Kingsman: The Secret Service

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WARNING: Mild Spoilers

Harry Hart owes a life debt to a fallen friend, Lancealot, whilst working for a socially elites group of people who are Britain’s best undercover spies called: Kingsmen. They all take names from King Arthers fairy tales, and some even exude qualities of their mythical counter parts. Regardless, Gary “Eggsy” Unwin grew up as a social delinquent. He eventually gets arrested and calls on the Kingsmen to get him out of trouble. They do and decide to recruit him for their undercover training program.

I consider most British comedies wittier then most American comedies due to well placed sight gags or very well crafted dialogue. This one lacked in some areas on good gags and smarm, but it made up for with well crafted crass humor. Colin Firth played the straight man to Taron Egerton‘s young and foul mouthed teenager. Many examples can be seen in the various trailers out there. Other times its simple pokes at American stereotypes or in your face violence. Oddly enough I found myself snickering at some of the violent scenes involving a racist church group they eventually investigate. Other times it was at the blatant references to just about every other spy film ever made while still trying to formulate a ironic style of humor while still honoring the genera.

I didn’t care for the film’s jumbled development. Many times Taron Egerton’s character jumps between lovable dumbass to killing machine back to being a arrogant prick. You’d think after months of training he’d know how to do something simple like open a parachute. Also the anti-US American undertones were a tad obnoxious. They were consistent and only seemed to be berating the ‘evil corporate American companies are trying to kill you’ lunacy that seems to plague every other story now-a-days. Also it isn’t plausible that one of the crucial parts of the story involves mass genocide and all the billionaires in the world just being OK with it. Because once society has toppled what good is their money? Who will run their power plants or make their food? Oh wait. No one will, because everyone is DEAD. There’s a definite spike between different styles of humor after a main character dies. In the beginning it’s a mixture of mellow, wit, wry, and crass humor. After the main character dies then it becomes oafish and pure crass. It isn’t that its too jarring, but it’s REALLY noticeable. So if you think all of a sudden the jokes become crappier then thats just letting you know you’re near the end of the movie.

Colin Firth was decent as a stern sophisticated person without giving into his past experience with roles. Mark Strong played a good guy for once and while not showing a lot of strength in anything he did seem to know how seem convincing he was a master of all trades. Mark Hamill is a bumbling professor and plays it rather well. It’s different since he usually plays a stronger male role, even as a villain. Taron Egerton was good as a jackass, but most of his acting was reactionary due to the script so I don’t think it’s a good example of his acting. Samuel L Jackson was great as the villain, but it seemed like he needed to tighten up some areas and be a little more aggressive or assertive. Other wise he was rather good and made someone with a lisp rather creepy.

Most spy films that try to be comedies fail by hiring writers who don’t know how to blend the two genera or the comedy becomes too experimental. This was a nice balance of everything without having one genera overpower the other. The characters were likable, even if mildly cliché. The story might be bland to some people, but how everything is set up separates it from the rest of the genera. Kingsman might not go down as a comedy classic, but it will definitely be brought up in conversation frequently.

See it in theaters.

7.5/10

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 Movie Review

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WARNING: SPOILERS

In the long slew of gross out movies that Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson seem to be fond of making this is probably their darkest yet. The crew from the previous film is back, with exception to Adam (John Cusack), and are shoved into the future. There they try to find out what happens to Lou (Rob Corddry) and why people are trying to kill him. As they bumble about they run into a few new faces and they find out that his life, as well as a few others, are completely in shambles.

Now usually some sequels either extend the series or do a good job at filling all plot holes. This successfully only adds more plot holes and leaves the previous ones unanswered. They only briefly bring back Chevy Chase‘s character (the Hot Tub Repairman) for two sentences and then disappears again. Thus not answering why he’s there nor how he can just come and go as he pleases. They joke about Cusack‘s character disappearing and then don’t explain why. Then they form new plot holes like why Lou decided to become a jerk again since at the end of the previous movie he seemed rather generous with his friends and liked his son. So he went from loud lummox of the group, to being the most immoral person in the film. It’s suggested he slept with peoples wifes and did more drugs then before with reason as to why and would verbally abuse his coworkers. They also bring up Adam Jr (Adam Scott) who is suppose to be Adam’s son, but don’t explain that well.

