Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I, Frankenstein

***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. 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, Rev. Ron.

I, Frankenstein – 2 out of 5

I, Frankenstein is one of those films that doesn’t promise a deep story or rich character development. It’s a film based on an obscure comic book and it doesn’t want to try to be anything but that. However, if you were to admit that you had any interest in seeing the film to someone who actually purchased an American Film Institute book because they think it makes them look worldly when it comes to film or someone who won’t stop telling you that they are writing the screenplay that Hollywood is too scared to make, they suddenly lord over you like you’re some peon with bad taste. I’m not saying that this happened to me but it totally did. Was I annoyed that I was suddenly called a moron because I dared to say, “Sure, I’ll see it,” when my movie discussion group brought up this film to ridicule its existence without seeing it? Sure but, at the end of the day, I actually gave the film a shot before I declared it a mediocre film. That’s more than I can say about the members in the group who, to my recollection, have never once said they enjoyed a film.

"I'm sorry, what?  I wasn't listening."

"Gaw, gross!  I got demon particles in my mouth!"
Adam (Aaron Eckhart) is the infamous Frankenstein’s monster who, for the last few centuries, has been trying to live a life of solitude away from the mortal masses of those who weren't reanimated from the dead. However, one day Adam learns there is a secret supernatural war between demons and gargoyles going on beneath humanity’s nose. Realizing that Adam lives without the burden of a soul, the demon prince Naberius (Bill Nighy) wishes to uncover the monster’s secrets and use them to create an army. Well, the queen gargoyle Leonone (Miranda Otto) will have absolutely none of that shit and it is Adam, someone who just wishes to be left the fuck alone, that is caught in the middle.

I like the monster's style.  The hoodie with that long black coat.  It's a good look for
a man who is basically a reanimated corpse.

The Superman Punch that's the envy of the entire UFC.
I won’t get snobby and claim that I, Frankenstein was an utter piece of shit because admitting that I enjoyed anything about it would make me look weak and that I passed up some boring subtitled foreign film and lose some class in the eyes of my fellow movie snob peers. There are actually some elements that I really enjoyed about I, Frankenstein and felt the film started out like it was going to be a decent comic adaptation. Sadly, the film does tend to unravel and get a little boring after the initial interesting beginning and then tends to wrap itself up way too quickly at the end…but it started decent.

Hmm, the gargoyle queen doesn't look that bad.

Gee-owd damn...that's her natural appearance?

I feel bad for Jai Courtney and how much he looks like Sam
Honestly, I, Frankenstein is a film where I like the concept more than the actual final product. It really is a testament to Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel that, even in our modern era, we’re still adapting Frankenstein’s monster into various works. I actually found the idea of the monster getting involved in a supernatural battle to be interesting and, when I first saw the trailer at Comic-Con last year, I thought the film looked like it could have been a nice dark, violent supernatural film that may not have the potential to be life-altering but has all the potential to something that could easily be fun and entertaining. While some of it did hit that mark, I feel the film wasted a lot of this potential and kept itself from being a very solid graphic novel film.

Taken out of context, it looks like the gargoyle is spearing him with his fiery boner.

When the science stuff is clear, you know it's extra
The only real aspect that didn’t work for me was the fact the film’s story and plot were very messy. I already mentioned how the film has a decent start and how it loses itself after that. While the beginning of the film wasn’t wildly attention-commanding, the very concept of it all and its slow presentation was still enough for me to invest myself into what I was watching. After that moment and when the character of Terra is introduced (played by Yvonne Strahovski), the film started to coast and coast badly. Terra is a scientist employed by the demon prince Naberius and she is being used to unlock the secrets of Adam. The events that occur as Terra comes into play go the predictable route of being the bad dude’s pawn to the catalyst of the anti-hero finally deciding to help humanity and being the object of his heroism and, if presented right, this could have been passable even though it has been seen a million times. However, this route that gets unfolded felt completely lethargic and like it was going through the motions rather than actually present something that would be the moral dilemma and character development the story needed. This lethargic pace ends up hurting the overall development of the demon’s plans too as the reveal and resolution to their horrors they create end up arriving and being resolved in a matter of moments. This is especially annoying since the film has all the potential for a dynamic formula of tension thanks to the fact that both the gargoyles and demons are after Adam and both are after him for different reasons.

