Yo Joe! Get a better release date next time!
After almost all of the G.I. Joe’s are wiped-out after a sneak-attack from Cobra hit them, the ones that are left must build a team, get the professionals, and be strong enough to defeat their mortal enemy. The only problem is that they need help, and with the assistance of the government and a General named Joe Colton (Bruce Willis), they may find a possible way of a victory after all. However, just like you always used to fantasize when playing with the toys: it’s not always an easy match. That is, unless you played with Barbies, then don’t even bother reading this synopsis, this review, or this movie!
No matter what I say about this movie from now until the end of this review, just know that I am so mad at this movie for what it did to me last year. I mean, I not only was really looking forward to it, I even went so far as to put it as one of my most-anticipated for the Summer, IN MY HIGH-SCHOOL NEWSPAPER! That’s right, for all of my high-school to see and then when they actually buzzed out on me and decided to take it back to the next year (meaning today), not only did I look like an ass, but actually was a little upset because I wanted to still see it. But noooooo! Hollywood has to get those bigger bucks, had to make sure everything had an extra dimension, and worst of all, had to make sure Channing Tatum got five more minutes of screen-time. That’s right people: he’s only in this for a total of ten minutes, then gets killed, and is never seen again. Nice job. Glad the re-shoots and delays were worth it.
I’m not going to lie to you all, I actually liked the first G.I. Joe movie. Yeah, it had it’s fair share of problems, it was corny, it was stupid, and it was sure as hell loud, but it was still fun and that’s all that mattered to me. However, it seems like the people behind this sequel, feel as if that movie was so damn terrible, that they not only need to kill-off almost all of the characters from that movie, but do away with everything else about it as well. The first one had this over-the-cop, campy-feel to it that was surprising, considering the G.I. Joe cartoons and comics have always been serious, but this one sort of loses that edge about half-way through.
For instance, when we are first introduced to Duke and Roadblock, we see them goofing around with one another, spouting-out one-liners, and overall, just having a good time without getting too jokey and forgetting about the action. Then, as soon as the original Joe members are all killed-off, then things get a tad too serious, and not in the fun way either. The jokes are still there, the action is still around, and the over-the-top look and feel is still present at moments, but it’s not what you’d expect.
Where this movie seems to lose itself is that it not only focuses way too much on plot, but also forgets that this is a mindless action movie, made off of what is essentially a bunch of action figures that all the cool kids played with, when the girlies were off making sure that Ken and Barbie got it on. A lot. To try and make a serious story out of something like that, is ridiculous in it’s own right. To lose that sense of fun or craziness, just seemed like a slap in the face to the audience that grew up loving and watching G.I. Joe’s but also a waste of a good budget, and a good cast that knows how to have fun, be witty, and be cool, all at the same time. Jon M. Chu isn’t a bad director to be chosen for this material, but at the end of the day: something felt like it was missing and I can’t quite put my finger on it just yet, but it may have something to do with the fact that everybody seems to melodramatic, without getting loose and shaking things up. The original wasn’t a ground-breaker by any stretch, but at least it had fun for the time being. This one just tried way, way too hard.
But don’t be fooled by all of this shit-talking I’m doing, it’s still a fun movie and will most likely bring out the kid inside of you: for better or worse. Yes men, this is the movie that you want to see with your buddies, whether or you be drunk or not. Just make sure that you don’t bring your ladies or else she may come around the next day, asking for when the best time for her is to pick up her stuff. Trust me, it’s that type of movie. It’s filled with a bunch of fun, action, and excitement, and even though I have to say that almost every single trailer and commercial has spoiled the big, insane shit that was supposed to wow us into the new year, it’s still fun to watch and enjoy, especially when you’re around as much machismo, as was in this movie. Oh and that is a lot. That’s fo damn sho.
Dwayne Johnson (fine, I guess I’ll take his ass seriously for now) is pretty bad-ass as Roadblock because not only does he have that lovable charm that makes you feel like he could win over anybody with that million dollar smile of his, but the smarts to beat Cobra and take back the country that was rightfully his in the first place. When it comes to the action, Dwayne is awesome and proves us why he is the perfect man for a job when it comes to beating the tar out of people, spitting on their faces, and always having the tongue left to say something witty. I mean, hey, that’s how the guy got famous in the first place, right?
I was still bummed to see Channing Tatum go away so quick, let alone, at all in this movie, but I guess it’s fine for what we see of him. Still, I was pissed that they got rid of him, in place of D.J. Cotrona as Flint who is as dull as they come. He barely has a personality, anything cool or insightful to say, nor does even have a specialty that makes him stand-apart from the group of other Joe’s with him. He’s just regular, old Flint that nobody seems to care about, let alone remember once the shit hits the fan. The one person I did remember was Adrianne Palicki as Lady Jaye who does a nice job at conveying that sense of what it takes to be a female and still kick-ass, but yet, still have to stay and be able to hang with the big boys in town. She’s actually good in the role and not a joke like she could have easily been. Bruce Willis is also here as recently-retired sergeant Joe Colton and is fine, but this is no John McClane. He’s just there to be old, a bit witty, and the type of guy who can handle a gun. Willis is always likable, but he seems bored here. I don’t blame him.
On the opposite side of the fence, the baddies are okay, but nothing special. Cobra is Cobra and always a bad-ass, who somehow seems to get away just in the nick of time. Ray Stevenson plays Firefly, the type of dude that has a solution to every problem and is good doing what it is that he does. However, the one that really stole the show for me, especially on the flip side of things, was Jonathan Pryce as he played a dual-role as the U.S. President, when he was good and when he was bad. What makes Pryce so much fun to watch is that he seems to be having a freakin’ turkey of a time just being evil, mean, and sadistic, but never goes over-board with it all. Instead, he seems smart, calm, and collective, even when stuff seems to get very serious for him and the others around him. Very surprised with Pryce here and somehow, he made this old dude seem like the type of guy that could get away with this all in the end.
Still have no idea why the hell RZA showed up here in a old-man, kung-fu outfit, but damn does he love his kung-fu or what?!?!?
Consensus: Though it’s a tad bit better in some ways than the first one, G.I. Joe: Retaliation still takes itself a bit too seriously in terms of plot and characters, to be considered an all-out action fest of guns, explosions, bullets, hot ladies, and even hotter dudes, but does what it can and is entertaining for that fact.
6.5 / 10 = Rental!!
Okay, I get it: drugs are bad!
Emily Hawkins (Rooney Mara), is a beautiful young woman who has a serious addiction to prescription drugs which she uses to deal with anxiety and depression surrounding the pending release of her husband (Channing Tatum) from prison. However, problems start to begin when she soon becomes involved in an affair with the doctor (Jude Law) who subscribed her to the drugs. Moral of the story: never trust a doctor as good-looking as Jude Law. Lesson learned.
Even though I have already stated that there is apparently an affair taking place between the patient and the doctor, rest assured, there isn’t actually any hanky-panky going on. Regardless of what the plot-lines, trailers, and advertisements may be telling you, this is more about the problem that occurs within somebody’s mind and physical state of well-being, when pharmaceutical drugs start to take over. Maybe there is some sex, maybe there isn’t, but the fact that the movie is willing to take the non-Hollywood approach to a relatively conventional story, just goes to show you what type of will and firepower Steven Soderbergh still has to his name.
