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Sep 05 11
By Thomas Leupp
Shark Night 3D, the new animal-attack thriller from venerable shlockmeister David R. Ellis, is dead in the water. It might have had a chance, had it chosen to follow the path of Piranha 3D, Alex Aja's winking meat-grinder, and adopted a more self-aware stance, embracing its B-movie ethos. Instead, the film plays it disastrously straight - and PG-13, no less - wagering that it can make us care about its cast of pretty faces, frighten us with its collection of CGI sharks, engage us with a plot that integrates elements of Deliverance and a new-media twist, or titillate us with shots of exposed side-boobs and bikini-covered derrieres. It's a losing bet.
The story concerns a group of Tulane undergrads who descend upon Louisiana's Lake Crosby for a weekend of summer partying. There's Sara (Sara Paxton), a perky blonde with a past; there's Nick (Dustin Milligan), a bashful pre-med; there's Malik (Sinqua Walls), the exuberant star football player; there's … oh, who are we kidding? Most of these characters barely register in our consciousness; the lot are doomed anyhow.
The party ends when the kids discover that the lake has become infested with man-eating sharks. This happens when Malik, by virtue of being the ensemble's only African-American, is the first to get nicked, losing his arm but not his talent for over-emoting. When his friends try to seek help (we're warned in advance that cell phone service at their island cabin), they incur the ire of the area's native redneck population, whose natural enemies happen to be snooty college kids on vacation. Surrounded by dangers on land and at sea, our protagonists must find their own way out, or die trying.
Even with the help of ample CGI and some questionably lenient judgment on the part of the MPAA ratings board, Ellis can't conjure much in the way of scares in Shark Night. Indeed, he hardly seems interested in trying. The film is almost entirely devoid of tension, lumbering along lamely from one telegraphed attack scene to the next, each episode of protracted underwater thrashing offering little to quicken the pulse. Rarely will you feel compelled to close your eyes. You'll more likely be tempted to cover your ears, if only to be spared the dialogue.
Sep 05 11
By Thomas Leupp
Apollo 18, a low-budget, "found footage" sci-fi thriller directed by Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego, is built around a tantalizing, if far-fetched, revisionist-history premise. It proposes that NASA's Apollo program wasn't scrapped due to budget considerations, as Wikipedia alleges, but rather because something happened up there that made future manned voyages to the moon untenable. (It's not dissimilar to the concept behind the summer blockbuster Transformers: Dark of the Moon, a film which cost, by my estimate, approximately 200 times as much as Apollo 18 to produce.) The opening title cards instruct us that the film was compiled from over 80 hours of footage recently discovered and uploaded to lunartruth.com, and I suppose we should count ourselves fortunate that someone took the trouble to edit the voluminous material into a single feature-length narrative - with three distinct acts, no less - rather than simply upload the choicest tidbits to YouTube. Suffice it to say, Apollo 18's core conceit requires not so much a suspension of disbelief as the outright abolition of it.
Two erstwhile (and, I suspect, future) unknowns, Warren Christie and Lloyd Goodman*, star as astronauts who are sent on a clandestine mission to the moon in December, 1974 - two years after the last "official" Apollo mission purportedly took place. Neither Christie nor Goodman are particularly gifted actors, but they're adequate enough if you imagine them as workaday engineers whose endless hours of study and training have perhaps stunted their social skills. Ostensibly there to install equipment for a classified early-warning system - and, for reasons unclear, instructed to document all of their activities on film - they soon encounter all matter of phenomena that lead them to believe there's more to the moon's desolate landscape than what their superiors have told them. Strange sounds emanate from the darkness, foreign footprints appear on the ground, equipment fails inexplicably: Someone - or something - was waiting for them when they arrived.
For cash-strapped filmmakers like Lopez-Gallego, part of the appeal of the found-footage approach, aside from the obvious savings on lighting and camera equipment, is its generous allowance for inexpensive (okay, cheap) scares. Properly staged, the tiniest, out-of-focus image at the edge of a frame can set the spine tingling. But while Apollo 18 makes full and flagrant use of the low-tech gimmicks at its disposal, it's more than just a lunar Paranormal Activity. There's a clever conspiratorial component to its story that adds a welcome layer of intrigue to the film. Lopez-Gallego is no Hitchcock, but he's no Oren Peli, either.
