5 Quick Reviews of 5 Movies on DVD (Bad Movie Edition)

So sure. I’m calling this a Bad Movie Edition of my 5 Quick Reviews series but it’s more of a Sci-fi Fantasy Edition or a Five Movies That Are Bad But You’ll Probably Still Check Them Out Edition.

The Queens

“Did you hear that, sister? Mel wants us to check them out.” “Why aren’t you dead?”

This is a strange quintet. All five films could be considered sequels or part of a series. They all have great casting. But every single one has a fatal flaw. So maybe I should have called this the Fatal Flawed Movie Edition.

Joker

“I’ll show YOU a fatal flaw.”

But to tell you the truth, I’ve been so busy, I didn’t give it much thought. I have so many reviews on my hard-drive. I’m so far behind. I didn’t even bother to give you a recrap of these movies. Recrap is my own word. It’s when you try to do a recap of a shitty movie like it was good. Recrap. So this is the phoning it in edition. Yes! That’s it. All five directors knew, going in, that they had an audience because fans of the source material were already going to see these films. So they phoned it in.

And so did I…

This is the Phoning It In Edition.

(but honestly I’m too indifferent to get up the energy to even change the title)

To the reviews…

X-Men: Apocalypse (20th Century Fox)

X-Men Apocalypse

Directed by Bryan Singer

Written by Simon Kinberg and Bryan Singer, Michael Dougherty & Dan Harris  Based on X-Men by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Starring James McAvoyMichael FassbenderJennifer LawrenceOscar IsaacNicholas HoultRose ByrneEvan PetersTye SheridanSophie Turner & Olivia Munn

Wow! what a bad movie. Bad writing and bad directing. There’s really nothing more I can say. A disappointing display. People knock the X-Men original series but all three are better than this piece of shit. X-Men Apocalypse is awful.

X-men Apocalypse Cerebro

Love this cast. Honestly, what a group. With the welcome addition of two of my favorite young actresses; Olivia Munn and Sophie Turner. There is nothing wrong with the cast. But that’s the only thing good here. The rest is shit.

Cyclops and Jean Grey from X-Men Apocalypse

X-Men Apocalypse is the worst X-Men movie ever made. It is horrible in every way imaginable. This stellar cast deserved a lot better than this.

Skip it.

NEXT!!!

Allegiant (Summit Entertainment)

Divergent-Allegiant-Movie-Poster

Directed by Robert Schwentke

Written by Stephen Chbosky, Bill Collage, Adam Coper & Noah Oppenheim  Based on Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Starring Shailene WoodleyTheo JamesJeff DanielsOctavia SpencerRay StevensonZoë KravitzMiles TellerAnsel ElgortMaggie QBill Skarsgård & Naomi Watts

These movies are pointless but this one has some decent tech and an interesting story. I’m guessing these are better books. Allegiant is better than the second one at least but the whole idea of factions was what made the first one just a little more interesting even though it was just as bad as the next two. Am I making any sense? It’s bad. Okay?

The-Divergent-Series-Allegiant1

I’m glad it’s over. It’s over right? Tell me it’s over. I also have a strange observation. I like the actress, Shailene Woodley, but her body grew up and her face did not. She looks like a baby head on a grown woman. The body of a thirty year old well-fit woman and the head of a toddler. It’s disconcerting.

Shailene Woodley from Alegiant

That’ll be enough out of you, Divergent Series. You’ve over-stayed your welcome.

Skip it.

NEXT!!!

Everybody Wants Some!! (Paramount Pictures)

Everybody Wants Some!!

Written & Directed by Richard Linklater

Starring Will BrittainZoey DeutchRyan GuzmanTyler HoechlinBlake JennerGlen Powell & Wyatt Russell

Everybody Wants Some!! is classic Linklater and in my book that’s just fine with me. The man is one of my cinematic heroes. An artist with entirely his own style. I love everything he does. Everybody Wants Some!! is a sort of sequel to Dazed and Confused.

Everybody Wants Some Matthew McConaughey

My big problem with Everybody Wants Some!! is one of the central jokes or themes of it. In it. About it. Whatever. Everyone… Every mother fucking person in this movie is playing Matthew McConaughey. ALL OF THEM. The women. The men. Everybody is doing a McConaughey impression. It’s funny at first then becomes a bit creepy as it continues for the entire film.

Everybody Wants Some Alright Alright Alright

Everybody Wants Some!! is an amazingly entertaining film where little to nothing happens but “Life” happens. You know… classic Linklater but I need to tell you that everyone in this thing is playing a version of Matthew McConaughey from movies or appearances throughout his life and career. That’s the joke.

Everybody Wants Some

ALL of the characters are Matthew. But I still loved this quirky piece of shit. Linklater can do no wrong. The man is a god.

Rent it.

NEXT!!!

Batman: The Killing Joke (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Batman The Killing Joke

Directed by Sam Liu

Written by Brian Azzarello  Based on Batman: The Killing Joke by Brian Bolland and Alan Moore

Starring Kevin ConroyMark HamillTara Strong & Ray Wise

ATTENTION: IT HAS COME TO MY ATTENTION THAT I WASN’T PAYING ATTENTION AND I SPOIL THIS MOVIE AND THE COMIC BOOK TERRIBLY IN THIS QUICK REVIEW.

IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SPOIL THIS FILM OR DON’T KNOW THE STORY OF THE COMIC THEN DON’T READ THIS REVIEW.

SPOILER ALERT!!!

This is a mistake. You can’t screw up a great story like this. I know it’s a little too dark for the animated world but it’s the whole point of the story. Batman finally realizes that it’s pointless. Joker’s too dangerous to lock up. Too unpredictable to leave in Arkham Asylum. Too smart to underestimate. And too sadistic to let live. He paralyzes poor Barbara just for shits and giggles, so Batman kills him. Batman kills Joker. He breaks his neck at the end. You don’t have to agree with Batman’s decision but don’t change the story. Then it’s not the same story and you just piss me off.

batman-the-killing-joke-batgirl

The ending is not ambiguous in the comic book. No matter how uncomfortable it makes you because Batman kills someone, it is a great story. The only thing uncomfortable about the animated adaptation is that Batgirl sleeps with her boss. It’s kind of weird.

Barbara and her gay friend in Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke is just that… a joke; They could have really told a dark and powerful Batman story but they didn’t and it kills me. And yeah the whole first part with Barbara Gordon and her awkward relationship with The Dark Knight is strange at best but I was thinking they were adding an extra layer to the final joke. Nope. She’s annoying. Her gay best friend is annoying. And it doesn’t change the fact that they wimp out in the end.

The-Killing-Joke

I’m watching that first part thinking okay this is good they’re making it more personal so they can justify the final act. But no. But no such luck. But go ahead and rent it anyway. It’s a wonderful story after the initial 30 minutes of Bat-Girlyness are over.

Rent it.

and Lastly…

The Huntsman Winter’s War (Universal Pictures)

Huntsman-Winters-War-poster

Directed by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan

Written by Evan Spiliotopoulos & Craig Mazin  Based on Characters by Evan DaughertyThe Snow Queen by Hans Christian AndersenSnow White by The Brothers Grimm

Starring Chris HemsworthCharlize TheronEmily BluntNick FrostSam ClaflinRob Brydon & Jessica Chastain and Narrated by Liam Neeson

I think I liked the first movie. I didn’t like this one very much. It plods along awkwardly. It starts off as a prequel and then suddenly turns into a sequel. It’s almost like they want you to pause the film and watch the first one because it’s easy to get lost and they just jump over the events of the first Huntsman movie and if you don’t remember it you can get a bit lost. I got a little lost but it’s gorgeous to look at.

The Huntsman Winter's War

I liked the story of Winter’s War, even the true-love elements which can seem a little corny. Like a romantic fairy-tale and that’s the point. So I don’t blame the story for the movie being bad. I blame the direction. Instead of playing up the fairy-tale elements, thus making the true-love theme fit the movie, the director plays up the epic quest a little too much and it feels like the romance is weirdly out-of-place.

The Lovers The Huntsman Winter's War

Winter’s War is a tough movie to like. But I did like the story. I just thought it was badly directed. I guess it’s worth a look. But in my opinion, the first one, with Snow White, is way better. Though Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain are both amazing.

Rent it.

So To Recap…

There were two movies about awkward love affairs between bad-ass warriors shoehorned into classic stories; Batman: The Killing Joke and The Huntsman Winter’s War. In one case I wanted to see a lot more of the romance, In the other, a lot less.

There were two movies about a group of awkward teens with special powers on the run from an oppressive government and a powerful enemy; Allegiant and X-Men Apocalypse. One of them a below average ending to a great series, the other, a welcome ending to a bad series.

And one movie where absolutely nothing happens in it. And it stars Matthew McConaughey; Everybody Wants Some!!. Except that a lot happens and Matthew McConaughey isn’t even in it. So yeah…

And that’s it.

I’m playing catch-up so there should be a bunch of posts in a row, if everything goes according to plan (but when has Everything been known to do that?)

Never, that’s when.

Jessica Chastain

Jessica knows what I’m talking about.

Wish me luck.

– Mel

Five Quick Reviews of Five Movies on DVD (June ’16)

I may not be blogging as much now but that doesn’t mean I’m not watching movies. I’ve seen a few good movies and a bunch of bad ones. Some that don’t deserve to be blogged about and others that deserve their own goddamn posts (those are coming).

So here are five movies I’ve watched recently and a quick review for each (I do my best not to rant). So it’s just like the old days. Remember the old days?

The Situation Room

“My god, he’s gonna do it.” “That magnificent bastard.”

For anyone who doesn’t remember the 5 Quick Reviews format; I give my impressions of each movie in a couple of paragraphs. Short and sweet. I don’t mince words. I do not do a bunch of plot synopses or explanations. It’s mostly just my personal feelings. (And I do mean personal). And there are no spoilers.

Believe it or not this is the way I used to do all my reviews.

I know, right?

