Month: August 2015

http://www.impawards.com/2015/american_ultra_ver6.html

American Ultra

American Ultra reunites Jesse Eisenberg with his Adventureland Co-Star Kristen Stewart, in a stoner comedy-action-thriller-spy film. The story follows a stoner (Eisenberg) who is in fact a government agent who doesn’t know that he is. When he is marked as a liability to the government’s program, he is targeted for extermination. When his original trainer, played by actress Connie Britton, activates him, he becomes a highly trained killing machine, and the government deploys any means necessary to eliminate him, while all he really wants is to do is propose to his loving Girlfriend (Stewart). The film, directed by Nima Nourizadeh, has a few laughs throughout, and decent performances, but suffers from a lack of known identity. It seems that the Nourizadeh doesn’t know what tone or genre he wanted this film to be. As well, the writer, Max Landis, didn’t know where to really go with the finish. With shaky cam action and a lack of character development, American Ultra will fall a little short this weekend.

Oddly enough, the stand out in this film is Kristen Stewart. An actress that is ridiculed for not only not having any facial expression, but literally no personality in her films, shows tremendous range in this outing. I really enjoyed her character arch, and where they went with her. She has emotional responses to each situation in each scene, and she pretty much carry’s the film. Another stand out is Topher Grace. While the character is overly cartoony, and doesn’t necessarily fit in the film, he is kind of fun to watch and be around.  John Leguizamo is always a joy to see on camera, his minor cameo is a lot of fun

The rest of the cast is functional. Nothing impressive or stand outish, but functional. I don’t think anyone else could’ve done better with the roles, for each of them feel like they were written for different films, and just thrown in here, so the cast is a moot point.

When the jokes and situational comedy hit, they are funny. There were numerous times that I found myself laughing at Eisenberg playing this stoner who finds himself in an awkward situation and has no idea how he knows how to handle himself. While what seems as just muscle memory, he does some pretty brutal kills. It is violent and fun to see. It is almost a cross between Pineapple Express and Kick-Ass.

The problem mostly lies in the filming and story of American Ultra. The action sequences are shot with amazingly annoying shaky cam technique. Which directors who don’t know how to shoot action correctly try to pass off weak action scenes in an obnoxious style. Choppy editing makes some of the action hard to follow, and what could be really fun action sequences are ruined by lazy film making.

The story is all over the place, it goes from stoner comedy, to action comedy, to dramatic thriller, back to stoner comedy, to violent action, and then to spy thriller. It is just way to over the top at times and then suddenly grounded. While there are funny moments, they are split between a boring story arch that revolves around Connie Britton’s character and another CIA Operative played by Tony Hale that was completely cartoony and took me out of the film every time he was on screen. Every character in the film feels like they were written for a different genre of film or a different movie all together

While Eisenberg does a good job at being the stoner, he is still just Jesse Eisenberg on weed. There is nothing special or new to this character, and the development of him is weak. And all though Topher Grace is fun when he is on screen, he is a complete cartoon, and doesn’t fit in the world around him. Bill Pullman’s overly serious character is a waste of his cameo and even in his small screen time, is over used, and almost unimportant.

All in all American Ultra is a passible film that has a few laughs but falls short when it comes to substance. While it was nice to see Kristen Stewart actually does some decent acting, that isn’t enough to actually make the film a good one. I’m giving it a Jeebus Score of 2.6 with a .2 bonus for Stewart’s performance and John Leguizamo, rounding out My Jeebus Score for American Ultra as 2.8 out of a possible 6. What about you Jackass Nation? Are you planning on catching American Ultra this weekend, or another film? Sound off in the comments, and as always, keep on nerding.

The Jeebus Score explained

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. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 6 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

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Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton follows the journey of Eazy E, Ice Cube, and Dr. Dre as the build the empire that was the N.W.A. The rise and fall of one of the most influential groups in Hip Hop. An idea born from Dr. Dre is built upon thanks to the funding of Eazy E. They became one of the biggest and most iconic artists of all time. The police and American government fought to censor them, but they fought back for their neighborhood and for the streets to be built up. They were the first to bring their real life experiences that they witnessed and lived through to modern music. The style, the attitude and mixture of personalities set them up to be remembered forever.