Instead of making this movie one of those thrillers where a bunch of bad stuff happens, with clear-explanations and more understandings of what is really happening; the movie decides to take the higher-road and make everything more complicated than you’d ever imagine it being. What I liked so much about this movie is how it all started-off obviously, telling the story, giving us characters, and ultimately having us run into the problem that’s going to bring out the bolts and crannies of this movie. And for the longest time, we almost feel like we know where this story is going to end-up, how it will, and what it’s going to say when all is said and done, but no, no, no. Soderbergh doesn’t play by the rules and this movie shows just that.
Without giving too much away and spoiling all of the fun for you peeps out there, Side Effects goes into places you wouldn’t in the least-bit suspect a medical drama to go towards. It begins as a character-study of depression; then it becomes a medical drama about the negative and positive effects pills can have on a person’s mind; then it becomes a crime thriller; and then, ultimately, turns out to be a mystery/detective-thriller where you feel as if you have all of the clues and hints to make-up a clear understanding of what’s happening, but in reality: you just don’t. In a Soderbergh, nothing is ever quite what it seems to be and that’s not just a cliche, that’s just how he roles.
The combination of these 4 genres, may make the movie seem a bit like it’s too much, for so little, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There is always this feeling that something new and unpredictable is going to come your way and just when you think you know what the big picture is all about, Soderbergh decides to pull the rug, right from underneath your feet and have you guessing more, more, and more, all up until the end where it feels like all of the questions have been answered, and everything is settled. Soderbergh always seems like he has a clear vision of what it is that he wants to do, say, and show-off in any of his stories, and even though the message may be a bit too obvious with where it goes (pills are only made for the doctors to get more moolah), there is still always that shred of memory that you watched this movie, and sat there in total and utter suspense, not having a damn clue where it was going to show-up next. I love that about movies and even better: I love that with my Soderbergh movies.
If there was a problem that I ran into with this movie, it was that the usual, downbeat ending that we are so used to seeing with Soderbergh movies didn’t show-up this time around. In fact, I would probably say that this is his most positive ending in the longest time, probably ever since Ocean’s Eleven. That’s a real shame too, because even though most of Soderbergh’s movies aren’t the happiest-of-go-luckies to watch and spend time with for 2 hours, you still feel like you’re watching a movie from a guy that doesn’t give two shits about having us leave with a happy and clearer view of the world. For the story right here; it does sort of work but when you take into consideration all of Soderbergh’s other movies: it’s a tad disappointing.
However, all problems with the ending aside, this is still a great movie mainly due to the fact that the cast is more than game for the material that writer Scott Z. Burns and Soderbergh are willing to throw at them. This is probably Jude Law’s best role in the longest-time as the psychiatrist that does all that he can do to not only help Emily with her condition, but also make sure to save his money from totally being thrown into the meat-grinder. From the beginning of the movie, I was expecting the movie to make Law’s character seem like a total, money-hungry doctor that didn’t give a single crap about the people he treated or what it was that they were going through; and have it more based on the fact that he’s just about doing his job, doing it the right way, making sure his patients are fine, and hopefully, at the end of the day, making the money go ching-a-ching. It’s a very, very well-written role for Law that shows that the guy still has what it takes to be the center of attention and never have us lose sight of what this character’s motivations are, whether they be good or bad. In this case, it’s all good in the hood of NYC.
Rooney Mara seems to be a very, very fine fit as the total and complete nutcase that is Emily. Mara really nails what it’s like to be so terribly-conflicted with depression, almost to the point of where she can’t handle it anymore. You always feel for this gal and as much as you want to give your heart out to Law’s character for always being there when his patients needed him, you still have to give some pieces out to Emily, for at least trying whatever it is that she can to get over this problem in her head and mind. Mara seems to really have a bright-future ahead of her and it’s a real delight to know that they ended-up dropping Blake Lively for her. Hell, if that chick was in it; it probably would have been a way different movie. And that’s not a good thing, either.
Much like Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones gets to show-off here more than she’s been able to in the past and gives us a glimpse at a lady that you can’t always trust, but yet, you just can’t put your finger on what it is exactly about her that rubs you the wrong way. Zeta-Jones is just able to mess-around not only with the characters in the movie, but our minds as well and it was great to see that played-out with such slickness and charm from Zeta-Jones. Definitely makes me forget about her sleep-walking role that was the Mayor’s wife in Broken City. Well, obviously not too much since I just remembered and mentioned it, but you get my drift. Channing Tatum is also very good as Emily’s, recently-released-from-prison hubby that does whatever he can do to make things between him and his wife, and is here to serve the plot and that’s about it. Not bad or good, just needed to move things along, I guess. Still, it’s good to see the guy working with Soderbergh once again and being able to keep his clothes on for more than 5 minutes.
Consensus: Even if it doesn’t rank-up with Soderbergh’s best, Side Effects is still one hell of a movie that will keep you guessing, on-the-edge-of-your-seat, and fascinated with how much Jude Law can do as an actor, even if his last couple of movies haven’t been able to prove that point.
8 / 10 = Matinee!!
You know the world’s gone to shit when these movies are having their own Occupy Movement.
In this 4th, and hopefully, final chapter of the Step Up series, childhood friends Sean (Ryan Guzman) and Eddy (Misha Gabriel) work as waiters at Miami Beach’s posh Dimont Hotel, owned by ruthless developer Bill Anderson (Peter Gallagher). But in their off‐duty hours, the duo leads a renegade crew known as “The Mob,” a group of cutting‐edge dancers that somehow find their ways of being tangle with Anderson’s daughter Emily (Kathryn McCormick), a very gifted dancer in her own right.
In all honesty, I don’t know if I was under the influence of some insane-o drugs, just got laid an hour beforehand, or AMC spiked my popcorn with some crazy butter, but I actually enjoyed the last Step Up flick, Step Up 3D. So I think that’s why I went into this flick with the same expectations I had with that one: some cool dancing, great use of 3D, and a terrible story. Problem is, except for the latter, this film didn’t have any of that.
Now, when you go into a film like this you can’t really expect there to be anything new or original that you haven’t seen before when it comes to it’s story, but you have to expect that when it comes to the one element that these movies are mostly known for: it’s dancing. The dancing, at times, can look pretty cool but the 3D is not used very well and even the dances themselves, just come off as totally random and annoying by how tight some of the dance moves these people perform look. Yeah, there’s some cool things to look at here and there, (a dance sequence in a National Arts Museum was a stand-out in my opinion), but nothing that got me going “oh shiiiiiit, look at that right there!!”. I said that plenty of times with the last film and found a lot of the dances to be just straight-up, dance-battles, but everything he was just stupid flash-mobs that I get bored of watching on YouTube after the first minute.
