Monthly Archives: June 2013
Escape Plan (2013) (click on the title for my full review.)
Grandpa Stallone and Grandpa Schwarzenegger are both at it again. This time Sylvester plays a prison escape artist. After finding a way to break out of a number of prisons, he designed a new prison where escaping is near impossible. Of course, eventually he finds himself framed and locked up in the very prison that he created. Arnold is on the inside with him. Now Stallone must breakout in order to track down the party responsible for getting him locked up.
The movie reminds me a bit of Face/Off (1997) simply because in that film John Travolta‘s character (with Nicolas Cage‘s face) agrees to go under cover and be locked up in a high-tech prison. Eventually the only people that know he is undercover find themselves dead and he is forced to try to escape if he wants to get back to his real life.
How does 50 Cent keep getting parts in movies?
Although Stallone and Schwarzenegger are both maybe a little too ancient to be making this type of movie, I think that somehow they will pull it off. Either way, I will be there to give you my take on it.
The film is set to release on 10/18/13.
Now You See Me (2013)
Now You See Me is a film about a group of 4 magicians brought together by an unknown person. They are convinced to become a team and eventually they land their own show in Las Vegas. When one of their tricks involves stealing a large amount of money, they become part of a cat and mouse chase with the FBI.
The film was directed by Louis Leterrier. The cast includes Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Dave Franco, Isla Fisher, Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Michael Kelly, Common, and David Warshofsky.
Now You See Me hypnotized me with its excitement. It was certain to amaze. The cast of characters were all clever and quite entertaining. For a while I was caught up in the illusion of the promise of something great. Eventually I was let down. The ride was a thrill. The destination however, was a disappointment.
I enjoyed seeing Eisenberg and Harrelson teamed up together again for the first time since Zombieland (2009).
This is the 4th time that Freeman and Caine have been in the same film. The previous 3 films were The Dark Knight Trilogy.
Now You See Me could be Dave Franco’s best performance to date.
It was nice to see Laurent in another American made movie. This is the first film that I have seen her in anything since Inglourious Basterds (2009).
The story was unfinished and sort of lacked a point. The movie became dependent on sleight of hand in order to entertain. You can only one-up a magic trick so many times before it starts to get a little worn out.
The ending of the film acted like it was a big grand conclusion when in reality it just fizzled. Don’t get me wrong, the movie was fun and amusing. It was worth seeing, just not in the theatre. The film is like any magic trick, once you know the secret behind it, it is no longer exciting.
I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
World War Z (2013)
Zombies are all around us these days. You’ll find them in the movies, on television, in videogames, books, and maybe even at the grocery store.
World War Z is not your average zombie movie. It’s not all kill, kill and kill just for the shock value. It’s about trying to survive and stopping the deadly outbreak.
Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is a family man who works for the United Nations. A zombie outbreak is very rapidly destroying the world and everyone in it. In order to protect his family, Gerry is tasked with the job of traveling around the world trying to figure out where the outbreak originated, in hopes of finding a way to stop it.
The movie gets to the point very quickly, developing the characters along the way. Even though there are multiple supporting characters, the film is a one man show. Brad Pitt carries the entire film and does an outstanding job in the process.
The special effects are not too overdone and that is a welcomed surprise. The zombies look as scary and real as they can look.
The film had some similarities to Contagion (2011) which is not a bad thing, by any means. The movie is not a horror movie, but rather a thriller that will keep on the edge of your seat throughout.
Although the movie does gets bloody and gory at times, it never gets too vulgar or over the top. There is very little swearing and nothing about it crossed any lines. In my opinion, the PG-13 rating is very fitting which is not always the case for some movies.
World War Z is an almost family-friendly zombie-apocalypse experience that is immensely entertaining.
