Friday, December 25, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 136 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

For this movie to succeed, it needed to do two needed to look like Star Wars, and it needed to be a crap ton of fun.  Well it certainly looks like Star Wars, perhaps a little too much so (they set it 30 years later and they're still flying the same fighters?  Are we all still driving Chevettes?)  But the big problem for me is that the fun factor falls off about halfway through and we get into this whole badly written family melodrama that leads into a really dumb waste of a character.

Shame, because the character development of the newbies was firing on all cylinders for awhile.  Except Darth Drive-In Speaker.  Nothing about him worked.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Creed (2015)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 133 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

The first big boxing match scene in Philadelphia had some really impressive cinematography, possibly doing the whole bout in a real-time single shot. As far as I noticed, anyway.

The rest? Eh. Too much drama and not enough build-up to the big fight. It was kind of like they tacked on a three-minute training montage on the way to England. Then they were at the press conference, then the match.

The thing I kept focusing on was the soundtrack music. I kept thinking back to Rocky IV and how painfully badly outdated that music sounds today. I predict the same for this soundtrack twenty years from now.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 136 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

A lot of people thought Mockingjay Part 1 was slow and boring. Slow? Yes. Boring? Hardly. I have great news for those people...THIS one is slow and boring.

Watch the first ten minutes, take a nap, then wake up for the last twenty minutes. You won't miss a thing.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Spectre (2015)

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

I've never been a fan of the Daniel Craig Bond movies.  They're just not much fun to watch.  Take for example the opening sequence.  It's spectacular, but...Craig tells the girl in the bed he'll be "back in a few minutes".  But he never returns.  Roger Moore's Bond would have parachuted from the helicopter (the helicopter's fate never explained), landed on the balcony he departed from, and walked back into the room completely unscathed.  The girl would ask where he was, and he'd have some witty reply.

The whole movie feels that way.  It's fine,  The biggest flaw is Christoph Waltz's villain is completely wasted by a bad script.

They say Craig doesn't want to be Bond anymore.  I don't want him to be Bond anymore either.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Steve Jobs (2015)

Rated: R - Runtime: 121 minutes
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

This is an interesting exercise in storytelling to be sure. It's basically a three-act play on the screen. If you wanted to tell Jobs' story as a Broadway play, this is the way to do it.

It's certainly not the complete story, and it has an unbelievably cheesy moment at the end hinting towards the iPod, but it's a pretty great watch.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Last Witch Hunter (2015)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 106 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

This looks cool. It feels cool. It gets where it's going in a sensible way (well...given the subject matter). But it had a hard time keeping my attention. My mind kept drifting off to other things. Things like what to do for lunch.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Crimson Peak (2015)

Rated: R - Runtime: 119 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

There's never any question a Guillermo del Toro feature is going to be visually stunning.  This is no exception.  And it starts out feeling like the script is going to match the visual level.  But once we move to the decaying house in the middle of nowhere, the script decays accordingly.

 All the style we expect, not enough of the substance.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Martian (2015)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 142 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

This is a pretty great fluffy feel-good mainstream movie with some really well done space genre cinematography that the masses will eat up and claim to be one of the most amazing things ever filmed, even though it's not.

But that's okay.  Everyone needs to smile sometimes.  Even goth chicks.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Black Mass (2015)

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

This is a slow burner. Lots of dialogue with lots of old school gangster hits peppered in. But it's all engaging with excellent performances. I didn't look at the clock once. I DID kind of feel like I was getting the highlight reel...that there's lots more to this story...but that i got the important parts.

The body count is high, and the hits are brutal. The cars, the hair, and the wardrobe were really well done.

Nasty good time.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 116 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

Colorful, but not as colorful as I was led to believe.  Stylish, but not as stylish as I was led to believe.  Guy Ritchie, but...well, actually, about as Guy Ritchie as any Guy Ritchie film.  And that's part of the problem.  His schtick is getting old.  Is he even capable of making a movie without flashbacks to explain the plot twist anymore?

American Ultra (2015)

Rated: R - Runtime: 96 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

Basically what I got out of this movie is that I really want a blacklight room in my townhouse now.

Maybe I'll paint one of the bathrooms.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)

Sure the latest from Aardman Animations is amazing because of its stop-motion animation. Sure it has an adorable story. But possibly the thing that makes it really amazing is that it is, for all intents and purposes, a silent movie.

It isn't literally...the characters make noises...but they're not speaking a discernible language. You can play this anywhere in the world and you won't need subtitles or overdubs. It

This is Aardman firing on all cylinders.  I consider it a travesty that this won't be one of Summer's nine-figure blockbusters.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Irrational Man (2015)

Rated: R - Runtime: 94 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

Woody Allen's annual contribution to the cinema has parallels to "Match Point".  It isn't as good as "Match Point", but it's a perfectly decent watch if you're in the mood for a Woody Allen flick.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (2015)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtine: 131 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Like all Mission: Impossible movies, I had a good time, but my memory of the movie will self-destruct in five seconds.

