Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 146 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

I never even intended to go to the first "Hunger Games" movie, but ended up doing so out of boredom.  To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement.  I LOVED it.

The second movie is basically the first movie, which made it pretty underwhelming.  The ending is quite different, setting up the third movie.  But aside from that, I felt like I'd already seen this.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Homefront (2013)

Rated: R - Runtime: 100 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

Pretty formula low-budget action feature where you insert a generic action star (Sylvester Stallone, writer and producer, was originally going to lead, but handed the role off to Jason Statham instead) and let them beat the crap out of a lot of people in standard fight scenes, maybe throw in a couple of explosions.  If you like that, you'll be fine with this.

Pretty much on the level of Dwayne 'The Rock" Johnson's remake of "Walking Tall".

Friday, November 29, 2013

Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)

Rated: NC-17 - Runtime: 175 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

The big talk around this movie is the big sex scene, which isn't so much sexy as it is two women devouring each other while playing a really complicated game of Twister.  There's nothing sensual about it.  Doesn't even come close to being a great sex scene, let alone one of the all-time great sex scenes.

What's good is the building of the relationship leading to said scene.  Post-scene, the movie is a highlight reel of the duration of the relationship that is fine and paced well, but doesn't really live up to the beginning of the movie.

Much like life itself, I suppose.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 111 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

There's a scene where Thor sort of sheepishly hangs his hammer on Jane's coat rack.  This is absolutely hilarious.  And pretty much the highlight of the movie.

It's a fun ride.  It's just not a GREAT fun ride.

Just a sort of okay fun ride.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Machete Kills (2013)

Rated: R - Runtime: 108 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

We start off with a trailer for "Machete Kills Again...In Space", which gives enough away to tell us which actors will live to be in it.  I wonder if they shot this already alongside "Machete Kills".  If not, I question whether or not it'll actually get made.  The box office on "Machate Kills" this weekend was disastrous.

As for "Machete Kills", it has some really wild killing scenes and some really fun moments, just like "Machete".  But it also overstays its welcome, just like "Machete".  These grindhouse exploitation flicks should never be longer than 90 minutes.  They can even be way less than 90 minutes.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Gravity (2013)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 91 minutes
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

The real star of this film, despite the calls for Oscar nods for Bullock, is the cinematography.  The extended fluid motion shots are amazing and contribute to the near non-stop suspense.  If you get queasy from dizziness easily, you might want to skip the snack bar (for reasons beyond the fact a small popcorn and large soda will set you back $12 anymore).

They were smart to get in and out at around 90 minutes.  Doesn't overstay its welcome.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Blue Jasmine (2013)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 98 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

I do reviews on a forum where I noted that this movie had a kind of serious focus on mental illness that I didn't think a lot of the audience would understand.

Sure enough, the guy who reviewed the movie after me began and ended his review with "Stupid rich bitch gets her comeuppance".

Look closer, people.  Look closer.

The Spectacular Now (2013)

Rated: R - Runtime: 95 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

We have a cute high school couple made of up an alcoholic and a girl who doesn't get noticed much only too willing to go along.  They're really a perfect couple and you just KNOW the writers are going to screw them up at some point.  And they don't for a really long time, which makes this four-star charming.  Until they do.  Then you're just mad.  But the ride up to that point is...spectacular.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The World's End (2013)

Rated: R - Runtime: 109 min
tesg's Rating: Two stars (out of four)

I'll say it right now...everyone will like this better than I did.  I'm just not into drunk tales, and I just don't understand people who spend their time living in the past.  And by the time the "blanks" thing started up, I was too tired to care anymore.  Also, I hated the ending.

So...enjoy it more than I did.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

We're the Millers (2013)

Rated: R - Runtime: 110 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Wow.  This was really funny.  Quite a bit raunchier than I was expecting too, but as solid a comedy as I've seen in some time.

Word of mouth has kept this movie flying at the box office.  I can see why.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

2 Guns (2013)

Rated: R - Runtime: 109 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

HEY KIDS! Remember when you worked at a mediocre radio station that sometimes got to interview mediocre musicians and the one thing you were absolutely supposed to not screw up was to get them to cut a station promo? You know, the one that went something like "Hi this is so-and-so from Queensryche and you're rockin' with Classic 107."

Well, Regal Cinemas has brought this blatant form of prostitution to the big screen.

Prior to the roller coaster, we got Danny Trejo, in character as Machete, introducing the trailer for "Machete Kills". "See it at a Regal Cinema...OR I WILL FIND YOU!"

Then we got Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (NOT in character) encouraging you to see their new flick at a Regal before what was more like a First Look mini documentary about their movie.

Yeah. Okay.

Wahlberg and Washington are the reasons to see this movie.  Bill Paxton isn't bad either.  But they're in pretty pedestrian surroundings.  Worth seeing, but it won't be in my home movie collection.

You might just wait to rent it.

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Wolverine (2013)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 129 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

The first half of this movie actually feels like a Bourne movie.  Which is kind of cool.  And it's mostly set in Japan.  Which is also kind of cool.  And Wolverine has a live-action Japanese anime-inspired sidechick who reminds me of Hitgirl.  Cool.

