Well, at least he didn’t apologize for this movie.
General Francis X. Hummel (Ed Harris) feels as if he has been wronged by the country that he served for so damn long and decides to prove his dissatisfaction. How? Well, he rounds up a group of fellow troops who feel the same, get them into Alcatraz, take it over, hold hostages, threaten to use a bomb on the whole city of San Francisco, and keep a countdown of when the shit goes boom. There to save the day is explosions and chemicals expert Dr. Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage), but he has a special guest with him, retired agent John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery). Mason is the only man who knows his way in and out of Alcatraz, and uses the government’s help to his advantage. Bastard.
We all know Michael Bay. Love him, hate him, adore him, disagree with him. No matter what, we all know a Michael Bay movie when we see one. Explosions, skinny-clad women, macho-posing, bad one-liners, and a whole shit load of action. Nothing more, nothing less. Good, now you know what you’re getting yourself into, let’s get this ride going.
Everybody considers this to be Bay’s best and even if that isn’t true (I’m still a fan of the first Transformers, don’t ask me why), I can still see why people have thought so, even up until today. It’s one of those movies that has such a solid premise, that it’s almost hard to live down the bad-assery. First of all, you got Alcatraz as the setting and any time you have your action and craziness occurring there; you can’t blow it. Secondly, the cast is pretty top-notch with a bunch of dudes that may not have been the biggest and the best box-office names at the time, but still showed you that they could beat some beef when they had to. And no, not that type either.
And lastly, and probably the most important: it’s just fun. It doesn’t matter how much detail I get into this flick, all that matters is that this movie is all the fun and excitement that it should be and that’s it. You got the usual car-chases, the explosions, the gun-battles, the bombs, and even a Mexican stand-off in case anybody thought that not everything was possible. In Bay’s world, anything is possible and he’ll show you too, just with enough craziness and nuttiness to go along on the side. If you can’t handle it, then you shouldn’t have even bothered giving it a look in the first place. You can say that about most directors, but Bay is the prime-example where you have to know if his name is attached or not. Sounds crazy, I know. But there are people out there that hate him THAT much. Poor guy. Just needs a hug. Maybe Megan Fox will lend a hand?
Does that mean it is anywhere near the type of film you want to see to tease your brain and make you think? Absolutely, positively not! Then again, with the name “Michael Bay” attached, you couldn’t and probably shouldn’t expect anything more. That said, this movie is pretty stupid and some situations did make me laugh, albeit the unintentional ones. One of the goofiest gags throughout this movie is how the countdowns always seem to change drastically. At one point, we are stuck watching as the movie reads “9 hours till detonation”. That’s fine. Seemed reasonable and it seemed like time did pass on. Then, out of nowhere, about five minutes later, the movie reads “52 minutes till detonation”. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! What the hell happened to the pass 8 hours and 8 minutes? Did they just suddenly go by as soon as the people closed their eyes? Once again, maybe I was thinking a bit more than the movie, but that’s just a personal, random nitpick from yours truly. Once again, don’t think too much of it. I didn’t, and I had a great time.
Most of that good time is courtesy of the fine sets of bad-asses that Bay was able to assemble in almost every role, short to large. Sean Connery has always been known as one of the biggest and best bad-asses of our generation, and he totally proves that as John Mason. Some will laugh their asses off once they initially see the ged-up Connery’s decking, but after awhile, you get by it all once he gets a shave, a shower, and ready for action. After this hits, then it’s all feet-to-the-floor with him and the charm never stops. Even when Connery isn’t beating the shite out of somebody, he’s always finding a way to burst-out some snappy line that either he made up himself, or it was written for him so beautifully. There’s this whole subplot about him and his daughter that’s touched on a tad bit much, but who cares! It’s Sean Connery, in a movie, playing a bad-ass. Pipe down and enjoy!
Then, on the other end of the spectrum: there’s Nic Cage. If any of you out there know and love Nic Cage, the way that I know and love Nic Cage, then this is going to be one hell of an entertainment-ride for you. What’s so funny about Cage here is that since his character is such a dweeb-a-tron that doesn’t really know how to move in hand-to-hand combat and is as nerdy as you can get, then that means Cage gets to play around with that aspect, the way we all know Nic Cage loves to do. It’s hilarious to see him act like a total and complete nut, and even though there isn’t much else underneath this guy other than the fact that he’s get a preggo girly-gal at home and a pretty suit car, we still love the hell out of the guy. Then again, if you aren’t a fan of Nic Cage; you’re most likely going to hate every second he speaks. Yep, it’s like THAT.
