Thor

“There’s a lot of ways to measure the start of summer. You have the day that the calendar tells you. Or the last day of school. Or the first really hot day of the year. For me, its the day that I watch the first big summer blockbuster. Therefore, readers of Expletive Dleted (all two? of you), welcome to summer!

Its not uncommon for me to not see a movie until during the week, but its rare that I feel so outta the loop about it. My weekend was full with other stuff, so it got put off to today. But then I saw a bunch of my friends yesterday who had already seen it. Such a weird feeling for me not to be able to contribute to the conversation.

Ultimately, not a bad way to kick off my favorite season (as far as movies go). Big action, pretty people, touch of comedy, mindless fun. It had its flaws, of course, but no one’s really looking at a summer blockbuster as Oscar gold, except possibly in the technical categories.

I guess we’ll start with the flaws, so that we can end on a high note. The flow was a bit strange. It felt rushed at the beginning, and then some details got confusing. But what did impress me was how adeptly it balanced storylines between worlds. It felt a lot like two different movies, but without being disjointed as you’d expect upon hearing that statement.

What also impressed me was Thor’s character arc. I really disliked him at the beginning, and was totally crushing on him by the end, and not just because he’s pretty. Character development that strong and believable is rare in this type of film. So points there!

I also really liked Loki, but his motives are what confused me. A friend who’d been chatting about this flick told me that if not for Loki, he’d have lost all interest. I can certainly see where he’s coming from. Loki is what kept me going until Thor finally got me on his side. I dont know that I’d have been able to get as into the film without him.

Starting to enjoy the build up to The Avengers, as well. I had some concerns that these films were getting cranked out too fast, and while those concerns havent quite been alleviated, we’re on a good track. Mostly I think it just made me happy that Clark Gregg’s role got bumped up quite a bit. I’ve been a fan of his since Choke, and he makes what could be a throwaway character incredibly memorable. The Hawkeye cameo was also much appreciated, even if Im not familiar with the character.

The action was good, although I’m not sure how worthwhile the 3d was. The minimal addition really wasn’t necessary. I think the effects could have stood alone on their own.

In an uncharacteristic for me way, I actually liked the girls in the film. Natalie Portman, while I dont think she did much, did bring a great deal of street cred to the film. And she made the damsel far more interesting than usual. Kat Dennings totally stole all her scenes. Yes, she was written as the doofy comic relief, but it worked. Maybe its just that I saw a lot of myself in her. The one who only speaks to snark about something.

Overall, if the main point of this film was to start to build hype for The Avengers, then I’d say mission accomplished.

Thor – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

Fast Five

“*peeks out from around the corner* Hello? Anybody still here?

Hola internets. After slacking off while directing Spelling Bee, I am now back, bitches! In short, the show was a ton of fun all around for all involved. The audience loved it. We got a fantastic review in MIT’s paper The Tech. Overall, win!

While I had been seeing movies here and there, I’d decided to be lazy and not blog the write ups, since I had very little me time as it was. So tonight, Im out of legit excuses to put it off, and so here we are. And Im actually really happy to be doing this write up for tonight’s flick, Fast Five.

Movies like this one remind me why I \m/ love action movies. Yes, I am an action junkie. It’s my fave genre. I think we’ve established this. Actually, if we wanna get technical about it, my fave genre would be action comedy, but it has to be heavier on the action. Okay maybe it is more accurate to say that my fave is action movies with good comedic relief. Starting to go off topic.

Now while Fast Five (or really anything in the Fast Franchise) is by no means a perfect film, the blend is pretty damn close. You’ve got: high velocity action, characters you care about, well timed wisecracks, beautiful cars driven by even more beautiful people. With a combination like that, who gives a \m/ if its not the type of film that’s ever gonna win an Oscar.

Let’s start getting into the specifics. Something that was particularly fun about this one, that’s a bit different from the rest in the franchise, is that this was actually more of a heist movie than an action movie. I do so love heist movies: the suspense of the chase, the genius of the plan, the morally gray areas. On the action side, I felt they could have had a bit more. However, all was redeemed with the final climactic car chase. That one was really creative, and different from any I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a \m/ of a lot of cinematic car chases!

