Monday, July 23, 2012

Movie Mini-Reviews 23-07-12

Hmmm some of these ain't too 'mini' but what the hell....

The Raid

You may not have heard much about this movie as it’s a foreign offering from unknown Welshman Gareth Evans. It is one of these movies that promised so much from its trailer but it fell more than a little short on the grander scale. The plot is even more simplistic than your average brainless action movie but despite it being sheer nonsense - it’s not really let down by that. No, the problems here are far deeper. 

So you have a group of rookie cops vs. a group of thugs, shooting at and beating the crap out of each other and quite frankly I couldn’t honestly give a flying fuck about either side or really any character. The criminals deserved to die because they were the bad guys, the cops here were so immensely stupid that they themselves were an armed menace to society rather protectors. There was precious little by way of character development which robbed the movie of its humanity and thus any reason to care. To say they were cardboard cut-out action movie characters is an insult to real cardboard cut-out action movie characters.

An even bigger issue is that it had so much potential unrealised, the cops weren’t long running out of bullets and if they didn’t acquire enemy weapons, they resorted to martial arts against thugs armed with machetes! There was an insane amount of machetes. Everyone in the apartment block had a fucking machete! Lucas, there was almost more machetes in this movie than all of The Sudan – but guess how many limbs we saw being severed? Zilch. Unrealised potential and not using the props properly is a pet peeve of mine.

Final Verdict: It’s not for lack of blood and violence elsewhere, it’s easily the most violent and bloody movie I’ve seen all year and I doubt Expendables 2 will top it for that but I’m rating this movie sub-par as it has so much unrealised potential and is bereft of the humanity that made the Asian action movies of John Woo or Takeshi Kitano so enjoyable.

Colonel Creedon Verdict: **

Men In Black 3

Feck didn’t Tommy Lee Jones get really old? I mean sure he's been in dozens of movies since MIB2 but it's not until you see him in the black suit again does it really dawn on you. I’m obviously not the only one to think this as the man was sidelined for most of the movie substituted by Agent K’s past self, a fantastic Josh Brolin effortlessly mimicking Jones as he did George W. Bush in W. I really had one hope for this movie, and that was that it surpass the somewhat disappointing MIB sequel MIB2, and I’m glad to say it did - with bells on.

Barry Sonnenfeld's 2nd sequel wasn't weighted down with nostalgia from the originals [they mention Chief Zed as being dead because of the crazy shit that Rip Torn pulled in real life means he'll unlikely be working for a major movie studio in a kid-friendly production soon] but the array of superfluous characters like the wise-cracking beer-drinking squid-like aliens, the annoying talking pug Frank and even Tony Shalhoub's shady store-owning alien Jeebs were all absent. The result was a tighter adventure and Sonnenfeld firmly focuses on where most of the real magic is now, firmly in Will Smith's capable hands.

That's not to say the supporting cast were of little help, Oscar winning actress Emma Thompson was recruited as Agent O, the new MIB boss with David Sledgehammer Rasche portraying her 1969 counterpart. Will Blades of Glory Arnett was great in his little cameo but Bill Paul Hader was outstanding as Andy Warhol. Sadly there's an enormous drag against the perfection of this movie and that's the acting ability of New Zealand comedian/musician/actor Jemaine Clement. He's so woefully shit you almost wish Lara Flynn-Boyle from MIB2 would appear instead.

As a former student of the works of Brannon Braga, I’m no stranger to time travel and this movie takes the time twisting conundrum and makes it tremendous fun. The franchise is saved. Roll on MIB 4, but get TLJ to just play the grumpy boss as he did so well in Captain America... please - or wait another 10 years and get Will Smith to play the grizzled old guy next to Jaden Smith's new recruit. Fuck that's gold, I should work in Hollywood.

Final Verdict: Look, it's fun. That’s pretty much this movie in a nutshell, it’s just great fun.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
I do detest revisionist histories. I’m sure there was a lot more vampires in reality.

This is a bizarre yet entertaining movie from the mind of Seth Grahame-Smith who thought of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and started a phenomenon of placing the undead and fantasy elements into accepted history or famous [read: famously intensely boring] works of literature. Here we have Abraham Lincoln’s origin and life to become one of the most influential Presidents of the United States, a life irrevocably linked to the blood-sucking undead.

Final Verdict: If you’re a stuck-up history nerd who balks at the idea of altering ‘the classics’ or even documented history then you will detest this ‘outrage’. If the thought of a silver-plated axe-wielding Abraham Lincoln [or anyone] cutting through hordes of vampires excites you on any level then you’re in for a treat.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ****

Killer Joe

 Sweet Lucas, this movie was the fast train to Crazytown, Texas. It’s just so fucked up on so many levels it’s practically impossible to review. Matthew McConaughey, determined to shed his ‘sweet’ image from too many rom-coms, fantastically plays Killer Joe Cooper a local detective who moonlights as a hired killer who likes ‘em young and pure if ya’ll know what I mean? He’s hired by Chris [Emile Speed Racer Hirsh] and Ansel [Thomas Hayden Spider-Man 3 Church], trailer-park redneck trash to kill Chris' mother/Ansel's ex-wife but Joe’s high price tag means they must offer their sister/daughter Dottie [Juno The Dark Knight Rises Temple] to Joe as a retainer, a young and pure retainer.

While this appropriately rated IFCO-18 [US NC-17 / BBFC-18] movie features some pretty intense violence, and one truly grotesque scene involving fried chicken that is easily the single most truly obscene thing I’ve ever seen on the silver screen [several people walked out and I can’t say I blame them], this was overall a thoroughly entertaining and unique movie from the great Oscar-winning director William Friedkin director of classics The Exorcist and The French Connection, far better than the last offering I saw of his - Jade.

Final Verdict: Squeamish? Sensitive? Easily offended? Off you go into Magic Mike or an animated feature instead then and give this wild ride a wide berth.

Colonel Creedon Rating: ***1/2


Former Grunt said...

"He's so woefully shit you almost wish Lara Flynn-Boyle from MIB2 would appear instead."

- Ouch. That's harsh dude.

Constance said...

Fuck you, Colonel, I liked Pride and Prejudice just fine the way Jane Austen wrote it!

You mention walking out on Killer Joe but not the utter crap that was The Raid?