Monday, February 16, 2015

Movie Roundup 2/16/15: Gone Girl, Fury, Lucy, John Wick, and more!

I've had the Roku working for over a week, so I could have watched movies through that, but newer ones are like $5 on Amazon, Google Play, etc.  I decided then one day at the grocery store to hit the Redbox and then I went back a few times to catch up on some recent movies I had missed.

Gone Girl:  The way this movie starts, a man (Ben Affleck) finds his wife missing and house messed up and of course he's the prime suspect.  Only I never believed Affleck did it, not even for a second, because that would have been too obvious.  The real explanation starts out pretty messed-up and only gets more so from there.  What this movie does really well is illustrate how people are demonized by Nancy Grace and the like before they can even get a trial.  Think Casey Anthony and so forth.  My main criticism is that the end is one of those that keeps going when it probably could have ended 10-15 minutes sooner. (3.5/5)

Fury:  Did the world need another World War II movie?  Not really, but what the hell.    This is a pretty gritty story about a tank crew in 1945 as the Allies are pushing the Germans back towards Berlin.  The tank ultimately gets stuck and has to do a 300 against a bunch of SS goons.  As far as war movies go it's not really breaking any new ground, but it's still a good war movie if you're into that. (3/5)

Lucy:  This is another actioner from the Luc Besson factory, only Scarlett Johannson, aka Black Widow from the Avengers, takes over for Liam Neeson.  The premise of the movie is pretty silly.  The eponymous main character's drug courier boyfriend gets her mixed up with guys who manufacture something called CPH4 which is something newborn babies produce in small quantities to grow.  In a large quantity, like when a bag of it in Lucy's intestines breaks open, gives her superpowers and turns her into the Terminator, who has to get the other 3 bags of CPH4 before the bad guys.  Morgan Freeman cashes a paycheck as the dopey scientist who gives credibility to the idea that people only use 10% of their brain and if they use more they'll get magic powers, sort of like the Star Child in 2001, which all the trippy stuff at the end is I'm sure supposed to invoke.  I'm not all into science like other people, but I don't think that 10% thing is true and that all this "extra capacity" is really just storage.  Anyway, my main criticism is that after she hits 20% Black Widow has less personality than when she played a computer in Her.  But it got me thinking that Luc Besson could probably do an OK version of Chance of a Lifetime, so long as we set it in France and take out most of the middle to focus on the action. (2/5)

The Drop:  This was notable for being James Gandolfini's last movie and not much else.  It's written by Dennis Lehane of Mystic River fame and that's the sort of gritty attitude it's going for, only Brooklyn instead of Boston.  Tom Hardy, aka Bane and soon Mad Max but not Rick Flagg, runs the bar while his cousin Marv (Gandolfini) supervises.  The bar is really a front for the Russian or Chechyan mob, who routinely drop payments there, hence the title.  It's kind of a slow movie, but there's sort of a twist at the end.  Still, it's kind of a forgettable movie. (2.5/5)

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis:  Aquaman wasn't in the first rebooted Justice League animated movie (War!) perhaps because this sequel focuses largely on him as the bastard son of the Atlantean queen who has to take over when his evil half-brother tries to take over Earth.  It's OK but at 72 minutes some of the characters like Shazam (aka Captain Marvel), Flash, Green Lantern, and Batman get short shrift.  The Superman/Wonder Woman flying kiss is thrown in at the beginning where it has no dramatic impact at all.  And, well, it focuses on Aquaman.  Nuff said. (2.5/5)

But even though this movie didn't exist and I hadn't read the comics it was based on, some of the stuff in there got into my Girl Power books.  The Aquaman character in that series was named Lord Neptune, who then becomes a woman named Queen Neptune.  Anyway, he had an evil brother who adopted the nickname Killer Whale.  There was also a magic trident that only the royals could wield just like the Atlanteans.  Only the trident in mine magically folds into a seashell for portability.  Suck on that, Geoff Johns.

John Wick:  This is like a modern, stupid version of Road to Perdition.  The story is pretty much the same where a hitman turns on his former employer because the employer's idiot son killed everything the hitman loved.  Only in this case it's a dog the eponymous character's dead wife left to him.  (And stole his old Mustang.)  Because of that I'm not sure if we're supposed to take the movie seriously or not.  Anyway, after that it's pretty much just assassin movie cliches. (1/5)

November Man:  speaking of assassin movie cliches!  This is one of those movies that could have gone straight to the Redbox.  It follows that formula of casting an aging but still recognizable star (Pierce Brosnan) surround him with no names and film it in a cheap Eastern European location.  The details of the plot aren't really important.  Anyway, it's a fairly well-made shopworn cat-and-mouse spy movie. (2.5/5)

The Brothers Bloom:  After I finished Breaking Bad on Netflix I watched this, which was directed by Rian Johnson, who directed a few episodes of that series and has now landed the next two Star Wars movies.  Anyway, this is about two conmen.  The older is the current Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and the younger is that guy from the Pianist who's down to doing razor commercials and History Channel movies (Adrien Brody).  The thing is that Adrien Brody has been in a number of Wes Anderson movies and that's how this movie feels for the first 2/3 before shit gets real.  So that 2/3 was more fun than the final act. (3/5)

The Throw Aways:  This is the pilot for a series on Crackle, one of the things I have on my Roku.  Anyway, it's supposed to be like the A-Team only if Hannibal were a computer hacker played by Sam Huntington who recruits a bunch of losers (but not THE Losers because that was a different movie that's sort of the same thing) to stop someone with an encryption key that could let the highest bidder destroy power grids or something.  A decrepit James Caan cashes a paycheck as the team's Bosley.  The production values and acting are comparable to regular TV.  I have to say it was better than TNT's The Librarians but I wouldn't really care to watch a whole series of it. (2.5/5)


  1. Sounds like Gone Girl was the best movie you reviewed. I've taken a lot of flak for not seeing it, as it was filmed in my old college town and a lot of my friends still live there. I will see it, though. But I'm thinking about reading the book first.

  2. I would pick Fury as I'm not much into missing person type movies.

  3. I've only seen Gone Girl, of these, which I liked, though I never considered Affleck's character a suspect, either. They just didn't do the movie the right way for that to be believable.

  4. Lucy sounds like the kind of movie that takes the concept too far. What was great about limitless is that the abilities never go beyond the possible keeping it grounded. I've never seen it but the trailers show her with massive psychic powers and extra fingers so I know it takes it too far.



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