CONTINUED FROM PART 1
RED 2 – July 19, 2013
A sequel to the action/comedy with Bruce Willis’ Frank Moses again being pulled out of quiet retirement and from spending time with his squeeze Mary-Louise Parker and getting thrown back into the action game with fellow assassins John Malkovich and Helen Mirren, along with newcomers Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins for more wisecracks, blowing stuff up and casual killing.
The first RED was an enjoyable, funny action adventure with the humor coming from seeing actors like Mirren, Malkovich and Morgan Freeman unloading their firearms at bad guys and performing in balletic style. Here there’s more fun with the casting of new characters. Hopkins is a wacky scientist and Zeta-Jones as Frank’s dangerous ex who would like to rekindle their romance.
The tone seems the same as the first. Our heroes all have that casual relaxed attitude while being in over-the-top action. Mirren looks to be in top form having a blast with her role again, Malkovich gets his goofy back on. Hopkins hams it up as this oddball scientist. With the addition of these new actors RED 2 looks like it could be entertaining.
Unfortunately, I’m still holding a grudge with Wills for the crime that was A Good Day To Die Hard. I haven’t gotten over that fiasco yet, so I will not be heading to the theater to see RED 2. I’ll catch it later down the line at some point.
GIRL MOST LIKELY
Kristen Wiig is a playwright whose promising career takes a nosedive. She’s also having relationship trouble and plans to get her ex back with a fake suicide attempt. which ends up landing her in a mental institution. Now she has to move back home under the care of her gambling addicted mother (Annette Bening).
After starring in the hit Bridesmaids, fans will be curious to see Wiig in another comedy. From what I’ve heard this is more cutesy than a laugh riot. I’ve heard it described as ‘too sit-comy’ too. Even the title – Girl Most Likely, just sounds so blah to me.
The pairing of Wiig with Bening could be entertaining, but I have a feeling at best it will do moderately well and disappear pretty quickly. Next time out Wiig is going to try to do a more crowd-pleasing flick that will get more attention.
ONLY GOD FORGIVES
Julian (Ryan Gosling) is enjoying reaping the benefits ofthe drug-smuggling life in Bangkok. Then his merciless mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) who is the head of a powerful criminal organization, asks Julian to find whoever killed his brother and do this person in. This sets Julian out on a violent revenge story with a lot of atmosphere, carnage and super cool imagery.
Director Nicholas Winding Refn reteams with his Drive star and not surprisingly expectations are high with what this pair have come up with this time. The plot may sound like a standard action/revenge movie, but I suspect there’s going to be much more to it than that.
I’ve heard it described as ‘very strange’, ‘extremely violent’ and some screenings had audience members walking out in the middle of it. It sounds like the film isn’t shying away from what it wants to be, let’s hope whatever that may be will be worth it.
Ryan Reynolds is a present day detective killed in the line of duty. Now a stiff he’s recruited by the R.I.P.D. – the Rest In Peace Department, a dead police force assigned to protect us living folks from being hassled by all forms of ghosts and ghouls. Partnered with the veteran 18th century lawman Jeff Bridges, they get into all sorts of otherworldly encounters with supernatural foes, while in-between dealing with afterlife criminals Walter looks for the man who killed him and made him this dead cop.
Let’s get it out of the way – yep, it’s very similar to a Men In Black-type of movie. We have big special effect fights with our heroes trying to take down otherworldly criminals. I’m sure there are going to be special rules, powers and weapons they’ll need to employ in doing so.
There’s the idea that to everyone else Bridges and Reynolds appear as a hot blond chick and an old Chinese guy. I’m sure they’ll milk those shots and the perplexed reactions from bystanders.
It is kind of nice to see Bridges in such a big-budget movie and I suspect it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch him as this no-nonsense western character. That actually looks like the best part of this.
Reynolds will spend the first half of the movie being confused and saying little ‘funny’ remarks, while also letting us figure out this premise through his questions. This role will probably not convince me he’s a unique, charismatic leading man who brings something special to whatever part he might be playing. Everytime I see him I always think to myself – there must be dozens of other actors that could have done this part better.
It’s a weird concept, but it might open decently just because of the special effects – audiences are usually attracted to bright shiny things. But it’s not going to do huge box office. Most people will see this as Men In Black-lite and will probably skip it.
