What This Not That

Gerard Butler~Now

Watch This…

London Has Fallen

London_Has_Fallen-600x321London Has Fallen is the sequel to 2013’s Olympus has Fallen, a witty action flick. Butler is a pretty awesome action star and has found a niche in being a bad ass. Movies like the Fallen series are perfect for his rugged charm and handsomeness. London has Fallen is a fun trill ride that allows you to escape from reality.

In this sequel, Banning is preparing for the birth of his baby, but his time off is interrupted by the death of the British Prime Minister. The president (Aaron Eckhart) is obliged to attend the funeral as well as some of the biggest political rulers of the modern world. Sounds too good for a terrorist to pass up doesn’t it? In fact, this has been staged and planned to a “T”. But there is one ripple in their plan: Banning.

Fallen is good because of several things, the first being that the movies take the characters on emotional roller coasters and leave them no time to be stale and static. Those are also two words that cannot be used for the movie. The movie continues to pack thrilling punch after punch with little time to rebound. Sprinkled humor and a great relationship between the main characters inject moments of respite from the onslaught of violence (they seem to be channeling Taken at this point). Do I care if it’s realistic? No, because action movies are meant as an escape.

There is a huge fault in the movie that does have to do with bad character development. Angel Basset continues her role as the head of the Secret Service but she shrinks from her former bad ass role. When the attacks on London starts, the writers turns her into a sniveling woman who has apparently forgotten how to shoot a gun. This is disgraceful to the character and to Basset.

London Has Fallen is thrilling fun like it’s predecessor. So grab some pop corn and get your ass in the theater.

…Not That

Gods of Egypt

Gods-of-egypt-summitIn the trailers, Gods of Egypt looks gods awful. It’s that kind of awful you can’t look away from. But the movie is surprising better than I thought. That is not to say it was good. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. In fact, it reminded me of all the B movies of old that used stop motion. The movie looks good but has no substance.

The story follows Horus’s rise to power and destruction after his father passes Horus the throne. But uncle Set is angry at being passed over for the crown. In a coupe, he dis-eyes Horus and rules all Egypt This would be the end of the story except some young and stupid kid steals one of Horus’s eyes and in the process gets his girlfriend killed. He makes a deal with Horus: he gets the god the other eye and his girl friend will be brought back from the dead.

Gods of Egypt doesn’t take itself too seriously. That is why I think it attracted actors like Butler and Geoffrey Rush; it was fun to do. And you can tell Butler is living it up. Yelling in his bough as Caucasian as you please. And it seems like Nikolaj Coster-Waldau can never keep all his body parts in tact. The humor helps cover some of the less cohesive parts of the movie (quite a lot of it) leading to a few good laughs.

Over all, this is a rental to pass a stormy evening. Save the money for a ticket for London has Fallen.

Summer Showdown Part 3

This week’s showdown focuses on two comic based movies- one for the older generation and one for the younger.

Loving Him Was Red

20130717171933red_2_3Red 2 came out with a bang bringing in the middle age and older crowd. Red contains that generation’s beloved stars like Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins. Based on the DC Comic, Red follows retired spies as they try to live in world where they are no longer spies. The first movie was a huge hit adding humor and action together but didn’t at all have a comic book feel.

In the sequel, Frank is brought back into the fold against his will. He wants to do nothing but keep his girlfriend safe (Mary-Louise Parker) and get out of the spy game. When they are connected to a weapon of mass destruction, its kill or be killed. Joined by old friends and new (Catherine Zeta-Jones joins this go around), this group of retirees must prove that though old they are not senile.

Red 2 is as entertaining as the first with Malchovich stealing the show at every turn. It’s got action and its fun. It does get dragged down some by the Frank’s relationships woes. But its fun to see him interact with Zeta-Jones, and Parker’s great at the scorned and jealous lover.  Red 2 is fun and a great movie, but it isn’t Parker best performance of the weekend.

