Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Movie Review Extravapalooza! Predators, The Expendables, Black Death, Deathwatch, Machete, Prince of Persia

When it rains it pours!  I've been remiss in my movie reviewing as of late.  Mainly because I haven't been watching that many movies (mainly been rewatching stuff or simply watching SVU or PBS documentaries about things eating things).  This last week though I've put in some movie time so 'ere we go!  'Ere we go!

Predators (2010) I used to really dislike Adrien Brody but I've grown to like him since Splice.  I really wasn't expecting much from this installment of the Predator series (I'm a Predator fanatic but every other one has been as disappointing as an alcohol free wake).  In fact I was expecting it to suck.  In all honesty I was surprised, I not only enjoyed but I thought it was a pretty solid action flick with a solid action movie cast (except for Adrien Brody's stupid gravelly voice).  In no way shape or form is Predators as good as Predator but still worth watching while sucking down lager.

The Expendables (2010)  This movie was awesome.  Was it good?  No.  Was it...?  Who cares?  This ain't Becket in the Park!  Shit blows up?  Check.  Stallone and Statham have a good rapport?  Check (actually some of their lines are so funny I did a spit take).  Jet Li kicking ass without being The One?  Check.  Mickey Rourke being one of my favorite actors ever (except for that one movie I'm not gonna talk about)?  Check.  Convoluted evil plot taking place in a banana republic?  Check.  I had fun watching this movie and that was/is the entire point.  Seeing the old warhorses up on screen glowering at one another, battling for scenery to chew on, and generally seeming like they are having fun being there.  A great double feature with Rambo (2008).

Black Death (2010) This is one of those movies I watched and went huh.  A period piece set during the 14th Century about a novice monk accompanying a band of witch hunters to investigate a heretical village and mete out justice where needed.  It's a very well done movie (direction, cinematography, acting, action, lots of gore, and scoring) but two factors kept me from really enjoying it: hand held cam and a vaguely foundering plot.  The handheld cam was actually not distracting during combat but during scenes with no action it was putting.  The plot is straight forward, the resolution was good, but for some reason there were some elements that should have been developed further or cut in order to streamline the film.  Well worth seeing, if only for the action sequences and the last third of the movie.

Machete (2010)  Trejo!  Segal!  Machete!  Mayra Leal buckassnekkid!  Amusing dialogue between hired goons!  Jessica Alba sorta nekkid!  A low rider army!  Alicia Rachel Marek topless!  Decapitations!  Score by Chingon!  "Machete don't text."!  With so many exclamations why was I disappointed by "Machete"?  I don't know.  I enjoyed it but for some reason I was just left going, "Meh.  Rodriguez sure can get chicks to take off their clothes."  Worth watching but perhaps better as a concept piece than in execution.  That being said the first fifteen minutes are fucking bad ass.

Deathwatch (2002)  This movie is a rarity among rarities - a supernatural thriller set in the trenches of World War I.  Written and directed by Michael J Bassett (who also directed Wilderness [2006]) this movie is now on my list of to buy movies.  I enjoyed everything about this movie - which truth be told played out like a really top notch Twilight Zone more than a modern horror movie.  The premise works on the standard of the squad of troops cut off from their company, spooky shit starts to happen, they all go mad.  Complicated?  No.  Excellently done with little to no cheeky humor to lighten the mood?  Yes.  The acting is solid (though I kept expecting Sean Pertwee to show up), the effects are great, hell I can't really find fault with this gem.  Andy Serkis is one of the highlights of the movie.  You have to watch to find out why.

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (2010)  Don't asked me why I watched this last night.  It was on netflix for free and I needed something to stare at slack jawed before I went to bed.  I also wanted to see how bad it really was.  Y'know...yes it was pretty bad in pretty much every regard (except Alfred Molina was awesome of the brigand Sheik Amar) but I watched all of it and realized that it was even worse because if it weren't for the crappy CGI, wretched acting, cheap Jerry Goldsmith knock off score, gaping plot holes, annoying repetition of plot devices, and no one seemed to be having a good time (which I can forgive a lot for example: The Rock or Brandon Fraiser and any movie they're in), I also don't like the cut of Gyllenhaal's jib - He came across as hating his role (a la the dickhead Colin Farrell in Miami Vice) and that's not cool - but when all is said and done Prince of Persia could have been a pretty good swashbuckler.  I also was put off by the bizarre social commentary on the invasion of Iraq: non-existent WMDs (in the form of high quality swords), a vaguely Cheney-esque character, and some snippets of dialogue that were starkly out of place - Sheik Amar: "Tch, secret government killing activity! That's why I don't pay taxes!"  Sigh.  On the upside I am inspired to write a retrospective piece on Sir Ben Kingsley.

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