Posts Tagged ‘channing tatum’

hateful eight cross

In post-Civil War Wyoming, a bounty hunter named John Ruth (Kurt Russell) is transporting a prisoner named Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to Red Rock Wyoming to be hanged.  Ruth is joined by another bounty hunter and black Union soldier named Major Marquis Warren. (Samuel L. Jackson) The stagecoach travels a bit when they encounter a third man, Sheriff Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) who is soon to be sheriff of Red Rock.  The four passengers soon realize that they cannot make it all the way to Red Rock, because a blizzard is coming, so they stop at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a small trading post near Red Rock. At Minnie’s, Ruth, Warren, Domergue, and Mannix meet Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth)  the hangman of Red Rock, Confederate General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern) and cowboy Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) but Minnie (Dana Gourrier) is nowhere to be seen which raises Major Warren’s suspicions. Ruth has suspicions of his own, he suspects that somebody is going to team up with Major Warren, shoot him and split the bounty with Warren.  Where is Minnie?  Are Major Warren’s suspicious unfounded?  Are John Ruth’s suspicions unfounded?

For the first hour and a half, I thought this movie was destined to be another Tarantino classic, but then the movie was marred by projectile vomiting,  Major Warren’s frat-boy style revenge vignette, nonsensical alliances, and out-of -the-blue narration from none other than Tarantino himself, I thought I had turned on the director’s commentary by mistake.  All that, and the film was about an hour too long, Tarantino overindulged in his own dialogue, and no producer had the guts to tell him it was too long.  About 2 hours into the film, Tarantino feels the need to add some exposition, as to how certain characters came to Minnie’s Haberdashery, which was totally unnecessary. I don’t mind the violence, that’s a Tarantino trademark of sorts, but what I do mind is a badly written screenplay with easily correctable errors.

The acting was great Samuel L. Jackson did a great job making a non-likeable character almost likeable, Kurt Russell does the same thing, as does Walton Goggins.  Jennifer Jason Leigh does an adequate job with a badly written character, she had no depth whatsoever.  Not sure why Zoe Bell is in the film albeit for a cameo, her New Zealand accent belongs in this film like boxer shorts belong on the statue of David.  Thankfully, Channing Tatum has a relatively small role, and still convinces me that he cannot act.

Director Quentin Tarantino had a visual masterpiece going the mountainous background, the snowy foreground, the marvelous cinematography, but then writer Tarantino cut director Tarantino off at the knees, he forgets about the beautiful outdoor locations, and traps the characters indoors in a dark, dank cabin. I don’t know why Tarantino kept showing a cross in the wilderness, if he was trying to infer that one of these characters was Christ-like, he’s sadly mistaken. And actor Tarantino doesn’t help director Tarantino’s vision, with a robotic reading of the narrator’s role.  The scenes run too long, but Tarantino thinks that every scene is the perfect length as is. He gets good performances from the actors, but he has worked with Jackson many times, and Madsen at least once, so he’s not breaking any ground with them.

Hateful Eight: Eight Ain’t  Great.

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the book of life

Manolo, (Maximillian Ehrenreich, Diego Luna) Joaquin, (Elias Garza, Channing Tatum) and Maria (Genesis Ochoa, Zoe Saldana) all grow up as friends in the Mexican town of San Angel, Mexico.  Below San Angel, ruling two nether regions, The Land of the Remembered, and The Land of The Forgotten are La Muerte (Kate del Castillo) and Xibalba. (Ron Perlman) Xibalba is tired of ruling The Land of the Forgotten, so he wagers with La Muerte about who will marry Maria.  Xibalba chooses Joaquin, and Joaquin grows up to be a military hero, and protector of the town, while Manolo grows up to be a bullfighter, who dreams of being a singer.   Maria’s father General Posada (Carlos Alazraqui) pledges Maria to Joaquin, but she loves Manolo.  Xibalba sees his bet slipping away, so she sends his pet snake to bite Maria, but the snake bites Manolo instead.  Is this the end of the love story, or just the beginning?

I liked this movie a lot, the first half seems like a conventional love story, but then the second half of the story is told and it’s really quite satisfying.  It’s refreshing to hear a story told from a different tradition than usual by mostly Latino actors and actresses, which adds to the authenticity of the story.  The songs are quite good, but most of them are cover songs, I would have liked to see more original songs.  The film is also very funny, I laughed out loud several times, and the ending is emotional, and quite fulfilling.

