Saturday, October 29, 2011
This movie was so over hyped that it gave me considerable concern, figuring, that once again, the promotion would not match the production, and the fact that the comic book genre has now officially been done to death. I am happy to report, that this film exceeded all my expectations. Without giving away any spoilers, this movie is a return to the cliffhangers of the past that made the Indian Jones series such a success. The production quality is excellent, with an unmistakable nostalgic fee, through the sets, costuming, and cinematography. The origin storyline is fluid and marvelously designed. This feature attempts to fit a sizeable portion of the comic series into this first installment which is a bit ambitious but, for the most part, works it out. The character development is significant for a film of this type and the audience cheers for Rogers from the get go. The love story is a bit muted and predictable but is one of only a few weaknesses of the movie. The humor is appropriate, effective, and the character chemistry is strong and fleshed out. Hugo Weaving, again, plays a villain, the Red Skull, with the total dedication and emersion into his character that he portrays in all of his on screen identities. Chris Evens plays the Captain as he should be played, a true hero with the purest of intentions and ideals. Tommy Lee Jones is unquestionably brilliant as the tough, non nonsense, commander who delivers one liners with more impact than the Captain's shield. The costume revamp is one of the best I have seen. The action sequences are cool, sleek, and Bayesque. The story is straightforward but engaging and exciting. 4 out of 5 Kernels, by far the best comic book to film transition I've seen (and I am a huge Batman fan, the Keaton version, of course). Good to see the American Soldier as the good guys again, maybe Hollywood is finally learning its lesson.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
This is another striking example of the concept of the Dramedy, a moniker I proudly coined myself. Drama and humor are in near perfect balance, where the comedy hits all the marks yet remain soft enough to avoid overreaching or becoming sappy. The story is slow out of the gate, but that is necessary for the set. However, the audiences will find itself thoroughly engrossed by the middle of the film and thoroughly satisfied with the final product. The chemistry between characters is exceptional and totally engaging, by far, one of the best casts of the year. Paul Giamatti is one of the best character actors of our time, but has the uncanny ability to chose the worst films to spotlight his unique talents. This movie is a departure from that, highlighting his extraordinary ability to balance subtle, heartfelt mastery of dialogue with uncomplicated, quite, but moving body language. Amy Ryan is superb as Giamatti's wife and reluctant "foster" mom and Bobby Cannavale lives the role of the troubled yet wise teen. Most independent genre films try to hard and fall definitively short, but this movie escapes those trappings and becomes a human, deeply natural, and wonderfully thought provoking commentary. The only down side was the over use of profanity which could have been entirely absent without any effect on the story. 4 out of 5 Kerenls: a win win, for both those on screen and in the audience.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
This is the first attempt at a testosterone fueled "chick flick" that I have ever seen. The writers and directors of this fem film must have thought that if a movie had women spouting continuous and meaningless profanity, added in bathroom humor, had a porn inspired intro to the film, and inundated the story with high school level jokes it would attract a male audience. Wrong. Instead, it is a goofy, highly predictable farce that could have been a fairly decent feminine focused comedy. I even heard some state, with a straight face, that this was the gal powered equivalent of the Hangover. In order to come to that nonsensical conclusion, one would have to be suffering from one or utterly unconscious while the film played. The characters display as much chemistry as stagnate water. Rather than an ensemble cast, the actors interact as if they are participating in some lame house party coming off disconnected and uninteresting rather than cohesive and engaging. The comedy and acting are like a lousy SNL skit if there are any more palatable ones and is more chaotic and unorganized than funny or compelling. The ending features a full performance of 1990's all gal group, and cure for irregularity, Wilson Phillips, which pretty much, puts a stamp on defining the whole mess that this film is. Overall, it tries to hard to be edgy and ends up over reaching so inept that it just becomes trite and ridiculous. 1 out of 5 Kernels: as far as quality and creativity goes, this film is a bridesmaid and never will be a bride.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Apparently, while we all were sleeping, Adam Sandler began producing his own films, and in great quantity, not quality, as well. For the most part, Sandler has produced more dogs than a Springer Spaniel in heat, but he may have scored one in the win column with this feature. Although, James has a terrible habit of overreaching and overdoing the slap stick bit, he is both endearing and genuinely funny in this flick, and, surprisingly, pulls of somewhat of the romantic lead role. His romantic interests, Dawson and Bibb, honestly never connect with the audience, they play their respective parts well, but they are predictable and mundane at best. Jeong is proving to be one of the most under used comedians of the time, even in a ridiculously small and goofy role as a horny Herpetologist, he adds some of his maniacal magic. It was fun figuring out who voiced what animal, and I will leave it to the viewer to choose Sandler's role. The plot is weak but fun. The comedic timing is on, but it's one of those films they could have done so much more with. Definitely Dr. Doolittle for the older set, perdictable, yes, corny, yes, but one of those few films that you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy. 3 out of 5 Kernels, it's fun for the family or a date night.
Friday, October 7, 2011
The one word that best describes this film is overreach. In its attempt to be overtly avante garde and stylish, this thriller falls flat right out of the gate. The characters are uninteresting, the story overtly convoluted, and the acting is as dry as a Dean Martin Martini. By the film's end, every question posed is only vaguely answered. If you even care at that point. There is utterly no connection with the audience, and you are left with an independent film genre that tries unsuccessfully to be an action film. I caught myself, many times, watching the clock in the hopes it would be ending soon. I thought this might be the upgrade to the movie Salt, I was wrong. 0 out of 5 Kernels, one of the worst movies of the 2011 season.