I rate this movie an 8.5 out of 10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
A young man (Liam Hemsworth) gets caught up spying on one major corporation for another major corporation. Eventually the young man gets in way over his head in the midst of the war between the men in charge of each company (Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford). The rest of the notable cast includes Richard Dreyfuss, Amber Heard, Josh Holloway, Lucas Till, Julian McMahon, Angela Sarafyan, and Kevin Kilner. From the director of 21 (2008), Robert Luketic. A corporate espionage thriller with Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford, and Richard Dreyfuss, enough said. The movie is set to release on 8/16/13.
Runner, Runner (2013)
Runner, Runner is about a college student (Justin Timberlake) who desperately needs money to pay his tuition, so he turns to online gambling. He loses and thinks that he has been cheated, so he tracks down the man in Costa Rica who he thinks is responsible for cheating him (Ben Affleck). Eventually the cheated is working for the cheater until the FBI closes in. Now it’s time for the student to become the teacher.
Affleck appears like he plays a deceitful bad guy for a change. Looks interesting enough. Timberlake is 32 years old, but still playing a college kid. He will probably still pull it off.
After watching the preview, I’m sold. It looks pretty good.
The film is set to release on 10/4/13.
Man of Steel (2013)
With the countless number of sequels, remakes, and superhero movies that are being spewed out these days, I have become very skeptical and picky when it comes to deciding which of these movies I will see and which I will avoid like the plague.
Honestly, Man of Steel was a difficult choice at first. My initial reaction was derision. I rolled my eyes and scoffed. How many Superman movies does this world really need?
Superman and Batman are probably my favorite superheroes. What I always enjoyed about those characters was the fact that they both had alter egos and they both were always trying to do good by helping people.
The thing is I like Batman better than Superman. Batman is more real. He puts on a costume and goes out, mostly at night, to right wrongs in his city. Batman is fed up with the scum in his city and he tries to clean up the streets. Superman on the other hand, is an alien from another planet who ends up on earth. Superman looks human, but has a number of superpowers that make him almost godlike. He disguises himself as a human, but puts on a costume when its time to fight the bad guys. He is faster than a speeding bullet, can fly, has x-ray vision, and is virtually invincible except around kryptonite, etc. etc. Superman is a godlike alien from another planet. Batman is a human vigilante. Which is more believable to you?
Following my initial reaction about the new Superman, I learned who all was cast in the movie. I raised one eyebrow as I contemplated the film’s potential. The cast includes Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Michael Shannon, Laurence Fishburne, Harry Lennix, Richard Schiff, Christopher Meloni, Antje Traue, and Ayelet Zurer. Great cast right? Except Henry Cavill is a dud and he was cast as Superman.
In my opinion, they needed a far superior actor to play the lead role. Sort of like Christian Bale played Batman. Instead they surrounded an almost nobody with an awesome cast. The part will boost Henry Cavill’s career, but that doesn’t make him a better actor. They needed someone like Mark Wahlberg, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Jake Gyllenhaal, or even Matt Damon.
Still, the strong cast was enough to make me want to see Man of Steel. It also helped that Christopher Nolan produced the film and both he and David S. Goyer wrote the screenplay and story. Of course, Nolan and Goyer also both wrote The Dark Knight Trilogy, which Nolan also directed. However, Nolan did not direct Man of Steel, Zach Snyder did instead. Snyder is a capable director, but Nolan is far superior.
Man of Steel is about a boy who finds out that his parents on earth are not his real parents. It is believed that he was sent to earth from a different planet. These details are revealed to him by his earth parents after he figures out that he has super powers. Now he must learn what he was sent to earth to do and what type of man he will become.
The film was bursting at the seams with special effects. The aspects of Superman that I do not enjoy were highly prevalent in the movie. I don’t like the overuse of super powers and Michael Bay-esque explosions, along with multiple superhuman aliens in an endless battle of invulnerability. Everything in their path becomes obliterated and it all seems so unrealistic. With that being said, I expected the film to be that way. But, I also hoped that the film would concentrate more on the humans on earth than the aliens on Superman’s home planet. That hope was shattered. It became more about Superman stopping an alien invasion on earth than Superman just stopping bad guys on earth.
