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Fury is a brutal look at the men who find themselves stuck in the death
traps known as tanks, in WWII. Brad Pitt leads those men on various
missions and they just lost one of their own. A typist, who has never
seen the war on the front lines, never killed man, never even fired a
gun, is thrown into the tank, that these men call Fury. First, he has
to clean out the blood and guts from his seat, the previous person in
there has left pieces of himself all over, including part of his face.
Yes, Fury is gory, violent and relentless. It doesn't sugar coat the war and it shouldn't. Not only do people die left right and centre, but they do so in cruel and terrifying ways. One particular death that comes to mind is when a soldier would rather shoot himself in the head than burn alive. It's a shocking moment that makes you realize the horrors of our history. History is indeed violent.
Logan Lerman is Norman Ellison, the boy barely shaves and he is thrust into battle not knowing what to do. He is against killing anyone, it's against his morals, he simply cannot do it. That is until Pitt forces him, against his will, to kill a German soldier who pleads for his life. Another depressingly realistic scene in a film full of them. Pitt knows that if he doesn't break this kid down, he will be the death of Pitt's entire crew. His crew consists of a religious gunner, an impressive Shia LaBeouf, a hot headed redneck prone to outbursts, an outstanding Jon Bernthal and their driver who is consistently drunk, the always reliable Michael Pena. These men follow the orders of WarDaddy, a scarred and nobel Brad Pitt. People might try to relate his performance to Lt. Aldo Raine from Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds, but the two are very different. He puts on a confident and brave face for his men, but behind the tough exterior is a scared man, who only admits his fear once. He predictably takes Lerman under his wing, the typical father-son relationship ensues, but aside from that and a clichéd "follow the leader at the darkest hour" scene, the film is a fresh take on the WWII genre.
I say a fresh take because the focus is on the claustrophobic dynamic relationship these men have within the confines of the tank. I loved all the scenes that had me stuck inside with them. You feel the intensity in every moment. Ayer knows this and shoots the scene well enough so that even though you feel trapped, you never get lost or feel that you need to get out of the tank. When Ayer does take us out, he shows the risks and dangers of not being protected by Fury's walls. Even when you think you're safe, moments later you're not. Ayer shows his skill for the battle and the slow moving tanks make for heightened suspense.
Fury doesn't match the levels of Saving Private Ryan, but it's a realistic take on a time where good and bad men on BOTH sides of the war fought for what they believed in. Fury is entertaining and harrowing at the same time.
What did we gain from this film? Any advancement in the story?
Advancement in the war? Revenge from the initial 300 who died? The
answer is unfortunately no for everything. 300: Rise of an Empire is a
cash grab sequel, with less style than the original and more cartoon
violence. I can only recommend this film if you are a huge fan of the
original and want more of the same.
This battle, which happens at the same time as Leonidas is commanding his 300, is fought on ships. The battle on the ships try to be creative, but seem to fail on that aspect and push into the absurd territory. The artificialness of it all only takes away from the excitement. The original film felt fresh and exciting. Zack Snyder behind the camera gave us some creative visual violence. This entry tries to imitate that and it doesn't match up. The blood, the kills, the set pieces, feel fake this time around. Snyder had a cast and stakes which made the film feel a bit more real, despite the stylized violence and green-screen. Rise of an Empire has non of this, save for a deliciously evil Eva Green as a vengeful psychotic warrior.
The film even feels like a remake. It hits the same notes at the same moments. It literally ends on the same note. Why not try and advance the story further? Aside from some insight into the past of Xerxes and a sad story attached to Eva Green's character, we are given nothing to hold onto. The film is more interested in the blood and guts it splashes on the screen than anything else. It feels like a video game where the player keeps playing the same level over and over again.
So unless you love the original, Rise of an Empire is easily avoidable. Even if you do see it, you'll most likely forget about it a day or two later. Save for one memorable scene involving Eva Green and her beautiful assets. There aren't many films these days with sex scenes that actual show the act. Sex scenes have been toned down recent years, close ups where we see nothing, cut aways before the act. Rise of an Empire isn't afraid to go a little adult.