Director Scott Speer is making his feature-film debut after doing a whole bunch of music videos and I’m really starting to wonder what his favorite type of music even is. The reason I ask that is because all of the tracks here are that annoying and loud, dubstep shit that I know is so freakin’ popular amongst the young lings out there, but it just kept bothering me every time these characters dance to it. The music should have just been straight-up, classy hip-hop that would have everybody in the theater dancing but when you depend on tracks from the likes of Skrillex, Ricky Luna, and Nick Thayer to do so, you can’t really expect much of a movement from the crowd. Maybe if they were giving out free Ecstasy at my screening, then it would have been a different story but sadly, that wasn’t the case.
And of course, the real reason why this flick sucks so terribly bad, is mainly because of the shitty script. Yeah, the scripts for these types of movies aren’t really supposed to be any type of Oscar-winning material that has me re-thinking my life, days after I’ve seen it but the lines here are so terribly cheesy, that almost everybody in the theater (including myself) just scoffed at. There was this one line that was probably in the trailer but it went along the lines of “Enough with performance art, it’s time for protest art”. Haha yes, I am dead serious. That is actually one of the lines in this Step Up movie that just goes to show you that even these guys can make their own type of Occupy movement. Even if that Occupy movement is just all about them dancing around in colorful sequences.
The cast, as you would expect, don’t really do much either. Ryan Guzman seems like he has a likable charm to him somewhere underneath all of those sexy-ass dance moves, but we never find them at all here because he’s just a cardboard cut-out of what the director probably thought was the next Channing Tatum. Speaking of Tatum, he probably would have made this movie so much better just by him showing up and doing a little dance, but yes, even he is too good for this kind of material. Kathryn McCormick is very good-looking and also has some sexy dance moves as Emily, but she’s just as bland as her co-star, which makes them a pretty painful pair to watch. Peter Gallagher plays up the role of strangely corrupt daddy here very well, but seriously, why the hell did he ever choose this piece of garbage? Those eye-brows may be menacing, even still to this day, but he’s in the wrong film to utilize them to his advantage.
Consensus: Bland, corny, boring, and painful to watch at times, Step Up Revolution may be the worst of the Step Up series, which in it’s own right, really isn’t saying much but that doesn’t make it any better in it’s own right.
1.5/10=Crapola With A Beat!!
I think it’s time to reconsider my career options.
Veteran stripper Magic Mike (Channing Tatum) teaches a novice (Alex Pettyfer) about the occupation while seeking a lifestyle outside the world of stripping with the help of his protégé’s sister (Cody Horn). They work at the club Xquisite, which is owned by the former stripper Dallas (Matthew McConaughey).
I have to admit it, a “male stripper movie” is not necessarily aimed towards my demographic. Young, straight, sexy *cough cough*, male that prefers the men around him to keep their clothes on. But ”male stripper movie” directed by Steven Soderbergh is right up my alley.
Yes, the same Steven Soderbergh that is known for such flicks like Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven, Out of Sight, and Contagion, amongst others, is now doing a flick where it focuses on the life-style where dudes take their clothes off, get half-naked, dance around, get dollar bills thrown at them, and give lamp-dances to some lucky ladies in the audience. Really frickin’ strange that Soderbergh somehow found cinematic inspiration in that idea but he pulls it off here, somewhere, somehow.
What I liked most about this flick is that it has the perfect style of a Soderbergh flick. The camera has a very distinct look to it where the night-life is full of exotic and wild colors coming from every end of the area, whereas the regular, everyday life is full of this grayish look that makes everything seem like the sun hasn’t come out for days and is just trapped behind this huge-ass cloud that won’t move. There’s also a couple of other cool camera tricks here as well where Soderbergh does a couple of neat static shots that make you feel like you’re right there. Come to think of it, other than the stripping scenes, he barely moves the camera at all and that’s what was really cool about Soderbergh is how he just allowed the story to do the talking itself and just kept his camera right there. Crazy how directors can put their own little stamps on anything they do and make it work, just as long as they aren’t getting in the way of anything.
However, this isn’t a film that’s all about Soderbergh’s verité style, it’s about the men and their clothes getting ripped off in front of hundreds and hundreds of horny women and that’s exactly what this film delivers! Woo-hoo! The first time we get a full show of what goes on with the actual show itself, is probably some of the most fun I’ve had at the movie theater in so damn long. Really, I never would have ever in my right mind thought that I would be having so much fun watching a bunch of dudes rip their clothes off, but I couldn’t help but feel the same excitement that every single one of the ladies around me felt as well. Now of course my excitement was a different kind of one compared to theirs, but whenever these guys came out and started dancing and doing their thing, a certain type of energy just came-out of this film and it was almost infectious.
I don’t know what got over me, or my good buddy Paulie that I saw this with (also young, straight, sexy, and a male), but every time these guys went out on-stage, a smile just went right on my face and I just enjoyed the hell out of myself. It also helped that the crowd I was with loved the sight of half-naked dudes running rampant all-over-the-stage as well so it created this vibe that made me feel like I was actually at a male strip-club with them, just watching the show. These scenes aren’t taking so seriously either and I caught myself laughing hysterically at what I was seeing with all of these shows. And when you have a director like Soderbergh, that’s something surprising because he could have easily made all of these specific scenes just come off as some of the most depressing things to ever grace the screen, but he lets it all roll and have a good time as if he was the club promoter himself. Who knows, maybe that’s what he does in his spare time. Actually, that would make him the busiest man in Hollywood considering he makes about 3 movies each year, so no, never mind about that claim.
But underneath all of the glitz and the glamour of this life that is shown, there is also a story that grounds it all out. Yes, the film does have a story that’s somewhat dramatic but it’s handled well and focuses on Mike as he tries to help this kid out with making it big and also try to do what he wants to do and get out of the stripping business. All sounds very cliched and predictable, which it does get after awhile, but the film handles this story with such emotional honesty that it’s hard not to fall for it and believe everything it’s throwing at you. Believe it or not, this story does actually get dark but not too dark, to the point of no return. It gets just dark enough to where it can eventually lift itself back-up with another lap-dance or two. Hey, can’t go wrong with that.
If there was one big problem I had with this flick that kept me away from giving it a 9, it was that the story does get very predictable by the end and doesn’t really tell us anything new we haven’t already seen from flicks that are just like this. A theme like having too much, too soon is shown in countless other flicks like Saturday Night Fever, Boogie Nights, Goodfellas, and even a lesser-known one, Middle Men, and it’s shown here with the same exact precision, and same exact results. Tried to be a cautionary tale, but in the end, it didn’t matter whether or not we got the message, we just wanted to have fun, which is exactly what we had.
2012 will probably go down in the books as the best year of Channing Tatum‘s life. Honestly, this guy has been kickin’ ass this whole year with Haywire (another film by Soderbergh), The Vow (I know I’m the minority on that one), 21 Jump Street, what was supposed to be G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and now this. This is basically Tatum’s story because it was based off of his experiences and what better person to play the lead, then the person who knows it best. Tatum is great in this role as Magic Mike because he plays up every single emotion we have ever seen him play, ever. He’s funny, he’s sad, he’s inspired, he’s horny, he’s drunk, he’s high, he’s mad, he’s happy, and most of all, he knows how to freakin’ dance. Holy shit man! I know that this kid could dance from his days in Step Up, but he really lets it all-out here and shows that he can not only back his good-looks up with some acting chops, but also some nice dance moves that will absolutely knock your socks off once you see what he pulls off. Seriously, I got frickin’ jealous. And that never happens because I know I’m in such a better shape than that chump will ever be in.
