Thursday, February 21, 2013

(TV REVIEW) The Walking Dead (2013)

The Walking Dead returns with heart pounding action…unless you’re a zombie. Then you have no heart.

February is known for being that time of year when you snuggle up close those that are the most important to you and paint the town red. By “those that are the most important to you” I am obviously talking about the remaining members of your Zombie Apocalypse group. And by “paint the town red” I mean the excessive amount of head shots that you and your group are unleashing on the hordes of undead that are in constant pursuit of you and your group. The problem with the Zombie Apocalypse is not really so much with the zombies, but more about the people that have changed to fit in to this new world paradigm that they find themselves in. People stake out their places in the world and will fight to the death to hold on to that. Sometimes that is a great and noble thing, but in this world it is usually followed by a maniacal mad man that is looking to reign down death and destruction on anyone in his path. Welcome to a day in the life of Rick Grimes (AKA “Officer Friendly”).

Storyline: The dead walk the earth. There is no real answer to why they do, they just do. Bites are a death sentence and the only way to ensure that your friends and family do not come back as “walkers” is with a well-placed shot to the head. This is the world that we live in now. But not everyone has been turned. Rick Grimes (Lincoln) and his group have been on the run and looking for a place to call “home” for the last year. They have finally found that home in the form of a prison that the group had to clear of zombies to make safe. But a rival group in the town of Woodbury is not happy with Rick and his people being in their backyard. So an all-out war is being waged between the two factions and many, if not all, of those in the fight may lose their lives in an attempt to hold on to what they feel like is theirs. It’s a dangerous new world, and zombies are the least of your worries.

Thoughts? Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years you have not only heard of this show, but you have probably heard of how it is breaking records left and right on viewer numbers. And rightfully so! This show rarely disappoints and almost always delivers fast paced episodes. With season 3’s midseason premier, The Walking Dead returned with the highest ratings of the shows run and I can only assume that those numbers will continue to go up. If you haven’t watched the show in the past, check it out on Netflix. Well worth it.

SPOILER: This poster makes me think that poor little Carl is about to take one to the dome. You know, he lost an eye in the comics...but the show has deviated so far from most of those story lines that it might not happen. Dale lost a leg in the comics, not Hershel. Michonne is the one that the Gov physically abused (raped)  and held captive, not Maggie. Their stay on the farm was brief, not lasting months. Shane dies in the first comic, not so much further into the story. 

The show has a way of making good on the events that took place in the comics but often changing the timelines or the character that the event happened to. So, as the poster suggests that there will be "an eye for an eye", maybe Rick is the one that is going to have his peeper popped? Beats him having his arm cut off (like he did in the comics). 


(Movie Review) Identity Thief (2013)

Identity Thief steals a few laughs, but not as many as I hoped it would.

Hollywood has a wonderful way of dropping the ball with almost every rising star that they help create. Not only do they overuse actors to the point of it turning the audience away (Gerard Butler and Sam Worthington are good examples) but they take someone that has experienced a recent upshot in popularity and pair them with a seasoned actor for feature films. I know that this is to help lend some “star power” to the newer actor, and expose the seasoned actor to the new fan base of the newer actor, but it usually turns out to be a bad combination. Look at Hollywood Homicide (Josh Hartnett and Harrison Ford in 2003) or Due Date (Zach Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr. in 2010) or anyone else on the laundry list of movies that I could provide that have done this and had bad to mediocre results. That being said, Identity Thief is well above being labeled a mediocre comedy, but it is nowhere near as funny as the previews would lead you to believe.

Storyline: Sandy Patterson (Bateman) is a great guy. Pays his bills, works hard, and loves his family. All of that hard work seems to be paying off when he is given a new position with a much higher pay and with a boss that he can actually get along with. But just when things are looking up for him he finds that his identity has been stolen and the thief (McCarthy) has ruined his credit and left him destitute. Sandy, in order to keep his new job with a financial firm, must find a way to bring this thief in and have her admit to what she has done before he loses everything that he has worked so hard for.

