We've seen Ryan Reynolds in a variety of roles over the past few years… MoreWe've seen Ryan Reynolds in a variety of roles over the past few years in multiple genres. Super versatile, which I like. I've always been up on the guy. He delivers solid work on screen even when the scripts aren't quite up to par with his acting ability. He's evolved from the rom-coms to some action roles to science fiction and some drama and even a few thrillers.
With Self/Less, he dips his toe back into the syfy realm as the protagonist. The concept is quite clever. They place the consciousness of one man who's dying into the body of a younger man who's already "dead" so he can survive. The one movie that creeps into mind is "The Island". The rich get to stay rich and immortal while the people who don't quite have the means to take care of their loved ones sacrifice themselves for the cause.
Many gripes about the film was it turned into an action movie when it could have stayed the course of the first 45 minutes or so and been a psychological mind-f*** thriller. I am also in agreement with this assessment, however, the action wasn't 'lackluster' or 'disappointing'. It just cheapened what could have been a great movie.
Aside from straying into action, the ending doesn't really click with the viewer. While we get a decently developed background and idea for the kind of man Ben Kingsley is playing, the character Ryan Reynolds is before the transformation doesn't get the due attention to really make you want to see him succeed.
The ideas are there, but without any major twists and turns or any shocking moments, Self/Less keeps your heart at a nice, easy resting rate for the two hours.
I think I laughed more than I should have, but I am convinced is was… MoreI think I laughed more than I should have, but I am convinced is was only during the first 30 minutes of the movie. It's way too long and tries way too hard compared to the first. I understand Seth and the crew were trying to milk everything they could out of Ted considering it was one of the highest grossing R rated films of all time, but not even Mark Wahlberg looked like he wanted to do this. Now I like Marky Mark, but he needs more seasoned roles from this point forward. I understand wanting to get your laughs in with friends and do a side flick here and there, but he hasn't picked many winners lately.
Amanda Seyfreid wasn't bad. She's very likeable and may actually fit into the role of "the girl" better than Mila Kunis does. Sure we get the cameos and reappearances of some of the old cast from the original, but none of it makes sense. In fact, there's a point about an hour in where I honestly wondered if I was watching a movie or a TV episode. There is plenty of Family Guy cut-away-like scenes here that played out too obviously.
Seth MacFarlane hasn't quite doubled up after releasing Ted, and unfortunately I don't know how many more times the audience will give him a shot unless he steps his game up with some new writing and ideas.
It's upsetting to see a show degrade into a figment of what it once… MoreIt's upsetting to see a show degrade into a figment of what it once was over the course of eight season. Entourage essentially outlived its stay on HBO and was hamstrung by episodes burdened with outlandish adventures, expenditures and plot devices. The reason why I think the show worked so well in the beginning, call it the first four season, was the ability for the characters in the group, including Ari and Lloyd and other side characters, to be humane. There was sympathy there even though we knew the lifestyle they lived was boisterous and for the most part unattainable. What really sunk the show was how reviling Vinny Chase, and to an extent his buddies, became.
The movie is an extension of the worst part of Entourage. Chock full of cameos from athletes, actors and other famous people, Entourage is once again burdened by being too big for its own good. In fact, I'd venture to say the most pleasurable moments where I focused and laughed and enjoyed watching were during the times when well-liked characters hogged the screen: Billy the old director, Lloyd's brief phone calls, and of course Ari's usual outbursts.
It's disappointing to see Johnny Drama, E and Turtle left without any real arch to make sense of. In the end, we essentially get 2 minutes to get the full wrap on how months transpired off screen apparently. And with that, I think it feels like once again we were suckered into thinking these guys were better than the rest of Hollywood they billed us to believe.
Trainwreck was funny. It is very clear Amy Schumer has a bright… MoreTrainwreck was funny. It is very clear Amy Schumer has a bright career as a movie actor in front of her to compliment her already stellar comedy show. She wrote this script and Judd Apatow directed it. Now, she's famous for her stand-up comedy and short skits on TV, and it's a bit obvious she's lacking in the longer script territory. Sure the movie follows almost every rom-com trope to a T, but it's the dialogue and jokes which move you along that keep you interested.
