Thursday, January 9, 2014

PCP on DVD - Movie Backlog Clearout

Since I haven't had the time to write reviews because of grad school, but have still had the time to watch movies, I have once again developed a backlog of movies that need to be reviewed. Like I have in the past, I'm going to do a clear-out post of my backlog by posting really short reviews of 23 movies I caught within the past 6 months that I don't want to write more than a paragraph about. There were some good movies in this batch, some bad ones too, but I just want to get their reviews done so I can focus on longer posts on the movies I actually want to write about (i.e. the really good ones).  So, without further ado, here are the quick reviews in alphabetical order.

21 & Over - 2013, rated R. My rating: 5 out of 10. It's a college drinking movie about a 21st birthday celebration. It has its funny moments but nothing particularly original really. Basically, it's a lot like The Hangover retold for a new generation.

About Cherry - 2012, rated R. My rating: 4 out of 10. A lame girl moves to California and gets into the skin industry. Probably the most pointless well acted film I've ever seen. Lame ending left me asking "what was the point?" Don't waste an hour and a half of your life.

A Good Day to Die Hard -2013, rated PG-13. My rating: 5 out of 10. Were this named anything else and not part of the Die Hard franchise it'd probably warrant a 6 or 7, but it gets points off for sullying the name of the greatest action flick ever. Please stop making films in this franchise, thanks.

Beautiful Creatures - 2013, rated PG-13. My rating: 6.5 out of 10. Yet another young adult novel adaptation hoping to be the next Twilight franchise. It has cool effects for the witchcraft moments, and fun scenery-chewing performances, especially from Emmy Rossum. I don't think it did well enough for them to continue the series though.

Celeste & Jesse Forever - 2012, rated R. My rating: 8 out of 10.  Funny but touching, but also majorly depressing. It's not a romantic comedy date movie, it's more sort of like PS I Love You in the fact that it's a depressing love story. Rashida Jones & Andy Samberg are awesome though.

Hanna - 2011, rated R. My rating: 6 out of 10.  Well done action sequences offset by sucky plot meant that I found it hard to care about any of the characters. But, as I said the action sequences were pretty bad-ass, so that prevented the film from being a total waste.

Keep reading! There's more after the jump! --->

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters - 2013, rated R. My rating: 7 out of 10.  It is fun but silly, not a film you watch for the plot. It's chock full of anachronisms like steampunk gatling guns, but it is so over the top silly that it succeeds at being intentionally campy.

Mama - 2013, rated PG-13.  My rating: 5 out of 10.  It did a good job of being moody and creepy but overall it was not particularly scary. Jessica Chastain was good as the lead protagonist, but she was a lot better in Zero Dark Thirty. I probably wouldn't have wanted to seen this had it not been for that film.

Men in Black 3 - 2012, rated PG-13. My rating: 8 out of 10. It was a ton better than the 2nd one, but that's not saying much as the second one sucked. Josh Brolin does a great Tommy Lee Jones impression though. The film is fun and I wouldn't mind seeing it again, and I'm sure it's destined for endless loops on TNT or FX Network some time in the future.

ParaNorman - 2012, rated PG. My rating:  7.5 out of 10.  I found this kids animated zombie movie to actually be pretty fun. It's something I'm looking forward to watching with my son when he gets old enough to enjoy this without getting scared.

Red Dawn - 2012, rated PG-13. My rating: 6 out of 10.  When you set the bar very low for a film, it actually helps you to enjoy it more. I thought that this film would be terrible, and it wound up being better than I thought it would be. It still isn't a great film, and the campy original is far more fun, but this one isn't terrible either. It's just average.

Resident Evil: Retribution - 2012, rated R. My rating: 4 out of 10. The fifth live action Resident Evil film is the worst one yet. Why do they keep making these? Oh yeah, because people still watch them. It also helps that Milla Jovovich's husband directs too so he's got a reason to keep doing these. The one plus side was that it was nice to see old formerly dead characters again. It looks like the next one will be the last (finally). I'll probably still watch it, since I've never met a zombie movie I wouldn't watch.