To Protect and Serve—The Living

The better movie by far is R.I.P.D. It’s fun; it’s humorous; and it sticks to its comic book roots. Parker shines as Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridge’s matter-of-fact boss.ripd-ryan-reynolds-640

R.I.P.D. is the Rest in Peace Department where the world’s best law men go in the afterlife to take down the demon scum that is running amok in the living world. Reynolds is Nick the newest edition to the department and has been paired with the Western lawman Following the trail of “deados,” the partners learn that the undead are collecting gold in order to assemble a demonic tool that will allow the dead to walk on Earth. Things become even more complicated when Nick finds out his old partner is working with the deados.

R.I.P.D. is fun and funny. Somewhere between Men in Black and Betelgeuse, this Dark Horse comic comes to life with gorgeous action and well done CG sequences. The producers kept the feeling of the comic books brining the surreal to life. Combining the other world and living can be hard to accomplish but nothing looks cheesy or overdone.

It’s the ensemble that truly brings the characters to life. Parker is superb as Proctor, nailing the “I don’t give a crap about your issues boss” whose only intent is to serve the Powers that Be and keep the world safe. Her relationship to Bridge’s lawman is both tenuous and full of sexual tension leaving you guessing where the two of them really stand. This is Reynolds’s fourth forays into comic land, and he does well as the hero. But his character isn’t exactly the crooked cop the tone implies. He’s working off his sins, but his sins don’t seem that great.

Over all fun, surrealistic and gorgeous, R.I.P.D. pulls ahead of Red 2.  Don’t blame me; I’m in that demographic.

The Hobbit is a Faithful, Long Adaptation

As a child, my parents made me watch The Hobbit animated feature a zillion times. They even had the book full of the illustration and story. I was so afraid of the trolls and their song about eating Bilbo. In fact, I got so tired of watching it that I never had anything else to do with it as I grew up. I haven’t watched any of the Lord of the Rings all the way through, and went to see The Hobbit An Expected Journey because, now, my boyfriend owes me. But it does allow me to give you my take on the movie.

For those of you living under the sea, The Hobbit is the tale of Bilbo Baggins a hobbit who likes the safety and monotony of his Hobbit Hole. When Gandalf the Wizard and his troupe of dwarves pay an unexpected visit, Bilbo becomes a part of the dwarves’ journey to reclaim their homeland.

Technically it looks really good. The majority of the environments are bright and clear and it seems realistic. But as much as Hobbiton is beautiful many of the CG action sequences are a blur. The dwarf battle in the beginning and rock giant battles have blurred background and scenery. Some blame it on the filming in a different film rate than we are used to, but if this was the case the rest of the movie would look the same. It is the CG heavy atmosphere that either loose clarity when transferred to 2-D or (most likely) a way to cut costs but not applying too much work for a crisp CG world. This happens often in movies including Transformers. So while this is a fault to The Hobbit, it is a fault of many movies as well.

Books fans will be delighted as the movie goes into minute detail of the events of the novella. Much time is spent on the dwarfs’ time at Bilbo’s house and the movie sticks to the majority of the action of the road. But this constant jump from action to action cuts down on any character development. It is not until the end of this almost three-hour-long film, that the viewers see any changes in the characters. It is hard to love characters that whiney or arrogant without seeing much growth.

For movie goers who don’t know the book by heart, the film becomes very tedious. Trolls and orcs and goblins and elves and hobbits and dwarves. There isn’t much time devoted to any one species and becomes a smorgasbord of fighting and overly CG’ed action sequences. Whatever wonder I felt about Baggins looking life like was lost in the long, tedious journey of this clan that isn’t even over yet. Also, it seems that Peter Jackson pays no attention to movie phenomenon around him or he wouldn’t have ended the first installment of The Hobbit with the same sequence as Breaking Dawn Part 1 did. It can’t be good for your viewers to say, “Twilight already did that!”

While the cut of the first installment come at the right place story wise, I wonder why they didn’t cut it about twenty minutes sooner. Like every book and movie in the cannon before, the parts with Sméagol are the best and the ones even non-fans like me are waiting for. From a film perspective, I would have split this scene into both movies for the benefit of the non-book fans.

The Hobbit has its merits but it will be the diehard fans that love it the most. Anyone else should wait for the DVD so you can pause it and stretch your legs and take an ADD break.

Time for a New Award Show?

