The Choice

Oh hey look, a Nicholas Sparks film. There have been ten of these before The Choice, and most people would start to wonder if he has any originality left in the tank.

Every single one of them are about romance. Most of them are about a death or a tragedy and bringing the unlikely couple together. Some of them do feature twists and interesting angles I have never considered. I still like The Notebook and I thought Dear John was quite clever, but still not living up to its potential.

And I didn’t see The Choice when it came out to theaters. I didn’t even see it when it hit DVD. His 11th attempt at a movie didn’t even try to advertise itself that much. Were there posters? Were there trailers? Is there another of his movies coming out this year?

I have no idea, they sort of just show up and we have to accept them.

Couple
Look at the happy couple. I wonder what Sparks will do to fuck it all up.

Gabby (Teresa Palmer) is a medical student, living with her dog, in the most romantic place in the world, Wilmington, NC. She has her own small place, despite being seriously involved with her boyfriend, Ryan (Tom Welling). Ryan is already a doctor, Gabby needs to still pass her exams, so she picks a quiet place to be alone to study without distractions.

Until she finds out her neighbor is playboy Travis (Benjamin Walker). He likes to party, sleep around, has a pseudo girlfriend (Alexandra Daddario), and he loves to blast his music at night.

And then Gabby’s dog gets pregnant, so she blames it on Travis’ dog. She goes to the vet angry and hey look, Travis works there, a vet himself, son of the head vet (Tom Wilkinson). And Travis’ dog is fixed! Oh ho ho, how silly.

Anyways, needless to say, they both fall in love, ruin each others relationships, and despite the starting of their relationship being over 2/3 of the film, none of what I said involves the titular Choice and it will just eventually show up. Also starring Maggie Grace!

Dog
Cold beer. Red shorts. Lazy dog. This man loves to party!

The Choice ends up being like a lot of Sparks stories, except somehow feeling overall trashier and dumber than most.

First of all, one of our two characters is in a committed relationship. He might not 100% entirely get her needs, but she is the one who starts fooling around with our main guy, with her boyfriend away for business reasons. In fact even after this, she still gets engaged to her boyfriend. So Gabby doesn’t really feel like a great gal. And Travis doesn’t look or seem to fit the charm that people say about him in this film. I don’t see it, and I can fully admit to understanding the charm of charismatic men.

Their chemistry isn’t super apparent either, so they have to hide it behind montages. And once again, the main crux of the movie, what is the choice and why, doesn’t happen until way late late late into the film. So much of the film is about their initial meeting and relationship (Sparks’ bread and butter), they have to rush the prequel to the choice into another montage showing them getting married and having kids.

Now this choice has no emotional context for us. It is jarring seeing them older (while looking identical of course), but suddenly kids. And of course “The Choice” ISN’T A FUCKING CHOICE AT ALL. He doesn’t make a choice, he keeps things the same as they were, and of fucking course he would. They hype up this god damn choice, so when it happens, I was just sitting there annoyed because it offered no additional tension.

This movie needed to take place with them already married with a family. Throw in some SMALL flashbacks if you want to show how they met, but let us really get to see them being in love and how their lives are before anything bad can effect it. But then Sparks couldn’t have enough romance in it.

This is a romance film that they didn’t know how to make different or tragic. The last act feels stapled on, isn’t heartfelt, and the whole thing becomes a waste of time.

0 out of 4.

Taken 3

Fineeee. I will fucking write this review.

Sometimes it is hard to just get the passion or desire to write a review, even if it has been sitting blank on your draft board for weeks. Weeks! Sometimes the only decision you have made is the rating and pictures but no idea what to talk about or how short or long it will be.

But here we are. Taken 3. The film Liam Neeson said he wouldn’t do, I think, then they offered him like $20 million dollars, so here we are. Taken 3. The follow up to Taken 2, that was terrible, given the unique feel and interesting film that was Taken.

Okay sure, Taken might be bad now too. But it isn’t bad as Taken 2. And when good movies go bad and then get another bad sequel? It feels like the Men In Black series, but thankfully this one didn’t wait a decade for an even older action star.

Phone
If he gets any older he won’t be able to hold a gun straight.