"Don't look at me!  My nipples were sown on, too."

For the most part, the actors involve all are doing their jobs fairly decently. Sure, a lot of them are laying on the ham and cheese pretty thick and there is a fair amount of scenery being pulled from their teeth when the credits start rolling but none of them were particularly hard to deal with. In fact, I have to say that I really enjoyed Aaron Eckhart in the role of Adam. Granted, he’s an actor that I just enjoy in general but, guy-liner and all, I thought he was pretty cool as this newly imagined reanimated monster.

"The guy-liner was tattooed on..."

The makeup that wasn't good enough for LOTR.
The film also does a decent job on its special effects. The gargoyles all looked cool and didn’t look like cartoons and the battle scenes where demons are being wiped out like free booze at an AA meeting look stylized and very much like it was lifted directly from the pages of a graphic novel. The make-up effects of the demons, on the other hand…eh, not so good. I’ll just say it, they looked silly and all looked like they were lining up to play the Djinn in the next dozen Wishmaster sequels.

The Wishmaster 5 audition line.

"Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk I'm a woman's man..."
I, Frankenstein was so close to getting my average, “It’s not bad, it’s not great” score of 3 out of 5 and, with it’s cool concept, decent acting, pretty satisfying action and better-than-expected special effects, the movie more closely deserves a score of 2.5 out of 5 but since I don’t give out decimal-style scores, I rounded down due to the damage the weak plot and story deliver. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to show this review to the guy I know who is “writing the screenplay so original that Hollywood would never make it” and listen to him tell me why admitting that I liked anything about this film means I’m an idiot and how I’m just being a giant pussy for not hating on it like a true movie-lover does.

It's easy to hate on I, Frankenstein but, let's face it, we all want to have a cool scene
play out like this behind us as we walk away in slo-mo.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

***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. 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 like to imagine there is a real life Walter Mitty and his secret life is another family and a crippling gambling habit.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – 4 out of 5

I day dream a lot. When I’m not busy sailing the seven seas tracking down pirate booty (that sounds weird) and fighting legions of zombie pirate skeletons or I’m fighting space dragons on the far away planet of Hippsterr 13 (you probably never heard of the planet, it’s very indie), I often find myself, when I have down time, thinking about grilling hotdogs or cleaning the shower (I never said my day dreams were exciting) and it is this habit of taking a little mental vacation when the reality around me gets too mundane and routine that made me interested in seeing this film…and Ben Stiller is in it, too, so that helps.

Mitty does a slight variation of Blue Steel.

Play this for full effect...
Based on the short story and is a remake of the 1947 film of the same name, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty tells the tale of, you guessed it, Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller). Walt works for “Life” magazine and, when he’s not day dreaming of being a badass, he’s silently pining for a girl in his office named Cheryl (Kristen Wiig). One morning he comes into work to find out that the magazine will be printing off their final issue and they want a photo for the cover that really shines. The magazine turns to acclaimed photographer Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) and he has the perfect pic for them…unfortunately, Walter lost it and must locate it right quick! Despite being harassed by the corporate transition expert (Adam Scott with a strange looking beard) and filled with ambition to turn his boring life into something that will actually mean something, Walter sets off to make his day dream adventures a reality.

Seriously, that's a crime against beards.  What happened?

I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews for this film. I honestly don’t give a shit what the mainstream critics say because they are not real people and don’t really enjoy the films that actual movie-goers watch—that’s why I actually give a shit what people I know think about things and, shockingly, all my buddies were saying it’s a great movie. None of them oversold the film where I was sitting down with epic expectations but they definitely had me interested…and I have to agree with them. This movie is definitely something special.

"You there!  Gaze upon my awful beard!"

