Friday, July 31, 2015

Miami Vice (2006)

Director: Michael Mann

Writer: Michael Mann

Composer: John Murphy

Starring: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Li Gong, Naomie Harris, Ciaran Hinds, Justin Theroux, Barry Shabaka Henley, Luis tosar, John Ortiz, John Hawkes

More info: IMDb

Tagline: No Rules

Plot: Based on the 1980s TV action/drama, this update focuses on vice detectives Crockett and Tubbs as their respective personal and professional lives become dangerously intertwined.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

OK, I never saw the show.  I was at the right age when it came out to love it (mid-teens) but I wasn't much of a TV watcher (never have been, really).  Movies have always been my bag.  Anyway, I was aware of the show and what it looked like and what it was about and that's the extent to what I had going into Mann's feature film based on the show he created.  I was borderline bored from (nearly) start to finish.  Everything was so damn stylishly serious from the music to the acting and the overall dark look of the film (most of it takes place at night, the opposite of what you think about the bright, sunny city of Miami).  It's over two hours of gloomy machismo that kept me from caring about anyone.  Farrell and Foxx seem reasonably cast but they have zero chemistry.  Hanging around either of these characters would be a real bummer.  Was the TV show like this?  I wouldn't mind trying the show out (it's currently streaming on Netflix) but this movie has all but turned me completely off. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Sting (1973)

Director: George Roy Hill

Writer: David S. Ward

Music adapted by: Marvin Hamlisch

Starring: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw, Charles Durning, Ray Walston, Eileen Brennan, Harold Gould, John Heffernan, Dana Elcar, Jack Kehoe, Dimitra Arliss, Robert Earl Jones, James Sloyan, Sally Kirkland

More info: IMDb

Tagline: ...all it takes is a little Confidence.

Plot:  In Chicago in September 1936, a young con man seeking revenge for his murdered partner teams up with a master of the big con to win a fortune from a criminal banker.

My rating: 10/10

Will I watch it again? Oh, yeah.

I LOVE this movie.  The casting is outstanding, the look and feel of the time and place, the con, the dialogue, the super fun ragtime Scott Joplin tunes (despite the music being 15 years too late, it works beautifully), the works.  This should be required viewing for everyone but especially film makers who want to make a crime picture.  I can't say enough about the casting. Everyone does a pitch perfect job.  This is one of those pictures that takes me away from modern day and transports me back in time.  I should have more to say considering how much I dig this flick but that's all I've got.  Oh, and that, for old time's sake, I'd like to see the sequel. It's been over 30 years.  I don't recall liking it all that much but the cast has some fun cats in it. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ant-Man (2015)

Director: Peyton Reed

Writers: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd

Composer: Christophe Beck

Starring: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Anthony Mackie, Judy Greer, Abby Ryder Fortson, Michael Pena, David Dastmalchian, T.I., Hayley Atwell, Wood Harris, John Slattery, Martin Donovan, Garrett Morris

More info: IMDb

Tagline: This July, heroes don't come any bigger.

Plot: Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.

My rating: 9/10

Will I watch it again?  YES!!!!!!!!!!

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy was this fun!  Not only that but it's got lots of humor and heart.  What Marvel has been doing in the past few years with their Cinematic Universe is amazing.  Despite AVENGERS 2 being a minor letdown (I still liked it but...) this picture makes up for it.  Maybe it's because it's a smaller film.  I don't know but there's a lot to love about ANT-MAN.  Rudd and the rest of the cast are fantastic.  I really dug the little bits of fun the film makers threw in like how Luis (Pena) tells a story getting other people involved but with his voice telling it.  It happens twice and it's hilarious both times.  Stan Lee's cameo is hilarious.  I dug the back story of the original Ant-Man and getting a little taste of it, I liked the setting and use of San Francisco, the special effects are marvelous and the 3D, for a change, was great and it really made a difference when you were in Ant-Man's shrunken-down world.  I highly recommend seeing this in 3D for that reason alone.  There are two short scenes in the credits and after.  You don't want to miss them; they're both juicy fun.  This has got me really looking forward to the next Captain America movie where so much is building up to a civil war within The Avengers and I'm super happy that Ant-Man is going to be a part of it.  They were right to release this picture after AVENGERS 2 because it's that strong of a film.  LOVE IT!!!  It was just announced this week that this film will be part of the big Blu-ray box set that has all of the films since the first Avengers movie.  No release date has been set but you can bet your sweet-ass britches I'll own it day one.  I don't think I've bought any of the films yet and I'm getting ants in my pants to watch GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014) again. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Trainwreck (2015)

