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.
I have been a fan of Robert Redford ever since I watched the film The Sting (1973) for the first time when I was a little kid. Brubaker is a Redford movie that I had not seen, until now.
The movie is about Henry Brubaker (Robert Redford), the new warden of a prison in Arkansas who initially poses as an inmate to try to figure out just how corrupt the system is before revealing his true identity as the new warden. Brubaker is a hard-nosed man who will stop at nothing to reform the deteriorating prison.
The film was directed by Stuart Rosenberg and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Murray Hamilton, Jane Alexander, David Keith, Matt Clark, Morgan Freeman, Yaphet Kotto, M. Emmet Walsh, Albert Salmi, Everett McGill, Noble Willingham, and Wilford Brimley.
The movie was a little hard to follow in the beginning. It was all over the place showing what it was like inside of the prison. The film took a turn for the better when it started focusing on Redford’s part of the story.
For a prison movie, it was slower than I expected. This turned out to be a good thing because it allowed for plenty of character development.
It was refreshing to watch a movie for the first time that has Robert Redford in his prime. He gave a convincing, solid and powerful performance of a stubborn man trying to do the right thing no matter how much trouble he gets himself into.
Freeman’s part was very minor, but it was fun to see him much younger than he is now. He seemed to have a few less freckles, too. I know that is completely random, but I found it interesting.
Being that the film takes place in a prison and it is rated R, I expected there to be a lot of cussing, and there was a good amount. However, for a movie that was made in 1980, I was surprised at how many F-bombs there actually were. It wouldn’t be considered a lot by today’s standards, but it felt like a lot for a movie that was made 33 years ago. Actually, if the film had been released today, it would only take a little bit of minor tweaking to give it a PG-13 rating. All they would have to do is edit out the 5 seconds of nudity and some of the F words.
Overall, the movie told a unique story of right vs. wrong. If you are a fan of Redford, then you will most likely enjoy Brubaker.
I rate this movie a 7.5 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
Note: I couldn’t help but think of Morgan Freeman’s other prison movie, The Shawshank Redemption (1994). In The Shawshank Redemption, Freeman’s character has been in prison for a long time. Brubaker was made 14 years before The Shawshank Redemption. Each character that Freeman played in those films is not a big stretch from one another, except for the fact that his role was very minor in Brubaker.
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.
With Tom Cruise in the driver’s seat of this Sci-fi thriller, all that he has to do is do what he does best, act. Forget about his crazy private life. He may have had a lot of drama with his marriages (jumping on Oprah’s couch and whatnot, etc., etc.) and his religious beliefs (Scientology) may seem a bit weird, but lets face the facts. The guy can act and he can act well. He is one of the most solid actors of our time and he still draws a crowd. Tom gets comfortable in his character, hits “Cruise Control” and all of the viewers in the audience are in for a treat. He proves it time and time again that he is highly capable of carrying the majority of a movie on his back. Oblivion is no exception. In fact, the majority of Oblivion is Tom Cruise in one way or another.
After the world has been virtually destroyed by nuclear war and natural disasters, a couple (Tom Cruise and Andrea Riseborough) become part of “the cleanup crew” to help salvage the remaining natural resources that the world has to offer. They are also there to protect their mission and make sure that it runs smoothly. After a while things may not be what they seem.
I am not a huge fan of a lot of Sci-fi movies. Many Sci-fi movies these days are filled with so much special effects that they make the movie seem totally fake. I do not watch movies simply for the special effects. I enjoy Sci-fi movies where the special effects are tastefully done to the point where it doesn’t take away from the movie. The film also has to have an interesting plot, solid characters that can act, and a well written script and story to tie it all together nicely. Oblivion fulfilled all of my requirements of a great Sci-fi movie quite nicely.
Joseph Kosinski does a superb job of writing and directing Oblivion.
The special effects are not overdone. They are beautiful and awesome and some of the greatest that I have seen, but they are not too much.
The film does not have too many characters in it and that is okay. Tom Cruise is great as always, and everybody else is as good as they can be. Andrea Riseborough, Olga Kurylenko, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau all performed to the best of their abilities with what they had to work with.
The plot had many twists and turns which made it very entertaining. The story itself was very original. However, a little bit of the movie was hard to follow and I left the theatre scratching my head. I love movies that really make you think as you put each piece of the story together. I figured out the gist of it, but I felt like it could have been explained a little better. That was one of the only problems that I had with the movie.
Given that I am not much of a Sci-fi fan, I was very pleasantly surprised by how good Oblivion was. It is definitely worth seeing in the theatre and because of the excellent special effects, 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.
Olympus Has Fallen (2013)
Olympus Has Fallen fell short slightly of my expectations. A few events that took place in the film were so unrealistic that is took away from my suspension of disbelief. Parts of the movie were pretty predictable and other parts were almost laughably over the top. With all of that being said, it was an action movie and most action movies have at least a couple of scenes that are a bit much and a little hard to believe. It is all meant to entertain and this movie is filled with enough action that it does just that.
Antoine Fuqua is known for directing very raw and darkly intense films with good casts and Olympus Has Fallen falls in that category.
After the White House is overrun by terrorists and the President (Aaron Eckhart) is taken hostage, an ex-secret service agent (Gerard Butler) does all that he can to try to get the President back alive and help to retake the White House.
This is Gerard Butler’s best movie since Law Abiding Citizen (2009).
Aaron Eckhart gives a pretty decent performance as per usual.
Besides The Campaign (2012), I have not seen Dylan McDermott in anything good for a very long time, so his role in this film was pretty refreshing.
I have also not seen Ashley Judd in anything for a long time, so it was nice to see her in this movie.
Morgan Freeman has looked very old for a long time, but in this film he really looks ancient. He seems so old that his character is almost unrealistic. I have noticed that he is popping up in everything lately. It’s almost like he is trying to go out with a bang.
Overall, the movie is enjoyable and worth seeing. If you want to see something that is action-packed throughout, then Olympus Has Fallen will fill the bill.
I rate this movie a 7.5 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Rent.
If you liked Olympus Has Fallen (2013), then you will most likely enjoy White House Down (2013).
Now You See Me (2013) (click on the title for my full review)
The movie is about a group of famous magicians turned bank robbers. It appears that the sleight of hand in the film will mess with your mind and keep you entertained just like real magicians are supposed to do.
The casting is a reunion of sorts. Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson are together again for the first time since they were teamed up in Zombieland (2009). Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine are reunited for the first times since the Dark Knight Trilogy. The film also has Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Melanie Laurent, Michael Kelly, Elias Koteas, rapper/actor: Common, and James Franco’s little brother Dave Franco (proved himself in 21 Jump Street (2012).
It looks like a cross between Ocean’s Eleven (2001) and The Prestige (2006). Looks like it could be missing something, but maybe we will be pleasantly surprised.
Olympus Has Fallen (2013) (click on the title to read my full review)
Antoine Fuqua has a tendency to make very gritty, powerful films. Having directed such films as Training Day (2001), Shooter (2007), Tears of the Sun (2003), and Brooklyn’s Finest (2009), this film appears like it is going to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors. With a cast that includes Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Dylan McDermott, Melissa Leo, Ashley Judd, Angela Bassett, and Fuqua directing, it would be hard for the movie to be bad. It definitely looks promising.
The film is set to release on 3/22/13 and I will most likely be in the theatre shortly after that.
The Paperboy (2012)
The Paperboy delivers a story riddled with nonsense, boredom, trashy characters, gratuitous vulgarity, and wasted talent. It was amazing the amount of scenes in the movie that were completely unnecessary.
The film is about a newspaper reporter (Matthew McConaughey) who teams up with his brother (Zac Efron) and a work colleague (David Oyelowo) to investigate the case of a prisoner (John Cusack) who is on death row. Along the way, they get help from the prisoner’s pen pal girlfriend (Nicole Kidman).
The movie takes it’s time setting the stage for what it is going to be about. Once you understand the goal that the characters are trying to accomplish, the story takes a left turn and does not come back to the main point until it is no longer relevant. In other words, the film is left without a purpose and you are left watching characters develop for a story that is hard to follow and no longer matters.
Much of the movie is narrated by Macy Gray. Gray was an extremely poor choice for a narrator. She is definitely no Morgan Freeman. It seemed as if she had trouble reading her lines. She mumbled her words very slowly and at times, she was hard to understand. This took even more away from the film and made it harder to follow.
Many times I was so bored with the movie that I wanted to turn it off. Other times I wanted to turn off the movie because of how unnecessarily vulgar and pointless it was becoming. I should have turned it off. I wish that I had turned it off, but I wanted to see if it would get any better, and I wanted to be able to tell my readers my honest opinion of the entire film.
The Paperboy had a very capable cast. They are all mostly good actors, but with the material that they had to work with, they were all doomed. Nobody had a chance to give a standout performance because the writers had made sure of that with their dreadful dialogue and horrible storyline.
Do not waste your time or money on this worthless excuse for a movie.
I give this movie a 1 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Run and hide!
I think that this movie could easily have won the prize for worst movie of 2012. I was trying to figure out which movie was worse, this one or Killing Them Softly. The Paperboy takes the cake. Beware!