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Movie Breakdown: Terminator Genisys (Noah)

June 30, 2015

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The Impression:

I don’t need to tell you that the last decade and a half of Terminator movies have been painful retreads of two of the greatest action movies of all time. Thus, throwing a new liquid metal hat into the ring doesn’t bode well.

The Reality:

Alright, people who are in Hollywood behind big desks with piles of money in bags to give to people, let’s talk. I’m tired of this “remix culture” we’ve established. I’m tired of paying money to see a loose rehash of an old film (Jurassic World, I’m looking at your infrared dodging self) that banks on the fact that a certain generation of folks have grown of age and now can throw stupid amounts of dollars to see scenes from their favorite childhood films mocked up for another go. Often times this “remix” is a cash grab looking to reset a franchise back to a more suitable foundation to build another secondary franchise off and often times this doesn’t work. Terminator Genisys falls into this lowly camp. Alan Taylor (who’s Thor: The Dark World I, one of the few, quite liked) uses the tired constraints of time travel to thrust us back into the world of Kyle Reese (the brick-faced Jai Courtney), Sarah Connors (the shrill Emilia Clarke) and John Connors (Jason Clarke really going for crazy broke here), but, because we’ve already seen four Terminator flicks that feature Terminators of varying sorts chase after Sarah Connors, Taylor flips the script turning the good, well bad, the bad, er, good, and Matt Smith into some sort of evil Terminator laser beam. Honestly, if you scratch the surface of the film even for a moment, it’s a mess. Jai Courtney and Emilia Clarke are like two sides of the same rock, just barely able to emote enough to ensure that they’re breathing. The story, because, well, time travel, is a convoluted mess that has the heroes bouncing from decade to decade trying to stop the pesky little rabbit Skynet before it, sigh, destroys the human race. But, still, I found myself liking Taylor’s little love letter to all the Terminators he’s loved before. It’s not a great movie, barely even a good movie, but if you like Terminators, and you like Terminators punching and kicking and hitting each other with sharp objects while two ironically robotic actors paw each other in the background, this film might be for you. I mean if you’re hoping that this fairly limp rehash is going to be a callback to the glory days of Cameron, just save your money and skip it. The Terminator franchise we’ve always wanted is like the future of humanity, most likely never going to happen.

The Lesson:

Arnold still has it. And by “it” I mean the ability to act like a statue and still be charming.

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Movie Breakdown: Terminator Genisys

June 30, 2015

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The Impression:

Here goes another attempt at reinvigorating the Terminator franchise.  At least this time Arnold Schwarzenegger is involved.

The Reality:

Terminator Genisys is a big mess.  I think everyone involved clearly tried to make the best film they could, but there just wasn’t a quality script for them to work with.  The movie plays out like a compilation of lame fan fiction pieces that are centered around slapping a big WHAT IF on everything.  What if instead of traveling back in time, they also went forwards and sideways?  What if that good character was bad?  What if Schwarzenegger’s T-800 was different?  What if?!  What if?!  I get why there was a decision to take this path, as flipping some stuff around does seem like an alright way to breathe life into the stagnant franchise, but the various screenwriters decided to run with every single one of the ideas in their “what should we do” hat, and the end result is a movie that doesn’t make any sense and feels frustratingly long.

Unless you just really want to see Arnold on the big screen again (and to be honest, he is by far the best thing in the film), I would skip Terminator Genisys and wait for it to hit cable.  If you’re on your couch and just drunk enough to not care about anything, you might dig it.  Otherwise, it just isn’t worth your time.

PS – How does Jai Courtney keep getting work?  I think he’s quite possibly the worst actor currently working.

The Lesson:

Let’s maybe just put this whole Terminator thing to bed, yeah?

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Movie Breakdown: Magic Mike XXL

June 30, 2015

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The Impression:

Channing Tatum’s abs are BACK.  And his friend’s abs have also returned!  Plus, for fun, there are never before seen abs from a new set of pals.  ABS!

The Reality:

I’m not a big fan of the initial Magic Mike.  I suppose you could say it’s not a film that’s for me (my list of approved dance movies is probably, like, four deep), but mostly I just don’t care for its overly-dramatic and silly story – sad stripper Channing wants to make custom furniture but he can’t stop taking his clothes off.  Ha!

