Wednesday, June 29, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - Independence Day 2

Some ideas are simply better left alone.  This certainly qualifies as one of them, if not the poster child for it.

20 years ago this was a real big CG movie that was fun, and had a sense of suspense to it, as it played on our fears of possibly being attacked by a large alien force.  It starred Will Smith and others, and in the end the good guys (Earth) survives.  Now flash forward to this installment (minus Smith) but with virtually all the other original cast and what do you have?  A total mess.  (Smith wanted nothing to do with this)

Now it's 2016 in the movie, and their world in this movie looks zero like the real world today. There are colonies on the moon, and we have space craft flying all over cities across the country.  We travel in space like we are running to Circle K.  I really don't understand this scenario at all for our movie.  This looks more like Star Wars than not.  This flaw is the death blow to this movie right out of the gate.

What made the original work so well, was you felt the vulnerability of living in our world, while being attacked by a superior race force.  This has none of that really, and is very much like a video game in its look and feel.  The script is embarrassingly bad, and is written on about a 4th grade level.  No offense to 4th graders, but this is simply bad.  Stink bad.

There is some humor here that works at times, and there are long action scenes that help push this along, but it can't be saved. But unlike the original from 1996, they have set this up for more to be made as this series can go on. Oh joy!  But luckily for some of our better actors involved, they chose to have their characters killed off so they don't have to do any more of these.  Good decision!

Independence Day 2.  What a waste of time, energy, money and effort. This really is a joke.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Weight Of The Wait

I have been a Cleveland sports fan my entire life.  I grew up here, and no matter where my professional travels took me, The Tribe, Browns and Cavaliers were still my favorite teams.  I am well aware of the 52 year wait for a championship from one of these guys, and I am trilled, like you  - it has finally happened.  I had been waiting too.

What the Cavaliers did was even more amazing that the sport stats will say.  I have stated on the air and on social media many times that nothing can galvanize an area more than a winning pro sports team.  Many times to the raised eyebrows to those within eye and or ear shot. But I think the last month or so, we all saw that play out day after day.  No matter where we come from socially, the one thing we all had in common this spring was the Cavs.  Or was it?

The Cavs did everything right, and for the record they did not break some silly so called "curse." I have never bought into that scapegoat negative mentality.  The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, Jose Mesa, and the rest were just what sports cities go through.  All of those moments were simply one thing.  Better players, on better teams, making better plays, in bigger games.  Period!  Even Jim Chones broken foot for the Miracle Cavs, was just part of the game.  Over time, all of those things though do become a bit weighty

You see, what the Cavs did even more than win a championship for us, is they gave us an even better gift. They reminded us of how much we all really love our city, our area. That to me, is the galvanization, the real gift, and what we all may be secretly waiting for and not even know it.  They have relieved some of the pressure off the other teams here, and the city at large.  And maybe reminded you how much you love living here, if by chance you had forgotten.

Now we can stop talking about some half century drought, and get on with the enjoying the games, for the reason you're supposed to.  Because you love the game, and the fact that we are so fortunate to live in such an area to have all the major sports teams we do.  The Cavs reminded us that our sports teams are here to enjoy and not to agonize over. 

Thanks to the Cavaliers and their fans, the weight of the wait - is officially over.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - The Shallows

Here comes another shark movie, and the difference this time -  is that this is good. Darn good.

This is essentially a one person movie. This stars the wonderful Blake Lively who portrays a troubled young woman who is trying desperately to survive after being attacked by a shark while surfing in Mexico.  This is very nice and tidy checking in at 1 hour and 27 minutes, and almost all of them very intense.

Nancy (Lively) goes to Mexico after the death of her mother who is taken by cancer.  Nancy drops out of medical school and is trying to cope with her mothers death.  So she returns to a hidden Mexican beach her mother surfed before Nancy was born hoping that will bring her some solace.  What it brings is a savage shark attack, and this becomes a tale of survival.

This is brilliantly done. This movie is extremely intense with the entire emphasis on the impact, and the terror and the will to survive instead of the blood and gore of countless other shark movies. Nancy get marooned on this rock about 200 yards off shore and cannot make it back.  She is battling countless enemies in addition to the shark. The water, heat, sun, a badly wounded foot and leg and her inner demons.  You are the rock with her, and you squirm in your seat.

So refreshing to see a movie determined to be good instead of a bloody CG fest. There is far less shark here than you would think, but he looks great when you see him.  But this is Lively's flick. She is great, and pulls of this basically one person show with ease.  I am becoming a big fan of hers as she has grown into herself.  It's been a long time since The Traveling Pants movies.  I loved her in The Town, and the Age Of Adaline was a real nice performance. 

She is easy to watch on screen, and is really good here in a very physically challenging role.   I find myself really being ready to see what her next project will be. She's becoming that good.

The Shallows. Solid, intense, good.  Like a good jolt at the movies?  Go see this.

Friday, June 24, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - Central Intelligence

Well, the unlikely duo of Kevin Hart and The Rock has proven to be a good one, in this new summer comedy.

"Summer Comedy" are the key words here.  Is this going to change one thing about cinematic history?  No, but by today's standards this is pretty tame, pretty funny stuff.  This is mindless, but who cares, it's summer.  We'll think again in October.

Bob (The Rock) was a bullied and awkward kid in the high school he attended with Calvin (Hart) in 1996.  Flash forward 20 years.  These two have not seen one another since.  But they reunite as the 20 year reunion creeps up.

Turns out Bob has grown into this hulking CIA operative who hasn't really grown up emotionally at all.  And he unknowingly enlists Calvin's help in a huge CIA case.  And the laughs are on. And there are some really good laughs here.

