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The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
A lot of plot threads.
Can't really think of much positive to say about it. Very gray and dull like the last Batman film, but without much of a story to really get into.
Some "twists" that seemed very contrived. Very Nolanesque scenes of arbitrary exposition, followed by very Nolaneque scenes of very staged-feeling, over-elaborate action scenes.
Just seemed to have no heart behind it. Perhaps it looked more interesting as storyboards.
Wouldn't recommend it under any circumstances unless you're a really big Nolan fan.
John Carter (2012)
Worse than I was led to believe.
It's been a while since I've seen such a flat fantasy film (can't really call it sci-fi). I'm thinking back to the 90's with some of the generic post-apocalyptic films we'd get. Actually, in the 80's there was "Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn" which is what I kept thinking of when watching "John Carter".
The Good: if you like explosions, things explode. There are some decently designed costumes, which would have been great in a completely different film, not about Mars.
The Bad: editing, screenplay, acting, characters, lack of rooting interest in any of the main characters, lack of rooting interest in action scenes.
The Ugly: Lynn Collins acting. She was really, really trying, but the heavy delivery with the British accent, she sounded like an extra from "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena".
I kept waiting for Lucy Lawless to walk on screen and say, "can you tone it down, it's just a Disney movie? This isn't a high school Shakespeare play!" The scenery. Was it Utah or Arizona? I'm not sure but the movie never took me to Mars.
The jumping. Oh, the jumping.
You want to understand why it failed? There are some great reviews that really analyze all that went wrong with JC, from the curious decision to open with a big, messy battle scene with establishing, well, anything. At the end of the scene, you felt like the filmmakers were saying, "we didn't know a better way to introduce the bad guys, so here ya go..." In general, motivation, drive behind any character was totally missing. Just seemed like the actors weren't really given much direction as far as who they were supposed to be.
Really sad. Terrible attempt at making a fantasy/sci-fi film. Already dated. Already a failure the moment it hit the screen. You know a film is that bad when the second you see a trailer you know it's a dud.
The Tree of Life (2011)
Worst "movie" I've ever seen in my life.
"Tree of Life" was a very depressing experience for me. I'm a passionate movie geek, always looking for a film to move and inspire me. After sitting through 50 minutes of "Tree of Life" I couldn't help but feel that the fast food nation I live in will never be as artistically relevant as the rest of the world. Where Russian and German directors can put together profound film experiences for the viewer, this was just an embarrassing, failed experiment.
The one thing I've had to wonder after watching some of "Tree of Life" was; would a bunch of monkeys armed with cameras capture less compelling material? The heavy handed "artyness" of the camera movement was anything but fluid or effective. It actually made the presence of the cameraman felt, completely taking me out of the film. The fact the actors were playing archetypes instead of actual people didn't help much. Lack of narrative completely killed any potential for the film. The interspersed Natural Geographic shots bordered on comical. Would be kind of funny to think if every director of family dramas tried so hard to be profound.
I couldn't help but feel bad for Sean Penn, especially reading his comments after he saw the final product. What a waste of his time and talent. He's always created an actual character with human traits, in "Tree" he's a prop in a music video. Nothing more. Though, the same can pretty much be said for all of the human props in the film.
I do think there's a sad, ironic justice in "Tree of Life". Everywhere across the continent there are filmmakers experimenting in different ways to affect the viewer. Here in Michael Bay's McAmerica we get a bloated, two hour music video directed by Hallmark and try to label it as "art".
Makes me realize how small and irrelevant we are in the big picture, as an American... As a Stanley Kubrick fan, I can't help but feel a bit sad and sick to think of how far the art of film has fallen. I'll never give Malick another second of my time.
Oh man, I didn't even mention the whispering or the random, arbitrary shots of nature. Why bother, watch the trailer. It's more effective than the actual film and tells the exact same "story"...
The Next Three Days (2010)
Two hours and little of interest happens
Not an prison escape action movie, the relationships of Banks/Crowe is hardly explored, and not much really happens during the 2+ hours. It's just a by the numbers movie. Not an "action" movie, "drama", "comedy". Just a "movie".
There's a child playing Crowe's son, that seems completely bored with the whole thing. The police investigation side of the film is extremely unrewarding. No interesting characters and Liam Neeson's talents are completely wasted.