To the list

First up…

Gods of Egypt (Summit Entertainment)

Gods of Egypt poster

Directed by Alex Proyas

Written by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless

Starring Nikolaj Coster-WaldauBrenton ThwaitesChadwick BosemanÉlodie YungCourtney EatonRufus SewellGerard Butler & Geoffrey Rush

God of Egypt was a hell of a lot better than I thought it would be. It’s a great story based on Egyptian mythology with fantastic effects. Awesome movie… honestly. But oh my god, the acting is so bad.

gods-of-egypt-4

Gods of Egypt has great directing and great writing but… I don’t know… bad casting? Very bad casting. Whitewashing? I agree, somewhat. I’ve always been a fan of integrating the past in fantasy movies. Especially movies so steeped in mythology like this one. And anyway Cheikh Anta Diop has already proven scientifically that the ancient Egyptian rulers were dark-skinned. Darker than me. Darker than pitch. They were black alright. And being the crossroads between Asia, Europe and Africa means that Ancient Egypt was more than probably integrated as fuck. But I’ll stop.

gods of egypt movie

Because this is meant to be a fun fantasy film about mythical monsters and gods and men and it certainly is. So ignore the skin color. Ignore the politics. And for the sake of the gods, ignore the acting, ignore that nearly all the extras (except in close-ups) and most of the main cast are white people, and just enjoy the damn movie.

Gods Of Egypt

But having said that, I must also add (because if I don’t I’ll kick myself later) that centuries of European dominance has whitewashed ancient history and religion in many ways. Early images of Jesus and Mary picture them as dark-skinned. The destruction of the Sphinx’s face to hide African features etc etc.

gods-of-egypt-00

And as a response to this retroactive racist whitewashing we should (as artists) integrate the past as thoroughly as possible in movies and books and TV and comics as often as we can. There is no historical truth anymore. So let’s just bury them in a beautifully rainbow-colored reality of racially inclusive certainty and take back the past to undo this petty petty petty crime against history. Because like I’ve told you people before; History isn’t written by scholars. It’s written by novelists.

ENOUGH

“ENOUGH!”

What was I doing? Oh yeah reviewing a movie. Gods of Egypt is a damn good science fiction-fantasy movie that entertains and defies expectation.

Rent it

Next up…

The Danish Girl (Focus FeaturesUniversal Pictures)

the danish girl poster

Directed by Tom Hooper

Written by Lucinda Coxon  Based on The Danish Girl  by David Ebershoff

Starring Eddie RedmayneAlicia VikanderMatthias SchoenaertsBen WhishawSebastian Koch & Amber Heard

The Danish Girl features two great performances. Eddie Redmayne, who is phenomenal in everything. And Alicia Vikander, who brings it. And I just wanted to bring it to her.

The Danish Girl Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander

Vikanda plays Gerde Wegener. She is amazing. I loved her character so much. Such an amazing woman. An artist. A painter. Extraordinary woman in any era. I was crushed right along with her and laughed along with her and cried along with her. And for most of the movie I just felt like giving her the D. I’m so sorry.

Alicia Vikander as Gerde Wegener in The Danish Girl

I don’t mean that as a slight to her husband turned stranger. But I was in love with the character and I felt she needed the D. Am I being crass? Possibly. But it struck me so strongly. I wanted to fuck her character so terribly. I know this isn’t much of a review. But Alicia Vikander makes the movie hum. She is amazing and well-deserved the Oscar win. Fantastic. And absolutely the kind of woman (I mean character) I fall in love with. But we’re talking about my lust for the character right now. Gerde Wegener.

Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl

Einar Wegener, her husband, was a pioneer. And the movie softens her history and the historical facts of her surgery. I’m going to use “her” because she was one of the earliest, and perhaps the first to transition through surgery (the dates are fuzzy) becoming Lili Eibe and no longer Gerde’s husband but a stranger. It is a tragic love story.

Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl

And that is the best thing about The Danish Girl; it’s not a biopic about one of the first transgender women but a love story. A love triangle between two people. I’m sorry. It was tragic. But all I could think was how much I wanted to walk onto the screen, take Gerde by the hand and bring her to America with me. And that laugh… She laughs this laugh at a critical point in the movie and it makes the entire film. She is the best.

Alicia Vikander my love

I am a huge Alicia Vikander fan now. Huge.

Rent it

Next up…

London Has Fallen (Focus FeaturesGramercy Pictures)

london has fallen poster

Directed by Babak Najafi

Written by Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast and Chad St. John

Starring Gerard ButlerAaron EckhartMorgan FreemanAlon Moni AboutboulAngela BassettRobert ForsterJackie Earle HaleyMelissa Leo & Radha Mitchell

London Has Fallen? More like London has no police, no security and no fucking people. This is the most unrealistic piece of shit I have seen in a long time. A fucking war breaks out in the middle of London and there is absolutely no police.

London Has Fallen into disrepair

So they order the civilians to stay in their homes and they just do it. Like that would happen. There are no cops to enforce the curfew. No armed forces. The streets are just desolate. It’s eerily unbelievable.

London Has been abandoned

There’s an aerial combat sequence over one of the largest cities in the world and there are no other aircraft in the air. There’s this one stupid part where we’re supposed to believe that a drone follows the president where ever he goes in the world. Well then the fucking drone knows where he is. And the bad guys searching for him just have to look up.

London Has Fallen into a funk

Bullets flying. Cars whizzing by. Guys in body armor with automatic weapons and zero police. Zero civilians. Zero probability. Zero chance of liking this crap.

Gerard Butler in London Has Fallen off the list of the most populated cities

Oh dear gods of Egypt, what a stupid fucking movie London Has Fallen is

Skip it.