Seriously.  I've seen all of them and couldn't tell you a single thing about any of them.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Paper Towns (2015)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 109 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

Awww.  That was adorable.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Trainwreck (2015)

Rated: R - Runtime: 125 min
tesg's Rating: Two stars (out of four)

There's one real reason to see this. It's the token buddy scene where the boyfriend and his best friend are having the relationship discussion while playing some sort of sport. In this case, the sport is basketball and the best friend is LeBron James, playing himself. This is hilarious.

Other than that, the audience at "Ant-Man" laughed WAY harder than this audience did.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Ant-Man (2015)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 117 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

This was entertaining as hell. Not too heavy, lots of laughter, and action you could actually follow. The work to make Michael Douglas and Martin Donovan young was impressive. And I loved the casting of John Slattery as Howard Stark. You put Martin Donovan and John Slattery in your movie, and you've already scored points with me.

I have a feeling this will be one of the more watched movies in my home collection. Not quite on par with the first "Thor", but right up there.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Jurassic World (2015)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 124 min
tesg's Rating: Two stars (out of four)

I didn't see any of the sequels ("The Lost World", "Jurassic Park III", "Jurassic Vegas Vacation", "Jurassic Dick: A Porn Parody", "War Games", "The Birds", "Godzilla", and "Sea World") and I'm told that's okay because the producers pretended like none of those ever existed.

Yeah, well, this one may as well never have either. This is a parts bin sequel that just borrows scenes from all of those and patches them together. Even, and especially, the movies I noted that weren't really Jurassic Park sequels.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Spy (2015)

Rated: R - Runtime: 115 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

McCarthy kind of plods along for the first part of the movie as a dopey analyst who everybody has pigeonholed as a cat lady ("I don't have a cat!" she repeatedly notes.) She ends up in the field dressed up like Shelly Winters in "The Poseidon Adventure" and frumps her way through until she saves Rose Byrne's character, at which point she suddenly turns into a kick-ass foul-mouthed field agent. There's no subtle just happens.

Which is to say it gets better as it goes. Jason Statham is hilarious in this. Jude Law and Allison Janney are also standouts.

Not a great flick, but it's campy fun, probably the best that could be expected.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

San Andreas (2015)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 114 min
tesg's Rating: Two stars (out of four)

There are two reasons to see this movie...Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino.  Johnson is his usual great self and Gugino is a dead ringer for Smokey and the Bandit-era Sally Field.

If you don't mind watching a really formula, senseless disaster flick, go for it.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Rated: R - Runtime: 120 min
tesg's Rating: Three and one half stars (out of four)

I'm not a fan of the post apocalyptic genre and have never seen any of the Mad Max movies.  But the reviews I've seen from people I trust REALLY loved this, so I went.  And I was not disappointed.

I'll still probably never be a fan of the genre, and I have no desire to watch this again, but I recognize it for the amazing spectacle that this is.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tomorrowland (2015)

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

This is a Brad Bird (or as I kept thinking through the movie, "Brad Spielbird") vehicle that wasn't exactly what I was expecting from it.  It's basically about a guy who knows the Earth is going to end and can do something to warn us about it, but won't because he feels we deserve it for not taking measures earlier to clean up the environment and what not.

I suppose I should sympathize with his position considering my solution would be to outlaw pregnancy and simply phase out the human race, but I didn't.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 141 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

It's not as hard to follow along with than you'd think with all that's going on, and it gets better as it goes, but it's just not as fun as the first Avengers movie.

On the other hand, it's better than the second Thor movie.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Furious 7 (2015)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 137 min
tesg's Rating: Three stars (out of four)

They teased Jason Statham coming on board as the villain for this installment during the credits of the last installment.  And he's introduced as such here, but his role is sort of sidetracked while the gang helps Kurt Russell (who is awesome in this) with a side project that will earn them a super groovy people finder to track Statham.  Not that they need it as Statham shows up in literally every action sequence, usually observing from afar as he seems to be thinking "Uh, guys? Wasn't I supposed to be the lead villain? Hellooooo?"

Still, this is pretty much what you're expecting...a series of completely absurd car chases and action sequences that are a lot of fun to watch.  And the death of Paul Walker is handled in a way that says goodbye to both the actor and his character.  It's just beautiful.

I am a huge shameless fan of "The Fast and the Furious" franchise.  This did not disappoint.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Kingsmen: The Secret Service (2015)

Rated: R - Runtime: 129 min
tesg's Rating: Two stars (out of four)

What exactly was this supposed to be?  I kept hearing it was 60's/70's spy movie satire, and Fandango lists it as a comedy.  But there are almost no laughs.  It's basically a 60's/70's spy movie.  And kind of a mediocre one at that.

The best scene is the church massacre done to "Freebird".  Not much else is worth the bother.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Taken 3 (2015)

Rated: PG-13 - Runtime: 109 min
tesg's Rating: Two and one half stars (out of four)

Basically a "Taken" adaptation of "The Fugitive".  It's a rare recent instance of an action flick that actually ties up the plot points pretty neatly.  It's not great, but it's not a bad way to kill an afternoon.

Forrest Whitaker should have had more to do.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Inherent Vice (2014)

Rated: R - Runtime: 148 min
tesg's Rating: Three and one half stars (out of four)

Imagine "The Big Lebowski" done as a noir with the drug content turned up to 11.

Yeah, pretty much.