Sunday, May 27, 2012

Review - Safe House, Men In Black 3, The Dictator

Movie Reviews for the month of May. Feel free to comment and subscribe.

Men in Black III (2012)
Starring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin.

The third installment in the 'Men in Black' series, the film features Agent J and Agent K on another roller-coaster battle against some random alien trying to take over the earth. Only this time, the battle takes place in the past. Agent K's past to be exact. I really don't have much to say because I fell asleep midway through the movie but I woke up and saw a somewhat slightly emotional ending. I really hope this is the last Men in black movie. Josh Brolin played a decent version of a younger Agent K and there were little to no 3D effects. The villain 'Boris the Animal' played by Jermaine Clement was very annoying I must add! Not the worst film but an unnecessary sequel and quite frankly I was bored. 
Rating: 4.5/10

Mirror Mirror (2012)
Starring Julia Roberts,  Lily Collins and Nathan Lane.

An adaptation of the famous Snow white tale, 'Mirror Mirror' features Julia Roberts as the evil power-hungry queen who exiles Snow White (Lily Collins), curses her father and ruthlessly rules the kingdom. With the help of seven dwarfs, Snow White fights to regain her kingdom and free her beloved Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) from the evil queen's grasp. I'm pretty sure you know how this movie will end. Anyways, it's nice to see them trying something different with an old fairy tale but in the case of 'Mirror Mirror', it didn't quite pan out the way I wanted it. A comedic approach was used and I must admit, the film definitely had its funny moments. Julia Roberts was sarcastic and witty; the Prince, Snow White and the dwarfs were charming. I also admired the opening story-telling sequence. I think 'Mirror Mirror' started strong because of its humor, but a weak plot quickly became its demise. The special effects used in the second half of the movie just didn't quite fit in with the nature of this film. The ending of the movie was pretty lame and anit-climatic. I admire that they tried this approach and with better writing, it could have been better. 
Rating: 5.5/10

Coriolanus (2011)
Starring Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler and Vanessa Redgrave.

Based on the Shakespearean tragedy of the same name, 'Coriolanus' is also Ralph Fiennes debut as a film director. Caius Martius Coriolanus (Ralph Fiennes) is well hated by the people of Rome. After defeating his arch-enemy Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler), Coriolanus is influenced and pushed to run for Consul but in order to win, he needs the votes of the people. However, they shun him and a riot ensues and Rome is forced to banish Coriolanus. While banished, Coriolanus allies himself with his enemy Tullus as they seek revenge on Rome and its people. 
Now if you're not a fan of Shakespeare's dialogues and plays, you will have a hard time embracing 'Coriolanus'. Ralph Fiennes was solid in his role, not to mention his persuasive mother Volumnia (Vanessa Redgrave). It is not easy to modernize a William Shakespeare play but Ralph Fiennes did a good job especially in terms of cinematography. The film's grim atmosphere accompanied by the characters control of the Shakespearean dialogue made it a win for me. Also if you follow the story carefully, there is a slight twist at the ending. It can be perceived in different ways but deep down I think Coriolanus tricked his enemy. I wished they had included more action but still a decent adaptation.
Rating: 7.5/10

Safe House (2012)
Starring Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds and Vera Farmiga.

Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is an ex-CIA agent who has been on the run for years for leaking intel to international sources. Now an enemy of the state, Frost collects an important file from MI6 agent in a restaurant but he is later chased by mercenaries. To elude them, he surrenders himself to an American Consulate and is later moved to a safe house in Cape Town. As expected, the house is attacked by Frost's mercenaries and the house keeper Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) saves Frost and they escape. But now both men must fight for their lives as they seek to uncover who wants them dead. 
What was really surprising about this film is the fact that it is called "Safe House" but yet about two minutes of the entire film was spent at the Safe House. Misleading? YES. They should have made the siege at the Safe House more worth-while. The plot and action sequences were LAME, even though I think Reynolds and Denzel were solid in their roles. As the movie went along, Ryan Reynolds' role became very irrelevant, I didn't see the need for him anymore. 'Safe House' had that saturated 'Bourne Identity' cinemotography going on for it but overall a very boring action flick. 
Rating: 4/10

Straw Dogs (2011)
Starring James Marsden, Alexander Skarsdard and Kate Bosworth.

