Saturday, September 30, 2017

Kill Me Three Times

***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 Please, kill me no times.




Kill Me Three Times – 3 out of 5

My first exposure to Simon Pegg was in the first of the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy; Shaun of the Dead.  Since then, I’ve really enjoyed the guy and have pretty much made it my business to watch anything he is in.  In 2014, Kill Me Three Times came out starring Pegg but, despite having him in it, I never went out of my way to check it out.  Finally, during this last weekend, I decided I would finally get around to watching it.  To be honest, I probably could have kept waiting.

Can we all agree that Simon Pegg is a treasure to the world?

In Australia, a contract killer by the name of Charlie Wolfe (Pegg) is hired by a wealthy businessman (Callan Mulvey) to investigate his wife Alice (Alice Braga) because he believes she’s cheating on him with a local man named Dylan (Luke Hemsworth).  What is supposed to be a simple job turns out way more complicated as he discovers that Alice accidentally got entangled in a scheme from a dentist (Sullivan Stapleton) and his wife (Teresa Palmer) as they are attempting to use her for insurance fraud by killing her and making the authorities think it’s the wife.  Things are even more complicated as a corrupt cop (Bryan Brown) stumbles on the dentist’s plan and wants in on the action in order to keep his mouth shut.  Now Wolfe is stuck in the middle of a gigantic mess that was originally supposed to be a simple investigation turned contract killing.

The wildlife in Australia is dangerous but it turns out the people want to kill you too.

Kill Me Three Times is a fun idea that has a lot of potential for dark comedy fun.  Hell, the film even presents itself with a nice slick presentation that doesn’t unfold its plot in a linear/A-to-B-to-C fashion but rather reveals itself in a way where the twists in the madness that Wolfe has unknowingly found himself drowning in is done so in a clever way.  However, the film stops short by a significant distance of being something memorable or as entertaining as it should be.  

Stopping short...sorta like stopping short of getting a car to sink when you are
trying to kill someone for insurance fraud purposes.  Yep, that was a stretch
but I wanted to justify this screencap.

The performances in KMTT are decent and there’s no denying that Pegg is enjoyable but the story just proved to be not that engaging.  I did state that the story is first opened in a non-linear fashion but once all the major character reveals are done and the plot starts to chug along, the film sorta hits a leisurely stride that isn’t conducive to engaging storytelling.  The film is far from boring but once you know which direction the story is going, it quickly just becomes a serviceable affair that is mildly entertaining and only made decent by the cast.

Luke Hemsworth is considered the least attractive Hemsworth...and that dude is
ruggedly handsome.  That family is just blessed with good genes.

I found Kill Me Three Times to be sorta fun and kinda entertaining but pretty much to a small degree in the moment that I was watching it.  Yes, the cast is decent and I thought Simon Pegg was fun as Charlie Wolfe.  Hell, there’s even some decent laughs in this dark comedy but the story just didn’t deliver anything that engaging or even memorable.  Finally, there are just not a lot of moments that stand out where any of the characters beyond Wolfe are that interesting.  This is just another one of those movies that had a decent, marketable idea but it just didn’t live up to it.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

***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! Manners maketh man!




Kingsman:  The Golden Circle – 4 out of 5

I’ll never forget seeing Kingsman:  The Secret Service in the theaters for the first time.  I just had an absolute blast because the movie was just incredibly fun with its amazing cast and it provided some awesome and brutal action.  I was very excited when it was announced they were doing a sequel and when I saw the first trailer for it, I was bursting with anticipation.  Now that I finally found some time to get to the theater and check out Kingsman:  The Golden Circle, I found the sequel was pretty damn entertaining but, like most sequels, not quite living up to its predecessor.

                                                                                                          20th Century Fox
I wish I was half as cool as this man.

After the events of the previous film, secret spy Eggsy (Taron Egerton) has taken over the title of Galahad and is living the sweet life as he saves the world and comes home to his Princess of Sweden girlfriend; Tilde (Hanna Alström).  However, after an attack leaves the Kingsman in ruins, Eggsy and the only other remaining agent left; Merlin (Mark Strong), are forced to travel to America and enlist the help of the Statesman, the Kingsman’s American counterpart.  With the help of their agents; tech and field support agent; Ginger Ale (Halle Berry), hot shot agents Tequila (Channing Tatum) and Whiskey (Pedro Pascal) and their head honcho Champ (Jeff Bridges), the team uncovers a nefarious plot from a bubbly drug lord named Poppy (Julianne Moore).  With the help of a failed Kingsman candidate; Charlie (Edward Holcroft), she has poisoned the world’s illicit drug supply and she’s the only one with the antidote.  Now it’s up to the remnants of Kingsman and the Statesman to stop her…and alongside a little help after Eggsy and Merlin learn that their American friends saved Harry (Colin Firth) and he’s now alive and ready to educate some people on manners.

                                                                                                          20th Century Fox
That's a lot of badass in one photo.