Instead of being located half way around the world, Taken 3 is set in LA, California. You know, where they live. Bryan Mills (Neeson) is still divorced from his wife (Famke Janssen), and still has an awkward relationship with his daughter.

His daughter Kim (Maggie Grace), who is college or high school right now. She definitely lives on her own or with her boyfriend. And she is pregnant. But it is almost her birthday so Bryan wants to surprise her with alcohol. Jokes on you, Bryan!

Anyways, ex-wife is having relationship problems with her husband (Dougray Scott), kind of wants Bryan back, so does Bryan. Next thing he knows, she is dead in his bed and the police are chasing after him for murder!

Something involving Russians (Sam Spruell), deals gone bad, blackmail, and money. No idea. This guy wasn’t in any other Taken movies, so it is even more unrelated than the other two. Also starring Forest Whitaker as a detective to be on the case, and find the “truth”.

Panda
The truth, like why is Bryan Mills smuggling a Panda out of China?

As you all know, I have begun a tirade against Luc Besson, and this movie is no different. Fuck everything he touches. I have never been so angry at a single person’s years of work, but there it is.

This might be the only Besson movie that doesn’t have a lot of events taking place in Europe. Instead we have a guy running around LA, getting chased by cops, destroying public property, killing “bad guys”, and doing a whole lot of crimes, just to clear his name. When he can JUST as easily have not run from the cops, and solved the whole thing much quicker.

We got a terrible plot, with terrible plot twists, and a whole lot LESS action than previous movies. At least before he was killing people who were bad guys doing bad things. Most of this movie is him avoiding the cops and fucking with them.

I think maybe three times he survived some sort of car crash. One time the car went off a cliff and exploded, out of nowhere, it was ridiculous. That is like a bad 80’s action movie. I mentioned confusion as to where his daughter went to school, because everything seemed to imply college, but when we got there it was clearly a fucking high school. Lockers and all.

And then it ends with the stupidest plane / runway scene I have ever seen. Completely ridiculous. More ridiculous than the ten minute runway in Fast Six.

I am glad this came out the first week of January, because films must be all uphill from here.

0 out of 4.

Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 2

Holy shit. There have been 300 movie reviews on my website since I last did a Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn Part 1. I might as well link Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse too, even though they are tagged as Milestone Reviews now. In case you need to catch up, that is! Obviously this review and the others are chock full of spoilers, I am going to say everything. If you care about that shit, don’t read.

That is right, I had to time my movie watching the last month and a half to make sure I got to see Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 at the midnight release, and review it right away for the big 650. This is the only Twilight movie I have seen in theaters, the others I saw alone in the solace of my room, where no one can judge me. But nope. Today was Twilight day, complete with collectors cup.

Proof
Proof, least someone call me out on mendacity.

Since you all automatically care about what I care about when reading my reviews, I can give you the unfortunate news. They have been slowly squeezing Anna Kendrick out of these movies, and I can tell you now she does not have a single scene in the finale. However, in the credits, they do a “whole series” credits, and a scene with her at the wedding from part 1 was shown when they showed her name. That is all. If you need to see Anna Kendrick, march on over to the fabulous movies End Of Watch or Pitch Perfect, you will get a lot of her.

Kristen Hands
“Why aren’t you talking about me? I’m actually in this movie. Do you SEE these hands?”

Bella (Kristen Stewart)! She opened her eyes! Bitch is a vampire now! She was only dead for two days, so it wasn’t entirely weird. However she is super strong now, and craves blood. Like all newbies, she will find that shit insatiable, and if there is a bleeding human nearby she will bleed them dry. So Edward (Robert Pattinson) takes her far from civilization and her kid to hunt a deer.

Too bad she finds a human anyways. And well, on her first try? Totally stops the urge. Oh okay, well, that was one problem dealt with, kind of instantly.

WresltE!
What gave her the even more super strength? Well, fuck you, that’s what.

Anyways, she wants to see her kid damn it. With the entirely ridiculous name of Renesmee. But something is different. In two days she has grown a bit (and looks incredibly CGI fake for some reason. But she doesn’t noticed that). Not to mention Jacob (Taylor Lautner) is STILL hanging around despite the death thing. What the fuck Jacob, go home? Wait Bella, you wanted him around when you were dying, why you so mad?

