Saturday, December 15, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Tolkien was a true literary genius, methodically and majestically crafting his creation of middle earth and its inhabitants, perfectly combining fantasy and allegory shaped by his own deeply personal experiences of tragedy and heroism. No one could have better captured that stunning vision than Jackson, who answers his extraordinary interpretation of The Lord of The Rings Trilogy with a prequel of the same scope, sweep, and quality. Not only is Jackson able to bring this classic tale to life, but he found away to extend it into another Trilogy, a feat, I must admit I was first highly skeptical about. That skepticism, was quickly eliminated. As in the first three, the audience is immersed in Tolkein's world; surrounded by breath taking scenery and landscapes, entranced by his myriad of characters, and wholly engrossed by yet another story of the truest definitions of heroics and adventure. This is homage in its perfect form. Ian McKellen reprises the endearing role of Gandalf, a character you can tell he utterly enjoys.  Martin Freeman is perfect as Bilbo Baggins. Richard Armitage plays the beleaguered dwarf prince with unbelievable energy and passion.  In fact, the entire dwarf cast works fluidly together with so much authenticity and comradery you forget your watching a movie. Look for the return of many favorite characters and a exceedingly cool, seamlessly interwoven sub plot foreshadowing Sauron's return to power. I am truly looking forward to the evolution of this retelling. The battle sequences are cinematic magic, and the quick and sharp instances of wit hit their mark with more potency and accuracy than Legolas' bow (who will also make a future appearance). Jackson takes many liberties with the story and expounds upon it with consummate flair, but it only adds to the wonder rather than under or over whelm it. A rare prequel that equals, even surpasses in some instances, the originals. 5 out of 5 Kernels: a fitting tribute to a man who put his heart and soul into his novels and became an inspiration for generations past, present, and future.

Monday, December 10, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: MIB3 (Men In Black 3)

Rarely is a third installment in a series able to capture the quality or potency of its predecessors and this film is no exception. The first law of the cinematic physical universe any sequel must obey is continuity of story. This conclusion to the franchise altogether violates that, and the plot itself has more holes in it than a Charlie Sheen alibi. Add in the lack of humor, charisma, and uniqueness that the first film was riddled with and the subsequent attempted, and this misstep goes down in the record books as just another Hollywood money grab. The key to these films was the chemistry between Jones and Smith, so what does the brainiacs who developed this story do, remove that element and throw in Brolin, who has all the charm and charisma of a bowl of cold oatmeal. Smith is overtly emotional, appearing as if he is going to burst into tears with every sentimental moment fail and Brolin tries so hard to imitate Jone's character that it comes off as just that, a bad karaoke like copy. Missing is all the quirky characters of the past as Sonnenfeld tries to create a darker, more elaborate production that just doesn't work with the spirit and style of what he originally created. The first was quirky and cool, the following a haphazard attempt to rekindle the comradery and witty banter of the first, and the closure is just not funny, unrelatable, and downright shoddy science fiction. Smith and Jones should both know better.  I bet they both wished they could see into the future to have avoided this disappointment. 0 out of 5 Kernels: a time travel tale that runs over time with a storyline that runs out of time all at the same time.

Monday, December 3, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter

The director of Wanted, Timur Bekmambetov, brings this novel to the silver screen in one of the most peculiar efforts in mixing historical fact with outlandish fiction that I have ever witnessed. Slow to start, clunky in the middle, but provides a fairly impressive pay out at the end, this odd tale of the greatest president who ever lived beginning his young life as a slayer of the undead is both difficult to comprehend and yet somewhat engaging. The special effects are so specialized, and over the top they look more like a high tech video game more than an enhancement to the film with considerable over use of the Slo Mo cam. The overall acting and interaction between characters feels two dimensional and at some points, stale. Even the rivalry between honest Abe and the lead vamp Adam never truly makes a connection with the audience. The love story between Lincoln and Mary Todd fares even worse. Benjamin Walker, looks and sounds like Lincoln, but that authenticity is over whelmed by under whelming performances by him and his fellow cast mates. Visually stunning, to say the least, but that can't carry a film, especially one with such story weight. The plot is intricately woven, but you need talent to bring that story to life, make it seem real, and, unfortunately, that never happens. The conclusion is impressive but predictable, an indication of where most of the movie's budget went.  Ultra violent and bloody, sometimes to ridiculous levels.  Most troubling is the way this feature characterizes the fight against the atrocity of slavery in such a comic book style.  1 out of 5 Kernels: a film that is difficult to digest, overtly laden with effects, and the only genuinely scary aspect of the undead in this feature, was their acting.

One Minute Movie Review: Dark Shadows (2012)


This tongue and cheek take on the inventive, eccentric, and over the top 70's TV serial attempts to do too much with far too little time. Borrowing much from the original, Burton still crafts it with his own sense of Avant-garde style and range.  The down side, the film never actually defines itself, always falling between a slick and stylish reboot and joke of  itself. His attempt to squeeze years of storyline from the vamp classic into a 113 minute silver screen adaptation ends up diluting key elements of the melodrama, transforming into a campy and sometimes silly and  choppy retelling. The upside, Depp's performance is outstanding; as his adaptation of the brooding Barnabas Collins again defines why he is the best character of modern time. He owns every persona, good and lousy and creates, in this movie, one definitive  hip and romantic, Nosferatu style blood sucker. However, the rest of the cast earns a B- at best.  Even Mortez, who has an impressive resume of stellar performances, is lackluster. The dialogue and chemistry between players is not inimical or impressive either.  The love story has no authenticity or emotion. Burton's recapturing of the 70's is, for what it is worth.  The comedy is a bit stale for the most part with only a few laugh out loud moments. Don't expect any horror or suspense unless you find the Haunted Mansion at Disneyworld terrifying. In the end, what you do get is Burton doing what Burton does best, making films that are undoubtedly his own, exuberant costuming, impressive set work, and fantastic glimpses into his own demented view of reality. 2 out of 5 Kernels: I am thoroughly convinced that the Twilight Saga has continually besmirched the good name of the nocturnal legend, this is yet one more example of that after effect.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Fire with Fire

This film's fire never really got started; in fact, it pretty much smoldered and then flamed out by picture's end. David Barrett brings us his idea of what an action flick should look like; slow moving, poorly acted, overtly profane and violent, and assuredly predictable. Josh Duhamel, of Transformers fame, attempts his first real leading man role in a motion picture.  Try as he might; it appears that without large battling machines, his true acting prowess is revealed; stiff, unimaginative, just plain mediocre. Other wasted talent in this lackluster thriller is; Rosario Dawson, most unmemorable in Zookeeper and MIB2, Vincent D'Onofrio, and Bruce Willis who delivers the least amount of effort but probably received the biggest paycheck. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is D'Onofrio, who prior to this, was one of the finest character actors of the last ten years. Unfortunately, he plays the bad guy as clichéd and unremarkable as possible with a southern accent that a first year acting student from the Bronx could have pulled off with more authenticity. The story has been done to death, which is a running theme of late with Hollywood's current offerings and any attempt at realism falls flat do to the stilted and hollow performances. Any film with this many F bombs are making up for something, a lack of script writing talent for starters. 0 out of 5 Kernels; the only thing that was combustible in this flick was its profit margin after Willis' salary.

One Minute Movie Review: The Lucky One


Well, I definitely wasn't the lucky one having to sit through this goopy, predictable, downright boring chick flick. Lacking any true chemistry or acting range, Zac Efron has all the stage presence of Al Gore at a Global Warming symposium. He trades any effort in his dialogue for incessant deep, brooding expressions, an attempt, I assume, to appear smoldering, but resulting in lukewarm camera mugging at best. His costar and alleged love interest, Schilling, is as cold as ice and her performance is so juvenile and ordinary that it wouldn't even pass for a high school play. The story could have been very interesting with a more engaging cast and better direction. Instead, it takes passé shortcuts and relies upon over done romantic devices in an ineffectual attempt to swoon its audience. Even the relationship between Efron's character and Schilling's on screen son falls short and stale. This is a dollar store version of a love story and that is giving it more credit than it deserves. 0 out of 5 Kernels; there aren't enough four leaf clovers in the world to save this unfortunate flick.

Friday, November 23, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: The Twilight Saga; Breaking Dawn Part II


I viewed this cinematic disasterpiece on Thanksgiving night as an act of devotion to my wonderful wife of twenty years.  Of the entire series, this has to be the most lackluster, hackneyed installment and one huge disappointment as closure to the five, what I loosely refer to as, films.  I will not, however, deliver any spoilers as requested by my beloved betrothed. Instead I will analyze the good, bad, and ugly of this picture with heavy emphasis on the latter two. The overall acting is stale and unmoving.  The story has officially been done to death, no pun intended.  The editing is choppy and the ending is one of the most ridiculous since Bobby Ewing woke up in the shower, subtle hint there. The pluses, though limited, are the special effects and Stewart's performance which seems to finally come to life after being transformed into the undead, which is enough irony to make Alanis Morrisette smirk. Still, she is unable to breathe any energy or enthusiasm into the over told story assisted by the remaining cast who deliver the most uninteresting performances of the quintilogy. I have been told the final product was altered to please everyone.  Well then epic fail there, as the end result is yet another example of Hollywood's innate ability to beat dead horses to death, no offense PETA. Van Helsing would be proud; no weapon he could have mustered could have neutered the vampire legend better than Stephenie Meyers.  The Drac must be rolling over in his frick’n grave like a piece of rotisserie gold.  1 out of 5 Kernels; this outing sucks far more than any creature of the night ever could.

