I watch crappy movies so you don't have to.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Movie Review For July 24, 2015: PAPER TOWNS, PIXELS, and SOUTHPAW

PAPER TOWNS
Rated: PG-13
Director: Jake Schreier
Stars: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne
Plot: When a high school girl disappears, her neighbor and friends follow clues to try to find her
Trailer

Clint Says: Wait for the DVD


It's probably not fair to compare this movie to THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, but the reality is that it is really hard not to do it since they are both based on John Green novels. That said, PAPER TOWNS is not nearly as good as TFIOS.

It's not a bad movie at all, it just doesn't have that magic that we all experienced with TFIOS. Cara and Nat do a decent job, but they aren't quite accomplished enough yet to carry a film like this. I feel it might have been a much better movie with the likes of Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley as the leads.

While I do recommend seeing it at some point, it's not a film you need to see in theaters. It is worth the time to check it out when it comes out on DVD, because there are several good moments throughout.

If you go into it thinking TIFIOS you will be disappointed. But if you go in thinking that it's a coming-of-age story you'll leave mostly satisfied.




PIXELS
Rated: PG-13
Director: Chris Columbus
Stars: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Josh Gad, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage
Plot: A small group of former video game champions must save the world from an alien invasion
Trailer

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee


Thank goodness for Josh Gad. He should be required casting for all comedies from now on. Without him, this movie would have been barely tolerable.

The best way I can describe PIXELS is by saying it's kind of like eating candy. It looks good, it tastes good, but then you realize that what you've just ingested has zero nutritional value and is, in fact, slowly killing you.

On a scale of Adam Sandler flicks this one ranks as above average, but it's only because the effects are fun and Josh Gad is hysterical. The rest of the film is full of bad dialogue and mediocre jokes.

If you like Sandler movies, then you will enjoy PIXELS a lot, but if you find his style to be tired, then you will walk out of this movie feeling slightly amused at best.




SOUTHPAW
Rated: R
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Oona Laurence
Plot: A champion boxer loses everything and must work hard to get his daughter and life back.
Trailer

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee


I wish I could say that this movie was better than it was. It had a lot of potential to be great, unfortunately, Director Antoine Fuqua let us all down. As a big boxing fan, I was excited to see a rough and gritty fight film. Instead, I saw a movie where the director didn't even bother to get the boxing right.

The pacing was also problematic throughout the movie. In some places it drags on and gets to the point of almost being boring, then it speeds through other parts so fast the audience misses key elements to the story.

Jake Gyllenhaal gives another incredible performance. While not Oscar-worthy like NIGHTCRAWLER was, he proves once again that he is one of the best actors in Hollywood. He's one of the few with the ability to disappear into a role.

Rachel McAdams does fine as well, but Oona Laurence completely steals the show. She is the 10 year old daughter, Leila. This is a girl that has every opportunity to be a superstar in the next 10 - 15 years. She may have even taught Jake and Rachel a few things about acting.

The story itself is interesting, compelling, heartbreaking and inspiring, unfortunately it just isn't told well enough to be something that you need to see.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Movie Review For July 21, 2015: MR. HOLMES

NOTE: There are no wide-release DVDs coming out this week (7/21).

MR. HOLMES
Rated: PG
Director: Bill Condon
Stars: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker
Plot: An aging Sherlock Holmes is trying to beat time and his failing memory to figure out his final case.
Trailer


Ian McKellen is simply spectacular in his role as an aging Sherlock Holmes. He plays the same character over a 30 year span and absolutely nails every aspect of it.

This film is very slow, but it actually fits well with the slow-moving Sherlock. It is heartbreaking to see this character that we all know and love so well struggle with the one thing that was always his super power over the rest of humanity...his brain.

The film does a great job of showing Mr. Holmes's struggles, but it also shows us flashes of brilliance where we see the old Sherlock come back to life. We also begin to see the regrets that only a man like Sherlock Holmes could have, making for several moving moments throughout this film.

While I think that all fans of Sherlock Holmes will find this movie to be satisfactory, I think the DOWNTON ABBEY fans will especially find MR. HOLMES outstanding.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Movie Review For July 17. 2015: ANT-MAN and TRAINWRECK

ANT-MAN
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll
Plot: A down-on-his-luck man is recruited by a scientific genius to help make sure his greatest invention doesn't end up in the hands of Hydra.
Trailer

Clint Says: Wait until after opening weekend, but see this in theaters


This is the third comic-book movie I've walked into with a bad feeling about it. The first was GREEN LANTERN and those feelings were justified. The second was GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY and that is currently my favorite comic book film of all time. This time I walked out of the theater pleasantly surprised.

