Friday, July 12, 2013

Pacific Rim

My View:  Pacific Rim  (2013)  PG-13   In the near future, giant monsters, named, “Kaiju,” have risen from a crevasse beneath the Pacific Ocean and are causing overwhelming destruction to the world. The only hope for Earth is a new type of weapon, a gigantic robot known as Jaegers, driven by two human pilots. The Jaegers are man’s last, best hope, but will they be enough to ensure the survival of the human race?  This is director Guillermo del Toro’s homage to the Japanese monster films of the past.  The film has elements from the Godzilla movies of the 60’s-70’s,  Real Steel (2011), Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, with just a tip of the hat to Ray Harryhausen and his 1955 film, It Came from Beneath the Sea.  The reason you'll want to see this film are the battle sequences between the Jaegers and the Kaiju as they are spectacular and fun to watch.  The CGI special effects are amazing and make the film worth seeing in 3-D.  The film, though, is a let-down with its weak characters.  The main protagonist, Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), is to simple and one-sided, and we never really get behind the man and see why he is so driven to defeat the Kaiju. Most of the characters are somewhat uninteresting to the point that I almost wanted the film to be only about the two scientists played by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman.  Their constant battle of opposing ideas and trying to be the center of attention gives the film much needed energy and life to the script. I did enjoy that a female in the cast, Rinko Kikuchi, who plays Mako, gets to kick some serious monster butt.  Moviegoers though, don’t see this type of film for its dialogue or award winning acting; audiences go to see big, giant robots fight hand-to-hand combat with gigantic monsters.  If you're a monster lover, this film has plenty to go around.  Be sure and stay through the first part of the closing credits as there is a great bonus scene.   My Rating:  Bargain Matinee     Pacific Rim Website

My View:    Grown Ups 2 (2013)  PG-13   Three years after reuniting with his old high school friends, Lenny (Adam Sandler) has relocated his family back to his hometown. Things are not quite working out as well as Lenny had hoped as the past is not easily escaped, especially if your friends are some of the root of your problems.  I would like back my three hours I spent watching this film.  I realize that the film is only 91 minutes long, but I would like double time for the pain this film put me through.  The film has a paper thin slice of a plot, comprised mostly of scenes with Sandler and his gang of Chris Rock, Kevin James and David Spade making fun of each other like 12 year-old boys. The first scene shows you the level of the film's humor as a deer has made its way into the house and pees on Sandler in his bedroom.  It just goes downhill from there.  There are lots of cameos in this film, and so many, it seems, that if you've shared a beer with Sandler in the last few years, you were cast in this film.  It’s a sad state of affairs when one of those cameos is the highlight of the movie.  Taylor Lautner is the funniest person in the film, playing a frat boy who terrorizes the gang.  Unfortunately, it’s not a big part.  If you liked the first Grown Ups, you'll probably find a few chuckles in this one.  But if you didn’t like the first film, stay far, far away from Grown Ups 2.   My Rating:  You Would Have to Pay Me to See It Again     Grown Ups 2 Website

Indiefest:  The Way, Way Back  (2013)  PG-13  Duncan (Liam James) is not having the best of summers. Instead of spending his summer vacation with his father in California, he is forced to spend it with his mom (Toni Collette) and her new boyfriend (Steve Carell) at his summer beach house. When Duncan discovers a water park, called Water Wizz, that’s when he meets Owen (Sam Rockwell), the manager, and Duncan’s summer finally starts to get a little better. This is one of my must-see films of the summer!  James plays Duncan’s shyness and awkwardness to perfection and Rockwell, in a role reminiscent of Bill Murray in the 1978 film Meatballs, just nails the part of Owen, the carefree water park manager.  The supporting cast is impressive and funny, though I think Carell’s talents are wasted as the strict, unmoving boyfriend of Toni Collette’s character.  This film is funny, touching and has a heart as big as the monster slide in the  park.  Don’t miss this perfect summer film.  My Rating:  I Would Pay to See it Again     The Way, Way Back Website

Forgotten Film:   Ace in the Hole  (1954)  A journalist, Charles Tatum (Kirk Douglas), who is stuck in a small town market in the West, discovers a story of a lifetime - a man is trapped in a cave.  A major operation begins to save the man, and Tatum is willing to do just about anything to prolong the rescue just so he can pump up his bylines.  It looks like a journalism slam dunk until things start to go horribly wrong.   Billy Wilder directed and co-wrote the script, which is full of rapid fire dialogue and biting commentary.  Douglas is picture perfect as the fast talking reporter who smells a story he can exploit.  This is a film that is still relevant today with its plot on how media can exploit a story for their own purpose.   My Rating:  Full Price    Ace in the Hole Info

In Memory of Ed Wood (A Movie I’ve Only Seen in Trailers But Just Looks Like a Bad Idea):  The Canyons  (2013)  This film, starring Lindsay Lohan, was rejected by both the Sundance Film Festival and South by Southwest.  Lohan’s co-star is a porn actress who goes by the name of James Deen.  I think that sums up the movie.     The Canyons Info

In Case You Missed It (A Film Just Released on DVD):  The Host (2013)  PG-13  Aliens have invaded the Earth and have taken over the minds and bodies of most of the population. Melanie (Saoirse Ronan) sacrifices herself to let her boyfriend and brother escape and allows an alien named, The Wanderer, to take over her body/mind.  While it's not a great movie, I did enjoy the excellent supporting cast that includes William Hurt and Frances Fisher.  The film isn’t cringe-worth like Twilight and just doesn’t quite hit the mark.   My Review:  Bargain Matinee    The Host Website

Weird Credits:  From the credits of Grown Ups 2:  Pool Boy

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:   Elysium (2013)    Set in the year 2154, the Earth has been separated between the haves and the have-nots, with the wealthy living in a man-made space station while the rest of the population lives on the overpopulated home planet.  Now a revolution has started that could bring equality or it could destroy both worlds.  Matt Damon and Jodie foster star in this film directed by Neill Blomkamp who brought us 2009’s distinctive hit District 9.   Elysium Website
Until Next Time!

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