Melissa McCarthy plays Susan Cooper, a CIA agent who sits
behind a desk and radios instructions to a spy out in the field. She’s basically doing the same job Simon Pegg
did in Mission Impossible 3. Or Tom
Arnold in True Lies.
The spy she works with is Bradley Fine (Jude Law). Things go wrong, agents are killed,
identities are compromised, and she’s the only one their enemy won’t
recognize. So she’s sent to Rome to stop
Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) from selling a stolen nuke.
I was getting tired of Melissa McCarthy playing the same
type of character. Between Heat,
Identity Thief, and Tammy, she played loud, obnoxious characters who were
basically buffoons. So it was really
refreshing this time to see her play a likable, competent character. Susan is a fully trained CIA agent, and even
though she’s stuck behind a desk and doesn’t have any field experience, she’s
smart and knows how to take care of herself.
And the humor doesn’t come at her expense. The movie doesn’t make any fat jokes, and she
doesn’t save the day through sheer luck.
She’s no Paul Blart.
I just wish the movie was funnier. I really didn’t laugh very much, and it was
especially painful watching Jason Statham try to be funny. The movie tries too hard to be a serious spy
story, and the story itself just wasn’t compelling enough. Maybe if they cut 20 minutes or so it would
have worked better. But as it is, I
couldn’t sit through this movie again.
Tomorrowland is kind of a mess. As far as I understood it, Tomorrowland is a
place that exists in another dimension.
It was either discovered or created by people like Nikola Tesla, Thomas
Edison and Jules Verne. It was
established as a place where the brightest, most creative thinkers and
inventors could let their imaginations run wild without the problems of
bureaucracy or politics. For some time,
it thrived with amazing things like jetpacks, rocket ships, and swimming pools
suspended in mid-air (those were really cool).
Then something happened and now it’s deserted and run down. At the same time, the end of the world is
coming unless one person can do something to stop it. The movie never explains what that one thing
is, but then I don’t think that’s the point of the movie.
The movie opens with Frank Walker (George Clooney) narrating
his part of the story. When he was a
boy, he went to the 1964 New York World’s Fair where he enters a competition
for inventors. The jet pack he created
doesn’t really work, but he meets a mysterious girl named Athena (Raffey
Cassidy). Athena gives young Frank a
special pin and leads him to Tomorrowland, a place where anything is
The look of Tomorrowland is incredible. It’s hard to be impressed by digital effects anymore
but the imagination on display just blew me away. If the movie had stuck with young Frank for a
while, it would have been much better.
Instead we immediately shift to Casey (Britt Robertson) who starts
narrating her part of the story. We jump
to the present day and watch as Casey tries to sabotage the cranes that are
demolishing the Cape Canaveral launching pad.
She gets arrested and when she gets out, she finds a Tomorrowland
pin. When she touches it, she’s able to
see Tomorrowland and this is where the movie takes off.
For a while, the movie gets pretty interesting. Casey starts investigating, meets Athena (who
hasn’t aged a day) and the old Frank, who doesn’t want to get involved in
whatever’s going on. There are
mysterious robots out to kill them and gun fights ensue. Bit by bit, Frank tells Casey about
Tomorrowland and what it all means.
Basically the first half of the movie is really fun and
interesting. Then we get to the halfway
point and it all goes downhill. The more
things are explained, the less interesting it seems. And the movie starts to get overly preachy
with its message about not giving up hope and nurturing imagination and
creativity. Those are good messages, but
it’s just too on the nose and overly melodramatic.
There are also too many details left out. I really wanted to learn more about what
happened between young Frank and Athena, or why Frank was kicked out of
Tomorrowland, or what day to day life is like there. Are people living there and raising families,
or are they just working? As cool as
Tomorrowland is, too much of the movie is set on Earth. It’s like the movie kept building and
building the anticipation, then instead of delivering it just started to
At the same time, it’s hard to hate this movie. Its heart is in the right place and there is
a really good story in there somewhere.
I feel like one or two rewrites and some tighter editing could have made
this something special. Director Brad
Bird just wanted to do too much with this story and he made the movie
overstuffed and uneven. So I guess it’s
not a bad movie, just a disappointing one.
The original 1982 movie was the first movie that really
scared me. I think I was 7 or 8 when I
first saw it, and I remember being so freaked out that I couldn’t sleep that
night. One of the things about that
movie was that it felt so real to me.
