Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Films people hate....but I like

Opinions are a great thing, sometimes people agree with you, sometimes they don't  This list is made up of films that people generally dislike, but I don't for some reason. I'm not gonna say all these films are perfect, or that there is some hidden greatness that people missed. All this is, is a list of films which I like and a few reasons why I do.

Ghostbusters 2- First on the list is one of my favorite films of all time. I see why people dislike it with it's plot falling along the same lines as the original film. Another complaint I hear is that it wasn't as good as the first movie, well that was a tough act to follow. I like it because it has all of the elements that made the movie Ghostbusters a hit, and it does have a better story in my eyes. You actually get to see the villain more during the film, as opposed to it just showing up at the end. The jokes and great comedy are still there, and just as fun as in the original.

Terminator Salvation- Fans of the Terminator series that I know have always wondered what the actual war was like that's always been talked about since the first film. You got a glimpse of it here and there, but this was the first look into the future for the series and what the world becomes. Most people that I know hate this films weak story, but I found it entertaining. Sure the film isn't without its faults and a VERY noticeable cgi Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800. Overall its a fun popcorn movie, nothing more or less.

Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull- People hate this film for "ruining" their childhood. Steven Spielberg and even Shia Labeouf apologized for the resulting film. Despite all of this, I actually like this movie. Sure it has its faults, but were any of the other films in the series really perfect? People always bring up the  refrigerator scene....well surviving a nuclear blast in a lead lined fridge is as believable as being able jump from a falling tank to the edge of a cliff. While I admit, its not perfect, I still enjoyed the movie.

Fantastic Four- People said this movie was too corny and kid friendly, and I do agree. That said this film did get some things right, such as the family feeling of the group and them coping with their new found powers. The dialog may not have been outstanding, but its far from the worst superhero film ever...just take a look at the unreleased Fantastic Four film from 1994, you'll think this movie is gold.

Jersey Girl- A film disliked for a few reasons. Firstly it came out at a time when the combination of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez were EVERYWHERE. You couldn't go a day without seeing them on TV  or in a paper / magazine. The other reason is that this was a departure from what Kevin Smith usually did with his films. Some people say he tried "appealing to the masses" and in my eyes, that's what makes this film good. Its something different from what the director usually made and it has a charm all of its own.

Transformers: Dark of The Moon- A film which people generally don't like, but its actually a fun film to watch. They did focus a little too much on the human race, as opposed to the Autobots or Decepticons, but they've done that since the first film. Its a decent action picture that tells a good story.

Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace- Most people bring up all of the errors in this film or they talk about everyone's favorite Gungan: Jar Jar Binks. I'll admit this film was not perfect, far from it. It also had a very high bar set for it, and was promoted like hell, everything from candy to clothing lines. It featured some decent action, had some alright characters and a decent plot. Had the film had a little tweaking and tried to not appeal as much to kids with the Anakin character it might have been better. Overall it was not as bad as people made out. Sure it made Anakin into a Jesus type character and introduced "Midi-chlorians" to the Star Wars universe, but overall it was decent.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Horrible Bosses

Horrible bosses is a film with a very relatable idea behind it. Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis play three men who hate their bosses for various reasons. Nick Hendrick's (Bateman)  boss Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey) works him to death and is overall just a pain in the ass. Dale Arbus (Day) has a boss (Jennifer Aniston) who is sexually harassing him. Kurt Buckman (Sudeikis) has to deal with the death of a boss he loves (Donald Sutherland) and the take over by his son Bobby (Colin Farrell), who he hates.

The plot to say the least is great in the fact that it is relatable. Everyone works or has worked at a job with a boss that they absolutely hate. The story goes over the top in some spots but really it works in this context.You do start hating Nick and Kurt's bosses, but I will say as a guy I do find it hard to believe that Dale would really hate his boss. The absurdity of that fact is played up by Nick and Kurt on many occasions when he says their problems are nothing compared to his, so it works into the plot well.

The actors in the film did a great job with their characters. Jason Bateman and Jason Sudeikis were great and the film and this was actually my first exposure to Charlie Day. I haven't seen a single episode of "Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia" but I will say if he is as good there as he was in this picture I might have to check it out. Jaime  Foxx also did a great job as "MF" Jones, the guy's "murder consultant".

