Sunday, June 17, 2012

This Week in DVD - June 17th - Father's Day

We Need to Talk About Kevin (2012) 

It seems like just the other day I watched Beautiful Boy, another movie about a troubled teen that commits a horrible crime.  This movie opens showing you that Kevin is in jail.  We don't know what for just yet, but it's really not that hard to figure out as the movie progresses.

The movie is largely told in flashbacks as Kevin's mother, played by Tidla Swinton, is coping with her son's actions and the hostility from the neighbors.  While you can see from a young age there was something 'off' about him, they try to get you to think about how was it more that he was just born wrong, or did his mother's actions and inability to bond with him led him down this path.  Could things have turned out different if he has been raised differently?

That premise is kind of betrayed once Kevin gets older and they show him doing things that make it impossible to like him and are the actions of someone that is truly disturbed.  In many ways it feels like a horror film, like Damien for a modern time.

It's one of those punch in the gut films that can be a little painful to watch.  Tilda Swinton was fantastic as was Ezra Miller, who played Kevin.  Oh, this is weird, Ezra Miller played a character named Damien on Californication.

3 (out of 5) Death Stars - I think it's worth a rental.

Man on a Ledge (2012)

Sam Worthington plays Nick, a former ex-NYC cop who was wrongly accused of a stealing a diamond from a wealthy businessman.  He breaks out of prison and poses as someone attempting to commit suicide.  But it's a distraction, as his brother and girlfriend are attempting to steal the diamond, which is still in  possession by the businessman and this would prove that Nick was setup and is innocent.

It has a nice cast, better than you'd expect, but the movie is outright silly at times.  There were too many things that I had a hard time taking seriously in a movie that's meant to be a thriller.  If you're not scratching your head at the ridiculousness of the plot, then you're just kind of bored with what's going on.

The best thing about it is Genesis Rodriguez as his brother's girlfriend.  Damn!  She's great to look at, but she's really not necessary to the story.  In fact, it's pretty obvious she's in the film to distract you from how stupid this movie is.

1.5 (out of 5) Death Stars - This is the type of movie if you might enjoy if were bored on a rainy day and flipping channels and happened to come across this.

Gone (2012)

Speaking of silly and ridiculous, here's another one!  Amanada Seyfried stars as a girl that was kidnapped by a serial killer, but escapes.  A year later, her sister is kidnapped and Seyfried thinks it's the same killer and he kidnapped his sister to get back at her.  Huh?  Why kidnap her sister then?  Just kidnap Seyfried again, or kill her.  What's the point?

Anyway, the cops don't believe Seyfried, because they think she's nuts and has a history of mental illness, so she has to investigate herself.  This also sets up the idea that this is all in her head, with constant hints and misdirection.  You could almost call this 'Red Herring: The Movie'.

The cops in the movie are portrayed as incompetent and Seyfried's character acts irrationally throughout the film.  She manages to put all the pieces together though and -- spoiler -- the killer confirms he was just trying to get back at her.

It's a waste of Amanda Seyfried.  She's a likable, attractive actress and deserves better.  There's just nothing to care about in this film and you never feel tension or suspense.  The entire movie is boring and ending is just blah.

1 (out of 5) - You can safely skip this one.  Nothing to see here...move along...

Mother's Day (2012)

It's kind of ironic that I'm writing about a movie called Mother's Day on Father's Day.  Well, I'm sorry, but they didn't come out with a movie called Father's Day this week, so this is what we are stuck with.

Another 'great' film brought to you by the director of serveral of the Saw films (Darren Lynn Bousman).  That fact alone might be enough to make many of you steer clear of this one.

A group of incompetent criminals invades their former home (which they were unaware was no longer owned by their mother) and holds the current owners and a group of their friends hostage.  The problem is that the hostages are just as incompetent and unlikable as the criminals are.

It's such a comedy of errors that you're literally rooting for every single person in the movie, except maybe for Baby Vampire Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll), to die horribly and fortunately the movie delivers on that.

Rebecca DeMorney is creepy as the mother of this family, and probably the only person that comes out of this looking good, but that's about it.  The rest of the cast are largely unknowns and like I said, you don't like any of their characters enough to care about them.

