Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cold in July

Meh. I've seen 5 movies in the past week- this one was on demand as well as in theaters.  Michael C Hall (Dexter) plays a homey type guy who awakens to an intruder in his home and he (somewhat) accidently shoots the guy in the head, ruining the wall and sofa. He is stunned, as is his wife, but it was obviously self-defense. Unfortunately for him, the person he shot has a father who just got out of Huntsville State Prison. The old guy seems set up to kill Hall, but at some point, Hall realized he is the one being set up in some bizarre way. It unfolds in a sort of interesting way. I found it totally unbelievable- it just doesn't seem right that Hall's character, Richard Dane, would leave his family to go search after a story that can only bring danger to his family and doesn't really involve him anyway. I never felt the tension of the story. Obviously, I'm the one with the problem since 75% of the 3000 people who have seen it like it. 91% of the tomato meter critics like it. And that is what I don't get. It's okay- but well, that's about it.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

First of all, why did they name this after a Moody Blues album? (Much as I love that album). Oh well.
I've seen every one of the X-Men franchise movies. Every one. I liked them all. But I like this one the best. It moves from the present to the past rather seamlessly, and gives us a reminder of the younger crew. There is a lot of action- an epic battle or two, subterfuge, and a great deal of intense action and acting. I really liked it. I would have even seen it twice. Jennifer Lawrence finally found a way to act around her bland face and bland voice- she reprises the role of Mystique/Raven and gets to change into something interesting. Brava!  I think everyone should see this unless loud noises and creepy things bother you. I have the feeling there will be one more movie made. And I'll be there for that one, too.

Neighbors

When will Seth Rogan stop making movies that are ridiculously immature attempts at comedy? And by the way, this is a step back for the far more adult looking (yet still handsome) Zac Efron. Though I guess coming out of rehab means doing what you can until everyone forgets you might be a risk.  In the several scenes, you can see that Efron really did act his way through this, while Rogan mugs and goofs. Even Rose Byrne sort of embarrasses herself here as a breast feeding mother who goes to a frat house to flirt, get drunk and party. There are a few laughs- but mostly it is a curiously ugly movie about immature adults who don't really do a very good job as parents.  Now, on the other hand, the BABY in this (played by alternating twins) is so adorable that you wish they'd just filmed her for 2 hours. She is adorable.
Listen up, Seth Rogan- your younger "twin", Jonah Hill, has found a way to escape the trap in which you find yourself. Go talk to him, fire YOUR agent and get his, and stop taking these stupid roles.

Godzilla

Holy Mutant Amphibians! Godzilla is a spectacle. The story is pretty funny if you take it at face value, so just suspend your belief entirely. The story is also thin and kind of weak. But the special effects are awesome! I hear the Japanese think the American version of Godzilla is humiliatingly fat. I personally don't think so- but then I'm a little chubby myself and just don't notice it. Maybe he just has more radiation to eat now.  I don't know. If you are a fan of special effects and adventure- then go see it. If not, then don't, because that is mostly what it is. Some people have written some rather grandiose reviews of this- like "a story of human courage". Naw- I think Zero Dark Forty and Lone Survivor do that. This is more like saving the world one lizard creature at a time.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Million Dollar Arm

Jeez Louise- I love a lot of things about India. I like Indian movies, Indian food, Indian colors, Indian clothes, Indian d├ęcor (as in lots of lights and flowers), and how Indians (at least the ones in movies) keep their families close and give their children a sense of family integrity. I don't usually like "based on a true story" because I'd rather know the TRUE story. I don't like audiences carrying away ideas about something that is real, but they've been given a made-up version.
In order to save their fairly new sports agency, J B Bernstein (Jon Hamm) and his partner, Aash, convince a Japanese investor to fund a "Million Dollar Arm" pitching competition to recruit players from India with talent and get them into the MLB. Much of the actual story line is true. I searched in the ether for the part that wasn't and really got tired. So maybe this fake true movie is more true than fake.  I think this is a guy movie for the baseball dreams, and a girl movie for the lovely ways that Indians interact with their families. Despite poverty and massive overpopulation, they get along. I'm sure the movies only show the good side (except for Slumdog Millionaire which showed it all), but the good side of India is so good sometimes.  It is overly long; the romantic part (though true) is unnecessary and drags out a lot of it.  It is a good story. And it is worth seeing unless you have your heart set on Godzilla. Like me.

Joe

Nicolas Cage does a great job as Joe, an ex-con who runs a crew that takes down the scrub trees so that the logging company can plant healthy, saleable trees. He meets a hard scrabble, hard luck kid who wants to make money for his derelict father in order to help support his family. Joe respects the kid and takes him as a crew member. As the kid's family life story unfolds, Joe sees his chance to keep this angry kid from being like Joe.  This is an indie film- a film so bleak at first that I thought it would never get to the point, and I might as well leave. Some indie films do that- self indulgence. But once the action starts, it is a dark, violent and somehow great story.  I really enjoyed this. It was a very limited release last month, so you may have to watch it on Netflix. But if you like Nicholas Cage, and sometimes I do, this is one of his movies that is a must see. Just don't worry about missing a little of the beginning.