By far the best performances in my eyes were Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Spacey. Aniston took a role which really was different than anything I've seen her in. I like it when actors and actresses take roles outside of their comfort zone, and she hit a home run in this movie. Spacey played the typical spacey character, but he is so damn good at it that I wouldn't change it. He is Kevin Spacey, but he really knows how to BE Kevin Spacey.

Now there were a few things I didn't like with this picture. First of all the Scene with Jason Sudeikis in his boss's bathroom went a little too far in my opinion. Even in one of the raunchier comedies there is funny and wasting time....that is one of those scenes. Another negative point in my eyes is that Colin Farrell's character
really did not get a ton of screen time. I feel he could have been used more, but that's just my opinion.

Overall this was a very funny movie with a ton of great actors. It is great when there is a comedy like this and no one outshines the other actors since they are all equally awesome in the film. A great movie to unwind to after a rough day at work and you need some laughs to lighten your day.

Grade: A


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Last Stand

The Last Stand is a 2012 action film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.  He plays a small town Sheriff who is caught in the middle of an FBI chase of an escaped drug kingpin who is attempting to make his way to Mexico in a supercharged Corvette. Only Sheriff Ray Owens and his deputies stand between him and the border to Mexico and Owens is determined to stop him.

The film is perfectly paced in my opinion, starting with a day off for the sheriff and really getting the small town feel of the setting and people across. It slowly starts to build until the final act which is just an explosion of action. Even with a very bare bones plot, the story it told was entertaining. Definitely a case of "less is more" and they took a simple concept and made it work.

The acting was pretty good, Arnold of course was just a bad ass as the Sheriff and while people say he made his return with The Expendables 2, but I believe this is Arnold's true return to movies. A film which he gets to spout off one liners and kick ass. Arnold even did a decent job with the more dramatic moments as well. They are usually a weak spot of his, but here they were well acted.

As the Drug Kingpin Gabriel Cortez, Eduardo Noriega did a great job with the villain role. Oozing with charisma, he played a great bad guy and was an outstanding opponent to Schwarzenegger's Ray Owens.

The supporting actors did a great job as well in the film. Luis Guzman, Jaimie Alexander and Forest Whitaker all gave great performances. Even Johnny Knoxville, who I usually hate in most films turned in a decent performance here.

The film isn't without it's faults though. Some of the scene changes felt erratic and the dialog was kind of weak at points. It also became noticeable that General Motors had sponsored the film as there were a ton of Chevy vehicles, most notably the Corvette and Camaro used in the final chase. Minor details, but nothing that really took away from my enjoyment of the film though.

Overall a fun action comedy that features characteristics of  action films of the 1980's and one of the greatest action stars of all time. Full of plenty of one liners and explosions, The Last Stand will have action fans hooked from start to finish.

Grade: B


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Heartbreak Ridge

Heartbreak ridge is a 1986 action/comedy/drama movie directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. A standard military film, which while it has a standard plot is more driven by its characters. It's a motion picture made when more and more action films were becoming special effects heavy, but is more of a bare bones action film.

The plot is fairly straight forward, Clint plays Tom Highway, a veteran marine. Highway seeks a transfer to a new unit and is put in charge of training a recon team to straighten up and turn them into marines. At the same time as he is training this platoon, he knows that his life as a military man is coming to an end and is trying to cope with that. In addition to everything else that is going on he also talks to and seeks to mend fences with his ex wife.

I found this plot to be entertaining, despite being a fairly cliched story. Its a very well written and well paced story that has a little bit of everything, but never too much. Its balanced out and every part of the story has something to advance the plot and keep the story rolling.


The Acting in this film was great and it was interesting seeing these characters change and grow over time. Eastwood did a great job with the Highway character being both tough as nails, and able to show emotions in other scenes.

The supporting actors also did an amazing job with their characters. Mario Van Peebles as "Stitch" Jones, Everett Mcgill as Major Powers and Marsha Mason as Aggie all turned in great performances. Everett Mcgill especially did a great job as the antagonist to Highway, by the end of the movie you really do hate his character.

There are some bad points to this film though. The army base doesn't seem as expansive as you would imagine, only having what seems like a few barracks and only house two platoons. Another thing that I noticed is the ending scenes seemed to give off a "low budget" feeling.