1 (out of 5) Death Star - Pass

A Little Bit of Heaven (2012)

Who exactly did Kate Hudson piss off to get stuck with movies like this?  She started out so great in Almost Famous, and since then it's just been a parade of crap.

I almost caught a screening of this movie about a month back and I'm glad I couldn't make it.  It's a boring, melodramatic mess.  I would've had a hard time sitting through this in the theater, as despite only being 100 minutes, it felt like it was over two hours.

Anyway, the movie is about how Kate Hudson's character finds out she has ass cancer.  She does the typical shopping sprees and saying goodbye to family and friends, but still manages to find love with her doctor (isn't that a little unethical?).

It's not funny or cute, despite that Hudson's character is happy all the time.  Plus, she gets to have special chemotherapy that allows her to keep her hair and look great up until her death.  Oh sorry, I spoiled the ending, but I also just saved you from watching it.

The two things I'll credit the movie for is that Peter Dinklage has a small role, and he's always awesome, and that the movie doesn't cop out at the end and magically cure her.  If you're going to watch a recent movie about someone getting cancer, rent 50/50 instead.

.5 (out of 5) Death Stars - Pass.  There's no need to watch this.

John Carter (2012)

I didn't like this or give it a good review the first time around.  I thought the plot was convoluted and they tried to do too much with it.  Based on what I've heard from people that actually read the books, they added a bunch of elements into the movie that weren't brought in until several books later.  This seems like a mistake when trying to kick off a new franchise.  Instead of giving us a compelling story about a few characters, we get a muddled story with too much going on and ultimately the first major bomb/flop of the year.

Despite that, I'm looking forward to watching it again.  I tried to rent it but was unsuccessful.  I'm curious to see if it grows on me or how I feel about it in a different state of mind and maybe able to focus on it a bit more.  I was hoping for a directors cut, but that didn't happen.  I've heard very little was cut from the film and this movie felt very influenced by the studio, despite the director's assertions that he was in full control.

2.5 Death Stars - I still think it's worth a rental.

Safe House (2012)

Nobody is safe in the Safe House!

I called this movie very mediocre in my original review.  It's well acted, has a nice cast and some good action sequences, but I also felt it didn't do much new or original.  It's not like anyone comes out of this movie looking bad or damaged their career though.

I think the biggest flaw of the movie is how predictable it all is.  If the story had been just a little bit stronger it would be so much easier to recommend this.  Denzel's character, Tobin Frost, starts off as an interesting character, but just isn't developed enough.  There's just not enough here to really get into.

2.5 Death Stars - Even my original review, I said this movie was a rental, so now you have your chance.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)

This had such promise with what appeared to be a better cast, effects and the Crank guys directing.  With as weak as the first film was, it shouldn't have been too hard to improve on it.  Instead we get a boring, weird film that felt like a bad drug trip at times.

The story is bad and dialog just awful in parts.  There's some okay action and the effects for Ghost Rider looked great, but then they would have these weird elements that just distracted me.  It's a shame because there are some good things here, but it's just such a mess.  I called it a 'misfire' in my original review.  That still seems appropriate.

1.5 Death Stars - It's a rental only for the die hard comic book fans.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

This took six months to come out on DVD?  Really?

In my original review, I said this movie suffered from sequel-itis in that they just tried to give you more of what worked with the first film, but it ended up being too much.  There's too much slow-motion, too much of Sherlock Holmes using his super powers, and similar to Iron Man 2, they lost the chemistry between the characters.

The cast is likable and there are some good moments, but it's a good 20 minutes too long.  I felt like the plot was overly complicated and didn't make sense in parts. Plus, they didn't really use Moriarty effectively as a villain.

It's not a bad movie, but I didn't think it was a very good one either.  There's enough here that fans of the first will be entertained by.  It just could have been stronger.  You can read more about it here.

2.5 Death Stars - I think it's worth a rental.

Oh, and if you're looking for a late minute gift for Father's Day, or just looking to pick up some DVD's, why not click through my link below and head over to Amazon.  If you click my link and then buy something as you normally would, I get a little kick back from them and it helps support my reviews.


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