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Need for Speed – movie review

NeedForSpeedGrade: B

I have been anxiously awaiting the release of Need For Speed for months. For a Mustang lover this movie delivered the goods at 234 miles per hour. The cars were amazing. They were the stars of this film.

If you are looking for a realistic movie, keep searching. There were some far fetched scenes but I didn’t care because it was all about the Need For Speed. The acting wasn’t bad either. The cast seemed to have pretty good chemistry and there wasn’t too much extra stuff thrown in to weigh the real plot down. There were even some LOL moments.

I walked out of the theater quite pleased. As long as you are a car lover that sometimes has a lead foot, I’d recommend going to see this one. You want the experience to be in a theater. It not only looked great but the sound was amazing.

Veronica Mars – movie review

VeronicaMarsGrade: A

I wouldn’t consider myself a Marshmallow, but I did watch, and enjoy, the Veronica Mars TV series. The movie is everything you would expect from a great two part TV episode. There is Veronica’s familiar sharp witted dialog, and the pacing is just like the TV show.

They did a great job paying homage to the TV show, and even Kickstarter. You’ll love all the references they give to the show, especially early on.

The one knock I’d give it is the vast number of names that get thrown around. I had a hard time keeping track of who they were talking about sometimes. Fortunately they do a good job keeping everything in context to minimize the confusion.

There are plenty of laughs and a few “Oh no she didn’t” moments. Lets hope that this movie is a stepping stone to more movies or maybe a comeback of the TV series.

Note: my grade of an “A” for this movie assumes you watched the TV series. I have no idea how well this will be recieved by non Marshmallows.

300: Rise of an Empire – movie review

300RiseofanempireGrade: C+
This is no 300. I loved that movie and have seen it many times. However, Rise of an Empire was better than I thought it would be because from the previews it looked pretty horrible. It’s just as overly dramatic as 300, maybe even more so because Sullivan Stapleton, who plays the main character Themistokles, doesn’t have the same gravitas as Gerard Butler from 300.

Lets face it, the action is the main reason anyone’s going to see this movie. From that angle it’s almost as good as 300. However, there were a few scenes that looked like they were pulled out of a video game. Not that the entire movie doesn’t have the video game look but some of the scenes leaned too heavily on CG – like the horse scene near the end of the movie.

If you’re a fan of 300 then I think you’ll like this movie just fine as long as you don’t go in with high expectations.

Non-Stop – movie review

non-stop
Grade: C+
Non-Stop was more enjoyable than I thought it would be, however, I wasn’t expecting much.Liam Neeson, as always, is a fantastic choice for the flawed hero character. Even in his 60s he’s still great at close combat action scenes. He’s only getting better at action/fighting due to the number of movies he’s made recently playing that role.

The story was pretty good. It keeps you guessing and trying to solve the mystery. When it was all over I felt that the explanation was a little weak but good enough if you don’t think about it too much.

Son of God – movie review

son-of-godGrade: B

This movie isn’t going to win any critical awards but it’s a crowd-pleaser. If you’ve watched some of the dramatic retellings of the life of Jesus on History, BCC, Discovery, type channels then think of that but a good bit better.

I found it interesting that they often used a characters name in conversation, as in, “John, hand me that bread,” instead of just saying, “Hand me that bread.” The writers/director went out of their way to make sure we knew which actors played which characters. That was a good choice.

The first half of the movie is mostly a “greatest hits” from the life of Jesus leading up to the days before his crucifixion. The second half of the movie dealt with just the final few days of his life. Personally, I wish they had spent a little more time with the early days. It felt rushed in contrast to the second half of the movie which felt like it dragged on a bit. In fact Jesus has less screen time than Pilate, or even the High Priest of the Temple, over the second half of the movie – not counting the crucifixion which occupies a long stretch of screen time at the end.

This obviously reflects a huge matter of debate among Christians regarding what is more important: the life or death of Jesus. I’m solidly in the “life” camp so I wish they’d featured it more.

It’s a longish movie. About two hours and fourteen minutes, not including the credits, so it’s likely you’ll need to use one of the Peetimes. Fortunately I was able to find three good ones so you should be in good shape.

 

Pompeii – movie review

PompieeGrade: D-
When it’s all said and done Pompeii will be remembered as the movie that reacquainted the world with one of the best actors of his generation. He commanded attention in every scene he was in, even when he had no lines to deliver; and when he delivered his lines it was with precision and force; by the end of the movie his presence cast a shadow over every character, every line, every scene – even the ones he wasn’t in. Yes, I’m talking about the volcano.