Ultimately, Apollo 18's fate hangs on a plot device that proves an exceedingly difficult sell. When we do eventually learn the nature of what's menacing the astronauts, the reveal can at best be characterized as disappointing. It perforates the intense atmosphere of paranoia and looming peril that Lopez-Gallego has thus far so carefully fostered, and to some extent undermines what is an otherwise gripping tale of suspense. On the moon, no one can hear you chuckle.
Sep 05 11
By Matt Patches
Late August/early September is known as a dumping ground for Hollywood, a block of weekends for movies that don't fit into studios' strategical timeline. This could be for quality reasons ("when else are we going to put out this crappy movie?") or, in the case of The Debt, the movie might be too straightforward for its own good.
Oscar-winning director John Madden's (Shakespeare in Love) espionage thriller walks the fine line between action entertainment and award-season bait—leaving it in the unmarketable limbo known as "solid, adult entertainment." The film, a remake of a 2007 Israeli drama of the same name, starts in 1997, centering on former-Mossad agent Rachel (Helen Mirren) and her two former teammates, David (Ciaran Hinds) and Rachel's ex-husband Stephan (Tom Wilkinson). The trio cross paths once again with the publishing of a book, written by Rachel and Stephen's daughter, recounting the team's daring (and semi-successful) mission to kidnap and incarcerate a Nazi war criminal in 1965. It's with this solidifying of fame that the true events of their mission begin to trickle out.
The movie quickly flashes back to 1965, picking up with Rachel, David and Stephen (now played by rising starlett Jessica Chastain, Avatar's Sam Worthington and Marton Csokas) at the start of their mission. Like any group of gorgeous people forced to live in confined spaces, romance begins to blossom, with Rachel warming to the introverted David and Stephen waiting for the opportune moment to sweep her off her feet. While the trio prepares for the kidnapping—with your standard array of sleuthing, calculated scheduling and intel-gathering—their relationships complicate, giving The Debt a bit more depth than your run-of-the-mill, Mission: Impossible-style spy movie. When it comes time to bag the Nazi, everything seems to have fallen into place.
But unlike the stories told by their '90s counterparts, the three agents find themselves in a stickier situation than expected. WIth one misstep, the tension between the triangle boils and Madden to play games with our expectations. The script, by Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class writers Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman twists and turns, bouncing back and forth between Mirren and Chastain's Rachel with ease. The spectacle in The Debt isn't delivered by elaborate set pieces, but rather by the two actresses' performances. The duo, without sharing a single scene, click and unfold a complete arc, beginning with Rachel's pride-filled aspirations, to her chaotic downfall to Mirren's newfound mission to cover up the truth. Even when the movie dawdles (and it does around the hour mark), Mirren and Chastain keep us on board.
Aug 29 11
By Thomas Leupp
In the horror throwback Don't Be Afraid of the Dark - a remake of John Newland's 1973 made-for-TV classic - Bailee Madison plays Sally, a young girl sent to live with her architect father, Alex (Guy Pierce), and his live-in girlfriend, Kim (Katie Holmes), in the Rhode Island mansion they're busy renovating. The mansion, ominously dubbed Blackwood Manor, is an exceedingly spooky place, made all the spookier by director Troy Nixey's exquisite production design. Neglected by her father and resistant to Kim's bonding overtures, Sally is free to wander the estate unsupervised, and her curiosity eventually leads her to the basement, where she hears strange whispers emanating from beneath the fireplace flue.
The whispers belong to the homonuculi, a race of odd little creatures who have resided at Blackwood throughout its long, macabre history. Diminutive as they are, they have a gift for manipulation, beckoning Sally by preying on her feelings of neglect and resentment toward her parents. They are simply hungry and longing to be free, they say, but their true intentions are far from innocent, as Sally soon discovers. But when she tries to warn Alex and Kim of the danger posed by the house's tiny tenants, her fears are dismissed as the ramblings of an overactive imagination.