Most sequels can’t quite match or exceed what came before them, especially if the first film is amazing and one holds it in high regard—like I do with Kingsman.  Sure, there’s some moments here and there where you have a sequel that you enjoy more or even equally but I’m not going to sit here and try to claim that I liked The Golden Circle as much or greater than I did The Secret Service.  That being said, I didn’t hate this film (as you can see from my score) and I actually found it to be very fun.  Director and co-writer Matthew Vaughn wasn’t able to capture lightning in a bottle a second time but he was able to throw out some of the core essence that made the first one enjoyable.

                                                                                                         20th Century Fox
Stay out of Malibu, Lebowski.

I really enjoyed the cast in this one, both the returning members and the new faces.  Egerton really shows off how good of an actor he really is as we see Eggsy as a full-fledge member of Kingsman.  Strong is still very fun as Merlin and Firth just has that special magic about him that makes him undeniably charming.  The new members like Tatum, Pascal, Bridges, and Berry were all very good in their roles and made their characters very entertaining.  However, I would have liked to see more from Berry because I felt like her character and the arc they sorta tacked on for her towards the end was overlooked.  Special mention has to be made for Julianne Moore as the villain Poopy.  I really found her very amusing as she was able to take a character that is both threatening and bubbly and make it work.  Finally, I have to mention the outrageous cameo from Elton John as he played a fictitious version of himself.  I’m a big fan of John and his music and his role was so entertaining and brought in a lot of laughs.

                                                                                                           20th Century Fox
She was a fun villain...and thorough.  (If you're keeping track, that's two
references to The Big Lebowski in this review!)

Story-wise, I really enjoyed this one.  Granted, if you boil this one down enough you can say it is just the same thing as the last one as it involves a megalomaniac who is on a course that will kill an insane amount of the world’s population but I never really felt like I was watching the same story all over again.  I won’t deny the similarities but I don’t feel like it was just a rehash either.  There are some minor elements, however, to the story that I wasn’t a fan of.  For example, there are a lot of factors at play here with the return of Harry and the establishment of new heroes, a new villain and a new evil plan to thwart.  A lot of character backstory gets lost in the mix as they add in a needless character twist that comes out of nowhere at the end and, even though it resulted in a great action scene, it felt superfluous, and there’s also the sloppy handling of Eggsy relationship with Tilde. For the most part, their evolution is fine and there’s some decent development from Eggsy as a responsible partner but because the story has so much packed into it, it felt slightly lost amongst everything else.

                                                                                                          20th Century Fox
You know what else got lost?  Having Tatum in more of the movie.
I love that guy!

From an action perspective, this one was a mix bag and didn’t even come close to the first one.  Most of the fight scenes were really hard to see what was occurring because Vaughn had the camera directly in the action.  It’s possible that on a smaller screen at home these sequences might be easier to see but for most of the fights, it was hard to process what was happening and who it was happening to.  However, this problem felt completely rectified during the film’s climax as a big shoot out and a battle is done excellently.  I had no problem seeing that action and Vaughn was still able to present it in a slick and very fun way.

All-in-all, I had a lot of fun watching this movie and found some small, very minor issues here and there but none of them were really that bad.  However, there was one thing about the story that really bothered me and it was horribly uncomfortable to watch.  During the course of their investigation to find the antidote, Eggsy and Whiskey have to go to a music festival in order to compromise the girlfriend of Charlie and get information out of her.  Because this series likes to lampoon James Bond, some seduction is in order and that’s fine in and of itself but this part kinda went a step too far.  I won’t go into the finer details of what this mission involved but it was very uncomfortable and felt completely out of place when compared to the rest of the film.  It kinda felt juvenile and perverted, to be honest.

                                                                                                          20th Century Fox
I'll be honest, when I first saw Pascal in the trailer
I thought he was Justin Timberlake.
 

I realize I sound like a prude and this complaint shows my social justice warrior side but I couldn’t escape how uncomfortable this scene made me.  Granted, Eggsy having to…um…do things with another woman did set up some conflict between him and Tilde and this event would later have an impact on the character of Charlie but a big part of it felt less like it was mocking the themes that James Bond always employs as that property has a habit of treating its women like sex toys and more like it was just giving in to the Bond treatment and just embracing treating women like sex toys and nothing else.  The anal sex joke in first film ruffled some feathers from some viewers but I was behind (no pun intended) that one because it felt like Vaughn was actively making fun of the ridiculous nature of Bond’s sexual themes but this scene that involve sexual activity with a female character in order to advance the plot just felt…well…gross.

                                                                                                          20th Century Fox
Still avoiding those awful Spoilers but the scene involves this young
woman.

There are some definite issues I had with Kingsman:  The Golden Circle (and one really big one that made me feel like I needed a shower) but the overall experience was a fun one.  I will also admit that the film kinda felt a bit long and like it was tacking on a second ending after the first initial ending didn’t come to a very satisfying conclusion but, once again, I still found the whole experience to be enjoyable.  Sequels are a difficult thing and it’s too easy for them to just try and repeat what’s already been done but The Golden Circle, I feel, delivered something that felt similar but also like it was its own animal in a newly growing franchise.  I didn’t go in with hopes that I’d see something better than what I saw before (because I think the first film is damn near perfect) but I went in hoping for something that gave me the same fun characters, wild and exciting action, and some wicked humor and that’s what it gave me.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Mr. Accident

***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! Something something call me Mr. Accident for watching thing blah blah.




