Why Did You Recommend That? ‘Slow West’

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                It seems like forever since there has been a good western.  The last one I loved and is one of my favorites was Open Range and that was released in 2003.  The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford looked great but could drag.  3:10 to Yuma also was slow at times, which the viewer could really feel, but had enough action and themes that it was worth it.  Then you get horrid attempts like Appaloosa or the Proposition both of which were so boring and slow it was mind-numbing.  So when someone told me that there was a great western that was just released and starring Michael Fassbender, I was all in.  I shouldn’t have been.

                Jay (Kodi Smit-McPhee) comes from an aristocratic family in Scotland and has traveled to the United States to find his love.  His true love is named Rose (Caren Pistorius) a young peasant girl he falls in love with who had to flee to America after her father accidently kills Jay’s uncle.  During his travels he meets up with Silas (Michael Fassbender) who he pays to get him to her in one piece after realizing he can’t make it on his own in the west.  What Jay doesn’t know is that Silas is a bounty hunter seeking Rose and her father for the reward money.

                As usual, good out of the way so we can tear into this nonsense.  The acting across the board is great and the look and feel of the film is incredible.  What is unfortunate is that the story is so worthless.  It seems like a long drawn out college film made by someone who thinks he’s like, totally super deep.  Who thinks his long drawn out moments are so profound that he can taste the awards coming his way.  I’d use the word pretentious, but that would be too complementary.  Chock that up with all the wasted talent and incredible cinematography and this is actually heartbreaking in its failure.  It’s heartbreaking because the story is what makes the film a complete failure and its downfall.

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                I have read other reviews, glowing in their praise because, well, who knows why.  Well, those same reviews say that this movie is a deep and emotional look into what love is.  What?  From the start you know that the boy is delusional and is so blind to the fact he has been friendzoned he travels hundreds of miles to find the girl that doesn’t care about him thinking they are in love.  Not only friendzoned but, in all honesty it doesn’t seem like she would care one bit if she ever saw him again.  That’s all topped off with her using him one last time before he takes his last breath to save her wretched self.  Honestly?  It feels like the makers actually had this happen to them with a girl and this is their way of getting back at them.  ”Here’s how you hurt me, by callously shooting me in the heart and then pouring salt (yeah, that’s really in the movie) in the wound.  Well, I’m a director now so meh.”  That being the point of the whole story is what makes this film such a waste of time.  Why should you care about a character this dumb?  His only point is to open the mind of Fassbenders character to something good in the world.  But that all falls flat because there wasn’t something good in the world for the kid, just a selfish girl who needed someone to play with in her dull life.

                Don’t waste your time unless you like slow agonizing torture.  The film did look unbelievable.  It just sucks that the story was such a pile.

1 star out of 4

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Why Did You Recommend That? ‘While We’re Young’

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                It’s been over a year since someone recommended a movie to me…most likely because I do this article and usually tear the film apart.  Well, during my recent visit back to San Diego I was told that While We’re Young was a good movie I should consider.  It didn’t click at first that this would be another one of these articles, again, it’s been awhile, but then I started the movie.  Let’s just say being annoyed through most of the movie isn’t a good thing.

                Josh (Ben Stiller) and Cornelia (Naomi Watts) are a middle aged couple who have found themselves in a bit of a rut with their marriage.  They each do their own thing separately and when they do come together there is no connection, which is made all the more difficult because of their smart phones.  During a class, Josh meets a young married couple (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried) who seem interested in his documentary career.  Josh and his wife start to hang out with the couple feeling that their interaction with them makes them feel alive again and important.  Once Josh agrees to help on their documentary, he begins to slowly but surely feel that maybe these two aren’t what they seem to be.

                Starting with the good, as I usually try to do, the acting in this film is across the board great.  Adam Driver plays the stuck up know-it-all hipster to perfection.  Stiller and Watts are also great in their roles of an older married couple trying to figure things out.  Charles Grodon, someone I miss in film and television is a very welcome presence here.  The cinematography is also well done here, given the film the matching annoying instagram feeling throughout.  Where this film should have shined was in the story, which was wasted to make some stupid point about what truth is.