The movie is pretty simple and quite grand at the same time. The story is a basic study of a human’s adventurous spirit and seeing Walter go on his journey is definitely inspiring and makes you want to get up and go bear wrestling (or go on a trip, however you define adventure). That really is the defining aspect of the film. Above everything else, this movie is one man’s journey of self-discovery and it is surprisingly beautiful and quite humorous.

Driving away from a dust cloud from an eruption...it's time like these you need either
Tommy Lee Jones or Pierce Brosnan on speed-dial.

Other than directing a film filled with wonderful locales and flights of whimsy, Ben Stiller is great as Walter Mitty and is able to capture the man who feels trapped by society but, at the same time, yearns to get out there and have some history and stories to tell in his life. Stiller makes Walt an easily identifiable character and seeing how he was at the beginning of the film (a stuffy worker bee in a plain white shirt and tie) to what he is at the end (a tan, world traveler with a little less stuff in his shirt) looks natural and Stiller made it flow quite well. He was also able to bring excellent chemistry with the rest of the cast (who were all great themselves). You felt the crush he had on Kristen Wiig’s character, you feel the animosity between him and Adam Scott’s character, you feel a budding friendship growing between him and Patton Oswalt’s character of Todd; the e-Harmony tech helping him with his online profile and, even though Sean Penn has a very short appearance in the film, the two come off like their characters have been working together for years. If there’s a second defining aspect of the film, it’s Ben Stiller’s work both in front of and behind the camera…if there’s a third, it’s the entire cast and how well they worked together.

Sean Penn's character looks like the type of dude who just randomly spouts off
inspirational and thought-provoking shit and disappears into the wind before you
get a chance to thank him.

One thing I think was undersold about this film when my friends talked about it was how amusing it was. Granted, the film is never really laugh-out-loud hilarious but the film has several really tight gags that are more than solid and work better than some entire comedies. For example, one of the funniest things about the film, in my opinion, was the relationship and interaction between Walter and Todd the eHarmony guy. One of the biggest reasons that Walter goes on his adventure was to pad out his “Personal History” page and it comes with help from Todd. The two mostly speak over the phone and just the idea of having a tech write down your adventures as you are having them for an online dating profile was just hilarious to me. Additionally, a few of the jokes even take some time to really get to the punchline—and by “some time” I mean you don’t get the punchline until the end of the film happens and that formula makes the jokes that much sweeter. If there is a fourth defining aspect of the film, it was the harmless but funny nature of the humor this film was filled with.

Just two cool dudes in one scene.

While the critics have been lukewarm to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, I found the film to be as adventurous and uplifting as the story and moral. The fact this film could simultaneous look ambitious with seamless fantasy sequences and actual adventures for Mitty and still, at its core, be just about a guy trying to bring more to his life and reach out to the people around him was what captured me and the additional humor that came with it was just the icing on the cake.

"What do you think, audience?"

X-Men: Days of Future Past

***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. 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! God damn...this is how an X-men film should be!

X-Men: Days of Future Past – 5 out of 5

Bryan Singer has returned to the comic franchise he started all those years ago and his aim is to right the wrongs that Brett Ratner brought to the franchise with The Last Stand—all those horrible, Cyclops dying off-screen/Juggernaut/Ben Foster as Angel wrongs. Having Kelsey Grammer kick ass as Beast wasn’t enough to make the film watchable and all the effort that was put into the franchise, like Matthew Vaughn making a fantastic prequel that proved you don’t need Wolverine to tell a great X-Men story and, speaking of Wolvie, getting a Logan sequel that isn’t a non-stop cheesefest or a vicious rape of a beloved comic character (*Cough—Deadpool—Cough*), these examples just weren't enough to erase the damage that Ratner did. The only resolution was using time travel and one of Chris Claremont’s quintessential comic stories to give this franchise the kick in the pants it needs and the glory it deserves.

For funsies, here's a pic of me and Iceman with
a Sentinel behind us.