Having seen all the movies in the franchise, the characters have really grown on me. I absolutely love Vin Diesel’s Dom. Such an amazing balance of bad ass and sweetheart. I swoon whenever he’s on the screen. Similar feelings for Paul Walker’s Brian, although his acting ability (if I dare even call it that) is still a bit lacking. It was also cool bringing in characters from all of the previous movies. However, I prolly shoulda done my homework beforehand and verified who was coming from where because it kept bothering me when I couldnt remember.

Also, bringing in Dwayne Johnson was a genius move. I mentioned before how happy I was to see him finally back in his element, and playing him off Vin Diesel was an incredibly smart casting decision And yes, there was a no holds barred, all out brawl between the two. It was seriously among the most satisfying fight scenes I’ve ever seen. Those boys are just built for this sh…sort of thing.

One final note. Be sure to stick around thru the end of the credits sequence. There’s an additional scene (before the full credits roll). I knew there’d been talk of a sixth movie, but the set up for it felt like a hard blow to the chest. I cant remember the last time I left the theater so anxious for the sequel. Okay, so maybe it was HP, but we knew that was coming. This was totally unexpected. While the movie had its flaws, the final chase and that end scene left me on such a high note, that it didnt matter.

Dont hate.
Fast Five – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

The Mechanic

“I was gonna start this with the phrase “”I’ve said before…”” but I think I overuse that. I should just flat out say what Im gonna say. Too \m/ bad if Im repeating myself. There are a handful of actors that I will blindly follow to any film: Edward Norton, James Franco, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jared Leto, Christian Bale are a few examples. Its rare that there’s two such actors in one film (at least not opposite each other in the top roles), but The Mechanic managed to do just that by casting Jason Statham and Ben Foster.

In thinking about the write up, I’d originally intended to refer to Statham as one of my favorite action stars. However, pondering it further, I think he really is my number one in that area. I really can’t think of anyone else that measures up to him right now. I tried to think thru my fave recent action flicks, ran thru the cast of The Expendables, and it seems the trend is to train up hot shot celebs for the one film and then move on. Maybe you groom them for a franchise, but its not like the days when Stallone and Van Damme ruled the genre. The only others I can come up with that are moderately active are Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson (Im purposely omitting Jackie Chan and Jet Li since I consider martial arts a separate subgenre). So naturally, this action junkie will follow her number one action star to any of his films that tease me with shiny things.

Ben Foster, I’ve been a fan of since he was on Flash Forward on the Disney channel. I lost track of him for a while as he dove into indie territory and I wasn’t quite into film. But in recent years, he’s been making a name for himself and I’m far more in touch with film in general. Especially once he led me to The Messenger last year, I really cant help but remain his disciple (hmm that word may be a bit strong).

I’d only seen the trailer once and didnt really remember it, so I wasnt entirely sure what I was in for. I expected action, and that did eventually come, but for a while it was heavier on the dark drama. While that caught me off guard at first, I really got into it. The storyline was predictable at pretty much every turn, but I couldnt help but be absorbed by it. The subject matter was just dark enough, and shit got \m/ up fast.

The fight sequences and such were really raw and gritty, as I’ve come to expect from Statham. They weren’t the over the top extremely implausible crap you get in the blockbuster action flicks. Nothing against those big summer movies, but I think I do prefer this style. It looks more real and feels more intense. Although, in defense of the alternative approach, you do get some of the more creative WTF moments there.

There was some cleverness to the characters and their tactics, even if that may have been lacking in the story. I only say it was lacking because it was all entirely expected. Hell, I even predicted a few exact lines of dialogue. But the film wasnt pretending to be any more than it was. It kept the plot to a nice and streamlined minimum, keeping the pace quick, the run time down, and the action abundant. I’d rank some of Statham’s other work (ie The Transporter) above this, but ultimately it was worth a quick trek in the cold.

