8 out of 10.
I hear Michael Bay wanted to take a little break from the ultra-budget films after three horrible “Transformers” movies, so he directed Pain & Gain. I hope the film is the most successful film of all time, because it’s good, and if it turned out that Bay and producers could make more films like it and fewer robot movies then I’d be a little bit happier. Plus, Mark Wahlberg is one of my favorite comedic actors. I might say he’s one of the best. I Heart Huckabees, The Others Guys, Ted even though it wasn’t a good movie, and he’s hilarious in The Departed.
“Pain & Gain” is a terrific movie about terrible criminals and worse people. I laughed a lot, I saw things I haven’t seen in movies before, and I rarely got bored. It’s my favorite Michael Bay movie. As a general rule I prefer laughs over explosions if a movie lacks real substance, and that is delivered. Though! A true story does make you think.
6 1/2 out of 10.
I really like Rob Zombie, the director of “The Lords of Salem” and other films like the popular “Halloween” reboots and “House of 1000 Corpses”. He has a clear point of view and he clearly takes inspiration from classics and good things that precedes him. His movies don’t blow me away, but they’re always a pleasure to watch. When a filmmaker is deliberate, without being offensive, it improves my movie watching experience. And it makes watching this movie quite enjoyable.
“The Lords of Salem” stars Zombie’s striking wife and frequent star Sheri Moon Zombie as a Salem radio DJ that mysteriously and unwittingly becomes the center of the cultivation of a curse placed hundreds of years ago during the Salem Witch Trials. “Lords of Salem” is a more delicate horror, very dramatic, compared to the exploitation films and slashers Zombie has risen to fame in Hollywood for. The film, which features some grotesque nudity and some very weird scenes, is actually quite beautiful.
Check it out if you don’t mind a little horror.
6 1/2 out of 10.
Danny Boyle’s new film “Trance” won’t be nominated for any Oscars like his two previous films, “Slumdog Millionaire” and “127 Hours”, but it’s a nice movie. The film stars James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent Cassel and follows Simon (McAvoy) go through hypnosis with Elizabeth (Dawson) in order to recover the memory of where he hid a painting he and a criminal crew, led by Frank (Cassel), heisted.
“Trance” doesn’t dive incredibly deep. The concepts of hypnosis and psychology in the film seems rudimentary, so the film is carried mostly by simple truths being revealed and it’s all spiced up with sharp and cool edits and flashbacks. It’s a good movie, but underwhelming coming from Mr. Boyle, and unlikely to make any lasting impact. You might like it the more you think of it, which is a Boyle-touch, but it boils down to less than I would like. Dawson, though, will probably leave an impression on some eyes. (Yowza).
4 out of 10
This might be the least original movie I’ve ever seen. Probably not, but “Oblivion” is bad enough that I would never be interested to see it a second time, but unfortunately after the first viewing I feel like I’ve seen it three or four times already. I scored “The Host” higher (5/10).
You should see “Oblivion” if you haven’t seen any movies before, or if you like Tom Cruise a lot. If you’ve seen movies before, even if you didn’t enjoy “Moon” (I didn’t) or you only remember pieces of “2001: A Space Odyssey”, you should skip this. Every movie can’t be an homage to every movie.
(Sometimes, when I dislike a movie, I forget to mention stars in the movie, such as in-everything Morgan Freeman, the lovely Olga Kurylenko (To the Wonder), and the beautiful Andrea Riseborough, an actress I haven’t seen before but am now fond of.)
5 out of 10
The most remarkable thing about “42” is how many actors recognizable from TV shows are in the cast. Two stars from Grey’s Anatomy (James Pickens and MN’s T.R. Knight) have important roles. John C. McGinley, Christopher Meloni, Billy Riggins from “Friday Night Lights”, the brother from “The New Adventures of Old Christine”, and a couple more “that one guy” guys, also have important roles. Yes, I know he was in “Firefly”.
The second most remarkable thing about “42” is Chadwick Boseman sorta looks like Jackie Robinson. Maybe not really, but by the end of the movie you believe he is Jackie. In the biopic business you wish that could earn you 4 stars in the paper.
9 out of 10.
If you want to feel like the most beautiful woman in the world, get cast in a Terrence Malick movie. Olga Kurylenko and Rachel McAdams took turns in “To the Wonder” whereas Jessica Chastain (my main crush) had all the spotlight in “The Tree of Life”, this films spiritual predecessor. “To the Wonder” is a remarkable movie. At times I wondered how much more the film had to offer as the film slowly approached 112 minutes, but I was wrong to think about it. Perhaps there is no plot, and perhaps after nearly two hours I wouldn’t be completely satisfied with the content, but I was certainly tickled with feelings from start to finish. I may not know what to do with that, but seeing it again is where I’ll start.
8 out of 10
Welcome back, Ryan Gosling. I last saw you in “Gangster Squad”, in which you were incredibly attractive and a delightful character surrounded by a horrible, terrible movie. “The Place Beyond the Pines” was much, much better. I wasn’t in love with it all the way through. Or even most of the way through. But it had me completely dislodged from the comfortable place my head is when I watch a movie at a theater. I’m still not sure I’m in love with it, but when the title card went up at the end of the picture, my heart told me yes.
4 out of 10
You’ll love it or you’ll hate it, or you won’t mind it and maybe you’ll appreciate it for all the things it does even though it doesn’t particularly try to endear to you. Unless you count topless nudity as endearing to you. A lot of my friends will tell you it’s really really great. They’re not being ironic, either. They’re much too pretentious to be ironic. I’ll tell you this, though: Spring Breakers is probably not worth the time you have to invest to see it.
4 out of 10
I’m going to struggle for my entire life to review action flicks like GI Joe: Retaliation. Half of me knows the movie is horrible, but the other half of me wants to score it on explosions and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s arms. I’m not a GI Joe purist and I didn’t’ see the first movie GI Joe Rise of the Cobra (Did you know that one starred Joseph Gordon Levitt?), so this movie didn’t stomp on my childhood nor miss on any expectations I had. To be honest, I don’t remember it very well. A lot of people got shot, and there were a lot of close up shots of rifles being cocked.
Spoiler alert: Read on for spoilers!
5 1/2 out of 10
My expectations weren’t high for “Admission”, despite it having incredibly strong stars Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. I went to see it a handful of days ago. Actually, I don’t remember when it was. It could have been a week ago. I remember my general feeling for the movie was fairly indifferent, and though I remember enjoying a laugh here and there, I don’t remember anything funny from the movie. I do remember the message and social commentary, though. That’s kind of a bummer.