In all honesty, Magic Mike XXL isn’t any less ridiculous story-wise – Channing and friends road trip it one last time to Myrtle Beach for an annual stripper convention – but it’s much less dramatic and a whole lot more fun than the original.  Essentially, and just hear me out here, director Gregory Jacobs and writer Reid Carolin have twisted it into the lady-oriented version of the Fast And Furious series, and it works.  The film is very well aware of exactly what it is, and just like the F&F series, its main focus is cleverly shoving its charismatic cast from one elaborate dance (instead of action, duh) scene to another.  I found it to be an interesting shift for the series, and I actually walked out wondering when the next crazy entry might come along.

No matter who you are, if you’re on the hunt for a dose of fun, then my recommendation is that you check out Magic Mike XXL.  Be warned though, my screening was loaded with women who were so rowdy I wasn’t sure if they had ever seen a shirtless man before.  Ever.  It was insane.  So maybe determine exactly how much fun you’re willing to put up with before you buy tickets for a showing during opening weekend.

The Lesson:

Keep working it, Channing.  I’ll help you pick up all of the dollar bills whenever you’re done.

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Movie Breakdown: Ted 2

June 25, 2015

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The Impression:

Ted returns.  I guess people wanted a sequel?

The Reality:

There’s something special about Ted.  The toned down Seth MacFarlane-isms, the chemistry between Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, Joel McHale’s shittiness, Ted himself, that entire Flash Gordon gag – it all works so well and combines to form a film that is consistently funny and actually has some heart.

Now arrives the sequel, which is surely a cash grab, right?  Not exactly.  Ted wants to be viewed as a person and not property, so with the help of Wahlberg’s John and Amanda Seyfried’s Samantha (Kunis is not anywhere to be found), he fights for his rights.  I appreciate that they actually gave Ted 2 a story that wasn’t in the form of a road trip or something that would just allow the characters to be goofy and wild for two hours.  All involved actually have a real struggle on their hands, and it makes the film feel like more than just a bunch of jokes crammed together.  As for the funny bits, Ted 2 is certainly more hit or miss than the first film in the series.  There are some legit laugh out loud moments, but those are nearly overshadowed by various times where MacFarlane distractingly goes full Family Guy.  I could have done without most of that (especially in the first third of the movie).

If you liked Ted, then you’re going to like Ted 2.  It’s not super funny and there are some forced callbacks to the first movie, but overall it works and isn’t an outright lazy attempt on cashing in on the Ted name.

The Lesson:

Honestly, I’m just happy it wasn’t another A Million Ways To Die In The West.  That movie hurt my soul.

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Movie Breakdown: The Overnight

June 24, 2015

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The Impression:

Adam Scott and Piper (from Orange Is The New Black) have what appears to be a rather interesting night with friends Jason Schwartzman and Judith Godreche (Stoker).

The Reality:

The Overnight is quite an awkward time.  I’m not much of a squirmer when it comes to movies, but for the majority of The Overnight I wiggled around in my seat and generally felt uncomfortable.  Then came a moment where the awkwardness subsided and I could suddenly see the glorious payoff that had been lined up.  Or so I thought.  Writer/director Patrick Brice puts a lot of effort into setting up a variety of weird and hilarious circumstances for the film’s group of ridiculous yet well-intentioned adults to be enlightened by, but just as it’s all about to really add up to something interesting, he swiftly brings the film to a close.  I found this somewhat disappointing.  After spending such a bizarre stretch with the film’s damaged bunch, I expected a big climax from their “overnight” experience. Instead, Brice provides more of a teaser look at what each of characters got out of the situation.  Come on, man!

You wouldn’t be making a mistake if you were to see The Overnight, as it’s a funny, strange flick that’s ultimately worth your time.  Just be aware that it just doesn’t quite deliver the punch it needs to in the closing moments.

The Lesson:

Hey Patrick, never skimp on the payoff.

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Movie Breakdown: Inside Out

June 17, 2015

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The Impression:

Pixar momentarily jumps out of the sequel game to deliver an original tale about the “little voices inside your head.”

The Reality:

On the non-sequel front, Inside Out is Pixar’s best film since 2009′s Up.  The story, while fairly high concept, is presented in a pretty simple way.  Joy, Anger, Fear, Sadness and Disgust are the “voices” inside Riley’s head, and together they keep the little girl happy and content.  Unfortunately though, growing up is hard, and when a highly stressful and upsetting time for Riley arrives, the inexperienced crew suddenly find themselves on a dangerous adventure to figure out how to end her depression.  From there the film bounces back and forth between Riley’s actions/behavior in the real world and what’s going on in her head as her gang of voices scramble about.

