Tag: Catherine Zeta-Jones

Red 2

When it was released, Red received pretty decent reviews from critics but didn’t do amazing at the box office. It made up for it in DVD/Blu-Ray sales though, gaining a small cult following, which is why they green-lit the sequel, surprisingly named Red 2.

The main notable difference between the two is that this one doesn’t have Morgan Freeman. For shame.

Although, as you can see from the picture, it has a lot of John Malkovich being very very John Malkovichy.

The movie begins with Frank (Bruce Willis) and Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) trying to build a home together. Frank is retired (and still extremely dangerous) but he wants to put his past behind him. Too bad Marvin (John Malkovich) comes prancing in, warning him that he thinks someone is trying to kill them.

Well, it turns out there actually are people trying to kill them! Reports have surfaced that they are nuclear terrorists, who are trying to take out Russia. In fact, the CIA are trying to take them in, including their main man Jack Horton (Neal McDonough, who looks like the white Robert Ri’chard), who has hired the world’s best assassin Han Cho Bai (Byung-hun Lee). The MI6 are sending their old friend Victoria (Helen Mirren), and Russia has Frank’s former fling, Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Sarah doesn’t like Katja.

So Frank, Sarah, and Marvin have to work together and find Dr. Bailey (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant war scientist who has been kept in the loony bin for over thirty years. Together, they hope to clear their name, and possibly stop a nuclear bomb from taking out a huge populatio of the world.

I decided to not talk about John Malkovich with my second image.

I don’t think you need to see Red in order to understand Red 2. All you have to know is that Frank and Sarah met in the first film, and everyone else has a huge history with everyone else. If you had to only pick one to watch, go with the original.

Red 2 isn’t bad per say, but it just doesn’t seem to care too much. Sure, it is entertaining, and funny at times, but not a lot happens overall. They are framed fugitives being hunted by the top governments around the world, yet they still have time to walk around Paris and go shopping. It just seemed odd and ruined the flow of the movie for me. The ending chase scene ended up being really predictable as well.

Red 2, just like R.I.P.D. had its enjoyable moments and was entertaining, just not something I would ever recommend to see more than once. I think Red 2 is not really based on the graphic novel like the first movie. Instead it is based on whatever the writer felt like. I usually don’t care how close a movie is to its source material, but I think in this case, they really didn’t know what to do with their characters. Because of that, it just felt like a mess.

John Malkovich is brilliant as always, and a bit more insane than normal. Malkovich is the main reason to see Red 2, and the only real reason.

2 out of 4.

Side Effects

If you saw the trailer for Side Effects, you probably found yourself confused. It tells you practically nothing; something about pills, a doctor/therapist/pharmacist getting in trouble, and maybe someone dying. There really isn’t enough here to convince the average person to check out the film. But what if “mysterious” is what the movie was going for? A trailer for a few weeks many months away, then nothing, and let the lack of any ads drive people in droves to figure it all out.

Yeah. That’s a terrible strategy.

Jude Thinkin
No amount of thinking will make this a good strategy, Jude.

Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) is a lonely woman. She used to suffer pretty hard from depression. Why? Because her husband (Channing Tatum) was sent off to jail for four years for insider trading.

Well he is finally back and they can get their life back on track and everything will be great again! Right?! Wrong! Bam, Emily crashes her car on purpose and sent to the hospital. There she meets Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), who reluctantly lets her back home despite the attempt on her own life, but only if she will come to therapy sessions a few days a week and take some anti-depression pills.

But every pill has its own side effects associated with it, which could lead to irrational behavior and other strange issues. Also featuring Vinessa Shaw as girlfriend of Dr. Banks, and Catherine Zeta-Jones as her former psychiatrist.

Trouble with a capital T
“I just don’t understand doc, what’s wrong with sticking your dick in crazy?”

Hopefully you noticed I still tried to keep the plot description vague, because frankly, it helps. Going in to see this movie, I knew nothing, which is how I prefer to watch films anyways. I am glad the trailer was vague and didn’t give the entire movie away. So I tried to keep the favor for you readers, but give you a bit more detail to hopefully spark some interest. Because, as it turns out, Side Effects is pretty darn good!

Not only is it directed by Steven Soderbergh (Who has given us the Ocean’s Trilogy, The Informant!“, and “Magic Mike“. Okay, one of those doesn’t belong), but it is apparently going to be his last film for awhile. Officially, he is retiring, but I am sure that within a decade he will be back.  The only person to successfully quit the film industry has been Rick Moranis.