Mr. Accident – 1 out of 5

For some reason during the back half of 2011, I decided to watch the three films that Yahoo Serious, the Australian comedian, made in the late 80s to the early 90s.  I got through the first two but, for reasons that are probably centered entirely on the fact that I found his movies to be unbearable, I gave up on checking out the third film that he made in 2000.  This last weekend, I decided to finally finish what I started 6 years ago and finally check out that third film; Mr. Accident.  The experience was about the same as his first two features.

It's a mystery why he never became a major sensation here in the states.

Roger Crumpkin (Serious) is a clumsy maintenance man who works for a very large egg company.  One day, his boss goes missing and is replaced by the shady and jerky Duxton Chevalier (David Field).  After meeting the ex-girlfriend of Chevalier; Sunday Valentine (Helen Dallimore), he becomes obsessed with winning her heart and thinks he’ll do so with a small piece of metal that he believes is part of a UFO.  And then, the two discover that Chevalier is infusing the eggs with nicotine in order to get people addicted to eggs.  Yep, that’s what the film is about and I swear I am not making any of this up.


What's truly amazing is how they padded this scene out for way too long.
  I'm not even annoyed, I'm kinda impressed that it went as long as it
did and never got funny.

Of the three Yahoo Serious films, this was the hardest one for me to sit through.  The story is a mess, the comedy I found to be weak and very unamusing, and the editing was absolutely atrocious.  The whole movie is spent attempting to make really unfunny slapstick humorous by beating the dead horse of a gag repeatedly and lost in the wake of this emphasis goes the story.  Essentially the film is about a bad corporate dude adding nicotine to eggs in order to get customers addicted but this plot element is hinted at through most of the movie and it never comes into any real fruition until the credits are on the verge of rolling.  The rest of the movie is spent watching Crumpkin flop around like an idiot for gags and bits that last way, way too long and him trying to woo Valentine.  It’s actually really annoying to sit through because the whole movie feels like an overly extended first act and then it just proceeds to quickly rush through the 2nd and then the final act.

That was the same face I had the entire time during Mr. Accident.

One thing that really struck me about this movie is just how terrible the editing is.  It’s so bad that it actually highlights how poorly written the entire movie was.  For example, entire comedic sequences take place in single locations but the gags and moments are barely connected.  They aren't pieced together through the plot or story but rather edited so that these little punchlines and slapstick moments just play out one after another.  One second a character is falling down or doing something stupid and then it just cuts to the next moment of a character in the same scene falling down or doing something stupid.  There’s no rhyme or reason to the story for these moments to happen, they are just bad gags being piled on top of bad gags with no organization.  There’s a particular bad scene that involves Crumpkin and Valentine on a date at a fancy restaurant.  The story attempts to feather the characters out for a second or two but then you are subjected to really bottom-of-the-barrel comedy for the next ten minutes.  It’s just gag after gag with no transition beyond just a smash cut to the next setup for a gag.  It was rough to look at as it felt like it was done by a first semester film student or like I was looking at test edits for potential gags that would go into the final product.  To make matters worse, all the gags and jokes are easily telegraphed and painfully predictable.

Hookay...I did chuckle at that.

Grant Piro played Cumpkin's roommate Lyndon...
but, I'll be honest, for a second I thought it
was a young Fred Armisen.
As for the rest of the film, there are no real redeeming factors at play.  The performances aren’t horrible but they aren’t very good either.  They’re too over-the-top and the humor itself, which plays out like a live-action cartoon, is very out there as well and both of them seem to be trying to one-up each other.  This results in just too much goofiness but it never results in completely terrible acting.  For ridiculous and over-the-top acting, it’s fine for what it is—I just didn’t find it that interesting or entertaining to watch.  Finally, the writing on this film is just bad.  The script has no structure whatsoever and feels like it is running around wild with no real direction on where it wants to go.  You ever have someone explain to you their weird dream or have a child make up a story on the spot that has no narrative or storytelling structure?  If you have, then congratulations because you just experienced how Mr. Accident feels.

Wait, is this film's bad guy related to Robbie Rotten from Lazy Town?

Needless to say, I wasn’t very impressed or even remotely entertained by Mr. Accident (not that I really have enjoyed anything by Yahoo Serious).  Granted, it wasn’t so bad that it deserved my score of zero because, blessed its heart, it is trying and the overall experience isn’t painful to sit through—it’s not easy, mind you, but it wasn’t groan-inducing.  I can’t even argue that it has its fair share of moments because I really didn’t find any.  Really, in the end, the film is just a completely inept comedy that suffers greatly from bad slapstick and an even worse script.  But, at the very least, I finally completed my journey of watching all three Yahoo Serious films.  I need a shower and a vacation now.