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.