Sunday, February 24, 2013

One Minute Movie Review: Fun Size

There is manifestly nothing fun about this movie, and as for it's size, being poorly written, acted, and directed it is about 86 minutes too long with a running time of the same.  I rented this for the sole purpose of my daughter who is a monumental Victoria Justice fan.  Both she and I were shocked at how thoroughly juvenile and creepy this Nickelodeon farce was.  Any film that starts off with an elementary schooler naked on a toilet should end up in a Hollywood Dumpster rather than loud and proud on the silver screen.  The plot is so mechanical and acting so contrived that it is an immediate bore right out of the gate.  This is a teen angst film in which all the angst is suffered by the audience and not the characters.  The fact that Johnny Knoxville even appears in this film may warrant a random drug test.  Johnny, even Steve O, would not attempt to pull a ridiculous stunt like this sober or not.  This flick is extraordinarily painful to watch, and I still can't figure out why I sat through it until the end credits, but I did and for that I may deserve my fate.  0 out of 5 Kernels:  this film should have earned and negative rating, but even that would have been too high marks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

One Minute Movie Review: Fright Night (2011)

In 1985,  Tom Hollins brought us a unique spin on the mythical bloodsucking tale with a campy, tongue-in-cheek flick featuring over the top performances of such talents as Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowall.  In 2011, Craig Gillespie attempts to update that camp classic with this inferior reboot.  Replacing all the humor and originality of its predecessor, Gillespie creates a more ominous environment lessened by a goofy and cliched retelling.  Unlike the 80s original,  there's nothing new here; the characters are boring, the acting is subpar, and even the gore is passé.  Colin Farrell provides us one of the most uninteresting vampires since Edmund, a little more adult and aggressive yet somehow the same pedestrian screen presence.  Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots have about as much chemistry as stagnant water and their performances are as inspiring.  McDowall's replacement, David Tennant, concocts a decidedly peculiar character somewhere between Criss Angel and Jack Sparrow that fails miserably.  A far cry from McDowall's endearing, cartoonish,  reluctant hero.  There's no connection with the audience this is just yet another retelling of a done the death tale, no pun intended.  Add in cinematography that is so dark that half the action is barely noticeable, and you get a film that is lifeless and unentertaining.  0 out of 5 Kernels: for a vampire film this movie sucked in all the wrong ways.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

One Minute Movie Review: Here Comes The Boom

Take one part Mr. Holland's Opus, one part Dead Poets Society, and sprinkle in a little of Rocky then mix it all together and blend it in the mind of Kevin James and you get Here Comes the Boom.  Frank Coraci,  best known for such comedic Sandler hits as (yes there was a time when Sandler made good movies) The Water Boy and The Wedding Singer bring us this endearing tale of striving to achieve the impossible, both becoming an effective UFC fighter and successfully teaching in High School.   Despite being a bit preachy at times, somewhat simplistic at others, and a bit predictable the overwhelming positive aspect of this film is that it is endearing. This is James best role to date,  a little less goofy, a little more serious, and certainly more fit.  Winkler also delivers a winning performance, unlike other Happy Madison productions.  The acting is believable, the character chemistry is genuine, and the dialogue is fluid. The humor is solid, not sidesplitting but entertaining and although the story can get sappy at times I did find it quite inspiring.  It's a feel-good film designed in every way to be that without excuse and in these cynical times where everyone's a skeptic it's gratifying to have a slight glimmer of hope come out of Hollywood now and then.  This is one you could watch over and over again, which in and of  itself is a compliment.  3 out of 5 kernels;  maybe not a comedic knockout for James but he undoubtedly went the distance.   

Thursday, February 14, 2013

One Minute Movie Review: Ice Age: Continental Drift

I am going to go right to the point on this one; to put it succinctly and profoundly, this is a cute movie.  Why, again, it took two directors to bring it to life, perplexes me, but, Steve Martino, director of Horton Hears a Who, and Mike Thurmeier conclude this franchise in a family friendly and mildly entertaining way.  At least I hope it is the conclusion.  With an overflowing talent pool, swimming with the acting and voice talents of such thespian greats as Nicki Minaj and Joy Behar, the casting seems a bit overkill for an extremely simple plot and individually short screen time.  I am sure their salaries didn't reflect that though.  The core cast, Romano, Leguizamo  and Leary do an OK job of keeping the comradely alive, but the “beat the dead horse factor” is definitively there.  The animation is excellent, the humor is not, but it's a kids’ film so anyone under that age of 8 might be amused.  It pales in comparison to the original, and all the depth and humanity have been replaced with sitcom like heart string grabs.  It’s a safe bet for the kiddies, just make sure any adults have their Iphones or Androids handy to get you through the bulk.  If you’re looking for a time killing app.,   I highly recommend Where's my Water.  2 out of 5 Kernels; not horrible, but is that actually a compliment.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

One Minute Movie Review: Branded

Three letters to best sum up this film are W, T, and F, all capitalized.  What could have been a strange and unique thriller commenting on the current state of our societies’ dependence on mass marketing to shape our ideals, opinions, and even identities ended up being a silly and contrived attempt at mixing confusing ideology with exceptionally awful sci-fi.  The saddest part, it took two, not one, but two directors to bring this mess to the silver screen.  The only redeeming aspect was the acting, which, for the most part, was one level above satisfactory.  Everything else was atrocious.  The story, told both by the characters and via narration, strangely sounding like Gene Roddenberry's wife (who appears, by the way, as the outline of a cow made up of stars in the heavens, yes, you actually read that) is convoluted and slow.  It moves so methodically that it teeters between boring and overbearing.   The plot plays like an indie conspiracy flick at first, then quickly devolves into indescribable goofiness, overwhelming any symbolism and credible theory.   When the special effects arrive, and I use that term loosely, more so than Lindsey Lohan's bra strap, they are remarkably disappointing and bizarre.  The only comparison I can make is Dr. Seuss on acid.  I won't reveal any more, however, the only spoiler to this movie, is seeing it.  0 out of 5 Kernels: If I could have given a negative numeric value, I would.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

One Minute Movie Review: Dredd

The best way to sum up this film is this; if you are a fan of the comic this will be purely compelling and enjoyable, however, for me is yet another example of less is more.  It is a picture that is both overtly violent and gory,  undoubtedly the way creator John Wagner would have envisioned his legendary comic book antihero to be portrayed on the silver screen.  Karl Urban's incarnation falls somewhere between tongue-in-cheek and total bad ass, a far improvement above Stallone's cornier version which bombed at the box office.  Olivia Thirlby's co starring performance is unremarkable but tolerable.  Lena Headey's villainess is unique and original in some ways, but her acting is mediocre at best which overshadows her character’s presence on screen.   The story is engaging playing more like a video game than a movie, but the overkill of gunplay and human splatter substantially lessens the entertainment value.  The best assessment would be a high octane, bullet riddled joyride that plays like a hybrid of Predator 2 and Die Hard on meth.  1 out of 5 Kernels:  the better of the two Dredd movies, but that is not saying much.