As of right now, this movie barely has a 5 out of 10 rating on and is given a 24% fresh rating on (by critics) it doesn't look as if I am alone in my criticisms of the film. While there were a few really great laugh-out-loud moments, the movie just doesn't live up to the expectations that I had for it. McCarthy is one of the most talked about comedy actors in the business right now. After her hilarious performances on Bridesmaids, This is 40 and her new series Mike and Molly, it’s no wonder why Hollywood is throwing projects at her. But no matter how hard she tried, this role just didn't work for me. Although I am looking forward to seeing her later this year with Sandra Bullock in The Heat.  And Bateman works better (in my opinion) in dry comedy…not slapstick and gimmicky comedy. 

Worth the admission? Maybe if you catch it on a matinee. Not at full price. It will be worth renting once it is out of the theaters, but that is about all I would recommend. I will give credit to McCarthy for a rarely seen vulnerable side that she shows in a few scenes in this movie. Glad to see she isn't just a one note actor.

Friday, February 8, 2013

(Movie Review) Warm Bodies (2013)

Warm Bodies might be the most imaginative and appealing Zombie movie ever made 
Imagination is something that is desperately missing in this world. People are fine, for the most part, with the status quo. People do what those before them did, who did what those before them did and so on. That is why people in the fashion world claim that clothing runs through cycles and that everything that is out of style tomorrow will be back in style one day (which is why I kept my Superman underoos from my childhood). 
This repetitive cycle is most apparent, to me, in movies. You can take a few classic movies and basically see how most modern films are derived from them.  Not so with Warm Bodies. While George Romero will be created with popularizing Zombie films in the late 60s, movies like Warm Bodies take the backdrop of a Zombie Apocalypse and turn it on its ear by making it a love story/comedy.  Making something new from an old Hollywood trope produces a very fresh and interesting movie.

Storyline: R (Hoult) is a product of the Zombie Apocalypse. He has little brain function and lacks most basic motor skills. The only source of food that is appealing to a Zombie is human flesh. They can’t help it. People are just a bunch of walking Happy Meals to them. When R’s pack attacks a group of survivors, R falls in love with Julie (Palmer) at first sight. When R thinks that Julie might be at risk of dying from the attack of the other Zombies he risks his non-life to save and protect her. As his emotions for her grows stronger he begins to heal himself from his Zombie plague. But a secret that R holds, and the determination of Julie’s father to wipe the Zombies from the face of the Earth, might be enough to keep R and Julie from every being together.

Worth the Admission? Very much so! I knew that I would love this movie from the first preview that I saw of it. The story is REALLY out there, but the message is such a great one. That no matter how bad the world gets and how bad it looks for humanity, love is what we should rely on to pull us back from the brink. You can’t ask for something with a better message than that.

Nicholas Hoult (R ) and Teresa Palmer (Julie) are fantastic together. And while this is not my favorite Rob Corddry role (M) he delivers some of the best one-liners in the movie. It’s just a really fun movie with a great message. Check it out. 

(Movie Review) Bullet to the Head (2013)

A Bullet to the Head would have been less painful that sitting through this movie.

There are some older action stars that can still “go”. My favorite has to be Bruce Willis, but I have always liked Sylvester Stallone too. It’s hard not to look at movies like Rocky, Rambo, and The Expendables and consider Stallone to be one of the baddest of bad asses, and even in this film he maintains his reputation of being the toughest guy in the room, but this movie is just something that doesn't measure up to his past work.

Storyline:  After watching their respective partners die, a New Orleans hitman and a Washington D.C. detective form an alliance in order to bring down their common enemy. –

Worth the admission? Not really. I’m all for a good dumbed down action flick, especially when the actors involved are at the top of their game, but this movie just disappointed me in a lot of ways. The good parts about it was that the action was GREAT. Lots or gun play, lots of head shots and an ax fight…you can’t get much better than that. And again, Stallone was the best thing about this movie. For 60+ years old he is in phenomenal shape and can still be a believable action star. But everyone else in the movie is kind of horrible. With the exception of Jason Momoa (as hired killed Keegan) and Sylvester Stallone (as James “Jimmy” Bonomo) the acting in this movie was really really bad. Even for an action film.

There was one shining moment in this movie. I did some background/extra work on this film and was actually visible in 3 different scenes. Granted, I was only in the background, and you would have to know where to look for me (except in the final scene I am clearly on the right hand side for about 30 seconds) but the fact that I was in the final cut made me very happy. So, because of that, I must recommend that you DO check the movie out at some point.  :)