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Flash Movie Review: R.I.P.D.

It is not healthy for me to ignore my cravings. If it involves a particular food, I know if I do not satisfy my yearning, I will only wind up eating other things that will not be gratifying to me. What would make the situation worse is if I could not find the right item; I am sure this has happened to many of you. That urge, let us say, for a chocolate chip cookie; where your mind races to figure out the fastest way you can get one of those decadent, lovely circular mounds of soft moist dough that have accepted the requests from those deep rich chocolate chips to come settle down and plant roots on their pliable land–aahhhh. Imagine how it feels when you finally find a place that sells these cookies, buy one and on your first bite your taste buds are assaulted by a dry, unsweetened, hard pice of crumbling sawdust. You were taken in by a horrible imposter. Well, that is the same feeling I had watching this poor excuse for a science fiction/fantasy film. Recently slain police officer Nick, played by Ryan Reynolds (Safe House, Just Friends) found himself sitting in front of Proctor, played by Mary-Louise Parker (Red franchise, Solitary Man), the Unhuman Resources Manager for the Rest In Peace Department. Being given the option to go back to Earth, Nick agreed to join the force so he could find his killer. Accompanying him was veteran officer Roy, played by Jeff Bridges (True Grit, Crazy Heart). The story was a cut and paste job that took parts from Men in Black, Ghost and Ghost Busters. Unfortunately the writers did nothing to enhance or update the stories; so, I am at a loss to understand why they bothered with this movie. There was such a great opportunity to inject humor into this film; if only the writers had played up the human forms of NIck and Roy. Those alive would see Roy as a young, voluptuous blonde-haired woman and Nick as an elderly Asian man. It would have been funny to see more of these two characters in the crazy stunts that happened to them. The special effects were fine and I was so surprised to see Kevin Bacon (Mystic River, Sleepers) in the movie as Hayes. He was not in any of the trailers I had seen. Maybe the whole purpose of the film was so Jeff and Ryan could be added into the trail of seven degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon. After sitting through this film I came home and popped a DVD in of a good science fiction movie to watch and satisfy my craving.

 

1 2/3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Red 2

There is an easy camaraderie created when a group of people have a singular purpose. Whether one is an employee, volunteer or teammate; when personalities blend together a relationship is formed of shared experiences. When I have done volunteer work I notice there tends to be a quick connection made between all the volunteers. The same happens when new fitness instructors come on board at the health clubs, where I teach. An added benefit to these types of connections is the ability to have fun. Yes, even at one’s place of employment there can be times of fun when everyone is supportive of their fellow employees. Well okay, let us say at least bearable. This sense of fun is what I appreciated most about this action comedy. It was obvious the actors were enjoying both their roles and each other in this sequel. Joining Bruce Willis (Looper, Moonrise Kingdom) as Frank, John Malkovich (Burn After Reading, Dangerous Liaisons) as Marvin, Helen Mirren (The Debt, Hitchcock) as Victoria and Mary-Louise Parker (R.I.P.D., Weeds-TV) as Sarah were Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago, The Terminal) as Russian agent Katja and Anthony Hopkins (Thor, Hitchcock) as mad scientist Bailey. The story was far-fetched about Frank and the team trying to retrieve a megaton explosive device that was smuggled into Moscow during the cold war. Being a fan of Helen, I got a kick out of her role being more physical this time. The script was uneven where some lines were humorous while others fell flat. Bruce has been doing the same type of character for so long, he tended to be a bit cartoonish for me. In the case of John; since I have seen him perform live on stage and know what he is capable of doing, I thought he was excellent in his role. Anthony was exceptionally good with his character. This was not the type of movie where one needed to think much; there was nothing deep about it. Honestly, I think the success of the first movie gave these actors the opportunity to hang out again and share some good times, while filming took place all over the world.

 

2 1/4 stars

Flash Movie Review: Howl

There was a time when women could not wear pants. It was not allowed during the period my brothers were in high school. It used to be one could not marry out of their race. Experiencing any type of freedom today, one must look to the past to see who fought for those rights. As a member of the blogosphere, I have read some posts that made me blush. I may not agree with the author of the post, but I would certainly fight for their right to say it. If I am not comfortable reading or seeing something, I simply stop and move on. Being fortunate to live in a country that allows it citizens the freedom of speech, I was curious to see this film about a trailblazer who reinforced that freedom of speech. Poet Allen Ginsberg along with his friend Jack Kerouac were pioneers of what became known as the Beat Generation. Allen’s poem Howl is considered today one of the great works of American literature. When it was first published in the 1950’s, there were many who felt it was obscene. The obscenity trial that ensued was the focus of this film. James Franco (127 Hours, Spiderman franchise) gave an engaging performance portraying the poet Allen Ginsburg. The lawyers at the trial, Jake Ehrlich and Ralph McIntosh, were played by Jon Hamm (The Town, Friends With Kids) and David Strathairn (Lincoln, L.A. Confidential) respectively. I could appreciate the use of three segments to tell this movie; the events that led up to Ginsberg writing his famous piece, the trial itself and the use of animation to enhance the recitation of the poem. But where each segment was interesting, I felt it took away from giving me a fuller story. For example, I would rather have had extra screen time showing more of Allen’s life and his thoughts about the trial. Even having more interaction between Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, who was played by Todd Rotondi (Phileine Says Sorry, The Heartbreaker), would have been interesting. The casting for this film was well done, including the small parts for Mary-Louise Parker (Red, Saved!) as Gail Potter and Jeff Daniels (Looper, Dumb & Dumber) as David Kirk. This movie was a compelling history lesson for me. Strong language and visuals of sexual content.

 

2 2/3 stars — DVD

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