In classic Pixar form, the film works great for both kids and adults.  The former will not only be entertained by the quick-paced, colorful film, but they’ll learn about the brain and emotions.  As for the latter, the entertainment factor is there, but it’s less in the form of Anger’s head catching on fire and more about acknowledging just how ridiculous the big, gray smushy thing in your skull is at all times.  I also walked out of the theater feeling incredibly nostalgic about a lot of things – childhood friends, radio jingles and other items from way back that have long been stored away in my head.  In other words, Inside Out is about the brain, and it will get your brain swirling about.  Success!

Inside Out is too original, funny, charming, heartfelt and clever to be missed, so give into the good voices in your head and go see it immediately.

The Lesson:

I can live with films like Monsters University, Finding Dory and Cars 3 if Pixar keeps occasionally delivering brilliance like Inside Out.

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Movie Breakdown: Spy (Noah)

June 4, 2015

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids is a great movie. Melissa McCarthy can be a great actor. Paul Feig’s The Heat was a slow, boring film that I actually paid for and then turned off (and if there’s money involved I’ll sit through Sex and the City 2 on repeat). Melissa McCarthy has become a sort of caricature of herself – a big, slovenly, overly loud character shuttled from one film to the next, always a little bit grosser than before. So, uh, I’m torn. I’m a film critic though, so I’m going to guess this film will suck.

The Reality:

Let’s all give a big round applause (yes, even the skinny-jeaned hipster kid in the back) for Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy for putting Fat + Unattractive Melissa to bed. She was tired, and everybody was sick of her, and it was just time to pull the covers up tight around her little neck and let her drift off to sleep-sleep time. And lucky for us, because Paul Feig is a good director (maybe even a good man) and he’s done a smart, funny, occasionally boring film about a repressed basic lady (Melissa McCarthy) who has to step up her game and become an ass-kicking spy. There’s a lot of plot here, a lot of characters, a lot of things that happen, but what you need to pull away from this review is that this is, handily, the best role Melissa McCarthy has ever been had. As if her and Paul Feig sat in a room one day, a little tipsy off Campari Sodas, and hatched this beautiful plan to kill off a character that was drowning McCarthy’s career. And how does one do that? They make fun of it, a whole fucking bunch, while giving McCarthy an honest-to-goodness role as a very normal woman with, and don’t get too excited here, a character arc that involves more than her shitting herself in a sink or tackling someone. That role is Susan Cooper, a desk-jockey for the CIA who’s thrust into the field when her charming (and borderline special needs) spy-guy (Jude Law with a suspicious American accent) is murdered. Instead of just making McCarthy a rote retread of her moronic, food-obsessed character from every other film, Feig makes her a competent (if not badass) woman who’s just too scared to get out there and do something spectacular. It takes the death of a loved one (like in the best of action movies) to force her out, but when she does, the results are fantastic. Along the way Susan Cooper (and McCarthy) is forced to take these spy-identities that recall McCarthy’s past Hollywood life – a cat lady, an Avon salesman, etc. – and it’s a joy to watch her buck against the type-casting. This a well cast film with Rose Byrne and Jason Statham both firing on all cylinders. Feig doesn’t hesitate to make this an actual spy film with a comedic bent, and some of the fight scenes (the knife v. pan one especially) are, well, pretty fucking awesome. Like all of these improv-heavy films it gets caught up in its own jokes sometimes and the narrative slows and you start to realize that maybe you don’t really care that much, but then McCarthy swoops on to the screen harassing a Swedish bodyguard about how much of a bitch he is and you realize, well, it doesn’t really matter how good the film is, this is McCarthy’s rebirth, and if she’s good, well, I’m in.

The Lesson:

Seriously, cast Michelle Janning in everything. EVERYTHING.

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Movie Breakdown: Spy

June 3, 2015

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Paul Feig’s latest comedy turns Melissa McCarthy into an unlikely CIA spy.