On a comic book scale, ANT-MAN is not quite as good as AVENGERS, but as an origin story, it is better than the first IRON MAN.

The actors all do a nice job and the characters all have a depth to them that is pretty rare for comic book movies. Even the villain has a nice arc and motivation.

I will say that the movie does feel like it digresses into an adult version of HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS at points, but there are other times where the attention to detail when Ant-Man is small is spectacular.

The action is well done and virtually non-stop throughout the second half of the film. Which leads me to say that while I highly recommend seeing this movie in 3D, I would stay away from the IMAX or Big D screens because the massive 3D action is really quite fatiguing after a while.

Overall though, this is a great summer action flick worthy of your movie-going dollars.




TRAINWRECK
Rated: R
Stars: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, LeBron James, Colin Quinn
Plot: A woman with a deep fear of commitment ends up falling for a guy that might be the one.
Trailer

Clint Says: Wait for the DVD


I saw this film in a theater full of 20-something women and the general consensus on the way out was that they loved it and many wanted to see it again. I, being firmly outside of the target audience for this film, didn't like it nearly as much as they did.

There are several funny moments, but the film also feels like it drags on. This movie is 100% formulaic rom-com. If you walk into this movie with a Rom-Com Bingo card it will be blacked out by the credits.

Bill Hader is fantastic and LeBron James is surprisingly talented as an actor. Amy Schumer is Amy Schumer. If you like her you'll like her in this, if you don't, she will annoy you.

There is nothing noteworthy in this film that makes it worth seeing in theaters. You would be just fine waiting for the DVD. That said, if you are a 20-something girl, grab your friends and make a fun night of it. I'm sure you will enjoy it thoroughly.

Monday, July 13, 2015

DVD Review For July 14, 2015: PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2, THE LONGEST RIDE, THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, EX MACHINA, and IT FOLLOWS

PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2
Rated: PG
Stars: Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez
Plot: Paul Blart heads to Las Vegas for a vacation, but being a security guard is a full-time job.
Trailer

Clint Says: Rent it if you have nothing better to do


I can't begin to tell you how excited I was for this movie to finally be released. Not because I wanted to see it, but because I've now seen the trailer about 150 times. Finally I can move on.

If you saw the original PAUL BLART MALL COP, just stop now and be happy. PBMC2 is nothing more than a rehash of the same jokes in the original film, but this movie has less heart and less drama.

There are a few very funny moments, but not enough to make it worth spending theater ticket prices to see it. On top of that, the plot is paper thin, the motivation for the bad guys is ridiculously weak, the love interest makes no sense at all, and there isn't even a decent twist to keep you guessing.

This is one of those films where the trailer is not only better than the actual movie, but you see all you need to know in the trailer.

Save your money on this one and we will all hope that the other cop comedies coming out this summer will be better than this.




THE LONGEST RIDE
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood, Alan Alda
Plot: A Professional Bull Rider and an art lover build a relationship with the help of love letters written from a man to his wife in the 1940s.
Trailer

Clint Says: Nicholas Sparks fans will love it, everyone else stay away


THE LONGEST RIDE is Nicholas Sparks at his sparkiest. Basically, if you loved SAFE HAVEN you will ooze happiness at the end of this movie. If you hated THE BEST OF ME you would be better off trying to ride a bull than watch this flick.

Nicholas Sparks's movies and books are the definition of formulaic. Personally, they have zero appeal for me. I like surprises and twists when I watch something, but I am not the target audience for his art so it doesn't really matter what I think when it comes to the plot. However, I can speak to the quality of the film.

Britt Robertson does a great job in her lead role. I'm sure we will see her getting more roles from Hollywood now. Scott Eastwood does a decent job, but really his job is to be eye candy, and at that he excels.

One of the things that drives me crazy in movies are continuity errors. This film may have one of the biggest I've ever seen. Our hero manages to drive from Nashville, TN to Winston-Salem, NC, still in his bull riding uniform, in a matter of minutes. Mr. Director, bookmark Google Maps and use it on occasion.

Then there is the bull snot scene. You did not read that wrong. A. BULL. SNOT. SCENE.  Dear reader, I can not even begin to convey to you how ridiculous and disgusting the bull snot scene is. Why the director decided that it was a good idea to give us slow-motion, full-frame footage of bull snot flying through the air we may never know, but it's there for all of us to endure.

The film had several funny moments, some on purpose, most not. If you can make it through the bull-riding man/oil drum-riding woman/man and woman riding each other montage without having your own bull snot moment, you are a better person than I.

Clocking in at 2 hours 8 minutes, THE LONGEST RIDE really is just that.




THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
Rated: PG
Stars: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel
Plot: The hotel owner has his eye set on expansion, but a couple of new guests and his own wedding may put an end to his dreams.
Trailer

Clint Says: Rent it this week


Maggie Smith rules the world. That is all.