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                Maybe I am finally old, but watching a movie about an older married couple finding what happiness is through two pretentious and annoying hipsters isn’t enjoyable.  Now, coming up on the ten year mark in my marriage, I can understand the rut that can become all too familiar and the desire to find that spark again.  That’s what I wanted this movie to be about, not some pseudo-intellectual tripe about what truth is in today’s world.  Truth, to this films point no longer matters, especially in today’s society.  It’s about what we think or can make people think is true.  It was so frustrating seeing the cheating elitist hipster get away with what he did and to be hailed as brilliant by today’s young execs and yesterday’s liberal heroes.  Top all this off with the final moments of the film finding the couple staring at a toddler playing with an IPhone.  Before credits roll we see that as they stare the face they start to make is one of uncertainty and even possibly fear in that they made the wrong choice.

                Unfortunately this is what the world believes concerning truth.  It is subjective and there really is no such thing as truth outside of what the individual deems to be true or not.  The words of Grodon’s character at the end during his speech are empty words meant to be intellectual.  He nor the younger generation believe what he is saying concerning truth.  They, like true secularism and liberalism are liars wrapped snuggly in their blanket of self importance and the eternal struggle force acceptance, no matter how screwed up their worldview is.  Wasted talent, wasted potential, another waste of time.  But hey, I got a new article out of it…so I got that going for me.

1 and ½ stars out of 4

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Review: ‘Unfinished Business’

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                Vince Vaughn recently said that he agrees with most critics that his recent comedies have been subpar and just running through the motions.  I couldn’t disagree more.  Delivery Man may not have been as good as this film, but it had a very good moral theme that lacks in most comedies.  The Internship was another winner for Vaughn because of its message of hard work, even when you seem obsolete and what rewards could come from that.  Even though The Watch was a horrible waste of talent, his characters desire to protect his daughter still resonated.  How does Vaughn’s latest compare as far as morally positive and pro-family themes?

                Dan Trunkman has recently quit his job because of the manager’s lack of caring for those under her.  He starts a new business with the help of 67 year old Tim (Tom Wilkinson) and a young man named Mike (Dave Franco).  After a year of hard work, it looks like they may finally get a big deal with a huge company.  After traveling to the company to shake hands on the deal, Dan runs into his old boss Chuck (Sienna Miller) who is there to try and steal the deal from him.  The team finds themselves traveling to Germany to try and convince the head of this big company that they are the better deal.  All the while, Dan’s family at home is having problems of their own that he is trying to get back to and help with.

                This is the best of the recent run of Vince Vaughn comedies.  Vaughn brings a little more than just the straight man with fast zingers.  He is more restrained and shows the right range of emotions for everything that slows his character from reaching his final goal.  Franco also brings a range as far as playing the somewhat slow and eager to please salesman.  The character is sweet and gentle and has some of the funniest parts in the movie.  Wilkinson does well but I expected more from him.  James Marsden, who plays one of the senior executives in the company Vaughn’s character is trying to do business with is so smarmy and underhanded that you hate his character, which means he did a great job.  Also doing a great job at creating a character you hate is Sienna Miller.  Rounding out the characters is Nick Frost as the underling to Marsden’s character who really wants to do business with Vaughn and understands that it is best for his company.

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                The movie is at its best when the central premise of Vaughn’s character is trying to get business done while still staying connected with his family and doing it all for them.  Nowhere within the story does this character ever say that he is doing it for revenge, to prove something or his own pride.  He’s doing it because he is a hard worker who wants to support his family using the gifts he has in this business.  He is a loving father who makes assumptions about his kids throughout the film that end up being completely wrong.  When he finds that out, he actually tries to empathize and encourage his kids and its touching.  This is an important aspect of his character that makes the movie worth the watch.  What his character does to show his kids he cares is heartwarming as well as funny.  In the end, his daughter gives him one of the best encouragements back with what she thinks about her dad for a homework assignment.

