Month: June 2014

Transformers 4: Age of Bayisms

Transformers 4: Age of Extinction! The fourth installment of the multimillion dollar franchise is here. This go around we have a whole new story arc, leaving the past human characters in the past. The film is once again directed by Micheal Bay and stars Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammar, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, T.J. Miller, and Peter Cullen. I for one will start by saying I am a huge fan of Michael Bay, and the first three Transformer films. Coming into this one I was really excited, DinoBots, a new story arc, what was there not to be excited about?! Little did I know.

Walking out of the theater I fully planned to give this film a decent score. Not great, but decent. I felt that it had problems but was still at its core ok. Then I started thinking about it on the way home, and go to my score card and saw the final and just realized, this was kind of slap in the face. The entire freaking film. It has a few redeeming qualities which I will get into, but for the most part, it’s the first time I see what most people say about Bay films. I never thought I could be bored during an intense action scene, but I got actually got a little bored at one part during an amazing action sequence. So lets take a look at this

We’ll start with the characters. Human first. Mark Wahlberg plays generic guy number 1, who you shouldn’t care about, but since its Mark Wahlberg you kind of do. His daughter is played by Nicola Peltz, she has absolutely no redeeming qualities to her. I actually wanted to see her get taken out by a deception. Her boyfriend, played by Jack Reynor, also, no character development, and someone you don’t care about. T.J. Miller plays the early on comic relief, and is fun to watch while he’s there but once his minor role is over, they try to turn Stanley Tucci into your comic relief, and fails miserably! For the most part Frasier is good at his role as the generic bad guy. But not someone who really has substance.

The Autobots are pretty cool. Cullen once again is phenomenal as Prime. And John Goodman steals the show as Hound. Ken Watanabe does a great job voicing Drift. But at the same time, there is no focus on them. The film tryst to focus on the humans too much. I At least found myself caring about these AutoBots. The major Deception, or villainous Robot is Lockdown. A galactic bounty hunter that is on a mission to hunt down AutoBots and Deceptions. And he is cool, and villainous, but nothing can make up for a lack of Megatron. As a fan of the series, I want to see Megatron. No one will ever make up more than the Deception leader.

The story is horribly weak. It follows down on their luck family that gets thrust into a battle to save the planet. Some old story right? Just without any likeable characters, or redeeming Dialog! The dialog in this film was horrendous! The AutoBots were done all right, but the when the humans had to speak it was like a bad Saturday morning television show! The CGI as well was not on par with previous films. The Transformers looked alright at times, but the new transforming mechanisms of the new Transformers looked like cheap animation. And the blue screen effect were terrible. There is a part where someone is falling out of a building, and no joke, it worse the Dick Jones falling at the end of the Original Robocop.

And finally. The Dinobots. Or lack of. This film is built around the belief that the DinoBots were going to be there. Well, they are, for a very minor role. In a 2 hour and 45 minute film, you get 30 minutes of DinoBots, their back story makes no sense! Their arrival makes no sense. It gets set up, and you think you know how they will show up, then right out of left field, boom, crappy arrival. It made no freaking sense! And to be honest, again as a fan of the source material, THESE WERENT THE FREAKING DINOBOTS! THEY WERE CHEAP IMMITATIONS! It just makes me mad! And the mnore I think about it, the angrier I get!

So all in all, when I look at this one I can’t say it is the worst of the series, because Revenge of The Fallen had its flaws too, and major ones. But it definitely comes behind the original, and the Dark of the Moon. I looked at it, scored it, and went with a Jeebus Score of 2.7, Redbox It!

Think Like a Man Too

The highly anticipated sequel, er, the anticipated sequel, er the sequel to 2012 smash hit, er hit, Think Like A Man, Think Like A Man Too is here. Tim Story returns to the directors seat for the sequel, and brings back with him the entire cast, Michael Ealy, Kevin Hart, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence J, Romany Malco, Gabrielle Union, all return, along with new comers Gary Owen, La La Anthony, and special appearances by Dennis Haysbert, Carl Weathers, Floyd Mayweather and Kelsey Grammer.

The original film, Think like a Man, mad $96 Million on a modest $12 Million budget. That’s obvious grounds that a sequel would be on its way. As far as I am concerned, the film was very entertaining. Where the first film was definitely a lot more of a love story, whereas this go around the film is basically Kevin Harts movie. While Hart was a minor character in the first film, he takes the spotlight and rightfully so. I am a sucker for Kevin Hart, his jokes and comedy hit me just right so I might be bias. But Think like a Man Too benefits from the added screen time for Hart.

