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Rating History

Burn After Reading
5 days ago via Flixster

"Burn After Reading" is one of my least favorite Coen Brothers films. The Coens have created some inspired work from "Fargo" to "No Country For Old Men," but this script relies on a constant stream of f-words to fill in the gaps left by its weak plot. I loathe modern comedies that subscribe to the belief that if you use the f-word enough, it will become a running gag (Melissa McCarthy, I'm talking to you). In fact, the main theme that connects the film together is its crude content. Why is every relationship in the film predicated on infidelity? And that machine that George Clooney builds - there is absolutely no purpose behind it, and yet it's there for the sake of being there. I didn't like this film when it came out and tried to approach it with fresh eyes, believing that I would fall in love with it knowing what I know now about movies. I was wrong and should have trusted my first experience with it. I actually hated it significantly more than I did the first time! You would think that a cast including John Malkovich, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton (detestable in this role), Richard Jenkins, J.K. Simmons, and Clooney would have to be amazing but the entire story is absurd. It's almost as if they pigeonholed a bunch of great actors into a 90's Adam Sandler movie and called it sophisticated. Black comedies often miss the mark because they don't find that balance between feeling sorry for characters and enjoying their misfortune. This one is a prime example. Pitt is the only reason to even consider watching this film a his character is so over the top that we love to see him be absurd. Unfortunately, the rest of the characters are so static that he feels out of place. There are a few decent moments in this film (serving the papers, Pitt's nosebleed) but nothing that will make it worth enduring. If you love the Coen brothers, you might see something in "Burn After Reading" that I didn't. After you're done, you can find me pouting in the corner, still annoyed with myself for wasting an hour and a half on this film AGAIN!

My Girlfriend's Boyfriend
8 days ago via Flixster

I'm frustrated. I don't understand how a film like "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" gets made. I can understand how the vision of a film can get lost in the editing process, but how can a film be so misguided from the very start. I can't imagine the crew members on the set of this film thinking anything other than "these are the most emotionless characters that I have ever seen" as the cameras were rolling. I have seen Lifetime Original Movies with better acting. I've even seen midafternoon Nickelodeon comedies with every cast member under the age of 16 that has better acting. Christopher Gorham's soft-spoken tone of voice wreaks of a sensitive used car salesman and makes any attempt by Alyssa Milano to create chemistry feel awkward. It doesn't help that the script is completely mundane. Not in a Richard Linklater real-life-unfolding-in-front-of-your-eyes sort of way, but in a why-am-I-watching-this-unemotional-dialogue sort of way. The entire film feels painfully overacted and it is no surprise that it received a pay-per-view release instead of a theatrical one. It latches onto the classic cliché of a girl trying to choose between a successful ad executive vs. a family-oriented struggling writer, though you will understand why in the end. In an effort to incorporate some comedy into the film, they create a random tangent with a character appearing in a gum commercial but it has ABSOLUTELY NO BEARING on the plot! The experience of watching this film is painful... and then it throws in one of the most incredible twists that I've ever seen in a romantic comedy. This is one of the highest quality chick flick concepts that I have ever seen, but the dialogue and acting are so average that it will never be appreciated for its underlying genius. I want to tell you to watch "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" to experience its inventive ending, or even just to laugh at how bad the acting is; unfortunately, any attempt to endure this film will result in an unending frustration with its relentless monotony.

3 Days To Kill
10 days ago via Flixster

"3 Days to Kill" is an average action comedy film that features Kevin Costner doing his best "gruff Harrison Ford" impression. It intersperses several well-executed shootout sequences with a shallow family plot. The Parisian setting and the intrigue behind Amber Heard's character set the stage for a riveting story but what develops feels like a bunch of ideas that were borrowed from other films. As I mentioned, Costner's voice and disposition are reminiscent of most Harrison Ford action films, his crippling adrenaline-induced hallucinations seem to be inspired by "Crank," and the plot device of a man trying to develop a relationship with his daughter amidst dangerous spy missions feels very cliché. This led to a familiarity that had my wife and I debating whether we had seen the film before. The predictability of the family story left little room for surprises. We even developed an expectation that one particular character would reveal herself to be a bad guy... only to realize that we were remembering a different film and definitely had not seen this one before. While the story lacks originality, much of the comedy hits the target. The running gag of Costner's "I Love It" ringtone going off at inappropriate moments never gets old and his reliance on his targets (Mitat and Guido) to help mend his relationship with Zooey creates some great moments. If you are looking for a serious action film, "3 Days to Kill" will let you down but if you are looking for something predictable and light, it might be just what you are looking for.

Suicide Squad
Suicide Squad (2016)
24 days ago via Flixster
½

Disclaimer: I kind of enjoyed "Suicide Squad" but I don't really have anything positive to say about it. "Suicide Squad" was exactly what I expected after hearing what everybody else had to say. It is a generally disappointing attempt at duplicating the success of Marvel's "The Avengers" that falls short of a great story and well-developed characters. One of the main issues is that the film tries to do too much. It spends the first 20 minutes giving a textbook explanation of each character (literally sitting around a meeting room table and telling each character's backstory). This feels very out of place in a genre whose standard is to produce an origin story for each character (it's okay to introduce multiple characters in each film) and then put them together later. This film attempts to kill two birds with one stone by condensing all of the origin stories into the film's overture and then putting them together for the rest of the film, but the end result is that we don't feel an attachment to any of the characters. At least "The Avengers" films (which I consider to be superhero overkill) have developed the characters enough that we like them individually. The next issue is the one that we have heard the most: Not enough Joker! Jared Leto's interpretation of The Joker is a complete letdown after Heath Ledger's iconic magnum opus in "The Dark Knight Rises." Leto has been on the record that most of his best moments were left on the cutting room floor. After hearing that Leto maintained his character for every moment on set of this production, expectations were extremely high but based on the footage that was selected for the final cut, it's hard to imagine that it could have ever compared to Ledger. The best thing to come out of this film is Margot Robbie's rendition of Harley Quinn. She has turned this sidekick into a heroine (well, villainess) full of spunk that wins over the audiences' hearts. Harley a character that they can build a franchise off of and every moment that she is onscreen is exhilarating. I can't wait for her spinoff, though I question how it will fare considering that every one of her lines was a one-liner. Each is well-delivered, but one-liners nonetheless. The rest of the characters are unfamiliar to me because I have never been a DC Comics fan, but the performances in the film certainly didn't win me over. Will Smith is pretty cool as Deadshot and I appreciate that he is motivated by his family. The rest of the characters left me wondering why they were even there and the villain is so farfetched that it was hard to believe that the characters were in danger. The pop music soundtrack is an obvious imitation of "Guardians of the Galaxy" and was overdone. Some of the songs fit well with the story but others seem random and misplaced, especially since most songs are snippets of 30 seconds or less. Aside from Robbie, it would seem that the Oscar win for Best Makeup and Hairstyling is the film's only redeeming quality, but even that couldn't compare to its competitors in the category. This film simply failed to live up to its cool concept. "Suicide Squad" was supposed to be a breath of fresh air, an ensemble antihero film amidst a never ending chain of superhero films, but it is just another Hollywood blockbuster with cool action sequences and two-dimensional characters.