Friday, November 16, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Arthur Christmas


Director Sarah Smith attempts to craft a new Christmas classic using somewhat over used tools that would have performed better in more experienced hands. Although the animation is stunning this film tries too hard with too much material. Although, I enjoyed the Sci Fi, Hi Tech portrayal of St. Nick, the story loses steam fast and the novelty wears off quickly thanks to a bloated script. Arthur, voiced by James McAvoy (Prof. X from X-Men: First Class) is endearing enough, at first, but the overreaching performance turns him from reluctant hero to outright goofball. The remaining cast; Laurie, Nighy, Longoria, Cusack, and Serkis perform well together but the unnecessary length of the film waters down their chemistry. The story could have been half as long and elicited twice the impact. When trying to pull at heartstrings one doesn't have to use a G.I. Joe Kung Fu grip. The tale of Santa has been done ad nauseam, and there are far better holiday flicks than this one, from stop motion classics to Edmund Gwenn and Tim Allen's signature portrayals. The kiddies got bored quick and that is the best barometer of them all. 2 out of 5 Kernels: This movie ended up just being Ho Ho Hum.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Ironclad

Director Jonathan English delivers his version of the medieval magnificent seven with all the historical accuracy of Brave heart with twice the violence and gore. Despite its many factual flaws, what this film does authentically portray is the brutality of combat in the dark ages, and that it does ad nauseum.   The acting is subdued but engaging, the effects are over reaching, and the cinematography provides this flick with a gritty and genuine scope and sweep. Paul Giamatti is absolutely miscast as the cowardly and oppressive king.  His performance comes off whiny and irritating rather than convincing and sinister. James Purefoy plays the brooding and reluctant hero, obsessively, and Brian Cox convincingly portrays the rebellious baron probably the best performance of his career. Finally, Kate Mara delivers a less than stellar performance as the tormented heroine locked into a loveless marriage and a soulless yearning for Purefoy's knightly warrior. The remaining cast pulls of a B minus attempt to capture the camaraderie and chemistry of the magnificent seven, dirty dozen ensemble concept. In the end, it was a good idea that never reached beyond that.  2 out of 5 Kernels: this movie lived and died by its own sword.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Wreck It Ralph


The Hi-Tech, totally retro answer to the Toy Story franchise, Wreck It Ralph is one of the most spectacularly animated and wonderfully exciting of its genre. Director Rich Moore has had a lackluster career to this point and still somehow garnered a shot by the Godfather of Mice to give it a go with a full length CGI feature. It was a risk well taken and Moore creates a stunning, unique, and magical arcade universe that pays homage to some of the most popular titles of the 80's videodrome boom. While waxing nostalgic at times, the film also brings a contemporary, quick, and sharp wit to it and an ultra cool story line about what defines who we are. John C. Reilly, who is one of the worst comedic actors of our time bringing bathroom and pre-teen hunor to new lows on a regular basis, apparently finds religion and his talent in this flick and delivers a brilliant performance as Ralph, the bad guy who desperately wants to be good.  Apparently, Moore was creating an environment to regenerate hapless talent and careers as he delivers Sarah Silverman as Riley's costar who in turn delivers one of the cutest and most sarcastic characters to ever enter the animated legacy. She pulls off a combination of biting kiddie humor and adorability that I can't believe anyone could do better.  Jane Lynch, rounds out the cast as the all or nothing, gung ho, HALOette (just made that up) and she plays the parts with all the energy of a supernova.  There is enough tongue in cheek repertoire to make your mouth bleed.  Disney did not become the multi quadrillion dollar company on accident and films like this prove they have the moxie and imagination to top themselves time and time again. A delightful family story with a terrific morale, solid and authentic acting, and some downright slick and cool effects.  4 out of 5 Kernels: Wreck It Ralph surely wins a high score for the year and will capture enough coin to make Mario cry.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: October Baby


One of the better "Christian" movies that I have viewed in the areas of plot, realism, and acting. With that said, it unfortunately still suffers from the same ailment that most theologically based films of the past few decades.  It tries too hard to be hip to disguise the fact that it is a Christian movie in the effort to draw in a larger audience. I, in my many years, have never figured out why this stigma exists and can't be resolved. I believe it mostly exists because many of these production companies practice their own brand of, biblically based, political correctness, reducing realism to a cartoonish view of world problems and a stale way in which their players react to it. The redeeming quality of this outing is unlike it's predecessors, this film only sputters for the first half and then recovers and drives full emotional throttle through the latter half.  In the beginning, the movie plays like a poor facsimile of indie film, with too many inane quick shots and artsy camera work. Add to that, an annoying soundtrack that spurts out every time a scene changes or someone exhibits an ounces of emotion as if you were suffering through some extended episode of the Hills. The purpose is appaulingly apparent; to give the audience a stylish and upbeat look into the lives of these young people ala MTV lite. The acting is the only saving grace during these gruelling minutes as the chemistry and interaction of the main characters is engaging and mostly authentic. Then we are exposed to the central plot which has all the impact of a feather falling on a bed of snow. This is where I though the film would move into an absolute epic fail. Although it is becoming increasing more difficult to surprise me, this flick does just that. Just as, the parents, one portrayed by Schnieder, seem utterly underwhelming by this massive revelation, actress Rachel Hendrix rises to the occasion and shifts the momentum of the picture pulling it back from the edge of disappointment. Even the love story subplot begins to move from insomnia cure to endearing, another pleasant surprise. Hendrix powers the film as if she is reborn, connecting deeply with the audience. Her presence brings us into a deeply moving and tragic story, and as it progresses, is further energized by Guy and Rigby who deliver painfully moving performances. Then Schneider wakes from his slumber, moving from bunting through to hitting away.  He breathes healthy life back into his character in the 7th inning and hits the game winning run by the 9th. The film crests with an amazing conclusion that ties everyting together with an undeniable message of grace, divine comfort, and redemption. Add in a heart wrenching testimony by Rigby during the end credits and the film reaches a credibility and spirit that few that have come before have ever accomplished. 3 out of 5 Kernels: any story that speaks so powerfully to the value of life in this cynical world deserves serious kudos in my book.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Footloose (2011)


If the goal of Craig Brewer, was to make us all appreciate the original Bacon/Lithgow production, mission accomplished.  However, I don't believe the director of such blockbuster hits as Hustle and Flow and Black Snake Moan, note the sarcasm there, had that in mind. This is possibly the worst reboot, remake, or whatever you wish to classify it as, that I have ever had the displeasure of sitting through. It was so amateurish it was almost blasphemy to the classic which may have seemed corny in the 80's but looks like a masterpiece compared to this disaster. Bacon brought Ren MacCormick to life with his own brand of James Dean light while Lithgow's famous, or infamous, preacher character has yet to be bested on the silver screen. Who can forget his “Rock and Roll sermon,” or Bacon’s town hall dissertation on dance?  Don’t look for those never forget moments to reappear in the remake; they were either removed or watered down so badly they nearly drowned.  The remaining cast of the 80's over the top guilty pleasure created an extraordinary ensemble that you connected with, rooted for, and related to.  In this MTV epic fail, the characters are stale, hollow, and mere shadows of their predecessors mechanically spewing lines from the original with all the passion and energy of an Al Gore symposium on global warming. Actors and I use the term loosely, Wormald, Hough, and the remaining modern cast give less than High School play performances that border between absurdity and boredom. Even the Willard character, who in the original was a stocky Quaid brother, is replaced by, what can only be described as the red neck Skreech. Dennis Quaid fully drains the pastor character of any vigor and interest worst than a B List Twilight vampire on a prom date. McDowell phones in her mom performance like she owns stock in AT&T. Gone is the family element and conflict in the first film traded in for an entirely lackluster subplot that seems to be awkwardly inserted as a space filler rather than a story driver. Even the relationship between the current versions of Ren and Ariel is rushed and so uninteresting that the film becomes a series of second hand Step It Up Dance Moves and tired attempts to "refresh" the dialogue from the original than a story of teen angst and overbearing ideologies.   If I am giving the first flick to much credit, you have to give me a pass; it deserves a Mulligan after the insult delivered by this abomination.  There is no emotion, no drama, no humanity, as if the cast is reading stereo instructions rather than genuinely trying to capture the essence of the story and players. It went from a story of finding balance and fitting in, to a cheap shot at religion and small towns.  I couldn't wait for it to end so I could re watch the first version and cleanse the distaste from my visual palette. 0 out of 5 Kernels; this Footloose stepped in something and it stunk throughout the whole film.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

Very rarely does a sequel do its predecessor justice, let alone a third installment. Most of the time you are barraged by a lot of hype but remarkably little is delivered. This is one of the unique exceptions to the rule providing the quirkiest, funniest, and most elaborate of the three.  It is without a doubt, both an exciting and enjoyable conclusion to one of the most entertaining in the league of children's CGI features. Stiller is one of the most overrated so called comedians of our time, beating out Sandler, Hill, Black, and Galifianakis. He has made epic fail after epic fail and has earned a hefty paycheck in the process. As a long forgotten funny Russian once said, "Only in America, what a country." With that said, his only triumph has been voicing the animated Alex the Lion. The remaining cast Rock, Schwimmer, Smith, and Cohen turn in their best performances of the franchise creating a fun and engaging adventure that takes humor, slapstick, and neon to a whole new level. Add in a great moral about never giving up and where home truly is, and you have a definitive entry into the top ten of animated flicks. 3 out of 5 Kernels; I just hope I can get that ridiculous Afro Circus song out of my head.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Chimpanzee


Tim Allen is one of my favorite comedians and, of course, the quintessential movie Santa of all time, as a narrator, not so much. Although this film hearkens to the classic documentaries of the Disney TV of old, Allen's voice over sounds clunky and misplaced, rather than cohesive and entertaining. With that said, the film is breathtaking in scope, as the Mighty Mouse has taken the documentary to new levels of completely stunning cinematography. The story is absolutely endearing and my family was completely engrossed, privileged to be invited into this rare glimpse of a miraculous adoption. If only as human families, we were so dedicated to our own children and loved ones. For me, it was an utter testimony to the perfect and marvelous hand of our Creator who designed a world that is filled with mind boggling wonders. For my children, a deep look into the inner workings of the natural world. A feat only achieved, to this degree, thanks to the dedication and risk of special individuals who still see the fascination and awe of this truly majestic planet. A great film to educate and entertain. 3 out of 5 Kernels; this movie will steal your heart, open your eyes, and electrify the imagination.

