Wednesday, July 18, 2012

21 Jump Street (2012)

Director(s): Phil Lord, Chris Miller. Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube. 109 min. Rated R. Comedy.

I don't understand why I keep doing this. I walk into a movie that I whole-heartedly know beforehand is going to be a long brainless comedy with many cheap laughs (and rare good laughs, mostly vulgar ones), which will never stimulate me to think about any element in the universe for even a fraction of a second. Yeah, yeah, Jonah Hill is a great actor, and I'm his true fan, but that's no excuse to knowingly waste your time, because life is too short. Don't be deceived by the ads and good reviews; you can pass on this one.

PS: How did Johnny Depp get lured into this for a cameo?

Mo says:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Director: Marc Webb. Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen, Denis Leary, Sally Field, Campbell Scott. 136 min. Rated PG-13. Action/Fantasy.

More of the same ... more of the same. If you're going to remake a movie (that was just made 10 years ago!), you need to improve upon what you already have. Now how in the world were the filmmakers expecting to top the train sequence or the character development of Spider-man 2? Copying the brilliant Dock Ock for the villain here shows how desperate they were. The only captivating moments, were the rare human interactions between Garfield and Stone, and the newly innovated point-of-view shots of Spidey flying through Manhattan. And of course, the hilarious 2-second Stan Lee cameo.

Update: I'm appalled at why this remake was made. According to ComicBookGirl19:  

"The reason is because if Sony didn't make another Spider Man movie soon, the rights to the franchise would revert back to Marvel/Disney, and Sony couldn't have that".

Mo says:

Purple Rain (1984)

Director: Albert Magnoli. Cast: Prince, Apollonia Kotero, Morris Day, Clarence Williams III. 111 min. Rated R. Musical.

Merely watched it because of its status among musicals, expecting a corny vehicle that fed Prince's claim to fame in the 80s. But I was surprised. Very similar to 8 Mile, it's about a singer who with all his glorious facade, is struggling with his inner demons, including his extreme fear of rejection, an abusive father, and a downward drift into repeating his Dad's self-destructive behavior. The decent job Prince does at acting brings up the question how much of this based on his own life story. Contains the obligatory singer biography scene where the singer trashes his own house.

Mo says:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The African Queen (1951)

Director: John Huston. Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn, Robert Morley. 105 min. Unrated. UK/USA. Adventure/Romance.

Why don't they make movies like this any more? Just watching these two immortal stars interact (and Bogie playing so ... against type!) in such a beautiful African backdrop would have been enough to make this a classic. But Houston is as great a director to give you more, including engaging dialogue between Hepburn and Bogart, and comedic moments as a sighing relief. Even though the love relationship between such extreme opposites is a tough sell, and even though the ending is a one-in-a-million shot (literally), still, this is one of those films you need to see before you die.

Mo says:

My Afternoons with Margueritte (2010)

Director: Jean Becker. Cast: Gérard Depardieu, Gisèle Casadesus, Sophie Guillemin. 82 min. France Drama/Comedy.

Pleasant story of a big oaf (Depardieu) befriending a little 95-year-old educated lady in a park, showing how such friendships are possible between such extreme personalities, and how beautiful they can be. But that's all it is: a nice pleasant movie, to relax and watch after a rough day. And what a treasure the French have in Depardieu.

Mo says:

The Omega Man (1971)

Director: Boris Sagal. Cast: Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash. Rated PG. 98 min. Sci-fi/Thriller.

Post-apocalyptic sci-fi with Heston as a Christ-like figure (check out the last shot) trying to save humanity from the results of a biological weapon that has changed the human race to vampiroid light-avoiding zombies - zombies of the fast kind, that is. If Heston was the sci-fi star of the seventies (Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green), then this was his weakest and least thought-provoking movie of the genre. Amazing how lax the movie rating system was in those days, giving this a PG with all its violence and nudity.

 Mo says: