Space Cowboys

Release date: August 4, 2000 Space Cowboys

Grumpy old men… In space.

Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, James Garner, James Cromwell, Marcia Gay Harden and William Devane. Can you smell the Bengay, Goldbold and hard candy?

No, it’s not The Oscars post party. It’s Space Cowboys staring a Canadian (metric) poop-ton of Oscar caliber talent  in a film about old dudes flying into space to fix a satellite too old for the young blood at NASA to fix. Oh and it has a song specially written for the soundtrack by N*SYNC. Yeah… Sound great until there. BUT we can ignore it.

But seriously, in the year 2000 The russians went to NASA to ask for help in fixing a “communications” satellite that had begun to fail. They didn’t want to just let it fall back to earth because it was an important symbol to the Russian people. The hitch lays in the fact that the programming language and technology we beyond outdated. Luckily for them, the creator (Eastwood) of the programming language is still alive. The catch? He wants to go up with his crew  to fix it. A crew that was promised to be the first men in space, but were traded in for a monkey when NASA replaced the air-force. Old men jokes ensure! What NASA and the grandpas don’t know is that cute little comms satellite from Russia isn’t carrying love. More like a bunch of nuclear warheads. Jerks, I know. So it’s up to the gang to save the world!

WHAT WORKED:

– The acting. Not much of a surprise there. You have a Noah’s Arc worth of talent. They used it. Shining star being Tommy Lee Jones again.

– The pace. Sitting at 130 minutes, Space Cowboys wastes no second of it. Pushing the story forward with the main story and subplot involving Jones’ predicaments.

– The story. Old men in space save the world.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

– The voice overs for the young men playing the cast in the flashback opening. Holy crap nuggets in a coach handbag that was horrible! What I have learned from listening to Kevin Smith’s DVD commentaries and Podcasts is that our voices are ever changing. No own sounds the same at age 20 and age 70. And it just sounds bad. Eastwood should have done what they did for Men In Black 3 and cast actors who can imitate the guys or at least copy speech mannerisms. Other than that this film worked damn fine. Not like most of these guys’ prostates nowadays. #IKid.

THE LOWDOWN:

This is a good little 60 million dollar movie. I didn’t mention that it was directed by Eastwood himself because it doesn’t feel like an Eastwood film. It has his pacing all over it. But the look was something different for him at the time. Space Cowboys is like that quiet girl in your class. You know that girl who’s name you don’t know but is kinda cute? Well this girl is like 7th in the class and does nothing bad. Space Cowboys is 80% Prime Awesome.

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Fast & Furious 6

Release date: May 24, 2013 ff6

All roads lead to this… a mini-van full of testosterone that preaches about family.

What can we say about a film series that started some 12 years ago? They’ve changed direction more times than Paul Walker’s 23-speed Skyline. The Fast & Furious franchise took off much like their cars and took pop-culture by storm. Not necessarily known as the most complex or “good” films, The Fast & Furious films have all enjoyed some level of success due to their tried-tested-and-true formulas of Cars, Dudes, Booms and boobs. This is to say I am a fan. I am all that is man.

This time around Justin Lin is still in the driver’s seat directing this thing. Along with him comes the majority of the crew from the last flick, and a returning Michelle Rodriguez.

The family as it is put so often in this flick is put to the test when Hobbs (The Rock) recruits them to help take down another group of international car enthusiasts who have a habit of blowing this up and stealing. What’s in it for the family? Full Pardons. What’s in it for Torreto (Diesel)? Letty (Rodriguez). Turns out our homegirl who died in the fourth film: Fast & Furious, might not be so dead. This means either Letty is a zombie (possible with today’s cinematic tastes) or sh!t is going down!

Also called Furious 6 and Fast 6, this flick follows the typical outline created by it’s predecessors, so it’s action packed with constant movement.

WHAT WORKED:

– The action. There was never any doubt in my mind that this film wouldn’t have big fights, big booms and some speed. The Rock really comes across as “Samoan Thor” and manhandles just about everyone he shakes hands with. The props I want to throw out there go to the ladies. Hot damn Michelle Rodriguez and Gina Carano have a down and dirty fight. They hit hard and tore each other up better than most men in films today. Crazy.

