Sunday, July 5, 2015

MOVIE REVIEW - Terminator: Genisys

The Terminator series has been cranked up again, and although it's harmless enough this is an expensive money grab.  That's all.

This movie was made for one reason and one reason only.  To reboot this series and simply introduce it as an original idea to a new generation of movie fans that were not born when the originals were out.  Being honest, this is not really a bad movie. There is some to like. The effects are great of course.  The action is fine, and the story has some new twists and turns that keep you in the game.

Problem is, the whole time is just reeks of making a movie for no other reason to give Arnold Schwarzenegger a job, and make a ton of money hopefully from a new box office generation and some from those who remember the glory days of this series.

As much as they try, there really is nothing hew here to get excited about.  The war with the machines is trying to be avoided by protecting Sarah Conner who hasn't given birth to the leader of the resistance yet, by time travel.  Then there is time travel here, and there, and everywhere....enough please.

This movie tries to be smarter than the originals, but it's not.  It tries to be original, but it can't. And it tries to be up dated, but it isn't.  There is nothing wrong with the originals, and this is simply new box office fodder to try to profit off and old idea again.  I say, save a ton of production costs and put the originals back in theaters with them digitally enhanced.  They would do just as well, and be far more entertaining as they were made by far more skilled filmmakers.

Terminator:Genisys.  A rental if you must in 90 days.

MOVIE REVIEW - Max

Max is the new movie about a wonderful military dog named Max who is suffering from PTSD.  This is a very original and good idea.  Too bad the writers went ahead and messed the entire premise up.

This great idea needed to be turned over to a much more in touch, and skilled set of writers who would have been far more interested in making a good family movie and not ones intent on grinding their own personal ax. All at a dogs expense.  To say this was a wonderful idea thrown away, is the understatement of the movie year so far.

Max is in the Middle East with his marine handler Kyle, when the marine is killed in a firefight.  Max survives and returns to America where the family of the fallen marine adopts him and his younger and troubled brother takes him over.  Max is troubled, and is suffering too.  The whole idea is for Max to somehow bring this family together and find himself again, all while honoring the memory of  Kyle.  At least that should have been the idea.

Instead, the writers demonize the military.  They develop a subplot where a returning marine who was a friend of Kyles lies to the family about Kyle's death.  Then proceeds to use the family for money, and a location so he can run an arms running racket to the Mexican Drug Cartel.  He then kidnaps Kyles father and is bound and determined to kill him because he knows too much.  The marine also wants to kill the younger brother, Max and the rest of the brothers 14 year old friends by executing them.  What the heck are we doing?????

Also they make the marines in this country look like a bunch of boneheads, as they give "classified" information to a 14 year old they hardly know and asks him "not to tell anyone or I could get in big trouble". And they somehow can't even handle a dog on a leash.  This movie also makes law enforcement look like dunderheads as well at many and various times during this agonizing film.  What a great idea wasted on a few complete and total boneheaded writers.

This movie is ridiculously violent for a PG-13, where kids and animals are continuously in dire peril.  Long dog fighting scenes that are brutal and downright sad.  14 year old's are encouraged to take on the gun and machine gun toting drug cartel with bicycles and a dog. What are these morons thinking??

The character of Max is developed nicely and is easily the best thing in this movie. The actual dog, (or dogs) bring a real nice character to life that you understand and like. That is well done, but that's where I will stop and tell you this is simply good idea flushed down the can.

Max.  Idiotic writers.  Sad and lousy product that started out as a really good idea.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

MOVIE REVIEW - Ted 2

Sequels are a tricky thing sometimes. And the new Seth MacFarlane sequel Ted 2, is suffering from just that.

The offensive, wise cracking teddy bear is back, and being honest there are some really hilarious moments and lines in this movie.  I mean laugh out loud funny.  But they are few and far between, and mostly this shows there are only so many offensive things that a teddy bear can say and do.  It is much like the original.  And being honest again, this sequel is far more offensive than the original. 

In this edition, Ted is involved in a court case where they are saying he is not a person.  He wants to become a father with his new human wife, and they need to either adopt or go artificial.   That whole basic premise is stupid to say the least, but who cares?  The core audience that goes to see this could care less about that.  They just want to hear Ted be funny, offensive and they want to see him to drugs and be the life of the party. And he is!