Playing his kinda-sorta love-interest, Cody Horn is alright here but she’s a little stiff with her line delivery as it seems like she doesn’t know what to say next to all of the shit Tatum says and actually does. Her character was also one of those stand-offish types of people that didn’t approve of something that one person did, so they continue to lecture them and try to show their disapproval for all that they do. Lame! Playing her little bro in this movie, Alex Pettyfer shows some real skill as an actor with a role that will hopefully get his name out there more than it did last year with bombs like I Am Number Four and Beastly. Sheesh!
But the one cast member that I couldn’t stop thinking about when this whole movie was over, was in fact, Matthew McConaughey playing the sleazy club owner, Dallas. Here’s the thing with McConaughey: he’s talented, has great comic delivery, looks great, and knows how to act whenever a flick needs him to. The problem is, he always gets himself stuck in the same, old rom-com roles that do nothing for him other than make him look like an utter fool. Thankfully, he’s back in full-action with his role here and shows that he can do it all. He totally plays up that party-boy act we all know and love him for, but there’s also something very dark deep-down inside of all of it, a darkness that actually gets shown more and more as the film progresses. This is great to see McConaughey go through with this character because whenever he’s funny and having a good time, he made me laugh my ass off, but whenever he got mad and you could tell his character meant business, I got scared shitless, wondering just what the hell he was going to do next. That’s how great this role is for him and he plays it up all so perfectly. So perfectly, that he may even come by with an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor come around February of 2013. But that’s a stretch, I know.
Oh, and for all of you wrestling fans out there, Kevin Nash is also up in this bitch playing a huge male-stripper that goes by the name of Tarzan. Have no idea why the hell he’s in this, but at least he’s getting some line of work.
Consensus: Even though the story may get predictable by the end, Magic Mike is still a flick that has fun with its premise and fills it with sleaze, humor, raunch, glitz, glamour, great performances from the cast, and plenty of memorable stripping sequences that will surely have you inspired to go out there and try and work that pole like no other. Then again, maybe not.
High school sucks.
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as young and clueless police officers who go undercover at a high school to investigate a drug ring, effectively giving them the opportunity to relive their student lives all over again.
The idea of remaking an old TV show as a movie doesn’t seem too promising. However, all of those problems were gone as soon as I saw the hilarious Red-Band trailer for this one and then I got to see the actual film itself and it was so much better than I expected.
The whole structure of this flick is pretty simple: put two bros in uncomfortable situations, have them run into a problem, and then have a nice, but action-packed resolution. However, that structure doesn’t go down so easily here considering it doesn’t go for the cheap laughs and isn’t afraid to poke a little fun at itself in the meantime. This is one of the funnier flicks that I have seen in recent time because it has raunch that is deserved, jokes that hit the mark just about every time, and a bit of satire about how high school really is in today’s world which definitely hit a lot closer to home for me and seemed so true. Everything is so much different today from what it used to be and instead of the philosophical, softer kids being the ones you shoved in lockers, they are now all of a sudden the cool kids that find their ways as being hailed at the end of the year as “the one most likely to succeed and be uber cool”. It’s something I see in school today and even though I’m not really trying to complain about it, I just still find it funny that a film that takes place in high school is able to hit the mark so perfectly.
What’s really strange about this flick is that it’s actually from the directing duo of Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, aka the guys behind the animated hit ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’. It’s definitely a strange pick-up for these guys to go from kiddie flick about obesity to an R-rated comedy but they somehow are able to make transition work with their strange ideas to keep this flick moving. The film isn’t unpredictable by any means but there is so much here that seems so funny and original, that you wonder exactly why none of this hasn’t been done before and just why it’s so easy for these two dudes to do it and comedy director veterans still can’t hit the right marks. One funny example from this flick is the drug-montage scene they have here. Every flick that has to do with drugs in one way or another all have a weird montage, but this film takes that one step further and makes it so much more funnier than it had any right to be and that’s just one scene. There are so many more like them that made me laugh like crazy.
However (yes, there is always a however), as fresh as this flick may be, it does start to falter by the end as it dives more towards action and loses a bit of its comedic edge. I didn’t mind this as much considering the action is surprisingly very good but everything ends so predictably that it’s a shame considering this flick really had me thinking I was about to see a new and original twist on this type of formula, only I never got that. It also seemed a little strange that Hill’s character starts to get more and more attracted to Brie Larson’s high school character even though she’s a little too young for him. Then again, it could happen so don’t mind me.
The main reason why I was looking forward to this flick in the first place was because of the strange pairing of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, and they both deliver in their own little ways. Hill is once again hilarious here (in a slightly less fatter way) and makes it seem like comedy can come to him so easily no matter what the script demands. Then again, a lot of it does start to seem like it’s just improv, which is definitely a lot better for Hill considering he owns that. I was also incredibly happy to see my main man Channing, finally get a role that suited him with his action and comedic skills. Tatum was hilarious in the strange flick, ‘The Dilemma’, and it was great to see him show his comedic skills once again, this time playing up his meat-head look for laughs. Both of these guys play-off of each other perfectly every time they are on-screen together and it was such a blast to see these guys having a blast that I wanted more of them on-screen. So glad these guys were able to nail these roles considering Hollywood has been really finding it hard where to put them lately.
The supporting cast is also great and all play up their own comedic skills to add more to the flick. Ice Cube is funny as the predictable, angry black chief that always seems to be yelling and dropping the F-bomb every time the film focuses on him but he plays that up perfectly and hopefully this will get him back in doing better comedies than ‘Are We There Yet?’; Dave Franco has a funny performance here as the wise-ass high school kid, Eric, and reminded me so much of James Franco that it was too funny to be true; and Rob Riggle has his hilarious moments as the creepy gym teacher that always seems to be effing around with these kids. There’s also a totally memorable cameo at the end of the flick that’s perfect but I don’t want to give anything away because it is definitely something has to be seen to be believed.
Consensus: 21 Jump Street isn’t really doing anything to re-invent the buddy-action comedy wheel, but the chemistry between Hill and Tatum, the rapid fire humor, and the fresh and brutally realistic look at the present-day high school make this a comedy that actually will make you laugh consistently.
First Ryan Gosling saves her, now Channing Tatum does. Lucky ass chick!
Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum star as Paige and Leo, a recently married couple whose lives are devastated by a
tragic car accident. When Paige loses all memory of her relationship with her husband, Leo vows to do whatever it takes to make her fall in love with him all over again.
Ever since ‘The Notebook’ came out, studios have been gunning for that one flick that can make as many chicks and dudes (yes, admit it, guys) cry as that one did. Sadly, none of them have even came close. But I guess it took one-half of that film and a dude that can shake his ass off to come the closest to surpassing.
