Monday, July 30, 2012

Lockout

***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, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Lockout - 1 out of 5

Okay, so Snake Plissken CIA Agent Snow (Guy Pearce) has to get into Los Angeles a maximum security prison space station; MS One, to save the President's daughter after the inmates take over.  There ya go.  That's Lockout.  Not entirely sure why it got a theater release and after watching it, I'm even more confused as to why.

Lockout is an uninspired mess that spends more time borrowing/stealing from more popular sci-fi/action films than worrying about story, acting and special effects.  The film's premise is basically Escape from L.A. except rather than infect Snow with the Plutoxin 7 virus, he's just offered a deal after he is falsely accused of murder.  Oh, the film tries to offer up some more meat to the story to try and hide that lack of creativity by having someone important to Snow inside the prison facility but it's tacked on presence only amplifies the lack of originality this movie possesses and is quite transparent --it's kinda like that glass house that people are always warning about throwing stones from.  

Right as the film kicks off, the movie gives you a special effects-filled chase sequence that seems to scream, "Why did we even bother?"  Nothing says sci-fi/action epic like digital effects that look worse than the cheapest made SyFy movie.

Yay!  Cartoon special effects make the movie!


Cigarettes are weird in the future!
Guy Pearce, a great actor who doesn't work as often as he should, doesn't really work as an action star as the sarcastic pithy lines he spews (all bad enough to belong in The Expendables 2) don't sound natural coming out of his mouth but when compared to the annoying presence of Joseph Gilgun as an eccentric prisoner who is so unbearable that I began to wonder if he was going to get indigestion from all the scenery he was chewing on, Pearce looks almost James Bond-ish in his portrayal.

Having this character in the movie felt like the filmmakers were daring me to
hit the "Stop" button.


Things only get worse as Vincent Regan plays the leader of the inmates.  Not only is the character lifeless and completely mysterious as to why he's such a supposed intimidating foe (the movie never shows you why he's this way, they just tell you he is a badass because why show when you can just tell) but Regan couldn't look more bored in front of the camera.  In fact, he even looks like they woke him up from a nap only seconds before "action" was called.

This is the most intensity you get from Regan the entire film.


But what about the President's daughter?  Surely they got a decent actress for her.  They didn't...and don't call me, Shirley.  Maggie Grace (of Lost fame) floats her way through the movie like a set-piece rather than an actual character.  She offers nothing to the film other than a plot device to get Snow onto MS One.

"Oh shit!  Am I back on that awful island?  I can't go back to that show, I'd rather die!"


The check cleared, so Lennie James agreed to be in
Lockout.
When it came to the cast, Guy Pearce had potential if it wasn't for the awful writing of his character but two actors actually stood out for me like flowers growing out of a pile of turds.  Lennie James and Peter Stormare play Secret Service Agents out to aid Snow--and by aid, I mean yell at him through a comm while Snow does all the dirty work.  Both James and Stormare (Pete being one of my personal favorite actors) take the paltry script that was given to them and makes it somewhat workable.

While it would be cool to have Morgan Freeman narrate my life, I think Peter Stormare's
unique (and often creepy) voice narrating it would be cooler.


Lockout comes off as a direct-to-DVD release with weak acting, a flat story, laughable special effects that slightly improve as the film progresses and sets that look like they were bought at auction from Alien:  Resurrection.  There's no action sequences that makes the film redeemable and the hero and villains all come off as lost souls with no real direction to go.  Now, because I don't know a good way to end this review, I'm gonna leave you with one of those shitty tagline puns that pretentious movie critics wet their pants over for an opportunity to use and then gives them a false sense of creativity, purpose and grandeur...Lockout should have stayed locked up!     

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Friends with Kids

***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, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

 Friends with Kids - 3 out of 5

During the marketing blitz for this movie--although the marketing of this movie hardly qualified as a "blitz" but "marketing meh" doesn't really have a tone of importance--the film was sold under the idea that if you enjoyed Bridesmaids -- and I did--you'll love this movie.  The Amazon.com rationale.  However, unlike Amazon, they could not have been more wrong because the tones of these two movies couldn't be more different.  But, in a modern day ad agency's defense--we're not talking Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce here--they acted under the belief that because four stars of Bridesmaids made it into Friends with Kids, Americans would be simple enough to agree with the completely false assumption that the two movies are similar in their humor-language (a phrase I just made up).

