Bonnie & Clyde Hatchet job at Wolf Creek 2 3

Bonnie & Clyde, Hatchet III, and Wolf Creek 2 are currently available on instant Netflix

Bonnie & Clyde

 

Bonnie & Clyde (2013) – Rated TV-14

A convicted armed robber sweeps a small-town waitress off her feet, and the two embark on one of the most infamous bank-robbing sprees in history.

I recently revisited the 1967 classic, Bonnie and Clyde. The violence was still well done but the acting has not held up. Many of the performances came across as stiff and stilted. Also, at almost a half century old, it seemed like a good time to retell the story.

One of History Channel’s more recent endeavors, Hatfield’s & McCoys, was quite good. I love Depression era crime stories so I had high hopes for Bonnie & Clyde. Those hopes were dashed within minutes.

I’m used to historical revisionism in biographical movies. As long as it isn’t too egregious, I can still enjoy the film. Unfortunately the historical accuracy of this new Bonnie & Clyde is on a par with that of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Clyde is a psychic. Seriously, they made him a psychic. The visions are rather Cassandra-like in that they do him no good whatsoever but nevertheless he glimpses some uncannily accurate portions of the future. They even posit that Clyde knew he was driving into a trap. Worse, that he basically set this up himself.

I would continue but honestly the history here is revoltingly bad. The only leg up this has over the 1967 film is that lip service is paid to some of Bonnie & Clyde’s historical accomplices, Henry Methvin and Ray Hamilton.

Wolf Creek 2

 

Wolf Creek 2 (2013) – Rated R

A couple’s dream vacation turns into a nightmare when they run into a bloodthirsty serial killer with a penchant for sadistic games.”

This seems a rather pointless review. If you liked Wolf Creek’s bleak portrait of Australia’s gorgeous landscape and its nihilistic, xenophobic, and altogether human killer, Mick Taylor (John Jarrett) then you’ll enjoy Wolf Creek 2.

The violence is quite brutal but still seems toned down a bit from the first movie. The character of Mick Taylor is front and center for the majority of the film, much more so than in Wolf Creek.

Hatchet III

 

Hatchet III (2013) – Rated R

Picking up where Hatchet II left off, Marybeth continues her quest to avenge her family’s death at the hands of “Bayou Butcher” Victor Crowley.

For those of you who like your slashers supernatural and played for laughs, Hatchet III will be more your speed. Obviously a killer that can survive a point blank shotgun blast to the face (with accompanying cranial destruction) in the first few minutes is not human.

Dialogue appears to be completely of the improv variety. Blood and gore spray in a fashion I haven’t seen since Shogun Assassin or perhaps Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Hatchet III is by no means a good film (in fact it is deeply stupid) but can be an enjoyable gorefest for those of you who don’t discriminate.

Besides, it is nice to see genre vets Danielle Harris, Sid Haig, Derek Mears, Kane Hodder, and even Zach (Gremlins) Galligan still employed.

Roger Ebert’s Top Picks on Netflix

Life Itself

As part of an article on the Roger Ebert documentary, Life Itself, Entertainment Weekly published a list of Ebert’s top movie for each year from 1967 through 2012. Here are the seven from that list streaming on Netflix:

Five Easy Pieces (1970) – Rated R

“A promising concert pianist chucks it all to work on an oil rig but returns home to face the family he left behind when he learns his father is ill.”

Three Women (1977) – Rated PG

Co-workers Pinky and Millie find their unusual friendship turns strangely eerie when they become roommates and begin to change in unexpected ways.

An Unmarried Woman (1978) – Rated R

Jill Clayburgh received an Oscar nod for her poignant portrayal of a woman dealing with the dissolution of her marriage in this groundbreaking drama.”

Apocalypse Now (1979) – Rated R

During the Vietnam War, Capt. Willard is sent to Cambodia on a top-secret mission to terminate Col. Kurtz, who’s gone completely insane.

Sophie’s Choice (1982) – Rated R

Stingo shares a Brooklyn boarding house with Polish émigré Sophie and her mercurial lover, a union unsettled by violent behavior.”