Oh, one last quick note. This was in the RPX auditorium, the first non-3D movie I see there. I really didnt notice anything extra shiny about the screen. Yeah the seats are marginally more comfy, but I’ll stick to my previous decision which is not to go outta my way to catch movies there. If the ideal time for a film is that viewing (or in this case the only viewing), fine. Otherwise, eh.

The Mechanic – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

The Adjustment Bureau

“The plan was gonna be just to come straight home to bed and skip the write up. I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that Im not gonna see EVERY movie like I always do until my show is done, and that the ones I do see aren’t getting written up. But I \m/ loved THe Adjustment Bureau so much that I needed to share.

What we have here is easily my favorite movie of the year thus far. I was completely absorbed by the whole thing. I actually felt a lot like I did during Inception, except that it wasn’t nearly as confusing.

The premise here is that every decision that we make is monitored by these classy men in sharp suits. If our choices dont fall in line with “”the plan”” that these dudes have been handed, then they intervene to get you back on track. So of course, our hero, Matt Damon falls off track because of a girl, Emily Blunt, and he fights these workers to be able to keep the girl and keep everything else he wants. There were three reasons why it worked incredibly well

First off, the plot was kept very well streamlined. It was a unique concept and they didnt overcomplicate or over simplify it. There was no extraneous backstory, no over the top schitck, just direct and to the point story telling.

Next were the characters. Matt Damon’s David Norris was incredibly likeable for a politician. With his charm and drive and charisma, you rooted for him, and wanted him to get what he wanted. Emily Blunt’s Elise was a girl you could fall in love with between her spirit and creativity and strong will. By the the sub-par standards that pass for on screen romance today, I would not classify this as such. But if you wanna dig into the type of connections that past leading characters had, it was beautifully romantic. Im always the first to gag whenever a scene gets mushy, but I’ll admit that I hold this one line I stole from Fringe to be true “”within every cynic you have a frustrated romantic””. I bring that up just to say that I truly did feel the romance vibe between the two characters, and really wanted them to be together, not just because that was the expected response.

The third factor of awesome was the cast. I am just so impressed with Matt Damon. I’ve loved him for years, and he really does seem to improve with every movie that he does. Not a lotta actors can say that. But if you look at him back in the days of Kevin Smith movies, pre-Good Will Hunting, and compare that to now that boy has matured and grown so much. Its only a matter of time til he aquires another shiny piece of hardware for his mantle, this time for acting instead of writing. Emily Blunt is rapidly becoming one of my favorite actresses. He has this amazing balance of grace and grit that I can only stive for. You cast too flimsy of a girl in a film like this one and it falls apart.

There were some great supporting cast members as well. I loved John Slattery. Mad Men has given him a niche that he plays into very well, and I like that he takes advantage of it. Also enjoyed Anthony Mackie’s performance, and Terrance Stamp was brilliant as well. Maybe I’m just proud of myself for recognizing Mackie (he’s been on my radar since Behanding in Spokane when I got his autograph at the stage door) and for one of the few times of being able to correctly identify Terrance Stamp right away without first thinking it was Malcom Macdowell.

Oh the film also gets bonus points for the dance element. Maybe that’s why I had a stronger emotional connection than is my norm.

Right well, time for ice cream then sleep

You already know how many rock hands this is getting

The Adjustment Bureau – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

The Lincoln Lawyer

“Was really tempted to be lazy and skip the write up. As a compromise, I’ll likely keep it short.

Yes, I did use that Fandango Groupon on this movie. But even without that, this was my high priority movie for the weekend. However, that Groupon meant that I could go tonight for just as cheap as a matinee, which then makes the rest of my weekend logistics alot easier. And I’ll still have time for an ExpDelTop100 flick (the next one’s short anyways).

I very much enjoyed this one. I’ve established that I like trying to solve the puzzle or the mystery in a story, and thats exactly the type of thing that The Lincoln Lawyer delivered. I actually intend to pick up the book next time I find myself at Borders.

Great cast. Matthew McConaughey played the surprisingly layered lawyer superbly. I adore Ryan Phillippe, especially in these darker roles. He plays intense with a lot of fire (not to mention how smoldering he looks when doing it). Marisa Tomei annoys me. I think she’s one of the most overrated Oscar winners of the day, and I just didnt like her here. But the unexpected appearance of Michaela Conlin (Angela on Bones) more than made up for it.

