Tag Archives: stupid

Killing Them Softly: Potential slaughtered by director

Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, and Ray Liotta star in Killing Them Softly. Courtesy of Alliance Films

Amazing movies have that uncanny ability to feel as if time just flew by. I’m sure we’ve all experienced a movie that seems intriguing on the surface but in execution falls short forcing us to check our watches every five seconds. Sadly, Killing Them Softly is one of these films.

Not all is lost as there are some positives in Andrew Dominik’s (The Assassination of Jesse James) latest film.

In Killing Them Softly, a couple of young knuckleheads rob a mob protected poker game only to find themselves hunted by a hired enforcer.

The adapted story has a great deal of promise, but Andrew Dominik’s direction seems to belay the entire film’s plot. Subtlety is clearly not one of Dominik’s strengths as he endlessly beats us over the head with the political speeches of Bush and Obama in an attempt to provide poignant social commentary. It just doesn’t work.

The cast is solid with Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy (Argo), Ben Mendelsohn, and James Gandolfini putting forth a great combination of dramatic and comedic performances.

The brutally, vivid violence was given a great deal of thought behind shooting at interesting angles and variable framerates.

In the end, the slow pace and lack of tension throughout most of the film forces the audience to nitpick on the faults rather than rejoice in the otherwise thought-provoking story.

Bottom Line: Not worth a trip to the theatre. However, there’s enough potential to give this a chance as a cheap rental.

Grade C

Runtime: 97 minutes
3D: No

The Odd Life of Timothy Green: Blooming disappointment

THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN stars Cindy (Jennifer Garner), Timothy (CJ Adams) and Jim (Joel Edgerton). Courtesy of Disney Pictures

When we’re presented with a premise that shows promise it’s only logical to think that the final product should be mildly entertaining, at the very least. When it comes to The Odd Life of Timothy Green, that logic is thrown into a bottomless pit and we’re left with one of the most lackluster films of 2012.

In Disney’s latest film, a married couple who are unable to conceive, write down the ideal child on paper and plant it in their garden. Their dreams are realized as a fully grown boy named Timothy.

Without much effort, you’ll be able to effortlessly predict the remainder of this lazily written story.

Well known writer turned director, Peter Hedges (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape), displays absolutely zero talent on either front. Every facet of this film lacks drive. Instead, events just casually take place without any drama or suspense.

There weren’t even performances worth mentioning in a positive light. Jennifer Garner gives us her usual exaggerated attempts at acting and amplifies the annoying tendencies of an already overly irritating character.

The one positive to take away from this film is that it was shot beautifully, featuring a stunning palette of vibrant colours in most every scene.

Bottom Line: Unless you want to fall into a well of disappointment, stay away from this movie.

Grade D-

Runtime: 100 minutes
3D: No

Cosmopolis: Cronenberg’s lost it!

Robert Pattinson and a host of other actors star in David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis. Courtesy of eOne Films

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Oscar winning writer/director David Cronenberg (Eastern Promises, Crash, The Fly) has delivered numerous critically acclaimed films making fellow Canadians proud…until now. His latest film, will undoubtedly have most people asking “Has he lost his mind?”

In Cosmopolis, we follow a 28-year-old billionaire as he ventures through a large city meeting with a plethora of unusual people, in the comfort of his high-tech limousine.

It is simply baffling that Cronenberg could deliver such a load of mindless trash to the viewing public. The adapted screenplay of Don DeLillo’s novel is completely void of any kind of cohesion. The character’s motivations and actions are senseless, but does it really matter when we are unable to relate to them anyway? Any fan of his past work will most likely be staring at the screen thinking this is a convoluted mess, that is, if they haven’t already decided to walk out of the theatre.

Every line of dialogue read by the vast cast sounds as if they’re reciting a cheap philosophical novel. Robert Pattinson (Twilight, Remember Me) looks as if he’s constipated throughout most of the film. The only performance that felt worth watching is Paul Giamatti’s (Rock of Ages, Cinderella Man) – Even if the above mentioned scene is a total disaster.

From a technical or artistic standpoint, there are absolutely no redeemable aspects to this movie.

Bottom Line: David Cronenberg should be paying people a handsome fee to sit through this drivel.

Grade F

Runtime: 108 minutes
3D: No

W.E.: Blu Ray + DVD Review

W.E. is Madonna’s latest directorial effort. Courtesy of eOne Entertainment

A pop icon such as Madonna has the world as her oyster. There’s no denying that the singer turned actress has had a few moments in the sun as an actress in the cinema world but When it comes to her direction and writing, the sun simply refuses to shine – And with good reason.

