You can count on one hand missing two fingers the number of people… MoreYou can count on one hand missing two fingers the number of people capable of playing Hercules on the silver screen. One of them is too old now and the other can't act. In steps the Rock who is both young and fully capable of pulling off a character he quotes he was born to play.
I think what this movie has going for it outside of Johnson's personality and imposing figure are the supporting cast around him. McShane, Sewell, Berdal, Hennie and Ritchie all have a different skill and characteristic to bring to the group. As for Hurt and the brief look at Fiennes, both are adequate.
The plot is pretty easy to follow, even with the twists and turns. The focus is more on the mortal side of Hercules than the fantasy he could bring to the table, which also works in favor. It keeps the movie grounded. For me, the action sequences and heroic feats of Hercules didn't quite give me the "Hell yea!" moment I was waiting for to be like, "this rocked." For a big summer blockbuster, especially with Brett Ratner behind the camera and such a bankable star in Dwayne Johnson in front of it, the whole movie coasted at a nice easy pace from beginning to end.
Another hearty welcome back to the big screen for some of the greatest… MoreAnother hearty welcome back to the big screen for some of the greatest action stars of our time. The third time around, Stallone is joined not only by the originals from the first film and the tag-alongs from the second film, but all the above PLUS some new young blood and old dogs. The best addition by far was Antonio Banderas. Easily the goofiest of the bunch. There was a nice nod at the beginning of the film with Wesley Snipes and where he's been the past few years. The answer is both applicable in the film and real life, which should give you a nice chuckle. Harrison Ford seemed like he stopped by to help in the midst of filming. The best acting in this movie (and there isn't too much of it) is done when the old talent is on screen. Unfortunately, the worst is from the new crew, and if the idea is to keep this franchise going with new actors every few years with a new rising talent of young action heroes, this is not the crop to do it with. I won't get into each actor specifically, but nobody stole any scenes with their acting ability, and frustratingly, the fight and action sequences were too clogged with CGI and green screen and jump cuts to make much sense.
What made the first film decent was it was a new concept. What made the second even better was giving the fans what they wanted with quick, tight scenes and snappy dialogue. What the third feels like is maybe we gave everyone just a bit too much all at once with so many new faces to introduce and wonder if they are a one-time deal or continuing on with the franchise. And Mel Gibson. He just didn't quite nail down if he was a hard bad guy with evil motives, a goofy jokester having a good time being a bad guy, or a cross between the two. He was all over the place, and we didn't even get to see the relationship between his character and Stallone's unfold in any past sequences before it was too late.
Overall, grabbing a few friends to hit the theaters and catch this flick with loud noises and abrasive action (without any blood none-the-less) isn't the worst thing to do on a Friday night.
What we have here are two different halves to two different movies.… MoreWhat we have here are two different halves to two different movies. One half being a home-invasion thriller and the other a parallel social allegory. It has a strong beginning with Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey portraying a well-to-do couple with two kids who stick to themselves a part from the rest of the neighborhood. You find out Hawke's character creates the security system everyone uses to protect their homes (of the wealthy) during the once-a-year purge where anything is legal for 12 hours in the middle of the night. The idea is definitely clever, but the execution stalls about 10 minutes into the actual purge event. The motive for the 'villains' is weak and the payoff never feels satisfying because we never really put a face to the killers. Without a look at the broader picture of why the government chooses to do this and who the certain 'levels' are that get exempt from being killed leave too many questions. Tighter scenes with snappier dialogue might have kept this on the rails a little longer.
A wonderfully crafted cosmos blended with great comedy, action and… MoreA wonderfully crafted cosmos blended with great comedy, action and heart, Guardians of the Galaxy is yet another top tier revelation for Marvel. Chris Pratt leads this semi all-star cast into a universe that could rival that of Star Trek or Star Wars. The visuals are great and the beings occupying the different planets are expertly crafted and made up. The CGI for Rocket and Groot were amazing. Pretty seamless. Zoe Saldana steps into a green cover instead of the blue from Avatar, but she seems to have mastered the alien vibe. Cooper and Diesel's voice work, mostly Cooper's, is hilarious. And for being in only a handful of films without much screen time, Bautista breaks through much like the Rock did so many years ago with a role he can finally flex his stuff. The very literal Drax the Destroyer was right up his alley. But back to Pratt. This movie firmly plants him into the category of A-listers (albeit near the bottom of the rung considering he has a long way to go to reach the talent of Pitt or Cruise or DiCaprio). I am real excited to see him in Jurassic Park next.
The supporting cast of Pace, Rooker, and even a snippet of Brolin as Thanos all get the comic-book geek inside me giddy with excitement for where the story will continue to go considering the Infinity Gauntlet. We've now seen a couple of the stones from across the movies, and Avengers 2 is sure to bring it all to a boil.
James Gunn co-wrote and directed this film and he's on the hook for the second in a few years. You could clearly feel his comedic style infuse its way into the dialogue, but the film never topples over the cliff face into absurdity. It's a very believable environment the whole time.
I have to give it 5 stars, and believe me, I considered four and a half only because the collection of talent isn't quite on par with the Avengers Downey Jr, Johannson, Hemsworth, Evans, Ruffalo and Renner and what they did with their movie, but then I figured why should that hold them back when these 5 from Guardians of the Galaxy did a fantastic job with a crazier world full of people I hope we see multiple times down the road.