The original cast all returns and all have their own relationship issues to deal with. Maya (Good) and Zeke (Malco) struggle with Zeke’s past, while Dominic (Ealy) and Lauren (Henson) futures both look bright, yet would keep them apart. Jeremy (Ferrara) and Kristin (Union) now married are trying to have a child, but Jeremy has doubts about himself as a father. Then you have Candace (Hall) and Michael (Terrance J), wedding weekend, overbearing mother (Jennifer Lewis), as well as the Bachelor and Bachelorette parties. Meanwhile Cedric (Hart) is going through another divorce with Gail (Wendy Williams) and keeping the bachelor party rolling.

The film doesn’t really move the characters forward, but at the same time is a fun film. You enjoy watching the drama, and fun times these characters have. Plus any movie set in Vegas is always a blast to watch. On the surface the story is a little weak, but when fun starts up, and the antics get going you can almost just smile and enjoy it, even without the deep story. The performances are all ok, nothing acceptable, or something to be excited about, but everyone plays their part well. To be honest, I watch this film, and it makes me mad about the upcoming Fantastic Four Reboot. I love Meagan Good, and this film is no exception. I think she would’ve made a great Sue Storm, but that’s a topic for another time.

Over all the film is pretty fun to watch, and the story can keep you entertained. I gave Think like a Man Too a Jeebus Score of 3.6, with a bonus of .3 for Kevin Hart’s comedic performance, coming out to a 3.9, Check out the Matinee!

Jersey Boys

Clint Eastwood returns to the director’s seat with his interpretation of the Tony Award winning musical Jersey Boys. The film tells the story of rise to fame of the musical group Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The Film Stars John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lamenda, Vincent Piazza, and Christopher Walken. Odds are you know The Four Seasons. Even if you don’t realize that you know them. Sitting in the theater, as they came up with a performed songs, I was taken back to when I was young and listened to my mom playing them. Songs I loved, songs I grew up with. To see the story behind them was very exciting.

Jersey Boys is the film adaptation of the hit Broadway play of the same name. The story follows the rise to fame of Frankie Valli, Tommy DeVito, and the Four Seasons. The time line can be pretty confusing as dates are never given, but the film starts out with a young Frankie as he learns the ropes of the street life from DeVito. Soon Frankie is taken into “the group” and they begin their journey to stardom. Along the way they meet Bob Gaudia, through Joe Pesci, yes, THE Joe Pesci. That was cool. The group grows and becomes the giant success that they were, and until DeVito’s money problems, and Valli’s family problems.

The cast was top notch I think. A few of the actors are stage actors, I am no expert in stage acting so I didn’t really notice a distinction in them. Vincent Piazza plays the street wise DeVito with such passion. He’s an interesting character watch. And John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli is incredible. He also played the part in the Broadway play. It’s amazing how much a like they sound. As much as I liked seeing Joe Pesci in the film, the character, the actor who played him was definitely no Joe Pesci. To top the film off, there is nothing like seeing Christopher Walken on screen. He demands your attention whenever he is present.

Going to see the film I was excited to see the story. I knew a few songs from the trailer, but did not realize how many of their songs I actually knew and loved. And seeing how they put them together was very entertaining. The story is an incredible one too. I would have liked to see more on the ties they had to mob, and problems DeVito got himself into. And like I said the timeline could get very confusing, you never really know what year it is, or how much time had passed. If you didn’t live through the decade, you might not really get a grasp of how long these guys where in the spot light. I know I had a problem knowing how long it had taken.

The film also takes advantage of breaking the 4th wall. Whereas most films only let one character do so, they continue the films narrative at different times letting different characters speak to the audience. It can be confusing, but for the most part isn’t. I gave the film a Jeebus score of 3.9 with a .2 bonus for the films music. That said, Jersey Boys gets a 4.2, A Good Time at the Theater!

22 Jump Street

21 Jump Street was arguably the best comedy of 2012. Bringing in a grand total of $201,585,328 on a budget of only $42 Million. It was destined to have a sequel. The problem is when comedies try to recapture the magic they produce with a sequel, they tend to basically make the same movie. Same jokes, same story, same situation. And 22 Jump Street does just that. Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and Ice Cube return, with directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller returning as well. Nearly the same plot, and nearly the same jokes. Problems is, this sequel that is the same story as the original works perfectly, and fires on all cylinders!

