The Single Moms Club

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5/10

I didn’t like this movie at all, but i have to say that it is my favorite Tyler Perry movie. This means that this film had the least amount of things that pissed me off. Nia Long, Amy Smart and YES Tyler Perry star in this film about 5 divorced women who go through the struggles of raising children by themselves. I thought it was very honorable of Perry to cast himself in the lead male role opposite of the most beautiful woman (My opinion) in the movie, Nia Long. His acting is nothing less than creepy. This film could have easily been turned into a horror/suspense film because of the weird motions he goes through with trying to be with Long. It’s sad to say that he is the least creepiest when he dons a grey wig and women’s clothing. If you think i am saying this because i think Perry is a terrible actor, you would be wrong. I also thing he is a terrible writer. My favorite line that he himself utters in the film takes place when Nia Long calls his cell phone and they have a conversation. When it is over, he asks for her phone number. Ummmmmm maybe just look on the phone THAT SHE CALLED YOU ON!!!!!!! With my Perry frustrations out i can now focus on the movie itself. The film is funny because it’s very convenient. The characters go through THE EXACT SAME THING at the EXACT SAME TIME. They all find good looking men that like them AT THE EXACT SAME TIME. And what Tyler Perry film would great without racism? This film is weird with that subject though because sometimes it’s played for laughs and sometimes it’s played as a seriously disturbing subject. You kind of can’t play on both sides of the road on this one. You ask your audience to laugh and be angered when racism rears it’s ugly head. There are some great characters in the film that are led by Wendi Mclendon-Covey (Bridesmaids) and Cocoa Brown. Covey is given the deepest role as a racist white woman who makes the biggest transformation by the end of the film. She bickers a lot with Brown and it makes for some legitimately funny moments that even made your favorite film critic chuckle. Terry Crewes also cameos with his usual comedic schtick. I don’t care what that guy is in, he will always be funny to me. Beyond this, the rest of the characters are on sleep mode. One female even came close to topping Perry’s phone number line. She divorced her husband but is still living in a house that her husband funds. She is secretly seeing a guy behind her exes back, but he says that he will cut her off if he finds out she has a man. Cocoa Brown tells her that if he stops funding her that she can receive more money by taking him to court since she has custody of the child. She is completely shocked to find this out. DERRRRRRRRR!!!!!! The film itself clocks in at just shy of 2 hours, but i think that is because it has the deepest message of any Perry film. It’s about women who lose everything they know and because of friends they are given the power to stand back up. That message did kind of hit a soft spot with me as my friends have always been my rock. If i had the audacity to make someone sit through a Tyler Perry film, this would be the one i would recommend. For those of you who like his humor, wait till DVD. There is no reason to rush to the theaters when this will be a rental in 2 months……..trust me.

Need For Speed

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5.5/10 – (SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS) With the exception of Fast Six, this is the most i have ever had to suspend disbelief in a “Speed movie”. Need For Speed is the latest in a film genre about the machines men love and wish they had.It is an adaptation of the popular video game series. Aaron Paul stars as Tobey Marshall, a mechanic and driver who is given the opportunity to save his shop by racing against his arch rival for a boat load of cash. Aaron’s best friend is killed in the race, and he is to blame. He serves 2 years in prison for something that i honestly don’t understand how they pieced the blame on him. That’s exactly what ruins this film though, the fact that it has to brake every ten minutes for some other bombshell in disbelief. There were a couple of big problems that i had with the film that i will share at the bottom. If you don’t want to be spoiled, i suggest you don’t read it. Drive and Rush should have taught us that it is possible for this genre to produce good films. Those two show that the racing can be secondary as long as it has a great story to fall back on. In Need For Speed, the story is easily forgettable as we see beautifully shot chase scenes that will make the viewer feel the power of these muscle cars. The film also delivers two good performances by Aaron Paul and Michael Keaton. I had no idea Keaton was even in this film (Why has Hollywood been doing this with their trailers lately?), but he has the absolute time of his life as the organizer of the big race who hosts his own radio show. Keaton is quite literally off of his rocker in this role and i loved every minute of it. This film also had a pretty wide variety of cover songs that really set the mood for each scene. The best of all is a mellow cover of “All Along the Watchtower”. Beyond this, the film is lost in 2 hours of mediocrity. It has no chemistry between Paul and his female counterpart, it has a lot of awkward scenes just for the hell of it, and it is possibly the biggest insult to law enforcement. Overall, Paul has always had great dramatic chops, but he wastes it in terrible film choices like this. I hope his choices are better in the future. It will be hard to get out of the Jesse Pinkman typecast. Recommended to car buffs, but no one else.
Problems i had
1. While doing over 100 MPH on the freeway, a friend of Paul’s comes by with a gas truck. He fills up the car while they are driving at full speed. UMMMMM NO!!!! A car is already dangerous when it’s turned on while filling up. Multiply that danger by 50 when it’s going over 100 MPH.
2. The villain makes a threat to Aaron Paul on the radio show where he tells the world that he will give them 7 million dollars to make sure Paul doesn’t race in the final race. An issued threat would probably mean jail time for a death threat.
3. Aaron Paul has a friend in the film who steals 3 helicopters. He goes to jail for these acts and then manages to convince the guard to let him watch the final race on an IPAD. I can’t make this up people
4. (BIG TIME SPOILERS) The ending has Paul going to jail for 6 months for illegal racing. I guess they forgot eluding the officers multiple times, destruction of property, disturbing the peace, auto theft and assault during the final race. Smells like more than 6 months to me