Director: Judd Apatow

Writer: Amy Schumer

Composer: Jon Brion

Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, John Cena, Dave Attell, Vanessa Bayer, Tilda Swinton, Randall Park, Jon Glaser, Ezra Miller, Brie Larson, LeBron James, Daniel Radcliffe, Marisa Tomei, Tim Meadows, Matthew Broderick, Marv Albert, Chris Evert

More info: IMDb

Tagline: All aboard

Plot: Having thought that monogamy was never possible, a commitment-phobic career woman may have to face her fears when she meets a good guy.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

The fuck?  There's not a single train anywhere in this movie.  While that is a true statement it's not meant to dissuade train enthusiasts from boycotting this picture.  For the most part I had a pretty good time.  There are a few laugh out loud jokes and a bunch of amusing moments but it's when the shit hits the fan (as shit is want to do) 2/3 into the film is when it slows down and the 125 minute run time starts feeling it.  Up until then it's pretty fun.  Quinn is hilarious, Schumer is hilarious, LeBron is HILARIOUS and so is Cena (the last two cats really surprised me).  Once the rift happens between Amy (Schumer) and Aaron (Hader) the funny slows down to a crawl and you're left with two people who can't talk to each other which makes the situation worse.  I'm not the greatest when it comes to communication in a relationship but I do know that shit needs to be discussed in detail to try and support your side of the story and that needs to come from both sides.  But hell, this is a movie and the film makers have a job to do.  It's not that the conflict was handled poorly but it's the end of the film that suddenly becomes just like every other romantic comedy and I mean just like EVERY other typical Hollywood romantic comedy where everything wraps up unrealistically upbeat and safe.  The two hours before the credits roll start to wear on you but I'm not sure what you'd want to trim to bring the time down.  Schumer put a lot in her script.  The Radcliffe/Tomei movie-in-a-movie gag was satirically funny but you only needed 10 seconds to setup and earn the laugh.  Beats me.  I'm a huge fan of Schumer and Apatow and any time I can spend with them is worth it.  OK, maybe I was wrong.  There are a couple of brief subway scenes so I reckon you can technically say there was a train in the picture.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Terminator Genisys (2015)

Director: Alan Taylor

Writers: Laeta Kalogridis, Patrick Lussier

Composer: Lllorne Balfe

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, J.K. Simmons, Dayo Okeniyi, Matt Smith, Courtney B. Vance, Byung-hun Lee, Michael Gladis

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The rules have been reset.

Plot: John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor, but when he arrives in 1984, nothing is as he expected it to be.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

I need to checklist this one...

What I liked...

Schwarzenegger is the best thing about the picture.  He's fun without being as godawful campy as he was in T2.  I also dug what they did with his character and how he fits in the new timeline.

The story works well as it continues (not re-booting) and fits well in the franchise.  After the amazing first film, this is my second favorite.

The effects are outstanding. I was blown away with the de-aging of Arnold particularly.  Loved it.

What I didn't like...

Emilia Clarke was OK as the new Sarah Connor but she had a few moments where her delivery was really flat.  Her voice is close to being monotone and it annoyed me.  I would've like some more charisma from Courtney as Kyle Reese.  He did a good job but he was missing that little something that would have elevated his performance and the character.  J.K. Simmons stole most every scene he was in but he wasn't in it as much as he should have.  And if you're a Matt Smith fan, he's maybe got 2 minutes of screen time.

MUST WE continually have Arnold say, "I'll be back." in every goddamned film?  And that line, "Come with me if you want to live." needs to be retired from every film, a Terminator picture or not.  Ugh.

