Daily Archives: August 12, 2012

Five Quick Movie Reviews

Just because we have watched a series of movies via NetFlix that were all flawed in their own way.

1. Catch .44

What I assume was the pitch to make this movie:

We will take the body of Quinten Tarantino‘s work, put it in a wine press, and squeeze out all the substance that make his films worth watching, carefully collecting this super essence into a specially crafted oak barrel.  When we have extracted all of the interesting characters, quirky situations, compelling interpersonal relationships, and other such things into the barrel, we will seal the barrel tightly, place it outside, and forget it ever existed.  We will then build a shell of a movie out of the remains in the press and hope people come to see it because Bruce Willis has 10 minutes of screen time.

That made for a long and nonsensical 90 minutes.  Could not recommend unless you are stalking Malin Akerman.

2. The Rum Diary

This movie looks absolutely gorgeous in Blu-Ray.  It sets the 1960 tone very well.  Great scenery.  Beautiful cars.  And  I really like Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhardt, and Giovanni Ribisi.

I am just not sure what the hell the movie was about.  Johnny Depp’s character Kemp, an alcoholic writer (has Depp been playing the drunk card a little too much since the first Pirates of the Caribbean?), gets a job at a failing newspaper in Puerto Rico.  He drinks, experiments with drugs, makes odd friends, sticks it to the man, and goes on to do great things.

However, we get that last part about “great things” as some text before the credits.  He never really does anything great on screen, so it sort of feels like you spent two hours with Peter Parker and went to credits just as he finally donned his Spider-Man outfit.

Still, it looked absolutely gorgeous.  Recommended if that is enough for you, if you are a Hunter S. Thompson fan, or if you are stalking Johnny Depp.

3. 21 Jump Street

Keeping with the Johnny Depp theme here.  And yes, he is on screen for a few minutes.  Stalkers take note.

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are the stars as, respectively, the nerd and the jock in high school who end up teamed together on the police force due to their complimentary talents.  This probably would have made more sense if I had ever watched the original TV show.  But it doesn’t have to make sense because it is clear that nobody is taking anything seriously.  It is a constant stream of “no way” sort of moments that would never occur in real life.  And yet it seems to hold together.

Recommended if you need your RDA of puerile humor in a digestible form or are stalking Jonah Hill.

4. Ides of March

Supposed political thriller with a name drawn from one of the most famous political murders of all time.  This must be great, right?  Nope.  An hour and a half of watching attractive, well dressed actors get really worked up about nothing at all.  In the end, it all boils down to two things: Politics sure is a dirty game and George Clooney getting to tell everybody what his political platform would be if he ran for president.

Recommended if you love George Clooney or his politics or both.

5. Lockout

Here is my theory on this movie.  The whole thing is an elaborate screen test to see if Guy Pearce can utter amusing tough guy quips with an American accent under a variety of circumstances… in case they need somebody to star in a remake of the Die Hard series or some such.

So he makes these quips while shooting, while smoking, while being punched, while in zero G, while part of very bad CGI, and, apparently most important of all, when confronted with nonsensical plot complications.  Because this movie makes no kind of sense at all.  If you’re not saying, “Really?” in that super skeptical tone of voice at least 10 times during this movie, you’re not paying attention.

There is a scene early in the movie where Guy Pearce is being interrogated.  Every time he makes a tough guy quip he gets punched so hard it knocks him out of his chair.  This is a perfect metaphor for the movie, with your ability to suspend disbelief playing the Guy Pearce role.  Every time you are able to let go and just run with the movie, it feels the need to punch your suspension of disbelief so hard, it falls out of its chair.

You try and watch, but the movie keeps hitting you.

*BAM* Deal with the horrible CGI in this pointless and unnecessary chase scene!

*BAM* A prison in space makes perfect sense!

*BAM* The President’s daughter would totally be allowed to visit such a space prison!

*BAM* Space prisons are totally huge and as complex as the New York subway system!

*BAM* Layers of prison security are not necessary!

*BAM* Simple controls to release all the prisoners at once make total sense!

*BAM* Sending a suspected traitor to rescue the president’s daughter is always the right move!

*BAM* We don’t need to explain where a key corporate conspiracy theory sub-plot went!

*BAM* Falling from orbit takes less than 30 seconds!

*BAM* Everybody is dumb except Guy Pearce and the president’s daughter!

And those were just the bits that I could recall a week after seeing the thing.  The movie was punching me so often, I had to conclude that it wasn’t really a movie but just a screen test, as I mentioned above.

But if you like Guy Pearce, especially when he is spouting tough guy quips, this is the screen test for you.  Otherwise, I could recommend only watching while drinking and/or pretending you are on Mystery Science Theater 3000.