Nixey does a tremendous job of creating a overarching sense of foreboding and menace in Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. The homonuculi, at first only glimpsed in shadow, are impressive CGI creations, menacing trolls with beady eyes and claws - an achievement no doubt attributable in part to the influence of Guillermo del Toro, who co-wrote and produced the film. But while the creatures themselves are frightening, the film as a whole isn't. It's heavy on atmosphere but light on scares, and, as a result, its pace feels sluggish. I applaud Nixey for trying to craft something classical and mannered; I just wish he'd given me a little more to fear.
Aug 29 11
By Matt Patches
The man-child: a staple character for modern comedy and notoriously known for being played one-note. They get the laugh, they get out.
But turning the lovable goofball or zoned-out knucklehead into something more is no easy task—which makes Paul Rudd's work in Our Idiot Brother that much more impressive. Rudd's Earth-friendly farmer Ned (the closest thing to a new Lebowski we've seen since the original) finds himself down on his luck after being entrapped by a police officer looking for pot. After a stint in jail, he abandons his rural hippie commune for the big city, to take shelter with his three sisters. Unfortunately for Ned, his three siblings Liz (Emily Mortimer), Miranda (Elizabeth Banks) and Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) are as equally displaced and confused from the ebb and flow of life—albeit with severely different perspectives of the world.
Liz struggles to put her kid in private school and keep her marriage to documentary filmmaker/scumbag Dylan (Steve Coogan) intact. Miranda claws her way to the top of Vanity Fair's editorial staff and shuns her flirtatious neighbor (Adam Scott). Natalie stresses over her commitment issues with girlfriend Cindy (Rashida Jones), leaving little time or patience for Ned's bumbling antics. Sound like a lot of plot? While the manic lives of Ned's sisters click symbolically with his journey to get back on his feet, it makes for one sporadic narrative.
Like a series of vignettes, Our Idiot Brother never gels, but when director Jesse Peretz finds a moment of unadulterated Nedisms to throw up on screen, the movie hits big. Whether it's Ned teaching his nephew how to fight, accidentally romancing his sister's interview subject or infiltrating his ex-girlfriend's house to steal his dog Willie Nelson, the movie relies heavily on Ned's antics and its smart to do so. But thin throughlines for its supporting don't hold a candle to Rudd doing his thing.
Aug 29 11
By Thomas Leupp
The revenge thriller Colombiana, directed by Olivier Megaton, stars Zoe Saldana as a woman who, after witnessing her parents' murder at the hands of ruthless narco-thugs, grows up to become a professional assassin. The film, which was written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, could very well serve as a companion piece, or perhaps quasi-sequel, to Besson's 1994 classic The Professional. Whereas in that film, Natalie Portman's orphaned Mathilda is rebuked when she expresses her desire to become a "cleaner," Saldana's character, Cataleya, sees her trained-assassin dreams lovingly nurtured by her uncle, Emilio (Cliff Curtis), a low-level crime boss in Chicago. Positive mentorship is so important.
She shows early promise. A first-act sequence, in which Colombiana's tone is cast, sees young Cataleya (Amandla Stenberg) approached by the gunmen who've just finished executing her mother and father. Traumatized but composed, she listens patiently as the oily lead goon, played by Jordi Molla, presses for information he knows she's hiding. Just as the girl seems poised to comply, she pulls out a giant knife, pins the man's hand to the table, swears revenge, and leaps out the nearest window. Her latent Bourne powers suddenly and inexplicably activated, she leads her pursuers on a sprawling footchase through the streets of Bogota, leaping from buildings, sliding beneath barriers, showing flashes of parkour, before finally escaping to the sewers. The sequence is a microcosm for the film as a whole: slathered with action, thin on plot, utterly implausible.
Indeed, Colombiana might be easily dismissed as another derivative and forgettable action film if it weren't for the agile and focused Saldana, grimly determined to wrest every ounce of character possible from the film's perilously thin material. When we first meet her as the adult Cataleya, she is already an accomplished assassin, with dozens of kills under her belt. In between jobs, she keeps a booty-call (Michael Vartan) on standby to fulfill her intimacy needs. He yearns for a deeper connection, but she's stubbornly closed-off, only occasionally betraying glimpses of the emotional torment within. As essentially the inverse of the standard male assassin/ female love interest dynamic, it stretches the limits of believability, which is to say it's entirely consistent with the rest of the film.
