I’m ‘meh’ on vampires in general (upgrade to ‘bleh’ if we’re talking sparkly Twilight vampires). I also know almost nothing about Vlad the Impaler, historically speaking. But this week I went to see a historical vampire movie about Vlad the Impaler, because… well… you gotta watch something, right?
A Transylvanian prince turns himself into a vampire to protect his people from slaughter at the hands of the Turkish army.
Perhaps because I know almost nothing of Vlad the Impaler’s true history, I was pleasantly surprised by Dracula Untold. I was expecting it to be stupid, but I actually enjoyed it. And, I suspect, you will too if you’ve ever watched a Twilight movie and wished someone would just turn into a hoard of bats and wipe out an army or something.
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.
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.
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.
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.
While I have to give this movie credit for acknowledging that there’s never just one copy of a thing in the digital age (something action movies like Skyfall and Jack Ryan have yet to clue into) it’s still pretty dumb. Why are these people flailing across the nation thinking they can get every copy back? THIS IS DIGITAL. THERE ARE INFINITE COPIES. YOU WILL NEVER GET THEM ALL. They would have done better to explore the comedy inherent in the two of them becoming overnight internet porn celebrities.
THE PURGE: ANARCHY
What is it, stupid premise day? Horror movies get a certain amount of leeway as far as believability goes, but this one pushes the envelope right over a cliff. National legal crime day is not only stupid (who would live in a country where everyone was allowed to kill them? And who wants to rebuild their entire nation every year after the criminals destroy it?) but it wouldn’t work. Criminals would not wait 364 days to get revenge if someone pissed them off the day after the purge. Also, how dumb are those two who decided to go for a drive just before the purge started?
PLANES: FIRE AND RESCUE
I know Planes didn’t go over well with anyone other than me, but this is a cool idea for a movie. Firefighting AND planes! Firefighting planes! I’m even willing to overlook the fact that Dusty is way too small of a plane to be much help in fighting forest fires. I mean, how much water could he hold in his tank? And how would he scoop it up? Poor Dusty doesn’t look like he could put out a campfire. But he’s still a plane that fights fires so I’ll see it.
I think it’s a cool idea to make a movie where the kid grows up on screen, and it looks like a good movie, but it’s kind of like a Guinness record attempt – the only reason to do it is for the pleasure of knowing you’re the only one who has. It just seems like 11 extra years of work when you could have made a good movie in a year by hiring a herd of brothers who all look alike or something.
I guess this is what you do when you want to make a post-apocalyptic action movie on a small budget. Set it on a train. It looks okay, but it does seem a little silly. I mean, their whole goal is to get to the front of the train. When they get there, they’ll still be on a train.
WISH I WAS HERE
It looks okay I guess. I remember liking Garden State many moons ago so I’d probably like this one as well. There just wasn’t anything in the trailer that really jumped out at me and made me say “Yes! This one! I want to see this one!” All I got was a vague sense of puzzlement… was that a hovering robot??