Sunday, December 5, 2010


There is a slight chance that I wanted more than what Faster was ever going to be able to give to me. I wanted The Rock to beat people up and be a badass again so badly that I didn’t really care what movie it was in. Thinking along those lines is how you end up with Faster.

November was just full of movies with the most basic premises possible. Faster is just the story of The Rock getting out of jail and immediately hunting down and killing the people who killed his brother. They at least tried to throw in a hefty twist at the end but it lacked any surprise and couldn’t make up for the rather thin plot.

If the storyline was pointless, Faster was worthwhile just because of the fantastic freaking cast. It was like I was consulted on the choices … which, when I come to think of it, I should be from now on. I started the review by saying that I saw this movie because of The Rock and he did not disappoint. He even hit the gym to remind me just how freaking huge he was during his wrestling days. Maybe giving The Rock a role with 5 lines of dialogue defeats the purpose of casting The Rock but there ya go. We’ll skip past Billy Bob Thornton because I’ve never had anything to say about him outside of Bad Santa. And seeing Carla Gugino is always welcome. But I want to concentrate on the smaller roles given to Xander Berkeley, Jennifer Carpenter, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. That’s George Mason, Debra Morgan, and Adibisi all in the same movie. Thank you; here's my money.

If you want to see The Rock drive around and shoot people in the face then Faster is the movie to go see. But make sure that is what you want because there is nothing else to the movie but that.

6 out of 10

Due Date

Todd Phillips had to follow up The Hangover with something and since it took me nearly a month to see Due Date, you can gauge my excitement. Well, like everyone else in the world, I’m a fan of both Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis so if all else failed I would at least have that.

There is not much to say about Due Date. This is one of the go-to comedies plots … road trip. Give the characters a destination and a timetable then have crazy shit happen to them. Shockingly, that is exactly what Due Date puts on screen. And even more amazing than that, Downey and Galifianakis don’t get along in the beginning but become friends by the end. Ah movies.

So if no ground was broke and the plot was obvious, why see Due Date? The answer is the cast. Robert Downey Jr. is at that point of his career where he can do whatever he damn well pleases. His timing is impeccable and I would listen to him deliver dialogue all day long. He can make everything sound amusing. So after a decade of trying, Zach Galifianakis is now a coveted name. Good for him, but I don’t really know how long he can continue to play different versions of the same mentally simple character. Who knows; but it will be funny while it lasts. It was nice to see Jamie Foxx do comedy for the first time in what feels like a decade. Even better is the idea that RZA is becoming one of those revolving group of guys who will appear in all of the comedies nowadays. Would I prefer him to be producing all the beats for the Wu-Tang Clan? Of course, but any RZA makes me smile.

I just don't have much to say about Due Date. It was funny and I barely remember any of it. I'm sure I'll watch it a bunch of times when it shows up on cable but for now all I can say is that it made me laugh.

7 out of 10


Once again Denzel Washington and Tony Scott have decided to team up ... I will never know why out of all the directors to choose from Denzel has decided to work with Ridley Scott’s brother for the fifth time. Hopefully Unstoppable will be more Man on Fire and less Déjà Vu.

Hmm … the plot of Unstoppable is so intricate that I’m not sure if I will be able to explain it in the amount of space available. A train is out of control and Denzel and Chris Pine are chasing it down. They catch the train and the credits roll. I guess that was easier than I thought...

This is another in a long line of Denzel Washington roles where he shows up and portrays Denzel Washington. Oh sure, they give him a different name and he works a different job but I know Denzel when I see him. It’s all there; the jokes, the gestures, the emotion, the heroism, check, check, check, and check. This time around he gets to play alongside Captain Kirk. Chris Pine continues to prove that he deserves his spot as one of the go-to younger actors. Nothing spectacular here but he banters well with Denzel. We need to fill out the rest of the obvious characters that show up in these movies, so Rosario Dawson is the company woman helping them while Kevin Dunn is the company man threatening them. The always awesome Kevin Corrigan is the smart guy giving them key advice at key moments. And last but definitely not least, Ethan Suplee is the idiot who screwed up and set the train loose. Gotta give the audience what they expect.

