Steroids will kill you. But also will guns, lies, sex, drugs, murder, and leading a whole life of crime.
Three dimwitted body-builders (Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie) make a living teaching other people how to put their body’s into shape. But they’ve had enough of it and want more out of life like money, fame, and drugs. You know, the American Dream. They decide to reach for this goal by kidnapping and extorting money from a very rich and powerful man (Tony Shalhoub). It sort of works, but as time goes on and their ego’s and utter stupidity seem to get in the way of things, they lose their way to figuring out just how the hell to keep their heads up and out of jail.
Oh yeah, and it’s all based on a true story. Don’t believe me, then seriously; go check this out and come back. See what I mean? Real shit.
The fact that this is all apparently happened, was directed by Michael Bay, and considered to be a passion project of his, really has me scratching my head still, even to this very sceond where I’m typing. However, being the “esteemed” critic that I am, I knew I had to be open to seeing something that Bay actually had been wanting to do for awhile and I think I stand with everybody else when I say that it’s time we saw something new from this guy. At least, I think so anyway. I hope I’m not alone.
I knew something was “up” with this movie once it began. It wasn’t that the movie wasn’t interesting or that I wasn’t wondering what this was all going to be about, it was that something didn’t feel right. The movie begins with Marky Mark doing sit-ups on a ceiling then sees a bunch of cop cars, yells out “fuck”, and begins to run away, all to a narration that’s supposed to be funny, but isn’t. That’s how the whole movie actually plays out, in fact. Most moments are supposed to be done for laughs in the way that we point and chuckle at these bumbling fools trying to pull off robbery, but it doesn’t work. Instead, it seems like the movie is trying too hard to be funny, and failing at it so miserably so. It gets better, but very slightly.
The problem with this movie isn’t that it isn’t really funny, because once the first hour comes and goes, it begins to find it’s funny-footing, but it’s just “off” in ways that’s hard to explain. This a true story, about people that did bad stuff, tried to get away with it, and came close to doing so as well, so why the hell should all of this shit be played-up for laughs? I get that Bay wanted to have a bit of a tongue-in-cheek approach with this story and get all goofy on us, but he’s not the type of director that can make the transitions from drama to comedy seamless. You notice when the movie is trying too hard to be funny and too hard to be serious, and it just ends up coming out like a weird mixture of eggs and chocolate. Never tried that combo before, but something tells me it doesn’t mix well.
That’s not to say that this movie isn’t entertaining to watch, because it is, it just doesn’t feel like anybody can make up their right minds as to what type of film they want to make. The screenwriters wanted a dramedy; Bay wanted a buddy comedy, with a bunch of grit; the actors wanted a loosey-goosey comedy; and Marky Mark just wants to show the ladies that he’s still got the looks. Everybody is playing at their own pace, with their own rules, and their own ways of getting shit done. It honestly isn’t as bad as I may make that sound; it really isn’t. It’s actually interesting to see, considering you never know where it’s going to go next, in terms of story and tone. And even though not all of it fits right in the way you’d expect, it’s still fun for that aspect alone.
Other than problems with tone and pace, Bay still seems to be having fun here and I was glad. When this movie wants to be wild and crazy; it’s a blast of fun. You never know where it’s going to go, where it’s going to end up, and what these crazy mofos are going to try next. Well, that is unless you don’t already know the story beforehand. If you do, then you’re sort of left out a bit of all of the fun, but not fully. If you like watching a movie, not having a darndest clue what the people involved are going to show you next; then this may be the trip for you. It has the humor; it has the action; it has the performances; and it has the fun-feel to it, but you still can never seem to get past the fact that almost everybody involved with this movie was on some sort of coke or something. More strange, than it is crazy, but still interesting to watch. I’m not sure if I’m selling this movie well at all, but don’t be worried because it is a good movie; just a very odd one at that.
But if you really want to see something insane: then, just watch these performances. Seriously, every cast member seems like they are either high off of their asses, or having the time of their lives. Sometimes, even both at the same time. Marky Mark is as fun and electric as he has ever been as Daniel Lugo, “the mastermind” (use that term very loosely) behind the whole wheeling and dealing operation. Wahlberg’s manic energy really plays well with this character because it allows him to be a nut-job, just about the whole time. He’s a guy that likes to poke fun at himself, even when he is doing curls for the girls with 50 lb.’s in each hand. It’s hard for a guy to be sexy, charming, and self-knowingly goofy at the same time, but Wahlberg pulls it off perfectly, as usual.
Then, there’s Dwayne Johnson as his fellow-partner, Paul Doyle. If anybody seems to be having any bit of fun in this movie: it’s The Rock (whoops!). Rocky has always been one of these guys that’s been wanting to break free for the longest time and it’s just so great to see him do it now, do it loud, and best of all: do it proud. Doyle’s character is a funny one because he’s constantly on either side of the fence. He’s a holy man that’s been sober for awhile and believes in the higher-power, yet, is all caught up in these deadly-shenanigans that he can’t make up his mind as to whether or not he wants to partake in it or not. But at other times, the character totally loses his idea of sensibility and is just balls to the walls from there on. That’s where Johnson really exceeds well, and kept me laughing my ass off, even when the movie didn’t seem to be working with any funny material whatsoever. Just watching him act like an ass and make fun of himself as well, was funny enough to give me joy and laughter. Sort of like Christmas Day, but instead of presents; it’s just some roided-out freak who likes to make goofy faces. Goofy faces that worked, so I guess I can’t talk too much shite.
Even though he isn’t advertised all that much as partaking in the crimes, Anthony Mackie is also here for the wild ride and is good for what he has to do to keep up with these two. Not only can he flex-up when need be, but he can also joke around about his look and style as well, which is always needed. However, it’s abundantly clear that he does not have as much material to work with, like Dwayne and Marky Mark do. That still doesn’t mean that he isn’t funny or entertaining to watch; because he is. It’s just that the guy’s jokes are more obvious and more about him being black than anything else. Hopefully, Captain America 2 will start getting him some finer-roles like he deserves.
Other actors that show up in this seem to be having fun, even if they are as nutso as you can get. Tony Shalhoub plays the mean and cruel rich guy that these body-builders decide to target and is good because he always stays funny, without ever drawing out the sympathy card. We don’t like his character and we don’t really care for him, which was sort of the point. That’s why it’s so fun to see Shalhoub just take a role like this, and revel in the unsympathetic-nature of it. Ed Harris also shows up as the detective that helps him out and is good, but it’s Ed Harris. What else is there left to say? But trust me, there’s plenty more where that came from and they are all just as wacky as the leads. And I also have to give credit to Michael Bay for giving Rebel Wilson a chance to be funny again, even if she lost all of my respect after last Sunday. Lord, I still feel the pain from that.
Consensus: Most of Pain & Gain is meant to be seen, just for the sake of bragging-rights and pure experience. But with that said, it is still fun for what you see with it’s random bits of comedy, drama, crime, and action, all rolled into one piece of wild popcorn fare. Also, it’s a Michael Bay film with no robots. So just be happy dammit!
7 / 10 = Rental!!
I thought all snipers had to do was just sit there, hold their breath, and shoot. That’s it.
Marksman Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg) leaves the Army after a mission of his goes bad. After he is reluctantly pressed back into service, Swagger is double-crossed once again, but this time: it’s a tad bit more serious. With two bullets in him and the subject of a nationwide manhunt, Swagger begins his revenge, which will take down the most powerful people in the country, even leading him back to that fateful incident where he was initially screwed-over in the first place.
No matter what action movie you venture out or stay inside to see, chances are; you’re going to get nothing but sure, mindless entertainment with a few, but also very little surprises. That’s just the way the movie-world works and as fine with that as I may be, sometimes, there are just some cases where I can’t turn my brain off anymore. Sometimes, I just gotta let loose. Sometimes, I just gotta let a movie have it. Sometimes, is one of those times right now!
Antoine Fuqua may not have the best track-record out there, but still a guy that I have enough faith in when it comes to action, using it right, and using it to his advantage, and for the most part; is actually what kept this film alive and well when it seemed to hit some dead ends. The action starts off fine and kept me on-the-edge-of-my-seat a couple of moments, especially one car-chase scene that went all throughout the “fine” streets of Philadelphia. First of all, being a homeboy of Philly, I was happy to see my town be in a big-budget action pic where the streets were used perfectly and also, it was just a fun little piece of action that this film seemed like it needed to enhance and mostly, keep our minds off of the “plot”. I use that term “plot”, very loosely.
