Thursday, February 9, 2012

Movie Review Mania #1

So I’ve seen three movies this week (bringing my count of movies that I have seen in theaters this year to 5 alone, a bit much right?) and I’ve been putting off my review on two movies due to cosplay priorities and other laziness but here I am ready to type it out.  The first two movies I saw on Super Bowl Sunday. Why did I not watch the Super Bowl well three reasons: 1.) I’m not a big sports follower/fan in general, 2.) I root for Chicago sports teams when I do show support and they of course were not in the game, and 3.) The Hollywood Palms in Naperville, IL had a special deal called “The Super Bowl Strike: Free Movies All Day.”  I’ll get to more on that in just a bit.  The movies I will be reviewing in this post are Man on a Ledge, Red Tails, and Chronicle.  I will review them in chronological order and following the reviews I will give my usual STVO Wire “This Week at the Movies” examination. Let’s get it started

Man on a Ledge:
Before I saw this movie, my weekly analysis for this was “Cliffhanger Meets Phone Booth.”  It was an attempted humorous take on how the movie looked but in all honesty, I had no interest in seeing the movie.  Why did I see it you ask?  Chronicle and The Grey unfortunately were not playing at Hollywood Palms, my friends were not interested in seeing Contraband, and Red Tails closest showing was sold out.  It was free so I settled with this movie.  Anyway, I decided to watch the movie with an open-mind and give it a shot.

The plot is pretty much what it sounds like; a man named Nick Cassidy (played by actor Sam Worthington) enters a hotel and threatens to commit suicide by standing outside of the building.  Why does he want to kill himself?  Well you see Nick is an escaped convict, formerly a police officer that was serving a 25-year prison sentence for supposedly stealing a highly expensive diamond.  Nick Cassidy proclaims his innocence by escaping the prison, assuming a fake idea and proclaiming he will either prove his innocence or “Die as an innocent man.”  Among the spectacle of Nick attracting citizens of New York that are either rooting for his innocence (including a homeless man really showing favoritism towards him) or frustrated citizens irritated at the blocking of traffic, the NYPD try to figure strategies to get him to stay alive and turn himself in.  Along the way, Nick’s brother Joey (played by Jamie Bell) and Joey’s girlfriend Angie (played by Genesis Rodriguez) attempt to find the diamond that Nick was accused of stealing to help prove his innocence by breaking through a well-crafted security system that is holding that particular diamond.  Nick also refuses to speak to any other office with the exception of Lydia Mercer (played by Elizabeth Banks.)

Man on a Ledge was a very cheesy movie as it felt like it was a really clichéd movie featuring a lot of ridiculous situations.  I prefer not to spoil much of the movie, but the twist in the end that helped bring on our happy ending was very corny as it seemed like an attempt at making “an intriguing twist.” The dialogue between Joey and Angie was a lame love story filled with many humorless jokes that one would expect from a sappy sitcom.  The dialogue between Sam Worthington and Elizabeth Banks wasn’t bad but nothing particularly special.  To me though movie does not feel like one that should have received a national release.  It is similar to the movie Phone Booth (a movie I thought was okay) in the aspect that it tries to create a different situation for a movie by centering on one big incident in one centralized setting where a couple event from the past lead up to it and other surrounding events occur.   While I give writer/director credit for this unique twist, it falls flat as a popcorn movie that doesn’t deliver much in regards to story or action scenes (there are some believe it or not.)

Overall aside the creative trick Joey and Angie use to bypass a security camera and Angie being in an unnecessary but (for someone like me) welcoming bikini scene, there wasn’t too much I found redeeming for the movie.  It was a forgettable at best movie and had I’ve paid for the movie; I would have been even more disappointed.  I give Man on a Ledge a 4 out of 10.

Red Tails:
Following the disappointment of Man on a Ledge, I felt I wanted to see a good free movie before turning in for the night.  I was fortunate to receive a ticket to Red Tails.  Prior to this movie my weekly movie analysis for this movie was  Another good-looking movie this week!”  Well fortunately, my examination was correct.  Judging by the previews, I personally thought it looked like an interesting take of African American aircraft fighters during World War 2, but what kind of intrigues me more is finding out this movie was done from a screenplay by John Ridley AND the creator of The Boondocks, Aaron McGruder.  Aaron McGruder to my memory has only written comedy and on top of it for an animated series as well as his syndicated Boondocks newspaper strip.  Being that this movie has George Lucas as an executive producer, it couldn’t be too bad, right?  Okay, don’t answer that…

Red Tails is based off the United States African American Army Air Force group known as the Tuskegee Airmen.  It discussed the hardships the African American pilots had during the World War 2 period where they were considered not nearly as intelligent or worthy of being pilots like the Caucasians were.  Fortunately, a group of soldiers led by Major Emanuel Stance (Cuba Gooding Jr.) were out to prove them wrong.   Along side with the war, the movie features various stories of the different soldiers such as Lightning (David Oyelowo) developing a relationship with an Italian woman (Daniela Ruah), air force new-comer Ray Gun (Tristan Wilds) trying to get the other soldiers to drop his nick name of “Junior” to prove he is a true soldier, and Easy (Nate Parker) who is an alcoholic.  Other issues dealt with in the movie are racism among the white US soldiers and the team taking on the Germany Air Force.