Last, but certainly not least is Ed Harris as the army general who calls this whole thing on and tries to go through with it. Harris is another actor that can be a nut when he chooses to be, and this role is no different. At first, you automatically think that he’s just an idiotic dick that has no real reasoning for doing the things he’s about to do, and you pretty much write him up as a unsympathetic dude right from the get-go. But, as time goes on and people start to piss him off more and more, you see a conscience come out of this guy and it’s believable. Well, at least as believable as you can get in a Michael Bay movie. But that’s still enough credit to Ed Harris who can almost do no wrong. That’s not just in my book, but a lot of others’ as well.
The rest of the cast is filled with a bunch of character actors that you have seen a hundred, million times before but just have never been able to match the name with the face. David Morse, Tony Todd, and Bokeem Woodbine play some of Harris’ fellow soldiers that help him out and do whatever they can to go through with their plan; whereas Michael Biehn and William Forsythe are among the ones that try their hardest to help out Connery and Cage. Whether or not it’s actually successful, I’ll leave to you. But, there’s plenty more where this came from and it’s always fun to play the old-fashioned, “name game” every once and awhile. Even if it is, once again: a Michael Bay movie. Okay, now I’m starting to get serious about that hug, dammit!
Consensus: Everything you’d want in a fast-paced, fun action film, is exactly in The Rock. You got guns, bullets, blood, cheese, bombs, explosives, corny one-liners, and a rare but fun Cage and Connery team-up, just to make sure you have as much enjoyment as you can, without having your brain intact.
7 / 10 = Rental!!
This will probably bring up a lot of awkward questions about where babies come from and how they’re made. Questions I look forward to answering.
The film stars Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton as an happily married couple who have been unable to conceive a child and are ready to give up. One night after a bit too much wine, they fantasize about what their ideal child would be and bury a box with all these wishes in their backyard. Lo and behold, a dirt-covered little boy (CJ Adams) appears on their doorstep the next day.
That’s a pretty strange premise to have and it’s only weirder that the son of Frank Zappa, Ahmet, wrote it himself. However, while his father was inventive and original with what he could with his profession in music, he just so happens to be the total opposite with his.
What bothered the most about this flick was how damn predictable it was. I sort of knew that I was going to get that right from the start going into this, but I wasn’t expecting it this bad. Everything happens in the same ways you would expect it to normally go down in flicks like these, and what’s worse is that I barely got a surprise. The recipes for this family-oriented flick have already been written out and predicted before-hand, and it was only a matter of time until I was throwing money down on what was going to happen next, how, and when. Sadly, it was only me and my grandparents who went to go see this (go ahead, make jokes) and they weren’t down to throw any moolah around but you can bet your sweet-asses if I had gone with a bunch of girls I would have been loaded. With money, that is.
As soon as Timothy shows up in these people’s lives, he somehow makes all of these miraculous dreams and miracles come true but without ever doing anything. Take it for granted, the kid’s a nice kid and has a certain amount of goody-goody charm to him but he doesn’t do anything that could be deemed terribly special to the point of where you actually believe in these townspeople actually standing behind him altogether. I thought that they were going to play this story out as if it was “the Forrest Gump for kids” but even that would have been too much of a stretch for this movie. A lot of belief has to be suspended for these types of films but not so much to where you think people would buy the fact that these people know he has leaves on his legs, and they never choose to say anything. Where I come from, that kid would have gotten his ass thrown in so many lockers they would run-out. And don’t even get me started on all of the lunch money he’d lose.
But as terribly formulaic and predictable this all is, it still has a nice message deep-down inside that I couldn’t help but enjoy every time it was on-display. Basically, this film is all about how kids should be themselves, live up to what they want to do, and don’t have anybody ever tell them that they are weird for doing so. I got this message right from my parents when I was a young kid and I’ve been living that way ever since and look where it’s gotten me. I’m no major success in life or anything, but I still have stay trued to myself and the things that I want to do regardless of how weird it may be viewed at as by other people. This message is very prominent in this flick and I hope it is one that gets out to kids, as well as parents so they can tell their kids the same thing.
The real element of this movie that actually won me over was probably the performances from everybody involved, even if their characters may have not been the best that they have ever portrayed. Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton are awesome as the wife and husband couple that eventually get Timothy Green and they play up this very loving mother and father-combo well, and you could see why they would be great parents to have, especially for a kid with such odd predicaments as Timothy. Garner is fine but it’s Edgerton who really nails it as the fun-loving dad who just wants Timothy to have the love and support from a father-figure that he never had, and that sometimes results in the funnier and more heartfelt scenes of the whole movie. Not saying that there were many, but they still worked mainly because it was Edgerton behind all of them.
