Monday, July 30, 2012

DVD/Blu-Ray Review: 'Hijacked'

Randy “the Natural” Couture is a great fighter, a legend in the sport of mixed martial arts, but god damn, people need to stop giving him lines in movies. For all his heart in the cage, for all his technical combative prowess, and world-class grappling background, the man is not a good actor. Which is too bad, because he comes across as such a good dude, and he does have an imposing physical presence on the screen. But every time he opens his mouth you have to groan. Maybe he’ll get there, after all, he spent years learning to pummel people better, not necessarily to tap into his internal reservoirs in order to evoke emotions. His role in “The Expendables” is about as much as you can take, and he shouldn’t be saddled with the burden of carrying an entire film. Nowhere is this more evident than in Couture’s unfortunate new action film “Hijacked”.

Monday, July 16, 2012

'King Curling' Movie Review

Who out there has always wanted to see a Norwegian curling comedy? Thought so. That’s the precise thrill that Ole Endresen’s film “King Curling” provides. While there are obvious parallels with the Coen Brothers’ “Big Lebowski”, and aesthetic similarities to Wes Anderson’s movies, “King Curling” transcends simple comparison. This film stands alone as a hilarious, heartfelt story of obsession, friendship, and most importantly, sliding a heavy rock across a sheet of ice. Curling may, in fact, be the ultimate in athletic competition.  Superimposing a traditional redemptive sports story onto a sport that most of us know little to nothing about, “King Curling” has a lot of fun twisting and tinkering with every sports cliché in the book.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

'V/H/S' Movie Review

“V/H/S” is a weird movie because I enjoy it much more in retrospect than I did sitting in the theater. There are some elements that will delight horror fans, but there are moments of extreme frustration as well. “V/H/S” is another in the line of recent horror anthology films, and features a who’s who of hot young independent horror directors. Radio Silence, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, and Joe Swanberg all take a turn at the helm. The individual pieces of “V/H/S” are, for the most part, solid standalone horror shorts, and many of them have great, stand out elements. You will have to have a high tolerance for douche bags to watch “V/H/S”, but you’ll enjoy watching most of the characters die. How the pieces of the puzzle come together, or in this case, how they don’t, is the central problem with the film.

Friday, July 6, 2012

'Savages' Movie Review

Taylor Kitsch needs a hit like a crackhead. So far this year the “Friday Night Lights” alum has been in “John Carter” and “Battleship”, two of the biggest critical and financial disasters in recent movie history. He needs something to get him out of the gutter. Unfortunately for him, “Savages”, Oliver Stone’s adaptation of Don Winslow’s 2010 novel, won’t be that movie. The Day-Glo film noir is too violent to attract massive mainstream audiences—at times the film edges dangerously near torture porn. Stone has an eye for visual style, there is some striking imagery, but in the end there is very little in the way of substance.

Monday, July 2, 2012

'The Amazing Spider-Man' Movie Review

Here’s the deal with Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man”: it’s good; it’s fine. There is, however, a but. We’ll get to that. There’s web-slinging adventure, a good amount of fun, and some wonderful actors giving solid performances. Andrew Garfield has the wise cracking, awkward loner thing down pat, and pulls off a near perfect Peter Parker. Emma Stone’s take on Gwen Stacey is charming, adorable, and in a couple moments, heartbreaking. This isn’t a perfect movie, by far, but overall “The Amazing Spider-Man” ends up a decent summertime popcorn movie. But, is fine good enough for Marvel? Will decent cut it? Given the hot streak they’ve been on, especially with the massive success of “The Avengers”, this will never be more than a slight disappointment.