Saturday, September 22, 2012

Trouble With The Curve

      Otherwise know as "Trouble With This Movie", this plodding "baseball" film is more about a father/ daughter therapy session than baseball. Clint Eastwood plays Gus, the baseball scout losing his eyesight when he needs it most. Amy Adams is his daughter, Mickey, a successful lawyer who leaves in the middle of a big deal to help out her dad. Watching these two work out their issues with baseball as a metaphor is like watching paint dry. Justin Timberlake is introduced as a love interest for Mickey and his acting here is as wooden as a Louisville slugger.

       Mr. Eastwood plays a gruff old man which at this stage in his life is not much of a stretch and while Ms. Adams is a terrific actress, the material lets her down and she barely rises above it. The story is so obvious and predictable, you just can't wait for it to end. When the villainous characters gets payback, it's the most satisfying thing in the film but you see it coming like a slow pitch softball and it lessens the impact.

         The film costars Matthew Lillard at his most stereotypical and John Goodman who looks like he's spent too much time at the concession stand. Much like the NY Mets this year, "Trouble With The Curve" is a big disappointment.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

The Bourne Legacy

     More like "The Boring Legacy" but don't blame star Jeremy Renner. Mr. Renner is in the unfortunate position of replacing Matt Damon, who has become iconic as Jason Bourne. He tries hard but the script lets him down.

      The first hour dedicates itself to lengthy dialog attempting to tie the current story back to Jason Bourne. In between trying to convince you that you are right back where you left off, we see scenes of Mr. Renner running around the Alaskan wilderness showing off his survival skills. "There was always more than one" is the tag line in the ads. Sorry to tell you but there was only one and Edward Norton along with Stacy Keach's complicated CIA double talk won't convince you otherwise. 

        I don't recall Matt Damon popping little green and blue pills to become a "super" agent but Mr. Renner and the 8 other subject agents seem addicted to chemicals that mentally and physically enhance them. Rachel Weisz plays a scientist who helped develop the drugs and goes on the run with Mr. Brenner when their handlers shut down the program and try to kill them. Their reason being that Jason Bourne is still out there. Huh? I guess that's a good enough reason for our government to kill a dozen innocent people. The second hour injects some much needed action but the climax just turns into a derivative of the motorcycle chase scene from "Terminator 2 Judgement Day".

        The film ends abruptly either paving the way for another chapter or the producers felt sorry for the audience and put us out of our misery. It's no wonder this disappeared from most theaters faster than Jason Bourne in a crowd. I wouldn't even recommend the DVD. If you want a "Bourne" fix, watch any of the original three.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Total Recall

      Let's get it out of the way, immediately. The original film was a classic and why mess with a classic? When Hollywood can't come up with enough original material, they go to the well over and over again and very rarely succeed. I expected to hate this "remake" but instead, found it  exciting and a pretty decent "summer popcorn" movie.

           If you can get Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone out of your mind (or even better, don't see the original) and take this new film on it's own merit, you won't be disappointed. The story takes elements from the original but changes things up enough to create a new vision for the film. It's an exciting sci-fi thrill ride with a great cast. Colin Farrell returns to action hero form as the "average Joe" who finds out he may actually be a resistance fighter. Kate Beckinsale is his wife, who has perfected her action scenes from all her "Underworld" films. Also starring is Bryan Cranston (Mr. Breaking Bad, himself) in the villain role Hollywood has finally realized he can play so well. As the other woman in Mr. Farrell's dual life, Jessica Biel holds her own, especially in a close quarters fight scene with Ms. Beckinsale.

           Director Len Wiseman knows his way around a futuristic set having directed "Underworld" and keeps the action moving pretty much non-stop. He does favor blue lighting a bit too much but his CGI vision of the future blends well with the live action. The chase scene through the air in flying cars is one of many fun moments. And they do pay homage to the original with a few familiar bits.

            Unfortunately the film got a bad rap and is probably fading from theaters. If you like Sci-fi action try to see it while it's still out there as it's the type of film that works much better on the big screen.

             And note to Hollywood, enough with the remakes. Find more original material or your audience will go elsewhere.