Most action pics are stupid. Duh, we all know that. But this one was a little TOO stupid for me to even have fun and enjoy at points. The whole idea that these dudes would just come up to a guy, have him come out of a life of solitude, and proposition an assassination attempt, without him ever gettin’ the willies from the guys, just really surprises me since I knew if I was in that situation, I would know something was fishy right away. Also, isn’t Marky Mark supposed to be a trained marksman that excels in this type of shit? Just a thought. So there we go, the beginning of this story already had me annoyed but it just continues to get worse and worse as more of these plot twists begin to unravel. I’m all down for plot twists when they make a story more interesting, but there were plot twists within the plot twists happening here and after awhile it became more laughable than actually entertaining. Then again, maybe “laughable” and “entertaining” go hand-in-hand in ways, too. Either way, something just was not clicking with me here and slowly, but surely, the movie started to lose me.
Then, the story continues to get worse as, for some freakin’ odd reason, they decide to get all political with our simple, action movie watching asses. Throughout the whole film, there is this under-lining theme of corrupt politicians that runs throughout and doesn’t come on strong until the very end where it all comes together (I think?). The whole movie plays out like a slight-thriller, with action elements, but then changes into where we’re supposed to feel of this as some sort of morality piece. I mean when I watch my dumb-ass action movies, don’t try to bog me down with a bunch of political themes that could be very present in today’s day and age. Why? Well because, I don’t give much of a shit about all that! That’s why I came here: to see Marky Mark get a sniper and start blowin’ people’s heads off left-and-right, not to understand what our dirty politicians are doing to poorer, foreign countries out there. Maybe for a different flick that may be the topic of the day, but not for this one.
Speaking of Marky Mark Wahlberg, say what you will about him, but the guy does do his best with every piece of material he’s given. The guy is a bona-fide star because he can take these shitty, action scripts and actually give them something more to hold onto because there is just something there with him and his charisma that works. However, I think his role as Bob Lee Swagger was the true point where I see him being a bit too dull for my liking. This guy, Swagger (what a cooooool name!), has a lot going for him that he’s one of the toughest mofos out there and can shoot just about anything that walks from a pretty sexy distance. However, this guy doesn’t really seem like he’s all that tough to begin with. Yeah, he shoots people and yeah, he kills them but what else can he really do? The guy barely has a personality and as much as he tries, Wahlberg can’t seem to really give him one. Wahlberg tries so, so, so hard with this role but in the end, it just comes off as another one of his dull, action-hero performances. Maybe that’s the script’s fault, and maybe it isn’t. Regardless, the two weren’t coming together and making sense.
The one who actually showed some real personality with his character was Michael Peña as the field agent that has nothing else really going for him, except for Swagger and finding out what’s getting jiggy with him. No matter what, you got to love Peña for what he is able to do with all of his roles and it’s great to see him have a bunch of fun with a character that is essentially one, big, effin’ cliche. The guy deserves all of the praise he’s been getting for awhile, and I think it’s time he just about broke out of that shell, and into our laps. If that makes any possible sense whatsoever.
Then, on the flip-side of the coin, you got Ned Beatty and Danny Glover as the two, terribly-corrupt government workers that just ooze evil in every scene. Both are good and show that they can work with a shitty script but after awhile, they’re evilness began to get ridiculous and over-played, almost to where it seemed very unbelievable that they would be at all nice or humane to the ones around them, let alone to each other. Oh, and then you got Kate Mara as Swagger’s old-partner’s wife. She definitely had a cute look to her but the way her character just lets Swagger into her life without ever knowing or seeing him ever before, did seem a bit unbelievable. Once again, another part of this story that seemed stupid, but was somehow needed to move the story right on along.
Consensus: Though Shooter is a loud, dumb, and stupid action thriller that makes no apologies for what it does, it somehow still comes off as a terribly-written piece of work that does nothing other than pull out a bunch of incomprehensible plot twists, only to add more confusion on to the final-product, that was already struggling as it was.
4 / 10 = Crapola!!
If Mayor Nutter ever needs somebody to watch his woman, he can always give me a call. He just better drop my taxes.
An ex-cop (Mark Wahlberg) finds himself in a job for New York City’s mayor (Russell Crowe), which is that he must trail his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), whom he believes is having an affair. However, what the ex-cop stumbles upon is worse than he ever imagined and thus, the job becomes a lot more difficult than he expected.
This is one of those movies that seems like it has all of the promise with the cast, the characters, the plot, the stars, and heck, even the director (Allen Hughes, in his first movie without bro Albert by his side) all being big and well-respected. However, just like Gangster Squad, it is January, and you can’t always expect the best, no matter who may be behind it all. Why can’t it just be May already? Why?!?!??
As a director all by his lonesome, Hughes is actually not too bad. Granted, this isn’t a very showwy-direction for the type of dude that is known for this type of stuff, but he gives us a nice atmosphere and mood to start us off on the right foot. We feel as if we are in for a movie that’s all about dark stuff, happening to dark people, in dark ways, that are almost too dark to explain and believe. Basically, this movie was started-off as being one, big, piece of darkness that was most likely going to keep me guessing until the very end and for awhile; it was doing just that.
I don’t want to say that all of the twists and turns of this story work when you take everything else into consideration, but for the most part, I liked not knowing exactly where the story could go and how. Rarely do you ever get thrillers that just like to throw plot-twists for fun, but actually have them mean something, rather than just be a wake-up call to the audience and make sure they’re paying attention. You never quite know where this story could go and even the places that it does end-up, could actually take you by surprise and make you feel like this is a no-holds-barred movie, that’s ready to take you down any chance it can get. However, that would definitely be giving the movie way too much credit.
Even though the twists, the turns, the darkness, the secrets, and big reveals kept me interested in what was going on behind the closed doors we rarely get a glimpse at, they didn’t feel deserved. It was almost as if the movie itself thought, “Well, we already have these twists here, why not throw in a couple more just for good measure?”. That idea that I maybe think the creators thought up of in their heads during the writing-process, only goes to show you that there wasn’t much thought going into this script, because certain things just don’t add up. We get a look at how the world of politics can be cruel and why it’s more of a fight between the toughest, rather than the smartest, but those moments only get shoved down our throats when the movie feels like it needs to be more than just a natural-thriller where Marky Mark is going around and kicking the crap out of people.
Then, it just gets stranger and more contrived, as more subplots come in like a gay couple that seems as forced as can be, a problem with Marky Mark’s drinking problem, a love story between him and his gal-pal that has the material there to be interesting and gripping, but just isn’t due to the delivery, and a plot that shows Mark’s past and how the “hood” he used to represent, may not always be there. You put these three factors in, add a bit of the political-idea of this flick, and mix them altogether in a blender; then you’re most likely going to get a mixed-bag full of moments that work, but other moments, that just don’t add up to anything. I think where I’m trying to get at with this flick, is that even though you get into it, the movie is still nothing more than just a thriller, no matter how many debates and arguments they want to throw in there about changing NYC, by giving “the People” they’re money back. In today’s day and age, with the economy we have, maybe messages like that would work and really get inside the minds of many, fellow Americans, but put that message in a movie like this: it’s going to go nowhere and not matter a single-bit. Why? Well, because people paid over $9 to see Marky Mark and Maximilian go head-to-head, not discuss on how to make the world/NYC a better place to live free and be happy in. Yeah, wrong movie entirely.
Marky Mark definitely seems like he’s made for these types of roles where he plays the type of conflicted dude that may not have the best morals you have ever seen, but is still a hell of a likable dude that you can’t help but cheer on. His role here, as Bobby, is exactly one of THOSE roles and it’s not something new, original, or slightly refreshing to see from the guy, but it doesn’t matter, because Wahlberg is good, as always, and gives us more to like about this character. However, it’s that character himself I just didn’t believe.
Without spoiling too much about this plot and basically telling you what goes down with Mark and everybody else, I’m just going to state that Mark’s character goes through some sort of self-realization phase where he soon starts to find-out that there’s a set-up somewhere along the lines, and it’s up to him to not only save the day, but show the bad people, for everything that they are: bad people. In any movie where Wahlberg does the same, exact transformation, not only do you believe it, but you like Wahlberg more and more cause you see the cool guy come out of his performance, but here, you just don’t care. Billy is one of those dudes that’s got a troubled-past and some issues that he’s dealing with at the present-time, but never so much to the point of where I feel like the guy would really turn his life around and eventually go balls-deep in a case, that doesn’t seem like it concerned him, well, ever. I can’t give away anymore of what happens, but trust me; you won’t believe in Bobby, no matter how much Wahlberg may distract you with those big guns and crooked, angry eyebrows.