The acting is very good for the most part.  Diego Luna plays Manolo with a sweet sensitivity that makes him a different kind of hero.  Zoe Saldana gives Maria a lot of spunk, she’s not afraid to get in there and fight the bad guys, which makes her a cut above most females in movies who play damsels in distress.  Channing Tatum is the only sour note in an otherwise delightful movie.  His emotionless, wooden performance is a real distraction.  He mumbles a lot and doesn’t even try a Spanish accent, this performance confirms everything I think of him as an actor.  Ron Perlman on the other hand, has a great voice for animation and uses it to great effect, a great ensemble cast fills this movie with solid performances.

The animation is unconventional to say the least, every character leaps out at the viewer, the heroes have exaggeratedly square jaws and overly broad shoulders, the colors on every frame of this film are dazzling, and fill the film with a vitality that it would not have otherwise been possible. The animation definitely adds a great deal to the overall experience of watching this film, and it reminds me why I like animation so much.  Worlds are possible in animation that would take millions in special effects budgets to recreate.  This movie, like Inside Out takes advantage of the medium.  Some of the animation reminded me of The Nightmare Before Christmas, especially the later scenes.

The Book of Life is directed by animation director Jorge R Gutierrez, and produced by Guillermo Del Toro, who’s directed Pan’s Labyrinth, and Pacific Rim.

Watch this Mexican animated folktale while you can.  Donald Trump may be President soon.

The Book of Life:  Dead on humor.

Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) is the daughter of Russian immigrants who settles in Chicago with her mother aunt and uncle after the fatal shooting of her father, Max. (James D’Arcy)  Jupiter and her mom work as maids, waking up early to clean the houses of wealthy people.  Jupiter is so poor that her cousin Vladie (Kick Gurry) wants her to sell her ovum for money.  Jupiter reluctantly agrees.  During the operation, she senses that alien spies are trying to kill her.  She is saved by a bounty hunter named Caine Wise.  (Channing Tatum) Caine is a splice, a cross between a wolf and an albino, he has been sent to kill Jupiter by Balem, (Eddie Redmayne) the ruler of the distant planet whose citizens have been visiting Earth for eons.  Why does Balem want to kill a maid?  Why does Caine save her?

It’s sad that I have to pan the first 2015 movie I see but I will, because this movie is first and foremost derivative of the Matrix with its clunky romance and duel realities.  Unfortunately, Jupiter Ascending also borrows liberally from Cloud Atlas, in its prodigious use of pseudo-scientific gobbledygook.  It also takes from Star Wars, the archetype of all sci-fi adventure films, and Soylent Green.  Worst of all, the film tries to superimpose a Shakespearian  drama onto a creaky sci-fi base, and the results are disastrous I say Shakespearean, but this is like Shakespeare for Dummies, Shakespeare for those with a short attention span.  There’s some drama between brothers, some incestuous dialogue, that’s about it . There are also musings about the bureaucracy on the distant planet, and asides on crop circles and mixing human DNA with alien DNA, I could watch Ancient Aliens on the History channel  for discussions on those topics and it probably would be more interesting than this movie. The gender roles haven’t changed at all, the hero is the male, the damsel in distress is the female.  The ending is predictable, and leaves openings for a sequel, I doubt one will be made. Unlike the Matrix the central premise of this movie is not intriguing.  It sounds more like a fairy tale.

The acting by the leads is sub-par.  Channing Tatum sticks to his monotone, monosyllabic delivery, he tries to don an accent of some kind in the beginning, knowing that was a bad idea, he dropped the accent completely.  Tatum must have been hanging around with Eddie Redmayne on the days the accented scenes were shot. Worst of all was Tatum’s appearance. Channing Tatum looked like Mugatu  from Zoolander. That’s all I could think about after seeing him in this movie.  I never thought I’d compliment Keanu Reeves’ acting, but Channing Tatum, you’re no Keanu Reeves.  Mila Kunis mostly screams for help in this movie, so not much acting involved there.  She gets blackmailed twice, so her character can be easily duped, and no attempt at an accent, and she’s Ukrainian, so a tiny Russian accent shouldn’t be so hard.  The better performances are by actors in smaller roles, Eddie Redmayne does a serviceable job as Blaem, although he does overplay it a bit.  Sean Bean is good as Tatum’s old commander.  Gugu Mbatha Raw is good as the not so nice Famulus, but their contributions are wasted.

The cinematography and the special effects are superb.  The visuals are what kept my attention in this movie, having said that, the action sequences are badly conceived and badly directed.  Every time there was a glimmer of plot development or character development, a fight would break out, and that led to an extremely weak plot and next to no character development.  The movie is too long and the pacing is slow.

