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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)
No Fun and THE Absolutely Dumbest Film of 2014
I hate the fact that everyone is calling this a "comic book come to life" because, visuals aside, its idiotic cartoonish nature gives the genre an immature bad reputation. It's like stating that all comic books must be over-the-top and ridiculous.
This movie wants to be an exploitation romp film but even fails on that level. It's not fun, it's tedious and over stylized to the point of absurdity. It unintentionally slips in to self parody of the first film far too often. The pace is bad and actually boring for this type of effort because they can't even deliver cheap thrills unless you're talking the Eva Green scenes. The honest highlight of this film is Eva Green. Her performance and constant state of undress elevates the movie from completely unwatchable. Unfortunately, her case is concluded when the movie is only half over.
Like the first film, all this thing had to do was to deliver fun with its stupid. Instead all they delivered was the stupid.
BTW- anyone putting together the worst dialogue ever put to film has to include this laughably bad effort right at the top of that list.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)
This really hit under the radar for me. The January release date and lack of seemingly big advertising had me worried. All for naught. I genuinely enjoyed this film. Either it was lowered expectations or else it really is a high quality adventure film. As the film unfolded, I was amazed at the set up. It's crisp, smart and intriguing. Each character is established enough for this type of film and all the pieces fell right in to place. Before the final act, I honestly had it pegged as a 10/10 classic. It doesn't fall apart by any means but the third act turns on a lot of plot contrivances and a few liberties with reality.
I haven't read what the critics have said but I bet some must have mentioned tones borrowed from other films. I honestly don't care about such things. When a film like this gives off vibes of Jason Bourne mixed with Mission Impossible mixed with other Jack Ryan efforts then I consider that a strength. The cast was more than solid with Kevin Costner actually stealing the show in my opinion. Kenneth Branagh's villain is a bit weak but his performance is stellar and his directing is again top notch. I really hope this springs in to a multi-picture franchise because I was on the edge of my seat from the halfway point on.
Bad Grandpa (2013)
Just Not Funny, Period
Yeah, I'm sorry but this thing is NOT funny. That's the bottom line. The bizarre choice to film it with a type of a story does not help it at all. A few minor laughs in what is a drab and unintelligent attempt at comedy. No ad-libs worked or seemed clever which is what disappointed me the most. They never even took anything too far and seem to go out of their way to be nice. Maybe the need for written consent after the camera stopped rolling took all the bite out of this lame dud?
I actually enjoy the Jackass films and was expecting more hidden camera gems instead of whatever this thing tried to be and failed.
The Hangover Part III (2013)
NOT A Comedy At All... And Not Very Good
This is NOT a comedy in any way shape or form. It takes the characters from the first two films to a dark conclusion but absolutely none of it was fun or funny in any way. It's not just expectations talking because I watched it with lowered expectations. That's not to say it's completely uninteresting because somehow you care what happens to these guys even though the story presented here is very shallow.
I honestly didn't laugh even once until after the conclusion. Even then, a few minor chuckles at best (the pants/"pornographie" actions and comment) and the after credits stuff is mildly amusing. This was a very strange way to end a trilogy that started with what I found to be comedy gold.
Iron Man Three (2013)
Iron Man 3 = movie of the year !
As this century started, who would have thought that a comic book film would be the best movie produced in its first two dozen years or so??? A serious case could be made that Iron Man 3 is one of three or four comic based films that now hold the title of best film of the new millennium. After everyone sees it, those with an open mind will acknowledge that Iron Man 3 can seriously claim a stake to owning that title for now. What has to be the movie of the year, Iron Man 3 will be considered the best of the "third" films by a large margin. Good luck to other films releasing this summer as they try and match the quality of Iron Man 3, they'll need it.
The Avengers (2012)
A Flat out Exceptional Movie Event. (Best Villain in Years!)
I'm happy to report that everything established in previous movies pays dividends in a big way. It's not that anyone needs to see those other Avenger solo films before seeing this gem but it certainly adds depth and texture to this amazing product. Not having to intro big main characters deeply allows the action to flow but also allows for better development. This also allows them to probe deeper into the character's personalities. This heightens the tension, so often missing from comic-book movies, and adds real weight to the story as well as the action sequences which are thrilling and often mesmerizing. The result is a film that's just flat out exceptional.
