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Hail, Caesar! (2016)
Hail! The Final Credits
Hail, Caesar! could be rated as one of the biggest disappointments of 2016. This film is a mess. As you are watching the film you get the sense that the Coen brothers did not have a fully fleshed out main story so they had to add a lot of filler to achieve a full length feature.
The general idea is that Baird Whitlock is kidnapped and the studio has to ransom him to finish their film. You would get the idea that this is going to have some comedic edge on how the characters find Whitlock; that it is going to show how missing a star can effect a film; or some type of twisted outcome. Instead the story is focused on Josh Brolin (Eddie Mannix) and what he deals with on a daily basis. There is sub-story after sub-story that have nothing to do with the kidnapping. Most movies use those sub-stories to explain plots, backgrounds or build characterization - but these do absolutely nothing. The sub-stories (filler) are basically there to have cameos by stars with zero influence on the story or the plot outcome.
1-If you are a fan of Jonah Hill you have seen 90% of his entire performance by watching the trailer. There may be another 5 seconds of footage, but that is all. 2-The Scarlett Johansson character has nothing to do with the story at all. This was a filler to show what Mannix does in his daily life, but it is a useless couple of scenes. The trailer kind of hints that Johansson helps with the investigation, but she just plays a trashy actress who is dealing with being pregnant out of wedlock and not wanting her "innocent" image tarnished. To add to the filler, the film has a much longer than needed swim scene (ala the old 40's movies) that again has nothing to do with the story. 3-The dancing sailor scene is supposed to be funny, but it is long and drawn out and again has nothing to do with the story. Even Tatum's character (who turns out to be the main antagonist) does nothing in the film to show why the kidnapping happened or even how he is involved. You are just shown a scene with him on a boat with the conspirators - heading out to a submarine. There is no explanation - nothing. 4-The double Tilda Swinson reporters have no bearing on the story and (I believe) were supposed to be comic relief, but both characters are dull and uninspiring.
The only saving grace is that the character of Mannix is played well by Brolin and is likable enough to ride the storm out. Also, Clooney is likable as Whitlock. Without those two performances this rating would have been a 2 or a 3 because of how bad the script is, the random filler that hinders the movie, the lack of cohesiveness.
As I was leaving the theater, I came across a group of five people complaining about how they wasted money on "the worse movie I have ever seen". I stopped and asked "Hail, Caesar?" and they said "yes". I would not rate it as the worse that I have ever seen, but one of the biggest disappointments.
It's Star Wars
It is Star Wars - what did you expect? A lot of folks are bashing this film, but it is a pretty good movie. Again, it is Star Wars: it is the bad, almost non-existent plot; the horrible acting that feels wooden; the ridiculous dialog; and the over-the-top special effects. Star Wars was always a mindless, action adventure with a ridiculous storyline and terrible actors (except for Harrison Ford).
The Force Awakens is the same thing: just by chance a droid lands on a planet with important information and runs into a member of the Skywalker family; who than just happens to run into Han Solo; who just happens to be the sire of another bad Skywalker; who just happen to fight another death star. The story is bad - the script is bad - the question is: does the eye candy and action make it at least watchable? The answer is - yes. This is on par with the original and "The Empire Strike Back".
Daisy Ridley is as bad of an actress as Mark Hamill is as an actor. They kept that same parallel of terrible actors playing the main Skywalker.
Folks are complaining about John Boyega, but aside from Han Solo and Chewbacca, I felt that he was one of the better characters in the movie. Oscar Isaac was the other new character that was entertaining to watch.
I didn't like Adam Driver as the villain. If the villain is supposed to be Solo and Leia's child; I would have expected a more charismatic actor who looked more like he could have been their child rather than someone who looked like Adrien Brody. He lacks the charisma and looks laughable rather than dangerous.
The idea that someone can grab a lightsaber for the first time and beat a trained sith is typical Abrams garbage.
There are a lot of bad things in Star Wars - most as a homage to the bad things in the original three - but it is a fun adventure worth seeing. At least George Lucas wasn't involved to make something worse than Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Return of the Sith - three of the worse movies in the history of film-making.
