“The Expendables 3 ” Review

July 27, 2014 |  by  |  movies, reviews  |  No Comments

I like the idea of this “Expendables” series more than I like the actual movies.  In truth, they are pretty dumb second-rate films that have the budget of a Hollywood blockbuster.  It seems as if the target audience for these flicks is a pimple-faced teenage boy who works-out in his mom’s basement, has a subscription to Machine Guns Monthly, and has only spoken to girls via a fake facebook account.

There is absolutely nothing here for reasonably intelligent adults who would enjoy seeing these tired old action heroes being trotted out for one last hurrah, if only it were in a better movie.  Every line, every scene, every moment of “The Expendables 3″ is equal parts cheesy and impossible to believe.

Consider the scene, near the beginning, where Stallone sees Gibson for the first time.  They have history and it didn’t end well.  His first thought is to kill him on the spot — and rather than simply snipe him, which would be easy for a man of his skill-set, he screams his name in anger, alerting Gibson to the impending gun battle.  Face-Palm!

Also, we are treated to at least a dozen attempted one-liners… as if they were fishing for an “I’ll be back” moment.  Terry Crews decides to yell, “It’s time to mow the lawn!” before cranking up his rotary machine-gun.  Jason Statham growls all of his easy to memorize lines in the familiar fashion that has earned him the title of “worst actor alive”.  Stallone’s big one-liner is “I am the Hague!”  No, I am not joking.

Harrison Ford is wheeled out on his hospital gurney, all puffy and bloated.  I know he is a beloved “movie star”, but no one has ever accused him of being a quality actor.  He mumbles out his lines with as much passion as an actor who is desperate for a paycheck.  It is definitely time for Ford to hang up the action cleats and try his hand at some old man roles.

Who the hell is Randy Couture?  And what the heck has he done to merit inclusion with all these famous action stars?  Luckily, he has no lines.

Ronda Rousey is hot.  She is attempting her own version of Gina Carano’s transition from fighting to acting.  At least she is something different to look at than all the vein-popping, muscle-pumping, sweat-glistening, testosterone-laced masculinity on display.  Unfortunately, she has minimal lines.  Mostly she says, “Men!” — and then kicks someone in the groin.

Jet Li plays token.  He has one short line.

Victor Ortiz plays token 2.  He barely gets a line or two.

Antonio Banderas as the parkour acrobat?????  He has too many lines.

Kelsey Grammer as the ahhh-who-gives-a-shit???????????

And Schwarzenegger get a few glorified cameos so he can still feel a little relevant.

All of this was clearly beneath Steven Seagal — who had a better straight-to-DVD movie to shoot.

The only person who manages to keep any of this remotely together is Sylvester Stallone.  He takes a cast so huge, that the entire production feels watered down, and a script so cheap, that even testosterone-riddled teen boys would roll their eyes — and somehow he keeps all of the big hairy balls juggling.

“The Expendables 3″ is typical of the series — dumb, overlong (2 fucking hours???) and corny.  It isn’t a terrible film… merely a waste of everyone’s time.  If biceps and explosions and macho-posturing give you a rock hard boner… then this is the movie to see.  If you are female or a semi-conscious adult male, then don’t bother.

ONE STAR The Expendables 3  Review

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TV's Top 10 Most Awkward Sex Scenes

TV’s Top 10 Most Awkward Sex Scenes

July 24, 2014 |  by  |  sponsored  |  No Comments

In real life, there’s always some awkward moments during sex. It’s rarely as seamless and artful as it usually appears to be on TV.

Sometimes however, a few shows are brave enough to feature scenes so cringe-worthy, it puts most of our embarrassing sex moments to shame.

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“Fifty Shades of Grey” Trailer

July 24, 2014 |  by  |  movies, trailers  |  No Comments

Well, here it is… the official trailer for “Fifty Shades of Grey”.  It will be released on Valentine’s Day, 2015 — which means there will be a lot of busy maternity wards on or around November 14th of next year.