Everything about this film is fun, and deep and, in my opinion, relatable. The timing of Straight Outta Compton couldn’t be more perfect. In our time where we are dealing with backlash toward the police forces due to excessive force, The NWA lived through a time where it was so much worse. They were treated as gang bangers and thugs, when all they wanted was to spread their voices through a true art form. The Film follows the problems they incurred. Inside and outside of the group. Money issues, hatred from the police, jealousy of each other.

The Casting was on par. There are times in this film, when you are watching Ice Cube do his thing on stage, or in certain iconic scenes, that you don’t really know if this is stock footage of Ice Cube, or is this his son? They look so much alike, and Jackson was able to channel his father perfectly. He has that signature Ice Cube glare down to a T. Watching Corey Hawkins play Dr. Dre, at first I wasn’t on board. Mostly because I saw Ice Cube in Jackson, however I couldn’t see Dre in Hawkins. But as the movie got going, Hawkins disappears and Dr. Dre is on screen. He brought together every aspect I know of Dre. And Jason Mitchell brought Eazy back to life. He puts on an incredible performance, especially a pretty pivotal scene in the third act. Paul Giamatti, like the pro he is, shows us why he is the superstar we know and love, and not Rhino.

The Script was not perfect, but it was extremely well done. The Story is pretty spot on from what I knew from N.W.A. from the birth of Ruthless Records, to the Rise of Death Row. From Eazy E the Dope Dealer, to one of the most influential rappers of our time. You see why Dre is the Dr. of hip hop. The story really helps you sink back into this world. The chemistry between the cast, you feel for them, and hurt when they hurt. You believe these guys are the brothers that N.W.A. was. And you sympathize with both sides as the splits become apparent.

The Music. A+. Now I might be bias, because I love this period of music. It’s still all I listen to today. But knowing that these guys all got together and completely rerecorded the masterpiece Straight Outta Compton album is incredible. They didn’t just dub the music over; they completely bring these hits back. The scenes in concerts, you feel the energy, like you were there in Detroit when N.W.A. was arrested for their iconic song.

Filming was beautiful. Every scene, no shot is spared. There is no moment that is wasted. The weight of every situation is shot and framed perfectly. The score, aside from the actual music of the group, sucks you in and brightens every scene.

No film not named The Godfather or The Empire Strikes back is perfect. And this one is no exception. It has its issues. Not many. But a few. There is a big lack of female characters in this film. Which I understand due to the nature of the group. But all of these rappers where married. And they wives are portrayed in the film, but as very minor characters. I would’ve liked to know a little more about them.

If you know the story of N.W.A. you know these guys were not the best guys. They fought for their neighborhood, and for freedom of speech, but they weren’t always angels. I was particularly excited to see how they handled Dre and the interview with Dee Barnes due to the beef and split between N.W.A. and Ice Cube. They completely glossed over it. There was a small throwaway line about assault charges, and nothing ever shown. The only person portrayed as the monstrous thug he was, is Suge Knight.

The third act begins and kind of wraps itself up a little too quickly, but that’s really because I would’ve loved this movie to go on. Tupac and Snoop both show up as minor characters, and I wanted more of them. But honestly, that, and most of my negatives are very nitpicky. This film has these minor problems, but it is incredible.

So that is Straight Outta Compton. An incredible film, that tells the true and amazing story of one the most influential rap groups that include some of the greatest and most iconic artist of our generation. Artist that have gone on to create and influence hip hop in all sorts of aspects of life. Giving it a score of 4.2, plus a full .5 bonus for the Music and O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Ice Cube. Giving Straihgt Outta Compton a Jeebus score of 4.7. So Jackass Nation have you seen Straight Outta Compton Yet? Are you excited for it? What is your favorite N.W.A. song? Sound off in the comments below, and as always, keep on nerding.