                While I understand why Vince Vaughn said what he did in that interview, I disagree with him.  All of his recent comedies have him in a role that is admirable, whether it be for hard work, encouraging gifts in others or being a loving and protective father.  All that being said, this is a hard R movie with needless male and female nudity and lots of adult language.  So viewers beware on those points.

3 stars out of 4

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Review: ‘Jurassic World’

Jurassic-World-Poster                I have been reading a lot about Chris Pratt being a Christian and or a conservative lately.  This could be true, and according to his quoting of Scriptures on his Facebook account and his talk of divine intervention and restored faith in God after a scare with the birth of his son, I hope so.  But I am worried this will be another one of those Christian conservative overreaches that could back fire when he comes out claiming that their take on what he said is completely wrong.  Don’t get me wrong, if true, fantastic. I am a huge fan of his and have been since Wanted.  Not just for his acting and comedic skills but also for his reported family beliefs, hard work ethic and general nice guy attitude.  Weird intro for a review on his latest film Jurassic World but his presence made the film a must see for me.  Does he put yet another step away from one of televisions best characters, Andy Dwyer and move closer to incredibly popular leading man.  Will he be what movie fans have wanted for years amidst the metrosexual depressed heroes of the last decade?  A no nonsense tough guy with a heart?  Oh, and is the “reboot” of a promising franchise good also?

                It’s been twenty years since the disaster that was Jurassic Park, but John Hammonds dream still lives with the much more successful Jurassic World.  Two brothers, Zack (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) are on their way to Jurassic World to have fun and visit their aunt.  Their aunt is Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) who also happens to be the operations manager for the park.  On the day of the boys arrival, Claire has to try and sell a new attraction, the Indominus Rex, a new genetically enhanced dinosaur to potential investors.  The parks owner, Simon (Irrfan Kahn) has asked her to work with Owen (Chris Pratt) a former military serviceman who now works as the parks Velociraptor trainer.  The new creation escapes during their inspection and starts to wreak havoc on the island and heads toward the main attractions where over twenty thousand visitors walk, unaware of the danger coming their way.

                This is true summer blockbuster fair that is an incredibly fun time at the movies.  Characters that are identifiable, you care and root for.  Pratt is awesome as the tough guy here, but he is also well matched with incredible chemistry with the always lovely Howard.  The kids this time aren’t as annoying as the first film.  Although the angsty older brother grates on you until they get into dangerous territory where we see his older brotherly instincts kick in.  The addition of Kahn is welcome as he is charming, funny and is missed once he leaves the movie.  Even though D’onofrio plays the cookie cutter bad guy, it’s still Vincent D’onofrio.  The editing and pace is pretty well put together and the action is one of the films best qualities.  The tension is there and almost to the point of greatness that the first one had.  The final sequence is well worth the price of admission alone.  With only a few instances of low grade movie making, this is an entertaining and energetic film.

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                There were two issues with this film that makes it not as great as it should have been.  The first has been talked about throughout any review you read outside of this one and that is the lackluster CGI and lack of practical effects that made the first one awesome.  There are some shots that are downright cringe worthy, that look like old school blue screen effects.  The second issue is even more eye rolling in its effect on the overall story.  Having an overly cocky military man who wants to use the tragedy as a reason to test the capabilities of trained raptors in battle was just liberal story telling ridiculousness.  It’s beyond the ability to suspend disbelief.  It’s laughable that the writers thought this a plausible scenario.  What military man or even military contractor would believe the use of wild animals that haven’t existed for thousands of years, if ever, would be viable in the battle field?  Geez, they learned during WWII that you couldn’t use cats as spy tools, why in the world would anyone think this.  Granted I can’t think of a better way to put a hurdle in front of the success of the protagonists, this is still a dumb idea.  If you are able to ignore these two heavy flaws, like I was, then it’s still a great movie.

                I would caution some parents who want to take their younger children.  Surprisingly there were some pretty violent and very uncomfortable scenes that may give kids some unpleasant dreams.  Other than that there is the usual dinosaur carnage, minimal amounts of blood and some language.  I would highly recommend this one for a weekend showing where you just want to be highly entertained.