And I got distracted by YouTube just now. Gonna call this one done

The Lincoln Lawyer – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Red State

“*waves! Hi there internets! Today’s Expletive Dleted write up is a bit of a special edition. Its special because Im writing up a film that’s not actually released until October. Jigga wha?! Okay, lemme break it down.

Kevin Smith, one of my all time favorite writer/directors (just below Tarantino and Rodriguez, above Cameron Crowe and P.T. Anderson) has a new film called Red State that he premiered at Sundance. Skipping the details and the reasons behind it, he’s touring the country doing big one-night-only showings with a Q&A session afterwards. Tonight was the Boston show.

When I heard about it, I was kinda torn about going. The tix were pretty \m/ expensive, even when you factor in the Q&A time with the man himself. I’d been to one of his general Q&A’s a few months ago and bought two tix for little more than what I paid for this one. But, I figured getting to write up a movie so far in advance of its release date would earn me some street cred. Then when I saw what seat Ticketmaster offered me, it totally made it worth it. I was right in the \m/ front, up against the stage, two feet away from Smith. Damn.

I am a huge Kevin Smith fan. I own every one of his movies and I \m/ love each of them (admittedly, some more than others). Its no big secret that Im not exactly the girliest of girls. Im sorry if I dont accept the shit that Hollywood throws at us girls as reasonable entertainment. I prefer the boy movies: action flicks and offensive bromance comedies. In that latter category, Smith is king. Dialogue is the prolly the most important part of a film for me, and when it comes to comedic dialogue, he’s tops.

So what did I think about the movie itself? Honestly, Im still not quite sure what to make of it. I wanted to love it. I really did. Something was just kinda off.

Now when you hear the name Kevin Smith, you inevitably picture a certain style of comedy, particularly featuring Jay and Silent Bob. This was not that. I knew that going in. The idea of him veering so far from his usual course both intrigued and concerned me. Its always very interesting to see someone branch out from their niche, but it can easily go very badly. Damn, I wanted to be really clever and say it could either be *insert-movie-title-from-a-director-who-went-out-of-their-genre-and-it-worked* or it could be *insert-movie-title-where-that-failed-miserably* but its late and Im tired and I got nothing.

Ultimately, I felt like it didnt quite work. Maybe it was too ambitious. Maybe it just wasnt a good fit. Maybe I just \m/ missed something. Clearly, the rest of the audience appreciated it more than I did.

It started off promising. I knew some of the bigger names in the film: (the now Academy Award winning) Melissa Leo, John Goodman, Michael Parks. But one of the many things we’ve learned about me since I’ve been blogging my ramblings on movies is that I very easily get very excited by unexpected appearances from lesser known actors that I enjoy (often for semi-obscure work). This time around, it was Michael Angarano that got me giddy. I know and love him as Elliot on Will & Grace as well as Will Stronghold in Sky High. Im always more than happy to see that boy. Was also sweetly surprised by Nicholas Braun, also from Sky High. And then there was Kyle Gallner from Smallville and Jennifer’s Body. Yeah Im calling out all the young and pretty boys. Oh and Marc Blucas (Riley on Buffy!) showed up later. That made me very happy 😀

Anyhoo, I loved those three main boys and the fun banter between them. Then, shall we say, shit got real. That was all well and good to start, but then things never really seemed to go anywhere. I felt like a lot of what was happening was shock value just for the sake of shock value. And as much as I love to be emotionally tasered by jarring scenes on screen, it needs to be anchored in some substance. The earlier scenes (the whole hate crime drive of the uber Christians) did work, but later it seemed like Smith was just throwing things in because he could. As it turns out, in his Q&A he did admit that that’s a lot of what he did–just kinda experimented seeing what he could get away with. While I do admire the balls that takes, it just didnt do it for me.

