Somebody should tell director David Grobic that he has obviously watched a lot of David Lynch films. The problem is that he seems to not have taken anything from watching those films except a mysterious setting and characters that don’t add up to personable. John Cusack stars as a down on his luck kind of guy who is hired by Robert De Niro to deliver a bag. He is told not to look in the bag, but to just deliver it. If that setting sounds familiar it is because it has happened a thousand times. The film adds nothing to a premise that is growing literally by the minute. It’s sad that Cusack and De Niro have been demoted to these straight to DVD films because they can be two of Hollywood’s best with the right script. If there is one positive that i took from this film it is that it does indeed keep you guessing what is in the bag. It gives you an answer that is pretty basic with a finale that does up the rating a little bit with a swerve. The film also has Dominic Purcell who stars as a crooked cop. For those of you who know me, you know i love Prison Break, and it was great to see Lincoln Burrows and John Cusack go head to head. The biggest negatives i took away was a sloppy script, too long of a run time (108 minutes) and (Surprisingly) bad acting. Cusack and De Niro are obviously doing this for a paycheck and that makes sense because they are both on sleep mode. I appreciate Grobic’s attempts at a Lynch-like film, but he doesn’t have the intrigue or the dedication from his actors to pull off a Blue Velvet or Mullholland Drive. Pass on The Bag Man.
Truly the oddest film of the year i have seen. It’s got a lot of disturbing scenes in the form of Scarlett Johansson in the form of an alien who comes to earth to learn more about the humans she hunts. I say “hunt” because this alien attracts men while taking on the form of a beautiful woman. She brings them back to her apartment where they are all killed while under the sexual spell of Johansson. The idea itself behind Under the Skin is great but it suffers from a lot of the same sci fi problems that this month’s The Signal did. It has problems explaining itself, and maybe that is meant on purpose. You find out very little about the alien itself and why she is here to study these males. You never find out why these men are disposed of in a way that they are. The reason i kind of feel this is on purpose is because the movie has a couple meanings in the form of symbolism that i took from it. The first is that man is the most dangerous creature walking the earth. He is out for sex and doesn’t care who he hurts to get it. I don’t think a film like this can really be called feminism because the woman is clearly using the tool herself even if it is for death purposes. The second thing i took in the form of symbolism is that beauty is only skin deep. I can tell that the ladder is the thing this film was really going for, but it never fully commits itself in this direction. There is a scene midway through the film in which the alien picks up a man with a disfigured face. She continues to hit on him and shows more emotion in picking him up than she did any of the more physically attractive men. This is personally what i enjoyed most about the film as i felt it was heading in a direction that was more original and rare by today’s standards of good looking men and women in movie. The alien looks like Scarlett for a reason obviously and that is to prove how shallow these animals are. As i said before, it doesn’t fully commit itself to this direction and that is unfortunate. The last 30 minutes of the film are a scramble of a film that didn’t know quite how to end. It almost feels like the ending does nothing to add to the film’s originality because it’s the ending we were expecting in the first place. There are a couple other things i enjoyed about the movie. The movie is mostly a silent film with occasional dialogue being thrown in to get across the wants and obvious needs by her male suitors. It’s so hard for a movie to get across the points of it’s characters when there isn’t a lot coming out of their mouths, but Under the Skin made it work. This is by far Johansson’s best acting credit to date. In just a deer in the headlights stare, she makes the alien (no name given in the film) so pale and emotionless that we always prepare for the worst. We feel like these men are in for a world of pain that only we can see coming, but it never quite gets that horrific. SPOILERS – Some of the men are killed, but it only feels as bad to us because of Johansson’s powerful quiet demeanor. She is never too over the top while playing a character and a genre that she has little to no experience with. The camera shots are absolute beautiful and full of artful color. The fast paced shots of a motorcycle rider who is relative to Johansson’s character are done with the road underneath us speeding through quickly. It feels like we are chasing this man on a bike because of the absolutely brilliant and risky shots given. The location of Scotland is absolutely perfect for this kind of movie because of the foggy mist swallowing the forrest landscapes. It gives the area a sense of doom for the unknown that they don’t see coming. The direction is really hit and miss. The idea of the film is great, but it’s not amazingly executed by director Jonathan Glazer. Upon looking into it, he uses actual real citizens for shots of the alien in the mall and in a restaurant. This is brilliant because the star of the film has to react to the improv going on around her. His direction has pieces of miss because I felt like he had many great ideas, but got lost in some of the symbolism and that kept him from finishing a decent film. If the ending wasn’t so bland for me, i would’ve rated this movie a lot higher. It’s only an hour and 40 minutes, but you will be begging for answers by the end of the film, and it’s those answers that never materialize. I did enjoy Under the Skin, but i cannot for a second recommend this movie to a mainstream audience. Sadly, many people don’t like what they can’t understand in today’s society, so i can’t see this movie getting the world wide praise it kind of deserves. If you are curious for more things besides Scarlett Johansson’s nude body, give it a shot for her acting alone. It’s going to be unlike anything you have ever seen from her, but i think this film should be the cherry on the sundae for a great acting year for Johansson. Overall, the message of Under the Skin may go unnoticed by some, but the disturbing imagery and a mesmerizing performance from Johansson makes Under the Skin a haunting viewing experience
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.
