Month: January 2015

Butterfly Effect + Chronicle=Project Almanac

I first heard about Project Almanac late 2013 and was ready for it in early 2014. Then I forgot about it while it had been pushed back to 2015. That’s not something that screams “This is a good film”. Not to mention I hate found footage films. I think it is the cheapest and laziest way to make a film. There are a few exceptions, Chronicle, the first Paranormal Activity, but other than that I tend to stay away. Some films catch my eye and make me think “this one, this one is going to be a good found footage film”. Normally I am disappointed, but Project Almanac, this one surprised me.

Project Almanac stars relative unknowns Jonny Weston, Sofia Black D’Elia, Sam Lerner, and Allen Evangelista. It is directed by Dean Israelite and produced by Michael Bay. The film is a sci-fi adventure film that sees 5 friends who find the blue prints to a time machine that was once put together by one of their fathers. They decide using their intellect that they are capable of finishing this device. Once they get it up and running they use it to better their lives until they begin to realize they are interrupting the world, and causing tragedies.

If you had to describe this film, you would do so by calling it a combination of The Butterfly Effect and Chronicle. The film is very fun to watch. The cast is pretty functional. None of these actors and actresses are thespians, but that’s not to say they are not good, and won’t become great. Not to mention, D’Elia is incredibly beautiful. When they start traveling through time it really picks up and becomes really fun to watch. They do the generic things that we all would do with a time machine. Help them pass classes, play the lotto, go to concerts. And when things start to get south you get the main characters sense of urgency to fix things.

The problems with Project Almanac a pretty basic. Some of the dialog is cheesy, some of the acting a little bummy. Nothing that you’re unable to overlook though. The set up really takes some time. It gets to a point where they have been putting together this Time Machine and it’s been a pretty decent chunk of the film and you start to think “ok guys, let’s do this time to start Marty McFlying”. When they finally do get it off the ground the 2nd act takes you through all the fun they have. When the 3rd act comes around, it’s pretty much “we screwed things up” Boom, film wraps up. From the moment you hit the major dilemma till the end of the film is maybe 15-20 minutes.

All in all, Project Almanac is no Back to the Future, but it is still a fun film that’s worth a see. I’m giving it a Jeebus score of 3.3. But how about you Jackass Nation? Are you excited for Project Almanac? Are you planning on seeing it? What are some of your favorite time travel movies? Sound off in the comments below!

The Boy Next Door

The Boy Next Door is a new film starring Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, John Corbett, Ian Nelson, and Kristin Chenoweth. It is written by Barbara Curry and directed by the genus behind Alex Cross, The Mummy Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, and Stealth, Rob Cohen. It is described as an Erotic Thriller. Let that sink in. The director of the third Mummy movie, is directing an Erotic Thriller. Which is, highly over classified. I went in expecting a mindless film with some cheap and fun thrills. Just a Thursday afternoon off. What I got, was not that.

The Boy Next Door follows High school teacher Claire Peterson (Lopez) who is in the middle of a divorce with her husband (Corbett) leaving their son, Kevin (Nelson), in an awkward stage of his life. When a young neighbor names Noah (Guzman) moves in next door and befriends Kevin. After a bad date while her son is out of town with his father, Claire makes a mistake of sleeping with Noah. Noah becomes obsessed with Claire and begins to stalk her. As Claire’s life begins to get turned upside down, she starts to realize the horrifying truth that Noah’s past isn’t what it seems.

I felt this movie, given its plot, had a lot of potential to bring JLo back to that character we loved in Enough. That badass chick that hits her limit and fights back. This is not Enough. But before I rag on it too much, I will give you a few of the positives. Lopez is completely stunning in this film. Not that she’s not always beautiful, but she is particularly glowing in this one. Every scene is shot almost to make her look as sexy as she possibly can. It is almost the only thing that keeps you going through the film.

Well, that’s about it for the positives. This film was just plain awful. Other than a half-naked JLo, and one or two pretty hot sex scenes, there is nothing redeemable about this film. The direction is spotty, the dialog is cheesy, the acting is sub-par, and the casting is acceptable only because of JLo. Everyone else in the film is pretty much terrible. The nerdy kid is too over the top, Guzman cannot play crazy what so ever. Not once did I ever buy Kristin Chenoweth as a Vice Principle of a high school. You would hope that maybe this would be one of those “So bad it’s good” guilty pleasure types, but it can’t even fulfil that role.

