As many "bankable" movie stars of yesteryear continue to age like the rest of us, it seems as if Hollywood is making more of these age-centric movies every year which would not be a bad thing IF they were not already beginning to feel clichéd and methodical like Last Vegas ... which is basically a less crass version of The Hangover as it is about four guys in Vegas for a bachelor party. This "new" genre of film almost always finds itself doing exactly this: it borrows most of a plot from another movie and pretends to be "original" by making all of the characters -- except for the bride-to-be -- older. In Last Vegas, three of these older men -- Robert De Niro (Casino), Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption) and Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda) -- find themselves throwing a wild bachelor party for their one friend (Michael Douglas - Wall Street) who had remained single all of these years. Mary Steenburgen (Elf) costars as a lounge room chanteuse who catches the eye of a couple of the men reigniting a long-forgotten rivalry from the past. Full of predictable situations and an abundance of stock characters in supporting roles; Last Vegas stars five Oscar winners (!!!!!) who prove age is just a number and that none of them are past their prime. The movie has some winning moments and an easy charm to it; but Last Vegas unfortunately is a movie that feels old -- NOT looks -- because it has been done many times before. The age thing is merely a gimmick and these five fine actors have all risen above it ... if only the screenwriters were also able to rise above it Last Vegas could have been a fine movie about lifelong friendship instead of old men acting like kids.
Five years and five films after this film franchise began, The Paranormal Activity series is just as dull and lifeless as ever and it will most likely continue as long as the studio can continue making films about nothing for next to nothing that some people will still venture out to pay for and see. This fifth film is more of a spin-off than a sequel or prequel like the previous films have "claimed" to be as this one takes place in Oxnard, California and centers around a mostly Spanish-speaking cast of characters who believe their downstairs neighbor to be some sort of mystical, dark-arts witch. As a coven of witches has been hinted at and slowly introduced in the previous four films, the filmmakers are hoping this is enough of a cohesive thread to start a new set of films to scare the bejesus out of audiences everywhere. The Marked Ones is riddled with ridiculous, far-fetched occurences NONE of which are scary, though, and this does not bode well for a "horror film". Just like all of the other films in the series, this film continues with the hand-held camera technique that is supposed to lend authentic believability to the scares witnessed onscreen but instead has the exact opposite effect. Nobody ever sees the necessity of dropping the camera and running for his/her life ... and therefore the fates of each of these (dumb) characters means nothing to me. We finally get to see why Katie freaked out and screamed for Micah in the very first film -- thank goodness for time and space traveling portals in low-rent apartment complexes in SoCal! -- but by the time this happens it is just another yawn in a long series of yawns found in this fifth film. I'm beginning to miss Jason and Freddy.
Quite possibly the two coolest vampires to ever grace the silver screen, Only Lovers Left Alive is an artistically stylish nod to the supernatural from director Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers, Ghost Dog) that stars Tom Hiddleston (Thor) and Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin) as centuries old vampires who have become more reclusive as they age because of their contempt for what has become of the human race. Tom's Adam appears to be an ultra-cool hipster who simply likes older, vintage things because he IS old. Tilda's Eve is quite similar and she appears to be loathed by her more fun-loving and irresponsible little sister Ava (Mia Waskiowska - Jane Eyre) who believes her elders to be boorishly pretentious (when they are simply nothing more than wise). John Hurt (Alien) co-stars as Eve's close friend and confidant, Christopher Marlowe (yes ... that Mr. Marlowe!). The action of the film takes place in a run-down Detroit which is highly symbolic of today's plight and a once-important Tangier that is still majestic and beautiful but only has meaning to those who actually know something ... and this is why Adam and Eve no longer fit into society. It isn't that they are vampires ... they are simply too intelligent and curious beings to co-exist in such a depraved, me-centered society. The film is slow and lacks action many would most likely expect in a vampire flick as the film's high points are the brainy conversations these two hold begrudging a dumbed-down, diseased world. The film's final scene is one of my favorites of the last year. Oh Tilda (okay, and Tom), how WONDERFUL thou art!
This B road movie is directed, written by and stars Khal Drogo of 'Game of Thrones' (Jason Momoa) as a Native American drifter named Wolf who is wanted by the law after he avenged his own mother's death. After hearing that the law is looking for him, Wolf takes to his motorcycle and sets out on the open road in search of a life of freedom he is unable to obtain on the reservation. On Wolf's trek out west, he meets some people he can take life lessons from including a discarded drunkard (Robert Homer Mollohan) and a lonely woman (Lisa Bonet - High Fidelity) who both provide one another with a comfort the other is temporarily needing. Bonet has few scenes, but the chemistry between Momoa and her is authentic as they are a real-life couple which is obvious while watching them onscreen. Wolf is tracked by a couple of FBI agents (Lance Henrikson and Timothy Murphy) who might be on the side of the law but are not necessarily good people. Road to Paloma is not a great film and Momoa isn't a great director (but give him time) but I appreciated the attempt the film has made to give a voice to the forgotten and downtrodden Native Americans Momoa also must find important. Several Native Americans have brief bit parts in the film and Wes Studi (Last of the Mohicans) co-stars as Wolf's lawman father. It is too bad that the film isn't better ... I was wanting more for this one.
Sadly this is the type of film very talented 40-something Hollywood actresses end up making as they strive to remain relevant after their career peaked many years ago. Mary-Louise Parker (Fried Green Tomatoes) and Elisabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas) co-star in this film as (sad) mothers whose children are the stars of the show. Parker's son Rick (Nat Wolff - The Fault in Our Stars) is an awkward nobody in school who dreams of dating Nina Pennington, the most popular girl in the school (Selena Gomez - Spring Breakers). Nick's dull best friend (Lachlan Buchanan - Newcastle) doesn't help much in the popularity department although his mom (Shue) has taken an uncomfortably keen liking to Rick ... for no real reason whatsoever other than to make the movie even more awkward. Pastors (Jason Lee), lawyers (Heather Graham), police men (Gary Busey), and PIs (Dylan McDermott) all figure into this story to make it zanier and crazier as it progresses. There is nothing here to recommend ... and I have NO idea what the point or purpose of this film is other than to be a highly offensive high school romp that makes little-to-no-sense whatsoever.