Saturday, September 08, 2012

Review - The Expendables 2, Premium Rush, Compliance

 Movie reviews are here again and as usual I saw something good and something forgettable. Leave your feedback in the comments. Enjoy :)

Premium Rush (2012)
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon and Dania Ramirez.
Directed by David Koepp.

The preview of this film is what caught my eyes as it looked to be fast paced, fun and original. Wilee (JG-L) and the crew are bicycle messengers who perform tasks and are not really loved by the police. Something goes wrong with one of the ticket transfers so Wilee and the crew will have to set things right before it is too late.
Firstly, I must praise the direction of this movie; the camera angles were amazing. I felt like I was in the movie. The art direction is also commendable; we see comic-like references. Secondly I loved the bicycle stunts, they were pretty awesome. The chemistry of the cast is another positive for Premium Rush; they were vibrant and fun. The chase sequences were enjoyable and will keep you on the edge of your seat. However, I believe where Premium Rush falls down is in the story/script department. This storyline is really played out and I believe they could have done much more in regards to that. It was just too predictable. I really wished there were more chase sequences and action but the movie's run time is so short so the limited action may be as a result of that. Overall, I enjoyed Premium Rush for what it was. It could have been way more but I adored the film nonetheless.
Rating: 7/10

The Expendables 2 (2012)
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Chuck Norris.
Directed by Simon West.

Director Simon West takes the helm in the sequel to 2010's The Expendables. Featuring a star-studded cast with the additions of Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris, The Expendables 2 was just a slight improvement from the first film.
Barney (Sylvester Stallone) and the crew is sent on another job to retrieve a secret item but they however face numerous challenges. They are accompanied by Maggie (Nan Yu), whose role I found to be completely irrelevant. She was lame and ugly. The villain in this sequel turns out to be Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme). We get to see a little bit of Chuck Norris in all his awesomeness being a bad-ass. What I like about the Expendables films is that the opening action scenes are pretty impressive which should set the tone for the rest of the movie. Well that is not the case however. Sadly The Expendables 2 suffers from the same issue its predecessor had - POOR writing and subpar dialogue and predictability. Sometimes I think the characters in these movies make up their lines as the movie went along.
The positives of this film? Well we get to see our childhood heroes being bad-asses again which will probably drown you in nostalgia. The action sequences were okay especially the ones involving Chuck Norris. I really wish he had more scenes. Oh and I thought Jean-Claude was a horrible villain but he showed us he still got his 90s kick-boxing moves. Overall The Expendables 2 was a bit disappointing for me although it is slightly improved from the first movie. Some cool action sequences and some funny lines but the really poor writing contributed to me being extremely bored for most parts of the movie. Nonetheless I appreciate seeing all my past action icons all together. A female Expendables movie? Hell Yeah. Rating: 6/10

Compliance (2012) 
Starring Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker and Pat Healy.
Directed by Craig Zobel.

A movie based on true and rather disturbing events. I refused to believe that people could be this dumb. Sandra (Ann Dowd) and Becky (Dreama Walker) both work in a fast food joint and one day out of the blues, a cop calls and accuses Becky of stealing money from a customer's purse. Becky declares her innocence and a thorough search is done of Becky's belongings (they found no stolen money by the way) but the police officer continued to toy with them. It gets to the point where Becky is stripped down to just an apron while the rest of her coworkers comply and play naive to the whole situation. Poor Becky is detained in a secluded office and traumatized by further events. All throughout the film, the manager Sandra sticks to her "I'm only doing the right thing" attitude which will be her biggest downfall.
Compliance not only gives us a look at how people are bullied by higher authorities but also a look at troubling human behavior, notably Becky's coworkers reaction to all what was occurring and even Becky herself. Throughout the movie the police officer claims that the cops are coming to the establishment but hours later, they had still not arrived. Why was this not seriously taken into consideration? Nonetheless I think this movie was well directed and the acting was solid. Not the most disturbing film but there are definite provocative scenes. Compliance is one of those movies that will have you shouting and saying stuff like "Cmon, seriously". 
Rating: 8/10

Bachelorette (2012)
Starring Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher and James Marsden.
Directed by Leslye Headland.

What do you get when you try to cross-mix The Hangover and Bridesmaids? You get this boring mess called Bachelorette. Basically this movie is about a group of bridesmaids who assemble on the eve of their friend's wedding and all hell breaks loose. Sounds familiar right? yes. Another thing I found incredibly strange was the title of this film - who was this film focusing on? Anyways, Rebel Wilson (who was featured in Bridesmaids), was completely off in her lead role as the bride. She is better off playing a weirdo instead of this leading role in Bachelorette. The highlight of this film was Regan (Kirsten Dunst), nothing else. She was crude and convincing. As for the rest of the cast - BLAH.
Bachelorette was pretty flat and boring, not to mention the forced humor which did not connect with me. A bit raunchy at times but overall a forgettable flick.
Rating: 3.5/10

Movies Also Watched: 

Jackie Brown (1997)
One of the most underrated movies I've seen. The Tarantino crime thriller features a solid cast and a comeback for Pam Grier. Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) works as an air hostess and a smuggler who gets caught up in a deal gone wrong but decides to capitalize nonetheless. The movie Jackie Brown explores the "blaxploitation" theme which to me, was quite effective. Great soundtrack, dialogue and direction makes Jackie Brown an enjoyable and funky ride. Rating: 9/10

Three Colors: White (1994)

The second installment in the Three Colors trilogy and definitely the more comical and "lighter" of the trilogy. White symbolizes the French flag and the concept of "Equality". Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski) gets heartbroken by his wife (Julie Delpy) because of his lack of performance in the bedroom. Over the course of the movie, we watch Karol as he gets his life together but solely for a reason which is later revealed in the film. White boasts solid performances and a cool storyline which is more focused on revenge rather than equality. Still, it is a good sequel. Rating 8.5/10

Naked (1993)
At the beginning of this film, we see an intelligent and egotistical Johnny (David Thewlis) rape a woman, steal a car and flee from Manchester to London to the home of his former girlfriend Louise (Lesley Sharp). After a fallout with his ex, the movie follows Johnny on a 'rampage' through London. Rampage as in he fights, provokes and belittles individuals. Naked is a performance-driven movie with little to no storyline. we are just basically getting to know this Johnny character and his interactions. It was actually fun for me because David Thewlis gave us a performance to remember.  Rating 8.5/10

Three Colors: Red (1994)
A great conclusion to a underrated, warm and beautiful trilogy; Three Colors:Red symbolizes the concept of Fraternity. A woman meets an ex-judge after she hits down his dog and from then a friendship and an intriguing story develops. Red boasts a non-linear storyline which eventually connects all three movies in the trilogy. I believe that Blue is the best movie in the trilogy but Red is definitely a close second. Rating: 8.5/10

Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb (1964)
In midst of the Cold War in the 1960s, Stanley Kubrick decides to make fun of it in a dark and imaginative way and trust me, it worked. Dr. Strangelove is definitely the funniest war/nuclear holocaust film I've ever seen. With great performances from the cast and consistent humor throughout, Dr. Strangelove is a brilliant and intellligent parody which in fact does not take itself too seriously. 
Rating: 10/10

Big Fish (2004)
A strained father and son relationship evolves into a beautiful story and journey into the past life of  Edward Bloom (Ewen McGregor/Albert Finney). A delightful and heartwarming film led by great performances by the cast and captivating effects from director Tim Burton. An imaginative and intriguing story, made even better with a final scene where Ed Bloom was laid to rest. It was so emotional yet so soothing.
Rating: 9.5/10

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