The best part of 21 Jump Street was that it didn’t take itself to seriously. It knew it was a washed up remake of an old TV show. It poked fun at the fact that Hollywood has “ran out of ideas and are just rehashing the same old stuff” This film takes that theory to the an entire new level. Calling itself out for being a sequel, when sequels are notoriously weaker than their original counter-parts. As well as the fact that they are literally giving us the exact same story, with very minor twist. They literally remind you every chance they get that you are in fact watching a movie you have seen before. This self-aware comedy has been used before, even though it doesn’t always work properly. The Scary Movie films do it over and over and over and yet those films are terrible. 22 Jump Street however does it flawlessly.

The cast all returns and are phenomenal together. Tatum and Hill’s chemistry together is incredible. When it was first announced Tatum was going to be in the first film, I was definitely skeptical. Channing Tatum, in comedy? That’s not a good fit. But now, I couldn’t imaging these films without these two together. Tatum comedic timing plays off of Jonah Hill so well, you forget that these two are the superstars that they are and you buy into the characters themselves. Ice Cube has a much bigger role in this go around, and he honestly steals the show. Two of the best scenes in the film are centered around Ice Cube. He is goes all out, and it is a hit. There are a lot of cameos, if you can call them that, or pop ups. Peter Stormare plays a villainous role like only he can.

There aren’t very many negative points to the film. I guess it can drag a little at a few times, but you need the down time to stop from laughing and take a little break. And when it does start to drag, it is defiantly not for long. Sure you’ve seen the story, you’ve heard the jokes, and you’ve seen a nd heard it Al by the same cast and movie. But like I said, it works, incredibly. That said, this far, I have to call 22 Jump Street the best comedy of the year, I gave it a Jeebus score of 4.6 with a .4 bonus for 5.0, Multiple Viewings Required!

All You Need is Kill, on the Edge of Tomorrow

All you need is kill! Er, Edge of Tomorrow. The new film from the director of greats such as Swingers, The BOurne Identity, Mr. & Mr Smith, and Jumper, Doug Liman. Now I know what you are thinking, Tom Cruise, he doesn’t have it anymore, this looks like the same as that last crappy film he did Oblivion. But trust me, this film was marketed horribly. It’s a pretty good film. It stars Cruise Emily Blunt, and Bill Paxton. Edge of Tomorrow is based on the Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill, which originally was the title, and actually a much better title if you ask me.

Cruise stars as Major William Cage, a loser spokesperson for the army, who is a the voice of the resistance against the aliens that have attacked earth. When he is forced into combat against his will, he is exposed to the aliens and develops a case of groundhogs day. Every time he dies he wakes up the day before the big battle. He meets Rita(Blunt) who once was stuck in the same situation. Together they train to fight the alien race and become the only hope for humanity.

The marketing for this film was awful. The trailers all looked terrible, there was little to no buzz around from critics or anyone who had screened the film. I went in thinking it would probably be a disappointment, but came out very entertained. Cruise has seemed to be phoning it in the last couple of films. I felt he was pretty much done as the action star. But this film shows that Cruise still has a few good action flicks in him. I am not particularly a big fan of Emily Blunt. I find her to be kind of dull. But she worked for me in this film. The chemistry between her and Cruise was phenomenal.

The story is a mix of Groundhogs Day, Aliens, and Starship Troopers. You could think it would have the possibility of getting stale and repeating itself could get boring. However, Edge of Tomorrow does a good job at changing things up and making each “reset” unique and continue the over all story. You see Cruise grow as a character and a soldier. The fact that his character knows his memories from every repeat, but Blunt’s must trust him right off the bat and she never knows how many days they have gone through certain situations.

The only issue I found with the film was the final act. After all the resets, all the work they do to set up, the battle can be kind of weak. Not enough to really hurt the film, but enough to make you think about it a little bit. Another big thing that will hurt the film is the lack of marketing like I said earlier. First off the film’s title is weak, All You Need Is Kill was interesting and exciting. Plus the negative perception of Cruise’s last outings in film will hold audiences back. Which is a shame, because this film is truly a fun time.

When it comes down to it, I gave the film a Jeebus score of 4.1, A Good Time at the theater. SO please, disregard your first perception of the film. Don’t let Oblivion, or Jack Ryan keep you away. Give Cruise another shot, and check out Edge of Tomorrow.