This is a very pleasant, feel-good film that will leave you feeling satisfied. There is nothing in this film that is earth-shattering or even really unique from other films of this ilk, but it is okay because the cast is what makes this film so enjoyable.

There is a moment in this movie where Maggie Smith conveys so much with a simple look that lasts for all of one second that we are all left in awe of her incredible acting ability. Her wit and snark throughout the film make for great moments of levity.

Judi Dench and Bill Nighy are simply charming together and a joy to watch.

There are times where the film does feel like it runs a bit long and there are a few moments of made up drama, but for the most part it is a well-paced and legitimate movie.




EX MACHINA
Rated: R
Stars: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander
Plot: A young computer genius is tasked with working with an artificial intelligence being, but things don't turn out like they planned
Trailer

Clint Says: Rent this if you like slow-moving, but deep-thinking Sci-fi


This is one of the most intriguing, thought-provoking, and disturbing science fiction films I've seen in a long time. It is slow-paced and, of course, they go with a created artificial intelligence being that is the most beautiful woman to ever walk the planet, but aside from that it's a unique plot with great twists.

Oscar Isaac is outstanding in this film, which personally makes me very happy, because up to this point I haven't liked him in anything, but I'm a huge STAR WARS fan and he's starring in the new one. This gives me hope that he will be a good fit for that role.

Domhnall Gleeson does a fine job as well. He is a perfect fit for these brain-squeezing thrillers.

This film will make you think, cringe, squirm, and leave you dumbfounded in a good way when it's all over. It's a disturbing yet engaging film that will stick in your head for several days after you see it.

One warning: There is a lot of graphic nudity in this film.




IT FOLLOWS
Rated: R
Stars: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist
Plot: A girl is continuously followed by an evil being after a date goes wrong.
Trailer

Clint Says: Don't even bother


Imagine you sleep with someone and they give you an STD, but instead of this STD living inside your body and causing problems it is a really ticked off ghost that wants to kill you. Oh, and this angry ghost/STD hybrid can only walk, but it knows where you are and walks toward you all the time. If you can actually dumb your brain down enough to imagine that then you've basically seen IT FOLLOWS.

Horror films aren't usually known for their acting, but this flick takes bad acting to a whole new level of suck. Throw on top of that the fact that this is supposed to be a horror flick, but it isn't even remotely scary. And it's so dumb and poorly done that you can't even laugh at the stupidity of it all.

Not only is the acting and overall movie bad, but the musical score is one of the worst I've ever heard. It sounds like it was recorded on a kid's Casio synthesizer from the early 1980s.

I can easily judge how scary a movie is by how many people have their phones out in the theater and how many people go to the restroom during the movie. The more phones and the more bathroom breaks the scarier the film. I'm sure it's people trying to distract themselves from the scary. This movie? I didn't see a single phone nor did anyone leave to use the bathroom. I was surprised however that nobody just left and didn't come back.

If this movie wasn't bad enough already, the director also thought it was necessary for us to have to see some old dude's junk. I'm not spoiling anything here, believe me, that thing was spoiled a long time ago. I mean, honestly, put it away.

I can't believe I'm saying this again in another review, but it just fits too perfectly not to... Avoid this movie like you would an STD.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Movie Review For July 10, 2015: MINIONS, THE GALLOWS, SELF/LESS, and AMY

MINIONS
Rated: PG
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Pierre Coffin
Plot: The minions go on a quest to find a villain to serve. A quest that leads them to VillianCon and Scarlett Overkill.
Trailer

Clint Says: Wait until after opening weekend, but see this in theaters


Out of the three films in the DESPICABLE ME world this one comes in third. It's very funny and entertaining, but it is also very violent and scary. I wouldn't take anyone under age five to see this movie, nor would I take anyone with a fear of clowns.

I really enjoyed MINIONS as an adult, but I also heard several children around age eight acting like it was the best film ever made. That said, this will almost certainly be another huge blockbuster.

I was highly impressed at the writing and directing seeing as though much of the dialogue is gibberish, but the audience still understands what is happening. Also, kudos to Co-Director Pierre Coffin who is the voice of all of the minions.

There aren't a lot of great family-friendly flicks hitting theaters this summer. In light of that, this one would be a good one to see in theaters. Just make sure the younger ones can handle it.

NOTE: Make sure you stay through all of the credits. There is some great stuff worth waiting for at the end.




THE GALLOWS
Rated: R
Stars: Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, Ryan Shoos, Cassidy Gifford
Plot: Students try to bring back a play in which a student died while performing several years earlier, but an evil presence has other ideas.
Trailer

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee


Shockingly, I was pleasantly surprised by this horror flick. It is by no means a great film, but the story is fairly interesting, and the twist is one you will never see coming.