Jupiter Ascending.  Descending fast.

don-jon-

Jon (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is a 20 something, single bartender, he likes to work out, he likes to go clubbing with his pals, Bobby (Rob Brown) and Danny (Jeremy Luke) He drives a 1972 Chevy Chavelle, and works out regularly.  Jon lives with his parents Jon Sr. (Tony Danza) Angela (Glenne Headly) and his sister, Monica.(Brie Larson)  Jon goes to church regularly, he sleeps around nightly, and is obsessed with pornography.  He doesn’t think he’s going to settle down , but then he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) and she is a 10 on his scale, and is everything he wants in a woman.

Barbara wants to meet his parents, she wants Jon to go to school to be better than a bartender, and he wants Jon to be exclusive to her.  He dutifully does all this, but can’t give up his porn addiction.  Barbara catches him one day, he gets out of it by saying one of his friends sent it to him one day, and swears to give it up, but doesn’t.

At his night class, Jon meets a quirky older woman, named Esther (Julianne Moore) and they strike up an unlikely friendship.    What does his porn addition do to his relationship with Barbara?  Does he confide his obsession to his new friend Esther?

I love this movie.  To most, it would seem like Joseph Gordon Levitt plays a stereotype. He plays a Guido, if you don’t know what that is Google it.  He’s a musclehead, he drives a fast car, he has a hot girlfriend. Jon should be happy, but he isn’t.  He doesn’t realize it, but he’s being used by Barbara, who just wants someone to manipulate.  He has a rationale for his addiction, so he doesn’t see it as a problem, but it increasingly takes over his life.

What I like about this movie is the complexity of the Jon character.  His life is a walking dichotomy; he is part altar boy and part playboy. Jon sleeps around, but he goes to church, he moves on to have a steady girlfriend, which to him means respectability, but he watches porn every day, which even he realizes is getting out of hand. This movie contains a lot of truths, about sex, love relationships and the destructiveness of pornography, namely the objectification of women.  Mainly, what this movie has going for it is, it’s damn funny.  Jon says the Lord’s Prayer while working out, his sister always has her face stuck in front of the phone, texting, and Jon’s Catholic Church confessions are laugh out loud funny.  There is a scene where Jon and Barbara are also having an argument about Swiffer pads that is classic comedic dialogue.  There’s also a fake movie with Ann Hathaway and Channing Tatum which is also hilarious. There is also a subtle commentary about the prevalence of scantily clad women in everyday mainstream culture, from fashion magazines to tv commercials. The relationship with Esther is a little far-fetched, but it works in the larger scheme of things.

Joseph Gordon Levitt plays this character perfectly, the muscles the hair gel, the car, the women, the porn, all leads you to believe that he’s a jerk, but he’s really not.  He lives with his parents, he is a person of faith (however superficial that faith is) and he wants to settle down, he’s just not sure if Barbara is the right woman to settle down with.  He brings the perfect mixture of party boy player and sensitive guy looking for a deeper relationship to this role, with a perfect New Jersey accent, and perfect comedic timing.  Scarlett Johansson does a great job as a woman who knows what she wants, and knows how to get it.  She lays on the accent a little thick but gets the tone of the role down perfectly, she coos to Jon sweetly but she seeks to be a puppet master. Julianne Moore has gotten into a rut of playing these flighty older women , but in this movie, it works.  Great supporting performances by Tony Danza, Glenn Headly, Rob Brown and Jeremy Luke.

Congratulations to Levitt for writing and directing such a complex movie, including so many disparate topics, and making it funny to boot.  He’s got a bright career ahead of him.  The length was a perfect 90 minutes.  It’s not for kids, because of the preponderance of sex and pornography as a theme, but if you are an adult and don’t have an issue with those things, watch this movie.

Don Jon.  Dawn of a new kind of comedy.

side effects

 

Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) is enjoying the fruits of her husband, Martin’s (Channing Tatum) success.  But then, Martin is arrested for insider trading, and serves two years in prison.  Martin is released, and  everything seems to be going well at first, but Emily is visibly depressed.  She goes to see a psychiatrist, Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law) and Dr. Banks prescribes a new drug, Ablixa, after talking to Emily’s previous psychiatrist, Dr. Victoria Seifort. (Catherine Zeta Jones)  The new drug seems to be working well on Emily’s depression, but has the side effect of making Emily sleepwalk.  During one of these sleepwalking events, Emily stabs Martin to death, and then goes back to bed.  Dr. Banks is shocked, is he treating a murderer, or is the new drug that he just prescribed responsible for turning Emily into a killer?