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
The weekend’s best film is also the one shown in the least amount of theaters. Kristen Bell returns in the role she was born to play. She plays Veronica Mars, a small town daughter of the chief investigator and former Police Captain. As seen in the TV show, she is quite the investigator herself, and she returns to where it all started. Neptune, California has always been a place for drugs, violence and murder. The ladder is the premise for this film as Veronica’s best friend Logan is framed for murdering his pop star girlfriend. Veronica stays in town to help Logan in his journey to innocence. First of all, it was the fans of the series that attracted me to this film. The show was canceled prematurely after 3 seasons on the CW and it was the fans who funded the film so that they could finally get a fair ending. I think that is pretty impressive, and wish a couple of my cancelled shows had such a dedicated fan base. The movie itself plays like a CW TV show, so that should please fans of the series. It has all of the hip dialogue and sassy main character that would otherwise be lost in a genre that produces hundreds of these films every decade.It also has the trendy indie rock music that was popular for a show of this kind. I should know, i was a Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill fan. Every character is back from the TV show, but none are more appreciated than Keith Mars, Veronica’s father. The on-screen chemistry is one of the finer points of the film as Keith has always raised her on his own. He has tried to keep her out of the investigative world, but has come to understand that she is quickly following in her father’s footsteps.I was also quite surprised with how many celebrity cameos were in the film. Dax Sheppard is expected as he is the husband of Bell, but James Franco, Justin Long, Jamie Lee Curtis and Jerry O Connell are great as scene stealers. Franco in particular is the topic of conversation when he is seen in an internet video trying on tight jeans. The murder itself is studied and pressed quite well as a classic whodunnit? When the culprit is revealed though, it is a little lackluster. There is no chase scene or final fight between our protagonist and antagonist, so you are left wondering how this person could ever get this far with something as serious as murder. It is also tough to relate to some of the characters with their actions, but i do understand the interest here. Veronica Mars has a fan base that is undeniable, and it’s great that they got a film that can satisfy the cravings that were left abandoned in 2007. It’s just a shame that fans have to resort to a limited showing if they want to see their favorite TV show on the big screen. It is available on pay per view, so that should help some of you. I definitely recommend this film to fans of the show, but i think non fans will enjoy it as well. It does offer a nice 5 minute rundown of everything up to this point, so a guy like me wasn’t left scratching his head.
So much wasted potential on a film with a great cast and one of America’s most perplexing court cases for the sake of revealing all the facts. Devil’s Knot is the story about the trial of The West Memphis Three. They were three teenagers who were accused of killing three little boys in the woods. The police department and the courts are using the boys as scapegoats because they are satanic living in a very religious town. I was very intrigued with the op…ening 20 minutes of this film. The way it is presented as a murder mystery really made me think they were going to explore more than just the three teenagers who were accused of this tragedy. Instead, it becomes a story about religion wars with both sides coming off as ridiculous. Both sides are in a tug of war battle to make the other one seem same, and that is what is the hardest thing to understand with why they made this film. It all just seems very pointless to me with so many better educated documentaries out there. It all is shot and played out like a movie of the week special. It makes me wonder how Director Atom Egoyan ever got such big name actors as Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth and Mirelle Enos to be in this movie. Each of their performances are among the lone bright spots of this 103 minute film. Witherspoon in particular gives one of her top 5 performances of all time as a wounded mother of one of the three deceased children. It’s a shame that all of her hard work and prep in making this mother come to life is wasted on a movie that is earnest and cautious when it comes to it’s revealing of the town and it’s people.Firth is forced to sit and watch from the sidelines. It’s something that really decreases the effect of his character and the film at a time when it needs a saving performance the most. I think Egoyan had a shot to really make this movie into something that doesn’t echo that information already told by the documentaries and thousands of news reports. What we are presented is a film that is entirely pointless. Is it meant as a reminder of the events? There are much better explanations of this tragedy (See Paradise Lost on Youtube) that don’t dull down the events to compliment a boring movie. We learn nothing about the three men who were put through hell because of the different things they believe in. I would have liked some of that time to be shown on the things the men were doing the night of the murders. Devil’s Knot is something i wouldn’t recommend, and will totally never see again. It has no replay value because these are events i already knew before the film. I am not even sure if there was one time watch value now that i think about it.
