Movie Review – Den of Thieves

I think Den Of Thieves tried hard to be a good tale. Basically, we see that the good guys and the bad guys are not so different, and act the same ways to get their jobs done. We feel sympathetic for both sides occasionally. Mostly, we see that everyone in this movie are jerks.

The big problem is that none of the characters are developed to the point that we even know their names, or care. There are minor sequences with Nick’s life, but honestly, those just make great Peetimes. I’m not sure why they bothered to show those scenes — they have nothing to do with the plot, and felt squashed in to give Gerard Butler something to do besides…shoot things. As of 2017, he’s our new B Movie action hero, right?

I like a good caper, mystery, or thriller, but this is NONE of those. I’d say to wait for the DVD if you must see it, but only bother if you want to see guns going BANG BANG BANG for the entire second hour. Really. BANG: by this time, any semblance of storytelling was abandoned. I got a headache from this movie. It’s shocking how so much time was wasted in such a long film, without developing anyone beyond “barely good guy,” and “barely bad guy.”

Even that premise sounds good, doesn’t it? It’s not. I wanted to go home after the the first hour mark passed. I thought about leaving and pretending I saw the end, I kid not. I’ve watched a LOT of movies for RunPee and put up with all kinds of plot disappointments. This was just abysmal.

Movie Grade – D

Movie Review – The Hitman’s Bodyguard

*The Hitman’s Bodyguard* is really, really darn hysterical. The audience laughed out loud, frequently, as the relationship between Ryan Reynold’s and Samuel Jackson’s characters would ramp up, get deep, get ridiculous, and grow more affectionately abusive towards each other.

There are car chases (many) and foot races (also, many)…but the heart of the movie is between these two actors and their infectious chemistry. There’s some wonderful symbolism throughout (hint: look up the official name for a ‘group’ of crows), and a lot of stylized violence. The plot itself is kind of inconsequential: it’s just a vehicle to serve up some fantastic verbal interplay.

There’s also a great meta set-up to Jackson’s signature phrase…wait for it, by Reynolds. After that, all bets are off if you want to count how often that ‘special’ line is used.

Gary Oldman turned in a reliable performance as the villain, a hard act to pull off on the heels of Reynolds and Jackson. Salma Hayek was definitely over the top, but this is intentional; her performance is enjoyably wackadoodle.

What kept this review from a coveted A- grade was a slightly weary sense of repetition from the endless chase scenes. Some went on way too long, and there seemed to be a lot of filler padding out the runtime.

Frankly, I could just watch the leads play off each other all night, just bickering away.

Great date movie – or to just take yourself to, if you need some cheering up and laughter.

Movie Grade – B+

Movie Review – The Fate of the Furious

I’ve been waiting on pins and needle for this movie. Let me start off with the fact that I’m probably one of the biggest fans of this franchise. I’ve seen everyone of them on opening day, and had vowed my undying devotion to them. Yet, I may have to withdraw my pledge of allegiance.

To me, it fell flat when compared with the other movies. In no way did it give me the same feelings as the rest of them. I gave it a lot of thought and came up with a bright side: I think if you don’t compare it with the rest of the franchise, it was okay.

There were a lot of cool action sequences and great effects. In my opinion, Jason Statham and Tyrese Gibson stole the show. Both of them brought an incredible amount of humor to the movie. I didn’t realize that Statham could do humor so well. He’s really funny and hot – emphasis on “hot.”

Dwayne Johnson and Statham also had some great screen time together. The bantering that goes on between them is outstanding. I laughed out loud quite a few times. So there’s the bright side. Now what irked me….

I felt like Charlize Theron didn’t quite pull off the villain of the movie. She didn’t have the grit that was needed. I don’t think this was her fault because she is a great actress; it was in the writing. They really should have given a better back story for her. Throughout the entire movie I’m asking myself, who is she? How did she get all of this money, the amazing technology? I spent too much time during the movie wondering why. I know that suspense makes a movie, but it just felt like plot holes to me.

The other thing that seriously bothered me was Vin Diesel. I’ve secretly been in love with his character since 2001 when Dominic Toretto first appeared, sitting in his family’s bar, looking all sexy and bad. That guy wasn’t present in this film. He seemed like he was being forced to just get through the movie.

I’m so terribly curious about his performance. I just want to call him up and ask the questions I’ve come up with. Was his performance – or lack of performance – due to missing Paul Walker? (I miss him terribly.) It pains me, knowing we won’t see his beautiful smile ever again in the movies. Did he not like what he was given to work with? I know that there was tension on the set amongst the actors, but was it so bad that it affected his acting? Vin, please call me: we need to talk. I love you, but you really let me down.

LUCY – movie review

lucyGrade: B-
“Lucy” is like two movies mashed together: one is enjoyable and explores interesting questions; the other is lame and hyper-violent. Rating this movie is a question of how to balance these two.

Where this movie really fails is in it’s brevity. Not including the credits it’s only an hour and twenty-two minutes long. That’s far too short a time to do any substantial character and plot development. At least one of them will have to be sacrificed. In this case, it’s the characters who get the short shrift.

The movie begins just minutes before Lucy goes through her transformation. It would have been nice to have just a brief scene with her in her normal habitat – who she is, what she’s doing, what her dreams are. But we only get the tiniest of glimpses into that portion of her character.

I may be slightly biased – and that’s an understatement – but I thought Scarlett Johansson did a wonderful job of evolving her character as she went through the transformation. One thing she does particularly well is act without speaking. She can say a great deal through facial expressions and body posture without overdoing it. For instance, some actors have their “surprised face” but they overdo it. Scarlett is great at expressing both surface and subsurface expressions simultaneously: being surprised, and yet trying to comprehend what she’s surprised about.

Morgan Freeman was his usual awesome self. The gravitas he brings to his role was essential for this movie, since there was zero character development for him to work with. We’ve seen Freeman playing the authoritative role often enough that we can easily form an amalgamation of his previous characters in our minds, to help define his character in this movie. That’s poor story telling, but at least Freeman can pull it off.

In the end I wish I could give the screen writers and director a D and the actors an A. I guess I’ll average them out and give it a C+, or a B- because Scarlett is my favorite actress.