Dakota Johnson plays Anastasia Steele and Jamie Dornan plays Christian Grey in the cinematic version of E.L. James’ insanely popular novel.

So, get your whips, chains, blindfolds, butt-plugs, nipple-clamps and sex-swings ready… it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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“Before Midnight” Review

July 23, 2014 |  by  |  movies, reviews  |  No Comments

The “Before” series has become a dear old friend — one that lives in a far away place and returns every nine years with fascinating stories to tell.  Richard Linklater directs his signature series with the calm and assured confidence of someone who knows they have something special on their hands.  With Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke reprising their superb roles, the partnership virtually guarantees a masterpiece of cinema.

“Before Midnight” begins at the airport with Jesse sending his young son back home to America after a summer in Greece.  He waves goodbye at the security gate and sadly ambles out to his car.  Awaiting him is the radiant love of his life, Celine.  The camera pans past the back seat window and we catch a glimpse of two beautiful young twin daughters sleeping.  That is a moment I won’t soon forget.  It confirmed one of my most deeply felt cinematic wishes — that Jesse and Celine would get together, be happy and start a family.  It is a moment that even the most jaded and cynical moviegoer would have a hard time diminishing.

Our favorite couple has spent the summer vacationing in Greece with friends.  It had been the best summer of their lives.  But Jesse is feeling guilty and drops the not-so-subtle hint to Celine that he feels he should be spending more time with his son, who lives thousands of miles away.  This thought becomes a point of contention, as Celine reads into it far more than was probably implied.

Unusually for this series, the middle section of this chapter features a few other characters chiming in with their thoughts.  It is a brief section of film, and all I wanted was for the camera to refocus on our reason for watching.  Soon, Jesse and Celine become the center of attention yet again and they head off on one of their signature chatty and romantic walks.

The final third of the film is spent in a hotel room, a gift from one of their holiday friends.  What then starts out as a romantic getaway, soon gets waylaid by an off-hand comment, which results in a desperately intense argument that confronts whether or not they are still really in love with one another.

These two characters are adults now… dealing with adult feelings and adult problems.  We have moved past youthful hope and happily ever-afters.  The screenplay explores the complexity of relationships and parenting.  It delves deep into the psyche of a loving father and a strong, independent woman.   Rarely has there ever been a more mature and realistic vision of modern relationships.  Every minute of “Before Midnight” has more drama and intelligence than all the summer blockbusters combined.  It hits all the right notes and I cannot believe that I have to wait until 2022 to see them again.  I have already penciled that one in to my 2022 Top 10 List.

FOUR STARS Before Midnight Review

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“Before Sunset” Review

July 23, 2014 |  by  |  movies, reviews  |  No Comments

Nine years after Jesse and Celine make that promise in the masterful film, “Before Sunrise”, we find out what happened to them.  In 2004, Richard Linklater directed this long-awaited follow-up to that 1995 classic, as Jesse and Celine meet for the first time since their memorable night spent falling in love.

Jesse is now a published author and is on a book tour of all the major European cities.  While discussing his book with the press at the world famous ‘Shakespeare & Company’ book shop in Paris, he glances to his right and sees the vision he has been dreaming about for nine long years.  Celine stands smiling.  They are both, at once, deliriously happy, hesitant and nervous.  Jesse quickly relieves himself from his duties and sneaks away to catch up with his old one-night flame.

Celine had found him by reading the book, which bears a striking resemblance to the events that transpired between them years earlier.  He admits to having written the book, in part, to find her again.  It worked… and they pick up right where they left off — wandering the city streets, this time in Paris, chatting away like nothing had ever changed.

“Before Sunset” doesn’t take place over the course of one day and night.  Rather, this film is shot in real time.  It might as well have been one long 90-minute take.  Yet again, Jesse is scheduled to fly back home — to his wife and young son.  I won’t reveal too much more about this film.  It is best experienced as the characters do… as it happens.

Delpy and Hawke must be eternally grateful to have these characters in their lives.  Very few films ever give their actors more to chew on than the “Before” series.  Long ten-minute takes are endlessly fascinating and captivating.  I could watch this couple ramble on for days, weeks, months, years.

