Archive | Chuck’s Grade: C RSS feed for this section

Breaking Away does nothing for me

18 Oct

BREAKING-AWAY

Obviously, life was much different in 1979 when Breaking Away was filmed because I was shocked to learn it won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and was nominated for Best Picture.  Even more shocking was that it beat out, Manhattan and All that Jazz. I remember watching it as a kid and not being impressed. Today, it still doesn’t do much for me. The lack of self-worth by the teens is over the top, the Italians cheating was ridiculous, the ambiguous relationship between Dennis Christopher and Robyn Douglass was frustrating, and the prejudice against non-American life is so heavy-handed that you want to change the channel every time Paul Dooley opens his mouth.  However, this film does pave the way for the onslaught of 1980s teen films about social and class differences, but the formula sport story and the performances do not hold up over the test of time.

WORD COUNT: 150

Chuck’s Grade: C

Adam’s Grade: N/A

Equilibrium loses its footing

8 Jul

EQUILIBRIUM-MOVIE

History has a tendency to repeat itself and director Kurt Wimmer’s film, Equilibrium uses familiar subject material that has been introduced by the likes of literary greats, Ray Bradbury and George Orwell, while borrowing contemporary sci-fi style from The Matrix and THX 1138 in this futuristic tale about fascist governments and mood controlling drugs. I do not have a problem with the subject material, but the film’s script is not very good and actor Christian Bale (John Preston) finds himself mired in one predictable scene after another. Besides Bale, I thought the art direction, fight choreography, and stunts were the strongest points, but in the end it always comes down to a good story, and although this one had some great source material it does not deliver a word-of-mouth movie that I would recommend to my sci-fi geek buddies. Equilibrium loses its footing and falls into the pile of forgettable DVDs.

WORD COUNT: 150

Adam’s Grade: C+

Chuck’s Grade: C

Fast and the Furious 6 has too many miles on this vehicle

29 May

FAST-AND-THE-FURIOUS-6

The latest installment of Fast and the Furious franchise has lost touch with reality. I admit the vault sequence in Five was improbable, but in Six it is downright ridiculous to the point I was laughing out loud at Vin Diesel’s super human stunts. Director Justin Lin takes on too much when he decides to resurrect Michelle Rodriguez (Letty) back from the dead. The soap opera script gets audiences to buy tickets, but there are too many miles on this vehicle.  There are plenty of fast cars and explosions to satisfy the summer blockbuster movie fan and I did enjoy Luke Evans and Gina Carano, but of their characters are inconsistent and the stunts are stupid.  Although, I was disappointed with the film I will put my seat belt on for part Seven because of the end credit’s teaser. Hopefully, Lin will take his ride into the shop and get it fixed in time.

WORD COUNT: 154

Chuck’s Grade: C

Adam’s Grade: N/A

Kill Me Again and again and again

23 May

kill-me-again

I first saw Kill Me Again on VHS in the early nineties and thought it was an entertaining thriller with a modern film noir twist. Unfortunately, the movie was not called Live on Forever because it was found in the $1.99 DVD pile with other forgotten titles from 1980s featuring notable actors. Watching it again twenty-three years later gives me an opportunity to re-evaluate the film from a different perspective. I still think the story is good, but its execution is clunky at best. Val Kilmer’s acting is above par and his then wife Joanne Whalley-Kilmer is a serviceable femme fatale, but Michael Madsen’s limited range has become comical over the years to the point I cringe every time he takes a moment to wince his eyes and speak. Besides Madsen’s one note performance and Kilmer’s button down shirt tucked into his jeans the film still has some value. It’s worth at least $1.99.

WORD COUNT: 155

Chuck’s Grade Twenty-Three Years Ago: B

Chuck’s Grade in 2013: C

Adam’s Grade Twenty-Three Years Ago: NBY (Not Born Yet)

Adam’s Grade in 2013: D

Elektra Luxx gets tongue tied

16 Apr

elektra-luxx

I was searching Netflix and found a film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt called Elektra Luxx. It is a spoof on an adult film star trying to break away from the business because of an unexpected pregnancy. Unfortunately, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is not the feature actor, but his appearance are funny and campy. Carla Gugino plays the title role has some hilarious moments, but many of them are lost with a wordy script that never delivers the goods. There is also an appearance by Julianne Moore as the Virgin Mary and Adrianne Palicki (Holly Rocket) has the most ridiculous lines I have heard in a long time.  The main problem for me rests with the script. It sounded like an actors workshop project that was still in development. Some lines aren’t funny while others try to explain the joke with too much detail. I love the cast and the concept, but at times, I wanted to fast-forward to get to the “good” parts.

