Every Single Article Written by Russell - All 140
Writer/director Fede Alvarez’s remake of Evil Dead stands as an example of what a remake should be. The filmmakers—not content with simply creating a shot-for-shot rehash of the original—took elements of the cult classic and blended them into something new. The result is somewhat mixed, but still praiseworthy.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation is probably the closest any Hollywood studio has come to making a decent movie based on a line of toys. I skipped G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the previous entry in this franchise, because it looked like a bunch of bullshit. Joes in mechanized suits battling nanomite-wielding Cobra agents? Bullshit. But that’s no surprise because the director of that movie, Stephen Sommers, is a bullshit director. Director Jon M. Chu’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation isn’t a good movie, but it proves that a legitimately decent G.I. Joe movie could be made one day.
After taking this gig reviewing movies for FleshEatingZipper, I actually learned a few things about my own tastes in movies. Namely, I’ve learned that if I simply don’t like a movie that is otherwise well-made, I have tendency to rhetorically ask, “What’s the point?” and maybe it’s unfair to ask that question. It’s certainly lazy to dismiss a film by asking that question. Movies don’t necessarily need to shine a light on a pressing issue to be enjoyable. Several movies I raved about last year had no real reason for existing other than to entertain and yet, I still kept asking myself that question repeatedly while watching Admission.
North Korean terrorists attack the White House. They infiltrate the highest levels of the South Korean government and use that leverage to get many of their commandos into the United States by having them pose as body guards to the South Korean Prime Minister. The rest of a force of some one hundred soldiers utterly annihilate White House security and blast into the mansion with a combination of RPGs, assault rifles, machine guns, and plastic explosives. They’re so well-organized and well-trained that they manage to snag the President (Aaron Eckhart) and hold him hostage. However, one man stands between the dastardly terrorists and world domination, and he intends to shove an American flag up the ass of every scum-sucking freedom-hater and turn it sideways.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby with Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, and Jim Carrey standing in for Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, and Sacha Baron Cohen respectively. Really, that shouldn’t be such a bad thing. Will Ferrell’s comedies are remarkably stupid, but I’ve found most of them funny. Yet the result of Steve Carell’s attempt to make his own Will Ferrell movie is remarkably bland and laugh-free.
Surely there’s an audience for writer/director James Ponsoldt’s indie film about a pair of alcoholics whose marriage is tested when one of them decides to enter alcoholics anonymous, I’m just not sure it’s me. I love genre movies: noirs, action flicks, horror movies, and science fiction extravaganzas. Every once in a while I’ll gush over a grim drama like Shame or The Last Ride, but I typically recoil from movies that attempt to depict life in all its bleakness. I go the movies to temporarily escape real life, not to be smothered by it. Smashed is a well-made, well-acted little movie that’s a little too realistic and a little too perceptive for my tastes.
Has anyone honestly ever looked at The Wizard of Oz and claimed he or she wanted to see a prequel to it? Does anyone really care why the Wicked Witch of the West has green skin? Does anyone care why the Wizard of Oz chose to hide behind a curtain and portray himself as a giant disembodied head? I think part of the appeal of the original film is that it never attempted to explain anything, but Sam Raimi must have believed that exposing some of the mystery of the original film was a good idea, because here’s the movie that provides the answers to most of the questions no one ever bothered to ask.
Dead Man Down may be the most disappointing film I’ve experienced this year. No, it’s not disappointing because it’s a bad movie. I’ve seen considerably worse movies already this year. Dead Man Down disappoints because it fails to live up to its incredible potential.
So screenwriting duo Scott Moore and Jon Lucas make their directorial debut with 21 and Over. Their previous work includes The Hangover and The Change-Up so it doesn’t take much in the way of imagination to predict what the film is like. Yes, 21 and Over is a retread of the same raunchy comedy we’ve seen countless times before, but there are enough laughs here to make the movie almost worthwhile.
Is there any surer way to piss away a big budget than by handing control of a tent-pole movie over to Bryan Singer? Mind you, I’m not questioning Singer’s ability to generate a profit for studios; I’m more baffled by how the man can employ hundreds of millions of dollars to such generic effect. Singer’s latest flick, Jack the Giant Slayer, stolidly adheres to the definition of generic. Despite having access to a reported $200 million budget, Singer has created a movie where the CGI looks like CGI, the sets look like movie sets, the costumes look like costumes, and the props look like props. Everything about Jack the Giant Slayer is overly polished and lacking in any sort of charm or character.