The crux of any comedy is the jokes. They deviated from the previous formula they had and make just about every joke darker or gross. One of the grossest scenes in the movie highlights the slow moral degrade of most TV game shows, but it takes it too far when they do more then imply possible forced sexual acts. It ruined the latter half of the movie for me since it made me wonder if I heard sounds of rape or just someone who was grunting in pain due to a lot of electricity flowing through their body. Other times they are just hating on Jacob (Clark Duke) and it isn’t funny because most of it is from Lou and he has no room to talk. It’s a total oxymoron for someone who has poor impulse control to throw shade about his son who’s just hasn’t found himself yet.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 wasted a movie going experience by rehashing the previous storyline. With the small, and ignorable plot holes, of the previous movie were only exasperated in the fact that they were brought back up with stupid dialogue, and just as quickly dismiss. Then sprinkle some very disgusting humor and offset it with other forms of humor and it makes them feel largely incongruous. Quality doesn’t seem to mean anything this time since the jokes are guilty of being average or bland. None of the characters developed any and even at the end they are only slightly less crass. So it seemed like a fruitless endeavor for them.

I’d wait for this one on DVD before thinking about seeing it.

5.5/10

Seventh Son Movie Review

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Master Gregory is the last living warrior of a clan, called Spooks, known for fighting off evil spirits. His claim to fame is that he imprisoned Mother Malkin, a all powerful witch, a long time ago. The local church informs him that the a local girl is possessed and he sees to if after getting throughly drunk. At the local church they do their best to exorcise the child. He performs his own counter spells and out pops Mother Malkin. As she falls into his trap, she kills his apprentice, and escapes. She then goes out to rebuilt her fallen empire. Gregory then sets off to find the “Seventh Son” to help defeat her before she can rule the world.

This is one of the most standard movies I’ve seen in a while. It’s predictable, has a steady pace if not slow at times, and most of all it’s kinda boring. It falls along the same storyline of a guy having some need to find the mystical chosen one for some exceedingly difficult task. Just like the Matrix, the Hobbit, or even most of the Elder Scrolls videogame series. After that there’s a mild kinda training montage with a series of tests. Then theres really contrived love subplot between the chosen one and a villain. It’s explained, but all the interactions are something to be desired. Half the time it seemed like he was just a horny dude and the ladies actions were so obvious the blind could see what she’s doing. Then theres the other love story subplot between Master Gregory and Mother Malkin that is nearly non-existent. Plot holes this size aren’t forgivable and I lost interest about the two characters whenever they interacted. From a viewer perspective its discouraging because the back story between the two love birds needs to be told in order to place empathy and some kind of concern for their welfare.

That’s the main problem that this movie has: it struggles to develop anything. The characters are almost copy pasted out of other movies. Like: Gregory is the stereotypical war vet who’s a cynic and drinks too much. Thats only every other hero ever told in just about ever movie/book/video game genera out there. Malkin is the bad guy in the film with little to no explanation as to why she wants to rule over the world other then “just because.” At least over the top James Bond villains had an excuse. Some hated society, some wanted to change society, and with Malkin it’s implied she wants to destroy it or get revenge, but its not throughly talked about. Its appalling that the main two characters are as deep as a puddle. Everything is really spelled out in simple sentences and nothing is drawn out to any length to give a impression that there’s any growth amongst anything.

Jeff Bridges add some character to Master Gregory, but comes off as being completely odd. He talks with some kind of accent, but since no one else does, nor anywhere they visit, seems to have this kind of accent it sticks out like a soar thumb. Some people are sure to like his strange characters quips, but its usually hit or miss with this movie depending on the scenes circumstances. Ben Barns was probably the worst in the film. His acting and delivery on most spots were stale. Also the chemistry between him and Alicia Vikander was exceedingly forced. Alicia Vikander was OK for the most part, but failed to get emotional intense when needed. Julianna Moore is as good as ever, but her character was so average that I don’t think her acting could help that.

The Seventh Son boils down to having a stale plot and some very average fighting scenes. They spent more time changing into dragons or fighting then doing anything else. Everyones acting is here and there and is jumbled between good acting and rather stale pieces. The visuals are alright, but with so many contrived and cliche things thrown on top of it it doesn’t do anything to improve the situation. For a fantasy movie this is a very average experience and I’d recommend almost anything that’s come out in the last 10 years over this.

