Ride Along

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6/10

The latest film in the buddy cop genre pits the rough and tough exterior of Ice Cube with the comedic bumbling of Kevin Hart. Those things mix together pretty well, as both men have great chemistry with one another. It is however the lack of material that wastes away two decent performances with a flawed script. Ice Cube is a cop in Atlanta when he hears news that Kevin Hart has just got accepted to the academy. Cube’s biggest problem with Hart is that he plans on marrying his sister. The film has moments where it goes through an identity crisis, and doesn’t know if it wants to be a bad to the bone action film or a corny comedy. The parts that really feel the most natural to Ride Along are the parts that make it feel like it is a borderline rated R. When i found out this film was PG-13, i could only scratch my head and ask why. You have the biggest comedian currently in the world mixed with a guy who has some pretty good comedic turns in films like Friday, Barbershop and 21 Jump Street. Let these two loose on a script that neuters both of their performances. There were some excellent supporting roles in the work of John Leguizamo and Lawrence Fishbourne. They both seem like they are too big to be in a film like this with supporting roles, but they give it their all. A big twist happens midway through the film that is pretty obvious to anyone who is paying attention. I am happy to say that i totally saw it coming because i have seen enough of these buddy cop movies to know what to expect. Ride Along is a movie that is recommended because people love Kevin Hart regardless of what he does. It’s those fans that are going to make this movie #1 this weekend. It’s not personally the funniest thing i have ever seen him in, but it’s ok. You get about 70% of his funniest things in the trailer that most of you have already seen. I would catch a daily screening of this film. It’s just not worth the full price

Jack Ryan : Shadow Recruit

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6.5/10

Tom Clancy’s latest adaptation stars Chris Pine as the one and only Jack Ryan. Jack has been a staple of Clancy novels and films like The Sum of All Fears, The Fugitive and The Hunt For Red October. The film also stars Kevin Costner as a CIA agent who acts as a mentor to Ryan. Costner is electric in this role that gives him an action star edge. With his future films coming, it seems Costner has decided to take a different direction in the films he does. Pine is great as Ryan. It is nice to see Jack Ryan portrayed as a younger fresh faced person coming out of college. Pine is the combination of intelligence and ignorance to play the Ryan character at it’s all time most human. The film itself is decent. There is a lot going on in this film that people might not be able to comprehend with the quick talking wit of the movie’s characters. If you are understanding when it comes to world currencies and foreign banking, you will pick up on this film with no problems. The action itself is fast paced with lots of high stakes on the line. Towards the end of the film, we learn that there are two missions for Ryan to solve. One in Russia and another on American soil. The Russia storyline is by far the best part of the movie. It is there when we really get to see the CIA at it’s very best in solving terrorism plots. The 2nd mission is the one that kind of brings this film down from a possible 7 or 7.5. It relies a lot more on chances that will make the viewer roll their eyes and the amazing coincidences. The villains are a little overdone like all Clancy novels, but we don’t spend a lot of time getting to know them. Ryan is definitely the main focus here with quick moves and a relationship with a beautiful woman (Keira Knightley) that is hanging in the balance. He is torn between doing his job and telling her what he does for a living. Shadow Recruit is a great film for anyone who enjoys Clancy’s novels or the fast paced American action film. Anyone else will feel left out when it comes to what is really at stake in this film. I enjoyed it, but i feel it can wait until rental.

Delivery Man

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6/10

Definitely the most i have enjoyed a Vince Vaughn film since 2011’s The Dilemma. With that said, it is far from a perfect film. Delivery Man goes through an identity crisis not knowing if it wants to be a comedy or a drama. It is because of the drama scenes that tug at your heart strings, that the crude humor does not work in a picture like this. Vaughn is ok in the role of a man who has fathered 533 kids through clinic donations. I feel like since the role doesn’t ask as much as the original version (2011’s Starbuck), Vaughn is an ok choice for the role. If they were trying to keep it like Starbuck, it would demand another actor because Vaughn is unable to push those dramatic scenes to the limit. Vaughn stars as Dave Wozniak, a man who is on the verge of starting a family with his girlfriend when he comes to the discovery of this secret. It’s no secret that i wasn’t a fan of The Internship, and i hated The Watch. Delivery Man is different though because it pits Vaughn in a role that is completely different for once. It was nice to see him not go for the cheap laughs and actually put back on his acting chops like he did in Clay Pigeons or A Cool Dry Place. The film gives us a somewhat unbelievable ending, but it’s forgivable in the fact that Wozniak is made a better man. I recommend this film to all Vince Vaughn fans as i feel if you loved The Internship, there is absolutely no reason you won’t enjoy this. Wait till video though. No reason to jump off the couch to see this film.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