Of course all the phenomenal heroes got to shine and the story accommodated them all perfectly. What I loved is that Marvel did it again with their main villain. Loki was just so wonderful and complex in this amazing movie. Spurned Loki masterfully dances on the fault lines of villainy and redemption. He always keep people guessing and. Again, that's just shear perfection coming from the god of mischief. He has such a mixture of emotional psychological complexity. You have somebody who's capable of thinking and strategizing at the speed of light, but underneath that is a deep well of pain that at any moment threatens to boil over and Tom Hiddleston plays it like the master he has become. This is Oscar worthy villain performance good.
The performances in this movie are as good as any I've ever seen in an adventure film. The great actors say that acting akin to playing tennis. The rally that they play with a new partner is completely different from one to the other. Each of these GREAT actors have such specific talents that it's fun to see them play off each other at different times in this movie. I think Whedon realized this as both director and writer and shuffled things around on purpose to play to strengths. It's just another wonderful aspect of this spectacular movie event.
Captain America is an absolutely amazing movie
This is, without a doubt going to be one of my top 10 movies of 2011, quite possibly the number one film. You can rest assured that Captain America is an absolutely amazing movie. I'm so glad Marvel got in to the solo movie making business. Instead of leasing out their characters to other studios, they're making movies themselves and have not missed yet. Cap may very well be their best effort yet! This movie really takes the comic book genre to the highest level. It reinvents epic adventure by "Marvelizing" characters by making them more believable and more relatable. Spider-Man and the X-Men did this to a degree but only as far as their respective studios wished to stay true to the source material. Anything added or amended was for the benefit of the live action adaptation. Director Sam Raimi pulled this off by talking to the summer crowd, not down to them with the Spider-Man series. Jon Favreau did the same thing here but maybe even better with Iron Man. Now, Joe Johnson continues that tone but adds an old time movie flare which is exactly what the character calls for. He also adds nice bits of humor but not too much. Like the great films of the past, he grounds the action and the concept of a "super soldier" in firm reality. I've said it before but it's brave to reach for the highest common denominator with a big budget film and Captain America delivers a movie with as much feeling as it has action and intensity. It's a movie that has a wonderful balance that delivers intelligence with its fun.
Ridiculous... Plus, A Full Out Slap At America's Military
Surrogates meets Apocalypto; Ewoks meets the Keebler Elves this is a visually stunning movie that's far more ridiculous than it is interesting. I saw it in 2D and I think the format will have a lot to do with one's enjoyment of the film. The entire first two acts are geared only to show off the visuals. The story itself boarders on the offensive but is poorly written in any case. Plot points involving a stereotypical military as the evil arm of corrupt corporations that want to harm innocents as well as "great mother" hippie babble surrounding tree energy reduce this film to epically absurd levels. The last film that gave tree energy this much focus was The Happening. Need I say more? It also wouldn't be much of a stretch to call this a 200 million dollar potential Al Qaeda propaganda film. The evil military use terms associated with the current Iraq/Afghan conflicts. Drawing parallels to American military action is a cheap shot by Cameron. Untrue, but his intent is clear even if he thinks it's veiled and clever. Ignorant politics aside, the third act does save this movie. The action as the CG natives take on the oppressive military is outstanding. I still think the CG movements are off in terms of realism but the action was impressive. Overall, I'm sure seeing the first two-thirds of the movie in 3D would've been better but as a film, it was almost painfully bad to sit through the presentation of glowing bugs, scenery and creatures in repetitive 2D.
A VERY overrated film.
Solid Movie but Nothing Extraordinary
If this film were a woman, they would describe her as sturdy. It's a solid movie but nothing extraordinary. Of course the acting is top level and Clint Eastwood's direction is solid but the story itself is straightforward and often bland. Containing no plot turns or twists and surprisingly very little emotion, it's worthwhile even though it's toothless. It was a good idea to avoid covering the sport of rugby in depth because the goofy nature of the sport is a turn off to most. They focused on the impact of the sport itself and that's what saves this film. Again, it's middle of the road
delivering nothing bad but falling way below greatness.
Oscar Worthy Performances!
I started off thinking... "Why doesn't Peter Parker simply build a suit of armor and escape his terrorist captors?" That aside, any flippant attitude quickly is driven right from the viewer and you truly lose yourself in some magnificent performances. It's very rare for a film to meet expectations but this movie is exactly what I thought it was going to be. It's a moving character piece that stays within the boundaries of reality and offers a chance for a great cast to shine. I honestly feel both Tobey Maguire and Natalie Portman deserved Oscar nominations for their work. At first, I thought Portman is too young to play the mother of two girls but by the second act, she's completely believable. Both actors reach amazing emotional depths. The film itself makes no great statement about the modern war on terror and that's the way I like it. Instead, it's a moving film about loss, family and how life itself can change anyone.