At the moment I'm a senior at O.U. and it feels like I've been there forever. A couple more years and I'll feel like Tommy Boy. Anyway, I really started appreciating movies about four years ago and it appears my love affair with them only gets deeper, even inspite of the rare horrible movie that I run across. I won't name any names.
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John Dillinger: We're having too good a time today. We ain't thinking about tomorrow.
Should we have expected a disaster movie to be an actual disaster? Pompeii is essentially a poor man's version of Gladiator with a volcano explosion at the end. If you're looking for genuine emotion or great conviction of acting, you've come to the wrong place. If you've come for a volcano explosion, you'll have to sit through 90 mins first.
I have sat in reflection for two days thinking about this film. My conclusion is that it will be known as one of the worst films in 2014. I'm not sure how they convinced such a wonderful cast, including a cameo that will blow your mind, to take part in this film, my guess is blackmail. Winter's Tale requires the audience to not only suspend but eliminate their sense of disbelief while one highly implausible thing happens after another. Now movies, and good movies, are filled with miraculous and implausible things all the time, but at least those films have characters that react in a way that exhibits some common sense. I could fill three pages with all the madness that this film incurs, instead I will simply say, let's just pretend this didn't happen.
Robocop is a remake that did not need to be made, but since it is here, we might as well enjoy it.
The great Roger Ebert always judged movies based on genre. If that approach is applied here, Robocop can be seen as above average, if only just barely. Director Josť Padilha crafts a well made action movie, with some fun looking action sequences and tons of robots biting the dust. He doesn't reinvent the genre, but he doesn't have to. It's a remake anyway, so originality is already out the door. He also manages to capture some committed performances from these actors. Gary Oldman, a consummate professional, portrays the doctor desperately wanting to use this wealth of technology to rebuild lives, yet encounters the moral struggle between wealth and ethics. His stood out the most to me, however Joel Kinnamon is the lead here as Alex Murphy. For better or worse, he certainly seems to have more charisma than the original Robocop. Despite all this, there are some flaws with this film. I'm not sure it ever captures the themes that it attempts to cover, such as media propaganda or its commentary on technology in our society. There are a few moments where the train really gets off track when it goes very in depth to show the science behind the possibility of a Robocop. It very nearly undermines the solid first act of the film due to its utter ridiculousness. If one stays committed and weathers the storm though, they'll find a decently entertaining film at the end, especially if they are wanting some other than a date movie for this time of year.
When previews ran late last year for The Monuments Men, one got the feeling that it would be an award darling easily. The movie poster itself is overflowing with heavyweight, oscar nominated and winning actors, and even the side characters employ solid actors who know their stuff. It also bolsters a solid director/writer combo, but best of all, the story is true and worthy of being told. So what happened? It was pushed back, the first yellow flag in any film (Superman/Batman, I am talking to you). More than that though, it simply just doesn't live up to the talent it casts. The film has some very flat moments, the worst of which may come within the opening act. That's a worst case scenario for any film. There's an unusual lack of passion being shown by many of these characters, who would risk their lives for this purpose. That may be the fault of the tonal issues that seem to abound. It attempts to have some very poignant scenes and then some very light a comedic scenes. This was done to perfection by last year's American Hustle, but this does not. There's not enough weight portrayed through these characters for those poignant scenes to be impactful, but the poignant scenes also get in the way of any sort of smooth, comedic or fun rhythm that might want to be attempted. Sometimes it wants to be a war-film of substance and others a Dirty Dozen type romp through Europe. It fails at both.
On the brightside, if you buy a ticket to the Monuments Men, or rent it via redbox one of these days, you will be treating to a host of actors, whom you probably already love, and if you can muster through some rough patches, might find one or two entertaining bits. It's not a total loss. It's not without redeeming qualities. It's just not Saving Private Ryan or a WW2 Ocean's Eleven. It's the Monuments Men, and it's flawed.