Director Michael Sucsy doesn’t really bring much new to this whole weepy and romantic drama genre that we all have seen done for the past 6 years, but it’s the writing and premise that makes it work. The premise is definitely something that seems like it was adapted right from a Nicholas Sparks novel, but it’s actually based on a true-story and it’s that genuine feel that made me believe in some of the more melodramatic moments. But then for all we know ‘Dear John’ and even ‘The Last Song’ could have been based on real stories, but then again, those films don’t quite have as much as this flick does.
The writers obviously aren’t doing too much to this premise to change it up and make it all of a sudden become something like a cross between ‘Memento’ and ’50 First Dates’ but it still has its cute moments that are always backed up by some funny ones as well. The film takes itself seriously but never too seriously to the point of where I wanted there to actually be some sort of fun here. There is a little playful and joking feel to it which made it a lot more easier to actually stay in this film and laugh every once and awhile, rather than cringe at all the cliches. And woahhhhh crap, did I mention the cliches!??!
The film is very predictable, corny, and cheesy which may sound kind of weird considering I just got done praising elements of it but there are still those eye-rolling moments that started taking over the flick. There was a pretty good amount of time where this film seemed to actually be working well for me but then when the started getting into the more weepier montages/moments than the film started to lose my interest. Then again, this is the sort of stuff that many, many ladies will swoon over and the guys will sort of just be left in the dust, but that’s usually expected with these types of films.
One of my biggest problems with this film was that with a premise like this, there could have been so many different themes and messages that this film could have explored on its own but instead, just talked about briefly and left up in the air. One of the most important themes of this film was how people change over time which is evident in how Paige first started off as this yuppie, rich-girl then changed to this hip, and funky fresh Chi-town gal. This was pretty cool to see in a film that showed a person in two different ways since this happens in real-life but instead of actually giving that topic any type of insight whatsoever, the flick just skates over it and leaves it hanging. Pretty disappointing but I guess I was just expecting a little bit too much from a Tatum-McAdams love flick.
Rachel McAdams is given a lot more of the showy things to do in this flick as Paige, but she does a good job with it all. She goes throughout the film all confused and whatnot, so when she starts to actually show two different sides of her, it seems believable but then again she is sort of playing the same character that she did in ‘The Notebook’, except she’s forgetting things at an earlier age. Since McAdams is basically trying to piece together her whole life, it’s up to Channing Tatum as Leo to pick the slack up and give a good enough performance to actually have us follow his character, which he does. Tatum does a good job at keeping this performance believable, subtle, and very relaxed to where he didn’t have to do anything all that emotional but even when he does, it seems realistic. Both of them also have a good chemistry which is another reason why this romance, as well as this flick works in more ways than I expected.
The supporting cast is also pretty good. Sam Neill is great at playing that sinister and smarmy character he usually plays as Paige’s daddy; Jessica Lange plays her mommy and doesn’t do much until this little, dramatic monologue where she lets her true emotions out and it’s a really good scene mainly because Lange is able to pull off scenes like this; and Scott Speedman is good as the ex-fiancé of Paige, but damn does he need to lay off the hair gel!
Consensus: The Vow features plenty of those predictable, cheesy, and utterly sappy moments that occur in these types of romance flicks but with a fun script, good performances, and some nice touches to the whole formula itself, there’s a lot more to keep your mind off of this stuff and just focus on the romance at-hand.
Who needs acting when you can just beat the crap out of everybody around?
Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is a highly trained operative who works for a government security contractor in the dirtiest, most dangerous corners of the world. After successfully freeing a Chinese journalist held hostage, she is double crossed and left for dead by someone close to her in her own agency. Suddenly the target of skilled assassins who know her every move, Mallory must find the truth in order to stay alive.
Seeing that this is definitely Steven Soderbergh trying to eff with our heads in by giving us a non-experienced actress with a whole lot to do for one flick, I didn’t know what to really think going in. However, with his first step into the action genre, I can definitely say that he didn’t eff with us too bad here.
The one thing that Soderbergh does perfectly here is give us an action flick that feels way different from any other one that has been released within the past year or so. All of the fight sequences are filmed wonderfully with no score whatsoever, just going with the flow of the punches, kicks, and breaks while also being filmed in a very wide lense to give it this realistic feel. Yes, fighting sequences that are somewhat realistic, crazy right? Soderbergh just plays and plays with the whole conventions of what we come to know and see as an action flick and it seems like an experiment rather than an actual film, but an experiment that does a pretty good job none the less.
I also liked how Soderbergh kept everything very minimal. The film basically consists of people running, shooting, and fighting, all to the glorious sound of jazz music that made me feel as if I was in a little club in New Orleans. The plot is very simple and there isn’t a whole bunch of talking about what’s going on, or even talking in general. Soderbergh doesn’t feel the need to spell everything out to us and instead of giving us a highly confusing plot, he backs it up with a lot of ass-kicking to keep our minds avert on the screen without ever losing us, after we have just realized that this far far different from what we have seen from any other action flick.
The problem that this film runs into is that when the action isn’t going down, things start to get a little dull. When the film starts to lean towards its plot and doesn’t really give us much action to hold onto, the film starts to lose us mainly because the story just isn’t all that interesting in the first place and to be honest, we have seen the same premise done before. I understand that Soderbergh and his writers weren’t trying to rely on the plot as much as they were with the action, but it still could have been handled a lot better to fully keep our attentions when people weren’t getting their faces knocked in.
Another main problem with this flick comes with the whole casting of MMA star Gina Carano. Carano did not have any prior acting experience to this flick and for a character like Mallory Kane you have to have somebody that can look the part, which she definitely does. All of her action scenes are awesome and she definitely looks like that chick you do not want to piss off one bit let alone screw over in a huge-ass CIA exchange. However when it comes to actually talking like a bad-ass, Carano can’t do that.
I have to give Soderbergh credit for not leaving this inexperienced actor out to dry with this material, because she could have easily just gotten chewed up in every single scene but it’s just that Carano doesn’t do anything here at all. Her character feels like a big block of wood that has no emotions and gives off the same voice to every single response. Now take it for granted, the “voice” in this flick is not the same one she has in real life (it was apparently dubbed) but even if it wasn’t hers, it still sounds terrible because almost every line she drops, she sounds like she’s reading them right off the cue-card as it is. I hope that Carano is reading this now and wants to beat the shit out of me, but honestly baby, keep to your MMA career. But damn is she sexy!
The rest of the cast is very good though, which I do think was very deliberate considering Soderbergh definitely knew he couldn’t sell a film on just one chick who nobody outside of the MMA world knew. Ewan McGregor seems to having a lot of fun as the slimy and evil Kenneth; Michael Fassbender isn’t around for much as you could probably tell from the previews (and even the poster) but he still is pretty good with his devilish charm; Channing Tatum does an alright job here as Aaron; Bill Paxton is nice to watch as John Kane considering I didn’t know he did movies anymore; and Antonio Banderas and Michael Douglas show up here as the usual assholes they usually play in most of their recent films and do nice jobs as well. Basically, the whole supporting cast is great but it’s just a shame that Carano kind of makes us look past that with her stiff delivery.
Consensus: Haywire is definitely not the usual action flick we are so used to seeing nowadays, with realistic fight sequences, jazz music, and a very good supporting cast, but the problem this flick hits is with its leading star that can’t get through her lines and sort of just lets the whole film down in the process.
