Sunday, April 06, 2014

What I Watched in March

I saw a wide variety of movies last month but the one trip to the theater was hardly worth the cash. Showing just how out of touch with a certain subset of the entertainment world I really am, I was unaware that NEED FOR SPEED (2014) was based on a video game. If I had known this I would never have agreed to spend money to see it, but we learn and we grow, huh? Still, I was interested to see Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul on the big screen. It might have been worth the trip out to determine if he has a chance at moving from small screen to large so I'm not going to claim too much of a wound. I find Paul to be an engaging and extremely talented actor and I'm glad to be able to report that he is very good in this film. He is able to breathe some visible emotion into a character written as thinly as you would expect from a game adaptation. He does his best with the material but there is only so much you can do with this lifeless. The only other real plus the film has is something you would also expect from its source - very well shot car crashes. Well- I'm sure that there are some people actually interested in car races - which the film has to spare- but its the crashes that are worth seeing even if the rest of the movie is by turns predictable, stupid and thin to the point of emaciation. NEED FOR SPEED is worth seeing if you can fast forward through the dull, pointless stretches and just get to the car footage.

And what the Hell is Michael Keaton doing in this movie? He plays a character that never interacts with anyone else and mostly just stares into the camera pontificating about the Zen of Racing. He speaks convincingly whatever words he has to say but its all gibberish and comes off as a cinematic afterthought. It's as if they thought they needed a narrator but realized paying Keaton for a day's work would seem more impressive and less of a storytelling cheat. You know the film is confused about his character when we are told up front that on one knows what he looks like but we then see that he broadcasts an internet video show almost every day. How can no one know what he looks like? As I said- the film is pretty damned stupid.

HIT MAN (1972)- 6 (it has a certain lack of forward momentum but overall its a pretty good action film)
EYEBALL (1975)- 8 (rewatch)
REVENGE OF THE NINJA (1983)- 3 (rewatch) (terrible, but entertainingly bad)
THE BEAST OF HOLLOW MOUNTAIN (1956) - 6 (rewatch)
LUST FOR A VAMPIRE (1971)- 6 (rewatch) 
47 RONIN (2013)- 7 (well done fantasy)
JOHNNY COOL (1963)- 6 (good but not great crime tale)
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1967)- 10 (rewatch)
CURUCU -BEAST OF THE AMAZON (1956)- 3 (not very good monster tale)
ACT OF VENGEANCE (1974)- 7 (interesting rape revenge film)  
NEED FOR SPEED (2014)- 4 (pretty silly and dumb revenge/carsploitation film- not boring but very paint by numbers)
THE INITIATION (1984)- 6 (well done slasher)
FRIGHT NIGHT 2 (2013)- 3 (not a sequel but a second remake of the original -colorful and pretty but dumb)
TRANCE (2013)- 9 (excellent mystery thriller)
THE BISHOP MURDER CASE (1930)- 6 (pretty good Philo Vance mystery)
ALL-STAR SUPERMAN (2011)- 9 (excellent animated film)

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