Monday, August 26, 2013

One Minute Movie Review: Oblivion

This movie was in and out of the theaters in a blink of an eye and a mild financial disaster for the studio.  Add into that the fact that Cruise's latest theatrical track record has been disappointing at best.   With that said, I had very little expectation going in with this being a Netflix filler, rather than a must see for me.  Well it looks good ole' Tommy boy may have gotten his acting  groove back, whether or not it is a permanent or temporary comeback remains to be seen.    For this flick, Cruise gives 100%, and it shows, both in the sincerity and depth of his performance.  This is not what the mainstream expects when any feature is designated to be a potential Sci-Fi blockbuster.  The general public is looking for epic battle sequences, annihilations of cities on a grandiosely violent scale, or the freakiest aliens or robots that CGI money can buy.  Instead, here you get a film that is a solid, well rounded, sophisticatedly complex movie with sleek tech, a deeply intricate character driven story, and an original science fiction plot-line with some pretty cool twists by its conclusion.   Now there are a few pieces that don't quite fit together perfectly, but overall this is a well crafted, well acted, and beautifully filmed production that appeals more to the purists than the average movie goers.  Which in the end provides the most compelling evidence of its incredibly short and nearly invisible run.   Director, Joseph Kosinski, only holds one prior credit to his name, which was the lackluster but long awaited sequel to the 80's Disney camp classic Tron.    So this was a critical win for him based off of that and what little experience or notoriety he possess.   Unfortunately, in Hollywood land, the almighty dollar determines destiny, so we can only hope he receives another chance.   As a purist myself, I enjoyed this movie, it was a little long and tedious at times, but I also have been spoiled by the pomp and circumstance of current celluloid fare, rather than savoring the time and suspense of telling a compelling story.  3 out of 5 Kernels:  Hopefully more will watch this film and realize its merits on the secondary market, so it does not fall into cinematic oblivion.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

One Minute Movie Review: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

For the word incredible to exist anywhere in the title of this alleged film is, in itself, incredible as it bears no indication of the contents.  Apparently the word or designation comedy now covers a wide spectrum of concepts including those containing no humor at all.  Steve Carrell jumps the shark on a rocket propelled bike in this mess of a movie which is neither funny, endearing, or interesting in the least.  In addition, does anyone still find Jim Carrey relevant or entertaining anymore, if so, you definitively need to carefully review your viewing habits.  This failed tale of dueling illusionists is directed by Don Scardino who, if you have never heard of before, you are in good company, and based on this cinematic disaster it may be the last time you hear of him at all.   What has happened to Hollywood?  Is there a writer's strike ongoing that I am unaware of.  Maybe Tinseltown has developed an allergy to actually making money.  Or could it be some sort of tax shelter thing.   Either way it is becoming more and more apparent that the ideas of originality, creativity, and quality are utterly ignored, even outdated among the over paid and out of touch executives in Callyland.  0 out of 5 Kernels: the only real magic that would have impressed me is if this movie had disappeared.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

One Minute Movie Review: The Bay

Okay, its official, the POV or first person film production has finally reached the proper level of ad nauseum. So has, the so called, Mockumentary, with all of the authenticity and originality of the concept being unfortunately exhausted by the sheer litany of films released over the last few years.  Those facts are blanatly obvious in this latest incarnation.   Oscar winning director Barry Levinson unsuccessfully tries his hand at this style of cinema with an thoroughly lackluster and outright silly alleged horror story that is very loosely based in sciencetific fact.   To put it in a nutshell, or Isopod Shell, it's just not scary, or even engaging or entertaining.  Instead you end of with almost an hour and a half of unrealistic and tedious narration, found footage that is to clean and well produced to look as such, and zero suspense, thrills, or chills.  The effects look like they were produced by a first year film effects student and the script is so disorganized and disjointed, it simply does not tell the story well.  All of the alleged terror and tension of the premise can not be explored and, therefore, achieve the desired impact on the audience.  Add into that acting that is simply terrible lacking any and all credibility required to pull off this style of movie.   An epic fail for a director who has established himself as a power player in the industry.    0 out of 5 Kernels: in conclusion, the Bay’s attempted frights end up stagnate and the plot about these dangerously still waters run extremely shallow.  

One Minute Movie Review: A Good Day to Die Hard

Some films are so good, to even attempt any kind of a sequel lessens the quality and impact of the original.  Even more so, there are those franchises that methodically reach new heights of awfulness and overplay that you wish they would just stop and let the chronology die, “hard” if necessary.  This is the case with this fifth, and prayerfully final installment of the saga which chronicles the misadventures of the most unlucky and nearly indestructible cop, John McClane.  This go round it is a family affair.   Where Die Hard was, in my opinion, a modern cinematic classic, redefined the action film, and single handily launched Bruce Willis' career into super stardom, the following films simply prove that Hollywood will do anything to keep what they perceive is a moneymaker alive, even if that means diluting the concept to a point of outright silliness and absurdity.   This movie demonstrates that unfortunate truth in sheer volume with effects so overdone they feel and look utterly false.  As far as acting, if Willis' had phoned in his performance any more so, it would have reduced this flick to a Verizon commercial.  Jai Courtney, who plays Son of McClane, is possibly the worst actor to have ever graced the silver screen, his portrayal is so stale, I have seen croutons with more flavor and appearance.  The remaining cast fares little better.  The villains were apparently only entertaining to director John Moore as was the story, both were boring, unrealistic, and outright goofy at best.  Moore has a pretty solid resume including one of my favorite Sci Fi features, Pitch Black.  So this was a real disappointment.   0 out of 5 Kernels: Please let this series die already, I have been forced to mourn the originality and excitement of the first four times now.  

