Most who have seen the 1995 Judge Dredd with Sylvester Stallone will admit to the foul taste that was left in their mouth regarding one of the most brutal comic book protagonists. Even Stallone’s action stature could not save that movie (he might even be the one to blame). So there were mixed reactions when Dredd was announced and having seen the movie now, it completely trumps the predecessor in every way. Karl Urban owned his role as Judge Dredd and Olivia Thirbly was the perfect compliment by being surprisingly not annoying for a side-kick. The action was extremely well done, cool 3D effects for the SLO-MO drug affects, and a great villain. Dredd 3D easily ranks as one of my favorite movies this year; I give it a 9/10.
End Of Watch: Believable Buddy Cop Movie
It kind of makes you think of a well choreographed COPS episode. That may sound bad but I mean that as a compliment because Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena were very believable not only as police officers but as friends. The main reason I say that was their bantering, it seemed so natural the way they played off each other. Plus for a portion of the film it effectively utilizes a different approach to the found footage style of filming with the shaky hand held camera feel. On top of all that, there was some real drama and at times pretty emotional that is most directly a result of Gyllenhaal and Pena’s chemistry. I hope this movie gets Pena some more leading roles; I give End Of Watch a 8/10.
Trouble With The Curve: More Grumpy Old Men
Clint Eastwood as a stubborn, opinionated, and against-the-odds man…. shocking. Do not get me wrong, he plays the role very well but it gets a little tiresome and borderline annoying at times. His relationship with his daughter played by Amy Adams just seems like a tug of war where the flag in the middle waves stagnate in the same place for nearly 2 hours. Each one proves to be as stubborn as the other despite the fact that Adams’ character despises how Eastwood “got rid of her” when she was a child. Timberlake plays a flirtatious, wise-cracking, and fallen out of grace former baseball player that has aspirations to become a broadcaster and the hots for Adams (who can blame him). I give Trouble With The Curve a 6/10.
Taken 2: As Fast Paced as the First Installment
Luc Besson and Liam Neeson team up again for the sequel to the globally well received Taken. There is an undeniable intensity to Neeson as former CIA Bryan Mills with his “set of skills” that just sucks you into the action. It is not the most creative means of picking up where the previous film left off but who can complain? This sequel has those good hand-to-hand combat scenes, gun fights, car chases, and secret agent tracking training tactics that fans of the first one will love. Overall it is a pretty fun movie but there were times where I did get irritated by the same old I am going to save me family thing. I give Taken 2 a 7/10.
Sinister: Another Stop on the Murder Map
Ethan Hawke in a horror movie? Going into this movie I knew what potential Sinister had with a great lead actor and he delivers a great performance. This has been missing from a lot of horror movies as of late. And his back story that brought him to the house for greed and fame were really well done too so kudos to the writers. The scares were okay but they spoiled a lot of the what would have been good ones in the trailer so that took the air out of a lot of the jumpy parts. Still a pretty cool horror movie, lived up to my expectations. I give Sinister an 8/10.
Here Comes The Boom: Ready to Rot
Following I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and Paul Blart: Mall Cop Kevin James seems to be back in the public eye with these near screw-ball comedies. His latest film Here Comes The Boom is no exception. James’ character is a bit of a jerk and is really hard to root for especially when he is trying to help a kooky Henry Winkler and hook up the weird teacher Salma Hayeck plays. I just had a hard time getting behind this wannabe do-gooder that makes nothing but jokes at others’ expense. Most of those jokes fall pretty flat by the way. I give Here Comes The Boom a 5/10 because of one “rotten” scene that came out of nowhere that was pretty funny.
Argo: True Story about a Fake Movie
A lot of early Oscar buzz surrounding this Ben Affleck directed drama. To quote something a friend of mine said about eight years ago, “Ben Affleck is not really an actor, he is a movie star.” So I am glad to see him taking a seat behind the camera a little more often now. What this movie does best is show both sides of the tension without making the US out to being the innocent party and any opposition as evil. Instead you know and understand what upset the Iranians. But again to refer to my earlier quote, Affleck’s acting in this is really stale and boring but all other actors like Cranston, Goodman, and Arkin picked up the slack. It was a little short of the hype for me, I give Argo a 7/10.
Seven Psychopaths: Takes a Psychopath to Write About Psychopaths
This is a superbly written comedy/crime/thriller with great acting. With a stacked cast including Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, and Christopher Walken that helped carry this story of a struggling writer figure what to do for his next screenplay. The most creepy or at least most interesting of the psychopaths is easily played by Tom Waits. Even though there was plenty of humor there was a lot of jokes that fell flat that I had a hard time getting past. Even though this was a very well written story, almost Guy Ritchie-esque, a lot of the humor did not land with me and this is labeled as a comedy first and foremost so I can only give Seven Psychopaths a 7/10.
Paranormal Activity 4: Unfortunate Lack of Scares
I think the best way to describe this movie is it is a blend of the second and third installments. Remember that awkward teen relationship in the second movie, well its awkwardness was trumped by Kathryn Newton and her boyfriend’s relationship (dude says his laptop videotapes her while she sleeps and it does not bother her). The scares were recycled from the others and serves as a 90 commercial for the Xbox Kinect. As much as I love found footage horror, I have to give Paranormal Activity 4 a 4/10.