Friday, June 26, 2015

Kick-Ass (2010)

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Writers: Mark Millar, John Romita Jr., Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn

Composers: Marius De Vries, Ilan Eshkeri, Henry Jackman, John Murphy

Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth McGovern, Christopher Mintz-PLAsse, Mark Strong, Dexter Fletcher, Clark Duke, Chloe Grace Moretz, Nicolas Cage, Craig Ferguson, Xander Berkeley

More info: IMDb

Tagline: I can't fly. But I can kick your ass.

Plot:  Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a super-hero, even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

I read the comic a couple of years ago and loved it yet it still took me this long to get around to pulling this off the shelf and watch the damn thing.  It's great and it does a fine job of staying faithful to the comic.  The cast is great but it's Moretz and Hitgirl that steals the show.   The pacing is quick and even though it's pretty obvious of its comic origins, it's also violent as shit and it totally embraces it.  I'm so glad they went the 'R' rated route. Anything less would have been insulting to the original material.  I'm looking forward to the sequel but I hear it's a letdown to the comic sequel (which I read and liked).

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Prayer for the Dying (1987)

Director: Mike Hodges

Writers: Jack Higgins, Edmund Ward, Martin Lynch

Composer: Bill Conti

Starring: Mickey Rourke, Bob Hoskins, Alan Bates, Sammi Davis, Christopher Fulford, Liam Neeson, Leonard Termo, Camille Coduri, Alison Doody, Anthony Head

More info: IMDb

Tagline: They want his heart, his mind, his blood.  He wants his freedom.

Plot:  Martin Fallon is an IRA bomber who tries to blow up a troop truck but instead kills a bus load of school children. He loses heart and quits the movement and goes to London trying to leave the U.K. and start a new life. The IRA wants him back (he knows too much) and the local crime boss, Meehan, will only help him if he performs one last hit, on a rival crime boss. When Fallon does perform the hit, he is seen by a catholic priest. He refuses to kill an innocent again and must find a way to escape the police without killing the priest who can identify him.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Considering the director, I expected more.  It's said that he and Rourke disowned the film after the producers mucked with it.  I assume that their touches drastically changed the film.  As it stands, it's rather tedious.  You know what everyone wants pretty early on and there isn't much to surprise you.  The silly ending with the bomb on top of the church that threatens to kill the four main characters (still alive) is rather silly.  What's more, the two you expect to live do and one of the dead is miraculously not instantly killed and goes on to survive just long enough to say a few words.  Utterly ridiculous.  Rourke's performance isn't anything to write home about.  I didn't care for him at all.  He's pouty, quiet and looks like he's carrying the world on his shoulders but he's too cool for school at the same time.  Fans of his who get wet underpants just thinking about him will LOVE him in this.  Hoskins, though, is fantastic as usual.  Alan Bates is fun as the mob boss who hires Rourke and then wants to finish the job Rourke couldn't.  He starts out as an interesting villain but somewhere along the way he loses that spark of fun and just becomes the simple-minded heavy.  That's simplifying it too much I think.  It was probably his dumb, over the top manner of elaborately dispensing of his target.  Conti's score was nice.  Ultimately the picture offers some nice moments with Hoskins and Bates and early roles for Neeson and Head, but Rourke's bad boy with a redeeming heart of gold doesn't work for me in that "look at me" way.  It's tiresome.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Spy (2015)

Director: Paul Feig

Writer: Paul Feig

Composer: Theodore Shapiro

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Jason Statham, Allison Janney, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Peter Serafinowicz

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  One of the guys.  One of the spies.

Plot: A desk-bound CIA analyst volunteers to go undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent diabolical global disaster.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

The bottom line is I laughed my ass off.  Melissa McCarthy is hilarious.  It's really weird getting used to Jude Law's American accent.  I've never laughed so hard at Jason Statham.  I love Allison Janney in everything.  Rose Byrne's accent was irritating and inconsistent (something that's pointed out briefly by Susan (McCarthy)), Miranda Hart was a fresh and funny-as-shit face out of nowhere (and she needs to have my babies), Bobby Cannavale has lost some weight since I saw him last and he's almost unrecognizable and Peter Serafinowicz was hilariously fabulous.  The story is fun and it often doesn't go where you think it will.  There's a lot more under the surface than just fat jokes and because they had something more to say than just throw some jokes out, I was surprised they didn't get even more serious with it.  Except for Byrne (or maybe it was just her character that irritated me), I REALLY dug the cast.  As the film opened and the score was under way I could swear it was David Arnold.  I was shocked to see that it was Shapiro, someone I hadn't even heard of before.  His score has some strong elements of a Bond score but without aping one.  There were some subtleties in it that long-time Bond music aficionados will get a kick out of.  I have to admit that the trailer made this look like a stupid, silly film that's relying on the one gag of the female lead being a fat fish out of water.  It's rather deceiving. What you don't get a sense of is that this is a stupendously funny movie.  I hope it's wildly successful.  It deserves it.