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THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG does not live up to its title

13 Jan

the-desolation-of-smaug

Many people exclaim the second installment is much better than the first film, but I do not think that justifies a favorable review for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I do not know whose greed is worse, the dwarves trying to steal the Arkenstone, Smaug and his liar of stolen goods, or Hollywood’s penchant for drawing out this modest size story into an unnecessary trilogy length of films. I am angry at Peter Jackson  and this franchise in general. The first film was boring and the second film accomplished absolutely nothing accept ticket sales for Peter Jackson and the addition of characters that do not belong and a storyline that do not exist. I’m serious. I am angry with this irresponsible greed.  However, at this point I feel obligated to see the third film because the first two films have not given me a satisfactory movie to enjoy. The Desolation of Smaug does not live up to its title.

WORD COUNT: 159

Chuck’s Grade: D

Adam’s Grade: B

47 RONIN are turning over in their graves

30 Dec

47-ronin-film

The film’s director, Carl Erik Rinsch is probably kneeling before a room of executives at Universal and offering to perform seppuku for the dismal 47 Ronin starring Keanu Reeves. Everyone knew the film was in trouble long before its eventual Christmas release date, but I (Chuck) am a martial art film junkie and wanted to give the film a fair viewing. Unfortunately, the film lived up to its bad press by putting together a poorly assembled re-interpretation of the legendary story about Japan’s most famous samurai. There was no cohesion from scene to scene because the production is unable to balance the fantasy with the real story. Rinsch tries to honor both ideas, but it simply does not work. The special effects are distracting and predictable. Also, Universal Studios should be ashamed of themselves for thinking a  story about a group a men known for gaining honor through mass suicide would be a successful holiday blockbuster.

WORD COUNT: 154

Chuck’s Grade: D

Adam’s Grade: N/A

The Sorcerer and the White Snake

14 Jul

The Sorcerer and the White Snake

The Sorcerer and the White Snake is a Chinese fantasy film based on a story that has been passed down for generations. Although, some of the cultural references will be lost on domestic audiences, the poor acting from the supporting characters cannot be ignored.The female actresses (Huang Shengyi and Charlene Choi) are gorgeous, but their love stories are beyond juvenile and much too drawn out.  Jet Li’s character is interesting as a demon “buster” monk, but the film is not about him. His kung fu powers serves as the story’s deus ex machina.  I am sure young people who enjoy shape-shifting and demons will find this very polished film entertaining, but for me, I was bored out of my mind.

WORD COUNT: 120

Chuck’s Grade: D

Adam’s Grade: N/A

The Last Stand ends at an impasse

14 Jun

the-last-stand

What does Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville, and Eduardo Noriega have in common? Absolutely nothing and it can be seen in Kim Ji-woon’s action film, The Last Stand. Schwarzenegger creaks his way through the film as a retired LA police officer working as sheriff in a one street town is an injustice to his legacy because it is obvious his action days are over. He simply stands there while everyone else moves around him frantically to give the appearance of motion. The film alternates scenes between Whitaker’s F.B.I. war room to the inside of Noriega’s super car to the deserted border town, but none of it comes together like it should. There are some ultra-violent moments that will satisfy the sickos, but really the film takes a predictable road that leads to an uncompromising impasse.

WORD COUNT: 136

Chuck’s Grade: D

Adam’s Grade: N/A

Day of the Falcon

13 Jun

day-of-the-falcon

Director Jean-Jacques Annaud has made some of the most interesting adaptations to date, but his interpretation of Hans Ruesch’s novel,  South of the Heart: A Novel of Modern Arabia slips through his fingers like a person trying to hold a handful of sand. The story itself is entertaining, but its 2 hour and 5 minute run time is exhausting like the book’s original title  and the new title doesn’t make sense when everything plays out. My biggest complaints is the poor acting, unimaginative cinematography and the use of non-Arabian actors in the lead roles. I could not resist thinking of John Wayne playing Genghis Khan when I saw Antonio Banderas as Emir Nesib, Mark Strong as Sultan Amar and Freida Pinto as Princess Leyla (even though she is the most gorgeous woman on the planet). Wayne’s performance still bothers me to this day and I confident that Banderas’ role will do the same.

