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.