Boyhood (2014)

Boyhood

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Impressive and nostalgic.

And here it is. The movie everyone has been raving about, and curiously also the movie I heard about when production began 12-13 years ago – Boyhood. I really didn’t know anything about the story of the film until I actually watched it other than the basic idea that it’s about a kid’s life – and that they filmed these actors on and off for the entire time period to represent the life of a child and those around him as well. Turns out it’s not really about anything else, it’s just that, so I won’t bore you with a plot description, because there is no plot. It’s just – look at this boy become a man, and experience all the troubling events associated with adolescence.

The story of the film isn’t one I normally like, because I prefer movies that have a beginning, middle, and end with a clear-cut plot with both bad guys, good guys, and an overall goal. Those that have one sentence plots really bother me because I don’t like coming-of-age flicks. At the same time, I can’t help but think what they did here was incredibly memorable and quite an ambitious plan from beginning to end. On a technical level, this is a revolutionary film that is a beautiful form of art that we’ve never seen…ever. Watching a kid grow up is one thing, but you’re also watching everyone else grow up as well – some of which are actors you’re already familiar with. Seeing Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette so young again in a new movie was so weird, but so cool at the same time…and then they age ever so gradually – and it’s a sight for sore eyes, because this isn’t make-up…it’s real.

I’ve never seen anything like this in any sense of the word, but I can’t say it’s without flaws. Instead of giving us text cues on where they are in time, we get other cues – like popular music during that time period, news stories, popular electronics, hairstyles, cars – stuff like that. On one hand, that’s really cool, on the other hand – it feels a little forced. There is 12-13 years passing us by on screen, and that’s a lot of time cues…and it starts to feel a little obvious. These were believable time cues, don’t get me wrong, but there were an awful lot of them scattered about…it’s hard not to miss. Maybe it’s just me, but I started to get tired of them a little bit.

As far as story goes, there were a lot of good points strewn about, but I think one of the main ideas was that time passes us by faster than we ever considered possible, that life is so short, and we don’t have the time to screw around. That’s fine, but I truthfully felt like the movie was more about showing off – as if it were saying check out these actors age…or here, have some nostalgia from the past. I’m not sure if that was the case, but because it squeezed so much time into one movie, it starts to feel like that in my opinion. Bottom line is…it’s a very cool, very interesting movie…but I’m fine only seeing it once.

The Good:

You could almost watch this movie with the sound turned completely off and enjoy it the same, because it’s quite a film. Filming a five year-old age to eighteen is unheard of, and quite honestly an amazing filmmaking feat. Also, to be fair, the narrative of this film has a lot of heart, and the hard work that went into making this realistic as possible shouldn’t be ignored.

The Bad:

If you are like me, you won’t see much of a point of watching the movie past watching a kid and his parents age. Yes, there are great messages, and yes there are great performances regarding maturity and social interaction – but there’s no real plot. I’m a little biased when it comes to coming-of-age films.

Into the Storm (2014)

Into-the-Storm

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
So, basically Twister.

Who doesn’t like a good disaster movie now and then? I’ve always been a big fan of them, heedless to say they haven’t always been Oscar-worthy. Which is why I like Roland Emmerich when others don’t…they’re just nice to look at, and the thrills they bring along are equally fun to watch and be a part of. Tornadoes are a topic I’ve always had a fascination with, even after having nightmares of them as a child – and there haven’t been a lot of tornado films, past Twister. The previews to Into the Storm looked pretty good, because it mixed the plot of Twister with the filmmaking style of Cloverfield.

So this film centers on three main groups of people. Stormchasers, student filmmakers, and…redneck idiots trying to get their 15 minutes of YouTube fame. All have cameras rolling constantly, and it all revolves around a super storm of Tornadoes that is sweeping through a small city – each tornado apparently getting worse than the last…you’ve seen Twister, just imagine that with found footage/documentary style.

It increasingly surprises me as to what constitutes for found footage nowadays. It is done so professionally and so smoothly that you often forget that there’s supposed to be a camera recording these people. There is almost no glimpse of shaky-cam in the entire thing – and most of it is recorded by amateur students with a handheld camera…so how is it so ridiculously smooth? What made Cloverfield, Blair Witch, Paranormal Activity, Chronicle, and so many others believable was their sense of amateur footage. Random shots that don’t make any sense. People recording the floor when they thought they shut off the camera. Shaky cam. It all comes together as a dedication towards the art of believability. So in a word, you can tell this is a movie and not a documentary made by storm chasers combining footage.