Side Effects is more than a simple “Who Dunnit” story by focusing more on the why and the how. Throw in some ethical debates about the role of doctors and medicine, and you might also earn a minor in philosophy by the time the movie is through. While watching the movie, I found myself getting angry in the best way possible. I was mad at the events happening on screen, at the loopholes and the needs for a scapegoat, but most importantly I was mad that it was incredibly realistic. The actual events in the movie I don’t think would ever happen in real life, but the reactions to those events were so spot on, I almost did a little “This is what’s wrong with the country!” rant in my head.

If you want to have some emotion evoked in your movie watching experience, I suggest checking out Side Effects. Give Steven Sonderbergh a reason to come back to film in a few years.

3 out of 4.

Broken City

For my initial impressions of Broken City, I obviously can only look at the trailer. Lot of high energy music, camera flash noises, very exciting. Sexy scandals! Government cover ups! Black mail! Potential boredom!

To be honest, the strange flashing parts near the end of the trailer gave me a bit of a headache. Thankfully, as we all know, trailer music never makes the actual movie. Presumably there wont be awkward shutter noises either.

Here is the most actiony shot of the movie I could find on the internet. Consider it an action epilogue.

Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) has done a bad bad thing. He killed a man, multiple shots. He claims he was defending himself, the other man had a gun. He was just a cop at the wrong place at the right time. The town claims it was cold blooded murder, but they had no real evidence. He was found innocent, but the public outcry was so strong, and new evidence was covered up, so the police chief (Jeffrey Wright) and mayor (Russell Crowe) had to let him go anyways.

Well, seven years later, he is a PI with an office and an assistant (Alona Tal) and a huge debt! Well, the mayor said he would remember his name, and he gives him an offer. $50,000.00 to tail his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones), take pictures of who she is sleeping with, and find out the name of the man. Half now, half later. He also needs it quickly, because the election is a few days away, and the new guy (Barry Pepper) is giving him a lot of crap.

But why would the mayor care so much about the affair this close to an election? There has to be more important things afoot, damn it. Also featuring Kyle Chandler as the campaign manager for the new guy, and Natalie Martinez as the long term girlfriend of Billy.

“Women be cheatinnnnnnnnnnn” – Crowe

Don’t watch the trailer, don’t watch the trailer, don’t watch the trailer? You saw the trailer? Don’t watch the movie. No point.

Turns out the trailer gives a lot of it away, in terms of how the movie is going to end. It is sparse on the actual plot details and many of the characters, but outside of that, the jig is up. When the movie ended, I was mad. Why would they do that, given the trailer?

I am supposed to judge a movie on its own, but I feel like if the trailer gives you too much information, and is plastered everywhere, it should be included if it does something so egregious. I was disgusted and appalled. Heck, after the movie I found myself more confused because the trailer had scenes that were not in the movie. I had to go back and watch it to make sure. They were there, but the context was so out of place, it was pointless.

Yes, I am saying the trailer both gave too much away, and created scenes that just were not true. It can do both.

I didn’t hate the acting from Marky Mark either. Zeta-Jones felt wasted in the movie, Crowe looked weird with that skin tone/hair.

However, a lot of the plot bugged me. The actions of the characters confused me. I don’t think they explained why he was just invited into a murder scene by someone completely random. Why people let him stick around. I had no idea what was happening in the plot, and yet the whole time I felt like I knew the ending. That is a strange way to see a movie.

Confusion is not a substitute for suspense, movie makers.

1 out of 4.

Playing For Keeps

Playing For Keeps is a popular phrase, and it happens to be one of my favorites thanks to “Talladega Nights“. Just yelling “I play for keeps!” at someone in an argument makes it all the more exciting somehow. It might also diffuse the argument completely into laughter. Win win right there.

Gerard Butler, fresh off of his last box office bomb Chasing Mavericks is hoping that he can, you know, make a movie that turns a profit for once in the last five years.

Spoilers: This is an even bigger let down.

George Dwyer (Butler) used to be somebody, he used to be a contender. He was a great soccer star in Europe, but got injured and had to leave the game. Some how during that, he also lost his wife (Jessica Biel) and son Lewis (Noah Lomax), moved to Canada to open up a bar and do real estate. Yeah, that makes sense.

But after some time, he lost it all again, and moved to Virginia to reunite with his son! Too bad “the man” has got him down, he owes a lot of money, and can’t get a job. He wants to be a sports caster, and wants his son to love him. So why not become the local AYSO soccer coach? Why not use your accent to bang half the town while trying to chase after your ex-wife before she gets married to some guy named Matt (James Tupper)?

Speaking of housewives, we have one housewife who is lonely (Judy Greer), a housewife who used to be a sports caster (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a housewife who is being cheated on and rich (Uma Thurman), said rich husband who tries to buy his friendship (Dennis Quaid), and the principal from Glee as the owner of his property (Iqbal Theba)!