– The comedy. Anytime you have Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris on the screen you know that you were going to laugh. Though at times Gibson’s Roman was a little too much, Justin Lin kept it in check. Those quick moments of laughter thrown in during tense moments really keep the pace of the film on track.

– The look. Justin Lin brought his A-Game. Visually this may just be the best looking film of the series.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

– The dialogue. To begin with, none of these actors will be nominated for an Oscar anytime soon. To be honest this cast rivals The Bold and The Beautiful in line delivery.

– The plot. This film goes back and changes facts from Fast & Furious (4). I mean they buried Letty. Did no one ID her body before they put it in the ground? Also Hobbs promised to catch Torreto and the family, so why is he so willing to just let them help and get full pardons!? What changed?

– The preaching. There was always the theme of Torreto being loyal. Loving his gang. However, now it’s getting to the point I feel he might start wearing cheap suits and appearing on Sunday afternoon television asking people to stand up and praise!

THE LOWDOWN:

Fast & Furious 6 is a good time on NOS. They family does what they do best: drive fast, kick ass, crack jokes and look cool. If you’re looking for a film that’s familiar and safe for a date, this is it. It’s also a good time for the family as there’s only 1 F-bomb. While trying to tie up all previous films like Fast Five did, Furious 6 sets us up for the next instalment due next summer. More fun. Fast & Furious 6 is 80% Prime Awesome.

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Jack Reacher

Release date: December 21, 2012 Jack Reacher

The law has limits. He does not. He’s only limited by acting talent.

Jack Reacher, a soldier-turned-homicide investigator, works to unravel the truth behind murder allegations brought against a military sniper.” – Synopsis from Cineplex.ca

This synopsis couldn’t be more 90’s. And it couldn’t be any worse for the film. Jack Reacher is not the film you believe it is or could be. I, along with my friends in the theater all went into this film with expectations about as low as your class nerd on prom night. We were ready for a poop-storm of bad cinema. What we got was something amazing. What we got was A GOOD FILM!

 

The real synopsis: When a sniper takes out what seems to be five random people from a parking garage and is then apprehended; he gives the police one name: Jack Reacher. Reacher then comes to town out of hiding to get to the truth at all costs, even going above the law. All whlle spitting one liners and near-blank stares.

Jack Reacher, written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie. Based off the book by Lee Child, this little action flick stars Tom Cruise as the man the myth: Jack Reacher, following his tiny foot steps are Rosamund Pike, Bobby Duvall, Werner Herzog, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo and Michael Raymond-James.

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WHAT WORKED:

– The Plot. It’s a simple murder mystery that is almost worthy of being an episode of Murder She Wrote! But in all truth, the plot is beautifully unraveled that even if you do get one step ahead of the film you sit back and enjoy its twists and turns. Something most action-dramas can no longer do. I’m looking at you: The Raven.

– The action. I guess it’s safe to assume when you have such a small guy like Tom Cruise in a film he is going to make sure he looks as big and as good as possible. The fight scenes in Jack Reacher are beyond realistic. None of this Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or Never Back Down stuff. These guys hit hard and crisp. The scenes were short and just right. The final fight might leave some people wanting a bit more, but taken in context and pace of the film it fits just right. It’s just two guys who knock each other around.

– The dialogue. This is a controversial point for me. The acting in Jack Reacher is borderline abhorrent. I mean does anyone believe Tom Cruise can pull off another A-grade performance like Jerry Maguire again? Hell no. And his costars aren’t too far ahead of him either. BUT that doesn’t mean what they are saying isn’t pure gold. It’s almost the opposite of great actors with a bad script.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

– The acting. I just had to mention it again. I’m talking Ghost Rider bad.

– The Score. I couldn’t put my finger on it until about the third act, but the music in this flick just doesn’t fit. It feels as though they pulled the score from some B-film drama involving teens who talk about drugs but never do any one camera.