Next…

Whisky Tango Foxtrot (Paramount Pictures)

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot poster

Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa

Written by Robert Carlock  Based on The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker

StarringTina FeyMargot RobbieMartin FreemanAlfred MolinaChristopher Abbott & Billy Bob Thornton

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot works better as a book I think. And besides the fact that Tina Fey is the lead, I don’t consider it a comedy. It is an interesting story. Amazing cast. I am a huge Tina Fey fan. But the bad pacing and directing make it boring as shit.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

The story is this incredible tale of a pair of competing news embeds with the American armed forces stationed in Afghanistan during the early days of the war. When the Iraq war was stealing all the headlines. Two women, two pros in a country where women are props or property. Two women surrounded by young male soldiers. Two women who form a friendship while maintaining a professional rivalry. Sounds cool. But somehow they made it into a boring movie. Boring as hell.

Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot Tina Fey and Margot Robbie

It fails miserably when it tries to be funny. It comes off as down right wacky. The movie works better at the times when it’s being serious. But then suddenly a silly character appears and the movie loses its way. It loses its narrative focus and its atmosphere of war and danger. And the tension dissipates. Choose a side why don’t you. I say stick with the drama. This movie would be a great drama that just happens to be funny at times.

Tina Fey in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

I think the film-makers were trying to emulate M.A.S.H. and the way that movie becomes silly at times while still keeping a firm hold on the tension. Attention Film-Makers: Robert Altman is an actual fucking genius. Do not try to copy him. Or try to be like him. You don’t even speak his language. Just enjoy him.

Margot Robbie in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

“You enjoy him.”

These folks are not Robert Altman. The minor characters come off as silly and out-of-place. The comedy scenes ruin an otherwise interesting film. Without the comedy, the slow pacing becomes tension. With the comedy, it becomes large lulls of boring. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a wonderful story. So please pick up the book. And it includes a fine cast of funny actors, but the bad directing and pacing and the screenwriting make it barely watchable. And just plain boring.

Skip it.

And lastly…

Midnight Special (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Midnight Special poster

Written & Directed by Jeff Nichols

Starring Michael ShannonJoel EdgertonKirsten DunstAdam DriverJaeden Lieberher & Sam Shepard

Speaking of boring… Midnight Special is also boring. It trods along to the beat of it’s not so special gradually unfolding mystery. There is no character development. There is no real sense of jeopardy, action, or even fantasy.

Midnight Special

And anyway, I think I liked this movie better when it was called Starman and John Carpenter directed it. Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen starred in it. And I had just graduated from High School. (I know me graduating has nothing to do with it but I just wanted to mention it… I peaked in High School. But anyway) The boy’s got powers. The government is after him. People either want to worship him or exploit him. And his family just want to help him fulfill his purpose. Whatever the fuck that is.

midnight-special-kirsten-dunst

I’ll admit the reveal is pretty cool and it’s trippy, but it is not worth the hour and a half to two hours spent running around doing absolutely nothing like chickens with their heads cut off. Nor is it explained well enough to leave the audience thinking about it while the credits roll. Hell I think I’ve forgotten it already.

midnight-special

I love Kirsten Dunst. She’s good in the movie. (So is Adam Driver) And I’ve been a fan of hers for a while. And I’m fairly certain she will get an Oscar one day. But all the while I was watching this film I was thinking. You know who would fit well into this movie? Brit Marling that’s who. It feels like a Brit Marling movie. A little sci-fi. A little religious imagery. A lot of mystery. A less than mind-blowing reveal. And in the end a movie that thinks it’s deeper than it actually turns out to be.

midnight_special Kirsten Dunst

Midnight Special is not very good. (Oh shit. I should have said not very special. Damn)

Skip it.

So to recap…

There were two Sci-fi Adventures about a character with powers and the humans trying to help him fulfill his destiny: Gods of Egypt and  Midnight Special. One of them fun and exciting with extremely bad acting. The other bland and boring with extremely good acting.

There were two War Thrillers about Americans overseas trying to survive the violence of war: London Has Fallen and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. One of them fast-paced and exciting with no basis in reality and bad acting. The other slow-paced and boring, based on a true story with good acting. Neither one very enjoyable.

And there was a Period Drama about an epic romance that turns into a love triangle without ever adding a third person. The Danish Girl. And I don’t have to tell you guys, even though I have nothing against his decision to transition, I’m with her.

I am completely and totally with her. (You guys know what I mean)

More to come.

– Mel

5 Quick Reviews of 5 (Recently) Bad Movies on DVD

This is my 5 Quick Reviews of 5 Bad Movies on DVD and Home Video. You see, I haven’t completely retired the 5 Quick Reviews format. I save it for special occasions. But these aren’t reviews so much as me ranting about how bad these movies are. I’ve seen bad movies. I’ve seen a lot of bad movies. I skip reviewing most of them because I don’t even want to write about them. Or they’re just not worth their own posts.

MI5 takedown

“Who’s not worth their own post?” “Not you. He didn’t mean you.” “That’s right.”

These are five movies I saw recently that weren’t worth a post but I thought I’d mention them here just in case you were on the fence about seeing them. I’m here to talk you out of it. I’m here to talk you off the damn fence. These movies suck.

Pixels Review 2In every single one of these cases, I knew I was about to see a bad movie before I watched it. But for some reason I did it anyway. Like reading the warning as if it were the instructions. Like the word POISON was put on the bottle as a challenge or a dare.

"Hey. Hey. The dumb guys are here. Bring on the bad movies."