Taken 2 - 2012, rated PG-13. My rating: 7 out of 10.  It was not as good as the first one, which is one of my favorite action flicks. It does make me want to go to Istanbul though, that place looks pretty awesome. The action sequences are pretty nifty, and Liam Neeson still kicks a lot of ass, but the plot strains credibility just a bit too much. I'll still watch Taken 3 whenever that comes out though.

The Bourne Legacy - 2012, rated PG-13. My rating: 7.5 out of 10. The Bourne franchise continues despite the absence of Matt Damon, this time with Jeremy Renner as a super spy member of the same Treadstone organization as Jason Bourne. The events of the film actually occur in parallel to the events of the Bourne Ultimatum, in terms of timeline. I actually enjoyed this expansion of the universe of the films, and wouldn't mind a return visit to this film series.

The Call - 2013, rated R. My rating: 6.5 out of 10.  This story of a kidnapped girl and the 911 operator she is in contact with was entertaining and satisfying but there was one thing that really bugs me about the plot. In the film, the suspect's house searched then abandoned - not one cop stayed there in case he showed up? That was a glaring plot hole, because there's no way that would've happened in real life.

The Deep Blue Sea - 2012, rated R. My rating: 5 out of 10. Apparently this film is based on a play, which I haven't seen (and don't intend to). It features great performances by stars Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston, but the film really drags in places. I just couldn't bring myself to care about any of the characters, despite how well they were acted.

The Expendables 2 - 2012, rated R. My rating: 7.5 out of 10. This isn't a movie one watches for the plot, it's one you watch for the action. The film delivers, it was more enjoyable than the first one. The best parts were when all 3 of the 80s action icons - Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, & Arnold Schwarzenegger - were striding side by side killing everything in sight, and also a part where Arnold and Bruce swapped catchphrases with Bruce dropping an "I'll be back" and Arnold retorting with a "Yippie-ki-yay." This was a fun throwback action film to a different era of movies, with a ton of self-aware jokes like the catchphrases one above, and a Chuck Norris fact joke as well.

The Great Gatsby - 2013, rated PG-13. My rating: 7 out of 10. Visually breathtaking, but what else would you expect from a film directed by Baz Luhrmann? The acting performances were all solid, but I felt the film felt a little hollow. It had all of the style and flash, with none of the soul, that comes from one of the greatest novels ever. As always, the book is better than the film.

The Host - 2013, rated PG-13. My rating: 6 out of 10. The film was much better than I expected, given how hard of a book I thought it'd be to adapt. The novel has a ton of internal monologue, due to the internal mental war between the host body Melanie and her implanted alien personality, Wanda, so I thought this film would be awful. It managed to make it all the way up to average, far exceeding my expectations.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - 2012, rated PG-13.  My rating: 8 out of 10. This indie coming of age film was actually pretty good, & I highly recommend it. It was very nice to see Emma Watson in role outside of the Harry Potter franchise, she turns in a great one here as a troubled teen.

Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor - 2013, rated PG-13. My rating: 5 out of 10.  Wow, that is a long title. Like many Tyler Perry movies, this film is heavy on the moralizing and drama. No surprise there. Also no surprise - Kim Kardashian can't act (although the irony of her being in a film about a Marriage Counselor is rather funny considering she was just out of her 72 day marriage when this was filmed). The best thing about the film was the lack of Tyler Perry on screen, he's only behind the lens in this one.

Warm Bodies - 2013, rated PG-13. My rating: 8 out of 10. Easily the funniest zombie movie since one of my all time favorites, Shaun of the Dead. This one really surprised me, it turned out to be a whole lot better than I expected, and I had a lot of fun with this film. It's definitely now on my top 10 zombie flicks list, a post I'll write another day.

The Words - 2012, rated PG-13. My rating: 6 out of 10.  Like The Deep Blue Sea above, The Words is another film with great actors and performances that is hampered by a dull plot that happens to be extremely predictable thanks to the trailers for the film. It stars Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Dennis Quaid, Jeremy Irons, Olivia Wilde, and J.K. Simmons, so it is loaded with talent, but that talent largely is squandered on a weak plot.

Wow that was quite the backlog I had to clear out! Alright that's all for today, thanks for coming by!

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