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Movie review: Total Recall

Grade: C

If you’re expecting a movie with heaps of action scenes then by all means go see *Total Recall*. If you’re looking for some really good Phillip K. Dick mind benders then just save your money and wait for the DVD. The story seems to mostly gloss over the mind bending aspects and focuses on a weak excuse for conflict so that it can set up the next long action scene.

In fact I don’t recall seeing a movie that had this much action in it. I would guess that of the 1 hour and 50 minutes of movie time at least 45 minutes of it was spent on action. Lots of long sequences of shooting and fighting and running. The action itself was decent but nothing spectacular. Good special effects, not great.

Kate Beckinsale did a really good job with some her action scenes. She has a few moments of ballerina like grace as she twists and turns and punches. However, she just doesn’t quite have it in her to pull off the bad girl killer that she is supposed to portray when she’s not fighting.

Colin Farrell was good as the lead. He does a good job of being intense and sincere.

Jessica Biel didn’t have many lines to work with but what she did have she did well with.

The big question is: how does the original TR compare to remake TR. For all of the cheesiness of the original it was fun and didn’t always take itself too seriously. But what really makes the original better than the remake is the performance by Ronny Cox, the original Cohaagen, and Michael Ironside as Richter. Both brought a level of desirableness that is completely missing from the remake.

Movie review: The Words

Grade: C-

I enjoyed this movie up until the ending. They gave it a cutesy twist and not in a good way. As I was exiting the theater most people were muttering words that are not fit to display here.

The acting was good but there were no challenging aspects for any of the characters.

Movie review: The Cold Light of Day

Grade: D

*Cold Light of Day* currently has a 10% at RottenTomatoes.com. The good news is it isn’t all that bad. It’s certainly not a good movie. But it’s not retched either.

The acting is ho-hum. Bruce Willis has little more than a cameo roll in the movie. Sigourney Weaver doesn’t have much more than that. So don’t go see it because they’re in the movie. I thought the best acting performance was given by Verónica Echegui who is an up and coming actress in Europe. She did a great job of showing emotion when it was called for and hiding her emotion at other times. Very well done. Hopefully we’ll see a lot more of her in wide release movies here in the States.

The action was pedestrian. There was a lot of running which seems to be a trait I’ve noticed in European films lately. ( What is it with Europeans and running? ) The car chases, fighting and shootouts were predictable. It was clear that the director was trying to channel *The Bourne Identity* in one of the car chases but that scene ran out of gas.

There was no humor to speak of in the movie aside from Sigourney Weaver channeling her Ripply character from *Aliens* for about 3 seconds.

Movie review: The Possession

Grade: D+

Since the dawn of Run Pee I have been delegated to seeing all horror movies. The reason being is I love them. I love the feeling of sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the moment that my popcorn goes flying and I spill my drink. The moments that you don’t want to look but the dark side of your brain is craving the thrill. I grew up with Freddy, Jason, Leatherface, Chucky and Michael Myers. These guys are icons, idols to me. As much as I love them all, a new wave has hit us. The Ring, Paranormal Activity, The Grudge and of course the last twenty-two Saw movies. Each of them have one thing in common. They weren’t The Possession. Thank God. I did not really enjoy this movie. It wasn’t horrible but I definitely should have waited for the DVD.

Due to the fact that every horror movie concept has been done at least two hundred different ways at this point, there are only a few things that make them stand apart. One is the acting. Do the actors bring it? Natasha Calis as Em did a pretty good job. So did Jeffrey Dean Stanton as Clyde, the father. Everybody else, not so much. I was really disappointed in Kyra Sedgwick and Grant Show. They were flat and at moments totally over acted. It felt really disjointed to me. Secondly, they did a horrible job on character development. I had so many why’s wondering through my brain that I couldn’t enjoy what I was watching. The movie really dragged so they should have at least bored me with some of the back story. Maybe then I could have identified with the characters better. Also, the movie is plagued with plot holes. They stuck scenes in there that I thought at the time would be laced up later in the movie. Nope, they never touched basis on them again. All in all, I was disappointed.

Movie review: Lawless

Grade: B+

For weeks I had been anxiously awaiting the premier of Lawless. I can’t really put into words how much I love Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf. I watched Shia grow up on television and blossom into a really great movie star. It was like seeing my own child succeed and flourish in a cutthroat business. Now with Tom it’s purely sexual. The dude is hot. Plain and simple. I was really happy to see that they gave it an R rating. I interpreted that into meaning I’m going to see Tom naked. Ladies, I’m sad to report it’s not Tom that you see naked. Men, you can still sit there with your heads held high even happily in fact because you have a scene where Jessica Chastain is naked.

The movie itself wasn’t bad even though my hopes for a gratuitous, naked, sex scene with Tom didn’t happen. The setting was terrific and costumes outstanding. There is a moment where Shia is walking away in his ratty clothes that made me laugh out loud. His britches were filthy, saggy and too short. The transformation of his clothing style throughout the movie was a night and day turn around. He pulled both of the looks off. Again, that’s my boy!