I DID watch the whole thing, and the acting was fine, the production was competent.
Just wondering where my two hours went, I guess...
The Social Network (2010)
Unlikable Kids All Speak Like the Same Person.
If you like Sorkin's writing and would like to see a film of unlikable kids all speaking as if they were channeling him, then you may like "The Social Network".
If you like movies with a non-stop score through pretty much the entire movie, and if you like NiN, you may appreciate the way the filmmakers are trying to give the film some sort of life.
The Michael Cera actor is the same as he is in all his films, but not nearly as enjoyable. Can't really comment on the other actors, but Justin Timberlake seemed uncomfortably out of place. Female characters were basically non-existent.
If you know the basics of the story then there are no surprises there, it's about the Facebook founder. There are also some litigation and party scenes, plus several dorm scenes.
That pretty much sums up the film.
Mindless action film about the mind...
I could explain the devices that drive the action, but that would take away the jobs of all the archetypes in the film who's job it is to endlessly spout exposition that will explain the nonsensical and unaffecting action you see on the screen.
If you think one level of action clichés is enough to rot your brain to a sub-100 IQ level, imagine SEVERAL levels of action clichés, all explained for you in a "hey this isn't very interesting but we've created a world and have to explain it so we can get back to the gunfights in a dreamworld".
I'd probably put this down as one of the most empty viewing experiences I've ever had in my 40 years of movie-going. I want my money and 120 minutes (I left early) back.
Nothing to see here, move along
I'm not a big fan of medium-budget, mindless action films. Heck, I'm not a huge fan of big budget action films unless there's some characters and story to keep me entertained.
There was nothing to keep me interested in Predators. "The series is still dead." was my only thought. In this age of remakes, reboots and sequels my expectations were so low, Predators was bad enough to live down to those expectations.
The Good: Adrien Brody. Kudos to him showing his range. I think he worked quite well as an action hero and was pretty much the only one who could truly emote compelling expressions on his characters face.
The Bad: Everyone else.
The Ugly: Oh man. Lawrence Fishburne, how far you have fallen. The death of the Predator mythology: after this and the last AvP movies, there is really no need to revisit this franchise. Please. The story: if you've seen the trailers or read the first paragraph of the review, or seen any sort of "survival" action flick, you've seen this movie.
I'm really starting to lose my patience with Rodriguez. He has enough moxy to get decent movies made at a reasonable budget. Now make an entertaining movie for a change, Robert...
Toy Story 3 (2010)
A rehash of the last rehash
If you like gimmicky humor, this movie is great. If there's some sort of potential gag involving a toy, Pixar has officially milked it for Toy Story's cash-grabs.
If you don't like gags involving toys, I'm not sure if this cartoon will be up your alley.
The plot, again, is about toys going from point a to point b, rescuing a toy, and trying to survive in a world of abusive children. It's a Pixar/Disney cartoon, you can guess the ending as well as I can.
I didn't stay for the whole thing but found the ending online. Seems like I didn't miss much...
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Seems to be based on non-Sherlock Holmes material
Where to start? My main problem with the film was there being NO Sherlock Holmes or Watson characters, and NO mystery plot. Seemed more like some strange action/fantasy hybrid.
I have a feeling we'll find out where there going with this in the sequel. Perhaps Jude Law is actually playing Sherlock Holmes? I think Robert Downey may be covering for him, as Jude seemed to be the one more likely to be the Sherlock type.
Other than the lack of plot and characters, I had a major problem with the ridiculous action scenes. I guess I should have been ready for them from seeing the trailers/commercials but there's more ridiculous action than I could tolerate. Especially for a film labeled as a Sherlock Holmes film.
1/10. Can't recommend it for any reason.
Rehash of a dark and gritty classic.
Repeated "shocking" scenes of Bad LT. shaking down criminals to steal/use their drugs? CHECK.
Bad LT. making bad bets and losing lots of money. Overreaction ensues? CHECK.
Nice, gritty cinematography and soundtrack? NOPE. (Appears to be a direct-to-DVD production, shot on video.) Any sort of plot worth following? NOT REALLY.
Nothing else really worth mentioning. If you like over-the-top Nick Cage this may keep your attention. I LOVE Herzog, this work is far bellow what he is capable of.