In the future, advance robots called Sentinels hunt down mutants and any mutant-loving humans. With their kind on the verge of extinction and the world coming to ruin, Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Kitty Pride (Ellen Page) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) devise a plan to undo the damage that has been done. Using her powers, Kitty will send Wolvie’s consciousness into his younger self in the 70s and must convince a broken Charles (James McAvoy) and an angry Erik (Michael Fassbender) to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating the man who instituted the Sentinel program and ended up dooming society with his death at the hands of the shape-shifter; Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage). With the protection of X-Men Iceman, Colossus, Bishop, Blink, Warpath, Storm and Sunspot, Wolverine is sent back to aide a young Professor X, Magneto and Beast (Nicholas Hoult) as they try to stop the bleak future that destroys mutant kind.

                                                                                                                                   20th Century Fox
The weight of the future of mutants weighs on Xavier's shoulders...and the fact that
the X-Men haven't had running water for showers in years.

The X-Men have quite the past (no pun intended) with their film franchise. I’ve been a fan of the mutant superheroes protecting a world that fears and hates them since the late 80s/early 90s when I first discovered their comics and, later, the 90s cartoon. Since then, I’ve been a fan of the books but never really thought I would get to see their exploits brought to the big screen in a way that delivered in the same fashion the comics did (remember, there was a dark past to comic book adaptations). In 2000, Bryan Singer did what I thought was impossible and brought the mutants to the silver screen. Was that film the best representation? Eh, not really but I still enjoyed the film. Sure, people like to bitch about the fact they were in leather outfits and not the colorful spandex from the pages and sure, Wolvie wasn’t the short furball we knew him to be but, for the most part, the characters felt like a decent translation and the film was adequate (with the exception of Storm’s notoriously awful lightning/toad line).

                                                                                                                                   20th Century Fox
"Mind if we dance with yo dates?"

                                                                                                   20th Century Fox
Fassbender just has the look of a guy who knows he's awesome.
X-Men would be followed up with what I thought, at the time, was the best X-Men film. X2 had everything it needed: Great action, more mutants, and a deeper dive into the X-Men’s lore. The franchise could have stopped there and I would have been fine but Fox pushed themselves off the deep end and released the embarrassingly bad X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006. Sure, Beast was cool but everything else about it felt like Ratner was pulling down his sweat pants and was taking a greasy shit over what Singer started. Things only got worse when the first Wolverine spinoff came out. While I admit that film has a terrific opening credit sequence and the first half of the film is fantastic, the movie quickly becomes unhinged. However, the franchise decided to head to the beginning and show a less Wolverine-centric story and focus on a young Professor X and Magneto with X-Men: First Class. When this film came out in 2011, I was hesitant to see it because of the lingering memories of Origins and X3 but the film was fantastic. Then the Wolverine sequel was brought out and that film felt like an apology for Origins. It started to seem like Fox was taking this cash cow property seriously and Days of Future Past is just another notch upwards in the “What level of Awesome is X-Men” graph.

                                                                                                                                  20th Century Fox
YES!  He's ice-sliding!  But he's not making ice-based puns...can't win 'em all.
He needs study material.  Quick, someone get him a copy of Batman & Robin.

Let’s not play coy here; there was the real risk that Days of Future Past could have been absolutely terrible. The original comic is so amazing and so coveted in the history of comics that even the changes made to the story for the adaptation—like sending Wolverine and not Kitty Pride back (but that decision actually makes logical sense) and having Trask be the target of assassination and not Senator Kelly—could have easily destroyed the film and would have sent the internet fanboys in an uproar bigger than anything DC is doing right now (like casting their new Batman, bitching about Wonder Woman's boobs not being big enough, or giving a subtitle to a film...seriously, it doesn't take much for fanboys to express unbelievable irritation on the internet). However, bringing back Singer (whether you like him or not) was probably the best decision and he was able to not only keep the spirit of the pages alive but make up for the lost time and faith that was obliterated thanks to the third film. Furthermore, using the time-tested tradition of time travel, the franchise was able to undo a lot of damage and then proceeded to seed the new fertile ground for not only the upcoming film taking place in the First Class generation (and finally getting to see Apocalypse hit the big screen) but for future adventures with the original cast, as well.