Oh, because your daughter in fetus form wanted Jacob around? And now that he FUCKING IMPRINTED ON HER, bonding them together forever, he doesn’t want to leave either. DUDE, she is a baby! They make sure we know it doesn’t mean like, sex, but still, what? Come on Jacob. She is like, 3. Three days.

Pedo
“And your next gift is wrapped up in my trousers.”

Turns out Bella is really good at Vampiring. Natural, pretty convenient for the plot movement, I do say. But what about her dad? They have to pretend she died and THEN move again, or else he might stop by and see her. All very sketch, but it has to be done, or else you know, their secret could be let lose.

Well, pouty Jacob face doesn’t like that. So he does what any good godfather (maybe? Let’s say sure, it is less creepy) would do. Give us our gratuitous shirt taking off scene and transform into a (Were)wolf in front of the dad (Billy Burke) to bring him into the fold. Aww, how sweet.

Rawr
I mean, clearly that was the best option. No, he doesn’t explain vampires. Just kind of transforms and tells him to deal with it.

But then there is another problem. Remember that baby? That was formed and birthed in like four weeks? Turns out she is still growing at a fast rate. Really fast. After a few months she looks like she is six. She can also pass on memories to other people that she sees, pretty cool, kind of weird, but hey, we don’t judge shitty powers here. Speaking of shitty powers, Bella gets one too (other than self control over eating humans). She can block mental powers and other powers. Only on her self, and always, but hey, if she tries hard enough she might be able to give it to others.

Either way, while frolicking in the winter time, Irina (Maggie Grace), still upset over the wolves eating her mean lover from that first or second movie, hard to tell, sees the child and immediately thing it is an immortal child. A vampire, bitten at a young age, before they can control their shit, which can cause all the pain in the world. Take down cities in a tantrum. She would know, her mom made her sister an immortal child, and lots of heads were cut off and babies burned as a result. Serious shit. So she tells on them to the Italian vampires, and they don’t like the sound of that!

Fire
The caption two pictures ago was referring to Jacob’s penis.

Well fuck. They are serious, and hate that shit. So they plan on killing the child and those who made it. You know, eventually. The next time it snows or something, because snow fights are sexy.

But that isn’t a problem. They just have to prove that she isn’t immortal, and they will go away. Well, apparently these people are jerks and will find another excuse to kill a vampire once they make up their mind. Oh okay, well the next best solution is for them to travel the world and visit all of that one guys old friends. If they come see the child, see her grow, they will have witnesses that she is alive and growing. Kind of weird, but definitely not an immortal child. Then there can be happiness!

Amazons
Happiness and potential racism.

Sure, it also looks like they have a mini army too, especially with the wolves on their side now (always down to kill the vamps, yo). But they lost some numbers, Alice (Ashley Greene), their future sight person has left and no one knows why. Oh well, if for some reason the Italians still don’t care, they are now willing to fight back. If that shit hits the fan, Jacob will just take Renesmee and run far away forever, and everyone else will die. Peachy!

Well, snow falls, so it is time for a standoff. Literally. They then talk for a long ass time. The main guy (Michael Sheen) can touch people and see their memories. So he does that, and well, seriously, they are all telling the truth. Oh well, so he kills the bitch for lying. Now he is just trying to egg on the good guys. Nothing is working though, and he really wants to kill a kid today. Dang it.

So he gives a speech on why the unknown is bad, because humans have bombs, so they should kill anyways. But wait, Alice returns (and she was only gone for two paragraphs in my retelling!). Now he can look into her memories, to see the future and prove that she won’t later be a threat.

Well. Uhh. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about the truth, he just really wants to kill a kid. So you know what that means.

FIGHT
Fight time, yeahhhhhhhhhhhh!

Heads. Fucking. Roll. This overtly ridiculous fight scene happens, and Jacob runs away with the child. The best way to kill a vampire seems to be beheading and burning, and boy do we see some decapitations. It’s like Oprah was giving them away. You will be shocked at who dies. So many good guys, and bad guys. Remember Dakota Fanning? She was evil or something, didn’t speak much. She got defaced hard.