I’d wait till this one came out on DVD.

4.5/10

American Sniper Movie Review

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Chris Kyle is a down and out ranch hand. He falls in love with a girl at a bar and marries her. They fall on financial hard times so he joins as the Navy and signs up to become a SEAL sniper. He becomes known for his pinpoint accuracy and helps stop some of Al-Qaeda’s worst killers. It eventually becomes known that him, and his team, become so damaging that they get a bounty put on their head. He eventually retires and goes home. He then suffers from PTSD and continues to want to help other.

This is a beautifully tragic movie and I’m going to try to avoid all of the controversy that’s been in the news lately about this film. So if you want some kind of philosophical discussion of the real Chris Kyle go somewhere else. This is just a review of the movie, that took a few dozen liberties with the story. I will be labeling this as a ‘historic’ movie, despite that. Also even though they took several liberties with the story that didn’t ruin the movie nor diminish it’s central themes.

War movies have a tendency of being giant propaganda pieces. In all honesty this movie only kinda was a propaganda movie. It’s propaganda in the sense that it’s a huge anti-war movie. It’s does a rather large elaborate job of stressing how bad war is and how it impacts the families involved, regardless if they are on the front lines or not. There were several very powerfully bad (i.e. violent) scenes that involved Arabic families basically caught in the middle and either A) being casualties of war or B) they’d panic, run, and step on a land mine or something. On top of that it does show the real struggle of aftermath of war as well. It didn’t cover as much of the movie as the war did, but it still made the statement noticeable after Chris Kyle came home. Also Chris seems to come off as a head strong individual who was hired to do a job and did it well to keep his fellow soldiers alive, and himself.

Now don’t get me wrong there are a few dozen scenes of former, or current, armed forces members thanking Chris Kyle and telling him how awesome he is. This didn’t glorify anything for me because you don’t bite the hand that feeds you so to speak. Lets say sniper friend and you were deployed to the middle east, in a hot zone. I don’t think it would be appropriate timing to bring up that you think his wife is a whore or the haircut he has makes him look like a homosexual. Sure they can say nothing to the guy, but humans have a tendency to be either blunt or social. So him not running into comments about his abilities would be fucking weird. Also there were a dozen or so scenes where there were ‘close calls.’ Like in one scene a terrorist was on a roof about to do whatever to the US troops below. You hear a loud bang and then a dead body drops a few feet away from one of the front line patrols. Cheesy, and kinda Hollywood-esk, but I’ve read enough History books to know this shit happens nearly all the time.

Most American war movies do come off as a too patriotic movie portraying the USA as some kind of good guy. With this one, well, I don’t think so. For every American soldier who gets shot in the film, the same amount of Arabic people die. So for the most part it did a fair balance of portraying the Arabic people as confused, scared, and generally upset people that they have to deal with war for the millionth time. It also portrayed many soldiers as people who were just there to do a job, despite it’s grittiness. So even go on to complain that they don’t know why they’re there or don’t see the point. It basically stressed that many were unhappy with the things they were doing, or just unsure.

This point I’m about to make should be rather obvious to most: the major downsides to this movie is that it is very, very dark. You see children die. If you get emotionally attached to any character they have a likability of dying. Yes, its a war movie and those themes have been shown before, but the visuals are a little different. With this one it shows a more modern day approach where the enemy in the movies uses everything they can to kill the protagonist and his friends. This is pretty much the way it is with most real life situations, but in the past movies would shy away from that. While it’s a brutal idea to conceive, its still realistic.

Bradley Cooper did a decent job, but I can’t say there was much to the character. He was a gruff kinda guy and didn’t speak until either A) he had he needed to say or B) was prompted. Other wise he seemed like the average Joe who went to war. I’m not sure it would be right for the Academy to give him a Oscar for that. Keir O’Donnell did a decent job as Cooper‘s brother. He did better on some of the more comical parts in the beginning of the movie. Sienna Miller was as the distressed wife at home. Sure, it’s just a wife role, but not many can be so convincingly intense. Other then that there isn’t that many repeat characters that stick around.