The next issue of the film comes from characters. Not only was the acting bad, but so was the character writing as well as casting. I gotta say, the kid’s dad in the movie felt very…strange. His deep voice and cold persona felt more like a villain than a caring father…it was certainly not believable…and Matt Walsh as the obsessive, impatient filmmaker. The guy is a comedian, and instead of giving us a serious role, he gave us something else to laugh at – we just weren’t supposed to.

So, why didn’t I give this a really bad score? As I said in the beginning of the review – it’s not trying to be anything other than a flashy fun time. The graphics aren’t exactly stellar, but they are impressive nonetheless. You’re watching the thing for the look and devastating destruction of the super tornadoes – and for that reason alone, you may be surprised at how much you’re willing to forgive. The found footage as a collective was too similar in style than believable for a diverse group of individuals with different kinds of cameras, the big storms would have had so much rain it would have gotten the camera lenses wet and impossible to film, a lot of the shots don’t make logical sense, the rednecks are ridiculously annoying, but hey…it’s still a fun movie when you don’t nitpick.

The Good:

Into the Storm is silly, and unbelievable in way too many ways to count, but it’s still fun just to watch for the heck of it. The tornadoes look pretty nifty and there are some truly great looking shots in general – filled with enough action and suspense to carry the film.

The Bad:

It’s still very silly and unbelievable in too many ways to count.

Left Behind (2014)

Left-Behind

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Totally wrong tone.

I’ve seen a lot of Christian films, and they almost all have flaws as far as filmmaking goes, but I can’t say I’ve actually ever seen a remake – but to be honest, I understand the desire to remake Left Behind. There are a few films in the genre that I’ve considered halfway decent, and even though I haven’t seen the original film in a really long time – what I do remember about it, I thought it had a good handle on what it wanted to accomplish. When I heard Nic Cage was going to be in this one, I thought that this had a chance…I know Cage’s options in film are dithering out, but he’s still a huge name for Christian films…I mean…he’s gotta be the most famous actor in any Christian movie – and they added Chad Michael Murray – so I had hopes for it…but it failed in two major regards – tone and common sense.

Alrighty, so this movie is about a catastrophic event that affects the entire world. People everywhere vanish unexpectantly. Nicolas Cage plays a pilot on a plane that’s experiencing this event and has to figure out what happened before the passengers on his plane go absolutely banana sandwich. Meanwhile on the ground, his daughter runs around frantically flipping out while destruction erupts all around her. Mass panic, plane crashes, bus crashes, people taking advantage of the crisis to be criminals.

Did I miss something? Or did the whole world take their stupid pills? The main problem with this movie is that – because it’s made by Christians, it’s made with the assumption that no one has even heard of the Rapture. Look, everyone knows what the Rapture is. Christians believe it, Atheists don’t – but everyone knows what it is. That means if people actually vanished in real life, after initial panic, everyone would resort to the Rapture. In this film, they just start blaming aliens, terrorists, and other random people. Aliens I understand (and I wish they had more focus on that as an alternative explanation), but it really could only be two things – aliens or the Rapture. So the way people react in this film is a bit unrealistic.

Secondly, and this is very important, the tone and feel of this film is absolutely wrong. The one thing the first film had going for it was simply the fact that it knew what it was going for and had a more efficient tone. We’re talking – opening the movie at night time with explosions in the distance. It’s a dark theme because it’s the start of dark times…essentially of the end of the world – act like it! Our remake of Left Behind sports a very fluffy, light toned movie that doesn’t match up to what it needed to be. Complete with elevator music as its musical score, this film completely missed the point. It feels way too much like an ABC Family movie, except not as dark…and ABC Family movies aren’t dark…which is really sad.

Secondly, the actual things this movie covers wasn’t enough…where was the antichrist? Last time I checked, that part was really important, and part of what made the story so great. People vanishing right as a man comes to power – who has, essentially, superpowers. Given the fact that he’s the antichrist – his powers, and his whole persona is so, so dark. It could have at least helped the movie get some traction…but nope. Just fluff.

The Rapture is such a great idea with a lot of potential, and it’s never achieved in the right tone. Hollywood really needs to get their hands on it, because while this film offered some ideas into what could happen, its presentation of those ideas was rather cheesy and felt cheap. I don’t care how expensive it really was, it felt cheap because of the way it was pieced together. The filmmaking of this film was a bit of a massacre…you would probably do better sticking with the original, 2000 version. I’ve heard Christians, who normally like bad Christian movies, call this movie bad – which in and of itself…is impressive.