Although there were a few things about the movie that I did not like, I will admit that those things were done tastefully. The special effects were amazing. They were too much at times, but they were also insanely awesome at times. The cast was great, but Henry Cavill could have been replaced with someone better. Everybody else’s performance made up for his. It’s not that he was bad, but he just could have been much better. The supporting cast should not be better than the main character. That is not a solid foundation for a film.
Crowe, Costner, Shannon, Adams, and Lane all made the movie worth watching. They used their acting super powers to totally make the film.
Man of Steel is a worthy update to previous Superman movies. Even a superhero skeptic like myself, enjoyed the movie. With the obscene amount of action in the film, it will certainly be better on the big screen.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
Many consider Streep to be one of the greatest actresses of all time. She is not my favorite actress by any means, but I have enjoyed many of her films.
Streep has been nominated for an Academy Award 17 times and she has won 3 times. She won an Academy Award for Best Actress for Sophie’s Choice (1982) and also for The Iron Lady (2011). She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979). She has been nominated for an Academy Award more times than any other actor.
The Purge (2013)
The main concept in The Purge is a controversial one. The film takes place in the not too distant future where America has become a safer place to live because annually there is a 12 hour period of time where all forms of crime are legal. During this 12 hour period of time, you can get away with murder and the police will not be there to stop you. Hospitals also close down during this time. This 12 hour period of time where crime is legal is called “The Purge” because it allows citizens to rid themselves of all of the hatred and pent-up anger that they hold inside all year long. They purge themselves of all of the bad and all that they are left with is the good.
As I said, it is a very controversial concept but let me talk about the film first before I discuss my views on the topic.
The film is about a family doing there best to stay safe at home during “The Purge.” The father (Ethan Hawke) is a top-of-the-line security system salesman who has ensured that his house is as safe as it can be. In a world where crime is legal for half of a day every year, you better have a good security system to protect yourself and your loved ones. An unfortunate turn of events finds the family with a man in their home who is being sought after by a violent group of people who intend on murdering him. The family is given the choice to give up the wanted man or become the new targets of the group.
The Purge is written and directed by James DeMonaco.
The world that is created in The Purge would be a frighteningly dreadful one to live in. We already know that basically anything insane can happen in our world, but at least we have law enforcement and hospitals to help us when it does. If you take those services away, then you take away order and are only left with chaos. The film successfully depicts chaos in America.
The movie is vicious. The intensity of the film will keep your heart racing throughout as you try to anticipate what will happen next.
I felt that the entire cast did an excellent job with their parts of the film, but the standout performances were those of Ethan Hawke and Rhys Wakefield.
Hawke’s role was a great follow-up to Sinister (2012). If you enjoyed Sinister, then you will most likely enjoy The Purge.
This is the first movie that I have seen Wakefield in, and I have to say, he did an outstanding job being creepy. His character was tailor made for him.
Once you get past the holes in the main concept of the film, the movie is overall a very solid thriller/horror. I say that there are holes because it is hard for me to believe that America would ever allow its citizens to live in chaos and anarchy. Once you allow chaos, how do you bring back order? I don’t think it is as simple as putting a timetable on chaos and expecting people to actually follow it.
If there actually was “The Purge”, I think that all it would do is allow evil people to kill or commit crime and get away with it. How would that be good for anybody? I don’t believe that the crime rate would go down either. I think that there would probably be a lot of crimes and murder strictly out of retaliation for what happened during “The Purge”. It would almost be like encouraging people to do bad things. America would not be a better place to live in.
Those are just some of my thoughts on the topic. I’m sure that you have your own idea of what would be wrong with the idea of “The Purge” and I would be curious to hear what you have to say about it.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
Killing Season (2013) (Click on the title for my full review.)
DeNiro and Travolta play veterans of the same war who have become friends. Eventually their friendship turns sour and they wage a new war against each other.
Both actors may be getting old (especially DeNiro), but this movie looks entertaining and intriguing enough for me to want to see it.
The film is set to release on 7/12/13.