Jessica Jones (2015)
Marvel scraping the bottom of the barrel
Jessica Jones was never a big player in the Marvel universe. I have no idea what they brought her character into a series, but it is poorly written and very poorly acted. The actress, playing Jones, is one of the worse actresses that I have ever seen on screen. The characters are all unlikeable, the script is boring and ridiculous. For those thinking that this is going to be something good to add to the Marvel universe - add it to the Fantastic Four, Electra, Ant-Man and Daredevil (the movie).
With all the interesting Marvel characters - this had to be the most idiotic choice I have ever seen. Miss Marvel or Black Panther would have been more interesting. Luke Cage and Jessica Jones were always third rate characters not worth even comic book space.
The Martian (2015)
Space Odyssey Saved
I am going to start out by saying that I was going to avoid this picture until it hit Netflix. Why? Many reasons: let me start with Ridley Scott - one of the worse directors in cinema - ever. Scott has been involved in very few good films - with Alien and Blade Runner being his only two really good movies. Scott has made some of the worse movies to ever hit film: Exodus, Legend (one of the worse movies ever), Prometheus (a joke of a film), Robin Hood (beyond ridiculous), Body of Lies, Matchstick Men, Hannibal, White Squall, 1402 and the ever dreadful Thelma and Louise. With Scott's track record I was very reluctant to spend money on a film with his name on it.
Reason two: Matt Damon. Besides the Bourne series, Damon has made a lot (a huge amount) of bad movies on par with I Bought A Zoo, The Brothers Grimm, Monuments Men, Elysium, etc.
Reason three: Jessica Chastain - in her entire body of work, only The Help was a good film and she was a supporting player.
Reason four: Kristen Wiig - the queen of foul mouthed, bad comedy. Every movie she has made is for low brow, ignorant people.
I went to this movie because I like Sean Bean. I like his screen presence and (with a good script) he has great performances. I also like Chiwentel Ejiofer. Just to see the performances by these two actors was the reason that I went to see this film.
Now folks have been comparing this movie to Interstellar and Gravity. It is not close. Interstellar was a garbage movie with major scientific flaws, big gaps in logic (which can kill a space film) and a terrible story. Gravity was one of the worse hyped-up pieces of garbage ever made - an astronaut who just breathes heavy, cannot function, knows nothing about survival, and in the end falls hundreds of miles to Earth and survives - garbage.
The Martian goes back to what you would believe in a space odyssey: the main character is afraid of dying, but he allows his intelligence and training to help him to survive; there are people who are intelligent and thought provoking at NASA (which a lot of movies make them out to be idiots and heartless); there is a lot of good characterization in the film which give heart to the characters and it makes you care about what happens to them; there is a lack of the dumb - very dumb - acts of God/space/climate that always happen where members of the rescue team will die or that will jeopardize the mission (Mission to Mars, Red Planet, for example); the rescue attempt is presented in a reasonable manner and logical manner utilizing good science; there are a few F-bombs thrown out there, but it is saturated like most of today's movies (because of ignorant screen-writers who do not know what to write); the movie does not do the Game of Thrones routine with mindless sex and nudity every ten minutes (most movies today have to stop the action/story for sex and nudity to appease the clichés present in movie making today); the landscapes, the modules, the ships, etc all look great and they look functional and real.
This is the type of movie I had expected from Scott after Alien and Blade Runner. This is the type of acting I expected from Damon after Good Will Hunting, Saving Private Ryan and the Bourne series. This is what I was hoping Chastain would do after her breakout in The Help.
Overall I give it a 9/10. It is one of the finest space/science fiction films that I have ever seen - on par with The Right Stuff, 2010, Moon and Apollo 13.
Fear the Stupidy
This episode shows how badly the ideas and the writing are for this show. That a character cuts the fence, puts the entire population (including their family) at risk is a stupid idea. The drug addict - the one who knows what is going on - steals morphine knowing that it will kill a person and put everyone at risk. That one family is so stupid and arrogant that they do things that will kill everyone else within the fence is typical of Hollywood and its ridiculous ideas.
