July 25, 2014, - 6:07 pm
I am not surprised that this has been the worst summer in terms of tickets sold and money made at the movies. The movies this summer have been the most underwhelming that I can remember, and this weekend is par for the course. I only really liked one new movie debuting at theaters this weekend.
* “And So It Goes“: This is the relative best of the bunch among the new releases this weekend. And it appears to be aimed primarily at older adults and senior citizens, though I think adults of any age above 25 will like it (and the story is timeless and ageless). Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton star in this senior citizen chick flick that is very funny and which even guys will like and find entertaining. It’s cute, light, and airy–the kind of escapist movie I and many others enjoy going to the movies to see.
Douglas is an egomaniacal, rude, insensitive real estate agent who owns a set of duplex apartments in which he lives along with other tenants. He has developed a love-hate relationship with one of his tenant’s, Keaton, a nightclub singer who shares too much gloomy personal information with her audience. Douglas is trying to help clean up her act (with not so subtle constructive criticism) and also attempting to get her a higher paying gig. In the midst of all this, Douglas’ estranged son is sent to prison for nine months and the young granddaughter he never knew is dropped on him to take care of. He then pawns off the granddaughter on Keaton, who develops a loving relationship with Keaton. Eventually, they all become like a family, while Douglas and Keaton develop a romance.
As I said, this is very funny. I laughed a lot. I could have done without a scene of a dog having sex with a stuff animal (it was gross in the first of a gazillion movies I’ve seen this cheap shot in–now it’s beyond rotten). But everything else was hilarious and fun to watch. The best actor or actress in this movie is Frances Sternhagen, who cracks many of the jokes and smart alecky lines perfectly, as if she were 24 instead of 84 years old. (Eighty-year-old Frankie Valli makes a cameo in this, too.) But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this is directed by uber-lefty Rob Reiner. The movie moves along at a fast clip and, at just over 1.5 hours, it’s the perfect length, too.
Enjoyable and with a happy, if predictable, ending. (This is one of the few movies that is actually far better than its trailer.)
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Lucy“: I expected better from this movie, and I’m usually a fan of Luc Besson. This isn’t a horrible movie, but it’s not a great one, either. It’s not tight and well-crafted, and below what I usually expect from Besson, who directed this. The first half of the movie is good, suspenseful, and action-packed. But the second half is a mess and bored me. The thing about science fiction movies of this ilk is that you can only suspend disbelief so much. My general rule of mental suspension of disbelief is this: only one thing can defy reality. Too many things, and I just don’t believe it or find it credible or enjoyable anymore. And that’s the case here: the one thing that would cause me to experience a credible suspension of disbelief is then topped by many others that simply aren’t credible or sensical.
In this movie, Scarlett Johansson is forcibly subjected to surgery in which a Korean mobster inserts a powerful, unusual drug into her body and then forces her to become a drug courier. But the pouch containing the drug leaks into her body, and the drug causes her to become supersmart and able to use up to 100% of her brain, which the movie tells us is far more then the proverbial 10-20% of the brain that some claim that we use (that, by the way, is a myth–we all already use 100% of our brains, according to brain surgeons and other medical professionals in the know). That Johansson becomes hypersmart and superstrong is something about which I could suspend my disbeliefs.
But, then, she starts controlling the internet, computers, phone lines, people and their guns, and all matter, and she’s able to go forward into the future, backward into the past, and able to stop time. At that point the movie becomes a silly mess I wasn’t buying. And that’s the point at which the movie begins borrowing heavily from “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Transcendence” (read my review), which most other critics panned, but which I found semi-interesting and entertaining until it, too, became an all-controlling mess just like “Lucy” (and in which Morgan “Whites Are Racist” Freeman plays a similar role as in this–come on Hollywood, stop repeating yourself like a fart).
This movie is incredibly violent. But, as with most Besson movies, there is clear good and evil, and the violence is ultimately against the bad guys. Still, I just didn’t find the movie to be as good as I was expecting it to be. Moral of the story: don’t believe the hype. Johansson and this movie are getting a lot of that. But they don’t merit it here. Not so much, anyway.
The movie isn’t objectionable, but just isn’t up to snuff. At least not to my liking.