Monday, October 8, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Hotel Transylvania

Who would have thought that an animated feature would resurrect Adam Sandler's decaying career (has anyone seen 8 Crazy Nights, if you have, you have my sincerest sympathy). This film is an absolute treat, with quick and nimble, tongue in cheek wit, a heartwarming plot (nothing new or orginal, but a sweet take on a kiddie film standard), and engaging characters that breathe new life into some old monsters. Sandler is endearing as the Drac dad and James, Buscemi, Spade, and Green round out an entertaining and genuinely funny ensemble (which was, an epic miss in Sandler's unfortunate Grown Ups flick). The timing and chemistry are flawless, hitting every comedy mark and warm and fuzzy moment. The animation is superb, one of the best of the neverending CGI barrage, and the story moves swiftly and fluidly. It was a decisive win for my kids and all the parental units in the audience. Don't think Bambi or Lion King, but a definitive challenger to the Toy Story and Cars franchises. A great way to have your kids learn to laugh at their fears, ala Monsters Inc. 4 out of 5 Kernels; me actually liking a Sandler outing, now that is truly frightening.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Safe

Jason Statham has quickly become the new standard bearer of the modern action hero, a cross between Steve McQueen, Bruce Lee, and Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry. Every film is a new achievement in martial arts skill and choreography, scenes that would make John Woo weep tears of ecstasy. What gives Statham the edge above others of his ilk is his ability to actually act. He is certainly no Sir John Gielgud, James Dean, or Marlon Brando, but he is far and away more talented than any of his competitors. He has also had a series of pretty decent flicks with very few miss steps on his resume. Safe is no exception. However, unlike his other adrenaline driven romps, this film has a substantial and engaging plot that forsakes the foreseeable as an ultra gritty, ultra violent thriller that has a distinctive and soemwhat realistic conclusion. Unfortunately, the remaining company has little acting prowess, and Statham is forced to carry the entire cast and movie. The script keeps moving because Statham won't let it stand still for a second, his character shifting flawlessly and fluidly from a haunted and abused recluse to superhero, a feat I would not have expected, but somehow Statham pulls off. The twists and turns are sufficient, not extraordinary, but the pace and scope keeps you interested and entertained. Again, the fight sequences are the highlights, and there is a plethora of them. 3 out of 5 Kernels; stylish, edgy, dark, and with a noticeable amount of substance, Safe plays it anything but.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: The Hunger Games

To begin, I have never read the book series that inspired this feature, or have I ever had the desire as I am not a hormonally challenged teenager or lonely housewife. So with that in mind, I review this film strictly on the merits of what I witnessed on the slightly tarnished silver screen. After sitting through nearly two and a half hours, my analysis is mixed at best. Deeply disturbing, slightly depressing, somewhat interesting at parts and then an absolute cure for insomnia in others with an ending as predictable as Lindsey Lohan's arrest record after a night of bing drinking. Any film that portrays kids killing kids for entertainment bothers me and this one just barely flies below the gore radar to achieve its PG-13 rating. The acting is mediocre at best, reaching for Twilight teen angst but achieving mere Nickelodeon level drama, if there is such a thing. Director, Gary Ross, sacrificed back story, to overplay the pomp and circumstance of the Hunger pre games. When he finally brings the action sequences, his desperate attempt to maintain the film's teen rating, reduces it to a lackluster version of The Running Man for kiddies. However, the idea that these youngsters are getting massacred for sport is thick and undeniable. The storyline could have been engaging had it been more indepth and less focused on just downright silliness. If you are looking for a true goverment conspiracy, youth protest, sci fi like survival movie reach for Logan's Run or Lord of the Flies. 1 out of 5 Kernels: this movie was starved of talent, solid writing, and all entertainment value.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Wrath of the Titans

It's almost inconceivable to believe that any director could take a high action film concept mix it with Greek mythology, madness, and monsters generated by state of the art special effects and make it a positive sleep fest. Well for Battle:LA director, Jonathan Liebesman, it was a hearty and definitive mission accomplished. Include the absolute inane acting of leading man Sam Worthington and you have a cinematic disaster of Titan proportions. The first film was mediocre at best, replacing all of the original's drippy, 80's goodness with a darker reboot that attempted to replace substance with an absurd CGI overkill. In this outing, the story makes remarkably little sense, the acting even more so, and, in order to propel the plot, takes humongous liberties with the legends of Zeus, Hades, Perseus, and their like. Put simply, it is a mess of a movie with few redeeming qualities with the exception of its National Debt size FX budget. The most distrurbing aspect is the level of talent existing in this fail; Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, and Bill Nighy (Davey Jones of Pirates fame). Their presence is an embarrassment to their otherwise stellar careers. I was a Herculean fan, and one of the very few if only, of Battle:LA, however, this flick may lend credibility to those who criticized Liebesman's directorial talents. 1 out of 5 Kernels: Sometimes, when it comes to judging the worthiness of sequels, studios should tote the Nancy Reagan line and just say no.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: John Carter

Edger Rice Burrough's The Martian-Barsoom-John Carter Series, which began in 1917, was the absolute precursor to the modern science fiction saga which spawned such historical legacies as Star Wars, Star Trek, and many others. Literary speaking, Burrough's books are epic in scope, groundbreaking, and fantastic, so presenting them in celluloid is quite a daunting task. The biggest obstacle is that those afore mentioned legacies have already been presented, so comparisons to their sweep and design are unavoidable. The mistake would be to call this film a copy of those as Burrough's concepts were conceived long before. If the comparison is made, John Carter appears to be more cartoonish and archiac, an unfortunate characterization. In order to accurately critique the film, the focus needs to be on Disney's interpretation of the media, and it's product. In viewing it from that perspective one discovers that these magnificent novels were not given the cinematic respect they truly deserve. The first error was placing this ambitious effort in the hands of a director, Andrew Stanton, who has exclusively created animation tales such as Wall-E, A Bug's Life, and Finding Nemo. These are cute, heartfelt, family triumphs, but, by no means, the resume of a director chosen to attempt to master a Sci-Fi blockbuster. Second, choice of a leading actor for the part of Carter was crucial. His role not only supports the story but propels it. Taylor Kitsch is by no means the player to pull that off. Third and finally, the demonstration of a lack of confidence in a picture is when the studio tries to do too much in too little time, evident in this manifestation. There are several books revealing Burrough's vision, which should have, resulted in the formulation of several movies. Instead, too much is poured into this first installment which lengthed it to a degree that it is stretched too thin. This dilutes key elements of the story in the rush to fit everything in, which is a shame. With all that said, this is a visually stunning production magestic in imagery. When the action occurs, it is exciting and engaging, and the battle sequences rival many of its ilk. However, just as the positives begin to rise to the surface, more negatives are also unveiled. The acting is mediocre and predictable, and the plot moves along too slowly for the tempo required for this type of an adventure. I think Burrough's might have been mostly pleased by the outcome, but he also might have found it lacking in the substance he poured into his craft. 2 out of 5 Kernels: it falls definitively short as a cinematic retelling of a literary classic.

Monday, September 10, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Lockout

This was originally designed to be the third installment in the "Escape from..." series that launched Kurt Russel's adult career. However, it becomes swiftly evident that the writers, directors, and producers lost faith in their product based on the speed of the film, lack luster performances, and downright goofiness of the action sequences taking a potentially gritty and thrilling concept and turning into a PG-13 rated silly spectacle in space. The Grand Theft Auto 2027 CGI scene at the beginning should have been my first clue this was going to be an aboslute futuristic fail. If the likes of Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson, or Arnold Schwarzenegger had not forged the quintessential action figure role coining memorable but corny one liners, the ability to have their bullets meet every target no matter where they were aiming,  surviving bare foot glass walking and multiple mortal wounds, and escaping the utterly impossible, Guy Pearce might have scored big in this cartoonish action yarn. Instead, he quickly becomes a caricature of his predecessors with an over reaching performance that borders on the nonsensical. Grace's character is just as absurd, the remaining cast plays it so over the top, that the story rapidly moves from suspense to accidental comedy, and the "so called" hard core inmates are not frightening except in their lack of acting prowess. A true waste of celluloid. Finally, the attempt to mimic Die Hard in orbit is so obvious that it shifts from flattery to downright insult.  Truly, the studio should be charged with theft in the way they lazily steal from the 80's classic. 0 out of 5 Kernels: I felt like I was held hostage watching this Sci-Fi styled space junk and they had the unmitigated audacity to compare this mess to Blade Runner which may be the biggest insult of all.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Get the Gringo

Adrian Grunberg (Traffic, Apocalypto, Man on Fire, and Edge of Darkness) brings us Payback goes south of the border. This ultra gritty, ultra violent flick tries to do too much, and it is painfully evident. Mel Gibson essentially regurgitates his Porter role minus the finesse, humor, and charisma. The story line is somewhat engaging, but the grimy feel of the so called prison setting and the manifestly corrupt and mostly unredeemable characters overwhelm it. There is a definitive sense of natural interaction between players which is a plus, but the plot limps along so badly in the beginning that any interest as it progresses wains quickly, and when it finally reaches a sense of action and urgency you find yourself almost entirely bored and hoping for it the credits to roll. The ending is too clean especially with the obvious attempt to maintain a dark edge throughout the movie. 2 out of 5 Kernels: this is not Gibson's best, even though it does shine far above his recent string of personal fails.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

