Posts tagged ‘reviews’


A month’s worth of movie reviews

by wfgodbold

In reverse chronological order:

GI Joe: Retaliation was pretty good, if a bit light on plot (but hey, it’s GI Joe; just be glad the last half of the movie doesn’t teach you a moral lesson), and a bit ham-fisted with how it deals with characters from the first movie. Overall, though, I’d say it was better than the first movie, and should make enough money for Hasbro to keep the series going (whether that’s good or bad I leave up to you, gentle reader).

Olympus Has Fallen is a rah-rah kill ’em all kind of movie, and Gerard Butler takes a turn as a Secret Service agent who has to save the president from an army of terrorists. He does so, of course, with much violence and more headshots than seems probable (look, if you’re fighting an army of mooks, it makes zero sense to shoot them all with a handgun when you’ve got a perfectly serviceable carbine SLUNG ACROSS YOUR BACK). *ahem* Anyway, aside from one scene (where I think the director was trying to hard to give us an American version of Fabrizio Quattrocchi‘s “I will show you how an Italian dies!”), it’s a good action movie. Even if the president kept making terrible decisions (I suppose they needed realism there to make up for the headshots).

Jack the Giant Slayer is an entertaining . . .

No. Just no. I can’t do this. It’s terrible. Not even Ian McShane, Ewan MacGregor, and Bill Nighy are enough to salvage this monstrosity. This does not fill me with hope for Bryan Singer’s return to the helm of the X-Men franchise.

A Good Day to Die Hard, on the other hand, is everything we’ve come to expect from a Die Hard movie. Gunfights, explosions, duplicity, John McClane complaining about absolutely everything, and general mayhem. Would definitely see again.

I had meant to write these up individually, but I kept finding some reason to procrastinate. I shall endeavor to do better, gentle reader. Until next time, enjoy the trailers for RED 2 and The Wolverine:


Movie review bonanza

by wfgodbold

I know I said I would post a review of Wreck-It Ralph, but I got distracted by the new semester. And also by a few other movies. I also forgot to review Jack Reacher after I saw it in December, so I’ll get to it in a future post. Probably.

First, Wreck-It Ralph: it’s good (of course it’s good; it’s Pixar). John C. Reilly is funny, Sarah Silverman manages not to annoy, but Jane Lynch and the rest of the Halo-knockoff characters make the movie. My only complaint was that far too much of the story was set in the sickeningly pink girly-girly kart racing game instead of one of the other games. Disney also played the excellent short film Paperman before the movie, which would have almost been worth the price of admission alone (assuming you got tickets for really cheap, and not at standard ticket prices).

To cleanse the palate of animated Disney fare, I saw The Last Stand, Arnold’s post-governator return to moviemaking. The action was decent, but a lot of the film felt like they were just going through the motions–especially Arnold’s cracks about how old he is now. “I’m too old for this shit” jokes weren’t funny when Danny Glover was making them in the Lethal Weapon movies, and they’re still not that funny.

The great thing about Jason Statham movies is that you know exactly what you’re going to see: Jason Statham generally kicking ass and taking names. Parker is no exception. If you’re the kind of person who likes Jason Statham movies, you’ll like Parker. If you like the Parker novels, then I have no idea if you’ll like Parker, because I haven’t read any of them.

Which brings me to the last review for the day, and my favorite of the bunch: Hansel and Gretel, Witch Hunters. It’s tastefully gory (well, maybe just gory), funny, anachronistic (I have no idea what year they were going for, but they missed–not that there’s anything wrong with that), and action-packed. Hawkeye Jeremy Renner and Io Gemma Arterton are witch hunters, and they get hired to defend the town against the evil witch Jean Grey Famke Janssen, despite the objections of the town sheriff, Lucifer Peter Stormare. It’s everything a movie should be. Rotten Tomatoes puts it at 17% fresh, right in the so bad it’s good sweet spot.


Before I forget

by wfgodbold

Dredd was good.

It was darker and edgier than the campy Stallone version, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing (unless you’ve an aversion to ultraviolence or gore, I suppose). One reason I think it worked a little better than the previous film* is that aside from the shorter in medias res intro, the whole thing takes place in a much smaller area (than the first film did). You see the world in the intro and outro, but instead of taking you into the Cursed Earth, and then all over the city, you really drill down into the seedy underbelly of Mega-City One.

And besides, any movie that even tries to hand-wave a reason for gratuitous cool-looking slow-mo action scenes can’t be all bad.

*Which I still liked, don’t get me wrong. It was so bad it’s good, instead of being legitimately good, is all.


The Avengers

by wfgodbold

I saw it the other day (after my Criminal Law final, I needed a pick-me-up), and it’s as good as everyone else has been saying (and the numbers don’t lie; $800 million worldwide so far is insane).

Tony Stark is great, as usual (he had the best one-liners (though Thor had a pretty good one about Loki early on)), but I was especially surprised with how well Whedon managed to make the Hulk an actual character (while he was enraged and green, I mean).

My only real complaint was that the fight between Thor and Iron Man was so dark. It probably looked fine in regular vision, but because of the 3D glasses, it was really hard to see much of anything in that scene.

We’ve come a long way from the superhero movies of the 90s. A very long way.

Okay, back to studying.


And in the role of Kurt Russell…

by wfgodbold

Will be Guy Pearce!

Lockout is every bit as bad as the trailers make it look.

And yet is still an entertaining, awesome movie.

Sure, it might just be Escape from New York IN SPACE, with Kurt Russell Guy Pearce playing Snake Plissken ex-CIA agent Snow, but Pearce is so good at hamming it up and cracking wise that you don’t care about stupid plot devices or bad science (QUICK! TURN ON THE GRAVITY GENERATOR!). And instead of rescuing the president from a prison island, he’s rescuing the president’s daughter from a prison space station, where all the prisoners are kept on ice.