THE LOWDOWN:

Jack Reacher is not a great film. In fact, I fear it may have failed to get the kind of reaction the creators intended. It’s a film that takes itself overly serious but ends up being quite funny. It’s packed with action, get lines, Tom Cruise’s tiny nipples, Rosamund Pike’s great (never naked) boobs and (probably) unintentional comedy. The marketing for this film has simply been crap. Leading people to believe this is a film that wishes it was like The Bone Collector when it isn’t, and never intended itself to be. Ignore the marketing and hit this film up on a Cheapy-Tuesday because Jack Reacher is 80% Prime Awesome!

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Here Comes The Boom

Release date, October 12, 2012 Here Comes The Boom

One teacher still believes in fighting for his students, in his bathing suit.

How did I ever let this one slip between my fingers!? The King of Queens and former teammate of Mrs Foley’s little hardcore wrestling legend Mick Foley, Kevin James is kicking ass in Here Comes The Boom!

At face value many people still believe nothing could bring Kevin James back from Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Zookeeper. Not even the insanely funny Grown Ups pushed him back to the good side. I mean what could save Adam Sandler after Jack and Jill? Well. Here Comes The Boom has more than helped me forgive James for his sins against humanity.

A Happy Madison production that was directed by franchised Frank Coraci, Here Comes The Boom was written by Allan Loeb and Kevin James himself. What got me excited about this awesome film is the solid cast. You got “The King of Queens” Kevin James, Henry “The Fonz lost his comb” Winkler, Selma “HELLLLLLLLLLLLO NURSE” Hayek, and Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Bas “El Guapo” Rutten!

This flick follows a once awesome teacher now lazy 42 year-old classroom attendant as he regains his former passion while literally fighting to save the music program and job of a fellow teacher (Winkler.) In his quest he attempts to get with the sultry school nurse (Hayek) and befriends Niko (Rutten) a former MMA fighter turned coach who is trying to attain his US citizenship. I smell perfect date movie!

WHAT WORKED:

– The story. It’s a plot similar to what we recently saw with Bad Teacher. However, it’s the twists and turns that make this fun. The action picks up quickly and chucks along at a beautiful pace. Yes much of the story is foreseeable, but that doesn’t deter from the fun joyous payoff. It’s like we all know puppies are cute. But we all still love them. Every one of them. And if you don’t; well you’re a jerk-face. Jerk-face.

– The cast. So much chemistry amongst them all. It’s great when you can get some many huge personalities on screen at once and it doesn’t feel like one is stepping on the other. A strength shown in Grown Ups by Hayek and James previously.

– The camera work during the UFC fight. Wow. I really don’t know what to compare it to. But it was up close and rolled within the clutch. That’s the best I can do for explaining it. Just awesome.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

– Being a B-movie and a Happy Madison production, this flick gets cheesy at times. For my personal tastes it’s nothing bad. Because it’s balanced with some solid humour like I know Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. But I can see where some might be annoyed.

THE LOWDOWN:

This is a perfect date movie. It has UFC action to satisfy the red-blooded males and a warm touching message about never giving up and doing what’s right, for the ladies. Fear not the as bloodshed is kept to a VERY small amount. Surprisingly small amount even. Here Comes The Boom is 80% Prime Awesome!

The Condemned

Release date: April 27, 2007 The Condemned

Ten people will fight. Nine people will die. You get to watch. Watch it in boxers.

The Condemned. Currently streaming on Netflix! One of the later films in WWE’s first foray in the movie makin’ business.  It is also the first film with late 90’s blue collar, working man’s idol “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Austin was known for ass kicking, and short lines. Something this film took to heart.

Written and Directed by but actor-writer-director Scott Wiper, (The Marine: Homefront & The Cold Light of Day) The Condemned stars Austin as Jack Conrad a former Delta Force operator with Robert Mammone, Tory Mussett and Vinnie “probably is kind of crazy, but a damn good time out in a bar” Jones.

