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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Jason Bourne

Worst tommy lee jones movies
Bourne to run.

Nine years after The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), director Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon are reunited with hopes of saving us from a dull summer at the movies. That last film successfully resolved Jason Bourne's identity crisis and sent him off the grid.

Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) and Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) pull Bourne (Matt Damon) back on, ten years later, only to discover that he's still wrestling similar childhood issues and mightily regretting his career choice. All I can think about is how many people keep dying over this one-dimensional guy's ongoing identity crisis.

Most of them die in fast, blurry action sequences, a Greengrass hallmark that is used here to make the audience feel like something exciting is happening. Some of them die under the leadership of Tommy Lee Jones' character who does add genuine excitement to some of the many chase scenes. Those scenes almost made this flick worth ten bucks, but this sequel needed a smarter story to root for.

Simply put: The Bourne Ultimatum closed out the series' arc so well that there's not much story left to tell.

Award potential: It's in the running for the film with the most running, but that's it. 

The ten buck review: Not worth ten bucks.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Star Trek Beyond

Boldly going nowhere.

Director Justin Lin (The Fast and Furious series) takes command from J.J. Abrams on this third Star Trek requel and the result is — slow and calm. 

The slow-pace of the film and smaller scale of Star Trek Beyond will likely thrill fans of the low budget, character-driven 60’s TV show. That format plays well for fans to enjoy some amusing interplay among the core characters. After all, the new cast is a stellar one.

What is missing, however, is a strong idea or those existential universe discussions that have elevated many of the past Star Trek movies and shows. The characters are fun to watch but they don’t have much to do other than to chase Krall (Idris Elba) who will do anything to get his hands on a legendary death machine that turns out to be a little dial that you can throw at something to make it blow up. Ugh. Beyond stupid.

Simply put: It’s an enjoyable outer space sitcom with a rocking new scene stolen from the Guardians of the Galaxy playbook, but they didn’t go above and beyond. There’s not much else to think about after you leave the theater.

Award potential: Unlikely, although Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup are always a possibility during Oscar season. A new character who is part Gwen Stefani/part Melanie Griffith/part Laura Croft, Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), should be awarded a role in the next film.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks, to enjoy those classic characters in a summer when no sequels have done much better.

Sunday, July 17, 2016


Something weird, and it don't look good.

Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are a dream team for a  Ghostbusters requel; these four top SNL comics are at a similar point in their careers as the original cast was in 1984, and a female team should have minimized comparisons.

These gals have great onscreen chemistry, but somehow they and director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) can't seem to scare up a good time. 

The format of all three Ghostbusters movies (washed up scientists capture a ghost, earn redemption, get arrested by government officials, have the tables turned when a friend is possessed, see a ghost hole open, get attacked by a huge puffy cartoon character, shoot things at it and save NYC) may be at fault. It leaves very little freedom for the characters to make us laugh, especially Wiig who's stuck as the straight man. Luckily for the audience, they break format a few times and those moments provide some chuckles, so this is not condescending or insultingly bad like SIsters or Baby Mama.

I should add that the director has no idea what to do with the male characters either: a potential villain that never comes to fruition, Andy Garcia's unmemorable politician, three snoozy cameos from the original cast and Chris Helmsworth, who obviously had a major comic scene cut from the film (and added to the credit roll). Since the whole film is disoriented anyway, they should have kept it. I'm pretty certain the ladies I saw the film with would have paid ten bucks just for the Helmsworth dance scenes in the credit. Instead, we get the scene where something gets big and they blow it up into a hole in the universe. Ugh, we have DC movies for that, folks.

Simply put: A movie with this cast fighting the paranormal in a much-loved franchise should have worked, but Wiig was three times funnier (as Bachelorette JoJo) on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last Thursday. 

Award potential: Not even a Best Motion Picture Comedy Globe. As far as being awarded a sequel? There's a (spoiler alert) teaser for Zuul to return at the end, but don't hold your breath. I"m not expecting an afterlife for this franchise. 

The ten buck review: Not worth ten bucks.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Everybody Wants Some

Dazed and confused sequel 80s films

2016 is shaping up to be an awesome year for 1980s movies. With Sing Street and this unofficial sequel to Dazed and Confused, filmmakers are letting the good times roll on film — and it’s contagious.

Director Richard Linklater (Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise, Boyhood) is never one to tell a story with a plot, but it never seems to matter with his masterpieces as conversations drive the story. That’s also true with this comedy about a college baseball team during that playful purgatory time between arriving at college and classes starting.

The year is 1980 and that fact is obvious in every electric scene. Blake Jenner (Glee), Tyler Hoechin, Wyatt Russell, Ryan Guzman, Zoey Dutch, Will Brittain and Glen Powell star, and it’s a charismatic ensemble. Dazed introduced Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey and  Ben Affleck to the world. I expect we’ll see more from the cast of this one too.

Simply put: Aimless and awesome — just like all the fun parts of college.

Award potential: Unlikely to be remembered in awards season; it’s no Boyhood in scope or difficutly. However, I expect we’ll see these young actors in future award-caliber films.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks.  

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sing Street

Simply irresistible

This much is true: writer-director John Carney (Once, Begin Again) knows how to tell an endearing story through music. And when he goes back to the eighties, the result is totally awesome.

Sing Street is a let’s-start-a-band film set in 1985 Dublin, the decade of Duran Duran, Hall and Oates, Spandau Ballet and the Cure. The premise is simple: teenager Conor (Ferdia Walsh Peeolo) and some wild boys from the Synge Street neighborhood start a band to get a girl’s attention and stir up the neighborhood in the process.

Carney has crafted a feel good film that utilizes the notorious new wave era and the power of music to spin an unforgettable coming-of-age tale where a kid makes his dreams come true. It’s one of the best ten bucks you’ll spend this year.

Simply put: Just like heaven. Sing Street hits all the right notes.

Award potential: Drive It Like You Stole It could easily become the third consecutive song from a Carney movie to be nominated for an Oscar.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks.   

Monday, July 4, 2016

Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates

Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates why do all 2016 movies suck any good movies summer 2016
Shock and awe-ful.

Something About Mary (1998) shocked us into laugher in 1998 and was followed by a new wave of comedy: American Pie (1999), Wedding Crashers (2005), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), The Hangover (2009), Ted (2012) and more. Today, it feels like every other month there is a movie that wants to be the next comedy to out-gross or out-shock us. But watching these films fail for two hours is such a waste of moviegoer time. This week we have Mike and Ted Need Wedding Dates, and it is shock and awe-ful.

I wasn't counting on this to be the comedy of the decade, but with Adam DeVine, Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza in the troop, playing attendees at a Hawaiian wedding, I thought we might have the next Forgetting Sarah Marshall to enjoy this summer. My best guess as to why none of this worked is that we've seen SO many similar films now and our social feeds are filled with primo comedy bites every day that this formula needs to be buried. 

Making the film even more sufferable is the stiff Zac Efron as lead. I don't know why this guy is cast in so many comic roles without being able to sell a single comic scene. 

The end credits of this film, with outtakes from Adam DeVine, give me hope that Devine's big moment in film could still come. I wish Mike and Dave had a hint of what I saw there.

Simply put: Mike and Ted need something funny to do more than they need wedding dates.

Award potential: None.

The ten buck review: Not worth ten bucks.