I can't help but think this film could have and should have been
better. Maybe if the two leads weren't old men past their prime, or if
the script didn't resort to routine action, or anything else that this
film tried to do and failed. Escape Plan is a redundant action escape
movie where we are to believe that Stallone is some kind of prison
escape genius that runs a crew with 50 cent and Amy Ryan.
If the film doesn't bore you with its depiction of escaping prisons, the utterly bad performances will. Has Stallone ever acted? Put his performance in this film up against anyone of his previous efforts and try to tell the difference. He dipped his hand in comedy before and took chances, this guy needs to do that again. Playing it safe with his "resurgence" is dull. An even worse offender is the Terminator himself. He seems bored here and doesn't try to hide it. Finally we have Jim Caviezel collecting a paycheque and totally checking himself out of a performance. The guy doesn't even try to act here. Even in the face of certain death, his expression never changes.
Escape films are suppose to be thrilling, inventive and let the viewer have fun with the escape sequences. This film doesn't do that. We are treated to a shoot em up climax that is dull and uninspired. Where is the creativity? This is the first official team up of Stallone and Schwarzenegger that isn't a glorified cameo (Expendables) yet their chemistry isn't there and they seem to be reaching too far into the past here. Escape Plan wants to be an 80's prison escape film, but doesn't know how.
I'd advise you to avoid watching this flick. It'll bore you before you get bored. Twists in the film are obvious a blind person can see it coming. Put those responsible for this flick in this prison, it's a crime I tell ya!!!
A rag-tag group of has-beens ban together to stop a ruthless villain
who wants nothing to do but destroy cities killing millions.
Guardians of the Galaxy was a huge gamble of Marvel, branching away from a well known formula to introduce a completely new universe, with odd creatures such as a talking raccoon, with no big A list stars and based on a property that very little people knew about. Guardians of the Galaxy was without a doubt a huge gamble and fortunately for them, it paid off in spades. Just when the Marvel films started to feel a tad stale and routine, here comes along a fresh fun filled film that is an entertaining ride from start to finish.
I had a lot of fun with this film and it's been awhile since we've had fun at the movies. Dark, depressing, brooding films seem to make out summer blockbuster schedule, heck even the last two Marvel outputs were pretty dark (Captain America and Thor) but Guardians breathes new life into the summer blockbuster and more importantly the Marvel universe.
The cast seems to really gel well together, even Dave Bautista, a wrestler with little acting experience, seems natural here getting some of the biggest laughs. Both Groot and Rocket Raccoon are computer marvels that have both heart and laughs. Of course finally Star Lord himself does his Han Solo with the right charm and wit. Gunn's films always blend comedy into whatever genre he seems to be diving into: Horror (Slither) Superhero (Super) and now Sci/fi-Action with Guardians. Gamora is the one character who never plays anything for laughs, her character is too serious to let the jokes fly, but she is a deadly assassin.
Gunn uses a beautiful colour palette here reminiscent of Blade Runner and The Fifth Element. A welcome sight to these eyes. Guardians loves to bath in the colour it introduces to us. It loves its characters, action, self awareness and most of all, music. The music in Guardians plays into the story as well. You'll sometimes fight the urge to dance in your seat.
I can't recommend this film enough. It's sheer fun that is non-stop entertainment. Chris Pratt is about to burst onto the scene and I look forward to more Guardians to come.
On yet another routine mission, the Expendables stumble upon an old
friend, Stonebanks, one of the original members of the crew and now, a
vicious war lord. Can Barney look past the revenge and get the job
done, or will it consume him until it's too late?
The Expendables 3 throws a lot at you and for the most part, it sticks. It follows the same formula as the previous films: open up with a big action set piece, introduce the problem, get the team together, suffer some form of defeat, band the team together again and shoot the hell out of everyone until the finish. What this film does better, is give the new members something to do and deliver on the action. The final sequence in this film alone warrants a watch in my books as it's the best action the series has delivered yet.