This is one of the most powerful movies I’ve seen in a while. Its unique to see a character so strong headed and duty based. Most movies I’ve been running into lately the good guy is jaded or too over the top to be realistic. Its like all of them have dead relatives and decide to go on alcohol benders. However, this is based in damn reality and so everything is plausible. Regardless of what people say about this movie its mostly the ballad of someone who went to war long enough to survive it. This movie isn’t about America. It isn’t about politics. It isn’t even about the USA’s influence in the middle east. It’s one mans journey to do as much good as he can, for as many people as he can, for as long as he can, and to help the world live a better life in the future.

If you want to see a well made movie, see this.

8.5/10

Unbroken Movie Review

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WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS

Louis “Louie” Zamperini, and US Olympian, is trying to sort out his life. He eventually joins the air force during WW2. He gets shipped out and his first flight crew gets shot up. They crash land safely back on the main base and then relax some in Hawaii. They eventually get geared up and get shipped back out, again. This time they crash land in the ocean and most of the crew dies. Eventually the Japanese find them and take them as prisoners.

Many are upset because this didn’t get a Best Picture Oscar nomination. Well for 1) Boo hoo and 2) the reason it didn’t get a Best Picture nomination because it was mildly boring. This is a great film. It has some great inspirational parts. It shows very tasteful violence, rather the in your face visuals like Saving Private Ryan or Fury. It also has some decent character development for the main characters. The MAJOR down side is that it has painfully long scenes where it’s nothing but scenery or waiting for something to happen. Like the first 30 minutes of the movies basically portrays the young Zamperini as a young douche, but a justifiable douche since people can’t seem to find better things to do in the 50s then to live up to stereotypes and beat on the only Italian kid in town. The next 10 are about his Olympic achievements and him going into the air force during WW2. After that it’s about a HOUR of them sitting on a rafter and suffering from sunburn, dehydration, and eating birds or fish raw.

Later in the film he gets caught by the Japanese. They basically beat the shit out of him for the next our in various fashions. More stuff happens. The guards there play mindgames. Eventually Mutsuhiro ‘The Bird’ Watanabe is introduced and is the main antagonist from then on. In all honesty not a whole lot happens. Yes, it shows the resilience of Mr. Zamperini and his flat out determination to not be broke by a bunch of sadistic people, and you know, not die. But I’m sure we’ve all seen this before.

Jack O’Connell was great as a smart-ass ish kinda role while still portraying Zamperini as a very level headed man in extreme conditions. His best scene was with the main antagonist. His face poured hatred for the man, but sat there with dignity while Watanabe said he got a promotion. Domhnall Gleeson was good as Zamperini’s friend Phil, however there wasn’t much to the role. He, like Zamperini, was basically whipped the crap out of a lot. He was the softer soul during some of the more intense scenes and did them very well. Takamasa Ishihara was the infamous Watanabe. He was probably one of the more stand out performances from the movie. He did a great job portraying someone totally sadistic and just out right strange at times.

This is a great inspirational story, but it’s rather boring due to the drawn out scenes. Yes it has a positive message of ‘never give up on yourself,’ but we’ve seen it before. Also with this being a World War 2 movie I kinda found it to be drab. Do we really need to be reminded we fought the Japanese again? On top of that there are better WW2 prison movies, like The Great Escape. For a more positive note: it’s BEAUTIFULLY shot, fantastic music scores and has some great acting in it. It’s worth watching in theaters or at least once.

6.5/10

Exodus: Gods and Kings Movie Review

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King Seti is dying and about to pass the throne on to Ramses. His best friend, and high adviser, Moses has plans that need to be carried out for the people of Egypt and sustain the kingdom. Ramses gets side tracked with rumors and enjoying his rule over the Jewish people. Ramses finds out that Moses is a Jew and has a sister. He gets upset by this and casts Moses out. In turn Moses wonders the desert until he finds a remote village that takes him in. Then one night while looking for his lost sheep he believes he encounters God and is told about his peoples suffering.