The Jeebus Score explained

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. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 6 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

http://www.comingsoon.net/movies/news/428103-unwrap-the-new-poster-for-the-blumhouse-thriller-the-gift?slideshow=125661#/slide/1

The Gift

This one has seemed so creepy to me. I was excited to see it because I am fan of Joel Edgerton, and he is not only a star of this film, but he wrote it and directed it. The Gift also stars Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall. It tells the story of what seems to be an obsessed old school mate forcing a friendship upon this unsuspecting couple. However as the film continues, it begins to take many twist and maybe the people you think you know, are not who you think they are.

Look I was excited for this film to watch Warrior stalk and harass Jason Bateman. The premise seemed so cool, so creepy, made me think about all the people I was a Jackass too back in School. Please don’t come for me people. But what I got was so much more than that. Honestly, this is neither of their stories. It really centers on Rebecca Halls character as she deals with her new life, and this situation that has arose. Whether or not her husband is who she really thinks he is.

This was the directorial debut of one Joel Edgerton, and man does he hit his mark. The tone is incredibly creepy. And it keeps you suspense nearly the entire run. He scares you, with only minor uses of jump scares, which really made me happy. I think there is maybe two. Other than that, it is such the suspense, and the score, and the way he shoots this to keep you on edge. It makes me really excited to see where his career as a director can go.

I mentioned the score, and that is because it is a major plus in this film. Horror movies can live or die by their score, and this one sets the tone and gives you the chills all movie long. There are very subtle but ominous tones and beats that help the movie hit its mark and move quietly along in the back of your mind. Very thrilling.

Rebecca Hall is very good in it as well. You really sense that she has been through a lot, and she brings a lot of pain through her eyes, and expressions. She’s not someone that I run out to the theater to see, but her performance has put her on my radar for sure. Edgerton is by all means, insanely creepy and awkward. There are times where he leads you to not knowing what or who to believe. Is he just socially awkward, or is he out of his mind? And Bateman was a huge surprise. I like him, but I like him because he is Jason Bateman in every role. Not here. He disappears into this character, and gives a performance that I didn’t know he had in him. I hope to see a lot more of his dramatic chops in the future.

So there it is Jackass Nation. A great Horror Thriller film that you need to go see. Skip Fantastic Four and catch The Gift. Its fun, it’s creepy, and pretty intense. I’m giving it a Jeebus score of 3.7! How about you? Are you excited for it? Do you plan on seeing The Gift? Sound off in the comments below, and as always, keep on Nerding!

The Jeebus Score explained

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. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 6 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

http://www.comingsoon.net/movies/news/453897-the-cast-assembles-for-a-new-mission-impossible-rogue-nation-poster

Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation

After Mission Impossible 2, I said well, that franchise is done. Wrong. 3 came out. And then is said, eh, I hope its dead now. Wrong. I waited for Redbox for Ghost Protocol. Disappointed that I did cause that was awesome. And Rogue Nation is no let down either. Congratulations Cruise. You have brought Mission Impossible to the top of the game.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation stars Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, and Alec Baldwin. Written by Drew Pearce and directed by Christopher McQuarrie. It tells the story of IMF getting disbanded, leaving Ethan Hunt (Cruise) on the run from the CIA. As Hunt attempts to bring to line a terrorist organization that is nearly equal to IMF and is known only as “The Syndicate”

Look, this movie is awesome. The action scenes are spot on and amazing. It is so much fun to watch. Plus knowing that 90% of these were done by Cruise himself. I used to doubt the guy. If it was a Tom Cruise film not called Top Gun, then I didn’t care. However Edge of Tomorrow and now Rogue Nation have brought me back on the train. I mean he literally was hooked onto the side of an airplane while it legit took off. That is crazy, but I digress….

The story is pretty simple, and one we’ve seen before. But the execution of said story is done so well. Some characters you honestly can’t decide whose side they are on. And that is a credit to the screen writer. The action beats hit right on, and are never took over the top. It never really drags and hits the right marker for a mix between story and action.

It is fun to really see the mixture of the crew from Mission Impossible 1 with this new Ghost Protocol team. Simon Pegg is not just great s the comic relief, but he is on his way to being a damn good action star.