“Hey. Hey. The dumb guys are here. Bring on the bad movies.”

But in two of these cases, I just couldn’t do it. I’m getting older and don’t have the time to waste on these things like I used to. But I sat through three of them.

“I have been to the bleeding edge of boredom & disgust and come back. Listen to me.”

To the reviews…

Aloha (Columbia Pictures)

Aloha poster

Written & Directed by Cameron Crowe

Starring Bradley CooperEmma StoneRachel McAdamsBill MurrayJohn KrasinskiDanny McBride & Alec Baldwin

Aloha, um… is terrible. I don’t know about the controversy with Emma Stone playing a character that’s one-quarter Hawaiian. I was more troubled that she was a quarter Hawaiian and a quarter Chinese. That was a stretch. If it was just one quarter Hawaiian and three quarters plain ole white girl, I’m good. But Chinese and Hawaiian… no. Although mostly I was bothered because, in this movie at least, she’s really bad. Bad acting.

Emma Stone in Aloha

“But I thought you were a fan. (sob) Didn’t you want me to win the Oscar?”

And I was a fan. I wanted her to win the Oscar last year for Birdman (that was last year right?). But whatever. It’s all bad. Aloha is bad in almost every way. Except for one… The last scene in the movie is outstanding. Had me weeping. Honestly. So if you can make it that far, (It’s a really really bad movie), that last scene is very cool. last scene right before the credits.

aloha-movie-bradley-cooper-emma-stone

“Is he allowed to like something about the movie?” “Hey, I don’t know. This is new for me. I’m usually in good movies.” “That’s so nice for you. I was in Spider-man and he hated that shit.”

You know what. I’ll tell you guys about the scene so you don’t have to watch it. Bradley spends the whole movie wondering if his ex-girlfriend’s daughter is his. The two give each other knowing looks. Everybody pretty much knows but not really. And then he finds out and the regular movie is over but there’s this throwaway scene before the credits where he’s watching her through the glass outside his daughter’s dance class and she spots him looking and then she starts crying while she tries to keep dancing and he starts crying and there are no words. And it’s beautiful. I wish it were in a different movie. But other than that the movie’s not worth the time or electricity it uses to watch it. For every reason you can think, it is horrible. I’m not even going to waste my time listing them all.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (Paramount Pictures)

MI5 Poster

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie

Written by Christopher McQuarrie & Drew Pearce  Based on Mission: Impossible by Bruce Geller

Starring Tom CruiseJeremy RennerSimon PeggRebecca FergusonVing RhamesSean Harris & Alec Baldwin

Mission Impossible is a rehash of all the other MI films. This one would be MI:5 (and now you see why they abandoned that format) Rogue Nation offers nothing more than a new hot girl agent. There’s always a new hot girl agent. It’s formulaic and it’s boring. It’s an action film with chases and fights and shootouts and so-called excitement. But having seen it all before. It has become a paint-by-numbers spectacle of boredom.

Mission-Impossible-Rogue-Nation

“Should I shoot him?” “He’s right.” “I know. But should I shoot him?” “It’s not worth it.”

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is a waste of time and money. If you’ve seen one, you’ve see them all. Just close your eyes and take a couple of minutes to remember what it was like watching any of the other films in the Mission Impossible franchise. Any.

Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation

“Should we shoot him?” “I don’t know. I was in Avengers. He likes me.” “I was in Edge of Tomorrow and Minority Report and…” “I get it. You’re Tom Cruise. So I guess we shouldn’t shoot him.” “No. The movie is bad. But let’s keep pointing our guns. It looks cool.”

Now open your eyes. Remember all of those chases and shootouts? I’ve just saved you two hours of annoying eye strain and endless familiarity… and Tom Cruise. You’re welcome. Now go put those two extra hours to good use.

Self/Less (Focus Features)

Self-Less poster

Directed by Tarsem Singh

Written by David Pastor & Àlex Pastor

Starring Ryan ReynoldsNatalie MartinezMatthew GoodeVictor GarberDerek Luke & Ben Kingsley

Self/Less is nothing special. In fact it’s a great big load of humdrum. It doesn’t feel like a Tarsem Singh movie at all. It isn’t visually stunning or even mildly interesting. Did he do this movie as a dare? Is he late on his boat payment? What the hell happened?

Ryan Reynolds in Self-Less

“So I guess we’re pointing guns now?” “Shut up. I was in Green Lantern. I’m no Tom Cruise. This is all I got.” ” Aren’t you in Deadpool?” “Oh yeah. Right. Thanks for reminding me. Sorry about the gun.” “No problem.”

I’m not really a big fan of Tarsem Singh, but at least I was able to say that his movies are works of art, if not particularly good cinema. They are gorgeous to look at. This is just bland.

Self-Less

Sir Ben Kingsley is barely in the movie. And this mirror thing where Ryan’s on one side and Ben is on the other, never happens. Would have been much cooler if it had.

Self/Less is a movie about body swapping and trying to live forever but the body swapping technology isn’t explained enough for even the least attentive to detail, mild science fiction fan. Self/Less is a waste of time. There’s nothing of value here. Move along.

———————————————————————–

And here at the end we have two movies that I couldn’t get through. I couldn’t do it. I can usually find something redeeming about a film that keeps me watching, but with these next two I just couldn’t. I just couldn’t watch.

