Monthly Archives: January 2014
Expendables 3 (2014)
Sylvester Stallone is at it again. He has gathered his Expendables for another go-round. The Expendables (2010) was good, The Expendables 2 (2012) was even better. Will this third time be the charm? The teaser trailer doesn’t reveal enough of anything, except for the fact that the boys are back and hopefully better than ever.
The movie was directed by Patrick Hughes and the noteworthy cast includes Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terry Crews, Kelsey Grammer, Randy Couture, and Robert Davi.
I especially like the addition of Gibson and Ford.
I think viewers will be in for an overload of blood, guts, and bullets.
The film is set to release on 08/15/14.
Lone Survivor (2013)
You will laugh, and you will cry. They live, they fight, and they die.
I was very excited to see Lone Survivor. When I learned of the movie months ago, I knew it would be one that I had to see. Recently, I heard from numerous people that the film was amazing, and that just made me want to see it more. These days, if Mark Wahlberg is in a movie, you can basically expect gold.
The film is based on the book with the same title which was written by Marcus Luttrell and is based on his true story. It’s about a group of Navy SEALS on a covert operation in Afghanistan that goes horribly wrong. Four SEALS are left severely outnumbered and outgunned and behind enemy lines. Unable to make radio contact, they are forced to stand together as one and try desperately to fight the local Taliban for their survival.
The movie was directed by Peter Berg and the noteworthy cast includes Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch, Yousif Azami, Ali Suliman, Alexander Ludwig, and Jerry Ferrara.
I had vaguely heard of the mission that was portrayed in Lone Survivor, but ultimately, I hardly new any of the details before watching the film. I’m not sure how much of the story went by the book, and what was fictionalized for pure entertainment purposes. I have not read the book, but it would be interesting to see how it differs from the movie.
Lone Survivor is a superb depiction of the camaraderie and brotherhood that is commonly found in the Navy SEALS. The actors walked the walk, and talked the talk. They were large, bulky instruments that were trained to kill and trained to survive. They fight like soldiers and they curse like soldiers. This film does not edit itself for a lighter rating. It’s as real as I’ve ever seen. Prepare yourself to be shocked.
This movie has some of the most insanely realistic and severely intense battle scenes that I have ever seen in a film. Although I knew that I was in a theatre watching a film, it was as if I was watching real footage of actual soldiers at war, and not actors pretending for a camera.
Lone Survivor is a trip into hostile territory. The movie reminded me of how I felt about Saving Private Ryan (1998) when I saw it for the first time. It’s an epic achievement. The film changes the way that you look at the war movie genre. It raises the bar and leaves huge shoes to fill for any future war movie. It’s a game changer. I have a feeling that this movie will be hard to beat for years to come. The genre has now been reestablished.
The cast was a force to be reckoned with. Everyone was awesome. Wahlberg stood out above the rest and he continues to add to the arsenal of reasons why I like him. He has become one of my favorite actors. He is a consistent entertainer in the movie world and that is a rare thing in this day and age.
This movie should be an Oscar contender. It would be a crime if it didn’t win something. It would be an excellent way to honor all of the Navy SEALS that fought for their brothers standing next to them.
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
Note: Lone Survivor could deserve a higher rating, but it has to live up to the test of time before it gets one from me.
There was a bit of a disturbance in the densely populated theatre where I watched this film. A man in the same row as mine was yelling obscenities during the first half of the movie. He started to violently strike the seats in front of him before he was finally removed from the premises. I was unable to give my full attention to the first part of the movie because of this distraction. It was unfortunate, but when I watch the movie for a second time, my rating could possibly change.
Bad Words (2013)
Almost always funny man Jason Bateman is at it again. This time, he doesn’t only star in this new film, but he also makes his feature film directorial debut. He has had some directing experience with TV shows, but Bad Words is the first movie that he has directed.
The film is a comedy about a kid who loses a spelling bee. When he grows up and becomes a man, he (Jason Bateman) finds a flaw in the system and enters the spelling bee as an adult in order to try to win.
The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Kathryn Hahn, Allison Janney, Rachael Harris, Ben Falcone, Judith Hoag, Philip Baker Hall, and Beth Grant.
As the title suggests, I think we’re in for some foul-mouthed humor which Bateman is becoming known for. The movie will probably be pretty funny.
Bad Words is set to release on 03/28/14.
I was very skeptical about whether or not I would like Getaway before watching it. I normally enjoy Ethan Hawke’s films, and recently he has made some good choices, i.e. Sinister (2012) and The Purge (2013). However, Getaway appeared a little sketchy to me. I held off seeing the movie in theatres because I was very unsure about it, but I had to at least give it a chance on DVD.
The film is about an ex-racecar driver (Ethan Hawke) whose wife has been kidnapped. In order to try to get her back, he is forced by the kidnappers to drive and do whatever he is told while leaving a trail of destruction and evading cops all over the city. He is given missions with time limits attached. Along the way, he gets caught up with a young woman whose car he was required to steal. The two of them are in for a wild ride that will hopefully help him get his wife back.
The movie was directed by Courtney Solomon and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Jon Voight, Selena Gomez, Rebecca Budig, Paul Freeman, and Bruce Payne.
The film gets your attention immediately. It sort of has a Taken (2008) meets The Transporter (2002) feel to it, at first, but that quickly diminishes. The high-speed car chases start out flashy and exciting set to the tone of dramatic car chase music. Eventually the whole movie turns into one big car chase that will not end soon enough.