Hell, the Earth ended up getting ripped open, so we could see the Magma! So many vampires were burning. With the power of teamwork and tossing a girl mid kick, they were able to beat the Italians and behead them all.

Or did they? Seriously. Big spoiler about to happen. Calm your tits and get out of here if you don’t want to know.

None of that happens. Fuck you. It was all part of Alice’s future vision. Well shit, that guy doesn’t want to die. If he can see the future and know he is going to die, certain retreat seems like a good idea, even if he can’t explain why.

Sheen
“LOLOLOL JK GUYS, lets leave. For seriously.”

Yep. Not only that, but Alice found another half immortal person. Luckily enough, he only aged for about 7 years, making him look middle aged, and then he has been immortal ever since. Been alive for 150 years, and isn’t a child. Well that is super convenient. If only Jacob could live forever, because then he’d get to have a lot of weird ass wolfman, half vampire, pedophile like fucking in his future.

Annnd movie. Yes, they didn’t actually solve their biggest problems, just delayed it. But no worries, Alice saw the future. They are good to go.

Daylight
They also fixed the sparkle in the sun thing. Well, they didn’t say that in the movie. But I mean, they aren’t sparkling here in the final scene of the movie. I doubt they’d forget that aspect of the vampires at the last moment. Right? Right?

And there you have it! The twilight franchise is now done, until they reboot it in a few years. Pretty exciting right?

I think I already made this twice as long as my normal big reviews, which is strange, because the stuff in this movie was only half of the book, yet had so much material. My biggest complaints in the first movies was not the bad acting, but the lack of content. I would have ended the first movie like, halfway through book two. Would have made a more logical stopping point, and I think two would have ended at the end of three. Hard to remember anymore. Especially since Eclipse felt like a filler in between them saying “Hey lets get married” and them finally getting married.

But holy fuck, I think I actually found myself interested in the actions of this movie. First off, it was funnier. Jacob provided more humor relief, and not just because of all the pedophile tendencies. The fight scenes were a lot more entertaining and graphic. Even though most of them turned out to be fake in the end, which made me SO FUCKING PISSED OFF.

WHAT, WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT COP OUT? Also not to mention fixing the “Oh no, our daughter is aging super quickly, but no worries, she will stop at the great age and be amazing” part in like 2 seconds at the end. Cookie cutter that ending yo.

Despite that rage. I still overall found it more enjoyable. Maybe I am just a rambling lunatic at this point. But it was nice that they included their romance, with out 40 minutes of wedding and honeymoon awkwardness. Including more werewolf personalities. Making me actually learn more vampire names. Having stereotype characters. I was fine with most of that.

So all in all, I would say that the movie (which I am told matched the book pretty well) was actually a good ending to the series. The problem with the series is that there are still four movies before this one before you find something kind of entertaining enough to pay attention too.

2 out of 4.

Taken 2

Four years ago, when I first saw Taken, it was basically a mind blowing experience. Liam Neeson, being old, but kicking ass. All the ass. So much ass. Like, an absurd amount of dead bodies actually. Holy crap, he took out an entire mafia in France basically. He killed people with his cold heart alone, but just wanted to save his daughter and further awkwardanize their relationship.

But then I heard there would be a sequel, a Taken 2. Okay, fine, I liked the first one. As long as it just didn’t involve his daughter being dumb again, then it might work. Who doesn’t want to see more of Liam Neeson running around destroying everyone?

pew pew
Well if anything, looks like his daughter gets to at least drive a car this time!

Remember all those people he killed? Well turns out, the fathers and brothers and other family members of them are kind of pissed off. Murad Krasniqi (Rade Serbedzija) is the father of the man who Bryan (Neeson) tortured with electricity and killed in the first film. After a large burial in their small Albanian village, they declare vengeance on the man who killed their family members. Just have to find him first.

Speaking of Bryan, well, he is still doing odd jobs and trying to get in with his old family. Turns out his wife (Famke Janssen) is no longer with her second husband. Score! Their daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) is probably 17 now, because she has failed her drivers test twice now. Parallel parking destroys her. Oh and she has a boyfriend.