Colombiana's plot, such as it is, turns on the most preposterous of coincidences, and appears aimless for much of its second act. Cataleya takes out various high-level targets in sequences that are often thrilling in their complexity, but their relationship to the main storyline - Cataleya exacting revenge against her parents' killers - is unclear. Deprived of details, Megaton expects us to subsist on action alone, but it's not enough to fill the void left by the absence of story. When Cataleya does eventually get down to the business of revenge, it comes far too swiftly to provide any real satisfaction.
Aug 23 11
By Kelsea Stahler
Is there such a thing as a successful remake anymore? After seeing Fright Night, the answer is (surprisingly) a resounding "Yes." Craig Gillespie's shiny reimagining of the 1985 kitsch classic is very much its own movie, but like any good spawn, it doesn't forget where it came from.
The film's plot is not born of a novel concept. Las Vegas teenager, Charlie (Anton Yelchin), is doing just fine. He managed to shake his nerd image, he's got a hot girlfriend (Imogen Poots), and he even puts the de facto cool kids to shame on occasion. Life's pretty great, until he meets the neighbor: Jerry (Colin Farrell). People are disappearing and Charlie's old friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) has a theory: Jerry's a vampire. Armed with only the vampirical evidence doled out by Criss Angel reincarnate, Peter Vincent (David Tennant), Charlie is forced to defend himself, his mother (Toni Collette), and his girlfriend from the silver, pointy clutches of Jerry the vampire's endless blood-lust. And a suspenseful, hilarious time ensues.
Fright Night is successful in large part because it keeps things simple. Charlie: good. Jerry: 16 shades of blood-curdling evil. Game, set, match. It's scary and gory, with a dash of humor – essentially a good old-fashioned, senseless horror flick with a glossy, big-budget cover. It's cleverly self-aware and expends great effort to lend a sense of quality to something that promises to be nothing more than a bloody slasher flick. But the bottom line is that it works.
And the cast is big part of that. Farrell's bloodsucker is the antidote our Twilight-riddled generation so desperately needs; this is what vampires are supposed to be. His twitchy, growling, yet somehow seductive vampire successfully strikes a precarious balance along the sexy-scary line, and while the role doesn't demand a great deal of Farrell's talent, he's fully committed to his psychotic, relentlessly violent character and the result is deliciously despicable.
Aug 23 11
By Thomas Leupp
Marcus Nispel's silly, violent fantasy epic Conan the Barbarian is Hollywood's second attempt at building a franchise based on pulp author Robert E. Howard's signature character. The first yielded two films of diminishing quality – 1982's Conan the Barbarian and 1984's Conan the Destroyer – and is best remembered for launching the career of future governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose Austrian accent in the films is so thick as to render the bulk of his dialogue unintelligible.
Playing the title role in the update is Jason Momoa, whose muscles aren't quite as gargantuan as his predecessor's but whose line-readings are at the very least comprehensible. (His own accent betrays hints of Hawaiian surfer-dude.) Momoa is most famous for his recent turn as a Khal Drogo on the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, a far superior work of hard-R sword-and-sorcery fantasy. Thrones, like Conan the Barbarian, boasts bare breasts and beheadings galore, but beneath the sex and savagery lies real intelligence. All the titillating elements are icing on the cake for a series founded on compelling characters and ingenious storytelling,
Not so much with Conan the Barbarian. The film begins with a lengthy prologue, inexplicably narrated by Morgan Freeman, that briefs us on the essential details of the film's mythology – and you'd best be paying attention, because the ensuing film treats story and character as so many enemies to be vanquished. The opening scene announces the movie's savage B-movie ethos thusly: When Conan's very pregnant mother is injured in battle (barbarians don't get maternity leave), his father (Ron Perlman) delivers his son via an impromptu battlefield Cesarean, photographed in graphic detail. A warrior is born.
The plot involves a grown-up Conan gunning for revenge against Khalar Zym (Stephen Lang), the sorcerer-chieftan who killed his father and obliterated his tribe, the Cimmerians, when he was just a boy. Conan is something of a rock star in the marauding world, his bloodlust not so all-consuming that he can't stop to enjoy a flagon of mead with the odd topless slave babe. His credo is cogently expressed as "I live, I love, I slay, I am content" – words to live by if there ever were.