Just like last time...this time it's personal. I know, they seem to be running out of ideas, but this series never cared for realism, story or plot. The sole purpose was to give the old stars of the 80's one last hurrah. Well, it caught on and they seem to have enough fuel left in their engines to keep up with the young kids these days. This entry balances both old and new. We have an even bigger Expendables team, with the introduction of Wesley Snipes's Doc, a knife wielding sarcastic medic and Antonio Banderas' Galgo, a guy who desperately needs to be in the action and never shuts up about it. Both are given ample amount of screen time to justify adding them, with Banderas stealing the show in every scene he's in. Without a doubt, he is the stand out character this time round. Harrison Ford basically replaces Bruce Willis, he literally says Willis is out of the picture. Just one of many...MANY winks and nods to the camera about the outside world (snipes has a great one in the beginning and Arnold closes it with a classic Predator line).
But what about the original members who've been with the series since the beginning? Well, they do get left behind, literally at some point. Yet the film never feels like it abandons them. They still have some of the best scenes and make the third act what it is. Poor Terry Crews is giving the least amount to do though, I won't spoil why. Both Jet Li and Schwarzenegger have small cameos as well as Kelsey Grammar. Each have their comedic moments in a film with a lot of laughs. The new kids include Kellan Lutz (Twilight), Ronda Rousey (UFC Fighter), Victor Ortiz (Boxer) and Glen Powell (Small Roles). They all have their charm and "abilities" although I feel Ortiz got the short straw and is showcased very little. Finally we come to the man himself, Mel Gibson, as the villain. He has a few scene chewing sequences that he seems to have fun with, and is withoutadoubt the scariest villain in the series, but he needed a bit more to do. JCVD was showcased quiet a bit in the the second film, as was his right hand man Scott Adkins, but very little time is spent with Gibson. You never feel the emotional relevance of this character to the group. Maybe a flashback might have helped flesh out his significance better, but instead we are given just some dialogue and then we move on. The performance is there, the character is not. This leads up to a final fight between Stallone and Gibson, much like the second film and just like that one it falls a bit too short. All this build up and we get a lackluster final fight.
The Expendables is a lot more fun than the series should have been. The second film and now this one, learned from the mistakes of the first. These films are suppose to be fun and thankfully this one is. The Expendables vs the Army at the end is some of the best action sequences of this year.The film does have some really bad CGI though, stuff you would expect out of a Roger Corman SYFY MEGASHARK film. With that aside, this film is a great addition and a nice send off....hopefully.
When Rise of the Planet of the Apes was first released, I found myself
laughing at the trailers. I thought it was going to be terrible. Boy
was I wrong, it turned out to be an engaging thrilling spectacle. I
don't know why I seem to keep underestimating this series because I
didn't expect this sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to be that
great. Not only is the film great, it's probably the best summer
blockbuster this year and will no doubt make my top ten list by the
The virus at the end of the original film has almost wiped out humanity. There are small groups of survivors who are genetically immune to the virus. One of these survivors is Malcolm (Jason Clarke) who is on a mission to find an alternative power source since his group of survivors, including Gary Oldman and Keri Russell, are running out of their resources. While out in the forest, he runs into the apes, ruled by Caesar (Andy Serkis). Despite an uneasy truce between man and ape, tension boils and war becomes inevitable.
I know people were trying to rally for an Oscar nomination for Serkis and his portrayal of Caesar. That fell on deaf ears. This time around, expect them to make even louder noise. Serkis delivers his best performance in motion capture to date and gives us a deep and inspirational character here. Caesar is a born leader; he commands the screen just as much as he commands his apes. Stop with this nonsense of what is his performance and what the do the animators manipulate. Look at what is brought to the table; we have a compelling character that we care for. I found myself on the edge of my seat with excitement whenever Caesar was on the screen and his second in command Koba is right there with him. Scarred from numerous testing by humans, Koba is a classic tragic character. You know that he doesn't trust the humans; his experience with them is the complete opposite of Caesar's. You know where he is coming from and you know where he is heading. His actions are justified in his eyes and you never outright hate him. This is what great writing, performance, direction and stellar animation is here. We have two unforgettable characters at odds with each other, even though they both respect and love one another.