Poor Channing. The guy can’t even look tough as a Queens police officer with a mustache.
Channing Tatum stars as Johnathan, a young cop assigned to patrol his old Queens, N.Y., neighborhood that takes off with the discovery of a long-dead secret, which includes his childhood memories with Detective Charles Stanford (Al Pacino).
To be quite honest, I was actually looking forward to seeing this way back when it first debuted at Sundance. I enjoy Dito Montiel as a writer/director, the premise seems old-school but good, and the cast looked awesome. Oh how it sucks to be disappointed.
The problem that this film runs into is the fact that it has a weak premise that can’t really go anywhere because it’s script is just weak. Nothing really happens here and the film as a whole, is just a downer with there barely being anything that totally glued me in. I had a feeling that something, whatever it was, was at stake but throughout the whole film we are just moving along at this boring pace of where we really don’t have a total clue as to what happens next, and even better, we don’t care either.
There are also plenty of highly laughable moments with Johnathan’s childhood being shown and the way the kid acts and the way everything happens, just seems way too over-dramatic and unrealistic that it was really hard for me to become glued into this story since Montiel’s direction goes back-and-forth between the present and past. What I also never understood was why didn’t he just say that these murders that he commits were part of self-defense because that’s honestly what they were. I also never understood why a news reporter (or anyone for that matter) would ever take time out of their day to bring up an unsolved murder of two asshole junkies that happened 16 years before. It never made sense why it just all of a sudden came up now, and most of all, why anybody would waste their time.
Dito Monitel still does bring some well-deserved tension and bleakness to this film, which I thought was a good attribute but I think he needed to rely less on the melodrama and more on the characters and actual story. I got a feel of the paranoia Johnathan was going through, but I never understood him as a character which is why I can’t say anything bad about Channing Tatum‘s performance as him. He’s good but he isn’t given much to do and more screen-time is dedicated to kid Johnathan and that actor sucks.
Katie Holmes is wildly miscast as his wife, and brings out a lot unintentional laughter; Juliette Binoche is also miscast as the news journalist but surprisingly holds her own; and Tracy Morgan plays Vinnie, Johnathan’s mentally-challenged friend, and does a better job than I actually imagined with his dramatic chops, which he does in a way that doesn’t feel forced. The biggest type of type-casting is Al Pacino and Ray Liotta as two old-school cops, which isn’t so bad but they don’t do anything really new and are just there to add more to the cast.
Consensus: Dito Montiel and the cast try their hardest, but in the end, The Son of No One just ends up being an unbelievable, poorly written, and boring cop melodrama that doesn’t do much other than bring out unintentional laughs with everything these characters say.
I honestly don’t think I could see someone like Lebron taking the SAT’s.
Samuel L. Jackson stars as the titular, controversial Coach Carter, a no-nonsense hardliner who firmly believes that scholarship and a sense of ethics go hand in hand with excellence on the basketball court. The coach is so firm in his convictions that he benches his undefeated team of high schoolers when they turn in poor academic grades, much to the chagrin of the players’ parents and many fellow teachers.
The inspirational sports film comes out about once a year, and there always the same. It just depends on who you have in it that makes it different.
The biggest problem with Coach Carter is that the script is terrible. When I mean terrible, I do mean, terrible. Every single line here is like a little cliche that has been used in almost every other sports film, and brings nothing new to the table. This all so generic and with everything that happens I just started laughing by how terribly predictable it was, and since these people are black it’s even more hilarious to listen to these “characters” talk “gangster”. Some of the most unintentionally hilarious stuff I’ve ever heard.
Another problem with this script and this film is that it’s way too long with a terribly preachy feel. This is all fact-based which I liked, but the fact that this film tries to keep on spoon-feeding us what and how we should feel about education when it comes to sports, just simply annoyed me. The social issues it explores kept me interested but they hit it over my head way too much. Also, this is a film that runs for about 2 hours and 16 minutes. Yeah, it’s a long one.
However, what this film does right is that it actually is somewhat entertaining and inspiring beneath all the cliches and preaching. I liked how they explore the fact that more student athletes should rely on school work, rather than sports to get them through life. I think I liked this mainly because not many sports film show this, and instead show that sports will get you through life and just make you happy forever. Some of the basketball game scenes were fun too, as they are shot with a nice and slick style to keep you in the game.
Samuel L. Jackson is the real reason why this film is a step-above from making this total crap. I like how subtle Jackson takes this role as Coach Carter in the beginning, but then when he has to, turns the knob and becomes this totally angry but still smart basketball coach who wants nothing more than just the best education possible for his players. Now of course there is the yelling, screaming, and hollering we have all come to know and love about Sammy, but there’s a lot more to that, and he makes it worth while. The rest of the cast is OK including Ashanti, Channing Tatum, Rob Brown, and Robert Ri’chard. Nothing special, mainly because Jackson knocks them all out of the water.
Consensus: Coach Carter is terribly-written because its huge amount of cliches and preachiness that bores along with its over 2 hour time-limit, but it’s occasionally inspiring, and an always reliable Samuel L. Jackson makes this easier to deal with.
Still don’t know whether this was a c0medy, or a drama.
Ronny (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Kevin James) are best friends and partners in an auto design firm. They are pursuing a project to make their firm famous. Ronny sees Nick’s wife Geneva (Winona Ryder) kissing another man (Channing Tatum). Ronny seeks out answers and has to figure out how to tell Nick about what he saw while working with him to complete their critical presentation.
The Dilemma gained a lot of controversy back when the first trailers came out, because it said the word “gay” in it. Now, the controversy had people wishing this would be some good stuff, but in all honesty I think it was just controversy for an utterly forgettable film.
The film is directed by of all people, Ron Howard. That’s right, A Beautiful Mind Ron Howard. Howard at least makes this a better comedy than your typical Hollywood fare. There are some good smart jokes here and there, and an interesting premise.
But the problem with this film is what they do with that premise, and then everything starts to get very sloppy. I don’t think that the film had any idea of what it wanted to be. There are moments of comedy that sometimes work, and other times don’t. But then there are times where this just steps into very dark dramatic material, that you aren’t expecting at all. I was actually turned away from the sudden tonal change, because I feel like they could have done a lot with this premise, comedy wise, but they chose to go with drama instead. The drama works, but not enough to get us away from the fact that it is all pretty inconsistent and tries too hard to get laughs from random slapstick, and random in-and-out comedy.
