Long time. No DVD reviews.
I’ve been working on my novel. Don’t shoot.
I’m sorry I’ve neglected you guys.
I’ve watched a lot of DVD screeners since my last review. (which I think was my Oscars post. Sorry)
So here are some of them in one big blog post. (With my Behind the Candelabra review tacked on to the end)
To the reviews…
Parker (Sierra Entertainment)
Directed by Taylor Hackford
Screenplay by John J. Mclaughlin
Based on Flashfire by Donald E. Westlake
Starring Jason Statham & Jennifer Lopez
The movie Parker is a swing and a miss.
Jason Statham is as stoic and badass as ever but Jennifer Lopez is under-utilized and doesn’t come in until the second act. Also when you have two beautiful lead characters you want to see them get it on. They do not get it on. So if you’re thinking of renting this to see Jen and Jason getting busy, don’t waste your time. They kiss once. Parker is a fun heist movie but for me, it was advertised as a different film entirely. I expected something more like Out Of Sight. Not even close. However, if you’re a Jlo hater, rest assured that she is not in it very much. There is enough badassery and shoot-em-up scenes to satisfy the gun action fans but there is nothing else of value here.
Skip it (unless you just want to see action and don’t care about story then)
Rent it (but I warned you).
Warm Bodies (Summit Entertainment)
Written & Directed by Jonathan Levine
Starring Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer & Rob Corddry
Warm Bodies was actually pretty good. I was surprised. I usually don’t like it when writers change the rules on classic monsters to the degree that this movie does however the changes help to sell the romantic elements of the film. And I liked the romantic parts. It is a sweet film about the love between a living human girl and a zombie human boy.
Good music. Good story. Good actors. A fun and sweet light-horror romance.
Oz The Great & Powerful (Walt Disney Studios)
Directed by Sam Raimi
Written by Mitchell Kapner
Based on the Oz series by Frank L. Baum
Oz the Great and Powerful is just awful. The acting, writing & directing are just awful. There are too many actors that I admire in this film for it to be this bad.
But it is… JUST HORRIBLE. Franco? Weisz? Mila? Michelle? Sam Raimi? I kind of think that Disney should have just gone and made an animated film.
A Good Day to Die Hard (20th Century Fox)
Directed by John Moore
Screenplay by Skip Woods
Starring Bruce Willis
So bad. This movie is so very very bad. Enough with these movies already, Bruce. What kind of father & son relationship are they showing us? What was that? So badly written. Oh dear god is it badly written. The one-liners are all so cornball. You can say what you will about Schwarzenegger but at least his one-liners are always entertaining. Bruce Willis comes off in this as curmudgeonly and abrasive.
Beautiful Creatures (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Written & Directed by Richard LaGravenese
Based on Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Starring TWO GENUINELY AWFUL CHILDREN & Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum, Thomas Mann & Emma Thompson
What a boring and stupid story. Must have been a better book (Like Cloud Atlas I suppose). Beautiful Creatures is bad and boring. What a waste of good actors. The premise is weak. The effects are goofy. The movie is unsuccessfully carried by two awful young actors and supported by great talented actors who are rarely used. So very bad. This movie is so bad. I had to turn it off and watch something else. I went back to finish the film, just in case it got good for the climactic ending. IT DOES NOT. There was no climax.
Avoid this movie like the plague.
Killing Them Softly (The Weinstein Company)
Written & Directed by Andrew Dominik
Based on Cogan’s Trade by George V. Higgins
Starring Brad Pitt, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini & Ray Liotta
Killing Them Softly is fantastic. Brad Pitt is sensational as always and the pacing of this film is brilliant. I enjoyed it profusely. A realistic and gritty mob film and heist movie. Just brutal and just awesome.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (Paramount Pictures)
Written & Directed by Tommy Wirkola
Starring Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen & Peter Stormare
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is kind of a fun movie. If you don’t let it’s general stupidity get to you. It’s pretty easy to follow and not too… oh what’s the word: Thinky. It’s kind of a dumb popcorn movie with a few cool supernatural effects filled fight scenes but mostly it’s really dumb. So, if you’re not prepared to turn off your brain don’t watch it.