The concept worked for the original series, but since you cannot just follow the same storyline as the original - the show is reaching to tell a different story and one that just doesn't work.
Ex Machina (2015)
Science Fiction has two different audiences: one that is willing to accept any garbage put onto the screen (ala the SYFY channel) and one that desires something that is entertaining, but does not insult your intelligence.
Ex Machina is so badly acted. Each character is so god-awfully written that you care about none of them at the end of the film.
The script is so bland and boring that you could take a nap and not miss a thing. Most of it is insulting to anyone with intelligence. For example: why would you have an AI who can control everything locked behind glass? That AI would be able to just walk freely since they have control of the entire security system? There are more examples of the far-fetched, idiotic script that I could mention, but then this would be too long of a review.
Some idiot will one day create an AI and it will be the end of humanity - and they will do it with the false promise of "enriching" humans - but that AI will see the horrors that greed, religion, race, etc. have caused and realize that human beings are the greatest threat to this planet. Terminator did a better job with the subject of AIs and had more depth, more character, more charisma, more intelligence than this movie could hope to contribute.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
Man From UNCLE it a decent movie. It does not boast great acting, nor great direction, nor a good script, but overall it is entertaining and in today's world of explicit sex and consistent F-bombs flying - it is a movie that you can actually take the family to see.
Henry Cavill is average as Napolean Solo. It was not a good idea to have a Brit play an American. Cavill decided to play it as the snobbish, prissy British spy - ala James Bond - and not as the hip American that would have come from the 60's era.
It would have been better to have the American, who is playing a Russian, play Solo. It probably would have worked better if Hammer played the American and Cavill the Russian.
Every performance is average to below average. Not one single performance stands out and there is very little to no character development. The script is highly predictable and there is nothing spectacular in the entire film.
Like I had mentioned before - average to below average on every single scale - but a movie that you can take people to see without the fear of explicit sexual scenes and without the consistent ignorant usage of the F-bomb.
After numerous bombs (Eyes Wide Shut, Vanilla Ice, Rock of Ages)Tom Cruise has been making a string of good movies (Edge of Tomorrow, Knight and Day, Ghost Protocol, Jack Reacher). While his movies are not blockbusters types of films, they have been good quality entertainment.
I personally disliked the first three Mission Impossible movies, but was pleasantly surprised with Ghost Protocol. Rogue Nation is on par with it's predecessor - it has the same flow, style and feel that Ghost Protocol had.
While it has unbelievable stunts and situations, it is still a well crafted film that was worth watching. A film that I would recommend.
Ant Hill Out of A Mole Hill
Bad. Growing up with Marvel comics I expected more from this movie, but I felt like I was watching a film that was made especially for pre-teens and teenagers.
The comedy was bad and unnecessary, Rudd was dreadful as Ant-Man (just as bad as Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern), Evangeline Lilly was horrible as Hope Van Dyke, and Corey Stoll was a cliché goof ball as a villain. The entire story was bad, the fact that this guy is completely trained in martial arts in days is a terrible concept, and the idea that the bad guys are shooting guns at ants -ANTS - is beyond ridiculous.
Since Marvel took over production of it's movies, it is rare that I am disappointed - but this movie was as bad as Daredevil and close to as abysmal as Elektra. I would not recommend this movie at all.
Average in every way, shape and form. This show follows every single science fiction cliché that you have seen over the last few years. It is the typical below average made for the SyFy channel show that makes you wonder how shows like Farscape and Firefly never made it big.
Hannah John-Kamen is just so bad as the lead. Her delivery is awful and she has no charisma at all to be a likable lead character. Her performance brings down anything that could be considered decent about his show.
Aaron Ashmore, on the other hand, is the one performer worth watching and the show would be better off with him as the lead. He has more character and charisma than the entire cast combined and delivers a worthy character that is likable and enjoyable to watch.
Hopefully the show will become better, but each episode it slides a bit deeper into the muck that plagues the modern science fiction shows.