HALF A REAGAN
Watch the trailer . . .
* “Hercules“: More like, “Not Hercules.” This silly “re-imagining” of the story about the Greek demigod really has nothing to do with anything. It’s like someone made a long, boring, silly flick so that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson could be half naked for 1.5 hours and get paid, and then stuck the name “Hercules” on the movie. And it’s funny that all of the Greek kings and minions–and everybody else–in the movie have English accents, while only Johnson has an American accent, and it’s never explained why (other than that he was too lazy to try one or the movie was too stupid to try to make sense).
I note that the other “Hercules” movie, “The Legend of Hercules,” which debuted early this year was panned by critics (though not by me–read my review). This makes that version look like a masterpiece.
This long bore made the 1.5 hours seem more like 15 hours. And it’s quite violent, with men being shown burned alive, lots of beheadings and dismemberments, and so on (which I’d hate to see in 3D–I saw this in 2D, but you can shell out extra bucks for the charming thrill of seeing limbs fly in your face). Lots of fighting in this “300”-wannabe, but not much in the story department. Also, a guy sticks his finger into a month-old rotting dismembered head and then eats what he digs out. Yuck.
The “story”: Hercules is a man who may or may not be the son of a god and a mortal. He may or may not have special powers. But he’s never proven any of this. He and his band of fighters doubt it and think he’s just a mighty con artist thug who can fight, just like them. And he’s a mercenary who fights for the highest bidding kings, doing their dirty work. He’s sent out to fight legions of troops who are harassing a king and his kingdom. But soon, Hercules learns he’s been set up and must discover and prove whether or not he has the powers of a demigod to fight off the evil king.
Who cares? I certainly didn’t. I couldn’t wait for this movie to end, and that was just a minute after it started (or maybe 30 seconds). Snooze-fest extraordinaire.
Watch the trailer . . .
* “A Most Wanted Man“: The only thing you need to know about this long, boring, waste-of-time movie is that it’s based on a John Le Carre novel. As I’ve noted before on this site, the far left Le Carre a/k/a David Cornwell hates Israel and Jews and loves Muslims and Arabs, whom he sees as innocent victims of the West. Oh, and he also hates America and loves Communists to the point that he proudly declared how he nearly became a double agent for the Soviets while a member of British intelligence. Almost all of those sentiments are sharply on display here in this incredibly unthrilling “thriller.”
In his last movie, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman looks every day of his 66 years, except for the fact that he died at 46. His role in this movie shows us yet again, why he was no loss to acting or movies. It’s a mess, and so is he.
The story: a Chechen Muslim comes illegally immigrates to Germany, and a German intelligence group run by Hoffman (with a really bad German accent that he uses only about 60% of the time) is trying to use him to unwittingly frame another Muslim who is the father of another Muslim who is an informant to Hoffman. Got that? Yeah, it’s confusing, and really kinda stupid when you get to the conclusion of the movie in which nothing really happens (other than evil Americans messing everything up). On top of that, Rachel McAdams plays a German lawyer for illegal aliens who is trying to protect the Chechen Muslim and coaches him on what to say so he can get asylum (sound familiar? Texas border, anyone?). McAdams, by the way, went to the same Crappy German Accent University at which Hoffman matriculated. She is then forced by Hoffman into getting the Chechen Muslim to unwittingly frame the father of the other guy, the Muslim informant.
Throughout this, an evil American female CIA agent (Sean “Spicoli” Penn’s former wife, Robin Wright) is hovering over Hoffman, annoying him and threatening to mess up his operation with the American “exuberance” to actually catch and lock up Islamic terrorists. But, of course, the “evil,” “bigoted,” “headstrong,” “anti-Muslim” Americans don’t get that this Chechen Muslim is not a terrorist, but just a peaceful, good, innocent guy who is legitimately escaping torture he experienced at the hands of non-Muslims. I mean, isn’t that the case with all Muslim illegal aliens and immigrants to America?
Yeah, that’s the ticket. . . in John Le Carre’s warped mind. Which this movie reflects.
Alhamdulilah [praise allah] and Hollywood. And Mr. Al-Carre.
FOUR MARXES PLUS FOUR BIN LADENS PLUS FOUR OBAMAS
Watch the trailer . . .