Most people might be confused seeing as The Boy Next Door doubled its budget on opening weekend. But here’s what you might not know. Cohen filmed this movie in 25 days, on a 4 million dollar budget. That’s not impressive. Anything can make 8 mill in January, 90%of what is released is just like this film, Garbage. I’m scoring this film 1.9, with a .2 bonus for a half-naked JLo. It would have been higher, but I think you get more of Guzman naked then you do JLo. So that only gives us a Jeebus score of 2.1. Don’t waste your money folks.

So what say you Jackass Nation. Have you already wasted money on this garbage? What did you think? If not, what is your favorite JLo film? Sound off in the comments below!

The Wedding Ringer

The Wedding Ringer is the newest vehicle driven by laugh out loud comedian Kevin Hart. The film is written and directed by Jeremy Garelick. Alongside Kevin Hart the film stars Josh Gad, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Olivia Thirlby, Jennifer Lewis, and Jorge Garcia. It is produced by Adam Fields, Will Packer Productions and Miramax Films.

The Wedding Ringer follows Doug (Gad) 10 days out from his wedding, and he is having trouble finding a best man and groomsman. He’s already told his fiancée Gretchen (Cuoco) that he has a best man and wedding party. Desperate to not look like a loser in front of his soon to be wife Doug finds Jimmy Callahan (Hart). Owner and operator of The Best Man Inc. A Company that provides loners with best men and wedding party’s to help pull off the happiest day of their wives lives. Doug s looking to pull of the biggest wedding of Jimmy’s career, however the deck has been stacked after Doug tells Gretchen their crazy names and back stories. Can these two pull of ”The Golden Tux” of weddings?

The Film is hilarious. Right off the bat I was nearly on the floor in laughter before the opening credits started running. This rag tag cast of comedians is pretty good together, but not in an over bearing way. Some comedies tend to try and over use their actors and gags, this one does not suffer from that issue. The jokes are set up and punch lines hit quickly and they move on to the next one for the most part. The story can be considered a little generic at first glance, heck my brother went so far as to call it a Sequel to Will Smith’s. Hitch. But honestly, it was completely unpredictable to me. The finish had refreshed, not your normal Cliché Rom-Com finish.

Like I said with the cast, the best part of this film is the chemistry between Gad and Hart. The two are really good together. And when you bring in the Wedding party and start up the shenanigans, it really hits. Garelick seems to have great comedic timing when it comes to directing. This is the first feature film he has directed. He wrote The Break Up before this, and I look forward to his future projects.

It’s not all sunshine and roses. There are a few scenes that seemed a little excessive. The majority of the gags run very smoothly but one or two go from small gags to over the top, and that is where you are kind of taken out of the film. There is a character, the bride’s father that I also found to be a bit overdone. Most these issues are nothing another pass at the editing bay couldn’t have fixed. And are also a little nitpicky.

All in all The Wedding Ringer is a lot of fun. It is laugh out loud hilarious, and the cast is a joy to watch. I’m giving it a Jeebus Score of 3.9 out of 6. Not many jewels come out in January, this is one you are definitely going to want to see.

American Sniper

American Sniper has been a film I was very disappointed was only getting a limited release on Christmas Day. A release that wasn’t looking to be here in Dallas, Texas. And it wasn’t until a week later, I found out hey, it is playing here. So I spent my New Year’s Eve day in a packed theater ready for what I was sure to be was going to an emotional, and epic tale about an American hero. And I was not disappointed.

American Sniper stars Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, and is directed by Clint Eastwood. The film is written by Jason Hall and based on the autobiography of Chris Kyle, American Sniper written by Kyle. The Film follows Navy Vet Chris Kyle (Cooper) as he goes from young cowboy, to the most deadly and accurate Sniper in American history. It follows his 4 separate tours into Iraq chronicling his rivalry with an enemy Sniper, and his troubles adapting to life back in the states. After 9/11, Kyle feels a calling to become something more. He signs up for the military and becomes a legend, and a hero to everyone who knows him. Little do they know he has his own internal struggle while dealing with family and life outside of war.

