October 12, 2012, - 5:56 pm
I liked three out of the four new movies debuting at theaters, this weekend.
* “Argo“: Check out my complete review. A CIA agent rescues six U.S. Embassy employees from Tehran, Iran, by posing as a Canadian movie producer making a science fiction film. Again, read my full review of this riveting movie, which also came with needless anti-American “history” and Jimmy Carter whining.
THREE REAGANS (Would be FOUR But for Ben Affleck’s Anti-US History Lesson & Billy Carter’s Bro’s Whining)
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Sinister“: I’ve seen so many scary, creepy, violent, graphic movies that I’ve, unfortunately, become somewhat desensitized to this stuff. I rarely get scared by a horror movie anymore, and usually laugh at the obvious attempts by most of these movies to scare audiences with cheap stunts. But I found this movie very scary, very suspenseful, and even though I saw it at last night’s Midnight show so I could review it for you (the screening was on the Jewish holidays, so I had to miss it), I was awake and riveted the whole time, until the ending (the “whodunit” was a silly letdown). It’s a very, very creepy movie. On the other hand, it’s very bloody and the graphic violence depicted in it isn’t scary, just disturbing and unnecessary. It takes away from the movie.
Ethan Hawke plays a once successful true crime writer. He has one very successful book, and the rest were duds, with one getting it wrong and clearing an actual murderer. Now, he is broke and trying to write his next hit to get himself and his family out from under water. (Ironically, in Hawke’s last movie, which I reviewed on this site, this past summer, Hawke also plays a once successful writer with one very successful book, who is broke and trying to write his next big hit to get himself out from under water. But that’s where the similarities in the two movies end.) Hawke has moved his family into a home where a horrific murder took place–the murder which is the subject of the book on which he’s working. The entire family was hung from a tree, except the youngest daughter, who remains missing. The crime was never solved, and Hawke’s family does not know they are living at the scene of the crime. When they move in, Hawke finds a box of Super 8 home movies of the family . . . and of the murders. It spooks and disturbs him. Soon, strange things begin happening, scary noises and odd events occur. He’s finding connections between the murder and others in the past that took place. And his obsession with the story of the murders and writing the book keeps Hawke from doing the right thing and leaving immediately. He’s a selfish guy, a user, and self-absorbed to the max.
To tell you more would be to reveal some spoilers. But rest assured that it’s very, very creepy and chilling. Still, as I said, I’m bothered by the graphic violence, which serves no purpose but to desensitize people to violence and give evil people evil ideas. And it’s a crutch–a sign of a weak horror movie, as the best in the genre use the psychological to scare their audiences, as this film does in its scariest moments. Just like the title of this movie, whoever dreamed up the violence is sinister.
I’m torn as to what rating to give this. As a scary movie, it succeeds in psychological creepiness, thrills, and chills, and would get at least TWO REAGANS. But since it is far too filled with graphic violence, that negates much of what is good about it, and I can only give it (and I’m being generous) . . .
HALF A REAGAN
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Here Comes the Boom“: If you’ve seen any of Kevin James’ other movies, such as “Paul Blart, Mall Cop” (read my review), you know what you’re getting here. It’s a light, funny, entertaining movie that is fun to take your whole family to (although there is some Mixed Martial Arts violence and a funny but disgusting vomiting scene). Yes, it’s predictable and has the less-than-believable happy ending. Yes, it’s really a light version of the far superior, “Warrior” (read my review). But it’s upbeat, positive, and an escapist nearly two hours of Rocky lite using a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) setting. If you like MMA, you will like this. But if you don’t, you will still probably like this.
The story: James plays a stereotypical public school biology teacher. He comes late to class, doesn’t care, and tells his students that nothing they learn in his class will be relevant to their lives, so there’s no point in learning it. But by opening his big mouth and promising the nearly impossible to impress the school nurse he wants to date (Salma Hayek), James finds himself in a situation in which he quickly matures and lives up to his responsibilities.
A music teacher (Henry Winkler) learns his job will be cut, just after he’s found out his 48-year-old wife is expecting a baby. He can’t afford to lose his job, and James promises that he will raise the money to save Winkler’s job and the school music program. But he’s unsure how to do it and desperate to impress the school nurse. First, he returns to teaching citizenship test classes for immigrants. One of them wants extra tutoring, and when he comes to the student’s apartment, he learns the student was a Mixed Martial Arts champion in Holland, and that there’s money in it, even if you’re the loser. James, who was a college wrestler back in the day, decides to go for it. He’s too old and out of shape, but he trains and keeps trying. And you know the ending.
Enjoyable, and you’ll laugh a lot. I did. It’s very cute and kind of patriotic, too. If you don’t like POD’s song, “Boom,” bring ear plugs. It’s in the movie a lot, as the title of this movie would indicate.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Seven Psychopaths“: This movie began with an interesting premise and could have been entertaining, but it degraded into a violent, bloody waste of time. Oh, and there’s even anti-American crap in it. Yay. Colin Farrrell is a Hollywood screenwriter trying to come up with an idea for a new script. He has two friends (Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken) who are dognappers. They kidnap dogs for a living, then return the dogs to their owners in return for cash rewards. Farrell comes up with an idea for a script about psychopathic killers, “The Seven Psychopaths,” for which he gets a lot of material as told to him by his friend, Rockwell. While this is going on, Rockwell and Walker unwittingly kidnapped the dog of psychopathic mobster Woody Harrelson, who wants his dog back and is on to them. At the same time, there are a number of killings which inspire Farrell. They are real life killings by a mysterious serial killer who only murders mobsters and gangsters.
Did I mention that one of the killers Farrell comes up with for his script is a killer of American soldiers? His goal is to murder them because his family was murdered by Americans during the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War. He wears a bomb vest and blows up a gathering of military veterans because, after all, they deserve it, right? Disgusting. What actually happened at My Lai is one of the most distorted, misreported, exaggerated events during the Vietnam War–a political Trojan horse used often in anti-American propaganda, particularly lies about the Vietnam War.
I could go on and on about the myriad plot twists and connections in the movie, but why bother? They don’t make it interesting. This movie’s just a depraved, stupid, gratuitously violent waste of time you’d best skip.
If I can say one good thing, it’s that I got a cool “freebie” from it: Sam Rockwell’s character wears a cute knit hat with a dog’s face and ears on it. And I now own one, too, thanks to the studio. Thanks, but I still hated the movie.
Watch the trailer . . .
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