Heartbreak Ridge is not only a great war movie, but a great dramatic film as well. Dealing with the battles being waged in the field, but also the internal battle of a man trying to deal with his past and future. An enjoyable film for anyone looking for a great story told on screen by some great actors.

Grade: B


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Jack Reacher

Tom Cruise movies over the past few years have been very hit or miss. For every good movie there's one or two mediocre films. So when I got the chance to see Jack Reacher, I went in not knowing what to expect from the film. Was it a explosive action thriller, or just a bomb? lets find out.

Plot: One morning in an ordinary town, five people are shot dead in a seemingly random attack. All evidence points to a single suspect: an ex-military sniper who is quickly brought into custody. The man's interrogation yields one statement: Get Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise). Reacher, an enigmatic ex-Army investigator, believes the authorities have the right man but agrees to help the sniper's defense attorney (Rosamund Pike). However, the more Reacher delves into the case, the less clear-cut it appears.

Thoughts: The plot in this film, in my opinion at least, was great. A smoothly laid out story that goes along at a steady pace and always has a surprise or twist waiting ahead. There was rarely a boring moment in the story, unlike some action thrillers, which often have their dull spots.

Acting: Tom Cruise was on top of his game here. Delivering some sharp dialog with some funny lines, this is one of his best performances in years. He is backed up by a great supporting cast, which have very defined characters and don't fade into the background. Rosamund Pike and Richard Jenkins playing Helen and Rodin gave outstanding performances as a daughter/ father with a strained relationship, which in turn elevated the tension at points. Good stuff all around.

What I liked: This film used comedy to lighten the tension of what was going on. Nothing to overpower the action or drama, but just enough to get laugh in and lighten the mood.

In addition to this, I also liked how the film showed things from multiple angles, especially when Reacher was giving his take on what happened.

Overall: A fantastic mystery movie with a bit of action to it. Even if you have never read the books (which I haven't), you should still have a fun and entertaining time watching this film.

Final Grade: A

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Haunted House

Normally when I see a film involving any of the Wayans brothers now a days, I just walk away from it. I decided to give this one a chance since it seemed like a concept for parody with fairly decent potential. So was this movie making people run away scared....or just running away? Here's A Haunted House!

Plot:Malcolm and Kisha move into their dream home, but soon learn a demon also resides there. When Kisha becomes possessed, Malcolm - determined to keep his sex life on track - turns to a priest, a psychic, and a team of ghost-busters for help.

Thoughts: I kind of knew what to expect from the film based on other films I've seen from the same genre, like the "Scary Movie" films. I was thrown a curve ball with this one as I didn't expect the mix of parody and seriousness.

Acting: The acting was pretty goof in this film, better than I thought it would be. All the actors had very distinguishable characters and were fairly entertaining in each of their roles.

What I liked: Flip flopping between seriousness and mocking films like "Paranormal Activity" made for a fun viewing experience. I also liked that this film didn't try to drag in pop culture references like so many other parody films do.

What I disliked: To a degree this movie was more of the same that we've seen since the first "Scary movie" film.

Overall: A decently entertaining movie, funniest parody film I've seen since Scary Movie 2

Final Grade: B

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Its a mad, mad, mad, mad world

Very seldom does a film come around where its title truly describes it. It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world lives up to and surpasses its name. A wacky film, bursting at the seams with actors and one insane plot. Lets enter a mad, mad, mad, mad world! 

Plot: The dying words of a thief spark a madcap cross-country rush to find some treasure.

Thoughts: This films plot, as with every other part of the movie is a roller coaster ride of insanity. Seeing all of these characters wrapped up in these crazy situations in a race against the clock was hilarious. In all honesty it was more fun than I expected for such a simple story concept.

Acting: There are way too many actors to focus on anything specifically, but overall this films acting / gags exceeded my expectations. Some of the best comedy work I've ever seen, and it still holds up despite the film being 50 years old. 

What I liked: There were so many cameos in this film, that you lose count. In some films this would be a bad thing, but here it works. 

What I disliked: If I had to say I disliked something from this film, about the only thing I could say is that at times so much is going on that you lose track, but really it adds to the hectic fun that this film is. 

Overall: A fun film, that is a testament to all involved and an excellent example of screwball comedy at its finest. I'd highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of comedy, or is just looking for a throwback to a different time of comedic films. 

Final Grade: A

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