These two have a nice chemistry, and look so mismatched on screen, that it works wonderfully.  This is slapstick at times, and action based at times.  This does address an issue or two that has faced this generation as the have grown up, and that works too.  Hart's comedies are always face paced, and for the most part, and relatively clean by today's ever and rapidly changing comedy standards.  This is fun, tidy, and doesn't wear out its welcome.

Central Intelligence. Yes, this is set up for more installments too. Fun, summer fun!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - Me Before You

Sometimes a sappy, romantic movie comes along that is exactly the same as all the others in some regards. And then there's, Me Before You.

Based on the incredibly successful book of the same name, this comes to life in a way that Nicolas Sparks wish his gaggle of syrupy books and stories could.  This is NOT a Sparks book, and it's in a league that Sparks could only dream to live.

This is a fictional story of young love, that seems impossible. This is the story of Louisa (Emilia Clarke) and Will (Sam Claflin).  Will is a wildly rich and successful young British man who is struck down in the prime of his life in a motorcycle accident and is now a quadriplegic.  He is angry and lost.  Louisa is a wonderful young British woman from the other side of the tracks as far as Will's family would normally be concerned. She is down on her luck and ends up being hired as Will's personal caregiver by his emotionally distant parents.  Why has this unlikely woman come into these peoples lives?

Lou has no experience whatsoever with this line of work, but learns as she goes. And as you may have figured out, she and Will form a loving bond, that eventually turns into an "in love bond."  But, with all the obstacles in their way, can this possibly work?  And are there other agendas at work here?  This is Me Before You.

This movie has been greeted marginally by the national critics, and I really can't understand that. No, this is not perfect, but this is light years better than any Sparks movie that was ever been made.  This is well thought out, this is well done, and moves along nicely for the most part.  The supporting cast is fine, and the story is one you have not seen before. Plus this movie is not written for the obligatory signature scene that teens will be talking about in social media for days to come. This is simply a nice movie with a far more adult feel to it. 

The absolute strength of this movie is the wonderful creation of an incredible character in Louisa.  She is amazingly intelligent, fun and quirky, without being obnoxious and that's tough to do as it is a very fine line to walk in a m movie making sense. Clarke plays her fantastically and makes you love Louisa, making is easy to see how Will would as well.  You care about Louisa, and are pulling for her, even though you know the journey is borderline impossible.  I always praise movies that introduce us to characters we have not met before in any way, and that's Louisa.  She, and Clarke are terrific, and make this work.

Me Before You.  Well written, well done, and well worth a trip to the movies.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - The Nice Guys

I love a good guilty pleasure movie, and The Nice Guys is certainly that as the summer season begins.

This is a buddy-detective comedy that is set in Hollywood in 1977, that stars Ryan Gosling, and Russell Crowe.  When you see the trailer, it may not look like a very good, or even very original movie, but it is.  Yes, the buddy premise is an old one but this works. Gosling and Crowe are good together.

This is about 2 really marginal private detectives ..sort of... who work together on a case of a missing young girl, Amelia.  Who is she?  Why does seemingly everyone want to find her? And why is everyone out to kill her?  This story bobs and weaves throughout and in the end, ends up being a pretty darn good story. 

This is full of slapstick and some really slick dialogue delivered very well, as our characters are developed nicely throughout the flick.  This is a combination of a good old fashioned Hollywood who-done-it, a father/daughter story, a straight sight gag comedy, and a bit of Lethal Weapon tossed in.  This takes us back amazingly well to 1977 as the costuming, sets, props, cars and soundtrack are really spot on. 

Huge kudos to a wonderful young actress, Angourie Rice. She plays Gosling's character daughter who is about 13.  She is really great in this movie, and is needed as she provides great balance and relief from the sometimes hectic pace. SHE is the real star of this movie, both in her performance and the character they created and wrote around her.  She is what makes this movie a whole lot better and a whole lot different than a ton of other buddy comedies.  Well done.

This has a nice supporting cast, and the overall feel of this movie is really refreshing. This is certainly set up to become a franchise as they leave the door wide, and I mean wide open for more.

The Nice Guys.  This is flat out good. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - Neighbors 2

Seth Rogen and his bunch have a new movie out, and it's a sequel. This is Neighbors 2. 

Rogen, Rose Byrne,n Zac Efron, and Chloe Grace Moretz star in this comedy that also includes a bunch of cameos by a few others.  This time instead of a frat moving in next door to our new young parents, this time its a new sorority.  Someone thought this was a good idea. They should never be listened to again in a serious manner.

Besides just not being funny, this is a perfect, and I mean perfect example of a original good idea having nothing new to say that's anywhere near creative.  This is an attempted money grab, that's it.  Being fair, this movie does do a pretty good job at times completely lampooning entire generations, and many times quite effectively.  There are some good laughs in spots.

But for some reason, Rogen and his humor have become that really awkward coworker you have.  You know, the one who doesn't know when to stop talking.  The guy show doesn't know when the joke is over, and now it's simply uncomfortable, and in most cases exceptionally inappropriate? There are numerous scenes in this that can only be described as the poorest taste imaginable.  And they don't make this a better movie, just a more gross and juvenile one.  This also can be offensive to many, but not to the intended target audience.  There are a ton of really offensive references.

There is no reason to talk about any performances, as the writing and directing is so horrible, no one has a chance to do anything worth remembering. Did the theater laugh at times? Yes, but not near enough.  This really fell flat today. 

Neighbors 2.  This movie tries so hard to be cool, and in the end, it's just not funny