The battle for Greece continues in this war epic to the 2007 original. Right off of the bat, i will say possibly the most blasphemous sentence to ever be said on this website. This film is better than the original. Rise of an Empire plays off better as an actual movie with a revenge plot storyline that the audience will eat up. In return, the characters are written with more depth and more humanity in this film. The main character is named Thermistocles, and he is an Athenian politician and general. At the same time Leonidas led the 300 spartans, Thermistocles is leading his naval army against the Persians who threaten to take over Greece. I enjoyed that they were showing both armies as they traveled at the same time to fight different sides of the Persian army. The film stars Sullivan Stapleton (Thermistocles), Eva Green and the returning wife of Leonidas, Lena Heady. Green in particular is the best part of this movie. The camera gives her the most screen time, and it is through this that we learn of her very disgusting past. She is after the Greeks for a reason, and will stop at nothing to achieve glory. Green’s dialogue and demeanor show nothing but her having the time of her life in this role. She is sexy, funny and VERY dangerous. It is her sex appeal that makes her at her most dangerous. She’s easy on the eyes, but bad for your health. There is one thing i can say in this review that i have never said and that is that this film has the greatest sex scene in a movie that i have ever seen. Not trying to sound perverted here, but it’s filled with so much passion and aggression that you can see so much of their war emotions coming out on screen. I did see the film in 3D and i have to say that this is one of the only times that i will say it is definitely worth it. My eyes had so much to focus on from falling ash to hundreds of daggers being pushed right in your face. The 3D is also big on pushing a movie that is twice as violent as the original. This movie is not afraid to show buckets of blood, and that is a good and bad thing. It’s good because these films should be brutal. Wars in films should never be PG-13 because of what our soldiers went through. They should be honored in a 100% honest telling. It’s bad though because most of the blood is CGI in this film and it looks horrible. My friend Ryan had an interesting thought. He wondered if the blood looked so bad because we had 3D glasses on and those are like magnifying glasses. I don’t know the answer to his question, but i do think the blood was one of the lone weak spots in the movie. The film also has it’s differences from what actually happened, but i am not going to get into that argument. After everything i said, i still haven’t mentioned the best thing with the film. The two 300 films have some of the best cinematography i have ever seen. Zach Snyder perfected it with the original, but director Noam Murro pushes it to the limit with beautiful sky shots, as well as far and away shots of the naval war scenes that really capture the bloodshed that is present. 300: Rise of an Empire isn’t the best movie i have seen in the first three months of 2014, but it is the most fun i have had at a movie. I think a lot of the problem with these reviewers is that they don’t give sequels a chance to succeed because sequels are mostly a money plot. I think any movie deserves a shot to shine, and if you give Rise of an Empire a chance, it will dazzle you with 100 minutes of powerful battles and characters fighting for the state of civilization. See this film at all costs in theaters and in 3D
The re-visioning of the 1960’s side cartoon on Rocky and Bullwinkle sees our main protagonists in trouble traveling back through time to get back home. The voice acting of Ty Burrell (Mr Peabody) and 10 year old Max Charles (Sherman) is done really well, and the perfect choice to compliment old school fans of the cartoon. Peabody is a dog who is the adoptive father of Sherman. He is a very intelligent canine who tries to teach his son about world history through a time machine. Sherman disobeys his father when he takes the time machine out and gets stuck in ancient Egypt. The animation of the film looked very crisp and beautifully textured. Dreamworks once again scores on a beautiful cinematography that really updates the cartoon. One of the biggest benefits to showing this film over another animated feature is that kids will get a history lesson from this film. It makes learning fun by taking our two characters back