Aug 17 11
This movie is a blend of concert footage from the "Glee Live! In Concert" tour, interviews with fans (or Gleeks) and backstage snippets with the performers who remain in character. The performances, filmed over two days at the concerts at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey, include some of the show's most memorable numbers, like "I'm a Slave 4 U", "Raise Your Glass", "Teenage Dream", and "Lucky", as well as the original songs that became chart-toppers such as "Loser Like Me," and of course, the show's anthem, "Don't Stop Believin'".
Unlike in the trailers and stage shows, the snippets with teachers Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) and Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) have been cut. Gwyneth Paltrow, who guests on the show as substitute teacher Holly Holliday, has a surprise number, strutting Cee Lo Green's 'Forget You.'
I unabashedly proclaim that I am a Gleek. I have been a Glee fan since I caught the first season (2009) of the TV series in the US. And for once, I am grateful that this concert film is shot in 3D. That way, we get the feel and the pleasure and 'pressure' of 'being there' at the high-energy concert.
Now, if you followed the exploits of the Glee Club on TV, you are going to enjoy watching them perform on stage. And as for the movie's dismal August 12-14 weekend opening (at 11th place with only US$5.9 million), I put the blame squarely on Sue Sylvester who told people to "Please, save your money. This thing sucks!"
The young stars, especially Lea Michele (as Rachel, singing Barbra Streisand songs), Amber Riley (Mercedes, doing a soulful rendition of Aretha Franklin's "Ain't No Way") and Darren Criss (as Blaine, rendering 'Teenage Dream') are pitch-perfect and mesmerising. However, the one performance that is worth the price of the ticket is Heather (Britanny) Morris's 'I'm A Slave 4 U'. Her version is even more eye-popping than the original by Britney Spears.
Aug 17 11
Well you would have thought i mean is it the year or something? Cause something about a 5th in the entry that kind of gets a dead series going again. Perfect Example Fast Five was great in Late April. And now towards the end of the summer i had no idea what to think of FD5 and then all my friends were talking about it .. and i heard how great the 3D effects are. And after seeing it i know what everyone is talking about. I do not know where the writers come up with such creative and elaborate kills that makes everyone quench there stomach. At times this movie is beyond predictable but then the film to the closing final mins instantly changed my mind about the film. With a huge plot twist even i did not believe. And no one mentions that anywhere so you have no idea that its coming. So i was caught of guard by that. Also the 3D the film uses 3D really good like i felt like i actually had to wipe the blood of my glasses it was that real. But some of the deaths are actually improving over the last one. I mean THE final Destination was garbage like i hated it. But this one was actually an improvement not from the acting perspective but from the deaths and the use of 3D and what not i was impressed. but there really is nothing new to the story just same plot different people. But there is some shot at a plot here as in like you could kill someone and you get that life. So that was a new added moment to the series but once its over you will see why that was suggested.
The film starts out with a company getting ready for a retreat where Sam has prepared a nice breakfast for everyone not only to realize that his girlfriend Molly has arrived to break up with him .. well that lasts long. They soon begin to arrive on a bus and head on to a local bridge of which is undergoing some major Construction. Well pretty soon the bridge out of no where collapses and soon begins to crumble beneath there feet. That quickly makes everyone jump of the bus and must run for cover. From this disaster but its to soon everyone is getting falling to there deaths and being crushed. One by one before soon Nick bites it. Then he suddenly wakes up. Realizing that what he just saw in his head was about to become a reality. So Nick gets almost 10 people off the bus before the bridge collapses. Nick successfully does this. Now morning the loss of all there co-workers that must make it through this tragedy. But as a mysterious Coroner who seems to know that death does not like to be cheated so then suddenly mysterious things begin happening sudden events in time that can not be explained but only that death is after everyone that survived the bridge collapse. Is this a coincidence i do not think so .. now really the only way to save your life is to kill another you kill someone you take there place and the books become balanced and you get there days/years whatever. but its only a matter of time before death catches up to them.
