This installment of 5 Quick Reviews of 5 Movies on DVD is Super-Sized because it contains the six (count ’em six) DVDs that I review this month, including 2 extended reviews of movies I saw in the theater that are coming out on BluRay this month but also a review of a movie from 1996 that I saw for the first time a week ago. (It’s the Doctor Who Movie) That’s right that’s SEVEN movies.
SPECIAL NOTE: My Star Trek 2 and Iron Man 3 reviews include spoilers. Big ol’ nasty spoilers that will ruin the movies if you haven’t seen them yet. Be warned. They are both marked but the entire review in both cases is one big spoiler.
To the reviews…
Now You See Me (Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate)
Directed by Louis Leterrier
Written by Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin & Edward Ricourt
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Mélanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Common, Michael Caine & Morgan Freeman
Now You See Me is a fun little movie. It’s not very good but it’s a fine distraction. It has a decent heist story. But I kind of wished the magic in it were either less fantastical or a little more so. It swings back and forth and back between possible magic, highly improbable magic and downright bullshit. But again it’s a fun movie. It’s not the best directed film or best acted but I really liked the story. The premise is pure fantasy but I like all these actors. It has a great cast and it has a good twist.
So as long as you don’t take it too seriously, Now You See Me is a fun distraction. Sure there are other things you could be doing with the two hours, but if you’d rather not be doing those things that you should be doing (like rewriting) then Now You See Me is a decent waste of time.
That’s how I would describe it. Now You See Me is a waste of time but it’s a fun waste of time.
And now for the spolier-athon…
Star Trek: Into Darkness (Paramount Pictures)
Directed by J. J. Abrams
Written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman & Damon Lindelof
Starring John Cho, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve, Bruce Greenwood, Simon Pegg, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Peter Weller & Anton Yelchin
ALL SPOILERS ALL THE TIME
Into darkness was not as good on the small screen as I remember it being in IMAX. It is, in essence, a remake, or a reboot, of the best Star Trek movie ever made; Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan and I remember being excited that it was… just that, a remake of Wrath of Khan, when I was in the theater and it took me by surprise and everyone was yelling and clapping and all that fun crap but now that the fireworks are over with, I’m a little annoyed.
Into Darkness just isn’t as re-watchable as some of the other Star Trek films. (J.J. Abrams’ first Trek I’ve watched more times than I can count and it gets better every time) But Into Darkness is as campy as The Voyage Home. Its dialogue is, at times, as moronic as The Final Frontier. It doesn’t have the awesome space battles that are the hallmark of Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country. And worst of all, they bring back a dead Captain and explain it about as well as they did in Search for Spock. It is the worst parts of the Star Trek films that I didn’t like while forgetting to include the best parts of the ones I did like.
I’ve watched it once in the theater and I watched it once on DVD and it’s like they are two different films.
The first one being an exciting Star Trek alternate timeline story of Kirk & Spock against Khan that even sets up the possibility of Khan returning in future films like he’s Kirk’s arch-enemy or something. The old trilogy formula of saving a heroes arch for the second movie. Loved it.
The second one is a tired and inadequate rehash of an already great story. And a filmmaking and writing copout of epic proportions. Even at times extracting scenes from the previous (and better) movie then twisting them a bit so as to annoy the shit out of me.
So I say these are two different Star Trek: Into Darkness films; The event movie that is an exciting time at the theater, And the campy, crappy, constantly reminding me of a better movie remake that should be avoided.
Skip it (It’s just not as good when you have time to think about how bad it is)
Next up on spoiler theater…
Iron Man 3 (Walt Disney Studios)
Directed by Shane Black
Written by Drew Pearce and Shane Black Based on Iron Man by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck & Jack Kirby
Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce & Ben Kingsley
ALL SPOILERS ALL THE TIME
After watching Iron Man 3 on DVD I am less offended by the The Mandarin debacle. It is still horrible and watching while knowing the twist makes the filmmakers attempts to fool the audience even more annoying. There is an entire scene in the movie that is included just to fool the audience and for no other reason. However, upon re-watching, I noticed that the rest of this movie is very very good. I think it may be the best of the Iron Man films… And except for that huge glaring mistake and the line at the end where Guy Pearce says “I am the Mandarin.” (That still angers me) it’s pretty fucking good.
The story is fantastic. Iron Man 3 has some of the best acting in the series. Some of the best banter in the series between Stark and… everyone. I loved the PTSD storyline. And I really liked the evolution of Pepper & Tony’s relationship.
I even like the bad guys and how Stark created them in the beginning. A nice circle. (I like a nice circle). So, basically, if you just remove the name The Mandarin from Ben Kingsley’s character or say that he is pretending to be a villain from the 60’s called The Mandarin, (who is dead) then you have a perfect film. All I am asking for is a little respect for the source material. (just a little bit)
Iron Man 3 is so close to being a perfect film. So close. And I think that is what annoys me most.
