland and unnotable here and my god did Jessica Alba completely forget how to act? She never was what I could call a Tier 1 actress, but watching her scream, cry, and throw furniture around was some of the worst acting I have seen this year.
So in summation there is nothing going on here that you wouldn't expect otherwise and we got another mediocre sequel that no one asked for, so what's new? Netflix it, check out it out from your local library, or just read the original graphic novel series. But hey, at least Eva Green is nude for roughly a fourth of it and it's a hell of a lot better than The Spirit.