Story 4.0/5 - i am going out on a limb here even though the plot is the same as the other 4 there is something new here that has never been done before and for that makes give it such praise. Its not perfect. But i thought this disaster was the most gruesome. I Mean a bridge tumbling just under you that is scary. Even though i do have to give props to the First Final Destination mainly because an Airplane that is somewhat realistic. So for that the story gets a 4. Acting - 3/5 YIKES! is all i have to say it was worthy at best there were times that some of the actors had potential to become stars one day. But there was some corney cheese ball lines here that i could not get around. But there are no familiar faces here other than David Koechner whom once you see him you will know who he is. But the lead Steve (Agosto) i did recognize him from the film Fired Up which was an awful movie this is better step up for him. Directing 3.5/5 Steven Quale i think this is his first directing job but i think he should be proud because this is a step up from the last one. Its one of the better in the series. Its just a really fun movie and i enjoyed his work in the film and his use of 3D cameras. Visuals 4.5/5 these are one of the best 3D effects i have had the privilege to see this year just eye popping body parts flying at you. Just if your gonna see this movie see it in 3D.
Overall: 3.5/5 -Thanks to its Crafty Visuals and intense 3D effects and the huge plot twist in the end. Final Destination 5 works on all levels delivering a fast paced gruesome , disgusting and at times shows resemblances of a plot this movie is bloody good see it now! I want to give it a 4 but that would be giving the film to much credit. I mean its a great flick but given it 4 stars would just not be right. The original FD is still going to remain the best but that comes with any series. Most people find this to be one of the best in the series and yes of course it is. But not the very best. But If the acting would have been more hands on and more energy instead of just being in the movie because of the paycheck. Then maybe this movie could have been better. But if it weren't for the smart use of 3D and all the creative Kills. Which comes naturally with a Final Destination Flick. But the directing from Newcomer Steve Quale has learned well from watching previous FD films and writers that come up with such appalling death sequences that is yikes i can honestly tell you after seeing this flick and what not i never wanna do Gymnastics or take a massage anywhere. O and laser eye surgery never happening ever. Even though some of the deaths are not realistic and more fiction than anything its still a great time overall and i suggest you see the film . in 3D.
Aug 17 11
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is proof that a movie still has potential, even if it's met with rolling eyes and a mouth-full of a title. For those who questioned a prequel Apes film, have no fear, Caesar, and Andy Serkis, are here. As most of us have learned, RPA exceeds everyone's expectations. It's the surprise hit of the year and ranks among the best of the summer. It could even be the best film of the summer, period, depending on your perspective. One thing's for certain, though: Andy Serkis deserves an Oscar nomination already. He won't win (the Academy can't even nominate Christopher Nolan), but it would just be nice to see a nomination. He deserves it.
RPA isn't your typical summer blockbuster. Like this summer's Super 8, director Rupert Wyatt focuses largely on storytelling over action. The actual "revolution," or at least the beginning of it, doesn't take place until the film's climax and up until that point, there's rarely an action sequence, unless you count Caesar's fight with that one chimp an action sequence. Wyatt takes time to craft the final uprising. The build-up takes time, but is never boring, and the pay off is exceptional.
By the time the apes take charge, we are guiltily on their side. They're enslaving us, but we can't help but root for them. That's what the movie does best. It makes us root for the apes. I think it even takes the time to paint the majority of us as evil so the apes' revolution is more justifiable by the end. From his introduction as a little baby chimp we knew we were going to be rooting for Caesar, and as the movie progresses, it become painstakingly clear that he is fed up. The many emotions Caesar experiences over his journey from young chimp to ape leader is brought to life exceptionally by the talented motion capture actor Andy Serkis, who also brought us Gollum in the LotR trilogy and Kong in Peter Jackson's King Kong remake.
Serkis is no stranger to motion capture technology, and with the help of WETA (who bring us impressively realistic CGI apes for the first time in the franchise's history), it's not just his motions that are being captured here, it's his performance, his expressions. Serkis gives Caesar a life of his own and his performance is as good as any actor in the movie...wait, scratch that, BETTER. Compared to Serkis, the actors in this film don't hold a candle to his performance. The only one that comes close is Franco, but only because he's the only human you really care about in the (besides Charles, of course) movie. Not to lessen Franco's performance-I thought he did a splendid job-but Serkis just blows everything else out of the water.