 

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6/10

Ben Stiller is back in a film that is a little different than the films he has been known for over the last decade. He stars as Walter Mitty, a man who daydreams his life away while publishing photos for Life Magazine. The crew at Life are told that this will be the last issue ever published with most of the people losing their jobs. Some of the things i liked about this film was the amazing scenery and beautiful cinematography. It sets epic stages for Mitty to reclaim his life and go on the adventure of a lifetime. The Secret Life also gives us some awkward characters in the form of strangers he meets along the way. It’s sad that in these strangers we find that we care about them more than our two leads (Stiller and Kristen Wiig). Stiller and Wiig are very awkward in their form of conversation. It’s almost like two robots who have never met are talking for the first time. When we find out they have known each other for a couple months, it seems even weirder that they have such a problem being personable. Adam Scott gives another great performance as the villain of the film. Scott has been known to be very famous in these roles including a great performance in Step Brothers. The film runs out of miles in the main base scenes while Stiller is working at Life and at home. It’s kind of symbolic to the way this film goes. It’s only interesting when he is climbing mountains in the Himalayas or playing soccer in Afghanistan. The daydreaming also gets old by about the 3rd of 4th time it’s done. We see how predictable it is to tell the difference, and can see the joke coming from a mile away. Films like A Nightmare on Elm Street have always been great at producing a believable dream scene. I appreciate the explanation of why Stiller has less and less dream scenes by the end of the film, but it’s too late by this time. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has the ability to be one of the year’s best, but it flutters in the basic bore of Stiller comedy. Give it a shot on DVD, but nothing more. The Film Freak’s Mother – 8/10 – I really enjoyed the scenery of this film. A lot of the fields of green reminded me of my time in Ireland. I also enjoyed the role of the mother (Played by Shirley Maclaine) as she reminded me a lot of myself in the things i do to Christopher. Some of the scenes i didn’t like were the daydreaming. I felt it was really drawn out and overdone with too many minutes wasted on it. I also didn’t like the boss (Adam Scott). I felt he was a jerk.

Last Vegas

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6/10

This film about four friends who travel to Las Vegas to have a bachelor party for the playboy of the group who finally settles down. The film stars Michael Douglas, Robert Deniro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline as the group of friends who have done everything for each other for nearly 60 years. I enjoyed this film based on the undertones of settling down and finding love before this great dance we call life is over. Freeman and Kline match each other on line for line for the best role of the film. I personally think Freeman edges him slightly because it is funny to see Morgan do things like judge a bikini contest and dance to LMFAO. Beyond that, the movie lacks in substance. It doesn’t really drag from it’s 92 minute run time, but it just doesn’t have enough story to fill that time. There is an interesting love triangle that develops midway through the film that makes you wonder who will end up with whom. This film had a lot of similarities to The Hangover trilogy, and if i were to judge i would say that this film is better than The Hangover 2 and 3, but falls just shy of the original. That film had more laughs than this one, but i also understand that they are two different styles of film. Last Vegas is a good recommendation for someone who is a big fan of any of the four stars. I would recommend that you see it in a dollar theater or rental though. There just isn’t enough there for me to warrant this as anywhere near the top of my end of the year list.

