Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson), Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) and Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) walk away from an exploding van in PAIN & GAIN.

Pain & Gain... So I saw the new flick at the theater on Sunday (yes, I'm still out of town), and needless to say, it's what you would expect from the mind of Michael Bay. Pain & Gain was an interesting film...and a good indicator of how well Mark Wahlberg will get along with Bay once they begin filming Transformers 4 in about a month or two. However, with Pain & Gain being based on a true story and all, it's clearly obvious that unlike Ben Affleck on Argo, Bay doesn't really care for historical accuracy in this crime caper. Wahlberg looks nothing like the real Daniel Lugo, Anthony Mackie (of The Hurt Locker and Gangster Squad) bears little resemblance to Adrian Doorbal (I'll have to check online again...but I don't think Doorbal was even African American), and Paul Doyle isn't a gigantic Samoan dude like Dwayne Johnson. Oh, and in another trademark by Bay, Pain & Gain opted for humor where there probably shouldn't be any. Wahlberg, Mackie and Johnson treat their characters like they're the criminal equivalent of Harry and Lloyd from Dumb & Dumber—which kinda feels out-of-place considering that two of the three kidnappers/extortionists were sentenced to death at the end of the movie. But that's just me. Pain & Gain is a dark comedy...so either go to the cinema hoping to be entertained by the true-life buffoonery of these hooligans, or be annoyed that substantial liberty was taken to depicting this crime story—just like what was done with the exploits of Mickey Cohen in Gangster Squad. Carry on.

Sorina Luminita (Bar Paly) and Daniel Lugo hang out at a strip club in PAIN & GAIN.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Pacific Rim... I'll be out of town till this Wednesday (May 1), so in the meantime, check out this awesome trailer for Guillermo del Toro's upcoming Pacific Rim...out in theaters nationwide on July 12. Yet another reason to ask why that live-action Voltron movie hasn't been friggin' made yet...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Luke (Ryan Gosling) resorts to committing bank robberies to support his infant son, along with Romina (Eva Mendes) in THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES.

The Place Beyond the Pines... Overlooking the obscure nature of this title (you'd have to do research online to know that it is the nickname for Schenectady, New York...where the film's story takes place in), The Place Beyond the Pines is an interesting multi-layered movie. Just when you think the flick will be about Ryan Gosling pulling off several bank heists across eastern New York a la The Town, it switches over to a plot about Bradley Cooper playing a conflicted cop trying to bring fellow corrupt police officers to justice...a la The Departed. And then, the story focuses on the sons of the two aforementioned characters—whose actions while these two kids were just infants would have significant repercussions 15 years later, when they are in high school. Actually, the father-and-son theme of this film makes it feel like a Star Wars movie...minus the science fantasy element and the fact the 6-episode nature of George Lucas' space opera is crammed into a mere 140 minutes here. (As if to illustrate my point, one character even uses the "I am your father... You know it to be true" lines by Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back to tell Gosling's son who his real father is. Oh, and Gosling's character is named Luke, FYI.) Considering that the two kids grow up to be more like Anakin instead of Luke Skywalker, you feel sorry for other people [most specifically Eva Mendes' character...who was knocked up by Luke (Gosling's character, not Mark Hamill's)] who have to deal with these adolescents. However, there is a positive nature to the movie's ending—as the boys nonetheless are either impressed by their dads' achievements and/or want to emulate them in the final scene. Though the overall message of Beyond the Pines is clear: If you decide to become a parent, try not to screw up the lives of your kids too much. Or even the children of other folks. It may literally mean life or death (for you) in the future. That is all.

The actions of Avery (Bradley Cooper) will have repercussions on his own son several years down the line in THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

With the help of Elizabeth (Rosario Dawson), Simon (James McAvoy) tries to remember where he hid an oil painting that he stole from Franck (Vincent Cassel) in TRANCE.

Trance and Oblivion... I saw Danny Boyle's crime thriller last week and Tom Cruise's latest action-adventure flick on Sunday. My take on Trance: It is Boyle's somewhat convoluted version of Inception. The only difference is, the main subject (James McAvoy and not Cillian Murphy) is influenced through hypnosis and not futuristic 'dream machines.' And McAvoy's character isn't as benign as the one played by Murphy in Christopher Nolan's 2010 film. Don't know just how accurate is the opening scene showing security measures taken in the event that armed robbers stormed a European auction, but one thing's for sure: If you're a fan of Rosario Dawson (and who isn't), you'll definitely like her in this movie. Not so much for Dawson's performance in Trance but Hollywood's age-old tradition of showing gratuitous nudity in cinema. Not a complaint.

Jack (Tom Cruise) attempts to repair an unmanned drone in OBLIVION.