The Good:

If you’re a Christian, then this movie is for you. It covers a topic you’re very familiar with and can just enjoy it for what it is. You’re the most likely to find positives in the film. To be fair, it clearly had a better vision than a lot of other current Christian films have.

The Bad:

It lost a lot of vision that the original had 14 years ago. The simple fact is that everyone’s heard of the Rapture, and this film works off of an assumption that they haven’t – and completely ignores the topic of the antichrist which offers a lot of help as far as appropriate tone goes. It tries way too hard to be something that it ultimately isn’t. Somewhere deep down is an interesting story, but too much fluff and light tones reminiscent of the care bears ruins this thing.

V/H/S: Viral (2014)

VHS3

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Not very worthwhile

I’ve decided to go about this a little differently, because this series requires you to watch it a particular way if you’re going to enjoy it at all – and it’s important not to compare it to the first movie. The first had a lot of focus on the VHS aspect – the VHS quality was apparent, which was really cool, but the rest of the series has digital HD quality footage…which doesn’t make sense with VHS. Instead, you just need to watch it for what it is – an anthology film. That’s what I went in with when I saw V/H/S: Viral, the third movie in the franchise.

Okay, because this is anthology film separated into segments, I’ll go ahead and talk about each one:

Dante the Great

This short centered around a magician who actually (apparently) had magical powers, which he achieved through a mysterious black cloak. Though, the cloak was a bit dark and evil, so the magician had to kill others in order to keep using his abilities – and the use of the cloak turned him evil…sort of. [documentary/found footage style]

-This short was okay. Was it scary, not in the slightest. But it had an interesting enough story to work within itself…and I think that’s fine.

Parallel Monsters

This short was…interesting. It was basically about a device that a man created in his basement that opens a doorway to an alternate universe parallel to his own. Everything is basically the same, except the people on the other side weren’t people…they were really strange and satanic monsters that have strange body parts. [alternating found footage]

-I actually liked where this short was going until it got to the “scary bits”. Before that happened, it was just plain creepy. It drew a lot of greatness out of those creepy scenes, but once people’s faces started lighting up, I was utterly confused – it got worse from there.

Bonestorm

Um…so this short centered around a bunch of stoner skater dudes that unearth a bunch of…killer…weirdoes at an abandoned skate park. They then have to fight them off with whatever they can get a hand on – their skate boards, rocks, fireworks, and a random gun that seems to come out of nowhere. [GoPro, found footage]

-Not scary, not creepy, just weird. It takes a special kind of freak to write up this disaster of a short film. If I had to guess, marijuana wrote this one.

Vicious Circles

This is the “main” story, if you can call it that – it’s the one they keep coming to in-between short films. In this story, a guy’s girlfriend goes missing during some high-speed ambulance chase that is going viral. Throughout the film, the guy basically chases after this ambulance trying to find his girlfriend. But because that’s not enough, we have weird little tid bits here and there that really, really don’t belong in the movie and just feel so out of place. [misc., found footage, helicopter/police footage]

This is the main one that differs from the other films. In the other movies, this is where the VHS part would take place. They would run into a mysterious house, where mysterious things happen, and they’d simply keep playing a bunch of VHS tapes. However, that wasn’t the case here…there wasn’t a single VHS tape…so I’m not sure where the title comes into play in this film. Instead, there are brief shout outs to viral videos – which I don’t think they understand either.

AS A WHOLE – I don’t think they understood what they were going for as far as big picture goes. Each individual story was okay, but none of them were really all that worthwhile – and combined as an overall arc was pretty sad and just…didn’t make a lot of sense. At the same time, these stories are still very weird and very creative, and that is something no one can take away from it.

The Good:

These individual stories are very original, and won’t fail to have you very confused.

The Bad:

This just has to be the worst one in the series. It’s not a horrible movie, but if you think about the direction the series was heading before, and where it went for the third film…you can most certainly tell it’s not quite…all there.

Let’s Be Cops (2014)

Let's-Be-Cops

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Funny, but predictable.