Ender’s Game

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6/10

I have a lot to say about this film, but i’m not sure where to begin. First of all, i am not reviewing the novel of Ender’s Game. I have never read the book and i will not even try to debate my knowledge on that subject. The film is an easily forgettable one. Is it a good film? Yes, but to anyone who hasn’t read the book or know a decent amount about the story, you will be lost at times. When i saw big names like Harrison Ford, Viola Davis and Ben Kingsley, i imagined that this film was going to turn in some incredible performances. But the trio of award winning actors are kind of left to waste with short dialogue that doesn’t give us any time to know their characters. Ford is the best by far in the fact that he is hiding more than we are led to believe throughout the film. For the first 90 minutes, i thought this film was all about practice and training, which would have put my review at around a 4 or 5. But this film redeems itself a little in the final ten minutes which pulls the wool from our eyes and turns around everything we were led to believe in the film up to this point. The action and set pieces in the film are beautiful. There is no debating that if you are to see this film, it must be at the theaters. I also enjoyed the work of Asa Butterfield as the story’s main character. His voice is a little pre-teen screaming when he gets excited, but i think he is great to play the role of a kid who knows he has a revolution that he is responsible for. In the end, Ender’s Game gives us a look at a possible sequel and i do think there will be enough fans to support that wish. To me, Ender’s Game is recommended, but it’s nothing incredible. The script seems rushed with so many of the events that are portrayed, but overall it’s not a bad little film. I would put this one somewhere in the middle of all the films i have reviewed this year.

Bad Grandpa

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6.5/10

This film can best be described as shock-comedy. With that said, i really enjoyed this film from the producers of the Jackass TV show about a widowed grandfather who has the task of driving his grandson back to his father across the country. This film definitely made me laugh and gave the viewers a lot to talk about for years to come. It didn’t give me the same satisfaction as watching an actual Jackass movie, but the little boy (Played by Jackson Nicoll) is pure gold. He totally steals the movie with the things that come out of this child. My favorite scene of the film takes place at a ladies night dance club where Irving realizes it might be easier to pick up chicks if they are already hot for buff bodied male strippers. The only complaint i had from this film is that it’s too short. It clocks in at about 85 minutes with credits included, and by that point i felt like the film could run another 10-15 minutes and be entertaining. The 2nd half of the film is definitely the better act because it spikes up the storyline with the comedy that is already present. I recommend this film to lovers of the TV show and Johnny Knoxville fans. Johnny is his same charming weirdo self, so you won’t be disappointed

Carrie (2013)

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6.5/10

Chloe Moretz and Julianne Moore star in this remake of the 1976 thriller about a girl with telekinetic powers. This film wasn’t as bad as i thought it was going to be. The dialogue was awful, the high school kids were a little over the top with their villain hatred, and it’s a little hard to believe Chloe Moretz in this role. Moretz is a great actress and a great pick for the role of the prom scene, but it’s every thing else that i have a problem with believing her in the role. Moretz is too beautiful to play a role that was described as an “Ugly duckling” in Stephen King’s book. The prom scene is pretty badass though. They modernized it to make some pretty gruesome deaths that much more interesting. Julianne Moore and Judy Doyle were amazing as the mother and gym teach of Carrie White, respectively. Moore is one of those actresses that can play any role you put her in. She is just that damn good. I sort of wish the film were a little longer than the 91 minute cut that we received. I can imagine there are some decent deleted scenes as there was a good chunk of the story left out. Still, Carrie isn’t a bad little film. I would recommend it for the dollar theater if you want to get out of the house. We don’t really learn anything new in the story, so the only reason to see it is to see the performances by the different actors at the helm.

Birth of the Living Dead

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6.5/10

This documentary about George Romero’s original zombie masterpiece shows us the struggles of introducing the world to zombies. It’s hard to understand today just how much Romero went through with trying to get this film into theaters and drive ins because the world as we know it today loves zombies. What i loved about this film was all of the stuff i learned about the cast, what it took to purchase the equipment and the copyright mistake that led to a horror classic possibly losing millions of the take it brought in. This documentary gives us some great in depth interviews with Romero. The master of zombies tells us that no one wanted to give a first time 27 year old director a chance, and how that was his motivation to get the film released. The only thing i didn’t like about this film was how many films outside of the horror world that it took credit for. I don’t exactly think The Godfather trilogy was made because of the negative ending in Night of the Living Dead. It’s a bit of a stretch to claim many cinematic classics, but i see what they were going for. Check it out if you are like me, and a big fan of the Romero zombie epics

