Red Rental Summer Reviews

Redbox_Free_CodesOh how I love me some RedBox movie rentals. So many choices, so little money. And I’ve seen my share of their selections over the summer months. Here are some quickee reviews to get you moving in the right direction as the summer starts winding to an end…

300: Rise Of An Empire (R)

Oh I dunno. I really liked the first one and I thought Gerard Butler was phenomenal as King Leonidas however in this follow up, Butler is replaced (because he was killed in battle…remember?) with Sullivan Stapleton as Themistocles, a warrior of the sea. It’s nowhere near as good as the first one but despite that…I wouldn’t rule it out as a rental if you’re into this type of film.

Rating: C

Divergent (PG-13)

Based on the novel of the same name, this film piggybacks on “The Hunger Games” by appealing to the teen audience. Overall it’s not a bad film and I liked Shailene Woodley as the lead, but the love interest (played by Theo James) is kinda wooden and I never really fell for the characters. That being said, my daughter LOVES this film and so…if you have kids who are of sound mind and can follow a storyline that very much centers around societal selection & oppression, then by all means….RENT IT!

Rating: B

The Lego Movie (PG)

Despite the obvious comparisons to “Wreck It Ralph,” this film has it’s own style. I wasn’t as happy with the storyline but everyone else in my family enjoyed it so…I’ll say give it a go. By the way…Batman steals the movie…

Rating: B-

Under The Skin (R)

What can I say about this movie? It’s an homage to Stanley Kubrick? Obviously. It’s weird and slow? Yes…it is. It’s got an odd soundtrack that is somewhat annoying at times. Yep…got that. It stars the hottest actress on the planet right now? Yes….Scarlett Johansson is in it and she’s very good. It’s about an alien on Earth who lures men (and possibly women) back to her lair to be used for…something but we don’t know? Yeah…got that. Sooooo…what do I think? I think it’s awesome. But ya gotta be in the right mood for it. And it’s DEFINITELY not for kids.

Rating: A

Her (R)

I don’t know what to say about this movie other than this….I tried watching it 4 times and could never get more than 20 minutes into it at a time before falling asleep. How it was up for Oscar consideration is beyond me but hey…maybe I was just sleepy. But to me…the main character is a bore (which I think is part of the point) and the idea of falling in love with your cell phone is kinda dumb. Just sayin’. Also not for kids…

Rating: D

Adult World (R)

A young woman needs to grow up after college so her folks tell her that her time has come….get a job or else. Unfortunately, Amy (Emma Roberts) is a wannabe poet with a penchant for screwing things up. So…she gets a job working at a mom & pop porn shop. In steps her mentor and favorite writer (John Cusack) to tutor her in the ways of the world…and writing. It’s not a great movie but it passed the time. I’m always gonna like Cusack (except for The Crow…which sucked) so it’s got that going for it. Eh…you could do worse.

Rating: B-

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (PG)

I dunno what it is about this movie but I liked it. Walter (Ben Stiller) works for Life magazine as a photo developer. When it begins to fold and Walter is set to lose his job, he sets out on an adventure to find the one photographer who has always treated him with respect and honesty. Its not an exciting premise but the leads (Stiller & Kristen Wiig) squeeze a lot out of a little. And the soundtrack is excellent also. A good family flick!

Rating: B+

The Numbers Station

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Man…I gotta tell ya…I’m a HUGE John Cusack fan. Being a kid from the 80’s, Cusack OWNED the 80’s for me…well….except for maybe Tom Cruise. But either way, he also stars in my favorite film of all-time, “Grosse Pointe Blank.” In GPB, Mr. Cusack plays an assassin for hire but managed to play it with a sense of humor. In THIS thriller, Cusack is once again a killer, but this guy has NO sense of humor and is assigned to watch over the very attractive Malin Akerman, who holds her own in this mostly 2 people drama.

Emerson (Cusack) is a field agent who is sent to “find people.” On one assignment, he and his boss end up killing a young girl, sending Emerson’s conscience into a tizzy. He is then relocated to England where he is sent to protect a codebreaker. A codebreaker is essentially an “in-the-dark” hire who is good at cracking code and who is in charge of sending the code over radio waves to agents who are awaiting their next assignment. In this case, that codebreaker is Katherine (Akerman), a beautiful blonde who is in it for her country, despite the fact that she has no idea what she is really doing in her occupation. The story really kicks into gear when a team of assassins show up and try to kill both of them and attempt to send out a code that would kill 15 hire-ups in the Agency. Will Emerson have what it takes to get them both out of there alive? It’s a game of cat & mouse in this thriller that is neither filling or satisfying.

Despite a decent attempt, “The Numbers Station” is little more than a vehicle for Cusack to show his brooding side and reenact a much darker version of his character from Grosse Pointe Blank. Not that this is a bad thing. Actually, Cusack is very good here. But there’s just not a lot to go with. Akerman is great in her role and everyone involved in this movie does a decent job, including the director, Kasper Barfoed. But there’s just not a lot to work with. It’s a relatively short movie (clocking in at under an hour and a half) and that is a good thing because you can sense it would have run out of steam had it been any longer.

Overall, like I said, this is not the worst movie you could rent on a weekend night. RedBox it for $1.25 and relax and enjoy. It’s not over-the-top, there’s some decent action and you’ll get to bed before 11:30. And for me…that’s a good night on the couch!

Overall Rating: C

2012: The End All, Be All Of Disaster Movies!

Here’s what you know going into a movie like this…the guy WILL get the girl, the dog WILL survive and there WILL be at least 3 situations where the hero narrowly escapes. One of these things does NOT happen in “2012”, but I’m not sayin’ which one. “2012” is the latest disaster flick from Roland Emmerich, the same director that gave us “The Day After Tomorrow”, “Independence Day” & “Godzilla”.  And to say that he goes far above anything he has ever done is an understatement.

Look…if you’re looking for a plot, forget it. There is only one reason to see this movie and that is to see stuff go to hell in a handbasket. No one does that better than Emmerich and let me tell you this…this movie is an amazing sight to behold! The computer generated graphics are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before with historic monuments crashing, the tallest buildings falling and the earth’s crust shifting and creating tidal waves so big, you are afraid you might get wet if you sit too close to the screen! It’s really is amazing what can be done by computers these days and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. For “2012”…it definitely works.

But here’s the catch…it’s the only thing this movie has going for it. Not that the performances aren’t good. John Cusack plays a novelist who is trying to get his family to safety. Amanda Peet plays his ex-wife. Danny Glover tackles the role of playing The President.  Oliver Platt plays the bad guy. And even Woody Harrelson shows up for a few scenes as a crazed radio prognosticator. All the character’s in “2012” have a role. Unfortuntely there are a few too many roles and not enough plot to carry them.

Emmerich and company cram so many characters into 2.5 hours of movie that trying to get to know any of them is pointless. There are entire scenes set up with characters who were written into the film for really no purpose than to eat up time and allow more destruction to happen. That is unfortunate for the actors who play in those roles because there are really some very talented people involved in the film, but with so much being packed in, certain characters are left by the roadside. And that is why I would recommend that if you have any plans to see this film, you should definitely see it on the big screen. Because the fun of seeing it is in the sheer enormity of the destruction, not the human element. I’m sure that once this movie comes out on DVD, it will be a huge disappointment on your television at home, whether you have a large screen or not. Seriously, if you have a chance, see “2012” on an IMAX screen as soon as possible…and then you never have to see it again.

Overall Rating: B-