Movie Reviews

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Gangster Squad

      Why I would choose to watch Bullet to the Head before my mind registered the presence of Gangster Squad shows me how ignorant I have been. To tell you the truth, it's due to the movie title. My mind just sidelined the flick because it thought that I would be wasting my time with a movie that has "squad" in the title. It just wasn't appealing to me. REMEMBER: Never judge a book by its cover!
      It wasn't until I noticed Ryan Gosling in the cast when I threw aside any current responsibilities to go watch it. There was no other choice because, hands down, I think Ryan Gosling is one of the top actors of this time. It's because of his style, his ability to say a thousand words with just a particular look on his face, and his fluid adaptability, that he made a consistent fan out of me. Get this, he wasn't even the best part!
      Set in 1949, Gangster Squad, directed by Ruben Fleischer, outlines a war for Los Angeles. On one side, you have a power hungry mob king Micky Cohen, played by Sean Penn and on the other, the law. Brolin, who plays the role of Sgt. John O'Mara, is asked by the LA police chief to create a secret crew of determined and skillful officers to take down Cohen and liberate Los Angeles from his tight clutch. O'Mara and Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Gosling) go headfirst into this grand firefight and we as viewers have an opportunity to see all hell break loose. We also have a familiar chance of seeing Gosling and Emma Stone back in action again. Tell me that they don't have wonderful chemistry. Their relationship was so refreshing that I had to go searching for Stupid Crazy Love and watch it over again.
       If you don't mind me asking, what got into Brolin? This isn't the same Brolin that I saw in MIB3. He brought it and made this movie kick ass. Brolin made O'Mara the equivalent of a rampant chainsaw born just to sing doom to criminals. He was my favorite part of the movie. Gosling took a different path. He brought to life a smarter more laid back cop which made him the perfect complement for Brolin. They completed each other. Although skillful, there were a couple of instances when these handpicked cops seemed a bit amateurish but you know what? It made it all the more interesting to watch. There's something about amateur heroes kicking butt that gives you hope.

This movie gets a JPB rating of 7.5/10.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Possession

       Directed by Ole Bornedal, The Possession came out to theaters in August 2012. I'm surprised that it took me this long to finally watch this horror movie. I'm not into this genre of movies but I have been trying to be a little open minded. If I don't become more forgiving in the movies I choose to watch, I won't be able to watch any of them. Once it came out, I started searching fervently to watch the bootleg copy of this movie; however, being a little picky with how to view the flick, I chose to wait. After a little while, the idea was erased completely from memory. Roughly about five months later, I stumbled upon it when perusing the movie racks in the trusty ol' public library and wouldn't leave without it.
        The Possession is about the experience of a broken family with a box that holds a "Dybbuk", a trapped malicious demon that feeds on pure children souls. To be honest, at the end of this flick, I hoped that Sam and Dean Winchester would make an appearance and help to send the accursed fiend to the underworld. I say this because Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays the humble role as the father who seeks to remove the spirit from his daughter after it latches on to her. Morgan also is the father of Sam and Dean Winchester in the TV series Supernatural of which I am a fan. I have to say, if you are having trouble casting a father in any horror, you can't go wrong with Morgan. Morgan carried almost 65-70% of this movie with his fatherly aura alone.
       The other 30-35% of this movie was carried by Natasha Calis who played the captive of the demon. The casting director(s) did two things right, Morgan and Calis. That's about it. Why they would put Kyra Sedgwick in here at all is beyond me. I think a better pick would be Kate Beckinsale but we can't always get what we want. Going back to Calis, I firmly believe that she was the perfect victim for this situation simply because I would unleash hell if I saw that she was hurt and I barely even know her as a person. She has the most innocent face that would have made anyone who looked upon it feel either very uncomfortable or furious that she had to be the victim of such demonic cruelty. In conclusion, it is a solid stay at home Friday night movie candidate and no, I wouldn't blame you if you went to watch it in theaters.  

This movie gets a JPB rating of 6.5/10.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Warm Bodies

      After participating in two disappointments, watching Warm Bodies, directed by Jonathon Levine, was a push in the right direction. Let's start at the beginning. This movie genre is not really my cup of tea since the whole zombie apocalypse/ contagion theme has been used time and time again. You can say I am a bit desensitized. After watching its trailer though, I was forced to do a double take and think about the premise of the movie again. (IMP: The trailer gives a lot of the movie away. I watched the movie some time afterwards so that I don't really remember what I saw.)
      Teresa Palmer and Nicholas Hoult play the parts of Julie and R, respectively, in a time when zombies roam the world. R is a young zombie who encounters Julie while she and a group of friends are on a mission to look for pharmaceutical products that can aid the survival of a local human population. R and his group of zombies attack her group; however, he decides to save Julie because he is captivated by her. This movie goes on to depict their curious yet grave relationship and a possible cure for their current calamity. You will still have your share of blood, brains, and gun fire but fortunately not the same plot line.
       Levine, who handled the screenplay as well as the directing, introduces the viewer to a new way of thinking about zombies by allowing them the option of being good or evil. If they take on the good path, they might just find themselves tapping into a potential cure; however, if they go the opposite direction, they turn into "bonies" or in other words devil's nasty henchmen. I don't think I ever saw a zombie movie in which zombies have consciences.
      That aside. Let's talk about the acting. It worked. The acting seemed to be more than adequate for this movie. It was not too showy to divert the eyes and it kept you interested but you will just have to take some scenes with a grain of salt. Hoult and Palmer shared great chemistry and Rob Corddry, who played the part M, was a good supporting actor. On the other hand, I always considered John Malkovich to be a bit annoying so if being a dick is what his role required then great, I'll play along. Overall it was a decent flick with some originality.