This is one of those films that you will either wholly love or outright hate. Guy Ritchie tops himself in this sequel, stepping up every aspect of the original to create a breathtaking, edge of your seat, superiorly scripted and acted feature. A true tribute Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's world famous and timeless expert inspector. Downey portrays the eccentric, sometimes mildy psychotic, detective with such authenticity and charm that he has become the new model of Doyle's fascinating literary creation. Law does the same with Watson and together they fill the screen with quick and sharp wit and wonderous chemistry, taking the idea of the "buddy picture," to new levels of quality and connection. Harris brings Professor Moriarty to villanous life in a way only the author could have dreamed of. The entire cast succeeds in a way where most of it's ilk fail, they completely flesh out the story, immersing the audience in a fantastic and intriguing world of mystery and intrique. The plot is fluid, yet overtly complex at times; however, the dialogue is genuine, and relatable. The story Ritchie delivers keeps you guessing to the very end, a difficult feat as Hollywood continues to turn out the most unoriginal fare in the hunt for big box offices and quick returns. A system that has failed thus far. The only possible downside is that the plot takes a while to tell and does not move as fast as the current crop of so called action, suspense dramas, so the impatient or Bruckheimer crowd will lose interest fast. However, for those fans of Doyle's tormented hero, it throughly satisfies. 4 out of 5 Kernels: It doesn't take much deduction to figure out, in fact, it's elementary, this is one magnificent cinematic journey.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: The Bourne Legacy

A fragmented, poorly scripted, attempt at a water downed version of the first film, replacing Damon with new comer Renner, of Avenger's fame. Instead of answering questions from the first three installments it fosters new ones.  The real inquiry is will anybody care. I know I did not. Renner attempts to play Aaron Cross as a stoic, loner, instead coming across as bland and unengaged. Weisz is equally uninspiring, exchanging dramatic for manic, appearing lost, at best, as she attempts to interact with her costar. Norton is stale and predictable as is the plot and action. Director Gilroy attempts to tell his tale with an over use of incoherent flashbacks that burden more than explain. The pace is slow, and by the time it moves into any excitement, you have already lost interest. Somethings are better left alone, but the Hollywood, "let's do it to death for the sake of the green," crowd will never understand that lesson. I was not a big fan of the books or the first three endeavours, but they at least had some substance and did not feel like a cheap way to keep the saga alive. If Renner wanted to sure up his newly forged career, he might want to leave this one off the resume and stick to quivers and spandex. 0 out of 5 Kernels: The only thing Cross solves is that boring is as deadly as any bullet in the movie business.

One Minute Movie Review: The Expendables 2

An absolute Mangasm of a film, far exceeding even its predecessor in scope, one liners, and all of the "never have to reload" action that all of us fogies came to admire in the 80's. Simon West, who has brought a litany of action fare to the silver screen scores a sweeping win with this over the top, gratuitously violent, testosterone fueled, tongue in cheek rollercoaster ride that leaves nothing on the table or spares a drop of pure, unadulterated machismo. Not since William Shatner, who utterly deserves a spot in the third installment, has a collection of individuals been able to poke fun at themselves while still providing a high octane, ferrari driven, joyride of a production. The humor is quick and biting, and the special effects are too much for words. The interaction between players are natural, fluid, and the fact the actors thoroughly enjoyed themselves and each other are evident in every scene. By no way Oscar fare, this is what cinema is meant to be, fun, exciting, edge of your seat, entertainment that starts off with a bang, moves like a cheetah on Meth. and ends with an epic boom. Stallone is priceless, and Van Damme steals the show with his role as the villian wholly engrossed in his character with flair and style. Lundgren is classic, sounding and looking  like Frankenstein on a bender, Crews owns every scene, and the Norris, Schwarzenegger, and Willis bring self effacing humor to a whole new level. Every moment is such masculine bliss it would make Bruckheimer weep tears of explosive joy.  4 out of 5 Kernels: This film proves, yet again, that Swarzenegger is still a far better action hero than he ever was a  Governer, it is the only way he can make money in California.

One Minute Movie Review: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Mix Land of the Lost with Jurassic Park, add in one giant brain fart, and you get this pungent insult to the genius of the Jules Verne classic. Brad Peyton, whose only other feature is the blockbuster Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, brings us a movie only Dwayne Johnson could headline. If you have not noticed the depth of my sarcasm, I can not help you any further. Johnson's stellar performance is climaxed by the demonstration of his uncanny ability to make his pecks dance in 3D. Pure theater at its finest. Adding insult to the mortal injury of this cinematic refuse is the appearance of Michael Cain who apparently is not receiving enough in social security so he must lower himself to a caricature of Alan Quartermane.  That is, if Quartermane had just escaped from a nursing home. The special effects match Honey: I Shrunk the Kids, and the acting is as high caliber as an afterschool special. This is an absolute mess of a film with the only redeeming quality being the credits. I found myself cheering as the island sank, hoping it would never emerge from its watery grave again. 0 out of 5 Kernels: Dumb and dumber meets the Lost World, I only wish it had stayed lost.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: 21 Jump Street

There are so many things wrong with this movie I have no idea where to start. Wait, here is one, why would they even think about making a movie about one of the lamest and ridiculously unrealistic televsion series of the decadent decade that we call the 80's. Here is another, the directors of this disaster's only other credit are the film adaptation of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, so Kudos to the powers that be for a really brilliant idea as a transitional film for them. Hill is as unfunny as they come, replacing quick and witty humor, with pre teen antics, overt profanity, ineffectual timing, and jokes and gags so juvenile they border on the absurd. Tatum has all the acting prowess of a snail on Prozac. The remaining cast is untalented goofs who limp through this travesty and only add to the many reasons I should have switched over to Judge Judy reruns. The most horrific aspect was the brief but powerfully ludicrous surprise guest spot of Johnny Depp, who apparently has been unable to make anything of value since he retired Jack Sparrow. What is the world coming too?  Add in to all of this,  tribute action sequences to television's infamous Cannell creations of the mid 80's early 90's that fall utterly flat. All that was missing was a black van with a red stripe and a secret agent building a jet fighter from a stick of bubble gum old deoderant can, and a bit of shoe lace. How will I ever get that hour and forty minutes back? 0 out of 5 Kernels: it made me want to jump alright, right onto a busy street in front of oncoming traffic.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Mirror Mirror

A decidedly strange little movie, think Tim Burton on Xanax. The director of the Immortals, yes, that is exactly what I said, brings us an entirely different take on the most recognizable fairy tale in the Brother's Grimms' library of fantasy and fable. Mixing Broadway style costumes, sharp and contemporary humor, and a distinctive spin on the twice told tale, Tarsem Singh gives us a surreal and plastic flick that does not quite succeed or fail, just puzzle. Roberts is delicious as the evil queen, but, quickly, overplays the part.  Lilly Collins, from the movie Priest, again, yes that is exactly what I said, plays sweet, sappy, and pure to a point of gooey nausea.  Lane is predictable, and I was literally waiting for him to spontaneous break out into Hakuna Matata, which would have made his part entertaining. Depsite it's shortcomings, hah, hah, It is the ensemble of performers who play the seven dwarves that truly steal the show, and rightfully so. Their interactions with every character, in every scene, are an engaging and exciting and solely save this film from biting the poison apple. The script is Saturday Morning fare, with little substance and lavish style. Add in a weirdly misplaced but strangely appropriate Bollywood ending and you have one of the most confusing and chaotic concoctions in modern cinema. Kudos to Singh for trying something new with something antique.  However, he shot too highly, tried too hard, and ended up with H.R Pufnstuf for yuppies. 2 out of 5 Kernels: A for imagination, C for delivery, and F as in what the F did I just sit through.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

You would think with the success of the multiple Marvel franchises as an example DC would be able to, effectively, compete either by inspiration or obvious mimicry. Apparently not, as is evident in this third and most, undoubtedly awful installment of Nolan's nonsensical and disappointing vision of one of the greatest superhero legends of the modern era. Nolan replaces engaging dialogue, exciting action, and a clear and concise narrative with overt social commentary and a ridiculous script that overwhelms and bores as the same time, a truly extraordinary feat. Batman transforms from the baddest vigilante in a cape ever, to an incessantly whiny, punching bag. The only actor who could deliver a worse performance than George Clooneys' goofy, cod piece obsessed caped crusader, is Christian Bale's lackluster interpretation that replaces any depth and passion with deep growls and stale rhetoric. Who told this man he could act? That person may indeed be one of the scariest super villians of our time, definitively a true joker. The story is a regurgitation of the second film, minus the charisma of Heath Ledger's truly diabolical adaption of the clown prince of crime. This time out it is all out war on capitalism, which makes perfect sense, because Hollywood has never been about the money. Tom Hardy gives us Bane, who appears to be Darth Vader's grandfather, using a drive through speaker as a voice box. He spews each line with the clarity of Ozzy Ozbourne with a mouth full of pebbles. I am glad Batman's actual name is not in the title, because it would be practically false advertisement as he only shows up for about 20% of the film. The rest is focused on a convoluted anti profiteering plot and the dullest catwoman ever, Anne Hathaway. Gone is sexy and sleek hello overwhelming dull poured into black spandex. Gone are the cool batlike gadgets now we are given transformer like left overs and lame tech. Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfeiffer where art thou? 0 out of 5 Kernels: the only thing rising is Nolan and Bale's paychecks.  Adam West and Burt Ward coming out of obscurity stretching lycra to its limits would have been a better alternative.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Safe House

Unfortunately, this film is incredibly predictable and ends up trying too hard to be more than it ever could be. Its fundamental drawback, playing it safe, too safe, utilizing regurgitated tactics and plot devices instead of a creative and engrossing storyline. If not for Ryan Reynolds performance, which may be his career best, this would be a total dud. However, Denzel, who is by far, one of the best actors of his time, provides what appears to be an attempt at a severely watered down version of his Training Day role minus the uninhibited profanity and uncontrolled ire. The chemistry between Reynolds and Washington had potential, but a lackluster script failed to fully explore their relationship or allow  a truly engaging story. The cinematography is reminiscent of Man on Fire, but possessing none of its power and grit. The action is mediocre, instead of edgy and dramatic becoming entirely benign, culminating into an entirely anti-climatic ending. 2 out of 5 Kernels; I can safely say, this house would not pass inspection, especially if expecting suspense or excitement.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Act of Valor

Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, two newcomers, bring us the new benchmark of modern day war films in this exquisite tribute to one of the most elite and deadly of America's special forces, the Navy SEALs. A unique, difficult to truly define film, that plays like a documentary and action flick at the same time using, real active, SEALs to act out this Clancy like military thriller. Solid performances by the entire cast which are both honest and engaging. The action sequences are quick, slick, and effective, utilizing genuine tactics, keeping you on the edge of your seat with each battle sequence. Sometimes hard to watch because of the gritty and brutal realism, the film moves along at a rapid pace without sacrificing quality or story. The plot is Intricate enough to maintain the tension but not so much so that it gets lost in translation. A frightening picture of what could be and an amazing demonstration of why our fighing men and women are the best in the world. I see a much needed shift in the way the Hollywood World is finally portraying our soldiers in the positive light they so richly deserve. 4 out of 5 Kernels; this movie is Ready to Lead, Ready to Follow, and Never Quits!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Joyful Noise

The best way to describe this Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah duet is just noise, and remarkably little of it is joyful. Provided to us by Director Todd Graff whose biggest credit is the film Bandslam, and if you said what is Bandslam, you are not alone. His attempt to create an uplifting tale of family and faith fails and, instead becomes pretensious and uninspired. The acting is corny, thanks to a choppy script that tries too hard with too little. The banter between characters is stale, cold, and, at times, just downright goofy. The humor is ill timed, badly delivered, and silly. Each time the actors try to connect, the poorly written screenplay gets in the way, and the players come off disjointed and boring instead of engaging and authentic. And, nothing personal, but Parton needs to lay of the plastic surgery, I do not know if she is trying to one up Joan Rivers, or achieve the look of the Joker on Meth. Either way, in this farce, her acting and singing are just as artificial. Latifah does not fare much better. The movie works hard to deliver a heavy emphasis on song, which quickly and mercilessly becomes overbearing and tedious. 0 out of 5 Kernels: this "churchy" flick is so awful it become its own new sin.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Red Tails

George Lucas produced this fact based tribute to the famed Tuskegee Airmen, who became one of history's greatest examples of courage, heroism, brotherhood, and valor in the face of war and racism. He hands off this incredible undertaking to Anthony Hemingway, a virual nobody, who makes his directorial debut with this film. His lack of experience is well demonstrated in his inability to take this extraordinary story of bravery and flesh it out on the big screen. What should be a cinematic experience filled with tragedy and triumph, adversity and victory, emotion and guts, becomes a mechanical, two dimensional, action yarn with very little passion with a focus on special effects over character or plot substance. There is no foretelling of the struggle these "the Lonely Eagles," faced in even forming their noble outfit, or a deeper take on their fight against bigotry, instead moments of real meaning and authenticity are sprinted through leaving a void where a true connection with the audience should be. Even the beautifully written speeches given to Terrence Howard, fall flat and uninspired, not because of their text, but their lack luster delivery. There is alot of genuine talent in this movie; however no one demonstrates it, whether that is the script or director's fault, is left for the viewer to decide. Most of the dialogue comes off simplistic and even juvenile, rather than provoking and real. The Red Tails, undoubtably, were an enormous factor in our victory, in the skies above during WW2 and this picture validates that, but without the spirit and power their success so richly deserves. It is a shame that this miss happened under the watch of the man who brought us such spectacular visions as Star Wars and Indiana Jones. 3 out of 5 Kernels: in the right directorial hands, this could have been a truly Epic.

One Minute Movie Review: This Means War

I have yet to find a chick/action flick that makes sense or truly mixes into a reasonable composite to gratify both he and she. McG, the director of both big screen reboots of Charlie's Angels and the downright awful prequel to Arnold's swan song, Terminator: Salvation, tries his misguided hand at it and, like most, fails. Chris Pines, the new Kirk, and Tom Hardy, the infamous Bane in the upcoming Dark Knight Rises, play rival CIA agents vying for the affection of the overrated Reese Witherspoon, the Drew Barrymore of the new millennium. This is just an unfortunate attempt at creating a lite version of the movie True Lies structured for the female set. Having two proposed super soldiers banter about like best girlfriends just does not work on any level. Witherspoon's performance is about as predictable, clueless, and just plain goofy as you can get. The romantic triangle is outdated and unentertaining. The attempts at humor wind up silly not funny. The action, though well choreographed, seems almost out of place, eclipsed by all the mindless dribble, lame date footage, and a pedestrian, bad guy revenge subplot. My suggestion, keep the chick flicks just that and secure the action trips for the mindless brutes as it should be. 2 out of 5 Kernels; my wife loved it, so after she reads this, it may mean war in our house.

Friday, July 6, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: The Amazing Spiderman

First of all, the director of this latest Spidey reboot is aptly named, Marc Webb, coincidence, who knows, however, rather than choosing a veteran like Raimi to retool Peter Parker's tale, they choose the guy with the "webbiest name," who is best known for the romantic debacle, 500 Days of Summer. With that said, I went into the theater with lowered expectations and little hope that my Spidey Sense would twitch let alone tingle (geeky enough for ya). I mean, why in the world did we need yet another refresh of the done to death tale of Parker, his uncle (how many times are we going to kill this guy), and the fellowship of freaks that pursue the wall crawler with venom (pardon the pun) and verve. Well Webb does the unthinkable, and creates a comic book feature with authenticity, edge, and humanity. Andrew Garfield, has single handily, established himself as the most realistic (is that even possible) and identifiable bug boy, bringing Parker from page to flesh. He has the natural talent and remarkable quirkiness to create the persona of the teen hero that Stan Lee must have originally envisioned. Add in Emma Stone's extraordinary portrayal of Gwen Stacy, real and utterly engaging and you have what Raimi missed in his blockbuster trilogy, making the story human and believable. For the first half of the film, you forget you are watching comic goo, and became engrossed by the chemistry and depth of both characters, something nearly inconceivable in other films of the same ilk. Parker's transformation and training are almost eclipsed by his tormented performance of a boy who mourns his parents and search for his own identity. It is only after he connects with Dr. Connors, aka the Lizard, that the plot reverts from near, well crafted drama back to a mad scientist's plot to scale down the city (you'll get it when you see the movie). The Lizard story is goofy, predictable, and chaotic. The action sequences although sleek and sophisticated, never exceed a two dimensional quality (even with the glasses). They play out like a true Spidey Comic, so if you love the painted pages, you will be asking the fantastic, and ridiculous, conclusion to be your blushing bride and scoot down to Vegas for a quickie ceremony. Sheen and Fields are great as Uncle Ben and Aunt Mae, respectively, and, Leary, is entirely in his element as Stacy's Police Captain Father. I wanted so much to give this film a four, but a giant Lizard and some truly corny plot devices, just would not let me. 3 out of 5 Kernels; Despite its few short comings, it is, undoubtably the best of the franchise.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: The Grey

Joe Carnahan, director of the millenial take on the TV classic the ATeam, decides he would follow that far fetched action yarn with yet another more unrealistic action fare that is bar none the most depressing, gratutiously profane, and agnosticly inspired cinematic disaster on the books.  Frostbite sets in early on any hint of interest and entertainment from the onset.  Not only is the story implausible, it is downright silly, as if Carnahan, decided to mix the Howling with Stranded (and if you haven't seen the latter, you are not alone) and leave all reality and scientific reason in the snow.  The script is chaotic and incoherent with dialogue consisting of so many F Bombs that without them the actors would have had to make a silent movie.  Even Neeson who turns in an sbolutely mdeiocre performance.  This is suppose to be a thriller about surviors being hunted by a lupine menace, however, the wolf effects are fake and jukey at best.  Add into that a nonexistent character chemisty and a level of hopelessness that reaches peaks that Sir Edmund Hillary couldn't reach and you have one of those flicks that leaves you asking why, why did I just waste 117 minutes of my life.   There is nothing redeemable about this steaming  pile of wolf scat.  0 out of 5 Kernels: you may barely survive the boredom of this epic fail.

Friday, June 29, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: War Horse

This 2012 Oscar Nominee should have been a 2012 Oscar Winner. Steven Spielberg weaves a stunning tale intertwining five unique tales of loss, courage, love, and hope into a masterful tapestry that surrounds you with heart wrenching emotion and authentically engaging drama. Each character exudes life and deeply connects with each other and the audience. Each subplot flows gently and profoundly into each other creating a near perfect picture of tragedy and triumph that is a trademark of Spielberg's extraordinary command of the craft. The cinematography is breathtaking and the scope and sweep is grand in both design and feel. At points, it does seem to try too hard, with too much, but in the end you are left with complete gratification. Do not look for any big names, but you will be surprised by the sheer volume of talent and story. 4 out of 5 Kernels: so compelling it is what other films should aspire to be.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Brave

After seeing the trailer for this newest of Disney/Pixar collaborations, I have to say, I was less than impressed and had no desire to drop ten plus dollars at the local cineplex. Despite my misgivings, I have a six year old Disney princess diva, so the laws of the kid universe compelled me forward and to the box office. I am happy to report, this is one of the best of the best of the Pixar prodigies. Majestic animation, wonderful characters, and a unique and engaging story, it is destined to become a modern classic. Add in, quirky and sharp humor that hits at all the marks, and a strong message about family and courage and it becomes one giant Mouseterpiece. It is refreshing to see Hollywood produce a tale about respecting your elders and the spirit of the family that is both authentic and heartfelt, a feat I thought was near impossible. Do not miss this on the big screen, it is well worth the dough, whether 2 or 3D. 4 out of 5 Kernels; unbearably good (you'll get the pun by the end of the film).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Chronicle

POV cinema has finally reached the point of ad nauseum. All of its uniqueness and edgy quality have gone replaced by bland, predictable, and goofy fare such as this film. Josh Trank makes his directorial debut and hopefully last film with this teen angst cheap knock off of Heroes. The characters are unlikeable, stereotypical, and altogether one dimensional. It turns out the same old worn out story of a tormented outsider, persecuted by his entire suburbia, go from nerdy hermit to vengeful force except this time nobody cares. The script barely limps through, and the special effects, although somewhat sophisticated, are not enough to save this tragedy from itself. It could have been a decent film, and I could have won my first Oscar by now. 0 out of 5 Kernels: the only thing this movie Chronicles is how bored I was watching it.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Snow White and the Hunstman