I was actually surprised that this kid, CJ Adams, didn’t bother me as much as I was expecting him to. Kids actors aren’t always the best to watch in movies like this, especially those ones that try to sound ultra-smart and cute, but somehow just end up being annoying and that’s what I thought Timothy Green was going to end up being. Thankfully, he’s not and this young blood, Adams, plays him very well by giving him a conscience that’s easy to stand-behind. Also, without sounding terribly effin’ creepy, the kid’s very cute and will probably have a lot of young girls swooning over him. I was like that once, but then I started to get facial hair. That’s when it all went South for me.
Everybody else in this cast is fine too, the only problem is that they aren’t giving characters that are worth paying much attention to, even though the film tries to make us see otherwise. Ron Livingston easily steals every scene that he’s in as Edgerton’s boss, but his character is played off as this one-note dickhead that we don’t really care what happens to him or what lesson he learns; Rosemarie DeWitt (who is almost this year’s Jessica Chastain with how many times I’ve seen her show up in random shit) plays Garner’s younger sister that believes all of her kids are miraculous and so much better than what they really are, and she’s alright with the role but she is another one that feels too one-notey for us to care about; David Morse has a very interesting character as Edgerton’s dead-beat daddy that was barely ever there for him when he needed him the most, and actually gives it his all even though by the end of the film, his character is sort of wasted in a bunch of false sentimental moments that don’t do much development for his character, or Edgerton’s for that matter; and Dianne Wiest, as great as she may be, she gives off one of the biggest one-note pieces of trash in this whole movie and seemed way too mean and cruel to be a chick that these many people would put up with, let alone have her as the head of the city council. There’s plenty of other familiar faces to be seen here, but they’re all given characters that don’t really seem like you should care about at all and the film takes too much of its focusing on them, when they could be focusing more on Timothy and his so-called “parents”.
Consensus: Though it is well-acted and features a nice message for the whole family, The Odd Life of Timothy Green just doesn’t bring any surprises, emotional resonance, or any type of extravagant characters to hold onto. Still, it’s bearable to sit through and won’t kill you to check out on a rainy, Sunday afternoon.
Finally Samuel L. has just had it with all of these white people effin’ him over.
Police choppers circle as swat marksmen target Danny Roman (Samuel L Jackson). he is holding the chief of the Internal Affairs Department at gunpoint. Roman’s world has been destroyed by false charges of murder and embezzlement. Chris Sabian (Kevin Spacey), a negotiator from another precinct is brought in to mediate.
What we have here is a pretty generic, B-movie that wouldn’t want to be watched by anybody if it didn’t have the two stars it has in the lead roles. To be honest though, I can’t say that it’s a bad thing either.
Director F. Gary Gray does a pretty good job at keeping this flick moving with a nice essence of suspense and tension through the air. It reminded me a lot of a mixture between Man on a Ledge and Dog Day Afternoon, where I had no idea what was going to happen next with this negotiator and these hostages as well. Gray is good at keeping the action moving but it’s not just about big explosions, car chases, and guns going off in this flick, it’s more about the game of wits between the two negotiators. Since they are both professional negotiators, they both know all the tricks of the trade when it comes to talking a person out of doing something and it’s very interesting to see considering we never really see the tables turned around like this in a generic movie such as this one.
However, all of those games suddenly get lost by the half-way mark and then the script starts to lose itself a bit. Rather than being a flick about two professionals basically out-playing the other one, it ends up being another “whodunit” that we always see and in this case it’s nothing or exciting. It’s not hard to see where this film is going right from the start but it was such a disappointment considering I was having so much fun with these two dudes on-screen, but instead, Gray had to bring in the big-bangs and the boom-booms so I sort of have to blame him as well.
What also bothered me about this flick was that this script got really thin, really quick. I felt a lot for Danny, our main character, because the guy totally got effed over and how could you not want to cheer someone on when they’re up against a bunch of dirty cops? But the problem I had here was that he was the only character that was really fleshed out, and everybody else was just a bunch of corny types that we see in movies like this all time. The cops here are the usual “get the job done, at any cost” types, the hostages are the “we’re scared, but can also help you with this hostage situation you’re pulling off” type, and even the other negotiator himself is a type too. So many people here are types and even though I’m not always disappointed in every film that I see that shows characters as two-dimensional, here it bothered me because it seemed like they were starting off so well.
