I read a lot, but I didn’t get around to James Dashner’s Maze Runner before the movie came out, so I went in ‘blind’ so to speak, which is probably the best way to go with book adaptations. No one likes to sit there going ‘that’s not how it was in the book!’ All I knew about the movie came from the trailer: that it was like The Hunger Games, but all-boy.
A teenage boy with no memory starts asking questions that change everything for a community of boys living at the center of a giant maze.
While the The Hunger Games was all about survival, Maze Runner‘s plot is centered around figuring what the hell is going on. I enjoyed watching their action-packed quest for answers, but unfortunately when the answers finally came, they made no sense.
For the second week in a row, I had two choices. Dolphin Tale 2: the sequel to a trite kids movie full of structural issues or No Good Deed. Since No Good Deed looked like what would happen if you tried to re-enact Labor Day at home (i.e. oh no, a bad man is trying to kill me!), I opted for the more upbeat option.
A teenage boy stands to lose his disabled dolphin friend if the aquarium can’t find a female playmate for her by the government deadline.
The big problem with Dolphin Tale was that they took a great true story about a disabled dolphin learning to swim again and pushed it into the background so some little kids could make trite speeches. Thankfully, the sequel is much better. It’s moving instead of trite and adorable instead of annoying. Cuteness for the whole family.
I had two choices this week. The Captive, which looked like Prisoners starring Ryan Reynolds, and Boyhood, which looked like you could sum up the story with ‘a boy grows up – the end.’ Neither drew me. What should I see? The universe chose The Captive on my behalf. Boyhood didn’t have a showing after lunch.
A father and a police anti child exploitation unit search for a kidnapped girl eight years after the fact when it becomes clear the kidnapper is taunting them.
I expected The Captive to be just like Prisoners, but it wasn’t, really. There’s no question of what happened to the daughter. She and her kidnapper are perspective characters. Instead, we wonder whether the police and/or her parents will ever find out what happens to her. There are a few questions left unanswered, but I liked it.
Nothing really struck my fancy this week, even though I had three weeks of new releases to pick from. I guess the summer season is over. The trailer for November Man wasn’t inspiring – sort of a Spy Game redo with Pierce Brosnan as the trainer and some new guy as the trainee. Don’t fall in love, etc. etc. But I picked that one anyway and it turned out the trailer didn’t do it justice.
A retired CIA agent is pitted against his former student as he tries to find a missing woman before the CIA can use her to control the next Russian president.
Action-thrillers like Taken that pretend to be smart and complicated but are actually just about throat chopping are all the rage these days. What I like about The November Man is that you get the visceral throat-chopping satisfaction but with actual intelligence, complex characters, and plot twists.
A thousand apologies, but there will be no review this week or (probably) next week. I’m going on vacation to the boonies so I won’t be able to see anything new. In case you’re wondering what to see, if I could, I’d do The Giver this week and (under great duress) Sin City: A Dame to Kill For next week (my friend the Bare Knuckle Writer gets to pick – it’s her birthday). But I can’t, because I’ll be doing much more exciting things. Like sleeping. And not working. See you in two weeks.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came out this weekend, but I decided not to pay Michael Bay to retroactively ruin my childhood. I didn’t completely forego 90s nostalgia, though. I chose Into the Storm, a tornado movie that I hoped would re-create the ‘wow’ factor from my first viewing of Twister.
A high school vice principal and his videographer son tag along with a team of tornado chasers in order to rescue his other son from a tornado-demolished factory.
Armchair storm chasing is one of my family’s favorite hobbies. Everybody who was in town turned out for this movie, even though it wasn’t all that popular among regular folks. Into the Storm was no Twister. Take out the tornados and it would be terrible. But you can’t take out the tornados, because it’s a tornado movie. So it’s still pretty awesome.
I don’t read many superhero comic books, so before they started brewing up this movie, I’d never heard of Guardians of the Galaxy. I do watch science fiction films though, so even if this hadn’t been a Marvel movie I’d still have gone on opening night. Because spaceships! Handsome smugglers! Gun-toting raccoons!
A thief, an assassin, a revenge-obsessed father, a genetically modified raccoon, and a huge talking plant join forces to keep a world-ending weapon out of the hands of terrorists.
Guardians of the Galaxy is similar to The Avengers in that it involves a bunch of smartasses with diverse skills reluctantly teaming up to stop evildoers. The big difference for me was that while The Avengers was almost all infighting, actual plot actually happens in Guardians of the Galaxy, which makes it the better movie.
As you may have guessed from the fact that my posts have become somewhat erratic over the last few months, my schedule has changed. I got transferred to a different department at work. This is good, because it means I can afford to buy some dollar store stickers to decorate my cardboard box.
It’s also bad, because my job has greedily gobbled up all my blogging time/energy.
I hope to continue posting reviews on Sunday and random thoughts on a random basis… when I can… and I have something to say, but Tuesday DVDs and Wednesday Trailers are getting the boot for the time being. Sorry to all one of you who read this blog (hi Mom!) and thanks for reading. I’ll let you know if/when things go back to normal.
My theater got zero movies that I wanted to see this week. I contemplated staying home and reviewing a much more promising looking DVD, but my friends were in town. So I let them pick the movie (well, to be fair, the decision was made on the basis of start time rather than content). Anyway, they picked Lucy, the movie I thrashed in my trailer reviews.
A coerced drug mule goes after the Triad who kidnapped her when a drug bag leaks and gives her superpowers.
Sometimes there’s a small possibility that I might like a movie I didn’t like as a trailer. This is usually because the trailer failed to get at the essence of the story. But with Lucy this was not possible. With Lucy, the premise is the problem. It’s just another revenge movie, but based on the fallacy that we only use 10% of our brains.
It’s interesting to see Rufus Sewell and Ian McShane playing wisecraking sidekicks rather than villains, especially considering that this is exactly the type of big budget hollywood meatheadstravaganza that is most likely to typecast actors (such as slapping a loincloth on a wrestler). Can’t say the Ancient Greek action appeals to me, though. I only watched the Perseus movies because Sam Worthington was in them.
I can’t even begin to list the things that piss me off about this movie. Kidnapping people to use as drug mules when there are plenty around who would do it for money. Using a mule to transport supersoldier drugs. Supersoldier drugs. Supersoldier drugs that make the main character into an instant remorseless assassin savant with telekenetic powers. The fact that the filmmakers are probably patting themselves on the back for creating such a ‘strong female character.’ A science fiction movie that doesn’t bother to read up on science (the 10% of your brain thing is Hollywood science, not fact). I could go on, but I think you get the point.
AND SO IT GOES
A little insensitive? A little rude? Let’s call it like it is, okay? Dude’s an a**hole. No one in their right mind would ask him to look after a child. Also, the last movie I liked that involved reforming a total jerk was Cars. And Cars had a talking helicopter.
A MOST WANTED MAN
Oh no, not John Le Carre! I know he’s hailed for his realism but in my experience, realism in a spy movie means boring and confusing. I guess that explains why the trailer gave me almost no sense of what the f*** was going on.
Park? I thought they were at a university. Other than that it looks pretty funny. I just hope that the slightly lackadaisical tone in the trailer doesn’t mean the movie is slow and/or boring.
This looks like a fun trip to BE on, but not a fun trip to watch these two old dudes go on. It was only two minutes long and I was bored.
Oh no, the director of Another Earth. That movie was a really cool idea that was unfortunately too metaphorical and boring in execution. I’m not sure about the idea part of this one – I’m kind of confused about what her eyes are supposed to be telling them – but I get the sense it is also too metaphorical and slow-moving for me.