5 Quick Reviews of 5 New Films on DVD in February

In honor of the Academy Awards I’ve decided to…

*Hey! I just met you. And this is crazy.*

Hold on I have to take this.

Particular Set of Skills

“I don’t know who you are but I hear you’re reviewing Taken 2. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money.”

Then call me after you hit an ATM, damn.

*Click*

Wrong number.

Anyway what I was saying was that I finally saw the…

*Hey! I just met you. And this is crazy.*

Hold on.

what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.

“What I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.”

No hablo Ingles. No hablo. K? Thanx bye.

*click*

Telemarketers… Am I right?

I finally got to see The Master. Is what I was trying to say before I got interrupted…

*Hey! I just met you. And this is crazy.*

Gotta take this. Bitches be crazy. Am I right?

Hola.

If you give me a good review, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.

If you give me a good review, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.

Dude. It’s just a blog. Chill the fuck out Qui-Gon. You bloody psychopath.

*click*

Let’s just get right to the reviews.

The Master (The Weinstein Company)

The Master Poster

Written & Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Starring Joaquin PhoenixPhilip Seymour HoffmanAmy Adams

The master is superb film-making and sensational acting. Paul Thomas Anderson is a master of the cinematic art form. In this work he reminds me at times of David Lean and at others of Stanley Kubrick (I do not throw those names around lightly) It is astonishingly original and rich and engrossing.

Philip Seymour Hoffman The Master

The writing however is sub par. The story itself annoyed me somewhat. And the lead character is very frustrating and also annoying.

Joaquin Phoenix The Master

Even though Joaquin Phoenix brings the goods once again, his character rubbed me the wrong way; Like nails on a chalkboard. But the film is beautiful in every other possible way. Music, Photography, Acting, Pacing… just gorgeous. A master class in film-making. The entire cast is amazing especially the always wonderful Amy Adams.

Amy Adams The Master

Rent it

I’ve heard that The Master is a thinly veiled history of the creation of Scientology and of it’s insane founder, L. Ron Hubbard. I don’t want to get on the bad side of these extremely litigious and bat-shit crazy cultists so I won’t say anything disparaging about their moronic pseudo religion.

But I used to run a bookstore near one of their centers and every day I would have to chase them out of the Science Fiction section with a broom… like vermin. And what were they doing over there, you might ask? Making sure that the L. Ron Hubbard books were face-out on the shelves. Geez.

“Mel, we got a tolly in SciFi again.”

*grabs the broom*

“Get out of here ya damn tolly!”

*Hey! I just met you. And this is crazy.*

I gotta change that fucking ringtone.

“I don’t who you are but I hear you’re reviewing Taken 2. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money.”

“I don’t know who you are but I hear you’re reviewing Taken 2. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you..”

Yeah yeah. You have “SKILLS”. Is this a recording? I could swear we did this already.

*click*

NEXT!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Summit Entertainment)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Poster

Written & Directed by Stephen Chbosky (based on his novel of the same name)

Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson & Ezra Miller

The Perk of Being a Wallflower was better than I thought it would be. I enjoyed this film for its portrayals of teen angst and identity. And for the great 80’s music throughout including my favorite David Bowie song as a pivotal plot point.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The acting is decent to good. Emma Watson is beautiful as the object of the main character’s affection and in time I feel that her acting ability will catch up to her looks.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Much like Sienna Miller or Halle Berry or Charlize Theron before her, she needs to add acting chops to her pretty face in order to be taken seriously.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a flawed film and it takes itself too seriously at times. But I really liked the cast and I’ve always loved stories about outcasts who embrace their status. Add to the cast and the premise some great Rocky Horror Picture Show songs & staged scenes and you have an enjoyable film that just comes up a little short.

But rent it anyway for that great 80’s music.

Rent it.

Taken 2 (20th Century Fox)

Taken 2 Poster

Directed by Olivier Megaton

Written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen

Starring Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen & Rade Šerbedžija

I must admit that I expected to hate this movie and instead liked it a lot. The action sequences, chase & fight scenes are so well-written it makes up for the bad dialogue and all those international spy thriller clichés.

Taken 2

The fights are well-choreographed. Car chases are intense and Liam Neeson’s “man with a particular set of skills” this second time around is a more complete character.

Taken 2

A very flawed character. Bad at personal relationships. Full of mistrust, OCD, emotionally crippled and distant…

Taken 2

but still severely kick-ass. Taken 2 was good. It was very good and now I want a third.

Rent it

Liam Neeson

No you. You psychopath.

…speaking of which.

