Thursday, January 30, 2014

One Minute Movie Review: Carrie (2013)

This is the second reboot of King's horror classic that strives to feel more like an 80's teen angst movie meets the twilight zone than a truly creepy horror flick which was prevalent in the original 1976 cult favorite.   King's films rarely transpose well on the silver screen, & most lose most of their savor & story in the attempt at a cinema length shock fest.  The reason; King's specialty is the characters more than the tale; their relationships, evolution, victories, & misfortunes.  His novels take along time to develop those facets & the patience that kind of storytelling requires does not transfer well to the LA big wigs assembly line productions that trade big CGI budgets for quality of plot & performance.  It is a sacrifice that deteriorates nearly all of his concepts into little more than cheap thrilled, gore propelled, drive-in fare.   Unfortunately, this film also does not escape that malady.   Although, Chloe Grace Moretz's performance rivals Spacek's in both emotion & authenticity. Her scenes are almost difficult to watch as she plays the tormented teen which such genuineness it is uncomfortable, nearly painful to view.   However, her stellar portrayal can't compete with the lackluster, stereotypical, & two-dimensional performances of her supporting cast.  The story is told too abruptly & tries too hard to be a mimic of the original movie rather than the novel.   Although you connect with Mortez, the rest of the film feels disjointed & over reaching.  Moore also delivers a haunting but somewhat over the top portrayal of Carrie's zealot mom.  Again, feeling too much like a copy of the first film.  Director Pierce is pretty well know for her indie films, I wish she would have poured a little more of that style into this production.  The special effects are sleek and realistic, but I think the build was focused on that element rather than the emotional dysfunction of Carrie & her Mommy Dearest which is the driving force of the book.  2 out of 5 Kernels; one day they'll get the King Equation right, but for now, we will have to settle with the best Hollyweird can deliver.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

One Minute Movie Review: The Way Way Back

Indie films, especially comedies, oft times overplay their hands either becoming overtly folksy, preachy, sappy, or so filled with "inside" jokes & introspection's that the audience is left scratching their collective heads & feeling slightly confused & greatly let down.    The formula & characters are usually so overly complicated & weighed down in symbolism & ideology that they disconnect themselves from the audience & lose all entertainment value.   I am very happy to report that this film does none of those things.  Simple, sweet, effective, heartfelt, authentic, and endearing in both story & performances this movie hits every mark in the exact right spot creating a heartwarming, sometimes painful to watch, & consistently funny picture that shines a genuine reflection of the broken family & its effects on both parents & their offspring.    The cast plays off each with such sincerity & realism that you get completely lost in their characters, relationship, trials, & joys.  It is a tad bit predictable & somewhat gooey at times, but overall it plays fluidly, naturally, avoiding any overkill or polarization.    Rockwell gives one of the coolest performances of his career assisted by quick & biting dialogue & a noticeable honesty in his portrayal of the mentor that is, in fact, a big child himself. Carell has become a master at either playing the reluctant hero or the total douche-bag, I won't spoil which one he achieves this go round.  Don't look for any so called "Oscar" worthy moments, this is a film that understands what it is & doesn't try to be anything more or less.  A gentle Dramedy meant to anger, inspire, engage, & be enjoyed.   Its just too bad many of these smaller budget, bigger quality films, get unnoticed. Even I didn't know it existed until I saw the trailer debuting before a terrible movie.  4 out of 5 Kernels: Living by the moral this film conveys, this flick finds its own path, right to success.

Monday, January 13, 2014

One Minute Movie Review: Elysium

I often avoid reviews before I watch a movie to prevent someone's opinion tainting my blog musings after viewing said flick.  However, this film had such strong disdain, covering a myriad of media outlets, for its overt political and ideological viewpoints that it was difficult to avoid the myriad of conveyed observations.   So I tried to go into this with an open mind despite my exposure to the ramblings of others.  For most, this would seem a intensely focused "swipe" at conservative republican & independents with their misgivings about universal healthcare, alleged support of lessening individual rights in the name of national security, & stances against illegal immigration.  That might work, if those individuals were in power, however, it is the opposing & currently controlling party that has made a mess of our healthcare system, done nothing about "immigration reform" in their almost 8 years of unbridled power, & seem to be at the forefront of NSA monitoring abuses that ignore personal rights & privacy.   Leave that all aside, & this movie still reeks like week old garbage.  The acting is unbelievable, Fosters accent is so strange & unidentifiable it is nearly laughable, Copley hasn't made a decent movie since District 9, & Damon seems listless & bored playing the reluctant hero.  Add into that a poorly told story that is overtly preachy & predictable & almost feels, at times, like leftover footage from District 9.  Of course that was a superior & powerful film about the sins of Apartheid directed by Neil Blomkamp who, ironically, also directed this steaming pile of cinematic crapola, so go figure.  The effects sequences are visually stunning & the action is OK, but neither are capable of saving this  Sci-Fi fail.   0 out of 5 Kernels; thanks to this flop I now have deep concerns if Blomkamp really tries his hand at District 10, Neil it might be best to leave well enough alone.  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

