March 14, 2014, - 4:28 pm
Another ho-hum weekend at the box office, in terms of new offerings. I did not see, “Veronica Mars,” as it was not screened for most critics.
* “Need For Speed“: This movie is very thin on story, but the reason to see it is the fast-paced, heart-pumping car racing, or as radio talk show host Brett Winterble calls it, “auto porn.” There are a lot of cool cars, high speed chases and racing, and fabulous, death-defying stunts. And this is one of the few movies I recommend seeing in 3D. It makes all the difference. The movie is sort of a mix of the earlier “Fast & Furious” movies, “Cannonball Run,” and “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”
I enjoyed the auto racing part of this movie and the cool cars–I’d never before heard of or seen a Koenigsegg (my new favorite car), until I saw this movie. What a cool car. And the movie features a rebuilt $3 million Shelby and other very high end sports cars. If you like those, you’ll probably like this.
The story: a gearhead mechanic (“Breaking Bad’s” Aaron Paul, in his first major feature film starring role) who works on expensive, high end sports cars out of his professional garage, owes a lot of money in unpaid bills. He loves to street race for money and has an offer from a wealthy rival to rebuild a Shelby. He rebuilds it in exchange for a cut of the sales price, but gets caught up in a winner-takes-all street race with the racing rival. In the process, Paul’s best friend is killed, and he is framed for the death by the wealthy rival.
But after getting out of prison, he manages to get the new owner of the Shelby to allow him to use it in a big illegal street race known as the “De Leon.” The race is promoted and broadcast by a cheesy, wealthy guy with an online racing broadcast (Michael Keaton). Most of the movie is spent showing Paul and a girl trying to get the car across the country in time for the race, with the aid of a friend of his who flies helicopters and small planes and scouts out the police and traffic.
As I said, the story is thin, and who would risk jail time to win an illegal street race? Somebody stupid and crazy (and criminal). That’s who. And I didn’t like the many scenes in which police are flouted and even hurt in car accidents, some of them fiery and likely fatal, as Paul tries to get across the country and win the race. That was troubling, especially when the audience cheered that stuff. Also troubling: the illegal use of a U.S. military helicopter to aid Paul in reaching the race destination. I’m supposed to cheer this stuff? That’s the usual “quality” stuff you get when a movie is based on a video game, as this is. But the story isn’t the reason you go to see a movie like this. It’s the cool cars and stunts.
And that’s why I give it . . .
Watch the trailer . . .
* “The Bag Man“: This long, slow, boring movie was pointless and a complete waste of time. What sounded like an interesting story was just a gratuitous killing spree of blood, guts, and gore for what reason? Beats me. I couldn’t care less for anyone in the movie, as none of the characters is likable or interesting in any way.
John Cusack plays a hitman for a wealthy mobster (Robert De Niro in a new and novel role for him). The mobster orders him to get a bag, not look in the bag, and wait in a seedy motel room for the mobster to arrive. Cusack kills several people in the process of getting the bag, holding onto it, and staying alive at the motel. In the process of this, Cusack gets to know a Slavic prostitute and kills her midget and full-sized pimps (am I allowed to use the word “midget” anymore?). He also kills an FBI agent, the hotel manager, two corrupt cops, etc., etc., etc. Who cares? Not me.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Jimmy P.“: If the most left-wing anti-American college anthropology professor made a movie and insisted you see it, it would be this horribly long, boring, pointless waste of time. High-quality Gitmo torture. Just awful.
“Based on a true story,” Jimmy P. is an American Indian, er . . . “Native American!” played by Benicio Del Toro (yes, I know he’s Puerto Rican, but apparently the casting director thinks “they all look alike,” or something.) Jimmy P. is an Indian who fought in World War II and suffers headaches and nightmares because of a wartime injury. Because he’s a Blackfoot Indian, the Veterans Administration gets a faux-French anthropologist of Mojave Indians (apparently, they are similar to the Blackfoot) to try to help him.
Soon, we are taken on ridiculous, boring, and sleep-inducing tangents into the anthropologist’s life, his married girlfriend’s life, and her husband in France’s life. I could not have cared less about any of them or their stuff. Then, we’re taken back to the Indian dude, who describes his weird sexual experiences and traumas as a kid on the reservation and his refusal to marry the mother of his child. Then, the anthropologist gives a lecture to the V.A. doctors about the Indian’s penis envy. Oy vey. Why on earth did I sit through this weird bleep?
There can only be one reason: So. You. Don’t. Have. To.
Watch the trailer . . .
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