A pretty solid, well-acted suspense thriller set in East Texas during… MoreA pretty solid, well-acted suspense thriller set in East Texas during 1989. Michael C. Hall pulls off a pretty boring, yet capable father and husband of a nice quaint family. Sam Shepard is the vengeful prison parolee out for revenge on Hall after he learns his son was killed while trying to rob Hall's character's house. From there, things spiral into a more seedy plot of mystery with most of the explanation given through dialogue rather than scenes. There's also a great side acting job from Don Johnson.
The end is pretty acceptable, if not rewarding for the audience and even if the trio of Hall, Shepard and Johnson's characters don't quite fit the bill of vigilantes, they certainly have that goofy chemistry working together.
Hall's character doesn't really fit the bill in the second half of the movie. It certainly works through the first part, but Richard Dane doesn't quite strike you as someone who would go off searching for resolution on such a dark subject matter. I fully expected the cops to play a bit larger of a role after their interaction was so heavy in the first hour.
In the end, that good ol' Texas Justice was served just right.
I went back and looked at my original review for the first film (4th… MoreI went back and looked at my original review for the first film (4th if you still consider the Toby Macguire the original three), and unfortunately, we have a step back the second (5th) time around in most categories. There were only a few positives.
To start, the cast again shines more in this branch of Spiderman films than it did in the first trilogy. Emma Stone again stands out above Kirsten Dunst and Andrew Garfield just comes off as a more realistic and comfortable version of Peter Parker than Macguire. It's too bad Jamie Foxx is overdone with voice modulation and CGI and Dane DeHaan (who might have been the surprise star of this flick) isn't featured as the main bad guy, so screen time is limited. Paul Giamatti was ok as a bookend bad guy to start and end the flick with, but he's pretty silly as an American trying to come off as a Russian.
The plot was convoluted bouncing between Peter trying to figure out what his father was involved with and his relationship with Gwen Stacy. You could ALMOST classify this film as a romance with a hint of action and comedy instead of the other way around. The focus was off. Most of the scenes between Peter and Gwen really slowed the pace down, too.
Marc Webb directed again, and I think the way the first film came off with such a positive reception meant, to him, lets heap as much in the second film of the same stuff. It lost its precision and may have lost a few people for the third and fourth films they've already stated they'll be making in the coming years.
I have to go against the grain here with Anna Kendrick's latest, Happy… MoreI have to go against the grain here with Anna Kendrick's latest, Happy Christmas. She comes in as a 27-year-old, immature, post break-up sister of a couple during Christmas time. Maybe it was the copy I had, or perhaps it actually is how the film was shot, but it came off like I was watching a home movie. This isn't to say the performances weren't good. I thought Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey and Joe Swanberg (who is also the director) were good. However, I'm sort of tired of the immature girl who makes the wrong decisions at every corner hits rock bottom and barely makes it out near the end. I've seen a few better movies that have one person influence and shake up another couples' life. At an extremely short 88 minutes, it is a very brief portrayal of these people's evolution over a short period of time. And the baby was oddly too smart for a two-year-old.
A pretty entertaining, yet informative look into the world of the… MoreA pretty entertaining, yet informative look into the world of the 1980's communist crisis through the eyes of Charlie Wilson, a Texas congressman played by the always enjoyable Tom Hanks. The director Mike Nichols does a good job balancing witty dialogue with heartfelt situations, but clearly you feel Aaron Sorkin pulling the strings from on high behind the scenes.
Philip Seymour Hoffman is excellent as the CIA contact for Hanks' character. When the two of them are on screen together, it's pure entertainment. Two very fine actors. Julia Roberts seems more of a caricature of who she is supposed to be playing. Also never a bad thing to see the stunning Emily Blunt make her start and Amy Adams begin her rise upward.
The only thing which may keep this movie from leaps and bounds is a handful of scenes set in Pakistan with the CGI and not enough fratenizing of Tom Hanks' character. We only get a piece of Charlie Wilson's 'other side' in the very beginning of the film. I feel when the film needs some gravity to really put the situation on the front steps of what was really going on, there's still too much of a tone of comedy. The balance is a little off.
Overall, you can't go wrong with an enjoyable film with this type of cast. Everyone looks to be enjoying their roles.
Scarlett Johansson dips back into the science fiction pool yet again… MoreScarlett Johansson dips back into the science fiction pool yet again with her biggest film of the year, Lucy. Now by biggest, I mean most hyped and marketed. Luc Besson has done some great sci-fy films in the past, but this might be the one that could be classified as more 'out of this world' than the others.
It starts off really well. The whole movie keeps you on point with just how much Lucy is using her brain by percentages popping up here and there. There is very nice juxtaposition through the first twenty minutes or so, too with Morgan Freeman's university talk with what's going on with Lucy. There's also just enough gangster action to keep the entertainment value up. Some of the points brought up in the movie really leave you thinking too about what could be.
However, boy does it get outrageous near the end when she gets close to full potential. Pretty much from when she walks into the university near the final act it's just a history lesson. Granted with some really cool CGI. There is plenty of that to go around and some really cool effects. I would have liked to see her character struggle with the change more than just one scene in the plane because she just accepts what happens to her too quickly.
Overall, at a sultry 80 minutes, you're in, you're out and you marvel a bit here and there. And man does Johansson rock the camera like no other.