Balfe's score worked nicely but it would have been nice to hear more of Brad Fidel's original theme throughout the picture instead of barely an utterance until the end credits.

I didn't rush out to see the film because the trailer didn't excite me enough.  And WHY THE FUCK did the studio make a trailer giving you a huge fucking spoiler that's a huge game-changer in the Terminator universe?  These people are fucking retarded when it comes to understanding how movies work.  They did the same fucking thing with T2 by showing you in the trailer that Arnold is now a good terminator.  Wouldn't it have been a huge mind fuck to discover that in the film when it looks like he's out to kill Sarah and then suddenly see the reveal?  It's the same thing here.  My guess is the producers/studio didn't have enough faith in the film or the audience and threw everything into the trailer.  They should (as is often the case) kept that a mystery and presented it differently.  Jesus this shit pisses me off.  Because of the trailer I was turned off to the picture.  My curiosity wore me down and I saw it a few days ago before it left the IMAX 3D screen here in town to make room for ANT-MAN which I'm planning on seeing in a couple of days.  I was really surprised by GENISYS and I found it genuinely entertaining and I thoroughly dug Arnold.  He was great.  It's too bad the film is under performing at the box office.  I'd like the franchise to continue as long as it maintains the fun this one provided.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Marine (2006)

Director: John Bonito

Writer: Michelle Gallagher, Alan B. McElroy

Composer: Don Davis

Starring: John Cena, Robert Patrick, Kelly Carlson, Anthony Ray Parker, Abigail Bianca, Jerome Ehlers, Manu Bennett, Damon Gibson, Drew Powell, Frank Carlopio

More info: IMDb

Plot: A group of diamond thieves on the run kidnap the wife of a recently discharged marine who goes on a chase through the South Carolinian wilderness to retrieve her.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Probably not.

I watch an awful lot of movies over the course of a year (in the hundreds) and I'm frequently pleasantly surprised.  This is one of those times.  It's a fun flick that confidently knows what it wants to be.  There's a nice blend of comedy and action although it's firmly an action movie.  Robert Patrick (as the lead villain, Rome) is hilarious and there's a GREAT Terminator gag that'll get a belly laugh out of you.  Cena does a good job as the action hero.  There's not much in the script for him to play with and throw out some charisma but it's a role that doesn't really require it.  One of Rome's henchman, Morgan (Parker), adds nicely to the picture with some fun comic relief.  He's even got a moment when tells a story that explains why he doesn't like camping and rock candy that goes from funny to sad in seconds.  There were a few jokes at his expense leading up to it but once you know the story it'll almost make you feel for the guy.   The action is plenty and it's paced well enough to keep you from looking at where your watch used to be.  It's a fun action flick that surprises me that it's got such a low IMDb score.  It deserves better.  Action fans should dig it.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Mat Hoffman's Tribute to Evel Knievel (2008)

Director: ???

Composer: ???

Starring: Mat Hoffman, Johnny Knoxville, Travis Pastrana, Scott Palmer, Allan Cooke, Davin "Psycho" Halford, Trigger Gumm, "Harley" Jeff Schneider

More info: IMDb

Plot: Stuntmen and daredevils, all getting their early inspiration from Evel Knievel, attempt to set motorcycle jump world records of varying kinds.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

I loves me some Evel and I loves me some stunts.  This (about) 45 minute film gives you a sizable number of world-breaking jumps in one spot.  Not everyone makes it but they're still great to watch and some are incredible.  Trigger Gumm does an amazing 300' or so jump. You'd think that'd be hard to top but later Scott Palmer jumps out of an airplane without a parachute and wearing only a pair of shorts and deck shoes.  Wow.  After that what's left to offer pales in comparison.  It's worth watching once for fans of this sort of thing but I can't see many folks re-watching it.  I'm sure there are individual clips on YouTube that you can find a favorite and watch again.  The Paramount DVD has a non-anamorphic widescreen print, 34 minutes of extra footage, 3 music videos and some previews of MTV shows including one for A SHOT AT LOVE WITH TILA TEQUILA reality show.  Ugh.