The main problem with this movie is simply it doesn't match up with what it preaches.  It's a story about what it means to be human, but it could not have less soul. It just swims on the surface where it's safe and doesn't dare to go deeper.  It simply sells out the lowest bidder again.  I did love some of the really funny cameos in this movie, and much of the satire and parody of current life and pop culture was pretty darn funny.

Word of caution.  I saw a few very young patrons (under 10 years of age or so) at the theater today and it baffled me. Yes, they were with their parents, but in all honesty this is so insanely offensive it is amazingly not for children.  This a laced with hard, harsh profane language and incredibly offensive terms and labels.  Plus, there is a ton of recreational drug use, and other highly adult visuals that young viewers will certainly be curious about.  Just sayin'.

The trailer you'll see and the movie you get are two different things. And don't let the cute talking bear thing fool you. This is harsh, and sometimes very funny stuff, but it is nothing short of highly adult.

Ted 2.  On par with the first.  Funny at times, but more of the same.

Monday, June 22, 2015

MOVIE REVIEW - Dope

Dope is an interesting new movie that takes us on a journey that we really haven't been on in a long time.

Dope is a wonderfully written script that translates very well to then screen.  The story here is a good one, and to me that's where every good movie really starts.  With a good story, and an original script.  It dares to take us way inside the horrible drug culture that has taken over many suburbs of America, and do it with some drama and some comedy. All the while not losing it focus.

It's the story of three young high school seniors deep in the inner city of Inglewood, California who call themselves, "geeks."  All are extremely intelligent.  Their city has been taken over by the worst drug culture imaginable.  Our three just want to go to college, and break free from their roots there.  But they find that is far easier said than done. The long fingers of the drug culture stretch a long way.  And somehow, no matter how hard our three try, they find themselves compromised and involved in the world they are trying to escape.

But the star of this movie is the story, and the amazingly creative turn this movie takes to show them the way out.  I have to admit that some of this was leaving me a bit flat until it got really smart, and went in an entirely new direction that elevates this from good to very, very good.

This is not for everyone. This could be very offensive to many was the dialogue is written in the lingo of the area.  Lots of offensive slang, and harsh language.   But that does give this it's authenticity that it needs.   Not very violent with most of it implied.  This is a hard R rating and that is well deserved. A terrific music soundtrack helps give this a real slick pace as well. Fine performances and great character development make this sing right along too.

Dope.  Not for all, but for some this is very good. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

MOVIE REVIEW - Jurassic World

They're back!  The man made Dino's in the new movie, and a direct sequel to the original Jurassic Park, it's the new Jurassic World with Chris Pratt.

This of course is a can't miss with fans.  It introduces itself to a whole new set of young fans who now get to sit in the theater and see the amazing CG technology bring these reptiles to life in incredible fashion.  There was no doubt 20 years ago this was amazing and it still is today.  The dinosaurs are incredible to say the least.  That part of this is Hollywood at its best as far as special effects go.

Jurassic World though is a side step in the same direction as the original.  There is not whole lot of new ideas at all.  We are still asking the question of, "Should we be creating extinct monsters for public pleasure because we can?"  The answer still appears to be the same as it was in 1993 on film, and that is - no!  Dinosaurs had their 150 million year run, and every time we bring them back it all seems to go wrong.

This movie still makes loud social commentary too about greedy corporations that are willing to risk lives for their own profit.  And it also shows our main characters making the exact same mistakes as they have in the three previous flicks.  So in essence, JW takes no new risks and really no new directions at all.  And for many movie purists and critics that will be a problem.  But for fans that just want to see dinosaurs fight and eat humans, there will be no such problem.

We have some new dinosaurs and some of the old favorites.  And there is no shortage of action scenes to keep everyone engaged.  Being honest, there is plenty of human death, and death by the worst way imaginable Some of this could actually be way too intense for young viewers. Could be some bad dreams ahead.  There are also some very intense fight scenes that may be too much for little ones.  This has a PG-13 rating and that is probably accurate.  My feeling is, this is the most intense and graphic of the series, but it has to be.  The public demands it.