When it comes to two actors like Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey though, you can’t go wrong. Samuel L. is awesome here as Danny and creates a likable and believable character that really could g0 to the ends of the earth to prove that he’s innocent after all this time. Jackson has a couple of scenes where he just lets loose on his anger, especially one where he messes with another negotiator who just doesn’t know what to do and it’s funny, but also very tense the whole way through which reminded me a lot of his “What” scene in Pulp Fiction. Spacey is also very good with his toneless readings here as Chris and gives him a certain edge that makes him a lot cooler than any of the other cops in this flick. Still though, I think that with Spacey you need to have more dimensions to him because his voice is so monotone and sinister, that he can give any likable character a darker edge to them as well. Then again, they didn’t go down this road and Spacey still did fine with it so I can’t complain that much.
Consensus: The Negotiator has tension and suspense to it, and also features strong performances from reliable leads like Jackson and Spacey, but it starts to lose itself about half-way through and gets more and more predictable until we end at a conclusion we thought we were going to have all along.
Lesson to all killers – CLOSE YOUR CURTAINS!
Kale (Shia LaBeouf), a troubled teen sentenced to house arrest, begins watching his neighbors out of boredom — only to discover evidence that a serial killer lives a stone’s throw from his home. As his suspicions of his neighbor (David Morse) grow, Kale enlists the aid of friends Ashley (Sarah Roemer) and Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) in his increasingly dangerous snooping.
Right away from just looking at the premise you know that this is going to be a rip-off of Rear Window. However, the film is not denying the fact that they are, and it works in their advantage much to my surprise.
Director D.J. Caruso takes this premise and actually makes a lot of it fun in a way. There is some nice suspense to the story because you never know what quite is going to happen at what exact moment and Caruso puts the camera to good use and cuts away every so often to gain further tension.
My main problem with this film is that it’s nothing spectacular and very forgettable, especially because of the last 20 minutes of the film suck. The whole film was all tense leading up to the last 20 minutes and then it just turns into another cliched slasher flick resolution. This disappointed me because Caruso actually kind of brought a whole subtle feel here to all of the action that happened here, and then these last 20 minutes came up and I thought I was watching a cheesy Halloween sequel. I knew there wasn’t going to be any actual real surprises here with this film but to say the least, I didn’t like how it all ended.
Shia LaBeouf is incredibly likable as Kale Brecht, and mostly carries this film the whole way through. Say what you will about this dude back from his days on Even Stevens, but Shia knows how to act and he can be very charismatic which is something I’ll give him a lot of credit for. Sarah Roemer is just here for a romantic love interest but a good one at least; David Morse is very good as the subtle but terrifying Robert Turner; and Carrie-Anne Moss is here as Shia’s mommy, and I’m guessing this is what happens to your career when you do two crappy sequels to The Matrix.
Then again, you have to think of the audience this film is made for….teens. Teen thrillers are PG-13 thrillers that have enough humor as well as thrilling moments to keep the crowd on the edge of their seat and have teenage girls screaming in their seats. This film does those elements put together nicely in a way that would seem more fun than irritating. However, if you were to look at this film in a more serious and serious way, you probably would be pissed off that you wasted your time. That was not me however.
Consensus: Though it’s last 20 minutes may be a bit of a bummer, Disturbia is an often entertaining teen thriller, that is good if you want some cheap laughs and cheap thrills, as well as see a very good performance from LaBeouf.
I never thought Micheal Clarke Duncan could captivate me so much.
Adaptation of Stephen King’s supernatural tale is set on death row in a Southern prison, where gentle giant John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) possesses the mysterious power to heal people’s ailments. When the cell block’s head guard, Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks), recognizes Coffey’s miraculous gift, he tries desperately to help stave off the condemned man’s execution.
This film is directed by Frank Darabont, the same person who did The Shawshank Redemption, and once again he’s back in prison. Though that film was about mostly the prisoners this one is more about the guards and how the prisoner influences their lives. This is more of a fable than it is a real novel.
For the biggest disclaimer of this movie is that it’s way too long. Personally I’m not bothered by how long films are as long as their at least interesting and holds my interest, this film doesn’t quite do that. The film felt a little dragged at points, and really I don’t think it felt over 3 hours to tell the story of a prisoner. This film is very interesting by the last 30 minutes but the others 2 hours are just long side notes.
I also felt that the film was trying hard to show us a message about either suicide or how wrong the death penalty is. I felt like both sides were argued pretty evenly, I felt like this movie’s theme caused much more combustion, than it needed. The pace also adds insult to injury with it’s very slow storytelling and many key moments that take long to deliver.
Other than the those problems, I felt like this was one of the most touching films I have ever seen. The great thing is how you see all of these people on The Green Mile. From the gaurds to the prisoners, and also to the houses they live in. You really do get a full idea of how these people act and live by this movie and it connects us to these characters even more.
