Aloha is a smart and entertaining comedic drama from writer/director… MoreAloha is a smart and entertaining comedic drama from writer/director Cameron Crowe. Starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, and Bill Murray, the film follows a military contractor who comes back home to Hawaii to help secure the cooperation of a native Hawaii tribe in allowing the construction of a new aerospace launch site; but returning home forces him to face some unresolved issues from his past. The performances are pretty good; particularly Stone, who brings a lot of charisma to the film. The writing however, is rather weak; as the plot is underdeveloped and a bit contrived. However, Crowe's able to give an emotional resonance to the film that makes it quite touching at times. It has some weaknesses, but overall Aloha is a lighthearted and uplifting film.
A rather bland political thriller, The Gunman clumsily tries to mix… MoreA rather bland political thriller, The Gunman clumsily tries to mix action with political conspiracy. The story follows a former military contractor named Jim Terrier whose past comes back to haunt him when a group of mercenaries come looking for him. The action is pretty good, but the politics are extremely ham-fisted and aren't incorporated into the film very well. Featuring Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, and Ray Winstone, the cast is quite impressive and they give some strong performances. However, the script is weak and does give them much to work with. Still, there's a fair amount of mystery and suspense as Terrier tracks down those who are behind the attempts to kill him, and learns who he can and cannot trust. The Gunman isn't really a bad film, it's just poorly executed.
Jennifer Lopez stars in The Boy Next Door, a mediocre psychological… MoreJennifer Lopez stars in The Boy Next Door, a mediocre psychological thriller. After separating from her husband a lonely housewife named Claire Peterson has an illicit affair with a young man who's recently moved in next door to take care of his infirmed uncle; but when Claire tries to break off the relationship he becomes obsessive and violent. It's really a formulaic plot, and the characters are little more than clichéd stereotypes. Additionally, the performances are piss-poor; especially Lopez. However, Rob Cohen's directing is pretty good: bringing tension to the scenes and creating a sinister undertone. While it's able to deliver a few thrills, The Boy Next Door is a generic and uninspired film.
"You know who she is. And you understand who you are. And now maybe… More"You know who she is. And you understand who you are. And now maybe you're ready to understand who I am." Absolutely mind-blowing, Predestination is a fascinating high-concept science fiction thriller. Based on a short story, a temporal agent recruits a protégé and gives him a chance to avenge a wrong from his past. The writing is especially clever, and explores issues of free will, time paradoxes, identity, and fate. And, Ethan Hawke gives an incredibly performance that's quite powerful. However, the plot gets a little convoluted at times, and it doesn't really come into focus until the end. Still, Predestination is a compelling and provocative film that's incredibly daring.
Incredibly disturbing, It Follows is a creepy and atmospheric… MoreIncredibly disturbing, It Follows is a creepy and atmospheric low-budget indie horror film. An allegory about STDs (in part), the story follows a young girl who, after having sex with her boyfriend, is stalked by a mysterious shapeshifting creature that can only be seen by those who've had sex with an infected person, and it can only be escaped from (for a time) by passing on the infection to another person through sex. Maika Monroe gives a strong performance that's nuanced and really shows her struggle to come to grips with her situation. However, the director makes some odd choices in creating a setting, as it comes off as a strange alternative reality with a mixture of futuristic and retro fashions and technologies (which is quite distracting). Additionally, the creature effects are rather grotesque; with the creature often appearing mangled and in various stages of nudity. A problematic film, It Follows delivers some effective scares, but the who and the what are so vague that the story ends up being rather unsatisfying.
Hilariously twisted, The Voices is an insanely funny dark comedy. The… MoreHilariously twisted, The Voices is an insanely funny dark comedy. The story follows a factory worker named Jerry who's a delusional schizophrenic that hears voices, and after accidentally killing a co-worker he starts to question his sanity (with the help of his dog and his cat). Starring Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, and Anna Kendrick, the casting is pretty good; Reynolds in particular gives an amazing performance. And, the script does an excellent job at showing Jerry's inner struggle with his different personalities. The comedy is also remarkably well-done, and brings some levity to the murder and mayhem of the film. However, at times things get a little too silly and the tone becomes uneven. Still, while The Voices may have its issues, overall it's incredibly entertaining and a lot of fun.
Atrocious garbage, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D is a… MoreAtrocious garbage, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D is a poorly made film that's incredibly stupid. The story follows former spy Marissa Wilson, who comes out of retirement when an old nemesis breaks out of prison with designs on destroying the world, and along the way her step-kids join in the adventure and attempt to prove themselves worthy of being "spy kids." With the introduction of "Spy Baby," the series goes way past jumping the shark. Jessica Alba and Ricky Gervais both give embarrassingly bad performances, and the new "spy kids" are remarkably bland. Additionally, the comedy is extremely lame, and the special effects are terrible. Borderline unwatchable, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D is the worst film of the series by far.
The best of the series, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over is an entertaining… MoreThe best of the series, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over is an entertaining adventure into cyberspace. When Carmen Cortez gets trapped in a virtual reality game by a nefarious villain known as the Toymaker, her brother Juni goes into the game in an attempt to rescue her and shut it down. Surprisingly, Daryl Sabara (who's been one of the weaker actors of the series) really steps up and does a fairly decent job at carrying the film. And, Sylvester Stallone is especially good, playing multiple characters, and pulling off the comedy remarkably well. The special effects however, are really cheesy, but kind of work given that the game takes place in a virtual environment. Still, a lot of the 3D comes off as hokey. But despite its problems, Sky Kids 3-D: Game Over is a fun romp that delivers plenty of laughs.
Ridiculously absurd, Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams is a goofy… MoreRidiculously absurd, Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams is a goofy children's film that delivers some fun laughs. After being shown up by a rival team of spy kids, Carmen and Juni Cortez attempt to redeem themselves by retrieving a stolen top secret device that's been taken to a mysterious remote island. Steve Buscemi gives an excellent performance as a mad scientist, and some of the child actors (Emily Osment and Taylor Momsen) are pretty good too. Additionally, the film's tone is less zany than the original, which makes the comedy work better. Yet, while Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams has its moments, overall it's still low-budget shlock.
Incredibly cheesy and dumb, Spy Kids is a family action-comedy from… MoreIncredibly cheesy and dumb, Spy Kids is a family action-comedy from writer/director Robert Rodriguez. When a husband and wife spy team is captured by a megalomaniacal children's show host who's building a robot army, their kids embark on a mission to rescue them. The adult supporting cast is rather good and includes Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alan Cumming, and Teri Hatcher. But it's the kids that have to carry the film, and while Alexa Vega gives a fairly good performance (for a child actor), Daryl Sabara is intolerably bad (poisoning every seen he's in). And, the special effects and costumes look extremely cheap and cartoonish (especially the green screen backgrounds). Knowing Rodriguez, this is probably an intentional homage to '50s sci-fi, but the look doesn't work. Also, the comedy is extraordinarily juvenile, lacking any cleverness or subtlety. A poorly made film, Spy Kids is an insulting piece of garbage.