Think the Brother's Grimm, meets J.R.R Tolkien, with a smidge of C.S Lewis and a touch of Guillermo del Toro and you might glean the style and sweep of this modern and darker adaptation of the beloved fairy tale. Do not look for high pitched arias or silly named dwarves, expect dark, disturbing, and stunning imagery, artsy cinematography, and an amazingly masterful scenic scope. The script is solid, and the transformation from Disney Classic to grimly filmed fantasy epic is fluid possessing a remarkably honest and visually engaging presence. Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth deliver inspired performances, utterly immersing themselves in their characters. Unfortunately, that is where the high points end, and the reality begins. For anyone who believes Kristen Stewart can act needs to be immediately drug tested, med card or not. Stewart is as entertaining as a wet blanket and her perfromance has the  range and depth of a Dixie cup. This has to be one of the greatest miscasts of our time. As Hemsworth oozes charsima, Stewart sucks the room dry by her lifeless performance better than a vampire in, well you know. She was not just out of her league she was entirely out of place. Add into that a well written script that builds strong and then ends with a whisper instead of a bang. I have not seen such an epic fail of a conclusion compared to the powerful build that preceded it. As dissapointing as lighting a hollowed out firecracker, or Charlie Sheen's career, you choose which is more apropo. This is Rupert Sanders' first film, and the rookie mistakes in these areas are glaring. This could have been a masterpiece of celluloid, instead it falls short and flat during the last thirty minutes. 2 out of 5 Kernels; I am extremely Grumpy because Stewart's performance and the lackluster resolution were both Dopey.

One Minute Movie Review: Man on a Ledge

Take the film the Negotiator, remove all the action, suspense, intrique, solid performances, well written script, and solid casting, and you have this stunningly boring, pointless, and predictable Sam Worthington vehicle that stalls from the very beginning. First of all, I know, Worthington was in one of the largest blockbusters of our time, but that had more to do with the big blue bunnies and even bigger budget special effects than its leading man. Worthington has all the acting strength as toilet paper submerged in water. Mix in the most mediocre cast I have witnessed in a very long time, and the only thing out on a ledge is director Asger Leth's career. This is only his second film, and that apparently was one too many. There is no authenticity to the characters, and their dialogue is about as engaging as a mime during an eclipse. The action is brief and goofy with an ending rushed and uninspired. A creative twist at the end is the only kudo, but not enough to begin to tidy up this mess of a movie. 1 out of 5 Kernels: Not the worse film in the world, but a good try at being the worst.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Prometheus

When this project was announced, and Ridley Scott took the helm, I excited anticipated its release and relished in the cryptic trailers and intriguing viral campaign prior to its opening. After all, Scott is the man who truly broke the ceiling in crafting two of the greatest science fiction films of our time. The creepy, claustrophobic, and incredibly tense, Alien which successfully and imaginatively combined a terrifying monster movie with an engaging script riddled with heart pounding suspense and authentic characters. Next came the truly inspired Blade Runner, which successful mixed the unimaginable combination of film noir and a sleek, sophisticated, ingeniously futuristic tale of sentience and mortality. So with all this in mind, how could this possibly go wrong. Prometheus proves it can, and in every way imaginable. Through a convoluted plot that never connects together with itself or the audience.  It is filled with utterly uninteresting characters, and overall, lacks all the anxiety, depth, and excitement of its predecessor and the possibilities it possessed. Scott fumbles what could have been an extraordinary retelling or foretelling of his signature cinematic achievement. It appears too many episodes of Ancient Aliens and an overtly ambitious attempt to define life through extraterrestrial intervention may have taken its toll. Visually this cinematic misadventure is incredible, however, the dull acting, confusing script, and goofy action sequences eclipse even the most stunning cinematography. Some sequences are so cheesy and, "what were they thinking," that the film moves from peaking curiosity to curiously laughable. The one bright spot is Michael Fassbender, whose android creation plays like a living tribute to H.A.L unleashed, ominous, cold hearted, and yet somewhat charming. Still his unique portrayal does little to save this picture from self destruct. It certainly is two hours of my life I will never get back. 0 out of 5 Kernels; in space, no one can hear you scream, but I was surprised how many people you could hear snoring in the theater.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Haywire

As they say, "Everybody gets one, " and this is it that one for Steven Soderbergh, making no mistake it is not meant in a positive light. I have had bowel movements that are more compelling and have taken less time than this atrocity. The renowned Oscar winning director had an off day when he turned out this mistake, which starts slowly, remained slow, and felt more like it should be a prescription for insomnia than an action flick. This is Gina Carano's, the Elite EX fighter, second film, and if you said who, you would be in the mainstream and among good company. Her fighting skills are spectacular her acting is a spectacle. Not even a ridiculously over reaching cast of heavy hitters, of the thespian sort, Micheal Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatun, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Douglas can save this film from looking, sounding, and feeling uninteresting, unengaging, and thoroughly unentertaining. The acting for all reached new lows of mediocrity and contained about as much character chemistry as stagnate water. The action sequences are well choreographed, and that would be a plus if the film lasted about twenty nine minutes. In between Carano's beat downs are acres and acres of a lame, unimaginative, and predictable story. I felt envious for anyone attending a time share seminar. 0 out of 5 Kernels: the only thing Haywire about this disaster is the creative process used to bring it to the silver screen.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Battleship

Well up to today, if you told me someone could make a successful action movie based off of a child's boardgame I would look at if as if you had flying monkeys coming out of you ears. Amazingly and inconceivably Peter Berg pulls it off by creating an amusement park ride of a film that is both entertaining and engaging. The way Berg works the elements of one of my favorite games growing up into the story is impressively masterful. Major kudos for making the impossible, possible. Now for the bad news; the plot has some pretty sizeable holes in it and the supposed love story, between Kitsch and Decker, is lackluster at best and ends up becoming completely irrelevant by mid movie. Taylor Kitsch, coming off of another box office disappointment, John Carter of Mars, is completely underwhelming as a leading man and is about as authentic in his role as Cubic Zirconia would be on Paris Hilton's pinky. Hats of to Rihanna, who gets an A for effort, and in time, may hold her own in Hollywood. Neeson's role is minuscule, but as always, he owns every scene he appears in. The remaining cast carries the film with some pretty honest and quick witted banter, reminiscent of the true, original Thing from Another World.  Perhaps, the most impressive aspect of this film is the tribute to our armed forces and the use of both Veterans and Wounded Warriors who play major roles. Any cinema that portrays our men and woman in uniform in the positive light, they so clearly deserve, scores major points in my book. The FX are sleek and sophisticated, adding to the film and not overwhelming it. As a whole, a cool way to spend an evening with my son on Memorial Day eve. 3 out of 5 Kernels; the Mighty MO does not disappoint.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

What takes a film from basic entertainment fare to contemporary, dramatic classic? What moves a story from engaging to thoroughly engrossing? What turns two dimensional characters to flesh and blood, authentic, relatable, almost familiar entities? It is the one thing that escapes most of today's cinema, lacking in most of Hollywoods attempts at realism and storytelling. That one thing is humanity. I am pleased to report this film is dripping in it. Oscar winning director, Stephen Daldry spins a tale that immerses the audience in a unique combination of grief, hope, persistence, desperation, lonliness, emotion, and finally, resolution that I have not witnessed in an extraordinarily long time maybe the singularly best I have seen. Unpredictable, raw, hard to watch at moments, real, and exemplifying everything drama should be, this film exceeds all expectations and takes the audience on an unforgettable and utterly satisfying journey that touches and, at times, breaks the heart. The chemistry and interaction between players is so graceful, and deeply personal one feels almost voyeuristic sharing their highs and lows, pain and passion, life and love. Hanks and Bullock deliver extraordinary, yet subtle performances enhancing but never eclipsing young newcomer, Thomas Horn. Horn's debut is stellar, his skill, so pure and relatable, putting many of his elders to shame. Finally, Sydow is able to deliver more in his muted, but moving performance than most thespians gush endlessly in a career. A wonderous masterpiece, using authentic dialogue, creative cinematography, and a well crafted story to create a true work of art in cinema. It moves at the right tempo to tell the tale masterfully. 5 out of 5 Kernels: the greatest achievement for a film is that you leave with something this one does so and more.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Underworld: Awakening

Gone is the sleek gothic sophistication, engaging storyline, edgy characters, and Matrix like action of the original two movies, replaced by a boring and unimaginative clone of Resident Evil replacing one undead nemesis with another, more furry, one. Two relatively unknown directors, Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein, take one of the best vampire franchises of the new millennium and transform it into such a lame and cartoonish product that it lends Twilight street cred among bloodsuckers in comparison. This may explain the reason why they are relatively unknown. Kate Beckinsale returns as the Verizon version of Selene based on the way she phoned in her performance. Even the focal point of the story, which should have been both a dramatic and cool twist on the series, flatly falls. This future tale ignores the creative prowess of the past, abandoning all that was truly slick and stylish of the trilogy. Not since the afore mentioned Twilight, have I been so bored watching a werewolf vs fang face sparing. Enjoy the first two, maybe three, and pull a Bobby Ewing shower scene with the latest installment, pretend this film never happened. 0 out of 5 Kernels, this lycan won't hunt, and vamp don't bite.