One Minute Movie Review: Red 2

DC Comics has, to this point, with the exceptions of the dreadful Dark Knight trilogy & nearly sacrilegious revamp of Superman, not matched Marvel in its ability to capture audiences' attention, excitement, and, therefore, dollars.  Two of their lesser know attempts, over the past few years, were The Losers, which did just that at the box office, & the Bruce Willis vehicle, Red, meaning Retired Extremely Dangerous, which was a fairly decent flick that achieved mild success.  So being 1 for 2, the brain trust at Lionsgate and Summit decided to take a risk & deliver a sequel to the latter.  Imagine a really geriatric version of the Expendables with fewer guns & glory, but with a slightly more intriguing plot & humor.    This time the director of the mildly funny, mostly corny, Galaxy Quest, Dean Parisot steps into the big chair to try his hand at the action spy genre.   So to keep this simple, I'll give you a quick glimpse into the good, the bad, & the ugly of this fare.  The good: Willis exudes a McClane like charm and energy in this film, unlike his last three Die Hard installments, & the remaining cast is very entertaining & "click" well together.   The bad: silly plot with even more silly action sequences that are so over the top that they are comical on accident.  The ugly: this could have been an exceptionally cool film, especially drawing from the returning & added talent pool; instead it feels lazily crafted, grabbing for a few, sleek effects & sequences, & creating a so-called complicated story line that ends up being more predictable & downright goofy than thrilling and effective. These factors eclipse any potential this film may have possessed.   However, if you're not looking to "think" too hard & just want a fun ride of a picture than Red 2 delivers.  2 out of 5 Kernels: one of those, coulda, woulda, shoulda of's.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

One Minute Movie Review: The Internship

The question should be is Owen Wilson, in any situation, funny or entertaining?  The answer, is an absolutely resounding no.  Add into that evidence this disaster of a film which is, in truth, just a boring, silly, predictable, uninspiring, and barely watchable one hundred and nineteen minute long commercial for Google.   This movie is as funny as an Html seminar, engaging as defragmenting your hard drive, and further reason why I use Bing as my one and only search engine.  Vince Vaughn and Shawn Levy wrote this celluloid crapola and must truly hate their fans.  I can vaguely see their attempt at Revenge of the Nerds for the next generation, but that vision is quickly obstructed by all the metaphorical spewing oil and rocketing debris of this train wreck.  Vaughn has been in some solid comedies, its a shame he had the moment of insanity that propelled him to do this farce.    0 out of 5 Kernels: if you Google fecal matter, a thumbnail of this film should pop up.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One Minute Movie Review: R.I.P.D

Think one part MIB, one part Ghostbusters, and throw in a little dash of Ghost and you get the hodgepodge that is this film.  The director of Red and Flight plan, two well written and produced movies, Robert Schwentke, brings us a bizarre myriad of tricky camera work, somewhat funny attempts at death humor, Jeff Bridges, as what is best described as a parody of his own version of Rooster Cogburn minus the eye patch, and cartoonish, nearly absurd special CGI creature effects.   In addition, can somebody please explain to me why Ryan Reynold's agent hasn't been fired yet with the plethora of bad movie choices he has played in as overwhelming evidence as to their incompetence.   If you think Green Lantern was bad, this is just one level better if that can be gauged as an improvement.  And does Kevin Bacon really have to be the villain in every film now.  This time around his performance is so bad he validates the ham substance that defines his last name. The concept is unique and, I have to say, it kept my interest, which is disturbing, but the script and the story just kept coming up short of their true potential and the acting is so over the top, that the film becomes downright silly right out of the gate.   When it tries to be intentionally funny, the humor is sub-par and lazy at best.   2 out of 5 Kernels: this could have been a decent flick, but it ended up DOA.