through some of the world’s biggest events and listing the time and place for those events. Many such historical figures are even brought to life to help the duo get back home. People like George Washington, Marie Antoinette, Da Vinci and even King Tut are given plenty of screen time to represent their respective era’s. There were two things that i thought weren’t necessarily problems but were very interesting about the film. The first is that the film really has no antagonist. I am sure some people will fire back with Mrs Grunion (The Children’s services worker) being the villain, but she doesn’t have enough screen time and isn’t dark inside enough to pull it off. It’s weird to watch a children’s film nowadays that doesn’t have an antagonist. The other thing was that for a film that was marketed as a comedy, it’s not a very funny movie. There is some comedy in the film that will make you chuckle and that is mostly adult comedy. It’s kind of sad to say that the comedy in this film really doesn’t represent children very well. I could be wrong with different kids seeing this, but the children in my theater barely ever laughed. I think all of this is OK because it is still a good and educative film, but it’s just weird that they marketed to kids and it didn’t really do anything for them. I saw this film with my friend who is almost 40 and we both had a couple good laughs when the entire rest of the theater was dead silent. I think that has to do with the comedy that is present being too descriptive for a 5 or 6 year old to understand. Overall, Mr Peabody and Sherman is a delightful ride through the past. It’s a story about our children growing up and having to let go so they can spread their metaphorical wings. It’s also a story about being different and being OK with that. I would recommend waiting till DVD or if you can catch a dollar theater showing of it. It’s a good film, but it can wait.
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.
Liam Neeson stars in this thriller about a hijacked flight to London. Neeson plays a U.S Air Marshall whose cell phone is hacked by the person who threatens to kill a passenger every 20 minutes. First of all, this film combines two things that i enjoy. I have become a HUGE Liam Neeson fan. Pretty much to the point that anything the man comes out with, i will see it. I also enjoy the airplane genre (If there is one). Films like Flightplan, Passenger 57, Air Force One and Snakes on a Plane are ones i have always enjoyed. What makes Non Stop better than any of the films i mentioned is that it gives us characters that we can get behind and care what happens to them. It gives us an easy enough plot of a whodunnit with a surprise behind every corner. The ending will surprise 90% of the audience as even i got the prediction wrong . The twist gives us a back story that makes sense with our villain. It’s smart and most importantly, it’s human. The camera work is also something that is very attractive to this film. It’s very claustrophobic in which it gives us up close and tight shots that make us feel like we are stuck in a cock pit with Neeson. Those close camera shots also make the guessing game a lot harder for the audience as we get a lot of suspicious faces from the passengers on board. Julianne Moore is the lead female for the film, but i don’t think she is a huge presence here. Her performance is kind of on sleep mode as her character doesn’t have a lot to do. I was particularly fond of Michelle Dockery as the flight attendant, Nancy. For those of you Downton Abbey fans, you know her very well as Lady Crawley. This is the first thing i have ever seen her in, and i think she plays to the drama of a scene very well. She has the kind of eyes that really make you feel her pain. It also doesn’t hurt that i kind of have a crush on her (wink wink). The only problem i really had with the film was some of the things that the villain was able to accomplish. Make no mistake, there are things you will have to look the other way for in this film, but it’s nothing too drastic. I would have a couple of scenario questions for director Juame Collet Serra if i had the chance, but it’s just the critic in me nitpicking. Non Stop is a slow build Hitchcock-like suspense piece. It’s movement is a lot like the plain in which it’s gaining more height with each passing minute. It’s one of those films that will grab your attention and keep it as you want to figure out the big reveal before the ending. I definitely recommend it to everyone.