Most religious films piss me off with their canned acting, terrible dialogue, just feeling dated, or spending too much time focusing on the terrible things that happened. Much like most of Charlton Hestons movies, and acting. Yes, I know I’m taking a pot shot at someone huge, but I’m just as entitled to my opinion just as you are to disagree with my opinion. This surprised me by striking a balance between history and the religious tones without coming off as oppressively preachy or depressing. Also I don’t understand the stupid controversy huffed up about this movie. “Hurr they didn’t hire Egyptian Actors!” Well hue hue hue to you too. No disrespect to the International Egyptian Actors community, but I don’t know of any Egyptian actors, even from the Golden Era of cinema. Also this is directed by Ridley Scott for fucks sake. He isn’t going to hire nobodies or poor actors for his films. He hired all really well rounded actors and got good performances out of all of them.

The movie is beautifully scenic. A lot of the shots add a huge amount of atmosphere to various dramatic scenes and almost looked painted. However this draw back to this is that some really beautiful shots will take up a good bit of time. Yes it sets a soothing mood, but I feel it’s strange since in the next few scenes Moses will be wielding a sword and killing people left and right. Another odd thing is that when the plagues descended upon Egypt they spent only a small amount of time on it, which is fine, but I don’t feel they made it as gruesome as it was made out to be in the Bible. Sure they didn’t want to make it too rough for a Christmas movie, but it really devastated the economy of Egypt and it was only given maybe 5 minutes of the film. I’m not saying they needed to show the gore, but telling a little more of the impact would have helped. Like they had a great scene where random poor people broke into a wheat storage building and starting stealing the wheat. Now of course the empire retaliates by setting them on fire. In turn it burns half of the wheat in the building. If it gave more examples of the chaos that ensued I think it would have helped the film out. The only other real weakness of this film is that we’ve seen/heard this one before at least once. With a heavily Jewish influence in the media today it’s difficult not to notice.

Christian Bale gives a solid performance. Oddly enough it mirrors some of his more serious roles while still having a solemn and calm undertones. Joel Edgerton was moody and did well displaying subtle rage without looking canned. It’s one of the more difficult ones to do since everyone seems to think ever you over do it or looking more constipated then angry. John Turturro is always a reliable actor. He’s one of my favorite bit actors, but this performance wasn’t one of his best. I don’t know if the role was written to seem stuffy, but it seemed off with everyone behaving with a little more of a natural feel then, well, him. Ben Mendelsohn did a great job appearing as a elites asshole who really loved power, and considerably racist. Most everyone else had minor bit parts and I don’t feel right to critique them on maybe less then 10 lines in the entire movie.

I enjoyed this film, even for a religious piece. It was structurally balanced and had enough themes to warrant it as a Christmas movie. So it wasn’t too graphic. The acting was decent with a strong performance from the main characters. The only major weakness it has is that if you pay attention to anything American, or Christian, or any kind of Christmas movie ever, then you’ve probably heard this story before. If you like this kinda movie, or the actors, then I’d see it at least once.

6.5/10

The Interview Movie Review

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Dave Skylark is a trash celebrity show host. His producer Aaron Rapoport gets verbally beat down by a former colleague about his career choice, rather then taking on serious journalism. Rapoport asks Skylark to help change the tone of the show. So they agree to make the show about legitimate news stories. The next day they start researching and find out that the leader of North Korea is a big fan of the show. So Rapoport asks one of his connections in North Korea to interview him. They get a call back from North Korea’s US ambassador and set up the interview.

I liked this film for the most part. However I need to point out that there wasn’t really any reason for all the hype. Yeah I can see how the North Koreans might be offended by all of this, but it is purely fantasy. To a certain extent it seems to blend the right amount of reality and hokey, almost, cold war like jokes to make a serious subject just down right funny and separate it from its real world context. Most of the comedy are stupid mishaps which could happen during any spy movie or behind the scenes of a show. So it makes it feel more plausible. As for the political side, I doubt there was that many political undertones. I honestly didn’t notice any. Sure they have violent song demonizing America, just like in North Korea. However it takes a lighter tone, politically, just by leaving out some of the more serious issues of that nation. It only touched lightly on them to push the story along.