Son Of God

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5.5/10

The spirit is there for an above expectations film, but the execution is a little underwhelming. Son of God is the latest Jesus bio flick about his presence in Rome with the apostles who he inspires. These kind of films aren’t my kind of taste in film, so i apologize for the review ahead of time. I will say that Son of God is probably the best holy movie i have seen since The Ten Commandments. It has a well performing cast, heart stopping imagery and a phenomenal score written by the great Hans Zimmer. With the imagery, there is no holding back in the camera shots of this film. They give you the kind of shots that will make you feel completely uncomfortable if you have any relationship to Jesus or religion. The biggest problem with the film? The first hour is INSANELY BORING. It just moves soooo slow, and it kills any motivation that the film has to bring in an audience that wants nothing to do with it. The second hour of the film is where the film starts to pick up, but it is a little late by that point. I once again explain that this will hurt the people with no interest in this film other than curiosity. The religious movie goer will feel inspired by every bit of this 2 hour and 15 minute run time. The villains are a little over the top with what sounds like 90’s bully lines. One line in particular was when Jesus was crucified and one of the soldiers said “Hey Jesus, i bet you can see your holy temple from up there”. Keep in mind that these soldiers are holy crusaders to begin with, so it’s kind of against their religion to make that kind of joke, but i digress. It’s lines like this and some of the acting that gives this film a stamp of corny. With some of the dialogue, it almost seemed like they were making two different films. Son of God is a film that i can recommend to the religious crowd. If you do not apply to this and want to see it, i suggest you wait till DVD. The theater experience was a little awkward at times for a guy like me. I was also amazed at how many trailers there were for holy films coming out. I knew about “Noah” and “Heaven is for Real”, but there were two other films coming out with similar premises. Hell, one even stars the Duck Dynasty guy who got kicked off the show. I can’t make this stuff up guys. I wait for Hollywood to approach me with a movie deal someday. My final stamp of approval, i can’t recommend Son of God since it was half good/half bad for me.

August : Osage County

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5/10

Osage County is perhaps one of the most overrated films i have ever come across. For all of the Oscar buzz and critical praise that this film received, it really is quite disappointing. The story which is based on a play of the same name is about a dysfunctional family dealing with the loss of the father of the household and the secrets that follow. This 2 hour run time really has nothing to fill in the blanks with but childish arguments. Sure, it is an honest look at a real American family, but the big events in this film happen few and far between. Meryl Streep is definitely Oscar nomination worthy in her portrayal as Violet Weston. She is the same Streep who brings tears of cinematic virtue to every role she plays. Her character struggles with drug abuse, and it’s clear she is ripping apart at the seams. Julia Roberts is ok, but i didn’t feel she deserved an Oscar nomination. She practically plays the same character in every film (my opinion), and i think this film is cluttered with too many characters for it to be a memorable role for her. Two other bright spots in the film are Chris Cooper and Margo Martindale as the brother and sister of Violet. They have amazing chemistry as a couple who have been married far too long, and bring the best comedic chops to the film. It is the great acting performances like this that even give this movie this high of a grade. It tries so hard to be this generation’s Friend Green Tomatoes, but it just doesn’t have the articulate pacing of that film. The characters are so unlikable that by the end of the film we are left with a closing that doesn’t touch our hearts like it should. Overall, i would say that maybe this film will appeal to some female movie goers, but that’s about it. My advice to those fans who want to see it is to wait till a dollar theater or DVD rental. August : Osage County shows brief moments of excellence, but it’s the long waits in between that kill the momentum of this Oscar favorite.