But sad things happen! Their fancy fall vacation trip to China was canceled, because it was with the ex! Thankfully, Bryan has a job in Istanbul and invites them along to save their vacation! Woo, Istanbul! Land of a thousand lakes. So of course the Albanian’s show up and want to capture him and his whole family, return them to Albania, and kill him on their soil. The rest of the movie involves Bryan trying to protect both his wife and daughter, who are separated, while apparently taking out the last half of the men in that small Albanian village.

How old
Remember. Like 17 or something in this film. Not 29 like the actress.

So how was Neeson as a bad ass now versus four years ago? Well, when I watch Taken, I kind of picture him like Batman. A Batman that kills. He has to use clues and whatever he can to get him to the next part of his journey, closer and closer to finding his daughter before she is unreachable and a sex slave. This time? Well, the bad guys come to him. So the whole thing takes place in Istanbul, which is a huge city yes, but a lot less expansive than the first film. Solving clues? Not really in this film. There is only two moments where he really uses his brain, the first time was awesome, the second time was just off of his memory.

So that is a decline from the first film. What about the action? I’d say that is mostly on par with the first one. Lot of hand to hand fighting, quick shot. Hey even a chase scene too, but this time with Maggie Grace driving the car. The mom character gets to be the mostly helpless captive this time, so there is that difference.

The problem with this movie is that it really doesn’t offer anything new. I went in kind of excited, but I felt like I was given a lot less on my plate compared to my first helping. Similar situations, yet a lot less. The first film did have quite a few “well that is convenient” moments, sure, but this one kind of amplifies that. They actually show zero transition from successfully saving his daughter with the US Embassy but being surrounded by people in guns, to being back on the streets for his wife. Tons of story line that seemed to be ignored, I guess to keep it around 90 minutes.

Taken 2 shouldn’t exist, but it should be followed up with a film called Taken It Easy, where Neeson finally gets to rejoin his family. Without awkwardness.

1 out of 4.

Lockout

I think there is a lot of negative stigma in this country towards prisoners. I mean, if they go to prison, they deserve to be there, is the general rule of thumb. Which is why no one cares about prison rape/violence, and it has become jokes on themselves. But sometimes you get other points of view, like Oz, which dehumanize these practices and make them not a laughing matter.

And it can go completely the other way too. You sometimes get a movie where you are escaping from a future space prison, which has a zero violence record, like Lockout.

Oh no
Oh shit. That space prisoner has a space gun! Quick, call the space police!

Pretty simple story. This is the FUTURE! CIA Agent Snow (Guy Pearce) has been arrested! He apparently murdered another agent who was undercover, who had evidence of a different agent selling secrets about the space program. Well, that makes it look like Snow is guilty. Snow is threatened to be sent to the space prison by Scott Langral (Peter Stormare) head of the secret service. So that happens, while Snow has one of his agent buddies Harry Shaw (Lennie James) go searching for the dead agent’s briefcase that may show him as innocent.

Speaking of the space prison, you are probably wondering how there is no crime or anything. Well, they kind of put them into sleep up there, and get woken up when they are done with the sentence very nice. But reports are that being in stasis might make them crazy, or get dementia. That sucks. Clearly the president’s daughter, Emilie (Maggie Grace), is the best person to send up there to investigate these claims. She wakes up and interviews a prisoner, Hydell (Joseph Gilgun), who as luck would have it is actually crazy! He escapes and releases all the other prisoners, and they also gain the president’s daughter and security team as hostages.

Hydell’s brother Alex (Vincent Regan) ends up taking charge, because he isn’t completely bat shit insane and realizes killing hostages is stupid.

Either way, rescue attempt, escape attempts, maybe everyone is actually a bad guy on this prison, not just the prisoners. Normal stuff to wonder about in a space action movie.

Epitome of kewl
Always time for a smoke break when you are silencing an entire prison.

It really does take a lot more than just basic action to please me. By now, long time readers would realize that. I like action movies if they also have a nice plot or wonderful acting to it. But that is not how most action movies are made. And thus, they are dreadfully skewed on the scale at gorgonreviews.com. But hey, that is why they are my opinion.

I actually thought Guy Pearce did a nice job as a leading action star dude, but everyone else was a let down. And you know, shitty plot, some bad special effects that they didn’t work too hard on, and a pretty predictable-ish plot.

But fuck it, space prison, amirite?

1 out of 4.