Out of the cast, the two that really shine are probably Jeffrey Wright and Russell Crowe, who both feel as if they were just called-up to have a good time, and do exactly that. Especially Crowe, who seems like he needed to give the audience a nice-reminder that yes, even though he can’t sing, he can sure as hell own the screen like no other. I mean, hell, the guy has an Oscar at his household, and has been nominated close to three times by now! The guy’s got talent, it just doesn’t necessarily mean it’s in his vocal-chords. Oh well, nice to see you back, Russell. Now, stay away from Broadway musical-adaptations!
Consensus: The promise that lies within Broken City is exactly there for the first 45 minutes or so, but once the flick decides to spice things up with an over-abundance of plots, twists, conventions, and obvious-narratives that don’t feel believable, then it just loses all of it’s steam and is nothing more than just another thriller, with more talking than usual.
5.5 / 10 = Rental!!
Think of it as Cast Away, with instead of Wilson, there’s a shit-load of CGI.
This is the story an Indian boy named Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma) from Pondicherry who survives 227 days after a shipwreck, while stranded on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. However, like any 227-day trip with a Bengal tiger, it doesn’t go so smoothly.
An adaptation of Yann Martel’s novel was definitely one that needed to wait-out it’s time. It was called unfilmable for many reasons, but one of the main ones being the fact that the story mainly-revolves around a boy, stuck in a boat with a tiger. The only way you could have ever shot this movie with an actual-tiger still in-play, would be to have it utterly and completely stoned, and I think instead of eating the actor, the tiger would just go for the nearest Cheetos bag. So, obviously filming it conventionally was already-out before anybody could put it in, but what about the art and magic that is cinema? Can all of the money in the world ($10 million to be exact) make a CGI-tiger, look as real as the ones you see eating zebras alive on the Discovery Channel?
The answer to that is with an upstanding yes! Director Ang Lee once again shows that he is able to find beauty in any story he feels the need to tell, and he finds it here in the best-way with some of the most-realistic, beautiful special-effects I have seen in quite some time. With well-established directors like Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese both trying their aims at 3-D and doing a relatively nice-job in their efforts, it is so great to see a director that has never messed with this technology before, and just really give-it-his-all and give us a mesmerizing picture from start-to-finish.
And when I mean “start-to-finish”, I mean exactly that. Everything not only looks as realistic as you can get in terms of the animals involved, but the constant-colors that just pop-out of each and every scene really kept me looking the whole-time. You think by watching the trailer that you saw all you needed to see in terms of how gorgeous and stunning this film looks, but trust me, you haven’t. Certain things that you didn’t even think were possible to do with CGI-animation, let alone 3D, is done here and will take you by-storm by just how much effort and energy Lee puts into this new-found love of telling a story. I honestly cannot tell you enough: go see this movie in 3D and realize that maybe it’s the directors like Lee, Scorsese, and Spielberg who should be throwing out 3D movies instead of chumps like Timur Bekmambetov and Scott Speer. In case you couldn’t tell, Speer directed Step Up Revolution (trust me, I have no idea why I saw it either) and Timur directed the OTHER Honest Abe movie, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Keep on giving 3D to legendary directors that know how to work this kind of stuff, and keep it away from guys who literally are only doing it to “up” their box-office sales. And 9 times out of 10, it doesn’t even help.
But in case you haven’t been able to notice already, I’ve only been mentioning the 3D and visuals of this movie and that’s mainly because the story kind of loses itself, as well as this movie. Watching the trailers, seeing the previews on TV, and even looking at that poster up-above, will already have you know that this is about a boy and a tiger lost at-sea, but little do you know that that whole-factor doesn’t play, until about 30 minutes in and we have to deal with an introduction to this kid’s life that is unexpected and a bit annoying. I think my problem with it was that it constantly went back-and-forth between this person’s child-hood, to the present-day of when he’s talking with this reporter and after awhile, it made me wonder just when the hell the damn ship was going to sink and we could get some straight-up, survival-guide facts at-play.
After that glorious and beautiful-looking crash (gives the infamous one in Flight a run for it’s moolah) ends up happening, the story then kick-starts into what I wanted and for the most-part, it works. I really liked where Lee went with this story, how he told it in a way that didn’t seem to bore the hell out of everybody watching because of it just being a kid and a tiger treading along hopelessly at-sea, and most of all, how he didn’t find himself going back-and-forth between the past and present like he was doing in the beginning. Just let a story tell itself and you’ll be perfectly fine and that’s where the real charm and beauty in Lee’s direction plays-out. Sadly, it doesn’t last forever and the story just finds it’s way back into screwing everything up, once-again.
The problem this movie runs into by the end, without giving anything away, is that it’s ending is a bit too long, too explanatory, and mainly, not needed at all. I don’t want to get into the logistics of this ending and what happens, but it’s the same exact one they took from the book that I apparently heard about, and even though staying close to the source material is something that more directors should take from Lee, they should also take away the fact that sometimes things that play-out well in a book, don’t necessarily play-out very well on-screen. It’s novel-adapting 101: make sure the audience picks-up, what you’re throwing down, just as long as you don’t lose the audience of the book’s near-and-dear faithfuls, but also don’t lose the movie-crowd, as well. I won’t say that the ending and honor to the original source-material lost me, but I will say that it definitely killed any hopes I had of feeling emotionally-connected to this story at all. Sorry Lee, you had me crying over two gay cowboys but when it comes to a boy and a tiger, ehhh, not so much.
New-comer Suraj Sharma does a really great-job with his lead-role as Piscine Patel, and what’s more notable about this performance is how it’s his first-role ever, he had no prior acting-experience, and he was practically all by himself throughout the whole movie, in terms of acting and communicating with others. Yes, in the movie, there is a tiger there that looks just about as real as you can get, but you have to remember, that it is not a real tiger and that this Sharma kid is practically talking to the thin-air or an imaginary object. It’s sort of like how Mark Wahlberg talked to a tennis ball in-place of Ted, in well, Ted, and how he made it so damn realistic, and that’s pretty much what this Sharma kid does. He’s a believable kid that has us believe in him right from the start, he’s a kid that definitely has us feel like he can pull it out in the end, and he’s also one that seems to have a chip on his shoulder, where he knows that it’s probably not right to try and hang-out, kick-back, and try and smoke a couple of doobies with this tiger, because this thing does not play nice.
Even though it is fairly a one-man show, the movie does have some nice supporting roles, as well. Irrfan Khan is very, very good as the older Pi and shows how he has changed into a stronger, but more enthused man about life and by the end, once we learn that there is more to this character, more to him, and more to what’s on-display here, then that’s when he gets good even if the story sort of loses him in the shuffle. Rafe Spall plays the writer that interviews Pi about this miraculous story and it’s a really, really blank role that would have really benefited well if it was originally-given to Tobey Maguire. Yeah, he would have been way too familiar for this role and pretty much take us out of the story, but at least it would have been a lot more entertaining watching Peter Parker get all awkward with some guy about how he saw some of the sickest shit out there at-sea, rather than watching the guy who once-played a fake-Shakespeare. And besides, if you’re not going to put Maguire in the movie because he’s too recognizable, then don’t put Gérard Depardieu in there, either. Everybody knows who that fat slob from French is, and I highly doubt it’s going to bother-us anymore.
Consensus: With outstanding visuals that are probably some of the most realistic I have ever seen put onto screen, as well as some of the beautiful as well, Life of Pi is definitely a spectacle that’s worth venturing out to see in 3D, however, be ready for the visuals to eventually play second-fiddle to a story that isn’t all that strong to begin-with, gets a bit better, and then fizzles out with no emotional-connection whatsoever. Still, deserves to be seen.
If only I could get my plush doll Spider-Man to start talking and doing cool shit.
The film centers on a 35-year-old man (Mark Wahlberg) who must deal with the cherished teddy bear (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) who came to life as the result of a childhood wish… and has refused to leave his side ever since.
The one reason why I wasn’t really looking forward to this film as much was mainly because it’s the directorial debut of Seth MacFarlane, aka the creator of Family Guy, aka a show I’m not too fond of. I don’t know what it is about me and that show, but I just don’t find it all that funny and consider other animated-shows like Futurama or South Park to be a lot funnier and wittier when it comes to their jokes. But somehow, I caught myself laughing….a lot.