If you’re a fan of FOX’s New Girl, like me, then you’ll probably know who Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. are. If you aren’t a fan, then let me give you a hint – they are two very funny dudes. When I first saw the trailer to Let’s Be Cops, I thought it was a New Girl movie, given these two are the main characters and typically sport the same exact personalities that they have on the FOX sitcom – it could be easily misunderstood that these are basically the same characters. At any rate, it looked like a decent enough comedy to check out, and for the most part, it is just that.

If you have seen the trailer to the movie, you know exactly what it’s about, and probably can guess how it’ll play out from beginning to end. It’s about two friends that basically have no life and act like children…and when that starts to look bad, they decide to be…cops. They dress up in actual police attire and parade around town doing cop things. One of them, O’Malley, really likes the job, and starts obsessing over the things that they are doing, oblivious to the fact that it could send them to prison for several years. Obviously – they are bound to run into the biggest crime boss in the city.

I’ll tell you what I liked about the film, and then I’ll tell you what I didn’t. I did like how this film began. We have two very likeable characters with tremendous chemistry and a sense of humor. They are quite simply – hilarious to just…watch. When they start doing their police thing, it’s like…when we were kids playing cops and robbers all over again. Their childlike personality shines through and they do everything that they can to make an audience laugh – simply by taking their authoritative role as police officer – and do a bunch of silly things. It’s hard to say really, but it is funny. It’s stupid, but it’s funny. However, you can probably guess that it can’t last forever – and it doesn’t.

The movie has no other choice but to resort to a predictable plot. It’s not their fault really, because you can’t have a film like this without it ending a certain way – and that way really isn’t that hard to predict. So once it starts heading that direction – primarily when we meet the main bad guy, the film hits a bit of a low. It gets boring because the two guys playing around – changes gears. They aren’t just blindly having fun and abusing their power anymore, because now they are simply taking things too far. I get it, but it just wasn’t as fun, nor funny when you really think about it. I suddenly knew exactly where it was going, and I kind of lost interest halfway through.

I’ve seen a few comedies this year, and Let’s Be Cops is honestly one of the more decent flicks. It’s not perfect, and the comedy dithers out as it goes along, but it’s far from a film that you would try to escape a viewing from. It’s just…decent enough.

The Good:

In short – the first half. We meet a couple of very likeable guys with a great sense of humor – and we see them get into their roles as policemen, and the things they do just for the heck of it is surprisingly hilarious.

The Bad:

In short – the end half. This is where we meet the main bad guys and the entire plot shifts. No longer are they just doing it to do it – now they are doing it for a purpose. It’s not only predictable, but the comedy itself also changed…if only by a little bit. It got a little boring, if I can be honest. It wasn’t god awful, but it could have used some help

Gangster Squad (2013)

Gangster-Squad

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Sufficient, but boring.

Hello, world. You know, I’m not the biggest fan of gangster movies. I typically try to avoid them because I know very well that I’m biased against them and it wouldn’t really be fair to my readers if I gave them a bad review. Then again, since the world seems to share my distaste for this one particular movie – I thought I’d go ahead and talk about Gangster Squad. After all, it’s not really about gangsters now, is it? It’s about the Gangster Squad of 1949 – totally different thing. I guess?

The plot of this film is relatively simple, thank god. It’s about Josh Brolin, who plays Sergeant John O’Mara – a police officer who lives life a bit on the edge. When his boss hires him to take down crime syndicate Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), John O’Mara must go into deep cover, with a group of other, willing officers – to infiltrate and take down the gang leader that had his hands around L.A. – and controlled basically everything. He was the Godfather of Los Angeles, basically.

I’ll tell you the main reason I didn’t like the movie, and this is probably different for everyone else – it’s noire – and it feels heavily drowned in thick, syrupy, noire tones. I’ve never personally cared for that type of movie because it simply doesn’t feel natural. Then again, there are things about how this movie feels in general that also bothers other critics. They would tell you it simply has a way about itself that feels inconsistent – as if the writers weren’t quite sure what they were going for in the writer’s room. For me, it was simply the fact that we have a noire, and that fact alone offers me little else than an overwhelming feeling of boredom.

I realize, however, that my personal opinion is a little rash and unfair, so I try to accommodate that with giving this film the respect it deserves. First and foremost, the cast in this film is quite impressive – then again, an impressive cast doesn’t make a good movie…but it does help. Second of all, the simple plot of good guys versus bad guys is great. It doesn’t try to be anything that it’s not, and even introduces some moral dilemmas that were in all honesty, smart. And then…it had some humor.

