Seven Psychopaths, a Violent Comedy

When you have a violent comedy your cast must have the ability to carry out the dialogue with dead pan and tongue-in-cheek precision, with Seven Psychopaths there’s no doubt.  Much like the humor in Inglourious Basterds, In Bruges and most of the Grindhouse films, the script and actors fit the bill.  If you can deal with the bloody scenes and violence in this very funny tale of robbery and mayhem then this film’s made for you. Read more

Argo, a Suspensful Rescue Drama

Based on a true story the suspense filled film Argo involving the rescue of six Americans opens in theaters this weekend.  Set in the background of unrest in Iran during the President Jimmy Carter era, the covert operation was kept secret until the late 1990’s.  The drama based on a book of the same title features a solid script, some fine acting and inspiring directing by Ben Affleck. It’s a reminder of what could happen again if we fail to protect our interests abroad. Read more

The Oranges, a Midlife Love Affair

Working on the premise that a beautiful young woman could fall for a much older man The Oranges offers their story to a purely romantic audience.  Billing the film as a scandal of sex and betrayal, in this day and age where nothing’s impossible this movie fails to surprise.  Even though the acting here does bring some semblance of entertainment, it’s not enough to warrant more than below average fare. Read more

Perks of Being a Wallflower, Creatively Crafted Teen Flick

Films about teens are scarce in 2012 so other than Hunger Games that came out in March the pickings have been thin for that genre.  With the teen movie Perks of Being a Wallflower opening in a very slow month mostly devoted to horror flicks, hopefully it won’t be overlooked as its pretty darn good.   Able to touch a finger to the pulse of what makes teens tick, this film has all the trappings of a possible adolescent box-office coup. Read more

Trouble with the Curve, a Sports Film with Heart

An enjoyable life drama Trouble with the Curve opens in theaters nationwide with a stellar cast playing likeable characters in this modern day sports story.  Drawing on an age old message concerning separated family members the film should hit a home run with those who have been dealing with the problem and need a nudge toward reconciliation. Read more

End of Watch, a Startling Film about Cops Under Fire

Crime dramas seem to be taking over the action entertainment scene as witnessed on both the big screen and television.  End of Watch however, happens to be one of the better ones.  Realistically presented, the movie gets into the nitty-gritty bowels of one of the most notorious crime areas in America, South Central Los Angeles. The film takes a different tack on most crime movies by showing the human side of our men in blue. Read more

Bait 3D…Teeth but not Enough Bite

Australian director Kimble Rendall’s shark action thriller, Bait 3D has all the right ingredients: sincere love story, goofball love story, cute yappy little dog, good bad guy and bad bad guy. All unite in a meat grinder plot when two great whites are washed ashore in an earthquake produced title wave. A wave that half submerges a supermarket. Unbelievable? Face it, we’ve seen worse.

The 3D effects seem perfunctory, but watchable, as is the film, which relies a bit too heavily on stories we’ve seen before. The drama is skeletal and fleeting, combining some novel, albeit predictable, dramatic twists. While Bait doesn’t rise to the level of full blown drama, we’re left hoping it delivers some truly unique “shark bites man” stuff (as in the gory but more suspense-filled Piranha). But here. too we’re left wanting.

When lifeguard Josh (who is too hungover from a binge) lets best friend Rory paddle out to check on a buoy, we just know something bad will happen: Rory gets swallowed by a great white. Too grief stricken, Josh lets his relationship with Tina end with a whimper of guilt.

One year later, Josh, working at the Oceania supermarket, runs into Tina with her new boyfriend Steven (Qi Yuwu). At this point, were introduced to a grab-bag mix of characters who we guess will soon become chum for two great whites eager to snack on some “long pig” at the good old Oceania.

As Bait unfolds, we meet supermarket manager (Adrian Pang) who fires store clerk Ryan (Alex Russell) when his girlfriend Jaime (Phoebe Tonkin) is caught shoplifting. The cop who arrives on the scene is none other Jaime’s fed up dad (Martin Sacks). There’s also Doyle (Julian McMahon) who holds up the supermarket with selfish thug Kirby (Dan Wyllie).

The ensemble characters of chum bait continues in the subterranean parking lot. Here, were introduced to the vacuous duo played by Lincoln Lewis and Cariba Heine, who are trapped in their car.

Things unwind rather predictably at this point as the good guys team up with one of the bad guys (they came to rob Oceania, but that pesky title wave and sharks got in the way) to outsmart the great whites and head for the exit without being eaten.

And therein lies the fun or lack of it. In a laughable tribute to Jaws, Steven is suited up in wire shelving and shopping baskets, which brings to mind Quint’s unforgettable warning, “Cage goes in the water, you go in the water. Shark’s in the water. Our shark. (sings) Farewell and adieu to you, fair Spanish ladies. Farewell and adieu, you ladies of Spain…”

Arbitrage, a New Take on a Familiar Theme

Packed with intrigue and very tense moments, Arbitrage makes its way into movie theaters this weekend. You may have seen similar stories as the Arbitrage script certainly isn’t the most original plot that’s come to the big screen. But, the performances, directing and cinematography make the film a nice piece of entertainment. If you haven’t had your ‘Richard Gere’ fixes lately, bat those sexy eyelashes at your significant other, tell him it’s a suspense thriller and get him to take you out for a dinner and a movie. Read more

For a Good Time, Call…, a Fun Spoof on Phone Sex

Using sexuality in a comedy has stimulated a wave of movie making but has it gone too far?  Using every expletive possible from today’s amoral vocabulary For a Good Time, Call… opens in theaters with an attempt to titillate and shock audiences.  Well it does the latter for sure, but for the most part it’s the ladies who are taking to the film while the men just gawk and chortle as witnessed at a recent screening of the comedy. Is degrading women even though it tongue-in-cheek comedy a good tactic in today’s society?  I guess we’ll just have to wait for the box-office results. Read more