The idea of having a pot-smoking, foul-mouthed teddy bear seemed like something that would be funny for the first 10 minutes, then just falter out after that and get boring, but somehow, MacFarlane doesn’t allow that to happen mainly because he’s allowed to do whatever the hell he wants with this material. That’s right, no FCC, no rules, and no standards to live by, he’s allowed to do whatever the eff he wants to do with this story and he obviously is enjoying this newly-found freedom because almost every scene is filled with fart jokes, poop jokes, sex jokes, gay jokes, pot jokes, and plenty of other jokes raunchy jokes that you can shake a stick at.
But the difference here with all of these raunchy jokes in this movie, from say, another raunch-fest like That’s My Boy, is that this film actually has some cleverness behind all of the raunch. It’s not just all about making people go “ewww” or squirm at the sight of a dude’s penis, it’s all about making people laugh their asses off at something dirty, but something that’s also very funny and witty. They do the same thing in The Hangover and even though that film and this one are somewhat different from one another, they both show you can still be clever, even if a good majority of the jokes are centered around dudes smoking pot and farting.
However, it’s not all about being dirty that makes this film funny, no, there’s actually plenty of other funny stuff going on that doesn’t concern any bodily fluids. There’s a couple of great movie references to such flicks as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Van Wilder (random, I know), Superman Returns (another random one), Airplane!, and even the 80′s cult classic, Flash Gordon, which actually plays a big part in this film as well. There are plenty of other references here that I’m sure I forgot to mention but it’s also still the same exact kind of snarky humor from Family Guy and that confused me because I laughed at just about everything here, but I barely ever laugh at that show. Maybe it’s just the foul language that makes everything funnier. Oh yeah, there’s also a reference to that show as well that seemed clever. Once again, I’m using that word “clever” in a review of a movie that’s about a talking bear.
Probably the best, and worst thing about this movie, is in fact Ted, the CG bear voiced by Seth MacFarlane. It’s obvious that Ted was going to pretty much steal every single scene, but what really got to me was just how consistently funny this freakin’ character was. Sometimes when you have certain characters like this, they are very funny at points but miss the mark at others, Ted, just about made me laugh each and every single time he opened up his stitched mouth. Not only did he have the best lines in the movie (obviously) but some of his insults that he flings at almost everybody around him were sometimes so mean and cruel, that I couldn’t believe I still liked him in the end. MacFarlane, of course, does a great job with this voice-role and it’s actually surprising just how good Ted, the CG bear actually looks in this film. I don’t want to go as far to say that he looked freakin’ realistic along the lines of Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but I really couldn’t find a single flaw in the animation they had made for him/it.
Sadly though, Ted is such a great and funny character to have on-screen that whenever he isn’t the film falters and definitely isn’t as funny as you would have liked it to be. It’s not like the rest of the cast isn’t game, because they sure as hell are, it’s just that you laugh so much at Ted and all of the crazy shit he says, that whenever he isn’t around you’re left wondering where he is and what he’s up to. Maybe MacFarlane focused on writing so much funny stuff for his own character, that he sort of left the others all in the dust.
Also, the flick starts to get less funny by the end and lose its originality points when the story starts to dive into Ted getting his ass captured by a childhood admirer of his (another crazy role for Giovanni Ribisi, maybe his weirdest, and that’s say something). I get it, they needed to bring this story-line in to give it some tension by the end, but Ribisi’s character is sort of forgotten about for a good hour or so that when he comes back, we just don’t give a crapola and just want Ted to go back to smoking pot, having sex with chicks, and doing coke. You know, the fun stuff.
But as good as MacFarlane may be as Ted, Mark Wahlberg still shows that he’s great at doing comedy, once again with his role here as John Bennett. Wahlberg is great at delivering comedy but mostly at playing the straight-man, which he does here perfectly and it definitely helps out a lot of the scenes whenever Ted isn’t around and it’s just Wahlberg, being Wahlberg, which isn’t a bad thing because it’s obvious this guy is having a ball with this role. Mila Kunis is also pretty funny as Lori and shows that she still has some great comedic timing to her as well, and I like how they didn’t make her character one of those bitchy-types that hate on their mans for having another friend that get’s in the way of their “alone time”. Nope, she’s actually a pretty cool chick that just wants a guy who wants to settle down. Typical woman, that’s why I’m done getting married after three unsuccessful attempts. Or maybe it’s four?
Consensus: Even though it starts to lose some flavor in the last act, Ted is still a very funny and raunchy comedy that shows off MacFarlane in a new light. It’s a new light where he’s able to say, do, and act whatever he wants and not have to give a crap at all, who say’s he’s not allowed to. Still, doesn’t mean I’m going to start watching a becoming a fan boy of Family Guy. Not a chance in hell, my friend.
Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch are back except this time, they’re robbing people!
Mark Wahlberg plays Chris, a former drug smuggler who must revert back to a life of crime when his brother-in-law (Caleb Landry Jones) botches a drug deal for his ruthless boss (Giovanni Ribisi). To settle the debt, Wahlberg’s character assembles a team of crooks and does what he does best: smuggling contraband.
Icelandic director Baltasar Kormàkur seems like a pretty inspired choice for a flick that seems so simple and could have easily been done by a schmuck like Joel Schumacher or someone else of that kind. However, it doesn’t matter who the director may be, it still needs to work which is something this film kind of does and doesn’t do.
Kormàkur starts this story off pretty well with just the right amount of mystery, energy, and suspense to fill the air. The plot does take its time getting to where it has to go but the action scenes, when they come, are very well-done. Notice how I said ‘when they come’. Still though, they are used to actually to move this plot along and not just used as an action flick device that we usually come-and-get. Also, I love heist films so going into this, I wasn’t expecting much else other than some really cool and tricky heists which is what this film provided enough to satisfy me and keep me guessing.
The problem with most of these action scenes, as fun and exciting as they truly may be, for some reason it’s filmed with the annoying shaky-cam that we always see and hate, but is used to create a feeling here that doesn’t work. Whenever action hits this flick, the camera always moves around at a rapid and paranoid pace, as if it kept constantly looking around each corner, making sure not to get caught pulling off the heist itself. The shaky-cam is obviously something I hate no matter what the film may be, but here it didn’t seem needed considering how slick the action sequences are in the first place.
I also think another problem with this film is that for some reason the direction and screen-writing never really seem on the right page at all. The film is marketed as a silly and dumb action flick but it’s a lot much more smarter than that and sometimes teeters on drama. When I mean drama though, I mean the kind of drama where they try to really discuss some real issues about family, betrayal, and alcoholism. Let me remind you, I am talking about the film called ‘Contraband’. The film could have honestly been a thriller, heist, drama, and action flick but for some reason, the film doesn’t know how to jell all of that together in the right way in order for it to seem reasonable and not so uneven. It also doesn’t help that the plot stops and starts so many times to the point of where I just wanted the damn boat that they were in to blow up just for the action to stay constant.
Mark Wahlberg is pretty reliable as an actor here to pull of this good-guy role as Chris, to where it isn’t an obvious attempt at making a former criminal seem like a hero. Actually, he doesn’t really do much here that we haven’t seen him do already but watching Wahlberg play in his comfort zone isn’t so bad in the first place. Kate Beckinsale plays his wife, Kate, and she really does try to give some weight to her character but she doesn’t really do much here and just comes off as a plot device for Chris to have a race-against-the-clock situation.
Giovanni Ribisi seems like a strange choice for the villainous role here as the thug Tim Briggs, but he’s actually very good with his eccentric and sometimes crazy acting style to make this bad guy a bit more menacing than I was expecting, and always entertaining; Ben Foster is also great as Sebastian, Chris’s best friend, who has a battle with alcoholism and always strides in these kind of roles; and it was also nice to see J.K. Simmons doing a role that was humorous but also never made you forget that he was a total dick-head as Captain Camp.
Consensus: Contraband features many problems with its script, tone, and annoying camera issues, but the cast somehow rise above the material and make this crime/thriller/action/heist/drama flick a very entertaining, if flawed one to say the least. But hey, it’s January and I was at least entertained rather than feeling depressed.
CGI is better than costumes.
After flying through a space “worm hole,” astronaut Leo Davidson (Mark Wahlberg) crashes on a planet where simians rule over humans. Aided and abetted by a sympathetic chimpanzee (Helena Bonham Carter), Davidson leads a small band of rebels against their captors.
Back in August when I watched ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’, I said it was a 100 times better than this 2001 piece of junk, but actually, this one isn’t so terrible to begin with.
Director Tim Burton is a guy who’s usually known for doing some crazy ish with his material, but here he doesn’t do anything real different with this material, instead of just gives us pretty good-looking visuals. The action is here and there but the problem that Burton runs into, is that it doesn’t really get off the ground and it feels like he just pushed this film to its ending without any real emotional connection or point about his story.