Awards show is notorious for movies as “art.” It’s rare to find a film that is a good movie that wins any kind of award. TV has almost the same sordid past. Most things that are mainstream hits are ignored by the academies. The Golden Globe nominations prove this prejudice still exists.
The biggest problem with the movie nominations and this happens a lot. I have not seen or care to see but one of the movies on the list. Unfortunately Silver Linings Playbook is not playing near. The other issues are that, at the nominations, the movies had not even been released. These are mostly docudramas that screw up what really happened for entertainment value. Forget Lincoln, I’d rather watch Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black 3. In fact, the only movies I have seen are those in the animated category (and this year they are all good competition!).
The Golden Globes are usually not completely against the grain with their television selections. In fact Katey Sagal won Best Actress in a Drama in 2011 for her work in Sons of Anarchy. But the rest of the cast and show gets snubbed. Like The Walking Dead, when it is nominated, it is for technical awards. Charlie Hunnam and Kim Coates have been snubbed just as much as Jon Bernthal was for his work on Season 2 of TWD. The two supporting actors have been ignored for any kind award for the work on their respective shows, and Hunnam can’t catch the attention of the votes even though he is a brilliant actor.
Instead we see shows like American Horror story get around the rules, by submitting as a miniseries though it is an actual TV show. Unlike the Emmy’, it only pulled one nomination in the major categories. There is also a few other odd ball nominations including Connie Britton in Nashville. Laurie Holden and Katey Sagal both kick her ass.
So I have decided to make my own awards and requirements that are the best of TV and movies as good TV and movies. Stay tuned for my take on what deserves an award.

By the Book: Breaking Dawn

Contains Spoilers

The Twilight Saga movies have a tumultuous history. The first adaptation was a horrible movie, slicing and cutting at fan favorite books passages. The movies became increasing better culminating with Eclipse. Break Dawn Part 2 takes after Eclipse as an adaptation; it takes the best from the book and makes it better.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 includes material from the last 400 pages of the book and picks up where the last movie left off: Bella’s transformation to vampire. Overall the movie is a loyal adaptation to the source material. The movie cuts out small portions in order to move the story along. The only real loss was the fear J. Jenks felt for Jasper (and I was hoping for a created flashback for that).

But like the other installments, it reduces or cuts out character completely. With this being said, the movie does include the majority of the Cullen’s witness though it cuts down on the Volturi clan. These new characters are well cast and, unlike previous installments, look like the characters in Stephenie Meyer’s book. And many of the characters lines come directly from the book.

Changes in the movie do make correct some issues with the novel. I personally was quite upset that there was no fight after the build up of other vampires. Other complained that there were no deaths and fans did not have to mourn. I understand this point, but I like for my characters to live. The twist ending changes these complaints making the movie compelling and keeps fans on their toys. It’s like watching The Walking Dead and getting a great surprise in the TV that wasn’t in the comics. Fans should stick with the movie through the twist, no matter their first reaction. In fact, the ending gives a more “happily ever after” outlook than the book by including scenes Alice envisioning the future.  Even the credit give homage to the whole cast and fans feel like they are saying good bye to old friends, just like they felt when they closed the final book.

The movie also makes Bella a little less perfect. She has great self control but in the movie she actually gets close to the human before turning back. Unfortunately, the acting does not hold up in her fury towards Jacob though Stewart does well with the mother/daughter bond. It boggles me why Bella has more color as a vampire than she did as a human. Otherwise, seeing beloved characters come to life is a treat for fans.

Breaking Dawn Part 2 is one of the better movies in the Twilight Saga and Melissa Rosenberg expands on the material already written by Meyer. Fans will be please with the ending of this installment as a stand alone movie, and also as an ending to a beloved movie journey.

Theater Releases for 6-15-12

Rock of Ages PG-13 Starring:Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Julianna Hough, Diego Boneta
That’s My Boy R Starring: Adam Sandler, Any Samberg,  James Caan, Leighton Meester
The Girl From the Naked Eye R Starring: Jason Yee, Ron Yuan, Dominique Swain
Patang NR Starring: Nowaz, Seema Biswas, Mukkund Shukla, Sugandha Garg
Your Sister’s Sister R Starring: Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mark Duplass, Mike Birbiglia