Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Keanu

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I kinda want a kitten and name it Keanu now.



Keanu – 4 out of 5


For my dollar (which has my picture on it, by the way), Key & Peele is the best skit show that has ever come out.  Sure, MadTV is fine because it gave us the guys and, granted, Saturday Night Live has its longevity and its legacy behind it but Key & Peele made some memorable moments and they knew how to end a sketch without the usual awkwardness seen every Saturday.  So, when I heard these two funny guys were making their own movie called Keanu, I didn’t really need to see a trailer or even hear what the film was about because it was guaran-damned-teed that I was going to see it.  Now that I finally got around to it since it came out on DVD, I have to say that these guys continue to bring the laughs and bring them in a huge way.

Keanu is not a punk that hates Mondays.  He makes Mondays his bitch!


Upset over the fact his girlfriend broke up with him, Rell Williams (Jordan Peele) finds happiness again in the form of a stray cat that wanders up to his door one day.  He names the cat Keanu and it seems like everything is going to be okay again but one day when he and his cousin Clarence Goobril (Keegan-Michael Key) come home, they are shocked to discover that Rell’s house was broken into and Keanu was stolen.  Now the two men must act like gangsters and infiltrate a gang led by a man named Cheddar (Method Man), who is currently in possession of the cat, in order to get the happiness that Rell lost.  Little did Rell realize that the cat once belonged to a drug lord and that drug lord was killed by two assassins calling themselves the “Allentown Boys” and those two killers have also claimed possession over the cat and they are also coming to find him and they will stop at nothing and will kill anyone who gets in their way.

The Allentown Boys look intimidating but that robot animal in the background
is just outright terrifying.


I had that same face watching the latest presidential
race.  Ha ha, that's topical, amirite?
It’s a silly premise but it’s written by Jordan Peele and Alex Rubens (he wrote for the show as well as Community and Rick and Morty) and they take that premise and make it something fantastic and very funny.  For the most part, the feature is the type of comedy heist film where identities become askew and it’s nothing that we haven’t seen before; however, what makes Keanu work is the brilliant performances from Key and Peele and the fact that everything they get into—and they get into some serious shit—is all over a kitten.  That idea alone is hysterical but when you watch the very talented duo make their characters try to fit in with the gang—and these two characters do not belong in that world—is absolute comedic majesty.  Their reactions, their timing, their everything perfectly conveys the characters fear of being around these dangerous types but also their determination to rescue the cat.  Add in the fact that things just get crazier and crazier for these two in their journey and you have a film that kept me laughing pretty much from beginning to end.

Separate or together, these two are just comedy magicians!
Well, not literally because they don't do magic but their talents are incredible
that it feels like magic and I've gone and over-explained a throwaway
caption because I couldn't think of anything better to write here.


The only real complaint I had over Keanu was the fact that there was times when the momentum would come to a screeching halt.  For example, there was a moment where Rell and Clarence are separated while on a mission for the gang and they are both concurrently caught up in their own comedic ordeal.  Both scenes are very amusing but there wasn’t the best rhythm of going back and forth due to each scene having their own unique flow.  There would be a great sequence being delivered on one end that would cut to the other scene and momentum would have to rebuild itself due to each scene having their own pace and different comedic beats.  This cut in momentum was seen in other areas of the film where there would be a great scene and it would be immediately followed by a much slower, sorta boring development sequence.  These moments are rare but they did hurt the pace of the film for me.

Seriously, these two are just masters at comedic reactions.


Keanu has some minor problems that occasionally slow the story and comedy down but when this film is hitting all the right notes it is very funny and a whole lot of fun.  There are also some great performances in smaller roles in the film from the likes of Luis Guzm├ín, Will Forte and even Keanu Reeves himself and that only adds to the movie’s rich comedy flavor.  The film is ridiculous and silly and it’s what Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key do best.  I love their show and wasn’t surprised to find that I enjoyed this as well—hell, they even offer up some references to their old skits in this one and that was just some fun icing on a hilarious cake.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I suddenly have a craving for cake.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Magnificent Seven (2016)

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! They're magnificent because The Sensational Seven sounds like a musical.