If you were impressed with the motion capture animation of the first film, marvel at what they've accomplished here. You'll rub your eyes a few times thinking these apes were real. The attention to detail is astonishing and should rightly be awarded come Oscar time. A film like Transformers adds nothing new, special or awe-inspiring in terms of its effects. Sure it looks cool, but this film makes the special effects integral to the emotional core of the story. The facial expressions on these apes make you feel more emotion than what many actors try to achieve their whole career. Reeve's stages exciting action sequences in the third act, when both the humans and apes collide. The special effects stay first class. You never lose sight of where you are in the action. Reeves constantly makes sure that we as the audience, are aware of the action in correspondence to the characters. It's refreshing to be able to see what's going on up on that screen. All building up to the emotional climax. This film simply has it all.
It runs a long 130 minutes and it feels a tad long due to some pacing issues, but a lot of those scenes are to flesh out the characters. Both apes and humans are given their time and no one really gets the short stick. We spend most of our time with the apes, but we never are told to side against the humans. There are individuals on both sides that make stupid decisions. The film's one clichéd hiccup is that it uses a one-dimensional character that has been written a thousand times before in these films to initiate the tension. I can handle one hotheaded trigger-happy one-dimensional character in this piece because we are given deep and interesting characters to actually care about.
Dawn is an intelligent spectacular Hollywood blockbuster in a time when there are thousands of mindless boring flicks that companies just throw money at. This is proof, right here, that with patience, care and talent you can have an engaging thrilling film that people will want to see and talk about. Stop with the product placement, high priced trash that gets spit out of the ass end of Hollywood. We need more films like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
An alcoholic cop wakes up one morning feeling a little different. His
senses are stronger, dogs like him and when the full moon hits, he
turns into a killer werewolf. A killer werewolf with a sense of duty to
uphold. He becomes the WolfCop.
A low budget Canadian horror comedy flick in the style of Hobo With A Shotgun. While Hobo was decent, I felt a little underwhelmed with it. It was a little too serious for a low budget grindhouse flick that was suppose to emulate the 70's and 80's of cheesy horror. WolfCop seems like the type of film that would fill those needs and for the most part it does. With a modest budget of a million dollars, Lowell Dean manages to make the film look and feel like it belongs with those 70's and 80's flicks you'd find at the bottom of a dollar bin at Wal-Mart. If the film was too crisp and smooth, it wouldn't fit the atmosphere.
Dean ties his best to blend horror and comedy, a lot of the jokes fall flat, but there is just enough in there to make it entertaining. The execution was never going to be able to match the concept. I wanted more of the WolfCop on duty, foiling one robbery and crashing one drug op wasn't enough for me.
The monster effects are decent and there is a bit of comical gore to be had. I couldn't help but laugh at the faceless screaming man. For those wondering if a WolfCop can have sex with a human...he sure can. In a late night Baby Blue 2 on CityTV kind of way.
The theatre wasn't packed, but the audience who was in attendance seemed to enjoy themselves. This film does not take itself seriously, which is a good thing. I hope the film manages to find a cult following and if the ending of the film holds true, we will see a sequel sometime soon. Until then, enjoy the "it's so bad, it's good" nature of WolfCop.
With Singer back in the fold, many people felt like the series was back
in good hands. He comes back after the failed attempt at reviving the
Superman franchise and a battle of a fairy tale, Jack The Giant Killer.
Those two projects seemed to fail with critics and audiences alike, so
Singer is back to the films that made him a household name. I would
personally like to see another small scale film like Apt Pupil or The
Usual Suspects, but the guy has a visual eye that blends well with the
big budget scaled films, so I'll take him here. Singer opens with a
well choreographed fight between mutants and their new enemy, the
Sentinels. Some neat powers are introduced, such as portals used by a
new mutant Blink, which aid in the fight against these mutant killing
machines. Once we get passed the explosive opening, we are given the
set up, Logan must travel back in time and change the future. Some
expository dialogue from Xavier and we are on our way back to the 70's.
Now, for people wanting to know where we are in the X-Men timeline. The past sequences are after the events of First Class, so the rift between Erik and Charles is present, but it is before the events of X-Men Origins, so before Logan has his adamantium. He's stuck with his bone claws here and in a surprising turn of events, we hardly get to see him use them. While a lot of the other films were "Wolverine" heavy, DOFP seems to be more of an ensemble piece, giving equal time to much deserving characters. A new addition, Peter AKA Quicksilver, has the most memorable sequence in the film and his scenes again, show the visual excitement that Singer brings back to the franchise.