Just like every other Tony Scott movie, Unstoppable shines when the action is taking place. You don’t get any more basic than a runaway train, but the man knows how to build tension and blow shit up. And Unstoppable is just an hour and a half of tension building and shit blowing up, so Mr. Scott played to his strengths.

7 out of 10

Jackass 3D

What can I say? I’ve always been a Jackass fan, so here I am for the third time. Nothing has changed. A bunch of dudes got hit in the nuts, there were multiple stunts involving shit, and way too much male nudity. That is my review for Jackass 3D.

6 out of 10

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

The Part 1 at the end of the title makes this review seem a bit premature. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is literally the first half of a five-hour film. Instead of an old school intermission, we were sent home for seven months with no real conclusion at all. So, I’m gonna review this under the belief that the second half will be more of the same and not a random u-turn.

Now, of course, what was omitted from the book can randomly show up in Part 2 but since the plot went in somewhat the same order I think I’m safe to nitpick. The movies have blown off the Dursleys many times, so not getting to see Dudley be nice to Harry is no big loss. The movie decides to give Hedwig a more noble death instead of being an innocent bystander but this is put in place of Harry using expelliarmus to reveal himself to Voldemort. There is much less polyjuice potion and no use of the invisibility cloak. This allowed us to see more of the main actors but makes them seem much more reckless than they were in the book. Sadly, we don’t get to hear the annoyed dialogue of Phineas Nigellus Black. This leaves a hole in the Silver Doe plot but that’s for Part 2 to explain or ignore. We do get to see Harry play with the cool mirror shard throughout the film … too bad he was never given the mirror by Sirius in the Order of the Phoenix so he just seems to have a random magical mirror shard. None of this bothers me in the slightest.

One of the many sad consequences of the series ending is I won’t get to see anymore random great British actors popping up with each new film. The opening scene is the dulcet tones of Bill Nighy giving a speech as the new Minister of Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour. He may have only been in a couple of scenes but any Nighy is always appreciated. Luna needed a father so they brought in Rhys Ifans. If he was good enough for Little Nicky and Formula 51, he is good enough for Harry Potter. I also need to point out the smaller parts for Peter Mullan and David O’Hara for their portrayals of the Death Eaters, Yaxley and Runcorn. And even smaller parts were given to Rade Serbedzija and Jamie Campbell Bower but I hope Part 2 may have more of Gregorovitch and Grindelwald. Goddamn seven-month wait…

Finally after ten years of movies and lots of growing up, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint carry this entire movie on their very capable backs. They have reached adulthood as actors and are also working with serious and emotional material throughout the movie. The shocking performance was Rupert Grint bringing a lot more darkness to Ron Weasley than I would ever expect him to deliver. Way to be more than the guy in the background as Harry and Hermione move the plot forward. Along those lines, as usual, Emma Watson gets so much screen time you would think that the stories are Harry Potter and Hermione Granger and the Deathly Hallows. Eh, it’s worth it. The movie is full of these little moments of Hermione dealing with her grief and Emma is just phenomenal in each and every one of them. Daniel Radcliffe has proven to be up to the task of Harry Potter for multiple films now. Skipping past all the emotionally heavy moments, I love his comedic timing. The way he reacted to Hermione figuring out why Dumbledore left him the sword or how he denied having her wand were just perfect choices. I can’t wait to see him get put through the damn ringer in the final movie.

It wasn’t just the abilities of the Potter and friends actors that are the highlight of the Deathly Hallows: Part 1; there were scenes from the book that I was dying to see and the film delivered. Starting from the ending, Dobby’s death is one of the most powerful moments in the book and somehow they were able to reintroduce Dobby after his absence in the last four movies and make his death an absolute kick in the groin. I love Dobby. Then you have the creepy as hell locket attack that turned Harry and Hermione into Lord of the Rings-style elves while they were making out. They were so pretty and shiny. The telling of The Tale of the Three Brothers, now with animation, exceeded my expectations on every level. Then you have the scenes that were not in the book. Hermione wiping her parent’s memories was heartbreaking. Harry and Hermione dancing were hilarious. And all off the locations they camped at were beautifully shot. I just thought Britain meant rainy and London. Who knew?

The seven month wait for the conclusion of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is painful to even write about in this review. I need to see how they conclude this series on film. They've exceeded my expectations over and over again so I just want to sit back and enjoy the ride.

10 out of 10