Do you ever watch a movie and wonder just what the hell you are watching? I had that feeling last night. It was a movie I had never heard of before, but had somehow found its way into my Netflix queue. To be honest, the only reason I was even watching it was because it was about to expire. I am sorta, kinda, maybe glad I did. I enjoyed the movie, but it seriously had my head shaking as I tried to wrap my head around the abject absurdity that was dancing across my television screen. The movie is called Norwegian Ninja. It has nothing to do with ninjas. Fortunately, it does have something to do with Norway.
Last summer Michael Bay produced a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. It was not all that good, albeit not as bad as I was expecting it to be. Still, watching it made me nostalgic for original live-action Turtle movie way back in 1990. It came a year after Batman, which I believe is the movie that cemented my love of movies, but that is a discussion for another time. The Turtles came to the big screen with plenty of hype and anticipation and I was ready for it. I loved the movie as a young teenager and surprisingly, I still love it now, and I do not think it is purely for nostalgic purposes.
I guess I should have known before I even entered the theater that Mortdecai was not going to be very good. From the lackluster reviews, poor opening performance, plus the fact that the theater was completely empty, save for me. All of these things should have been warning signs. Still, I sat there with the hopes of being modestly entertained for a couple of hours. I mean, the cast has Depp, Paltrow, Bettany, McGregor, Munn, and others to hold my attention and hopefully pull me in to the tale. Sadly, the movie ends up being dull, unfunny, and lacks any manner of heart. I do not think it unreasonable to expect something more from the folks involved.
So, the trailer for the Fantastic Four reboot has arrived and it looks like the title is going to be Fant4stic. Well, at least for the trailer, hopefully it will be written in a more traditional fashion when the movie comes out. Not unlike the recent Taken sequel, the trailer proclaimed it Tak3n, while the movie itself was officially Taken 3. I know, I am spending too much time on this, I just don't care much for the number/letter mix. The only one I think I can stomach is Se7en. Anyway, the trailer is here and now the speculations can begin in earnest.
When it first arrived I really had no interest in seeing Whiplash. It was a movie that never popped up on my radar and based on what little I had seen about it, was not all that interesting. Then, for some reason, the title kept popping up and folks who had seen it, kept singing its praises, and then came the award nominations. Now, my interest was growing a little bit. I still wasn't really convinced, but it began playing at the local second run theater, I had some time to kill, so I decided to give it a shot. I needn't have had concerns. While it is not a great film, it is really very good.
Blackhat is Michael Mann's latest cinematic foray and his first since 2009's Public Enemies. It is pretty interesting to look at Mann's filmography. He is far from a prolific director, but more often than not, the films he makes are of very good quality. I even thought his Miami Vice was pretty good, plus it has some really good gunfights. When it comes to Blackhat, I was not sure if it was going to be a movie for me as it looks like they were going for this computer themed movie built on the back of Thor. Seemed like an odd pairing that was not destined to work. As it turns out, the movie is not what I expected and it surprisingly works.
Ahh, Paddington Bear. I have memories of this polite little fellow from the days of my youth. They are not extensive nor are they very frequent. In short, while I liked the bear as a child, he is not a character I was exposed to all that much of. Still, glimpsing bits of the animated show from the 1970's, memories are brought up of enjoying the marmalade loving fellow. Now, to be certain, this is no little known character dregdged up for a modern audience, he has an extensive literary history, dating back to his first appearance way back in 1958. Paddington is now being brought to a new generation, will it be worth your time?
If you look long and hard enough, you are sure to stumble across some oddball movies. You will find some odd combinations of talent involved in films that do not seem to fit in with the rest of their respective filmographies. They are the kind of movies that folks tend to leave off of their resumes when heading out to auditions. They are also the kind of movies that garner dedicated cult followings. In this case it is a movie called Sugar Cookies. It is the kind of title that appeals to the diabetic in all of us, although, in this case, the title has little to do with the film. The movie happens to be am erotic thriller. It's called Sugar Cookies.
Well, I am happy to say that I finally saw it. Yes, yours truly has gotten to take in The Interview. In a theater no less. A local second run theater got it this past weekend, and since I was already interested in it since before the hoopla, I made it a point to go and check it out. Does it live up to the "hype"? Not at all, but that is to the movie's fault. Now, if you are one of those who believe this was a publicity stunt, you can stop reading now. No one in their right mind would go so far as to fake a hacking that legitimately damaged a company and a lot of regular folks. That is crazy talk.
I recall when I first saw the trailer for Selma, I was intrigued. While I do tend to not give as much weight to real world stories on film, it felt like this was a bit of an important film for the current state of the nation. No, I am not one to really comment in that arena, but it is hard to ignore the timing of its release with the events over the past year. There is no denying that some serious and heavy conversations, but that is for people smarter than I at another time. So far as Selma is concerned, it is far from a favorite film, but there is no denying its effectiveness.
It has been nearly three years since we last saw Liam Neeson put on the guise of Bryan Mills, the former agent with the particular set of skills. Granted, those three years have not been completely devoid of Liam Neeson as bad ass, we did get A Walk Among the Tombstones and Non-Stop in the interim. I think you could also toss in his performance as Bad Cop in The Lego Movie as a sort of family-friendly bad ass. The only thing I can hope for at this point is that this is the last we see of Bryan Mills. It is not that I don't like him or this movie, but I think they have run out of stuff for him to do.
There was a time (probably ongoing in some circles) when everything was an either/or decision. Coke or Pepsi. Star Wars or Star Trek. Superman or Batman. Jason or Freddy. Schwarzenegger or Stallone. Seagal or Van Damme. It is this last one that brings us to today. You see, sometimes when you make a choice you dismiss the output of the other almost out of hand. That is what I did with Van Damme, I was a Seagal guy. This dismissal of many Van Damme films has led me to discover, so many years later, that I never saw Bloodsport. I have no idea how I got this far in life without seeing this classic mini-masterpiece of martial arts cinema.
Much like The Babadook, Blue Ruin came to my attention amid a decent deal of hype. No, it was not quite Babadook level, but virtually everyone who has seen it has had nothing but positive things to say about it. Of course, this raises my level of skepticism a few notches. Surely it isn't that good, is it? I purposely avoided full reviews or plot descriptions, but I also avoided the movie as a whole for awhile. It popped up on Netflix not long ago, so I added it to my queue and there it sat, starring at sappily with its big blue letters. Daring me to watch it. The time has come and I watched it.
It was nearly three years ago that we were introduced to the Woman in Black, a woman wronged, doomed to haunt the Eel Marsh estate exacting revenge on any who should cross her path. That movie was set at the turn of the twentieth century and centered on an insurance agent played by Daniel Radcliffe (in his first post-Harry Potter role). It was a well executed old school ghost story. Rather atmospheric and certainly effective. Now we are faced with a sequel. Is it a necessary one? Nope, don't think so. Still, here it is despite any real reason for existence. Why was it made? I doubt I will ever really know.