                                                                                                                                    20th Century Fox
I guess you can say that Mystique is doing the...magnetic slide?  Eh?  Eh?

I'll show myself out.

DoFP is super plot heavy and carried the risk of being too much story for an adaptation of the works that my mother called “funny pages” when I was growing up. However, being that we are in the golden era of the comic adaptation, we are able to have this super serious and emotional X-Men tale and have it taken seriously by the masses. Singer does a tremendous job of keeping the story and plot unraveling at a pace that feels like Wolverine is truly caught in a mission against time (no pun) and is capable of unfolding all these elements without the movie getting too bogged down, boring, or feeling like there is a major lack of action. And that brings me to my next point…

                                                                                                                                   20th Century Fox
"Mind if we dance with yo date--dammit, the Sentinels beat us to it."

The action scenes in this film are hardcore and exciting. Whether it be the scenes in the future where we seen Blink’s awesome use of portals, Sunspot flaring up and roasting some Sentinels, and finally seeing Iceman use his ice slides or seeing Mystique swing around for some fast pace kicking and flipping or seeing Magneto completely unleashed and take control of the 70s Sentinels and ripping an entire baseball stadium out of the ground, this movie does not hesitate to be thrilling and doesn’t hesitate to showcase the mutants’ mighty abilities. The action never gets stale because, thanks to the large cast and diverse mutants (which, itself, could have been a factor that, if done wrong, could have easily killed the film), each fight and action sequence is unique. Whether it be the scene-stealer of a sequence with Quicksilver (Evan Peters) flashing around or the slow methodical approach Magneto took to all his acts, the film and Bryan Singer knew how to make an X-film that never rested on a single formula and proceeded to make a movie that was as multi-faceted as the comics.

                                                                                                                                    20th Century Fox
We laughed at the glasses and headphones and the fact he was dressed in silver...
but then Peters and Singer shut me up with this scene.

Finally, the cast is just plain epic in this film. It’s easy to worry that with so many big names that it would be easy to have some overshadow others—in a sense, this sort of happened, since most of the action occurs in the 70s rather than the future and, because of his popularity, you have to have Jackman as Wolvie up front and center—but, in a broader sense, every character felt like they had their place and weren’t there as a nod-and-a-wink—as we’ve seen in other X-films. Every single player, whether it be Dinklage as Trask or even including William Stryker (Josh Helman), each character had their part in the bigger picture and every actor in those roles were incredible. Not to mention, it was just cool seeing some favorites like Blink, Bishop and Sunspot get a chance to appear in a film.

                                                                                                                                  20th Century Fox
Bishop, mudda-fuckers!

Even though Days of Future Past does a decent job of cleaning up some of the continuity errors that this franchise has become synonymous with, it does open up a few more…like how William Stryker goes from this in the 70s…

                                                                                                                                    20th Century Fox
It's hard to look cool carrying a clear, plastic gun.

…to this just a short time later…

                                                                                                                                   20th Century Fox
"The seventies got extremely tough on me right after the Sentinel debacle."

…to this by X2?

                                                                                                                                    20th Century Fox
He's smiling because he didn't have to wear that silly makeup.

Or how Bolivar Trask goes from looking like this…
                                                                                                   20th Century Fox
If I had my way, that 'stache would make its way to Game of Thrones.

…to looking like this in X3.
                                                                                                  20th Century Fox
"I was born a small, white man..."

Of course, that character is just named Trask and is never explicitly revealed to be Bolivar Trask. Despite this, and some other inconsistencies, X-Men: Days of Future Past is the invigorating kick in the pants that the X-franchise was looking for and really needed. Rebooting the franchise through the use of time travel opens up new adventures for both the young and old class. With its great story, killer action, dynamite special effects and a cast of ultra-talented people, Days of Future Past makes the future bright for the X-films. This is, without a doubt, my favorite X-men film to date.

Friday, May 16, 2014

3 Days to Kill

***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. 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! 3 days?  I could kill in less...by kill, we're talking about eating a donut, right?  It's strange that my mind goes to eating a donut when the world "kill" is mentioned.