One Minute Movie Review: G.I Joe: Retaliation

A ridiculously goofy movie with an absolutely ludicrous premise even for a film based on an outlandish cartoon from the 80's.   Director John M Chu, whose feature feats include such cinematic awesomeness as Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, (stated with sarcasm so thick it could successfully fill pot holes on the Jersey turnpike), brings us his overly unrealistic envisioning of the heavily commercialized animated series, which I can't believe, is even a possibility.   The acting is corny, the action more so, even former wrestler and alleged thespian, the Rock, Dwayne Johnson, is unable to add any energy to this WMD (Work of Mass Disappointment) of a film.   The first installment was horrid, this one jettisons, in sheer awfulness, to a whole new level.   0 out of 5 Kernels:  the cartoon's PSA tagline used to be, "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle."  With that said, consider yourself warned. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

One Minute Movie Review: Jack The Giant Slayer

This is latest of the many Fairy Tale reboots, Red Riding Hood, Mirror, Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsmen, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, ect., that have littered the silver screen in the last few years, none of which have been raving successes, to say the least.  So with that in mind, Bryan Singer, of X-Men fame decided to try his hand at the genre retelling the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, which as everyone knows, was a story that was in high demand.  I have never sat through a film, where you literally feel every minute pass by.  I must have hit the status button on the remote at least five times, each time it was followed by a deep sigh when I realized how little of the movie had progressed since my last check in.  To say it was boring would be a "giant" understatement.   But on the bright side, the usage as a non medicinal cure for insomnia may be a plus.   The acting is atrocious, and the cast of characters are about as original as plain Cheerios.  A perfect example is Bill Nighy's regurgitation of his Davy Jones persona, except this time, trapped in the body of a two headed behemoth, nothing new, just a half hearted facsimile.  The biggest question is why newcomer, Nicholas Hoult, of Warm Bodies, a picture I am exceedingly pleased to say I have not, or will ever see,  has a career at all.  He is about as exciting and captivating as Tofu.   The remaining cast is just as silly, with the apex of that ridiculousness being reached through the King's character, which appears to be a deliberate attempt to create a live action version of Lord Farquaad.  The special effects appear to be left overs from the Lord of the Rings, with some of the battle scenes literal recreations from that trilogy.   This is an absolute mess of a movie and an eternal stain on Singer's relatively successful resume.  0 out of 5 Kernels: Fe-Fi-Fo Fum, this film stinks, and is enormously Ho Hum.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

One Minute Movie Review: The Wolverine

I am one of the very rare individuals that actually enjoyed the first film and thought it was an excellent origins story giving the appropriate props to one of the most bad arss and tormented characters in the Marvel Universe.   It was exciting, engaging, well acted, and, I thought, though I am virtually alone, a creative and well constructed script.  Hugh Jackman has defined this character, and I can not imagine anyone else ever being able to top the Aussie action star's incarnation of the steel clawed, nearly immortal, man beast in search of his past.   The sequel surpasses the original in scope and sweep and achieves what few sequels do, the ability to serve as both a continuum to the mythology and a stand alone feature at the same time.  Director James Mangold, whose greatest cinematic feats includes; 5:10 to Yuma, Knight and Day, and Kate and Leopold brings us a remarkable film that brings these characters from the one dimensional world of comics to complete and illustrious life.  An achievement, based on his previous endeavors, I would have thought would be nearly impossible with the content and nature of this type of film.  Both Fan-boys and the general public will enjoy this flick, which is yet another impressive achievement.  In addition, this venture has one thing that most of its kind lack, depth and a strong, believable story, taking in to account this is fantasy fare. The movie is engrossing from start to finish, avoids gimmicks and prevents many, scratch your head moments, or plot holes that many of this style of story tend to own.   This is an adult story with an extremely slick and stylish approach to both this character's strengths and weakness.  Jackman thoroughly impresses again, and the remaining cast act as a fluid unit, interacting with authenticity and passion.   This is how you make a comic book film, edgy and yet hopeful, where you both suffer with and root for the hero.  Meat and potatoes film making at its finest.  Now some will find flaws, especially the dogmatic, but overall a fantastic and exciting journey that leaves a real impression.  4 out of 5 Kernels; no spoilers, but stay through the credits, it will be well worth the wait.