It’s always a rare happening when you pay the full $13 for a 3D film and see the movie in 2D. That is the problem i ran into tonight at the Chapel Hill Regal Cinemas. Midway through Pompeii, the crowd began to talk to each other as we all realized the screen wasn’t blurry when we took off our 3D glasses. One of the ladies ran out to the lobby to inform the manager. They did do the right thing and rewarded everyone with a free future 3D showing of any movie. Props to Regal Cinemas for doing the right thing, but i won’t be seeing a film i saw again just to get the 3D experience. As for the film, it was a lot better than i thought it was going to be. The story (For those who don’t know) is about the volcano explosion in Pompeii in the year AD 79. Kit Harrington plays a slave turned fighter who watched his Irish family die at the hands of Senator Corvus’s (Kiefer Sutherland) army when Kit was a child. Harrington is excellent as the main character of this film. He registers the proper emotions to show us that revenge is the only thing on his mind. That changes when he meets Princess Cassia (Emily Browning). Cassia and her family rule Pompeii and are doing business with Corvus so that he can invest in a new territory. The film is perfectly cast from Browning as a naive but powerful princess to Carrie Anne-Moss as her mother. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is by far the best part of the film though. He plays a slave who is the champion of the battle league that goes on between the prisoners. When the explosion happens, he turns into the biggest bad ass that i have seen in a long time. Adewale has been in some amazing roles, but i think this is his deepest one yet. His rivalry turned friendship with Harrington is what really gives the film a relating premise. The only problem with the casting i had was Sutherland. This just isn’t the right role for him. He does play the villain well as evidenced by his filmography, but his terrible accent mixed with his 2014 look just doesn’t fit. I feel they could have given the man some makeup or at least a wig to pull off the look a little better. The explosion itself happens with a half hour left of the 95 minute playtime, and it is easily the best part of the film. The first hour is ok, but it does kind of drag on with the business side of Pompeii’s community. The thing with these historical films is that you wait the most for what you already know is going to happen. This film had a ton of comparisons to the 1997 film “Titanic” that i won’t bore you with, but i was almost laughing by the time the corny ending hit. That is one thing i didn’t like about the film; the ending will make you role your eyes with this kind of film. Some of the impacting positives were the beautiful visuals and sets throughout the film. Director Paul Anderson really makes Pompeii the beautiful place it once was with colorful buildings and green pastures as far as the eyes can see. The fighting scenes were also nothing short of energetic. A film like this can take you out if the battles don’t do justice of ancient times, but Pompeii definitely brings it. Pompeii is a film that i recommend to the history buffs who like this sort of film. It’s not as good as 300, but it sure as hell is a lot better than this year’s Hercules. I apologize that i can’t comment on the 3D, but if you see it you are more than welcome to review it for me.
Kevin Costner returns to the silver screen in his first lead role since 2008’s Swing Vote. Luckily, this film is heading in a better direction than a lot of his recent films. Let it be known that i am a Kevin Costner fan. I think the guy puts a lot of heart into the roles he chooses. He is responsible for some of my favorite films of all time. Costner stars as a small time Hit man who is approached by Amber Heard (A CIA agent) about killing “The Wolf”, a contract killer who has alluded authorities for decades. While this is the film that the trailer presents, it is a completely different film that is presented to us the audience. Costner finds out he has less than 2 months to live as he has stage 4 cancer. He uses the remaining time left to form a relationship with the wife and daughter he left behind. It is in the second plot of the film that i found the most enjoyment. The action was fast paced with a lot of well choreographed fight scenes, but the majority of the 112 minute film revolves around the time that is running out. This is the kind of film that i wish Crank would have been if it wasn’t so goofy with the sequel, Crank 2. When watching the movie, i told myself that Costner doesn’t seem right for the action side of this movie. He isn’t terrible, but you just don’t see him as a Jason Statham or Liam Neeson kind of role actor. He more than makes up for it with the emotional story he tells while trying to bond with his daughter Zoey (Played by Hailee Steinfeld). The script is a little sloppy at times as it plays a three way tug of war game with deciding what direction the film should take. On one side, there is the fast paced action chaser, and on another side there is the sweet family movie that tries to tell us love conquers all, and finally a comedic side that takes the steam out of anything mentioned before. Director Mc G has proven before that he can direct his characters to great heights, and it’s kind of felt here as Amber Heard is seductively dangerous as CIA agent Vivi Delay. The villains of the film are a little James Bond-ish with almost laughable personalities. I am OK with the fact that Mc G doesn’t focus a lot on the villain side of the movie, and saves the big battle for the final 15 minutes of the film. The end is done in two parts which makes it kind of drag on at times, but it’s in those final minutes that Costner realizes what gives his life importance. Overall, i was really amazed with how deep at times this film went. It’s more than a typical shoot em up kind of action flick. It’s nice to see a back story inserted that will put you emotionally invested in the characters and not just the violence. I recommend the film for action lovers, but i think it can wait till dollar theater.