     This movie gets a JPB ranking of 6.5/10.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bullet to the Head

      I'm a bit under the weather and on an assortment of medications so I'm going to write as clear-headed as I can. My experience with this movie is finely captured with its title, Bullet to the Head. There's nothing special about it other than the fact that Jason Momoa was in it. It may have been a bit harsh but it's truth. I believe people go watch Stallone movies to watch Stallone deal a whole case of death and destruction. That mixed with the ultimate bad-boy attitude sets him apart from the rest. However, in this movie, although it was technically a "Sly" movie, people will be looking and waiting for Momoa to appear. 
      Bullet to the Head is about a set up that costs Jimmy Bobo, played by Stallone, his partner's life and what Stallone, accompanied by a detective, does in response. All I can really say about Stallone in this flick is that he is a beast when it comes to physical fitness but in all honesty, that's what I say about him in any other movie that he plays a role in. The only difference in this movie among other movies he acted in is that in is that in this particular one he manages to take a back seat even when he's the lead protagonist. Who took control you ask? Momoa, the new and improved Balboa. (I only jest, I just wanted to make a point with the similarity in name structure.) As I was jotting down notes during the movie, his name came up five times while Stallone's only came up twice. Why, you ask? He is one of those special actors that could play the perfect villain but in a split second can sell being the perfect hero. You right away start pulling for this guy without knowing you're slowly turning dark side. 
      Another point I want to make is that I personally believe Sung Kang, who plays the role of detective Taylor Kwon, wasn't what this movie needed. His character felt so out of place throughout 90% of the movie. Kang doesn't have the smell of a cop or detective on him and because of it, he had a hard time selling himself for the majority of the movie. I say majority because at one point he did make a comeback. The more I thought about it, the more I understood why such a role would be even used. Complementing Stallone with the by-the-book-out-of-place detective can bring out the ruthless characteristic of Jimmy Bobo all the more but in the end such a character is useless. This is because Stallone took a back seat anyway. So in the end, Stallone's movie turned into Momoa's and the only only scene to watch is the last. Just wait till that scene comes out on Youtube and call it a day. 

This movie gets a JPB ranking of 3.5/10.

Friday, February 1, 2013


      Maybe it wasn't fair to watch this movie within days of watching Silver Linings Playbook. However, something in me tells me that it didn't really matter. I went in with the full intention of leaving with a extra tank of testosterone. You know what I'm trying to say. If one goes to a Jason Statham movie, he does not leave with just a gallon or two, he is fully saturated and then some. Not only is Statham headlining the movie but who's there to back him up other than Jennifer Lopez. That name itself is all that's needed for most people to start drooling. I know, I know. She may be past her prime and it might have shown in the movie, but don't you dare say it.
       Directed by Taylor Hackford, Parker, is a flick depicting how far one man would go for the sake of principles and his own honor. Parker is played by none other than Jason Statham, who is the go to person for this kind of role. How the movie turned out to be a C+ to a B viewing, I believe, was not his fault. If I was going to make a kick ass movie about revenge, thievery, and money, who else would I think of to play the part than The Transporter? No, it wasn't his fault. He carried the movie like he always does but there wasn't much he could do for the movie other than what his lines and his physicality.
      First, the villains in this movie were poorly chosen. You can't have Michael Chiklis play the role of the lead antagonist, it won't work. He has the aura of a good guy all about himself and quite frankly he's not quite there yet. I may be a little cruel in saying that and trust me I don't feel that good saying it. I'm glad that as an actor he got the role but he could be making a much better movie with what's going for him. He took a risk in taking up this role and I think it didn't quite work in his favor.
      Secondly, I want to go watch a movie in which the actors and actresses actually say their lines out loud and not have them prerecorded and then played back while they lip-sync. It's a jab in the ribs for those people who spend 10-12 dollars to watch a movie. If one has to make a movie with little to no character development and laughable animations, please if nothing else, have the actors actually say their lines. We are in the 21'st century. We have the capabilities of making movies like Avatar and Transformers look convincingly real. So please, use existing knowledge to your benefit. This review is a bit harsh ain't it.
      It wasn't 100% trash. I still left with something. Something I always leave with after watching Statham in action. A feeling of desire to move ahead of other people, to be smarter, and to be a foot in front of the crowds surrounding me. Sigh, at the very least they got the lead role right.

This movie gets a JPB rating of 3.5/10.