Now I personally enjoyed the comedic relief – but other critics are right – it’s not the kind of humor you’d expect from a noire film. While everything else has that noire “feel”, the comedy was really light, not dark. They threw in little jokes here and there to lighten the mood, but to me…it felt off. It wasn’t so much to tip the overall balance that the movie had for itself, but it was enough to question if it was the right thing to do from a filmmakers perspective. I think the comedy alone has made critics question what type of movie this even is, and I understand that.

The Good:

As far as gangster movies goes, this isn’t horribly bad. It’s got a clear goal with clear protagonists and antagonists. The casting in the film is quite impressive, and it does what it needed to do to work.

The Bad:

I have to say, though, I’ve never enjoyed a movie that sports a noire “feel”. That alone creates boredom, in my opinion – but it was their mixture of dark, violent noire and light, sporadic humor that felt conflicting. In order for it to be consistent, the humor they needed was dark humor – which would flow with everything else quite nicely.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

TMNT14

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Not so Cowabunga.

When I was a kid, there’s actually a video of me saying I wanted the Ninja Turtles for Christmas. They’ve been around for…forever, and throughout that time, they’ve more or less evolved. From cartoon, to live action, to CGI, to a variation of live action and CGI graphics. Wherever they were found, kids were sure to love them, because they could connect with this idea of misfit, thrown away teenagers that fight for us in the shadows – and their personalities were also really hip…it’s really no wonder why kids love them so much. But throughout the past few months, I’ve watched every other movie for the turtles, and I couldn’t see a whole lot more than 90’s cheese and bad puns. I had a lot of hopes for the 2014 film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – and those hopes…they weren’t actually met with open arms.

We have a very basic story here – to give it to you straight – April O’Neil is a television reporter who is simply not taken seriously. She needs her big break in order to succeed in her career. Along come crime-fighting turtle vigilantes who are gunning to take down the ominous Foot Clan. The Foot Clan is more or less your classic Bond villain – trying to take over the world by maximizing popular demand for their product in a very…evil fashion.

There are quite a few flaws that are found in this film, but I want to first focus on the good, because what little there is…shouldn’t be ignored. These are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the TMNT, made famous by their childlike immaturity while also knowing karate skills. They are, at the bare minimum, cool dudes. Kids can connect with their personalities, and in doing so, have the potential in learning important messages alongside the turtles. That personality that we know and love from the TMNT is still very present. However, that same personality conflicts with almost everything else in the movie.

This is produced by Michael Bay, so expect a lot of serious overtones, explosions, and overacting. That’s all fine, but then you have these turtles acting like children and making a bunch of jokes. The problem with that is the fact that we end up with an imbalanced shift in tone. Serious films can work well if the comedy is stitched in just right…but in my opinion – they were two polar opposites here – and they didn’t mix very well. To make things a little worse – how are we supposed to truly believe these are teenagers? They’re bigger than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Just the fact that they look like massive adults and act like children is another imbalanced element all on its own.

The action and visuals were great, and I never expected anything less. It was top of the art, and choreographed rather well in terms of actions and even camerawork. However, one of the biggest flaws the film had was casting. I wouldn’t say it was horrible casting, but I would say very, very peculiar. Megan Fox never struck me as an actress worthy of a role like April. Her acting here was subpar, and came off as a little too whiny…we’ll just say she was pretty awful. Let me rephrase…she was Megan Fox. Then you have Will Arnett as comedic relief…that’s fine, but I still don’t think he fit very well. Then you have Tony Shalhoub as Splinter…really? Finally. Whoopi Golberg. I won’t even comment on that one.

It’s very hard to put into words how I reacted to this movie. If I could sum everything up – I’d say it was an imbalanced film with great action and visuals, but bad casting and/or acting. All inside a recycled and disposable plot that more or less disappointed me.

The Good:

You can still tell this is a TMNT movie. The personalities of the turtles are still present, and they still really like their sewer pizza.

The Bad:

As far as films go, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles failed in representing a film with a balanced flow. Instead, you have a movie that jumps between serious, dramatic moments – immediately to immature man-child turtles. They also act way too young for how they were designed – which is bigger than Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime. You won’t buy that they are supposed to be teenagers, no matter how they act the part.

Hercules (2014)

Hercules

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
I expected better.