In the past, Logan has to convince Xavier to help him, but he has lost the use of his powers due to an experimental drug he uses developed by Hank McCoy (Beast) that gives him the ability to walk again. Xavier is stuck in a depressed isolated place, he's lost his friend Erik, Raven has abandoned him, the school is shut down. He's not in a good place. Logan has to do for him what Xavier did for Logan back in the original films. Help him find his way. McAvoy isn't afraid to let the character, who is almost always calm, cool, collected and smart...with more of an edge. He's lost, he's refusing to acknowledge his power exists. Magneto on the other hand is in prison. People claim he is responsible for the assassination of JFK and they need to bust him out. They still don't see eye to eye and Fassbender brings the angry hostility that a young man with a lot of power would have. He wants to be the superior species whether he is or not. His plan in't the same as Logans/Xavier's and the conflict arises.
Back in the future, Patrick Stewart, Ian Mckellen, Halle Berry, Ellen Page and others are given nothing to do but basically wait. Time is running out for them as Sentinels close in. They try their best to fend them off, but their screen time is a little too short for us to fully invest. Singer relies heavily on previous films for us to care. Most of the conflict is in the 70's. Which look like a far out time to live in. Lava lamps, Vietnam, Nixon, etc. The world Singer creates feels real enough and he follows in the footsteps of First Class director Matthew Vaughn in having mutants be responsible are involved in our real human history. This is a nice touch that pulls the audience in, gives us something more to chew on.
As dark as the film is, Singer has just the right amount of light comedy to remind us that we are watching a comic book film. A wink and a nod here and there are welcomed, especially those who are fans of the comics and know certain character relations. DOFP is exciting, thrilling and one hell of a ride. I'd place this entry up there with X-2. It tries to mend the broken bones that was left behind from Ratner and his Last Stand, which was a poorly written, visual disaster. Yet DOFP falters in some areas, mostly in the continuity round.
First Class screwed up a lot in the continuity department with the other films. Certain character relationships, history, plot, etc. Last Stand screwed things up with unemotional character deaths and juggling of two awesome stand alone story lines into one big mess. DOFP doesn't feel like it has to answer some important questions. Like, how does Wolverine has adamantium claws in the future, who know from the events of The Wolverine he doesn't. How does Xavier still have his body? he transferred consciousness in the end of Last Stand. Who built cerebro? Two conflicting answers. Why does Logan have white hair when he "doesn't age" but everyone else looks the exact same age. Some interesting things I thought to myself was when Logan goes back in time, Xavier is depressed...he hasn't changed the past yet, so what was it that originally brought him out of his funk to form the x-men? Why is his relationship with Mystique so important now, but never mentioned in the other films? Chalk this up to oversight when the originals were made, but it would still be nice to see them correct this mess in the film.
It seems they wanted to hit a big RESET button, which they did, but I still have my questions, questions I feel will never be answered, but that's just the film student comic geek in me talking. DOFP is THE summer blockbuster of this year and one helluva good time.
A nuclear meltdown 15 years ago bears striking resemblance to some
current issues with the area now. What secrets are the government
hiding away in the quarantined zone? When a freak of nature breaks lose
from the cocoon it was encased in, another comes in to restore balance
to the nature of things, while we try to get in his way....he is
There's a lot going on in Godzilla, so I'll give it credit for trying to bring something to the table that the original Americanized version did not. The size and scope of this entry is bigger and better. Gareth Edwards, the guy behind the independent special effects heavy flick Monsters, has been given a monster size of a budget to direct this decades old creature and possible restart a franchise. His delivery of Godzilla is a mess, but it beautiful mess.
The film is gorgeous to look at. Seeing the destruction of the world while these massive beasts tango is a marvellous achievement. Edwards teases the audience a lot here. Just when we are about to see the showdown, he cuts away and we only get glimpses of it on the television. A neat way to build up our anticipation for the destruction that is sure to ensue in the climax. He does this one too many times though and the teases become irritating. Show us what we want: Destruction, Mayhem, GODZILLA.
