Sorry about the long absence. But I’m having an incredibly bad summer.
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)
Directed by Pierre Morel
Written by Don Macpherson, Pete Travis & Sean Penn Based on The Prone Gunman (Original french title La position du tireur couché) by Jean-Patrick Manchette
Starring Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, Mark Rylance, Jasmine Trinca, Peter 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.
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])
Written & Directed by John Maclean
Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ben Mendelsohn, Caren 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.
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)
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
Written by Brad Ingelsby
Starring Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman, Common & 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 is extremely dull for an action movie.
Skip it. (And Common’s hit-man character is dumb)
Son of a Gun (A24)
Written & Directed by Julius Avery
Starring Ewan McGregor, Brenton Thwaites, Alicia Vikander, Jacek Koman, Matt 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.
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)
Directed by Marjane Satrapi
Written by Michael R. Perry
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna 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.
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.
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)
Directed by Robert Schwentke
Written by Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman & Mark Bomback Based on Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Octavia Spencer, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Naomi 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.
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)
Directed by Ethan Spaulding
Written by Heath Corson Based on Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns
Starring Matt Lanter, Sam Witwer, Sumalee Montano, Sirena Irwin, Jason O’Mara, Shemar Moore, Jerry O’Connell, Christopher Gorham, Rosario Dawson, Nathan Fillion, Sean Astin, Harry Lennix, George 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.
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)
Directed by Teddy Chan
Written by Lau Ho-leung, Mak Tin-sau and Teddy Chan
Starring Donnie Yen, Wang Baoqiang, Charlie 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.
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.
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)
Directed by Sam Liu
Written by Alan Burnett and Bruce Timm
Starring Benjamin Bratt, Michael 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.
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)
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.
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)
Written & Directed by Woody Allen
Starring Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Hamish Linklater, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, Erica Leerhsen, Eileen 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.
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.
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.