Like other Spielberg movies from the 80s, the characters were so well
developed and the suburban setting so realized that it felt like everything
happening in the movie could really happen anywhere. Of course the fact that I was so young could
have had something to do with that too …
Anyway, they remade Poltergeist. After movies like The Conjuring and
Insidious, this one feels like a knock-off.
The original does a great job of first establishing the characters and
slowly ratcheting up the tension. This
one wastes no time and jumps right into the scary stuff, which doesn’t work as
The best thing about this movie is Sam Rockwell. He’s always interesting to watch, and he has
a few really funny scenes. But once Carol
Anne Madison is kidnapped by the ghosts in the TV, Rockwell has nothing
interesting to do. It’s surprising how
quickly the parents accept the haunting as normal. Aside from being confused about what’s going
on and what to do, it doesn’t really seem like they’re ever freaked out or
amazed that they live in a haunted house, or that spirits have kidnapped their
Just like in the first movie, the family first enlists the
aid of paranormal researchers from the local college. And once again, they need help from a
spiritual medium to help get Maddie back.
But instead of Zelda Rubenstein, we get Jared Harris playing Carrigan
Burke, a celebrity medium who hosts a reality show where he ‘cleans’ haunted
houses. And it’s quite a coincidence
that the researcher from the local college just happens to know Carrigan Burke,
and is able to get him there on the same day.
It’s even harder to believe that he’s so willing to help them when they
tell him that they don’t want this filmed for his show. He’s got a successful cable reality series –
you would think he has a pretty full schedule.
Anyway, there are a few good scares in this movie, but then
that’s easy to do. Just show a character
standing there in an empty room, move the camera away for a second, move it
back to show a ghost standing there and have a loud boom on the soundtrack, and
the audience jumps. It’s much harder for
a movie to create a real sense of dread, and this movie never really does
It also feels too short.
It’s at least twenty minutes shorter than the original, and it feels
rushed. When they get Maddie back from
the other side, I looked at my watch because I couldn’t believe how quickly
that was resolved. Once again, another
unnecessary remake that will be forgotten in a week.
I don’t think I’ve seen the first three Mad Max movies all
the way through. I know I rented the
first movie once. I vaguely remember
bits and pieces of it – I know there’s a scene where Mel Gibson handcuffs a guy
to a motorcycle that’s about to explode and leaves him with a hack saw. I don’t remember hardly anything from The
Road Warrior, but Beyond Thunderdome was on HBO all the time when I was a
Fury Road is the fourth Mad Max movie, and it’s just
incredible. The movie drops you right in
the middle of this post-apocalyptic world without giving us hardly any
backstory. All we know is that there is
no more system of government, and gas and oil are hard to come by. Max (now played by Tom Hardy) is captured by
the War Boys, an army ruled by the tyrannical King Immortan Joe, who has a
really cool breathing mask that looks like the grin of a skull.
For the first half hour or so, Max is a prisoner. He wears this iron mask over his face and he’s
being used to supply blood to Nux (Nicholas Hoult). When the War Boys head out to capture Furiosa
(Charlize Theron), Max is tied to the front of Nux’s car like a hood ornament.
The movie is basically one big chase, and it’s the most
thrilling chase I think I’ve ever seen.
Furiosa and her War Rig are being chased by an army of War Boys led by
King Joe. Eventually Max will team up
with Furiosa and help her try to get away.
The stunts in this movie were mostly practical rather than CGI, and it
shows. This movie was exhilarating and I
saw things that I have never seen in a movie before. The level of creativity and imagination used
to bring the movie to life is just off the charts – the design of the vehicles,
the look of the army, everything is just amazing to look at.
Another thing I loved is the music. It’s over the top at times but that just adds
to the fun. It’s got this old fashioned
sweeping musical score with some heavy metal guitar added in there. Make sure you see it movie on the biggest
screen you can with the best sound possible.
I’m not in the target demographic for either of the Pitch
Perfect films, but I still enjoyed the first one. It poked fun at the concept of college a cappella
groups without making fun of them. Beca
(Anna Kendrick) was a good lead character, and it was a typical underdog
movie. We got to know Beca and the rest
of The Barden Bellas and we rooted for them.
And there was a lot of funny stuff in that movie.