Straw Dogs is the dreaded remake of the 1971 'Straw Dogs' film. It stars Marsden and Bosworth as Amy and David Sumner who move to Amy's hometown in Blackwater, Mississippi. All seems well until tension starts to arise between David and Amy's ex-boyfriend Charlie (Skarsgard) and the locals. 
As the movie goes along, we witness confrontations, rape, violence and killings. Otherwise from the mediocre acting, this movie was a drag and really lame. I expected more grittiness in this film and it really lacked that. The only highlight of this movie was the fight at the end. Overall poor execution, poor script and an embarrassment to the original. 
Rating: 3/10

The Dictator (2012)
Starring Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris and Ben Kingsley.

Borat is back? Well somewhat. 'The Dictator' highlights Cohen as Admiral General Aladeen; a ruthless, childish dictator of Wadiya. When come under military pressure by the UN, Aladeen travels to New York to address the UN and the nation. He is however kidnapped and is replaced by a decoy of himself. The kidnapping was staged by his uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley) who hopes to have Wadiya become a democracy and sell its oil. So now Aladeen must save the day before the contract is signed by the decoy. Otherwise from being rather predictable, 'The Dictator' was silly, crude and entertaining. The poli-slapstick comedy genre is alive and well and I really think this film did justice to it, somewhat. It is short and to the point. The downfall to this movie was the ever-annoying Anna Faris and at some parts of the plot, they tried too hard to be funny. Low expectations beforehand but I was left with a smile on my face after watching.
Rating: 7/10

The Flowers of War (2011)
Starring Christian Bale, Paul Schneider and Ni Ni.

Based on the novel and true story of the Japanese raiding of Nanking China in 1937. As the Japanese army over-runs Nanking, John Miller (Christian Bale), an American mortician, is there for the burial of a Catholic priest. However, because of ongoing warfare and bombings, he and other civilians seek refuge and shelter at a cathedral. These civilians include a group of prostitutes and school girls and one boy who looks after the girls. As the movie goes along, a few of the girls are killed and the Japanese soldiers have plans for the girls.Therefore, John and the girls are forced to develop a strategic plan to escape the Japanese force and leave Nanking. At the start of this film, I was kind of uncertain of Bale's role as he seemed a bit out of place but as the movie went along, his character was integrated nicely into the film when he declared himself priest. "The Flowers of War' was an emotional roller coaster especially towards the end of the film. There was a bit of overacting by the girls but Bale was solid. Decent emotional adaptation of a historical event.
Rating: 7.5/10

Iron Sky (2012)
Starring Julia Dietze, Gottz Otto and Christopher Kirby.

Nazis hiding on the dark side of the moon? Interesting. In 1945, a midst their defeat in World War II, a secret Nazi space fortress was set up on the dark side of the moon. For 70years, the Nazis hid there hoping to return to power on Earth. However, two American astronauts land on the moon near the Nazi base; one of the astronaut is killed, their vessel destroyed and the other one captured. So now the Nazis decide to return and conquer Earth sooner than expected. Now the battle for Earth ensues. An original plot but my God, what a terrible script and not to mention even more terrible acting. Nothing went right in this film, not even the climatic battle scene. This was 90 minutes of boredom and silliness. 
Rating: 3/10

Movies Also Watched:

The Hurt Locker (2008)
Decent, near realistic adaptation of the Iraqi war. Characters were a bit interesting but not a very engaging film. Blah. - 6.5/10

The Constant Gardner (2005)
Interesting story line accompanied by strong performances and effective use of flashbacks. Decent film. - 8/10

Fargo (1996)
Fun, witty, mature, clever and a very interesting detective story. Who would have thought that a pregnant woman could connect all the dots like that. WIN. - 10/10

The Lord of the Rings (1978)
Ralph Bakshi's animated version of J.R.R Tolkien's famous books. This version was very unevenly paced, a bit boring and the characters didn't develop at all. Cool animation though and it stuck to the books. - 5.5/10


  1. LOVE this post! You saved me from downloading "Iron Sky" though...maybe i'll watch The Dictator and even though you fell asleep during MIB3...i'll bootleg it lol..i wanted to cuss when i watched SafeHouse but instead i deleted it before it even ended. i didn't know there was a LOTR animation, good look on that and i'll check out Flowers of War...Nice!

  2. i must say i got a little kick out of Safe House probably because of the time i was watching it idk but i agree with you nonetheless. as for MIB3 ill be bootlegging it just so i can say i watched the complete trilogy.