The added supernatural moments add a lot of emotion to this film, as you sense that Clarke Duncan character is really a good person. I also enjoyed how the whole film wasn’t so centered on him but the other prisoners with him on The Green Mile.
The star-studded cast does the best job in this film and does save this film from some bad moments. Tom Hanks does a really strong job, and doesn’t play his usual energetic performers as he always seems relaxed throughout the film and adds a lot more of heart to the film. Micheal Clarke Duncan is really the main reason to see this film as he steals every scene he is involved in. Clarke Duncan combines the physical look of big, strong, and scary but puts it along with much sweetness in his character where you know this person is kind at heart and you connect to him even more than any other character in this film. Sam Rockwell and David Morse also show off a lot of talent in this film.
Consensus: Though jumbled with a slow pace and a very long time limit of over 3 hours, The Green Mile is a captivating story that has touching performances that add to this emotionally powerful experience.
Mos Def and Bruce Willis, what an odd pairing.
Tasked with escorting chatty prosecution witness Eddie Bunker (Mos Def) from police custody to a nearby courthouse, aging New York City cop Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis) reluctantly gears up for the 16-block trek. But with powerful forces intent on keeping them from reaching their destination, they’ll be lucky to make it there alive.
Bruce Willis like in many of his film’s as of date, has basically played that same hard-nosed cop who turns superhero when things go array. Director Richard Donner has directed all of the Lethal Weapon films and knows how to do these buddy-cop thriller action films, and this shows he hasn’t lost any of his touch.
The storyline to this so called “great concept” that I just stated could have been put together better than it was. I’m not a film writer or director so I don’t know what exactly could have made the storyline better, but I’m just saying that it could have been better. Some scenes did drag on a little bit too long and the film didn’t create too much of a character personality for the two leads to get us to care for them.
The performances from the trio of leads are great. Mos Def is really good in this film and does make this film if his voice doesn’t annoy you enough. He brings a lot to the table and is not like many other rapper’s turned actor’s that we have seen before, he’s actually pretty good. Bruce Willis I think does relive the Die Hard character within him a little bit too much but makes this one more compelling and more tragic to where we feel sympathy and root for him. The one great thing about the two is how their connection in the beginning of the film is not good but as the film progresses the two gain a great deal amount of chemistry between the two and it actually feels real. David Morse also does a very good job at playing the villain as usual.
A lot of the action scenes though do seem done before are actually well-played out and just create a step to have another clever twist in the story. The film is not very comedic but takes all that away with it’s over the top action. I enjoyed the ending and thought it was very sympathetic but strong at the same time and fully made this film.
Consensus: 16 Blocks features strong performances from it’s trio of leads and has some high-quality action but may seem a bit too predictable and doesn’t add much to thrillers.
Possibly one of the greatest war films of all time.
In Iraq, a U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal( EOD) unit is forced to play a dangerous game of cat and mouse in the chaos of war in a city where everyone is a potential enemy and every object could be a deadly bomb. Jeremy Renner plays the leader of the EOD team, as he contends with not only defusing bombs in the backdrop of a war, but also the psychological and emotional strain that it inflicts.
This is the exact war movie for people who don’t like war movies. Director Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break), takes what you would expect from a normal Hollywood war movie and turn it on its side and provide a different angle and aspect on war, that makes everything more effective. Bigelow directs the film with such a real look, that at points I was wondering if this is actual real footage of the Iraq war itself. Its a great way of showing whats going threw that soldiers mind at that exact time.
The film gives a very deep close insight on one of the most nervous and skillful jobs in the army. The music during most of these scenes are used with such authenticity and one it comes in and out it is used during moments when they’re is nothing else but bomb defusing going on, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Being stressed out during a movie is not very uncommon, but parts in the film are so nail biting that I was shaking by how stressed I truthfully was.
The acting is also incredible. Big kudos to Jeremy Renner who is amazing, so amazing at times that I forgot that he was even acting. He brings much humor and a great outlook of life to the film which is one of the main reasons it is so great. Anthony Mackie also does a very great job at capturing the man who is opposed to Renner’s character, but yet, sort of envy’s him and how he can move on with his life. Some of the big names like Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, and David Morse aren’t put in the movie just to have big name cameos but more fpr support and they have a reason for being in the film.
The Hurt Locker pushes away a lot of the preaching that have plagued films of this Iraq War, and this makes the viewer more interested in what happened and what has been happening in that war zone of Iran. Easily one of the best films of this year possibly of the past 10 years. I pray to God that the Academy, come to Award time, doesn’t forget about this movie and gives some big nominations. I’m thinking if Kathryn Bigelow is nominated for Best Director she would win and be the first female to win in that category. Cause if anyone can do it, it is her.