The Reality:

I’ll give it up to Paul Feig, instead of trying to go with just one of Melissa McCarthy’s styles – normal (St. Vincent) or loud (Tammy, Identity Thief) – he went with both.  Does that make Spy a good movie?  Sort of.  It’s definitely not bad, more just decidedly average.  The film has some bits that totally work – Jason Statham’s insane rogue agent character, a running joke about the CIA being full of literal vermin, an actual “dirty” agent who is always saying/doing perverted things – and it does fully allow McCarthy free range to do as she pleases, but there are a lot of flat moments that had me wondering where we were in the runtime.  Also, the twist is so telegraphed that it hurt my soul.  I know the general point is to watch McCarthy and the gang spoof spy movies so an elaborate plot just isn’t needed, but Feig doesn’t even try to hide what’s going on.  If you ask me, a good reveal would have made some of the parts in the film that don’t work feel kind of justified.

All in all Spy is fairly comparable to Feig’s last film, The Heat.  Some of it is great, some of it isn’t, and what you end up with is an alright experience that you’ll probably instantly forget.  Then in a year it’ll be on HBO every day and after watching it 22 times, you’ll think it’s pretty funny.  Circle of life, man.

The Lesson:

The world needs a whole movie based on Jason Statham’s ridiculous character from Spy.

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Movie Breakdown: San Andreas (Noah)

May 28, 2015

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Disaster-style action flicks have taken a real nose-dive since the heyday of Roland Emmerich’s enviro-madness. That said, the way Warner Brothers has been pushing the film like the dramatic, explosion-porn crown jewel makes me wonder if there’s actually something there, lurking amongst the shattered buildings.

The Reality:

You could hang the massive faults of Brad Peyton’s San Andreas on the two-by-four straight line of Dwayne Johnson’s shoulders. The massive ex-wrestler, though now almost fully reimagined as a Hollywood type actor, doesn’t seem to be able to shed the glorified camp of the wrestling ring. His Ray Gaines, a former military man-turned rescue pilot has all the makings of an early 90s protagonist: the aforementioned physique, a family broken by tragedy, the skills and potential to do, well, just about anything, and a stunning lack of personality. The burrs and barbs – flaws, even – of the average personality, worn down in favor of a Captain America like superhero, driven by duty and grief (sort of) to save his family in the wake of a coast-shattering earthquake. Oh yeah, this film has an earthquake, several earthquakes in it, and much like The Rock’s steely visage and empty, benevolent soul, the quakes are there to look good and kick ass without actually mustering any sort of real emotion. The film is an homage to the mid-90s disaster spectacles like Dantes’s Peak and Volcano that defined blockbusters for a stretch of years, and this isn’t for the best. All the cheap ploys – swelling strings, Dwayne Johnson grimly staring out over a broken (landscape), a cheeky British kid, massive, unheralded destruction – are here in force. Twenty years ago, when the American public was still happy to slosh around in shitty story lines and bad acting for the sake of some nicely put together destruction, this crap would’ve worked, but now it almost feels like Peyton is constructing an art piece, one that pushes the concepts of films like 2012 and Independence Day to their most extreme point (every quake a city destroyer, every line a potential tearjerker) to highlight just how far we’ve come. A nicer reviewer might walk away thinking this absurd thought, but I am not that, and as the earthquakes rumbled and The Rock defied vehicular gravity and characters disappeared (not into the carnage, just out of the story) I did not find myself yearning for the days of Pierce Brosnan racing a volcano, or Bill Paxton chasing a tornado. You could write down the major plot points of any action film made in the last 20 years and set a timer, and you better believe Brad Peyton is going to tick them off one by one. Maybe, possibly, you’ll find some nostalgic solace in the sight of the West Coast’s most famous landmarks crumbling into nothing, or maybe you’ll enjoy the paper thin love story between Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino (squandered here as helpless, but sexy, ex-wife), but it won’t be your enjoyment of this film that resonates, it’ll be the memories of an era films that have thankfully, hopefully, passed on.

The Lesson:

I will say this, watching the city you live in crushed by earthquakes, tsunamis, and looters is strangely, deeply scary. The level of fear in the audience (of hard-nosed critics) was much higher than I would have expected, and I can only imagine most of this stems from a sort of cinematic PTSD for those who’ve lived through San Francisco’s worst shakers and those who’ve come to grips with the idea that someday they probably will.

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Movie Breakdown: San Andreas

May 28, 2015

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson saves people from an earthquake.

