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Rough Night (2017)
So Poorly Written
This movie worked really hard to be edgy and funny but the writing was really awful. Nothing original and bad to the point of characters actually explaining the jokes as if you don't get the simplistic grade school humor.
I'm a huge fan of Animal House but that was clever and well written and acted. This is not.
Star Trek (2009)
They nailed it with this reboot. Chris Pine is the perfect Kirk - brash and cocky, he reminds us of the young Shatner while making the role his own.
All told, this is the Trek we want and deserve.
Sausage Party (2016)
Sausage Party goes Where You Don't Expect it To Go
Many will say this film is another HArd R for the sake of just being raunchy but this movie manages to be much more than that. I won't do the plot rundown - there's a plot description and trailer for that - what I will say is that the movie has a manic energy and sharp biting satirical edge that had me smiling throughout the film.
The movie makes lots of observations about today's world without hitting you over the head because it's too busy having fun and frankly going places you don't expect. do your best to know ass little as possible about the movie when you go see it - you'll enjoy it that much more.
But whatever you do, don't mistake this for a children's movie. Anybody who takes their kids to see this movie will be doing the wrong thing in a big way.
Suicide Squad (2016)
Not the DeadPool/Guardians Response DC Hoped For
Before the comic book fans decry the subject line let me state that I read comics or graphic novels if you want to get into semantics too. Probably not as much as the guys and gals tagged ass fanboy and fan-girls but enough with Spidey, The Avengers, Fantastic Four, Superman and Batman - hell, even the ancient Legion of Super Heroes form the 60's.
So - that was too much intro to say that Suicide Squad was a fairly incoherent mess that was shot clearly enough for you to witness the mess and also be disappointed at the talent wasted that could have made something special.
Will Smith and Margot Robie were in great form and the film is not unwatchable like a Michael Bay Transformer destructothon. And while I am fully sick of comic book/Super Hero movies always being about a world class catastrophic event or evil that will wipe out/take over ALL the Earth...it's nine to see them just take care of some every day thing...just keep Iran from nuking Israel and we have a film.
But the film goes mystic, with no explanation, our heroes are released because Superman is dead. Now, if your premise rides on the most famous and powerful superhero now being RECENTLY dead, they owe us a flashback or two, like they did for every character in the movie, including the now missing, though never pronounced dead, Batman...who shows up in a couple of scenes for no apparent reason except that someone was telling a story about him, so he appears in their tell a story flashback exposition.
So - at this point we have dead superman, missing Batman and confused Flash, because lo and behold, in one criminal's flashback, it appears that guy gets busted by The Flash. And that's the last we see of the Flash. and based on the fights that come later, The Flash would have been their best superhero..at least we understand what his power really contributes to the fight.
You see, that is the killing point moving forward after some higher up in some black ops version of the CIA or NSA or FBI (I saw Bourne last week and it will scramble you brain with all the code crap)decided that a group of jailed meta-humans (X-Men to Marvel fans)who are serving multiple life sentences for horrific crimes, including the strangest choice among them from a logical point, Harley Quinn who used to be The Joker's Psychiatrist but became obsessed with him and fell in love with him and became as psychotic as him. All fine and good but exactly what power does mercurial, manic, goofy, psychotic thin female with decent martial arts skills with no body armor armed with one 14 round pistol and a baseball bat actually over an gang banger? Much less these meta-enhanced alien spirit people beings or whatever they are. (Trust me, We agree never told) And besides Dead-shot, who can shoot any firearm he finds and hit any target he aims at plus he never seems to need to reload either. So, we know his thing. And the Fire guy, well, he shoots fire when he gets over his angst and gets all Bruce Banner. But then we still have about three more to deal with, A boomerang guy who throws a boomerang that spy's on people, for a little while. Glad they had that! And some other guy who just seemed to hang around and look tense. And they are led by a Special Forces guy who, of course, used to have a relationship with one of the main bad women. That plot description is close to all you really get out this movie. Oh - forgot..there's a guy who's big and is skinned like a big crocodile but with a round face so he just looks like The Thing from Fantastic Four. See, this is where the story, already non-nonsensical, makes things worse. The plan is to send this squad in to fight these two bad people and save the world for a reduction in their sentence, and because they have families to that might want to keep living on the world.