WORD COUNT: 160

Chuck’s Grade: C

Adam’s Grade: N/A

Boogie Woogie cannot match the art in the film

12 Apr

Screen shot 2013-04-12 at 11.39.19 AM

Danny Moynihan’s screen adaptation of his book Boogie Woogie features a cast of characters swimming around the high-priced art world with an inflated sense of self-confidence as hungry sharks share the waters with the weak and less talented. Director Duncan Ward’s ensemble cast is wonderful and there are moments where you shake your head in disbelief that people are so myopic, but there was nothing in it that inspired me to take it home and share it with friends like an exceptional piece of art. Amanda Seyfried and Heather Graham are gorgeous bookend on each side of actors, Danny Huston, Jack Huston, and Stellan Skarsgard, but none of the cast stands out as exquisite on their own. Alan Cumming’s character is the most interesting, but his sporadic appearances did not allow him to emerge and become the film’s masterpiece. Art lovers will be fond of Boogie Woogie’s references, but most people will not appreciate it.

WORD COUNT: 154

Chuck’s Grade: C

Adam’s Grade: N/A

The Factory is parent’s worst nightmare

9 Apr

the-factory

Writer/Director Morgan O’Neill puts together a twisted tale about a police officers (John Cusack and Jennifer Carpenter) pursuit a suspect responsible for the disappearance of several hookers in the Buffalo, NY area over a three-year period. His fixation turns to obsession and anxiety when his seventeen year old daughter is abducted by the kidnapper. Abduction has become a popular theme in films these days because of the recent discoveries of young people being held prisoner as sex slaves. It is a parent’s worst nightmare and the Horror Industry has picked up on this fear for profit. The Factory is an average film with some moments that make you feel sick to your stomach, but the characters are over-exaggerated and most of the performances are mediocre. There are some interesting twists that will take you by surprise, but it’s too little, too late.

WORD COUNT: 142

Chuck’s Grade: C

Adam’s Grade: N/A

Assault Girls scores points, but not enough

7 Apr

ASSAULT-GIRLS

Writer and director Mamoru Oshii creates a different type of science fiction film that I think is still in its infancy phase, but may become a more successful entertainment in the future. Films depicting video game sequences. I understand there are many video game inspired movies, but Oshii’s film is different. The plot is about four characters who appear only in their avatars’ form. They are attempting to get to the game’s next stage. We are never introduced to the real people playing  and the characters’ deaths are only virtual and can be re-upped at will. The film follows three gorgeous and strong female avatars and a lone male trying to defeat a giant sandwhale. Although, the film scores many points for style, it lacks the substance to transcend the story to another level. After the film ended, I felt like I was part of the game, but wish I hadn’t played because I had more important things to do.

Chuck’s Grade: C

Adam’s Grade: N/A

OZ the Great and Powerful is missing more than ruby slippers

11 Mar

OZ-the-great-and-powerful

OZ the Great and Powerful is missing more than the iconic ruby slippers from the MGM’s 1939 film. Disney ends up producing this movie with one arm tied behind its back because Warner Brothers would not release the rights to Dorthy shoes and most of the noteworthy character likenesses, as well as not being able to cast their original choices. Sam Raimi does his best with a script that keeps repeating itself and a lead actor (James Franco) that won’t stop smiling. The wicked witches (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz) are the most interesting part of OZ, but they will fall trap to a one-note performance in the end when the film attempts to connect the story to the original. I’m sure children will like the film and it will lead to their parents introducing them to the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion, which a good thing because then they will realize the difference between a movie and a masterpiece.

WORD COUNT: 160

Chuck’s Grade: C

Adam’s Grade: C

Cat Run takes off, but trips and falls down hard

10 Mar

CAT-RUN-MOVIE

I commend screenwriters Nick Ball and John Niven  getting their first full length feature produced, but their inexperience shows up when their interesting premise is interrupted by sophomoric humor and poor writing, such as the unnecessary and overdone character breakdowns, which screams “straight to online video.” There are moments when the film picks up momentum, but then it gets muddled from the indecision to make an action film or a comedy. In this case, the two genres react like oil and water and continually injure the film. Cat (Paz Vega) is a hooker that is running for her life because she has evidence of a murder and political scandal on a stolen hard drive. Vega is beautiful and she is fine as Cat, although her role is subdued and limited because the heroes of this film are two lesser known actors that do not bring anything special to the screen. Cat Run takes off, but trips and falls down hard.

WORD COUNT: 160

Chuck’s Grade: C-

Adam’s Grade: N/A