I can’t say I’m the biggest fan or knowledgeable person when it comes to Greek mythology, but I can at least say that I’ve always at least found the story of Hercules to be one worthy of my fascination. Yes, that may technically be due to Disney, and I may not really know the real legend, but I like the idea of the guy. Over the last year, there has been a few random movies based on the character, but the only one I really wanted to check out was Hercules, starring Dwayne, The Rock, Johnson. If I could wrap it up in a single sentence, I might basically say that the trailers lied to us. That doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing, but it does mean false advertising, which in and of itself…is sketchy.

So The Rock plays Hercules in this adaptation of the story, and it may not be what you were expecting from the character. If you were expecting monster-fighting, high budgeted visual effects – you’ll have a better time watching Wrath of the Titans. No, the trailers may have shown as such, but in reality, all of that was shown in the first five minutes of the film – as the “legend” of Hercules. The rest of the movie is about Hercules being hired by a guy that wants to save his city – and needs Hercules’s strength to do that. That means a lot of swords, shields, and sandles. Yeah…this is closer to 300 than anything from mythology.

The reason why they lied to you may possibly because they wanted a certain audience to come to the movie and be surprised once there. It was all about legends vs. reality, and if Hercules really lived – would he have really been son of a true God, or would that have all simply be a legend? They question that quite a bit, and it reminds me of a lot of Jewish beliefs regarding Jesus.  I honestly don’t care that they proposed that specific question, because it does make you think while watching – if he is just a mortal man, but as far as advertisement goes – there is a lot of misconceptions flying around the web. Even IMDB’s own description…isn’t 100% accurate.

It’s not really the false advertising that hit me the hardest though, it was the confusing story. Yes, you start to understand what’s going on, because it’s happening, but the why is often a little foggy and left up to the imagination. Is there a real why, yes, but I actually found it easily missed in order to pave way for flashy action and violence. There just isn’t a ton of depth in the movie. The characters are fine. They do what they needed to do in order for the movie to feel more complete, but they themselves have no real development or super importance. It’s just a movie, guys – and not one that needs to be seen. I’ve seen better from Dwayne Johnson, and I’ve seen better from Brett Ratner. This isn’t a movie you need to be seeing.

The Good:

Look, Dwayne Johnson visually fits a role of Hercules. He’s massive, he’s strong, and you can buy him kicking a person ten feet across a room more than you could from a different actor. This is also not the worst movie in the world – in fact there are worse Hercules movies released just this year.

The Bad:

I can see expectations being a little ruined due to false advertising, but I am a little disappointed that the Rock didn’t sing“I Can Go the Distance”. In all seriousness and fairness, there’s not a lot about this film that needs to be seen. It’s pretty forgettable.

Planes: Fire and Rescue (2014)

Planes-2

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
I hate myself.

Stupid, stupid, stupid! Not the movie, me. Though the movie isn’t all that fantastic either. I’m just angry at myself for even deciding to watch this thing in the first place. The only, and I really mean only, reason I watched it is because a big part of my website is dedicated to watching the movies that people are talking about – either through praise or hatred. Planes: Fire and Rescue is one of those movies people scoff at, and are completely baffled as to how it came to be when no one even wanted, nor cared for the first one. Heck, the same can be said about the third movie, which is apparently a thing, too. Well…I decided to throw myself into the lions den this time and watch the film…and I wasn’t surprised at all as to how it turned out.

Planes: Fire and Rescue continues the story of racing plane, Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) in his adventures past his racing days. Yes, yes, because the model of his plane is so god-awful old – there is a gearbox in the plane that has no replacement parts anywhere on the planet, or so it would seem. So when that stops working, his racing days are suddenly done… apparently, forever. So instead of racing, he apparently goes to his next adventure – which is fire-flighting. Yes. Dusty turns into a plane that specializes in putting out random fires in random forests. Or something.

At least in the first film, I had the opportunity to say that it had some really good messages, despite being a useless movie that no one really asked for, but I can’t even say that for the sequel. The film, in all honesty, feels like it glorifies the positive repercussions of settling in life. You may not end up following your dreams or passions…but what you do end up with might not be all that bad, right? Important in kind of a realistic light, but even so – it sounds really weird coming from a little kid’s movie. Plus, that goes against what the first film taught – which was to follow your dreams no matter how impossible they may seem.