Lawless was a bit slow on the start. Looking back on it though, they did it correctly. What I thought was just useless filler stuff actually made the movie complete at the end. The way I judge whether or not I like a movie is if I give a flying cat crap if one of them dies. Tom Hardy should have died like three times. So three times I had a lump in my throat and was screaming in my head, “Not Tom!! Don’t let him die!! Not again! Or again!”

All in all, it was an enjoyable movie. Not what I was expecting but sometimes that works.

Movie review: Premium Rush

Grade: C

I found *Premium Rush* to be enjoyable and easy to follow, for the most part. I was expecting that the package/information being transported by bike messenger would end up involving some complicated international intrigue but that wasn’t the case at all. It was certainly something important but only to a small number of people. That kept the story focused on what it did best: exciting bike riding through busy Manhattan.

There isn’t much acting to be had. The movie is only about 84 minutes long, if you don’t count the credits, and nearly half of the movie takes place on bikes. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for face to face interaction. What there is isn’t bad. The cast is talented but there isn’t time to get in and care too much about the characters with the exception of the police detective Bobby Monday, played by Michael Shannon who will also be playing General Zod in the upcoming *Man of Steel*. Michael Shannon did a great job of being someone you’ll hate.

The story is very simple and the motivation behind everyone’s actions is clearly spelled out – with the exception of one group. More on that below.

I don’t recall anything really funny happening in the movie which is a shame because if they could have just worked in one or two LOLs I think it would have pushed the movie up a few notches.

Why you should see this film:
* If you are or ever have been a bicycle messenger.
* If you’re a huge fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

If you’re neither of those then I would suggest waiting for the DVD. I doubt if many people will walk out of the theater thinking the movie sucked. But, I also doubt many will walk out feeling like it was much better than an average movie.

[ Spoilers below ]

The one thing I’m totally perplexed about is why did the bookies that the police detective owed money to want to stop the little boy from getting into the country? It doesn’t seem like they would be able to get a refund for the ticket. If they explained that bit in the movie then maybe I was distracted while writing down peetime notes. Otherwise I thought the story was pretty tight. You can email me – Dan@RunPee.com – if you want to share with me that bit of the story. If bump this movie up to a B- if that bit is explained.

Movie review: Hit and Run

Grade: B+

The movie is fun and hilarious and even sweet at times. It won’t win an Oscar but it won me over and that’s all I wanted.

I am thoroughly impressed with Dax Shepard. I had no idea that he not only stared in the movie but also wrote it and directed it. I have loved him since seeing “Without a Paddle”. This just cemented my opinion of him.

Dax and Bradley played off each other splendidly. During a few of their scenes together I forgot that I was watching a movie. The good movies do that which is good for the viewer. Not so good for me trying to remember to find peetimes.

The chase scenes were fun and creative. If you want a great date movie then go see it. There is a little something for him and a little something for her too.

Movie review: ParaNorman

Grade: B-

As usual, I rate an animated movie in accordance to the amount of laughter coming from the audience. There was lots of laughter from the children and a smattering from the adults.

The movie was exactly as advertised: a kid who talks to dead people. Everyone thinks he weird except for his parents who worry that they’ll be run out of town. The story was cute if not a little sad at the end so I’ll give it a B-.

Kids will be entertained, parents will nod off a little.

Movie review: The Expendables 2

Grade: D+

I really enjoyed the first *Expendables*. It wasn’t a great movie by any means but for an action movie fan it was fun. But it was fun in a serious way. There was good character development in the first *Expendables* and something the resembled a plot.

*Expendables 2*? Not so much. It’s campy from beginning to end. The story is non existent. Every scene was meant to set up another one liner or excuse for another fight. That would have been okay but I didn’t think the action was really all that impressive. Jason Statham had some good stuff. The rest was ho-hum.  At some point in an action movie you have to wonder if a character is going to make it or not. Otherwise it’s like watching a sporting event on your DVR when you already know the final score.

All of the funny scenes revolved around the actors making reference to lines they had in previous movies. While that’s fun that’s all they had to work with.

My advice would be to wait for the DVD. The few good one liners might be worth rewinding for. And you might need to rewind many of  Stallone’s scenes because he’s hardly intelligible unless he’s talking slow and facing the camera.

And FYI, the back story they gave to Gunner – Dolph Lundgren – is actually the actors real back story. Every bit of it. He really did get a Masters in Chemical Engineering.

Movie review: The Odd Life of Timothy Green

Grade: B+

I’ve read a few reviews about this movie calling it too sentimental too saccharine and not realistic at all.
Well…that’s why I saw this movie rather than The Expendables.

I didn’t want to see  things get blown up in my face. I have no hankering for blood baths. I *wanted*  to see humankind at it’s finest. Just one little movie about kindness, honesty and love. And I found it in Timothy Green.

C J Adams was perfect for the role. He has that appeal and innocence we saw in Haley Joel Osment’s performance in A.I. ( Artifical Intelligence ).

So for you folks who want more realism in your life, drive down the 405 in L.A. or try having a Sunday picnic in Watts.