Dragon Blade (Intercontinental Film Distributors)

dragon-blade-poster

Written & Directed by Daniel Lee

Starring Jackie ChanJohn CusackAdrien Brody & Lin Peng

Okay I barely lasted five minutes here. I couldn’t watch Dragon Blade more than five minutes. But you’ve got to understand, this was a special case. Dragon Blade took five minutes away from my life. It was five whole minutes before I realized I was going to be yelling at my screen for the entire running time and it would have left me in a very bad mood. Five whole minutes.

Jackie Chan in Dragon Blade

“Five minutes? I was shooting this movie for five months. You got off easy.”

Full disclosure. Two of those minutes were the distributor and production company logos and the opening titles and credits. But three minutes after that I easily recognized Dragon Blade would be the worse movie I would ever see. Simply judging from the bad acting (in two languages) and the stupid story. So I spared myself Dragon Blade. And I’ve thanked me ever since. I wake up in the morning and think of this movie and say, “Well done, Mel. You really dodged a bullet on that one.”

Pixels (Columbia Pictures)

Pixels poster

Directed by Chris Columbus

Written by Tim Herlihy & Timothy Dowling  Based on Pixels by Patrick Jean

Starring Adam SandlerKevin JamesMichelle MonaghanPeter DinklageJosh GadBrian CoxAshley Benson & Jane Krakowski

Pixels is a stupid movie. This is some stupid crap. I got about 15 minutes in and thought to myself, “This is a dumb guy movie.” Adam Sandler is cornering the dumb guy market at this moment in history. And the main attribute of dumb guy cinema is that it not only doesn’t have to be good or make any sense, but it makes more money, if it isn’t good and doesn’t make sense. Dumb guy want dumb movie. 

Pixels Review

Videogame console players. Alien invasion. Sounds like a cool idea. But Pixels is some stupid crap. Kevin James plays the president. (It’s that stupid) But you know what? Even dumb guys need to be entertained. So may I suggest jingling keys instead of this movie. Honestly. Jingling keys has more substance than this thing.

So to recap…

These movies are bad. Don’t waste your time.

Happy New Year,

– Mel

11 Quick Reviews of 11 Movies on Home Video (Bad Movies Edition)

I’m back.

Sorry about the long absence. But I’m having an incredibly bad summer.

Mel's Back

For one thing I’m in a funk that I can’t seem to pull myself out of… If you have any funk beating advice please help. But here are some reviews of what I’ve watched at home… in my funk. It’s a double sized 5 Quick Reviews (plus one more). So that’s…

11 Quick Reviews of 11 Movies on Home Video (Bad Movies Edition)

I saw eight bad movies and maybe three kind of good ones. Told you I’m having a bad summer. Here is what I’ve watched as far as DVD’s and home video. And again It’s pretty bad. You’ve been warned. But I hold them all to quick reviews and there are no spoilers.

These movies aren’t worth spoiling.

To the reviews..

The Gunman (Open Road Films)

The-Gunman

Directed by Pierre Morel

Written by Don MacphersonPete Travis & Sean Penn  Based on  The Prone Gunman (Original french title La position du tireur couché) by Jean-Patrick Manchette

Starring  Sean Penn, Javier BardemIdris ElbaMark RylanceJasmine TrincaPeter Franzén & Ray Winstone

There is no plot except clichés and preaching. The Gunman serves three purposes:

1) To show off Sean Penn’s internationally renown body.

2) To repeat International Spy Thriller clichés ad nauseam.

3) To point out some international atrocities happening somewhere in the world where somebody is getting the short end of the stick.

Idris Alba and Sean Penn

After watching the movie I still don’t know where these atrocities are actually happening in the world because The Gunman is a massive international failure.

Skip it. (not even Idris Alba can save it)

Slow West (A24 Films [US], Lionsgate UK [UK])

Slow West Poster

Written & Directed by John Maclean

Starring Michael FassbenderKodi Smit-McPheeBen MendelsohnCaren Pistorius & Rory McCann

While there is a lot to like about Slow West; Fassbender is still his Fassbendery gorgeous self, at times it feels like a David Lynch western and more of a stage play than a western (these are the things I liked?), Slow West is just too silly. It takes itself far too seriously while at the same time being far too silly. Make up your mind.

slow-west

You know another thing that bothered me about Slow West. It’s too clean. Everything is so clean. For a frontier American Western these guys seem to know very little about the American West. Everything is so clean. And it’s all so pointless and hapless and feckless. It’s like Martin Scorsese’s After Hours in the American West. But it’s nowhere near as good as that sounds. Slow West is a feckless western.

Skip it. (Maybe it’s worth a look if you like that sort of thing)

Run All Night (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Run All Night

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

Written by Brad Ingelsby

Starring Liam NeesonJoel KinnamanCommon & Ed Harris

I liked the cool transitions between the scenes. They were very creative. Everything else is just a cookie cutter ex-mob hit-man thriller with Liam Neeson trying to protect his son from Ed Harris as a mob boss but without the thrills. I swear I’ve seen this movie before. No surprises. No thrills. Nothing to see except the really cool transitions between scenes.

Run-All-Night

Run All Night is extremely dull for an action movie.