Grudge Match

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5/10

Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro return to the boxing ring in a film that is decent, but easily forgettable. The two fighters fought twice with each of them winning one fight. When Stallone retires from the ring, De Niro has to wait 30 years for his rematch. The two out of shape veteran boxers are laughed out of every press conference and promotion for the fight. This film wasn’t bad considering it’s a tired setting for both actors. Kevin Hart and Alan Arkin each add their brand of humor to the film, and it’s only a few scenes that actually bring a smile to your face. This is one of those films where all of the good lines are said in the trailer and that is unfortunate. I did enjoy the story of the film and how the two boxers are tied closer than their respective sport. I also enjoyed that this film has bravery by actually having a winner. I have seen too many sports movies where it will end in a tie or never tell us the winner that i was expecting that with this film. Pittsburgh is the perfect place to set this film in. It’s the city of workers who are tougher than the concrete they walk on. It makes sense to make both of these fighters from the steel city. Grudge Match is a decent film to see for a family who are looking for something to do to keep them out of the cold. But as a critic, i have to say that this film runs out of energy before it even hits the final round. The verdict – Give it a rental.

Homefront

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5.5/10

I was really disappointed with this film about Jason Statham and his daughter starting a new life in the country. James Franco played a badass villain who really showed a different level for his acting. I know he has played a villain before, but nothing like this. He is a country hick who takes no lip from anyone. Franco is great, and there are some excellent dramatic scenarios that unwind, but this film has a lot wrong with it. The biggest thing is that these people are natural born idiots. I get that parents can act extreme if someone messes with their child, but even this is taking it over the line. This whole movie unwinds because two kids had a very minor fight at school. The reactions are just stupid and never quite make you feel relative to the subject. I also felt that the fights were very obviously choreographed. Even for a Statham film, the fights were just obviously overdone with everything looking too crisp for country people who probably don’t know anything about martial arts. Finally, i felt the editing was awful. They kept doing something where they would start cutting to the next scene but then stay on the present scene and then go to the next scene. It was just really weird to watch because you are focused on one piece and then they are shoving the other one at you before you are done with the previous scene. Homefront does have it’s charms, and if the film was ever on TV i would probably watch it. It does carry a deeper storyline than most Statham films. It just fails in the execution of the events that unfold. I would like to see this film done as a 20 minute short film by a college student looking to take his strides in Hollywood. Anything more than that just doesn’t make sense to me. Some people might like this film, but i just can’t recommend it.

Dom Hemingway

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5/10

Jude Law stars in the role he was born to play. He plays Dom Hemingway, a mob worker who is jailed for 12 years after taking the rep for a drug deal gone wrong. While in prison, he abandons his daughter and wife, the ladder dies from cancer. When he gets out, it’s about a man on the verge of redemption. Law is absolutely amazing as Hemingway. He plays him as a loser who is always looking for the easy way out, but we cheer for him during all 90 minutes of this movie. Dom is an alcoholic, a womanizer, and a guy who has clearly not learned a lot from the 12 years he lost. He picks right up with a drunken three way with two prostitutes paid for by his mob boss. Law is very fast talking with brash English cursing to everyone he ever comes across. It is a role that is easy to like even with his flaws. The movie doesn’t do much beyond that to keep the attention of it’s audience. The film suffers greatly whenever Law isn’t on screen because everyone else is boring compared to our protagonist. The film does have some well shot scenes, but it almost feels like they don’t go on long enough for us to get the background of these other characters. The relationship between Dom and his daughter is presented, but we don’t have a heart to heart between them until the final 10 minutes. By then it is too late to ever get any clarity from this relationship, and that is a shame. This is the biggest probelem with this film; it goes nowhere. The main character really is no better by the end of the film because he is riddled in one bad luck scenario after another. Overall, i wish the film was more along the spark that it kicked off with in the first 20 minutes. It is there that we see so much promise for the journey ahead. By the 87th minute, Dom feels so defeated that there is nothing to look forward to at that point. If you see the trailer and feel like you really have to see this film, get it on DVD. It will be hard to find in theaters in a couple weeks, and i certainly don’t think it’s worth the journey to find it.

Escape Plan

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5/10

I was very disappointed in this film starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger about an escape artist who escapes from prisons for a living. This film was INSANELY unbelievable even for a Stallone film. I watched The Expendable movies and loved them, but this film doesn’t pack the same charm. There are limits to everyone’s suspension of disbelief, but this excedes those limits to overdrive. It is also very predictable as you can see many of the swerves coming from a mile away. I did enjoy the work of Jim Caviezel in this film as the villain atop the prison. He seemed to be having a lot of fun in the work as the villain for once. A lot of the action scenes and witty dialogue is there, but it just doesn’t give us the same kind of charm from this year’s Bullet to the Head and The Last Stand. Those films were far superior and give us a story that is down to earth. The thing i didn’t understand about the prison was if they knew Stallone was an escape artist and they studied his work by reading his book, why wouldn’t there be more focus on him? I would have a guard on him 24 hours a day. Even when he sleeps. Those same thoughts will ruin this film for anyone with half a brain. I recommend this film to hardcore Stallone/Arnold fans, but no one else.