3 stars out of 4

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Review: ‘Run All Night’

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                Gun control hypocrite Liam Neeson has been on a role for several years being the gun wielding hero/anti-hero.  Though the latest Taken movie did well financially it was a completely horrible film that wasted its potential.  Neeson’s big mouth didn’t help my thoughts on it either.  A Walk Among the Tombstones was also mediocre.  If not for Ed Harris, I’m not sure I would have given this one a second look.  Did it continue the downward spiral of mediocrity for Neeson or was it something that showed he still had something?

                Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) is a washed up former hitman who mooches off his former childhood friend/partner, a corrupt gangster/business man named Shawn (Ed Harris).  Jimmy is haunted by the past and by the faces of the many men he has killed and so he now lives his life drink after drink.  Shawn’s son Danny (Boyd Holbrook) tries to get his dad to join into a drug business with some Albanians and his father declines.  Danny then finds himself in trouble with the Albanians and kills them right in front of Jimmy’s son Michael (Joel Kinnaman).  Jimmy finds out and tries to get his son to keep his mouth shut but is forced to kill Danny himself before Danny kills Michael.  In retaliation for this, Shawn sends a lot of people, including a notorious hitman to kill them both.  Jimmy will do whatever it takes to keep his son safe, even if that means going after his former best friend.

                The acting in Run all Night is pretty solid across the board with Neeson, Kinnaman and especially Harris giving the film the gravitas it needed.  Neeson brings his tough sadness that he showed in The Grey here and it works well for his character.  Kinnamen plays it very well as the jaded son of Neeson’s character.  Holbrook is great as the moronic son of Harris who you just hate from the start and that always shows some good acting in my book.  It’s Harris though that is the best part of the film.  His calm and concise use of the dialogue gives his character that dangerous twinge, that something bad is about to happen any moment, when he is on the screen.  The look of the film is okay, sometimes it’s hard to see what could be going on in the darker scenes, but for the most part everything flows well.  The use of a weird “matrix” style zoom ins and outs did not work very well and seem out of place for this slow burn of a film.

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                Again, like most films I review here, there is no new trails blazed with this film.  All of it is a been there done that as far as the start, middle and end of the film.  If it wasn’t for the actors in the roles they were in, this would have been a straight to DVD, late night HBO film that hardly anyone would know about.  Run All Night is your usual dead beat father trying to make amends for the son he let down.  Only this time he’s a dead beat father who just happens to be a former hitman who has to kill people to save his son.  There are several good action sequences that are well worth the watch. 

                This is an entertaining movie using Neeson’s talents for tough guy roles and using him in a different light as the bad guy trying to do good.  Violence and language throughout so be forewarned on that.

3 stars out of 4

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Review: ‘Snowpiercer’

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                For a while I didn’t want to see this movie because I knew it was yet another attempt by anti-science liberals to push their gospel of global warming.  Also, it was said to push an occupy Wall Street horse manure narrative of the rich and powerful being only rich white conservatives who cling to their Bible’s and guns.  Well, I kept seeing it on best movies of the year lists and the trailer and the concept itself made me curious.  So I watched it.  So, was it moronic liberal tripe?

                A new ice age has filled the world with eternal snow.  The last of civilization is now placed on a high speed rail forever predestined to travel the world in one big loop.  On the train, those who are poor and deemed unimportant to anything other than menial labor are in the back.  Those deemed as important to the furtherance of the human race are in the front of the train.  Curtis (Chris Evans) is a back of the trainer who has had it with the leadership coming down to his side of the train to oppress him and tell him his place over a loud speaker from Minister Mason (Tilda Swinton).  He and other’s decide to fight their way to the front of the train where the promise of a better life lies.  Each level of the train offers more and more trouble for the group as it gets harder and harder to reach their goal.

                First off, ignoring the moronic anti-science climate change beginning, this is a well-made movie with some great action sequences and cinematic look.  Those two aspects of the film are the best parts of it, meaning the acting isn’t what you come here to see.  That’s not saying that the acting is terrible, it is just one note and not really anything special.  Chris Evans has proven himself to be leading man material and an action star but he doesn’t really stretch any acting muscle here, again, not a bad thing.  The one standout is from Swinton who plays the evil role so cheesy it works and makes her hate her character even more.  Ed Harris brings the other decent role in the film that tries to show the film can be “philosophical” while still being a good action movie.