It probably would have helped had they cast someone audiences have more confidence in and view as more reliable than the bland Reynolds. The last big summer movie of his was Green Lantern– a lot of people haven’t forgotten that. He may never live that down.
I’m predicting this will be this summers Cowboys & Aliens. A flick that has an unusual premise, gets a lukewarm reception, doesn’t impress audiences and quickly fades away. But at least Bridges should be in entertaining in it.
THE WOLVERINE – July 26, 2013
Ok, here’s a superhero. I was wondering where the next one was going to turn up. Hugh Jackman returns as the most popular mutant hero – The Wolverine in his second solo adventure.
This time our metal clawed hero is in Japan where he gets an offer to eliminate his immortality. There is plenty of ninja attacks, Asian atmosphere and slow intense dramatic turns towards the camera for our modern day samurai.
This will be Jackman’s sixth time playing the character in sequels and spin-offs since he debuted in the part back in the first X-Men movie in 2000. We’re already guaranteed to see him again in next summers X-Men: Days of Future Past. I still think he’s very good as Wolverine. But X-Men Origins: Wolverine which was meant to be an exciting tale of Wolvy’s beginnings turned into an extremely dull adventure that angered a lot of fans and disappointed even more. How many times can you have a character looking up to the sky and screaming?
Here, so far things look to be better. The story is focusing on a very unique aspect to the character – that he basically just keeps living and everyone he cares about he inevitably has to watch die. There’s a mountain of emotional turmoil to explore with that. Then we get vulnerability creeping into Wolverine’s physical being, something he’s never experienced. Lastly, we get to see him slice and dice armies of ninjas to ribbons. How cool is that?
The Wolverine had a bumpy start. Darren Aronofsky almost signed up to direct this – that would have been interesting. Bryan Singer and Guillermo del Toro both almost accepted the gig. Then finally James Margold came onboard.
Like Man of Steel there’s a lot riding on this movie for fans. I almost see this film as a reboot from the disappointing Origins flick. I have no doubt a solo Wolverine movie could be great and they really dropped the ball on it the first time around. I think Jackman and the filmmakers realize that too and are really trying to make a more satisfying movie here.
So far from what I’ve seen this looks like it could be pretty decent and Jackman looks to have plenty of action and acting to do. I do have some uneasiness with that train fight though. It looks like Mission Impossible ’96.
If they pull this off then fans will gladly want more Jackman Wolverine adventures. But patience is running thin with the idea. If The Wolverine is a bust then it might be better if he just sticks with the X-Men and have fans hope for the one day when Marvel can get their hands back on the screen rights to the character and give their own Wolverine movie a shot.
I sometimes find it hard to believe Woody Allen is still at it. He began directing in 1966 with What’s Up, Tiger Lily?1966! Since that time he’s amassed an extensive directing and acting resume that has grown every year. Maybe there were a few years in there that he didn’t do anything and he’s certainly done more than his fair share of stinkers, but regardless of that he’s had an extraordinary career.
The story starts off in Allen’s hometown of New York. Cate Blanchett is Jasmine who experiences a ‘life crisis’ and heads to San Francisco to spend time with her sister. Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard, Louis C.K. and Andrew Dice Clay also star. Allen is staying behind the camera.
Allen movies are always hit or miss. His movies could quietly come and go without getting much attention or surprise everyone, garnering awards and becoming unexpected hits like Midnight In Paris had done several years ago.
No telling how Blue Jasmine will go down.
THE SMURFS 2 – July 31, 2013
Oh….another one. We can’t be too surprised about this can we?
The Smurfs are back. The evil Gargamel (Hank Azaria) has created a bunch of new creatures called the Naughties. He wants to turn them into real Smurfs – because….well who wouldn’t want to do that. So he kidnaps Smurfette who can magically turn them into real Smurfs with a trusty spell. Now the boys in blue have to rescue her with the help of real life co-stars Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays.
Little kids will love it and grown ups will find it annoying. They could keep churning out these kinds of films indefinitely. Too bad they can’t do a battle royale-type of movie with all these CGI cartoon adaptations from recent years. Sort of like a Godzilla Monster Island thing where all these guys get transported to this remote area, maybe it be caused by a magic spell! Scooby Doo, The Chipmunks, Garfield, Casper, Yogi Bear they’re all there and get into sort of a Hunger Games thing – last cartoon standing gets a sequel.
It’s sort of worth noting that Smurfs 2 is Jonathan Winters final performance as the voice of Papa Smurf.