In W.E., Madonna attempts to tell the story of King Edward VIII’s affair with American divorcée Wallis Simpson, while trying to connect it to a modern day affair between a trophy wife and a security guard.

To be as blunt as a rusty axe, Madonna should never step behind a camera. Her insistence on using every perceivable technique and camera angle served as a distraction and nothing else. Perhaps she should have bought a couple of gallons of crazy glue to add some sense of cohesion to the story she was painfully trying to tell. With the aid of Alek Keshishian, she managed to take what could have been a wonderful biopic of Edward VIII, and turned it into a convoluted mess.

She luckily had a decent cast to work with, all of whom managed acceptable performances within the confines of the uninspired script.

The picture quality is decent as is the audio. There are no special features to indulge in, so if you’re a fan looking for a little bit more (why??) don’t get your hopes up.

Bottom Line: Nothing to see here but a horrendous film.

Movie Grade F
Blu Ray Grade D-

Runtime: 119 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

To Talk, Or Not To Talk… There really is no question.

You’ve bought your pricey movie ticket and you’re walking into a large room with stadium seating facing a massive white screen. You are jumping with excitement on the inside because you’ve been waiting to see this seemingly perfect movie for months and the moment has finally arrived. You eye your favourite seat, which is available, because the genius that you are, arrived extra early to dominate that perfect spot. The auditorium fills to capacity and you are minutes away from experiencing the film you’ve been lusting after for weeks.

The long, painful wait is over and the feature starts. The brilliant plot is slowly revealed and the dialogue is intensely intriguing. Two of the main characters are having a gripping conversation, but there’s a couple in front of you talking loudly and you’re momentarily distracted. You look back up at the screen in anger and the on-screen conversation is over. It takes a minute or two, but you manage to calm down and sink back into the imaginary world before you.

Ten minutes later, you’re right back into the heat of the movie and things are bubbling with excitement. There’s a shocking revelation about the man with the green hat and the crowd gasps. He starts describing his incredible predicament and Lady Gaga is blaring along with him… Wait, that’s not right, no it’s someone’s cell phone going off. Everyone in the theatre turns to face the jerk whose Blackberry is ringing and in complete astonishment to everyone else, he picks it up. The nerve of this guy! He talks as if he’s at home and people begin yelling at him to shut the phone off and keep his stinking trap zipped.

By now, the scene is over and most have missed the deep plot point. It takes you about five minutes to cool down because you’re baffled by the inconsiderate monkey who was talking on his phone. You’re just about to try and dive back into what’s left of the film and a teenage girl two rows in front of you is texting on her large and super bright iPhone. At this point, your attention is so far removed from the movie that you just cannot re-focus your energy into it. You spend the remainder of the feature just riding along without truly being invested in what’s taking place and brooding over the inconsiderate pricks that have ruined your long anticipated treat.

This is what talking, using your cell phone, and providing an uninvited distraction during a movie will result in. We’re living in an age where inconsideration has become common practice in movie theatres. Most of these self-centred delinquents fail to realize that we have not spent our hard earned money to listen to them talk, be entertained by their cell phones, or listen to their babies howl. We’ve invested our money in a well-deserved two hour distraction provided by Hollywood filmmakers. If chatting with someone takes precedent over the movie going experience, stay home or go somewhere more conducive to your needs, might I suggest an overpriced coffee shop?

The question is: Who should be responsible for keeping the silence in the cinema? Studios are desperately trying to get people back into theatres as ticket sales are dropping. 3D has helped a great deal, but people are becoming weary of paying extra to deal with the yahoos who disrupt their experience. The amount of tickets being sold has declined. Evidence for this trend can easily be found on sites like BoxOfficeMojo.com or The-Numbers.com by looking at the adjusted for inflation movie grosses. Of the top 50 films of all time, only 5 were made in the last 12 years.

If studios and cinemas want to bring back the audience, perhaps enforcing their pitiful pre-show warnings to turn off cell phones and keep quiet would be of greater effect.

Or why not issue movie going licences. Every time someone is caught disrupting a movie, they receive a demerit point. Once you’ve lost enough points (3 should be the maximum!), you lose your movie theatre privileges for a month or more. Continue acting the fool and you’ll be banned for life. This would definitely weed out the ignorant, self-centred wankers who just don’t get the message.

At least we can dream….

For now, I’ll have to stick to my home theatre, which may not have as large a screen as the cinema, but at least I’m able to enjoy my movies in uninterrupted silence foregoing the need to suffocate someone with a bag of popcorn.