Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The Hunger Games Catching Fire (2013)

I thought the first movie was a mediocre made for TV movie from the seventies. Of  course I am not a young girl for whom this franchise is made. The budget for catching fire was bumped from $80 spent on the first to $130 million.  Jennifer Lawrence got bumped from a half a mill to ten mill. The look of the movie is much better and the story is also more interesting to a male adult. I maintain that the Predators franchise and Running man are better movies of the same type. However Catching Fire did lite me up. I look forward to Hunger Games 3. It was a huge box office smash and generally reviewed with more stars than I give.

Three Stars

Friday, 17 January 2014

The Hangover 2 (2011)

I laughed hard and long at Hangover One. It was a blast of extended freshness in a stale comedy world. I laughed hard and long at Hangover Two. It was a blast of familiarity that avoided being stale. Zach Galifianakis was not as funny, in fact he bordered on annoying at times. The plot is the same, the Thai location trumps Las Vegas as a backdrop. The story stretched the envelope of suspended disbelief but never broke the spell. 
Mostly due to terrible reviews, RT gave it 34% I had not watched it until now. That was a mistake I was missing at least a half an hour of gut busting laughter. If you liked the first, you will not be disappointed in number two.

Three point eight Stars

Enders Game (2013)

Based upon an extremely popular 1985 Sci Fi novel that was a bit of a crossover hit. Having won both the Hugo and Nebula awards needless to say it was a good book. Maybe it was not a good book to make into a movie.

 For a 12 year old boy this may be the best movie ever. However adults and fans of the book are going to be Meh! The film never really generates excitement. The CGI, acting, and story are all great but the end product is nothing special. As was its Rotten Tomatoes rating of 61% . A box office bomb, unlikely even worldwide to make back its $110 million production budget. If you read the books see the movie, otherwise kids only.

Two point seven Stars.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Not really a spoiler but this is a true story.  Most of the people in the movie especially Jordan Belfort who is played perfectly by Leonardo Di Capri are real characters. The real Jordan also has a walk on speaking part. According to the real Jordan what you see in the movie is all true. Some of this is easy to verify. My first reaction to the movie was that Martin Scorsese was doing a remake of Up in Smoke using Wall Street as a backdrop. I freaked later learning of the Tommy Chong connection.  The direction is top notch Scorsese. I found this movie laugh out loud funny for at least an hour. American Hustle by comparison was a small movie, this was a spectacle. I still think Bale will beat Leo for Best Actor, but for best movie, screenplay, director its going to be a battle. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 79%.  It cost $130 mil to make and is struggling to break 100 at the domestic box. I think its one of those love it or hate it movies, I totally loved it.

Five point five stars out of Five.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Dredd (2012)

Not to in any way be confused with the less than stellar 1993 Stallone Interpretation.  The writing team includes the co creator of the Dredd comic character and writers behind 28 Day Later and  the book A History of Violence which was adapted to make one of David Cronenburg's better movies. Two of this group also wrote the Stallone movie, I wonder if Sylvester has an unaccredited credit for the finished product. Danny Cannon a veteran TV director makes a heck of a rookie debut commanding the big screen.

The dystopian city of the future is perfectly realistic. Interesting that it was filmed in South Africa. Keith Urban was totally convincing. As was Lena Headey of GOT and the 300 fame.(playing a character inspired by Patti Smith) Relative newcomer Olivia Thirby steals the show.(playing a character inspired by Debra Harry) She reminded me of Starbuck at her best. I just finished my second viewing and liked it better the second time. The slow time improvement on bullet time was a significant advance in technique. One of the best comic book adaptation ever and a terrific Sci Fi movie that is totally captivating. It did not resonate with the mass audience making only about 40 million USA. Its on the bubble for a well deserved sequel. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 78% and it had widespread critical acclaim. I judge it to be a movie fans of female punk rockers, fans of Science Fiction and fans of good storytelling must see. Notable similarities to the equally well done The Raid Redemption, see them both.

Four Stars

Friday, 3 January 2014

American Outlaws (2001)

A revisionist look at the James Younger gang.  Jesse James is played by Colin Farrell in his followup to Tigerland debt.  Even though this is a mediocre movie his charm and chemistry with Ali Larter push this movie into entertaining territory. Timothy Dalton is authentic as Alan Pinkerton. Fans of westerns and Colin Farrell would find this movie a pleasant way to spend a rainy afternoon. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 14% and are way off the mark. It a good B Western.

Two point five nine stars.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

American Hustle (2013)

A masterpiece. It was funny, it made me laugh out loud, it was ironic, clever and poignant and best of all mostly true. Credit should start with an outstanding complex script written by Eric Singer and David Russell.  Russell was the directorial tour d force behind American Hustle. He is no one hit wonder having Silver Linings Playbook and Three Kings amongst other hits. A totally unrecognizable Christian Bale plays real life alleged con man Melvin Weinberg. It Oscar time for Bale, Russell, Singer and nominations for Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and maybe Jennifer Lawrence. Fantastic cameo's by Robert Dinero and Micheal Pena. The sound track rocks.  A movie crafted in the old world way. Loved it loved it loved it.

Five Stars

The Hobbit:the desolation of Smaug (2013)

A state of the Art fairy tale. Move over Walt Disney, Peter Jackson is a cell phone to your landline. I have read Lord of the Rings three times twice by my own choice. The Hobbit was a good story but Peter Jackson has made it a great story.
The CGI is outstanding, the scenery breathtaking, whats not to love. I am a little old for fairy tales but this movie brings out the kid in me.

Four point one stars.