This flick is balls to the wall full of action. What I find funny is that it is a film with a non-violence moral, yet has as much brutality as some of the more hardcore film out there like Grindhouse. The Condemned follows a group of convicts from around the world that have been sentenced to death as they are thrown together on a jungle island to fight to the death with the sole survivor “winning” their freedom. What makes the idea more sadistic the fact that they are being filmed by hundreds of cameras on the island for a new idea. The idea is the world is filled with millions of disturbed people who will pay 50$ to see this event making the creators rich as f**k. Conrad (Austin) wants nothing more than to go home. Without killing people for the show. The plot is always in movement with little time wasted pushing emotion other than anger or remorse for some of the technical team behind the production of the web-show/site.

Another point you can bring up is this sounds a poop-ton like the plot of The Hunger Games. Fair warning: they are similar like cats, to a dog person. That being said, this one isn’t for pre-teens and Katniss Everdeen lovers. This one gets a little sicker.

WHAT WORKED:

– Austin. This film was written around his strength as an actor. They kept his lines short and sweet and let him kick ass. 3:16 style.

– Vinnie Jones. I’ll give some credit to Scott Wiper for writing such a despicable character; but it was put over the top with Jones’ delivery of such a heartless, money hungry son-of-a-b!tch type of persona. They look he had in his eyes during a seen with the spaniard’s wife had me sitting uncomfortably.

– The pacing. This flick sits at 113 minutes, but never stops chugging along like the little engine equipped with explosives and submachine guns that could. The action scenes are well spaced out with proper downtime between to push the plot forward without rushing the audience of putting them to sleep.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

– The actual hand to hand fight scenes. Man, Scott Wiper either has a tremble or grew up on a fault-line. The camera shakes. A lot. Almost to the point that you aren’t sure who is throwing the punches.

– The moral. I feel Austin’s character did a good job pushing the moral of nonviolence. However, he could have done so without being directly related in the deaths of so many of the other characters.

THE LOWDOWN:

This is a B-Movie no doubt. Is it a good time? Yeah. It’s action and pace will satisfy most action-film fans. The premis has now been over used, but back in 2007 was something that hadn’t been over done yet. Let’s not forget The Running Man. (Read my review here) It won’t hurt your brain if you’ve already had a couple Stevewisers. (Wrestling fans will get that one) It’s worth watching when you just wanna kick some ass because The Condemned is 80% Prime Awesome.

Fast Five

Release date: April 29, 2012 Fast Five

After five flicks, they ran out of tag-lines.

I got a speeding ticket a few weeks ago. Thinking about it made me go back and watch a film that has a base built around fast cars and racing. Fast Five barely has either! I never said I was a good person to pick themed films.

That’s right I watched Fast Five directed by Justin Lin, who is known for a few past Fast and Furious films as well as a couple solid Community episodes. This flick was written by Chris Morgan and also stars: (Take a deep breath) Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Matt Shulze, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Tego Calderon, Don Omar, Joaquim de Almeida and Dwayne “THE ROCK” Johnson. (Breath)

Fast Five reunites almost every surviving character from the franchise. In Brazil, Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (Walker) call in the misfit auto-cavalry to pull off one last heist to buy their freedom while taking down an infamous druglord and evading a no-nonsense federal agent with a serious rage problem.

This film continues the trend set by the fourth film in the Fast and Furious franchise aptly titled: Fast and Furious. This trend? Not much racing. Nope. Not a racing movie. This one has an elaborate plot to pull off a heist that if all goes to plan will make each member of the crew pretty damn rich. Sounds familiar? OCEAN’S ELEVEN. Well more like Ocean’s Thirteen, but who am I to get picky here?

Fast Five takes us deep into the city of Rio de Janeiro where the world hasn’t showed in a month, but we forgive it because it has sass. Not Honey Boo Boo‘s sass, but heart-of-gold sass. This film, like the others before tends to try to balance comedy, with action and raw emotion. Thankfully it doesn’t fail at doing so while also letting the audience get drenched in The Rock’s sweat.

WHAT WORKED:

– The comedy. Like I mentioned above: this film knows when to crack a joke. You’ll find yourself chuckling moments after a disastrous happening; which isn’t a bad thing.

– Ludacris. I like this guy.