My only negative, only real negative, isn’t even a real one. By the end of this film, I really wanted the Syndicate to turn out to be called Spectre. So that we would get a James Bond vs Ethan Hunt cross over. Would’ve been cool.

Look if you are not a fan of any of these films, you won’t like this one. But if you liked the original and Ghost protocol like I did, you are going to have a lot of fun with this. We are giving this one a 4.2, plus a .2 bonus for Cruise being hooked on the side of a freaking airplane! That gives us a Jeebus score of 4.4! What say you Jackass Nation? What did you think of Rogue Nation? Which is your favorite of the Mission Impossible Films? How would rank all 5? Sound off in the comments below, and as always, keep on Nerding!

The Jeebus Score explained

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. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 6 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

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Fant 4 Stick

Let’s preference this by saying I was excited for this film. Regardless of all the bad press, and stories from the set. Despite the press and their hatred for it, I was giving it the benefit of the doubt. Everything about it, screams amazing. Josh Trank the director of Chronicle. Written by Simon Kinberg, the writer of X-Men Days of Future Past. The amazing talents that are Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jaime Bell, and Toby Kebbell. It screams awesome. Well. It wasn’t.

Fantastic Four tells the story, somewhat, of 5 kids whose lives are all change once they help crack the code of inter-dimensional travel. Well that’s about it for the plot. The film is not the pile of shit you are hearing about. For the most part. In this golden age of comic book movies, this one kind of takes todays Dark Knight Tone, and makes a movie with it from back in the late 90s/early 2000s. There is no character development whatsoever for any character in this movie. Plus the chemistry is all but nonexistent between these four. The story is jumbled, and the editing is all over the place.

Not to mention, nothing happens in this movie. Aside from one extra action scene, you have seen every single action scene in the film, in its trailers. So don’t expect a lot more. Plus don’t expect to see a lot of the cool scenes you saw in the trailers. They aren’t there. Like the scene of The Thing being dropped out of a plane into what looks like a warzone. Not in the movie. Now the film can almost be broken into 3 completely separate films. So I’m going to talk about the three acts separately.

Act 1 brings our heroes, and villain, together. They learn from each other and build this crazy machine that somehow Reed Richards (Teller) figured out how to do as a child, but the government could never do without him. It has a working montage and is your basic origin story, but it’s kind of interesting. It has its choppy weak dialog, and bad editing, but for the most part keeps you intrigued on where it will be going. Immediately you pick up Why Victor Von Doom is the bad guy. Because he is a dick. So that equals bad guy. Lazy writing. Plus that whole “you created me I created you” story of let’s make all the heroes and bad guys have a background together. I’m starting to hate that.

Act two kind of becomes the horror/sci-fi epic you want. For a split second. Then have a lot of plot holes that make no sense. You time jump, you wondering what the hell happened to certain characters, and then they are all brought back together and don’t like each other. Same old crap you’ve seen before. The idea behind this story is very fun, and you want to watch it, but the execution is not its best. It’s very basic. After some pretty cool sequences we are violently thrust into the third act. This is where it really gets bad.

Act three is simple formulaic let’s have a big showdown. Care about people, we are a team now. Movies over. That’s it. Nothing happens. You aren’t invested in it, it’s a big cgi green screen scene that makes no sense, with Dr. Doom showing back up, and having a motive that also makes no damn sense. It’s a complete and utter mess at this point. What started as an ok attempt, and took you on a roller coaster of good and bad story telling flies off the rails and kills you.

If you take out the Fantastic Four, and make this some random sci-fi film, it’s pretty decent. You can really enjoy it. But because we have been given the level of superhero films that we have, this one falls incredibly short. It is not the worst one you have ever seen, but it is closer to the bottom then it is the top. And not only does Thing not have pants, he has a butt crack. That makes no sense. At all. It’s really weird! Anyway, I’m giving it a Jeebus Score of 2.5. Not the best way to end the summer, go see Rogue Nation guys.

Alright Jackass Nation. What say you, have you seen Fantastic Four, will you see it? Let me know what you think of it, sound off in the comments below, and as always, keep on nerding!

The Jeebus Score explained

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. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 6 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.