Baby Driver is a film of absolute purity. While leaving I tried to think of a witty way to describe it. I settled on cocaine, thought it was good enough, wrote it down, posted it, moved on. I told my friends that I loved it, but I wouldn’t be able to watch it again any time soon. There was just something about it that stunk of a one-and-done affair, call it the come down? The next day I felt it calling in the back of my head as I told my family about it and discussed it with friends. The day after, I was longing for it even more. Watching the first five or so minutes online, trailer after trailer, seeking that same buzz again.
I left “The Fast and the Furious” eager for more, which surprised me enough. I now leave “2 Fast 2 Furious”, the sequel to that brainless gem, with remorse and indignation. My wrongdoing was apparently to allow myself to be filled with optimism again which I haven’t done since I saw “Godzilla” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” over a year ago. The indignation spawns from how unfair it is that John Singleton, the director of “Boyz n the Hood” which bought him an Oscar nod for best director and best screenplay, fails so spectacularly at a formula that seems so simple. It is mind numbing to think that a movie so similar to its predecessor could be so much worse. Fast cars I can find anywhere, the job of the Director is to convince me that cars smaller than my hand travelling from one end of my screen to another are really going very, very fast. The cars are fake and so they feel fake and any sense of speed that would be derived from the use of an actual real life vehicle (shock! horror!) is left in the CGI dust.
Michael Bay IS the modern master of suspense. Forget Hitchcock, this guy can make me believe that this time things will be different between us. Maybe, just maybe this time will be the money. The first “Transformers” in 2007 was average but I can certainly see the appeal. The second movie, “Revenge of the Fallen” I had down as one of the single worst movies I have ever seen. “Dark of the Moon” in 2011 struck somewhere in the middle of those two quality wise, so when I heard that “Transformers: Age of Extinction” was going to be a “soft” reboot of the franchise I was almost excited. Michael Bay has kicked me in the teeth once again with a movie that is not only jarringly similar to the three previous “Transformer” films but is actually worse than the abomination that is “Revenge of Fallen”.
“Lucy” didn’t last long before I began to re-evaluate my expectations.
“So this is a movie about a girl who uses 100% of her brain to get really smart? Is Luc Besson treating us like idiots with this banal flashback of a rat walking into a trap on purpose? Maybe he is trying to tell us how dumb we are right now… but later on the film will get really smart as Lucy (Scarlet Johansson) gets smart?”
I have seen “Blade” before, I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was silly and indulged itself too often in dumb and over the top action sequences. Upon my second viewing of “Blade” I found myself liking it a lot more. This time I thought it was silly and indulged itself in dumb and over the top action sequences. It’ll split people that way, and maybe I have just loosened up since my initial viewing. Either way, “Blade” is a fun time even if it doesn’t exactly take the mind along for the ride.
There do exist those special movies that alert you to their awfulness minutes into the film. In “Captain America” we are instantly treated to a scene that should be poignant, but instead the foreign language scene leaves us confused due to the scene being half subtitled. Half subtitled shouldn’t be a thing, it’s all or nothing unless you have a damn good reason for it. This movie had a $10,000,000 budget, “Reservoir Dogs” — A film I didn’t enjoy but can still appreciate — was made for $1,200,000. Take this opportunity to really let that sink in. This movie wasn’t theatrically released in America until 2011, and that was to promote the vastly superior “Captain America: The first Avenger“. If I had watched this prior to seeing that then I can tell you I wouldn’t have bothered watching the new one, end of story.
One of Marvel Comics darkest characters, Frank Castle AKA “The Punisher” is unlikely to be back on the screen for a while due to the success of the family Marvel movie. He doesn’t have the star power to attract viewers, and if it isn’t appropriate for parents to bring their kids too, who will see it? The Punisher is a character that will only succeed on the screen if he gets out of comic territory and instead goes for a gritty story similar to how Christopher Nolan managed it with Batman. This rendition of the character — the first of three so far — is dark, brooding, and yawn inducing.
I can’t really recall a time that this has happened before. I have heard of sequels improving on the original before (“Spider-Man 2”, “Goldfinger”, even “Kill Bill Vol.2” as just a few debatable examples) but never to this degree. “The Raid: Redemption” was one of the most beloved action films to have come out in the past few years, and it took many by surprise as it was indeed a low budget foreign film that found significant success overseas. It’s no secret, I hated it, and I still do. I could see why people loved it but it wasn’t for me because people loved it for only one reason, the action. The problem was that if you weren’t a hardcore action — with an emphasis on martial arts — fan then there is almost nothing to enjoy. I can gladly say that Gareth Evans has increased his scope and made a truly stunning martial arts film, that improves on literally everything the original did. I mean it, there is not one thing worse.
Fantastic. I had so much fun with “The Raid: Redemption” and I couldn’t put it down for the entire time I spent with it. It lets you get right into it, just punching people, pulling off combos, breaking skulls and taking names. The best part? It just lets you fight fight fight! No boring dialogue for us! Why would we want that to break up our experience? Oh, and the final boss, oh my God. “The Raid” is the best video game I have ever played in my entire life.
But, this isn’t a video game — this is a movie. An awful, awful movie.
It is good to be back, I’ll say that much. The opening scenes of Peter Jackson’s first entry into the prequel trilogy of “The Lord of the Rings” — “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” — evokes that now decade old trilogy. It is a welcoming feeling, but “The Hobbit” novel released in 1937 was never as dark as “The Lord of the Rings” and was intended for an entirely different audience, namely children. This adaptation isn’t bad by any means, but it loses steam in the latter half due to its overlong run time and evident padding.