It’s kind of a shame considering how great of a director Burton can be, and if he didn’t direct this, I wouldn’t have noticed because there’s nothing really striking at all about this material that reminds me of Burton classics such as ‘Ed Wood’ or ‘Edward Scissorhands‘.
The script is also pretty terrible because the lines are just so incredibly cheesy to the point of where I was laughing, and when these “characters” aren’t spitting out corny one-liners, they are either growling, snarling, or making crazy little ape noises at each other. I liked how the plot is all new and taking a cool new twist on this plot, but they way it ended up and turned out, seems kind of disappointing because the script was kind of a real let-down.
However, I have to say that even though this can all be pretty lame, I actually enjoyed myself for the whole 2 hours of this flick. The plot moves along at a slick pace, and even though it sometimes falls into some boring spots, it still kept me interested. The action here is also pretty fun because there are actual ape-on-ape battles that actually are pretty fun to watch as well as some other cool moments to watch.
I also really liked the the visuals and the costumes that Burton supplied with this film because a lot of it looks really cool. The world of the Apes seems straight-out of the original and still looks pretty to look a. The costumes of all of the Apes that were done by Rick Baker were done very well, with a great deal of detail added to each character, but the real problem with the costumes is that these Apes just look so damn goofy. I mean they have these funny and little goofy faces where their teeth just show and they make these funny hissing noises, and instead of actually being horrifying they are actually pretty laughable but I guess the film really wasn’t going for any seriousness.
Marky Mark is one of my favorite actors, but his performance here as Leo Davidson is one I think he should try to forget. Wahlberg doesn’t really have the strength here to actually command this film and his lines are even worse. He does seem a little confused and with no idea what to do with this lead role, other than make scared faces and do his “signature voice”. Still, he’s the man.
Tim Roth actually turned down the role of Severus Snape to play Thade here, which is a real shame cause he could have really had such a bigger career with that role instead of this. Roth isn’t bad here, cause he’s actually pretty menacing, but his villainous character is so cartoony and cheesy that nothing really comes out as scary and more of just goofy. Helena Bonham Carter plays the nice ape, Ari, and does her usual crazy lady performance; Michael Clarke Duncan is loud and full of yelling as the black Ape, Attar; Paul Giamatti actually made me laugh as Limbo; and Estella Warren is pretty damn laughable with her performance as Daena. The cast is all OK, just nothing really special since the film doesn’t really take them all too seriously.
Consensus: Planet of the Apes is cheesy, poorly written, and filled with sub-par performances from the impressive cast, but it’s still an entertaining B-flick with great visuals, some fun action, and a feel of not taking itself too seriously which is good for any film about a world of apes.
Isn’t fearing for your life the one thing that fishing is not all about?
Veteran fisherman Billy Tyne (George Clooney) has had a run of disappointing catches and is determined to change his luck by going beyond the normal reach of New England fishing boats to the remote Flemish Cap. But in doing so, he risks everything. Once at sea, he hears about a huge storm building up, but is convinced he can beat it back to Gloucester with an enormous catch.
Just looking at that poster on the right makes me just get the willy’s because the sea is always something that has interested me because it’s so huge and just feels so spread-out that if you get lost there, you’ll never be found.
This film gave me those little chills here and there during the film but it was more about the spectacle of this film. The special effects here are very good and a lot of detail to the film such as; how the waves look, what the hurricane looks like, and everything else that has to do with the hurricane. All of it looks good and will definitely keep you loving the eye-candy.
However, I think that’s all this film really wanted to be anyway. The story is pretty generic but isn’t told in any fresh or effective way to actually have us care what happens to these characters. I felt myself not really caring that these crew members get past the hurricane, and rather that just Marky Mark get out of there. In case you don’t know, I love that guy. He’s so cool.
Director Wolfgang Petersen is good with what he does, but he doesn’t really do much to help this film. Every once and awhile we would get a little fishing montage of how happy these guys are that their all catching fish but there’s not much else to them except for maybe one character. All the rest are just cliches, and if their not cliches, then their just characters that don’t really have many other dimensions to them because we never see them actually talking. They just do their work on the ship and then their done. Oh and then there’s huge hurricane that supposed to make me care for them.
Though the drama doesn’t work, I still have to say that I was on the edge of my seat here with plenty of suspense and just an overall fun feeling that this film gave me. I didn’t quite care much for the actual characters themselves, I actually cared about just who would die, where, when, and why. The film doesn’t really give into too many cliches when its starting to come down home-stretch and that at least kept me watching more and more.
The whole cast here is star-studded but kind of lame. George Clooney is the least “George Clooney” I’ve ever see him be here as Captain Billy Tyne; Mark Wahlberg was of course my favorite as Bobby; John C. Reilly had the most heart in this film as Dale; and Diane Lane is sexy but not very good in this role as Christine. The rest of the cast has the likes of William Fichtner, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, John Hawkes, and Allen Payne. All of these members do their best but other than that, they aren’t really given much to work with here.
Consensus: The Perfect Storm is nowhere near perfect but has plenty of very good special effects, and tense moments, but doesn’t really have much drama when it comes to it’s story and instead of being a compelling story, it just tells the story and the characters just as they are.
Not your average, sympathetic war film.
George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube star as a group of American soldiers stationed in Iraq at the end of the Gulf War. When the three arguably wise men find a map they believe will take them to a huge cache of stolen Kuwaiti gold hidden near their base, they embark on a secret mission that’s destined to change everything.
The Gulf War just seems like a war that was basically a total joke. It only lasted for about a year, if not even that, and barely anybody got killed in it. So it was pretty cool to see a fun take on a war, that didn’t seem even energetic at all.
David O. Russell is a crazy mofo, but is a really great director. The one strength that Russell uses here is that he blends drama, action, and a little hint of comedy altogether but it doesn’t once get annoying like most films that blend genres do. The fact that this isn’t like any other war film is not the real reason it’s great it’s because of what this film does and actually talks about. Russell does some pretty innovative stuff here with his direction, whether it’s using a slow-mo shot to show the bullets hitting a person, or a moving image of the sky, or even an awesome image of showing what sepsis wound looks like. Russell is a very gritty director and he uses this to his ability, to bring out the real dirt and mud that was The Gulf War.
The real strength of this film is located within it’s script that Russell did himself as well. The real reason why this script works so well is because the drama is here and ways heavy on the story, there are still many moments of actual dark comedy that will probably have you laughing and wondering just exactly why you laughed here. The story starts off really quick and comedic with the sounds of The Beach Boys in the air, but soon changes into a very dark, haunting, and disturbing take on the war. You start to really get behind this story because the satire is there, and the political commentary which comments on the U.S.A’s involvement with foreign affairs will ring true and actually have you very angry as to where this story starts to take you. But this is also an action film and there’s plenty of enough thrills and spills to hold over any adrenaline junkie, but it’s more a political critique than an action/war film.
My only problem with this film is that sometimes I do feel like Russell get’s a little out-of-hand with the artistic side of his directing. I’m not going to lie, he does some pretty cool stuff here with everything he shows, but there are many times that I feel like he just gets a little too over his head with this artsy-fartsy crap he does. Also, by the end of the film it does get a little preachy, but I have to say this didn’t totally bother me, I just noticed it right away.
George Clooney and David O. Russell got in a huge brawl on-set during the filming of this film, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t turn in a good performance himself. Clooney basically plays the George Clooney he plays in every film but it always work because he has that cool vibe that always helps his character’s and is just totally sweet and smooth. He is all of that and a little more here as Archie Gates. Mark Wahlberg is amazing here as Troy Barlow because his character is a very human person that just wants to do what is right, and never wants to just kill anyone to kill anyone. Ice Cube is also great as the black grunt, Chief Elgin, and it’s kind of sad to watch this, knowing that this is his last film that actually showed that he any street cred left. Damn TBS! Spike Jonze is also very funny and good as the dumb hick, Conrad Vig, and it’s a very rare performance because now that Jonze has found his niche as a director, we may never see him in front of the screen again. This is a pretty strange head-lining cast but they all do real well with this very challenging material that gives them the opportunity to show their dramatic depths as actors, as well as their comedic timing too and they pull it off. The rest of the cast is very good as well with the likes of Jamie Kennedy, Judy Greer, and Mykelti Williamson aka Bubba.
Consensus: Though it gets a little preachy by the end, David O Russell’s Three Kings is still a smart and innovative blend of action, drama, war, and comedy that shows The Gulf War for the crap that it was and how we can all learn from our mistakes.