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                As for the story, its rather been there done that.  Oppressed get mad about oppression and decide it’s time to end it and the oppressors try to stop them.  Still, the cinematography and action sequences make up for the unoriginal story arch.  How about that liberal message?  It falls flat, very, very flat.  Forgetting the stupid climate change bs, the message that I read in reviews of the oppressors being the conservative thinkers is just downright laughable.  Now, I get that the creators meant that to be true, but they failed, again at least for anyone paying attention and can use their brain.  No liberals, you are the bucked tooth hag at the front of the train yelling at those below you to “know their place.”  You’re the ones who think you are superior and those of you libs that are rich think you know better than everyone else.  You trick the poor and minorities to eat what’s good for them, like this movies protein bars, pretending you care.  You’re the ones brainwashing children into thinking idiotic and immoral things like this films teacher.  Watch this film to see what true liberalism end result is.

                This movie was a good idea with an even better set of action arrangements.  There is a decent amount of violence and some language, so be cautious there those of you who look out for that stuff.

3 stars out of 4

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Quick Reviews

                Here’s a list of a few recent viewings I have gone through lately that I didn’t or didn’t want to review for whatever reason.  Hopefully I can give a short review that may peak your interests to either watch or pass on a film you might have been considering.  There can be a mix of newer/older movies with a few insights.

Married to the Mob

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                I remember loving this movie when I was younger.  In some ways it stands the test of time, mostly because of Dean Stockwell, Mercedes Ruehl and Michelle Pfeiffer’s performances.  Matthew Modine is the weak link here.  His performance is just weird, not sure what the plan was with that decision but unfortunately its distracting.  There are some funny bits here and there and the story is interesting enough.  It’s an obscure title form the 80’s but worth a look.  2 and ½ stars out of 4

Home

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                I’m not sure what the creators behind this movie were trying to say with this picture.  The trailer was the only good to come out of it.  While the voice cast is all up for the task and give decent performances, the story is all around boring and probably is another sign of downfall for DreamWorks animation.  DreamWorks has given us some great franchises, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda and even Madagascar.  Unfortunately its box office draws have continued to wane.   The Dragon sequel should have done better, it was a good movie, and so was Penguins of Madagascar but when you look at the ticket sales, not much of a return.  This film wasn’t completely awful, it had some laughs, but in the end it is just mundane.  1 and ½ stars out of 4

Mortdecai

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                I can completely see why people hated this movie, yet I do not count myself as one of them.  Yes, its goofy and all over the place but I believe that was the intent.  This wasn’t going for the golden statue, but wanted to goof on British caper movies and it that decently.  Is it great?  No.  But I did find myself laughing throughout the film.  Initially, with the opening I thought I should just turn it off, but it was worth getting past that initial reaction.  Johnny Depp can do well in comedy and this proves it, if ever so slightly.  The rest of the cast is funny enough and it was great to see Jeff Goldblum show up, no matter how brief.  Funny enough to enjoy one Saturday afternoon on Netflix.  2 and ½ stars out of 4

Batman:  Assault on Arkham

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                This was one of the best DC animated films to come out for a long time.  It is instantly interesting after the Ocean’s Eleven style opening.  With an extremely talented voice cast, led by the always incredible Kevin Conroy, the movie flies by.  It’s an entertaining story that is very much adult, so don’t grab your toddler and watch this one with them.  Each character is given enough material to feel fully developed, even if you are going into this one blind and not being a big DC fan/follower.  It even had a little twist I didn’t see coming and I always enjoy that.  This is up there with Batman Mask of the Phantasm, and The Dark Knight Returns.  I hope they can get these high grade films more often than they do and for the love of everything holy, give us a faithful Knightfall adaptation!  3 stars out of 4