Getaway is actually pretty decent until the appearance of Selena Gomez. Her character enters and the movie slams on the breaks and crashes. Gomez brought nothing to her role in the film except for very poor acting skills and utter annoyance. I found myself quickly hoping that her character would just die off. However, I’m not even sure if her poor performance was her fault. Everything about the character that she played seemed unbelievable. The writers really dropped the ball when they came up with her part in the story. This sort of had a snowball effect.
The whole movie spun out of control. It stopped being fun and entertaining. Instead it just felt tacky and fake. The car chases were nothing new and the story stopped making sense. Things became too far out and predictable. Even though he still was, it felt like Hawke was no longer in the driver’s seat. There was nothing that he could do to steer the film into the right direction.
I thought that Getaway would at least be a fun ride to get distracted on for a little while. Instead, I wanted to get off before the ride was over.
I rate this movie a 4 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Run.
Happy Birthday to Nicolas Cage!
The famous actor turns 50 years old today.
Although he and his career have basically imploded and taken a nosedive in the last 7 years, Nicolas Cage is still one of my favorite actors of all time.
Unfortunately he has disgraced us all with the absurdity and awfulness of The Wicker Man (2006), Ghost Rider (2007), The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010), Season of the Witch (2011), Drive Angry (2011), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011), and The Frozen Ground (2013).
However, let us not forget the jewels that he has bestowed upon us with:
Lord of War (2005),
The Weather Man (2005),
National Treasure (2004),
Matchstick Men (2003),
The Family Man (2000),
Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000),
Bringing Out the Dead (1999),
Con Air (1997),
The Rock (1996),
Leaving Las Vegas (1995),
Kiss of Death (1995),
and Raising Arizona (1987).
The man can still act. Every once in a while he gets his act together and creates something that is reminiscent of the Nicolas Cage of old. I still watch his films with a shimmer of hope because one day he could turn it all around and return to greatness. One day he just might make his comeback. He is not getting any younger, but 50 years old is something to celebrate. Happy Birthday Nic and thank you for the excellent movie watching experiences!
Click on the links below to read my Nicolas Cage movie reviews:
3 Days to Kill (2014)
Kevin Costner has not been the lead in a solid movie since Mr. Brooks (2007). He has been doing one thing each year ever since. But for 2014, Costner has 5 films either waiting to be released or in the works. 3 Days to Kill appears to be the most promising of the 5 films and could likely be his comeback movie.
The film is about a Secret Service agent (Kevin Costner) who is dying. He has been trying to spend more time with his daughter and wife, but he is offered an experimental drug that just might save his life. In exchange for the drug, he has 3 days to complete one last job.
The movie was written by Luc Besson and Adi Hasak and directed by McG. The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Amber Heard, Connie Nielsen, Hailee Steinfeld, Scott Burn, Richard Sammel, and Eriq Ebouaney.
The film appears like it might have some similarities to Taken (2008). Costner’s character is trying to spend time with his family while at the same time on a mission and cracking skulls.
The movie is set to release on 02/21/14.
The Lords of Salem (2012)
Given that this is a Rob Zombie movie, I sort of knew what I was getting myself into. I like some of his music, but I like even less of his movies. He has a tendency to be too extreme in his films and often in his music as well. It’s almost as if he is trying too hard to prove to the world that he is demonic. His movies are usually filled with obscene violence and or torture for no apparent reason at all. He likes to be crazy because well, maybe he is crazy. However, I did enjoy his remake of Halloween (2007). My wife likes horror movies, so I thought I would give this one a shot. From a film critic’s perspective, I’ll review almost anything.
The Lords of Salem is about Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie), a local radio DJ who receives a record in the mail that is labeled: “A gift from the Lords.” The record is played on the air and the radio station calls the band The Lords of Salem because they are in Salem, Massachusetts. The music triggers violent and evil flashbacks of witches trying to summon up the Devil in the town hundreds of years before. It seems as if the Lords of Salem are back for revenge, or maybe Heidi is just going crazy.
The movie was written and directed by Rob Zombie and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Bruce Davison, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Judy Geeson, Meg Foster, Patricia Quinn, Ken Foree, Dee Wallace, and Maria Conchita Alonso.
The Lords of Salem was pretty much what I expected it to be. It’s just another Rob Zombie movie where he tries way too hard to be vile and disgusting. Once again, Rob Zombie has his wife, Sheri Moon Zombie star in the film. She is in like all of his movies.
I gave this movie a chance, but I wanted to turn it off about halfway through. There is a lot of grotesque nudity and mindless violence. At times, the story is all over the place and it takes a while to get to the point. Zombie pushes the envelope simply for the sake of trying to be evil, as if that is enough to be entertaining.
The movie is a slow, laughable, pointless waste of time and after a while feels like watching and hearing nails on a chalkboard. It was stupid and way over the top to the point of boredom. I kept asking myself, why am I watching this movie? The only answer that I could come up with was to warn you about it.
I rate this movie a 1 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Run.
It did not take long for me to learn that if Johnny Depp is in a movie, then that movie is pretty much bound to be good. Although the story is a bit far-fetched, I will give Transcendence the benefit of the doubt.
The film is about a dying scientist (Johnny Depp) who manages to download his body and mind into a super computer. The transformation causes him to become extremely powerful and dangerous.
The movie was directed by Wally Pfister and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Kate Mara, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Paul Bettany, Cole Hauser, Clifton Collins Jr., Falk Hentschel, and Wallace Langham.
Johnny Depp is my favorite actor. I’ll definitely have to see this one!
The film is set to release on 04/18/14.
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