The downside is that this is another "found footage" film, and with this one they barely even attempt to give a reason for why they are carrying cameras around the whole time. And if you think for more than three seconds about the reason why they are having to use the cameras, you will realize it is a plot hole the size of Texas.

THE GALLOWS isn't an overly scary film, but the scares that are there are almost all legitimate, (with one hilarious exception). That said, this film will make for a fun date night full of suspense and chills.




SELF/LESS
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Natalie Martinez, Ben Kingsley, Matthew Goode
Plot: A wealthy man is offered a high-tech version on immortality, but there are unintended side effects
Trailer

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee


This is a pretty good, thought-provoking thriller. It's a bit slow and predictable, but the premise is interesting, and the conflict is compelling.

Ryan Reynolds does a good job playing multiple characters, and his supporting cast keeps the story moving at a reasonable pace.

There are a couple of plot holes and moments of convenience, but they are all fairly minor. You should still be able to suspend disbelief and have an enjoyable time with this intriguing film.




AMY
Rated: R
Stars: Amy Winehouse
Plot: A documentary on the rise, fall, and death of Amy Winehouse
Trailer

Clint Says: Wait until after opening weekend, but see this in theaters


This is quite possibly the most heart-breaking and disturbing documentary I've ever seen. You literally watch a young girl work and drink herself to death. It's also a film that will make you angry. I imagine just about 100% of the people that see this movie will walk out of the theater wanting to strangle Amy's mom, dad, and husband.

This documentary is a case study in bad parenting and enabling by people that would do anything to stay on the gravy train.

The film is done well with a lot of unique footage. And the way the director weaves Amy's lyrics and songs throughout the story is a thing of beauty itself.

If you are a fan of Amy, or simply a fan of great musical talent, you should see this movie.

Monday, July 6, 2015

DVD Review For July 7, 2015: WOMAN IN GOLD

WOMAN IN GOLD
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds
Plot: An Austrian-born woman living in America fights the Austrian government to return a highly-prized portrait of her aunt to her family 60 years after it was stolen by the Nazis.
Trailer

Clint Says: Go see this as soon as you can


This is one of those interesting films that, had it been in the right hands, could have ended up on the short list of Oscar consideration. Unfortunately, instead of being truly spectacular like THE IMITATION GAME it falls more into the slightly above average category like MONUMENTS MEN.

Mirren and Reynolds do an outstanding job, but the writing and directing fall short. That said, this is an important film that you should see in order to understand even more of the atrocities committed by the Nazis.

Based on a true story, this film is emotional, powerful and, at times, hard to watch, but it is well worth enduring the uncomfortable parts to understand the struggle that so many European Jews suffered.

If you have teens, I would highly recommend watching WOMAN IN GOLD with them. It may lead to some interesting and dynamic conversations.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Movie Review For July 1, 2015: MAGIC MIKE XXL and TERMINATOR: GENISYS

MAGIC MIKE XXL
Rated: R
Stars: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Amber Heard
Plot: A group of male strippers go on one last road trip...to a stripper convention.

Clint Says: Wait for the DVD and make someone else rent it


Have you ever seen a movie with a barely-there plot, painful dialogue, amateur editing, actors that just mail in their roles, and pathetic directing? Well, if you haven't, go check out MAGIC MIKE XXL and you'll see all of that and more. 

This movie looks and feels like they knew that no matter how bad the movie is they would still make money off of it. They are probably right, but it's a shame that they didn't even try to make a good movie. 

I saw this movie with two lovely ladies, one of them loved the first one and hated this one. The other was totally fine with this being a crap flick as long as she got a good dose of abs. I just wanted the pain to end.

Also, I feel that I should give some sort of a heads up on this movie...This is not Hollywood glamorized sexy, smooth dancing guys. This is hard core, grind-it-out, strip club stripping. 

There is one, and only one, good reason to see this movie. If you do you will never look at Michael Strahan the same. 




TERMINATOR: GENYSIS
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney
Plot: John Connor sends a soldier back in time to protect his mother from a new Terminator, but the game changes when he gets there

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee


This is a movie that should have never been made. They should have left this franchise alone. That said, GENYSIS isn't all that bad of a movie. It's a pretty fun popcorn flick that has enough suspense and intrigue to keep the casual movie-goer engaged and happy. 

There is nothing spectacular in this film that makes it worth spending the money to see it in theaters,  so unless you are just looking for a fun, turn-the-brain-off night out then you'd be better off just waiting for the DVD. 

For fans of the original films this one will annoy you on several levels. Many of which are related to the main characters. It's probably best if you just pretend this movie never existed.