Batman vs. Robin

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                Who would have thought we would have gotten such a quick turnaround from page to film with the great story arch found in Court of Owls from DC comics Batman series.  While I always understand when creators of comic adaptations will make big cuts for their films, I still wish they would just man up and make the almost 3 hour movie that would be even better and no fan would complain.  As long as it was good at least.  It is unfortunate that here we get another watered down version of a great story that just barely scratches the service of what made the story great.  Its entertaining enough, especially the fight sequences, but it is still lacking.  The voice cast doesn’t really fit outside of Jeremy Sisto who does great as the Talon.  There’s also a surprisingly great vocal performance by Weird Al.  So it’s got that going for it.  2 stars out of 4

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Review: ‘Project Almanac’

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                It is very rare that a time travel movie works on all levels.  Last one I saw that was incredible and seemed to tie up loose ends was TimeCrimes.  It seemed so original and very inventive as a story and was a truly smart film.  Back to the Future was great but had a lot of plot holes which is normal when it comes to create an entertaining time travel movies.  Tying up all loose ends, plugging plot holes, etc. can be really hard when it comes to time travel movies.

                David (Jonny Weston) is a graduating senior in high school who is extremely smart.  He has just been accepted to MIT, but his family cannot afford it and he was not given a big enough scholarship.  He is later found in the attic by his sister who finds him trying to figure it all out and finds his deceased dad’s old video camera.  On it is his seventh birthday, they day his dad died.  He sees himself in the film briefly, not as a child but at the age he is now.  He tries to figure it out with his friends and finds that his dad was working on a time machine.  He and the friends finish it and start to experiment, but they aren’t paying attention to what consequences might come about them time traveling.

                I remember seeing the trailer for this movie a few years ago.  For some reason it was pushed back almost a year and a half.  I remember thinking it looked interesting but forgot about it until recently when it was released.  It looked like a new twist to the genre that could pay off and it did.  The found footage genre is grating on many people, but if it’s well done, like 2012’s Chronicle, it good and this one is.  The young cast, well, a cast of older people playing teenagers, are all very good and bring not only the right sense of humor to the film, but when needed, a set of dread, nervousness and fear.  With the shaky camera throughout the film, it’s special effects are made all the better as they stay consistent and offer something different.  The pacing is also pretty spot on and it keeps your attention enough that the movie flies by.

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                The story is typical for a film about teens doing something extraordinary.  The nerd has a crush on the hot girl in school and so you can guess what happens there.  The nerd’s sister is a tomboy and his friends are the comic relief slightly nerdy version of the main character.  Outside of the ending, you won’t be surprise on the route the film takes, yet it is still enjoyable.  A time travel film that makes you think of what the consequences would be if you did this or that and its good or bad outcome is handled well throughout the film.  It has an ending that makes you think it will end one way and then keeps twisting and turning in an interesting way and was a fun experience.

                Project Almanac offers something new to the genre and it works.  There is some cussing and an unfortunate sex plot line that didn’t really need to happen, but there’s no nudity.  Give it a shot if not as a time waster one Saturday night, you won’t be disappointed.

3 stars out of 4

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Review: ‘Kingmans: The Secret Service’

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                Matthew Vaughn is a very creative director whose films subject matter comes across as if he had spent years studying the subject matter.  That’s how well his films have been in my eyes in that he takes them seriously and has not only a keen eye for directing with a unique visions but to give his audience something fun to experience.  Kick Ass and X-men: First Class had something to say about how comic book movies have grown up.  Stardust was a successful effort to pay homage to fantasy and fairy tale stories.  Will Kingsman do the same justice to the spy movie?

                Eggsy (Taron Egerton) is a young man who lives with his mom in a not so safe neighborhood.  He isn’t the most ethical man or someone who has got his act today.  A meeting with a man named Harry (Colin Firth) who knew Eggsy’s father offers him a chance to change his life for the better.  He will do so by joining a group of other recruits to become a spy known as the Kingsman who have been around for a long time and work in secret and work outside of any government control.  As his training starts, Harry is given a case to spy on a billionaire business man named Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) who is planning to make the world a better place by any means necessary.