Movie 43 (Relativity media)
Directed by Everyone
Written by Everyone
This movie is disgusting at times and it misses the mark more times than it hits the bullseye. However there are several times that Movie 43 is funny as all hell! Times when I thought I was going to die laughing. Movie 43 is a bunch of comedic short films from some famous comedy directors starring quite a few a-list stars.
The first one sets the tone with Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz on a blind date. Hugh has testicles hanging from his neck. It is hysterically funny for a while… but it goes on for too long.
The next two are total misses and I don’t even remember them. But then it gets really good with several in a row that are incredibly funny including: One with Emma Stone and Kieran Culkin that is genius, A coach’s pep talk to the first all black basketball team to play against an all white team with Cuba Gooding Jr., And one with a man who has a sadistic cock-blocking cartoon cat that’s got Elizabeth Banks and Josh Duhamel and is outrageous.
I didn’t like the order or the insipid teen prank that ties them together. BUT… Mixed review alert! If you can get through the bad ones the good ones are worth it.
Rent it (but I apologize for the really awful ones)
Stand Up Guys (Lionsgate)
Directed by Fisher Stevens
Written by Noah Haidle
Starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken & Alan Arkin
Stand Up Guys is a great film about geriatric gangsters who after a long time away from the action get together for one last adventure. It is wonderfully written and directed with three outstanding performances from Pacino, Arkin & Walken. Just like Killing Them Softly, it tries to be as realistic as possible with its violence, which I like. It is a funny and at times painfully heartbreaking film about old friends; An elderly gang of criminals that haven’t been together for decades. So good.
I loved this movie.
Jack Reacher (Paramount Pictures)
Written & Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
Based on One Shot by Lee Child
Starring Tom Cruise (as Jack Reacher… I guess)
Frankly, there was nothing in Jack Reacher that hadn’t been done before and a heck of a lot better.
Behind The Candelabra (HBO)
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Written by Richard LaGravenese (The guy who directed Beautiful Creatures)
Based on Scott Thorson’s book
Starring Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Dan Aykroyd, Scott Bakula, Rob Lowe & Debbie Reynolds
Behind The Candelabra is a great film about a twisted relationship from its beginning to its tragic end. It is not a biopic about Liberace. It is more of the story of Liberace’s lover. A man who he molded in his own image. (It brought to mind Michael & Diana… that twisted worship that leads to plastic surgery).
There was a complaint that the film was too gay for some audiences. It is not too gay. People need to grow up. In my opinion, it is just the right amount of gay, maybe even not gay enough.
There are a few love scenes and some kissing and quite a few flamboyant outfits… but it’s Liberace.
He’s not Liberace.
There was no closeted celebrity gayer than Liberace.
Michael Douglas deserves all the awards he is sure to receive (Perhaps both an Oscar and an Emmy) and Matt Damon more than holds his own opposite Mr. Douglas’ best performance of his life. A cadre of great character actors rounds out the all-star cast. Dan Aykroyd as the slimy manager. Scott Bakula as the slimy pimp and Rob Lowe as the slimy doctor & drug dealer.
So to recap…
The Good Movies:
Warm Bodies; Sweet and Romantic,
Killing Them Softly: Dark and Gritty,
Stand Up Guys; Cool Story with Great Performances, and
Behind The Candelabra; Great Movie with Fantastic Performances
The Mixed Review Movies:
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters; Fun Movie but Dumb Movie,
Movie 43; Sometimes Funny but Sometimes Just Wrong, and
Parker; Nice Action but No Substance
The Bad Movies:
A Good Day to Die Hard; I Didn’t Expect Much and Got It,
Oz the Great and Powerful; I Expected Better and Was Sorely Disappointed,
Beautiful Creatures; I Didn’t Know What To Expect and Didn’t Like What I Got, and
Jack Reacher; I Expected Good and Original and Got Very Bad and Unoriginal
See you next time,