Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Movie Mini Reviews 8-11-11

The last several movies I've seen since Captain America haven't compelled me to write full reviews for them - they literally weren’t anything to write home about, which is a bit sad considering the performance of summer movies in recent years. I managed to avoid both Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Cowboys And Aliens in the last batch despite enjoying the previous Planet of the Apes remake with Mark Wahlberg and wanting to see if Jon Favreau could do something as impressive as Iron Man with something else. Sadly I was warned away by several sources who claimed that neither movie was in any way up to the hype that fuelled them.

Super 8

Hype however, was one thing that J.J.Abrams is able to generate if Cloverfield was anything to go by [where the hype was actually better than the movie itself], but in his sci-fi monster movie Super 8 he paid tribute to someone he obviously has the deepest respect for: Steven Spielberg. The entire movie struck me as a deeply personal homage on J.J.’s behalf to Spielberg who was obviously a great influence on his career choice and it was certainly a fitting tribute [perhaps even more than Pegg/Frost’s attempt earlier in the year with Paul]. The problem is however that I dislike most of the peacenik crap Spielberg put out earlier in his career like E.T. which I have always despised and Close Encounters, I mean seriously; giant mile-long ships come that close to the planet and we don’t fire off volleys of ICBMs at them? Nonsense!
Nonetheless Super 8 is a well paced movie that sadly has more to offer 10-14 year olds then a nostalgic trip down memory lane remembering at all those kid-friendly sci-fi movies you grew up with.

Colonel Creedon Rating: **1/2

Conan The Barbarian

The reboot of Conan The Barbarian was sadly only a middling attempt to revitalise an extraordinary character for the silver screen. Jason Game of Thrones Mamoa was cast as the titular hero and got all oiled up for a chance at movie stardom. Sadly while they got the look for Robert E. Howard’s most famous character down perfectly, the true spirit of Conan wasn’t bottled in this movie and the Millius/Schwarzenegger version written by Oliver Stone can lord that over this pale imitation. Don’t get me wrong, as an adventure tale itself, it wasn’t too shabby. The set pieces, architecture, locations and action elevated this from the mediocre direct-to-DVD bin but this was Conan! So more was expected. I will point the finger at Lionsgate because promotion for this movie in this part of the world anyway was anaemic at best.

Stephen Avatar Lang nailed the overacting required to be a truly reprehensible villain and a terribly disfigured Rose Charmed McGowan [girls, this is what happens when you try to change your appearance unnecessarily] under layers of make up makes us glad that Rodriguez never got his vision for Red Sonja off the ground. Ron [I’m in about 5 movies this year] Perlman is well suited as Conan’s aged barbarian father and his death is one of the most unique I’ve ever witnessed on screen. Rachel G.I. Joe Nichols is suitably cast as the eye candy and sets back female role-models about twenty years with her screaming damsel in distress once her pitiful fighting skills fail her. As good as they were, James Earl Jones subdued Thulsa Doom, Sandahl Bergman’s feisty Valeria and Mako’s hilarious Wizard are still worth ten times the characters in this movie.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ***1/2


Columbiana starts off as an exciting thriller as the titular character as a young schoolgirl is chased through the favalas of Columbia by her parent’s killers as she races to the U.S. embassy with highly sensitive intelligence data stored on a flash drive which she has swallowed. Had the movie been just about that, I’d probably be writing a great 5-star review now. Sadly no such thing happened as the movie soon transformed into a predictable revenge thriller as the little schoolgirl grew up into a frighteningly thin Zoe Star Trek Saldana [Lucas woman, eat a ham sandwich or three will you?] who proceeded to get her well deserved retribution.
Bland performances all round from Saldana who really can't carry a movie, Michael Alias Vartan, Lenny Human Target James and Cliff Die Hard 4.0 Curtis were sadly not much better with the material here. I was expecting more from the director of The Transporter 3, Oliver Megaton. It ended up being a hideously misjudged train wreck, punctuated with some satisfying Besson-like action scenes.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ***

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

The stylish if uneventful thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy may be a tad over long and light on action but its heavy on intrigue, nail biting suspense and brings seriously big acting guns to the game. Featuring extraordinary performances from Gary Oldman, John Hurt, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Toby Jones and Tom Hardy. A welcome change of pace that is well worth watching especially if classic spy movies are your bag.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****

Drive, Johnny English Reborn, Contagion and Machine Gun Preacher to follow


Civilian Overseer said...

Chick Flicks!, Colonel, what did that heartless harpy Connie do to you in captivity?, .... No... Don't answer that, I'm sure I rather not know. We feared that you might have gone soft and lost your edge, these reviews just prove it.

Don't worry, a couple of CHUCK NORRIS! movies will knock you out of touch with your feminine side again.

Grunt peel back the Colonel's eyelids, administer some drops and start the projector. Grunt?, Grunt!... that's right we swapped his disposable ass, mental note, dock his wages for the time of work once he inevitably escapes and turns up like a bad penny.

Constance said...

Civs. Soft? Please. I would hope to have the opposite effect. ;)

Civilian Overseer said...

Connie, there is such a thing as sheer physical exhaustion. ;)

Constance said...

That's right! I'd forgotten about that stark reality. So humbling when the boys can't keep up with the girls.

Civilian Overseer said...

Connie, Connie, Connie,.... well you ever understand us men?,