Skip it. (And Common’s hit-man character is dumb)

Son of a Gun (A24)

Son of a Gun

Written & Directed by Julius Avery

Starring Ewan McGregorBrenton ThwaitesAlicia VikanderJacek KomanMatt Nable & Tom Budge

This one starts off pretty cool. Son of a Gun starts as a prison movie but then shifts to a lower gear when it becomes some kind of heist movie. I really liked the first act but that’s it. And Alicia Vikander (from Ex-Machina) is underutilized here. Turns out the girl can act.

Alicia-Vikander

But in the end the movie ain’t that great.

Skip it. (Unless you just have to see Alicia Vikander. She is marvelous)

The Voices (Lions Gate Entertainment)

The-Voices

Directed by Marjane Satrapi

Written by Michael R. Perry

Starring Ryan ReynoldsGemma ArtertonAnna Kendrick & Jacki Weaver

At first glance, The Voices really angered me with its portrayal of mental illness, but then when I realized that it was all from the POV of the twisted schizophrenic serial killer and nothing we see can be believed, I really warmed up to it. It was still god awful but it no longer angered me. It was just plain awful.

The Voices Movie

Ryan Reynolds plays a horrible schizophrenic man-boy who talks to his pets; a dog and a cat who behave like the devil and angel on his shoulders. But it’s all bullshit because he’s completely bat-shit and when the veil is lifted his reality is pretty shit. I’m talking like ultra-dark Terry Gilliam shit… but then again so is the movie.

Gemma Atherton and Ryan Reynolds in The Voices

The Voices is just awful as it tries to find a safe place between grotesquely macabre and whimsically and darkly comedic. It fails in this. It fails miserably. That struggle is represented perfectly by the silly musical number that serves as the film’s end title sequence. Complete with all the victims, Jesus (who was not in the movie up to that point), our boy and his pets singing a happy song. Enormously stupid… just awful.

Skip it. (It is disturbingly cheesy and cheesily disturbing)

The Divergent Series: Insurgent (Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate)

Insurgent movie poster

Directed by Robert Schwentke

Written by Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman & Mark Bomback  Based on Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Starring Shailene WoodleyTheo JamesOctavia SpencerJai CourtneyRay StevensonZoë KravitzMiles TellerAnsel ElgortMaggie QNaomi Watts & Kate Winslet

Horrible. Insurgent picks up where the first movie left off and if you remember the first movie; Divergent, it started well but ended like crap.

Insurgent-Movie-Pictures

Well this one starts like crap, stays crap and ends like crap. There is nothing good about Insurgent. So basically it’s all crap.

Skip it. (No more of these. Please stop it)

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis (Warner Home Video)

Throne of Atlantis

Directed by Ethan Spaulding

Written by Heath Corson  Based on Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns

Starring Matt LanterSam WitwerSumalee MontanoSirena IrwinJason O’MaraShemar MooreJerry O’ConnellChristopher GorhamRosario DawsonNathan FillionSean AstinHarry LennixGeorge Newbern, Melique Berger & Steven Blum

Better than Justice league: War, Throne of Atlantis picks up where War left off, with the formation of a new superhero team. But Throne of Atlantis mainly deals with Aquaman. His origin story and how he joins the league. It’s a decent story and a good little movie. It suffers from some of the whimsy that plagued War, but it’s toned down a bit.

Justice-League-Atlantis

Shazam is still annoying as is Green lantern but now as a part of a much bigger team they’re just a small part of the story. So because it wasn’t that annoying Justice League: Throne of Atlantis is the best home video release I’ve seen this summer so far.

Rent it. (Woo Hoo!!! We got one)

Kung Fu Jungle previously known as Kung Fu Killer (Emperor Motion Pictures)

Kung Fu Killer

Directed by Teddy Chan

Written by Lau Ho-leung, Mak Tin-sau and Teddy Chan

Starring Donnie YenWang BaoqiangCharlie Young & Michelle Bai

A run of the mill thriller about a serial killer targeting the best martial artists, Kung Fu Killer (Jungle… whatever) is a Kung Fu movie. So the killer is challenging the masters to duels (they can’t refuse) and killing them in combat. There’s some wire work. Some decent choreography. And the climactic fight, in the middle of a busy highway, is pretty bad-ass.

Donnie Yen in Kung Fu Killer

I had to suffer through the English dubbed version so I can’t comment on acting or dialogue as the voices aren’t usually the actors and the dialogue is shortened or lengthened to fit with the movement of the on-screen actors mouths.

Kung Fu Killer Prison Brawl

I hate that stuff with a passion. I prefer subtitles. The only time I don’t like subtitles is when I’m stoned. But this was what they sent me. A run-of-the-mill Kung Fu movie with a satisfying and well-choreographed final battle.

Rent it. (Bet ya didn’t see that coming)

Justice League: Gods and Monsters (Warner Home Video)

Justice-League-Gods-and-Monsters

Directed by Sam Liu

Written by Alan Burnett and Bruce Timm

Starring Benjamin BrattMichael C. Hall & Tamara Taylor

In an alternate universe, Batman is a vampire, Zod’s son (and not Jor el’s son) becomes Superman and Wonder Woman is a murderer. But, you know, these are the good guys. Justice League: Gods and Monsters is a decent alternate universe story with familiar characters in much different roles. Enjoyable and compelling. Worth the hour and a half.

Justice-League-God-and-Monsters

If you can find the three-part chronicles video shorts on You Tube, those are all interesting and serve to introduce the new anti-heroes quite well.