The development between the characters was entertaining to watch. Franco and Rogan were a interesting dynamic since usually they’re both idiots. The love story between Seth Rogan and Diana Bang was cute. Usually romances in spy movies either feel forced, sappy, or even cliche. The subplot didn’t really miss a beat with all the comedy and was apart of the jokes. That’s what I love about the characters of this film. It very much feels like they are apart of the joke or they are a walking joke. Their personality just seems quirky enough that it seems to help with the pacing of the jokes and gives some credibility of being plausible.

As for the acting goes, everyone did rather well. James Franco was great in this jerky shallow, yet lovable, role. Seth Rogan compliments Franco as the straight man in this film. This was different from most of his roles and hopefully he’ll pursue more serious roles. Lizzy Caplan was lovely and stern as the CIA agent who recruits them. Randall Park (who played President Kim) was cartoonish in some areas, but did well coming off as subtlety creepy. I thought he excelled in the kinda comical areas where Kim admitted to Skylark that he loved Katy Perry and tons of other American stuff. But, hey, who doesn’t like Katy Perry? Diana Bang did a decent job being a complete stereotype that we see in every other spy movie involving screaming Asians. Although she didn’t ham it up too much so it wasn’t oppressive.

This was a strange movie to say the least. It’s filled with random sight gags, situational humor, and well timed crass humor. The humor doesn’t interrupt the pace of the story and compliments the characters well. It might not make you bust out laughing, but it’ll give you a warm smirk throughout the film. It, unlike most other Rogan/Goldberg movies, had tasteful gore rather then trying to mirror Quentin Tarantino level of grotesque effects. I’m not sure if there was any political commentary, but it was a fun movie to watch for New Years Day.

Try to at least see it once. However you should remember that the humor in the trailer is pretty much the standard throughout the film.

7.5/10

Horrible Bosses 2 Movie Review

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Warning: MILD SPOILERS about stuff.

Nick Hendricks, Kurt Buckman, and Dale Arbus invent a new show gadget and try to market it on a TV show to find investors. Bert Hanson calls them up and invites them to talk about a contract. He tells them to invest in the product. They go out and buy up a shop, employees, and basically put themselves in debt. They go back to Hanson and announce that they’ve completed his order. Hanson informs them that he plans to not buy anything from them so they can go bankrupt and he can buy them out. Since they didn’t sign a contract he doesn’t owe them squat. So this is when they decide to hatch a plot for revenge.

This was only mildly funny to me. The jokes were hit and miss. I found myself only snickering half the time and rolling my eyes the other half. It was like a weird mesh between Always Sunny and Arrested Development. The weirder thing for me is that I even found characters I hated in a COMEDY of all places. Also due to how the script was written I think they underused some talent they had. Although this was a nice stretch for some into other roles in the future I’m not sure it will help them that much. To a certain extent it was like a transition role for some in this film.

Most of the jokes were a strange mixture of everything. I like it, but its a stark smash in the face when it goes from crass humor half the movie to something that’s damn near cute-ish. Also everyone did a decent job delivering said jokes. There was only about two I think were stale, but that’s because it’s a over used bit. In the very beginning they are displaying their new invention and one person is behind a see through shower pumping a water pump. Of course it makes it looks like some sort of homosexual act. Yes funny, but it’s been done a lot. There was another joke that involved Jennifer Aniston‘s character being particularly disgusting and there’s a fine line between doing a smutty character and then there’s the other half where it’s down right repulsive. It comes off either stalker-ish or insinuates rape. To say the least it was a poorly done joke about rape, but I find those kinds of jokes abhorrent anyway. The way it was done was disgustingly cringe worthy. This made me think that she was the worst character in the whole movie. For those who have PTSD problems and ‘trigger words’ consider this your warning. Its at the very tail end of the film if that helps and some at the beginning.

I didn’t mind the acting, but it wasn’t a stretch for many of them. Jason Bateman, whom I’ve never been able to fully watch anything of his, does the same role as many of his other movies/tv shows. He’s essentially the straight man amongst two or more idiots and gets sucked into their stupidity. This is bad because I think he can act, like so many others, and either doesn’t get the diverse roles or just like doing the same crap over and over. Jason Sudeikis, whom I thought always decent on SNL, played parallel to Charlie Day in being completely stupid characters. Sudeikis is strange, loud, and angry half the time and it fits well, but I’ve seen him do this done a few times. Day essentially plays the same role of as his Always Sunny character. They’re both funny, but essentially the same characters. Jennifer Aniston plays a great villain and its welcoming since she’s always been type cast as that damn Friends character for the longest time. That being said she was convincing enough that I hated her damn character. Kevin Spacey was spastic and strange. He brought the darker side of comedy to this movie and did it well. Jamie Foxx seems better as bad guys from the few things I’ve seen him in. His lines in this one seemed a little more genuine. Chris Pine was a decent as a bad guy in this one, but it needs a little work. Or maybe it was the script, who knows.