                Matthew Vaughn has made another successful film that brings his own brand to yet another genre, this time the British spy one.  The movie looks great and has a good pace throughout its running time and there is no scene that isn’t used to its fullest.  Firth was a slam dunk choice hear as he brings his dry British swagger to a role that could have been laughable with almost anyone else doing it.  Surprisingly, he also does action very, very well.  Egerton also does really good in his role.  I’m not familiar with him, but I can see him making a name for himself one day in movies.  He is charming, quick witted and is a great match when paired with the any other cast member.  While I have made no qualms about my disliking for Jackson, he still can bring his own brand of humor to roles and he shines here.  The rest of the cast are all able to keep up and make their own interesting spins on what could be a stereotypical character, always one of Vaughn’s strong suits in his direction.

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                The story is smart and entertaining.  Actually its odd how it even got made as it makes the distinction, spot on in fact, that climate change worshippers are nuts and certain world leader with big ears are the true one percent who wish to get rid of all those little pesky middle class and poor people because he can make the world a better place.  What then happens to him was even more of a surprise, but Vaughn seems to always get away with this type of stuff.  The “controversial” church scene is nothing to worry about for Christians.  Yes, the maker’s most likely think their representation is every Christian alive because of their own ignorance and bigotry.  Real Christians however know those depicted in the church scene aren’t believers and are evil.  Saying all that, I had no problem with the scene and it worked in the context of the story.

                You already know I like the hero is ready to sacrifice everything, even his life themes, well that’s here as well.  There is a lot of language in this film, a lot.  There’s a lots of violence as well and another unnecessary sexual innuendo at the end.  If that type of thing is something you can look past, this film is smart, witty and a lot of fun.

3 stars out of 4

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Review: ‘Maggie’

Maggie-poster

                It’s been an interesting time for zombies over the past decade.  There have been some truly original concepts from The Walking Dead to Warm Bodies.  When a subject has been around for decades you would think it would get old and that there was no new way to tell the story.  As far as I know, Maggie seems like a fresh take on the zombie movie.  What would it be like to be infected and have the time to say spend your last few days before you turn with loved ones?  Did the premise work though?

                The Necroambulist virus, a virus that turns someone into the walking dead, has dwindled the population of the world and has even infected farmer’s crops causing most food to be burned.  Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is traveling to a big city to pick up his daughter from a hospital as she has been infected.  The doctors release Maggie (Abigail Breslin) into Wade’s custody telling him that she has a short time before she fully turns and will have to come back to the city for quarantine.  Wade and his wife decide to have her come home so they can enjoy her last few days together.  Maggie is struggling with what is happening to her and what the ultimate ending she will have to endure.  As she slowly turns she grabbles with those thoughts as does her family and wonder what the right thing to do with her should be.

                This film will not be for everyone, maybe not even for the hardcore zombie fans, but I think it’s a winner.  The biggest complaints I could understand would be the pacing as well as the cinematography that would understandably make some standoffish.  It was an odd choice, long shots of distortion or far away landscapes, but it was one I appreciated.  This is definitely Schwarzenegger’s best performance in a long time.  Abigail Breslin does take some getting used to in the beginning but once the film has set the tone, you appreciate her performance as well.  The rest of the cast is mostly generic, which isn’t bad in this case considering the focus is on the Schwarzenegger and Breslin.  You do feel the length of the movie, which isn’t a bad thing in this situation because it seems that that was intentional to heighten the despair, tension and nervousness surrounding the story.

                The story, while not fully new does feel like a refreshing take on the genre.  What if the zombie disease was something you can track and see happening over weeks instead of seconds.  How would you deal with it if it was a friend or a love one that was infected?  In this case, how would a father deal with it in his daughter?  While the audience most likely will be telling the television screen to just get it over with, the director does a good job of bringing across how difficult this situation would be.  In the end you really connect to these characters and attach to the sadness and frustration of what they are going through.  There is a scene at the end, and other parts of the movie but mostly the end, where the tension is so high I felt my palms sweating.  Now that’s good stuff.

                I would put this down to another big winner for the video on demand market.  It is a well-made and well-acted film.  If you love zombie films, this is very much worth your time.  Surprisingly there isn’t much gore, but there is some language.

3 stars out of 4

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