Insidious : Chapter Two

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5/10

I am convinced that i may be the only person who didn’t like this movie. I have seen posts over the last week from people saying it was “The best movie ever” and “The best horror film of the year”. It all left me scratching my head after watching it. Insidious 2 does have it’s moments. I particularly enjoyed the storyline about the abused little boy and the spirit of the woman in black. It made complete sense when they were explaining the back story and some of the things that happened in the first film. The one thing i didn’t understand was how the good spirit of Josh could hear the alarm going off in the first film and then be the one ringing the alarm at the same time in the 2nd film. The thing that is real depressing is that i laughed my way through a lot of this film. The fight scenes were anything but suspenseful and the scenes are just utterly pointless. The comedic dialogue was great (especially with the two nerds), but it doesn’t belong in a demonic film this dark. The score is once again phenominal. There is something about hearing violins during jumpy scenes that really heightens the terror. I also enjoyed the work of Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne. They were definitely the right choices for the mother and father of this family. This film really made me sad for the first one because i LOVED that movie. The suspense was great and it didn’t need some cheap comedy laughs or even a backstory for it to be great. Speaking of which, where the hell did the man with the red face go in this sequel? He is nowhere to be found. You would think that he would have a lot to do with this abused child becoming a killer. Overall, i DO recommend this film because i know people are going to like it because some people were not raised on classic horror films. This is a genre that i am a very tough critic with because it’s my favorite kind of films, but i do not give this a passing grade.

Paranoia

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5.5/10

If this is a look into the future of cell phone technology, i think i will keep my flip phone. Paranoia tells the story of competing cell phone companies who are looking for the next biggest thing. It just so happens that the next big thing they are selling is a model for a big brother system. This film is so unbelievable that it can’t even spell the word logic. Unbelievable technology mixed with an almost comedic business side of the cell phone world makes this film an easy pass. I am sure cell phone companies are very competitive with one another, but this is a little too extreme. This film turns into a CIA espionage movie midway through and never lets up. The only thing i really found redeemable about this film was the interaction between Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford. They are definitely two seasoned veterans who knows what to bring to two characters who betrayed each other. Liam Hemsworth is the same old same. I am not really a fan of his work because of the bad choices he has made in 2013 with what films to take. The dialogue is something out of a James Bond movie, and that is NOT for the better. Who talks like this? The characters are robotic and very empty through the better part of 93 minutes. I do not recommend this film to anyone. If you like technology, it could be cool. But i can’t see anyone coming out of this film with a positive review. This film was Harrison Ford’s worst opening weekend ever and i think it’s pretty easy to see why.

Elysium

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5/10

I still don’t know what the hell i just watched. Matt Damon and Jodie Foster star in possibly the biggest bomb of the summer (my opinion). This film had a very confusing storyline, slow paced movement among the storylines and a weak ending. You could pretty much predict what happens in the film just by watching the trailer. There were a couple of things i enjoyed and that was the performances of Jodie Foster as the head of security on Elysium. She really brings a lot to the role as a snob who is trying to keep the poor class off of her land. I also enjoyed Sharlto Copley as the rugged bad guy, Krueger. The film also has some decent action scenes, but that is it. The problems with this film are the symbolism it expresses with our own world of overpopulation and a snobbish rich class. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with symbolism, but it was poured on WAY too thick in this film. Elysium is a look at the future that takes you on a ride through a look at the future. The problem with that look is that it only gets exciting in the final 20 minutes. It is within that time frame that we finally land on Elysium. Anything before that, is a long and boring look at characters in which we don’t ever receive a decent back story with. I don’t recommend Elysium unless you are a die hard Matt Damon fan. Even then, it would be hard for me to believe you would enjoy this.

The Bling Ring

 

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5/10

This chronicles the story of the celebs whose houses were robbed in 2009 by a group of out of control teenagers. The film is ok, but it is pushed further because of the great cast it is. The movie played out like a made for TV film, and maybe that would’ve been a better medium for it. Emma Watson and Katie Chang were amazing. They really made the most out of these spoiled girls that broke into people’s houses for no reason except to live their lifestyle. I compared this film a lot to this year’s Spring Breakers. I think The Bling Ring is a better movie, but the comparisons are very striking. The camera shots were also done very well with many of the break ins being recorded like a security camera. One of the biggest things for me to believe is that no security or anyone close to the celebs were in the house while these people were out of town. This is based on a true story, so i know the break-ins were a real part of the story, but how do you not have someone watching your house? The story just doesn’t have enough meat to carry a film through 90 minutes, so it’s injected with a lot of club shots where we see the kids enjoying their victories. We could care less about those moments, and just wait for when they are caught. One final thing i will say that worked in the film’s benefit was that it showed how easy it is to learn the things we need to from celebrity addresses to actual views of their houses. All of this is supplied by the internet, and that is a scary thing. The Bling Ring is something i would recommend to people who follow celebrity tabloids, but it’s hard for this film to keep you entertained for 90 minutes.