Other characters don't have as much of a prominent role as Franco's Will or Caesar but are there for one reason or another in shaping Caesar into the ape he will become. John Lithgow plays Will's father Charles. It's a very sympathetic role and that's the extensiveness of it, but he serves his purpose for a few pretty heartfelt moments. Frida Pinto's Caroline plays Will's girlfriend, and really only does something worth mentioning in the end to help Will out. Other than that, she's basically just the girlfriend who's there for it appears no other reason than to give Will a girlfriend. Tom Felton goes from one douche to another this summer as he plays Dodge, a very bratty and arrogant prick that you hope bites it.
Aug 17 11
Originality is the key element to making a comedy memorable nowadays and though 2011 has had plenty of R-rated comedies released one after another, only two of them have a chance at being remembered from years to come. Though 30 Minutes or Less is not one of the two, it had such strong potential to be something great. Instead, the film lacks in original humor and only uses jokes that have been done hundreds of time but in different forms. It's not that the movie isn't funny or loads of fun to sit through, but its afterward where you slowly start forgetting everything you laughed at and everything you actually liked about the movie. You'll be asking yourself questions about the film weeks after you seen it, thinking of it as if were a puzzle trying to fit which scene went were. For the time being, just grab yourself a bag of popcorn, take a seat, and shut your brain off. 30 Minutes or Less is fun, but nothing more beyond that.
Zombieland has got to be one of my favorite films from 2009. It was hilarious, a wicked fun time, and was something that could be watched more than once. 30 Minutes or Less being directed by Ruben Fleischer(Zombieland), the film had a whole lot of excitement filling through my veins. Thinking the movie could be straight on par with Zombieland, I was asking a bit too much out of 30 Minutes or Less. Memorable characters, unique storytelling, and being capable of mixing action with humor were the expectations. Though the movie does try to succeed at all three, it lacks somewhere down the road and doesn't please the audience to complete satisfaction.
The main character of the film has been done in comedy far too many times. Meet Nick, a stoner pizza boy who has a gift with driving. He's a loser, didn't go to college, and doesn't have a girlfriend-though he does have an eye on someone, of course. When two loser adults, practically children, hatch a plan to get rich real quick, they call Nick out to a junkyard for some pizza, only they don't want the food. After kidnapping Nick, the two strap a bomb onto his chest that will explode in less than a day if he doesn't come up with 100, 000 dollars. Scared out of his mind, Nick seeks help from his douchy, annoying, and obnoxiously loud best-friend, Chet. Heisting a robbery at a local bank, the two have the adventure of their lives facing off against authority, assassins, and *ssholes.
30 Minutes or Less has a very messy storyline when you think through the details after seeing the film. There are far too many things going on with each character that you start to forget what character the movie is focusing on the most. It jumps around far too much for a film that is only eighty-two minutes long, and though I was happy with the length, an extra ten minutes or so could've help the film greatly with storytelling. It could have easily been used to wrap things up a whole lot better with the characters, or even simply introduce them a lot better too.
Jesse Eisenberg, who also starred in Zombieland, kind of feels like the same character from that story only this time, a stoner. Eisenberg is a great actor in my opinion and if Colin Firth wasn't so damn good in The King's Speech, he would have easily won the Best Lead Actor award for his work in The Social Network. Out of all the performances in the movie, Eisenberg gives the only one that isn't incredibly obnoxious or wildly over-the-top. Aziz Ansari as Chet tries just a little too hard to be hilarious with his character. Even with lines that can easily just be said-and-done, Ansari has to go out of his way to make everything scene he's in obnoxious. Nick Swardson, who in all honesty should just stick to stand-up, does a decent job here. He's not as bad as he usually is in movies but only because every scene he's in is side-by-side with Danny McBride. McBride has got to be one of the most annoying actors in comedy today. In person, he seems like a cool guy but never have I liked a character he's played in a movie. I hated him in Your Highness and he wasn't so different in this movie either. If it wasn't for Jesse Eisenberg, I don't think I could've enjoyed 30 Minutes or Less as much as I did.
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