I enjoyed the acting in the movie as well as the aerial combat.  The planes in the movie had somewhat of a shiny toy look to them that some people may like or dislike.  I happened to enjoy it.  The stories were simplistic but very enjoyable and there were definitely a few sad moments (again, I prefer not to spoil it for you guys.)  The soldiers were all likeable.  I won’t say this is a phenomenal movie or a must-own on DVD title, but if you need a movie to watch for the night, you definitely cannot go wrong with this one!  I give Red Tails a 7 out of 10.

Before I move on to the final review of the evening, I would like to throw a quick two cents on the Hollywood Palms Theater.  While I was pleased that the movies were free and are lower than most other theater prices at $8 a movie (as long as it isn’t 3D.)  They do happen to make their money back by making it required that you at least buy one drink (which is around $3 but has free refills).  Because it was Super Bowl weekend I spent a little more than I had wished to in food. The food there is decent (I like the Oreo Pie they have there) but is a little bit pricey for quality.  So I guess it’s your standard movie theater pricing only on a slightly more luxurious scale.

Ever since seeing the commercials on TV, I was in anticipation of this movie.  I had a slight feeling there was a possibility I could have disliked it, as I typically don’t like movies that use the “shaky camera point of view” such as The Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield.  I don’t get very nauseated by those movies, but for some reason I just never was a fan of that view and I didn’t care much for the overall stories of either.  There was also the possibility that this movie might have shown too much of the good stuff in the commercials.  Fortunately, I never had a problem with either issue I thought that could have occurred.  It’s a simple premise, but a very fun one to watch in motion.

Chronicle features the story about a high school senior named Andrew (Dane DeHaan) a troubled kid who is somewhat of a social outcast and has problems among family in his own household.  He decides to start videotaping his life with a camera through almost every aspect of his life.  His cousin Matt (Alex Russell) encourages him go to a rave in order to be more social.  Along the way, Matt’s friend Steve (Michael B. Jordan) encourages Andrew to follow those two with his video camera to a random hole they find near by the rave.  As they all enter the hole they find a weird material that they find emits weird lights and energy.  The three of them both black out and find themselves with weird telekinetic powers.  They all start off using them for fun tricks, then public pranks, and eventually an obnoxious driver makes Andrew angry as he uses the powers to harm the driver.  After this incident, the groups of friends decide it’s best not to use their powers in anger and to start using their powers more wisely and carefully in public.  As the group uses the powers more together, they grow a stronger friendship, and Andrew becomes more socially active.  As time proceeds, more problems arise.

Chronicle is the classic tale of one gaining super powers and deciding whether to use them for good or evil.  I definitely felt that this movie was similar to anime and video games such as Akira or inFAMOUS for PlayStation 3.  I enjoyed the characters in this movie as well as the story as it shows that while you can benefit from gaining superpowers you could also abuse them and create some very serious trouble when using them wrong.  I really feel people can identify with Andrew, Matt, or Steve whether they maybe a popular kid, an outcast, or just a normal guy.  Except for the ending (classic green screen) I thought the movie’s special effects were very impressive.  There were moments I can sympathize for the characters or just think they are being foolish.  The camera aspect was not distracting to me and for those who have weak stomachs; I think you’ll be just fine with this movie as opposed to the usual shakiness of other first person camera movies.  While it is pushing it, I could see a sequel being done if the movie is considered successful enough.  While I’m in preference of less sequels being made, if one gets announced for this movie, I would likely see it.  I give Chronicle an 8 out of 10.

This Week At The Movies

Now in 6 Words or less, my thoughts on the movies coming out this weekend!

·      Safe House: Promising but I’ll wait for DVD.
·      Journey 2 – The Mysterious Island: Rock, Are you serious Bro?
·      The Vow: I make not to see this.
·      Star Wars Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace: I’ve never seen it. Should I?

That’s all for me this week. Thank you all for supporting me and getting my Facebook page now up to 100+ Likes! I hope you all have a great weekend coming up and as I end this I will leave three important to me links I would like you to view:

-       Facebook Fan Page: Like My page today if you haven’t already. You will receive updates, random discussion, and other various links on when I update my page or post a new video.
-       YouTube Page: Videos will be posted on this site as well but I have started a YouTube page. Please subscribe and encourage others to do so.
-       MS Walk Donations Page: On May 6, I will be walking in the Naperville, IL walk for Multiple Sclerosis fund. I am looking to raise donations of up to $500 for this cause. I will be walking as apart of the Costumers With a Cause (CWC) group where I will be walking as Danny Phantom. For more details please visit my page.

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