For about the first hour and a half, this film is a taught, intelligent mystery about the use and abuse of psychotropic drugs in psychiatric treatment, but then the reveal happens, and the writers have about a half an hour to fill, so they fill it with twists and turns none of which are as exciting as the first 90 minutes.  The writers had two choices on how the ending would play out and they took the easier and less satisfying way out of their quandary. The writers thankfully killed off Channing Tatum early.  Tatum is young and strong, he still has a long career as a housepainter in front of him.  What?  He’s an actor?  Then he has a short career as an actor in front of him.  Rooney Mara turns in a spellbinding performance as the sometimes catatonic, sometimes weepy, always unpredictable Emily.  Jude Law turns in an impressive performance as an ethically and morally questionable psychiatrist, and Catherine Zeta-Jones gives a especially strong performance as an even more ethically and morally challenged psychiatrist.  But a weak and predictable ending sinks a very promising premise and some very good performances.

Side Effects:  Not addicting enough.

Movie Review: 21 Jump Street (2012)

Posted: December 1, 2012 in Comedy
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21 Jump Street

 

Two high school misfits, join an elite police squad headquartered in an abandoned church.  Schmidt (Jonah Hill) was a social pariah, a chubby guy obsessed with Eminem, and the only member of the high school Juggling Society.  Jenko (Channing Tatum) is the opposite in high school, handsome, popular, but academically dim-witted.  They didn’t like each other in high school, but now are picked by Captain Dickson (Ice Cube), to break up a high school drug ring.  Eric Molson (Dave Franco) is selling the drugs, but Schmidt and Jenko still have to find the suppliers.   Do they find the suppliers before their cover gets blown?

This is perhaps the worst movie I’ve ever seen.  Three scenes at least, illustrate this point.  Schmidt is praying in the church/headquarters of Jump Street, and he starts the prayer, “Korean Jesus…”  First of  all that’s demeaning to Christians, I would expect no less from Hollywood, secondly it’s demeaning to Koreans, whether they are Christian or not. The second embarrassment of a scene took place when Schmidt and Jenko are trying to make each other vomit after ingesting the drugs, while a janitor looks on.  The third such scene is after Schmidt takes the drugs, he sings a truly awful version of a Peter Pan song.  There are many such cringe inducing scenes, to list them all would take far too long.  The incessant  cursing is another sign of bad writing, when a character curses, instead of having meaningful dialogue, that means the screenwriter is not very good.  A cop buddy movie can either be very good (48 Hours, Beverly Hills Cop) or very bad (The Other Guys, Starsky and Hutch, this movie) I should have known that I wouldn’t like this movie from the cast, Jonah Hill is at his annoying worst, I will say it again, Channing Tatum, should really consider being a house painter as a profession, because his acting skills are limited, to say the least.  Ice Cube is playing an angry black stereotype, and says as much, and the women are on screen to leer at.  To say this movie is juvenile is an insult to juveniles everywhere.  I consider it a minor miracle that the DVD froze an hour into this movie, thus preventing me from watching this catastrophe in its entirety.

Do not watch this movie.

21 Jump Street.  Jump off of a ledge rather than watch this odiferous pile of celluloid.

Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige (Rachel Mcadams) are deliriously happily married, until they get rear ended by a truck while making out.  Leo is not badly hurt, but Paige goes through the windshield, and suffers a brain trauma.  She can’t remember anything of her life with Leo, she was an sculptor, on the cusp of commercial success.  But Paige can’t remember any of the last five years.  What she does remember is living with her parents, Bill (Sam Neill) and Rita (Jessica Lange) and her sister Gwen (Jessica McNamee).  Paige doesn’t remember dropping out of law school and breaking up with her former fiancé, Jeremy (Scott Speedman) so as hard as he tries, Leo can’t make Paige remember the life they shared together.  So she goes back to the life she had before Leo, law school, old fiancé, her parents house, planning her sister’s wedding, but Paige still feels out of sorts.  Her life seems happy now, but questions still nag at her, why did Paige leave her parents, her fiancé, quit law school to marry Leo, a guy who she seemingly has nothing in common with?
This is yet another drippy romantic drama.  It was so drippy that I thought that it was another useless Nicholas Sparks romantic novel, but I was wrong, this is actually based on a true story, written by the couple to whom the accident happened.  That doesn’t make the story any more palatable, or believable to me.  Leo can do no wrong, the parents are the standard issue wealthy villains who think their wealth can buy anything, including their daughter’s happiness.  If it is a true story, it’s a story that has been told many times before.  Rachel McAdams seems insistent on being typecast in these nauseating romantic stories, she’s been in The Notebook, The Time Traveller’s Wife, and now this.  She should do different roles.  She was quite good in the thriller Red Eye.  As I’ve said before Channing Tatum should consider another line of work, longshoreman, long distance mover, something that doesn’t require him to speak.
The Vow.  Promise yourself that you’ll miss this movie.