The Reality:

I’m fairly certain that San Andreas is the beginning of the end for me in regards to disaster movies.  The film is as big, loud and dumb as I expected it would be, but story-wise it’s very run of the mill.  There’s a broken family, the father of said busted family is an expert in some conveniently relevant field, a cataclysmic event happens, the torn family survives and then becomes one again.  The end.  That’s San Andreas.  And pretty much every other disaster movie ever.  Oh how tiresome that’s become.  This issue is also not helped by the fact that it takes a lot these days for CG-heavy movies to truly impress, and the action in San Andreas mostly just consists of buildings crumbling and the ground shaking.  I honestly can’t recall a single breath-taking shot, and that’s just a shame considering it’s the kind of movie that is supposed to dazzle visually.

So, I know it somewhat sounds like it, but I didn’t hate San Andreas.  For a disaster flick, it’s alright.  It just doesn’t bother trying to do anything new, and I think that’s reason enough to not make an effort to see it until it’s on the small screen in the comfort of your own home.

The Lesson:

The disaster movie formula needs a refresher.

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Movie Breakdown: Poltergeist

May 22, 2015

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Another horror remake that no one asked for has arrived.  This time it’s Poltergeist.

The Reality:

The strangest thing about the current (and perhaps never ending) string of horror remakes/reboots/re-imaginings is that they seem more inclined to play it safe instead of taking the established property and spinning it in a crazy way that warrants a do-over.  Poltergeist is no different.  There’s nothing particularly wrong with the film – the cast is fine (especially Sam Rockwell), there’s a solid creepy moment or two and the movie doesn’t feel cheap – but overall it doesn’t do anything but try to avoid offending anyone.  How can any horror film with an agenda like that actually be scary at all?  It can’t.  So, while it pains me to say this, the unfortunate truth is that the new Poltergeist is just another entry in a long line of remakes that can’t justify their existence.  You should just stay home and watch the original.  At least that film had the balls to attempt to make you want to turn on all of the lights in your house and/or only watch romantic comedies for a month.

The Lesson:

Go big or go home.

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Movie Breakdown: Tomorrowland

May 21, 2015

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Brad Bird doesn’t make bad movies, so everyone is down for Tomorrowland because they should be.  The trailers have made the film seem like it will be a wondrous adventure.

The Reality:

Tomorrowland is a tricky film.  I think that if you look at it as something that’s only for kids, it mostly works well.  The story itself is kind of all over the place and not consistently entertaining, but the visuals are stunning and the main message that the film carries, which is to dream big and know that you can make the world a better place, is as positive as can be.  How inspiring, right?  The kids that are able to navigate the clunky narrative of Tomorrowland will get all excited, then they’ll slap on their imagination hats and make everything better.  I dig it.

However, what I refuse to dig is the shame that gets tossed at adults by Brad Bird (and co-writers Damon Lindelof and Jeff Jensen) in Tomorrowland.  In particular, there’s a poorly written monologue that essentially blames the world’s problems on those who engage in things like playing video games and/or watching violent movies.  No thanks.  That’s just silly and insulting.  Also, I think I’ll pass on the contradicting idea that we should all live and dream without boundaries, but only as long as we do so in a certain way.

Overall, Tomorrowland is shiny film with a heavy handed (and misguided, depending on what side of age 12 you’re standing on) message.  If you have kids, you could let them watch much worse.  If you don’t have kids, I say give Bird the bird and go see Mad Max: Fury Road again.

The Lesson:

Can’t win ‘em all.

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Movie Breakdown: Mad Max: Fury Road (Noah)

May 14, 2015

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

I don’t know if any movie has me more excited than Mad Max: Fury Road. Everything up to this point involving Mad Max has been done to perfection – casting, trailers (all of them were like mini-movies), the descriptions of what it took to bring this to life – and my hype level is so high I’m almost worried.

The Reality:

Big John Laird doesn’t like it when I get overly excited, or when start hacking up hyperbole, but after spending two hours in the new world of Mad Max, I can’t do anything but that. Mad Max: Fury Road is an absolute blast. The kind of blockbuster that hasn’t been made since the 80s. This is not a film beholden to the tropes of the big budget action movie. This is a film that feels like the work of a brand new director saying “fuck you” to the stereotypes of action – how it’s filmed, how the sound works, how the camera moves – and doing exactly what they want. George Miller is clearly a genius who’s been sitting the dark room of his mind for ten years sussing out the craziest things he could do with people on cars. I don’t want to say a single thing about what this movie is about or what happens, but just know that Miller mixes the concept of car-chases, post-apocalyptic society, and the hierarchical structure of how things work (in a world that doesn’t exist) and creates a world that could, in some sick, sad way, fully function. It’s, to say the least, visually amazing – every detail fleshed out to operate, pragmatically, in this universe. No character doesn’t fit into the world he’s built, but each of them, based on class and context, is given room to shine. Tom Hardy’s Max is a more literal version of “Mad”, a man consumed by his past, just trying to survive in a world gone completely fucked up. His pairing with a group of seemingly helpless baby-brides and a brutal, but sensitive, captain, slowly brings him back from the edge, and the full-tilt, full-throttle ride it takes to get there is something to behold. At some point in the middle of the film I felt a tinge of “oh, maybe I don’t like that” but as walked out of the theater, my head spinning with images of flame-throwing guitars, desert moto-women, and exploding lances, I couldn’t (and can’t) remember what it was. See this film. See it twice. And then see it again.

The Lesson:

George Miller very subtly makes this a film about female empowerment. The moment where Max passes his rifle (“one shot left”) into the hands of Charlize Theron and she BALANCES it on his shoulder to make a perfect shot is a beautiful, fun, moment that showcases Miller’s ease at creating strong female characters without having to spray paint it in enormous letters on the wall.

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Movie Breakdown: Mad Max: Fury Road

May 13, 2015

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

George Miller and Mad Max are back together.  Fury Road looks big and fun.

The Reality:

Mad Max: Fury Road scrambled by brain.  I went in fully hoping (and suspecting) that it would be a wild time, and I still ended up caught off guard by just how bug nuts, batshit crazy it is from start to finish.  So what all happens?  Well, I think I mostly got it.  A mentally shaky Max (played by Tom Hardy, who turns in what could be his best or worst performance ever) gets caught, he then unwillingly ends up in the longest car chase ever, some unexpected alliances are formed, and then the movie is done.  Or, at least that’s how my first viewing felt.  I’m guessing there’s more to it, but when I think back on Fury Road the only bits my brain can serve up are crazy vehicles, crazy costumes, crazy stunts, crazy vehicles, crazy imagery, crazy performances, crazy vehicles, and my wife repeatedly looking over at me with a “this is some crazy shit” look on her face. It’s all so mad, man.  The whole damn thing.  I can’t wait to see it again so that I can maybe breathe and notice something other than the spectacle punch that the film repeatedly throws.  Also, in future viewings it’ll just be fun to glance over and see one of you sitting next to me with your mouth agape as you take in the spectacular insanity that is Mad Max: Fury Road.  See you at the theater.

The Lesson:

If only all directors had the crazy side that George Miller does.

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Movie Breakdown: Hot Pursuit (Noah)

May 8, 2015

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

If there was an apocalyptic event and every theater and film on Earth was caught up in a fiery windstorm and the only bit of celluloid remaining to be viewed by the denizens of this dark, hellish version of reality was Hot Pursuit, based on the previews, I’d still probably skip it.

The Reality:

Hot Pursuit is somehow both a generic, odd-couple-buddy-comedy as well as a total tonal mess that features almost good performances by actors way better than the script that someone wrote while in the bathroom. The film follows Officer Cooper (Reese Witherspoon), the daughter of a famed police officer, who’s followed in his path but after a shameful tazer incident has been relegated to the evidence room. She ends up, through a variety of totally unbelievable circumstances, on the run with Danielle Riva, a Cartel wife who’s state witness husband has been murdered. The rest of the film is pretty much just a modge-podge of “Reese Witherspoon is short” jokes, “Sofia Vergara is a sassy Mexican” jokes, and then the sort of half-ass pratfalls that now define modern comedy. It is, aside from the dynamic between Vergara and Witherspoon (which at times feels unforced – the best I can say about anything in this film), an awful movie, a shitty comedy to start but one that veers down a road of tonal muddling before crash landing on the runway of mediocrity. It’s a bad flick – badly filmed, lazily written, a pure squandering of its stars talents – and its a film that always sits precariously on the line of offensiveness. I think if any other actor aside from Vergara, who is surprisingly good in it, was given the role of the screechy, “Latina” wife, there’d be a big bag of “fuck you” letters coming from more than a few viewers. So, yeah, don’t watch this.

The Lesson:

Americans are really easily amused by bad sexual humor. At one point during the film, for less then ten seconds, an attractive woman talks like a man. My theater ate it up. Thanks pilgrims.

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