The Magnificent Seven (2016) – 4 out of 5

I can’t say I’ve ever been the biggest fan of westerns.  Sure, there are films here and there that I dig and the whole premise of the Wild West is pretty cool when you think about it—hell, I’m still obsessed with Red Dead Redemption and have played the game in its entirety (100% completion) about three times.  With that in mind, it’s still not a genre I tend to gravitate to.  However, when I saw the trailer for The Magnificent Seven—which is a remake of a 1960s film of the same name and that was a re-imagining of a 1954 Japanese film called Seven Samurai—I was sold.

                                                                     Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Columbia Pictures
That's a whole lot of awesome in one picture.

In 1879 in the small town of Rose Creek, a greedy businessman by the name of Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) has taken control and has forced the good citizens to give up their land.  After Bogue’s men murders her husband, Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) seeks out help from a bounty hunter by the name of Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington).  Chisolm goes on to recruit another six men; the gambler Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt), the sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), the knife-wielding master Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee), the outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), the expert tracker Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio) and the Comanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier).  Together, they face the impossible and attempt to reclaim the town and stop Bogue’s army.

                                                                     Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Columbia Pictures
Men's Rights Activists, you might want to avoid this one.  The female character
is just as good as the men in the film and I know your fragile masculinity hates that.

Antoine Fuqua is a very talented director who has given us some incredible films over the years—especially Training Day—and he really made something extremely entertaining and engaging with The Magnificent Seven.  He really showed some awesomely tense sequences that perfectly capture the essence of the Wild West and the gun-slinging nature of the beast.  These perfectly executed moments are seen in the small moments were we see someone like Billy engaged in a duel (by the way, check out Byung-hun Lee in The Good, the Bad, the Weird, great movie) or when the standoffs get bigger and we see a life-or-death game of chicken between Chisolm and his men verses Bogue’s goons.  Fuqua really used great, tight camera angles and perfectly paced timing to create moments that build exponentially and pay off tremendously.  It’s very much the strongest part of the film.

                                                                      Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Columbia Pictures
If this wasn't a western, this shot would need a killer hard rock song or
bumping hip hop song to accompany it.

                                          Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Columbia Pictures
We need to be thankful everyday that we are alive
in an era where Chris Pratt exists.
The Magnificent Seven is also shining extremely brightly in the cast.  The core seven wranglers are all filled by extremely talented individuals and every single one of them is nailing their character and hitting it out of the park (went with a baseball metaphor there because I couldn’t think of a cowboy one).  Additionally, they all have great chemistry together and it helps make them all very likable and become the heroes that you actively cheer for during the story.  This really helps when you consider that some of their development in the story is a bit lacking but they are established well enough that you get the gist of who they are and they have enough charisma or pure badassery that you enjoy them.  Plus, Vincent D’Onofrio talks in a voice that sorta sounds like a crazy prospector (albeit a little more subdued and less cartoonish) and that fact alone is awesome and a super fun element to the movie.

                                                                     Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Columbia Pictures
Is there any role that Vincent D'Onofrio can't do?
Answer:  No.

Finally, the film also offers up some great action.  The story litters in enough small moments during the film’s build up that are enough to satisfy but the film really goes all-out with the final war between the town and Bogue’s army.  This conflict is filed with bullets, dynamite and all-around uncut action spectacle and it goes for an extended period of time without ever growing tiresome, tedious or repetitive.  The stunts and moments placed within this time are truly awesome to take in.

                                                                     Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Columbia Pictures
I'm not really a cowboy type of guy but a part of me wants these fashions
to come back...but the other part of me doesn't want to sweat to death
in them.

The only real downside that the movie had for me is that there are some character development issues.  We learn the basics of all characters and they work for what they are but it would have been nice to see a little more depth from all of them.  This additional development would have been helpful to when the film showcases that two of the characters have some important history together.  The story never really feathers this out before hand and it kinda feels tacked on when it is revealed. 