Hoop Dreams

Hoop Dreams (1994) – Rated PG-13

Two of Chicago’s top high school basketball prospects face pressure on and off the court in this iconic documentary about sports, family and race.

Fargo

Fargo (1996) – Rated R

When a car dealer conspires with dim-bulb criminals to kidnap his wife for a hefty ransom, a folksy — and pregnant — police chief is on the case.”

 

New Netflix Streaming Releases for the Week of 7/15/14

Mostly documentaries but there are a few other choices

Homefront

Action/Adventure: Homefront, Sleeping Beauty, The Power of Few

Alan Partridge

Comedy: Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, Hitch

Documentary: 7/7 One Day in London, Easter Island: Mysteries of a Lost World, I Am Divine, Insane Fight Club, Judith Kerr: Hitler The Tiger and Me, Sharks of the Mediterranean, The Truth About Webcam Girls, Walking Wounded: Return to the Frontline, Wikileaks: War Lies and Videotape, Maidentrip, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, The Secret

Drama: Woman’s Lake, The Immigrant, The Master, The Saratov Approach

Foreign: Free Fall, A Map for a Talk, Special ID

Television: Crime Secrets of…, Dead Famous DNA, Fighting on the Frontline, Frisky Business and new episodes of Max Steel and Hemlock Grove

Out of the Furnace

Thriller: Out of the Furnace, 13 Sins

Subway, Science Fiction, & Sharknado 2

Subway

 

I was sitting in Subway the other day and noticed that they are now shilling for Syfy. Advertised on my table indicated that in Sharknado 2, Shark Happens! This seems an odd fit for Subway.

Galaxy of Fresh

 

They are also running a Galaxy of Fresh campaign. Purchase a large drink and enter the code for a chance to win subs and movie tickets (presumably Guardians of the Galaxy). The website states that entering five codes will get you a movie ticket and you get one code just for giving your information. No purchase is necessary blah blah blah

Oldboy is Almost Human

Almost Human, Oldboy (2013), Oldboy (2003), Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, and Lady Vengeance are all currently available on instant Netflix

Oldboy

 

Oldboy (2013) – Rated R

After being unaccountably held captive for years, Joe Doucett is suddenly released. Now, his only mission is to hunt down and punish his captors.”

One Line Review: Watch the original, not this lame remake

Wow, what a misfire. What went wrong?

Oldboy stars Josh Brolin. Brolin was nominated for an Oscar for his role as the angry Dan White in Milk. He was great playing an everyman in over his head in No Country for Old Men, albeit overshadowed by Javier Bardem. He did an uncanny impersonation of Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black 3. Obviously, Brolin is an actor with a lot of talent and able to handle a variety of characters. Why is he so terrible in the first twenty minutes of this film?

Oldboy is directed by twice Oscar-nominated Spike Lee. Clearly, he can direct but in Oldboy, the direction is very by-the-numbers. There is plenty of graphic violence as well as a rape and a threatened rape. Some of this violence is quite comical though I am not sure that it was meant to be. The ending would have been great had the film built in power. Instead the ending is botched.

The original Oldboy is much better. If you don’t mind subtitles then you should go watch that. It is the middle part of Chan-wook Park’s Vengeance Trilogy though only the themes are related. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) is the starter and Lady Vengeance (2005) finishes up the trilogy. All are currently available on instant Netflix.

It is not that Lee’s Oldboy is bad, merely pointless. It says nothing new and everywhere it deviates from the original is a misstep. Elizabeth Olsen is just fine but Samuel L. Jackson is clearly collecting a paycheck (the golfing in the area must have been good) and Sharlto Copley overacts terribly.

Almost Human

Almost Human (2013) – Not rated

Two years after disappearing in a blinding flash of blue light, a young lumberjack returns to rural Maine and embarks on a murderous rampage.”

Almost Human borrows liberally from a large number of science fiction movies but boils down to “what if we filmed x as if it were an 80s slasher movie”. The x I will leave as a bit of a surprise though it is quickly obvious.

There is plenty wrong with Almost Human but for a low-budget film (with a larger advertising budget), it is entertaining. All of the many gore effects are practical, resulting in several nice setpieces. The acting ranges from okay to not so okay but if you want a low-budget horror movie, Almost Human is worth a look.