But the sequel isn’t half the movie the original was. I didn’t laugh much and I didn’t care about
what happened to the characters. At the
start of the movie, the Bellas are performing at the Lincoln Center for the
Performing Arts for President Obama. Fat
Amy has an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction, and the Bellas are kicked out of
the national a cappella league or something like that. Even though they won the competition at the
end of the previous movie, this infraction prevents them from going on the rest
of their victory tour.
But they still get to go to the international competition
for some reason. If they win that, they’ll
be back in the good graces of the a cappella judges and their suspension will
be over. But of course no American team
has ever won the international
competition, so the odds are against them.
It doesn’t make sense that the color commentators (John Michael Higgins
and Elizabeth Banks) are the ones who get to decide on their suspension, but whatever.
Beca has taken an internship at a recording studio but she’s
keeping it a secret from the rest of the Bellas. She’s still dating Skylar but he only pops up
in a couple scenes. Fat Amy (Rebel
Wilson) is seeing Bumper but keeping it a secret from everyone. And Benji has a crush on the new Bella, Emily
(Hailee Steinfeld), but the movie doesn’t do much with their relationship.
That’s probably the biggest problem with the movie. There are some good ideas but they’re not
fully developed. Just when the Benji and
Emily relationship is starting to get interesting, the movie doesn’t know where
to go with it. By the time they’re
comfortable enough with each other to have a conversation at a party, it’s just
shown in a montage.
This movie just bored me. Fat Amy didn’t make me laugh, and neither did
the color commentators. The music was ok
but I don’t think the soundtrack will sell anywhere near as much as the first
one did. This is one of those sequels
that we didn’t need. The only reason it
was made is because the first movie was an unexpected hit. Hopefully this one doesn’t do as well and we
won’t have to sit through a third one.
There was a time when zombie movies were straightforward
horror movies about people killing zombies and trying not to be eaten. Now zombies are so main stream that you can
have a romantic comedy about them (Warm Bodies), a buddy comedy (Shaun of the
Dead) or a number one rated network series (The Walking Dead).
This movie is about Wade Vogel (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and
his daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin).
She’s just been bitten by a zombie.
When Wade picks Maggie up from the hospital, the doctor tells him that
she will start to show signs of aggression.
She’ll lose her appetite … and then she’ll get it back …
Instead of being a horror movie, this movie is more of a
drama. There are a couple of scenes of
zombie killing, but most of the time we are just observing how Wade and his
family deal with this tragedy. Watching
it I really felt the horror that Maggie was experiencing. She keeps picking at her bite like it’s a
sore. We watch as her eyes start to turn
a milky white and her veins turn black.
In the movie, the zombie outbreak has been going on a
while. Society hasn’t broken down like
in The Walking Dead – there are still police officers and working hospitals –
but there are stores and gas stations left empty. It’s somewhere in between normal society and
The Walking Dead. When someone is
infected and is close to turning, they are sent to a quarantine zone. There’s a really great scene where Maggie
goes camping with her friends and they try to pretend that life is normal. They sit around a campfire talking about what
it’s like in the quarantine, but they could be sitting around talking about
normal high school stuff.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has never been known for his acting
abilities, but he’s pretty good in this movie.
He gets a couple of zombie killing scenes, but for the most part he’s
just a dad trying to keep his family together.
If you go in looking for an exciting zombie movie, or a typical
Schwarzenegger action movie, you’ll be disappointed. I enjoyed the movie for what it was. It creates a great sense of dread and
suspense as you wait for the moment when she’ll turn on her family.
I think the filmmakers were inspired by The Heat. Cooper (Reese Witherspoon) is a lot like
Sandra Bullock’s character – she’s uptight, by the book, and nobody likes
her. But the heat was a funny movie with
well-developed characters and an intelligent script. Hot Pursuit has none of those things.
I chuckled now and then, but I don’t think I ever laughed
out loud. There’s a running gag where
every time they reference Cooper and Daniella Riva (Sofia Vergara), Cooper’s a
little shorter and Riva’s a little older.
That was ok, but the physical comedy just didn’t work. Things like Cooper and Riva trying to climb
out of a bathroom window, or driving a bus and shooting out the window while
handcuffed together, those scenes are just obvious and not funny.
The movie also has the requisite dumb disguises. When Cooper is sneaking into a drug lord’s
house, she’s dresses as Justin Bieber.
Then five minutes later, she changes and dresses like a waitress. Why abandon the first disguise? Because costume changes are funny,
Even the outtakes during the closing credits aren’t
funny. Save your money and wait for