First off, John Cena absolutely steals the show with his 5 or so minutes of screen time over a handful of scenes. He had me on the floor with his super bulked up body builder physique nice guy who might be secretly gay routine. The bedroom scene was pure instant classic.
Secondly, while it was fun to see LeBron James in on the act, I didn't feel as convinced about his acting. Maybe that's because Cena actually puts on a show as a wrestler while LeBron isn't on a basketball court.
Tilda Swinton was almost unrecognizable, as she usually is, and played the evil editor as outlandishly as she could. Brie Larson, as beautiful as ever, knocked the grown-up sister role out of the park. Even Daniel Radcliff and Marissa Tomei made a brief cameo in a movie about dog walking I'd actually like to see for the absurdity of it.
However, it is so nice to see Bill Hader continue to branch out of his zany roles he once had at SNL to play somewhat of a straight character and still deliver on his comedic timing. He's one of my favorites. His chops and Amy's ridiculousness both with degrading physical humor and word humor make them a great pair.
But it all falls back into the rom-com category. Nothing you didn't see coming. Nothing frivolous about the plot other than it's a woman drinking and smoking and sleeping around rather than a man. That's not supposed to make this feel new-age or conquering of the norm.
I'd like to see Schumer continue to write movies and get better at it. It was sharp, witty and relatable, and that's a tip of the hat to Apatow on his direction. It makes the comedy pure.
Since I didn't get a chance to review 'The Departed' back in 2006 due… MoreSince I didn't get a chance to review 'The Departed' back in 2006 due to the fact I wasn't reviewing movies then, I decided, why not watch the original it was based on? Infernal Affairs came out a few years before The Departed, and it's almost a mirror copy of what Martin Scorcese did. In fact, you could say the combination of TWO directors is better than the ONE the American version had.
Instead of an overlong three-hour movie, here we have a nice, tight hour and forty minutes. The cuts are quicker. The dialogue is more focused and on the path. Sure, the American version has the budget and the acting to put it over the top, but let's not forget the stellar work Andy Lau and Tony Leung have done both in Chinese films and Chinese films made for American audiences like House of Flying Daggers or Hero, respectively.
While the same twists and turns emerge, having watched The Departed first and then Infernal Affairs second actually makes you want to go back and rewatch the former just to see the small nuances between the two.
You can't go wrong with either. In fact, you should spend the time to watch both.
The IMF is back! With it comes Tom Cruise who I still claim is the… MoreThe IMF is back! With it comes Tom Cruise who I still claim is the best action star in the business today. They really gave this series a swift kick in the rear with Ghost Protocol, and now, they continue the high with Rogue Nation.
I'll get the two negatives out of the way really quickly. They don't focus on the team chemistry as much as they did in MI:IV. This film is decisively more Tom Cruise, which is fine, but I was really hoping we'd get more from guys like Jeremy Renner and Ving Rhames. The second negative was the end of the car chase through the alleys in Morocco. When TC drives the car off the ledge with Simon Pegg in the front seat, it flips end over end before coming to a rest on its roof. For a guy like Cruise who explicitly stated he prefers real stunts over the use of CGI, that was a glaring use of CGI over real stunt work. It looked silly in the midst of all the awesome action we do see.
Whew. Ok. Now with that out of the way, just about everything else is top notch. Let's begin with the exceptional casting of unknown Rebecca Ferguson. There's no way anyone could know who this Swedish goddess is prior to unless you have your teeth really sunk in the foreign film industry. She was every bit a match for Cruise and the gang. It's refreshing to know there are other organizations out there with players like Cruise's Ethan Hunt who are just as badass. It gave it a Bourne feel except on a limited scope.
What's crazy is they touted the plane stunt as the biggest of the film, and it happens within the first 5 minutes of the film, but the real meat of the action comes from the water stunts. There's tension laced within him holding his breath right up to the final outcome. The opera house shootout comes in a close second.
The storyline feels like a long time coming. A counter organisation that's every bit as skilled and well funded as the IMF hell bent on world disruption needs to be stopped.
They've already signed on for a 6th. Without introducing any more good guys, I hope we see the return of Ferguson and Alec Baldwin in continuing roles alongside Pegg, Renner (who hopefully gets to do more) and Rhames. As long as they keep accepting missions in new and fun locations with bizarre outcomes, I'll keep watching.