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


Saturday, May 14, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - Money Monster

The new George Clooney, Julia Roberts thriller Money Monster is here this week.  It's supposed anti-Wall Street plot is the main feature.  Or is it?

In short, Clooney plays a guy named Lee Gates, a fictional cable TV star who hosts one of those high energy financial shows.  He's rich, arrogant, and is disliked by most of the people who work with him on the show.  Roberts plays the director who is leaving the show because of Gates.  During a live episode, the show is literally taken hostage by Kyle, (Jack O'Connel) at gunpoint, and a suicide vest he places on Gates. 

Kyle is a down and out delivery man who lost all his mother's inheritance on the advice of Gates on a previous episode.  Now he wants answers from the company he invested in, and Gates himself, as it all plays out live on television.  What kind of lies have been told to him and investors world wide, as this company lost 800 million in a day?  This movie has been billed as anti-Wall Street, even anti-Capitalism, and yes they do that to a degree, but there is more.

Yes, they make Wall Street look bad, and yes they make big business look greedy. But what this movie did more to my eye was make the New York City Police look horrible.  They are portrayed as stupid, unprepared, bloodthirsty, and amazingly incompetent. This movie is trying so hard to make such heavy handed social commentary all around, it forgets to be really good, and settles for also ran. But this has become a Clooney staple recently.  This movie again reeks of "I am the smartest man in the world."  And this does not connect with the average movie goer.

Let's start with the good.   It's short, this moves nicely, and is edited extremely well.  There are nice elements to this movie that make it easy to watch.  But it stumbles with so many really questionable choices, in plot and in execution, it will more than likely leave many less than pleased.

This movie is also badly cast.  It's just tough not to see George Clooney, the guy. And harder to see Lee Gates the character.  His international fame is a problem here, as his cred with this character is highly questionable.  But being fair, this has become a big problem for him the past few movies, with the Descendants being the exception (which is terrific).  Roberts is fine in a role she is not asked to do much in, and she is totally over casted.  But they needed the name. O' Connell is quite good as our troubled man. He works because you believe him, as his lack of international notoriety gives him cred.  I'm not buying the other two.

Money Monster. Honestly?  Very forgettable.  It'll be a cable TV weekend movie though for years between Law And Order marathons.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - A Hologam For A King

This is the season seemingly for the small Indy movies to shine a the theaters. The big blockbusters are on the way, and these will be pushed out in a few weeks.

Tom Hanks stars in this charming little movie that dares to take us to places we seldom get to go to in the movies.  It takes us to the depths of Saudi Arabia, in its culture and in its actual environment.  This is based on a strange novel about a man who finds himself deep inside mid-life crisis, and needs a complete reinvention, although he seems to be the last one to know that.

Hanks plays a lifelong salesman who is going through a horrible divorce to a terrible woman, and has a 21 year-old daughter.  He has made a ton of mistakes along he way in all avenues of his life.  He gets a new job that takes him to Saudi Arabia where he is in charge of selling a huge new tech package to the Saudi King.  He thinks he's there to do a job, but what he's really there for is to start again, a complete reinvention in total.

This is a little, tidy movie event that checks in at about 85 minutes.  It's quick and to the point, and lets Hanks shine through.  He anchors a real nice cast, and gives this very strange little story the wings it needed.  I always score movies high that have a story you have not seen before, and that is this movie. A unique story with a nice cast, set in an area you have not been before.  This is not for everyone, as this is a movie goers movie. This is not typical Hanks, this is smaller and more focused to a specific kind a viewer.

A Hologram For A King.  Solid, not great but quite good. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - Mothers Day

Can we just stop with all these kinds of movies?  Please, just stop.

You put a bunch of supposed big name actors together and suddenly you have a great movie right?  Nothing could be further from the truth, and nothing can save one minute of this absolute dry heave of a movie, that eventually does throw up all over itself.  And eventually you.

Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts, Britt Robertson, Jason Sudeikis, and the list goes on, all star in this piece of junk.  It attempts to bring a few different stories together, and attempts to be topical and contemporary.  And in fairness,  there is a certain amount of realness to some of what modern parents and especially moms go through.  OK, that's enough praise.

This is so terrible, it is shocking this has made it all the way to your theater.  The writing is horrific, the acting is insanely bad, and the editing is so incredibly amateurish, it smacks of a high dollar, high school presentation.  This starts off badly, and gets worse with each frame. As bad as New Years Eve, and Valentines Day were, I fear this is the cherry on the sundae, and it's worse than them.

This isn't funny, this isn't heartfelt, this isn't anything that is good.  This is simply a waste of about 60  million, our time, the actors time, and your money.  When you see this many "A" listers in a single movie, that they know going in is this bad, it makes you rethink if these actors are actually "A" listers at all - anymore.

Roberts has her Oscar and deserved it, but this movie makes it seem so long ago. Someone please tell Aniston she's not funny, and Hudson she's not either.  Robertson is a fresh young face that I like, and I can't fault her for trying to get her career off the ground.  Sudeikis is completely unbelievable in this and that's being generous.

Mothers Day. Do anything but go and pay money to see this.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - Everybody Wants Some!!

Sometimes movies are just made as for good fun, and for no real purpose whatsoever other than make you feel good.  And that is this movie.

Everybody Wants Some!! Is a retro piece that takes us back perfectly to the fall of 1980 on a random college campus in Texas.  This is simply a movie that celebrates the times, and the simple pleasures that were that era, and of course growing up. This basically has a no name cast, that are all cast perfectly and reflect with amazing accuracy the young moments that were the dawn of the 1980's as we watched the 70's sunset fade. 

This is the story of 16 well defined guy characters, all on a baseball team living together in two houses on a fictitious college campus in Southeastern Texas.  What the plot is, really all about is these guys drinking, getting high, and chasing young women.  It's sort of like Animal House, Porky's and a few others.  But what makes this really good movie making is, they transport you back to that era with such incredible accuracy, it's almost eerie.  The performances are all spot on by all of these actors, none of them born when this movie was set.  They are all terrific.  The seperator is that Animal House and Porky's were made in that era.

The sets, costuming, and general setting is so slick that you may think you are back in the day. The written dialogue is incredible, as this is very funny, intelligent, and poignant in many places.  Of course, there is a fair amount of really bad language, drinking and recreational drug use.  But this is not targeting today's kids. This is made to take you back to a far more innocent era and remember how you (we) were, and it does.  This is very good movie making, and is a real home run in many ways. 

Everybody Wants Some!!  Take a trip back, you won't regret it. Very, very well done.

Monday, April 25, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW - Elvis And Nixon

Here comes a really small movie that certainly isn't for the casual movie goer, but Elvis And Nixon is pretty darn good.  This is in limited release.

This stars Micheal Shannon (Elvis) and Kevin Spacey (Nixon) and a real nice supporting cast.  This is a straight, understated comedy that is based on an actual event in 1970.  When Elvis went into the oval office for a meeting with the President Nixon.  Elvis, for some reason was infatuated with becoming a "Federal Agent At-Large"  (whatever that means.)  Elvis had a legitimate concern at the time about America's youth and their love affair with drugs. Elvis wants to go undercover to break up the drug rings and wants Nixon to make it happen.

This is the a story of how this meeting came to be.  This is short, to the point and flat our really funny as this travels from truth to absolute absurdity.  And the whole thing kind of was.  Who knows what really happened in the oval office that day, and the days leading up to it. The story is fun to watch.   The meeting between the two is just flat out good movie making.  Shannon and Spacey are simply terrific and are really great together.  This has a nice pace, and is entertaining - every frame.

Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. This movie certainly proves that. How is it these two opposites came to bond and found some common ground to spend an afternoon together discussing our nations future.  This is crazy, absurd, and wonderful insight to this really weird couple.

Elvis And Nixon. This is flat out fun.   Good day at the theater.