Basically everyone in this suburban neighborhood is rich and powerful, yet somehow couldn’t get a decent soccer coach til George. Very strange.

He may have banged everyone in this photo. Maybe. Just saying.

Ugh. Ughhh. I feel like every stereotypical thing that may have happened in a RomCom, happened in this movie, and then some more. Ready for some SPOILERS? Well, surprisingly enough, the two do get back together by the end.

By the end, he also will realize his family is more important than his career, although the job he gets in Virginia can’t ever be as well off as his job at ESPN. Changing his life for the better monetarily will have to wait a bit.

He also is still able to let down his kid, mess up his coaching duties, and let everything blow up before he almost convinces his wife to leave her new fiance. Matt. Matt is a useless character. He is in a lot of scenes, but he barely has any lines, has no personality, and is just a waste of space. They really didn’t want you to pay attention to him at all.

Dennis Quaid’s character looked like he would have a heart attack, the entire movie. An interesting direction to take a character, but it was only annoying.

I am also not sure of the audience for this movie. It is rated PG-13, despite looking a lot like a family movie. Why the high rating? Because of Uma Thurman clad in lingerie in his bed, and the other sex scenes involving Judy Greer and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Nothing too graphic, but they do exist.

Playing For Keeps is a formulaic movie that also tries to include things that would appeal to many different groups, which in turn just makes it work for no one.

1 out of 4.

Rock Of Ages

Rock Of Ages is probably going to be another biased review. I’ve had the soundtrack for the musical for probably a couple years now. Wanted to see it since I first heard about it and love the soundtrack. Lots of mixes between songs, and interesting ways to do them. So when I heard about the movie version, I knew I had to see it as well.

So finally, months later, I got a chance to, hooray! Time to rawwwk!

I said rawk, damn it. Not stand their and look solemn.

This story is mainly about a small town girl and a city boy. Drew Boley (Diego Boneta) is working as a bar aid at the famous The Bourbon, a concert hall / bar in LA. A city some may say was built on rock and roll. Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) had just arrived from Oklahoma and looking to be a famous singer! She of course gets mugged right away, and Drew kind of saves her. But not really. They immediately hit it off, and Drew gets her a job as a waitress at the Bourbon, despite the owner, Dennis Dupree’s (Alec Baldwin), negative reaction to it. But thankfully Lonny (Russel Brand), the second in command and MC seems pretty cool with it all.

A new mayor is getting elected in LA, Mike Whitmore (Bryan Cranston) who’s wife, Patricia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is going to help clean up the streets. Using good christian values, and the best way to do that is to get rid of rock and roll! The center of it all, The Bourbon. Who also happen to be having tax problems.

But no worries, Arsenal, the kickest ass band ever, who played their first gig at The Bourbon is coming the next night to play their final gig, before frontman Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) starts his solo career. Big money time! And Drew is going to get to open for them! Oh man! Everything is going wonderful!

Until it doesn’t. Sexy stuff happens, miss-communications, Stacee is a crazy ass person, and love dies. The dream dies. The Christians win? With Malin Akerman as Rolling Stones reporter trying to find the real Stacee Jaxx, Mary J. Blige as a strip club owner, Paul Giamatti as scumbag manager, and Will Forte as local news reporter, will they eventually be able to save The Bourbon from being demolished? Will they ever stop believing?

dance dance
Will they actually hit them with their best shot?

It should be noted that this musical, although the characters don’t know they are in a musical (like some of them do in Broadway) definitely makes fun of itself, and isn’t going for a serious thing. They just want nothing but a good time. And I belive they definitely deliver. The music is fun and catchy, lots of great songs and mash ups, and yet it is incredibly different from the broadway version.

I’m not negatively comparing, just noting, they have entirely different plots, and only the same main main characters. This lead to awesome moments, like the church dance scene for Hit Me With Your Best shot. Unfortuantely that was my second favorite song on the original soundtrack, as it had a german guy singing it, and it sounded amazing. Similarly, my favorite song was a mash up of Heaven / More Than Words / To Be With You, but in the movie they took out the Mr. Big parts, so no mash ups were ever 3+ songs.

They also in general had to cut out a lot of songs, and added new one ins, but kept some of the jokes. I mean, making the girl named Sherrie still, but cutting out Oh Sherrie? That’s just cruel.

But besides that, the movie felt pretty awesome. Some problems include Sherrie doing pretty much the same thing in every song it felt like (walking down the street belting lyrics. every damn time) and once they introduce Mary J. Blige she was also pretty much a part of every song after that, despite barely making sense.

But hey. The REO Speedwagon duet between Baldwin and Brand is reason alone to see this musical.

3 out of 4.