Marky Mark and Johnny Cash fighting off crime together!
Bobby Green (Joaquin Phoenix) manages a hot New York City nightclub, while his estranged brother, Joseph (Mark Wahlberg), has followed in their policeman father’s footsteps. But the two are reunited by dealings with the Russian mafia, which has a foothold in Bobby’s business. As Joseph puts pressure on the mob, its members turn the screws on Bobby.
I love cop films. Not actual cops, just the film’s that have to do with them. I just love cop films that can give me a good story, some nice acting, and fun action. This film is sort of like that.
This is the third film from writer/director James Gray, and he does a great job of keeping the pace going, as well as the tension within this story. Gray does a great job of going along with this slow pace enough to build up a huge amount of tension, to where when the action starts going down, it’s just insane. I also must add that there are a couple of action scenes here that are so perfectly filmed, that they really had me on the edge of my seat.
The one problem with this film is that the script starts to delve into some predictable places. To be honest, I don’t mind seeing something that isn’t crazy new or original, as long as it keeps me interested, but this film is nothing new from the cop genre film. I didn’t think the writing was as terrible as others felt but I just felt like it could have been better.
Also, the film was going so well for awhile until that last act came up, and they just sort of didn’t know what to do with it. I was having a great time following this story, the action, and the constant tense feeling this film gave me, and then by the end, something just happens where the story starts to lose control of itself and gets very predictable. This had me disappointed because the first couple of acts were good, which had me getting ready for an awesome ending, but instead, it was just pretty anti-climactic and nothing special.
I think Joaquin Phoenix took the role of Bobby Green because he knew he was going to be in every single scene here, and I’m not pissed that he was. Phoenix is awesome here as Green and shows a lot of depth into a character that needed it for us to actually stand behind him, and believe in everything he was doing. This performance sort of makes me forget that dumb shit he did in I’m Still Here. Mark Wahlberg does a good job as Joseph, and although isn’t in this much, still does not refuse to bring depth to his character. Eva Mendes is smoking hot in this film, but also very good and shows just why she is more than just a nice body, she can actually act it all out. Robert Duvall also does a very good job as Bert, and although isn’t in it as much, still does bring that signature cool old guy feel he brings to every role.
Consensus: We Own the Night is well-acted, and very suspenseful with it’s tense direction from James Gray, but starts to fall into predictable territory by the last act, and started to lose me and less as the film went on.
Those dudes with more make-up than my mom, sure do know how to rock!
Mark Wahlberg stars as Chris, a lead singer wannabe who gets to live his wildest dream when he’s whisked from anonymity to being front man for Steel Dragon, the enormously popular metal band he worships. Accompanied on tour by his girlfriend, Emily (Jennifer Aniston), Chris soon discovers life in the fast lane is not what he envisioned, and the relationships he holds dear are strained as his star rises.
The 80′s was a pretty silly decade now that people look back at it. The hair, the make-up, the new wave music, but most of all heavy metal music.
One of the biggest problems with this film is that it’s script doesn’t do anything new or original to the whole rock star film genre. There are moments upon moments where the cheesiest lines pop up, and I’m not going to lie, some of it actually had me cringing. Lines like: “I’m leaving and never turning back” and “If you follow your dreams, you can do it”, just had me wondering where they actually serious when they wrote this script.
Another problem with the script is that there’s no actual insight into this film and every character here just seems like another cliche for a film that had so many. By the end of the film there is this life lesson about becoming your own person, and taking a life that is yours just seemed really lame and contrived.
However, this movie is actually somewhat entertaining throughout. I have always liked that 80′s glam metal and there’s a lot of it with bands such as KISS, Mötley Crüe, Ted Nugent, and AC/DC appearing on this soundtrack and it added a lot more of a fun vibe to the film. There is also a good amount of humor within this film that will have you laughing and feel like you’re apart of the ride with these guys, partying, drinking, having sexy time, and most of all just living the life of a rock star.
Mark Wahlberg is one of my favorite actors because he can play that everyday man like no other, and his role as Chris Cole is no different. I like how Wahlberg is this happy-go-lucky, smiley kid that finally gets to live his dream, but slowly starts to see that he doesn’t want all this chaos, and becomes fed up. Wahlberg plays this all so well, and that pure charm that he has, is one of the main reasons why Cole is a guy we like. Jennifer Aniston is actually good in this role as Emily Poule and had me laughing with some of the things she said here. Timothy Spall was basically the man as Mats, and all of his scenes just had me laughing, mainly because of Spall’s delivery that gets me every time. Dominic West, Timothy Olyphant, and plenty others pop up and all do a pretty good job too.
Consensus: Rock Star doesn’t have that much insight into the world of heavy metal music from the 80′s, and not a very good script, but the solid acting jobs and fun pace, keep this film entertaining although predictable.
Boston accents always create a good movie.
While an undercover cop (Leonardo DiCaprio) curries favor with the mob kingpin (Jack Nicholson), a career criminal (Matt Damon) rises through the police ranks. But both sides soon discover there’s a mole among them.
Martin Scorsese is a man among men. He always knows the perfect way to tell a story, and show it with his only little trade-marks. And even though this is based pretty closely to a Hong Kong film, it is still no exception.
Scorsese does a great job of keeping our attentions. This story gets a little crazy at points, but Scorsese handles it so well that we can’t help but to keep our eyes on the screen. That’s probably the best thing that Scorsese does, he can have anyone watch his film no matter how long, or sometimes ridiculous it may be. He has the perfect knack for capturing intense suspense and that constant moving back, and as well as the perfect tone for a gangster movie in the 21st century. There’s now cell-phones, texting, and internet, but not much has changed when it comes to gangsters, and Scorsese doesn’t lose his flavor.
I think my favorite element of this movie was the script. Judging from this plot, you would think that this is totally a super cereal gangster drama, however, it’s got plenty of comedy to have you laughing the whole way through. I actually caught myself laughing at plenty of these one-liners and probably because they happen out of nowhere, and when the films trying to be the most serious it can be. There is also a lot of interesting double-crossing, and morality themes here as well that totally seal the deal on this package.
The acting for the most part is actually pretty good here. Leonardo DiCaprio, as always does a great job with William Costigan Jr., keeping this film together with his signature toughness, with a tint of likability, that has us cheering him on the whole movie. Matt Damon is also good as Colin Sullivan, and is always good but he plays kind of a bad guy here and his decisions aren’t always the best, and you kind of start to hate him at points. Never thought I would start to hate him, but Matt sure can do it. Jack Nicholson plays mob boss, Frank Costello. He does a good job, but he doesn’t perfect the job which kind of had me a little bit disappointed, because with this role he could have totally been sweeping the Oscars. The problem is that he does a bit too much of ad-libbing, and over-acting, so we kind of get a little annoyed of his character and want him to do something a little bit more new, and cool. But he is still the man so don’t get me wrong. Mark Wahlberg got an Oscar nomination for his performance as Sergeant Dignam, and I’m glad he did because he really knocks his role out of the park. His character wasn’t even in the original film, so he had to basically make this character from scratch, and does a perfect job bringing so much comedy to this film, that he’s the character at the end of the film you probably remember the most. Vera Farmiga is also here and plays Damon’s love interest, Madolyn, and this is one of her earlier roles, and shows that she can hang with the big boys. There are others in this cast that are amazing such as Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Ray Winstone, and randomly everybody’s favorite black man, Anthony Anderson.
This film is very very close to being perfect but its big problem comes in its last 15 minutes. I think the whole film had so much steam in its story that when the end actually had to come around, it didn’t quite know where to go so it just sort of lingered around. The film spends a great deal developing these characters so perfectly and well, that it was just a shame that Scorsese let them practically fly out the window by the end. I wish the ending was better, but I still can’t lie it was suitable, just could have been better.
Consensus: A fearless direction from Scorsese, perfect screenplay, and great acting makes The Departed a crime/mob classic for the ages. The ending may have not been the best way to go out for this film, but the whole film keeps your attention, and that is something that makes this a near-perfect film.
Just shows you that crack is not always whack. I mean just look at Christian Bale. The guys freakin’ Batman.
Mark Wahlberg stars as boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward and Christian Bale as half brother and trainer Dicky Eklund in this inspiring drama based on the fighter‘s rise from working-class Lowell, Mass., to world-class welterweight champ. After a string of defeats, Mickey rediscovers his fighting will with help from Dicky — a once-talented pugilist battling drug addiction.
