March 29, 2013, - 5:42 pm
Can’t say much for any of the Easter/Passover Weekend selections debuting at movie theaters today. I didn’t really like any of these, and I was somewhat charitable in my ratings. I wouldn’t spend $10 on any of ’em.
* “G.I. Joe: Retaliation“: Some readers have accused me of giving favorable or more favorable reviews to movies for which the studios give me cool stuff a/k/a “swag.” But, while the studio sent me a really cool mask (a “G.I. Joe Special Ops Mask”) to promote this movie, I still didn’t think this was a great movie. It had a ridiculous, hard-to-follow story, and almost no plot to speak of. It makes the first G.I. Joe movie–read my review–(which wasn’t screened for critics–this was, surprisingly) look like a masterpiece.
While this movie is filled with action, cool stunts, and lots of fighting and chases (including a cool chase using ropes and harnesses high in the mountains of Asia), it was confusing and non-sensical at times, and just absurd at others. The story, from what I could piece together is this: the President of the United States has been kidnapped and replaced by an evil villain who has morphed into the President’s image (could be the real life Barack Obama story). He sets up the G.I. Joes to look like villains and assassins and has them killed off . . . or so he thinks. But a few survive (including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). If you are watching this movie for Channing Tatum (as some women probably are), you’ll be disappointed, as he is killed off in the first five minutes. The G.I. Joes who survive return to foil the fake President and stop his plot of mutually assured destruction of the world in a mad nuclear plot.
I didn’t get how or why, Storm Shadow, a villain the Joes don’t trust or who is normally against them, is now on their side and does martial arts to help them win–and there are scenes with him and some other Asian martial artist and their respective gurus in which I couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on. But this isn’t a movie of “gettting” anything.
Weaved into the plot, Hollywood plays politics, with the surviving female G.I. Joe (Adrianne Palicki) whining about how her father didn’t want her to serve in the military because he said a woman couldn’t protect the country. She joined anyway and spent her life trying to outrank her father so he’d have to salute her (talk about bitter), but he died before she could achieve that goal. At the end of the movie, her twisted goal is “achieved,” when an original G.I. Joe, Bruce Willis, tells her that he served with her father and he would be proud of her. Strange that this movie comes out just after the Obama administration shoves women in combat down our throats. Now, the movies are shoving it down our throats, too.
Like I said, the mask they sent me was very cool. Sadly, the movie, not so much. There’s nothing objectionable about it, other than the women in combat BS. It’s just a silly flick and a waste of time. I originally gave this movie HALF A REAGAN, changed it to A WASH (ZERO REAGANS OR MARXES), and now, on third thought, I’m changing it back.
HALF A REAGAN
Watch the trailer . . .
* “The Host“: As science fiction movies go, this was one of the more ridiculous and uninteresting. But that doesn’t matter because it’s based on a novel written by Stephenie Rumpeltstiltskin Meyer, the “Twilight” author who turns utter dung into publishing and box office gold. I found this movie long, slow, and boring, and I struggled to stay awake. Much of it either doesn’t make sense, and there are giant plot holes. Still, young women and teens who read Meyer’s stuff and go in droves to see movies based on them will make this the biggest movie of the holiday weekend. I missed the critics screening of this and tried to see it last night when it debuted, but it was sold out, even at the movie theater in my very “hood” neighborhood (I saw it this morning, so I could review it for you).
The story: the earth has been invaded by aliens (who are mad at us humans for “destroying each other and the planet”–please Stephenie Meyer, come up with something other than the usual Hollywood meme about us destroying the planet; yaaaaawn). The aliens are tiny spindly things that look like the koosh balls I used to throw against my wall. They are inserted into the necks of the bodies of dead humans they are fighting to overtake. Then, those bodies come back to life as “hosts” of the aliens. But some of the host bodies still have the minds and memories of the humans who once occupied them, and they are at war with the aliens being hosted.
One of the host bodies is that of Melanie (Saoirse Ronan), a dead human rebel who has been fighting against the aliens. The alien who occupies her body is called “Wanderer” or “Wanda” for short. As the other aliens (“Seekers”) try to get her to find memories within her host so they can find out where the other remaining rebels are hiding, Wanda is fighting off Melanie’s inner thoughts of resisting the interrogation efforts. But, eventually, Melanie wins out and gets Wanda to escape from the Seekers to locate and rejoin her fellow rebels. Melanie was in love with one of the rebels, but Wanda is in love with a different rebel, and there is a fight within/between the host and the alien over that.
Things that don’t make sense: Melanie doesn’t want Wanda to tell the rebels that Melanie is still living within her body, despite the fact that the rebels want to kill the host because they believe only the alien is living within the body. Also, Melanie doesn’t want Wanda to kiss the rebel Melanie loves even though Melanie still loves him. Confused? So was I? But I just didn’t care enough to need this or anything else clarified. Also, non-sensical: why all the hosts occupied by aliens look like supermodels, wear post-modernist white suits, and drive in silver, ultra-modern Buicks and fly silver helicopters. The movie seemed like European Vogue models versus shabby Americans.
There’s no new ground in this movie. It’s not a good science fiction thriller, not even close. There was no suspense, and nothing keeping you sitting through this, except a lot of caffeine. A dull movie with lots of window dressing, nearly zero substance.
ZERO REAGANS OR MARXES – A WASH
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Tyler Perry’s Temptation“: This wasn’t screened for critics, but I went to see it on my own, since it’s the most heavily marketed Tyler Perry movie I can remember. I hate reviewing a movie that has the director’s name pompously placed at the beginning of the title. That said, this is better than any other Tyler Perry movie I’ve seen, though all things are relative because every Tyler Perry movie I’ve seen is absolutely horrid and this isn’t that great. And in every single one, the men are all cretins, creeps, and thugs. In this one, though, there is a good message and a good man, a husband who is dumped for a bad guy. Add to that, however, that this movie features Kim Kardashian (who cannot act, except when playing herself in porn videos) in a minor role. And she is as annoying as ever. Yuck.
The story: a small town Southern girl and her sweetheart from childhood get married and move to Washington, D.C. The the wife works for a matchmaking service for rich men as the company’s in-house therapist. At that company, she meets an internet billionaire who aggressively courts and teases her, even though he knows she is married. But, soon, she gives in to temptation and limitless ambition and dumps her terrific, hard-working, devoted husband for the glamorous life with the billionaire. But it’s a mistake that ruins the rest of her life.
As I noted, the message is good, but the movie is like a glorified Lifetime Channel movie of the week. Nothing new here, except Vanessa Williams’ really awful French accent. And the movie is depressing.
ZERO REAGANS OR MARXES – A WASH
Watch the trailer . . .
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