                                                                    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Columbia Pictures
Man, everything Denzel does somehow looks 10 times cooler because
he is doing them.
 

Additionally, it would have been nice to see more of the villain Bogue in the story.  He’s introduced at the very beginning and the film definitely shows him to be a threat and we're given enough for us to hate him but it would have been great to spend more time with him and see just how horrible of a person he can be.  Peter Sarsgaard does a great job of being the ruthless mining mogul but he’s so good and so great at being vile that I really wanted to see more of him.

                                                                     Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer/Columbia Pictures
Just the fact that the whole conflict looked like it bored Bogue is another reason I thought
he was a cool villain and needed more screen time.

The Magnificent Seven has some very minor problems in the development and showcasing of its characters but it’s never to a point where it destroyed the integrity of the story or what the film is trying to accomplish nor did it ruin its entertainment value.  The story may be simple and you know exactly where it is going but its charismatic cast of characters, fantastic performances and great action makes the journey an entertaining one and the film proves to be a great popcorn action western.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Elektra

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! The movie that made Daredevil not look so bad.





Elektra – 1 out of 5

Elektra was a movie that I, for one reason or another, always thought I had seen when it came out after the flop that was Daredevil back in 2005.  Well, turns out I was wrong because I recently re-watched it for my new segment over at The Robot’s Pajamas (check out the site, it’s awesome!) called Was it THAT Bad?  The long and short of it is I take a film that is widely considered bad by both audiences and critics and I take another look at it to see if it really was a horrible as we all remember it to be.  After taking the time to sit with this one, I realized that I had never actually watched it before…and that it was, in fact, a really, really bad movie.

Not tying your hair back on a windy mission seems like a bad idea when
you're a ninja assassin.

After defeating the enemy called “dying in the other movie,” master assassin Elektra (Jennifer Garner) is given a mission to kill a man named Mark Miller (Goran Visnjic) and his young daughter Abby (Kristen Prout).  However, her conscience takes over and she decides to not go through with it and, instead, decides to protect them as mysterious and powerful forces are on their way to eliminate them all.

"Today's order of business:  Kill those two Elektra won't kill and also to make
all your souls mine."

The thing that really did it in for me with Elektra is the fact the movie is just bloody boring—so boring, in fact, it turned me British for a moment when I typed that sentence.  The movie itself doesn’t look too bad—granted, sometimes the lighting looks horrendous but it’s never too bad (in fact, sometimes the colors are very vibrant and rich) and the performances are fairly decent.  Heck, Garner is giving her all to the role despite the fact that she is on record saying she hates the film and did it only because of contractual obligations.  Ultimately, however, her performance can’t save the film.

Stick, Elektra's sensei, is sad because no one will kneel before him.

Like a well trained ninja, he's hiding by the colored
Christmas lights.
For a comic book adaptation, there’s very little action going on in this film—and this is a movie where the main character is a martial arts master.  Combine this with the fact this film has some very strange music cues—like cues that would make you think that this was a satire of a comic book adaptation—and the fact that this movie really, REALLY loves montages and completely forgoing any form of development that would actually make the story and plot somewhat interesting and you have something that feels really tedious and is extra hard to sit through.

Looks like this guy needs some beef jerky.  He's hangry!
(The best part about this lame joke is it never would have made sense
when the film came out!)

The saddest part about how utterly boring Elektra is would be that this is one of those poor movies that is just plain bad and not fun to watch it in a way where it is good for a laugh—like Catwoman, Batman & Robin or literally anything from Marvel before Blade came out (I don’t wanna pick on just DC).  The whole film just feels like it is lethargically going through the motions and, even worse, feeling like it doesn’t really need to go into depth with anything you are seeing.  In the end, this film is just a snoozer.

It works in the comics but I don't know if red is the best color for stealthy ninjas.