3 Days to Kill – 2 out of 5

Had this film waited a decade or so, 3 Days to Kill would probably be starring Jason Statham and be 5 more shades of crazy. However, as it stands, it was made with Kevin Costner (who is suddenly in exactly 285 films this year—I may be off by a couple hundred).

Not to start this review on a weird note but I've never noticed how blue Costner's eyes

Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) is an experience CIA operative who can kick ass and take names with or without the need to chew bubble gum when he arrives at a situation. However, the years haven’t been kind to his family life or his body as he is estranged from his wife (Connie Nielsen), barely knows his daughter (Hailee Steinfeld), and now has to contend with the reality he is going to die from terminal brain cancer. However, super CIA assassin Vivi Delay (Amber Heard) gives Renner an experimental drug that can help extend his life so he can help her kill two arms dealers and ne’er-do-wells nicknamed The Albino (Tómas Lemarquis) and The Wolf (Richard Sammel). And, like anyone who finds out they are going to die, Renner decides he wants to make all the wrongs in his life right and tries to reconnect with his family and get to know his daughter. The timing couldn’t be worse.

"We'll fix your hair later, daddy has targets to eliminate."

While my score may be on the low side, 3 Days to Kill is not a wholly terrible film. There’s actually a lot of good stuff going on in the movie and it starts fairly decently. However, the bad the movie has loaded in it hurts it enough where the film drops just below an average score. For example, Amber Heard’s cheesy performance and the tired old flirty assassin character who uses her sexuality to completely define her as an assassin is one of those bad things. Seriously, is it possible to have a badass female assassin in an action thriller that doesn’t need to playfully flirt with the male lead?

Here's a shocker, Amber Heard is overacting in her role.

Aside from Heard, the biggest drawback to the film is the fact it gets pretty sloppy in the plot department as it can’t quite juggle the story of Ethan having a miracle drug to give him enough time to do one more job and try and piece things together with his family. Sure, occasionally this dynamic results in an amusing moment when work and family collide but, for the most part, the movie feels like it has no idea where it wants to go with most scenes and it tends to jump around pretty haphazardly. This, honestly, is the worst thing about the film and it really isn’t that bad. Had this been tweaked ever so slightly the movie could have been a decent, middle-of-the-road action film.

"Pew Pew!"

"You missed me!"

"Nuh uh."

And speaking of the action…it’s pretty good in that department. The film never takes itself too seriously and it incorporates some fairly amusing gags during the shoot-outs, fist-fights and boom-booms but that isn’t to say that all of Costner’s beat up the baddies scenes were watered down slapstick. There are some legitimate badass sequences that make Costner look like a contender for the next Expendables movie. 

Actually, now that I said that, Costner's probably getting a call from Sly.

And that brings me to my next point…Costner. Aside from some entertaining action bits, Kevin Costner is the strongest thing this film has going for it. I already mentioned that Amber Heard is pretty cheesy and over-doing it in her role and that delivery is matched to a lesser extended with Hailee Steinfeld as Zooey Renner (she wasn’t terrible but there definitely wasn’t much chemistry that would result in a believable damaged father/daughter relationship with Costner) and Connie Nielsen is just kinda there as Mama Renner. Furthermore, the films two villains have the potential to be pretty cool but the story doesn’t really showcase much of them for that potential to be realized. Costner, on the other had, really commanded attention in his role and even though he is occasionally coming off like a generic gruff “I’m too old for this shit” type, he is still very entertaining and really sells the legitimate nature of the aging CIA agent.

Hey, The Wolf kinda looks like

For the most part, 3 Days to Kill isn’t a terrible movie. The acting isn’t bad enough to throw you out of the story (a lot of it is still not good enough to draw you in, either), the action isn’t weak and the plot isn’t a complete mess to the point that it will drive you to insanity as you try and put together the pieces that the production left out (but it still has a ton of hiccups); however, despite its sloppiness that keeps it from being something a little more than what it was, Kevin Costner is great in it and the action sequences are good enough to satisfy.

Godzilla (2014)

***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. 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'm not going to post a shitty joke here, I'm just going to say I want to see this movie again!