This movie is a decent comedy. I don’t think it will go down as anything big, but it’ll have enough to give a few a chuckle. It had a mixture of crude, silly, cute, situational, wry, and even slapstick humor. The acting was varied and for some it might be distracting now and then. The story is steady and has some different kind of twists, but might be predictable to some. It’s worth a watch at least once.

6.0/10

Fury Movie Review

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WARNING: SPOILERS

It’s sometime during World War 2 and a tank battalion loses everyone but one tank. In the mists of the fight one of the crew members gets killed. So they roll into the nearest US base and are immediately assigned a new gunner. Unfortunately, he’s a typist and doesn’t know a thing about tanks. They haze the rookie by making him clean out their gut and blood covered tank hoping it would toughen him up to what he’s about to face.

I liked this movie, but it was very intensely gory. This is basically Saving Private Ryan if the beaches of Normandy lasted for 2 hours and 30 minutes. Some areas don’t involve the in your face gore, but it shows it very subtly. Which is neat since most movies now-a-days are either shaking the camera in order to give it a ‘realistic’ feel or showing blood and guts every 6 seconds and so in your face for so long it becomes obnoxious. This shows a image and the gore is hidden in the image. It’s weird, but it slowly builds up a very dreary and morose atmosphere. Like there’s one scene where it’s showing a artistic shot of a tank rolling through mud. If you look long enough you can see the uniform of a soldier. Then as it slowly rolls over the uniform it can clearly be seen that the soldier is still in it, but others have run over him about a million times already. It’s gross and brutal, but it shows the unforgiving nature of war rather then spend half the movie about the soldiers wanting to go home, like many others do.

The thing I liked about this film the most was the different characters. They didn’t rely off of stereotypes or tropes of most war movies. In turn it gave many of them a more genuine feel. Like Jon Bernthal (Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis) was a hardcore redneck who knew he wasn’t ever going to be rich and wasn’t worth for much other then labor or, as he put it a few times, killing. This isn’t seen much in movies, or at least this kind of character isn’t given that much screen time. Many war movies they are the first to go insane and become just another ‘bad guy’ and get killed. Shia LaBeouf (Boyd “Bible” Swan) was a crazed Bible thumper who is suffering from various parts of PTSD while still trying to do his job. This is another one you don’t see too often merely on the fact that strongly religious people are either mocked, chastised by newly found atheist allies, or flat out made to look like their completely insane. While it was obvious he had problems, the character didn’t wane from his beliefs and still respected his fellow allies. Even if they gave him a weird looks while he recited Bible verses they respected him enough to keep their mouth shut. Brad Pitt (Don “Wardaddy” Collier) was a cool to the core Sergeant who didn’t give any fancy “we’re going to win” speeches. This, from my experience, are what seasoned veterans are like. They might not be as cold, but they weren’t like Patton, who was a little flashy. Logan Lerman was the everyman. Instead of having long speech about how killing was wrong and how he had to do it for whatever reason his change was gradual and without dramatizations. Which was nice to see. Due to all this it built a foundation for a more believable look into soldiers lives during wartime. Michael Pena was basically the guy with really bad PTSD and sever depression. Now in a lot of movies he’d go insane or be given a medical discharge from the movie, then never seen from again. This was refreshing because it showed they could be worked with while doing their job.