In recent comedies, I’ve seen Vince Vaughn fall back on that “guys-guy” persona, but here he really gives it his all with his physical comedy, expressions, and that comedic timing that always makes him a treat. There’s just a certain depth to his character, that Vaughn gives that I enjoyed, and proved that he can actually act. Kevin James surprisingly gives a lot of depth into his character probably playing the least-happy character I have ever seen him play anywhere. Winona Ryder has also started to make a new career for herself, with Black Swan and now this, she is sort of starting a come-back. She is actually pretty good here, giving a lot of depth into her character, and hitting that devious note she always hits so well. Also, I’m sort of getting tired with guys that look like Paul Blart being able to bag hotties like Winona Ryder. I get it, it’s a movie, but really?!? Jennifer Connelly won an Oscar in her last outing with Ron Howard and here she brings a lot more to the table than I was expecting. She doesn’t show up much which was a bummer, but when she does there’s that heart she brings to every scene she’s in, and it’s just what get’s me through her scenes. Channing Tatum is the real surprise here playing, Zip the guy who Ryder is caught with, and he is hilarious. It’s sad to say that CHANNING TATUM is the funniest thing in a comedy starring VINCE VAUGHN AND KEVIN JAMES, but he makes fun of his tough guy persona here, and I could not stop laughing with every scene he had. I hope he can do more comedy in the future, cause it really does seem to work out for him. Queen Latifah also shows up, and her lines are cheesy and terrible which is a shame because she can be awesome given the right material.
Consensus: The Dilemma is messy with it’s constant tone problems, of knowing whether or not it wants to be a comedy or drama, but its performances are good, and there is a certain depth to the story and characters which makes this a cut above your typical male comedy. It has many flaws, but you can still enjoy yourself.
Finally, Johnny Depp actually plays somebody normal.
Set during the Great Depression, it follows the final years of notorious bank robber John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) as he is pursued by Bureau of Investigation agent Melvin Purvis (Christian Bale). It also depicts Dillinger’s relationship with Billie Frechette (Marion Cotillard), as well as Purvis’s pursuit of Sparrow associates and fellow criminals Homer Van Meter (Stephen Dorff) and Baby Face Nelson (Stephen Graham).
Michael Mann is known for directing action-packed thrillers such as Heat, and Collateral, but they were always shot in modern times, with less of a story, here he gets to change up the time, and focus on more story. Which was not a very good idea after all.
I think the one problem with this film is that it is kind of bland, mainly because it’s based on a real-story. Everybody knows what happens to these guys, and it just do anything really fun or inventive to change the pace of our minds with the film. Another problem was the use of an HD camera for this film. The shaky camera takes a lot away from the film, and the pixels, and annoying close-ups, do start to run its course by the first hour mark. I also knew it was a bad idea, cause I kept asking myself: they had hand-held cameras back in the 30′s? Nothing looked as realistic as it could have, with a real camera.
Still I got to give it to the Mann(pun intended), he is still the king of action sequences. Since these dudes are robbing banks, Depression style, of course we get a lot of shoot-outs, and to say the least their actually very fun to watch. There is this one sequence where it takes place in the forest, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. Not as great as Heat’s bank robbery, but still great none the less. I also thought he did a good job of showing the known hysteria, and panic that was in the depression, as Dillinger and the boys, started to rumble up on the bank robbery’s.
Johnny Depp does a great job at playing an actual real person for once in a long time. He plays Dillinger as sort of an anti-hero, that’s funny, charming, but also very smart, and lethal with what he does, and does a great job at playing this character. I was pretty disappointed by Christian Bale‘s performance here, and I thought his attempt to make a Southern accent, was pretty dumb, and annoying. It sucks but I think he wants this to be his forgotten role. Marion Cotillard is great here as well, and her and Depp create this lovely chemistry that seems so real, that by the end, you can just feel the love between these two. Other actors that do a good job in this are Giovanni Ribisi, Billy Crudup, Stephen Lang, and a random cameo from Channing Tatum.
Consensus: There are obvious faults here within Public Enemies, but they are somehow over-shadowed, by the great action sequences, and wonderful performances from the cast, minus Bale.
I can’t believe it, but I liked this movie.
A tight-knit group of street dancers, including Luke (Rick Malambri) and Natalie (Sharni Vinson), team up with NYU freshman Moose (Adam Sevani), and find themselves pitted against the world’s best hip hop dancers in a high-stakes showdown that will change their lives forever.
This was probably my first Step-Up movie I have ever seen in a theater. Hell this is my first time seeing a hip-hop dance movie in a theater. I saw the original Step Up, with my boy Channing Tatum, and thought it was pretty crappy, but this was a step up (no pun intended).
Now take it for granted, I did not see this in 3-D, which was a bummer, but none the less it was still great to watch. The visuals in this film are straight-up in your face perfect, because there are certain lights, and certain effects used on this camera to convey a lot of excitement, and it really does feel like your there.
The main reason why the visuals are great is because the dance numbers, are just bangin’. I can’t lie at all, I thought every dance sequence was just better than the last. Though some can be pointless at times. Like when the rivals follows one of the lead characters into a bathroom and instead of threatening him by just beating him up or knifing him, the rivals actually threatens him with dance… I really don’t why they use that to demoralize him, but hey… movie logic. But still the dance numbers mixed in with the incredible soundtrack, i mean damn, this film had me tapping my feet.
Dancing, music, and visuals aside, this film is terrible. The story feels like they wrote this back in 1983, didn’t update put it in a vault, and waited for 2010 to come around, and used that script for this movie. Within, the first 5 minutes you already know how this film is going to turn out, and the problem is they focus on the story too long. There were plenty of great dance numbers, but a lot of the time, the film focused on the romantic love story, that we all knew how it was going to turn out, so it was no big shock there.
However, I can take very predictable films, only if the acting is good. This, is not one of those films. All of the actors in this movie, with the exception of one kid, are just terrible. They were only hired for their dance moves, so I’ll give them that, but they just suck at delivering lines. I mean honestly, I started laughing at some of these lines here, just because they were so cheesily written and acted. Adam Sevani is the only really good actor in this film, and although he may seem a little homosexual, he’s got reasonable energy, and stage presence.
Consensus: If you want things like good acting, plot twists, character development, and credible pacing, then this film is not your choice, unless you enjoy the great dance sequences, mixed in with some dazzling visuals and bumpin’ soundtrack.
White kids, please stay in the suburbs.
Havoc is a motion picture about the lives of wealthy Los Angeles, California, teenagers whose exposure to hip hop culture inspires them to imitate the gangster lifestyle. They run into trouble when they encounter a gang of Latino drug dealers, discovering they are not as street-wise as they had thought.
Now when I watched this film I couldn’t stop thinking about another coming-of-age film myself, Thirteen. They both have the same ideas of little suburban teenagers who want to act wild and be free, when really that’s not who they are.
Personally, Havoc really does connect to me cause there are a lot of people like these ones portrayed I know. The people I know try to act all gangster like they could kick anyone’s ass, when really they aren’t anything compared to the real thing.
This film captures that real well showing from the first encounter how different these two groups really are. The white kids always try to act all tough on their own homecourt, but when they go somewhere else they are a bunch of little chickens who are scared out of their minds.
There are a lot of really good dramatic scenes by the end of the film that really does keep this film going on to powerful. The way these two different cultures are portrayed is just really perfect as you can see the big differences, and the little similarities these two groups have in common.
I liked the movie and everything I just think it wasn’t anything different that I’ve seen before. It seems like the same old message,”keep your daughters inside the house”, and to be truly honest Havoc doesn’t do much to add to this message and make it even more powerful than previous films.
