Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Upon Further Review

Now that Christmas is over, and you have unwrapped all of your gifts, I hope you got all the DVDs and Blu-Rays you were looking for. Between November and December is the best time of the year for movie lovers because most of the major summer movies are released on DVD.

Perhaps, you didn’t get all the titles you were hoping for. Here are my thoughts on a few films that you might want to consider for purchase or rental. Based on a five-point system—5 for excellent, 4 for very good, 3 for good, 2 for average and 1 for bad.

One of the best films in my opinion for 2010 is Inception. It’s innovative, thought-provoking and features an excellent storyline. The special effects are first rate.Unlike most popcorn movies, Inception is about something.That something will be up to each viewer to discover and decipher.The bottom line is that if you are looking for a highly entertaining and visually striking film that will keep you guessing, you will do no better than this film.  It is a must own, and I give it a solid 5. 

The folks over at Pixar are in a class all by themselves. Do they ever make a movie that is nothing short of excellent. I thought going to the well for the third time may have been a mistake. But, Toy Story 3 is as good as anything that Pixar has ever released. This is the perfect bookend to the original Toy Story. It completes the story. I give this one a 5.

It has been the year of sequels. Sometimes they work, but most times they are simply a cheap rip-off. In the case of Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps, I could only hope it would not dash my expectations. Gordon Gekko has to be one of the most interesting characters to grace the big screen. Thankfully, this film delivers the goods. With the recent financial crisis, Money Never Sleeps is right in step with the times. I give it a 4.

It’s also been a year for remakes. Maybe Hollywood is running out of new ideas. To be honest, I didn’t have many expectations for Karate Kid. I sorta liked the original, but I wasn’t a big fan. But this new version is a home run. From locations, to exceptional acting, to fantastic fight scenes, you can’t go wrong. The storyline is surprisingly solid. I give this one a 4.

Will somebody please give Tom Cruise a break? It seems fashionable today to make Cruise a target and to pile it on. He may not be the best actor, but he knows how to have a good time in Knight and Day. This film is a blast from start to finish. Just enjoy the ride. So, forget the critics. If you are looking for an action film that doesn’t take itself seriously, this one’s for you. It get a solid 3.5.

Continuing with remakes, A-Team made an appearance last year. Hey, I was a big fan of the 1980 series, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. A-Team is big on action and is absolutely outrageous. But isn’t that what you expect from the A-Team? I’m not sure why it wasn’t a bigger hit. It is certainly a cut above your average action flick. It gets a solid 3.

I love espionage movies. So I had high expectations for Salt. Most of the critics dismissed it as preposterous and unworthy of your time. I disagree. Sure, the plot has holes. And no one can survive the action sequences that Evelyn Salt seems to master with ease. But with that in mind, I still highly recommend the film. It kept me guessing because we still don’t know who Evelyn Salt is, which is the main premise of the movie. And Angelina Jolie gives a solid performance. So it gets a solid 3. I suspect we will find that out in future sequels.

Iron Man was an exceptional film, so the expectations for Iron Man 2 were high. Perhaps that was the problem. When our expectations are too high, no film, no matter how good it is will be able to deliver the goods. But, taken on its own merits, Iron Man 2 is a workable, comic book, action flick. It has all the elements you are looking for. I give it a 2.5.

Maybe I just don’t understand comedy these days. I like to think I have a sense of humor. But I just didn’t get most of the jokes in The Other Guys. I liked the premise because it was original. Instead of focusing on the alpha male action heroes, this movie features the other guys who are part of the background in the squad room. It had a great setup, but it never delivered the goods. It’s one thing to be crude and obnoxious, but at least be funny while you are doing it. This movie failed on all accounts. I give it a 1.5.

Now to the worst movie of the year. Grown Ups has to be the biggest disappointment I’ve seen in quite some time. An exceptional cast featuring Adam Sandler along with a bunch of other funny guys, somehow manage two hours of being completely unfunny. How do you do that? What a waste of talent. Everyone involved in this movie had to realize at some point they were in a turkey. Enough said. I give it a 1.

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