Seven Psychopaths (CBS Films)

Seven Psychopaths Poster

Written & Directed by Martin McDonagh

Starring Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish & Olga Kurylenko

Seven Psychopaths was an interesting, fun and quirky crime drama, black comedy with an all-star cast. Every character is three-dimensional and well-acted and of course… psychotic.

Seven Psychopaths

I enjoy this genre of film. The thriller where the writer is an unwilling main character. Where the plot falls into his lap and it’s like he’s writing the movie as he goes along. I love these movies because they create a sense of jeopardy for the writer. Where traditionally the narrator lives to tell the tale. When the story is writing itself, all bets are off.

Seven Psychopaths

I liked this film. It might be a little too quirky for some people but I like strange criminals. And the casting is outstanding. All of these actors are among my favorites and they are in their element.

Seven Psychopaths

…playing crazed but likable bad guys.

Rent it

Wreck It Ralph (Disney)

Wreck It Ralph Poster

Directed by Rich Moore

Written by Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee, Rich Moore & Jim Reardon

Starring  John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer & Jane Lynch

This is a good movie. What makes a good animated feature you ask? Good story, good characters and good voice acting. Wreck it Ralph has all three in spades.

Wreck It Ralph

Action packed and fun. This is the best animated film of 2012. The most creative and original animated film of 2012 by far. So much better than Disney’s Brave. Which I could barely get through. (She poisons her mother. How is that cute?)

Wreck It Ralph

I know that Tron has already done the human entering a video game thing but this is about video game characters crossing over into other games.

Wreck It Ralph

A great idea. Well executed.

I’ve been disappointed with recent Hollywood animated features. The quality has declined in favor of the easy to merchandise, straight to DVD spin-off ready, simplified morality tale. Kid stuff has been dumbed-down extensively. What happened to the artistic and sophisticated children’s movies? I’m sick of these silly films. Oh sure the kids love the colors and the over-all silliness and the corporations love that they can make lots of money and can inspire easily churned out, straight to DVD spin-off videos. But what about art?

The Motion Picture Academy should stop recognizing these pieces of fluff as works of art. Treat them like they’ve treated blockbusters; with little respect. If the only movies to choose from for the Oscar are pieces of fluffy over-produced spin-off ready adventures in marketing then why not pick nothing. Children don’t care if a film they like wins an Oscar. It doesn’t affect sales one bit. Stop rewarding these movies. Just stop.

Wreck It Ralph

Wreck It Ralph is the best of a very weak field of animated movies in 2012.

But rent it because it’s actually pretty good.

To Recap:

The Master is a fantastic drama about the formation of a cult. Rent it for the fine cast and beautiful photography.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a fun coming-of-age film about teen outcasts. Rent it for the beautiful & likable cast and the great music.

Taken 2 is an exciting action thriller about a man with a particular set of skills. Rent it for the cool fight scenes and thrilling chases.

Seven Psychopaths is a quirky black comedy about bad guys with different levels of psychosis. Rent it for the awesome cast and entertaining story.

Wreck It Ralph is a cute and funny animated adventure about video game characters. Rent it for the great voice acting and the fun story.

"Wait, so did he like us or did he not like us? I'm confused.""Somebody get Liam Neeson on the phone."

“Wait, so did he like us or did he not like us? I’m confused.”
“Somebody get Liam Neeson on the phone.”

Whoops I gotta go…

See you at the movies.

– Mel

5 thoughts on “5 Quick Reviews of 5 New Films on DVD in February

  1. I agree Wreck-it Ralph was robbed big-time.

    re: The Master though, I have to disagree with your comment about the writing. I thought it was a brilliant character-study just like his other films and it was worthy of being nominated and winning Best Original Screenplay for Paul Thomas Anderson.

    It really doesn’t have a story. I reviewed it on my blog where I said that the film plays out more like a collection of vignettes used as a vehicle to show what kind of people Lancaster Dodd and Freddie Quell are, and the film is excellent in that regard.

    Like

    • I guess that’s it. I guess I wanted a story. I think the characters are fleshed out by the acting (& direction) more than the writing. And I wanted to care more about at least one of them but I didn’t. I wanted a journey but instead i was shown a picture. Which was fantastic don’t get me wrong. But I wanted a lot more from it.

      If you compare it to the other screenplay winner (Django) and remove the good acting from both films and let the screenplays stand on their own. PTA’s, in my opinion, would not. Quentin’s would still be amazing if presented by a middle school drama club.

      I believe the sensational acting has been mistaken for good writing… and it would n’t be the first time.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Like

      • Your middle-school-drama-club point kind of makes sense, yeah. I just felt that with the actors that PTA used, the full potential of the screenplay came through as a brilliant character study.

        Like

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