Monday, July 4, 2011

Rent it or Skip it: My thoughts on the latest movies out on DVD

The Mechanic:
The Mechanic is just like every other Jason Statham movie.  It features a ton of blood, a ton of action, and little acting.  He mostly grimaces and uses his eyes to portray his characters.  While his films are rarely boring, they are all pretty much the same.  Statham plays a cool, calm, and collected killer with rapid-fast reflexes.   In this film, he’s teaching Ben Foster all the tricks of the trade in order to be a successful assassin and leave no traces behind.  Donald Sutherland is also advertised as being in this movie, but he makes a quick exit.  That’s not a spoiler because this fact is advertised with the release of this film.  Yes, some of the action sequences are impressive, but the film is instantly forgettable after it’s over.  Statham is not a bad actor, but he’s always hitting the same notes in every movie.  After a while, you just stop caring about what’s happening because your senses have been dumbed down by explosion after explosion with no rhyme or reason.

Verdict: Skip It
Just Go With It:
I’ve heard nothing but positive things about Adam Sandler as a person.  Sadly, his films, as of late, have been nothing short of dreadful.  Adam Sandler, much like Jason Statham, is playing the same character: a selfish man-child that treats others poorly but has a change of heart before the credits roll.  This plot involves him using a wedding ring in order to sleep with women.  One night, he meets a woman that he actually likes, played by Brooklyn Decker of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue fame.  She assumes he’s married and thus thinks of him as a scumbag for cheating on his wife.  Sandler then enlists the help of his long-time assistant Jennifer Aniston to play the part of his wife and even gets her kids involved.  It would take many paragraphs to list all of the problems with this movie.  To sum it up, it’s totally implausible, phony, and features cartoon characters portraying humans. Needless to say, this movie should be avoided at all costs, as it produces zero laughs.

Verdict: Skip It
Cedar Rapids:
Does anybody play the clueless nerd gone wild better than Ed Helms? This is yet another terrific performance from him, as Tim Lippie, a straight-laced insurance man who has a weekend to remember at an insurance convention.  The film, directed by Miguel Arteta, is sharp, quick, and very, very funny.  The supporting cast also includes John C. Riley, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr., and Kurtwood Smith.  It’s raunchy without being too raunchy, and it’s sweet without being too sweet.  Its deadpan style of humor mixed with the elements of insurance and breaking free from your safe existence make this a very rewarding viewing experience.  It’s definitely worth checking out and very unusual.  Ed Helms is quickly becoming one of my favorite comedic actors working in Hollywood today.  He always puts all of himself into each and every role.

Verdict: Rent It
Rabbit Hole:
Rabbit Hole is a painful yet touching experience.  Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart play a grieving couple that has never recovered from the loss of their son.  They don't talk, have sex, or have any sort of connection whatsoever.  They are simply going through the motions.  Much like Ordinary People and The Son's Room, this is a great film that examines what it's like to lose someone and how you pick up the pieces and put your life back together.  Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart give Oscar-worthy performances that are always authentic and true to life.  This is a terrific film with great acting, great cinematography, and a great storyline.  It might not sound like a great time with its grim premise, but it's worth your time.

Verdict: Rent it

Drive Angry:
Nicholas Cage and his crazy hair give another one-note performance in a painfully dull movie.  Yes, there is a lot of action and Amber Heard looking mighty fine, but that is not nearly enough to make this an experience that warrants your time and attention.  There is a plot about hell and there is a supernatural element to the film, but this is just a cheap movie that wants to look and sound like a Grindhouse picture.  It fails miserably and falls flat on its face.  I'm all for a cheesy b-picture, but it needs to be fun and it needs to not take itself too seriously.  Drive Angry is brutally bad.

Verdict: Skip It

The Adjustment Bureau:

This is one of my favorite films of 2011.  It's one of the better romantic stories in recent memory and it also features a ton of suspense, action, and even humor.  Matt Damon is pitch-perfect as a politician that sees what his future is and tries to fight it.  The more you discover about this movie, the more interesting it becomes.  This is an amazing movie on all levels and worth checking out.  It really has something for everyone.  If your girlfriend wants some romance, there is plenty of that. If you want some action, a good story, and suspense, there's plenty of that as well. This movie is entertaining for the eyes while also giving you plenty to think about.

Verdict: Rent it

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