Yet The Wolverine series just isn't as cool as the other Marvel series.  It sort of has that "shot cheap in Canada" syndicated television series vibe.  More like "Highlander: The Series" than, say, "Twilight", but there you go.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Way, Way Back (2013)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 103 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

As coming-of-age teen summer movies go, this one has a script chock full of cliches and quirky characters.  But it makes up for that in charm.  And I have a soft spot for movies where the cute blonde befriends the dork.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pacific Rim (2013)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 131 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

There's a certain segment of the movie-going audience...the low-budget sci-fi and Japanese rubber monster fans...who are going to go ape over this and consider it a masterpiece.

Trouble is, it ISN'T a low-budget movie.  It's reportedly a $190 million budget movie.  And there simply aren't enough of those fans to make this profitable.

The script is pretty basic, but the action is good.  Lots of great visuals.  Ron Perlman's character is by far the best part.  Too bad they didn't just make a movie around him.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Much Ado About Nothing (2013)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 107 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Shot at the home of Joss Whedon, a Shakespeare fan who supposedly stages stuff like this at home with his friends routinely, this is a black-and-white modern-day take of "Much Ado About Nothing" with one exception...the dialogue is Shakespeare's original text.

Meaning it's like watching a romantic comedy written by Yoda.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Lone Ranger (2013)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 149 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

This has a really awesome grand finale.  The two hours it takes to get to said grand finale, however, is on Sherlock Holmes level ridiculous, yet not as clever.  Depp's Tonto, played largely for comic relief, is the only memorable character.

Still, better than I expected it to be...which is to say I wasn't expecting much at all.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Monsters University (2013)

Rated: G - Runtime: 102 min
tesg's Rating: Two stars (out of four)

Noting that I'm a huge fan of "Monsters, Inc", I can safely say the prequel will NOT appear in my video collection.

I didn't have terribly high expectations for this, but I certainly expected it to be better than a straight-to-video quality offshoot, which is about what it is.  It's not funny.  It's not creative.  It just exists for profit.

It's actually sort of depressing.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Man of Steel (2013)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 143 min
tesg's Rating: Two stars (out of four)

This is a generic action movie with some Superman characters thrown in, and that's about it.  It's not as dark as Nolan's crappy "Batman" movies, but not really much more fun to watch either.  Amy Adams has absolutely NO business playing Lois Lane.  The highlight of the movie is Russel Crowe's Jor-El.  Zod, not so much.

But you could have easily turned this into a Transformers sequel by just swapping a few characters out.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 130 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

THIS is the big release of 2013 I'd been waiting for.  Not "Iron Man 3".  Not "Star Trek: Into Darkness".

THIS one.

And it did NOT disappoint.

Our bad guys get to be the good guys by trying to stop a bad guy.  The action scenes are insane.  The fight scenes are fantastic (two of the best cat fights ever).  And there's all sorts of humor dotted throughout, including a bit only I seemed to catch and laugh at (one of the characters has Dwayne Johnson's character programmed in his phone as "Samoan Thor").  And the scene after the race between Dom and Letty...WOW.

I had just two complaints...the lame last twist leading to the big finale (even though I had no complaints with said finale) and the walkie talkies while driving.  Hello!  Hands-free?  Headsets?

There's a teaser for the seventh movie that will make you smile wide.  It didn't make me jump out of my seat and shout an obscenity in the auditorium like the teaser in the last film did (NOT kidding), but it had everybody talking on the way out.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Star Trek: Into Darkness

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 132 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

If you're a fan of the original Trek show and movies, go into this one blind.  Don't read up on it.  Avoid spoilers at all costs.

Depending on your devotion to the original material, you may come out of this deeply troubled, or deeply amused at the amount of fun you just had.  This is an action-packed ride that sort of plays as a reboot to a significant original Trek story without actually re-creating it, while lifting specific dialogue from it, often in ways that turn the original story upside-down in laugh-out-loud ways.  Like J.J. Abrams first Trek movie, I loved this.

I bet the Star Wars faithful who see this will be absolutely horrified.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Rated: PG13 - Runtime: 140 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

For supposedly having a darker, more serious Tony Stark in this one, I found it by far the most fun to watch of the Iron Man movies.  It was almost as fun as "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows", but far more coherent.

Pleasant surprise, overall.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Oz - The Great and Powerful (2013)

Rated: PG - Runtime: 130 min
tesg's Rating: Two stars (out of four)

The opening credits are beautiful.  The black-and-white scenes show great promise.  Then the color scenes in Oz begin, and the movie goes to crap.  The CGI initially is awful and the dialogue falls flat.  I like how they ended it, but everything leading up led to moments of me wanting to walk out.

If they remake the original movie, I hope they play Alanis Morissette's "Ironic" when the bad witch, played here as a masterful conniving warrior, is killed by a falling house.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Rated: R - Runtime: 122 min
tesg's Rating: Three and one half stars (out of four)

I don't know if it was the fact that this is one of the angriest "romantic comedies" that made it so great, but it probably helped.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Warm Bodies (2013)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 97 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

So a zombie kills a guy, eats his brains, then dates his girl.  Dude, that's cold.