Jack Reacher is based on a character by author Lee Child. This movie was a so-so rather predictable adventure that could have been a better one–and the near miss is due to the stereotypical characters. We have been subjected to years of Bourne movies–showing a hero of complicated simplicity, yet this movie chose to return to the one-dimensional old-school action hero. Surely we have grown up from the Arnie and Stallone fare where explosions serve as dialogue?
A character that lives by his own code, whose boundaries are determined by whatever he was undertaking could be intriguing, but the story was let down because the hero had no dimensions. The lack of charisma between the lead characters was glaring–it would be nice if characters actually could relate intelligently. One can often describe Tom as being wooden and considering the hero he was portraying he did his usual stuff, but Rosamund Pike appeared to have little chemistry with anyone. Everyone was either obvious or backflipped in seconds, which was a let down because I had hoped for some unexpected twists. At first I considered that Tom was giving a performance worthy of Keanu until he says:
Jack Reacher: There are four types of people who join the military. For some, it’s family trade. Others are patriots, eager to serve. Next you have those who just need a job. Than there’s the kind who want the legal means of killing other people.
That’s when I realised that Tom wasn’t wooden because Jack was the last soldier described on the list. Just another psychopath posing as a hero. He evoked nothing, emoted nothing and inspired nothing. Then again, since the movie gave only a superficial somewhat stock action character description, it’s unlikely that anything intriguing would occur. It seemed to prefer to concentrate on the action–as a good action adventure should, but a little more clarity and a little less cliché would have gone a long way.
It was the Jason Statham type of skirmish where ten guys try to beat up the hero that put me off. Now I realise in the book Jack is very, very tall, but if you put Tom on the screen you need a pertinent fight. There can be one or two villains, or at least have him run down the street and take on a couple of a time to give a modicum of realism. These type of scenes take the hero from being a credible and scary man into a cartoon–another action fail. Which was disappointing as maybe Jack Reacher could have been an exciting set of movies, but then I think this is as good as it gets.
7.5/10 Needs a reality check.
B eautiful Creatures was a surprising movie. I happened upon it by accident and was not expecting anything beyond mildly interesting. I do not follow most teen movies. Twilight was a yawn– The Hunger Games moderately engaging if you consider children murdering children to be entertainment, but this–this was an unexpected encounter.
I am not familiar with the series or the authors Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia, in fact I had no idea the series existed at all beyond a movie that I had come across. It was obvious from the start that this story was a multilayered structure and I knew, even without being familiar with the work, that it was not going to do justice to the book. The concepts were too complicated, and some of the characters obviously not explored properly. It was no doubt, a huge task to translate to screen. Even so, the story left Twilight in the dust. The main characters were witty and intelligent, while their concerns were both real and unique.
The Romeo and Juliet aspect of the story was the usual hook for the intended audience and it was done with the correct amount of humour and angst. Starring Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert as the young lovers it also has an impressive list of supporting actors. Such as Jeremy Irons, Emmy Rosum to name a few.
The ending I found a little trivial, but considering the intended age of the audience it was probably acceptable. While I am not in a position to say if the movie has done justice to the story it has challenged me to find out.
8/10 Better than most.
Sinister is yet again another almost ran in the horror stakes. I wonder if directors are so encased in the genre that they spend their time delivering the expected well used endings rather than providing an interesting take on the old man vs supernatural theme.
This story had an amazing start–Ethan Hawke a true crime writer moves with his wife Juliet Rylance and their family into a house where a crime was committed. Then he discovered something so horrible he became mesmerised by the evil.
What had me interested was the truly horrifying nature of his discovery and had the evil remained within the realms of the natural world it would have been scarier than any imagined presence. The horror aspect could have been addressed by the balance of sanity of the author. Is what he viewing real? Is it an illusion? Is he being targeted or is he the killer reviewing old murders? So many possibilities but instead, we are relegated to the usual bogeyman style ending. Truth is not only stranger but far scarier than fiction–shame these horror makers never seem to realise this.
7/10 It could have been but wasn’t
Mama a Spanish/Canadian horror offering from Andrés Muschietti is an almost there, but mostly missed opportunity. The story of two little girls that apparently raised themselves after the suicide of their father sounds intriguing. Include the…but did they? And you have the seeds for a creepy good time. And in part it almost was a creepy good time. The fairly lack luster performances of Jessica Chastain and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau were more than made up for by the performances of the two young children Megan Charpentier and Isabelle Nélisse. These two little darlings give performances that were so creepy they managed to be ominous.
After an interesting start of expected evils and hints of the truth the story contained the seeds not only of horror, but also the potential transformation of all the characters. Unfortunately, Mama went from a terrifying evil to a caricature from a fairy story. Then the supposed growth of the character played by Jessica Chastain managed to fail at the last moment when two Mamas were fighting for dominance. The movie showed the unhealthy obsession of both child and pseudo-mother except it didn’t take the potential of the new mother to the truth—where there should have been sacrifice there was only the usual cliché ending. Perhaps the director was intending to please the expectations of a horror audience, but I believe he missed an opportunity to reveal a profound change in the characters. And most importantly build upon the lack of change in one.
6.5/10 It could have done better.
Pitch Perfect is not thought provoking, nor harrowing, it makes little social comment and without doubt a movie made to engage a young audience. What Pitch Perfect does have is humour of all sorts and will make you laugh and is probably my favorite movie of 2012. Any movie that has both the brilliance of Rebel Wilson combined with a conversation like the following has my attention!
Aubrey: What’s your name?
Fat Amy: Fat Amy.
Aubrey: You call yourself Fat Amy?
Fat Amy: Yeah, so twig bitches like you don’t do it behind my back.
Flushed no doubt by the success of Glee, this story follows as an all girl a-cappella group trying to reach the finals of a singing contest. It has all the usual suspects and follows the successful route of Bring it On and Mean Girls with snappy dialogue and humour that skirts the edges of decency as most teen movies do. Nevertheless, I wanted something to take my mind off life and this had me laugh all the way through it with a hilarious performances including the talented Elizabeth Banks.
8.5/10 prepare to laugh!
Ryan Gosling in another understated, yet elegant performance is fast becoming the man to watch in cinema. Drive is a wry, thoughtful, slow burn thriller with an enigmatic hero caught between the consequence of poor choices. Known only as Driver, the first minutes of the film reveal a wonderful action sequence not because of special effects or explosions but because of the tense interplay between the Driver and his objective. This film is not for those who want cheap thrills, who want excessive cgi, who want muscle bound heroes doing improbable things. This movie is for people who enjoy complex characters, the inevitable brutality of those who live on the fringes.
This movie will bring the viewer between action, interaction and connection as Driver drifts into his decisions due to his involvement with the woman next door. This movie uses well what many forget and that is the strength of silence on screen. This is a character driven film of violence, action and atmosphere. It won’t be for everyone, many will fault it for not being the predictable action pap, those who enjoy it will discover a dark story of a man of calm intensity and the lengths he will go in order to protect what he values.
8.5/10 For the right person—superb