– Jordana Brewster. Girl got them acting chops. While sometimes Diesel and Walker feel like they’re reading their lines on a teleprompter behind the camera ala Obama, she brings a sense of truth or rawness to her lines that suck your right back in.

– The Rock. Many credit him and his character giving a renewed push to the series. His intensity and rage in the role always make his scenes quick and powerful, much like the cars used to drag a 20 ton vault through the streets of that poor city.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

– The Rock. Yes! I’ve done it. I said The Rock worked AND didn’t work in this flick. Deal with it. Though emphasizing the importance of catching Toretto and O’Conner with his intensity, when in a calmer scene I feel he could have used a towel to wipe the sweat from his Samoan brow and dropped his volume from a 11 to a four.

– Diesel and Walker. Though they might be the perennial stars of this franchise, they aren’t the best actors. I would play these guys firmly between Snooki and Jason Statham. A wide range, for the different scenes these guys had.

– The plot. Typical “revenge Heist.” It’s so close to Ocean’s Thirteen that I’ll probably end up watching it this week.

THE LOWDOWN:

A familiar plot with familiar faces doesn’t make or break a film. What makes this movie a good time, is that Justin Lin probably knew he was remaking a million movies in this one and decided that it should be beautiful looking and have a fun atmosphere. He pulls it off well. There’s cars, girls, guns, fights, money and a crazy car chase. All the ingredients in a fun night watching a movie. Fast Five is 80% Prime Awesome! 

In Time

Release date: October 28, 2011 In Time

They say “time is power.” I say JT only needs four minutes to save the world.

In Time, written and directed by Andrew Niccol (The Truman Show) stars Cillian “Scarecrow” Murphy, Justin “didn’t need to bring sexy back, because he never left” Timberlake, Amanda “Not so dead friend of Veronica” Seyfried, Johnny “needs a hair cut” Galecki, Colin McGurk and Olivia “two-syllable DAH-YUM” Wilde. This slice is sci-Fi action, or scifiaction is all about time. Time is money. people don’t have much of it while others have millions. Fair? My boy JT doesn’t think like them! So when he gets up to his elbow (see what I did there? it’s in their forearms!) in time, he sets out on a mission to change everything.

Niccol takes us into a world with a fresh concept. Much like his other flicks, this one opens your mind to a bunch of what-if scenarios. All you have to do is take the red pill and see how far the rabbit hole goes.

WHAT WORKED:

– The concept. This was a new take on age old struggle between the classes concept. People say “time is money.” And damn they’re right. The unfortunate part is with this concept, they only explored the separation between the classes. I would have liked to see more government involvement past the “time-keepers.”

– The art direction. I mean this to include the look of their environment and the make-up. This film gave you two worlds – the people running on minutes and the bourgeois centurions. One was dark, dirty and generally hopeless but had soul. The rich had beautiful architecture, clean and lavish places that all kind of felt soulless. Adding to that was the fact everyone did stop aging at 25; however that wouldn’t stop the effects of stress and ware on their bodies. Some of those faces had a lot of miles n them. I’m looking at you Cillian Murphy!

– The pacing. This film is solid! Like a train. Not the little engine that could kind of train. I talking cross continental train. It keeps going at a pace that doesn’t tire you out, but you just don’t have the time to pick up your phone and tweet about JT’s dream blues or Amanda siefried’s chesticles!

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

– Olivia Wilde. I love her. I do. But they should have picked a less hot lady for ol’ timberlake’s mommy. The vibe I got from their interactions was far from family fun. Lets say just might of had some mommy issues when the camera wasn’t rolling. Ifyaknowwhatimean!

– The time. It could have been longer. Like I mentioned earlier, they gave us an ocean but only let us dip our toes in! The water’s great; why not dive in!?

THE LOWDOWN:

As mentioned before: this film has an amazing concept. However, I feel Niccol kind of failed on the expanding universe around his story. With today’s blockbusters inching the three-hour mark, I feel he could have done this world right. But that’s not say this isn’t a great flick. luckily for you, it’s on VOD so time really isn’t a problem when watching it. Because In Time is 80% Prime Awesome!