Machete Kills

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6/10

A decent sequel from the same people who brought you the legendary original. This film lays the ground for a very unusual trilogy. I will not give much away about the upcoming third film, but this film gave what it always promises. It had great and goofy action scenes with a lot of blood. It had laughs that were a little few and far between, but still there. It had crazy characters played by some big time actors. The best of those performances are from Mel Gibson and Cuba Gooding JR. Cuba is only in the film for a few minutes, but his performance is one of my favorites just on the attitude he brings to the role he is playing. Gibson is great as the villain of the film. He creates a Star Wars-esque scenary (Yes you read that right) that creates an over the top finale. The things i didn’t like about the film were petty, but they were there. I have never been a fan of CGI blood when there are so many amazing special effects guys anymore. Hell, Tom Savini was starring in the movie, so there is absolutely no reason for this. I get that they might do it to make it look cheesy, but i think human effects would make it even funnier. I also didn’t like the ground work laid for the 3rd film. I will definitely go see it, but i am not looking too forward to it based on the scenery. These films are all about the goofy, but sometimes you can take it a little too far. I recommend Machete Kills if you want a good time at the movies. There isn’t anything wrong with waiting till dollar theaters though to see it.

Metallica : Through the Never

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6/10

The worlds of music and film meet in this concert film with the story happening outside of a Metallica concert. First of all, the band still has it. They put on an epic 10 song performance that makes you feel like you are there in the live crowd. Shot with the beautiful Technicolor cameras, it makes for an amazing stage show that pushes the music even further. The other half of the film stars Dane Dehann as a stage hand who is caught in the middle of an apocalypse outside of the stadium. His job is to deliver a mysterious bag that we never find out what is inside. This part of the film we could have done without, but i understand why they did it. There are some beautiful symbolism shots that include a burning scene that had to be near impossible to shoot. We just never learn why this whole thing is going on and we know even less about why this bag is so important. There is no talking during this part of the film at all, and they just act as action and fighting scenes to play to the background of the music. To me, this film could be summarized as one giant 85 minute music video, but i think it’s a little more than that. I have seen concert films before and this one leaves you with a little extra. I do love Dehann as an actor and wish he could have gotten more character development here. This film only played for one weekend at Imax theaters and it’s understandable. It’s hard to categorize this as a film or a concert. It’s an experience that has to be seen by all Metallica fans. If you aren’t a fan of the band, it won’t mean anything to you.

Thanks For Sharing

 

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6/10

If Judd Apatow directed a film about sex addiction and the toxic traits that come with it, this would be the film he would make. Thanks for Sharing follows a couple of people in a group (Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Pink and Josh Gad) who struggle with the real disease known as sex addiction. This film does do a lot of good in opening the eyes of the world, and getting the word out there. It does have a lot wrong with it at the same time. For one, Mark Ruffalo just doesn’t feel right in this role. He comes off as a smarter man in all of his films and is quite good at playing the stereotypical genius character. That is why someone like The Hulk is perfect for him, because he is the side of Bruce Banner that is the scientist. In this role though, it just doesn’t work. He shares no on screen chemistry with his girlfriend in the movie (Gwyneth Paltrow) and that really hurts the scenes. Ruffalo is a great actor, but there are just some films that certain actors shouldn’t do. Tim Robbins however, was born to play this role. He plays a father whose own son is a drug addict. He struggles between the responsibility of leading a group and being a positive role model for his own child. Pink is also a breath of fresh air. For this being her first big role in a film, she really nails it. She brings such a deep sense of comfort and paranoia at the same time in her role as Dede. The scenes in this film were shot very well, but don’t take many risks. It’s a pretty safe movie with some real touching moments. There were just a couple of parts in particular that really took me out of the film. You can see some things coming from a mile away, and i think that is truly one of the film’s biggest weaknesses. Overall, the film is just OK, but should probably still be seen by anyone who is into films like these and 28 Days. As for sex addiction, i would stick with 2011’s Shame. It polarizes the disease in a more life altering nature.