Something else that made this film unique was that while there’s a few genres you can definitively say it DOES NOT belong to, its hard to pick where to categorize it. Not that I need to put a label on it, its just sometimes easier to describe a film when you can give a generalized summary. It starts off with some horror elements. Although personally, I didnt find that too scary. Suspenseful, yes. What I did find scary was just the motivation of some of the characters. The thought that there really might be people out there with such strong hate in their hearts sickens me. I should also point out (as I have before) that I am quite the fag hag, so the overzealous bigots really did enrage me. From there, we had some action, although not enough to where I would classify it as an action film. You’d need more than just gunfire to qualify it as such in my book (says the action junkie). IDK, maybe I’d go with psychological thriller as its classification? I know that’s gonna be a source of great debate once the film starts getting seen more.

One thing that struck me as strange was the dialogue. The main reason I love Kevin Smith is his brilliant wit and way with words. He did take a few opportunities to throw in some choice quotables, as previously stated this was not a comedy. It seemed like some characters rambled on for too much (the first spot where the film lost me was Michael Parks’ really long sermon) or their words just didnt fit them. I dont know, it seemed almost forced I guess.

Maybe I was just expecting too damn much. Again, the rest of the crowd seemed to love it. Smith (who is not ashamed to admit when a film of his didnt work) is incredibly proud of it. I think I just need to give it another watch. I didnt like Clerks at all the first time I watched it, and now its in my top 15. Ultimately, it was a pretty amazing movie watching experience, and I know I woulda been upset with myself if I hadn’t decided to go overall.

Red State – \m/ \m/

Gnomeo and Juliet

“Movie selections are starting to pick up, but only slightly. Today’s feature was Gnomeo & Juliet. In a word, LOVE!

This was a great example of what a kiddie movie should be. Literary merit, clever, cute, jokes for the big kids. I was actually surprised with how much Shakespeare they incorporated. Id expected a very bare bones Romeo and Juliet set up, but they went waaaay beyond that. They started out with the prologue (or at least some of it), you had Tybalt and Paris and even Benvolio (renamed Benny). There was a reference to the balcony scene, and I love how that bit ended with Gnomeo in the pond, possibly in reference to the Baz Lurman R+J. A few quotes here and there from the source “”parting is such sweet sorrow””, and even a cameo from the big guy Bill Shakespeare. They even included (in their own magical way) the result of the Romeo/Tybalt fight, Romeo’s exile, and a couple other storylines that I’d have expected to be just dropped completely.

It was just so adorable and funny. Multiple laugh out loud moments, a rarity for me when alone at the theater. Although, I was often the only one laughing at times, but that was mostly at the big kid jokes and a few of the more subtle references.

Also loved the music. Id forgotten that it was done by Elton John. While he may not appear to be my style, I am a fan. Mostly because he wrote my favorite song (even though I prefer this version. While some of it was new, a lot was recycled classic stuff that fit really well. Some was blatant, such as Paris singing “”Your Song”” with different lyrics (“”Your Song”” then become the underscoring love theme for Gnomeo and Juliet). Others were more subtle, like the “”Rocketman”” riff playing whenever someone was airborne, or “”Benny and the Jets”” when Benny was playing around on the computer.

Props to the voice cast as well. James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Jason Statham (I squealed when I saw he was Tybalt), Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Ozzy Osbourne. I’d actually done my homework and looked up the cast beforehand, so I wouldnt be spending the whole time trying to identify voices.

The characters were so lovable. I was particularly fond of Benny and Tybalt’s little minions. The premise was so cute and worked so well. I also loved the feud wasn’t just between the neighboring gnomes, but their, shall we call them, landlords as well.

Very much a win. Prolly my favorite of the year so far, or at least the first that’s really stood out as special.

Gnomeo & Juliet – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

The Illusionist

After a quick “”intermission”” that involved a trip to the Garment District to spend a Groupon on a messenger bag, and a hot dog and ice cream at the conession stand, I came right back for The Illusionist. This is the third nominee for Animated Feature (shared with Toy Story 3 and How To Train Your Dragon). Short summation: Srsly? This is what beat out Tangled?