 

Transformers – More Misogyny Than Meets the Eye

Transformers: Age of Extinction

 

The other day I covered the stupidity that is Transformers: Age of Extinction. Today I want to touch on the misogyny found in the film. In the first two films, Michael Bay made Megan Fox as much of an object as the Transformers themselves. After a famous public argument, Fox was replaced by model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley for the third installment.

In Age of Extinction, our Fox-like replacement is Nicola Peltz who plays Cade’s daughter Tessa. In spite of Cade constantly watching her, she not only has a secret boyfriend but has also become a rally racer/navigator. She is constantly in high heels and wedges even though it is evident watching her that she doesn’t know how to walk in them. Her characters is treated like an old-fashioned damsel in distress. She screams, cries, falls, repeat ad nauseum and oh how the nauseum is added.

While my main complaint about Age of Extinction is the aggressive stupidity involved, the blatant misogyny runs a close second. Apparently what Bay learned from the first film was that the camera should linger on the female form. Normally I’m all in favor of this. I am a guy who loves the female form.

The problem here is that Mark Wahlberg is dressed oh let’s say ‘country normal’ while Nicola Peltz is dressed in skintight jeans. Stanley Tucci plays a tech billionaire, Joshua Joyce. He is dressed in a suit and is greeted at his car by three female assistants who are perhaps dressed more suitably for after hours nightclubbing. We encounter a high level Chinese executive, also obviously a ‘hottie’ and, naturally, trained in the martial arts.

We also have a hot blonde scientist played by Sophia Myles. Naturally she is tops in her field – geology? really? She visits a site in the arctic where you can guess what they have uncovered. It is clear that Bay must just have a checklist of ‘cool’ jobs that he works from. Her character is completely undeveloped even though she is present for many scenes. Her specialty seems to have quite a range. I can only guess that her character is planned for future installments.

I think every single woman in the movie is likely to evoke prurient interest and definitely not be taken seriously. It actually provoked some laughter from me when we were on the sixth or seventh woman to be treated this way. Of course none of the female characters talk to each other in the movie and all are subordinate to the male characters in position, speech, and character.

Oh well. I suppose this film was not aimed at women or people of discernment anyway.

Transformers – Please Let This Be Age of Extinction

Well I went to see the latest Transformers movie the other week…

Transformers: Age of Extinction

 

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) – Rated PG-13

A mechanic and his family join the Autobots as they are targeted by a bounty hunter from another world.”

One Line Review: Blatantly moronic and somewhat offensive, should definitely go extinct.

I am so confused. I have rarely seen a more blog-provoking film than Transformers: Age of Extinction. I could write an entire week’s worth of blogs on this one movie BUT, in order to do that, I would have to sit through this awful mess once or twice more to get all the salient points down. I am a glutton for punishment but I have to draw the line somewhere.

It is hard to believe that this is the fourth of these monstrosities in seven years. Harder still is that there are two more already set. I enjoyed the trashiness of the first film in a Mortal Kombat kind of way but it had pretty much exhausted the premise by the end of the first film. I saw the next two films but found them to be even more brain dead than the initial feature.

Age of Extinction marks the start of a new trilogy. Jettisoned is the fetishization of Megan Fox, the not famous Shia LaBeouf, the unbearably bad comedy stylings of the otherwise reliable John Turturro (go watch Miller’s Crossing to see him in a good role), and the entire Witwicky saga.

Mark Wahlberg is Cade Yeager, a robotics tinkerer, mechanic, and inventor whose farm is being foreclosed on. While I like Wahlberg, his character is the least convincing scientist/engineer/mechanic since Denise Richards played Dr. Christmas Jones in The World is Not Enough. Director Michael Bay and writer Ehren Kruger try to simultaneously portray him as brilliant (he knows every piece of equipment and how to use it, from old cinema pieces to modern weaponry) and yet goofy (his inventions don’t work, he maintains a perfect physique while not remembering to eat).

I’ll refrain from commenting on the various female characters as the rampant misogyny in this film definitely deserves its own post. At any rate, while there are half a dozen or so female characters, none of them really rate.