But notice, I just called them bad people - that's because the movie never defines exactly what these people's powers or weakness's are. At one point we are led to believe that they are immensely powerful - let's face it - world destroying powerful - yet near the end, The Joker's girlfriend, armed only with a blade or a bat lights into the super powerful baddie and the bad women has trouble deflecting the blow with her own sword. Not so damn powerful there or that psychotic gal should be at training camp for the Yankees. None of these characters ability to be superhuman is ever explained to those of us who haven;t read the comics. So I was lost trying to figure out the power ranking and who do what to who. It was an incoherent mush.
In Guardians things were explained quickly with humor, action and panache. Same with the Avengers. And Man of Steel and Batman v Superman made coherent sense as well. This could have been a lot worse but it sure could have been a lot better.
Deconstructing Harry (1997)
Honest Woody Allen
This is probably one of Allen's most personal and honest films as it seems to touch on his private life and expose it for the painful and raw persona it can be to many people. Here he portrays a writer who is not any,person's idea of a role model but rather a selfish, drug and whore abusing self centered writer who has the balls to admit that this exactly who and what he is.
The narrative is propelled through the family friends he is forced to interact with on a specific day that goes every way wrong can go involving his ex and bitter wife who he used as a thinly veiled plot device in his recent novel, his son who brings along with a hooker to a school awards ceremony.
The film meanders between the classic get a laugh Allen and the ponder existence Allen both notable and always worth a watch.
Beat my Expectations - And I Don't Do a Plot Summary
I looked forward to this movie and my expectations were exceeded - but I was still a little let down by the final third. Th initial build up - especially the opening was absolutely brilliant. The way they chose to introduce Batman/Bruce Wayne and weave the original Man of Steel into the plot of this movie simply worked exceedingly well.
It was the fact that with the long running time, the final act actually felt rushed. Spoiler - you know that Batman and Superman will end up fighting together but I just felt that Doomsday felt rushed - it was sort of Lex creates him - releases him and bang - the gang must deal with him right now.
But overall, Afleck was a great Bruce Wayne/Batman - the choice to play him as a guy twenty years into the job was smart and Although there was virtually no humor at all in the film, the movies beats were all tight and felt right - mostly.
It's hard to please everyone when you have source material that's been around forever and has been glommed onto by fan-boys (guess I used to be one) who expect the unattainable. All that in mind, It was a solid and mostly satisfying effort. One step better than Age of Ultron but not ass good ass Iron Man or the first Avengers. (And simply forget the X Men)
Hail, Caesar! (2016)
Wanted to Like It So Much More
I am a huge Coen Brothers Fan. Many of their films are hard core 10's in my ratings and I had an uneasy feeling going into this one. The trailer made me think of Intolerable Cruelty more than O Brother Where Art Thou or many of their other films.
It felt like a strung together series of little set pieces that didn't hang together as a whole. I won't mention the plot since there was virtually none and what there was was fairly flat and unimportant.
Normally the Brothers can overcome a weak plot (although strong plot-lines have driven several of their movies) with strong quirky performances and memorable cinematography.
Sadly, the dialog lacked snap, the film didn't pop off the screen looks wise, given that it's a period piece, and with such a strong cast, everyone looked tired - almost as if they had come in to film their parts after getting off their day jobs and they were just doing a favor to the Coen's.
Overall I've seen much worse but when you go to a Coen Brothers film, you just expect much more.
Man Up (2015)
Not Nearly as Cute as It Thinks It Is
Simon Pegg is a naturally likable actor and I almost always enjoy his work but even his natural charm fails to save this movie. The plot, which I won't detail since there are plenty of other reviews that do a great job of describing everything that happens in the movie - is nothing but typical RomCom with a bit of mistaken identity thrown in.
So in order to make the formula work, you have to like the actors and Lake Bell was totally unlikable. She lacks charm, wit and simply is not attractive enough to make one believe that a man would simply overlook her previous bad actions because she is so desirable.
She comes off as self-involved, neurotic and totally lacking in the RomCom requirements of a female lead. The writing was lackluster and even though the run-time was fairly short, it felt like an eternity for the movie to plod to the end.
Above Average but Still Average
This is a well made superhero film - better than most if only because it spent more time on the the Three Days of the Condor type stuff than just the typical loud smashing everything in sight about parts. Don't get me wrong - I love wanton destruction but only when it makes a difference. If no one can be damaged by being constantly smashed about - then who really cares? And here's the spoiler bit - If the whole SHIELD thing is about to go off the rails and over 20 million folks are about to be killed because of the launch of those three ships in unison - well why not call Iron Man? Why is Captain America the only Avenger available? Couldn't they at least do a little exposition to explain why Hulk, Thor or at least someone else wasn't around to lend a hand if it was so important to help save everyone?
Oh well - that's where you end up with average.