Rent it (It’s good but I don’t know if I will ever forgive them)
The Great Gatsby (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Directed by Baz Luhrmann
Written by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce Based on The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher & Jason Clarke
The Great Gatsby doesn’t take itself seriously enough. For one, the choice of contemporary music dates the film a great deal. With a period film like this one, that creates some musical confusion. The film already has a music period. A period with some ridiculously good music. Sure it’s not rap and R&B but there is some truly fantastic 1920’s jazz music that folks used to swing to. And they could still have added a contemporary flavor to it. It would have been awesome.
But what Baz Luhrmann does in Gatsby takes me completely out the film. Every time I hear Jay-Z’s voice it feels like a gimmick. I like the story. I loved Leo in it. Carrie Mulligan is exquisite. So really it is just the music that I had a problem with. It is a BIG problem.
And I like Baz. I loved his Romeo & Juliet and I thought Moulin Rouge was pretty fucking good. But the Great Gatsby is not good. Because it suffers from the contemporary music. It’s not a musical. It’s a party. A party in the 20’s where they are dancing to rap music. But I think the music is indicative of a larger problem. The film just doesn’t take itself seriously enough. So why should we. It feels like a waste of time.
Skip It (It’s a waste of time just like Gatsby’s parties)
Disconnect (LD Entertainment)
Directed by Henry Alex Rubin
Written by Andrew Stern
Starring Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Frank Grillo, Andrea Riseborough, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist, Alexander Skarsgård & Max Thieriot
Disconnect is an incredibly anti-internet movie. Don’t go on the internet. Don’t chat. Don’t buy stuff. Don’t make friends. Don’t watch porn. The internet will kill you. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES.
Disconnect is too long and too serious. I laughed twice all movie. I have laughed more times at a funeral. (not hyperbole. I have) This movie is like an After School Special or a PSA on the overly-religious network about the DANGERS of the internet. Nice casting. But enough with the tear-jerker directing. And the music is a crime against cinema. Disconnect is like one of those school assembly movies that they make you watch in the auditorium after something tragic happens to a kid you didn’t even know that well.
And this movie sucked. Oh man what a crappy movie.
Skip it. (Tear-jerker, Made for TV, After School Special, piece of crap)
The Iceman (Millennium Films)
Directed by Ariel Vromen
Written by Ariel Vromen and Morgan Land
Starring Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans & Ray Liotta
The Iceman is intense and ultra-realistic. I liked it for the psychological study of a sociopath. A psychopathic hitman with the sweetest family and no emotion. The Iceman is scary good.
The Iceman has great performances and a cool premise that’s well executed. It’s a brutal movie but it’s meant to be brutal. Michael Shannon is fantastic. And this is some of Winona Ryder’s best work since Heathers (I love that movie) The Iceman is a hidden gem that should not be overlooked.
Based on the true story of mob hitman.
Rent it. (It’s an intense and brutal movie that is not to be taken lightly)
Doctor Who The Movie (1996)
Directed by Geoffrey Sax
Written by Matthew Jacobs
Starring Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy, Eric Roberts & Daphne Ashbrook
Oh, how I wanted Doctor Who The Movie to be good. But it was worse than I feared. Oh, the camp. Oh, the crappy dialogue. Oh, the fact that nothing actually happens in the movie. No really… there is no plot!!!
We spend the first act on the regeneration. The slowest regeneration in Who History. The second act on Eric Roberts standing in a green room and chewing the virtual scenery while Paul McGann plays it dumb and meets the girl. And then an idiotic third act that would have been better had the entire cast turned to the camera and yelled “Magic!” while doing jazz hands.
Fade to black.
What a dumb movie. And I expected dumb but it’s also empty. I wasn’t expecting that. Useless. Why would you waste a regeneration on this crap? They must have thought this would be the last Doctor Who. Luckily the 2005 restart came along to erase this from memory.
Skip it (It’s not worth the time unless you’re a Doctor Who completest)
So To Recap…
Star Trek: Into Darkness is not that good and I don’t think I will ever watch it again.
Iron Man 3 is not that bad but I need to get over the twist if I’m ever going to watch it again,
Doctor Who The Movie is not that good and I’d rather watch any episode of Doctor Who than watch it again.
Disconnect is not that good and I’d rather be surfing the internet than watching it again.
Now You See Me is not that bad and a pretty good waste of time. I may even watch it again.
The Great Gatsby is not that good and an awful waste of time. I can’t watch it again & you can’t make me.
The Iceman is very good and I may watch it again.
See you next time movie fans