The movie is billed as “Based on an original idea by Luc Besson.” Which can only mean that he was drinking with his buddies and said “We should totally remake Escape from New York, only instead of Manhattan as a prison, it should be a space station! That would be awesome!” And everyone agreed, and since he’s credited as a producer, I bet he helped bankroll it.

Fortunately, Luc Besson is the master of so bad it’s awesome filmmaking, and the movie will probably end up doing okay.

It had several other actors I recognized but couldn’t place at the time, including the military dictator from Sahara, the captain from 300, and Lucifer from Constantine. I suppose that makes me more of a cinematic gourmand than gourmet, but I’m okay with that.

Anyway, it’s a great popcorn movie, and Guy Pearce’s character is hilarious.


What do you mean the original novel didn’t have airships?

by wfgodbold

Paul W.S. Anderson’s vision of Dumas’s seminal work, The Three Musketeers, takes a few liberties with the source material.

The director of such classic films as Mortal Kombat, all four of the Resident Evil films, Soldier, Alien vs. Predator, and the remake of Death Race, Anderson brings his own … distinctive approach to the much-adapted novel.

It’s not going to win critical acclaim, but it does keep the action just shy of unbelievable; if you liked any of the above films, you’d probably enjoy his take on D’Artagnan and company, and their struggles against Richelieu (portrayed by Cristoph Waltz) and Milady de Winter (Milla Jovovich).

It was an excellent excuse to turn my brain off and enjoy the show.

And besides, it has airships! Everyone likes airships!

I bet if he’d thought of it, Dumas would have included them in the original…


It’s a story we’ve all heard before…

by wfgodbold

There you are, just having bought yourself a brand new vacation home, when a bunch of asshole college kids show up on your property and start killing themselves.

Well, maybe it’s not one we’ve all heard before, but that’s what happens to unfortunate hillbillies Tucker and Dale in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, a hilarious send-up of slasher films that’s finally in limited release here in the states.

It’s bloody and violent, but the violence is (mostly) tongue in cheek, and the blood is ridiculously gratuitous; true to slasher form, most of the unfortunate victims fountain 2-3x the quantity of blood they’d actually have.

Alan Tudyk is great as Tucker (even if he doesn’t play with plastic dinosaurs), and Tyler Labine (who I’ve only seen in the unfortunately canceled Reaper) is hilarious as Dale.

The movie pokes fun at slasher movie tropes without going full retard (like the Scary Movie franchise does). It’s only in limited release at the moment; hopefully it will get a wider release and be available in more mainstream theaters instead of the subpar indies.


I’m such a sucker for inspiring sports movies

by wfgodbold

Rudy, Rocky, the Replacements (that’s an awful lot of R’s); we all love them.

My weakness led me to use my last $2 groupon movie ticket to watch Warrior tonight, and I enjoyed it; my main criticisms are that 1) it was trying too hard to be Rocky for MMA, and 2) thanks to the mouthguards, you can hardly make out the dialogue in the final fight.

I will say that if you like sports movies, and you’re interested in seeing Warrior, you should avoid the trailer (if you can); it’s got some big spoilers in it.

That said, even if you have seen the trailer, the movie is good enough that it doesn’t matter (which isn’t that surprising; the director also helmed Miracle).


The Star-Spangled Man

by wfgodbold

Captain America!

Marvel’s iconic patriotic war-hero super-soldier’s film reboot is quite a ride. We see his origins as a 90-lb weakling (thanks to the miracle of CG; it’s odd looking, but not quite in the uncanny valley), and then his service during WWII, fighting against the villain Red Skull.

Once the origin business is out of the way, the film does pretty well. Steve Rogers becomes a great hero without actually trying to be heroic; he’s just doing what needs to be done.

I thought it was pretty good; even given the slower pacing at the beginning, the latter 3/4 of the film deliver. I’d put it not quite on par with the first Iron Man movie (which set the bar for modern comic book adaptations (of the non uber-serious Batman variety, anyway)).

Oh, be sure you stick around through the end of the credits; like all recent Marvel films, there’s a stinger.

In this case, the stinger is a trailer for The Avengers.


Transformers: Dark of the Moon; or Michael Bay takes going Michael Bay to eleven. Or possibly twelve.

by wfgodbold

If you buy a ticket to a Michael Bay Film™, you know what you’re getting: action, explosions, flag-waving, action, explosions, heroic US armed forces, action, explosions, giant transforming robots, action, explosions, and just enough plot to tie the action and explosions together.

The first two movies weren’t well received by critics, but made serious cash at the box office; with its 36% fresh rating and 90% positive audience reception, Dark of the Moon looks to be no different.

The latest Transformers film opens in the 1950s; the scenes recreating the space race and moon landings are incredible. The transformers themselves are more detailed and better animated than in the previous movies, and Optimus Prime’s character evolves in ways that those of us who grew up watching the cartoon won’t expect.

Speaking of the cartoon; Leonard Nimoy returns to the franchise for the first time in 25 years! He voices Sentinel Prime, Optimus’s mentor, and even gets to quote one of the lines he’s famous for.

The entire last hour (or possibly a bit more than an hour) is one giant extended action scene, with explosions, giant robot fights, firefights, dogfights, fistfights, and damn near every other kind of fight. Bay spared no expense.

The 3D, aside from a couple scenes, is used to good effect (Bay manages (with only a couple lapses) to resist the stick-stuff-in-your-face-for-no-reason-except-to-show-how-cool-3D-is trap that 3D films fall into; if he’d gone full annoying 3D, I’d say so). The action is good, the plot is almost well done, and the characters…

Well, no one sees Michael Bay Films™ for the quality of the acting, let’s say.

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