Monday, May 21, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: One for the Money

Well, they could not call this movie, Worth the Money, because that would have made them liable for false advertisement. This movie is so bad, on so many levels it is hard to believe. The acting was as authentic as an episode of the Jersey Shore. The action was as exciting as watching Silly String dry. The humor was non existent and drama faired the same. It was just downright boring, goofy, and predictable, thanks to a poorly written script and mismatched cast. Designed to be a romantic, comedy, action, drama, ending up a colossal fail. The chemistry between leading lady, Katherine Heigl, and leading man, Jason O'Mara was as powerful as Drano in Lindsey Lohan's Toilette during a night of binge drinking and Tilapia. They tried to capture an authentic Jersey feel, what they ended up with would make Snooki snore. I can not believe I just mentioned Snooki in a review, what has the world come to? Save your money, this Chick Flick has bird flu. 0 out of 5 Kernels; I should have known it was going to be bad when I found out one of the lead characters was called, "Ranger."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: The Muppets

As a child, I remember, around 8'oclock at night, we would turn the channel knob to CBS (I had to get up to change channels way back then).  I would sit anxiously in front of my gargantuan 13" color screen to watch Kermit, Ms. Piggy, Fozzie, and the like perform their crazy skits and songs featuring some celebrity of the time. It was my favorite show despite the fact that the jokes were stale slapstick run amok and as a whole, seemed more like a Jim Henson acid flashback than an actual show. But it was a cherished memory and every time I hear the song "The Rainbow Connection" I still tear up a bit, but that may be the least of my life's issues. So when I found out, they had made a new movie, I could not wait to expose my kids to the vaudeville style antics I enjoyed from my younger years. After seeing this film as an adult and looking back, I have realized, as a child I may have been a moron. Certainley, this couldn't be the Muppets I grew up with. This movie was so syrupy sweet it required FDA approval. The musical numbers were barely tolerable, and acting was dramatically, comedically numb. All the endearing qualities of the original series and first few movies were gone, left with a 103 minute toy commercial to further line Disney's already ultra green pockets (be still Al Gore green as in money). My kids were entertained for about 30 minutes, ironically the length of the original TV series, and then lost all interest. Same kids who thought The Pirates! Band of Misfits were awesome, go figure. Hollywood has the reverse Midas touch, turning everything of value that they touch to film feces. Sorry Kermit, it ain't easy being green, and this movie proved it. 1 out of 5 Kernels, the Mahna-Mahna song saved it from the big zero.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Tower Heist

Brett Ratner, the director of X-Men 3:The Last Stand and Rush Hour 3 continued his inate ability to turn out crap like a frat house who just partook in a wild night of light beer and buffalo wings. This film is no exception. Can anyone explain to me why Ben Stiller is still allowed to make movies? Does he have the same free pass as Adam Sandler and Will Ferrel? This movie is billed as a comedy, which works if it was purposefully written as a drama. I have to admit, the concept is cool and in the right hands, with the right cast, it would have made a pretty slick action flick. I emphasize the phrase in the right hands and with the right cast. Instead, we combine the burned out Broderick and the played out Murphy to create an F grade product from a former A List class. It is like watching the Rolling Stones, at 90, play Barry Manilow, the whole thing just does not jive it may be time to take a long, much needed vacation (a.k.a retirement). The humor is absent acting is mediocre, and action, predictable and uninspired. Stiller as a leading man makes as much sense as Lindsey Lohan as a rehab counsellor. 0 out of 5 Kernels: avoid this tower of tragedy like a condemned building.

One Minute Review: The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Before I begin, my children thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Why, I will never understand, but maybe I do not need to. From an adult's perspective, this was a nonsensical shipwreck that tried too hard to be funny and witty. Why this film required two directors would normally defy comprehension, but the over complicated storyline muddying the waters of a typically straightforward idea, justifies it. I am generally a fan of the high brow style of humor rank in English comedies, but this just seemed wrote and boorish, using old hat slapstick and predictably goofy one liners to support an uninteresting plot line. But kudos to Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt for finding a way to work Charles Darwin into a pirate story, it does not work, but, wow, talk about pulling something out of the hind part of your anatomy. The animation is exquisite, and attention to detail is bar none, but it is not enough to give this albatross flight. It is only available in 3D, which begs the question, why, the effects are almost non existent. Until I saw the cost of my tickets and then realized, long ago, Hollywood figured out how to fleece doting parents. The only thing missing in the robbery was the gun, or flint lock pistol, in this case. Save it for Netflix or Red Box to avoid the same mugging. 1 out of 5 Kernels: Daddy thought it sunk before it left the harbor, the kiddies thought it was treasure island (forgive me Robert Louis Stevenson).

Sunday, May 6, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: The Avengers

Joss Whedon's first attempt at a blockbuster film, is just that, blockbuster. Who knew the man who conceived such teen dribble as Buffy and Angel had it in him. This film is one of the first, in a long time, to have every piston firing like a well tuned Porshe. The cast is epic, as is their chemistry and on screen presence. Instead of eclipsing each other, as an orchestrated effort, they compliment and thoroughly enhance their counterparts' performance. Up to now, this has been an almost impossible feat. The script and story are solid and fluid, also; a rarity in a comic book feature.  This film truly breaks all the rules. The acting is engaging and human, action is frantic and innovative, and effects out perform every predecessor. It is evident Downey loves the Stark identity, and no one could play it better. Evans brings back the tradition and clarity of Captian America as he emanates the pride and patriotism we should all have in the greatest country in the world. Ruffalo resurrects the Hulk and tops Norton's reboot. Hemsworth owns the Thor character truly fleshing him out. Johansson brings the Widow to life. Finally, Renner redefines one of my favorite characters, Hawkeye and graduates him from minor player to the major leagues. This work of comic fandom sets a new standard that will be almost impossible to top. The humor is quick, well placed,  and hits each mark with more accuracy and velocity than Hawkeye's bow. For the comic book geeks who know the Marvel universe has certain undefiable rules, Whedon defies the physics of Stan Lee's comic constitution. This includes the death of a leading player which, as all fanatics know, does not occur in the painted pages of our favorite heroes. In comicverse, no one dies, they just return in sequels, prequels, and as clones. The character evolution is so smooth and consistent they quickly become 3 dimensional without the assistance of any added eye wear. The battle scenes contain some of the best choreography I have ever seen, each piece fits perfectly together and is thoroughly entertaining. Darker in parts then most of the genre, but not to the extent that would exclude the kiddies. For a movie that can not avoid a predictable conclusion, Whedon weaves enough twists and turns to challenge the tallest and fastest of rollercoaster rides. I can not believe I can say this about a comic book flick, but this is how its done, a true masterpiece. Mr. Lee's true vision finally born. They did it right with a slow build of some excellent solo films that apexed in an extravaganza for the senses. 5 out of 5 Kernels; yes I said 5, this one redefines the fare and wins on every level. For newbies and devoted fans alike, waiting for such heroes to be revived, Whedon delivers and then some.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

One Minute Devotion: Matthew 6:9-13

Matthew 6:9-13

After this manner therefore pray ye:  Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy knigdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:  For thine is thge kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen. 

For the overly churched, these passages collectively called The Lord's Prayer have been ritualistically recited to a point that all savour and substance have been drained and lost. Most regurgitate it without a second thought of what wondrous truth and inspiration are contained within. This is yet another fail of the modern church culture. A contemporary agenda designed to fill pews, not hearts, producing scriptures in quantity without quality dissertation, and focusing on verses that can be easily digested without offense or purposed for individual interpretation to sell yet another book or pop religious concept. To understand the deep significance of this petition a methodical analysis is required. Once the facets are closely examined one sees an intensely personal and sacred demonstration of God's desire for an intimate relationship with us.

First, in verse nine, Jesus presents this appeal, not as the Lords but belonging to the disciple.  It is not designed to be vainly repeated or ceremoniously parroted but as an example of how one humbles himself before his creator seeking His intervention. It is, in effect, a snapshot of the tone and submission required to truly seek God's providence. Let's take a look at it line by line to further elaborate this point. First, we examine the introduction, "Our Father." This is the launching point of two very specific expressions of adoration. By acknowledging God as Father, which is completely unfamiliar in any of the Old Testament prayers, one accepts God as Father of all. All throughout scripture God is given the designation of Father in regards to; Creation, Israel, Jesus Christ, protection, and redemption. The Bing dictionary defines the term father as; a man who brings up and looks after a child,  or who establishes, founds, or originates something. In the occasion recited here, God is compared as initiator and source of all life and truth. It is spoken like a child calling out to his own father for all of its needs, hopes, and survival. In correspondence, the introduction ends with an even more powerful statement, "Hallowed be thy name." Hallowed means to hold someone in complete reverence and holy awe. Christ starts this prayer honoring God with full respect and understanding that He is the author and giver of all. In every prayer we utter, both minuscule and massive, without excepting God's power and majesty, we simply speak into the wind.

Verse ten amplifies this reference with an acceptance, before any request is made, acknowledging that whatever our need or desire, God's will is what should be eagerly sought. "Thy will be done," is that acknowledgement,  the believer's deepest desire to be brought into conformity with God's will. The ultimate act of praise and worship is obedience to God. Prayer in itself is the act of bringing us into union with the nature and purposes of God. This is apparent in the first official requested spoken, give us this day our daily bread. One would immediately recognize this as a request for daily sustenance, which it is, but there is a deeper layer. It is a prayer of provision on all levels, physical and spiritual. It is representative of what we need, not just to survive, but to succeed.

Now one would think this would be followed by an elaboration of what is sought, however, Christ demonstrates a need we may easily overlook. "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors, " seeking forgiveness of our sins. Sin is the debt we create when we disobey God, debts that can only be resolved through Christ's intercession. At the same time, it expresses the need to forgive those who sin against us demonstrating to others the grace given to us so freely.

Moving on we come across, in verse thirteen, an excerpt that may cause some confusion, "lead us not into temptation." Surely God does not tempt anyone, right? Of course not, rather this is a plea that God deliver us from temptation, providing us strength and wisdom to resist it. Temptation often comes from a direction we may not admit, within. We are drawn away by our own lusts and enticed. Satan takes those things that we desire and seduces us. This request is to lead us away from those things and then deliver us from evil. God's word promises us that if we resist the Devil he will flee. Sometimes that evacuation is instantaneous but most times it requires us to truly reach out for God and diligently and emphatically seek His deliverance.

The close of this prayer, again, honors God with an absolute reverence. It expresses total faith that God is who He says is His. There is no step program to effective prayer, its effectiveness comes from our submission to God allowing Him to work within us. What Christ outlines here is what God desires from us when we pray; honor, submission, dependance, humility, and obedience. When we truly seek God's answers, whether they agree with our notions and timing or not, God can do extraordinary things through us for His glory.

