Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Jack the Giant Slayer - I don't think I've ever read the actual fairy tale  "Jack and the Beanstalk", I've only heard the "Fee-fi-fo-fum" part and because of this, I had zero interest in seeing this movie. Sometimes I just add "new releases" to the top of my Netflix queue out of pure reflex and that's how things like this end up getting watched.  I just assumed this movie was about a bunch of guys trying to kill some CGI giants; plus I really hate Nicholas Hoult.  I have to admit, I actually had a little bit of fun with it.  The beginning is more of a "traditional" fairy tale (you know, commoner falls in love with a princess, but she is "promised" to an evil villain - it's basically Aladdin.).  It starts off fairly strong and witty...and continues that way for most of the movie.  It did start to lose me towards the end (at the whole slaying of the giants part); but overall I enjoyed it.  I wasn't even overly bothered with the CGI, because they used it in the best way possible - to create a spectacle.  I also felt like the actors were really enjoying themselves, which is always fun to watch. Eleanor Tomlin is a cross between Olivia Wilde and Mia Wasikowska (that's a good thing) and this is the second movie, in which I didn't loathe Nicholas Hoult (the other is Warm Bodies), which makes me question whether I actually hate him or if I just hated him so much on Skins, that I assume I hate him as a person (which would actually make him a good actor because you were never really supposed to like Tony, right?....RIGHT?!?).  The absolute best part of the movie is Ewan McGregor's hair.

2. The Kitchen - I watched this movie for two reasons: Laura Pepron and Bryan Greenberg.  There are actually a lot of other familiar faces sprinkled through out the movie, but overall it was one big snooze-fest.  A movie about a blow-out 30th birthday party shouldn't be that boring.  A big problem is that they all seemed to have a lot of drama that seemed more appropriate for people in their early 20's. It all seemed a bit "quarter-life crisis" territory.  It also didn't help that the entire movie took place in a kitchen. The gimmick might have worked if there was a fascinating story to tell or if the characters were interesting. There is very little character depth; the ex-boyfriend is a cliche of an asshole (he's not just sleeping with one of her friends; he's sleeping with at least two of them), which begs the question as to why she was ever with him and why she isn't ecstatic to be rid of him!  I feel more bad for her for having awful friends than an awful ex-boyfriend, but that isn't even addressed.  It seems as if it's almost expected that her friends are dishonest and backstabbing.  How sad is that?

3. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone - I saw the trailer for this movie, earlier this year, and I thought it was a parody of a movie about magicians.  Just look at the poster!! I mean...really? I thought it was absolutely impossible that it was a real movie; for sure, Steve Carell was going to come out on a talk show and be like "just kidding, you guys!!", but it didn't happen.  Instead, it was released into theaters and received mostly bad reviews.  But guess what?! It's really not that bad; it's actually kind of....cute.  It comments on the current state of "extreme" entertainment, with the story revolving around Carell, as an "old school" type magician, who finds himself losing his audience to a new street magician. This new magician is referred to as a "brain rapist" and is played to perfection by Jim Carrey. The movie has a nice moral of staying true to yourself and your passion.  Plus, it has a great supporting cast - Steve Buscemi, Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini, etc.  They all are incredibly entertaining to watch.  I wouldn't exactly call it a good movie, or anything, but I was definitely surprised at how sweet and real it was.
4. Evil Dead - I watched the original when I was 12(ish) and it scarred me for life. The whole "we're gonna get you" thing was burned into my memory.  I decided to revisit it, before watching the remake, just to see if it still holds up and I am glad to say that it is, indeed, still an awesome movie.  On a side note, I knew that Cabin in the Woods referenced The Evil Dead, but I didn't realize quite how much. To me, that is more of a "remake" or "re-imagining", because it put a new spin on the same story.  Anyway, Evil Dead has some nice "updated" moments, but otherwise it's a pretty standard remake. I really like Jane Levy (she's awesome on Suburgatory), and I think she did a fantastic job in this role.  Also, how gorgeous is Jessica Lucas?! Sooo stunning. She has some pretty awesome freak out scenes, as well.  In contrast, the two guys are hardly memorable.  Overall, I had fun with it. The original had more genuine scares and was still pretty gory, while this had an extensive amount of gore and not enough scares. The amount of gore is a detriment to the movie, because it distracts from everything else the movie has going for it. It became almost laughable. The last 20 minutes are just a red-stained mess; every inch of the screen is soaked in blood.  It certainly didn't scar me like the original, but then again, I'm not 12 anymore.

5. G.I. Joe: Retaliation -  Ugh. What a chore to sit through.  I wasn't a huge fan of the first one (I'm pretty sure the nicest thing I could say about it was that it is "mediocre"), but it did have Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (plus, Sienna Miller and Rachel Nichols).  I knew that the cast was different, but for some reason, I thought Channing Tatum was still the star.  He's not. There really isn't a "star", but to my surprise Bruce Willis is in it! How did I miss that? Yes, I realize he is front and center on the poster, but I don't think I saw the poster, or a trailer, or really anything about it (seriously, was it even released in theaters? Does this movie actually exist or am I just imagining it?). Some other additions include The Rock (hate him), Adrianne Palicki (love her) and Ray Stevenson (love him. Rome is one of my favorite shows ever. Well, at least it would be if it lasted more than 2 seasons!).  Once again, the nicest thing I can say is that it is "mediocre" to it's core.  There is just nothing fun about it, except for one scene in the beginning that involved the Joe's playing video games.  A film like this should be nothing but fun, instead it is just one mindless action scene after another. Also, I became quite confused as to who I was supposed to root for - the bad guys seemed to be having much more fun.

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