There is a bunch of general silliness with this too that does not make this better. Pratt plays an expert that can train raptors with his bare hands, and get them to listen to him as he attempts to connect with him.  Although a new direction,  it fails badly.  I am not sure any thinking person buys the fact that these animals would have any interest in being harnessed by anyone or thing.  Ridiculous plot line. And we had to create a character for Chris Pratt that make him cool.

But there is some nice humor and general fun with this, that makes it not take itself too serious and that helps.  Incredible effects, and a fairly good pace keep this above water.  Unlike the original, they waste no time pulling you into the action with our star animals. Long gone is the day of real story telling in these kinds of movies, as fans can't be bothered.  They want action, they want to laugh, and they want to see cool, good looking, wise cracking stars on camera. And that's what they get here.

Jurassic World.  A new era in this series has begun.  Mission accomplished and it's alright. But there is nothing really new here.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

MOVIE REVIEW - Insidious 3

Here comes another installment of the Insidious series, this would be number 3.  A prequel.

As if having two of these wasn't enough, we have to go back to the well yet again to see what is happening still in "then further."  Just like the first two.  The funny thing about these movies is that they aren't bad movies.  But they aren't great either.  But they do suffer from being forgettable.

And that's understandable. Being fair, I see all of these movies, and other ones that resemble each other in one way shape or form.  And it is hard to keep all these franchises straight.  They all kind of look the same, and are the same. 

In this version, it takes place before the other two and we learn a bit more about our principle characters and why they are the way they are.  Now, not being cruel, I'm not so sure anyone really cares why Elise is the way she is, and how she handles being a medium between the living and the dead.  But we do. 

The downfall though of this is this franchise has simply run it's course.  This is not scary, or original and it's just more of the same.  In fact, it is exactly the same as the others.  But to it's credit, it's short and tidy and does keep itself moving along. Too bad it's not an original path we are going down.

Insidious 3.  For those following the series closely, a hit.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

MOVIE REVIEW - Spy

Finally, a comedic movie from funny woman Melissa McCarthy that is different than the last few she's made.  Spy is fun!

Spy is a comedy that isn't perfect, but it's pretty darn good, and pretty darn funny.  Spy is a satire and parody of the James Bond type movie that works on every level.  It has a great cast that gives this really creative script a nice lift.  Make no mistake, this could have gone either way.  This could have been really bad, but they took the time to be creative and make this truly fun, and funny.

Meet Susan (McCarthy). She works for the CIA in a support role.  She speaks to an agent in the field through an earpiece, Bradley (Jude Law), and makes sure that he is protected from harm.  She is not respected at all, and seems like a wallflower to the agency.  But when many agents have their cover blown, the CIA needs to send in an agent that the terrorists do not know.  And that agent is Susan.

She goes on an international trip trying to diffuse a situation that is dire.  A very portable nuclear bomb has been invented and it is about to be sold into the wrong hands that want to detonate in in New York City.   So Susan is the best hope for the agency to save the day. 

This movie is very funny, with tons of action to keep everyone engaged.  This pokes plenty of fun at James Bond, and tons of other action type movies from era's past with real skill. And it does it all from the way it's written, to the way it's filmed, to the musical soundtrack. McCarthy is funny, and finally has broken away to a degree from the recent summer roles.  This is her best true comedy in a long time.

The supporting cast is really strong as well.  In addition to Law, Rose Byrne is really funny as the dastardly villain.  She is perfectly cast, and the character they created is terrific.  Allison Janney is funny too as the CIA boss, and real huge kudos to Jason Statham.  He not only does comedy, and plays a bumbling CIA agent, he plays a parody of himself from tons of his own movies.  He is really funny in this movie, and the willingness to poke fun at yourself, gives this a real nice flavor.  Plus, there are a few funny cameos here.

This is not perfect, it is a hard R rated movie that is inappropriate for young viewers. There is a bunch harsh language and situations that does make rated accurately.   It could have been softened of a stitch to give it a PG-13, but that's the world we live in today.  By and large, action comedies are R these days.  Overall this is very entertaining and fun.  And this is set up nicely for more of these to be made.

Spy. Good summer fun!