There hasn’t been a very good boxing movie lately. Now that other “sports” like UFC, MMA, hell even Professional wresting for that matter have taken over mainstream, people have sort of forgotten about boxing. Especially in the film world, but thanks to this, it makes me want more of them.
Director David O. Russell is known for being a huge dick off-screen, and hasn’t really done much else that people know, but because of this film, I think he has finally broken into the mainstream. And it’s with all good reason, he does an amazing job at making this one of the most entertaining pieces of the year. It’s more of a character study than it actually is a boxing film, but it still delivers on plenty of fun, family escapades for us to watch. Also, it was really neat to see the match sequences to be filmed in the digital style that HBO used to use back in the day, and it really did make it all look legit, and not just another boxing film fight sequence.
The screenplay works really well too providing us with a lot more comedy than I expected. There is also a lot of themes that touch on the element of family, which play out so well. You laugh, you cry, but most of all, you love your family, and in the end they always have the best intentions. This film the way it is written, and the way it all plays out, just seems so real. Although you know how this story is going to turn out, you still cannot stop watching, and getting attached to these characters. Everything just seemed very real, and there are barely any moments that feel like they were just put on for the big-screen.
The one main problem I had with this film is that I think it could have gone longer. I know that’s a weird complaint, because many people will probably complain about how it is almost too long, but for me I wanted more somehow. That sounds greedy, and spoiled, but the ending didn’t fully satisfy me to the point of where I was just jumping for joy. This is a weird complaint, I know that, but I just wanted a longer run time.
The main reason to see this is it’s amazing cast. Mark Wahlberg does the straight-man act that he does in a lot of films, but hey it’s not so bad. He is an easy guy to like, and you can tell his frustration with his family, and boxing career. This gives us more of a reason to rally behind him, and keep on watching, which is what all boxing movies need. Amy Adams really steps out of her “goody goody two shoes” light, and gets dirty, bad, and sassy. I loved her performance, and her quick delivery with every line is not only believable, but its also funny, and we actually as fans want to go out with her. Let’s not also forget Melissa Leo who is just perfect as the asshole Mom, who just can’t handle being a nobody. Her performance I loved. But………
The real show is right next to Marky Mark on that poster up above. I have always liked Christian Bale, when people give him shit for his douche bag ways off the screen, and cocky attitude, I have always appreciated almost everything he does. And now all that love that I have given him finally pays off, as I have just seen his best performance, and probably one of the best performances of the year. I loved this performance so freakin’ much. Bale is silly, sad, gritty, crazy, fearless, skinny as a toothpick, but also likable as your any other average Joe. You believe all the little tics, and weird things he says and does, and he commands your attention, and well you gotta give it to him. His character, Dickie Eklund, just couldn’t give up the limelight, and with this performance neither can Bale, cause he steals it. Every scene he is in, he just commands almost every time, and I sure as hell hope he gets an Oscar, cause he is just one of the biggest and best joys to watch on screen.
Consensus: The Fighter may be a story you have seen before, but the inspired direction, and amazing ensemble performances from this cast, make this treat, a fun-filled, entertaining boxing movie, that made us realize we missed this genre too much.
I actually thought this was OK. Bring on the hate mail….
Mark Wahlberg stars as title character Max Payne in this gritty noir crime thriller that centers on an undercover New York City DEA agent (Mila Kunis) who teams up with a female assassin to avenge the murder of her family.
I have always loved Max Payne the video games. In all honesty, they are probably my two favorite games, because it’s one of the first games to keep me playing, with a compelling story, suspense, and plenty, and I do mean, plenty of action. And as much as this film gets a lot of crap, for being crappy as anything, I will say it is entertaining, and for a true fan, like myself, I at least enjoyed it.
The main reason this film does disappoint is because, it has many differences from the video game itself. Although, they got the main jiff of the story down, which isn’t too hard to do in the first place, but there are other elements to the story that this film seems like it’s forgetting. People, who are not familiar with the game, will not understand that his family is killed, mainly because it is shown in the middle of the film, rather than in the beginning, and people are killed off, earlier than in the game.
Also, I got really annoyed by how the film at first was about this guy trying to find out who his family’s killer was, but then it suddenly turns into a film about these crazy drugs, that make people go mad, and see weird demon shit. Speaking of that weird demon shit, they really got on my nerves. In the game, they are mentioned a lot, but you never see them, and they don’t get involved with the story. However, with this film, they couldn’t get enough of these bastards in this film, and that is the main thing that annoyed me.
The film is also not as action-packed as one might expect from playing the game, or from seeing the trailers, but when their is action, it’s exciting, just like the game. Of course, there’s also the very famous “bullet time” sequence, and although it is a bit crappy, I must say, I still liked how they put it in there, and made it reasonable. This film also held my attention, because of it’s really great-to-look-at visuals. The snow, rain, constant colors hitting the screen, all look great and add more to the film, even when it is totally bland.
Mark Wahlberg tries his best with this film. He plays Max Payne well, mainly because Max originally didn’t have many emotions, so Wahlberg plays him, with not too many emotions, but isn’t terribly bland. Mila Kunis was laughable as an assassin, so she was basically not believable at all. Beau Bridges does a good job with the material he’s given, so its a good performance by him. Chris O’Donnell, Ludacris, and Donal Logue show up in this film too, and well their just whatever with this film.
I will say that I was excited to see this film when it first came out, back in 2008. And I did see it then, I thought it was OK, but that was before my time of movie reviewing days, now that I know what I like in movies, I never thought I’d still like this. I think that this film will, hopefully be re-done by somebody new, with a whole new everything hopefully, cause in all honesty, this could make a great movie one of these days. And I will be the first one to see that happen, or I can only hope.
Consensus: It may not be a great film by any stretch, with plenty of differences from it’s original source material, but Max Payne is entertaining enough to satisfy a loyal Max Payne video game lover, as well as anybody looking for stylized action.
A job that I could make millions in, if I really wanted to. Yeah, it’s that huge.
Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic about the adult film industry stars Mark Wahlberg as a nightclub busboy who transforms himself into porn king Dirk Diggler and ultimately becomes intoxicated by success, cocaine and lofty aspirations. Set in the 1970s, the film features Oscar-nominated supporting performances by Burt Reynolds as skin-flick auteur Jack Horner and Julianne Moore as a veteran porn icon with maternal instincts.
When it comes to PT Anderson, he can take a normal script, and put it places you weren’t expecting. The screenplay is just pitch-perfect. There is a lot of dark comedy in the beginning, probably cause the whole idea of making these 70′s style porno films is pretty laughable, but by the end it dives into some deep, deep, dramatic areas that I wasn’t quite expecting. The story moves along at a narrow pace, and doesn’t lose you as Anderson is constantly going from one character to another. And that’s probably my favorite thing about this film, is that yeah, it’s a story about Dirk Diggler, but there’s also plenty of other stories to go along with it, and add on to the film.
The only problem with this film is that it never delves into anything more than a just a film about the porno industry, and “stardom”. I didn’t see what the message behind all this was, and although Anderson wasn’t down-grading porn, he wasn’t saying how great it was either. So I was confused on what the central message was behind this whole film, and I think it could have used one if went into deeper territory.
PT Anderson the director is even better, because not only does he do a great job at showing all these other different characters, but he follows them in such good pace, like your literally behind these people, and your there. And you feel like your there, because of the constant lively music (which I loved, get that soundtrack now), vibrant colors all over the place, and an overall feeling of a constant party. There is also some tense, well-played out scenes by the end, that just get inside of you, as their going on.
I have to give the most praise to the casting in this film, because everybody fits their own character so well. Mark Wahlberg gives his break-out performance here, and is just perfect and fits Dirk Diggler so well. he’s still a boy that was taken into a very adult world early, and you believe him when he has these problems, with his emotions, rage, and trying to become a star. Burt Reynolds give his best performance ever as Porn director Jack Horner, he’s calm, cool, and overall relaxed. He’s just a pretty chill guy, and I ‘d feel pretty comfortable getting busy in front of him. Julianne Moore is good here too, as basically the mom who can’t love herself, but can love everybody else. Her performance is just tragic and you feel so bad for her. John C. Reilly is in here too, and is as easily as likable, him and Wahlberg create this great buddy-buddy chemistry, that plays throughout the whole film, and has you still liking both even when they become total deuches at times. Philip Seymour Hoffman has another tragic performance as the man that becomes infatuated with Diggler, and can not just understand what love really is. Other people in this film are Don Cheadle, Thomas Jane, Alfred Molina, William H. Macy, the always funny Luis Guzman. The cast is perfect, and you can tell that Anderson really does have a lot of love for these people and how they react to life.