While it included a slew of familiar faces, and A Lister Brad Pitt, I’d say everyone did exceptionally well. Brad Pitt did a great job playing a hard nosed war machine who pretty much knew what he was doing and how to corral a bunch of rough necks. Shia LaBeouf did exceptionally well as the stressed out religious Bible thumper and seemed extra weird for this performance. Jon Bernthal needs to stop impressing me or I might start rallying behind the guy to get him a Oscar nod. He’s demonstrated a various amount of range from the movies I’ve seen him in, especially since he was a nervous wreck in the last film I saw him in: Snitch. While, yes, he is usually cast as a bad guy in this movie he’s the redneck who’s crass to everyone and was rather convincing. He was great as one of the good guys who knows what good is but does it in his own way. Logan Lerman has always been a subtle leading man while picking roles who were more conservative then the characters they interacted with. So this married up to his other roles, but it was a stronger performance due to the subject matter. Michael Pena was good as the standard depress and over worked soldier, but many will have seen this performance before. However when he does get lines he nails them out of the park and makes the character different enough to warrant the audiences attention. Other then that everyone’s elses role was small, but not negligible. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to compliment or constructively criticize others, but the movies doesn’t much leave the tank they are in.

Fury is above average when it comes to WW2 movies. This is a very worn genera, but this breaths new life into these kinds of movies just by simply telling a different kind of story. It’s different approach in character development, its presentation of the tragedies involved, and even the way it shows other perspectives of war without making the people involved look psychotic is welcoming. All of the acting involved was top notch. The visuals were stunning, grotesque, and a little different then most. All in all this is a great WW2 film and it would be a good idea to add it to your collection once it comes out.

7.5/10

Dumb and Dumber To Movie Review

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Lloyd Christmas has become catatonic after the first Dumb and Dumber movie. Harry Dunne visits him every day. Eventually Lloyd admits it was a prank and Harry confesses he needs a kidney transplant. So they go to visit Harry’s parents looking for a possible donor. There they give him mail they’ve collected for him over the years. One of the letters is from Fraida Felcher saying she’s pregnant with Harry’s kid. Then the adventure begins…

This is no where near as good as the first one. It’s also really sad when I can summarize it in one word: lame. The story felt forced after the first 30 minutes. The character development was rushed, unlike the first one. A good half the film is either a rehash or referencing the first one. The characters are stupider then before, which feels unrealistic. Why? Because people that stupid don’t live into their 50s or however old the characters are. To a certain extent this hurts the story more then some of the cliches in the writing. Which is bad since the story is almost one for one with the original. Like something happens. They meet someone who befriends them that tries to kill them. It turns out the loved one of whomever is trying to extort money, etc. etc. etc.

The other thing that bothers me about it is that it’s riddled with cliches. The set up, the timing, the conniving wife, well ya, we’ve see it before. It’s all writes itself a bad detective story with morons in it. Unlike the original is that the original that slowly led up to things and has a smoother flow throughout the movie. Then my next problem with it is the comedy. A lot of the comedy in the original was what I call “casually dumb”. Its kinda honest mistakes but it makes people think you’re dumb. For example: Harry gets pulled over by a state trooper (the always funny and weird Harland Williams). Before Harry stops the state trooper yells at him “PULL OVER!” Harry replies with “No it’s a Cardigan, but thanks for noticin’.” It’s like a honest mistake that makes someone look stupid. Now when something happens in Dumb and Dumber To it’s very much relies off prat falls and painfully stupid lines. A lot of examples can be found in the trailer. It’s very blatant they are dumb at which most of it is cringe worthy.

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are at the top of their game. They fully embrace the characters and you can see that they are nearly the same, if not better, at their performance as the first one. Rob Riggle was only good in one scene where he seemed generally upset. Other then that it reflects much of his other roles and doesn’t seem too much of a stretch for him. Laurie Holden was good as the “bad woman” villain. However, it seemed stale because either she wasn’t unaccustomed to being a turd or as said before the cliches in the story wouldn’t allow her to develop more of the character. Rachel Melvin was a nice addition to the group. She was cute, spunky, and unrealistically stupid in some scenes. She didn’t stand out too much, but her delivery on the comedy was done well despite the material. Kathleen Turner was a reliable talent and helped push the story along.

Dumb and Dumber To is nowhere near what people are making it out to be. It is funny, but the story is no where near as good as the first one. The comedy is funny, but I don’t think it will be as memorable. Much of the acting is on par with what it should be with only a few exceptions. It’s something to see while in theaters, but it will leave a few saying “What?” at some of the jokes or sighing heavily.

5.0/10