Gratuitous (though implied) nudity is also featured in Oblivion...which looks absolutely fantastic as it (surprise, surprise) depicts a dystopian Earth after aliens have all but wiped out civilization on our planet years from now. Much like Ridley Scott's Prometheus, the world and vehicles portrayed in Oblivion are awesome—but the story itself not only lagged in parts but was really, really derivative. People who saw 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2005's The Island and 1996's Independence Day (definitely Independence Day) would agree. The sound effects are pretty cool. (I like how the drones gave off a distinct beeping sound that you would hear in old sci-fi video games at the arcade. Pay attention to the three drones when they're chasing after Tom Cruise in that aerial sequence during the movie's third act, and you'll know what I'm talking about.) In terms of the whole nudity thing that is apparently the main theme of today's entry...if you think Andrea Riseborough is a lovely actress (which she is), then you'll most likely dig her character in this film. Though remember that Oblivion is rated PG-13 and not R like Trance, so you'll be disappointed if Riseborough's um, money shot isn't as memorable (RE: explicit) as that of Dawson in Boyle's flick. Carry on.

Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) wants to depart from dystopian Earth for good in OBLIVION.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Back in the Day... Happy Earth Day, everyone!

Two Star Destroyers are on the attack in what is now STAR WARS: EPISODE IV - A NEW HOPE.
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Superman (Henry Cavill) is confronted by the U.S. Army in MAN OF STEEL.

Man of Steel... In case you haven't seen the newest trailer to this June's Superman movie yet, scroll down to the bottom of this blog entry (after checking out these awesome pics, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly) and view the Youtube version below. Overlooking the fact that the success of this film makes it more likely that a Justice League flick will be made (though the chances of Christian Bale re-donning the Batsuit and joining forces with Henry Cavill remains to be seen), Man of Steel appears like it will definitely take theaters by storm this summer. For starters, if the latest preview is any indication, Superman will once again get to throw a punch at a main villain...unlike in 2006's Superman Returns, where Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor didn't get one piece of dirt on his bald head during his quest to create a new Kryptonite-laden island continent in that movie. Hopefully this changes under the leadership of Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan.

General Zod (Michael Shannon) wants to destroy Superman in MAN OF STEEL.

Lois Lane (Amy Adams ) and Perry White (Laurence Fishburne) work for the Daily Planet in MAN OF STEEL.

Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane) raise a young Clark Kent in Smallville, in MAN OF STEEL.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) and Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) talk baseball in 42.

42 and Jurassic Park 3D... Just a few quick notes about the two aforementioned films (which I watched at the theater yesterday): It was good seeing Jurassic Park on the big screen again. Steven Spielberg's 1993 ultra-hit movie was nicely converted to 3-D, and John Williams' memorable score for this dinoflick sounded even more awesome on IMAX (which I viewed the film in). As for 42, the Jackie Robinson biopic was a very inspirational movie. It was a smart move casting Harrison Ford as the Brooklyn Dodgers' chief executive Branch Rickey; Ford has been playing fictional heroes such as Han Solo, Indiana Jones and Jack Ryan for much of his career...it was fitting for him to finally portray a real-life hero (second only to Robinson, of course), not just to baseball but to post-World War II America itself. Chadwick Boseman was commendable as Robinson, with Nicole Beharie giving a heartfelt performance as Jackie's wife, Rachel. The most memorable person in this flick, however, was the most unpopular one in 42: Philadelphia Phillies manager Ben Chapman. Only a versatile actor like Alan Tudyk (of films like Dodgeball, 3:10 to Yuma and Transformers: Dark of the Moon) can get away with portraying the segregationist whose intense racial slurs would unwittingly contribute to Jackie Robinson being embraced by (to quote Rickey) "white baseball." It's funny when reviled people get their comeuppance.

One more note about 42: Is it depressing that 99 cents was apparently enough to fill a bus with a full tank of gas almost 70 years ago? Anyways.

The Tyrannosaurus Rex is on the loose again in JURASSIC PARK 3D.

Friday, April 12, 2013

So True... Unless, of course, you're Adam West's Bruce Wayne from the 1960's Batman TV show. 'Cause then all you can afford is blue spandex that wouldn't even protect you from a paper cut.

What do you think would be more expensive to make in real life...the IRON MAN armor or the suit of THE DARK KNIGHT?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Roger Ebert (1942-2013)... Rest In Peace, Mr. Ebert. Along with the late Gene Siskel (who died in 1999), he made movie reviews fun to watch on TV. Ebert passed away earlier today. He was 70.

Movie critic Roger Ebert won a Pulitzer Prize for his earlier film reviews.
Everett Collection