Including Richard Dawkins amazing book was almost enough for me to give this a 5 out of 5.


The film centers around two friends; Jason and Julie, who's best friends--all married--are having kids and cultivating families while they prefer the single life.  After experiencing the joy and unholy horrors that is the family life (vicariously through their friends), the two realize that they want a child without having to deal with a marriage or possible divorce--basically they want their cake and to date other cakes too.  The two friends decide to bump uglies and create a baby together while remaining friends while they search out their soulmates.  What could possibly go wrong?  Obviously, the story twist you predict within the opening sentence of the film's synopsis...duh!

Props to him for using the chopsticks.  I'm too uncoordinated, so I use a fork.


Friends with Kids is a so/so film.  Other than being ridiculously predictable, the film never does too much wrong.  Selling it as being "as funny as Bridesmaids" is a foolish idea because this film leans more towards the heavy emotional side as it deals with unstable marriages and relationships.  That isn't to say it's not funny because the movie definitely has its moments.  However, the film wasn't successful at balancing the funny and the heavy.  In fact, the switch from laughs to fits of depression within the movie's tone is very noticeable--like a punch in the face.  Finally, the movie has some odd notions about what it means to care for someone as the emphasis on what it means to love a person has more to do with their physical appearance and whether or not they make your naughty bits tingle rather than your heart go thump--but this idea can be more to do with the socially held concept that only attractive people deserve love...ironically, society got this idea because of the media through use of television shows, print ads and movies.

Messed hair, loose tie...I know what they did!  They excused themselves from
dinner for a quick game of Twister.


The strongest aspect of this movie comes in the form of the performances.  Adam Scott (Jason) shows he has what it takes to be a leading man in a--despite its heavy tones--is basically a romcom.  Unlike most leading hunks in such films, he actually comes off as a realistic man, not the impossibly perfect studs that fill up this genre and gives women the impossible to reach idea of the ideal man.  Sorry ladies, you'll never find your Matthew McConaughey who cooks, cleans and really means it when he says he's fine with just cuddling and shopping with you is his definition of a good time.

"Mr. Tyler...going down?" Adam Scott asks Aerosmith's leading man Steven
Tyler about his career and is not referencing the lame opening to their one song.


Jennifer Westfeldt (Julie) isn't as strong as her male counterpart as her face is plastered in a permanent smile despite her obvious acting prowess.  A lot of her emotional scenes are cut dramatically short due to this natural feature.  It seemed mean but I laughed every time she cried because her face always looks like it's naturally smiling.

Believe it or not...she's actually boiling over with rage in this scene.


Jon Hamm does a great Popeye impression!
Filling up the ranks of the rest of the film is a hodgepodge of great actors, mediocre forgotten performers and people who's career you would wish would wither and go away..or at least I do.  Don Draper himself; Jon Hamm, gives a great performance alongside Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Chris O'Dowd as the friends who have kids and each does their role wonderfully even though their characters don't have a large enough presence within the story and O'Dowd attempts to do an American accent that is more distracting than convincing.

He misses his Irish accent.


It's been so long since I've seen Burns in a movie, I half-
expected to see him in the "Those We've Lost This Year" that
airs during the Academy Awards.
Edward Burns comes out of the basement where he stores his career to play the "perfect man" type that usually fills up these romcoms and does his job...adequately, I guess.  Honestly, any semi-handsome actor with some minor level of skill could have filled this role.  Burns didn't do much when it was his turn in front of the camera that really made him stand out.  However, the true horror comes in the fact that Megan Fox somehow got into this movie despite her glaring inability to act.  I can only assume she used the money she got from Transformers to purchase this role.  Her performance is exactly what you expect from a girl who only gets roles because Maxim subscribers, for some reason, find her attractive.  But for guys who think like I do--think she looks greasy, orange tans aren't sexy and one could potentially get an STD from her by just glancing at her picture--have no fear because the day will  come when her looks go (and judging by this movie, it's soon) and her career will go belly up!

Don't be shocked if it suddenly burns when you pee after looking at this pic.


Friends with Kids is a romcom that strays from the norm with a story of a progressive duo that, sadly, loses its progressive touch and makes a run for the cliche borders.  The movie is funny at times but not riotously so and the performances, when you factor in Fox bringing down the curve, are above average.  However, the movie just wasn't as entertaining or humorous enough to give it more than a one-time viewing.