Tag: Alexander Ludwig

Bad Boys For Life

Bad Boys bad boys, Michael gonna Bay, Michael gonna Bay and explode on you.

As of last week, I had not seen either of the Bad Boys movies. I did make sure to check out the first two before this third one quite a few years later. I figured the plot would be relevant [Editor’s Note: It wasn’t] to previous movies and didn’t want to be lost. And honestly, neither were my jam at all. I can’t remember much about the first film, and only a few scenes from the sequel stand out. It was definitely a chore I had to put up with.

And let’s talk about this title? Bad Boys For Life. I guess they don’t have high expectations for future films, letting go of that obvious for for the fourth film there.

And yes, I know Michael Bay didn’t direct this one. Let me have my fun.

ooohyeah
Lawrence is mostly just excited to have work at this point. 

Set all the real life years after the other movies, we have our heroes Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) getting older and getting into slightly less trouble. Mike still feels he is king of the world and untouchable. Marcus is slowing down, ready to retire, and over a lot of this stuff. Hell, he is a grandfather now. He wants to make sure he can see his grandson grow up and now get shot at some point in the future.

At the same time, some Hispanic lady (Kate del Castillo) broke out of prison in Mexico, thanks to her son (Jacob Scipio), and they seem to have plans about getting their family back on top. Finding some lost money, getting the literal gang back together. All of that. And she wants revenge, for everyone who hurt the family, including a Mike Lowrey many years ago.

Oh yeah, they have history. But you don’t know about it, since it took place before even the first movie, because why not.

Anyways, not sure what else to talk about. Scary threat and scary bad people, and maybe some people will die.

Also starring Alexander Ludwig, Vanessa Hudgens, Joe Pantoliano, Paola Nuñez, Charles Melton, and DJ Khaled.

panning shot
Oh yeah, everyone is getting too old for this shit. 

Bad Boys for Life could have been a better film. The ideas were there. Some of the characters were there. But it did not ever reach the potential and by the end, we were left with the same damn shit.

First I want to talk about Martin Lawrence, featuring a fatter head because he has been a lot more out of the spotlight. Honestly, it fits his character. And I loved his character in the first half of the movie. A grandson changed his life. He had new priorities. He prayed and stick to his prayers. It was actually a delight to see. And uhh, eventually, it was all just thrown away and hey, action movie, shoot gun, bang bang bang killing people. Okay.

Second note. In the middle of the movie we get a big speech from a character and it is meant to be this big moment. A change of heart speech. And then a really bad thing happens at that moment. Mike realizes at that point that everyone else was right, and that he was wrong. He was doing the bad stuff, he shouldn’t be involved, he needs to let others handle the current issue at hand. Hell, Marcus was right and Mike was wrong. They establish it, we all agree with it.

AND THEN RIGHT AFTER THEY GO BACK TO DOING THE BAD THING THEY ALL JUST AGREED SHOULDN’T BE DONE.

What in the hell? I feel like I was taking crazy pills.

This is a film that has some good laughs and scenes, and has good ideas, that get tossed aside on a whim to give us just another buddy cop action film. It didn’t stick the landing in terms of character growth at all, especially with the actual ending, which became a standard big kill fest with expendable bad guys, fire, and some underwhelming CGI.

Oh yeah, and there is no need to watch either previous movie. Despite having a villain from the past, it certainly isn’t one in the first two movies. Despite having a character that was in a relationship with Mike in the past, it is another thing that happened off screen. Completely lazy writing at points for these minor details, and, you know, the main plot of the dang film.

I am just so upset that it had potential and started off way better than expected.

2 out of 4.

The Final Girls

“Final Girl” is a term given to the last surviving female in a horror movie. This woman may have been in danger the whole movie. But somehow by the end she has enough gumption to slay the killer, or escape the building, or whatever. Hell, Ripley is a Final Girl.

Enough horror film had this happen for it to become a trope at least. I actually never heard about it until this year. Not just because of the movie The Final Girls that I am about to review, but because there was another movie also out aroudn the same time called…Final Girl. Yeah. It is pretty damn easy to get these ones confused. I haven’t seen such close titles for real unrelated movies since A Late Quartet and Quartet.

Now I will see Final Girl, some day. I have to given how easily it is to mistake The Final Girls. But to make matters even more confusing, they also share an actor. Somehow, Alexander Ludwig decided it’d be a good idea to be a lead in both films.

Shock1
With an amazing shocked face like that, there’s no question how he landed the roles either.

Amanda Cartwright (Malin Akerman) was in a series of horror films back in the day, but now she is just struggling to find a job. All people remember her for is her role in Camp Bloodbath, now a cult classic, but a movie she doesn’t like too much. But this isn’t her story. You know, because she dies in a car crash early on in the film. Her daughter, Max (Taissa Farmiga) was also in the car but she survived.

Since then, life has been lame. Her best friends brother, Duncan (Thomas Middleditch), has apparently promised that Max would show up to a special screening of Camp Bloodbath. She agrees, reluctantly, as long as her friend, Gertie (Alia Shawkat) comes along. Chriss (Alexander Ludwig), a male friend who is totally into her, also comes along, which means the local bitch, Vicki (Nina Dobrev), who used to date him tags along as well.

