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.