Godzilla (2014) – 5 out of 5

Godzilla is back, motherfuckers, and he is badder than ever!

                                                                                                             Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
"What's up, bitches?"

In the early 90s, a nuclear accident leaves Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) a widow and his life ever since has been devoted to finding out what really happened the day his wife died. Joe is convinced that it wasn’t an earthquake or whatever else the government has been telling him. Fifteen years later, he and his military/explosives expert son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) sneak into the quarantine zone where they once lived and discover that there is no radiation but find something far more terrifying. With the help of scientists Dr. Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins) and Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe), the government has been hiding an ancient evil monster that caused the nuclear plant’s destruction and has been feeding off the radiation ever since. As expected, the monster escapes and the military scrambles to try and stop this MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) through the use of atomic weapons; however, Serizawa has another plan…a creature from the youthful days of the planet. A monster that rules them all. The ultimate apex predator; the massive Godzilla. However, it is soon discovered that what was thought to be a single MUTO turns out to be two and they’re ready to mate. Now it’s up to the ultimate kaiju to restore balance to nature…

Last year at San Diego Comic-Con, the teaser trailer for Godzilla was released and, even though my brother-in-law and I weren’t at the panel when it was unveiled, we were able to see it thanks to it being shared by the thousands of people who were in attendance; because if Comic-Con is one thing, it’s a big community.  And if it's another thing; it's completely fucking awesome! The moment we saw the HALO jump teaser with the immortal speech from Oppenheimer, we vowed that we would see this film as soon as it came out and we would see it in glorious IMAX presentation…and in motherfuckin’ 3-fucking-D. After nearly a year, we got to see that vow fulfilled and it was everything I wanted from the film!

                                                                                                            Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
When facing Godzilla, you have to enter the city in the most epic way possible...
and since Gipsy Danger wasn't available, it was the HALO jump.

It was sixty—SIXTY!—years ago that the infamous monster hit the screens in Japan and he has been not only a huge (no pun intended) part of pop culture but a massive (again, no pun intended) part of the history of cinema. Sure, looking back now it’s easy to write off the first Godzilla as just a simple monster movie that had a dude in a rubber suit but it was so much more. The commentary about nuclear power and the devastation that the atomic bomb leaves in its wake was embodied in that rubber suit. For decades, the atomic beast has been battling giant monsters and leaving Tokyo in rubble and even though some of these battles and journeys have made for some silly moments, there’s no deny that Toho created an eternal icon back in 1954 and this reboot of his franchise proves that he’s still relevant and capable of being the ultimate badass!

Godzilla is what a summer blockbuster is supposed to be. The scale is huge, the story is perfect for the genre it is working in, the cast is great and the action is spectacular! Director Gareth Edwards created something that really belongs with the rich history for the king kaiju and made a film that more than has a right to belong with the other Godzilla films. Edwards really knew how to show scale and really gave the viewer an experience to remember and he perfectly showcases just how giant Godzilla is—and that is really special because this incarnation of the creature is the biggest yet. Not to mention the special effects used to make him come to life were jaw dropping and it resulted in the most realistic looking representation to date.  How real?  Well, guys like Alex Jones are probably figuring this film is a documentary that shows how Obama created an atomic lizard and has unleashed it on the world because of Benghazi or socialism or whatever stupid crap these people are crying about this week.

                                                                                                             Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
Right now, Alex Jones is saying those eggs are spelling out Obama.

And, of course, you can’t forget that roar!  You can't mess with a classic and this film took that iconic scream and updated (while still remaining true to the source) to make it terrifying, beautiful and completely fucking awesome!

This time around, Godzilla’s origin is slightly changed from the original film. This version of Godzilla wasn’t created and mutated by radiation but is rather an ancient creature from the days when the Earth was just a young, radioactive ball of waste. You can’t have Godzilla without some nuclear elements to him and it was nice the writers didn’t abandon this significant part of the creature’s history. I really like the new direction they took with his origin. There was a striking simplicity to it and they way they used radiation as an active element for the two MUTOs that Godzilla took on was very effective and felt like it belonged with the rest of the franchise. The production was also able to handle the delicate situation of making Godzilla the anti-hero he would eventually become in the old days. Yes, he’s still smashing building and causing massive amounts of destruction and death, but he’s ultimately doing it for the greater good and trying to restore balance to nature. 

