Monday, January 28, 2013

January Doldrums: Movie 43, Parker and Happy People

I caught up with three new films this past weekend, of which two were average and one was a complete disaster.

It may not surprise you to hear that "Movie 43" was the latter. It's about as bad as you've heard. Not only are its "shocking" comedy skits entirely too forced, they're not even funny. A lot of talent wasted on this one.

Taylor Hackford's "Parker" was a passable action thriller that had its moments, while Werner Herzog's "Happy People: A Year in the Taiga" was interesting, but far from the director's best work. However, Herzog's participation in the project was relatively minor, so it seems.

Read my Patch reviews to find out more.

This coming weekend's selections include Walter Hill's "Bullet to the Head" and "Warm Bodies."

Monday, January 21, 2013

Get to the Choppa: Arnold Returns in 'The Last Stand'

It was a decent - if not extraordinary - week at the movies.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's first starring role in a decade - "The Last Stand" - was an amusing picture that emphasizes humor as much as violence, of which there is much.

It's no "Total Recall" or "The Terminator," but it's a mostly fun shoot'em up. And Schwarzenegger gets in a few good jokes at his own expense as well as a few one liners.

Allen Hughes's "Broken City" does not rank with the director's gritty "Menace II Society" or stylish "Dead Presidents," but it's a decent corruption thriller that offers a few genuine twists and surprises.

"Mama" is a pretty mediocre horror picture that is elevated by the presence of Jessica Chastain.

Here are my Patch reviews.

This coming weekend, I'll definitely catch up with Werner Herzog's "Happy People" as well as two of these three mainstream releases: "Parker," "Movie 43" and "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters."

Monday, January 14, 2013

Reviews: Gangster Squad and Struck By Lightning

I need to get back to those snappy headlines. I'm always too busy.

This week, I caught Ruben Fleischer's "Gangster Squad," which I wanted to like more than I did due to the excellent casting.

All in all, it's not that bad. In fact, it's often amusing with several particular good actors hamming it up a bit. That being said, it's more of a minor pulp entertainment than a new mob classic.

I was also a little disappointed with "Struck By Lightning," whose debut, "Saved!," I found to be pretty impressive. His latest picture is also set in a high school and has a snarky tone, but it often feels forced whereas Dannelly's earlier movie breezed right along.

Here are my Patch reviews.

As for the Oscar nominees: What can I say? Truth be told, not a bad lot of nominees, even though most would agree with me that Kathryn Bigelow got the royal shaft.

Also, no DiCaprio or Matthew McConaughey.

This coming weekend, I'll catch up with "The Last Stand," "Mama" and "Broken City."

Monday, January 7, 2013

Reviews: '56 Up' and 'Texas Chainsaw 3D'

The first weekend of 2013 kicked off with two sequels - one great and the other, um, not so much.

Michael Apted's "56 Up" is another poignant entry in the director's long-standing documentary series focusing on the lives of 14 British denizens who have been filmed every seven years since age 7.

I can't say I was as enthused about "Texas Chainsaw 3D," the latest unnecessary sequel to Tobe Hooper's 1974 classic horror film. This latest wins a few minor points for sheer chutzpah - you'll see what I mean, that is, should you take the drastic measure of actually watching the damn thing. Otherwise, it's merely another mean-spirited entry into a series that has long outlived its shelf life.

Here are my reviews.

This coming weekend, I'll catch "Gangster Squad" and "Struck by Lightning."