Yes, for all you little pervs out there, Anne Hathaway does get naked for this film. But please do not let that take you away from this film cause her acting is magnificent. I was surprised to see the same chick from The Princess Bride, dropping down(literally), and doing a very serious and complex role, and actually pull it off. Her and Bijou Phillips have great chemistry in this film and you can actually tell that they actually are friends as they do feel like it. The rest of the cast does well with stars such as Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Freddy Rodriguez, but a lot of the good cast is underused and you rarely see them at all during this film.
Also, the ending was not as powerful as it could’ve been. The film doesn’t come full circle and connect at the end like many other films of this nature have. It leaves you with a little message that is powerful, but not powerful enough. I didn’t quite know what was the eventual resolution to these actions and what happened to the these characters at the end of the story.
Consensus: Havoc features a true message, magnificent performances, and some great looks on real life. But the film doesn’t become too powerful as it could’ve been and left me wondering just what was to happen to these characters by the end of the film.
Never would I have thought that a film starring Shia LaBeouf be one of the most gut-wrenching films I have ever seen.
Robert Downey Jr. stars in director Dito Montiel’s autobiographical coming-of-age drama set in blue-collar Queens, N.Y. While his young friends all seem to end up as junkies, inmates or corpses, Dito (Downey) miraculously escapes the same fate. He attributes that to divine intervention from a group of “saints,” who are the same friends whose path he tries so hard to avoid. Dianne Wiest, Chazz Palminteri, Shia LaBeouf and Rosario Dawson co-star.
Now this film is directed by the same person who wrote the memoir it is based on, and I must say there is basically no one else that can direct this other than Dito Montel, in his directorial debut.
The film is told through flashbacks, though it is set in the present, and I really did like the way it was filmed. I felt like it couldn’t have been filmed either way. We really do understand these characters right from the get-go, and we start to understand the occurrences that caused Dito to leave his New York home grounds.
I was reading other reviews before I saw this film and so many people we’re just bashing it for going a little too far with N.Y. City stereotypes. To be truly honest I think since this is Dito’s film, and he basically wrote the story, I think he would know how everything really was around New York.
I love coming-of-age tales, but this one really ranks high with one of my favorites of that category. The whole humanity and the realism of this film is captured through it’s screenplay. The screenplay is very realistic, showing all sides of comedy, drama, and most of all, tragedy. The film really doesn’t fail at all with it’s screenplay and never goes too far with it’s cliches.
Shia LaBeouf is very good in this and shows his talents in acting, that would come to benefit him later on his career. The whole cast all do amazing jobs but the one who really stands out in my mind is Channing Tatum. I felt like this film would have not succeeded if they had somebody else playing Antonio. Tatum is tough as nails, but also very troubled and you can see that in Tatum’s performance as he plays someone different then the usual big tough guy he does in all of his other films.
The only problem I had with this film was that when it was all said and done I felt like there were more aspects of Dito’s life that weren’t covered and just forgotten that could’ve really helped this film out, but not that much of a complaint after all.
Consensus: One of the most powerful and realistic coming-of-age films I have ever seen. A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints, is well-acted, sharp direction from new-comer Dito Montiel, and paints a wonderful portrait of what friendship really means.
The 21st century Fight Club, without the brain-busting plot.
When Sean Arthur (Channing Tatum),an unmotivated young man who hustles counterfeit merchandise in New York City, meets seasoned street-fighting coach Harvey Boarden (Terrence Howard) by chance, his whole life changes. Sean’s fights are dangerous, but he sets out to win the prize money at stake and the respect of those around him.
When I first saw this film I was saying “Oh god they decided to rip off The Karate Kid and put it along with Never Back Down”, but when I actually watched the film I was a little surprised.
The fights of this movie are mainly the strong point of the film. The scenes are heavily stylized and aren’t as great until you realize they have a certain life or death consequence to actually winning them, is when you start to get into them. They are filmed very realistically of how you would feel in a fight and you can just feel the excitement with these numerous fight scenes.
The fights also feel genuine, cause it shows that in the middle of a fight when you do get hit, it actually does hurt and it’s not something you just shrug off and get right back up of. There is a sense of realism within these fights and it makes the movie a whole lot of a better ride.
The only problem that when these fight scenes aren’t occurring, there isn’t much really going on. The plot starts to meander and go between two stories of Tatum and his love for a waitress, his personal struggles with his father, and his relationship with Terence Howard. I felt like there were way too many scenes of this and it just became way too boring.
Surprisingly the strong point of this film lies within it’s charming performance from Channing Tatum. He show’s that he actually can act and carry a movie with the type of star-quality that many actors do have in big-time Hollywood. Terence Howard also turns in a very different performance, that was good but i couldn’t really tell what his intentions were at times throughout the movie, and he didn’t seem all that too interesting as he could’ve been.
Consensus: Fighting has a very charming performance from Tatum, and features some stylized excited fight sequences. But the film starts to become a little too boring when it’s plot starts to unravel.
Never would I thought I would see my action figures come to life.
From the Egyptian desert to deep below the polar ice caps, the elite G.I. JOE team uses the latest in next-generation spy and military equipment to fight the corrupt arms dealer Destro and the growing threat of the mysterious Cobra organization to prevent them from plunging the world into chaos.
I remember when I was about 5 years old and playing with my GI Joe’s and every time I just remember making the most outlandish things happen to these guys but never could I think what I thought would happen in this movie.
Think of the craziest things that could ever happen in a film, and you have GI Joe: Rise of The Cobra. Mayhem is everywhere in this movie: in the streets, the North Pole, even in the kitchen, yeah it goes everywhere. The film is exciting and filled with so much action and fun that it really did keep my eye on the screen for long. It’s brainless but very harmful fun and being a huge fan of the toys, and a little bit of the cartoon show I was pleased.
Much of the action was stylized with some great special effects. Some may call them lackluster or inconsistent, but I call them very well-done. Much of the effects look great and actually look close to real life, there is an image of the Eiffel Tower and it does actually look like its falling, and there are really some amazing shots of chases in the sea and through the street that just look amazing.
The film does however have some big downfalls. The film borrowed a lot of scenes and inventions from other big-budget science fiction films such as Iron Man and Transformers. There are a couple of scenes of suits that just look exactly like the Iron Man suit and were never brought up in the action figures at all.
The screenplay is pretty horrendous as well. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously and includes some clever one-liners, but when there delivered from Channing Tatum and Sienna Miller, and not the comedian Marlon Wayans, you have a problem. The lines were so corny and obvious that I couldn’t help but think I was watching Superman or The Dark Knight, I will give credit to Marlon Wayans who does make this film a lot funnier with his deliverance and shows he can deliver in any film.
I felt like the ensemble cast was very well-picked but juts didn’t deliver like I thought it could. Channing Tatum does a really bad job and just looks and feels like a plastic toys the whole time and his love interest Sienna Miller were not very believable as a couple and she wasn’t very deadly either. I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and I was excited to see him in this film but I think just how they used him was bull and could’ve been used better anyway. Marlon Wayans and Christopher Ecceleston do well and make their scenes count even with the little amount of time they have.
Consensus: The action and mayhem is in your face and keeps your eyes glued to the screen but the cheesy liners delivered by some horrendous acting just makes this film another big-budget summer movie.