The special effects are astounding, that's a given. Edwards fully develops these creatures in a life like environment and the destruction they cause feels real. The size and scope of these creatures are leaps and bounds over what Emmerich gave us in the late 90's. The fighting between the monsters is a little rough, Del Toro has more of a craft to it with Pacific Rim. Here it feels more like a brawl, rightfully so.
Godzilla does the cardinal sin of false advertising. I can't really fault the film for this, but I do feel that it was a mistake creatively to kill off certain characters early in the film. There is no emotional catalyst for our lead hero here. It feels forced to try and make those connections it desperately wants the viewer to see and brings the film to sometimes boring sections. The human characters fill out their clichéd roles fine enough. Cranston is dynamite as the guy who is right about ominous things, but nobody believes him. Johnson is our lead, a good guy with father issues, trying to make it back home to his family and be the dad he never had. David Strathairn does his Jason Bourn military shtick and finally we have two actors who do absolutely nothing in the film. First is Ken Watanabe with very few lines, but serious looks here and there. He's our "let's explain everything" guy. The other is Elizabeth Olsen, who has done excellent work, as the wife of our lead. Her job is....I'm still confused here because she isn't even the damsel in distress. She is screen filler. Then last, but not least we have Godzilla, who is barely in the film.
Cardboard characters are to be expected in a monster flick....but aren't monsters expected to be in monster flicks? The guy's name is on the poster and Godzilla has the least amount of screen time here. The other creatures are cool looking as well and I really got into the "history" of when they first showed up and stuff, I just wish they explored that a tad bit more. The film is insanely serious. No real moments of brevity.
I wouldn't mind seeing a sequel, in the hopes that they take this in some kind of direction and not chug out Godzilla VS whatever creature the fans want now....I have my hopes.
What happens when a 40 year old foul mouthed man attempts to beat
little kids at a spelling bee competition? Jason Bateman tries to
answer that question as he berates little kids, their parents and
anyone else who questions why he has decided to do such a shamelessly
We meet Guy (Bateman) at a competition when another adult mistakes him for a parent of a child in the competition. Guy immediately lets this man know that his small talk, is not welcomed and he needs to back off. This is our first indication that Guy is a jerk. He doesn't have time for anything else, except to win. Which is exactly what he tells the guy before he walks onto the stage and confuses the crowd. When the judges running the competition try to kick him out, he pulls out this loop hole, which states that in order for you to qualify, you must not have passed the 8th grade before a certain date. Guy actually qualifies and uses this to his advantage as his foul mouth runs off the letter of the words required to proceed in the competition.
The reporter who pays for his hotel, flight and car rental accommodations to these events, is only doing so in order to get the scoop on the big question that people seem to have...WHY? Why has a grown man decided to enter these competitions? Each competition Guy wins gets her closer and closer to these answers. Along the way he manages to befriend a small child who will end up being his competition. Guy shows him how to have fun, by drinking, swearing and exposing him to his first set of breasts, by a prostitute no less.
So what makes the film funny? Is it Bateman's rapid fire cursing at anyone who bothers to talk to him, man, woman or child? The joyfulness that the film takes in its R rating? Or is it the extreme lengths that Guy will go in order to win, which would include making a young girl believe she had her period for the first time minutes before she was to go on stage. Well, it's all of these and more. Bateman, who also finds himself behind the camera, shows no fear in basking in the R rated-ness of the subject matter. Telling a young child to F-off is something that this film loves to do.
Bad Words is a dark comedy, in the style of Bobcat Goldthwait's directorial efforts. The subject matter seems to suit Bateman to a T. Being both in front of the camera and behind it gives Bateman the freedom to reign down the obscenities in the style that suits him best. As a director, Bateman serves the story well enough. There is nothing interesting visually here, save for one gag that has the televised event cut to "technical difficulties". As funny as Bad Words is, it definitely won't be 'remembered' down the road from now. As it stands, it's a funny film to pass the time on a Friday night. Of course, you'll have to be able to laugh at racist and misogynistic humour.
I sure did.
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