Honestly, if you go see this movie for any other reason than to see 3D pyroclastics then you’re in for some disappointment.

I can’t tell you how bad the acting was because the dialog was so astoundingly bad. I think Carrie-Anne Moss and Jared Harris, both of whom are award winning actors, rolled their eyes at their own lines a few times. Kiefer Sutherland, who plays the bad guy, had cringe worthy lines, even for him. It’s that bad.

Case in point, the actor Jared Harris actually uses the word “bloody” a few times, as in “bloody Romans”. Hint, they didn’t talk like that. The shame is that Romans used lots of colorful metaphors. There’s an entire wikipedia page devoted to “latin profanity”. Translating that to English would have given the dialog some interesting quirks, oh well.

Do yourself a favor and wait to see this movie on DVD. If you’re lucky you’ll forget about it by then and save yourself a little time and money.

3 Days to Kill – movie review

3DaysToKillGrade: C-

Lets set the tone right away.First, in the first three minutes of this movie you find out that a very young, and very good looking woman, is assigned, by the Director of the CIA no less, to be the lead agent in taking down one of the most important international terrorists in the world. (Right, that happens.)

Second, you find out that the bad guys are named “The Wolf” and “The Albino”. (I’m not making this up.)

Now you know what you’re getting yourself into. The plot of this movie is the pre-worn-denim-jeans of movie scripts. The plot is just an excuse to introduce us to a character that is going through some life altering events.

About the only good thing in this movie is Kevin Costner’s character. He does a respectable job of playing an aged assassin who wants to get out of the business and get back to his family. And that’s it for this movie. The action is secondary and not especially impressive. Fortunately they don’t try and force the action and keep those scenes to a minimum.
The saving grace for this movie is the laughs. There’s nothing to LOL about but there are a few chuckle scenes, especially with Guido, the Italian accountant, and Mitat the…I’m not sure what his character’s job was but he had some laughs.
Honestly, wait for this on DVD. There’s nothing compelling about this movie and isn’t worth the money to see in the theater.

Winter’s Tale – movie review

WintersTaleGrade: C

I feel a little ambivalent about this movie. On the one hand the acting was great. However, the story seemed to be a little scattered. The central message of this movie seems to be contradicted at the end. If you see it then let me know if you agree. I’m still trying to sort it out.

The best part of the film is the acting. I’m becoming a big fan of Colin Farrel. He seems to get better and better with each role. Of course Russell Crowe is his usual great self. The woman who played Beverly, Jessica Brown Findlay, did a fine job. Nothing to complain about here. And oh yes, a fantastic cameo but I’m not going to tell you by who. You’ll know when you see it and you’ll love it.

As I said, the story has some problems, but that’s only if you try and dissect it. There’s no question it pacts some emotional impact. The audience gasped a few times and there were a few tears shed. Unquestionably poignant.

Also, the horse was probably the best part of the movie.

About Last Night – movie review

AboutLastNightGrade: B

I’m really impressed with the job they did with this remake. And to be fair it isn’t really a remake of the 1980s movie but a film based on the David Mamet play, “Sexual Perversity in Chicago”, which both movies are based from.

That being said, they payed homage to the original movie a number of times, including a brief scene where the couple are watching it.

What I liked best about this version is they fleshed out the character of Joan much more than the original. Joan, played by Regina Hall, and Bernie, Kevin Hart, were fantastic together and most of the laughs in the movie surround their performances.

All said the acting was good and the pacing was great, which is to be expected because the original play won many awards. If you’re looking for a date night movie this Valentines the choice is easy.

Robocop – movie review

RobocopGrade: B-

I’m a big fan of the original Robocop film. It was hyper violent and went way over the top. Sort of the them of the 80s, don’t you think?

This is not that kind of Robocop. The violence is PG-13. There’s very little blood and no more gore than you would see in a documentary about brain surgery.

This isn’t what I would call a thinking man’s movie. It definitely leans heavy on simple action and a step by step plot. However, it does shine a light on many current issues that we face today: ethics of drones, corporate power, and media manipulation. In the movie these issues are simply used like a prop. The story never stops to reflect on the pros and cons of these issues.

The action was good but a little redundant at times.

The movie wasn’t devoid of humor but I think there was room for a good bit more. At least when they tried to do humor they got laughs. Nothing’s worse than trying to be funny and missing the target.

The pacing was quick. There was never a time when I thought, “Yada, yada, yada, lets get to the next action scene.”

All said I’m happy with it and will see it again on DVD. And hopefully there will be more.