Tag: movie reviews (Page 1 of 6)

Movie Review: “Babylon” (2022)

Margot Robbie stars in Babylon 2022

You have to give Damien Chazelle credit for trying. “Babylon” was an ambitious project. But despite all of the big stars, wild scenes and stunning visuals, the film is a disappointing mess. All of the brilliant cinematography doesn’t count for much when the audience can’t connect with the characters or the story. The 3-hour run time makes these flaws even more annoying. I couldn’t wait for the movie to end.

The film generated a lot of buzz around the opening party scene that features stunning shot of the beautiful and charismatic Margot Robbie dancing up a storm. Robbie draws you in and you can’t take your eyes off of her. She executes her elaborate dance moves in her spectacular red dress in the middle of what can only be described as managed chaos. It’s the best scene of the film and it goes on for quite a while, yet even this scene falls flat. All of the moves are overly choreographed and stylized. There are various couple engaging in sex in the middle of all the frenzied dancing, but none of it is remotely natural or believable. Rather, it comes across as awkward as opposed to erotic, reminding me of robotic orgy scenes in “Eyes Wide Shut.” Everyone is supposed to be having fun, but they just seem like they’re pretending.

Things slow down a bit with the rest of the film, which sadly does little to make anyone become more interested in the characters. The stories revolve around several stars of Hollywood’s silent film era and the excesses of those times. But many of these scenes do little to advance the story, but rather give Chazelle an excuse to create elaborate, cinematic scenes showing how these films were made. The scenes look great, but most are tedious and boring. You always feel like you’re watching a stylized movie . . . the film never grabs you and makes you feel like you’re there. It just feels like a bizarre series of sketches with little purpose.

A lot of acting talent is wasted here. Brad Pitt has proven his acting chomps again and again, but here he seems robotic as he recites his poorly written lines. There’s little that’s believable about his character or his performance. His character is a silent film star, living the life of a rich and adored celebrity, who then struggles with the emergence of talkies. But the audience isn’t given a chance to becomes emotionally invested in his plight.

Margot Robbie does her best with her part, but she’s asked to deliver an over-the-top performance. She delivers, but there’s little to like about her character beyond her stunning appearance. Tobey Maguire gives a creepy and memorable performance as he guides us through an underground party with disturbing visuals that we’d prefer to forget.

The ending is the film is supposed to make the audience feel nostalgic about the silent film era in Hollywood through the eyes of the lead character Manny (Diego Calva). But flashbacks to characters in their glory days don’t land as well if the audience doesn’t care about those characters.

Sadly, it’s not surprising that this film bombed at the box office. It’s difficult to imagine how a director who delivered the brilliant “Whiplash” could also create this self-indulgent disaster, but even the best creative minds have their misses. Don’t waste your time on this one.

1.5/5 Stars

A Christmas movie . . . already?

John Cho (L) and Kal Penn, cast members in the motion picture comedy “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas”, attend the premiere of the film at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on November 2, 2011. UPI/Jim Ruymen

I’m not complaining, as we see John Cho and Kal Penn attend the premiere of “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas” at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. But isn’t this a little early?

The movie should be fun as it has a good rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Jason Zingale agrees:

Following the disappointment of “Harold & Kumar Go to Guantanamo Bay,” not to mention co-star Kal Penn’s surprising decision to accept a job at the White House, the likelihood that fans would ever see another Harold & Kumar adventure again seemed pretty slim back in 2008. And yet here we are, three years later, discussing the newest film in the ongoing stoner buddy franchise. But while my expectations were relatively low going into “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,” it’s actually a big improvement over the last sequel, hewing much closer to the spirit of the original film by refusing to take itself too seriously while still maintaining a certain level of tact that was sorely missing from the disastrous second installment.

I didn’t mind the second installment, but only because the characters are always fun. If the movie is better this time, this should be a crowd-pleaser.

Mixed reviews for “Anonymous”

The reviews are pretty mixed for “Anonymous,” the new drama that tells a story of how Shakespeare wasn’t the guy writing all those plays you had to read in high school. The critics on Rotten Tomatoes only give it a 43% positive rating as of today, though the readers liked it more.

Bullz-Eye’s David Medsker liked it and gave it 3 stars out of 5:

On the surface, “Anonymous” appears to be a radical departure for director Roland Emmerich, who has made his bones destroying the world by way of natural disaster and alien invasion. Look closer, though, and you’ll see that “Anonymous” boasts many of the same qualities of his action-driven work. It’s bombastic, needlessly complex, and about as historically accurate as “2012” or “The Day After Tomorrow” are scientifically accurate (which is to say, not very). As a work of historical fiction, though, it’s quite entertaining, and Emmerich coaxes some remarkable performances from his cast. It’s all a bit ridiculous, yes, but one should never let facts get in the way of a good story.

It looks like something worth checking out.

My Best Friend’s Girl

It’s hard to blame Dane Cook for making the most of his 15 minutes of fame – and boy did he, since it lasted more like five years – but one look at his IMDb profile will confirm that it’s finally over. This will likely please movie critics who hold the comic responsible for starring in some of the worst films of the last few years, because his latest rom-com, “My Best Friend’s Girl,” isn’t much better. The fledgling comic stars as Tank, a sort of anti-boyfriend who gets paid to take women on dates so terrible that they immediately run back to their former boyfriends. When Tank’s best friend Dustin (Jason Biggs) hires him to do the same thing with his new lady (Kate Hudson), however, Tank discovers that he actually has feelings for her. What follows is a series of events straight out of the Romantic Comedy Bible, and while the movie isn’t very funny, it’s never so bad that it’s unwatchable. I’m still not entirely sure what Alec Baldwin is doing in a movie like this (Dane Cook and Jason Biggs’ involvement makes sense, and even Kate Hudson has had some questionable taste in scripts lately), but at least he limits his time on screen to a handful of scenes. Bonus points to writer Jordan Cahan for coming up with the idea of a Bible-themed pizza joint named Cheesus Chrust. Now, if only someone actually had the balls to open one up.

Click to buy “My Best Friend’s Girl”

Resident Evil: Degeneration

Considering the downgrade in quality that the “Resident Evil” film franchise has experienced with each successive installment, it isn’t entirely surprising that the latest movie based on the popular survival horror game has been given the direct-to-DVD treatment. Granted, “Resident Evil: Degeneration” isn’t associated with the live-action films, so it’s probably better not to compare the two. For starters, this “Resident Evil” adventure could very well be considered official canon, as it reunites series favorites Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield to fight back against a terrorist-controlled zombie attack at the Harvardville Airport. When the leader of the terrorist group injects himself with the unstable G-Virus, however, a new monster is unleashed that must be stopped before the infection spreads any more. Filmed entirely in CG with the same methods used for “Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within,” “Resident Evil: Degeneration” looks like one, long video game cutscene – which is fitting, since it’s intended more for fans of the game than the movies. Those same fans will no doubt love “Degeneration” for the same reason they love the games, but while watching Leon and Claire blast through waves of zombies is a nice distraction until the release of “Resident Evil 5,” it’s still not as fun as doing it yourself.

Click to buy “Resident Evil: Degeneration”

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