                                                                                                             Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
Okay...just how deep was that drop off right there by the island?

Gareth Edwards also does a tremendous job of balancing a film that is both a story about a big ancient beast out to have a pro wrestling match in the middle of a city and a story about humans feeling human-y stuff. The focus of Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s character and his mission to not only help the military stop Godzilla and the MUTOs but also get back to his wife (played by Elizabeth Olsen) and his son helped the film move forward very well and helped create nice pauses between seeing some monsters roar their way on screen. Not to mention that Bryan Cranston’s character was awesome and Cranston was so damn passionate in the role.

I won’t lie, there were a few very, very, very small things I didn’t like about the film. Number 1) I wanted to see a little more from Ken Watanabe. I really enjoy him as an actor and while he does provide a very somber mood and looks like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders for his knowledge about Godzilla’s existence, there just wasn’t enough of him in the film. Aside from providing explanation for the monsters, Watanabe’s main purpose seems to be just staring in awe of things. While this isn’t really that bad because these staring off into the distance shots actually work for his character and, believe it or not, helps sell the massive scope of the monster, it still would have been nice to see Watanabe be a little more.

                                                                                                             Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
I imagine all the looking shots from Watanabe was basically his audition reel
for the next Steven Spielberg film.

And speaking of more, my second, extremely minor complaint was the surprisingly short role of Bryan Cranston. While his role is perfect for the film and he, realistic, has the perfect amount of screen time for the story’s purpose, it still would have been great to see his role expanded and be larger but, and I’m being realistic here, it really wasn’t needed to be stretched out. Like I said, it’s a really, really minor compliant and is really just a personal preference because I really enjoy the man as an actor and nothing is better than more Cranston. However, as it stands, his role works extremely well.

                                                                                                             Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
Add your own Heisenberg reference.

But forget all the stuff about the story, the plot, the special effects, sound and all that other stuff. There is one reason and one reason only I went to see this film: To see Godzilla kick some kaiju ass! There’s no point in pulling punches and I’m not going to get like those other mainstream critics and say the film doesn’t have merit because it is a popcorn summer blockbuster. That is what I liked about the film. The action and spectacle kicks ass! Gareth Edwards was even smart enough to Jaws the shit out of the film (Hey, the family’s last name is Brody) and teased Godzilla and the MUTOs long enough to the point that when they battled, it ended up like it was every Wrestlemania wrapped into one and times by a million...and then drizzled in a heaping helping of awesome-sauce and epic-seasoning.

                                                                                                              Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
The Cloverfield monster was going to show up but he was too much of a pussy.

And when Godzilla finally unveiled his atomic breathe…I nearly jumped out of my seat and pumped my fist in the air.

                                                                                                              Legendary Pictures/Warner Bros.
But to be honest, when Godzilla is involved, it's hard to keep your fist from involuntarily
shooting towards the sky.

I’m not going to call Godzilla a perfect summer movie but—no, wait, fuck that.  I will call it a perfect summer movie. The scope is huge, the action is more than satisfying, the story is great and it’s a new, fresh start to the most infamous movie monster to ever backhand a skyscraper. I went into the film with huge (sorry) expectations and the film met them and then decides to tail whip them into the stratosphere and deliver even better. The only thing that worries me is the fact America doesn’t take too kindly to the “big monster” film genre and they have never had a history of performing well at the box office (take Pacific Rim, for example. The movie never promised to be anything more than giant fucking robots fighting giant fucking kaiju but people still bitched that it was predictable.  Honestly, what were they expecting in the film?  A restless romance?  A deep intellectual study of human emotions and layered character development?).  I hope that this Godzilla changes that and makes fucking bank so that we get more and get to see this new, larger Godzilla take on more kaiju.

And just so we never forget, I'll just leave this here...