Rent it. (we’re on a roll now)

Hot Pursuit (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Hot-Pursuit-Movie

Directed by Anne Fletcher

Written by David Feeney & John Quaintance

Starring Reese Witherspoon & Sofía Vergara

Hot Pursuit is the worst movie I have ever seen in my long movie loving life.

Reese and Sofia

I refuse to say anything else about Hot Pursuit because that statement says it all. And I’m not kidding. It is the worst movie I have ever seen in my life. And I’ve seen a lot of bad movies. I’ve seen a lot of movies period. This movie is bad in every way a movie can be bad and then it invents new ways to be bad.

Skip it. (Burn it with fire and salt the earth)

Magic in the Moonlight (Sony Pictures Classics)

Magic-in-the-Moonlight

Written & Directed by Woody Allen

Starring Colin FirthEmma StoneHamish LinklaterMarcia Gay HardenJacki WeaverErica LeerhsenEileen Atkins & Simon McBurney

Magic in the Moonlight represents everything that is wrong with Woody Allen. From the age difference of the romantic leads to the absolute absence of any character who isn’t white. From the racist character played by Colin Firth, the inane romance, the bad story, The bad dialogue, the bad acting to the bad photography. From the early 20th century setting to the fact that he only uses it so he can whitewash the surroundings and play all the women as ditzy and portray overt racism.

magic in the moonlight

But Woody, my friend… Those times weren’t that white. The films made in those times were. Not the period itself. You’re a racist and (just this far from being) an incestuous pedophile and everybody knows it.

magic-in-the-moonlight-movie

I used to be a big Woody Allen fan. I can’t say that any more. As he has gotten older, his creativity has waned and all that is left is sexist, racist, creepy Woody Allen. Sadly, the longer he continues to make films the more he tarnishes his early much better work.

Skip it. (Every fourth movie is watchable with Woody now)

And that’s all I got.

See what I mean… I told you I was having a bad summer.

But I’ll be back with a What’s Good later this week. Maybe that’ll get me out of this funk.

Later,

– Mel

Spared or Spoiled Film Reviews

I have good news and I have bad news and they’re both the same news.

Firstly, I’m introducing a new movie review heading called Spared or Spoiled Film Reviews. The rules are simple: The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.

But this also means the end of 5 Quick Reviews. No, no. Please, dry your eyes. It’s not the end of the world. We’ll always have three years of unsearchable movie reviews of good movies sandwiched between reviews of bad ones.

But what it really does for me is untie my hands when talking about bad movies. I really hate a bad movie. So what I usually do is rant about how bad a movie is without being able to explain why. That ends today.

You Shall Not Pass

If it’s a good movie (to me) I won’t spoil it. I’ll rave about it and do my regular quick review. But if it’s a bad movie, I will tell you guys why I hate it complete with spoilers and examples from the film. I will spoil the whole thing.

Don’t worry. I’ll tell you upfront whether it’s Spared or Spoiled. There will still be the poster, the creative list, a small synopsis and then my verdict. If my verdict is SPOILED, you can stop reading there if you were planning to see it and don’t want to be spoiled. You’ll still get pictures and of course a chance to comment. But if it’s SPARED, you can keep reading without being spoiled and as always spoilers are allowed in the comments.

Fly, You Fools

Here’s an example using one of my favorite films of all-time The Empire Strikes Back. First I’ll spare it. Then I’ll spoil it. oh yeah… SPOILER ALERT.

 

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (20th Century Fox)

The Empire Strikes Back Poster

Directed by Irvin Kershner

Written by Leigh Brackett & Lawrence Kasdan

Starring Mark HamillHarrison FordCarrie FisherBilly Dee WilliamsAnthony DanielsDavid ProwseKenny BakerPeter Mayhew & Frank Oz

The second movie in the Star Wars saga, The Empire Strikes Back, continues the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and their droids, friends and colleagues. I really enjoyed it.

Verdict: SPARED

Luke, Leia and the Droids

The Empire Strikes Back is even more exciting than the first movie. The rebellion against the empire continues but this time, as the title suggests, the evil empire strikes back against the rebels. The movie is amazing. I predict that in 30 years I will have seen The Empire Strikes Back over 200 times.

It’s that good.

And now the dark side…

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (20th Century Fox)

The Empire Strikes Back Poster2

Directed by Irvin Kershner

Written by Leigh Brackett & Lawrence Kasdan

Starring Mark HamillHarrison FordCarrie FisherBilly Dee WilliamsAnthony DanielsDavid ProwseKenny BakerPeter Mayhew & Frank Oz

The second movie in the Star Wars saga, The Empire Strikes Back, continues the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo blah blah blah. It’s really not very good.

Verdict: SPOILED

Vader, Lando and Boba Fett

The Empire Strikes Back? More like the movie is half-finished. Not only are we force-fed this preposterous contrivance that Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader are related (Darth’s his father? seriously?) but then we get a cliff hanger where Han Solo ends the movie frozen in ice or something. It just ends. We don’t get a conclusion. I paid a full admission price. I wanted a full movie. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel cheated.

Somebody get George Lucas on the phone.

 

So yeah. That’s how it will go.

I hope fans of 5 Quick Reviews will grow to love the new format.

Like a shark, the story must move forward. For when the story stops, the story ends.

I hope to see you guys at the movies.

– Mel