The film was only 90 minutes, but it felt waaaaay longer than the day’s previous film. It was silent (dialogue-wise)for the most part, and the majority of the minimal dialogue was gibberish. The AFI project proved that I dont do well with silent films. So that there was already a major point against it.

The animation itself was good, I’ll give it that. With all the computer animation clogging the theaters, hand drawn animation makes my heart go giddy. I liked some of the little touches, like the awkward hands behind the back stance that the magician often took. I didnt find the visual humor too funny (a common theme for me) but there were those in the audience who seemed to appreicate it.

I also just couldnt suspend disbelief enough to get into the storyline. Couple reasons for that. When it comes to magic (as in magicians, not genies or other such beings), the fun for me is in figuring out the puzzle of how its done. Animated movies cheat there. Then, I just couldnt understand how the magician let the little girl follow him across the country without so much as putting up a fight against it. From there it just got borderline pedofile creepy. On top of that, I liked the little girl at first, until she started making the poor magician buy her more and more shit. She’d ditch him as he’d work these odd jobs just to keep her happy. WTF?! Not what I’d expect in an (arguably) kiddie film.

I hate giving low ratings to critically acclaimed films, but as far as personal opinion, I feel I’m being generous. That half point is for the animation.

The Illusionist – \m/ \n”

Biutiful

“I actually saw these yesterday, but I came straight home to nap before running off to a midnight Rocky Horror Picture Show-ing so I didnt get a chance to do the write ups. And now Im most of the way thru ExpDelTop100 #78 so this is gonna be on the short side.

The lack of interesting film fare at the usual major release theaters promted me to watch a couple of this year’s Academy Award nominees that were low on my priority list. At this point, I’ve now seen all of the majors except one supporting actress (Jackie Weaver for Animal Kingdom), one screen play (Another Year), and a couple of costumes I think.

This one’s actually up for two Oscars: foreign film (Mexico) and best actor (Javier Bardem). Foreign film is always a crap shoot because of the special screening thing for voting, so I usually dont make an effort there. But I do try to see all the major acting nominees if at all possible.

I can definitely see how he earned the nod, although Im not sure if the flick would have gotten the notice it did Bardem not been cast. It almost certainly wouldnt have scored another actor the nomination, given that a lot of the last minute push that snuck him in (arguably stealing the spot from Ryan Gosling) was Julia Roberts’ screening party of the film.

Moving on to talk about the actual film now.

Bardem was fantastic. The rest of the film didnt impress me. For starters, it was a whopping 2 and a half hours. That’s a long time to sit thru a foreign film. It actually took some effort for me to get used to dealing with the subtitles. THe problem is that I do understand Spanish pretty well, but there was usually a word here and there I’d hafta check the subtitles for. That meant that I was thinking in two languages at the same time, and it was a good half hour or so until I could resolve the two. Im also used to watching movies at home with the subtitles on (instead of having to toggle volume) so that confused my brain even more.

Besides that, it felt like the film went in a few too many directions without any real cohesion between them. I think it could have done without the whole psychic storyline. That just didnt fit. But despite all that was going on, it seemed like a lot of important details and relationships weren’t explained well enough early on. Then it felt like nothing was really happening. Just kinda tough to sit through.

One more positive I will give it, it was a very emotional film. There was a scene towards the end that really choked me up, and had me preemptively reaching for the tissues. The emotion conveyed on screen throughout was so strong, again proving Bardem worthy of the nomination. However, its not exactly something I’d feel the need to watch again.

Biutiful – \m/ \m/

The Green Hornet

“This is so weird for me. Long weekend, and only one movie outing planned. There’s a couple of maybe movies, but none are playing at the Fenway, and none are worth a trek. Im still trying to convince myself that I really dont need to see every flick that I’ve ever heard of that’s playing. Especially when I just shelled out sixteen bucks because the showing I went to happened to be the RPX one.