Consensus: Though it never goes deep enough, Boogie Nights is a great ride from PT Anderson, complete with a pitch-perfect cast, inspired script and direction, and just the overall feel of your actually there.
Note to Kevin Smith: This is how you do a buddy-cop comedy.
While an elite pair of New York City cops (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson) nabs headlines for their amazing heroics, fellow boys in blue Allen (Will Ferrell) and Terry (Mark Wahlberg) toil in obscurity as lowly desk jockeys, until a big break finally gives them a chance to tackle real police work. Rob Riggle, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton and Steve Coogan co-star in this action-packed comedy directed by Adam McKay.
To start off with aspects of this film that I enjoyed, virtually every cast member involved does a solid job in their respective roles. Both Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg play off of each other much better than you might expect as the titular characters, and Michael Keaton once again, this summer steals just about every scene that he’s in as the Guys’ more-calm-than-he-probably-should-be captain. Also, for what little screen time that they have, both Sam Jackson and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shine as the two celebrity-status-garnered cops, being responsible for what could be the funniest movie moment of this year so far. Even Eva Mendes (who I’m typically not the biggest fan of) shares a couple of enjoyable moments with Ferrell as his purposely-out-of-his-league wife.
The problem is with this film is that it becomes an absolute mess especially by the last two acts. I feel like there wasn’t enough action for this film, so they just started to randomly throw in a bunch of crazy, cool, action sequences, to keep a lot of viewers entertained. The action is shot-well, but they just seem forced, and not like my favorite comedy of the year, Date Night, the film doesn’t quite know how to balance out the comedy and action as well.
The screenplay was good, I’ll give it that. A lot of stuff was ad-libbed, but many of the other jokes in this film worked, because they were silly, but made a lot of sense to the audience. However, by the end the film gets too wrapped up in some random satire, that I didn’t believe for one moment. And the ending does seem a bit forced, since there was a bit too much going on.
Consensus: The Other Guys may not know what to do by the last act, so they just add unbelievable satire, and random explosions. However, the cast is hilarious, with a great amount of consistent laughs.
I hope my dates never turn out to be this way.
Who knew simple dinner reservations under a different name could turn one New Jersey couple’s date night so terribly upside-down? Claire (Tina Fey) and Phil (Steve Carell) Foster leave their kids with the sitter (Leighton Meester) and head out for a night on the town — as the Tripplehorns. Shawn Levy (Just Married, Night at the Museum) directs this action-comedy; Mark Wahlberg and James Franco co-star.
The plot itself, takes after many other one-night extravaganza films like After Hours, and American Graffiti, but the one thing I can say about this movie is that I laughed, oh I laughed a lot.
I think everybody knows the main reason as to why I laughed so much, and that’s those two people on the right: Steve Carell and Tina Fey. Both are hilarious and very believable as a couple that hasn’t been this wild in so very very long, just like I haven’t laughed in so very very long. I like it when Carell is in roles like this, where he’s not some eccentric off-beat character, but instead he’s a real guy that you can connect to even though he is totally silly. Fey as usual is also hilarious, but taking away that crappy ass woman from Baby Momma, and spicing her up a whole bunch into someone that’s actually hilarious and believable. Their chemistry is just perfect, and each of them feed off each other, with plenty of ad-libs for the ride.
Along the way there are also funny little cameos from plenty of who’s who in Hollywood. Plenty of jokes are centered at Common, and how could you not, just looking at that guy act is a joke. James Franco doing his usual zany character bit from Pineapple Express. While Mark Wahlberg: dead-panned, sexified, and fantastic are the only three ways I can describe this man. Oh yeah, and there’s also a random ass cameo from of course, the Italian mobster stereotype, Ray Liotta. Gotta love that guy, its been 20 years since Goodfellas, and he still can’t get past the Henry Hill role.
The problem with the film is that we have seen this kind of film before. I also feel like the PG-13 rating could have brought the film a lot more up, but rather than being terribly raunchy, the film goes for the teen/adult appeal.
Consensus: Though its plot is familiar, Date Night blends a great deal of action with hilarious humor, that wouldn’t have been the same if it were not for Fey, Carell, and countless others in cameo roles.
This Charlie guy does sound like a real dick!
Romance and suspense ignite a modern Paris backdrop in director Jonathan Demme’s fresh take on the Stanley Donen film Charade (also included on this disc). Regina (Thandie Newton) meets Joshua (Mark Wahlberg) while on vacation, as she’s contemplating ending her marriage to Charlie (Stephen Dillane). But upon her return to Paris, she finds that both her apartment and her bank account have been emptied — and her husband has been murdered.
Now it seems like remakes are coming out almost every week now, and this remake on a 1963 film Charade, is almost no different.
Jonathan Demme takes out the star power photographs the most drearily rainy Paris ever, and dumbs down all the lines. He veers back and forth between a darker take and remaking the original frothy whodunit until it’s not clear what he intended to do. A big miss all around. Unfortunately, I think Demme was working with a wrong material for what he wanted. At times, it even appeared that Demme himself was confused about whether he wanted a straight-forward light comedy or a more convoluted dark humor for the laughs. And the end result is a movie that doesn’t really succeed at anything it sets out to do.
This movie has way too many coinicidences that don’t seem reasonable or a bit too predictable. There is then a ridiculous scene where everyone who has threatened her just happens to show up at a dance hall, taking turns dancing with this heroine.
Thandie Newton does give out that little charm we know she can do very well, and brings out an actually good performance here as the lead. The problem was that I felt like Wahlberg as much as I love him he did feel seem a bit too clunky for this material and was acting too much as if he was in some action film, with his usual macho-esque appeal.
Consensus: Newton brings a lot of charm to the film, but is slow and doesn’t seem real at all, and more about the constant coincidences then the actual story itself.
Proof that Peter Jackson isn’t the greatest.
When 14-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is murdered, she watches from above as her family deals with her tragic death — and as her killer prepares to strike again. Torn between vengeance and healing, Susie’s loved ones are forever changed. Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz star in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Alice Sebold’s riveting best-selling novel; Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci co-star.
Now this is based off a n0vel, that I have never read. Before this movie was coming out I really wanted to go out and buy it but never got that far. But now after watching this I have decided I need to give the book a nice read.
Peter Jackson uses a lot of these great ways to lighten up the mood in this film. He uses a full pallet of rich color, lush music, and astonishing visual effects that will simply leave you in awe. When Susie is in the after world there is a lot of images to look at, yeah they may be a bit creepy and weird with their CGI look, but I felt like I was in a whole new world of love and beauty when these scenes were on.
There are some beautifully crafted suspenseful set pieces within this film as well. Scenes come up out of nowhere that just leave you on the edge of your seat not knowing what was going to happen next, and how it was going to happen.
The one big bad problem that the film has is that it can’t find a coherent approach to this story. At times its grim and the others its beauty, but it just didn’t work out real well. One minute I would be in this beautiful wonderland full of joy and happiness, then the next minute I would stuck watching this serial killer at all nutty, while the parents of Susie are still trying to investigate. The film should have just went with one whole approach and mood towards this film instead it tries to combine these two, and it doesn’t work at all.
The biggest problem, overall, is that in a movie that runs well over two hours, Jackson is so busy bombarding us with trippy post-death visuals that he forgot to include actual human relationships. There are maybe fifteen minutes of actual conversation between characters in the entire movie — and believe me, I’m not exaggerating. Everything else is given over to our perky dead girl running through CGI mountains and fields, or observing her mopey family, while the ponderous, constant, droning narration makes the whole thing feel like an illustrated audio book.
Wahlberg and Weisz are completely given really nothing at all, other than being just these cheesy one dimensional characters throughout the whole film. For me they could have been given more material, because these two have proved in the past that they can work with good material, if given it correctly. The best performance here is Stanley Tucci as the creepy serial killer. Every time he was on screen I was just scared and wondering to myself what was this man going to do next. There wasn’t one time that I didn’t believe that this man was a crazed and amazingly creepy neighbor. Ronan is OK in this role, as sometimes she is just seen as being scared, and at the same time just repeating these little monologues.
One last thing with this film is that it’s message about death, and the after life did not seem all that well brought out. It wasn’t that preachy, but it also wasn’t well brought out in the way it could have been with the source material it was given.
Consensus: The Lovely Bones has Peter Jackson’s visual flairs and a great performance from Tucci, but can’t find a coherent approach to its mood, and barely shows any other human emotion other than just being sad all the time.