The next time you pray, remember you are praying to.  He is the one who already knows your needs before they are even spoken. Lay before Him your cares.  Trust in his sovereignty,  Seek the ways He may live through you to further His kingdom.  Obey His plan for your life. Are you humbled by the mere fact that the God of all listens and loves you so much that He wants to bless you?

God bless.

Friday, April 20, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: The Three Musketeers

Well apparently only director Paul W.S. Anderson can combine swashbuckling swordplay, royal intrigue, double agents, with a Jules Verne style fantasy and mix it together into an unimaginably dull, completely predictable, and outlandishly goofy recipe for cinematic disaster. The theatrical version of Wolfgang Puck he is not, more like the Swedish Chef on Xanax. With that in mind, can someone please explain to me who in the world thinks Milla Jovovich is an actual actress, let alone action hero. The woman seems to live and die by the slow motion cam. Am I the only one who painfully sat through the Fifth Element, hello? Her so called talent is like an enema for the senses. Fairing none better are the remaining Musketeers; Matthew Macfadyen, Logan Lerman, Luke Evans, and Ray Stevenson (not the funny one) who are absolutely void of any chemistry and charisma. The remaining cast is just as uninteresting. Even the villain Orlando Bloom's portrays (yes Orlando Bloom) is so cartoonish and silly he is barely watchable. The plot is juvenile and simplistic. The action sequences utilize a low budget version of the phantom cam ad nauseam, lacking both excitement and entertainment. This is the epic fail of film epic fails. If one has any regard for original story penned by Alexandre Dumas, please avoid this dribble like the plague. 0 out of 5 Kernels; one for all, and all for awful!

Monday, April 16, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: Jack and Jill

 Velveeta has less cheese in it than this disaster. Sandler out does himself by combining every comedic cliche, fart joke, and ill timed slapstick routine that he can muster and regurgitate them into one non funny, badly edited, poorly written cinematic pile. I guess he has exhausted every other been done to death idea, so the Bosom Buddy routine was inevitable, and as expected, it quickly becomes an epic fail. His female persona is annoying and unlikeable, and how he got Judy Gold to allow him to use her likeness is beyond me. The interactions of the remaining cast are dull and predictable, like the ending, which is becoming an unfortunate staple of all his movies. Yet, in this Titanic of a failure he manages to wrangle in some considerable star presence both from the world of cinema and sports who apparently decided to whore themselves out, including, amazingly so, Depp and Pacino. There isn't a single redeeming quality of this film, especially their brief but ridiculous performances. Pacino is one of my heroes, so this was particularly painful for me. In the end, the result of Sandler's creative team maybe the best argument against the legalization of marijuana. I beg you, Adam, please stop, before anymore have to suffer. 1 out of 5 Kernels: a few SNL cameos and one, juvenile, but funny bathroom scene kept this picture from the giant goose egg.

Friday, April 13, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: In Time

I can think of several titles that would better fit this steaming pile of cinema. How about Waste of Time, Over Time, or even Time I Will Never Get Back, Ever. Andrew Niccol defecates this story like a man who has digested a gallon of beans and a six pack of RedBull. It is about as riveting as watching grass grow. To add to that, it's Justin Timberlake's first run at the lead action hero role, well, maybe run is too strong of a term, how about a slow limp. Timberlake has all the acting talent of a still painting. His costar and love interest Amanda Seyfried takes a break from her skill to match her leading man's lack of talent. The remaining cast is about as engaging as a box of rocks. The acting is so dreadful it takes an innovative concept and utterly contaminates it. Thanks to the lackluster performances the story gets wholly lost in translation. I thought this might be the Logan's Run of the next generation, chalk that one up to a big no. However, I must commend them for the number of times they squeeze in the word time to the nth level of absurdity. 0 out of 5 Kernels; I can not believe I wasted anymore time on this movie by writing this review.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: The Thing (2011)

First, how one makes a prequel to a movie but titles it the same as the original defies reason on its own merit. At least Scott named his highly hyped Alien predecessor, Prometheus. If that was the only flaw it would be forgiven, but this flick is a plethora of fails. The story tries so hard to avoid copying the 1982 remake that it ends up doing just that but less appealing and suspenseful. Carpenter's 80's camp reboot is a terrible movie by all standards. It corrupts the original version, The Thing from Another World, a true classic and replaces its charm and authenticity with a goofy, nonsensical story line featuring gore galore. In the 80's version, at least we had Kurt Russell trying to carry the picture. In the 2011 prequel, they replace his presence with a no name cast with zero acting prowess and that is only the beginning of its shortcomings. All factuality of what would be required to survive in the tundras of Antarctic abandoned any plausibility of the plot are void, and there is a complete lack of real tension and thrills are sacrificed for over the top CGI effects that are as impressive as Lindsey Lohan's sobriety card. To put it simply this film is just downright lame, it does not even meet the puke factor of Carpenter's farce. The characters are dull. There is zero chemistry or connection with the audience. One just does not care who will survive instead you are just glad you did by the time the credits roll, escaping death by boredom. They attempt to create a claustrophobic hopeless scenario, they achieve the hopeless part flawlessly. This is director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.'s first film, and I hope his last. 0 out of 5 Kernels; watch something, everything, or anything other than this thing.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

One Minute Devotion: Luke 23:34

Luke 23:34

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them;  for they know not what they do.  And they divided his garments, and cast lots.

On this Easter sunday, after hearing the crucifixion and resurrection message for the past 34 years, I am still perplexed by one nagging question. Why? Why would an almighty, sovereign God allow a rebellious, ungrateful, and sinful people continue to disappoint Him time and time again? Why would God provide an out for a society deserving of the consequence of their own wickedness? Why would He allow His son not only to die for those same degenerates, but suffer in such a horrific way, that its description coined its own expression excruciating? Why would the creator of time, space, truth, and life waste his valuable time on such a flawed group of beings? Why not start over, just design something else? It seems utterly ridiculous for an absolute God with absolute power to continue with such deliberately inferior and corrupt individuals. This verse is the apex of that sentiment. Even as, Christ is sacrificing Himself in their place, for the consequences of sin they deserve, those who have witnessed the greatest acts of brutality, want to mock rather than demonstrate the slighest of compassion. At the height of the crucifixion process, insult is literally added to injury by the precise people Jesus's death was designed to deliver. During this seemingly absurd reaction, as He is weighted with pain that defies description, the son of God earned full authority to express his righteous anger, instead He cries out to His Father to forgive them. So again, I ask no I marvel, why? My answer, though not simple, is found in the exact request uttered by Christ. It is not in the wording or tone, but in the complete compassion of the request. For the mere fact, that it would even be uttered at that moment.  An omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God does so because of His love for us. A love, like Christ's suffering on the cross, that defies explanation. So we return to one word we have explored before, Grace. Grace that can only exist because of God's unconditional love. A Grace that finite minds can not understand but desperately need to accept at face value. With all that said, there is still a question that should nag us, why? Why give us such a gift of Grace?  Why is God's love so acutley focused on us?  The answer to the question of Grace is this, God's love for us glorifies Him. Think about that for a second, God's love for you, glorifies Him. Can we even comprehend that? Christ sacrifice and resurrection was designed with the anticipation of your birth and life. His love stretches beyond the confines of time and is everlasting. Christ sacrifice in His time was purposed for the struggle with sin you will encounter during yours. An escape from the punishment before you ever commit the crime. Still, on a daily basis, we reject that love and purpose.  And for what, our own pleasure, agenda, and selfishness. Why would anyone turn from such love? Maybe that is the better question with no reasonable answer. What does the death and resurrection of Christ mean to you? What does it look like in your heart? With the awareness of its cost and meaning at hand what, excuse can justify resistance? God bless.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: The Rum Diary

Why, is the first word that immediately pops into the mind after seeing this film. Clueless, pointless, chaotic dribble and those are the highlights. This is a mess of a picture with no rhyme or reason to its purpose. Depp's performance is ho hum at best.  The remaining cast spew their attempts at artistic and self important dialogue like Lindsey Lohan evacuates alcohol the day after. It is self indulgent fodder with no real plot or depth. It is an adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's early novel which I am pleased to say I have never read. The humor is vague and the dramatic elements fair no better. It is a white sheet hanging from a drying line in a dense fog, damp, pointless, and void of differentiation. Of course, with Bruce Robinson's track record as a director this choice is no surprise. 0 Kernels; if this film was a vacuum it is a Dyson, you fill in the rest.

One Minute Movie Review: Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

Let's start with the good news; one of the best CGI animated musicals to come down the pike in a long time. I took my children to a Saturday matinee, and they were thoroughly engrossed by the film. They sang along, cheered the hero, and loved every moment of it. The entire cast does an excellent job, and the characters become completely three dimensional even without the glasses. Efron and Swift are adorable together. White and Devito add the appropriate amount of heart and laughs to complete the package. The color, scope, and sweep of the movie is simply stunning. With all that said, for me, it quickly dissolved into a goofy, public service announcement for the pro environmental set with greedy corporations as the villains who do everything from eviscerating forests to selling bottled air. They, of course, also include a too big to fail joke. What a surprise. I do not believe for a second this was Dr. Seuss' vision of what the Lorax's purpose was, political agenda. For all the uber liberals, here is a reality check, nature unchecked will kill you. Without human intervention and progress; animal populations would escalate beyond containment, disease would spread like wildfire through a dry field, and new and more effective forms of agriculture and industry would be non existent. Although, I agree, corporate America has done its share of harm, the good they have done far out measures those errs. I understand capitalism and profit are the new evils according to the left. Even though this film's existence is wholly based on their support. I also assume the purpose of this movie was to make money or has Hollywood gone non profit without my noticing. It appears it is impossible for the Hollywood elite to make a positive movie about care of our world without making everyone who is not willing to live in a cave or abandon all ideas of progress look like the seeds of Cain? So, I digress off my soap box and conclude with this; use the film to teach your children to care for their environment and ignore all the rest. 2 out of 5 Kernels; the only time I will be liberal in my rating system. They ruined a beautiful story for political poppycock.