Friday, January 10, 2014

2 Guns

2 Guns! Now this was a joy to watch! This was just a good fun movie! Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington are two buddys that steal from the wrong people and have to dig themselves out of the whole by the end of the film. One thing about the plot that I didn't really enjoy was that BOTH Mark and Denzel's characters turn out to be undercover cops, one with DEA, and one a disgraced Navy SEAL. Neither of them know that each other is undercover, and that moves a plot a little but some of it was a little hard to believe. For example: I don't believe that an ex-Navy SEAL could do some off the books job and then get accepted back into the Navy. There's too much paperwork involved. So if they were just two crooks or con men, I think the movie may have benefited a smidge.

If they make a sequel, and they might because this film made a lot of money in August, the fact that they don't have to hide from one another will help the chemistry. Aside from the main leads, there are a lot of talented actors in this film. Paula Patton is here as Denzel's girlfriend and DEA agent does a nice job. It was nice to see her after Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. She's talented and has a more real world quality than some other actresses. Edward James Olmos, Bill Paxton, and James Marsden all play against type here. All are playing more grey or villainous roles, a turn from what you see them in. Edward James Olmos is almost unrecognizable here and does a great job as the Mexican Cartel leader. Bill Paxton plays a rougue agent and was fun to watch, a large turn from his Big Love role. Check this movie out any way you can. I really enjoyed it and I think you will to.

4 out of 5 stars

The Wolverine

As a big comic book nut, I stayed away from The Wolverine when it came out in theaters. I had seen the trailers and while it looked cool, there was nothing that jumped out at me and begged me to see the film. So I waited and I acquired it for Christmas. I got the "Unleashed Extended Edition" but I think all that amounts too is more violence past the PG-13 level. In my Blu-ray you actually saw Woverine's claws penetrate people, or someone would get stabbed and you would see the claws coming out the other side. You could never see that in previous X-men films. Go watch the school scene with Wolverine in X2: X-men United and tell me if you see any of those goons get stabbed or run through. They act like you do, we just don't see it.

I don't know about you, but I enjoyed X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The CGI claws were terrible, and they ruined Deadpool, but I enjoyed the parts with Sabertooth. I think that was the best parts of the movie. So with all that said, I don't know why I didn't rush out to see The Wolverine. After seeing it at home, I was disapointed I didn't. The Wolverine is a GREAT X-MEN FILM. Neck and neck with X-Men: First Class. After seeing this, I'm really jazzed for the next X-Men movie Days of Future Past.

Back to the film. The journey from Northern Canada to Tokyo is staggering. Both for the viewer and for our hero. Wolverine and the viewer feel so lost in Tokyo, you are trying to figure out what is going on just as Wolverine is. In fact, I don't know that Wolverine and the viewer ever figure out what's going on at the end of the film. But I don't fault the film for that! The film is an experience, it has a certain vibe, and you need to watch it to find out. James Mangold does a really great job creating a mood and a feeling with this film. You never feel safe, you and Wolverine are always on edge until the credits roll.

Another thing great in the film is the Japanese cast. The girls who play Yukio and Mariko are fantastic. At first glance, Rila Fukushima, who plays Yukio looks like a character out of an anime, and I didn't like her look per se, but I loved her after finishing the film. I hope that if we have another Wolverine solo film we get more Yukio. I think the standout scene was the bullet trains sequence. This here felt like there was minimal CGI for the backgrounds, and a lot of well done wire-work and fight choreography. Definitely a visceral scene. As far as sheer brutality? The Ninja fight. Brutal! I think this is where the "Unleashed Extended Version" came in. I'm curious to see what it was in theaters, because some of what happened here was definitely not PG-13. More of that in the next Wolverine solo film!

The Wolverine is not your typical action/X-men/comic book film. I would put it more along the lines of Nolan's Batman films than the past X-men films and other Marvel movies that have been made. Check it out, it's well crafter and worth your time.

4.5 out of 5 Stars

The Great Gatsby

To me, Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby felt like it was trying too hard. Trying too hard to be hip, to hard to be modern, to hard to be cool. Then again, I read the book in High School and never liked it, so why would I like the second film based off this book? I'd seen the Robert Redford version of Gatsby already, it seemed like the only thing this version could add to it was more color and a bumping Jay-Z soundtrack. It's not a terrible film, it's not an unwatchable film, to me it was just an "okay" film.

Since I never liked the book, I don't know if I can objectively review this film. I never connected with Gatsby's story. Sure he is in love with Daisy, but she never fully returns that love. She's too childish to make a decision between Gatsby and her husband. Also, I never fully understood why for Gatsby, Daisy had to say she never loved Tom, her husband. Is it so much for someone else to move on after you leave them? Is that so hard to accept? I think therein lies my problem with F. Scott Fitzgerald's story, his two main characters are children, too dumb to see and accept they are immature.

Look, if you like the Gatsby book, the film does a good job with the spectacle. Much more so than the drab Robert Redford film. Check it out, its full of fine performances from everyone involved, but again, it wasn't for me.

2 out of 5 stars.


I saw Gravity when it came out. I had read some reviews, and heard that one should see it on as big a screen possible, and in 3-D. So I did! I saw it on an IMAX screen in 3-D down here in Orlando. I remember being impressed by the 3-D and the long takes of director Alfonso Cuaron, as well as the special effects, but not of the story. Sure, its easy to feel the tension during the long takes when everything is going wrong for Sandra Bullock's character, but leaving the theater I didn't feel like I had seen an A+ movie. I don't know how Gravity will play on Blu-Ray. I'm sure some of the tension may be lost because it is not as immersive an experience, I don't know. Is it worth your time on video? Sure, but I know it's coming back to theaters for a little while for Oscar season. If you haven't seen it, go seek it out in a theater before Blu-Ray. It will be worth it.

4 out of 5 Stars

The Hangover: Part III

Wow was this disappointing. The Hangover was a great film. The Hangover Part II was a rehash of one, and was okay. Instead of rehashing one or two, The Hangover: Part III throws all that out the window and inserts a plot involving Mr. Leslie Chow being wanted by Mexican gangsters. Of course, Doug gets kidnapped, so he's out of the picture for most of the film again. The Wolfpack then has to get Mr. Chow to the gangsters in order to get their friend back. I'm glad I did not pay money to see this in theaters. Yikes. I would rank this better than the second film, but only by a hair. It's wierd that I found myself disliking the second movie because it repeated some of the same gags as the first, and then when the third film did not use the same gags as the first two, I found myself disliking it! I guess the first two films created an expectation which was not met.

 2.5 out of 5 stars