“Before Sunset”ends in a beautiful way — and we leave knowing that we will pick up Jesse and Celine’s story nine years later.  “Before Midnight” would be released in 2013.

FOUR STARS Before Sunset Review

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“Before Sunrise” Review

July 23, 2014 |  by  |  movies, reviews  |  No Comments

In 1995, the director, Richard Linklater, created a masterpiece of modern cinema with “Before Sunrise”.  It was such a simple concept — two young strangers, Jesse and Celine, meet cute on a train headed to Paris via Vienna.  They strike up a conversation and Jesse convinces Celine to disembark with him in Vienna.  The film spends the rest of the day and night sauntering around the gorgeous city with this vibrant, intelligent and endlessly fascinating couple.  However, the sun will soon rise and Jesse will have to leave for the airport to fly back to the States.

There is hardly any more to the plot… just two people, finding each other in a vast ocean of forgettable humanity, who have a thoughtful and beautiful conversation.  They walk.  They talk.  They drink coffee.  They listen to music.  They kiss.  These are all the first moments of their falling in love – and it is captured more realistically and profoundly than almost any film ever made.

The drama all stems from Jesse’s looming departure to fly home.  They both know it is coming.  Neither of them wants to be one of those people who promises they will stay in touch.  No one ever does that… at least not pre-internet  They didn’t have facebook back then.  Instead, they simply agree to enjoy the special night for what it is.

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are celestial in their now iconic roles.  These are the kind of roles actors dream about.  Long intricate takes, listening, reacting, talking with the authenticity of true life.  The script is magnificent… but the delivery is nothing short of perfection.  “Before Sunrise” is a stage play come-to-life on the streets of Vienna.

As the hour looms, the feelings intensify and they cannot simply say goodbye.  They make a promise to meet each other again… six months from that night… back at the same train station.  Do they keep that promise?  We, the viewer, truly hope so.  This cannot be the end of such a lovely story.  We would have to wait nine years to find out what happened to that promise.  “Before Sunset” would be released in 2004.

FOUR STARS Before Sunrise Review

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“Two Days, One Night” Trailer

July 21, 2014 |  by  |  movies, trailers  |  1 Comment

“Two Days, One Night”, starring the greatest actress in the world today, Marion Cotillard, follows a young woman who has only one weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses so that she can keep her job.

The film was a huge success at the Cannes Film Festival, competing for the Palme d’Or.  The Dardenne brothers direct yet another critically acclaimed movie that is absolutely one of my most anticipated of 2014.

It seems a dead certainty to be nominated for best Foreign Film at all the major awards for 2014.  And the Most Beautiful Face of 2013, Marion Cotillard, will probably be garnering another Oscar nomination for her work.

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“Fifty Shades of Grey” Teaser Teaser

July 21, 2014 |  by  |  movies, trailers  |  No Comments

So it has come to this…  A teaser trailer for a teaser trailer?  Whatever.  Here is the first look at the film adaptation of the worldwide phenomenon — “Fifty Shades of Grey”, starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan.  You can expect this film to make half a billion at the box office!

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“Kite” Trailer

July 17, 2014 |  by  |  movies, trailers  |  No Comments

I really liked the 1998 anime, “A Kite” — on which this live-action remake is based.  The gorgeous India Eisley plays Sawa, the young school-girl who is hell-bent on avenging her parents’ murder.  Using her cunning and explosive bullets, she tracks down those responsible.  Samuel L. Jackson and Callan McAuliffe also star in what I hope will be a fitting remake of the original story.  Check out the cool trailer above!

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“Laggies” Trailer

July 17, 2014 |  by  |  movies, trailers  |  No Comments

“Laggies” premiered at The Sundance Film Festival and is receiving good buzz.  The indie-comedy stars Keira Knightley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ellie Kemper and Sam Rockwell.  It will be released sometime in September.  Check out the trailer above.

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