WORD COUNT: 151

Chuck’s Grade: D

Adam’s Grade: N/A

The Happening is a warning to stop watching Shyamalan’s films

25 Apr

the-happening

M. Night Shyamalan still has the coolest sounding name in Hollywood, but his film, The Happening is equally as bad as its title. In the beginning, the film is creepy and mysterious with unexplained suicides taking place in New York City, but then the actors begin talking, and the film ends up killing itself rather quickly. Eliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg) and his wife, Alma (Zooey Deschanel) are an unlikeable couple forced to flee the city as mass panic sets in. The two actors are horribly cast. Wahlberg is supposed to be a high school science teacher, but his performance is more like a gym teacher given a textbook and told to give it a try. Deschanel is an unfaithful wife that would rather be with her lover than the guy who is going to figure out this tragedy through scientific observation and spitballing. I know crazy, right? The Happening is a warning to stop watching Shyamalan’s films.

WORD COUNT: 157

Chuck’s Grade: D

Adam’s Grade: F

Iron Sky crashes like the Hindenburg

18 Jan

iron-sky

Every once in a while a critic wants to give readers a one sentence response to a film, or even, a one-word review. I will refrain from my adolescent urges and say a couple nice things about the movie, and then proceed to the justified censure. Iron Sky is about a bunch of Nazi’s living on the moon for sixty years and preparing for an invasion of Earth. Granted, the idea is original and the film’s trailer is quite intriguing, but the on-screen action and story does not live up to the expectations. The film is tongue and cheek humor that satirizes the United States’s conservative politics, which is fine, but most of the jokes crashes like the Hindenburg. As for the cast, there is no balance between the actors. The supporting roles are over the top obnoxios while the leads are simply not interesting. Everyone looks uncomfortable. Iron Sky is a one-joke film that can’t sustain the humor.

WORD COUNT: 159

Chuck’s Grade” D+

Adam’s Grade: N/A

Savages has high expectations, but burns out rather quickly

13 Jan

SAVAGES

Director Oliver Stone’s latest fantasy film pits a sexy blonde named O (Blake Lively) in a romantic relationship(s) with two good-looking guys, who happen to be best friends and southern California’s leading growers of high-end marijuana. Unfortunately, their magic kingdom comes to an end when O is kidnapped by the Mexican drug cartel and used as a leverage to force Ben (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch) to work for a new employer. As usual, Stone takes a slice of truth from our contemporary condition and blows it up bigger than a reporter from a conservative news channel. If I was sixteen again, I would think this is one of the coolest films for about a month, but I am not, and I found this film becoming progressively worse as it continued. It may have been better without Lively’s poorly written narration, but Stone cannot resist pointing out the obvious.  Savages has high expectations, but burns out rather quickly.

WORD COUNT: 159

Chuck’s Grade: D

Adam’s Grade: N/A

The Da Vinci Code is better left unsolved

24 Oct

There is a double edge sword every time Hollywood attempts adapt a best selling novel into a film. On the one side, there is great material to work from with interesting episodes and characters, where as on the other hand the expectations placed on the film are very high.

Ron Howard’s interpretation of Dan Brown’s novel feels rushed. The most interesting parts of the story are skimmed over to keep the film moving from murder to murder, but the action does not generate enough suspense to keep audiences interested for long. The chemistry between Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou does not work. Individually, both actors are wonderful, but together there seems to be a disconnection where audiences are left indifferent about their partnership. It is almost strange to say, but it is rare when Howard and Hanks make a forgettable film. Unfortunately, The Da Vinci Code should have been left unsolved.

WORD COUNT: 151

Chuck’s Grade: D

Adam’s Grade: C

SEEKING JUSTICE IS NOT FOUND

27 Aug

Today’s review comes straight to us from Netflix. Seeking Justice held the first slot in my Recently Added rotation. The movie’s sleeve image had a large profile of Nicolas Cage with inserts of January Jones and Guy Pearce. Although, the latter two actors are two of my favorites, I knew what I was getting myself into.

Cage’s wife is raped and left in critical condition. A strange man (Pearce) approaches Cage and offers a unique service–vigilante justice in return for a favor. The film takes much too long to develop and the script begins to resemble Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club where everyone and their brother is involved in the “secret” group. I must admit the film held my attention, but the hour and forty-four minutes felt much longer, especially when the little things shown in the beginning of the movie become the obvious resolution choices for film’s ending. I would recommend letting this film pass you by in the rotation.

WORD COUNT: 159

Chuck’s Grade: D
Adam’s Grade: N/A