The film is truly an emotional rollercoaster. Seeing the struggles this man is going through dealing posttraumatic stress disorder. As a soldier and a hero he knows who he is, but at home he doesn’t know how to be a husband or a father. While in the field he must make decisions that affect his life at home, that affect his team in the field. It invokes the thoughts in your own head, of what would I do in this situation? Could I do what was needed of me?

The cast is very solid for the most part. Everyone is truly functional. Cooper is perfectly cast as Chris Kyle. He looks the part, and not once do you see Bradley Cooper. You see the Legend the entire film. The rest of the cast, well it’s a cast, they are all functional. Sienna Miller, is, ok, ish. Personally she was the weakest part of the film. And it’s not her performance that is weak, she is good, it was more the character. And by character I mean Chris Kyles wife. I know why the film had to go home and show you the effects pf PTSD on Kyle and his family, but when the film is at home in the states it begins to drag. I found myself annoyed with his wife and just ready to get back to the next tour.

The film is very entertaining, and truly emotional. I teared up, but I survived until the very end. It wasn’t until live footage of the funeral procession. Over all I’m giving American Sniper a Jeebus score of 4.8.

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 6 points. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Acting, Entertainment, and Casting, and a max of .5 for Dialog, Cinematography, and Direction. There is also a possible bonus up to .5.

TAK3N a Fugitive

Bryan Mills, the man with a particular set of skills has returned. Taken 3, or TAK3N as it is it is being referred to. Liam Neeson returns along with Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace, and are joined by new comer to the franchise Forest Whitaker. Written and produced once again by Luc Besson, Taken 3 sees Taken 2 director Olivier Megaton back in the director’s chair. I wasn’t a fan of the 2nd installment, feeling it was nothing more than a rehash of the first film. However all the trailers for this 3rd film has had me excited, looking like they were taking the franchise in another direction this go around.

Taken 3 sees ex-government operative Bryan Mills (Neeson) who has a particular set of skills that make him a nightmare to anyone trying to harm his family, accused of the murder of his ex-wife Lenny (Janssen). While on the run from the inspector on the case, Franck Dotzler (Whitaker), Mills looks to find his wife’s true killer, clear his name, and protect his daughter.

I’m not going to lie to you. This film was really missing one thing. Detective Samuel Gerard and if you don’t know who I am talking about, stop reading and go watch The Fugitive. Then you can come back and read this. The film isn’t horrible, it is a lot better then Taken 2 I’ll give it that. It is not rehashing the same old story. It’s rehashing another story. Forest Whitaker is really good as the hardened detective, with two ticks, yes he has two ticks. But the entire film I couldn’t help but want Tommy Lee Jones here. In a time where Hollywood is hot with shared universes, this film could have benefited from Crossing over with The Fugitive/U.S. Marshalls. Yes, I said it.

Ok taking out that this is pretty much a Fugitive remake and could’ve benefited from the crossover let’s just look at it for what it is. The finale of the Taken Trilogy. The action is a little over the top this go around. They kind of went from realistic feel from the first film to a little out of control in the second, to straight up Fast and Furious. There are literally scenes that you watch and think “Yep, no one survives that.” And then a scene later with no explanation here comes Bryan Mills walking down the street on his phone.

It’s not all bad though. Liam Neeson is fun in this role as he always is. And there are a good amount of twist and turns that do keep you guessing. Maggie Grace is shining star and probably my favorite performance of hers. And like I said Forrest Whitaker is always talented and fun onscreen. It is also nice that this go around we get to see Mills’ crew get more involved. Over the course of the first 2 films you feel as if they are just lackeys but you expect more. And this time you kind of get it.

Over all it is a decent film, and a decent (possible) ending to the franchise. It could have been more effective if they had taken advantage of the scripts likeliness to The Fugitive. I’m giving this one a Jeebus Score of 3.2 out of 6. What say you? Are you looking forward to TAK3N, did you like the first 2? What is your favorite Liam Neeson film? Sound off in the comments below.