The reason behind it all makes sense though, which is something I can respect. I’m talking about a fresh plot. Something that involves all of the main characters of the first, introducing new ones, and changing up the entire atmosphere of the film. It’s not racing this time, it’s fire-fighting. On a primitive layer, that’s very respectable – but then again, I don’t care. I can see how they got there, but it doesn’t feel natural. It feels really forced, and the overall pacing has a huge problem because of that.

I’m not kidding here when I say I was bored. I was. Tenfold. I didn’t care about the story, I didn’t care about the transitions between subplots…I didn’t care about anything. My mind was elsewhere because the entire film is clearly geared for the little kiddoes – and has no substance to stay important in their lives for years to come. They’ll go to the theaters, and jump for joy while they suck their thumbs and watch all the action and colors on the screen…and then they’ll leave and forget about the whole thing – end of story, and that is why Planes: Fire and Rescue is simply not worth your time.

The Good:

If you have a baby or toddler, they’ll probably enjoy the film because there is a lot of interesting elements going on in the area of graphics. It’s bright, it’s fast-paced, and the colors are pretty vibrant.

The Bad:

This isn’t a movie that will be important for any man, woman, or child. It won’t stick with any audience member for years to come, and I certainly doubt that it’ll find it’s way to your Blu-Ray collection…that is, unless you’re looking for a new door stop.

Tammy (2014)

Review-Poster

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
I’ve seen funnier.

I’m back! Yes, for the past week and a half, my computer decided quite rapidly that it no longer wished to do my bidding. So for the entire month of October, I’ve had one, yes, one review…which I’m ashamed of! Then again, there haven’t been many movies recently that I’ve actually cared to watch, and TV has come back with a vengeance this fall…so I haven’t gotten around to reviewing things. Well, my computer works great again – and I’ve decided the film to review would be Tammy…a movie that never really interested me, but still had slight potential to be something funny.

So, Tammy is about this character (obviously) named Tammy (Melissa McCarthy). Tammy is an over-confident and slightly naive woman who resorts to running away when the going gets rough. When she loses her job and finds out her husband has been cheating on her, Tammy decides to leave town – which becomes possible when her money-wielding grandmother (Susan Surandon) decides to tag along. Let the hijinks ensue.

Now, when I first saw the trailers to this film, there wasn’t a lot of promising scenes…even for a trailer. Trailers to comedies typically showcase all of the best comedic moments, regardless on how many spoilers that could reveal – and this trailer…well…there wasn’t a lot of funny moments. Instead, it was more or less strange. Did the movie support that same basic tone? Yes. The film itself supported a lot of more strange than funny moments. As far as the comedy itself goes, Melissa as a stand-up comic is a hilarious woman. Her style is so unique and so wonderful – but we’ve seen it before. These last couple of years, she has shown up in virtually every single comedy, especially R-rated comedies – and this is probably my least favorite of the bunch.

It’s not so much because of her performance and more along the lines that the entirety of the film’s purpose seems to be centered on the comedic stylings of Melissa McCarthy. What do I mean by that? Put it this way, imagine a team of filmmakers sitting around a table discussing this film…all I can really see is…let’s see how much of her comedy we can fit in…and not focus on the actual story. The story was set on a blind path…there was simply no plot, nor reason to even watch the thing. It’s just the hijinks of a crazy grandmother and her granddaughter.

Okay, okay – there was one decent element of the film – and that was it’s perspectives and views on familial relationships – and how sometimes these relationships hit their own respective speed bumps. That was great, as was their ability to showcase the chemistry between these actresses – you believe that they really are granddaughter and grandmother – even though Susan Surandon could have also just played the mother. Seriously…the age difference doesn’t seem high enough. Twenty-four years apart? Yeah – definitely should have been the mother.

Anyways – the comedy also has a hard time connecting with the audience because the film itself feels very long…regardless of the actual short time length. It feels so long because when you’re watching, you know that the plot isn’t actually going anywhere, so you can’t help but feel the length of the thing. Going on an adventure is one thing, but please…please pick something to do when you’re on that adventure – and don’t pick something at random! This tends to be quite the pet peeve in the world of film.

The Good:

To be perfectly fair and honest, Tammy possesses a good perspective on familial relationships, and the chemistry Susan and Melissa possess is very believable, and in some light – very funny. There is also a few scenes that are pretty funny.

The Bad:

“A few” funny scenes really equates to maybe two, and the rest is just okay. The film simply feels too long because there no real plot or reason to keep watching them. All they are doing is random things anyways. All in all, you and I have seen better in the world of comedy.

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