When I got there, it didnt seem to be the most promising theater experience. As I said after Tron, Im not completely sold on the value of RPX. I didnt check beforehand which screen time it was, or even if this was the RPX film (although I knew it had to be). I just went with the one that fit my day best. I had a lil time to hit the arcade. I needed to replace some laundry quarters the roomie borrowed, so instead of just using the singles I had, I decided to put my five in the change machine…and then noticed that I was given tokens instead of quarters. FML. I blew a few on the crane game (that still decides on occassion to drop the crane when it feels like it), then played a bit of Indianna Jones pinball. I actually started doing really well on my second try at pinball (despite dealing with the right flipper that sticks), to the point where I missed a good chunk of previews.

Oh before I go any further, a friend pointed out that one of my recent entries is featured on Boston.com’s movie page. (Here’s a screenshot in case its not up anymore). Wicked cool!

Back to the movie, or more accurately, gonna start in on the movie now.

Once again, its the expectations game. I think we’ve established I go to the movies A LOT. Therefore, its safe to say Ive got a pretty good handle on the whole thing. I bring this up to illustrate that I know how the movie schedule tends to work. Your big budget action movies get released in the summer, typically starting with your big franchises in May and your franchise hopefuls July maybe. January is used for two things: award hopefuls and subpar action flicks. If you’re releasing an action movie in January, it means that you wouldnt expect it to hold up against a (hopefully) explosive summer. But if its released in Jan with no competition in its genre, it might do okay. Knowing this, it tends to set the bar a little lower when I walk into a Jan movie. Therefore, expectations were cautious. All that said, I did enjoy the film, and I do feel it was released at the right time. I liked it for what it was, and I feel it may have been a slight disappointment in the summer (although it may have done well in August, the last chance summer spot)

It did take the film quite a while to ramp up. The first 3/4 of it was decent, but nothing dazzling. During that time, I really liked when the fight scenes shifted to Kato’s perspective. Otherwise, nothing was really wowing me. I wouldnt say I was bored, but I was dangerously close. Then it just lightened up like whoa once we hit the climax action sequence. There was a lot more humor (best performance by a USB drive ever!), and the stunts were intentionally over the top (think one notch below Planet Terror). I felt that suited the film a lot better, especially since it was led by Seth Rogen.

Casting Rogen as Britt Reid really puzzled me. I expected him to be really outta place, and he almost was. There were aspects of the character that fit him, and others that were kinda forced. He fell into the swing by that shift at the end, which would be a great jumping off platform if they plan to turn this into a franchise. Notably he also co-wrote the screenplay with Evan Goldberg (his cohort behind Superbad).

For me, though, it was all about Jay Chou’s Kato. Great combination of deadpan and badass. I dont wanna say I didnt care about Britt Reid, but he wasnt nearly as interesting as Kato. I just got a thought of how awesome it’d be to pair Chou with Jackie Chan. Their styles are very compatable.

Loved Christoph Waltz as baddie Chudnofsky. While I often knock Oscar winners for the inevitable “”big budget action movie”” they do soon after their win (totally contradicting my sentiment that I have mad respect for them to be able to juggle both sides of Hollywood), I feel this was a good choice for him. Fun role (again, love seeing that) that will get him on track to being more recognized in Hollywood. Even though Im apprehensive of the film itself, I really cannot wait to see him in God of Carnage next year.

Major buzz points go to the hardest working man in Hollywood, Mr James Franco, for his brief appearance at the beginning. Definitely the best surprise in the film for me. If you dont believe me that he’s the hardest working man in Hollywood (I know that phrase is cliche), EW had an article recently that included his schedule for this one particular day. He was filming until 3 AM, woke up a few hours later, filmed something he was also directing, went to PhD classes at two different schools in two different states, and some other miscellaney.

Overall, how did this action flick hold up for a die hard action junkie? It was enough of an adrenaline fix for this time of the year. Again, kinda lukewarm for most of the film, but the last big sequence totally made it worthwhile. The same goes for the 3D. It wasnt utilized to its potential up until that point. This is one of the few 3D’s now where you are actually given a choice for the third dimension, and Im gonna say its (marginally) worth it. Dont rearrange your plans if the 2D time works better, but there’s some cool stuff if you spring for the shiny one.

The Green Hornet – \m/ \m/ \m/