And since this is hard to explain, I will be succinct: Some shit went down, and now they are trapped in the movie. Good news: Max can reunite with a version of her mother, that’s cool! Bad news: a masked man is trying to kill them all! But now that they are in the movie, it is harder to predict what would happen. Their mere presence changes the plot line for good, so they can’t rely on their movie knowledge to win this one.

Other campers are played by the likes of Adam DeVine, Angela Trimbur, Chloe Bridges, and Tory N. Thompson.

Shock2
Honestly the only thing you need to be good at in a horror movie is your scared face.

Remember Cabin In The Woods? That was a genre bending, horror comedy that a lot of people didn’t know how to react to, but has eventually been accepted as a great and unique film. Cabin in the Woods is hard to define. The Final Girls is not hard to define, because I can look at it and say “It is like, Cabin in the Woods, kind of!”

A comedy horror means two things: It is usually funny, and it is usually not at all scary. They all just become parodies of horror without the fear behind it and this is honestly no exception. There are maybe “scary” moments, sure, but no one watching it will find it scary as per the norm.

Instead, The Final Girls should be judged on its comedy and it should be valued highly. Witty and fun, the cast of characters, and movie character stereotypes allow a lot of good deaths that follow and exploit common horror tropes. This is a PG-13 movie, which I feel limits some of the extremes they could have gone to, which is a shame. But the final fight scene felt nicely epic, some of the deaths were pretty creative, and the constant allusions that they were in a movie and not just a strange story were a very nice touch.

Overall, The Final Girls is a pretty good movie experience, and I hope they don’t mess it up with sequels. Hell, I like Alexander Ludwig now, and that is after I also saw When The Game Stands Tall.

3 out of 4.

When The Game Stands Tall

You know what sport has been unrepresented in film lately? Football. You might disagree with me.

First, let’s ignore all the bullshit smaller titles, the made for TV stuff, the documentaries. I will not accept The 5th Quarter, it was a straight to DVD thing basically.

Looking at only big releases, we had Draft Day this year which is more a generic sports-ish movie since it could have been almost word for word with any other sport and still work. Just change name of positions and teams and boom, all football elements gone. The Blind Side? That is a dramatic biography, not a football movie. That takes us all the way back to 2008 where we had The Longshots and Leatherheads. Yeah.

So a movie actually about the sport, with sport stuff going on hasn’t been out in a big release for awhile. When The Game Stands Tall is a true story, so it has that going for it at least.

Huddle
Players wearing gear is one step above Draft Day already!

De La Salle High School is a Roman Catholic private high school in Concord, California. Close-ish to San Francisco. All men school, too. They never had a winning football season until they signed Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel) in 1979. He then coached the team for decades, and starting in 1992, his teams had 12 years of undefeated seasons, leading to a 151 game winning streak. True story.

But the start of the 2004 season had changes. Their conference was tired of them destroying them, so they limited the De La Salle Spartans to only 5 games of league play, making them look elsewhere for opponents, where only the best of the best would accept. And wouldn’t you know it? While playing their first game of the season against the Washington state champion Bellevue Wolverines, they lost 39-20, breaking their record.

Heartache. Depression. Sadness. What are they going to do? Well, apparently lose their second game too, but at least it was a closer game.

Can the coach turn it around? Especially before game three, against the biggest meanest school in California, in 100 degree heat? And can they also get back into a championship winning team? Maybe?

What about side stories? WE GOT YOUR SIDE STORIES.

Like Chris Ryan (Alexander Ludwig), a running back, going for the California state record for TDs in a high school career. Only needs like 36 this year and has a whole lot of dad (Clancy Brown) pressure. Or the friendship between Cam (Ser-Darius Blain) and T.K. (Stephan James), of where they are going to go to college, and how there is a lot of death in their lives, and how one of them totally dies.

Can Tayshon (Jessie Usher) stop having a superstar attitude and work with the team? Can lovable Beaser (Joe Massingill) do…good at stuff? Will Arturo (Matthew Frias) ever get to play and feel important? How about Coach’s wife (Laura Dern), can she nag even more? And will his son (Matthew Daddario) get to have a good senior season with his dad as his coach?

AND WHAT ABOUT THE ASSISTANT COACH (Michael Chiklis)? WHAT ABOUT HIM HUH?

Hats
The most impressive part of this movie was getting Michael Chiklis to look like a cross between Jason Alexander and Wayne Knight.

From my estimations, 87.3333%, repeating of course, of this movie is completely made up. What? Something based around a definitely true event is fake? Well, let’s go into spoiler territory. You don’t care, you probably won’t watch this movie.

For sure, there was a Bob Ladouceur. The streak was 151 games and it was De La Salle high school. The dates of most of the stuff they mention work out. There was a T.K. and a Cam and one of them died. His son was a player in their first losing game. Everything else is just made up and fabricated drama.