Stanley Tucci plays tech billionaire Joshua Joyce, an odd mix of comic relief and Basil Exposition. His is the only complex character in the film. This is clearly Kelsey Grammer’s summer. He is the human villain here, appeared in Think Like a Man Too, and also cameos as Beast in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Next month, he appears as one of The Expendables 3.

Early in the film, there is a scene set in an abandoned, dilapidated movie theater. This scene is ridiculously awkward. I think it is Bay or Kruger’s ode to cinema a la Scorsese’s Hugo or The Artist but it just comes across as sad. Apparently, in addition to the vintage movie equipment, the theater contains a football (?) and the remains of a tractor trailer cab. Clunky, ham-fisted? You betcha. Effective? Not in the least.

The biggest laugh was the worst product placement I have seen since Mystic River’s blocked and faced home pantry. We have some vehicular mayhem during which a lot of Bud Light aluminum is prominently jettisoned on to the road. While I did laugh at that, mere moments later Cade (Wahlberg) actually picks one up, properly facing the label to the camera, and drinks it. Why the obviously shook up carbonated beverage didn’t explode in his face is a question for you, dear reader.

For the twelve-year-old boys: Yes, this movie is LOUD and BLOWS STUFF UP real good. The Dinobots featured in the previews don’t show up until near the end of the movie.

For the rest of you: The movie is interminably long – about two hours and forty minutes but is so LOUD that you will not be able to nap through it. You have been warned.

Transformers cup

Oh well at least I got another of those nice plastic cups for the movie room.

 

New Netflix Streaming Releases for the Week of 7/8/14

Slim pickings but here you go:

Black Rock

Action/Adventure: Black Rock

Anime: Knights of Sidonia

Genius on Hold

Documentary: Genius on Hold

Drama: Bottled Up, No God No Master, The Believer, Missing William, Renoir

Family: Becassine: The Wackiest Nanny Ever

Generation War

Foreign: Generation War

Television: Myth Hunters and Nova: Manhunt – Boston Bombers

Thriller: Alone with Her

AMC Shows for Support & Planet of the Apes Double Feature

AMC

AMC theaters has introduced a cheap alternative to movie tickets. Every Monday-Wednesday at 9:30, they will show select movies for $3. 100% of the proceeds will go to charity. It is kind of like the summer movie program but for adults.

Catching Fire

6/30 – 7/2 Catching Fire

Non-Stop

7/7 – 7/9 Non-Stop

7/14 – 7/16 Robocop

7/21 – 7/23 300: Rise of an Empire

7/28 – 7/30 Pompeii

8/4 – 8/6 Need for Speed

8/11 – 8/13 Ride Along

Apes Double Feature

 

Cinemark, Regal, AMC, and other chains are doing a double feature of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes on Thursday, July 10th.

New Netflix Streaming releases for July Part Deux

 

Action: Night of the Running Man, Uncommon Valor, Walking Tall: Part II, Wicked Blood

Patton

Classic: Patton

Comedy: Mean Girls, Meet Wally Sparks, My Sister’s Wedding, Venus, The Wishmakers, Without a Paddle

Documentary: Space Shuttle Columbia: Mission of Hope, Supervention, Tesla: Master of Lightning, The United States of Autism, Unstoppable, Volcom: True to This

Drama: People I Know, Philadelphia, A Raisin in the Sun, Rolling, Two Family House, Under the Tuscan Sun, The Young Americans

Family: The Parent Trap, Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo

Fantasy & Science Fiction: The Man Who Fell to Earth, Perfect Sense, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Thale

Foreign: Omnivores, Xingu

Sugar Hill

Horror: Phantoms, The Stand, Sugar Hill

Television: Making Stuff 2: Nova, many Nature, Nova, and Secrets specials, Nazi Mega Weapons, Pajanimals, Paranormal Home Inspectors, Peg + Cat, The Politician’s Husband, The Reagan Presidency, Salvage Hunters, The Super Hero Squad Show, Slugterra, Storm Surfers, Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, Urban Legends, and new episodes of Arthur

Witness

Thriller: The Manchurian Cadidate, Primal Fear, Witness