For instance? Chris Ryan was not a real player. There was no one ever on their team working on beating this TD record for high school and it definitely didn’t come down to the final championship game. What really irked me and made me knew that this couldn’t possibly be real is that the coach, for their final drive, winning by a lot, let the players call the shots. They get down to the 1 yard line with about a minute left. And Chris becomes the QB, and takes a knee, three times. That’s because his dad beat him and wanted the record more than the son, and he thought the game should be about the team and not his record. Also because Jesus.

I knew there was no way that could have happened, it would have been everywhere on the news. The second tipoff was that at the end of the movie, they only did the “And here they are now!” screen for the coach, no one else. The other real players were either dead or failed at college ball, basically. So I had to look it up.

Then I found out they also made up the arrogant wide receiver on their team. Okay. Whatever. His plot sucked anyways. Most of the plot was the random death, the dad abuser/TD count, and the game winnings.

But then those fuckers even made up how they did that season. Literally the easiest part of a sports movie to get right. They got their first loss right and score. Sure. The second loss right after? Wrong team and wrong score. Made it seem like they were close. Then in real life they tied, they finally won in their first league game a ridiculous 49-0 versus a shitty private school team. The movie said they played the best team in California, had all of these problems, that team had a 100 player roster versus their like, 40 guys, and over 100 degree heat. They said they barely won that, then went on to win the rest of the season.

THEY DIDN’T EVEN WIN OUT THE REST OF THAT SEASON, WHAT THE FUCK? They had another tie and another loss.

They changed even the fundamental basics of their story, the easiest thing to get right, the records/schedule/score?

Outside of that, this is a huge First World Problems movie. Oh boo hoo, you guys are all sad because you lost a game after a bunch of guys before you never lost? Get the fuck over yourselves.

An inspirational sports movie has an underdog, a rag tag team, a group of losers, coming together to win over all. This one takes a bunch of winners, has them lose two games, and then go back to winning a bunch. Get the fuck out of here.

And it is a shame. If they kept to the real story, this would have been a decent movie. Because the football scenes were pretty interesting and shot really well.

1 out of 4.

Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor has the pleasure of being one of the lamer movie titles of 2013, while being based on one of the cooler military operation names ever.

Why is Lone Survivor a lame name? Because really, it gives it all away. Yes, it is a true story. Yes, that was the name of the book too. But still. Knowing it is about four Navy SEALS, and only one comes back is kind of upsetting. Especially from the advertising, only focusing on one member of the four, we already know who will survive.

Shit, even the beginning of the movie wants to make it clear to you. Only one of those people who survive. That person is Mark Wahlberg.

Group
And to think Ben Foster actually liked his odds.

I tried to figure out why they would do that so blatantly. I guess, out of respect, they don’t want the movie to become some sort of guessing game. They want to actually respect the men who were involved in the operation gone wrong. By letting you know how it ends, and which character, you can respect the story too as you watch and learn about the other men who did lose their lives.

In 2005, four members of SEAL Team 10 were sent on an advance/scouting mission as part of a larger operation known as Operation Red Wings. (Thus, I like the name. Go Detroittt). Literally the name chosen because of the sports team. Sexy (minus the whole, everything going wrong part). The four marines assigned to the job were LT Michael P. Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), SO2 Matthew ‘Axe’ Axelson (Ben Foster), SO2 Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch), and Navy Hospital Corpsman Second Class (I don’t know the short hand!) Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg).

Well, while they were on the mountains overlooking the bad guy camp, three goat herders came upon their area. Clearly Taliban supporters, they stumbled upon the American’s who were quickly left with a shitty situation. Well, civilians are never targets, so they can’t kill them and they can’t tie them up on the mountain and leave them there to die. Their only option is to let them go, even though they know they will just run down and give away their position.

Sucks to suck. Now they just have to try and survive until hopefully they can get picked up. Eric Bana plays the head of their actual SEAL Team, Alexander Ludwig as the newest recruit, and Jerry Ferrara (Turtle) as a communication dude.

Support
Come on guys. We can’t ignore the 6th and 7th most important guys (assuming the bad guys aren’t on the list).

War. War never changes.

More or less that works for war movies too. I don’t think an actual serious war movie ever glorifies war, but they always respect it and its affect on the lives of everyone involved. Obviously, with a topic with so much death, there was no glorification here, but neither did it feature hero worship. Just respect of the people involved.

It is a shitty story, but a good one about never giving up, even in the face of extreme odds against you. It also can serve as a “falling down a mountain” simulator, because they do that a lot. Shit, surprised they could survive each fall given how graphic and awkward the movie made each tumble seen.

All four of our leads did an excellent job, didn’t really feel like any one person out shined any other. I am glad to see Taylor Kitsch growing up and doing a serious role like this. This is not Ben Foster’s first time playing a soldier, so he knows how it is done. Emile Hirsch still just looks like a really skinny Jack Black doppleganger.

Also, that speech thing in the trailer? About being a Navy Seal Diver? That was good. They need more chants like that in movies. Much emotional feels.

A pretty good movie. Go America. Maybe the best war movie since Tropic Thunder, but I don’t remember many war movies over the last few years.

3 out of 4.